Sunday, December 29, 2013

How Time Flies.....

I can't believe that it has been so long since I posted. I have been so busy with so many different things and time really has flown.

Last I posted I was in the middle of getting repairs done. Those all got successfully finished and then about a month later I hear from my insurance company.....one that I've had since 1984....telling me that when my homeowner's policy runs out in June of 2014, they will not renew it because I need a new roof. ????!!!!!   Hello!!! The roof was one of the reasons they were here in the first place and they knew it was getting repaired. Frankly, I think they are mad because I made a claim, even though it was a small one and in all the time I've had their insurance (29 years) I believe it was only the 5th time I've made a claim.  So I called my agent and he said that he would notify the department who handles that and they would come and inspect my roof and then I would get a letter from them. HA.  No letter so far and I spoke to him the first part of November. I can see that I will have to make another call to them.  In the meantime, I'm going to try and have positive thoughts and live my life drama-free.....if that can be possible.

The holidays were wonderful for me. My daughter is feeling the best she's felt in years and had both holidays at her house. Both meals were suburb and the company excellent. My family is tiny but there is a lot of love there.

To some of my old pals; thank you for the Christmas cards....made me feel sooo good.  You know who you are. xo

If any of my old readers are still hanging in there (I hope.....I hope), remember I love you and wish each one of you the safest of holidays and the best new year ever. Any new readers.....I will try to post a LOT more often this coming year and, everyone,  may this new year bring you all happiness and most of all, peace.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Phishy Phishy in the brook.....

That sign is two years old so you know the stats are even higher now.

The other day when I was in the middle of all the pounding on my roof I received a phone call from a lowlife scammer, phishing for information.  I had no idea it was such a widespread operation at the time. A few days later I googled the phone number from my caller I.D. and was very surprised to see so many complaints exactly like mine. I went to a couple Forums and put my complaint in and tomorrow I will notify Federal authorities. The following is a copy of what I posted there and tells the story in a nutshell:



Received this same call on Sept. 25 at 2:56 pm. Caller I.D. said it was from Voice Network I and listed 248-742-3843 as the number. It was a female with a very heavy accent that I thought may have been Asian but since reading the complaints.....it may have been Indian. My first impression though was Asian. She told me that everyone would be getting new Medicare cards from the government and she needed to verify information to make sure the cards went to the right party. She then repeated my name to me and asked if it was correct. She did the same with my address and then my phone number. She had all correct, which is a bit unsettling. She then said that she needed my banking information to verify I was the right person. I stated I was not going to give her that. She argued that it was needed to confirm my identity and asked for it again and I refused again, this time loudly. She hung up on me. This made me especially nervous since it was coming from my own area code. I will be reporting this to the proper Federal agencies. Hoping these lowlifes get caught.

I wondered why the lowlifes didn't block their number but after reading the complaints on the Forum, I found that the number was a non-working number. They have managed to manipulate caller I.D. into displaying that number. They could be calling from anywhere.  So....don't ever trust your caller I.D. either!!  Such a shame that life is like that now.  Remember the old logos from "The X Files"?  Trust No One.  Really hits home now.

On a brighter note......my roof is finished and it looks wonderful. The company I picked was so easy to work with.  They worked well, cleaned up all of their mess and did a great job. Who could ask for more.  Next is the attic cleaning in two weeks.

Keep Smilin'

Update:
A little after 6, 10/4/13, I received another one of these phone calls. Caller was middle eastern male, phone number 617-284-1955; caller I.D. said "Massachusetts call". The dialogue started out basically the same but I interrupted him and said "you people are all going to hell for what you're doing....every one of you"  He then started yelling "f--k you" over and over....while I kept responding with 'shame on you'. He then hung up on me.  I have reported the first call to AARP Senior Medicare Patrol, 1-800-799-4638. She took down all information and advised me that there have been an abundance of these calls the last month or so. They are doing all they can to advise all seniors. After making certain that I had not divulged any information to those lowlifes, she advised me to contact the Attorney General's office of my state, which I did do. I was advised by them that they are also aware that it's been happening using many different phone numbers.  Keep on your toes, my friends, and stay safe!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

As the Worm Turns.......

or....continuing on with the drama of the raccoons. I last left you with my fears that I would be locked into a contract that I did not want.

Well, the rep for that company turned out to be much better than I had given him credit for. Either that or he could see that there just was not that much money to be made. He came out to see me and when I once more told him that there was no way I could pay more than double what the insurance had given me, he stated that he would then rip on the contract. He was very nice about it....so I was greatly relieved.

I finally picked the roofing company that offered me the most for my money and he was willing to work with me on financing. Plus that he was local and had some very good recommendations.....like even from my employer.(the Township has used him previously)  So now I just had to make sure the raccoons had vacated.

After a week and a half of not hearing them in the attic and the trap not being tripped, I correctly assumed they were gone. I started making calls to companies that offered the service of decontamination and insulation replacement. One place boasted $7. a square foot for both. My attic is 1100 sq. feet. There was no way I could afford this. I started to think about only getting half the attic done as less than half of the attic was damaged by the coons. I sat at my desk at work and thought....my eyes coming to rest upon a business card in my in box. It was from a company we've long done business with that specialize in crime scene cleanup and fire board ups. But I decided to call them and see if they could recommend someone for my particular problem.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they do that type of work as well. A rep came out, went up in my attic, took pictures and got back to me via email the next morning. They came in about $5500 cheaper than that $7700 quote. This includes disposing of any contaminants, disinfection and blown-in insulation over my complete attic. So....they are going to start as soon as the roof is completed.

Next up....a handyman to fix the ceiling over my tub, finish and paint it. I believe I may have found one but I won't know for sure until I meet him and that won't be until the attic is finished. But he's a friend of a friend so it's not like I don't have any idea about what kind of guy he is.

The shingles for my roof were delivered today and sit in neat stacks on top of my house. Things are coming together and not a moment too soon.  I've heard reports of a vicious winter for us here and I'm glad to get this all taken care of.

Now.....if all that pounding doesn't give me a headache, all will be well.  I'm headed to the kitchen for a Margarita.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Is honesty a thing of the past?.....

I feel as if I have walked down a long dark alley full of mysterious and dangerous people who would slit your throat for promise of a cigarette. I'm not out of that alley yet, but I can see light at the end and I know my journey is close to its end.

Journey you say? Why yes.....yes a journey of devious lies and charming salesmen all in the name of making a buck. The best prey......a lone and vulnerable woman. Ah....but some might do well to remember you can't always judge a book by its cover.

I am alone. yes.  I am quite vulnerable, yes. I know a little about a lot of things but not very much at all about construction. Therein lies my vulnerability.

My problem is not unique. I have a damaged roof and since I live in a heavily wooded area, raccoons took advantage and also took up residency. Not being very considerate freeloaders, they did some damage. I simply needed a company to fix the damage and I also needed a new roof before it started springing leaks like a sieve. 

