Saturday, May 31, 2014

Geese

My windows were wide open early this morning, letting in the cool breeze.  All of a sudden I hear noise.  It gets louder and louder.  When I turn to look, I see the sky is filled with honking geese.  They are flying north.

Most of the geese who summer here returned weeks ago.  Some even before all the snow had melted.  These guys are really late in arriving.

Maybe they didn't get the memo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What Do You Write About.....

when you spend the better part of your day sitting on your bum?!

Each day is a little better, but my body sure is taking it's own sweet time in getting back to normal.  I guess that as long as I am moving forward and not backward, I won't complain.  It's a good thing I live alone, though, for I am really a lousy patient.

The middle of last week my dogs were scheduled for their semi-annual shave down.  I have them shaved for two reasons.  The first is that I am lazy when it comes to daily brushing.  They get a good brush-out once a week.  And second, if I were to keep them in a traditional Yorkie cut, they would have to go in every eight weeks to maintain it.  And even with the discount my friend the groomer gives me, it still is spendy.  Anyway, I called my friend to let her know that I would have to reschedule as soon as my body would allow me to go up and down the stairs.  She said no problem.  Her shop is next door.  She said that for me should would do pick-up and delivery.  So now the Yorkies look like chihuahuas.  They must like it, for they act like puppies for about two weeks or so after their haircuts.

As long as I wasn't going anywhere over the holiday weekend, I decided that a good way to spend Memorial Day would be to work on entering information into my genealogy program.  I couldn't go visit any of my ancestor's graves, but I could make sure that they are not forgotten.  Genealogy research can become an obsession, and I believe that it is with me.  I can happily spend hours going over census records or old church records online to glean just one more bit of information about an ancestor.  I truly hope that in years to come, one of my children or grandchildren will catch the genealogy bug.  It is good to know where we came from.

Being sidelined has it's good side.  I was able to finish the afghan I have been working on for my oldest granddaughter.  I had started another one, but after crocheting a piece about a yard square, I decided I wasn't all that pleased with it.  So I finished it off, folded it up and tossed it into the basket where Kizzy the cat likes to sleep.  She seems to like it, for she hasn't left the basket except to eat and use the litter box and to join me in my recliner now and then.  I wonder why cats sleep most of their lives away.

As you can see, not much exciting going on here.  But now that I think about it, there is never anything very exciting going on here.  I have known people who aren't happy if their lives aren't filled with drama.  I am truly grateful that I am not one of those people.  My quiet life, whether it is forced recovery or whether it is day to day quiet, suits me.

Good thing, too, or I would be bat-s**t crazy by now!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Canned Spam

The following were in my Comments Spam folder - word for word.

"This excellent website truly has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.  My web-site grow taller 4 idiots free download pdf."

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Yep, I'm gonna check out those websites pronto.

Oh, and both these spam comments were on yesterday's post.  Which had no words.  Only a video.  And both were by, you guessed it, "Anonymous."

I love my Delete button.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day


Maddie's Aerial

My granddaughter's dance routines involve a lot more than just dance steps.  There are gymnastic moves that add to their performances.  One of these moves is called an "Aerial."  It is basically a cartwheel but the hands don't touch the ground.

Maddie Mae has been working hard to master the Aerial.  And yesterday, she nailed it.  Her Dad sent me this short video clip.  This is the first time I have tried adding anything here besides photos, so
please let me know if it works.

video

Way to go, Maddie!  Your hard work paid off.  I'm so proud of you.

Love, Grandma

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Bicycle Thieves

So this morning I'm messing about on my computer with the channel for the Minneapolis Police Department on in the background, when I hear a call come in.  There are about half a dozen kids, approximate ages 12 - 16, who are stealing bicycles from a bicycle shop display in front of the store.  Each kid grabs a bike and stashes it down the outside stairwell of a building close by, and then goes back to steal another.  The kids are having a right good old time, laughing and swiping bikes.

