Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Sober New Year

I had some sad news today - a dear friend's husband passed away on Monday, and services are tomorrow (Wednesday). I am so sad for the family - they are very close-knit and loving. I know they will find comfort in their faith, in each other and in the love of friends.

I visited Mom very briefly on Saturday, but a virus is going around the assisted living facility, and she was not up to a visit. I have been fighting a scratchy throat for about a week, and it has finally decided to turn into a full-blown sore throat. I was sick for New Year's Eve last year, but this cold (so far) is not nearly as bad. I've had lots of colds over the last 2 years. Guess my childhood immunities don't recognize the new batch of viruses, and my immune system is gearing up for the next several decades. I'm glad I got a flu shot this year.

So this is a sober New Year (truly, no pun intended) for me. I suppose it's appropriate, given the condition of my little world and the condition of the larger world. I'll have a small celebration at home, and I'll be asleep shortly after midnight. Time to gear up for the hard (but worthwhile) work ahead in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

More Good Things


Virginia Gal asked for a Christmas photo of Daisy, so here it is. Sorry, VG, I didn't have any holiday togs for her, so the setting will have to do. This pic was taken on Christmas Eve, with Miss Daisy by the Christmas tree. Some of the gifts in the picture were destined for friends and family - the entire pile was not just for us!

I made out like a bandit this year. I got a new watch (much needed), an office chair (I assembled it tonight and I'm sitting in it right now), an oak file cabinet (yet to be assembled), a Little Green Clean Machine, a jar of my favorite face cream and a new travel mug (ka-ching! I'll save money by not stopping to buy coffee at Wawa). You can see that my list leaned toward the practical this year. I got a couple of items in the pure indulgence category, as well, so I feel perfectly spoiled!

Christmas Day didn't turn out quite as planned, so we just had a peaceful day at home. Acme (a local supermarket chain) was open until 1:00 pm, so I ran out and picked up a small ham and threw together an easy holiday meal. It was unbelievably quiet around here, which was nice. I think this was the first Christmas in my entire life that I did not spend with my family. Oh well. Change is the only constant, isn't it?

We had some errands to run today, so we stopped for lunch at a local diner. It was so nice to eat plain, simple food after all of the holiday delicacies we've consumed lately. I had eggs over easy with Canadian bacon, home fries, toast and coffee. Those eggs sure were good!

Hope everyone's having an enjoyable season. Hope the customers are kinder now that the rush is over, Virginia Gal. And I hope everyone has a peaceful and beautiful New Year.

Coming soon to A Room Somewhere: A Fish Story.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good Things


Miss Daisy made her annual visit to the veterinarian today. I adopted her on 12/10/07. I can't believe she's been with me for a year already! She was an absolute drama queen at the vet's office - whining and moaning throughout the whole exam. She has to go back one day next week for a nail trim, but I have to give her a sedative first. They couldn't get her to cooperate today. Hope the sedative works!

Daisy has turned out to be a wonderful pet. She is sweet, and she likes people and dogs. She was crate-trained and house-trained when she came to us. I didn't know all of those things when I adopted her from the shelter, so I truly have been blessed!

I am, of course, behind in my holiday shopping and preparation. This weekend will be my catch-up time. I managed to get a few things done online last night and I'm going shopping today. If I'm motivated enough, I'll bake cookies tomorrow. I don't feel overwhelmed by the holidays this year. I'm actually enjoying the process because I'm committed to keeping things as simple as possible.

The new wood stove is working out pretty well! It makes the downstairs nice and toasty, and the upstairs stays just warm enough to keep the heater from going on. I'm looking forward to saving on my propane bill this year. I'll still use some propane, because I don't run the wood stove when I'm not home.

It was a comfort to know I had the wood stove for back-up yesterday. The power was out when I woke up - we had quite a storm here Thursday night into Friday morning. The heater won't work when there is no electricity, but the wood stove will!

Guess I've rambled enough for awhile. Hope everyone is finding some joy in their holiday preparations, for those who celebrate at this time of year. For those who do not, then I hope you get a good laugh at the rest of us with all of the craziness we put ourselves through!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Loss

A lot has happened in my life over the last week or so, but I can't seem to bring myself to record much more than the events of today.

I stopped at the grocery store this morning. After I checked out, the cashier handed me my change: a $10 bill and some coins. I stuffed the bill into my coat pocket along with the receipt and the register coupons. When I got home, the $10 was gone.

