Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I had a great Christmas Eve....relaxed and happy. The only thing that would have made it better would have been for Kris and Louise to be here.

Poor little Meggie was just exhausted when it was all over, though. She'd had a very eventful day:
  1. I was home all day instead of going to work and leaving her to have a nice long morning nap.
  2. A car caught fire in the parking lot (we could see it from my deck), so she had to patrol the deck for awhile to be sure no monsters came in on that big noisy fire truck.
  3. Three words: CHRISTMAS BOODA BONE.
  4. Mom and Dad arrived to share Christmas Eve with us and brought DOGGIE TOYS!
  5. We talked to Kris and Louise on Skype; she always gets excited when she hears familiar voices over the computer speakers.
  6. Time had to be spent under the table during Christmas Eve dinner in case anyone dropped crumbs. (No one did.)
  7. UPS Guy knocked on the door to deliver a package....the NERVE of him, knocking on Meggie's front door!! *LOL*

She was so tired that she went to bed ... without me! ... about 6:30. In fact, she's still in bed. She usually gets up once during the night to have a drink of water and visit the piddle pad, but she never got off the bed last night. I'm going to Mom and Dad's to visit today, so I'm sure she'll sleep like a rock while I'm gone.

Well, I think I'll have a cranberry-orange muffin and a cuppa tea for Christmas breakfast.

I hope everyone who reads my little blog has a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crocheted Tote Bag

Daddy's aunt (98 years young) has been crocheting items using plastic grocery bags for some time now. I've seen hats she's crocheted, and just a short while ago she sent me some neat little coasters she's made. Our local newspaper even wrote an article about her craftiness a year or so ago. She's really something.

When she sent me the coasters it prodded me to wonder how she prepared the bags in order to get a ball of plastic to crochet. So, a-Googling I went and found that there are actually two schools of thought on how to do it: 1) by cutting the bags spirally in a long continuous strip, and 2) by cutting the bags straight across, forming loops that you then connect together in a chain. Because it seemed quicker (and required less ability to cut in a continuous line while keeping the width of the strip pretty even....*LOL*) I chose the loop method.

After I had a ball of "plarn" (plastic yarn) larger than a softball, but smaller than a volleyball (probably 40 bags or so), I started crocheting with a plastic "Q" hook, using a patttern I'd Googled for the tote bag pictured here. It's about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. The handle is crocheted using a slightly smaller hook to make it nice and sturdy. The day after I finished it, I was talking with Mom on the phone and told her it was all done. She said, "What's it look like?" I answered, "It looks like a tote bag crocheted from grocery bags." *LOL*

Gorgeous? No, not particularly. Functional? Absolutely. It's sturdy, and I'm sure it's going to be a very handy item. I think I'll wind up crocheting several to use while camping. They're roomy, lightweight, and would be very easy to crush down into your purse to take along on shopping trips.

My next grocery bag project is a granny-square rug for the floor of my tent. I'll post a photo of it when I finish. Maybe I'll work on that while having my "recliner day" during the holidays. *G*

Holiday Insomnia

I was just exhausted when I came home from work this afternoon. Trying to get everything tied up nice and neat before closing for the holidays is nerve-wracking! I have to work tomorrow....well, really later TODAY, then I'm off until January 5. And BOY am I ready for a break!!

I got the holiday shopping and gift wrapping all done nice and early this year. So, when I get this last day of work over with I have a restful break planned. Well....sort of. *L* I want to do some serious reorganizing in my home office. That will actually take a couple of days, I'm sure. Mom and Dad are coming to my place for Christmas Eve; I'm making a lasagna according to a decades-old family tradition, started by Mom. Then I'll go to their house for Christmas Day. On Friday I have an appointment to have a few inches lopped off my unbelievably-long hair, then I'm having lunch with friends. On Monday I have to run to the office briefly for a mailing that MUST go out. Other than that, my schedule is my own until the 5th! *YAY* I have a lot I want to do, but have faithfully promised myself at least one day in the recliner with MeggieDog, a lap quilt, and the remote control. On that day, the most strenuous thing I plan to do is feed myself and knit. Maybe crochet. But nothing that makes me wear shoes or break a sweat!

Crochet...that reminds me. I need to take a photo of the tote bag I just crocheted from plastic grocery bags! I'll do that and post it in the next post.

It's been a really stressful time at work, what with state budget concerns and the national financial situation. It'll be nice to be able to forget all that for a few days.

So, if there are any regular readers out there in cyberspace, I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Sheesh, where did this year GO? I was doing a snow dance when I last posted...I had limited success; we were on a snow schedule the next morning. *L*

The next week brought an unwelcome day off, though. On Monday we received word at the college that one of our students had been the victim of a terrible crime apparently committed by her ex-boyfriend. He'd broken into her home very early on Monday morning, stabbed the girl's father to death, then attacked her mother, her, and her new boyfriend. Because the criminal had made threats on our campus (not only to his ex-girlfriend, but to some other students as well), our campus closed Monday afternoon and was closed all day Tuesday. It was a spooky, troubling time. The fugitive is still on the run with his new girlfriend. I hope they're captured soon.

Because of the closing Tuesday, our annual Christmas concert (which was scheduled for that evening) was postponed until Friday evening. There was an unfortunate lapse in communications that resulted in some folks not getting word of the rescheduling. Some showed up on Tuesday to find the road into the campus closed by law enforcement. Others didn't get the word about the Friday concert and didn't come.

Bottom line was that we did the concert, it's over, and in 100 years no one will know or care that it was a little out of the ordinary. *LOL*

Yesterday I was a little draggy and my throat was scratchy. I was afraid I was taking a cold, but feel fine this morning. A little lazy, maybe, but otherwise well. Yesterday I had a terrible craving for chocolate. The only chocolate I had in the apartment was a box of Hershey's cocoa. Luckily I already had all the other ingredients to make a small batch of brownies. They turned out chocolaty, chewy and utterly delicious. My chocaholic craving has once again been satisfied!

If you need an easy, quick batch of brownies, here's the recipe:

Yield: One 8" x 8" pan

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup toasted pecans (I don't like nuts in my brownies, so I leave this out and it works fine)

Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F and grease and flour an 8" x 8" baking pan.
In a microwavable mixing bowl, melt the butter completely. Stir in the cocoa powder; add the sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, and eggs. Mix well. If you want to add pecans, do that now.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes. The brownies are done when and inserted toothpick come out clean. Cool in the pan until slightly warm, cut into squares and serve.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Doing the "Snow Dance"

So, how pathetic am I? I just had a 5-day break (Wednesday - Sunday) for Thanksgiving, worked today, and am hoping VERY hard for a snow day tomorrow! *LOL* Oh well, in my defense, it WAS a tough day at work.

I was a little under the weather the last couple of days I was headache, no tummy troubles, but chills and fever. VERY strange. Yesterday I was very weak. In fact, I had to stop halfway through unloading the dishwasher to rest. Any effort whatsoever caused me to break out in a sweat and feel just awful. I checked my glucose, and it was okay. My blood pressure was fine, too. It must have been viral. I swear, if a virus passes within 100 miles of me, I seem to pick it up! Sure gets tiresome.

At least I was able to go back to work today. I have to admit that I was really happy to see 4:30 roll around this afternoon, though.

I think Meggie must have really missed me today; I'd been at home with her for the past three days and she'd gotten used to having me around. She kept bringing me toys this evening so I'd play. She finally got tired and crawled up into my lap for a nap while I was knitting. Now (not quite 9:00 pm) she's all ready for bed. Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, I'm a day early. *G* But tomorrow I'm going to visit Mom & Dad for the holiday and might not have a chance to post. I'm off work today; we had a half-day holiday, so I took annual leave for the other half day so I didn't have to go in at all. Five glorious days off! *happy dance*

So what will I do with these five glorious days? Well, today I'm going to make cranberry salad and do some general household drudgery. I also hope to get my Christmas cards ready to go in the mail. I didn't send any last year (in protest of postage rates) and felt a bit like Scrooge afterwards, so this year I'm sending out a few. I'm not actually going to mail them until Friday, though. It just seems WRONG to mail Christmas cards before Thanksgiving!

I still have a little knitting to finish up, so I'll probably work on that this afternoon. I was able to get my grocery shopping done yesterday afternoon after work and before Madrigal practice, so I don't have to leave home today if I don't want to. And since it's currently 22 degrees outside, I probably won't want to!

I need to do some serious decluttering in my home office; I hope to get some real progress made in there this weekend. I'd better make myself a list, or I won't get anything done. I know me too well!

Madrigal rehearsal went well last night. We've worked hard, but it's been fun. We only have one more rehearsal before the concerts, so I hope we have our act together! There's one number I'm not confident about at all. I brought my music home so that I can work on it some on my own this weekend. I need to add that to my "To Do" list.

So, it's my day off, and what time did I wake up? 4:30. Sheesh. And, being a considerate apartment dweller, I don't want to make too much noise this early. Even though I have one neighbor who shall remain nameless who currently has visitors for the holiday who apparently live in a barn because they have kids who run, yell, jump off furniture, etc. The only thing that has saved them from my wrath thus far is that they do put the kids to bed at a decent hour.

Bah. Humbug.

Well, since it's too early to start noisy housework, I think I'll make myself a pot of good strong coffee and get out the Christmas cards and go ahead and get that done. Off I go to begin my day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jack Bauer's Back....Sorta


"24" returned this evening as a 2-hour "event", "24: Redemption". I was happy to see Robert Carlyle, who I adored in "The Full Monty" and "Angela's Ashes". Unfortunately, he didn't survive the episode. Dang it.

