Tuesday, August 30, 2011


At least once a day I spend some time searching for something I have misplaced. Most recently, it was my checkbook. I worked myself into a state of panic, afraid I had left it somewhere in a public place. I remembered last having it at the bank. I put it down on the counter to fill out a deposit slip. Did I leave it there? Wouldn't the bank call me if they found it? Did someone pick it up and start writing checks in my name? I was ready to go to the bank to ask about it. As I was getting ready to go, I opened a dresser drawer, and there it was!

Earlier this week, when I realized August was almost over, I noticed also that my Visa card expires at the end of this month. Hadn't I received a new one? I had a vague memory of receiving it in the mail a while ago. I went through all my drawers and files and stacks of paper... no luck. I called the credit card customer service line and confessed that I can't find my new card. The very nice young man told me it had been mailed to me in June. I asked him if he could send me another one. He said they would have to cancel the one I had and open a whole new account with a new number. So, I had to change my account number on various places; Amazon, so I can buy books for my Kindle; iTunes so I can buy music, etc.

Being forgetful has become a way of life for me. We get so much "stuff" in the mail that it is impossible to keep track of it all. Too often I try out a recipe I see in a magazine, love it, then later can't remember which magazine it was in or how to find the magazine again. I have set up a filing system. I have a file cabinet with two drawers full of papers, plus a small one that I can carry around. Then I have two large wicker containers with plastic binders with recipes and other ideas. The overflow goes into plastic bins until I can sort through it. The whole system is so unwieldy that I find myself looking through everything to find a crucial piece of paper. I have one box full of mail from animal welfare charities, and another one full of mail from politicians requesting donations. Oh, and I have a huge box full of information about Social Security and Medicare. (When you turn a certain age, it begins to come in the mail like crazy... picture the scene in "Miracle on 34th Street" when they bring in all the Santa Claus mail and dump it in front of the judge trying Kris Kringle. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".)

I think I need a file clerk! Or a secretary! Or a personal assistant! Am I losing my mind?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Birthday!

Sunday was my niece Aubrey's 12th birthday. I made her birthday cake.

Here she is, blowing out the candles. She wanted an iPod Touch for her birthday. Her older sister Sarah got one for her birthday in June, and her younger sister Molly got one for her birthday in July. Aubrey always has to wait, as her birthday comes after her sisters. We all chipped in on it. The girls are into all the techie gadgets now, and they are expensive. They get the techie things from all of us, then little individual gifts from each of us.

Speaking of techie gadgets, I am just about ready to buy one for myself:

It seems I have to in order to keep up with all my friends! We no longer use the phone; we communicate through our "devices". I guess I will have to have my nieces teach me texting.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Caretakers of the Earth

This morning I read something that disturbed and saddened me. Several Republican members of the House of Representatives are attempting to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers, if not eliminate it altogether. They are working on behalf of corporations that want out from under regulations that they feel hinder their ability to make higher profits. It is my belief that certain regulations are necessary to protect our water, air and land resources from those willing to go to any means to make a profit.

2012 appropriations bills coming out of the House for the Interior Department and the EPA have had almost forty anti-environment "riders" attached to them by Republican representatives. These riders would block the EPA from making or maintaining regulations to protect clean water, clean air, energy efficiency and wildlife. Here are a few of them:

1) Block the EPA from clarifying which streams are to be protected by the Clean Water Act;

2) Exempt pesticides from the Clean Water Act;

3 Allow the government to purchase dirtier fuels, such as liquid coal;

4) Block the EPA from setting gas mileage standards for automobiles;

5) Place limitations on the Endangered Species Act or eliminate it altogether.

