Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prodigal Pup!

About two minutes after I put the previous post up here, a friend of ours from church called me about the message I had put up on Facebook that Sammy was among the missing.

Gotta love Amy and R.B. in that they offered to come down here and drive around and try to locate the goofy mutt, ya know.

However, while I was talking to her I happened to glance out the side window in the living room and lo and behold, what do I see? A little white flash of a furball, racing down the street at warp speed!

Yeah, it was Sammy -returning from his freedom run!

So the search is over. Sammy's come home and at least that emergency resolved itself with no bad consequences -except to Maya, who is still in time out!

And, as I write this, she's waking up now -crying, the whining cry, the "oh poor me" kind of cry, if you know what I mean!

She is soooooo grounded! So very grounded and the poor kid doesn't really know what I mean by grounded yet either but she's gonna find out, in short order!

So anyway -thanks to Amy and R.B for their concern and offer to help find him; to my neighbors, Kate and Jim, for trying to look for him and to Jenn-Jenn's son, Curtis and his girlfriend, Cassandra, who Jenn had sent out to look for little Sammy too -thanks to all for trying to help the little Sir Muttley return home -safe and sound!

All's well that ends well. Right?

What Song Am I Singing Now?

Yeah, I'm singing a song alright.

"Who let the dog out" -is it too! Don't know if that's the name of this tune, but it does have that line in it and yes, really, I am singing, saying, asking that here, RIGHT NOW!

To say I'm not a happy camper at the moment is a bit of an understatement.

I was going to load the kids in the jeep and run up to the store to pick up something to fix for supper tonight but now, since I found out what Maya did -oh about a half-hour to 45 minutes ago -there'll be no running around in the jeep to get a few odds and ends of groceries -not for a while anyway.

I'm thinking maybe Maya's idea here is to put me on her own type of weight loss diet -one where I can't cook because I have to try to figure out a way to look for the damned dog and in the meantime, the nerves are all worked up now over Sammy being missing, worrying about him wondering where on earth to even go and look for him and just how I can go out looking for him too!

The kids are not allowed to go outside here unless there is an adult there with them and today, Miss Maya decided she was going to go outside and ride her bicycle -ON. HER. OWN. In the back yard! Well, with her, the game plan may have been to ride her bike in the back yard to start, but one never knows when she might decide to take things a step further and take the bike up on the road to try to ride it. Hence, the reason that she is not allowed outside alone, ya know!

The upshot of my finding out that she had gone outside by herself, was that I also learned -figured out (whichever you care to call it) that she had also opened the door, coaxed Sammy to go outside without being on a leash! Of course, I'm sure he was overjoyed and gleefully accepted her invitation cause he would love to be out, running all over the place, exploring, visiting other dogs that are penned up or chained outside all the time and that he sees on our walks.

But he has absolutely no training in being out in the big bad world without being on a leash! And he has not a lick of dog common sense either about cars and trucks and such. Plus, he also has no regard for the law which says dogs are to be restrained, tied, leashed, etc., at all times!

Oh yes, wonnerful, wonnerful, isn't it though?

I think what I really need here is to keep Sammy on a leash inside the house as well as when I take him outside and also, need an even shorter leash to put on Maya too!


Aren't they ever so much fun though?

A Truce?

If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure at some time or other over the past two months or so, I have mentioned now and again about the way one of the cats we had become extremely demonstrative and downright mean to poor Sammy.

That would have been Chino -the gray cat -and her change didn't come about towards him until she had the litter of four kittens back in late February. Prior to that, Nina, the orange cat, didn't like Sammy sniffing around the kittens she already had here when Sammy moved in with us, but generally, all Nina ever had to do was to arch her back and hiss at Sammy and he would go high-tailing it, yipping and yelping -downright wailing it seemed -loudly enough that you would have thought he had just been mortally wounded.

Well, with the recent onslaught of little kittens that we had when Chino had four kittens first -on a Monday -and the following Saturday, Nina had yet another litter of five kittens -both those cats were on the warpath almost constantly with Sammy. Except this time, particularly with Chino, she didn't just hiss at Sam! She came out swinging and often made claw contact on him too. So his bawling around then was probably pretty warranted cause we all know how razor sharp cat's claws can be, don't we?

Well a funny thing happened though about two weeks ago now. Mandy had pretty much been forced into taking the six kittens we had left -after having been able to find homes for only three of the little ones -and also, Nina -the orange cat -to the shelter as we absolutely couldn't keep up with that many cats and kittens here. Just the litter box alone was driving me bonkers as it seemed every hour on the hours, sifting litter was a must on the agenda here. That, plus the costs too of litter and the extra cat food -well, she decided much as she hated to do it, the kittens had to go and it would be best too if one of the Mama cats went along.

So now we are down to just two cats -Chino and the Tom-kitten, Fluff-Nuts. And, of course, Sammy or Sir Samuel J. Muttley as I told Maya was Sam's full name one fine day. (Maya then asked -since Sammy is supposedly Grammy's dog -if Muttley is Sam's last name then is that Grammy's last name too?)

And we are also trying to find a vet that does spaying/neutering of dogs and cats at an extremely low fee and who takes a certificate of payment assistance through the PAWS organization too. So far, the fees we've been given -even with using the certificate -are well over $100 and well, the game plan has been to get Chino fixed first, the Fluff-Nuts and finally, do the same honor to Sammy too. So, please -wish us luck in that endeavor so we can get Chino spayed before she decides to go courting again!

But I digress there. The intent of this post is to tell you about something that happened just a couple of days after Mandy had taken the felines to the shelter.

Sammy almost always sleeps on the foot of my bed and he rarely gets up and leaves my room too until I rise and try to shine.

So on this one morning, as I got up, found my glasses so I could see where I was walking and headed out into the hall outside my room, there stood Chino just outside my room -all poised and ready to attack Sammy as soon as he poked his nose out.

However, that morning -and ever since then too -something different happened.

Instead of Chino lashing out at Sam before he could think twice, he saw Chino there and let out a couple of loud, somewhat ferocious sounding (well, as ferocious as any of Sammy's barking ever gets anyway) barks towards Chino and she was a bit taken aback by that. When he saw her back up a tad, he moved towards her then, barking some more until he ended up having backed her into the dining room and she had taken up camp under the table then -kind of cowering in her boots, ya know.

I have no idea what happened to cause him to do that but he only runs yelping now if sometimes she sort of sneaks up behind him and takes a crack at him with her claws.

This change in Sammy is almost such that you begin to wonder if maybe he hasn't found himself some kind of testosterone booster or some such thing -if there is anything like that for dogs, that is.

Sammy and Fluff-Nuts though are still friends, still race and chase from time to time and play with each other but just not quite as often as they were doing oh, a month ago.

However, just to let everyone know that Sammy is still our little cutie dog and a bit of a hammer-upper one too -not one to shun cameras, our Sam -here's a picture Mandy took of him the other day -showing off some kind of glasses she got someplace or other -I have no clue where she got them but doesn't he just look ever so dapper and debonair wearing these specs?

And, because I've been more than a bit lax of late in posting any pictures of the grandkids too, here's two recent pictures of them.

This shot of Kurtis was taken on Friday afternoon by Maya's TSS (the aide who works with her at home to try to improve her social skills). This is where he likes to lay, with his bear-bear close to him and look out the door, watching the world slowly go by.

And in this picture, Maya was out on one the many really nice days we had about two weeks ago, riding her tricycle down the little grade of a hill in our side yard. Mandy also got some videos of both the kids out in the yard that day, both riding their trikes, but I haven't gotten around to putting them on YouTube as yet. I'll get around to that too -one of these days!

And finally -here's the most recent embroidery project I just completed yesterday. This set -along with a floral tabletopper I did about two weeks ago -will be getting packaged up and mailed off in the next day or so to make their home with my cousin, Ruth Ann Hill Kazenske, who lives way far away from me now -down in Austin, Texas.

This set is called "Proud Rooster" and the first picture is a shot of one corner of the tabletopper followed by a picture of the whole cloth.

This is the matching tablerunner and below it is a picture -closeup -of one end of the tablerunner.

And now, because I sure don't want my fingers to get all stiffened up on me, I'm gonna close the blog for tonight and return to try to get a couple more stitches in a new piece I just started early this evening. Judging by my initial contact with the new tabletopper though, it's gonna be one that will really have me rejoicing -if and when I survive working on it and manage to get it done!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Hitch-hiker!

This past Saturday morning I had something happen, something I saw, that I had never ever in all my years on the planet seen before!

Here's what took place.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a long, long time now - Skittles (Barb), Paige, Mau, Mary Ann, both Terri bloggers (Quebec and Minnesota) and a few others -might recall that three years ago I was having a really rough time dealing with a condition called Shingles! I had contracted them back in August of 2006 and it took me until late in the spring of 2007 before the pain began to ease up on those puppies. Probably one of the absolute most painful things I have ever had to deal with is about all I can say about having a dose of them!

