Friday, December 28, 2012

Snippets from the holiday

The speed version:

Cara got home Friday night before Christmas. The roads were awful. Her three hour trip took 5 hours. There was a very serious accident, which involved rerouting traffic.

The world did not end either.

We had a big celebration with the nieces and nephews on Christmas eve's eve, and we gave them tin boxes which contained family pictures, a disk containing the 196 page PowerPoint of our family history (my sister Anna is the master of PowerPoint production), a Christmas bauble from their grandparents' tree, and a rooting from the hundred year old Christmas cactus which originally belonged to their great-great-grandmother, then their great grandmother, then their grandmother, and now, finally me.

Please God, don't let me be the one that kills it.
My brother in law is probably just about fed up with our secret project. Did I mention 196 pages? Tim and Dave have been very good sports. I'm not sure how I did not happen to get a picture of my sister during all of this. She was flitting around quite a bit, though. If you see any pictures that are just a blur, it's probably her.

James and his lovely wife Rosalyn.
Bill and Ange. Bill is home from his third (fourth?) tour of Afghanistan. He was like this before he left though.
This is Bill's brother, Jim and his wife Sarah. Bill and Jim are my sister Anna's two children. These two are expecting their third child after the first of the year. Child number one is...
...Abigail. She is Jim and Sarah's oldest. I call her Abbie-my-gail, and I have taught her to sing The Circle of Life at the top of her lungs. I am the gift that keeps on giving.

This is Danny, kidlet number two. His pants do not stay up, owing to the fact that the poor child was born with no butt.

This is Haley, the youngest of my parents grandchildren, my youngest niece. She is in 9th grade and an avid horsewoman.

This is Rachel, who is a new big sister to...
Chance Walker who belongs to...
...Kellie. Her husband Dave had to work and could not be with us, but our computer whiz/graphics woman is assembling everyone's e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses to make a directory for all the cousins to stay in touch. That partial form next to her? That's my sister Anna.
This is Cara. She's mine. She looked at this picture and pronounced it 'charming...just...charming', in a tone of voice that indicated that she might not be telling the truth.
This is the darling William, playing with his little cousins. His parents, Brianna and Buddy were also not able to join us. Brianna had to work.

This is Bill opening his box. They all seemed to enjoy what Anna had put together for them all.

Our Christmas tree fell over, but no ornaments broke. We moved a sofa from the library to the livingroom for the big do on Sunday, and then moved it back into the library for Christmas morning. We bumped the tree a little, but the whole falling over thing was over-the-top. Drama tree.  We tidied it up a little, but still, it looks a bit bedraggled.

I squabbled with customer service. Again. Tis the season.

Cara and I had Thai food on Christmas eve, and we all wrapped the final presents and watched "Meet Me in St. Louis". Cara was certain that it could not be Christmas without that. I always thought that "It's a Wonderful Life" was the mandatory movie. It was a nice break for Tim, who doesn't understand why people want to watch a movie more than once anyway. Furthermore, he was quite entranced with the house and furnishings, not to mention the gas lights in this 'new' (to us) movie.

Christmas morning was wonderful. Little William could open his own presents this year, but every unwrapped gift became the best thing ever, and the rest of the presents just had towait. Christmas lasted a good long time. Everyone seemed to like their gifts, which made all the shopping and agonizing worthwhile. This is a picture of Mr. Adorable giving his parents the present he made for them.

Major snowstorm the day after Christmas, which caused my 1 hour 20 minute trip work commute to become well over 2 hours. I got home safely, stumbled from the car, and told Tim, apologetically, "I don't want to drive to Emlenton for your extended family Christmas." Turned out he didn't want to either, which made us very sad, because we enjoy that party.

William has been hospitalized after imitating that blender. He managed to urp down his Auntie's shirt which nearly triggered a sympathy urp from her. He is dehydrated, and receiving IV fluids which makes him very fretful. He is still there, since the doctor does not see any sign that he is improving. His parents are quite worried.
I am doing my worrying from afar. The alarm woke me up this morning. I was half way to the bathroom when it hit me: "Whoa. You're sick." I reluctantly cashed in one of my hoarded vacation days and stayed home from work. Seems like a waste of a good vacation day. Late edit: after two days in the hospital, William is now home.

If anyone knows how to remove the smell of vomit from a cloth sofa, we'd love to hear from you. We have removed the covers, and Febreezed the thing to within an inch of its life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I placed an order for my friend. She does not have the internet, and so she called me, and I placed the order for her via the internet, using our paypal account. Now, I am not sure what's up with paypal. I've made purchases, and everything has been fine. Other times it rejects. The problem is always that we no longer live in the woods. The address was changed long ago, but sometimes, for whatever reason, the order rejects. Naturally, the order I placed rejected. I received an immediate e-mail providing me with a order number and telling me to call.

I called.

They had no record of the order or the order number or my name or nuthin'. They told me that the order had rejected from their system and told me to go ahead and place a new order over the phone. Which I did.

About an hour later, I received an e-mail from them. The original order number was in the subject line. The body went like this:

Thank you for your order. Unfortunately, your order is currently on hold! We understand that this purchase is very important to you and we want to process your order right away.

Please call us 9am to 10pm ET, Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm ET Saturday & Sunday at 877-965-3955 and press 6 to speak with a billing specialist. Please, do NOT reply to this email and do NOT send payment information via email. If you do not contact us within 10 days, your order will be cancelled. Thank you for shopping at FansEdge.

Yours truly,

The FansEdge Billing Department

So I responded:

Please cancel this order, I called as directed, your people could not find the order, so I placed another one. PLEASE CANCEL THIS ORDER. Thank you.

They responded:

Thank you for contacting FansEdge. Our goal is to provide quality service  to each and every one of our valued customers. In response to your email, you must call us so we could find your order
and cancel it.

 If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to visit the Customer Care Center by clicking the link at the top of our homepage.

Thank you again for contacting FansEdge!


I responded:

I already DID call, and was told that it could not be found. I would suggest that you cancel it as per my request, and save us both the trouble of holding on the phone while people look through the files once again.

Thank you.
They responded:

Thank you for contacting FansEdge. Our goal is to provide quality service to each and every one of our valued customers.

In regards to your inquiry, we are unable to locate your order in our system. If you can please forward your order number we will be happy to assist you. If you do not have your order number, please provide us with the last name and zip code the order was being shipped to.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to visit the Customer Care Center by clicking the link at the top of our homepage.

Thank you again for contacting FansEdge!


I responded:'s in the subject line from the original e-mail you keep responding to...9xxxxx5, being shipped to R-----, zip 16340.

Gotta say, really don't think that I'll be ordering from here again. This is really pretty aggravating.

They responded:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting FansEdge. Our goal is to provide quality service to each and every one of our valued customers.

In regards to your inquiry, we are unable to locate your order in our system. If you can please forward your order number we will be happy to assist you. If you do not have your order number, please provide us with the last name and zip code the order was being shipped to.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to visit the Customer Care Center by clicking the link at the top of our homepage.

Thank you again for contacting FansEdge!

Customer Service

You may not have noticed, but really, I have limited patience with stupid stuff. I responded, a bit more tartly:

You know, I hate to get scroogey here, but for the love of pete, the order number is in the fricken subject line, and the last name and zipcode (as well as the order number) was provided in the e-mail you all responded to.

Does fansedge hire any literate people?

Once again, I give it to you. Order number 9xxxxx5, being shipped to R-----, zip 16340. If you cannot read my e-mail, how can I expect you to find the stupid order?

This is really quite ridiculous.

