Thursday, January 30, 2014

Change Modus Operandi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Potential Casualty?

My son has lost his love of the changing seasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Memories -The Good Kind!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More To Come!

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The temperatures here are plummeting once again as we're getting another treat from the polar vortex!

The weather report on the 11 p.m. news tonight said the temperature then in Clearfield (which is about 20 miles from where I live) was below zero then and had a wind chill factor -then- of about -21! And, if that's not enough, with the dip in temperatures they are predicting for overnight, by 7 a.,m. the wind chill factor is predicted to be between -25 and -30!

Now that is cold!

And guess who had to venture outside tonight at 1:45 a.m.?

Yep! Me and my lovely silly little mutt, Sammy!

During the really cold winter months, I always dress in "layers."  Besides the layers of natural fat I have accumulated (which, by the way, I don't detect any assistance from them in the heating department) I wear a pair of long underwear under my jeans, a turtle neck sweater under a heavy wool sweater, then a nice warm scarf gets wrapped around my neck and the jacket goes on next. THe jacket is a good warm, heavy mid-thigh length with a fake-fur trim around the hood. I have a thick crocheted hat that fits down well over my ears -and forehead too -so with that on, then the hood pulled up over the hat and another thick scarf gets wrapped around the neck of the hood to fasten it better in place (mainly so it doesn't slide and slip down so the furry stuff blocks my glasses) and with my snow boots on, mittens too, of course, Sam and I are ready to roll!

And yes, it is very cold out there tonight. The kind of cold that pulls your nose hairs together and makes it feel like they have frost on them. (They probably do.) But honestly, we were outside for roughly about 15 minutes and sure I noticed it was very cold, but this kind of cold doesn't bother me near as much as it does when the temps are only in the 20s but when there is a whole lot of humidity and moisture in the atmosphere. THen, the cold is a raw cold and that freezes my butt clear to the bone and takes me hours to get warm again when I've been out in that kind of weather.

THis tonight, with the fresh snowfall we got today, reminded me of when I was a kid and in my teens and how the other kids in the neighborhood would revel in this kind of weather -lots of snow, good for sled riding and we would all tackle the hillside across the road from my house and hit the slopes running! Literally! We would pick up our sleds and take a little running start, slap the sled down on the snow and our bodies on top of the sled and off we would go, down the hill, praying that when we got to the intersection of the sled riding spot and the road that there would be no cars coming!

I'm the only kid in this neighborhood here in town ever to collide a sled with a car! The middle board on the sled popped up, smacked me squarely in the face so I had a big goose egg on my forehead, a few other bruises on my face too and when I saw the car approaching, instead of jumping off the sled (like a sane teenager would have done) I extended my left leg to drag on the ground (spragging we called this move) intended to slow my sled speed down. Well, it may have done that to some extent but it also twisted a ligament or something then in my right knee that gives me problems to this day!

And that infamous sled riding accident of mine took place on the Monday after Thanksgiving in November of 1958!

Today, the hillside where my friends and I had so much fun sees to kids on it sled riding and hasn't had activity like that there in several years now. When my kids were growing up, occasionally they and some of their friends would take a sled to the hill but not nearly as much as my peers and I did back in the 50s and early 60s.

What a shame!

Kids who don't get to experience the thrills of riding a sled down a fairly good slope just have no idea of what they have been missing!

Just one of the many things I enjoyed here in this little village when I was growing up!

Monday, January 20, 2014


My memory -especially my short term one -is really faulty these days. I can remember all kinds of stuff that happened years and years ago almost as clearly as if it had happened yesterday, but things that happened recently or that I was supposed to remember an appointment here or there - little things, big things, it doesn't seem to matter because I seem to be bound to forget about them no matter what I try to do to remember.

I have a calendar hanging on the wall, near to my computer (which is good, you would think, because I do spend a good deal of time playing on the computer) and I mark on the calendar appointments I have coming up. This week, I have two appointments -one on Wednesday at 2 p.m. and the other on Thursday at 1 p.m. Both are quite important so I do hope that the mind cooperates and keeps me remembering about these two appointments this week now, at least.

Silly things that I should remember easily, with no problems though tend to give me the most difficulty. Probably because I haven't linked them to something else to remind me I need to do this or that or some other thing, ya know.

Take tonight for instance -I had planned to take the dog out fairly early tonight so that I might be able to relax earlier and go to bed but of course, that changed because I got engrossed in my new embroidery project I just started last night. I got so carried away with doing the needlework stuff that I forgot all about walking Sam until 1 a.m. when it dawned on me. If I don't want to wake up to some messes on the floor, best get the boots and coat on, the leash and flashlight and take him for a quick stroll.

