Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Last day of March (ramblings)

Well, I'm still feeling just as grumpy as I did yesterday, so I've decided this must be how I process fear, or maybe my anger at the mess we're all in:  The most interesting things I do from one day to another are: (1)walking in the pasture with the dog, (2) planning the noon meals, and (3) watching one episode of West Wing with Cliff at some point each day.  I have to force myself to update my blog now.  Blogging seems so inconsequential in the vast scheme of things.  But if I'm still alive in ten years, I will want to look back and see how I dealt with the pandemic.  I doubt anybody else will read it when I'm gone; my kids and grandkids don't care much about how the previous generations of their relatives coped with life.  I love the stories from my family's past, but you can't pass that on to anyone else.

Today there is no meal planning to be done because I made tuna-noodle casserole yesterday; it makes four generous servings, so we'll finish that up today with whatever vegetable I'm in the mood for.  I especially look forward to the home-made oatmeal cookies we'll have for dessert.  That's become my favorite cookie recipe.  When they're gone, I'm going to make a mayonnaise cake.  I'm fairly sure my mom made it a time or two when I was a child, but in Cliff's family, that was the only chocolate cake his mom ever made.  His Aunt Gertrude made it all her life, too.  I asked Cliff what kind of icing they put on it; turns out his mom didn't use icing, just served it up as is.    

I have to stop thinking about food, I'm starving!  I am not on a diet, but while I'm taking these four pills a day for my stomach, I may as well be.  I don't eat much between meals anyway, but now I can't, at all:  The pill is to be taken on an empty stomach, at least two hours before the next meal and an hour or two after the previous meal. This means there really aren't a lot of times I can eat between meals.  I have to keep the stomach empty while the stuff does its magic.  And by the way, it does seem to be working.  I'm not taking omeprazole at all now, and my stomach hasn't been on fire for days.  I just passed the halfway point with Sucralfate, so I'll be on the four-pills-daily regimen for awhile yet.  Meanwhile, my weight is staying in a good place.
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OK, I ran out of blathering earlier, so I found a movie to watch that was surprisingly good, considering it was made 98 years ago in 1922:  Nanook of the North.  It's the first documentary movie ever made, although they didn't call it that; I doubt if the word documentary was even in existence back then.  Cliff and I were just going to watch it a few minutes out of curiosity, but it was so interesting we watched it all.  It was entertaining, to say the least; and we learned some things.  I recorded it on Turner Classic Movies, not knowing it wasn't a "talkie".  
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We ate dinner after our movie.  Now I'm thinking about calling Nuts and Bolts in Lexington to see whether they have topsoil and compost.  If they do, I'm going to ask if they will come out to our car, take my money, bring back my change, yada yada yada.  That'll give us a little ride.  Even Gabe can go.
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Nuts and Bolts phone doesn't even ring when I call it.  There's a store in Odessa too, and their phone doesn't ring either.  Maybe they had to shut down.  With no way to get topsoil and compost, Gabe and I went to the valley in the woods for some peace and quiet; we no sooner got there and had the blanket spread out when some punk on a four-wheeler decided to go back and forth a dozen times, right behind the place.  Bad timing on my part, I suppose.  I let Gabe off-leash, since it's pretty easy to keep track of him down in the big canyon.  I enjoyed laying on my back looking up at the trees against the blue sky while he spent time sniffing everything he could.



Watch how well Gabe comes when I call him.  Unfortunately, he comes so well because he knows I have some chunks of cooked chicken.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Outhouses and Playtex girdles

Sometimes when I think of a subject I want to talk about on my blog, I will write a word or two down so I don't forget my thought.  While Cliff and I were sitting on the couch talking this morning, I brought up the subject of girdles, and in the process of telling a story, I told him, "I'm going to make a note and talk about that in my blog."

I got up, found a notebook, and said out loud as I wrote, "Girdles and outhouses".  

Cliff laughed and said, "Boy, that's some title!"

Here's how our line of talk went:  Cliff mentioned waiting for the school bus as a kid, saying the girls really had it rough back then because they had to wear dresses and skirts to school, even on the coldest days  The school dress code required it.  We talked about the dress codes they had when I graduated in 1962 and I complained that the very next year (too late for me) the rules got loosened up a lot, so the girls could wear miniskirts and jeans.  I never had a desire to wear a miniskirt; at that point I'd never even worn shorts, except for those ugly blue uniforms we wore for P.E.

Somehow our discussion led to girdles, namely those old Playtex Living girdles from the 50's.  My mom wore those awful things to church, and even to work in a factory that I know wasn't air conditioned; as soon as she got home, she would roll that thing down from the top and take it off.  You'd have to have seen those girdles to know what I'm talking about; they were made of rubber, I think, or else some kind of stretchy plastic that seemed like rubber.  Now imagine what it would feel like to have a tight band of plastic encasing the lower part of your body in 100 degree temperatures!  I remember how each morning my mom would generously powder her belly and back anywhere that plastic girdle would be touching, before she left for work, and how sweaty she was when she took it off at night.  And I ask myself why any woman would torture herself like that.

I told Cliff about a memory I conjured up, probably from 1953 or 1954:  My parents drove to some country church where Brother Campbell was holding a Gospel meeting... that's what Church of Christ folks called a revival back then.  I thought the old preacher was awfully boring, but the adults loved him.  Aunt Ruby went with us.  She, Mother, and I went to the three-hole outhouse and we all sat down to pee together... it used to be no big deal for two or three girls or women to use the toilet at once... except my mom and my aunt had to get their Playtex girdles down first.  Women couldn't just wiggle out of those things, or pull them down like panties, because plastic (or rubber) sticks to your skin.  So they'd start rolling them down at the waist and keep rolling until... well, I guess until they could pull the whole girdle down far enough to "go".  I recall as Aunt Ruby settled into her position, she groaned that her legs had been aching all day.  

That's all I remember of that moment.  But here's what I don't understand:  What on earth would make a woman go through all that discomfort?  I know we all want a flat stomach, but if I remember right, those girdles flattened a woman's butt more than they did her stomach.

Thank goodness I've never worn a girdle; I don't think I could stand it.

On another note, all the coronavirus news must be affecting me, because I am grumpy.  I feel ready to snap.  This is exactly the way I used to feel when it was time for "Aunt Flo" to visit and I do not like it.  The thing is, we don't know how this is all goin to end, not exactly.  We don't know who the pandemic will affect, or what sort of world it will be afterward.  I'm glad I'm sequestered at home, because nobody needs an old grouch around.

I leave you with a Playtex commercial from the 50's.




Saturday, March 28, 2020

The birth of a song

Cliff and I moved to the property where we now live in May of 1975, so we've been here awhile.  There was one period of two and one-half years, though, when we moved south of Oak Grove to a double-wide, and rented out the old house on our property.  It was one of many sidetracks we've traveled in my lifetime.  One thing we got out of the experience was the knowledge that we liked Wellington much better than we had realized; it wasn't long after we moved back that I wrote a song about the town and its people; one line in the song lyric says, "I left once, but I won't again."

However, our interlude during the time we were back at Oak Grove wasn't a bad experience.  For one thing, this non-driver hit the jackpot as far as her church life went, because it was only a short walk from our house to the Oak Grove Bible Church... probably the equivalent of a city block.  I could go to church any time I wanted, without begging for a ride from somebody!  I'd not known anything about the Bible church as a denomination, but I soon figured out it was similar to the Baptist church; I'm not a Baptist, but I'm comfortable in a Baptist church.  This, by the way, has little to do with the song that came to me on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in November.  I'm just setting the scene here.  My children were 12 and 14, I suppose, and Cliff worked at the Country Butcher Shop.