Unbeknownst to the kids, there is an old man who is a guard.  He is inside the shop, monitoring the outside activity that is showing up on the security cameras.  He can identify each kid, which bikes they stole and where the stolen bikes are.

Police are on the way.  And I'm guessing that these little hoodlums won't be smiling shortly.

But I am, for all I could think of was:

"Old age and cunning will triumph over youth and enthusiasm every time."

Success

So many times we hear of people who are successful on a grand scale...multiple homes, bags full of money, all the latest electronic gadgets, every toy known to man.  But they got nothin' on me.

There is enough of an improvement in the condition of my hip so that this morning I was able to climb in and out of my tub/shower, all by myself, no assistance required.  No more sponge baths.  Woo Hoo!!

My next mountain to be climbed is the stack of dirty dishes waiting patiently for me in my kitchen sink.  I'm betting that later on today, they will be washed, dried and put away.

Sometimes it is not the huge successes that matter.  Sometimes the tiny successes mean more.  For me, at this time, I'll take the tiny ones, happily!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rethinking Preps

When we think about being prepared, most will cite the upcoming collapse of our economy or the tyrannical direction our government is headed or the loss of our freedoms or the real possibility of the grid going down or a zombie apocalypse as reasons to prepare.  Well, maybe not the zombies so much.

This past week or so I have found that although I prepare for whatever is looming on the horizon, I might be a little better off to look a bit closer to home, and plan accordingly.  I give you the following as an illustration of what can happen in day to day life, never mind the zombies.

First, let me say that I tell you my little story not looking for sympathy, but to illustrate a point.  I don't feel sorry for myself and I don't want anyone else feeling sorry for me.  That isn't the point.  The point is that things beyond our control can happen and sometimes we miss the small stuff by looking only at the big picture.

I am not recovering as quickly as I had hoped for from my arthritis flare-up.  Walking at this point is painful and difficult at best.  The stairs - not gonna happen.  Although I am very slowly getting better, most everything I do at this stage is in a seated position, for standing is also not much fun.

I have had to call for help just once.  I was out of bread and unable to physically make any more myself, so my son-in-law, God love him, brought me some loaves and some lunch meat from the store.  He also hauled out my trash and brought up my mail.  I learned that it might be better to swallow a little pride and ask one of my neighbors if they would, in an emergency, help me with the trash and mail, in trade for some homemade bread or rolls when I am better.  And I learned that I not only need to store flour, yeast, etc. for baking bread, but I need to have several loaves, either in dough form or already baked, in the freezer.  The actual baking requires little walking or standing.  It's the stirring up and kneading that is difficult.

Luckily, last year I canned several varieties of soup - split pea & ham, ham & bean, turkey vegetable, vegetable beef, and chili.  These have been a life saver for me, and I need to find more ideas for meals that can be home canned.  Standing next to the stove to cook from scratch just isn't going to happen right now, so anything that I can just heat up keeps me fed with the least amount of fuss and bother.

I really need to become better organized.  For instance  I canned some homemade pork and beans.  They are really good.  At least I remember them as tasting really good.  They are on the top shelf of one of my shelving units where I store canned foods.  I can't reach them without climbing on my little step ladder.  Not gonna happen this week!  So I found that I need to have a variety of easy to heat up canned food in jars in a cupboard that is handy to my stove and microwave.  If movement is a problem, then things like jar meals need to be within easy reach.

A few years ago, one of my daughters had been involved with a group that got together and made up freezer meals.  Everything needed was assembled and put into freezer bags.  She had given me a couple of them, and they were really good.  I think it might be a very good idea to find recipes for this kind of thing and make up a couple of weeks worth of meals, so all I would have to do is take out a bag, thaw the contents, dump into a casserole dish and bake.  As long as I am spending most of my days right now sitting on my backside, I might just as well sit in front of my computer and research this for when I am well again.  I have seen blogs where people do this, and now I just need to pay attention and take notes.

I realize that there are other steps that can be taken to make life easier in a situation like mine.  But I found that feeding myself was the most wearing on me, so I am concentrating on making that aspect of life a little less trying.

