December 28, 2020

2020 Was a Year of Throwing out the Old

The older I get, the less stuff I want. The less stuff, the less cleaning. The less cleaning, the more time for fun. That's the plan. The hard part has been getting rid of all. this. stuff! I've offered it to my friends, I've listed it on buy/sell/swap groups, and I've listed it free on facebook's local town group. As one of my friends so crudely put it, "I don't want your crap to become my crap." True, some things are old enough to be antiques, but some things were still brand new in the box. I've given away a total of two items; I had to beg Hubby to load up the rest and haul it to the thrift store. He hates doing that for some reason. Maybe for the same reason he hates returning things to stores, although there, I think it's the standing in line part.

After my second eye surgery, I experience dry eyes and asked Hubby to buy me some eye drops from the store. When he brought it to me, I noticed it was contact lens solution and no where on the box did it say it could be used as eye drops or for dry eyes. He wouldn't take it back. So the next time he went to a bigger town, I asked him to buy me some eye drops. That evening when he handed me the box and, you guessed it, another box of contact lens solution.

But back to the ridding of stuff. It seems that I am not the only one trying to simplify in 2020. I wonder if it's the extra spare time we all had this year, or if other people have just looked around and realized how much easier life would be without all that stuff. I'm not sure why younger people aren't taking anything though, especially when it is free. Maybe because it isn't new? I couldn't even give away a doll and cradle. I think it's because it didn't do anything. It didn't transform into something else, the doll didn't walk and talk, and neither shot arrows out of hidden parts. It is just a doll and cradle and my kids spent hours rocking everything from dolls and stuffed animals to real live puppies. The puppies weren't keen on rocking so it was back to dolls and stuffed animals.

Oh well. The thrift store reopens Wednesday.

November 29, 2020

A Thanksgiving Surprise

I thought there would just be the two of us here for Thanksgiving, but Lil and her husband wanted to come now for their yearly visit. They usually come after Christmas, but it looks like we're in for another lockdown which could last until next spring. They live in Missouri and both work for a big company with exposure to a lot of people, so I was hesitant about getting together, but Hubby isn't as cautious as I am and insisted they come for the week. Brownie had to work a half day on Thanksgiving, so we kept the boys that morning too. We all wore masks, at least the adults did. The boys kept taking their off and had to be reminded to put them back on. When it was time to go home, for the first time ever, the boys were glad to leave.

But that's not the surprise. Lil brought her little dog, who wanted to run in the yard after they got out of the car and came in covered with fleas! Well, maybe not covered, but there were a lot on her. Since we don't have any pets, we couldn't figure out where they were coming from. Deer come near the house, and we have seen skunks right outside the door, but we've had those since we moved here and never had a flea problem. Hubby walked around the house and saw the telltale signs of wild hogs! They were everywhere around the house. There was no rooting damage, at least not yet, but plenty of sign that they had been there for awhile. A quick google search for wild hogs and fleas showed that they did indeed leave fleas behind when they rubbed against things and rolled in their wallows. I had been hearing some odd sounds at night, thumps like something big hit the house, and that has been going on for a couple of weeks.

Lil and I went to the city for a little Christmas shopping and a stop at the pet store for a bag full of flea supplies, for the dog, the yard, and inside the house. Despite constant spraying and bathing the dog, she continued to pick up fleas and bring them in and they decided to leave the day after Thanksgiving instead of staying the weekend. Mr. Google told us that the bestf way to get rid of the hogs was to kill one in their new, favorite night spot, preferably with a hog trap. That has been easier said than done since we don't have a hog trap or a gun to kill them. But we have neighbors who have been hog hunting on their land, so after the holiday, Hubby will start putting the word out for someone who can get rid of them. Meanwhile, we are treating the yard every day.

What a Thanksgiving. Next year, we are going to go camping. Alone.

October 16, 2020

Well, Here's Another Nice Mess

The eye part of the second set of surgeries, went pretty well. The ENT had to do a septoplasty to correct a deviated septum before he could get to his part of the eye surgery though and that proved to be the worst part. Septoplasty recovery would have been a great addition to Dante's Inferno, right between his second and third circles of Hell. Each difficult breath burning and almost drowning in the River Styx three times a day. I'm not sure what group of people this punishment would be for; since it is a physical torment, maybe for people who only thought of their own physical pleasure.

The choreography of the surgeries was kind of interesting. In the surgery on my right eye, the ENT started my surgery, doing the inside corner of the eye, while the orbital surgeon started another patient in an adjoining operating room, doing the outside corner of her eye. Both surgeries took about two hours and then the surgeons traded places and the orbital surgeon did my outside corner while the ENT did her inside corner. In the surgery for my left eye, the orbital surgeon started my eye so the ENT would have an extra three hours to do the septoplasty.

