Monday, December 31, 2012

"Gilligan's Island" Revisited

photo from my LG phone

Those of you who are old enough to remember the TV series with Bob Denver and Alan Hale will also remember the melody of the show's theme song.  Substitute these words: "No phone, TV nor Internet -- not a single luxury. Like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be."

That's how I've felt for the last six days -- marooned on an island created by over 12" of snow that fell on Christmas night following an afternoon of freezing rain. The most snow EVER in the Little Rock area on Christmas Day since weather records have been kept.  Brr! Humbug!  It was beautiful, but enough is enough!

As a result of the ice coating/snowfall, several large trees in the next block from me fell ---- across the power and cable lines that service my neighborhood.  I was without electrical power only for about 36 hours but, since I have chosen to have my communication services "bundled,"  I lost Internet, television and telephone service from Christmas night, Tuesday, until after supper time today, Monday. Stalwart crews have worked steadily, in much less than optimal conditions, on cutting and hauling away trees, then replacing and restoring yards and yards of fallen lines.  Utility repairmen are unsung heroes, IMHO.

On Wednesday morning, I left my kitties in their fur coats and fled to Gardening Daughter's home until the electricity was restored here. Gas furnaces are wonderful, but they require electricity to work properly. I don't mind being in the dark, but I do require a certain amount of warmth, of which there is not a lot in an old home surrounded by a foot of snow.

For some reason, Gardening Daughter's section of town, about a mile from me, is seldom bothered by power outages, plus she has a wood-burning stove which puts out a very cheerful warmth.  I enjoyed my stay but was happy to hear on Thursday afternoon that power was back on here, and returned home straight away.  I've entertained myself with reading and watching DVDs in lieu of TV, but confess that I've had a few NCIS rerun withdrawal symptoms. Can I say "addiction?"

It's rained steadily most of this last day of 2012, but deep patches of snow still remain in my yard and elsewhere. The temps have hovered in the upper 30 degree range all day; I'm hoping that it won't freeze tonight.  We don't need any more of this right now.  

Tomorrow is also a day... and it's New Year's Day.  A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I had constructed and published a clever post about the failure of the world to end yesterday but had to remove it.  Something within my computer or within Blogger decided to change some of the words I used into live links which I did not create.  Ads, of sort, which may be inoccuous but I'm taking no chances with the welfare of any readers who might click on the underlined words.

Sorry you came all this way and had to miss my scintillating (hahahaha) words.

Thanks Mr. Rhymeswithplague for the cross-reference to my blog. All referrals are appreciated.

Tomorrow is ALSO a day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Postage Pack Rat

Wishing to mail a few Christmas cards, I searched my desk for postage stamps this morning.  It appears I have no U.S. postage stamps of the currently proper denomination ($.45 per oz. or, if one is fortunate "Forever" stamps bought at a lesser rate.)  However, I did find stamps in the following denominations (all in cents): 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 29, 32, 33, 34, 37, 39, 41, 52, and, I can't remember why I have them... two stamps of $3.50 value each. I think that used to be the rate for a box of less than a pound. 

Before I retired, sometimes during my lunch period I would walk several blocks to the main post office in Little Rock to look at the newly issued commemorative stamps. I would occasionally purchase a full sheet of those, or perhaps just a corner. I still have many of them in various denominations.

Looking at the full sheets, some of which have really beautiful artwork, it occurred to me that, suitably matted and framed, they would make good gifts. I've put that on my list of to-do's for the coming year, and I already have some recipients in mind. (Folks who need for nothing, and have everything else.)

A heavy frost was on the punkin this morning and my rain-gauge, which I failed to empty after the last storm, was full of ice.  I should have gone out to check the bird baths, but I chose to stay in the warm house.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Mind's Not (Quite) Gone, Yet

I sit here at the computer listening to some of my favorite jazzy music by Spyro Gyra (love'em!) on my newly gifted MP3 player, an early Christmas present from my son in law, Gardening Daughter's husband. That sweet guy braved the Black Friday madness in the middle of the night to acquire it for me.  It's an early present because he wanted me to have something I like to listen to while I walk the treadmill at Cardiac Rehab.  The tunes I've downloaded should do nicely; great tempo  -- not a lullaby among them.  I figured out that I could load the same ones more than once, so I don't have to listen to the whole album (although I like them all), only my best-est favorites. I'm gonna have a ball at Rehab; I will no longer have to listen to The Price is Right while I exercise. Yay! 

I know, I know; loading music onto an MP3 player is like falling off a log to you younger folk but, at my age, any (even) low-key techie stuff sometimes breaks me out in a sweat. I'm always afraid I will blow something up.  The first time, back in the mid 1980's, that I took the shell off my computer to add a chip of some sort, I nearly passed out! As you can tell, I survived, and I'm happy to say that the computer did, also.