So, how was the return of "24"? I don't know. I don't feel like it's returned yet. Sure, Jack Bauer was in it....there was gunfire and violence and even a brief bout of torture. But too much time was spent in Washington with the transfer of power from Powers Booth to a new president, Allison Taylor. That's right, boys and girls, a WOMAN president. She has an extreme case of helmet hair and speaks in cliches, but may prove interesting in the long run. I hope so.

Jon Voight is apparently going to be Evil Guy this season. *yawn* Powers Booth appears to be in cahoots with him. *double yawn* The new Madame President's son is mixed up in a mess thanks to a junkie friend who got caught with some information by the Bad Guys. *triple yawn* Worst of all, Jack just doesn't seem to be his usual self....he's softer, somehow. Not the Jack of the "Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas" fame.

Hopefully, January will bring improvements. If not, I'm giving it up. After the last season was so dreadful, I swore I wouldn't waste my time on another full season if things didn't look up right away. Tonight didn't give me a lot of hope. The only really interesting character in the 2-hour episode got blown up. Dang it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh, Goodie, A Snow Day!!

Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog, for that matter) knows how much I enjoy a snow day. As a child, I waited anxiously for that magical announcement on a snowy morning that school was closed for the day. Now, at 54, I still watch for that magical announcement to scroll across the bottom of the television screen.
Yesterday morning, I was happily surprised to see our announcement change from "snow schedule" (2-hour delay) to "CLOSED"!! *YAY!*
Now, what to do with my snow day.....I consider them a gift, not to be wasted. I spent the first part of my day doing household chores. Less to do over the weekend! I called Mom & Dad (currently in Pigeon Forge) to see what kind of weather they were having (cold, but no snow to speak of). They were enjoying a chili bake for lunch. That made me crave one as well, so I made one for my lunch, too.

The afternoon was spent knitting and watching things I'd TiVo'd this week and hadn't watched yet. As I rummaged in my "pantry" kitchen cabinet for canned chili for the chili bake, I ran across some applesauce and apple cider I'd bought some time ago with the intention of making apple butter in the CrockPot. So, I went online to find the recipe that had set off the initial purchase and assembled everything I needed. I put everything in as directed and let it cook all night. This morning I awoke to the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and cloves, all mixed in with freshly-brewed coffee (my coffeemaker has an automatic timer). It was just GLORIOUS!

The apple butter is still cooking, thickening gradually. I hope it turns out well. If it does, I'll make it from time to time just to make the apartment smell like it smells right now.

My plans for today? I want to rearrange my dining area a little. I changed things in there several months ago and have never really liked it, so I'm going to change them again. That should keep me out of mischief for awhile. Then later, I have more knitting to finish up. It's awfully cold outside today (17 degrees as I'm writing this), so there's no incentive to go out. I think I'll get my apple butter finished up, move the dining room around a bit, then throw a DuraFlame in the fireplace and pile up in the recliner with Meggie, my knitting, and the remote control. Ahhhhhhhhhh....gotta love a snowy Saturday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


When I woke up this morning and turned on the local TV news, I saw school closing announcements crawling across the bottom of the television screen. Unfortunately, the school where I work wasn't on this list. Oh, well. There's enough snow out there to be pretty, anyway. It's awfully cold, though...25 degrees as I'm writing this. I can do without that!

And to top it all off, yesterday I learned that the Madrigals are going to have to sing a few numbers at a tree lighting ceremony this afternoon. Outside. In the bitter cold. Ho-ho-ho.

Mom and Dad are in Pigeon Forge...sure hope they have better weather there, but I kinda doubt it. I'll bet that Cades Cove is pretty, though.

Better get off here and eat my lunch so I can get back to work on time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Good Weekend

It's been a good weekend. I was off Friday and spent the morning running errands (oil change, Wal-Mart, grocery shopping, gas fillup) then after lunch went to Mom and Dad's to visit. The weather was nice Friday....warm enough to be out without a jacket.

Saturday morning, the weather turned seasonally cool and rainy, which made me VERY glad I didn't have to go anywhere. I did a bit of household drudgery, did a little knitting, burned a few movies I'd TiVo'd onto DVDs, and rested. Late that afternoon, Kris and I had a good Skype visit.

This morning (Sunday) I burned a few more DVDs, did a little laundry and made some lo mein soup from a recipe I'd seen on television. (Not bad at all.) I dug around in the Christmas decoration bins enough to find Meggie's reindeer antlers and took her picture to go on this year's Christmas cards. She really, REALLY hates those antlers! She quickly became bored, as you'll see from this photo:

Cute, huh? *LOL* I did manage to get a pretty good photo of her, though, and ordered the cards. After I got all that taken care of, I settled into the recliner, with Meggie and my knitting in my lap, a DuraFlame log in the fireplace, and the remote control by my side. All in all, a perfectly lovely afternoon! I heard there were snow flurries this morning (and more flurries expected early tomorrow morning), but I didn't see them. I love being able to stay inside near the fireplace on a cold, gray day!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Catching Up AGAIN

I've been a delinquent blogger....two MONTHS, for crying out loud. Time gets away from me sometimes, that's for sure. Okay, so what's been going on since September?

Well, MeggieDog and I made our last two camping trips of the season, one four-day trip in September at Grindstone and one six-day trip in October at Hungry Mother State Park. That was the first (and probably last) time I camped at Hungry Mother. Mom and Dad were camping, too, so that was great. We went up on Monday morning and left on Saturday morning. The first part of the week was wonderful; we nearly had the campground (Camp Burson, just outside the actual park) all to ourselves. I don't think there were more than 10 occupied campsites at any time including our two sites. The weather was great, warm for October with cool crisp nights. The fall color was beautiful, and we had a wonderful time walking some of the trails around the lake and across the dam.

Unfortunately, on Friday, campers started coming in bunches! The campground doesn't afford much privacy for tent campers when there are people camped on the neighboring sites. Not only were the campers noisy, but the proximity of the campground to heavily-traveled Route 16 proved to be a problem on Friday night. I was camped (for sake of convenience) near the bathhouse. Well into the wee hours of the morning, traffic would pull off Route 16 so that carloads of people could use the bathroom facilities. Not only was it noisy, but I didn't feel particularly safe. Even though I have a set of walkie-talkies that Mom & Dad & I use while camping (one in the tent, one in their camper), I still felt ill-at-ease. Never again. If something happens that I have to camp there again, I'll be as far away from the road as possible, even if it means having to take a long hike to the bathhouse! I said I was going to try not to grouse too much, though. After all I had 4 great nights and only 1 crappy one. *L*

Good news about gas prices: a couple of months ago, regular gasoline was running $3.999 here. When I left work Friday, the Shell station at Exit 14 had their regular gas priced at $1.999! I don't remember the last time I saw gas less than $2.00 per gallon. It's certainly a welcome relief.

Of course, the Presidential election was last week; I'm relieved it's finally over and hope for a few weeks of no political ads before the next round of campaigning kicks in.

Heidi the Yorkie, owned by my friends Beth, Joey & Amy, is the proud mama of 3 puppies....I've posted a photo on Flickr (link on the right). Last I heard, all was well. They sure are cuties!

I've been doing a little crocheting of small Christmas gifts while watching TV. Nothing fancy. I've also got a couple of knitted gifts that I've started but need to finish. I want to try to get those completed so I'm not in a last-minute rush. You know all about good intentions, right? *L*

We've already had our first "snowfall"; when I woke up on Wednesday, October 29, I found just a small amount of slushy snow on my windshield. But the closer I got to the office the more snow I saw. In fact, there was a brief period of hard blowing snow just a mile away from work. People just a few miles further north said they had a pretty good covering of snow on the ground, but I didn't get that at home. It'll be coming soon enough, I'm sure.

We've had pretty warm temps this past week....low 70s during the day. Some rain moved in Friday evening, though, and things cooled down quite a bit. In fact, it's only 43 degrees outside right now. Cloudy, too. A good day to stay in and be cozy with a cup o' coffee.

Unfortunately, I'm in for another reason today. Meg wasn't well yesterday; it seems to have been something viral. She was awfully sick, but PeptoBismol and canine aspirin seemed to have pulled her through it, thank goodness. Today she's much better, able to walk up and down the hall on her own (she was too weak for that yesterday morning). She lapped up some warm chicken broth a little while ago and seemed to enjoy it. It was great to see her appetite back! I'm awfully tired today (probably from the stress of watching her feel bad as much as anything else), so I'm staying in to rest up for work tomorrow.

I made myself a pot of delicious Columbian coffee earlier, so I'm freshly showered, in my comfy sweats, sipping coffee, and preparing to pile up in the recliner with Meggie beside me, knitting in my lap, and the remote control nearby. It's such a gray day I might even light a DuraFlame log in the fireplace and really treat myself.

First, though, I'm going to check in on my friend Mare's blog and catch up a little on her. :-)

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Harvest

As you can see by this photograph, Daddy has harvested the broomcorn. It looks just beautiful, and I hope we can put it to good use!
I had my first big disaster with my new computer last Saturday. A message popped up from my internet security suite stating that an important update was available, and all I needed to do was click on the link to load it. So I did. Dumb. No, it wasn't a virus. It was really and truly an update from the company who wrote my security program. Unfortunately, the update was REALLY buggy. Not only did I have to completely uninstall the security program, I also had to reinstall WINDOWS, for cryin' out loud!!
At least I know it wasn't just me....the message board on the company's website was full of irate messages from customers who'd had the same experience I'd had. I was up until 3:00 am Sunday morning trying to get everything back to par. After that, I dozed while waiting for Windows Vista to reinstall (a lengthy process). To say that I felt a bit draggy yesterday is an understatement. Luckily, all I really had to do was a load of laundry. I had a lot of other projects that I should have worked on, but they'll just have to wait!!
Today is a "dull sinus headache" kinda day, so I'm probably going to call it a night pretty early. I've already had my dinner. I'm waiting for a thunderstorm to pass (I can hear distant rumbles as I'm typing this) so that I can have my shower and get into my jammies. I think a warm shower, a cool glass of tea, and a good night's sleep will be very helpful. :-)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Catching Up

I've not posted in AGES, so let's see now, what's been going on lately in my little corner of the world?
Daddy's been raising broomcorn (see photo). He and I received instruction from a fellow camper last October in the art of broom making, so Daddy raised broomcorn this summer so we can try it for ourselves. He cut the corn (actually a type of sorghum) this week and has now hung the "straw" to dry. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

Dad's family reunion was August 8 - 10. I went over on Saturday and spent most of the day. I believe they had the nicest weather I've ever seen for a reunion. It's usually too hot to breathe, but it wasn't bad that day. They have it on Copper Creek in Scott County each August.

