Monday, July 29, 2013

Still Plugging Away!

Last week was much calmer -MUCH -than the previous week and for that, I am eternally grateful!

My older daughter was discharged from the hospital on Friday -or as she preferred to refer to the place -"The Spa" and she seems to be doing a whole lot better now. Very much like her old self, more exuberant in her actions and speech is how she seems to be to me.

I am thankful every day that she was located when she was and that treatment for her problems was available for her to take advantage of the help. I still shudder though when the thought crosses my mind that things could have been so much more different and horribly difficult for my two other children, her son and the rest of my family to endure. So much, so very much for which to give thanks!

There are three theatrical groups in the little town of Philipsburg near to where I live and all three cater to the youth in the area. One is the group that Miss Maya -my sweetheart granddaughter -belonged to for the past three years and which has helped her immeasurably with her social skills discipline. The week after the presentation of the play -Freckleface Strawberry -in which she was a part of the song and dance ensemble -all I heard here, day after day, was Maya singing this or that song from the play! It was getting to the point that I had massive earworms in my head of "I like Danny" or "Creative Minds" as she wandered around the house singing those two numbers in particular. The funny thing about this is that for one thing, she knew the lyrics and music to every single song from the play and could perform them, including dialogue, dance steps and dialogue here at home! And also, just from taking her to practice the last two weeks before the performance and observing her and the other kids in the cast do their numbers, Kurtis also had picked up the words and music to the play along with his sister!

Just how much like sponges these two kids are as they absorb more and more things than can really be recognized much of the time truly does amaze me!

This past Friday night I did something I rarely do! Aside from going to church services alone, I don't remember ever before attending a movie or anything, much less a play, by myself!

But that's exactly what I did Friday night! I went into Philipsburg to see one of the other theatrical youth companies do their rendition of "Hairspray." Only took me over half a century to get up the nerve to do that by myself!

When I walked into the auditorium though Friday night, I noticed a younger man standing behind a row where two women were seated and I recognized him as being my cousin's younger son. My cousin and her daughter-in-law were seated in the row in front of him so I sat down beside my cousin. She explained to me that they had seen the play the night before in the dress rehearsal but wanted to be there Friday night because the theatrical company was doing a slide show in memory of her husband who had passed away suddenly two weeks earlier. He was a very strong supporter of the theatrical companies -all three of them -and being a very talented craftsman, he built many of the props needed for plays presented over the past several years. He was loved and very respected by the young people as well as those in charge of directing these productions too. A grandfather (and also a great-grandfather) himself, the whole company of these productions all referred to him as "Pappy Jack" as he pretty much adopted them all as part of his family.

I watched the slide show with my cousin and it was a beautiful presentation that gave honor and showed the love of the kids and staff as well as even the local community through this event. Made me very proud to have been able to claim him as my cousin through marriage for the past 57 years it would have been in September since he and my cousin married.

Saturday, my older daughter and her fiance were over near here and stopped by for a very welcome visit. We talked, laughed, discussed things about her brother, sister and the grandkids and I very much enjoyed seeing them then. After they left, I went out -alone again -to a big yard party at the home of some good friends who live about 3-4 miles from me. In the past, I never would have done that but I've decided since I am basically alone, why keep myself in a reclusive status when I can just as easily go and enjoy things that I always used to like to do! The neat thing about going to this particular event is that although I know the family of the couple hosting it to see most of them, I really don't know them all that well. But I met all four of their children and when their mother would give tell them my name, I could see a bit of confusion on their faces but then, their mother would tell them "This is Clayton's Mom" and you could see the expressions change into big smiles and nods to acknowledge that oh yes, they definitely knew my son! His reputation apparently proceeds me even more than I realized!

Sunday, I had planned to go to church but my body decided during the night that it wasn't going to cooperate with that game plan. I couldn't sleep -just slept in brief intervals so when I actually needed to get up and get ready to go to church, I was as tired as I'd been when I went to bed Saturday night. Plus my intestines decided to act up and my back and legs ached like toothache so I crawled back into bed and ended up sleeping -very soundly as a matter of fact then -for about 4 hours! When I got up later, the legs and back were apparently fully rested as I had no problems with those aches and pains then -thankfully!

And that brings me now to today and the start of a new week. I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow when Mandy will be coming up and bringing Maya and Kurtis with her so they can then spend the next 10 days here with me. This way, they can now go to Vacation Bible School at our church -something they had been looking forward to doing since the end of the school term back in May and now, here it is August is upon us already! When they return to their new home in Middletown on August 10th then, who knows when I'll be able to see my two little sweethearts again.

I've been doing fairly well for the most part since they left here. Still very quiet in a house that was not accustomed to that much solitude for the past 10 years now but I've been busy -between trying to clean up all the dog and cat fur/hair that is deposited on a regular basis by Sam and Pearl (the dog and indoor cat), who by all rights and my estimation should each have become totally bald by now! Cooking isn't something high on my priority list now though as fixing a cooked meal just for me does not appeal to me at all. Too much work to do that daily! (And I find it to be more than a bit on the boring side too!) I'm trying to keep up with the lawn work -mowing the grass here usually after 7 p.m. at night when the sun isn't quite as wicked and there is a bit of a breeze now and again too that helps in that chore. Surprisingly enough though cutting the grass with the lawnmower is very exerting work it hasn't bothered my leg and back joints! Go figure that one out, huh?

And I'm trying to slowly build myself a decent customer following as I returned to being a sales rep for good old Avon Products now. A good way to force myself to go out and be at least semi-social, ya know!

And finally, I'm digging into the many craft projects -embroidery is it right now -that I have on hand here to stitch up! I finished one placemat of a set yesterday and just have the 2nd placemat and two napkins to do to complete that project. Where it will go after it's finished is anyone's guess right now as it might become a Christmas gift or maybe a donation item at our annual Fall Bazaar at church or if someone sees it and really likes it -maybe sold then. Just haven't got around to deciding what I'l do with the stuff I plan to be working on over the coming months.

And finally, I learned from my recent visit to the oncologist and from results of the CT scan I had to have done for that check-up that the scan revealed I have two spots on my back -around the Adrenal glands so now, I am scheduled to have a PET scan on August 20th. Apparently there is some concern that there may be a malignancy lurking there. I am trying my best to NOT worry about the outcome of the PET scan mainly because there is nothing I can do to change it if the cancer is there other than follow what recommendations the oncologist may end up giving me when all the results are in.

I've been down this path twice before and came through the other side okay and I'll face this in the same manner as before -with positivity and faith no matter the outcome.

It can always be worse, ya know and I prefer not to think about that aspect.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plans -More Than I Can Chew?

Right now, there are so many things going on in my head, some days, it's really hard to differentiate between what I want, what I need and what I really can do.

This is especially true about things around the house -changes that I'd like to make, that I have to make or should make.

Right now, I need to find a licensed and insured contractor to give me an estimate on costs to have the back of the house siding completed. This job has been waiting since 1991 to be completed but now, with this mortgage hanging in the balance, I have to figure out what it will cost and get the estimate submitted and also then, figure out who I can get to do the work for the estimated price  or under. Well, I don't have to tell you, I'm sure, that I'd really love to find someone who would do the work for a little lower amount that the estimate and help me save a couple of buckaroonies that way.

