Archive | September, 2014

Nature Watching

28 Sep

We have two hummingbird feeders and three regular bird feeders right outside the den window. This is part of the reason I never get anything done.

Even this late in the year, we are still getting hummingbirds, tanking up, I suppose, for the long trip south. After the squirrels have eaten the seed and peanuts we put out in the morning, they know just how far away to start their running leap to land on top of the guard, and then hop up onto the feeders, dangling upside down to eat the seed there. I’m not sure of the reason for this, exactly, as there are now plenty of acorns, which can be collected without the calisthenics. However, with all the bending and stretching, we have noticed at least one female seems to still be nursing, even though it is pushing the first of October. A little late in the year for that, girl.

The Squire and I are trying to pin down a new bird. The bird has a particularly raucous cry, which sometimes wakes me in the morning, but The Squire can’t hear it without his hearing aids. He has marvelous eyesight, but I can’t see the bird without my driving glasses.



Shake, Rattle and Duck for Cover

26 Sep

When I was a kid, milk was not homogenized. Store milk came in “baby faced bottles”; the cream rose to the top, into the “baby’s” head, and could be poured off, if desired. Other then when I was away at school, we drank farm milk, which I was able to purchase until about fifteen years ago. To this day, I always turn the jug upside down before I pour out the milk, to mix in the cream.

Our family drink is a combination of 1/3 fruit juice and 2/3 diet ginger ale. The juice bottle always needs to be shaken, as the pulp sinks to the bottom.

Ginger ale does not need to be shaken.

A Meeting With Ben Franklin

25 Sep

Last night, The Squire and I went to the library for a meeting with Ben Franklin.

What an amazing man he was! He only had two years of formal education, but his great love of books and reading led him to be ahead of his time in every possible way.  He went to England to help defuse the coming war; the colonists, for the most part, were willing to remain part of the British empire, but England treated the colonies as a cash cow. His description of Parliament then sounds a lot like our Congress now. He discussed the passage of the Townshends Acts, which was the final straw for the colonies. “Never was so much trouble unleashed with so little discussion.”

He gave up and came home.

Franklin worked with George Washington to force the thirteen individual militia to work as a single army.  Each militia had its own drum and bugle signals, and all were loath to agree to a uniform code. (Ah, States Rights!) He was ambassador to France, he started the first public lending library in the country in Philadelphia, he set up a new Post Office system and served as Post Master General. He was the only man to sign all four of the following documents: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris that ended the war, and the Constitution. His last public act, in  1788, was to sign an appeal to Congress calling for the speedy abolition of slavery.

This marvelous one-man show was put on by a local fellow, David Fisher, who has combined a love of history and acting into bringing Dr. Franklin to life.  He lives near Baltimore, and if you live along the Eastern coast you might want to go to his website and see about getting him for your organization. Unsolicited testimonial, here.  As a re-enactor myself, I know how much goes into this sort of thing.

Had a rather rough night last night. I’m not in as much pain, but trying to get the cast in a comfortable position was difficult (I think I have it figured out now.), and – the curse of the elderly – both The Squire and  were popping up and down to go to the bathroom. The dog sleeps in the hallway, and he was getting disgusted with us. I keep telling him “Stay down” and sometimes he does, but most of the time he stands up and gets against the wall, so he was grumpy about being disturbed so much. After I smacked him twice with my cast, I finally told The Squire to go sleep in the guest room, so at least one of us could get a decent night’s sleep.

This morning, he helped me wash my hair at the kitchen sink. I think I’m going to let him keep me.

Complain, Complain

23 Sep

Saturday night was just about unbearable, and I called the answering service before we went to church, saying I wanted to discuss the pain and swelling with someone as soon as possible, so I would leave the cell phone on vibrate during service. When we arrived, Fr. M, who is a paramedic, took one look at my hand, went for his sick call set, and gave The Squire and me Communion in his office. He then chased us out the door with a broom and told us to go to Patient First or the ER.

I called the answering service back and left another message.

Neither the clinic nor the ER were able to help me. The hand needed to be re-cast; one was unable to do it and the other unwilling. Came home and called the answering service twice more. So much for 24 hour service.

The doctor’s office called at 9:05 on Monday morning – yesterday – and I was given a 1:00 appointment. We arrived at 12:45, and were back home before 1:30. The doctor did re-cast my arm, and the new cast, having been put on over the swollen knuckles, is much more comfortable.  Although my thumb is still immobilized, my fingers are completely free, which has a great psychological benefit. I am able to make a fist, and the exercise has brought down the swelling considerably.  At any rate, I was able to sleep last night, and so was The Squire. Poor man. It can’t be easy, having your bed-mate popping up and down all night long.

