Archive | November, 2015

Sleep Tight

30 Nov

Since childhood, I have been taught to sleep flat on my back. It was a childrearing fad that was accepted as medical gospel in the twenties and thirties, just as putting an infant on their back is now, except the child wasn’t trained to do this until it was able to turn over alone. No point in drowning the kid in its own vomit.


I have always slept with one foot or the other tucked under the opposite knee; I resemble a flamingo at rest. When we had a regular double bed, I hitched up my left leg, so I wouldn’t poke The Squire, but since we got the queen sized bed, there’s room for me to tuck my right foot under my left knee. My podiatrist has given me a growl about this several times, saying I was changing the “architecture” of my foot.

Well, I woke up this morning in severe pain, limping badly; most of the pain seems to be where the top of my foot meets my ankle.  The habit is so deeply ingrained that when I went up to take my nap, I automatically tucked that right foot under my left knee – and instantly removed it! Wowser! If I could rest the sole of my foot against my “knee knob” it would be OK, but the foot keeps going into hiding, and pulling up my left leg seems awkward. I cannot sleep curled up on my side, as I can’t breathe in that position, so the next few weeks should be interesting.

Never happy unless I have something to complain about.

Happy Anniversary -and a Happy Birthday, too!

29 Nov

Yesterday, The Squire and I celebrated forty-one years of wedded bliss, and today was his umpteenth birthday. He was serenaded and congratulated at church this morning, and we shall leave the rest of it discreetly unmentioned.

our wedding

It is really hard to believe we have been married for so long. Sometimes it seems to be forever, ( a very nice forever) and other times it seems less than a week has gone by since we said, “I will”. (There is no “I do” in the marriage ceremony.)  I even promised to obey him, by my own choice, as it is no longer in the Prayer Book. This generally causes our friends to go into gales of laughter.

We have been blessed, and we both know it. It is often said that marriage is to be a reflection of God’s relationship with His people, and I never understood how true that is until I married The Squire. I have been loved, honoured, comforted and cosseted to a fare-thee-well, thank you very much, and he’s not done too badly in that department, either.

It is, of course, an immutable law of nature that people who like the windows open always select mates who prefer to sleep with the windows closed, and people who want to hold on to everything marry people who wonder why you want to keep that. We are perfect blending of an immovable object and an irresistible force.  Who is who, and which is which varies from day to day, but it works. We haven’t had a single argument so far.

The best advice ever on marriage came from Ogden Nash.

        To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup,

        Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.

Generally good advice, under any circumstances, I think.







Happy Thanksgiving!

26 Nov

The Squire and I went over to my nephew’s home for dinner today, and had a very nice time.  Brian and Ruth have three small children – Laura is just 6 months – so even with the hassle of getting things pulled together it’s easier to have company than to pack up and go someplace else.  Ruth fixed the turkey, and some of the other items, and her mother and two sisters-in-law brought side dishes, as did The Squire and I. My brother-in-law provided the wine. Ruth’s mum makes the best red cabbage. Most German people in Baltimore eat sauerkraut with turkey, but she always brings fresh, home grown red cabbage instead. Delish!

I also took my “almost world famous” cheese ball. This I the third one I’ve made in ten days, and there are never any leftovers:

2 8-ouce blocks of cream cheese, 8 ounces grated cheddar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, plus 1/3 cup finely chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers. Mix it altogether, cover with cling film, and refrigerate overnight. If you wish, you can roll it in minced parsley or finely chopped pecans, but nobody’s ever refused to eat it “naked”.  I do fancy it up to resemble a pumpkin, but that’s not even necessary. “Plug easy” is my motto when it comes to cooking – and just about anything else, for that matter.

I did promise a photo of the hole I nearly fell into last night. I went out when we got home from Brian and Ruth’s and took a quick shot; it was getting on toward evening, and with nothing for comparison it’s hard to tell, but this is nearly seven feet deep. My hands landed on the ground about a foot from the stick that goes across the lower left corner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had gone out to see if whatever animal that dragged off the food dish might have dropped it into the stream, and as I said, tripped over a branch, and nearly landed on my face. I probably could have managed to wade back downstream to the house, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed any part of the adventure.

And The Squire would not have been pleased.

Sometimes I think my Guardian Angel must have grey hair by now.

Verrry Mysterious

25 Nov

Several nights ago, Blazer became extremely agitated when we he went out with me to feed the “critters”, running back and forth, nose down, snuffling, and muttering under his breath for all he was worth. The next night was when he managed to pull the run out of the tree.

