Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walking with Sam and Jeni....

Boy, the best laid intentions of mice and men really do go awry way too quickly in my life.

I had been planning to try to reactivate my brain a bit and come back to some regular blogging but every time I think I'm going to do that, something seems to come up that takes my attention elsewhere.

Like today, for example -when I saw something while walking Sam on the first of our daily walks and today, I was able to recruit my neighbor into helping to take care of what I had noticed along our walk down the road for at least the past three days.

In the run-off ditch in the front of a neighbor's house, down the street from my place, I noticed two smallish piles of leaves there -looking sort of like they had been raked there but no evidence elsewhere that any raking had been done recently in their yard. But it wasn't the leaves themselves that caught my eye, but rather what looked a bit strange from the road looking at the leaf pile. I thought I saw something else there and upon looking a bit closer -without alerting Sam to start sniffing around -I realized there was a dead cat laying half covered by the leaf pile!

It kind of looked like one of the cats that had belonged to another neighbor's daughter but not quite like that cat in that this one was a bit on the scruffy side. At first, I thought if might be a stray that has been wandering around this road for the past 2-3 years at least now -since it was abandoned by the family that had it prior to their moving away from here. That cat, which my daughter and the neighbor next door nicknamed "Scruffums" though is all gray, with a very fluffy coat -when he's sort of cleaned up. He goes to several homes along the street where neighbors there often put food out for him and I just saw him a couple days ago, reposing under a vehicle at the end of the row of houses on this road so I know he was still on the loose.

But today, as Sam and I were coming back towards the house, the neighbor across the street from where this cat is located in the leaf pile, happened to come home and pulled his pickup down his drive and I walked down the alley then to talk to him and pointed out the dead cat to him. He thinks perhaps this cat may have been hit by a car or other type vehicle, possibly back during the very snowy times we had here and then, got buried by the snow plows and ended up that way partially covered by the leaves but now visible since the snow has melted off now. (Snow, which by the way, is being predicted for us later today -in mid-April! Makes me wonder if this really is going to be the winter that has no end, EVER!)

But anyway, the end of the dead cat story is that the neighbor I showed the cat to said he would get a garbage bag and scoop up the remains and leaves and get rid of it before it really starts to decay. Not the best ending for a cat story, I know, but the best that can come out of it, I guess.

Moving on to a little other stuff in my life, last week and the week prior to that were more than a bit wacky for me. First off, on Monday, March 31st, my neighbor and good friend for all my life, phoned to ask me if I was planning to attend our monthly meeting the next night of our church women's group. To show how strangely my brain was acting then, my initial response to her question was "What? Already?"

She sort of chided me then as she reminded me that the next day, Tuesday, was April 1st and also, the first Tuesday of the month, which is when our woman's group normally meets! Hmmm. How the heck did that day, and date, roll around so quickly and why was my mind thinking that there was another week yet before our meeting as well as before my next Social Security check would arrive? I remembered I had two appointments scheduled -on for April 3rd and the other, for April 4th -both of which would require me to be sure to have a full tank of gas in my car and due to my rather confused frame of mind, I had been worrying about if I would have enough money in my checking account to be able to fill the tank to make both of those appointments. Also, my friend's little tapping into my wonderland trip, mentally, caused me to then remember that March 31st was my friend's older sister's birthday and then too, April 1st was that lady's husband's birthday too. Two events that I normally would have purchased birthday cards for each of them and hand delivered them to them by the 31st but here it was that date already and me with no cards for either of my good friends! Talk about stuff that was upsetting my mental apple cart, big time, that was doing it for me with just that one phone call that evening.

So the next day, I had to hurry and find two appropriate cards for the birthday couple and drop them off to them. I also hurried up that Tuesday to bake and ice a cake then to take to our group's meeting that night so we could all have a piece of birthday cake to celebrate her birthday a day late but, hey, what the heck. Better late than never, right?

And, as we went into the little restaurant near here where we were having our meeting that evening, there were five of us walking across the parking lot together when it dawned on me that my good friend's sister, the "birthday girl" was not with her and I commented to her that she apparently forgot someone along the way. She looked around and then said "Oh, you mean my sister? Well, she's not coming tonight because their oldest son was taking her and her husband out to a special birthday dinner that evening." Then she realized too that I was carrying a cake and she figured out I had made a cake then for her sister and her husband's birthdays. We laughed about how I had the cake but no true recipient of it being with us but we all had a slice of cake after our meeting and on my way home, I stopped and delivered cake to her sister and her husband -again, a little bit late but there, all the same!

