Tuesday, March 21, 2023


 I got questions. Why is it that when natural disasters happen, you always have the folk that want to cry: "That's God punishing us for not inclining our hearts to Him" but then when you have something like, say, a 5000 mile long blob of seaweed heading towards Florida, the land of Righteous Indignation, home of the American Taliban, we hear....crickets

Just one of those things that I always wonder about. 

And another question I've got. Why is it that when you buy tickets on line for anything, a convenience fee is added? I bought $80 worth of tickets to Jurassic Quest, and at checkout, $22+ was added to that money for a 'convenience fee'. What convenience am I paying for here? I had occasion to actually ask that question of a real live person. I bought the three tickets on line, paid the 'convenience fee', but then had a problem. I couldn't place the order without setting up an account. I was on my phone, and when I entered my e-mail address, I 'fat-fingered' an extra letter in, without noticing. 

So I called, and the woman explained the problem to me. "Okay," I said, how are we going to solve this?" I did not get the confirmation e-mail with my tickets to be printed out. To mail me the tickets was an extra $5 each. 

"Lucky I paid a convenience fee," I said. "It just seems as if you have a responsibility to keep this convenient for people who make stupid mistakes." 

They did, but they were not happy. They told me that they would do it "just this once". I presume that means that I am now exempt from any further convenience fees, seeing as how they are assuring me that there will be no further conveniences offered. 

And another thing: how do you pronouce 'pieces'? Mr Shife has troubled my mind

Another question. Whenever I shake out a fitted sheet, I always seem to find one of William's socks in it. Why is it that this sock never matches any of the socks I have in William's pile of unmatched socks? It just becomes one morelone sock to add to that pile. It's just a thing that I noticed, another befuddlement in the mind of an already befuddled woman. 

The big question: "Will Trump be arrested?" He says he is going to be arrested on Tuesday. Social media is abuzz. THE ANSWER IS NO!!!! Of course he won't. He's rallying his base once again. If you had any doubt about his incitement of January 6th, well, open your eyes people. He's doing an encore right here before your very eyes. 

In case I am wrong, I will do a bit of a happy dance. 

At no charge. 
No 'convenience fees' added. 

Update: Louie, the cat is living comfortably inside the neighbor's house. The vet-who-is- not-a-vet made a home visit. She found no broken bones, although he does have broken and loose teeth, which accounts for his difficulty eating. He has an eye infection. No mange (which I did not see either). She left a supply of soft cat food, antibiotics for his eye. He will need to see a vet, but for right now, he's resting quietly and comfortably. She sent me a picture of him stretched out on her couch, sleeping. 

Remember the former owner responded on the original facebook post saying that she'd left the cat in the care of her sister, but that the cat was afraid of the dog? Interestingly enough, the neighbor has a dog as well, and they get along just fine. 

Monday, March 20, 2023


 I heard a heartening thing in a weather forecast. The first day of spring is tomorrow, on the 20th. It has been a snowy weekend. Not a lot of accumulation, but the travel was tricky Saturday night. I did not expect this, and took William and a friend to the roller rink. No real accumulation was called for so I thought it was safe. Going to pick them up, a car from the other side of the four lane crossed a median and hit the guard rails. It was a bit of a shock (and no, it was not a close call at all). I nervously continued on and before I got there, I also ran into white out conditions. The wind coming across the open grounds of the state hospital whipped the fine snow a whirling wall of snow. I hate whiteouts. 

But all's well that ends well. I got the boys picked up. On the way home, I understood why the vehicle had come across the median strip. Those two lanes in were much slicker than the lanes going out, and I haven't a clue why that should be. 

It's been a wintry day, today, and I have had absolutely no desire to go out in it. 

But...back to the good news...typically speaking (although it is pretty hard to say what is 'typical' anymore), once that first day of spring arrives, the temperature rises (on average) one degree a day for a month. If that holds true, we should see temperatures in the 60s in just 30 days. 

That is a pleasant thing to ponder. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Feeding the Fellows.

 Early in our marriage, I fixed liver and onions for supper. Tim was very doubtful and he approached it as he approaches all new foods: with great suspicion. However, he discovered that he really, really liked liver. He was amazed at how tender it was and sauteed onions are always a hit with him. 

William was having dinner out with his mother and stepfather on St Patrick's day. It was a nice opportunity to cook something for Tim and I without having to worry about offending William's taste buds. "How about I fix liver and onions for supper tonight?" I asked Tim. 

He was amenable to the idea. 

So I dredged the liver, browned the liver, and then sauteed the onions. I allowed it to simmer and make its own onion-y gravy. I left it on the stove while I walked down to meet William from school. 

He walked in the door and said, "Wow. That smells great! What is that?" 

"Liver and onions," I said. 

"Can I have a taste?" he asked and so I cut him off a piece with some gravy. "Can you save me a piece for when I get home? he asked. 

Go figure. 

I plated Tim's supper and he picked at it without much appetite. I was a little surprised. 

"You used to like liver."

"It's okay," he said. "It's something I don't mind every year or two."

And when William came home, he was pleased to see some liver and gravy left for him, and despite the fact that he'd had second helpings of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots at his first dinner, he ate a second dinner with great pleasure. 

"I really like liver," he said. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

In Breaking News....

 I saw that cat today, sitting on a porch. I called him. He looks awful. So awful. He did not come but he looked at me. I made a great show of setting his food out next to the comfortable bed I'd made for him. 

Remember that I told you that someone had posted about him on facebook? I'd messaged her last week and let her know that I was trying to work on him. The owner also posted that she'd like someone to take care of him, that her sister was supposed to be caring for him but he was afraid of her dog. 

Anyways, that woman reached out to me on facebook again. She's very concerned about him as well. I said that I was trying to get him to trust me. She said that he's a very friendly cat and that she and her daughter pet him and hold him all the time. Because he was sick, she couldn't let him in the house because she did not have a cage and did not want him roaming in the house until they knew for sure what was wrong with him. 

"I've got a cage," I offered. "I used it when we brought home a feral." 

She actually lives across the street from us, so at 11:00, Tim and I were dragging the crate to her. We set it up for her. I asked her if she had cat litter. 

She looked stricken. She had a litter pan. 

I ran back across the street to get a bag of litter. 

Much to my absolute delight, she was calling 'Louie' when I got to the end of the driveway. I heard him meow. "Come on~" she said. And that cat walked right up on her porch and followed her in the house. When I showed up with the litter, he was sitting in his cage, unperturbed, being petted. He flopped down to cock a leg over one ear and clean himself while we finished talking. 

She's got someone who is not a vet but works quite a lot with the feral cat population. She will be stopping in to give the cat a once over and some medication. She is afraid that he might have a broken jaw. 

But the good news is that he's inside now. The long term plan is to get him healthy and neutered. She's not sure if she can make a house cat out of him, but that's the goal. 

What a happy ending!

Happy St Patrick's Day


"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy 
which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

William Butler Yeats

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Matters of the Heart

Story 1)

 A while back, I went out on the balcony on the second floor. I rarely do, especially in winter, but I was surprised to see an orange and white tabby cat curled up in a sunny spot. He bolted as soon as I opened the door. 

I set a cardboard box up, stuffing it with two large bed pillows and and a torn flannel sheet. I folded two of the flaps in so that there was a small entrance to it and tucked it in a place where it was protected from the wind. 

I kept a watchful eye out for him, to see if he was a regular. Did he need to be fed? 

A couple weeks later, I saw the cat on facebook. Someone a couple blocks away had posted a picture of him, looking for his owner. He looked as if he'd struggled out there on his own. I commented that I'd seen him down at my place and had set up lodging for him. I said that I was glad to see that someone had taken him because I can't.

And I really can't. I already have a cat.

(Tim would kill me.) 

William and I were walking out to the car a few days back. "Ooooooooohhh," he said. "There's a hurt cat." And there he was. He looked as if he'd been in quite a cat fight. We went back to set out a bowl of food for him. We had a little conversation, and he mewed back in a tired, dispirited way, but he wouldn't come. I don't think it would take much to over come that, though. 

Yesterday, I was by myself, so I snuck upstairs with catfood, both canned and dry. I went out on the balcony to set out food there, right next to the box. I was hopeful that he would recognize it as a safe place to receive food and be warm. rest and heal. 

Today, I see that the catfood has been partially eaten. I hope he was sleeping soundly in the box.  I did not want to open the door and scare him away. I can check later when I refill the dishes. 

He just looked so very miserable, and nisery breaks my heart. It makes me literally feel sick. 

(To be continued, I hope)

Story 2)

Tim's done with his Holter monitor, and boy, was he ever glad about that. He took it off, we boxed the unit up and returned it to the company following their instructions. 

On Pi Day, I heard the phone ring. I was making an apple pie, but Tim got it. The call was short, but I could hear him answering in the other room. He came out when he was done and said, "The monitoring indicated no A-fib. No irregularities."

