Saturday, January 31, 2009

Petal, mountain, valley, crane, frog . . .

There was a class in origami, this morning. I have seldom felt so inept. I finally folded a bird base and then turned it into a crane. The teacher was inclined to demonstrate the difficult parts for us on our own projects, then give them back. This taught us how to follow along as she did it but did not teach how to follow the diagrams very well.

I have been trying and finally was able to recreate the bird base from the diagram. There is a long road ahead before that flat diagram of the steps involved in folding a crane gets decoded enough to recreate the bird.

I have one piece of paper that I folded so many times and different ways that it actually broke apart at a fold.

I think my first step should be to buy more
origami paper . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lemme 'lone . . .

We are much more savvy about replying to solicitations through the mail since we found the Charity Navigator website which rates charities and just as importantly, reveals which organizations are not charities.

The rating system lets you see how efficiently a charity uses the money it raises. All of this info is in the public domain and anyone could discover it if so inclined. I do like having it done for me. I'm lazy that way. Oh, and you don't have to sign up or join anything to use the services of the Charity Navigator.

An additional benefit is that our junk mail is decreasing because, most of the time, the navigator provides an address to which you can write to opt out of the mailing lists. Or, if you have an 800 number on the solicitation and you do not intend to reply to their request, you can call the number and opt out of future mailings. It takes a few weeks they'll say, but that's better than never.

The snowstorm of junk mail is the spam of our actual world. The drifts are melting, just a bit, and saving trees to boot. . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Maybe more than you wanted to know . . .

If we run out of the smallest bottle of canola or corn oil, we put kitty oil on the grocery list. Mostly we buy Wesson canola but I just found an even smaller bottle of corn oil by Goya. Just a few drops, about a scant eighth of a teaspoon will almost emulsify if it is beaten into her water. The bowl is a clear glass, straight sided, cereal/salad bowl, dedicated to her use. She thinks it is crystal but it isn't. We clean it every day with hot water and dry well with paper (not the good kitchen) towels.

External application would not help the dry kitty-skin problem.

Also, we have a feline brush which came from a grocery store, probably. Plus a flea comb (no fleas on her, however) which is so useful in carefully getting out the loose undercoat. She has a lot of fur for a shorthair. From her perspective, the brush is a toy as well as a tool. I brush her first and then use it as mis-direction while I comb her. As long as the brush is in reach, she will focus on biting and licking the bristles. Want her to raise her head to comb her neck? Raise the brush and comb away. She will curl to the right or left following it and that straightens out the skin on the outside of her curl. The comb can catch in wrinkles under the fur and hurt. So we use the brush to make her contort her body to make combing easier.

She was taught to sit up on her hiney to ask for her food. She is willing for me to help her do an up-up-up and hold her there so I can brush her tummy.

She loves a regular routine and will go to the short cat condo, before her breakfast, and jump on top if asked: ". . . want a brush-you?" It is just the right height not to hurt the back of the one doing the brushing.

Zeta, she has not purchased any luggage as far as we know. She will climb into ours if we are packing and don't watch out.

Gladys, I wouldn't juggle cats either. We have had cats and one or two dogs together in an amicable group. Usually the cats rule the pack or love the dogs so much they join the pack. They would eat together, which was a good test.

01 Doc, she used to let us know when we had unwanted visitors by showing a total focus on a specific area, like, say the utility room. We would then leave her at large in the house at night for a few days instead of letting her into her accustomed sleeping quarters. 'Course, we left a sandbox within reach. Every time, she was right. Only sometimes the visitors were lizards. I have to say that the rodents were killing-bite clean kills. The lizards, not so much. She never has learned to tell us what she is after. Oh, and she pats those long-legged house spiders on the head until they won't play any more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reflections on a dry kitty.

Reasonable weather returns! Details at eleven.

Nice, going-outside-weather. Dry though. I have taken to dipping myself in lotion before going to sleep. I may soon have to spot-treat upon waking. Even Mew has dry skin because we ran out of the oil that we beat into her water. The vet told me he had never heard of doing that but if it works, to keep it up. Between the watery lubrication and daily brushing, she doesn't get hairballs, either.

