Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mitigating Meanness

Today I read a post written by one of my favorite bloggers. She’s a talented writer, a tad irreverent, and she’s funny. I must say, though, she does rather intimidate me a bit. She’s a hiker, a birder, and she’s very conscious of environmental matters. I bet she never opts for plastic in Wal-mart. Heck, I bet she never goes to Wal-mart.

Today her topic today was the way some of us use the anonymity of the internet to say “mean” things about people. She right, I suppose. I myself have been known to get a little snarky and self-righteous.  But she made me think.

Is it okay if I write that someone should disable the word processing program of  Arthur Wright , well-known author, so that he never writes another stinko novel? Is that mean? If I say, “In my opinion, Mr. Arthur Wright is a hack,” does the “imo” mitigate my mean remark . If I rant about really bad drivers, salesclerks who are just plain nasty, and office staffs what don’t seem to know their butts from their elbows, is that mean? Does “In my opinion shave a little of the meanness away?

In the South, ladies (they do this more than men) can say the most terrible things about people. For instance, “She’s as ugly as a mud fence.” Or there is also the double barrel shot,—“She’s as ugly as a mud fence. She looks just like her mama.”  Two mean things for the price of one. You can get away with saying mean things about people without looking like a bad person. All you have to do is add one simple phrase to mitigate the insult. “She’s as ugly as a mud fence, bless her heart (sigh)”.  See? You’re a loving, caring, compassionate person.

I think “In my opinion” falls into that same category. I’m going to use it more often. Bless my heart (sigh).

Note: I made up the name “Arthur Wright” as a play on words. I don’t want any real Arthur Wrights to think I’m being mean.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Phew! (A Sigh of Relief)

Like all families we Fixits have developed over the years our own Christmas tradition. Instead of singing Christmas carols around the gaily lit tree or having a Christmas goose, our tradition falls in the “uh-oh” category. Every year something happens to put a damper on the Christmas spirit  or to cause Mom (me) to have a breakdown. It’s usually major car trouble. In the last few years, it seems to be health problems. This year it was health again, but it turned out not to be as bad as it first appeared. It merely caused worry and the complete demise of my Christmas spirit.

Mr. Fixit’s oral chemo meds are ordered from a specialty pharmacy in Pennsylvania. Usually, I call for the refills a week before he’s scheduled for the last dose. The pharmacy then sends the refill  by FedEx, and it always is delivered on the day promised. They send it for overnight delivery.

In November when I ordered his December refill, I asked the rep if I should call a few days early for his January refill because of the holidays. She said there was really no need, and she said they can’t refill it if I call more than ten days ahead. Mr. Fixit’s last dose is December 28. I called for the refill in the ten day window on December 19. The rep said the shipment would be scheduled for December 24. I asked her if perhaps it would be better to schedule it a day or so early because of the holiday. She said, “It will be fine on the 24th.” I accepted her word that it would be delivered on the 24th.

We were going to Ben’s house for our Christmas get-together on the 24th. We were supposed to be there at 5:00 p.m. I had warned them we might be a few minutes late because it was raining and the delivery instructions are to leave the package under all circumstances. We needed to be present to receive the medicine instead of leaving it out in the rain. I requested those delivery instructions so I wouldn’t have to chase down a delivery if we missed one.

We waited until 6:30, but no meds. Did I mention that we saw a FedEx truck in our neighborhood very early in the afternoon? Well, we did. That was when I began to worry.

We waited until 6:30 to leave. I was so upset. That medicine is keeping Mr. Fixit well, and I don’t want an error in taking it to mess things up. I spent most of the evening doing what I usually do in times of trouble. I think about all the problems that can arise and the actions to take to ameliorate what could be dire results. After the children opened presents Ben and Jason tried to trace the delivery, but we had no tracking number. I was about to lose it completely by that time.

We came home. It was still raining. Instead of coming the the garage door, I walked around to the front of the house even though I had little faith that the package would be there. Lo and behold, there it was! I have never been as relieved in my whole life. Mr. Fixit has his meds and all’s right in my world (maybe). So far the car is still operational.

I woke this morning with thanks that the holiday is over, and we made it through without plague, pestilence, famine, or flood.

(I do feel sorry for that poor FedEx driver who was working so late on a dark, rainy Christmas Eve. He has my gratitude.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Been a Year

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Jason told me about a very tasty, low calorie, low carb salad dressing. It only has three ingredients, one of which is buttermilk. When I went to the grocery, the smallest container of buttermilk available was a half gallon. I made the dressing this morning and was left with a ton of buttermilk. I decided against making a red velvet cake; I thought making biscuits was a better idea. I made three batches (I still have buttermilk.).

You can’t believe what a temptation biscuits are for me. I think the cake would have been the lesser temptation. I succumbed—I ate one! Now the guilt is killing me. I feel like I have no strength of character or will power. My glucose levels are down, but I have gained two pounds over the past few days. I guess that walk isn’t helping much. It’s so demoralizing.

But there is one thing I have to say. That was a damned good biscuit!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

He Should Know Me by Now

Since Mr. Fixit has been undergoing treatment, I have been trying to take on some of the chores around the house.  There has been a new division of labor—his job is to get well and my job is to do what I can physically do to make it easier for him. There are exceptions, of course. I don’t go under the house for any reason except to rescue him if he’s doing something under there. I won’t go into the attic. The access door is small, and let’s just say that a rotund lady of certain years should not be crawling through a small attic door. I do have some pride.

This summer I mowed a few times and trimmed the bushes with the chain saw. Now that the leaves have fallen the yard was a covered in about a three inch layer of oak, maple, and pecan tree leaves, not to mention pine needles that have to be raked by hand.

Mr. Fixit attached the thing on the lawn mower that catches the grass and leaves instead of spitting them back onto the yard. I don’t know the technical term for that. I began a few days ago picking up and bagging the leaves for pickup by the city. The problem is that I have little time in the mornings, and if I don’t get things done  early, by afternoon I am useless. I worked in the yard a couple of days, and yesterday (Saturday) he went to help one of the sons work on his car. I decided to work some more on the leaves without his supervision.  I did most of it, but there were places I left uncleaned. I get nervous on that mower going over protruding roots and navigating through the dips and low spots in the yard. He finished it when he came home.

This morning he said, “Did you notice that when you use the brake on the law mower on a slant that it doesn’t hold too well?”

I thought about it and replied, “I don’t think I used the brake except to stop on level ground to empty the leaf containers.”

He rolled his eyes and walked away. He’s known me for 50 years. He should have known my thoughts about using brakes.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Night Lights

12-7-14 001

This is the moon at 8:15 tonight as seen from our deck. I wish it were a better picture. It was a sight to see it rising through the bare trees.

Click on picture for detail.

Step by Step

This morning I did something that I haven’t done in a long time—I went for a walk. Our neighborhood is a circle with only one outlet. I measured it in the car one day to find that it is .3 a mile. Today I walked the circle 3 times which is almost one mile. I was a bit surprised that that I made it that far with my sore foot. Of course, it did hurt after I came home. I was also surprised that I was not winded in the least. I was walking at a fairly slow pace, but I always walk slower than most people. I have short legs.

When I first was diagnosed with diabetes, I walked every day, rain or shine. I increased my distance to 12 circuits at a time. I don’t think I’ll be able to do that again, but I’m happy that I was out there this morning.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Little Boys with Their Toys

This morning I once again heard the pop of a gun. This isn’t the first time this has happened. (The latest was this weekend.) I have no idea what sort of gun is being used. I know who (the students across the street) and I know what (they are shooting at squirrels). I just don’t know why. Something tells me that aren’t starving and need to eat the little rodents. From their laughter, I assume they are just getting their jollies.

As I said, I don’t know what kind of firearm they are using. They seem to pump it many times before taking a shot. I assume that it a pellet gun. It’s not a BB gun. The ammunition seems to be loaded differently than BB’s are loaded. I also know the young men are not great shots because it took many tries to bring down their prey this morning. It fell from the tree but hit the ground running—into our yard. The “marksman” then turned the gun and shot toward our yard.

When that happened I went out and said that I would appreciate them not shooting toward our house. I suppose I am now the “nosy, weird old lady across the street” to them. Nonetheless, they did put the gun away after a few more shots.

