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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Missed Photo-Op

How I wish I had had a camera this morning.


First some background. Every morning, I feed the cats then read my e-mail and blogs. Then it's time to shower. Usually Crash and Burn are hovering around me, but today was different. Only Crash was around and I wondered where Burnie went. He wasn't napping in any of his usual spots.


Instead of making my bed, I decided to change my sheets today, so I emptied the pillow cases and just tore my quilt from my bed. There, all comfy under the quilt was Burnie. He woke up, shook his head in disbelief and wonder. His look said, "What happened" and then, "How dare you disturb my sleep". After I took the sheets off, I picked him up, put him back on the bed and covered him with the quilt and he happily went back to sleep.


I shouldn't have been too surprised that he was there. I often go into one of the bedrooms and see a lump on the bed. Burnie loves to climb up under the covers and nap for hours and hours. But I thought he only liked neatly made beds.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Right to Bear Children?

Have you heard about the octoplets? When I first heard, I was excited for the parents. Now, not so much.

I truly believe that anyone who wants children has a right to have those children. But not in this case. You can read the full article here http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28927339/ (I still can't link). This woman, a single mother living with her parents already has six children.

I would never suggest that she should have aborted any of the babies, they should never have been conceived in the first place. Who is supporting her first six children, who will support these eight?

I know this is a controversial stand, but in my opinion, the embryos or fertility drugs should not be available to single women, much less to single mothers of six. Her mother said she is fairly young, possibly she was influenced by some TV shows about large families and wasn't aware that these families have the maturity and means to raise such a large family.

Taxpayers of California get ready to support a single mother of 14 or more in the coming years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weatherman Strikes Again

Yesterday I received a weather warning stating that my area was about receive a severe storm. We could expect snow, followed by rain and sleet and falling temperatures. Since I had no major plans for the day I wasn't too concerned.

This morning when I woke up, I heard the snowplow and realized the weatherman was right. Then I looked out the window. There was a lot of snow on the lawn and about an inch on the walkway. Then it started raining. Then the temperature started rising to 47 degrees. It got very foggy and it's been raining off and on all day. The temperature is now 39 degrees and may drop to 27. So much for the severe storm.

The weatherman was wrong again and I was so looking forward to some snow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stimulus Bill

I've been hearing a lot about the new stimulus bill before congress. If I understand the reports I have heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, some money will be released this year, a little more in 2010, more in 2011 and the bulk in 2012. Has no one made the connection that most of the money will be released in an election year? Coincidence, I think not.



I don't see how releasing the money in 2012 will help the economy now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Night Out

Last night we had a performance at our clubhouse by Johnny T. He is billed as the man of many voices. He sings in the style of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc. At first we weren't sure whether he was really singing or lip-syncing. I'm still not sure. In any event, he was very talented.

He also did salutes to The Temptations, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Valli, Dion and the Belmonts, Elvis, Paul Anka and one of my favorites Bobby Darin. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane, including my sitting on the sidelines while the couples danced. The only difference was that there were a few of us singles sitting there this time. I wish we had been warned about the dancing. It didn't bother me too much, I'm used to sitting out a dance, but some of my friends were used to dancing with their husbands and it brought back too many memories for them.

I decided to bring a bottle of wine. So it seemed did everyone else. For a table of 10, we had about five bottles of wine, some soda. And the snacks. We had nuts, chips, dip, crackers and a new snack that I had never had - potato and corn baked. It looked a lot like cheese doodles and was delicious. There was a good variety of wine and snacks. We certainly had enough to eat.

It was a great night and I particularly enjoyed listening to my old music.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Burn

As promised, I'm giving Burn almost equal time. But first I have to tell you something about him. Almost every morning he wakes me up around 6:00, I guess he's hungry. I wouldn't mind if he just meowed, but no, he has to tap me. The problem is that he doesn't control his claws very well and he winds up poking me in the face with his claws. Sometimes he even tries to comb my hair.

This morning was the worst. There I was peacefully enjoying an early Saturday morning when he jumped onto the bed and then onto me, then onto my head. I tried ignoring him, but it was very difficult, especially with what felt like a 50 lb. cat (I know he doesn't weigh that much, but it felt like it) on my head.

Of course, I did get up and feed him and he was very happy. Naturally, getting me up and eating breakfast is very tiring, so he had to take his morning nap. This is how he usually sleeps.

