Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Headed for Bed.

After sleeping most of the day yesterday, Tim was up most of the night last night. I slept like a rock. I'm feeling much more confident, but still, I don't like him to be up and roaming the house all by himself. Just in case....

When I woke up, I saw that he wasn't in bed and jumped up to check on him. He was sound asleep on the couch. 

I surely did not want him to sleep the day away. I invited one of our old friends over. The guys visited, had lunch. Tim stayed awake. He started a fire in the wood stove. He and Rae worked together on a little project Tim's been meaning to do. He needed a zip tie, and knew right where he had some out in the garage. He remembered that William was coming home, and went up to turn on his fireplace so that his room would be toasty. He typed some messages to his son. 

William did get home and we had a nice family supper. I was able to finally send the Christmas gifts back to Dylan's house, which made me happy.

It is hard to believe that everything is slipping back to normal. After days of being scared witless at the great unknown, the unanswerable questions, the what-ifs, trying to offer up reassurances to the kids when I wasn't feeling exactly reassured myself, here we are. I watched Tim build a fire and talk to his friend and felt like I was witnessing something miraculous. 

I imagine that it is just pent up stress slowly leaving my body, but what I can tell you is that on this night of gratitude, what I feel is more exhausted that I've ever felt in my life. 

Houdini allowed himself to be picked up today although he was nervous. He answers  when he's spoken to.talk to him and he is very playful.  He shyly peeks around corners to see what we are up to.  

A Good Day

Today, Tim got up before me. He was sitting on the couch quietly watching television. I fixed him breakfast. He ate it and then he lay down on the couch and fell soundly asleep. 

'Probably the best thing for him', I thought, watching his hand tremor as I drank my morning coffee.

I went in and began to read up on strokes and TIAs. It is hard for me to believe that Tim has had one. He's never had high cholestrol. He is faithful in his BP medication. He is active.  He doesn't have any of the risk factors. I could not set aside my stubborn idea that this cold that turned into a cough that went on and on, disrupting his sleep, exhausting him, wearing him down for weeks had something to do with it. The two rounds of antibiotics that are believed to have caused his c-diff. The c-diff leading to dehydration, dangerously low blood pressure. His kidneys were not doing an effective job, and the toxins were building up in his body. And what IS a TIA anyway, but decreased/interrupted blood flow to the brain? 

So, following up on things, I began to read, and discovered that I was right, that there IS a link between strokes and dehydration. There was an awful lot of information about it, even. I cried with relief. I'd been so worried about the chances of another stroke. For the first time, I got the idea that if we keep Tim hydrated and healthy, we will not have this problem again. 

What a cheering thought that was. 

Tim woke up. I gave him his medications and then he laid back down. He was sound asleep almost instandly. I debated whether to wake him for lunch but decided against it, thinking that I could just fix him a late lunch when he woke up. Except....he slept straight through 'til supper time. He ate a few bites of supper, but went right back to sleep. While he was sleeping, I watched him and realized that his right hand was no longer twitching. 

My sister was excited about this, sharing some information she found on line that indicated tremors and twitching could be a sign of the body 'reconnecting' and that it was a good thing. She also said that sleeping was a good sign as well. I could hardly believe that and had to go read it for myself

I felt myself even more cheered. 

I also want to take a moment to tell all of you thanks. I haven't had a lot of time, but your comments were so very appreciated. Many times when I read other blogs, people facing a hard time, or struggling a little, it touches me to see how everyone rallies around with kind and encouraging words. Someone always says that we have become a little community. I agree with that. This scary time was the first time that I've been on the receiving end of it. That little community gathered around me, and I have rediscovered the importance of an encouraging word. I am grateful for all of you. 

Houdini has watched the activity going on from the safety of his cozy bed. His supper time is not as regular as it was. He always has his dry food, but his evening helping of canned catfood, slightly warmed in the microwave doesn't appear with the clockwork regularity he has become used to. His favorite human (William) has been away having a fine time with his cousins. For four days, someone has been stopping in at night to give him his canned catfood and make sure his kibble and water dishes are full, but for the rest of the time, he's been exploring a suddenly empty house. 

Now we are home again. Tonight, sitting on the couch, I noticed him at the kitchen door staring across the hall into the livingroom. Guiltily, I said, "Oh, no, you haven't had supper yet." He looked at me as I spoke, dropped to the floor and laid on his side, He almost looked playful. I got up and went to the kitchen talking to him like I usually do, and went to the refrigerator. He followed. I took the cat food over to the counter, and got the freshly washed cat dish that was waiting at the side of the sink. I filled it and popped it into the microwave. He followed me. When I carried his bowl over to the mat where he eats, I always pick up the dirty food dish and bring it to the sink to fill with soapy water and let it sit over night. Much to my surprise, Houdini did not stay over with his food. He followed me back to the sink. 

I reached down my hand and he approached for a pet. He has never come to me to be petted, although he does tolerate being petted in his safe place, his bed. I sat down on the floor and I petted him while he rolled around in delight. When I stopped petting, he sat up and brushed his head against my leg. I patted my lap, and he looked tempted but he didn't get up the nerve to be quite that friendly. We played so long that Tim came out to see what is going on. "I'd like to see more of that," said the man who doesn't like cats. 

I noticed his hand was twitching again. "Why don't we go to bed?" I said. 

And so we did. 

I lay in the dark being very grateful. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Home

 Home now, which was a surprise. The neurologist walked into his room yesterday afternoon and said that the stroke issue is not related to the heart which seems to be working properly (they were looking for signs of a-fib. There were none.) He's going to be monitored for a month at home with a Holter monitor. So. While we don't know what the cough is, we know what the cough isn't, which is reassuring, actually.

The doctor walked into the room, told the findings, laid out the home treatment plan and just like that, we were being discharged. My sister and her husband were on their way but the wheel chair was waiting. 

We are about 1 1/2 hours from the hospital, and it wasn't until the trip home that I made the connection. One of the drugs, which they stressed as being vitally important, something that HAD to be taken at 4 o'clock was going to be an issue. We wouldn't even be home by four, let alone have time to run to the pharmacy...and it was Sunday anyway...would they even be open? 

I pulled off into a Walmart. What to do with Tim? He was moving slowly and so very tired. I was afraid to leave him by himself in a running car. He seemed fine, but what if he got out and tried to find me? Or decided to drive home? This is all new to me. In the end, I asked him whether he was up to a walk in, and he said yes in a surprised way. 

Turns out that (of course) the drug is a bit of a specialty thing. They were able to do a partial fill though. They were so very kind and helped me locate the home care things that I needed. 

His dose was only 40 minutes late which, all things considered, was amazing. 

I opened up the bedroom downstairs so that he is not doing stairs for a while. He is quiet and biddable, a bit child-like. By the time that we got home, he was worn out. He took a nice hot shower. He knew that he wanted to watch the play-off games and found them on television by himself. 

I got the room put together and tried to locate the phone charger, and unpack as much as was necessary. About ten minutes from the end of the game, I just went to bed with a book. I was sound asleep before Tim came in. He was up several times in the night. I slept through every last bit of it, which did not make me happy with myself. 

He was up when I woke up. I made him a spinach and swiss omelet with strawberries, bananas, cherries, and an orange. He ate it, laid down on the couch and is sleeping still. Probably the best thing for him. 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Shock

 we are at the medical center now, and shit got real in a hurry. Tim has had some ministrokes. It was a surprise. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Short Update

 Tim was better today, brighter, his speech was clearer and more understandable. He got some sleep, which I am sure helped a great deal.

