Saturday, March 30, 2013

Grandkids! Such Fun (most of the time)

Sometimes, the things that the grandkids do and say here really provide for a whole lot of entertainment!

Today -since the kids didn't have school because of it being their Easter Vacation -was a day with some really funny things coming from Kurtis!

Thankfully, his TSS -Miss Dawn -was here for much of the day, working with him and trying to help keep him in line, on the "straight and narrow" behavior path, ya know. So compared to a lot of other days, it was actually a pretty good one with him.

It started this morning though when I was in the bathroom and noticed that the roll of toilet paper on the holder was wet. So wet in fact, that you couldn't find the end of the sheet to get any paper to use!

Hmmm. Wonder how that got that way was the thought going through my mind and what was it that was the wet substance there anyway? (A bit scary ya know when you encounter a situation like that!)

Well, I took the wet roll of toilet paper off and replaced it with a fresh -and dry -roll and then, when I exited the bathroom, I called out to the grandkids to ask which one of them had managed to get the roll of toilet paper all wet?

Maya gave me her standard answer to most any query made to her about anything that has happened in the house or to or about Kurtis as she called down to me that she had nothing to do with that.

Kurtis didn't respond immediately but a few minutes later he came downstairs and informed me that it was his fault the toilet paper got wet.

Okay -so he 'fessed up but then I asked him how that had happened -and also, where he got the water that got it all wet too?

His explanation -as many of those things tend to be with him -was pretty convoluted here and there and I had a hard time trying to keep a straight face as I listened to him tell me the what and why of the wet roll of toilet paper.

Seems he wanted to surprise his Mom and make a paper mache for her because "the giraffe was getting kind of bent, ya know."

Hmmm. What giraffe? I had no idea that we had even a paper mache giraffe here to begin with but he apparently knows of one and well, it needed to be fixed so instead of fixing it, he had decided he needed to make an elephant paper mache to give to his Mom when she got home!

By that time I was really totally confused as I had no clue what in blazes he was referring to!

However, as I mentioned to Miss Dawn and also, noted this on my Facebook status when I wrote about this episode with him that I was quite pleasantly surprised not just that he planned to make a paper mache elephant out of wet toilet paper but also, that he had taken the roll off the holder, held it under the spigot in the vanity sink and then, put it back on the rod and put the rod back onto the toilet paper holder too!

Actually, I was shocked that this 7-year-old had done that considering the fact that there have been several people who have resided in this house over the years -adults, mind you -who didn't have a clue as to how to take an empty toilet paper roll off the rod and replace it with a full roll of paper and then, also, to put the whole thing back on the holder too!

One of the little things in life here that frequently has annoyed the living daylights out of me!

Apparently this paper mache thing  was something that was uppermost in Kurt's mind though as he kept talking about making this gift for his Mom and trying to explain the ins and outs of what would be needed to do that and would either Miss Dawn or Gram help him gather the materials he felt would be needed.

I told him it sounded to me like making something like that would probably result in making a big mess and if that happened, he would be the one who would have to clean it up and did he really want to do that?

Well, he wasn't too sure about that so kept on badgering us about this subject.

Then he started looking all around in the kitchen -opening cupboards and checking things on the counter, etc., and muttering he whole time about there being something wrong here. Miss Dawn asked him what was wrong and he said that it was "Someone is taking my objects and this is very strange!"

I had ti laugh then when Miss Dawn's response to him was that yes, she agreed with him that it was very strange here but that she thought it was him who was the one who was a bit strange!"

He then told her he was searching for a frozen rubber band that he had apparently put in the freezer -for what reason, neither Miss Dawn or I have no clue as to what he would want/need with a frozen rubber band. However, I have been on the lookout all day long then for this mysterious missing frozen rubber band and still trying to figure out what the heck he was thinking of with that idea!

Suprisingly enough the bulk of the day though actually was pretty peaceful in that there was very little squabbling that took place between him and Maya today. And any day they are both here -together -all day -and they don't have a whole lot of bossiness going on to him by Maya or pushing/shoving/hitting in his direction from Miss Maya is considered pretty much a day sent straight from heaven!

Now, I wonder what Saturday -and also Sunday -will bring!

Source of Irritation!

I have a problem I need to discuss.

Well truthfully, I have a whole lot of problems, I know, but there is one area that causes a lot of conflict and irritation for me as well as for my family too.

I've not had any tests run for this but I strongly suspect I may have some hearing loss.

It's annoying as all get out for me not to be able to hear things right the first time someone says something -or when I am watching TV or listening to music -I often miss a lot in conversations especially because of this issue.

My family gets very irritable about this too because the don't like having to repeat things to me and I get just as upset and irritated by not hearing things the first time too.

A friend of mine from way back in my school days posted a little blurb the other day on Facebook that hit home with me. It's just one of those quips that folks on Facebook often post but I'm going to share it here with you now.

Don't listen to people who say you are old----- Just let it go in one hearing aid and out the other.

My response to that was would be a good idea but just need the money for the hearing aid!

 A couple of years back my ex-son-in-law got me one of those little inexpensive things that you can put in your ear and be able to hear what's on the TV or radio without having to jack the volume way up. It did work, somewhat for me except I couldn't get the darned earbud to fit properly. The thought behind that gift was actually a hint I think that I have the volume up too high on the TV set much of the time, but it's either that or learn to lip read!

I wonder though if -for my purposes with respect to watching TV -would something like some ultra powerful headphones perhaps be a wise investment of sorts?

Not that something along those lines would eliminate my issues in asking people to repeat -again and again sometimes -what they have said to me or asked me -but at least it might make live easier on others around when I'm trying to watch a program on TV or listen to some music perhaps without making others feel like they are going to be blasted out into outer space on the sound waves alone.

Any thoughts on this? Feel free to say your piece. At least a comment here won't have to be repeated over and over, would it?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rock Star Clothing?

This week, my daughter went down to the Harrisburg area to spend a day or two with her best friend since the girls were in kindergarten and in her going there, she left me in charge -sort of -here with the kids.

I say "Sort of" because she made arrangements with Katie -her stepdaughter -to come down with her little baby girl -the lovely Miss Lola Rae -so Gram wouldn't be totally on her own with Maya and Kurtis.

Yes -in other words -a babysitter for Gram too now you know!

It was a bit of a strange set of circumstances though as on Sunday, she asked me if I had any plans for Tuesday night, which is really a joke to ask me if I have plans for any night of the week considering one Tuesday night every other month, I get to go out by myself -sort of -and attend what has over the winter months become the bi-monthly meeting of our church women's group! (Normally we would meet on the first Tuesday of every month but over the winter months, we changed to where we meet every other month, instead of monthly.)

So anyway -as you can see by that, my social calendar is pretty much null, void -EMPTY!

So she then informed me since I had no plans, I would be babysitting Maya and Kurt. Now how is this really any different from any evening when she has to work the afternoon/evening shift for me to watch the kids? It's not, not really.

But then it wasn't until Monday evening when I happened to see a notepad on the kitchen counter by the coffee maker with all kinds of instructions as to the kids -getting them up, dressed, ready for school, meds to hand out, etc., etc. And the closing lines were "I'll see you on Wednesday as I should be home before the kids get home from school.:

That's how I found out that she was going to be gone overnight. Then, I learned -eventually, that Katie and Lola would be arriving sometime Tuesday afternoon after Kate's doctor's appointment.

Okay -that was no big deal either -just sent Kate a message as to what she had in mind, if anything in particular, for supper and she replied -"Something with pierogies, maybe?" Her taste buds and mine frequently run along on the same wave length and for that, I am very grateful too!

All went pretty well Tuesday evening -kids got their homework done, bath time, ready for med with no issues at all.

But, Wednesday morning, things almost went down the tubes as I was slow to wake up, for openers so when I did get up and start getting the kids moving to get dressed, the instruction sheet that had been left for Kate (and for me too) turned out to be incorrect.

On the sheet, it said that there would be clothes on the cabinet in the bathroom laid out for the kids to wear to school today but unfortunately, she forgot to lay said clothes out there before leaving!

Now that set off a few alarms in my head right then because that meant I would have to go upstairs and deal with the moods of each on of the grandkids -and believe you me, when it comes to selecting what to wear, those moods can get pretty bad -and sometimes very black, sometimes also very tearful too!

Maya was up and awake, seemed in a fairly good mood too so I told her we had to go get an outfit for her to wear to school but it would have to be a speedy selection as we didn't have time to mess around and definitely no time to deal with a tantrum either. Lucky for me, she was quite agreeable and we settled on a shirt and slacks almost immediately!

WOW! One down, one to go and I was on a roll with the Diva in the house so lets go get Kurtis up!

