My Novels

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Revelations

I could never top this savvy, humorous post from a blogger.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. The Library will include:

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room which no one has yet been able to find.

The Hurricane Katrina Room which is still under construction.

The Alberto Gonzales Room where you won't be able to remember anything.

The Texas Air National Guard Room where you don't even have to show up.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room where they don't let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room where they don't let you out.

The National Debt Room which is huge and has no ceiling.

The Tax Cut Room with entry restricted to the wealthy.

The Economy Room which is in the toilet.

The Iraq War Room: After you complete your first tour, they make you go back for a second, third, fourth and sometimes fifth tour.

The Dick Cheney Room
in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.

The Environmental Conservation Room still empty, but very warm.

The Supreme Court Gift Shop where you can buy an election.

The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins and straws.

Additionally, the museum will have a 20-electron microscope to help you locate the president's accomplishments.

Admission:
Republicans - free; Democrats - $1000 or 3 Euros

Curtesy of: Time Goes By
~~~~~~~~
I do believe that sums up Bush & Company's years in office, as well as where we find ourselves today: Depression coming faster than you can say it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Three months to live...

Provocative no?

For my readers, here's the question:

You have three months to live (in good health) and $100,000.00 to spend. What do you do, how do you live that last three months of your life?

Reply in the comments section below. This is my last journal post until January 1st, plenty of time for everyone and anyone to answer my question.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Article link

Just read this interesting article I wanted to share:

'Revolution, food riots in America by 2012'

The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.

Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.

"We're going to see the end of the retail Christmas....we're going to see a fundamental shift take place....putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree," said Celente, adding that the situation would be "worse than the great depression".

"America's going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for," said Celente, noting that people's refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.

Celente, who successfully predicted the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis, the subprime mortgage collapse and the massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar, told UPI in November last year that the following year would be known as "The Panic of 2008," adding that "giants (would) tumble to their deaths," which is exactly what we have witnessed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others. He also said that the dollar would eventually be devalued by as much as 90 percent.

The prospect of revolution was a concept echoed by a British Ministry of Defence report last year, which predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shapetransnational processes in their own class interest," and that, "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class."

In a separate recent interview, Celente went further on the subject of revolution in America."There will be a revolution in this country," he said. "It's not going to come yet, but it's going to come down the line and we're going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D. C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen."

"The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That's going to be the big one because people can't afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You're going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop."

"It's going to be very bleak. Very sad. And there is going to be a lot of homeless, the likes of which we have never seen before. Tent cities are already sprouting up around the country and we're going to see many more."

"We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to. It's going to come as a shock and with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs - over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be. So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension."

The George Washington blog has compiled a list of quotes attesting to Celente's accuracy as a trend forecaster.

"The Trends Research Institute is the Standard and Poors of Popular Culture." - The Los Angeles Times

"If Nostradamus were alive today, he'd have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente."- New York Post

So there you have it - hardly a nutjob conspiracy theorist blowhard now is he? The price of not heeding his warnings will be far greater than the cost of preparing for the future now.

Link

Fasten your seatbelts, the ride has just begun! May I suggest a garden in your backyard?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dedicated to my late husband

Holidays, of course, remind me of my late husband. Tonight I was listening to music videos on YouTube and found one of my favorites. As I listened to the lyrics and watched the video, I thought that IF there is a Heaven, this is where my husband now resides:


Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Thursday, November 27, 2008

World's oldest person dies

I'm fascinated with the long-lived and have tried to post articles about this -- for my own reference. This news article is on MSNBC:

Ind. woman, world's oldest person, dies at 115
Edna Parker didn't drink or smoke; outlived her husband by nearly 70 years

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - Edna Parker, who became the world's oldest person more than a year ago, has died at age 115.

UCLA gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles said Parker's great-nephew notified him that Parker died Wednesday at a nursing home in Shelbyville. She was 115 years, 220 days old, said Robert Young, a senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records.

Parker was born April 20, 1893, in central Indiana's Morgan County and had been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest person since the 2007 death in Japan of Yone Minagawa, who was four months her senior.

Coles maintains a list of the world's oldest people and said Parker was the 14th-oldest validated supercentenarian in history. Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born Sept. 10, 1893, is now the world's oldest living person, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Parker had been a widow since her husband, Earl Parker, died in 1939 of a heart attack. She lived alone in their farmhouse until age 100, when she moved into a son's home and later to the Shelbyville nursing home.

Although she never drank alcohol or tried tobacco and led an active life, Parker didn't offer tips for living a long life. Her only advice to those who gathered to celebrate when she became the oldest person was "more education."

'She's never been a worrier'
Parker outlived her two sons, Clifford and Earl Jr. She also had five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

"We don't know why she's lived so long," Don Parker said before his grandmother's 115th birthday. "But she's never been a worrier and she's always been a thin person, so maybe that has something to do with it."

Parker taught in a two-room school in Shelby County for several years after graduating from Franklin College in 1911. She wed her childhood sweetheart and neighbor in 1913.

But as was the tradition of that era, her teaching career ended with her marriage. Parker traded the schoolhouse for life as a farmer's wife, preparing meals for as many as a dozen men who worked on her husband's farm.

Parker noted with pride last year that she and her husband were one of the first owners of an automobile in their rural area.

Coincidentally, Parker lived in the same nursing home as 7-foot-7 Sandy Allen, whom Guinness recognized as the world's tallest woman until her death in August.

---
Hmm, was it being skinny, or never marrying after her husband passed away that kept her living so long? ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Gathering Photos

We had a great family get-together last Sunday, an early Thanksgiving for us. My sister, Glenda, and her husband invited us to their house. We haven't been meeting for our family holidays at her house since the first T-Day after DH died. At that time, it was somewhat traumatic for me, as well as my mother since my step-dad died in late October of that year.

Everywhere I turned, I kept expecting to see DH, hear him joking with the kids, talking with my brothers-in-law. So I didn't attend other gatherings there, until this year. It went well, but I have to admit, I STILL felt as if DH would walk into the kitchen at any minute.

Some widows/widowers apparently like to stay in familiar surroundings, the same house, the same places after losing a spouse. I don't think I could have coped had I not sold the farm, and moved here to a house where DH had never been. The move, of course, did not stop my memories or thoughts about him; rather, I just didn't expect to see him drive up in the driveway, or be sitting in the other room -- because he'd never been here, never lived here.

The rental house, where we lived 25 years, is always a reminder of him when I'm there working between renters. I find that at first, I like the vivid memories, but after a week or so, I become depressed. I cannot bear to be in that house around supper time, when he would have come home from work. I am still not ready to sell that house though, but I doubt I could ever live in it again. As with all grieving and coping after the loss of a loved one, each person deals with it differently. Apparently I do better not living where we once did, though I do occasionally drive by the old farmhouse -- just to see how the young couple are caring for the farm (they keep making improvements to the property too).

At any rate, two of my sisters, their husbands, two nephews and the other nephew's two little girls, mother and myself were present. Mother is looking pale and becoming more vague; her last kidney function tests showed her one kidney continues to decline. She has refused dialysis and has a living will, so we're all concerned she won't be with us much longer. But we had a wonderful day of family sharing, good food (several veggie dishes prepared for me!) and fun conversation.

Here's a few pictures:


Left to right: myself, mother, my two sisters


Sarah, nephew's girl (a real beauty & mischievous), mother and in the background, my two brothers-in-law


Yours truly, taken with self-timer in my den Sunday morning



Bitty Kitty moments ago, she's in a mood! :-)

I've been using my exercise bike every night, since the weather has become cold here. Today the high was only 38, brrr! A stiff wind this morning, but it died down by late afternoon.

I'm going to start a job search sometimes next month, just to see what is/isn't available. IF possible, I would like to return to work in early January (new tax year!).

Renters continue to be great; Sherry helped me hang vertical blinds in my den/study last week. She raked leaves at the rental house, ran them through her lawnmower mulcher and will bring those over to put on our garden spot sometimes this week. We're making plans for the veggie garden, and there is a cement slab near the garden space where an old storage building stood. I'm thinking of buying one of those small green-house enclosures and put it on the slab, so we can start plants early, etc. Just hope this drought improves during the winter and before next spring!

With that, I'm outta here for this time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Post-Election Relief

Of course I'm happy Obama won! It's been a long time coming, and I don't mean just the fact of Obama's race/heritage, I mean seeing a Democrat in office. The Republicans under Bush's reign of disaster have taken this country and the whole world down into a bottomless pit...and I don't think Obama can get us out for a long, long time.

My doom and gloom nature has not changed; every day seems to confirm the bleak economic picture. We'll be lucky to pull up enough not to hit a total depression, and frankly, I wouldn't bet we won't. No matter how much Obama and the Democrats try to stave it off, I fear we are too far down that dark path to reverse gears now.

Oh, and by the way, Prez Bush, Cheney & Company still have two months to finish us all off before leaving office. Look for more problems coming faster than a speeding bullet.

Well, I have my freezer stocked for a few weeks with delicious home-made vegetarian dishes. Easy and quick to heat in the microwave for nutritious meals. One thing I've learned while discovering vegetarain cooking is how much money I can save by preparing meals from scratch, dividing up and freezing. For example, I had enough bean/veggie/rice cream soup for ten individual servings. I'd estimate the cost at about 25 cents a serving -- which shows how much the "pre-cooked" soup companies make off their product. With everyone trying to find ways to save on grocery expense, it's a good thing to look into.

