Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I Saw the (Christmas) Light

When I was a kid, there were no planned light displays.  People just decorated their houses, some more elaborately than others.  In Indianapolis, we made a point to drive up and down North Meridian Street and gawk at the beautiful houses with ornate decorations and lights.  Then the Energy Crisis hit (way back in the DARK ages - HA! - the 1980s), and everyone put away their lights.  It was almost unAmerican to put up lights.  Bah!  Humbug!

Things have since turned around, and this year seems to have become The Christmas of Light Displays.

The World's Largest Christmas Tree (Monument Circle) has new LED lights this year.

I got a discounted ticket to drive through the Lights at the Brickyard display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400.

A group of friends got together to walk the lights display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

and on another night, the Chinese Lantern Festival at the State Fairgrounds.

I was in downtown Noblesville on the First Friday night when area Girl Scouts lit luminarias on the Courthouse Square.

I drove through the impressive lights display at the local John Deere dealership in Fishers.

I drove around looking for neighborhood light displays.

It just wouldn't be Christmas without lights.

I think this year, I may have gotten my allotted fix!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

How That Man Saved Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am thankful...that it's done!

No, really, I love Thanksgiving.  We invite a bunch of relatives, I cook up a storm, we eat, we talk, That Man takes pictures, we study the Black Friday sale ads...  It's fun!

But sometimes our Thanksgivings are, um, eventful.

One year, long ago, when That Boy was two, and That Girl wasn't at all, he had chicken pox.  Needless to say, we didn't have any company for the holiday, and we didn't go anywhere.  I prepared a private feast for the three of us.  I had baked yeast rolls, my timing wasn't the best, they came out of the oven before everything else was ready, so I put them on one of the stove burners, turned on super low.

When That Man took the first bite of a roll, he said, "These rolls are burned."  I picked one up, turned it over and over, examined a couple more, and pronounced, "No they aren't.  Just look at them."  He swore they were and challenged me to eat one.  I took a bite.

Oh,  My.  Gosh.  They were TERRIBLE.  No apparent burning, but the interior was definitely smoke-damaged!

This event became a running joke - "Don't burn the rolls!"

That was the worst Thanksgiving for a LONG time.  But the past two years, I've managed to have stove top fires, from things boiling over and going up in flames.

So the new running joke became, "Be sure to invite the Fire Department!"

I'm pleased to report we had no fires this year!


There are always floods.

Oh me.

That Girl and The Grands arrived Tuesday evening.  While I pumped up the inflatable kid bed, the Girl Grand watched The Spongebob Movie on TV.  Suddenly, sound, but no picture!  "Turn it back on, Grandma!" she demaned, loudly (several times), as I tried to troubleshoot the problem.

No luck.

After the bed was arranged and the child installed, I alerted That Man.  He volunteered to buy a replacement the following day.

Yes, please!  Saved!!!

I follow a written Thanksgiving schedule I made several years ago so everything gets done on time and I don't have to figure it all out every year, so most of the things that could be made before The Day were made.

Wednesday came, That Man went shopping for the new TV, and That Girl and I got busy.  We made a cranberry gelatin salad and pumpkin pies.  We had bean soup and cornbread for lunch.  We boiled eggs.  I worked on the last minute cleaning.  It was going so well.

We REALLY like deviled eggs, so we decided to cook TWO dozen eggs instead of one, and after I peeled all those eggs, I put the shells down the garbage disposer, instead of into the trash.  That smell.  Down they went, but after I turned off the disposer, water started backing up into the sink.


I trudged upstairs where That Man was connecting the new TV.  I confessed my transgression ("You're going to kill me, but...").  He sighed and said he'd have a look.  That Girl, The Grands, and I made a dash to The Colonel's for a bucket of chicken.


When we returned, the kitchen looked like he had detonated a bomb!  Everything that had been under the sink was out on the floor or on the counter.  Water and wet towels were everywhere.

That Man, bless his heart, had tried to clear the drain with a plunger.  He produced enough pressure to blow a pipe joint apart, spewing water and bits of egg shell all over the kitchen and into the adjacent carousel base cabinet.  He cleaned up the worst of the flood, unclogged the drain, and reassembled the drain before we reappeared bearing fried chicken.