I well remember the first time I heard music by Spyro Gyra. I was in a Hasting's store to buy a book (back in the days when I actually bought books). I took notice of the music on the store's speaker system and was immediately intrigued.  Upon inquiring of the clerk, I added that particular CD to my collection, and subsequently bought several others.  I see from looking at the Wikipedia article (link to Spyro Gyra in the first paragraph) that I am missing a good many of their albums.  Looking at my stash, I count only seven of the 20 CDs listed in the article. Perhaps the gaps will be filled one of these days; perhaps not.

My taste in music is eclectic.  I have almost an equal number of jazz and classical music recordings and a good number of what can be described as 'easy listening.'  I'm also fond of New Age (think Narada), and ethnic music, with strong leanings toward Latin and African recordings.  I'm attracted by the rhythm of the latter.  I have only a few recordings outside those groups. Those were usually purchased because of one or two particular songs.

Anyone out there familiar with Silk?  Dave Grusin?

I need to stop this be-bopping and go to bed.  (Perhaps Spyro Gyra will help me get my vacuuming done in the morning!) 

Tomorrow is also a day.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Day

I've been back to Cardiac Rehab the last two days, after an absence of almost three weeks, and I have the aching knees to prove it!  The death of my sister's husband and a tedious, stressful period following the burglary of my home, which occured during the days I spent with my sister, interfered with my attendance.

I've been burgled before; almost 7 years ago, and there was a mess to clean up, but beyond a broken window, not a lot of damage was done to the house.  A few of the things taken at that time were found in a pawn shop about 25 miles away, and my overall losses were smaller than the deductible on my insurance policy.  This time, the thieves kicked out of their frames both my front and rear doors before taking their time to pick through my belongings.  Did anyone in the neighborhood hear/see any of this mayhem? Not so far as can be discovered by the detectives of the local police department.  I am heart-sick over the loss of my wonderful camera, lenses and accessories, but those will, I hope, be fully covered by insurance and eventually be replaced. I have no expectations of recovering any of my other property.  Most the small things (jewelry) taken were acquired 25 or more years ago and, while not of much value individually, are irreplaceable, having been acquired during travels abroad during my younger days. 

I am fortunate that they did not take my computer; perhaps it is so big and so old that they were not interested, or they might not have had the manpower to manage it along with the other things.  The monitor was turned over on the desk and they must have thought about taking it but changed their minds.   Coming face to face with how I would grieve over the loss of my photos, in particular, I've  purchased an online backup for my documents, photos and files, and those are all safely "in the cloud" somewhere.

Ah, well. Things are just...things.  Just saying.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bits and Pieces, Again

Intentions, intentions.  It's been almost another whole month since I last posted.  Apologies are worthless; I've been engaged in other things.

My dear brother-in-law, who celebrated his 89th birthday on September 30, died on November 11.  He had been not in good health for some time, but declined rapidly following a rather vicious lung infection which hospitalized him in October.  I was able to visit him briefly in a Hot Springs hospice on the Friday before his death. Our last words to each other were "I love you," and "I love you, too."

I invite you to read, remember, and take to heart the quotation from Henri Frederic Amiel which is on the side bar of my blog.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bits and Pieces - November 1

The maple tree in the across-the-street neighbor's yard.

Hallowe'en passed very quietly at my place. Having chosen not to lay in a supply of high-octane sugary goodies to hand out, I drew the drapes on the front window  and turned off the porch light at dusk and settled down to watch the ongoing coverage of the aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy. My doorbell did not ring even once. That's not surprising in this neighborhood since there are only two children of Trick or Treat age living on our block, and they evidently were elsewhere, since I didn't see them out at all.

I am having to enjoy the neighbor's pretty tree this year, since my Japanese Maple, which had graced my yard for at least 15 years,  is no longer there. It had been "sick" for a couple of years, with branches gradually dying off.  This past summer's drought and terrific heat finally did it in.  My son in law worked on cutting  off the larger branches a few weeks ago, until his chain saw gave up,  leaving on the ugly stub shown below.  Pitiful, isn't it?  The stump (eventually) will be removed.  I have one of my tree's offspring in a large pot, but until I can have the soil tested, I won't plant another tree in this same space.

All that's left of my poor, poor Japanese Maple tree.

My visits to Cardiac Rehab continue to go well.  I'm now walking 31 minutes on the treadmill at the (snail's) pace of 1.7 mph, and doing another 10 minutes of upper arm exercises three days a week.  All good for me, I know.    I hope to convince myself that I need to walk around my neighborhood every day that I'm not at the hospital's facility.

That's it.  Tomorrow is also a day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Wussy Day

I wussed out of my Cardiac Rehab exercises this morning. A chronic muscle/ skeletal problem which has nothing to do with my heart rears its ugly head from time to time. This was one of those days.  I am not a believer in the "no pain, no gain" philosophy. At my age, if it hurts, I don't move it any more than absolutely necessary.

I will spend the day is less strenuous pursuits, one of which is preparing for my annual Christmas card Stamp-a-Stack that will take place this coming Saturday afternoon. I think I can cut paper and tie ribbon knots without too much physical stress. (You didn't think my having a heart attack would keep me from stamping, did you?)