The whole point of this post is to say that sometimes things happen when we least expect it.  I didn't even entertain the possibility of being sidelined for so long a time.  And I wasn't ready for it.  There may be a next time, or I may get lucky and not have to deal with this kind of thing again.  Who knows.  But if there is a next time, at least I will be more ready to take care of myself than I was this time.  And if I can help someone else who might go through a similar experience, then I have done my job.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

When You Are Six

When you are six, it doesn't take much to have a bad week.

It starts when six year old boy and the neighbor girl, same age, decide to relieve themselves in the yard rather than take time to go inside to the bathroom.  Girl's daddy doesn't seem to possess a sense of humor.  Boy's daddy knows that the kids are only six years old and when you are six, peeing outside is fun.  Boy's daddy kinda wishes the kid would have found a bush to hide behind, though.  Six year old boy learns that there is less trouble involved if he just goes inside when nature calls.

Then six year old boy comes home spouting a brand new word.  It is unfortunate that this particular word is not one that should be used in polite society.  Boy's daddy wants to know where he heard this particular word.  Six year old boy says that the neighbor boy said it to another kid.  Boy's daddy wants to know if six year old boy knows what this word means.  Six year old boy does not.  Boy's daddy explains that this word is not a nice word.  It is a word that nice people don't use.  He tells six year old boy that if he doesn't know what a word means, he shouldn't say it.  And if he does know what a word means and it is a word that is naughty, he shouldn't say it then, either.  Six year old boy learns a lesson about bad words.

I really like the fact that my son didn't come all unglued when his son added a bad word to his vocabulary.  He patiently explained, without having to go into detail about the meaning of the word which the kid is probably too young to totally grasp, that there are words that are not nice and he would not like to hear those words spoken in their home, or away from it, for that matter.

In these days of extreme political correctness and free speech zones, I am glad that my grandson is being taught right from wrong and not being taught that certain words are not allowed.  The kid, while growing up, is going to be learning lots and lots of new words - not all of them nice.  I believe that learning what is right and what is wrong will serve him much better than an outright banning of words.  And I am certain that if this same kid decides to spout off words he knows are wrong, there will be consequences.  Which makes a lot more sense to me than censoring speech or creating free speech zones.

As for the peeing on the lawn thing, I'm pretty sure that when my grandson has grandchildren of his own, he will probably still be peeing outdoors now and then.  But by then he will have gained enough common sense to at least go find a tree to hide behind.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Fairy House

A year or two ago, my granddaughter Boston had as one of her class projects the designing and building of a fairy house.  Don't ask me why the class built fairy houses, for I don't know.  I just know that she had fun building it.

This year Maddie Mae has the same teacher that her sister had, and Maddie was excited because that meant she got to build a fairy house, too.  When we were having lunch on Mother's Day, she told me all about it, describing how she was building it.  Today was the big day when she took her finished project to school.


Dad helped her just a little bit with the construction, but the ideas were Maddie's as were the decorations and most of the construction.  My favorite is the Jello pool in front with the Peeps floating in it.  She decided that fairies, after all, like Peeps as much as she does.

That is one pretty cool fairy house, Maddie!  You did a great job.
Love, Grandma

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Your Own Paradise

Earlier this week I posted about spending a quiet day, and mentioned that I had a beef stew bubbling on the back burner and that biscuits were about to go in the oven.  One of my regular readers and one I consider to be a friend, Jess over at "Scratching to Escape," left the following comment:  "A quiet day? With homemade stew and biscuits? Sounds like a small piece of paradise."

By the way, if you aren't already reading Jess' blog, you are missing out.  He voices opinions, writes well about a variety of subjects and his stories of fiction that he posts now and then are gems.

Anyway, his comment about my small piece of paradise got me to thinking.  For many years I was a restless person.  I was never quite satisfied with my life.  It wasn't so much about financial matters, for fortunes have never impressed me much.  It was more about that time-worn notion that the grass is always greener over there, just beyond that fence.  I felt that I just could never quite get to the greener grass.

