Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another Holiday to Keep You Busy

(Monitor lizard at the zoo!  He is a little angry!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slicing and Dicing

(Being somewhat unable to get around I have pulled up something I wrote a while back and was never going to post.)

They came and took the teachers and all their things.
"You do not need this," they said.
Paints and chalk were placed on the cart.
"Creative thinking is for math and history."
The string instruments were locked in cabinets.
"Self-expression should be in sports or...
well, nothing else really." He said as he packed the make-up.
"We will tell you how to express yourself."
"It is not what you see in this room that is important,
It is what you hear that must be learned."
"Listen, repeat, and repeat again.
That is good."
"Don't you want to pass the test?"
"Don't you want to defend and protect the country?"
"Just fill in the blanks."
"Learning is so easy
Is it not?"
Is it supposed to be easy, I wonder.
"You do not have to add anything.
Just remember what you are taught."
"You do not need to disagree or
question or be so critical.
There is no time."
"Find a space at the end of the row."
"Do what you are told."
The classroom is so crowded.
The teacher is too busy to
attend to my individual quirks.
Science, poetry, acting and art are all too big
for my learning space now.
Sit get 30 seconds of directed attention.

Does anyone have a band aid?  (Photo was taken at the Zoo.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It has been eleven days since my careless accident.  The swelling is almost gone!  The pain, while at times unbearable if I twist a certain way,  is mostly minimal as I limp around the house.  I feel lucky that this was not as bad as it could have been at my age!

My cabin fever reached a peak yesterday and I asked hubby to take me for a ride in the country side.  Our goal was to reach the mountains which are about 2 hours away, but along the way we encountered a detour.  It seems a bridge had washed out in the last storm and the road had to be closed for repairs.  This was a major state road. I live in an area of meandering coastlines and rivers and marshes.  Some of you know this means there is rarely a straight line between two points.  This a bridge being gone means we had to detour an hour north to find another crossing.  Sometime during the long detour we decided to fore-go the mountain trip and just explore the nearby countryside and visit a few state parks in the lovely fall..

We pulled over to the side of the country road that passed beside neat Amish farms and brought out our road map to see what might be close (the Truthsayer -GPS- was in the other car).  While holding our heads bent close over the map we heard a loud tap at the window on the driver's side of the car.  We looked up and saw a women in her fifties with frizzy hair, casual clothes, and a very tired look on her face.

Hubby rolled down the window.

"Can you give us a ride up the road." she asked in a gravelly voice caused by many years of smoking.

We both looked at the 'us' and her companion was a twenty something girl dressed in a red striped shirt and too large flowing plaid pants.  She could have been wearing pajamas or a costume.  Not the type of clothes most 20-somethings would be caught dead in.  Both looked pleading and the older woman was panting as if she had already walked a long way.  We hesitated only shortly and complied.

I could smell the cigarette smoke as they entered the back seat.  The trip several miles up the road was to reach a friend's house since the woman's car was no longer working.  The woman just oozed stress and was a very sad candidate for living as she explained how her luck had run out this month.  A sister had just died of cancer, her father had just passed away and the house she inherited from him was being managed legally by another sister who had borrowed money against it and had a gambling problem.  This morning the final bad luck was a car that wouldn't start.  (Yes, I have encountered story teller shysters before, but these people did not ask for money and were able to look me straight in the eye.)

We dropped them off at a small rural house with several cars scattered around the open field.  While we felt sorry for their situation, both hubby and I felt more sorry for the young girl who followed her mother up the dirt road to the door.  Already in her short life she was trapped in poverty.  She would probably marry the first economic light that entered her life and if her luck ran out she would be just like her mother in a decade or so following the same mistakes.

These are some of the people that President Obama says live paycheck to paycheck.  They are not smart nor industrious nor understanding that they make some of their own bad luck.  But in earlier times, before this recession, I wonder if their life might not have been so harsh as they got by week to week. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Alright, already.