They think he has C Diff, although the culture is not back amd so this is a hypothesis based on observation alone. His kidneys are not working well. He was pretty dehydrated. His blood pressure had the lowest numbers I've ever seen: Number ins the sixties over numbers in the forties. He has hand tremors. His feet twitch as well. 

He will be sent to a big city hospital to be assessed for neurological issues but that cannot happen until a bed opens up. This was our second day in the ER, waiting. It could be days...

I am tired. His son and I spent last night there. Tim fidgeted and grabbed at things. Unplugged things. Talked about water getting into the house. Crazy stuff. Nobody slept.

They have done a great amount of blood work on him. They are treating hims with strong antibiotics. for the white blood counts. They have him on an IV which is keeps his blood pressure numbers respectable. 

He seemed so much better today and I found myself feeling very optimistic. In my own mind, I had it worked out like so: Tim has been sick for weeks now. He is run down. He's had two rounds of antibiotics. That caused the C-diff. He began getting dehydrated, which led to the super low blood pressure. His kidney function slowed down, probably due to the dehdryation, but also not helped by the straw that broke the camel's back: That steroid shot he was given at the walk in clinic which raised his blood sugar.  Stick a fork in Tim. The guy was done.

Now you think along these lines and it allows you the comfort of thinking: Well, he's being hydrated. His BP is stabilized. His kidneys should start filling his bladder. They're treating the C-diff. The steroids should be leaving his system, which will sort out the blood sugar... It is all fixable, and look how much better he is doing! Oh. I was in a happy place for most of the day waiting in the ER for a bed in the big city. 

Tim's son went home for the day and got some sleep. This allowed me to come home tonight and sleep.. The kids have all be a great help in helping, everyone staying in touch, everyone doing their part. Friends reached out, everyone astonished that the man who never gets sick was well and truly sick.

Tim sounded more like himself. Even made a few jokes. He felt good enough to say he was ready to go home. He was with-it enough to understand that he was going to a big hospital with specialists. He was weak enough not to be able to put up much fuss about it. He recognized everyone today. His mind began to whir and click again. 

But...

When he was repeatedly asked the orientation questions, he stated that it was 2013, every single time. He fidgeted to the point that his daughter brought some fidget toys in to keep his hands off the medical wiring. Most telling, my sister stopped in after her shift. She's a corker, that one. Tim gets a kick out of her. "Who's this?" I asked him when my sister walked in. "Anna." he said in that strange flat voice. "Who's she married to, Tim?" He stuttered a bit but got that one right as well:  "David." he said in that flat voice. He played with his fidget toys and glanced at us as we talked, but added mothing to the conversation. He didn't laugh, as he usually does. When my sister went to give him a hug goodbye, I saw his eyes grown wide. He didn't expect that and he flinched. 

Nobody ever gets away from my sister with out a hug. Everyone knows that this is a fact. Tim used to know that too. 

Watching that interation, I knew that Tim was still not at all himself. 

I need to get some sleep. The plan is to get up early and head back. Hopefully by then, we will know more about the transfer. 

They replaced the stryker frame with a hospital bed just before I came home. Tim looked a lot more comfortable as he fidgeted in bed, his eyes taking in the flickering last moments of Tyre Nichols in a calm unbothered way. 

Right. 

The washer has stopped. I have laundry to toss in the dryer. I need to sleep. 


Thursday, January 26, 2023

E.R.

 We are at the hospital right now. This is so not good.

Late edit: we are waiting for a bed to open in a city hospital. He will be transported there as soon as they have an open bed. Been a long night.

Later edit: I came home to get coffee, a shower, packed up and then get William off to school. Then it will be back off to the hospital. He will be admitted to a hospital a little over an hour from here at some point. Today? Not even sure. 

Remember how yesterday's post ended? Tim looking at me and not talking? It turns out that he COULDN'T talk, something that wasn't realized until much later in the day because he went upstairs and put himself to bed and slept most of the day. 

He came down to sit on the couch looking rumpled and half awake. His daughter called, and I realized that he couldn't talk. He had a slow shuffling gait. I got him loaded and to the hospital where he was unable to remember my name, thought it was 1975, and couldn't identify a watch. It was awfully hard to wrap my head around all of it. 

He was whisked away quickly where it appears that despite initial appearances he hadn't had a stroke. 

They've done a bunch of tests and have no answers. 

His speech is clearer. He thinks it is 2014, so we're getting closer, I guess. 

Is it related to his long term sickness? My gut says that it has to be. It will be interesting to see what the tests say. 

It is now 5 AM. I've had my coffee. Time to get my shower. 

There's Got to be A Morning After...

 (muses) I wonder what happened to Maureen McGovern? Excuse me. 

(after a visit with Google) Well, she's recorded 25 albums in her life and she is a well known Broadway actress. in case you're wondering. She also, sadly, has Alzheimers but interestingly, she has been a long time advocate for music therapy for this population. 

Anyway.

I was good and mad at Tim yesterday. REEEALLY mad. So mad that I couldn't even bring myself to talk to him because I knew that I would yell my head off. It is rare that I get that frustrated with him, but this was one of those times. 

Looking at it head on, I know that what lies beneath all this anger is simple fear. You hear about it all the time. It's not nearly as bad as it was a couple years ago, but you still hear about people dying from severe respiratory symptoms, complications from Covid and RSV. 

Now, we know that Tim does not have Covid. (Not sure about the RSV, or even if he has been tested for it.) But...it is a long held concern of mine. He has had this cough since before Thanksgiving. What would happen if he got covid or RSV on top of whatever this is? (or both ~ my baby grandaughter got both simultaneously before she was three months old.)  So, privately, I worry. If I vocalize these concerns to Tim, he doesn't respond to them. He is not much of a worrier. 

So since before Thanksgiving, we have been having these little debates. 

"Tim, try rubbing Vicks on your chest." ("I don't like the smell of that" or "I don't like the feel of that.")

"Tim, try Mucinex D. It is supposed to loosen the chest congestion so you can cough it out." ("I don't like the taste of it.") 

I go out and find the Mucinex D and bring it home in pill form. The man refuses to take the full dose as prescribed by the packaging.)

I try suggest cough syrup before he goes to bed. He doesn't like the taste. If things get bad, he will go to the kitchen and get the cough syrup and take a swig. He doesn't take the full dose because he doesn't like the taste. 

"Let's try a vaporizer." (It builds up moisure on the windows.")

"You need to see a doctor." ("It's only a cold.") Later when it became obvious that this was no ordinary cold, the reply became "I think it is getting better." Except it didn't. The cough might ease off, but it has never gone away and it consistently returns.)

After days of arguing, he saw a doctor. I had called and made him an appointment.

After the antibiotic and MORE days of arguing, he saw the doctor again. I had called. It should be noted that they were going to order another round of antibiotics. I argued with THEM, saying, "I really think he needs to be seen. I am concerned about the rales. That was when they ordered a sputum culture and the second round of antibiotics. 

The nurse/doctor's wife called to say Tim needed to speak with the doctor about the lab results. When the doctor never called back, her response was "I spoke to your husband MYSELF yesterday." "You did," I agreed, "But you told him he needed to talk to the doctor." Long pause. "Did I?" The phone went on hold. She came back on line and was quite indignant over what she felt were confusing lab results. The doctor called back later and told him that the lab results showed nothing. 