Our son often kept a radio playing when he went to bed; this was before he graduated to Ozzie Osborn and AD/DC, and still listened to country.  One night I was waiting for sleep and heard what at the time seemed like the loveliest melody I'd ever heard coming from his radio.  Later it would be a hit for Janie Fricke, but this must have been the first time I'd paid attention to it.  It was a typical country song, a woman feeling sorry for herself because her man was leaving her.  For some reason, the first line in the song kept going over and over in my head, where Janie sings, "Your bags are packed and waiting by the door."  I used the exact tune of that line to start a God-song I wrote on a gloomy Sunday.  I didn't steal the tune of her whole song, only those first notes of the verses.

November is usually a depressing month for me:  Not as much now, but back then, winter was hard to get through financially.  Christmas is approaching, propane tanks have to be filled, taxes are due.  For some reason, in my Bible reading on that day, I had come across Hebrews 13:8:  Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.  It settled in my head for some reason around the same time as that country song was haunting me.  I began to get the idea for a song:  So on that Sunday afternoon, I went into our bedroom, shut the door, and, still thinking about that Bible verse, began writing down words.  As I strummed the guitar, the beginning notes of Janie Fricke's song just jumped onto the first words of my new song and seemed perfect.

The other day when Gabe and I were walking, I thought about the song and decided to sing it right there in the woods.  This isn't an uncommon occurrence, by the way, although I don't normally record myself.  But I was thinking about what the world is going through and realized this song I wrote years ago could help me weather the storm.  I'm hesitant about sharing it with the world for several reasons, but I believe the words to the song have a message for believers at this difficult time.

So here it is, with my voice full of imperfections.  Maybe the song isn't even that good, but it gives me goosebumps when I sing it.  I've always thought the right voice could really do it justice.  I don't believe I'll need to put the lyrics here, because without the guitar, the words seem very clear.  Don't judge the song by my voice, but by the words.


 

Friday, March 27, 2020

my fireside chat for the day

Our Internet speed has been awful today.  For awhile yesterday it wasn't even up to one megabit.  Now it's about 2 1/2, but that's enough to do a blog entry.  Facebook friends from all over the country are having the same problem, all except a granddaughter who lives in Oak Grove, about fifteen miles from here.  She informed me HER internet is over 300 megabits.  I disowned her, but I'm going to have to apologize and own her, because she recently gave birth to my beautiful newest great-grandchild.  The Internet speed suffers when so many people are at home, using it.  When this sequestering is no longer necessary, my great-granddaughter is going to get hugged, kissed, and passed around.  Of course the poor child won't know anyone but her parents, and will likely be scared of the rest of the world.

Apparently Gabe has made some sort of deal with my two remaining cats:  When the two barn cats decide to vomit, they come up on the front porch to do it.  Then when I send Gabe out, he sees it and and thinks, "A snack!!!".  Dogs are nasty creatures when you get right down to it, but I imagine they think the same of us.

I think I'm coping pretty well with this being a hermit; after all, I've been practicing for this all my life.  I think if we stay out of the metropolitan area when we need to shop, and take the proper precautions, the chances we'll get this virus are slim.  So there'll be no Costco or Walmart in our lives for awhile, nor Aldi, either.  We are staying in the country, shopping locally.  


 pussy willow bush in the back yard

Yesterday we got out in the open air for a joy ride in the four-wheeler.  My long-time readers might recall how often I rode my horse down on the Missouri River bottoms; I miss those rides, so that's where we went.  I feel for the people who raise crops down there, because I'm pretty sure they won't be doing anything with that soggy, sand-covered land this year; it's still waterlogged.  
Yes, he is trying to jump out.
I'm always the last one to come out the door, but that's how it is with us women, right?  Gabe and Cliff were waiting patiently.  I snapped a leash onto Gabe's collar before we left, because he has a habit of jumping out through the front, which has no windshield, and that puts him right in the path of the vehicle, where we could run over him.
Gabe was excited to go bye-bye


This is the road to the river, but it was too wet to go all the way to the levee.  Cliff had to turn around.
I spotted a big ball that looked to be fully inflated and asked Cliff to get it for me.  Turns out it's a hard ball, not the kind you blow up.  Cliff said it's probably one of those balls you get for a horse to play with, which kind of excited me because the grandson's wife has mentioned in the past she wanted to see if her Great Dane, Apollo, would play with a ball.  When we got home I tossed it into his pen, but it went right into a great-dane-sized hole he's dug out of boredom and he couldn't get it out.  He did act like he wanted to play with it, though, standing beside the hole and barking at it.


Then I spotted a baseball!  I have no use for a baseball, but why leave it laying in all that driftwood the river dropped off?  It's a Wilson, by the way.



This one almost wasn't worth the effort, but we brought it home anyway.  

When we got home from that adventure, I wanted to go for a tractor ride to town.  Poor Cliff, no wonder he's always griping about my "hair-brained schemes"; he'd just gotten settled down on the couch.  I let Gabe eat his supper, then we were on our way.  I wish I'd taken my camera, because so many families were outside!  These days I almost never see kids playing outside, you know?  In this age of video games and Facebook, it's almost unheard of, but it looked like at least half the people in Wellington were outside, whole families playing or doing yard work.  Entire families!  Kids waved and dogs barked, which excited Gabe so much, he tried jumping out of our ride.  


Here we are, leaving our daughter's house to cruise the town
We went past our daughter's house and hollered at one another for awhile; I had an office chair she needed, since she's working from home, and we unloaded that.  Cliff is totally out of Diet Coke and bottled water... he doesn't like our well water, thinks it tastes like dirt.  I don't get it... I don't taste anything in our water, and it's been tested, so I know there's nothing in it that shouldn't be; thank goodness he considers it good enough for tea and coffee.   Oh well, he really needs the water, since he refuses to drink ours; older people, especially, must stay hydrated.  We may venture out to Lexington today... in the car, not on a tractor.

Watch this video, and you'll have the experience of riding home from the river bottom with us.  There's quite a bit of wind noise at some point, so you might want to turn your volume down.  Of course, if you turn off the sound, you won't hear Cliff wondering if we have a flat tire.  
added later:  He said that about the flat tire in a different video I did.  So you won't hear that if you turn on the sound.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sunshiny day

I can't believe this social distancing is beginning to feel normal to me.  Every day seems to fly by!  I don't like the reason we're in this situation, but I'm getting used to it.  Seems like each day I say to Cliff, "Tomorrow we're going to Lexington and I'll get some produce at Dave's," then the next day I decide I don't want to go.  

It's turned into such a pretty day, Cliff went outside without taking his after-dinner nap.  Nice weather will make this pandemic isolation so much more bearable.  There are many chances of rain, but that's just another sign of spring, so I'll take it.  

I haven't taken Gabe out for our walk through the woods yet, but I will when I get this entry done.  Last night I put his Seresto flea collar on him; those things are expensive, but they will keep fleas and ticks off him from now until November.  He really doesn't need a flea collar in winter, so I just have to buy one a year.  He and I both found a tick on ourselves a few days ago, so it was time for the collar. 