The nice thing about walking Sam tonight though was how pretty it was with the moonlight tonight. Cold -oh my yes, but not horrendous -just a nice nip in the air really. But the moon was so pretty -very clear, no hazy stuff around it the way it was last night.

But the best thing about the moon tonight was that it reminded me of something totally unrelated to moonlight and such and that was something my son had asked me to do for him that had completely slipped my mind!

He's always interested in so many different things -things about which I haven't clue one, really and most of the time, his interests are about cars, old volkswagons in particular. And I know nothing about cars but sometimes he will call me and ask me to look up stuff about this or that kind of car and then, call him back and tell him about it or link the information to him as he can go on line then when he's able and read what I looked up for him.

Lately though, he's been talking a lot about musical instruments and guitars in particular -another subject about which I am totally clueless too.  Yesterday, he had asked me to please look up this an acoustic guitar for him. I have no idea in the world why he is checking out this stuff -maybe he wants to get his girlfriend a guitar for Valentine's Day or something like that. Who knows.

But that this popped into my head that I was supposed to do a search for this stuff for him and had forgotten about that until my way-late walk with the dog in the beautiful moonlight, now that I really don't understand.

Maybe it was the color of the sky around the moon that made me think of the color purple and perhaps even soft, sweet guitar music in the background was in the back of my mind. Who knows, I sure don't!

But whatever or however it triggered my remembering this -well, my son has the moonlight to thank for that!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I don't usually dream all that much once I fall asleep, but when I do, it seems they are always nightmares.

And furthermore, they are also always nightmares about me being a waitress again, back at the truckstop where I worked for 7 years a little over 25 years ago now.

The funny thing about these nightmares is that when I was actually working there, I never had dreams much less nightmares about the darned place. But now, when they come on, inevitably it is pretty much the same scenario with me working in one of the sections that were -back in the day -usually the busiest sections and drivers and/or customers would be coming in to the place, in droves, parking at my tables and clamoring for me to get them coffee and get it to them yesterday, ya know.

Inevitably too, these customers would head straight to a table that had just been vacated and not yet cleaned off and reset and they would park there -thinking apparently that they would get faster service by doing that or that it made it easier on the waitress to sit at an unclean table. Nothing could be farther from the truth than believing either of those things is true! Plus, most waitresses (at least the ones I knew and myself included in this) hate it when people land at dirty tables!

But anyway, I was, in this latest nightmare, extremely stressed out, trying to get coffee and ice water to people and take their orders when the first major problem in the nightmare showed up. That was that I couldn't find any pads with which to write customers orders on 'em -minor triviality, I know -but all I could find were stacks and stacks of customer order pads but all of those sheets in them had already been used for someone else's orders so how could you write a new order on there and expect the cook to know which items he'd already fixed and which were new orders? Go figure the logic out on that deal, huh?

Then, the dishwasher was really slow so I kept running out of coffee cups, water glasses and silverware and when there would be more available, the other girls I was working with were just standing in a corner gabbing and not helping by carrying any stuff into the dining room.

I got into an argument with the lady who owned the place over changing a tablecloth on a table because she felt I had used the wrong tablecloth and I was angry because it wasn't even my table to begin with so why in blazes was I changing that tablecloth in the first place?

When I woke up Friday morning after this nightmare finally came to an end, I was exhausted -more tired then than I was before I had gone to bed and all from all the stress in this stupid nightmare!

I felt like I'd been run over by a bulldozer, ya know!

I don't have these dreams all the time -or all that terribly frequently either (thank goodness) but believe me when I say this, even if the work I'm doing in these dreams seems to be going fairly smoothly, dreaming about being back there and waitressing again -well that is truly a nightmare!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rush Job!

A couple of days ago, my neighbor and best friend, stopped by my house with a few things she needed to share with me.

One of the things she had on her mind was that she wanted to know if I could do up a special "sign-up" sheet to be placed in the Narthex at our church this Sunday. She thought I had done one like what they needed last year and I wasn't sure but I thought she was right. So I told her I would check my files and see if I had done one of these last year and if so, all I'd maybe need to do with this would be to change the date on it because it looked like we were asking for the same items again this year.

The sign-up sheet is for little packages we used to send out in early fall to kids from our church who are attending college -little "care packages" for the kids. These boxes will contain a bunch of different things from packets of cheese and crackers, to microwaveable popcorn packs, microwavable packs of mac'n'cheese, hot chocolate, chewing gum, little notepads, pens, pencils, ramen noodles, candies and even a deck of cards.