It took me well over 60 years to discover that it had nothing to do with green grass.  It had to do with my own shortcomings.

I have never been one to covet my neighbor's belongings.  If the guy down the street drove a nicer car than I did, I didn't care.  If the next door neighbor had a big screen TV delivered, I was happy for him, but didn't rush out to buy one bigger and better.  If friends belonged to prestigious clubs or organizations, well good for them, but I wasn't interested.

Most folks wouldn't think that living in a three room apartment in a city suburb could be even close to paradise.  For a long time, I didn't think so, either.  But in the past few years, I have come to realize that a person's personal paradise is what they make it.  It is where "Home" is.  It is where you can just be yourself.  Nobody needs to be impressed with your lifestyle if you are happy with it.  In my little apartment, I can do what I like.  I can run my pressure canner to help stock my shelves.  I can spend time making afghans for grandkids.  I can sew a quilt if I choose to.  I can read all night if I want.

When I go outside, I am reminded that I live in a town and I would very much like to live in the country again.  But I refuse to dwell on that aspect of my life, or to let it spoil a perfectly good day.  Oh, there are times when I daydream about a cabin in the woods or on a lake, but now I can see those for what they are - pleasant daydreams.  That's not going to happen at this stage of my life, but it is alright to dream just a bit.

Sometimes I can be pretty slow on the uptake.  It took me so very long to remember some advice I was given years ago.  I wish I had remembered sooner.

"Bloom where you're planted."

I Won!

I am so excited!  M. E. Masterson over at her blog, "Adventures of Life!," just held a giveaway.  The drawing was for a beautiful beaded barrette, handmade by herself.  As a lover of all things handmade, I am thrilled to have won the drawing.  When it arrives, I will take pictures to post here.

If you aren't a regular reader of "Adventures of Life!" you should be.  Many thanks to her for this lovely gift.

Anybody stopping by to see me today will be greeted with my grin, which is sure to last all day!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Grumpy

It has been becoming increasingly obvious that this disease called arthritis is not going to allow me to sit through several hours of dance recital tomorrow.  After doing everything I know how to do, I finally threw in the towel and called Youngest Son to let him know.

Sometimes I wish that if I had to have a disease, it would be something more predictable and treatable - something that would allow me a medication regimen or exercise plan or something that would help control it.  Instead I have flare-ups and not always in the same joints.  Sometimes it's in the knees - sometimes hips - sometimes my back.  And then it will tease me into thinking that it is getting better before it nails me again.

This doesn't happen all the time.  Just once in a while.  I can go for weeks at a time with very little problem.  And I am thankful for that.  And I can usually work around the stiffness and pain.  I am slower than I used to be, but still usually able to get around alright.  Except now.  When I really want to watch my sweet granddaughters dance.

OK.  I got that out of my system.  Sometimes it helps to just rant a bit.  I'm still grumpy, but that, too, shall pass.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Nice Quiet Day

Sometimes a nice quiet day is just what is needed.  The effects of the arthritis flare-up are lessening, but I may just postpone anything very strenuous the rest of the week.  Saturday is my Granddaughter's annual dance recital.  I have been there every year since they started dance, and I sure don't want to miss this one.  I got to watch them perform their solo dances at a competition, but not the group dances, which they will do at the recital.  I look forward to watching them dance on stage every year.  And at each recital there is a Daddy-Daughter dance that is always fun.  Definitely don't want to miss that one!

So today I just puttered about.  I had a good excuse not to get too carried away, as I have no hot water today.  A neighbor has a broken hot water tap in her apartment, so the hot water to the entire building has been shut off until a new tap can be installed this evening.  Yeah, I know that if I wanted to, I could just heat water on the stove, but I will take the excuse to be lazy today instead!

