Friday, June 24, 2011

Being Outside is Disturbing

Well this morning was full of Lola strangeness.  I awoke to her shaking my leg telling me to get up. That's never happened before. I had to get up because Joe was sitting outside on the back porch, and she'd brought him in. Dad was following along behind her, and I could tell he didn't have a clue.

I asked her what was wrong with that. She huffed as if only a blind person wouldn't have known. I said, "Really, Mama, what's wrong with Dad sitting on the back porch?" She said he didn't understand. About that time, Dad shrugged and left by the front door.  I don't blame him. I asked her what the problem was. She waved her hands around in the air, all exasperated, and said "He was out on the back porch with all these people around." I took that to mean the neighbors inside their houses. She muttered the word "early." By this time it was 10:00 a.m. Trying hard not sound confrontational, I said, "Mama, it's 10:00. What's wrong with him sitting outside on a pretty morning?"

She looked at me with utter disgust and told me I just didn't understand.  Sigh. No I don't understand. Usually there's something that gives away the concept or desire that's behind their inability to communicate. I can usually interpret it. This time I'm absolutely lost as to what was in her mind.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Easter Eggs

It's late for Easter stuff, but my friend Cherizac in Ojai just put a blog post up about the Easter Eggs they dyed.  To me they are gorgeous!  I'd never heard of dying eggs with silk ties before.  That's how they do it every year.  I wanted to put a pic up, and Cherizac said fine. So here's a picture and a link to her blog post with the instructions on how to do it if you think you might like to give it a try.

Click here for Cherizac's Easter Eggs Dying Instructions

Mowing and Back Spasms

Well.  Joe had a one-track mind Thursday morning - mowing. He got up and out there mowing without saying hello, getting a drink of OJ or anything. I mean, I was in the kitchen making coffee when I heard the mower. You gotta laugh.

I wasn't last night. Laughing, that is. I was trying to watch "So You Think You Can Dance," and Joe and that mowing obsession made me miss the first part of 5 dances. First it was start the mower. Then when it quit, it was restart the mower. This mower doesn't want to restart quickly; I don't know why. I told him to let it sit. In five minutes, he was on me to start the mower. Too early. He let it sit for another 15, and it started. Ten minutes later, he let it quit again. After another false start, he finally decided that since it was after 8:00 p.m. it was too late.

So Thursday morning after mowing about 10 rows across the yard, I heard the mower quit. After a few minutes when Dad hadn't come into the house, I checked on him, and he was sweeping clippings off the driveway. He came into the house saying, "Oh. Oh." As he walked in the door, he said his back was broke.

As humorous as that might appear, say, as a way of saying what he had just done had worn him out, in reality this could be a very bad thing. Dad has suffered from a back thing as long as I remember. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, his back simply goes "out." It can range from a few days of an achy back and his walking crooked to dropping him to the floor in a split second with muscle spasms.

The muscle spasms can put him in the bed for a few days.  I've never quite known just how bad Dad's back really was. As the typical sick man wanting to be babied, he's the epitome. He's rarely sick, but when he is, he's pathetic. Moaning and groaning. Lordy, don't ever be around if he has a stomach flu.

I've seen him drop to the floor in the living room screaming, "Don't touch me. Don't touch me." I don't have a chronic bad back, but I've had a few spates of back spasms in my life - probably four. Whenever my back "goes out," believe me, I've wanted help getting sat back down. Anyway, my childhood memory doesn't contain just how Mother handled getting him to bed or off the floor. It just contains the scare of Daddy dropping to the floor screaming.

I surely hope he's not going to have a spell of back spasms and need to be in the bed. Lola's not competent enough anymore to handle it, and I'm certainly not the balm Joe will need.

I got him breakfast and got some Ibuprofen in him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed he sits most of the day and lets this back thing calm down rather than trying to locomotive his way through it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Piano, Mowing, Storms and Burning

Mother got onto the piano thing again Sunday morning, asking me who bought that piano. I, again, told her she did, and she, again, told me that was crap and she did not. This time I reminded her about me taking lessons from Myrla Peck. Ms. Peck was from Arlington and taught piano in Paducah.  That stopped her arguing.

Joe took a short run of the push mower on the front lawn.  There was a time he wouldn't have lifted a hand on Sunday. I think it used make him bored to tears.  Nowadays, it seems he's forgotten the rules he used to follow. I'm not going to fight him over it. He got really bored in the afternoon and wanted me to burn the pruning trimmings with him.

