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!