Saved again!!!  You just can't do Thanksgiving without a functional kitchen sink.

After chicken, I sent That Man, That Girl, and The Grands to bed, took over, and started cleaning.  I washed, dried, and replaced all the stuff from the cabinets, sopped up the rest of the water on the floor, and mopped, and mopped, and mopped.

It took HOURS.  Ugh.

Thursday, THE day, dawned.  I got up, showered, and started work on the turkey.  I always buy the cheapest turkey I can find, and they usually come with a pop-up timer.  I cut off the netting and the bag, pulled out the bag of giblets and the neck, and...where the heck was the pop-up timer?  I checked the packaging - yes, it said it had a pop-up timer.  There was a hole where it obviously HAD been, but, alas, no timer.

Several years ago, I had bought some pop-up timers (yes, you can actually buy them in the store!), just in case I got stuck with a turkey without one.  So I rummaged through the junk drawer, but they were apparently either previously used or AWOL.  So, That Man came to my rescue again!  He ran out to the nearest grocery store and bought a couple of packages of pop-up timers.  I stuck a timer in the hole, and got the turkey into the oven.  Big sigh of relief!

Saved yet AGAIN!!!  What would I do without him?

From that point on, I sailed through the day fairly smoothly.  The pop-up timer did its job, all the food was good, and everyone enjoyed themselves.  I didn't start putting food away and cleaning up until the extra people had gone.  I was almost done cleaning up the sink, turned on the garbage disposer, and...what's that terrible racket???

Turned off the disposer, stuck my hand into its ravenous maw, and pulled out...the missing pop-up timer!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We Drive Well-Used Cars

A while back, I got one of THOSE phone calls.  Not a telemarketing call per se, because it was from a local business I visit every few years - my car dealer.

"Hi!  This is Laura from Cars R Us.  How are you today?" 

The phrase, "How are you today," over the telephone always makes me defensive; it's meant to elicit the first of a string of positive responses.  Why yes, I'd LOVE to throw away my life savings on some swampland in Louisiana!

Because it IS a business I frequent, I didn't say what I usually do (never mind what that is) to unsolicited callers trying to sell me something, but instead, "Fine, fine, what's up?"

"Well, we've noticed you have a lot of positive equity in your 2011 vehicle." 

Wait.  What?  Positive equity?  Is she kidding?

"Hahaha!  Well, yes.  Yes I do.  It's paid off.  A couple of years ago.  Hahaha!  Positive equity - I'm sorry, but I find that really funny!"

She laughed, too, then went on with her spiel about how they need "pre-owned" (another hilarious marketing term) cars like mine because their inventory is low.  Of course the way to obtain said fabulous and desirable "pre-owned" car is to sell me a NEW one.  

Uh, no, thankyouverymuch.

When it comes to cars, our family is odd.  We buy new cars, then drive them until they don't drive no mo'!  

Back when we were first married, That Man had a small pickup truck.  He drove it for years and years.  The headliner in the cab came unstuck and he tore it out so it wouldn't sit on his head while he drove.  One of the doors rusted through, so he welded a piece of metal over the hole, then spray painted the new piece a color somewhat similar to the original.  Classy!  He finally sold it to a co-worker for $400.00 for hauling firewood on his farm.  It had over 280,000 miles on the odometer.  No, it was NOT an import.  

I had a minivan for nearly 10 years.  The only complaint I had was that the TV ads showed a slew of  hunky cowboys jumping out of it.  Imagine my disappointment when, after I drove it home, no cowboys ever appeared, hunky or otherwise.  Darn!  When we finally let it go, it had over 270,000 miles on it.  I'm pretty sure the real reason we traded my minivan instead of a different car was That Man didn't want me to break his mileage record,  I was willing to take it to 300,000.  It just needed a new parking brake cable and fuel injectors.  Poor ol' minivan.  Not an import, either.
I have a crossover now, and it's well on the way to being another high mileage USED car.  The odometer reads over 150,500 miles.  Again, not an import.

I don't really believe the dealership wants/needs THIS particular car.

I'll drive it another few years.  Maybe this time I'll sieze that record!

What's the highest mileage you've racked up on a car?  Leave a comment!