I called my sister in Oklahoma City to check in:  she said it's going to be 90 degrees there tomorrow.  I think our temperature is supposed to reach 70, and that sounds divine to me.  I asked Maxine, who is 92 years old, "Did you ever imagine a time like this would come, when you have to stay at home and not see anyone?"  After all, she lived through the Great Depression, and she sent her future husband off to Germany to fight in a war.  She remembers what those times were like, but she agreed she's never seen anything like this.  One of her grandsons called her saying, "Look on your porch."  They had left a bouquet of flowers for her; what a nice surprise.  Like me, she said misses doing her own shopping.

Here's a positive local story:  Odessa, a town ten miles south of us, has one grocery store.  Some time back, it was being run by a despicable person who re-labeled outdated meat and sold it as fresh; that was only the tip of the iceberg.  People stopped going there for awhile.  A new manager, I believe, took over, cleaned things up, and has been trying to get back in the town's good will.  Since this pandemic hit, I have seen many positive posts on the Odessa Facebook community page about what a turnaround they've done; I'll bet the sins of the former employee will be totally forgotten when this mess we are living through is all over.

  
Like Phoenix, the store seems to be rising from the ashes.  I wish I could show you all the positive comments that have been posted about it lately.  If you keep scrolling down to 2017, you will realize the old management was still there, because there are terrible comments and reviews.  But now, many people have mentioned going there and finding every single item they needed, while the big city stores and Walmarts everywhere had mostly empty shelves.

On another positive note, the butcher shop a mile away from us has started stocking a few basic groceries, since we have no grocery store in town:  Of course the place has meat, but they now have milk and even toilet paper!  Prices are high, but in these tough times it's good to know there is a nearby business that stocks a few of the essentials.  Wellington, for years, had a mini-mart just east of town.  It has changed hands several times over the years, but it was in operation when we moved here in 1975  and was operating until last year's big flood; it was just too much, and the people in charge gave up.  We used to have a gas station here, too, and a bank... even a little grocery store and drug store.  It's all gone.  We can still buy gasoline in town, but it isn't at a station: there are unattended pumps sitting out there at 24 highway.  You buy gas with a credit card and pump it yourself.  We often see big farm tractors fueling up at the Diesel tank, which makes Cliff's day. 

I hope all my readers are happy and healthy.  Hunker down and stay safe; today I am optimistic, even though I have no idea why.  Gabe and I need our exercise, so I'll stop blathering and get to it.

Yours truly,
Donna

  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In which I sing a home-made song

There is a talented local fellow named Jim who posts videos of himself singing and playing guitar on Facebook, once in awhile.  I suggested to him a couple of days ago that this would be a good time to post a song or two, since the world is in a panic about Covid 19.  Songs help lift the spirits, you know?  

He sort of challenged me to do the same.  

So, because of these unique times we are going through now, I decided to make a video.  I don't care for my own singing voice, by the way.  And I hate that I really don't "play" the guitar so much as just beat on it, simply because I'm too lazy to practice and get better (unlike my aforementioned friend, who retired and not only plays guitar well, but is now learning to play the violin)   But desperate times call for desperate measures, right?  So I settled on a song I wrote in 1979 when I had a job at Harmon Industries and two kids at home, aged 10 and 12.  I named it "Working Girl Blues".  It's humorous, and I figured even though I'm not great at singing or playing guitar, at least I can write a song... so maybe someone will consider that.

First of all, I couldn't find my camera tripod; Cliff and I fixed the problem by getting a TV tray and setting the camera on that.  I went through the song twice (I probably haven't sung it a dozen times since 1979) and decided to jump on in and record it.  This is where it started to go wrong, because Alexa (the Amazon Echo) decided to make herself famous:  Cliff likes his Diet Coke really cold, so he will take a can from the refrigerator and put it in the freezer, then tell Alexa, "Give me a 20 minute timer."  Today we both forgot he'd set the timer. 

Then there were the boo-boos.  At one point I actually hit the wrong chord and just went ahead anyhow.  I sort of stalled on some words I'd forgotten... and went ahead anyhow.  When we were done, Cliff turned off the camera and asked if I wanted to do it over.  "No," I told him.  "With all those mess-ups, at least maybe they'll get a laugh out of it."

I think the words are clear, but of course I am familiar with them, so perhaps to someone hearing it for the first time, they aren't so clear.  I'm putting the words beneath the video so you can read along as I sing.  In fact, my intention was to record it again today or tomorrow and do another entry without the bloopers.  But you know what?  I wouldn't sound a bit better if I did that! And I thought you might get a bang out of two old folks trying to maintain their sanity while making a video during a lockdown and failing miserably.  

 

There was I time I wouldn't put songs I've written on the Internet for fear someone might steal them, since most of them aren't copyrighted.  But I'm going on 76 years old and can't possibly have many years left, so if they steal my song, big deal.  At least someone will hear them, whether they know who really wrote it or not.


WORKING GIRL BLUES
written, and unfortunately sung by, Donna Wood

I'm a factory worker, a mother and wife,
And girls, let me tell you, it's no easy life.
There's dusting and cleaning and cooking and chores
All waiting for me when I get home at four.
The dishes are dirty, the house is a mess;
I'll give the kids Hamburger Helper, I guess.
No rest for the weary, I'm paying my dues:
That's how you sing those old working girl blues.

My husband's been telling me I'm getting old:
What I'm getting is TIRED, if the whole truth were told.
Our love life has suffered, but hope is in sight,
Cause we'll get together on Saturday night.
The oven needs cleaning, there's mud on the floor;
I guess I'll bake a pizza I bought at the store.
Everyone's hungry, there's no time to lose!
That's what you get with the working girl blues.

I'm happy on Friday when I get my pay.
I can help pay the bills in my own little way.
But the factory is paying for the best part of me,
And my family gets what's left over, for free!
There's trash that needs burning, there's clothes on the line.
They could hang there forever, it'd suit me just fine.
I'll throw on some hot dogs and turn on the news
And try to forget these old working girl blues.

It's not so bad working and I'm not above it,
But sometimes I'd like to take my job and shove it.
I'll save up my money in hopes of a day
When I won't have to walk through the back door and say....
Lord, this house is a mess, and the floors are a sight!
And I wonder what I'll fix for supper tonight.
But my boy needs Levis, my daughter needs shoes,
So I guess I'll keep singing these working girl blues.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The story of my tattoo

Today a picture from 2012 showed up on Facebook.

I seldom wear clothing that shows my tattoo, and if I do, it's only partly visible.  I don't care if people see it or not, really, but I'm too old, wrinkly, and flabby to wear spaghetti straps and halter tops.  I wasn't looking for a "pretty" tattoo, but I wanted something relevant to me, something with a story.  Let me tell you how I think the story begins.

When Cliff was in Junior High, his family's house burned to the ground while he was at school.  They lost everything in the fire, including baby Ina's crib.  I imagine someone gave them a well-used baby crib at that time; Ina died around the age of 2 /12 or 3, but by then little Charlene had come along, so it was her bed.  One time Cliff got a decal of Mobil Oil pegasus and put it on the head of the crib for her.  

When I was pregnant for the first time, my mother-in-law let me have that same bed.  By the time I got it, Charlene was eight years old and was done with it; the bite marks on the rail you move up and down are from my baby boy.
I would watch grandchildren as they came along, and sometimes babysat a couple of other babies for extra money.  The oldest grandson and granddaughter spent a lot of time in that bed, because sometimes their mom would come and stay for two months or more at a time when our son was in Germany, or even when he was "in the field" somewhere for training. 

When we moved to the mobile home, the bed hadn't been used in a long time, but I was sentimental about it and moved it over here.  Eventually I asked Cliff to remove the head of the bed and I'd just keep that, the part with the Mobil pegasus on it; we hung it on the wall, and now I use it as a bulletin board. 



