Archive | May, 2015

Schroedinger’s Dog

31 May

About a week ago, I spotted a small shiny green thing in the grass. Blazer’s current rabies tag. This was attached to his collar by one of those double rings that causes so many broken finger nails and lost tempers. How did he get it off the collar?

Good question.

When I went to put it back on, I discovered he had also lost his previous rabies tag and his license. Those were both on the S hooks. We kept them all on the collar because they jingle-jangle-jingle when he runs. I’ve waved the metal detector around along the path he traces with his tie-out rope, with no luck. Mind you, we have slightly over two acres, and he could have lost it anywhere within that radius, or in one of the spots where he likes to roll when he and The Squire go out for the mail. You have no idea how many bits and pieces of metal can be scattered over the amount of ground we have to cover. I swing the detector and The Squire checks out the beeps. Paper clips in the front yard? Belt buckles, two keys on a chain, a watch, and more rusty nuts, bolts, and nails than I can count.

I have to contact Baltimore county and see if there’s a way to get a new license. (I mean, there must be.) The county only issues one tag, and then every May 1st, you send them your VISA number and they send you a certificate via email, saying the license has been renewed.

The question, of course, is how on earth he managed to remove THREE tags with no visible damage to the collar.

Very mysterious.


27 May

Eldest Daughter treated me to the last two days in Ocean City. We walked the boardwalk (also known as Wal-Mart East), dined at a lovely tea shop, and watched somebody get just exactly what he deserved.

On the way home, we fetched up behind a little old lady doing 40 in a 50 mile zone. Maddening, but bearable. After several minutes, the car in front of us reached a spot in the road where it was possible to pass, and did so. Apparently, the little old lady realized she was blocking traffic (there were fifteen cars piled up behind her), and pulled onto the shoulder.  At the same time, a black BMW pulled out and passed the car behind us, and us, on a double solid line, and kept on going as if he’d just put a down payment on the road.

About five miles up the road, we passed a Delaware State Trouper and a black BMW on the side of the road. “Where’s the fire, bub?”

Memorial Duh’ay

26 May
Sunday afternoon I went to Jackie Lawson’s site, selected a lovely Memorial Day card, scrolled through my address list, and checked off everyone on my list who served in the Armed Forces. I also had to add a new friend, Blue Prairie, which I typed separately, and hit the Send button.
I only received notification that Blue had gotten her card, but none of the others. Odd. When I checked my Card History list, none of my friends were on the list. I had forgotten to click the “Add selected recipients” button on my address list.
So, to Ken, Leslie, Scrunge, Genie, Kit, Cliff, Milton, Richard, Bob, Fr. Al, as well as Matthew and Jayson, thank you for your service! And next year, I’ll push the right buttons.

Beats Me

25 May

For reasons which escape me completely, I decided to clean and straighten one side of the bathroom closet today. On either side of the door is a space about two feet deep, with five shelves. One side is strictly towels, with a large plastic tub of medical supplies – gauze, ointments, tape, etc. – on the top shelf, and my laundry stuff on the floor.

The other side, however, is an absolute mare’s nest. Cosmetics, hair curlers, pet grooming supplies, hand lotion, you name it, and it’s probably on the right hand side of the closet. Dill Because of my thyroid problems, I have very thin hair, and what I do have retains some of its original natural curl, so in my natural state, I rather resemble the character Dill, from the comic strip Cul de Sac. (My nose is smaller, though.)

I wear wigs. Always. I found four hairbrushes in the closet. Four.  Nobody needs four hair brushes. I’m too frugal, thrifty – OK, OK – cheap to drop them in the recycling bin, but there is a very limited number of places to dispose of a used hair brush.

And the make up! One day a year, I go to the spa and have myself made boo-ful for the annual Equitable Trust reunion. Every once in a while I may smear a dab of foundation over my red nose, but I seldom even wear lipstick. Sunscreen and olive oil are pretty much the extent of my makeup kit. (Olive oil is the best moisturizer in the world. Sinks in and is never greasy.) I found a pump bottle of foundation I think I purchased in Tennessee when our friend’s daughter got married, and enough skin-firming lotions that I could take my place on Mount Rushmore.

And the soap scraps.  When you live through The Depression, and in my grandparents’ case, two World Wars, saving and scrimping is deeply ingrained, but sometimes I think my mother carried it too far. I have a quart-sized plastic bag full of soap scraps and the little bars you get at motels. When I was a kid, I can remember my mom putting the tail-end of a bar of soap into a saucer and adding just enough water to soften the bottom of the soap. Then she would press and mold that scrap onto the top of a fresh bar, to make sure every last bit got used.  Later in life, she folded the four corners of a wash cloth into the center, sewed the seams, and had a terry cloth bag into which to put the pieces of soap.  After the first four or five usings, it gets gunky and slimy. That never bothered my mom, but it gives me the creeps. However, I still can’t stand to toss out the soap scraps. I think I read someplace that you could melt them down and make new bars.

