Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year, 2007

One interesting aspect of living in an unincorporated area of the county is that FireWorks are legal. I capitalized FireWorks because I'm not talking about a few sparklers or a bottle rocket or two. No, we're talking BIG booms and great numbers of bottle rockets and the odd KABOOM that sounds like a grenade going off.

The air smells strongly of gunpowder and testosterone. Pretty sky though.

I went to the store (alone!! I love my scooter!!) late in the afternoon to pick up some...well...Junk Food. 'Pup and I can't drink, so this is the one night of the year we'll let ourselves have a bowl of ice cream. Tomorrow it will be a pork loin (they were buy one get one at Krogers!) cooked on the grill outside and we'll fill up the edges with some chips and dip (also a normally banned food). I drove the van, and thought again about getting the scooter out. It still has to be done by hand as we've not had a chance to get the lift installed. I went into the store planning to use the store's carts.

The only one not being used was dead as a doornail. Dang. I headed back out the door, got to the van and started taking out the scooter. I got as far as the seat when a nice man stopped to help me. Thank you nice man!

I have to tell you; zipping around the store in your own scooter is a whole new experience. It's quicker, lighter, more responsive and turns tighter than any store scooter. The only drawback is the lack of a basket of commodious enough to handle groceries. I got a handbasket, put it between my feet and began. Okay, not as handy as the big basket on the store scooter, but still I was moving. Oh my yes, I moved!

I dodged little kids, people carrying cases of beer and boxes of wine. On the rare clear spots (aisles selling things like soap, detergent and deordorant and ladies sanitary supplies) I opened her up all the way and zoooooomed down the straightaways. I zipped around people standing in mute bemusement before the wide variety of nuts, chips, snack mixes and cookies. I negotiated through closing gaps between people backing up to better scan their choices in the paper goods ailes. I made tight last minute turns to avoid traffic tie ups near the checkout counters.

Y'all. I had fun.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Generosity of People

Recently I've been the grateful recipient of gifts from unexpected places. Perhaps that's what generosity means. Perhaps true generosity is when someone makes the conscious decision to give something to someone you do not know, but who needs what you have to give.

Thanks to the generosity of several people, I've been able to buy a prescription I would not otherwise have been able to fill. It was a needed prescription medication, one that helps relieve pain. It is not cheap, it doesn't have a generic form and I've been out of it for about 2 weeks. 'Pup takes the same medication at the same strength and has been able to share with me, but he was running out as well. So, we'd cut our usual dosage in half. (yah, I know, Always Follow Doctors Orders) He has rheumatoid arthritis, I've got some nerve damage. We both have had Deep Vein Thrombosis.

I'd not been having a very good week physically. I've been achy, out of balance and a little shaky on my feet.

Thanks to three very generous people we have a filled perscription and it will probably be enough to last until the retiree drug coverage takes effect. Thank you.

A fourth person has gifted me as well. A very gracious lady with an unused wheelchair lift gave it to us/me. She and her husband had used it with his electric wheelchair, but recently they've been able to get a van with a better loading option for them. The good Mr. had been able too walk some, now is not. The good Mrs. has been caring for him.

She could have sold the lift. I made sure to tell her that, as I wanted to make sure she knew her options. She said that she'd rather give it to someone who needed it, but couldn't get it otherwise.

Generosity reaches out and embraces those it has never known.
It makes connections where no connections have been.
It gives of itself, and not just the tangible.
Not just the gift itself, it gives hope as well.
Thank you.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The "What if" game

I got a little unexpected time off today. Seems my tutoring students have cancelled for the evening, so I'm down three hours of work. Oh well, today was one of those "joints hurt and off balance" days.

So, here I am at home, playing the "what if" game. "What if" 'Pup gets a job in another state? Is there somewhere I wouldn't mind living for a while?

I'm thinking small town or suburb again. I like small towns. They always have an interesting history, especially if you can find the most interesting storyteller in town. I found one little town through this ellijay real estate site, and it could be a doer. I like places who manage to survive tough times in creative ways. I also like apples and that doesn't hurt... Apples are one fruit I'd like to grow, but I neither have the room, nor do I reaaly care for the taste of the very few varieties that can acutally produce now and again down here in Houston.

Oh, I might get to go back to work....at 7 pm....for one hour...15 miles away.

Sigh.

**update. Yep. Gotta go back for one hour of work. sigh.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Learning Curve

'Pup and I went shopping yesterday. We went right after tutoring was over, and without my new scooter. We were only going to stop at one store, and we knew that store almost always has a nice scooter available.

It's one of the stores 'Pup applied at earlier to work at temporarily. He'd never heard anything back from them, a source of some consternation for both of us. It was Office Depot, very close to the tutoring center and we had a gift card we wanted to use to help us pay for presents.

As it turned out, we didn't find what we were looking for (see the post below), but we did find some software that might be able to fix the computer we'd brought down to my mom. It would even upgrade the operating system, and it came with a large rebate available.....and yes, we do file for those things.

The manager was on the cash register as we were checking out. She attempted to use the gift card, but the system wouldn't allow it. She called technical assistance and was put on hold. For a long time. A very long time. 'Pup and I didn't get impatient.....heck, she was trying very hard to get the system to work. It would have been churlish and childish to take it out on her.