On Tuesday morning, Joe left the house just as a bad storm was coming. I put bells on the door, but they don't override the blaring volume from Mother's TV. As the storm hit, I vainly tried to find Joe. Before I could get to the workshop, the rain and wind hit. Since I didn't see his body on the lawn, I kept my fingers crossed and waited for the worst to be over. When the wind stopped blowing strongly enough to turn an umbrella inside out, I put on rubber boots and went to the workshop. The door was locked.

Then I heard a whistling. He's started whistling at me now. Gads I always hated that whistle. Anyway, sure enough, he was in the workshop and opened the door for me. I handed him the other umbrella and went back to the house.

While I walked around the workshop, I realized he'd burned the scrap pile this morning. Last night Lola got on her binge of "someone's looking through that window." So I had closed the heavier drapes. I forgot to turn my alarm clock on and really overslept this morning. In fact, I actually got 9 hours of sleep. It felt good, but.... Apparently Joe burned the pile while I was asleep this morning.

I knew this was on his mind. He'd been wanting to do it for a while. We've hidden as many matches and lighters as we run across, but he's got some squirreled away somewhere. We also have hidden all the gas because he thinks it's just dandy to drench the pile in gas before he starts it.

We have a 100-foot hose, and when I was in Paducah I got another 50-foot hose. I hadn't had a chance to get it out and connected yet. I'm hoping that will be long enough to have on hand when he wants to burn. But he won't damned listen to me. He's too damaged to realize how dangerous his little ideas are.  He's too obsessed to back off. And I'm just damned tired of chasing after him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Family - Melda, Charles, Lynn

Hi you all. I just wanted to make a quick post to let you know that if you want to talk to each other or me, you can use the comments option on a post. Just click on the comments link at the bottom of each post, and a window pops open. You might have to make sure your pop-up blocker isn't working for blogger, but that's no problem on this site as there are no ads.

If it doesn't give you an option for an ID, it likely means you either don't have a blogger account or a gmail account. I think in that case, your identity will be anonymous, but you can leave your first name. Or you could get a blogger or gmail account if you want.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dehydrator Tray Screens - Plastic Mesh

Yesterday while I was in Paducah I finally scored the plastic mesh I've been looking for to make screens for the dehydrator trays. The screens are to keep small pieces from falling through the trays. The screens sold by the manufacturer cost $3 each, are flimsy, don't fit to the edge of the tray (wasting space), have divots in the side (I think to "help" you remove them) (wasting more space), and I just don't like them.

I've been looking for alternatives. I shopped online and never did find mesh that said it was food grade. I finally decided that in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that much of an issue for us. If you're one of those who has forsworn all plastic touching your food, then ignore this post. You'll have to find your own solution.

After hitting multiple stores in Paducah and Memphis - Michael's, Hancock Fabrics, Joann's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot - I finally found what I was looking for in Hobby Lobby. They are plastic mesh pieces that, as of 06/19/2011, cost $0.49 apiece.  It takes two pieces for one tray making the total cost per tray be $1.00.

What you do is cut the screens to fit your dehydrator trays. It took me two screens because I've not been able to find the mesh in pieces large enough to cover a whole tray. Therefore, I cut each piece to be one half of a tray, including a bit of overlap for coverage, and use two pieces.

Music, Saturday In Paducah and Fall

My mother has always said she loved music. She said she liked to sing.  She bought a piano, and gave me lessons as a kid.  She bought me a saxophone and lived through me practicing it.  She always said she loved music.

She never played the radio in our house. She never had a stereo, ever, since I was born. She never sang in the church choir. She never played a tape or CD in the car or the house. After my whole life of 57 years of not having any music in the house, except for what I brought into it, my mother has begun to hum to the music on the old movies she watches on The Classic Movie Channel.  At the age of 89, she finally is releasing some lock she put on herself and enjoying music.

That said, I spent the day in Paducah - away from the parents, OMG. I shopped and had lunch at Starnes' Barbecue. The most amazing thing happened at Starnes'. My grandmother's brother's grandchildren walked in. What are the odds of that happening on any random day at any random time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

After Midnight Photos and Snakes

Back on June 6th, I started a post, which never got published, with this:
Goodness gracious.  Lola came wandering out of her bedroom at 1:15 a.m. with an envelope of pictures in hand.  She's worried that she's the only one that knows who is in those pictures. At that time of night, no one cares who's in those pictures.  And really they were pictures from the last two decades, so odds are that they are pics of Lola, Joe, Elizabeth and Howard on vacation.

