Archive | October, 2015

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

The GangsterThe Moll

We had a party at church, and went as Your Friendly Neighbourhood Gangster and his Moll. That’s the first time The Squire’s worn a suit since my mum died.

The scarf was to cover my scar, but actually it wasn’t so noticeable that I needed to cover it.

Sweet Girl has no idea what this is all about, but she’s game.  Love that hat!

Aubrey Halloween

Try to Act Surprised!

30 Oct

For quite a while, The Squire and I have pretty much ceased giving each other gifts for Christmas or birthdays.  As I often said of my dad, there’s a limit to the bottles of wine and pairs of socks you can give a man who doesn’t smoke or wear neckties, and The Squire doesn’t drink.  I have all the jewellery I could ever wear (I’ve even begun “downloading” stuff), and it would be hard to find a vegetarian cookbook I don’t already own.

However, a few years ago The Squire gave me a pair of bedroom slippers that are just the best I’ve ever owned. They much resemble an Ugg boot, with an ivory knitted cable stitch top and a drawstring to tie them securely at the ankle. They are fleece-lined and have a sturdy sole. I have worn them to the point that both toes are well-mended with duck tape.

About a week ago, we got another holiday gift catalogue to add to the already tottering pile on top of the stereo, and they had MY slippers.  I folded back the page, circled the slippers, and laid the magazine on The Squire’s keyboard.  He was as pleased as I was, and dutifully ordered them for me.

As he tapped the last key, he reminded me that I was to act surprised on Christmas Day. “Oh! Wonderful! How did you know this was just what I wanted?”

Missed us Again

29 Oct

We lucked out when Joaquin decided to go up the coast rather than come inland, and last night parts of the area got pounded with the remnants of Hurricane Patricia. I’d closed the bedroom windows because it became wildly windy, but when I got up at 4:30 this morning the moon was shining, and it had hardly rained here at all. Tuesday was a full moon so it is still pretty bright – not quite bright as day, but our side porch roof is white and I thought it had snowed. Chilly, too, I might add.

The forecasters are predicting a bad winter, and the acorns are so heavy this year you need an umbrella to go out for the mail. I’ve been collecting them in the plastic zip bags you get at the deli, and have ten bags full packed in the freezer. Cheaper than deer corn or peanuts, and our great-granddaughter thinks it’s great fun to help G-G-Mom and G-G-Pop pick things off the ground and put them in metal buckets.

Why I Can’t Keep My House Clean

24 Oct

I have recently discovered that dust bunnies move out of the way when you sweep, but they just hop right back under the bed or behind the sofa, as soon as your back is turned. Explains a lot. (And yes, they do breed.)


23 Oct

The Squire gave me Hell’s Foundations Quiver at 7:30 last Thursday and I finished it at 2:00 this morning. I feel oddly bereft. David Weber is a marvellous writer and because the stories are so long, I really become involved in their lives.

I really wanted to get over to the library today, but The Squire had PT at 10:30 and then had to run up to the food pantry in Spesutia to drop off supplies. By the time we had dinner, it was time for my nap. The library closes at 5 on Fridays, but there’s always tomorrow.

I did get the laundry taken down, folded, and put away, the downstairs completely dusted, a clean cloth on the table (Let’s see how long that lasts!), and a decent dinner ready to eat when he came home, so the day was actually very productive. I really treasure these last days when it is warm and dry enough to get the clothes on the line. Sometimes, the night closes in and I have to take things down the next day, but they smell so sweet, and hanging and removing the laundry is sooo relaxing. Bend and stretch, and time to think deep thoughts, watch the birds and the squirrels, and just enjoy life. Good stuff.

Surprising what you can accomplish when you turn off the computer and put down your book.

Another Theory Shot Down

21 Oct

The Squire and I went down to the Maryland Historical Society today to do some research on both of our family trees. Unfortunately, neither of us had much luck. He was looking for graves in Frederick County and I was looking for information on immigrant ships that sailed into Baltimore.

I have a copy of my great-great-grandfather’s passport application, so I know when he arrived, but my mother had told me he sailed on a ship called The Ohm, which burned and sank in Baltimore’s harbour. She had a half dozen beautiful Bavarian china cups and saucers which she said came from the ship. (I wonder what ever became of them, as a matter of fact.) The research librarian helped me look for the manifest from that ship, with no success and then went into the microfilm to see if he could find some record of it. The Baltimore Sun made no mention such a ship; even in the days of steam ships, you’d think an event of that sort would have warranted at least a line or two.

I should have known better.

This is the same woman who told me one of my great-grandfathers had checked himself into a local mental hospital because the Jehovah’s Witnesses had driven him crazy. (Which, when you stop to think about it, is pretty crazy all by itself.) One of my cousins, also descended from this same man, told me that the hospital in question had at one time housed both a tuberculosis ward and a mental ward. And guess where dear Julius was?

So I am completely back to Square One. The manifests are there, and I have the year – maybe – but the passengers are not listed in alphabetical order, so I will have to sit down with a magnifying glass and have at it. Maybe they arrived in January.

One can hope.


