My Novels

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Yesterday I went to the old house, but it was soooooo verrrrrry cold in there I couldn't do anything! Much less paint. The c/a crew still hasn't completed installing the system, nor has the gas company laid our natural gas line, ergo, no heat! Old houses tend to get very cold inside when the temps hit the 20s, as it has here for a couple of nights...and rarely warm up much during the day. Therefore, I doubt I'll be doing anything more until the heating system is installed; hopefully that will be sooner than later.

DH did complete all the sheetrock work, did a bit of cleaning/vacuuming...and other than a few touch-ups, the two front rooms are just about ready for painting. However, first we must install the new windows. And yesterday morning DH went by Lowe's to get the windows, which we'd seen there only a couple weeks ago, for 67.00 each. Lo and behold, he starts looking for them, and can't find them. Asks a salesperson, and discovers they are discontinuing that line, and now plan to stock a similar window...but with a price tag of 80.00+ dollars each. Good grief! So DH didn't buy the windows, but did get there early enough to grab one of those rock-bottom priced dishwashers, which is now sitting in the dining room, awaiting installation by our friend who will do that free.

Later in the afternoon we went to Marvin's, the only other discount home improvement place here, and found the same kind of windows for only $68.00. We bought enough to do the remainder of the windows except for the living room. We are thinking of installing a clear, large window in place of the two side windows that have a gorgeous, peaceful view of the country road and pasture. The front windows facing the porch will be the same, but Marvin's didn't have enough to buy those too. We also found a bargain on the double-doors we'll need for the living room closet, and bought those. DH is gone this morning to do a few things there, feed the horses, etc and will be back shortly. We're taking a well-deserved break this afternoon, going on a drive!

I got some great photos yesterday, but don't have time to upload and post those now. I'll try to do that tomorrow sometimes, when life gets back to normal here.

I'll end today with a poem that is very true regarding soldiers in ALL wars -- and what war does to make them enemies.


by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

"HAD he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

"But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

"I shot him dead because --
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

"He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like -- just as I --
Was out of work -- had sold his traps --
No other reason why.

"Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown."

Friday, November 28, 2003

Sooo, Thanksgiving is over. As with all the holidays this time of year, I always feel great relief that the ordeal is behind us. Perhaps this sentiment comes from not being a fan of "family life" -- and without children, I feel no compulsion and/or obligation to honor most of the "traditional' fanfare of Thanksgiving or Christmas. As a matter of fact, I LOATHE Christmas, and would just as soon see it never come around. Commercialism, cosumerism, faux sentimental ads, ad nauseum. Plus, as I've recorded in other journal entries, my childhood Christmases were so bad that the whole season sets off a depression which I would rather skip entirely. Perhaps having the old house to work on will alleviate most of that this year though.

DH and I did go to my sister's house the night before Thanksgiving, mostly so I could get the family stuff over with and tell them I wouldn't be at the Christmas get-together. Sometimes I go, other times I don't. One of my nephews has gotten engaged, and the girl was there; she seems nice -- but sounds as if she's another Bible-thumper like him. At least they didn't try to convert me from my "heathen agnostic" views! :-) I've learned to avoid the hot topics of religion and politics at such events, so as to avoid arguments. Everyone in my family was there except my youngest sister; apparently she and my other sister had an argument recently, and she didn't want to come. At any rate, the ordeal is over and I can put it all behind me.

Thanksgiving day DH and I worked at the old house, and are finally making some visible progress. I finished sanding off the joint compound on the kitchen window woodwork, and those three windows are ready to paint. DH almost finished the sheetrock in the front bedroom, and will complete that today. He's gone now to buy a dishwasher (on sale at Lowe's today), as well as three more windows and some odds and ends we needed. I'm not going there today, since I have to buy groceries, run some errands in town, and do a good bit of housework here today.

I want to post an article and link about the AARP. I was astonished when their board promoted the latest Bush medicare/drug "benefit?" plan. I have not joined AARP, though I get mail about every week inviting me to "send in my dues." No thanks. And for sure I won't now, after their Republican stand on the "drug benefit" deal. I found the following article to be most thoroughly informed and well-researched, as to exactly WHAT the AARP is now, and its history.

