Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year's Eve, and to inquire as to how you are going to use your extra second. Don't know about that? It seems our Earth is slowing down, causing non-atomic clocks such as Big Ben to be a bit off. We are going to have a leap second. I am making a list as to what I am going to do with my extra second tonight. Perhaps I shall use it to pray that 2009 brings a better year to this world. I wonder if they will countdown from eleven?

It is snowing here. A lot.

Paris (our Japanese Chin dog) is pitiful. She has one eye stitched shut and can't see out of the other. It wouldn't be so bad if she was smart enough to let us treat her with the pain drops, but she fights us at every step. She never was the sharpest crayon in the box.

William got sick Monday and all day Tuesday. While his stomach is feeling better, he woke up in the night with an intense earache. I might have reported that his ears are filled with fluid and he's deaf as a post. I am glad now that I've moved up his surgery to put tubes in his ears and remove his adenoids.

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Town Monday - Divided by Deer

Years ago, a highway was built which ran to the south of my town. As time passed, development shifted to be closer to the highway, expanding what was considered to be "my town".

At the time it was built, the area was wooded with a creek running through it. In their infinite wisdom, the highway engineers decided to leave a wide median of woods and creek between the north and south lanes of the highway. This was to give passing motorists something interesting to see as they traveled our area. It may also have had something to do with the management of the creek, but the foremost thought was that it would be picturesque.

The reality is that the wooded median, while visually pleasing, has created a predator-free place for herds of deer to graze, living on the edge of cars and semis passing at 70 mph. Dead deer are not an infrequent sight here, mangled alongside the road. It is a serious danger, particularly during the most common time they are active: rush hour. The north bound lanes have the added bonus of an adjacent 1000 acre park that is under development and pushing out deer that live there.

What to do? There has been talk of building a wall along the highway to keep deer in the median and from trying to cross the highway. About as effective, I would guess, as building a wall at our Mexican border. The wall has to end somewhere and the deer will cross there.

I am no hunter, but I would much rather see the highway closed one weekend (there are easy detours around this section) and have the deer hunted to lower numbers. Yet, a recent proposal to let hunters in the 1000 acre park to hunt and kill deer, donating the meat to homeless shelters, was refused. It was deemed too dangerous. I am wondering if it is as dangerous as letting my teen daughter drive that highway dodging deer? Two teen girls were killed not too long ago when after hitting a deer, they swerved into a tractor-trailer.

I do hope our county or state will take some action before more fatalities make them realize it is a serious problem.

Visit other towns virtually and avoid dangerous deer! It is the brainchild of Travis Erwin, soon to be famous author. He is taking a break until after the holidays in hosting MTM. Chris at e-Cuneiform Scratchings and I will be hosting MTM in the interim. If you would like a link to your MTM post, please leave me a message in the comments section.

Do a little virtual traveling by visiting:

J Winter in Cincinnati, Ohio responds to my questions!
Cloudia in Waikiki, Hawaii
preTzel in preTzelville
Jennifer Jilks in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Patti Abbott at Wayne State University

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Just Hair

My son emulates Robert Pattinson's hair. You do not know Robert Pattinson? I should have, given that two teen girls live in my house, have read Twilight, and went to see the movie the first week it was out. Perhaps I was on auto-pilot.

It was not until I read OxyJen's blog on how this teen heart throb manages his hair that I paid any attention to the name. According her account, this actor does not use shampoo on his longish hair, allowing the natural oils to come out and apparently to be used as a natural hair gel, resulting in his "bed head" tousled look. (I wonder if on reading this, teen girls might thinks twice about dreaming of running their fingers through his hair.)

William, fearing the dreaded shampoo-in-the-eyes torture that all mom inflict on their offspring, often skips the shampoo in his shower if I'm not paying attention and his resulting "do" is amusement for us all. He fancies the longer styles, yet, dislikes mom to lick her fingers and smooth it down. As a result, his hair often looks like the back end of a turkey. It will be of no help that dear daughters likened him to a movie star. Here he practices his alluring looks.

Shortly after reading about this interesting hair management system that likely was used for most of the history of humanity, there are reports that Pattinson cut his hair short (see here for before and after photos). William does not desire a short hair cut that "feels like a cat's tongue".
Still, I have the mother's guilt that hears imaginary voices criticizing my mothering skills: "Can you believe she let him out of the house with his hair looking like that???" Perhaps in the futureI'll just smile to myself and envision that they envy his long, movie star looks.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Belated Merry Christmas!

Each year, I tell myself that NEXT Christmas, I will be more prepared, will have all the presents wrapped and be all relaxed and the cookie baking, carol singing super mamma that has somehow become a myth of Christmas. Didn't happen this year.

At a trip to Stuffmart, however, I realized that there were millions of people like me at Stuffmart, buying presents and food last minute, and that's okay.

Christmas Eve was spent at home. William and I dissected an owl pellet, because that's what everyone does on Christmas Eve, isn't it? I think it will have to become a Christmas tradition.

Speaking of traditions, my dh's family has the tradition of oyster stew for Christmas Eve dinner. How this became a tradition, I don't know, but I refuse to participate (sorry, Marilyn) because I don't eat filters. Oysters spend their lifetimes filtering toxins out of ocean water, and then, people eat them?
Dh, not to be put off by my declaration that they look like giant boogers, made and ate his own stew. He declared it delicious and continued the tradition.
We spent a lovely Christmas Day at my sister's and now have a whole week to stay at home!
Today, it is peculiarly warm for Kentucky, in the low 70s in December! The wind is blowing, and so when I opened the windows, well, let's just say that you have too many indoor animals when the wind blows tumbleweeds of dog hair in the house. Got me to thinking, though, think I could use our leaf blower to clean floors?
I am approaching a "blogaversary" of sorts. I have now 985 posts. It is hard to believe that soon, I will have written 1000 blogs.
The Zymox has complete cleared up Paris (the dog's) ear infection. Looks good. However, her immune system is compromised and it moved into her eyes, which are now ulcerated. The vet is recommending having her third eyelid sewn shut on both eyes to give them time to heal as she resists all attempts to put medicine in the eyes despite my efforts. It isn't working. If we don't heal them, they might have to remove the eyes. That's what I need, a blind dog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sibling Rivalry Part II

It isn't enough that she made me the fool two years ago? She had to send another photo of THIS year's gingerbread house.

She laughs. Thinks its funny her sister has no talent. Phhhht! Now, there may be some of you that say to yourselves, "that girl don't need no help bein' a fool" and you'd be right (except for your grammar, of course). Seriously, don't I have a talented sister? Even if it makes me look bad?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Town Monday - Going "Moist"

I would not make a good reporter. I could not even go into the parking lot of this building to get a good photo for fear that someone I know might see my vehicle there. I stopped at a respectable business nearby. What is this building that, judging from the number of cars outside, is doing a good business? The Love Stuff Store. (Dh calls it the "Love Shack".) Oh, and they sell cigarettes, too.