I went to the yellow pages.....the entrance to the dark alley......and researched. I picked companies that were located in my area. At first I picked large companies but only found out that the larger the company, the larger the quote.  (SOMEONE has to pay for all those TV ads and yellow pages referrals, not to mention all those employees).  Never in my life had I expected such a HUGE difference in prices. They ranged from $16,000. to $5,800. In the case of the $16,000 quote, it was for metal shingles that last 100 years, so basically I shouldn't even count that one. The next quote down for just regular shingles was $10,400.....then another company gave me $7,850.....then another $7,000 and finally $5,800.  These quotes are for exactly the same repairs and work to be performed.  Amazing.

I hate being humiliated by these salesmen trying to get me to sign a contract for triple the amount of money I can comfortably spend. I did sign a contract with one company to do only the repair work the insurance company would pay for. That amount ended up being $4,000, which I thought was very generous of my homeowner's. Now THAT company is trying to say it's going to cost double that amount to do the job and they want ME to pay the extra. This is only for replacing some insulation and repairing the damaged ceiling in my bathroom.....nothing to the actual roof itself. I wish I would have never signed that piece of paper......I would get someone else to do the job if I hadn't. I'm glad, however, that I did make him put on the contract that it was only for work paid for by the insurance company.  I called my insurance adjuster and even she agreed that he was high pressure and had acted the same way with her. Does anyone know how long you have to cancel a contract? It's been 8 days since I signed it, counting weekends.  I feel this company is trying to take advantage of my situation.

I may be old.....but I'm NOT stupid and I've been around the block enough times to realize when someone is taking advantage of a bad situation.  Shame on them.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pests.....

I know.....I know....they are cute. But they are also pests that can inflict a lot of damage....on people as well as your pets and your home.  Right about the time I noticed that I had a problem with them, I also had a problem with some mice.

So I was setting traps inside for mice and my son was setting a trap outside for raccoons. I caught 4 mice in all....not fully grown. As for the raccoons, so far we have caught 2 plus my neighbor's dog, a Lab, killed 2 (that was scary as a raccoon can make fast work of most dogs).  We've also found a possum in the trap.

These coons have made a mess of my roof and attic. Close to the entry point, they have made a small hole in the ceiling over my shower. I know they have rearranged the insulation in the attic because I could hear their claws on the bare floor of the attic. My attic is barely accessible as it is....you can't stand up in it, or even sit down....you have to lay down and crawl. I will have to have it decontaminated. My homeowner's insurance may cover some of the damage....an adjuster is coming here next week to inspect. Hopefully we will have caught all of them by that time.

I had to have a roofing company come out and give me a price on a new roof. The price has doubled since the last time I paid for a new roof. Just like everything else.......sigh.


Friday, June 28, 2013

I love them.....

Trees.  I love every leaf on their branches and their majestic beauty makes my heart swell.  I guess that's why I've been happy living among so many of them for over 40 years.

I have 26 mature trees in my yard....most of them Oak.  Most people take trees for granted and never stop to think about the benefits they offer us. Trees and other plants are vital to our existence in more ways than just providing wood and paper products.

A couple years ago the house next door to me sold and the new people moved in. A young couple who have since had a child. They are good people but keep to themselves, like most everyone else in my neighborhood. One day shortly after moving in he visited with me over the fence for a few minutes. He told me then that he "hated trees".  He was originally from a huge farm where there were few trees to get in the way of their farming operation. After fall came and went and he experienced all the work involved with raking all those leaves, I'm sure his dislike for trees only grew.

Yesterday it was hot and humid and I was inside with the AC on. I let my dog out only to see a bunch of workmen in my neighbor's yard with chainsaws. I watched in horror as a perfectly healthy beautiful tree nestled against my fence that separates his property from mine was being cut down. Several more in his yard met the same fate. These were healthy mature oak trees and I felt like someone was hurting one of my children. The chainsaws grated on my nerves and the realization that something that took so many years to grow was being needlessly eradicated almost made me physically sick. That area in my back yard looks strange now since there has been a tree there for the 40-some years I've been here and for probably a 100 more before that.

There is nothing I can do. They are on his property and he has the right to cut them. I won't say anything to him either. A good neighbor knows when to keep their mouth shut. One of the biggest trees in the neighborhood sits on the corner of his property and I'm just praying that it's big enough that he won't tackle that one next.

Sigh. Us older folks hate changes anyway but we understand that a lot of changes are necessary. I just have a hard time dealing with the unnecessary ones.

In other news.....I am now all caught up with Downton Abbey.  I watched all 3 seasons and all I can say is "wow". Terrific series that proves you can have a winner without nudity and obscene language.  I have also watched two seasons of The Game of Thrones and I love it. A lot more nudity than is necessary, the obscenities are frequent both in word and gore, but the plot is terrific. I watched Downton Abbey through Roku and The Game of Thrones by DVD that I purchased.  If you have not watched either one, they are both worth your time.....unless the things I've mentioned above would bother you. One cute thing.....Baby Dragons!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Something new for me.....

First of all.....this is not a paid advertisement. I'm getting nothing for writing my praises on this little gadget, although if the company offered...............

But, I must continue.....for I am excited that I've found a good product that works well. I never...ever praise a product unless I've tried it and I like it.

This is a Roku®.... Roku 3 to be exact. I found out about this little gem through a co-worker who is about as technically challenged as I am. When she assured me that it was easy to hookup and easy to use....well, that sold me. My TV is not that old.....maybe 2 years. I don't know if this works with older TV's.

This purchase is part of an on-going attempt to get my monthly bills decreased. My cable bill has been a thorn in my side for many years.....although, to be fair, I must say that the cable company has been most generous with me lately. Every time they increase my bill (roughly 3 times a year), I call and complain and they cancel the increase and set me up for a "deal" and I end up paying less than what I was paying before the latest increase for the exact same service. I appreciate this gesture, but....my bill is still too high for what I'm getting. It has always been my argument that we should only have to pay for the cable channels we actually WANT and watch. I have only basic cable with internet and it allows me to view 99 channels.....no paid channels like HBO. I only actively watch about 25 of those 99 channels but I still have to pay for all those that I never watch. Not Fair!  Whoa.... I'm veering off the path here....so let me get back on track.

I ordered the Roku® and hooked it up with no problem. I attached it to the back of my TV with a HDMI cable (bought separately for around $6). Plugged it into an electrical outlet and then plugged an Ethernet cable into it which allowed internet access (cable bought separately for about $15). If I had a wireless router, then the Ethernet cable wouldn't be necessary, but my router is not wireless. I am a big fan of Amazon.com and purchase almost everything from them. I found out that if I joined  Amazon "Prime", then it would not only give me free two day shipping on nearly every purchase, but would allow me to view movies and TV shows for free through streaming video, either through your PC or through another source, such as Roku.