Finally, the manager determined that the whole system for cashing in the gift cards had crashed. Not a good thing, but not all that unexplainable for the day before the day before Christmas. Ahh well, we said, we'd probably be needing something else from there eventually and we'd just use the card then. She thanked us for our patience and apologized.

Somewhere in all that, 'Pup complimented several of the employees, who'd helped us with finding the software...reminding us that it existed...and he complimented her too, saying that the store looked like a good place to work, and that it was a shame he'd not been what they'd been looking for as an employee.

The manager was surprised and asked 'Pup when he'd applied. About a month ago or so.. maybe six weeks as we could remember. She took down his name, cell number and told him she'd look into it, and call him on Tuesday or Wednesday. Who knows? Maybe this will give him a job to bring in some money until he finds a permanent position with a corporation. Best of all, it is literally across the street from where I work.

When 'Pup told her where we lived, she looked like she may have figured out why he'd not been called back. We live about 12 miles and 25 minutes (Houston traffic) from the store. Being allowed to tell her that we drove down there anyway for MY job seemed to relieve any doubts.

Now, we just have to hope she doesn't decide that 'Pup is "overqualified". Sigh.

After that, we went to a thrift store to look for some warm clothes and perhaps a possible present. The store is in an old Hobby Lobby store and is big. We didn't have the scooter with us, and didn't want to go home for it. That was a possible mistake, as I quickly began to be in more pain than is really fun to admit to, and 'Pup was suffering too.

Needless to say, after that, we went and got the scooter. As we were unloading it in front of the store, a lady walked up to us and asked us how we'd gotten the scooter out of the van. A good question, as we've still no ramp. Fortunately, the battery comes out and working together we could lift/swing out the chair to the curb. After we explained that, she told us why she'd asked. Seems she knew someone with a wheelchair lift she'd used in a van and she wanted to get rid of it. We told her we might not be able to afford an expensive item like the lift, but she said not to worry, that the lady might want to just give it away.

She called the lady and told her that we'd be calling. 'Pup and I discussed the possibility as we drove home later. We didn't think that the lady would really be giving it away, as those things run over $2,000 new (over $2,500 it turned out). We talked about how much we could afford to offer her and hoped that it would be enough.

So, I called her this afternoon.

She wants to give the lift away. Free. Yes, I said FREE.

If it turns out we can't use it, we'll return it to her and she'll find another someone to give it to. Seems she's recently been blessed with the acquisition of a van with a side door lift (easier to use than this lift) and she wants to pass the blessing on to someone else.

We'll be picking it up Friday. It will cost us something to install it, unless a friend can help us. But, we also have a very good relationship with an area Goodyear store, who does most or all of our vehicle maintenance. They might be able to do it and give us a small break on the cost.

Someone's prayers for us are working.

Thank you.

Preconceptions

One of the first places we went shopping yesterday was to Office Depot, looking for some scrapbooking supplies for my niece. She's a great scrapper, and a very nice, good person. She is also developmentally delayed.

She'd been in school since the age of three, and "graduated" at age 21. She's a young woman with surprising competencies, and some areas that frustrate her more than anyone else. She can read at about the first or second grade level, and her writing reflects that. For a long while she would scrap only with the pictures and rely on someone else to journal for her on the pages.

'Pup changed that for her.

See, he came in without preconceptions to meet a charming young lady. And, being the "fixer" he is (and a closet teacher--the man should have gone into education but computers paid better esp in the 60's and 70's), he came up with word games for the two of them to play.

Where ever we drove, he'd show her acronmyms like St., Ave., Blvd. He then proceeded to teach her what they meant. He repeats the lesson everytime they are together, and each time, she remembers more.

He made up the "three letter word" game. I never quite understood all the rules to this game, but the two of them seem quite happy with them and I suspect they change the rules when they want to anyway. The basic premise of the game seems to be: take any environmental (thems the words that show up written anywhere and everywhere) word like.....restaurant. Then, write that word down on a piece of paper (this girl never travels anywhere without a notebook, and a handful of pens--come to think of it, neither does 'Pup). Then, the challenge is to make as many three letter words with the letters in that word as she and he can.

The side effect of this game is that gradually, my, no OUR niece became more comfortable writing and sounding out three and then five letter words.

Now, she journals by herself. The spelling isn't perfect, but it's understandable, and it's HERS.

Friday, December 22, 2006

HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas Y'all!


Life is a rollercoaster. It has it's ups and downs and I'm often heard screaming as we go 'round the bend....

Above is a picture of some Peace Roses in bloom (yah, in my yard). I wish all of you Peace and Joy this Holy Season.

Now, for some news.

Good News: I cleaned out my icky overgrown herb bed last Sunday.



Some of the herbs are still viable. They're perennials and fairly hardy. I've lime thyme and greek oregano (it's just establishing itself), fennel,



marjoram (given a hair cut and I dried some of the leaves), some garlic chives,


sage and some thymes that were almost shaded out of existance by the cross vine.

I've rosemary and several varieties of mint in the backyard, along with a couple more varieties of thyme.

Yes, I'm surrounded by thyme. I'm obessed with thyme. There are so MANY kinds of thymes. And, let's face it: one can never have too many good thymes.

Bad News: As I did it, I must have run into something that caused an allergic reaction and touched my face. The rash is slowly going away. The chief suspect are the roots of the crossvine. I did me some deeeeep weeding and pulled up a lot of juicy thick roots.