Used to be that if you needed work like that done there were guys all over the area who would take on the job as  a second job for extra money under the table and help folks save or there were enough guys unemployed who were willing and able to do good carpentry work or odd jobs.

They don't seem to exist these days.

I'd like to get the front entrance to the house redone as it needs something done to give the porch roof a little more pitch to it so it would drain better in the winter -ice and snow and stuff like that. I'd also love to get the whole house re-roofed too but boy, that's a big expense to get that done.

Because I have to walk the mutt at least twice a day and often his second walk of the day is after dark or nearly dark, I would REALLY like to get some kind of light fixture that would be out along the parking area and the steps. I saw one by Louis Poulsen light fixtures that look ideal for what I wanted but unfortunately the price -almost $2,000 would rule that baby out on my budget! Finding something that would give me a bit more full lighting at night and shine a good way down the road in the process is what I want but now, I'm wondering if Walmart has anything along those lines that would be a tad more affordable.

Okay -so not just a tad more affordable but for next to nothing, ya know. Doubt that I could fin d what I want and like there either then!

Oh well, I've made do without a whole lot of these things till now and can do it again if need be.

It's sorting out the things I HAVE to get done as soon as possible too that's creates a little bit of panic within me!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lazy Meals!

Since I am now the sole occupant of this house now, the thought of cooking a big meal, just for me, myself and I, is something I find very unappealing!

Much as I didn't like it at all on many days when my stomach and brain just couldn't seem to jive and come forth with any reasonable menu ideas to fix for the grandkids and their Mom and myself, it's even more difficult to figure out what to fix when you're the only one who's going to be eating whatever you come up with then!

And I'm not really all that big of a fan of eating leftovers day in and day out either!

Today was one of those days when my mind was very braindead pertaining to food! Cooking was the last thing -the very last thing I wanted to do today even though the temperatures were relatively decent -sunny, hot but not on overload in that department, plus there was a good breeze and the humidity was a lot lower too than it's been of late so I wasn't concerned about overheating the kitchen.

I just didn't want to be bother cooking anything!

So, I decided to run into Philipsburg and go grab a nice meal at the American Diner -where Mandy worked until June 30th and where my son's girlfriend still works there now as a cook!

And anytime I eat out like that, my inclination is to order something I won't be cooking at home -for whatever reason.

Tonight I indulged in a dinner of liver and grilled onions, mashed potatoes and gravy over the whole thing plus coleslaw and peaches with Iced tea for my chaser!

I never cook liver and onions at home =or I haven't for many years because I am really the only person in the family, most of the time, who will even eat that stuff!

It's actually a favorite dish of mine but still, I wouldn't want it once a week or even once a moth -maybe once or twice a year would be fine in my book.

But anyway, that's how I ended up with a carry-out container that holds the liver, gravy, onions and potatoes that we served in such abundance that I couldn't finish what was on my plate. And that rarely happens to me!

But now I have my meal for tomorrow all planned out and don't have to worry about stopping whatever I'm doing just to fix myself something to eat!

Last One In's a Rotten Egg!

Remember that line from your childhood? Usually yelled by a bunch of other kids as all would be chasing and racing to jump into the water at a nearby lake or woodland stream with a nice deep hole or even, if you were lucky, into a nice big clear swimming pool!

When I was a kid, the main spot for many of us was a pond located at a farm a couple of miles from home here and often some of us -after we were in our teens -would either bicycle out there or even, if we were really ambitious and really felt the extreme need for a cool swim, we might even gather together and walk out to this place.

 It was a swimming hole I liked a good bit and yet, I didn't like it at the same time.

My dislike of this place stemmed from two things.

One was there was no way you could just wade into the water. Instead, you had to jump off a make-shift diving board that was only about 2 foot, at most, above the water and I was never into jumping much less diving then. (Actually I tried to jump off that board ONE time and ONE time only and somehow instead of just jumping, I ended up taking a belly-flopper and I think my stomach burned and smarted the rest of the day!

 The other thing I didn't like about that place ties in with the not being able to wade in as the bottom -if you could touch it -was long, long grass and it terrified me to have my toes touch that much less any other part of my body! Yeah, you could describe me probably with respect to my swimming days then as being pretty much of a wimp.

Today, swimming is something I have done I think exactly once in the past 10-12 years -maybe even a larger gap than that! Why? Well perhaps if I could something from coco reef swimwear plus size in a design I liked and in a size and style that fit me and hid a multitude of fat sins, I might at least consider visiting a state park about 10 miles from where I live and might even consider indulging in a little bit of a dip in the water there then.

Well, maybe I would do that and maybe not too.

Why not? Well, it is a very nice park, dam or small lake -whatever  you care to call it there -and it is fed by a mountain stream call Black Moshannon Creek so, naturally, the park is called Black Moshannon State Park. Around these parts though most everyone refers to it as "Blackie" and not just for the fact of the name of the park and the stream.

The other factor behind referring to it as Blackie is that after swimming there for any amount of time, you would exit the water looking -often -as dark as if you'd been tanning all year round to become a bathing beauty.

Actually we shouldn't call it Blackie though because the water in that dam has a high amount of sulfur content in it apparently and tends to turn one's limbs and body more of a rust color instead of blackish and it has been know to be rather unkind then too if you dared to wear a very expensive swimsuit there!

The last time I went swimming was about 5-6 years ago now and it was in the above ground pool my next door neighbors had at that time. And, because of my inability to find a reasonably priced swimsuit that fits me, my outfit that time consisted of cut-off shorts and a tee shirt.

Heck I could have had my own wet tee-shirt contest, couldn't I have?

Maybe next time!

A little Update...

A lot of you who read my blog might also be friends with me on Facebook and if so, you pretty much know by now what happened to my older daughter last week when she was missing for roughly 26 hours. But for those of you who don't have access to the many posts that have appeared on Facebook but maybe did read one of my posts here from a couple days ago about my daughter and have commented to me on that post your concerns and wishes, also prayers for my daughter, I thought I'd give you ALL a little bit of an update.

I'm very happy to say that she is doing very well now!

Because of the rules and regulations of the establishment where she is currently a patient, it is very difficult to get to speak to her on the phone and also, really hard to be able to go visit her too.

The unit she is in has only two phones available for use by all the patients in that unit and you can only call in between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and that's the only time the patients can call out too. First come, first served,  you see. And really I do understand the need to regulate the communications but I think perhaps if they at least had a couple more phones to allow for an easier time for patients to make or receive phone calls, it would make life a tad easier for all concerned.

And the same goes too for their visitation policies! Visitation is for a half hour only -between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Because the facility is about  60 miles from where we live, my daughter has asked that we not try to come over to see here as she feels it is too costly -at the current prices of gas/oil, ya know -especially for such a short period of time.