Two months of this really was trying my patience. I had questions about those lab results and no one to ask. No way to get a second opinion since nobody is taking new patients right now. Having this background worry added to a pile of changes and worries going on in our lives right now, and you have a wife who was feeling rather plowed under. 

Not being a worrier, Tim was fine. 

We fast forward to yesterday. I'm tired. He's tired. He renegs on the visit to the walk in, we debate it in our understated way. All day we debate it, in our quiet way. 

And then he changes his mind. We go. Because he made this momentous decision at just the time when William was getting out of school, I wasn't there to get my questions answered, or to push for further testing. He walked out of that having a prescription for treatments that did not work.

I was mad. 

I was mad at his doctor. Mad at the waste of money. Mad at him

So I told him. And it was not in the quiet understated way he is used to. I raised my voice. I swore. I ranted. I did not drop it. We spent the night not speaking because it was better that way. We do not need to frighten William. We could hash it out while he was in school the following day.

I slept in another room. If he was choosing to cough all night, that was on him. There was no reason that I should lose sleep over his stubborness. 

(Side note: When I'm mad as hell, I rarely sleep well anyway, so it didn't really make much difference.)

This morning, we both sat on couches looking at each other from the opposite sides of the room. I posed a scenario to him. "Tim, say my car was not acting right and you wanted to have a closer look at it, and I said, "It's fine." I'd be behaving stupidly, don't you think? Because you know a lot more about cars than I do, and not deferring to your judgement in the situation doesn't make sense."

He nodded. 

"So," I continued. "Would you agree that while I don't have a medical degree, I'm a bit more knowledgeable about medical things?"

He nodded. 

"So why have you been fighting me every fucking step of the way for over two months? I feel like I'm dealing with a stubborn child. You won't follow label instructions, you argue every single suggestion I make, meanwhile, you're coughing nonstop and exhausting yourself and by extension, me."

He looked at me silently.

"Why?"

No response. 

Me: "Can you knock off the bullshit?"

He nods.

And that is as close as we are going to get to a detente. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Puh-IIIIIISSSSED...


 Last night was an awful night. As usual, Tim's coughing got better with the morning. 

I nudged him though. "When are you going to the walk-in clinic?"

Him: "Well, I'm not coughing

Me: (Incredulously) "But Tim, you will be tonight."

Him: "There's not sense going in if I'm not coughing." 

Me: "But it ALWAYS comes back at night!" 

Him: "But I'm not coughing now." 

I saw how it was going to go. He does that, and it drives me crazy. He gets an idea in his head, and he just keeps repeating his opinion over and over until I either get too frustrated to continue the conversation, or just quietly give up. 

Today it was the former. Several times, I brought it up. "You said you'd go to the clinic. You promised."

Him: "But I'm not coughing now." 

We had this conversation several times today. Sure as sheep, about 2 PM, he began to cough. After several minutes of this, I got irked. "I don't understand why you are being so stubborn about this. You need to be checked out!" (Disclaimer: I didn't sound nearly as polite as  this reads)

And finally, Tim says, "Okay. Let's go to the walk-in clinic." 

By then it is raining and snowing both, and I need to get William from school, and I am pissed about the delay. I take him to the clinic, drop him off and head back over to get William and then back over to wait with Tim. 

I had it all rehearsed. I was going to be polite, but firm. I had questions for the doctor. 

Except that I get there and HE HAS ALREADY BEEN SEEN! "What did they say?" I asked. And he said, "I got a steroid again, this time a shot, and I have to get a prescription of benzonatate. 

All the things that he's already done. All the things that did not work. 


I am so mad at him. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tuesday

 Tim's cough is back. Before he went to bed, I said, "Are you going to go to the walk-in clinic tomorrow?" Without argument, he said, "Yes." 

Not sure that is a good sign or a bad sign. 

I just know that it does him no good to go back to his own doctor. Treating the symptoms is not, in this case, solving the problem. 

We are supposed to get a winter storm starting at 4 AM, and lasting through out the day. It will be interesting. It seems like the more hype a storm gets, the more likely that it is to fizzle out. William is waiting hopefully for a school cancellation.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Tonight

 Everyone else has gone to bed.

It was not the greatest day, really. William got ornery. Of course it was over electronics. We explained it to him again. At some point, I imagine that he'll figure out that he's not getting his way on this. It seemed to be okay by the time he headed upstairs to bed. 

It's hard to tell if Tim is doing better. He's done with the steroids and they really wreaked havoc on him. He coughed more than usual today, and I watched this with a sinking feeling. He's exhausted. The medication kept him up at night, and he's been on it for a week. He headed upstairs not long after William. He was pretty tired. 

I puttered around. 

I went out to the kitchen to dish up Houdini's catfood. I always talk to him while I'm getting things ready. Normally, he watches me intently from his bed. I heat up his dinner for 10 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off, blabbing away, and that take it over to his eating place. He tolerates some petting, grants a loud purr. I shut off the light and leave the room, and at some point, he eats when the house is quiet and dark. 

Tonight though, it was different. He got out of bed and came to where I was dishing up his dinner. He followed me over to the microwave. When I carried his little dish over to his feeding station, he walked along. At that point, I did look at him directly, and called him quietly. He stepped forward with a little questioning mew. 

I didn't try to pet him, but it was awfully nice to see him moving about instead of hiding. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Drawn In

 A commenter, Pixie, left a comment that she always wanted to be able to draw. That made me laugh. If you had asked me to draw something 15 years ago, I would have told you I couldn't. I didn't know how to draw. 

But...along came William. Keeping a small boy entertained is hard work and sometimes I'd just want to sit down a while. He loved books, so we began to read together curled up on the couch. I became rather a connoisseur of children's books. A good children's book had a good story line. A great children's book had a good story line AND great illustrations. William took a special shine to the pictures that went along with the stories. 

It is hard not to revisit your own childhood when you are seeing the world through the eyes of a the very young. Something that I remembered very vividly is how much I used to love watching Captain Kangaroo. 



Captain Kangarro, Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear, the mischievious Mr. Moose and the ping pong balls, Grandfather Clock, sly Bunny Rabbit and his tricks to get carrots. I also remembered the Magic Drawing Board and how mesmerizing it was to watch the picture take shape before my very eyes as soothing music played. Bali Ha'i, for example, as Magic Drawing Board sketched a tropical paradise.

Anyway...

One day, after reading a book, on a whim, with William curled up on my lap, I got a tablet and I began to drawn. It was Splat the Cat, if you're interested, this very image. 



And lo, it was good. Recognizable. William loved watching him take shape.  We discussed the colors being added. It immediately went on the refrigerator along with all of his masterpieces and he pointed it out to people who came to the house with the same pride I pointed out his work. Soon it became a habit that when a story was completed, we'd draw a picture from what we had read.

I discovered something new about myself. 

I was a pretty good drawer. 

(Well. At least in William's eyes)

William disovered something new about himself. 

He was a pretty good drawer. 

(Well. At least in Grandma's eyes)

And that's the story of how we were drawn in. 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Keeping Him Busy.

One of the things that we've been trying to wean William from is his love of 'gaming'. It's quite an addiction with him and left to his own devices (no pun intended) he would be on a device for hours at a time. He has a one hour time limit. He can read to earn a bonus hour on weekends. He pushes back. He complains that he's 'bored!' or  'I don't have anything to do!" 