Well Saturday morning, I noticed that my right side of my stomach -from just below the bra line down to my waist -was very tender to the touch. Now that alone is a remnant of the shingles and I often have a feeling there that I have a big bruise. But this, on Saturday, was different. A much stronger pain and some sharp stabbing stuff that is how the shingles act on you when they are in full gear.

So I ran my hand down my side and to my surprise, I found what felt like a lump. So I pulled my shirt up to take a closer look and to my surprise -shock and horror would be more accurate to describe my reaction -there was this little bug of some kind obviously hard at work trying to burrow into my skin!

I called Mandy to come into the bathroom to show this to her and she -fairly calmly considering the reaction she tends to have when she just sees a daddy-long-legs -she announced that I had a tick there and for me to hold still and she would pull it off.

So she did that and I figured okay, all is fine -the little sapsucker -aka the hitch hiker -is now gone. History.

Well Mandy wasn't letting go of this all that quickly. She began insisting I call the emergency room and go over there to have them check it out and make sure she had got it all removed. When I balked at that idea, she then insisted that I at least call our neighbor and my good friend, Kate -who is an RN -and ask for her advice on the matter.

Well, just to get Mandy to back off and leave me alone, I did finally call Kate on Sunday but not really about the tick as I had surfed the web big-time Saturday night and read everything and anything I could find on ticks and what issues they can cause, etc. And I figured that everything was okay -at least for now.

Monday morning though, I decided to be on the safest side though, I would call my family doctor and tell her what happened. That way, I figured that if it had been on my body, pumping whatever stuff they pump into people enough that could make me sick, it wouldn't do that for at least 2-3 weeks or so and by letting my doctor know about this, then if something more did happen that a tick might cause, she would have a bit more of an idea of what had transpired and how to treat it. All that kind of stuff ya know.

Well I think the only thing that the tick did was to wake up the nerve endings that had been sensitized from the shingles cause boy, Sunday and today, those babies have been hurting my side like crazy!

I'll betcha that any little thing I might do -extra exercise like using gym equipment like maybe a pull up bar or any other things that would put extra work and pressure on my abdominal muscles would probably make those old shingles react in pretty much the same way.

All the more reasons then for me to stick to my walking the dog for my exercise -even if it does take me out into the woods and I run the risk of encountering another hitch hiker.

At least now I know what a tick looks like!

Would you believe that as old as I am and as long as I have lived out in the boondocks (which is pretty much what this area is) this is the very first time I have ever come across a tick much less had one land on me and try to take a chunk of flesh out of my hide! (Or suck my blood out till I might be darned near bone dry!)

Learn something new every day -even when you are 65!


Well folks, it's that time of year when everyone is gearing up for something -vacations, reunions, you name it, ya know. We got the first of what might be a few wedding invitations over the coming months about two weeks ago now. Yeah -June is the Marriage Month though, isn't it?

I picked up on something on Facebook tonight through a post there made by a cousin on my Dad's side of the family that there's some talk of a family reunion. However, because that branch of my family, when they plan a reunion, they tend to really go all out so it could be something they are lining up for this year and then again, it could also be preliminary plans for a big reunion next year. Who knows? All I know about their reunions is that my kids don't know very many of the cousins on that side but the ones they met at the reunion we had I think it was two years ago now is that both my girls would go to another reunion with those relatives in a heart beat! Yeah, they do love to have a good time -for everyone, all ages and they do knock themselves out to provide just that too.

This past weekend though the big event on Saturday was a "Cruise" to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation and it was organized by my son and his girlfriend through the bar where my daughter works. It's the first time my son has done something like organizing a fund raiser so he was quite the nervous wreck. But they did get a very good turn-out for a first time event and they thought, on Saturday, that they probably raised between $200 and $300 for the Make a Wish People. (The bar -Jackson's Bar -in Winburne where my daughter works, has the Make a Wish Foundation as their charity and as such, they put on all kinds of fund raisers starting with a big spaghetti dinner in early April and just about every month then throughout the spring and summer and into the fall, they have several more fun things they sponsor to raise money for this great organization.

Keep in mind that this is not a heavily populated area, we're pretty much back in the sticks and Jackson's isn't a huge bar either but last year, the supporters of Jackson's and Make a Wish raised $15,000! Now isn't that fantastic though? Shows lots and lots of folks definitely do have their hearts in the right places in my opinion.

I took pictures of most of the vehicles that were entered in the Cruise and here's a couple of them for you to take a look at. But first, there's this one -my daughter, Mandy, as she took care of the registrations for the Cruise for her brother.
This is my son's truck that his Dad rebuilt and Clate flew out to Nevada two years ago to pick it up and then, drove it cross-country to get it home. Pretty snazzy unit, it is.

Much as I do like my son's truck, I have to confess that this one below here really caught my eye. When they were leaving the parking lot and I realized the guy driving it had no passenger with him, I was darned near tempted to run up and introduce myself and ride along with him! Pretty cool unit, don't 'cha think?

Here's a shot of many of the vehicles all lined up at one of their stops along the way.

Here's two units that also really caught my eye too. Loved the white thunderbird, for sure but the big old convertible was also quite the vehicle too. One of the passengers in the convertible was Jim Netterblade Sr -a local who made quite a name for himself in the 60s, 70s and maybe even into the 80s too as a stock car driver who was a frequent winner at many tracks in central Pennsylvania.

This pretty Plymouth Satellite is owned by a good friend of ours -Lois Moore. She didn't know anything about the cruise initially till my son called her and told her about it so she and her boyfriend came down here from up in Grampian way (probably about 40-45 miles west of here) just to take part in the convoy. She said later she had a really great time too! Thanks Lois, for taking part in this event!

The burgundy colored newer model convertible here is owned by Rich Veneziano -a local guy from out in Drifting. Pretty sharp buggy there too, huh?

Although I have a goodly number of other pictures of the other cars, I am not posting them all here tonight. Why? Well, because I had hoped my son would have stopped by the house by now and identified each vehicle for me -make, model, year and owner's name too. But since he hasn't done that yet, I hold off on posting all the cars/trucks in the cruise until I get the full information.

See what you have to look forward to seeing here now? Hopefully I have at least one or two readers who is into classic type cars and trucks and can appreciate the beauty of these units.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Great Way to Spend the Day!

Today -well, actually now it would be yesterday -was really, in no uncertain terms, a great day!

Although things didn't start out that great -running out of fuel oil which meant NO HOT WATER until we got some oil dumped in ye olde tank -and that just meant a delay in washing up the dishes along with -as it turned out -a really big delay in my getting a shower, things ultimately worked out just fine and dandy. (Well, I still haven't got that shower worked in as yet but at least now I know I can as I will have hot water to come pouring down over my fat self and to refresh some really tired, aching muscles I have tonight as well.)

Anyway -back to my great day!

My older daughter had called me last night (that would have been Wednesday night now) and told me that she and her son-the oldest grandchild and "My Prince" (Alex) would be coming up home this morning to spend the day with old Gram here and Aunt Mandy since it was her day off and Alex had the day off from school too.

That's great, I had thought. It will be wonderful to have a little extra time to spend with this boy who is rapidly growing up -getting taller and taller (also older and older but we won't dwell on that will we) and his maturity levels are really great -well beyond his age of twelve years now.

Well, Mandy and I know the older daughter and her habits -especially those involving time and the adherence to that entity -all too well so we didn't actually figure she would arrive until probably sometime in the afternoon. And we were right! They got here about 2:30 or so.

I had managed by then to get the dishes washed up, had swept up the kitchen, dining room, entry way and living room too with the intent of getting at least the kitchen floor mopped up then too. But when daughter # 1 and the grandson arrived, she came in bringing her own scrub bucket, plus cleaning supplies (wondering here if she thinks that we don't purchase those items, or what) but anyway, her intent it seems was that she wanted very much to give her sister a hand in doing some cleaning in this old place.

About the time they arrived, Sammy was making known he had some issues and wishes of his own too -that being a nice walk -so I asked the grandson if he'd like to go with me as I walked the dog.

I think Alex sensed immediately too -as I had -that this was a great idea and a way to get both of us out of the house and away from the two cleaning maniacs -my daughters!

So, away we went!

As we headed down the road, Alex asked me if we were going to "walk around the block" meaning we would stay on the paved road, make a left turn down the street from our house where the pavement ends if you go straight and the road then changes from Cooper Avenue to Peale Road.

Nope, I had informed him that today, he, Sammy and I were going to walk down towards Peale -that little ghost town that I have mentioned periodically on my blog.

The look on Alex's face was somewhat quizzical and I asked him then if he has ever been down to Peale. He said yes, once or twice -the most recent time being when my ex-husband -the kids Dad and Grandpa, aka "Poppy" was last here about 3 years ago. On that occasion, Alex, Uncle Clate, Uncle Wally and Poppy had gone down to Peale to do a little 4-wheeler riding there.

