Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weather and Dogs

Seems like the weather has gone really wacko of late -bitter cold for a few days, rain, snow, warm, springlike temperatures, cold rain -what next?

Remember, I've posted fairly frequently about taking Sammy out for a walk -a good form of exercise for me and a way to keep him from having problems that make Mandy very unhappy about the house. I've actually done pretty good about taking Sam out for walks, regardless of how cold or snowy it may have been at the time and getting some good walking time in for myself then. Even last week when the wind chills were hovering around the zero or even below zero, out we went!

This morning though, when I woke up around 6:30 a.m. and got up to head to the bathroom, I saw that Sam had left us two presents though -one in the living room on the floor and the other, in the kitchen. So I hurried up and got them cleaned up then before Mandy got up, as I know she would have pitched a hissy fit over that. My theory is that he has needs and can't always wait until we get around to taking him out -no different that small children -except that for the fact I don't know of any way to train him to pick the commode seat up and brace himself to learn to use the big potty. Now if anyone out there knows of a way to train a dog to do that, please let me know, would ya?

This morning though, after getting a few things taken care of inside, I decided I would take Sam out for our first walk of the day. Got my jacket and walking shoes on and was reaching for his leash when Mandy called out to me that I should have done that fifteen minutes earlier because it had just started to rain!

Lovely! Not! I don't mind walking him when it's snowing (unless it is the really, really cold blowing snow, that is) and I don't mind walking him in a gentle mist or warm, spring/summer type rain, but when it is a cold type of rain, or an electrical storm, then I draw the line a bit!

So, I backed off walking him right at that moment then, in hopes that the rain would blow over in a little bit.

In the meantime, I called my car insurance agent's office to see about bringing in the paperwork to finish up my insurance claim for my jeep and the fire that totaled that poor little buggy! The secretary in the office told me what hours they would be there today and mentioned that she hoped when I came in to the office that the rain would have passed through there by then. She then informed me that it was really raining very hard in town at that time and I mentioned to her that we had had some rain about 15 minutes earlier but it seemed to have passed then and was now drying off a bit.

So with the rain having stopped then, Sam and I went out and were able to take a much longer than usual walk, almost all the way around town, as a matter of fact. When we got back home and I got ready to leave to go to the insurance office, as I headed for the door, wouldn't you just know it but it started to rain again only this time it was coming down very hard -really pounding on the road and sidewalk -so once again, I postponed going out and waited a bit till that storm passed through and it turned to being just more of a misty rain.

So away I went then! Got the paperwork all completed on the transfer of the title of the jeep and filling out some other stuff and hopefully, I should have a nice little check in about a week from the insurance company and can seriously look at cars available in the price range of what my payoff on the jeep is.

I've been checking one particular local website very regularly now -as has my daughter and even my son too -looking for vehicles that look to have potential for me to purchase. I don't go out all that often but I do still need a vehicle so I can get to some places -like my doctor appointments mainly -without a hassle of trying to coordinate those things with Mandy's work schedule or the kids arrival home from school -or sometimes, I need to make a run to the grocery store and hate to have to wait till Mandy gets home to use her car to run smallish errands like that. So a replacement vehicle is something I really do need to find and as quickly as possible too.

On the way back home today from the insurance office, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a couple things and while there, I ran into the mother of the mechanic who towed the jeep and her daughter-in-law. We talked a few minutes -the normal "How're you doing?" kind of conversation and then, the mechanic's wife asked me if I'd had any success in getting another vehicle. I told her no, not yet but that all three of us here were looking for something feasible. She then told me that her husband has a 1999 Chevy Cavalier now out at his garage that is in very good shape if I might be interested in it. Well, I asked how much and when she told me the price, my ears perked up as it was a VERY, VERY reasonable price to pay for a car in decent running condition! So I told her I would have either Mandy or Clate run out to the garage and check it out, talk to her husband about it too so if all pans out okay, I may very well no longer be without a buggy to get around in by the middle of next week, at the latest!

Cross your fingers and your toes, say some prayers and hope it all works out okay!

Tonight now, about 10 p.m., Sammy came and started pawing at my leg, whimpering a little, trying to tell me -I figured -that he wanted/needed to go out. I wasn't really all that keen about doing that then as it was raining again at that time -a bit harder than earlier so that I knew to walk him I would need to balance his leash, a flashlight and also an umbrella -no easy feat to do all that simultaneously ya know.

But I figured well, I better do it -or suffer the consequences then by morning so out we went!

And the rotten little bugger apparently just wanted to just WALK -not to do anything of consequence! Finally, as we were heading back to the house, he did stop once and watered some lump of leftover snow and ice though!

Yes, he can be a very picky dog when it comes to when/where he does his business! I just wish when he insists on being taken out at night, in the rain, he would quickly find a spot and get it all over and done with then!

But, when we got back in the house, apparently that walk in the rain really invigorated him because then he went on a tear, chasing all through the downstairs, jumping up on one end of the sofa, running to the opposite end, then getting the cat to run and chase with him too!

Wish a walk in a cold rain would do that for me!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Life -Back to Back....

Sometimes, when I get depressed, writing helps me alleviate various levels of stress. Sometimes though, it's difficult to tell if I am depressed because of stress levels or just plain depressed for no particular reason -or none that I can attribute it to at any rate.

Sometimes too, I don't write when I'm stressed and depressed mainly for fear of either not being able to articulate myself properly or completely or from articulating way too much too then.

Tonight, I took Sammy out for a late night stroll -not as late at night as some evenings when it's after 1 or 2 a.m. and I venture out with him and my trusty little flashlight in hand, but late by the standards of a lot of folks in the neighborhood. It was a little after 10 p.m. tonight -which in all respects and comparisons of late night hours, in my household, 10 p.m. is very early. Not late at all!

But I was thinking as I walked tonight too -and sometimes that's not a really good thing to do either. Especially not when a lot of things are bothering me -a lot -and depressing me and stressing me and I don't know which way to go then.

I was thinking tonight though about something I saw on Facebook the other day and which I had shared. It was a photo post of Robin Williams and the statement under it was about being afraid of being lonely and that he used to fear being alone and that was lonely -until he also realized he could be with other people, lots of other people, and still feel lonely.

Ah ha! An epiphany of sorts as I thought about that.

In many respects, much of my life I have been alone. I was an only child and hated it -because I was alone. I got married, had children and often found I was still alone -even if my ex-husband was present and even if the kids were around and were behaving too, I still frequently felt alone.

Now, I don't live alone as I have my daughter and my two younger, beautiful grandchildren here as well so I'm rarely actually alone, but yet, same old, same old thing -I frequently feel very lonely.

A lot of that is because I rarely have anyone to actually talk to.

Yes, as long as the kids are awake and running around, there's conversation aplenty at times but much of that concerns settling little spats between the kids, trying to cajole them into cleaning up their toys and other messes they have made before they have to go to bed, or doing homework or getting ready to eat and washing up before supper. Those conversations don't lead to much in the way of scintillating chats, ya know!

Last night was a prime example of things that set me off though.

I'm currently working on a tabletopper that is a stamped piece and is worked in cross stitch. Very fine, small cross stitch, with lots of color changes and often, difficult to follow to get the color shading done properly. For that, I need light -lots and lots of light to be able to see each of the tiny x stampings on the cloth.

I was all set to tune into one of my favorite Saturday night programs on the tv that I would more listen to than actually watch, all the while, working on this embroidery piece when my daughter enters the living room with a video that she and her boyfriend wanted to watch and to let the kids watch it with them too. Okay -fine -later this year I can no doubt see the program I had planned to watch as it will probably be a re-run later in the spring so not really a big deal there. Although, once I saw the video begin to play, I was a bit disconcerted as it was a cartoon type of flick -not in color though, and a rather boring topi -in my opinion -something about some spooky stuff and more along the lines of a kids Halloween cartoon type thing. So I figured well, no problem, as I could concentrate easily then on working on my embroidery project then.

However, in short order after the video began, someone mentioned turning off the lights to watch the video and I objected to that. Why? Well, because I can't do embroidery work in the dark, ya know! Sometimes, if I'm doing knitting or crochet and if it's a relatively easy pattern, I can work on that stuff in the dark -or by the light of the TV screen, but Embroidery? Not so much applicable there!

Well, that set off some others in the room who had a bit of a hissy because I wanted the light left on and eventually, the comment was made that the person upset said "Someday, I'm going to have my own living room to sit in and do whatever I want to do then."

HMMMM! Ya think?

