Monday, November 30, 2020

You'll never walk alone

 Our old Mama Kitty used to walk with me and Cliff on our 45-minute walk meandering through the pasture every day.  I thought it was rather unusual, a cat walking with us.  But it made me smile to think she was willing to do all that unnecessary walking just to hang out with us.

As she got older, she gradually went less distance with us until finally she chose to take it easy and stay home.  It was time to retire, I suppose.  

Cliff can't go for walks now.  It hurts his knees and hip.  I've had to quit several times due to my replaced knee hurting, but I keep trying.  Right now I don't have enough pain to worry about, but when I do, I stop going for a few days until it stops hurting, then try again.  By shortening the distance we used to go, I'm managing a walk, although it's much shorter and slower than what I once did.  But it gets me out in the beautiful outdoors and keeps me moving, and gives Gabe some outside time, too.  

This was taken just back of our house.  I walk straight back into the tree-line right about the center of this picture, then down a gentle slope to where I once had my primitive little cabin in the woods.  

Here's the slope.  It leads to a very steep path that goes down the hill, but I turn around at the top of the path.  No more steep hills for me.

Three days ago, Blue, the cat, decided to walk with me and Gabe.  He had a blast!  He'd veer off 25 feet away from us in the weeds, sneak back up and stalk us, then pounce on Gabe's back, scaring the wits out of him. He's joined us three days straight, so I guess we have another "walking cat".  Maybe that isn't as unusual as I thought.  In the next picture, Blue's color almost matches my shadow.


I shot a very brief video of us walking.  I've never had good luck trying to take pictures and videos of cats.  They don't believe in posing.  The fact that I was walking didn't help.

       

Blue is a better walking companion that Gabe, because he takes care of himself.  With Blue on leash. it's a chore keeping him in hand.  I can't let him run loose, though.  There are too many creatures that would entice him to chase them, and who knows where he'd end up.

If you can get outside even for a few minutes every day, it's good for what ails you.  If you can't walk for any reason, then find a place to sit outside and enjoy your surroundings awhile.  You'll be better for it.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Turkey: Going, going, gone

I hadn't made turkey pot pie for years, so I don't know why it even came to mind, but as I was cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving day, I thought of it, then forgot it. Friday I once again considered it, and mentioned it to Cliff.  "I can't believe you mentioned that," he said.  "I've been thinking about that all day."

That isn't an unusual happening.  The other day we were in the car going somewhere... I suppose to the store, since that's the only place we go any more.  The car we have now doesn't need a key inserted to make it run; as long as the key is in Cliff's pocket, he can push a button and it will start.  I got my eyes fixated on that button that starts the car, with lights up and stays lit when the car is running.  So I asked Cliff, "What would happen if you just turned the car off while going down the road?"

"I was thinking that same thing, just now!" he said, flabbergasted.  I wondered at the time what the chances were for that happening.  I guess we've been married so long, our brains become synchronized; that's a scary thought.  

But I digress.  I decided to look for the Better Homes and Garden cookbook that would have the recipe I always used, and found it.  I had all the ingredients except the half-cup of mushrooms, and that wasn't really necessary to have.  I told Cliff I'd make it Saturday (yesterday).  I think the reason I hadn't made it in a long time was that there's pie crust involved.  Pie crust is the most unhealthy thing you can consume, in my opinion:  Nothing but lard or Crisco, flour, and salt.  Don't get me wrong, I love pie dough.  When my mom made pies, I'd wait around until the pies were in the oven and she'd put the scraps in a pan to cook.  I loved those browned, crunchy, oddball-sized pieces of crust.  I later made them for my children, and now I sometimes bake the scraps for myself.  But I don't like to use it for anything less than a fruity, sweet pie:  If I'm going to take a bite of  the forbidden fruit, I'd rather have it in the form of something sweet and gooey, with ice cream on top, rather than waste it on turkey.

But I did make the turkey pot pie.  Of course the recipe makes enough to serve six, so we'll be having warmed-over pot pie again today, and maybe tomorrow.  I'm glad my husband and I don't mind leftovers.  The bonus is that I don't have to cook anything.

I'll probably get the turkey carcass out of the freezer today and boil it for a couple of hours.  That gives us the makings of turkey frame soup.  Maybe I'll freeze that broth and picked-off-the-bone meat in a baggie and wait a couple of weeks to use it.  There are still some turkey chunks and slices in the refrigerator, although the three cups of turkey I used for the pot pie really depleted it.  It's time to freeze what is left to use later for gumbo or jambalaya.

We do not get tired of turkey.

And now, on to Christmas, which this year will be just another day for us.  Maybe I should go to the expense of sending cards, just so I'd be doing something for Christmas.

I suppose that's it for this entry.

Yours till the ocean wears rubber pants 
to keep its bottom dry.     
(that was a popular thing to write in autograph books, when I was a kid.)

Donna

Friday, November 27, 2020

Andorra


I couldn't clip the whole article from my online library edition of the Kansas City Star because it was in two parts and continued on a different page, but it isn't that important anyway.  All I needed to see was the headline, and it was 1964 again.  Civil rights was a big topic, one that fed right into folk music. 

The folk craze had just begun, conveniently happening at the same time I was teaching myself guitar chords from a book.  It was convenient because those simple folk songs often required only 3 different chords per song; sometimes I only needed two chords, as in "Down in the Valley".

I was living in a shady neighborhood (I'm not talking about trees when I say shady) on 11th Street in Kansas City, a block from the old Genova's Chestnut Inn, where I waited for the bus that would get me downtown to board another bus that would carry me on to work in North Kansas City.  I waited for my second bus in front of Emery, Bird, Thayer.  To pass the time, I'd gaze in the windows at pretty things I could never afford to buy.  That window was a wonderland during the Christmas season, but so was all of Downtown.  Waiting for a bus in winter, I needed that diversion to keep me from thinking about how cold I was, because the bitter, stinging, January wind blew down those streets without mercy.


In winter it was often dark when I got home to my apartment.  When I arrived there, the first thing I'd do was put a record album on the stereo.  I had Bob Dylan's first album, every Kingston Trio album I could afford, a couple by Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Oh, and I can't forget Joan Baez.  

The Kingston Trio sang "I Want to go to Andorra", an anti-war song.  That was rather unusual for the group because they normally kept their distance from controversial topics.  

There are many YouTube videos featuring the Kingston Trio, but I couldn't find their version of Andorra.  So I had to settle for Pete Seeger's version, which wasn't difficult; I have always been a fan of his.  Pete was controversial with a capitol C:   he was a registered Young Communist.  
 

I'm glad that headline painted a picture in my mind that took me back to my youth.  As I write this, I can see myself in that first apartment.  I should have been lonely; except for my parents, I never had a single visitor in two years' time.  But that's where I found out how much I liked being by myself, able to read and listen to my music and watch the news each evening:  Nobody was telling me what to do or how to act.  I was in heaven, all by myself.  Freedom!

And that's your Daily Drivel from Donna.

The letter Z

This computer age has turned us into people who hardly ever write with a pencil or pen.  I didn't realize how much until I began practicing left-hand writing.  I don't remember when the last time was that I wrote a letter in my own handwriting.  I used to keep written diaries.  Now I type out a blog entry on my computer.  When I think about it, the only things I write are grocery lists and checks.  

Now you're probably thinking, "Who writes checks in this day and age?"

