Tuesday, March 31, 2009
On April 1st, I will:
1. Refrain from all pranks, thank you.
2. Get my stitches out (that lovely dental surgery)
3. Begin a poetry challenge (learn more here). Expect a poem each day of April (unless, G2, you would rather I posted them elsewhere). I'll try not to torture you all.
4. Mail all the bills and so forth that I prepared today, during my paper purging. G2 has energized me.
5. Take out the garbage (see #4).
Thirty one has been attained! Houston, we have lift-off!
I love you, baby girl...
Monday, March 30, 2009
Guardianship: Completed, and of course, it was done late. This year the courts have started handing out a personalized sheet of paper listing the target dates for future legal stuff. Thank you, county courthouse. You should have seen my ex and I cooing over this sheet of paper. If we get our guardianship papers in on time it will be a first. We swear we will get it right!
Library fun: It's library day, and we still can't find one of the cd's Ramona took out. Will have to pay for it. On the plus side, while we were digging for 101 Dalmations, we found the Hannah Montana movie that's been missing for a week.
Teeth: when will it stop aching? It's gone, already! Maybe I've got the fabled dry socket. It's not that bad, actually, considering what people say about it.
Sun: The sun actually came out today, and shone on us through the courthouse windows. Large, expansive windows that would be spectacular with some stained glass.
The Grateful Dead: Two of the remaining members of the band, known now as the Dead, were on the View (ABC) today. Just call my mind officially boggled. Phil and Bobby looked and sounded great...I have begun to actually consider going to see them at the Gorge. I really need some Grateful Dead....I really do.
What time is it when I hear this? Mom, what is for dinner tonight? Answer: Yesterday (asking about tonight), 8am, 9am, 10am, until I give up and figure something out. Then she'll ask a couple more times, just to make sure.
Th...th....that's all, folks.
Sometimes when I see how many read this blog I get uncomfortable and think of going private. As goofy as I can get at times, this writing helps me to get "centered." I can begin to process what needs to be done, or how I want to get those things integrated into my day. I am often as a small child; in awe of my world, and all that it contains. I am able to walk out my door and hear the herons nesting, the eagles hunting, the ferry coming and going. I think of all that I would have missed had I just "let go" those few years ago.
Perhaps I am trying to prove something to myself? I haven't a clue. Am I being rewarded for the trials? Again, not mine to know.
I have people that call to "talk." More and more I am finding nothing in common with many. I suppose there is a small part of me that is still hanging in the negative thing. You know, fear, dread, worry, etc. Many people my age get in a funk as they start seeing friends leave, pass on, oh for heavens sake, just say DIE. The economy is bad, gun violence is every where. Hurt and angry kids injure themselves or others around them. Movies and video games leave very little to the imagination. etc, etc, etc. If I were to sit and take the time to really think on all of that I suppose it might change my attitude a bit. The thing is: I don't feel I have the time to spare on negative. Sure I dabble in self pity at times. I get lonesome and sad at times. I get really angry as well. For the most part I am able to pull my self out of it fairly quickly, thank goodness. I was given the gift of life. I think that gift also included one of those cards that are so stupid that you can't stop laughing. It follows me as if it were a guardian angel of sorts. I am always able to access it. I consider that card the best part of the gift.
I have tried hard to share this card. Many don't get past the envelope. Some take the envelope and stare at it for days/weeks/months before opening it. I don't share with every one. (I also don't come attached to that card.)
So, that is my world in a nutshell...for today.
My goals for the day?
Thrift store drop off.
More raking in the pasture.
Less time at the computer
More time with the critters.
Ten miles on the bicycle
Piece of cake! (Not to eat, but that does sound good. Perhaps twenty miles on the bike, and eating a piece of cake as a reward.)
Y'all have a great day; and go ahead and open that envelope.
You have me pondering, too, as I head off to redo guardianship papers at the courthouse. I do this every three years, and what do you know, I'm late again. Sigh! The light of reality shines upon my pathway...
Friday, March 27, 2009
Well, back to recuperating from dire dental experiences. If it's not one thing, it's another!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Before the alders leaf out, I can actually see the water...yes the picture is too small for you to see, so I am afraid that you will have to believe me. (Bottom, toward the right; tide is out.)
Pickup sticks, anyone? It was a very rough winter. A short walk will net me next year's heat sources.
One of Kitsap peninsula's versions of Kudzu...ivy. NONE of the leaves in this picture belong to the trees. (However, I am not sure I would want to try and make jelly out of this.)
That northwest version of Kudzu is another gift from the south: It's Virginia creeper. Aren't we blessed to be able to step outside and see all that beauty around us? It's just as gorgeous at my place, but without the winter tidal view.
Hope you took the camera with you on your ride today!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It's a marvelous night*
I seem to have found the magical combination of pain meds. Newly missing a tooth, staring at the need for an implant and a whole bunch of crowns, it is still beautiful.
