Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pssst! Hey Teacher!!

"Your slip is showing, Mrs. T!"

Had any students or staff at the high school where I substitute teach had been in the hallway, as the secretary was escorting me to the 3rd period classroom I would be teaching in, they might have easily hollered just such a thing. They would be uttering truth, but not in the way most folks might imagine. No, in this case, it was far worse and uber humiliating.

My morning started out nicely enough. I got plenty of sleep last night, after putting in a full day of work yesterday, both as a sub. teacher and a cashier at the grocery store. By quitting time yesterday, I was very ready to kick off the shoes, put on some comfy clothing and inhale a pizza. I did that, too. :) Anyway, I was scheduled to work at the school today, but not as early as I actually went in. When the phone rang this morning, with the secretary calling to see if I might come in early, to help cover another teacher who just learned of a death in the family, I had been trying to decide with skirt I wanted to wear for the day. There were two of them, both nice skirts, comfy and pretty, but tucked away for a long time. In fact, I hadn't seen these skirts since we'd lived in Montana! The container I'd been storing them in was in the basement & I only recently came across it. Yippee! "new" clothes! What I failed to remember was that the container held clothing that was on either swing of the size pendulum... stuff that was either from my skinny days or my beached whale days. Right now, I am kind of in the middle, whilst trying to get back down to my skinnyminny wardrobe.

So, after I got off the phone with the secretary, I quickly showered and got dressed for the day. First problem, the stockings I wore fit really well, until I got them to the hips/butt region. The packaging stated the hosiery was in my size, so I failed to understand why the gluteous region would not stay up. WTF??? Then I dug through the container and found one of my half-slips and it fit well. I figured if need be, I could always pin the pantyhose up to my overbeckies or the half-slip, right? Nuh-uh. I put on my big girl panties, but they decided to be holy rollers today. Damn things would NOT stay up. Maybe it's time to chuck those bad girls and invest in some fresh elastic? hmmmm? Anyhoo, I sucked in my gut, pulled everything back up to my waist and then stepped into my skirt. It was a teensy bit loose, but I thought it would be fine for the day. Yeah. Right. Sure.

I managed to get the Jeep out of the garage, toss the outside doggies a few treats, close the garage door and drive all the way to town in this outfit. My outfit was smart, comfortable and even flattering, in some ways. I drove to school, walked into the building, then to the office. Visited with the secretary, while she filled me in on my responsibilities for the day, with no problems. Everything was staying in place & I was feeling quite confident about what I was wearing. We, the sec. & I left the office and began our trek toward the two classrooms I would be handling today when it happened.

No sooner had we gotten just down the hallway, past the window that students visit when they need to speak to the secretary, when my entire skirt began a slow, slinky decent to my knees. The waistband chose that moment to no longer be elastic. Fortunately, my half-slip decided to stay in place, so here I was, clicking down the hallway in my sensible heels, with the waistband of my skirt around my knees & my scantily clad rear end showing off a pretty beige undergarment! It was also, at that exact moment, when my pantyhose decided the best thing they could do would be to roll the waistband down, all on their own accord, to my crotch area. "What the hell," cried my big girl panties. "Let's roll with 'em!".

Imagine my horror, when I realized my skirt was lengthening itself, leaving my derriere somewhat exposed, albeit slightly shimmery through the slip and a lovely thick waistband that surrounded my groin area. Talk about unsightly panty lines!!! *blush* I caught up my skirt and we returned to the office. A couple of safety pins were scrounged up, attached to the faulty waistlines of skirt & slip, and I was on my way back to the classroom. It was so embarrassing, but hilarious, as well. I am just so glad there wasn't anyone else in the hallway, except the secretary! LOL

Got to love a decent wardrobe malfunction once in a while. Helps me keep from getting too fat-headed. If I word the morning at school tomorrow, before I have to do my afternoon shift at the store, I think I'll go with slacks. Yeah, that just might be a really good idea! ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who dunnit?

For the record, I did NOT make the recent changes to this blog! Don't have a clue as to what happened to my background or who altered the colors of my fonts & such. Where my "banner" went is beyond me, too. Darn it all anyway.

*grumbles about boring appearance of blog*

Workin' it!

A couple of months ago, right after school began again, I signed up to be a substitute teacher. There were a few snafoos with the FBI background search, but all is finally cleared. Yesterday morning, I was called by the school secretary & offered a class to cover, since the regular teacher was feeling kind of pukish. So, I accepted the challenge, gleefully, and hopped into the shower. No sooner did I get out of the shower, when the phone rang and my old job as cashier at the grocery store was being offered to me. So, I arranged to meet with the boss after I finished at the school for the day & went into town for a fun day of social interaction & adult mentoring.

I have a completely new-found respect for teachers!!! The class I taught was in the 5th grade and what a great group of children! They taught me some things and were, for the most part, very helpful. Yes, there were some challenging kids, but I adored each child for his/her uniqueness. *contented sigh*

After school was over for the day, I went to the old job & spoke with the boss. He is willing to work with my schedule at the school, but can also offer me all the hours I want. I let him know that I won't be able to do the floor mopping in the future, because of how hard & painful that is for my back & he was willing to work around that. It would be nice if he were able to pay me more, but I do know there are some benefits offered to employees, after a length of orientation. What I shall save on fuel costs, by working close to home & the benefits should help offset the shameful wages the store pays. Plus, I will be able to go home to let Chikki & Muffin out to go potty, either during my shifts at the school/store &/or between jobs, if I happen to work both jobs in one day.

Yeah, it's well passed time for me to rejoin the planet, on a local level & get back to work. Who knows, with the extra income, I just might be able to purchase little extras each month... like groceries! :)

Home baked goodness!

A couple of days ago, I finally found my beloved recipe for biscotti and made a batch. Oh yummness galore! A couple of friends requested the recipe, so here goes... and don't blame the calories on me! ;) I made some changes to the original recipe & have noted them in italics for the reader.