I was rather surprised when I heard her make that request to me for her siblings and for me not to worry, not to try to visit her as I thought then perhaps her Scottish Ancestry must have finally kicked into gear on her! (She's never been know to worry to much about spending money -if she had it in her pocket, she found something -generally anyway -on which to spend it! LOL

But the times I have been able to get through and talk with her, I'm very happy to say that her voice sounds like it did when she was just fresh out of high school. Her spirits are up again and that's a very pleasant change to realize as well.

And finally, I want to thank those of you who have contacted me via e-mail or Facebook and inquired about her, offered prayers for her well-being as well as many have offered to me and my son and other daughter, help if there is anything possible they can do for us.

The prayers are the best gift possible and greatly appreciated! So feel free to keep on doing that, please!

And I'll try to keep folks posted here and on Facebook too, as best I can.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where's Our Hearts Anymore?

There are many things that are going on in our country today that bother me. None that I can really do anything to correct as I certainly am in no position to work to get changes made on any of the myriad of issues we face today. The economy sucks! Let's face it, it is really punk for so many people who are either unemployed or under-employed now. People losing their homes for many reasons -one of which often is having lost their job and not being able to save enough to give themselves a little cushion to tide them over. (Pretty hard to even scrape by on jobs that pay $7.50 to even $10-12 an hour much less manage to put a buck here and there aside as savings!)

So many things that often make me think America has lost it's light, it's heart and many are against things that used to be pretty accepted.

One aspect I see that very much bothers me is the issues surrounding immigration. Part of me thinks that if people want to come here, are willing to work and abide by our rules and regulations, then the process should be one that would enable them to do that. I find myself being torn between those who come in here illegally and if caught, get deported back to their home country and the ideas of a kind of amnesty plan to allow them to become American citizens.

Why do I feel torn by that? Well, you see, my grandparents on both side of my family were immigrants. My Dad's parents came here from Scotland while my Mom's father and her Mother's parents came here from Sweden. They came through via the legal channels, worked hard -very hard as a matter of fact in the coal mines, to eke out a pittance of a living much of the time. But they persevered and became naturalized citizens, had full voting rights (which they took great pride in being able to vote) and they tried to get the best education they could afford for their children too. They also worked very hard to learn English and for the most part, they and many of their counterparts here in this village -Swedish or Slovak, Polish, Russian and German -many of them even tried to keep their children from learning what was the parents native tongue but rather insisted they learn better English than they had when they came here. (For my part, I really wish I'd been able to learn to read and speak Swedish as I think it would be a good thing to be able to be fluent and communicate in other languages.)

But so many people today forget that our ancestors came here from other lands, other cultures, other languages they spoke and they had to  assimilate into the American culture -not an easy task to be sure for many -but they tried to do that to the best of their abilities. They also had to deal with discrimination due to their nationalities too. Discrimination is a very difficult thing to cope with whether it is based on language differences, religious difference or race and frequently the cause is purely ignorance based on fears of people who don;t talk, act, dress, worship or look, exactly like the average American today. (Whatever that really is because by now, many of us are composites of several other cultures, ya know. I am -as I'm part Swedish, part Scottish so my children too have those ethnicities in them along with French, German and Irish from their Dad's side of the family. So they are truly what we often refer to as being a Heinz 57 variety!

It bothers me immensely to hear people say about so many groups today that they should just go back to where they came from. One night, several years ago, while imbibing in a few brews at the local pub, a guy there made that comment and since I happen to know him and know his roots I asked him if he felt all immigrants should do that -return to their homeland and his reply to me was "You're darned right they should!"

That's when I asked him where he planned to go then? I asked him if he had figured out yet if he would go to Sweden or to Czechoslovakia? For a minute or two I thought he was going to cut me off and tell me to go home but he didn't. However, he did drop his comments about the topic then for the rest of the evening. Maybe it was too much "food for thought" for him!

But it's attitudes like that and then, for so many, they have to seek out legal help via an immigration lawyer thus forcing them to shell out money they probably really don't have to spare on legal fees.

I do still think all immigrants should be able to come here if they have the means to make the trip and skills that they can and want to utilize. I understand why many do feel they only way they can get in is through illegal channels therefore, that's what they do but why does it have to be that way in the first place?

If the illegals are sucking off so many jobs that good old red-blooded American could or should have -according to the arguments put forth by many, then why aren't more Americans then willing to go work those jobs in the first place? Probably because their expectations for employment don't center on doing the hard, manual labor that the illegals often find themselves working!

So much to think about with this problem and I sure as heck don't know the answers to it. I just wish people would begin to operate with a little more of a generous spirit of extending a helping hand and welcome people here instead of calling them names, treating them as being lower than dirt all too often and expecting too families to be broken apart if one parent happens to be an illegal and the other is a citizen and the illegal then risks being deported and the children left with virtually no one then to raise them. Then they become to many a bigger part of the problem if they have to apply for any type of assistance.

Boy, to have to deal with all those things like that, if it were me trying to enter this country today and had to face that kind of hatred and discrimination and such, I wonder if I would still think America is the land of opportunity and the best place on earth to live then.

Would you?

An Apple a Day?

Two years ago, Mandy discovered something while walking the dog one day. She found three nice apple trees along the dirt road where we walk the mutt and all three of these trees appeared to be producing apples in overdrive because there were apples and more apples all over the ground and many still on the trees too.

She and the kids picked a bunch of them and brought them home for me to make pie or cobbler or some such with them. Well, I did that and also, cooked up a big batch of homemade applesauce as well.

The applesauce was a really big hit with both the grandkids here as well as with other family members who might have been here to dine with us on some occasions.

With the applesauce success, I then started gathering apples from these trees -the trees are on land that is pretty much abandoned so no danger of getting in trouble with any neighbors then for swiping the fruit. I cooked up several batches of applesauce and then froze it so we enjoyed the good homemade applesauce almost up to last spring.

I was really looking forward to the apple gathering again last fall but sadly, the apple blossoms on those trees and on all the apple trees around the town as well as the township too, had the same fate befall them.

No apples to pick and cook for anything last year.

So this spring, when I saw the first buds on the trees and then the pretty blossoms, I watched them with fingers crossed and said prayers too that there wouldn't be a hard, hard frost or a late heavy snowfall that would come through and kill them off again this year.

Thankfully, they survived and so, Maya and I have been watching those 3 trees like a pair of hawks -trying to see how many apples seemed to be growing on them. We even discovered a 4th tree right near these three -much smaller and it looks like it might be a very young tree and these are maybe it's first year of producing anything but it seems to have a pretty ample supply growing there now.

Just about every day, when I walk Sammy, as I go by these trees, I find myself staring at the apples growing and counting -or trying to count -how many apples I can spot on each tree. Yesterday, between the 4 trees, I counted over 200 apples in the growth stage!

That got my stomach to yearning for this years batches of home-cooked applesauce that I have planned for the freezer pretty soon.

Yesterday, I also took some pictures of the trees and their lovely crops! I thought I'd share a couple of those pictures today with you too. Hope you can see the apples and maybe they'll make you a bit hungry too for apple pie or cobbler or applesauce too!

The apple on this tree is on the tree that appears to have the least amount of production and the most I've been able to count on it -could be more as sometimes they are pretty well hidden -is about 18-20 apples.