That Friday then -the 4th of April -I had an appointment down outside of Pittsburgh with the surgeon who has been keeping tabs on me since my last surgery 4 years ago this summer. There had been some questions about a potential issue that had surfaced on the PET scan I had last August and this doctor had me have another PET scan back in November as well as one the week prior to my appointment so he could verify if there had been any changes in the spots that had shown up on the last August scan. Thankfully, the last PET scan revealed no growth, no changes so now, I don't have to go back down there until the fall for just a checkup and next spring, will have to have yet another PET scan to keep track of things. The doctor's office is in Mars, PA and because my older daughter, who normally is the one of my kids who has become my regular transporter to the Pittsburgh area, was unable to get off work that day so it ended up I was going to have to drive myself to Pittsburgh. And that, was a big deal in my life as it would mark over 11 years that had gone by since I had driven that far alone! I have a tendency if I am by myself and driving that anything over 50-60 miles often causes me to sort of zone out and want to go to sleep -not a really good thing to have happening when you are behind the wheel, ya know. So to try to be able to keep myself alert, I had an older gentleman who is a good friend of mine and my kids, ride along with me. Someone to talk to and also, who smokes too so I didn't have to worry about offending any of my non-smoking friends on a trip like that! And, having him riding shotgun with me proved to work quite well as we talked, laughed and yes, filled the car with cigarette aroma too but I had no problems that way then of felling like I was going to fall asleep and that was what I had hoped would take place. So it was successful in that aspect then, wasn't it?

This past Sunday was the first that I wasn't present to help celebrate the birthday of my younger grandson though. Kurtis had his little party down in Middletown this year with his sister, Mom, her boyfriend, his two girls and his parents too and I was here as there's no way I could have managed a run down there, never having been to their house before and try to find my way down and back in one day's time frame. But Mandy said she had baked him a cake and he wanted her to decorate it somehow with three steam stacks on it because his current obsession is talking and learning anything and everything he can about Three-Mile Island and the steam stacks that are within sight of where they live of that nuclear power plant that had the first big major emergency back in the late 70s with a nuclear meltdown. When Mandy and the kids had been up here the week before, the first thing Kurtis said upon entering the house was to ask me if I knew about Three-Mile Island and what happened there.

This child absolutely amazes me! I know I've said that before on numerous occasions but it is the absolute truth about him and also, his sister, Miss Maya. Both of them do some really awesome things for children in their respective age ranges and never ceases to amaze me where their interests are and how well they can learn many things about those things too! Both kids are advancing in school quite well these days -which is a big relief not just to their Mom but also to me as we were both very concerned how things would go for the kids when they left here and moved to the Harrisburg area.

Now, this coming weekend is Easter and I'm very happy that Mandy and the kids will be coming up here to celebrate this with me. Hopefully, all will go well and maybe the other two kids -Carrie and her son, Alex and my son, Clate and his girlfriend, will all be able to be here Sunday afternoon and we can have an Easter dinner together as a family along with a little bit of a belated celebration of daughter Carrie's birthday and Kurt's then at that time too.

 And now, time for me to get myself organized to start doing Avon deliveries this week and hopefully get enough orders to make a little profit this campaign for a change! Sadly, the last two campaigns were not the least bit profitable for me and let's face it, I can't afford to have campaigns like that, for sure! So wish me luck that the majority of my customers like the current book and order a lot of things this time from it too!



Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Let the Blue Become You!

Today is a very special day. Did you know that?

Perhaps you're thinking well, every day is a very special day and yes, that is true. But today -well today is extra special because it is "Turn the World Blue Day" as it is World Autism Recognition time today!

And, those of you who have been around my blog for a long time now, know why I find this day to be even more special. If there's anyone new to my blog here visiting, I will tell you why this day is so extra special to me.

I have three beautiful grandchildren! My oldest grandchild -now age 16 -is 6 foot 4 inches tall, built like a defensive tackle, smart, sweet, handsome and just plain wonderful! My only granddaughter will be 11 in October and a beautiful little girl she is -looks so much like her aunt, my older daughter, and acts a whole lot like her too much of the time. She's a "DIVA" through and through! A good student in school, she also love dancing and gymnastics and when she visits at my house, you can frequently find her parked at the computer, watching all kinds of videos of dances, dancers and gymnasts and she studies them, then tries to imitate their moves. Sometimes, she does a great job with her attempts to emulate them and sometimes, well -she just keeps watching and trying. Her little brother, who will be 8 this month (on the 13th) is just a total little sweetheart! He too does fairly well academically speaking in school. His reading skills are good and keep improving all the time as he does love to read. Math is not his forte most of the time and I like to think that's genetic from me as I was okay with math but never all that great. But his best and most favorite subject is science and that, he excels at -probably because he is a very curious child and a walking question box at almost all times!