I bought a new laptop a few weeks ago, but mostly use it for writing. Occasionally I surf the web on it, and it has fast wireless (I installed a wireless router in my house). I decided it was a good investment, just in case I should be unable to sit at my desk, sick or whatever. I also got a good deal: I went to Walmart, picked out a laptop I liked, then ordered it from a discount electronics website: $420.00. I saved nearly $100.00 over Walmart's price, and got FREE shipping!

I've been exploring "internet radio stations" of late. LOVE the many choices of free listening with iTunes (a free program for your computer). Have heard older songs I hadn't heard in years and years. Everything from oldies, country, folk, blues, soul -- you name it, there's a station with ONLY that kind of music on internet radio. Free, of course.

Sherry, my renter, paid the rent today. Wendell, her husband, sent his paycheck to her. He'll be in Ohio for another two weeks, then come home for Thanksgiving. He is a truckdriver, has a CDL, so there's always work. In Ohio, he's working for his uncle, driving a truck, making $17.00 an hour. Anyway, Sherry has been doing all kinds of improvements inside my rental house, painting, wallpaper, she's real handy. She and a friend also set up a wood-working craft shop in the garage, and tomorrow they will go to a craft show with their Christmas wood crafts. She's a go-getter!

Just now on internet radio I'm listening to "White Sports Coat" by Marty Robbins. Who-hoo, long time since I heard that one! It was a favorite of mine when I was a teenager!!! However, just to clarify -- the most popular hits back in "the day" were Elvis Presley and the Beatles. But I liked "some" country even back then. LOL

And last but not least, Propostion #2 passed in California. What is that, you may ask. It is huge progress for humane treatment of farmed animals -- Prop 2 stops poultry farmers from keeping egg-laying hens in tiny, cramped cages for their entire LIVES! It also requires sows must be allowed to have quarters wide/long enough for them to move around. Can you believe sows are kept in small square stalls with NO room to even stand or turn around THEIR ENTIRE LIVES? Piglets are taken at birth, never cared for by the sow. Yeah, that is just purely EVIL. I tell you, don't look into the mass meat farms if you don't want to become enraged and physically sick at WHAT they do to animals. Oh, and your meat? May I just mention that antibiotic overuse in farmed animals is WHY we now have such problems with staph due to becoming non-resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are used in farmed animals so filthy conditions they live in won't give them infections! If you're conscientious and want to explore this topic, start with any vegetarian website on the internet, or click above on the "Meet Your Meat" link.

So I'm exceptionally HAPPY the Humane Society and other activist for compassionate animal treatment got Proposition 2 passed.

And with that, I'm off to watch a rented movie DVD from the library.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get out and vote!

I have been truly remiss in not posting more often, but I've been engaged in "other stuff." Not an excuse, just a reason for the lack of posts.

I started my novel last night with a prologue. The story will be based on real events at our old farmhouse/land. It will practically write itself, since the plot follows what really happened. I doubt I can get it done during the month of November, but maybe by next spring? I am rereading all my journal entries at this blog as reminders of how events unfolded, since I kept a fairly accurate account regularly. Nice reference!

And now, let me say: PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE TOMORROW. We have a chance to make history with this election, and if no poll shenanigans take place, I feel optimistic the change we need will happen. Either way, please vote!

After the election results are in (who knows when that will be?!), I'll have more to write about. Again, since this blog started with Bushie's election, I'm hoping to turn a page on a better future without his ilk in office.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pictures and update

Life seems increasingly mad, mad...or maybe it's just me? Nah, everyone appears on edge, worried, afraid, glimpsing perhaps (for the younger generation) what they've never experienced.

I'd say I'm worried, but the truth is, my world fell apart nearly three years ago when DH died. I'd like to say it gets easier as time goes by, but what I'm finding is that it becomes more difficult. Not encouraging words, just how I feel these days. Uphill struggle all the time, and no end in sight. The wrecked economy simply adds insult to injury in my case.

Nevertheless, I occasionally have my own escapes (other than writing fiction) and yesterday was one of those interludes. Click on photos for larger picture.


A stiff wind was blowing, and made it somewhat cold alongside Lake Guntersville.


These birds of a feather seem to be enjoying the windy weather.


Back home, I took the dogs to a nearby park for a walk in late afternoon.


Yes, that's my shadow taking the photo...unusual shot.

Today the renters brought the coverings they'd made for my vents on this house. I needed custom-made vent covers, because nothing commerical would fit. They did a great job, but then told me bad news: the guy has lost his job. However, the woman still receives a monthly check, so she said they can continue to pay the rent. However, if they can't, I plan to let them stay and just "work" for me on an as-needed basis.

Look how great they take care of my rental house:

Not only does the woman do wonderful landscaping and decorations, they put new sealer on the driveways. They are always working to take care of the property, and that means a lot to me.

So I guess I'll have to start taking the monthly payout from my annuity next year to help pay for medical insurance. If I can make it to 60, I'll receive DH's SSI, quite a sum (providing SSI is still around by then). Sigh. Or maybe I can return to the newspaper. We'll see, but right now, I'm doing okay -- which is more than I can say for a lot of folks now and probably in the future.

I have felt sick all day, wonder if I've picked up a bug. Sick to my stomach, and tired. You know, it's bad when you're paying $468.00 a month under Cobra for medical coverage, but the co-pays are still so high you hate to go to the doctor or buy your prescription drugs. I'd say that's why I'm for Obama, but the truth is, I've always been a democrat.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Evolution



Hmm, NOW I understand our current crisis -- one of human evolution that eventually purges the "fat."

Sorry, but this was just too hilarious to not post!

Friday, October 10, 2008

In times like these

I titled this blog, "Mad, Mad World" and began it when George Bush was elected -- almost 8 years ago. There have been ups and downs, but certainly more DOWNS during Bush's administration than any in my memory and I'm 56.

Nowadays, the title of my blog seems to capture exactly the turmoil in the world -- like standing on shifting sands and holding your breathe to see if you'll sink out of sight, just cease to exist. And yes, I'm a hopeless pessimist, a realist...but despite it all, I believe in human nature to survive at almost all costs.

However, remember the 30s? Anti-heroes were all the rage, Dillinger & company. And those lousy bankers? Well, folks had their own solutions:



Bonnie & Clyde, The Chase (1968 movie)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vice Prez Debate, SNL style



Yes, it's absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, it's also a near-perfect depiction of Palin, which makes one either scared or sad.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How to lose a redneck repug guy

A little humor never hurts, and I found myself creating this hilarious ditty. However, it is TRUE:

5. I'm a Democrat. (If you're a good looking gal, the republican redneck will persist)

4. I'm a vegetarian. (Still not a deal-breaker)

3. I don't think we should drill for more oil, instead look into alternate energy forms. (This usually sends them running for the hills, regardless of looks)

2. I have two small vicious dogs and they think it's their duty to protect me. (Trust me, few will stick around till you get to this point)

1. I think the war in Iraq was a mistake, and I'm an atheist -- they hear "communist." (IF there's any left, it could get dicey because they may pull out their concealed gun)

Now that's your dose of laughter for the day.

By the way, as we say in the news biz: "World ends at nine, story at ten."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What a week!

Folks, I hate to break it to you, but it looks like nasty times are arriving in the USA. Whether you have any investments or just plain depend on social security, life as we have known it for the last 25 years is over.

Go back to the 70s for the lite version of what will happen first.

Go back to the 30s depression era for the worst-case scenario (even though it "seems" the government has saved the day, the jury is still out on the long-term fallout).

And here I present to you a personal viewpoint of someone who actually lived through the collapse of a country's government:

Obviously expecting economic collapse on particular day is silly.

Such collapse will take some time, and will get progressively deeper, once more and more *possible* measures of government are applied and exhausted.

I may give you a hint:
In 1988-1990 Poland collapsed and this was economic collapse.

GDP fallen by more than 40% at that time, unemployment exceeded 35% and this makes your Great Depression to be walk in the park.

In Russia that GDP drop was even deeper (70%+), if I remember well.

I was living through that collapse stage in Poland and I remember increasingly desperate measures of government to resolve problem and these were working for a month or two and then invariably failing.

Incidentally *war on speculators* with draconian penalties for these was one of favourite measures.

It was failing miserably, as peoples were finding increasingly creative ways to *speculate* (ding, ding... US is already beginning to stigmatize *speculators*).

There was attempts to control inflation by freezing prices and salaries and with all powers steaming from central planning government still were losing that battle.

It taken about 2 years to get to the bottom and no intervention of government could help.

By that time government was so defunct and defeated, that they voluntarily surrendered to opposition in exchange for not prosecuting party members.

So if we talk about US, which has far bigger economy, that process may take longer (say 4 or 5 years).

You will see increasingly devastated economy, meantime you will hear more and more lies from government that things are getting better, you may face martial law on the way, but it will not help.

Essentially you may say that regardless what you are doing or not doing, outcome will be same and it will take a form of ruin.

However it will take TIME, means several years of fast deterioration, then several decades of slow deterioration, until you reach a bottom.

In normal situation after few years of collapse you would see beginnings of recovery, but it will not be the case this time.

Why?

Because problems with resources will begin to play their game...


Link to online forum where I found this: Forum

I don't know if it will get that bad here, but the fact is, we seem to be the tip of a Titanic situation WORLDWIDE. Your guess is as good as mine.

Hey, but it IS interesting, fascinating even. History in the making! Buckle up, the ride is just beginning!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Interesting article

So, among the mayhem of Hurricane Ike, spiking gas prices, and general political amusment....I found a gem of an article. Just wanted to post an excerpt with link.

Gas prices trigger a memory
By: Mike West


A rush on gas stations always brings to mind the energy crisis of the 1970s and the rationing endured by civilians during World War II.

I doubt if few or any of us would endure such restrictions today no matter how good the cause.

The federal Office of Price Administration handled the gas rationing during WWII.

To get a rationing classification you had to report to the local OPA and swear that they owned no more that five automobile tires. You also had to prove you had an important need for gasoline.

Rationing was based on four classifications.
An "A" classification (which included the majority of people) entitled you to four gallons a week.
A "B" classification equaled eight gallons a week. "C" was reserved for doctors and other crucial people and the rare "X" generally went to rich people and politicians.

Your ration sticker had to be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield. No sticker, no gas.

Gas rationing began Dec.1, 1942 and ended on Aug. 15, 1945.

To top it off, the maximum speed limit was 35 mph.

Website link

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Couldn't Resist

With the laughable turn of "conservative" politics lately, I couldn't resist posting this little ditty I found on a blog.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Chose Sarah Palin as my VP
by John S. McCain

1. She knows how to cook a mean wolf steak with polar bear sauce

2. She's young and hot and well, who knows whether or not Cindy will be in a disfiguring accident - it's good to have a backup plan

3. When I go hunting with her, I don't have to worry about getting accidentally shot in the face

4. She's good at eliminating, I mean, firing people, so I don't have to get my hands dirty if someone doesn't, well, work out

5. Cindy, Sarah and I would make a great threesome