AARP Grows Into $636 Million Empire

WASHINGTON (AP) - AARP's fight for legislation giving private insurers a new role in Medicare surprised many Democrats, but in fact the giant retiree group has long been in the health insurance business itself.

In 45 years, AARP has grown from a program founded to insure retired teachers to a more than $636 million-a-year empire that pays its chief executive a half-million-dollar salary and lends its name to things such as pharmacy services and Medicare supplemental insurance, and discounts for hotel rooms, car rentals, shopping and cruises.

AARP bills itself as an advocacy group for older Americans, but draws more than two-thirds of its income from ventures other than its $12.50 membership fee. Its lobbying costs, though in the millions of dollars, are a tiny fraction of its revenue.

Executive director William Novelli says AARP is part business, part senior citizens' advocate and part lobbying group.

"There's no dichotomy in our minds. If you look at why people belong to AARP, here's why they belong. They like the discounts, they value the products and services we offer, they like our publications," Novelli said. "But probably near the very top is the fact that we speak out on behalf of older Americans."

AARP began in 1958, years before the government created Medicare to provide health care coverage for older Americans.

Novelli recounts a colorful history. Retired California school principal Ethel Percy Andrus was so appalled that many educators couldn't afford health insurance in retirement - she reportedly discovered one living in a chicken coop - that she formed the National Retired Teachers Association in 1947. She approached health insurance companies until she found one willing to insure her members at an affordable price.

Looking for more members, Andrus formed the American Association of Retired Persons and expanded the group's offerings to a range of discounted products and services, including mail-order pharmacy services.

In the years since, AARP lowered its membership age to 50 and dropped its original name in favor of the acronym to reflect its broader membership. The latest edition of its magazine features a cover photo of beaming, apparently wrinkle-free actress Lauren Hutton with the tag line "Sixty is the new thirty."

AARP even offers motorcycle insurance for those spry enough to hit the road. A third of its members are under 60, one-third 60-69, and the other third 70 and above.

Aggressive marketing has built AARP into a 35 million-member titan. These days, the first greeting card many Americans get as their 50th birthdays approach comes from AARP in the form of an invitation to join - whether they consider themselves close to retirement or not.

"We have a big satellite system that tracks everybody," Novelli joked, explaining that the group trolls for new members by using public information such as driver's license records. "Some people are put off by it. Other people say, 'Hey, let me see those discounts.'"

Novelli defends his corporate CEO-style salary - $458,468 last year, plus $9,266 for expenses - as appropriate given the organization's size. His predecessor, Horace Deets, has a deferred compensation payout worth $2.65 million.

Novelli said the AARP plows its profits into its advocacy and lobbying work, including legal assistance for the elderly. It is officially nonpartisan and doesn't make campaign donations.

Nonetheless, the group has gained enemies in Washington along the way.

Retired Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., scrutinized the group's profit-making enterprises while in the Senate in the mid-1990s, questioning how AARP could be entirely tax-exempt when it was making millions. AARP ultimately was forced to move its business side to a for-profit, taxable subsidiary called AARP Services Inc.

Simpson said he joined AARP when he turned 60, "just to see what they did."

"I just couldn't believe it. Everything was about money: 'Send in your dues,'" Simpson said. "The advertising wasn't directed to the little guy. It was how to do resorts and cruises, and special wheelchairs and stairs in your home for five grand."

Simpson tells a different story of AARP's genesis. His inquiry revealed it was started by a teacher and "a defrocked insurance peddler" who thought they could make money on retiree insurance, he said: "And boy, they did."

Simpson is skeptical of the AARP's declaration that it doesn't know whether its health insurance and prescription drug businesses will be helped, hurt or both by the Medicare bill. The recently approved measure, which President Bush is ready to sign, will provide a Medicare prescription drug benefit and give private insurers a new role.

"I never saw the AARP do anything that would hurt their business," Simpson said.

