Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Age changes things

 Seems like lately, one or the other of us has some sort of doctor appointment.  Gabe decided he wasn’t getting enough of the attention around here, I suppose, because although he hadn’t had stomach problems for about four months, last week he started vomiting from one to four times daily.  He didn’t act sick at all; once he was done puking, he was racing around the place like always.  However, after five days of cleaning up vomit, I took Cliff’s advice and made an appointment with the veterinarian.  Yesterday Gabe was full of energy and excited to go for a car ride.  I explained to the vet what was going on with him.  He checked him over and agreed with me that Gabe seemed healthy as could be, and sent us home with something to calm his stomach and an antibiotic, just in case there was any trace of infection.  Gabe hasn’t vomited since the vet visit, but I don’t think it’s because of the meds.  I think whatever it was had simply run its course.  The vet agreed with me that it may have been caused by something Gabe ate outside, because that dog will eat any kind of bug or worm or manure or rotting flesh.  I can’t help but wonder if he ate some of those Asian Lady Beetles; I’ve read online that sometimes dogs get sick from them, although the vet had never heard of such a thing.  I knew from experience not to tell him what I read on the Internet. No doctor wants you telling him what you learned online.  

So, this week I paid $70 to the vet for the exam and meds, plus $40 for a six-month supply of Ivohart.  Then day after tomorrow I’ll pay the groomer $35 for a trim.  It’s a good thing I love my Little Prince.  

Cliff, reading Craigslist, noticed the dairy where I’ve bought baby calves for a few years is selling them for $100 apiece.  And to think a couple years ago they were $425 each!  The funny thing is that even at such a cheap price, I don’t feel the urge to go buy at least one.  I told Cliff, “I think I’m done playing with calves, once we get these two butchered.”  In my heart, I know I’m done. 

It’s pretty much the same with the garden.  I don’t plan to have more than a few tomato plants again next year.  My body has too many aches and pains for heavy work, and I certainly can’t take the heat any more.  Besides, the two of us don’t eat enough to bother with canning beans and tomatoes, and we seldom have company here for a meal these days.  

I’ve come to realize that I won’t ever be traveling to the places I’ve dreamed about, but it’s OK.  I’d rather be at home with Cliff than running around the country with anybody else.  Besides, you can’t travel when you’re seeing doctors all the time!  OK, I’m exaggerating.  It’s just that here lately, we’ve seen more doctors than I really care to.  

We have had some drop-dead gorgeous days lately.  The drought is back with us, but the autumn leaves have really been struttin’ their stuff.  Now there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees, but they were pretty while they lasted.  I’ve been monitoring our propane tank, which will need to be filled up before too long.  However, since the kitchen range is the only thing using propane in spring, summer, and fall, we use very little until it’s time for the furnace to start doing its job.  The tank is 30% full.  I’ll have them fill it when it’s down to 20%.

All the horses are gone now, although two of them may return in the spring.  Adam bought a place, so his horses are at home with him  Once the calves are gone, though, it will be really nice to be able to leave gates open and not worry about something getting out.  

This seems like a rather negative entry, but it’s more of a “waking up and slowing down” story.  At some point you realize life on this earth is going to end for you, and suddenly the things you’ve thought were so important aren’t that big a deal at all.  That’s where we are at present.  I’m tossing things out and taking stuff to Goodwill.  Every time I look around a room, I see something else that could go.  The grandson’s wife let me know she’d like my butter churn when I’m gone... I told her she can have it now.  I won’t be milking any more Jersey cows and making butter.  And so it goes.

It’s the circle of life, folks.  We’ve all gotta walk that lonesome valley by ourselves.

Until next time, Donna

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Those good old days

Another shooting has taken place, this time at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.  I don't see any solution to these ever-increasing acts of violence, but I know I'm fed up.  Not that being "fed up" means a lot, because the killing will go on.  Everyone thinks they have answers, but we never see anything being done.  I have no idea what CAN be done.  This sort of thing makes me long for the fifties.  I want to go back!  

Even as I type those words, though, I realize the fifties weren't perfect.  There was the cold war, the Korean conflict, and I'm sure many other situations equal to problems we face today.  The difference is, I was a kid then.  Kids let adults do the worrying, and my parents didn't seem to worry about much in the political realm.  They claimed to be Republicans, but never voted until they were in their 70's.  I don't remember them talking much about any candidates, and when they did, they never gave a reason why the Republican candidate was better... he just WAS, that's all.  They enjoyed making fun of Margaret Truman's singing when Harry was in office.  No big deal.  

I'm always puzzled at why anyone would choose to hate Jews.  I've pondered this before, and find no answer.  Jesus was a Jew.  Over half the Christian Bible is from and about the Jews.  Jewish people have always taken up the causes of the downtrodden and mistreated.  With a Google search, I found an article from 2015, "Why do people hate Jews and Judaism?".

"True, reasons for anti-Semitism have often been offered. Their obvious error invariably was the inherent contradiction of their explanations. Jews were despised because they were too liberal — and also because they were too conservative. They were too cheap and of course they were also too spendthrift; too passive and too pushy; too charitable and too selfish; too religious and too secular."

Adolph Hitler didn't like the Jews because they had a conscience.  Conscience is a Jewish invention like circumcision. My task is to free men from the dirty and degrading ideas of conscience and morality.”

Surrounding all this slaughter we have politicians on television accusing their opponents of all sorts of vile things that have little to do with their qualifications for the job, and can any of the accusations be proven?  I have no idea!  I've heard the wind blow before, and it's a foul wind that blows in the current political climate.  

