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Always Read the Directions!

25 Jul

My weight had always been pretty steady – I weight 132 when we got married, and 140 when we celebrated our 25th anniversary – but several years ago, I suddenly started gaining. Ten, twenty, thirty pounds, and then forty! And we had not changed our eating habits at all. Gack! In fact, I was very, very careful stay below 1,200 calories a day, but the scale just didn’t budge.

To top it off, my blood pressure also climbed, but I simply put that down to my excess avoir du pois. My dad’s death was attributable to to hypertension, so this really, really concerned me. My GP put me on medication, but again it didn’t seem to make much difference.

A week ago, I had to look up the one medication both The Squire and I take, and discovered the side effects can include both weigh gain and high blood pressure. All those papers I had gotten from the druggist had simply been tossed into the recycling bin with my ever even glancing at them. As a shirttail member of the medical profession, I, of all people should have know better!

I betook myself to the store and asked the pharmacist if he had a spare copy of the handout for this med, and by the way, how long have I been taking it?

So now I am on a different pill, and hoping that I can drop a few pounds, now that my body is not fighting back. The Squire? He hasn’t had a bit of trouble. No particular weight gain and his B/P is still 171/20.

The fink.

Mutter, Mutter

18 Jul

This morning I heard a strange whirring/clicking sound when I went out to fill the birdfeeders. I figured is was some sort of “critter” so I walked very slowly around the corner of the house to investigate.

The heron was crouching by the side of the pond, either talking to himself, or channeling his inner “fish whisperer”.

When he saw me, he rose to his full height and stalked off across the yard to flap down into the stream. He continued to stare at me over the edge of the bank, so I finished my chores and went back inside. I watched from the bedroom window as he came back up and returned to his place at the water’s edge.

The Newest Resident

12 Jul

Mind you, it’s pretty near impossible to tell one Great Blue Heron from another, but for the last week we have a what seems to be a youngish bird hanging around the yard.

I’ve startled the poor creature several times – and been startled in return – but the last few days I’ve tried to remember to walk slowly when I go out to feed the fish in the evening, and he (?) will flap away a few feet and stay a while. I try to position myself so the line of sight is blocked by a bush, and last night he hung around until I moved again, but even then he only flew down into the stream and “crouched”. He’ll never be anything close to “tame” but somehow he senses that we mean him no harm.

This morning, he was in the driveway and Eddie decided to stalk him. The idiot cat will not bother squirrels or birds, but he’ll practice his skills on a five-foot heron! I took this photo through the living room window, after New Blue decamped to the pond.

Count Your Blessings

28 Jun

As I was leaving Aldi’s this morning, I asked an elderly couple if they would like to have my cart. The lady smiled and replied that they “couldn’t use it.”

She was bent almost double over a walker – the sort that has a basket on the front – and he was blind, holding a white cane in one hand, and his other hand resting on her shoulder.

For richer, for poorer, and in sickness and in health.

And may God bless and keep them both.

Shakespeare on the Rocks

27 Jun

I have just finished reading an absolutely fabulous book entitled Shakespeare Saved My Life. The book was written by Dr. Laura Bates, who is a Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer, about the ten years she spent visiting an Indiana prison, teaching Shakespeare to the inmates there.

This may seem to be an odd calling, but it enriched both Dr. Bates’ life and the prisoners with whom she worked. The play she chose for her initial sessions was King Richard the Second, particularly his soliloquy when he is, himself, in solitary confinement, how he peoples his cell with people he has known, places he has been, not talking to himself, but to “other people” trying to make sense of his life, and how he came to be in this predicament. The prisoners ate this up, working through the odd words, but gaining a new understanding of themselves, and eventually putting on plays where they has rewritten the Bard into modern English and modern situations.

The most enthusiastic and motivated – and motivating – of her students is a man named Larry Newsome, who was convicted of murder at the age of 17, and spent ten years – ten years! – in solitary confinement. In other circumstances, he would have been a college professor himself, but . . .

Well, read the book and find out. I promise it is a wonderful read. You will enjoy it.

Adventures at the DMV

24 Jun

My driver’s license expired some time ago, but when I went up to renew it I was turned away with the explanation that it was good until the governor lifted the Emergency Order. I got an email a couple of weeks ago with a vision test form to be completed by my doctor, and requesting me to make an appointment, which I did. Tuesday morning I presented my self and my vision form to the proper authorities, and was informed that I had an insurance violation that needed to be handled immediately. Oh. Dear.