Well, I do.  I had been paying my bills online for many years, but as I get older and my mind gets feebler, I find it's safer for me to pay by check.  Yes, stamps are expensive, and most companies charge a little more if you're not paying online.  But somehow, paying by mail works better for me.  Here's the thing that first made me decide to go back to the old-fashioned way of paying bills:  Cliff is positive he'll die before I do, while I know very well that anybody can unexpectedly give up the ghost at any time.  And if I'm the first one to go, he will be paying the bills.  There's no way he could pay bills online... let's face it, I have to check library books out for him on the iPad.  He knows how to do a Google search, and that's about the extent of his computer skills.  It isn't that he couldn't learn it, but he doesn't really want to.  His brain is full of tractor parts and such, and he's probably afraid he'd lose some of that if he had to make room in his head for computer stuff.  

And just so you know, we've never liked debit cards, although I don't even remember why.

What does this have to do with the letter Z?

Well, I'm still practicing my left-handed writing every day.  I write a few sentences, then I write the whole alphabet in cursive, capital letter and small letters.

By the way, where did the word "cursive" come from?  I never heard it until my children reached a certain age:  Maybe it was in second grade they began learning "handwriting" which is what I called it all my life, and they came home calling it cursive.  When I went to school we were never taught to print.  At the age of five, we just started writing in cursive. 

But I digress.  Throughout my years of writing, in that time before personal computers arrived, I can now see I made my own shortcuts.  The second time I wrote the alphabet with my left hand, I realized I was taking the lazy way out on certain letters, and had been for most of my life.  The most noticeable letter was Z.  If the first word in a sentence started with Z, I printed the Z and then carried on in cursive for the remainder of the word.  And as I did my printed Z, I somehow remembered that there is a different way to write a capital Z; however, I couldn't recall for the life of me how it was done.  So I googled "cursive alphabet" and got this:


Wow, look at that crazy Z.  Believe it or not, when I first saw it, I remembered having trouble with it as a kid.  I've noticed other examples of my laziness when writing.  I leave off the little wing at the beginning of H, M, N, U, V, and Y.  The capitol letter Q is another strange one I'd forgotten.  

Obviously, none of this matters much, as long as a person can read my writing, but for my leftie practice, I'm trying to do it properly.  My left-handed writing still looks shaky, and it's slow going.  I need to get  pencil that gives me darker writing.  



Oh, by the way: I found out there are left-handed writing tips on Youtube!  I needed that, just to find out whether I was doing it right, and apparently I am.  

About that Petty-Aunt Pie:  It may have been something I did wrong, or perhaps it was my oven (which won't even brown biscuits on the top without burning the bottoms of them), but while the taste of the pie is good, the bottom crust got soggy by the second day.  If any of my readers try it, let me know if that happens to you.  Cliff said it isn't as good as regular apple pie anyway, and I tend to agree.

It will be interesting to see how crowded the stores are this year on this Black Friday during a pandemic.  I've only gone out on Black Friday once in my life.  It was kind of fun then, but it wouldn't be now, even without a pandemic.

Yours truly,

Donna
  






Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving, Pandemic Style

Cliff and I have spent other Thanksgiving Days with just the two of us participating.  I recall two of those times very well.  On one occasion when our son was stationed in Germany and our daughter's family lived in Carthage, we went out to eat; that was better than nothing, I suppose.  Another time, we crashed the party at his brother's house in Higginsville.  If you like to celebrate with a crowd, that's a great place to go; you see kids of all ages there, and they are jubilant when they're together.   

But this year takes the cake, doesn't it?  

I'm cooking some of our favorite holiday foods anyway.  Noodles, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce from a can AND the cranberry salad my mom always made, which is more of a dessert than a salad. Corn from this year's garden.  Sweet potatoes.  You get the drift.  Our daughter and her husband are going to come and get a share of the food to eat at home.  It was tempting to go ahead with the usual family Thanksgiving dinner, but when experts are telling us "don't do it", I'll take their advice.  I'll just think back on past Thanksgivings.  My daughter and her husband in town are also alone, so they'll come here, get their dinner, and take it home to eat. 

When I was growing up, we went to my maternal Grandma's.  Her little house was filled to the brim and running over with relatives.  Later on after Grandma was gone, we'd have two Thanksgiving dinners:  One on the actual day, one on the weekend after, so we could celebrate with both mine and Cliff's parents.  This year's Thanksgiving was going to feel different anyhow:  After the grandson married, we had gatherings that included our family and his wife's family, and I liked that.  Now that there's been a divorce, it's back to just our family again.  Pictures from past Thanksgivings have been visible on the Echo Show in the kitchen all week, reminding me that holidays change in many ways, and change is normal.  

Today, it's just us, with plenty of food.  That's alright, I suppose.  I'm getting used to "just us" this year.  Yesterday I made one pumpkin pie and one Petty Aunt Pie.  That's the extent of the desserts we'll have.  If you happened to read about Petty Aunt Pie the other day and wondered what it tastes like, Cliff and I each had a small bite of when it was still warm:  I will be making it again.  It's delicious!  

The calendar on my laptop keeps reminding me it's Thanksgiving, as if I didn't know.  I'm getting very tired of the reminder.

Yesterday I saw a stranger standing in our yard.  I watched him out the window for awhile; when I saw him calling someone on his cell phone, I decided it was time to find out what was going on.  "May I help you?" I hollered.  "Well, maybe," he answered.  He told me he lives just down the road on 224 highway.  His two poodles had run off and he was looking for them.  Immediately he had my sympathy, because Gabe has caused me grief by going off someplace he shouldn't be, so many times.  I told the fellow to give me his phone number so I could contact him if I saw the dogs; as I was writing down the number, I had a better idea, and asked him if he had Internet at home; he said yes.  

"Go to the Wellington Community page on Facebook," I told him, "and post something about your dogs being lost.  People do that all the time.  You will have your dogs back before you know it."

Sure enough, Cliff was looking at Facebook later and saw the man's post; people were holding the dogs, waiting to find out who they belonged to.  Cliff said as soon as the guy posted on the board, that person responded.  It makes me happy to know I helped someone find his dog.  

I think I'll go make the noodles so they'll have some drying time.  I'm tired of being reminded by my computer that it's Thanksgiving Day anyhow.  I truly am thankful that we've made it through the pandemic unscathed so far.  As far as the weirdness of 2020, it can't be much worse than holidays were in times of war, or during the Depression of the thirties.  

Happy Thanksgiving, faithful readers.  I hope there are no typos in this hurriedly composed drivel, but if so, I'll fix them later.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

True confessions

First of all, I will tell you that I have an addictive personality.  If I enjoy something, I go overboard.  Add to that the fact that I'm an introvert and socially awkward, so I don't make friends easily in real life.  And when I do, I eventually just put them on the back burner and don't keep in touch.  It isn't deliberate, but when I look back over my life, I see this happening often.

So when I discovered social media, I was suddenly having conversations with people.  I was a social butterfly online!  At least that's how I felt in the beginning:  I shared jokes and stories, and I came across new people I genuinely liked.  I was hooked.  Facebook caters to those who embrace her, don't they?  They give us fun games to play (another gift to addictive people), they tell you jokes, they keep you up on current events.  If you love the Chiefs, there's a group for that.  Tractors?  Oh, there's at least one Facebook group for every make of tractor ever built.  

And they have some useful services.  You always know when a friend is having a birthday, which is especially helpful when the Facebook friend is a close relative.  When Cliff has something to sell, he has much better luck with Facebook Marketplace than he ever did on Craigslist.  Facebook saves all the pictures you share, too; but I have Amazon Prime, and they save every picture on my computer for me.  

I wrote "The Facebook Song", which is almost a celebration of my addiction!  The video shows no picture because I wrote it at 3 AM one morning and didn't want to comb my hair, which reminds me I was so addicted, I even woke up thinking happy thoughts about Facebook.