MeggieDog and I went to Grindstone for a 4-day weekend to celebrate my birthday August 14 - 17. We had the best weather we've had on a camping trip this year....its was just glorious! Mom and Dad had gone to Pigeon Forge the Monday before, so they weren't camping with us this time. They came up and visited on Saturday, though, so that was really nice.

Fearful that my five-year-old Dell desktop computer (which developed a noticable whine a LONG time ago) might soon bite the dust, I treated myself to a new Dell desktop. I'm still a bit awed by the 500 GB hard drive, remembering that the 80 GB drive on the old Dell was top of the line when I bought it. I wonder what the storage capacity will be the NEXT time I buy a new PC?

Last Saturday my little friend Lindsay celebrated her 16th birthday with a party at the Eastman Recreational Center at Bays Mountain. A great time was had by all!

Tuesday was the first rehearsal of the season for the madrigal singers I sing with during the Christmas season. The first rehearsal is actually an introductory "tea" where we gather at the music studio, enjoy yummy snacks, and look over the music we'll be performing this season. Beth, our Fearless Leader, handed out manila envelopes of sheet music. As I thumbed through mine, I recognized a title. Opening the music and quickly sight-reading it, I said, "Hey, the Monkees sang this one on their Christmas episode." Several of the group laughed, thinking I was kidding. I said, "No, really, they DID." *LOL* After I got home, I found a clip of it on YouTube: It's lovely, and I can hardly wait to hear it performed in 4-part harmony with women's voices.

With Monday being a holiday, the rest of the workweek was busy, busy, busy. I woke up with a headache Thursday, but figured it was the result of sinus congestion (which I enjoy on a regular basis...*ick*). I'd been invited to have dinner with friends at Shoney's after work; by then my head was really pounding. By the time I left Shoney's I was feeling queasy. I hurried home, called Mom, put my jammies on and took a couple of Excedrin PM. Apparently, the sip of water I took with the medicine was all I needed to push me over the edge. Everything in me came up. *YUCK* Luckily, that made me feel better, though. I was able to go to sleep quickly and slept straight through until just before the clock went off at 6:00 the next morning.

I still felt a bit delicate, but was much, much better. So off I went to work, a busy but relatively uneventful end to the workweek! When I got home, I had a fairly quiet evening: a light supper and a DVD from Netflix. I watched "Clerks 2", the latest in a recent rash of Kevin Smith movies I've watched.

Am I the last person in America to discover Kevin Smith? "Dogma" had been recommended to me just after it became available on DVD, and I really enjoyed it. I laughingly referred to it as one of my "guilty pleasures". It's profane (the language is truly dreadful) and irreverent (yes, most would say blasphemous), and sometimes you just need one of those, y'know? However, I had no idea that "Silent Bob" was so hilarious until I happened to catch "An Evening with Kevin Smith" on the "Watch Instantly" tab of my Netflix account. I was hooked!

So I rented "Clerks", "Mallrats", "Chasing Amy", "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", and now "Clerks 2". Funny, funny stuff. I also watched "An Evening with Kevin Smith 2 - Evening Harder". It must be nice to be young and talented.

What else have a been watching? There's absolutely NOTHING on television; after the "Meerkat Manor" season ended, the only thing new on TV I've been watching is new episodes of "Monk". So, I've been watching the 1956-1957 season of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" on Netflix. I've also watched the entire run of "American Gothic" from 1995. I never understood why that show didn't catch on more than it did. It really was wicked fun. Back in July I finished up "The Sopranos". I'd already heard all the hype, of course, so I wasn't expecting the ending to surprise me. Even though I knew what was coming, the sudden cut to black silence was jangling. Adios, Tony. It was an interesting journey.

So what's next? A "regular" weekend, I think. Today I'll do a bit of household drudgery, then go visit Mom and Dad for a bit. Then Kris and I will talk by Skype early this evening (early tomorrow morning Sydney time). I always look forward to that. :-) Then tomorrow I'll finish up the weekly household chores and do something relaxing and fun.

It's nearly 7:30 now, and household drudgery, off I go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Haiku of the Past Several Weeks

No longer posting
Haiku; Can't remember to
Post them every week.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Latest Camping Excursion

I had good intentions, honest I did. I intended to post all about the latest camping trip just as soon as I got home. It just didn't work out that way. *BAD blogger, BAD BAD blogger*

It was a wonderful trip. The weather even cooperated this time....up until Saturday night, that is! *LOL* It started raining about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and I heard three different rainstorms move through. I really didn't mind it raining because I love to listen to rain on the tent. But I did have to stay a little later than usual on Sunday because I was waiting to get the tent dried out so I could pack it away without having to spread it out to dry when I got home.

The new tent worked out just wonderfully. I couldn't believe how much more room it has! Daddy helped me set up when I got to the campground on Thursday, and our friends Janie and Paul came by to visit.

On Friday we went up to the Scales and picked blueberries. When we came back off the mountain, we stopped and Mom and Dad picked blackberries. Then as we came back toward the campground they stopped again to pick some apples. Meggie was getting pretty tired of picking fruit by the time we got back!

Our friends Beth, Joey and Amy came to camp on Friday night. We didn't get to visit much that evening, but on Saturday we had a great Canasta game. Mom and Beth teamed up against Beth's brother and me. What fun! It had been a long time since we'd had a good Canasta match, and it was really great. Dewey and I won, but I suspect that next time we'll have our work cut out for us. *LOL*

This past weekend, I developed a sinus/allergy headache on Saturday afternoon and had it all day Sunday. *YUCK* I just hate it when a headache wrecks my weekend. This weekend is Daddy's family reunion, so I'll be spending most of Saturday over in Scott County. I sure hope the weather cools off a little by then, but it probably won't!

Haiku of Last Week

Late posting haiku.
Sick in bed with bad headache
Most of the weekend.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Haiku of the Week

Going to the woods
Tomorrow morning, not one
Dang minute too soon!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Good, Restful Friday

It was a restful day. And boy, did I need it! It was an ugly, awful week at work and I was very glad to see it end.

I had intended to do a lot of household things today, but didn't feel well when I got up this morning. My best guess is it was a combination of allergies and exhaustion. So, I decided to just do whatever I felt like doing and let the rest of it WAIT. I lazed about this morning, having a leisurely breakfast and playing a little Scrabble on They are actually running tournament rated games there, and it's a lot of fun.

As it turned out, I did feel better this afternoon after spending the morning resting. So I managed to get several things accomplished. In addition to doing some household stuff, I got my sewing machine out and used an old pair of jeans to make storage bags for the tent poles and stakes for my new tent. The tent came with bags for them, but I decided that denim would probably hold up better than the nylon bags provided. Also, if the denim bags get muddy I can toss them in the washer. *G*

Next week is the first camping trip with the new tent, and I'm anxious to get it all set up and staked out for the first time. On the news this morning I noticed that they're predicting a 30% chance of rain during the trip, but I don't care. It'll give me a chance to be sure the new tent doesn't have any leaks. *LOL*

This afternoon I caved in on my resolution to go "shampoo-free". I'd cleansed my hair with the baking soda solution three times in the last week. It actually looked, smelled and felt clean, so there were no complaints from me there. My big problem was that my psoriasis kicked into high gear. The area where my psoriasis breaks out is on my scalp, right at my hairline above my forehead. This afternoon, the red patch was so sore I couldn't even touch it.

Admittedly, the outbreak may have been caused by the high-tension week I had at the office (my dermatologist says that my psoriasis is stress-induced). However, in any case, I needed to use my prescription shampoo to get the outbreak under control. So it looks like the baking soda hair cleansing routine isn't going to be possible for me. Oh well. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well, I'm a little tired so I think I'll call it a night. I'm sure Meg won't argue with that at all. *LOL*

Haiku of the Week

Very tired today.
Needed right away.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is It Friday Yet? Not Hardly.

Dang, what a week it's been so far. I've put in three of my four 10-hour days, but I feel like I'm already on overtime!!

This has been one of those weeks of having to hound people to do what they should have done without being reminded. That's just a waste of time and energy as far as I'm concerned. If ONE MORE PERSON tells me how "busy" they've been, I might snap!!

Oh well. One more day and it's over for a few. And next week will be a short one for me because I'm taking an extra day off on Thursday to go to the woods again. *YAY!* I NEED IT.

A brief update on going shampoo-free. So far I've cleansed my hair twice with the baking soda solution, only using the vinegar solution rinse once. My hair actually looks as clean as it does when I use shampoo. Once really nice effect: even when my hair gets sweaty (which it tends to do just about every time I set foot outside), it doesn't have that icky sweaty smell. Interesting. We'll see how it goes.

Well, since I'm completely bushed, I'll cut this post a bit short. More later in the week.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shampoo Free? Honestly??

