Friday, December 10, 2004

The Snowman Cometh

It's rainy here today, but they say it may change to snow showers tonight. I'd love to have a little snow tomorrow, because one of my Saturday projects this week is to get all my Christmas gifts wrapped. I envision throwing a log in the fireplace, brewing a pot of peppermint tea, and wrapping gifts in front of the fire.

I hope to have a more productive weekend than I did last week. It was fun, but not very productive...*LOL* Daddy had hooked up the lights on a utility trailer for Randy, so to show our appreciation, we took Mom and Dad out to lunch. As we were eating, Daddy asked what we had planned for the afternoon. I told him I needed some new chairs to go with my kitchen table, and we were planning to look at unfinished furniture to see if we could find some like I wanted. (I wanted unfinished ladderbacks so I could stain them to match the trim on my table, a small square white-tile topped farmhouse-type table.)

Daddy said he wondered if we'd like to go see my aunt and uncle's new house (they'll be moving into it next week). So after lunch we made a couple of stops at furniture stores (no luck finding chairs) and went to see the house. There was still some work to be completed on the house, but it was all small items. It's lovely, with a HUGE "great room" or whatever they're calling it these days.

After we got back from seeing the house, Randy and I went to an unfinished furniture store in Johnson City. They only had one ladderback chair in the store; the manager said they're not able to get them any more. I found some Windsor arrow-backed chairs that I liked a lot, though. We had to go back home to get Randy's pickup to get the chairs; by the time we got them home and ate supper, it was much too late to start finishing the chairs.

I stained them early Sunday and got one coat of clearcoat on them. The weather had turned rainy and ugly by then, so they didn't dry hard enough for me to put the second coat on that day. I put the last coat on after I came home from work Monday. By that time, I was ready to get OUT of the furniture finishing business! *LOL* Actually if I had a good place to work on things like that, I'd enjoy it. However, since the only place I had to work was on cardboard in the middle of my living room, it wasn't all that much fun!

They turned out pretty well, though, considering I was a complete novice. They're much nicer than the chairs I had before, and seem very sturdy. I hope to get many years of use from them.

Speaking of "many years of use", my little 1998 Saturn SC-1 rolled over 66,666 miles on its odometer as I was driving to work this morning. It's been such a great car; I'm really enjoying it.

I can hear rain on the roof.....makes me feel all cozy and warm.....and sleepy.....*LOL*

Saturday, November 27, 2004

I'm Thankful I Didn't Have to Bake a Turkey

Our Thanksgiving was small, but nice this year. Randy and I went to Mom & Dad's and it was just the four of us there for Thanksgiving dinner.

Mom baked a couple of baking hens in her rotisseries (yes, she has two of them, and the hens were just large enough not to fit in the big rotisserrie at the same time). When she took them out they were golden brown on the outside and moist and delicious on the inside. She also had mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, coleslaw, and an interesting pumpkin dish. She said she'd just thrown the pumpkin dish together because she had all the stuff to make it. *LOL* It was pureed pumpkin mixed with brown sugar, spices and nuts, topped with crushed gingersnaps and baked. It was very rich and very good.

I took my infamous broccoli and cheese casserole (which everyone either really loves or really hates, depending on their fondness for broccoli), some stuffing with dried cranberries (yummy!), some deviled eggs (Randy's special request), and a sweet potato pie (purchased at Wal-Mart; I never HAVE been able to make a pie crust you could cut with a chain saw).

The food was all great, and we had the dishes washed and put away by 1:00 p.m. I told Mom that we were finished and ready to hit the couch by the time a lot of people were just sitting down to dinner!

It was cold and spitting snow most of the day, so it was lovely to be piled up in their living room, full of Thanksgiving dinner and warm and cozy.

It was Randy's turn to stay with his Mom Thursday night, so we took both cars to Mom and Dad's and Randy left from there late Thursday afternoon. It was a lovely, relaxed day, and I was very grateful I hadn't had to bake a turkey. :-)

Yesterday I dragged the Christmas decorations out of the closet and decked the halls. Meghan was NOT amused; she doesn't like ANYthing changed, THANK you VERY much. She followed me around, sniffing things as I took them from boxes, then looking up at me with those big brown eyes with her expression that says, "Oh, PLEASE, Mom. You're not going to hang THAT thing up again this year, are you?"

Today (Saturday) I have a thrilling day planned. Laundry. Housework. Cooking. Randy wanted me to cook a ham today, and I agreed. I'm making this blog entry while waiting for it to get late enough so that I won't disturb my downstairs neighbor too early on a Saturday morning. (Thoughtful little cuss, aren't I?)

I love early Saturday mornings. I wake up early, even if I TRY to sleep in. If I'm planning to stay home on Saturday I never set an alarm clock, but I wake up at my usual 6:00 a.m. just the same. I don't mind, though; it gives me a chance to have some undisturbed computer time. :-)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Can You Be Allergic to Work?