~~~~Big thanks to Crunchy Chicken for saying what I (and a lot of others) have been thinking lately regarding S. Palin.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rain, rain and MORE rain!

I guess I can't complain about the hurricane dumping rain here, since we have been under a drought in the South so long. But after days and days and days of rain, it does get a bit gloomy. Of course, there's occasional breaks in the rain, and Sunday afternoon I was able to take the dogs on a walk. I saw a BEAUTIFUL three-tier rainbow, something I'd never witnessed before. Oh, if only I'd had my camera with me, darn!

I also biked that afternoon, but not yesterday. We had serious downpours all day Monday, which should help saturate the ground, good news for our region.

I voted today for our city's mayoral election, commission seats and school board members. The current mayor, who'd been in office a long time, didn't run again -- so it's up for grabs! We shall see, I suppose.

I finally bought the commode at Lowe's and I'm now waiting for the call from the installers. Hopefully I'll have it installed before the end of this week. I'd put it off as long as possible, because I'm fairly sure the installation is going to cause a problem on the floor tile in my bathroom. Bummer. But at least I won't have to keep turning the water supply off and on every time I flush the toilet!

I feel like I am drifting aimlessly, even though I have the part-time online writing position. I really don't want to seek employment part or full time just yet, because I stand to do very well at income tax time due to all the rental repairs, etc this past year. Earning a decent paycheck will definitely put a crimp on that, so I am planning to wait till the first of next year to look for outside employment.

Yet I am tired of my regular routine, and want to get out a bit more... I'd consider volunteering, but I can never do anything halfheartedly; I fear I'd soon be consumed with whatever I was volunteering for, and end up spending money instead of earning any. And frankly, with the difficult economic times, I can always use the income. I do okay, even save a little, but would prefer saving MORE. Just the way I am, always have been.

I'm still a vegetarian, and haven't eaten meat since my first entry about that choice. So far, no problems. I've lost a few pounds, not much, but that's always something I'm happy about. I've felt no lack of energy or other negative health problems, so I'm satisfied with the veggie diet. When I see my GP for my next checkup, I'll request a blood profile, which can determine if I'm getting the nutrition I need. I feel sure I am, and my cholesterol should be GREAT!