It doesn't say on the sign what kind of "love stuff" they sell, and no one I know has ever ventured in to see (or at least admitted it). I do know a few people that tried picketing the business for it's apparently immoral in nature, but protesting so far has done little good.

This is actually not located in "My Town" or even my county (it is the next county over and unfortunately at the exit for people coming in to my house from the north), so you may wonder why I include it in my MTM post. You would not find such a store in my county, nor would you find a liquor store or stand alone bar. You will find no night clubs or dance halls, or beer joints. Until very recently and most of the time I have lived here, my town and county was "dry". You could not buy alcohol here. At all.

At some point, due either the influx of "outsiders" and growth or the realization that no restaurants would locate in our county without liquor sales or both, the county went "moist". Now, restaurants that seat over 100 people may serve alcohol. As a result, we gained several restaurants in town and I can have a Corona with my burrito or a Tennet's with my fish and chips. The down side? There was a time when you could bring your own bottle of wine and a restaurant would serve it to you for a small or no charge. Not any more. Still, I find having a few more restaurant choices worth it.

With no liquor sales to individuals, those of us in our county that enjoy a glass of wine with our meal or have a (cough) prescribed glass of wine to avoid cancer, must drive to the next county over to buy our hooch or as I do, make our own (which is cheaper anyway and surprisingly good wine). Of course there is always the option of declaring that one is too tired to cook and must go to the Irish pub for a beer and a plate of fish and chips.

Speaking of, we went there on Friday night with my mom and stepfather. Going to our table, I was wondering who I might see that I know. I laughed when I saw my good friends from Good Shepherd's Care tucked into a corner. During our meal, we saw several other close neighbors to the point that we were making a bit of a disruption with all our laughing and greeting. But isn't that what a pub is all about?

My Town Monday is a virtual Irish pub, where we can greet friends and share something about our corner of the world. It is the brainchild of Travis Erwin, soon to be famous author. He is taking a break until after the holidays in hosting MTM. Chris at e-Cuneiform Scratchings and I will be hosting MTM in the interim. If you would like a link to your MTM post, please leave me a message in the comments section.

Do a little virtual traveling by visiting:

Cloudia in Waikiki (she has several this week that show beautiful Hawaii)
Jennifer Jilks in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Debra in Peninsula, Ohio
Patti Abbott in Detroit, Michigan
Barbara Martin in Seaton Village, Toronto
Chuck in Kentucky
Chris in Hong Kong
J Winter in Cincinnati, Ohio

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday's Notes

Yesterday, a windstorm came with the rain and swept away the nativity scene in front of the Dairy Queen. I saw it soon after it happened. Baby Jesus was upside down and the lambs were laying on their sides. The "barn" was completely down, blown over like an old Kentucky tobacco barn. To answer a question asked in another blog by a reader, no I don't always have my camera with me, but in this case, wish I had, for today when I went back, someone had cleared away the disaster victims and all that remained to mark the spot was a rectangle of straw. Will we have a live nativity this year?

Blatant product endorsement (if only I got paid!)

Paris, our 5 year old Japanese Chin mutant dog, got a terrible ear infection. At the same time, her eyes were yucky. I took her to the vet, and many dollars later, her ears had been supposedly "drained" and we followed the prescribed course of action. Days later, her ears returned to the same condition and her eyes got worse. Not wanting to have her sedated and have another big bill, I did some Googling and found this product with rave reviews called Zymox. In a seven day course of treatment, at the fifth day, her ears are no longer chucking out Volkswagon-sized balls of brown ear wax and no longer have open sores. Today, the another vet confirmed that the ear treatment is working. This product also comes in a cleaner solution to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place. Buy it! I also use Vodka (I just happened to have some around) to clean and dry the outer ear between treatment.

As for her eyes, they remain gunky, and the new vet who has raised Shitzu (another mutant breed), said that it isn't uncommon for these googly-eyed dogs to develop immune problems shutting off tear production, which has resulted in affected eyes. We have a course of medicine for that, and a recheck next week. She may have glaucoma. I may need a job.

I am disappointed, however, that I could have spent $9 for Zymox to try to clear the ears, and it would have worked, rather than over $200 and the pain of the procedure and risk of sedation.

If one more store clerk asks me if I'm ready for Christmas, you might be able to write a murder non-mystery based on my real life experiences. Would it be Scroogish to yell, "No, DAMMIT!"

That said, I am noticing too many people lounging around in the aisleways at the StuffMart and CostU. Do you have no deadlines, people? Do you not know that we should all be in a great hurry? Please follow convention and keep your cart to the right. I want a megaphone - too bad I don't cuss (much) - to yell "GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!" because polite "excuse me's" don't seem to be working. Maybe Christmas shopping stresses me a tiny bit. Does it you?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Horse Slaughter

The Kentucky Horse Council recently sent me a survey on my opinions on horse slaughter. Over 22,000 horses were sent to slaughter in 2007, down from over 300,000 in the late 1980's, early 90's. Here in Kentucky where horses are big business, this issue comes up alot, particularly when there is a drought (like last year) and horses are found neglected and starving.

All I've ever heard was that the horses were subject to inhumane practices when being led to slaughter. Yet, I also hear that there are too many horses that are unwanted and unusable. It is estimated (according to AAEP) that the average care of a horse per year is $2500. It would take $144 million a year in Kentucky alone to care for unwanted horses alive that are unwanted and need care.

I struggle with this. As a meat eater (of cows, pigs, and chickens), I find it difficult to judge those that eat horse. Yet, culturally, it isn't accepted here any more than eating our other anthropomorphized friends, the dogs and cats. For those of you that say horses are different, I will tell you that cows, pigs, and chickens, have intelligence and personality.

Would I send my own horse, sick or unusable, to slaughter? Of course not. The neighbor's wild and uncontrolled and untrained pain in the #ss horses? Maybe. I think the survey misses one very important point. How did we get to this point of having up to 57,600 in Kentucky alone that are unusable or unwanted?

Each spring, I love to see the babies in the field, laying in the sun with their tiny tail flicking flies, or kicking up their heels. You'd have to be a real sour-puss to not smile at the sight. Yet, like dogs and cats, breeding should be limited to reproducing only special horses. It is not ethical to reproduce ordinary backyard horses to maybe make a few dollars, particularly if you are not a professional trainer. No where in the survey does it address stopping the continuing reproduction of too many horses.

What about you? Are you for or against horse slaughter? Have you or would you eat horse meat? Should the US be allowed to supply horse meat, using unwanted or unusable horses only, for foreign markets?

Junosmom, pondering

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One of William's favorite video series is Magic School Bus, and I think he learns quite a bit from them. They were, however, made several years ago and science is always evolving and changing. Conversation while car schooling:

William: Know what my favorite planet is? The blue one.
Me (aka doesn't know anything or DKA): You know they aren't really the color shown in Magic....
William: Which one is the blue one?
DKA: I don't know. (Wild guess.) Neptune.
William: Yeah, that's the one.
DKA: So...How many planets are there?
William: (Giving the answer anyone educated in the good old days would tell ya) NINE!
DKA: Well, they used to say nine, but now, Pluto is no longer a planet. There are eight.
William: No, mom, (in exasperated voice) there are nine.
DKA: Pluto is too small.
William: Mom, you can't just stop being a planet! A planet is a planet!
DKA: Well, it still is the same size and in the same place but now it is called something else.
William: No, a planet is a planet, get it? You can't just stop being a planet. RIGHT?
DKA: Yes, a planet is a planet.