I understand that businesses have to make a profit; but how much additional profit in their hands is worth destroying our environment? Many citizens now are too young to remember what it was like before the EPA put these regulations into effect. Smog in Los Angeles and other cities was so bad that it was affecting health, and the atmosphere was visibly bad. The Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it actually caught fire. These are just two examples of what was happening all over the country. The regulations by the EPA have improved our environment since then. Do we want to undo all the good that has been done? Yes, profits have to be made, but we have only one Earth. What happens when it has been destroyed? We are supposed to be guardians of the Earth, preserving it for future generations. We have to be vigilant and not let our guard down. I believe we need the EPA to watch over the environment for us against greedy corporations who do not care about it. I don't mean this to be a political issue; I am just stating what is happening.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The East Coast experienced an earthquake on Tuesday! I didn't feel anything here in Kentucky, though I heard it was felt in 22 states. I was worried because my husband was in Maryland, on business. Maryland isn't that far from the epicenter in Virginia. The first thing I did was call his cell phone, but of course the call would not go through. Apparently cell phone service was down all over the East Coast, so I wasn't surprised. The next thing I did was get out a map so I could see exactly how far from the epicenter he was. Then I just kept watching the news.

We don't get many earthquakes in these parts; tornadoes yes, but not many earthquakes. We had one a couple of years ago, in the middle of the night. I woke up to a strange sensation; everything in my bedroom was rattling. Lampshades on lamps, pictures on the wall, loose items on dressers. Everything was just kind of dancing around. I didn't feel it, I just heard it. I remember thinking "oh, an earthquake" then going back to sleep.

The strongest earthquake I have experienced was in Israel. We were in the resort town of Eilat which is at the Southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, on the Red Sea. We were on the eighth floor of a hotel when everything began swaying. The hotel swayed back and forth; it was mesmerizing to look out the window and see everything jiggling and bouncing around. Apparently they are pretty common in that area. We had been to Masada the day before and rode the cable car up the side of the mountain. We were very glad it hadn't happened then!

Well, my husband finally called me yesterday, about two hours later. I asked him if they evacuated the building he was in. He said, no, they knew it was an earthquake but just kept right on with their meeting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Clearing the Decks!

Today I am getting ready to have my house cleaned. i have just hired a cleaning lady to come in and clean my house. She's been cleaning for my neighbor for two years and comes highly recommended. She will be here tomorrow morning at nine a.m. What have I been doing today? Cleaning up for the cleaning lady!

The first time she cleans (tomorrow) she spends a longer time and does a very thorough job, to lay the groundwork and start with a "clean slate". This first time costs twice as much as subsequent times, so I want to make sure the decks are clear for her. So, I've been removing everything portable from all the floors and all the flat surfaces so she will have room to work. This has taken the better part of the day and I am exhausted! I never realized how much stuff I have just sitting around!


One more post about "Moonlighting"! The show ran for five seasons in the 1980s. It was such an entertaining, light-hearted show. I don't know if it would be popular now, but it certainly was then. When I mention it to my friends of that era, they all agree. This is a clip from the pilot. Please take the time to watch all seven minutes, past the brief break in the middle. I think you will like it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Al Jarreau Sings "Moonlighting"

Al Jarreau is one of my favorite singers. Here he is singing the theme song of a great TV show of the 1980s. Do you remember it?

This is one of those songs I listen to in my car and sing along. It always puts me in a good mood.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Bruce Willis at his funniest, as David Addison in "Moonlighting".

(Thanks to Susan's advice, I made YouTube work.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm All Mixed Up!

Blogger and Google have ganged up on me!

When I first got on the computer, I signed up with aol for email. I was still on aol when I started my blog. Sometime after that, my aol email just crashed and wouldn't let me access it anymore. When that happened, I started using gmail. As a result of this, I ended up with two Google accounts: one for email and the other for my blog. I have to switch back and forth, depending on what I am doing.

It gets even more complicated when YouTube gets involved. I originally opened a YouTube account using my old aol account. Unfortunately, I completely forgot what my password was. So, when I tried to get a new password via email, I couldn't access it. So, I set up a new YouTube account using my second, gmail-related Google account.

So, now I have a blog through my aol account and YouTube through my gmail account. It seems this makes them incompatible. I am unable to embed a YouTube video to my blog. Blogger apparently doesn't recognize my gmail-related YouTube when I try to put it on my aol-related blog. Is that confusing? It is to me! To make it more confusing, YouTube has been giving out messages that "we are no longer using the old Google settings, so you have to go to new Google settings... I don't even know what that means! What are the "old" settings? Where are the "new" settngs? Are mine old or new? Does anyone understand these things?