Okay you're thinking, so you have three fantastic grandkids and yes, indeed I do. But two of those grandchildren have something about them that many people consider to be a hardship, a difficult road for them and also, for anyone who is responsible to help them make their way in life then too.

My granddaughter and her little brother, you see, both have autism!

When Maya was a baby, about 7-8 months old, my older daughter and I began to notice some things she did, things she also DIDN'T do too that one normally expects from a baby that age. Mainly that she rarely made good eye contact with us. There were many times from then on that it often seemed that she had a hearing problem as she often appeared to be totally ignoring people when they talked to her. That often becomes something we, as parents or grandparents experience with older children -school age and especially teenagers, that we talk and they totally ignore us! But in small children, is not usually the norm as it appeared to be with her.

Long before she had her first hearing test, I conducted a non-scientific experiment of my own with her and her ability to hear. She always loved watching virtually anything on the tv set and one day, she was sitting in her playpen, busy playing with something there and the tv was not on at the time. I picked up the remote control and turned the tv on. Doing that, the remote makes a very, very faint clicking sound and as soon as that click was heard, Miss Maya was up, standing in the playpen, looking at the tv and waiting for the picture and sound to appear. Yes, that was my way of determining that no, this child did not have a hearing problem!

By the time she began walking, other things became noticeable about her behavior. She rarely really "played" with the toys she had and instead, would often just run back and forth from the living room to the kitchen and back again, occasionally she might see something -a tiny piece of paper or maybe a bit of thread -things that children don't normally select as playthings -and she would then carry that item around all over with her.

But at about 18 months, on a visit one day with her mother and the baby to the pediatrician, I mentioned some of her behaviors and that she rarely seemed to pay attention to what we said to her. Finally, that time, the doctor ordered a hearing test and at the same time, set up an appointment to have Maya evaluated by a team of therapists. The results of that initial evaluation was very unsettling because they rated her as being very developmentally delayed.

How could this be happening was my initial take on this? The child, so perfect in every way, in appearance and yet, something just wasn't right there either. Her mother -my younger daughter -was dissolving in tears more often than not out of sheer terror in her mind about her child.

The result of that evaluation though turned our lives around in that the therapists immediately put a plan into action to have a therapist come to the house and work with Maya on behaviors and another therapist was assigned to also come to the house and do speech therapy with her too.

Thus began a long-term affiliation with a therapist named "Kerri" and another one named "Mandy" -which coincidentally, my older daughter's name is Carrie and my younger daughter's name (used by me) is "Mandy!" Neat, huh?

Those two therapists were later joined by a fantastic lady -Brenda -who we nicknamed the "Toy Lady" because every Tuesday morning she would come to the house and bring some new toy selected for Maya, show it to her, how to "play" with it and then, on Thursday morning, she would return to see how Maya had responded to each toy she received then too! Fantastic the toys that she was given and before long, we had a huge array of more toys than we really knew what to do with! Oh and not just toys, but also from time to time, she would be given books too! This is/was an awesome program developed by the agency we were working with that provided the therapists who worked with Maya too.

It was a long road but with therapy at least twice a week, plus the Toy Lady visit, by the following February, Maya said her first word -"Two." We had been working and working with her, asking her how old are you and then, telling her "Two." Initially, her attempt at the word sound like she was saying "Chew" but we knew it was her pronunciation of her age!

That's what started the ball rolling to get help for my granddaughter. As I said above, she will be 11 this October and is doing remarkably well. I'm not going to post anymore today about our journey and the changes that took place in our household due to what many people thought of as a tragic event -a diagnosis of Autism -because there is so much more of this story to tell.

But, April being Autism Awareness month, I'm going to strive to continue -through the good points and some of the rough ones too -to help others become aware of what can happen with therapy and children with Autism.

It doesn't have to be a tragedy in anyone's life if you look at things from a totally different perspective. I am so grateful today that Maya had this diagnosis and the treatment because for me, it changed me drastically.

It gave me something I had been missing in my life -PATIENCE!

Not enough of it, for sure, but a lot more than I had before and still keep on trying to add more patience into my mode of operation day by day!