Some days when he gets up, he is as sweet as coconut cream pie can be -if you can equate a mood to something yummy like coconut cream pie but I figure you know what I mean there.

However, Wednesday morning wasn't going to be one of those coconut cream pie days apparently as he started to whine and I could sense he was building up to a bit of loud crying and wailing so I told him he had to be very, very quiet so as not to wake the baby -Litle Miss Lola -up and make her cry. To my surprise, he began to calm down a good bit when I told him that and actually was talking to me in his version of a whisper -which isn't really a whisper -more like a sort of loud but not really loud stage whisper if you can envision that!

So I rummaged around in his closet and found a pair of jeans for him and got him started to undress and put the jeans on while I was looking for a shirt for him to wear. He's not usually near as fussy about his apparel as his sister THE DIVA is -but he can be a bit picky too at times and of course, you know don't you, today was going to be one of those picky times! We finally settled on a tee shirt he liked and got it on him only to have him start the whimper/whine stuff again as he informed me he couldn't wear this particular shirt today after all because "There is snows on the ground Gram so I has to wear a long-sleeved shirt today!"

Okay -take the short sleeve shirt off and back to the long-sleeve shirt drawer to see which one he would decide would work for him today. I picked one out -I think it was a John Deere shirt (which he usually likes those pullovers) and he informed me no, he couldn't wear that shirt to school today "cause the other kids will think I'm a rock star!"

Yep! All the other kids would think he was a rock star! Where in blazes did this come from any way?

Needless to say, I lost it on that one. No, not my temper but I broke up completely over that comment!

We did then finally find another shirt that he approved of and he was dressed, got a bite of breakfast and time then to get the coat, hat and mittens on and be ready to roll when the van arrived to pick him up. To save a bit of time, I was putting his jacket on him as he was polishing off the last bites of his cereal and then, had to hunt down his mittens and a hat -which apparently had gone into hiding overnight. Finally -mittens found -actually finger gloves in a dark blue with Spiderman on the top of each glove and which gloves he managed to put on upside down so the Spiderman was on the palm of his hands and which, thankfully, he didn't notice that or that would have put us even further behind, you see. Then came the hat -which we couldn't locate one of his -and he has many hats to pick from but they all seemed to be in the missing clothing department today too so I grabbed a knitted hat that my cousin had sent me to keep my bald head warm back in my chemo treatment days and pulled it on his head. It wasn't anything really ultra-feminine -a nice heavy knit cap, cables in a red and black verigated yarn and that's how I sent him out the door to get on the van then!

When he came home from school this afternoon, as he was taking of his jacket, gloves and hat, he handed the hat to me saying "Here's your hat back, Gram!"

I'm so glad he didn't figure that out in the morning before I got him out the door and on the van or there would have really been hell to pay if he thought then he was wearing female clothing to school. But as it turned out, by the time he came home he knew that and was actually rather polite about the whole situation then too!

Kids -never know what the heck avenue they're gonna take, do ya?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bad Moon Rising?

Okay, in truth, this post has nothing really to do with the moon -except for the fact that last night, when I walked the dog, it was just about dusk -not really much light out and not really dark yet either. But as I walked down the road with Sam, all of a sudden, there it was -the moon -just shining as bright as can be over the tree tops.

When I first saw this, it looked more like it was the sun -a huge yellowish orb, not the white one we tend to be accustomed to seeing in the night sky.

As Sam and I walked maybe 10 or 15 feet further along, the tree tops then blocked my view of the moon completely. That is until I got down on the dirt road, along side of the beginning of the wooded area and then, I could see it again but not the fullness of it as it was partially obliterated by some of the other trees -maples and oaks -whereas when I first spied it last night, it was initially the pines and hemlocks that were blocking my view.

It was a very pretty site though -okay, in my viewpoint, I thought it to be a downright awesome sight to see. If I were a bit of a superstitious person though -considering how my day was yesterday, how it went today and how it's been very up and down (VERY) lately, I would be inclined perhaps to regard that moon last night as a bad moon rising.

Tonight -it's no where to be seen -unless you could the bit of a glow -an aura maybe -of moonglow enough to give slight light but not the skies very cloudy and covering the actual moon that way.

After the sky last night seeming so bright, so lovely, could have been picture perfect had I had my camera -or better yet, a camera that would be able to handle a picture such as what I saw, which mine really isn't capable of doing something like that -tonight's sky is really on the drab and dreary side but then again, that pretty well matches up with my mood tonight then oo.

So I guess one could then say it was an appropriate sky I suppose.

I came back in tonight from walking Sam and sat down to check my e-mail, Facebook, do some other things on the computer too. At this hour, the only voices I hear are those from the tv program -not children fighting or wanting something, no one to converse with of the adult nature either although there is another adult in the house. Sometimes, even though there is someone else here that I could engage in conversation with, that rarely comes about as there are others she would prefer to communicate with online or on the phone and thus, leave me to my own devices. (Which, I confess, sometimes amounts to my pretty much then just talking to myself. So far though, I don't usually answer myself in those chats so I guess that's a good thing isn't it?)

So anyway, I'm checking out some of the e-mails in my inbox and come across one that caught my eye and I decided, what the heck, take a look-see at the url.

I'm supposed to be watching my food intake, keeping the carbs down is supposedly the thing I am really supposed to be doing but who the hell can do that anyway? I mean -how do you measure angel hair spaghetti with homemade meat sauce anyway -especially when that happens to be something I do dearly love to make and eat and which the kids will still eat too -no change in that item on their palates -at least not so far.

So this site that I went to anyway has special dinnerware that can be purchased to keep one's intake under some semblance of control by use of a preciseportions ceramic portion control plate.

This did look interesting enough and stirred my curiosity a bit so I explored the website about this and some other products pertaining to the portion control stuff. Mainly though, I was hunting for pricing information about perhaps getting just one dinner plate perhaps. But it took me virtually forever -or so it seemed -before I finally came across a page that had some data on it as to the costs of the portion control things.

Sad to say -at almost $20 for one dinner plate it's not likely to become part of my collection of dishes any time soon, that much is for sure. I already have more than enough items of a mismatched variety of plates, cups, saucers, etc, and sure don't need to shell out that much for one more.

I keep measuring my own food out the way I've always done and keep walking the dog at least twice a day -sometimes more -to try to work off a bit of the overbalance of carbs in my system!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Normalizing -a Bit

I'm still contending with the anxiety and depression but thankfully, things are starting to sort of level out at least a little bit.

Yesterday though, something happened that although it may seem a bit unusual, but it did help to turn my thoughts around somewhat.

Actually, it made me howl laughing!

What was this thing that had me totally cracking up, laughing out loud -yes, howling I was laughing so hard?

A video -a simple youtube video!

An old high school friend of mine -knowing nothing of the issues I've been trying to cope with here of late -sent this video to me and I can honestly say I can't remember when I laughed as long and as hard as I did watching the video he sent and then, more video trailers from this show that is apparently on the BBC.

Have any of you ever heard of, ever seen any of these videos about Mrs. Brown's Boys?

If you haven't, you're missing some of the funniest stuff ever! Granted, the language in these is definitely very ADULT language -not for the faint of heart who nevers lets fly with a cuss word here and there -or a lot of cuss words -because yes, these videos do have a  lot of bad language in them.

But they are so hilarious and honestly, for me, it totally turned my day around.

I'm posting the link here to the video my friend sent me. If the use of certain four letter words is offensive to you, I wouldn't really recommend your viewing it. But if you can watch and listen and overlook those four-letter words, I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar you'll be laughing as hard as I did when I viewed this one -and several others too after watching this!

No, it didn't make the things that are constantly on my mind and which are playing some not-so-nice head games with me these days disappear but it did give me a great big bright spot and was the absolute high light of my day. 
Maybe, just maybe, it will do the same for you too!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Irksome Things!

Do you have any pet peeves that really make your eyes roll backwards and you see red and just want to explode all the anger and venom you're trying to keep hidden beneath your conscience level?

I've got probably a kazillion of them and sometimes, it seems they are fighting between themselves to find an escape avenue and get loose for me to vent when obviouisly, I shouldn't do that!

Where to begin though with my big list of things that would or could easily turn into a majorly massive rant?

I think I'll start with applying for jobs! If I could have even just a dime for every job application I applied for between 1972 (when I moved back to PA) and oh, about 1988, I could probably have a pretty healthy monetary accumulation there because of all the job apps and resumes I sent out in that period of time, I got called for an interview to three of them. The rest -well they apparently got lost in the mail as I never even got a post card saying "We got your application but your resume and qualifications simply suck so no interview will be forthcoming!"