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Little Bit of Nice Weather

We have not had much nice weather this summer. It's been miserably hot and very humid, and I wasn't spending much time outdoors. This week we finally had some nice weather. The temperatures were mild and the humidity was low. The gray haze of mugginess gave way to blue skies and puffy-looking clouds. I took some time out to go to the pool! I took these photos with my iphone.

Between dips in the pool, I was reading a book and sipping a pina colada. It was nice to relax for a while!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Healthy

Two posts ago, I explained my trick for not sitting too long and losing track of time. I set a timer and when it goes off, I get up.

Today I took another step toward getting healthy. I had read in Woman's World Magazine (8/1/11) an article about Dr. Oz's diet tips. Part of it was to have a smoothie for one meal, and there were recipes for five different smoothies.

I had tried making smoothies before in my old blender, and it hadn't worked very well. So, one day last week I went to my local WalMart and bought a Ninja for $39.00 (I don't normally shop at WalMart, but they did have the best price).

Yesterday, I went to the grocery and bought all the ingredients for making smoothies. I scoured my local Kroger's trying to find protein powder and flaxseed oil. There were a million kinds of protein powder so it took a while to choose one. I never did find the flaxseed oil (even with the help of store personnel) so I bought one that features omega 3, which the flaxseed oil is supposed to provide. I bought bananas, berries, no fat no sugar yogurt, and fruit juice. This morning, I made a smoothie with a banana and blueberries. I love berries and have been reading how good for us they are, so this is perfect for me. Oh, by the way, the Ninja worked great!

I am combining the smoothie idea with another idea that I read in another magazine. You make a pancake (or galette) with oat bran, egg whites and plain yogurt and eat it once during the day. I've been making and eating these for a while now, and they really are filling (you eat only one). When I started making these, my husband, who always seems to find his way into the kitchen when he hears cooking going on, decided he wanted some pancakes too. I explained to him that you're supposed to eat only one, and that it was a special "diet" thing. He said okay, so now he is eating them too.

Okay, my timer is going off, so I am going to get up now. Time for the third part of my plan (and the most difficult for me)... exercise!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


What does "stuff" mean? I looked it up. "Personal belongings; Bits and Pieces; Odds and Ends". Whatever it is, I have too much of it. I've been working on it off and on for months now. Now I am getting really serious!

I had literally hundreds of cookbooks. I weeded them out and gave about half to the library. I went through all my old magazines and recycled 75 percent of them. I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and gave about half of my pots and pans to the Goodwill. Now I am going through my pantry and getting rid of everything that has expired. I didn't realize I had so much of it!

As I accumulated stuff, I had to buy more shelves and cabinets to hold it all. Now I am emptying out shelves and cabinets. Once all the stuff is out, I get rid of the shelves and cabinets, too. I want my house to look sleek and uncluttered, with lots of empty spaces. I am preparing for another downsizing when we retire. I don't want to have to take so much with me to a new place.

When I see the newly cleared spaces, I feel like it's easier to breathe!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A First Step

This is my very small first step in getting fit. Probably by now, you have all read how sitting shortens your life span. Apparently, sitting is very bad for your health. When I sit down to read a couple of blogs, too often one thing leads to another; I begin looking at links, other blogs, and just surfing the net. Before I know it, an hour or two has gone by.

So here is my very, very small first step. Whenever I sit down in a chair to do anything (read, blog, watch TV, etc.) I am setting a timer. When the timer goes off, I will get up and do something that doesn't involve sitting. I will give myself thirty minutes, then get up!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Things I Am Loving This Week

I loved this book, and I've been looking forward to the movie. I saw the movie Friday, and I loved it too! The cast was wonderful and brought every character vividly to life.

First, Emma Stone, who plays Skeeter. I have loved her since I saw her in "Easy A". She is adorable and such a great actress.

Alison Janney plays her mother. She does a wonderful job, playing a woman struggling with illness and memories.

She wants her free spirit daughter to conform to the expected behavior of young ladies of the era in Mississipi society. Here, she fixes her up for a date.

The date is just one scene where Emma Stone makes us love Skeeter, as she deals with her less than gentlemanly date.

Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson were heartbreakly real in their characters.

Bryce Dallas Howard was wonderful as wicked, hateful Hilly...

...and Sissy Spacek was hilarious as her batty mother.