Yesterday evening for about two hours, I fled the present by choosing to watch a 1937 movie I'd recorded on Turner Classics:  Captains Courageous.  Ah, the simple flicks of the 30's and 40's, when the ending was always happy in spite of the sad events that might have happened throughout the movie.  Things always turned out all right in the end, just like in the old fairy tales I loved as a child.  You can call them corny, but they sure take my mind off the ever-increasing violence in our country.  

Sincerely, Donna

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Too stupid for a smart phone?

Cliff and I are latecomers to this “smart phone” thing, but we finally found an affordable deal with T-Mobile and decided to join the modern age.  Now, you’d think I’d have no problem using such a phone, accustomed as I am to using an iPad.  Probably if I’d purchased an iPhone, the problems would be less, but those things are expensive.  So I chose to buy the cheapest phone T-mobile had to offer, an LG model for under $200.  I’ve promised myself I’ll upgrade to something a little better for my birthday next year; meanwhile, my phone often warns me I need to delete some stuff.  Why?  Because it only has 16 measly gigabytes of storage.  Also, it’s as slow as molasses when I use it to surf the ‘Net.  Cliff’s phone works fine for him, but he isn’t computer savvy at all.  So strange things happen, things he refuses to accept blame for even though nobody touches his phone (or computer) except him.  For instance:  Yesterday morning I was enjoying a few rousing games of Words With Friends, comfortable in the recliner with my dog snuggled against me, when pretty music wafted it’s way from the direction of the couch, the area where my beloved husband spends a lot of his waking hours.  Surely he hadn’t changed his ring tone to something so quiet and pleasant; he can barely hear the tone he’s been using.  The music stopped, then began again.  Well, who wants that breaking into her thoughts at a crucial time of gaming conflict?  Not I.  Trying not to disturb the dog beside me, I slithered carefully off the chair to look into the matter and picked up Cliff’s phone.  The word “alarm” lit up and the song started playing again.  

Now, we haven’t set an alarm in 20 years, except for a few times when I was babysitting and knew Cora would be here before 5:30 AM.  Even then I was always awake much earlier, but I didn’t want to take a chance.  Cliff’s last years of being employed, he worked evenings.  So we just didn’t have to worry about getting up in time for much of anything.  Puzzling over his phone, I saw I could hit “snooze” or turn it off.  Of course, I chose the latter.  

When he got up, I told him, “You’ve somehow set an alarm on your phone for 6 AM.”

“No I didn’t,” he replied.  “I don’t even know how to do that.”

This is how it goes when he hits a wrong key on his computer, too.  I’ll hear a mild curse word, glance at him to see what’s wrong, and he’s scowling at the computer.  It’s never his error, of course.  It’s the fault of the &%!*)$ computer.  I generally tell him something along these lines:  “Oh, you mean somebody sneaked in this house and wreaked havoc on your computer while we were asleep?  We’d better put some security cameras outside and catch them in the act!”

Because what are wives for, if not to make fun of a husband’s lack of expertise?  

On another note, I just finished the book “Small Fry”, written by Steve Jobs’ oldest daughter telling about her life with him.  They had a very peculiar relationship indeed.  Sometimes she was in his good graces, sometimes not.  I did find the story interesting.  I never realized the genious who founded Apple was such a weird, sometimes not-very-nice person.  He left his wife so many billions, she’s now one of the richest women in the world, so I guess he was nice to her.

One thing I like about checking out digital books from the library:  Check out all the books you want, start reading, and if you see you aren’t going to like one, return it immediately and try a different one.  No charge.  I still marvel that I have access to all these books at no cost, and I never have to disturb the dog by getting out of my chair to do it.  

That’s all I have for today... simply small talk.  After that last entry where I shared a video of myself singing a song I wrote, I needed to change the pace.  

Sincerely, Donna

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Writing a song

I’m going to do something I don’t like doing here, if I don’t lose my nerve.  I wrote a song last week. It isn’t the best I’ve ever written, but considering I quit songwriting twenty or thirty years ago, and the fact that I’m not motivated to make an effort to write these days, it’s remarkable in its own way.  Fact is, I’ve only written two songs in the past five years, and both of them were written at one man’s request.  The same man, both times.  I don’t even know him that well, but the first time he wanted his thoughts put in a song, his wife, a high-school friend of my daughter’s, told him I could do it.  This surprised me, since I didn’t figure she knew that about me.

The first time he wanted a song about his best friend.  He gave me what he had written down, and I surprised myself by coming up with something.  Just a fluke, I was sure, and I more or less forgot about it.
This fellow and his boys are friends of my grandson, so I’ve seen him around here a few times.  Three or four weeks ago, he handed me a notebook and said, “I’ve got another song for you to work with.”

“Fat chance,” I thought, but I told him it wouldn’t hurt me to look at it.  He didn’t have much to work with, and although I scribbled a few lines and thought about it briefly, I dismissed it, finally, as impossible.  But about four days ago, I sat down with the notebook, imagined myself in his place in the story, and something began to happen.  Three days ago I got the guitar out, began strumming as I looked at the words, and things started.  I really didn’t familiarize myself with it any more than necessary, just enough to let him hear it; then my job would be done.  Now, here’s why it’s so hard for my to put myself out there singing a song:  First of all, my vocal skills are adequate, perhaps, but nothing to brag about.  My guitar strumming is less than adequate; all I ever wanted to be able to do was accompany myself; I’ve not had people to sing with most of my life.  I sit alone in the kitchen and sing by myself, and I don’t demand much of myself.  Then there’s the fact that I don’t like how I look.  I don’t like my teeth, the circles under my eyes, and these days, the wrinkles.  I don’t even look at myself when I’m standing at the mirror to comb my hair, never did.  I’m just being honest here.  If this entry disappears, you’ll know why.