It is two weeks after surgery and I still have double vision though. After my right eye, the orbital surgeon told me the double vision should be corrected after surgery on my left eye. When I still had double vision after that surgery, he told me it is common to have doulbe vision for two weeks afterward. At my last visit, he told me to start doing some eye exercises that are a lot like a DIY sobriety test and come back in five weeks. I'm not feeling hopeful.

On the positive side though, the streaky vision is better and my near vision may be getting better. Every day I open a book and try to read the words and I think the right eye is improving. The left eye is still really distorted, but the right eye was like that for a long time too, so I'm not giving up on reading just yet. Still, I'm very happy that it's so easy to enlarge my computer screen. I'm sure there are a lot of typos here, but I can't see them, so I'm not going to worry about them. I think I am seeing color better too although sometimes Hubby tells me something is blue but it looks so grass green to me that I don't see how it could possibly be blue and I wonder if he is teasing. If I really have to see something as clear as possible, I can put a patch over one eye. It doesn't help depth perception but it sure beats trying to see with overlapping images. With a little help, I think I'll be sewing again in short sessions.

The orbital surgeon doesn't want me wearing an eye patch unless it is really important, like using a sharp knife or reaching in the oven. Probably driving too, though I haven't tried that yet. We were driving home one day and Hubby said he was about to nod off while driving so I volunteered to drive and he blurted out "No way!" before he had a chance to word it politely. Then he stopped for coffee and kept the keys away from me the rest of the way home. So maybe I'm not ready for driving. I may try mowing when my nose doesn't feel so raw. If I didn't have to drown in the River Styx three times a day, I think I'd feel a lot better.

September 28, 2020

Is This An End to Blogging?

It's been awhile, hasn't it. Long enough that Blogger has changed the blog format and being an old fogey, I don't care for the changes.

So many things have happened and blogging just fell by the wayside. The short version is that I finally decided to go ahead with the surgery for my Graves' Eye Disease and had the first surgery on my right eye. It did not go as well as we hoped and my vision still isn't clear. I've had visits with both my orbital surgeon and my retina specialist and both say they think the problems I'm having can be fixed, either with medication or another surgery. To say I have devastated is an understatement. I'm having surgery on my left eye in two days and I doubt I'll be able to get on the computer for quite some time. I wouldn't have the surgery if it weren't dangerous to my optic nerve and eye muscles to leave it alone, plus my right eye is now half the size of my left and I look like a freak.

I needed to update another blog, so thought I'd put a personal update here too, just in case I'm not able to ever come back. Don't you just hate blogs that just end with no explanation? But with any luck, I'll be back by December or January.

May 27, 2020

Goodbye, Buddy

We said goodbye to Buddy today. You may remember that about two months ago, Buddy suddenly started staggering and falling over. The vet diagnosed it as inner ear infection, but two weeks of medication made no difference.   We think he had a stroke because a couple of weeks later, he had another one while he walking in front of me.  He didn't seem to be in any pain, but from then on, his head was cocked at a quizzical angle and he couldn't close one eye when he slept and it was his good eye too. Between that and the cataract in his other eye, he could barely see. And between barely being able to see, and not being able to walk a straight line, he had a hard time finding his way and often got trapped under a chair without being able to find his way out. I won't trouble you with all his other symptoms, but we finally opined that he also had cancer in his mouth, throat, or nose. Still, he didn't seem to be in any pain, and wanted to be held and petted all the time. But lately, he has seemed to be restless or uncomfortable, and this week became incontinent. It was time, probably past time.

Buddy came into our lives around 2007. I don't know how he showed up in our neighborhood, probably dumped by someone who didn't want a male cat marking their yard and fighting with the other cats. The first time I got a glimpse of him in the bushes by our house, he was skinny and covered with cuts and bites. I didn't want him either but couldn't chase him off and couldn't catch him. You can read the story about how that changed and he came to live with us here. Over time, he filled out, calmed down, and devotedly settled into our lives. He preferred being outside, but when we moved, he became a fairly content inside cat. He never scratched the furniture and never had an accident in the house, until recently.

As we said our goodbyes to Buddy, I remembered going for my long walks with him trailing along behind me, of teaching him how to jump (unwillingly) through a hoop, how he would jump into our laps if we snapped our fingers, and how well he seemed to understand what we were saying. He was the smartest pet we have ever known, and that includes all the dogs we've had, as well-trained as they were.

I've gathered some of my favorite pictures here. Rest in peace, Buddy The Cat.