You asked and thus you shall little Halloween ghouls!  Sorry there isn't more black and bluesing for your blood lust.  (And, yes, the glitter toenail paint was on long before the accident.  If you look closely you will see the legs have not seen a razor in weeks!)

I managed to be on my feet for two hours this afternoon at a volunteer training session.  I am now resting up, but I am getting there little by little.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If Wishes Were...

I know he is trying to be helpful and showing concern but:

I wish he wouldn't ask me if I wanted my morning coffee and then totally forget.

I wish he wouldn't volunteer to vacuum the main floor of the house and then go downstairs to the basement and forget to shut off the vacuum....or forget to put away the long snaking cord that lies like a booby trap in front of the bathroom door. (Yes, it was due to a phone call.)

I wish he wouldn't make a simple stir fry and find it necessary to use every counter space and most of the cooking utensils in the kitchen.

I wish he would accept that dishwashers are environmentally good appliances and not wash 70% by hand and pile things in the drain until they begin to fall away.

I wish he could make it safely back to bed at three in the morning without banging into the bed, swearing, and causing me to slide up against the headboard.

I wish he wouldn't go grocery shopping and forget to bring back the one item I asked for.

I wish he would remember to finish the laundry and not just start it as I struggle to get the wet clothes out of the machine and into the dryer while balancing on one foot.

I wish he would check the mail before bringing it home and finding that no less than 5 of the envelopes were supposed to go in the box next to ours.  (I must admit that this mail snafu rarely happens.)

I wish I liked chile three times a week.

I do not have to wish that he stays in a good mood because he is the eternally happy guy no matter what he must face.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Using What Works

Such a lucky lady I am. I am healing and I can actually feel and see the difference each day. I was religious the first 48 hours in applying the ice at intervals. I stayed off my foot as much as possible and elevated it. Today, 4 days later, I find I no longer need the hiking poles to walk around the house although I limp like a broken wheel across the floor.  There is not much pain if I am careful in how I move.

I must get better sooner rather than later as this morning when my husband heard me hobbling from the bathroom he asked if I was ready for coffee.  I called back in the affirmative as I settled back into the bed, and then 45 minutes later when no coffee smells were even wafting from the front of the house, I hobbled into the kitchen to see if could start something of my own.  He looked up from his book startled and said "Oh, gosh, I forgot.  I am in the middle of a major Civil War battle!  The Battle of Gettysburg."  This nursemaid thing is clearly NOT HIS thing.

Being a semi-invalid does erupt a smack against the head to remind one of how very, very, lucky they are!  The ability to use both eyes, both ears, both hands, both feet.  What a luxury of life!   But being able to adjust, to accept the pain, the compromise in activity, the slow down and to be willing to be patient about the support of others is also an important lesson.  I consciously made an effort to find joy in whatever small things this slow down forced me to notice.  The dance of the afternoon light across the bedspread and through the trees outside, the sound of the wind, the quiet of a well-loved house, the distant activities of a partner, and the taste and smell of food.  All of these I tried to be consciously thankful for to distract me from the impatience.  I am a perfectionist and in old age I have tried to temper that character flaw aspect with a more compromising attitude.  It doesn't always work...but for these 4 days it has.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cherry-Picken' Pain!

My mother, when she was a few years younger than I am now, was home alone most of the time since my father continued to work waiting for full social security.  He usually worked about 60 miles away from the farm.  One autumn my mother was in the process of picking cherries from our three cherry trees out back by the chicken shed.  She got a bee in her bonnet that using the ladder was not getting her high enough.  (What she was doing on a ladder on uneven ground all by herself at her age makes me shake my head?!)  Anyway her attempt to climb higher in the tree to reach the last of that red ripe fruit resulted in her taking a nasty fall.  She broke the heel of her foot upon landing, and nothing else thank goodness, and had to drag herself about 80 feet across the mowed field, over a dry irrigation ditch and over the gravel driveway into the house and eventually to the phone!  I remember her telling me this story, but I was not as impressed as I should have been at the time.  (What a little twit I was.)  I also remember her complaining at how her other remaining children, all living close but elsewhere with full-time jobs, didn't help her much.  I am sure they did as much as they could with their busy lives.  My mother also loved playing the martyr.