So today wasn't a total loss, I spent the morning finishing up sewing crocheted granny squares together to form long strips, and am in the process of sewing those strips together to form the afghan.  The pooches are happy, for they have been taking turns curling up in my lap for pets and belly rubs.  The sun is shining.  A slight breeze is coming in my open windows.  A beef stew is bubbling on the back burner and soon I will stir up a pan of biscuits to go with it.

There is something to be said for spending a nice, quiet day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sidelined

Today I am sidelined.  Arthritis has decided to take up residence in my hip.  So I am taking things slow and easy and with any kind of luck, tomorrow will be a better day.

In between taking care of the necessaries - washing dishes, getting a crock pot meal going for supper, sweeping the kitchen floor - I am working on Granddaughter's afghan, which seems to have taken on a life of it's own!  But I think the end may be in sight.  It is a lot bigger than planned, but that's OK.  Just taking more time to complete than I thought.

So as a diversion from the boring aspect of sewing together all of these little granny squares, I flipped on the police scanner for Minneapolis.  I am always astounded at the things people will do in order to gain the attention of the police.  The following are the dispatcher's calls from between noon and 2 PM.


  • Two black males breaking into a patio door using a crowbar.
  • One black male in the center of an intersection, suspected to be high on drugs, trying to take his clothes off.
  • Welfare check on a person who is likely on crack.
  • Report of three small children sitting on the front steps of a home.  Parents are inside and won't let the kids in.  (temp is 46 degrees)
  • One white male picked a fight with a construction worker.
  • Group of five individuals shoplifting at a major department store.
  • Unidentified person driving off without paying for gas.  License plate numbers don't match the car.
  • Intoxicated black male harassing shoppers trying to enter or leave WalMart.
  • Black male stopped for careless driving.  Identification comes back to person wanted in Illinois for forgery.  Known to be armed and dangerous.
  • White male wearing a trench coat (I'm not making this up!) reported for public urination and indecent exposure (on a busy street corner).
  • Female juvenile detained at a store for shoplifting.
  • Two male bus passengers, harassing and threatening other passengers.
  • Out of control 14 year old female - breaking furniture, destroying objects in her home.
  • Two black males, both wearing black hoodies, seen breaking into a house.  One is carrying a bag.  Caught trying to escape in a waiting van.

These calls didn't include the usual traffic stops or calls about domestic abuse.  Neither did they include fire calls or those involving medical issues.  These were just the ones that caught my attention.

I guess there really is no cure for stupid.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Ramblings

I was checking the weather forecast this morning while planning my week.  Seems I might as well just tuck an umbrella under my arm and go out to do what needs to be done.  Cool and damp are the common words in the forecast.  No sense in complaining.  Other parts of the country are experiencing drought conditions, while here everything is turning green.  There is a small tree outside my front windows.  Tiny leaves are forming and soon it will be lush and green again, giving shade for me while I sit on the front steps enjoying the fresh air with Jessie Jane and Lily.  We like to sit there from time to time, watching the world go by.  Although there isn't much to watch during the daylight hours, when the streets are fairly quiet.  Sometimes the owners of the bicycle shop in my building will come out to chat and give Lily a pet or Jessie Jane an ear scratch.  There are some nice things about living in a town.

Although fall is my favorite time of year, spring runs a close second.  The bitter cold and the drifts of snow are but a bad memory.  The lilac bushes in the next block are starting to form buds.  The lady who owns them lets me cut as many of the flowered branches as I want to bring home.  Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers, and for the short time they are in bloom, I have mason jars full all over my apartment.  I think that nearly every farmhouse in the state has lilac bushes.  They remind me of the ones by the old farmhouse where I grew up.  Those ranged in color from white to deep purple, and a huge bouquet always sat on the dining room table in the spring, giving the house a wonderful scent.

I think it may be the sounds of the birds I like most.  During the winter, most have the common sense to flee south when the first snowflakes hit the ground, and those who aren't quite as smart spend the winter huddled in whatever shelters they can find.  But come springtime, they are all out and about and in full voice.  Some days when my windows are open, the sound of birdsong nearly fills my apartment.  This confounds Lily, who can't decide if the birds are friend or foe.  Fortunately, Kizzie the cat is way too lazy to be bothered with scaring them off.  I don't need any radio music going when I can listen to the birds sing.

