Thursday, November 30, 2023

Try again


 Boy, I can't even guess what's wrong with blogger tonight. Finally just deleted the last post and will try again. I did get the Christmas tree down, and all the boxes of lights and ornaments and crystal beads, and got it decorated. 

This is the world's worst picture, taken in bad light with a poor phone camera, but I couldn't quite get myself motivated to haul out the big camera. 

It is a nice thing to unload the ornaments and the memories that go with them. One from my parents' first Christmas. One from Tim's parents' tree. Ornaments collected over a lifetime, from different people, from different places, from different times. It's a little sobering how many of those people are gone from this world. 

I decorated the tree by myself. Tim was out hunting again. He's quite excited. He saw a buck. Even if he were home, Tim would not have been interested in decorating the tree. He likes it well enough when it's done, but not well enough to actually participate in getting it done. 

It's his nature. 

When I was done with everything, I hauled all the empty boxes back up stairs to pack into the steamer trunk. 

I got the box packed and ready to mail out to my son and his family. My daughter in law sent me a picture of their Christmas tree all set up and decorated. The big question? (drum roll, please): Does the little drummer boy ornament that his great-grandmother needle pointed probably 30 years ago still play music. Answer: yes. 'Toyland' still plays its tinny tune.

(It's Dylan's Christmas miracle.)

Next question: What does the baby think of the tree? Answer: She is fascinated by it, but afraid to get close. 

(Which is sort of another Christmas miracle, don't you think?)

I got the livingroom put all back together and admired the tree in the semidarkness while I finished wrapping and packing up all the things that are going to be mailed out tomorrow. I will admit to watching an episode of Dateline while I did that, Keith Morrison's creepy quiet voice not exactly adding to the Christmas vibe I was trying to kickstart. 

However: 


Quite honestly, after years of hearing him narrate episodes of mayhem and murder, I have to confess that hearing him reading children 'The Night Before Christmas' gave me the creeps. 

I got out Tim's bubble light candelabra and set that up. He came home from hunting with a good supper waiting and he happily watched his bubble lights in the dark while eating.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

 This morning, we had snow on the ground. Not a lot, but enough to surprise Houdi when he meowed at 4AM to be let out. Silhouetted against the moonlit snow, he looked around before stepping off the porch. He walked off quickly, shaking his paws as he went. I knew that he'd be back in pretty short order, and when I opened the door 15 minutes later, there he was, ready to come back inside for the rest of the night. Yes, he has a litterbox. No, I don't know why he prefers the great outdoors. 

Today was such a gray day that even wrapping and ribboning could not cheer me up. I decided that tomorrow, I will put up the tree and scatter a few decorations around the house. 

I hope it helps. The black dog has caught up with me. 


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Wait a minute!

It's snowing here, spitting flurries. There was enough that I did have to brush off my car when I went out this afternoon. 

I was waiting today. The mail man was late, which is to be expected at this time of the year but I didn't dare leave the house until after collecting the mail. William's tablet was to be delivered and I did not want to leave that sitting on our porch. .

Tim is waiting too, but he's outside sitting in his blind in the woods.  Now that he's got his second doe, he feels like he can sit back and enjoy the hunt. He is waiting for just the right buck to show up. It may never show, but he seems to find happiness in his waiting. 

I have a return. We saw something on clearance that was the perfect gift. We didn't dare wait for fear that by the time we were decided for sure and for certain, the item would be gone, so we bought that perfect gift.  Today, Tim found a more perfect perfect gift and ordered it, which meant the first perfect gift now needed to be returned. 

So, Tim's waiting on a buck and I'm waiting on the mailman so that I can run out to the store to return the perfect gift (not to be confused with the perfect perfect gift) Fortunately, I did wait to wrap it.


Monday, November 27, 2023

Message In a Bottle

 Rifle season came in for deer this past Saturday. Tim was pretty excited about this. He wanted a hot beverage and I knew that I'd seen a small thermos, just right to tuck in his vest. It was upstairs in his hunting room on the third floor, so I dug it out and brought it down. I had two turkey salad sandwiches in the fridge, and I bought him some little snacks. 

He came out into the kitchen, and was examining the thermos. It was brand new, still in its box. "Where'd I get this?" he wondered. I said that I thought it had been a Christmas gift. I didn't remember any more about it than that. 

He took it out of the box and opened it up as I was leaving the room. A minute later, he followed me out and said, "I got a note." He handed it to me without saying anything else.

I read it, and it was a very touching note written to him from my youngest daughter, thanking him for taking on our family. She was eight when Tim and I married. I'm not sure how old she was when she wrote that note. I said, "Oh, how nice." Tim said, "It was," and his eyes were strangely shiny. He left the room. 

Saturday morning, he went hunting with his thermos and his lunch and he saw five deer. None of the other hunters in our family saw any. They were all doe, and so he did not shoot. He wanted his buck first. 

"I don't know," I said doubtfully. "It seems as if I remember this strategy not working out so well for you. You're the hunter, I'm not, but don't you think it might be a good idea to shoot what shows up?" 

He can shoot a buck and a doe.  Our deer population is out of control, so they held a lottery for extra doe tags. He got one of those, so he is allowed to take two doe and a buck during deer season. He took a big doe during archery season. 

He went back out again today, along with his thermos and a packed lunch. By 9:30, I received a message. He'd gotten his second doe. He's still on restrictions from his surgery, and so the deal was I'd go down and drag the deer out of the woods.

I trekked down through the woods. It was windy and spitting snow, but unfortunately, there was none on the ground. It is much easier to drag a deer across snow than a bare forest floor. While we walked, he said, "I think that thermos is my lucky charm. I was in the blind watching, and went to pour a cup, and two deer came out of the woods. They seemed to know that I was in the blind and they went running off immediately. They were never close enough to take a shot. So I sat there a while longer, and I poured a second cup, and as I did, I saw a deer coming down the path the other way. I didn't even get a chance to set my cup down and he was gone. I thought I'd blown my chance." 