She rid us of mice we didn't know we had. She has never had an "accident" in the house in her life. She folds her paws and relaxes while we rinse her teeth. She loves to be around us but is has to be on her terms.

I just wish she would climb confidently into our laps . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A word to the wise . . .

If someone makes a new chicken dish and the chicken is topped with melted swiss cheese, don't give the cheese from yours to the cat. She doesn't like swiss cheese and you get caught sneaking food to the cat.

I'm just saying . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

Walk in these shoes . . .

Zeta told me there was ice on the cars, yesterday. When I passed this on to J, he said that it has been a long time since we had to be out early in the cold to go somewhere. Too right. The only reason for our going out relatively early is to beat the crowds of shoppers at Wal Mart, Tarjay or BJ's. Publix crowds I can deal with. I'm taller than a lot of the men, and most of the women. I really am tall. People ask me to hand them items off the top shelf, occasionally.

Yesterday, in the ten-items-express-lane, a well dressed woman stood staring at the three plastic bags on the counter that the cashier had filled with a few groceries. The transaction was complete but she waited behind the handle of her cart for the elderly cashier to come around the counter and place the few bags in her cart. She pushed them out the door by her very own self, however.

I grimaced a little at the cashier (I know her from my many trips to the store) and muttered, "That was strange."

"Sometimes, they want a little more service when they are on food stamps," she answered.

That gave me a whole new perspective on what I had thought was arrogance. You never know . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nice, warm bucket . . .

Spaghetti tonight. Warm us from the inside out, hopefully. I wore a l/s tee shirt with a sweater over it for most of the day. It was 44° at 7:20 this morning.

We had covered the Hydrangea that Zeta and M gave us and probably didn't have to do that. Tonight, maybe we will do it again so that we can be sure it will survive. I have a blue bucket that fits over it and keeps it warm. If it gets in the 30's tonight, I may need my own blue bucket.

BigEd has gone to ride in the park. it is gorgeous outside if you keep moving. If you stand in the shade you will keep moving by the shiver method. We are hothouse flowers here and a good cool spell has us all looking for our own form of the blue bucket . . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some whine with that?

Thank goodness we have no appointments scheduled for tomorrow. It may get down into the 30's here tonight. I was supposed to visit my retina specialist yesterday but am still having effects from the cold I caught: from him, of all people. I had to reschedule into February. Hack, sniff.

I will probably not stick my nose out at all, tomorrow, lest it drop off from shock. Must visit the library today, though.

Where's that heavy jacket? We'll just have to tough it out . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

Merry Christmas, still . . .

Christmas of 2008 has stretched a long arm into 2009. J's elderly mother orders her family's gifts and has them delivered. Ours she revealed, was from Omaha Steaks and was supposed to be delivered pre-holiday.

She kept asking us if it had arrived. We kept having to report that it had not. She came down to visit for Christmas. We drove her home between Christmas and New Years. No delivery.

Omaha Steaks gave her several reasons why her order had not been filled. Each was a reason that, it developed, was in error. Her credit card date was valid. She used it, with Omaha, for gifts sent to other family members.

J is on the telephone, right now, thanking her and letting her know the foam insulated box just arrived, dry ice intact and contents safely frozen.

She is so relieved. And
the sparkle of Christmas has touched us again, in the January doldrums . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

If you open the freezer, it may oink . . .

I might want to remember in the future that a buy-one-get-one-free sale on packages of pork chops is not license to stock up to the point of being ridiculous. We had five cookie sheets of them flash frozen and one cookie sheet was a frozen in a double layer with parchment paper in between the layers. This many chops also required a lot of parchment paper to protect the frozen bones from piercing the FoodSaver bags when it came time to vacuum seal them.

Still, there is a certain satisfaction to having them all stored away safely. It must be something like canning vegetables and storing the glass jars on the cellar shelves against the winter months.

Except, we don't have a cellar . . .

Wide road ahead . . .

Today, I discovered a resource which surprised me. I was in our local CVS looking for Citrucel caplets for which I had a $4 coupon. Sweet, no? But they were not on the shelves.