As it turns out, unfortunately, the living room is the only room in the house where I CAN work on my embroidery craft stuff! Oh, I could go sit at the dining room table, on a hard chair and try to sit comfortably there for the length of the video -about 90 minutes worth -but would I be able to deal with the pain that would then inflict on my back and legs? Not likely!  I could take it out to my bedroom and work on it but the lighting isn't strong enough there to be able to see very well and trying to sit up in bed, with my legs stretched out flatly on the bed and with about 4-5 pillows behind me isn't exactly conducive to enabling me to be even halfway comfortable while doing the stitching either.

So, I decided to put the embroidery up and went out to the kitchen, washed up the leftover dishes, swept and mopped the floor then too.

Was I pissed? Yes, you could say that! More than pissed though, I was hurt that someone thought that it was so important that they had to turn the lights out and prevent me from being half comfortable to work on my craft hobby because I had no interest at all in the goofy video they were already inflicting on me!

Childish? Probably that too, on my part as well as the others too. But it is what it is at times ya know.

By 11 p.m. though, the kids were out like lights on the sofa and loveseat and my son had come down to use the computer a bit -and do his own version of calming himself down then too -and then, the other adults went to bed.

Which left it to me and my son then and we decided to have a nice conversation -a serious one, which isn't a really frequent thing to share with him -but it was nice to have another adult to discuss various things with and express feelings on a myriad of topics of interest to both of us. (None of which involved a lot of automotive discussions though which is more the normal topic of conversations with my son!)

We did however talk a bit about the whole vehicle problems I'm currently embroiled in here though.

On Thursday, I got the word from the insurance company that they were going to total my jeep! The mechanic who had towed the jeep from the scene when it caught fire two weeks earlier had told me a few days after the jeep fire that it could be repaired and he had given me a price for the repairs it would need that was -we figured -probably easily doable with what I would stand to collect from the insurance on the buggy. Then some friend of Mandy's had questioned what the mechanic had quoted for repairs and was wondering if his pricing was accurate as he felt it was way too low a figure and that we would end up having to pay a good bit more than the figure he had quoted.

That had led me to call my ex-husband then this week and question him about the price I'd been quoted and if he felt the work could be done correctly at that price. Frank had told me that he felt the price I'd been quoted was a decent, fair price to me and to the mechanic as well and if I really liked the jeep (which I did) and wanted to get it fixed, to go with that plan.

Well, that was all well and good until I spoke to the insurance adjustor Thursday and learned before any thing could be done, if we went that route, I would have to go through a whole bunch of paperwork with the state to get a new title -an "R" title, indicating the jeep had been rebuilt, and all that paper work involved with that would take at minimum, at least 6 weeks time before the jeep could then be fixed! ARRGH!

I told my son what the insurance company had said and his thoughts then about getting the jeep fixed were that it would be way too much rigamaro to have to deal with all that kind of mess so may as well just take the payout and get it over with!

So, now I am in the process of surfing all kinds of various used car sites and stuff, trying to find something very reasonable in price -okay, cheap, but not just cheap but DOWNRIGHT cheap -to get myself a vehicle again!

Lucky for me that I always carry liability (required by law in PA) as well as comprehensive insurance on any vehicle I own regardless of the age of said vehicle! At least, I will get a little bit of money to shop with -just not shop for something fairly newish!

This morning, after church and at the congregational dinner, my neighbor told me about a 1999 Buick that was for sale if I might be interested in it. Turns out he was referring to the car that belonged to a neighbor of ours, an elderly lady, who passed away back in November and her family was trying to settle her estate. Well, knowing that woman and the car too, I knew she had bought it new so it was a one owner and the mileage on it -a mere 61,000 miles and I knew the vehicle would be in very pristine shape too. Only one problem, the asking price is about $1500 more than what I will get from my insurance payoff and there is no way I can get a loan for the balance there if I were to try to get said car!

Mandy thinks I should just "jump on" this and get this Buick but I know my income level is such that there is no way I can afford to take on a car payment! So, for me, that car is totally out of the question. Back to the internet and surf some more!

This is pretty much the first time in my adult life that I have felt truly boxed in, financially. In the past, I've always had a job and a means too of getting a part-time job as well, if necessary, to meet expenses. Now, I just have the lowly little social security income and apparently, I'm considered to be unemployable in even non-physical work that involves my degree and which I would be able to handle!

Disgusting that age interferes in lots of ways with us, isn't it?

Oh well! If need be, I do know where I can get a 20-year old car with around 240,000 miles on it but which runs quite well -just no 4-wheel drive (Which I've come to love that the Jeep had) and who knows how much longer that buggy would hold up for me!)

I'll figure out something but this not being able to go where I need to go without making all kinds of transportation arrangements is something that makes me feel that much more dependent on way too many things over which I have absolutely no control whatsoever!

It's the loss of independence that really annoys the living daylights out of me, stresses me out to the max and totally depresses me!

At least I figured that much out as one of the areas creating the depression issues for me at this point in time. Just back to back crap where I lose a bit more of my independence these days.

Peace and G'nite!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Entertainers Here!

It's been a crazy, zany week here since my last post. I'm finally getting my sinus back to acting semi-normal after a long haul for over the two weeks prior to this when it seemed my system couldn't decide if it wanted to launch into a full-fledged head cold, a sinus infection or bronchitis but must have landed on the Sinus issues because though I felt like I was getting one of the three, only the sinus problems lingered with me. Till this morning when I woke up feeling like that same thing was going to start up all over again but after a couple cups of coffee, my system seemed to reject those potential issues after all. Yay, Yay, Coffee is Great!

 I spent the majority of my time last week relaxing in my recliner, working on a table topper which I finally finished completely Saturday afternoon. Such a relief whenever I get another project polished off! Now, I have completed 3 table toppers and a table runner since early December -all items with a Christmas Theme -and today, I started work on yet another Christmas themed table topper. This one is done in cross stitch (not the counted cross stitch though) and has one large poinsettia in each corner. Looks very pretty in the photo on the kit envelope so hope it turns out that way for me!

Mandy was under the weather last week -most of the week, as a matter of fact. She even called off sick on Thursday so anytime she calls of work, you know she's really feeling pretty low.

 Kurtis has been quite the chatterbox lately and many of his comments are really comical. He announced the other day to his mother "I'm really something, huh, Mom?" Yes indeed you are that -really some thing! He fell the other night, running through the living room, into the dining room where he went into a skid and bumped his knee on the leg of the dining room table. Crying, he calls to his Mom and she asks him if he can get up. He says "I'll try." And, he stands up then attempts to walk the 2-3 feet over to where she's sitting. But the walk was something I wished I'd had my camera right beside me and set on video -because his walking was hysterically funny as he tried to limp but was doing it so that it looked like his ankles (both) as well as both knees too were all buckling under on him! Mandy looked at his "ouchies" area and announced that we'd probably have to go to the ER because it definitely looked like he had broken his legs -both of them and every bone there! He looked at her questioningly then asked, "Will I have to get a cast?" and Mandy told him to ask me what I thought. Okay -it was obvious there was nothing broken -so no problems really -but I told him that yes, definitely would need a cast and on both legs from his feet up to his behind! Suddenly, the limping stopped and he was moving just fine and dandy from then on.

Yesterday, was a big day for Maya though as the Children's Choir was singing at the church service and she was to sing one verse of the hymn, "Jesus Loves Me" and one of the boys in the choir was to sing another verse so she was quite excited over the fact that she was going to have a solo performance then. I did manage to get a video of the kids and their number. Maya and the little boy -Noah -both did quite well with their solos but Kurtis apparently decided to jazz things up a bit and did his own solo -but it was a dance number. That boy just can not stand still, AT ALL!

Saturday evening though, Mandy had to go to Walmart to get her phone card renewed so she decided we would go over to State College and also, get something to eat over there. We decided on Crackerbarrel because she has been there before but I had not so it was a nice outing then for me. Had a nice meal, as did Mandy, and the kids both ate their food very well too -which means that there was very little reprimanding of their behavior at the restaurant. They were both fascinated with the decor in the place and especially the gift shop part! Maya was very interested in looking a baby items -especially some really cute little girl outfits in the newborn sizes and wanted us to purchase one of the little dress items for baby Lola -who should be arriving on the scene probably within the next 2 weeks or so. She's so enthralled with the idea that she will be an aunt to Katie's baby and can't wait now till the baby arrives. Most every Wednesday, she attends an after school program at the church across the road from the school and her TSS takes her there, then brings her home. After the school program is over, they almost always stop by the used clothes area at the church and inevitably, Maya comes home with at least one, sometimes several little baby items she has found there for a newborn baby girl! And she's so proud of her purchases too all of which, thus far, have actually been some very nice little items for the baby.