I have a headache. I've had a headache since 12:32 Tuesday. How do I know exactly when it started? There was a big ol' rumble in my office at exactly that time Tuesday when the new heating system kicked on for the first time since it had been installed. I heard the roar, had just enough time to think, "That smells like mold or mildew or something", and my head blocked up solid. I don't know WHAT that thing blew out into my office, but I'm allergic to whatever it is.

The HVAC guy, of course, couldn't smell anything and thinks it was just a coincidence. *yeah....right* Our maintenance supervisor told me it's hard to tell what could have been in the ductwork. I agree. And frankly don't want to think much about it.

My headache was so bad yesterday that I stayed home. Today's a little better. I guess all the "critters" will eventually be blown out of the ducts and I can quit suffering. This is just nuts.

We're going to North Carolina tomorrow; Randy's ex-mother-in-law is home from the hospital (she had colon surgery last week), and we want to go see her. Everyone says she's doing really well, and I'm glad to hear it.

We have rain today......makes me soooooooooooo sleepy! Tomorrow's supposed to be nice, though.

I've been doing some of my Christmas shopping and have intentions of being finished by Thanksgiving. Rainy cool days like today make me want to Christmas shop. I haven't a clue what to get Randy this year. He WANTS a utility trailer, but he's not getting that. *LOL*

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Presidential Ponderings

Remember the good ol' days when, even in a close race, you knew who the new president was going to be by breakfast-time on the day after the election? Not any more. MSNBC's headline right now reads: "Bush's chief of staff declares victory, but Kerry not conceding." Seems Ohio is going to be to the 2004 election what Florida was to the 2000 election. *SIGH*

Did I vote? You betcha. I've voted in every presidential election since I turned 18. I figure that if I don't vote, I have no right to complain, and I want my right to COMPLAIN! *LOL*

Lots going on here. Randy's ex-mother-in-law, Wilma, is in the hospital. She's a dear lady and I just think the world of her. They had to take her to the emergency room last Friday; she was spitting up blood. After a series of tests, they determined that she has some leaky heart valves, but that wasn't the cause of some rapid drops in her blood pressure. They finally found that she had colon cancer. She had surgery yesterday; we've not talked to Theresa yet (Randy's ex-wife, who has become one of my friends as well), but when Randy talked to his daughter last night she said that Wilma's heart rate has been too fast. Otherwise, as far as she knew, surgery went okay.

My assistant here at work has had a run of bad luck, too. Monday, her husband hit a deer while he was driving her older-model Buick. $1,000 damages according to the trooper who worked the accident. Then Monday evening, just after she got home from work, her husband had an accident while working on a Bobcat at their home. Apparently, a hydraulic leak caused the Bobcat to come down on him, pinning him. MedFlight took him to the local hospital; they ran some tests and sent him home, finding no serious injury. She wasn't able to come to work yesterday; I've not heard from her yet this morning, and she's usually been here an hour by now. I hope nothing's gone wrong with her husband.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A Gathering of Roses and a Chance Encounter

I'm on vacation this week, and I swear I think I'm going to have to go back to work to get some rest! It's great, though. Even though we're not making a big trip, it's been really busy. I'm hoping the rest of the week will involve some REST!

Saturday: Last Saturday Randy and I went to Clintwood with Mom and Dad to attend a reunion of the Rose family (my maternal grandfather's family). It was wonderful to see everyone. My Pa Fred was one of twelve children; there are now seven surviving children, and six of them were there. It was such a treat to see them all, but it made me miss Pa Fred so much. When his brother Clyde came in, it took my breath away to see how much he looks like Pa Fred now. They've always resembled each other a LOT, but now that Clyde is older, the resemblance is striking. The room was filled with children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren; lots of food and lots of fun.

The reunion was held at the new community center on Main Street, which is next door to the new Ralph Stanley museum. Since we were just next door, we toured the museum when we left the reunion.

The museum is really great; lots of bluegrass history and interactive displays. It covers the history of the Stanley Brothers from the very first. Lots of touching tributes to Carter and a couple of the most beautiful Stanleytone banjos I’ve ever seen. They have a little collection of goodies from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” that I really liked. Things like an official “Dapper Dan Man Kit”: a tin of Dapper Dan pomade, a cheap black comb, and a hairnet. They also had the notebook with the original handwritten lyrics of the “Siren Song” by Gillian Welch.

After we left the museum, Daddy asked if I’d ever been to the cemetary where Carter is buried. I hadn’t, so he took us up on a long, winding road back up on a ridge to the site where they have the big bluegrass bash on Memorial Day each year. The cemetary is right beside it; the view up there was just unbelievable. The foliage was at its peak, and we saw the most vibrant colors I’ve seen this fall.