Our CVS is nearly the smallest one I have ever been in. There may be a smaller one in Georgia, but ours runs a close second. When I asked the front cashier about the product, he turned to his store manager who was standing
nearby. The manager laughed and told me he could not stock everything he would like to but that the man standing next to him was the manager of the largest CVS he had ever seen.

That manager, Edgar, telephoned his store, told his employee exactly where the product was located and asked them to bring a bottle to the front and hold it for me.

"When do you want to pick it up?" he asked me, "Today?"

I nodded.

"Fine, she will come and get it today." He told his phone my name, then snapped it shut and wished me a Happy New Year.

I did go because I said I would and I was curious anyway. However, it took a cup of coffee from Mickey Dee to get me there. That coffee could run a front loader, it was so strong. You need something like that to get you in the mood to travel down Bird Road. If you know Bird Road, you know that it is six lanes wide with, mercifully, a seventh turn lane down most of it. It is in the works to widen it further. Ten lanes? Maybe.

The Citrucel was waiting at the front register, thank goodness. The place had the size impact of a Super Wal-Mart. It had grocery aisles and possibly fresh produce. I know I saw aisles of fresh flowers. I will have to go back when I have the time to meander through it.

It seems apt to have to take a ten lane highway to get to it. But, I turned to the right out of the parking lot and came back home on Miller Drive which is a nice, sensible four lanes plus the fifth turn lane. . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whose turn?

I like my retina specialist quite a lot. He can wax nearly poetic in discussing the progress that has been made in his specialty since the early days of his practice. The visions he has saved, or at least helped to maintain, using new techniques is a subject that delights him when he compares it to the tools available when he began.

He usually greets me with a handshake or kiss on the cheek when he comes in. This last visit, he backed off, telling me that he had started feeling a scratchy throat after he got to work that morning. He did not want to give it to anyone.

Of course, he did share. Or someone else in the waiting room did. As J, BigEd, and I have just got over a similar bout, I am not too well pleased. Don't feel too badly, just stuffy and coughing, which is definitely not what we had before. We felt awful with the other stuff we had.

I go back to see him for a follow-up visit on the 19th. What d'you bet we play viral ping-pong? I don't think this will ever make the Olympics . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Notes from the past . . .

I found a page from a small notebook tucked away in a drawer. It evoked some memories, I can tell you. It is reproduced below:

We got electricity on Thurs., 9/3/92, 2:15 P.M.

Andrew hit us 8/24.

We spent 11 days without warm baths and showers.

8/26 - Builders Square
We bought a generator which ran the refrigerator, 2 fans & a light & borrowed a propane stove from A and M.

On Tuesday, 8/25, we drove to Publix in Broward County (5211 Sheridan St) with A & N & kids. Ate hot lunch at the restaurant in the market.

On 8/27/92, J went to Builders Square & got 3 screen doors & wooden door; stucco for patching outside wall.

J made almost daily trips to work for ice & water.


That is the end of the note. In addition, I remember Winn Dixie giving out water and Ice. O1 Doc and I took all of the kids because they were counted and could receive water and Ice too. I still remember little Susan staggering under the weight of the ice bag until one of us came to her aid. She was determined to carry it to the car by herself.

When we finally were able to get to a bank, the national guard checked IDs to see if we belonged in the area. It was such a relief to have a normal occurrence like visiting the bank become possible.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coincidental birthdays . . .

BigEd and the One and Only Verolini celebrate their birthdays on the same day. As weekday activities are difficult to coordinate with birthday celebrations, we are all going to meet at the Rockfish Grill this evening. Celebration will ensue, I am pretty sure, with everything but indoor fireworks. S and E are out of town and we will miss 'em. They will miss some excellent food: I do love the Rockfish. It is a family run restaurant and they should really take good care of the family member who is the chef. He is a wonder.

Sound like a commercial? Yeah, I guess it does. But, oh the food there . . . Zeta and M say excellent things about the conch fritters. It makes me think of how T loves conch fritters and how 01 Doc used to bring them home to him from the Youth Fair.