Saturday morning though, my son stopped by to have coffee and time to chat with me and his sister. He has a crazy sense of humor under normal circumstances but that morning, he was in rare form! His girl friend has three boys -twins, age 7 and  then, the younger boy who is a real live wire and is four.

Clate had both Mandy and I absolutely cracking up as he was describing the state of his house these days with those three kids, two dogs (both big dogs too) and I think at last count, they also have 3 cats too. Anyway, he says that there is no surface anywhere in his entire house that doesn't have a sticky surface to it now! Between the boys, the dogs, the cats -he also said that he's convinced if you move their sofa out from the wall to try to clean under there, there will be a horde of sticky aliens that will explode out into the room!

That last comment of his about the "sticky aliens" had me laughing periodically throughout the rest of the day as, out of the blue it seemed, I would suddenly have this vision in my mind's eye of what a "horde of sticky aliens" must look like escaping from their prison under the couch!

I think Mandy and Katie both had an overload of Inaugural activities on the TV today though as Mandy made a comment at supper that she was figuring on going upstairs to her room early tonight, and reconnecting up her TV set there because she felt that way she might be able to find something to watch that didn't involve the inauguration, the lunch, the parade and heaven forbid, the Balls too!

However, she ended up glued to the computer and her Facebook page and I fell asleep in front of the TV and totally missed seeing my normal evening viewing of reruns of The Big Bang Theory tonight! Drat! I do love that crazy show!

And that takes me up to now and it's time to go to bed!

Gonna go and hopefully have some pleasant dreams about the President's address today to replace my normal nightmares that I am back working as a waitress at the Truckstop!

Peace, All!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day's End...

Boy, I got so carried away this evening baking 4 dozen sweet rolls and 2 coffee cakes as well (coffee cakes are just bread dough rolled up and shaped like a wreath and then frosted) that I forgot I hadn't signed off the computer.

Until Mandy came home tonight and wanted to know what on earth I was doing looking at stuff online about guitars and stuff like. She asked me "What are you planning to do, go shop gibson hummingbird?

And at the mention of Gibson guitars and such, that perked Jeff's ears up then. I had no idea he was interested in guitars! Amazing the things you learn about people in really offhanded, round-about ways, isn't it?

Then he informed us that's what he'd like to buy. Yeah, right -you wanna buy that! I told him start saving and maybe you can buy it with your raise! (That's an old joke that's been part of my vernacular since the old days of yore when I worked in D.C. for a non-profit who shall henceforth be unmentionable here for my own reasons of secrecy! But that place wasn't at the time I worked there one of the better places to work, salary-wise, so we all (the gang I hung out with) always used to say about things we'd like to get that "I'll get it with my raise!" which meant simply you were never gonna get said item!)

So anyway, now I know Jeff has some pretty expensive tastes, for sure, doesn't he? But then again, if he does have any talent and would be able to practice a lot, study really hard and give it a whirl, who knows but maybe he'd be some big talent winner on American Idol (nah, too old for that now I think) but maybe one of the other talent shows on these days.

I think I'll stick to my original sentence to him that he can buy it with his raise!

And now, I think I'm gonna go collapse as my back and legs are killing me tonight from being on my feet from 6:30 solid until almost midnight!

This old lady is really ready for this day to end!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bake Tonight or Not?

That is the question rolling through my mind this evening -- should I mix up a batch of the sweet rolls tonight or procrastinate a bit longer -like until next week sometime most likely -to make some of these lovely treats.

I've said almost every day this past week now that my intentions -each day -were that I was going to back some Swedish Rye Bread, as well as the Sweet Rolls too. Okay, I did bake the rye bread but not until Friday night and I didn't finish that job until well after 2 this morning.

Now, since my plans had originally been to also make the Sweet Rolls -I know I could mix them up easily enough if I started right now and I could have these done well before midnight too as they don't take quite as long a time to make as does the Rye bread.

So, what's keeping me from fulfilling my plans for this week, albeit a bit late?

Ya know, I'll be darned if I know the answer to that question.

I think I'll just toss a coin and let "heads or tails" decide the answer for me.

Although, I really do think it would be better for me and all concerned if I just got my fat fanny up and moving and baked them tonight. That way, we could have some nice fresh homemade sweet rolls for a quick breakfast treat in the morning!

Yeah, that sounds like a good game plan to me!

This Has Alwayts Upset Me!

Wanna know something that irks me and has hit me in that way for many, many years now too? It's advertisements I get in the mail as well as on my e-mail -sometimes from insurance companies I already deal with, or from a bank or stock broker, etc. trying to get me to check out sites like this one or others that deal with IRAs and annuities and the like.

Why, you ask did this annoy me or why does it still bother me?

Mainly because for one thing -as is often the case about things like this -it is something I don't fully understand but that part is a minor issue.

It's really because what I do understand of these things is fine -a great way to try to insure financial solvency in one's retirement, sure -but for those like myself who never earned enough while working to even save a measly $100 bucks period (minimum wage and lower level paying jobs leave very little to put into any kind of savings, IRA or annuity, ya know), this was always something that was a bit out of the question then for me.

And now, that I am considered retired, it's definitely not an option for me.

And, furthermore, I wish these companies would not keep me on their mailings since I certainly never wrote and inquired about any of these services!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it too!

Boy's Night Out

Tonight, Mandy was asked by a very close friend of hers if she would be willing to come to their house and babysit for their two children -one of whom is near to Kurt's age and also, just happens to be autistic, as is Kurtis. Mandy's friend told her this would be the very first time anyone, other than a family member, has stayed with their children so they could have a night out, as a couple. Knowing how difficult it can be to have a sitter available that the kids are comfortable around and who also would be comfortable with one NT child and one autistic, Mandy told her she would be happy to stay with the kids for them. Because her friend's son and Kurtis are close in age and both have a lot of very similar issues -as well as little quirks too -Mandy arranged to take Kurtis with her for this outing. Her friend's son told his mother to tell Kurtis to be sure to bring his "Bear-Bear" -a combination stuffed bear/pillow which both boys have and it's their security item too. The really funny thing about the boys and their Bear-Bears is that both of them make chirping noises -almost identical! Imagine that, will ya!!! We were all quite amazed to learn that aspect about both the kids' Bear-Bears! To avoid a long, very elongated, departure and big scene, possibly a meltdown, when it was time for Mandy and Kurtis to leave, she hadn't told Maya about this adventure of hers tonight and which Kurtis was going to get to share with her. Darned good thing she did it that way too because we would have heard tons and tons of wailing and whining and gnashing of teeth for sure if she had told Maya this bit of news early in the afternoon. I'd probably be deaf by now! Maya wasn't pleased with the announcement -no sirree, Bob! Even when it was pointed out to her that last weekend, she got to spend two full days down in Lebanon with her Mom's bestest friend, Missy, and her family while Kurtis, poor little guy, got to have "quality" time here with Grammy. Not so sure that he considered that an equal switch there! Although, he and I had a very relaxing two days together, bonding a bit more and with no hassles from any big sister who thinks -most of the time -that someone has already passed the Queen Bee's crown on to her head! Thankfully, the irritation Maya had initially did pass and so far -about an hour to an hour and a half into the evening with Gram, Jeff, Cass and Anaveh, she's adjusting okay. Now, everyone say a prayer that it continues through when it is time for the girls to go to bed! (And yes, I know, I am quite the dreamer, aren't I? But, it could happen, ya know!)

Looking for Home Repair Stuff?

Now here's something I came across that we might need to look into for the house here but when I saw it, I thought at first about a couple -friends of mine since my school days (yeah, a long, long time ago, I know) -that they might be interested into looking into since they live just across the North Carolina-Virginia line.

It's this - replacement windows Hampton, VA.

As I think about this type of stuff with respect to this old house, I'd like to think that we shouldn't be in need of something like this -at least just not yet as I have had all new windows placed in this old barn of a house within the past 20-24 years so, one would hope, they would still be in good enough condition, wouldn't you?

However, a couple of the windows I had put in when the living room was redone are the type that wind out to open and they bring with them a problem I didn't anticipate when they were purchased and installed.

They create pretty large draft areas -especially the spot on the rim of the window where the lever is located that you use to open or to clamp shut the window! Well, as cold as it often gets in this part of the Pennsylvania mountains, any little gap when the temps are below zero outside can create a bit of an icy breeze in the room -especially if you happen to be sitting directly in front of one of those windows!