I am simply amazed....to the point where I'm nearly speechless, about all the popular uncut movies available to me for no charge other than paying $79 a YEAR to be a Prime member. That's a YEAR!  That is $6.58 cents a MONTH!!! And remember, that fee gets me FREE two day shipping on my purchases. This is in addition to my Internet fee, of course.....but I have to have Internet....so I didn't add in that cost. I went through last night and made up my "watch list"....all free through Amazon Prime .....movies as dated as the old Charlie Chan mysteries right up to documentaries and episodes like "Walking Dead".  Yes, some things you have to pay $1.99 or $2.99, depending on what it is, but the free content is absolutely amazing. Newer movies are available for $3.99 to $4.99.....but I'm more interested in the free content.

You don't have to join anything extra if you don't want to.....but with everything you get for only $6.58 a month (through Amazon Prime), it would be foolish not to. You can also join Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and a bunch others I can't think of right now. But I'm more familiar with Amazon, so I stuck with them. I'm not sorry.

The Roku 3 was $99, they have other models with less features that cost less. This model has earbuds that you plug into the Roku remote so you can listen without disturbing anyone else in the house. I can walk as far as the bathroom with the buds in and still hear what I'm watching as it's controlled by a radio signal. Any earbuds will work. Eventually I'm hoping to cancel my cable TV and just have Internet supplied by my cable company.....and with this little gadget, it may be possible sooner than I thought. This new season I will watch Walking Dead through Prime and see if I can enjoy it without commercials.

This is a win-win situation. So, if you're like me and want to try and save some monthly fees, you might want to give this a try. So far, I'm extremely happy with it. Not to mention, it also comes with a free Angry Birds game you play right on your TV using the Roku remote.

Again, this is NOT a paid advertisement.....I just like to let others know when I find something that works well and can save you money.  Keep smilin'.



Saturday, June 15, 2013

A humble hero.....

is a hero nevertheless.  My daughter's friend called her Friday and told her what happened when he went shopping at a local store that morning.

He went to a discount store to pick up one item. He parked next to a vehicle that was occupied by a little girl, perhaps around 8 or 9 years old. He glanced at her, noting that she was the only one in the car and he then went inside. He wasn't in the store long, only a few minutes and when he came out and went to his car he noticed that the little girl was outside of her car with a guy. He had her by the arm and was obviously leading her somewhere. She wasn't making a fuss or yelling but she had a certain look about her that caused my daughter's friend to take particular notice.  Let me just call my daughter's friend "Joe" to make it easier.

Acting on pure instinct, Joe asked the little girl if she knew the man who was leading her away and she answered 'no'.  The man, who was in his early 30's, told Joe to mind his own business.  Joe ignored him and asked why she was leaving with him and she said that the man had told her that her mother had sent him to get her. Joe grabbed the man's arm and told him to let go, and at the same time yelled for passers-by to call 911 as this guy was trying to take this child. A struggle ensued and Joe.....wanting to keep the guy there so police could question him.....knocked him out.

Police arrived in record time and took the man in custody. Mother came out of the store screaming and crying over her daughter. (She needs to be reported to protective services for leaving her child alone in the car as far as I'm concerned.....she very nearly lost her child by her neglectful actions.)  Anyway, all turned out well....everyone around, and there were plenty of witnesses in the parking lot, slapped Joe on the back and the police officers told him beers were on them anytime he wanted to take them up on it. The store offered him a reward for his heroic actions. The press wanted a story with pictures. Joe humbly turned it all down with a smile, tip of his hat and a "happy to have been of some service" attitude. All he needed was a white horse to ride away on.

You know, there are a lot of those kind of people walking around.....unsung heroes......some people call them angels.  And they really are. We don't hear about them because that's the way they want it.  In your prayers tonight, thank God for Joe.....and all the other Joes and Jo-annes out there.  I hope that little girl's mother is thanking God also.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This n' that.....

to go with a refreshing fruit salad.

For the summer, my granddaughter is coming over to stay with me on the days that I don't work  This is doing everyone some good and keeping me on my toes, so to speak.

After work on Monday I went grocery shopping at a different store than I usually go to. I used to shop at this store a lot before I retired because it was conveniently close to my work. I was surprised to see that they have replenished their supply of rider carts and now I can confirm they have the best ones anywhere around. I actually got a cart that didn't go dead on me halfway through shopping......and it was at the end of the day too!

I bought stuff to make a refreshing fruit salad as the day was hot and humid and it just sounded good.  After stopping to pick up my granddaughter, we came home and cut up the fruit and made the dip:

1, 8 oz package of cream cheese
1, 7 oz container of marshmallow fluff

Beat up the cream cheese until smooth, then add the fluff a little at a time and mix well.  You can either carefully (so you don't smash the fruit) mix it into a bowl of fruit or put it in a separate container and use it for dip.  Yum yummy

During grocery shopping I observed some women who desperately needed to look in a full length mirror before going out in public. I am no beauty queen......my shape definitely needs to be redefined to put the curves back in the right places.....but I, at least, do try and make myself presentable. I am embarrassed FOR these people who obviously don't care if they make our eyes bleed. Their motto....if you don't like what you see....then don't look.

The one that got me the most was this middle aged lady who had poured herself into a pair of leggings. They were stretched to the max....showing her white underwear. I kept waiting for them to explode. She was about 100 lbs overweight, which did not help. She also did not have a bra on and her generous endowments hung halfway to her waist. Her short hair was smashed in the back (bed-head)......maybe she had just arose from a nap and suddenly decided she needed groceries and bolted from her home in a rush. Anyhow, it's one of those circumstances where you don't want to stare but you can hardly contain yourself. Mentally I was putting her in a different outfit and visualizing it taking off 50 plus pounds. Who needs Wal-mart to people watch?

Oh yeah.....another thing.  I have now confirmed that I totally suck at video games. It looks so simple.....I don't understand how it can be so hard.  I just hope granddaughter doesn't lose respect for me because I killed off every one of the soldiers in my unit.  Thank goodness for the 'save game' feature.

Don't you wish real life was like that?  Make a mistake?  No problem.....just do that part of life over.  LOL

Keep smilin'.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Once a year.....

into every pet's life a little rain (pain) must fall. Hopefully no more than once a year.

Yes, it was that time again.

I purposely schedule her shots so it's nice weather when we have to go to the dreaded vet's office. As soon as her leash comes off the hook she gets all excited. She knows that she's in for a car ride and thankfully she associates car rides with something pleasant so the first part of our event is rather nice.

Then we get to the parking lot of the vet's office. She knows that something is up but....forever optimistic, she runs around peeing on spots that have been peed on hundreds of times before her. It's not until we open the door and go inside that this happy little dog turns into a quivering mass of Jello. If it was possible for her to climb up the front of me and slide into the back of my sweatshirt and into my bra....she would gladly do so. There was only one other dog there at the time....a huge black Lab who was also shivering and shaking while giving pleading looks to her owner.

We got her the two shots that she needed....her checkup and her heartworm test.  Then her heartworm medication, her flea preventative and her nails clipped. She's in good health, a perfect weight and beat all land speed records in exiting the building. How such a small dog can morph into something so powerful is beyond me....but, trust me, it happens.