He waited a while longer and reached for his thermos. Two deer came walking towards him. He picked the biggest one, shot once and shot well. He marveled. "Every single time I reached for that thermos, I saw deer!"




Sunday, November 26, 2023

Senseless.

I am so happy that little Avigail Idan was released. 

I am also happy that a 14 year old boy has been released. He was imprisoned for throwing stones. 

The children stabbed in Dublin. Their teacher stepped in and was seriously wounded as well.

The rioting in Dublin, the cries to "kill all the foreigners".

And yet, it was a foreigner who leapt from his moped and beat the knife wielding man with his helmet.

So many contradictions. Christians who aren't. Public servants who don't. 

I could go on and on. 

I won't.

I remember, when I was a kid, I heard my grandfather saying, "I do not understand this world." I thought about it. He just sounded so bewildered about it. In the dark, in my bed that night, I mulled things from a child's perspective. Perhaps it was a kindness, then: As you age, the world makes less and less sense, and perhaps that makes the leaving of it easier.  I was afraid of dying as a child and it was comforting to think perhaps people departed this world because they were ready to do so. 

I remember being that child. But now I am my grandfather saying "I do not understand this world." 

My thoughts are all over the place tonight. 

I sat down to wrap Christmas presents tonight, doing a good job, curling ribbons, afixing name tags with  carefully written names of the people I love.

I can do that. At least I can do that. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

I am ashamed

*wince*

I am ashamed to report that I ordered something from Amazon.

We bought a drone for William that needed a smart device. The screen got cracked on his last Amazon Fire, but I thought that would be perfect for using with the drone. 

We decided to buy him a new tablet but wanted to stick with the same brand, since that is what he is comfortable with.  Only one place to get the Amazon Fire, and that is from the evil empire itself. 

It was my first order since last summer.  On the plus side, the tablet was $79.99 for their black Friday sale. I had $6.31 of unused points. They took $19.08 off for a gift card. Dunno. Did not know I had one, but I'm all about subtracting. 

I also have been carrying a credit on that credit card of $16.00 for months now.

That took a bit of the sting away and once we're zeroed out, we will simply not use the card again.

LATE EDIT: There is no shame in buying from Amazon for anybody but me...I am a bit bullheaded. 



Friday, November 24, 2023

Misinformation

 Something that I have very little patience for is bullshit. Sorry to be frank, but there it is. 

Tim has taken to watching a news program that I cannot abide, mostly because it is NOT a news program, it is an opinion program. I debated it a few times with him, but as is his custom, he just looks at me and doesn't answer. I could fight with him about it, but I just leave the room and go find something else to do. 

He was watching his program Wednesday night, when they were breathlessly "reporting" on the Rainbow Bridge explosion. I was in the office simultaneously reading news reports as their 'expert' sounded off. 

 Among other things, CBN stated emphatically that " 'they' are warning people not to go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade." 

I tapped in the question: 'People being warned away from Macy's Thanksgiving Parade?' The response yielded nothing. I wondered who 'they' were. 

I listened to them telling people that this was the beginning of a new phase of terrorist activity. They tied it into events going on in the mideast. They had a lot to say about it and as far as I was seeing it was all unmitigated bullshit.

The car was NOT filled with explosives as reported by CBN. That was discounted very quickly, within hours. (The only other news agency calling it a terrorist attack was FOX, and they walked back their reports the following day.)

Virtually all the news outlets were reporting there was no evidence of a bomb or secondary device. It was not dismissed, it was acknowledged that it was an ongoing investigation, but based on the what they had now, it did not seem to be a terrorist attack. 


It just made me angry to listen to the steady stream of unsubstantiated bullshit pouring into my livingroom.. 

I walked out of the office and I said, "I hate this program. It touts itself as faith based Christian news, but here they are reporting an event and they are flat out lying. Lying! People are not being warned against attending the parade, They are not being asked to stay away from NYC. I don't give a rat's behind whether they are labeling themselves as Christians or not. They are lying in real time. Come out to the computer and verify it for youself. Cross reference what they are saying against what every other news agency is saying. What is the point of watching news that you need to fact check?" 

Tim looked surprised. I walked back out of the room. 

(Sometimes I can get kind of pissy.)

It bothers me a lot that 'Christian' doesn't mean anything any more. In fact, it almost seems that if someone is stressing their Godliness, that fact alone should be raising some red flags. 

I look around this world and see what is happening in the name of religion and it sickens me. 

I think if there is a God, he's weeping.

Oh. Tim's not a dumb person. Neither am I. We let each other do their own thinking. I haven't talked to him about it, but I know that he was doing his own research. He hasn't watched CBN since. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving.


For all who celebrate it, Happy Thanksgiving.  



Who wore it better? 

Jennifer? 



or....

Mr. Bean?







It's been a tough year, but we have a great deal to be thankful for. 

Like the fact that no one's going to be wearing a turkey on their head. 



LATE EDIT: NOT ONE OF YOU CORRECTED ME! MONICA WORE THE TURKEY HEAD!!!


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Data breach.

 We received a letter from the hospital letting us know that there has been a data breach. They detailed the actions they took. 

They also went on to detail action that we can take to protect ourselves. They provided us with the name and telephone number of IdentityDefense, and enclosed information touting the protection and services provided by this company. 

I checked into this company. Their services start at $29.99 a month. Nowhere is that information listed in the 3 page letter from the hospital. 

Not to stereotype or anything, but we have an older population here. I find myself wondering how many of them will feel as if they need to get the additional protection because they are in danger. ? I find myself also wondering how many people are going to take this letter as a recommendation from our local/trusted hospital? 