I was always looking at employment ads from all over the place -this region and several other regions fairly nearby too that would mean a commute but wouldn't take me any longer to make a 40 mile, one-way, commute here that it used to take me to drive 10 miles from my apartment in the Maryland suburbs to my job downtown in D.C. So I could never understand employer's and their bias in that respect.

I had one guy -where I had applied for an office managerial type position tell me he was concerned I couldn't handle the multi-phone lines and how could I prove that to him. I compared it to waitressing and how you have to carry, in your head, who is going to need coffee freshened up, who has their salad or appetizer to come out, who else has a dinner order in and you're waiting for the cook to call you to take that out, whose table need completely bussed off and reset and who has some dirty dishes sitting by the edge that you need to pick up and deposit in the cart to be washed. All of these things are unwritten anyplace on your pad to help you remember who needs what but you do have to manage to get as many of those done smoothly and be friendly and efficient in the process -pretty much like answering a multi-line phone in my opinion. He didn't see it that way and told me there was no correlation to that kind of multi-tasking and phone skills. There was one job that went down the tubes.

Another potential employer -who actually interviewed me -told me that he felt I had every qualification he was looking for except for one small item he saw as a problem. The job was 35 miles from where I live and he had two other workers in the office and he needed someone who could be there, every day, on time at 8 a.m. and he knew, where I live that we often get hit with some wicked weather in the winter and he felt I wouldn't be able to handle that aspect. I informed him in the years past when I had worked in that region I only missed one one time -for three days -and that was because my car froze up and it took my ex-husband that many days to get it thawed out so it would start again. However, I then learned a couple weeks later he hired a girl fresh out of high school, who lived back in the boondocks like I do but she lives even further back than I do. Plus, I had worked with this person at the truck stop as a waitress and she had a bit of a penchant for calling off 15 minutes before the start of a shift which made getting a replace pretty much next to impossible. But then too, I'm not 5'6' and very curvacious, not exactly a raving beauty at all you see whereas she was built like the proverbial brick S**thouse and pretty as the day is long too. So much for not wanting to worry about a punctual employee after all I guess.

Another little tidbit that really pisses me off is when people ask me if I'm working and I tell them no. Immediaely, many of them, knowing I went to college as a very old returning student and got my BS degree at age 50, will then tell me "Well, why don't you go to work here or at this place or some other place?" Nice thoughts there folks but one sort of has to garner an interview first in order to maybe get hired was the way I was told that process operated! Those people I really wanted to smack them in the face and take a cinder block to their thick heads too!

I actually got brave after a 10-year-hiatus from applying for work due to various medical issues that now have somewhat better under control back in October. Much to my pleasant surprise, I even got a call to come in for an interview. This job was to be where you work with clients who have various difficulties, need sometimes just someone with an empathetic ear to listen to them, maybe provide some advice, etc. too and they wanted someone with a Human Services Degree -which I have -a B.S. in Rehabilitation Education /Counseling -and there are very few things I haven't had happen to me over the years raising three kids as a single parent, dealing with child support issues, an alcoholic ex-husband who was also frequently mentally ane emotionally abusive (along with a few go rounds on the physical aspect of abuse too), I worked two jobs for well over 20 years while trying to keep my kids in school and on the straight and narrow, had my house -the upstairs part -go up in flames one night and my 2 younger kids and I lived in a motel -1 room -for almost 4 months while the house was being repaired. I've dealt with the lunacy behind several government programs that, in theory are very good but in reality, do suck for the way they are administered. Won't go into detail on that now but trust me when i tell you some of their requirements were downright idiotic!

I had problems with my kids in school which I didn't know then but have since learned were because my son was ADs (Attention deficit syndrome) -didn't learn about that till I was in college and he was in the military by then. And now for the past 7-9 years, I have been learning, first hand, about working with kids with autism too because as you already know, my two younger grandkids both have that disorder!

Now wouldn't you think that expertise, knowledge in that many diffierent aspects of life, plus having the college degree and okay, also 68 years under my old belt to boot, would surely give me an edge in being hired over a girl no more than 26 years old who has no degree, supposedly is studying accounting and even had the audacity to come and ask me to help her turn out her papers for her classes!

And people wonder why I have an attitude at times!

Right now, I'm am very depressed for various reasons. One, being the loss two weeks ago of one of my very bestest friends ever -a lady who never failed to make me laugh, never failed to have or find good words to say too -after she got done harassing you, just the best, sweetest, funniest, zaniest most loveng and loveable person you'd ever hope to know. But my problem now is that my anxiety levels have been running very high, my depression levels are about on a par there too so I am taking the meds prescribed for me to help keep both those issues a bit under control.

And what's te problem with that you ask?

Unfortunately, deep inside me I can feel the tears building up inside me but the meds prevent them from  escaping and as a result, much as I'd like to sit in a corner, pull my hair out one strand at a time, curse a bit and drink lots of beer too, it still wouldn't be enough to bring that release about that a damned good cry will do for a person!

Maybe pretty soon I will just lay off the meds for a few days to see if I can unloose the tear ducts for a while and get at least a little bit of relief that way!

Peace and love to those of you how know me pretty well by now and abide by my rants too when I launch into one! I still have a few other things that boggle my mind too and I'd like to rip into but just a few that are sort of similiarly related at a time!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

High Anxiety?

I don't know what the heck is wrong with me today but I'm just not feeling up-to-par, for sure!

My anxiety levels have been way off today -just extremely edgy, depressed (my prescription for that doesn't seem to be handling things right) and nervous -stomach just churning but not nauseous. Every now and again, I have anxiety issues so I do have a prescription I can take for that -what my older daughter refers to as "Mother's Little Helper" and usually, it works fairly well to calm me down.

But today -apparently I'm going to have to take the full dosage (supposed to take 1 or 2 per day, as needed) in order to get my system to settle down and allow me to get to sleep tonight.

Maybe I'm getting sick though because, in addition to being all on edge, I have been really cold all day too. Just can't seem to get warm, ya know. We have hot water heat here -with the big, old-fashioned radiators -and I even resorted to turning the heat up a notch and parking my behind on a radiator to try to get warm. However, that just felt like my fat behind was on some kind of aluminum bleachers, except that they were corrugated! (Still made me feel very cold.)

I'm wondering if the depression and edgy feelings are intertwined with the fact that today is the first day of spring -supposedly -but apparently no one reminded Mother Nature about that fact.

Here's hoping that's all that is actually bothering me, upsetting my little applecart system here!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I got a promotion!

And, it was one I had no idea I could get a promotion in this category so it came as quite a surprise.

I received an e-mail this morning from one of my favorite bloggers telling me he had given me a high level promotion and that my name and blog are now in the featured blogs on his sidebar!

Here's the message I received:

Just thought I'd let you know that you are now a member in good standing of Suldog's extra-special higher-up-the-ladder sidebar section, with your very own category listing and everything!

Since this has made your day, you can now go back to bed.

 If you've never heard of Suldog's blog, it's high time you did and that you check it out in full too!  So, to introduce you to Jim Sullivan and his blog, here's a link you can use where you can find him - Suldog.

 Jim provides lots and lots of great posts about everything from soup to nuts -with often a heavy concentration on the nuts in life. And, once you start following his work -which can range from very serious, heavy topics and run the gamut of virtually every emotion you can think of but with a lot of his stuff providing some of the best humor in the blogging community, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy his stuff just as much  -perhaps even more -than I do!

So please, feel the need to go and explore Jim's blog. Although, with spring supposed to arrive sometime, hopefully soon (although technically speaking it's here today but you can't prove it by looking outside my house right now), Jim will no doubt be launching into his regular spring and summer programming about all the softball teams he plays for. If you don't like sports reports, just skip over those posts that he puts in there from time to time. Although, even his sports reports on his teams ball games are often loaded with lots of great humor -sometimes even a bit on the racey and raucous side too!

 Thanks to Jim this morning though for really making my day and I was a bit edgy (a bit of an understatement, really) and my anxiety levels were running very high when I got up today and this bit of news really helped to adjust my mood from nervous and anxious and depressed to seeing good friendship and kindness that makes for a much better outlook on today and life in general.

Now go take a look at Jim's place.

You'll never regret it. Trust me on that and you can take it to the bank too. (Just doesn't provide high financial returns if that's what your looking for but it will make you feel like you are rich over the long term effect of his pieces.

Right now, he's trying to organize an effort to take over the Antartic region of the world and lining himself up to be King Sully there. Maybe you'd enjoy taking part in that expedition too!


Lighting - Wishful Thinking

If I ever would be so fortunate as to win the lottery, with some of the dreams I have of things I'd like to have, to get to fix up around the house (inside and out), I'd have to definitely be the winner of a really big pot in order to be able to afford all the things I think I'd like to do, to have, here!

