Monday, February 28, 2011

Clouds and clouds of sorrow

The entire community of this large city is under the shadow of great grief. On Friday, we lost four little souls for no good reason. They were dropped at their individual home daycare just as any other morning.

Then their phones began to ring. Their baby was either dead or struggling to hang on to life, fighting terrible smoke inhalation and/or severe burns. The local stations cut into programming with breaking news.

The scene on our screens was close to organized chaos. A corner house was surrounded by huge firetrucks. There was a ladder on the roof and a hole in the roof that originally was chopped open to ventilate the smoke because there was smoke. Heavy, black smoke. There had been a fire, but it was mostly smoke in that house.

Before the TV crews showed up on the scene, there were firefighters running toward ambulances parked half a block or more away because there was no space closer. They were running with the limp bodies of dear babies toward the ambulance. Other firefighters were doing CPR on those little bodies.

This is a daycare that claimed to be open 24/6, or at least that was what was written on the side of the van. And the van. It had bags of groceries still in it. The owner/director was standing outside the door screaming for help because "the babies are dying." You see, she had left those babies along while she went to the grocery store.

It is known that she was only keeping children 18 months to 3 years. It is known she has been doing this for a year. When she applied for a license, she had two marks against her. One was a fire extinguisher and the other a CO monitor. Nothing has been said about those things. Were they there? But against the rules for running this daycare was the fact she had maybe 9 babies that day instead of 7. Would that have made any difference? Who knows. But the child she shouldn't have been keeping is either dead or fighting for its life too.

Now she has fled the country. She is in Nigeria. What will happen? That is not known now. I guess it's up to the Nigerian government. If she comes back, there are charges already set, and I believe there will be new charges. Four parents have lost a baby. About two more have another baby fighting for its life. The remainder of the parents just had a single child there. The ones that live will probably have health problems for the rest of their life.

Just when, as a parent, you entrust your child to a person you trusted.

Peace be with us all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time to put away fears

Last month when G really did retire, I was terribly filled with anxiety. I could see each day as a growing battle when he would get his briefs in a bundle. Sometimes he is irritable just to be so. That really hasn't happened yet. The truth of the matter is that we have been busy, but even so. A little of that characteristic showed up when we went to lunch after church, but it seems to have gone away.

The most amazing result of his being retired is that our yards haven't looked to good in a long time. Now the wasted banana plants and canna lilies that clutter the yard looking like boiled spinach minus the chlorophyll are going to be cleaned up and carted away by out usual yard people. After that, between G's work and their cleaning of the tropical stuff that turns to overcooked spinach, the yard will soon begin coming back from the week long deep freeze. I know - don't hate me, we just usually don't have a winter here! So we will be looking for green in those flacid, dead stems that are abounding here abouts.

I am pretty sure G isn't going to rush out to buy a lawn mower and tell the yard people to leave. I don't think he wants to go that far, but he has done a lot of puttering about the yard. That is really not what I expected from him. The only casualty so far was a little green succulent that I was trying to get to grow lushly and fall over the side of the pot. It was doing pretty well - until... I didn't make a big deal of it, and so an argument about that was avoided.

The big time consumer for me has been doctor's appointments. A huge cluster like this comes about every six months. It has been time for the cardio doc, and the oncologist is coming up in a few weeks. We both went to the skin doc for the body scan looking for melanoma (my mom died of that), and I have had dental work that isn't complete yet. And so it goes. I think it comes with age. So far we are not hitting the time of funerals for our contemporaries.

So - things around here are running like a well oiled clock - even the cuckoo hasn't sounded yet. G's retirement hasn't been a bad thing at all.

Peace be with you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What a day!

Several years ago, my primary doctor had the nerve to actually pull the plug on his practice. I cannot tell you how that upset me. He had been our doctor for a mere 30+ years. Why how dare him. Just because it was abundantly clear that his arthritis had gotten so bad that I know going from room to room was shear agony for him. Boy, can I understand that.

Anyway, I went to the ones who bought his practice for a flu shot. That office was a madhouse. In addition, we were charged a $25 office visit, and then whoever did his insurance had the gall to bill the insurance another $25. They will be able to retire on their ill gotten gains.

Someone suggested that I find someone who I might want to use as a personal physician. Daughter and SIL see this one, so I went. It was rather embarrassing to tell everyone who wanted to know why I was visiting the doctor that I just wanted to meet him, and let him see what normal is for me (whatever that is). Anyway, he seemed to understand, and all was well.