This incident came back to me while I was lying in bed this morning greeting a new day.

Yesterday, my husband and I using a much too small dolly were attempting to move one of those huge old fashioned television sets from the garage to the attic storage in the closet of the guest bedroom.  This old TV belongs to my son who had left it at our house along with a small collection of other furniture since he was moving into his girlfriend's tiny house a few weeks ago. Husband was above pulling the dolly and I was below holding the TV against it.  We had just reached the top step of the stairs which has a larger lip when the television flipped off the dolly platform knocking me down a few steps and then landing on my foot and lower leg mashing them against the steps as I fell back.  I held my ground fearing I might fall all the way down the stairs as this appliance rolled over me.  I managed, although in the early waves of pain. to drag my foot out from under the TV and to put the back of my shoulder against the set and scoot slowly down the stairs allowing the TV to follow against my shoulder.

Hubby could not help because he was at the top behind the dolly and it happened too fast for him to attempt anything.  I reached the bottom step and move away while the television slid to the floor taking a piece of the skin off my forearm as it did so.

I managed to limp to the nearby couch before the shock set in.  Eventually I felt waves of nausea and waves of pain and found myself involuntarily hyperventilating, until my body finally adjusted to what had happened.  After several hours of ice-on and ice-off and two Aleve, I had decided that I had not broken anything because the pain was bearable.  I was also very lucky in that I spend time, after lifting leg weights two or three times a week, stretching all of my joints including my ankles to keep me as flexible as possible.  That has given me some good resilience and bone mass.  We have talked to our doctor friend and all agree an x-ray is not necessary as my pain is easing and I can put some light weight on the foot.

Yes, we were idiots trying to get that 80 pound monstrosity up the stairs. I had told my son to just leave it in the garage since I hadn't decided where to store it, another mistake!   My husband had his adrenaline kick in and actually lifted the set and carried it upstairs by himself shortly after!  Probably another mistake but I was too busy trying to bear waves of pain to protest.

Since it was going to continue to be my lucky day, within 30 minutes the TV news stations were warning of tornadoes and major storms moving into our area and showing a lovely home missing its roof just about 200 miles to the south of us.  No way I was moving to the basement!  Luckily the storm missed us.

This morning my left ankle is now twice the size of my right ankle, but the religious application of ice every 20 minutes today, should continue to help keep the swelling at bay.  I am told that the swelling caused by fluids causes the majority of the pain.  The ankle does not appear black and blue which means little blood loss inside, another plus.

Lots of time to write a long post on this laptop but no way to search for an appropriate accompanying photo as they are on the other PC.  Of course, today the sun is brilliant and the angles are perfect for some photography.  Wouldn't you know it?  Then again, I could take a photo of my ankle....Nah!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday 13 # 35 - More Free Advice - via Definitions (!)