But aside from that, the boy didn't know very much about this village that had once existed out in the woods beyond our house -and civilization as we think of it today anyway.

So, away we went!

And from the onset of our walk, Alex asked me questions -many, many questions -about Peale, and especially he wanted to know how we connected back to this town.

As I explained to him, the town was built around 1883-84 but the first influx of settlers to the village didn't take place until one weekend in October of 1884 when people employed by the Coal Company then and who were working and living in another little coal town down in Lycoming county, outside of Williamsport, PA -a town called McIntyre -were moved en masse by train from McIntyre up to Peale!

And within the group of people who moved that weekend were a couple of recent immigrants from Sweden and the six children they had then. Among those children, the second oldest of the group was my grandfather -Adolf Eld -who was, as I explained to Alex, his great-great-grandfather. The couple -Carl aka Charlie and his wife, Maja Lisa Eld -were Alex's great-great-great-grandparents.

As I explained a few little things to him about the town of Peale, about his ancestors and such, he remarked with great interest as well as pride that this then is our history, isn't it?

Yep, you better believe it my grandson, it surely is our history!

We walked and walked and talked about this historical aspects of the village, of my grandfather, his life there and also about the mines, the mining industry -the slope mines that provided a living for my great-grandfather and for all of his sons as they became old enough to go to work in those hellholes.

After the slope mines and the coal attainable by those means died out -and many of the children of those immigrants determined too that they wanted no part either of slaving their lives away in cold, watery darkness with ever-present dangers of cave-ins which could claim life and limb -the move was on and one by one, people began to leave, to move away to other parts of the country, to better work, wages and way of life too.

I pointed out to Alex the mountainside that is a backdrop to our village which has been reclaimed over the past year -the mountain re-contoured to look as much as possible to the natural contours of the land when the early coal companies had come in here and begun to remove that valuable entity -coal -from beneath the surface. As I had mentioned here in a post a few weeks back, part of that reclamation had involved the leveling and covering up of the old "bony pile" or as many around here also called it, the tipple. (My kids and their generation as well as those younger than them often referred to this as "The Volcano" too.)

We walked past the drainage ditches now being put in from that reclamation project to give the water runoff a way to get down the mountain and to empty into Moravian Run -also know to folks by a different name too. My generation has always tended to refer to this tiny stream as the "Sulfur Creek" and my kids and younger usually just call it the "Poop Creek" mainly because so many people for so many years (prior to our township establishing a Sewage Authority) just simply piped off their raw sewage from their homes into this little stream that had way before my generation been polluted with sulfur run-off from the mines upstream and around the village where I live.

Today, the little stream seems to be clear -not having the reddish cast it had when I was growing up -and also not sporting any strange, smelly entities floating down stream in it either. However, I still don't think I'd want to chance or risk drinking the water that flows in it regardless of how much the stream may have been cleaned up over the past 2-3 decades now.

We -Alex, Sammy and I -walked on further down the dirt road and before we knew it, we were down at the curve and by the one house left still standing in the part of Peale that existed on this side of the Red Moshannon Creek. I showed Alex where there had once been a big farm house in which the people who had been the last to live in Peale had lived and that house, I had always been told, had been the house designated to belong to the Lutheran minister who had served the town of Peale until about 1912 -if I have my dates correct there. (Pastor Berquist, that would have been. Somewhere I should have some old-old photos of this man but I can't locate the cd I had transferred those picture over to right now.)

From there, I told Alex we were going to take the road that branches off to the left right after you pass the lone house standing there.

As we walked up this road, you can tell by the big stones that it was originally cobbled with that this road had once led to a place of importance in this old community.

It had led up to where the old company store had once stood, had been a thriving entity for those folks who lived their lives working for the coal company a hundred to 125 years ago.

It also led up to what had once upon a time been a park in that community. A park that had even sported a swimming pool -a brick-lined pool, no less!

Today, there is a big pool of water pretty much where the pool had been but seeing any trace of the pool's structure has now gone by the wayside. The flat area around the pool and where the park had once been has become over the past 30-40 years or so the party grounds for most of the local youth -where they have their bonfires and beer parties late at night, usually around the rite of passage called high school graduation.
This is what the old swimming pool/hole looks like today -a far cry from how it appeared even only a mere 70 years ago, when the park was used at least one Sunday a year to welcome back people who had been among the early settlers in Peale, many who had moved far, far away and yet returned for the Peale Reunions that were observed here from 1930 through 1939. Surprisingly enough, those reunions garnered attendance ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 people -something I still find incredible to believe but yet, I know because I have in my possession a huge ledger book that many of the attendees signed so I know the numbers couldn't have been fudged by very much, if they were tinkered with at all even.

As Alex and I walked around the area that had formerly been the Park, we wandered off on a little path where we saw indentations in the ground, overgrown now with brush and weeds, but were one can still make out by the dimensions that these were most likely the foundations of some of the houses that once stood in Peale.

Many of the houses that existed in Peale are actually still standing today, still lived in but just not still in Peale. They were, you see, torn down, piece by piece and then the piles of the lumber, windows, etc., were transported from Peale up to Grassflat -the village where I live today -and re-erected here for the families who had occupied them in Peale to live in here -if they had decided to stay on working for the mines, or living in this vicinity. Eventually, those houses were sold to the miners and/or other people in the village by the coal company. All part and parcel of how the coal companies ruled the lives in just about every possible respect back then. Also shows too how that song, "Sixteen Tons" with the line in it about "I owe my soul to the Company Store" was a huge part of the lives of those people back then too.
The above picture as well as the one below here are both shots of the sunken, overgrown indentations that mark where a house once stood in the town of Peale, back in its heyday.
Alex was fascinated with the stories about this little, now defunct, village and said he could easily imagine how the people who resided there must have lived. The foundations we saw aren't huge, by any means, but knowing the size of many of the homes that were relocated up to Grassflat, they generally were two bedroom units but they often housed a whole lot more than just one family too. Very often, the families who rented these homes from the coal company also rented bed or cot space to other miners, recent immigrants, where they could get a place to sleep as well as meals and thus save their paychecks or as much as possible of their meager earnings, in order to accrue enough money to send back to their homeland and bring wives and children over here to join them.

That was how my Great-grandfathers -3 out of 4 of them -had done when they first came to America. Two immigrated here in the early 1870s from Scotland and lived in northeastern Pennsylvania -around Wellsboro and the Morris Run areas and my great-grandfather Eld came here in 1880 from Sweden and worked in McIntyre, saving money to send for his wife and the five children they had then that he had left behind for about 18 months till he could pay the passage for her and the children to come here.

Alex and I wandered around up behind the park area a bit more -and here's some pictures of him and Sammy as we explored down a couple of the paths and around the old foundations.

In the bottom photo here, Alex had found the remains of some broken crockery type bowl or some such.

After our little escapade today, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Alex doesn't try to convince his Dad to come over here and go wandering around the hillsides down in Peale with a metal detector to see if they can scavenge up any other mementos of the town and people that once called Peale home.

We were gone close to three hours on our walk and I know it is 3.9 miles, round trip, from my house down to the one remaining house in Peale, so that distance plus all the trudging around we did up around the park and pool area and on back beyond that, I figure we probably walked at least five miles, round trip today.

I do know one thing for sure, I was pretty beat from all that walking around too!

And I was also really excited when I decided to weigh myself this afternoon too and saw that I had dropped another 3 pounds now! Which, at the moment, makes roughly 13 pounds I have walked off now since I started this walking program back in December!

Not the greatest in the way of weight losses but for me, I thought it was pretty darned good!

After a kind of celebratory supper -consisting of pizza that the local grocery store deli was running a sale on this week -I crashed onto my bed about 8 p.m. and woke up shortly after 11 p.m. then!

When we got back home, Maya's TSS was here and she asked Alex if he had learned anything today on our walk. He said that yes, he felt he had and had found the things we saw and talked about all to be very interesting too.

But when she asked if he thought he would ever be able to use any of this information, he said sure, because it is important for him to learn and know about his roots, his own history of how he fits into this area now.

And my response to her questions were that his nosing around down in the rubble and old foundations of this ghost town might work well if he does indeed do what he told me seven years ago that he was going to be when he grew up.

That was when I was in the hospital, having just had the first of several surgeries (colo-rectal cancer, etc) and he had drawn a get well card for me and brought it over to the hospital when he, his Mom and Dad had come to visit. As I had looked at his art work -which for a five-year-old was quite good -I had remarked that perhaps he had inherited some of the artistic talents his Uncle Clate is known for and maybe some day that he, Alex, would become an artist.

He had quickly told me then though, "NO, I don't think so Grammy as I'm going to be a palaentologist!"