I just happened across a post on a blog that referred me to another blog entry from December 2004 about going shampoo-free: Here's the gist of it:
  1. Commerical shampoo is harsh and costly
  2. It's a detergent which strips necessary natural oils from your hair, causing it to be brittle and damaged.
  3. It can contain potentially harmful stuff (granted, in very low levels that probably won't hurt you anyway)
So, how do you go shampoo free?

  1. Use one tablespooon of baking soda in a cup of warm or hot water. If you need to increase the amount because your hair is long or thick, be sure to increase it in the same ratio (2 tablespoons of baking soda in 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of baking soda in 3 cups of water, etc.)
  2. Put it in a recycled shampoo bottle and apply it to your hair with warm water.
  3. The mix should not be gritty and should be a liquid.
  4. Let the mix sit on your hair for about a minute, then rinse with warm water.
  5. Every 2 to 3 washes, follow the baking soda cleansing with an apple cider vinegar rinse as follows: Make up a solution of 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water. Apply to wet hair, massage into scalp, and rinse off with cold water.
So why am I even considering this? I have what my dermatologist refers to as "stress-induced psoriasis". This manifests as a red scaly patch on my hairline above my forehead. Not only is it unsightly, but during flare-ups it actually HURTS. There've been times (during unusually high-stress times at work) that my scalp has hurt so bad that I'd have to grit my teeth while brushing my hair. The dermatologist gave me a prescription for some really expensive prescription shampoo. It removed the scaling and relieves the inflammation for brief periods of time. Sometimes only a day or two.

So I'd love to find a natural approach to cleansing my hair and scalp and reducing the scaling and inflammation of the psoriasis.

I'm off to the shower now to try it out. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Haiku of the Week

Work week is over.
Ready for relaxation.
Don't care if it rains.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Grindstone in June

Home Away From Home
June 2008

Mom, Dad, Meggie and I toddled off to Grindstone again during the last week of June. Mom & Dad went up on Wednesday, and Meg and I went on Thursday. We had another trip of scattered showers, but all-in-all a very good, relaxing long weekend!

My site was just across the road from Mom & Dad. Daddy helped me set up, then he grilled pork steaks (yum!) which Mom served with baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and rolls. I ate too much, but it was really good. Soon afterward, our friends Beth, Joey, and Amy came to visit with their cute little Yorkies, O'Reilly and Heidi. They were camped on another circle in the campground, but it was close enough to walk and visit comfortably.

The Yorkies were so cute....MeggieDog doesn't quite know what to think of them, being so tiny and so full of life! At one point, Beth and I were sitting on the same bench of the picnic table. Meggie was on my lap, and Heidi was on Beth's. Beth put Heidi down on the bench. She didn't make a sound, but bared her teeth at Meggie as if to say, "This is MY bench, and don't you dare move a muscle in my direction!" Meg moved further up on top of me with a "SAVE ME!!" look on her face. It was so funny to see that tiny little Yorkie staking out her territory!

We had rain off and on all rainstorm would pass through, the sun would come out for a bit, then another storm would pass through. One day (Friday, I think?) Mom and Dad took me to a neat old antiques store over in Mouth of Wilson. I saw all KINDS of goodies I wouldn't have minded having, but restricted myself to buying a couple of very old (1920's) geography books and some 50-cent copies of Lewis Grizzard books. I also bought a couple of aluminum lids for saucepans for a quarter each. I have a 1-quart saucepan I take camping that didn't have a lid. All the lids I can find now are GLASS, which I don't want to take camping. Too easy to destroy! So that problem was easily (and cheaply!) solved.

Joey and Beth provided us with plenty of great campfire wood, so we were able to enjoy cozy fires on the cool damp days. I'd never have believed it, but there we were in late June wearing jeans....and occasionally sweatshirts! We're going back the end of July. I don't really expect to need a sweatshirt then, but will take one all the same. Just in case. You never know!

I always say that I really don't mind rain on a camping trip, because it gives me a good excuse to curl up with a big ol' book and listen to the rain falling on the tent. The only thing I don't really like to do is set up in the rain or break camp in the rain. Sure enough, Sunday morning when I was trying to get my camping gear all broken down and packed up, it rained off and on all morning. Daddy tried to dry things off as best he could with a leaf blower he gave me to carry with my camping gear. But everytime he seemed to be making a little headway, the wind would rustle the trees and dump rain all over everything all over again!

So, I finally just wrapped the canopy and tent up in a plastic tablecloth and stuffed it in the trunk. When I got it home, I spread it all out over the shower rod in my spare bathroom and over a folding drying rack to get it all dried out good before putting it away. I certainly don't want to risk any mold or mildew!! There's just no getting rid of that once it takes hold.

Driving home that afternoon, I ran through four different rainstorms, all really hard ones. People were pulled off on the side of the road waiting for the rain to let up. It was just awful. When I got back into Bristol, water was running down the streets, gushing up out of storm sewers. Terrible, terrible storms! We still need rain, but DANG, not all at once!

When I got home, I wrapped Meg in one of her baby blankets and carried her in so she wouldn't get drenched. I got the food and cooler out of the car, but waited a while to unload more to give the rain a chance to let up. I unloaded some more later in the afternoon, but got rained on again. I finally gave up and unloaded the rest of it a few items at a time in the afternoons after work!

Even with the downpours at the end, though, it was a fun trip. I always enjoy my camping trips. I'm already looking forward to the next one!

By the way, check out my Flickr site (there's a link to it over on the right) to see photos of the most recent camping excursion.

Haiku of the Week

Hope all my readers
Had a safe and happy Fourth!
Mine was damp, but great.

Haiku of Last Week

Couldn't post last week;
Was out in the great outdoors
Sleeping in a tent.

*big happy smile*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday Weirdness and the Loss of Carlin

Daddy had a strange Saturday morning. A friend of his had invited him to go to an equipment sale in Hiawassee, Georgia. They planned an early start and left about 5:30 Saturday morning. They were on Interstate 26 and had just crossed into North Carolina when a deer hopped across a concrete barrier separating north-bound from south-bound lanes and directly in front of the truck.

Thankfully, the deer died instantly; however, the friend's truck was damaged so badly that they had to call his father to bring his flatbed to haul the truck back to Bristol! Daddy estimated the damage to be $4,000 - $5,000. After seeing the truck, I think his guess is probably pretty close.

So, the trip to Hiawassee came to a sudden stop! Luckily, no one in the truck was injured. The only problem any of them had was that Daddy found a tick on him (probably from moving the deer out of the road). After he got home, he immediately removed his clothing and took a hot shower with strong deodorant soap to discourage any ticks from hanging around. Mom found a tick in the floor where his clothes were piled. *full body shudder*

George Carlin is gone. Not only is it strange to think of the loss of his lovely wry view of the world, but I had a few moments of feeling really old when I realized I can only remember six of the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". *sigh*

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Haiku of the Week

The only thing that
Beats a 3-day weekend is
A 4-day weekend.

*big happy smile*

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Good Journey, Tim Russert

I can't believe Tim Russert is gone. How will I be able to get through the rest of this election year without Tim pulling all the political hoopla down into clear, concise plainspeak?

Tim was not only a great journalist, but just plain fun to watch. No one enjoyed the drama of politics more than Tim. He made it fun for the rest of us.

Not only did he teach us about the political scene, he taught us more about family. His deep love for his family was well-known.

Even in death, Tim was teaching us. Though he had asymptomatic coronary artery disease, he was controlling the condition with medication and exercise. As recently as late April, he performed well on a cardiac stress test. His doctor said that if Tim had been given a stress test the morning before he died, he would STILL have performed well. His fatal heart attack was caused by a rupture of cholesterol plaque in an artery, causing sudden fatal coronary thrombosis. And so, Tim was teaching us. Even if you THINK you're in good health, live each day as fully as you can. There are no guarantees that you'll get another one.

I'll miss seeing that open, smiling face sparkling with the excitement on election night. It's just not going to be the same this year.

Good journey, Tim. You'll be missed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the Thirteenth

*insert scary "Jason" music here*

I'll be honest....the only movie I ever saw of the "Friday the 13th" series was the first one. Long, long ago. I like scary movies, but not those of the Jason/Freddie/slasher type.

I'd actually forgotten that today was Friday the Thirteenth until I heard it mentioned on the radio this morning. While I avoid stepping on sidewalk cracks when possible (Step on a crack, break your mother's back.) and feel a little ill at ease if a black cat crosses my path, I can't honestly say that Friday the Thirteenth has ever been a bad day for me.

Today's a pretty heavy scheduled workday, though, so this may be the one that makes me feel differently about seeing Friday the Thirteenth on my calendar.

I'm normally off on Fridays in the summer, working four 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. However, with a revamped payroll schedule for June because of end-of-the-fiscal-year things happening, I need to be in the office today. So, I adjusted my schedule a bit.

Have to admit it, though.....I'll miss having that extra cup of coffee at home and lounging around in my jammies a little longer this morning. *sigh*

Haiku of the Week

Friday the Thirteenth:
At least it's not Monday, right?
(Looking at bright side.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Haiku of Last Week

(Yup, I forgot to post one last week.)

The weather was hot
Last weekend, so Meg and I
Stayed indoors and cool.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Finally Back to "Normal"

Well, it took DAYS, but I'm finally feeling well again. That virus really knocked the stuffings out of me! I felt well enough to go on to work Monday and Tuesday but felt like I was dragging myself through the whole day.

I was just worn out by the time I got home last night. I called Mom, ate a light supper, and crawled into the recliner. Miraculously, I began to get my "second wind" about 8:00 pm and decided to move things around in my little dining area. Naturally, I was right in the middle of a big ol' mess when bedtime came around. So, I really hope I have another energy spurt after supper tonight so I can finish cleaning it up! *LOL*

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Long Ugly Weekend

I look forward to my weekends so much that I really resent it when I don't feel well on a weekend. Well, this past weekend was the pits to say the least.