Hazelnut-Almond Biscotti

Almond-Macadamia-Coconut Biscotti

1 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds *I used a small bag of almond slivers*
1/2 cup Hazelnuts *I used a small bag of macadmia nuts*
*1 cup sweet, flake coconut*
4 cups flour *make it 5 cups, to accomodate the extra ingr. of the altered recipe*
2 teaspoons baking powder *3 teaspoons*
1teaspoon cinammon *1/2 teaspn. cinammon, 1/3 allspice, & 1/3 ground ginger*
5 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted & cooled
2 cups sugar
*1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or almond extract, if desired*

Preheat oven to 375*F. *preheat to 350*F if you are using the cheaters recipe!*
Toast almonds until lightly golden. Cool. Grind 1/2 cup of the almonds fine. Toast the hazelnuts & rub off skin, coursely chop. *or cheat, like me & buy the nuts already skinned! Ground 1/2 of the almonds & 1/2 of the macadamia nuts finely, then coursely chop/grind the remaining nuts & coconut. When all is ground & chopped, you should have 3 cups total of the nuts & coconut. Feel free to fudge these ingredients as far as quantities, as long as the end result is the 3 cups total.*

Reduce oven temp. to 350*F. *you know... ;)*
Butter cookie sheets. *butter flavored spray works just dandy & is less harmful to the hips! I lightly sprayed the sheet & then spread with a paper towel. This helps to eliminate excessive burning on the bottom of the biscotti*

Combine flour, baking powder, spice(s). Add nuts. *and other goodies, as long as it's 3 cups combined total* Whisk eggs until frothy, add melted butter & sugar, mixing until combined. Add to flour/nut mixture. Dough should be mixed thoroughly & just slightly sticky to the touch when just right. Adjust the amount of flour to achieve this consistency for your altitude.

Shape four (4) 12" long X 2 1/2" wide X 1" high logs. Place 4" apart on cookie sheets, smoothing tops. Bake 25 minutes or until firm when pressed in center. (I sometimes use the toothpick to determine how done the loaf is.) Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. Cut loaves diagonally into 1/2" slices. Stand pieces upright on cookie sheets. Bake an additional 20 minutes longer, or until sides of biscotti are a light golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool COMPLETELY before storing in cookie jar or ziplock bags.

Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea or coffee! BTW, this recipe makes a LOT of biscotti, so it's a great way to fill a void on the holiday gift list. It travels well, too, so you can mail it to friends & family!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Beloved...

September 5th is/was our wedding anniversary. This shall be my first without him. I know that July 4th was a rather rough holiday for me, as that was the day he proposed to me. That, and every Independence Day after, he would ask me again, to be his wife. I'd made plans to go hang with the neighbors that evening, but wound up not being able to speak to anyone without bursting out in gut wrenching sobs that night. Yeah, for some odd reason, it hit me hard, when I really never expected it. How will I handle tomorrow, the 5th? Only time will tell.

Have been uber busy here, done a bit of traveling and enjoyed a wonderful garden this past summer. I've been neglecting my blog(s), but then, my muse has been overwhelmed by all the goings on here on the farm. The critters, my sheep, goats, geese, doggies & kitties are all thriving. The garden is near done, except for the squashes (yellow, acorn & butternut) & brussel sprouts I planted. I did some canning the past couple of weeks, too, taking advantage of the good crop of crabapples, yellow squash, green onions, apples & green beans that I have had this summer. Made some delicious crabapples jelly, cinnamon applesauce, zucchini jelly (kind of like a relish), zuc/yellow squash Italiano (sooo yummy!) and spicy "dilly" beans. There's a crate in the mudroom with several squashes, too, that I will have to find a cool place for, so I can use them over the winter. :D Yep, I've been domestic lately.

Job hunting, too, There's no more insurance $ left, since my son needed my help with a couple of "issues". He's planning on moving up here, as soon as he gets those "issues" completed, to help me with the farm. He was here for a couple of weeks in July & he fixed the leaking roof. Then he chose to return to Oklahoma, to face his issues & take responsibility for his choices. I hated to see him go, but it's better that he deal with that stuff, so he'll be able to start with a clean slate, once he does get moved up here permanently. It will be such a relief to have him here & I am really proud of how hard he is trying to straighten up and settle down. Finally, the kid is wanting to grow up & as long as he keeps that attitude, I'll use every resource I can to help him make better choices. Plus, once he gets settled in here, I'll feel more comfortable about returning to the doc to discuss that biopsy and treatment, if it's needed. Yeah, after watching my Spouse endure 6 years of various protocols of treatment, I'm not about to try doing that living by myself!

My daughter is entering her second trimester of pregnancy! I was hesitant to mention anything, because her first pregnancy didn't go so well. This time mom & baby are doing splendid, so I'm thrilled to announce that I shall soon be a grandmother again! *happy dances* My daughter & her hubby are so excited, as they have been trying for the past couple of years for this special bundle! After all of the losses they have endured over the past year, it's terrific to have some good news to focus on. :)

Back to the job search topic: I applied with the local school district for a substitute teacher position. Had to go through the fingerprinting/background check, in order to even be considered. Did that about a month ago. Went in to the school yesterday, to find out if I'd been giving a clear pass, only to learn the FBI rejected my prints! Not sure what "low characteristics" means, but am guessing the first guy used a tad tooooo much ink, so the prints were too smeared. Got my prints redone, via a different sheriff at the courthouse & hopefully the FBI will be happier. At least, I know the Feds aren't out hanging my photo up at the post office! LOL Speaking of the post office, our local one has had a sign hanging for over a month, seeking someone who will bid on the cleaning of the town office. What the heck - just six hours a week, easy, honest money, so I put in my bid. Wish me luck on that. That & the sub-teaching job. :)

Another note - a couple of months ago, I sent my darling Ingo to another breeder in Wisconsin. She (the breeder) had been here in the Spring, so her beautiful Jura could "court" my Ingo. Well, for some reason, it didn't happen... darn slick floors?! Soooo - I sent Ingo to her, hoping that he & Jura would eventually be able to get their acts together. Plus, Ingo would be an indoor doggy if he lived with them. I couldn't let him be an indoor doggy here, because he & Muffin kept doing that "pissin' match" thing when I tried here. *ugh* Anyways... Jura just had her Autumn heat & Ingo went to the "doggy love doctors" that are near where the other breeder lives. The docs are specialists in the AI department & were able to successfully get 3 "collections" from Ingo. According to the specialists, this is Ingo's LAST HURRAH. The other breeder & I are dearly hoping there will be at least 2 healthy puppies from this union. If so, & assuming one will be a female, I shall be getting the pick of the litter female & will be able to return to breeding my beautiful Entlebuchers. It's been awhile since there have been puppies here & I am excited, again, about the prospect of being a responsible & ethical breeder, once more. That and puppy-breath kisses. Yeah. :D