This evening, when I took out the fox food, I couldn’t find the dish. I asked The Squire about it, and he said he couldn’t find it last night, and wondered if I had moved it for some reason.

Now, said food dish is about the size of a dinner plate, and slightly over two inches deep. It is stainless steel, with a non-skid rubber bottom, and it weighed a lot. (I must have thought Blazer was a Great Dane when I purchased it.) Whatever carried it away was not a fox. Back in May (see May 3) we had a mama fox come down to the house in the morning, and she was considerably smaller than the dog. If Blazer couldn’t move that dish, if certainly wasn’t a fox that dragged it off, and I really doubt a raccoon could have moved it either.

Eldest Daughter has a motion activated game camera, and we may borrow it from her, just to see what on Earth is back there.

Oh. You nearly lost your faithful correspondent this evening. While I was looking around for the dish, I went to peer over the end of the stream bank, caught my foot on a branch under the leaves, and sprawled face down, landing far, far too close to the edge of the bank for comfort. I’ll take a picture in the morning and post it here. Too dark now.


22 Nov

Yesterday, The Squire and The Godson spent the afternoon raking leaves into piles and hauling most of them to the compost heap.  This afternoon, Blazer and I spent a good fifteen minutes burying ourselves in the pile and scattering them around.

We were much more efficient than they were.

But I’ll tell you, fifteen minutes of racing and chasing is a lot for an old lady. Wore me out.


Send in the Clowns

21 Nov

OK, we have 306 million people in this country, at least half of whom are over 35, and this bunch is the best the Republican Party can find?

We have a loud mouth who stops just short of admitting he’s a Nazi (“You tell me”, he says.) who wants to shutter mosques and register Muslims, but says registering gun owners is “going too far, because the Constitution is very clear on that subject”. Is he aware that the Constitution also says “Congress shall make no law …prohibiting the free exercise (of religion)?

He may know his gun rights, but he isn’t all that familiar with the rest of the Constitution.

We have two woman who have won the right to pose for their driver’s license photo wearing a colander on their heads (Lindsay Miller, of Massachusetts, and Shawna Hammond, of Oklahoma), because they are members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and he’s worried about a lady in a hijab.

And then we have a brain surgeon who is willing – eager! – to subject another race to the same indignities his own had to endure, and sees no irony in it.

What is wrong with these people?

Can we get George Takai to run? I’ll vote for him.

The Year of the Goat, The Week of the Dog

20 Nov

At the rate we are going, El Destructo is going to tear down the house by the end of the week.

This latest escapade is entirely the fault of the humans around here. Blazer’s run is between two large trees in the back yard. If the tie rope is not on the outside of the trees, it will not allow the pulley to slide along the run. Instead the dog comes to a crashing halt when he gets to the end of the rope. Depending upon his speed, this can result in the dog simply doing a summersault (probably painful), slipping the collar over his head, snapping the hook off the end of the rope, or yanking the run out of the tree.

Wednesday afternoon, whichever of us brought him in did not make sure he was on the proper side of the tree. All we have to do is wave our arm to the left and tell him to “go around”, but that command wasn’t given, and the dog’s not an engineer. When I let him out before bedtime, I couldn’t see in the dark that the rope was around the tree, so he went racing out – something needed barking at – and pulled the run out of the tree, which resulted in the rope (and the pulley) sliding off the end of the run, and Blazer taking off after whatever was crashing through the woods.

A deer, probably. At least, I hope it was only a deer.

A couple of weeks ago I had purchased a strap that attaches to the dog’s collar. It’s about seven inches long, and has an LED light which can be turned to solid red, blinking, or off. It is called Niteize*  and cost about $12 (I had a coupon) and is worth its weight in gold, as I was able to locate the dog immediately by the blinking light. The Rudolph effect.   Reaching him, through the mud and the briars was another story, but I managed to get him back to the house. I left the pulley in the dog dish, on the counter, so there was no way The Squire could claim he didn’t see it.

In addition to selective hearing, I’ve noticed he also suffers from selective vision.

Thursday morning he took the dog for a ramble – Blazer doesn’t go far on an empty stomach. He did repair the run, but managed – heaven only knows how – to break the hook that attaches the rope to the run.    Instead, he tied the rope around a post on the carport.

This morning, all I saw was the rope sprawled across the concrete, and simply hooked up the dog. Well, when you have 75 pounds of pit bull/greyhound mix on a fairly short rope (30 feet), it can be messy. The dog took off at top speed, carport post cracked, and the dog managed to break his collar. He pulled the ring that holds his tags and the hook, out of the collar. He ripped the stitching that holds the ring in place; dog collars are constructed of the same material as seatbelts. We’re talking some sort of force and speed, here, folks. The rope snapped back and got caught in a tree branch, and The Squire came dashing downstairs – barefoot. The “boom” was enough to wake him up, and he thought a tree had fallen on the house.