So when the cardio doc told me he wanted the PCP to follow my progress on the metformin, I knew I would be seeing Dr.A. So I made the appointment for today. He is really a great guy. My appointment was 9:30. I got out at 11:20. That's because he is so easy to talk to. I am looking forward to having more sessions with him. It's been a long time since I was able to connect with a doctor. I had forgotten how good this feels. I feel my health care is in good hands.

After that - G., Daughter, SIL and I had pedicures. It was his first. I think he did enjoy it. I wasn't sure. He is so funny about his feet! But I think he thought it was alright. Daughter and I were teasing the guys about getting color on their nails. It was a fun time, and I lost about another 50 pounds of dead skin off my feet - again. I shouldn't have a weight problem anymore. I just need more pedis!

I hate to brag because so many of you are still freezing, but we are having great weather. The weekend is looking really good too. This is something that is unusual for this time of year. All the trail rides are coming in for the beginning of the rodeo. Yes, this is our going back in time! But the "Go Western" days are fun. The rodeo isn't the big draw - the shows that come to entertain draw the crowds. Son will be there for the next two days (he was there last night too) with his band. There are BBQ cook-offs, and his band plays at one of the business's tents. It is good money for him and good exposure. He usually is able to book several weddings from this.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back again

We have again returned from our week at the SSB. And as usual, I didn't have a signal for any reading nor posting. That's the real bummer of the whole thing.

Since our return on Tuesday, things have been in super high gear. Yesterday I was to keep the three older grandchildren while their parents worked their shift on the rodeo committee. I will keep my mouth shut about my thoughts of the serving on the committee. That should explain that.

I was to be with the kiddos from 5:15 until an unknown time. The two older ones are a true joy. That wasn't always true. My grandson and I haven't always meshed, but as his age gentles him some - we really enjoy each other. The "baby" is one to drive you to distraction. She is in the terrible threes. Of course she was in the terrible twos before that. I hope the fours become fantastic.

She and I have a rather bumpy relationship anyway. After she was born, her mom stayed home with her longest of either of the two before her. Since is was so much easier to just breast feed, she didn't know what a bottle was. That made for some long days for us two. She would get to eat about 9 am, and then not again until 3 or 4 pm. She really was good natured about it, and I would try to get a little dribbled into her little mouth with a sippy cup. But even her mom will say that she is hell on wheels.

She is a darling. Petite and smart. The other two are good sized kiddos. They always were at the maximum of the growth charts, but this wee one is, as I say, a petite little thing -- who can wear you out in a matter of minutes.

Before I left for the SSB, I had some good news and bad news as far as health is concerned. After skirting the issue for years, my cardio doc seems to believe I am pre-diabetic. Not so good. So he prescribed metformin (I'll just bet I didn't get that spelling). So what am I seeing about the diagnosis. Well, I understand the medication helps with weight loss. I think it is - at least I am a lot more careful.

Oh and before I forget. The new boxer has taken to her new family like you wouldn't believe. She is especially bonded to my daughter. She is showing herself to be quite the watch dog already. This makes me very, very happy.

Any so I will fade into the night.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crazy Boxer Lady

I was sitting around here not doing much when the telephone rang. I looked at the Caller ID, and it was my vet's office. Now, you have to understand they ALL know Simone and me - very well. One of the office folks told me that Dr J had found a Boxer, and they thought they would call me and ...

I pondered the situation for a bit, then told them I would be up there to see the dog, all the while wondering just how I would present this new little dog coming in behind me to live here. So I told them I would be up in a bit.

In an effort to deflect some of the fall-out of this situation, I called daughter to come with me. All along I really thought I would adopt the dog. My concerns were how G would react, and more how Simone would react.

The staff brought the dog up. She is a beautiful little fawn colored girl with a beautiful mask. We both fell in love with her. The crazy thing here is that Daughter ran into her Senior English teacher. They talked some, and Ms F remarked about what a good body structure she has - she conforms to Boxer bone structure.

The dog was abandoned near Dr J's parents. She picked her up, treated her for heart worms, spayed her and was nursing her back to health. She is just skin and bones.

So - grandchildren are happy with her, SIL, who was out of town at one of the food trade shows, likes her. They have gotten a crate down for her since in her excitement has her urinating inside!

It looks like this is a good match. All thanks to Simone making me the "Crazy Boxer Lady" who came to their mind to call first!

