Monday, October 8, 2012

News of great importance

Well, at least for us. As you may know, we lost our beloved Jake in May, and unexpectedly had to have Daphne put down after she experienced either kidney failure or pancreatitis due to her diabetes. She was in alot of pain and there wasn't much choice. But up until two days before, she had been fine. It was a heartbreaking summer. We all grieve differently, but I knew pretty soon that I wanted to add another dog into our lives. Bailey was as lonely as I was, and I had been looking at chihuahuas for a long time. They are smaller, easier to bathe and lift (Jake was close to 130 pounds at his max). When we were helping him up and down the stairs at the end, it was backbreaking. Shortly after dropping Allison off at Amtrak for a ride back to school (about two weeks ago) I was compelled to stop into the local humane society just for a quick look. After seeing alot of large dogs, I was just kind of wandering around and one of the volunteers approached me. "What are you looking for?" she asked. I told her I wanted a smaller dog-like chihuahua size. She said "come with me". Back in the offices away from the kennel was a small brindle chihuahua named Chipotle. He had big brown eyes and I immediately fell in love.  I had to plead with Jerry on the ride home (via bluetooth) and hope that he would be ready to let a new dog join us. We brought Bailey back to the shelter to "meet" Chipotle (that's when I knew I had him!) and they were fine together. Actually a little disinterested once all the sniffing was over. Yes! He was ours! We had to wait a few days because he needed his shots and was being neutered the next day. So we picked him up on a Friday to come home with us! Here he is:


He is a small little guy who is friendly and curious. We've started calling him "Chip" for short and I am in love. Bailey is testing the waters and hasn't made a commitment yet, but he is definitely less lonely than he was two weeks ago.  We've already picked out a Halloween costume-but I don't think we'll be doing much trick or treating. He didn't seem happy about it-what do you think? We'll keep you posted (hopefully more regularly as things have settled down somewhat).  Enjoy the fall-it's going quickly here!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Those in the know

Those in the know know that this has been the spring/summer from hell.  We are coming out of it without too much collateral damage, but it has been a rough ride. In May we lost three beloved family members. It's so hard to watch our families go through the suffering of that loss, and to know that a part of our family has gone from this world. They will be missed. It was getting towards the end of the month when we had to have our beloved dog Jake put down. He suffered long and hard at the end, but kept fighting. When it became apparent that he could no longer fight any more, we let him go home. It was a devastating decision to make. Those who know understand that wishing for him to die in his sleep was something we did each day. Then it is not your action that takes him away, but when he is just plain ready. But watching him suffer every day became more than we could bear, or put him through. RIP Jake- 5/27/2012
And believe it or not, we just had to have our Daphne put down last week.  Her suffering was quick and unnexpected. She went from being fine (albeit a little slower than she has been-but we attributed that to age) to being at the vet in four days with either acute pancreatitis or renal failure. We had to make a decision right there to prolong her misery because of our pain, or to let her go and let the pain end. RIP Daphne 8/21/12.

What a year you say?  Wait, there is more. We had just let out a sigh of relief thinking "Whew! May is over!" when on June 7 I got up in the morning due to a low blood sugar, was standing at the kitchen counter making myself something to eat, and down I went. I don't remember the fall, but when I came to (with the help of Jerry and Jackie) I knew my leg was broken. After being splinted with the cardboard from a wine box and tulle from a bolt that I just happened to have for crafts (which by the way worked like a charm) they (and Walter-who had slept through it all) took me to the hospital, where it was pronounced broken. I had broken the tibia and fibula (sp?) and needed surger to place a titanium rod (that's right rod-not pin-rod) from the knee to the ankle. It was a successful surgery and I was sent home with just my wounds bandaged.  No cast!  The rod acts as a cast and the leg heals.  So that set off another whole chain of events. But it wasn't ALL bad. In the midst of this our daughter graduated from high school on a beautiful June day. She is our youngest and so the last of the high school graduates. She has happily left for college in August and is on her way-it all goes so fast doesn't it?

We're happy in that all these events hurt so much because we loved so much. And that's not a bad thing is it?

Monday, April 16, 2012

chicken shack

Our chicken coop has arrived, and along with it, the almost fulfillment of our "farm" dreams. Of course the rest of it will be when the actual chickens arrive. We have spent alot of time visiting chicks at our local Agway and Tractor Supply.  Our chickens will be coming from the Amish. The have told us sometime in May. Albert, the guy we purchased our coop from, has offered to keep the chicks until they are a little heartier, when they don't need the lamp and all that paraphanalia. I hope they are hearty enough to tolerate three dogs. I plan on introducing the dogs one at a time, so that they can meet the chicks as a minority. Hopefully, this will help. Our dogs have no idea what is coming.  I will try to get the video camera up and running before then. I think we'll need it.  We had a road trip this past weekend, down to Long Island for a dental visit. We never seem to have enough time to see all the people we want to, and it's a frustration every time. What I was able to have was half a gluton-free pizza in East Williston. It was probably the best pizza I've ever had, possibly because it has been denied for so long. I did not know that gluton-free could taste so good.  I scarfed down half a pizza.  Four slices-a personal best. I can't imagine that it helped my blood sugar, but when you're in the process of satisfying one craving, another denial is not in the cards.  One disease at a time please!