"That's good," I said. "I kind of thought it wouldn't. You've never had any symptoms before you got so sick. You haven't had any since." I stirred the cinnamon and vanilla into the apple slices. 

Tim cleared his throat. "They talked to me about the implant."

I looked over.

His face got the stubborn look I hadn't seen for awhile. "I told them no. I didn't want it. I'm not doing it."

"What did they say?" 

"They said, 'Okay,' " he said, and walked back out of the room. 

Story 3)

Houdini really does love his boy something fierce. In fact when William goes upstairs to go to bed, Houdini roams around, meowing forlornly. It's gotten to the point where he comes out to the office and sits beside me, patting my chair and meowing with a question. He's begun to allow me to pick him up and will sit on my lap purring while I type. 

He's here right this minute as a matter of fact. 

I know that I'm his second choice and probably always will be, but a lapful of purring cat is a comfort. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Winter Break

 It's still wintering outside. In fact I think we've gotten more winter in the past two weeks than we've gotten all winter. 

There. Ponder that for a while. 

I met a friend for breakfast this morning, and it was wonderfully cheering. She's going to Mexico with her husband on a National Geographic tour. 

I'll bet that their winter is done and over. 

If I sound jealous. I'm not.


I advised her not to have a tummy tuck while she was down there. 

Seriously, though, it just felt nice to have time out for myself. 

I made a nice pot of split pea soup for supper today. It was a hit for the over 12 crowd. Lucky there was apple pie left over from our National Pi Day celebration yesterday. He'd do about anything for a slice of pie, even finish his split pea soup. 

That's it. 

Hope you all had a good one. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

*whew!* and WOW!

For his 12th birthday, William's Aunt Cara and Uncle Colin had sent him new bedding for his birthday, stars and galaxies, deep swirls of blue and gray, with constellations printed out. The stars glow in the dark. Very cool and he loves it. 

On the list of things to do, we needed to find a new rug to match his new bedroom things.  William had an appointment. I had a few errands to run so we left a bit early. We were in a store that had a large pile of carpets. He saw a huge fluffy white one. He stretched across it with a rapturous look on his face. "This is great!" he said. 


We once had a white rug in the livingroom. We put it down and it looked very nice. For a few hours. One small boy managed to get spaghetti sauce on it on the very same day that we got it.  Scrub as I might, that stain remained and ultimately the rug was retired to one of the upstairs bedrooms where the stain could be hidden beneath a piece of furniture.  

That boy is older and taller now, But  a white rug? For William? My god. I was having flashbacks.

I tried to be gentle about it. "White rugs stain very easily. What if your shoes were dirty..." 

"We don't wear shoes in the house."

"Well, if something got spilled..." 

"I don't eat in my bedroom. Sometimes I have a Sprite. Noah and I had snacks. But I don't really eat in my bedroom." We stood staring at each other across that pile of carpets. 

I stood there trying to think of reasons to justify not getting a white rug. He stood there, rubbing his hands across it in a dreamy way. 

"I just don't think," I started and suddenly his face changed. 

"Wait....wait....wait a minute...." He had caught a glimpse of a rug further down in the pile. It was a dark denim blue fluffy rug that appeared to change color when you saw it from different vantage points. Dark gray, almost black, to a dark indigo blue. He ran his hands across it and watched the effect. "This is it, he said firmly. "It matches perfectly." 

I agreed that it was a perfect match. 

It was also on sale for $20 less than the marked price. 

And, most importantly, it was not white. 

We headed to the register with our purchase. William was very excited. I was ridiculously relieved. 

On a completely unrelated note:  Last night, Tim and I managed to get half way through 'Remember This, a one man performance piece by David Strathairn. Tim cannot do late nights at the moment, and I have to get a young man off to school in the mornings. We hated to turn it off. What a powerful piece. As usual, I was googling on my phone as we watched it, and found the book, written by Jan Karski. I showed it to Tim, saying "this is a book worth having." He told me to order it, but I'm the sort that does nothing without comparing prices. I told him that I'd look around the following day. We woke up this morning and the first words out of Tim's mouth were, "You need to find that book." Powerful, powerful stuff. 

If you get a chance to see it, you should. If not, get the book. It should be required reading/viewing for every high school student. 

But of course it won't be. 

Monday, March 13, 2023


 William has accumulated enough clothing that the little dresser that came with his bedroom outfit is just not big enough. I pondered around how to solve this problem and came up with a solution. In a closet of another spare bedroom, there is a a tall dresser that belonged to my grandmother and grandfather. I am not at all sure how it came to be in my house. It must have come from my parents at some point, but I don't remember exactly when. It is old and plain and matches his sturdy plain bedroom outfit (inherited from his aunt).

The best part was that while it had the same 'footprint' as William's little dresser, it was much taller and would easily hold double the clothing. The old fashioned drawer dividers would allow me to separate his underwear from his socks, and still have plenty of room for his PJs. An entire drawer for longsleeved shirts. Another for shortsleeved shirts, and an entire drawer for blue jeans. It was perfect. 


Except for the fact that it was currently stuffed with hunting clothes. I was pretty sure that Tim hadn't actually looked inside that dresser for years, so I made up my mind that we would go through it and then swap the two dressers out. 

I got Tim to help me move the dresser into the front hall upstairs. I began to empty it out. The top drawer contained papers. The paperwork for when we bought the boys' house in Williamsport where they went to college. Saved us a fortune on tuition. Both boys are in their midthirties now and that house was sold when they graduated. Taxes from 2000 - 2004. Check receipts from an account we closed out long before we ever moved into town, and we've been here for 11 years, probably longer. Old cords that went to things that we probably haven't had for years. We found ourselves squinting at cords and asking questions like "Motorola? What did we ever have that was a Motorola?" 

Yeah. Quite a bit of pitching out. I don't think we kept one thing. The paperwork made a happy glow in the fireplace. 

The other three drawers were also amazing. I found no less than 8 knit caps. I cannot tell you the number of times that Tim has wondered where all his knit hats have gone. I looked at Tim. "Huh," he said. 

Long johns. New long johns that his thrifty wife had obviously bought him at end of season while they were on sale. They were still in their store packaging. Lots of long johns, tops and bottoms. I looked at Tim. "Huh," he said. 

I think that he was getting a little embarrassed at himself. I pulled out two pair of fleece lined jeans. "Those are too warm," he said. "I prefer the flannel lined jeans." 

I started a stack of clothes to be taken to the Goodwill. Continuing on, I found a hooded sweatshirt he was pleased to see. 

I found a pair of hunting pants. He said, "I'm pretty sure those don't fit," but he ducked into the bathroom to try them on and came out to drop them in the Goodwill pile. 

I found a gas mask, an old army issue gas mask with unopened filters. "For pete's sake, Tim!" I said. He said nothing at all, but snatched it up to squirrel it away someplace else. 

There were trigger finger mittens and leather gloves. Multiples of everything. A veritable treasure trove. Tim went through and picked what he wanted to save. In the bottom drawer, I found the real treasure however. There were nearly two dozen pairs of wool socks, some of them worn, some of them brand new. It was astounding. 

I looked at Tim and Tim cleared his throat. "I don't like wool socks," he said.  

I said, "Well, you might try telling people this bit of news." I was probably looking at several years of Christmas gift giving.

However, this wasn't really a bad discovery, because you know who likes wool socks? Me. I like them quite a lot. I was in my glory. There is nothing more wonderful than nice wool socks for padding around a house with hardwood floors in the winter time. Oh, the joy of socks! I began sorting through this treasure with real enthusiasm and wound up keeping a dozen pair. The rest went in the Goodwill pile. 

(Nobody needs two dozen pairs of wool socks, not even me.)

(But then nobody needs a gas mask either, yet here we are.)

Not being in a mood for socks, Tim wandered off downstairs. I polished up the old dresser and slid it into William's room on a throw rug. I moved it into place and transferred everthing out of the little dresser into the new supersized dresser. The long johns and knit caps left over from Tim's hunting stuff fit into the little dresser with room to spare. I slid that dresser back into the spare bedroom closet and shut the door. 

William wandered upstairs later to work on his Lego. Uncle Dylan and Aunt Brittani gave him a 2500 piece set for his birthday. It's for ages 18+. He's working on it one pouch at a time and is hopeful to complete it before his 18th birthday. 

"That's a nice dresser," he commented. I enthusiastically showed him how easy it would be to keep his clothing organized and easy to find. "Huh," William said, in an uninterested voice.

I gathered up a dozen pair of wool socks and headed into our bedroom to put them away. 12 pair of bulky wool socks take up quite a bit of room in a drawer. 

Suddenly the dresser in our bedroom is no longer big enough. 

"Huh," I said. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023


 I'm kicking that cold. Better yet, nobody else seems to be coming down with it. 