Peace be with you

Friday, February 11, 2011


Dare I say that word? It seems we will be stepping out of this freezer in a bit. Thanks for the sample, but I am not sure I want to buy this winter weather. I guess we aren't as tough as we thought. We have been pretty much dropped to our knees.

I don't think I really want to see what it left of our citrus crop. It has had a blanket and "heating pad" consisting of a string of Christmas tree lights. I really don't think the mini lights give off enough heat to keep the freezing temperatures away from those tropicals.

Our yard looks like wilted lettuce. The banana trees and the cannas are especially bad. The philodendrons that were five feet tall in the front are just frozen and littering the ground. Last year we only had three days that would qualify to compare to this winter, and we had only three days. This year we had five. I guess next year it will be seven!

I don't think I am going to replace things. The fern that I have in one of the front beds consists of brown stems sticking up. This fern got so thick three years ago that it stopped weeds from growing in that bed. They were wonderful. Last year, they froze to the ground. Just before this freeze, I noticed that they were almost back to being 85% full. Well ... you know the rest.

Two days ago, after the rolling black outs, the power to the neighborhood went out. (Yea for the generator) The guy from the utilities company was trying to make a simple repair. Well Murphy's Law got him. The entire thing went down for quite a while. The lights came back on for those of us on this part of the street, but the four houses to our east the power never came back on.

It wasn't too bad for a while, but darkness was coming. The head contractor was talking to G - who was out only to get the mail - told him what had happened. It was a major thing that was just waiting to happen. The lady from the corner pulled into out driveway. She asked how long the electricity would stay out. He told her an hour - told G more like two. Well it was more like six more.

So that's the latest from The Little City Outside Swampland proper. We see higher temperatures coming this weekend, and then perhaps spring. In four months, we may look back on this and wish for a little of it to have hung around. For me, I will just look at all the wilted lettuce that were once my plants!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here and there

I would first like to thank those of you who live north of Texas for sending us an ample sample of your winter. It has been freezing here for three more days, and I, for one, don't like it! You can take the sample back just anytime you want.

Second here on my list is retirement. I don't know who came and took away the old G, but you can keep him. I like this version a lot better. He has been more than helpful, and his mood is always good.
Knock on wood or whatever else brings luck. This is seeming to be working out.

I went to the pain docs the other day. I am still having back pain that they believe is muscular right now. Actually, the muscle relaxers they prescribed last month and have continued work for the most part. It is hard for your back to be hurting when you fall asleep as soon as you sit still for 10 minutes. This is terrible.

This morning I wanted to go to the sewing club. So I got up around 8. I stumbled in to get my cereal. I sat down to watch Martha Stewart (I need that motivation to kill my ego even more, like when she talks about how she cleans this and that then turns out a seven course dinner for 50). Martha was on and then it was time for The View, and I was fast asleep where I sat. I came in here to finish up reading you guys and check my mail. That was at 4. It is now six. I have been asleep that long sitting in this chair.

G was kidding me (I think) he was worried about me driving anywhere. He was afraid I was going to fall asleep while driving. I don't think that is going to happen, but to fall asleep in this office chair is a bit scary.

Peace and good sleeping be with you.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Happy Post Super Bowl Day

I never had a big emotional tie to the Super Bowl. I'm not a football, nor any professional sport fan. The Super Bowl is a good way to interact with some folks, and from what I gather, they aren't big Super Bowl fans either. I find the conversation goes around and through the plays, but when the commercials come, they are watched with a close analytical eye comparing the merits of each one as they arise. So last night was no different in that respect.

For the last several years, we were at the SSB for Super Bowl. Being the new kids on the block, and the only ones who stayed through on Sunday, we opted for our own Super Bowl Party for several years. In the closest years, we haven't and were blasphemous enough to watch other things on TV. I'm surprised the football gods hadn't clawed our eyeballs out - or some such penalty. (Ooo, good one there Granny - what a play on word? A penalty for TV watching instead of football! High five)

Getting back to the subject at hand - after years of not watching the game, we ventured forth to daughter's house. They were having their new bests friends over along with NBF's boss (??). I like the NBF, and really like her boss. I met them the week before at a house party to sell, um, well, um adult toys. One of the other women was laid (don't say it) off, and she was looking at a way of bringing in more money.

DIL used to do these, and she made about $700 per party. Not bad. Well NS really is trying to get started and needs people to tell people who tell more people and so on. Well, it was a good group of women, and NR is really good at things like this. I don't think anything makes her blush and stammer!