I mentioned something to my daughter about wishing we could get something like luminaire lighting around our sidewalks and parking area -which would, obviously, cost a pretty penny -but I do think it would be nice to have a little extra lighting around the place, especially when I take the dog out late at night. Make my walking trips a little easier to handle the dog without having to always balance a flashlight, don't 'cha think?

Initially, she was really confused -not paying full attention I suppose to what I was saying because she misunderstood and thought I was talking about The Lumineers -her favorite musical group!

Make that a reminder to myself to enunciate my words better in the future to avoid confusion!

Weather and Dog!

Boy, is winter ever going to go away this year?

Last week, the forecast was for snow on Friday. We were prepared but the snow didn't arrive.

Saturday morning though, we got up to a coating of snow on the ground already and it snowed all darned day! Sure made travel more than a bit edgy for the funeral at our church that day. One couple had to come up over Tyrone Pike -a two-laned highway with loads and loads of sharp curves as it winds up the mountain. Not a really easy road to drive on when the weather is nice, much less when its pelting down snow like there's no tomorrow. And another family came up Rte 322 -over SkyTop and Port Mountains -both 4-lane highways but also up and down two mountains. Thankfully, they arrived and no mishaps!

Monday, in anticipation of a bad weather day, school was cancelled for the day. It snowed off and on -making the roads greasy for sure. Luckily, I didn't have to venture out but Mandy had work and I was concerned about her travel back home as the weather was to deliver freezing rain last night. Apparently some place around this region did get some of that nuisance weather but if it did hit down here, it must have arrived after Mandy got home last night from work.

Today, it was supposed to be rain and some snow but this morning, the sun was out -very bright, very pretty, just not very warm though.

Last night, I took the dog out for a late-night walk and he was happy as a clam, running around (on his leash) into the snow, being very playful too.

Today, Mandy and I decided to take advantage of the apparent break in the weather and run over to Clearfield to do our monthly stock-up on groceries at Walmart.

When I was about ready to leave, it was decided I should probably take the mutt out then for a little exercise -and chance to clean out his innards to (hopefully) prevent any accidents and issues in the house while we were gone.

I took him for a walk down the road and he flat out refused to go off the road and into the snow-covered ground around there! WTH! He would walk along the side of the road, on the berm, and search out (or so it seemed) larger sized mounds of snow to do a little watering but that was all. Didn't even put his nose down to the ground at all the way he usually does when he's searching a good spot to do other things.

So, back home we came.

I had to print out my list of things I wanted/needed to purchase -which took me maybe 2 minutes if that -and in that short period of time, when I got up from the computer, what did I find?

A nice -NOT -little pile of poo on the living room floor!

This no more than 5 minutes after we came in from taking a walk so he could relieve himself outside!

Sometimes, this mutt is just pure frustration for me!

He's lucky I love the little buggar or he'd might have been sent to live elsewhere by this time!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekend OVER!

Thank goodness this weekend is now history!

 It definitely was one busy weekend -at least at this old house!

The rafters were ringing, for sure -between the kids playing and making lots of their kind of noise and add to that, a little visitor who chimed in from time to time too making her own special kinds of music. Some of it sounded a bit like it could have been soprano saxophone at music123 with some person who was learning to play the sax behind the sounds -a bit squeaky here and there, ya know.

Yes, this little one was the "culprit" in the noise that at times did sound a bit squeaky -could have passed for a kid learning to play an instrument -and at times, her voice was a lot louder too, until she was in someone's arms, being cuddled and hugged and rocked!

Best visitor we've had here in a long, long time. And if you haven't yet figured out who this is -why it's Mandy with her little granddaughter, my sweet as pie little great-granddaughter! And the noise -well it actually was music to my ears because it's been almost 7 years now since we heard sounds like that! NICE! Very nice, indeed!

Lola and her Mommy (aka, Katie) were here from Saturday afternoon until late Sunday afternoon and it was so much fun having them around, it took a lot of the edge off other things that kept us -or me -moving this weekend.

I baked Friday afternoon and evening -the Swedish Rye bread the family loves -and had two loaves of it earmarked to take to church Saturday morning for use at the funeral dinner yesterday. (The funeral was for the mother of a good friend of mine and I knew she and her daughter would appreciate having some of this fresh-baked bread to be served at the dinner.

Saturday morning, I had to make a big casserole too of macaroni and cheese to take out to church along with the bread. This procedure would not normally have been a big deal if it weren't for the factor that when we got up Saturday morning, it was snowing like crazy! 

My main concern then became how I would get this stuff -and myself too -out to church because where we live is down in the lower part of the village and to get anyplace then, you have to travel up some steep hills, none of which are nice to deal with when they are snow-covered and more big white flakes were piling on and on to those roads. Before, when I still had my old jeep, I wouldn't have worried that much about making it up the hills and out to church but with the car I have now -a little Cavalier -it's a whole new ball game as the car runs pretty darned good -normally -but on these roads, with the amount of snow landing, I was very concerned about being able to get out of the parking spot in front of the house, for openers, let alone trying to navigate it up one of these hills.

But I lucked out, in that my son happened to stop by as I was finishing up the casserole and he offered to drive me out to church since he had come down in his jeep -which just happens to have 4-wheel drive! It was a nice coincidence that as I was just thinking about asking him if he would drive me out to church, he spoke up and offered to transport me. Worked out well that way and since it was his idea, it put him in a nice mood because he was happy thinking he was really helping his old Mom out and he was doing just that -helping me out a whole lot!

Even with the four-wheel drive though -since the back roads one has to drive to get from here to there and them being unplowed, untreated, there were several spots that even made the jeep slip-slide a little bit too! Just enough to remind a person that even with four-wheel drive, you still can't go at the same speeds you normally would on those roads!

But anyway, by the time he came back out and picked me up after we were through with the dinner and got me back home, it was almost 3 p.m. then and supper to be prepared for the family. Supper cooking, dishes to wash, kids to supervise and people right and left it seemed using the computer so I couldn't even get near it the rest of the day, and it puts me behind on things I have to do for myself on the computer. Little odd jobs I do from time to time, some research that I need to keep up on -things like that.

And that continued most of the day today too -more cooking of course -as I fixed a big dinner of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage in honor of the the Irish blood my kids can lay claim to! One big surprise today was that Maya actually ate some of the corned beef and cabbage and even some of the potatoes as well -and without whining and fussing about her food fetishes -primarily how much she doesn't like potatoes or cabbage! A nice pleasant dinner watching her try those things and admitting too that she liked the meat and the cabbage was okay. (No commentary on the potatoes as I don't think she even realized they were in the mixture because she ate all that I had put on her plate!)

Progress comes along in different ways, doesn't it?

Just like how the next time little Lola comes to visit us, I'll bet her voice will have changed a bit by then and she won't sound quite as much like a screechy saxophone!

And you know what? Even if her voice is still the same and she does a bit of fussing here and there, guess who won't mind hearing that at all because it's all music to my old ears!

Happy St. Patrick's Day a bit late but better late than never.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Off To A Rough Start...

A couple times this week, Kurtis has had the "Grumpies" when he got up in the morning and today was just a continuation of that issue. Except his so-called problem this morning was that Maya had the tv on in the living room, tuned into some cartoons and apparently, those particular cartoons didn't meet with Kurt's fancy because for a good 5-10 minutes, he was bellyaching away about how he couldn't watch his favorite cartoons.

It's the end of the world, as he knows it, I guess.

The other adult female in the house was up in arms too because it seems dear dumb little mutt decided to lose control of his bladder and whizzed on one of the cushions to the sofa! Sheesh, dog! Give me a break, will ya?

He hasn't done that in quite a while now and I suppose, ultimately it's my fault he had that accident last night or this a.m. because I didn't take him out late last night before I went to bed. But truth be told, I could barely keep my eyes open and was asleep within about 5 minutes after my head hit the pillow!

So, Mandy pulled almost all the cushion covers off the sofa to toss them in the washer. All, that is except for the one the dog used as his private toilet. That one, no matter how we tried, would not come off the cushion! We wiggled and jiggled every way possible to get that cover off and no luck so she tried to wash it down and then, I worked on it some more after she left for work. Hope I got the stain (and smell too) out!

What a heck of a way to start the morning and the beginning of a weekend, to boot!

Now, time for me to get the morning and late last night's dishes -mostly coffee cups -washed up and get cracking on mixing up at least one batch of Swedish Rye Bread. Might actually need to make up two batches of the bread to cover all my bases for the need for that stuff. Company coming this weekend and we can go through at least 1, often 1 1/2 loaves of this bread in one meal here so that doesn't leave much leftover then to use for the coming week, plus what I need to take to church for the funeral dinner there tomorrow and a loaf to this friend, a loaf to another friend -presto magic -it's all gone then before ya know it!