Monday, September 18, 2017

What NEXT?

These are the times that try men's souls.  And women's.

I'm currently struggling with everyday life because my right hand and wrist are in a splint following tendon repair surgery (see previous post).  I celebrated tying my shoes yesterday - yes, really, tying my shoes!  No more old lady slip-on Skecher mules for me!  Fastening the seat belt in my car is a contortionist's nightmare, but I get it done.  I still can't fix my hair, though.  There's just not enough grip to go around for the styling brush AND the blow dryer.

I'm dealing with it, and doing as much as I can.


Today, I ran a couple of errands after work, and arriving home, I decided to eat some leftover pizza.  Popped it in the oven, moved the laundry to the dryer, put the pizza on a plate, opened a can of soda, and noticed I'd BROKEN A TOOTH.

What. The. Heck.

When did it happen?  Why didn't I notice?  How could this huge chunk of enamel and dentin have sheared off without any pain?  The entire front half of the tooth is gone, exposing a metal amalgam filling top to bottom!

I noticed my missing dentition at 5:01 p.m.

The dentist's office closed at 5:00 p.m.

Of.  Course.

I called anyway, and left a message. Miracle of miracles, the receptionist called back, bless her pea-pickin' heart!  I have an appointment tomorrow.

I'm guaranteed royal treatment - I'll be getting a crown.

After the dentist, I'll mosey on over to occupational therapy for my weekly torture session.

Looking forward to a FUN day.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Not Very Handy Right Now...

A couple of weeks ago, I had surgery on my right hand.  Why?  Well, it's the aftermath of a cat bite.

Back in mid-May, I was trimming one of the cats' claws, and...RAWR!!!

She got irritated, started up her warning "siren" (which I stupidly ignored), then bit me.

Just look at that sweet face!  Surely she's not capable of such a dastardly deed.

Don't be fooled.  This is the Demon Cat from Hell.

When she came into our home as a kitten, she wasn't well socialized.  She didn't like to be touched or picked up.  She growled and yowled.  She didn't clean her fur very well.  She was Grumpy Cat times ten.  However, after YEARS of work, she can give a good imitation of being somewhat pleasant.  I can no longer sit on our sofa without her immediately taking over my lap.  Of course, it's all on HER terms.

No matter how she pretends, she is NOT a nice cat.  The other cats get out of her way.  She terrifies the dog (the BIG dog).  She sits where a gorilla would sit - wherever she wants.

Anyway, she's not a fan of being handled.  So she bit me.


I detached her from my hand, then wrapped her up in a towel and finished the job.

She was NOT going to win.

Long story short, the bite got infected, I went to the emergency room twice, was put on pain killers and two heavy duty antibiotics, lost some movement in one finger (on my right hand), tried occupational therapy (FAIL), then had surgery that repaired two tendons.

Here's how my hand looked afterward.  My whole arm was numb until the end of the next day.  It felt like a telephone pole in its sling, and was about as useful.

I've since graduated to a different, slightly abbreviated splint and bandage.  I have to wear them 24/7 for three weeks - ugh.  At least I can sort of use my fingers.  I get to take it all off once a day and do a little gentle massage.

Meanwhile, I'm working - slowly.  I try to write left handed (oh my - barely legible) and use the computer (hunt and peck).  Getting dressed is an Olympic event.  By the time I have all my clothes on, I feel like I've competed in the decathlon.  And lost.  I'm ready to lie down and take a nap.

I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the long run.

It will.

It really will.


Friday, August 25, 2017

My Cheapo BuJo

I’ve fallen into the Bullet Journal trap, and I can't get out!

One of my friends introduced me to Bullet Journalling a few months ago, and being totally innocent/ignorant/clueless as to what a bullet journal actually IS, I did the most natural thing in the world – I googled it. 

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

I guess I'd been living under a rock.   There are a zillion posts on Pinterest and another zillion websites.  Just. About. Bullet Journals.

 Mine is a cheapo composition notebook with graph paper pages, and I've turned it into sort of a do-it-yourself planner/scrapbook/coloring book.  Lots of people use them to establish new habits.

Most sites I visited recommended starting with two specific pages – a table of contents and a list of 100 dreams, kind of like the Index and Maybe/Someday pages in traditional planners.