Ah well, at least my face matches my hair.

Good News: We have insurance through 'Pup's old company by virtue of the fact that a very nice man did some extra makin' sure to ensure that 'Pup could sign up for retirement benefits.

Bad News: I wish we'd known earlier, 'cause we'd have signed up earlier and been covered for the prescriptions now, instead of a week or two from now.... We just tried to pick up some refills for me and had to decline them as $360 was just too much. I still have a week or ten days of the really important stuff, so I think I can tough it out. I'd not put in for some of the meds that I really do have to have every day, not just the ones for things like cholesterol and pain. (No, really. Those aren't my most vital of meds.) If not, we'll find another way. There are options for the most vital of the meds, including a program at HEB and Kroger grocery stores that offers some generics for only $4.

So, most of the morning was taken up with switching over the insurance coverage policy numbers and giving them out to the people who need to have them... like the doctor's office.

The other place I needed to call was the company who was processing my request for the scooter. When I called them, they said that my pre-certification had gone through yesterday, and that therefore I could come up there and get this:

It comes apart, the heaviest piece is about 40 lbs (not something I want to lift all the time, but doable), and it comes with some cowling panels that can change the color from silver, to blue to red. Yes, that means I can color coordinate my scooter to my outfit, or do some crazy neighbor lady mix'n'match. I'm thinking the silver, red and blue could stand in for red, white and blue...

I'll still need a ramp, but I've got time to get it. I'll be looking around in Craigslist for a portable one I can use in the van and to get in and out of the house 'till we get a ramp poured/constructed. Even without a ramp, I think I can get it into the house with just a boost from 'Pup going into the front door.

Merry Christmas y'all. I guess the last news qualifies for Great, eh? YEEEE HAWWW!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Greetings

I have been very late in getting into the Christmas Spirit. I'm not sure I'm there even yet. I didn't even think of sending out cards this year. I may be able to send some e-cards, but I need some pretty cards for a few special people. (Yah, you know who you are)

I could go out and buy some cards, but uhmm. I may have to make do with some supplies I've got here at the house just now. I've got some card stock left over from a little poetry selling station. It was in a small restaurant in downtown Houston, the owner asked if I wanted to sell some, as she'd commissioned me to write a poem for her dedicated to her child at graduation. It was a successful poem. She cried and her daughter cried and 'Pup got free lunches for about a month.

So, I was noodling around and found a site that had some pretty printable greeting cards I can download and print out on my own stuff. 'Pup WILL find a new job and I WILL be able to replace it soon. (positive thinking people!)

OOOOOOO I like it...

I was looking around for the kind of table/desk I'd like to put in the garden room/used to be porch. I want something nice, but not huge. I want it in real wood, and with clean lines. I like the Mission furniture look. I found a site named Coaster Furniture I like for some ideas. It even has a room planner you can play with so that you can see what the area would really look like. I'm pretty good at eyeballing and fitting something in, but it would be nice to get something and not just HOPE it will fit.

What ifs, and Window Shopping

One of the things 'Pup and I've spoken about doing to the house include some new furniture. We've a nice guest room that has a day bed in it that we've been borrowing from 'Pup's parents. If they ever want it back, we been thinking about replacing it with a bunk bed.

I've found several I like, and I'm debating with myself as to the various virtues of a bunk bed with a foldout futon, or perhaps a small office/study area for me to use as an office.

I like my little garden room, but it doesn't really have room for a desk. Another problem is that it gets a little chilly there when the wind's from the north. We even go so far as to draw some blinds across the opening to keep some of the cold air out. It's the only reason (other than inertia...and never underestimate inertia) that we've not taken those blinds down. They were covering the slidng glass door that had lead outside to the back before we had that little porch area converted to add a little room to our room.

I'd like to find a little table to put out there so I can take the lap top there when the weather is nice. Ideally, I want to get my grandmother's furniture out of storage and get it refinished and make a little sitting room.

Someday.

Who'szit???

You know, when we got Chuckles the wonder dog (aka Charles, Chucky, and NO DOG!), we thought he was a one of a kind...you know... a MUTT. Mutt is a terrible word isn't it? I really do prefer "one of a kind, unique" as a way of describing his ancestry.

Thing is? We visit CAP (Citizens for Animal Protection) often, to donate some of 'Pup's new clothes that he's lost his weight out of... (when he gets his new job ... more positive thinking...) he's gonna owe me at least three shopping sprees at various stores to update MY wardrobe.

So, when we were there a week or so ago, we stopped in to see the new pup's. Imagine our surprise when we saw a dog that could be Chuck-a-duck's twin. Is someone out there breeding dogs with prehensile noses (more about that another time) and mutiple neurosis?

I wonder if they'd do paternity testing on dogs?

Chucky with siblings. Scary thought.

Stand by

I think I may try to switch to the new Blogger version tonight. Maybe. If I get up enough nerve. I'm going to back up my old template, trust that Blogger isn't going to lose all my history/old stuff... and hope for the best.

Just in case, I may have 'Pup standing by some first aid kits. This may make my brain bleed html.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's Not THAT Bad...really....

I told 'Pup Friday night that the best thing anyone will say about my hair will be: Well, it's not THAT bad....the cut's okay.