Half of the people in the USA would agree with that. After all, that's what we were taught, so it must be right. How did you feel about Pluto's demotion?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Elf Yourself

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

It Takes Two...

Perhaps only if you love books as much as I do, would you understand my delight in finding a section at the Main Library that contained all of their new picture books. It was hard to contain myself and not scoop all of them up. It wouldn't be fair to other patrons to take all of the new books. In a hurry, I quickly assessed each book, mainly based on the cover, as most newer books have no cover jacket which gives details about the story on the inside flap.

This one looked cute. It had a photo of a penguin family on the front, and given the plethora of penguin movies lately, I thought it might fit in to continuing a study of them. I stuck it in my crate. Some days later and unsuspecting, I pulled out several books to read to William. After reading several pages, I slowed. "Uh, let's read a different book," I said.

My pause and momentary confusion did not go unnoticed by William. All you have to do is say, "You can't watch this show, it's too scary" or "Close your eyes" or "No, this is not appropriate for you" to pique his interest and ensure that he will do his damnedest to see or hear it. I decided to continue to read the book and not make a big issue of it, and maybe, like most books, we'd read it one time and that would satisfy him. He would forget it. He only has a select number of books he reads more than once.

What made me a little uncomfortable? I was unprepared for the subject matter of And Tango Makes Three and just before bedtime, I didn't want to get into a conversation with my six year old about gay adoption, which is basically the underlying message of this book. The story line is that two male penguins were paired, and yet had no egg. Given an egg by a human, they successfully hatched the egg and parented the chick, as male penguins often do in a male-female relationship.

Can penguins really be "gay"? Well, Google "gay penguins" for some interesting reading. In this true story contained in this book, after successfully raising their chick Tango, Roy and Silo broke up when a hussy named Scrappy stole Silo away, leaving Roy despondent. Still, there are many accounts of gay couples among penguins in captivity, once the blood tests are done (you can't visually tell a boy penguin from a girl).

My question for you is should the library have a separate section for children's books that might be objectionable to some parents? Should this book be in a "mature" children's section? Would you read this book to your child?


The neon sign on the Mexican restaurant, our destination, was flickering even though the place was just opened.

"Uh-oh," exclaimed dh. "Think that's an omen?"

"Yes," I replied. "It's a bad sign."

Please keep your boos to yourself.

BTW, notice our gray skies. I'm going to go take some Vitamin D now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Town Monday - A Living Nativity

For fourteen years, my town had a nativity scene set up on the courthouse lawn. On a main road, many people passed the decoration which had lit plastic statues representing the main characters in the Nativity. The week of Christmas and no matter the weather, church members and live animals replaced the plastic figures. If you honked in passing, they would smile and wave. It was a tradition.

In 2004, fearing a lawsuit from the ACLU, the powers that be in the county decided that the Nativity scene could no longer have space on the courthouse lawn which was public property. The Nativity scene was moved and is now located yearly in a space between the Dairy Queen and the cemetary. Still on the main road, the people will still smile and wave if you honk. The atmosphere, with modern blaring lights isn't as fine as the towering oaks of the previous location.

What do you think? Should religious displays, including non-Christian ones, be given a space to display during holidays on public property?

My Town Monday, where talented bloggers tell us about their corner of the world, is the brainchild of Travis Erwin, soon to be famous author. He is taking a break until after the holidays in hosting MTM. Chris at e-Cuneiform Scratchings and I will be hosting MTM in the interim. If you would like a link to your MTM post, please leave me a message in the comments section.

Do a little virtual traveling by visiting:

Chuck in Kentucky
Jennifer Jilks, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Cloudia in Waikiki, Hawaii
Debra in the Village of Peninsula, Ohio
Mary in Olmsted Falls, Ohio
Barbara Martin in Toronto, Ontario Canada
Chris in Cambodia
J Winter in Cincinnati, Ohio
Patti Abbott in Detroit, Michigan


Our Church has a "Children's Liturgy" for kids in kindergarten through second grade. Respecting that they have more of a need to be involved and moving, they are called up to the front of the Church to gather before removing to some rooms set aside for them to hear the readings and activities.

Father Mark generally addresses the group first with a short message.

"Today," he said, "is the Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. Father Mark is wearing ROSE colored robes, NOT pink, ROSE. Okay??" He should have stopped there. "Now, what color am I wearing?"

The group loudly announced, "PINK!!" The Church erupted in laughter.

Father rolled his eyes, looked heavenward, and said, "All in the name of Christ! I can see I have a lot of work to do."

After the children removed to their room, he turned to the remaining congregation and reminded us of Johnny Carson's words, "Never work with animals or children."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What You Don't Know....

As relatives of former dairy farmers, we eat real butter. Upon marrying into this family, I learned that butter keeps quite long at room temperature, though it must be covered to protect it from flies and things dropping into it. I found a nice jar with a lid to keep the butter, but it is unusual to find it filled. Rather, it is more likely that someone gets out a stick of butter and uses it as is, leaving it on the counter to soften.

So, this morning, dh looked at a stick on the counter suspiciously. "Does this look like something licked it?" he asked, knowing that the cats and dogs have been indicted for such crimes in the past.

"Don't worry," I assured him. "It won't be wasted. I'll just mix it up in the butter dish, and you'll never know."

He had jam on his toast.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Deep Subject

Animals are, in some ways, no different than people. Some are big, some are little. Some are slobs, some are very neat. Jorgen and our new pony, Phantom, are in many respects alike. Both are geldings and about the same size, 13 and a half hands. That's where the similarities end.

Jorgen is a boss horse. In fact, he is often the boss of horses much, much larger than himself and fights to protect his herd. As a Swedish Gotland, he is of a very cool temperment and is mostly quiet in his stall. He is the Felix Unger of horses as you see here. He makes a tidy pile for us each night, and sometimes, will even not wet the stall. As far as horse stall cleaning goes, his is a pleasure to clean.
Phantom, on the other hand, is at the bottom of the herd social stratus. For whatever reason, he's a bit nervous in his stall. As a result, he is the Ocscar Madison of horses.
This photo actually is quite neat compared to the way he usually leaves it:

We use pelleted bedding, basically compressed shavings. You add a bit of water to it, and it swells and becomes very nice sawdust bedding. Jorgen's stall will rarely need much added to it. Phantom, on the other hand, will likely need two bags a week with each bag weighing in at 40 lbs. It is nearly impossible to not waste a good deal of the bedding as he grinds the manure up into the good bedding by his constant pacing. My luck to get another horse that isn't potty trained.


Snow today, if you can call the light dusting we get snow.