You see, the memories of the many babies I've loved make me happy when I see the crib.  I remember that one night a week when Monica, an infant at the time, slept there.  She was going through a fussy stage; Rachel warned me she'd wake up crying, so she said I should give the baby a bottle and she'd go right back to sleep.  One time Monica began crying in the middle of the night.  Cliff rolled over, saying, "Can you tell me why you are doing this?"  "I'm doing it so she'll know who we are," I answered. 

So I suppose the story told in my tattoo starts with a house burning down, goes on to the teenage brother who thought his baby sister would like a flying horse on her crib, then on through the infancy of so many babies I have loved.  The bed was gone when I began watching Cora, but I wouldn't have used it anyhow.  I got in the habit of lying down with her for a nap, and usually getting up as soon as she went to sleep... although once in awhile I'd doze awhile.  I like Charlene being in the story because she and her husband, Pat, became our motorcycle-riding buddies when we had the Gold Wings.  



These days I don't think much about my tattoo.  In fact, I'll forget it for months at a time; then, if I happen to look in a mirror after a shower and notice it there on my shoulder, it takes me by surprise.  I don't have a "pretty" tattoo, but it stands for family.  Since the pegasus began with Cliff, I had his name put under the tattoo.  

My tattoo reminds me of babies, our youth, and good times.  It tells a story with many chapters, and I'm glad I went ahead and got it.

Life as we knew it has changed drastically

Folks, I'm a loner.  Always have been.  But I'm not enough of an introvert, apparently, to enjoy this season of my life when everybody is quarantined.  Do you know what I miss the most?  The freedom to grocery-shop.  Since we don't get out a lot, we have made grocery-shopping our recreation.  Sad, isn't it?  Especially considering Cliff has hated shopping all his life, with the exception of Harbor Freight.  Some weeks we make it a marathon day, going to Aldi, Costco, Walmart, and sometimes to a Price Chopper to pick up bargains from their ad.  This often means we are out shopping at lunch time, so we'll eat out... often at Burger King, because we both like Whopper meals.  Now our relatives do our shopping for us.  

Yes, I hate it, although I love them for doing it.

You see, I'm big on fresh vegetables and fruit, and I like to choose my own produce.  I want grapes and grapefruits and oranges; I want broccoli, spinach, lettuce, carrots, and cabbage (actually, I have a nice head of cabbage I may butcher today for unstuffed cabbage roll).  My relatives aren't really into vegetables, and I don't know if they even inspect them.  Will they taste that one grape in the store, like I do, to make sure the grapes are sweet and good?  I always do that!  I like the Aldi experience, where you hardly ever have to use a quarter to get a shopping cart because somebody will flag you down and give you theirs; then when you're done, you give it away to somebody else.  Aldi shoppers are friendly.  If you see someone picking out a ham, you can ask her if she's bought that particular ham before and whether she thinks it's good.  I don't always enjoy the attitude of many Walmart shoppers, but I still enjoy the shopping experience.  

I do, however, appreciate my relatives who want me and Cliff to be safe, and are willing to work all day and then stop on the way home to enter a mostly-empty grocery store and look for some item I'm craving that probably isn't there.  

Now I'm hearing this lockdown may last for three months:  I try to imagine what three months of this kind of living will be like, and I cringe, but then I remember spring is officially here.  It won't be so bad when the weather is spring-like.  I want to try a small raised-bed garden in addition to my tiny tomato/pepper plot.  I worry about Cliff, who is now barred from the shop, where all the projects happen that keep him moving.  The grandson has a project going on now that Cliff was helping him with, but the grandson goes to and from work every day and could transmit the virus.  So Cliff sleeps.  A lot.  I don't fault him for it, by the way.  He's bored and discouraged.  Pray for him!  He's stuck in isolation with ME!  I imagine him sitting in a lawn chair outside the shop when the weather gets nicer, watching Arick from six feet away and yelling instructions at him, but I'm not sure Cliff can get that picture into his head.    

We're having rainy days now, having received almost twice as much precipitation as normal.  As long as there's no danger of being caught in a rainstorm, though, Gabe and I walk in the woods, wet or dry, muddy or dusty.  That helps.  And when I get my raised-bed garden going, that'll be fun, unless or until the project fails.  

I've been sitting imagining what I'll do with my share of the money the president says we will be getting from "the government", but it may be awhile, since the politicians can't agree on the bill.  In our case, it will be extra money, since we live quite well on our Social Security benefits.  But for working people, it seems like only a bandaid:  If you're used to bringing home $1,000 weekly, a benefit that gives you an amount equal to one week's pay isn't going to help anybody that much... although it would buy quite a bit of toilet paper, if you're a TP hoarder.  

I have a Facebook friend I've never met in person.  We are friends because long ago, we both played Farmville; we became friends so we could help one another with our "farms".  I don't know if she still plays that game, but I got bored with it long ago.  We have played Words with Friends a few times, but she is far better at it than I am.  Anyhow... when I stopped playing FarmVille, I got rid of some of the friends who were only there for the games, but I kept a couple of ladies out in Kansas because I felt like I knew them.  One lady had the cutest little girl, so beautiful she could easily be a child model.  We'd comment on one another's timelines once in awhile.  Two or three years ago, she decided to become a nurse.  She's middle-aged, and I thought at the time what a bold step she was taking.  My admiration for her increased.  Now she is a nurse, working at a hospital way out in the wilds of Kansas, not far from where my sister used to live.  Here's something she posted this morning.  Excuse the language, but this is real!  

Tonight I asked my mentor, my brilliant friend, with vast ER experience, both in rural settings and large city Emergency Departments this question... “What is your opinion on the pandemic...is the media over hyping it or is it serious?” She responded to me with two words.. “We’re fucked!” 
Not eloquent... but I trust her judgment. I know she will be on the front line, working to save as many lives as she can, but the forecast is probably way worse than we realize. And she tells me she is afraid, that there isn’t enough PPE, and that it’s just the beginning... she had ONE N95 mask to use for 7 shifts.... one mask for almost 100 emergency hours. We’re Fucked!
For anyone thinking this isn’t us... she works in an ER in KANSAS. So yes, this is OUR reality."


Then I wondered whether she has to separate herself from her husband and beautiful daughter in order to keep working, or maybe will have to in the future.  Think about all the nurses, all over the world, trying to control a villain we never dreamed would be set loose on civilization, risking their lives while doing it.  

When this is over, those of us who remain had better NEVER take freedom for granted.  We should appreciate good health if we have it.  Instead of complaining because we can't afford the latest gadget, maybe we'll be thankful for life itself.  People who went through the depression never forgot it, coming out of it wiser, and with the knowledge they had been strong enough to make it through hard times.  Their motto was, "Use it up, wear it out.  Make it do, or do without."  

We are living through a story right now that we'll tell the rest of our lives.

But I always did love a good story.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

I had a wonderful idea

Actually, while Cliff and I have been locked in time-out I've gotten several new ideas.  For one thing, I want to a 4X8 foot raised-bed garden this year.  I've never tried raised beds, but it would give me a place to plant carrots, radishes, and herbs.  The patch I now call my garden is mainly for tomatoes and peppers, and nothing about that will change except the location.   But I want to try the raised bed and see if it works for an old lady with aches and pains who is also lazy.  I could plant radishes, herbs, and perhaps green onions and lettuce; when any of those are done, I could plant green beans in the same spot.  I'm still researching; I notice the hoarders have decimated the store-bought raised beds, as they have everything else, especially toilet paper.   