He went off to the grocery store to get a new collar, but the largest they had was for a twenty-five pound dog, so scratch that. We will have to stop at the pet store again tomorrow and purchase a new, and slightly larger, collar.

And see what other mischief Blazer can get into before the month is out.


*Unsolicited testimonial here. These little lights are phenomenal. They come in the strap type, which attaches to the collar, and several sizes of “fobs” for small dogs and cats. The fobs don’t blink, but they are very bright.

Pushing the Envelope

19 Nov

Back in January, Blazer decided he has enough seniority around here to take over the recliner in the living room. Neither The Squire nor I were exactly delighted with this arrangement, but the chair keeps him off the draughty floor in the winter and close to the a/c in the summer. I got a cover for the chair, which is some help, although the dog much prefers it rumpled into a ball, rather than spread over the back and sides to protect the upholstery.

For as long as we have had him, Blazer has slept outside the bedroom door until I get out of bed, even when I take my afternoon nap. This morning, The Squire glanced up the stairs to see if there was any sign of my floating to the surface, and realized the dog wasn’t in the hallway. When he came up to investigate, he discovered that Blazer has decided to wait for me in the arm chair in the TV room, rather than sleep on the floor!

This did not sit well with The Squire.

Mind you, this is a dog who refuses to eat in the kitchen, and waits until we have said grace before he eats his own meals, but I think he’s about reached the limit.

No matter how hard you push the envelope, it’s still stationary.

Mad Dog!

18 Nov

Normally, when I go over to knitting at church, I take Blazer with me.  On Monday nights, he has a grand time playing with the Cubs Scouts, but for the last several months we have been sharing our space on Wednesday with the Golden Age Group. Now, Blazer is a bit of a Golden Ager himself, but I do worry that he will be in the way, so this morning I left him home.

The Squire said that when the dog realized I wasn’t in my normal spot – in front of the computer, alas – he went looking for me. He couldn’t see the car in the drive, so he searched all over the house, sniffing in every closet and under the bed.

Then he looked for my car a second time, and began his search anew. Sometimes Blazer gets very “talky”, but The Squire said this morning’s words were more akin to angry muttering, mixed with low growls. The dog was obviously seriously pissed.

And the Golden Age group didn’t show up!

Doing My Part

17 Nov

I went back to the “Y” yesterday for the first time since my surgery in late September. I had to reinstate my membership, so was still in the lobby when an Islamic family came in, looking scared to death. I’d never seen them before, so they probably joined while I was AWOL.

They appeared to be a mother, father, and 20-ish daughter.  I went over and gave each of the women a hug, telling them how sorry I was for what had happened, meaning, of course, the Paris attacks. I remembered my manners and didn’t try to hug the father, but bowed slightly, and repeated the only Arabic phrase I know – Saleem Aliakam. I probably butchered both the spelling and the pronunciation, but it means “Peace be with you”, and our former rector always said it to our Moroccan exchange student, when we passed the Peace at church.  (Thank you, Fr. Al and Youssef.) The father bowed back and then took both of my hands in his, and looked as if he was going to cry. Later, the two ladies thanked me, and apologized for “those crazy people”. I replied we all have our share of crazies.

Oliver Cromwell used to ring the alarm bells in English towns, which was a sign for every one to run to the church to see what was going on. He’d lock the people in  the church and then set fire to it. Not much different from firing a gun in a crowded theatre.  And all in the name of religion. I’m not sure God is at all pleased.

Onward and upward.

I didn’t accomplish very much at the “Y”, as so many people wanted to welcome me back and ask how I was doing. You can’t just say “Fine, thank you” and keep going (well, maybe you can, but I can’t!) so I spent a lot of time chatting and singing the praises of my operation. And my surgeon.

Just as well. I was sore at the dickens this morning. This is going to take a while.

We are having a candlelight vigil at church tonight, and of course any Episcopal gathering involves food. My girlfriend sent me the picture on the right, and I found a recipe for a cheese ball and had at it. Several folks in our congregation have celiac disease, so when I stopped to pick up the American cheese, I grabbed a green pepper to use for the stem and leaves instead of what seems to be a pretzel and obviously, cookies. cheeseball

DSCN0031Mine turned out this way.

Take your pick.

While I was working, I took a nibble of cheese. I’d forgotten how horrible American cheese is. Yuck!