They responded:

Thank you for ordering from FansEdge, we appreciate your business! We are emailing you this notification. Your order is currently on hold because your credit card information could not be verified. Please call 877-965-3955, press menu option 6, and ask to speak with one of our billing specialists during our regular business hours of Mon-Fri 9AM - 6PM EST, so that we may complete your order. Never send credit card information via email, as it is not a secure environment. If we do not
hear back from you within 2 business days, your order will be cancelled.

We do apologize for any inconvenience.



I responded:

I give up. Merry Christmas, and I hope that someone goes back and reads this string of e-mails, because really, it's ridiculous. If a supervisor wants to call me, fine. Otherwise, just know that I'll never place an order with you all again.

The supervisor responded:

Our goal is to provide quality service to each and every one of our valued customers.

In response to your email, the reason why we are unable to process your request because your order is on hold. To further assist you better we will need for you to contact us in regard to this matter.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to visit the Customer Care Center by clicking the Help link at the top of our homepage.


I'm a little flabberghasted, but this time, I simply chose not to respond.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Bad Grandma

William came and spent the night Saturday. We made a Christmas present for his mommy and daddy. Who knew that getting his hands messy was going to be so traumatic?

The events at Sandy Hook cast a pall over everything, I think. I looked at those little faces and I cried. I looked at my little grandson's face, and I thought, "What if..." and I got teary eyed again, considering the unthinkable.

It's time for this country to sit down and talk. Unfortunately, we are not very good at talking. I forsee hard times ahead.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


So, today I was at work. I needed to talk to my boss. We are like two ships that pass in the night, really, because I'm everywhere, but today, we were in the same building, and I was not going to let that opportunity pass. I had a favor to ask.

There's a COTA who works for the state, but provides services for some of our clients. I've heard of the therapy, read about it, but I want to see it. Work with her. Understand it. I'm willing to do that on my own time. Actually, I'd knock people down to have the opportunity. But it's a dicey proposition. I'd be in one of our buildings, not on the clock. It could ruffle feathers, so I figured to ask permission. I was prepared to beg if the truth be told.

So I put it forward, laid it all out for her. She stared at me, and I knew it. Her answer was going to be no. I said, "This COTA has a wealth of experience, and she is willing to work with me. I think it would be in the very best interests of the company. It would amount to free training..."

She said, "You know, you're a rare bird."

I froze a little inside, stopped talking, and looked closely at her face.

I was remembering other words. The clinic manager at the nursing home told me, "I've never had a student like you before. You're so terrible, I don't even know what to do with you." Those words made me cry, in front of people. She wouldn't let me speak. I felt like a failure when I left that facility, and I knew that not being like everyone else was a bad thing.

This time, though, there was a smile. She said, "I hate to see you not get paid." Seeing that I was about to get what I wanted, I quickly said, "I don't care about that. I want the experience. I want to be good at what I do."

She gave me permission. I AM different. But sometimes being different is a good thing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This was a goooooood day....

You know, I get exasperated with myself sometimes. Today, I drove home from work thinking, "I'll bet I did not keep those stencils." I needed them. I am teaching a woman to write her name, and I thought that if I began with manipulatives, she'd learn the letters of her name first and then we could focus on drawing those letters later.

Guess what? I did keep those letters. I knew exactly where they were, too. Yay me.

I tend to set stuff down and lose stuff too, but I found stuff today.

I found my favorite clip board. We change cars on a fairly regular basis, and I thought it was in a car that is in storage. Nope. I had it.

 I also found my box of colored pencils, a stack of laminating sheets, a tablet of stickers that I can use for rewards and fine motor activities. I also found the Christmas pictures I took of William, and two hole punches.

I expect to find a partridge in a pear tree shortly.

I packed my finds into a large bag that two friends had brought me a long time back, when I was still confronting cancer, before one of those friends got it, before she died of it. I remembered.

As I put my things in the bag, I mentally listed the things that I could use these items for. They are ordinary, but each one of them could address skills that my clients need to work on. I kept marveling at my finds. "Wow. It's kind of like I already have everthing I'm ever going to need to do this job."

It wasn't until after I was laying in bed that I realized that this could be a metaphor. I do have everything I need to do this job, despite my worst fears. I've had it all along.

The Weekend

I'm living in the middle of wonderful, beautiful heartwarming stories. I'm so lucky. All I ever wanted was for my life to make a difference. To know that it is...overwhelming.

Having a professional job is a great thing, but what I'm loving even more than the pay raise is that I once again have weekends off. This weekend, Tim and I worked on an apartment. We went Christmas shopping, roaming and discussing, in no particular rush. We found some really great gifts that we're excited about. We came home and wrapped aforementioned gifts. Well. I wrapped. He got up on commercials and carried the stacks into the library to put under the tree.

Yesterday, my friend Mary did a Holly Home Tour, and Bush Babe? You will be pleased to know that you nearly got me in great trouble. One of the homes had the sweetest child's bedroom, with a painted dresser and a bed which was built into a cedar shingled doll house. It was grand. I had my camera tucked away in the pocket of my red wool coat and when I whipped it out, I discovered no photography was permitted inside the homes.


It was a fun day, walking to the homes, being welcomed in, meeting people I'd not seen for such a long time (hello, Vickie, I'm in the phone book, call me maybe.) It was wonderful to see Mary again. Cancer seems like such a long time ago, for both of us.

Just having two whole days that belong to Tim and I, that we can spend however we please...that seems luxurious, right there.

Truth does not change. Truth is always going to be correct, no matter how you look at it. I have discovered a great truth which I wish to share. When you have an itch, cortisone cream helps a lot. If you have an itch and you grab the familiar red tube out of the bureau drawer in the bathroom, and use it without reading, because, once again, your glasses are not handily placed upon your head, and discover in short order that you have two familiar red tubes in the bureau drawer in the bathroom, one of cortisone cream, and one of muscle rub, well...let me just say, the two are not interchangeable.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

End of the world.

I've been getting hammered with spam lately. Today I got one from China, dated Wednesday, January 5th, 2022.

Evidently the world is not going to end in 2012 after all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have cat friends and dog friends...

The words of the day:

Something has been bothering me a lot, and I am going to say it outright. The elections have made it clear to me that we have a great many contentious people in this country. It seems as if we miss no opportunity to debate and argue. What about this? That we simply take a vow this holiday season that we will not argue with others. If they say 'Happy Holidays,' or 'Happy Hanukkah', or 'Happy Kwanzaa', we will not pick apart their words, but look at the sincerity of their greeting. If we wish to say 'Merry Christmas' in return, then say it, but let our greeting be sincere and kind.

Let us, for the season, become men and women of good will.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tis the season!

New answering machine message: Hi! You have reached the Hornburgs. If you are the lady looking for a haircut, you've got the wrong number. If you're NOT the woman looking for a haircut, please leave a message after the beep.

My cracker snaps came. I'm going to make crackers. I always wanted to! This year I have the time for it. Whoot!   I got the icicle lights untangled. I'm starting to think those folks who leave their Christmas lights up all year round are on to something...   Tim will be home in an hour. We have an appointment to go look at a property and we have to go get his venison, but we're going to go do some Christmas shopping too.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today, I was working with a nervous girl, one who reminds you of a bird. She darts and she tries to get out. She cannot sit still. She does not look at you. Today, I poured water for her and talked to her in a low soothing voice. I smiled at her. I did not touch her. I did not lock gazes with her. I poured the water, again, and again, and she listened to the sound of it, cocking her head. It was not long, and she was helping pour it, hand over hand, watching the water splash and make bubbles. She was still and attentive.