I checked my files and found that yes, I had done up the list last year but when I went to fix it up for this year, I realized I had to re-do the whole darned thing.

Seems that last year, we apparently only had four kids from our church who were attending college but this year, the list had expanded considerably as we now had seven kids to make up "care packages" for each one of 'em.

What's so difficult about doing that, you ask? Well, nothing really except that each item we were requesting to be donated needed to have seven lines under it to allow people to sign up for enough of the items we needed. And that meant expanding the size of my list considerably.

I puttered and puttered around with it -trying to figure out how to lay out the items on the list to make room for all the extra lines I needed and before you know it, I had myself somewhat confused. (That's not really a difficult thing to do, ya know -get me confused.) But anyway, I was getting rather frustrated and rattled by the whole thing and was beginning to think I might need to do something really drastic like finding a printing shop in New York in order to get this whole darned thing to gel for me.  Okay -that's more than a bit of an exaggeration but suffice it to say, I was frustrated that I couldn't get it to jive the way I wanted it to do!

But, finally, I figured out a way to get it all in there and printed out, it only takes two sheets of paper which we can easily tape together to make it one big sheet! And all I had to do -simple task that this was and why it was escaping my logic factors, I don't know -was to change the layout from portrait to landscape!

Now, what can be easier than that?

Relief - a Submission Away!

Let me clarify something here tonight -I AM an Avon Lady. And, most of the time I really do enjoy doing this particular type of work.

However, there are times when things don't seem to be going quite as smoothly as I would prefer and then, I start to worry about all kinds of things -big things as well as little things and the next thing you know, my stomach is in a bit of an uproar.

My previous order really was horrid -only was able to scrounge up 5 orders and my sales was way, way down as a result of that. This current campaign looked like it was going to go that same route and boy, was I ever getting nervous over that. I knew I couldn't afford two campaigns, back to back, that were under the minimum amount of sales for me to earn the percentage I needed to cover my basic expenses.

The past three days had my stomach really churning, big time.

Until on Monday, I received a couple of decent sized orders but by this morning I knew I was going to have to order a few things for myself in order to bump my order up to the minimum dollar amount. Fortunately, it only amounted to being about 6-8 dollars under so I started to calm down a bit.

But then, I got a phone call from a customer telling me how she had tried about 4-5 times to submit an order to me via Facebook's Private Message but for some reason or other, it wouldn't go through. So she called me, a bit worried that she had missed my deadline to send my order in. However, I told her, no - it hadn't been sent in yet and wouldn't get sent until late tonight and lo and behold, she gave me an order for items totaling over $26.00!

Boy, talk about ecstatic, I sure was that then!

And tonight, I got my order filled out and submitted earlier that I usually do -most of the time, I am up til 3 or 4 a.m. working on getting it all completed but tonight, had it done and the payment to the company made too by just a little after midnight!

And the nice thing about it, was that when I reviewed it to see if there were going to be any items I would be short, well sadly, the only item I ordered as a demo item won't be arriving until the next campaign ships, which is a little bit disappointing as you'd think they'd try really hard to at least make sure the new items they want us to purchase to show -to try to impress customers into ordering them -would be available on the campaign they open on but I was relieved that none of the items my customers ordered were going to be in short supply -for a change!

So now, I can sort of relax for the next 2 1/2 days and do whatever I want to do without having to worry about going out in the cold and trying to find people at home to show them new items and collect orders and money from them!

Yep! For me, relief is just a submission away and I'll occupy myself with some embroidery work, maybe a little crochet and if I get tired of doing that (along with cooking supper) I might even have time and energy enough to pick up one of the many good books I have sitting here, waiting for me to get the urge to do some reading again then too!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cool Winter Moon!

Just got back in the house from taking the mutt -Sammy -out for a midnight stroll. Hopefully, this will avert any issues come morning then of clean-ups that I don't particularly like to find needed as soon as I get my feet on the floor and out of bed!

When Sam and I went out tonight though, the very first thing I noticed was how beautiful the night is with the moonlight shining so bright! Just perfect lighting for a midnight stroll. The temperatures were decent enough too that one didn't have to worry about any digits getting frostbite and that's a big bonus here for the way this month has been.

A blogger friend of mine though had mentioned in her post today about how, last night, as she and her son shoveled out their driveway up in Minneapolis (from yet another snowfall) she happened to notice the moon there, shining through what looked to be a bit of a haze from the photo she took of it. I'm sorry I didn't run back in the house and take a picture of the moon here tonight but for some reason, my little camera doesn't do good photos taken in the dark -even with the darned flash attachment! Frustrating at times but what the heck are  ya gonna do about that anyway?