I guess I woke him up, but he is still very relaxed. Now if only he'd let me relax too.


I don't know how he can bend like that.
They can be difficult, but they are a lot of fun.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crash

I was going through my pictures the other day and found these shots of Crash. She was doing a good job of trying to ignore me.



I don't think she was too pleased with my disturbing her with the camera.



Finally she turned around and I got a good look at her face.


After tonight, I'm sure Burn will want equal time, so I'll have to find some good pictures of him for tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Talented Friends

Today I learned that a friend of mine from grammar school has written a book. It's basically autobiographical about her family's adoption of two hard to place children aptly entitled Hard to Place.

I knew that she had adopted two children, but I had assumed they were babies when she chose them. She and her husband had three biological children when they made the decision to add to their family. She's a lovely woman and I'm not surprised that she opened her home to two more children.

I immediately ordered a copy and now I can't wait until it is delivered. All my other reading will be abandoned and I will devour this book. I'll let you all know how much I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Have I Done

Have you ever volunteered to do something and then thought, "What have I done".

I'm a member of the staff of our community newspaper, I cover the Singles' Club and Travel Group activities and the occasional article on a day trip. Last month, they mentioned that they needed a food editor. I volunteered to do one column as editor and went home and checked out several recipes for weight control. Then I added my recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I enjoyed the research so much that I volunteered to become permanent Food Editor.

Today I learned that I am the new Food Editor. I'm sure I'll enjoy it. In my mind and fantasy I'm going to be great, I'm not sure about the reality. I'm the person who took cooking lessons and finally learned some knife skills when I was in my late fifties. Before that I was a wow with a can opener.

Since then I've learned to use my imagination when cooking, but when baking follow a recipe religiously. I've developed a lot of confidence. Let's hope it translates into an interesting and successful column.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inauguration

Do you know what tomorrow is? With all the hoopla over the coronation/inauguration the most important person has been ignored. He is the one whose actions made the day possible. Without him no one would have even heard of Barak Obama.


I guess a non-violent crusade that made it possible for a large percentage of the population to enjoy the same rights as others is easily forgotten. I have not noticed any mention of him this weekend. There have been all sorts of "fluff pieces" on the inauguration, the type of dog, the parties, the fashions, the train ride copying Lincoln's arrival in Washington, but no mention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope that in his inaugural address Mr. Obama expresses his gratitude for the work of Dr. King because without him there would be no President Obama.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Senior Moments

Tonight we had so much fun at canasta. It was chock full of senior moments.

One of the women in our group who happens to be the youngest was having a bad night. Any time there was a lull in the game, she thought it was her turn. Then several times she gave away one of her cards, which my partner and I could use. She kept insisting that she could take more cards than necessary to replace her red 3's.

Then she left the table to call her daughter. She didn't realize that our clubhouse phone had a direct line, so she dialed "9" to dial out, then "1" for the area code. Shortly after that phone call, we saw someone at the window who was waving and wanted to get into the clubhouse. We were relucatant to open the door, since we were the only ones there, but she went to the door. Then the remaining three of us saw a police car outside the window. We all went to the door.

It was a policewoman who was sent as a result of a 911 call. We all said no one called 911, then I realized that my friend had accidently called 91. The policewoman accepted that it was an accidental call and left. Later we realized that none of us had thought to check if there was anyone in the clubhouse who might have needed help.

The rest of the evening was uneventful, but still filled with more senior moments... whose turn is it, who dealt last, etc. We all laughed so hard tonight.

Is this a sign of things to come?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Margaret

My house has almost recovered from Christmas. I just have one table and tablecloth to put away, then, I think everything will be put back in place. I decided to relax and watch a little TV.

I went to Turner Classic Movies and saw, Journey for Margaret. It was almost over, but since I've always liked Margaret O'Brien I watched it. It must have been a real tearjerker because during the last half hour I cried, the tears just rolling down my cheeks. It's a good thing it had a happy ending, otherwise there would have been a flood.

Then I learned that today is Margaret O'Brien's birthday and they are showing several of her movies. When I was growing up she was one of my favorite stars.

There was one movie that sticks out in my mind. It was called Swan Lake I think. I don't quite remember the plot, but I do remember it had a lot to do with ballet. I remember walking home from the movies, walking on tiptoes and raising my curved arms over my head copying the dancers. I always wanted to be a ballet dancer even though I never had a lesson.