I just do not understand the pleasure that comes from deliberately causing any living thing pain. I can understand the taking of animals for nourishment. I understand the killing of dangerous animals if human life is on the line. I just don’t get the killing-for-fun  or the causing-of-pain thing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Turn of Phrase

Most of the time I read for plot. I love a a good plot that I can escape into. Sometimes I read just for the words. I love words that can paint a picture or make me feel. It’s rare that I read to learn or to broaden my horizons. I read for the emotion, whether it is love, fear, joy, or sadness.

Sometimes I read a few words that will just blow me away.  Today I’m reading Aftermath,  a thriller by Peter Robinson featuring Inspector Banks set in Yorkshire. I came across this sentence: “A vicious cold rain slanted in from the iron sky, and waves from a North Sea the color of stained underwear churned up dirty sand and pebbles on the beach.”


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Netflix—Further Cuts to Service?

Some years ago Netflix pulled a fast one on their customers. They changed their DVD and Streaming services to separate entities. That meant we no longer were able to stream and receive DVD’s at the same time. They lost tons of customers. We stayed the course.

Now I think they are screwing around with the service again. Our plan allows us one DVD at a time with no limitation on the number of disks we receive during the billing period. Since we live close to a distribution center, I could get as many as three disks a week. I would return one, they received it the next day, and mailed a new selection that same day.  The new selection would arrive the next day. Our mail comes early in the day so we are able to watch the movie in the morning and return it the same day.  In all the years we have been members of Netflix the items I mailed were received the next day. This cycle ran six days a week thereby allowing us to receive three movies a week. Of course, there are times when we only get one or two a week because of a delay in our watching.

Some weeks ago, I learned from news reports that the company was no longer going to ship on Saturdays. Okay, that is no problem for me. I can conceivably receive my three disks a week with this plan.

I have noticed that they seem to have slowed their service further with no notification that I have seen. For the last few weeks, the last DVD, the one that should have been mailed from them Friday to arrive here on Saturday, is delayed. The first time I thought maybe it was a problem with the post office, though unlike some people, I find the post office is generally efficient and reliable. I see now that a pattern has developed. We are only receiving two movies a week for the same cost, and my account states that there is no limit to the number of movies we can get during the month.

I wonder if other people have noticed a slow- down or is this just the South Carolina distribution center. They may be losing another customer soon. It’s not the number of movies, it’s the principle of the thing, as they say. I’m p.o.ed. If I fulfill my part of the contract (paying monthly in a timely manner), the corporation should fulfill their part, too, with no new hidden limitations.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Good Riddance

This morning as I was preparing the stock for chicken noodle soup, it occurred to me that another item has disappeared from our lives just like those little triangular car windows have disappeared. An item that was both a time saver and the bane of my existence—onion skin paper. (I was peeling an chopping onions at the time this thought occurred.)

When I was a secretary personal assistant in a law office, every document I typed had to have at least two duplicates. Oh, how I hated that carbon paper and that flimsy onion skin. We went through it very quickly. It was so messy, and if you made a typo, every copy had to be corrected.

While I was still working, improvements were happening. Invoices came with in sets with snap-out  carbon copies, but they couldn’t be corrected easily. Then came the carbon paper-less sets. They were better than carbon paper and onion skin. Then came cheaper copy machines--type a document and copy the original for  the file copy. Heaven!

Now I suppose that copies are filed by hitting the save button with no paper involved.

While I do lament the loss of those little car windows, I don’t mourn the passing of carbon paper and onion skin even though I no longer work outside the home.

(Good grief! As I was proofing this post, I realize that I just keep getting goofier and goofier all the time. Who thinks about carbon paper and onion skin except me?)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Around Chez Fixit

The day before yesterday I decided that we had to take steps regarding the poor little ugly cat that has insinuated itself into our lives.

Instead of continuing to cook chicken for it, I bought some cat food, both canned and dry. (It wouldn’t eat the dry; I think there is a problem with it’s mouth.) I also called the local SPCA to see if they could take it. They have the maximum number of cats and won’t accept any for a while. I went to my vet’s office. The lady there gave me some numbers for a couple of “no-kill” shelters but explained that no one would take it unless it has been tested for feline leukemia.

I had to decide what to do and make the decision ASAP. There is cold weather headed this way, and I don’t think the poor little thing could survive it. I called to make the appointment for the test. I was to bring it in the next day.

Yesterday was the first day since it has been around that it didn’t come for breakfast. As a matter of fact, it didn’t show up all day or this morning. I guess something has happened to it. If it had lasted one more day, it would have had a forever  inside home. Mr. Fixit and I are both a little sad.

Speaking of cold weather, Owen has another soccer game tonight. I think this is the last one. It’s a good thing. It was so cold on that wide-open field Tuesday evening. It supposed to be even colder tonight, but I’m going prepared with layered clothing and blankets.

This past summer I hobbled around because of my knees. After a week or so of limited activity, they felt better. Then a few weeks ago I developed a pain in my heal and bottom of my foot. I consulted Web MD and found the problem is probably plantar fasciitis. That’s an inflammation of the plantar fascia in the bottom of the foot. It hurts like the devil. Luckily, the article suggested taking an NSAID for the inflammation and some exercises to help. I began taking regular aspirin as the NSAID. The problem is they didn’t mention dosage. I’ve been taking two tablets two or three times a day. It’s finally beginning to work. Yesterday I went shopping without having to leave before I was finished. It’s still hurts a bit, but nothing compared to what it was before. Thank Heaven for Web MD!

I really need to be back to normal soon. I need to start walking again. While my glucose levels remain very low and I have decreased the amount of insulin, I’m not losing weight. I need to get moving!


Mr. Fixit Update:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Some Loud Kids Are Okay

Yesterday while grocery shopping, I heard from what seemed to a few aisles from me the very loud voice of a little boy. He wasn’t throwing a fit nor was he crying. In fact, he sounded quite happy. It wasn’t that annoying either. He was just loud. I thought, “That poor mother. I wonder if he’s loud all the time.” I then noticed a mother with one child in the basket and what looked like a four year old boy walking beside the basket. The little guy was still talking, LOUD. It seemed to be just a little boy conversation. The mother said, “Will you please stop talking?” She was using her outdoor voice, but she didn’t seem to be angry. I think she was just trying to get a word in edgewise. It seems they are just a garrulous, LOUD family.


Note: Update on Mr. Fixit’s health posted:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This and That

Mr. Fixit had his scans done last Friday. We have an appointment this Friday for the results. The waiting is a little nerve-wracking.

Once again, I’m waiting for my doctor to respond to a request from the pharmacy to renew a prescription for the oral medication for my diabetes. I am following their instructions, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I don’t know what to do if they don’t okay it before Thursday. The office is closed on Fridays so that means I could go all weekend without it. My glucose levels have been extremely low since I’ve been severely restricting the amount of carbs I ingest. Maybe it won’t make that much difference.

A poor little cat has shown up around the house. The poor thing is so skinny and half it’s tail is missing. It’s not feral; it is starved for affection and tries to get in the house. We’ve been feeding it a little. I can’t stand to see the poor thing suffer. It is sick, too. It sneezes all the time.

It makes me really angry that anyone would just leave the poor thing. It is practically defenseless, and the other cats chase it every chance they get.

I know that we will end up taking it to the pound which breaks my heart. We just don’t have the wherewithal financially or emotionally to take on another pet .

Since smoking has become taboo, the usual outlets for buying tobacco products are opting out of sales. Now there are numerous specialty tobacco shops and “vapes” stores. The signs on almost all the stores have some version of “tobacco products and more” advertising. My question is. . .What is the “and more.” Hmmm.

On the same subject,  why in our area  do all the “vape” shops look like what those of us in my generation remember as head shops? Just another one my little Mysteries of Life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Computer Stuff

Sunday the children took us out to lunch to celebrate our birthdays. Mine was the 12th and Mr. Fixit’s was the 16th. They gave us some very nice gifts (even though I have told them repeatedly that gifts for me aren’t necessary.) Ben’s family gave us a year of Amazon Prime and Jason’s family gave us each a Samsung Galaxy tablet. It’s going to take a while for us to discover all the stuff they can do.

I have been having problems with my laptop. For some reason, Google is messed up. The error message is “Whoa, Google crashed!” I think the “Whoa” error must be worse that the “Snap!” errors. I took it to Jason’s last night, but he couldn’t fix it. He’ll have another go at it.

Somehow or the other a new search engine installed uninvited on the laptop and also installed a game. It took a bit of doing but he finally uninstalled it. This morning the darned thing popped up on my desk top. I can’t uninstall it because it doesn’t show on the programs list. I thought maybe the laptop was sharing files but I don’t think that’s the problem. They are two different operating systems and the laptop wasn't operational last night.