I am researching medical insurance, because I plan to switch to an independent policy at the end of this year. Cobra will last till next Spring, but it'll be easier to switch at the end of this year and not have to meet TWO deductibles next year. The best I've found thus far is a group policy with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama through my local insurance agency, ALFA. It's roughly the same amount I'm paying now, $390.00 a month, and covers doctor visits/hospital/outpatient/drugs but not vision or dental. However, adding a dental rider is included in my estimate, so all I'll lack is vision care. I think I can afford that out-of-pocket, since I have no major eye problems.

On the other hand, I've not talked to my ALFA agent yet, but will do that soon. Until then, I am not sure how much it'll cost -- that is just a rough estimate on their website calculator. Medical insurance is ridiculously expensive, so much so that I actually thought of leaving this country and becoming a legal citizen either in Canada/New Zealand/England just for their government based medical care. Alas, my town is a place I just could never leave.

And so it goes...and goes...and goes...until it's all gone.

I'll leave you with these thought-provoking quotes:

"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information and religions destroy spirituality." --Anonymous

"TV keeps people's mind off thinking and in sync with the government. It's very useful to sell stuff and ideas. If there is scarcity of stuff then they'll keep selling you ideas like they do on North Korean TV or Cuban TV. Also it shows you all the things that you can't have, no matter how rich you are, which can lead to frustration. On TV the thinking is done for you, so you don't have to think. For all that and much more we don't have a TV, really, think about it, it's a waste of time." --Peak Oil poster

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Politics

I think anyone who has read my blog even causally, or over a long time, realizes I'm a Democrat. Or, well, definitely lean to that side and have never voted Republican.

The news about John Edwards though is something I've not been terribly upset about. In the first place, when he trotted his wife, who had terminal cancer, out onto the campaign trail...he lost my vote right then. In Alabama, we have a legendary political icon (yes, a democrat) who I came to despise while I was a teenager. George Wallace. My loathing grew by leaps and bounds when he trotted HIS wife, Lurleen, out to run for Governor after he'd already served the two terms allowed. She won. And you guessed it: she had terminal cancer, even died in office. I have an excellent biography of her life here, and I consider it PRICELESS because it shows the depth of endless selfishness for political power.

These particular types surface in ALL political parties, as well as every aspect of humanity's power hungry brokers. I just wonder how long it will be before McSenile's first marriage, and his unfathomable selfish behavior toward his first wife's handicapped situation, will make news? Or his womanizing upon returning to the USA and finding his wife disfigured by a car wreck? Ah, not long...I suspect.

Here's an excellent article about McSenile's first marriage/wife:

The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind

In other news, I think I have a summer cold -- or some sort of virus. I have body aches, stuffy nose, sneezing, etc. but maybe it's just a sinus infection. If I don't feel better soon, it's off to the doctor.

I have been on a cleaning frenzy around here: Removed all the cats' bedding, washing their large sleepers, hosing down the screenporch, and more. I thought perhaps this would help alleviate the mite problem, because they are all still shaking their head, though not scratching at their ears. Not sure what is going on, but it's looking more like a trip to the vet soon.

I had to trim back newly-grown pecan limbs off the stump. I should have had the stump destroyed, because it keeps putting out new tree limbs and darn if I'm not getting tired of hard labor at keeping it trimmed back.


What a pain this has become!


Also, I am definitely going to get a commode replacement -- perhaps Monday. I'm tired of this piece of crap I have to contend with every time I flush the toilet. Will buy one of the taller commodes at Lowe's and get it installed by their crew next week. I dread that, but it has to be done.

I am growing bored, though I don't have any complaints exactly. Maybe it's the long August days of heat and humidity, just the same old, same old!?

Dogs are well, and for that I'm glad. Princess, the elderly cat, has improved somewhat, though I still think it's touch-and-go for her, since she seems lethargic most of the time.

With that, I'm outta here for today as I leave you with this hilarious photo from one of my favorite websites:
Courtesy of icanhascheezburger

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

So I've been adapting to the vegetarian lifestyle easily! Other than missing the convenience of "canned meats" I don't have a problem at all. Actually, I am enjoying the recipes, and have stocked my freezer with a healthy variety of veggie burgers, fillings for tacos, beans and rice dishes, etc.

When I cook a batch of beans, I divide it into a lot of individual portions and freeze. And while it IS time-consuming, time is something I have in abundance now.

I also bought an iron skillet for cooking; vegetarians say it's a great source to help supplement iron intake.

Here's just a few tips for those who want to save money at the grocery store:

Buy dried beans: pintos, navy, lentil, black, peas, whatever. You can get literally whole meals for mere pennies compared to can beans or frozen prepared stuff.

Buy white and brown rice, the long cooking kind, not those instant rice boxes.

Buy a large bag of popcorn and make your own individual servings in a microwave popcorn dish. Not only can you get dozens of individual servings, you also control the amount of salt, etc.

Take advantage of farmer's market produce and/or your own garden. I have been preparing vegetables for six or seven people at the same time, and then freeze it for individual servings.

There's more, but those are just the easiest to save quickly, especially if you are living alone.

What I'm trying this month is now that I'm stocked up on the basics, I will only buy fresh produce or lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes etc for the next 30 days. Maybe soy milk, bread, but nothing in cans or instant, quick stuff. And not a minute too soon: At Walmart the other day I discovered that Boca Vegan Burgers (that I'd been eating off and on for 5 years) suddenly jumped from $2.24 per package of 4 to $2.72!

Otherwise, I'm busy with the part-time writing online position and then, late in the afternoon, walking the dogs and biking. We're sweltering here, of course, but this next week promises to bring a horrid heat wave with heat indexes of 105!! Not looking forward to that.

Renters paid the rent Friday afternoon, and now they are busy putting a new wood floor on the back porch. I gave them permission to do it, but didn't knock any off the rent. Apparently someone gave them some really good wood, and they said they'd like to replace the old wood porch. Fine by me. They also have cut down a few dying pines from the backyard, and trimmed the other tree limbs that were getting into the power lines. I have come to believe they just enjoy working around a place, and that is my good luck. Of course, in about 3 years I plan to sell that house and IF they are still there, I will certainly try to help them buy it.

My mother continues to do fairly well, but at her last medical checkup tests showed her kidney functioning has deteriorated. This has been an off/on problem over the past several years, and she has refused dialysis, so I guess time will tell. I planned to visit today, but decided I'll wait until Tuesday when my sister will be here and go with her.

Rambo and Oscar are thriving, and happy to have me home with them! I would say they are spoiled, but the truth is, they are well-behaved dogs. True, they get plenty of love and affection, but now they've been with me so long we've all learned routines, etc. And they understand "No!" and "Stop!"

My three kitties are doing okay, though Princess sleeps most of the time. She's going on 14 years old, and that's to be expected. I'm not the sure mite problem is completely gone either, and occasionally they shake their heads, etc. I am using Revolution, plus an ear cleaning solution about once a week on their ears. Eventually I may have to take one to the vet, but last time, all she recommended was Revolution.

With that, I'm outta here for today.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Brief Update

I've been busy with my part-time work and COOKING. It's fun to experiment with different veggie dishes, and I've truly developed some delicous meals. I keep worrying I'll gain weight, but in fact, I just lost 2 lbs!

I plan to write a more detailed entry later, but for now, I just had to post a picture and link to a story about dog meat being banned in China during the Olympics. The Chinese also eat cats, but then again, if you are an American eating MEAT, you really shouldn't be repulsed or object to their practice. Right?