Expanded Vocabulary?

It's another weekend here and things are busy, yes -as we have company again. Jeff and his two young daughters are here.

Some weekends things go fairly smoothly with the extra two children in the house. Then there are other weekends that could be compared to being total disasters on the home front too. Kids do get into squabbles easily and also, often very frequently.

So far today, things haven't gotten too out of proportion. Although about an hour or so ago, Cass came downstairs, looking for her dad, as she desperately needed to tell him something.

What it was, actually, was the need to rat Kurtis out by informing her Dad that Kurtis "said a bad word."

As it turned out, when this happened, Jeff was unavailable as he was in the shower so Mandy said she could and would handle the issue.

So when Kurtis happened to come downstairs shortly thereafter, Mandy cornered him to talk to him about his behavior and she said that Cass had said he had said a bad word. (A whole lot of weekend life here does seem to involve lots and lots of "He said, She said" or "She said, She said" type of things ya know.)

Anyway, Mandy asked Kurt if he had said a bad word and, as is his norm, he said "Yes." (Most of the time, he's very honest about these lapses in his behavior.) So she asked him what words he had said and I know she was hoping it would be a misunderstanding of what words actually do constitute a :"bad word" as sometimes the kids do get a bit mixed up on that.

Unfortunately, this time, Cass was correct as he had used a bad word.

What was that bad word coming from this 6-year-old's mouth?


I have to confess it was really hard for me not to let out an audible snicker there as I was biting my tongue and my lip. Turns out, Mandy had the same problem with that confession of his too.

Neither of us is condoning his blueish vocabulary slipups, mind you, but the context in which he used it still seems a bit strange to both of us.

When asked why he said that to his sister and Cass, his response was because they had come into his room.

Hmmm. Not sure why he thought using that word was an appropriate response to the girls. Anyone else have any ideas why he would have chosen to say that one word to them?

Guess it's just something else of Kurt's little quirky responses to things.

Comforting To Know About -Maybe?

So, here I am on a roll here, doing a bit of a surfing safari and finding all kinds of nice, sometimes, strange and rather weird things but in general, most of my landings have given me some interesting, shall we say, fodder.

Virtually everything from soup to nuts -sort of.

Here's something that might be good to know if someone is having some employment issues though I would hope that no one would need to be in touch with Sexual Harassment Lawyers San Diego as that's a pretty sticky wicket to deal with, ya know.

Although during my working lifetime, I did have to deal with some issues pertaining to discrimination on the job front, none of it ever involved the sexual harassment, thankfully! But, unfair labor and pay practices back in my early working years was a prevalent thing then. Also, that was way before the Whisleblower Act came into being so if anyone tried to sue their employers back then, it could be really risky to your career potential even in a city as large as Washington, D.C. Amazing how long and how far an employer's arms can reach if a worker "crosses" their boss, ya know.

So anyway, here's hoping no one I know ever has to call on an attorney for help along the above mentioned lines with their job nor with any other kind of work-related problems either, for that matter.

Things That Work In The Middle of the Night

No, this is not a post about equipment that runs mainly during the hours normal people are asleep. Well, not exactly anyway.

But those of you who follow me know by now that I do tend to be a bit of a night person -a true "night owl" some might even say. I often say I really don't fully wake up for the new day until midnight or sometimes, not till well past midnight. But for whatever reason, I often do tend to function best, do my best work, at least near to or shortly after that "witching" hour of 12:00 a.m.

And last night was no exception to my standard rules.(Although, I had started on this project earlier in the evening -like about 7:30ish but it had taken a while to get the project to the point of completing it and that took me then into the wee hours of the morning.)

I baked a nice batch of Swedish Rye Bread!

And if I must say so myself, it turned out just beautiful too! I even have pictures to prove it looks great!

The last two pictures here are simply single shots of the two loaves -those in the traditional loaf shape -the kind of stuff most people are familiar with seeing.

The four round loaves in the first picture are what my homemade bread often looks like when I make it in the shape of the old-fashioned "Kaka" bread that many of those in these parts prefer for the Swedish rye or the Swedish White breads a few still make around here.

I'm sure I've mentioned the "kaka" breads from time to time before but just don't remember if I ever took any photos of it to show what it looks like to those who are unfamiliar with that particular item!

Normally, I only get 4 loaves of kaka or 4 loaves of the regular loaves when I make a batch of bread but last night, the bread raised so beautifully and shaped up so nicely too, that I was able to get 4 kakas as well as two loaves of the stuff baked.

Made me very happy, indeed it did!

Whenever I bake this bread, I usually save a loaf of kaka and take it out to an old friend of mine -she's 84 years young (in mind) but has a lot of issues now with arthritis so that prevents her from making any of the old favorite food items she, like me, loves so much. And she always appreciates my bread when I have a fresh loaf to drop off for her too!

That plus, a friend of mine contacted me prior to Christmas and asked me if I would consider making some bread for her and her family for the holidays. I was in a good -and semi-ambitious mood at the time, so I said "Sure!" She wanted two loaves of the rye bread in the :"kaka" shape along with two loaves of the Swedish white kaka bread too.

I had no fears about making the Rye bread for her as I've actually gotten fairly adept at making that product now -only took me what, about 9-10 years to get to that stage in my bread-baking. But the Swedish White kaka -that's still a bit of a scary entity for me to tackle. Probably because I just started trying to make it in the last 2-3 years and am not near as sure of myself with that product.

I don't understand why Kaka bread seems to be so fearful a task for those of us who are relatively newcomers on the home baked scene, but it is! The ingredients in it are just about like those in any other homemade white bread but something about it -maybe because to those of us who love it it seems more challenging or maybe it's the shaping of it, I really don't know. But the recipe I generally use when I do make the white kaka is one my best friend's daughter contributed to our church cookbook which we published last year and it is titled "Grandma Nelson's Homemade Kaka Bread" but I refer to it as "Krista's Prayer Bread" because the way Krista wrote up the recipe, she has inserts like every other sentence -or so it seems -to "Say a prayer" for this or that or some other thing throughout the recipe.

So when I made those four loaves of bread requested by this other friend before Christmas, you can bet your bottom dollar I did a whole lot of prayers for the success of that bread, of those white loaves, ya know. Thankfully, it turned out decently so I didn't embarrass myself with my product anyway.

After Christmas though, this same friend contacted me to ask if I would make some more bread for her -maybe sometime this month -so she could get some, freeze it and then, have it available whenever her tastebuds sent her a message to have some homemade Swedish bread!

The beginning of a little sideline business? Nah, highly doubtful. But a way to do something occasionally that actually brings me pleasure on several levels -as I do enjoy making these things, especially the rye bread -and also to keep my family well-stocked in the home made bread scene is pretty high now!

I'm thinking about mixing up a batch of bread today now to make sweet rolls. The recipe I use for that makes at least 4 dozen rolls and I make them filled with various goodies from cinnamon/sugar mixture to lemon curd or raspberry or apricot or walnut -so far, and then they are iced and to my tastebuds as well as to my family's too, looks and taste just like the sweet rolls you can get in the stores!

Love those rolls and the Rye bread too!

New Home -Need This?

A very dear friend of mine -considerably younger than I though -and her husband are in the process of building a new home. And, because I'm such a kind, sweet, generous with my time (especially computer time and searches) I found some information for her about new furniture she may want to look into for her children.

After all, a new home sort of calls out for new furniture, doesn't it?

Anyway, I found this place but, unfortunately, it pertains to kids furniture Los Angeles so probably would make for a pretty long shopping trip to make a selection plus, delivery might be very problematic too.

But knowing Niki and she knows me too and my ways and whims, she'd appreciate that I was at least thinking about her -as well as her husband Steve and children, Hayden, Emma and Max!

Cause that's just the way I am, ya know!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Vital Items

I'm sure I'm not alone when I grump and growl, complain and yes, bitch -a lot -about how difficult it is to keep up with the ever increasing food prices these days.

One thing that bothers me a whole lot though is the price of one of the main staples in this house.


The sad truth about coffee is not that we are drinking more of this but rather that it looks like we are drinking more.

It used to be if I purchased 2 cans of what was then, laughingly called, a 3 pound can of coffee -which it really wasn't because it only held 39 ounces and we all know (don't we) that there are 16 ounces to a pound so in actuality a 3 pound can of coffee should have contained 48 ounces and not the paltry 39 ounces. But, we adjusted to that, didn;'t we?

However, those cans -which we still refer to as 3 pound cans - now contain only 27.6 ounces of the black liquid which I rely on to get me started in the morning and through the day.