I'm not complaining about how quickly that bread goes -not really -as it does make me feel good to see the family (especially the two younger kids) dive into it and make it history! I enjoy baking it and I love the fact that they love home-baked breads!

Considering the fact that there are so many things I like to cook and enjoy eating but the kids won't even smell it much less ingest some foods, is the main reason I'm really happy to be able to make this and watch them down it with such zest!

Maybe a fresh loaf of bread at supper tonight -still a little warm from the oven -will help to turn the bad attitudes into good ones.

Worth a shot, anyway!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

When Your Butt Hits The Floor....

Okay -much as I do really appreciate the generosity of other folks at times, we've now become the benefactors of something I really wish I could change.

Granted, our old sofa and love seat were looking more than a bit bedraggled and replacement of them wasn't a bad idea. And, granted that a good friend of my daughter's just so happened to have a sofa -sectional type -that wasn't needed anymore and he so kindly offered it to us for free, no less.

And, I know, we should never kick a gift horse in the mouth too but...well this sectional sofa just isn't getting any raves from me.

It consists of five pieces -with two pieces being simply a chair with no arms and three pieces that are corner  units. That way, you can arrange the pieces any way your pea-picking heart desires.

However, one thing you can't do with this set-up is lay down and take a nap.


Because no matter how you position the pieces, if you try to lay down on it, your behind manages to land on a segment where the pieces meet together and then, they begin to move away from each other. Within a matter of minutes, your fanny has met the floor!

I like a couch that I can lay down on and take a nap, don't you?

Although, I do have to say when we first got this moved in here and set up, it did provide for some comical sights watching Kurtis sit down on it, not realizing the pieces would move apart and seeing the expression on his face as he slid down through the crack between two pieces and his butt hit the floor!

Watching the dog fall in between the pieces was a rather funny thing to see to, as Sammy also had no clue as to what was happening to him.

The drawback here really comes about when my grandson is here for a weekend and he usually would sleep on the sofa but now, well the only way we can set this up for him to sleep on it I think would require purchasing pad foam, large enough to place that over three pieces of the couch and  covering it with fabric that coordinates with the pieces of the unit!

The last time he was up here, shortly after this five-piece set arrived -he tried his level best to rearrange the cushions in a way that they didn't meet where the pieces met, but rather covered each so-called "jointure" in order for him to be able to lay down with out sliding between the cracks. I haven't figured out exactly how he managed to set those cushions up though to get that result. (Guess I don't have enough spatial concept or something along those lines to be able to configure it that way!

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Grumpy Side

Although I'm pretty sure I got an adequate amount of sleep last night or rather, this morning, I seem to be suffering today from a case of "wrong side of the bed" or the grumpies.

I have a lot of things I need to do between now and Friday night -gotta go get groceries, for openers -fix supper for tonight at some juncture, find time to work some more on a crochet project I have ongoing using super thick fleecy yarn (but thankfully, a very easy to remember pattern!!!). I have to configure in time to bake bread -some to take to a funeral dinner on Saturday for the elderly mother of a good friend, plus have promised to bring a casserole of my homemade macaroni and cheese to said dinner too. (I rarely make the homemade mac'n'cheese these days now since Maya flat out announced a few months ago that she doesn't like this anymore! Say what? The kids, both of 'em, used to scarf this stuff up like it was going to go out of style within the next 10 minutes and now, she won't touch it with a ten-foot pole! She's decided the only Mac'n'cheese she will eat is the kind that comes out of a box and which her mother fixes frequently for the kids for a quick item they will eat when I have fixed something for our supper that neither of them will touch!)

Life sometimes is a whole bunch of "Go figures" so much of the time, isn't it?

I really need to return a phone call too -to my best friend from my working days, a long, long time ago, in D.C. She called one day last week when I wasn't home and I have not yet got around to returning her call. When I do that though, I will need to set aside a minimum of 2 hours of time as our conversations generally tend to be very long-winded! Finding a time when it is convenient for me to set aside that minimum of 2 hours though -just haven't really crossed that bridge just yet!

But, today -as to my case of the grumpies -do you ever wake up feeling like all you want to do is sit in a corner, drink beer, pull your hair out, one strand at a time and cry? That's pretty much the way I'm feeling today and I really hope it passes through on its way to annoy someone else and does it quickly!

Maybe it's just a bit of backlash at me over the news on Sunday of the passing of my very good, dear friend, Helen Ann. But, I know, if I think I'm having difficulty dealing with this loss, it is nothing compared to how her kids are feeling, I'm sure. Along with her surviving sisters, one brother and a kazillion nieces and nephews too -at least, I know my grief process has lots and lots of company right now.

Kids will be home in another 2 hours and I'm assuming so will Mandy! Have no clue what the heck she's up to today but I know it isn't working as she wasn't scheduled for today. The kids will have each of their TSS personnel here this afternoon -after school -too and I need to get things a bit organized before they get here then too.

Just want this dark cloud that's hanging over my head though to hurry up and disappear!

Hope that's not too much to ask.

New Words Almost Every Day!

Have I mentioned before that Maya is taking music lessons?

Right now, she's learning (supposedly) how to play the Recorder in school and she's also begun taking piano lessons too with our church organist being her instructor there.

Kurtis got a guitar -not exactly a play guitar but not quite a "for real" one either for Christmas. That was a gift I wasn't in favor of his receiving because -for one thing -it does have those "for real" strings and those buttons to turn the strings to tune it and I could see that in a short period of time, he would twist and turn those knobs till the strings popped.

Guess who was right about that deal? Yeah, within I think 2 days time, he had snapped at least 2 strings and lost interest -what little he had -in the guitar then.

I suppose the upside to that was that there was no incessant strumming noises then.

But between Maya's music instructions now, plus her love for searching for just about anything pertaining to music, instruments, songs, equipment, etc., online and then, often she leaves these websites open and I come across things then that make me wonder what the heck is she doing here or there on these websites?

Thankfully, these are not bad sites that could potentially poison her mind or anything like that.

But I have to admit I am sort of learning new words from them.

Like today when she apparently was in a hurry to leave the computer and this site was open and with it, I saw this "Egnater Tweaker" -displayed there.

Now this really tweaked MY curiosity as I had nary a clue as to what on earth that might be so I had to follow through and read a bit about it!

Thankfully, we have no need -at least not at this time -for guitar amplifiers and speakers and accessories!

But who knows, perhaps sometime in the distant future, as either or both of the kids hone their musical skills, you never know, do you, what might be needed then!

Not Here Yet!

Last night, I fell asleep in the recliner -again, and for the upteenth time. Sometimes, when that happens, I only snooze for a very brief time -maybe 10-15 minutes -and something will wake me up and I'm really wide awake and refreshed with energy galore.

Other times, I fall asleep and am like I'm almost in a coma for a couple of hours. Once in a while, when that happens, I'm still relatively groggy when I wake up and I'm able to go get in bed and fall back asleep there. Then there are the times, like last night, when I had no urge to go back to sleep at all and didn't until well into the wee hours of the morning.

Then I slept like a rock and way late too -like till almost noon -but that means that I did get at least six full hours of sleep that way.

But what did I wake up to -besides an empty house - except for the cats and the mutt, that is?

The ground covered with a white blanket of snow!

So, what does that tell me?

Spring ain't here just yet!

And this isn't even the "onion" snow either because that's supposed to be the final snow of the season and the forecasters are calling for snow on Friday too -or at least a 50 percent chance of it at any rate.

Maybe that will be the good old "onion" snow?

One can only hope!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Summer's Coming!

Supposedly, we are well on the road now to the arrival of Spring -something really nice to look forward to there, don't 'cha think?

I'm not going to get too heavy into the anticipation of warmer weather just yet because I know how darned fickle Mother Nature can be in March as well as April as she frequently forgets that the objective -on her part -is to provide gentle rains and warmer temperatures but all too often, she must get more than a tad confused and sends down snow instead.

Yeah -the weather forecasters are predicting more snow -again -this week!

Oh well, such is life.

But it still doesn't prevent me from looking at sales ads for things like swings and a nice outdoor table and also checking out outdoor patio umbrellas too!

I'm thinking too maybe I should get my son to do some thinking and planning a bit and put in a nice (flat) brick patio type area just beyond our deck. Now that would really be neat because then the idea of a patio table and umbrella would actually be feasible.

Yeah, I know -probably just something else to add to my "Dream On' collection.

Mud Bogging?

Sunday afternoon -after we got home from a little birthday party for Jon and Aaron -the kids here decided they wanted to go play outside.