But looking at the moon here, thinking about blogger Terri's post and how she had waxed sentimental about the moon over Minneapolis, the moonlight here triggered some thoughts then in me too.

Not quite the same as Terri's -granted -but some thoughts, all the same.

I don't know exactly what tunes anyone else would like to hear but I was just thinking about maybe Patsy Cline singing I Go Out Walking After Midnight would be pretty appropriate for a late night, moonlit walk, for Sam and me, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Busy Nerves!

The past week -although the weekend was nice and relatively smooth -has been really messing with my nerves!

The cold temps last Monday -and yes, they really were very, very low, below zero with wind chills between minus 20 and minus 30 -weren't enough to jangle my nerves but on Tuesday, the hot water pipes to the vanity and the tub in the bathroom froze up on me! I was fortunate enough to be able to get my neighbor across the road to help me out with that problem as he came down with his hot air gun and got them thawed for me. Lucky for me that nothing broken in the whole process as that's always a worry, ya know, with things like that.

I had planned to get myself more together, organized (a new precedent with that idea) and get cracking on the Avon to try to build a better, stronger customer base but the weather really worked totally against me so I didn't get out at all until Thursday and Friday. Lucky me, I only had 8 orders to deliver so should have been able to get that done quickly and even do some recruiting of new customers but I still need to work on my timing, I guess.

Yesterday, I was to have an appointment with the counselor I'm seeing. Got ready to go and was almost half-way there when my intestines decided to wage an inner battle with me and I had to turn around and return home and cancel the appointment. What a mess that was for me here! Yuck!

So that leaves me with today and a little time tomorrow to try to drum up a few more orders. I had designs last night when I went to bed of rising fairly early today and getting a jump start that way.

However, that old adage about the best laid plans of mice and men sure is the truth.

I went to bed about 1:30 a.m. -which for me is an early time to turn in -and fell asleep quickly. However, I woke up quickly too -like about 4 a.m. -which was way too quickly! Then, I couldn't go back to sleep so lay there, tossing and turning, watching tv, (which usually knocks me out) and still not able to fall back to sleep until after 7 a.m. Then,  I slept, unfortunately, till after 11 a.m.!

See what I mean about "can't win for losing" in the sleep department!  If I'd been able to sleep through soundly, I'd have had a good, level 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep and would have been up and "at 'em" around 9 a.m. which would have been very nice but instead, now I'm behind on time again!

So now, have to get dressed, take the bad dog out (the one who refused to go outside late last night and just stood out in the yard looking at me before turning around and coming to the door to wait for me to open it and let him back in) and when I got up today, he had deposited two puddles for me to clean up! All because he's too scared or too lazy -not sure which -to relieve himself unless he's on the leash! Go figure that deal out, will ya?

So now, I better get a move on and get rolling here before my nerves start getting more jangled than they already are!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Maybe I Should Learn About Skype?

I forgot to write about a funny little episode that happened here over the Christmas break so while it's on my mind, I best get it down in writing here or I'll forget completely about this story!

 Mandy and the grandkids (Maya and Kurtis) came up from Middletown on Christmas Day and we had our "Christmas" then and Mandy returned to her home then the next day but left Maya and Kurt here with me until Monday before New Year's Eve. Gave Grammy a little extra fun time with the kids here that way and I really did enjoy their company very, very much.

Well, to tell you this story, I have to back up -timewise -to Thanksgiving when the kids were here for a longer visit that we had initially planned. They had come up the weekend just prior to Thanksgiving and I was to take them halfway home that Sunday but the weather turned a bit nasty and since they only had two days of school left that week before Thanksgiving, Mandy decided to just let them spend the entire week then here with me. All was going fairly smoothly that week until I realized Kurtis has been messing in my Avon bag and opening some of the demo items I had in there -mainly two children's watches I had purchased to demo with the intent of giving one of them to him for Christmas and hopefully, getting a sale of the other watch then. Well, I ended up giving him both watches because in opening the packages he broke the boxes and thus, I couldn't sell them. Okay -I gave him the one watch that weekend but kept the other behind and gave it to him for Christmas then.

The one I gave him then at Christmas is called the Superman Projection Watch and it's neat little watch -digital -and has a button on the left side of the face that if you aim this little lens type thing on the right side of the face of the watch at a flat surface and then, push the button on the left side, it will project a color picture on a wall or whatever surface you've aimed this at, of Superman in flight.

Well, apparently it took Kurtis from Christmas Day -when he opened his presents -til the Sunday, the day before the kids were to leave, to discover the capabilities of this watch -to be able to see this cool picture of Superman. And that Sunday night, Mandy called her to talk to me and also to the kids so I called Kurtis to come to the phone.