I have rambled on long enough.  Time to get a few odds and ends done this afternoon, for tomorrow it is back to my quest to restock my pantry shelves.  There is a good sale this week on celery and on mushrooms, both of which I like to dehydrate.  Whole chickens are on sale, too, and I like to have a few in my freezer.  Roast chicken is a favorite meal, and there is so much I can do with the leftovers.  One chicken can feed me suppers for several days.  I've almost given up on finding hamburger, or any beef, at a reasonable price.  I may just have to pay the price to get as much canned as I will need for the next year.  I just don't see prices falling any time soon - or at all, for that matter.

I guess all we can do is continue on and do the best we can with what we have to work with.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What a lovely day...

I had today!

Those kids who couldn't be here called this morning to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  One had to work and the other was spending the day with her grown-up son.  Oldest daughter had another commitment, but when she brought my vac to me last week, she gave me a Mother's Day present of a gift card good for four haircuts.

David, Staci and the Grands took me out for lunch.  That was a real treat, as I rarely go out to eat.  The best part was sitting with my grandchildren and listening to them tell me all about what they have been doing.

They wanted to take me to get my hair cut.  They said that way I wouldn't have to take the bus to get it done.  They said that the girls wanted to watch when I got all of my long hair cut off.  So off we went.

The lady who cut my hair was so very nice.  She let my granddaughters stand right there by me so they could see.  I wanted to donate my hair to Locks of Love, so the beautician put my hair into two braids.  Boston and Maddie were astounded that the braids measured 18 inches long.  Their eyes were big as saucers when with a few snips of the scissors, the braids lay on the counter in front of me.  I've got to say that my head feels considerably lighter!

Afterward the kids wanted their picture taken with Grandma, so we went outside for that.


Then the beautician who cut my hair asked if my son would take a picture of me holding the braids.  So he did.


It seems the shop wanted it for the part of their website about Locks of Love.  Boston and Maddie were impressed!!

And then we headed for home.  The kids came upstairs so they could pet the cat and feed treats to the dogs, who were in ecstasy.  Kids and treats.  Their lives don't get much better than that.

I am blessed with children who remember me on Mother's Day, even if they can't be with me.  I am truly one of the lucky ones.

I received one more gift - a gift card for Kindle books from Amazon, so I believe I will browse and pick out some books to add to my collection.  And then I think it will be time for a nap.

It was such a good day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother

Eighteen years have passed since my mother died.  Whoever said that time heals all wounds obviously hadn't yet lost his mother.



I wonder why it is that we sometimes develop an appreciation for our mothers when it is too late to tell them so.  I am so very grateful to her for her patience in teaching me all there was to know about keeping a home, for that is what she did.
 
She married right after WWII, in an era where Dad's went off to work in the morning and Mom's stayed home and washed the clothes and scrubbed the floors and baked the cookies and cooked the meals.  She sewed our clothes and mended them when we were careless and put holes in them.  She saw to it that we went to church.  She made sure we understood the importance of family.  And she made sure that I learned the lessons well.

When we are young, we tend to resent having to stay home to help with the Saturday house cleaning ritual (Just in case we get company on Sunday.), or to help with the canning of garden vegetables and cases of peaches (If we don't do this now, we won't eat this winter.), or to learn how to sew a dress (If you can sew, you will always have nice clothes to wear.).  We want to be with our friends instead of sitting on the back steps shelling a tub full of peas.

And when we get to be young adults, we are way too busy and way too self-important to even think about the person who taught us the things that now make our lives better.  When money is tight and we refrain from buying a new blouse, but sew one for ourselves, it doesn't occur to us to thank the person who spent hours showing us how it was done.  When we have children of our own to feed, we don't think about the person who taught us to fry a chicken without burning the daylights out of it or how to roast a piece of beef without winding up with a chunk of shoe leather.