I had a bit of a problem connecting Mr. Fixit’s new tablet to our networks. Mr. Fixit said we might have to ask Levi (our youngest grandchild) to fix it. I finally was able to get him on line.

Also somehow a whole bunch of pictures showed up on my Galaxy. They aren’t even on either the laptop or the desk top. They are all transferred to CD’s and deleted from the hard drives. I wonder if Google is storing the pictures out there in the ether that I have used in my blog. That’s another reason why I get so aggravated at Google. They make me do things that I don’t want to do without even asking me. Some of the pictures though weren’t used on the blog. And how the heck did they get on the tablet? It’s a puzzle.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I am so glad last week is over. Maybe this week will be better. Last week I was in a continuous state of tenseness and anxiety.

The Friday before last I needed to renew my prescription for one of my bp medicines. During my last checkup, the dr.’s assistant told me that when I needed a new prescription I should call the office. I followed that instruction; however, the procedures at the office had changed. I was instructed by the computer to tell the pharmacy to request the new scrip. I did, they did, but the doctor didn’t. I ran out of the medication and the old bp starts to rise.

After allowing a couple of days, I called the office and once again I was instructed to leave a message with the dr.’s assistant (nurse in the old days) explaining the problem and to allow 24 to 48 hours for a response. I did that. After checking with the pharmacy again (the fourth time since Friday), they again said that the authorization had not been received.

I went to the office. I was nice even though it was Thursday. I explained that the authorization had to be called in because of the upcoming weekend. I was assured it would be taken care of. Late in the afternoon I called the pharmacy again—still no response.

Friday morning I called the dr.’s office again and discovered that the office is now closing on Fridays. I went into their urgent care unit and explained my predicament and report that my bp was up 100 points. I was a little testy but not rude. The nurse said she would call the dr. on his cell phone. She came back a few minutes later and said he was calling the pharmacy at that moment. I finally received the refill late Friday afternoon.

It took one week to get a simple authorization for a medicine I have been taking for years. It was for high blood pressure—not a level 2 narcotic, for gosh sakes. It was so worrying. I think if I follow their instructions they should follow the same rules THEY set forth.

To cap off a perfectly awful week, my birthday was yesterday. I was a bit depressed. I know 69 years of age is better than. . .  blah, blah, blah.

On a brighter note my glucose levels are quite low, but I haven’t lost much weight. Another depressing thing for today. My scrip for insulin must be filled, and it will be close to $300.00 because of that Gap.

AARGH!!! It seems that there is always some sort of health problem. Enough of this whining. There are bright spots. Mr. Fixit is still doing well. In fact, this morning he is working one of the trucks that belongs to our son. For that I am most grateful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not Much Happening

Our weather has changed. It’s been cold, and it’s only October. Saturday Owen had a soccer game at 8:45 am, and it was a little chilly. The soccer fields lie in a low area of the sports facility. Noah had a baseball game at the same facility, but the field is higher and completely open. The wind was a little strong, and it was cold!!!

For the last two nights I have been sleeping a little better since it’s in the low 60’s in the house.  I haven’t been using my MP3 player and audio books to sleep. Of course, Mr. Fixit claims to get frost bite if the temp falls below 75 degrees indoors.

Another climate note—the leaves on our trees have barely begun to turn. Usually the middle of October is the height of “leaf” season.

Speaking of Mr. Fixit, he has been feeling okay. I haven’t been updating the other blog because he’s doing so well. There is another scan scheduled for near the end of the month.

I have been reading quite a bit, and I’ve started knitting a sweater. Knitting is so boring, but I can’t find any plain cardigans so I guess I’ll make my own, bored or not.

I’m part of the television viewing public again in a small way. I bought a better set than the small one I had before, and Mr. Fixit bought yet another outdoor antenna. At least I can watch “CSI,” the “NCIS” franchise shows, and PBS, yea!!!

The reduced carb diet seems to be working better than the extreme low carb one. My glucose levels are low, and I lost a few pounds—not many but a a few. I wish I could start walking again, but my knees are a problem. I’m very happy though; perhaps I’ll be able to cut back on the insulin in a while whether I lose weight or not.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Gap and My Diet

This month I have fallen into the “Gap.” No, I didn’t trip in the clothing store. The Gap to which I am referring is the Medicare Gap {{shudder}}. For the rest of the year, I have to pay 70% of the total cost of my medicine. I have one prescription (insulin) that is more than our mortgage payment was. It’s going to be a tough few months financially. I don’t know why this happened because my total drug costs this year were less than last year.

I decided that I would try to cut back on my insulin so that I could stretch the monthly outlay. I tried the low carb diet (meaning less than 20 grams of carbs a day), but I had a problem. The first few days my glucose levels were in the 90’s which is very low for me. It usually in the 120’s to 140’s which is not that bad. It’s not good, but not that bad. A few days into the diet my blood sugar jumped up to 145 when I cut back 5 units on the insulin.

I decided to go back to my regular amount of insulin and just try a under 100 carbs a day. Yesterday was my first day. This morning my levels dropped back to 97.

That no-carb thing is so hard for me. That’s one piece of low carb bread with an egg for breakfast. That’s a no-no for me because of my LDL count. The other meals consisted of meat and a green salad.

Now that I am eating a few carbs I don’t feel so deprived. Maybe after a while I’ll be able to cut back back on the insulin and reduce my cost. We’ll see.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recipe for a Nightmare

Begin with several dollops of news coverage of the atrocities that a few psychopaths are committing against non-combatants and our President’s solution to the problem. Add one Joyce Carol Oates very disturbing audio book featuring child abuse, and the results thereof. Go to sleep with the audio on and running. Stir in more than a few worries and a character actor who has been in every television drama since the 50’s.

The finished product is a very bad dream featuring a surgical airstrike, a very disturbed kid who flushes a puppy down the toilet, and an actor who just pops into the scene to make it interesting.

The worst part is that I would wake, go back to sleep, and the dream would continue where it has left off. This happened several times.

I think I have to rethink the mp3 player as a solution to my insomnia. I think the bad dream was worse that the sleeplessness.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Smart Stuff

There’s a lot of “smart” stuff out there—telephones, tv’s, etc. While my phone and my television aren’t smart, there is one smart product I do use—Smart Potatoes. Yep, that’s right, smart potatoes.

I was very surprised to find in the produce department of a local supermarket bagged Idaho potatoes labeled “Smart Potatoes.” I haven’t decided yet what “smart” means in this case. Does it mean intellectually gifted? Or perhaps stylishly chic?

Would a gifted potato peel itself and hop in the pan with little help from the end user? Would it have the ability to cook perfectly, no under-cooking or burning? Hmm—I don’t think so. I accidently scorched the ones I was cooking for lunch  just the other day.

I’ll admit they are rather good-looking, but I don’t think they would turn heads on any red carpet or runway. They are very clean compared to other potatoes.

To be honest, I don’t really care if my potatoes are smart or stupid, stylish or frumpy. I only care that they go well with  butter, sour cream, cheese, or any other add-on that makes the potato so versatile and tasty.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From Our Deck

A glorious morning in South Carolina—temperature 70 degrees, high wispy clouds, a slight breeze—very unusual for August.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Google Does It Right

Today’s Google Doodle is in honor of Althea Gibson’s birthday. While the animation cannot show her tremendous athletic ability, you can see her style and class. Ms. Gibson, in the animation, is wearing the standard tennis fashion of the day. The skirt hits about mid-thigh, and the shirt has short sleeves with a modest vee neckline.

I’m not a big Google fan, but sometimes their doodles hit the mark. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lucy P. Locket

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, a long, long time, but I’ve been putting it off. You may be asking yourself, “What does the “P” in Lucy P. Locket stand for—Patience, Penelope, Phoebe?” No, none of those. Today I am coming clean; it’s Procrastination. Yep, Lucy Procrastination Locket.

Years ago, when there were no executive assistants, I was a secretary. There were no computers, no smart phones, not even floppy disks. Every document I typed (My first job was in an attorney’s office.) was done in triplicate. There were no copiers either. I thought carbon paper was a gift from the Almighty. I did the whole secretarial thing; I typed, took shorthand, and filed. To be perfectly honest, I filed only when I could  no longer see over the  “To Be Filed” basket on my desk. I hated (hated is much too mild a term) putting all those sheets of paper I had typed in those beige folders.