From that point, it’s a free-for-all!  

Some people draw their own monthly/weekly calendar pages and use them like a “normal” planning calendar.  Some people make workout logs, running logs, lists of books to read, lists of books read, weight logs, and a myriad of other list-based pages.  Some people use one color of ink; some use a rainbow.  Some people get fancy, using different decorative fonts, drawing pictures, and making artistic borders.  On Pinterest, the posts are overwhelming – so much artistic energy!

There are special supplies for bullet journalling.  There are notebooks with heavy paper that won’t allow ink to bleed through.  There are notebooks with pages that are blank except for faint dots in a grid pattern to help you draw boxes and lines, and to keep your writing straight and a consistent size.  There are notebooks with pre-numbered pages so you don’t have to do it yourself.  There are notebooks with pages expressly for the title page, table of contents, and list of 100 dreams.  There are special pens and markers and clear rulers and stencils.

Because I’m frugal (read "cheap"), I went to the local big box discount store and bought the aforementioned composition book and a pack of ten colored gel pens.

Here some of the things I've put in my bullet journal:
  • Quotes I like
  • List of 100 dreams (I’m an over-achiever – I have 120!)
  • Couch to 5K tracker (I’ve had to stop for now – I’m recovering from a bout of plantar fasciitis in my left foot)
  • Daily habits (like empty the sink/load the dishwasher or feed the animals)
  • Weekly habits (like clipping a cat’s claws each week – I rotate, so each cat gets clipped every 4 weeks)
  • Wish lists for planned vacations
  • Daily steps
  • Running mileage log
  • Books read this year (for the challenge)
  • Bicycling mileage (for the Great Cycle Challenge in June/July)
  • Leave tracker (so I don’t run out of vacation days!)
  • Running streak tracker (not mileage, just whether I've run a minimum of one mile every day)
  •  Pages read (for the library summer reading program)
  • Ongoing projects (things I might forget to work on, like clearing out the so-called guest room so it can be used for its stated purpose)

I use color, but I’m not big on fancy fonts or borders or pictures.  I like to color in the squares, instead of checking things off.  I can see at a glance how consistent I am with my habits.  Getting ready for tomorrow and laying out my clothes – nearly every day.  Vitamins – hit and miss.  I can’t lie to myself when I have the evidence right in front of me in ten colors!

Sometimes when I’m filling in my daily items, I notice I haven’t done something on the list, and I’ll go hurry and do it just so I can color that blasted square!  Mind games.  That's what it is.  

It’s everything in one place.  No more random sheets of paper stacked around or filed away never to be seen again.   No Post-It notes to lose.  No more bulky notebooks, each dedicated to one project.  No more pre-printed forms.  If I decide it doesn't work for me, I can change the layout it so it does.

Have you used a Bullet Journal or something like it?  What kind of stuff do you have in it?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It Was a Great Phone While It Lasted

During the trip to Williamsburg, my phone decided to have a tantrum and gave me all sorts of problems.  Of course, just when I needed it most for directions, finding restaurants, running the Colonial Williamsburg app, and all those things you need your smartphone for when you’re on vacation.

It just won’t hold a charge.  It has performed like a champ since I got it, and now, suddenly, it’s getting ready to abandon me!

Darned phone.

So I got irritated at it today, and took the plunge.  I ordered a new phone, AND got an unlimited data plan.  It turns out the unlimited plan is the same price as my old plan – what a deal!

I ordered the new Google Pixel XL.  I feel a little guilty.  My first smartphone was the original Motorola Droid, and I’ve had Droids ever since.  But there are no Droids available, Turbo or otherwise, and I’m not a fan of the Motorola Moto, so I caved and went with the Pixel.  It seemed the most like my poor old Droid Turbo II.

Image result for google pixel xl
It should be here Wednesday!


Not that I’m excited or anything.

I just have to nurse the old phone along until then.  It’s been a good ol’ phone.

Don't spill the beans and tell it what I'm up to!  If it finds out, you KNOW it will die early!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Williamsburg on the Half Shell

Governor'S Palace, WilliamsburgEarlier this month, I drove to Lexington, picked up my sister, and drove to Williamsburg for a girls' week of fun and frolic!

