April 01, 2022

I Really Should Stop Making New Year's Resolutions

Every year I plan on finishing quilts, reading books, working on the house, and so on.  And for the last four years, some kind of health crisis has put an end to all our plans.  After 2020 and 2021, we thought we had met our quota of health problems and decided that 2022 was going to be our year.  I was going to start much needed dental work the day after I wrote my last post.  Hubby was going to work on the house, and then we were going to do some traveling.

So I wrote that post, feeling great about 2022, and went to bed. The next morning, we got a phone call from Mom's care giver. Mom was in the hospital after attempting suicide. Yeah, that was some wake up call. Someday I will write a post about the many ways suicide wrecks the lives of survivors. Thankfully, Mom survived and with no further organ damage. But our plans for 2022 were put on hold as we have been taking care of Mom, moving her near us, clearing out her house (fodder for several posts there too), and getting it ready to sell.

We now have Mom's dog, a cute little shih tzu name Mia, and mom lives in an assisted living center about twenty minutes away. She is trying to have a good attitude and make the best of it, though she has been going through a phase of wanting to stuff her 400 square foot apartment with everything in her 2200 square foot house. I think she is beginning to face reality now though, so we can finally let the estate sale company come in and do their thing. The thought that goes through my mind every time we go through her stuff is "I will not do this to my children." And as much as I enjoy seeing friends who still live in my hometown, I am tired of making that trip several times each month, especially with Mom calling every 15 minutes to send us on a search for "just one more thing" she can't live without.

I can't say I'll have time now to start posting again, but I'll try to post every week or two. After all, I need to regale you with stories of the football helmets and 100 bottles of wine on the wall. For now I just need to remember what Woody Allen said: "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans." One minute you're enjoying your day, and the next minute.....

January 03, 2022

Smokey's Cat Climbing Wall

Maybe it is his young age, but Smokey goes where Buddy never even thought of going. He loves to climb, whether it is a ladder, a screen, or jumping from one high place to a higher place. His climbing isn't really the problem though, it is his agility. He's clumsy and he knocks things off the shelves, the very high shelves, when he jumps around.

One night, I heard a loud crash followed by several more crashes. I rushed out to the garage to see if he had been crushed under what sounded like all the shelves in the garage falling off the wall. Smokey was on top of our RV and all around the end of the RV were broken bits of 18 gallon plastic totes and their contents, paint cans (of which only 1 quart broke open), and the screens to all the windows in our barndominium (most of which were bent). This climbing, jumping, and knocking stuff off shelves has got to stop. The ladder hasn't been kept near the shelves since the first time he climbed it, so we thought he might be climbing the ladder on the back of the RV, going out onto the slide and jumping onto the shelves a few feet away. I covered the ladder with cardboard to stop that climbing. Then, we noticed he was jumping onto the chest freezer, then onto the upright freezer, and onto the top of the garage door, where he tightrope walked across to the shelves.

Last week, we (we as in I was in the room too) built a safe climbing wall for him so he wouldn't be tempted to get into those shelves. So far, so good, but it is still new to him.

He thinks we can't see him.

Can you see his toy collection in there?

The idea for the box he is sitting in came from Smokey himself. We ordered a fireplace insert and it was held in the box between two styrofoam pieces. Smokey claimed one the minute it came out of the box. When it broke, he moved over to the other one, and for weeks, this was his favorite place.

When he finally broke this styrofoam piece, he had a really hard time trying to lay in it, so I built a box and glued the pieces back together inside it.

Loud purrs to all.

January 02, 2022

Sunday Selfie

 A cold front blew through last night so Smokey Joe wasn't stirring much this morning.  But finally, he consented to take a few steps on his new climbing wall (more on that tomorrow) and posed for a selfie.

Sharing on Sunday Selfies at The Cat on My Head.  

January 01, 2022

Say Hello, Smokey Joe!

 First of all,

Happy New Year!

From Unsplash

A quick update, for anyone wondering.  In August, I had strabismus surgery to correct the placement of the muscles in my eye.  Somehow, the eye had changed position during the first surgery in 2020 and I had been getting more and more cross-eyed which made my double vision even worse.  Now my eyes look almost normal again, but I still have double vision within each eye.  So far, I've been going to one referral after another, with each doctor saying he can't fix it.  Now I'm being referred back to the surgeon who did my strabismus; I'm curious to hear what he will say this time.

This summer, we got a new cat.  He showed up in someone's back yard but they couldn't keep him, so he came home with us.  The vet figured he was about seven months old and he is a ball of energy.  It's been awhile since we had youngsters in the house, feline or human, and like most adolescents, he wants constant attention.

We tried to redirect his energy by building a play tower in the garage, and he loved the hammock, but that was about all.  We let him outside a few times, but he kept going further and further from the house and we have too many wild animals around us, so he is mostly an inside cat.  He is very seldom still and I thought he was enjoying sitting with me until I looked down and saw that he was really chewing on my shoe laces!

Then we built a catio which fits in the garage door opening so he can be outside when we aren't around.  He didn't go out there very often, mostly at  night.  He much preferred being where we are.

He loves climbing up and then hanging upside down.  We have a wood ladder in the garage to access the upper shelves and he loves climbing on it and taking a swipe at us when we walk by. 

He also loves to go up to the upper shelves in the garage and has knocked down numerous items.  So far no major breakage, but that has got to stop.  We've moved the ladder and covered the ladder on the RV so he can't climb up easily and still, he gets up there.  He is a cutie, but there is something to be said for adopting older pets.  He is what my mother calls "a live wire."

I hope to be more active here as adjust to my new life.