Unbeknownst to me, he had just discovered this projector thing on that watch and was super excited about it when he took the phone receiver from me as he began almost shouting over the receiver to his Mom about this neat thing, this watch and this picture and then, he held the receiver out a ways from his face, pointed this watch-projector thing at the receiver and pressed the other button to make the picture appear at the same time he then began to ask his Mom if she could see that? And over and over he kept on asking her "Can you see that now, Mommy? It's Superman! Isn't that great?"

 Meanwhile when I realized what it was he was trying to do, I sat there totally cracking up laughing! When I finally got the phone back and Mandy asked me what in blazes was he trying to say and I told her, she was laughing then too and all she could say was "Oh my goodness!" It was just too doggone funny for words.

I had to explain to him that I don't have Skype nor do I have phonovision either and the look he gave me when I told him that was like "Surely you jest?"

Kids! The things they do sure can create a lot of laughter in life though, can't they?


Weekend Visit

Aside from worrying about getting frostbite here last Monday and even on Tuesday -when the temperatures dipped way, way down to the minus zero mark with wind chills making it feel like it was 20-30 below zero those days, things have otherwise been generally quiet and calm. I had a very nice weekend though. Friday evening, Katie and her boyfriend left for the weekend to be at his place and that left me alone. Something I don't normally like very much but every now and then, it's nice to be able to do what I want in my own house without risking disturbing anyone else. I finished delivery of the few orders of Avon I had this past campaign early Friday evening, which is always a big relief regardless of how big or how small my order may have been. Always good to get them all distributed, ya know. (I do still have a couple orders I have to collect the money due on them but they aren't difficult customers so that won't be a problem.) What is the problem once again with the current campaign though is finding customers who aren't still suffering from financial woes from Christmas and who are ready to get back into the game of purchasing things for themselves -daily need items, or a special piece of jewelry or maybe a cologne. Sales is really punk still for this brochure and that does worry and scare me more than a little bit! If my sales is under $150 per campaign, the percentage I get from that is not enough to cover my ordering the number of brochures I need to distribute for the next campaign and to also purchase some samples. This didn't used to be this way back when I did the Avon thing 20 plus years ago but times sure have changed, haven't they? But anyway, back to the good things about this past weekend. Saturday, because my son was coming down to have dinner with me, I cooked a big kettle of spaghetti sauce and then, cooked two bags of mini raviolis to put in the sauce. I debated initially about cooking that much ravioli but decided it wouldn't go to waste because this just happens to be one of my son's favorite meals and besides, any leftovers would be gone early in the week by Katie using it most likely then for her lunch. And I was right about the quantity of ravoli! Clate ended up having three helpings of it Saturday at supper time and then, late last night -after having brought a video down here to watch -he had a fourth helping then around midnight! Yes, the boy can eat when he's been starving virtually all week on the road, ya know. My older daughter and older grandson also came up Saturday evening and the four of us enjoyed some fun time watching the video that Clate had brought down. If you like action films, kind of on the gangster side of life, the movie "Lawless" is a good piece to see. It's based on the true story of 3 brothers in West Virginia during prohibition and their moonshine activities. Really a very good movie, in my opinion. Since Kate wasn't here last night, and Clate decided to spend the night here, along with Alex (my grandson) (my daughter went next door to our neighbor's house as that's her best friend who lives there and she spent the night with her enjoying the time.), the guys could have gone upstairs and had a choice of beds -either Kurt's single bed for one and Kate's double bed for the other -but neither of them wanted to do that. Instead, Clate decided to take his chances on the very uncomfortable sectional-type sofa here and Alex likes to sleep in my recliner chair. Hey -it was their choice, no one forced them to sleep there, ya know. Well anyway, this morning, Alex told his mother and me about what woke him up. He was awakened initially by Pearl, our cat, who had decided to join him on the recliner by perching on Alex's left shoulder. Then, he didn't realize this initially but Sammy (the dog) had decided to sleep with him too except Sam had managed to get up in the chair and was laying atop Alex's chest! Alex is a big kid -all of 6 ft 4 inches tall -and built very much like an offensive guard on a football team but somehow or other, he hadn't noticed that Sam had joined him. Well, it seems that Pearl decided she liked Alex's ear as she started batting at his ear which is what initially woke him up. Then, she started batting about on his chest too at Sammy. Alex said he reached up and pushed Pearl to get her to quit hitting at his ear and his chest and when he turned his head back, facing the front, he was a bit stunned then as Sammy had his face right up in Alex's face! He said that really startled him and he then shoved Sammy off his chest and the chair, sending the poor little mutt skidding across the living room and he came to rest about 5 foot away beside the still up Christmas tree! Needless to say, Carrie and I both had a good laugh over this scenario as Alex related it to us! We had a late breakfast then of oatmeal cooked with brown sugar and butter in it -something my kids and I all like but which has become now a running joke on Facebook between a neighbor and good friend of ours and me about which is best when eating oatmeal -cooking it my way with the brown sugar and butter or plain with milk on top of it! My friend (Jackie) and I have been taking pot shots for the past two days now about having oatmeal with or without milk on it is basically the issue. I say "no milk on oatmeal; milk on the side" and she says only insane people would eat oatmeal with butter and brown sugar to begin with but without milk, it just isn't right. Okay -two divergent opinions about a food item and it will be fun to see how long we can keep this little game going. This afternoon, Carrie and Alex got in the fridge and scarfed up the remainder of the ravioli so that meant Mom had to cook something else then for supper. Lucky for them (and for me too) I had a package of eight thin-sliced pork chops which I thawed in the microwave and then, made my own rub (sort of) for them by combining several different spices with a little Marsala cooking wine, brushing that on the chops and then, braising them on top of the stove. Add to that a dish of Au Gratin potatoes (which Alex loves) and a dish of mixed vegetables and we managed to have a very nice supper. THe rub I concocted met with great satisfaction from Carrie and Alex as well as Katie who came home after we had finished eating but there were 2 pork chops left and she polished them off! Clate came down late thinking there would still be leftovers but by the time he got here, all leftovers had been polished off so he ended up slicing up some Polish sausage with cheese in it for his meal tonight. He and I then were going to watch a video I purchased shorting before Christmas - "The King's Speech" but he ended up falling asleep through most of the video. I had my normal little spell where I dozed off too -not because the movie was boring because it certainly wasn't but rather because it seems most anything I eat hits my system like the stuff they say is in turkey and which turns every one to mush after eating a meal! But I only missed maybe 10-15 minutes of the video so I can watch it again now and hopefully be able then to view the whole thing! Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment with the counselor I'm seeing now. The medication he had prescribed for me seems to be agreeing with my system so that's progress at that level. Time will tell the story though on how well this all works out for me, I guess, so wish me luck! And that's pretty much all it takes for me to have a nice, pleasant weekend! Visitors -especially my daughter and grandson -plus my son being here -really make it very special in my book!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Walking The Dog....