Back to the present.  Yesterday, at the end of the pruning jag, I'd come in and collapsed on the sofa.  Joe was still outside carrying pruned trimmings.  Eventually he came in all excited about the 3 snakes that came out of the neighbors' yard.

Those neighbors haven't mowed their yard yet this summer. They've done something to some of the front - found a scythe or something.  I haven't actually seen them doing it, yet some of the front yard is shorter. Anyway, the back yard is about 2 foot tall.

If Joe can be believed, it's become a snake pit. Since he was obsessed about these snakes all night long and wouldn't, fer cryin' out loud, shut up about them, I'm pretty sure he saw at least 1 snake.  According to him, there were 3 and they were at least 6 feet long. First he said he killed them. Then he said they raced away. I don't even want to walk back there now. Shudder.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pruning, Mowing and Shaking Your Guts to Smithereens

Here is my tip of the day: If you value your internal organs, don't run a Bush Hog over a field that has previously been mowed after a rain by a tractor.

I think my boobs lost a pound each. My stomach ate my esophagus, and everything was snogging my diaphragm.  For hours and hours and hours. (I've been watching Torchwood from the BBC lately if you're wondering where snogging came from. Although, my Brit friend Carol, my age, says it's an old slang.) If I didn't already think I was drain bamaged, it'd probably be a good idea to make sure I didn't rattle it.

If you value your pocket book, don't try to fill the gas tanks on a Bush Hog.  I put 6 gallons in it today (it holds 10), and it was $24.03. Criminy.  The reason I mention this, besides just griping about the cost of gas, is because Joe chewed me out Sunday for finding a reason everyday not to do what I knew was needed, i.e., mow the lawn.  What Joe can't comprehend is how much it costs to mow 7 acres, and that's why we're (I'm) not mowing so frequently.

To Town, To Town

My morning started with a bang. The phone rang, which forced me to abandon that last bit of laying in bed trying to talk myself into getting up. It was Julia calling to let me know that Larry passed Joe on the highway walking to town.

Flitter. I dashed around like a maniac throwing on clothes and running a comb through my hair. Sure enough, no more than 1/4 mile down the highway, there's Joe teetering along on the side.  At least he was attempting to be safe because when he realized a car was coming, he stopped and stood still. I stopped, and he got into the car.*

Last week Joe decided he needed a haircut.  He wanted $5.00 so he could walk to town to get a haircut. Don't we all wish five bucks would buy a haircut.  On Friday, I drove him down, but the shop was closed, I think due to a funeral. So I told him he'd have to wait until next week.

He waited with apparent patience through the weekend. What he can't get through his head, however, is that the shop doesn't open until 10:00 a.m., and that it's only open Wed. through Friday.  The whole world just pisses him off because it won't operate the way he wants it.  I'll keep my fingers crossed he can keep it in his head to wait until Wednesday.

I increased Lola's Xanax at bedtime by 1/2 a pill. She's on the low dose anyway.  We decreased her daytime dosage to keep her awake during the day.  Recently however, due to her restlessness at night, I decided to try increasing the nightly dosage a bit.

It's worked amazingly well. When she finally decides to give it up now, it's usually between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. She goes to sleep quickly, and I think sleeps better. She's started getting up by herself around 11:00 a.m or so and staying up. It used to be 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. before she'd arise.

She hasn't had the shakes much at all recently.  In fact, with her recent change of habit in getting up early, it's discombobulated my morning routine, and I've forgotten to give her morning medicines a few days.  There's been absolutely no change at all in her condition with the omission.

I had changed their medicine delivery to worry free through Medco.  It's proven such a hassle, I think I'm going to switch it back.  They don't let me know when a new prescription is needed - I had understood they would automatically request that. Apparently not so, even though that's supposed to be their policy.

Except for their blood pressure medicine, neither Joe or Lola take anything that would affect life or death. The next important one is Lola's Xanax to calm her anxiety. It's the mix-up with these two meds with Medco that has proven to be such a problem.

I took Lola to the doctor's quite a few days ago just to handle the BP prescription, and the office was supposed to fax it in.  Apparently they dropped the ball because she's now out of meds, and none have arrived.  I'll have to go the office in a bit, request they fax it, and go to the drug store for a supply to last until hers arrive. Nothing is ever easy.

*This begs the question as to why he could hear the car from far away, yet couldn't hear me while I was telling him he needed to let someone know when he decides to leave the house. And you all will likely be pleased to know that I wasn't angry with him over the leaving because I had expected it to happen sometime.  I did however, get a tad irritated at his selective hearing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chicken on the Floor and Interior Decorators

Boy, yesterday and today have been roller-coasters.  Yesterday, Lola asked me who bought all the furniture in the house. She told me I was telling her crap when I told her she did.  She absolutely refused to believe it.