Tim has been wanting to do something since he saw it advertised. There is a restaurant called 'Red's Best Pancakes'. It is only open for two months during maple syrup season, only on weekends, and only from 9-2. The draw is that they serve nothing but pancakes, sausage, applesauce with coffee and orange juice. No menus needed. The maple syrup is made in a big barn out back and it is brought to your table warm. Tim really really wanted to go. Today was the day. So we drove about 40 minutes. 

It is a big log cabin and it looks for all the world like one of the lodges you'd see in the Adirondacks. There was a big fire place going, and pancakes were being turned out at an amazing rate. The long griddles had a pourer and a flipper because they were such huge pieces of equipment that the pourer would not have time to finish pouring and do the flipping. 

Tim had already walked inside. I took a minute to read the sign on the door. They only took cash or check. I can't tell you the last time I saw a sign that read like that. I followed Tim inside where he and William were talking to the hostess already. "Tim," I said, "Do you have cash, because they don't take debit." He looked as surprised as I was. I told the girl, "We'll go back to town, and get some cash and we'll be right back." She smiled sweetly and said, "Come in and sit down. Have breakfast and then you can run into town and get money and come back." 

I felt like we'd stepped into a time warp. 

The place was packed and yet once seated, we had breakfasts within five minutes. The other thing? All you can eat. The record is 50 pancakes, in case you're curious. The current record holder was going to stop at 48, but the staff talked him into eating two more to become the champion. No records were broken today. Tim and I both had three pancakes and William had two. That did us just fine. 

Once we were finished eating, Tim went to the middle aged woman at the register and explained that we did not know that it was cash only, and that we would be right back. She said, "Oh, I can tell. I know you'll be back." And she was right. 

Speaking of 'retro', 

William got Season One of  'Stranger Things' for his birthday.

For anyone not familiar with the series, it takes place in the 1980s, and they pay a lot of attention to detail in putting it together, the games they play, the music, the bikes, the clothes. 

I was amused to see that the DVDs come in what looks to be a VHS case, appropriately scuffed and worn looking. It fooled me, alright. 

After we had breakfast, we passed the Corry Walmart on the way home. Tim wanted to stop in. 

He got a good deal on a deer rifle once and is always hopeful to get another good deal.

As long as we were there, I checked the clearance section as well. I heard a little gasp from William, and the pleading began. He had found a genuineStranger Things Demogorgon Hunting Flashlight. He wanted it in the very worst way. He begged, he pleaded. He had the money at home. He hadn't brought his wallet, but could we please, please PLEASE front him the money for this. Tim and I looked at it and said, "My gosh. This looks exactly like any old Ray-o-vac flashlight that we ever had struffed in a drawer while we were growing up." 

Not so. William was quick to point out the morse code around the screw on cap of the light. It was EXACTLY the one used on his very favorite show. Tim said, "If you want it, you can buy it, and pay me when you get home. To me he said, "When he loses interest in it, I'll have another perfectly good flashlight." 

Once home, I finished three loads of laundry and folded everything. In between loads, looking at my cell phone, I saw that Jurassic Quest was coming to The Erie BayFront Arena. You've seen them, the animatronic dinosaurs that roar and walk. It's quite a set up, something that you travel at your own pace and will take a couple hours to see. It will only be there for Easter weekend. I looked at the ticket prices and Tim and I had a quiet discussion. It would be a good Easter gift. We went on line and bought the tickets. 

It's a lot more retro than Stranger Things but when we told William, he was thrilled. 

We had a quiet supper. We finally had the jar of hotdogs that Mattie and Levi sent home with us. They were delicious. William and I watched 'Slumberland' while Tim visited slumberland on the couch. We both enjoyed it. I made a prediction very early on in the show and William explained at great length why I was wrong. As the story worked on, my theory was proven correct. William stared at me with real awe, and said, "Are you psychic?" 

It was a gray day, but it was a happy one. 

Friday, March 10, 2023


 Not really much to say. I am on day 3 of an awful cold. It is not covid. It is hard not to remember that all of Tim's problems started with a cold that never quite went away, so I am doing my best to insure that he doesn't catch it. I have been pretty unproductive, I can tell you that. I keep telling myself that the house stuff will wait. Just get the necessary stuff done. 

Today is the last day of his Holter monitor. If it shows nothing, they want to implant a monitor into his chest. We were both a little blindsided by this. He has no symptoms of A-fib. Never has had them. He does not want the implant. Since I believe the A-fib was caused by his serious dehydration, by the fact that his kidneys were not functioning properly, by the fact that he had a shot of steroids just hours before he just sort of fell apart, I cannot, in good conscience, talk him into it. That is a decision for him to make and I will back him up on that. I guess we'll wait and see. 

We are supposed to be getting another snow storm today. The last one was on Monday, and it caused some real problems. Downed trees and power outages. It had not started this morning, so school was not called off, something a bit disappointing to William. It has been a gray day today, and the snow has begun once again. It is supposed to snow all through the night and into tomorrow. We're waiting to see about that, too. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Mulling a Marriage

 Anvil Cloud commented yesterday that Tim and I have an interesting relationship, and I've been thinking about that. 

Tim and I are very different. Most of the time, we simply accept those differences. He likes cars. As long as my car gets me from point a to point b, I'm happy with it. He likes to hunt, so I raise the vegetables. We get along pleasantly for the most part. I like to read. He doesn't. I like to write. He doesn't. 

Things like that, in my mind are pretty superficial differences though and now that we are retired, we spend a lot of time together and we get along well enough. 

Communication has always been an issue. Tim doesn't like to argue, with anyone. He will walk away. I think that sometimes things need to be said, brought out into the open. Everyone has their own personal 'non-negotiables'. I think. There are things that he will not tolerate (and shouldn't) and there are things that I will not tolerate (and shouldn't).

Sometimes, life happens and don't you damn know it, you look around and realize that you've blundered into one of those non-negotiable mindfields.  

Tim will never be known as a great communicator but he listens. He won't answer in a lot of cases, but I chalk that up to being raised in an authoritarian family that didn't  allow a lot of discussing. I know when he's upset about something because he sniffs. As ridiculous as that sounds, when I hear a sniff, followed shortly afterwards by another sniff, I know that somethings up. And so I ask him what he's upset about and he doesn't answer and I wait, because I know that he is upset. I'm kind of a no bull girl, and eventually, probably to get rid of me, he does talk. And we figure it out. 

In this case, I'm the one who is upset. He understands the problem. He agrees that it is a problem. We are even in agreement of how it should be handled. 

I think a lot of marriages are like that. Most I guess. I don't know. What we have is respect for each other and what we both bring to the table. It's a working partnership, and has been for 25 years. 

Between us, we have raised 5 kids, and got 4 of them through college, We have built a nice little business for ourselves that generates income and should continue to do so for all the rest of our lives. When we are done, that business will be sold and divided up and provide each child with a nice nest egg that will advance them in their own lives. 

Pretty decent life's work for a quiet hardworking man and a talkative hardworking woman. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Scene from a Marriage

 Tim's been not himself for a while, and I've been concerned. He is coming back to himself though, and that is gratifying. 

There's been ~um...~ a situation ~ that was purposely set on the back burner because it was not the time to trouble him  I put my big girl panties on and just kept it to myself, but it was troubling me.

Yesterday, I had plans to go pay my respects at a funeral home. I've been just dragging for a couple days now. Yesterday, it became clear. I woke up with a headache, a wicked sore throat, and sick to my stomach. Body aches. It got worse as the day went on. So. I didn't go anywhere. 

Tim stuck around home as well and during the course of the day, the topic finally came up. "Tim, I want to talk to you about something that has really been bothering me a lot." And I laid it all out. This has been a terribly stressful and worrisome time. I imagine that it was for both of us. He listened quietly, as is his nature. He told me that we were in agreement on the subject. We discussed it a little. He's not much of a talker. Never has been and that has caused a lot of problems for me in 25 years of marriage. 

He sat quietly after I stopped talking. Finally, he ended up picking up a remote a turning on the television when he saw that I was done talking. 

That made me mad. I mean, sometimes, I just need to know that he's listening. 

So he watched a couple cop shows while I fumed quietly to myself. 

After a couple hours, he said, "Well, I'm headed to bed. Coming?"

I said, "You know, I'm not sure where I am sleeping tonight." I'd had two hours to stoke a good head of steam and I was sick, I was mad, and I was feeling as if there was no resolution.

So...he went to bed without me. I slept on the couch watching a Netflix movie. The Starling, in case you're interested. Don't watch it unless you're in a mood to bawl your eyes out. 

This morning, I got William up and moving. Tim eventually came downstairs and greeted me cheerfully. William was in the shower, and so I hissed, "Please don't Tim. I'm really mad at you right now."

He looked surprised. "Why?" 

"Well, because I laid out something that was really troubling me. Something that you agreed was a problem and then you offer nothing in the way of resolution, You sit down and watch a couple television shows and go to bed. I'm really, REALLY, REALLY pissed. "

And he said, "Well, I decided the best way to handle it is..." and he laid out how he intends to handle the situation. 