Mostly I wonder what sort of a kick-back the hospital gets from IdentityDefense for putting their name out into the community. 

In my mind, it is shameless exploitation and really undermines their attempt to present themselves as a patient/service oriented facility. What say you?

LATE EDIT: I called the hospital this morning and got the switchboard. When I tried to ask my question, I was interrupted. "Yes, we had a data breach in September." 

I said, "Well, yes. but..." 

She interrupted me once more to tell me what they had done on their end. 

I said, "Right. I understand that, but that's not even my question. I mean, I worked phones for many years, and really, not trying to be critical here, but you should at least listen to the question before you try to answer it." 

She asked me what my question was, so I asked about IdentityDefense. Is this something covered by the hospital or is that something we pay for." 

She said quickly, "I don't believe the hospital would cover that...." 

I pointed out that when UPMC had a data breach, they did cover those costs for their clients for a year. (Thanks for that, Doug!) 

"Oh, really?" 

I suggested that since she wasn't sure, perhaps she could direct me to someone who might be able to answer that question.

She gave me a number. I called, left a message, and haven't heard anything. 

From my reading last night on the FTC website, advice can (and should) be offered linking concerned customers to government websites. How to get their free (once a year) credit reports from Experian and Equifax and Transunion. Where and how to spot and report unauthorized activity, things like that. That seems reasonable.What doesn't is touting one private company out of many private companies that provide this service. That is what strikes me as unethical, unless they are paying this company to provide the service to possibly affected customers. 

Stay tuned. 

LATE LATE EDIT: You folks who pointed out that they are required to pay for it were 100% correct. We get one year of coverage on them. This was not stated in the letter at all. I think the hope is that they have met the letter of the law by providing the letter. By not disclosing the service is free to us due to the breach, they are probably hoping to minimize the number of people taking them up on the offer. It is interesting that the operator at the hospital was sure it was not paid by the hospital. The person she referred me to did not know. It took a third call to a line set up for the data breach. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

The Angry Woman

 I suppose we all know a person like her. She is a forceful woman, opinionated and outspoken. No matter what is going on, she is in the middle of it. It is a chronic complaint that 'if she didn't do it, it would not get done.' The problem is that if someone feels sorry and tries to pitch in, she criticizes, mercilessly. Not just to her volunteer, but to everyone in the vicinity. Everyone knows that *sniff* "she would have done it differently, *sniff* but of course, (modestly lowering her eyes) that's just her..." 

The first time that I saw that in action, I made a silent note to myself: 'Do NOT ever volunteer for anything that that woman is involved in...I would look like a screw up before all was said and done. She would make sure of it.'

Into that little social circle came another family, and that woman was just as actively involved in her community as this woman. When she heard, 'if I don't do it,  it will not get done...', she stepped forward and pitched in. I watched and I waited, and inevitably, the sniffing and the snideness began.  

It was ignored. The 'new girl' simply continued working on. Even worse, people responded to her methods much more favorably, so she was able to accomplish a lot more. 

That indignity was too much to be borne, and so the 'old girl' and her husband left that little group, and threw themselves in to another group where her efforts would be "more appreciated". 

Last week, I was quite surprised to hear that she'd received probably the greatest shock of her 60+ years. I know I was shocked for her. 

It had to be humiliating for her. I found myself feeling sorry for her. I hadn't seen her in months, but I couldn't stop thinking about how different her life must be. I remembered how hard it is to continue on when you know that people are discussing  you behind your back. Holding your head up and continuing on with life even when you feel like curling up in a hole someplace and never emerging. The more I thought about it, the more sympathy I had for her, but the fact is, she didn't like me. I couldn't exactly just walk up to her house, tap on her door and say, "Hey...you've been on my mind..."

I've been ticking off my Christmas shopping. William's done. Iris and Ruby are done. Tim's grands are done. My daughter and son-in-law in England are done. The shopping is complete for the Levi and Mattie's kids. All that shopping, and still I'm holding good on my vow not to use Amazon. (I'm quite proud of that.) 

Today, Tim and I went to two stores to do a bit of a comparison shop. We found what we were looking for and made up our minds where to make those purchases. I was standing in the check out line when I noticed her: that woman that's preoccupied my thoughts. 

She looked as if she's lost some weight and her hair was carefully curled, a real change from her usual business-like bob. I felt as if I should maybe go say hello and wish her a happy holiday. Except maybe it wasn't going to be a happy holiday. Would she think that I was the one being snide? Maybe just: "Hello. It's good to see you." Nothing else, just a courtesy. 

 I was waiting for Tim at the front of the checkout. She was several people back in line. I was still hesitating when it happened: we both caught each other's eye. She glared at me with a shocking ferocity. It was so unexpected that I flinched. 

Tim and I went out the door and walked across the parking lot. I mused on it to Tim. He said, "I thought that was her..." 

It's still hard not to feel a bit sorry for her. I hope that she is finding comfort somewhere. 

A Tale for this Day.

The Blind Men And The Elephant

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!"

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: "Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!"

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, thus boldly up he spake
the elephant is very like a snake!"

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree."

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!"

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
"I see," quothe he, "the elephant is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen! 

                                                             John Godfrey Saxe

Although Saxe died in 1887, his words still ring true today. So many blind people in this world, each of us partly in the right and all of us in the wrong. Not one of us has the whole picture, yet we each have our opinions, exceeding stiff and strong.

Tim bought an old gas light that had been converted to electric. We ripped it apart and began to clean it. Tim kept saying, "This is copper." Looking at the framework that I was polishing, I kept telling him firmly, "You are wrong. It is brass." 