Stay tuned! And have a beautiful but very BLUE day!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Phoenix Attempts a Comeback

Actually, I don't consider myself to be like the proverbial "phoenix" -rising from the ashes of my blog that I have pretty much ignored for almost two months now. Let's face it, I'm nowhere near to being of that caliber. But, it's true that I have been extremely lax with my blog.

And for why? Well, I didn't really feel I had time to post anything mainly because my brain was very occupied doing a whole lot of thinking. Not working, mind you - just thinking. Was I busy? Well, sort of. There were several things ongoing in my life that pushed a lot of things aside for quite some time. But the main issue for me then was I just didn't feel up to writing. January and February were both difficult months here.

Not just with the weather but with just about everything, or so it seemed. We lost two very good people who were members of our church during that time. One was a lady who had surgery one week, I believe she had received a pacemaker if I remember correctly. Some of the women in our group had visited her after she came home from the hospital and had said she seemed to be doing quite well. Then one day, when I picked up my mail, there was a card in there addressed to me from this lady for me to read at our next group meeting as it was a thank you from the woman for a bouquet of flowers our group had decided to send her. That afternoon I picked up a copy of the daily paper and was totally shocked when I saw a death notice in that paper -the very same day I had received her thank you note! Incredible! What on earth had happened? She had written in the note that she was feeling much better and hoped to be back at our meetings in the very near future. We later found out she apparently had a blood clot that moved suddenly into her lungs and that was it! Small consolation that it was fast and she really didn't know what hit her so I guess it's best to look at things from that angle whenever one can.

 Then, just a couple weeks after that happened, a man from our congregation -a trucker -was working one day and for some reason or other, had pulled over off the highway and got out of his truck. (Initially, many thought he might have been having some type of problem with the truck or the trailer or his load or some such.) But anyway, he was standing behind the tractor -when apparently the brake he had set on the truck failed and the tractor rolled over on him, crushing him between the tractor and the trailer! Needless to say, this was also one big shock to lose him and especially in the terrible way that he died too.

As many of you, my blogger friends, are very well aware the winter weather this year has seemed  at times to be well on its way to being recorded as the never ending winter! It certainly has been a very cold one, that much is for sure! In all my years, (and remember, I'm OLD) I do not recall ever before enduring three weeks at a clip of temperatures all below zero and then, factoring in the wind chill on top of that, frequently it was more like 25 to 35 below zero here. Not that this area of the country doesn't get really cold temps and also, some extremely low wind chill temps too at times, but for three weeks solid? Not ever that I can recall has it lasted that long before!

 The snow though, I must confess most of that wasn't really all that terrible to contend with. We didn't have a record-breaking total of snow this season -not compared to some winters when we actually had to endure raging blizzards a few times. One year -I think it was my last year in college which was the winter-spring of 1994, we had snow almost every day or at least every other day, from January 2nd until the end of March and the total accumulation was well over 100 inches. This year, the last report I saw on our total accumulation it was only somewhere between 50 and 60 inches.

Another "nice" thing about all but two of the snowfalls we did have was that the snow was the kind that is light and dry -not the great big wet snowflakes that are really hard work to shovel even a small area of sidewalk out, much less the parking area in the front of my house which is large enough to put 5 full-size vehicles in there! So, the majority of the snow we did get, I was able on all but two occasions to shovel the entire parking area out in a matter of about 45 minutes to an hour at most. And I didn't really have to shovel it either as that type of snow was such that I could start with the shovel at the lip of the road and just push the snow across and over the embankment at the edge of the parking area. But then there were those last 2 snow storms when we got hit with the heavier wet stuff and then, I had to actually shovel the stuff. I confess that those two events didn't exactly make a place on my nice snowfall days, for sure!

 The grandkids were here twice over the past 3 months for a weekend though and that helped to curb some of the cabin fever and crankiness I was experiencing. They came up the first weekend in February to celebrate the great-granddaughter's (Lola) first birthday and then, were able to come and spend a weekend with me about 4 or 5 weeks later in March. It was so nice having those two kids in the house again even though much of their time here was spent (or so it seemed at times) with Maya picking on Kurtis a whole lot. I suppose I can call that as normal sibling rivalry but with her and the attitude she often cops with her little brother, she does frequently take things just a tad too far.

I've done a little reading -not an overly large amount, but at least some books I've had here for way too long, intending to read them but never getting around to doing that, I think I did manage to get at least two of them read. Definitely not setting any records for doing something that generally I enjoy very much.