Definitely seeking intense prayers & positive thoughts for the success of the breeding between Jura & Ingo. Ingo has the most marvelous temperament, OFA rated Excellent hips and is a stunning representative of the breed standard. Jura is beautiful, is such a sweet nut and she does NOT carry the gene for PRA. This means none of their pups would have the gene for PRA, too! So, if they inherit their daddy's hips, we're looking at some pups with potential to better the breed. Maybe some of that info whooshed right over your heads, so trust me when I say that's all good stuff. :)

So, my friends... that's the summer in a nutshell. Feel free to send me some positive energy & thoughts, that I'll be able to get through tomorrow a bit better than I did on the 4th of July. I'm going to work on maintaining an attitude of gratitude, for the blessings that come from a decade of incredible memories (the good ones, ya know) and the understanding that the God of my understanding isn't about to desert me or my needs. And yeah, I'll work on blogging when I can, more often. *hugs to all*

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Had it!

Okay - I am now in the process of transferring all of my old posts from that derelict blog home into this blog home. Ya, I have a Vox blog, but it's reserved for when I get off my rear end & start writing stories again. So, this is for my personal stuff & the Vox is for my creative fiction stuff. As soon as I get the rest of my old posts moved over to here, I'll resume posting randomly & neglectfully, as per my most recent behaviors. Let me know where you're blogging, my friends, so I don't lose track of ya - PLEASE!! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wassup here

Ya, I've been a bit neglectful of my blog & am way overdue on the posting. Here's one of the reasons I've been so busy, besides having to mow my yard every other freakin' day! As soon as the weather clears up, I'm going to be pounding some fence posts into the ground, to finish the fencing around the yard. Then I can let my baaaabies help mow the lawn! :)

I'll get back in here, asap & share how my trip to WA went. Yeah, I know it's been at least a month since I went there, but that trip & some of the disappointments really took more wind out of my sails than I had anticipated. Grieving - it's not for wussies. The days are getting better, now, finally and I'll try to get back in here more frequently. Til then, enjoy the vid. <3

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's Nearly Time...

... and I'm unsure of how I really feel about it. Tonight, I'll meet a friend who is going to doggysit Chikletz for me. The day I leave, I'll take Ingo & Muffin to the vets, to be kenneled for the duration. Must call my neighbor, to remind them about tending the outside dogs for me. Got the cats squared away, so they should be good.

Last week, I finally brought Spouse's remains home. The funeral home put his ashes in a plastic bag, that was inside another plastic bag, then in a cardboard box. Yep, just a plain old, brown, cardboard box. I was none to comfortable with the idea of transporting my beloved's remains in such a flimsy box, so I searched the house for something more suitable, more... him. Finally, my eyes flashed past some old, military ammo boxes that Spouse kept his ammo in. *d'uh* I emptied a smaller ammo box of it's shells and put the plastic bags that held Spouse inside. Perfect fit, a sturdy box that I believe he would have appreciated as a temporary urn. That ammo box is now safely tucked away inside my nearly packed suitcase.

The plan is to take the train to Washington, where a friend will meet me at the station. I'll be staying with this friend and will be able to use an old beater pickup truck of his. On Saturday, April 19th, in the afternoon, there will be a memorial service/pot luck luncheon in a big hall. Following the memorial service/pot luck, the Whatcom County chapter of Combat Veterans International (CVI) will provide a motorcycle Honor Guard to the place where I and a few others will board the sailboat, which will take us to the place where my husband wished for his remains to be scattered. Hopefully, the weather will be kind for smooth sailing, otherwise, we'll be driving to the place and I'll have to figure out another way to get his ashes out to the sea.

You may not hear from me for awhile, at least until I return. You kids be good, while I'm gadding about on this final chapter of life with my beloved. I'll miss ya.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Okay, So I'm Not Johnny Depp

Still, I enjoyed a lovely walk across my back yard, fields, through my trees and to the cornfields behind my home a couple of days ago. I'd been standing out on my deck and realized the Canadian Geese and the Snow Geese were flying overhead, with their destination being the field right behind my place. After trying to figure out how to use the movie feature on my digital camera, I thought I'd give an attempt to film the many geese in that field and the embedded flick is the result of my feeble attempts.

Hope you enjoy it! Note: some strong language, so you might want to make sure the kids are elsewhere in the home. It's a 6 minute vid, too, so it may take awhile to load for those on dial-up... sorry. Grab some popcorn and take a walk on the wild side with me...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stick a Fork In Me...

I'm done. My family is done.

My heart feels raw, from the losses our family has endured since Spouse passed away in December. Yes, his death impacted me in a far greater way than it did my siblings and children, but they mourned his absence, too. It made for a subdued holiday season for all of us. I am grateful to have had their support, especially during the holidays.

It didn't help that we here, at efxblogs2, lost a champion for those who face challenges, our CabinFever/Elaine. No, that didn't effect/affect my family, but they did respect my sorrow and that I miss this online friend.

In mid-February, my ex-MIL fell and broke her neck. She was a wonderful woman, a friend whom I loved dearly, even after the many years that her son & I divorced. Right after the divorce, in fact, she insisted that my daughter & I stay with her & "Grandpa John", until we got on our feet. She babysat for me, for free, until I found gainful employment and found an apartment. She & her husband even "adopted" my son, who had a different dad, as a "grandson", simply because he was related to me & his half-sis. That's just the kind of good soul she was. Anyway, she was taken to the hospital and had surgery, which went well in the mending of her broken neck. (basically, from what I was told, she sort of popped her noggin off of the spine, but didn't sever any nerves... they only had to screw her head back on) My daughter flew to be with her precious Grandma and to offer help with whatever, so she was with her Dad and his new family (more good peeps, really) when things turned sour, following the surgery. She suffered a stroke and went to join her husband's spirit a couple of days after the surgery. Maybe I blogged about this - I didn't look and can't recall. If I have, here's where I'll remind folks that this incredible woman actually died twice. She was pronounced dead on one day, after she had flatlined for a full 40 minutes, but when the attendant/nurse removed a tube from her throat, she began breathing again. Of course, this meant she was now in a vegetative state and had she not finally passed again, the next day, would have never recovered. My daughter was devastated when she lost her only surviving grandparent. This grandma adored her grandkids, but there was a special bond between her first (my daughter) and her. I didn't go to the funeral, because of many factors, but that did not lessen my feelings of loss. I count having been loved by such a woman a true blessings and celebrate the friendship that continued for these many years. It still felt like a "crappy hand" to be dealt, so soon after Spouse's departure.