After settling in and figuring out how to navigate the city (it's divided by train tracks, and you're always on the wrong side), we took a day and drove up to Baltimore to visit The Girl and her family.  The Son-in-Law had told her Williamsburg was about 1 1/2 hours away, but as it turned out, it's 3 1/2 hours - ONE WAY.  Thank you, MapQuest!

We went anyway.

The Girl directed us to Fells Point in the Inner Harbor, where we caught the red water taxi and rode it round trip back to Fells Point.  It was a glorious day on the water - sunny and breezy, the boat wasn't crowded, and we got to eyeball all the sights of the Inner Harbor in comfort from the water.  Much better than trudging around cobbled/brick streets with a stroller!

After we left to head back to Williamsburg, I took a little detour to show my sister something The Girl had pointed out to me when I visited for the second grand's arrival.  Here's a picture:

These bushes are in a CEMETERY.  The carefully trimmed shapes are weirdly appropriate, don't you agree?  They must be the work of either a disgruntled employee or someone totally clueless.

We think it's hilarious.

Yes, my family has a twisted sense of humor.

Anyway, back to Williamsburg.  Planning this trip, we were ready for loads of Colonial and Revolutionary history, but we didn't anticipate seafood.  Restaurants serving oysters, crabs, lobster, and crab cakes were EVERYWHERE.

Upon further consideration, it makes sense.  Williamsburg sits on a peninsula, between the James River and the York River, ending at the Chesapeake Bay.  Archaeological excavations at Williamsburg and Jamestown have uncovered tens of thousands of oyster shells (yes, they actually count them).

By the end of the week, we had a favorite - Fat Tuna Grill and Oyster House.  I confidently ordered oysters on the half shell.  Our server asked what kind I wanted.  Well, raw, of course.  No, no, what KIND of oysters did I want - and oh, by the way, they were out of Blue Points.  Uh...what?  On the board above the bar, there were listed at least FIVE kinds of oysters - this one is fairly sweet, that one is the saltiest...  We'd had no idea!

We also ordered crab cakes, and they were nearly all crab - hardly any bread crumbs to hold them together - and HUGE.  A young couple near us ordered whole crabs, and when the bucket arrived, those peoples' eyes boggled!  I don't think they knew what part of which crab to start cracking.

And the hush puppies - oh my!

We went for the history and fell in love with the food!

We had made a wish list of places we would have liked to have visited, but we ran out of days and barely scratched the surface.  We saw Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.  We visited The Girl and saw the Inner Harbor.  We went to a harpsichord/organ concert.  I took a short class in spinning wool into yarn using a drop spindle.  We bought running shoes at an outlet mall (you have to keep your priorities straight)!

So here's the list of leftovers for the next trip to Virginia (in no particular order):
  • Virginia Beach
  • Washington, DC
  • Chincoteague Island
  • Asateague Island National Seashore (wild ponies!)
  • Fredericksburg
  • Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
  • Monticello
I've got my work cut out for me!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ah, Spring at Last!

It finally feels like SPRING!  Not that the winter was so terrible.  We had hardly any snow.  There were no ice storms.  The temperatures weren't anything to get excited about.  But winter in central Indiana isn't pretty.

Winters here are an ugly dark gray/brown, wet, and cold, with an occasional frigid day or week.  Snow makes things look bright and cheery for a bit, then it melts in the late afternoon and refreezes at night.  Or it rains during the day and freezes overnight.  Or there's freezing rain.  Or the ever-popular "wintry mix."  UGH.

Mostly it's hypothermia weather - wet and cold-ish.

Then there's the precursor to spring - rain and wind and mud - oh my!  Still not pretty.

But this past week - suddenly SPRING!  The grass glows with the color of a green crayon. Dandelions and violets have invaded the yard!  Daffodils and tulips bloom in their beds!  Peonies, day lilies, and hostas poke up from the ground!  Asparagus begs to be cut in the garden!  Fuzzy ducklings and goslings block traffic at the marina!  Tree frogs sing in the evening!  Magnolia, dogwood, and redbud trees bloom in a riot of magenta, pink, and white!  All at once!