I have not permenantly gotten rid of the Monster that ate my brain.  It's temporarily deactivated.  But it's still active in my head, and that's why I haven't reactivated it, and perhaps never will.  I did keep Messenger; so if you are a Facebook friend who is reading this, you can contact me if you need to.  If I ever do go back to Facebook, there will be a huge un-friending, and it wouldn't be because I'm angry with anyone (although this election-and-covid19 mess made some people show their true colors until they got on my last nerve).  Nope, I would un-friend everyone except close relatives, plus a few friends who feel like relatives to me.  For once, I'd have less than 100 "friends", but they'd be real-life, genuine people.  Half those "Facebook friends" just follow others so they can gossip and find fault with them.  I, too, am guilty of that.  True confessions!

Don't count on my return, because I won't go back unless I know I'm in control:  I'll know that when I can go an hour without any thought of Facebook.  Even then, I wonder if I'd go right back to my old ways if I return.  Just so you know, I'm still Internet addicted to a certain extent, but I'll keep that fault.  I'm old, I like to learn, I can't do a lot of things any more, and I enjoy reading blogs; watching television all day doesn't work for me.

So, while politics and corona virus "experts" were the straw that broke the camel's back and made me leave, I believe it was a positive thing.  I was wasting my life on Facebook.  This blog is enough social media for me, and if anybody wants to argue politics in the comment section, I won't argue... I'll simply delete their comments, because this is my house on the Internet; they'll need to go get their own house, where they can say what they please.

I've heard it said, "Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay."  

So will Facebook.

Very sincerely,

Donna



Monday, November 23, 2020

Oh happy day!

 I have practically driven myself crazy trying to figure out why I can't answer individuals' comments on my blog.  Many people using Blogger have that option enabled, but I simply could not figure out they were doing it.  Today I must have worded my Google search in the proper manner, because look at this!

Here's how to enable it:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Safari and tap it.
  3. Scroll down to "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking."
  4. Toggle it on so it's green.
Sep 20, 2017

So there you have it, my Google blogger friends.  I wish someone had told me how to do this years ago.
So, if you ask me a question, I can answer it directly below your comment!  It's the little things that make me happy.  
I already added my entry for the day, but I had to share this.  We can have conversations now!

Born a leftie

My dad was left-handed.  When we had company, Mother always told him to sit at the end of the table where he wouldn't be next to anyone, because lefties tend to bump elbows with right-handed folks if they are side by side.  I vaguely recall my mother talking to the teacher on my first day of school when I was five; she told Mrs Eighmy I was left-handed.  My teacher asked if she should try to get me to use my right hand, and Mother said something to the effect that it might be a good thing, because left-handed people are "awkward" at many things.  I have terrible hand-writing, and I've always wondered if it would have been neater if they'd let me use my left hand, although I don't really believe that; I think my laziness causes the sloppiness.  Cliff calls me "Lefty" even now, when he sees me doing something in a left-handed way.  He says I do many things left-handed, but I'm never aware of it until he tells me.

So lately a thought has occurred to me:  I wonder if I could re-learn to use my left hand?  It wouldn't be of any use at this age unless I broke my right hand, but the thought intrigued me.  But if I re-learned it like a kindergarten kid does, just writing a lot until I got better at it, would it be possible?  Yesterday I sat at the table and gave it a try.  It was pretty awful.


I imagine this took me at least ten minutes, and it's sloppy.  When I showed it to Cliff, though, he was impressed.  "I couldn't have done that," he said.  "But why are you doing this?"

"Because I was born left-handed and they took it away from me!"  

I said that with a smile, but there's some truth in it.  When I read this article about left-handed presidents, these words stood out:   "Some scientists believe that left-handed people are capable of 'a wider scope of thinking,' a theory that explains the high percentage of Nobel Prize winners, writers and painters who are left-handed."

See there?  I was robbed!  I might have won a Nobel prize if they hadn't made me change.  I am going to continue practicing my lefty writing, just to find out.  I'm kidding, of course, but it's a project I can do while quarantining.  So I will pursue it for a while.

On another topic, when I began reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", I knew I was going to enjoy it, so when Cliff asked for a book to read when he rides the recumbent bike, I got the same book for him.  Yesterday he mentioned an incident that took place in the book and said, "That's ridiculous... that would never happen."

My first thought was that it's just a story, not a biography.  But I knew it was time for him to switch, because I'm chapters ahead of him; in some places it does get sort of weird.  I'm about halfway through it and still enjoying it, but I have more imagination than Cliff.  It gets kind of sad in places, too, and he doesn't like sad books.  I understand his problem with things in books that could never happen, because I don't like vampire tales or books about witches and ghosts.  That's why I don't read very many Steven King stories, although I love the movies "Christine" and "The Shining".  I never had the least desire to read the Harry Potter books.

So I searched for a different book for my husband and stumbled across one I might want to read myself:  "Sold on a Monday".  I do wish he could check out his own books, but he can only judge them from the title.  I always check Amazon to see the reviews and find out what the book is about; then I go back to the digital public library, which is about the only way to get a library book these days, and get the book on his iPad.  He isn't that fast a web-surfer, so it would be a lot more effort for him to do that much googling and surfing just to find out what sort of book it is.  He'd probably get lost in the process. 

That's all I have for today.  Make it a good day if you possibly can.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Petty Aunt Pie

For probably twenty years I've followed a website that is full of anonymous secrets.  We all have secrets, don't we?  Perhaps even secrets we wouldn't dare tell a soul, except perhaps a psychiatrist.  The site is Postsecret.com.  Sometimes there are things on there you'd rather not be reading about.   Some are very sad, others aren't fit for a child to see.  I don't recommend the site to anyone who is easily offended.  So there's your warning.  I must have missed a Sunday or two, however, because this morning I found an interesting and blog-worthy secret that has been talked about on the Today Show and passed around on Reddit, whatever that is; but I first found it today.

A woman decided to share one of her grandmother's recipes that her whole family has refused to share with outsiders for 100 years.  She felt their attitude was "petty" so she renamed the apple cream pie "Petty Aunt Pie".  Here's what her secret looked like on Post Secret:


Petty defined: 1.  of little importance, trivial.  2.  of secondary importance, rank, or  scale; minor.

I have never understood why people wouldn't want to share a recipe; it's a gift that costs nothing, yet one that is priceless to anyone who loves to cook; I consider it an honor if anyone asks for one of my recipes.

Some of you may have already read or heard about this.  I'm just doing my part in helping a lady get the last laugh on her petty aunts.  Here's the story on the Today website:  PETTY AUNT PIE  

What a story, right?

Have a blessed Sunday.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Dizziness

I've been having dizzy spells since I was about 13 years old, so it's nothing new for me.  I remember my age when this started because I know where my parents and I were living at the time:  Harlem, an unincorporated area of Kansas City, Missouri.  It happened when I'd get up too soon after sitting down reading for a long time.  I suppose I remember where we lived because of an incident caused by my dizziness:  We had an old house, so the bathroom had been added later, I'm sure.  To get to the bathroom from the living room, one had to pass through the kitchen, then through my mom and dad's bedroom.  On this particular day, my parents were both at work; I was reading.  Now, the dizziness never hit immediately, so I had reached my parent's bedroom when it caught up with me.  Their dresser was on my right, I reached over to grab it in order not to fall.  Mother had a Stanley-Home-Products hand-held mirror that was a regular mirror on one side and a magnifying mirror on the other laying on their dresser.  My hand swiped past it and knocked it on the floor, breaking the magnifying side.