Last week, my Son-in-Law's grandfather died. This man was a tremendous influence on my SIL, as he grew. This man taught my SIL how to treat women (the right way), how to fish, how to do many things - most of all, how to be a good person. From the moment he met my daughter, she was "his favorite grand-daughter". His death, like Spouse's, was not sudden or unexpected and he is now free from the pain he endured for a long time. While his passing has not immediately impacted me, it still has touched my heart, because my daughter & SIL loved him deeply. Their world has been tossed upside down in losing two beloved grandparents within exactly one month. My heart breaks for them, and the rest of my SIL's family.

This morning, I telephoned my sis in Michigan. Her husband's dad, has been dealing with some progressive illness for the past few years. He's been on oxygen for the past year and could not breath without it. Yes, he was a smoker and when his condition was diagnosed, he refused to give up his smokes, since, well... it wouldn't have extended his longevity at that point. I've met this man and really grew to care for him and considered him just as much family as my BIL. When I would call over to his house, to yak with my sis, he would answer and he always was able to make me laugh. It never failed to tickle me, when he'd mention how happy he was that I called and how I was looking Really Good that day. :) Yeah, it happened and my BIL & his sister who had recently moved there to help with their dad are taking this soo hard. I can easily understand why, after learning about the ambulance fiasco of last evening.

Their dad began showing signs of weary, unresponsive to them when they tended to him. So, they decided to call an ambulance, so they could have a doctor see him. Bear in mind, their dad had a DNR in place and wanted to die at home, which is why they hesitated to take him to a hospital - this shared, just so the reader understands. So - with that clarified - the ambulance comes and my sister tells me it was like watching an old 3 Stooges flick. While the majority of the ambulance crew came into the house, tripping over each other and dropping equipment, etc..., the driver decided to turn the ambulance around, so it would be facing the street and loading the patient might be easier. His home is very rural and the driveway is long, with muddy areas on either side of the asphalt. Anyway, the imbeciles in the house finally got him loaded into the ambulance and they began to leave for the hospital.

For whatever unknown logic that driver used, she took off down the driveway, toward the road and wound up sinking half of the ambulance in the mud on one side. The more she tried to back out of the mud, the deeper it sank, until the ambulance was on the verge of tipping over. In the back of the ambulance, the patient & gurney were laying on their side (which means the damn gurney tipped over, with a very sick man strapped to it!), while the ambulance crew was outside, trying to push, heave ho and argue about the best way to get the vehicle unstuck from the muck. Imagine my BIL's horror & disbelief when the chief of this crew asked him for a flashlight! Uhmmm, I'm not an expert, but I assumed a flashlight would be a basic piece of equipment in an ambulance. You know, seeing as they sometimes have to respond to wrecks and whathaveyou in the dark and all. *rolls eyes*

I'm unsure of how long the dingleberrybrains fudged around with the ambulance in the quagmire, but I do know they insisted my BIL go find some wooden boards to put under the tires, hoping they'd be able to push the rig onto the boards and get back on the asphalt. My BIL told them THAT would not work (speaking from his own personal experience), but the chief (gruff old geezer with 'tude) wasn't budging from what he believed was right. While the Chief had the gall to stand outside the sinking ambulance, with a critical patient strapped to a overturned gurney inside, the clock continued to tick - tick - tick. Finally, after BIL located a flashlight (apparently, it's vital for every patient to be sure they have one handy, in case of night emergencies) in his dad's house and then searched for some hopefully adequate boards in the garage and they got them wedged under the ambulance and THAT failed, the Chief decided to call in for another ambulance. Another ambulance that had to make the twenty minute trek from town to the location of the first one. A tow truck was also dispatched and it's only a minor miracle that it didn't block in the second ambulance.

The crews got their patient uprighted again on the gurney and transferred to the second rig, which backed out of the driveway, no trouble at all. Finally, FINALLY! they sped off into the darkness, toward the hospital. Now, all my BIL & his sis had to do was wait for the first ambulance to get the flock out of the way of his car, which was up by the house, of course. Would anyone be stunned to learn the Chief (must have been a real genius, this guy) had the audacity to get out of the ambulance and waste even more of my BIL's precious time, by arguing that the car could easily navigate around the sunken vessel. Uhmmm, my BIL has been taking care of that driveway for the past 3+ years and he knows whether he'd get stuck on the other side of the asphalt if he tried this maneuver or not. Yeah? So? That's how the Chief responded, in his ever so adult (bites tongue) manner. Yes, kids, the man stood his ground (actually it was his patient's ground, but it would be easy for any newcomer to the scene to assume differently), and raved on & on, until the tow truck arrived. I asked my sister whether it was a professional ambulance service or a squad of local good 'ol boy volunteers, and learned the service is a combination of both. The Chief, the man in charge, was the requisite professional on the first crew of comedians who (mis)handled the patient/ambulance mess.

The tow truck finally came, a short while after the second ambulance departed and got that heathen crew out of the muck, so BIL & his sis could finally head to the hospital. Fortunately, they made it there in time, so their father wasn't "alone" when he took his last breath. Again, I am empathizing with their loss and realizing there shall be no more of those fun telephone chats with him. I am grateful that life provided me the opportunity to know his friendship these past few years. My heart breaks for my BIL, my sister and his sister, knowing all too well many of the thoughts that are going through their minds now & in the months to come. They were caregivers and there was no Hospice help, which makes it all the more easier to guess how hard this must be for them.

