Archive | January, 2015

The Bald Truth

30 Jan

It was so windy today – gusts up to 45 mph – that my wig blew off while I was crossing the parking lot at IKEA, and I had to chase it down, my bald-ish head shining in the sun.

Talk about embarrassing!


29 Jan

Well, they say you are what you eat, and my favorite food is fruitcake. I know, I know, I’m probably the only person in America who really likes the stuff. Back when I was working full time, had a husband who was neither use nor ornament, and taking care of a house and two small children, with the metabolism of a racehorse,  I once ate an entire five pound fruitcake between shopping on Thursday night, and Monday evening.

I had it plain. I had it toasted with butter. I made dainty cream cheese sandwiches. I was in my glory.

My best friend and I have a dreadful time getting our birthday gifts to each other on a timely basis. Today, she gave me my birthday and Christmas gifts, determined to get them to me before my next birthday.  Mid-July, if that gives you an idea of how we work.

She and her husband had been to Ocean City, Maryland, one of the few places where the A & P is still alive and well, and there, just inside the door was a grand display of Jane Parker dark fruit cake. She bought what the budget would allow, but when she got to the checkout line, she discovered it was all half price, so bless her dear heart, she went back and got some more.

I am now the proud possessor of four boxes of my very, very, very favorite thing in all the world. What a wonderful birthday gift, and if it hadn’t been late, I wouldn’t have gotten it at all!

Thank you, Mrs. S!

About Time!

27 Jan

For years, I have put a large mark on the edge of my bottom sheets, so I can tell which way to put them on the bed.  There are few things less important in the overall scheme of life, but more frustrating, than to have to spin a sheet around to get it on the bed properly, especially if the cat is “helping”.

The fitted sheet I bought last week has little tags sewn into the hems, which say “Top or Bottom”.  I’ll bet a woman thought of that.

They Don’t Make ’em Like That Any More

24 Jan

The Squire and I were in a department store Thursday night, when I overheard a fellow telling somebody else that his dad was a watch maker. I poked my head around the corner and asked where his dad worked, as I have two watches that need repairing. Turns out his business is about a mile and a half from here, so this afternoon I wandered in that direction.

When I handed the gentleman the watch I simply said it didn’t work any more. “What’s it need? A new battery?”

“Um, no. It’s a Bulova from the 50s, and it won’t wind any more.”  He turned it over and read the itty bitty inscription on the back, stating that it had been given to my dad for 30 years service with Ma Bell. Instead of taking something for himself, he had chosen to give this watch to my mom.

The short version of this is that he’s not sure it can be repaired, as they no longer make parts for “mechanical” watches. He will call around and see if he can find the parts he needs, and if he can fix it, it’s going to be about $150. I told him the watch was worth that to me, and gave him a $50 deposit.

It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I am wondering now if it is possible for him to retrofit a quartz mechanism into that case.  Then I can replace the battery!

When we get this settled, I have my dad’s Elgin pocket watch that needs a look-see. I had it fixed about five years ago, but it needs to be cleaned. When I had it fixed, the man quoted me a price that nearly knocked my socks off, but he pointed out that it was a) considered an antique, and b) it was white gold, and fairly valuable. I had never considered the fact that it might be gold – what did I think? Stainless steel? – but in looking closely at my parents’ wedding pictures, I think this is the watch he was carrying.  Definitely worth fixing.

Looking for a Good Book?

22 Jan

Well, the snow yesterday was a bust. I got up extra early (believe me, getting up at 5:45 is bad enough!) because it was supposed to have started around 4 AM. Nada. It didn’t start until around 10, and then really didn’t amount to much. It’s been so warm here that while the snow stuck to the grass and bushes – and looked beautiful – the roads and sidewalks stayed clear. Today, the high was 43, so all we have is mud.

Lots of mud.

However, the forecast is for it to start snowing again tomorrow night and snow into mid-afternoon on Saturday, with 3 to 6 inches accumulation. My attitude is that the weather is like the economy. It’ll do whatever it wants, regardless of what the “experts” say.