Good times continue . . .

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Re-thinking . . .

Accidentally, and weeks apart, J and I were scheduled for eye appointments one day after the next one. Mine today was the second one, his was yesterday. It is so difficult to get appointments for the Eye Center that we cut our last minute upstate visits short in order to be back for them.

Yesterday, we rose early as his appointment was one of the day's first. Today, I also rose early as my appointment was early. There was one difference today. I opened the door to leave and made a quick u-turn to fetch a jacket. The two day's appointments were similar but the weather was absolutely not. Even the weather inside the building was on the frosty side.

Sometimes u-turns are just plain necessary . . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Driving me pecans . . .

Yesterday was one of Sarah's sons' birthday. They celebrate both of the guys' special days at the same time, I believe, because they are close together in time. Jealousy has nothing to do with it at all, at all.

When we saw them earlier this month, J and I secreted something with their mother to be presented at the proper time. This saved postage (heh) and more importantly, ensured that I would not miss the boys' birthdays. Again. I have a past history of forgetting such important milestones. I am sincerely sorry when I do that but it keeps occurring. Age has nothing to do with it. I was quite capable of such inattention years ago.

I almost left a pair of glasses at 01 Doc's. J did leave a comb which they mailed to him. Personally, I would have thrown it away and said nothing about it. We had to return to their house before we got very far to pick up a cooler and some home-grown, pre-cracked pecans (yum) which had made it as far as the dining room table before we left without them.

It's a good thing we weren't flying . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

Have some more, really . . .

Because we were still sick over Christmas and then were away from home on New Year's Eve, this was a different kind of December. J and I spent Christmas Eve without a family gathering and spent New Year's Eve with J's mother, upstate. Our little group decided to try a Roadhouse Grill up there. Previously to this year, J and I had always avoided going into the New Year's crowds and had spent our New Year's celebrations at home, watching the ball descend in Times Square. We'uns is fogies.

When we saw the crowded parking lot at the Roadhouse, with cars cruising the lanes waiting for parking spaces to open up, we almost gave up. But, feeling adventurous I suppose, J dove the Camry into the cruising lanes of cars. It did look bleak until we turned a corner near the front door and there was a space waiting for us. (01 Doc might not be surprised at this event if she remembers hunting for parking spaces with me, back home.)

The wait was about 20 minutes after we went inside and sat down on the hardest bench Roadhouse could provide. Bags of peanuts provided entertainment along with a ceiling fan that rocked and clicked. One would not think an unsteady fan was entertainment except that it broke the conversational ice with other diners who were waiting for their numbers to be called.

The food was really worth the wait. We might just have ordered appetizers and quit there. Entrees followed and provided mass quantities for takeaway.

Two days after that, 01 Doc and some of her family met us at the Ole Times Country Buffet (which is not far from her home). I have not had creamed corn like that since my Aunt Carrie made it for us when we were children. And Aunt C had asked Uncle Albert bring that home-grown corn straight from their fields for her to work her magic on.

Ole Times has country cooking that takes you back. Ribs on the buffet? J was in heaven over them. The salad bar came first and I told 01 Doc to spank me if I ever looked as if I might fill up on the salad there, again.

It seems that we ate our way across the holiday season . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

No skipping, though . .

Gallivanting. Traipsing around. Roving, roaming, visiting. Call it what you wish, we've been doing it. J's mother asked us to transport her back home to the upper end of the state, more or less. It was short notice and, as our transporter is currently out of service, we drove her (and her little dog, too) home. 01 Doc and Sarah are just a hop and a jump across the state's upper end and just happen to reside near I-75 and I-10. A junction, if you will. We had to be back to keep appointments, next week, so it had to be brief visits, all round.

As 01 doc stated, it had been too long since we had seen them. So J and I took a look at each other and said sure! 01 Doc, Sarah, and I crack each other up. I laughed 'till it hurt, in a good way. It was a very therapeutic visit.

They (those ubiquitous old wives and their tales)
say that whatever you do on New Years Day, you are fated to do all year. If that proves true, we'll be busy . . .

Thursday, January 1, 2009