Needless to say, that remark really threw me as I had no clue the child even knew how to say the word much less that he had even a clue as to what people in that occupation do too!

But after having spent the afternoon with him, exploring, talking, walking and enjoying the outdoors, and each other's company, I'm thinking maybe he really was right on track back then when he told me that was what he wants to be!

It was truly a great way to enjoy a perfect day and excellent way to spend my time in the company of my most special grandson, Alex.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Random Thoughts....

Now there's a bit of a scary title for a post for ya!

Random thoughts from me!

Oh, the myriad of things that go through my mind at any given time. Happy, sad, serious, whimsical -you name it, and my mind might go there now and again.

Take this for an example.

Yesterday, I took Sir Sammy out for a walk and headed, again, down the road towards Peale, the little ghost town. As I passed by my friend and neighbor's (Kate) home, she was out on her patio and called down a cherry hello to me. I said I was taking Sammy for his little outing and asked her if she wasn't busy, would she like to accompany me.

To my pleasant surprise, she said that yes, she wasn't in the middle of anything more pressing than just putting some windshield washer stuff in her car so she hustled down the hillside in front of her house and together, we set off then to walk the dirt road, remembering little bits and pieces now and again too as we walked of our childhood.

From where Kate's house is located to the "end of the road" -local terminology for where the paved road in the village ends and the dirt road begins - there are three other houses on her side of the road. I'm a lousy judge of distance but I'd say it's close to two tenths of a mile, maybe.

And in that space, Sammy managed to empty his bladder at the very least, four times!

That act launched us into a little discussion about first, the size of Sammy -he really is a pretty small terrier-mix type of dog -and how big his bladder must be that he can water so many places in that amount of walking area!

Kate's take on this is that dogs -or maybe just Sammy (we're not sure if he is that different from other dogs in this instance) must have really large bladders and excellent control too of how much they can spray at each stop to make so many pit stops and have more built up quickly or a fantastic ability to stop, hold it, then release again.

Like her, I find this quite an amazing feat too along with his ability to also cough without any fear of leakage too!

See, I told you didn't I at the onset of this post that when I begin to think, some of the ideas that spring from those thoughts can be more than a bit strange, can't they?

I mean, how many of you have ever given thought to a dog's watering abilities anyway?

Back to our walk -and our conversation -we talked about how when we were growing up, we had run through the various paths in the woods around our homes and especially how we had grown up recognizing various floral displays growing around the woods too. I mentioned having seen some of these flowery things the day before and lamenting about how as a child, I had known the names of many of these flowers but today, not so much coming forth in the memory area as to what these various plants are called. One that I mentioned to her was the little flowers we called "Ladyslippers" and that brought a giggle from Kate as she then told me that those plants were not ladyslippers after all. She couldn't remember either now what the little pinkish-lavender shaded plants we called by that name actually are but she said that sometime or other over the years, she had looked up ladyslippers and saw a picture of them and to her surprise -mine too -she said that they really aren't all that pretty a plant. Actually, she says they are quite ugly!

Hmmm. Wonder now who gave these tiny, pretty little plants a name that really seemed quite fitting for them.

On the subject of plants, I had a bit of communication yesterday on Facebook with Kate's youngest daughter who will be getting married now next month. In one of her notes to me, Susan had asked if I like rhubarb and I immediately wrote back to her that I LOVE rhubarb and have been trying to get some to transplant it someplace in my backyard too for a number of years.

Growing up, my Grandpa had several rhubarb plants down in the lower section of our backyard here. Not a whole lot, not a huge patch -in thinking about this, I think he had maybe 5 or 6 plants but it was more than enough to supply us with lots of rhubarb for my Grandma to make her great rhubarb cream pie that Grandpa and I both loved plus, she and my Mom would often pull rhubarb and after cleaning it and cutting it into smaller pieces, they would cook it down to make rhubarb sauce -another food that I dearly loved too. Grandma always was able to harvest enough of the rhubarb every year to provide not just the pies and some rhubarb sauce for a side dish at our meals but also, to have an adequate supply of the sauce that she would can it then, preserving it for a treat every bit as tasty as homemade applesauce was in the middle of the winter!

All of that back and forth about rhubarb with Susan got my mouth watering as I was thinking how good a pie, some home-cooked rhubarb sauce would surely taste maybe sometime this year! Susan, you see, has some rhubarb at her home about 40 miles from here and is planning to come visit her mom this coming Sunday after work and when she does, she's going to try to remember to pull some of the stuff for me and drop it off at my house! Whether she means just bringing me a bunch of rhubarb to be cooked up or hopefully, some sprouts I can transplant and then, hopefully have my own little rhubarb patch growing here again, I'm not totally sure there but either, or -or both -would really be neat is what I was and still am thinking!

This morning, Mandy had doctor appointments for both the kids -just the general check-up type appointments, nothing special, no illnesses, etc. Now, taking them for a doctor visit is something that is never just a run-of-the-mill event cause one never knows from one visit to the next with them what might happen that they will possibly wig out about -for reasons totally unknown to my daughter, or probably, in all likelihood, completely unknown to the kids too!

And today was no different. Mandy says both the kids went ballistic when the nurse just wanted to check their blood pressure. Maya totally refused to allow the nurse to check hers and although Kurtis did submit to allowing the nurse to put the cuff on him and get a reading, he screamed the entire time she was doing that. Then there was a hearing test -a regularly scheduled event for six-year-olds -and Maya had hissy fits then over that too. None of these things are the type of things that would/could induce pain ya know but just a bit of a change from the routine things the nurse does when they see the doctor and presto-magic, you have on your hands then at least one, possibly two screamers in the room. (Sometimes kickers as well, come to think of it.)

Mandy did say that once they got in to see the doctor, both of them had by that time calmed down and both acted like civilized little children for him then. Go figure, huh?

Oh the tangled webs we do weave when we try to make sense of why children with autism do some of the things they do, don't we? No rhyme or reason to those adults in charge, those of us who are regarded as being "NT" or "neuro-typical" people but to these children when they have these little fits, although they can be very frustrating to cope with sometimes, it's just a normal part of doing business with them. And, if you pick your battles with them too, most of the time you end up thinking that in the grand scheme of things, it's not worth getting all worked up about these mini-meltdowns or little hissy fits they pitch from time to time. Just definitely does keep life a bit more interesting though as you try to anticipate what things might be the ones that will trip a trigger in them.

I realized this morning when I went to wash up the load of dishes I had soaking in the dishpan that we have now finally run out of fuel oil -an event Mandy has been anticipating for about the past 2-3 weeks as she had warned me then that the gauge on the fuel tank was registering very, very low. So, we'll have to order a delivery of fuel oil that will, hopefully then take us over the summer months and into early fall then. We have an oil furnace and hot water heat and the hot water then for the house -bathroom, kitchen, etc. -is heated from the furnace -no separate hot water tank, you see. This also means that I am going to have to dip into my meager funds I have set aside from the paid posts I do from time to time in order to be able to pay the bill we already owe the oil company for the last delivery they made to us before they will bring another load of oil to dump in our fuel tank.

This makes me think about how the fuel oil charges are really getting way out of bounds for everyone to pay, not just those of us like my family, who are a very small budget all the time. And that also reminds me of how, the first year after my kids and I moved into this house after my Mom died and that year, because I had no account set up in my name then with the fuel oil company, I had to pay, cash on the nose, every time they brought us oil that year. The following year after Mom's death, I got on a budget plan with that oil company and paid the same amount to them every month, all year-round which enabled me to be on an automatic refill timetable and eliminated the running out of oil at inopportune times ya know. I remember too that winter when I was on this "budget" plan that my oil bill that year ran me $165 a month and that I had remarked about it to someone that seeing how much the oil was costing, it maybe was really a good thing my Mom had died when she did because that monthly oil bill was $48 a month more than what my Mom's entire monthly social security check was!

And now, 31 years later, no our oil bill isn't more per month than what my check is or what Mandy's income is, but boy, the price of oil definitely is far from being "cheap" fuel isn't it?

All this has Mandy thinking that maybe we would be better off if we purchased an electric water heater this summer and had that to use to heat hot water for our usage. She seems to think that would be less expensive but I'm not so sure it would work that way. For one thing, having an electric water heater would then increase our electric bill -just for openers -and also, with the state having lifted recently the regulations that were in place that were supposed to keep peoples' electric bills somewhat reduced, that means come next year, the electric company will then be able to charge what may very well truly be -or seem like -an arm and a leg for electricity and which one -the heating of the water by the furnace or the heating of the water via an electric water heater -would actually then be the most economical?