From there, he took us out Sandy Ridge and drove us past Ralph Stanley’s home. His daughter has a house on one side of him, and his son’s house is on the other side. Ralph’s home is really nice, his daughter’s is nicer, and his son’s is unreal. In Abingdon it would be a very beautiful (and BIG) house; in Dickenson County, it’s a palace!

We came off Sandy Ridge (finally……I was NOT feeling well, having ridden in the back seat all day) and it was getting late enough that we realized we were going to have to have dinner before we got home. We stopped at Fishtales in Norton. While I was studying the menu for something I could eat, Daddy said “There he is.” I looked up at him and said, “There who is?” He motioned behind Randy and me and said, “Ralph Stanley.”

I turned around and, sure enough, Ralph and his wife were being seated at the second table behind us. Later, he walked past our table and Daddy said, “I didn’t want to interrupt your dinner, but I wanted to tell you that we went to your museum earlier today and really enjoyed it.” He was very gracious and stood there at the table and talked to us for a few minutes, telling us he appreciated our stopping by and that he hoped we’d tell our friends.

So, on one fine Saturday I saw relatives I’ve not seen in 20 years and had an unexpected encounter with a living bluegrass legend. All in all, not a bad first day of vacation, eh?

Monday: We have season passes for Dollywood, so we went to Pigeon Forge for the day. Before we got to the park, we stopped at the Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville. Randy spent a little while reliving his youth. *LOL* Dollywood was in the final days of the Harvest Celebration and the Southern Gospel Jubilee. There were lots of people there, but the crowds were moving along quite well. We saw some really great shows, had a wonderful lunch at the Backstage Restaurant (I love their fruit salad lunch!) and had a perfectly lovely day. (Even though we were both exhausted by the time we got back home!) I even bought myself a lovely little dulcimer. I've not had time to play with it much yet, but am looking forward to teaching myself a few things about it while taking a "couch day" tomorrow.

Tuesday: I had a mammogram scheduled for Tuesday morning; not a fun trip, but at least it was over with quickly, and I had a better-than-usual technician. Afterwards, we went to the Vacuum Center on State Street to get a belt for the Singer 127 treadle sewing machine I'd inherited from Granny Sweeney (by way of Daphene). Happily, the man who owns the store told me he has anything I'd ever need for my 127. I'm now really looking forward to getting the belt on it and trying it out. As we passed the display windows on our way into the store, I noticed some reconditioned vacuums on display. I've never been particularly happy with my Fantom vacuum, so I bought a reconditioned Kirby. If I was strong enough to hold it up, that thing would pull paint off the walls! I'm VERY impressed with it.

We then went to Ridgewood for the best barbeque in the world. If you've never been there, and find yourself in Bluff City, Tennessee at the right time of day, treat yourself. It's not fancy, but I've never eaten better barbeque anywhere.

We then went to Randy's mom's house to get the last of his stuff out of her garage. Most of it was junk (which we hauled to the dump), but we found some pictures, some of his kids' trophies won in grade school for cheerleading and basketball, and some clothes I think his son can use. We were so tired by then that we ordered pizza when we got home.

Wednesday: I got up and started doing household drudgery early; we were waiting for the UPS guy to bring a package he'd attempted to deliver on Tuesday (signature required), so we couldn't go anywhere until he came by. After he made his delivery (about 11:30), we made the round of errands to Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Food City, and Walgreen's. By the time we got back home, we were both pretty tired. Cooking dinner was about all I accomplished for the rest of the evening.

And now Thursday has arrived. Randy will be at his Mom's tomorrow, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday this week. So, I'm waiting for it to get late enough (and now it IS) so I won't disturb the neighbors by running the washer and the vacuum so I can finish up the household drudgery I started yesterday morning. We need to go through the boxes of stuff we brought from Irene's garage so I can get those out of the dining area, and I need to carve my jack-o-lantern from the pumpkin I bought yesterday. I can hardly wait to see the trick-or-treaters Saturday night. They were so cute last year!

I have great hopes of getting the rest of my household chores done today so I can spend the rest of my weekend reading, learning something about my new dulcimer, and getting my Singer up and running. Now if the temperature would just drop enough that I can have a fire in the fireplace!

Now I'm off to do my household stuff.....15 minutes at a time! (Thank you, FlyLady!)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A Bar of Soap

Our local newspaper carries a syndicated column by Dr. Peter H. Gott, who answers questions sent in by readers. I, admittedly, sometimes go days without actually reading the newspaper, just scanning the headlines on the internet. I often hear Dr. Gott's name come up in conversations at work, though. He gives common-sense advice and once even advised patients that if their doctor keeps them waiting more than 45 minutes, the patient should bill their doctor for their time. (Gotta love THAT!...*LOL*)

As long as I can remember, I've suffered with miserable cramps in my legs at night. Not all the time, mind you, but often. A sound night's sleep is shattered by sharp glassy pain in my calves or across the top of my foot. The worst is when there's a pain across the top of my foot and the outside of my calf at the same time! *wincing just to THINK of it*

I was whining to Mom one day about losing a couple of hours sleep with a leg cramp, and she asked if I'd seen Dr. Gott's column about the bar of soap. She went on to explain that a reader had written Dr. Gott to ask if there was any validity to a home remedy for leg cramps involving putting a bar of soap in the bed.