At one point, I glanced at her, and she met my gaze. She smiled. She reached out her hand and she touched me. She initiated the touch, cocking her birdlike head. It was magic. It was truly magic.

When I took her back to her room, I hugged her, twice, and she let me, briefly. Proprioceptive input. I smiled. I talked softly.

I walked out of that room, and as overwhelming as this week has been, I tell you, there is no doubt in my mind that this job is where I belong. I have found my place.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New Level of Pathetic

I have told you about my technological deficiencies before.

Today, I reached a new low. An Amish boy explained to me, step by step, how to hook up the clinic's Wii.

I've been getting spammed like CRAZY lately, so bear with me while I make it perfectly clear to them. When I was talking about 'limp', I was referring to the fish not my husband. We do not need viagara here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Two days a week, I drive an hour and 20 minutes to get to work. Ironically, that particular clinic is in the town where I was born. I've not been there in years, so I needed to google the shortest route. I printed off the two pages of instructions.

I did not know how simple it would be when I set out, which caused me to be so mindful of the road that I missed a great deal of the scenery. Turned out that those 2 pages of instructions could have been summed up into 2 sentences: 62 N to 60 N. Turn left just before you drive into Lake Erie.

The drive home was beautiful, because I did not have to worry about road signs and directions. I drove along the lake enthralled by view, gazing out across the white capped water made gray by the leaden snow clouds above it. I was sorry not to have my camera. I saw a castle like building set back facing the lake, and further down, there was a gazebo peaking from a small cliff. There were vineyards everywhere. When I was a baby, my parents earned extra money by clipping the grapes, hauling the grapes in one basket and me in another. I drove along, looking and daydreaming, and suddenly I realized I was in a town I hadn't driven through that morning. Yep. I was so intent on the scenery that I missed my turn and managed to add an additional half hour to my drive home that night.

The job is challenging, but I will come to love it. I can see that already.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm dead, but the fish ain't.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I drive 1 hour and 20 minutes to work in the morning, and put in my hours, and then drive the 1 hour and 20 minutes back home. The job is fine, and it's all very challenging as all new jobs are. I had some research to do for a project after I got home, and I had a column to write too, so I'm pooped.

Today, I signed my name, using my official title. I never used it before, and it was one of those small and memorable moments.

I got home tonight, and Mary called me. I was listening to her and blabbing and then, suddenly, I looked and my beta was wrapped around the filter in an odd way. I tapped the glass. Nothing. "Oh, Mar," I said, "I think my fish is dead," and she matter of factly told me that I was sure he was dead one other time, but he wasn't. At the same time, I lifted the lid from the tank and suddenly, the filter just popped clear out of the water. I let out an ear piercing scream. Not sure why except that dead fish make me squeamish, and things shouldn't oughta be popping out of the water...that's kind of jarring. Mary said, "What???!!! Is he dead?" And I said, "Nah, he's swimming around." You know, only a true friend would respond, "Oh, good." Everyone else would have been making fun of me forever.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tim's First Day

Tim got his deer today, on the first day of buck season. He and his son Mike went into the woods.For the first year ever, we will be taking him (the deer, not Tim) to be professionally butchered. Being as how we are both gainfully employed.
(At present.)
We don't take anything for granted here.
 Tim with his eight point.
I asked him if we were getting it mounted.
Answer: "No. The rack is too light."
It will be nice to have the meat in the freezer.
The antlers will wind up in the 'man cave'.

First Day

Today is my first day of work at my new job. I am very excited.

I am not nervous at all. I did not have a schedule or a reporting time, something that I'd forgotten about in the rush to get ready for the holiday. Turns out, so did the lady who hired me. Friday morning, she came to work for the sole purpose of getting in contact with me. She was very grateful that I was so patient with her about the whole thing. She told me, for the first time, that they were sure of me as soon as they interviewed me. Wow. That is quite an honor.

Sort of makes me feel better about being square in the middle of the interview, catching something in my peripheral vision, turning to the window and gasping, "Oh, dear heavens! It's snowing!" I mentally slapped myself in the head for that one several times. ADD much?

She is anxious to have me on board, and I am anxious to be on board.

Looking over the schedule she sent me, I was excited to see familiar names. That is the best thing about this job, I think. I know who I'll be working with, because I've worked with them already. I know some of the clients. I am going back to the same place I did my clinicals, and I was so comfortable there. It's a new job, but it feels like a homecoming.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

William Wakes Up

There is a lot to do at Grandma's.

Fish to be fed.

 Icicle lights to be untangled.Who's the idjit who put them away last year?
 As long as I was on the floor with a camera

Nice Weekend

I am grateful for so much. I am grateful that the kids were home for Thanksgiving. Although Brianna and William could not join us for the day, they did come Friday evening, after Brianna got out of work. Dylan and Brittani and Cara and Brianna all ran around the house wearing out little William, bouncing him on the bed, sliding him down the slide. Lots of squealing and happiness. I was grateful for that time.

Tim said it was the best Thanksgiving dinner I ever made. That made me happy too.

Saturday morning, everyone got up and headed back to where they belong. The house seemed empty, but I was grateful to see them go, as strange as that sounds... had begun to snow.

The predictions are always dire, and I hate to see the kids travelling when the roads are bad. They left early and everyone got home safely. The majority of the snow went north of us anyways. I was grateful for that, too.

The first snow is always so pretty.

You cannot help but feel Christmas-sy.

William came this morning, and we have had a fun day. He's followed "Ba-ba" around. He helped me clean the kitchen. He loves washing dishes with me. I turned my back, for just a minute, and he leaned off his chair enough to lose his balance. One arm was in the dishwater up to his elbow. The other was clinging to the chair which had rocked back against the cabinets. I set him upright, laughing at his predicament. He looked at me and grinned and said, "Bubbles!" And his little arms went right back into the dishwater.

He helped me clean the bathroom. I heard a howl and discovered that he'd managed to turn on my electric toothbrush and scared himself silly.

When his ba-ba got home from church, we went to the mall for a while. We got a little bit of Christmas shopping done, but primarily, we were there to wear little William out. 
We did.The End.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today is a full day.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Dylan and Brittani are headed home and I have not seen them since last May. We'll be celebrating their engagement. Cara is headed home too. We have not seen her since we went down to assure ourselves that she was okay after her car accident in September.

When they were babies, I could not have conceived of going such a long time without seeing my children, but now they are grown. They have their own lives, their own friends. That's as it should be. I have raised them to be independent.

Today, they will be coming home, and I wander through the house, getting their rooms ready, trying to see the place through their eyes.

I'll fix their favorite dishes. I'll have ham and turkey both.

I'll get wine.

I'll try to make it perfect, because there is just this time, and then they will disappear back into their own lives, and I will become, once again, a peripheral figure.

I never want to miss a chance to incline their hearts homeward, no matter how briefly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Here's a lovely little story...

The more things change, the more they're different

Remember when you were a little kid and you'd fall down and skin your knee and then your mother would paint it orange with mercurochrome while you caterwauled?

I'm kind of old to be caterwauling, period, and mercurochrome is no longer permitted by the FDA, active ingredient being mercury.  My mom is no longer around to paint my knee orange. There was a key fob with an automatic door lock involved, and we sure didn't have those when I was a kid. Other than that though, it was exactly the same.

Well, except for that fact when a little kid falls off the porch and skins her knee, people rush to pick her up and dust her off and assure her that she's fine. When a full grown adult falls off the porch, the only response you get is snickering from the neighbors across the street standing on their own front porch smoking.

That's another dang thing. When I was a kid, people smoked their cigarettes in the house where you couldn't see the neighbors falling off the porch.