I can't seem to find one of my rings. It's not my engagement ring, but it's not costume jewelry. I still hope to find it in some unexpected place, but I'm sad that it seems to be gone.

Tonight little Rudy made his last trip to the veterinarian. He had continued to live with my ex. I visited Rudy last night, and snuggled with him for awhile. Sleep in peace, little Ruru.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Meme

I was tagged awhile ago by Mommanator to do this meme. Here it is! I won't tag anyone else. I think everyone's already done this one.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
Mom often took me to the library when I was very young; we could walk there from our home. When I went to check out, the librarian used to talk to me about the books I'd chosen, and she'd read excerpts with me. She convinced me that she was a witch - it had something to do with a children's book about witches I had chosen, I don't remember the details. Anyway, she kept me coming back!
What are some books you read as a child?
Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys, Eight Cousins, Rose In Bloom, An Old Fashioned Girl - all of the Alcott books; The Mummy Market by Nancy Brelis; The Nancy Drew mysteries; The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg; A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett; The Secret of Madame Doll by Francis Cavanah; The Hornet's Nest by Sally Watson; many, many more.
What is your favorite genre?
Fiction.
Do you have a favorite novel?
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
Where do you usually read?
In Bed.
When do you usually read?
Before I go to sleep, most of the time. Whenever I get the chance.
Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Sometimes, though one usually wins out, and I finish it first.
Do you read nonfiction in a different place than you read fiction?
Yes. Most of my nonfiction is read at work (work related literature or news read at lunchtime).
Do you buy most books you read, or borrow them or check them out of the library?
I buy most of them, and borrow some.
Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
I keep far too many of them :-). Any I don't keep, I give away or donate.
If you have children, what are some favorite books you have shared with them?
No kids.
Were they some same ones you read as a child?
No kids.
What are you reading now?
I just finished Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner and Crown of Aloes by Norah Lofts.
Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Not a formal one, though I often have a book or so ahead.
What’s next?
Not quite sure. I'm open to suggestions. I'm going to look up a few favorite authors to see if anything new has become available. A coworker loaned me her copy of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It looks good, but I can be a little bit over-sensitive when it comes to horse and dog stories, so we'll see...
What books would you like to reread?
All of Jane Austen's works, maybe the Potter series, perhaps some Mary Stewart books, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Evening Class by Maeve Binchy, Firefly Summer, by Maeve Binchy (I've recently reread Echoes and The Glass Lake, both by Maeve Binchy, and Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner), The Virgin Blue and Girl With a Pearl Earring, both by Tracy Chevalier, Katherine by Anya Seton, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve, The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin, Year of Wonders by Geraldine March, A Painted House by John Grisham, Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts; anything by Daphne du Maurier; some of M.M. Kaye's works; There are many more I'd like to reread!
Who are your favorite authors?
Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon, Jennifer Weiner, Tracy Chevalier, Anya Seton, J.K. Rowling, Christopher Moore, Maeve Binchy, Steve Martin, T.H. White, Madeleine L'Engle, Daphne du Maurier. I'm sure there are others whose names don't come to mind at the moment!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Light a Candle for Peace


I've been watching today's coverage of the political campaign and the abominable racism that is breaking out all over the US right now. For a few minutes today, it would be nice to be just an American - not a Democrat or Republican, not a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or an atheist. For a minute today, light a candle for peace in your home. Pass it on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where I've Been

Made a pilgrimage to the heartland this week. A LONG pilgrimage: it's a 19 hour, 1214 mile drive. We broke the trip up this year and stayed in the Toledo area (the half-way point) overnight. Thank goodness for clean, pet-friendly motels!


This is a beautiful tree by the driveway to the farm.

More of the driveway.


Corn crib at sunrise.

Fields leading to the slew.


Random Iowa scenery.

The farmhouse from across the neighbor's fields.

Daisy loved being a farm dog!

The north fields.

Where pasta really comes from.

At least somebody slept on the ride home!

Back home, and longing for the freedom to roam the fields.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Toy

Finally got one. Lovin' it. Bye. Gotta load some more tunes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Uncharitable Thoughts

I'm frightened by the things I see in the US economy. As a Democrat and political moderate, I generally have a charitable view of the opinions of the opposition. Not today. I'm tired of being afraid for our country and afraid for my own future. The present political and financial status of the US and of US Americans is the worst since the time of the Great Depression. I don't want to take the not-so-gentle ribbing of the Religious Right/Republican Party anymore. I don't want email in my inbox that is pro-right. I don't want to hear people praise the fools who have ruined our once (no longer) great nation. And I am tired of having right wing extremist philosophies equated with Christianity.