Dr. Gott said that he had no idea WHY it works, but according to letters received from his readers, it works. Seems the cure is to put an unwrapped bar of soap (anything except Dial or Dove....don't ask me why) at the foot of your bed. Some folks must also rub another bar of soap on their legs, but in most cases just having a bar of soap in the bed gets rid of the leg cramps.


When I changed the sheets on the bed the following Saturday morning, I remembered the soap cure and thought, "What the heck? It's a cheap enough thing to try." I keep a drawer of assorted soaps at all times (long, relaxing baths are my big vice), so I unwrapped a fresh bar of Ivory and tucked it between the fitted sheet and the mattress pad.

My leg cramps stopped. So HELP me.......stopped COMPLETELY. I would have assumed that it just so happened that I'd put the soap in the bed at a time the leg cramps went away for some other reason, except for what happened a month or so later.

I was talking to Mom on the telephone one Saturday morning while changing the sheets. Distracted, I forgot about the soap under the fitted sheet until I heard it hit the floor. It had fallen between the mattress and the footboard of my sleigh bed, landing under the bed. I even commented to Mom "My soap just hit the floor. I have to remember to get that out in a few minutes." Well, I forgot. THAT VERY NIGHT I woke to that familiar glassy pain in my leg. Moaning, I hopped out of bed, wondering why my soap quit working. Then I remembered.....IT FELL OUT!!

I fumbled under the bed in the dark, found the bar of Ivory, and tucked it back in its proper place between the fitted sheet and the mattress pad. Haven't had a leg cramp in bed since. It's just plain weird. Even if I'm having mild leg cramps during the day and in the evening before bedtime, they stop when I slip into bed.

Why does it work? I haven't a clue. I don't even CARE. I'm just happy it does.

Wonder if there's something I can tuck under the sheet that cures chocolate cravings? *LOL*

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I'm Gettin' Too Old For This......

I've been moving files and shredding and such for the past couple of days, and I'm so sore I can hardly move.....getting old is the pits!

Yesterday I spent all morning in our file storage room, boxing up files that are now old enough to be shredded and loading the boxes onto a cart. Then I moved some older files from my office to the storage room and put them away. I took the cart of shreddables to our print shop, where the large shredder is kept. My assistant went over and shredded for a couple of hours yesterday, then for another 3-1/2 hours or so this morning. I took another cartload of shreddables over this afternoon and shredded for about 3 hours. There's probably another 6 hours or so of shredding to do. What a chore!

I've posted some photos below, experimenting with "hello". Click on the images below to see larger versions of the photos.

We went Saturday to visit Randy's granddaughters. Sky is now 4, and loves to have her picture taken! Chloe is nearly 7 months old, and smiles all the time. They're both cute as buttons! It's a long day when we go see them though. They live in North Carolina, so it's nearly 3 hours each way. It's fun, but it's a tiring trip.

I'm going to a family reunion with Mom and Dad Saturday. We're still not sure if Randy's going along or not; after all, it IS October and he IS a rabid baseball fan! *LOL*

This is Randy's older granddaughter, Sky, with Tiny, the terrified poodle. Posted by Hello

Randy's newest granddaughter, Chloe. Isn't she a doll? This photo really doesn't do her justice....when there's no bottle in her mouth, she's always smiling! Posted by Hello

Meggie and Randy are always fighting over the recliner....*LOL* Posted by Hello

This is my new living room furniture. Posted by Hello

Another Ivan was strangely beautiful! Posted by Hello

This is a photo I snapped of interesting clouds in our area the morning that The Tropical Storm Formerly Known as Hurricane Ivan passed over us. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Things That Make Me Sleepy

It's raining today, and I need a nap. If I was at home, I'd pile up on the couch with a big ol' book, MeggieDog, and an afghan. I doubt that I'd read more than a page and a half before she and I would both be snoozing away.

Rainy afternoons always make me sleepy. I can remember when I was a child being sent to my room for an afternoon nap. I loved napping on rainy afternoons best. My bed was near a window; we didn't have air conditioning then, so the window was raised to let in the fresh air. The position of my bed allowed me to lay my cheek on the windowsill. The painted surface felt cool against my skin and the air coming through the window screen smelled wet and clean.