I told Mother what happened as soon as she got home from work but she didn't believe me, and that is why I remember it so well, I'm sure.  She never did believe my story, ever.  That would have been natural if I had been a chronic liar, but at that point I never lied.  When I thought I was going to get in trouble over something, I told her immediately just to get it over with so I wouldn't be worrying and wondering what the consequence would be.  Notice the "at that point" part of that statement, because I've lied since then, usually to avoid hurting somebody's feelings or avoid a painful discussion.  

Back to the dizziness:  It happened often during my teen years, but was only an occasional event later on.  I had super low blood pressure throughout my first forty-five years of life, and from what I've read, that's what caused the dizziness.  Doctors have a name for it.  A few years ago, I began having the dizziness again at times, either after getting up too fast from a sitting position or when I bend over too fast to pick something up.  My blood pressure doesn't run low these days; even on medication that's supposed to lower my blood pressure, it's up and down all the time.  So I guess the dizziness is another surprise gift caused by old age.  Not a day goes by that I don't get dizzy at least once; it's already happened this morning, which is why I decided to blog about it.  I've learned to sit down at once if there's a place available.  If I'm outside, I'll plunk down on the ground.  This morning I was in the hallway going to the bathroom when it hit, so I turned, braced my back against a wall, and slid to the floor, then sat there for 30 seconds or so until it passed.   

Cliff has dizzy spells too.  Sometimes it's difficult for him to recline under a tractor and look up into its innards.  He has a lot of trouble if he's on a ladder and looks up, too.  Oh yes, and when he turns over from one side to the other in bed.  Crazy, right?

I've mentioned my dizziness to doctors in passing, and so far nobody has said anything about it.  I don't want to make a big deal about it because you know how doctors are... they try to find a pill that will help.  I'd rather take my chances than have to take another pill.  It's the same with my weak-bladder problems:  I know from watching television ads that there's a pill for that (gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now) but I'll deal with it rather than take some pill that may or may not work and is bound to have side effects.

Well well, my dizzy husband just got up, so I had to stop long enough to make his breakfast:  An egg, a leftover, heated-up piece of sausage, cheese, and a leftover buttermilk biscuit, all in the form of a sandwich, made him very happy. 

I've decided not to attend either of my churches until after Christmas and beyond, which makes for some long, tedious weeks.  But I'm doing it as much for the doctors and nurses as I am for myself and Cliff.  My only holdout is the grocery shopping, which I will do for myself, but I will do it quickly and carefully with mask in place.

Enjoy your weekend, folks.  One day at a time we'll get through this.  Meanwhile, every day is precious.

Sincerely,

Donna


Friday, November 20, 2020

Ramblings

Remember my problems with the DVD player last weekend?  Some of you thought the problem was with the DVD's themselves, figuring I needed to wipe them off in case there was dirt on them.  I didn't do that, since the silly player did the same thing with every DVD I loaded into it.  Yesterday I put "Little Big Man" in it and let it play; I wasn't really watching it, had the sound almost off, but I wanted to see if it would play the whole thing.  It did.  Apparently the thing just needed to be used, and that good old country music on the Country's Family Reunion DVD I put in it last week was just the ticket.  I don't know what to tell you; strange things happen, especially when I'm involved.  

Mama Kitty has always been a hunter; if you want to see her in action, check out this blog entry from 2012, when she gave her final litter of children a hunting lesson.  These days, it seems she only hunts moles, although I'm sure she wouldn't turn down a baby rabbit.  When we look out the north window into the pasture we often see her waiting patiently for prey.  And, typical cat, she has been known to leave a mouse or mole on the front porch for me.  Mama Kitty is soft-spoken, and meows almost in a whisper.  I was sitting in my chair near the front door yesterday and heard a cat meowing loudly a few times.  Mama Kitty's one remaining son, Jake, is a loudmouth, but he and Buttons, another cat I wasn't too fond of, left us for some reason.  Still, Jake shows up in the barn every couple of months, eating our dry cat food.  I could have sworn it was his voice I heard on the porch, and even told Cliff, "Well, I guess loudmouth Jake decided to bless us with his presence."

Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw the usually reserved Mama Kitty there with a mole laying in front of her.  She looked up at me, meowed (in her typical whisper instead of a yowl this time), and poked at the mole with her nose, then looked back at me.  I understood she was proud of it and wanted me to have it, so I stepped out and stroked her and told her what a great hunter she was.  I picked up the mole by its tail as I petted the cat, then put it down and told her I'd already had breakfast.  She stared at me.  Since Blue was there, I offered the mole to him, but Mama darted quickly over and snatched the mole before he could pick it up, then started playing with it as though she was a kitten again, even to the point of batting it off the porch and jumping down into the yard to continue her game.  That old cat amazes me at how much fun she seems to have since I began feeding her a tiny little packet of wet food every day.   

Our wonderful weather is in the process of changing.  It's cloudy today and supposed to rain this afternoon.  Even so, the highs are forecast to be in the 50's for the next week, which isn't so bad for November.

I couldn't find anything I wanted to make for dinner (that's the noon meal here, because I was raised around country folks), so I went to All-recipes.com to find something different to make with ground beef.  I found a recipe for Spanish Rice Bake, saw I had all the ingredients, and read some reviews.  I noticed several people mentioned there's no need to dirty up three pans and put it in the oven, because you can make it in a heavy skillet on the stovetop; so I took their advice.  One ingredient I didn't have was chili sauce, but I googled "ingredients in chili sauce" and found out I could make a cup of it with tomato sauce, brown sugar, allspice, and vinegar.  It puzzles me they call it chili sauce since there's no chili powder in it, but the final casserole was delicious.  I had to make twice as much chili sauce as I needed in order to use the whole 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, but I put the rest in a half-pint canning jar and froze it to use the next time I make this stuff.

Here's a picture I took four years ago of the horses that were boarded here.  It made me smile to see it. 


A month or so ago I ran out of Lipton teabags and put it on my shopping list.  However, Walmart didn't have any single Lipton teabags.  I'm used to shortages now, so I wasn't surprised.  The only other individual teabags on the shelf were the Great Value brand, so I bought a box of 100.  They weren't awful, but the tea was weak.  I hate to throw something away when I paid good money for it, so I began using two of the teabags for one cup of tea; that was better, although the taste still wasn't as good as Lipton.  Yesterday I used the last two teabags out of that box and happily opened a the Lipton tea, which I finally found on Amazon for the normal price.  I had to stop drinking coffee when I had that bout of stomach problems, but I still buy it for Cliff.  I honestly haven't missed it much at all.  

OK, enough of this drivel.  I have a hot cup of tea sitting next to me and two books on the iPad to read.  Oh, and a whole cabinet full of DVDs I haven't watched in awhile!

I'm glad they're hurrying up with Covid 19 vaccine.  I'll be getting mine the minute they tell me it's available.

Yours truly

Donna

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Warm and windy

I returned to the cottonwood tree yesterday to lay in the grass and feel the sun as I did the previous day, but the wind was awful.  So, I came back to the house and read.  I'm reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" and "Tale of Two Cities", the latter of which is not an easy read for me.  It's difficult to follow the plot because of the out-moded dialogue.  I struggle with unfamiliar words; thank heaven my iPad allows me to hold my finger on a word and get the definition.  Yesterday I was struggling away at it and thought about how the Bible has been translated into modern English; then I wondered, is it possible somebody did that with Tale of Two Cities? 

Yes, I googled and learned several someones have done that.  Unfortunately, it just isn't the same.  I'm going to forge ahead with the original, unless I get totally lost trying to understand it.  "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", on the other hand, keeps me well engaged, so when I get tired of the struggling with Charles Dickens, I have something else on hand.  There are dogs involved in that one!  