In case there’s a problem understanding the words in the video, I’m putting the lyrics here for you.

Written by Donna Wood for Jim Walls
October 18, 2018

The passing of time’s made a dreamer of me as I think about days that are gone.
I look around me and all I can see is a vision of those who’ve moved on.
Once there were children who filled up my heart, but the children grew up before long.
That’s how it should be, but it tears me apart, so I’m putting these words in a song.
     Three little boys abandoned their toys to meet the needs Dad can’t supply.
     I miss them so, and they’ll be back, I know, but it’s all I can do not to cry,
     Oh, it’s all I can do not to cry.

I taught them to hunt and I taught them to fish, and I taught them some good country songs.
Me and my buddies enjoyed every day, and I knew I was where I belonged.
But manhood came calling, and here came the ladies, and suddenly everything changed.
I know it’s right, but I don’t have to like it.  Seems like my whole life rearranged.
     We sang and played, we fished in the shade; we made such a wonderful team.
     Now they are grown and I’m here alone:  Looking back it all seems like a dream,
     Yes, it seems like a long ago dream.

Maybe some day they will all settle down and they’ll somehow find time for old Dad.
How can I tell them that time spent with them were the best times that I ever had.
I’ve made mistakes.  Yes, I could have done better, but God only knows how I tried.
Those three little boys brought me so much joy, and a heart that just fills up with pride.
     They’ll be three handsome men when they come back again and we’ll talk about good times we             had.
     By then they’ll have wives and kids in their lives and they’ll have learned how it feels to be a dad,
     And that you never stop being a dad.

Click HERE to hear the song.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Dear readers,

Yesterday I made a cheesecake in the Instant Pot for the second time ever.  The first round was challenging, simply because I was still learning how to use an electric pressure cooker, scared to death I'd ruin some recipe, which would be a waste of my time and money.  I'm gaining confidence now, and have learned to follow instructions in the recipes exactly.  I've only had one bite of the New York cheesecake I made, since it is supposed to sit 12 to 24 hours after taking it out of the pot.  Cliff and I will enjoy it this evening when he gets back from accompanying his sister to visit their aunt.  I would have gone, but Gabe had a day of puking yesterday (first time in months) after our morning walk; he must have gotten into something when we walked, and eaten the wrong thing.  Anyway, I didn't want to leave for the whole day in case his stomach was still "off".  

By the way, I'm not sure it's a good thing that the Instant Pot has made it so very easy to make a cute little cheesecake.  You could make one every day!

Last night Heather, the grandson's wife, invited us to join them for supper.  It was her mom's birthday.  We had a delicious meal, with mashed potatoes and fried chicken just the way I like it.  I'm impressed when somebody makes decent fried chicken, since I always had trouble with it.

Here's what I've been thinking about lately:  I'm not one to take a lot of pills of any kind.  The only meds ordered by my doctor are blood pressure pills and a baby aspirin.  I do have problems sleeping, and in the past, over-the-counter sleep aids have helped a little, although I only used them occasionally.  As I grow older, I sleep less.  Part of the problem is my aging bladder, which wakes me at least four times nightly.  But lately it's gotten to the point of ridiculous, with me waking up, then being unable to go back to sleep.  I do have a couple of things on my mind currently, and it seems our brains want us to ponder such things when we should be sleeping.  So I'd ponder and wonder, which only made me more wakeful.  I know this situation is common, especially with women over a certain age, because if I get up at three AM and check Facebook, there are always some of my lady Facebook friends already there.  Misery loves company.  

The Internet has no conscience when it comes to sharing unsettling news items when a person least expects it, so I couldn't help but see an item recently letting me know that over-the-counter sleep aids can lead to dementia.  Well, so much for the one tiny, not-so-efficient crutch I used.  That isn't the only culprit, though.  I have tummy problems occasionally, and some of the anti-acids like Pepcid and Zantac have been quite helpful; Walmart has those in generic form at a reasonable price.  But, thanks to the Wide World Web, I know now some of these are tied to stomach cancer  AND dementia.  

I didn't ask for any of this information.  I was perfectly happy in my little bubble, taking cheap, simple pills for relief.  But the bad news was thrust at me when I least expected it, so I can't crawl back into the bubble.  Now I struggle with any decision to take a pill.

No wonder I have trouble sleeping.  

I hope your weather is as lovely as mine today.  May you always sleep peacefully and well.

Your friend, Donna 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Oxtail stew

Digging around in the freezer the other day, I came up with a package of oxtail.  We aren't hard up for meat around here, so I tend to cruise right over oxtail, cow tongue, liver, and other such "variety meats", as the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook calls them.  I made a mental note to use that oxtail as soon as we finished off whatever leftovers were in the refrigerator.  Oxtail stew is really good.

This morning I retrieved the package, then put it in the microwave and punched the "thaw" setting for two pounds.  I removed the thawed package of oxtails, opened it up, and thought, "This looks like it's from a bigger cow than we've butchered lately."  I went to the trash and pulled the butcher wrap out to check the date it had been butchered:  Would you believe 2011?  I thought about my options.  I could assume it was too old and throw it away, but I knew it wouldn't hurt us to eat it.  However, I wanted it to taste good.  Pork and chicken develop an off-taste and odor when cooked, if it's spent years in the deep freeze.  It won't hurt you, but it's not fun to eat funny-smelling or tasting meat.