On Friday morning I woke after a fitful night's sleep (asleep one hour, awake two, etc.) and decided to go get my errands run. So I made a trip "around the block"....K-Mart, Kroger, Walgreens....and came back home to unload my purchases. When I was in K-Mart, the temperature was HOT in the store. I'd arrived very shortly after the store opened and the air conditioning was turned on after I got there. When I went to Kroger, their store was very cold, but I was still feeling kind of clammy by the time I'd finished shopping. I wasn't feeling well by the time I finished in Walgreens.

I talked to Mom on the phone, fixed myself a little lunch, and sat down for a bit. Unfortunately, my lunch didn't stay down. *yuck* I spent most of the afternoon in the recliner. By suppertime, I felt hungry, so I fixed myself a small steak and baked potato. I didn't even finish it. Sick again. *sigh*

Saturday I was able to keep food down, but felt just awful all day long, feverish and miserable. *bored, bored, BORED* Sunday I felt a little better, but was achy and weak.

Luckily I felt well enough to go to work this morning, but am really tired now. Of course, it was a pretty difficult Monday in the office and that didn't help. This is definitely going to be a "salad for supper, go to bed early" night at my place. I'm sure Meggie won't mind. *G*

Thursday, May 29, 2008

T-Shirt Wisdom

Truth seen on a t-shirt:

"We the underpaid, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long with little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing at all."

Haiku of the Week

How much more can the
Powers That Be expect us
To do in one day???

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Obviously a Case of Denial

I just noticed that on last Thursday's "Obligatory Rant About Gas Prices", I referenced gas prices as being $2.559 and $2.779 and $2.899. Oh, how I wish it was true! They were $3.559, $3.779 and $3.899.

Who'da thunk I'd ever be nostalgic for gas prices under $3.00???

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Haiku of the Week

The IRS should
Have sent my stimulus check
Straight to Chevron Oil.

Obligatory Rant About Gas Prices

Okay, I wasn't going to make a big deal about gas prices. I really, truly wasn't. But COME ON, people, this is getting ridiculous!

On the morning that I went to Grindstone (May 11), I noticed that regular gas was $2.559 per gallon. (And by the way, what is it what that .9 cents, anyway?? Like we don't KNOW that it's very nearly $2.56?)

Yesterday morning I noticed that regular at the same station was $2.779 per gallon. "Twenty-two cents in just over a week," I thought to myself. "How awful!"

Well this morning.....ONE DAY LATER....regular at that same station was $2.899 per gallon. That's an increase of THIRTY-FOUR CENTS in ELEVEN DAYS.

Gee. Must be a holiday weekend coming up, eh? *grumble, grumble, growl*

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Camping Trip of 2008

Boy, what a week it was! MeggieDog and I were on the road by 8:20 on Sunday morning (May 11) on our way to Grindstone Campground. The weather was rather dreary and cool, but my big concern was that the wind was really whipping around. That could be REALLY bad news when you're trying to set up a tent!

The good news was that just as we pulled onto the campsite, the wind calmed a bit, and I was able to get both the tent and the screen house up with no problem at all. I had a slight head start on getting to the campground over Mom and Dad, so I was nearly all set up by the time they arrived. Mom came over to my site (right beside theirs) to tell me that Daddy wanted to grill steaks for us for lunch, and they'd let me know when to come on over. I'd purchased an inexpensive set of walkie-talkies for us to use, so I gave her one of them to take back with her.

After unloading and getting things set to rights inside the tent, I got Meggie settled into the sleeping bag, all snug and toasty. Daddy called on the walkie-talkie to let me know that lunch was ready, so I left Meg in the bed (safely secured by a tie-out cable to one of the tent pegs with free access in and out of the tent in case she needed to take a potty break).

Just as we settled at the dinette in Mom and Dad's camper, it began to rain. The steaks and baked potatoes were really great; Daddy sure knows his way around a grill. As soon as I finished lunch, I went back to the tent, because I didn't want to leave Meg alone too long. I was horrified to see that she'd been outside, wrapped her tie-out cable around the water spigot, and backed out of her halter!!! I hurried into the tent and found her (thank goodness) wet and unhappy and snuggled down under the sleeping bag. I got a fresh dry towel and dried her thoroughly and dried her halter on the small electric heater I use to heat the tent in cool weather. As soon as I got her dry and back into the sleeping bag, she slept happily all afternoon while I read and listened to the wind and rain.

The noise of the wind and rain was so loud in the tent that I didn't even hear our friends, Joey, Beth and Amy, pull into the driveway of Mom and Dad's site. I didn't know they were there until I came out to make a trip to the bathhouse! I went over to visit for just a few minutes (didn't want to take a chance on Meg having another back-out-of-the-halter episode), then went back to the tent and settled in for the night.

Unfortunately, when I woke up Monday morning I was sick with a cold. *YUCK* I realized then that the allergy attacks I thought I'd been having since the Thursday before were really signs of a cold coming on. The weather was rainy, windy and cold again, so I just settled in and read most of the day, allowing myself to just rest and wait for my cold to improve.

Tuesday's weather was MUCH better....sunny and warmer. I dragged my lounge chair out into a sunny spot and baked my poor head long enough to sunburn my face a bit. It really made me feel much better, though. Meggie laid on the lounge with me and sunned herself happily.

Clouds and drizzly rain set back in again on Wednesday and stayed off and on until I left the campground Friday. I really didn't mind, though. I got a lot of rest and did a lot of reading, both of which were much needed.

We had enough non-rainy time for Daddy to keep a campfire going, which we enjoyed. He and I had the opportunity to talk together a lot, which was really great. We strolled around the circle at one point, choosing possible sites for future visits. After consulting with Mom, we agreed on dates in June and July when we could all come camp together again.

I was sorry to see my camping trip come to an end on Friday, but was glad I'd decided to go back home early enough to get everything unloaded and put away and have the weekend to rest before going back to work on Monday. Poor Meg slept so much Saturday and Sunday that I was concerned about her. When I came home from work Monday evening, though, she was well rested and back to her usual self.

I'm already looking forward to the next camping trip!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Apartment Dwelling

I woke up at the unbelievable hour of 3:00 am and have been pretty much killing time for the past four-and-a-half hours. You see, I am an apartment dweller. If I was an inconsiderate apartment dweller, I could have been cleaning, doing laundry, packing up camping equipment for the trip tomorrow, and such. However, I am a considerate apartment dweller and don't wish to disturb my upstairs neighbor or my downstairs neighbor by making noise in the middle of the night.

This brings me to consider the pros and cons of apartment dwelling:

No yard work.No yard.
If something breaks, all I have to do is pick up the phone and someone comes to fix it.I do, on occasion, have a noisy, inconsiderate neighbor. That, thankfully, is rare.
No painting, no upkeep, no condo association fees. They even have someone come periodically to clean the chimney.There are limits to what I can change ; wall and carpeting colors are selected for me (they are neutral, thank goodness).
I feel safe here. I have a steel door and a deadbolt, and since I'm on the second floor, no one is likely to come in through the door on my balcony.I'm on the second floor. If I had a fire, I have a pretty good drop to the ground. I could do it if I HAD to, though.
I have an assigned parking space. I always know where I'm going to park.My apartment complex doesn't have a garage, so my parking space is outdoors. My car is always exposed to the elements. Also, people parking beside me are not always careful about not allowing their car doors to bump my car.
I have a small deck out on the balcony I can sit on it the evenings and enjoy a glass of tea while watching the world go by. MeggieDog likes it, too, because she can patrol the parking lot in complete safety from her wicker chair.In the past, I had an inconsiderate upstairs neighbor who dropped live cigarette butts through the spaces in the decking above and burned holes in the cushions on my deck furniture. Jerk.
If I had an intruder and had to scream for help, someone would hear me.I always worry that if Meggie hears something and barks, she might be disturbing someone. Thankfully, she rarely barks when I'm home, and I always make sure I'm home by the "quiet hours" established in my lease.

So, for me, apartment dwelling isn't such a bad deal. It's not for everyone, but it works well for me. Ah, nearly 8:00. Time to get to the drudgery!! As mentioned in yesterday's post, we're headed to the woods tomorrow, so I'll be away for a week.

I hope your week is as nice as I expect mine to be! :-)

Friday, May 09, 2008


Almost the end of the day on Friday before a week off! Hooray!!

Mom, Dad, MeggieDog and I are going camping. We're all going up on Sunday (Grindstone, which we all enjoy very much); Meg and I will be coming back on Friday, but Mom and Dad will be staying through the next weekend.

We've been through some concerns with Mom in the past couple of weeks. After she told her doctor (during a routine visit) about Sandy's aneurysm, he sent her for an ultrasound on Monday, April 28. That test revealed that Mom had an aneurysm, too. So, they scheduled a CT scan on April 30. That revealed that the aneurysm was 4.1 cm. So, her doctor sent her to a surgeon for a consultation. She talked to the surgeon yesterday; he told her that he didn't feel that surgery is necessary, thank goodness. He wants to send her for another scan in 6 months to be sure there's been no change, but said that she doesn't have to change anything about her regular routine. She's to just go on doing anything she usually does. *WHEW*

Needless to say, we're all very relieved and grateful that the news was so good. I'm glad she was able to get her surgical consultation behind her before the camping trip. Now she can relax and enjoy herself.

Well, back to the grind to get everything squared away before leaving for the next week. It will be great to get out in the fresh air and sit out in some natural light instead of this poisonous fluorescent ickiness!