Anyway, The Secret Garden was on too, and I planned on watching that along with Little Women, then all plans changed with the plane crash, so nothing got done today. I needed a day off anyway. Between my walking at the gym and all the Christmas recovery, I've had a busy week.

Plane Crash

There I was happily watching TV when I went to check my e-mail. Then I saw that a U.S. Airways plane had crashed in the Hudson River. I immediately checked the news.

Apparently, the plane had hit a flock of birds, either geese or gulls and the pilot was trying to return to LaGuardia Airport in NYC. He couldn't, so chose to go down in the Hudson. He did a wonderful job. He managed to avoid the building on the West Side of Manhattan, the George Washington Bridge and the West Side Highway.

It appears that everyone was evacuated safely, although they are suffering from exposure. The temperature in the Hudson today is between 35 and 40 degrees. A boat from the Circle Line Tours and a Fire Department Boat are acting like barges to prevent the plane from being pulled by the current further south down the river.

A plane crash is always a tragedy, but my thoughts and the thoughts of many witnesses went back to 9/11. Some of the witnesses mentioned seeing the plane flying very low and were afraid it would go into one of the many buildings. Low flying planes will always make us think of that day.

Congratulations to the pilot who steered the plane away from the city, into the river. Fortunately for all on board there was no fire or break-up of the plane. And congratulations also to the members of the NYPD, FDNY, and NY Waterways Ferries for their fast response and rescue.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Organization & Structure

I recently read an article, I don't know where, that stated that people who are organized and make plans for the future live longer.

So I sarted making my list of things I want to do. I want to travel more, specifically to Alaska to see wildlife and the Northern Lights. I want to improve my writing and read more. I'd like to take another drive across the country and see more of our states. After reading some of the blogs from around the country, I realize there are so many places to visit. Those are my plans.

Now for my organization. Today at Scrabble, one of my friends was surprised that I try to eat at the same time each day. She said she eats whenever she's hungry. I need more structure in my life, I even prepare a "To Do" list every week. I always feel so good when I'm able to cross something off. It seems like a natural thing to do.

I've always needed structure. When I was younger, I couldn't just take a walk, I needed a destination. Years later, I was always happy when the boys went back to school, not because I wanted to get rid of them, I needed a structured, well-planned day. Up in the morning, get dressed, eat breakfast, clean, etc., etc., etc. Even my closet is organized, my blouses and sweaters are all facing the same way and sorted by color. Pants are separated by everyday and dress.

Just the other day I was saying that I just wanted to take one day and spend it in bed. My friends said I should, but I don't think I could handle it. There are even days when, in the interest of being kind to my hair and skin, I don't want to style my hair or put make-up on. That usually lasts about 1/2 hour.

Am I organized, obsessive or just plain boring?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Country Experiment

About 10 years ago I decided to make one of my dreams come true. I had always wanted to live in the country so I looked and looked for the perfect home in Putnam County, NY. That was about as far north as I could go and still work in the City. After about a year I found my dream home, or so I thought.

After two weeks a hurricane hit causing a leak in my roof and a neighbor's tree to fall into my yard and on top of my car. That was just the start of my problems. I had problems with the heater, one time the indoor temperature hit 80+ degrees, another time I had no hot water.

Then there was the problem with the mice. The cat I had at the time was old and had never really been a mouser. Her dry food was disappearing and at first I was delighted that she was eating. Then I realized that she was not gaining weight. A few days later, I was moving some books in my bookcase and found a stash of dry cat food. I know she didn't put it there, she could hardly climb the stairs, much less jump into the bookcase. I got an exterminator and also set some traps. The final count was: Cat - 2 mice, me and the traps - 3 mice.

I think one of the events that made me re-think country living was the lightening strike that blew out my TV and water pump.

It wasn't all bad. Almost every day between three and five deer would wander into my yard and since I'm not a gardener I didn't mind that they ate my grass and leaves. The commute into the city, about two hours, did allow me to keep up with my reading. I think I averaged about a book a week. And the stars. Because there were no street lights, I could actually see the stars. I also, for the first time in my life, noticed the phases of the moon and saw one of the dippers.