I was reminded of it yesterday when I noticed my email “In Box” had several—make that, many—hundreds of messages needing to be put in folders or deleted. I scrolled to the end of the list. The first one in the in box was dated June, 2013. Aargh! Times passes quickly when there’s filing to be done.

Of course, I do delete those important missives from Penney’s, Sears, Travelocity, the home improvement store where Mr. Fixit had his second career, Amazon, etc. that are received daily. I do transfer to folders the monthly bills I receive online most sometimes.

I do have a good excuse though for procrastinating. There are so many books to be read and  so many onlines games to be played. Let’s face it, at this stage of my life, my time is finite. When there is a choice to read or to clean out my in box, there is only one choice and it’s not filing, that’s for darn sure.

Monday, August 18, 2014

‘shrooms or ‘oadstools?

Today as I was finishing some yard work I had started last week while Mr. Fixit was helping our sons with some painting, I noticed the results of a wetter than normal summer.


These are a few of the more interesting ones, but the really pretty bright red one had disappeared. They have popped up all over the yard. I was a bit disappointed that there is not one fairy ring formation.

The few squirrels that are left in the yard have been munching on them. Hmm—if some of these are poisonous to humans, why aren’t the squirrels affected? Aha! Maybe that the answer to my mystery of the missing squirrels. Perhaps some of the toadstools have the same consequences as “magic mushrooms” and the squirrels are stoned out of their little minds somewhere.

Monday, August 11, 2014


This morning after asking Mr. Fixit to replace the battery in my laptop:

Me: “Should I turn off the laptop? Uh, what I mean is, should I shut it down.”

He: “What’s the difference in turning it off and shutting it down?”

Me: “ ‘Shutting it down’ sounds  more like I am THE WIZARD.”

I received the usual head shake and eye roll.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Yesterday when we arrived at the oncologist’s office for Mr. Fixit's appointment, there was a young man waiting for the office to open. He looked to be about 19 years old. I was shaken to realize that he was a patient. He’s so young, too young, to have such a horrible thing happen to him.

He was alone.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Is This News?

This morning as I was reading the Google news I scanned the headings—World News, US News, Business, Sports, Entertainment—this one left me almost speechless.

Megan Fox said in an interview her husband, Brian Austin Green “doesn’t get any intimacy whatsoever.”

TMI, Megan, TMI!

By the way, who the heck is Megan Fox and why should anyone be interested in her husband’s lack of intimacy except him?

I know, I know. My codgerliness is showing.

Note: I don't know Brian Austin Green either.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


For the past week, we’ve had guests. Some more of Mr. Fixit’s family came to see him. They stayed at Jason’s which helped me a lot. I worry about Mr. Fixit’s health, and I get a bit uptight. It seems there is at least one little episode when people are here. Maybe he overdoes it a bit He slept until 9:00 am his morning.

It didn’t help when we had a problem with the car that he had to fix. While the car was out of commission we were using the truck, but, of course, it had a problem, too, but Ben helped him with that one.

They weather was great while they were here. I think the temperature was in the 80’s  every day.

Friday, August 1, 2014

So There!

A few days ago Mr. Fixit had a blood pressure problem after cleaning out the car. His bp dropped very low. It scared me a bit.

Last night after we left a family dinner the “low tire” warning light came on during the drive home. It happened once before a few days ago. I called Ben to ask if he would ask Cole to come over to help Mr. Fixit find the problem with the tire. I didn’t want another bp drop.

This morning Mr. Fixit said to me that he was going out to start working on the car. I said, “No you’re not.”

He said, “Why not?”

I replied rather tartly, “Because I said so, that’s why!" Then I realized what I said. "Wow, I haven’t said that since the boys left home.”

“And I just stood there like a kid,” he muttered.

Hey, it worked. He’s sitting downstairs waiting for Cole.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Great Squirrel Mystery

There are in our yard an oak tree, a pecan tree, and several pine trees. These trees provide gourmet dining for many squirrels.

I realize that squirrels are rodents, and I have an aversion to most rodents—a BIG aversion. For some reason, however, I find squirrels cute. They make messes throwing the cores of pines cones that have stripped all over the yard, they dig holes to hide the pecans, and they leave their acorn shells on the railing of the deck, but they amuse me.

They are cheeky little devils, sitting up appearing to be issuing challenges to you. They have boundless energy it seems. They scamper up the trees in figure 8’s, and leap from limb to limb, tree to tree, with the bravery and agility of super heroes. They also let you know in no uncertain terms when they are perturbed with their tsking.

They are a bright spot when I am breakfasting on the deck. For the last two or three days, they have disappeared. I see maybe one or two a day. Where have they gone? Was it something I said? Did they not approve when I put walnuts out for them instead of pecans? (Maybe they haven’t noticed the price of pecans lately.)

I hope they are simply on vacation (Is there a Myrtle Beach for squirrels?) and will return soon. I need every little bit of fun I can get these days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Small-town South Carolina

While I don’t find this area of the country a pleasant place to live , I try to find things to like about it. The town has been improved esthetically since we moved here.

We have one of the prettiest recycling centers I’ve ever seen. The town, and the users, keep it neat and clean.

recycle center 001

recycle center 002

recycle center 003

The last photo is blurry; I couldn’t see the image with the sunlight on my camera. I was flying blind you might say. You get the idea though.

Click on pictures for detail.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Life, Lemons, and Lemonade

Mr. Fixit developed a bit of a tummy in the last few years as some men of a certain age do. He went to a bigger waist size when buying pants and was contemplating moving up another size for comfort’s sake when his medical condition changed around the first of the year.

The kidney was removed through an incision made just above his belly button. After the surgery, there was quite a bit of swelling so that made his paunch seem even worse.

Having been on the cancer meds for some months now and having several problems with side effects, he has lost about 20 pounds. His paunch is almost gone, and he is back into his smaller pants that he had “outgrown.”

Today we were in the frozen food section of the grocery. I noticed him looking at his reflection in the glass doors of the freezer units, patting his belt buckle, and hiking up his jeans.

I asked, “Did I just see you admiring yourself in the reflection in the freezer case?”

“No, no,” he replied. “I was just pulling up my jeans a little.”

“Yeah, right,” I commented.

He smiled his guilty little smile, and said, “You don’t miss a thing, do you?”

At last, a silver lining found for those side effects!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Fifth Grade Teacher Would Be So Disappointed in Me

I sent the following text with a photo of his cat to Jason today. (We are checking on the cat, Potter, while they are away on vacation.):

“Do u c potter? He copped a cattitude today. wouldnt come down. Stayed at top of steps.”

If I had been sending an email, I would have written:

“Do you see Potter? He copped a “cat-titude” today. He wouldn’t come down. He stayed at the top of the steps.”

The text version leaves me feeling a tad uncomfortable. After having grammar, punctuation, and spelling taught to me for 12 years, it’s difficult to disregard the rules.

Why do people use no punctuation and spell phonetically when sending text messages? Is there a limit to the number of strokes or words like there is on Twitter? I’ll have to look into it. In the meantime, ttfn, lol.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Unspoken Words

This morning I was on the deck having my breakfast. Mr. Fixit was still in bed. I received a text from him: “I’m up.” Just to show him how tech savvy I am, I replied, “Good 4 u.”

A little while ago I was at the computer when he came upstairs and almost reached the door to the computer room. Before entering, he turned around without saying a word. A bit later, another text: “Did you throw out the spaghetti?”

I think I may have created a monster when I suggested making changes in our phone service. I have a feeling that until the “new” wears off, texting (I hate that word) will be our main method of communication.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I’m a Little Texter, Short and Stout

Yesterday I had had enough. We were having a problem with a prescription, the doctor’s office and the insurance company,  and Ben, Jason, and I were communicating via email. They were in their offices, and I really don’t like to bother them during working hours. I would send an email to both explaining what was going on, and then I would have to wait until they had time to reply. I decided if I had texting set up on my phone, it wouldn’t be as intrusive as email. (That’s what they keep telling me anyway.)

My phone was a very basic Verizon phone. We had the texting blocked because it was so expensive. It had no camera or any of the fun stuff. I bought it because the keys and the screen featured large letters. The phone has always given me problems though.