I had giclées made today of some of Anna's paintings. If they turn out well, we may offer a limited number of them for sale. What is a giclée you ask? You take a scan or digital image of a painting and have it printed on a canvas. If well done, you can hardly tell they aren't original paintings.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

When Life Hands You a Broken Toilet...

...plant flowers.

I received an email a bit too late from a fellow humorist who suggested that dh and I acted in haste by removing the broken toilet when it could have simply been fixed with white duct tape. Dh said it occurred to him....but, I interupted the phone call, it's too late. I'd done hauled it up to the front porch and planted flowers in it. Dh said, "YOU DIDN'T." Which shows that he thinks I'm capable of 'bout anything. (Photo on left for inspiration but does not represent the actual product.)

Yesterday, was a beautiful surprise with temperatures in the 50s. I spread horse manure with my new spreader, a birthday gift from my father who said I was so full of it, I ought to spread it around. I procured and stacked a load of hay, and we worked about the barn.

Lauren decided that after two weeks, it was time to integrate the two new horses with our resident horses. We locked the gate across the driveway, tied up the dog, and let them in together. We were prepared for a knock-down, drag-out fight. So anti-climactic it was! A few squeals and a fight or two over who got which hay pile and it was all over. It is also a relief, as it will mean considerably less work in carrying water and walking two horses to the back pasture.

New little kitty has a cold.

After putting in the heat lamp (light), we are now getting two whole eggs a day. Yee-haw (not).

Paris, mutant Japanese Chin dog, again has an ear infection after spending boo-coo dollars last week to drain the ear. I am working on home remedies now.

Lazarus (cat) caught a mouse in the house last night which only slightly allows him to stay about the house given that he's mostly insane and growls at me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My Town Monday - Christmas Past

Each year, my town celebrates the coming of Christmas with a "Light Up (Our Town)" celebration the first Friday of December. Regardless of the unpredictable weather, for one night, the town is magical. Carolers gather on the steps of the Courthouse and people stamp the cold out with their feet, clutching steaming styrofoam cups of free hot chocolate.

William and I hurried into the line to see Santa, who traditionally arrives by horse-drawn carriage to sit in the covered gazebo on the lawn of the county jail. Often, the line extends a city block and we normally forgo the wait. This year, he was one of the first to get in his requests. Santa arrived right after the lights went on for the Christmas season.

Friends and acquaintances waved at each other through store and restaurant windows or as they passed on the sidewalk. Main Street was blocked to traffic as pedestrians strolled up and down the street taking in the sights. We even noticed that only two trains went down Main Street that night. (Railroad tracks run straight through town on Main Street.) It was so small town America, so seemingly safe and wholesome. So Christmas past. This is why we live in My Town.

Our new neighbors who are now friends found us and made reservations for us all at the Irish Pub, as the girls visited with teen friends along the street. William and I ventured over to watch the Balloon Man make hats for eager children though William found it well worth the wait.

Once in the pub, we greeted other friends at nearby tables, enjoyed a Tenent's (Scottish beer - or at least I did!) with our fish and chips. William tried to cajole me into standing in line for a horse drawn carriage ride, but the cold and long day was enough for me. After the afternoon piano party (which went well even without a downstairs toilet) thank you, and horse chores ahead of me, I had to beg off and get home.

Here is a short video of the lighting of My Town:

My Town Monday is the brainchild of Travis Erwin, soon to be famous author. He is taking a break until after the holidays in hosting MTM. Chris at e-Cuneiform Scratchings and I will be hosting MTM in the interim. If you would like a link to your MTM post, please leave me a message in the comments section.

Links to other My Town Monday Posts:

Jenn Jilks - Visits Washington, D.C. and Alexandria
Packsaddle - Hamilton, Texas
Debra - Peninsula, Ohio
Chuck - Kentucky
Cloudia - Waikiki, Hawaii
Sepiru Chris - Hong Kong
pattinase (abbott) - Detroit, Michigan

Sunday, December 07, 2008

...Tell Me If You Can

"He's not the real Santa," William declared. "He's just one of his servants."

I'm not sure where he got the terminology or why this particular Santa wasn't convincing. The man certainly had a real beard, which he tugged on for the sake of the older and more skeptical kids. His cheeks were rosy from the cold, and he demonstrated that his gloves came off. If my eyes were any judge, his "bowl full of jelly" was real as well.

We were near the front of the line for the first time at our town's annual visit from Santa in the Gazebo in front of the county jail. (How touching.) The line snaked back a block to the courthouse. Santa took several minutes with each child and very sincerely talked to each one. As someone in the front of the line, I was appreciative. Were I in the back of the line (like I usually am), I'd be pissed. It was colder 'n blue blazes (whatever they are).

William wondered before his visit what he should tell Santa. In the end, he told him that his wish list was on the computer and he'd email it to Santa, or send it in the mail. Santa thought that was fine.

This Christmas will be bittersweet. He's growing up fast, and his grown up mind knows this fat man can't possibly make it down our chimney.

"Is there really a Santa," he asked one night while taking his shower, "or did God really just make a magical person?"

My task will be to see that he knows that it is magical, the Christmas season. It is a magical time of preparing for a small baby, who changed the world.

(More tomorrow in my MTM-My Town Monday about the annual "Light Up" night.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

I have to laugh or I'll cry

Today, we are hosting an annual Christmas party for some of the members of the piano studio where both Lauren and William study. Most attendees are people that have been to my house before and have seen both it and me at the worst. (Well, physically at least. They've not seen my screamin' banshee tantrum.) They still call me a friend. But when you play hostess, you start sprucing things up, looking at your house in a way other people might see it.

For some time, we've wanted to paint the walls to better background Anna's paintings. So we did that, which of course made the woodwork look bad, so that was painted as well as the doors, which also needed the glass cleaned. And so on and so on. The more I did, the more that needed to be done.

I suppose I have been working myself into a physical deficit, getting up early, going to bed late. That's when things start going bad, you know? Tempers get a little short. So it was when Daisy, our Beagledor dog was in the garage. Couldn't decide for the life of her whether to do in or go out and it kept messing with the automatic garage door opener as I tried to shut the door. So, forget it, I said and set myself up by leaving the door one foot down from open. Just enough to later catch the top of Eugene and rip a wheel off of the garage door as I tried to back out. I think it can be fixed but I was grateful that dh wasn't too upset with me. Turns out, his generosity was providential.

I had, that day, decided we really, really needed a new toilet seat, and picked up a new one at StuffMart. An instant, easy fix, or so I thought. The bolts on the seat were a bit rusty and try as I might, I could not get them off. Busy with other things, I put that aside for dh to fix later after dinner. That's when I heard a clatter that sounded suspiciously like breaking glass, or shall I say, porcelain. No biggie, there were two large chips out of the side of the bowl, I guess maybe because you can't pound out a bolt from porcelain with a sledgehammer. But then, as a garage door destroyer, I extended the same grace he had extended me. I'd leave the old lid, clean up the toilet a bit, and forget it. Right? Wrong.