Since I don't think I've ever used beef quite this old, I decided to just give it a try; I told Cliff my plan, which was to go ahead and cook the meat in the Instant Pot for an hour, let it release the pressure naturally, and then taste-test it myself.  He looked a little doubtful.  But folks, there's no better flavored beef that oxtail that's been well cooked and I was primed for oxtail stew.    

I couldn't find directions for oxtail in a stove-top pressure cooker, which would have gotten it cooked faster; so I got out the Instant Pot and set it to pressure-cook for an hour.  When the pressure was down, I took off the lid and tasted it, and it was as good a flavor as any beef I've every had.  I gave Cliff a taste; he agreed.  It was still a little chewy though, so I gave it another fifteen minutes pressure and got perfection.  I added potatoes, carrots, a little celery, an onion, some quick barley, then got a pint baggie of cooked black beans out of the freezer and added that.  I can't wait to eat!

I didn't intend to go three days without blogging, but I've been just a little "off" and couldn't make myself do a blog entry.  I think I'm back now.  I felt perky enough that Cliff and I went on a walk in the pasture with Gabe.  If you want to see a picture of pure energy and joy, you need to see Gabe when he can run free for a change.  He circles all over the place at top speed, never getting too far out of our sights.  It's quite rewarding.  I wanted to get a picture of him running with autumn leaves in the background, but he runs so fast he blurs, in a picture.  Cliff laughed when I told him I was going to try and get Gabe to sit for a picture, but the poor dog did his best considering he was at a distance from me when I gave him the command.  It didn't turn out as well as I planned though... here's what I got:


Even sitting, he can't hold still.  Oh, and most of the pretty leaves are up higher, not even in the shot.  Oh well, I tried.  

I pay dearly for the times I let him run free in the pasture.  He comes back with stickers and stick-tights (otherwise known as beggar-lice) in his beard and on his legs and belly.  By the time I'm done, there are a lot of them stuck to my clothes too.  The process of combing all that mess out of the tangles isn't comfortable for him, so he puts up a bit of a fight, but we get it done.  Then there's always the issue of dirty dog feet I must clean.  But it's worth it to see him running wild and free, so happy to be doing what he loves.  

I love my dog.

Yours truly, Donna

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Winter's coming

I woke up this morning with temperatures in the low 40's.  Last night I turned on the furnace and set it for sixty-four, which is fine for us; we like to sleep in a cool room.  However, I realized we needed our flannel sheets, with colder temps heading our way, so I retrieved those this morning, along with some winter pajamas and lined jeans I'll be needing soon.

Each time I got up last night, I noticed Gabe, in his cage at my side of the bed, was tightly curled up trying to keep warm.  I wondered it he'd leave a blanket on if I covered him with one.  By the time I got up to stay (3:15 AM, after lying awake for a half-hour), I'd decided to go shopping on Amazon.  I recalled a friend on Facebook saying she spoiled her cats by putting heating pads of some sort in their beds.  Gabe let me know this is exactly what he needed by running from his cage when I opened it and going straight to a furnace register, covering it with his body and rolling around.  Not only did I order him a heating pad, I also got a cover for his cage.   

A while back Cliff decided to try going for a walk again.  Neither of us can go for long walks the way we used to, but he wanted to see if fifteen minutes would hurt.  After trying it a couple of times and feeling no ill effects, he decided perhaps it might work.  The third day I told him I'd try walking with him.  After two days, I realized I was fine with such a short walk too.  Then we had a little set-to:  I get up in the middle of the night (OK, 3 AM) and Cliff often doesn't get up until seven or eight.  I'm a morning person, he's a night guy.  It's always been that way.  I hit the floor running, he drags out of bed and limps to the coffeepot, then settles on the couch to watch the news.  Then he has his computer time; of course, I've had hours to catch up on Facebook and Words With Friends by that time.  Cliff wasn't ready to leave for a walk until ten o'clock or so, and I'd be pacing the floor wanted to get it done so I can start dinner; this is nothing new, it's gone on for 52 years so far, no matter where we're going or what we're going to do.  Cliff made a comment about my rushing him, I retorted, and he finally said, "You need to walk earlier by yourself, and I'll walk when I want to."  

Good idea.

Our walking got sidelined by the rain, but today things have dried out and I decided to head out and see how things looked.  There was no mud; the crisp, clear weather was invigorating and the leaves are starting to turn.  One advantage to taking our walks separately is that Gabe, who is a high-energy dog, gets to go for two walks each day.  The disadvantage is that he comes back a very dirty dog each time, not to mention the  stick-tights fastened in his beard.  Still, he needs that exercise and loves running free so much, I'm going to deal with it.  Sometimes just rinsing all four feet off at the outside faucet is enough to make him house-worthy, and that's what I did with him after my walk.  Unfortunately, although Cliff and I take the same route, the dog was about three times filthier when he returned with Cliff.  So I gave him a bath, then combed all the weed-leavings and stickers out of his beard and off his legs.  He wouldn't get so dirty if he were leashed, but he wouldn't have any fun, either.  

Cliff sees the cardiologist this afternoon.  Our regular doctors were insisting he have a colonoscopy done, but the cardiologist insisted Cliff see him first.  After all, it's been twelve years since his heart surgery.  The older we get, the more doctors pass through our lives.  I'd say it isn't a bad thing, since I'm sure Cliff would have died by now without the heart surgery.  Thank God for doctors!

Enjoy your day.

Sincerely yours, Donna


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Just be thankful for what you have

I emptied the rain gauge yesterday evening:  It showed 4 3/4 inches of rain received since last Friday morning, which put it pretty close to being full.  We’re getting light rain at present, with a rather balmy temperature of 67 with an expected high of 76.