Not a terribly unusual request from each of these kids but the ground rules were to be "Only as long as you kids can play nice together -no pushing, hitting, name-calling -etc. etc."

It was too long though before Kurtis came back in the house. He kicked off his shoes and informed me that he had to come back in because his foot got all wet.

Asked how that happened, he said "Maya did it to me."

Of course -that would pretty much be the standard answer around here from him just as when Maya is upset with something, it always becomes a case of "Kurtis did it!"

However, we haven't been able to figure out exactly where and what Maya did to him that his shoes looked like this!

I don't even recall my son ever coming home with shoes as caked with mud as Kurt's were!

Must have been mud bogging some place is all I can figure out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Unlikeable Task!

There are lots of things I could be doing here -around the house, etc - I suppose and plenty too that I probably really SHOULD be doing on a somewhat regular basis too, but some of those things are, in my opinion, quite distasteful and so, I procrastinate as much as possible before getting around to tackling them.

Translated that really means I put it off until I absolutely HAVE to do them!

Do you do that too or am I alone in my self-made dilemmas concerning various aspects of housework?

I'm not a big fan of washing dishes, true enough, but it isn't that rough a job so that once I get my fanny in front of the sink, it's not really a big problem to get them done. It's the tearing me away from the computer or knitting, or crocheting or embroidery work or reading a good book that is the problem area with chores like that.

But I find myself wishing I had a nice big oven to use, especially nice when I am baking bread if I could bake several loaves all at the same time -maybe something made along the same lines as say, laboratory ovens, might be useful for me in that venture.Get more done faster! Kind of like the old expression "Faster horses" or something like that perhaps?

But then I think about one of the chores I truly hate doing and that is the cleaning of my stove and especially cleaning the oven and I think even if I could afford something larger like I assume those ovens would most likely be, would I really ever want to face cleaning the ovens then again, EVER?

Probably not so I guess I'll stick with the one I've got and do things the old fashioned way -smaller productions and not quite as large a unit to scour!

Good People!

Yesterday (Sunday, that would be) was a bit of a rough day for two families in this area.

I've known for the better part of this past week that a good friend of mine was having some tough days she had to go through as her mother was very ill, (had a stroke AND a heart attack last weekend) and I've been talking to her, off and on this week, to try to give her aid and comfort if possible.

This evening, I learned that her Mom had passed away this afternoon. My friend's daughter had posted it on Facebook and as I am "friends" there with the daughter, I saw the post.

After seeing that post, reading on down on my Facebook wall, I came upon another post and the second one really floored me.

It was written by the daughter of one of my former neighbors when I was a kid. And, in that post, she mentioned that it was a very sad day for her Mom's family as well as two other families that are all inter-connected because one of her aunts had passed away Sunday morning!

This lady's aunt who passed was a very dear friend of mine and also, of my kids!

I used to babysit for her children back when I was in high school -when her sister my age couldn't watch her nieces and nephews there, I frequently babysat those younguns!

Going back to when I was about in 7th or 8th grade and at that time, used to go to this family's home with the lady's younger sister who was my age, one day when I was there with her as she was babysitting -and also, doing laundry too for her sister, I don't know exactly how our conversation turned to names and nicknames for people -something like that -but at any rate, we decided that from then on, we would refer to this couple as "Uncle Joe Benny" and "Aunt Helen Ann" and since that time, I always called them by that -to their faces -and also, always referred to them by those names too in general conversation.

A way of renaming someone kind of as a joke but which stuck from then on for me and when my kids came along, they too began referring to them as Aunt Helen and Uncle Joe or Aunt Helen Ann (when you needed to be really specific or Uncle Benny. Old habits really die hard.

Now I knew that Aunt Helen was having a lot of health issues. She's had several cardiac surgeries over the past 10 years or so, plus diabetes and a few other things too from time to time, but she had always bounced back and I guess I just developed the attitude and idea that she was, indeed, invincible.

Well, not this time.

I've always enjoyed spending time with her -just as I did with Uncle Joe too, frequently. I'm very interested in local history and anytime I wanted extra information about history of the village, or on someone from way back when, Uncle Joe was frequently my "go to" person. He was very knowledgeable about things like that and I think he enjoyed my coming to him and asking him questions as much as I enjoyed listening and learning from him.

And Aunt Helen -well, how can I ever describe her!

She was -I think -the zaniest and craziest, big-hearted, hard-working woman I have ever know! Rarely would a conversation with her take place but what she didn't have a wise crack or quip about everything and anything you'd ever think of!

When her daughter and her late son-in-law ran the local little restaurant-bar where Mandy used to work (for about 5 years she worked there), as one walked into the dining area just behind the bar area, there was a large table there, in the center, that seated at least 6 people easily and could also squeeze in 8 or 10 people, if need be, provided some of them weren't really large individuals! And it was that table where many of us would gravitate to because Aunt Helen was already seated there or just on the off chance, that while you were there for coffee or a bite to eat, if Aunt Helen did stop by then,  you know she would sit at that table.

It was the Family table, but also for friends of the family too.

And no matter what kind of mood a person was in just being able to sit at that table and talk with Aunt Helen and some of her other children, or other family members, guaranteed you would leave there smiling, at the very least but more often than not, you would leave chuckling over some wise crack or observation she had made there.

I spent many an evening at Aunt Helen's house over the years, as we would talk and joke and drink -usually beer, but occasionally, have a shot or two too! And the stories she could and would tell and I would end up leaving there, often more than a bit tipsy but also, never depressed or angry.

She just had a knack that way!

Her house, when I was in high school, was the place to go for a lot of fun, laughter and tricks at times too! She could be one heck of a prankster too when she wanted to pull a practical joke on someone!

I think she was probably one of the few individuals who ever lived here in this little village that only someone who was living under a rock didn't know her, didn't respect her for her abilities and ambition too! She raised 6 children while working daily at the little diner/restaurant/gas station she and her husband, Uncle Joe, owned and operated.

And, I can't think of anyone else whose kids revered their parents more than those six always did with Aunt Helen and Uncle Joe!

She was totally just "Good People" if you understand calling someone that!

And I am definitely going to miss her. Boy, am I ever!

Just the same way I still miss Uncle Joe Benny too!

Aunt Helen -you may no longer be here with us but for sure, you will NEVER EVER be forgotten as long I am around, as long as my kids are around too.

The BEST!  You and Uncle Joe both, the Very BEST!

Peace be with both of you now.


One thing that's been on my mind of late is that there are three people -family and/or friend -who have birthdays in the next month and I've been trying to come up with some ideas for a good birthday present for each of them.

The end of this month, my good friend and neighbor and her husband will each celebrate another year. Her birthday is March 31st and his is April 1st. I always try to remember to get each of them a card and also, some little present for her. I was thinking about what my good friend here gave me for my birthday a few months ago -a nice big bag of good soft and smooth Rye flour (so I can make the Swedish Rye bread that my family and I so love) and also, she got me a glass mug that has on it etched a Native American's head with a Warrior headpiece and also has the name of the high school we attended as well as the year of our graduation too! A couple of really cool gifts, ya know. (Too bad we couldn't have given mugs like those out at our high school class reunion we had about 5 weeks earlier as promotional drinkware like that would have been super cool had we been able to afford some gift like that for our classmates, don't 'cha think?

After those birthdays, the next in line -on April 6th -is my older daughter's big day. We won't go into how old she will be then, just suffice it to say that receiving mailings from AARP is coming up sooner than she thinks!

What to get and give to her is a bit problematic though. I rarely, if ever, buy clothes for her anymore because although I could probably have no difficulty finding a pair of slacks she would like but the size -that's a problem area with her. Both my girls happen to be tall -the younger one is only 5'7 1/2 but the older daughter is about 5'9" and they are both extremely picky about slacks, especially jeans, as they have a terrible time finding things that fit the way they like them to fit -and especially so with the length! Sweaters -once in a blue moon I might find a sweater in a color AND style the older one would like but that too is something difficult to do as she can be more than a bit picky about things like that too!

However, the last couple of years, since I got myself hooked on embroidery work, it seems I have found something there that she actually likes -hand embroidered pieces, especially table toppers and/or tablecloths -both seem to make her very happy.

However, this year I've been a bit lax on the embroidery stuff and don't have anything in mind there that is completed right now to give her.

But, I did find a nice little picture kit -with a nice reading on it about daughters -that, if I get my butt in gear I think I could manage to get it finished and hopefully, it will turn out nicely enough that I can also then frame it and give her that for her birthday. At least, that's my game plan at this point in time!

The last April birthday is my grandson -Kurtis -who will be 7 years old on April 13th!