And the same pretty much applies to my needlecrafts too. I have been working on a table topper that I started about 15 months ago but my embroidering has been pretty much rather haphazard - a little here, a little there. I did do a couple small projects -embroidered an apron for Mandy for her birthday. I thought it was really cute as it involved a picture of a wine bottle and a couple glasses of wine with the wording on it "Conserve Water. Drink wine!" I had also embroidered a set of small towels that I thought when I bought them were intended to be "dish towels" however, upon opening the packet and looking at the fabric, I was very disappointed in the quality of the fabric because it was more like embroidery on pillow case material and not something that would work well then to sop up water off one's dishes, ya know! They too had a "Wine theme" with some wine glasses and the saying of "I cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food." Both the towels and the apron I thought were cute and appropriate gifts for Mandy since she has become quite the lover of wine the past year or so. But, because of the quality of the fabric on the towels, I didn't even give them to her then.

January and February are also notorious to most all Avon Ladies too as being the months out of the year that are really difficult to get people to order products and boy, this year was no exception of that rule! It was really sad and very disappointing then too because I earned virtually nothing during those months as my orders were so sparse and small that they barely covered the costs of shipping, getting new brochures every two weeks and purchasing demo items and samples. I confess I was really upset, very depressed with how things went then. Finally, the first order I submitted in March, my sales did pick up somewhat. Not near enough to satisfy me, but enough that at least I wasn't operating in the red then anyway!

Oh well, you know, you can't have everything all the time and I have to accept that there is always and ebb and flow to how people spend their money and how their prioritize their purchases then too where something like Avon is concerned. I just keep telling myself it will get better -this too shall pass kind of pep talk to myself -and yes, it does help and the orders do fluctuate like that as well.

There are a lot of other things that have changed here too -the step-granddaughter and her baby, Lola, moved out of my house the first of March and are now residing in an apartment about 4 miles from me where they are living with the granddaughter's boyfriend. So I now have the entire house all to myself and I confess on that aspect to beginning to enjoy the solitude more now. At the time when Katie moved in here with me, I was still hurting a lot from missing the two younger grandkids -Maya and Kurtis -so it was nice, much of the time, having the baby here. But now -being just me, the silly dog and goofy cat -I can come and go exactly as I please and when I please too. I don't have to worry about figuring out a meal every day for two adults and a baby now. Sometimes, I kind of miss not cooking myself a full meal but much of the time now, I just fix small items, smallish meals, since Sunday is usually the only day of the week that I might end up cooking a dinner for a couple extra folks -usually my son and his girlfriend.

I'm going to end this three-month semi-detailed report of happenings in my life at this juncture now. The other things that have taken place here are going to take  a lot more use of my pea brain to put them into some kind of sense to be type and read here.

And, I do plan on trying to get back to normal and post with some degree, at least, of regularity again.

And in the mean time, let's all try to get ready to welcome spring! At least, hopefully when it finally does show up, it will be a nice and pleasant time. I noticed the other day that the jonquils and crocus plants as well as the tulips were pushing their little heads out of the ground in my paltry flower bed in front of the house so I'm taking that as a definite sign that spring is well on its way here!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Team USA - Team World!

Just wondering how many of you are doing what I was doing this evening -until I decided to write this post, that is.

And, just what is it I was doing, you ask?

Watching the 22nd Olympics, of course!

And yes indeed, I am most certainly rooting, pulling hard, for Team USA!

But much as I do cheer on the competitors who represent the good old U.S.A, I confess too that I also cheer on every one of the other competitors too. Not so much that I replace the aspect of wanting MY team to not place in the medal categories but I feel the pain of the defeat of any of those athletes who don't make it to the podium or to the top 10 category even.

Frankly, I think every last one of those who are taking part in the Olympics -whether it be for the first time or after several appearances in these competitions -are stellar and spectacular and heros who should be emulated by the younger generation of today.

The years of practice that goes into making it to this level of skill and athletic prowess is really incredible and requires dedication like very few will ever have.

Watching the figure skating competition the other night, I was about to burst into tears when the little skater from Japan fell only about 10-15 seconds into her routine but she managed to keep her composure, pick herself up and completed skating her program. She deserves a medal for being able to do that!

I know it is a big, big, competition and being competitive means someone wins, others will lose and that's the way it goes. Unlike some kindergarten classes and even early elementary school classes do not award top grades or medals but rather, reward everyone alike. I'm not saying I want to see that -well, not exactly anyway.