So, in the past, when I used to buy 2 large cans of coffee for our consumption each month, it usually was an adequate amount to keep us going.

Plus, back then, I could often find coffee on sale then too -the good brand names that I usually preferred -for even as low at $3.99 or $4.99 a can so when it was on sale at prices like that, I would usually try to stock up a bit and pick up at least 1, often 2 extra cans when I would do my grocery shopping.

Today's prices though are no where near those prices -often the prices are more than double that and for some brands and special flavors, the cost is about triple what it was and not that terribly long ago either. (I'm not comparing here back to what coffee cost 15-20 years ago, ya know.)

This has all come about in fairly recent years -this huge increase in something like coffee.

Figure it this way then, if I used to buy 2 cans of coffee with 39 ounces in each can and if today, I could still purchase coffee in containers that held that much coffee -and if say I paid $8.98 which is what a lot of the coffee I do tend to like now costs, that would mean I would be paying $17.98 per month for the amount of coffee we usually would use.

However, at today's sizes and prices, to get 78 ounces of coffee (or the equivalent to those so-called 3 pound cans), I would now have to purchase 3 cans of that size can which would provide us with only 72.8 ounces of coffee -about 5 ounces less than we would have had to use if the size of the cans had remained the same.

And at $8.98 (which is often a fairly "Cheap" cost today) I would now pay $26.94 for three cans of coffee to give me then not quite as much coffee as we use in a month but the increase in cost would be $8.96 more.

And, that's just an increase in coffee so who knows how much more all the other food items have gone up over the past couple of years. And how many people now have to buy more of an item to get the same amount you used to get but not realize it because the containers look to be the same size as before?

Some how, that doesn't look like a fair way of doing business to me. Just a bit of slight of hand -or slight of can!

A Maid Would Be Nice....

A very dear friend of mine from way, way back in time, and I communicate via Facebook almost every day. We compare notes about all kinds of things going on at this stage in our lives when we are each home all day long and have so much fun and excitement, ya know, to look forward too much of the time.

Much of that time the fun and excitement involves one of two things -housework or cooking! But I came across this today in my surfing travels and although I have no idea how close she lives to this area in North Carolina but just for the heck of it, I'm gonna mention to her next time she tells me about all the carpeting she has that needs vacuumed or shampooed, that she get her husband to let her look into dealing with Raleigh carpet cleaning.

Now I know if it were me and I had a choice about things like this, I think I'd much rather just have a maid but well, I know that will never be an option in my life and, come to think of it, neither would hiring even just a carpet cleaning crew.

One of the small advantages I guess there to having mostly all hardwood floors -even if they are in dire need of refinishing after a century of use, ya know.

Gray Day

Not my favorite kind of day today. Skies are totally gray, no other color at all even mixed in and it was raining -mostly a misty type rain, but rain, all the same. Some people really like rain. I'm not quite one of those people though! Not. Even. Close. I know we need rain and I can accept it on that basis a lot of the time. But rain, in the winter months, increases my feelings of the "blahs." And, the fact that I have no choice but to go take a walk in the rain because I have to take Sammy out for his twice-a-day (at least) strolls, makes exposure to this stuff mandatory then. So today, after several delays, a bit of procrastination on my part, Sam and I finally got ready to take a walk. He was really deliriously happy when he realized I was getting ready to go outside as I donned Mandy's multi-colored rainboot, my heavy jacket, tied a knit scarf over my head and ears and pulled the hood up on my jacket to further cover my head. I looked more like I was ready to head out into a blizzard. But thankfully, when we started out, the rainfall had subsided so the only time either of us got wet was from the melting snow on the roof as the water dripped off the overhang in front of the front door! We walked up to pick up the mail at our postal boxes -a rather fruitless trip in that all that was in our box was an advertisement for next week's sale items at a grocery store about 14 miles down the line from us. Oh well, at least it held no bills today so that's a bonus, isn't it? Be thankful for all things that come our way -the big and the small -and I'm trying to practice that some more today.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Questions and more questions

Here's something I really wonder about and definitely do not understand how this does work in some cases and in others, not at all.

If you are from this region you probably recall that a few years ago -I think it was 7 or maybe 8 years this past springtime, you may recall the District Attorney -Ray Gricar -in the county neighboring ours -suddenly and COMPLETELY disappeared! Just poof. One minute he was here, the next -gone like the wind!  'Although his daughter finally did have him declared dead due to the number of years he has been missing, it's still considered very much an active case on the records and information is still being gleaned too about this case from time to time. Just no luck in locating him, still.

One factor in this case that I don't comprehend concerns his laptop computer -which initially was missing and then, eventually was found in the murky waters of the Susquehanna River, near the little mini-mall where is Mini-Cooper was also located and which has pretty much been established as being the last known place where he was seen.

When the computer was found though, it brought a big stir of excitement that now, the FBI and really heavy-duty computer tech type personnel could take it apart and check the hard drive there to see any files stored on said machine.

However, that led to disappointment when it was announced there was no retrievable data on said lap top!

And this is where I get confused about this stuff.

It's an advertisement about something you can purchase to erase sensitive data from a computer and then reformat hard drive vista so no trace would be found of said data on said computer.

In the ad it also states that even when a person cleans and thinks they've erased all sensitive data, that a person with only basic computer knowledge may still be able to locate  one's really personal data and read it!

Well here's my question then. If one only need basic computer knowledge to search and find this kind of data, why couldn't the people with the FBI -supposedly the best computer tracking people in this country, perhaps in the world, find anything at all salvagable on Mr. Gricar's computer.

Or maybe he had a really early version of this program mentioned here above and had erased all his sensitive data all by himself?

Just wondering there as one side has to be correct and the other wrong -but which is it in this case?


Ah yes, it's that time of year again now too -time to untrim and take apart the Christmas tree.

Mandy had told me Sunday evening her plans this week, on her days off, included that one of those days she would be taking the ornaments and trimmings off the tree, taking the tree apart, stashing the tree stand, branches and that stuff in the box from whence it came as well as packing up the decorations from the tree too.

She had Monday off and also yesterday (Wednesday) but guess what was still standing, completely trimmed -lights, decorations, garland -you name it -today?

If you guessed the tree, you would be correct with that answer.

Earlier this evening (actually, late afternoon) as I was taking the biscuits I made to go with our supper (Sausage gravy over biscuits -nothing like a good breakfast item for the supper table, ya know), she announced to me she was going out to our church to do the weekly cleaning she does for the congregation.

Okay, fine but couldn't you eat first, while everything is still hot out of the oven, just off the stove?

Nope! She had to go get the church cleaned now as for her, the time was just right to do that.

About an hour later, she calls to tell me her brother just called her and asked her if she would be able to drive the 42 miles it is between where we live and where the office of the company he drives for is located and he needed someone to venture up there and pick up his paycheck for this week.

So he had roped her into doing the deed for him today.

And, because that will take her a considerable amount of time and she will then after picking up said check, have to connect up with her brother between 6:30 and 7 p.m. at Walmart to give him his check, she then asked if Katie and I would be so kind as to begin the job of defrocking the darned tree so she could finish it when she comes home.

Kate and I got all the ornaments off, the garland next, then the lights all onwound from the tree and rolled up into a nice ball for storage purposes. And we also removed all the branches to the tree and all that stuff is now laying out on the dining room table for her to finish putting it in the crates or totes she stores this stuff in.

She's never been one who liked dealing with the final cleanup after the Chrismas holidays and always tended to leave that job to dumb old fools -like me.

Except for the one year when I was swamped with work all through January and February -had no time off, or not enough time available to take down the trimming and the tree. I was putting in 70-80 hours a week during both those months and by March, it still hadn't let up much on m work front to do this chore of defrocking the tree. April came and my older daughter offered her little sister $20 to take it down and she refused that.

And that's when I got ticked off and said well, if it's too difficult for her to take it down for $20, then I sure as hell am not doing it for free and announced too that as far as I was concerned the tree could just stay up there the entire year then for all I cared. (Obviously, this was an artifical tree we were dealing with too, ya know.

My older grandson was small at that time -probably 3, maybe 4 years old -but whatever age he was, he was was smart enough to realize Gram still had her Christmas Tree up and it sure wasn't still Christmas. So one day, he asked his mother how come Grammy J still has a Christmas Tree up and doesn't she know Christmas has passed, a long time ago.

His mother just told him it's your grandmother and she's just a little bit loopy sometimes so just ignore it and pretend you don't see anything strange or out-of-place there.

I thought that was pretty good advice to give the kid, don'tt you?