The debate went on as we cleaned away years of tarnish. Finally, in the end, both of us stared at the work of the other. He held a copper decroative piece that went at the top of the light. I held my brass frame work. 

Each of us was partly in the right. We both were in the wrong! 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

The Plot Thickens

 The plot thickens. 

I dropped off two large turkeys at Levi and Mattie's today. Tim headed straight down to the sawmill. He wanted to talk to Levi. He had read that the state police were looking for information. A logging site had been robbed. We didn't know where. We didn't know when. We didn't know what was taken, but Tim wanted to let Levi know he probably did not want to be buying any tools for the sawmill off 'Joshua'. 

We were all visiting in that warm kitchen when the men returned. The situation was discussed in general terms, little pitchers having big ears and the fact that there were nine little pitchers in that kitchen. Levi mentioned that Joshua had left his telephone number. He wanted to be a driver for the Amish. (Some folks make a living doing that.) 

I said, "Do you have his last name then?"

Levi hauled out his wallet and rifled through it thoughtfully. He found the name, and I put it in the UJS portal on my phone. Our Joshua has a history of theft and receiving stolen property. His last arrest was September 18th. 

Levi looked shocked, his mouth wide open. "Well," he said, putting his wallet away, "we are not going to need a ride from that one."

Friday, November 17, 2023

For Bovey Belle

 It did not strike me until later that 'pot belly' stove might be an unfamiliar word for some folks. It is a small wood or coal burning heat stove to stick into a work shop or, in Levi's case, he builds hunting shanties. This can be stuck into a corner and kept fed with scraps from his saw mill. The only moving parts on the door and the grate at the bottom. You open the 'draft' at the bottom to pull more oxygen into the base of the fire to make it burn quickly. It is also where you clean out the ashes. It's usually wide open while you're starting the fire. Once the fire catches, you adjust it so that the heat is not being directed straight up the chimney. There is usually a draft in the chimney as well, a plate inside the chimney pipe controlled by a handle outside the pipe so that you can control the amount heat going up your chimney. A fine line between losing all your heat and filling your space with smoke! Your fire will burn more slowly, but provides more heat. 

The draft on the door would be kept shut during that process so that the shanty does not fill with smoke. It would be opened a bit to let heat into the room and also as a way to insure that the fire was getting the right amount of oxygen. You can also keep an eye on whether or not you need to add more wood without opening the door. The cast iron also collects and radiates the heat. You don't want to touch a pot belly stove. 


The stove would sit on a fireproof piece. It would be set away from the wall. Usually there is a fireguard behind it too, to protect the wall. 

So there is everything you need to know about pot belly stoves. 


Mattie called today. I was glad to hear from her. She did not know who had dropped off the rocking chair and the woodstove. They were puzzled. I told her about the auction. She was very interested. Her sister Katie got married this week, and I imagine that they are looking for furniture. 

She said that Andy (her oldest boy) had gone to the neighbor's house, but no one really understood what had happened, so I explained it to her. When I told her that the man's name was Joshua, and that he had said Levi had done some business with him, buying some tools, she exclaimed, "I know exactly who you are talking about. He was back here today." He was trying to sell Levi some tools that are against their rules.  

The first time that the guy came to the house, he was with his father. Now he is coming alone and Mattie is uneasy about him. She, too, worries about drugs. The long and the short of it is that they did not get robbed. They are on alert. That's good enough for now.

The question came up and I wanted to make sure that everyone understood. The police were not called, because Joshua did not do anything illegal. He was suspicious, sure. Shady as hell. But he had not done anything to be arrested for, although he certainly warranted keeping an eye on. 


or maybe he was just a rural version of Jim Carey. 

Dunno. 

Thanksgiving is coming. Tomorrow morning, I'll pick up a batch of turkeys. We will be spending the holiday with my sister and her family. 



Thursday, November 16, 2023

Very Strange Day

 My sister messaged me this morning. A car had flipped over in front of the new build. It didn't look like anyone was hurt, but a tow truck was there trying to turn it over and get it hauled away.

Huh. 

I putzed around the house this morning. Tim worked on a leaky line for the clawfoot tub. 

The auction started at 4, but you always want to be able to have a bit of a look-see and make a mental note of what you are interested in. We went there with no intention of buying but to see how things all play out there. 

So.

We didn't buy anything. Well, except for one cast iron pot belly stove, a rocking chair, a brass outside gas light, another box of fittings for antique gas lights because Tim's got 3 boxes of pieces and parts of gas light fixtures upstairs, and he's always looking for more parts (short answer: I have no idea), two boxes of tools, an old suitcase of tools, and a box of wooden toys for Rudy and little David at Christmas time. Total cost for all that treasure: $47.57. 

Now, it was me waving my hand for the toys. It was taken down to the minimum of $2. Nobody bid, so I did. Tim looked shocked, sitting next to me with two boxes of tools already. No one bid against me, and so I got them. The box contained two wooden trucks with trailers, a wooden car, a wooden bucket loader, a shape sorter, a set of alphabet blocks (all the letters are there) and oddly, about 50 small padlocks with keys. I was pleased with that. The toys were in perfect shape. 

The little cast iron stove? It wasn't something that we wanted, but Levi had once said to Tim that he collects those for his hunting shanties, so Tim made up his mind to get it if we could. We did, for $5. 

We were amassing a quite a stash of stuff, when a very sturdy rocking chair came up for bid. It's one of those super heavy duty ones with a seat about 2 inches thick. The auctioneer was calling out numbers, and the price was dropping lower and lower. It got to $2 and someone bid. I raised my hand at $3 and again on $5. Tim looked unhappy. We do not need a rocking chair. I leaned over and said, "The kids broke Levi's porch rocker..." He looked relieved. I got that bid for $5.