My bill for the 50 minutes I spent there was $298.00.  I will get a $20 rebate on the heartworm meds in the form of a credit card lookalike, which I will put into my wallet and forget about until it has expired. I figure a lot of people must do this because why else would they issue a rebate in the form of a card?  HA....so dummies like me can forget about them and they end up not having to pay you anything.  They aren't dumb!

I honestly do not know how people who have 3 or 4 pets can afford it.  I personally know a guy who has 6 dogs.....he uses them for hunting but they still have to be licensed and vaccinated and take heartworm preventative.

So we are home now. My dog is exhausted. She is now in a deep sleep and I know ..... from past experience.....that she will sleep like this until tomorrow then she'll have all her energy back so she can once again go outside in the backyard and tell off all of the much bigger dogs whose yards borders ours. They just mostly give her that "yeah, yeah, whatever" look and slowly walk away from the fence. She takes that as victory I guess as she prances around the yard feelin' big.

How much are vet bills in your area?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This was NOT an AHA moment.....

My almost 11 year old granddaughter came for a several day visit. I planned out a bunch of things to do that I thought would be fun cause I'm a trendy, modern grandma. Yeah, sure I am.

We have always approved of video games for the kids as long as they are played in moderation and are age appropriate. We have found that it promotes good reading and comprehension skills as well as focusing on the tasks at hand and carrying them out correctly. This means PAYING ATTENTION.

She brought her Xbox and a video game to play that had belonged to her older brother. The storyline of this game was great and soon I found myself immersed in the plot....as she played the game.  A few times I noticed that "hell" was used....like "get the hell out of here" but I let that slide. They hear worse on regular prime time TV now. You could chose male or female as the main character and we, of course, chose female. We were really getting a kick out of the fantastic feats our heroine was able to do.

I was beginning to feel a bit sleepy last night as she continued to play. As we were in my bedroom, playing in the TV in there, I was all comfy in bed watching her. I was just beginning to nod off when she asked me a question that caused my eyes to pop open....."grandma, what's a c0nd0m?"  Ahem....cough, cough....sorry, honey, what did you say?  She repeated it and it was what I thought she said the first time.  Oh brother!!!

Why do you ask I inquired sweetly.  She said....lookit....see here....it's for sale at the store in the game...it's the only thing I have enough gold to buy......as she clicks on it and purchases it.  Then she asked me again.

Now let me say right here that we have never been a family who have raised kids with fairy stories when it comes to the facts of life. None of this 'under the leaves in the cabbage patch' garbage.  We figure if a kid is old enough to ASK the question, they deserve an answer.....an accurate answer. We never go further though....just answer exactly what they ask and nothing more until they ask for more....which may be years away.  You never know.  So I felt compelled to tell her the truth yet I really didn't want to. This was supposed to be her mother's job.  RATS!!

Family tradition won out and I told her briefly what they were for. In the next frame of the video game THEY told almost word for word my own explanation. If she would have waited a few seconds, the GAME would have told her and she wouldn't have had to ask me. We are being replaced by video games!

But what I can't believe is that video game has a store in it .....era 1600 or thereabouts.....that sells c0nd0ms.  Another 20 minutes or so into the game and one of the characters talks, in passing conversation, about wanting to find some c0ncubines for sale. OMG.....thankfully granddaughter was talking and missed it.  This is a game that is supposedly suitable for PG13.  I'm not quite sure if I should be miffed that a game has such adult tones to it or should I be thankful that the creators are promoting safe sex.  Hmmmmm did they even HAVE such things in the 1600's?

Anyway we had a nice time together and grandma learned a thing or two.  sigh.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

And every year they come.....

I heard them quite a while before they passed my place. They come every year, just like the migratory  birds. They pass my house in waves of probably 30 bikes to start, most with a double rider, each wave around a minute apart. There were more this year.....about 6 waves of them, the last waves more sparsely numbered. The rumbling from their powerful engines vibrate the floors of your home and you can shut your eyes and almost picture a gigantic herd of wildebeest thundering through your neighborhood.  Anything that numbers over a hundred can be quite intimating, no matter what it is.

They go to a gathering at a house halfway around the lake from me.  I've been here for forty years and they come every single year....for Memorial Day weekend. During this ceremony they honor their fallen comrades, among other things. I've gone past the house before when everyone had arrived and the event was in full swing. I honestly don't know where they put everyone as the house is just a regular house on a double lot.....but they manage.  And they never cause any problems. I suspect any troublemakers are handled within the club....privately and quietly.

There is a lot of fear that goes with motorcycles and their riders but the stories you hear are not always fact. These group of people can be very compassionate and generous to a good cause. My ex and I had road bikes (albeit much smaller than these huge hogs) and we rode for a couple years but were never into any gang other than friends and relatives who also enjoyed riding. He later opted for motocross racing and that was just too much for me so I chose the role of spectator.  We met a lot of biker people who are absolutely wonderful.  Yes, you have your bad apples no matter what.....but they aren't ALL bad.

Isn't that true of most everything.

And getting off topic here a bit.....as I left work on Friday I could hear calls of "Happy Memorial Day" being said to each other from the employees.  On the ride home I got to thinking.....HAPPY?  This is an oxymoron if ever there was one. I've NEVER had a HAPPY Memorial Day.  It's always been a day of sadness for me.....missing people who I loved and are no longer living. Maybe there is something wrong with my thinking......but like I told you before, my mind races in many directions.

Have a SAFE holiday.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good grief.....I'm almost obsolete

Today at work one of our police officers (a baby) who has been with us for about four years came into my office to report that the cable back in the police department was no longer working.  I said maybe the company was having a problem as the fire department was out  as well.  I added that the cable in my office has never worked well. I said it was like viewing a TV that had reception from rabbit ears and all it's set on is the news..

Him:  I've never seen a TV with rabbit ears.
Me:   Well, the picture is all snowy and distorted.
Him:   oh....well, I guess I'm lucky then. LOL  I've only known cable.
Me:    Yep, once TV was free.....and really, the programs were pretty darn good.
Him:    Oh yeah.....I've heard about those old black and whites....like Mayberry.
Me:   Hmmmmm..... Ever played an 8 track tape?
Him;   nope
Me:   how about an LP record.
Him:   no
Me:   45?
Him:  gun?
Me:   No....a record.
Him:  ah, no  Well, I've got to get going, I've got warrants to swear to and get signed.
Me:   Ok, I'll make sure they hear about the cable.  In the meantime, Lord help me find some Geritol, I suddenly feel very old.
Him:   Geri.....what?
Me:    Oh nevermind.....go to court!

sigh

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Monday, May 20, 2013

One thing after another.....

Call me a pessimist but I'm the type of person who never rejoices when things are going right. To me, it's like thumbing your nose at the Fates.....daring them to screw you up. So my life seems to be always waiting for that "other shoe to fall"....even when things are going right.