So off we go to the Verizon store. I explained to the associate that I didn’t want a smart phone or anything else that would force me to choose between paying my phone bill and eating. I started to tell him I would settle for a not so smart one if the price were right. He presented a plan to us and a new phone that offers texting and a few little amenities for the same cost as our old plan. And my phone is a very nice shade of blue. Mr. Fixit opted to keep his old flip phone because he thinks he’s going to have a problem texting in English. So while I can’t surf the web, I can text.

I received a text from Noah today. “I heard you came into the 21st century and you can text now.” I replied with my own text. It only took me about 20 minutes to figure out how to text and to type the message. I was so proud of myself when I was finally clicked on “Send.” I showed Mr. Fixit my accomplishment and noticed a typo in my short reply. Noah probably thinks I need a little more work in the 21st century technology.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I am so p.o.ed at Blogger/Google. All I want to do is show a link on this blog to my other blog. I have tried so many times and get the same error message. Maybe if they would offer a solution to the error instead of just saying there is an error, it would help. It would also help if they wrote their error messages in PLAIN ENGLISH that we mere technically disadvantaged mortals can understand.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pet Sitting

Ben and his family are in Myrtle Beach this week so I am keeping the cat, Sitty-sat. I call her Itty-bitty Sitty-kitty committee (only one member). She is almost totally black. I’ve only seen a couple of white hairs on her chest. She is black, black, black.

The first day and a half she hid under the couch, only coming out to eat. She eats a lot. I don’t how she keeps her girlish figure. She is becoming a more friendly. She will sit on our laps and wander around the house a little, but she still won’t come into the computer room.

Bella has been calling almost every day to check on her. I sent pictures last night to reassure her.

I think Sitty thinks we are boring. She’s accustomed to having two dog friends, and the five human members of her family. The quiet alone must be unusual for her. She will probably be glad when they come home.

July 2, 2014 004

Check out the extended claws. Maybe she’s not crazy about having her picture taken.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Morning View

Most mornings I have my breakfast on the deck unless it is too hot, cold, or wet. This morning it was cloudy and extremely humid. The temperature was about 74 degrees, but the humidity made it a bit uncomfortable for me. However, it did make for a nice view.

7-1-14 003

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week Ending 6/28/14


The Tooth Tattoo by Peter Lovesey—Peter Diamond series.

Source: Local Library Ebook

British police procedural


Chopping Spree – Diane Mott Davidson

Source: Local Library E Book

Cozy Mystery – Claire Malloy series


Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis

Source: Local Library Ebook

Crime – Stand-alone


The Wilderness Road by James Reasoner

Source: Amazon Ebook Bargain

Historical Fiction –


Circle in the Snow by Patrick F. McManus

Source: Local Library Ebook

Present Day Western Lawman Mystery—Bo Tully Series



Vacations Can Be Murder by Connie Shelton

Source: Local Library Audio Book

Female Private Investigator – Charlie Parker


“Ladyhawke” with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfieffer

Source: My Video Collection – Fantasy


“Vera” – A British  crime television series

Source: Netflix


“Rosemary & Thyme” – British cozy mystery television series

Source: YouTube


“New Tricks” – British crime television series

Source: YouTube

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Last Dance

This weekend Owen participated in a Nationals dance competition in Charleston. It will probably be his last one. He has decided to take up another past-time—soccer. His soccer ball accompanies him everywhere; it seem to be invisibly tethered to his body.

The dance competition is being streamed live on the internet. I’m so pleased that we can see his last performance. Well, it may be his last performance. Since his teachers found out that he was not going to continue, they have been trying to change his mind.

He is doing so well this weekend. He looks as if he’s having the time of his life. His group had two routines yesterday, and both qualified for the “Best of the Best” competition today.

He’s a born entertainer!                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Friday, June 27, 2014

Old Dog. . .New Tricks

I’m almost 69 years old, and I did something today that I’ve never done before. I had never mowed the yard on the riding lawnmower. My mowing the yard has never been needed before, but I figured it’s time I learned.

Today is cloudy and it’s not too hot. I suggested that Mr. Fixit show me how to the operate the mower. He wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. But I was not to be deterred.

The first thing I learned was that I needed sturdier shoes that the sandals I had on. The one-pedal-does-everything is hard to depress completely. I found out it is makes it go, and it is the brake  and clutch. Some designer in his wisdom put it on the left side of the machine; I seem to be right-footed. After he told me how to start, stop, and control the blades, I was ready to ride."Born to Be Wild" suddenly popped into my mind.

He said to put it on “1.” That is the slowest it will go. You would think after 48 years of marriage he would know that I like the feel of the wind in my face. I drove it about ten feet and told him I wanted to go faster. He said I could move it to “2.” Another ten feet--not fast enough. I wanted to try “3.” Okay, that was more like it. (But when I’m allowed to mow without supervision, I may get it up to the “5” level. I could probably finish mowing in 20 minutes.)

I put the blades down and started to mow. The first thing he told me that I was going in the wrong direction. The clippings-spitter- outer thing should always spit back into the yard so that is no danger of hitting passing cars or the neighbor’s car in his driveway. I began mowing in a clockwise direction.

I discover that our yard has lots of holes and dips that scared me a little. I didn’t want to flip the mower on my first try.

I also need a picker-upper for the bigger twigs and stuff that shouldn’t mowed over. I’ve seen Mr. Fixit just bend over and pick stuff up while seated, but I’m too short. I would probably tumble butt over tea kettle and do myself grievous bodily harm.

When I mowed for a bit, I wanted to try reverse. That worked out quite well after receiving detailed instructions.

The whole time I was mowing I could see him inwardly cringing when I ran over a twig or missed a spot. He also told me not to mow under the trees where the roots are protruding. I was glad to oblige on that one. When I headed to the back of the house to put the mower away, I think I heard his sigh of relief over the roar of the engine.

But Hot Damn! I mowed the yard! The next project is the small leak under the sink in the upstairs bathroom.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Did This Happen?

Now that summer is upon us it’s time to bring out my favorite movies to while away the long, hot afternoons.

Yesterday I was in the mood for a little fantasy so I went in search of “Excalibur.” I love that movie. I couldn’t find it. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no organized system for our DVD’s. I’ve often said that I should organize the movies as I organize my books. I just never got around to it.

Okay, no “Excalibur.” Another movie I like in that line is “Ladyhawke.”  I found that one. After watching I decided to pull some of my other favorite movies to watch later on. “Cape Fear,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casa Blanca,” “Sleepers,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Tombstone” were my first choices, but they are nowhere to be found. These are movies I watch at least one a year.

I can find no trace. I went through every shelf, stack, and drawer where I store videos. There are more than 30 missing titles. I have no clue what happened to them. (While I’m not organized I do try to keep a current listing.)

I must have done something with them. Mr. Fixit’s movies are all accounted for; only mine are missing.

I am so p.o.ed!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Week of 6/21/14


Product Details

Sidewinders #4: Mankiller, Colorado by William Johnstone

Source: Local Library Ebook

Western – New genre for me. Colorful language, high body count.

Product Details

Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

Source: Local Library Ebook

Suspense: Okay read

Product Details

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker

Source: Local Library Ebook

Crime: Okay, but gets off to a dull start

 Product Details

Little Girl Lost by Brian McGilloway

Source: Amazon E Book

Irish Police Precedural: Okay


Product Details

Deader Homes and Gardens by Joan Hess

Source: Local Library Audio Book

Cozy Mystery: Good – Hess is one of my         favorites


“New Tricks”

“Rosemary and Thyme” - British mystery featuring lady gardeners, luscious gardens and cozy mystery plots.

Source: YouTube

“Vera” – British Mystery set in North Umberland. Based on Books authored by Ann Cleeves. Vera is a bit bad-tempered and a tad unconventional in her garb, but she is a brilliant detective. Nice scenery.

Source: Netflix

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What a Great Kid!

Sunday evening our sons and their families came for their Father’s Day visit with Mr. Fixit. They bought carry-out dinners, and Ben and his wife brought a watermelon for dessert.

The younger grandchildren had theirs outside and disposed of the rinds in the yard. Cole, our oldest grandson, was telling me about what they did, and I said I thought maybe it would have been better to bring the garbage inside. I was busy at the time putting things away in the kitchen. Cole asked me where I keep the plastic garbage bags. I assumed that he was going out to pick up the refuse. I didn’t pay that much attention to what he was doing.

Later in the middle of the night I was lying in bed thinking about the evening, and I realized what Cole actually did. Without my asking him, he removed the trash bag from the kitchen trash container and put in the trash outside. I was so surprised and pleased. No one has ever taken care of my garbage before with a direct request from me.