He didn't believe me.

He should have. 'Cause that's what was said...lol

And I don't think he really understands what it means when a woman says: "It's not THAT bad...really".

sigh.

2 weeks.

Oh, and I forgot to post this picture I took just as the freeze was going to bite us. I harvested the roses I had and brought them into the tutoring center, 'cause they were so pretty.

Whadda'ya think?


Picture taken December 1, 2006.


Y'all try and stay warm up there in Winterland.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dead Leaves and Disappointment

I got my hair done today. I went to a salon that had done a very good job the last time I'd been there. Unfortunately, the lady I got today...made my hair look a little like the pile of leaves. A flat not brown and not blonde color and crispy. I've been crying. They promise to make it better in two weeks. The hair is too damaged now. I have to live with this for at least two weeks. I am not a happy person just now. I'm disappointed, discouraged and disgusted. Oh, and PISSED OFF ROYALLY.








Even the front bed with the bouganvilla is worse for the wear. The bouganvilla still has a few living leaves on the bottom, but I'm going to wait a week to see if any of the frost bitten branches are still viable, or if I'll have to do a major whack job. Ah well, it grows fast.

My herb garden was badly neglected this last month or so. The basil went to seed...which isn't bad as it will self seed next year. The sage, english thyme, oregano and a scented geranium seems to have survived the neglect. Sunday, I'll clean out the bed and try to collect some of the seeds.





This is, I hope as bad as my yard will ever look. The leaves fell fast and furiously, and 'Pup and I raked and swept them up and went over them with a lawn mower. Some were put into some of the garden beds, and others were put into a pile for composting. We didn't finish the back as we had to do something to the front as well.

But, not all is lost. There are still some things blooming.


The fushia pink rose: this is the best bloom of the year for this bush.

The Cherry Parfait rose still has a few blooms.




The Pinata climbing rose is still blooming and putting on new growth. I'm looking forward to summer with this rose.

There is the odd marigold peeking out from underneath the angelonica. The angelonica has stopped blooming just now, but I suspect it will start again in the next two weeks of warm weather we're scheduled to enjoy.
The Apple Blossom yarrow isn't blooming but it is thriving now that the other plants it's planted under have lost their leaves. In the spring, it will be one of the first new flowers and will keep flowering until the other bushes shade it. I'm thinking of dividing the clump and trying some of it in a pot.

Some of the begonias and geraniums are still putting out a few blooms. They need watering, but that will have to wait for tomorrow.
This little side bed is the corner of the house on the side we go towards the back gate. It's hot and dry for most of the year, but somehow, some of the plants I've tried are beginning to establish themselves. I need to water it more often.



And last, the infamous geriatric tomato plants... the one on the far left is the old one. The top leaves look pretty bitten, and I'm not sure if it will rebound. The other geriatric tomato is smaller, and I think it came through a little better. The tomato plants on the right were seedlings from the little cherry tomatoes. One of the plants is beginning to put on blooms. Who knows? I might yet get a tomato sometime in January. The picture on the right is a close up of the lavender lantana.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Foggy

Humm.... weather man said it was about 64 degrees outside with a dewpoint of 63. That comes out to 96% humidity.

Yippeee! I can turn my humidifier off!

After that, we should be back to normal weather for a couple of weeks: highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's. Yah, that's what passes for winter in Houston..lol.

'Pup and I are going to try to do some yardwork tomorrow. We've leaves to rake and we're going to be composting as many as possible. We have to mow the front lawn, not that it needs it really, but it needs a little attention.

We got a note from our Home Owners Association. Seems our edging has been neglected. Well, it has. We've been a little busy and under the weather.

Odd, how they have no trouble telling us to edge, and yet the neighbor down the street who runs a GARAGE out of his garage, has left the street in front of his house and his driveway BLACK with old oil, and who has left junkers parked on the street for weeks never seems to have been informed that 1) running a business out of his house is against the "rules", 2) that nasty oil stain is hurting the ability of another neighbor to sell her house, and 3) even if it weren't against the "rules", the junkers and the oil and the cars up on blocks makes the whole street look trashy. I wonder if he got a letter. I wonder if he cares.

Pictures tomorrow. I still have a few roses on a couple of the bushes, but a lot of the plants got bit by the cold weather we had lately. Oh, I saved the tomatoes...they made it under a blanket and leaves piled up high in the pots. The fish are a little more problematical. We had a pump failure and all but about a gallon of the water had sprayed out of the pond. More fish than I expected made it through, but there were some fatalities. Looks like I'll be going back to Petco to get a few more 12 cent fish. The upside is that the water in the pond really needed changing as my recent illness made it impossible for me to properly care for the pond.

Every thing still looks...rumpled... in the backyard. Leaves everywhere, bare limbs, the plastic covering off of the plants, but left nearby just in case. I'm going to look forward to spring. March can't get here soon enough.

Things to Come

'Pup's mom is doing pretty well for an 80+ year old woman with a shattered left elbow and broken left hip. She's been moved to a rehabilitation center close to the hospital, and she's actually a little more "with us" than she has been for a while. I think she had too many doctors who did too little checking to see what other medications she was on before they each prescribed MORE medications.

Y'all. She was up to TWENTY-FIVE different prescriptions. Gack.