But what I would like to see is whether our/my team (USA) wins first, second or third place in any event is great but I'd be really happiest if I thought that everyone could feel that same sense of pride for all the other athletes who win gold, silver or bronze for their spectacular achievements in the competition and also, that we share that same sense of pride to the other competitors who worked so hard to get to Sochi and didn't make it out of the starting gate towards receiving a medal.

Remember each and everyone of these competitors has put in years and years of training just to arrive at this destination and for their perseverance, pluck, stamina and sheer physical talent all of them deserve our respect and to honor their place at the Olympics.

Peace and Good Luck to each and everyone but a little extra dose of good luck please to all those competing for the Red, White and Blue -Stars and Stripes forever too!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Change Modus Operandi!

I  admit this freely that I am a major night owl!

I have been the majority of my life as a matter of fact. It started early in my life with not having a regular (and early) bedtime. While our neighbors across the road rarely were up past 9:30 at night, except on extremely rare and special occasions, in my home -with my grandparents and mom and me -the lights rarely got turned off before midnight. More often than not, someone of the adult population here was still up until around 1 a.m. on most any given night. That someone was usually my mom -busily attending to last minute details on cleaning or straightening up things in the house or else, she was busy sewing for herself, for me, for neighbors who brought things to her to have her alter some item of clothing.

I don't remember ever going to bed before 11:30 p.m. even as a pre-schooler mainly because there were certain radio programs on at the late hours that my grandparents loved to listen to -as did my Mom -so, naturally I did the same too. (The fact that by the time I was 5 years old I had also become afraid of the dark and didn't want to go upstairs to bed by myself so I would often wait it out till my Mom was ready to call it a day and go upstairs -just so I wouldn't be alone there.)

The funny thing about my fear of the dark though is the fact that when I was 2-3 years old, I had no fear of that! Our bathroom was not the normal type of bathroom that you see today in that it was in the basement of the house -having been installed at some point well after the house was built, like an after thought you know -and as such, the commode was behind a little stall at the foot of the cellar steps and the tub was clear at the other end of the basement, located in the "laundry room" along with two stainless steel wash tubs, the wringer-washer and a small coal stove called a "bucket a day" because it took about a bucket of coal per day to keep a fire going in it and that fire was responsible for heating our hot water therefore, there was a fire in this little old stove every day of the year!

Well anyway -enough of that explanation about the bathroom locale. I was "Grandpa's Girl" and adored him to the point of following almost every move he made back then. Upstairs, on the main floor, he didn't object to this but there were times when he really didn't want, definitely didn't need me being his tail and those times generally involved going to the basement either to use the commode or to bathe. But, to his chagrin, no matter what he did to try to escape me, I managed to pop up right behind him anyway. And, finally he tried going down to the basement area without turning the lights on, figuring that would keep me upstairs and give him some privacy but when he finally arrived in the laundry room one night -in the total darkness -and reached up to pull the chain on the light there -imagine his surprise when he heard a little voice behind him saying "Hi, Grandpa!"

That night he apparently had reached his limit of patience and ideas how to escape this child as he grabbed me and took me back upstairs, planting me firmly in my Mother's lap with instructions to her to "Keep this Gol-durned kid up here so I can take a bath!" How I managed to follow him through the darkness and had not one iota of fear then but sometime later, I developed a terrible fear of the dark that lasted for many, many years. Probably still have some of that in me and maybe that's why I can't sleep unless I have the tv set on too. But yet, I think nothing of going outside at 1, 2 even as late as 3 a.m. -flashlight in hand -and walking the dog. Go figure that combination out now will ya.

But anyway, obviously I stay up late -often very late. I've been known to finally crawl into bed at 5 or 6 a.m. because I was pre-occupied with some craft item or a good book or something I was really "in to" researching online -occasionally baking or cooking some item too -especially before Christmas when I needed to bake cookies. What better time to do things like this -especially with children in the house who would be disruptive to the cookie baking projects in particular.

I've tried when scheduling appointments to get all of the scheduled for at least 1 p.m. -preferably a little later than that otherwise I have conflicts then with my potential lack of a reasonable sleep plan.

And now, I find myself concerned tonight about an appointment I have scheduled for this morning. I have to be in Dubois -which is about a 44 mile drive one-way from here -at 10 a.m. which means to get there on time I will have to leave here around 9 a.m. at the latest and to do that, to be ready to leave by then, means I will have to be up and at 'em, as the old expression goes, by 7 a.m.