Cole is one sweet kid! I made sure to thank him when he and Noah came yesterday to mow the yard so Mr. Fixit doesn’t worry about it. All of our grandchildren are outstanding!

Explanation: When we were first married, Mr. Fixit would take the garbage cans to the street, but it was my job to get the trash into the cans. After we moved here and I stopped working, I just naturally started doing it myself since he worked such long hours, and the boys were either at school or working. That how the garbage became my purview.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Day Brightener

The Google Doodle that greeted me this morning was celebrating the World Cup as it has been for the last few days. Today doodle shows the “fans” in the bleachers performing the wave.

It is cute. It gave me Google giggle!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Reading, Listening, Watching Week Ending 6/13/14


Product Details

Source: Local Library Ebook

I like this series. I don’t buy Mr. Patterson’s books because I wonder how he shares the writing and the profits. I’m a suspicious sort of a person. I hope all of his co-authors are fairly compensated.

Product Details

Source: Purchase from Amazon

This is one of those book that I don’t like to admit that I read—romantic suspense—how embarrassing! What can I say? I like them if there is good writing and interesting plots. This is one of Amazon’s “bargain” books. While I can’t decide why I didn’t care for it, I probably won’t purchase the others in the series.


unnatural habits

Source: Local Library – Ebook

I found the Phryne Fisher television series on Netflix, and I liked it very much. I happened upon this book while browsing my local library download section. The book was fun; I hope I can find some others in nearby library systems.


as the pig turns

Source: Local Library – Audio MP3 format

The Agatha Raisin series is fun. I look forward to each new release. This one is one I missed when it was first published.

in their footsteps

Source: Local Library – Audio WMA format

Ms. Gerritsen writes some dandy crime novels, but I won’t finish this one. I don’t like spy stories. It may be a good book, but it’s not my cup of tea. I must find another audio book for tonight’s wakeful hours.


On “YouTube” I found a very good British television series, “New Tricks.” Three retired detectives are recalled to staff the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad of the Metropolitan Police headed by a woman detective superintendent. The retirees are just quirky enough to be funny and interesting. Of course, they always close the case one way or the other each episode. I’ve watched Season 1 and I’m working on Season 2.

This is Mr. Fixit’s week for old, old Westerns from Netflix. I have been watching A & E’s “Longmire” based on the books of Craig Johnson which are even better than the TV series. I finished the new Longmire book last week—another winner! Next week is my turn for another British mystery—my favorites!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Around the Fixit Household

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. We’ve had several doctors’ appointments and logistical problems. It’s wearing us  out.

Things have changed a little for the better for Mr. Fixit. His chemo medication has been cut in half. It seems that some of the side effects are easing.

I have been having problems with my knees and have been spending a great deal of time stretched out on the bed. Our house is three levels and not one level has everything one needs to get through the day. The steps make it tough. Just sitting at the computer hurts. It’s getting better though.

I’ve been trying to add tabs to the top of my blog page, but I don’t understand the instructions at all. It’s so frustrating!

I’ve been reading a lot. Thank goodness for ebooks from my libraries. There’s not much to do in a doctor’s waiting room or coddling one’s knee.

I want all this to go away and for things to get back to normal.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

His Priorities

There is a new window blind to be used on our dining room window. It’s 72” wide. While it is unwieldy, it isn’t heavy. I purposefully bought a light, vinyl one. Some of them were too heavy for me to handle, and I didn’t know if he would be feel like putting it up.

Mr. Fixit, as he was lying in bed because he was so tired just from taking a shower, said that he was going to put the blind up tomorrow. I said I would ask someone for help with it or do it myself.

“I have put up blinds before, but I may need you to hold up one end while I work on the opposite end. Oh, and I may need a little instruction for using your Craftsman’s drill.”

After a moment (First I saw a look of dismay fleetingly cross his face and then the cogs turning in his mind), he said, “That drill is too heavy for you to use.”

“You forget—I am the person who carries a purse that heavy enough to give a strong man a hernia.”

Too heavy, my eye! I don’t think he wants me touching his drill.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Today in South Carolina News

The following was reported on WYFF Channel 4 News in Greenville, SC.

“A man who was not in good humor smacked an ice-cream truck driver with a fudge bar in a dispute over correct change after his daughter bought the frozen confection, said police.

The vendor gave officers a description of the man and the white truck she said he used for a getaway vehicle. The police report did not say whether he took the fudge bar with him.”

I don’t know who actually wrote this item, but I think it’s a hoot!

Good Vibrations

I’m not a person whose phone in the center of her life. In fact, until recently, I only knew where the phone was maybe 50% of the time.

Today when Mr. Fixit and I were in the doctor’s office he put his phone on “vibrate.” He punched about 20 keys to do this. I turned mine completely off. He asked me why I didn’t put it on vibrate. I said, “You punched about 20 keys; I punched one.” The truth is I don’t know how to turn on the vibrate function.

When we left the doctor’s office, neither one of us thought to check the phones. We were discussing the information we had been given. When we stepped into the house, Mr. Fixit remembered and checked his. “Jason (our son) called.”

I said, “Uh-oh, if he called mine, too, he’s probably wondering where we are. I’m surprised he not standing at the front door.”

By that time, My Fixit returned his call. He asked Jason where he was. I heard from about half-way across the room, “I’m almost to your house. Where were you?!”

When he arrived I received a lecture about checking my phone and turning it on and putting it on “vibrate.” I told him about Dad pushing about 20 buttons to accomplish this, and I told him it was too much trouble. I said, “Why doesn’t it have a button to push once to vibrate?”

He said, “It does.” He showed us both the right button to push. He said that when he had more time he was coming over to give me a tutorial on my phone that I’ve had for five years. I think that was his best eye-roll yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Were They Thinking?

Today has not been a good day. In fact, it’s been a crappy day. I need a little distraction.

Since we no longer have Directv, I have very few shows available to me. Tuesdays are one of the few nights I watch tv if my reception is good enough. I found out there is a Judge Judy show on instead of “NCIS.” I need my “NCIS!” Argh!

That's kicking a person when she's down!

Monday, May 19, 2014

An Alternate Universe?

Has the world tilted on its axis and someone forgot to tell me? Perhaps I have been swept into a loony parallel universe? Something’s going on, that’s for sure.

Item 1 – For all those who have pooh-poohed the idea of major climate change, consider this.

The weather in South Carolina from the middle of April until about November  is hot, humid, and just plain uncomfortable. Some (like me) would say it can be unbearable. Even though we have had a couple of 90+ degrees days, Friday night it was so cold that Mr. Fixit turned on the heat again. It has been coming on all weekend. Keep in mind that this is mid-May. Usually by this time Lucy’s Rules for Summer have been implemented and I am bitching and moaning about sweat.

The past winter was so cold that I had to wear jackets, mittens, and earmuffs. Usually I can make do with just sweaters. It gets cold for a few days, but this winter the cold lasted for months. I was glad to see spring come.

So, if you have any doubt that  the icecaps are melting, the fact that it is cold enough in SC to have the heat on in mid-May should at least induce the climate change skeptics to reconsider and start supporting environmental policies that could help the situation.

Item 2 – In Mississippi, some ultra-conservative feloniously entered a nursing care facility to take video (or pictures) of the bed-ridden wife of an opposing politico for some reason. I have tried to imagine what was going on in this disturbed mind. What was his desired result? Did he expect the voters to vote against a man because his wife is incapacitated?What was his reasoning? (Story reported in most major news outlets.)

Item 3 – Again on the political scene. An Arizona congressional candidate said that 99% of the mass shootings have been done by Democrats. Wh-a-a-t? How did he come up with that one? Honestly—have you ever read in any news account of any of these horrendous acts the political affiliation of the perpetrator? (Story reported in the NY Daily news and many other news outlets and internet sources.)

Item 4 – Karl Rove. . .oh, forget it. This one is simply too. . .

Everything seems to be a little off-kilter to me; but, then again, maybe it’s me who is…Nuts!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Music and Joy

This week has been musical for us. Both Owen, our fifth grader, and Bella, our sixth grader, participated in their schools’ final choral concerts. Both were great; I love these things! There were differences between the two groups though. Perhaps it is the ages or the teachers’ desired results.

It just happened that both choruses performed two of the same songs—“Don’t Stop Believing” and “Happy.”  The 400 or so students at Bella’s middle school were so good. The talent these children exhibited left me breathless.