After I retired, I decided to move to a 55+ community. It has its good points and bad points. The clubhouse affords the opportunity to meet lots of people and I've made some friends. There are two things I find troubling about this community. One is that every conversation centers around doctor appointments and medicines, and fortunately I need neither. The other is the lack of children. I never thought I'd say this, but I do miss the sounds of children, even crying babies.

Maybe my experience in the country would have been better if I hadn't bought the "money pit". Maybe I should try again. I like the north for the change of seasons and snow, even if I don't like to drive in it. After all, I'm retired now and really don't have to go out if I don't want to.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Exercise

Last week I decided it was time to get back into shape. I decided I would start exercising, so on Monday I actually walked to the clubhouse and went to the gym.

I was armed with my new I-Pod and lots of good music to keep me interested and moving. I was met at the door by one of my friends. I should have know she'd be there, she exercises for at least an hour a day, sometimes more. We talked, or I should say, she talked. I never got a chance to listen to my music.

On Wednesday, I tried another time and luckily, she wasn't there. But on Friday I thought I'd go before canasta. Since it was around dinnertime, I thought I'd be alone. No such luck. She talked and talked. The only good thing about it was I did walk for an hour. It's hard to ignore her, she is an interesting person, even if we do disagree politically.

I hope I have better luck next week and am able to exercise alone. I've given up on going early in the morning because, once I leave the house, I can't do any work when I get back. My theory has always been, if it doesn't get done before I go out, it won't get done.

We have a meeting in the clubhouse around 7:00 pm tomorrow. Maybe I'll go over there around 6:00 pm. Maybe she'll be home getting ready for the meeting.

I did manage to walk a total of 7 miles for the week. Not bad for only three days' walking.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Soup

When I got up this morning, it was cold out and we had a dusting of snow (not the terrible storm that had been predicted).

What would be better on a cold winter's night than a pot of soup. I had the ingredients for a beef vegetable soup on hand and a package of refrigerated French bread dough. Early today I started the soup and it has been simmering on the stove all day. A little while ago I added the barley and it should be ready to eat in about 1/2 hour. Then, a nice hot bowl of soup, a slice of two of bread and a glass of shiraz. It doesn't get much better than that. Maybe, I'll even light a fire.

While I was putting the barley in the soup I started thinking about my brother's adventure with barley. He was so pleased with himself that he had saved my mother's recipe for oxtail soup that he made a huge pot with plans to give me half. When he came to the part about the barley, he disagreed with the recipe's 2 tablespoons of barley. That didn't seem like enough for so much soup, so he threw in the entire box.

It tasted good, but it was more like barley stew, there was very little soup left. He didn't realize that the barley, like rice, expands and soaks up the liquid.

I don't think he ever made the soup again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boredom

Do cats get bored?

If they do, Burnie had a huge case of boredom today. First, he tried to play with Crash, but she wanted no part of him. He chased her all around the house finally cornering her where she hissed and growled at him. It never bothered him.

Next, he decided to see what was behind the TV. My TV is set into a cabinet so he squeezed behind it where I couldn't reach him. I was afraid he might knock the TV out of the cabinet. I had to move the TV against the back of the cabinet so he would move on his own since I couldn't reach him. Finally he got out.

Then he saw a ribbon hanging from the kitchen island and he played with it until he pulled it and my keys down.

His regular toys held no interest for him. I finally sprayed his scratching post with catnip to get his interest.

After he had his fill of catnip, he went to sleep.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why am I so tired?

Since Sunday I've been feeling very tired and couldn't figure out why. I've been going to bed at my regular time, but not waking up until 8 or 9 am, where I usually wake up between 6 and 7 am.

I tried to think of reasons. Maybe it was post-Christmas/New Years letdown. Maybe it was the two miles I walked on the treadmill yesterday, but that wouldn't have affected how I felt on Sunday. Maybe it was because I cut down on my meal portions to lose some weight, so of course, I ate more, but it didn't help. I was so tired I even cancelled plans to go out to dinner tonight. Even my scrabble game this morning was affected. I couldn't think of words of more than three or four letters. My final score was half the winning score.

Then it hit me. Since Sunday I've been drinking decaf coffee. Silly me, I thought it would be a good idea to cut back on my caffeine intake since I usually drink six or seven cups a day, sometimes more.

No matter how much coffee I drink, it doesn't keep me awake, but obviously the lack of it makes me really, really tired.