The problem with trying to take pictures while you're also trying to control a dog on the lease is that often you get a jerk on the lease at the most inopportune time. That's why this picture is a bit blurry but I think you can make out a fairly good number of apples growing on it -just look for tiny lighter green orbs! (This is also from the younger tree I mentioned too.)
Yet another yank on the lease and I end up with a bit of a blurry photo but you should be able to see three apples about in the center, clumped together.
These apples are on the first apple tree we pass by on our walk and it seems to be the one that is the most productive this year as I have counted at least 6 dozen apples on it!

The tree holding these apples and a fairly decent amount of others on it, isn't on our normal walking route but is located down by the bridge over the Sulfur Creek (correct name of the creek is "Moravian Run"_ and this is just below the house that my great-uncle, Erik Eld, used to own.

The tree in the middle here has enough apples on it that can be seen from the street as we walk by and it is located near the kitchen window of Uncle Erik's old homestead which now belongs to a great couple -Jodi and Tony and their son, Travis. (I know too from years long gone by that it produces very good cooking apples as my uncle always sent apples from it up to my Grandma so she could cook up all kinds of yummy apple treats plus -she would make applesauce and can it in big quart jars for our winter meals!

These apple trees are also on Jodi and Tony's property (used to belong to my great-uncle) and are young trees that they have planted since they bought the house and moved in there. If I remember correctly, Jodi told me these are "Delicous" apples that they yield and two years ago, when there was really a bumper crop of apples around the neighborhood, she invited the grandkids, Mandy and me to come down and take as many apples as we wanted as there was way more than she and Tony could handle. And I'm sure you know now too that we beat a path down there and hauled a whole lot of apples home from those trees.

So there you have it now -a little tour of the apples in production within about a quarter to a third of a mile at most from my home!

So you know too I'm really looking forward to when they are ripe and ready to be gathered up and used!

Apple Fever! It's looming here for me!

Always Something...

Boy, why is it when you think you've finally got a hold on something that will make your life even just a teensy bit easier, there's always something that comes along and tosses a monkey wrench into the mix!

Never seems to fail to happen that way and it makes keeping a positive attitude just a trifle more difficult then in the process.

Here I am now, in the middle of the process of securing a reverse mortgage to give myself a little bit of leeway with my finances. Things seemed to be progressing quite smoothly until this past Friday when I received an e-mail with an attachment from a lady with the firm handling the mortgage processing.

Now I am totally confused as the e-mail stated that after they pay off some kind of outstanding balance I supposedly owe, I won't have enough money left over to pay for the repairs needed to be done in order to get the mortgage in the first place.


So I'm thinking what the heck is a person to do anyway. Then the idea that maybe something like non profit attorney nc could come to my aid because heaven knows, my life has always been operating along the "non-profit" lines.

Then I realized they meant something totally different in that respect so now, here I am again, back to the drawing board, waiting for a phone call and a major explanation too of what this supposed huge debt that supposedly I have is all about. Heck -the paper they sent me about these monies I supposedly owe isn't even in my name!

Go figure that one out!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

No Revisitations, PLEASE!

The past week was one that was full -way too full as a matter of fact -and unfortunately, most of the stuff that it was full of was events I definitely didn't welcome here!

Two weeks ago tonight, I decided to take the plunge and re-enlist to once again become an Avon Rep! My first order was due to be sent in this past Thursday, which entailed getting re-acquainted with how to fill out the order since they now how their ordering process computerized and that was a trifle confusing. Plus the fact of other events that happened that just kept me in either a crying mode, a panic mode, or simply just confused pretty much the entire week!

Monday kicked things off as I got word that my cousin -who lives about 12 miles from me -had become a widow overnight. Her husband of 56 (almost 57 years) had died suddenly that morning.

Tuesday, I had a doctor's appointment with the oncologist at the Cancer Clinic -my six-month checkup -where I learned that because they observed some spots on my adrenal glands on the CT scan I had to have two weeks ago, I now have to have a PET scan -just to make sure there is no cancer flaring up somewhere within my body. Wonnerful, wonnerful -as Lawrence Welk would say!

Tuesday evening kicked off the longest and possibly the worst 26-hour period of my entire life!

Seems my older daughter was missing! Regardless of how safe most folks in this region tend to think we are here, there are still occasions when bad things -very bad things -do sometimes happen and due to a serious of events with her that were totally out of character for her, I told her fiance to call the police and tell them she is missing and that the family is concerned that she may be a danger to herself -that way they wouldn't wait the required 24 hours before they would start looking for her. I won't go into the details of her disappearance but had they waited 24 hours and had it still then taken them 26 hours to find her, the outcome very likely wouldn't have been a positive one then due to the heat and the extreme humidity here this week. I have never felt so helpless as it did during that time period ever before and definitely don't want to ever experience anything like that again!

She was located -finally -about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nite, my younger daughter and I went to the emergency room at the hospital where she had been taken and spent about 2-3 hours there before we felt it was under control and we came home but te stress of that time span, and all, left both of us wired and just exhausted too so on Thursday, we both slept but we sort of slept in 2 hour shifts were she would nap, then me, then back and forth like that almost the whole day before we felt even semi-awake then.

Friday, there was the viewing for my cousin's husband and that was followed up by Mandy going back down to Middletown -where she now lives -and with her, the kids! I have been dreading the time when this would happen that the grandkids would be leaving me -all alone here -and Friday, the 19th was the day for that!

Saturday was another long day as well with the funeral and dinner and heat and more heat and humidity then too plus, my Avon order arrived. I still haven't gotten around to bagging up the orders I got on that campaign so best get busy tonight and get that done so I can start my delivery rounds at least by Tuesday of this week.

Oh and Friday, there was a letter in the mail for me from the Mortgage Company I've been dealing with and the letter in that  envelope has me really upset now so first thing in the morning I'm going to have to call the company and find out what is the meaning of the letter as it says they will be taking almost $8,000 our of the equity money I am supposed to receive and that won't then give me enough funds to take care of some of the necessary repairs on the house to get the mortgage funds released!

You know what they say don't you about "when it rains, it pours?" Well this was more like a week long hurricane had just entered my life!

I keep telling myself "This too shall pass." But I'm wondering just how long it is going to take before that adage comes to an end!

Hopefully, very, very soon!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Slip, Slip, Sliding Around!

Last week, when Mandy was home, before she left she placed a package by the back door and told me it was something I could use to allow the kids some good clean fun times this week.

Well, today was the first day that we were home long enough for them to have a chance to open this package and utilize it. And believe you me, when I see their Mother tomorrow, I'm going to give her a piece of my mind. Rest assured on that threat!

The package contained one medium sized "Slip 'n' Slide!"

The kids opened this and unfurled the item, spreading it over a good-sized section of the yard along the side of the house.

And then, they proceeded to hook up the hose and turn the outside spigot on and let the spray begin.

And boy, did they ever make the noise too once they had this thing watering everything in sight!

All kinds of screaming and shrieking and screeching sounds were coming in via the open kitchen windows to the point where I think they could have competed against a bunch of beginners learning to play guitar and/or violins and would have won in a contest for the most volume!