Maybe, ultimately, we would be better served to find a "bucket-a-day" type stove -such as the one we had in the house when I was a kid and that stove is what was used solely to heat the water for our washing, bathing concerns. It meant that one had to build a fire in it or maintain it every single day of the year in order to have hot water available, and it was fueled by coal so that would mean if we had that type of apparatus, we would also then have to be purchasing coal and have a coal bin of some type in which to store the coal and it would also mean dirt, dirt and more dirt being probably tracked upstairs then from whoever would be in charge of firing the darned store. Mess, expense, difficulty getting the coal into the area of the stove -ARRGH.

But the bonus to that -and yes there is a bonus to it -is that in the winter months, the kitchen would be a lot warmer from having a little stove like that with a fire contained it it and the heat from that contraption would then rise and warm the floor of the kitchen and give a bit of a toasty warmth then along the way.

Ah -questions, thoughts on all of these things and no real, hard, fast answers to any of them either. The debate on this topic will no doubt rage on here in the household for a while yet.

Just got a phone call from my older daughter telling me that she and my older grandson are now on their way up here to spend the day with us. And that's great that she is bringing him up on a day he has off from school as we really don't get a chance to spend near enough time with him. He's quite the handsome dude, good student in school, polite (well to his aunt and to me, anyway although his mother occasionally says he's getting a bit mouthy at times) and overall though, just a great young man about to enter into his teenage years. Expect the mouthy stuff to not just continue now but also to increase -if he operates the same was his mother did then and his uncle and his aunt! Just saying...

So now, off to the kitchen I go to finish washing up the dishes in the sink because I heated a bit kettle of hot water a little while ago and it should not be a decent temperature that I can withstand then to put my dainty little pinkies in there without scalding myself on that lovely chore!

And as I wash up those dishes, more thoughts will be racing through my mind. Some will merely crawl through too. But odds are none of them will be rocket science type things. None of 'em will be earth-shattering discoveries and some of 'em might just be downright weird too.

All of that remains to be seen, but in the meantime, y'all have a great day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just a Walkin'

It's been a day of surprises here for me.

First -beginning early-early in the day -at a hour when most people are sound asleep (but I was sitting in my chair, working away on the "Rooster" tabletopper for my cousin Ruth Ann and watching re-runs of one of my favorite shows on the Hallmark Channel (Cheers) when I heard noises on the stairs, little feet carefully come down the steps and into the living room then pops Miss Maya!

I asked her why she was up as she really should be in bed, sleeping -and dreaming -away so she would be all rested and ready to hop out of bed in the morning to get ready for school. She told me she needed a drink.

So, I told her to go and get a little glass of water and to that, she informed me, in a tone of voice that was almost haughty -"Some people drink things besides water, you know!"

Oh yes, my dear little one, that is quite true. And your Grammy, for example does love occasionally to indulge in beverages other than water or those that are made with water as a main component -like coffee, tea (hot or iced) and yes, Gram likes certain other beverages too that are -at least for several years I would hope -out of Miss Maya's range and liking. Things like oh, maybe a nice cold can or bottle of that fermented stuff called beer! Although my intake of that frosty beverage has dropped considerably over the past few years, I still do enjoy a good cold brew -or two -or sometimes more. LOL

So anyway -back to Miss Maya -I told her to go get herself a drink -of her choice -knowing full well that would involve her putting a little chocolate syrup in a cup and adding a dabble of milk to it and stirring it all up with as much, if not more zest and energy than one would use in mixing up a cake or some other concoction.

The milk having been devoured, I told her she really needed to go back to bed but again, she has a speedy response for me to that suggestion.

"I' m really not very tired or sleepy at all, Gram!"

I thought about forcing the issue and making her go back upstairs and to bed and then thought if I do that and she's not all that sleepy at the moment, she'll be awake upstairs and in no time, I could envision she would also wake up her brother and then, I'd be stuck with both of them up and fighting, and Kurtis having some kind of hissy fit so picking my battle carefully then, I told her she could stay downstairs with me but she had to either go lay down out in my room or lay down on the loveseat or the sofa.

Although there was plenty of room on the sofa for both her and Sammy -who was curled up at one end there -she couldn't lay down there and share the couch with him, so she got herself a lightweight blanket, found her special teddy bear and fluffy dog stuffed animal and curled up on the loveseat. That was shortly after 1:30 a.m. and it was just past 2:30 a.m. when I saw that her eyes had finally closed completely and that she was asleep then!

I just left her there then to sleep the rest of the night on the loveseat cause I sure as heck wasn't about to try to carry her upstairs nor was I going to rouse her and make her walk up the steps either! Best to let sleeping dogs lie you know!

This afternoon, I went out to our church around 1 p.m. to meet up with seven other women from our Women's Group and we set out to give the social hall there a darned good housecleaning!

Cupboards in the kitchen were all cleaned out and scrubbed; the stove and oven cleaned plus windows in the hall, wainscoating, heating vents -all given a good wipe-down. All the tables and folding chairs were given a thorough once-over and finally, the floor swept and mopped up. If anyone were to come into the social room now, I would defy them to find any dirt, anywhere, left over there!

While I was working on the wainscoating and heat vents, my neighbor and good friend, Kate, was doing each table and the folding chairs. We talked a bit as we worked - a nice feature of having a group of people sharing in those chores you know- and when I got to the end of one wall and went to get up from working on that stuff on my hands and knees, I realized I had a bit of a problem.

I was beyond the reach of the last table so I had nothing stable then to grasp hold of and balance myself while trying to pull myself up to my feet!

I thought maybe if I got myself up on one knee and I could put the weight then onto the other leg and do a balance act there, I could stand up. But that knee didn't want to cooperate, so I reverted then to trying to do the same thing but with the other knee and it did seem, momentarily, that it was going to work and then, BOOM! I lost my balance and did a semi-split there on the floor with my left leg bending at the knee and kind of causing my left leg then to splay out a bit and my left ankle was slightly bend under all of that weight then too!

Yeah, it was quite the sight -a not very neat and tidy three-point landing for sure, but thankfully, nothing injured except a bit of pride you could say. Although it did take me very much by surprise and when I made my landing, although in my mind, I meant to say "Oh Sheesh!" but a slip of the tongue and the other women probably thought I was calling out in prayer because what I said was "Oh Jesus!"

I should have known better than to try to get up off the floor in the first place without having anything to hold onto and to give me some leverage but no, I had to prove it to myself, for once and for all I guess, that there are certain moves my old body doesn't approve of and that happens to be one of 'em!

When we were about finished up, my stomach -or intestinal tract actually -began to give me fits with lots of cramping and such so I made a speedy exit out of there then and came home to sit back and put my legs up, rest my back a bit too that way and try to get the intestines to settle down.

Finally, about 5:30 -feeling a little tired but not wanting to fall asleep right then and there -I opted to take Sammy for a nice long walk as an effort to keep my legs and back from stiffening up too much on me.

We walked down the road -in the opposite direction then of the neighbor who complained -and headed down towards the ghost town of Peale.

It had been about 3 weeks since I had last been down that part of the road and what a treat I had today.

Three weeks ago, there were dandelions blooming all over there. Today, still lots of bloomers in that category but lots of them already going to seed and ready to have their fluffy tops blown off and spreading their seeds deeper then into the forest.

Trees that had only the faintest hint of a bud on them three weeks ago now showed many of them to be in full blossom. White flowers, pink ones denoted apple trees among the firs, hemlock and pines. Maple and oak trees had buds coming out and some even had tiny leaves beginning to form. And those evergreens -many of them had lighter green showing on their tips which indicates the new growth coming on to those trees too.

Just beautiful! Seeing all the colors, the different shades of greens and the flora along the road showed how this had all sprung back to life in those three weeks then since my last visit.

It's been many, many a year that has passed since I was a youngster and used to walk down that road or along the old railroad track and see the new blossoms, the new ground flower growth popping up along the way. Back then, when my cousins and I would walk with their aunts along those routes, they told me the names of all the little tiny white or purple flowers we saw blooming but when you stop visiting places like this for a long period of time, don't pay any particular attention over those years to the growth around you, those names, the ability to identify plants leaves you.

And sadly, that's exactly what has happened to me.

I saw some lovely little white blooms as well as some tiny purple and lavender ones too but I couldn't tell you now what plants they were from! I saw the bushes along the roadside beginning to turn from the winter brown to the lovely light green shade and I'm pretty sure many of them will be producing a great crop of huckleberries this summer. I "think" I can still recognize those plants! I know I did see some leaves of some other vine type things growing in and around those bushes and I'm pretty sure they were wild strawberry plants getting their foothold in the ground again.

But when it is time to go pick those things, those bushes, those fir trees and other ground cover growth will then be so thick along the road that it will be hard to reach in and pick their succulent fruits because by then, the wildlife of the area will be out then too. And those woods are really full of creepy crawly things that I hate and am also terrified of encountering one of 'em too -copperheads and rattlesnakes!

