The Belly of the Beast
Saturday, January 31, 2009
The Belly of the Beast
Out of sight in this photo is a small electric heater directed toward this chair. The heater brings a bit of extra warmth into this room. Sweetie Pie, my youngest cat, is taking advantage of my absence from the chair, the knitted throw, the pillow and the extra heat to take a "cat nap."
Thursday, January 29, 2009
After a scare earlier in the week (Winter Storm Watch) which turned out to give us only a short-lived light ice coating on Monday night/Tuesday morning, we have lots of sunshine today, and not a cloud in the sky! We have much to be thankful for here in central Arkansas when we consider the weather-related trauma occuring in other parts of the U.S., and in other parts of this state. When I looked outside this afternoon, there was not a cloud to be seen anywhere. The blue skies captured by my camera have not been altered in any way. What you see is what we've got.
Sky Watch was created by Dot and expanded upon by our retired friend Tom. This weekly theme post is brought to you by Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Ivar, Wren, and Louise. Visit the Sky Watch Friday home page anytime after 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Thursdays to see sky photos from around the world. You'll be glad you did.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I should quit my grousing! I could live in Nebraska, or Iowa, or Minnesota, or somewhere that it's REALLY cold and nasty in the winter time.
::: counting my blessings... really ::::
I've been absent from the blogs for over a week now, neither posting nor commenting very much, although I have sneaked a quick look at a few of my favorite blogs from time to time.
It's year-end wrap up and new year start up at the church where I volunteer as treasurer, and I'm much involved in both, with a few more days to go before I can draw even a shallow sigh of relief.
Although I'm scheduled to "man" the office only from 9 to noon, I had a full 9 to 5 job today with no lunch break (I did raid the church kitchen and found some cheese and crackers, and made a pot of coffee; I'm in no danger of starvation) since I sloughed off last week and didn't go in on the MLK holiday. (One advantage to being the Monday office volunteer is that most US holidays are scheduled on Monday.)
The anticipated icy precipitation started about fifteen minutes before I left the church office. I had to take some mail to the post office located about 4 miles from the church, and by the time I arrived there my car was covered with a light coating of ice. I haven't taken time to check the weather forecast to see if much accumulation is anticipated, but will do so shortly. There's nothing at all I can do about freezing rain (nor any other sort of weather), but it focuses my worrying.
I would very much like to have some sort of wood-burning device in my home in case the electricity goes out, which it is wont to do when we have ice storms. I have a gas furnace, but the ignition and fan that distributes the heat is electricity-driven, so that's that. My gas stove oven won't work, either, if there's no electricity. For all my gas appliances, I might just as well live in an all-electric home when the power is out.
It's at times like these that a tropical island looks really good!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
That day stands out clearly in my mind, even after all these years. Always extremely shy (hard to believe now, but at the time it was very much so), I had always found it a bit difficult to make new friends of my own age. I grew up with older parents (at this time, Mama was 49 and my father was 64) and their circle of friends were older adults who already had adult children. My social interaction with people my own age was somewhat lacking, being limited almost totally to the time spent with them in a classroom, and I had just left behind in New Mexico all the friends I had made.
School had already been in session for about a week when we arrived in Clinton. After the required presentation of my Albuquerque school transcripts, vaccination records and the like, and completion of various forms which would allow me to become a student here, I was escorted down the narrow, creaky, smelling of O'Cedar Floor Polish, wooden-floored hall to my first class -- English III -- which was already in progress. I distinctly remember my escort opening the classroom door and presenting me, like some strange package that had showed up on the stoop; something unordered and, perhaps, unwanted. All eyes were on me, and I was all eyes!
Did I feel like an ugly duckling? Oh, yes, indeed! It was going to be a LONG day!
However, the clothing shock was not quite over. An adult person in rather strange garb was coming toward me from behind the large desk at the front of the classroom. I certainly had never seen the like in any class I'd attended in my 10 years as a student. The teacher, for it was she who approached, was probably just under 5 feet tall. While she was not obese, svelte is not a word one would apply to her un-corseted body. Her facial features were what my mother would have called "strong," her nose long, straight and narrow tipped. Her hair was, if anything, straighter than my own, but dark, cut very short and 'shingled' up the back. She wore neither make-up nor earrings. Her facial skin was lovely, unwrinkled and slightly tanned, although she had dark circles under her eyes. As I recall, she wore pince-nez glasses, which I had read about, but never before seen on a 'real' person.