Today's weather is expected to be fabulous. High in the upper 80s. I have a few projects going on right now; painting the cottage, painting an acrylic landscape of Montauk Point, working on writing my  novel, or reading.  All are worthy of my time, but dependent upon my arthritic hands. Baking in the sun may be the winner.  It's all good on a day that will reach high in the 80s.  Doesn't matter much what you're doing on that kind of day. The air is heavy today. I haven't said THAT in a long time. Summer isn't far off. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


It's that time of year when high school seniors are chomping at the bit, ready and anxious to take on the world. That being said, it is a senior's responsibility to finish out the year with all their efforts. It is just the beginning of getting up early and facing the day, not the end. Most high school seniors feel that if they could just get out of the hellhole that they are forced to attend, then they would become that responsible adult who will get up in time for class and attend to all their responsibilities. Most high school seniors don't feel that way about their current situation. Out! That is all they can see and all they are interested in being.  However, society has established that this senior year is important for the development of these students. It is supposed to be the year where responsibilities are added, and judgment is assumed to have become mature and more developed than the high school sophmore or junior.
I have tried to explain to my senior that the feeling I have when the dog runs away, looking over her shoulder as she disobeys me, is the same feeling that I have every time she misses the bus or seems to be losing her way. It runs along the lines of "go ahead, I hope a hawk picks you up and eats you for lunch."  Now, of course I don't really mean this, toward the dog or to my child.  Of course.  But the frustration level of a parent of a senior is tremendous. It is so unfortunate that just as you are coming into the home stretch, having raised a responsible and consciencious student and member of society, pride being the go-to description of your precious child, they start to screw with your head and become slovenly, lazy and irresponsible; sleeping through bus pick-ups and appointments. It couldn't be any easier, the buses here DO come right to your house, after all. That's because they don't like students waiting out in the northwoods alone. The predator possibilities are endless. At this point, I'm looking at the animal predators as possible allies.  Whatever it takes to get her attention.  Now, the fact is that my senior could have probably graduated in January. The credits that she is taking now are, with the exception of one class, fillers.  Had she kicked and screamed last fall she most likely would have been able to squeeze in that last class and had enough credits to finish up in January. But this particular child is not a kicker or screamer. That being said, I have always told my children that their consequences are theirs.  But truth be told, now I'M KICKING AND SCREAMING.  GET UP AND GET THE BUS! I have used cajoling, begging, pleading, punishing, ignoring and every consequence I can think of short of manual labor. 

Manual Labor?  Wait, I do need some furniture moved and some dusting and vacuuming done. In the interest of educating my child of course.  Of course.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day festivities

Well, St. Patrick's day has come and gone. I've known many St. Patrick's where SOMEONE has been "over-served" as my children (adults) would say. The humiliations that happen on March 17th are probably historic in their numbers. But humiliation doesn't have to be alcohol driven-as was mine. I was stone-cold sober. I didn't have a drink this St. Patrick's day-it kind of seems counter-productive considering the number of medications that I am on. Which brings me to the reason why: my blood sugar seems to have plumetted from avery high number to a very low number-43 to be exact. To those of you who aren't in the "know", a 43 blood sugar is far from the 100 that is a perfect blood sugar. I wear an insulin pump which is supposed to be sending an alert if I go below 80. That did not happen-not sure why. Let me explain:
We had headed up to Vrooman's Hotel, our local watering spot in Caroga Lake. We were planning on having corned beef and spending the night at Karaoke. We take our karaoke very seriously here in Caroga. It is a full house every time they offer it, and the St. Patrick's dinner party was another incentive to be there-all in all it was turning into a great night for the Irish!  Wearing or green we entered the dining room and came upon some good friends from the lake, summer people who had ventured up to Caroga for a weekend-the weather was magnificent and we all had stories of how we'd spend our day-with 70 degree weather. Jerry and I had spent the day working at our lake cottage, which is one bedroom closer to being done. We worked like dogs. Or should I say we worked like the Irish? We were looking foward to a nice corned beef and cabbage dinner, and sat waiting at the table for a bit, in lively conversation and lots of laughs. I was feeling pretty good considering I was exhausted from a day at work. Our dinners were delivered to the table, and I began to eat. Somewhere between starting to eat and the cabbage incident, I felt it necessary to test my blood sugar, since I normally test before a meal. With my pump in hand, apparently I went down. Right into my corned beef and cabbage.  My head hit the plate, thankfully, because the table could be pretty hard. Jerry who was sitting directly across from me, saw it happen and was up on his feet immediately to catch me before I fell out of the chair. Have I ever mentioned that he is my hero?  I think so. But it never hurts to say it again. It was quite dramatic to those at the table, but it was more discree to the other diners than if I had completely gone down. I was up within a few seconds, but a little woozy and a little nauseous. And so, with two girlfriends in tow, I made my way to the ladies room. Jerry had given me a couple of glucose tablets, and I was beginning to feel more like myself. I went back to the table and finished my dinner, uneventfully. I was not feeling up to Karaoke, and we headed home early. Not the St. Patrick's we had planned.
It wasn't until the next morning that the horrifying reality dawned on me. I had fallen into my corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day!  I was so grateful that I had not passed on during this episode.  For obvious reasons. I'm not ready to go yet-I have a lot of life in me!  But I could just imagine the narrative-"How did she pass?"  "Oh, she fell into her corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day-but she was sober."  "Right."  What else could they say? It is not the way I want to go for sure. I'm sure you can see my point.  I'm hoping that when my number is up, I'm doing something fabulous like singing or dancing. Going out with a song!  But I will say this. Never did I feel more like a beer than I did the day AFTER St. Patrick's Day.  It would have helped aid my humiliation.

Well, I hope your St. Patrick's celebration was fun-but uneventful. Erin-go-bragh!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

stock up!