Funny isn't it though, how -when I was a kid -my friends and I would take our little pails and head down that road and pick berries with very little fear of those creatures! Usually, we would have one adult with us -for protection and to beat the bushes a bit to roust out any unwanted snakes -but I know and fully understand today why my Mom -and my Grandmother too -were always worried from the time my pals and I would leave on one of these berry-picking expeditions until we got back home with no bites on us other than from some pesky mosquitos or insects of that type.

But these days, I'll enjoy going for walks down there, along that road and trying to imagine what it may have been like there well over a hundred years ago when my Grandfather was growing up in that ghost town and how different the sights there are today than from when he saw them.

Hard to imagine a young boy of 9 or 10 years of age going out and picking berries after having put in a full workday -10 hours or so -loading coal into the mine cars and leading the mules out of the mines, pulling their heavy loads behind them, isn't it?

But that's what life was like back then for him and for many, many other youngsters his age and up. Work from dawn until the late afternoon and then come home and tend to a garden or go picking berries and other things from the woods around them to sustain them with fresh food during the summer months and through the hard work of canning and preserving those items, food to keep them nourished through the long, cold months ahead.

I don't know about you but it makes me marvel that they had that strength to persevere, to push on, to harvest any and all foods they could.

How many of us today could do that? How many of the children today would even be willing to do all that?

All of that makes me very thankful that they could and did and also, that today, we don't have to endure that much work, that kind of hardship, in order to have fresh food to eat.

Enjoy the produce on your tables today and remember how hard our ancestors had to work to have the bounty of the land around them to carry them through.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aroma Abounds!

Ah, how sweet it is -the smell, that is of pork and sauerkraut cooking away in the oven!

This is one dish I really love -especially with a good helping of brown sugar mixed in with the sauerkraut that adds so much flavor and zest to the dish then too.

The drawback to this meal though -it means because Maya and Kurt wouldn't think of touching pork and kraut with a ten-foot pole, ya know, that I will have to make something else that they will eat for supper then. Picky, picky kids! When my kids were little, my tag line was "Sit up, shut up and eat what's on the table cause I'm not running a freaking restaurant here!" As a result, all three of my kids grew up to be pretty easy to please where food is concerned. Mandy is the only one with a specific thing she hates -that being onions -and Clate isn't overly fond of raw tomatoes although he loves pastas with tomato sauces of all types on that! Go figure, huh?

Another drawback to eating sauerkraut though, as you can well imagine I suppose, is that it can and often does, create digestion issues for a lot of folks. Amazingly enough, even though I had colo-rectal cancer seven years ago and since then, have also even had a colostomy, this is one food that didn't before the diagnoses nor since then either, given me a lot of issues. I know some people though who, if they eat this stuff, are ready to start checking out colon cleansing reviews among other things if they were to indulge in this type of meal!

A little side note here too -the other day when I was walking Sammy, one of my neighbors complained to me about him and asked that I please not let him run along the bank in front of their house and also, to keep him from watering the posts along their steps down to their house as she says "It smells, and draws their dog to it!" Her suggestion was that I keep him on a shorter rein when I walk him.

Well, today when we went out, I tried doing that with Sam but the poor dog was wheezing very quickly from my having to hold him in so close, so tightly and I found that it was also forcing me to almost run beside him when I had him held in that close -plus almost tripping me too because he was virtually right beside or almost under my feet then too.

I generally take him with me to walk and go pick up our mail then and I like to walk him along our road up to the mail boxes because it is just a nice length for our walk -about 1.3 miles round trip. Plus, our road is flat too so it doesn't then involve my trying to climb any hills along the way.

However, I guess I will have to resort to going around the other road to go pick up the mail if I plan on walking him then but that's gonna be a killer route for me as there is a very long hill involved in that route as well as another hill too that is shorter but steeper that I'll have to climb. If I thought this walk with him today had me winded, I can hardly wait to see what condition I'll be in if we take this other road! Not just winded but I know it will have a drastic side effect too on my ankles, knees, hip joints and back being really stiff and sore then too!

Oh well, what the heck else am I to do?

I know I do need the exercise -for sure -and so does he plus he needs the extra length of the leash as well to give him a chance to run, explore and enjoy the outdoors time. Guess I'll just have to bite that bullet then, won't I?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Problems and Solutions

I don't know if I should broach this subject here or not but it's something that's on my mind and I'd like to know how others feel about this issue, and what they would do, or perhaps have done if they experienced the same problem(s).

Can we talk? I mean, really talk, get real and be honest about something that has been bothering me, on my mind -whatever is left of that entity anyway.

The topic I'd like to discuss is lack of or loss of trust in a relationship, the effect it can then have on libido and why "significant others" can't understand how the former can cause problems with the latter!

In talking to a very close friend recently, she confided to me that she had lost all desire to DO anything with her husband. In discussing this a bit further, she also confided that there had been some serious problems over the past couple of years that had escalated -a whole lot -recently and although he had sought help for the issues he had that had begun this erosion, she found herself now unable to respond to him at all.

Having been in a similar situation myself -many years ago -it brought back a lot of painful memories to me.

I recall at the time, my partner was drinking more and more and also, doing a lot of other side activities -womanizing -with the result being I found myself losing any desire to have sex with him.

My withdrawal in that respect then created other issues -mainly that was a lot of emotional abuse. Accusations of infidelity, yes. Constant criticism of my parenting skills, my cooking skills, my housekeeping skills, my inability to have a job that paid any where near what he earned also became a target.

After about 2-3 years of the constant berating, my own self-esteem was lower than low and with it, also any desire to have sex with him at all and it sure didn't give me any ideas about picking up with anyone else either seeing as everything about me was deemed as totally unacceptable. (Oh and there were also a lot of charges levied about my abilities in the bedroom too -which doesn't exactly work to make a person feel like doing anything.

Why is it when one person in a relationship does something or a series of things that damage the relationship, create extra problems and stress, but then that person realizes maybe there was something wrong in those actions and takes a few steps to correct them, they also immediately think that everything that was going wrong or haywire before is now going to be automatically corrected and all will then just, presto magic, return to everything being just fine and dandy, as if nothing ever happened?

Or is it just me who feels this way about the damage a loss of trust can do and how it doesn't heal and things return to normalcy overnight?

Back when these things happened in my marriage, I really was on the verge of losing a good bit, if not all, of my sanity and I went for counseling. The counselor I saw at that time suggested something to me that actually was a lifeline, a real mind-saver, for me: Al-Anon!

Realizing that I was far from alone with those feelings of total inadequacy eventually helped me to begin the restoration process of my self-esteem as well as to bolster my courage too.

Granted, it wasn't enough to heal the depth of the wounds in our relationship and eventually we divorced, but it was enough for me to get myself a little bit back on track and back to some semblence of normalcy then -and I've used the tenets of Al-Anon and AA in my life as much as possible ever since then.

But,how can I help my friend? Simply telling her that I had experienced a lot of the same feelings back then -would that be enough?

What I'd really like to know is how anyone else may have handled the lack of desire issues that frequently come about from having the trust in a relationship broken.

And, do men and women both react the same way in circumstances such as these too?

My friend right now isn't sure what she wants to do -stay with him or as my daughters would say "Kick him to the curb?" She doesn't really WANT a divorce but at the same time, she's just not sure that she really can find the feelings needed to repair the damage that's been done to the relationship -especially since now he is exhibiting a lot of jealousy and accusing her of infidelity. After all, if she doesn't want to have sex with him, she MUST be getting it somewhere else, ya know.

I was looking online tonight, trying to find some information I could give her that might help her make some very tough decisions.

One thing I read was "Women give sex to gain love and men give love to gain sex" and you know, I do believe there is a whole lot of truth to that statement.

The crux of what few items I found on the topic of loss of trust and loss of libido that suggested stress, infidelity, various types of abuse could create what my friend is experiencing was that counseling was a good starting place. (Most of the articles I found suggested that for women, this generally is a hormonal type problem or one being caused by taking anti-depressants, or from recent childbirth or obesity. Hmmmm. I found that really sad as in my mind it makes too much of the blame then laid back on the woman in the relationship.)

So come on and let's talk about this issue, will you?

Remember too, if you're afraid to discuss this because you don't want anyone to know you've had issues or feelings like these, you can always comment anonymously.

What would you tell someone who you are very close to if they came to you and told you they were having a problem like this anyway?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wrap-up on the Week!

It's been another of those weeks -busy! Birthdays, funerals, church committee meeting -and walks with Sammy have kept me moving outside the house, as well as inside in addition, of course, to the current embroidery project. Always something in the works in the needlecraft department or so it seems.

Monday was the day-early celebration of Kurt's fourth birthday -as I wrote about on my previous post.

Tuesday was working at the church to serve a funeral dinner for the family of a 91-year-old lady, who had been a member of our church.

Wednesday I was out to church again for a meeting of the Social Ministry Committee, of which I am now the Chair Person. My first meeting in that position and it was more just a review of stuff and trying to learn more about what all our group is supposed to attend to and what my specific responsibilities would be in that context then.