Then there are the hair curlers. A full set of hot rollers, plus another twenty or so rollers from where the heating unit has died. And metal clips to put in your hair so it looks as if you have a marcel wave. Want to guess how old those are?

A bottle of Vicks Vap-o-Rub so old the address doesn’t even have a two-digit postal code, never mind a five-digit zip code, and several prescription bottles (empty!) from Read’s, a Baltimore-based drugstore, which has been out of business since 1983. The first lunch-counter sit-in in America was at the Read’s on Howard Street in 1955.

Y’know, I really ought to talk to somebody about this problem. The Maryland Historical Society, maybe?

Indigo Buntings and Outwitting Ants

23 May

This handsome fellow has been hanging around our feeder for several days, but it has taken us a few tries to get a decent shot. This is a male indigo bunting – the female is all brown and could easily be mistaken for a wren, except that the tail is straight, not upright. She’s probably been around, but we haven’t noticed.

indigo bunting 2People (scientists) keep saying animals are color-blind, but that doesn’t explain why the females are always much more drab and often invisible.

hummingbird feeder  If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know we have been plagued by ants inside the house. Anybody who feeds hummingbirds has probably watched in frustration while the bloody buggers climb up the post and drink the nectar you put out for the hummingbirds. Well, I think I have it solved.

I found a spray can top with an “inner circle” and punched a hole in the center, and strung a wire loop through the hole, long enough to reach beyond the top of the plastic lid. I filled the outer ring with water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Not much, just a drop or two. When the ants crawl up the pole and down the wire loop, they cannot get past the water barrier. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, and the ants drown. Be careful that the rim of the lid doesn’t touch the wire at any spot, or the ants will bypass your little trap. Some hot glue, blue tack, or even used chewing gum placed either inside or outside the cup will help keep it upright.

And there you are. An ant-proof hummingbird feeder.

Vampires and Other Animals

20 May

This morning I threw a batch of chili into the crockpot, and was just reaching for the second jar of seasoning when I realized I’d put a teaspoon of dried garlic into a recipe than called for a quarter that amount. I managed to scrape out a good bit of it, and then put in the required teaspoon of dried onion, but I don’t think The Squire and I will have to worry about vampires for a while.

Yesterday I walked up our road about a half a mile, picking up aluminum cans and other trash. There was a plastic cup half buried in a pile of dried leaves, so I moved the leaves aside and disturbed a very annoyed juvenile ground hog. The little fellow could have sat in my cupped hands, but he was pitching a fit large enough for several critters. It was hard to tell which of us was the most startled by the encounter. He reminded me of a kitten – all arched back, fluffed fur, and sparks, but not really much to back it up. Except a set of teeth that looked as if they were ready for business.

Tsula, our mama fox, has obviously been coming down to the house early in the morning. (Cherokee for fox.) We’ve been making sure she has a good sized dinner in the evening, but you can certainly notice that foxy aroma at 8 AM. I did find about two-thirds of a squirrel’s tail on the walk one morning, but haven’t seen any bobtailed animals around the feeder, so I suppose she did get one at least. We are now making sure she gets breakfast in bed, as well as room service as night.

Eddie came to the door Sunday afternoon with a female cardinal in his mouth. I managed to get the bird, and The Squire locked the cat in the kitchen. The bird sat on my finger, panting, while I stroked her head and crooned to her. Once she’d stopped panting, I carried her outside, and she flew off into the trees immediately. I was going to put her in the bushes to catch her breath and get her bearings, but apparently that wasn’t necessary.

If the blasted cat was going to actually catch something, why didn’t he grab one of the vultures that hang around here? A grackle or a starling, for instance?

I am working a switchboard tomorrow, so The Squire and I went over to the library. I don’t like getting paid for reading a book, but you can’t make a switchboard ring, and I can’t stare at the wall for eight hours. While I was writing this, he started to read one of his science fiction books. I just asked him a question, and he popped to the surface as if he’d been sound asleep. “Huh? Huh? Wha..?”

He’s so cute when he does that.

Where Did You Go, Joe DiMaggio?

14 May

I swear, this house eats things, and its appetite has become more voracious as time goes along.

Some time back, I lost a pillow case between the linen closet and the bed. Now my summer clothes are missing.  Two weeks ago The Squire did the summer-winter switchover, and we shoved his big blue tub into the attic. I tend to stay cold a lot longer than he does, so I wasn’t in any big hurry to pack away my woolies, but now we can’t find my summer stuff.