It's a beautiful Fall day here, with temperatures expected to be in the low 80's.  I've opened the back door so the cats can go in and out, an activity they enjoy a great deal.  They don't stay out very long at a time, coming back and forth to check on me.  Missy has already returned and is currently sitting on my lap, purring her favorite melody.

I now have only two cats.  Squeak. my loving 12 year old male, developed  non-operable lymphoma earlier this year and quickly wasted away.  He died  in May, and is buried in one of his favorite spots in my back yard.  Missy and Sweetie Pie took his absence fairly well, although they looked for him for several days.  They also completely quit eating the canned cat food which they had previously shared with Squeak.  As long as he was eating it, they couldn't wolf it down fast enough. The morning after he died, they would have nothing to do with it --- Nada. I had to throw away an entire can of food.  I gave the rest of my cat food stash to Gardening Daughter who supports a herd of cats that will eat almost anything.   Ah, well.  It saves me a little money not having to buy both dry and canned food.

That's about it from this part of the world.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to....

It's time for a new look, and a new beginning.  

Thank you, all those who inquired about my dropping off the face of the blogging world. For reasons that have become more clear in the past month or so, I simply did not have the psychic or physical energy to compose anything I thought would be of interest (did I ever?), so I just stopped.  I went "private" for a while posting tidbits of my life for my family, but I have removed those few posts and what you see, if you're interested, is for public consumption.

The funny (not ha-ha) thing that happened was that, in mid-September while I was in the office of an otolaryngologist having my vocal chords examined, I began to experience some rather frightening symptoms.  The good doctor told me he thought I might be having a heart attack and insisted that I allow one of his wonderful assistants to drive  me to the ER of a large hospital less than a half-mile away.  

Tests confirmed that I had, indeed, suffered a severe heart attack, and in the wee small hours of the next morning, a cardiologist inserted stents into two almost completely blocked arteries within my heart.  I spent the next three days in the CCU and another five days as an inpatient, under the watchful care of not only hospital staff, but my children, who came from far and near to be with me. 

I'm happy to report that the executor of my estate will have to wait a while to exercise his or her duties.  

I am enrolled in a Cardiac Rehabilitation program at a nearby hospital.  I exercise three days a week, and have lost nine pounds, so far.  Being on a low-sodium/low-fat diet hasn't hurt anything but my taste buds.  

I encourage those readers who may be of the female gender to familiarize yourselves and be alert to the warning signs of heart attack in women.  (Men... if you have wives, you should study these, also.) The symptoms may be totally unlike those of heart attack in men; mine were. Had I not been in the office of a trained professional, and this had happened to me at home, I very likely would have sat in my chair thinking I was having an esophageal spasm.  I don't know whether I would have survived.

Given all the circumstances, I am convinced that the Good Lord is not through with me, yet.

Tomorrow is also a day, thanks be to God.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm Not Really a Waitress

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Last September, before a road trip to my daughter's home in Nebraska, I treated myself to a pedicure and manicure.  Since I felt quite daring on that particular day, I let the technician paint my toenails with red polish, but had her put only clear polish on my fingernails.  The colored polish must have been stout stuff, for it  lasted over 90 days with nary a chip.  However, as my toenails grew, a sizeable gap appeared between the bottom edge of the polish and the base of my nail.  (Who cares?  Only the cats and I see my toes.) More importantly, even though they grow slowly, my nails needed to be trimmed. Due to stiffening joints which do not want to cooperate in the task of bringing toes to hands, or vice versa, I can no longer perform that trivial duty for myself.  It was time for a visit to the nail salon.

I had intended to get only a pedicure, since attending to my fingernails is something I can still do for myself.  However, after the polish had been applied to my wonderfully soothed and well-groomed tootsies, I inquired as to the color name of the polish, a brazen, slightly glittery, deep red, the same color that had been applied in September.  I was so taken by the color name, which accurately reflects my (high) spirits today, that I decided to have a manicure, as well, and to have the same color applied to my fingernails (photo above.  Ignore those gnarly fingers and just look at that color!)

The company which produces this product must have a staff of slightly wacky, but highly creative, employees on its staff.  When I was working, I frequently had manicures and was always amused by the color names of their polish, such as:  Blushingham Palace; Catherine the Grape; Cozu-Melted in the Sun; Kennebunk-port; Melon of Troy; Romeo & Joliet; Silent Mauvie; Smok'n in Havana (one of my favorite colors); St. Petersburgundy; You Rock-apulco Red; and... today's color choice:  I'm Not Really a Waitress.  Love those names!

The next few days will tell if this polish is really tough.  Of course, if I had used my toes as much as I did my fingers during the last three months, the previous application of polish on my toenails probably wouldn't have lasted very long.  We'll see.  Right now, I have sparkling fingers and toes!

Tomorrow is also a day.

P.S.  I know it's already January 2, but "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" to you all.