Pa-in-Law has been getting a little more rest at home, but is still spending most of his time with Ma-in-Law. 'Pup told me recently that his father'd told him several years ago that if she wasn't with him, he wasn't going anywhere, that she was/is his whole focus in life. 'Pup said that he got the impression that if she went first, he'd be following soon after.

I hope we lose neither of them. Been too much lost this year. Just too much.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Always Something.

At the risk of sounding so melodramatic no one will believe it, I have to report another difficult time facing our family.

'Pup's mom fell down and broke her left hip and shattered her left elbow. She came through the surgery in fine fettle, is up and cognizant of her situation and surroundings (not always true for the dear lady lately). She's been moved to a rehabilitation center and will be there for the next four months or so.

There's no TV in the room nor is there a telephone. The TV will be taken care of by my Pa-in-law, but he's not giving her a phone. She's been dialing every number from the past that she can remember, and talking to whomever answers. Mostly, it's not the person she'd wanted to call, but in thirty years or so, people move and move on. Opening the long distance bill has been somewhat of an adventure for Pa-in-law lately.

We've not been up to see her, and won't be able to make it there this weekend as we've got to go to Dallas on Monday for a Tuesday appointment (interview/coaching session with a recruiter). We will go and be there on Christmas at least.

Taylor's Fan Club

There is a little girl in a hospital who is being brave, strong and determined. She's had the help of a lot of angels along the way.

Her family and friends have set up a blog to keep her family informed.
Marilyn from California Fever has set up a Flickr account for people to post pictures for Taylor. Her family has printed out many of the pictures and comments for Taylor to read. She has a fan club.

This is one club it is a delight to join. I reccommend it.

Home Again

'Pup and I went to see my mom on Sunday. December 10 is/was my dad's birthday and the traditional day for my family to put up the tree and decorate the house. We also brought my mom a computer that we had. It isn't new, but it was working. All she wants is a machine that works well enough for her to email and read my blog and to act as a word processor.

Somehow, the plans we'd made for the day didn't gel.

When we got there, my sister's kids and grandkids were there. Sweet little darlin's. They are really cute...and kinda loud...as they should be. My mom went with them to Walmart to get some clothes for Christmas. While they were gone, my brother L (also there) and 'Pup helped me put together the computer desk my mom had bought for her room.

That desk had a LOT of pieces to it. L said that he and his wife had tried to put together things like the desk and each time was a test to their marriage. 'Pup and I work together a little better. It helps that he knows enough to let me figure it out and ask for the help I need. Smart man, that 'Pup.

It took a little longer to get the desk together, but it was done, and nicely if I do say so myself. 'Pup and L took it into the bedroom and then they set about connecting the computer.

Somehow, some of the .exe files for some of the programs were deleted. Hard to run the programs without them. We're looking for the back up discs now. Monday, 'Pup and I tried to get the computer hooked up into the 'net. We tried using a dial up to get to a site to download a better hookup, but found the modem didn't work. Dang it! I think my mom is going to have to buy a new one. 'Pup and I want to do it for her, but it will have to wait until he has a new job.

The tree didn't get put up. My nephew had gone to the storage unit to get the decorations and tree, and somehow we didn't start the tree until Monday morning...when we found he'd brought the wrong boxes. And had left for home. And had taken the key to the storage unit home with him.

All in all, not a productive day and a half. My mom isn't doing that well. She puts on a good face to her friends, but she's hurting. This would be a good time to have a fast forward button for time, so that we could skip through this Christmas.

'Pup and I may be able to go down again next Sunday.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

These Wheels are Made for Rollin'

And that's just what they'll do..........assuming I get some.

The PT was here to access the house (measure doors) and me (measure me) to see what would do the most good. I think we decided to go for the scooter after all, so I can carry stuff and if Ks can haul hers on HER Saturn, I can haul mine on mine. 'Course, my Saturn's a little older than hers, but it shouldn't matter.

The PT agrees, saying that with the diabetes, exercise induced asthma, the radiculopathy and neuropathy, the pulmonary embolism and the DVT..OH and the fainting and the time I fell down and the clotting problem I've got--I clot too easily.. therefore, blood thinners with continue to be on my menu--and if I fall down again I will bleed and bruise and that is not a good thing for Nancy.....I oughta juuuust squeak in with the insurance company. Ya think?

Now, off to Craig's List to see if I can score some cheap ramps, or a tow mechanism like Ks.

Humm, I might look at how much it would cost to get a concrete ramp up to the front door. Surely, someday I'll be able to afford it too.

Thinking positively... thinking thinking thinking. Positive positive positive.

Humm I need to see if I can design and print out some warning signs. I'm thinking the "If you can read this, you're probably in my WAY!!" has GOT to go on the front.

Another Giggle

Remember Bob? Well that student and I had another discussion that evening.

He is one of my older students, and as I'm checking his and the other children's essays, comprehension questions and vocabulary assignments, I give them some work to do that addresses some skills in which they need more practice. So, this time I gave them a short story to read and answer comprehension questions, vocabulary and some phonics skills, as well as some figurative language.

The story was about a little boy with a room so messy that even his "Monster Under The Bed" finally came out and protested his living conditions.

The inevitable question came: why didn't his mother clean up the room? Y'all probably know what I told him. His mess, his job to clean.

A second question: why was the monster wearing a clothes pin on his nose? Because the socks, apple cores and shoes on the floor probably stink, I told him.