Another thing that always makes me sleepy is the sound of a vacuum cleaner. I know, that's weird. But there's an explanation: Mom used to do her vacuuming while I was down for my nap. So now, after all these years, I still get sleepy when I hear a vacuum cleaner! A hair dryer has the same effect on me. I almost doze off everytime I'm at the hair stylist's.

Sitting in front of the fireplace makes me sleepy, too. It won't be too much longer before we can start using the fireplace. Our nights are getting cooler, now; Friday and Saturday night we're supposed to get down into the upper 30's. It's still warming up to high 60's and low 70's during the days, though.

Something else that makes me sleepy is.....and I KNOW you'll think THIS is recording of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre radio broadcast of H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds". If I have insomnia, I can put that CD in the stereo and soon I'm out like a light. I think it's because I'm so familiar with the material and Orson Welles' voice is so resonant and soothing. Makes me sleepy-headed just to think of it.

My cold's almost completely gone now. I'm glad, because we're planning to go to North Carolina Saturday to see Randy's granddaughters. It would kill me to be that close to the baby and not be able to hold her. Sky's not much for snuggling, but Chloe is still in that cuddly infant stage, which I just love.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The Great Yard Sale of 2004

Well, the cold is still with me, but has improved greatly. During the yard sale Friday, I sat out in the sun and baked my head. My face is sunburned, but it made my cold feel much better.

The yard sale was Friday and Saturday; I was amazed that most of our crowd was early in the day Friday. We had very few customers Saturday; I assumed that we'd have most of our crowd Saturday because of people working on weekdays. I found out later that Thursday and Friday are the busiest days for yard sales.....go figure!

Oh, well, we sold several things all the same. We're planning to have another one next spring, run an ad, and have the sale on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then we'll have Goodwill or the Salvation Army come by on Saturday afternoon and we'll donate everything that didn't sell. I'm looking forward to getting even more clutter out of the apartment. This yard sale helped, but the next one will be better!

I couldn't believe how many people would pick up a 25-cent item, study it intently, then put it down as if that was just too much money. You could tell the folks who hit yard sales regularly. "How much will you take for this?" Mom thought I had my things priced too low, but people bargained with me all the same.

The weather Friday was glorious; sunny, just a light breeze. It made me glad I'd taken the day off for the yard sale and had the added bonus of having a good excuse to stay out in the wonderful fall weather all day. Saturday dawned cloudy and threatening showers, though. We pressed our luck by waiting until a little after 1:00 to start packing things up and putting them away. It began to sprinkle rain as I took the last box back into the house, so we were really lucky there.

It gave us a chance to meet neighbors of Mom and Dad that we'd never met in all the 14 years they've lived in their house. We met some really nice folks and I learned that one of my old work-study students now lives just up the road from Mom and Dad. She was passing by, saw me in the driveway and stopped to talk for a few minutes.

When we packed up Saturday afternoon, I asked Mom and Dad to store a toaster oven and a juicer I hadn't sold, then put all my "little" remaining items into the car and dropped them off at Goodwill on the way home. I told them I'd "saved them some yard sale stuff". *LOL* They were happy to get the donation, and I was happy to have less clutter!

So, between now and the yard sale next spring, I'm going to go through the rest of my things and decide, "Goodwill, yard sale, dumpster, or keeper?" FlyLady would be so pleased.....*LOL*

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

My cold's still here.....better, but still here. Today I don't feel too terrible, I just feel like I need a NAP! *LOL*

I just hope my energy level improves before the big yard sale Friday. Last Sunday Mom said, "Maybe we'll sell everything Friday and won't have to fool with it Saturday." Gotta love her optimisim!

I've not been able to do a thing the past couple of evenings but get supper ready, clean up the kitchen, shower and go to bed. So tonight and tomorrow night I really have to spend some time finishing things up for the sale. I have some fans I need to clean up and I really must go through some things in the dining area. I'd intended to go through some more things in the walk-in closet, but that's going to have to wait until I start getting winter clothes out.

There was a real nip in the air this morning when I came to work. I love fall. Crisp mornings, warm afternoons. I'm afraid we're not going to have much color this year, though. The weather's been all wrong for good fall foliage. Some of the trees are just shedding without really changing colors. Just a shame.

MeggieDog got a bath last night and was NOT pleased. She's been so itchy and miserable that I've tried not to bathe her too often. I'm afraid of drying her skin out and making the situation worse. This morning as I was getting ready for work, she kept giving me her look that says "Would you hurry up and get the heck OUT of here, please?"

She's not been happy about my dragging things out of closets for the past few weeks, anyway. She doesn't like change of any kind, and my decluttering efforts have not improved her mood in the least.

Randy wasn't feeling well when he came back from his Mom's yesterday. He said he'd had a "sick spell" that afternoon and complained of aches in his side all evening. He told me this morning he'd been up and down all night with aches and pains. I told him to just sleep in as long as he could. I'm hoping the achiness is just the result of lack of sleep and tension during the time he was at his Mom's. He's always afraid she's going to get up during the night and fall, so he never sleeps well down there.