And the nice thing is by keeping the tree up all year 'round, it saved me at least 2-3 hoursof time by not having to put the tree up again the next year!

My version of efficiciency.

This I Can Understand!!!

Ah ha! Finally. Something that I can follow, understand, see the usefullness for items like this too!

Just did a search for a link for an item - laptop computer carts - and although the message at the top of the page is a bit confusing -it says in essence this is the wrong page but yet, it's showing items I actually recognize and understand a good bit about how/why they are used too.

So there's yet another link I found that was actually rather easy for me to find and see for myself then too that I had something that fit the agenda anyway.

Sometimes, some of these searches leave me questioning a whole lot of things so I'm always happy though when something I understand is what pops up for me.

No problems finding it and no questions in my mind as to whether this is what is being looked for either that way.

Beautiful, Simply Beautiful!

I'm often a bit leery every day when I get my gear ready to take Sammy out for our first walk of the day.

Why? Well, because appearances outside may just be really deceiving.

It can be a sunny day in the wintertime here, and look really nice out but there often is quite the bite in the air if the temperatures aren't exactly in tune with the sun beaming down on the earth. Other times, it can look dark and gloomy -the deep winter type of darkness, ya know -and you go outside and are surprised that it may actually be a lot warmer than one would expect in say December, much less in January.

That's been especially true last year at this time and again, this year too as the way things look from the inside looking out may fool a person into thinking that it's warmer -or colder -than it appears to be.

Today though, was not a fooler day!

The sun was shining so nicely, I didn't notice any wind blowing the tree branches that are pretty much devoid of leaves now when I was getting my clothes ready to go outside but, because I've often been betrayed by the appearance of lots of sunshine accompanied though by low temperatures, I figured to be on the safe side I would need to wear my scarf, mittens and even a hat to be sure to be warm enough to walk Sammy.

Well, we stepped out on to the sidewalk and what a pleasant surprise it was to realize how warm theair actually was.

Granted it still had enough nip to it that it made my nose water and run but then too, that often happens to me in weather even warmer than it was today! But still, it was so lovely to walk with him and enjoy the bright sunshine, the beauty of the sun reflecting off the snow and glistening oh, so pretty.

Now, if only every winter day could be like this one was. Wouldn't that just be totally loverly?

Well, it sure would for me!

Confusing Stuff for Me!

You know I occasionally do assignments and try to help people find things on line from time to time. I don't know how good I am at this as it's usually just a one time shot for me to see what I can locate but sometimes, the stuff I come across in the process really does a bit of boggling my mind.

Today, my hunting around led me into looking for information on multiple monitor stands -which for me was a bit confusing as I had no clue exactly why anyone would want or need something like this, but anyway, I did find that one sight at any rate.

I'm still trying to envision how this would be a necessary item to have and in how many kinds of settings perhaps.

I really hate when stuff doesn't show much logic, at least not to my mind, of how it would be a good thing to have.

If you see the usefulness, let me know -just to satisfy my own curiosity, ya know.


This is something that has lingered within me for a long, long time but I really didn't know how to express it until today.

A friend of mine shared this YouTube video on Facebook and I absolutely loved -the music as well as the words -and for your viewing and listening pleasure I'll share it with you now too.

I hope you find it as lovely in all respects as I did.

And I really want to dedicate this message to all three of my kids and even to my grandkids, as young as they are, that should the need ever arise, to remember this song and the truth that it speaks through the words -and also the beautiful melody too.

You can always come home! Pay no attention to what Thomas Wolfe said about that topic! Mom knows better than anyone else that this can be done -to come home.

Love you all. 

Sometimes, I Really am a Mindreader....

This is gonna be one of those "I told you so" kind of posts.

Remember, I posted something right after Christmas about the kids and some gifts and music and such? I'm too tired tonight to go back and track it down and copy specifics from it but I do believe I mentioned in that post though about Santa apparently having a bit of few loose marbles in the gift selection department when he dropped off a childsize, but still viable guitar for Kurtis.

Especially given the fact that the kid is only 6 years old and no one here in the house knows diddly squat whatsoever about how to play a guitar so no one can even give him a teensy bit of a lesson, ya know.

I did however try to caution him that he should NOT be turning those buttons at the top of the neck of the guitar because they were very necessary to stay the way they were unless there were someone available who know exactly how to use them to make sure the guitar was "in tune."

Then I thought too -hmmm, How do I explain what I mean by something being "in tune" to this little kid?

As it is, I'm am just somewhat peeved because you see, apparently Kurtis paid no attention to my words of warning about tightening -or screwing with -those knobs at the top of the guitar neck because I see the first of those lovely strings has now been popped -just like a big old balloon ya know!

Oh well, live and learn?

Maybe next year, Santa might want to ask Grammie's opinion now and again.

Just saying.

Might As Well Laugh...

I have a tendency to try to find ways to make fun of what most other people tend to view as very serious, often more than a bit scary situations.

My theory is better to laugh at the crappy stuff life sometimes drops in our paths than it is to sit and cry!

Take today for instance.

It was an annoying day, then became a scary one and then, by virtue of looking at the situation through other lenses over my eyes -no, not quite rose-colored ones -but some other color besides rose or blue -by making a few -or a lot of -wisecracks too here and there, I'm in a much better place, calm and going to sit back and let what is gonna happen, just happen and pick up the pieces from there.

Here's what took place.

I had a doctor's appointment in Clearfield this afternoon to have my port flushed. (A port is a little thing inserted under the skin so doctors/nurses can have easy access to the patient involved for administering drugs and/or taking blood tests at times too -used often on cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.) Anyway, I have one of those things and once a month, I have to go have it "flushed out"so it doesn't get plugged or infected or whatever other things might possibly go wrong with them)

On my drive over in my "trusty" little old red jeep, I detected an odor emanating within the car but couldn't quite determine what the smell was. At first I thought because it was a bit overcast and I had cracked my window open a tad because I was smoking a cigarette, that it was coming from the diesel exhausts from the many trucks passing by me. But then, the smell got stronger and seemed to change a bit. By the time I reached Clearfield, it was smelling like a cross between oil and the scent left behind after you have just boiled dry a sterilizer containing 8 baby bottles and rings, lids and nipples for all eight of those bottles and the rings, lids and nipples have all melted into one black pile of hardened crapola in the bottom of said sterilizer.

Yeah -I did that, not just once, but twice. See what happens when you try to do something and fall asleep on the job?

So anyway, the smell was pretty bad.

I went in, had my appointment, came back out and started the jeep up and it sounded a bit sickish so I decided maybe, just to be on the safe side, I should stop by the garage where my ex-brother-in-law works as a mechanic and have him give the jeep a quick rundown and tell me what he would recommend I do next.

So away I went about 2 blocks over from the cancer clinic to Uncle Tom's garage and told him what had happened on my way over, etc., etc.

As we walked outside for him to give it a quick look-see, he was questioning me about the smell, about if the jeep had done this or that, how it sounded, etc., and by the time he opened the hood, he was already telling me he thought it was a problem with the 4-wheel drive on the jeep not disengaging properly or completely.

After reviewing a couple pertinent areas, he said he was positive it was a problem with the 4-wheel drive, that I would need 1 specific part to be replaced and that he felt I could drive home okay with it but advised me to take the back roads home instead of the interstate so I wouldn't have to drive near as fast with it that way.

And off I went -into the wild, blue yonder. Well, sort of!

The jeep was running -not smoothly but running and seeming to handle things as well as could be expected, I guess.

At the intersection to Kylertown, which is 4.5 miles from my house, a car passed me going in the opposite direction and the guy driving was blasting his horn at me. Something I thought rather unusual since I didn't recognize the vehicle at all and had no clue who the heck that might be.

About 1/2 mile to 3/4 of a mile on down the road, that same vehicle that had been blowing the horn, pulled up along side of me, blasting the horn, and a woman with him was yelling out the window at me, telling me "YOUR JEEP IS ON FIRE! YOUR JEEP IS ON FIRE!"

And as I tried to stay calm and quickly pull off the road and get stopped, without putting the jeep in a snowbank or a ditch in the process, I got it into park, turned off the ignition and as I began to unfasten my seat belt, I looked out the window in the driver's side door and saw FLAMES licking up the side of the jeep and half-way up the window!

Now that really did startle me a good bit -the sight of those flames, ya know! My first thought there was Holy Crap! How the Hell am I gonna get out of this damned thing?" I really couldn't see myself crawling across the console and across the passenger seat, calmly, and managing to get out on that side of the jeep without landing on my fat dupa, ya know!