But here's a brainstorm of mine:  Cliff and I are doing fine in lockup, but it gets monotonous.  More so for him, probably.  So out of nowhere, I told him this morning, "Wouldn't it be fun to ride into Wellington on one of the tractors, waving at people,  then riding out into the local countryside for awhile?"  

He still listened as I said, "We could go by Rachel's (our daughter) house and she and Kevin could step outside and we could stay six feet from them and yell back and forth.  Wouldn't that be fun?"

I was expecting his usual "you and your hairbrained ideas", but instead, he said, "Yeah, we could do that, and I'd fill up all the gas cans while we're out."

It would be more fun if we could get our tractor club come and make a parade with us, but I guess probably they aren't as silly as I am and have more important things to do.

I've made spaghetti for dinner and peanut butter cookies for dessert.  I forced Cliff to listen in on our daughter's favorite podcast, Murder in a Small Town, but he slept through a quarter of it and surfed through another 50% of it.  I'm not crazy about it either, but sometimes I get a laugh out of the two guys doing the talking.  There are some country music podcasts I like, including one Rachel got me started on when Cliff spent a night in the hospital, "Dolly Parton's America".  There's one out of Australia, I believe, "If That Ain't Country" that's a pretty good one for country-music lovers.   

Yesterday, on my walk in the woods, I noticed a lone little woodland plant, Dutchman's Britches.  I got close-up with my camera and snapped a couple of shots, thinking to share the surprise on my blog.  Well, the trouble is that the little white "britches" don't show up with all the dead leaves right behind them.  



Don't you hate it when a picture that should have been great winds up blending into the background?

Our daughter taught Cliff how to Skype last night.  Actually it wasn't Skype, it was Messenger; but it's the same thing as far as I can tell.  That was a new experience for him, and he was duly impressed.  And now, he's asleep again.  I guess I'm on my own.  Oh wait, his foot is tapping to the country music coming out of Alexa; maybe he's playing possum!

We don't have any kind of grocery store in our little town, but the butcher shop (Nadler's) put this on their Facebook page:  "Meat and much more!  With our catering business on hold, we are turning our efforts to providing a greater variety of products to our community.  We are currently working with Highland Dairy as well as our food service providers to ensure that in addition to having plenty of quality meats, we also have milk, eggs, frozen vegetables, and even some toilet paper.  :-)   Visit our Website for a full list of products ."

How about that?  Small-town people sticking together.

We are on Season 3 of West Wing, still loving it as much as we did the first time we watched it.

I'll check back in soon.  (Cliff's definitely sleeping.)

It appears to me that I used two or three different fonts in this entry, but I'm not going to worry about it now. 

Hello out there!!!  Can anybody hear me?

Peace

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, March 20, 2020

Things I think about while sequestered

It appears to me that one of my favorite fairy tales describes the situation we're in.  I'm living "The Emperor's New Clothes" live and in person.  I wonder if kids today even read fairy tales, other than maybe Cinderella.  Tell me the story, Hans Christian Anderson.  I think I know this emperor.


Many years ago, there was an Emperor who was so very fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on them. He did not trouble about his soldiers. He did not care to go to the theatre. He only went out when he had the chance to show off his new clothes. He had a different suit for each hour of the day. Most kings could be found sitting in council. It was said of the Emperor, “He is sitting in his wardrobe.”
One day, two fellows calling themselves weavers came to town. They said that they knew how to weave cloth of the most beautiful colors and patterns. The clothes made from this wonderful cloth would be invisible to everyone who was unfit for the job he held, or who was very simple in character.
“These must, indeed, be splendid clothes!” thought the Emperor. “If I had such a suit, I might at once find out what men in my kingdom are unfit for their job. I would be able to tell the wise men from the foolish! This stuff must be woven for me immediately.” He gave large sums of money to both the weavers in order that they might begin their work at once.
So the two pretend weavers set up two looms. They worked very busily, though in reality they did nothing at all. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold thread. They put both into their own knapsacks. Then they pretended to work at the empty looms until late at night.
“I should like to know how the weavers are getting on with my cloth,” said the Emperor to himself one day. When he remembered that a simpleton, or one unfit for his job would be unable to see the cloth he began to worry. To be sure, he thought he was safe. However, he would prefer sending somebody else to bring him news about the weavers, and their work. All the people in the kingdom had heard of the wonderful cloth. All were eager to learn how wise or how foolish their neighbors might be.
“I will send my faithful old wise man to the weavers,” said the Emperor atlast. “He will be best able to see how the cloth looks. He is a man of sense. No one can be better for his job than he is.”
So the faithful old wise man went into the hall where the thieves were working with all their might at their empty looms. “What can be the meaning of this?” thought the old man, opening his eyes very wide. “I cannot find the least bit of thread on the looms.” However, he did not say his thoughts aloud.
The thieves asked him very kindly to be so good as to come nearer their looms. Then, they asked him whether the cloth pleased him. They asked whether the colors were not very beautiful. All the time they were pointing to the empty frames. The poor old wise man looked and looked. He could not see anything on the looms for a very good reason. There was nothing there.
“What!” thought he again. “Is it possible that I am a fool? I have never thought so myself. No one must know it now if I am so. Can it be, that I am unfit for my job? No, the Emperor must not know that either. I will never tell that I could not see the stuff.”
“Well, Sir!” said one of the weavers still pretending to work. “You do not say whether the cloth pleases you.”
“Oh, it is excellent!” replied the old wise man, looking at the loom through his spectacles. “This pattern, and the colors, yes, I will tell the Emperor without delay, how very beautiful I think them.”
“We shall be much obliged to you,” said the thieves. Then they named the many colors and described the pattern of the pretended stuff. The old wise man listened with care to their words so he might repeat them to the Emperor. The thieves asked for more silk and gold saying that it was necessary to complete what they had begun. Once again they put all that was given them into their knapsacks. They went on working with as much effort as before at their empty looms.
The Emperor soon sent another man from his court to see how the weavers were getting on. Now he wanted to know if the cloth would soon be ready. It was just the same with this gentleman as with the wise man. First he looked closely at the looms on all sides. He could see nothing at all but the empty frames.
“Does not the stuff appear as beautiful to you, as it did to my lord the wise man?” asked the thieves of the Emperor’s second advisor.
“I certainly am not stupid!” thought the man. “It must be, that I am not fit for my good job! That is very odd. However, no one shall know anything about it.”
And so he praised the stuff he could not see. He declared that he was happy with both colors and patterns. “Indeed, your Imperial Majesty,” he said to his emperor when he returned. “The cloth which the weavers are preparing is extraordinarily magnificent.”
The whole city was talking of the splendid cloth, which the Emperor had ordered to be woven.
Finally, the Emperor himself wished to see the costly material while it was still in the loom. He took many officers of the court and the two honest men who had already admired the cloth. As soon as the weavers saw the Emperor approach, they went on working faster than ever although they still did not pass even one thread through the looms.
“Is not the work absolutely magnificent?” said the two officers of the crown, already mentioned. “If your Majesty will only be pleased to look at it! What a splendid design! What glorious colors!” and at the same time they pointed to the empty frames; for they imagined that everyone else could see this exquisite piece of workmanship.
“How is this?” said the Emperor to himself. “I can see nothing! This is indeed a terrible affair! Am I a simpleton, or am I unfit to be an Emperor? That would be the worst thing that could happen—Oh! The cloth is charming,” said he, aloud. “I approve of it completely.” He smiled most graciously and looked closely at the empty looms. No way would he say that he could not see what two of his advisors had praised so much. Everyone with the Emperor now strained his or her eyes hoping to discover something on the looms, but they could see no more than the others.
Nevertheless, they all exclaimed, “Oh, how beautiful!” and advised his majesty to have some new clothes made from this splendid material for the parade that was planned. “Magnificent! Charming! Excellent!” was called out on all sides. Everyone was very cheerful. The Emperor was pleased. He presented the weavers with the emblem of an order of knighthood. The thieves sat up the whole of the night before the day on which the parade was to take place. They had sixteen lights burning, so that everyone might see how anxious they were to finish the Emperor’s new suit. They pretended to roll the cloth off the looms. They cut the air with their scissors and sewed with needles without any thread in them. “See!” cried they, at last.
“The Emperor’s new clothes are ready!”
The Emperor, with all the grandees of his court, came to the weavers. The thieves raised their arms, as if in the act of holding something up. “Here are your Majesty’s trousers! Here is the scarf! Here is the mantle! The whole suit is as light as a cobweb; one might fancy one has nothing at all on, when dressed in it.”
“Yes indeed!” said all the courtiers, although not one of them could see anything of this special cloth.
The Emperor was undressed for a fitting, and the thieves pretended to array him in his new suit. The Emperor turned round and from side to side before the looking glass.
“How splendid his Majesty looks in his new clothes, and how well they fit!” everyone cried out. “What a design! What colors! These are indeed royal robes!”
“I am quite ready,” said the Emperor. He appeared to be examining his handsome suit.
The lords of the bedchamber, who were to carry his Majesty’s train felt about on the ground as if they were lifting up the ends of the mantle. Then they pretended to be carrying something for they would by no means want to appear foolish or not fit for their jobs.
The Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital. All the people standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, “Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor’s new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs!” No one would admit these much admired clothes could not be seen because, in doing so, he would have been saying he was either a simpleton or unfit for his job.
“But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child. “Listen to the voice of the child!” exclaimed his father. What the child had said was whispered from one to another. “But he has nothing at all on!” at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was upset, for he knew that the people were right. However, he thought the procession must go on now! The lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold, and the Emperor walked on in his underwear.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Things are starting to get real