This morning when I got up, I found a cooked chicken on the floor in the kitchen.  I had roasted a chicken and put the left-overs in the refrigerator. Don't ask me.  I have no clue why the chicken was on the floor when I got up.

I also think Dad tried to fry something in the morning before I got up.  There was some olive loaf on the wrong shelf.  I have no clue if he tried to fry the chicken or fry the olive loaf.

He's been getting a banana and a glass of juice, and he's also been sleeping later.  That's nice because Lola stays up so late. It's easier  on me to get enough sleep when he sleeps late.  If he's going to start getting up early again and trying to cook, I'll have to go back to sleep deprivation.

Tonight Lola asked me who bought the piano and brought it into the house and if anyone could play it. That has been a recurring question/theme for months. Tonight it started a cascade of memories for her, and she started talking about Bebe rolling up to the piano in their family's house.  Then she asked me if I remembered when Elizabeth had polio. Sigh. Since Lola was 15 or 16 when Bebe had polio, and Lola didn't have me until she was 32, it's a bit impossible for me to remember it.

When it came time for Mom to go to bed, she stood up and couldn't control her bladder.  I've been trying to keep a handle on that, but don't always succeed.  She couldn't remember how to get to her other pajamas or change her clothes, and I had to lead her through doing all of that.

And may I just say that tonight is the first night in I can't remember when (at least 14 days) that it has dropped below 80F in frellin June.  WARNING: POLITICAL OPINION TO FOLLOW. If you don't think our dependence on oil is changing our planet, you're nuts.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flat Tires and Flat Cinnamon Rolls

Well, make that the chewiest cinnamon rolls on the face of the earth.  I'm trying to learn how to work with sourdough starter. Tonight I made some cinnamon rolls with my basic bread recipe and simply rolled it out and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, cooked, and topped with sugar icing.

Big Fail.  These are the chewiest cinnamon rolls you can imagine.  Gonna have to learn what basic ingredient to add to the recipe to make it lighter and less chewy.  I think maybe it's some milk. Will try that next.  If not that, then milk and eggs.  Hate to have to go the eggs, though.  Will try working with just adding milk and maybe some baking soda.

The fail with the rolls was preceded by the fail with the tire.  I'm a smoker. Needed to go to the store for some cigarettes.  Popped out to the garage, started the car, backed it up to the turn around and thought, mmmm, something doesn't feel right. Sure enough, flat tire on the right front.

Sigh.  Guess I know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

So I pulled a Joe Lindsey and rode to town on the golf cart.  Hey, an addict can't do without their fix. And, yes, I know I need to work on kicking that addiction. Nobody needs to tell me.

So I'm finishing the night watching episodes of "Jeremiah" on Netflix while Lola watches some Steve McQueen racing movie on TCM. Which I would like to swear an oath to never watch again in my life. Except we all know you never say "Never."


Tonight I was on the phone with my cousin, Jill.  She is my mother's sister's daughter.  She's my age - too near to 60 to mention.  Joe has no concept of a Bluetooth headset. Hell, Joe has no concept of a cell phone held to the ear. Whenever you're in a room, even if you're just talking merrily to yourself, he is the grandmaster of conversation. So whatever you're saying to yourself, or whomever might be on the phone, it's worthless.  What Joe wants to say wins.

So Joe comes into the kitchen and wants to tell me he's going to bed. I tell him I'm on the phone with Jill. Joe has no clue who Jill is.  Not even when I say "your niece."  Not even when I say Lola's sister's daughter.  This is the person that is as close to me as a sister, because we're both only children, and we're as close as sisters as each of us can get. He vaguely remembers his wife's sister and her husband, but there's no clue about their daughter.

After that, I hung up with Jill and went back into the living room and sat on the sofa.  Joe went into his bedroom and came back out barefoot.  He wanted to show me his toenails.  I said I see them.  No!  He wanted me touch them.  I told him thank you very much but I don't want to touch your toenails.  He went back into his bedroom.

He then came back out with an adult diaper in his hands.  He wanted to know which way was front. Sigh. I showed him. He left and finally went to bed.

I had the "Mummy" on the TV for Lola to watch.  When a commercial came on, I asked her if she was enjoying the movie.  She told me she wasn't watching a movie.  I turned the channel to TCM.  She's happy.