I said, "you sat there and you said nothing...." 

He said, "Well, I didn't know that you wanted to hear what I was going to do..."

"Tim, that is called a discussion. One of us starts it. The other one listens, counters or agrees, and a solution is reached jointly. Of course you needed to voice your solution. That's how I know that we have reached an understanding." 

He looked as if he's never heard this before. I can assure you that he has.

25 years people. 25 years. 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Well...today sucked

 I had an appointment with an oral surgeon today, so of course, it wasn't a day I was looking forward to. 

I filled out the paperwork, and then waited in the waiting room. Two women came in, well dressed, made up, gravely voiced, talking about a piece of jewelry and where they had gotten it.

I was quiet, because I was nervous, but I listened to them. One, in very high heeled boots, tottered over to the coffee pot, a keurig. "Jamaican Me Crazy? HA, everyone already knows I'm crazy. No Jamaican about it..." and they both laughed loudly. 

The other said, "I need to use that restroom," and she tottered off in her heels as well. 

People are interesting, aren't they?

The woman came back out, and the other one loudly asked, "Everything come out okay?" They both tittered as if the old joke was the cleverest thing that had ever been said. 

I almost forgot to be nervous as I listened to these two gabbing loudly about shopping. I mean, it was like watching an episode of  Real Housewives of Jamestown, NY. 

Eventually, my name was called, and the fun was over. I got an estimate that made my eyes water. $3300 for one tooth!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Recipe for Disaster

 One of the things that I really enjoy doing, now that I have the time to do it, is cooking. And baking. I like to find new recipes. 

I made a turkey the other day. Of course there were left overs. We had turkey salads, which were very nice. We had turkey sandwiches. Likewise, very nice. 

But we still had turkey. 

What to do, what to do? It was cold outside, and I thought that a nice pot of soup might hit the spot. And so I looked around on line and found a recipe that sounded very nice

I bustled around the kitchen and rustled up a very nice tasting soup. It looked pretty too. I served it up for supper and...to say it was not a hit was an understatement. 

It's a little exasperating. Any new recipe is viewed with great suspicion in this house. Tonight, I made the great anouncement. "You know what? I'm tired of putting together meals that everyone turns their noses up at. From now on, I'm not fussing over meals.  We're having the same old stuff that we always have."

And two sets of eyes, one pair brown, one pair hazel,  looked at me with such hopeful expressions. 


Saturday, March 4, 2023


Tim drove to Erie today. It was the farthest he's driven since everything happened, just over an hour. William had some time at a trampoline park and we had lunch at a wood fired pizza place. We stopped at a big city thrift store while we were leaving town. 

I bought two long sleeved t-shirts, a dress blouse to match a sweater, and a shirt for William. Much to Tim's delight, he found a keyboard. It's like the fourth keyboard that we've had for this computer. We've had an annoying problem with the letters wearing off our keyboard. It doesn't matter to me, because I am a touch typer, but for a hunt and peck fellow like Tim, it's a supreme handicap. We've tried various paints but nothing seems to stick. Tim got a nice microsoft keyboard for 99 cents and it made his day. 

My exploring time was pretty limited. Tim was wearing out. On the way back to the car, he handed me my keys. I drove home. He slept in the car. 

He's been sleeping a lot better at night. At this point, he doesn't even always need the bottle of beer, so that is good, good news. He usually gets a good nap in the afternoon as well, and it makes all the difference for him. 

My sister drove to Pittsburgh last night to pick up her husband. He was flying home from the Dominican Republic where he'd gone with a group to build houses. Unfortunately, his plane had engine trouble and he got stuck for an extra day. Anna messaged me, and I said, "Well, if your plane has engine trouble, it's best if this is discovered while the plane is on the ground." She agreed. Dave got a free night at a resort in Punta Cana. Anna had to pay for her room in Pittsburgh. I'm sure it was nowhere near as fancy. But all's well that end's well, and they are on their way back home.

Tonight, Houdini surprised me. I was stretched out reading. He came over to the couch, studied me for a while, and then jumped up to stretch out beside me. I petted him for a while and then went back to reading. Unhappy with this, he climbed up on my lap, stretched himself out in a lazy way, and fell asleep. That was a first. 

Know what else was a first? I saw snowdrops blooming today. It was cold and gray, but there they were! What a cheerful sight!

Friday, March 3, 2023


I saw a picture on facebook. An acquaintance had written an RIP for his nephew and posted a couple of nice pictures. I recognized the name from recent local news reports, but much to my shock, I recognized his face as well. I knew him. At least I thought I did. The pictures showed a  happier looking, healthier looking version of the gaunt and hollowed eyed young man I'd last seen. 

I contacted his uncle privately on facebook. He told me that his nephew had worked for some years at the same place where I'd thought I'd met him. 

I'd written about him back in August of 2019. I reverted the first 15 years of my blog to draft, so it took some time to locate the short piece, but here it is: 

It's a funny old world that we live in, isn't it. Small dramas play out before our very eyes, so small that sometimes they are missed. Take the story of the 'cardboard guy'. He comes around to collect recyclable cardboard twice a day. A good fellow, extremely polite. Quiet. He scarcely spoke when he first started work but now he does. He even asked me my name last month. I think he's pretty shy.

I was working in front of a girl who has a terrible crush on him. She even asked him out. I know this, because I heard another girl who works beside her saying, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve and you asked him out. Kudos to you!"

I gathered that he said no. I kind of get it. The girl is pretty immature. I pegged her for someone in her 20s, but she's in her 40s. She used up her vacation very early in the year and now takes a lot of days without pay, because her parents give her money. Her efficiencies are low because she talks too much, and she's generally talking about how she can't make the efficiencies and it's not fair. I tried to help her long ago, but I quickly saw that she doesn't want help so much as she wants someone to step in there and simply do it for her. Sounds harsh, I know. She's nice, but she's never quite learned to stand on her own two feet.

So she watches the cardboard guy go by with big moon-y eyes.

The thing is the cardboard guy has a terrible crush on another girl. That one is bold and brash and flashy. She talks quite nicely to the cardboard guy, but as soon as he's gone, she begins to make terrible fun of him to everyone around her. He's asked her out multiple times, and she's turned him down every time. making sure that everyone knows how indignant she is that the lowly cardboard man would ask HER out.

So every day, the cardboard guy goes by her with big moon-y eyes.

No one tells the cardboard man, "I give you a lot of credit. You found the nerve and you asked her out. Kudos to you."

It's a funny old world we live in, isn't it?

That's the end of it, just a small snapshot of a drama that played out before my eyes on a daily basis years ago. When the plant closed down, the young man was hired at a home improvement store Tim uses a lot, so I saw him there. 

The thing is, he was a quiet, awkward sort, and you could tell he struggled. I always tried to have a kind word for him, because he was such a quiet, hard worker. 

For the life of me, I cannot fit what he was with this

We were eating lunch today, and I said to Tim, "Doesn't it make you wonder about the people you know...if any of them are just one step away from falling completely apart? I mean, it could happen to anyone struggling." 

He chewed quietly, thinking. "Yes it could," he said. 

Late Edit for those who cannot read the link

Police in Ontario County confirmed that officers fatally shot a man in Canandaigua while investigating an incident that started in East Bloomfield.

According to the Ontario County Sheriff's Office, a brief pursuit led authorities from East Bloomfield into Canandaigua, where police shot and killed Brandon M. Zurkan, 31, of Warren, Pennsylvania following an encounter between Zurkan and police.

At 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, 911 was alerted by a citizen who heard a "firecracker or gunshot" from a sedan he was following on state Route 5 in East Bloomfield. A deputy in a marked patrol car intercepted the sedan on Route 5 in the town of Canandaigua, saw the car travel over the center line twice and activated emergency lights and sirens to try to stop the car, Ontario County Sheriff David Cirencione said Wednesday at a news conference. Zurkan, he said, continued driving east into the city, drove erratically, including on lawns and through at least one red traffic light, and fired multiple shots from the car. The pursuit ended when Zurkan drove through a fence and struck a curb.

Zurkan got out of the car, gun in hand. Cirencione said that four officers -- two deputies and two Canandaigua police officers -- fired at Zurkan after Zurkan pointed his gun at police. Police were attempting to deescalate the encounter for over 8 minutes at the time, police said.

He was five hours (north) from home. He had been stopped for erratic driving earlier in the day about 5 hours east of home. There had to have been some sort of psychotic break, because anything else just defies logic. Some are claiming drugs, but that is just as bewildering to me as the shooting. He was a health nut, a great believer in natural supplements, exercise, and a healthy life style. 

Thursday, March 2, 2023


We had an errand to run this morning, which was good because it got Tim out of the house. He really has quite a case of cabin fever, I think, but he's trying not to mind. He really is doing a lot better now that he's sleeping. 