When I'm looking for something to read, I check the New York Times Best-seller Lists from any of the last twenty years.  I check the current list too, but those are still new, so there's always a wait before the library book shows up on my device.  I look at the  fiction best-seller books for whatever year, go to Amazon to see what it's about and what people have said about it.  If it sounds like something I'll like, I check it out of the library.  I don't have to wait for it.   Romance stories aren't my favorite unless the romance is part of a bigger story.  I will sometimes read an interesting biography, but most of them just aren't that interesting to me personally.

I saw on the news that folks are hoarding various things again.  Well, I have a good supply of toilet paper and plenty of baking ingredients, so I suppose we'll be OK.  I was an introvert before this pandemic started, so I don't have a problem with sheltering at home.  When it first began I was bothered that we couldn't go places.  Then our tractor club cancelled all events, and for awhile the churches were closed.  That was difficult, but now I've settled into the routine and really don't care whether we go anyplace or not.  Of course, I am going to my two churches each Sunday now, but we're talking about "crowds" of eight to 25 people in a building meant for 150 souls.  Trust me, it's easy to "social distance", and we are free to wear a mask.  And I feel better for going.

Blue-the-cat is six months old.  I got him for a barn cat because Mama Kitty is getting on in years and needed some help; some folks thought I would turn him into a house cat, but I haven't.  Most times he prefers to be outside.  He's always good for a laugh, although right now I'm about ready to smack him.  I let him in the house a while ago and he's under my chair batting my stocking feet with his claws slightly out; I may have to smack him before it's over.  He doesn't spend much time inside, unless he curls up in Gabe's bed for a nap and I forget he's in here.  

Below is Mr. Attitude, acting like he's a prince.  I think he's the most beautiful and intelligent cat I've ever had; he agrees with me.



Gabe puts up with Blue, but not always willingly

You see how he's distracted me from my blog entry?  It's OK, I don't have much to share anyway.

I'm glad I have four-legged companions to make me smile.  Sometimes my pets make my day.  I'm smiling right now, looking down at Gabe's bed and seeing those two rivals cuddled up together, with Blue purring loud enough to shake the house.  

My wish for you is health, peace, love, and laughter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

To answer a comment from Gemma's Person

The comment:  "Hi, I just read backwards a bit and wondering about the Costco hearing aids. Can you expound . Do you just go buy them off a rack and get what you think you need? 1500 might sound like a lot , but the 5000 and upwards is ridiculous. Thanks for your time."

In answer to your question, the hearing aid center at Costco works exactly the same as any super-expensive hearing-aid place; the cost is less, that's all the only difference.  Cliff has been wearing Costco digital hearing aids for five years; the new one is his second set purchased there.  You'll have to have a Costco membership, which is $60.  Cliff recommended their hearing aids to his brother, who's worn hearing aids for several years and paid much higher prices.  He is ecstatic with the ones he got from Costco.  They are guaranteed for three years, and they will replace them once in three years if you lose them.  They spend an hour or more doing the testing, then they spend at least another hour when you go pick them up, tuning them up just right for your needs.   

All hearing aids, even if you paid $5,000, usually need replacement after five years. 

I recommend Costco to everyone for glasses and hearing aids.  Click HERE for the information from the Costco website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Why I cancelled Thanksgiving

I think my readers know I haven't following the pandemic guidelines strictly.  We huddled at home for perhaps a month, letting relatives bring us groceries.  Then we decided to let the local relatives  come and visit, because there were great-grandchildren being born; before long, occasionally there were other visitors.  I wasn't too nervous about that, really.  Of course, I like to do my own shopping, so by July, things were pretty much back to normal except that we didn't run to the grocery store over once a week and we stopped going to Costco for entertainment.  I started going to both of my churches again: what a happy Sunday that was!  We still wore masks when we shopped anywhere, but for all intents and purposes, life was about 80% normal.  We really took a risk flying to Georgia, but we got by with that transgression.

So why am I suddenly back to a lockdown?  Fear is not my motivation.  It's because the hospitals in Kansas City are full, almost to the point that they can't take more patients.  That's a big concern, because if the little hospitals out here in the  country can't fix us, we're hosed.  For any major illness, people in Lafayette County are usually sent to Kansas City hospitals.  I remember the pictures of corpses in hospital hallways when the pandemic began worsening last spring.  I thought of all the doctors and nurses who have been fighting this thing for nine months, wondering if they'll take the virus home to their families.  They have to be so very tired and discouraged.  

They don't deserve it, and I'm going to do my part.  The least I can do is follow the guidelines.

Today I saw someone on Facebook ask if Oak Grove was going to have a Christmas lighting event, like always.  One person said, "Go ahead and do it.  We can't keep letting them tell us what to do."

So I got rid of Facebook.  Not permanently, yet.  But it will probably become permanent.  I've had enough of watching adults act like spoiled children.  Right now, my Facebook account is turned off.  I've done well avoiding it for the most part, but I swear, it seems when I'm reading something on the computer or web-surfing, I still find myself glancing at Facebook before I turn the computer off.  I don't spend over an hour a day doing that, but the lure is there.  I won't say how much time I used to waste just scrolling and scrolling, seeing very little of interest.  I want my brain back.  I am tired of people who think their opinion is the only valid one, who feel as though they know it all and never admit there's a possibility they could be wrong.  The election is over, but the political posts keep coming.  People I used to admire are belittling others.  

It's a good time to become a hermit.  

It's a lovely sunshiny day here.  I have struggled trying to to take short walks, but my left knee, the replacement knee, is hurting so badly when I walk too much that I can't go far no matter how slowly I walk.  However, as I looked out the window feeling sorry for myself this morning, I decided I could walk the small distance to my cottonwood tree, lie down in the grass, and soak up some sunshine.  I took Gabe along, off-leash for a change.  I often have to leash him these days because the next-door neighbor has a pack of German Shepherds, two of which run loose often (saw them in our pasture yesterday) and they want to eat Gabe.  They've gotten close to him several times when he was with me at the chicken house, even nipping at him once before I pulled him back from the fence and picked him up.  

However, we were going in a different direction today.

I was laying right underneath these branches.  I love my cottonwood tree, even when it's just a skeleton.
.
It's a stark landscape in November.

Gabe did a pretty good job of coming to me when I called, except when he decided to check out the ditch, which was out of sight over the hill.  Then he suddenly turned deaf.

The dog enjoyed the exercise, and both he and I enjoyed the sun.  With my history of winter depression, I've learned that sunshine and outdoor exercise is the best way to avoid seasonal affective disorder.

Peace.

Monday, November 16, 2020

We're hunkering down again

Cliff and I mutually decided we should listen to the experts this time and forgo the usual Thanksgiving Day festivities.  Sometimes I say "we decided" when it was mostly me, with Cliff just saying what he thinks I want to hear.  But this was truly a mutual decision: we discussed the risks for awhile, considered the big picture, and chose what we think is the best path.  I will still do my own shopping for groceries (wearing a mask) and I'll continue going to both little churches I attend because it's easy to do social distancing in both of them; other than that, we are going back to being hermits for awhile.  I'm letting everyone know today, so if they want to make other plans they'll have time to do so.  

I've been awake since before 2 A.M.  Usually I manage at least six hours of sleep, but for the past few nights it's been less.  Of course I'm up three or four times a night going to the bathroom, but I usually go back to sleep.  I was laying there this morning trying my best to put everything out of my mind when coyotes started their usual high-pitched whining, whistling racket... like this:

  

It sounded as if they were right here in the yard, so of course I began to worry about my cat Blue; coyotes eat cats and small dogs, you know.  When I finally got out of bed and took Gabe to relieve himself I learned my fears had been groundless; Blue met us as we walked out the door and strolled with us while Gabe shopped for the perfect place to do his business.