On a personal note, despite these recent losses, I am doing much better. Over the flu, finally got a check from the VA yesterday that will help at least cover the house payment & utilities and the snow has nearly all melted. A friend called a while ago, today, and told me that all that has gone on was related to the Lunar eclipse in February. He also said that we're (everyone who lives on earth) will soon be seeing this "horrid wtf is going on????" end, since we're on the tail end of those astro-influences.

Shit gold, Bubba. I hope so. Stick a fork in us. We're done.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

*Requires 2 12-volt batteries... not included*

Well, so far, it looks as if I will survive that nasty cold/flu bug that laid me horizontal for nearly a week. It's been ages since I've allowed myself the pleasure of being that sick and I hope it's a long, long time before I do anything as foolish again! My body put me through a myriad of tempuratures, ranging anywhere between 102.6*F to 96.1*F at any given moment. I ran internal fevers when my skin felt icy to the touch to sweating profusely and having to change jammies twice in a ten minute period. *eeeeeeyyyeeeewwwww*

The most strength I could muster, was enough to get to the mailbox each day, because I was expecting some meds by mail and feeding my outside doggies. Everything else went on hold, basically. I did call my neighbors one day, asking if they might pick up a rack of Sierra Mist and a box of fortune cookies for me. They did, dropped them at my door and fled, per my request, because I surely didn't want them exposed to what I was enduring. Cooking was out of the question, since that required standing for a longer interval than my brain could tolerate. So, I survived on water, the Sierra Mist and the fortune cookies, except for the two grapefruits, one cup-o-soup and one Top Ramen that I managed to fix while my fever was lower. I lost a total of 21 pounds in one week. Kind of a crazy way to lose weight, but I can spare more, so will take it as a blessing.

Day before yesterday, I woke up, feeling much better than I had in days and my temp was nearly normal. What a wonderful feeling! I must admit, I was feeling quite scared for a couple of those days, because I was so weak, it was all I could do to get to the bathroom to even pee, let alone refill my water bottle. I'm still fairly weak, but gaining strength back daily, while trying to not overdo anything.

So, yesterday, I decided I was feeling well enough to run to town, do a couple of errands and maybe get a little take-out or a pizza to munch on for a meal or three. I got dressed, went out to the garage and clicked on the remote for the garage door. Still standing outside in the warm 20-ish temps, I heard the gears begin working, then a horrid screech and crunch of metal and plastic crunching and tearing. The gizmos attached to the top panel of the door pulled away from the garage door, leaving a gaping hold where it once had been attached. All I could think or say was, "Oh shit!" My vehicle is stuck in the garage and there is no way I can fix this alone. I'm going to have to call a pro in to fix that top panel or replace the door. *grumble.. grumble*

So, I went ahead and fed my dogs and bundled up for the trek to town. I HAD to get to the post office, to get a check off to the bank, so my house payment would be covered on time! Had I not been so sick, I would have mailed it sooner & not worried. Oh well, I figured the 4 mile walk would do me some good. After walking about a quarter to half a mile down the lonely, quiet dirt road, I reached the end of my property, where the trees end and the open prairies begin. We're talking about wind now, kids, lots & lots of S. Dakota wind. Um, okay, so maybe I wasn't as bundled as I originally believed. I turned around and began walking back toward home, not wishing to be a topic of interest on the evening news. Heck, it might be days before anyone found my body, since my neighbors are in Minnesota right now.

My garage is a two car number, unattached and has a nice little workshop area. There's a bunch of things that Spouse had piled on one side, like the industrial lathe that's on two sawhorses. I cannot move that puppy a mm, let alone an inch! It took 4 strapping young men to move it to where it still sits. It's also blocking the entrance to the other bay of the garage. I did think I might be able to maneuver my Jeep past it, however, if I were able to get the old woodstove moved over enough, and I shoved those shelves a little further that way.... so I set about pushing, shoving, sliding and grunting the objects until I thought there would be enough space to get the car safely past them.

Then I opened the door, jumped into my Jeep and turned the key. WTF????? I turned the key again. The battery is deader than a doornail. That Jeep ain't going nowhere, not for awhile! So, here I am, snug in my little house on the prairies, owner of two vehicles that both have dead batteries. Without one or two new 12-volt blocks to charge my trusty steeds, I'm not going for any joyrides soon. And you know what? I feel perfectly fine with that. It's really okay, today.

The way I am choosing to view this minor inconvenience, is that the Universe seems to want me to stay home and be safe. Yep, after I went back into the house, I answered a phone call from a dear friend and she told me about her sister, who was just going into surgery for a fractured hip. No sooner had I gotten off the phone with her and I was chatting for a minute with my neighbor's, who are in MN because her dad fell and broke his hip. He had just gotten out of surgery. Whoa! That's two broken hips in less than an hour that I heard about. I am choosing to believe the Universe was protecting me from injury, by keeping my Jeep stuck where it sits.

I have to believe that everything is going to be okay and all will happen when it is supposed to. I am refusing to surrender to negative thoughts and energy!!! Been down that road before and it only attracts more negative crap & I choose to be happy, even if my garage door is broken and the cars won't start. There are plenty of projects I can tackle here, enough food to last me until the snow melts (assuming it will melt before April) and if I run out of smokes, that won't be a bad thing either. I've managed to lose 35 pounds since Spouse died and that's a good start on my reclaiming my own health. These minor challenges with the vehicles and garage are temporary and I know it will all work out, when it is supposed to. Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy each day and do what needs to be done.

Anyone up for a game of Scrabble? :D

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The 4-legged TV tuner

This past week, I realized that perhaps we've begun to develop some habits here, which are effecting poor, little Muffin, my Chihuahua. Take yesterday, for example... I was on the phone, talking with the lady who works for the census peeps. Around 3pm, Muffin began barking in another room and didn't stop. At first, I thought maybe he was at the kitchen door, barking at the cats in the mudroom. It wouldn't be the first time. Anyway, after about 20 minutes of his incessant yapping, I stepped away from the computer and carried the phone into the other bedroom, where Muffin was sitting on my bed, barking his fool head off at Dr. Phil. We generally watch the Ellen Degeneres show at 3, and all I could figure out was that Muffin didn't want to view Dr. Phil. I changed the channels on the television, to Ellen, and he calmed down and watched her show. Weird dog!