Two hours to get ready? I used to be able to get up, shower, dress and be out the door and on my way to work or wherever in 30 to 45 minutes tops. Ah, those were the days, to be sure.

Now, it's get up and put a pot of coffee on. Do my blood sugar test before eating anything. Make sure to find something easy to fix for a very light breakfast -mainly to have something in my stomach before taking my regular medications so they don't make me nauseous otherwise. Then, shower, and take care of the now regular routines after a shower which takes up an extra 5-10 minutes time. Dressing, if I don't already have it planned out what I am going to wear, becomes problematic because that involves making a major decision ya know -what to wear, what to wear. Drink some coffee. Sit down at the computer and check my e-mail -mainly to clear out all the junk e-mail to get down to the arrival of the daily online version of a local newspaper and skim over that and check the obituaries there. Make sure my name isn't in that column and then I can slide over to a brief check too of my Facebook to see if there's anything exciting or interesting posted there. Go get a refill of the coffee, or maybe it's a 2nd refill time already. Remember then too to take those darned meds that I ate that food to make my body able to digest the meds too!

And then, about 1/2 hour to 15 minutes before I want to leave, make sure to take the dog out for a walk or ELSE! You know what that "or ELSE" involves then, I'm sure!

So by this time I closing in on the 2 hours time I have given myself to be ready to go.

Time to stop and look around to survey the situation again and make sure I haven't overlooked anything.

And for me to do this between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. -is a rude awakening adjustment to my normal wake up activities and my system tends to want to reject all of this at every turn it seems.

I've been trying to drop my bedtime from what had become very much the norm of 3 a.m. to actually going to bed as early as 1 or 2 a.m. with not too much success. Tonight now, with the anticipated need to be up by 7 a.m., I'm ready to hit the sack now and surprise, surprise -it is not yet 1 a.m.

To be a bit on the safe side about waking up in the a.m. now, my older daughter is to call me between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and I just hope she doesn't forget that she's supposed to do that now too because I don't have an alarm clock to wake me up!

I'll let you know later how my change of operations here worked out -hopefully, I will rise and shine and make my appointment on time but you can be sure, I'm going to make it known to my counselor "Never again! No more morning appointments!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Potential Casualty?

My son has lost his love of the changing seasons.

About 13-14 years ago, when he and his then girlfriend moved back east from living in the desert of northern Arizona (across the river from Nevada), he said then how happy he was to be back home and to see green leaves and evergreen trees and having different type of weather too -even appreciated the snow back then, as a matter of fact.

Now though -mainly I think because of his job -he drives a tractor trailer back and forth across this state five days a week, same route every day, and especially due to the weather we've been having now this winter too, he's talking about moving back to Arizona.

I can understand his ideas there and I know first hand too why he likes that state as much as he does. I've been to Arizona -spent two months there back in 1970 in Phoenix. The first month there -July -it was hotter than Hades to be sure. The second month was in October of that year and it was hot but not constant scorching heat day after day -just very nice, pleasant heat much of the time.

And I also thought the state -well, Phoenix anyway -was very pretty too. There was a time back in the early days of my marriage when my ex-husband and I gave some consideration to moving to Arizona but then, instead, we moved back to my home here in Pennsylvania.

I understand completely my son's frustration with trying to keep heat in his old house and has to dump most of his paycheck now each week into putting fuel oil into his tank to feed his furnace. That is frustrating to be sure.

But at the same time, I don't want him to move away from here because that would really leave me all alone and very much to my own devices then for sure.  So I'm hoping that he will change his mind once the weather breaks and warm weather comes our way again. (I'm confident that this will happen sometime between now and April any way.)

I mentioned to my son though just in case he does decide that he and his girlfriend want to switch areas of this big country and obey Horace Greeley's command -"Go west, young man." that if they do move that he sells his house here first -before leaving. I would really hate to see it sit there, vacant, and end up then probably in a foreclosure. Of course, he says to try to sell his house while he's still living in it would be no picnic either though and yes, I can understand his point there too.

But at any rate, what ever he decides to do, as far as selling the house, I would hope that he decides to list it with a realtor who uses real estate crm in that agent's business practice so that he would get better representation that way.

It's a pretty tough market there, trying to sell old homes in this area especially so a person would need and want all the help they can get to try to be able to move on with a little more ease then.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Memories -The Good Kind!