I wasn’t able to make the bread I had planned Tuesday night, so yesterday morning before I left for work I put everything but the water into the bread machine for a plain white bread;  The Squire would get it started when he woke up. The thing got about half through the first kneading when it gave a mighty groan – and quit. He cleared a spot on the counter, dumped everything out, kneaded the bread by hand, and got it finished up and into the oven. I’m telling you, that guy is a keeper! He took apart the machine and ordered the piece needed to repair it, so we should be back in business in a week or so.

From time to time, I check out God’s Facebook page, which I think it pretty funny, and often very wise. He frequently thanks atheists, Wiccans, and other such folks, for not going off and starting wars, and promises that He will let them into Heaven, just for being so well behaved. He may have a point. Sometimes I think major religions embarrass Him.

Today, there was a posting about some real books which people have written, apparently with a straight face, about God, the bible, and other aspects of religious life. I will leave it to you to figure out which one I’d really like to read.


A Cascade of Minor Frustrations

20 Jan

I have been digging into the four tubs my mother left which I believe contain photos. I emptied one, and spent Saturday and Sunday working on a second. I addressed envelopes to several descendants, plus an 8 x 10 envelope for pictures of my mom, my sister, and myself. (Did you see that beauty of me on the 15th?) It has gotten to the point that I recognize members of certain families without looking to see what’s written on the back.  Battle Fatigue has begun to set in, so I’m taking a few days “vacation” from this project.

Yesterday morning I took a stack of bulky envelopes to the Post Office, only to discover they were closed, as was the library. Rats, and back home.

I also had a cranial MRI scheduled for 2:00, so the Squire and I went late to the Y, and then stopped for lunch on the way to Bel Air. I have to be sedated just short of a general anesthetic for this test, so once it was over we came home and I slept off what amounted to a royal binge. I was still so groggy when I went to bed that I don’t remember The Squire coming in, nor do I remember getting up in the middle of the night and apparently opening the door to the TV room, so the dog slept most of the night on the love seat.

This, by the way, is a brand new behavior. Ever since we got him, Blazer has slept on a pillow in the hallway, but all of a sudden he has decided he has the seniority to sleep “up” and has even curled up beside The Squire while he watched TV. That has only happened once, and I don’t think there’ll be a recurrence.

There was a fire in a motel in a town up the road from us, and at least one family has been displaced, so various churches are collecting clothing, toiletries, and housewares to help fill in the blanks. It’s bad enough when four people are reduced to living in a single motel room, without adding the insult of loosing everything you own. I did find two dressers and a mattress and box spring on Freecycle, but none of it would fit in our SUV (oh! How we miss that van!) so I had to ask the fellow if he could hold the things until today, so I could arrange transport. Then at the last minute I had the wits to ask about the bed; it’s a queen, which these people cannot use. I really felt bad about it, so asked The Squire if it was OK for me to offer the man the loaf of onion-dill bread I had just baked, as a thank you for being to patient.

We stopped on the way home so I could buy yeast, as I had used the last of it in the loaf  I’d just made. Aldi’s didn’t have any – they claim it’s a “seasonal item” – so we had to go to another store,  and after I had measured everything into the bread machine, I discovered that the carton of cottage cheese I had on the top shelf was actually a serving of potatoes from a church supper on the 10th – not cottage cheese, and definitely not fit to eat. Too late to go out at buy more cheese, so it will all have to wait until tomorrow. We’ll have hot, fresh bread for lunch, at any rate.

Tomorrow may bring its own set of problems. I work as a temp for a large company in Sparks, and the regular switchboard operator sent me an email asking if I might possibly be available tomorrow, as she may have jury duty. She has my email and my home phone, but I have not heard from her, and I’m getting antsy.

And it’s supposed to snow tomorrow.

Bath Towels and Shower Stalls

18 Jan

There was a segment on one of the morning TV shows recently about how often you should shower and wash your towels. The answers probably scandalized most folks who grew up in the 1950s. They suggested a towel and a shower every day, and one woman said she took two showers a day. She had one in the morning to wake her up, and then she “just couldn’t sleep” if she went to bed without showering again. Now, that makes no sense at all. How can the same process have two completely opposite effects?