[ I think these are the sort of shoes Loretta Young wore in the movie The Bishop's Wife. They were, at the time, touted to be just the thing for women who had to be on their feet for long periods; stylish but comfortable.]
The hand she held out to welcome me was slender, with long, nicotine-stained fingers and well-shaped, unpolished nails; she wore a plain, narrow gold band on her left ring finger.
My escort introduced us; "Mrs. V., this is Patricia G."
She greeted me with a beautiful smile, her voice low-pitched and warm. And her accent! Well, it wasn't "Southern!" Not a drawl within 100 miles! I could actually understand what she was saying. All was not lost! I felt better already.
Thus it was; my first encounter with Mrs. V., who would, over the next two years, become not only a beloved teacher, but a mentor who would begin to bring me out of my shyness, and would forever tangle me in a web of words.
More to come.
Friday, January 16, 2009
I think it's colder than a well-digger's boot here today (19 this morning), but I'm really very grateful that I don't live in Iowa, Nebraska or the other states that are suffering from the 40 (or more) degrees below zero temperatures I have read about on blogs from those areas. The older I get, the more sensitive I am to temperature extremes; I dislike both. I had to make a run to the local warehouse store this morning to buy supplies for this coming Sunday's annual church meeting. When I left the house, I looked like Nanook of the North; layers of clothing underneath a heavy coat, a fuzzy hat pulled over my ears, and gloves -- and I was still cold.
Ah, well. This, too, shall pass, and I'll be wishing for a bit of this cold weather when the thermometer hits 110 degrees in the shade this summer.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Well, so much for my resolve to post every day. Real life has reared its head, again, putting the best-laid blogging plans of this mouse on hold.
To answer the most important questions first: Snuggles received her first heart worm treatment, a painful shot, yesterday. She made it through that OK, but will be administered oral medication this afternoon which could be fatal. So.... we still don't know if she's going to make it. I've asked my daughter to keep me posted (so I can keep you posted) on her progress, or lack thereof. I'm a praying person, and Snuggles is in my prayers. I got really attached to her during the few days she was in my care.
It's been a busy and sad week. I learned early Monday morning that my friend C.J., the wonderful woman who told me the story I titled "Booze in the Window," (Post 13, May 4, 2008) died in her sleep on Sunday night. All of us who knew her are in shock. C.J. was only 59 years old. She had some health problems, but nothing that anyone thought was life-threatening. Monday, Tuesday and part of today have been filled with activities surrounding C.J.'s funeral, which was at 10 this morning.
That's it. That's what I've been doing instead of posting. I've had about all this sort of stuff I can stand. I hope everyone I know and love stays healthy.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Starting at about age three, Juliana has repeatedly asked for her own puppy, a dog she could love and which would love her, too. The response from her parents has always been that as long as Buddy is alive, there won't be another dog in the household. About two months ago, she figured out exactly what they were saying and changed her approach. Her puppy-requests are now prefaced by "When is Buddy going to die? I want a puppy."
Once over the initial shock of this question, our response has been that we don't know, Buddy will probably live a long time. She turns away in disgust, muttering "I want a puppy."
So-- where does Snuggles come in? I'm getting there! [for photo of Snuggles, see yesterday's post]
My daughter loves to be outside in her yard. She's always got some project going. Since the older children are in school, Juliana goes along to "help." The back part of the lot shares a fence with two houses on the next street. In one of the fenced yards, there lived a sweet little Sheltie. The dog and Juliana fell in love with each other. My daughter would see Juliana pressed up against the fence, talking sweetly to the dog with her fingers stuck through the chain link and the little dog licking on them with great joy.
Now, it so happened that this past Friday the owners of the dog were in their back yard and struck up a conversation with my daughter. They were moving, and were not taking the dog with them; little Sheltie was slated to go the the animal shelter! No! No! NO! Tender-hearted daughter could not see that happen. Juliana was going to be heart broken if "her puppy" disappeared. You already know what happened, don't you?
As of this past Saturday, the Sheltie now resides at my daughter's home. Juliana is overjoyed, to say the least, and told her mother that the dog's name was Snuggles, because she could snuggle it!
Buddy has accepted having another dog in the house pretty well -- he just ignores and avoids her. The cats are cool, except Arthur (see Camera Critters post from last Saturday) who tends to stalk Snuggles then hiss when they get about 2 feet apart. It's early days yet; I expect a truce in the near future.