And please, no more stupid commercials about lipstick on pigs or anything else ridiculous. Tell me how you plan to fix the mess you've made. That's all I want to hear.

Maybe this will pass. Doubt it will happen much before Election Day.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Future Under McCain/Palin:



100 years in Iraq; Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran...


And the inevitable result:


This is just one of the many reasons to VOTE in November.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

PHEW!

August has turned out to be a big month for me. Medical appointments, family gatherings, household maintenance. Oi! And to top it all off, it turns out that my B-12 is low. That explains the crappy, crappy way I've been feeling lately. That, and the need to return to the endocrinologist. It helps a lot to know what's going on, and that it can be fixed.

Amidst all of the craziness, I find myself thankful for my blessings. I have vacation, sick and personal time that I can use when I feel lousy and need a break from work. I have good health insurance that allows me to make a trip to the doctor just because I've been fatigued and feeling low. I am able to find and treat simple problems before they become serious. There are far too many people in the world who can't say the same.

The need for universal health care is not just a financial proposition; it is a real necessity for desperate human beings. How does someone who feels worn out and unmotivated go out to find a job, or take care of a family?

I have been able to push myself to get up and get out to work, though I've had to force myself to focus while there. I pretty much crash into nothingness after supper each night, with no energy left for household chores. I've had my first monthly B-12 shot, and I'm taking OTC supplements. I feel some improvement already, though my energy level still bottoms out at times. With my endocrine system a bit out of whack, along with the low B-12, I feel like a human biology experiment.

Anyway, this can and will be fixed. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

As The Worm Turns

As I walked up the path to my front door late this afternoon, I found myself wondering why a large, red worm was curled up in the middle of the sidewalk. It hasn't rained for a few weeks here, so there's no reason to expect to see a worm on the sidewalk. Then I realized that the worm was an unusually bright shade of red. I looked closer, and it became apparent that the big worm was actually a tiny snake.


It appeared to be in the process of shedding its skin. I'm not absolutely positive that it was still alive (I'll check on it later). I think it's either a northern red-bellied snake or an eastern worm snake. It's really quite tiny for a snake, no bigger than a good-sized earthworm.

This little fella (or gal) was just a few feet from my house. Unless he was dropped there by a predator, the most likely place for his residence is under my front steps. Wonder how many siblings he has???

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Note on the Fly

Just posting a quick note on the fly. Mom is in the hospital, and will probably move from there to a nursing facility on a permanent basis. It's for the best, but it's sad that she won't go home again. We'll do our best to help her to be happy wherever she is!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Say a Prayer


My favorite little town in the midwest is under water. Fortunately, the folks I know there are OK, for now. I'm not sure whether or not the Iowa River has crested.


This is a restaurant where I've had a couple of fine meals. Hope the sandbags held up; this was taken earlier in the week.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Here it is, an unedited photo of the new wood stove! There is a bit of cosmetic work to be done, since it replaced a ventless propane fireplace (ventless=toxic). The silver electrical box (upper left of photo) has to come out, since it is no longer needed. Some trim has to be replaced, and the wall needs some doctoring, but she's ready to fire up. Now all we need is some cool weather!

Jury duty was a trial, but I made it through. Actually, I was fortunate, and was not selected as a juror. There were about 70 people in my group (one of two groups present that day). They called the first 7 people to the jury box seats, interviewed them, dismissed one, and accepted the next person up as the replacement. The other 62 or so of us got to go home without ever being interviewed by the judge. I had to call in for the next 2 nights, but was not required to appear again (phew). This was apparently a light week because of the holiday, with only two judges presiding and only a few cases scheduled.

I did not park in the free parking garage (free with validation, that is) because I would have had to walk a few blocks to the courthouse in a not-so-nice part of Atlantic City. And, trust me, Atlantic City has quite a not-so-nice side to it. I really don't like to go there alone.
I paid $9.00 to park in the lot across the street from the courthouse, the lot they call the Courthouse Parking Lot. The lot has no government affiliation, so validation is not an option. Good deal for the owners, because a lot of the women opted to park there, and I'm sure some of the men did, too. Several women had their husbands drop them off at the door. Nice.

I came home after court with a migraine and ended up in bed early. The headache carried over into Wednesday, but I was essentially functional. Today, all is well. And what a beautiful day it is!

