Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why Me?

I know I am the one who is always says that Americans are spoiled. We have too many choices when we shop. I just came from the grocery store where I counted about four different brands of green beans on the shelf, each brand offering 3 or more cuts, preparations, etc. When you have lived in a country where you are lucky to find one can of green beans on the shelf, you become very aware of how much over abundance we are surrounded with.

Having said that, I am asking why me? First it was the Playtex bra that I have worn for years, discontinued. Replaced they said by something better (read more expensive). It was not better, it was unwearable. If I had wanted to wear a suit of armor I would have purchased one. It did not fit in the size I have been wearing, or in any other size I tried.

Then, the Eau de toilette I have been wearing for a number of years, a classic fragrance from Floris of London called Malmaison, was discontinued.

Now, the Purina cat food that Bella and Fred love and thrive on has been discontinued. Replaced by something similar (read more expensive) but not the same. Fortunately there was one bag of the old food left on the shelf, so I now have to wean them from that on to another one--not a Purina brand. They have lost me.

What next? I'm afraid to even consider the question closely.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Score one for Readers

Several weeks ago, the Ark Democrat-Gazette in a cost-cutting move discontinued the "Books" Section of the Sunday paper. This was a two page section printed as part of the "Travel" section.

In today's paper I happily noted that "Books" is back, although only one page. At least it contained the Best Seller List, and three articles about writers/books. I can only assume this was brought about by others in addition to myself complaining.

I think this was a case of a newspaper staff that doesn't really understand its readers. It probably never occurred to them that there would be an outcry over the loss of this section as long as they left the "Sports" pages alone.

Just as a side note, today's sports section was 14 pages. That says way more than I like about the priorities of the people of this state.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Serious Claw Snag

We had a serious occurrence yesterday evening. I have the blinds in the two small windows in my sitting room pulled all the way to the top with the cords tucked up around the top of each one. One of the windows has a cat perch in it so Bella and Fred can sit in comfort and watch the wildlife in the back yard.

Late yesterday afternoon, Bella evidently worried the cord loose and was playing with it, I was not watching so don't know exactly what happened. The next thing I knew she was screaming at the top of her lungs, amazing how loud such a small kitty can be, and she was swinging around on the cord caught by what I think was one of her dew claws. I grabbed a throw off the chair and tried to catch her but she was in such pain and so panicked that she was snarling and hissing at him in between screams. I finally got my hand under her enough to take the stress off the claw and it came loose.

She left the room and it was about 15 minutes before I could find her. She was behind the living room couch with just her head sticking out. She hissed when I even came close. Fred, being a pretty smart boy, got under my bed and stayed there all the time this was going on.

Since I saw no blood anywhere, just puddles where she had lost control of her bladder, I cleaned everything up and left her alone. A couple of hours later she came out, but would not let me touch her.

She did come to bed with last night and today seems fine, although she will not let me touch her paws. I imagine at least one of them is sore.

I don't know if it the after effects of the trauma, or what, but she has not been on Fred's case today so that is the silver lining in that cloud.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whinges of a Couch Potato

At my last doctor's visit, she ordered a fasting glucose, along with other blood work. Everything else was fine, but my glucose test was not. It was in the pre-diabetic range, although not far. She told me I could head off a lot of trouble by losing some weight, and she wanted me to meet with the clinic's dietitian to "adjust my diet."

I made an appointment and last Monday I met with Julie, a young women with a toothpick body. I will give her this, she was not the least bit judgmental and took as the truth my statement to her that I understood about carbs and fats and proteins, and pointed out that I had dropped my total cholesterol numbers 30 points in a year by watching what I ate.

I told her that I was pretty much eating the right things, but that portion control was my problem. I also explained how much I hate to exercise.

Her comment on that was that you needed to find something you enjoyed for exercise. She obviously did not get the point, there is no exercise under the sun (or water for that matter) that I enjoy. I can tolerate some things, I like walking in my neighborhood particularly in the spring when things are beginning to bloom, but that is no longer an option because if I walk more than two days in a row, my feet hurt.

I find exercise of any sort boring. That is the bottom line. If I can get into a good book on my MP3 player I can stay on the elliptical machine on my sun porch for 10 minutes, but only by taping over the timer on the console and setting the kitchen timer to keep from watching the numbers creep up.

This is genetic I am certain. My mother did not like exercise. She was and I am a sedentary, book reading, couch potato.

If anyone has a solution to this, I would love to have it, because I have to lose 5 pounds by April 24 and another 5 by May 22.

I have the food part of it in place, just need to boost the energy expenditure. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Job finished!

Well, I finished my medical directory job today. I printed the final pages abot 2:30 and have been saving and backing up data and word processing files to be on the safe side.

It seemed to go faster this year and I am assuming that is because I have been doing this so many years that I have pretty much figured out the best way to to it all.

But I think also for the first time in many years, I did it with nothing else hanging over me. Knowing that this job was all I had to do (read worry about!) made it go much faster. Even the fact that I have a new computer and a new printer, and I ended up having to print each page of the copy separately because I kept getting line spaces and hard column codes inserted in strange places. So I would get each page right and then print it before going on to the next one. A little slow but easier than trying to print it over and over, wasting expensive laser paper and toner.