Before I saw this movie, I had never heard of Jessica Chastain. Wow! She was fabulous as Cecilia Foote. Very touching and very funny. Oh, and Mary Steenburgen and Cicely Tyson are in it, too. I really enjoyed it.

In my spare time, I have been reading this book:

It's about an American family living in Berlin during the 1930s, as Hitler comes to power. The main characters are the American ambassador to Germany and his flighty, naive and reckless daughter. It's interesting and thought-provoking. I am now halfway through the book, and the ominous feeling is building.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mom's 87th Birthday

I made the cake.

My mom and my sister.


Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm feeling blue today. My husband is going away tomorrow morning. He's going to California, to visit his daughter and granddaughter. He will go on from there to out of town business all week. This means he won't be home until a week from today. It's times like these that remind me of the consequences of not having children of my own. I will never have my own grandchildren. He is very kind about sharing his grandparenthood with me. He always includes me in greetings and phone calls. But it is he that they really love. The "stepmother" thing never really goes away.

On top of this, we have been trying to decide where to live after he retires. Here, I have family, which is the reason we moved here five years ago. I am closer to my mom, two sisters, and nieces than I was when we lived in Philadelphia. But I still have so many good friends back there and I miss them. Whenever we visit they ask me when we are coming back. There are so many fun things happening there that I am missing. They are my peers. I have some great neighbors here now, and we have the crew of feral cats that we care for. So, no matter what we do, I will be missing someone.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The School Bus

The school bus came into my life in the fifth grade. During my first through fourth grade years, we lived in the city; my sister and I walked to school then. In the summer between fourth and fifth grade we moved to the suburbs, and school was too far to walk. So began my adventure on the school bus!

Our new house was the first one on our street to be occupied. Our street was in a new development that had sprung up in the midst of farmland. When we moved in, the street had not been paved yet. It rained a lot that summer and the street turned to mud. The mail truck would not come down the street, so we had to walk up to the main road to get our mail. Same with the school bus; it wouldn't come down the street, so my sister and I had to walk up to the main road to catch it.

We rode on bus number nine. I remember it well. Our ride to school took about 45 minutes, and it made a very circuitous route. We went around to all the farms, picking up all the farm kids at the ends of their long driveways. I still remember a lot of our route... Feedwire Road, Social Row Road, etc. Our bus driver was a local farmer, and this was his part-time job. His farm must have been close to us because he picked us up first, so we got to ride the entire route.

Our driver was quite a character. His name was Mr. Reeder. He was a no-nonsense, old-fashioned farmer, who put up with no trouble from us kids. He was a tight-lipped, taciturn man; I don't remember him ever speaking. We weren't at all afraid of him, but we knew we had to behave. Actually, my sister and I weren't the type to misbehave anyway, but we did have some boys on the bus who were known to be pretty rowdy in other situations. Not on Mr. Reeder's bus, though.

My sister and I were lucky to be the first one on the bus because we got to choose on which side we sat. No one wanted to sit on the driver's side, at least not in warm weather. In warm weather the windows were always open, and Mr. Reeder chewed tobacco. Once in a while, he would turn to his side window and spit... a big, juicy wad of brown tobacco juice. It was bad enough in the winter when the windows were closed. Then you had to see it splat against your window. But in warm weather, if you dared to open your window, you risked it flying in. Ugh! I can still remember the smell of it!

Back to School

Things sure have changed since I was in school. When I was in school:

1. We went back to school after Labor Day. Now, all the schools around me are starting in August. Many kids here are going back next week!

2. There was no air conditioning in schools back then. Some days must have been hot, even in September. But I don't remember being uncomfortable because of the heat. I do remember the windows being open, and everyone wanted the seats closest to the windows.

3. No one was allowed to wear shorts. Girls weren't even allowed to wear pants! Skirts or dresses only. (No jeans for anyone.) When I think about choosing my clothes for the first day, I remember plaid skirts and knee socks. Now it's shorts and sandals.

4. My sister and I walked a mile to school in first and second grade... by ourselves. Imagine little girls walking alone on city streets today. The thought makes me shudder.

5. We didn't get supply lists from our teachers. We went to school with pencils. They supplied the paper, crayons, rulers, etc. Later on, we were required to bring protractors.