And things were going along pretty good for a while. I dared not let myself think about it. Then one morning I went out to start my car and noticed a humming noise. I thought it might be the radio but it wasn't. So I backed out of my driveway, went one and a half miles to a busy intersection and when the light turned and I attempted to turn.....I could barely turn the wheel.  My power steering was gone!  Well, crap!

So I drove to work.....6 miles from that point and figured that I was low on fluid.....but then wondered why and so I figured I must have a leak. Well, one thing led to another and when it was checked, it was a leak all right but not as simple as a hose. It was leaking down by the rack and pinion.....I think those are the right words. But nevertheless, it means a major repair, taking some time to do it.  My car has been at a friend's house for over a week while he looked for parts and then found time to work on it. He says I may have it back by Tuesday.....I certainly hope so.

Then my computer started acting up on me. Shockwave keeps crashing and I have NO idea why. I just have to reboot, which is a pain in the patootie.

Then yesterday it finally did warm up into the high eighties. It felt good, but was also humid, so I flipped on the central air. It is not working.  I wasn't even surprised.

Sigh.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I guess I watch too many movies.....

I got up this morning and did this and that....let the dog out in the back yard and made note of what a beautiful day it was going to be. I had my coffee, watched a little TV and then happened to glance out my front window. There was a pickup truck backed into my driveway......and as far as I could tell, there was no one in it.

This is not a picture of the actual truck or of my driveway either....I'm just using it to help you visualize.

Now my first thought was that it was my yard guy, but his truck is white. I looked outside anyway but didn't see a soul.  I went to the back deck and the same was true back there.  Hmmmmm

Now my imagination started up. What if it was stolen? Worse yet, what if there was a body inside?  Hmmmmm.  Maybe it was a drunk that couldn't make it home so he parked it.  But it's backed in....pretty good driving for a drunk. I tried to call my son and have him come over and investigate, but couldn't reach him. Twenty years ago I would have grabbed my gun and gone out there to check it out myself. But now, I'm not so spry anymore. I paced my living room and thought. Then decided that I'd wait for a little bit and see what happens.  I made another cup of coffee.

Then got to thinking again. It could have been there all night for all I knew....this was the first I'd noticed it, but that didn't mean that it hadn't been parked there for a long time.  So I called my neighbor who is a retired cop.  He came over with his phone in hand and we talked while he checked. He said no signs of anything weird inside. He didn't think it had been stolen as there was a GPS in it. No keys though.  He told me to call the local cops and have them check it out.

Now I'll have to say here that this vehicle was totally blocking me in. If I would have had to leave, there would have been no way I could get past this truck. So I waited about 10 more minutes, then called. They were pretty prompt and just as he was going to run the plate, a guy came running from straight across the street, saying it was his truck. He got in it, started it up and left post haste.

God, I hate wasting a cop's time like that.

Seems as though my neighbor had some mowers for sale and this guy just pulls into my driveway so he can check them out. Why he didn't pull into the guy's driveway who is selling the mowers is beyond me. Now, I felt kinda bad calling the law on the guy and now I've probably got a reputation as the neighborhood bitch..Then I figured....screw him...he could have told me he going to park there and it would have been fine and it wouldn't have freaked me out. But I guess he didn't care that he blocked me in while he perused the guy's mowers way behind his house......not to mention having me thinking there were 19 dead bodies in there to boot.

This is an example of how people are now. They think only one step at a time and don't stop to consider the consequences of their actions. A-hole.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z.....is for Zebra

Zebras are unique in more ways than one. Now I'll give you a short walk down zoology lane as I tell you some facts about Zebras you probably didn't know.....and I wouldn't have either except I helped my granddaughter with a report.

The stripes on a Zebra are unique, just like fingerprints are unique on each human. It is being studied, but at this time it's unknown if Zebras are able to recognize each other by their striping. When a foal is born, it is brown and white striped rather than black and white. And since we are on the subject of stripes.....rather than black stripes on a white background as previously thought, it is white stripes on a black background....underneath the white, the skin is black.

When a foal is born, the mother keeps all other Zebras away for 2 to 3 days so it will recognize her scent and her striping as well as her unique call. Their calls sound more like a puppy yelping than what you would figure they would sound like.....a horse. A foal can stand within a few minutes of being born and can run within an hour.

They have exceptional eyesight and hearing and even have night vision as well as an owl. Their sense of smell and taste are also extremely keen.  They sleep standing up and always alert. They tend to stay in small herds, one stallion to a harem of mares. The stallion, however, doesn't always stay with them. There will be a dominant mare who is always at the front of the line with her foal.....the pecking order aligns with their place in the line. Rather than being scattered about, they walk in a single file line, the dominant mare in the lead....each foal right behind its mother.  They form family groups and even if they later join a larger herd, each family group will stick together within. Each member of the family will look out for the other members of their family, even coming to their aid in the event of an attack.

Their diet is similar to that of a horse and since their teeth are always grinding up the grasses, some of them quite dry, they get worn down. Therefore, their teeth are always growing.

It is thought that the striping confuses predators when a lot of Zebras are bunched together, making it look like one huge animal rather than a lot of smaller ones. If Zebras are attacked, the mares will gather the foals and circle around them for protection while the stallion fights off the threat.

I've just covered the basics here as there are different sub-species and their striping is a bit different, some with wider stripes or narrower stripes. The more narrow the stripes, the better it acts as a repellent from horse flies and the dreaded tsetse fly , which is another strange fact.

Ok, we're through with zoology for today......and this is also the end of the Challenge.  Hope you all have enjoyed it.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Y.....is for Youthfulness

Youth is something that us humans have coveted for centuries. We've searched for miracles, magic and medicine to trap youth and have it bend to our will. Plastic surgeons are made astronomically rich by people who continue to have procedures done so they can look decades younger than they really are.

The cosmetic industry makes billions upon billions of dollars by tempting us to use creams and lotions that guarantee radical changes without going under the knife.

When we were young, we dreamed of being older. We didn't realize that to age isn't always pretty in the eyes of society. The aging process includes wrinkles, thinning and gray hair, changing eyesight and a mind that isn't quite as sharp.  No wonder we've searched for the secret to being forever young.

But, it's not going to happen.  Oh some may get to look younger, but the rest of our body is aging.....some slower than others, but aging nonetheless. Personally, I think each wrinkle on a very elderly person is beautiful in its own way. Each one tells a story. Hiding or eliminating my own wrinkles with surgery doesn't interest me.....but being able to get around without aches and pains certainly does!

I will have to admit that I have wished for the same bounce in my step that I had in my 30's many times. I could get so much more accomplished!!!  But I'm also a realist. I can't afford plastic surgery or even Botox. I do good to use some stuff on my face that I think helps. Because....my skin is now a lot drier than it was way back so many years ago.....when I was wishing so hard to be older so I could do just what I wanted to do.

HA!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

X.....is for a kiss

Well, we are all the way to "X" already.