I do have a present for him already though so don't have to worry about shopping for something. However, I found out -via that present -that apparently Kurtis has inherited the "snoopy" factor that his mother as well as his aunt always had when it came to birthday or Christmas gifts!

I thought I was being really slick when I found this nice little radio controlled car -a Corvette, no less -and in fire engine red too and bought it. Brought it home and figured if I put it on a shelf in a closet, Maya will spy it and will ask questions about it -in front of Kurtis -and poof, there goes my nice surprise for him. So, I decided I would hide it under my bed, behind a bag of yarn I have stashed there and my "under-the-bed" storage container for my shoes.

About a week ago though, one night as I was sitting in my recliner, knitting away some baby booties for Little Lola, my now 5-week-old great-granddaughter, here comes Kurtis into me and what is he holding in his hot little hands? Damn! A bright red radio controlled corvette! And he's asking me what this was doing under my bed too!

Poor Kurtis! I turned the table on him and asked him just what was he doing messing around and looking under my bed! And I said this to him in the gruffest tone of voice possible, with my eyes glaring so hard at him too that the poor kid was shaking in his boots then! I reminded him then too that I had given him permission to be in my room ONLY to watch the tv  there and that he was not allowed to be monkeying around, snooping into things on top of my chests or dresser and definitely not nosing around into anything lurking under my bed either!

The little lips began to quiver and his eyes welled up with tears and the wailing began -not because he got a tap or a smack, but simply because Gram had yelled at him! Yeah, he folds up like an accordion as soon as you start to give him "what for" ya know and the wailing is loud enough too that the whole neighborhood can probably hear hm bawling his little eyes and heart out!

Finally, after I told him he had to put that box right back where he found it, with no more screaming and crying too, and he calmed down, headed back to my room.

However, as he started to go back into my room and put the car in the box back under my bed, he apparently had an after thought then as he turned around, stuck his head around the corner of the door, and pointing at me, he said "Ha ha, Gram! You have a boy's toy under your bed!"

Kids! Never know what the heck they're gonna get into  and sure can never figure what they're gonna say about that too!

But, you still have to love 'em anyway, don't 'cha?

Friday, March 08, 2013

More Than Calgon Needed Here!

I'm more than well aware that I am now of the "older generation" -been eligible for AARP for almost 20 years now and if my creaking, often achy joints don't prove that I am now officially an "elderly" person, then the things that have been happening around here lately really give tremendous evidence of that.

What things could that be that show my advancing age? Things that sure never would have been imagined by young kids -back in the day when I was a youngun, just starting out in the realm of the school system for openers!

For openers, even before I started first grade, the little boy who lived next door to me and another little girl same age as me who lived in the house on the other side of him and I used to be outside, playing in the yards available to us at every time available. Even as pre-schoolers, we played outside, unsupervised, generally got filthy dirty too and came in only for a drink of water or maybe lunch, then supper. At that young age, we had no television sets to entertain us, nor did we have loads and loads of toys either. Maybe some small shovels (of the beach-type variety) that we used to dig up mounds of dirt and play with whatever else we had that we could pretend was some type of equipment to move dirt from one little pile to another. Rainy days -or really wicked snowy days -when we were relegated to playing inside mostly involved coloring books and crayons or for the other little girl and me -paper dolls, perhaps.

When I was about 10 years old, my Mom bought our first TV set -a second-hand table model and we struggled with terrible reception problems trying to view the only TV station operating within range here. Living down in the gully end of town, surrounded by mountains or piles that resembled mountains but were actually just coal stripping mounds and cuts, watching tv then amounted to viewing lots and lots of snow and trying to decipher the audio which was terrible, due to all kinds of static activity too. But, somehow we managed to deal with that for our home entertainment. (A cable system didn't come into play here until the late 60s, early 70s and even that had very limited channel selections too!)

Somehow, we learned too while watching those programs on the air back then that cartoons were not reality and because many programs on primetime dealt were westerns or crime shows, these were also not really reality either! I grew up watching and loving Roadrunner cartoons but it never gave me any ideas about dropping various pieces of cement or steel boxes or safes or the like on someone or something's heads and the victim being able then to get up, only slightly dazed and go on about his shenanigans. I knew this was a farce, unreal events, made up stories!

Watching programs like Dragnet or The Untouchables or Gunsmoke that showed violence, didn't teach me that violence was the way to operate. If anything, it taught me the opposite -to try to live my life as a law-abiding individual.

My Mom occasionally watched a Soap Opera and I grew up following some of those shows as well and they never, in my opinion, could have been classified as some programming that would or could have been considered to be things showing high moral content -what with all the divorces and children who had as a parent someone NOT the parent they thought was the real deal quite often too. As I got older, watching those shows, I remember marveling at how the women on those programs always did their housework dressed to the nines, including wearing high heels to vacuum and clean house! WOW! How'd they manage to do that? Sure looked a whole lot different from the way my Mom and Grandma dressed to clean or do laundry or cook and/or bake!  You learned to filter a whole lot out of what you saw on the screen then, I think.

Today though -violence as well as sexual content, on the TV or in the movies still exists but those programs generally run at times when children are supposedly in bed, asleep and having dreams of sugar plums and good fairies or some such malarky. That is, unless the kids are tuned into some of the cartoons on tv today which I find to be a bit offensive in the way some issues are addressed. Have you watched Spongebob and listened closely to some of the dialogue? Innuendo abounds in many of those programs that never would have flown in the cartoons of my youth! Kids today definitely know a hell of a lot more about sexual things than I did even when I graduated from high school!

(Maybe, considering how dense and naive I was back then, knowing more about that subject isn't such a terrible idea after all though.)

But the things kids are doing today often are mind-boggling to me.

For one small example, in the past 4-5 weeks now, our school district has been subjected to two bomb threats requiring complete evacuation of the high school and elementary school building, bomb squads and bomb searching dogs, state police searching the buildings and people, including students, etc. Thankfully, no bombs or anything remotely resembling them were found -so hoaxes they turned out to be, but those hoaxes also have cost a pretty penny now to the school district, already struggling to provide decent wages to the teachers and other personnel needed as well as books, supplies, up-to-date technical programs and such to the students too. Each bomb threat that must be fully checked out costs on a minimum $5,000 to the school district and that's just for the dogs brought in to sniff out the premises for the potential of a bomb or explosives!

Since the last bomb threat was received, I have heard that a third grader has been suspended now for 10 days because of something she (yes she -a young girl) was heard to say on a school bus enroute to the school that apparently was considered very threatening!

A couple days ago, three boys in my grandson's class -first graders -were given 10-day suspensions too because one boy apparently had a pocket knife on his person and had shared it around the class with two other boys! A pocket knife!!!

Years back, in my much, much younger days, I think probably most every boy I went to school with had, at some time or other, a pocket knife on him and that then was considered to be a normal event, a normal possession for small boys to have and also, be entrusted with too!

I do realize times have changed and today's society does frown -very much -on anything perceived to be a dangerous weapon and yes, most certainly, pocket knives do qualify to be in that category. In retrospect, they were just as dangerous for kids to have them when I was a youngster as they can be today but the difference being, I think, that kids minds then didn't seem to perceive that harming people was a really cool thing to do whereas today, all too often, kids seem to think this is the way to handle everything and anything that annoys you -stab it or slash it or shoot it!

We hear too of kids being suspended from school for pretend actions as well -merely pointing a finger at someone and pretending it is a gun or other item than could, if real, cause major problems but, suspending a kid for pretending they have a gun, playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians perhaps? But then again, back about 50-60 years ago, cops were the good guys, wore white hats ya know and cowboys were heros then too. (Not that they really were when you consider westerns then always portrayed the Native Americans pretty much as being vile people, good for nothing so we did learn a distorted picture of them then, didn't we? So much for accuracy in reporting history I guess!)

The local community here has pretty much been very flabbergasted about the bomb threats as even the younger parents have been heard to say "Gee, when I was a kid, it never crossed my mind to even THINK about a bomb in the school!"

What is happening to our society today though that is creating problems like these? Bullying existed back then probably even more than it does today though because people then often told their kids to turn the other cheek, ignore the bully, taught things like "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me." Sadly, the names, the words of derision, we now realize do cause harm to others and lots of programs are being put into play almost daily to try to eradicate those things that DO cause tremendous hurt to many people -children as well as adults alike!

Just so many things though that today are so different from the way and the world I grew up in and took my cues from in trying to learn to be a civilized adult some day.

I like to think I picked up the right things, correct manners and how to treat people fairly from the way I was raised -my home life -and also, from the various teachers I had over the twelve years I spent in the small, rural school system in place here.