But, Providence was with me and as the guy who had gotten me to stop came up by the Jeep, he grabbed the handle and opened my door and the flames had receded a tad so I was then able to hop out safely -grabbing the carton of cigarettes I'd purchased along with today's copy of the local newspaper!

Yes, I do have some priorities, ya know.

The good Samaritan then had his wife call for the Fire Department as he had no fire extinguisher on him nor did any others who pulled over to be of assistance and he admonished everyone there to NOT try to open the hood unless they had a fire extinguisher or until the fire department arrived on the scene.  (Opening the hood, exposing the fire to more oxygen -well, could have made for even more dire circumstances that already existed there.)

He loaned me his cell phone so I could call home and tell Mandy she was going to have to come pick me up and also, to explain to her the why and what happened, etc. Nothing like scaring the living crap out of your kid when you tell them to come pick you up, three miles from your home because you are waiting for the firetruck to arrive on the scene!

So, anyway, by the time the fire truck arrived, the fire had pretty much burned itself out then although, to open the hood, the had to pry the hood open because the hood release button wouldn't work then! After the firemen checked things over, wrote a report on the information I gave them, the main fireman on duty told me they would remain there with me until the State Police arrived on the scene to do an investigation -needed because this incident occurred on a state highway and the fire company had to file a report and they then also have to call it in to the state police.

Okay -no problem with that because I knew exactly where I had my insurance card, my registration card and my current driver's license too -and that all were up-to-date and as kosher as they possibly could be!

The state police arrived, the officer took a look at my poor baby jeep and shook his head saying "What the heck happened here?" My response was "Well, I made a rather unexpected landing!" Anyway, he looked over the jeep, learned we had already called for someone to come tow it to his garage, checked my ids and such and gave us permission then to have it towed and we could leave the scene.

So that's pretty much how I come to lead such an exciting life, ya know!

No, I don't really think it is hilarious funny that my jeep caught fire, burned and may end up being totalled. Yes I always carry both liability and comprehensive insurance on any vehicle I own too -and I do it mainly because of things like this that could come along and regardless of how low the value my vehicle might hold, it's still the only one I own and I need it and no, I definitely can't afford to pay repairs for anything that might happen to a vehicle I have in the event of an accident of any type that might cause high cost repairs -which means damned near anything today that happens to a vehicle though, doesn't it?

But, anyway, even though this does put me in a bit of a bind, regardless what the outcome in the end, I am not going to sit back and cry, piss and moan (as my ex-husband would say) but instead, I am going to make fun of the things the way they happened any way I possibly can!

Being able to laugh at some bad circumstances really does make the pain medicine go down much easier in the long run -regardless of how wicked that damned pain medicine might end up being!

If you can't find something to laugh at when things take a turn that at first glance may make you think all is against you, what the heck good  is there then in even going on?

Laughter truly is some of the best medicine ever and the only way I've ever found to get through a whole lot of bad situations, tenuous issues and problems I've experienced over the years.

Or, as I tell Kurt and Maya when they are upset about something 'It will be better before you get married again!"

So, have a chuckle or two on the precarious turn my life sort of took today and rejoice with me that it wasn't worse than what it is and no one was injured.

Just my Jeep is now "TOAST!"

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Brand Names

Just out of curiosity, how do you shop?

Do you search every nook and cranny for the best bargain price available or do your purchases have to be made at a store that carries only the top name brand merchandise?

Sometimes, I will venture into one of the fancier stores around here, but rarely can I ever find anything that suits my tastes as well as my purse. I might see things that I really LOVE but then, when I glance at the ticket price, I drop that baby like a hot potato, for sure. Granted, every now and again, if you have the time to comb those stores every day, searching their clearance racks, you can, from time to time, find something on sale that is actually affordable.

But who has the time available to go to these stores every day just to look around?

A few years back, when I was working away from home for several months, I took a job as a sales clerk at one of the large department stores in that area working evenings and weekends.

Though I didn't work every day (night) of the week, after a while, I noticed there was this one lady who came in virtually every shift I worked and always bought several things. After a while, I mentioned about how regular a customer she was to one of my supervisors and she laughed at my observation.

She's regular alright. She comes in every day and buys some stuff and then, the very next day, she brings it all back! Her interpretation of this lady was that she was a compulsive shopper in that she just liked the thrill of shopping but had no intention of ever keeping any of her purchases. To me, that seemed like a total waste of time, but then again, some people think the hours I spend embroidering things -that may take me weeks to finish -is also a waste of time too. To each his own I guess.

A while back, one of my kids was "fishing" -asking me various questions to try to get a bead on what I might like for my birthday or for Christmas. I hate those conversations because I really don't think about it as to what I want or need until something happens or comes up and then, oops -I don't have a thing to wear for this or that event. Know what I mean?

Well the subject of watches came up and it was suggested -since I no longer have a working wristwatch -that a nice watch would be a nice thing for me to receive. A sales flyer had come in the mail earlier that week from a jewelry store where my one daughter had worked part-time for several years and it was pointed out to me that they were having a big sale on Bulova watches and wouldn't one of those be just dandy for me?

Well, I looked over the brochure and yes, I did see several watches that were very attractive. However, there was just one small problem with those, in my opinion. I wouldn't be able to wear any of them!

I have this problem you see. It's called contact dermatitis and any metal that touches my skin -as in jewelry -bracelets, necklaces, earrings -will within a short period of time make that area itch like there is no tomorrow and break out then as well. So what's the point of paying a premium price for something for which you'll get no peaceful usage? Even if the item is on sale at a great price, there is no bargain there for me if it's going to cause me to break out in a very nasty looking, itchy, red rash.

I'm just as happy getting some little watch with a plastic type wristband -so long as the back of the face of the watch is covered with that same type of material.

That's my logic and I'm sticking to it!

A New Ritual?

Since each of the grandkids here first began to talk, Mandy and I both tried to work with them to say their prayers at night, before they go to sleep.

"Now I lay me down to sleep" -that familiar little prayer is the one we repeated to them, night after night, and slowly but surely, each of them began to pick up the words and memorized it.

During that time, we also made a point of having time to say "God Blesses" after the nitetime prayer and that too has grown considerably over the years with new friends, came new additions and with some losses of family and friends, a few other changes came about with that part of the prayers too.

Tonight, as the kids were ready to head off to bed, Mandy suggested to them -and to me -that we all say our prayers together tonight, in the living room.

This definitely was a  change of pace for them as well as for Mandy and for me too but we all agreed to do that.

How nice it was to say the little prayer together first and then, each one of the kids gave their "God Blesses" too -in which we all remembered our immediate family members, then extended family, friends and so on.

The kids always remember their grandfathers -Pappy and Poppy, Grandma Joy and Gram (Pappy and Grandma Joy are their Dad's parents and both are deceased and "Poppy" is what Mandy calls her Dad -who lives out in Nevada and has only been around these grandkids during about four visits to the East Coast but both kids remember his last visit last summer so now, they do have a person to associate with the name and the photos of him as well. They both remember to ask God to Bless Aunt Mike and Aunt Lizzie -my Dad's sisters and their great-great-aunts now gone. Kurtis doesn't remember them as he was too young but Maya still has memories of Aunt Mike in her mind, which amazes me.

Tonight, as I was the last to list my God Blesses, I told the kids that we needed to have God give a special blessing to a little boy, a tiny baby who is our cousin and who has a lot of medical problems. He's only a week old but was born with some severe heart issues and this past Friday, when he was a week old, he had the first of a line of surgeries he will have to have to correct this condition. I told them his name -Benjamin Levi Wagner -which kind of surprised them because Wagner is also their surname too but this baby is a cousin on my Dad's side of my family tree -The Hill side -and I had to explain to them then how we,. how they, are related to little Benjamin. Maya wanted of course to know Benjamin's Mommy and Daddy's name so I told her it's Holly and Garrett. I could see those names didn't register with her nor would the names of Benjamin's grandparents either -Sam and Brenda, much less when I told them his Great-Grandparents names are Arch and Norma Hill. When I explained then that Benjamin's great-grandfather and I are first cousins, Maya wanted to know about that. So I had to explain to her then that Arch's Daddy and my Daddy were brothers and that's how he and I are related then and are "first" cousins.

I know the explanation about the relationship there is a little over her head right now but I figure if I keep telling her about these things, she will learn about her roots and gradually, will come to understand who's who on each side of our family trees.

My plan thus is by doing that, hopefully I will put in place in her mind the roots for her to have a desire as she grows up to know all she can possibly learn about her ROOTS!