At one point, I wasn't sure if they were happy and laughing in between the shrieks and screams or if one of 'em was hurt and was screaming crying so I went out on the deck to take a peek and see what the heck they were doing that was causing so much revelry.

To my surprise, I saw this big long piece of plastic and a spray of water going in an arc over the plastic and at the bottom end of the piece, it was just full and covered with gobs and gobs of soapy bubbles!

I got Maya's attention -over the racket -finally and asked her what on earth they had put on this thing and she informed me that it was just a little bit of soap to make it good and slippery!

Yeah, well what exactly did you use for soap then anyway I asked her. And Kurtis pointed to a plastic bottle laying along side the slide so I asked him to bring it down to the deck so I could see what it was they were using.

When I realized it was a bottle of Dawn Dish Detergent that I had just purchased last week and which now was totally empty, I could have competed in volume then against a full marching band as I yelled at them for using all my dish washing liquid!

Arrgh! Using all my good Dawn detergent and running the hose for as long as they did -there goes my water bill up again this month and I'm going to have to make sure I keep a replacement bottle now of Dish detergent well hidden away before they decide to soap something else up too!

(Too bad I can't get Maya as interested in using the detergent for its intended purpose though, isn't it?)

Bugs and Bugs -and MORE BUGS!

Boy, I joke frequently about this house -more specifically, this family, being buggy -or, translated dysfunctional or just plain crazy much of the time.

Tonight though, I think I've figured out what it is that is driving me more than a bit buggy.

It's all these freaking little itty bitty gnats, no-see-ems, moths, millers, mosquitos, grasshoppers too and several other kinds of bugs that I have no clue what kind they are, other than that I consider each and every one of these things to be royal PITAs! (Translated -that's "pain in the arse!")

I was sitting at the dining room table trying to organize the Avon orders I have to send in tonight and every 10-15 seconds, I felt like I was under attack by these darned stinking bugs! Seemed like they were coming in and landing on the dining room table or on me in droves!

And I was trying to smash them as much as I could with the palm of my hand but some of them definitely are built well to stand off most anything that you want to use to try to smack them and kill 'em! No wonder they are so prolific! They withstand just about any kind of pressure or being hit with a fly swatter or taking a newspaper and smack down on it as it lays on top of a bug and you still can't stop them!

For me, it's especially annoying when one -or sometimes several -of these pesky things don't just land on the table but instead, they fly directly into my face -landing on my glasses, on my eyebrows and the worst is when they fly into my hair too as I can't stand the feeling of some bugs crawling around on my head, even if it is only for 15-20 seconds until I manage to brush them out of there with a big wave of my hand!

Finally, I got so fed up with these I went on a search and destroy mission and located some bug spray Mandy had bought and had it stashed away under the sink and I sprayed that stuff on those useless things in my windows -called screens -which these little sapsuckers manage to come right through the screens and into the house.

No I haven't yet eradicated all of these creatures but just spraying that stuff on the screens did apparently scare quite a few of the larger bugs -millers, moths, and the like -off the screens at least!

And closing the windows would have us suffocating in here then as it is hot, hot, hot and very humid so I guess I'll just have to continue in my self-declared war on insects here every chance I get!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mortgages and such!

Well, I finally got the good word late last week that the reverse mortgage I applied for has been approved.

Well, sort of, anyway!

A couple things have changed since I originally applied for this procedure. One is that the amount I was hoping the house would be appraised for came in almost $4,000 below the figure I'd been praying for. Okay -I can deal with that change -grudgingly, yes -but I can deal with it and accept it.

Then, the fees attached to the mortgage rose by $2,000 and that I really didn't like to have that happen!

And also, before the funds are released to me, I have to find a licensed and insured contractor to give me an estimate for some siding work they want done to the rear of the house!

Finally, one other "little" thing. I have to write a note to the mortgage company or some such to explain why there are two different social security numbers showing up in my name!

Now the latter thing is something that I had no clue whatsoever that there were two social security numbers listed in my name and considering I have never co-signed any loans for anyone or anything like that -plus this second number isn't even close to the numbers in my social security number, so how the heck this happen is totally beyond me!

Now, I look around this house and sheesh, I'm seeing so many other things I would like to get fixed or changed ot redone or something and that gets me to thinking maybe I should contact some real estate agent or some such -and consider just selling the place and moving elsewhere.

Seeing as I have no idea as to where I would want to go live -if not here -I may as well just start with someplace like say -oh maybe some real estate in Louisville ky for openers! And from there, I could just travel west, maybe even south a bit, checking out cities and towns in a state-by-state search for a place big enough yet not huge that would satisfy my needs.

Only trouble for me with that idea is the truth of the matter really is that I just don't want to leave this little village! I want to be like my late aunt -my Dad's baby sister -who died 5 years ago at the age of 91, and she had always said the only way anyone would ever get her out of the family homestead would be to carry her out, and she would go kicking and screaming all the way!

My Head Is Spinning!

So much going on around here today and tomorrow and the day after that too -all are going to be royal zoos in terms of making my head spin!

Tomorrow -or is that "today" now, perhaps -I have a doctors appointment at 2:30. Thankfully, Kurt's TSS will be here and will be able to go with me so that way, she can sit with the kids in the waiting room while I have my six-month checkup followed then by what is called a "port flush." For anyone not familiar with what a port is and what a port flush entails -a port is simply something placed under a patient's skin that the nurses or doctors can gain easier accessibility to the patient's circulatory system through this apparatus to administer IVs or other medications as needed without have to go through hunting for a "good" usable vein in one's arm or someplace else on your body. A "port flush" is merely having the nurse inject into the port a substance that then circulates through the port and cleans it out!

Anyway, the port flush is a walk in the park! I've had this port for almost 3 years now and never once have I had any of the nurses at the cancer clinic cause undue discomfort to me when they push that needle into the port to flush it! (And considering I may not be quite as bad today at this age in dealing with needles and injections and shots and blood work and such like I was oh, about 60 years ago when it would take 3 people to hold me down so my Mom could give me medications by injection, I'm still not exactly  a big fan of needle procedures. Just a trifle more mature about them now is all!)

Then, on Wednesday, our Women's Group at church is sponsoring a pot luck picnic dinner for the women of our church -just sort of a little party you could say -and we have invited to this event the women of a nearby church to join us in our little bit of revelry!  So, besides having to fix supper Tuesdy for the kids and myself, then on Wednesday, I'll be fixing a casserole of some type (I'm leaning towards making Chicken Divan ) along with making some kind of -hopefully -easy to create dessert to take to the picnic supper too! (For that, I'm kind of thinking of trying a new recipe I found for a crisp made with strawberries and rhubarb -both things I love, you see! The recipe I found looks easy enough to pass muster for me as it looks to be dirt simple and fast too -both items I require of any recipe! So, hopefully it will actually work out that way!

And, also -on Wednesday, the game plan this week became that Mandy is coming up that day and will then be taking the kids back to Middletown with her! Now that part of this week's activities has me a tad upset as initially she had told me that the kids could stay here with me until July 28th and now, she's taking them away a little over a week before I had figured on our parting!