Haiku of the Week

Even allergies
Cannot make me blue today.
I'm CAMPING next week!

Haiku Clarification

For those of you who don't understand the past two haikus (*LOL*):
  1. My friends, Deb and David, recently took a trip to Vegas, and I checked on their beloved doggies while they were gone.
  2. When they returned, they brought me a terrific souvenir (photo below).
  3. My daughter, Kris, is a big CSI fan (as am I).

Friday, May 02, 2008

Haiku of the Week

Kris will be jealous
When she sees my souvenir
From the Vegas trip.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Haiku of the Week

Deb may come home from
Vegas to find her doggies
More spoiled than before.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

At Least It's Not Monday

It's been a busy, busy morning. So busy in fact that I decided to take a quick coffee break and post to clear my head.

The weather is cloudy and about 10 degrees cooler than they'd predicted for today. Of course, the weather never changes here in my "concrete cell" of an office.

My Aunt Sandy is home from the hospital (as of last Saturday morning), recovering nicely from surgery to repair an aneurysm. I wonder if I spelled that correctly. *opening* Hey, I DID. I'm impressed.

From all reports, her surgery and recovery have been better than usual. The nurses even told her she's done remarkably well. We're very relieved that things have gone so well for her.

I found a new family tree site on the internet, by way of Pop Culture Junk Mail: it's, and it looks like it might be a fairly simple way to share some genealogical information with friends and family. I'll look into it a bit more over the next little bit and see if it's something worthwhile. First glance looks pretty good, though.

Ah, well, long enough at coffee break....back to work!

Haiku of Last Week

(I just KNEW I'd forget to post a haiku last Friday!)

My memory lapse
Caused me to post this haiku
Nearly a week late.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One Year Ago Today

On April 16, 2007, the unthinkable happened. A deeply disturbed man (whose name will not be mentioned here....he's already received too much press as it is) went on a rampage at Virginia Tech that resulted in the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Thirty-two were killed, and many others wounded. My little corner of the world was deeply affected by this tragedy. Nearly everyone I know either attended Virginia Tech or had relatives who did.

At noon today, our campus had a brief memorial service. I did not attend. I still feel deep sadness at the thought of thirty-two productive lives ended so tragically. I still feel deep sympathy for the families of those victims....and for the family of the assassin. I, however, grieve privately. This is my choice.

If it comforts others to gather together to share their grief, they should certainly do so. For me, however, grief is a private matter not to be aired publicly unless absolutely necessary.

A quickly it has passed. I hope that these 365 days have provided some small measure of healing for those dealing with their unimaginable grief.

Monday, April 14, 2008


The man who was principal of my high school during my sophomore, junior, and senior years passed away yesterday. I read about it in an area newspaper this morning. I was sad to hear that he was gone. I hadn't seen him since my high school graduation in 1971, but I remember him as being a good and fair man.

I Googled his name to see what he'd been up to since I'd seen him last, and found a blog that his son had been posting for the last few months. I was saddened to learn that he had Alzheimer's. Such a cruel disease.

I hope his family knows what a difference he made in the lives of so many young people. Farewell, Mr. Fugate. You were one of the good ones.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sleepless Night

Well, not COMPLETELY sleepless, but pretty close. I dozed off just after 9:00 pm and woke up just after midnight. I tried various things to make me sleepy, but nothing seemed to work. I watched a documentary on TV that upset me: "Mississippi Cold Case"....I was horrified that I knew nothing about this brutal double murder in the '60s. I finally gave up on sleep and got on the computer and surfed to learn more about the documentary I'd seen. Then I played Jungle Gin on for a bit. Then surfed some more.

I've no idea why I'm having trouble sleeping. I feel fine....tired, now, but fine. Nothing in particular is bothering me. Must be a hormonal thing. Think I'll go stretch out for a bit and see if I can catch at least a short nap before breakfast. What a way to start a weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Haiku of the Week

A new feature.....for as long as I can remember to post it weekly. *L* A haiku representing my thoughts at the moment, interesting or not:

Friday comes each week,
Though some weeks it seems to take
Longer than others.

Homemade Hair Conditioner

Okay, it SEEMED like a good idea. I have so many allergies that I try to avoid extra chemicals on my body if I can. I use unscented soap, unscented shampoo, unscented (or lightly scented) detergents and fabric softeners, and clean with baking soda and vinegar as much as I can.

I'm letting my hair grow, and lately I seemed to have a lot of flyaway split ends. Any time I go to have the ends "trimmed", I lose at least an inch of growth, so I was trying to avoid that route a bit longer.

So, I Googled "homemade hair conditioner" and found what looked like a very promising recipe: 2 beaten egg yolks, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. You mix it all together, slather it on your hair, leave it for 30 minutes, and shampoo it out. So I measured, mixed, slathered, waited, and shampooed.....and shampooed.....and shampooed.....and shampooed. YUCK.

I guess it was a success in the area of hair is (after FOUR SHAMPOO SESSIONS) hanging limply and is conditioned within an inch of its life. This morning I finally gave up after the fourth shampoo (2 last night and 2 this morning), dried and fluffed it as much as it would fluff (which wasn't much), and went on to work. All day I've been hiding in my office (AKA "The Dungeon") as much as possible and hoping I don't get called to an unexpected meeting with any of the Powers That Be.

So, if you have really dry, damaged hair and don't mind your hair hanging in greasy ropes for a few days, go ahead and use the recipe above. Oh well, not the first hair disaster I've been through, and most likely not the last. At least my hair didn't fall out.....yet.....where's that pocket mirror I keep in my desk???

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Good Evening

I had a good time last night doing something I hadn't enjoyed in a long time....changing my closet from one season to another. Now, I'll be honest, that's usually a dreadful chore for me. This time it was actually enjoyable because when I pulled out spring/summer things, I was able to wear several things that were too small for me this time last year. What a welcome change!

I took advantage of the opportunity to put some things in a bag for Goodwill. I had several things that were too big (hooray!), and a few things that were so old and out-of-style that I'll never wear them again. So, I now have a few loads of laundry to do, just to freshen everything up, but at least it looks like I won't have to buy many new things this season. Maybe a blouse or two, but that will be all.

I saw on MSNBC a little while ago that Stanley Kamel passed away....heart attack. Most people would say, "Who's Stanley Kamel?", but would be more likely to respond if you said, "The guy who played Dr. Kroger on 'Monk' passed away." So, that makes two celebrities in the past few days.....Charleton Heston passed away last Saturday. They seem to come in threes, so I can't help but wonder who'll be the third. Morbid.

The weather here today is glorious, sunny and mid 70s....makes me wish I had the day off. Rain's moving in, though. Tomorrow is expected to be wet and cooler, and the weekend is looking pretty bad. In fact, they're still predicting SNOW SHOWERS Sunday night. Weird.

Oh, well, I have plenty of household drudgery to do, so maybe it's just as well that the weather's going to be lousy.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You Gotta Love Spring

Spring....finally! Fall is my favorite season, but spring is a really close second. Trees and plants are coming out of their winter and white blossoms everywhere. (Which, of course, kicks my allergy attacks into high gear, but it's still great.)

I see that, yet again, I've fallen way behind in my blogging. My only excuse is that, following a vicious virus (which was actually coming on when I posted the last time), I just didn't have the energy or the inclination to post for ages. Now, thank goodness, I'm much, much better.

Lots of things going on in my little world. Mom's sister, Sandy, is having surgery Monday to repair/bypass an aneurism and a couple of blockages. She's had a solid month of tests and waiting for test results, but they finally got everything scheduled. She has great confidence in her surgeon, so I'm sure everything will go well.

I have a reservation to spend some time camping at Grindstone next month. Boy, am I READY for that. MeggieDog and I need to get out and do some walking to get ready for the physical labor involved. We've admittedly turned into recliner potatoes. *LOL* Now that the weather is finally nice and spring-like, though, I'm more inclined to get outdoors and inhale a few more allergens.

Having said that.....the temperature right now is 70 degrees, and they're predicting a chance of snow flurries Sunday night. Sheesh. You gotta love spring.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I feel like I do nothing but gripe about feeling bad these days. I was sick enough to stay in all weekend, but not "down in the bed" sick, y'know? I keep feeling like I'm taking something (please, please, not the flu), but never get sick enough to stay home from work or go to the doctor.

I stayed away from Mom and Dad's this weekend, though, because I was running a fever and dealing with tummy troubles. As it turned out, I think they had a lighter case of the same thing I had, though. And we hadn't been together in a week, so I know we must have caught it in two different places. Weird.

Speaking of weird, the temperature outside right now is a balmy 65 degrees. And we're expecting snow flurries tomorrow night. *rolling eyes* No WONDER everyone's sick!

Could be worse. The flu is everywhere. I'm sure I don't have the flu, because when I take the flu I can't get out of bed. And here I am, finishing my lunch break at the office.

Oh well. When I go home, I'll have a cup of hot tea and soak in a hot bath for awhile. That makes everything a little better.

All that sunshine outside makes me wish it was camping season. I guess technically it could be camping season, but not in a tent. *LOL* I really need to sit down with a calendar and figure out when I'm going to take my annual leave this year so I can space it out properly.

Well, lunch break's over so I'd better get back to work. Another fun Monday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Snowy Wednesday

I can't believe it!! TWO snow days in the same winter! I just love it!

I actually didn't hold out much hope that this storm would bring us enough snow to close the college today. The weather reports actually looked like the worst of it was going to miss our area.

When I woke up at 5:00 this morning, it was a little snowy, but didn't look like it was going to amount to much. Soon, however, larger flakes set in, and the parking lot turned white quickly. Not long after that, I received a phone call from the "snow chain"....we were on a two-hour delay! *YAY!* I decided that I'd just lounge about for a bit, then do a few household chores before heading to the office.