I had my choice of colors for the plaster wrap, and chose green; it will match the liturgical season! I’ll be in this blessed thing until late October, so might as well make the best of it.

Went up and did the wash this morning, and I was able to help The Squire get it all on the line. Frankly, I think I was more ornamental than anything else.  I’m useless at fixing meals, too, as I can’t even manage a can opener. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

My mother would have a stroke over the way that man hangs up clothes. (Well, if I did it, she’d object, but him? She’d think it’s cute.) However, I have learned over the years that panties dry just as well hung from a single clothespin as they do from two, and take up a lot less line space. Two napkins, smoothed together and folded over the line don’t have to be ironed, and don’t have clothespin marks. At least, he’s never tried to hang a round tablecloth by its center, as one of my relatives used to do. Have you any idea who hard it is to set a table when the center resembles a wizard’s hat?

The Squire and I managed to get me in and out of the shower without too much hassle, but getting my hair washed involved going to the salon. Do you know what they want just to wash your hair? Yeesh. We are not going to be able to do this twice a week for the next month.  It was Local Granddaughter’s mother-in-law, and I don’t think she would have charged me, but the shop manager rang up The Squire’s haircut and then looked at mother-in-law so she could put me in the register. Better luck next time. He can stay in the car or something.

Second Verse, Much Worse!

19 Sep

Well, I’d been warned that hand surgery would be a bear, but that only begins to describe it. The pain is just incredible.

We had to be at the Surgical Center at 7 AM yesterday – NPO, again – and I opted for a general anesthetic rather than a local. The doctor showed us what he would do – open the side of my right hand to reposition my thumb, and then pull a tendon from my forearm to tie the thumb in place.  When I first floated to the surface, the local anesthetic was still working, so I wasn’t in too much pain – maybe a 5 or so. After two cups of apple juice, the nurse said, “Give a number” and without a thought I told her “42”. It took us both a few seconds to get that sorted out. The Squire helped me get dressed; I’d worn a muumuu, which made life easier, and we were back home around 11:00.

I slept off the rest of the anesthesia in the recliner while The Squire got my prescription filled, had a cup of coffee and a pain pill, and slept most of yesterday and today. I’ve been in a drug induced haze most of the day, sleeping here and there – the sofa, the recliner, the bed – while The Squire and Blazer hover in the background making sure I don’t fall over or stand up and forget where I am, and head off in the wrong direction. Homemade soup and bagels for whatever meal you want to call it when we ate at 1:00 today, and I am about ready to collapse again. Heaven only knows how people survived before modern pain meds.

I have an appointment to get this cast removed next Friday, and then I will get either a smaller cast or a Velcro “thing” to hold my thumb in place for another couple of weeks. Knowing how easy it will be to accept the temptation  to remove the Velcro job, I’ll probably ask for the smaller cast.

Not Without My Coffee

17 Sep

I think I have mentioned before that the bottom four discs in my back are totally shot, and doing surgery in that area is too dangerous to contemplate. The discs continue to disintegrate, which pinches the nerves and causes intense pain in my feet . It feels as if somebody is pounding nails into my heels. Once or twice a year I have to go in for cortisone injections in my spine, which clears things up beautifully.

Unfortunately, even though this is out-patient, and done with a local anesthetic, it is NPO. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight, including my morning coffee.

About a week ago I got my foot tangled in Blazers rope and had a very small, very painful sore on the back of my right ankle The Squire tells me it will heal more quickly if I can leave it open to the air, but I can’t go barefoot all the time, so I cover it whenever possible with a Band-Aid and some anti-biotic cream.

Yesterday morning I had to be up earlier than usual to get to the clinic, and was staggering around in the bathroom, trying to get myself shoveled into a heap. The Squire uses Breath-Rite strips at night, and I pulled out one of those, instead of a Band-Aid and was in the process of smearing Tinactin on it instead on the Amerigel. In my defense, I can only say both tubes have red stand-up tops, although they are quite different shades of red, but the Band-Aid and nose trips are kept in different places and have totally different wrappers.

At any rate, The Squire got me straightened out, put me and my crutches into the Godson’s mother’s car (he had an appointment in the other direction at the same time) and off we went. One hour from the time I staggered into the clinic we were back on the street, me moving under my own power, and headed for Einstein Brothers and some strong coffee.

Tomorrow, I have a general anesthetic surgery to put my busted right thumb back into place, so it will be a case of Second Verse, same as  the First/ A little bit louder, and a little bit worse. At least, he’ll be driving.