I have to laugh at human nature:  We’ve been in a genuine drought all summer; gardens failed, crops produced half the yield they usually do.  The price of hay has gone up drastically.  We’ve whined, we’ve prayed... OK, I haven’t prayed about the weather, because I don’t pray for weather changes.  I feel the weather is going to do what it’s going to do, and that’s that.  But I’ve made my share of comments.  Cliff and I have laughed at the weather-guessers all summer:  They point out rain that is definitely headed our way and we fake-laugh, looking at one another and saying, “That’s a good one!  They think it’s going to rain!  Hahahahahaha.”

You can’t change the weather, but you can laugh at meteorologists.  It’s possible to have fun with anything, even as you watch your yard turn brown and the pastures withering.  

So we’ve all had our say about the dry summer for the past few months, but finally we’re getting a lot of rain.  It only took a couple of days to see folks complaining about the rain.  I find humor in this, too, and it reminds me of the Israelites in the dessert after they left Egypt.  The minute they got across the Red Sea safely, with no turning back, they suddenly forgot their previous enslavement and forced labor, and wished they were back in Egypt, where they had plenty to eat.  God, being very patient (probably for Moses’ sake, because Moses was one of his favorites), supplied manna for them to eat.  One of my prized nephews once said in a sermon that the word manna means “what is it”.   They cooked and baked with the stuff and rejoiced in the fact their bellies were full.  All they had to do was go out and pick it up.

But, typical thankless humans that they were, they got tired of eating manna morning, noon, and night.  You can only do so much using the same ingredient all the time, right?  They wanted some meat!  God wasn’t terrible happy about their whining, but He was used to it from those ingrates He’d created, so He said, “I’m gonna give you so much meat it’ll be coming out your noses; you’ll be sick of meat before I’m done with you.”

Hey, it’s been so long since I read this particular story I had to look it up.  The story about manna is in Exodus, but the part about meat coming out their noses is in Numbers.  

Anyhow, my point is that people in general have never been totally happy with what they’re given.  It’s something we have to work at.  

This, children, is your sermon for the day.  My advice to you?  Rain or shine, don’t worry.  Be happy.  

I believe I’ve just found the best way to blog with an iPad:  There’s an app for that, and I’m using it.  I had to pay for it, but it works much better than using the browser on iPad.  There’s another blogging app for the same price ($4.99) that I’m tempted to try for comparison, but this will work for most people.  

Yours truly, Donna

Monday, October 08, 2018

From the iPad of Donna

Someone asked me if I could blog from the iPad, so I’m doing this to find out.  I’ve connected a Bluetooth keyboard, so I don’t have to type with one finger.  Meanwhile, let’s talk about donuts.

For the first many years of our marriage, Cliff and I would occasionally buy donuts:  We loved them, they didn’t cost much compared to other breakfasts, and we didn’t care whether we got fat.  So why not eat donuts?  

Well, donuts gave me heartburn, but back then a Tums tablet would take care of that.  So we indulged.  I even made donuts back then, sometimes from scratch, sometimes the kind where you poke a hole in the middle of a canned biscuit, deep-fry it, and shake it up in powdered sugar or dip it in glaze.  Try it before you criticize; they’re pretty good in a pinch when you live in the country and it’s 20 miles to a donut shop.  

Even before Cliff had open heart surgery 12 years ago, we started caring more about what we ate and gave up donuts for the most part.  These days I don’t even think about them often.  
That’s why I was rather taken aback last week when Cliff walked by some donuts at Walmart that were reduced in price for quick sale and looked at me hopefully.  “No,” I said.  “We don’t eat donuts any more.  I don’t even like them that much.”  Then we went on about our business, checked out, and headed toward our next shopping destination.  

But somehow, the power of suggestion had wormed its way into my psyche. “You know, if I were going to eat a donut, I’d be getting one at a donut shop, freshly made.” Cliff made a U-turn and changed directions.  “Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a Lamar’s donut shop somewhere along 7 highway.”

Oh my, we have a great memory of Lamar’s.  When Charles Gusewelle, a long-time Kansas City Star columnist, did a fund-raiser for KCPT years ago, folks who made the donation of a specific amount were invited to the hunting cabin he had written about for years.  Arriving at a nearby town, we were treated with Lamar’s donuts, the ordinary glazed ones; it was the best donut I’ve ever had, probably due to the fact we hadn’t had one for years.  The memory haunts me yet.

We found Lamar’s and hurried in, only to be confronted with a problem:  There were too many kinds!  I can’t even tell you what kind of donut I got, but Cliff got some pastry about six inches long, glazed, with creme filling inside.  We sat at a table and finished them off, Cliff offering me a bite or two of his much larger pastry every once in awhile.  

We may have felt a little guilt, but not enough to really bother us.  We neither one talked about how great it was to finally sink our chops into donuts.  But later, at home, I said, “You know, those donuts weren’t all that great.”  

“I know,” Cliff replied.  “Next time I’m getting a plain glazed donut instead of something with phony-tasting creme filling inside.”

“Me too.  That flavored one I had wasn’t the greatest either.”

I doubt there will be a next time.  

Here’s a silly thing I have to share:  I have a lot of Facebook friends, so even though I over-share on Facebook, there are always lots of “likes” and comments on what I post.  Last week that stopped.  For five days straight, only two people responded in any way to what I posted.  I finally decided Facebook had changed something, which would be nothing new, but I didn’t like it.  I de-activated Facebook, figuring if that bothered me so much, I was giving a social media platform too much importance.  Maybe it was time to   leave entirely.  