So today I'm going to give you all a little history lesson.

A while ago I was thinking about this and that and then one thing led to another, which seems to be a way of life for me. But anyway.....I wondered how it came to be that an X meant a kiss when you were writing to someone. So I decided to research it and sure enough, the Internet came through again.

Back in medieval times not many people knew how to read or write so when their signature was required on a document (which makes one wonder what types of documents existed for a population of non-readers or writers....but continuing on now before I get too far off the path), they were permitted to place an "X" on the dotted line as a substitution of their written name. This was witnessed, of course, and then the signer of the X would kiss that X as a act of sincerity. Thus.....before you know it, an X started to signify a kiss.

There is also another version that states that the X is a symbol of two lips touching.....but I'm inclined to believe the first one as being more realistic.

So.....while we are on the subject and because, like I said, one thing leads to another with me......how did the O become symbolic of a hug. Well, again there are two versions. The first one is that Jewish immigrants did not want to deform the shape of the cross by using an X for their signatures, so they used an O and then kissed it like you would do an X.  The other version is that an O is symbolic of one's arms engulfing you.  I guess you can take your pick which one you'd like to believe evolved into meaning hugs.

Ok, class dismissed....that's your history lesson for today.  XO to you all.


Friday, April 26, 2013

W.....is for walking

Every morning that I go to work I see this guy and his dog walking on the bicycle path....the dog looks like this one and is holding its own leash just like this one. It's about the cutest thing.  As the weather warms up there will be more and more people out walking and it's surprising the number of people who take their dogs with them. Some people have two dogs at a time. I've also seen people riding their bicycles holding onto a dog leash. That always makes me wince because I'm always afraid the dog will get distracted and dart off to chase a squirrel and then....splat....bicycle rider down. The only thing I can figure out is that those particular dogs must be very well trained.

I have a variety of people who walk their dogs in front of my house. I enjoy watching what sort of dogs people have. Some of them are extremely impressive like the two huge, beautiful blue-eyed huskies. We have everything from greyhounds to chihuahuas going past. However we do not have pitbulls as they are illegal in our town. Every once in a while you will see two or three....probably new residents that don't know about that law yet.  The strangest one I have seen to date was the woman who was walking her descented pet skunk.  He was the cutest thing ever and she said he was a wonderful pet.

Of course, even stranger is the dog walker who drives while the dog walks like in the picture. I've never seen that myself and am not sure if people really do it......probably.  You know, anything is possible.

I don't walk my dog because she absolutely hates other dogs. The walk would be miserable for both of us as she would be snarling at every dog she saw which would cause them to do the same in return.  Too bad because she's such a hyper dog it would help wear her out.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

V.....is for Varnish

Any time I hear the word, Varnish, I find myself slowly shaking my head with a small smile on my lips. It brings back a vivid memory for me.

I was a young wife and new mother living in a subdivision filled with others just like me. Our homes were close to being clones on the outside, but of course the interiors were a bit different. We would get together and have coffee most days and talk about many things but mostly about kids and about shortcuts we could take with home improvement or cleaning.

My kitchen floor was a thorn in my side. It was linoleum and well used. I would wax it and the wax would just soak in and give minimum shine. Back then we all took pride in the shine we could get on our kitchen floors.  One day my girlfriend and I were talking about this and she came up with the idea of putting varnish on the floor. She said it stood to reason that it would shine and if we used Marine varnish which was made for boats, it would be twice as good and able to withstand spills that happen in the kitchen. I didn't tell my neighbors about this but decided to do it. My girlfriend who had the idea lived about 3 miles away and she was going to do it as well. By the way, her results and mine were alike.

We went to the store and made our purchases. All I can say is that I'm so thankful that I had made up a new batch of baby formula that would last several days and also thankful that the refrigerator door could be opened and the contents accessed by leaning from the living room across the doorway without having to touch the floor.  I moved everything out of the kitchen that could be moved and painted away. Not one to cut corners, I figured I would do the countertops as well. I painted the varnish onto the surfaces and I will have to say that it did look absolutely beautiful. Now that was the shine I had been dreaming about!

However, I didn't anticipate it taking 3 days to dry!!  I think my husband was about ready to push me off a tall building by the time we were finally able to walk on that floor. But it did look great!!  My neighbors started commenting on my floor and asked me what kind of wax I was using. I hesitated telling them what I'd really done, but I finally broke down and did. Most of them were horrified. Eventually the varnish began to wear in the traffic paths and it looked dull in those areas, the rest of it looking nice and shiny. The countertops did the same thing with the varnish actually starting to peel in areas.  I didn't know how to safely remove it so it would look uniform and I didn't dare put another coat on it, so it had to stay the way it was. I imagine after the new owners took possession of our house several years later they called me a bunch of names.  The floor looked so bad after a while that I ended up putting a round rug under the table and chairs to help hide it.

So I learned a lesson.  After that they came out with flooring that had its own shine and then there was kitchen carpeting.....which I had at the new house and wouldn't recommend unless you live alone and never cook.  This is just one of several really dumb things I did when first married.....but hey.....this is how inventions are born, right?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U.....is for Ugly

What a sad thing. When I went to school many moons ago there were the groups of girls who were more popular and acted stuck up but they mostly kept to their own group. I never remember any of them going out of their way to insult other girls who had less or who weren't as "pretty".

Sadly that has all changed. I'm not quite sure when it happened. There was a little of it happening when my daughter went to school but nothing like it is now that my granddaughters are in school. And it starts early.....as early as first grade here in my community.

My one granddaughter was one of many picked on by a group of three little brats who thought they were extra special and it was only first grade. They were horrible little things who flung insults like confetti at a parade. My granddaughter came home from school crying so many times because of them that I lost count. Her schoolwork started to suffer and she had such a low opinion of herself all due to these girls teasing her. Top that with her getting bullied by some other kids on the playground....it was more than we could deal with. The principal didn't help matters at all so we transferred her to a Christian school where that sort of behavior is simply not permitted. Her grades improved to the point that she is on the honor roll and her self-esteem is back where it should be.

The media has helped form these mean little kids. They've been taught that beauty is everything; it's number one and top priority. The magazines that these parents allow their children to read all promote being beautiful and skinny and that people who aren't are the lowest levels of society. I wish I knew how to turn this all around and how to instill the knowledge that ugliness dwells in the hearts of those who chose to hurt others intentionally. You can pretty yourself up all you want, but if you are ugly on the inside, it shows through your facade of powder and paint.  Not to say I'm against makeup....cause I'm not. I think that whatever a woman does to make herself feel better is fine, as long as she doesn't hurt anyone else in the process. I always put some makeup on when I leave the house.  Not that it's going to make me a beauty queen by any means....but it makes me feel better about myself.

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Now my youngest granddaughter is having the same problem in her second grade class. This is my son's little girl and he isn't able to pay the tuition to transfer her so she has to contend with the teasing. She's a different personality and usually insults the offenders right back, which is getting her into trouble. When she goes home and no one can see her, she cries and thinks everyone hates her.  It's a struggle to get her to school every day; she doesn't want to go.