The snow got a little heavier, and I began to wonder if we just might get lucky. Sure enough, another call came from the snow chain....we were closed for the day! Ohboyohboyohboy!!

I promised myself I wasn't going to do any real work today, and I haven't. Just a couple of loads of laundry, and that's not really work. I hadn't intended to cook at all (I have leftovers I could reheat), but remembered that I had a head of cabbage and a can of corned beef. So, I made corned beef and cabbage. I don't do that often, because it's so crammed with fat and salt, but it was ultimate comfort food on this snowy lovely day. *happy sigh*

I told Daddy during a call earlier today that I'm sure that there's not a school child in the county that's any happier than I am on snow days. I actually get a lot of leave from my job, but there's just something wonderful about an unplanned day off like this one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

Cripes, what a morning. It's been so wild, I had to take a moment or two to clear my head and consume a little more caffeine.

Last night was fun; I always enjoy the Barter, even more when the ticket is a freebie. :-) I was afraid I'd be really tired this morning, but I didn't feel any worse for the wear. (Usually on weeknights I'm asleep by the time I got home last night. *LOL*)

Well, I'd better get my nose back to the grindstone. *sigh*

Monday, February 11, 2008


Tonight I went to the Barter Theatre to see Barbara Bates Smith in Lee Smith's "On Agate Hill". I'd seen her several years ago performing "Ivy Rowe" from Lee Smith's "Fair and Tender Ladies" and enjoyed her very much. Tonight's performance was just wonderful, as well.

Lee Smith's work always makes me a little nostalgic. Her characters always remind me of someone I've known or someone I'm related never fails! So, on the way home from the theatre, I decided to add a little item to my blog called "Meanderings" (link on the right). As I think of some little something that happened in my childhood or some story I heard growing up, I'm going to add it.

Enjoy. :-)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Weekend In With A Cold

When I woke up yesterday morning, I no longer had a question of whether my icky feeling was sinus trouble, allergies, or a cold. It is definitely a COLD. A rotten lousy cold. *sigh* I did the bare minimum household routine and crawled into the recliner with my knitting needles, the remote control, and MeggieDog. When I woke up this morning, I felt a little worse, so I stayed home again today to knit and catch up on some things I'd TiVoed. One of the things I've been recording is a series of Jane Austen novels filmed for television that are running on "Masterpiece Classic" on PBS. I'd already seen "Northanger Abbey" and "Mansfield Park". I'd missed the first of the series, "Persuasion". However our local PBS affiliate reran it the other night, and TiVo caught it for me.

So, this afternoon, fortified by a helping of fresh-out-of-the-oven homemade rice pudding, Meggie and I piled up in the recliner. I picked up my knitting needles and turned on "Persuasion". I knitted through the credits, since I never recognize the names in a BBC production anyway. Just a couple of minutes into the story, though, I recognized a voice. I looked up to see GILES from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". (Kris will be thrilled by this, no doubt. *L*) Just to be sure my eyes weren't deceiving me, I jumped to the end of the program to read the credits. Sure enough....."Sir Walter Elliot - Anthony Head". Son of a gun.

Unfortunately, I had to pause it pretty soon after I recognized him and will finish watching it later. My fever has gone up a little, so I'm going to take a couple of Excedrin and try to nap for a few minutes. I hate a cold.

Friday, February 01, 2008

TGIF....even though it's a RAINY Friday!

I really can't complain about the was coming down in buckets during my drive to work this morning, but virtually stopped when I got to the parking lot, so I walked in without an umbrella. It's a gray, gloomy morning, but we need the rain so badly I don't want to gripe about it.

I've been battling sinus/allergy/cold issues for the past couple of days. A fellow migraine sufferer at the office told me about a headache relief technique she tried this morning that actually worked for her: peppermint oil. I vaguely remembered hearing something about this cure sometime in the murky past but couldn't remember details. She said that she put 5 drops (which turned out to be too much; she recommends starting with 3 drops) of peppermint oil on a hot, damp washcloth and applying it directly to the achy forehead. She said she did it in the shower and just stood there with the minty cloth on her forehead for a few minutes....and it HELPED!! I think I may actually have a bottle of peppermint oil at home. If not, I'm going to get some!

I've had several bad sneezing fits this morning and generally feel like I need a nap. Thus, I'm taking a coffee break to clear my head and make this blog entry. *LOL*

Daddy had the rest of his lower teeth extracted Wednesday and had a lower plate made. He only had nine teeth remaining, and two of them had gone bad and were going to have to be extracted. So, since that got him down to seven lower teeth, he opted to have them removed. I've not seen him yet, but when I talked to him yesterday he wasn't in a terrible amount of pain. He was certainly uncomfortable, but he said he could already tell that it was improving. He was actually able to eat soft foods yesterday, so that's good. Mom says his plate looks very natural. If I'm sure I'm not contagious tomorrow, I want to go down and visit them awhile and see for myself.

Well, I guess I'd better get back to this stack of work on my desk. What I'd actually like to do is go home, drink hot tea, and crawl into the recliner under an afghan with MeggieDog! Oh well....since I've not had an "eating out" meal since last Saturday, maybe when I get off work today I'll treat myself to some Moo Goo Gai Pan take-out with hot and sour soup for supper. That and a cup of good strong, hot tea should certainly help my sinus/allergy/cold/whatever-the-heck-it-is!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Blah Thursday

I don't feel well....I'm not SICK, mind you, I just don't feel well. Like I'm on the verge of coming down with something. Kinda achy, tired, low-grade-feverish. Of course, the lovely weather probably isn't helping much. 26 degrees as I'm writing this with a wind chill of about 19.

As I came up I-81 to work this morning, I noticed a little portable pop-up sign beside the road that said "Accident Ahead". About 3 miles past the sign, I decided someone had just forgotten to retrieve the sign after clearing up an accident, since nothing was in sight. Just as I approached Exit 7, though, I saw that traffic was backed up in the northbound lanes. I took the exit, went over to Lee Highway, and took that up to Exit 10, where I got back on the interstate (north of the accident). It didn't add a lot of time to my commute, even though traffic diverted onto Lee Highway was unusually heavy. After I got to work, I learned that there'd been an accident at 6:00 last night just around the 8-mile marker. A tractor-trailer carrying cosmetics (headed south) lost control of his truck, veered across the median, and collided with a tanker truck carrying sulfuric acid. The tanker is still in the median; they're trying to get another tanker moved in to transfer the acid. They say that the interstate will have to be completely blocked during the transfer, and that the interstate probably won't reopen until late this afternoon. Sounds like I'll be going home by "back roads" today. Luckily, we're only having light snow showers, so running two-lane roads shouldn't be difficult. In fact, it may even be scenic. *keeping a positive attitude.....or trying to, at least*

My upstairs neighbor left a note under my door last Friday complaining about Meggie barking while she's trying to sleep (she has insomnia, she has sleep apnea, etc., etc., etc.). As soon as I came home and found the note, I went to talk to the apartment manager, who is a gem if ever there was one. I asked her advice in the matter. I proposed to respond by a note explaining that I make it a point never to leave Meggie alone during "quiet hours" as established in the lease. (Which is true....she's never alone overnight...hasn't been since the first of March, 2007.) I asked the manager if she'd look over the note after I'd composed it to see if she thought I'd said too much or too little. She agreed and said she felt I was taking the proper steps. I went home and composed the note and e-mailed it to her so she could look it over first thing Monday morning. In the note I also stated that I try very hard to be a considerate neighbor (no vacuuming, laundry, etc. during quiet hours), and that I commiserated with her problems with insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which have plagued me in the past. I also mentioned that a CPAP machine had helped my situation tremendously.

When the apartment manager came to work Monday, she looked over my note and e-mailed me that she thought it looked great. I was off work that day (holiday) so I printed it, signed it, and slipped it under my neighbor's door. I didn't hear anything from her until she and I happened to be at our (side-by-side) parking places at the same time when I came home from work Tuesday afternoon. I passed a few pleasantries with her (weather, etc.). As we approached the stairs, she said that she supposed she was just going to have to put up with the barking dog.

I told her that, as I'd said in my note, I fully intended to see that Meggie is never left alone during "quiet hours", but that there just isn't much I can do while I'm at work.....and I HAVE to go to work. (She doesn't. Must be nice.) She commented that the barking didn't bother her as much as it bothered her nephew. (Which is interesting, since he's not on the lease. She supposedly lives alone. Also, he'd griped earlier about the fact that she has only one assigned parking space. In addition to that, when he comes in and out, he stomps on the stairs so hard it rings in my living room. Anyway.....) The entire time we were talking in the breezeway, the neighbor who lives diagonally across the breezeway from me was trying to get his Pomeranian to stop barking. It was really raising the roof! My upstairs neighbor commented that she didn't know how my dog could bark all morning long without making herself sick. I brought to her attention that the entire time we were talking, the Pomeranian was raising Cain, but Meggie hadn't made a sound. I actually think that she may be blaming Meggie for ANY barking she hears, and that's just not so. Oh well.

Then she said that maybe I should just bring "the dog" to her apartment when I leave for work and let her stay there. That way she'd be quiet. I was honestly stunned. I don't even KNOW this woman. We've had a total of three conversations, including this one; one of the other conversations involved her nephew's displeasure with the assigned parking situation. So two of three conversations have been gripe sessions for her, and she wants me to trust HER to take care of Meggie? Oh, I don't think so!

I told her that I'm leaving a radio on in the living room and a television on in the bedroom to make a little noise so that it will hopefully mask outside noises, making Meg quieter while I'm gone.