When you temporarily deactivate, you still have Messenger.  Saturday I received a message from a Facebook friend saying I’d been cloned.  At the time that seemed strange, because how could they clone me if I wasn’t even ON facebook.  However, I reactivated my account and told people the problem and not to accept a friend request from me.  Of course, only two people, the same ones, saw this, but after an hour I deactivated again. 

That evening I had a thought:  When I first joined Facebook I made some groups:  Chat room friends, blogger friends, family, etc.  If you have groups, you can choose a group when you post, and only that group will see the post.  Turns out I’m too lazy to mess with all that, so I hardly ever used it.  But what if the setting on Facebook had been changed, so that only one group could see it?  

Sure enough.  I looked at the two names:  Sherri, from Kentucky, and Inga from Kansas, were members of the group I named “Blogger friends”.  Inga never blogged as far as I know, but she used to comment on my blog.  That was the only way I came to know her.  The other blogger friends did not comment or “like” anything I’d posted because they couldn’t have seen those posts.  Even if they went to my status they wouldn’t have seen them.  

Since I haven’t used my groups in years, I’m wondering whether I accidentally clicked the drop-down arrow beside “who can see this” when I posted... because if you choose the group setting, it will stay at that unless you change it... or had Facebook done it.  I’m guessing it was me.

For the people who only know me on this blog, if you don’t have Facebook you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, and for that I apologize.  But I needed to come up with something for this “test” post.  Now I need I’m going to see if I can post a picture to make sure that’s possible with the iPad, and I’ll be gone.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Our visit to Weston

First off, you need to know that I suffered no lasting effects from ingesting two of Cliff's Flomax capsules.  I didn't feel great yesterday, but that was because I'd only slept about 12 hours over three days' time, thanks to my cough.  More good news: I don't think I coughed one time last night.  And since it's a good-news day, I'll share this:  We have 2 3/4 inches in the gauge at 6 AM and it's still falling.  I'm fairly certain that's the most rain we've received this year.  I'm very thankful; if the weather stays reasonably warm for at least a couple of weeks (that's asking a lot), the grass can grow and provide pasture for the animals for quite a while yet.  On the negative side, Cliff has my cold.  Bummer.  

First, I'll leave the link for Holladay Distillery HERE.  It gives you the history of the place.  

Since Arick was driving, we got there earlier than I expected.  That's OK, because Heather needed to eat something anyhow, so we killed some time driving on into Weston.  Our tour started at 11 o'clock, so there was time to browse the souvenir shop.  Drinks could be purchased: everything from Irish coffee to bourbon, plus a few things I never heard of; one couple at the little bar was in the area because they were attending a bachelor party that was going to last for two days.  At this point I felt completely normal except for my hacking cough and lack of sleep.  I made sure they had a coffee cup with the logo on it and planned to buy one on the way out.  Then our congenial guide, Harrison, showed up.  Cliff was pleasantly surprised that he could hear this guy.  He had a strong voice and spoke clearly.  We've been on so many tours with guides who didn't speak loudly and clearly enough for someone with hearing problems, so Cliff misses out.  

There were twelve of us who boarded the bus that was to take us from one building to another.  I was still feeling fine at this point.   

I know that jeans jacket totally ruins the look of my tunic top, but it was chilly outside!  It was either that or my heavy winter coat, which would have been far too much.  I've always put comfort over style.

You'll have to forgive me for not having more to say about these pictures; after getting dizzy and briefly passing out during the tour, I'm a little foggy about things.  Yesterday I mentioned we were in the barrel house when I had that spell.  Cliff says, no, it was in the building where they actually make the product; picture-taking isn't allowed there.  Beats me, but that doesn't really change the general story line much.  I think we were looking down at water storage tank here.  People tossed money toward a basket in the middle; if they hit the basket, they get a free koozie.  Arick ended up with one, and so did Heather.

Click HERE to read about the mold on the building.  Very interesting.

This is where the product is bottled.

There we are, toward the end of the tour.  Harrison took pictures for anyone who asked.  You'd never know I'd been sitting on a floor passing out not long before this was taken, right?  Trust me, I was still a little wobbly.  Cliff and Arick stayed on either side of me for quite a while after, just in case; I was well looked after. 

 We ate at America Bowman Restaurant, which is somehow part of O'Malley's.  Read about them HERE.  The grandson bought some Scotch Eggs, and I had a bite of one.  Keep in mind this is only about forty-five minutes after my dizziness and nausea, so perhaps I would have liked it better under normal circumstances; I never tasted a crunchy egg before.  After lunch, we went next door and went far underground to O'Malley's, because I wanted to see the cave.  People who drink too much while there may be a little put out when they realize you have to climb a lot of stairs to get to the rest rooms at ground level.

 I was pretty much myself by this time, able to take pictures without somebody holding me up.  I continued to drink water at every opportunity in an attempt to get all the Flomax out of my body.

Cliff took a sit-down break while he had a chance, after climbing up those stairs from O'Malley's.

We window-shopped at several flea-market type stores.  Heather is creative, and likes to stroll through these places looking for ideas.  Finally, for our last stop of the day, we went to Weston Tobacco Company, because Arick, like his dad, is quite the cigar aficionado.   The Kansas City Star had an interesting article about the place HERE.

I wish I hadn't had that unpleasant experience from accidentally taking some of Cliff's meds, but all's well that ends well.  It was an enjoyable day for us all, I think.  The kids live in our old house next door since they bought the place, but we don't often go anywhere together.  By the way, Cliff's meds and mine no longer have the same storage place, so there should be no danger of another mixup. 