A third question (and this one I'd not foreseen), why do the socks and shoes stink?. I gave him a thoughtful teacher look (the one we give to kids to stall for time and to make sure they really want an answer), and told him that all boys about that age stink from time to time.

!!! What?? Are you saying I stink, Teacher? Oh no, I assured him. Ohhh yes, I was thinking, sometimes my lad, sometimes I'm sure you do.

Why? The teachers say we stink when we come in from recess too. Why?

Well, you know how babies turn into little kids, and then little kids grow into big kids like y'all? Well, you "big kids" are just about to turn into young men and women, and your bodies are making new chemicals that help your body change and grow and sometimes those chemicals, called hormones, make you...well...stink.

Teacher!! I do not stink! Ever!

Oh, I hope that's not true, I told him. Because if he didn't then he'd probably never turn from big kid into young man.

A thoughtful pause ensued. The other two students, quiet before looked a little pensive too.

Well, said my soon to be young man... my socks DO smell sometimes....

It's good for kids to have their world view turned upside down now and again.

And besides, I just love messing with their heads.

Scurry, Scurry Little Mouse

While I was scurrying along (with my mouse of course…how does your mouse move?) I came across a sight for a Raleigh Real Estate Agent. I have just one question. Dang!! Is it that pretty all the time? Pretty houses.

I have some pictures taken at a rest stop going into North Carolina. A couple of them are some of the best I’ve ever taken. Still, I’d never want to leave Texas forever. Houston? Maybe. Were we to win the lottery, ‘Pup and I would probably buy a house in the Hill Country as fast as possible. Then again, we could probably afford more than one vacation wherever we’d want. Hummm. (Dear Santa, Could I add one more little thing? I mean, lottery tickets are little, aren’t they?)

On the Road

One of the few really long vacations ‘Pup and I have ever taken was when we drove to Washington DC. Both of us had always wanted to go, and we decided to go for it. And, we drove.

For much of the drive, it was…nice. See, in Texas, most of the highways seem to be constructed differently than the other state’s highways. We’re used to feeder roads (roads running alongside the highway) with lots of exits so that getting off the to see the local sights is easy. Not so much in other states it seems. So, we missed seeing a lot of the real country we’d taken the effort to drive through.

We did stop at several rest stops. Not just to powder our noses, or stretch our legs, but to finally see what some of the countryside looked like. The nicest ones were in North Carolina. That’s another place I’d like to have the money to go and stay for a while, especially the Outer Banks North Carolina I’d love to have most of my family there with us, just so we could hang out and get to know one another again.

I’m going to keep on dreaming.

Mouses with Houses

My sister L and her family take lots of trips together. They’re still a relatively young family, with my sister and hubby just reaching 40 this year (Happy Birthday). One of the favorites of the twin teen ladies and the lovely pre-teen my sister and bro in law are raising so successfully was Disney World. They’ve been there at least once, and said they wanted to go again.

My mom and I had had plans to go to Disney World, and take the older grandkids (my sister S’s family) with us. Unfortunately, my uncle needed nursing through his esophageal cancer, and then two years later, my grandmother had developed liver cancer. We never quite made it to Florida.

I think the only thing my sister would have liked better than their trip would have been if they could have stayed somewhere with a more homelike feel, and where she could have prepared meals for the family. ‘Pup and I have talked about going there someday too, now that he’s healthier. I’m not sure we’d spend that much time riding the rides, but there are a lot of other things to do….and we’d like to do them someday.

If so, I think I’d prefer to rent a house or condo, like what’s available at Orlando Villas. Now more than ever, as It’d would be kinda neat to have a blogmeet in an area like that. ‘Course, whether or not we’ll ever get to go there depends on whether or not ‘Pup gets his dream job.

We’re feeling somewhat hopeful. There are several recruiters who want to have more information, and who have possible connections to jobs. (Dear Santa, I’ve been a good girl mostly all year. All I really want is a job for my ‘Pup where he’ll make lots of money and buy me lots of presents. Love, Me) Y’all keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Painting

This is a good little house, all in all. It’s not new, or big, or fancy. In the last 6 years, ‘Pup and I have fixed it up, having most of the work done by one or another contractors. And I, of course, helped with the yard. The real value of this house is more than the mortgage on it, and it’s just the right size for two people to live in comfortably. The new houses going up are lots bigger, fancier and have fancier floorings, cabinets and I will admit to a little longing when I see the “master suites” that are often the size of my first apartment.

But, as many old neighborhoods like ours are being surrounded by the new behemoths, people are moving on and moving up. The houses get improved so they will sell easier. Often, part of the job of fixing up the house is painting the outside.

I wish one of my neighbors hadn’t taken on the job themselves. Their…eye for color is…uhmm…excentric. Plus I don’t think they’d bought enough paint the first time, then instead of going back to the first store, they tried to match it at another. They almost matched it. Almost.

When ‘Pup and I were redoing the flooring (for the second time in 5 years, we looked around on the web to find out what would different flooring types cost. We found a couple of sites that let us plug in the measurements of the rooms and allowed us to “guesstimate” how much each would cost. I even found one that would give an estimate for a price to paint a house.

Too bad the neighbors didn't find the same site.