AARP's member health insurance program, administered with major insurance companies United Healthcare and MetLife, reaped at least $161 million for AARP last year, its financial reports show.

Novelli said AARP considered the Medicare bill good public policy, and that its own health care ventures weren't a factor. AARP's push for the bill so angered some in the group that thousands have canceled their memberships.

Oh, and Bushie made a "top secret" trip to visit the troops on T-day. Or at least he put in an appearance in Iraq with a very, very few of the troops. He should have already done that, in my opinion. Coming as it did after Hillary's public announcement that SHE would go to Iraq, I find it highly comic that Bushie's handlers must have decided they'd better send him too. I understand the need for security, but the "secretive" nature of his trip seems suspicious at best, comical at worst. While Hillary is going about openly over there in Afghanistan and soon, Iraq... I don't know, perhaps Bush could hide behind her skirt-tails if he'd ask her kindly? :-)

Gotta run, lots to do today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I spent most of yesterday doing household chores and then finding and printing out some legal forms for when we rent this house. I found an excellent form, "Application to Rent" under our current state's legal realtor laws. It is very detailed and asks specific questions as to income, past rental history, credit standing, etc. and should narrow down any chances of getting unsuitable renters. Certainly, if anyone goes to the trouble to fill it out accurately, we can do a credit check, employment history and past rental reference confirmation. I plan to put a "For Rent" sign out front, with a small plastic box with the "Application to Rent" in it, so that potential renters will have the necessary information without asking us. They can fill out the application and either mail it to us, or bring it by. I also will then have a Lease ready to sign, once we approve of a renter. And by the way, I can put in a pet clause, so that anyone with cats is preferred; no dogs though.

Today I had errands in town, and also some shopping to get done. I think DH and I will go to my family gathering tomorrow night at one of my sister's houses, instead of on Thanksgiving. Probably we'll be working at the old house on Thanksgiving -- indoors, since heavy rain is predicted all day that day.

I have started using my ski machine in the afternoon, since the weather has either been too cold (hit 25 here last night!), or rainy. I use my portable cassette player, plug in the earphones and ski like mad!

I see that the U.S. military officials are now claiming those dead soldier bodies were not brutalized. Ha, as if anyone believes them. All their denial does for me is convince me they are hiding MORE such atrocities; that's their nature, denial and lies. I mean, how could Americans back here at home know what is going on over there, considering Bush won't even allow the media to film the flag-draped coffins of dead soldiers when they are returned here? The media is also in danger over there, so I am sure they don't cover events as thoroughly as they would otherwise. Plus, the military has restrictions on the media access. I guess the American public hasn't had enough of the secrecy just yet; it took YEARS before we ever raised hell about the slaughter of soldiers in Vietnam.

I've put up a forum for anyone who wishes to discuss and/or comment on my journal entries. You can access it HERE I'll add a permanent link on the right side of this blog too.

And that's it for today.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

A very busy day yesterday. I managed to complete painting the inside of the hall closet, and it sure did give me a sense of accomplishing something. With the mess throughout the old house, any evidence of progess is helpful.

Today I'll head to the old house soon. I plan to paint the inside of another closet. I can close the doors on the closets, and not expose the new paint job to all the dust of sheetrock. DH is already there, plumbing for the gas water heater, which is in the cellar. The central heat/air is still not finished, nor the natural gas line installed, but the heating unit is already in the cellar. DH will hang sheetrock later today also.

Horrible news out of Iraq this morning:

Three U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Gunmen killed two American soldiers driving through this northern Iraqi city Sunday, and then a crowd swarmed the scene, looting the soldiers' vehicle and pummeling their bodies, witnesses said. Another soldier was killed in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad.

Bahaa Jassim, a teenager, said the soldiers' vehicle crashed into a wall after the shooting. Several dozen passers-by then descended on the wreckage, looting the car of weapons and the soldiers' backpacks.

After the soldiers' bodies fell into the street, the crowd pummeled them with concrete blocks, Jassim said.