I'm still sort of fascinated by the fact we're living through something the like of which hasn't been experienced since 1919, when influenza swept around the world.  However, the whole lockdown procedure became real after our grandson who, with his wife, lives just a few yards away, messaged me to say he had a sore throat and wouldn't be coming over yesterday evening.  Very few days pass that the grandson doesn't come over when he gets home from work.  On weekends, he and Cliff work on projects in the shop, which is about the only thing that gets Cliff out of the house in the winter.  While we intend to keep to ourselves, I just hadn't considered Arick as separate from us, which is really stupid, knowing he goes to and from work every day.  Then there were a couple of things we needed yesterday, and since we needed to go to the bank for our monthly cash, we went into the little small-town store and found everything we were looking for except for potatoes.  So we were inside a store around people for a few minutes, far closer together than we should have been.  I'll have to suck it up and have the kids pick stuff up for us, I guess. 

A couple of months ago, I changed up my morning routine just a little.  It occurred to me that since I'm not really a touchy-feely person, and Cliff and I don't go to bed or wake up at the same time.  I began making a concentrated effort to get back in bed every morning at seven o'clock, for as long as either or both of us wanted to stay there.  We talk, we joke, we snuggle.  I remember how I used to tell co-workers, "Cliff and I have some of our biggest laughs in the bedroom."  Cliff was always worried someone might take that statement wrong (ha), but it's true.  We had our funniest conversations in bed (conversations you can't share on Facebook), and as the kids were growing up, we had our most serious discussions in bed, the ones you didn't want the kids to hear.  Let's just say our revival of snuggling and conversing has been very pleasant.  Sure, we are together all day, every day.  We converse often.  But laying in bed, there's no computer requiring our attention and we are in our own safe little world.  I kicked the iPad and phone out of the bedroom years ago anyhow.  I know some people are going to have some laughs at this paragraph while trying to read between the lines... perverts!!!

I'm having quite an experience taking the latest stomach remedy.  I started out taking Omeprazole a couple years ago when no over-the-counter meds were helping the acid reflex.  After awhile, one Omeprazole didn't work any more; I was instructed to take two every morning, 30 minutes before breakfast, the same way I'd been taking a single pill.  It wasn't long before that stopped working for me, and the nurse said, "There's one more thing we can try."

So I'm taking Sucralfate, 1 gm.  I honestly didn't expect results from it, since nothing else was working.  Besides, it's mainly to heal ulcers, never meant to be taken longer than four to six weeks; I don't have an ulcer.  The nurse said to keep taking the two omeprazole, also.  However, the burning ceased with the new pill, so I cut those down to one a day.  Still feeling pretty good for a change, three days ago I decided not to take it at all, only the sucralfate.  So far, so good.  I'm getting pretty close to the bottom of this container, then I have one refill to get.  I sure hope it works out for me.  Meanwhile, my life is now run by the clock and these pills.  

I switched from coffee to tea; I think coffee may have been part of the problem.  The hardest part of the medication is keeping up with the timing on four pills daily:  They must be taken at least an hour before a meal or two hours after, on an empty stomach.  I never realized how many small bites of things I eat between meals on a daily basis.  I taste things when I cook, too.  That's how I know if everything is seasoned right.  So I've taken to getting a small bite in my mouth, then spitting it out if the time isn't right for eating.  I carefully stop eating by 6:30 at night so I can take my bedtime pill two hours after eating... so I'll have an "empty stomach".  I get up anywhere from 3 to 4:30 AM, but can't eat for two hours... make that 4 hours on days I take omeprazole, because any anti-acid must be taken 2 hours after the sucralfate, but must be taken before I eat!  

Well, I've done pretty well with it, all things considered.  I guess clock-watching is a way to occupy myself, sequestered with Cliff as I am.  I do have a glimmer of hope that maybe this stuff is going to eliminate my stomach problem.  I'll gladly leave coffee alone for the rest of my life if my belly isn't on fire all the time.  I'm not taking pills so I can drink coffee; I just don't want to hurt, and I'll happily give up anything that is making me hurt.

And today, I feel good.  Thank God for medicine that works (keeping my fingers crossed).

     

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Stone walls do not a prison make

First of all, I have a confession to make:  I am enjoying this pandemic.  I didn't realize it until this morning, when I got out of bed and immediately turned the TV to CNN, then to Fox for awhile, then back to CNN.  For once, they are all saying the same thing.  But yes, I'm getting a charge out of the stuff going on in the world.  People getting sick isn't funny, but we are going through a unique experience here that fascinates me on some level.  It's probably the same sort of mindset that makes people slow down and try to look at a horrible, bloody accident, even while knowing they might regret it.  I used to laugh at my mom for this sort of behavior.  Whenever there was a bombing or tornado or hurricane, she'd be glued to the news channels for days.  I never understood it, but here I am doing the same thing.