Ah well, it's good to live in a colorful neighborhood.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Happier Post

As I promised, this is the happier entry...

Yesterday, one of my regular students came in even bouncier than usual. He was almost giddy with a joke he'd learned at school that day. He kept showing it and performing it for the first 30 minutes of the class and getting almost nothing done. Then, I figured out how to let him "put the joke to bed".

Enjoy:
This is Bob.


Bob says "Hi".


This is Bob.


When a car slides by...



Poor Bob,
Good bye!

So I wonder as I wander...

I'm still looking around. There are an amazing number of "magic pills"... I found one metabolism booster that Hollywood stars are supposed to be using.

Do they work? I can't tell you from personal experience. And with the meds I'm taking I'm betting I won't get to find out for myself. I do know a couple of teacher's who swore by them. They did lose some weight. Is there anyone out there with experience with any? Comment below, I like a good discussion, and I'm feeling a little feisty.

I'm Still Looking

I'm still looking for that magic pill. That last site I found that ranked the different brands liked one weight loss pill as the best. It has a lot of ingredients in there, all supposed to be natural. Several of them aren't safe for me to use, and I'm not sure I know anyone who's used this either. Any thoughts?

Short, Round, Redhead (that's me)

I am a “well rounded” woman. That’s the way I like to describe myself. The good news is that I’ve lost a few pounds since just before I went into the hospital. I haven’t really had a good appetite, and my stomach has been a little upset.

The real truth of the matter is that I need to lose some weight. A lot of weight, actually.

I’m feeling a little more energetic now that the vitamins (some B6 and B12 and folic acid) seem to have “kicked in”. I think the therapeutic level of the coumadin/warfarin must have been reached as well, since the last blood-letting...er I mean blood draw by Vampira, Lady of the Needle at my doc’s office left a nice little bruise that is just now beginning to go away. Not her fault, really. She’s actually pretty good with the needle, and usually does a great job. Her patience and skill are even more remarkable when you consider that ‘Pup is notorious (really, they have his name up on the wall in the lab!) for being difficult to get blood from any of his veins.

Seems that I have the same problem he does. We’ve very fair skinned, but our little blood vessels and veins are small, delicate and twisty. You can SEE the dang veins, but it’s hard to actually get to one. Add to this the fact that my right arm, which had the “good spot” for a blood draw is still sore from the last bolus of phenegren given to me at the hospital. The other “good spot” on my left arm was also still colorful, so she had to go in where no one has ever tried to draw blood from me before.

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter! It was a spot on my forearm. I can tell you exactly where it is too. The bruise is about the size of a dime.

So, back to the weight loss thing, (groan) I hate diets. All my life I’d wished for a “magic pill or potion” that would make me lose weight while still eating chocolate cake.

There are a lot of brands of pills out there that claim to be just that miraculous. There is even a website dedicated to ranking the performance of the rate the best diet pills.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas

It's going to be a lean Christmas this year. 'Pup and I have been cutting back as much as we can, (and yes, internet is essential, he's looking for a job in the IT field........and that means 'net connection) but something's going to have to happen and soon.

Add to that, my father's death this year. Add to that another missing family member. If it weren't for some of the littlest kidlings, I think we might have just skipped the whole thing. My mom is going to keep one tradition alive. She wants to decorate the tree on the 10th. That was my father's birthday and the day we always turned the house into Santa Central. We're going to be there, as it's a Sunday and I'm off. We'll be bringing my mom our old computer once we make sure it's working well, and most of the "junk" stuff is off. It's not going to be the fastest computer or one with a lot of storage, but my mom really only wants something that can handle a word processing program, get on the internet to email, and it can do that much.

All that aside, I do have a Christmas wish list. First, I'd like to have a new headliner for my 10 year old Saturn. She runs great, but the liner is in tatters. I'd like to have some duct work on the house done so that the master bedroom isn't 6 degrees colder than anywhere else in the house. I'd like a filtration system for the water for the whole house.

When I moved here after our wedding, the water in this subdivision was wonderful. It was sparkling clear and tasted clean and as pure as any water from a bottle. Unfortunately, we no longer get our water from that well exclusively, as there are now about 40 (no kidding) new subdivisions building and drawing from the same water table near here. So, now we share the water, and now, the water isn't as good as it used to be.

There are particulates, for one thing. On the first of the month, they flush out the lines and it smells of clorine. It is even harder than it used to be. There is so much mineral content in the water it is staining the bathtub. Oh, and I'd like a plumber to come and figure out why the masterbath bathtub faucet is dripping and the last time we used it, the water was almost impossible to turn off. Plumbing is a sore point around this house. Seems we can hardly go a year without some kind of plumbing adventure. The only new adventure I want now is a with some sort of electronic water softener. I want something to filter the water for the whole house. We have one on the refridgerator, and it makes soooo much difference. I just wanna be able to get water from the faucet again. Any faucet.

In short: what I really want for Christmas is a job that 'Pup will be happy working (and comes with insurance), and allows us to finish fixing up this little house. It ain't much, but it's ours.. well, ours and the mortgage holder...

I should count blessings. At least the mortgage payment on this house is lower than what a one bedroom apartment in a not very nice part of town would go for. My mom is willing to help us a little with some things, and I have a job I like and can handle physically.

Tomorrow, I've got a more upbeat post. I promise.