Owen and his 4th and 5th grade classmates (40 or 50 perhaps) weren’t quite as polished as the middle school, but they, and the audience, has tons of fun during those two songs in particular. At the beginning of “Don’t Stop Believing” I suggested to our son that we start a little flash mob. He didn’t go for that one.When the chorus started clapping their hands during “Happy,” the audience (parents and many grandparents) joined in and clapped with them. Everyone was really into it. There was joy in that cafeteria Monday night!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Am I Missing?

Yesterday’s topic on “Times Goes By” was “How It Is to Be Old.” I read the comments with increasing wonderment and awe, and the feeling that I am out of step with “happy”  old people. And I am very envious of those who commented.

Most wrote of having time to savor and relish the simple things in life, marriages that get better, more wisdom, emotional mellowing, tranquility, self-awareness,  the lessening of responsibilities and obligations, more patience, and less angst in general.

To me having time, wisdom, tranquility,  patience, fewer responsibilities are beyond my reach. I never have enough time to do all the things that should be done. The only wisdom I have developed came when I thought about my own past mistakes. I don’t think I want to share my past mistakes with anyone if I try to impart my wisdom to others. Tranquility is elusive. It’s more than elusive; I think sometimes it’s purposefully hiding from me. The responsibilities are onerous. Self-awareness? I don’t have time or even the inclination for self-reflection. If I did do a little reflection,I might not like what I see. And angst—I didn’t really know how tough things can get sometimes. Believe me, I know it now as time gets even shorter. Being mellow isn’t me either. This getting old business is the cause of several of my private, mini-breakdowns. The financial outlook alone is very worrisome. Sometimes it feels as if a financial catastrophe is just waiting to pounce.

Do I still savor the simple things in life? Of course, I do. The grace of a hawk circling in the sky, knowing that my grandchildren are excelling, walking on the beach at sunset and hearing the lapping on the waves on the shore. I just threw in the beach stuff. I hate the beach and sand in uncomfortable places. Reading is a pleasure though I find I have less patience for long, protracted plots. I also have very little patience with rude, crude, loud,and wishy-washy people. I have much less patience than I did when I was young. I cherish the small amount of time I have alone, but I wouldn’t want to have an abundance of alone-time.

Am I unhappy? I don’t think so, but after some reflection, I’m not sure I’m happy either by some standards. (I knew reflection wasn’t a good idea.) I just keep on keeping on and do the best that I can. I’m not quite ready for the alternative.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Can’t Win for Losing

Several days ago, our local weather forecasters began predicting the storms that devastated the Midwest and parts of the deep South could enter our area. The storms didn’t happen here. Thank God!

Today one of our channels published an explanation of “why they were wrong.” The explanation was cogent, outlined the scientific reasons the storm had passed us, and explained the difficulty predicting the vagaries of the weather.

Most of the people who commented on the news story were irate that the forecast had been wrong. The station’s news story was seen as CYA instead of the explanation it was meant to be. The station was accused of hyping the dangers for  some murky reasons that I didn’t quite understand.

The consensus of the negative commenters was that the station should have stressed the fact that it was possible for the storms to miss us, thereby negating the need for cancellation of some activities. (The station didn’t cancel the activities; that decision was made by people other than the tv broadcasters and their meteorologists.)

I would guess that 95% of the comments were negative. What did these people want? Did they want the death and destruction to descend upon us as it did in other locations? If the weather people had downplayed the danger of the storms and they had hit with the ferocity that wreaked havoc as they did in other places, the commenters would have been blaming the tv stations saying that the station should have issued stronger warnings.

Instead of thanking God, Mother Nature, or  the whatever cosmic force they may believe exists, they seem like they can hardly wait to spew the most virulent, hateful opinions they can even though we were blessed. It almost makes me feel sorry for them; they must be very unhappy people.

One further thought—modern technology has made weather forecasting more accurate. In fact, it seems to me that the predictions are right far more often than they are wrong.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another Sign of Aging

One more subtle sign of aging may be when you go to the drive-thru and direct your lunch order to the trash receptacle instead of the intercom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring is Here! (Not)

The forecast low tonight is 33 degrees. I spoke too soon on April 6. Darn it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Too Little Credit Given

One of my favorite genres of movies is film noir. Netflix has quite a number of them. Yesterday I was watching one I had never seen before—a 1948 production. It didn’t rank up there with “The Maltese Falcon,” but I enjoyed it.

As I was watching, I took note of three of the actors. I’ve seen all three in many, many films and on tons of television shows. What was a little surprising was that I had no idea what their names were. If you are of my generation, you probably recognize the faces; do you know the names?


griffithwalter sande

From the top: Robert Paige, James Griffith, and Walter Sande.

I did a little research on IMDB (the movie data base site) and found that they all had impressive credits by virtue of the number of roles they had played. They were never big name stars, but were character actors in secondary parts. They seem to be hard-working actors who never received acclaim or awards, but they were essential to the films.

I would really like to know if they led good lives. Did they make a good living? Were they happy doing character parts?  Did they yearn for starring roles? Did they die knowing that some of us recognize they were very talented? I hope so.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Owen and some classmates competed in a school science fair and advanced through several levels and were invited to Detroit, Michigan, to participate in a big science fair.

As they were sight-seeing, they met this street performer. And, of course, this is Owen doing what he loves best. The music that you hear is from another street musician, and the voice is my DIL who accompanied the students on the trip. He is completely oblivious to the people on the street and the people in the passage-way overhead watching. As we say, this is so Owen. The street performer was such a good sport.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Is Here

Flowers are blooming, the Bradford pear trees have flowered and turned green. The dogwoods are showing their stuff, and we actually attended games this weekend without winter coats, mittens, and earmuffs being necessary. The yellow bellied sapsucker has returned.

The world is yellow,
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and my nose is red and runny.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Side Effects

Mr. Fixit has discovered the perfect excuse for any number of situations since he has been on the medication for his health issue.

Me: “You’ve been eating like you have an empty leg lately. Why do you think that’s happening?”

Him: “I think it’s a side effect of the medication.”

Me: “Aren’t you a busy little bee this morning!”

Him: “I think it must be the medication giving me all this energy.”

Me: “Wow, you’re a little grumpy this morning.”

Him: “I think it must be the medication.”

Me: “Do you think you could drive a little slower?”

Him: “That medication makes me drive fast.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Problem Solved

Mr. Fixit and I usually have completely different breakfasts. I make his first and then mine. Often I miscalculate and fix my cup of tea too early leading to a lukewarm cup with my breakfast.

A few days ago it happened again. After muttering and grumbling, I put the cup of water with the teabag still inside into the microwave for a minute. Out came a steaming cup. And this was TEA! This was a cup of tea that a burley Maine lobsterman would have on his boat on a cold morning. This was not the cup of tea that my grandmother would daintily sip with her pinkie extended.

Now my SOP is to boil the water in the kettle and then nuke it for a minute or so.
There is a drawback. When the tea comes to a boil again, it splashes all over the oven (much like the exploding chicken I experienced not long ago). And it leaves stains unless I wipe it up immediately.  I don’t always get to it immediately. As you can see in the photo (I cleaned part of it with a Mr. Clean sponge thingy for contrast), it leaves quite a mess. 

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I explained my problem to Mr. Fixit. I told him I need something to cover the cup but allow the steam to escape without blowing off.

This is his solution. I gave him a disposable food storage container that completely covered the cup with clearance between the cup and the upside down container. He them pulled out his handy-dandy Craftsman battery operated drill and made several holes to allow the steam to escape.

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No more mess and no more lukewarm tea!

I’ve always said, give the man $10,000 worth of Craftsman tools and a roll of duct tape and he can fix anything.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A New Blog

I have decided to start a new blog that deals with Mr. Fixit's health situation. It will serve as a way to keep track of what's happening, and  I hope to be able to offer suggestions just in case there is some one in our situation. I've made some mistakes and it may be helpful for someone to know what I know now in hindsight. I want to tell is happening honestly to give just an inkling of what can be expected.

For instance: Don't expect people to keep their word when they tell you they will call you back at a certain time.

The new blog address is

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Good News!

We received word today that we have been accepted for a program that will pay for Mr. Fixit's very, very expensive medicine. It’s been so hard waiting for an answer. He received enough for a week last Friday, but he couldn’t begin the regimen until we received definite word that the application had been accepted.