But with the passing this morning of my  cousin's husband and the impending funeral, it may just change her plans a trifle.

Okay -I can dream that might be the way things will work out and I'll get my extra week with my special grandkids then, can't I?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Useful Information -maybe?

One of my closest friends from way back when in my high school days and I communicate fairly regularly via Facebook. It's been pretty much a Godsend to us for well over a year now since I found the address for her and her husband when I was trying to locate all the kids from our high school class to contact them about our 50th Reunion we were planning last year.

We don't always write back and forth every day, but we communicate at least 2-3 times a week most of the time.

I know she has some major concerns right now as although she and her husband are technically retired and get social security along with medicare and such, he has also still kept on working full-time so he could that way also have affordable extra health insurance for them through his employment. (If people think Medicare will take care of you in your old age, think again! It's good, yes but it isn't the end all of insurance plans, that's for sure! So therefore, supplemental insurance does often become a necessity!

Anyway, since they live in North Carolina and I happened to come across some information today about and it looked to me like it might possibly be a good research point for her to check into, I'm going to send the url to her and she can see if she can get some good reliable information. They will really have to find some good insurance at a much more affordable price now because the place where her husband works is in the process now of having a major layoff and he is due to get a pink slip any time now, she tells me!

Hope this website does give her at least a little information to proceed forward with!

Family Loss

Today was a bit of a rough day for the kids and for me -on a couple different levels though.

This morning, the kids had their final therapy appointment with the therapist at the agency we have been working with and this particular therapist is very good and both kids loved her very much too. To realize today may very well have been the last time they will see her for a long, long time to come. Also, that I will not see her either, in all likelihood, is a very sad, depressing thought for me too.  I know eventually it will come through to the kids what's happened here, who they will or won't possibly ever see again and that's going to be a tough pill then for them to swallow.

Thankfully, she's on Facebook and is one of my friends there so I can still somewhat keep in contact with her as time goes on anyway!

Then later today, I saw a post on Facebook from the granddaughter of one of my first cousins who lives about 12-13 miles from me. It hit me as ominous since the granddaughter had just written "I'm really missing my "Pap" now." (Pap being the name she called her Grandfather and I knew she was very close to both her grandparents there.) So I went to the granddaughter's mother's facebook page but she had not posted anything, however I did notice there were several messages there offering condolences to the granddaughter's Mom and that set the wheels in my mind to spinning.

Sadly, about 3-4 hours later, a message was posted by my cousin's niece, stating that her Uncle had passed away this morning so then, with that, my suspicions were confirmed.

Both my cousin and her husband are a couple of zany characters for sure! A good match in that respect. Also a match that had held up very well for about 56 years (if my math is correct.) He and another cousin of mine on that side of my family were about the only people I knew who could tease my youngest aunt about various things and they could both get away with harassing that aunt about some of her little quirks and she never got mad at them. One of those things that my cousin, the deceased's wife, and I came to realize that our aunt favored the men in the family over the girls!

I remember at our Aunt's birthday party when she turned 85 and as was the norm for her house, she had to have had the thermostat turned up to at least 80 degrees as it was hotter than Hades in the place. (As my daughter Mandy would say "She could turn a person into a grilled cheese sandwich in nothing flat!" And my cousin's husband of course was at this event as he was as close to our aunt as we nieces and nephews were. And he made a crack to her about the heat, saying "Aren't you going to try to save any oil for next year?" And my aunt laughed at his wisecrack but had I or his wife had made a comment like that to her, she'd have given us "what for" ya know!

When my older daughter heard what he had said to our aunt, she was totally dumfounded that he dared to say anything at all to our aunt, much less a wisecrack like that and live to tell about it!

So with my cousin's loss today of her beloved husband along with the finality for the kids of closing out their last therapy session here, it's going to be a doubly depressing week now for me, for my kids too and especially for the grandkids as they will be leaving me this week now instead of being here with me another week, at least, as had initially been planned.

Gonna be a teary one, that's for sure!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good Move!

Yesterday, I saw something on the Facebook wall of a cousin of mine -of her son, proposing marriage to his girl friend.

She had posted some pictures of his proposal and since they are her pictures, on her Facebook page, I can't post them here but boy, I sure do wish I could do that!

For openers, his fiance is a coach of a girl's softball team so he had taken a regulation softball, cut it in half and then, placed the ring box and ring in a hollowed out section of the softball and closed it up and when he got down on his knee too -on the ball diamond -and presented her with this gift, it looked like it was just another softball!

Pretty cool way to get a girl's attention, don't 'cha think?

I wonder if he got that ring from the selection of platinum rings from

Actually, after seeing the look on her face, I doubt it would matter much to her which jewelry store he went to when he purchased this ring. Just as long as she now has it is all that counts!

Little Boys Are......

There's lots of things that could be written, I'm sure, about little boys and what they do, what they like, what they love.

When my son was a youngun, he had his ways and likes, to be sure but one thing that stood out with him was his love for cars. Cars, cars and more cars -whether they were matchbox variety or larger models then as he got older, he did take an interest in building model cars too. Oh, and he also -like many boys do -loved trucks too. Any kind of truck type machinery and he was head over heels in love with it.

He also happened to have a sort of destructive streak too at times so his Dad and I frequently shopped at the Tonka counters in the toy stores as they seemed to do the best job of holding up under the kind of pressure Clate could put on those things.

I remember one year at Christmas, we were looking for a Tonka something or other for him and trying to find something he didn't already have. Along with that stipulation, we were also looking for something that appeared to be the most durable of the trucks they had too.

Finally, after a lot of thought, we settled on getting him this nifty looking bright blue tow truck as we figured it looked like it could definitely take the kind of abuse we knew Clate would be dishing out with it.

Much to our surprise though a week or two after Christmas, I noticed the windshield in the tow truck was gone. So I questioned Clate about that and what had possibly happened to that item on the truck.

He then informed me that he had knocked the windshield out himself.

"Why," I asked him, "Would you want to do that anyway?"

His answer -"Because that's the only way I could get my Weebles people into the cab of the truck!"

I saw his point -didn't particularly like it but I saw it, understood his problem then too.

Moving forward now oh a couple of decades -3 and a half I suppose -to the things Kurtis can do and get into and some of his shenanigans really frustrate the heck out of me.

Take this for an example!

These were a fairly recent acquisition of Kurt's -very nice sneakers and I especially liked them too because they went on easily and had no ties to fight with either. Apparently Kurtis wanted to check them out for mud bogging or something or other! They never did come clean from all the mud encased on them!

The biggest difference here between my son and my grandson I do believe is that Kurtis does seem to have more of an affinity for being a potential model for Charles Shultz's "Pig Pen" character though!

Big Mouth Kids!

Yesterday, while I was working -helping to serve and sell hot dogs, cookies or brownies, soda or coffee -at the sale our Women's Group at church has been sponsoring for several years now, as I mentioned in my previous post, I had to take the kids out there with me. I knew this might possibly backfire on me, big time, and they might turn into a couple of wild little heathens on me, racing and chasing around, fighting with each other and a myriad of other annoying things could have gone one and driven me more than a bit batty. But lucky for me -and for the kids and their backsides too- they were both very well behaved.

