Archive | December, 2020

A Secret Button?

31 Dec

We only have one bathroom in this house. All things considered, given the age of the place, we should be grateful that it is inside. But there seems to be some sort of alarm button hidden underneath.

The Squire can be in the living room reading a book, upstairs watching TV, or sound asleep, but he seems to sense the second I sit down. Last night, just as I made myself comfortable, I heard the recliner in the TV room creak as he got out of it. He’s been fighting a cold, and sleeping in the guest room for a week. Sunday night I woke up at 2 AM and crept downstairs. He followed me down a few minutes later.

I swear, our next house is going to have two bathrooms. Maybe three.


The Nicest People. . .

23 Dec

. . .An unsolicited testimonial.

I’ve gotten Blazer’s pain meds from for about a year, and I called on Monday to tell them to discontinue the automatic shipment because the poor pup had died. Tuesday afternoon, I received a lovely floral arrangement from them, with a card expressing their sympathy over his death.

How many other companies would do such a thing?

Facing the Inevitable

22 Dec

We came downstairs Saturday morning to find Blazer panting on the kitchen floor. He hadn’t eaten for the last two days, and then he’d had diarrhea and vomiting. Bless his poor soul, he’d managed to drag himself into the kitchen – the worst of the mess was near the door – but it was a mess and so was he.

While I tried to clean the poor puppy, The Squire called the vet, and made an appointment for 11:30. I had to get The Squire to help me lift Blazer into the car, and I drove up to Fallston while he cleaned the kitchen and ran the carpet scrubber over one place in the dining room.

The vet had folded a velour blanket into quarters and spread it on the floor and I patted Blazer down onto it. They gave him a shot of Doggy Demerol and once he was drifting comfortably they injected the morphine, so he was never in pain or frightened. The technician and I both wept over him, and she asked if I’d like to have a plaster paw print. I joked that this would be the only time they’d be able to fiddle with his feet, so they might as well take advantage of it. She said when we’d last boarded him, I’d asked them to trim his nails, and it had taken four of them to do it. I had warned them that was a two valium job: one for the dog and one for the tech. “We didn’t believe you, until we started the procedure.”

We both miss that dear puppy but we know we did the right thing. I will go up one day after Christmas to collect his ashes, and come warmer weather we will put him beside the pond with our other dogs.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Suddenly Winter!

17 Dec

We have been blessed with wonderfully mild weather so far – the temperature on Sunday was in the mid-60s, which is pretty much how it has been lately. Last night, the temperature dropped, and we had what might pass for snow today. We were “promised” anywhere from 4 to 8 inches, depending on where you live, but all we got was about an inch of really sloppy stuff. I’d rather have snow, frankly, because when this mix of snow and rain freezes the entire world will be an ice rink.

I went out about # PM and fed the Outside People, just so I wouldn’t have to slog through the snowfall we expected, but when The Squire got ready to take the recycling bin to the road, he didn’t even make it off the carport. “Not going out in that mess!” Filling the bird feeders in the morning will be, um, interesting, to put it mildly.


And It’s Not The Good Silver, Either

14 Dec

Somehow I ended up with one odd teaspoon. I have never put it on the table because A) it is smaller than “regulation” size, B) it was the only one of its kind, and C) I think Art Deco is ugly.

I use it to scoop dogfood out of the can.

We have been trying to “clean up and clear out” around here, on the offhand chance we are really, truly moving. I am still going through stuff my Mum left behind. She’s been gone almost 10 years, and I am mighty tired of plowing through boxes and bins – but we soldier on. At any rate, I found a mate to said spoon. There is nothing on the back of it, which means it is probably sterling and a demitasse spoon, judging from the size. (Plate has the pattern name on the “neck” of the piece.) It obviously belonged to my grandmother, dear Hyacinth Bucket herself, but it is NOT the good silver.

That’s the Stieff Rose.

The Old Man

11 Dec

I found Blazer on March 26, 2008, coming home from visiting my mum. I spotted a puppy running across a yard, heading for the road. The driver on front of me didn’t even swerve, but hit the poor pooch and sent him sprawling. I immediately stopped my car, scooped up the dog, and took him home with me.

First Day his new home

I didn’t normally go home that way, but it was a little after 5 PM and my usual route would have meant a left turn onto a busy road, so I took a longer way that allowed me to turn right, instead. Spur of the moment decision, but I do believe God looks out for all of His creatures.

Our vet took a look at the newest addition and said he had a “sprained ankle and a black eye” but no microchip. The Squire and I printed this picture and put a flier in every mailbox along the road where I found the dog. In spite of the Squire’s “Only One Dog at a Time” dance, he suggested naming the puppy Blazer, and I knew the dog had his Forever Home.

Blazer Today

But for a biggish dog (he weighs 75 pounds), twelve years is pretty close to Forever. Blazer is getting very old, and is having a lot of physical problems. For one thing, he has become a Genuine Old Fart. Oh, lawsy! Can that boy ever perfume a room. He has a voracious appetite, but you can see his backbone and his pelvic bones, which by itself is a serious concern.