I have been escorted every key stroke by my roommates, Bella and Fred. This afternoon it was almost like Fred knew it was over, because I caught this picture just now (his favoriate sleeping position).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

17th Century Nun's Prayer

Lord you know better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out every body's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but You know Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details, give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pain, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint, some of them are so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good in unexpected places, talents in unexpected people, and give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

I need to pray this daily!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


We have a program here in the Arkasnas Diocese of the Episcopal Church called Seadworks that explores personal spirituality through dreams. I have never been much of a believer in the work this group does, although I know that many people benefit greatly from it.

I do think that our subconscious speaks to us through our dreams and that if we understand what they mean we can get new insights about ourselves.

I dreamed last night of Mother and Daddy, together, for the first time. Although the edges of the dream became vague after I woke up, the main part of it remains clear in my mind. They were in a small cottage furnished with a bed and two comfortable chairs. Mother was cooking something on a camp stove and Daddy was working on a balkly window shade. I was there and they were discussing arrangements for an air mattress for me to sleep on.

That is what I remember now in the light of day. Very mundane things, but so typical of their life. My subconscious reminding me they are together and happy?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Redheaded Females

I imagine everyone knows that Elizabeth I was a red head, but did you know that Cleopatra had red hair, and my favorite poet, Emily Dickinson was also red headed. I have red heads in my more immediate life, the niece to whom I am "tamsaunt" is a red head, with a gene from her grandfather, my dad.
But the red headed female with which I am most intimately involved is Bella, the cat
Red heads are characterized in stereotype as being fiery tempered and Bella certainly fits that description. When held down for a pedicure or immunization she hisses and spits with vehemence. But when released she will lick the hand that held her, so she doesn’t hold a grudge.
But nowhere does her redheadedness show more than with Fred, the new guy on the block. Fred is a pretty laid back guy, and since he was used to being with older cats he accepts her dominance–mostly. But when she has picked just a little too much, he will stand his ground, rearing up on his hindquarters and fending her off with his front paws. When things get too tense, he comes and sits on my lap and lets me do the fending off.
There are days when I despair of ever having real harmony in the house again, and then we will have two or three days when she seems to be accepting him.. I take hope in those days, but yesterday was not one of them! So, here’s to redheads everwhere.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gobsmacked by the cold!

For those of you who do not know the meaning of "Gobsmacked" it’s something that leaves you speechless, or otherwise stops you dead in your tracks. While I wasn't exactly speechless, I was certainly dead in my tracks yesterday when the midday temperature barely made it to 24F degrees.

I am like a lizard when it comes to cold weather, my body just shuts down and concentrates on trying to survive. I had a lot of work I had planned to do yesterday on my medical society project, but my hands were so cold I couldn't control the mouse on my computer, let alone type with any accuracy, so wrapped in many layers of sweaters, long johns, shawls, plush throws and two live hot water bottles named Bella and Fred, I sat in my comfy chair and read all day long. Thanks be for my Kindle, because I read 2 1/2 books on it with only one finger exposed to press the page forward button!

I have aways been a hot house plant. My first tour in the Foreign Service was in Korea. I arrived there in February on a bright sunny day and was hit with 18 degree weather at noon. I had experienced some cold weather in the four previous years in Washington DC but I was not prepared either emotionally or wardrobely (sic) for long days of very cold weather.

I tried to avoid cold places after that with pretty good success although I did spend a winter in London that was called the coldest winter since 1947 when we had frozen snow and ice on the streets over over two weeks. But other than that I spent most of my career in places with wonderfully mild to warm weather, i.e., Nigeria, Taiwan, Damascus, Colombia, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

The good news about yesterday's weather is that sometime during the night the winds switched to the south and it started getting warmer. It was 34 degrees when I got up this morning and we are forecast to have a high today in the high 50s, something I can live with.

So out of hibernation and back to work today.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A new look for the New Year

I liked what JB did to her blog so I got inspired to do something new with mine. The picture of clouds is one I took this summer in England. We saw oil sketches by Constable at the Victoria and Albert museum while in London and then one day when I was out walking in the country around our hotel I took this picture which looks very much like one of the cloud formations in the paintings.

When I got back I got a copy of one of the oil sketches and have it hanging where I see it every day.

I have a new key board, really a new computer also (a Christmas present) and I am having a very hard time getting used to it. Those of us who learned to type on a manual typewriter have trouble with computer keyboards anyway. The one that came with the computer was impossible so I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse, giving up my beloved trackball mouse in the process.

Fred had a little adventure yesterday--a tiny one. I was bringing things in the house and thought the front door was pulled shut--it wasn't. When I got back with the next load, he was sitting on the front porch. Bella was sitting just inside the door watching him. I didn't make a big deal, I just pushed the door wide open and started in and he came in behind me. Then I got scared, because he doesn't wear a collar and if he gets out he could end up in the pound!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well 2008 is over and we have started on 2009. Christmas was subdued, my mother's older sister died Dec 19 and we had the funeral on the 22nd. Since Mother died just a year earlier, it brought back some of that sadness also. We have informed their surviving sibling, my aunt Mackie, that under no circumstances may she die in December.

I closed the books for the Bookstore in the black, not much but enough to guarantee we continue for at least another year. We are a non-profit but you do have to have operating funds.

Fred is settling in well

and Bella has found a new place to nap:

Since I am going to need that mail tray in a couple of days I hope she gets tired of it!