Today, we are supposed to go to Bellefonte for some kind of band concert there in which my older grandson -"the Prince" (Sir Alex) is participating. Should be interesting as the last band concert of his we attended was I think two years ago and the kids did a great job that year. (Alex plays the trumpet and has done quite well learning that instrument. Makes his old Gram very proud and I'm quite sure our Aunt Mike is looking down on him with even more pleasure and admiration than ever before too. She had a huge soft spot in her heart for him -and he, for her as well. Not too many kids can say they knew their Great-Great-Aunt as well as he knew her.)

The embroidery project this week is another tabletopper -which to answer a question someone asked me earlier this week simply means it is a small tablecloth, squared in size, usually between 31 by 31 inches up to as large as 36 by 36 inches. (For the center of a table, or a card table or use on a round bed table or living room decor.) This one is called "Proud Rooster" and it consists of a rooster, embroidered very colorfully, in each corner, done in cross stitching. It also has a matching table runner in the set which shouldn't take all that long to do that up too. This set, along with another tabletopper of small cross stitched flowers are all for my cousin, Ruth Ann, down in Austin, Texas. I'm looking forward to completing this and getting it shipped off to her as she's waiting there, patiently, for me to complete them.

Just got a phone call too that I have to be at church this coming Tuesday afternoon for a meeting with the WELCA (Women's group) for us to have a "work party" -meaning cleaning the social hall and to get things lined up, ready to go for the Spring Garden Party our group is sponsoring. Anyone in the vicinity of Lanse, Pennsylvania on May 1st, stop by our church between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a really nice luncheon and a chance to select from various plants and other gardening items we will have on sale there. This event, along with the Fall Bazaar we have the first Saturday in November are the two big fund raisers of our organization and the monies raised from them are then used to provide various things around the church throughout the year. All in all, a darned good benefit event in all respects -good food, lots of fellowship time with old friends, a way to make and meet some new friends and a lot of fun too!

The latest little humor event involving the kids was last evening and involved Kurtis.

Maya had requested that I fix tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches -a very simple meal -for us for supper. The key word there being "simple" and it filled the bill fine and dandy for me. When I served the kids their food, Maya dug in immediately and did quite well in polishing off her sandwich as well as her soup. When she was finished, she put her dirty dishes then in the sink for me.

Kurtis, on the other hand, proceeded to pull his sandwich apart and then, using his index finger, sort of tried to lick off most of the melted cheese from each part of the bread. Once he got as much of the cheese eaten away like that, he then tried to dunk the bread into his soup a couple of times. Then he decided he was finished and left the table. A few minutes later, I went out to the dining room and kitchen to get a damp rag to wipe the sloppage from the soup and bread crumbs from the table but his plate and soup bowl were not there on the table. I checked the sink and saw he had put his plate in the sink but there was no trace of the soup bowl to be found anywhere. I hunted high and low for it but to no avail -even checking the garbage can for it as he has been known on occasion to put his dirty silverware as well as sometimes even dirty dishes in the can but no trace of it there either.

When the son-in-law came home and was going to fix himself a grilled tuna and cheese sandwich to accompany a bowl of the soup, I mentioned to him to keep an eye out for the missing bowl too. And about that time, I opened the drawer in the cupboard where I keep the kids silverware as well as their small bowls for various things and what was there? Why it was the missing soup bowl! Not clean, of course, as it still had a lot of traces in it of the tomato soup but instead of putting the bowl in the sink or at least on the counter by the sink, it's become his habit now to put dirty dishes he's used back in the drawer where I store the clean ones!

Well, at least I will know ahead of time now if a dish or bowl goes missing that he has been using to save myself some time and energy -and not get all antsy hunting for things -by just looking in that drawer first!

And that's what's been keeping me moving here for the past week, what will be on my agenda too for the coming week.

Now, what's new in your world these days too?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Change the Date, Please!

It's a big day in the household today!

Kurtis is four years old today so, in celebration of that event, we had our little family dinner and party for him last night. He had told Mandy he wanted a Spiderman cake but I had already planned to make him a Banana Split Cake for his big event so we told him the chocolate squiggles on the top of the whipped cream were Spiderman's webs and he seemed okay then with that idea.

Actually, he was so excited over seeing the Spiderman candle -just one -in the middle of the "cake" I don't think he gave it a second thought.

All was going very nicely with the cake, the singing of Happy Birthday and all that, including the presents. He was so excited, opening his gifts until he had a little problem getting the last package from Aunt Carrie out of the bottom of the Spiderman gift bag. So Maya tried to give him some assistance.

That worked fine until it came to the package from Uncle Clate and Aunt Betty that he had some problems with the scotch tape on it and again, Maya was coming to the rescue. However, after she got the tape removed, she wanted to keep on opening the gift and we told her that she needed to give it back to Kurtis so HE could finish opening it.

And that's about when the trouble began!

It was about at that point that she realized that he was the one receiving the gifts and that there were none for her -even though Aunt Carrie had brought a separate package of Play-Do with her so that Maya did have a little something new too. But Maya didn't see things that way. Not at all!

Judging by the volume unleashed in her crying, one would have thought she was being beaten within an inch of her life and you'd have expected that both faucets of the tear ducts on this kid had to have been opened full steam!

She wailed, ranted, screamed -yep, had one royal hissy fit that rapidly expanded into a massive meltdown.

Insisting that today was her birthday -not Kurtis -was the main theme and then, she went on to try to tell us that her birthday was this or that date in April but certainly not in October. All the while, she kept sobbing that she didn't get a present and why didn't she get a present and no explanation in the world about how Aunt Carrie had brought her a package of play-do too was acceptable.
Here's the saddest little girl ever helping her little brother celebrate his fourth birthday! (Be thankful this is not a video with sound too cause the noise she was making was really deafening, trust me!)

After trying and trying to soothe her, to get her to understand that she can't just arbitrarily change the date of her own birthday, Mandy finally gave up on getting her to quiet down and ended up taking her into the bathroom, changing her into her pajamas and sending her to bed.

Truthfully, I think she was a bit overtired from having had some playtime outside earlier in the day and before supper and was just unable to unwind from it all so that the presents and watching/helping Kurtis with his gifts was just enough then to send her over the edge because very quickly, after going up to bed, the house was quiet and no small child was screaming, crying, wailing or moaning in disappointment.

I'm trying to upload two videos -one of Kurtis singing Happy Birthday to himself, along with the rest of the family and the other is of him opening his presents, up until the time that Maya decided to take offense at the whole procedure. However, YouTube is taking forever in uploading those videos so I'll have to post them later on another post.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Slight Mispronunciation

Sunday morning, Mandy had to go and unlock the bar for the cleaning person to be able to go in and do his thing.

Because I wasn't up yet and neither was the SIL, she took Kurtis with her.

They got in her car and she started to back out onto the road when Kurtis suddenly pointed to his Dad's pickup truck -a big red Dodge Ram -and said to Mandy, "Big Sh--ty truck."

Needless to say, she was a bit taken back by this statement from him. Where the heck had he heard that anyway? (This is an instance where my vocabulary had no bearing whatsoever on this story. Completely innocent, I swear that!)

So, when she came home, she relayed this story to both Bill and to me and we all got a big chuckle out of this -especially when Bill explained that he wasn't really saying what she thought he was saying.

Seems the little guy has been laboring over the delusion that his Dad's pickup truck is a "Chevy" (although his dad has been trying to tell him no, it's a Dodge Ram) but anyway, it turns out that's the way Kurtis says Chevy!

Now I was thinking about this a bit -and wouldn't it be nice if we could apply that word though to actually describe some vehicles that are maybe a bit older, a little on the worn side, etc. -especially when applying for that wonderful old auto insurance?

After all, giving one's vehicle a bit of a derogatory description surely should work to lower the insurance payment, don't 'cha think?

Works for me anyway!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Taking a Break

I finished another tabletopper today. This is the seventh one I've done now since the end of January. And, now I started working this evening on number eight!

Sorry, but I don't have any pictures taken of the most recent one but here's the one I got completed earlier this week. This is the one I should and could have had finished over two weeks ago but the kit didn't have enough floss of one color to complete it and a second kit I had purchased -same identical design, etc. -well that kit was missing the very color that was a bit short in the first kit.

Anyway, this one was to be a birthday present for my good friend and neighbor, Shirley. Her birthday was last Wednesday and I didn't get the floss color I needed to complete it until this past Monday so I took it with me to our monthly meeting at church of our women's group (WELCA) and gave it to her then -only a week late but this time, it was no fault of mine for being tardy.
Here's the full view of the "Cardinal" Tabletopper and below is a view of just one corner of the piece.
The one I finished today -took two weeks to do it -was also done in cross stitch as is the one I started this evening. These two will be sent to my cousin down in Austin, Texas.