This evening there was an unexpected knock on the door and it was our old buddy Ray. We brought him in and we blabbed on the couch awhile. He said, "Well, it is time for me to mosey back up on the hill." He also said that he was pretty mad at himself. He'd gotten a hankering for some cornbread last night, and that he whipped up a Jiffy mix. It must have been outdated because they didn't rise. He'd meant to pick up another box while he was out during the day, but he'd forgotten.

"Ray!" I said incredulously. "For pete's sake!" 

He looked embarrassed at his absentmindness. 

"No! Not that," I said. "Cornbread is easy enough to throw together." I went to the kitchen and started grabbing stuff from the cupboard. He followed me out, looking a little shocked. It took me 10 minutes to mix it all together and scrape it into a pie pan. I popped it into a 400 oven and said, "You'll have to wait for 25 minutes." 

"Do you ever think how much money you'd save on groceries if you stopped feeding everyone?" he asked. He and Tim settled in to jawjack a bit longer. I used the time to put my kitchen back to rights and do the dishes that I had not done after our supper. Ray was watching hungrily when I tested the cornbread and then pulled the pan out of the oven. "That smells so good." 

I covered it in foil and wrapped it in a towel to keep it hot for the trip home. I also popped some sausages in there and told him to cook a couple eggs to go with it. 

He headed down the driveway with his piping hot cornbread like he was holding treasure. 

Go Ahead. Make My Day

 That single solitary bottle of beer at bedtime continues to be a great help to Tim.  The first day, he slept the clock around, the second, he slept nearly 7 hours, and last night, although he had problems falling asleep, once asleep, he slept soundly. I got William off to school. Tim is sleeping still. 

It is a big relief to both of us. He sounds more himself. My brother-in-law is in the Dominican Republic building houses right now. My sister was off work, so she stopped in. We ate lunch at played a couple games of Scrabble and had a couple hours of heart to heart. Both things did me as much good as the sleep has done for Tim.

Last Saturday, I got a bright idea. Turkey! Who doesn't fall asleep on Thanksgiving day after a good turkey dinner? I always pick up two or three turkeys for the freezer after the holidays when they are on sale, so I grabbed one and put it in the fridge to begin thawing. Although Tim discovered the miracle of beer, with a half thawed turkey in the fridge, I was committed. 

Yesterday was the day, and I tried a new recipe, infusing olive oil with rosemary, garlic cloves and slices of lemon over night. I worked the skin away from the breast of the turkey, and stuffed that with slices of lemon and poured some infused olive oil in that pocket. It was supposed to be stuffed with quartered oranges and lemons, but it seemed like such a waste. After baking, the fruit is discarded. But I tried a new stuffing recipe and just popped it in a slow oven and basted it with the olive oil infusion. 

It was great. 

A couple days ago, our landline rang. It was an unknown number, but I was expecting a number of return calls, so I didn't feel comfortable not answering it. A deeply accented voice began talking about my auto insurance. I said, "We are not looking to change our insurance now. Thanks." and disconnected the call. 

Within seconds the phone was ringing again. It was a different number with the same area code and prefix. I answered again because it unusual for them to call back. The same heavily accented voice said, "This is not a sales call. I am calling to give you information only, and I would ask please to make my day by listening." 

I didn't answer, but I was intrigued enough to stay on the line. There was a pause, and the man began going on about Allstate Auto Insurance. "Now. How many vehicles do you own?"

I disconnected again. You never know what information is being gleaned from whatever information you might give them. I had no idea who I was talking to. 

Within seconds, the phone was ringing again. Same area code, same prefix. different last four digits. I did not bother to take the call, and walked around all afternoon with the guilty knowledge that I'd had an opportunity to make someone's day and did not do it. 

Monday, February 27, 2023


 After a good night's sleep, we got hopeful. It was followed by Sunday night, which was basically a return to sleeplessness. Tim was in bed by 11, up shortly after midnight. He stayed awake for most of the night. About 4ish, he came to bed.

I called the neurologist's office this morning. They asked what we had tried so far. I listed it out. Explained about the caffeine, which I guess was a fluke. Told them how concerned I was. When Tim gets tired, his voice slurs and it is evident that, cognitively speaking, something is off. 

She told me that it would be passed on, and the call came back this afternoon. "Call your primary care provider." 

And so I did. And they said, "Our next available appointment is March 21st." 

I know it is not anyone's fault, but I'm afraid of what is happening here. I need some advice on how to turn it around. I don't know that we can or should wait until March 21st. I stressed that to the receptionist. "I am not trying to be difficult here, but my husband had a stroke a month ago, and this is a life changing event. I want the best outcome for him, and I feel like I'm foundering about on my own here."

"Call his cardiologist," she suggested. 

"He doesn't have a cardiologist," I told her. 

"Who ordered the Holter Monitor then?" she wanted to know. 

"The neurologist. I've already tried to get some advice there and they directed me to call you." 

Long story short, she was sympathetic and we've got an appointment March 21st at 2.  I still don't know what we should do (or not do). I am reading and we are totally winging it, here. 

Tim doesn't drink beer, but he bought himself a six pack tonight and cracked one open. We're getting desperate here. 


 Saturday was a good day. I'm not exactly sure why, but Tim decided that he wanted to drive up to Salamanca, which is part of the Seneca Indian Reservation. 

It is interesting because the reservation is not part of the United States. They are their own sovereign nation, which means that they have their own laws, their own government, their own law enforcement. 

So you have incidents like this

If you look at the comments, you will see that the police are taking a bit of guff. "He's at his mother's house" is a general theme, and I'm sure that the police do know this. However, the New York State police cannot walk up to a house on a reservation and arrest someone. The arrest would have to happen off reservation. The tribal police could arrest him, but they have no obligation to hand him over to the New York State police. The police need assistance knowing when he is headed off reservation, and where they can nab him.

Years back, when Cara was still in high school and driving home after work, there was the Bucky Phillips incident. That was scary. Roadblocks were a regular thing for Tim headed to and from work. This went on for months. They suspected he was being smuggled off and on the reservation by friends who were allowing him to ride in their trunks or whatever. Long story short, after months, they finally did take him in a cornfield about five miles from our house. To this day, everyone talks about Bucky Phillips and how he was able to elude capture for so long because he was an Indian who knew how to live off the land. False. He eluded capture because he was breaking into empty camps and laying low until he'd eaten all the provisions and then moving on to a new cabin. 

Nothing heroic about the man at all. He was a thief and a murderer.

A man had his camper stored for the winter in a big garage. He was very surprised when he opened the place up in the spring. Turned out that Bucky had spent some time in his camper and left a bunch of information behind, including the registration to his final stolen car which he crashed on our road and ran through the woods to that final Cornfield of Destiny. 

The Seneca Nation makes their biggest money from a giant casino, which would be illegal anywhere outside of the reservation. They offer luxury rooms at low prices. Low priced buffets. Big name performers. The expectation, I suppose is that once they get people in the door, they will do some gambling.

They also sell gas and cigarettes at very low prices. They do this because their treaty with the government means that these goods are sold to them tax exempt. They sell that gasoline back to us. Just as a comparison, our gas is $3.85 a gallon. We paid $2.54 a gallon on the reservation. If we had been willing to wait, we could have gotten it at $2.42 just down the road. The lines were just awful though. Tobacco products were not taxed for a while, but as I understand it, they have been taxed since 2018. The Nation is not required to collect the State and Federal taxes when they sell them, though, so a pack of cigarettes will cost you nearly $10 (50 cents a cigarette, if you can believe it!) locally, but you can buy reservation cigarettes for about $4 a pack. They also sell the fireworks that cannot be sold off reservation. Our state had some pretty strict guidelines on what constituted legal fireworks. The reservation sells the 'good stuff' that you can't get anywhere else.

I'm not going to editorialize on the situation. We don't gamble and avoid the casino on pure principle. I quit smoking 22 years ago, so cheap tobacco products do not draw me in. 

We enjoy going to the pow-wows. When Tim had to drive through the reservation to get to work, he always filled up on the reservation. He also alternated the vehicles he was driving. Tim has also been known to stop in and get his fireworks on July 4th. (A couple years back he scared the bejeebers out of himself. He had no idea what the fireworks would do. It went off and shot high into the sky ~ a totally illegal firework that could be seen for miles. (We were both struck speechless. William was thrilled and wanted us to light another.) 

The latest money makers are the pot dispensaries. They really are every where. We probably saw two dozen of them in an 45 minute drive. Some of them are right in a row, within sight of one another.

Drugs and alcohol are big problems on the reservation, and it struck me as unutterably sad to see a sign on a local church which had a pot dispensary right next to it. "Don't use drugs" it said.  