We will received the first month’s supply tomorrow, and he will begin the medicine tomorrow morning. I hope the doctor is right and he has few symptoms. The doctor said that he may experience from shortness of breath because of fluid build-up in the lungs, swelling in his feet, and a rash. The literature, of course, described all the possible side effects that come with regular chemotherapy, including nausea, hair loss, jaundice, etc., etc.
I am so grateful to Walgreens who assisted us.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Those Eyes!

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My only blue-eyed grandchild. The blue eyes are possibly my family’s contribution.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

You Learn Something New Everyday

Cape Cod Times Crossword Puzzle, 3/20/14

Clue 3 Down: Question mark/exclamation combo

I had no clue (pun intended). I had to work it out.

Answer: Interrobang

Huh? A completely new word for me.

My dictionary explains: “punctuation indicating emphatic disbelief: a punctuation mark in the form of a question mark over the top of an exclamation point.”

I want one of those! I would use it all the time. I can’t figure out how to make it on the keyboard. Darn! My project for the day.

Credit: Crossword, “Low Places” by David Cromer, edited by Stanley Newman

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Since I wasn’t sure how to post the video of Owen’s last elementary school talent show performance, I have to do it two parts.

He and his dad choreographed the whole routine, and Owen added the mask. It was the perfect dramatic touch.

This child would rather dance than eat, I think.

Owen Performs

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sign of the Times

Today I was notified by one of my libraries in a neighboring county that my non-resident card had expired. I decided to take the 30 minute drive to the closest branch to our house to get it renewed. The library is not in the best part of town, but I’ve never had a problem.

I approached the desk and asked to have my card renewed. As I was waiting for the librarian to do her computer thing and to take my debit card, I noticed something that took me aback.

Standing behind the desk was an armed, plain clothes LEO (I’ve been watching too much “NCIS.” LEO is law enforcement officer for those non-fans of “NCIS.”). His badge was on a lanyard and he was packing heat! In a library, for gosh sakes, a library. His weapon was in clear view. I suppose it serves as a deterrent. What has this world become when you need an armed officer in the library?

Scary, isn’t it?


Cancer is not a poor person’s disease. We found out that the oral medication prescribed for Mr. Fixit’s lung cancer is over $13,000 a month. That’s not a typo, that’s thirteen thousand dollars a month. The co-pay for a month is more than our combined income.

Our oncologist has a financial aid office as part of his practice. Does that tell you anything?

We’ll see. . .

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Results

Mr. Fixit had a doctor’s appointment today to discuss the results of the lung biopsy he had last week. The one spot they tested proved to be cancer. I suppose that means the other spots in both lungs are cancerous, too.

Oral medication is being prescribed and should arrive in about two weeks. The side affects are swollen feet, fluid in the lungs, and a rash. Even with those, it certainly sounds much easier that chemo.

The doctor said that the prognosis is very good, because of Mr. Fixit’s physical condition and the spots on his lungs are still very small.

I was so disappointed. I wanted this to be over; I want him well.

When his family was here earlier in the week, he missed one dose of the medication that regulates his heartbeat. His pulse rate was 152. He was hospitalized once before when it hit 155.  The episode started about 5:30 pm and it didn’t get back to normal until 3:30 am. It scared the stuffin’ out of me.

You can bet he will be reminded every morning to take his meds from now on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mine, Too!

Click on image for clarity.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wrong Answer

Clue 23 Down in one of my crossword puzzles today:

Word said with a head slap

My answer: Dammit

It isn’t right, but I like it better.

How Does She Do It?

Some years (it has probably been at least 12 to 15 years) ago Mr. Fixit had some sort of medical procedure (we can’t remember exactly what it was) at the same hospital his current problem is being treated.

At that time, after we left the business office, a volunteer escorted us to our destination. I guessed her age at about 80. She had really nice white hair and a gleam in her eye. As we started our trek to the bowels of the hospital, I had to trot to keep up with her. When we reached our destination, I was panting so badly I could hardly speak to thank her for her help.

After I caught my breath, I remarked to Mr. Fixit about her physical ability, and said I hoped I could move half as fast as she did if I reached her age.

Yesterday we had an appointment for Mr. Fixit’s biopsy in the same hospital. I was surprised to see this same lady there still escorting people to their assigned service area. I mentioned the fact that she was still working and  remarked on her energy. Another employee heard our conversation and told us the volunteer is 96 years old.

When it was our turn to be taken to Radiology, she escorted us. As we walked down those long halls with numerous turns, I noted that she had slowed down. I didn’t had to trot to keep up with her, but I did have to walk as fast as my legs would go.

I wondered later if she had slowed her pace for us two old people.

She has my admiration.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


There are many things I don’t like about getting old. I don’t like the aches and pains that seem to be my constant companions. I don’t like the cosmetic changes like sagging skin, thinning hair, stubby eyelashes, etc., etc., etc. I don’t like knowing that there are things that I will never do, material things I will never have, and some things will never change for the better.

I think I’ve found the absolute worse thing, other than complete mental and physical breakdown, since we have been dealing with Mr. Fixit medical issues. I think that I am losing my independence. I have always been very independent. My mother told me that I was too independent, but I realized quite early in my life that things work out better for me if I don’t let myself depend on others. If I can’t be totally independent, for instance, financially, I hope that I have contributed in other ways to sort of repay that dependence.

When our sons came to put down our new kitchen flooring, I felt like I wasn’t doing my share of the work. When Mr. Fixit was in good shape, we could work together on most jobs and not ask for help. With him not being able to help, I found that I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. I didn’t get all the furniture out of the dining room and I didn’t have time to remove the old tile or remove the moldings. These are things we would have done together if all were right in our world. As it is, the boys had to take up the tile, remove the molding, move some of the furniture, plus lay the new flooring. Then after it was done, they had to help me put the furniture back and replace the old molding with new. It still grates on me that I was so dependent of someone else.

Then a few days later I saw any article written for adult children who think it’s time to take financial oversight of their parents. It felt as if someone had thrown ice water in my face. Is this in our future? I only hope that doesn’t happen to us.

If I lost my independence, I would be losing ME.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Unsolicited Product Assessment

(All too often I have complained about the quality of the goods I purchase. This time I found a product that works well for me.)

Ours sons and one grandson came over to replace the kitchen floor which was so bad it was embarrassing. I had requested linoleum because I am so messy in the kitchen. I spill, drip, and scatter no matter how hard I try to be neat while cooking.

Jason and his wife have hardwood floors in their kitchen. They have had to replace sections several times when the icemaker or dishwasher leaked. I decided my being messy and having an icemaker and dishwasher, linoleum was the only viable floor covering for me.

The linoleum I picked looks like wood and is textured. In fact, the texture makes it hard to use a broom. You can only sweep with the grain, and then it’s hard to sweep up all the  dust, crumbs and the pine needles Mr. Fixit tracks in from outdoors. I decided to try an electric broom.

(The floor is actually evened toned; the flash distorts the color.)

Off to Wal-Mart! I chose a Eureka! lightweight vacuum cleaner. I think the model name is Quick-Up. It weighs only a couple of pounds. The head is as wide as the steps making it easy to vacuum the stairs. (I hate trying to vacuum the stairs!) It has the rotating brushes in the head to clean carpets, but it doesn’t do a great job; however, I didn’t buy it to use on the carpeting.

In short, it was cheap, it’s lightweight, and it does a good job on the linoleum in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom and the porcelain tile in the upstairs bathroom.
Of course, I don’t know about its reliability since I’ve only had it a few days. If it breaks down any time soon, you can bet I will be complaining about it, retracting every nice thing I’ve said.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mr. Fixit had another appointment with the medical oncologist Friday concerning the plan for the lung problem. We're waiting for an appointment to have the scan and the biopsy to determine the course of action. At least we hope that will happen. If there is a problem, then he must see a thoracic surgeon. The doctor seems to think that even if the spots are malignant, they will be treatable with oral medication.

It seems like spring is just around the corner. I saw one little crocus in the yard, but the prediction is for low temps next week in the 20's. It's been very nice for the last few days.

Owen had a dance competition this weekend. Mr. Fixit felt better so we went. His class won the top prize in both hip-hop and and the production number competitions. Owen did great as usual.

There was one act from another school that featured the kids' dads. These guys were average Joe's ranging in age from what seemed to be mid 20's to early 40's. These 15 guys danced their hearts out. There was one who was a little older with a bit of a tummy hanging over his belt, but he put his all into it. One guy even did a little break dancing. It was great that these dads are willing to work so hard for their daughters.