It has been a month and a day since I last posted, and I am appalled at how quickly time has flown by. Then again, time moving quickly in winter is usually not a bad thing, so it is mixed emotions. I have no intention of going away, I just took a much needed breather. Of course if I had notified you of this little mini-vacation that probably would have been easier than checking back day after day. My apologies. We are awaiting the mother of all snowstorms, after a winter of fairly few. The snow base around here is nothing less than piss-poor, and the local businesses are suffering. This is ski/snowmobile season, and although the skiers have had little interruption, the conditions have not been great. The snowmobiles have been unable to tour and everyone is getting a little bit antsy. This next system (or systems) are coming from the west AND the north, and they will both be meeting directly over Caroga Lake. That's how the prediction feels. I was in town today, and it seems that people are stocking up on the essentials, bread and milk.  I never could understand this. If I were going to be stuck in my house for more than 24 hours, bread and milk are certainly not the first things that come to mind when we prioritize replenishments.  M&M's?  How about chocolate cake, popcorn, jax, twizzlers and the entire family of flavored tootsie rolls?  Bread and Milk? Are you kidding?  We'll see how it goes. It's supposed to hit Wednesday night into Thursday, and rumor has it that there is going to be an expected snow day. They haven't used any yet, which is kind of unusual for this neck of the woods.  We'll see. I'm keeping my options open.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ready, set. . . Skate!

As the superbowl approaches, I am again reminded of just how disinterested in football I really am.  I get all the hype and commercialism surrounding it-if the Superbowl could be extended into a season, like Christmas, they would.  Oh wait, they have.  An entire season!  Ugh.  I can only say that football has given my movie viewing new life. Each time there is a big game, I am compelled to get myself to the movies and see something really worth watching.  I used to be able to tolerate these games, before I was gluton-free. But now, even the snacks are boring.  If you can't get your hands into a gooey and hot h'ors d'ouevre (sp?)  than what really is the point?  I think football was initially created by the makers of beer.  I mean really, when was the last time a "cosmopolitan" was served at a ball game?  It just doesn't fit. And so, I will most likely take myself to the movies for the big game, and leave the cheering/eating/drinking to the guys (and those girls who love it as well).  I am so inspired by my sister-in-law who really LIKES these games.  I've tried, truly. But I just can't help thinking that I would rather watch last season's reruns than this week's game.  Sad but true.  I actually do prefer watching golf on TV (I am not being facetious here) I really do. Watching g)olf is a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  Usually, the weather is fine (which is always a nice way to spend the day, on the warm and breezy links of Augusta GA), the fans are civilized and sometimes even whisper.  You could have a cosmopolitan, or even just a nice lemonade or iced tea.  Everyone is on their very best behavior, unlike the half-naked team-color painted lunatics who have spent the past five hours in the parking lot getting fired up and ready for the game.  Anything that requires me to stay outside in sub-zero weather, eating sub-standard super-priced food is not on my bucket list.  If I was given superbowl tickets-I would pass them on to those I know would enjoy the game.  It's just not worth the effort of packing to get myself to Indiana. I'd rather be going to FLA if I'm going to be getting on a plane.  Anything done in sub-zero temperatures should involve blades and rich hot chocolate.  Skating perhaps?  We tried it last weekend, and it was a raging success for the five minutes we spent on the ice.  It was a cloudy and cold day, and it seemed like a great idea to get out our skates and head on down to the park at Littauer Field.  They have resurrected this ice skating venue the past two winters, and from the looks of the crowds on the ice (NOT!) it's a raging success.  Actually, I do believe there is a rabid ice hockey following, just not figure skaters.  We managed to get our skates on, which is more and more difficult as we get a little older.  There are no warm benches to sit on-just snow covered football bleachers.  We did our skates on the back of Jerry's pick-up, and without those lace tools that the rink guards at Christopher Morley Ice Rink had, I was unable to get mine sufficiently tight. And so, with weak ankles, off I went.  When your ankes don't have support (i.e. TIGHT!) it is nearly impossible to skate with any authority. I managed a few spins and photo ops, but then I was done.  Sometimes, the bucket list just involves having done it-not the quality of the experience.  Jerry had backed his serius radio up to the rink, and I was wistfully thinking how I would have loved to skate around the rink to the 70s station that I so love, but alas, it was not to be. The rink was still in need of a zamboni, and the divotted, snow-covered rink was in pretty bad shape. It needed a parent or someone to sweep/shovel away the 2.5 inches of partly cloudy that had accumulated on the ice.  Not a smooth surface for a age-challenged skater.  So, we got our shots (both photographic and verbal) and packed it in. The hot cocoa was indeed comforting, and we drove home laughing at our mutual limitations. Anyone for golf?
Jerry having some fun. . .
. . . before the trip, and near miss.

This is what weak ankles look like!

What a beautiful rink!  If only it were ice-ready!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extra Strength

I had the opportunity to shop for Peptol-Bismol the other day, as Allison had a stomach thing going on on Monday Morning. I realized that the last time I had purchased Peptol Bismol was sometime when Allison was in kindergarten.  It has, in her world, lasted a lifetime.  We didn't give Peptol before Kindergarten (if I remember correctly), and so she has been working off the same bottle for 12 years.  I imagine that the expiration date was passed long before we finished it, but who checks these things?  Once I've purchased something, unless it is in the refrigerator, it lasts till it's gone. At any rate, we were out of the pink stuff and I wanted to be a better mother than I had been at 6 AM, when I just said "NO, we don't have any", and went back to sleep.  At some point during the day, I remembered that she had asked me a question, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. I asked her after she arrived home from school, and after I got the answer, I vowed to remember to pick some up at the store, even though her stomach ache was gone. At least in the future I'd be more prepared. I stopped off at the dollar general store, which is different from a dollar store. We have a number of dollar stores here in Fulton County, and it does require some translation for the uninitiated.  A YANKEE dollar store, is a dollar store that actually charges a dollar for everything in the store. Yes, everything is $1.  No exceptions unless they are for lesser amounts (such as 2 for $1). It gets tricky for those who don't know the lingo. A DOLLAR GENERAL store means that everything is GENERALLY a dollar.  Sometimes items can be many dollars, but GENERALLY they are less than $10.  If an item's value is more than $10, it doesn't really belong in any kind of dollar store, does it? But I digress. 

The Good Old Days-No Strength choices!
I  made a quick trip around the Dollar General store because I was also looking for Bachman's Sweet Potato Chips (anyone know where to get these?  They're unbelievably delicious!)  but I wasn't having any luck there, so this also happened to be my third stop on the quest for these. After the sweet potato chip disappointment I immediately went to the medicine aisle, which is the world's biggest bargain. You can usually find whatever medicine you are looking for in the store brand.  It is a big value for your dollar and doesn't have any difference that I have ever found, and I am quite knowledgeable about medications, believe me.  This I know to be true-I have checked the labels ingredient for ingredient.  But I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the store brand of Peptol Bismol in REGULAR and EXTRA STRENGTH.  What is this?  I was confused.  I ask you, if you are experiencing stomach pains, do you classify them as regular or extra strength?  I do not. When I am experiencing stomach pain, I want the national guard called out to relieve my pain. I'm not taking anything less than the most to relieve that particular ailment.  And if you are buying medication for TODAY'S stomach ache, who's to say that TOMORROW'S stomach ache will not be extra strength?  This seems like the cruelist form of marketing. Are they saying we need two strengths of PB in our medicine closet?  That is ridiculous.  That is like taking only regular strength ibuprofin because your pain is less than raging?  I think not.  When I go in with pain meds, I want the biggest strength on my side.  I don't want to find that midway through the dosage time it was the wrong strength, and I am now in raging pain.  What do you do then?  You wish you had taken Extra Strength and suck it up? This is why you should take that in the first place.  Then you have no regrets.  And so, I headed off to the register only to be told upon ringing me up that the store brand of extra strength peptol bismol had been recalled.  I walked back to the section on stomach remedies and picked up the regular strength peptol bismol which was, upon registering it with the cashier, perfectly fine and under no recall.  I left the store with my pink bottle and headed home, wondering if I would have buyers remorse in the middle of a raging stomach flu.  Oh well, live dangerous I always say.  Isn't that the point of dollar store medications anyway? I now have a raging headache.  I wonder why?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tubby Time

Today was bath day at Blue Line Farm.  The human inhabitants shower every day. Hopefully, that would go without saying. Not so the animal population. It is hard to get Jake from one room to another, no less carry him into the tub.  But he was long overdue. Bailey has other issues. He could jump into the tub if he wanted to, but the truth is, he doesn't want to. Anything other than walking or running is, in Bailey's mind, a scary and unnecessary activity. He is simply not interested.  Daphne had a bath yesterday, and that is a whole different ballgame. She loves her tubby. She revels in it.  It is, just as any woman knows, almost a religious experience. Sinking down into the warm, soapy water. Just closing your eyes and enjoying the healing heat on your tired, achy muscles.  That was yesterday. Today we chose Bailey first, hoping to jump on the element of surprise. Once we got him into the bathroom, he began to shiver. Not from temperature, but from fear.  We had prepared the tub with a mat on the bottom, so as not to scratch the surface permanently. The water was running with a nice warm and gentle spritz. Jerry lifted him into the tub, and he settled down quite nicely. Not scrambling to get out, as I suspected he would. He stood quietly whhile we hosed him down and lathered him up. We use a nice "tear-free" shampoo made specifically for dogs.  The lather and massage was something that he was enjoying, and we were able to get him done rather quickly. The drying was also a lovely rub-down that he completely enjoyed. One down-one to go.  Jake was coaxed into the bathroom but wasn't quite feeling the experience. Jerry lifted him too-not an easy task, but he went quietly. As soon as the warm water hit, you could almost see him sigh.  As a fellow arthritis sufferer, I could feel his relief. He was loving every minute of this bath. The lather and massage were glorious-I could tell he was in his finest moment. We kept him in an extra few minutes-it was worth it to see him enjoy himself so much.  I think we need to be bathing him more often.  We dried him off and again, that rubdown with a plush thick towel was perfect-he clearly enjoyed himself. I laid a fresh towel down on his bed so he wouldn't get that all wet and have to lay on it all night, but he chose instead to lay down on the rug. I guess he didn't want to mess up his bed AT ALL. I know how all of them feel-there is nothing like a tubby. Here are a few pictures of our CLEAN dogs.  They are ready for their closeups!  Now that the tub has been cleaned and bleached, I may just take that on tonight.  A warm and lathered tubby with a beautiful view out the back window.  Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The thrills of January

Ah January, that time of year when we clean up our acts, our houses and our calendars. A clean page with a clean year followed behind it is motivation to use a nice new pen. Print carefully and legibly those dates that you want to remember, and vow to keep it up throughout the year. Inevitably, by the time I get to June it is a scribbled mess of appointments, names, numbers and travel plans. But each year, I try. I do this house cleaning because of taxes. It is impossible to prepare for taxes when you haven't got your house in order. Because the scamble for receipts, Dr's statements and all the other things that are needed cannot be accomplished if the Christmas tree hasn't been removed and stored efficiently. It's an overlap of events, and it doesn't work. But in January, there is a sort of two minute warning (in football terms) where you really have to hustle to get it together. I go over the last year's calendar and carefully write in birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and road trips. It is a history of our lives, those calendars from 2011. If only I could make out the notes I have made along the way. There are numbers written in the margins that must have been important at that moment. But in my rush to get things done I neglected to write a name next to that number, and now I have no idea who that person is, or how to get in touch with them. If you haven't heard from me in a while, it might have been you. Sorry!  I am also inclined to clean my wallet and my pocketbook in January. This is a large task which coincides with tax time. I know my wallet is holding important receipts that we will definitely be needing soon. I transfer all receipts to the newly emptied wallet, and hope that they will make sense when I am actually handing them over.  And wallets and bags can be filled with incredible junk that I am not sure how it gets in there. I believe there are people out there who, like pickpockets, are agile at placing their garbage in my bag.  It's the only way I can explain alot of trash-someone must have walked up behind me while I was otherwise occupied, and dropped in post-it notes with cryptic messages written in unfamiliar handwriting. "Gina 7 PM on Thursday".  Who is Gina and which Thursday were they referencing, because the post-it is absolutely ancient and crumbled.  Never wrote it, I swear.  Now my family is convinced that these are my idiosyncracies and I should own them, because I do have a bit of a memory problem, probably due to medication. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Recently while organizing my tax-list of medications, I was picking through  my medical file and found an EOB (Explanation of Benefits for the un-initiated).  I was reading the list of diagnoses printed on this insurance sheet and was surprised to find that "giddy" was one of the diagnoses the Doctor had listed. Now, the insurance code next to it also referenced another condition "dizzy".  This I will own. On occasion I will be walking along and simply list to the right or left. It's usually something I can catch, and am always happy when I am with someone who would be able to identify me if I keep over. And I have certainly been referred to as a "flake" sometimes, because I can have a serious conversation with someone, and five minutes later forget that we had just run into them. I don't think that's the kind of dizzy my Doctor meant though. But Giddy?  I have not been giddy since the 10th grade when I found out I made the Cheerleading Squad.  Really.  I would not have been surprised if I had read "sarcastic" or even "cynical". But I was completely taken back by this new diagnosis event.  I'm not sure how I feel about it. Being giddy is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at Richard Simmons.  He is giddy on a regular basis, and has actually made a career out of it.  (He and I are meeting in the morning for about one hour-strictly voluntary-not a diagnosis) Tom Cruise was giddy about Katie Holmes when he met up with Oprah, but just such a scene is what I'm afraid of.  I wasn't a big fan of Tom after that. I just  kind of felt like he made himself look like an idiot.  I don't want to look like an idiot, and so I will make the extra effort to contain my giddiness. However, this piece of paper is in the tax file, and I'm not sure I want the accountant to know that I have been professionally diagnosed as giddy.  Would he think me foolish? Thankfully, I do have Jerry kind of running this show, and he always has my back. I simply have to stop cracking myself up all the time, which is something else I do, but has never been professionally diagnosed. In the insurance codebook that might read Crack-up/Crazy.  I'd better be careful.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The build up to the holidays is very stressful for everyone. The gifts must be purchased, wrapped, sorted, tagged, packed, loaded and in my case, forgotten.  I worked a full year on an afghan for my son and his significant other (there's got to be a better term than THAT!) With jut a few finishing touches required, I didn't wrap this beautiful work of art, instead planning to finish it up in the four hour ride to Long Island.  With that in mind, I'm sure you know what I'm going to say-that's right, I forgot it.  We left at 6:00 a.m., and without a full coffee-inspired reaction, I was unable to remember this one handmade gift.  We packed for ten or eleven family members, and I must say that I did that (with my daughter's assistance) very well.  Each family was sorted and packed into one single and large gift bag, marked with the location. We made a few stops over the holidays, and each one was well planned.  Except for the afghan.  I didn't even remember it until my son walked into the house and I looked at him to say hello.  At that moment, it came crashing down around me.  I didn't have their afghan. Damn, damn and double damn!
 And so, with this year's faux pas fresh in my mind, I am planning and looking to next year with high hopes and great expectaations. I will be buying early, wrapping early, sorting early, and FINISHING early. I will take on nothing larger than a scarf or hat, and it will be manageable enough to be completed by November, at the very latest. I have the wool, I love to knit, and this should not be a problem.  As soon as the tree i removed, I will be bringing my spinning wheel upstairs from the studio.  I will finish!  As far as resolutions go, I am not making any except for my annual resolution. I fully intend to monitor the language that comes out of my mouth and to fully eliminate any words that would offend. I tend to have the mouth of a sailor sometime, and I hate it!  I make this resolution each year, and every year it is followed a little longer into the calendar.  I won't say how long it goes, but I will admit that I usually have to re-remind myself around Lent.  Quit the cursing!  I try.  I think it is a valued resolution, and I give it my best shot.  Anyone with an interesting resolution?  Quite possibly there is a cursing support group I could become a member of. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yesterday we had "The greening of the church" which is when "many hands truly do make light work" (another Amish saying that is very true! Right after the 10:00 service, everyone dives into the "decoration boxes" and gets started. The aisles get the tall pillar candles, the wreaths go up on the walls and each staihned glass window gets a candle-lit window sconce-the tree (from our property) always looks so majestic in church - in about 20 minutes or so, the church is deand tree is decorated for the Christmas eve services, and looks magnificent. This is my favorite time of year. There is something for everyone! Just like at home, all of a sudden things look very Christmassy-I don't usually get "in the mood" until then. Seeing the church all decorated and realizing there are only 7 days until christmas is enough to get even the laziest shopper started! And luckily-I did alot of shlpping yesterday with Jerry-we went with a list and just chipped away at it! Not once did I get sidetracked. I'm quite proud of myself! Last weekend friends came and picked out a tree:
and on this past Saturday, the gentlemen from the church came up to pick out the tree for the sanctuary: The interesting thing is, Jerry and I had picked out a candidate for the church, looking at it from all angles and thinking this was a great tree. When the four gentlemen arrived, they went out into the pasture before us When we arrived slightly after them, and with no communicaation between us about location, we pulled up to the same location and found that where they were standing (in a choice of 8 acres or so) and found that they had picked the same tree.  Coincidence?  I don't think so. I think that there was a little devine intervention going on-I love when that happens!

Right about now is when I usually start to panic-but this year, I have it all under control-we were actually able to take in a Christmas Cantata that my friend Missy was performing in. All in all a lovely weekend!  We were in Colonie Mall on Saturday, and low and behold there was Santa, looking exhausted and daunted by the line of children wrapping around the ChristmasLand venue. I guess he gets overwhelmed too! We have decided because we're going to be on L.I. for Christmas, we will do our christmas here before we leave-this means we don't have to organize yet another bag when we get on the road. A Brilliant plan if you ask me.  We're really going along swimmngly with Christmas, and I think we might pull this off with little drama.  I'm praying for that! Of course I too have been known to be a little delusional about this time of year, and maybe that's the case, but for right now I'm going to wallow in this feeling of accomplishment. By thursday I will probably be in a panic.  We'll see!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Moonlight Walks

Because neither Jerry or I is compelled to stop tasting the Christmas goodies, we have begun a walking regine after dinner. We were going real strong in the summertime, putting on running shoes and giving ourselves a couple of brisk laps around the cemetery, which is next to our house. We could work up a good sweat, and negate the calories of getting into the car and driving to Granny's Ice Cream stand for a nightcap. The lines were long but the girls behind the counter are quick. After a time waiting on the line and chatting with all the other patrons we would step up to the window and place our order. Because we live in an area where dairy is readily available, ice cream happens to be world-class delicious, expensive and abundant. If you order a Baby size, it is the equivalent to a medium on Long Island. And they just grow bigger from there. Granny's has soft-serve and they have to tip the cones on their side to get them out of the ice cream stand. It's pretty wild. When someone orders a "Large" everyone starts to laught and comment, because clearly this customer is new, and has no idea what he's in for. So now we are walking because with the onset of autumn and winter, we lapsed a little bit in our walking schedulee. Here it is December and we have been eating Stewart's delicious ice cream (half gallons)without regard to the need for exercise or restraint. There are certain things that you basically never run out of. Eggs, milk, peanut butter. Ice cream has now joined the list of items that we will ride into town to replenish. If we have foolishly allowed a half gallon to get to the point where someone is getting shorted, it's a trip to Stewarts. We live approximately six miles from Stewarts, in Meco. Now, six miles on a straight road is nothing, but on North Bush Road where we live, it's quite a trip. At least a half hour round trip. We've done it. Which brings me back to my original explanation of why we're taking evening walks. But the benefit of this leisurely stroll through the black and stillness of the cemetery is that we are able to chat about the days events, our opinions of certain television shows or books, or just holding on and navigating the dirt road. And every once in awhile, you get to observe a moon like this:
It's not a bad trade-off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Classifieds

You can tell alot about the economy by reading the Classified section of your local newspaper. I actually read ours from cover to cover most days, either the paper version or the online version. I read it before we purchased our upstate vacation home (it is a home now, it was a glorified tent back then). When we became interested in the area, we both were online alot reading the local paper, finding out people's ideas and gripes through the editorial section (you can weed out the wackos pretty quickly when you see their letters, week after week). Sometimes you can see who is front page news in the community (they also show up frequently). There is alot of information to be had in the newspaper that you won't hear from the Realtor. Mostly though, you can read the Classifieds and see what is happening right around you. I love to see the pleas from St. Jude. I always say a prayer for that person as well, just for extra. It can never hurt. You will read about the obvious things, snowmobiles and cars for sale. But lately, I've been reading of lesser items, that would only be considered for sale if things were not going well for the seller. And the prices are usually a clue. "Christening Gown-$10 or best offer" This particular ad broke my heart. Is ten dollars all that that gown represents to them?; and are things that bad that they would let it go for that? Where is that child? Don't they want that gown? Or am I a sentimental old fool?How about $5 for a recliner? I've seen that kind of ad, and I know that anyone who would spend the time to place a classified ad for $5 is in dire need of that money. I am not judging these folks-not at all. What I am doing is considering, every day because of the newspaper, how incredibly blessed we are in the choices we have made, and the success we enjoy. I wonder about these people, and wonder especially if they are also being helped by the various churches and agencies that offer assistance. It's almost like a peek into someone's life; one that is not always available. , or honest. And we get to see how decisions are sometimes made out of necessity. And I wonder why the Classified column is now spilling over onto another page, with people selling things that may have mattered to them, for less than their real value, because they need it. That's the part that I wonder about. And that's why I read the Classifieds in the newspaper-front to back. Sometimes I need a little reality check, and a halt to the consumerism that starts to seep into our psyche. It's not about the gifts, it's about the giving to those in need, and making sure that the love of all our holidays are meshedtogether at this time of year. Of not being offended when someone says "Happy Holidays" or "Happy Chanukah", and looking instead to the fact that someone was wishing you anything good. Letting it all be good, and sharing the goodness with anyone you can. You just never know who really needs it. But if you look carefully, you may find it in the Classifieds.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Black Hole