I got into the attic on Monday and looked in all the boxes, but couldn’t find my things. No big deal; I wore my sweat pants and one of his polo shirts to the gym on Tuesday, but the shirt was so large I was afraid it would fall off it I yawned. He climbed up and looked for the box, I checked the bins in the sewing room, which are only costumes, and we even looked in the workshop (a.k.a. The Black Hole). Nada.

Tonight when we go to pick up the bread from Panera, I will stop in Target and get a couple of things to tide me over until the box turns up. A polo shirt or two in my size, and maybe a pair of summer slacks, and maybe stop at the Thrift Store on Monday. I am fairly certain that purchasing a new wardrobe will make my old clothes turn up immediately.

Ah! Found the sheet from the Red Cross. My hemoglobin was 11.7, and they want it to be between 13.8 and 17.2.

Tired is What I Do

13 May

I went to the doctor on Monday because I am still coughing from whatever it was that got me in mid-April. I also wanted to know if it was possible to take shots instead of tackling the iron pills because of all the trouble I have with those, and by the way, my feet are swollen.

So – I do still have something in my lungs, for which he prescribed an antibiotic and a codeine syrup. I had a coughing fit Sunday at the dinner theater; the embarrassment was worse than the cough. There was an infant in the audience who made less noise than I did. Pathetic.  The swelling in my feet could be because a) my blood pressure is so low. b) my thyroid is wonky, or c) because I am anemic.  Blood tests all around.

Last time I went to the Red Cross, my b/p was 95/55 and my iron level was more than a point less than what they consider acceptable. I think they want it to be 12.5, and I was 11.2, but don’t quote me on that. Anyway, I’m running a quart low.

They didn’t take me.

I picked up the cough syrup on the way home from Bible Study last night. The directions are to take two teaspoons every six hours. Since two of the meds I take at bedtime are already sedating I decided to only take one teaspoon. I slept, uninterrupted, for ten hours, and then collapsed again at 2 PM and slept another two. It is about 7:15, and I could easily go back up to bed. To quote my mother, “Just because I’m up and moving around, doesn’t mean I’m awake”.

Double Dipping

10 May
Taken at the dinner theater. A little dark, but I look better in the dark anyway.

Taken at the dinner theater. A little dark, but I look better in the dark anyway.

Ever since the girls were old enough to take care of it themselves, The Squire has refused to do anything for me for Mother’s Day, on the basis that although I am older than he is, I’m not his mother. He also gets snippy if I do anything for him for Father’s Day – even a card – so it evens out.

Thursday, out of the blue, he asked me where I wanted to go for Mother’s Day. (I think this was because the church did not have their annual Mother’s Day brunch. Another can of worms.) I was quite certain I did NOT want to go near a restaurant today, so we decided to go to our favorite Asian restaurant on Friday evening. Lemon’n’Ginger is a fairly new place up near the Y. No chop suey or chow mien, but honest-to-goodness Asian cuisine – Japanese, Thai, and Chinese. I had eggplant and garlic, so you couldn’t get downwind of me most of the weekend.

Yesterday, The Squire and his friend Mac, whom I have mentioned before, went to see Age of Ultron, and Mac mentioned he and his wife and daughter were going to a dinner theater today and asked if would we like to join them.

And so we did.

The play was 1776, a musical about the founding of this country. Very good – the actors were all fabulous, the singing was excellent, and the entire play was true to history. Merciful heavens! To be honest, I couldn’t see how it would be a subject for a musical, but it was very good, very funny in places, and very serious in others.  The song sung by the soldier who has watched others die in battle brought tears to my eyes, and the letters from Washington, expressing his frustration at lack of supplies and fears for his men were very moving. All in all, an excellent show.

So I went from doing nothing for Mother’s Day to going out to dinner twice. How about them apples?

Pushy, Pushy

8 May

We removed (caught) another snapping turtle day before yesterday, and thought we only had one left in the pond.

This evening Blazer and I went out to feed the fish, and there were two very impatient turtles literally hanging over the edge of the pond, waiting to be fed. Because they were halfway out of the water, I couldn’t throw bread to them, but had to find a small stick (a lilac branch, in this case) break it in half, and put a piece of bread on each one. Once both sticks were “loaded” I held them out and the turtles yanked the bread off. They will only eat store-bought white bread, and I have to use the crusts and the heels so the stuff won’t fall off the sticks. (The center of the bread gets thrown into the middle of the pond so the poor fish actually get to eat.)  I am not the sharpest crayon in the box, but this is as close as we get to “hand feeding” snapping turtles.

I squatted out there for about five minutes, poking food into two gaping maws, while Blazer hovered behind me. Some protector he is! I imagine it was like feeding twins, but most twins don’t have such sharp edges.