Nature has had enough of winter, and as my dad would say, "Spring has sprung!"  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hoosier Pie, Revisited

It has been pointed out to me that in my excitement to write about yummy Hoosier Pie I thoughtlessly neglected to provide the magic recipe!  (It has been suggested that it was intentional, to see just exactly how many people actually read this blog - HA!)

So here it is, in all its glory.  The only thing I changed from the original recipe is the addition of nutmeg.  I used my trusty Sunbeam Heritage stand mixer, which made it super easy to make the filling nice and smooth.

If you're curious about the history of Sugar Cream Pie, there's some interesting information here and here.  


1 cup sugar
scant 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
9" pie crust, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients.  Stir in half of the cream to make a thick paste.  Stir until very smooth.  Add the remaining cream, then beat lightly, again until very smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.  Pour into the unbaked pie crust.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, then dot with butter.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Let it cool on a wire rack about 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hoosier Pie

Indiana has had an official state pie - sugar cream - since 2009.  I had it for the first time sometime in the 1970s - I think Christmas or New Year's Eve.

It.  Was.  Amazing.

But all the sugar cream pies I've had since have been disappointing - pale, bland, heavy, and tasteless.

Until today.

I got a copy of the recipe of that long ago first sugar cream pie, and it has quite a lineage.  My sister had the recipe, given to her by her mother-in-law, and given to her by her mother.

Oh my.  It's just as I remembered it - rich and sweet and flavored with vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Talk about a sugar rush!

It's not a custard pie - no eggs.  It's closer to pecan pie in texture, but not really the same.  It's just...itself.  I believe it will have to make an appearance this Thanksgiving...

Anyway, I used to think having an official state pie (or rock, or insect, for that matter) was frivolous at best, but frivolous or not, that's a mighty fine pie!  Thanks, oh sister of mine, and thanks, Grandmother Scheidler!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


After years and years of having an open door policy, I have given up and SHUT THE DOOR - to the bedroom.

We've had a parade of cats for around 20 years, and they've had access to most of the house all that time.  But now, as you may have read earlier, since June, we have four, yes, count them, FOUR, cats and ONE large (sweet) dog, and it has become a HAIRY issue, literally.

There's hair on the bed (the other bedrooms were already off limits), hair on the stairs, hair on the rugs, hair on the chairs, hair on the sofa, hair along the baseboards, hair in the bathroom sinks.  You get the picture - everything is covered with HAIR.  And no, it is NOT true that everything tastes better with cat/dog hair in it.  Bleah.

I could dust mop and vacuum every day, and still find hair/fur tumbleweeds rolling down the hallway.  There's so much hair, I often wonder why the cats aren't completely bald.  The dog contributes, too, of course, but there's only one of him, even though he's so big.

I do like the way the cats cuddle with me on the sofa and on the bed, though - until Feline Thermonuclear War is declared.  Then I'm trampled by what feels like a herd of elephants, accompanied by growling, yowling, hissing, and barking (the cats, not the dog - yes, our cats bark).  It sounds like mountain lions have overrun the house.  The dog cowers in his crate (it's his safe space).

To truly understand the phrase, "the fur flies," you need to see my house after a bout of FTW - there are big tufts of fur all through the house.  The cats don't discriminate among the rooms open to them.  It's an equal opportunity war zone.

Anyway, I went to Disney World with The Girl and The First Grand for a week early this month.  Imagine it - a week with NO ANIMAL HAIR.  What a concept.

It didn't even occur to me until after I got home and was immediately covered in animal hair just how much I try to cat-proof the house.  While I was gone, I didn't worry about where to put things down to avoid cats lying on them, whether the strings for the blinds were dangling enticingly or the blinds themselves were reachable so the ends of the slats could be used as chewy toys, or where I put my fingernail file (also a favorite chewy toy), or whether the shower curtain and liner were in a position to be shredded, or where I put papers to keep them from being barfed on.

Thus, after being home a couple of weeks, and one particularly bad night when I tossed all the cats out into the hall, I decided to SHUT THE DOOR to the last bedroom.  They'll just have to make do with the hallways, the living room, the dining area, the kitchen, one bathroom, the utility room, and the stairs.