And in the meantime, tonight, it was evident that she at least (and probably Kurtis too) in the coming days will remember about this special prayer and why little Benjamin needs them very much right now!

I'm hoping too that by doing our evening prayers together maybe we will start our own little ritual too that will carry on with all of us for a long, long time as well.

Monday, January 07, 2013

I'll Have to Think About This....

Boy, sometimes you think you've heard (or seen) it all and then, out of nowhere, comes something else that sets you -and your mind -back a peg or two.

I've often purchased chapstick in different flavors, even in various colors too -and never had a second thought about any of those things.

But today, I came across something that really gave me pause -for sure -and I'm not so sure if I'd want to test it out, just simply based on the name of the product -chicken poop lip balm.

Just the name of this stuff kind of makes a person wary of what the heck it might contain in it but according to the ad I read, it doesn't contain any actual chicken poop. And that, to my mind, is a darned good thing.

But still and all, it kind of makes my stomach give a churn or two in the wrong direction.

Although, maybe it might just make for a pretty funny gag-type gift for that special someone in your life who enjoys getting strange things -kind of like this.

Would you try it?

End of an Era

This past Friday, this obituary was published in the local newspaper here.

What sad news to see that one of the nicest and best teachers our local school district has ever had was gone from our midst.

"Mr. Link" -as most of his former students called him -was one of my teachers -way back when I was in high school. He was the Health teacher my classmates and I had for our Freshman year health class and also taught History back in my day then too so I later had him for my Problems of Democracy class my senior year and I think he also taught our Junior American history class too.  That was a long, long time ago ya know so I'm not totally sure if my memory is correct about the American History class, although I can't think, offhand, of anyone else who might have taught that class.

He was such a nice man though is one of the things I remember best about him -very quiet mannered but with a great sense of humor too.

He often would regale his classes with stories about when he was in the service and served in Japan but those comments always began by him saying "Well, when I was in Jaaaa-Pan -elongating the pronunciation on that country's name and when we heard him say that, all ears were turned to pay attention to whatever story he had for us that day then. It was a good attention getter, for sure.

He also used to do this little trick he had too where he would wiggle his ears and then, make his Adam's apple bounce up and down at the same time which was so silly it would also get everyone to giggling in class then.

It still didn't stop his students from occasionally acting up in class but I think we knew too how much we could safely get away with in his classes -just how far we could dare to push that envelope -so we had our fun and still managed to learn a lot in his classes at the same time. Enjoying one's self doesn't keep kids from learning -just makes the medicine go down easier, I think.

I have to confess that I too was one of those students who did like to do things from time to time to prank a teacher and Mr. Link was one of those that I dared to do things like that in his class.

I remember one time he was a bit peeved at my best friend and I back then one day and to punish us, he told us we had to write every word in whatever chapter we were on in our class that particular day/week. So she and I, decided okay, we would do that. But, what we did was to write every word down, yes, but we wrote it as one continuous word with no spaces, no punctuation, no capitalization, etc. A trick we thought was pretty good to pull on him and which, when we handed that paper in to him, he took one look and just shook his head at what must have taken us way longer to copy that out in that manner. Another teacher would probably have thrown a hissy fit with us but not him.

My kids -who went to school in the same district as I had but by that time, they went to a new school and not the small high school building I had attended. But for me, it was nice and fun too, to listen to them come home and tell me some of the things he said from time to time to their classes too. He still used the ear wiggling and Adam's apple bobbing trick along with the stories about "When I was in JAAA-PAN too and they enjoyed his classes every bit as much as I had -twenty plus years earlier.

Today, I think there are three teachers I had in school still living -all three are women. One was my teacher for 5th and 6th grade who now resides in an assisted living facility near here. She just wasn't able physically to continue living alone, on her own, but mentally, she is very alert and remembers her former students from over 60 years ago almost like it were yesterday. The other two ladies -one was my Art teacher, the other taught typing -are both doing quite well too.

My former typing teacher is a mega history buff and she is my "Go To" person when I am writing anything about local history because if she doesn't know or remember something, not too many avenues are left to find answers to that type of question in this region! She's also one of the busiest people I know too -always active in something, somewhere and on the move!

We should all be so lucky to reach almost 90 years of age and be that healthy, shouldn't we?

I recall very fondly when my classmates and I celebrated our 40th Class Reunion fifteen years ago and we had that reunion at the home of one of our classmates. We invited any of those teachers we'd had 35 years earlier to attend and Mr. Link was one who showed up. I'll never forget the hush that went over the crowd when they recognized him walking across the large field to our location and those from my class then began to line up, single file, and each one walked up to him to shake his hand and greet him and finally showed the full respect we had for him when he taught us but which we would never probably would have shown back then. It was an awesome sight to see each one do that, and to thank him then for all he'd done for us in his position as our teacher.

I scanned this clipping from the newspaper into my computer and posted it on my Facebook page as well as on a special Facebook page  -called "Grassflat Grown" -where those interested in local things, events, sharing memories and such -can go to read up on some things like this.

In doing that, it really made me feel good to see how many people had visited that page for openers and viewed his obituary and even more so, to read the comments left behind there in tribute to him.

Seems I was very far from being alone in my sentiments about Mr. Link.

May he have a peaceful journey and rest in peace, knowing perhaps how much of an impact he had on so many of his former students.

My condolences go out to his wife, children and grandchildren.

Help Needed -For Me!

Boy, what a way to enter the New Year!

Sniffles, a little scratchiness in the throat but nothing that seemed too dire -at least not at first -and then, boom! The sucker hits me!

Sort of like a head cold but slightly different although not the flu, thank goodness for that small favor. Just a head that was so stuffed up last week that I thought I was going to have it explode on me at times!

Garnered some allergy-type/cold tablets and some nite-time cold/cough meds and finally, today am feeling mucho better. Only lost the better part of the week after New Year's Day in the process but at least I'm still around to talk about it!

Now, I'm so far behind -and I was already VERY far behind last week when this junk hit me and sure didn't need anything to slow me down any more, but it did. Boy, did it ever!

Other than leaving the house at least once a day (occasionally when the weather wasn't too nasty, I'd go out a second time later in the day) to walk the dog, Saturday night was the first I ventured out to do ANYTHING outside the house all week.

And then, that was to make a run to Walmart with Kurtis along -since he and I were the only ones home over the weekend -so that we could go get something to eat as I sure didn't feel much like cooking anything just for the two of us -and I also had to pick up a couple of items needed as well.

We came home with the purchases I go -one of which just happened to be a skein of yarn, bulky-knit type yarn, in a deep burgundy shade that Kurtis selected for me to make him a pair of mittens. Sunday morning when he got up, one of the first things he said to me was "Where are my new mittens?" Hmmm. The boy must think Grammy is some kind of speed demon knitter apparently. I informed him that I had to find a pattern to use to make them and that, plus the fact it does take a little bit of time to knit those things, but I would get on that task as soon as I could.

He nodded understanding of that and began to walk away but then, as an afterthought, turned and informed me, "Well, I need a scarf too, ya know!"

Alrighty! I'll get right on that too, my dear!

So here I am now with one mitten finished but not enough yarn to do the second one much less a scarf, so I'll have to have Mandy pick up some extra yarn today for me when she goes over to Clearfield for an appointment she and Maya have there today.

Tomorrow night, I have a meeting to go to at church -for our Women's group -and one of the things I need to discuss with them is how things are proceeding with the sales of our Cookbook. A year ago, our group published a cookbook -a very nice piece, I might add too -as it has 586 recipes in it of all types of foods but with a lot that are of the Swedish ethnicity (which is a bit prevalent in our church) and it's in a beautiful 3-ring binder that has a cover which is easy-to-clean washable. Some really great recipes in it.

I'd like to find a way to market the book better now though as we ordered a reprint in November of this book and I don't want these extra copies sitting around here too long, taking up space when they could be put to some good use in someone's home. Maybe I need to sign up for triangle direct media reviews to get some extra publicity out there about this cookbook!  Need to do something, that's for sure!

Here's a picture of the cover of our cookbook. Just so you know I'm telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how pretty our cookbook is!

If this appeals to anyone out there today reading my lovely blog, feel free to let me know and I can give you all the particulars about this literary masterpiece -actually "culinary masterpiece" I should say -and how you too can acquire a copy of this cookbook for yourself or for a great gift for anyone on your list -birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, moving out, moving in, etc., etc.!

Okay, now time to move on to a few other things and try to get my year revamped and off to a different start, a week late, but better late than never, I guess!