My mother must have been spinning in her grave.

Summer and winter, we took three baths a week. Saturday night, so we’d be clean for church, Tuesday and Thursday. You didn’t sweat in the winter and you weren’t in school in the summer for people to complain if you smelled funky.  Both the house where we lived until I was 10 and the place where my folks lived until my dad was called to Cleveland had showers, but I don’t think they were ever used. Certainly my sister and I never had a shower, and I don’t think my mom did, either. Always a bath. Even when I was away at school, I always opted for a bath, although showers were available. My mother insisted “a woman has to soak”.

I became a “young lady” in the middle of the summer I turned 14, and asked my mom if I could have a different washcloth for my face  during “that week”. “You’re you, all over” was the answer. The blasted washcloths were in the linen closet; I could have just taken one, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if she didn’t count the stupid things when she did the laundry.

And it would no more have crossed my mind to take a fresh towel every time I took a bath than to try to fly by flapping my arms. Our middle daughter did take a notion to try the “towel a day” business when she was about fourteen, and I had to lock the towels in our bedroom. I didn’t really object to the idea, but once she started, the other two decided it sounded good, too.  We just didn’t own enough towels to use that many every day. I suggested that each select their own color, and use their clothing allowance to buy themselves five or six towels. Obviously, nothing ever came of that.

We washed our hair once a week – Saturday night in the stationary tubs in the basement. By Friday afternoon, your hair was so oily it stuck together, but heaven forbid you should wash it in the middle of the week. Actually, as harsh as the shampoos were back then, you’d have had a headful of straw if you used the stuff more than twice a week.

And The Squire grew up in a house that did not even have an indoor bathroom until he was fourteen! We won’t even get into that.

Inch Worm

16 Jan

Now that The Little One has mastered the difficult art of sitting up alone, she has moved on to crawling. Right now, we are still doing the “Inchworm” but her mom says at the rate she’s moving it won’t be long before she is really crawling.    I tried to get the video in here, but it doesn’t want to go 😦

Eldest daughter is not moving the phone away from The Little One out of plain meanness. When she reaches the toy, she will fling it away from herself and then go inching off  to get it again. Cell phones do not generally take well to flinging – even on a carpet.


The Wages of Sin

15 Jan

poison ivyI’ve finished one tub of pictures and have started on the second bin. (It looks as if there may be four of the blessed things.) I found this little gem in one of the shoe boxes.

I think I was about eight here, and my sister would have been three. (Possibly nine and four, but it doesn’t really matter.)  Daddy and a close friend, a fellow we called Uncle Larry, had gone to my grandmother’s house to dig up maple saplings to plant at Uncle Larry’s new house. I was given strict orders to stay on the back porch and play with the dog.

Being the sweet, obedient child I was, I followed them into the field, and found some pretty, shiny leaves, with little white berries, which I collected into a small bouquet.

Poison ivy.

The doctor gave my parents medicine to put in the bathtub, and soaked me twice a day in water as hot as I could tolerate. I had it, literally, from head to foot – on my scalp and between my toes. My nose was swollen and covered with a yellow crust. My mom had to change the bed sheets twice a day, and after the actual poison ivy cleared up, I got boils all over my legs.

And it didn’t help that my sister was so d— smug about it, either.

I’m Gonna Kill Him

13 Jan

I had a bad night last night, and didn’t come downstairs until almost 10:00. (There are benefits to being retired.) Since I can’t eat for an hour after I take my Synthroid, it was after 11:00 before I was ready to eat.

I asked The Squire what time he had gotten up – 7:00 – and asked if he was hungry. “I need something on my stomach. I can either have a bowl of cereal now, or we can reheat that stew** and have lunch together.”

“I’m not hungry now. Why don’t you go ahead and eat?”

It is noon. I have just returned from placing my bowl and spoon in the dishwasher, and he says to me, “You know, I am feeling a bit hungry. I think I’ll go fix myself some lunch. Do you want something?”

** “That stew”, to his eternal credit, was a recipe he’d seen on Rachael Ray’s show while he was riding the bike at the Y. He’d purchased all the ingredients and put it together himself.