6. We didn't have backpacks. I really don't remember what we carried our pencils in. I guess we left them in our desks after the first day of school. In high school we carried armloads of books home. (See "Back to the Future") If we had a boyfriend, he might carry our books for us.

7. No computers, flash drives, laptops or phones. The first day I picked up my nieces from school, I asked them what those things were hanging on a cord around their necks... a flashdrive, of course! They take their homework on a flash drive to transfer their work from their school computer to their home computer.

It's a different world!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Still Changing

As you can tell, I am still "fiddling" with this blog. Changing templates, colors, fonts, etc. I'm not very good at it, so most of it is by trial and error. If you notice it looking strange in coming days, that's why. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

My best friend says "Just try it; experiment." So that's what I am doing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Need for Change

I was feeling the need to change this blog. I was posting photos and telling stories, yet generating no response. I thought maybe I was becoming boring. So, I redecorated... a new template, a new background, etc. Then I got lazy and just put up some cartoons. I am determined to make it better.

I am trying to think up a new approach to this blog. It's a personal thing that requires changing your whole outlook. I do indeed need a new outlook. I've been staying in the house too much (it's too hot). I've been sitting in the same chair too much (while reading how sitting shortens your life). A couple of years ago, I went with a friend to a women's retreat weekend. Part of the program was a Zumba class. While the other ladies Zumba'd energetically, I dropped out after a couple of minutes. I was panting and sweating; I was so discouraged at being so out of shape. The other day, I watched hundreds of women Zumba-ing on the Today show. I was jealous. Why can they do it, and I can't? I NEED to get in shape.

I intend to remake not just this blog, but myself as well. Exercise, yoga, pilates, so many forms of exercise from which to choose. Just choose one! just get up and do something (that's me, talking to myself). Ever since I moved here and stopped working, I've been at a kind of loss. I will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blogging Dogs

No message here... I just thought it was funny!

Starting Over

I think it's time for a change in my blog. Do you prefer this new template, or did you like the old one better?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trapped in a Dream

Have you ever felt trapped in a dream?

I dream a lot, and I usually remember them the next day. Most of my dreams are so ordinary that sometimes I think something happened in real life, then I realize I dreamed it. But, every once in a while I have a dream from which I can't escape. I had one of those last night.

I had some dental work done yesterday, and when the numbness wore off I had pain. I decided to take a pain killer and go to bed early. I dreamed about myself, in a different world I couldn't recognize. It was confusing and menacing. I wanted to leave, but I couldn't wake up. This has happened to me in dreams before. I know I am dreaming and I want to wake up and escape, but I can not figure out how to do that. I try to open my eyes. I try to reach out and touch something real in my room. I feel like I am trapped in the dream world and I can't make myself wake up. It's very strange. It makes me afraid to go to sleep again.

This time, I knew that two of my cats were sleeping on the bed with me. I started saying their names, then I finally woke up. Maybe they moved when they heard their names, and that brought me back to reality. I can't be sure. I was still very groggy and stiff all over. I got out of bed and stretched and turned on some lights. It was very early, too early to stay awake. I got up and had a snack then went back to sleep again. This time my dream was more normal. Thank goodness!


I took my nieces to Skyline the other day. You know, Cincinnati chili. Three-ways, four-ways, five-ways and coneys. Lots of spaghetti and cheese. This is the ten-year old, who wants to be a fashion designer. Right now, she is blowing the straw paper across the table at her sister!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The World's Longest Yard Sale

Have you heard of the World's Longest Yard Sale? It's a yard sale that is 675 miles long!

The longest yard sale takes place this weekend. It happens every year during the first weekend in August. It stretches for 675 miles, from Michigan to Alabama. The route follows Route 127, which goes right through my town.

Many towns set up their own sale, and individuals set up their tables and tents all along the way. Schools set up sales; churches set up sales; retail stores have sidewalk sales.

Some people take the whole weekend off, and travel along as much as the route as time permits. As more people hear about this, they come from all over the country to take it all in.

There are yard sales everywhere! It's quite a sight to see. In fact, the first year we moved here I had no idea what was going on. I turned onto Route 127 to go to the store and there were tents and tables and people as far as the eye could see.