Saturday, October 06, 2018

When medications get mixed up

i haven’t been sleeping well for a few nights due to a cough caused by an otherwise mild cold.  It happens to the best of us once or twice a year, but it certainly gets tiresome at the time.  Nyquil, cough meds, Alka-Seltzer cold tabs... I’ve tried them all.  Each evening I’m so tired I could drop and go to sleep in my chair.  I get up, go to bed, and sleep a couple hours before I wake up coughing.  So I’m not good company for anybody.  I’m tired.

But for a couple weeks we’ve been planning a trip to Weston, Missouri with our next-door grandson and his wife; yesterday was the day.  Cliff and I had gone there after taking in the Platte City tractor show and spent a couple hours, eating lunch at the Tin Kitchen and checking out a cigar shop to buy a cigar for the grandson.  There are plenty of things to see and do there.  It occurred to me that the grandson and Heather might enjoy the place; I thought maybe we’d make it a foursome, since we never do anything together socially.

I awoke coughing, realized I wasn’t going to sleep any longer. and got up around three AM, which is two hours later than I got up today.  But I digress.  I didn’t feel bad, just tired.  Around five o’clock I decided to have some cereal and take my pills, only one of which is a prescription: Hydrochlorothiazide, a water pill for high blood pressure.  I take two daily.  Cliff takes two prescription medications for heart issues and one for age-related issues so he doesn’t have to get up so often at night.  I keep both our meds in a plastic tub, but Cliff’s are in a gallon plastic bag; mine, which include some vitamin supplements, are loose in the tub.  There’s only the one prescription bottle among mine.  So I picked up the prescription bottle atop the other loose bottles  and took two capsules, along with my supplements.  Two hours later Cliff was up looking through his meds and said, “One of my prescriptions isn’t in the bag!”  He checked the rest of the tub and there they were.  Instantly I wondered it I had taken the wrong pills, and checked the contents of that bottle.  They were capsules, like my blood pressure pills, and they had been right on top of all my other pills.  No doubt I had taken his pills.  So then I took my water pills.

I felt fine, except for being tired.  We had a big day planned at Weston.  I wasn’t terribly concerned about the pills; Cliff has taken them for years and they haven’t harmed him, although the doctor just last week increased the dosage to two pills, telling him they might make him dizzy at first.  Shortly after nine Arick and Heather pulled up to our house to get us, and we were on our way.  It was raining, but the forecast said it was going to be a great day once the shower passed.

Our first adventure was a tour of the Holladay Distillary.  One stop on the tour was the barrel house.  We ascended a flight of stairs and looked down at the barrels as the guide explained the process to us.  Although the weather was cool, I started getting hot and broke out in a sweat.  Then I felt dizzy.  I’ve had lots of dizzy spells before, so I leaned against whatever was behind me (like a half-wall) and waited for it to pass, only it didn’t pass.  It got worse.  I hated to embarrass myself, but I slid down on the floor, telling Cliff I was dizzy.  This, of course, got our guide’s attention... and everybody else's.  He asked if he should send for a wheel chair.  I said no, I’ll be OK, I'm just dizzy.  Grandson said I actually checked out a couple of times.  Heather, who is a nurse at a walk-in clinic, tried to quiet down one lady who was demanding they call an ambulance.  I have no sense of the time passing, but I think it was maybe five minutes before Cliff and Arick helped me to my feet at my request.  My head was still swimming, but with my guys on either side of me, I couldn’t fall.  The guide asked if I’d like to step outside and sit in a golf cart since there was no place to sit in the barn, and I gratefully accepted his offer.  Cliff assisted me out and sat with me.  Nausea hit me as the dizziness subsided so we sat until that passed.  Then I felt I could walk, with Cliff and Arick to hold me steady, and continued the tour.  At the end, samples of some McCormick products are available in the tasting room.  I told the guide I needed to sit down and was going to go to the next room where there was a chair.  He enlisted one of the men in our group and they brought the chair into the tasting room for me.  Heather had suggested I drink water earlier, right after my "incident"; now that I had my wits about me, I thought perhaps drinking some water might dilute the stuff in my system so I could enjoy the rest of our day.  
Here I am sitting in a chair drinking water in a plastic McCormick glass while everybody got their free samples.  I certainly wasn't in the mood for any sort of spirits!  I apologized to the guide and the others for messing up their tour, and explained to them I'd accidentally taken the wrong pills that morning.  Looking at the bright side, I don't think any of them will forget this particular tour of the McCormick Distillery with the old lady who almost died (ha!  Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated).  

By the time we ate lunch at O'Malley's Pub, I was past the dizziness.  Heather and Arick spent their honeymoon in Ireland, so I thought this might bring back happy memories for them.  My sandwich was so good I even brought home the half I didn't eat and had it for supper.  From there on, our day was pretty normal.  I'll tell you about the things we did in another entry.  

From now on, when I grab my prescription bottle, I will look at the label before taking the pills therein.

Yours truly, Donna

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Facebook vacation and what's happening around here

About once a year, I get miffed at Facebook.  Just when I get used to something, they change it.  Yes, it's free.  You'll seldom hear me complain about it.  But for the past week, it's as though only four of my three hundred friends know I'm there; I can go to any of my friends' status and see what they've said, but otherwise I don't see them.  As I was fuming about this, I decided to treat it as I have many of life's problems:  Pretend it isn't there.  So I temporarily deleted my Facebook account.  For the most part, I don't get mad at the people, but I do grow tired of folks posting things that are out-and-out lies, and then when you tell them to check Snopes, they reply, "Snopes lies".  This usually just means Snopes won't tell them what they want to hear, because you know, these individuals know they are always right.  I don't fight about it.  I just sit here and simmer.  Obviously I needed a break.  If conditions are the same when I return, I might stay away longer, or permanently.  I spend way too much time on Facebook.  I would miss those memories that show up daily, though:  a lot of pictures I've taken over the past five years are of Cora.  She seems to be content at school now, which makes me very happy.