Link to story -- picture depicts dogs on the way to slaughter. Cat lovers, just imagine a load of cats in cages too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Becoming Vegetarian

First, it's NOT easy. Usually, it's a long journey that starts with an odd feeling when eating meat, compounded by realizing that in some parts of the world people eat cats, dogs and horses...which, mostly likely, will create a gagging sensation in most Americans. Then it becomes an ethical issue: If I eat any animal with a brain/heart, doesn't that make me the same as those who eat dogs, cats and horses?

Or maybe you witnessed a particularly grizzly slaughter in the meat industry, on a small farm, or saw a movie depicting the cruelty we subject animals to. The reasons for becoming vegetarian/vegan are as varied as individuals.

For me, I lost my taste for meat when I turned 50. At that time, I was on a diet and realized that eating veggies was the simple, easy way of losing weight. When I would eat meat, especially with a lot of fat, it brought on an attack of acid reflux...so I gradually almost cut out meat.

However, DH still loved his meat and I always prepared separate dishes at our meals. NOT easy to do. When we moved to the farm, I had less time to concentrate on food preparation and started eating a bit of meat again. (We had a horse farm, did not raise animals for food, but did have a large summer garden.)

Then DH had a heart attack, no doubt partly due to the high cholesterol consumption all his life.

I'll never forget the night he had the heart attack: We had just sat down to a meal of hamburger steaks, potato, salad. He looked pale, and wouldn't eat. I asked if something was wrong with the food, and then he said he thought he was experiencing the beginning of a heart attack.

I rushed him to the ER, where indeed, he was in the first stages of a heart attack. While on the ER table, and when the cardiologist arrived quickly, he began to have the heart attack and was given a life-saving clot-buster shot. That was the beginning of a long few weeks, but after 5 stints, and loads of (in my opinion) serious, life-destroying drugs/statins, etc. he came home and resumed his life.

That night, when I came home from the ER, I'll never forget my FURY as I raked all the fatty hamburger steaks into the garbage. It made me nauseous to look at it, smell it, and to some degree I still feel that way today, especially since DH died a year later.

Once a widow/alone, I didn't eat much meat...just occasional white chicken meat. But being in a confused state, I often bought can stuff -- convenience foods like can chicken, soups with meat, etc. That was bad, of course, due to the fat AND sodium. While working at the newspaper, pressed for time, I continued that habit.

But in the last six months I've gradually changed my eating habits to be healthier. And then...about a month ago, I decided I could no longer eat any kind of meat. Right now I'll still have an occasional egg, sometimes soy milk with my breakfast cereal. I eat a lot of salads, veggie patties, vegetables, and take supplements just in case.

The main thing though is that I have started actually COOKING again. And I'm having fun exploring the world of vegetarian cooking; it's amazing how much nutrition you can get without slaughtered animals on your plate. For example, beans and brown rice/cornbread are a complete protein! I like beans and rice, yum. I also learned how to make my own veggie patties from black beans, rice, etc.

Giving up the can stuff was the most difficult! Mainly due to the convenience. I haven't eaten fast foods since DH died; that was, no doubt, part of his heart problem: all those trans fats added to the cholesterol of meat fast foods. Before he died, we would only eat fast food, at most, once every couple of weeks (same for restaurants, most don't offer healthy food). He, however, ate lunch at fast food joints all his working life -- 30+ years!

Here's a few links for those who want to explore the world of becoming vegetarian:

TRY VEG: Great website what wide variety of information

Quick & Easy Veggie Recipe Group

Another veggie recipe group

I have two fig trees in my backyard. Figs ripen on these about a month apart, and one has been loaded down lately with ripe figs. I found an online recipe for freezing figs (with honey, touch of lemon juice) so I can save them to have with cereal during the coming year. My freezer bottom is covered with small individual bags of frozen figs! (Courtesy of the vegetarian food info resources).

I have been buying from the local farmer's market, and enjoying all kinds of veggies: squash, tomatoes, new red potatoes, local honey, etc. Next year I plan to advertise for bartering the large garden space in my backyard to anyone who will till/work/maintain a veggie garden in exchange for my small supply of fresh garden vegetables!

Otherwise, I'm still into my summer routine: walking the dogs late in the afternoon, biking, and just living life day to day. Is there any other way in these hard economic times? By the way, vegetarian eating/cooking WILL save you big bucks too. And who couldn't benefit from that?

One last thought: I was surprised to learn how many famous people (celebs, writers and brainy scientists) are/were vegetarians. For an interesting look at these folks, here's a link:

Famous Vegetarians

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Thoughts...

First the update on my latest problems: dishwasher installed, roof to be replaced in two weeks. No issue with the insurance company, they paid for the roof replacement in full. Woot!

And a bit of good news: Think I've found an ideal part-time job working from home. More on this soon, but it basically is a web researching/writing/editing job I can do at home via the internet/email, etc. In other words, NO personal contact with people. Woot!

It's extremely hot and humid here, and the drought has returned. Despite brief, furious thunderstorms, there's still not enough rainfall to make up for the last few years' loss. When it rains hard, the creek a half-block away runs wildly, then within a day the water is standing and murky again. Not a good sign.

I've been taking the dogs to a different park nearby, where it's wooded, cooler in the late afternoons. I ride the bike near 8:00 sometimes, but it is very difficult in this sweltering heat.

Still thinking of buying an electric golf cart to get around the city. There's an ordinance against driving them on the street, but one cop told a person just to put one of those triangular orange signs on the back that says: "Farm Vehicle." LOL!! The ordinance MUST be changed, and surely it will when citizens object to it due to high gas prices.

I'll end with this thought-provoking piece I found on the 'net the other day:

DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE MIDDLE-CLASS REPUBLICAN

by John Gray

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Always pours when it rains!

Just when you think life is good, peaceful...the sh*t hits the fan!

Not that this post has anything to do with illness/death (yet) but just a random mix of breakdowns and repairs fouling up the works. Such as having to buy/install a new dishwasher for the renters. Then learning the roof is leaking, and learning a new roof will be needed. Fortunately, insurance will cover the roof (except for deductible) on the rental house; it was storm damaged from wind/hail. Still, I almost dread hearing the phone ring since stuff like this seems to come in waves.

The way things are heading with the rental house, I'm going in a financial hole this year. BUT, if there's an upside to it -- upkeep is tax deductible on rental property! Too bad it's not that way for my own house where I live: I've had issues here since the first of the year. Central heat/air unit repaired, all electrical outlets replaced (after nearly having a house fire!), and the commode in my bathroom is probably going to have to be replaced soon.

I should cry: "WOE IS ME."

However, as long as I'm not sick and can afford good medical insurance, I hate to complain. And at least I have savings to cover these problems. Still, at times, I think home ownership sucks!

I do have a plan, though whether oft-made plans go astray...I can't say, since it's been my experience that DOES happen often. Anyway, when I turn 60 I will start getting DH's social security, in addition to the pension and that will more than double my monthly income. At that point, I plan to sell BOTH houses and find a condo which includes maintenance in the price! IF I live to 60, that is.

With the economy in the toilet, gas still rising and no end in sight to the growing problems (which most Americans choose to ignore, though that gas price does BITE!) I don't see any quick fixes to accomplish better times. I'm not sure what kind of life we'll all be living in 3-5 years from now, but I have to say it looks grim (at least for those who care to study some of the predictions).

As for health, I've had either a mild summer cold or severe sinus problems the last few days. I think it's a summer cold, though I'm feeling much better today. A couple days I didn't want to get out of the bed in the morning, felt sleepy all the time -- rare for me! I probably need to have a checkup with my GP, but unless I get worse, probably won't. And if I keep improving, I see no reason to run to the doctor.

I'm outta here for today.