May 30, 2021

My Book Corner, a Month in Review

This is new to me, talking about the books I've read. I've always been a voracious reader, excluding the years when toddlers and exhaustion monopolized every hour of my day. Once the kids were in school and I had time to actually sit on my own sofa, I rediscovered the adventure of reading.

About six years ago, I realized that I was bringing home books I had already read, but didn't realize it until I was tucked in and reading them. Not a good thing when books are bought at a used book store far from home. So I started keeping a book log. Then I started writing reviews of each book so I could remember the highlights in case I ever wanted to discuss it with anyone. No one ever did. After that, I added a vocabulary list and a want-to-read list. Later, I added genre, publication date, and number of pages read so I could see if there was a pattern to the type of books I liked most. And all that combined to be a book journal that is now with me every time I leave the house, because you never know when you are going to pass by somewhere to get more books.

I already posted this on my sewing blog, but I'm going to post it again here for my friends who do not check that blog. It's a pen holder for my book journal. In the past, I just hooked a pen onto the spiral binder of my journal, but I often lost pens that way, and I never did find a way to carry little post it notes so I can mark vocabulary words or quotes when I am reading somewhere that I can't write in my journal. This is the first one, made to fit this particular journal. A comment on my sewing blog called it a book buddy, and I really like the sound of that, so Book Buddy it is. Normally, the book buddy is on the outside of the front cover, but when writing, I like it on the inside.

I decided this would be a great gift for all the ladies in my book club because it's cheap and easy to make as well as handy. There were just a couple of problems: two elastics are a little bothersome when putting it on, and it won't fit just any size book or journal. So I came up with plan B, still cheap and easy to make, but this one will fit on any book.

Now onto the books I've finished this week, and this month. I don't know about you, but I always have at least three books going at the same time. One that is highly recommended but a new author to me, one an author I already love, and one that is completely unknown but I thought would stretch my comfort zone. Kind of like a mom telling her children to at least try brocolli before eating their entree and then moving on to dessert.

Books this week, starting with my favorite:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T J Klune. I've only started reading fantasy fiction lately and oddly enough, it appeals to me. Odd, because I am usually so practical and the first to read something in a book and say 'that can't possibly happen' but in a book that makes it clear from the beginning that they are in a very different world, it is possible. Maybe we all need a chance to be in a different world right now. It was a great escape and had a poignant message. I loved the symbolism (prejudice and acceptance, bullies and friendships, brow-beaten and confident), the descriptions, and the attitudes of the characters. Of course, I will say right now, that children, no matter what kind of children, are not going to get along as well as these, so there is my 'that can't possibly happen' observation for this book. I loved it except for one thing: the profanity and sexual overtones of the adult characters who are supposed to be role models for the children. 5 star.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. This is the Jojo Moyes I like best: funny, sweet, romantic, and not very sad. It is a well-written, lovely, and enjoyable book which also has a subtle message about truth and honesty and it would have been my favorite of the week except that it is predictable. At no point in the clashes between the characters did I ever think it would turn out differently than it did. It is the story of a rich, but troubled man who is thrust into the life of a desperate young working mom and her two children and enormous dog and against his better judgement, he agreed to take them across country to a math competition. Along the way, the two adults bickered and then began to fall in love. For some reason, I kept seeing Hugh Grant as the man. Maybe because part of the storyline reminded me of About a Boy. Again, I'm disappointed that the author let the adults use profanity in front of children and expose their sexual relationship to their children. 5 star.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I really disliked the writing style of this book. The author wrote briefly about something that happened years ago and then moved to the present, then back to something else that happened years ago, then back to the present. So brief that several chapters that were only a half page. But most annoying were the witness interviews. That's where my 'that wouldn't happen' hackles were most raised. At about page 160, the author finally quit that style of writing and it became more interesting. Not great, but better. If this hadn't been a book for book club, I would have rejected the book after page 50. 3 star.

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende. This book started out with a strong storyline, civil war in Spain, a girl who was a starving goat herder taken in by not one, but two, rich families, and the two sons of the second family and how they deal with the war. The hardships that everyone, even the rich families, endure is told in detail so that it feels very real. Then, the author begins to tell the history and politics of the war, and that is very dry reading. There isn't much dialog and I think that makes the characters two dimensional. I never connected to any of them. It's still an interesting story, one that I had never heard about in World History class, but more like a history lesson than novel. 3 star.

The rest of the books I read in May:

Death of a Perfect Wife by M.C. Beaton. This author and this series is easy reading, enjoyable, and just the right thing to read before turning out the light. 5 star.

Zero Day by David Baldacci. As long as he has been around, I have never read his books. I thought I knew what kind of books he wrote, but I was wrong. He had a choppy way of writing that bothered me at first, but then I really started enjoying the book. 4 star.

Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews. Another cozy mystery and one with a lively sense of humor, which is exactly what I need at this time in my life. 5 star.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I tried to read this book once before but just couldn't get into it. This time I finished it. I have loved some of Mitch Albom's books but this was not one of them. Maybe it was the sad tone or the message, but it just didn't resonate with me. 2 star.

Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews. Ditto what I said about Donna Andrews above. 5 star.

We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews. 5 star.

The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This is an Amish romance and I think one in a series. Like so many Christian authors, this is written with a very simple vocabulary and while there is nothing wrong with that, it always seems like I am reading a book meant for junior high girls. 3 star.

I've decided that my attitude and mental state make a big difference in the way I feel about a book. Right now, I need to escape from reality and be entertained. By fall, I may need psychological thrillers.

All the books I've read this year and in the past six years are in a Reading List Page on the tabs at the top of the page.

In the spirit of trying something new, I am linking to this blog for the first time: