Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the Clouds


I have another challenge to face. I don't really want to talk about it now. I'm fine, 'Pup is fine, but a friend is going to go through some difficult times.

On a lighter note,

It's been very foggy the past two mornings, and as I've been tutoring the adult systems analyst for Humoungous Oil Company, we've literally been up in the clouds. We meet on the 27th floor, and normally that gives a rather nicely panoramic view of Houston. This morning and yesterday, all we could see was silver grey mist. We're warmed up to around 75 or so now, and getting some spotty showers. I'd like a couple of days of real rain, but this'll do.

I stopped at a nursery/feedstore/petshop/antiques store (hey, they sold it ALL). They had some great herbs and I scored some wonderful thymes! I even found a healthy coconut thyme! I'm happy. 'Pup worked with the good Senor M yesterday and together they cleaned out my herb bed from last year and it'll be ready for planting this weekend. I even found several of the citrus sented herb varieties that I want for an herb bed I'm planning. I want one of just citrus scented herbs... just for fun. I love the way they smell, taste and most of them attract some nice butterflies into the yard. I'll take some pictures on Friday.

Right now, I'm blogging from the tutoring center. My nice bosslady friend is being kind enough to let me come and spend the time between my two jobs here. There's a couch if I feel tired, and internet and it's closer to come here from downtown than it would be to go home, then turn around and scoot down here. This way saves gas. I'm not sure I'm going to do this every day, as I'd like to see my house in daylight a couple times a week. Not to mention, see 'Pup every now and again.

Speaking of downtown....I was on the elevator going down from the 27th floor of Humoungus Oil Company this morning, when a young man backed into the elevator from a lower floor. He was wearing a nicely pressed blue shirt over wide shoulders and the shirt was nicely tucked into a pair of nicely tailored and nicely fitting charcoal-grey slacks.

I said nothing, as he was speaking to a friend, not wanting to disturb him.... He almost stepped on me. He quickly and politely apologized for not seeing me.

Personally? I was glad I didn't have to tell him that one of the reasons I didn't say anything as he was getting on?

I was enjoying the view.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


First, I'm succumbing to the urge to know what people think of me.......and am doing

  • this".

  • I'd also like to introduce a BLOGDAUGHTER! (my first and only). She's a lovely lady from India, named

  • Timmi

  • Now, for a few updates.

    Brain is doing well. He starts on cytoxan for 4 days next week and is feeling better already.

    My dad. He's still in the nursing home. My mom wants to bring him home, but he's been unwell and throwing up, even while on a feeding tube. He's down to 130 lbs, from a "fighting weight" of about 175 or so. Mom says he's stopped responding to many people, even her. The exception to this recently was when they put his youngest great grand daugther in his good arm and he started to try to rock her. He always was a sucker for a baby girl.

    The other exception the other day was his favorite nurse, a lovely black lady with warm eyes and a warm voice, who cares very gently for my dad. He's a sucker for a pretty lady too.

    'Pup has gone down about 20 pounds in the last 2 weeks. He's finding it a little difficult to get in as much protein as he's supposed to, but is doing pretty well otherwise. The biggest change for him is that, instead of just eating food, he is TASTING the food he eats. He'd never realized just how little attention he'd paid to how things tasted past a few criteria. Now, he has to be much more selective. It's an adjustment for me too.

    I've started my downtown tutoring job again. It's at the same Humoungus Oil Company, but this time, the student is a system's analyst. He's a young man with a young son whom he adores. His wife and son are still in Africa, so he's missing them rather fiercely.

    I'm still working at the tutoring center. I really like it there. I've expanded the numbers of 4, 5 and 6 year olds I'm working with during the week. I've several groups, some of whom are still learning the alphabet and early pre-literacy skills, and some who are early readers (kindergarten children reading at a first grade level) who are reading some of the same books that the older children are using in the tutoring centers "system", but who are just not ready for the kind of homework and activities the tutoring center's system would prescribe. Instead, they're doing one on one reading with me, at their own rates and with me using a combination of whole language and phonics.

    Most of my early readers are also learning English, so this opportunity to learn the vocabulary and grammar and to learn the correct way to pronounce English is more appropriate than a homework assignment that would have them read the book, define some vocabulary, answer some short answer comprehension questions, and then write a short essay response to a variety of questions. They might be able to read the book, but their writing skills aren't really ready for that system... and they're really too young for those kinds of activities to be independent.

    I have a lot of private students and "special" students.

    Lately, because of TAKS, some of the students have taken the month off. The schools are probably offering after school and Saturday tutoring for free. That's cutting down the numbers of kids we serve.

    The result is that the other teachers have been asked to give up an hour or two a week to help with the center's cash flow. I gave up an hour on Saturday morning before being asked. It had been obvious that the first hour on Saturday morning didn't need all three of us there. Besides, I wanted to sleep

    Well, today? The boss lady asked me if I'd be willing to work more hours........possibly as a kind of "manager/teacher" one day a week. She wants a day off (gee!) and would like me to be in charge of opening the center, speaking to the parents and still teaching some students. There's one week day where we have an extra teacher (just hired, and with the idea that we will be needing her soon!) and so she could take some of my students while I deal with whatever needed to be done. Mostly, I'd be encouraging the students to go quickly to the other tutors and to leave the tutors when their hours are up. I'd also need to speak to some of the parents, but as many of them don't speak English all that cuts down on the conversation.

    So... a little more money.

    Just when we needed it.

    Life can be funny that way.

    Now. If this is a result of any of y'all sending positive thoughts/prayers our way? Thank you.

    Btw? we could use a lottery win. ('course maybe we'd have to buy a lottery ticket or two, ya think?)

    Stay warm y'all. It's cold even here. We're not going to freeze again, as we've a nice thick layer of clouds to keep us warmer, but it's chilly even here. I actually had to wear a sweater and my sweater jacket today.

    Love ya' Dana and Livey!

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    Happy Valentine's Day

    We took Brain Doggy to the vet today and he got his first shot and a perscription of prednisone (sp?). The nice doggy doctor Lady promised that this would help make him feel better. We're on a schedule of meds and shots and weeks off, and blood work... and it's gonna cost some money, but we'll manage. We will.

    Spitty got her shots too. 'Pup made sure they read her chart before trying to reach in to pet her. We lose more vets that way!
    Luckily, they got smart and gassed the little wench before handling her. Afterwards, all fingers were counted and accounted for. They even took care of a couple of little fur mats on her backside I'd not gotten the courage up for ..........errrrr I mean, "had not found the time to cut out".

    It got cold here for a couple of nights on Saturday and Sunday, but it's warming up nicely. I wrapped up the plants and didn't lose anyone under the plastic, though some of the other plants were nipped a bit.

    I don't have time to download new pictures, so I'll just to a reprise for Valentine's Day of some lovelies for all the nice people who need flowers in their lives.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006


    I started this post on the 8th. Been a little busy. Gonna get even busier next week as I start teaching downtown again for three mornings a week in addition to the 5 days a week tutoring in the evening (well, 4 week days, and Saturday =5).

    Been some changes going on!

    First, 'Pup's doing well, getting to eat soft foods and has lost 10 lbs since his surgery. Don't worry...I think I might have found one or two of them.

    The birds have found the feeder at last!

    Just the finches and the cardinals so far, though one dove tried to horn in on things, but couldn't find a surface to land on. It kept landing on the top of the arch, and then slliiiiiiding down. It was funny! I hope the humiliation keeps the dove from sharing the news about the feeder with the other doves in the neighborhood.

    Other changes: We woke up to the sounds of chainsaws. Our neighbor to the back of us is finally taking down one dead tree, and also one tree in the back corner of her yard that had shaded our yard pretty well.

    The work went surprisingly fast.

    That corner is now going to be sunnier. I'll have a few more options about what to grow, and the flowering vines on my large trellis should prosper a bit as well. I'll miss the dappled shade during August though.

    Before: After:

    'Pup is doing well. He's on soft foods and is learning how to eat again. We went to a Fitness Center near the house and signed up, so we'll be working out a little.

    Sad news: Brain dog has lymphoma. The vet's given him about 6 to 18 months. We're going to make him a happy puppy for the next few months, and when he's hurting beyond our ability to help him, we'll ask the vet to set him free of pain.

    I'm so tired of cancer. I really am.

    Monday, February 06, 2006


    Whew!! Blogger being down put a crimp on my usual routine of reading blogs until my eyes can't stay open anymore (Y'all are just too addicting!), but I really needed the sleep too.

    Yesterday, I went to sleep Saturday night, be honest, I passed out with the lights and tv on full blast and 'Pup had to hobble in and wake me up to turn them off. He's not in the master bedroom right now, as the daybed is easier on his surgical pains. Our bed is way high, and I have to use a stool to get in, and the daybed is just the right height. It's not as nice a mattress though, but I found a memory foam pad that has helped a lot.

    I slept on Sunday until 12:55 PM. I got 'Pup some water, broth and some meds, ate something and then went to take a nap. 'Pup woke me up around 8:00 that night.

    I got something else to eat, got some more meds and waters and stuff for 'Pup and then couldn't sleep. Gee. Wonder why?

    I finally went to sleep around 5 Am this morning and woke up reluctantly about 10. My sleep schedule is all messed up. Ah well. I'll get them back to normal tonight.

    OH! More news. Looks like my downtown job tutoring intensive English to foreign engineers is about to resume. I've a meeting downtown on Monday the 13th, to learn about the new student. I'm only going to be available to teach on Tues/Thurs in the morning and until around 2 or 3. I have to be at my regular tutoring job at 4 pm.

    Interesting things will begin to happen. I'll be taking pictures and posting more garden stuff soon.

    'Pup is doing better, less pain and we're getting back to regular stuff---except of course, that he's on clear liquids... and hates the broths I've been trying for him...sigh.

    I may try cooking a little chicken to see if that will help.

    We've a follow up visit on Wednesday. I hope we can finish in time for me to be able to drive 'Pup home afterwards. It's going to be tough otherwise.

    It's very windy today. A little cooler. I've two more ripening tomatoes and a few more to ripen. One of the tomato plants is still setting new fruit, so I'll let it live for a while longer. The other one will be pulled up and I'm going to plant a new plant. HEY... just realized. All the tomatoes this year will be mine, alll mine.

    Now, if I could just cook some bacon without being mean to 'Pup, I'd enjoy a BLT or three.

    Y'all have fun today. Eat a favorite food and savor the taste, texture and aroma.

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    We're Home

    'Pup and I got home about an hour ago. He's still hurt'n fer cert'n, but able to sip and sip, and walk (a little, and still gingerly) and
  • the lady
  • of Many Hats will understand when I say that I'm very glad to have a pisser for a hubby dear.

    Beautiful day here today. Just a few high clouds, temps in the mid 60's and dry air, lovely fresh springy day. The birds have finally found my bird feeder and I saw a few goldfinches and a pair of cardinals (wonder if they're the same pair I see every year, or related?) were feeding.

    I also discovered that the only member of the house that likes watching the birds at the bird feeder more than me is the Spitty Kitty. And being the basic house kitty that she is (she walks on the bricks whenever possible and always has a faint look of distaste when walking on the grass is necessary), she doesn't really understand that she'd get to watch the birds longer and perhaps more of them if she didn't want to sit three feet away from the feeder--out in the open-- to watch them.

    Ah well, she's rather beautiful in the sunshine.

    Y'all enjoy February. Spring's a comin'.

    Friday, February 03, 2006


    We're still at the hospital. I don't think we're going home today. I'll have to swing by home to pick up my meds (dummy me!), as I forgot to bring them. Or extra clothes. I wish we didn't live 29 miles from downtown.