To make a long story short, I bought a “new” Nissan around the first of the month, and we were so worried about my not driving an uninsured vehicle that we switched the policy from the old car to the new one. The tricky part was, I still owned the old car; the dealer wanted to give me $100 trade in, so we sold it ourselves almost two weeks later.

Two weeks with an uninsured car equals a $150 fine. Oy!

The problem started because I have a really easy tag number and I want to keep it. Maryland has issued new tags, with just a scramble of numbers and letters, with apparently no rhyme or reason. So – the nice lady told me to hang on to my old tags and when the new ones arrive bring them, along with all of my paper work, to the DMV and they should be able to make the switch.

That Blasted Cat!

21 Jun

For as long as we’ve had him, Eddie has simply refused to go into the back room via the cat flap. We know he does it at night, because his bowl is empty in the morning. He is willing to come out during the day, but he just won’t go in.

This morning he came into the kitchen and crouched down to use the flap. I was standing just out of his line of vision; I could see him, but he didn’t see me.

I must have moved or something, because he glanced over his shoulder, saw me standing there, and immediately sat back down and meowed. I leaned over, and he moved back a smidge, expecting me to open the door for him. Instead, I grabbed him and shoved him head-first through the door.

My mama didn’t raise me to be a doorman for a cat!

See Anybody You Know?

21 Jun

One of my many failings is that I have no Sense of Serious. Some people have no sense of humor, but everything in my life gets turned into a joke.

Drop a scalpel on my foot? Pfft. Get bitten by a snake? Giggle. (It was a black snake, non-venomous) I was being loaded into an ambulance and one of the EMTS told me that he and his wife would love to have a place like ours. “Let me know if you ever decide to sell.” I grinned at him and told him to at least wait until the body was cold. Poor kid was mortified. Have a near-fatal reaction to a prescription? I made a joke about that, too.

So – while I was working at the local hospital, I discovered the pharmacy had some leeches. Leeches are still used in medicine, mostly in reattaching severed body parts, but they were a cure-all in the 1700s, which is the time period I teach. I figured I’d get a couple of pictures to enlarge and show my students, so I waltzed into their office, and when they showed me the jug (they were in a gallon jug in the fridge) I reached in and grabbed one. I handed my cell phone to one of the girls, placed the leech on the back of my hand, and asked her to take a couple photos.

We had to wait for the poor creature to warm up to body temp, and when it flattened itself out, then arched its neck to set to work, she got several shots. Leeches have three jaws, and the scar resembles a Mercedes-Benz logo. Not being all that status conscious, I quickly removed the little beast. My hand was already over the jar when the supervisor popped up to ask what on earth I was doing. (That wasn’t exactly how she phrased it.) As I released the leech and watched it drop to the bottom of the jar, she reminded me that they were stored in sterile water – which I had just destroyed. Ack! She asked me if I knew which one if was, but by this time it had curled up and was lost among its brethren.

“I really didn’t get a good look at his face”, I replied. However, I did get a good look at her face, and decided to beat a tactical retreat.

Thanks to Gary Delainey and Gerry Rasmussen for reminding me.

Conspicuous Consumption

16 Jun

On Monday, I ordered three rolls of the Lemon paper for the kitchen. Today, we received two large boxes from Target

Inside these two HUGE boxes were three rolls of paper – two in one box and one in the other. Will somebody ‘splain this to me?

And So It Goes . . .

15 Jun

We had to remove the curtains when we papered the kitchen, so I spent a fair part of today washing windows, which will probably make it rain tomorrow. I ordered yellow valances from Target at the same time I ordered the rest of the wall paper.

The Squire removed the inside of the dishwasher door and wiggled a few wires, but couldn’t find anything that would explain why the machine wouldn’t work. It’s an older model, and the Maytag help line wasn’t much help, so he pulled the entire machine out from under the counter, tapped and prodded, and then I helped him get it back in place. He slammed the door – and it started running! Not one to waste water and power, I opened the door and loaded the breakfast dishes.


Considering the perverseness of inanimate objects, it will begin to work perfectly ten minutes after we order a non-refundable part from Maytag.