Sure wish I could've stayed in bed a little longer this morning.....who am I kidding? A LOT longer. Cold medicine makes me soooooooooo sleepyheaded. The up side of having a cold is that I don't have any appetite. I'm trying to make the best use of that. *LOL*

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I have a cold.....a lousy, stinking cold.....

I was fine last week; in fact, I'd made the comment that I felt so well it worried me. Jinxed myself, no doubt. Saturday I had a sore throat, but assumed it was because of allergy season, which seems particularly bad in my corner of the world right now.

Sunday I had a strong suspicion that I had a cold, but it still could have been allergies. But late Sunday afternoon all doubt was removed when my fever went up and my energy dissolved. I was in the middle of cleaning out the little closet off our deck (and believe me, it NEEDED it) when I started feeling really bad. I couldn't stop, because I had all the junk dragged out onto the deck and had to do one of three things to each item I'd removed from the closet:
  1. Put it in a trash bag to go to the dumpster.
  2. Set it aside for cleaning and pricing to go into the infamous yard sale coming up Friday.
  3. Find a place for it to be returned NEATLY into the closet.

You see, awhile back in the summer, Randy (in a fit of helpfulness) said he'd straighten up that closet for me. Well, I took him up on it. Bad move. I knew there was a little gardening cart in there that I wanted to put in the yard sale, so a week or so ago I went to the closet to get it out and clean it up.

I can't think of anything good to say about Randy's organizational skills other than to say he was able to get the closet door closed when he finished "straightening it up". I wish I'd taken a picture of it. There's just no way to describe how bad it was.

But, now it's in good order, and I dragged several bags of things out for Randy to take to the dumpster and I have several more items to put in the yard sale. And, of course, I STILL have a deck closet full of stuff! *LOL*

By the time I'd finished with the closet I barely had enough energy left to fix us a cheeseburger for supper. I quickly showered, took NyQuil, and went to bed, coughing, sneezing, chilling, and miserable.

When I woke up yesterday morning, there was no question of my being able to go to work. I called in, took Alka Seltzer, and piled up on the couch with a comforter, a book, and MeggieDog. I was fairly miserable all day; couldn't do much more than watch TV.

It did, however, give me the opportunity to finish watching "From the Earth to the Moon", which I'd TiVo'd over the weekend. I tried to read awhile, but my eyes were too watery and itchy.

I'm still feeling a little rough today, but felt well enough to come back to work. I've warned everyone not to come too close, because I'd hate to pass this on to anyone. My cough is much looser, so I think I'm improving.

The later it gets in the day, though, the happier I am that I have a CrockPot full of beef stew cooking itself for supper. I have a feeling that by the time I get home, a hot bath and warm jammies will be the first order of the evening!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

We've been just skirted by yet another hurricane (Jeanne), thank goodness. By the time they get to us, they're down to tropical depressions, and even THOSE have glanced past us. Roanoke got deluged day before yesterday. The Today Show had a video clip of Roanoke's Victory Stadium showing water up to the crossbar of the uprights in the end zone! All we got were showers and light breezes. We are truly blessed.

My glucose is coming down nicely. It's already fallen 103 points in just two weeks of being on medication. I've not gotten serious about exercise yet, because the readings are still high. Exercise should be coming along very soon, though.

I can't believe some of the things I've come across while decluttering and pricing things for Mom and Dad's yard sale. Why did I not only keep this stuff but actually boxed it up and moved it from the last apartment I rented??? Lots of excuses, no real reasons:

  1. "So and So gave that to me, so I must keep it or I'll hurt her/his feelings." She/he never comes to visit, so how will she/he know I've not kept the trinket she/he gave me for Christmas 20 years ago?
  2. "I bought that as a souvenir of my trip to (insert vacation destination here)." Do I really need an ashtray to remind me I went to Rock City in 1983? I don't even smoke!
  3. "I paid good money for this dress." It's still ugly, and it doesn't fit.
  4. "If I hang on to this outfit, it'll come back in style soon." It's still ugly, and it doesn't fit.
  5. "If the IRS audits me, I'm going to need these receipts from 1990." Not according to Suze Orman's list of how long to keep things.

I hauled SEVEN big ol' lawn and leaf bags of clothes to Goodwill the other day. And I haven't even started on the walk-in closet. That was just clothes I had in storage boxes that have never been opened since I moved into my current aparment a year and a half ago! Goodwill was really glad to get them, and boy, was I glad to get RID of them!

I have lots more decluttering to do, but I'm getting it done a few minutes at a time. My hero, FlyLady, says I can do anything for 15 minutes, and she's right. And those 15 minutes add up. If you don't know about FlyLady and suffer, as I did, from CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome), visit her website at That reminds me that I need to add her website to my "Links".