We were there to have a looky-loo (boy, Ed, I do love that) in the Salamanca Antique Mall. We bought nothing, but it was a fun day out. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Unexpected Development

 Tim's had difficulty sleeping at night since he got home from the hospital. In the past month, we've tried two OTC sleep aids. Neither worked. We tried melatonin. It didn't work either. We tried those relaxing nature sounds. All that happened is that I woke up at o'dark thirty in a befuddled state, wondering why Tim was showering in the middle of the night. It was the relaxing sound of a summer rain. Tim's side of the bed was empty. I turned off the phone app and went to find him.. 

We've had our tiffs. I caught the man sneaking a Pepsi after 5PM. We debated it. I mean, he's already struggling with sleep...why on earth does he want to make it worse? My sister chided me for being his warden. I don't think I'm doing that, but really, sometimes someone HAS to be the one saying this stuff. 

It is a confusing role to be playing for sure. 

But then, later that night, at 3 AM, he came out to the livingroom. He could not sleep. He defiantly had that Pepsi and....he came right to bed and fell asleep. He couldn't wait to tell me that little factoid. 

I thought about it. They use methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulent to control ADHD. My understnading of it is that with Attention Deficit, the brain is overactively collecting stimuli with no ability to set aside the small stuff in order to focus on the the important things. We'd tried everything else. I've read that neuroplasticity is the brain trying to refire, to map new routes. Maybe, like ADHD, a stimulent was needed. 

So. Last night before bed, he drank a Pepsi. He slept for nearly 6 hours. What a relief that is...for both of us. 

Will it work for the long range? I don't know, but last night was promising. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Shocking the Amish

 Yesterday was not a great day. It was one of those days that left me feeling ineffective and useless. Tim is not sleeping at night and his exhaustion makes him difficult. I can't fault him really. I'm not at my best when I'm tired either, but it gets discouraging dealing with his frustrations on top of my own. I was just tired out. I tried to come up with a post last night, but couldn't. Some days are just better left unexamined, I guess. I gave up and went to bed and Tim tried hard not to fidget. 

Today, Mattie needed to get to Corry for a 9:30 appointment. Her sister, Lyddie, had an appointment as well. I was looking forward to an excuse to get out of the house for a morning. 

I waited in the car as they had their appointments and when they came out, we zipped over to the grocery store. We pulled into the parking lot and we saw an Amish lady loading her groceries in a van. Mattie immediately said, "She is not from our group." Curiously, I asked how she knew. She looked at me as if I was blind. "She dresses differently." I looked and I couldn't really see it, but then, I was driving the car and had my eyes on other things. Her clothing certainly looked no different to me. 

As I parked, she closed the hatch of the van. Her driver waited in the vehicle. She set at a brisk pace. Mattie and Lyddie laughed. "Now she's going to go to the dollar store just like we will."

Making a joke, I said, "No. I bet she's going to the vape shop." 

They laughed merrily at my joke, but the laughter died away as the woman opened the door to the vape shop. They said in shocked voices. "She IS going into that store!" They had no idea what to make of it. 

But after  some pondering, they decided that she must be buying tobacco for her man. 

I got some great deals at the grocery store. The store is known for their meat selection and they had a great deal on pork roasts. I also got beef liver as a special treat for Tim and I some night when William is having supper with his mom and stepfather. I got three bags of bell peppers on discount, to chop up and toss into the freezer. Things like that. 

The Dollar store had a good deal on Raisin Bran, so I picked up a couple boxes for Tim. In no time at all, my car began filling up with bags and boxes. They certainly do not waste a trip out. There was one more stop at Walmart.  Mattie and the children are making bird houses and she needed to buy the paint for them. 

Driving there both women gave astonished shouts. They spied, with their little eyes, two Amish women coming out of the laundromat. "That's just LAZY!" they said in unison. You have to understand, when I got to Mattie's to pick her up at 8:45, she had her laundry already hung out. Let me tell you that laundry for 10 people is no small feat. She has a gas powered wringer washer in the back room. She came rushing out of the house with the front of her dress still splashed and wet from the wash water. It was a bitter day with a sharp wind and she laughed when I told her that she couldn't be out in the cold with her wet dress. She pulled her cape around her and said, "It'll dry." 

Her sister had an elevated pulley clothes line that stretched behind the house and across a field and when we went down her long driveway, the line was full.  It held an unbelievable number of diapers flapping in the wind. That's a lot of work happening before 9 am, and yet they were watching two Amish ladies coming out of a laundromat. 

They pondered that in shocked silence as well. Eventually they agreed that some of the blankets are awfully heavy and are too big for the wringer.  If these women had a batch of blankets to do, it was only reasonable to use the laundromat, they supposed. 

We had a pleasant morning running errands. Finally, we were headed home. We stopped first to collect Lyddie's four children, three little boys and a girl from a neighbor's house. As we waited, Mattie said, "This house used to be my uncle's house. See the hitching rail over there?" (The place where visitors would tie up the horses.) Once my cousins were playing horses. One of the boys was playing the role of the horse, and at the end of his trip, the youngest boy was tied to the hitching rail as any sensible Amish would do. An 'English' driving by had seen the child tied and called the police on them for tying their child out like an animal. 

We laughed comfortably together. 

It felt good just to have a morning away. When I got home, I made a good rub for one of the pork roasts and popped it in the oven. I chopped up two gallons of green peppers for the freezer. I got the base going for a pot of stuffed pepper soup. The broth will be chlled over night and then the hardened fat skimmed off tomorrow. When supper was over, I got my second crock pot out and simmered the rest of the pork roast off the bone for barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Mattie and Lyddie would be shocked at my methods as well, I suppose, but I worked around my old kitchen, getting a lot of stuff done in pretty short order. I headed out to pick up William and today just felt like a better day. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Today, I went over to pick WIlliam up from school. It was raining hard and had begun to freeze. When I get there, I always get there just before school lets out. so that I am one of the last people in line. It's crazy to me that parents will get there and sit FOREVER just to be the first in line. William hikes up the sidewalk to the car at about the same time that the first cars have collected their children and begun pulling out. 

So, anyways, I'm sitting at the back of the line as usual, reading a New Yorker magazine. The right lane is for cars. The left lane is for school buses. I see a teacher walking up to each car window, speaking to the driver of the car. I wondered what was up. 

When she got to me, I rolled down my window. The poor thing was dripping wet. She said, "We have an emergency. I'm going to have all the parents move to the teacher parking lot to pick up their kids." 

"Sure," I said, and I started my car. There were two cars behind me and she continued on down the line. 

People, people, people. 

Not one car moved to the parking lot. Probably 12 cars in front of me and not one parent moved their car. Not one car started up. .

I couldn't believe it. 

As I said, I was at the back of the line and so I did a three point turn pulling behind the last bus to turn around. I hate to back up in a school zone. I pulled up to where the teacher was still standing. I apologized for backing up, and said, "Why aren't people moving?" 

She said in a very frustrated voice. "They totally blew me off!" 

To be honest, if the first car in line just sat there, none of the rest of them had no choice but to sit there as well, being pinned in with buses to their left, the sidewalk to their right, cars in front and behind them too, but I gotta tell you, the scenario boggled my mind. 

It was quite a day, weather wise. We had snow. along with some gusty winds, we had sleet, we had freezing rain, we had two thunderstorms. It was a good day to stay inside. Tim put in a couple electric receptacles in our bedroom. He's meant to do that for a while.

I was supposed to take Mattie to an appointment at 1:30, but after considering the roads, she decided to cancel. I wasn't sorry. I had made a pot of chicken and rice vegetable soup expecting to be away in the afternoon. I just used the extra time to bake a batch of blueberry muffins. 

I headed over to school to be appalled. I am not sure what the emegency was, but I cannot imagine not being able to get to my kid. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Thanks, Mother Nature

 Today was another day spent scrubbing baseboards. 

I was working away when the room started getting dark. 'Storms coming," I thought in a distracted sort of way, scrubbing on with my brush, wiping it dry, and then sliding on the floor to repeat the process on the next stretch of baseboard. 

There was a rumble of thunder. Our first thunder storm of the year! I stopped to appreciate it, sitting right there on the floor, holding my scrub brush in the dim room. 

It did not take long for the storm to move on, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. In the matter of 20 minutes, the room was flooded with sunlight once again.

You know, I have been struggling lately, and I needed the reminder: No storm lasts forever. 

Monday, February 20, 2023


'Blogger spam' is interesting. About half the comments it flags are from regular commenters who (I'm supposing) are logging in on an unfamiliar device. The other half of the comments it catches are previously published comments. I'm not sure what triggers it to go back in time and pull comments it didn't flag on the first go around, but there you have it. Interestingly, about half of THOSE comments are my own! A couple days ago, I was amused (in an unamused way) that a very obvious spammer had been able to post his very obvious spam comment. 

I mean...really, what is the point of having blogger spam if it does not work? Just one of those things that I don't understand. 

But today was especially interesting. I checked blogger spam, and for the first time, it blocked an actual spam message. I feel like I should be saying "Good blogger!!!! GOOOODDDD!!!!" and maybe offering it a cookie. 