But let me tell you something now. I'm not really a fast stitcher when it comes to cross stitching -and heaven forbid I would be working on counted cross stitch, cause I really slow down when doing that stuff cause it makes me feel like I'm gonna be totally cross-eyed when I'm done.

But tonight now -I had to take a little break from my stitching action cause my right hand was starting to cramp up a tad. I think the last time my hand was this stiff from doing something was when I was helping Mandy write out invitations to her wedding. My penmanship is not something to write home about to begin with, so I have to really take my sweet time and be ultra careful to make every letter legible ya know, so addressing all those invitations was really a heck of a chore for me. (I'm just thankful that they didn't want all their wedding napkins all hand-written too or I would really have been in big trouble in ever using my right hand again then, huh?)

So now, the tabletopper I am currently involved with is one that is also "for the birds" -except this one has a big rooster in each corner of the cloth. And when I get the tabletopper done, it also has a table runner that goes with the kit that I get to do as well.

The fabric for this set though is such that it's about as stiff to poke the needle through as my hand had become working on it which makes picking up any amount of steam and speed a bit rough.

Once I get this set finished, you can bet your bottom dollar my project after that will be a couple things that are all embroidery stitches and no cross stitching involved -at all!

And, after working on cross stitching first cardinals and now roosters, I'm probably gonna be crowing too, come to think of it!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

English, Please!

My son -as well as my son-in-law -are both fanatics when it comes to cars! I suppose I may as well go back a generation too and include my ex-husband in that category as well because he was pretty much in that category too.

Well, my SIL and my ex-husband were both mechanics with respect to their employment but my son -he just loves cars and Volkswagons in particular, come to think of it.

Most of the time I don't have that much of a problem with this stuff that is, until my son and the SIL get to talking technical terminology about cars and parts and different types of work that has to be done to this, that or some other vehicle.

When they start that stuff, they could very easily say they needed a ls2208 and I would never know the difference if that was a legitimate thing for a vehicle or some other item or even if they were speaking in a totally different language.

And that same bit carries over to people in computer technician type jobs as well. When they start going on about different computer terms, under the assumption that simply because I have a computer, I understand, automatically, what they are talking about, they just don't ever get it then when I say, "English, Please!"

No comprende the automotive or computerese or even legalese (attorney-speak) stuff ya know!

Excuses, Excuses!

Anyone here remember a song from way back that had the line in it "Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go?" I don't remember the name of it or what it was about although I think it was supposed to be the voice of an Indian guide or some such for General Custer for his Last Stand.

Anyway, that line has been popping in and out of my mind for oh, the past two weeks now. It revisits me every time I start thinking about the next round of surgery that I gather I'll have to end up having sometime in the future.

Nothing as been resolved as yet whether I will have "just" a hysterectomy -which most likely would be done at the local hospital -or if I will have to go back to Pittsburgh to have that surgery along with the hernia repair.

I am not happy about either aspect here -just really don't want any surgery, at all, is a big part of my issue right now.

But every time I give thought to going back down to Pittsburgh, my mind gets overwhelmed with other thoughts too -like maybe if we were to encounter a travel emergency of some sort on the way down or back, what would or could we do? And then there's all the prep one has to do before having any kind of abdominal surgery and I hate the thought of that.

Plus, hospitals generally tend to want to have you admitted at obscene hours in the early morning too -like 6 or 7 a.m. -and even if I only have the one type of surgery and have it done locally, that still means I'd have to be up, awake (or at least semi-awake), showered and dressed before 6:30 a.m. and that means very little sleep then for me with my crazy late nite hours. And heaven forbid I'd have to go to Pittsburgh cause then we'd have to leave here around 3 a.m. to arrive there on time.

See what I mean about why then that darned line from that song has become very much of an ear worm these days to me.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Late for the Late One!

How many people do you know who can tell you where they were -exactly -almost on an hourly basis too, on a specific day many years ago?

Sure, those of us who were around in the 60s can usually recall where we were, what we were doing too on November 22, 1963 -the day President Kennedy was assassinated but what about some other date?

Take for example, April 6, 1967 -43 years ago. Do you know what you were doing on that date?

I do -boy, do I ever. And I can detail much of that day from about 6 a.m. until around midnight that night too.


Because that's the day my first child, my daughter, Carrie, was born!

Although I actually have a lot of photographs of her over the years, I don't have very many of her that I have on my computer -mainly cause I have yet to get around to scanning ALL those old pictures into my computer! Not because I didn't take many pictures of her over the years -far from that!

I had planned to do a post about her on her 43rd birthday but well, things just sort of got away from me and so, here I am, running a couple hours behind schedule, writing this just for her, on her big day.
Here's one of the oldest pictures I have on my computer of Carrie -taken in 1969, when she was a mere two years old. There are so many things about Carrie when she was little that I see just about every day now surfacing in Maya! Not only does Maya look almost like a clone of her aunt, she also often acts a lot like Aunt Carrie too. (Kind of scary, that stuff, ya know!)
This picture taken in 1980 at our Eld Family Reunion that year is one she may possibly go through the roof and never speak to me again for posting it, so I'm taking one big chance showing this here. Shown on the picture from left to right -Bill, Brett and Barbara Donaldson, Carrie, Mandy, me, Clate and my Mom's brother and his wife, Ralph and Hazel Eld. (Barb Donaldson is my first cousin and the only child of my Uncle Ralph.) In this picture, Carrie has on a pair of rainbow striped suspenders that she won at the reunion in one of the games for the kids and this past Christmas, Mandy found a set of suspenders like these on E-bay, I think, bought them and gave them to Carrie for a special "memory" Christmas present.
The above photo of all three of my children -Carrie, Clate and Mandy -was taken in 2001 and was the special Christmas present my kids gave me that year. I love this picture of the three of them together, especially with Carrie and Clate each having their hand on the next younger sibling. I had one other picture of the three kids together, taken when Mandy was just a baby, but unfortunately, it was damaged, the frame broke, the photo got wet and some of it stuck to the broken glass and now, we can't even find it! Carrie has been on a mission of sorts of late, trying to locate that photo and see if she can take it someplace and perhaps get it repaired and restored but so far, all the searches for it have come up empty. I don't recall the name of the studio that did that portrait of the kids -just that the photographer came to the house and posed the kids -all decked out in their finest apparel, ya know. And wouldn't you just know but it was the ONLY picture from the shots he took that was purchased because the day they brought the proofs around to pick from, I was at work and my Mom, who knew the purchase deal on those pics and also knew that we were pretty broke at the time and really couldn't afford to order a bunch of those photos, chose one pose so that we didn't have a big expense then from buying a lot of photos. (Yeah, she knew me all too well that I probably would have bought several other pics and would probably have gone into hock to pay for them too, if need be.) So that's why there's no other photos from that session available to us today -unless somehow or other, I could ever remember the name of the studio that did those pics back then. Fat chance of that happening too, ya know!)

Moving a long a few years -in 2003, this was Carrie the day she first met Maya -who was about two weeks old by then.

This picture, taken in 2005 when their Dad came to visit for a couple of days, is Clate, "Dad" and Carrie. And I really like the smile on her face in this one.
And this shot -taken at the same time as the one above, is Mandy, holding Maya, Dad, Carrie and her son, Alex -my "prince" (as you may recall that's my nickname for the older grandson.
This photo, taken in July of 2009 at the memorial service for my aunt, Isabel Hill, is of Mandy, me, grandson Alex (the Prince) and of course, his mother, Carrie.
Last but not least -and this one is I think, probably gonna be a surprise to her as it was taken by my cousin Ruth Ann at her Mom's memorial service in July of 2009 and I don't recall if I ever even showed it before to Carrie.

But this is my oldest -my firstborn -and is very much what she still looks like almost 2 years later too.

She sometimes thinks I pass over her, that I favor her brother over her and her sister and little quirks like that -something I suppose many kids tend to believe about their parents and the status they may hold within the family.

But no matter what, she's always gonna be my favorite older daughter and is number one in my book!

Care Bear -My apologies for the lateness of this post -but you, above all of you kids should appreciate the old slogan "better late than never" ya know.

Considering the fact that you were late arriving in this world -like a week overdue -and I've often said that you've been late ever since then too.

Hope you had a great birthday -and remember, Mom did bake a cake this past Saturday, just for your birthday celebration too. Right? That should count for a little something, don't 'cha think?

You're the leader of this dysfunctional pack of siblings and such -a job you didn't ask for but got it plunked in your lap anyway -to keep your siblings and yourself as tightly knit as possible now and in the future as well. So far, you've been doing a pretty darned good job with that assignment and I know you'll continue to do all within your power to see that the three of you and now, the grandkids too, are as close as close can be for each other.

Love you, my baby girl.

You sure do make your old Mom very proud -just one beautiful young woman!