    'Pup was up and walking last night, but isn't able to get around much this morning. They won't let him go home until he's able to walk.

    I'm very sleepy. We were lucky enough to get a private room, but with the nurses coming in every hour, and the fold out bed/chair I slept on... I need a nap.

    Just saw one of the ladies I met yesterday in the waiting room. Her husband is doing better.

    I know that one of the ladies I met yesterday may be facing the death of her daughter. The daughter is 4 years older than me, but her momma and daddy were there yesterday. Momma was mad, as her daughter's husband hadn't bothered to come to the hospital, nor was he answering his cell phone. Daddy was quieter, in that way many Texas men have of grieving silently.

    The son-in-law may not survive to marry again, if his mother-in-law has anything to do with it.

    Don't mess with a Texas momma. She'll come after you with an axe. And daddy will be there holding a shotgun.

    Y'all send healing our way.

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    He's Out!

    He's out of surgery and in recovery. The doctor said everything went very well. He'll be in the hospital overnight, and we're hoping to go home tomorrow. If not, I'll blog in and tell you.

    Thanks everyone,

    It would have been lonely in here without you, and without some very nice people I've met here in the waiting room.

    If you have some prayers, thoughts or wishes to spare, spread them to the others in this waiting room.

    The chaplain walked in a little while ago. And just now, I heard a little boy ask in a puzzled voice, "But what happened to her?".

    I think there's a family in pain. I pray for their healing.

    Surgery Day

    It's surgery day. I'm blogging this on the computer in the waiting room. Y'all think good thoughts, pray or just keep me in mind today. I won't know how it came out till about 4 or 5 central time at the earliest.

    Got my crochet hooks and a minor stash with me to keep me company. I also brought 2 books, 2 bananas, some beef jerkey (a treat I don't usually have but won't spike my blood sugar or get squished) and some bottled water. They've plenty of coffee, tea and even hot chocolate here.

    I must tell you, this is a very posh waiting room. There are several seating areas/nooks and a couple of them have televisions. Now if I can just convince the people in my area that soap operas are not as good as CNN, I'll be set, otherwise my nose will have to go into a book for sure.

    There's even a huge aquarium. Pretty fish.

    I have a feeling I'm going to get to know this waiting room very well.

    Y'all have a good day.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Rain's a comin'

    We're supposed to get some rain in an hour or so, and we can hear the thunder rumbling already. Brain does not like thunder. It offends his ears.

    I got one of the little beds out back planted the other day, before I had to run in and clean up for work. Didn't get to take pictures till today.

    I picked three more tomatoes today, and the birds beat me to two more! Ah well.

    Must be some mighty fine 'maters..........!

    I went mystery shopping last Sunday, and at one of the grocery stores I was looking at, I found an old fashioned Weeping Heart. It was marked at $11.00, but because there was some yellowed leaves (probably just stress of transport), I was able to persuade the manager to knock the price down to $6.00. It got planted too. I used to have oregano in that spot, but that bush finally gave up the ghost after 5 years. It had gotten too stressed during the heat of the summer, and I'd gotten too busy to water it. Oh well. I'll replant another oregano in the front yard in my new (last year's) herb bed. That bed's got a little sprinkler system in it and it's easier to water. Here's the bed and a close up of the Bleeding Heart flower.

    Pretty, isn't it? Rather appropriate for Valentine's Day.

    The native lantana is blooming nicely on the back of the vine trellis. That side gets full sun a large part of the day this time of the year.

    And finally, for your approval. I bought this last year, and haven't found juuust the right plant to put in it. I'll have to drill a drainage hole in the bottom, but I've got a hand drill and a good bit for it. The more I look at this face, the more it seems to remind me of someone. Who does it look like to you?

    I like the face. Someday, when I'm rich......I'm going to have real wood or metal sculptures in my garden. 'Til then, I'm going to have to settle for the resin varieties.