Now, he has plenty of things that he could be doing. He doesn't have to be bored. But when I begin to list things off that he could do, the response is invariably, "I don't feel like doing that." By design, it leads us right back to having time on his tablet. It gets exhausting really. 

This morning, he got up and accomplished his list of morning chores. Then he headed straight to his tablet for his hour. 

When his hour was up, I set him to a task. He likes to draw little cartoons and he's really quite good at it. The previous afternoon, I skyped with my grandaughter and I read her a book that I had picked up. 



It is a gentle story about a little mouse who wakes up when a breeze tickles his ear. It sets off a chain of events that winds up waking up all creatures great and small. She loved the pictures and the simple story. I told her that the book was going in an envelope to be mailed out to her, and she shouted "YAY!"

She was so excited about it that I got the idea. I made up a short little story about a fly who lands on a little girl's nose while she's sleeping, which causes her to awake with an 'EEK!' which sets the dog to barking, which makes her baby sister wake up and begin to cry, which makes her mama jump out of bed to run down the hall calling reassurances, and her father falls out of bed with a bump and a thud and yells at the dog, who gets put outside. The lilttle fly sneaks out as well. I handed the little pamphlet to William to read and asked him if he thought he could illustrate it. He spent the rest of the morning creating his 'concept drawings' (his words, which made me laugh). We made a cover for it (written by Grandma, Illustrated by William.) He took the utmost care. The illustrations were adorable. 

It certainly made the morning go by and there was no talk about his tablet. 

Grandpa had promised him a trip to Burger King as a treat for lunch. I don't need fast food, so I stayed home to start a load of laundry and put the kitchen ro rights. 

When they got back, before the word 'tablet' or 'bored' could even be uttered, I said from the sink, "William, I need you to proof some yeast for me so that we can bake some bread." He complained a little. "I don't even know how to do that!" I said, "Well, you can listen and I'll tell you."

It wasn't long until he was measuring out the water, testing the temperature, adding the sugar and the yeast. He was excited to see it begin to foam. He measured the flour out and put the dough hook on the mixer. There was no talk about being bored. 

While we were waiting for the rise to complete, we sat down at the kitchen table and read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter. 

We got up to punch down the dough, give it another knead before putting the round loaf on the baking sheet. He used the kitchen scissors to make the x in the top of the loaf. 

He wandered off to read the book he was reading for an hour so that he could have his extra hour of tablet time. Klawde is a funny book and I could hear him cackling at the warlord cat. 

He did get his tablet time after supper and when it was over he did not argue. He put it on the charger, got out his baking clay and made a creature that he had read about. 

While it baked in the oven, he played with an especially friendly Houdini. 

It felt like a successful day.

All I have to do is duplicate it tomorrow.

Thinking

 Today we took a quick run north of the border: (To us, that's New York state.) We can buy milk up there for $2.38 a gallon which is half the price of getting it here. We also like to stop at a produce store to pick up a 40 pound box bananas for the Amish. It's always good to eyeball what they have on sale as well. Today I found broccoli crowns for 99 cents a pound. The best part was that they cut off all the stems so that all you're paying for is the edible part. Since I had a turkey carcass boiling down at home, I quickly decided that it was destined to become cream of broccoli soup.

But the thing is that I walked into the store, Tim behind me. I can be an oblivious sort, esp. when I'm scanning the place for specials. I noticed a woman but it didn't register really, just a peripheral observation, 'gray haired lady, pink dress, slightly left', and I turned right and headed on. Behind me I heard Tim say 'hello', and my brain whirred, and it clicked. 

I had walked right past my own sister. It was the second time in over 11 years that we had crossed paths. 

There was a split moment where I felt as if I should turn around, but she ignored Tim. I kept my face neutral and continued on. 

It's one of those things that can never be explained, and it is pointless to try, but I've been thinking all night about the twists and turns of families, about broken things which will never be mended. 


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Ladies Day


 This morning, Tim was up when the alarm went off. "You sleep in today, I'll get William off to school." 

I took him up on the offer and rolled back over. I went to bed late for a stupid reason: Cara was born at 4:15 am, and so I sat up until 11:15, which was 4:15 her time to wish her a happy birthday right on the very dot. I went upstairs to bed right after that. However, I woke up in the dark with...to...well...never mind what I was doing, but while I was doing it, I happened to look at the clock, and it was 4:15 on the dot! That made me laugh, and I had to message Cara to let her know...right after I got done doing what I was doing. 

So, anyways, I headed back to bed and I was thinking in the dark. Remembering. Asking myself the questions that I always ask myself. Eventually, I did fall back asleep, but it took a while. 

So...when Tim told me to sleep in, I let him.

It was nice to have a leisurely wake up. I had my morning coffee while visiting with the birthday girl via skype. We talked for an hour and a half. It's the next best thing to being there, I suppose. 

Once up, I was getting dressed and it was out the door. I was driving Mattie and her mother in law to another Amish enclave about an hour away. An interesting thing about the Amish that you might not realize is that most of them have home businesses. Levi has his saw mill, of course, and Mattie sells a brand of supplements popular among the Amish. Her mother in law has her own business. She is commissioned by 'the English' (non Amish) to make quilts. She also sells 'tinctures', which seem to be homepathic medications. Other Amish have stores that sell bulk foods. Custom sheds (which are delivered, fully built on a flat bed truck). There are places that make furniture, both in wood and poly-wood. Eggs. Homemade butter, baked goods, candy, little shops virtually everywhere. You just have to know where they are.  In the summer, they do a brisk business selling produce.  

The community we were headed to was even bigger. We've been there before. Levi needed a part for his saw mill, and there is an Amish machine shop in this community. Grandma rode along, because she needed a specific color of fabric for a quilt, and she wondered if I would mind stopping at a couple fabric stores. "Nope, I answered, "as long as you don't mind stopping at the cheese store." (They didn't.) "That's great! I said, "because I was stopping anyway. I was just being polite." We stopped at another Amish "store". This one sold footware. Probably 20 different brands of work boots were advertised on the side of the building. I recognized Tim's 'brand', and was pleased to hear that they welcome der English as well as der Amish.

It was such a nice day, visiting quietly in the car as we drove through the heavy rain and passed by flooded fields and streams completely over their banks. We went from 'store' to 'store' on their errands. It amazes me how they keep track of where they all are. At one point, we passed by an antique store that had an equal amount of buggies and cars parked in their parking lot, something very interesting to everyone. They don't buy antique furniture. They make their own in the time honored style of the antiques that the rest of the world is on the hunt for. They marveled at those buggies as that shop. Mattie said, "People must not have anything better to do on this rainy day." I dryly said, "Well, I'm sure glad we're smarter than that," and we all had a good laugh over that. 

I got home to make a stirfry for supper. William and Tim stood at the table, sampling the cheeses that I'd gotten, chattering while I cut the vegetables. Today was a nice day, a nice break from the plodding January days. I don't often get a day out like that, and it felt great.

Funny thing about that cat. Once Houdini was hauled upstairs by the scruff of his neck and deposited in his bed, he's been quite cheerful, playing with his toys, purring, eating happily. He doesn't seem to mind us at all and even gets up to approach William and see what he's up to. Yet...if the basement door is left open, he'll be gone in a flash. He will stay hidden down there for a couple days, refusing to come up for food or water. 

He's a very strange cat. 

It was sad to hear about the death of David Crosby. He was a genius. And this music really was a staple of my teenage years.   




Have you ever heard such beautiful harmony? 