April 12, 2020

Buddy Finds a New Bed

Daughter and Grandsons have been here about a month, and Buddy has finally decided to tolerate the boys. I started babysitting when Daughter started a new job last week and Buddy makes himself scarce when the boys are playing. But at naptime, Buddy is once again beside my chair in his snoozing spot and he generally ignores the boys even though they are sleeping on bench cushions just a few feet away.

On Saturday, Buddy was restless and couldn't seem to settle down. He wanted out. He wanted in. He wanted in my lap but couldn't get comfortable. He went back to the door to look out the window. Every time he went by the four year old's cushion, he made a wide berth so a little hand couldn't reach out for him. On more than one occasion, I noticed that he was looking over the pile that was cushion, child, and a thick quilt.

After a week of babysitting the grands, ages 4 & 5, and not being able to tell when the 4 year old is really asleep or just closing his eyes when I look his way (I have caught them closing many times), I discovered Saturday that Buddy the Cat has that unique talent.

An hour after putting down the cushions and separating the brothers, I knew the four year old was still awake. Buddy obviously did too because his usual detour to the door involved hopping up onto the last few stairs and then down them to avoid the fake-sleeping boy. Finally, he gave up and settled in beside my chair.

Then, I noticed Buddy was gone and when I looked around, he was about to put his foot on the cushion instead of taking the longer route. I tried not to shriek as I called his name, but Buddy intently climbed onto the cushion. From past experience, I knew that if I tried to lift him off, his claws would come out and latch onto whatever he could hang onto, so I cringed and waited for Micah to start talking. But there was silence.

Never one to pass up a good bed, Buddy had waited until the coast was clear to make his move. After testing out a few spots, including on top of the boy, he finally decided the best spot was snuggled against him. And there they both stayed for the next hour, until Buddy sneezed, which woke the boy and startled both of them into tumbling off the cushion.

Linking to:

March 30, 2020

Living in Lockdown With Children

As I said in my last post, my daughter and her two little boys moved here last month. And when I say they moved here, I mean they moved HERE to our farm. They are living in a travel trailer beside our house, so we see a lot of them. Hubby calls them "the neighbors" and not always in a good way. Yesterday afternoon, after sanding the entry gate for hours, he had just kicked back in his recliner for a short nap when the boys, refreshed after their nap, came bouncing into the house. Hubby grumbled about "the noisy neighbor kids" as he kissed his nap goodbye and built a ramp for their hot wheels.

The five year old had been begging for Daughter to take the training wheels off his bicycle, so she started with one training wheel Saturday, and the second one Sunday. By Sunday afternoon, he had it figured out.

Living with grandkids so close has been both fun and trying. We are still trying to adjust to having the noise and confusion in the house and it is such a relief when they are gone and we have peace and quiet again. But there are some funny moments too. One thing about this Covid 19 lock down that they will probably remember when they are older is singing the Happy Birthday song while washing their hands. The four year old was over here this afternoon. He is potty training and mostly successful, especially if we set a timer every hour. So his hour was up and Hubby sent him to the bathroom. I had to help him because it's an ADA height toilet, and he doesn't quite grasp the purpose of wiping. When he finished, I handed him some toilet paper which he held in his left hand while he wiped with his right. Ewww! Twenty seconds of handwashing is mandatory after that, virus or no virus.

After he went home, I noticed Hubby was gone from the room, and then I heard him singing: "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear water, Happy birthday to you!" sung in a child-like off-key voice.

Linking to:

March 15, 2020

"To Our Elderly, High Risk Patients"

That's how the email from my doctor started. My first thought was that it was sent by mistake. Even though I take an immunosuppressant medication, I just thought I had a higher risk than healthy people. But elderly??? Really? ELDERLY?!!! Come on now! Just because I'm over 60, they are lumping me in with someone who is 90.

The email went on to say that if we have an upcoming routine appointment (I do), that we should reschedule if we aren't having any problems, and to stay home as much as possible. There was also a link to a CDC website page for high risk people that should apply to everyone.

After my Friday visit to Walmart, I had already decided to limit my exposure to crowds. I was going to go to church this morning and make it my last visit for awhile, but I got up with a slight cough and drippy nose and decided I'd better not expose the real elderly people at church. I'm 99% sure that it is either allergies or some daycare cold given to me by our grandsons who just moved here. They've been going to McDonald's beside the interstate a lot and my youngest daughter is afraid they will bring the coronavirus home to me. She has been sending me links to playground equipment to see if Hubby will put it together if she has it sent here. So far, Hubby said no. I, however, would like to have a swingset, so when they are gone, I can put a porch swing on it.