This incidence reminds me of our troops in the movie: "Black Hawk Down" ...where the citizens literally ganged up on the troops and after killing them, drug their bodies through the streets. Of course, the movie was based on the real American troops in Somalia.

I wonder why Bushie thinks that the Iraqis are supposed to LOVE us, when it is plain they HATE our guts? You can't just waltz in and destroy a country and expect the citizens to welcome you. Oh, I know...these terrible attacks against the troops are "insurgents." Excuse me, I don't think so. They are citizens that are FED UP with the horrid living conditions there ever since Americans bombed them back to the Stone Age. Look for more such displays of FURY against troops' dead bodies.

Gotta run. Lots to do today!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Feeling almost normal today. And I've had a great day so far: I got another postal letter from the physics professor in England, and we're having quite a correspondence about some of our similar interests.

And that reminds me that I've not mentioned much in this blog lately about one of my favorite amature interests: science. Last night I watched Nova on PBS, and it was a fascinating program. Perhaps you've heard of the coming magnetic shift? If not, you might like to look at the Nova PBS site for more info. Here's a link and excerpt:

Magnetic Storm

If all the compasses in the world started pointing south rather than north, many people might think something very strange, very unusual, and possibly very dangerous was going on. Doomsayers would have a field day proclaiming the end is nigh, while more rational persons might head straight to scientists for an explanation.

Such reversals in the Earth's magnetic field, they'd tell you, are, roughly speaking, as common as ice ages. That is, they're terrifically infrequent by human standards, but in geologic terms they happen all the time. As the time line at right shows, hundreds of times in our planet's history the polarity of the magnetic shield ensheathing the globe has gone from "normal," our current orientation to the north, to "reversed," and back again.

The Earth is not alone in this fickleness: The sun's magnetic shield appears to reverse its polarity approximately every 11 years. Even our Milky Way galaxy is magnetized, and experts say it probably reverses its polarity as well. Moreover, while a severe weakening or disappearance of the magnetic field would lay us open to harmful radiation from the sun, there's little evidence to date that "flips" per se inflict any lasting damage (see Impact on Animals).

It might sound as if scientists have all the answers regarding magnetic reversals. But actually they know very little about them. Basic questions haunt researchers: What physical processes within the Earth trigger reversals? Why do the durations and frequencies of both normal and reversed states seem random? Why is there such a disproportionately long normal period between about 121 and 83 million years ago? Why does the reversal rate, at least during the past 160 million years, appear to peak around 12 million years ago?

The good news? In the scientific perspective, humans will enjoy beautiful auroras (like the magnificent northern lights in Alaska) year round, from almost all locations on earth.

The bad news? The solar wind/radiation that will penetrate the earth will result in about 100,000 more deaths per year from cancer. Yeah, and that is probably a conservative estimate. Personally, I think since there's already evidence the pole shift is starting, we are now exposed to more radiation -- hence, the increased cases of skin cancer.

There's all kinds of doomsayers about this event: and truthfully, science can't accurately predict ALL the problems likely to be encountered on earth. They can't even say with any assurance how long it'll take: just estimate between 3 weeks and 1,000 years! Large margin of error there, eh?

Here's a few more links/excerpts to websites, if you're interested in the coming magnetic pole shift of the earth. There apparently MAY be a similar magnetic pole shift already in progress on the sun as well.

When North Goes South

Considering that ships, planes and Boy Scouts steer by it, Earth's magnetic field is less reliable than you'd think. Rocks in an ancient lava flow in Oregon suggest that for a brief erratic span about 16 million years ago magnetic north shifted as much as 6 degrees per day. After little more than a week, a compass needle would have pointed toward Mexico City.