Another link I need to add is The Red Hat Society. I turned the "big five-oh" last month, and my birthday gift to myself was to become a "Red Hatter".

Friday, September 17, 2004

A gray, ugly day in my neck of the woods, thanks to Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Ivan. I'm very thankful, though, that the storm just skirted us and gave us rain and light breezes. Areas very close by got torrential rain and flooding. Lots of schools closed in North Carolina today.

As I was driving to work this morning, I was entertained by interesting cloud formations from the storm. After I got to work I took some photos. If any of them turn out well, I'll post them here.

I went to see my doctor day before yesterday because my glucose has been way too high (type 2 diabetic, y'know). He put me on medication and told me I need to get back on track with diet and exercise (which I already knew....*LOL*). So I dragged out my diabetic exchange book and re-educated myself. Randy will most likely not be pleased with upcoming changes in dinner offerings at our house. :-)

I got new living room furniture last week. Randy said it's a shame to have brand new furniture and have to keep it covered up all the time. I agree, but it would be much more tragic to have MeggieDog toenail damage to the brand new furniture! Meggie thought it was simply lovely of me to purchase a La-Z-Boy recliner just for her. *LOL*

I have an exciting weekend planned. This is Randy's weekend to stay with his mom, so I'll be gathering items together and pricing them for a big ol' yard sale Mom and Dad are planning to have in 3 weeks. It'll take me that long to get my junk together. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to clear some clutter. Anything that doesn't sell, I'm going to drop off at Goodwill.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

A month since my last posting....oh, yeah, I'm GREAT at blogging! *LOL*

They finally fixed my a/c at the office, so that's much better.

Latest adventure on the home front: When Randy and I bought our season passes to Dollywood, they sent us two passes to admit a child free to the Kid's Fest festival. So, Randy asked his ex-wife if she thought it would be okay to plan to take his granddaughter, Sky, to Dollywood.

We checked my schedule and the expiration dates on the passes and found that Saturday, July 10 would be the date to take her. Weeks before the trip, I reserved a room in Pigeon Forge for the evening of the 9th so we could go down, get a good night's rest, and hit the park as soon as the gates were open.

Sky lives in North Carolina, so Randy planned to go down on Wednesday night, spend the night, then bring Sky back to our place Thursday so he wouldn't have to do the 3-hour drive twice in one day. When Thursday came, Sky refused to come back with him, saying she'd "just stay here".

So, since it was too late to cancel the hotel reservation, Randy and I went to Pigeon Forge as scheduled. We did a little shopping Friday afternoon, drove part of the way to the top of the mountain (it was pouring rain, so we turned around and came back), had a nice dinner, and got a good night's sleep. As planned, we were at the park as soon as it opened.

Soon after we arrived, heaps of parents with scads of screaming little kids (it WAS Kid Fest, after all) arrived. The heat and the crowds soon did us in. I said, "You know, the lovely thing about having season passes is we don't HAVE to stay all day if we don't want to." So, after we rode a few rides (all the shows that started early in the day were kiddie shows), we headed out and came back home.

Our excuse was it was too hot, too crowded, and we missed the dog. *LOL*

As it turns out, I guess it was best all way 'round that Sky decided not to come. Next time, we'll schedule a visit with us at home so there won't be any reservation expense if she backs out on us!

And next year if Dollywood sends us kid's passes, I'M BURNING THEM!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

They made progress on my AC today....the two technicians who looked at it today discovered that THE FAN WAS WIRED UP BACKWARDS. *beating head on desk*

It's still not quite right, but it's much better than it's been. I have the fan set on "hi" and the temperature set on 60. It's getting fairly comfortable now, but at those settings you should be able to hang meat in this office!

Oh well.....babysteps, babysteps....

Monday, June 14, 2004

Hot, hot, HOT!! The AC in my office still isn't working. It's just unbelievable. Two technicians came in my office this morning, flipped the fan switch around from "high" to "off" several times and nothing happened. They shrugged their shoulders and said they'd work on it.

In the meantime I had to make three trips across campus to get one letter sent UPS Next Day Air. It's in the low 80's here with miserable humidity; so I was dripping wet when I got back to my office, where there was NO AIR!! *grumble, growl*

The good news is that my TiVo unit arrived as scheduled on Friday afternoon. I hooked it up, and it runs like a dream! I had such a good time playing with it this weekend.

Well, my lunch break is over, so I'd better get back to the grindstone.

Friday, June 11, 2004

The other day a friend of mine at work was talking to me about electronics (my vice), and he mentioned TiVo. I told him that for some reason, TiVo had passed me by and asked him to tell me a little about it.