So, as you already know -or probably recall from some (or several) posts over the past so many years now, I have a dog. Sammy. He really is a sweet little mutt -kind of looks a lot like a Benji dog, but in miniature. Sammy was 16 months old when my younger daughter brought him home here when his previous owner got sick and was no longer able to live independently and therefore, couldn't handle having this dog. So we got him.

 I wasn't altogether happy with having a dog again. Not that I don't like dogs though because it's actually just the reverse. I LOVE dogs. But I just didn't really want the responsibility and expense too of another pet. We already had a bunch of cats at that time -two unfixed females who had each presented us with a litter that, at the time Sam entered our household, totaled 2 adult cats and 9 kittens. A little much, I know.

But anyway, enter Sam. The Mama cats -one tolerated Sam fairly well and the other absolutely hated him. All he had to do was look at her and she was hissing and swatting at him to the extent that even if she didn't touch him with her paws, he would turn tail and run, yipping and crying like someone was beating the living daylights out of him. Yes, he was that much of a wuss and pretty much today, he is still that way.

But Sam, being ultra-friendly as he is, had this notion right from the first day he was here that even if those two big cats didn't like him, he was hell-bent on making friends with their offspring. It took him about a month but by golly, he and the one kitten -a little male -made up and became very good friends -running and chasing each other, playing till they were both played out and then, they would curl up and nap together. That was Sam and the relationship he developed with the one kitten out of the whole brood that we kept. (Eventually, the two grown females left here for other homes too, so no more kittens then.) We still had one fixed female cat in the house all that time though too -Gracie Baby -who tolerated Sammy for about 18 months after he came here until she became ill and we had to have her put down.

Then, two and a half years ago, Mandy saw this kitten actually fall out the window of the house two doors up from us after the people who had lived there had moved out! It was at dusk, raining like crazy (the old saying "Raining cats and dogs" had a bit of truth to it that night) and being the cat lover she is, she stopped and ran down to the house and picked up this beautiful little kitten, soaking wet and brought it home. That's how we acquired Pearl -who still resides here -actually pretty much is the Queen bee here and rules the house.