Earlier today, he was barking again, I guess because the wrong soap opera was on. Not that I watch the soaps much, but I do sometimes leave the tv on, just so the house doesn't seem so empty. I switched channels again, to the soap that is usually on and he settled down, again staring contentedly at the idiot box.

Right now, I'm sitting in the front bedroom, where my pc is, and I can hear him bitching out Conan O'Brian. How dare he be on Muffin's tv, when everyone should know, by now, that he prefers Craig's delightful accent? The nerve!

Chikki has acted a wee bit strange, now and again, too, recently. The other night, we were all in bed and I was watching something or the other on tv. Chikki uttered a low growl and stared a hole through the closet door. I asked her what was up and she turned her gaze right back to the corner of the room and the closet door. Mind you, there wasn't anything there. Nothing different, that hasn't been there for a few weeks. A couple of times, she has jumped off the bed and stood in front of the doorway to the bedroom and her hackles have risen. I can't count how many times they have leaped from the bed, barking as if an intruder was in the house. They start it and get the outside dogs going, then everyone is in a frenzy. But there's nothing and nobody there... the dogs are just being weird.

There's been a couple of other strange things, items "falling" off the counter or table, a certain noise that is only made when someone steps on a particular floorboard waking me from sleep *and the dogs are still on the bed with me*, little odd things like that. Maybe it's the winter cabin fever getting to me, I dunno. Anyhow, Muffin just came in to check on me, probably wondering why I don't get my arse in the other room and change that darned channel. Bossy little fudgebomber!

BTW - whoever gave me this 3rd edition of the cold/flu can have it back, thank you. Thank goodness I had some Dayquil in the house - my skin, my hair and my eyeballs hurt, but my temp is raging at 97.1*F. Go figure, I feel like I'm burning up, but it's basically no different than a hot flash. :( Send chicken soup, please. I'm going back to bed, as soon as I change channels for Muffin.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ninja Grandma

Today is another bittersweet day for me. I got word, last week, that my ex-MIL had fallen, breaking her neck. She survived that injury and went in to surgery on Friday. Yesterday evening, she flat-lined, was pronounced and a half-hour later, while the nurse was disconnecting the machines, she had a pulse again. My son sent me a text message, declaring Grandma B was a ninja, cheating death. This morning, however, she finally is at peace, pain-free and in a far, far better place. Damn, I'm sure going to miss her. A lot.

She was one of the best people I've ever had the privilege to know and love. Even after her son & I divorced, she insisted that I would always be family, no matter what. Her life was a hard one, but she dealt with each challenge without faltering. She never had a lot of money, but she was generous with whatever she had, often going without if it meant someone else might be blessed. Rarely, did I hear her complain about her lot in life, when it would be simple to go that route. Instead, she tried to maintain a positive outlook on things, which was more inspiring than I think she ever realized.

These past few years, her health hasn't been all that great and she had severe arthritis in nearly every joint. When we spoke on the phone, she'd mention whether it was flaring up, but then changed the subject as quickly as she could to better, brighter topics. I wish I was half the wonderful woman that she has been. When it comes to getting MILs, I was incredibly blessed, because I also got a dear friend. My heart breaks for her sons, her grandchildren and the many people in their community who shall mourn her passing. I'm still a bit numb, but not surprised, after hearing about her injury. I think she was tired and ready to join Grandpa B. She often spoke of how much she missed him, still after the years he's been gone.

Damn straight, I'm going to the funeral, whenever that shall be, in Oklahoma. There's a blizzard going on right now, with 2-5 feet of snow predicted. Definitely not leaving today, but as soon as I know what the plans are for the family, my plan is to be there for a final farewell and try to support the family in whatever way possible. I'll probably stay in touch with Treasa &/or Etainne, to keep ya'll posted, once I'm on the road.

With that, kids - if ya got 'em, go hug your mother & MIL. Every hug counts and someday, you'll be glad that you did.

*Note to Death: that's 3, so leave me the fuc alone!*

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seeing Stars

For as long as I remember, it's always been fun and fascinating to look to the heavens and watch the stars. I've enjoyed the privilege of viewing stars through some mighty telescopes and hope to someday save enough moolah to buy a nice one for personal use. No, not for peering in my neighbor's windows, but to reacquaint myself with this old pasttime of stargazing. In the meantime, I found a wonderful website that has all sorts of cool tools for anyone who shares my fondness for all things astronomical. I'm going to eventually check out the movie, too... that is mentioned on this site. The neat thing they offer here is a cool real-time star chart, and you can even locate a star that coincides with your birthday... check it out, kids.

Hope you find it as heavenly as I find it.

Seeing in the Dark

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go Here... and be amazed!

Just spent the past little passage of time, viewing this documentary bit from 60 minutes. How I wish I'd seen the original bit when it aired! If you love our planet and want to take a gander at a real unspoiled bit of Earth, check out the clips. It's a bit of a bother, to watch a bit, close it when Andy pops in with his blather, and then click on the next clip, but well worth it. Especially if you want to see a new species of bird and some gorgeous flora. Really - go there now & be amazed. You won't be sorry (unless you have dial-up), I promise.

60 Minutes Paradise

As for me, doing okay - just trying to deal with the stuff & the VA. In & out of insanity, depression and whatnot. My sleep runs helter-skelter, going from sleeping 10 hours straight through to not being able to sleep at all. Apparently, this is a normal reaction in the grieving process. Checking into going back to school, but not sure what I want to be when I grow up. Peter Pan syndrome, anyone?

Big, tremendous thanks to my dear friends here who have sent cards, emails and incredible gifts that have brought much joy and solace during the past couple of weeks. You know who you are & I appreciate you very much.

It's colder than a well-digger's shovel here, at -10*F, with winds that make it feel like -40* to -50*F. I'm so glad the days are getting longer now. Now, my friends, go watch those vids... very impressive. I hope the big corporations don't ever find out about it!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pheasant Under Grass

That's where I wish that was right now. Instead, I let the great huntress out to go potty again and she did it again. There's a huge pile of feathers and a portion of a wing on my front porch. It's dark out now, so I'll deal with it tomorrow... somehow. It's not as nasty looking as the deer leg, so I'll find a way to dispose of it, hopefully without having to call the neighbor.