But other than that...


Woo hoo!!!! Finally found my poor dead handset.

Nah. Am not telling you where I found it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Edited for your entertainment

Remember that I took the second shift job back in May to be on the same shift as Tim? We had a couple weeks together, and then he got moved to first shift? So now I'm working first shift? Today he started second shift.

Today was my last day of work at the house where I've been working. I've worked extra hard (9 straight days in a row, getting up at 4:25 every day) so that I could have this week to prepare for the holidays. I know it will be totally worth it. But tonight, I'm tired. I'm going to watch "The Straight Story", and then go to bed early.

And no. I haven't found the stupid phone yet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I've been busy. I have worked the last nine days straight. Tomorrow is the last day at the house. I'm going to take the rest of the week to prepare for Thanksgiving. I've got such a very lot to be thankful for.

I've been a bit of a ditz. It was a nervous stretch of time between the interview and the hiring. Add that to my work schedule and trying to keep up with the house stuff, I said, I've been a ditz.

In the midst of the busy-ness, I remember seeing the telephone in a very strange place. Very out of place. I remember clearly thinking, "Good grief. Why would that phone be there? I need to put that phone back. It will never be found if I leave it." I was in the middle of something. I don't know. Long story short, I did not put it back and the stinking phone has been missing for several days now. It's the second handset, but it's the only one that the caller ID button still works on, so that's a bit aggravating.

I think they ought invent something that connects the handset to the base. Like a cord, maybe. Sure would make my life easier. I bet I could make a million bucks off an idea like that...

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Great Hunter

Tim is getting his stuff ready to go hunting. He's excited. Every year he hopes to get a bear. Every year I hope he doesn't.

Tim has not gotten a bear before.

We'll see if my luck holds for the 2012 Bear Season.

Late edit: my luck held and no bears were shot. It has been an ongoing argument for almost all the years we have been married.  Bears are opportunistic feeders, and will eat from garbage dumpsters. With my own eyes, I have watched them fish a baby diaper out and devour it like it's gourmet. I don't believe in killing something that you don't mean to eat, and I don't mean to eat bear meat. Tim believes that you can tell a garbage eater from a bear who eats his natural diet.

He's now sprawled on the couch watching Clint Eastwood. The soundtrack to High Plains Drifter grates like fingernails on a chalkboard. *shiver* I don't get why that movie is considered a classic.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ask me about my day...

Today, my cell phone rang.

I jumped a little. My cell phone rarely rings. When I answered it, it was one of the people who had interviewed me. My heart gave a little lurch.

"Hi!" she greeted me, "how's your day going?"

I tried desperately to figure out if this was going to be good news or bad news, and finally gave up. I said, "Well, I suppose it depends entirely what comes out of your mouth next."

Turned out, I am having a great day.

I got the job. I am a COTA.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's been a great day, but the fish is depressing me.

Well, Ka-bluey II spends a great deal of time on the bottom of his new home. Probably going to die on me, in an effort to show me his appreciation for his new digs. To convince him that life is worthwhile, I did stop to buy some freeze dried blood worms.

Stay tuned, I will update you on further developments as they happen.

Today, at work, I was bustling around, and keeping myself busy. Several people have asked me about the COTA job. I don't know. I plan my schedule week by week, and try to not get my hopes up. Someone did say that I was the only one to apply for it in house. That would be good news there. The longer that I wait to hear, the more certain I am that I didn't get it. I start listing all my shortcomings to myself, and before long, I've justified their decision not to hire me.

I know. I'm a mess.

Anyways, today while I was working, a nurse suddenly stopped and turned to me. Startled, I stopped too. "What house did you come from?" she asked. The fact that I did not work out at my previous placement is pretty common knowledge, and is one of those shortcomings on that list I recite to myself when I start to get discouraged about the COTA job.

"B4," I said. "I came from B4."

She said, "Well, you take it for what it's worth, but they lost out. You are just great."

You know, that was nice to hear, and I told her so.

Later, the manager came to me and gave me enough shifts to finish out the week. Not too long after that, her boss popped in and asked me when I would know about the COTA job. I told her that I was hopeful to know one way or the other by the end of the week. She said, "If you haven't figured it out, we are trying to find a way to keep you here."

You know, today was a pretty affirming sort of day, and every now and again, it's good to have one of those.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tim and Debby experience a social life.

I've been kind of 'on' Tim lately. We don't, as a couple have a lot of time together. He's very much a worker, and so am I, but while I'm very glad that he is what he is, lately, it just bothers me that we have so little time to share, just doing fun stuff together, having a social life, stuff like that.

This weekend, we are going out with friends to a comedy show. I'm looking very forward to it. So is Tim, surprisingly. He's heard the comedian on the radio, short spots, each morning on his drive into work, and he thinks the guy is hilarious. I'm looking forward to a relaxing night, a nice meal, conversation, lots of laughter.

Last night, Tim and I went to Lowe's. Our house is too damp and we know this. There are many reasons for this, but one a biggie is this: We do not yet have central heat, and the wall heaters make too much moisture. The house is also very well built...airtight, really...which traps the moisture inside. We have a dehumidifier for the first and second floors, and we really needed another. Just so happened that we came upon a sale. We snagged that dehumidifier quickly and then wandered over to look at the exhaust fans. Tim wavered. He felt we should hold off on buying a new fan, being that we already had the dehumidifier in the cart.

I studied him. "Tim? Why? We've got the money for both. We both work hard. Why are we still pinching every penny? Both of these things are necessary, and will have to be bought at some point. This weekend, we've got the time to install that fan. So why are we waiting?"

Long pause. He didn't say anything, but he stood there thinking. He finally picked up the exhaust fan and put in in the cart along with the duct work kit to hook it to the outside of the house.

It is an adjustment.

We'd been talking about replacing our bedspread. We bought it the first year the boys were away in college, which makes it ummm...8 years old. (Wow.) In any case, I found this and thought it would match with the walls in the bedroom. When I showed it to Tim, I discovered it was on sale. It also had free shipping. I was a little surprised. "Gees. Should I buy it now, do you think?" and he said, "Yes." So I did.

(Please note: this picture was taken while we were still working on the house.)

I was quite excited about this, and I went back to our bedroom to try to picture it after I placed that order. I got this sinking feeling. Our drapes will not match. Neither will our sheets. When I told this to Tim, he said, "I'm not really worried about that."

Like I said, it is an adjustment, for BOTH of us, really.

Here's my fish, Ka-bluey, II. Ka-bluey I met with a bad end, slipping down the drain, and causing the shriek heard 'round the world, which brought Tim at a run (gratifying to think that if I were being murdered in the bathroom, he'd run, but for his part, he was pretty darn mad to be running when no actual murder was taking place.) But, I digress: William can say 'fish' now. Brace yourself: Gratuitous grandbaby picture to follow.

This is William on his slide, and he can spend a half hour or more, climbing up his slide, chanting "up, up, up," to himself. Then he gets himself seated and tells himself, "Wheeeeeeeeeeee!" as he pushes off. I could watch him forever. And there is nothing more pleasant in this world to listen to a small boy babbling to himself as he wakes up from a good night's sleep. I do enjoy this grandma gig.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stupid, revisited.

Well, the election hysteria is over. Thank goodness, because it was getting very old. The hype, the political phone calls, studying my husband from an opposite side of the fence. But our president was re-elected. This morning, facebook was crackling with election fallout, and I am relieved to say that it was mostly civil. "I live in a democracy. I will not always get my way" or "It's time to pull together and turn this country around." I loved this picture and posted it.