Society and what the majority expect now has changed drastically. Just take a look sometime at the movie stars of the past and what was thought to be the "best" back in the 30's and 40's and then compare it to now. The breast sizes alone is enough to shock. The competition between all those stars is astronomical and it overflows onto our young girls.....these celebrities are their role models.....and for the most part, they are not good ones.

So Kudos to the designers who are now using models that are more realistic and not skin and bones and if the magazines would stop photoshopping all these celebrities to make them absolutely perfect, which no one is......then maybe our young girls will look in their mirrors and realize that they are not ugly.  Our daughters and granddaughters are all beautiful in their own unique ways.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T.....is for Tina

Tina owned us for a little over 17 years. She was the best cat ever. Even people who hated cats loved her. This is an actual picture of her atop one of her favorite perches; the cable box because it was warm.

One day when my daughter was nearing four years old I was driving home and passed by a yard sale. I pulled in to see if they had some extra toys that my daughter might like. In a box, off to the side, were three snow white kittens with the bluest eyes. The woman said they were a mixture of Siamese and Angora and she was giving them away. I couldn't resist.

My daughter named her after a girl that babysat for us once in a while and Tina settled in to run things. My dog wasn't too happy about the arrangement but Tina soon won her over.  When we moved to a bigger house I had to keep her inside for a week or so until she got the idea that this was where we now lived. My main concern was that we now lived on a paved road as apposed to a gravel road in a subdivision that didn't see much traffic. She was an inside/outside cat; she would rattle the doorknob with her paw when she needed to go outside. She never had a litter box other than when we kept her inside for that week after we moved....she preferred to go outside. She was a great watch-cat. I watched her chase two dobermans out of our yard one day, she managed to get a few digs with her claws into their rear ends as they ran away. Tina soon learned to sit by the roadside and wait until it was clear and then she would cross the street. I hated it that she did that but she was headed for the swamp behind the house across the street and the thrill of the hunt was just too much for her to ignore.

The biggest scare we had was one time when she disappeared for a week. The kids were beside themselves and I did everything I could to hide my fears that she had gotten run over. My husband went out and searched the sides of the roads, including the ditches, looking for her. He was unable to locate her....we were relieved at that but still worried.

I was fixing Saturday morning breakfast and it had been almost a full week since we'd seen our beloved Tina. I heard her meowing before I saw her. She jumped on the deck and leaped on the screen for the sliding glass door. I wasn't sure it was her.....she was a dark dirty gray in color. I opened the door and let her in and she was all over us....meowing loudly and then checking out her food bowl. I fed her....even gave her a treat of some milk.  It took her all day long to clean herself up....by the next day, she looked like herself again.  We figure this is what happened......

We missed her on a Sunday night. I think she got locked in one of our neighbor's sheds.  I think that when he opened the shed again the following Saturday to do yard work, she dashed out and ran home.  Of course we will never know for sure but I think it's a fairly safe bet that is what happened. We were delighted to see her and she was overjoyed to find her family again.  We loved this cat with all our hearts....she was one in a million.  I felt she deserved a spot on my blog for being a special member of our family for all those years.


Monday, April 22, 2013

S.....is for Sunday morning donut

I was going to write about something else but then last night I started thinking about my old dog and this came to mind.....so I thought I would share it.

I had a German shepherd mix named Babe. I also have a fenced in back yard, which was Babe's area during the day. She came inside at night as she was spoiled as can be.

We had Babe for a long time and when you have a pet for so many years, you think you know them. But after her death at 15 years of age, I found out some stuff about her that I did not know.

My neighbor and I were talking one day while weeding the flower beds and she started telling me about my old dog, Babe. I looked at her with disbelief but she assured me that it was a true story. What gets me is that she never thought to tell me while it was happening. I guess God just made sure he watched over Babe every Sunday.

According to my neighbor.....seems as though Babe could get out of the back yard whenever she wanted to. How she did this is unknown as she would go back in when she was finished with whatever she wanted to do. But on Sunday mornings, seems that Babe had a ritual.  I would let her outside and before long my neighbor would see her cut across her lawn, cross a small street, go through the school parking lot, then the playground and around the fence and cross a pretty busy road to get to the donut shop on the corner. She would soon return with a donut in her mouth. She would then lay in the neighbor's front yard and casually eat her Sunday morning donut before returning to our fenced in back yard.  She did this for years and I never knew it. I don't know if a worker at the donut shop was giving her the donuts or what....but I'm grateful that she never got hit by a car while on her jaunt.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

R.....is for Rocks

As I've mentioned before, I grew up on a farm. I was an only child, so I had to find creative ways to amuse myself.  Most kids enjoy playing with mud and I was no exception. One of those times, however, I noticed some rocks. Each one was a little different from the others and pretty soon I found a hobby in looking for the most unusual rocks.

Every so often my dad would have a load of gravel delivered and he would spread it on our driveway, otherwise it would have been a muddy mess in the spring. I loved those deliveries because I had thousands upon thousands of rocks to go through.

Some had lines of gold going through them. I don't imagine it was real gold but it was pretty and, to me, it was special. The best rocks I found were the ones with fossils in them. I later learned all about fossils in school but before that knowledge I felt like I'd made a marvelous discovery. I found parts of fern-like leaves and things that looked like bug legs. One time I found something that looked just like a sea shell which caused me to sit and ponder where the rocks had originated from.

I know that there are people who make expensive hobbies out of rock polishing and then sometimes taking the finished product and making impressive jewelry or home decorations. My daughter knows about my interest in rocks and stones so once in a while she'll hand me an unusual one that she's come across as a gift.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Q.....is for Quote

I love to peruse quotes from famous people as well as the not so famous. You can sometimes feel a whole
lot better about yourself or a situation after reading them because it makes you realize that you're not the only one who has problems.
Sometimes the quotes give you ideas on how to solve certain problems or else they simply give you the courage to just walk away and forget about it.

My mom had a quote that she said often to me from Shakespeare's Hamlet, . "This above all, to thine own self be true".  She wrote that in my yearbook and I've tried to live my life with that thought in mind.

The quote I most often gave my children is "never believe in never" but I don't know who said it originally. Personally, I think it's quite deep.  I wanted my kids to know that they could be anything they wanted to be with hard work and dedication and I would be there for them no matter what.  As parents, we only want our children to be happy first and foremost.

My personal favorite quotes are the ones that tug at your heartstrings and give you warm fuzzy feelings. I've often wished I could be creative enough to come up with some of those endearing type quotes that people would love and cherish for generations.





I especially love what Pooh says.:



Thursday, April 18, 2013

P.....is for Pothole

I once lived 2 miles down a gravel country road and the road was in better shape than the one pictured. When we moved to a house that was situated on a paved road I was happy. I figured no more mud, no more dust which meant for cleaner cars and cleaner houses.

