Thursday, February 27, 2014


I think I have the winter blues.  We're expecting another winter storm this weekend.  I just feel like hibernating.  I need a beach and warm sunshine like a starving person needs bread.  Speaking of bread, I decided a few days ago to go on a non-wheat diet.  Maybe I'm in withdrawal.

Update:  Maybe the diet is working.  I went to the doctor this morning and when I got on the scale it showed I had lost one pound.  Small but nice. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thinking Back Over My Week

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted here.  Things have begun to melt outside, and I've been taking advantage of it to get out and about and run errands.  Last week, my husband went to California to treat his daughter and granddaughter to a trip to Disneyland during their school's midwinter break.  So I had the whole week to myself.

I decided to spend some time helping Mom.  She lives alone in the house where she has lived for the last twenty years.  Her house is about an hour and a half away so we don't see her as often as we should.  She doesn't want to move, but problems have a way of popping up around the house.  We usually don't know much about them because she "doesn't like to complain".

This is my mom at Christmas:

She has made it through the recent snow, ice and arctic cold without losing power.  However, one section of the house had no power because a fuse blew (or the breaker flipped).  She didn't have power in the hallway, hall bath, second bedroom or office.  I suspect it happened because she had a heating pad wrapped around a pipe to keep it warm.  I drove up there on Wednesday and had a look at the breaker box.  For some reason her utility room is at the back of the house and can only be accessed from the back yard.  So we had to go through remaining ice and snow to get to it.  I looked over the box, trying to figure out which switch went to which places in the house.  I noticed that one of the switches had red next to it while the rest had black.  So I flipped that one over to black.  (You can tell I don't know much about it.)  We crossed our fingers that that had fixed the problem.  We went inside and it worked!  One problem solved.

Then I brought her down to stay with me for a couple of nights.  She wanted to look for a new car.  She has been driving an ancient station wagon that is on its last legs.  She doesn't drive much, just to church and the grocery store, and she doesn't drive at night or in bad weather.  My next door neighbor (the two cat-loving ladies that help our cats when we travel) has a car that they love.  I decided Mom might want to look at it to consider getting one like it.  I had looked online for a car suitable for older drivers and one that she could afford and this one fit the bill.

I invited the neighbors over for dinner so Mom could meet them and look at their car.  We had a wonderful time visiting and Mom enjoyed meeting them.  They drove the car over so she could have a look at it.  The next day we went to the dealer and got some information.  She wasn't ready for a test drive, though.  She used to have an old Buick that she loved and is also considering another one of those.  My brother-in-law is working his magic, looking online for a deal.

The next day I took her to meet with an elder law attorney.  She has been worrying about her estate.  My husband and I had attended a seminar at our local library and was referred to this attorney.  We met with him for two hours for a free consultation.  He explained so much that I'm afraid Mom's head was spinning.  He gave us a book that explains everything.  After we came home I went over it with her.  She's still confused but I promised that my sister and I would help her through it.  I marked places in the book that apply to her, and she wants to discuss it with some of her friends who have gone through the process.

We went to lunch with my sister and explained everything to her so she can help too.  That same evening I showed Mom how to use the new digital camera she got for Christmas.  I had her practice with it and told her to keep practicing at home so she doesn't forget.  If it's too confusing for her we will find a simpler one.

Yesterday I drove her home.  On the way she told me her kitchen sink is stopped up and the dishwasher won't work.  Oy vey!  I asked if she has a plumber she trusts and she said yes.  So I told her to call him.  She has plenty of money to have things fixed but she still has the "depression mentality".  I think I convinced her to spend money on things she needs.  She is also going to contact the local public transportation service to sign up for trips where they will pick her up at her house to go where she needs to go.  She said she used to do that before she remarried but stopped needing it when her husband drove them both.  I urged her to start using it again.  I will make sure she calls them and the plumber.

Now I am spending the weekend catching up on things around my own house.  It's warm and sunny now, but we are expecting another cold snap with possible snow next week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow Rage - My Winter Rant

Think we've had enough snow this winter?

I was just reading an article about "snow rage".  Someone is claiming it's a form of PTSD that is beginning to affect some people in areas that have been hit with non-stop snow storms this winter.  There have been reports of men threatening snow plow drivers when the plow pushes snow onto their property.

Along with snow rage comes cabin fever.  You can spend only so much time inside before you feel like screaming and running out barefoot in zero degree weather.

I was wondering if I have had a mild case of snow rage.  I haven't threatened anyone or thrown any objects at the windows.  I think it's more a case of mild depression combined with cabin fever.  When I look outside day after day and there is no color other than black and white, I just want to go back to bed and hide.  After that doesn't help, I get up and pace around the house like a caged animal.