I stopped to talk to my apartment manager on my way home yesterday afternoon to fill her in on the conversation I'd had with my neighbor. She said that she didn't much care what the woman upstairs wants, that I've done everything I need to do in the situation. Sheesh, there's always ONE in the crowd, isn't there?

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Last night, light snow and sleet moved into the area, leaving us with icy roads and just enough snow to make everything really beautiful. I got a call just after 5:30 this morning from the "snow chain" that was set up at work to notify everyone of schedule changes. We were on a snow schedule! (That's a two-hour delay.)

I'd watched the weather forecasts yesterday anxiously, hoping for enough snow to cause a schedule change today. (They don't happen very often.) I called the next people on the chain I'd been assigned to notify, and made myself a more leisurely breakfast than usual: tea and cream of wheat. I love cream of wheat on a day like this....warm and filling. I usually don't make anything but instant during the workweek, but since I had a couple of extra hours, I made the regular kind.....yummy, but messy!

After I'd put the kitchen back in order, I still had a little more time before I had to get ready for work. I settled into the recliner with Meggie and picked up my crochet hook to pass a little time while watching television. Happily, I received a second call from the snow chain......the college was closed for the day!! *YAY* SNOW DAY!!

Since snow days are so rare, I decided that I'm going to spend this one doing just what I WANT to do. I'd already made my bed, so I threw a load of towels in the washer and did my little "morning chores" list. Now the towels are ready for the dryer....other than folding them when they're dry, I plan to do the following:
  1. Put a paper log in the fireplace and light it.
  2. Pour myself another cup of hot tea.
  3. Put my latest Netflix rental in the DVD player.
  4. Pile up in the recliner with MeggieDog, the remote control, and a crochet hook.
  5. Doze as necessary.
I hope your day is as good as I plan for mine to be!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meggie's Ottoman Cover

I just finished crocheting a cover for the ottoman that Meggie uses as a "stepladder" to get up onto the bed. As you can see, she approves of the improved traction. *LOL*

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Lovely Rainy Sunday

It's been a lovely quiet Sunday here. I got my household chores done yesterday morning and spent the afternoon with Mom and Dad. Mom cooked a delicious pot of 17-Bean Soup which we all enjoyed thoroughly. I stopped by the grocery store on the way home, so today I didn't actually HAVE to do anything. (Not that there's ever a time when there's nothing to do here....*LOL*)

I slept in longer than I intended, so instead of cooking breakfast, I just had coffee and fixed a big brunch at 10:00: ham, eggs, biscuits, gravy and apple butter. YUM! Of course, now it's after 5:00 and I'm still not hungry.

I just put a few photos out on my Flickr site that I'd taken while Kris and Louise were visiting. (Kris, when you read this, be sure to show Louise that I've finished the scarf she taught me to knit!! *LOL*) I got e-mail from her Friday evening my time that said that they'd arrived home and were on their way to pick up their boxer, Freya, from the folks who were keeping her while they were on vacation. I haven't heard more, so I'm assuming no news is good news. :-)

Since I finished knitting my scarf, I'm now crocheting a cover for an ottoman. This is an old ottoman that I keep by my bed to give Meggie a "step ladder" to get up and down. Since it's a leatherette material, she skids when she jumps on it, so I've been keeping a cotton bath mat pinned to the top of it. Effective, but not particularly attractive. *L* During the Christmas visit, I showed Louise how to make a granny square. Later I happened to think that if I just created a larger version of the granny square the size of the top of the ottoman, then crocheted sides for it, I could cover it, provide traction for Meg, and make it a little more attractive all at the same time. I'm nearly finished (hopefully will finish it this evening), so I'll post a photo when I'm all done.

Friday, January 11, 2008

"A380 Rolls Off Tarmac in Singapore"

....but thankfully, "no passengers are injured". Now I'm left to wonder if that was the flight that Kris and Louise were on. The Wall Street Journal article stated that it was a Singapore Airline flight that was getting ready to depart Singapore for Sydney late Thursday. Which Thursday? Theirs or ours???

I waited until the time their flight was supposed to arrive in Sydney and confirmed that it had landed, so either the flight that rolled off the tarmac was the day before their flight, or Singapore Air moved them to another plane and didn't renumber the flight. I'll find out when I hear from Kris.

What a week! It's been the first full week back at work, and it's been a bear. I'm always glad to see Friday roll around, but I'm ESPECIALLY glad to see it today!

I've been doing a little housework each evening, so thankfully I won't have a lot to do this weekend, unless I start myself a special project. I'm going to try really hard not to do that this weekend....I need REST!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

First Saturday of 2008

Even without the alarm being set, I woke up this morning at 5:15. I didn't mind, though. I watched a little TV for awhile, then got up and made waffles with the new waffle maker Mom and Dad gave me for Christmas. I made a full batch, ate one, and put the rest in the freezer to toast for breakfast during the week. They're actually not too unhealthy since I eat them with no butter or margarine and use just a bit of Smucker's sugar-free syrup on them.

I got my weekly household drudgery all done; everything's dusted, vacuumed, or mopped as needed. The laundry's all done except for folding a load of towels that just finished drying.

I'm going to lunch with friends at 1:00. Gladys, Anita, Lindsay, and Noah are meeting me at Shoney's. I haven't seen them in months, so I'm looking forward to it.

Meggie is sleeping in a patch of sun in the home office floor. She's followed me from room to room as I did my chores this morning. I think she's relieved that I'm sitting in one place for a few minutes! *LOL*

I miss Kris and Louise. The apartment seems too quiet today. They're in New York, and I hope they're having a great time. According to the schedule, they'll leave New York tomorrow night, change planes in Washington, and arrive in London on Tuesday. I hope the weather's good for them.

We had a terrible blast of winter weather just after they left, but it's warmed up to about 40 degrees this morning. In fact, it's supposed to be up in the 60's the first of the week. That'll really seem like a heat wave after the single digit cold we had just a couple of days ago!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Best Holiday Season Ever

Kris and Louise are on their way again after spending the holidays with me. Well, they're SORT of on their way. At the moment, they're waiting for a flight out of Knoxville. Their scheduled flight was canceled due to mechanical failure. *ick* When Kris called to tell me, I told her that it's a shame, but considering how much traveling they've done so far with only this hitch, things have actually gone remarkably well.

They arrived by rental car late afternoon on Saturday, December 22. We had dinner, and Mom and Dad came to visit with us for awhile. On Sunday we went to visit at Mom and Dad's house for awhile and made a grocery shopping trip to pick up last-minute items. Christmas Eve I had Mom and Dad back at my place for supper (lasagna....a Christmas Eve tradition started by Mom years ago). Then they had us back at their house for Christmas dinner.....chicken, ham, and all the trimmings....yum!

Louise has a gluten allergy and apparently got hold of enough wheat products in the holiday dinners to cause her to fall victim to a bad headache on the 26th. So, she stayed in bed trying to recover that morning. Kris went to visit a friend and Meg and I had some quality "recliner time". That evening we went to Bristol Motor Speedway to see "Speedway in Lights", which were even bigger and better than last year.

On Thursday the 27th Kris had an appointment with her tattoo artist to have some work done. I got a little household drudgery done while she and Louise were out and about. After dinner that night, we pursued Trivia for awhile.

On the 28th, Mom and Dad took us to White Top and out for lunch. It was a fun trip, but fog/mist/clouds had settled on the mountain, and we weren't able to see anything at all. The wind was gusting really hard (I'd guess about 40 mph) and it was COLD. It was nice to have an outing all the same.

On the 29th, Kris had another appointment at the tattoo shop, but her artist was sick so she had to reschedule for New Year's Day.

On the 30th, we went to Red Lobster for lunch, then to Castlewood to visit the final resting places of family members. Afterwards we stopped at Dixie Pottery (a failed attempt to find souvenir items), then went to Mom and Dad's for a little while.

On the 31st, Kris packed up some items to be shipped back to Australia. She and Louise took them to the post office and made a Wal-Mart trip. Then they went to the home of one of Kris' friends for New Year's Eve. Meg and I were asleep before midnight, as usual. :-)

On New Year's morning, Louise prepared a wonderful homemade cheesecake for our dessert to have after dinner. I'd invited Mom and Dad to join us for a traditional New Year's dinner: black-eyed peas and collard greens along with ham, potatoes, mixed pickles (a combination of pickled beans, pickled corn, cabbage, etc.), corn muffins, and Mom's coleslaw. Kris and Louise went to the tattoo parlor at noon; Mom and Dad arrived soon after they left. We planned to have dinner at 4:00, but they came early so we'd have some time to place the order (by internet) for their next corporate lease vehicle.

The website behaved perfectly, and we placed the order with no hitches at all. Kris and Louise came back about 3:30, so dinner was served on time and was pretty tasty, even if I do say so myself. Louise's cheesecake was really great and was enjoyed by all.

Mom and Dad visited with us for a little while after dinner, then left for home. Kris and Louise finished their packing in time for us to enjoy a last episode of "Jeopardy" before they had to leave. After they finished their last-minute items, we exchanged some borderline-teary farewells, and they left about 9:00 p.m.

I'd asked them to call when they got checked in at Knoxville; Kris called at 11:15 to say they'd arrived safely. She called me at work again this morning to tell me their flight to Toronto had been canceled. They'd rescheduled a flight to Cincinnati the last time I talked to her, so I'm not sure what time they'll get to Toronto now.

Kris had hoped for a little snow during her visit, but we had temperatures up in the 50's most of the time. Yesterday afternoon the temperature dropped drastically, and there were snow flurries. This morning we had a little snow on the ground and bone-chilling temperatures. It looks like Kris barely missed seeing winter weather at home!

All in all, a wonderful holiday....the best I can ever remember.