Gotta get to work on those books I keep meaning to write and market. I'll need $20k at the very least. Dental work is scarily expensive!
But it is still a marvelous night. Did anyone get a look at that astounding moon?
*special thanks to Van Morrison for giving me a reason to dance.
thanks! I stepped out to the deck and picked crocus blooms that were tightly closed. It took about half an hour for them to open up and look like this. I tried at least 30 shots before I got one I liked :)
I am glad that it is over.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Wikipedia defines "spinster" as unmarried and childless. I was married for almost 28 years and I have three kids and three grandkids (phew) so do not really fit the definition. That does not, however, mean that I can't ACT like one!
As I was in my childhood, I am still today; trying to decide if that makes me crazy, or as my parents said "eccentric." Which ever it might be, to whomever is curious, I consider it all a badge of honor. Who in their right mind really, truly, wants to be just like everyone else? As I pull on my leg and my scottie dog bathrobe, and gimp out to feed the mini horse, with corgwyn at my heels, I find myself humming:
"Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise"
Lennon/McCartney (for S2: the Grateful Dead version)
That is truly what I was humming as I headed out to do chores
All my fine words about getting back on top of my finances could vanish with the whine of the doctor's diabolical tools. Nay, they almost certainly vanish, or incur a sad diminishment. Alas.
How many ailing teeth will it take before I remember, remember remember....migraines don't last for weeks, and one-sided headaches that are in fact on the WRONG side AND last for weeks are not migraines. They are, instead, vicious drainers of my bank account, because as we all know, dental insurance is a joke,
IF you are lucky enough to have dental insurance through the job (if you are lucky enough to have said job), it will provide maybe $1,000 worth of benefits per year. Know what that will buy for you? About 2/3 of one root canal. And dang it, I just know I will need a whole one! And then you know what comes next, those who have been there before me...then you need a CROWN, and it's not the kind you wear on your pretty little head. This crown does not indicate royalty for anything but the good doctor's bottom line. Crowns cost close to $1500 these days. The tooth that is standing up in my mouth playing Amber Waves of PAIN on the ocarina, will surely exceed quite wildly the limits of the insurance by at least a factor of three. So it is clear that said insurance is pretty much, worthless. Good thing I haven;t been paying any premiums then, heh heh heh.
Now of course, I could find a dentist that will accept Medicaid payments. Those dentists are few and far between, The possibility this dentist will speak English as a first language is unlikely. After getting to the clinic and given a number (no appointments, you just show up), then you wait. Only to discover that these places don't offer things like root canals and crowns. If your teeth need services of this nature, they will get out the dentist equivalent of pliers, and offer to pull it out (after all, they do want to relieve your pain).
Well call me irrascible and demanding, but I want to keep my teeth. I just would like them to function correctly, I am tired of eating only mushed up food. But on the other hand, you lose weight on the extreme dental pain diet. Wonder where to get some suspenders? Will need them soon.
I leave you with these wise words:
It's late and I'm watching Craig Ferguson's show. He has on a comedian named George Wallace, who relates seeing a bumper sticker on an environmentalist's car that says "What would Jesus Drive:?". According to George, Jesus would drive a Honda. Because IF you read your Bible, in Acts 1 and 2 says "We shall all be in one Accord". Bless George!
Well, the percocet is wearing off, better top off the tank so that I have some chance of sleeping. Good thing the dentist visit is tomorrow (well, today), cause I only have two pills leftover from that lovely week in the hospital.
Wish me luck! It will be the day of the New Moon, which is usually a day of good fortune with me and money. Let it be true today.
After the drilling and screaming, I think I might shop for a bumper sticker. I'll put it right next to the last one I bought. It says "Sarcasm, just one more service I offer". I was probably on the way home from some dread dental procedure the day I bought that one, too.
Love to everyone :)
Darn! Sorry to hear it, my dear. Best wishes on the procedure. No matter how good the dental insurance, it is never good enough. That is why I am missing a few myself. Percocet? For me it is an incredible stimulant now. If I want to do an all nighter, one will do better than a gallon of coffee. Will you ever be able to take ibuprofen again? An even better question would be: will there ever be a decent dental insurance? I now understand why so many of my elder relatives had teeth in glasses by their sinks. Back at you...
Well! It was certainly interesting to read this post again, after the fact. Who knew that dental pain could bring on such an altered state?
I feel better now.
Monday, March 23, 2009
First, and foremost: the things one can learn from the offspring. Thanks, dear daughter, for showing me that those silly "fake pockets" on suit coats/blazers are simply REAL pockets sewn shut. I am forever in your debt and am pleased as punch that all my dress coats will be smelling of liver. Much better them than my mouth...