About a year later then, one of the cats my son and his then girlfriend had at the time had a litter of kittens and my older daughter fell in love with a sweet little grey tiger cat and was going to take her home with her however, she had to leave that kitten here with us until she could talk her boyfriend into letting her bring the kitten home and into their house. I told the younger daughter then that she should realize this kitten was never going to be leaving here to go live with the older sister because that's just the way life and things run in this house where cats are concerned! And I was right too. That cat -named Tavie -stayed here until this past July when Mandy and the kids moved to Middletown and Tavie then moved there along with them.

Which then brings me down to the pet population here now being just the dog and 1 cat. Now, I do love Sammy -the dog. Really I do. But he has some quirks that I don't much like too. Unfortunately!

Technically, he is house broken. But he is picky about demonstrating his skills in that department. Getting him to show he is truly housebroken requires that he be taken out for a walk, on a leash, at least twice a day -sometimes (heaven forbid these days) even more than that number of walks. Now, in three of the four seasons of the year, I really don't mind walking him. Well, not much anyway. But I know if I don't get him out when he starts to whine and dance around wherever I am sitting or whatever I might be doing, I know I best take him out or else. So I do try to oblige him.

During the winter months though, walking him often is not near as appealing -especially not with the weather the way it's been lately and is forecast for more of the same -sub-zero temps, snow and ice. Not my favorite entities, for sure there! Well, I have written here in previous posts about one of Sam's little tricks that he will pull on me every now and again and it's one I can't peg, can't figure out why he does this but regardless of whether he has been walked adequately or not, he will from time to time decide it is a good idea for him to whiz on one of the couch cushions. And no, I don't like this behavior of his at all!!! Sometimes, I think maybe he's trying to send me a message that he wants me to go get some new cushion foam and make some new cushions for the couch. (I'd really love to just get a new couch because I truly hate this ugly thing I have now that was "gifted" to us last summer. I do hate, hate, hate it but I still don't want the dog occasionally peeing on the cushions on it whether I like the darned thing or not!)

Well, as you know -winter is now fully upon us and the temperatures here are rapidly falling -daily -closer and closer to the zero mark each day with the forecast for the next couple of days calling for subzero temps to start with and which will be made even worse with the wind chills so it will feel like it is minus 20-30 degrees then outside. BRRRRRR. Definitely do not like that idea at all.

What I dislike even more though is that regardless of the temps, or rain or snow or sleet or freezing rain, etc., I'm going to have to venture out in whatever is going on outside and walk this silly mutt!

I can't tie him out to the front post by the front door because he refuses to go do anything out in the yard when tied up that way. I can't just open the door and let him go out, freely on his own either because one of my neighbors would call the dog catcher on me then for sure for letting him run free all over town.

But, I thought maybe, just maybe, I could let him out, late at night, without his leash and that he could at least see his way clear to go whiz on a tree in the front yard or  go pee on the post to the railing as you come down the steps and then, because he is definitely not a fan of the wintery weather any more than I am.

So the other night when the thermometer reading was around zero, I decided to try just opening the door and letting him out, free to run around the front yard and then, that he would do his thing in short order and I could stand a watch him, happy that I  hadn't had to do anything drastic in the walking department.

But you know that other old adage -about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, that's sure turning out to be the truth here.

Seems, at least during the winter months, Sam doesn't like the cold any more than me and if I let him outfor a minute or two right in front of the house and if I am standing there watching him, all he will do is just come and stand beside me and not move a muscle to do anything!

Frustrating, yes indeed that is. But the good side to it -if you pick through this enough to FIND a good side -is that I guess Sam is just concerned for my physical well being and wants to make sure I get at least a little bit of exercise in my life -regardless of how small an amount that might entail -and how cold that exercise is gonna leave me.

Be glad, little Sammy dog, that Grammy really does love you!