William later went to use said facilities and one of the few times he ever does, flushed. "MOM!" he yelled. "There's water shooting out the side of the toilet!" And sure enough, the toilet is a bit more complicated than I thought, and has a channel that was opened with the chip in the bowl, and shoots out water when flushed.

I am trying to be grateful, like Good Shepherd's Care, really I am. I still have two other bathrooms, though upstairs, as this one is OUT OF ORDER for the party. I will remove the hazardous materials warning sign from the girls' bathroom and see if we can get it spruced up for the party today.

I am so not doing this again.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Horse Feathers

Yesterday morning, "Larry" came to call on our growing herd of horses. Larry is a horse dentist and does a little chiropractic on the side. When Larry comes to visit, it is more like a social visit where he fits in a little work on your horses in between trading how we've been, what horses he has been working, and the like. When he leaves, you are sure your horses are better for it. Slowly, he moves around a horse, quietly, talking while he takes hold of its tail and yanks. Pop! Then the horse relaxed, a soft look in his eye.

Sticking practically his whole arm up in the horses mouths to check and then file their teeth, they stood patiently working their tongues about, trying to dislodge the clamp holding their mouths open. Phantom, he tells me, is more like 5.5 years old, not the 8 years we suspected. That's a good thing, given that his temperament is so calm. It says a lot for his future disposition which with work, should only improve. We asked his opinion on Phantom's back, as the horse tended to bunch up in the hind quarters. Coming off of the auction with a bad cold and being very wormy to boot, it is likely the poor horse is still not feeling well. We won't be able to worm him until he recovers a bit from the cold. But, all signs are that he'll shape up nicely and his back seems sound.

About the time Larry lit up another cigarette between treating horses, my friend showed up with her four children. Larry stood talking with us, occasionally spitting into the limestone aisle way. The look on friend's twelve year old daughter's face was priceless. "Disgusting" was written all over it. Still, they stayed and watched Larry gently rub over my Roxie (minature horse). "She don't need nothin' done."

We moved onto Chiron (miniature gelding). Lauren was holding him, and I was distracted talking to my friend. Next thing I knew, Larry was holding his pliers out to me with something at the tip. What's that? I asked. Well, turned out Chiron, age 2.5 years, was at the age that the baby horse teeth get wiggly and hopefully fall out. Since Larry was there, he pulled teeth to prevent "fusing" of baby teeth to adult teeth, as a preventative to a possible problem. As he began handing me teeth, I started laughing. Could I fool the tooth fairy with these? Although no one has ever said I was horse-faced, perhaps the fairy, in the darkness wouldn't notice.

What I then noticed is that my friend, after the first pulled tooth, began backing away, claiming a need to get the kids home for lunch. Right now!~ Chiron's mouth was bleeding slightly, but I knew it was mostly saliva. I offered her a tooth to take with her to show her friends. No, she demurred, that was okay. I could keep them. She might have started running to the car, I'm not quite sure. In all Chiron had six baby teeth pulled, but they came out quickly and he was soon eating hay with the molars he had left.

Larry stayed on, talking and smoking a few more cigarettes. He's another example of why I like living here. I always love when people tell me I need to send my kids to school so they'll be exposed to diversity. Love it. Don't need to have diversity in our own lives, just impose it on our kids. Poppycock! Through branching out into the horse world, through our volunteer jobs, our Church and living in the real world, we meet real people. People not at all like ourselves, but enjoyable all the same.

Phantom and I go for a ride near home:

Put up the Christmas tree today.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Introducing "Phantom"

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My blog is rather like the economy: its health has little to do with reality but rather the mood of those in charge. It becomes a barometer of my life, and it becomes unnecessary to ask how I am doing "busy since you aren't blogging". Thankfully, I retain my physical health, though my mental status, you would have to inquire of those who have the dubious fortune of sharing this journey with me.

It took three different coats of paint for me to finally find the right color for the main room of our house, not including a layer of white primer to cover the previous dark color. Finally, the main portion of the painting is done, but of course, in painting, I notice a lot of other things that must be done, and hopefully before I host a piano party on Friday. Though all the guests have seen my house at its worst (well maybe not its worst for Child Protective Services hasn't shown up yet) but it is a party, and it would be good that they not have to perch on a ladder while eating their lunches.

I appreciate all the nice comments on the photos of me. Yes, my hair is a bit longer than in my "stock" photo, but I plan soon to get to the hairdresser. I have to decide if whether to fit it in after the horse chiropractor comes (usually a very long visit, for he likes to have a smoke and talk), William's piano lesson and meeting the "church lady" for an assignment from Hell. Or perhaps after the piano tuner tomorrow and Thursday afternoon activities. Somewhere in there.

I'm trying to get up earlier to fit in more time to my day. My kids will tell you that as a result, it has affected my mood somewhat. I don't always look like that smiling, relaxed woman in the photo to your right. Some mornings, I look a bit more like this while trying to rally the troops to get going in the morning. Of course this is before my morning coffee.

And that is on my good days. Some days, it's an effort to get my makeup on and do my hair.
I think this look is rather becoming, don't you?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not Astronaut Material

Back in the days when I thought I could be or do anything, that is, back before reality set in, I thought I might want to be an astronaut. I love the stars and spent much time looking in a telescope we had, thinking of what was out there. I somehow didn't follow that dream (nor a few others), but after reading this news, I'm quite a bit thankful I didn't.

It seems that the space station's drinking system has a "glitch". The fact that the system recycles urine and sweat makes the problem a tad more critical. Ain't NO way! That and having to relearn to use diapers, no honey, I'm glad to be a housewife. They say in some news articles that the future may hold recycling urine for the masses. I do hope I'm dead by then.

I can just imagine. "Honey, does the water smell a little "off" to you today?"
Dh: I'm sure it's fine.
Me: No, really, it's got a little color to it, doesn't it?
Dh: I'm sure it's fine.
(sound of me, retching)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Economy of Plank Horse Fences

Still wondering about the fence colors? I know you couldn't sleep last night wondering. Why does Lexington paint fences white, while Central Kentucky has black plank fences? I found a reference finally that might tell. It could be that white fences were preferred, a stylish and clean look. Yet read on:

Like the different types of fencing, different treatment options for protecting the wood are available. Paint is the most popular choice, but even with paint there are decisions to make. "Black paint seems to be what most people use. It used to be white paint, but black is more economical now," said Goodell.

"Fences painted black look better longer than fences that are painted white. There are different types of paint to use, too, and you need to be careful when you paint. We have had people use latex paint and spray it on the fences before a rainstorm. The rain washes the paint off. I think it is best to use an oil-based paint or an asphalt treatment that will last even longer, and watch the weather, too. Spraying or treating the paint on a dry day with little wind is the best method of assuring the fence gets the majority of the paint."

White favored the use of white paint on his own farm, but he has switched to black paint as a cost-saving measure. "Black paint does seem to last longer and, if it lasts longer, it is protecting the wood longer," he said. "Most of the posts we use today are pressure-treated, which helps to preserve the wood, but I still encourage our clients to paint their fences and posts shortly after we install them.