I didn't go to church yesterday because I was tormented, trying to make up my mind about Thanksgiving, so it was a long day.  The Chiefs weren't playing football, and they are the only team I can get interested in.  Cliff records all the games on TV and watches them later so he doesn't have to watch the commercials.  We'd been talking about the movie "Little Big Man" a lot lately, so we set out to watch it:  We have quite a few of our favorite movies in DVD form and we have a cheap DVD player, but we seldom use it... too much trouble, I suppose.  For some reason, the player would only play a five-minute portion of a DVD and then start over.  I don't know what the the problem was, but thought maybe dust got to it, since we don't use it much   I got the canned air and sprayed in it, but that didn't help.  I was going to give up, but then I said, "Remember when we were kids, if the TV started acting crazy, people would just go smack it on the top or sides?"

So yeah, I slapped the DVD player around a bit with my open palm.  This time when it played Little Big Man, it got about halfway through before it started over, which I suppose is an improvement, but not much of one.  I decided that if we were only going to be watching half of a DVD, we needed something with no plot:  I got out a couple of our "Country's Family Reunion" DVDs, figuring it's just a bunch of people singing and talking, and there's no plot to follow.  We'd just watch as much as the DVD player would permit.  Wouldn't you know, it played every bit of the two music DVDs I chose.  Now I'm wondering whether I actually fixed that player with my abuse.  Maybe it will let Little Big Man play all the way to the end.  

That's all I have for today.  I'm going to read the Kansas City Star for a while and see if there's any good news.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Dealing with the aches and pains of old age

Starting in 1979, I took daily walks, year around, for exercise.  Back then, I enjoyed it so much I'd often go seven miles daily, but usually, 3 1/2 miles sufficed.  Sometimes I wonder if that's why my knees are such a mess now; if so, I'm not sorry.  It was worth every step.  My job at Kohl's Distribution Center sounded the death knell for my knees:  for over four years I walked briskly, eight hours a day, slinging merchandise onto a conveyor.  By the third year, I was hurting.  But that was worth it, too.  The extra income made it possible to get bills paid off before retirement and also let me do some things I would never have been able to do, had I not been working at Kohl's.  We are still reaping the benefits of my time there.

Long-time readers know I have quit my walks more than once when knee pain made it so miserable it wasn't worth the effort; then I'd start back up again at a slower pace, or I'd shorten the amount of time I walked.  The last time I quit, months back, I figured it was for the last time.  If I did my normal slow, half-hour walk, I suffered for days.  So I quit, resolving to at least ride the recumbent bike every other day.  And then, that caused too much pain to continue.  

The other day I decided to try the bike again, but I turned down the tension in hopes that would make a difference; apparently it did, because I've ridden four times in the past week and so far I'm handling it.  Two different days I also went outside with Gabe on a leash and walked slowly on level ground in the pasture for about fifteen minutes, telling myself that fifteen minutes of slow walking is better than nothing.  I was able to do that, too.  I know that unless I die first, the time will come when exercise will be more than these old bones can bear, but I refuse to live my life sitting down all the time unless, or until, I have to.  I will keep adjusting my workouts as long as possible, just so I can keep moving.  I don't want to lose all my strength.

All older adults with arthritis understand the nature of the beast.  Some days it isn't too bad, other days you just thank God for Tylenol and try to go about your business, although there are times when Tylenol doesn't help much.  I remind myself often that almost all senior citizens have the same problem, and also that there are people of all ages who have even greater afflictions.  Do I hurt so badly I want to die?  That would be a resounding "NO"!  I still enjoy my life.  

I am blessed to have my husband around, because we commiserate about our aches and pains all the time.  One of the great benefits of being married is that you always have someone around who actually cares about your joys and and sorrows, your aches and pains.  Nobody else wants to hear it; they have their own problems.  

Cliff and I are wondering whether we should shut ourselves in for awhile again, with the Covid numbers rising so rapidly.  I feel no danger attending services at either church I attend, but one of them is planning a Thanksgiving carry-in dinner; I'm a little leery of that.  Cliff and I are both wondering if we should cancel our Thanksgiving dinner with family on the big day.  If so, we need to make a decision soon, because the rest of the family might want to make different plans.  The thing is, the people who will come to our Thanksgiving dinner go to work every day, so they're all somewhat at risk, which makes them a risk to us.  We pulled off the trip to Georgia, but how long will luck be on our side?  Who would have thought there would be such a time as this?  

Beam me up, Scotty!

I finished "A Time for Mercy" by John Grisham:  This is the third book he's written with Jake Brigance as the hero, and it didn't disappoint.  The courtroom scenes alone kept me almost biting my nails.  The Jake Brigance books and "A Painted House" are my favorites of Grisham's work.  I don't know what's next to read; I'm considering reading "A Tale of Two Cities", since it would fit in with Poldark, the series we're watching on Netflix right now.  I read it in high school, but all I remember are the first words in the book and the beginning of last line.  Those, I can quote.  

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

"Tis a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..." 

It's strange how some words stay with me over the years for no apparent reason.


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Thanksgiving approaches

I don't know where the time goes, but I was actually shocked to realize it's only two weeks until Thanksgiving day.  This seems like the best place for our family to have Thanksgiving; we'll be in the shop, as usual.  It's heated when we need it to be and there's plenty of room for the kids to play.  

Cliff and I went shopping at Walmart in Richmond this morning so I could get started buying the necessary food items.  I'll have a trial run before the big day, since we're having a holiday dinner at the Baptist Church the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I walked in the store with $116 and left with about $6.50.  However, because one of my slow-cooker lids broke, I bought a nineteen-dollar Crock-Pot to replace it.  The one with the lid that broke was a fancy one that had to be programed after it was plugged in.  If I took it to a carry-in dinner and someone moved it, they'd plug it back in thinking it would start right up; then, when it was time to eat, the food would be room temperature.   I bought it on Amazon at a decent price, but there will be no more programable slow cookers for me. 

On another note:  the settings on my blog won't let a comment show up on any older posts because a lot of spammers and scammers like to post links on the comment section of long-ago posts where I'd never find them.  However, when something is posted on past entries, I am notified by email so I can see what was said; if I approve the comment, then it shows up.  It's a little hard to follow the guy's wording, but it piqued my interest and left me with questions.  I sure wish there were a way for me to correspond with him.  He posted as "unknown" and didn't leave his name.  Actually, he made two separate comments about two different structures along highway 224.  If you'd like to read that particular entry, click HERE.  Then scroll to the bottom and you'll see that two of the last three comments on the story are his, followed by a comment by me, answering one of his questions, although I doubt he'll ever go back to the entry and see it.  By the way, the entry was done in 2013, and you'll see we were riding to Lexington on the 1855 Oliver Cliff recently sold.  

I'm finding it easier to come up with blog posts now that I'm not a slave to Facebook.  I did not close my Facebook account, but after watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix, my feelings on the matter have been confirmed.  It isn't going to be difficult for me to distance myself now.  I decided to keep my account because Cliff has made his best tractor sales on Facebook Marketplace, and I'm the one who places his ads.  I could use his account, but it's just better if I'm the one watching for responses to the ads; Cliff often fails to notice private messages, which is how people contact sellers on Marketplace.  And of course, there are the memories that pop up from years gone by, not to mention that I keep in touch with relatives on Facebook, although if any of them need me in a hurry, they'd better call me on the phone, rather than message me.  