Old Friend Checking In

Tonight, I had a very pleasant surprise around 9 p.m. The phone rang and as I answered it, I glanced at the caller ID and new immediately the caller was a trucker friend of mine from back in my waitressing days. Jerry and I have been good friends since 1981, back when I first began working at the truckstop in Snow Shoe -the big truck stop, the one where all the union freight haulers always stopped. He drove for Consolidated Freightways, out of the terminal in the Poconos and ran a bid from there to Akron, Ohio -actually to Richfield and so, was back and forth across the state usually 6 days out of every week. I always got along easily with Jerry, probably because of the fact he and the guy who for many years was his best buddy and they always ran the same bid, were both big practical jokers. Well, truth be told, I'd venture to say the overwhelming majority of the drivers out of that barn were all practical jokers, loving nothing more than to harass waitresses along their run! I think -especially with Jerry and his former pal, Tommy, that they schemed their way across the state on each and every trip, planning their next prank down to as minute a bit as possible. Since I quit waitressing and Jerry retired after CF folded and closed their doors, we have still kept in touch. For quite a while it was online as he and his wife had purchased a little WEB machine -if you remember those things -kind of like a mini-computer except you used your tv set for your monitor. (I don't know if that's a true description of how those things worked, but I know it was close to being like that.) Then, after Jerry retired his wife got a computer and for a little while, Jerry kept in touch using his belowed "webbie" but eventually it became me and his wife communicating via either e-mail or eventually on Facebook. Jerry and I -up until about 2, maybe 3 years aog now -always exchanged Christmas cards along with remembering each other's birthdays too. I admit I would look long and hard to find what I believed to be the craziest, zaniest card I could possible find to send him for his birthday. He would generally call me then too on or around my birthday and always at Christmas and we would chat about the good old days, and he would try to keep me updated as much as possible about the status of some of my other old trucker friends from those years. Well, the cards and calls began to slow up and I hadn't talked to him in probably at least two years now -until tonight, that is. So I was really happy to see it was Jerry calling me. I know we would talk for at least 90 minutes to 2 hours -as usualy -and pick on each other unmercifully in the course of that conversation too. Tonight's call though it turned out wasn't just the normal call to wish my kids and me a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year but also to inform me that one of the drivers that Jerry knew I had been good friends with had passed away just last week now. This particular driver was one that was often referred to -in waitress terminology -as a "ball buster" because he dearly loved to see how much he could do or say to try to rattle the waitress without getting her so ticked off that she threw him out! Not that any of us would have done that but the thought would at times cross your mind with some drivers who often liked to mess with us in that manner. But with Eddie -this guy -it was different. He tried to play the role of being a rough, tough, grumpy older guy, but after a short period of time, most every waitress at that place came to know him and realize that the majority of his sort of "hissy fits" were mainly all just bluster! Ed Sandy was, underneath all his gruffness, really a big pussycat and one with a heart of gold. Sometimes, you had to dig a little to get the nice side of him to appear, but always, it was worth the effort. I remember especially when my daughter began working at the truckstop full-time too. She's been working there on weekends during her junior and senior years in high school and about a week or two after she graduated, there was an opening on the midnight shift for a fulltime waitress and the owner of the establishment asked me if I though my daughter would be interested in working that shift, fulltime. Yes indeedy, she was interested and darned glad then to have landed a fulltime job so quickly! (So was I, too!) Well, the first morning when she came home from having put in her first night on the graveyard shift, she walked in the house and threw her purse and other things on the dining room table and announced to me, "Well, YOU might like Ed Sandy, but I don't!" Hearing her say that really upset me because I knew Ed was going to be a big part of her working on that shift since he too ran a bid to Richfield, OHio and his start time generally was such that he would usually arrive at "The Shoe" at least 5 nites, sometimes 6, out of the 7 nights of the week and I knew too if she couldn't deal well with Ed, it was going to be a rough customer for her then to wait on. So I gave her some pointers on how to deal with Eddie -the main thing being,as soon as you see him coming, think of something you can do to him before he does anything to do and that way, you had control of him from the time he landed at a table then. She actually took my advice on how to cope with Eddie and when she left that place to go to work at another restaurant, her favorite driver was Ed Sandy. Actually, I think it would be safe to say that they had formed a bit of a mutual admiration society as Eddie though very highly of my daughter. Didn't stop him from picking on her whenever he could, but he also treated her, talked to her frequently, like a father and showed genuine concern for her during the time she worked there. So tonight, although it was great to talk to Jerry again, to remember all the crazy stunts he and his pals tried to pull across on me and my co-workers (some were successful, most usually backfired in some way or another but all were fun), as I hung up the phone, there was then this sad very empty feeling within me knowing that Eddie had now passed too. The world has lost one very nice gentleman, for sure! A big tease, yes. Someone who could always dish out all kinds of sarcastic but hilarious remarks when he came in our place but who also, if he thought you needed something and if he could help, he'd have givne you the shirt off his back. I've wished so many times that I could see some of those old drivers again -aside from Eddie -but Tommy Fallon, John Charles Clifford, Jack McGrail, Stanley Slesh and of course, Walter "Jumper" Barnes! What a great group of genuinely crazy guys those men were! I miss everyone of this old crew, really I do. No one to prank like we used to scheme back then. Just one terrific bunch of truckers, for sure, that now has diminished in size with the loss of Eddie. Rest in peace, my good friend, Ed Sandy!