I'll bet you thought I meant the black hole in space. Oh no,I'm talking about the blogger's black hole. It has just taken me 30 minutes to sign onto Blueline Farm and Apiary. I want to blog, but it is getting increasingly difficult to manuever the world wide web. Is it the equipment? Or is it ME who is not getting it? I have to assume at this point that it is my age which is causing me all kinds of problems. I can look at the "Lilac Bliss" on the Windex bottle and spend a few seconds wondering what "Lilac Buss" is? My eyes are going, my mind is going, and my body has been gone for quite some time. I woke up one morning and I had a tire tube of flesh around my middle that was not there the day before. Truly, it was overnight that my physique went from athletic and lean to overweight and tired. I was a dancer for heaven's sake-I should be aging like Rita Moreno, not Stevie Nicks. I will also admit that it took me a few minutes to remember her name. I could picture her clear as a bell, but her name escaped me. It's funny sometimes, because all I can really do is laugh. Otherwise, I'd be sobbing all the time. When I was in my 40's, I looked around and was very comfortable with the way I was aging. I felt good about myself. It was a trick. Just when I was confident I was going to have a relatively comfortable retirement and my golden years would be like the viagra commercials, that features a woman who looked like maybe she would be worth all the side effects for the man (if you are experiencing kidney failure, immediately contact the nearest health facility). Ya think? I'm taking so many medications and vitamin supplements that I should look like Jane Fonda. Strong and lean. I am now Dancing With the Stars - an exercise video for cardiac strengthening. It's working out quite well. I do the video in the morning for about 45 minutes including the cool-down, and then I spend the rest of the day trying not to eat so much because I'm STARVING from all the exercise. Fortunately , I live very far from town, because with Stewart's ice cream being at the bottom of our road, it could get ugly. It's a dilemma for sure. I'm being very stoic, and I hope to have an "after" picture sometime in the spring. But today, I'm baking Christmas cookies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm not Donna Reed

It does get a little muddy out there!
It's been a longer while than I would like, since I've written in the blog.  I do try to make it relevant if possible, and as you can see, not much has been going on. We've had trips back and forth to Long Island and had the opportunity to see family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. It's all good, but it's all busy.  I'm was wondering how I was able to manage the house in Glen Cove, before we  moved. It has occurred to me that we had cleaners come in once every few weeks, and they were essentially like a SWAT Team, the bathroom and kitchen floors were gleaming, and I was able to sit down in a dusted and vacuumed living room, all at the same time!  I am doing these jobs, make no  mistake about it!  I'm exhausted. But by the time I get to the vacuuming after having dusted the day before, it needs to be dusted again! I have made some headway with organizing and cleaning. The spice shelf by the stove was cleaned and is now beautifully organized with shelf papers. Quite a job. But I can't keep up. The dogs seem to be on a mission to bring in mud, even though the driveway has been completed and we are mud free on the people who traverse in and out of the house. They do run out in the field every other day or so, and  of course Bailey has to run past the pond, which is really just more than his dog-will can stand. He's got to get both from paws in the water as far as he can, so he can peruse for bull-frogs. It's a little late in the year for bull-frogs, but he looks anyway.  Daphne just runs through any wet area she can find out there, and Jake, due to his weight, will squish through anything that was just damp.  Somehow, they all get muddy. By April, I've stopped worrying about the floors, but it's still a little early in the winter to have thrown in the towel. I worry about that. I happened to park behind a cleaning service today, while I was running some errands in town. I did jot down their number, on the off chance that I win the lottery and will be hiring staff. Because I also remembered that I was working full-time when we had the cleaning service. GLITCH!  Working full-time is justification for not getting to every corner of the house. Weekends were saved for trips upstate and family. Not cleaning. But now I am home, with no excuse. It's shameful. I am working on a few knit projects for Christmas, and that does cut into my day. The beautiful thing about knitting is that you can also watch HGTV with one eye. I do love those international house hunting programs. But I digress. The  real problem is the floors. If I could just get that off my list, I could probably do a bang up job of keeping the rest of the place clean (omitting Allison's room, which I haven't seen since 2008). I'm sure I could. Now where did I put that number? . . .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

aaaaahhhhhh. the great outdoors.

I've often thought that I would have enjoyed being a type of pioneer woman. I love the outdoors and am so inspired by vistas of undeveloped land. I was going to say vistas of wilderness, but really, I'm not exactly sure what a wilderness is. Unknown territory? Or simply uncrowded territory? For me, I love being in an area that is undeveloped and has few people. Just the wind and the birds and the howling snow. However, let me first clarify that howling snow is only fun if you are sitting inside a toasty cabin with a roaring fire. Howling snow when I'm sitting outside without shelter or warmth is not what I meant. So, maybe pioneer woman is not exactly what I was meant to be. Maybe I was meant to be right where I am, with a little bit of civilization right here in my house. Warmth, food, beautiful vistas out the window and minimal population. I may achieve that today, because Jerry is working a double shift, and I was foolish enough to lend my car to Allison to take to school. And so, I will be here at home until 7 PM without anyone but the dogs to keep me company. I did send Allison to the grocery last night (I'm really working this new license thing) because we were in need of a few staples, and she was willing. And so, the cupboard is full and I will be here in my own little wilderness until they all wander in tonight at 7-ish. She has a job after school taking someone's Senior picture, and will be going directly to a fall sports program. As I said, just me and the dogs until 7 PM. I cannot leave. There is much for me to do here at the old homestead, because I did not do much yesterday, a result of my arthritis issues. I just sat here. I had no desire to leave and was so happy when Allison said she would do the shopping for me. But now, when I can't leave, it's a little bit different. If truth be told, I'm starting to get a little freaked, and it's only 11:30. I may take Bailey down the road to visit the cows and the pigs, just because I don't like to walk alone. He is good company, when he's on a leash. The other two couldn't be bothered. So, just me and Bailey and the great outdoors. I could put my garden to bed. People do that here. They pull all the old stems and weeds and clear the garden for spring planting. I prefer to put off til spring what I could have done today. By springtime the garden has mulched most of its weeds and needs to be turned anyway. That's out. Plus, it's kind of cold out there. I guess I'll sit here by the fire. Just me and the dogs, alone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby

Although my "baby" is 28 today, what adult children never realize until they are parents is that they will be forever "babies" in our minds. As soon as you become a parent, that little face and those little cries are forever in our hearts. It becomes a film (rather lengthy at this point) of faces and emotions and heart-bursts that goes on and on. There are few moments that we don't remember in detail, even if those moments have been long forgotten by our children. We remember every cry, every giggle and every beautiful smile that has existed in our childs lives, and feel that pride more and more with each recurring memory. We still look at pictures drawn in play school and it triggers a love so strong that it hurts. And even while it's hurting we can remember the little chubby fingers that worked so hard to make a present for "Mommy", and there is no feeling like it in the world. I don't know about anyone else, but there is no gift on this earth that could hold as much value to me as those first drawings and fruit loop necklaces that were presented with unconditional love. The same unconditional love that was there the minute they were born. In one moment, I met someone whom I would give my life for, and that feeling has never gone away. Just try and hurt that child, and you will experience "the wrath of Mom". And just as quick, my own children will experience that same wrath if they choose to do something that hurts someone else. It was and is our job to teachh them right from wrong, and if you take that seriously, it is a lifelong job. Because yes, children do learn by what you do, not by what you say. Sometimes that makes things so uncomfortable for us as adults. Because sometimes it would just be nice to put your feet up and say "not my problem". However, the heart that loves also knows that it is a job that lasts forever. And for me, that is OK. Because I signed on 28 years ago, and I've never been sorry. Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Thank you for all your smiles. You have made me a better person, and I am so proud of every thing you do. I'm still hanging your creations on frig. You amaze me every day. Now, would you please call home? I've been trying to reach you for three days. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free at last! Free at last!

I was able to sleep in this morning. The reason for that you ask? Allison has passed her road test!!!!! We have a new attitude in the morning. Jerry waved the bus by, because he slowed at our house on the off chance that Allison would be late and running out the door. Why would he have that idea? Anyway, of course it does include the fact that I am now sharing my car, but that in actuality isn't so bad. It keeps me home during the day, and suddenly our house is cleaner and dinner's are being artfully planned. I think this might work. If I DO need to run into town for some reason, Allie is home at 2:30 and I can take care of any errands then, or even better, I can give her cash and let HER run the errands for me after school. I think I will parlay this new situation into something great! It has also worked wonders on her attitude. I can't really say that she had a bad attitude, but she has been a bit distanced from us for awhile-not really interested in our activities or conversations-just kind of keeping to herself and staying holed up in her room-normal teenage stuff that just kind of grates on your nerves-without actually being something that you can complain about. When asked why she is holed up in her room, the answer is "I'm studying". Can't really be annoyed about that can you? But now, we have a lovely participant who is setting the table, making salads and joining into our conversations about trivial things, with a smile no less-all because keeping Mom happy will result in possibly being able to use the car. All of a sudden I have power. POWER! I have not had power since I was in charge of the TV and computers. I could pull the plug on those pretty quick when she was in middle school. High School punishments are reserved for some really serious stuff-thankfully, we have had few of those. But now, I hold the keys to the kingdom. I do realize that it is only for the next year until she goes to college, but I shall revel in it. I actually asked her to get me a soda yesterday. It felt kind of like "peel me a grape" because I was simply lounging in my chair and had no good reason to not get up and get it myself. Maybe I went a little overboard, but it's still new to us both. I know it will wear off, the driving thing. But for now, It's working for me. Champagne anyone?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

I know it's been awhile since I last blogged, because Google changed my password and all the security information. Sheesh, can't a girl take a few weeks off? I guess not. The last time I wrote, we were wrapping up a lovely summer. This morning the pellet stove came on quite early, because it was 31 degrees out. 31 DEGREES! Along with Jake, the 13 year old Lab/Great Dane, I am feeling the weather change in my bones. I told Jerry this morning he may be able to get a two-fer euthanasia at the vet, and he didn't contradict me. Some days I think that I may be more trouble than the dog, and not as charming about it. He doesn't contradict that either. It is supposed to be a beautiful weekend though, and I plan on getting as much sun as I possibly can. Is it possible to store up Vitamin D? I have a sinking feeling I'm going to need it.
We're already past peak in terms of leaf peeping, and 31 degrees in early October is a little frightening for me. Warm weather helps the arthritis and joints. Unfortunately, I do love the winter landscape. And the change of seasons. I think it just needs to change a little faster than it has been. As everyone else is commenting today, I am feeling so sorry for the loss of Steve Jobs in our world. He was, as so many have said, the Thomas Edison of our generation. No one could have predicted the "gadgets" that he envisoned, and was able to create. What a world it would be if we didn't have the communication we have now. Incredible vision. RIP. Try and use your gadgets consciously today, and appreciate their value, not just their convenience. I know I do.