But then you've got the flip side:

5 hours ago near Thatcher, AZ · ..Im buying more guns now 8 people like this..

 Corrisa: and lots of em too huh!?! 5 hours ago via mobile · Like..

Chip:  YUP 5 hours ago via mobile · Like..

Corrisa: corrisa needs a gun too i think haha 5 hours ago via mobile · Like.. Dale Ruttan Too late, the prices will be unbelievable tomorrow at the open of business. 5 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1 ..

Debby: The same exact same thing was going around the last time he was elected. Nobody stomped on your rights then although everyone was screaming that it would happen. Why don't we ever see anyone coming back and saying, "Hmmm. Gun prices were NOT unbelievable at the open of business. Perhaps I over reacted..."? 53 minutes ago · Like..

Chip: Because its a possibility 43 minutes ago via mobile · Like..

Debby: Okay. So when that possibility does not happen, are you coming back to say, "Hey...maybe I over reacted?" 31 minutes ago · Like..

Chip: No but i was prepared 22 minutes ago via mobile · Like..

Debby: for what? Something that never happened. Thank God~! 20 minutes ago · Like..

Chip: Prepared for somthing that might happen whats wrong with that?

No sense even discussing it. I hope the dummie is prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse and Alien Invasion as well.

You know, the exact same bullshit went around when Obama was elected last time. It didn't come true then. It is not going to come to pass now. People with mindsets like this scare me more than our president.

I am glad that the president won by a healthy margin. My greatest fear was that the vote would be close and I'd have to listen to four more years of complaining that Romney had won the popular vote, but lost the electoral. Obama won, and if we are wise, we will all turn our attention to our country.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's around that corner???

It is interesting that after interviewing for one COTA job, I discover an ad in the paper looking for COTAs (yes...with an 's' at the end) to fill full and part time positions. I also know where there is a per diem job. (They call you when someone calls off).

After months of nothing, now it seems like things are about to open up a little, and this is a big relief.

But the interview is over, the resumes submitted and now it's time to wait.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Stink, part three.

Well, stinky stuff is starting to become a recurrent theme.

His truck (dead mouse). My car (dead broccoli). And then...this KITCHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you empty your trash can every day? I don't. Not really necessary, generally speaking. Tim and I do not generate a lot of garbage. But today, I realized that my kitchen stank, and that it was the garbage. The lesson for today? When your husband cuts up squirrel in your kitchen, and throws the body parts into the trash, the garbage needs to go out, right away.

Me and my sweetican will be discussing that one right away.

Job interview? It went well, I think. If I am an accurate judge of things. I should know within a week or two. They asked me if I had anything to add before the interview was over, and I said, "Only that I signed on to this facility for this very chance, for this moment, for this interview. I really, really want this job, and I can assure you that if I get it, you will have no reason to be sorry that I was placed in it."

I very often have the tendency not to promote myself as I should. Today, I did it differently.

*nibbles fingernail*

You don't think I went overboard, do you?

In any case, I don't want to get my hopes up, but I am hopeful.

Anyways, here's a happy for you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

For Sophie

"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings." Lao Tzu

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No time to blog

Well, we've been busy here. I am fortunate enough to be employed so that I can pick and choose when to work. I generally try to work in double shifts if I can, to minimize the number of trips that I make to Jamestown, and this week, I have picked up two of them. It allows me to spend more time at home getting things done, and I like that. I think Tim appreciates it too.

Having the ability to arrange my schedule gave me an opportunity to really focus on getting two apartments ready for showing, and we were able to get them all rented, and to a good bunch of people. The first time for 100% occupancy.

Since the discovery of the dead mouse decomposing somewhere in the truck, I have also discovered broccoli on the floor of the backseat of the car. It was a humbling experience, yet oddly gratifying, because I was dead certain that I had bought three packages of fresh broccoli when I was making broccoli cheese soup, and by gum, I was right!!! If you did not noticed, decomposing broccoli has a strong smell. (Just one of the little bits of knowledge I offer up to you at no charge.)

In Allentown, Hurricane Sandy got quite awful. Brittani and Dylan were afraid that their windows would blow out in the high winds. Even in Altoona, where Cara lives, there were evacuations, trees down everywhere, power outages and flooding. Here where I live, we discovered that one small boy in footed jammies can wreak way more havoc than the outer edges of any ol' hurricane. His mother had forgotten his bink, and because he is generally too busy to need it during the day here, we did not make the realization until bedtime.

I've been working on a very exciting project with my sister that has taken a lot of my time, and proved to be a wonderful sister-time.

We're going to hear Ken Davis next week with friends, and I am looking forward to that as well.

An issue that has weighed so heavily on my mind for months now seems to be on the verge of resolution, which brings me such happiness I cannot tell you.

Friday is my job interview (9:30 AM), and I'm excited about that as well. My co-worker Tahme was going to get her eyebrows done and convinced me that all that was standing between me and the job is a good eyebrow waxing. I think she just did not want to cry by herself. We went and had an uproariously good time.

It is nice to work in such an environment. I walked away from the last job feeling like quite a loser. I am starting to feel that the problem was not me. Everyone is so excited about my job interview, and it was wonderful to hear that some of them have 'put in a good word for me'.

Life just seems so full and rich lately, and I am feel very lucky to have friends and family like I do. The job has been a blessing. Is it possible for life to be perfect? Because that's sort of what I feel like.

 So that's it, really, a mish mash of what keeps me away from blogging.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I win 'the most disgusting day' award, Novel Woman...

Novel Woman had kind of a sucky day.

I also thought of Bush Babe today. She's documented her battles with the mice at Granite Glen. She had my complete understanding and sympathy. Back when we lived in the woods, every fall, we fought the same battle. We won though, because I don't have any hesitation about using D-Con (your Rat-Sac, BB). I liked to get them dead before they came upstairs, and generally speaking, I was pretty successful, unless you count the time that one died in the wall, and required a portion of wall cut out to remove his decomposing (and stinking) body. Yeah. Tim was pretty peeved.

Anyhow, we don't have that problem in the big city, thank goodness.

So, Tim replaced the gas tank in the truck, using the garage that is behind our house in the woods. This was something that took a couple days. The truck came back home today good as new. Well. Almost. A mouse has gotten in it and died. Unfortunately we cannot find it. We (well, by we, I mean Tim) has given the truck a thorough going over, and has yet to find it.

It was one nasty truck ride, let me tell you. I have a notion that a week from now, it will be decidedly nastier.

I've been thinking this over, and trying to figure out if a stinky dead mouse trumps a pigeon pooping in your purse. If you count the fact that we missed hitting a deer on the way home by a mere foot and a half, well, I do think I've won this round, Novel Woman.

Dang my luck.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

William, Pete, Bob and the big excitement.

I tried. I had the cutest little video of William brushing his teeth. He pulls up his little stool, climbs up and then we go through the toothbrushes in the holder. "Is this William's toothbrush? Nooooo. It is Grandma's. Is this William's toothbrush? Noooooo. It is Grandpa's. Is this William's toothbrush?" (insert his excited babbling and pointing here) "Here it is!!! Here's William's toothbrush!!!"

This is exciting stuff, here, folks. We rinse it under the faucet and put on the toothpaste, and then he brushes his teeth with Grandma. He's become fascinated with the whole spitting process and has begun to imitate spitting into the sink. After he has swallowed the toothpaste, of course.

Cara urged me to get the video, and I thought that I did, but for whatever reason can not down load it. I'm really quite sad about that, but you'll just have to take my word for it. It's the cutest darn thing ever.

I suck at pictures, but I am bound and determined to begin adding pictures of my world to this blog.