It is now, when I am in the twilight of my life, that I think the most about the woman who raised me.  If she had not taken the time and had the patience (Lord only knows, she needed a basketful of patience with me.), I would not be enjoying this time of my life nearly as much as I do.  I wouldn't know how to do so many things that now occupy my time and that I enjoy.  I wouldn't have as great an appreciation for my family as I do.  And I wouldn't have the values that are important to me.

I wish I had told her more often than I did.  I hope she knows that the rebellious girl-child she dealt with has come full circle, and has acquired an appreciation for all of the hard work it took to get me to this point.  And that even though I have, over the years, strayed far afield from my mother's teachings, I never forgot.  She taught me well.





Thank you, Mom.  I love and miss you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Storms

Last evening I knew a storm was approaching even before I checked the weather radar.  My smallest Yorkie, Lily, was in full "something is coming and I don't like it" mode.  She paced the living room.  She kept an eye on the windows.  She pestered me in between pacing and watching.  And as soon as the first flash of lightning and the first roll of thunder occurred, she curled up in her kennel and went to sleep.  Sometimes I think she is more accurate in her predictions of approaching storms than is the weatherman.

Up until recently, Jessie Jane would accompany her partner in crime in her pacing and watching and pestering.  But age seems to have caught up with my Jessie.  I'm not sure of her exact age, but it is around the 13 year mark.  She has adopted a "whatever" attitude and only gets excited when there is a treat in her immediate future.  Last night she stayed in her kennel, which seems to be her favorite place to be now, and watched Lily's frantic pacing from there.  It was kind of like "Fine.  Whatever.  Wake me when it's over."

The storm didn't last very long and produced just a little pea sized hail.  The sun is shining now, but more storms are headed this way in the afternoon and evening hours.  I had thought about making a grocery run today, but think I will wait until tomorrow when the storms will have passed.

My daughter did an excellent job in choosing a vacuum cleaner for me.  I test drove it yesterday.  I thought that my bedroom carpet was pretty clean with the exception of a few little bits and pieces that find their way onto a rug, but when I went over the carpet, the new vac picked up enough cat hair to build a whole new cat.  My living room carpet will be cleaned this afternoon, and if the new carpet scrubber works half as well as the new vac, I will be happy.

I sometimes wonder what it says about my personality that I am content to watch weather predicting dogs and am happy about the performance of a new vacuum cleaner.  Most would probably say that my life is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Now that warmer weather is here, my windows are open some to let in all that lovely spring air.  The down side is that I can more clearly hear the voices of some of the patrons of the bar next door.  It isn't a rowdy bar - more of a neighborhood place.  But I hear quite often the nearly hysterical laughter of some who seem to have a need to have a good time, no matter what.  And I hear the harsh words of arguments, usually fueled by too much to drink.

I don't drink.  There was a time when I did.  A lot.  It was in my best interest to stop drinking altogether, for I didn't like that person very much.  The one who didn't know when to stop.  That being said, I have no problem with those who enjoy an adult beverage.  Or with those who like to go out on the town.  But in the past year or two, it seems that things have changed.  For the 17 years I have lived here, I have heard those voices, especially on the weekends.  And it seems to me that the voices that once were those of every day folks having a beer or two, laughing and joking and just enjoying an evening out with friends, now are almost frantic in their quest for a good time.  The laughter seems forced.  The fights are a nightly occurrence.  And instead of the friendly banter among friends, I hear a lot of hate and discontent.

I thought perhaps it is because I have gotten old.  But I really don't think it is.  I thought maybe it was because I no longer drink, but that's not it, either.  People have changed.  Or at least, the attitudes of society have changed.  It is almost like people know, deep down inside, that bad things are coming, and they have a need to raise as much hell as possible while they still can.

I hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rattle, Clunk and Smoke

So I was in Suzy Homemaker mode.  Drug out the vacuum.  Started sucking up the debris on my bedroom carpet.  And I soon smelled smoke.