No Rules Weekend

 William is 12 now and the great birthday weekend is done. He had a roller skating party (theme: Stranger Things). Four of his friends came. One of them came home later to spend a 'No Rules Weekend'. 

I picked them up from the rink at 10 PM. 

He came home to a 'new' bedroom. His aunt and uncle had seent in him quite a collection of soft goods to redo the bedroom look. That was surprise number one. We also set up Noah's bed, a mattress on the floor. Just for the weekend, there was no limit on sprite from the fridge. He had a snack bar in his bedroom filled with chips, his favorite candy bar, boxes of raisins, slim jims, nuts, cheese crackers, breakfast bars. No limit snacks. Unlimited screen time. No bedtime. 

The boys disappeared upstairs and we did not see much of them. They were playing roblox, each boy on his own device, but playing together. I assume there was some 'old school' gaming going on as well, since the controllers were on the floor. 

Sunday morning, they were gotten up at 10 for the breakfast of William's choice: Lucky charms pancakes with chocolate whipped cream and a large pile of bacon. 

At lunch, we all went to his favorite hamburger place and ate dessert first. 

Minibike riding. 

Back home. 

No Rules Weekend officially ended at midnight Sunday night, and is followed by 'No School Monday', having been granted a four day weekend by the school district. I'm not sure why and no questions were asked. It was just the serendipitous bonus to his already awesome birthday weekend. 

Houdini missed his boy something awful. He wandered around downstairs looking for William. This morning, he wandered into our bedroom and mewed lonesomely until I got up. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023


 And today William is 12. 

We spent a great amount of time in the attic yesterday, going through boxes. He and his auntie were skyping. Out of the blue, Cara suddenly remembered that she had a Playstation 1 tucked away with her college things. 

(She has a lot of college things.)

William was agog at the thought. He's also afraid of the attic. You have to understand that I was having a pretty pleasant day moving furniture and scrubbing the wide white baseboards when he came flying down stairs to beg me, urgently, to help him find a box that contained this magical device. 

I said I couldn't and I finished scrubbing, and then, well...I could. I had no excuses left. So up to the third floor I went and then ducked through the attic door. Cara was giving me directions through William's tablet. The console was not where she thought it was. (Of COURSE...) There began a methodical search, from box to box. William lost interest and went back to his room to continue talking to his aunt. I moved from the back of the attic forward looking through one box after another. 

After some diligence on my part, the console was found and pulled out along with a bunch of cords and boxes that I could not identify. William eventually heard me calling him and came back to the attic door. He snatched the console up with great excitement. Cara gave me a few instructions on where the games might be. I toiled on alone in the dark attic with my spotlight, gathering slivers in the seat of my pants as I slid across the floor from the back of the attic to the front of the low attic. I finally found those games right there in plain sight in a bin right next to the door. 

I carried them down to William's room where he was hooking everything up with his aunt's help. A mighty cheer went up. I was sent upstairs one more time to look for the memory card, a quick find. It was in the bin where the games were. 

She and William gabbled on with great excitement. They both were quite enthusiastic. William was showing her the back of his television. She was telling him what to hook up where. William was so excited his hands shook.

I stood there dirty, disheveled, slivers, no make up. I looked at Cara and said, "I hate you right now. With a fiery hate." She laughed and laughed. 

It was then that I remembered my hair appointment. I went as I was because I was 15 minutes late. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

A Bedtime Story.

 Sadly, our thunderstorm did not happen last night. It is cold this morning, but interestingly, all the snow has been removed from the forecast for the week ahead. That makes me cheerful. 

Last night, Tim and I decided to hit the hay early. He really hasn't been sleeping well at night, which leads to sleeping in later in the morning, something that he hates. As unhappy as he is about that, afternoon naps make him even more out of sorts, not to mention even less sleepy when it is time for bed. 

So, come 9:00, we were cozied up in our bed. Tim said, "Come on over here," and I turned to him and...that stupid alarm went off on his heart monitor. After working without a glitch for 48 hours, the monitor was indicating that the sensor was not doing its thing. 

We sat up in bed, but the monitor was giving us directions that did not apply to the apparatus we had, and the beeping went on long enough that I got my cell phone and called the customer service number. A polite unflappable woman answered the phone 

The nice customer service person said, "Is your husband in the room with you?" 

I said, "He's right in bed with me."

'Well, good then, he'll be handy." She indicated that we should ignore the commands the monitor was giving us, that they didn't apply to us. I put her on speaker phone as she tried to help us through a trouble shooting process. The alarm beeped on. There's no way to shut it off. In the end, she sighed and said, "I'm sorry, but you'll have to remove the patch."

And so I got the warm water and the soap, and scrubbed the patch off. And of course, every time that I tried to peel it back, Tim was reflexively grabbing at my hand to push it away. 

"Quit grabbing at me!" I said, peevishly.

"I can't help it," Tim growled, in a husky voice. 

And the nice customer service lady said, "Why don't you just put the sensor on the charger over night, and I'll have someone call you tomorrow morning."

Just like that the phone call was over. 

Lord knows what she thought. 

We looked at each other, turned off the light and laid back down on our respective sides of our bed. Somewhere along the line, we had lost that loving feeling.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Spring (temporarily)

 It was so windy today. 

The clouds cleared off and I learned that I was wrong about the weather. It is going to rain tomorrow, with thunderstorms tomorrow night. 😕

Tim got a couple hours of sound sleep and woke up refreshed enough to go work on his truck. I decided to work in my garden. I'm taking a breather on the garden while making a plan for next year. We are having a problem with blight, and each year the garden gets a little less productive. So we decided to turn it into a berry patch. I moved four blueberry bushes that did not see to be happy where they have been for the past two or three years. I planted raspberry canes as well. 

It was so warm, and the wind was blowing so hard. A tree had blown over in our woods and you could hear the branches cracking and falling in the wind. Not a day for walking in the woods for sure. 

I dug and I planted, and I couldn't help remembering Winnie the Pooh:

That got me to thinking about when the kids were young. Winnie the Pooh was the first book I ever read to them. Fresh from their baths, we'd all pile on the bed and read a chapter or two of Pooh before they went to bed. They loved those stories. 

And now I am a grandma. The grandchildren love those stories too. 

I worked in the dirt and the sun and the wind and time traveled in my mind. 

When I was done with my digging, I walked back up to the garage where Tim was working at his truck. He wasn't having a lot of luck. The bolts were tightened way beyond what a reasonable person would have done. But he was working at it, pondering and problem solving. Things like that would piss me off, but he does love a challenge. He leaned against the garage door with a smile. He wanted to keep on working. 

I had seen my sister's car in her driveway, so I headed off in the warm wind for a visit, thinking about Tim and the last three weeks. I know full well that not everyone gets their happy ending in situations like this. 

My sister wasn't in the house, but I took off my sweater and headed back to my house in my shirt sleeves. The walk was not wasted. 

It got up to 68 degrees today. Tomorrow it will be cooler with rain and that possible thunderstorm. By Friday, we will return to winter. Spring is coming though, and today I got to play in the dirt. 


 Tim didn't sleep much last night. The new Tim is cautious of being overtired. He's asked me to drive him to the retirement property so that he can replace the waterpump on his beloved old squarebody truck. I like that he's asking for help when he thinks he needs it. He's watching himself, so I don't need to. 


Not so much, anyway. 

Today is supposed to be 65 degrees. He has made up his mind that the waterpump must be done today. 

It doesn't need done today and I pointed that out. I am perfectly willing to drive him there. Not a problem. However, if he is tired, he will exhaust himself in the three hours there.  When he gets his job done, we will drive home and he will change into comfortable clothes, sit down on the couch and fall soundly, soundly asleep. He will sleep so soundly that when bedtime comes, he will not be tired. Once more, tomorrow morning, he will be tired. 

I pointed out that there are other 65 degree days coming, that this is just the first of them. His waterpump was bought last fall and has waited all winter. Another couple of weeks is not going to do it any harm.

It is 8:32, and William is dropped off at school. Tim is snoring from the back of the house, a good sound. He's sleeping deeply. Houdini is stretched out in front of the heater. If I look over and speak to him, he stretches
and answers in a lazy sort of way. 

Me? I've had my tomato on toast, I'm drinking coffee, reading blogs and pausing to watch the sky. A storm is coming, and the wind is moving those dark clouds across the sky. In the gaps between them, a brilliant sun breaks through. The office moves from dark to sunny, dark again, sunny again, dark once more. I watch the clouds and daydream in the silent house.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A Return to Normal

 Well, Tim survived the patch change. I tried to be as gentle as I could, using alcohol to try to disolve the adhesive, but in the end, I just gave it a quick yank. We did shave the area for the next patch. 

So far, this week has seen a big return to normalcy in our house. His mind is getting quicker. There have been no disconcerting questions. He still tires more quickly than usual, but that's to be expected, I would imagine. He seems more sure of himself. He sounds more like himself. 