When we left, we had a pretty fair-sized truckload of stuff. Tim said, "We're stopping at Levi's on the way home. If we don't, we'll have to unload that heavy rocker and the cast iron stove so that I can take the truck hunting tomorrow. Then we'll have to load it all up again to run it up to them." We knew that they were away at a wedding, but we just figured that we'd set the things on their porch. 

We pulled up to the dark house and dropped the tailgate. A car pulled in behind us almost immediately. 

Shadow did not like this man. He retreated to the front corner of his house, barking madly, and he would not stop. Grandma's dog across the way took up the call as well. 

The man said, "Where's Levi?" 

Tim said, "They aren't home, they had a wedding." 

I had an uneasy feeling. He had a flashlight. He said, "Oh, I sold Levi a bunch of tools. I have some more for him."

Tim said, "Well, he's not here." 

The young man said, "Do you know any logging companies that would be interested in buying tools?" Logging companies do not work in the dark. 

Very peculiar. 

Tim said, shortly, "No, we don't." 

Shadow kept barking furiously, hidden in the shadows in the dark. 

It is dark at an Amish house when no one is home. No lights inside. No lights outside. We just stood there in the glare of his headlights. The man kept saying he wanted to sell these tools tonight. The dog kept barking. 

Were they stolen? What was the rush? Did he need drugs? Did he even have tools to sell or was he taking advantage of a dark Amish house on a lonely hill? Was his intention to steal tools to sell? Who knows. Any one of those scenarios was completely in the realm of possibility. We have quite a drug problem in our area and that goes hand in hand with theft.

In the end, he finally went back to his car and backed out of the driveway. We pulled out behind him. When we got to the intersection, he stopped for a longer than necessary at a stop sign out in the middle of intersecting dirt roads. Finally he went straight. We made our right turn, but I saw that car stop. 

"Something is very wrong here," I said. "Why is he stopping? There are no houses. We need to make sure that he's not going to turn around and head back to Levi and Mattie's."

Tim pulled into a driveway and turned around. We went back and turned down the road that the car was stopped on. When we did, he began to drive. We followed, at a distance. He stopped again. So did we, keeping far back. After a time, he put on his 4-ways.  He didn't move. Neither did we. 

The stalemate went on. I said, "You know what we need to do? We need to go back and park in front of the sawmill facing the house. We can shut off our lights. We just need to make sure he doesn't come back. He'll never even see us in the dark."

Tim said, "That's the thing to do," and backed up so that we could turn on a side road. As soon as we backed up and headed in the other direction, his four ways went off and the car began to move. Watching him from the rear view mirror, I saw that he went over the rise but then he stopped the car once again. 

"Something is definately up with him," I said. Tim agreed that there was something suspicious going on. 

As we headed back to Levi and Mattie's, we passed by their neighbor. They are friends. I said, "We should tell him so that he can keep an eye on things."  He's not Amish, and we pulled up behind his truck. I went to the door and a man answered. 

I explained the situation. He asked instantly if the car had under lights. When we said that it did, he said "I've seen that car a couple times tonight driving by real slow. I wondered what he was up to. And Levi isn't home," and I said, "I know. They are at a wedding, and won't be back until tomorrow." 

He said, "You know, I feel like a little walk tonight. I'll take a pistol and walk down there and sit for a while."

"Thanks," we said. 

We headed home then. A deer jumped out in front of us and Tim had to slam on the brakes. We went sideways, but did not flip the truck or hit the deer. Tim calmly said, "Yeah, the brake on the left side grips before the one on the right. That might be a problem in the snow."

That's enough excitement for one day. 

Eyes Wide Open

 A quiet day today. Tim went hunting. I went out for lunch with a couple friends. It has been months since I did that, and I am grateful for the time. 

I've pretty much got my Christmas list completed, which is a relief. Now all I have to do is go out and get the things. I am proud to say that I have honored my "no Amazon Christmas"  vow. 

Tim and I are going to an Antiques auction tomorrow evening. That should be fun. We probably won't buy anything, but we're interested to watch one all the way through. 

That's about it. It's late. I'm tired. My mind is whirring away.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Houdi Exploring the Great Indoors

Now that it is getting cooler outside, Houdi has once again remembered the good things about being inside. Regular feeding.  Always water. Nice comfy bed. Cat toys in a basket under the endtable. 
A litter box. Scritches under the chin. 










The scritches all belong to him. 
No sharing required. 

 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Insincerity

Tim called and asked me to make a quick run to his pharmacy to pick up a prescription. I was cooking supper, but I finished up quickly, threw on a cardigan and headed out the door with my wallet in hand. 

It was not quite ready and so I had a 10 minute wait. I wandered around gathering Christmas ideas. (Don't laugh. Christmas shopping has been a great comfort to me in these days. I even have an inexplicable urge to put my Christmas tree up. I've never put my tree up before Thanksgiving in my life!) 

As I studied the shelves, I was quite surprised when someone came up behind me and started fiddling with the back of my neck. I turned quickly. The store employee explained, "I can't stand to see someone's collar tucked inside their sweater. I'm fixing it for you." 

Uh...

"There you go," she said cheerfully. "It's just an OCD thing. I can't stand to see it." 

I personally cannot stand to see sagging pants, but I don't feel like I should approach the folk to make adjustments. The interaction just struck me as strange. She walked back to her stocking cart, and I'm sure that she felt that she had done me a great favor. I accept that she meant well. Her intentions were good. 

I fake smiled and said "Thanks."

Her smile was not at all fake. "You're welcome!"


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Monkey Bread

 William has been here for the weekend and it has been a while since he has spent a weekend with us. 

He wanted to play his computer games all the time. I tried hard to discourage that one. 

Kay had a post about Too Good to Go, which is a cool idea to reduce food waste. It is an app that you can install. That got me all off on a google tangent for a while, but Kay's post, she mentioned monkey bread. 