All in all, it was good. The kidlets entertained each other. The only thing I had against them it that they ate ALL the banana pudding. Little rats. Conversation flowed well, and with the exception of the male part of NBF shouting really loud when the half scores had a 1 and a 0 because that were his numbers, the evening was really nice - even without the banana pudding.

Peace be with you

Friday, February 04, 2011

A big let down

It all happened again. The weather people here, once again, got into a frenzy about the great weather event that threatens our very beings - only so have it fizzle leaving with egg on their faces.

So to bolster these sooth-sayers, the stations to broadcast pictures solidly through all the network's programming. And why - because we had a light mist all night, and therefore all bridges and overpasses are slick as, well you can fill that one in.

They had said we would be getting the effects of that low pressure area that was moving from the Pacific coast around noon. What happened then - schools began closing. Now with the information they were given, that was a good call. The evening drive home would be really dangerous. We would be having rain mixed with snow and sleet. Nope.

So rush hours went smooth because about half of the commuters had already left work to pick up their kids. Back to tv. They were still on this old thing of the low still out over New Mexico, but when it came to us - wow, we would be covered with sleet and snow.

Come bedtime. Weather soothsayers said the low pressure was still coming this way. The projected time of midnight would have the low over us, and well, Galveston wasn't going to have three inches of snow after all. But the mainland, well it's not in the projected map area, but we still may have two inches.

In reality, the NASA weather bureau was by far the closest. You could look at the map of what they thought was going to happen in the future, and it was split around us. Do these nuts think we poor citizens are too stupid to read that map? Don't tell me we are going to have 2-3 inches of snow more like about midnight (they were assuming the great unwashed viewers would be in bed, and their forecast still sounded good.)

So comes the morning. Yes we had a bit of ice due to the bit of rain. Yes, driving was a hazard. Bridges and overpasses were covered by a thin coat of ice - most of them closed with some officer sitting there babysitting those ramps.

The television stations had been hyping this storm for a week. Their response was to go live showing the feeds from the road condition cameras around the city, and sending the poor little lambs that are put out in the middle of the mayhem. This time is wasn't much accounting for showing the dumb a**es who went around the blockage of the roads and either crashed, or remained in their card waiting for help.

It was a good thing for most of the school districts to shut down. There goes one of the holidays later in the year. It was a good idea to tell folks to stay home. I will give them that. I won't allow the soothsayers that kept trying to make it snow.

These are the same people who spend all their energies trying to move a hurricane into our area. When you can clearly see the thing will remain in the Atlantic, they show this "zone of uncertainty"to move that storm into the gulf and right up the ship channel to decimate us all. then break away to the poor schlep who is standing out there in front of the camera having tried to find a story that will just knock your socks off. Oh, how they would love to find some story having a brave rescue of a boy and his dog - gotta get the child angle and the animal lovers caught up in the drama. But alas it never happened.

So we are condemned to watch hours and hours of "storm coverage" or escape it all and visit with you guys. Gee thanks to the climate change - we may have the blizzards and all and you in the northers states will have to take the hurricanes - that's a fair exchange!

Peace be with you.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I'm freezing

I know this doesn't elicit sympathy with most of you. But I am so cold. I am lucky the warmest place in the house is the bedroom. Since we had the entire system replaced, I would have expected more warming throughout the whole house. It is strange. As I walk through the house, there are warm spots and very cold spots. If it weren't so cold outside, I would swear we live in a haunted house and that explains the cold spots.

Now I will have to launch a "we need new windows" campaign with G. When it is normal around here, the window situation isn't an issue. These are the 35 year old windows that were put in the house. They leak like crazy - of course no one has caulked then in forever.

Our generator had a real workout yesterday with the rolling blackouts. Strange, we got it for hurricane season. It proved its worth yesterday.

And on the rolling blackouts - the news talking heads told us what caused them. Are you ready for this? They were because at least two generation plants that didn't winterize some water pipes - so the water lines froze and broke. Hello?? Don't they watch news programs.

In further news about the blackouts, the generation plants tried to explain why no one knew this was going to happen because email addresses were no longer correct. Apparently there had been retirements ... You know, I didn't realize the phone systems no longer work!

More blackouts are a possibility today if we Texans use too much electricity. I don't see that happening.