We have been eating quite well.  Today Cliff and I ate the last two pieces of apple pie from Sunday after polishing off the noodles and mashed potatoes I warmed up, but I had to mash more potatoes for tomorrow, because I need four cups for a shepherd's pie I found on allrecipes.  Years ago I tried a recipe for shepherd's pie and wasn't impressed, but I found this highly rated recipe and decided to try once more.  It only has five ingredients, which makes me rather leery, but I have a pound of left-over roast and plenty of mashed potatoes (now).  It calls for beef gravy; I didn't make gravy Sunday from the roast beef I cooked in the Instant Pot because we put noodles on our potatoes in this family.  However, I saved all the liquid from the Instant Pot, poured it into a pint jar, and stuck the jar in the freezer, not knowing I'd be using it in two days.  A little cornstarch will turn it into delicious gravy.  I'm really hoping this simple recipe is as good as the reviews say.  I'll read more reviews, because sometimes people will make additions or change the recipe in some way and say that makes it better.  I might use a suggestion or two.

We are supposed to have rain Wednesday and Thursday.  Today is cloudy with no rain.  I made sure Gabe and I got our walk in, knowing we might not be able to walk tomorrow.  Tomorrow is Cliff's payday, so I suppose we'll go to the bank, since we're both getting low on cash.  I was planning on finding a store that hasn't been stripped to the walls by hoarders once we got our cash, but my daughter just messaged me.  Her husband stopped by a store, so she asked what we needed.  I told her I didn't NEED anything, but... well we were pretty low on Miracle Whip and Ketchup, and Cliff would really be depressed if we didn't have those two items in the house.  I have been wanting a bag of tortilla chips;  I made hummus the other day and really enjoyed it, but it's no use to make hummus if I don't have chips.  AND I wanted sour cream so I could make enchiladas.

When I go for my walk, a song will often come to mind, and sometimes I'll sing as I walk.  Today I thought of a song I haven't sung or heard in awhile and got ready to sing it, but then thought I'd record it.  The singing is unremarkable:  I was walking, so every time I set my foot down it made my voice shake; and I was breathing pretty hard, so it might remind you of an obscene phone call.  I really don't know why I'd share it, but the words are uplifting, even though I got one or two of them wrong.  If you want to hear what it really should sound like, go to Youtube and do a search for "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me" by the Easter brothers.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Pandemic

Nashville is no longer in our immediate plans.  I was so torn between whether we should go or not, I was actually relieved when they shut down all the stuff in Nashville we were going to see.  We got a letter from the Grand Ole Opry saying our tickets could be used any time in the next year, once the shut-down is over.  I do have to call the other place where I pre-bought tickets, but I added insurance onto the purchase that will give us our money back if for any reason we couldn't make it.  So I'm not too concerned, and I'm relieved, as I said before, that the decision was out of my hands.  

I've seen a lot of folks more or less calling people "pansies" for being concerned about the attention given to this current situation, and bragging about how strong they are, how they are trusting in God, and how folks didn't used to worry about such things.  Then there are the crazies buying everything in the stores, leaving empty shelves for everybody else.  I guess they feel pretty smart.  It certainly shows you what people will do under pressure.  It's the "all-about-me" attitude that will likely be the end of the human race.  I'm here in the middle thinking, "OK, God has taken care of me so far and probably will again, but I think He might not want me to make fun of people who are concerned they might die from it, and I'm pretty sure He wouldn't want me buying enough toilet paper for a year while my neighbors go without.  Or buying up all the baby wipes and leaving none for the babies."  

I missed Church this morning, BOTH churches I attend.  Watching people being so cruel to one another has really gotten under my skin.  Last week sometime I saw this on Facebook and shared it. 


It reminded me of Grandma Stevens' house when I was a kid.  This morning, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to eat a Sunday dinner like we had back then; after thinking about it for an hour or so, I made the decision to stay home and cook the kind of dinner my grandma, my mom, and my aunts made in the 1950's.  I got a chuck roast from the deep freeze.  I noticed a package of soup bones back in a corner and decided to use those for making beef noodles.  Oh yes, and while my head was in the freezer, I noticed an apple pie filling I'd stuck in there last October.  There was even some cheap, off-brand vanilla ice cream for the pie I made!  All I had to do was make the crust, nestle the frozen apple pie filling into it, and bake it for 90 minutes.

Even the smells took me back to a different time!  There was a time I'd have called relatives within thirty miles and invited them all, but people aren't as thrilled with a home-made dinner as they once were.  Arick and Heather live next door, so at least I can always invite them.  When Arick came in here at noon and walked into the kitchen, he exclaimed, "Is that PIE?!?!?"

That's the sort of enthusiasm that makes a meal worth the effort. 

I'm getting rather tired of people griping about "the media" any time "the media" has a different opinion than theirs.  Folks, if we were to do away with the media, we'll be the dumbest civilization since the bronze age.  Of course reporters get things wrong.  Of course they have opinions.  If you think you can do a better job of distributing information, have at it.  Otherwise, just kindly filter out what you don't believe, I suppose, and be happy  That's surely what those flat-earth people do, with the evidence of the truth right in front of them.  Fake news, you say?  

All I know is this:  If I spent my time making fun of the effort to stop this virus before it gets out of hand and then lost a loved one to that very virus, I'd feel pretty stupid, not to mention sad.  And that could happen.

I'm just glad I cooked like Grandma today.  It was a balm to my spirit.  

And so is this picture, taken yesterday, of Cliff holding Brynn, my newest great-granddaughter.
She weighed over nine pounds at birth.



Peace   


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A dog tale

When I first got Gabe, he was eight weeks old.  He was difficult to house-break, he ate his food so fast he puked... he was a mess.  When he stopped having accidents, he was probably past six months old, and with that finally accomplished, I decided to try leaving him the run of the house when we went on short jaunts in the car, the way most people do.  He didn't like being left behind, but when we'd arrive home, there he'd be napping comfortably in my recliner.  However, one day I noticed something had been at the butter, which was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table.  I could even see little toothmarks in it.  I didn't have to be a genius to figure out Gabe had jumped onto a kitchen chair, gotten on the table, found the butter, and had quite a big taste of it.  I bought a large metal dog cage so he wouldn't be crowded if left in it for awhile, and from that time on, he has stayed locked in his big-dog crate when we leave him at home.  I also lock him in it at night; I was leaving the door open at night until one morning I got up and he led me to the couch, went behind it, and showed me the poop he'd placed there some time in the night.  He then watched me as I disposed of it and scrubbed at the place where it had been laying, as though he wanted me to do it right.  He has never had an accident as long as he's in his crate, once I began locking him in it.  I've always heard boy dogs are harder to house-break, and I wonder now if that's true.  

Anyhow, three days ago Gabe and I were hanging around in the house when I thought of something I needed to tell Cliff, who was down at the shop.  I told Gabe to stay, that I'd be right back.  It took a bit longer than I thought it would, but I wasn't gone over ten minutes, I'm sure.  My dog was waiting for me at the door, tickled to see me, as always.  When I walked into the kitchen I noticed the plastic butter dish laying on the floor, upside down and empty.  There had been over half a stick of butter in that dish, and I immediately knew who the culprit was:  Gabe.  He was trying to look innocent, but his beard looked very buttery and slick.  I picked up the plastic butter dish, whacked him on the head (with hardly any force at all... not to worry), and said Bad Dog.  Then I apologized to him and washed his beard.

This took place around 4 PM.  I watched my dog closely until bedtime, figuring an 18-pound dog who has consumed five tablespoons of butter would be sure to vomit at some point.  However, he was his usual cuddly self right up to bedtime.  I breathed a sigh of relief, shut him in his cage, and went to bed.  