I forgot that my little camera has a video thing on it so what few pictures I took yesterday were just still shots. But if I'd remembered to click it on to video, I could instead be posting a little video of the kids doing their level best to call out to passing motorists to stop and have a hot dog or soda.
Here's Maya -in the top picture, she was either just finished with doing one of her own special cartwheels on the front lawn of the church or maybe getting ready to do that. In the bottom photo, she was calling out her "announcement" to the passersby to try to entice them in to get something to eat or drink.

The other ladies and I did get a big kick out of watching her and Kurtis as both of them really threw themselves into the advertising end there!

But then too, can't have them get too successful with that kind of stuff or we'd be having to pay them union scale next then I suppose!

Yard Sale Day!

Boy, what a relief that this day is over and done!

It was, you see, yard sale time at our church and for several years now running (except for last year when we didn't have enough response to help with this event) our Women's Group at Church has been having not a yard sale per se, but a hot dog, brownies and beverage sale on the front lawn of the church on the Saturday of the Lanse Community Yard Sale as our summer fund raiser.

I put up sign-up sheets in the Narthex about a month ago to try to get people to sign up for the items we needed to have donated for the sale and last night, as we were doing the set-up for today, I was getting worried that we wouldn't have enough food, nor enough help today either for that matter.

I was also worried how things were going to go for me too today as I had to take Maya and Kurtis out with me from the time I was scheduled to start working on serving at the sale (10 a.m.) until 2 p.m. when we would be finished up and then, trying to get the social hall and kitchen all tidied up by 3 p.m.!

Thankfully, both kids behaved fairly well today!

No, they weren't perfect little angels. Oh my goodness, that would have been a total shock to my system for openers if they were THAT good, but they only had a couple minor squabbles -mostly reports from Kurtis that Maya was trying to boss him, which is nothing newsworthy! She does that all the time whether he reports on her to me or not and doesn't look too promising for Kurtis that she is going to stop acting like that any time soon either!

But although it was gray and even misty when we arrived at church this morning and we had a couple of little misty spells between 10 a.m. and noon, after noon, things seemed to clear up somewhat -at least no more misty stuff -and by 4 p.m., the sun was shining brightly then!

We had, as it turned out, more than enough items donated so we didn't run out of anything, which is good. We even got a bit more help to serve the customers too than we anticipated and that was a big assist there, for sure. Maya even helped out from time to time in getting out sodas or water bottles as customers requested them as she had each cooler memorized as to what kind of beverage was in each one and she willingly offered to get the drinks! Yay, yay, for Maya volunteering to help in what ever way she could be useful. At several points during the sale, Kurtis and Maya both stood by the sign we had out front advertising food and beverages and they called out to people driving by to stop and get a hot dog! That was pretty cute, really -to watch those two in action there!

But for me, the best thing of all was after we finished cleaning everything up and I was walking out with another lady from our group, she turned to me and told me how good she thought both kids behaved today as it had to be hard on them to be with us for that long and not get totally bored and thus, start behaving badly, but they had done quite well today and I was extremely proud of both of them for the way they both acted today. And, you better believe I complimented them and thanked them too for making Grammy very proud of them today!

After we got home, the kids both disappeared to their rooms and played quietly for quite some time while I played on the computer with my e-mail and facebook for a bit. (I also confess that I sort of dozed off in front of the computer for a couple little catnaps then too though, as I was really beat.)

The heat, combined with the humidity today, even after we got home, was still pretty oppressive but about 6 p.m. I noticed it was starting to cool off somewhat. So I decided then that around 7 p.m. I was going to go out and fire up ye olde lawn mower and see how much of the grass I could get knocked down an inch or so!

I hammered away at the grass cutting for a solid two hours -huffing and puffing, yes and also sweating like there was no tomorrow either, ya know! But when I put the lawn mower back in the shed, I had finished cutting all the grass in front and along the sides of the house as well as the entire back lot too!
Came inside and got the mutt to take him for his evening stroll, then ran up to the Moose to pick up a copy of tonight's paper and finally -at 9:30 tonight -I was fixing pancakes for supper for the two kids and myself. They both ate with no complaints -every bit of the pancakes I had cooked, buttered and put syrup on for them while I wolfed down my meal of the day then too! Good thing pancakes are fast, easy, good meals for them and me as we all three of us, love 'em!

After that, time to get the kids showered and ready for bed and then, finally -got my sweaty, sticky and probably very stinky too, self into the shower and now, here I sit, typing this post and all ready to hit the sack now too!

Back to church in the morning and all three of us are ready so come morning, we just need to wash our faces, brush the teeth, grab some cereal for at least Kurtis and definitely a cup or two of good hot coffee for me for my normal morning wake-up and then get dressed and out the door on our way to start our Sunday in the best way possible.

In the afternoon, I get a break as the kids will be going up to spend the afternoon and evening with their Dad. For me, that break means time to drink some more coffee, read the Sunday Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and struggle to find some answers to the two crossword puzzles they always publish every week!

Maybe I'll even catch a couple more catnaps then too along the way.

But whatever, I'm thankful for how well our efforts paid off today with our hot dog sale, for how well the kids handled themselves and now, that the three of us can sleep peacefully tonight and allow the comfort of a nice bed and a rest will give renewed strength and energy to face the day, come morning's light!

Hope everyone else can do the same too! Peace.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cool? Well, maybe.

It's been a wild and crazy week plus a few extra days too since I last posted anything and yes, I've been busy!

Since last Tuesday morning, it's just been me and the kids to manage -alone, sort of -here in the homestead. There've been a few kinks here and there. A few episodes of temper tantrums, even a couple of meltdowns from the one who does major obsessions about clothing and shoes and such. Can you guess which one that would have been?

But overall, things have been running fairly smoothly -for the most part.

They got to go up to see their Dad and go swimming at the pool where Daddy lives plus, to play on the trampoline there too. Good times especially considering that afternoon the area got hit with a wild and wooly electrical storm but then, it cleared off fairly quickly there and they were able to enjoy the afternoon and evening in the pool, playing and being with their Dad. Things with respect to that parent have drastically changed over the past 3 or so months now which is something I regard as being even way better than just being "cool."

One thing that really is nice to me and which I very much appreciated seeing -finally -is this!

Finally! My Mountain Laurel bush in front of the house began  to bloom and that's something I very much look forward to each and every spring and all through the month of June as I watch the buds forming and then, eventually, it bursts into these beautiful blossoms.

Now for me, that is something I definitely do regard as being some "Cool shit!"

Well, darn it but now, all of a sudden my luck seems to have changed and I'm listening to the beginnings of what probably is going to develop into a full fledged meltdown

Oh well, I should be accustomed to that by now and meltdown or not, it still doesn't take away from my taking liberties with how I described the blooming Mountain Laurel makes me feel, does it?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Where Did I Leave Off?

Life in the "fast lane" seemed to be the track things here were taking over the past several days now. I can't seem to gain any headway this week in ANYTHING I need or want to do. Well, it seems that way to me, at any rate.

Every day seemed to hold something that either felt like it was a disaster then or perhaps, was well on the way to resulting in full disaster.