So that is the reason for black fences and apparently, even new fences in Lexington are going to the black paint. White fences will likely be visible in areas that have already established that as the norm.

Thank you, Costco...

...for the extra five pounds I am gaining this week. I got a message this week on my answering machine stating that their records indicated that I had purchased a pre-wrapped box of gift chocolates. Yes, for once in my life, I thought I just might get going on Christmas and actual buy gifts before the last week before the 25th - and see, just see how it turns out??? This particular batch of chocolates has developed a problem and some boxes show "bloom". Oh, gross, mold??? This bloom is due to cocoa butter rising to the surface of the chocolate oh, good, not mold and causing discoloration. If I would like to return or exchange them, I could.

What I certainly could not do is give the chocolates as a gift and risk the recipient seeing that they had bloomed and I'd given an inferior gift. And, I wasn't sure when I might get to Costco again. And I was curious as to what the bloom might look like. And I'm eating a whole $10 box of chocolates....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cure for Lameness

My friend, Ladina, and I were trading horse tales while watching our young sons extort ask sweetly for candy on Halloween night. Her mare had gone lame. I recommended our horse chiropractor (yes, there really is such a thing) who had helped us out with several horses, applying his vast experience with practical advice. Now, "Larry", he fools you with his accent, large belly, cigarette hanging out of his mouth. You might have to look past the gaps in his teeth and his occasional spitting (if he's on chew, trying to not smoke). Younger than I am and wheezing, he still can twist a horse's back into shape. In short (and he is), he can sometimes work magic. Worth a try, right? Her horse was in pain. I followed up with Larry's phone number.

Some days went by until I again heard from Ladina. When I did, I sat at my computer, read her email and got that high pitched Mickey Mouse laugh, my daughters beginning to laugh with me and not even knowing why we were all laughing. I tried to read her email out loud, but the tears (of laughter) started up, and William and his best friend grew greatly concerned and wondered whatever was wrong with me. Perhaps it was comic relief, such stress we've had lately, but judge for yourself if she is not funny. I think she should start a blog, don't you?

We had the horse chiropractor out last week - I still can't figure out why he didn't get kicked when he wrapped Shania's tail around his arm, pressed on her hip and yanked. I would have. You, too, I'm guessing. However, she is walking much better, even in the cold.

He talked about poultry and how to applying it down the leg, rubbing it up and down the hurt leg. Ask me if I knew how to make one or where to get one. Well I have a friend, Leslie who raises show chickens and could probably talk her into letting me borrow one but I couldn't figure out how rubbing one of those fancy black and white chickens on Shania's leg was going to help.

He told me I could get one from a guy down by the tracks. Back home, that means where poor people live and yard birds are their dinner. When I tentatively asked about where to find one - he said, "the track, you know, Churchill Downs, they use them all the time." It got even more confusing when he asked if I was using Devil's Claw on her - because that would be like a rabid chicken that chases you across the yard - squalkin' peckin' clawin' and a flappin'. I'm sure your chickens are civilized and don't behave that way. I finally figured out that he was talking about a poultice, not poultry. So much for country life or country talk.

I am so fortunate to have friends that make me laugh. But Ladina, anytime you need a chicken for your horse, you just holler. I'll lend you one.

Thanks to my friend, Valerie, who sent me a link so that I would know there are people nuttier than I am. And to Becky, I've got specifics for you: heavy breed chickens need heat lamps below freezing. Bantam breeds should have them below 40 degrees F. Hope yours are keeping toasty.

And then I hit him.....

Dh was commenting last weekend that Hilary Clinton was considering the position of Secretary of State. I remarked that it would make two women who consecutively held that position.

Me: Interesting.
DH: Well, it is a position for a secretary.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Discover Your Inner Palette

By answering seven questions, you can determine your color personality for home decor with the Color Sense Game. I am Leather, Stone and Wood. What are you?

My Town Monday - Fence Color

The county where I live is a "bedroom" community, not just for people, but for horses. It is not unusual to see large horse trailers rolling down my street on the way to deliver a horse to be bred, rehabilitated or trained in a facility nearby. Some of them are only here a short while, and then, it is back to work somewhere else as they are again trailered back home.

Once outside the city limits, it is not unusual to see the roads lined with black four-board fence. Occasionally, you will see a fence of a different color. For example, a neighbor one mile from me painted his fence brown. (Of course, he also painted the trim on his brick house pink and purple. He apparently walks to the beat of a different drummer.) Mostly, however, everyone here conforms to black fence paint. It is pleasing to see it go on, connecting disjointed properties with a common theme.

I don't know who decided that fences in our area would be black. There are advantages to black paint, which isn't always "paint". I used to use roof sealer cut with mineral spirits to paint our own four board. It is thick and water proof but the smell is nauseating. It can be sprayed on, however, if you have enough fence (and money) to hire someone to do it. Sometimes, you'll see men spraying fences along the road completely covered with black tar or paint, their eyes peeking out over bandannas covering their noses and mouths. Until the weather turned colder, black acrylic paint was my choice as I can paint it easily and it doesn't smell and people aren't breaking open their pillows for feathers to add to the tar.

Despite a quick Googling of fence paint, I've not yet uncovered why my region of central Kentucky wears black paint, but eastern Kentucky, specifically, Lexington, sports white paint. Flying or driving into Lexington, you will see miles and miles of it. It has it's advantages over black paint. One is that it doesn't show bird poop like black fences, but I can see no other advantage. I will continue to study this phenomenon and see if I can uncover any historical basis for the choice of paint color in Kentucky fences.

Write about your town, and tell Travis.

Speaking of paint, I've tried two paint colors so far in our main room and still we are not satisfied. I have painted and painted. And because the paint color doesn't go with curtains we very much like, I am going to have to paint it all over again.

And more about paint! We traded Ginny (Anna's former horse) yesterday for a small paint horse she and I will share. He has two blue eyes and is black and white. His name is Phantom of the Opera or Phantom for short. And he is short. And safe. That's good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Learnin' Him Right

This is for you Texans, just so you know I'm learnin' the boy right. Here he is trying to steal his first rifle. I'm so proud. Now, I have to go get him up for Sunday school.

BTW, did you know that most Kentucky long rifles were actually made in Pennsylvania? We like to take credit like that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's Notes

My day was overscheduled, margin-less. Lauren was to have an appointment to have her wisdom teeth evaluated for removal. I had just enough time to take her and get home, change, pack a sandwich and leave to go do some horse trading. Snuggled nicely in my schedule, I should have had enough time to do that, and return home for a social event the girls had that started at 5 p.m. Or so I thought.

I returned home to find Daisy (our Beagle-dor, Beagle-Lab mix) had thrown up. That in itself isn't unusal, except she was shaking and her pupils were markedly different. Never made it to horse trade, as I rushed her to the vet. During our discussion, the diagnosis came to me. She'd gotten kicked by a horse. Yep, said the vet, that could explain it all. Concussion.

She is now fine, though a bit sheepish in her movements. Likely, she'll not chase a horse again soon. We've told her not to, but does she listen? It moves, she chases. So, maybe some horse trading tomorrow. Who knows what the day may bring?