Yesterday was great. I learned a lot at this weekend's shows. That is a good thing as I no longer qualify for the "novice" class. Kate did well, but lost the point because she didn't look like she was enjoying herself. Today I am out to look for a tennis ball that squeaks. It will be stored in the show bag and sneaked into my pocket before we enter the ring. She is very passionate about her tennis balls. She doesn't care if they are thrown, she just carries them around snagged on a canine tooth.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
They say it is spring. The calendar concurs...it is spring. I'm looking forward to it actually feeling like spring! Today my friend and I decided to take our cameras to Carkeek Park (in Seattle).
First, however, we detoured to an estate sale (held in a beautiful older home, which will no doubt be torn down and replaced with three behemoths that have no yards). This happens routinely in Richmond Beach, those views are simply too valuable to let the graceful homes of the past remain. Sigh.
Then, we hit the annual Innis Arden rummage sale. Clearly, we need to get there earlier next time. Karen and I congratulated ourselves on spending less that $10.00 between the two of us. I picked up a couple of molds (I think that is what I got at the Innis Arden sale the last time, too), nice heavy ones. There were other things at both places that we could have gotten, but we successfully reminded ourselves that we live in apartments, with no storage to speak of.
Up until the exact time that we headed for Carkeek, it had been somewhat chilly, but no precipitation had rained down upon us. This is Seattle, you know what happened next, don't you?
Although the trails beckoned, the skies they darkened. Under other circumstances, this is a lovely trail to take from the beach (see it through the trees and across the train tracks?) to the picnic meadow. About the time I took this picture, the skies were opening. Since I don't have a rain jacket for my camera (shall put this on my Christmas list forthwith), we headed back toward our car.
We passed by the bridge that takes you over the train tracks and to the beach. DO take the bridge, this is an active railway and entirely too dangerous to cross any other way.
I don't know if you can tell, but that crow was hanging on for dear life. I did run over the bridge and took the first picture above. It's fun to be on the bridge when the train comes! The view is toward the north.
View of the bridge over the tracks, with the beach beyond. On a warm day, this beach is a true favorite.
It is not, however, accessible to those in wheelchairs or with physical impairments. You'll want to head south to Golden Gardens, or north to Richmond Beach, both accessible beach parks.
The stairs are an open grated type, and we went through a period time when my youngest was just freaked by those stairs. We didn't go to Carkeek beach for years, because she couldn't bring herself to step on those stairs. Fortunately, she's gotten over it :)
Looking south from the bridge. We didn't go down to the beach today, the rain and wind were enough to turn us away.
Another boardwalk through a marshy area. In another week or so this pathway will be a private area, completely obscured by the vegetation as it leafs out.
This park has an absolutely fantastic play area for kids. I'm going to have to come back with a kid when the weather is better :)
For some reason, that sentence was underlined, and I have no idea why. It is no longer apricot torture, because I have made that decision. I will be there when they ripen, yum.
Was the really a question as to whether you would go? Uncle Peter obviously needs sister time or he would be sending pictures of tomatoes rather than apricots.
You're right, he wants me to come and visit. He can't can all those apricots on his own, and we haven't been on a photo safari for quite the long while.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A kind judge who is willing to teach is wonderful
Coming home and changing into a T-shirt and jeans has never felt better
(I think it might be time to retire this tomato!)
Entry fee: $25
Fancy leash: $17
Meeting helpful and nice people, and coming home with pretty ribbons: Priceless
If you hadn't said it was a tomato, I might not have believed it. Retire it, but don't get rid of it...we might need one to play the 'honored one' in a tomato pageant.
And hooray, Kate, congrats on the ribbons! Which are for what?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We have a new Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood, and the neighborhood has reacted ecstatically. A week or so ago, when I had just had 'minor surgery', I ordered and had it delivered. This was my second experience; they will deliver!
The food is excellent, there is no MSG, the couple who run it are welcoming, and if you go in and sit down, you will feel a calm settle upon you. Clearly, attention was paid to feng shui; the effects are evident throughout. The phone number is not neglected, either. 8 is a lucky number in China: The phone number for the Flying Dragon is 206-533-8888. All numbers are eights or add up to eight. Attention was clearly paid to detail.
The tables are placed so that there are no restrictions as you move around. The uncluttered atmosphere lends itself to peaceful reflection, and who doesn't need more peace in their lives? Red decorations are used throughout, with a happiness symbol greeting you as you enter, as does a large flying dragon. Living plants and real flowers grace the desk and tabletops. I ate in the first time I visited...plenty of elbow room. Great signage out front, you really cannot miss the place!
I really hope that everyone tries this place. When I expressed a desire for little salt, there was no problem. Their sweet and sour sauce reminds me of the late, lamented China First Restaurant in Lynnwood, which is a very good thing indeed. The price was moderate, the luncheon specials are a steal at $5.95 to 7.25. So far, I've played it safe and ordered my favorites (sweet and sour prawns, almond chicken, garlic chicken, broccoli beef, and so on), but next time I'll be ready to do some serious research.