Relatives Visit

Last Sunday, Joe had a nice surprise visit from his sister, Theda. Her son, Rick, brought her, along with his granddaughter for a visit. Rick, Caitlin, and I had a nice visit in the kitchen while Theda chatted with Joe and Lola.

Joe's sister, Theda

Theda's great granddaughter, Caitlin

Theda's son, Rick.

Alien Toenails

Okay.  For all you people out there who have elderly parents that you think are taking good care of themselves, feast your eyes on this graphic picture of my father's toenails.

This picture was taken after he had soaked his feet for 10 minutes and after I had worked on trimming them as much as I dared and could. I couldn't tell what was actually swollen skin from what was fungus. One foot was so tender he couldn't keep from flinching. Maybe I can work at them and get them cut back some more as they become less tender.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tree and Light Switch Missing

Last night I went out to sit on the patio to talk to Jill for a bit.  As I sat down on the edge and looked out over the field, I realized the neighbors' birdhouse pole was standing again.  My gaze scanned back across the land, and I then realized the fallen tree was gone!

I cannot believe how oblivious to what's going on that I can be here inside the house.  Larry came over and took that tree apart enough to move it, then moved it, and I had no clue someone was demolishing a tree not more than 60 feet from the house.

Well, I suppose the neighbors can be relieved that I'm no threat as a busybody living near them. When we lived in Harriman, TN, a widow in her 80s lived across the street.  I swear if I ever needed to know what was going on in town, all I had to do was visit her.  She knew when everybody came and went.

Dad was up at 9:30 this morning, and Mom amazingly was up and eating breakfast by 11:00 a.m. We're out of her favorite rice cereal. Blech. I'm going to have to go to the store.

I did a little gardening in the planters on the patio tonight. Thinned the parsley and repositioned it.  Repositioned the basil.  I think I'm going to get a fine crop of both.  Jinx!

After that I replaced a light bulb in a light post on the corner of the patio. Max and I have joke that we are going to make a family banner, and on it will be the letters "WIEFD?!" So our family motto is "Why Is Everything Fuckin' Difficult?!"

Friday, June 3, 2011


OMG! I have fallen in love with this series! The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.

Start with the first episode at the bottom of the page:

It's a web-based series of dancers engaged in the eternal conflict of good vs evil. The dancing is mind boggling.  The cinematography is excellent.  The artistic aspects make me agog. And although I've read the credits and couldn't find it, I'd swear Twitch is in it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Potatoes and Chicken

I've been dehydrating potatoes lately.  The last batch was for potatoes to turn into mashed taters. After peeling, I sliced the potatoes at about 1/4". Then I used the amazing Vidalia Chop Wizard, and turned them into little squares. Turned out perfectly.

Just to show how off the chicken, here's a picture of the pints of chicken that I canned. These four jars contain one whole chicken without bones.

After this first batch, I think I'm going to can the chicken in half pints.  Neither Max nor I like having more than 2 meals of the same thing. Both of us are trying to cut back on the amount of meat we eat, and I eat far less than he does.  The full pints are just too much for most dishes the chicken will be used in, for example - stir fries and casseroles.  I intend to do half-pints for those uses from now on. I think about the only thing the full pints could be used for are chicken salad and chicken and dumplings.

Tree the Weather Got

Here's a picture of the tree the weather took out.  At least it didn't fall towards the house! 

Here's a picture of the birdhouse pole the next door neighbors lost. I had a hard time accepting that the wind was soooo strong it bent the pole at ground level.

The past two weeks the weather in the west KY and TN area has been enough to drive a sane person nuts.  The temps have been 60° or 80°. For two weeks!  Either it's been 60° all day with a bit of a drop at night, or it's been 80° with no drop at night.  There were 2 days when the thermometer actually said 70° stuck in 14 days of the other 2 temps. It's been hard on the body.

Of course, though, the harder thing to take was that it went from 80° to 95° on the day I traveled back to Memphis for a few days break.  Going back home presents a problem with acclimatizing.  With my parents, I'm trying to keep the thermostat at 78° to conserve money and because they deal well with warmer temps. At first, I thought it would kill me.  The few days the fuse had popped on the a/c did the trick. It was a case of having no choice. I learned I could actually survive. Who'da thunk it!

The apartment in Memphis is kept at no higher than 72° during the daytime when occupied and turned down to 67° at night for sleeping. So now I'm freezing when I'm there, and having heat stroke at my parents.  Oh, will my complaining never end?

Damn! I just realized it's June already. Time flies.