Donna doesn't live there any more.






Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Sleepwalking through life

Perhaps it's just part of being an introvert, but the older I get, the less I notice my surroundings.  In a crowded store, I will avoid looking at people around me and thus make myself "alone", where I can't get into any trouble.  Before Covid happened, I went through a process of forcing myself to interact with people more when I was out and about, and it was really good for me:  People respond well to a simple "hello", don't they?  But just when I was about ready to perfect my new people skills, we all started wearing masks.  This gave me a renewed sense of being cut off from people, so here I am again... sleep-walking through life!

When I used to milk cows, I loved my pre-dawn hours in the barn, even in cold weather.  First thing out the door, I'd look upward to see whether the stars were shining.  Without even knowing it, I'd be processing the weather:  I'd notice from which direction the wind blew; if the temperature was above 50, I would usually be barefoot, noticing whether or not there was dew on the ground soaking my feet.  I'd listen for coyotes harmonizing when a train was passing at the back of our place, loving the familiar noises.

I still go out as soon as I'm out of bed, because I have a dog.  I'm out even earlier than in the old days of milking.  I've always been a morning person; my day usually begins at 3 or 4 A.M.  I can't help waking up so early, and I don't mind it, really.  In fact, I love my mornings!  But after I've taken Gabe out once or twice and come back in, I realize I have no idea what the weather's like outside.  Cliff will get up at 7 and ask, "Is it windy?" or "Did we get any frost?" and I have no idea.  I just stumble out of the house holding on to a leash in one hand and a flashlight in the other and "check out", exactly like I do when I'm shopping. 

This morning it was 23 degrees outside (I know this because I asked Alexa just now).  I put on a stocking hat and a coat, shoved my feet into Muck Boots, and dragged out the door behind the dog, avoiding mole-hills in the yard as much as possible.  While the dog sniffed around and checked his pee-mail, I might as well have been asleep; then I started wondering whether we'd have another cloudy day and looked upward:  Wow!  The stars were so bright and beautiful, and that sliver of a finger-nail moon was even showing off.  When did I stop checking the sky in the morning?  That used to be the first thing I noticed when I went out to milk the cows.

I spent so much of my time outside for most of my life:  mowing the lawn, gardening, taking a forty minute walk every day, even in the coldest weather!  Now my knees can't take that kind of pounding, and I spend most of my time sitting inside, especially in winter.  Oh, I do things, most days.  I still walk to the chicken house two or three times daily; I walk to the mailbox and to Cliff's shop, when he's out there.  I try to put some time in on the recumbent bike.  Yesterday evening Cliff was talking to his cousin Edna on the phone and told her, "We haven't done anything all day."

"Speak for yourself," I said.  I had washed and folded two loads of clothes.  I made a carrot cake, which we don't need so I'm trying to find someone who wants half of it (it's delicious).  I washed dishes three times.  I guess I haven't mentioned here that I've stopped using the dishwasher.  It almost seems easier to hand-wash.  Also, I cooked our noon meal.  However, if I figured out how much time it took to do those things, it would not be a large portion of my entire day.   I surfed a lot and read a lot.  (But I should get points for only spending about 30 minutes total on Facebook!)

Cliff got a new set of hearing aids at Costco, and they are such an improvement over his last ones.  They have bluetooth capability, so when he gets a phone call, he simply pushes a button on the hearing aid and hears the caller perfectly!  One of the biggest problems since he lost so much of his hearing has been with telephone conversations.  He would repeatedly have to ask folks to repeat what they said, even using hearing aids.  Now he seems to hear every word the first time.  I have to admit it's crazy watching him sit beside me apparently talking to himself, but I'll get used to it.  Costco is the best place to get hearing aids; I know $1,500 sounds like a lot of money, but that's about half as much as some places.  We get our glasses there, too.  And I have a Facebook friend to thank for recommending Costco years ago.  Thanks, Meesha!  (He probably doesn't read my blog, but just in case, I thought I'd give him credit.)

In the bad news, I read in the paper that our electricity is going to cost more at some point in the future.  Evergy bought out Kansas City Power and Light.  KCPL hadn't taken good care of anything out here in the sticks for quite a while... you'll see poles leaning at precarious angles, threatening to fall down at the first hint of a breeze.  We lose power often.  Evergy is working on all that, but somebody has to pay for it, and that's the tough part, with inflation already making prices higher every week.

Enjoy your day, wherever you are.  I'm going to try and remember to look around me today and see what's happening; I need to get out of this coma I've been in.

Peace.

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Kansas City Star

I first started reading the Kansas City Star back when they put out two daily papers:  In the morning, The Kansas City Times; in the evening, the Kansas City Star.  Along about the sixth grade, some teacher challenged us to find articles in newspapers or magazines that contained any of  the weekly vocabulary words we were given. That must be about the time I discovered Ann Landers and Dear Abby, which kept me coming back for more.  At least that's how I think it happened, but maybe not, because I was the type of kid to read cereal boxes, the Bible, and everything in between.  Maybe I just picked up a newspaper one day and started reading the headlines.  I do know that by the time we lived in Crestview, a housing addition in Kansas City's northland, my mom was subscribing to the newspaper mainly for my benefit.

 When I was almost 13 years old, in 1957, the big Ruskin Heights tornado came along; I recall taking the paper to school with me to pass around.  I still recall some of the pictures displayed in that paper.

Thanks to the public library, I can read any issue of the Kansas City Star (and Times) ever printed

However it began, I eventually found life without a newspaper didn't suit me.  When Cliff and I got our first computer in 1998, I still subscribed to the Kansas City Star, but after awhile I noticed I wasn't reading it much.  I could just do a search about whatever I wanted to know and get my answer.  I dropped our subscription.  Once in awhile there'd be a fantastic deal on subscriptions; I'd give it another try, but the only thing I usually looked at by then was the crossword puzzle.  I watched the paper shrink, losing pages, advertisers, and subscribers.  At some point nobody wanted to deliver newspapers to rural areas, so even with a subscription you might not get it your paper delivered half the time.  Besides, the Internet had me in its clutches.  Who needs a newspaper these days?

When I got a library card from Mid-Continent Library a few years ago, I began to explore all the benefits of the Public Library and found out I could actually read the latest issue of the Kansas City Star every morning.  It took some getting used to, because it's a photographic image of the entire paper, so you navigate pages in a different way than you would with a newspaper in your hands.  I've conquered that situation, and I must say, reading a newspaper is the best way to get the news.  You don't have to listen to dozens of commercials; you don't see all the "fake news" on Facebook.  Nobody is arguing.  I often just look at what's on the front page, finish up on page 11B or wherever I'm taken, and stop at that... but I'm not angry when I finish reading, because the style of writing isn't argumentative; I know the Star has always favored the liberal side of things, but I don't see them bashing the opposing side to the extent that online and television news do.  I read this morning about what President's Trump's advisors are telling him: some are encouraging him to accept defeat gracefully and others like his plan to demand a recount.  Every time I've turned to CNN, the only topic has been Donald Trump and what crazy things he's done; I don't need them to tell me about this President.      

All the craziness on Facebook during the presidential campaign has made me HATE Facebook.  I wish I could bring myself to abandon it.  My sister, who will be 93 in November, has never had Internet and firmly tells folks she doesn't want it.  I envy her.  I wouldn't give up Internet willingly, but I'm thinking more and more about leaving Facebook for good.  All my relatives have telephones if they want to tell me something, and a few of them read my blog and keep up with what I'm doing.  So it isn't like I'd be getting completely out of touch with them.  I don't like talking on the phone a lot, but that's because of those people who hang on saying nothing, waiting for me to come up with something to talk about.  It's hard to try and make small talk for an hour.  