Horse Trading

Ginny is hopefully on her way to a new home today. Ginny is Anna's horse, and let's just say things aren't working out, and she needs a new situation. And we need a new horse. As Anna is riding less, we hope to find a good saddle horse for trail riding that Anna, dh and I can share. A friend who buys and sells horses for a living said he'd be willing to trade us Ginny for one of his stock. Said he had a few good, safe, broke horses we could come see this weekend. He sent some pictures. What do you think? I think there's a horse in my future!

For those of you that are unfortunate enough to live in a warmer clime, it is 16 F (-9 C) here this morning. Very invigorating. If you are a penguin. Which I am not.

I fixed up the heat lamp on the chickens yesterday evening. It is difficult to free range chickens that refuse to leave the coop and sits huddled under the heat lamp.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Brown Paper Packages

A package arrived yesterday from FedUp. It's Christmas season again or at least it is in my friend's organized household. I received her Christmas card last season the day after Thanksgiving. I hadn't even absorbed the five extra pounds yet from my meal the night before and she'd already moved on to the next season.

Shopping on the Internet certainly is a way to get the presents purchased and in the house without a young inquiring mind who sort of still believes in Santa but is at the age where he just can't quite believe it anymore, but then doesn't want to not believe. Friend just wants to keep her older boys from shaking the box until the contents are no longer usable.

When it arrived, William wanted to know what it was. Not wanting to tell him it was for friend's son, information that would shoot straight into William's ear, out of his mouth and into the intended recipient's ear, I told him it was for friend's husband.

William: I bet it's fish tails!
Me: (Picturing chopped off fish tails) What?
William: You know, F-I-S-H tails.
Lauren: Mom, I think he means lobster tails.

My dh often receives a gift certificate, with which he buys lobster tails, from a mail order steak place which I will not name because if you even so much as read the name, junk email and catalogs will start flying out of your computer and bury you in a pile of unsolicited appeals to buy their very good, but high priced goods.

Appeased at being understood, William went back to shaking her packages.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Please Welcome Chuck to the Blogosphere

I'm happy to encourage and introduce a new blogger! Shortly after guest blogging for me, Chuck sent a Wordless Wednesday post. I politely told him - Go get your own blog! Chuck has many amusing stories and insights into small town Kentucky life, so please go see Constable Chuck and see what he has to say.

Kentucky Math

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When You Thought You've Seen Everything....

...your daughter tells you about keyboard pants. Truly, the only option is to send both daughters to a convent. It's the only way to save them from this perverse world.

You know, it took me awhile to get used to Borg-like appendages on ears that made people appear to be talking out loud to themselves. Now, you'll have to question whether the boy in front of you is typing up class notes or playing with himself.

It comes with a joystick located behind the zipper. How original. I wonder if that's optional and you can get a discount if you provide your own joystick. Sorry, couldn't resist.

And since this blog could quickly degenerate, I leave you to your own thoughts on this (hopefully short-lived) fashion statement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Town Monday - Guest Blog by Chuck

I'm on vacation from blogging for just today. I've invited my friend, Chuck, to guest blog for me as we live in the same town. Please give him a hearty welcome to the world of blog writing. When you finish reading, write your own MTM and tell Travis.

My town (pop. About 7,000) is really two different towns or a town with two or even more distinct sections. There is an Interstate Highway that runs East-West through the town.

The portion of the town that is south of the interstate consists of “modern” places. There is a Wal-Mart, a large Kroger grocery store, a fast-food burger place, two franchised restaurants, several banks, a movie rental palace, a Radio Shack and the hospital.

About ½ mile north of the interstate is a historic main street. Main St. runs generally parallel to the interstate. The Main Street business area is only about two blocks long. One side of one of those blocks is actually taken up by the county courthouse and the county jail. On Main Street you will find two sit down restaurants, both locally owned; a combination used bookstore and coffee shop; a delicatessen and sandwich shop; a knitting store; a small ice cream store and a department store.

Running down the middle of Main Street is a railroad track. Twenty to thirty times a day, a CSX freight comes slowly rumbling through. There is diagonal parking on one side of Main Street and occasionally someone backs out of a parking space into a passing train. Of course this shuts the town for a while as the train stops until everything is cleared up.

Then there are the “other” areas of town: There is a transition area between the interstate and Main St. This area is a transition between the modern and the historic, with buildings becoming less modern as you get to Main Street. There are some businesses on the streets that intersect and run parallel to Main Street.

These are all most all in buildings that used to be residences. Here you will find doctors, lawyers, two small restaurants, a beauty shop and a barbershop. These buildings, as well as the ones that are along Main Street are part of one of the Historic Districts in Town. The Historic Districts Commission must rule on the “appropriateness” of any change to the outside of one of these buildings.

Finally there are the housing developments. Most are similar to the developments of single-family homes that you will see in any suburban area. There are a few patios homes developments and a few apartment complexes and even a trailer park or two.-- Chuck McC

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Reputation Precedes Me

Christine offered me a ride to a piano class that both her son and mine had Saturday afternoon. Just before she arrived, I decided to have a cup of hot coffee to revive myself, as I had been running all day. I also indulged in a chocolate iced cupcake, as a way of making the coffee more enjoyable. What harm could one small cupcake do?

William and I climbed into her van which does not at all resemble Eugene (our much used van), and I pulled on the shoulder harness and locked it in. Adjusting further, I noticed ("OH, NO!" I said aloud) I had gotten chocolate icing on the strap. I turned my hand and saw it on the fingers of my left hand. Instinctively, I licked the icing off.

I looked over at Christine who had at first a strange look on her face, but then began laughing when I told her it was chocolate icing.

"I thought it was poop," she said. Just like that. Evidently, she reads my blog.

Junosmom 2, Mice 0.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Chuck is getting a lot of press on my blog this week. He will be guest-blogging on my My Town Monday this coming week. I wrote yesterday about how he announced to the entire world that I was ancient and "preserved". I should say "Constable Chuck" for in this month's election, Chuck found out the Friday before that no one was running for Constable in his district and that very day was the last to register to be a write-in candidate.

With eight solid votes, Chuck won and is now a constable with the power to....well, no one seems to know. They are researching it at the courthouse. In the meantime, he has been sworn in and shared with me his oath of office taken in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Oath of Office
Do you solemnly swear that you will
support the Constitution of the
United States and the Constitution
of this Commonwealth, and be
faithful and true to the
Commonwealth of Kentucky so long
as you continue a citizen thereof,
and that you will faithfully execute,
to the best of your ability, the office
of Constable according
to law;

and you do further solemnly swear
that since the adoption of the
present Constitution, you, being a
citizen of this State, have not fought
a duel with deadly weapons within
this State nor out of it, nor have you
sent or accepted a challenge to fight
a duel with deadly weapons, nor
have you acted as second in carrying
a challenge, nor aided or assisted
any person thus offending, so help
you God.