How young they were! As we all were, I guess. 


Well...now I've done it...I'm in a mood.

If you're in a mood, here's an album. 


and another.

Neil Young has been added to the group at this point.



Funny. 
Even after 50 years, when one song was ending, 
I knew which song was next. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Coughing, Kids, Cats

 It was a quiet day. Tim slept for a great deal of it, and I think that he's the better for it. The bad news is that it is bedtime, and he's ~ again! ~ coughing like crazy. 

I hate this. 

He says it's not as bad as it was. He would say that though. It is how he is. I can't really say anything because I'm kind of the same way myself. We'll see what happens tonight and argue it through tomorrow. Deja vu all over again. (and yes. I know. It's a joke.)

By the time that you read this, it will be my youngest daughter's birthday. 

We raise them to be happy in their own chosen paths. I'm glad for her happy life in a country she loves, with a job she enjoys, a loving (and beloved) husband, a pretty home, and her cat. 

But...still, in quiet moments, I sit and I remember. I miss her. 

The cat is out of the basement. He's in his bed. He's thinking too. He didn't miss us in the least, although he purrs when I talk to him. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Deja Vu.

 Tim's cough has never gone away, but last night, it started in earnest once again. This has been going on for over two months now. He has had two rounds of antibiotic, neither of which helped in the least. Benzonatate does not work. He has junk in his lungs and he needs to rid his body of that. Last night, I lay in bed, listening to him wheeze with every breath and it freaked me the hell out. Truly. 

So this morning, I got up and called my own doctor's office to see if there was any way that they could see him so that we could get a second opinion on this.The disheartening response was that they couldn't. There are so many sick people that they simply cannot accept new patients. 

I told him firmly, "You need to call your doctor's office again. This is insanity, and it is really starting to scare me." 

He made disparaging sounds. I said, "That's it!  I'm going with you. I bet you're going in there with the same attitude you're giving me now, that this is nothing, no big deal. This is bullshit."

He looked a little surprised. 

"I'm serious Tim. I'm tired of worrying about this. You've been sick for weeks now. What would happen if you DID get covid or RSV on top of whatever the hell this is? I'm making you another appointment and I'm going in with you. " 

My outrage caused him to tell me that I wasn't going with him and he'd make his own appointment. He scarcely slept at all last night and fell asleep waiting for his doctor's office to open. At the stroke of 8:30, I woke him up and gave him the phone. 

He did make his own appointment. He went by himself. The doctor felt that a chest x-ray would show nothing and ordered steroids for him. 

I hope this works because, quite honestly, I don't even know what we do next. But I did make him barbecued baby back spare ribs for supper tonight, a reward for making that doctor's appointment. 

The good news is that Cara and Colin received their package today. 

The bad news is that the stupid cat is hiding in the basement again. I don't even know why. We played with him for probably about an hour.  He was purring and taking treats from our hands and stretching himself out to be petted. As far as I knew, I had a happy cat when I went to bed last night. The basement door must have been left slightly ajar, and voila~! Once again, Houdini has pulled his disappearing act. 



Forgive the F-bomb. I am sure that there is a way to cut it from the comic, but I'm tired. When your husband is up coughing all night, you're up a lot as well. 

Hmmmm. Maybe I now understand why Houdini is in the basement. 



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Off Track

 I boxed up Colin and Cara's Christmas to send to them. It wasn't all that much really. I'd purposely gotten them things that would be easily stuffed into their suitcases for their return home. Her birthday is this month as well. 

I shipped the package out on January 4th, Priority. 

The tracking information has showed the package as being in Chicago since January 7th. No updates. Day after day. Cara said that she could see nothing at all from her end, as if the package had never been shipped. 

I contacted the customer service number for the post office and got a bot. I was instructed to enter my tracking number. I did. The recording kept prompting me to put in the tracking number. On the third time, I was abruptly told that they were "hanging up to help other customers. Goodbye."

So, back on line I went. I tried to file an enquiry on line. It rejected my tracking number as invalid.  It wasn't. 

I went to the post office and stood in line with my receipts and tracking information. When it was my turn, I explained that I'd sent out a package 10 days ago, blah, blah, blah, etc. etc. He typed the number into his computer and turned the screen to me. 

"It's arrived in Heathrow." 

That's good news, but quite seriously, I've never been unable to track a package before. The fact that their customer service, both online and on the phone, are not working either is frustrating. 

(Latest update now shows that the tracking number has not yet been entered into the system!)


Saturday, January 14, 2023

The sleep over.

 William had a sleepover. He's nearly 12 and it is the first time that he's ever been able to have a friend over. It was a big deal to him and admittedly, he is inexperienced at being 'the host'. I went into it understanding this. 

To compensate for that, I loosely planned Friday night. I picked him and his friend after school, and brought them home. I had pizza dough made. I had chopped up mushrooms, onions, peppers. cooked up some italian sausage, had a bag of pepperoni and even bacon in case we had a carnivore in the crowd. I figured that the boys could make their own pizzas, stretching the dough and deciding on their toppings. There was a cake for desert. 

After supper, the boys were headed to the roller rink, something that is relatively new to William but he enjoys quite a bit. They had two hours of unsupervised time with other kids from school. 

I also left plenty of unstructured time for just goofing around. 

Predictably, during that unstructured time, they each spent a lot of time playing video games. 

William's screen time is limited here, but hey, it's Friday night, his friend is here. I relaxed and went with the flow. They seemed to have a great time, and listening to his friend talk, I knew that William would never spend the night at his house. His father calls him 'a queer.' 

I mean, who does that to a 12 year old boy? It sounds like dad also spends a great deal of time playing video games on a 70 inch television. I listened to the boy chatter, keeping my thoughts to myself. 

After roller skating, they were in high spirits on the way home in the car. There were some girls there that were annoying. They both agreed on that. "So how did you handle that?" I asked. William answered, "We started barking at them."

"Hmmmmm," I said. "Sounds like they were not the only annoying ones at the roller rink tonight." 

They came home, grabbed water and headed right upstairs to William's room. I went up an hour and a half later to start directing them to get ready for bed. Much to my surprise, they were already in their beds, screens flickering. 

I did not like that. 

This morning, I got up. Pancakes, sausage, and eggs for breakfast. (I know, I know! TWO EGGS! I'm a wild and crazy gal.) Much to my surprise, William was downstairs sitting on the couch. I asked about his friend. 

"I'm not sure if he's awake." 

"Well, William...." It was 10AM, so I headed upstairs. William's door was open and the boy lay in his bed playing a game on his phone.

"It's time to get up now," I said. "Why don't you gather up your stuff and after breakfast, we'll run you home." 

Later, I talked to William about it, how it is rude to be at someone's house and ignore them. I also pointed out the rights and responsibilities of a host that he might have missed.

We also had a talk about the fact that we couldn't let him spend the night at his friend's house. 

"Why?" William asked, a little surprised. "His mother is very nice." 

I agreed with him but I pointed out that his father called him 'queer'. "That's pretty awful," I said. "Who talks like that to a child? Especially their own?" 

I was a little shocked to hear William say, "Queer just means wierd." 

"William, his father is calling him a faggot." When I walk to the school, I hear the taunts the boys toss at each other. His mouth dropped open and his eyes got wide. He knows that word.