The monitoring and analysis of the geomagnetic field is also important for practical applications, some of which have been made for centuries. The magnetic field can be used for orientation, navigation, and mineral and oil exploration. Of more recent interest, the infrastructure and the activities of our modern, technologically-based society can be adversely affected by rapid magnetic-field variations driven by the dynamic processes in the near-Earth space environment. This is particularly true during so-called ‘magnetic storms’, when radio communication can be difficult or impossible, global-positioning systems (GPS) can be degraded, satellite electronics can be damaged, satellite drag can be enhanced, astronaut and high-altitude pilots can be subjected to increased levels of radiation, pipe-line corrosion can be enhanced, and electric-power grids can experience voltage surges which cause blackouts. The most beautiful manifestations of geomagnetic activity are aurorae, seen prominently at high latitudes near the geomagnetic poles. Given the plurality of geomagnetic phenomena, it is not surprising that the communities concerned with magnetic data are numerous and diverse.

And finally, for the doomsayers out there, consider the following website which proclaims that devastating events will occur during the pole shift, since such has happened in the past.

For doom and gloom naysayers

"Working on the assumption that the earth's magnetic poles are usually close to the poles of rotation, Hapgood collected geomagnetic rock samples, finding evidence that the most recent earth crust displacement must have occurred between 17,000 to 12,000 years ago. The North Pole would have moved from the Hudson Bay area of northern Canada to it's current place in the Arctic Ocean. More recently, Langway and Hansen (1973) gathered climactic data pointing to a dramatic change in climate at 12,000 years ago. At that time, the Pleistocene extinctions, rising ocean levels, the close of the ice age, and the origins of agriculture all seem to coincide."

Look into any one of the above fields and you will begin to see the same pattern Velikovsky, Hapgood, Einstein and hundreds of other independent geologists, paleontologists and archeologists have recognized in the Earth's past. A pattern of repeated, catastrophic change thought to be brought about by crustal displacements activated by one or more outside agents - such as passing comets or fluctuations in the sun's own magnetic field - appears to have been with humanity and its civilizations from the very dawn of mankind....

Though every one of the four elements participated in each of the catastrophes; deluge, hurricane, earthquake, and fire gave their names to the catastrophes because of the predominance of one of them in the upheavals.

Interpreted by the modern dating system, the Mayan calendars not only depict the length of each of the 'suns' and nature of each of the catastrophes, but they also calculate the end of the present, fifth sun.

The day will be 4 Ahau 3 Kankin, and it will be ruled by the Sun God, or ninth Lord of the Night. The moon will be eight days old, and it will be the third lunation in a series of six.

The date corresponds to 23 December AD 2012.

Folks, I don't know about you, but I hope I'm around on that date to see exactly what happens. I've had that date marked for a long time, since I read about the ancient Mayan calendar and their prediction years ago.

Isn't this evidence of a mad, mad world? :=)

Oh, but wait...more news of our mad, mad world: Looks as if Michael Jackson is being sought on child molestation charges. No matter how you feel about the "Prince of Pop," I guess he is about to bite the dust. It shall be interesting to learn all the details, no?

Yes, a mad, mad world indeed! But interesting...ah, yes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I'm feeling somewhat better, certainly an improvement over the past couple of days. I think I caught this cold/stomach virus in a department store, since I observed a woman sneezing nearby. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, I have caught up on answering email, postal mail and written the article for the childfree organization. The article, "Living in a Material World" can be read by clicking HERE. I hope to write an essay/column/article about once a month there, if I have time. I also will put a permanent link at the bottom of this blog to the main entry for their website,

What else? I rode my bike yesterday morning, (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment!) but not today since it is raining outside. I'm trying to watch what I eat, but with my stomach virus, that's not been a problem lately!

Over the weekend, DH and I started putting sheetrock in the front bedroom, and he framed up the area for the large closet we'll add. Lots of dust, a mess...but necessary at this point. Oh, he sold one of his horse trailers, which he'd parked out near the highway. Looks like the place will be ideal for getting customers to buy either trailers, saddles/tack or horses! A good bit of traffic on the highway, and though annoying at times, it will be good for business. We do plan to have our den/living area on the back of the house, away from the traffic noise. At night the road is less traveled, so it shouldn't bother us about sleeping.