Yes, I have changed the mask of my blog. (Don't you love the jig this bird is doing?)  Hope you like it.
  1. Photography.  When photographers say the camera used does not matter, that is 50% true.  A good capture can be made with a cheap point and shoot camera...but a good lens means you have a much better chance of getting that capture closer to what your eye is seeing.
  2. Gold.  There is a BIG difference between buying actual gold as a investment and gold stocks.  Do your research or you will be out a good chunk of money down the road.  (Same advice for reverse mortgages that seems to be promoted this year on every single channel.)
  3. Loneliness.  Most people are "people who need people" as Ms. Streisand has sung.  But many creative souls are perfectly happy being alone and we should understand and respect that.
  4. Parenting.  When you are feeling critical of how your parents reacted to you at some time in your life, just put your child in that same place and think how you would/did react.  (Of course, if you don't have kids, you may have to manipulate this a little for the lesson.)
  5. Losing Weight.  The only thing that works, and it is not guaranteed to work exactly as you hope,  is eating less and moving around more.  Just because you don't end up looking like (insert fav skinny/ripped celebrity name here) doesn't mean you aren't getting so much healthier and happier.
  6. Compromise.  In our complex world compromise is essential in moving forward, whether you are an environmentalist, a tea party protestor, a politician or a parent.  "My way or the highway" only works in Hollywood Westerns.
  7. Pets.  These little organic entities have been proven to enhance, purify, save, and add fun to a life.  If you are allergic you should adopt an animal at a preserve as a remote pet and it will indeed improve your life and help save the world.
  8. Trust.  You should trust everyone in the beginning.  Yes, you will get blindsided once in a while, but you will be rewarded more often with justification for that trust.  (This is why I am so against the political fear drum that is being beaten to death every day.)
  9. Gift Giving.  The best ( and least expensive) gift you can give anyone is time.  Time that gives someone a break to be with someone else, or be with you and your effervescent personality, or just time for them to take a nap!
  10. Moments.  You must try each day to grab some of these and stop and breathe and really look at them closely using every single sense you have.  Surprised?
  11. Religion.  Everyone has one even if they say they don't.  Something is your motivator each day.  People believe in something, even if it is their own powerlessness.  Only you can change your religion, others cannot.
  12. Cantaloupe.  A poisonous and deadly fruit.
  13. Keys to Happiness.  A sense of loving one's self and not giving up...ever...except on those battles that will not win the war,   What war?  The one that fights for you to live your life and not some other person's.
(I searched 'advice' on my blog and came up with 100 entries.  I am the most obnoxious and ego-inflated person I know!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My apologies to the strict and effective writers on my recent sloppy post where I tossed  "person"  or point of view back and forth like a football.   I was just being out to lunch, I guess.  Thanks for wading through the post!!  I will try to be better.  I promise.  Please continue to drop by.  If you didn't notice which post was so sloppy then you are my BEST reader!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Three Day Weekend

What do you do on a three day weekend?  Plan a BBQ with friends?  Take in dinner and movie with your love?  Sleep?  Finish most of the stuff on that to-do list?  Chauffeur children hither and yon to their well-programmed activities?  Hit the outlet mall and spend a small fortune?  Volunteer at the fair?  Finish reading that best seller and watch fall creep in?

Well, Tabor is going into the city.  She will probably not shop nor visit the museums, although both of those might be fun activities since Tabor lives in the remote rural woods.  She will pick up her jet-lagged husband from the airport and take him to her empty daughter's empty house (they are visiting friends), and watch him fight the sleep genie for hours before he becomes a mummy in the guest bedroom not to be heard from for hours.  She will get him up around dinner and have him take her out to a nearby restaurant and she will listen to him tell her how successful the trip was.

That night he will be restless and by morning they will both try to plan some activity for the early part of the Sunday knowing full well that jet-lag will rear its sleepy head by early afternoon once again.  Tabor will then heat her homemade chili and cornbread and wait for her children and grandchildren to return to their house and enjoy having them, if only briefly, all together for dinner.

The following Monday holiday she will be babysitting all three little ones...a mind boggling, exhausting challenge as the littlest one now CRAWLS!  Hubby will pretend he is helping.  Then late in the day after the grandchildren's parents arrive home from work she and hubby will escape to the house in the woods and let them worry about their own dinner for a change.

What did you say you will be doing?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ten+ Things I Learned

Vacations are learning experiences.

I learned that lighting, thunder, and hail will still turn me back from a high mountain hike to reach a silver lake even if I did see a moose dart into the distant underbrush.

I learned that salami, crackers and fresh fruit are wonderful when eaten in the fresh air and beside a rushing river.

I learned that the desert blooms year round in spite of its sparse reputation.

I learned that petroglyphs and pictographs are EVERYWHERE.  Early native Americans lived a pleasant life in this desert with lots of time for art.

I learned that booking a B&B might not mean what you think it means.  Ours was a re-modeled church in a small mining town and the breakfast was a serve-yourself across the street at the sister motel!