I said, "If I heard an adult call you that, I'd be on their ass like a big dog. (At this, William let loose with a laugh.) Number one, in this house, being gay is not an insult. It's a fact of life. Number two,  sex  is between two people. It is not anybody else's business. Number three, there is no reason for people to make a child feel badly about themselves. If a mom doesn't get involved, she's either afraid of the dad, or she sees nothing wrong with it. The father is a bully."

William digested this. "I feel sorry for him." 

"I know you do. I do too. You can have another sleep over, but maybe invite another kid. If you are asked why, simply tell him that it is bad manners for a guest to ignore everyone and play games on his phone. I don't think he knows that."

William was quiet.

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. But it was obvious that you both were not interested in doing anything this morning. He could play his games at home. We've got things we can do."

William remained quiet. 

"I hope you had a good time last night, though." 

William said, "We both had fun. I need to do roller skating more often."

I apologized again if he was embarrassed. 

"I wasn't," he said. "It's okay." 

Is this how kids are these days?


Friday, January 13, 2023

Step by slooooooow step.

Houdini has begun to sit on the rug in the front hall and watch us through the french door glass. He will run for his bed if anyone, say, heads for the bathroom, or out into the kitchen, but just the fact that he's begun to study us is a good sign. 

Today, we all held our breath as one nervous cat took his first steps into the livingroom where we were all sprawled. He looked around carefully but seemed most fascinated by the flickering pictures on the television. He got spooked and bolted once, but slowly, cautiously, re-entered the room. He sat down to study the flickering television once again. 

William is definitely 'his person'. I fed him tonight and William sat down beside him while he ate. When he was done eating he walked over to where William was sitting on the floor and sniffed him curiously. 

Last night, Tim began coughing in the night (two MONTHS of this!) and came down stairs to try sleeping on the couch. In the night, he saw one small cat walk purposefully through the livingroom and go out to the office to arrange himself in front of the gas heater. 

He's still plenty jumpy, but he seems to be getting past this. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Egg-asperating

 I have watched the price of eggs go up, but they've been holding pretty steady at $4.11 a dozen. Imagine my surprise to make a quick stop into Aldi and see that in less than a week, the price had gone up 88 cents, to $4.99. 

Tim and I gawked.

Now, Ms. Moon mentioned that eggs were $6.00 a dozen in her neck of the woods. That was a shock. 50 cents an egg, so I guess that I don't really have anything to really complain about. 

Except...two glass doors down from the $4.99 every day white eggs, there were the 'fancy' eggs. Brown eggs. The pasture raised, free range eggs. The pricey stuff. They were $4.19 a dozen.

What are a dozen eggs running for in your corner of the world?

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Human bean.

I was making a new meat loaf recipe which involved chiles and salsa, so I decided to make black beans and rice to go with. Both were from new recipes. 

Puttering in the kitchen is a nice way for me to fret in a productive way. 

I do fret a lot. When I fret, I have a tendency to doubt myself, second guess myself, judge myself harshly, take responsibility for things that are not within my control....it's a snowball effect, and once I get on a roll, man, I can wind up feeling pretty bad about myself. That's what I was doing today: whipping up two new recipes while beating myself up. 

Don't tell me that I can't multitask. 

I cooked the rice. I cooked the black beans. I assembled the meatloaf. I was trying to get as much of the meal prepartion out of the way as I could because Tim and I had a project. He was picking up two tons of gravel. We already had the landscape paper. We were going to make a parking spot for one of the tenants so that she didn't have to park on the street.

As I assembled the seasonings, one thing that I noticed is that they called for me to use the oregano, cumin, garlic, lime and chile with a pretty heavy hand, way more spice than I was accustomed to using.  Boy, the kitchen smelled great. 

As I slipped the meatloaf into the fridge to be popped in the oven later, the phone rang. 

With a sinking feeling, I went to get it. 

A woman asked cautiously, "Debby?"

I said, "Yes." 

Turned out it was a woman I knew from years ago. She was packing her Christmas up. She had saved a number of my Christmas columns and she unpacked them every year with her decorations, and reread them throughout the holiday season. Today, she was packing everything back up and was reading through them once again. She wanted to tell me that she loved them still. 

What a nice thing to hear, especially when you're at the top of your own shit list. 

The amazing thing was that the same thing had happened yesterday: Someone mentioned that his wife had saved a some of my columns about cancer and that they were encouraging while she dealt with her cancer. 

It was a nice thing to hear. A nice thing to say.

But the voice on the phone went on. It was a great coincidence, but she was providing health care in one of the houses that we had flipped. We had bought a drug dealer's house, gutted it and put it all back together again. This was probably ten or twelve years ago. 

I listened to the voice. She loved the kitchen. "It was the most beautiful kitchen she'd ever seen and the window over the sink made everything so bright." As she chattered on, I smiled to myself. Tim and I had gone at it hammer and tongs about that kitchen. He had a design in mind. I thought it was impractical. I had another design in mind. We debated as I removed old floor tile with a blow torch. He selected a paint color I thought looked AWFUL. We argued about the counters, the appliances, the layout. Ugh. I got the layout that I wanted, so I made my peace with the color. In the end, we had been pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

We replaced the old pink bathroom tub, toilet, sink. (We replaced 3 bathrooms in all.) We took the basement back to the studs and turned it into a spacious family room with a kitchenette for snack making, with a minifridge and microwave. We paneled it with a whitewashed, heavy grained barn siding which made it all so much brighter and spacious looking. We put in new carpeting, painted every room. The hardwood floors were sanded down, refinished and sealed. 

I thought of all the work we had done on that house, in the end all worth it. It sold quickly. 

The voice went on and on, about how much the house meant to the people who bought it from us. How much she loved the house. How much my columns meant to her even after all these years. 

By the time that we hung up, my self critical mood had shifted a bit. 

It sounds so very corny, but today, my beans and rice needed more spice. My life needed a jolt of sweetness. Both recipes got tweaked today. It felt good to get something right.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Lovely People

A couple days ago, a facebook acquaintance posted this video. I'm a sap. I was weeping into my morning coffee. The people are so lovely, aren't they?

There are so many un-lovely things happening in the world right now, but in the midst of all that, there is loveliness. 

Today, a professional photographer sat down with me for two hours and taught me about my camera. Two hours, and he refused payment. I took a loaf of zucchini bread anyway. 

I'm really touched by that generosity of spirit. 

It reminds me, I suppose, that all of us are called to be loveliness in these times. We can all impart some kindness to our corners of the world. 

Monday, January 9, 2023

That Darn Cat

 Friday night, I couldn't sleep so I got up to fret a bit. Now, when I fret, I do things, so I went down to the basement to start a load of laundry and came back upstairs.

I. FORGOT. TO. CLOSE. THE. STUPID. BASEMENT. DOOR.

Saturday morning, I was awakened by Tim. "Well, that damn cat is down in the basement again. You left the door open."

I covered my head with the pillow. 

The last time Houdini got himself into the basement, he didn't come up. After three weeks, we actually had to try to catch him. Eventually he bolted up the stairs and we came up after him and shut the door to the basement. It was traumatic for him and I felt awful about it, but he would have happily stayed down there forever. 

I got up and went downstairs. "Well, we're not chasing him up again. He just started to settle down and to get playful. He knows where his food is and if he wants fed, he's going to have to come upstairs. If he doesn't come up to eat today, I feel bad about it, but we're shutting him downstairs over night. He needs to come up while we are here so that we can shut that basement door." 

Tim agreed. 