First Time For Everything

15 Sep

Blazer is a Momma’s Boy, and he has always been a perfectly behaved puppy. He never takes food from the table – although if it hits the floor it’s fair game – is friendly to visitors, patient with children, and never gets on the furniture.

Until today.

The Squire and I went out to plant some mums in the planter by the mailbox, and since the puppy has no street smarts, we left him in the house. I could hear him barking while we loaded plants, tools and potting soil into the wheelbarrow, but I figured he’d settle down in a few minutes.  After we got the flowers planted, The Squire went back to the pond for a bucket of water, while I pulled some weeds along the driveway.

He came back chuckling. When he went to dip the water, the dog’s barking seemed awfully close. He glanced up and saw Blazer’s head above the window a/c unit. The dog had climbed onto the recliner to keep an eye on what we going on outside. The first time since I picked him up in March 2008 he has ever gotten onto – or into – anything that wasn’t his.

The Temperature War Continues

13 Sep

I just popped into the TV/sewing room to collect my knitting, and The Squire has the a/c going full tilt.

It is currently 7:50 in the evening, and the temperature outside is 60-F (or 16-C). He says he is hot. I suggested he turn off the air conditioning and open a window (the a/c unit does have a fan-only setting) and he looked at me as if he thought I was the crazy one.

We keep getting notices from the Gas and Electric company comparing our usage with the neighbors, and he can’t understand why our usage is higher than theirs.

I must love him; I haven’t killed him.

You Needed Me

6 Sep

Last night, The Squire and I went out to dinner, and afterward spent some time strolling the mall, just window-shopping and people-watching. Suddenly, he put his arm around my shoulders and turned me to him, hugging me very close. They were playing Anne Murray’s You Needed Me over the speaker system.

This has always been “our song”, but I hadn’t heard it in years, and apparently The Squire was just as moved by the unexpected sound of it as I was.

My first marriage was a disaster. By rights, my husband should have been in jail, and it came as a surprise to everyone who knew him that he actually died a natural death. The Squire’s first marriage was no picnic, but that is not my story to tell. Although I didn’t know it at the time, The Squire played Jacob to my Rachel, falling in love with me the first time he saw me, and waiting until I was free before he ever even took my arm to cross the street. When we were finally able to date, we knew from the very beginning we would marry.

I have to admit I would have made a dreadful military wife. I lived in constant terror of losing him. If he was more than ten minutes late getting home from work, I would go into a flat spin, and a half an hour would have me calling the local hospitals. I cannot give words to the depth of my fear.

In the early 80s, I became quite ill, and spent a week in the hospital.  It was a rainy day, and I had dozed off, when I was awakened by the sensation of someone brushing my hair aside and kissing me on the forehead.  I looked at the clock, and my first thought was that The Squire had been in an accident, and had come by to kiss me good-bye. (I told you; I was a mess.)

When he showed up, unharmed, at my doorway, I burst into tears. I told him what had happened, and he asked me what time this had occurred. When I told him, he got the oddest look. “They were playing You Needed Me on the radio, and I blew you a kiss.”

If ever two were one…

A Banner Year

3 Sep

banner 1Back in September 1983, my godson’s father designed a banner for  our parish, and the Squire and I made it up. I did the banner itself, and The Squire made the pole and the crosspiece from black walnut.

It has hung in the church, undisturbed, ever since.

The Diocese of Maryland has elected a new Bishop Suffragan, and each parish has been “invited” to bring their banner to carry in the consecration procession on the 6th. When we moved the banner, we discovered the back was badly faded. I took it up to Joann’s Fabric to see what I could find to recover it. I knew matching exactly was not going to be possible, but since nobody could see the back and front at the same time, close enough was good enough.

banner fade While I had the thing down, I realized that a lot of the black and gold braid was coming loose, so I cranked up the sewing machine and ran along most of the braid, to tack it down. When I had a fair amount of it done, I flipped it over onto the ironing board (remember those?) and made the revolting discovery that some of the fabric had not been flat, and I had great tucks and puckers on the backside, and the banner didn’t hang straight. I pulled out some of the stitching, but my bum right hand made that more difficult than I was willing to tolerate, so I just snipped some of the tucks and ironed the thing flat. It was going to be covered anyway, so it was not a life or death situation.

banner helpI spread the banner on our bed and sat cross-legged to pin and sew the new backing . Of course, dear Sir Edmund decided I needed his “help”. I put him out once, but he sat outside of the door, clawing at the carpet and hollering his head off, until I let him back into the room.

Folded my tent – and the banner – and decamped to the church, where I was able to lay it on a Sunday School table, and got it finished and hung in less than an hour. Looks good, if I say so myself.