So life may once again resume its normal ebb and flow, and I can stop being a worried, miserable so-and-so. Apologies for the gripe fest earlier this week!

Hope everyone has a marvelous weekend. I'm hoping to get out to see the new Indy movie.

Here's a quick pic of Daisy, just for Virginia Gal:

I'll have to get some video of her running. She runs like the wind! She barrel races around the trees in her enclosure out back. Don't expect those images too soon. I don't even have a cable to get the video images into the computer. Then I have to figure out the whole You Tube thing. I'll get there, sooner or later!





Monday, May 26, 2008

One at a Time

The wood stove will finally be installed this week. It was supposed to be installed a couple of weeks ago, but it dared to rain on the scheduled date. It took a bit of doing to get the wood stove guy to reschedule, but Wednesday should be the day.

The wood stove guy was off pursuing a dream - something to do with having someone famous read his screenplay. Nice, but he left the business here hanging for several days while he was gone. The folks left behind in his shop seemed to be at a loss, unable to set a schedule until he came back. They kept telling me that they expected to "get with him" that day and they'd call back with a final date, then I'd hear nothing.

I understand chasing your dreams, but I also know that I need a reliable business backing up this purchase. The relationship with this guy doesn't end with the installation of the stove. There will be maintenance, replacement parts and chimney sweeping through the years.

Ironically, I could have used the stove a few times over the last few weeks, since it has been chilly at night, and on few rainy days, as well. At least the stove will be there when I need it in the fall. More wood is being chopped as I write, and my woodpile grows daily. The propane company wants me to prepay some $2500.00 for next year's fuel to help me to SAVE money. Not me, not gonna happen. I am going to use WAY less propane next year.

Anyway, the wood stove is the first in a line of projects needed around here. The water conditioning system needs to be serviced. My Daisy needs a fenced back yard. Gutter Guards are needed on the roof. Massive amounts of gardening and landscaping are needed. I need a handyman for several small projects around the house that are beyond me. Actually, I might take a few of them on myself, once I have some time.

My time hasn't been my own lately. We've just been through a round of graduations, graduation parties and family visits, and this week I have jury duty. No, I don't consider it to be a pleasure to do my civic duty. I don't have much faith in the American justice system, and, if I am selected as a juror, I'll probable get stuck listening to the details of some silly lawsuit, since I've been called for civil court.

I will have to travel for more than an hour to get to the courthouse in Atlantic City. I couldn't be called to jury duty at the courthouse that's 20 minutes from home, oh no. I have to go to the opposite side of the county and into the city, where I must struggle with traffic and parking. I hate traffic, and I hate driving and parking in the city.

I've already checked the train schedule, and it's a no-go. The train station is too far from the courthouse, and the schedule is limited. If I take a cab from the train station, I'm only adding to the expense of the day. I'm going to check out the bus schedule, but I'm not too hopeful. I used to think that any day off of work was a good day, but I truly would prefer to go to work this week.

OK, enough complaining. This, too, shall pass. I'll probably feel far less stressed and miserable once I've made it through tomorrow. I just have to remember to take things one at a time.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Of Ghoulies and Ghosties...

...and short-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night.

Set out to walk the dog at about 8 or so tonight. I opened the back door. Before the motion-sensor lights out back could come on, I heard rustling and a THUMP! and Daisy tried to take off (along with her leash and my wrist). I wrestled her back into the house and closed her in, then turned to face the intruder.

My first thought was that my turkey hen was back - I've seen one several times recently, and she seems to like the sunflower seed that falls from the bird feeder. But no, it was not an early visit from Thanksgiving dinner (only kidding, I might actually find it difficult to eat turkey this year, now that I have a turkey friend). I caught a glimpse of something fast and four-legged, and I heard another THUMP!

When the motion-sensor light came on, I saw a tiny little female beagle running away from me. I called her, and she came. I thought my Daisy might be gaining a new companion, but then I noticed the beagle's pretty pink collar with little rhinestones on it, and I saw that she was clean and well-nourished - all pointing to a recent escape from a good home. She belongs to a neighbor who more or less lives across the street, and she is safe at home this evening. Needless to say, she would have been welcome to stay.

As for the things that went bump in the night, well, let's just say that the growing woodpile needs a little bit of attention tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Ordered today: 1 wood stove, more or less similar to the one in the photo. It's not an especially pretty one, but it's a workhorse that will handle most of my winter heating needs. It should be installed in a couple of weeks, just in time for summer...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fave Foto Friday - Name That Gnome!