While we were out shopping for the sofa, the basement door was kept closed. When we got home, William saw the closed door and was outraged. "We can't close that door! Houdini is in the basement! He'll be trapped down there! Do you think he's going to knock on the door when he wants us to open it?!!!" He was in a state as he opened the door. 

I explained what we were trying to do. William thought it was mean. I said that I thought it was a lot less mean than chasing him around the basement. 

Here's the interesting thing. Houdini came strolling out of the basement, cool as a cucumber. He walked over to get some food. William simply shut the door. Unperturbed, Houdini continued to eat. 



Not wanting to frighten him, William left him be and headed upstairs to call his Uncle Dylan.

Here's the best part. When Houdini was finished eating, he walked out of the kitchen and into the hall. He walked to the back of the house. He walked back through to the front, looking around (maybe trying to find William?) He curled up on the rug and watched us through the french doors. Tim talked to him. 

William finished talking to his Uncle Dylan and came downstairs. He played with Houdini for a while. Houdini played right back. 

I got up and went out to the kitchen and gave him his nightly helping of canned catfood, heated up in the microwave. He purred and purred and stretched out his head for a scritch under his chin. 

If I didn't know better, I'd say he missed us. Or William, anyway.


Saturday, January 7, 2023

Sofa, so good.

 Today, we got up and went shopping for a sofa. We knew we wanted something to coordinate with the loveseat. That's it. The bar was set pretty low there and we figured we would be done with it and on our way home in no time. 

We walked into the first store. A helpful woman rushed up to ask us what we were looking for. 

"A sofa," we answered. 

She began to ask questions about the style. "Right now, we're just browsing to see what you have. We'll know if you've got what we want as soon as we see it."

She laughed and said, "Let me know if you have any questions." 

We walked through the displays and we both stopped dead in our tracks. As I live and breathe, there was our sofa. It was offered in the same color as the loveseat. It had the same cushions. We sat down on it and it was comfortable. We both looked at each other and said, "This will work." 

Tim wanted to look around though  Our ever over-helpful woman came right back up to us to tell us that they had a special credit offer going on, 12 months, no interest. We thanked her and told her that we don't do credit. 

About that time, Tim found a couch that he really, really liked. It had power recliners. "Sit on this," he said. It was very comfortable. Being the practical one, I pointed out that it didn't at all match what we had. 

"So?" he asked. I pointed out to him that really I had a 'thing' about matching furniture. He got up and walked around it. "I like it," he said. 

*Sigh* 

I walked away from him for a minute. I saw an evidently high position employee walk out of the office and make a hand motion to the ever over-helpful woman, indicating my husband and directing her that way. 

Things like that annoy me. We were browsing. We always shop around. We made that clear during the first conversation and I hate feeling pressured. I walked out to the car. 

Eventually, Tim realized I wasn't there and he came out too. We discussed it in the car on the way to the next store. Tim is very concerned about taxes this year. We are retired now and we don't know how that is all going to shake out. We discussed whether we should be spending a big chunk of money right now. 

At the next store, we did find a nice set that I thought was very comfortable. So did Tim. It was also being closed out and so it was a very good deal. We could get both the couch and loveseat at those prices. We debated on the color, but as it turned out, they only had the loveseat in one color, the couch in another. They did not match.

We had a bite to eat while we pondered the whole thing. 

After lunch, we had one more store to go to. Raymour and Flannigan was priced way out of our league. As Tim said, "They've got comparable furniture at the first store, and we can get it there at half the price." 

"Well," I said, "sounds like we know which store we're buying from." 

We sat in the car and discussed it for a while. I said, "I guess my take on it is that I know you really loved the other couch. If you get that, know we'll have a second expenditure in a couple months, because I'm going to really want something that matches: either a couple reliners, or a loveseat. I also know you're worried about taxes." 

Tim said, "Well, two recliners would be a lot pricier than the loveseat."

I said, "I'd be happy with a loveseat. But I like my furniture to match. Or...we could just get the first sofa we looked at. It will match with what we've already got. We won't have to worry about replacing the loveseat any time soon, and if we do decide to go in and replace the whole outfit with your dream outfit, we can do that next year."

He thought about it. "The first couch does tick all the boxes, doesn't it?" 

"Will you be disappointed if you don't get the other couch?" 

"No," he said. "The first couch is a good price, it's comfortable, and I like the idea of being able to hold off on replacing the loveseat. It's the practical thing." 

I said it again. "We can revisit the idea of switching out to the set you like next year without feeling like we're breaking the bank." 

I could tell that he liked that idea. I think he was also getting tired of looking at furniture. 

When we walked back in the door, the ever over-helpful woman rushed up to us and we told her what we'd decided. 

"You decided not to get the power recliner?" she said in a disappointed way. 

Late Edit: I did not realize that the term 'loveseat' would be an unfamiliar word. It simply means a smaller couch that is meant to seat two. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Things that Make Me Say 'Huh..."

 Last Saturday, we got a call from our bank. They had noticed someone from Ireland had placed a charge on my card. Was it me? (Answer: no.) Had I authorized someone to use my card? (Answer: No.) 

We do not use that card on line. How did it get clear over there? 

The college killings in Moscow, Idaho are creepy, but  I have a question: Two roommates survived the attack. One of them heard one of the victims say, "There's someone in here." She heard a thump. She heard a dog barking. She hear a victim crying, and a man's voice say, "It's okay. I'm going to help you."  She opened her bedroom door to see what was going on and saw a masked man dressed in black she did not recognize walking towards her. She watched him pass by in shock and then went into her bedroom and locked the door.  The first 911 call came in seven hours later. 

Um...why would a masked man dressed all in black in her home not have warranted an immediate emergency call? 

Prince Harry claims to have killed 25 Taliban soldiers in battle. When you're in the heat of battle, how do you know whether it was your bullet or someone else's that actually killed someone? It would seem to me that your adrenalin would be pumping, your heart would be pounding, you'd be falling back on training and seeing your own life flash before your eyes...and yet you've got the presence of mind to mentally mark another kill on your tally sheet? 

It just doesn't ring true to me. One of many things that don't ring true to me. 

George Santos and his resume: 

           ~He lied about his educational qualifications, claiming schools he never went to. 

           ~He claimed he held jobs that he never held. 

           ~ He claimed his mother was working in an office on 9-11. She survived the initial attack, but died of the cancer she contracted from the dust and smoke in the air several years later.

           ~He posted very racist photographs, and when called out on it, claimed to be half-black.

           ~He claimed multiple times to be Jewish, with his grandparents both fleeing the holocaust, but when he was called out on that, he claimed that he'd been misunderstood and that he was saying he was 'Jew-ish'. 

How on earth doesa person think he is going to publically make all these claims and no one will ever realize he's lying? And what about the family he DOES have? He did not think some of them would be looking around wondering aloud, "What the heck is George running on about now?" In addition to being Jew-ish, I think the man is fool-ish. 

Crazy times we are living in. 

It is blowing and snowy today. 

Houdini was perched on a kitchen chair pushed under the table. He's turning out to be quite a character. 



Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Houdini picture for Bovey Belle


 This is a picture of Houdini shortly after we brought him home from the vet. You will note that he is sitting on my lap. He was crated initially (don't feel sorry for him. It was a very large dog crate, 3 feet wide, five feet long,  two doors. We put his bed inside a box so he had a safe place to retreat to when life got too people-y for him.) Every night, I took him out of his cage and held him on my lap and fed him kitty treats and petted him. I figured that he would associate me with warm cuddles and tasty nibbles. 