I'm was relieved to find out I can still play Words with Friends; it's been sort of connected to Facebook, but it gave me the option to sign in without the connection.  I spend too much time at that, too, but until I get tired of it, it isn't going anywhere.  

Most of my life I've heard people say it's OK to talk to yourself, as long as you don't answer yourself.  That's when you need to worry, they say.  Guess what?  Yesterday I listened to myself as I was cooking and talking (I don't always pay attention to myself) and realized I had just asked myself a question and then answered it.  I've gone round the bend for sure.  I often go past the shop and hear Cliff talking away, all by himself.  I guess we're both going around the bend together.

I've figured out why so many people in this country are overweight:  It's the Internet!  We used to have to go to the store for groceries; now, if you're in a metro area, you can have them delivered.  Once upon a time if you wanted a book to read, you had to walk into a library; now you download it to a tablet, right from your easy chair.  You can order anything on Amazon and other websites, so there's no need to go shopping.  No reason to gather with friends to play games, because there's any kind of game you might want online.  Are you lonely and need someone to talk to?  Social media will take care of that, and you won't have to clean your house or put on real clothes first (and you'll get lots of suggestions as to who you should not vote for... Ha!).  We hardly have to go anywhere except work, until you retire.  And these days, your job is likely to be a sedentary one.  

Yesterday the oldest granddaughter came to visit, bringing her Shih Tzu, Rory.  My dog and Rory got to know one another when the granddaughter kept Gabe for a couple days, but Rory still won't play with him until she's been here a couple of hours.  

Amber and I talked almost non-stop for about five hours, holding our dogs, comparing them, bragging about them... we were like two first-time mothers comparing their babies.

The laryngitis I had two days ago is gone, the sore throat is much improved, and other than a slight sore throat and that irritating cough I always get at the end of a cold, I feel OK.  

I was able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows for three days straight last week.  Saturday morning I awoke with temperatures outside in the lower 40's.  I swore I wasn't going to turn the furnace on, but I finally did, for about two hours.  Now we're back to air conditioning; good old Missouri.  Starting tomorrow we have several good chances for rain, the best chances we've had all summer.  I sure hope it happens.

I'll try to have something more entertaining to talk about next time.  

Sincerely, Donna

Monday, October 01, 2018

Back to regular programming

Sorry about the unpleasant memories in the last entry, but it's what I was thinking at the time.

I finished reading "The Great Alone" and found it more interesting than I thought it would be.  I had no idea what to read next, so I went to the 2004 New York Times list and found a highly rated Robert Crais book, "The Two Minute Rule".  I haven't read anything by Crais for ages, and he's good; this book has a higher rating than most, almost 5 stars.  

It was supposed to be cold and rainy Saturday for our local fair, but it turned into a nice day before noon.  Several of our tractor club members showed up for the parade, and I picked up a few hitch-hikers to ride with me in the basket behind the tractor.
  There were two other tractors ahead of us that aren't in the picture.  I didn't throw candy because this fair doesn't allow it.  I suppose it is a little risky, with kids running out in the street after it.  

Cliff and I restrung my guitar, since the old strings sounded dead and were long past their time to die; he strings, I tune.  So what happened next?  I have laryngitis.  If I can't sing I have no use for the guitar, since I only chord.  This morning I couldn't speak above a whisper.  By mid-morning I was squeaking a little, and that's how I am now.  Grandson is vacationing this week, so he and Cliff have had quite a laugh at my voice when we were eating our tuna casserole.  Cliff, of course, being half-deaf, can't hear anything I say today unless I get right in his face.  It's funny to me he can't make my voice out, but Gabe the dog and Alexa, the robot-voiced servant, fully understand me!  I was rather surprised by Alexa though.  She often has trouble understanding young children, and I sound worse than any three-year-old.  But all the grocery items I told her to add to my shopping list today were understood the first time.  

At least when my voice is back, I know a newly strung guitar is awaiting me.  

Cliff put a disk on our biggest tractor, the one we took to the parade, and turned the grandson loose in a field of ragweed.  That was once a little alfalfa field.  When the alfalfa gave out, grass was planted.  But with the drought this year, everything has turned to ragweed.  I'm glad I don't have too bad an allergy to ragweed and goldenrod, because both are plentiful around here.  I just updated my header picture with a picture of the grandson disking and a field of ragweed in the foreground.  That's the same tractor that was in the parade Saturday.   

Here's one for the books:  I've wanted a Minneapolis Jet Star tractor to add to our collection for a long time, but none we looked at were really worth the asking price.  Cliff recently found one online not too far away and had the gall to tell me about it, but then refused to take me to see it.  What kind of tractor collector is that?  Yes, it looks like a pile of junk, but Cliff has hauled many "chunks of coal" into diamonds.  Oh yeah, and now the guy has come off his price.  That's what I get for being a long-suffering tractor widow all these years:  Nothing!  Here's what it would look like all painted up:
I've always thought they looked sort of cartoony, the way the hood curves like that.  

Oh well, I'll always have the "wants" for something.  I can't complain:  All my needs have always been met, and most of my wants; but as my mother used to say, I have to be careful what I want.  

Yours truly, Donna