A quick update on Buddy T. Cat too. He has not been doing well lately. We noticed a few months ago that he was losing weight and he had begun to have a lot of little cysts popping up on his skin. Then, one Friday morning he got up and fell over. He wobbled when he walked and fell over a couple of times. We took him to the vet, and she did a boatload of tests and with none of them positive, she diagnosed him with an inner ear infection because she noticed he was falling to the left every time. She gave him an injection of antibiotic, a steroid injection, pills for dizziness, azodyl for renal support, prednisone, and ear drops. Over the weekend, he got better but by Thursday, he was falling over again. The vet wanted us to start giving him an oral antibiotic even though the shot she gave him should have lasted a couple of weeks. So I picked up that prescription and an increased dosage for the anti-dizzy medication. This time he didn't improve over the weekend and by the middle of the next week, it was obvious that he was getting worse.

Another trip taking Buddy to the vet and the diagnosis is vestibular disease caused by tumors in his ear. By then, they were large enough to see, and he also has some on his tongue which makes it almost impossible for him to eat. I've been giving him a lot of chicken bone broth, but lately, he won't drink that either, and drinks very little water. We both think this is the end of life for Buddy, and I have spent a lot of hours with him in my lap telling him how glad I am that he came into my life. He doesn't seem to be in any pain and spends a lot of time sleeping in my lap or on a bed beside my chair. If he were in pain, I'd take him to the vet for a final injection, but the vet's office causes him such stress that I just can't do it. I know he would rather pass peacefully at home.

January 31, 2020

2020 Declutter Challenge Week 5

This week, I am moving on to the garage. We aren't getting any work done inside the house because our garage workspace has become such a cluttered mess. So the goal this week is to clean out the workspace and then get to work. If you don't have a garage, you can cleanout the basement or wherever you consider your workspace.

January 27, 2020

The Day Mom Taught Me How to Use a Seam Ripper

Yesterday, while I was ripping out a couple of seams in a quilt block, I thought of all the seam ripping I have done over the years. But none sticks out in my memory like the first time.

When I was a little girl, mom made most of my clothes. It wasn't a big deal when I was preschool or early in elementary grades because a lot of my friends' mothers made their clothes too. And I wasn't very particular when I was younger either. Somewhere around fourth grade, I started to notice that other girls' clothes were nicer than mine, even the girls whose mothers sewed for them, and it finally dawned on me that mom didn't sew well. There is a picture of me in fourth grade wearing my Easter finery, with the Peter Pan collar just off center. When I mentioned it to mom, she said no one would notice, but they did. For the most part, mom made all my dresses from one pattern that wasn't very complicated. Just monotonous.  It was when she tried other patterns things went awry.

In our elementary school, there was a fall open house on the last Friday before Halloween. There was some kind of performance given by the arts department with fifth and sixth grades, a spaghetti supper, a pie raffle, and a smoking cauldron of punch (courtesy of dry ice) dipped out by a teacher wearing a witch costume.  Back then, kids didn't wear there weren't a lot of school parties, and kids didn't wear their Halloween costume to school.  Ever.  The only costumes worn were for a school performance.

In fifth grade, the program had a Mexican theme and my costume was a colorful dress with a very full gathered skirt. It actually turned out well, except for the zipper which didn't match up quite right. When zipped, there was about a fourth inch of zipper teeth sticking out on the top of one side and the zipper pull wouldn't stay up. So after zipping up my dress (the zipper was in the back), mom had to secure the zipper with a safety pin and cover it with my hair which was constantly getting caught in those extra zipper teeth. After the open house, the dress became one of my school dresses until I finally outgrew it.

In sixth grade, the theme was Pilgrims and Indians, and my costume was an Indian girl. Mom made it out of unbleached muslin, using the same pattern she used to make my slips, just a straight, sleeveless shift with a tank top style bodice. She did raise the neckline to hide the slip underneath, and she embellished the neckline with colorful little beads, with a big teardrop shaped bead in the center. After we got home from the open house, she told me she would take the beads off and then it would be my new school dress. Back then, sixth grade was that awkward pubescent time of girls beginning to be being interested in boys: changing bodies and training bras, gossip girls and curious boys.  I was horrified that I would have to wear this, this underwear in front of the boys, much less in front of the other girls in their cute, store bought clothes.  I told her it wouldn't look good, but she insisted it would be fine once the beads were off.  I knew it would look like I had forgotten to wear a dress over my slip.