 This is Pete, the former owner of Bob. He and his wife came to dinner, and to see Bob up on the wall. We took photographs of the great day. Pete had been hauling Bob around for 30 years, but had never hung him on the wall, because his Linda, a woman of uncommon good sense, would not allow it. After all this time, Pete finally decided that his wife actually meant it, and that is how we came to inherit Bob. Because I am NOT a woman of uncommon good sense, I guess.
Pete and Bob had quite a bull session.

I will close with another bit of exciting news. I got a call today, to interview for a COTA job at my company. I am afraid to get my hopes up. At the same time, I feel like I am on the verge of seeing a big dream come true. I am not sure how I will be able to endure the wait until November 2nd.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet the Moron.

A couple weeks ago, there was an ad in our local paper looking for a personal care assistant. I studied it a bit sceptically, because the pay was more than you'd expect to see for the position. In the end, I applied, attaching a professional resume. I also provided my certification and licensure information.

I never heard anything back and figured that it was not for real.

Yesterday, I did receive a response. The response was from someone who does not speak English as a first language, provided a phony web address for their business. The fictitious name (Conti Fibre) is actually a brand name for a clothing fiber from the UK. They talked about a "mystery" job, telling me that once I provided them with more information about myself they would send me envelopes of cash which I was free to spend over the course of the mystery assignment, no questions asked. The only requirements to this job is that I was to follow the instructions provided with the envelope of cash very carefully.

My heart dropped. I had just provided a professional resume to a scammer. I looked over what I had sent, and was dismayed to note just how much personal information there is on a resume.

The fact is, had I seen this advertisement online, I would have never responded to it. I'd have figured it was a scam right away. But the fact that it was in our local paper meant to me that the people had to provide a name and address, as well as valid credit card information to place the ad.

Turns out that the ad was taken in the classified department of an affiliated newspaper, and was not properly verified. The ad was pulled after running one day, I suppose when the credit card did not process.

I feel that it's important to put some sort of disclaimer out there for others who were taken in by this ad, but the newspaper does not seem to feel that they are responsible, seeing as how the ad was not placed in their office. They did say that law enforcement would be involved at the point of origin, meaning that the investigation would be initiated by the office that took the ad.

I think that their response is disappointing, to be sure.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and I can never quite understand how a person gets caught up in scams to begin with, so it is a little mindboggling to find myself in that position.

We got ID theft insurance through the Dave Ramsey show immediately. The only thing we can do is sit back and wait to see what happens next.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The new job has been going quite well. I love our clients, just as I loved the last ones. But the difference is that the new house is fun. I 'fit'. Everyone does their job. Moreover, we have a lot of fun on the job. Last night was karaoke night, and even though our clients are non-verbal, they seem to derive a lot of pleasure out of watching the staff jump around and dance, singing at the top of our lungs.

I have friends. I fit. It's a comfortable place to be.

You know something? I was working with a client. A nurse said, with a laugh, "He's blind." I was a little surprised. "Well, his vision might be impaired, but he sees." Dismissively, she said, "No. He's blind."

Last night I watched him watching the disco lights. He was arched back in his chair to see them. I turned his chair. His head returned to watch the lights. I said to another aide, "You know, they tell me he's blind, but I believe he's seeing something. Watch him." She did, and she was astonished.

She told me to go get a manager. She felt that this was something that a manager should witness. The manager watched him, and she agreed too. He definately has some amount of vision, although he cannot tell us how much.

I love watching our clients and figuring them out.

Last night, I watched a blind man see, and it was very cool.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just in case.

I went to church today for the first time in a long time. A nurse that I work with went with, and we took two clients.

It's been a long time since I went to church, and it meant a lot to me to be there with two of our people. One of them is a hulking big fellow, non-verbal, but he has haunted me since the very first time I interacted with him. I clipped his nails and blabbed away while I rubbed scented lotion into his hands. He watched me as I talked, and when I moved on to another client, his gaze followed me as I moved across the room.

I found myself thinking, "What if?" He cannot talk. His body is stiff and useless. What if, inside that body, there is a brain which works? What if? So I try to spend time with him, talk to him, keep him entertained. I tell him that he is my favorite, just in case. Last night, I put him to bed, and I talked, and when I turned off his light, and I said, gently, "Good night, my friend," and his eyes were white in his dark face, and they were fixed on me in the dim light.

I found myself wondering, once again, "What if?" What if he can feel and think, and is trapped with no way to show the outside world that inside that huge body there is a mind? How would it feel to be that person?

I couldn't help it. I went back to him, for just a few moments, to talk to him in the dark, and to stroke his hair. Just in case.

This morning, he went with us to church, and we had to leave before the final hymn. The nurse said, "He doesn't like to miss the last hymn," and I was a little startled. I wondered again, what was behind his thick glasses? Behind those serious brown eyes? But I saw it, when we loaded him into the wheelchair van. His eyes fixed on me, and he was disappointed. I saw it, and it made me a little sick.

He loves the singing, and when we got home, I pulled the program out of my pocket. I said, "Willie, I have Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday off...I think we should see if we could go to choir rehearsal one of those nights, and you know what? We're not leaving early." His eyes were locked on mine.

I put the program back in my pocket. I will go there on my day off, and I will take him to hear the music. I cannot know what goes on behind his large brown eyes, but we will go. Just in case.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


A Novel Woman had an earthquake the other night. She talked about the big boom in the middle of the night that scared her more than the actual shaking. Half awake, she pondered whether she would be running into the street naked, or...and then she fell asleep.

That woman!!! She's hard to control when she's panic stricken, that's for sure.

I found myself fascinated by that boom. Was it a boom that caused the earth to move? Did she feel the boom or simply hear it? Did they happen simultaneously or did the earth shake, and then there was a boom, or vice versa. We all understand tectonic plates and how they are under pressure and can move suddenly, creating earthquakes, but for the first time, I found myself wondering about the sound these shifting plates would make.

I've heard of the earth making noise before, but never with my own ears. I watched video taken high in the mountains of people standing there scanning the mountains with their video cameras, saying "What IS that?" The same sort of phenomena has occured in big towns, small towns, by the ocean, far inland, on every continent (not sure about Anarctica).  It is all over the world. Google 'earth sounds' and you can hear these noises yourself.

In the furor over Mayan calendars and the end of the world, and such, much has been made of these sounds, but I've a notion that this has been going on for as long as the earth has existed. It is just that now, we are so connected to one another, our stories can be transmitted immediately, and compared immediately. 100 years ago, someone in Yugoslavia had no way to compare his experience with the experience of someone in Winsor, Canada. I think the didgeridoo is the attempt of an ancient people to recreate those earth sounds, much the same as the chants of Tibetian monks or the throat singing of the Inuits.

In discussing the sounds of the earth, Novel Woman has described the humming sound she has heard at her cottage while watching the Northern Lights. That's a sound I can understand, because it just seems to me that the northern lights would be generating a huge amount of electrical energy.

Another person described the spooky noise that a layer of ice makes over a large body of water, moaning and groaning. It quite gave her the creeps. I can understand that, as well, water being fluid and shifting under its mantle of ice, exerting pressure from below, pushing up against the ice, and then receding to well up someplace else.

I think that the most likely explanation for earth sounds, to my limited thinking anyway, is that deep within the earth, plates shift and move and they create pressures sending waves traveling through vast expanses of underground water, or pockets of oil reserves, or the like, generating noise from the earth itself. I can also see that sounds from outer space could be resonating against our planet.

I just think this is so cool.