I cannot tell you what a relief that is. 

William is 3 days away from turning 12. His mom has a party planned for him at the roller rink. The theme is 'Stranger Things'. His friend Noah will come back to spend the night after the party. He's requested pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I've got quite a bit of wrapping to do. His aunts and uncles went a bit nuts this year and boxes have been arriving steadily. 

Being preoccupied by a birthday party seems very normal, doesn't it?

Another normal thing? Houdini. I watched him chasing William all over the house tonight. Hard to believe that he was ever such a hidey cat. He runs and plays and pounces. Strings, balls bounced down the stairwell, the red dot. He is quite sociable. He doesn't like to be picked up, but he's gotten to the point that if you do pick him up for a cuddle, it doesn't send him off to hide for a week. In most cases, he just gives you a wary look from across the room, gives his fur a quick lick and then goes back to whatever he was doing. 

Pretty normal cat behavior. 

It will be 65 degrees tomorrow, and they are calling for our first thunderstorm of the year tomorrow night. I love thunderstorms and am looking forward to that too. All this leads us right back to cold and snow for a few days next week. 

Pretty normal for spring, I'd say. 


 The Holter monitor has given us precious little problem, amazing to me, because I put it in place myself and, not being sure of my skilz, I expected to do something wrong. Of course that was also the day that I set the day, date, time, and alarm on William's new watch. The technology force was strong within me that day, and I'm here to tell you that this is a rare occurance. 

Anyway, last night, we got an alert from the monitor. It was one a.m. ONE. O"CLOCK. IN. THE. MORNING. Tim sat up blearily. Although my face was buried in my pillow and I was making half awake noises, had this been an actual emergency, I'd have been ready to spring into action. (Really. I'm pretty sure.)

"What's it saying?" I asked. 

He said, "It's congratualating me on finishing my first week of monitoring." 

Did I happen to mention that this was happening AT ONE IN THE MORNING?!! Because I really feel like it is important to the story. 

The alarm went off multiple times last night. Not all of them were congratulatory in nature. I think the patch might need changed. 

Tim's been putting that off for as long as we can. I read the instructions several times before beginning the process, laying everything that I needed out. Studying the placement carefully. Only when I was 100% convinced that I knew what I was doing, did I begin what I was doing. I forgot one step though. It suggested shaving a small area of the chest where the patch was to be placed. 

Ever positive, I pointed out that shaving would not be necessary after we rip the current patch off. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Ordinary Day

It is no secret that I've been jealous of all the pictures of flowers blooming in the UK. Here, it seems like spring is a ways off yet. No flowers here. 

But today, we slept in. After a leisurely cup of coffee, I spent some time writing a letter, something I've meant to do for a while. Tim wanted to go for a walk after lunch. It was warm enough that I didn't need a jacket. It felt like spring! 

Today was the high holy day of football. I'm not much interested in the Superbowl. It was our year to host it (we alternate with friends.) The week before Tim had his problem, he was outraged to see that our television 'package' removed Fox from our line up. Under normal circumstanced, I'd say removing Fox was a public service but they were the station that won the rights to broadcast the SuperBowl. We would not be watching the game at our house. 

Our friends quickly invited us there. I couldn't go. William could not stay out that late on a school night. I knew that Tim wanted to see the game. I knew that his friends were anxious to see him after the events of the past few weeks. I made a rack of barbecue ribs and a batch of scalloped potatoes and sent Tim off. 

That felt like a very big deal to me. It was a late night and he was driving himself. I still worry about the driving, even though his friends live just 15 minutes away. I gave myself a stern talking to, but did ask Tim to call me if, for any reason, he did not feel that he could drive home. 

William, Houdini and I had a quiet night. We watched a program about Centralia, PA that William found fascinating. 

Tim started getting tired in the final quarter. He decided not to push it and headed home, calling me on the way. 

The plain ordinariness of this day is what made it so extraordinary. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

New Day

It was a better day today. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

A Moment

 It's a dance, really. We circle around together but not quite together. 

I am hypervigilent, but trying not to hover. 

He sits at the computer, printing out and organizing stuff for the tax man. He is on top of all the business stuff, just as he always has been. He drives short distances. He shops. He does his little projects around the house. 

It all feels so normal and I sometimes find myself feeling as if we dodged a bullet, as if we're good, it's all going to be okay. 

But then, randomly, there are those moments that knock me sideways. The frustration because he can't find the 'L' key on the computer. Or he's forgotten how to spell his son's name. Or he can't remember which two pills he takes in the morning and which two pills that he takes at night. He's forgotten how to use his cell phone. Maybe, suddenly, he's stuttering and he looks as surprised to hear himself as I am. His hand starts tapping against something. "It sounds like a woodpecker," he says, trying to make a joke of it. 

I know for a fact that a million other people would give anything to be in my shoes as they struggle to care for someone who's suffered a major stroke with both debilitating mental and physical changes. 

Tonight, he scared me. Just a little thing, but right away, I begin talking. I want him to talk back. Is his speech slurred? I study his hands, his feet, his face, and I try not to betray any sign that I'm assessing him as I assess him.  

He's a quiet man. He's always been a quiet man. He looks at me as I talk. If he answers, it's just a word or two, but that's how he has always been. 

Finally I burst into tears. Sorrow? Frustration? Just pent up fear? I don't even know but once I started I couldn't stop. 

He didn't know what to do, so he's gone on to bed. He was tired. Probably the best thing for him. I imagine this is a scary time for him too.

I sit here in the dark in front of a lit screen and I feel ashamed at my own weakness, but I wonder if he will ever tell me that he loves me again. 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

I await...

 I expect to hear loud cheers and enthusiastic applause. 


After a mere one hour with an extremely tiny booklet (2 x 3.5 inches) and two you tube videos, I managed to set the day, date, and time (both digital and analog) on William's birthday watch! Furthermore, I set his alarm. 

*takes bow* 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Quiet Day.

We made a delivery for the Amish, a case of brown sugar. Mattie also needed to borrow more canning jars to finish off their butchering. 

I got there and once again, Mattie's whisking around the kitchen like a barefoot queen, multitasking on a grand scale, scolding and dressing Rudy, fresh from a nap, running around in long johns.  She was baking cookies, and she had the largest cookie sheets I've ever seen in my life. They held 50 cookies. We were already nibbling on chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies with our coffee as she made raisin filled cookies. All the kids were fresh home from school, and they were making butter. One of the boys was washing the muddy buggy. Their dirt road is a mess. 

It felt so good to sit in that warm kitchen drinking good coffee, nibbling cookies, while talking and playing memory and pick up sticks with the two youngest girls. 

When we went down the hill, slipping and sliding in the mud, I felt as if I'd had a little vacation. In exchange for the jars, they sent us home with beef sticks, sausage, Amish hotdogs and cookies. We were actually leaving and they were chasing us out to the car with more stuff. Levi chased us out with the hotdogs and said, "They don't taste like your hotdogs." I studied them in their jar. "That's not a bad thing, actually." 

The Holter Monitor arrived today. It looks very straight forward. We'll get Tim set up tomorrow after William is in school. 

William's 12th birthday is in a mere 10 days. Hard to believe. His birthday gifts arrived today. A holographic style light for his bedroom and his first grown up watch. Unfortunately, I need to figure out how to set the watch. The date is wrong. The day is wrong. The time is wrong. I am not a technological savvy person. The darn watch will be a tougher set up than the monitor. 

Oh, and I almost forgot: 

Jaycee, where on earth did you get off to????

Monday, February 6, 2023

Reality Bites

 Today was the follow up visit to Erie. 

In my mind, it had all neatly connected up: the cold that turned into a never ending cough, which got him the antibiotics, which led to the C-diff, which led to the dehydration, which led to low blood pressure and the kidney issues, which led to the stroke.  Like dominoes falling, one right after another. The great thing about that, really was that it led me to think that we could simply avoid a repeat of this by making sure that he never, ever got dehydrated again. 

I liked the story the way that I crafted it.  

But the neurologist had a different story. The little things that I noticed: his different colored hands, his tremor, his vocal change, his stammer when he's tired. the fact that it takes longer than usual for him to process a question...all those things they saw too. They also saw things I hadn't noticed. His right eye drifts off to the side. the fact that his left side is weaker than his right (which has the tremors). Lots of stuff. For the first time, I heard it said out loud. The spots on his brain were very small, but there were an awful lot of them. 

They are not happy that he still hasn't gotten a holter monitor yet. They believe that there has to be a-fib. They also believe that the tremor stuff might be seizure activity, so he's off for a EEG. They were very pointed in their discussion. They also consider it very possible that this might happen again. 

It was a quiet trip home. 

The good news is that we found a local primary care doctor. We stopped on the way home and signed the paperwork to get everything shifted from his previous doctor to the new one. She's affiliated with the hospital, so she'll already have access to all of his hospital information. 

I feel much better about that part of things, at least.