And I get to use the bedroom again without any cat-consciousness.  Oh, happy day!  I can put away the fleece throws and old towels meant to keep the cats and their fur off my unseen, but attractive, comforter.  I can use the blinds normally.  I can fold clothes on the bed.  I can open the windows all the way.  I can get up in the middle of the night and not step on a fresh, wet hairball (oh, THAT'S a treat!).  I can get dressed without a lint roller.

With that ONE decision, I made some parts of my life easier.  Just by shutting the door!

There's a lesson there, somewhere.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

If You Don't Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes...

Yesterday, it was 73 degrees.  This is our house this morning.

No wonder half the office was out sick at some point this week.  We've had some really wild temperature swings this month.

Remember, I went downhill skiing three hours SOUTH of here three weeks ago!  And last weekend, I was running around the yard in shorts and a t-shirt.

Yes, spring is coming, even though Punxsutawney Phil predicted it's not arriving for at least another three weeks, but it's putting forth a mighty effort to break out and run rampant.

So here we are, stuck in the middle of it all, and now we have to figure out what to wear tomorrow.

Good luck with that!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Help! I Sat Down and Can't Get Up!


I'm surrounded by ANIMALS!

How did this happen?!?!?

How, indeed.

It all started with one tiny kitten, found under a neighbor's porch.  Then he needed a companion, so we adopted another.  A friend had a cat with kittens and we took the one with the funny face.

You see where this is going.

With the ebb and flow of life, we lost some cats and gained some cats.  We were finally once again down to only two older cats, and thought attrition would take care of things, but alas.

That Girl moved to to Baltimore and, long story short, left us her animals.  Two MORE cats and a large dog, all young.

Yes, friends and neighbors, since last summer we've had four, count them, FOUR cats and a big dog!

I constantly pick hairs off my clothes.  I dust mop or vacuum several times a week, and when I walk down the hall, there are STILL animal hair tumbleweeds rolling along ahead of me.  Thank God none of them has long hair.

Two of the cats reenact the Civil War daily, leaving clumps of each other's hair all over the house.  They all get hairballs and throw them up where we are guaranteed to step on them.  Two cats eat too fast and throw up their food.  Of course, That Dog helps clean up the messes.  Best.  Treats.  Ever.  Eeeewwwwww!

Why do we put up with it all?  You know - yes, you do.

When I sit on the sofa, one cat curls up on my lap and falls asleep.  One climbs onto my lap, puts his "arms" around my neck and bumps his head against my chin.  One curls up on the back of the sofa behind my head and puts a paw on my shoulder or head.  One presses up against my hip and pulls at my arm with a paw, wanting to be petted.  That Dog drops a tennis ball on my lap.

All they want is to loved.

Isn't that what we all want, really?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Slip Sliding Away...

Saturday, I spent the day sliding down a hill on a couple of slats. Woo hoo!

About a month ago, a friend sent an email blast asking who'd like to attend a women's ski clinic. I'd been wanting to get back into it, so I piled on.

We met at the ski resort, and along with ten other women, we signed waivers, rented equipment, posed for a picture in front of the lodge, and away we went!

I was put in the group with experience, but not recent. We headed to the bunny hill and took turns attacking the gentle slope.  Well, "attacking" may not be the best description. Maybe "sneaking up on" would be more accurate.  I started down the hill, my brain shrieking, "NO-O-O-O-O-O-O!!!" all the way down! My skis wouldn't behave. My body was all over the place. I was stiff with fear. Just a complete hot mess.

After three times down the hill, I still felt out of control. Every time we stopped on the slope, I kept sliding into the woman next to me - how embarrassing! I was sure I'd NEVER be able to ski competently again. Our instructor made suggestions, all things I knew,  but just couldn't quite execute. No. Muscle. Memory.

Then suddenly, something clicked.

We moved to the next slope. A little longer. With a chairlift. My turns improved. I moved my weight forward on the skis. I attacked the hill. Yes, attacked.

By the time I was finished, I felt ready to ski on my own. I got to try the latest performance skis, rediscovered a favorite physical activity, and even got a report card - well, okay, a "progress report." I'm well on the way to recovering my old skills.

Colorado, here I come! Well, maybe Michigan first, but...

I can't wait!!!