He is losing control of his back legs, and slips on the kitchen floor far too often to make us happy. Last night we could hear him whimpering and moaning on the stairs. When I dashed into the hallway to see what was wrong, he was halfway up the steps, hanging on to one step, literally with his toenails, and unable to move his back legs. Just as I reached down to help him, he lost his grip and tumbled down the stairs. We blocked the steps with a chair, although I wonder if he’ll try to climb them again, even without it. After breakfast, he went out for his morning constitutional, and I could see him stop after every ten or fifteen steps to rest for a moment, before plodding back toward the house. When I opened the door to let him back in, he was standing too close and I accidentally hit him with the storm door, sending him sprawling.

He is taking two kinds of pain meds, but it’s obvious from the way he walks that he is still uncomfortable. At what point do you decide enough is enough? How do you measure the quality of life for a creature that cannot speak, but who looks to you with such trust and faith? We need to have a long, serious talk with the vet. Soon.

Working Remotely is Getting To Me

6 Dec

But I discovered this little trick

The Evil That Men Do . . .

6 Dec

On the day before Thanksgiving, four “young men” (read: hoodlums) broke into a black church and did a horrendous amount of damage. Even with four of them, they must have been there for hours to do so much. They overturned pews, broke the blades on ceiling fans, spray painted Bibles, shattered toilets, pulled the book racks off the pew backs, and pulled sheetrock off the walls.

What sort of people do this? What sort of parents do these kids have? What kind of adults will they grow up to be?

Good Lord, deliver us.

Rice Bread

6 Dec

I’ve made this bread many times, and the type of rice used can make a difference in the taste. Usually I just use plain old white rice, but the last time I fixed it I used some leftover Basmati rice, which has a faintly sweet taste.

Rice Bread

This bread has an unusual texture and a slightly translucent look. The taste will depend upon the type of rice you choose.

1-1/2 cups cooked rice                   1 cup hot milk

3 tablespoons butter                      3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon milk                                approx. 4 cups flour

1 package yeast (2-1/2 teaspoon)

4 teaspoons vital gluten – optional

Pour the hot milk over the rice, shortening, sugar, and salt.  Let cool slightly and then add flour, yeast, and gluten, if you are using it. Gluten gives the bread more body, and a finer crumb.

If you are using an electric mixer, start with about half the flour, and add more gradually until you have a nice firm, easy to manage dough.  Knead until the bread feels the same way a baby’s bottom feels – soft, smooth, and a little bouncy.  Grease your mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning it over to grease both sides, and cover it with a clean dish towel. Let rise until double, maybe an hour. Punch the dough down and knead it for 2 or 3 minutes. Divide in half and place in two greased 8 x 4 pans. Cover with that clean towel and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Turn out onto racks, brush with butter, cover with a towel, and let cool slightly before slicing.

If you use a bread machine, follow the instructions for your brand, but turn the bread into pans after it rises, and bake it in the oven, instead of the machine, so it looks as if you have actually been working!

I always brush my bread with butter after I bake it, rather than before; I invariably manage to brush too hard and flatten the tops

Now, if you have a meat thermometer, let the bread bake for 30 minutes, then insert the probe and bake until the bread registers 190-F. It will be perfect. Enjoy!

One of THOSE Days

1 Dec

Sunday was The Squire’s birthday, so I treated him to lunch at the Olive Garden. I normally don’t bother with my purse when we are out together; he has the car keys and the VISA, so why should I lug it around? I had taken it with me this time, so I had my own card to pay for our dinner, but when I got home I couldn’t find my pocket book. It wasn’t on the chair where I normally keep it, and I didn’t see it when I looked in the car. I assumed I’d come out of the restaurant without it, simply because I’m not used to having it with me. We called Olive Garden and they didn’t see it, nor had it been turned in. The Squire called my phone, figuring it I’d left it someplace in the house we’d hear it, but no joy.

He finally called the bank to cancel the cards, which is a royal pain, because all of our automatic payments have to be changed, including the Pay Pal accounts. I’ve been ordering Christmas gifts online, and can’t do anything else until we get the new cards. Aaargh!

The Squire had to go over to help Mac with a computer problem, and when he got into the car to come home, he found my purse on the floor behind my seat. He was supposed to go to the grocery store but he only had $20 and my wallet contained less than $10, and of course he couldn’t pay with the card, or get money from an ATM, so he bought the most essential items – cheese and dog food.

I am working from home, and had trouble getting into some programs. A long story, but one thing I desperately needed to do was blocked. My site boss was out sick, so I had to contact a coworker, who walked me through what needed to be done, but I couldn’t make my computer do what hers was doing. Frustrating as all get out! We discovered later that I’m not cleared to access that program, so I will have to ask if that can be changed.

To make the day even lovelier, it rained hard all day. We had water running down the drive and across the carport, in spite of the drainage The Squire had worked on. A fair part of that problem was due to the leaves; I went out and cleared the drains at the top of the hill and across the end of the carport, which helped considerably. The pond was overflowing, which I have never seen before!

Normally, the water level is about six inches from the top.