Me & Rambo

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Thunderstorms

Not that we've had any lately, but this is a random thought I'd not recorded a couple months ago.

One night I couldn't sleep, was tossing and turning, when I heard distant thunder. I got out of bed, walked to my windows and watched the approaching storm...it was, quite simply, delicious anticipation.

Yes, I live in a small town but this area has large, spacious lawns, it's quiet at night, and one can still see a vast day or night sky above the backyard trees.

The storm hit, and I stood there watching the rain fall off the roof; it looked like silver diamonds reflected in the dim, yellow streetlight. I immediately thought of writing a beautiful poem, of sharing this wonder and discovery -- the beauty of a dangerous, violent storm.

But I didn't, because, in some sense I've decided (by this age) that frankly, few people care about poetry and even fewer understand it or learn from it. Basically what I've decided about writing in general. Of course, the PR writers keep warping people -- but who cares about deep, insightful literature, poetry or beautiful prose these days?

Being alone is NOT a bad thing; it's something I yearned for all my life. Even though I loved my husband and we had a good life together, and I miss him now, I'd never marry again or share my home with anyone. And no, pets are NOT people; they are a species of their own. Remarkably they demand little more than food, affection and -- attention, though dogs want more attention than cats.

If you think of yourself as a loner, I have a suggestion for you: How much time have you really, honestly ever spent ALONE? As in: alone in a house, in the wilderness, anywhere. And I don't mean alone in your room where there's others somewhere in your house. I could include contact via the realm of the 'net, but I won't.

Writers know this aloneness, the sheer scope of solitude and it's not the enemy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily happenings

I really don't write in this journal as often as I THINK about posting! Procrastination often leads to outdated thoughts (or even forgotten ideas) and I need to stop this behavior. I should write something, even if brief, every day or at least every other day. Maybe I can get motivated soon!

We had a few nice moderate days, for a southern summer, and I enjoyed walking the dogs and biking every afternoon. It's heating up again, with high humidity so I have to wait later and later each day.

I am reading another good novel by Thomas Cook, "The Interrogation." I started browsing in the large print section of the local library and I'm finding books there which are not stocked in regular print. A bonanza, since I have read every available book by my favorite authors in the regular print section.

The selection of DVD movies are increasing also, and I find at least two or three each time I've never seen. Summer TV season is horrible, and these movies are a good replacement.

Of course, it promises to be a long, hot, ugly summer with politics, heat, soaring gas prices, the economy in the toilet and weird, freaky weather. The latest on the weather, including the midwest flooding, is the rare "dry storms" in California where as many as 8,000 lightning strikes have ignited over 800 wildfires. Apparently these dry storms do occur, but usually later in the summer and not with this kind of dangerous lightning. I would say it's global warming, but instead I believe it's a combination of humans using fossil fuels AND the earth's precession. The thing is, how much global warming could change the precession, increasing climate changes too, is something I wonder about.

In matters of health, which are becoming more and more of a joke every day, here's a comical but insightful article to read: Achieving Wellness, Whatever That Is

An excerpt:
There are so few good belly laughs in health care these days. What a pity I am likely to be the only person on the planet to enjoy the guffaw-laden, if slightly unnerving, experience of reading Dr. Nancy Snyderman and Dr. Nortin Hadler’s new books in tandem, taking careful notes.

Both are practicing physicians who have made second careers interpreting medical principles for a lay audience. Both consider themselves experts not only in illness but also in wellness, that shimmering grail of our time. Both have combed through all the latest studies and are now pleased to provide you, the average healthy adult, with guidelines for staying well.

Both muster science, statistics and a judicious smattering of personal experience to present, with no small fanfare, completely, utterly, diametrically opposite advice.


I spent a few days looking at cars, thinking about trading mine off and getting a newer one. But I couldn't find anything I was crazy about, and since mine is a good car, gets great gas mileage, decided to wait.

One feature I'd been looking at was a vehicle that had a larger storage area so I could take my bike places; and an area for taking the dogs with me to the park, etc. However, I learned I could buy a "dog barrier" to put between the two front bucket seats, and thus confine them to the backseat.

After seeing photos of a barrier, I came up with my own "invention." This is a tip for those who want to do it themselves: If you have a dog crate (and most dog owners do) just take the removable middle barrier and attach it to your seatbelt buckle holders on either side of the car with bungee cords and it works like a champ.

Here's a photo of what mine looks like:

Matching bungee cords would have been better, but what the heck, I had these already.

I had a throw that fit perfectly over the backseat, and put some old cushions in the floor for the dogs.


And that's your lesson in thriftiness and creativity for today! LOL

The great part is the dogs LOVE this, don't try to get over the barrier and even Oscar has nearly stopped whining. I am working on training him to ride quietly, using a small spray bottle of water. I'm determined to have well-behaved dogs, and it's a challenge to train them. Unlike cats, dogs quickly understand commands and already these know the words: Go! Walk! Car! Sit! Treat! Stop! (Well, Oscar has a little trouble with the Stop! when it concerns whining with anticipation.) Bed! And more day by day. Cats can be coaxed sweetly; dogs do better with firm commands and rewards (like treats).

Next I will buy a bike rack for the back of my car, in order to take my bike to a wonderful biking park near a lake within the city. The biking/walking trail is paved, winds alongside the lake through tall pines -- sloping inclines, curves, looks like a FUN ride.

I'm outta here for today...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More pictures

As promised, I will post a few more photos from my trip.

We're having nice weather, if a bit hot, and I hope to go for a long bike ride after walking the dogs. I went to the library yesterday and found four great movies on DVD. "Miss Potter" I watched last night and it was wonderful! It's about the life of children's author Beatrix Potter. Remember "The Tale of Peter Rabbit?" I do! Beautiful movie with great actors: Renee Zelleweger and Ewan McGregor. Check HERE for details.

I also got a good novel by Thomas Cook, "The Cloud of Unknowing." He's one of my favorite mystery authors, and if you've never read his work, I suggest you hurry to the library and begin now!

Sunday afternoon the renter's called, and invited me over. They surprised me with a gorgeous landscaping job on the front yard, and I do mean gorgeous! All kinds of flowers, a border along the curved sidewalk, and neat, freshly mown yard. (Will try to get a photo soon.)

I'm liking them better and better, and beginning to feel I will be able to call on them for almost anything -- moving my furniture, helping me get large stuff home in their pickup, even help with my critters should I become ill. THIS is a huge relief, because I have been searching for exactly these kind of tenants -- since I'm willing to cut down the rent sometimes in exchange for help. They seem willing to do anything without charge, but I always feel better to "pay my way." Plus, I genuinely LIKE them both; they are friendly, easygoing and yes, pay the rent on time! Maybe I've struck gold this time; at least I'm hoping so.

So without further delay, here's the photos:

Oscar & Rambo on the back deck, checking out scents


Rambo doing his thing in the back yard


Back of sis & bro-in-law's house. Have no idea why only two people need this much house!


Home again! Nature welcomed me with a spectacular sunset from my own backyard. Can't beat home sweet home, be it ever so humble.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home again!

Actually, I arrived home late Saturday afternoon but just haven't felt like posting until now.

We all had a GREAT time. Unfortunately, Oscar whined nearly the entire drive to Huntsville. We went to visit my mother first at the assisted living place, which was 20 miles east. He still remembers her, since Oscar was my step-dad's dog. I walked him around the building twice, thought he'd settled down on our drive...but no luck. Rambo, as usual, was just fine; he travels well. Very quiet, never barks, never whines...just lies there looking satisfied. Oscar, on the other hand, has become the problem "child" er, I mean "dog." LOL

At any rate, once we arrived at my sister's house, all was well. Both dogs settled in and seemed to enjoy themselves. We went on long walks, they had "no accidents" inside the house (even though there was no doggie door for constant access) and romped in the backyard when I let them out. Since the food was plentiful, they stuffed themselves on treats dropped from the table as we ate (but never barked or whined, just sat there waiting and looking expectantly!)