Sunday afternoon I put some Miracle Grow fertilizer on the small shrubs and trees already planted in the yard. We also plan to put some fairly large evergreens in the front yard when the time is right. And I want to have some flowers eventually too, once we get moved -- if we ever do! :-)

Tomorrow night we may go work on that bedroom sheetrock for a couple hours, depending on how I'm feeling by then. Central heat/air crew still not finished, but have the interior work done. I suppose since we're not living there, they are in no hurry.

Thunderstorms on the way for this afternoon, but maybe the worst of it will miss us.

Tired now, so I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Just a brief update to say that I've come down with a nasty cold, and don't feel like doing much of anything. Too weak and disoriented to think straight and make entries.

More when I feel better.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Busy few days, although I admit that I spent only a short time at the old house for the past two days. At times all the tasks yet to be done seem overwhelming, and I have to get away from there. Working on the weekends is just enough time for me; then I have the whole week to get back to a 'normal' life here at our house in town. I've always been a neat, tidy person, and like order in my household; naturally, being in the process of a renovation, it's messy and disordered, at times bordering on filthy. When it seems to much to bear, I simply LEAVE. :-)

At any rate, Tuesday I went with DH and he'd just started tearing off some old painted, warped paneling in what will be our living room when the central heat/air crew arrived. With a bunch of men traipsing through the house, DH's loud banging, tearing off the paneling, the massive dust-storm was nearly enough to make me wonder what we'd gotten ourselves into! I decided to come back home, since there was nothing I could really do at that point. DH stayed and finished tearing off the bad paneling, and framed up the closet we're building in our bedroom. Oh yeah, and under that paneling we'd thought had sheetrock? Nope. Turns out it was just some wafer-board, so we'll now have to buy sheetrock for that room. Sure seems as if this is turning into the "Money Pit." [Yes it IS a hilarious movie, but in real life...well, not so funny!]

Bad news as I expected from the dentist: need to have a crown put on a bottom tooth. I did make an appointment, but I am debating not keeping it -- putting that off for a couple months. We have the money, but I want to save as much as possible right now till we see exactly where we stand when we get moved. Once the rent starts rolling in, our financial situation should improve quickly. I don't like dipping into reserve savings (and certainly NOT money that I consider retirement funds)...and this tooth isn't hurting either, so I may just wait.

By the way, what's up with dentist having you lie down to do the work? I absolutely LOATHE that; it makes me sick to my stomach. And now that my dentist has moved into a new office, there's not even a place to rinse out when the girl cleans my teeth. I nearly gagged when she told me that. Instead of rinsing out, she squirts water into your mouth then suctions it up (but, of course, can't get it ALL out!). Some of that gritty cleaner got down my throat, and that caused my acid reflux to act up again. So even if it was an emergency on that tooth, I don't know I'd go until this acid reflux is fully under control. I haven't had any serious work done in this new place, but if there's no place to rinse out...I think I'll just have to find another dentist!

Today I had to do some shopping, household tasks and then went on my bike ride. It has been overcast all day, turning cooler, which I'm glad about. Uncomfortably warm the last few days, especially since it's November!

In the meantime, over in Iraq, the U.S. has apparently decided a show of force will calm down the increasing dead-on violent attacks of the Iraqis. Not so sure about that myself, since I always have to fall back on the greatest quote I ever read about terrorists by a Russian General:

"The trouble with trying to eliminate terrorists is that they are just like cockroaches; you kill a dozen over here, three dozen spring up over there."

That's all for this time. I need to start doing some research on statistics for my first childfree column that I hope to get written by the weekend. I'll end with this very apt quote about life:

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. --Lao Tzu

Monday, November 10, 2003

Brief update, since I'm in a hurry to head for the dentist office. I have a 1:30 appointment for teeth cleaning, and know that I'm going to have to schedule another appointment to get a crown put on one of my bottom teeth. Just what we need: more expenses. However, I've known about this for some time, just kept putting it off and dreading it. The enamel of the tooth has gotten less and less, and can hardly hold the filling that's in it...thus, a crown is the only solution. Oh well, at least our dental insurance pays half of it -- though it should pay ALL, IMO.

Worked some on my wine that I'm planning to give for Christmas gifts and it is turning out great. Did housework, and will head for the dentist in a short time.