Darn bitch, anyway! On another note, I brought one of the boys in from the garage. Anwar, some of you might remember from when he was born in Montana. His mom, Cricket, had the C-section and he was the only surviving pup of the litter of two. It took nearly 4 hours to get him to a point where he was stablized and he was going to make it, following his birth. I gave him mouth-to-mouth for a couple of those hours, just to keep him breathing. Fed him with a bottle for 4 days, until another of our Entles, Kiki, had whelped her litter. Then she adopted him, because Cricket was too freaked out to be a mommy, after her surgery. He's grown into a handsome boy, a little speshul and very sweet.

So, on the night that Alfred/Spouse died, I came home from the nursing home and pulled into the garage. Once the garage door was closed, so I could feed the kids, I put my hand down by the gate, so they could sniff me, as I told them about Daddy passing on to Rainbow Bridge and being with Hawthorne, Gingerbread, Voltar, Heidipants and the few pups that hadn't made it. As soon as they sniffed my hand, they stopped their ruckus and sat down, quietly & in a straight row. They tilted their heads, as I told them how proud of them their Daddy & I have been and how much he loved them. I then proceeded to feed them and they remained quiet for the rest of the night. I should tell you they are not that kind of dog... in the pack situation, they tend to be rowdy and loud, happy dogs.

Since that night, Anwar has begun to lose weight. I was chatting with Treasa about it and she suggested I bring him in and have a heart to heart talk with him. He's been off his food since that night, so I heeded her advise and brought him in. Today he has eaten twice and seems a little bit better. I truly believe he's been grieving for Spouse and feel bad for not paying better attention. Anwar still seems very sad, so we're going to have a good cuddle at bedtime *my dogs make terrific blankets in winter* and I'll have a good long chat with him. Hopefully, he'll start turning around and will be back to his old silly self soon. Poor baby misses his daddy. Thanks, T, for being there and your advise.

These dogs never cease to amaze me! Deer legs, pheasant wings and all, I'm so grateful they are in my life. <3

Sunday, January 6, 2008

There's a 3-Legged Deer Out There...

This morning, I opened the door, as usual, to allow Chikki and Muffin to do their "dooties" outside. Muffin chose to come back in, within minutes, but my darling Chikletz took off for the woods. She was gone so long, despite my calling for her to come home, that I began to worry she might have been shot by some nearby hunters.

She finally returned, moments ago, with a trophy. There is now a bloody deer leg on my front porch, right outside the door. There's a bit of brown paper bag out there, too, so obviously, somebody must have wrapped up the guts and she thought she'd play "great hunter"! She's so proud of her trophy and I'm sooo disgusted!

Spouse always took care of these sort of things... anyone wanna come over and get that nasty dead leg off my porch, please? Please??? Pretty please????


Saturday, January 5, 2008

How it's been since...

Okay, it's been nearly 3 weeks since Spouse passed away and the peace that once surrounded me has totally dissipated. Where I once felt a calm presence, right after he died, insanity and fear has taken a firm hold of my mind and senses. A brochure, sent from our vehicle insurance company helped me to understand that many of the emotions and physical things I've been enduring are quite natural, so there is a bit of comfort. Anyway, it helps to know that much of the "stuff" I must deal with takes time and eventually, everything will be okay again. I only hope I survive the stress of the bill collectors banging on my door and phone. Where there was an income last month, there is none this month. The VA cut me off completely, with absolutely no way to pay the bills, until I have filed for widow's compensation. What totally sucks is that when Spouse and I first married, over ten years ago, we were informed that if we remained married for at least ten years, then I would be able to collect 80% of his pension. Now, however, the terms have changed and the amount the VA will be giving me is more like 40%. Yes, I realize that is better than nothing, but what blows about that is any income I make will be deducted from the sum coming from the VA.

I guess what really burns my attitude about that, is if I earn a whopping $500 a month, working minimum wage at the grocery store, then what the VA will give me is going to be $500 less. Why bother clocking in, if I won't be able to get ahead by going to work? I feel so cornered right now, by the mountain of debt which accrued while Spouse was sick this past year, especially while he was in the nursing home. When he was living at home, it was easy to stay away from using the credit cards, but with his hospitalizations and the stay at the nursing home, coupled with rising fuel prices, I often had to resort to charging a tank or ten. The p/t job at the store helped to alleviate the need to charge so many tanks of gas, but barely. As much as I loathe even considering it, it appears I might wind up having to file bankruptcy or something like that. Not a pleasant thought, not for me, since I was always so good at paying our bills. It makes me sick to even think about it. But with the only job available around here that I can do paying such a lowly wage, I don't know what else to do. I've been advised to get a lawyer, but they don't accept bartering for payment normally.

What I'd love to find is some sort of work I could do from home. Something which pays a living wage, something I could do at my own pace, that doesn't require me to burn up a tank of gas getting to & fro. So, I've searched the internet for possibilities and have found a plethora of scams promising this and that, sadly. If that doesn't depress a person, what will? How about learning that the VA has informed my *dead* husband that they apparently feel they overpaid him the last three months of his life and he must now repay the amount? Only nearly a grand that they are requesting. *sigh* How about learning the mortgage insurance that he was supposed to get, was never gotten? That, and I must somehow come up with the funds for a new title, since his name must be removed from the current title on our home? The auto insurance rates will now go up, too, since I'm the only driver on the policy. Let's not forget that lovely speeding ticket I got last November, too, which will cause yet another increase in my auto insurance in April. I feel so... f*#@%!!! It all seems so hopeless right now. Absolutely, utterly hopeless.