My sister took me shopping one day, then we watched a rented movie and ate out twice. They were planning on cooking out one night, but it started raining and that curtailed their plans.

I can say honestly, I've LOST all taste for meat -- particularly red meat. Tastes like blood, yuck!!!!

Most important of all, we visited a bike shop and look what I bought:

A 3-speed 1974 Raleigh bicycle made in Nottingham England!


And yes, it IS authentic, in good shape and I have been out riding it two days already! I LOVE it, but also, it is a rare find and "collector's item." That means it will only go up in value, not down. I almost want to store it in the house since I realize how rare it is...especially with all the authentic gears, brakes, etc. intact. At least it will never be subject to bad weather, since I have it in a dry place.

Something funny with the dogs: Oscar and Rambo slept in their crate in the bedroom with me while I was there. The second night it came a terrible thunderstorm and Rambo woke me up whining -- he was SO scared. So I let him sleep in the bed with me for the remainder of the night!

And one other thing: My brother-in-law grabbed my sis from behind her back for a BIG hug and both dogs started barking, lunging toward him as if they would attack. It was funny and surprising...but I guess I know what they'd do if a male attacked me!

Here's some photos of our time at my sister's house:

Morning mist over the mountain range behind their house


I have more pictures, but apparently Blogger is having technical problems so I'll add those later.

In the meantime, I was shocked (like most people) to learn of Tim Russert's death due to a sudden heart attack. Reading about his situation though, I realized that the cholesterol will get you in the end. He was even on medication, but that didn't prevent his sudden heart attack. I think DH would have died from a similar heart attack even without the complication of acute leukemia... The thing is folks, eating that high fat diet will come back to bite you in the @ss sooner or later -- even with medication. Read about Russert's case, if you have doubts.

More later, when blogger is working better.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Road Trip...Sort of...

What might qualify as a road trip, but not like the good 'ol days when gas was affordable.

Actually, I'm just going to spend a couple days with my sister and brother-in-law about 70 miles to the north of where I live. Since she is driving here to visit mother Thursday, I'll ride back with her -- because we will be taking the dogs with us! Wheee! Have NO idea how they will cope with that long trip, but I do plan to have them in a spacious travel crate in the backseat, and give them a pet "herbal/calmative" beforehand.

My sister's dog died last winter; he, Chalky, was about 15 years old, and they still haven't gotten another one. Both insisted I bring the dogs, since they miss having one of their own. I packed "doggie stuff" to carry along, and hope it'll be fun - at least once we get there.

I do take the dogs with me to parks, the groomer, etc. and usually Rambo, the min-pin, travels well. Oscar is kinda like a little kid who keeps looking out the window and whining: "Are we there yet?" Once he's actually gotten out of the car, went on a short walk, he's content then to ride. So we have a plan to remedy that too!

My lady renter will check on the cats, though I have them set up with large feeder/water containers. I'll also have three cat litter boxes for them, which should do easily for a couple days without changing. However, I feel better just knowing someone will check on them while I'm away.

We have plans to maybe see a movie, eat out and just catch up on sister/best friend talks! They'll bring us back home on Saturday afternoon, then drive on to Birmingham where my nephew is looking for an apartment. Next year he will be a part-time architecture intern at a firm there, as well as still finishing up the last of his courses.

So....a long overdue getaway is at hand. I haven't been out of this county since DH died, and not visited my sister since he died. I stayed with her when DH was in the large city hospital, and I guess I've been reluctant to go back for that very reason. But it's time now, and I'm ready.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Random Stuff

I went to see "Sex & the City" yesterday, and enjoyed the movie. Of course, I've been a fan of the HBO series for some time, though I'd never watched it until DH died. Once it was aired on regular stations, I started watching...and was hooked. Mostly I loved the women friendships, and their search for a good relationship with a man. All too few. I think what made it interesting to me after DH died is that I was alone again, and wondering IF I wanted to find another relationship.

Though I won't give away any details or spoilers, I'd highly recommend the movie to anyone who was a fan of the series. I will add that there was not a male in the theater -- and that was fine with all the women. We just enjoyed it, and smiled at the lack of male "understanding."

Insofar as my own widow/single status, I'm convinced it will remain for the rest of my life. I am, seriously, just not that into men - or the whole concept of the sacrifices necessary for a male/female relationship. Love...well, as Tina Turner used to sing: "What has love got to do with it?" Though she was possibly speaking of sex, I have come to realize the pain/turmoil, etc of a relationship just isn't worth it.

But then again, I'm a loner. Always have been, always will be. So take that for what it's worth. (And oh yeah, being a loner/writer/artistic person is another reason I didn't want children...which is a never-ending obligation for socializing with them, their friends, their offspring, etc.)

Please don't hate me because I'm brutally HONEST. LOL

Otherwise, it's hot as Hades here. No kidding. I KNOW summers in the South are torture, but this year...it's happened TOO FAST. The creek only a block from where I live has started to dry up again; if we don't get more rain soon, I predict another serious drought in the South this year. If that happens, according to weather forecasters, it'll be even worse than last year since we really never recovered from that previous dry spell.

And gas prices? Let's not even go there...or rather, let's all just learn to park our butts at the house and stay put. Or for those unfortunate enough to have a long commute to work, just hope you earn enough to buy gas back and forth to work.

Why is it that, long, long ago (in a near and dear country, USA) no one noticed that Prez Carter tried to give us ALL a wake-up call about gas/oil? Younger folks don't even remember it, I'm sure; but their parents SHOULD. Shame on them if they didn't see the handwriting on the wall -- cause the younger generations are now reaping the whirlwind.

I have curtailed my driving for only necessities, and having moved back to within just blocks of doing necessary shopping, I'm doing fine. However, it's still a struggle as the price of everything is increasing overnight. I'd like to buy a used golf cart for errands in town, and I'm looking into it.

I'm not all gloom-and-doom, but things look to be more bleak in the future before the light at the end of this dark tunnel. (Possibly a 50-year tunnel, due to many factors.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hot day pictorial

The environment is heating up, HOT, HOT, HOT here in the South (and elsewhere); the stock market is heating up, then taking a dangerous dive; politics are HOT, scary and promising a heated ride into November; and basically, it is just HOT summertime.

Yes, already. Even before the official first day of summer.

Oscar went out to check the temperature:

"Dude, it is HOT out here!"


And Bitty Kitty was like:
"You ain't tellin me nothin!"


(The cats have access to an air-conditioned laundry room AND an electric fan on their screenporch, but often choose to stay on the screenporch)

Finally Oscar succumbed to the lure of the cooler house and lounger:


But he couldn't get the best place -- Rambo, as Top Dog, always lies right beside the air conditioning vent:

"Yeah, I'm The Man!"


Needless to say, long walks are reserved for past 7 PM, and biking not before 8 PM.

As I age, I hate extreme HEAT and COLD. Maybe I should consider moving to a more year-round mild climate? Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I decided to drive out into the country and see how DH's horses were doing. I had not seen any of them, with the exception of one (Buttercup) when I interviewed the friend who bought her. She was as fat and sassy as ever, which made me happy.

As I drove the country highway I realized at some point that I was the ONLY car on the road. Usually, that highway has a good bit of traffic, even on Sunday. It was deserted, and oddly, it began to feel eerie...almost like a ghost highway! (Ah, my imagination!)