I have not made monkey bread in years, but there is a simple recipe which uses buttermilk biscuits from the refrigerated section at Aldi's. I got an idea that it might be a thing which kept William occupied for a while. It's a very kid friendly recipe:

Two cans buttermilk biscuits

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Dump this into a lidded plastic bowl. 

Open the biscuits and cut each biscuits into quarters. drop them, a few at a time, into the container of  cinnamon sugar. give them a good shaking to coat them and then drop them into a bundt pan that has been oiled. 

Once the dough is all coated and in the bundt pan, melt 3/4 cup of butter, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I also dumped in the rest of the cinnamon sugar. Blend it until smooth and then pour it over the biscuit pieces. 

Pop the pan into the oven and bake. They say 15 minutes, but we baked ours for 30. 

Take the bundt pan out, flip it. Break it apart, and dip the pieces in the ooey gooey-ness.

(Disclaimer: nothing gourmet about this, but my kids liked it quite a bit.)

This morning, William helped with some raking, at the rehab, and in our own back yard. When we came in, he began to pester for his computer time. 

"Nope," I said. "Get your shoes back on. We're going to the store. You're going to bake monkey bread." 

"Oh, boy," he said. 

Noting the lack of an exclamation mark, I said suspiciously, "Was that sarcasm? Because it kind of sounded like sarcasm."

(Don't judge me. Grandmas can get sarcastic too.)

He rolled his eyes. "Oh, no. There was NO sarcasm. I'm really excited. I can't wait." 

(I'm pretty sure he thought he was being funny.)

He got in the car and we went to the store, and we got the biscuits. I had everything else. I brought him home and brought the recipe up on my phone and washed dishes while he followed the recipe, grumbling "I don't really see where these are any different from cinnamon rolls. It's the exact same thing."

I said, "Well, if you want to make cinnamon rolls, we can do that!!!" in an excited voice, making sure that I was adding plenty of exclamation marks. 

At the thought of  a quick baking project turning into a bread baking afternoon, he just shushed and started cutting the biscuits into quarters. 

He followed the instructions well and within a half hour, he was popping the pan into the oven. 

He left the kitchen to play with his hoverball in the livingroom. 



(It was a $10 investment to stop the pestering. Don't judge me. Grandmas get fed up too.)

When the monkey bread was done, I pulled it out of the oven and flipped it on to a plate. After it cooled for a few minutes, I called him out. 

"You break a piece off and then you dip it in the ooey-gooey stuff and then you eat it."

He studied it suspiciously, but broke off a piece of it and sloodged it around in the ooey gooey. He popped it into his mouth. His expression changed. He broke off another piece and sloodged it around. In a bit more interested voice, he said, "Wow! This is pretty good!" 

I noticed that he was, once again, using exclamation marks.

"So...what you're saying is that from time to time, I do know what I'm talking about..."

"Sometimes," he agreed, with hardly any eye rolling at all. He broke off another piece of monkey bread.

In case you did not notice, in 3 months, William will be a teenager. No exclamation mark.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

Same crap, different day

 It was not too long ago when I responded 'bullcrap' when a recent guest began spouting off his batshit crazy opinions. 

Bullcrap is quite a problem these days. So is batshit crazy. I do hate crap.




And then there was the discovery of the kittens while leafblowing last weekend, and I now have a new kind of crap problem .

We have a feral cat problem in this area and they have discovered a sheltered corner at a rental to crap in. Rendered deaf by the leaf blower, blinded by leaves going everywhere and generally not paying attention to what lay beneath, because (natch!) I was running my mouth, I managed to walk in quite a bit of it in my wonderful Merrill hiking shoes before I noticed.  

I do hate crap.

So. I came home and sprayed and scrubbed them outside, using the hose.

They stank. 

The next day, I  hosed them down, scrubbed them again with a good detergent, and then hosed them once again until nothing remained in the cracks and the crevices of the grippy soles. I left them outside for the day. 

This morning, I brought them in to dry completely, setting the them on the heating vent in the bathroom. 

When I walked in a few minutes later, the bathroom smelled like catcrap.

I grabbed the shoes and headed for the basement. I tossed them into the washer. I didn't even know if you are supposed to wash them in a machine and at that point, I didn't really care. I washed them in one of those heavily scented laundry detergents. 

When I pulled them out, they looked fine, much to my relief. They were expensive shoes by my standards and worse yet, they were just a couple months old. 

But in examining them, I noticed that they STILL smelled like cat. Not quite so strongly but definitely. 

I tucked two fabric softener sheets inside them and then sprayed them down with carpet odor remover. After a few cautious sniff tests, I once again set them on the vent in the bathroom to dry.

The shoes are now outside and I took an essential oil diffuser into the bathroom.

This stinks.

TO RL

 Thanks, RL for your comment. I removed the John and Beans post because the links posted led to a site that wanted credit card information. 

 DON'T DO THAT!

I hope that no one has. I thank Damselfly for sharing the books with me, and I wish that I could share them with all of you. I am technologically challenged, however, and you will have to excuse that. 

I have PDF files of each book. Damselfly even compressed them for you. Unfortunately, I don't know how to get those things from my e-mail box to here. Any tips, let me know. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Pieces

Sorry for the absence. It was a 'digesting' time. I needed to digest information that we had been provided at the doctor's office, which, on the face of it, was a bit scary. We had not heard this information before and so I had no questions because I didn't understand what I was hearing, not fully. Then I came home and sat down and read. Oh my GOD. Pages and pages of information, all of it in 'med talk'. I could understand part of it, and knew that Tim's risk factors were greater given his situation. 