Photos must wait for another time; when I was there I wasn't ready to be so impressed. Nor did I have my camera. I just happened to see the NOW OPEN sign and my car turned itself into the parking lot of it's own accord.
Flying Dragon Chinese Cuisine
1437 NW Richmond Beach Rd. #c
Shoreline, WA 98177
free delivery ($15.oo minimum order)
My fortune : You could be invited to travel to a foreign land.
That is my kind of fortune :)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I have a second bedroom. It has never been a bedroom. It has been an office. It has been a kid's room, and more recently it has been storage. That kind of storage that is "at the moment" storage. The kind where someone calls and are going to stop by in about an hour. I run around crazy, throwing things in grocery bags or boxes so that there is at least one surface area that is not covered in piles of undone things.
Yesterday I decided it was time to tackle the room. The only way I knew I would get it done was to bring all the bags and boxes out into the kitchen, where I had to trip over them until they are dealt with. (They are still there, as I am still cleaning out the room.) I cannot believe how much stuff I have accumulated in seven years. A lot of it will be going back out the door. I have several piles. The dumpster pile, the thrift store pile, the recycle pile, and a few Craig's List items. The videos are going to the Thrift store, as are most of the toys. I don't have kids, and I don't need a room of toys. I will have a few books and toys, but they all have to fit into the little toy box. There will be some happy kids around Kingston. The twin beds are gone. I remember those beds from my Grandma's house...and she died when I was 6. They went to Port Orchard yesterday. One of them was in pieces in the closet in "the" room. The closet was full of...boxes!! The bed was behind the boxes. More for the kitchen. My new mantra: If I haven't needed it in the past year it is out of here! Want to guess what I am doing today?
I am beginning to dislike Spring.
Monday, March 16, 2009
My brother, Pete, has taken to taunting me with his apricot tree. He says this picture was taken in the future, ha ha. They really do make my mouth water, just the very thought.
He's secretly hoping that I'll come down for a visit in late June, exactly when the tree is full on and heavy with ripe fruit. He's going to put me to work, but I don't mind one bit. These apricots taste the way apricots should taste. Once you have eaten them, you'll never resort to those pallid imitations from the grocery store, ever again. Last year was a disappointing harvest...he says that he was lucky to get a handful of apricots. Between a rainy spring, bees missing in action (both causing a lack of pollination), and the squirrels, there wasn't much to go around.
Two years ago, I did go down for such a visit. The evidence is just to the left. The tree had an absolute bumper crop, and I kept Pete hopping. Between trips out to the tree for another boxful, and trips to the grocery store for more jars, or more sugar, he was every bit as busy as I was.
I think we canned 36 jars that day. I brought home a dozen, when we road tripped back to Washington. Not enough! Never enough! I go easy on the sweeteners, so the full glory of the apricot flavor wasn't covered up.
So look out, Pete, I'm coming, and Ramona is coming with me :). I have a host of friends that are already planning get togethers. Don't know how long to make this trip, but I do know that the most important part of it is to have ample canning time.
This year we'll have to find ourselves a proper water bath canner, however. Things are going to go a lot faster if we can process 7 jars at a time instead of only three (we used a vegetable steamer). I found a link for a water bath canner and everything else we would need, right here.
This be the water bath canner. It can hold 7 quart jars at one time, so it's quite large.
And this be the jar lifter. Things would have been so much easier if we'd had this, and they're not expensive. One is included in the kit above, but no need to use this particular company, or get all the stuff. It's all useful, but the two most important things are these.
PS. Up for another road trip?
Saturday, March 14, 2009
So, my quest for the day, uhm, evening (blushing face) is to see if I can find a way to bring some emoticons aboard (banana dance). Then there will be an ongoing contest between the two, or possibly three, Grandmas to see who can use the most in a blog (witch smiley face stirring a cauldron, with the little devil smiley face thrown in as well...no, not into the cauldron, AFTER the cauldron emoticon.....and now the winky guy followed by the BIG grinning one.) You may find yourselves L(ing)OL, or maybe even ROFL, and that would be fine by me. (smiley bowing with hands to the sky). Just do NOT say "RU there?" I might have to say "mabey."
Oh noooooo. I'm kinda sick of the darn things (so sorry to have to say it ;). And so far, I've resisted the kitty idea. I know it distance didn't work for you, but having to drive to Yakima to meet said kitty has cooled me back down. Not to mention, a foot and a half of snow has fallen in the mountains just in the last 24 hours.
Maybe you have seen cuter emoticons than I have?
Banana? The only banana thing I can think of is the dancing banana with strings attached to the peels in some restaurant commercial. Denny's? And it sings about being called 'Nannerpuss'. You can't mean that...