I DID get underneath and inside the kitchen cabinets painted the past two days, and there wasn't really anything I could do today so DH went alone. The central heat/air crew should be there again today, working on installing the outside units. I did yet MORE cleaning from the last mess they left inside, and hope that part of the job is done. Tomorrow I'll go with DH again to the old house, and do a few other random things.

By the way, DH got all three kitchen windows installed and it turned out perfect. Probably next Saturday we'll go buy all the windows, a dishwasher and then install the windows as time permits. A friend of ours will install the dishwasher free, which is a big help!

And that's about it for catching up on the latest. Oh, I also made another entry in my CR Diet Blog this morning, adding an article and excerpt about calorie restriction in regards to aging.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Just a brief update before I head to the farmhouse to work. I updated my CR Diet Blog this morning, and also added a permanent link on the right of this blog. Need to start cutting calories again, and will try to write in it more regularly.

Here's an excerpt from this morning's AP news article I couldn't resist:

2 U.S. Paratroopers Are Killed in Iraq

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters in Baghdad that the Bush administration was "sobered by the problem" of increased violence.

Hmm, so THAT explains why this administration has royally screwed up: they were all drunk! ;-) Goodness, I'm glad they've sobered up now and maybe can figure a way out of the horrid mess they've created in Iraq.

Oh, good news! I've been asked to write a regular column for the website I mentioned yesterday about International Childfree Day! I think I can manage at least one column a month, even with my hectic schedule. I'll put a link at the bottom of this blog when I write my first column for any of those childfree readers who are interested.

Gotta get going!

Friday, November 07, 2003

A final update before the marathon weekend of working on the old house again!

I've spent another couple busy days, but am pleased that I'm finding so many bargains. Today as I started to the grocery store, I noticed (once I was out of the driveway) that one of the stray cats had upchucked on the hood of my car. So I went around the block, intending to come back and hose off the stuff.

As I rounded a corner on a block I hardly ever pass, I happened to see they were having a yard sale. And lo, there right on the curb was another loveseat for...believe it or not, FIVE DOLLARS. I drove on to my house, hosed off the car and went back to the yard sale pronto! Got out, sat on the loveseat, looked it over -- and though not as good as the other loveseat I bought, cause it has some weak springs and a couple rough spots on the cushions -- it was still worth FIVE DOLLARS. So I bought it, AND a dried flower arrangement for 50 cents. Now when DH gets home, he'll get to gripe about having to go get it on the pickup bed, but hopefully there'll be a guy around to help him there.

Why would I buy yet another loveseat? Well, I am sort of thinking of renting our house here in town as "partially furnished." We can get more rent, and we also can't get all of our furniture (even without what I've recently bought) into that other old country house. With a kitchen that has stove/fridge/dishwasher/bar and some furniture in the den, a bedroom suit in one bedroom...we can ask more rent.

Plus, I am definitely going to be a pet-friendly landlord to anyone with cats, since there's a perfect setup here for cats, but probably no dogs allowed (they aggravate neighbors). I downloaded some legal forms today for landlords who wish to put a clause in their lease for allowing pets, and it will help a great deal. IF I can find someone willing to feed these strays, I may just leave them; if not, I'll carry them both with us. I also have a sneaking suspicion if I advertise that cats are welcome, I may attract people without kids. Darn if I wouldn't rather have a cat than a kid in this house!

I bought groceries today, then came back and went on my bike ride. The weather has turned much cooler, and it was a nice ride...sort of refreshing after the unseasonably warm weather of late.

Tomorrow it's back to the farmhouse...more work, work, work. Probably I'll paint the inside of those cabinets while DH works on replacing the kitchen windows. We went there last night, to see how much progress the central heat/air crew has made. They had all the ductwork in, and just needed to put the return inside a closet then will be working outside with the heat/air units installation. They won't finish that today, but perhaps by the middle of next week it'll be done.