Now for self medication, I have to go make a pot of real coffee.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas is Over

While I was out walking today I noticed that most of my neighbors had taken all their Christmas decorations down. After it got dark, it seems that I am one of only three people who still have their Christmas lights lit. Guess it's time to take everything down and put it away.

I enjoy decorating for Christmas, and pull out all the stops. Every room has some sort of decoration. It makes me feel so festive. There are so many decorations that I've accumulated over the years that it takes a week to put them up and another week to take them down. So much work, but it's worth it.

Then, there's the issue of the tree. It's an artificial one and so far I haven't had to worry about the cats climbing it. I learned my lesson about real trees about 10 years ago. The boys went back to their homes after Christmas and there stood the slowly dying tree in the corner of the living room. The needles fell off as I was dismantling it. I tried taking it out of the stand without spilling the water, but kept hitting the ceiling. Then I realized it was too heavy for me. Fortunately, we had a lot of snow that week and some young men were looking for sidewalks to shovel. I told them I liked shovelling, but I did have a tree they could put by the curb, which they did, leaving a trail of needles behind them. Cleaning was such fun.

Now, I just have to squeeze the tree into its box, put the box on a blanket and pull it into the garage until next year. But, there are no needles to be cleaned up.

But then, when everything goes away, the house will look so bare. Maybe I'll get more houseplants.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

TV or not TV

I've come to the conclusion that I watch entirely too much TV. I've gotten into the habit of turning the TV on first thing in the morning and shutting it off just before bed, when I turn the TV in the bedroom on so I can go to sleep.

This has got to stop. I waste too much time and it seems I'm always behind in my projects. I've decided that starting today I will cut back. Today the TV didn't go on until 5:00 pm and I did manage to accomplish a few things today.

My son gave me an ipod for Christmas, so I've been ripping my cd's onto my computer then onto my ipod. While I was doing that, I set about cleaning my office. It has gotten to be a real disaster and catch-all place. Today, I finally caught up with my filing and put all the extra folders away with my supplies. Then I went through a bunch of magazines that I've been saving for whatever reason I don't know. Some of them were five years old. I shredded a bunch of papers and now one corner of my office is reasonably clean. I figure that if I work there for 1/2 hour a day, I can make some real progress, both with the clutter and with the cd's. I like just about every kind of music, so I must have over a hundred cd's.

The next step will be to organize and back-up the pictures on my computer. I also have a bunch of pictures BDA (Before Digital Age) that have to be scanned and backed-up.

With all these projects, I don't think I'll have any time for TV, especially if I want to start my walking program again and keep up with the various groups I've joined in the community. I'm going to join a creative writing group and I'm already a member of the photography and travel groups and our singles club.

I'm so glad I'm retired, I would not have had so much free time if I were still working, even though I did enjoy working.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I really like my house. My only problem is the storage, or lack thereof. There are other models in my community that are loaded with closets. Mine, however, isn't. So, shortly after I moved in I ordered three shelving units and this cabinet.

I had no trouble assembling the shelving, but I couldn't find any instructions for the cabinet. I opened the box, but there were no instructions. This box sat in my garage for almost three years until this year when I asked my son to see if he could assemble it.

He brought all the various pieces into the house, then the box. He turned the box around and saw this.


There were the instructions. Was my face red! If I had only just turned the box around I would have seen them and been able to put it together. A definite attack of stupid.
Now I have a wonderful cabinet in my laundry room where I can stock up on sale items, and keep all those rarely used extras.


It fits perfectly in one corner of the room and I still have room for my drying rack.



It worked out perfectly and my son didn't even make fun of me, although he had every opportunity.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

How I spent New Years Eve

Last night, New Years Eve, our community had a party. It was planned as a very elegant affair and quickly sold out. I really wouldn't have wanted to go, I prefer to stay home on New Years Eve.

I usually watch the festivities in Times Square on the TV and watch the ball come down. At the stroke of midnight, I have a glass of champagne and some herring. I know why the champagne - I like it, but I don't know why I eat herring. It's something my parents always had on New Years and I still have it.

Last night, Crash and Burn were actually awake, so I had my champagne and herring and gave them each a handful of Temptations. We all enjoyed our treats.

Around 12:15 I looked out the window and saw some people leaving the clubhouse. I guess that party wasn't so great, and again I enjoyed myself more by staying home.