Not as Bad as We Thought

17 Oct

The Godson came over this morning, and he and The Squire began to remove the sheet rock from the Big Room. As it turned out, the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as we had feared. There was water damage under both the window that had been professionally installed, and the window where the a/c unit had been. (That was our fault.) There was also an unholy mess where the original part of the house joined the dormer we put on when we bought the place, but no black mold or other ickiness. They only had to remove a total of about four feet, instead of the 30 feet we had been told. Whew! The contractor wanted to pull down all twenty feet of the long wall, and the ten feet on the short side, which turned out to be totally unnecessary.


stock photo

The Squire can install the insulation and replace the sheet rock by himself, but we will need to bring in a contractor to redo the ceiling. The ceiling in the TV room is interlocking square tiles, which the contractor had originally wanted to pull down and replace, until The Squire took him into the attic and showed him the poured-in fiberglass insulation that would come cascading down on his head if he did so. As that point, the man grasped the logic of simply putting sheet rock over the existing ceiling. It’ll make the ceiling a half an inch lower, but whoop, whoop.

One thing I have always wanted to do in there was put bead board over the lower half of the walls, with a narrow shelf of some sort along the top edge. The only picture I could find was this stock photo of a bathroom, with what appears to be window sill for the shelf. I just think bead board is so “country chic” – I love the look! The stuff comes in 4 x 8 sheets, so we will make it four feet high, just to save cutting. Not sure what colour will go on the walls; possibly a dark green. We’ll see.

And, new carpet, since I bought what is in there when I was still at Blue Cross; I left in 1983, so it is probably due for replacement. No need to rush into these things.

I had toyed with the idea of replacing the double bed with a queen, but even going the IKEA route would be very expensive, and getting a queen-sized box spring up those stairs is physically impossible.

Lost in Space

15 Oct

The Squire is  great fan of science fiction, which I do not usually enjoy, but we have stumbled upon a series written by David Weber, about an earth-like planet called Safehold, many light-years away from our galaxy, which pleases us both. A combination of space age technology and a pre-Industrial Revolution society.  It is all too complicated to go into here, but it is essentially an alternative history of the time of the Inquisition, which even  the staunchest Catholic will admit was not the church’s finest hour. I should warn you that Mr Weber is very Protestant in his views.  The books are huge – over 600 pages each – and very, very complicated. You really need to take notes, especially as the characters have rather odd names, and there are a bunch of people involved in this story. Fifteen pages worth in this book, but most of them are also in the other books.

The first book in the series, if you are interested, is Off Armageddon Reef and you really do need to read them in order.

The eighth book in the series was just recently published, and I picked it up at the library Tuesday.  I joked to the woman who brought me home (I’m still not able to drive) that once I gave the book to The Squire, I probably wouldn’t see him for about 48 hours. “I just hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign around his neck, hand him a sandwich once in a while, and dust him off, but there’s no point in talking to him. He gets so engrossed that either he won’t hear me at all, or I’ll startle him.”

Now, for the first eight years we had Blazer he was perfectly content to sleep on the floor, but last winter he decided he had enough seniority to claim The Squire’s recliner for his own. I got a chair cover and put it over the seat and sides, but the dog usually claws it down in to a heap on the chair seat, and sleeps there.bookmark

With this new book in hand, The Squire carefully folded the cover and put in on the floor next to the chair and settled in to read. Blazer about had a fit. He tried to get into the chair with The Squire, and when that didn’t work, he tried a plan of attrition, pacing back and forth around the recliner, trying to bother The Squire out of “his” chair.

So – I have no idea what time The Squire came to bed Tuesday night, but by 1:30 yesterday he had read over 300 pages.  He read most of yesterday, and after a short argument with the dog this morning, he read steadily from the time he got home from PT until 7:25. He finished the entire 627 pages in slightly more than 48 hours.

Now, it’s my turn.

Two Weeks and Counting

12 Oct

I had the surgery on my neck two weeks ago today, and since then I have not had a single moment when my back hurt, my legs gave me fits, or any of the other ills that have plagued me for decades.

A couple of years ago I had a mass removed from one armpit, and for the last six months I have been seeing a pain management specialist for what he called “sympathetic pain”. Gone.  There are times when I felt as if somebody was pounding ten-penny nails into my heels, and that is gone. I have had Restless Leg Syndrome since the early 80s, and was up to 2 mg. of clonazepam every night to keep that under control. The last two nights I’ve only taken one mg. I’ll stay on that for a while, and then start cutting them in half.

As Peg said, I won’t know how to walk without all those pebbles in my shoes!

I do still have a pretty ugly scar across my neck, but it is fading. We’re having a Halloween Haunted House at church in a few weeks, and I told the committee I’ll just spread some ketchup over it, and I’ll fit right in.



An Unholy Mess

10 Oct

For reasons known only to himself, whenever I find myself in the middle of an unavoidable royal mess, The Squire will decide to turn it into an even bigger mess.

When we were in the middle of remodelling the kitchen, and I had pots and pans all over the dining room table, spices in boxes on the sofa, and canned goods in the guest room, my dearly beloved husband decided to push all the stuff off one end of the dining room table and sort out his genealogy pictures.

This morning, he went into the attic to bring down the bins of winter clothes, and discovered a carton marked “pictures to be sorted”. These of course, could not possibly wait until I had gone through my clothes, but had to be handled at once. We now have umpteen stacks of photos – the kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, and Heaven-knows-who-those-folks-are all over the den and the table. In the meantime, I am trying desperately to decide what gets kept and  what gets donated.  And, after looking at some of these pictures, there is another huge pile of I-couldn’t-possibly-had-that-since-I-was-at-Hopkins! We found a shot of one of the granddaughter’s first birthday party; she is studying for her Ph.D. and I still use that tablecloth. Might be time for a new one. The table is 100 inches long, so I’ll have to hit Joann’s for 3 yards of something.

Just thinking about it makes me tired – and I can’t go to bed until I clear off the bed. Eh. Just dump it all back into the bin.