Next morning I awoke to the strong sour-milk smell of vomit and knew what had happened without even looking.  Cliff was sound asleep, so I didn't even turn on the light for a good look to see what sort of cleanup task awaited me.  I just let my husband sleep.  However, when I woke him up, he informed me that when he came to bed at 10, the puke smell was already in the air; he even thought about sleeping on the couch, but while he was thinking about it, he fell asleep in bed (typical).  After breakfast I scrubbed the carpet on and around the big cage.  It was obvious the poor dog upchucked mostly near (and through) the barred door of his cage, as though he'd wanted out of the cage before he made this mess.  Yuck.  I laundered all the toys and bedding in the cage and scrubbed the bare surfaces.  I sprayed Fabreze on it all and considered it done until this morning, when I came to the realization I hadn't totally gotten rid of the smell.  It wasn't as strong, but it was still present.  More scrubbing, washing, and spraying.  

"You wanted a dog," Cliff said to me, smirking.  

That's the kind of sympathy I get around here.  

Friday, March 06, 2020

Life is but a dream

Well, I've lost another camera.  In fact, the very camera with which I filmed the video in the previous blog post.  It's totally disappeared.  I have looked in all the chairs and the couch, in case it slipped down under a cushion or something.  I've looked under things.  I've checked pockets.  I've had about four versions of the same camera over the years.  One got all fogged up on the inside, and made a cloudy looking portion of each photo.  At least one, I think, may have been dropped to its death.  

Cliff said, "Just how many of those have you had, anyhow?"  I really don't know, but I cannot be without a camera, and I happen to adore this particular kind of camera.  On the bright side, it's gotten a lot cheaper over the years.  I believe I paid over $300 for my first one; now you can get the cheapest model for barely over $100.  However, I'm getting one that's been used, then certified, for $75.  

There's a reason they are easy to lose:  the camera is about the size of a pack of cigarettes and fits in a pocket, which explains how I ruined one when I tossed my jeans into the washing machine.  I just don't like using my cell phone as a camera.  It takes too long to get to, and by the time I'm ready to take the picture, it's too late for that particular photo-op.  Looks like I'll be back in the picture-taking business by Monday, at the latest.  Yes, I shall continue buying the same camera.



They've made little changes through the years, but it's the same basic camera.  If I should find my lost camera, I'll let Cora have it.  I got her a little cheap camera once, but it wasn't simple enough for a child.  She's been taking pictures with my camera for a long time, when she is here, and her only problem is that she often moves as she takes the picture and makes it blurry, but she'll learn.  Speaking of Cora, can you believe I'm finally giving away some of the toys and books we had here for her?  I've put it off long enough, and even have her permission to give them to other children.  It's silly, I know, but there are just a few of her little books I cannot bring myself to give away; I also am in possession of a pink receiving blanket on which somebody embroidered her name and birth date.  Nobody gave it to me, it just ended up here and I love it.  I have let her parents know I have it, and they haven't asked for it back.  I hope they don't.  Isn't it strange how I can get sentimental over "stuff"?  After typing this last couple of sentences, I remembered doing a video of Cora on that receiving blanket and looked it up.  Watching this, it's hard to believe she's such a big, six-year-old girl now.

  


At least that blanket and kiddie books don't take up much room, so six or seven of them shouldn't be in the way.

On another note, I've apparently messed up yet another printer.  I don't know why I have so much trouble with printers, but something always goes wrong.  Something tells me I'm the main problem.  This time, the black ink ran out and I ordered more.  I put it in the printer and tried to print something, but it acted as though it was out of ink.  I was going to remove the ink-thingie and put it back in, just in case I did it wrong, but now the holder you put the ink in will not come to the center where I can get to it.  It hides in one end of the printer, out of sight.  I was really liking this $19 printer, too!  Probably if it was still on sale for $19, I'd go buy another one, just so I didn't have to hear Cliff making fun of me for ruining another printer.  Actually, he doesn't come out and say that, exactly, but I can tell he's thinking it.  That's the problem with being the most computer-smart person in a house.  Cliff knows absolutely nothing about such things, and I only know enough to be dangerous.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  When I mention the word "browser" to Cliff, he'll say, "I don't think my computer has one of those."

Yeah.  That's why I get the dirty work of buying and using anything related to computers.

When I get my camera, I'll get a more spring-like picture at the top of my blog.  We don't need to be looking at a picture of snow.  

I'm going to take Gabe outside and throw the Frisbee for him.  We are having knock-out weather lately, and I'm enjoying it thoroughly.  Be kind, won't you?

Yours truly,

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Wouldn't you know?

I announced our Nashville road trip on this blog on February 27.  A few days later, a tornado hit the city.  Coincidence?  Or a message from God saying "don't go"?  Actually, I wasn't too concerned, although I intended at some point to call the hotel where I had reserved rooms.  But Cliff's sister panicked; she called Cliff and asked if we should still plan on going.  I told him to tell her I'd check on it this morning.

I found THIS  little article online, which I sent Rena in an email.  So now she will be able to relax and get ready to enjoy our time together.  I also called the hotel and received the news that it had not been compromised by the tornado.  We won't be going until nearer the end of this month.  Cliff is looking forward to having someone along to do half the driving; knowing him, that's probably the only thing he is looking forward to about this trip.  He's such a home body.  

I've been searching out things to do.  I already bought our tickets for the Opry, and paid extra so we could get our money back if anything happens we can't go.  I like having that assurance, since those tickets were anything but cheap!  At our ages, you just don't know what's around the corner, and any more it seems like one of us is visiting a doctor about every other week.  I also paid for a backstage tour that takes place right after the Opry show we're seeing.  

I'd like to take the downtown walking tour, which is $25 per ticket, or else the walking food tour, at $52.  I also want to do the Country Music Hall of Fame ($25 per ticket).  The  Jack Daniels Distillery costs $25 apiece, so there's that.  I mustn't forget the Johnny Cash Museum, another pricey choice.  However, I intend for this to be my last visit to Nashville.  We'll do as much as we can afford.

There's a restaurant downtown, Arnold's, that we simply MUST try.  It isn't expensive, and has great reviews.  I'll be taking our electric skillet and coffeepot, in case we want to eat something in the room some evening.  Since Cliff and I were planning our trip before I suggested we take Rena, we're paying for the room... we'll just have one more person in there with us.  But we'll take her car, since ours is so old (and a little cranky these days).  She'll pay for what she eats when we eat out and for tickets to the various things, and we'll pay for the fuel.  It should work out pretty well for all three of us, and it'll make for more interesting conversation with three people instead of two.      

I guess that's about all I can tell you about our plans so far.  I'm getting anxious!

I finished this entry, went straight to Facebook, and saw this:  Tennessee has their first confined case of the corona virus.  Oh boy, this trip will be one for the books.

On another note, for those of my readers who have stayed with me through the years, I made a video of a small portion of my walk in the pasture the other day, showing where my cabin used to be.  Maybe you'll get a kick out of my hillbilly voice talking to you.



One reminder:  For years, there were some people who could not comment on this blog.  A few months ago I found the problem:  There's a setting you can choose that only allows people with a google account to comment.  I found the setting and fixed it so everyone can comment.  It must work, because one person told me she had never been able to comment before, and now she can.  I'm sorry I didn't take the time to figure this out years ago!  I used to have a reader from way up in Canada who would email me once in awhile to let me know she was still reading.  I hope she didn't give up on me, as I appreciated her patience at keeping in touch.  I'd love to know if she can comment now.  While I'm at it, if any of you ever want to email me, feel free.  

Mosie1944@gmail.com

I hope the weather is as spring-like where you live as it is here.  The wind is really blowing, but the temperature as I type this is 58 and the sun is shining brightly.  Don't forget to set your clocks forward this weekend.