Unable to put the pieces together, I guess that I went to pieces a bit myself.  My fear all came to a head last night. Tim's response to everything was, "Well, we have to have more answers to our questions." Me: "What are YOUR questions?" Him: "I don't know...." A very short time later, there was snoring from his side of the bed. (In my next life, I want to be a man, I swear to you.) 

I got myself out of bed and came into the office to sit down at the computer. I spent a few hours googling into the dark until finally, finally, I found the answers that I was looking for in plain layman's language. The pieces began to come together. After having a careful read, the message was clear. Although Tim has some risk factors that bear watching, in the end, his chances of not having a recurrence are far greater than his having one.

That's all I really needed to know. I just needed the risk quantified, and finding it was a huge relief. I had a good relaxing cry in the dark and then took myself back to bed. 

Tim's new crossbow arrives today, and he's quite excited about this. Someone needs to be home to sign for it, and so we will spend a quiet day at home waiting for his package. I need a quiet day at home just as badly as Tim needs his new crossbow. A limb broke on his old one, and the company that makes his brand has gone out of business, probably going bankrupt for replacing broken limbs on their product. I guess people (wives?) aren't the only thing going to pieces in this house. 

He's decided that he wants Pizza Hut Pizza for supper. This came around out of left field, so I'm not even cooking supper tonight. A piece of pizza fits right in with the theme, doesn't it? I have done AC proud!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Quiet Day

 Tim had a much better day today. He was able to sleep last night, and I think that you can deal with discomfort better when you are not exhausted. 

We had a quiet day. He installed at doorknob at the new build. He sealed around the stove pipe to keep critters and weather out of the basement. Little things, but I think every touch of normality makes him feel better. He is not pushing to do things that he shouldn't. I think that Sunday scared him a little. 

I spent the time working at my compost and closing up for winter in the camper, 

That's it really. A quiet day. 

I'm trying to order Christmas gifts for my son-in-law and daughter. I knew what I wanted to get, but am having one heck of a time actually accomplishing it. Wish I could fly over, pick up the things and deliver them to their house. (I can dream, can't I?) 

Today, for lunch, we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Remember 'Beans and I on the Loose?' I made my cheese sandwiches the way John did, and I thought of him. He was quite a character and so was his cat, Beans. I miss reading his blog every morning. 

So. That was today. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Update:

 Kitten update: 

Paula was quite upset to discover that all four kittens were gone this morning. 

I see it a bit differently. Tigger is taking care of her kittens. She's moved them. She's not far away though. She came up to Paula's porch for breakfast just as usual, so the leaf blower upset did not scare her off.  If past experience proves anything, we will see her bringing her kittens to the back deck just as soon as they are weaned. 

Then the crazy cat ladies will step it into high gear. If we could only get that mama cat and get her neutered! 

It has been a quiet day here. Tim has been pretty uncomfortable. At least we were not bickering about what he should or shouldn't do. 


Saturday, November 4, 2023

Keeping Tim Occupied

Friday was a rough day. Tim has been specifically warned against lifting over five pounds. He's supposed to avoid physically straining himself. I specifically brought up rehabbing, because I knew that would be specifically what he wanted to get back to and they specifically said that he couldn't. He can't archery hunt because he cannot pull back his crossbow. He can't walk hills. It's a lot of restrictions on him. 

Friday, he was chomping at the bit. He had a list of projects he wanted to do. The thing is, he shouldn't. He's got two problems that have popped up post surgery. We don't see the surgeon until Tuesday, and so he needs to stick to the game plan until at least then. He doesn't need to be making matters worse. So there was bickering, and I would not let him do those things that he wanted to do. 

I could see that by the end of the day he was getting depressed. I really did feel bad about that. So we sat down and talked about things that he could do. He decided that the thing to do was go take a walk in the woods. He had to pick a new place to hunt. He can't walk up hill. He also can't drag his deer out and so I need to know exactly where he is going to be so that if he gets one, I can find him and drag it out for him. 

A walk was a good idea, and I could see that he was glad to be in the woods. The fact that we saw deer on the walk in made him very happy as well. 

All's well that ends well, I guess. 

One thing that he's really been looking forward to is an antique auction which was held Saturday morning. There were two stained glass windows that he wanted very badly. Unfortunately the two that he wanted went for over $400 each. We did buy stained glass though, five windows, which was three more than we actually wanted, but we can always put them out in the sun room.  They are all old ones, and two need framed. We'll probably shorten them as well. We've never played with stained glass before, so this is something new for us and something fun. This was all considerably cheering to Tim as well. 

I had a job when we came home, to duck over to a rental and rake the leaves to the curb for pick up.  William helped out to earn some pocket money and I was glad for it. Tim watched and visited with Jim. 

While I was blowing leaves, Tim's eagle eye caught movement. There at the foundation were four tiny kittens, mewling and headed in all directions. The mother was nowhere to be seen, although Tim had seen a cat streaking towards the back of the property. 

Tigger has 2-3 batches of kittens a year. No one can catch her. Our Houdi is one of her kittens. His sister lives down the street at another tenant's house. There were two more in that litter, but they disappeared. Since there are many predators along the creek in the back and a pretty busy street out front, well, it's not surprising. Tigger is a good mother, but the odds are stacked against her. All of her last batch of kittens died. 

I handed a kitten to William, and grabbed our tenant Paula. She is a cat rescuer, and (bless her heart) she catches all the ferals she can and has them neutered out of her own pocket.  She knew that Tigger had had kittens but hadn't seen them yet. She had been worried. 

The two of us began gathering up kittens. I estimate that they were four weeks old and well fed little things. Lively too. We did not want them wandering into the street. After some discussion, we took a plastic tote, set a box inside of it for shelter. William ran home to get an old blanket that I'd put in a bag of rugs and throws and blankets to take to the animal shelter. 