My dear sister flew in to stay with me, so I wouldn't be alone during the "day at the funeral home" and the holidays. I was glad she was here, providing lots of diversions and support. We went to the movies on Christmas day, watching two flicks. Her choice was "I Am Legend", which was a bit of a let down, after all the hype on the tv trailers. It was okay, but we both thought it could have been much better, considering the budget they had. The second movie, my choice, was "Alvin and the Chipmunks". I sooo want to own this movie! It made me laugh out loud, repeatedly and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone, of any age. It was just so cute, even if there was less budget spent on it than the first movie we watched. *smile*

Dear Sister also suggested we head out to a casino, so I humored her... three times. The first night we went out was the Sunday that we had a small "memorial visitation" at the funeral home for the community. I took advantage of the event to kind of dress up, in my finest black skirt & shirt, my favorite black granny boots and a new shawl that I'd never worn. Love this new shawl, created by my favorite designer... "Clearance!". ;) Four of my co-workers from the store showed up, stayed for awhile and we chatted about Spouse and other things *read that: other people at the store* One funny thing that made us all giggle that evening was when our mail delivery person showed up. He was the first person to ring the bell at the funeral home's front door, according to the sign that instructs folks to do just that. The Funeral Director *FD* opened the door, the mailman stepped across the thresh-hold and his belt broke. Now, he's lost a lot of weight lately, so the second his belt broke, his pants slid down, airing his kneecaps for all to see! Of course, he was thoroughly embarrassed and I felt so bad for him. He came on in to the room where we had a small buffet of meats & cheeses, a veggie platter and some Christmas cookies for folks to munch on. BTW - a huge thank you to Treasa & her sister, Etainne, for sending the meat/cheese/veggie platters - I really appreciated your kindness so very much! So, here's the sweet old mailman, clutching desperately at his trousers, trying to be somber and respectful, with a room full of ladies (the girls from work came in right behind him - *gawk!!*) giggling and snickering as quietly as they could. Poor man. Bless his heart, he offered his sincere condolences and scrammed as fast as he could. Nobody blamed him one bit! The girls from work left after a bit, just as my neighbors down the road showed up. I was glad to see my neighbors, knowing they'd probably driven like crazy to get there in time, since they'd had a commitment in Minnesota earlier that day. It was time to leave, soon enough, so Sis & I gathered up the food trays, the couple of plants that the FD discovered in another room that were sent to me and headed home. We unloaded the Jeep and I changed into more appropriate clothing for the bitter weather.

This is the second time I've gone to the Casino, but the first time really didn't count. Spouse & I had gone there once, to check out the buffet, but it was closed when we got there, so we turned around and went someplace else to eat. I am not one to gamble, especially since I knew things were going to be really tight financially for a long time. So Sis handed me some money and told me to just have fun. With her money, I won a whopping $40, which was kind of cool. It would have been more, but she urged me to keep playing, but once I realized my winning streak was short-lived, I quit. Sis, however, played all of her money, winning and losing, winning and losing for the couple of hours we were there. She was down to her last $20 and I suggested we just go home. She mentioned that she "felt" the $5 machines calling to her and I tried to talk her out of playing them. Instead, she walked straight over to one of them and put a $5 in. She won $175 on that! I was floored by her good fortune. She then played a couple more fivers in the same machine, then decided to try the machine next to it. I *for some weird reason* panicked and told her to try the next one, instead. She put ten bucks in it and won $345! THAT just blows my mind! She handed me a fifty and was giggling all the way to the parking lot. Silly girl should have quit while she was ahead, because she didn't do very good the next two nights, winding up with handing all of that easy money right back to the casino. Still, we had some fun and that's what we intended. A couple of times I've had the thought enter my head that maybe I should go out to the casino and try my luck... but better sense takes over, when I think about the gas it would take, the probability of me losing my shirt and how dreadfully worse I'd feel when I come home poorer than I'd been before leaving the comfort of my home.

Anyway, the remainder of Sis's visit went too quickly. She helped me go through all of Spouse's clothing, bagging up the jackets, shirts, socks and pants that might benefit others. Spouse had a lot of coats and thick shirts, which I am hoping will bless the homeless or less fortunate this winter. They are all in the living room waiting for me to take them to some organization which might distribute them freely. I've saved some of his shirts and boxers, for future use in a quilt. Not sure when I'll get to that, but eventually, I'm thinking I'll make a small quilt for each of his sisters, so they can have that to remember him by. In the meantime, I've been going through other things, trying to figure out what can be sold, so I might put a dimple in the debt.

While the beginning of my post probably sounds like a huge pity party, my friend will recognize that I just needed someplace to vent. Since my sister left, I've been alone here. When Spouse first died, there were lots of phone calls and friends from all over said, "... if there's anything I can do... anything... let me know." I can't, in any way, see me calling them up now and asking for any sort of financial help. Nope - my husband loved me and I know he really thought he was doing a good job of taking care of me, just like he promised he always would. It's not his fault the VA changed certain things. All I can figure is he thought it was not a good idea to get the mortgage insurance *???* when we bought the house. When I have called some friends, after Sis went home, I have found myself wondering if they are already tired of listening to me babble on, when conversation used to come so easily. Maybe it's just my imagination, but the last thing I want to do is alienate my friends by being overly needy. So, I have spent the past couple of days, wishing I could blog about this, but forgetting I had this blog going here. The other blog I have is messed up right now, preventing me from being able to unload, even if it's just to an audience of me. Thank goodness this one is here.

Oh yeah, I probably have lost my job at the store, too. On Thursday, I called the boss, basically because I was in a panic over the finances, and told him I could come back to work part time. I did ask if he would be able to pay me any better if I worked full time and he said no. I went in Thursday evening and checked out the schedule, learning that I was going to have to work that one shift that I absolutely loathe.. the one where sweeping and mopping the entire store is included. Not that I mind doing that back-breaking task, but I do find myself resenting the other part-time cashier who works that night lounging up at the register, reading magazines while I'm breaking a sweat and my back! I don't really care if I lose the job, not right now. The thought of going back to work had my stomach in such a knot and it's gone now, since I called the boss and told him I couldn't come in yet, after all. My energy will be better spent in trying to find a decent paying job someplace. Or inhaling/exhaling until the tears stop.

Ah well, that's the past couple of weeks in a nutshell. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can earn money, especially from home, that doesn't involve being a "telephone actress", feel free to let me know. Thank you, also, to my many friends who have continued to keep me in their thoughts and prayers. Your love is felt and treasured. I know everything, with time, will be okay and all I have to do is hang in there - one day at a time.