I was just outside about an hour ago now to take Sammy for his late-night stroll and yes, I know that means I was out walking after midnight yet again, but truthfully, I enjoy doing these walks then.

Well, most of the time I do, that is. If I ever encounter some animal -like say a skunk or a bear -in my midnight wanderings, I might have to change my walking times a tad I suppose. So far though, I've not encountered any problems along those lines and I hope to heck I never do too!

Anyway, tonight though -with all the snow on the ground and frosty (VERY, VERY) air, it brought back a lot of really good memories to me though.

I was thinking as we walked how low the temperatures are and yet, I wasn't minding the cold at all. Granted, I was very bundled up -long johns, scarves, heavy coat and layers of clothing under the coat too, so I was prepared for the cold -but it was nice and crisp feeling as Sam and I walked along the roadway.

And I was remembering another night, many years ago -well over 50 years back in time -during the Christmas holiday one year, when two of my Mom's brothers who were home for Christmas and three of my cousins and I went for a walk in the freshly fallen snow down to Peale -the little old ghost town about a mile down the road from my house here.

That night though the moon was out and was very, very bright -lighting the road almost as if it were daylight. There was probably a good 6-8 inches of snow on the ground at that time and since it was very freshly fallen, no plow had been through on the roadway so we were the first to mark the snow with our footprints.

My cousins -Ray, David and their sister, Joanie and I were having  a great time running in the snow, trying to see if we could slide (without falling down, of course) and in general, just having a great time with my uncles leading the way.

We walked to the curve in the road where it goes downhill and leads then to the old park location and the two houses that were still standing at that time. My uncles decided we'd best turn around and head back home at that point as neither of them wanted to walk down the hill and then, have to really trudge hard to climb back up it with the amount of snow on the road. Today -I totally understand their logic about that decision!

So anyway, we were continuing our playtime with the snow and talking, teasing, joking as we walked along and in the process, we were so engrossed in our own fun there that we weren't paying any attention at all to anything my uncles were doing. It was just assumed by us that they were casually walking and talking and both of them still behind us.

So engrossed were we that we didn't even notice any movement along what had years before been a path or sidewalk area in the old village of Peale!

But movement was there and we soon became aware of rustling of some of the fir trees along the road that was a bit unusual.

Then, all of a sudden, we heard a sound indicating something pretty large had to be following along that pathway and watching us and that's when all four of us kids stopped dead in our tracks for a very short interval to listen carefully to the noises.

It was then that the "creature" following us burst forth from behind a big old pine tree, waving arms and making all kinds of strange growling type noises at us.

Needless to say, all four of us kids screamed at the top of our lungs and took off running with this thing in hot pursuit behind us and it was now making a different kind of sound.

The darned thing was laughing! A very loud laugh too and one that was also very familiar to my cousins and to me as we realized then that we had just been pranked by our Uncle Ralph!

I've never forgotten how much fun we had on that walk nor how scared we were at the imaginary monster behind those trees until the realization came to us that it was just crazy Uncle Ralph playing head games with us.

And I miss those days, those uncles and the tricks they would try to pull on us kids too and in general, just how much fun it was to be around all the family like that.

It's one of those kind of memories that I wish my kids had been able to enjoy a family event like that when they were growing up. Who knows though but maybe someday Uncle Clate will take his niece and nephew -along with perhaps a brother-in-law or someone else and go for a midnight walk in the snow on a beautiful moonlit night.

If for no other reason that just to show the kids the beauty in fresh snow, cold air and walking along an old dirt road towards a long extinct ghost town where no ghosts exist though! (At least, none that I know of live there, anyway!)

More To Come!

For the past two weeks, the weather around this part of the country has been the main news story. Sub-zero temperatures, snow, more sub-zero temps, more snow and now, tonight's news is that next week is supposed to be more of the same!

Sheesh! Enough already! My oil bill is already way to high when we have a mild winter so I am really dreading what kind of small business loan I'll have to secure to keep the old house heated, hot water flowing through the pipes and not have to replace any plumbing!

What's really a shame though -and yes, I realize this is silliness at its highest I suppose -but isn't it a shame that we can't take this cold -these icy temperatures and bottle the cold up and then, come summer, when it's scorching hot, be able to run the coldness through some kind of coolant pump and thus, give ourselves a break on expensive air conditioning costs that way?

I know this is an improbability type thing but dang it, there should be some way to put all this cold stuff to some economical use, don't 'cha think?

Anyway, I'm just suffering from a bit of cabin and snowed-in, frozen-in fever -if there is such a thing as that!