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Or for $14 a cheapskate such as myself can go to the plumbing section of a home improvement store, and build them. (I realized that I need to glue carpeting on the bottom as they slip a bit. Just setting them on it took care of the problem for the picture.) I am a bit shocked that Kate actually stayed there while I got the camera and took a picture.
The way I figure it that is $231 that can go in the vacation fund.
A couple of days ago one of the motorcycle forum guys died from lung cancer. He and his family knew for just a couple of weeks. Good for him, but quite shocking for those left behind. He signed the shirt that was given to me after the 2007 motorcycle rally in Maggie Valley. I had a relapse of the disease and was beginning treatment when the Rally occurred and "Sunshine" passed the shirt around. (Thanks, dear lady.) So now two are gone. The other was also a rather sudden death during the holidays a couple of years ago. She was one that I was sure I would get to meet at some point.
I think that Donna's passing was part of the incentive that got me going on the trip in the fall. So often I wait "for the right time" and who really knows when, or if, that right time will come. S2's cancer and my relapse put us both in that space of realizing that we have things to do before we are gone. And gone seems to be riding on my shoulder, as of late. I have no feelings of impending doom, rather those feelings of "it is something that I have wanted to do for a long time; time to get to it." Budgeting is tough on a fixed income, but there is generally enough to get done what needs to be done with a little extra to put away for a rainy day. Is this constant budgeting for the future a taught thing? Wouldn't it have been horrid to have saved for years and then never get to do that thing that was saved for?
I think my own mortality runs through my mind at least once a day now. I don't sit and dwell on it, and I don't ignore it. It just "is." When someone I know dies, I don't seem to mourn like the majority of others. I cannot explain it, it is just different. Of course I feel the loss. I feel it quite deeply. It just has an interesting twist to it. A quiet sense of urgency, and the knowledge that my number could come up at any time. My Mom died quite suddenly. One day she was here, and that afternoon she was gone. Dad died slowly; a piece at a time. Both sucked. My heart still hurts and misses them. If I could choose, I think I would still choose neither. I don't want my kids and grandkids to feel the pain I have carried for 27 years. The thing is, I cannot choose on that. I can, however, give to myself enough that my kids can say "I am so glad that she did the things she wanted to do." I think that is my legacy and the gift I will leave my kids.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The gag order no longer pertains, so I will give a very brief description of what happened. Yesterday there were 49 prospective jurors. We all filed into the court room for some general questions. Right away I got a rather ominous feeling that I was going to have to excuse myself if they didn't "cull" me from the pool. At the end of the day about half were gone. More specific questions were asked today. More and more I got that feeling; the one that says this will be real interesting, but I can not serve. After about an hour to an hour and a half we were excused back to the jury room. At this point there were maybe 25 potential jurors, including myself. We file out and across the hall...the room was DIRECTLY across the hall. There is a man sitting on a chair by our door with a notebook. The cover of the book was raised as a sign. I cannot tell you exactly what it said but the part "Medical Marijuana" was in very bold letters. Several folks in the room were astounded, and I went to the bailiff and took him aside for a personal discussion. It was as I figured and knowing that, I really didn't think I could comfortably serve. About 45 minutes later we all filed back into the courtroom. I was going to tell the judge that I needed to leave and would discuss my reasons privately. Before it could even come up the judge addressed the issue of the sign, and decided that the entire pool of jurors needed to be excused as we were all "tainted" by the sign. This is a big trial. This will not just go away. This also cost an untold amount of money, and all the work that occurred in the two days was thrown out. There were some amazing people in this potential pool and I think the guy would have had a fair trial. My pharmacy background and my disability made me feel the need to decline serving. However, this could prove to be interesting enough that I just may go down and watch how it all plays out.
So, I am good for another couple of years as far as serving. I will appreciate the extra $$ when the check comes in. However, I am frustrated as all get out in the way this came down. As we filed back out of the courtroom and turned in our badges, the guy was back at the door with his sign. (I was good and did not say anything to him, but gave him "that" look. You know, the one that I gave my teenage kids when they went well beyond "pushing" me.) I suspect the dude was oblivious to the look, but it made me feel a teeny bit better.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
There are 49 potential jurors. We watch the movie and then we sit for a couple of hours. Finally we line up in numerical order and enter the courthouse. Then come the questions that will allow some "weeding out." I was saddened by a couple of them. "How many of you have been victims of crime," and "how many have relatives or close friends that have been victims of crimes." What was sad was that I am not sure that there was even one that could answer "no" to both of those. I would bet that my parents could have "back in the day." Sad. Anyway, weeded out about 1/3 so back again first thing in the morning. I have to be there at 8:15 so have rush hour to contend with as well as needing to do my chores. I also need to get gas, and arrange a dog safe area in the house so Kate isn't stuck in her crate all day. It is my civic duty, right? The truth is, Because I don't have to take time from work I SHOULD be there. This is going to be tough and I suspect tomorrow will see me coming home, but you never know.