I thought wrong. 

Right after this picture, he leaped up and bolted. William had left the basement door ajar and quick as a wink, Houdini was in the basement. 

Initially, I thought that it was okay for him to be down there. He had to come upstairs to eat. I figured he'd make his peace with us. He didn't. After 3 weeks, the decision was made to bring him upstairs. This was very much against his wishes. 

He ran up the stairs to get away from Tim and I. We followed him into the kitchen and closed the basement door. He's been living in the kitchen for over three weeks now. I no longer try to hold him. We just make a point of feeding him kitty treats every time we pass his bed. He gets a pet or a scritch under his chin. His bed is in a tight corner between the hoosier cupboard and the wall. At Christmas time, I just put a screen up between his corner and the rest of the kitchen, so that he would feel safe. 

The toys seemed to be just what the doctor (vet?) ordered. He seemed very cheerful today. At one point, when I went to give him his treat, he reached out his paw and touched my hand, sniffing curiously. 

I haven't taken any pictures of him recently, because his corner is dark, and I don't want the flash to scare him. I'll wait until he starts venturing out more. 

It was a quiet day. I mailed Cara and Colin's Christmas out to them today. which was a spot of happy. I came home and baked a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies and fretted about things that I can't change. 

In the end, turned out that what I needed an hour and a half long phone call with my sister. It helped.

  



We have a lot in common, including our sense of humor. 
It felt good to laugh.

Paaaaarty!

 Yesterday, I stopped in to buy a bag of litter. I noticed a display of sparkley cat toys. Now. Houdini has a boa type toy that we've stuck the handle into a drawer and shut it up leaving it to dangle enticingly. Sometime, you might walk into the kitchen and see a paw withdrawing from it, going back under the hoosier, but other than that, and the sock love, I've not really seen much sign that he's a playful cat. 

Looking at the display though, I wondered. I've never seen a cat that can resist chasing after something, so I picked up a few things. Before bed, I scattered them around the kitchen, hoping to pique his attention. I also set down a bowl of heated kibble for him. Then I went to bed. 

This morning I opened the kitchen door and everything was catty-wumpus....scatter rugs were scattered everywhere. One of the toys had glittery pompoms and feathers. 'Had' is the operative word. Shoes knocked assunder, A bowl had been knocked, spilling kibble on the floor. Toys were everywhere. Kitty chaos had very obviously reigned surpreme in the night. Made me laugh. 

I set everything back to rights and gave him a scritch under his chin and a couple kitty treats. He purred and he was still purring loudly as I sat there drinking my morning coffee. At one point, he stood up and peeked around the corner, watching me carefully. I spoke to him and very slowly, he retreated back to his bed between the wall and the hoosier. 

The little critter is sorting it out. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Putting things where they belong

 Monday, the tree got taken down. William helped me, and we packed away the ornaments. He heard the story of each of the ornaments once again, who they came from, when I got them, why they are special to his grandpa, or to me, or to both of us. A Christmas ornament means nothing unless the backstory is known. 

After the ornaments were taken down, we took the crystal garland that looks like ice droplets down. Then the bubble lights came down and he heard the story of how his grandpa so loved bubble lights when he was a child, but his family was too poor to waste money on things like that. I told him William how I had found the bubble light candelabra and how grandpa had come in cold and frozen from hunting to a hot bowl of soup, and how he just watched the bubble lights and drank his soup while remembering how badly he had wanted them when he was a child. That touched me so much that I found two strands of them for the tree. They are one of his grandpa's favorite things. 

Then the regular lights came down and were carefully coiled up. The circular tree skirt was folded in half, and a coil of lights placed between the two layers. It was folded into quarters, and another coil of lights was placed between the layers. One more fold, and the last coil of lights went between that layer. The tree skirt was now a nice little slice of pie shaped package.

We hauled the boxes of things up to the second floor landing. Under the banjo clock there is an old camelback trunk. It perfectly holds all the decorations. The top tray perfectly holds all the cards, gift bags, gift boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons. Once the lid is shut, Christmas is done for the year. The only thing left was to haul the tree to the third floor to be stored for another year. 

We began vacuuming and moving the furniture back to where it belongs. I had brought down an antique rocker from the spare bedroom we are using now for extra seating during the holidays. As we were hauling it back up the stairs, I asked William if he'd like a rocker for his room. I was surprised when he got quite enthusiastic about it. We carried it into his room and I set it down. 

"I know right where I want this to be!" he said, and he slid it over in front of his fireplace with the gas insert. He stood there studying the effect. "I wish I had a little table." 

I had a little table. Two, as a matter of fact. He picked the one he liked. He said, "I want a cushion for the back. I sugested he run down to the library and fetch one of the throw pillows from in there. He scampered off and returned. I gave him an afghan to put on the back, and he put his pillow in place. He sat down and began to rock gently. 

I had other things to do so I headed off, but when I came back a half hour later, he was still in his rocking chair in front of his fireplace, drawing a picture. He looked up at me as I passed his door. "I like this. It's like I have my own private livingroom too."


Monday, January 2, 2023

Houdini

 It will be very interesting to see what Houdini, the feral cat, turns himself into. 

Now that he's been out of the basement for a couple weeks, he has to make his peace with the pesky humans he shares the house with.. He spends most of his time curled up in his bed, watching us warily, but when he is spoken to, he blinks slowly. According to the 'experts', the slow blink is a sign of trust. So. That's good news. 

We feed him cat treats when we pass by and with the cat treat comes a pet or a chin skritch. He's begun to extend his head forward to investigate the treat. He purrs as soon as we begin talking to him. We think that's a good sign too. 

Of everyone, it is William that the cat has bonded most closely with. It may have something to do with their mutual love of tuna. When William makes a sandwich, he always squeezes the water out of the tuna and puts it into a bowl for Houdini. William talks to him as he sets the bowl down, and Houdini will get out of bed to come over and eat with William. If anyone else walks out into the kitchen, he retreats immediately into his bed. 

It pleases William quite a bit that Houdini has 'picked' him. 


 

Like 'Mooch' from the Mutts cartoon strip, Houdini loves socks. No little pink socks here, but he does love to sort through until he finds William's socks (always William's!) and carries them back to his bed to curl up with. 

Sunday, January 1, 2023

It has always been thus

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells to the wild sky
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night'
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die..

Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring happy bells across the snow, 
The year is going, let him go.
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here, we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, 
Ring to redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life
With sweeter manners, purer laws

Ring out the want, the care, the sin
The faithless coldness of the times, 
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite
Ring in the love of truth and light.
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease, 
Rng out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old
Ring in the thousand years of peace. 

Ring in the valiant man and free
The larger heart, the kindier hand
Ring out the darkness of the land
Ring in the Christ that is to be. 

Alfred wrote these words in 1850, on a stormy night when the bells rang wildly in the fierce wind. Other recountings doubt that even the wild wind could make a heavy church bell ring. I don't know, but it makes a wonderful picture in my mind.  What struck me most though is the timeliness of these words even 173 years later. 

I read that it used to be that church bells rung at midnight, but they were muffled in the beginning to toll in mourning for the passing of old year. At the stroke of midnight, the muffling was removed and the tolling turned to happy peals to ring out across the country side to ring in the new year. What a pretty custom. 




Music to our Ears.

 Well, the concert was good fun. It was not nearly as loud as the last event we went to, which was a bit of a relief to my poor ears. Tim en...