We decided it would be warm enough outside for them to safely spend the night. I tucked them under Jim's back porch against the foundation of the house, familiar territory for mama cat. They would be protected from the rain, and the tote would keep them from wandering off. If their mother wanted to take them out she could, but we felt that it was important for them to continue nursing if that is possible. In a couple weeks, they will be weaning, and we can bring them inside at that point. We are also hopeful that we can use them as 'bait' to live trap mama. She really needs to be neutered. 

Tim and I walked back down tonight after dark to check on them. They were all sleeping in a pile, and blinked sleepily when the light woke them up. 

There was another discussion with our tenant. In the end, we collectively decided to leave them be for now. We have to assume that their mother knows where they are. They were not mewling with hunger. They showed no signs of distress. They are safe for now. We will recheck in the morning. 


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Woke

 It was a fairly nice day today, and Houdi began getting antsy to go outside, so I let him out. It was supposed to be a cold night, and I was curious how he'd behave once it began to get cold outside. 

Tim has not been sleeping well at night. We are not sure why. His 'restless legs' have become restless arms and legs so he does a lot of twitching and moving, which means that I'm not getting a lot of sleep either. The Hydroxyzine prescribed for his legs does not seem to be effective anymore. The night before last he did not fall asleep until between 4 and 5 am. Then we both slept until 10 and were walking around like zombies for the rest of the day. Appropriate for Halloween, doncha think?

My daughter-in-law checked in to see how we were doing. I told her about the problem we were having and she said, "Has he ever had his magnesium levels checked?" She explained that low magnesium can cause muscle twitches and sleeplessness. I went through his blood work and there was no numbers for magnesium. I messaged his doctor to explain the problem and ask if she thought it might be worth it to have that number checked. In the meantime, we stopped and bought a bottle of magnesium supplements, the smallest bottle, just to see if it might help while we were waiting for the doctor to message back. 

Last night, Tim did not twitch. He slept most of the night, although he did get up for about an hour. He got his shower, and I helped him get dressed. By the time that I was finished with my shower, he was asleep on the couch. 

"Nope!" I said, and got him up. "You can't sleep all day. We need to keep you busy." 

He wanted to price a new cross bow. I needed a phone card. I needed to pick up some bread flour, being all inspired by Suffolk Sue. I promised Tim cinnamon rolls. Little errands, which I stretched out as long as possible. He didn't go in all the stores, but he stayed awake in the car waiting when he didn't go in. He wanted to stop into an antique store where he saw a Wolfshead five gallon oil can for $45. He needed to drop off a receipt. We kept busy for most of the day.

I got home and threw together my dough. A friend popped in just as I was pulling the cinnamon rolls out of the oven. "That was perfect timing," I said. 

I knew that Ray would keep Tim awake. 

I was right. He sure did. 

Ray was holding forth in the livingroom about Biden opening the border to the illegal aliens because he needed their votes. 

"Bullshit," I said. 

Ray looked surprised and outraged.

"Number one: you apply for asylum by entering the country and requesting it. That's the way it is done. It always has been, so there is nothing illegal about what they are doing. Number two: you cannot vote for a president unless you are an American citizen. All the damn bullshit going on in the country, and you're going to pick something that is provably untrue to get your bowels in an uproar about."

He said, "So. Tell me. You'd vote for 'Bite-me Biden'? 

"If it's between him and Trump, I sure will." 

He threw up his hands. "Ah, laaaaaaady....." 

I said, "You asked. Don't you come in my house, ask me my opinion, and then fight me about it."

Tim was wide awake. He threw in a couple comments to make it clear that we were both of the same mindset. 

Ray sat in stormy silence. 

I googled on my phone. 

Tim watched football. 

Ray tried again. "Well, you're right that there's a lot of crap going on. I don't even bother to try to keep up with it." 

I said, "Well, the truth is there. If you can't be be bothered to look for it, you're part of the problem.  Don't come here spouting your Qanon crazy if you don't want it countered with fact." 

He sat quietly and watched the game with Tim. 

"When you went to England, did you feel afraid?" he asked.

"No." 

"There weren't any A-rabs or mideastern guys on your flight?"

"Yeah. But everyone I met was very nice. I certainly didn't have a single reason to be afraid." 

He digested this. "My sister-in-law is going to Ireland with the marching band. My brother said he's got no intentions of getting on that plane."

"Well, everyone I know who's gone on that trip has had a great time. I'd do it in a minute." 

He pondered this, watching the game. Finally, he said, "Well. I guess I'll be heading up on the hill. I'm getting tired." 

We walked him to the door. I sent him home with some chicken and biscuits and some cinnamon rolls. 

I went to the back door and called for Houdi. He came right in without hesitation. I opened a can of catfood for him. I shut off the lights and headed back to the livingroom.



Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Much ado...


 I am not sure why Houdi is so reluctant to come inside, but this morning it was cold and spitting snow. He looked quite miserable sitting outside but would not come when I called him. So... I walked outside. I think he thought I was filling the bowl for the ferals. I was, but quick as a wink I grabbed him and brought him inside over his very loud objections. He was squirming violently, and nearly got away, but I got him in the kitchen and quickly shut the door, unceremoniously dumping one furious feline on the floor. He darted out of reach and glared at me while smoothing out his ruffled fur.

I gave him a nice breakfast and came out into the living room with my coffee. 

Before long, he had brought himself in the living room and sat staring at me in an irritated way. I spread out his wool blanket on the sofa next to me and gave it a pat. 

He jumped up after a hesitation and as far as I know has been lolling here all afternoon. When I walk by, he stretches and yawns, looking quite content. 

What perverse creatures are cats!

IKEA and things that go bump in the night

 It is a clear sunny day today.  Houdi continues to mend well, and he is still outraged by the fact that he is being kept inside.  Tim's...