Other earth-shaking news. I bought a fish. No. I am not talking about the salmon we are having for supper. He's a little blue fish swimming around a very large bowl. You should probably pray for Ka-bluey II. Ka-bluey I (from several years back) ended up slipping down the drain which evoked such an ear piercing scream from me that it brought Tim running from outside. When Tims run, there better be a reason, and he was not happy to find out that I was not being murdered in the bathroom, I assure you.

The fish is mostly for William, because he loves to look at things. I also bought him a star machine which casts rainbow colored stars across the library ceiling and walls where his little crib stands. Can't wait for his next visit!

After years of drinking cappuccino, I've given up the habit. My first cappuccino maker lasted for 13 years. I replaced it with the same brand, which lasted, say, five years. I have had two more Mr. Coffee cappuccino makers. Both of them actually exploded, the first blowing shrapnel all over creation, the second simply made a sound like a gun going off. Two exploding Mr. Coffees in the same year has made me decide that cappuccino is a dangerous thing, and I have switched to plain coffee. This is the first morning, and it was not so awful as I expected. I imagine that I'll live.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

*Face palm*

Well, my sister and I have been working on a project together, and it has been quality bonding time. We went out for Chinese at lunch time and it was a long and pleasant meal. If our mouths were not chewing, they were talking.

I've vowed to be a thin mother of the groom for Dylan and Brittani's 2014 wedding, so I did not eat breakfast, and I skipped supper because I ate a big lunch. But all that Chinese food makes you thirsty, even if you've sipped two glasses of iced tea with your lunch. I made some iced tea when I got home, and sliced some lemon. It was delicious. I had two more large glasses tonight.

Why oh why oh why do I never remember until bedtime that I really shouldn't drink tea in the evening?

Monday, October 8, 2012


Tim and I are two different people.

I left our church, after hearing politics preached from the pulpit. Our pastor believes that Obama is a sign of the end times. He believes that the goal of liberalism is to dilute God's word. Etc.

What am I?

I am a person who believes that in the end, we will all be judged on our own lives. Our own. And this means that I should be worrying about my own life, and whether it is pleasing to God or not. I try hard to avoid condemnation, because your life is not my business. If you sit next to me in a pew, I will not question your right to be there.

It's a personal thing, and so, like I said, after hearing sarcastic and angry rhetoric from the pulpit, I walked out one day, and never went back. Tim goes to that church still. It bothers me that my opinion doesn't count, but I also do not want to stand between him and God. If God puts it in his mind to be somewhere else, I know Tim well enough that he will pick up and go, so I take a deep breath and put my own feelings on the back burner, and remember that I am married to a good man.

Now that the elections are 30 days off, things are getting heated. Rhetoric runs high.

If there is anything I hate, it's rhetoric. Rhetoric is trying to win an argument on emotion not sensible discussion. It's a slam dunk. It's a verbal slap. You don't matter enough for a discussion. The goal is to shut you down and shut you up.

Rhetoric is seen locally: "OBAMA =  Hitler" or "Biden boasts that he and Obama are going to raise taxes for the middle class." Rhetoric cannot be backed up. If you say, 'How are you linking our president with Hitler?' they could not do it. If you say, 'Show me where Biden boasted that he and Obama would raise taxes on the middle class,' there would be nothing to back up their words. That's what rhetoric is. Empty words designed to incite strong emotion.

I hate rhetoric, and I left a church because of it.

Last night, curled up on the couch eating a warm bowl of oatmeal for supper and watching the news, I said, "Have you decided who you're voting for yet?"

Tim answered, shortly, "Yes."

The curtness of his reply shocked me. I looked over at him. "We can't talk?"

He said, "I'm surely not voting for Obama," and the rudeness of his voice raised prickles of warning.

I said, "Really?" a bit surprised. Romney is such an elitest that it frightens me. So out of touch with the middle class, let alone the needs of the poor. On the same token, I am quick to say that I believe that there needs to be social reform, that there are people taking advantage of programs, collecting money that they shouldn't be entitled to, but I see Romney's off the cuff remark about 'the 47%' as a deal breaker. You cannot write off nearly half of all Americans before you are even elected to office.

Tim looked at me, flatly. I said, "...he's just so fake, like an actor putting on a..."

Tim snapped, "Your Obama is the fake!"

There was no point in continuing. He didn't want to discuss anything. He wanted me to shut up. I hate rhetoric, and there it was coming from the other end of my couch.

It was a quiet night. I didn't know what to say. Tim has always been a quiet person. He only discusses what he wants to discuss. We've been married for nearly 15 years, and I understand that, but this really bothered me, that we couldn't look at each other, see that we are good people with our own opinions, and discuss them.

Last night when I went to bed, I dreamt of a two headed snake. Tim had it, and I was attempting to control my fear of snakes as I watched it. Yet when I turned my back to go get a mason jar, I felt it hit the back of my neck, and the cold writhing of it woke me with a jolt.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Got a tremendous amount of work done today. All my laundry. All my ironing. I've got some socks to match.

I'm stoked.

The sad thing? No sarcasm in this post at all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Putting Summer Away.

It's an early fall here. It's been dark and overcast, damp and chilly.

We have two large maple trees in the back yard both of them surely over 100 years old, and one of the things that I love to do is watch the wind catch the trees and the leaves fall in a colorful swirl. It really is beautiful to see.

I've been watching this for a couple weeks now, and it never fails to make me stop and smile a little, to watch this blizzard of leaves from these trees.

Except that those leaves eventually hit the ground, and they swirl no more. They blanket the yard and something needs to be done. We cannot burn leaves in the city, so we've spent the day raking, and we have a pile of leaves the length of our house, probably three feet high, maybe 5 feet in depth that the city will come along and suck up this week, hauling them to be mulched.

I pulled 30 solar lights, stuck pieces of cardboard between the contact and the battery so that they can be stored and pulled out again this spring. I've washed them all, remembering how pleased we were when we first put them out last spring, how we sat watching them in the dark. I put them away so that they are ready to take our breath away next spring.

I'll pull the big urns from the portico into the garden room outside the back door underneath the steps to the second floor balcony, and hope that the geraniums make it through the winter. (I've never been able to bring geraniums through the winter, so suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.)

I'll store the hanging baskets inside the basement.

Bring in the sundial. The birdbaths.

For all of its beauty, fall is a little sad too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


You know, I really do think that I live in a pretty nice little corner of the world, but lately, it does seem that terrible things are happening right here, right at my front door even. (And no, we never did find out what the hoopla was that had police everywhere...)

One story that actually frightened me was about a beloved horse that had been sprayed with accelerant and set afire in his own pasture. What kind of sadistic mind does something like this? Who ever did this surely built up to this terrible deed by acts of increasing cruelty, and I'm certain that the cruelty will not stop at this horrible act. In fact, I read about two goats shot dead in their own pasture this morning's newspaper.

I hope they catch someone. I surely hope they catch this bastard.

The story of the poor horse has been amazing though. People have rallied in a wonderful way, and the horse is a magnificent creature with a strong spirit. The first picture is graphic, but you cannot help but be thrilled at his steady recovery. Read about Northstar here. Pass it along if you are inclined.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Light Show

William came last night, late, to spend the night. It was a bit of a disruption for him, and he was quite wide awake, which was unfortunate, since his grandparents were quite ready for bed. We played for a while, quiet things. I handed him a flashlight, and began to shut off the lights in the house. He was quite excited about this, and chattered all the way to the livingroom. Once those lights were off, he sat down on his fuzzy blanket and began to shoot beams of light across the ceiling and down the walls. I watched him, contentedly, and dozed off myself. I wolk up and saw him flat on his back, sound asleep, clutching his flashlight. I tucked him into bed.