Unfortunately, Snuggles' future is a bit uncertain (I've saved the bad news for last). When daughter took Snuggles to the veterinarian on Monday, it was discovered that Snuggles has heart worms (the result of being left outside in mosquito country and without preventive medicine.) Treatment is available, but is not always successful in this breed (read: can cause death.) Daughter and her husband will decide what to do when they return from a family funeral.
I'm hoping for the best. Snuggles is a sweet little dog, and Juliana will be inconsolable if she loses her.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The Adult Bible Study Group at my church is comprised of some interesting characters. Nearly all of us are in the "over 50" category and, thus, have a lot of living under our belts. We get into some interesting conversations. Our group leader, one of our deacons, does his best to keep us in line, but along with learning a bit more about the Gospel reading for the day, we somehow learn more about each other. Not a bad thing, when you come to think about it. We share sometimes very personal information, and just like Las Vegas, what happens in Bible Study stays in Bible Study.
Blue Ridge Mountains - Photo from Wikipedia Commons
When I leave home, I drive east on Interstate 40 all the way through Tennessee, then turn north on I-81 along the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I dog-leg a bit through some beautiful 'horse country' and on into the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to my sister's home. When I return, I usually just reverse directions and come back on the same highways.
On this particular trip, however, I decided to take a different route for the return journey. The route was through somewhat unfamiliar territory, down through West Virginia and into Kentucky. At the close of the first day, I found a hotel room in Elizabethtown, KY. While studying the map to plan the next day's journey, I decided that there must be an even shorter (and new) way to get home, and called a friend who frequently travels Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas to ask him for a recommendation. He told me "take U.S. Highway 412 when you get to Dyersburg, TN. It'll cut off 60 or 70 miles." OK, Gene, Highway 412 it is!
At dawn the next morning, -- I guess it was dawn; it was hard to tell through the heavy fog that had materialized overnight. The clock said it was time to be moving down the road, and it wasn't what you'd actually call "dark" outside, although I did have to use my headlights. So, I loaded up and headed out toward Dyersburg, TN and U.S. Highway 412, just like Gene told me to do.
Needless to say, by the time I back-tracked to where I should have turned (I'm stubborn that way), I drove a long way before I got back home! My desire for a short cut cost me about 4 hours and over 200 extra miles.
I don't think I'm quite ready to have my car and driver's license taken away, but I do more fully understand the stories about people who set out to go to Florida and end up in Canada. I don't intend to ever pull such a stunt again, even in a fog so thick I can't tell east from west! When I traded cars a year or so later, I was most adamant that it have a compass -- and I check it often!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Outside my window the early morning light reveals wet limbs and grass.
I am wearing flannel pajamas with blue frogs printed all over, and fuzzy slippers.
I am going to work in the church office later this morning... if the streets are not icy.
I am reading Cheating at Solitaire by Jane Haddam.
I am hearing thunder, the sound of rain on the roof, music from the windchimes hung outside my front door, and the neighbors' cars starting as they prepare to leave for work.
One of my favorite things is checking for new posts on my most-visited blogs.
Tools of the trade at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants.
The Simple Woman's Daybook is the creation of Peggy Hostetler. If you'd like to participate, read more here.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Since there are no natural growing flowers around here during this season, I drew from my photo archives for today's post. This is a portion of a lovely bouquet I received for my birthday this past September. The flowers were arranged by my granddaughter, who works for a local florist.
Today's Flowers is a weekly Meme created by Luiz Santilli, Jr. and may be found here. Please visit to see others' lovely flower photos. If you have a flower photo of your own to share, please join us.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
Yesterday's blue, blue skies disappeared overnight. I awoke to a heavy overcast that turned into a moderately heavy fog as the temperature rose. I had to run some errands during the afternoon, and was very careful as I drove. Fog can play disastrous tricks on drivers if they are not alert.
According to Wikipedia: Firethorn (Pyracantha) is a genus of thorny evergreen large shrubs in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Maloidae. They are native from southeast Europe east to southeast Asia, and are closely related to Cotoneaster, but have serrated leaf margins and numerous thorns (Cotoneaster is thornless). The plants reach up to 6 m tall. The seven species have white flowers and either red, orange, or yellow berries (more correctly pomes). The flowers are produced during late spring and early summer; the pomes develop from late summer, and mature in late autumn.