Of course, the answer is to go ahead and get out of the house.  It requires a certain amount of determination to put on layers of clothes and cover every inch of skin with winter gear, but it seems to be worth it.  The times that I have been the happiest this winter are the times when I've managed to brave the elements and get out there.  Thank goodness we have kept our 1998 Blazer with 120,000 miles on it.  We put in 4-wheel drive and go… out to lunch, out to a movie, or out to the mall.  I usually see things I want to photograph (like our neighbors igloos) and I think I will go back home to get my camera and go back out.  Why don't I just take my camera in the first place?  Probably because I think there is nothing out there worth seeing.  I keep thinking about Hawaii, how green and lush it is.  I want to move there but my husband won't think of it.  One night I was so desperate to go there that I packed my suitcase with flip flops, swim suits and shorts.  I was going to drive to the airport and just buy a ticket.  Of course, I didn't do it, though.

I did feel rage at first, when I saw other peoples' Facebook posts showing them in warm, sunny, beachy places.  But then I remembered… those are my friends.  I should be happy for them.  I did calm down. I have learned my lesson though.  From now on, every winter I am going to have an escape plan, to get away to some tropical paradise.  My sanity is at stake.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Doing the Happy Dance

It's 35 degrees and sunny today!  Ice is slowly melting!  It's safe to go outside!

Monday, February 10, 2014

More Igloos

Last week I posted a photo of an igloo that my neighbors built in their yard, from blocks of ice they cut out of their driveway.  Yesterday I noticed that they have built a second, slightly smaller igloo next to the first one.  If the winter goes on like this, they may have a yard full of igloos.

Tonight I'm going to try to take another photo to show the two igloos.  They have now strung fairy lights around them.  It's quite a sight.  In the meantime, I found this photo on Google and couldn't resist it.

Maybe we will begin to see polar bears in Kentucky!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

So Much Ice…

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, they say.

When life gives you ice…

You build an igloo!

(Our neighbors built it with blocks of ice they chipped out of their driveway.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Out My Window: Fire and Ice

Kentucky sunset:

Kentucky ice:

Life with Cats

This is Tiger.  He's my soulful kitty.  He's shy but affectionate.  Every night he runs to the bedroom to jump up to his spot at the foot of the bed.  He came to us as a feral cat from the back yard.

We have a new group of feral cats now.  We have had a dozen of them spayed or neutered, but apparently there were two intact cats still out there because four new kittens showed up about a month ago.

This is the new crew on our back deck:

The black kitty in the foreground is the mother cat.  There are four kittens:

The kittens are usually close to the mother.  We have seen her playing with them.  When they were younger, we saw them trying to nuzzle underneath for a snack.  Sometimes, however, she needs a little break.  The other day we saw them trying to get to her as she sat on top of an igloo.

They tend to be irresistible…

How could anyone not want to take care of them?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Creationism vs Evolution - A Debate

That green arrow on the map is pointing to Petersburg, Kentucky.  It's the location of the Creation Museum, which opened its doors in May, 2007.  The museum was created by a group called "Answers in Genesis".  Why is there a dinosaur superimposed on the map?  Because inside the museum there are exhibits featuring dinosaurs living side by side with man.  Let me explain:

The president, CEO and founder of the Creation Museum is Ken Ham.  He's an Australian and a young-Earth creationist.  He founded the group "Answers in Genesis", which advocates a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis.  The museum teaches that the earth is thousands, not millions of years old and that God created earth, animals and humans in six 24-hour periods as stated in Genesis.

There are exhibits and dioramas depicting scenes from Genesis, showing humans living alongside dinosaurs.

The Creation Museum has been extremely popular, drawing visitors from everywhere.  Many families bring their children here, especially those who homeschool.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because tomorrow, February 4th a debate is taking place at the Creation Museum.  Ken Ham, who rejects the idea of evolution, is going to debate Bill Nye "the science guy" about creationism vs evolution.  I know nothing will be decided by this debate.  I know it might be more or less a "circus".  However, it might be interesting so I thought I would point it out.  It will begin at 7:00 pm EST and you can watch it on, or on YouTube.

Science vs Faith.  Evolution vs Creationism.  It's hard to believe this is happening in the 21st century.

*** Added a day later:

I was reading on Huffington Post this morning some reactions of people when hearing about this debate.  I have to agree with Matt S. that by agreeing to this debate, Bill Nye may be lending unwarranted credibility to the creationists.  I hope Matt S. doesn't mind if I quote him.  This is what he said:

"Debating creationists is like playing chess with a pigeon.  They'll knock all the pieces over, crap on the board, then fly off to their flock and declare victory."