On a lighter note, we have been having unbelievable weather with highs at 70 and above.  That's supposed to end after today, but it's that time of year.  Winter will fly past; spring will return and we'll forget winter for awhile.  It's beginning to look like Coronavirus isn't going to ever go away; we're just going to have to learn to live with it.  That's another thing I read about this morning in the Star.  Who'd have thought last March that the Virus would still be around with Thanksgiving approaching?  What a strange time we are living in.  What a strange year!

Keep a stiff upper lips, people!  It isn't over yet, so batten down the hatches. (I looked up that phrase after typing it, to make sure I was using it correctly.)


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Covid-19: I'd like to see some numbers and percentages

I know the Corona virus kills many people.  The numbers of those who have died stagger the imagination.  But I never see numbers that show the percentages as compared to the general population.   I'd like to know how many people with positive tests have no symptoms.  I have googled questions like this, but many of the stats come from the early part of the pandemic.  I want to know what percentage of the population of our country has died from Covid; I wish they'd stop with the numbers and tell me the percentage.  

I think we are all confused by the nature of this disease.  For instance, none of the people I know who tested positive... not a single one!... have had symptoms.  One has man tested positive, then ten days later still tested positive... never a symptom, and they told him to go back to work testing positive.  The woman who sleeps in his bed every night has tested negative, although she has a rather high-risk job.  Our oldest grandson ran around with a good friend for an entire weekend, celebrating his birthday.  The friend tested positive, the grandson never did, although he said he was pretty sure they even drank from the same bottle at one point.  

There's a couple around my age in Kentucky I know personally who tested positive but had no symptoms, while their daughter, who had it before they did, got very sick and was in the hospital for an extended time, and is still recuperating at home.

I did a quick Google search a while ago and saw an article saying that over 40% of positive cases were asymptomatic, but that was pretty early in the pandemic when not a lot of testing had been done.

I realize the doctors are still trying to figure this thing out; it doesn't seem to behave like other virus's we know about.  I appreciate their efforts.  All I want to know is what percentage of the general population of the USA have died from Covid-19, what percentage of them have tested positive, etc.  Numbers don't tell me anything.  I suppose if I were good at math I could google the numbers of populations and divide it by the numbers of cases or deaths, but math was my worst subject in school, and those would be some BIG numbers.  I could even ask Alexa to figure the percentage, but I'm not sure I know how to say numbers that big. 

I guess that's my rant for the day.  

Carry on.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Who's the President?

I remember when George W. was elected president: we waited for a few (a couple?) days to find out for sure who won.  Remember the mystery of the hanging chads?  Before that, I remember reading the story about our Missouri home-boy, Harry Truman, was thought to have lost.  In the his Library you can see a picture of him holding the Chicago Daily Tribune declaring "Dewey Defeats Truman".  Well, this may be the closest election yet.  I don't have a horse in this race, really, because I don't like either candidate.  Oh, I voted... but it's like most of the past elections:  Choose the candidate you hate the least.  Thank goodness it will soon be over, no matter how it turns out.  Bah, humbug.

Cliff now has enough funds in his tractor account to buy either of the tractors pictured in my previous blog entry; However, we are looking around for a used Kubota or John Deere less than ten years old, and a little larger than those we looked at.  As for the cute John-Deere-with-a-cab he sat in, it is about the same horsepower as the 17-year-old John Deere we already have; he wants the next size bigger.  That little cab is somewhat crowded, too, for a big man; my husband is afraid that might be a problem if he spends any length of time in it, which he would hope to do.  The Kubota without a cab is the best buy, but we do want a cab.  

One problem with buying a tractor now is that new ones are in short supply due to the pandemic.  The dealers whose lots were previously full of tractors now have very little to choose from.  And really, we'd rather find a gently-used tractor anyway.  Here's the problem:  We have found several used John Deeres the size of Cliff's present tractor for sale, many of them with cabs... but for the reasons I already listed, we want the next size up.  Apparently a lot of people bought that small model and found it not big enough, because many of those are for sale, used.  We will wait and scour the Internet for a tractor the next size larger; we are leaning toward Kubota.  While we wait, Cliff may sell something else and collect more funds; he's out of tractors to sell, but he's always selling something farm-related.  Whatever happens, we don't want to buy in haste and repent at leisure.

That's the trucker who came to haul the 1855 to her new home in North Dakota.

She's going for her last ride



Goodbye, Big Ollie.  Safe travels.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The search goes on

I count it a blessing that Cliff and I have not, to my knowledge, been covid-positive, not that we've been tested.  So many get tested and are positive even though they haven't a single symptom.  That's what confounds me about this virus; there are so many factors we don't know about or understand.  I decided Sunday to stay home from church rather than put people at risk, since  I'd been in huge crowds at the airports we went through going to and from Georgia; I'm sure there's a good chance that some in the crowd were carriers.  But when I don't go to church, the week just drags along.

Here's what we found out from our day of tractor-shopping:  Most tractor dealers have very little to sell right now, thanks to the pandemic.  One of the places we went had a used tractor that would have fit Cliff's needs, but we didn't get down there in time; someone else bought it.  Cliff would much rather buy a used tractor because it would save him some money, but everything is in short supply.  One thing we learned:  He can choose to buy a larger tractor than the model he has now, or he can buy a tractor with a cab on it the same size as his current one... but he can't have both features unless he comes across a decent used one.  The new ones aren't that much out of our price range, but it's too much.  We aren't borrowing money, as tempting as the dealers make it sound... zero interest, rebates... because we are on a fixed income and I don't want to cut things that close.  

Same size as our old one

Cliff took pictures yesterday of some more things he'll try to sell on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other online selling spots.  We'll try to get those listed this morning.  The John Deere salesman we talked to Monday offered us a decent trade-in price on Cliff's John Deere, simply because Cliff kept it in such good shape.  We saw has a cab tractor Cliff really likes, although it's the same size as our present John Deere; he wanted a larger one, but a cab adds $2,000 to the price, and that puts us over our limit.  He also looked at a new Kubota that's the size he wants, but has no cab.

He really wants a cab:  He'd have air conditioning in summer and heat in winter.  Since he's developed asthma in his old age,  that's something he needs.  For the last few years, just mowing the pasture has given him difficulty breathing for days afterward.  The cold winter air isn't good for him either.  We are at an age when we don't have that much time to do things we'd like to do, and when a senior citizen has a dream he can turn into reality, he'd better do it sooner rather than later.  

We really haven't settled on anything for certain, but we are circling the wagons.  I'll show you two we looked at:

The dealer had rented this slightly-used Kubota to a grain storage facility down the road 
from him.  He took us to to see it.  It's in our price range. 

To my Canadian reader who couldn't comment on my blog for years and now wonders why she can finally comment, there was a setting I had never noticed:  when I discovered it, it was set to only allow people with a Google account comment.  Once I changed that setting, all my readers could comment.  

Another reader commented that her son's father-in-law is an Allis Chalmers man:  Well, that's my favorite classic tractor because my uncles and one cousin had Allis Chalmers tractors when I was a kid visiting on their farms.  Cliff likes them too; we had one that was our main tractor for years.  Both kids learned to drive on it.  Now he seems to favor the Olivers, but he loves all the old tractors: they were simple to work on and built to last!  

Speaking of which, either today or tomorrow the 1855 Oliver will head for its new home in North Dakota.

Enjoy your day, dear readers.  I wish I could share our weather with you this week. 

It appears we'll be waiting awhile to find out who our President will be for the next four years... and that's all I'll say about that.