I learned that removing mud from vehicles can be a big business in a land with "off-roads" and lots of mining equipment.

I was reminded how dangerous floods are in the desert as we encountered several washed out roads.

I learned that getting a glass of wine or the odd margarita is harder than buffalo hunting in New York City.  This is Mormon country and, as one waitress said, "Getting a liquor license out here is impossible!"

I learned that the best enchilada and the best Margarita can be found way out in the desert at the Cafe Diablo in Torrey, Utah.

I learned that when the restaurant(s) say(s) the meal comes with scones...these are fresh and delicious products, but they are NOT scones.  They are what the rest of the world world calls a hole-less doughnut.

I learned that I am not too old to learn something new.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Surprise

Upon my return from my 2.5 week sojourn I re-entered my domain with new energies and new eyes.  I saw that my windows truly needed some serious cleaning.  I have LOTS of windows, so this is no idle undertaking.  I started with the kitchen and living area since these are the ones with the views of the woods and water that I use the most.  Three glass doors and 11 windows of casement or sash!  (I have 27 windows or glass doors on the first floor alone and this is why, to date, I have not hired anyone to wash them.  I struggle through on my own spring and fall.  The sash ones tilt out and are very heavy, so my history of doing this on my own will reach a point in time where I have to ask for help.)

I looked up window cleaning solutions on the Internet, got a spray bottle, rags, paper towels and got busy.  I put something on the big screen TV to keep me from going insane with the 'wash on-wash off' nature of things.  Three hours later I had finished that part of the house.  As I went to close the last casement window above the kitchen sink, it refused to shut completely.  I tried opening and closing and after a few minutes I got up on a stool and saw that the cross hinge at the bottom was not attached to the window.  I worked for another 30 minutes trying to understand its dyslexia and even used some WD-40, but could not get it attached.  Another session of huge rains was starting, so I climbed down off the kitchen counter after closing the window as much as possible. 

That next morning I perused the yellow pages, the Internet, and Angie's list and found that my area is so nice and rural that window repair companies are less than a handful.  I picked the first and called at 8:30 AM.

"Hello?"  (He sounded like I had gotten him out of bed.)

" you repair window hinges?"

(short pause)...."yeah."

"I have an Eagle casement window that will not close."

"Um...where do you live?"

I gave him my address and he perked up a little.  "Oh good, that is just a mile from where I live.  I could get there in about an hour."

My antennae are already vibrating.  (An hour...does he not have any business  today?  He is so lazy he only works a mile from home?  He doesn't even identify his company when he answers the phone!)

He was intelligent enough to ask for my address before he hung up.

Well, he did finally arrive after about THREE hours knocking loudly instead of using the doorbell.  He was a 50 something overweight fellow accompanied by another young 30 something man with long hair who looked a lot like Colin Farrell.  Both were dressed casually, but at least clean and pleasant in demeanor.

"Do I have to take off my shoes?"  he asked standing in the doorway.

Tabor who has the spine of a worm looked at his heavy construction boots and said "Only if they are really dirty?" I really need to buy some hospital shoe covers.

She directed both of them to the kitchen and they began to test how my windows open and close.  As they proceeded, the older man asked the younger if he had a small screwdriver and the young man replied that it was in the van.  I provided a screwdriver from my took kit to avoid them tracking more dirt in and out of my house.  They also needed some wood glue, a small finishing nail and some pieces of wood...which I again provided from my handy took box which I had now placed on the kitchen counter.

They studied the identical working window beside the broken one and within minutes they had completed the repairs.  The younger man went out to the truck to get something and the older man turned to me and smiled and shrugged his shoulders sheepishly with his hands in the air.  "Well," he began, "Don't know what to charge you...Why don't you just give that young man something?"

That left me a little speechless.  I was expecting an invoice and a minimum of a $50 visit charge. 

I smiled  with a little guilt and took $20 (all the large cash I had left out of my wallet after my recent trip) and gave it to them. 

So now I guess I really do live in Mayberry or Our Town.