Oh the Weather Outside...

is dang cold! It's still near the freezing mark tonight, and I'm tired of having to turn the heat on. The air gets all crackly and charged, and touching the dog without grounding oneself could be construed as (at the very least) mean. Ever seen a dog touch his nose to your leg and get zapped? I'm tellin' you, even Chuckers the Wonder Dog is beginning to approach us a little more carefully. The cat? I think she LIKES it.

Out front, the mexican heather is brown on the tips, but underneath the first 2 inches or so is green. The bouganvilla is frost burnt, but only on the East side. The hummingbird bush is bit back hard, but that happens every winter sooner or later. The roses and peas, lettuce, carrots, and broccoli are enjoying the cooler days, but I think I'd be more likely to have a crop of peas if it would WARM UP! Honestly, we usually only have 2 to 3 cold days at a time... and it's going on 2 weeks now! (Yah, I know y'all up north are just feeeeeeeling my pain...lol)

Have I mentioned I LIKE warm humid weather??? And I hate COLD DRY weather? Thank God for humidifiers.

'Pup and I got a surprize visit from the good Sr. and Sra M. They'd gone to watch the yearly Volunteer Fire Department holiday parade, and decided to drop in and check up on us. Sr. Medina did some major clucking and tsking when he saw the state of the backyard... leaves not gathered, things needing pruning... and plastic covers over the plants NOT to his standard. He told me that come Friday, he and his youngest son will be here to do some cleaning up. He also said that we would not be allowed to pay him, and that if we needed help again... CALL HIM.

I think Sr. M feels somewhat propriatory about the yard. As well he should, as he put in a lot of sweat equity into it. I'd never have been able to keep gardening if he'd not been there to lay the walkways and to do the hard digging, moving and pruning when the garden was first taking shape.

They both half speak English, and I half speak Spanish, and so we communicate with each other... at least halfway. It was nice to see them. They're good people.

A Wandering Mouse

Thing is, about this internet? You never know where the mouse is gonna lead you. So, you start to find out the dangdest things, and then you begin thinking. (Yah, that sounds like trouble, and often, it is.)

So:

The Kinsey Report is turning 50…

I wonder if the Kinsey report would have been written…differently if the ED medications had been developed in the 19 40’s? How would medications like Cialis have changed the findings? Would people have reported that they enjoyed sex more often? Would there have been fewer “X” individuals in the sexual orientation rankings? If planning and choice could rekindle the “fires of passion”, would there have been more or fewer divorces? If the ED medications and the Birth Control Pill come out at the same time, how would things be different today?

I’ve watched the commercials, where the loving couple walk hand in hand and smile at each other, sharing a secret.

Perhaps that’s the way these medications do help. Not just because they “can”, and “do”, but that the couple has to plan for it. Spontaneity is good, but anyone who’s ever had a relationship with someone they know they’ll never have sex with,( and yet… there is that sideways glance and oh so casual touch and the secret, lingering look),knows that sometimes waiting and planning are just part of the foreplay. That the lovemaking doesn’t start in a bed as a casual “oh well, why not?” That in this case, it begins with the decision to purchase a little helper.

I imagine that loving couple, talking, arguing, agreeing, getting the prescription, filling the prescription, all the while knowing what will follow. Are they telling each other where and what they fantasize? Do they wonder what kind of journey they’d be taking together?

Perhaps the point is that they will be taking it together. And that is indeed worth planning.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I Must Be Feeling Better.

I feel like writing again. Or is it the chocolate I scarfed.... well, either way.

Y'all lucky folks. You get me on a sugar high, mellowed out by chocolate and a reviewing of George of the Jungle (Man!
Brandon Fraser in a butt flap---maybe it's not the chocolate?).

I just love movies with great scenery.

Howdy

The Brrrr post below took me about three days to finish. So, as an update: Tomatoes survived! All the plants under cover were almost without damage. Most of the plants not covered were frost bitten, but most of them will grow back when it gets warmer. The Cannas and the elephant ears do better with some dormancy anyway.

In the front yard, (where I had just not been able to do much)is not in too bad a shape. The house faces South, and that probably helped the plants closest to the house escape almost all the frost. The bed near the driveway was bitten, and I wish I'd been able to give the plants a better leaf blanket. I'm going to try to get to it tomorrow as we're due for another freeze on Monday. So far, I don't think I've lost anything completely.

The roses did beautifully, not a bit of frostbite on any of the leaves, tho some of the blossoms look a bit stressed. The big yellow bush by the front arched fence looks completely unfazed.

The morning glory vine is toast however. I'm not worried it won't come back in the spring, as it seems to rival the survival abilities of a cockroach. The native passion flower vine wasn't bothered a bit by the cold, and today I even found evidence of caterpillar munching... and then found a caterpillar. It was still alive, though a bit sluggish. I didn't find a chrysalis, but the frittilaries are really hard to spot at the best of times. Add in the odd dead leaf from the morning glory that invaded this summer and it becomes impossible to find a very well hidden chrysalis.

My pothos ivy that escaped from a pot a couple of years ago and started growing along the bottom of the fence wasn't damaged either.

You can just see it behind the bench pulled away from the fence. I don't know why I didn't take it's picture. Perhaps another day.


I've another one growing amok in the side yard against the house. The more I neglect it, the happier it seems to be.

Be Well All,