Wednesday morning, we woke up to a big branch from the maple tree in front of the house laying in the yard, branches with leaves galore all over the sidewalk and the thicker end of the branch, where the separation from the tree had taken place, was laying on the ground with that end pointing to the house. Thankfully, it had missed the roof and also the bay window in its travel down to the ground.

Thursday morning, when I got up, looked out the front window and there was Mandy's car parked on one side of our parking area and my older daughter's car was parked on the other end of the parking area but my car was nowhere in sight! Hmmmm. Where the heck had my car gone anyway?

Turns out that Mandy's care wouldn't start so she "borrowed" my car but didn't wake me up to tell me that bit of information. She did phone me about 10 a.m. though to tell me where my car was (at work with her) and why she had borrowed it, which of course, was fine with me. She had also called some one with a tow truck and a mechanic to come check it out and if need be, tow it to the garage to get whatever was wrong fixed. (I knew from the tone of her voice and with other problem she has had of late with this car that she was worried then too about how much of a small business loan she might have to get to pay to get it running again!)

Luckily for her though, it turned out to be just a loose wire to the battery terminal!

Friday whizzed by so quickly that I don't even remember anything at all of what may have happened that day! Probably a good thing though considering how the earlier part of the week had been.

Saturday, Mandy had work that day -her last day at the Diner -and when she got up to get her shower and get dressed, she had a really rude awakening as she discovered that there was no hot water because we had run out of fuel oil during the night! (Don't have to run the furnace during the summer and especially not as hot and humid as it's been here but we do have to have oil for the furnace because our hot water is heated via the furnace you see!)

So, she ended up running a tad late for work because he had to stop and ask her brother if he would please take the fuel cans and go get some fuel oil and dump it in the tank and then, get the furnace restarted so as to enable all of us to shower later in the day and get ready to go watch Maya perform in the play that evening in Philipsburg.

The play went very well! The kids, all of them, did a fantastic job with the music and dance routines and made us very, very proud to sit there and watch Miss Maya strut her stuff, ya know! Maya's oldest iter, Katie, and her little baby, Lola Rae, were able to attend the play along with my older daughter and her fiance as well as Maya and Kurt' Dad too! Nice that he was able to attend and Maya was very proud then to be able to show off her theatrical talent for her Daddy!

Here's a picture of the entire cast of the production of Freckleface Strawberry and the young lady standing on the far left is Miss Abbie Houston, the director of this play. I got a couple of videos and a few other stills of the play but they turned out very dark and difficult to see who is in the majority of those picture.

I did however manage to get this picture of Miss Maya and her sister, Katie, though and this picture i one I am really pleased with as it shows both of them looking really great!

Maya was so happy and excited to see that Katie was there -and also, that Katie had her baby, little Lola Rae, with her too. I think you can see the happiness shining through in both their eyes, can't you?

Speaking of Lola Rae -I did manage to get a couple cute pictures of her too after the play so here's a couple of the ones I liked the best. (She is growing so fast and is now five months old -already!

Isn't she just adorable though?

Sunday morning dawned and I was up, got ready to go to church and got there about ten minutes before the service started, so I thought then maybe lady luck had decided to leave us -or me -alone that day. However, about 10 minutes after the service started, my intestines decided it a time for them to wake up and create a lot of discomfort and potential problems too for me so I ended up having to leave after the scripture readings. I missed then that Pastor Matt called Mandy and Jeff up in front of the congregation to announce that Mandy was leaving the area now, moving down to Middletown, PA and thus, this would be her last service with our congregation for a while. She told me about this when she got home and said she had done really well during the service until then and that brought the tears on for her. It is really difficult when you've been a member of the same church for all your life and you love it the way she did and still does (as do I) to have to say farewell to good friends, many of whom are also close neighbors and friends of our family too.

Sunday evening, Mandy and Jeff loaded up his car as well as her car with boxes and stuff to take down to Middletown then today for the first caravan to move stuff from here to there then early Monday morning.

So Monday morning came and with it came the rain -and lots of it too -sprinkles here and there, then a shower, then sprinkles, clearing for about 5 minutes and then, a deluge and it kept up doing that almost the entire day! That could be dealt with except for one small issue and that was that both Mandy and Jeff had left their car windows down all night and so, both of them had to endure the ride to Middletown on wet car seats then, ya know!

My day here with Maya and Kurtis was something else today!

Not only was it wet -weatherwise -outside but inside the house there was a lot of wetness too as Maya developed a case of the weepies and whinies and also, apparently had declared her own private war too -against her brother! The kids were both more than a bit on the crabby and contrary side almost all day! Constant tattling on each other for totally ludicrous and very mundane things -definitely not anything indicative of the end of the world being at hand you see!

At one point, Maya informed me that Kurtis had put a disposable camera in the commode but Kurtis claimed Maya had put it in the vanity sink and turned the water on it! I'm still not completely positive as to which kid was telling the truth and which was lying but the evidence I have on that deed points very much in the direction of Kurtis being the guilty party there! (Apparently he was trying to see what it means to have a "disposable" camera is about all I can figure out as to why either of them would have been monkeying with it with water involved!)

Later this evening, water again became the overriding theme for the day as I went into the bathroom and discovered water had been splashed over a good deal of the bathroom floor! Now what the heck had one of those two hooligan done there? It turns out Kurtis was definitely the guilty one there and the water on the floor? Well that came about from his getting hold of a squirt gun, filling it with water and then, squirting it hither, thither and yon in the bathroom!

Needless to say, these two better thank their lucky stars that Grammy really, really, really loves them because today, Grammy sure wasn't on an overload of liking either much less both of them!

Since I had to make a trip into Philipsburg to take care of a few things, we then went to McDonald's for supper because Maya insisted she had to have a cheeseburger and then, Kurt could "feast" too on a kiddie meal of the chicken tenders which he loves. When I gave the attendant the order for the kids Happy Meals I asked her to please could she see to it that there was a extra large serving in those meals of the "Happy" because those two kids were in dire need of some "happy" stuff you see. And when I ordered an iced tea for myself and she asked if I wanted unsweetened or sweet tea, I told her I figured I needed some extra sweetness today too so for her to give me the sweetened tea!

Unfortunately, she apparently overlooked the "happy" stuff because although the kids were pretty well behaved while we were eating, a soon as we got back into the car, the war was on again between them!

I seriously am thinking of purchasing two set of handcuffs and attaching them to their wrists and then, fastening them to something in the backseat of the car to make them unable to reach across the seat and touch each other! I'm also considering the purchase of a big roll of duct tape and you can probably figure where I'd be putting that by now too, can't you?

But thankfully, by 9 p.m., Kurtis was ready to head off to bed with no hassles and by 10 p.m., Maya decided she was tired then too and off she went so now -for the past 3 hours, life here has become very quiet, and also, quite calm too!

Finally! Such a nice feeling to know that there is now a reprieve for me till at least 8 a.m. Tuesday morning when things here will probably continue on -hopefully not in quite as much of a trouble creating manner as was experienced most of the day today!

Stay tuned though for more of the day-to-day trials from this war zone!