Extra programs for kids, as I got older, generally were not provided at the expense of the schools -other than whatever athletic programs were available (baseball, football, track/field for the boys and softball for the girls), the upperclassmen in school put on a play each year, usually one for each class, and chorus or band provided music instruction then too but other programs often available were outside the school's domain.

I know there still exists some activity within the county of 4-H clubs but not to the same extent as that existed in my youth. From the time I was about in 6th or 7th grade, through graduation, I -and a goodly number of other girls from our area -enjoyed participation in 4-H activities, learning about cooking and sewing for the most part. A great organization then and I'm sure, still teaches the same tenets today as it did back then. People often think of 4-H as primarily for farm kids but really, it can be a great learning experience for kids from any type of background -rural, suburban, urbanites too! Good principles never go out of style or need!

Church activities often took a prominent role too when I was a child and as a teen. Not that these things still don't but there doesn't seem to be near as many kids participating in those activities, those types of groups these days as there were way back when. Of course, there also aren't near as many children around these days to participate in many of the older type of church groups and instruction that existed when I was a kid. Smaller families, both parents working too and not enough time available to transport kids to meetings that in my day were local -within walking distance of the home but today, due to consolidations and the like, transportation to things like that are now a necessity. (We only got a ride to a church event if it was pouring down rain or heavy snow coming down and had to walk the steep hill up to the church on top of the hillside here in town! Good exercise -yes but today, even if the church were still located where it was then, would we let our children walk about 3/4 of a mile without adult supervision? Probably not!)

There are lots of times when I think back and compare my life then to what my kids had and what my grandkids have today and I do think, frequently, that it would be nice to be able to return to a much calmer, less stress-filled life than our kids are subjected to today. Yeah - a good dose of Calgon taking me -my family -away and back to when life was fun and safer would be nice in a lot of aspects.

But, it's not that simple these days. Time marches on and with it, everything does change.

I just wish some of the changes didn't involve many of the things it does seem to bring today though!

Monday, March 04, 2013


So, both kids are now in bed -and actually asleep too -and have been for almost an hour now.

Peaceful time, it is.


Not right now though as Muttley -aka Sam -apparently has had his rechargable battery hooked up and now, he's ready, willing (more than willing!) and thinks I am able now to take him outside for a very important stroll.

If I know what's good for me, what's good to keep Mandy's temper under control too where the dog is concerned, I suppose I best get my boots on, grab a hat, at least one scarf -maybe two would be best considering the wind chill factors here tonight -and then get the heavy hooded jacket and mittens too on and flashlight in hand, set out to wander down the road for him to water the snow very liberally and hopefully, even put some other decorations down in a field down the way.

When I had him outside earlier today -about 3 p.m. -I was naive enough to think that maybe it wasn't all that cold out there as I had thought it was going to be. However, that was because in the first part of our walk then, the wind was at my back!

Coming back home and walking with the wind in my face -now there was a whole 'nother story!

Felt like my face was so cold that it was kind of giving sort of a burning sensation.

All that doesn't make the idea of taking him out again now very enticing.

Except for one thing, that is -I like a peaceful home!

Rough Week!

Last week was definitely one rough week!

Starting things off first thing Monday morning, Maya awakened me about 5 a.m. saying that her Mom was calling to me and needed me.

I got up and could hear Mandy saying "Mom, come here. I need to show you something."

And in my mind, groggy still, I was thinking that this thing she needed to show me was NOT going to be some goofy video or silly picture and comments on Facebook!

I walked into the living room and there sat Mandy in the computer chair, with her right foot on the floor and a white bath towel wrapped around her foot. She slowly pulled the towel away from the top of her foot to show me what was on her mind.

And yes, I had to agree with her that she did need to show me something alright!

The towel was pretty blood-soaked by then and I could see a gash on the top of her foot that was the culprit. One glance and I told her, "Well, that's definitely gonna need some stitches!"

Seems that she had a slight run-in with our shower doors that morning. The one door has a tendency to come off the track -fairly frequently -and as she had stepped into the shower that morning and went to close the shower door, it came off the track completely, landing on the top of her foot and leaving this nice -NOT VERY -gash on the top of her foot.

Since she was supposed to be at work that morning to start at 6 a.m. -and obviously, a trip to the E.R. was not going to allow her to be at work -she first called her boss and then, she and I began to mull over how we were going to deal with getting the kids up and dressed and her to the e.r., get the stitches, get the kids dropped off late at school and back home again.

Eventually, she ended up calling a friend of ours here who, upon learning what had happened, told Mandy that he would be right over and he would take her to the E.R. so that eliminated the need to awaken both kids anyway.

That morning, as I went up to wake Kurtis up to get ready for school, praying the whole way up the steps that he would be full of a nice sunshine attitude and not the crabby appleton cranky little fellow he is some days, I found out in short order that good old Crabby Appleton was in his bed!

He was kicking and crying, yelling "NO! NO! No wake me up!" And, not being the most pleasant person on the pike when I first wake up, I could totally empathize with him.

I tried to cajole him a bit and sat down on the side of the bed as I started to stroke his back, only to have him thrash about a bit and with his arm outstretched towards me, he pushed at me and grumbled "Back off!"

"Back off?" This, from a six-year-old? Hmmm. Where the heck did you get that from, Boy?

I debated if I should tell him why I was waking him up and not his mother because sometimes, if he realizes she's not around, he throws a much larger hissy fit, but I got brave and very quietly told him I needed to have him get up and do it now because he was going to have to be extremely helpful to me then as his Mommy wasn't there but was over at the hospital because she hurt herself and had to go get stitches.

To my relief -and surprise too -he immediately sat straight up and with a very concerned attitude began to ask me what had happened to her and his whole demeanor changes -did a 360, he did -to being as nice as he possibly could be, quietly obeying what I told him we had to do and even helping me to get an outfit out for him to wear to school that day too!

I posted on my Facebook after he left in the van for school that he was little Mr. Sunshine then and I hoped the nice boy side would carry him through the day.

Unfortunately, about an hour later, I got a post back from his BSC saying Crabby Appleton had arrived on the van -not "Mr. Sunshine!" Rats! And pity his teacher and TSS that he lost the good attitude on the 6 mile trip from the house to the school.

And Mandy returned home about 11 a.m sporting 5 big old black stitches on her foot, a doctor's excuse not to work until Friday and also, finding out she didn't have any shoes available that would allow her to slide her now swollen foot into anyway!

The week passed by with other events that were more than a bit unpleasant too.

On Thursday, I learned that a cousin of mine on my Dad's side had heartbreaking news. One of her sons and his wife had their fourth child and son back on December 27th and sadly, the baby had been born with a debilitating issues of congenital heart problems. He had been in Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh since his birth and although he had had several procedures done, beginning when he was only one week old, his condition had worsened. He had been accepted the week before for the heart transplant list but sadly, he had died on Wednesday -when he was exactly two months old.

I can only imagine the heartache my cousin -his grandmother -was feeling as I've never lost a child or grandchild. I can only imagine the pain I would have if something were ever to happen to one of my grown children or to one of my grandchildren. Rather, I think I can only imagine that as the loss one would definitely feel, the unrelenting pain, the sorrow -something that I probably really can't imagine how shattering that would have to feel to endure that loss.

Saturday, I baked bread - yes, more Swedish Limpa Rye -so we had that with our beef pot roast for supper and we devoured one full loaf and a bit over 1/2 of a second loaf during that meal! My older daughter, her fiance and my older grandson were all here for supper as well as Jeff and his two little girls plus Mandy, the kids and me -so really, 1 1/2 loaves of bread with 10 people eating that stuff really isn't all that much food eaten though.

Older daughter's fiance and Mandy worked together to take down the sliding glass doors to the tub and he installed a nice shower curtain rod for Mandy to hang a liner curtain and shower curtain up there now. Looks pretty enough but I do not particularly like shower curtains mostly because there always tends o be a lot of excess water that escapes and lands on the floor outside of the tub -at least in my experience it's always worked that way. Guess we'll all just have to practice trying to keep the water in the tub where it belongs a bit more diligently now!

Last week, I did manage to knit a hooded baby sweater for Little Miss Lola -my beautiful one-month-old great-granddaughter and also, a pair of baby socks too that turned out quite nice for her. Now, I'm working on crocheting a baby blanket for her and have loads of yarn as well as many patterns I can work with to make lots and lots of neat little things now for her. Most likely though there will be a whole lot of bad words floating around the air as I rip out rows and rows of stitches since I am not all that good at the knitting things or crochet either but hopefully, I'll manage to get a few more creations done that are decent enough to be usable!

Time now for me to get on the stick and start getting things for supper organized here and hopefully, also to squeeze in a brief nap too!

Still have to walk the dog and that, I'm not looking forward to doing because baby, it is really cold outside here today!