After describing things that TiVo can do, he told me that if I was interested, he knew where I could get a used unit cheap. A friend of his had bought a Series 1 unit at a closeout when K-Mart closed a store. He'd plugged the unit up to be sure it worked, but had never actually subscribed to the service and used the unit. He'd sell it to me for $75. I told my friend that I wanted to buy the unit.

He brought it to me day before yesterday (Wednesday); that evening I hooked everything up and started to go through the guided setup. After a point in the setup, the unit powered itself down, then powered up and started setup all over again.

After I'd gone through that process several times with the same result, I dialed customer service for Philips (the manufacturer of the unit). A recording told me that if I chose to speak to a technician, the service charge would be $19.95. I hung up and dialed TiVo's customer service. A recording told me there would be a 35-minute wait. I waited an hour and five minutes, and never got through.

So, I just unhooked everything and took the unit back to the office with me yesterday. I called my friend; he said that it wouldn't be any problem for his friend to take the unit back. He came to my office, picked up the unit and gave my check back to me.

On Wednesday afternoon, I'd gone ahead and subscribed to TiVo service through their website in anticipation of having everything ready when I got the unit hooked up. So now I had to call customer service to discontinue the service. I wasn't looking forward to making the call in light of the hour and five minutes I'd wasted the night before.

However, when I called them yesterday, the recording said I'd have a 5 to 10 minute wait. A very nice customer service representative answered the phone after only 7 minutes. When I told her I needed to discontinue a service I'd signed up for only the day before I explained what had happened with the defective unit.

She said that if I wanted to cancel, that was no problem at all, but she was authorized to make me a special deal on a new TiVo unit. She offered me a brand-new Series 2 unit (more features than the one I'd tried the night before) with twice the storage space on it for $129.95 with a $50 mail-in rebate. So, for $4.95 more than the defective Series 1 unit, I got a brand-new Series 2 unit with twice the recording capacity!

I told her I wanted the Series 2, she placed the order, and said she'd transfer my account to the new unit. She also told me TiVo was paying the shipping charges on the new unit. I got an e-mail last night confirming shipment via UPS. I checked the tracking on it this morning, and it's going to be delivered TODAY!!

I am shocked and delighted; now I can hook it up tonight and spend some time this weekend learning how to use it.

Sometimes things work out in spite of yourself!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Ah, the joys of working for a state government agency....back in February everyone in the building I work in was relocated to temporary offices in other buildings so that our antiquated HVAC system could be replaced.

I was quite happy in my temporary office; it actually had a WINDOW. Lots of lovely natural light!! The temporary office was in a much less-traffic-filled building, too, so it was much quieter. I was much more productive because interruptions were so infrequent.

So, HVAC replacement supposedly "completed", we moved back into our regular offices the first part of May. I was quite unhappy to find that the new HVAC system was not operational and apparently wouldn't be for "a week or so". Additionally, the HVAC installers had removed protective plastic from files I'd had to leave in my office. I'd wrapped them very carefully (using materials I'd purchased myself), so I was irritated to find that my files were now filled with grit, dust, and metal fragments.

Since my office has no window, and the A/C STILL isn't working ("We'll have that running in a day or two."....yeah....right) the temperature in my office hasn't come under 82 degrees and is higher than THAT in the afternoons.

Of course, I rarely have faith in ANYTHING done by the low bidder!

I've also been aggravated that for the third year in a row my request for office furniture has been blown out of the water. My office is a hodgepodge of furniture that's been rescued from salvage. Not only does nothing match, but it's from an era before "ergonomics" was even HEARD of. So it's not only ugly, it's uncomfortable. In the 17 years I've worked here, I've had two new pieces of "furniture". One is a small Rubbermaid file that was purchased so I'd have something on which to put my fax machine. The other is a maroon task chair that was bought about 15 years ago when my former chair fell apart and unceremoniously dumped me in the floor.

Times are a little hard in my neck of the woods, and I guess I should be glad I have a job. Sometimes, though, sitting in this miserably hot, stuffy office and feeling my damp hair clinging to the back of my neck, it's a little hard to be grateful.

Friday, April 16, 2004

I nearly forgot I HAD this blog....*hanging head in shame* It's been a rough year so far. My uncle fell from a ladder the Saturday after New Year's and passed away on January 12. He was living in Arizona, but they brought him back here for entombment in the same cemetary where my grandparents were laid to rest. It was a stressful time, of course.

Seems there's been a series of one virus or another all spring, and I swear I think Randy or I (or BOTH of us) have had every dang one of them. I was on the elevator with someone the other day who commented that we were really SUPPOSED to be climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator. I said, "Hey, in the last two weeks I've had a 9-day cold and a 3-day stomach flu. The LAST thing I care about right now is how much exercise I'm getting!"

Right now I'm just concentrating on making it through next week. Then I'm on vacation for a week! *YAY* THAT should help! Okay, enough whining and complaining for now. :-)