Peace and warmth be with you.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Not as bullet proof as I thought

It has come to my attention that I am getting old, and the weather we are having illustrates that fact so well. This is the kind of weather I used to think I would love. Growing up in the southern parts of Texas - be they Gulf Coast or outside the Hill Country, I longed for weather like this. We are right at freezing now, and we may be out of it by Saturday, but we will be pretty assured of snow (and sleet).

The only weather I really knew was summer time temperature usually with highs in the high 90's and lows in the mid 80's. There were times we would get the extreme heat from the deserts to the west from that southwest wind that would be channeled. Then the high could get to 100, 101. Our winters were generally mid 20's to high 60's. It was pretty much a close range in temperatures.

This long spell is something that doesn't usually happen, and now that I am old - I don't like it one bit. I don't have clothing for this weather. My summer and winter attire for lounging about the house is a ratty old t-shirt and a pair of shorts. It fits my needs all year around. I am not prepared for this.

To add to the general misery we Texans are feeling right now, we are being subjected to rolling blackouts. Say what? That's a summer time thing. When it's over 100. Not now. Not with it this cold. But it is happening all over the state. Here in the southern part of the state, it isn't that big a deal. We just don our winter garb - long pants and a long sleeved shirts. As far as my fellow Texans go, my heart goes out to North Texas. They are already covered with ice, and the temperatures are really low. I can only imagine how miserable it is to be sitting in the dark with these cold temperature.

Now for the rest of you folks in the northern parts of the states, my heart and soul goes to you. I simply cannot imagine how terrible this winter must be for you. This year it seems that you have suffered through terrible extremes in the weather. Seems like you got blistering heat last summer, and now you are a frozen wonderland.

At least you are smart - you have basements. I guess we could have basements, but we would call them our in-door pool. Now that would make for some interesting times with electrical wires down there. I do envy you a basement. There can be so many things a basement is good for. But I digress.

It has come to my attention that I am getting old. Now I don't know when this old stuff slipped up on me. I still think of myself as, say 16. Other than forgetting names, where my keys are, and most lately my wedding ring, I think I'm, as we like to say down here, six feet tall and bullet proof. Not so much anymore. When I am talking about something, just as sure as not, I will forget the word I need. For the life of me, I cannot remember names. I forget where I put things - like my ring. When I put that thing where ever I did, I thought at the time I will forget this place. So did I move it? You can guess that answer.

We have a light at the end of the tunnel I think. It is supposed to be warm by the weekend, which would be an especially good thing for those in Dallas and the surrounding areas so the fans can safely get to the Super Bowl. This should be the winding down of our winter. We will have a few more freezes where it does get to 30, but we are almost done with it. I wish I could bundle a package of warm air to send to you all. As Jude put it - you all are tough! (And I am old)

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Another day

Strange day. The large house is worth all the cleaning (who am I kidding) and extra utilities. We can be together yet apart. Retirement isn't half bad. Now you know I already knew that it wasn't bad - in fact it is rather heavenly. I am of the opinion that retirement should come when we are young so we can enjoy it fully. All these aches and pains are a limiting factor. But today was another good day. No voices raised.

Now the weather is another thing. Hey - who blew down the protective fence we had up about the middle of the state to keep this winter crap away. The weather nitwits are saying we could have snow or at least a winter mix come Friday. We are just not cut out for this.

I know for a fact with just the temperatures not getting far above freezing is going to cause all sorts of havoc around here. Sprinkler systems are a really popular thing to have here. After all, we look more like a tropical setting than a tundra. Anyway, tomorrow there will be thousands of pictures uploaded to the news stations with beautiful ice sculptures make by broken pipes in the sprinkler system.

It hits us with the tropical bodies of water out back (pools). While they won't freeze over for skating -at least I really hope not - all their little pipes and such that move the water to make it clean need to be protected. You see, if we were to remove all the water from the pool, it would pop out of the ground.

Our freezes last year didn't stop us (yes me too) from going out and buying more of the tropical plants that look so beautiful pool side. Gives you a little vacation right in the backyard you see. Well those babies are usually in excess of five feet. I have started a nice collection of citrus. Right now they are huddled close to the house on the south side adorned with Christmas tree lights and a blankie to keep them warm.

So the village is peaceful, but cold. There are no hot words making the rounds in here, and the icy blasts continue. I really need to find that fence that is letting the cold reach this far! We've had quite enough. I really don't know how you all take this every year. I admire you.

Peace (and warmth) be with you.