I didn't plan on potholes but potholes we have and we have them every year. It wasn't that long ago that a pothole bent the rim on my car and caused me to buy new ones and new tires along with it.

We were told that lottery money was supposed to go toward fixing roads but I wonder just where the roads are that are being fixed......evidently somewhere obscure. Yes, I know.....winter has just barely shut the exit door around here.....but I've seen them fill in potholes in the winter, so I know it can be done.

Right now my main beef is that the road in front of my house looks a lot like the one in the picture. When cars run over those holes it sounds like thunder and sometimes it actually makes my house vibrate. I usually grimace when one of those happens, just knowing that the driver and passengers are doing the same.

Although a lot of people like to look at the silver lining in all this. Potholes are a sure sign that spring is finally here.  Yay!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O.....is for Outhouse

For people who have no idea what I'm talking about.....an outhouse is something like a porta-potty like people use at events when they have to use a toilet. Except the porta potties are probably a lot cleaner and smell better.  To create an outhouse, you dig a large hole at lease six feet deep, then place the small outhouse on top of it so that the hole in the ground lines up with the hole inside that will be used like a toilet seat. This hole will never be cleaned out; you are relying on nature's disposal methods (bacteria).  Not pleasant but a lot better than going in a bucket and having to carry it out in a field to dump it. Most people have never seen an authentic outhouse let alone use one.

I must have gone through a hundred pictures online and this is the closest one to what our outhouse looked like. We didn't have a crescent moon cutout on the door but we did have a bunch of flowers planted all around it. My grandmother had an assortment of morning glory, hollyhocks and sunflowers. It cheered things up a lot but you had to watch out for bees during certain parts of the summer.

Even though we had inside plumbing, which included inside toilet facilities, at the farm, my mom opted to keep the outhouse that had been necessary years before modern improvements. She had my dad move it behind the tractor sheds so it wasn't visible from the house. I don't think my mother ever stepped foot inside it but the rest of the family did. During the day when we were all outside doing various chores it was a rule that the outhouse was used instead of tracking inside when nature called. This was in the summer, of course.  In the winter we came inside.

I had no idea just how many variations of outhouses there were until I went to Arkansas to visit my husband's relatives back in the 60's. About half of them had outhouses because it was necessary for them.....they lived in the sticks and even though they had running water inside their homes, indoor toilet facilities were not part of that luxury. It was sort of a status symbol, to tell the truth. Some outhouses were built haphazardly with minimum privacy while others had actual toilet seats and rugs on the floor. It generally looked bad for the man of the house if the outhouse was in bad shape.....like a leaky roof, holes in the floor, door barely hanging on.  Usually if the outhouse was in disrepair, so was the main house.

At my childhood home the inside walls of the outhouse were covered in layers and layers of newspapers and old magazines. We drew the line at using catalog pages to wipe, but the pages on the walls were good insulation. I can remember sitting there doing my business and reading various articles on the walls. We also had a three-seater, although I can't imagine doing something so private with two other people sitting only inches away. My dad had nailed covers over the other holes, leaving only the center one.  We also had a large bag of white powdered stuff in the corner with a small shovel sitting in it. I never quite knew what this stuff was, but I knew if some of it was tossed into the hole once in a while it was supposed to help with the odor. When I got older I found out that this was powdered lime.

If you overlook the fact that it's not the best smelling place to be, the creepiest thing about an outhouse is the fact that all kinds of insects dwell there, especially spiders. We also kept a broom in the corner to sweep away spiders and other crawlies. Thinking back on it, if I would have had an idea just how many spiders there probably were only inches from me back then, I don't think I would have ever gone in there.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N.....is for News

The old saying....."no news is good news" is really right on. When my daughter had her accident which resulted in a closed head injury, her doctor forbid her to watch or read any news because most news is so upsetting. She cancelled the newspaper and would turn off the news on TV but it still would seep in through radio or word of mouth. She's learned, over the years, to just block it out.

However.....when you do something like that you really are "out of the loop". Especially if you're still working.  I don't get the newspaper any longer, preferring to get my news online. That way I can sort of pick and choose what I want to read about. But Breaking News items get to you anyway.

It just seems like almost all the news now is not good news at all. Most of it just tears at you because you're helpless to do anything about it. So many situations are happening now that are way beyond our control.

My income situation had not changed from 2011 to 2012, yet I got 50% less of a federal refund and had to pay on my state taxes. This tells me that a lot of things changed that were beyond my power and that makes me angry. It makes me twice as angry because I am a senior citizen on a fixed income. Yes, I work a couple days a week but that position is not etched in stone; it could end at any time. Plus that, the pay is not that great so the few hours I put in doesn't reap me a lot of help.....but it does help a little and that's all I ever wanted. Now....it's getting to the point where I need a lot more than that and there are a lot of seniors in the same boat. Who am I kidding....there are a lot of people other than seniors in that same boat.

In closing, I'm not a big fan of the news but we do need to be kept informed, so it's a double edged sword. My head is still reeling about what happened in Boston and all you can do is just sit and ask....Why?.....the same question we asked not that long ago in reference to Sandy Hook.





Monday, April 15, 2013

M.....is for Monster

This picture made me laugh as I thought of my daughter who truly believed a monster lived under our basement stairs. She said her biggest fear was some scale covered, long clawed hand coming through the space between the steps and grabbing her ankles. Even after we got the stairs finished off and carpeted, her fear never left.

When I was a child I had no fear of the basement steps, I feared what dwelt under my bed. I just knew that there were thousands of disgusting snakes under there and they would wrap around my feet and ankles if I put my legs down next to the bed. Therefore, I would take a flying leap from the doorway to land on my mattress. Once upon the mattress my fears would evaporate. Once it was daylight my fears dwindled some but I was quick about getting out of bed. Once up, my fears totally went away until darkness settled upon us again.

When my daughter was very small and we lived at the other house she became suddenly terrified of the closet in her room. I can remember that she would scream and tell me about the monster in her closet with huge tears running down her cheeks. It was enough to break your heart. One night I took the broom in her room and told her I was going to chase the monster away and that they were so afraid of brooms, he would never ever return. (no, he just took up residence under the basement stairs in the new house, bwhahahaha). Anyway I made a big production out of it and it actually worked. I was so proud of myself. The basement stair one she finally outgrew. I don't remember my son having those sort of fears or maybe he was just too stubborn to tell me about it.

What causes these fears?  I know that movies certainly did not contribute to my fears about what was under my bed as I hadn't been allowed to see anything scary. I outgrew that fear, but I have always remembered having it. When my daughter had the closet monster fear, she was too little to have seen or even heard about anything scary. How did that fear manifest itself?

Ever seen the animated movie, Monsters, Inc.?  It's one of my favorites and it certainly brought back some memories. The plot of that movie shows me that fear of monsters is a very common thing among children.....I'm just glad we outgrow it.....even though the world really does have monsters that are every bit as scary as ones from our imagination.