So, I will more than likely not be posting if I get that final call and must serve. Once it is over I will share what I can.
Stay warm, my friends. We will be in the low 20s again tonight.
I know what, you should bring along a cherry tomato and take a picture of it doing it's civic duty. hey!
Hmmmm, will they allow cameras into the courthouse? I guess I could use the cell phone, eh?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Again??? I don't know about anyone else, but it's mid-March, and I really am done with snow! Luckily, thyme is one tough little herb. And even though we have snow, it's just not that cold. I'm sure that the moment it stops, it will melt. That works for me :)
I took these photos maybe twenty minutes ago.
I have made a decision. My laptop computer has begun to make an ominous sound. It's the same sound it made last November when I hustled it in to Frye's (bless that 5 year warranty). They turned it on, it made the ominous noise, and I was told it was the hard drive. After picking up my loaner (double bless that warranty with it's loaner option), I left the laptop with them. It promptly refused to make that noise even one more time.
Well, the ominous noise is back, and it's worse than it was the first time.
I would take it right down to Frye's, but look to the left...it is snowing. It's not so bad here, but I hear the east side (where Frye's actually is located) is getting slammed. It's not worth venturing out on the freeway when all those n0n-snow wise drivers are out there.
Tomorrow will be soon enough...
Wow; around noon we had about 5 minutes worth and then it went away. Blue sky, sunshine, and bitter cold wind. They say 20s tonight, so I will be once again turning on the pool pump, the heaters in the trailer and in the garage, and wait for the outrageous power bill.
I have also heard that the eastside is a mess, but our forecast says snow for the next few days ("chance of") so I may go run out and get some junk food to soothe the savage beast in me as I become house bound again. Anyone got a groundhog I can shoot?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
You went to interesting places...I had forgotten about that pin. The two of us have been through it, haven't we? And we still laugh ourselves silly, I think we're doing well. Better all the time, in fact! Kate is looking well, can't wait to see her up on paint cans, though :)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Recently I went out to eat at a very popular restaurant. I knew it was popular, because we waited over an hour for a table. Restaurants should avoid having their patrons wait this long, because it gives them time to look around and think.
I watched group after group of diners as they were shown to tables and handed menus. I watched as tables were cleared, wiped down, and menus collected and brought back. I saw one guy looking through his menu who coughed on it as I watched. And that got me to thinking…are menus ever cleaned?
Menus are handled by one person after another, by one server after another, and I have never, ever seen menus being cleaned. Silverware and dinnerware is washed after every use, and it would be unthinkable to reuse something. But menus…menus are touched and touched and touched, and heaven only knows what organisms live on them.
So, I decided to do a Google search on menu cleanliness. I found entry after entry describing gross scenes that have been witnessed by patrons in restaurants, such as seeing a woman sneeze into her menu and set it aside. I looked up cleaning lists for keeping restaurants ‘spic and span’. Out of the many items on these lists, menus are not mentioned. In fact the only mention of menus on these lists is contained in the “Main Menu” on the web pages.
It’s too late today, but tomorrow I’m calling the health department…I’m wondering if they have menu cleanliness guidelines.
Just imagine the viruses and bacteria that must be on menus! Does everyone handling a restaurant menu always wash their hands after using a rest room? I seriously doubt it. Is everyone perfectly healthy? Not possible.
I know I’ll never look at a restaurant menu the same way again. Fortunately, on the night that I made this realization, G2 had a bottle of Purell with her. As soon as we finished with the menu, we cleaned our hands.
More on this later. I'm not naming the restaurant, btw, because I would not want to single them out. I've eaten in a lot of restaurants, and I can't think of even one time that I've seen menus being cleaned or even wiped off between uses.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I spend a lot of time researching various trips to several places, where mining for goodies can be part of the trip. It's getting fun. Montana has some great stuff! But so does Idaho and I'm finding more cool stuff to do there. We must certainly incorporate a hand held gps into our tripping around, it would be way more fun for any kiddies that might be exploring with us.
But I've digressed to Montana, it's back to NC. We'll have the definitive book to guide us to what ever mine we desire, and even better, we can float over them and scope things out if we want. So without further ado, the list:
- AirTime Balloon Company - Champagne balloon flights in the Lake Norman, North Carolina area, near Charlotte.
- Team Dream Catcher - Hot air balloon rides in Statesville, North Carolina. Also information about hot air ballooning instruction, rides and competitions.
- Airborne AD-Ventures - Hot air balloon flights in Walstonburg, Eastern North Carolina. Also operate the Army hot air balloon.
- Asheville Hot Air Balloons - Flights from Asheville, North Carolina with views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Balloons Over Charlotte - Hot air balloon rides in North Carolina, near Lake Norman or the southeast Charlotte/Weddington area.
- Bluner Bill & Cool Change - Hot air balloon flights from Concord, North Carolina.
- Carolina High Hot Air Balloon Company - Balloon rides for individuals and couples in Benson, North Carolina. Also a dealer for Firefly Balloons.
- Yadkin Valley Balloon Adventures - Offers hot air balloon rides in Boonville and Yadkinville, North Carolina near Pilot Mountain in Yadkin Valley Wine Country.
- Cloud Nine - Offering hot air balloon rides in the Triad region of North Carolina, from Kernersville, NC.
- Paisley Balloon Aviation - Located in Burlington, NC. Provides hot air balloon rides and tethers in central North Carolina.
The first development was the addition of "Plan D" which is the medication plan. So there was Plan A, which all get for no cost, Plan B (supplements Plan A), which costs a minimal amount and is taken from social security, and then Plan D, which also costs and can also be taken from SS. When going on to Medicare one MUST sign up for the other "plans" immediately. If you try to sign up later it will cost you big time, if they will even let you on. (Believe me, Plan A covers less than nothing.) Most of the insurance carriers jumped on the Plan D thing and offered their services at varying costs. I jumped on a plan that was then the least expensive.
Every year the cost of the additional plans go up. My Plan D went from something like $14 to $38/month. Yesterday I got a flyer from the carrier of my Plan D. I had also seen ads on TV and was real curious. They offered what is now called "Plan C" for a monthly premiums between $49 and $79. This would also cover plan D. Basically I would get added help on Co-pays and out of pocket expenses for only $10 more than the Plan D that I have. I found this to be very exciting, and while sitting on the ferry began to check into it via phone. I have a couple of doctors that I am unwilling to give up, so my research carried me into the evening. I found the doctor's would not take that carrier's insurance. But they DID list the companies that they accepted. After another hour of research (I LOVE HAVING A COMPUTER) I found something very interesting. There were two companies that carried a similar "program' which would also absorb the former Plan D. However, they would take over for $0/month. That is right: $0. It is now 7pm and I have exactly one hour to get a representative and figure this out. Enter "Juan." My first question? "What the heck?" It seems this new "Plan C" is a fee for service thing...which is no big change. Next question? "What is in it for the companies, that they offer this for NOTHING, NADA, ZIP?" It seems that the companies get paid for each person that they sign up. While I still don't get it, it is truly free. Now I am a bit PO'd over my soon to be past Plan D carrier, who started out the least expensive and now is one of the most expensive. They wanted to get more bucks from me cleverly disguising their ploy with what I thought was incredibly cheap "Plan C" which ran only $10 over what I was already giving them. (Have I mentioned that I really love my computer?) It can be so confusing and I know that these shyster companies really count on folks just throwing their arms in the air and giving up. I basically have done the same by leaving my Plan D with the company I signed with originally. Each year there is a period of three months where we can all change companies or sign up for different coverages. That period closes back down on the last day of March.
So, that shyster company who spent the bucks to send the flyer to all of its contacts actually did me a huge favor. My eyes are now wide open, and I am bagging their services as of 4/1. I will actually be getting an "extra" amount on my Social Security because I won't have to fork out a premium for Plan D anymore; the government pays it through this Plan C thing. So, thanks, soon to be former carrier. I learned a lesson. I will figure in a few days at the beginning of each year to check on my "investment in my self." Most plans are available for study via computer.
I sure do love my computer...
Wow, you were telling me about this on the phone yesterday, but I didn't get it like I do now! I hope your post helps other people who are confused on this medicare thing, and I'm really glad I will have my medicare expert handy when I start using it :)
Monday, March 2, 2009
G2 and I fulfilled a dream when we took the helicopter tour into the crater at Mt. St. Helens National Monument last summer. Since then, she's talked quite a bit about her desire to take a hot air balloon ride. When I ran across this one, I thought, way cool! I'm not as excited about ballooning as she is, but I'm game and I will do it.
I'm going to be keeping my eyes open from here on out for balloon rides in stunning places.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
G2 and I (S2) each have three children. When we met, we each had two, and their ages were staggered. Mine were (barely) 5 and 2. Hers were 4 and not yet 1. My oldest was was just heading into that most interesting and challenging of ages and stages: 5-6 years old.
"They" warn us about the twos. "They" give that age a name, the Terrible Twos. I was even warned that four was a challenging age, and it was very true, I shopped for a good pre-school program at that time. I who was dedicated to home schooling. I was desperate to get her out of the house, lol. But we got through the fours, and I thought it was going to be clear sailing for a few years.
I was so wrong. Eldest daughter, one of the smartest little girls you will ever meet, advanced into the most challenging of stages. I gave it a name, which cannot be accurately translated here. This approximates it: The ----ing Fives. You can fill in the blank, right? Just as with G2's eldest granddaughter, it was the 'I only want to play the game if I get to win it" age. The sitting in a chair, staring at a wall a LOT age. The age during which we mom's doubt our ability to raise our kids.
One day I called G2. I was worn out. I couldn't take eldest child anymore. I tried to sell her to G2. "I'll sell her to you, cheap. No? Ok, you can have her for free. Heck, I'll pay you to take her!" G2 wondered, what the heck was I doing, to make this kid so awful? (she admits to wondering) I wondered what I was doing, for that matter, because no one had warned me about the ----ing fives.
Eventually, eldest daughter cycled out of this stage. We had some memorable incidents, most notably, the Great Oatmeal Incident. In short, the Great Oatmeal Incident resulted in Eldest being served the exact same bowl of oatmeal at every mealtime, for two and a half days, until she broke down and ate it. And apologized for the original offending comment. Poor Eldest! Not to worry, it was refrigerated in between times, she was never in actual peril.
And then, G2's Eldest son cycled in. One day G2 called me, in utter weariness and frustration. "I'll sell him to you, cheap. No? Ok, I'll give him to you for free...". The young lad who had been the sweetest boy you could meet (angelic, even...he looked just like the little angel at the top of the righthand column, and is in fact her daddy), just the sweetest, had advanced to the ----ing fives. Suddenly she knew that I hadn't 'done' anything to my daughter the year before, just as she hadn't 'done' anything with her son. It just is what it is.
And so it went. A couple of years later I was trying to sell her my second daughter, and the year after that she was trying to sell hers. Our private joke, designed to keep us sane.
My granddaughter (child of eldest daughter) has seen this stage come and go (well, mostly go). And now it appears that G2's eldest granddaughter is gripped in the throes of the ----ing fives. You'll make it, Kira. We can swear to it! And we two moms (because I have always felt that I am a little bit your mom, too) really do feel for you during this tough time.
And No, we don't want to buy her, not even for free. Not until the age of seven, at least.
I am ready for some nice, quiet rest today. I have a bit of running around, but other than ball in the pasture I should be able to just "chill" today.
Yesterday: birthday party for the soon-to-be-not youngest grand kid. Three. How is that possible? Picture this: 6 very young girly girls and one toddler boy. Oldest grand daughter grumped out at not winning game. After trying to nab all the attention for her drama queen actions I had to take her into a room and have a little discussion on attitude adjustment. She wanted to go home. Now. Only will go to parties with NO games. Never plays games at home. ALWAYS wins those never played games. sigh. I got no where. After ten or fifteen minutes of no one near her she snapped out of it. (Make note: talks only bring attention. No touch, no talk, no holding, put in chair by herself and let it run its course.) Years ago I told myself that someday MY daughter would get her just due with her own kid. So sorry, dear. Any way, things got VERY hectic as the gift opening began. ALL the little girls wanted to either open the presents or give Lilly the presents to open. It soon threw all of us over age 8 into overload. Lilly tried her best to thank each present giver, but she began to get that "deer in a headlight" glassy eye thing. Having had two boys and a girl I had never had so many little princesses in such a close proximity. The pink, purple and glitter was overwhelming. I would then look at linebacker toddler Max and smile and re-focus. No drama, no competition, he just is Max. The men-folk were in the other room "talking." I would rather deal with princesses than with "former" so sat tight. I think I will opt out on the full family events. It is just too weird. Kids began to melt down, and I knew Kate needed out of her crate, so it was time to exit.
I am looking for a bicycle, so stopped by a couple of bike shops on the way home. My nephew told me that I MUST check out bikes at a real shop so I would know what I need. I can now tell him that I did and will continue to watch the Craig's list ads. I just cannot justify upwards of $500 for a bicycle. Living so close to the ferry and the post office, it will be my mode of transportation for those things, and I will get training time in as well. I will be walking this September. We will be a great team, Kira and myself. A one legged granny and a very pregnant daughter. We may be well suited to each other. At the least she will be in great shape for the next delivery, and the competition in me will have me going for the greater total miles walked.
Once home I headed to the field for doggy/horsey run time. I picked up one of those tennis balls "fingers." It is just a long plastic stick with a cup thing that cradles the ball. One flick of the wrist and the ball is on the other side of the field. Very cool. Two balls, two dogs. Kate just likes to run around carrying her's. Henry races full speed to nab the thrown ball. For the next few days that will be the toy of choice. Another added plus for this thing is that when it is empty of its ball it makes an excellent horse scratcher...and no dirt under the finger nails! I soon had Windy following me around like a little puppy. I made it out of the field without paw prints on my pants, and with clean hands! The little things that make me smile.
I fell into bed at about 8pm. I vaguely remember hearing the phone somewhere around 10 (S2?) but fell right back to sleep. Up at 2 to turn off lights and let dogs out one last time, then back to bed. This morning I was stiff from sleeping so hard.
Now it is time to dress and go. Happy March to all...