Interesting. You'd think that in say the past 100 years or two, that they'd get around to changing the wording on dueling. I mean, gees Louise, who ever heard of people dueling in this day and age? OH, wait a minute. Kentucky, West Virginia (yes, Rod, a nod to you) I guess maybe it wasn't all that long ago. And perhaps dueling has just changed. Now, people can't be bothered to duel properly, with "seconds". No, like fast food drive-through's, dueling is accomplished with drive-by's. It doesn't at all have the same class, does it?

Congratulations, Chuck on your victory!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Older Than I Look?

While volunteering at the thrift store this week, I found the back room to be excessively chilly while the front room was overly warm. Moving back and forth between the two while putting out merchandise, I found myself having to put on and then remove my sweater because of the uneven heating of the building.

I tried to prevent any hot flash jokes from my co-worker, Chuck, by saying that I knew I was getting older, but that wasn't my problem yet. It was the building's heating system.

Chuck said more or less, that he wouldn't guess I was old enough for hot flashes. "You can't be more than thirty-six."
I smiled, and said I knew he was just being nice to me, but I appreciated the sentiment.

Chuck continued, "Thirty-eight?"
I stuck my thumb in the air and gestured upward.

"Forty??" his voice rising in pitch of disbelief. Certainly I wasn't that old!
I shook my head, smiling sadly. No, older. Thumb gestures upward. "Forty-TWO?"

Now, up to this point, I'm feeling complimented, so I admitted "No, Chuck. I'm forty-eight."
My tiny bubble of self-congratulation was quickly burst as he let out a loud,
"OH MY GAWD!" and people in the shop laughed and turned to look at the old lady I am.

He recovered nicely by saying that I was well-preserved. Great. I'm going to go take my Geritol now and go to bed. It's past nine o'clock.

Clay (rooster) met his maker yesterday by way of varmint. I had guests in the house yesterday and thought I might be considered a little more eccentric than they already know I am to have a smelly paralyzed rooster in the house. So, I took him in his plastic container to near the chicken coop so he could watch the hens. When I returned home last night at 8 p.m., the container was tipped over and he was gone. The varmints are coming to attack earlier each evening. Part of me is relieved - it was a natural death and I was tired of nightly having to give him a bath (he couldn't move you know, so you can visualize....) Part of me is sad for him. I hope the raccoon or possum chokes on his bones, though.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zip On, Zip Off

At the thrift shop where I volunteer, I'll occasionally come across a sleeve of fabric with one half of a zipper along the top. Here is a photo of one:

Of course, being the mother of a boy, I recognize this fabric for exactly what it is: a pants leg that has lost its pants. I have two questions for you then. Whyever would someone donate just the pants leg without the remainder of the pants? Did they think we might have a table of pants that look like this, waiting for another pants leg to show up?

Now in theory, it is a very interesting design. Boys might be cool in the morning, but as they run and get all sweaty, zip off the (as Wm calls them) "pants sleeve" and voilà, you have shorts. In theory. In practice, you go to pick your son up at the neighbor's, where you left him wearing pants. He is now in shorts and has no idea where the missing parts of his pants have gone. Or worse yet, he knows where one of the pants sleeves are located. No doubt, the other has already migrated to our local thrift store, looking for a pants to zip on to.

Or, maybe it's gone looking for other things that seem to lose their way in our house. For example, scissors. I must have some one hundred pair somewhere in the house. Needles (watch where you sit!). Lately, hair dryers seem to have wandered off. We have three. My hair air-dried this evening and looks it. Pens (where do they all go? I buy them by the truckload!) No doubt I have elves stealing things. I hear them running in the drop ceiling in the basement. Or could that be a colony of mice preparing for winter?

I've set traps, feeling the mother tiger justification to kill in the name of protecting my family from mouse-born disease and disgust. William was quite concerned when he heard me mention that it sounded like a whole "colony". I'm not sure what monster that conjures in his mind, but he won't go in the basement for fear that the colony will get him.

Clay (rooster) lingers. He doesn't get better or worse. Perhaps I should get him one of those little doggy wheelchairs to make him mobile except, oh yeah, chickens only have two legs. He still couldn't move.

I had the pleasure of turning on the new solar fence charger yesterday as the neighbor's rowdy and unmannerly horses leaned on our electric wire. Shocked the crap out of them! Yeah!

Monday, November 10, 2008

To Make You Laugh

First I went here:

to watch this skunk video but had more fun looking at shoes I'd never wear.

My Town Monday: How to Eat Chili Dogs

Today, I'm writing about My Town of Origin. I grew up in Cincinnati where chili is so well loved, there are restaurants where they serve only Cincinnati Chili. If you've never had it, well, you've not yet lived. It is rumored that the recipe arrived with Greek immigrants and is as much a secret as that for Coca-Cola. Still, families try to approximate the seasonings, to make it at home, especially if you no longer live in Cincinnati and can't run to Skyline or Gold Star for the real thing.

It can be eaten several ways: as a bowl of chili, over spaghetti topped with cheese and/or onions, or on top of a hot dog for a chili dog with cheese. Not having grown up with Skyline Chili, my poor culturally deprived family tries to eat chili dogs straight on. That is, they hold the dog perpendicular to their mouth, causing them to get cheese on or up their noses as demonstrated below by Lauren.

Even though they have cheese on their faces, they seem to ridicule my obviously well-honed technique for bringing the chili dog in obliquely to the corner of my mouth, leaving my nostrils free of cheese. Here, Lauren tries to approximate my technique, but obviously, I have some more coaching to do. Too much head turning in the photo below. Obviously going to get cheese up the old schnoz.

You'd think I'd get a little respect, having eaten these all my life, but nooooo, it's just too much fun to poke at the old lady.

Other interesting (or not) facts:

The restaurants are called "chili parlors".
My dad once lived over one. Said the smell of chili cooking in the morning was nauseating.
Chili spaghetti is served with oyster crackers. I remember in high school that "wise guys" would sit down and ask for just an order of crackers (or cheese) to fluster the waitress. Those kind of guys annoyed me. Grow up, already, I thought.
You can now get Skyline Chili frozen and in a can.
Cincinnati Chili contains cinnamon.

Visit my town by making chili without ever leaving your home!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Part of My Menagerie

The Little Chickie that hatched the other day has been soundly rejected by its mommy, despite repeated attempts to reconcile them. Many chickies are raised without mamma and she is doing fine.

At the same time, we have a foster kitten from Animal Control. It, too, lost its mommy early. She was the only one (of four) that survived being dumped. We are watching to see that she lives before adoption (or until we can't bear to part with her).

They are too young to know that one eats the other, normally. As you can see, the two Japanese Chin dogs (I had to put "dogs" 'cause they're so weird looking you might mistake them for hairy rats) love licking both babies. Paris, (on left) might mistake them for squeaky toys and can't be trusted.

Other notes:
Sadly, Clay (rooster) is not going to make it. Though he rallied at first with the vitamin, I think it was too late to reverse the paralysis which now seems to be in his lungs. On the other hand, chicken management has become easier with all the hens in one coop.

It is cold here - high of 45 F. I don't like cold.


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