At any rate, the friend who owns several of our former horses has them pastured at a rented barn. I was happy to see all of them standing on a nearby hill, grazing and contented as ever. They looked GREAT standing there, healthy and well cared for, which is how I figured it would be. I stopped and stared for awhile, wishing I'd brought my camera (I will next time). It was poignant -- sad and happy at the same time. Knowing the horses are well, but a sharp reminder of DH and our very brief time at the farm before he died -- only two years.

During my entire trip, I only saw two other cars on the highway; I guess the gas prices have curbed (if not killed) Sunday afternoon drives as pastime.

In other news, I lost Bob cat. He did not have FIV/leukemia, rather after a series of tests, it was determined he had possibly intestinal cancer. Other than doing a biopsy there wasn't a sure way to tell, but I could not afford that; the tests alone reached $200.00. Besides, he was suffering -- I've had LOTS of cats and I've never, ever heard one yowl with such pain. He started that about an hour before I took him to the vet, and kept it up until they took him into the back for tests. He was dying, just a matter of how long and when; I don't believe in prolonged suffering when there is no resolution.

I stayed busy for a week or so doing yard work outside. Though I don't mow the lawn, I do trim shrubs, etc. and the ones in front of my house had become monstrously overgrown. It took me three afternoons to clip those down to normal size and carry the limbs to the curb for pick-up. Seemed like a rerun of what I'd just been through with the renter house in the back yard.

Renters are working out well so far (fingers crossed). They have planted shrubbery, done some landscaping, cleaned out the gutters and more. One morning the woman came over and brought me some fresh strawberries from her parents' farm, and said she'd bring me fresh veggies this summer off and on! That will be great!

Where I live now I have a large spot that was once a garden in my back yard. It's in grass now, but I'm thinking of offering them the spot next summer for a garden. They could plant and care for it, though I might lend a hand if I felt like it. And they'd get the bulk of the veggies, and I'd get all I could eat! I mentioned it to them, and they sounded like they'd be agreeable.

I'm typing this on my QuickPad because there is a storm approaching, and the lightning/thunder is very scary. The lightning sounds like it's popping off stuff already, but I think the worst of the rain/wind is north of here. I've lost electricity three times this year already due to storms, so I'm better prepared this time...have batteries in a small black & white portable TV/radio, flashlight, candles, and my cell phone.

Back to the cats, the remaining three are doing well. I'm still waging a battle against ear mites (that I don't know how they got due to being indoor only cats). I bought Revolution, treated them with that, and have used OTC ear mite treatments, as well as cleansing their ears. They are all improving, but still shake their heads more than seems normal. The vet saw one of them, and her only recommendation was the Revolution.

Ahhh, here comes the rain...sounds cozy, since the lightning has abated somewhat. We have been having temps already in the 90s, so it's blazing hot with drenching humidity. Any rain we get brings at least temporary relief; and we're all hoping there won't be a repeat of last year's drought.

I walk the dogs later each afternoon, then bike at twilight. Otherwise, the heat is just too unhealthy for such exercising.

My mother went into assisted living this weekend. I knew from the first that my sister and brother-in-law would not be able to endure that living situation indefinitely...so they found a good facility where mother's needs will be taken care of. The only glitch is that the location is about 20 miles out in the country, which means the gas expense will prevent me from seeing her as often as if she were living here in town at a facility. I'll try to go at least once a week, but I'd have preferred checking on her more often. Her health is fair thus far, but she is now insulin dependent, due to diabetes, so her medical needs are growing by the month. I think she'll adjust, though at first she was NOT happy about it.

My sister had promised her she could live with them, "the rest of her life," and mother was upset and hurt about having to leave. But, though nothing has been said directly, I think it was taking a toll on my sister's marriage; they are in their mid-40s, both working, and not having any privacy in their modest-size house was not without tension.

I continue to read novels voraciously; watch good movies (usually rented), take care of my house, shop for bargains!, write sometimes, and in general...just live a serene, simple life.

Couldn't ask for much more, except to hope my health remains good.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rental house rented!

Whew, that was fast, huh?

I always plan to keep it longer, but someone always appears who wants it soon. This time, the lawyer across the street recommended a middle-age married couple who have no children. The man's boys do visit once a month; the woman's grandchildren occasionally visit. The man is very handy around the house, and the woman LOVES gardening/yard work! They looked like ideal renters, but time will tell.

So far, they've finished up the few tasks I didn't have to use the handyman for. The woman has planted flowers (from her parents' greenhouse in the yard, done minor landscaping!) and I knocked $200.00 off the deposit for their help. They already have the power in their name, and are moving in some things, but won't live there until the first of June. They signed a year's lease, so I'm hoping I won't have to deal with rental issues/moving, etc. for at least that length of time. Both said they hope to stay was long as possible, maybe even buy the house from me eventually.

I did hire a handyman for several tasks, took down old shower doors, built a new fence gate on the backyard fence. I painted outside some, redid the foundation paint, etc.

Here's some recent photos of the rental house, where DH and I lived over 20 years:

The front entry, lots of big trees in the yard but the size is deceptive because the rear of the house has a huge addition with den/backporch; there's also two paved driveways, and a detached garage

Everyone LOVES this large fenced backyard with big trees!

In the meantime, I had a heart-wrenching situation develop over the weekend: Next door elderly neighbor lady discovered a mom cat had given birth to four kittens in the shrubbery in front of her house. Apparently all the kittens left except for one, which got caught in a fierce storm Friday night...and was apparently starving, yowling and keeping the lady awake. She came over here in tears, begging me to try and catch it. Long story short, I did. And the kitten, cute and healthy-looking, was feral of course. I got it in a carrier, then put it in a large crate with litter/food/water and it started eating non-stop. Eventually I was able to touch and pet it, but if I took it out of the crate, it panicked and starting squirming to get away.

Once I got a good look at it, it appeared the pads of all four paws were raw looking. On closer inspection, it looked like they had been burnt ... and I thought that very odd. But then it occurred to me that if the kitten had been near lightning or was wet and touched something electrical, it would have burned it's feet. That was the only explanation I could figure out for such an odd problem. However, it was healing fine and with a bit of care, I'm sure it'd be okay.

But, I have four ailing cats, just spent $348.00 on one cat who had to have a tooth pulled. Plus, another cat, Bob, has really been sick the past few days; I have an appointment for him at the vet this afternoon, and I'm not hopeful he can be helped. He's been going through these spells of eating ravenously, then throwing up and diarrhea for a year or so. Every time he pulls through, but this time, I don't think he's going to. He's skinny as a rail, and just has that staring look in his eyes that I've seen before. At any rate, I fear he has leukemia; several of my cats have had it, and that's the main reason I couldn't keep the kitten. I couldn't expose it to that, and risk that kind of sorrow again. I promised myself I'd not have another kitten/cat till all these were gone, and I made sure nothing remained here to expose them to that disease.

So I took the kitten to the animal rescue people today, and maybe they'll find it a home. I hope so anyway. The FOCUS group usually takes kittens; CAAWA (the other rescue group) takes dogs mostly, as fosters and then tries to adopt them out.

I just wish people would SPAY/NEUTER their pets. The mom cat has been living at the house across the street, where a woman feeds/pets her, but claims she can't capture her. Bunk! If I can capture a wild, feral, scared kitten, that woman can lure the mom cat into a safe-trap. Oh well, what are you going to do?

I'll end on that sad note, since it's nearly time to take Bob to the vet.

(P.S. My cats got leukemia virus from a stray I took in and didn't get tested at first. ALWAYS keep strays separate from your other pets till vet checked!)