DH is off Monday (taking a vacation day) and Tuesday for Vet's we have a four day stretch with uninterrupted work. If we survive it, that is! :-)

Gotta go for now.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

As usual, been a busy few days. I am getting accustomed to the constant activity though, and even look forward to it. Not to say that my muscles aren't sore, because they ARE, but I like having an ongoing project like the old house. In fact, I believe it stimulates my creativity, since I keep coming up with renovation ideas and even story ideas (my creative writing has been on the back burner for a long time!). At any rate, here's a rundown of the past couple days:

Monday I went on my bike ride early, then did housework (what fun, huh?) and caught up on answering friends' emails and letters.

Tuesday I worked on my home-made wine most of the day, starting a new batch, transferring some to new jugs, etc. I plan to give all my family a gift-wrapped bottle of wine for Christmas this year, and I'm working on some wine that, hopefully, will be low liquor content and delicious. My sisters, like myself, like sweet wine that is only around 9% or less liquor. We either sip it before meals and/or with meals, and occasionally drink about a cup if we can't get to sleep (beats sleeping pills!). Late in the afternoon, I got out the leaf blower and sent all the pile of leaves in the front yard to the street -- a bigger job than I'd anticipated, creating more muscle-aches!

This morning one of my sisters called, and we talked for over an hour, catching up on the latest news. She and my brother-in-law and nephew have also been going through a move, and we had a lot in common to share. Then I returned a small hand-held sewing machine to a department store, because it didn't work -- but ended up exchanging it for another one, because it will be very useful in the interior decorating at the old house. I haven't tried the new one yet, but will later after the evening meal. I dropped by the Salvation Army store again, spent some time browsing and found some useful curtains, round-table fabric covers, several ruffled pieces that I can make into slipcovers and/or use for a country-look. I spent almost $7.00 ... whoopee, that is a great place to shop.

And now finally I am at my desk, making an entry.

I have a few new photos posted in the online album under "Renovations, Updates and Artifacts," if anyone is interested. An old sidewalk with a date of Aug 11-35 etched in it and the tractor. There's a good one of three horses in the barn, especially Oto, about two-years-old, who is very friendly and curious, seemed to want to look at my camera upclose and personal! :-)

I've also been doing some reading about horses, so I can get used to the ones we have...and plan on making some food treats to entice them near me, and hopefully, make friends! I've never met a critter I couldn't win over with just the right tasty morsel. In fact, that's how I ended up with six indoor cats and two strays (though I can't hardly call the two strays now, since they rarely ever leave the yard for fear of missing a meal).

We're hoping the central heat/air crew is at the old house today, getting started. It would be nice if they were finished by the weekend, but I wouldn't make any bets on that. We DO have some plans for the weekend; I want to paint the inside of the cabinets, since they won't be exposed to dusty conditions, staying closed up. And DH wants to start putting in the three new windows we bought at Lowe's Sunday for the kitchen. Yep, more grueling work ahead.

I'm at 94 lbs, and can't complain...although my stomach is still giving me a bit of acid reflux trouble, but has calmed down considerably using the Prilosec OTC.

I'm outta here for today!

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Just a brief post, since I'm heading to the old house shortly. I spent yesterday afternoon finishing up the sanding of woodwork, and don't really have much more to do until the central heat/air is installed (hopefully next week).

DH accomplished a lot yesterday, and is now doing clean-up around the barns and outbuildings from his recent construction repairs (tin roofs on the barns, etc.). He also bought a tractor yesterday, with a bush-hog. That will allow him to keep the pasture in good shape -- and he got a bargain, bought it from the previous owners of the house/land.

Today we are going to drop by Lowe's or Marvin's, and buy some Thompson water sealer to spray the new wood he's used in the barn, etc. Plus, look at windows and paint again, possibly go to another window/door outlet store to browse. Then back to put the sealer on the wood, which should be the end of our work this weekend.

I posted several new photos of the stray cats here, as well as some beautiful pictures of my backyard here in town during an extraordinary sunset the other evening. You can find those by clicking on the Southern Photos link to the right, and looking under the Stray Cat folder as well as the Scenic Views folder. I would put a link, but I'm in a rush.

Gotta run!