Oh, crap.  Please don't anybody tell me that there is another fire in my building.  About that time I hear a noise that sounds like somebody is shaking a tin can full of marbles.  I look down and discover the smoke and noise is coming from the business end of my vacuum.

Laid the vac handle down flat on the floor so the smoking part is in the air.  Don't really want to burn a hole in the carpet.  Unplugged the offending machine.  The smoke slowly drifted out the open window.  Took a look at the bottom of the vac and found metal and plastic bits and shavings.  This is not good.

The vacuum belonged to Youngest Daughter before I got it several years ago.  It has had a workout.  It owes me nothing.  Sometimes a piece of equipment just isn't worth fixing.  This is one of those times.

On to the next project.  Grabbed the carpet cleaning machine and headed for the living room.  Wanted to give the carpet a good cleaning before I get busy with other things.  I managed to get about three square feet of carpet cleaned when there was a whine, a clunk, and then the machine just died.  Checked the belt.  OK.  Made sure I hadn't tripped a breaker.  Nope.  Plugged into a different outlet.  Nothing.  Messed with the on-off switch.  It finally came to life, only to clunk two or three more times and die again.

I am a fairly patient person.  Not completely patient, but fairly patient.  But by this time I had had enough.  Wrestled the carpet cleaner down the stairs and tossed it into the dumpster.  Came back in and made the same trip with the vacuum.  Came back inside and called my oldest daughter.  Asked her if she would go to the store, buy a vacuum cleaner and a carpet cleaner and bring them to me.  I knew that the boxes would never fit in my cart.  Trying to carry them on the bus was not an option.  She asked me if I needed them right then or would tomorrow be alright.  Tomorrow would be just fine.

The vacuum cleaner in the box and the carpet cleaner in the box are sitting in my kitchen.  Tomorrow I will put them together.  And vacuum my carpets.  And shampoo my carpets.  I've been working hard to stick to a budget, and it has paid off.  Of course, it helped that I pretty much stayed home all winter.  When you don't go anywhere, you don't spend money.  So I could replace the worn out vac and carpet cleaner without ripping my finances to shreds.

And tonight I will say a prayer, thanking the good Lord for giving me yet another daughter who is willing to come riding in on a white charger to save the day for her mother.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Bit of a Break

Now and then we all need a bit of a break.  All is well here in my little corner of the world, but there are things that need my attention.  And sometimes it is easier to concentrate on those things if my computer is shut off.  I will return soon, hopefully refreshed and renewed.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Minneapolis Protest

I guess I'm just too dumb to understand the reasoning behind some political protests.  I understand why people protest, but sometimes the way they go about it makes little sense to me.

For instance:  I was listening to the scanner website this afternoon while attending to a few household chores.  Apparently there is an immigration bill being debated in our federal legislature.  There was a protest staged in downtown Minneapolis concerning this proposed legislation.

The police were scrambling to deal with several buses carrying protesters converging on the downtown area.  Downtown Minneapolis is a traffic hell under the best of conditions.  Then they were dealing with the protesters themselves, who were doing their level best to stop all traffic downtown, right at rush hour.  They had to block off streets and re-route traffic, while trying to keep the protesters under some sort of control.  It made for a nightmare of a mess.

Now I can understand people protesting legislation that they don't agree with.  I believe that folks should be engaged in what is happening that affects their lives.  I will have to confess that I am not up to speed on the current immigration legislation being debated.  There is so much garbage being thrown at the people of the United States these days that keeping abreast of all of it is a full time job.

But I'm willing to bet that those folks who, at 5:00 this afternoon, just wanted to get home to their families, have dinner with their kids, walk the dog or just relax with an adult beverage after a day at the office, but were delayed in a huge traffic snarl caused by several bus loads of people sitting down in the middle of the streets of downtown Minneapolis and thus preventing the working public from going home, are not going to be too sympathetic to the cause of these protesters.

If you want support for your cause from the general public, I'm thinking that there are better ways to do it than to tick off those very people you want to help you.  Just saying......