It was really a magical time in the dark.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Yellow House

There is a developmentally disabled girl who came to her job site filled with excitement. She was moving, and she was going to live in a yellow house. None of her caregivers understood what this was all about. She wasn't moving. But she was so excited, and she was so adamant, and she kept talking about the yellow house.

Someone remembered back when her parents had died. She dealt with the loss of her parents by deciding that they had gone to a truly wondrous place called heaven, and although no one had talked about "In my Father's house, there are many mansions," she seemed to understand it somehow anyway. She told everyone that Jesus had built her parents a beautiful yellow house, and that they were together in heaven, living in their brand new yellow house.

The whispering began. 'You don't suppose that she's talking about THAT yellow house?' It couldn't be, not really, but it was kind of a startling coincidence, hey?

Except that within a few weeks, our friend was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, an untreatable cancer, one that I personally had never heard of before.

She's gone now. Just that quick, she was gone, but she was so excited to be going, that really, it was hard to be sad about it. She wanted desperately to go to heaven and live with her parents once again, all of them happy in the beautiful yellow house that Jesus had built with his own two hands.

This is what I know: this girl was profoundly disabled, but God drew close to her. I knew this girl personally, and this is why I believe that my work allows me to come in close contact with His holiness every single day. In each one of these individuals, I see God at work.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oblivious, as usual.

So there I was sitting in the dark, perusing and pinning wedding ideas on Pinterest, daydreaming happily, when Tim came in. The street was swarming with police, all up and down the side streets, patrolling yards, and he imparted this information a bit agitatedly.

Me, slowly dragging myself from centerpieces and flowers and swathes of tulle, responded with, "You're joking."

He wasn't.

I looked out the window. Two police officers shined their lights in my face.

"What's going on?" I said to Tim.

Tim snapped, "I don't know!" and headed for the third floor to get a better look. I started up after him, only to meet him heading back down. "We need to lock our doors!"

The police were on the other side of the hedge, and being that when I'm not being oblivious, I'm pretty dang nosy, I said, "Hey...can I ask? What's up?" in a quiet voice.

They answered just as quietly, "We're looking for the fellow that lives here," shining their light at the apartment window.

Since I am not 'the fellow that lives here', I was much relieved.

I really wouldn't know him if I fell over him to be honest. The fact is, I've probably seen him around and even talked to him, but have no idea who lives where. Don't know what he's done, but he's got local and state law enforcement after him.

Living in the city is a lot different than living in the woods. When we had activity in the back yard at night, it was generally a bear. You know what you're dealing with when you're dealing with a black bear. You cannot say that about people.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

All quiet...on the blog, anyway.

I am doing something that I have never done before. I'm waiting. There is a promise lurking, one that is so grand I can't even bring myself to speak of it for fear of jinxing it. I took part time work and am waiting. It's kind of a nervewracking time.

You know that Dylan proposed to Brittani, right?

That was also the day that a fellow ran a stop sign and demolished Cara's new car. She's okay, thankfully, although we were worried that one hand might have some permanent nerve damage, muscle relaxers and strong pain medication are starting to ease most of her symptoms. She's currently been given a "SUH-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeet" little Toyota to drive from the fellow's insurance company. We are grateful that the accident happened during a busy time, and that six witnesses stopped. The other driver also took full responsibility. He will probably lose his job over it, which is sad.

That day was also Brianna's birthday, her 31st, a fact that I remembered about noon. Made me feel terrible. Her husband was sick anyway, so we went out for dinner the following day, and we babysat so that she and her husband could have a night out.

The blog has been quiet.

My life? Not so much...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I was on facebook last night, and an acquaintance posted a picture of her favorite tree.
I looked at the tree and immediately messaged back. "Is this tree located on the road by the Rouse?" She responded, "Yes."

It's funny. This is my favorite tree too.

I knew this tree as a young girl on a school bus. 40+ years ago, and it symbolized something then. All these years later, it continues to symbolize something to me, something different but just as relevant to my heart.

I never knew anyone with a favorite tree before. Now I do. We've got thousands of trees here in our woods. How strange that her favorite tree would be my favorite tree.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I think that I'm allowed to share the news. Dylan proposed to Brittani in Paris on the 2nd anniversary of their first date. I do not know the details, only that Brittani described it as the most romantic and memorable night of her life. They are back in London now, and will be headed home Friday. Tim and I are very pleased.

I am not sure what is going on at work, but the one thing that I know for a fact is that the organization wants to keep me very badly. That has never happened to me before. I've always been expendible. I don't know why it is that I find myself dealing with angry people, again and again. I've always had the notion that when you find yourself in the same repeating scenario, God is trying to teach you something.

My customary way to handle angry people is to leave them alone. I avoid them. I come from a very angry family, so that made things awkward, but I've never found myself able to reason with angry people. Seems like they want to be mad about something and you're as good an excuse as any. So I do the 'duck and run'. I'm not afraid. It's mostly that I know that I am, at the heart of myself, an angry person too, and I have spent a lot of years carefully trying to be something else. I've gotten so good at not being angry that when I do get angry, I always feel guilty and ashamed. No matter what, I feel that I have failed when I get pissed.

Finding myself at odds with this co-worker was difficult. I tried very hard to keep my mouth shut, my head down, and to work like none other, but she really did want to fight. It was non-stop sniping and complaining. I asked for a transfer, sending a group e-mail to four people. I got no reply, and two weeks after that, I came home just sick to my stomach once again. The woman had picked all night long. Finally, I snapped. I said firmly, "You know, Bev, there is more than one way to accomplish a task. Just because I do it differently, does not mean that I am wrong or that I am stupid, and you need to lighten up."

She was shocked spitless. When the next shift came in, she was telling them all, over and over, how I had gotten mad and began screaming at her. There was no screaming. But there it was: my word against hers.

I'd apprised the managers of the problems right along but had received no real response. They know that she is difficult, and that every single person who has ever worked night shift leaves due to the difficulties. I went on night shift because I was supposed to train a kid. Bev was too impatient, and the managers felt that the boy had a good heart, and with patient guidance could be an asset. Much to my surprise, as soon as I went on nights, the boy was transferred to days. I think that they felt that because Bev and I are approximately the same age, I'd be better able to tolerate it. Maybe they thought she wouldn't pick so much on a peer. I don't know, but I sure had a problem.

After a sleepless day, I went in to work that night and gave my two week notice. That decision was based on the fact that I want to work there as a COTA one day. I didn't want to jeopardize that by having a complaint on my record that I was hard to get along with or unprofessional. It seemed wise to give up the job. Tim had been pushing me to do that for a couple weeks. I really was wanting the stress to end. I was miserable and worst of all, that angry person that lives inside of me? I was afraid that that she'd get loose...that I would get angry. That I would behave badly. That's what scared me the most of all, to be very honest.

Two weeks ago, I handed in my resignation to my manager. Last week, I went in to talk to HR about a job I was looking at. Since my resignation was not yet in effect, would it be considered wrong, or trickery to apply for this job as an insider. The HR person looked at me, shocked, began to ask questions, and then got another person who asked even more questions.

It was explained to me that they have spent $3500 to train me for this job. That I was valuable. That I was just what they were looking for. That if I didn't fit where I was at, I should have been moved upon request. That worksite harassment was not tolerated.

One thing led to another, and suddenly things were happening. The most shocking thing is after speaking with my coworker, she received a five day suspension. The other staff (and the management) backed me. The night nurses. The security staff.

I am applying for new jobs within the company.

I'm valuable to the company. They want to keep me.
That still amazes me.

I think this is the value of education.