I don't know if other children back then argued with their parents, but we certainly didn't. So I quickly volunteered to remove the beads and made a beeline for her sewing scissors. In the privacy of my bedroom, I cut away the teardrop bead and the fabric under it, leaving a big hole just under the neckline of the offending garment. When I showed it to mom, she was fit to be tied, thinking I didn't know how to snip the threads holding the beads in place. I didn't care what kind of punishment I would get, it was better than wearing underwear to school for all to see.  Kids today want other kids to see their underwear but we tried to keep it covered.

My punishment was handed out the next day when mom sat me down next to her and showed me how to slide the pointed end of the seam ripper under each stitch to remove it. She made me rip out every stitch on the bodice so she could re-cut it and make it into a normal slip. Nowadays, I only rip every fourth or fifth stitch and pull the thread from the opposite side, and mom may have done that then too, but she made me rip every stitch. I think both of us learned a lesson that day, or maybe it was just coincidence that soon after that, mom went back to work and I had fewer homemade clothes. There was an orange skirt she made when I was in eighth grade that she made me wear with a black sweater, and not on Halloween. But that's another story.

January 22, 2020

2020 Declutter Challenge Week 4

While spiffing up the living room last week, I found a pile of gloves and scarves and the lamps that used to be on my foyer table in our last house. We don't have a foyer here or even a coat closet, and even though I kept the table, it won't fit beside the door. This week, I want to work on that area; I want to find a way to organize gloves, keys, coats, wet shoes, and mail that needs to go to the post office.

If you don't have a foyer, or even if you do, what are your tips and tricks for keeping it in order? If yours has become a dump zone too, join me in decluttering this first impression area of the house.

January 16, 2020

Resin Frogs to Bronze Frogs Makeover

I am such a bad blogger. Not only have I let this blog languish while concentrating on my quilting blog, I haven't been taking before and after photos of projects. Here is a project I just finished. I bought this little resin frog figure many years ago and put it on rock in my pond. Originally, it had been painted typical frog colors, dark green with light tummies for the frogs on a bright green lily pad. Over the years, it had faded to a whitish gray. I was going to put it in my stock tank pond, but it didn't show up against the galvanized tank, so I thought I'd give it a makeover - this time making it a bronze finish.

I sprayed it with primer, then Rustoleum copper, then aquamarine metallic - wiping off the excess. To tone down the brightness of the copper and aqua, I dabbed on some Precious Metals antiquing and buffed it. Now I like it so well, I think I'll keep it in the house.

Linking to:
Creative Compulsions at My Bijou Life

January 15, 2020

2020 Declutter Challenge Week 3

I thought I would do something for week 3 that makes a big difference in my daily enjoyment, the living room. My living room is very small, half the space of the one in my last house. I've always heard that smaller spaces are easier to keep clean, but this one sure isn't. Not only is it a couple of feet from the back door, it is also just a couple of feet from the door to the garage. That makes two places that have become dumping grounds for anything brought into the house, or stuff that needs to leave the house. With half the furniture we used to have, the clutter creep has taken over everything except Hubby's recliner, and that's only because he dumps things on the floor instead of on the chair.

This week I need to haul off all the stuff we have decluttered and boxed up for a charity shop, and find a place for all the stuff that has come into the house only to land just inside the door. Some of it goes into cabinets that haven't been built yet. In fact, some of it are parts for cabinets that haven't been built yet. So finding a place for it will be a real challenge.

What about your living room? Is there a place in it that seems to attract clutter? Have you got a plan to deal with things that come inside the house or need to be taken somewhere?

January 08, 2020

2020 Declutter Challenge Week 2

This week's mission is to tackle that mountain of paperwork I've been avoiding. It may be making a system for paying bills, or filing, or just sorting through that big pile on the desk. I normally pay bills and deal with paperwork at the kitchen table, and my "In" folder is on an antique desk beside my bed. I said antique desk because it's not much of a desk. No drawers, just a small, fold out top, which isn't convenient. I have a desk in the attic, but somehow, it has become the dumping ground for any and everything office related. It is the mountain I want to reduce to a mole hill this week.

How do you control your paperwork? Do you have a system that works so you don't end up with a pile you dread going through?

January 01, 2020

2020 Declutter Challenge Week 1

I started a declutter challenge on a facebook group and thought I'd share it here too. I am determined to get my house finished and livable in 2020 and that means NO CLUTTER.

We're starting with storage for week 1. Specifically, Christmas decoration storage. Whether it is in the attic, like mine, or in a basement, or in a closet. Now is the time to get all those bins and boxes together and organized to make it easier as we start taking down our Christmas decorations. It is also a good time to cull through the ornaments and other things that are broken or we no longer want.

Post your tips, strategies, or successes in the comments.