There has been a considerable amount of conversation in my household related to the choice of a name for the birthday gnome pictured here. My choice was No-No, in honor of the character Jim on Vicar of Dibley, one of my favorite Britcoms (Jim's scene as the innkeeper in a Dibley Christmas pageant was classic).

My choice was Pooh-poohed, and I have refused to cave to pressure to name him Rosco or Norm. Please help out - I need suggestions!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Next

I've finally arrived at the next step in the process of warming up the downstairs - just in time for Spring! Tomorrow afternoon the wood stove guy is coming by to give me an estimate and discuss the options for placement of a stove.

Later in the day the fencing guy is coming by to give me an estimate on a nice, safe enclosure for my poor beguiled Princess Daisy. The sights and sounds of the season have proven to be too much for her. She wants to race off after every squirrel and track every scent.

I watched with woe on Saturday as she disappeared into the woods. For a few heartstopping moments I wasn't sure that I'd see her again. She easily leaps over the blueberry bushes and brambles in the woodlands hereabouts. I am more earthbound, and my progress through the undergrowth was sluggish at best. I am happy to report she is safe and sound. The fence has become a priority.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still Kickin'

Whew! Can't believe it's been a month since my last post. I'm still here, I promise. I get great ideas for new posts, but I just don't seem to make it downstairs to the computer to get started.

You can blame the propane company for my lack of computer time. I just spent a undisclosed but obscene sum for one month of fuel for my home. I already had the thermostat down to 65, now it's set at 63. The downstairs being the natural cold spot of my home (what with the down location, the cement outside walls, and the tile floors), it can be just a little too brisk to spend much time here in the winter. It's pretty nice in the summer, though.

Not to worry, I have plans for the future! I'm looking at woodstoves, coal stoves and pellet stoves as alternatives for supplemental heat. Should make it nice and toasty down here next winter, and the heat should rise to help out upstairs,too! And then there's the plan (OK, it's more of a hope at this point in time) to buy a laptop and go wireless.

I know, moving the computer upstairs sounds like a bright idea, too. I'd still have to go wireless to do it because of phone jack locations (since I'm stuck with Verizon DSL and Verizon phone service, and with DirecTV). Since my PC gives me occasional warnings on bootup about the status of the hard drive, it hardly seems worthwhile to invest in serious upgrades to this system.

I'd give anything to have Comcast back (I never thought I'd say those words), but they are not available here. Comcast's customer service is FAR superior to Verizon's, and, frankly, so is their product. DirecTV is the incredible shrinking product, with an ever decreasing number of stations available on my plan.

Oh well. How about all of you? How are you weathering the economic and climate conditions in the US these days?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Voting, Small Town Style

I came home from work tonight, took the dog out, fed her, and took her out again. At about 5:55 pm, I backed the car out of the garage to go to My Town Hall to vote.

When I arrived at my destination, I parked and followed the herd into the building. I had to wait in line for approximately 30 seconds. I gave my name and confirmed my party. They gave me a pretty pink ticket, and I took it to the voting booth.

I had to wait approximately 5 seconds for the booth to empty. I used my 5 seconds to comment that mine wasn't the only pink ticket on the spike on the side of the machine. I had thought that it might be; my politics are atypical around here. Actually, there were quite a few pink tickets keeping company with mine! Maybe more pink-ticketed people were driven to vote in this year's primary.

I almost said pink-leaning people, but then I realized the historical implications of that! Wonder why they chose pink to represent my political party??? Someone's idea of a joke???

I cast my pink little vote, left the building, and drove back around the corner. I pulled my car back into the garage at 6:04 pm.

There you have it: Voting, Small Town Style!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Technicalities

Every now and then I get a message when I boot up my computer that a problem has been detected with my hard drive. I don't know too much about the technical end of computer stuff, but I suspect that this is The Beginning of The End for my PC. Time to start updating myself on the minimum requirements for a computer system these days.

So, my blog pals, what will I absolutely require in a new PC? I would actually love to go the laptop route this time around, though affordability is a major factor for me. I can live with a desktop, if necessary.

I don't need an extreme system. I want to blog with my computer, manage and edit digital photos with it, and maybe watch an occasional DVD on it (especially if I get a laptop). Gaming in my household is pretty much limited to puzzle, arcade and word games - some with cool graphics, but nothing excessive. I suppose Windows Vista is the likely OS, and I would like to go wireless if I get a laptop.

Any and all suggestions about necessary elements, brands, where to shop, etc. will be appreciated!