Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Patti Picture With, Gasp, Max and Me

Patti sent a picture she had her Mom take of all us during her last visit, and it included Max and me. Boy, do I need a haircut.

Upon being Overwhelmed

Sometimes as I sit here and view the house and land I wonder if there will come a time when I do not feel overwhelmed just looking at it. There is so much to be done here that I suffer defeat in spirit that kills my desire to just jump in and start doing it.

Well, with that said, let's do an update on Lola. She's doing the same. It would be fascinating to be able to track the neural pathways that govern actions. Momma is still throwing things, and sometimes as I walk past and pick up the comb, the pudding cup, the stryofoam drinking glass, I ask her if she had fun throwing them. She looks at me like I'm absolutely crazy and adamantly declares that "I didn't do that."

There's another development with the incontinence that I hadn't expected. I know that she has a dropped bladder which I figured had caused the inability to hold her water. As far as pooping in her pants, I thought that must be because she's simply lost the ability to realize she's doing it. Now, however, she's lost the ability to control the sphincter muscle.

Lately every night has become a nasty battle to get her into clean underwear because about the time I get her stood up and start taking the underwear off, she starts pooping. She doesn't even realize she's doing it. After being caught by surprise the first couple of times, I've now assembled a mass of things to have on hand before I start the nightly change - something to catch it, something for her to sit down on in between steps, more stuff to clean with, etc.

She used to go every couple of days, and it was usually in the middle of the day. I used to think that was bad. This is even worse. Keeping her clean is becoming harder, and I'm using Desitin at a frightful rate. I have to say, I could do without this nightly chore. I guess my nose is becoming a bit inured to it, but still in all, trying to keep the room pleasant for sleeping is getting harder.

Sometimes it's the little things that break your heart. Today I brought her a bowl of soup and crackers for a meal. She looked up at me and said, "I don't think I know how to eat this."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lola Update 11-07-12

Lola 11-06-12
Mother is doing the same in her new diminished level. She is still throwing everything on the floor - her teeth, her comb, her pudding cups, the Hershey Kisses' wrappers, her drinking glass (with a screw-on top), etc. At least once a day she can't remember how to put her bottom denture back in after I glue it for a meal. When I come with all the stuff required to clean her up due to the incontinence, she asks me what I'm doing. When I say it's time to change her underwear, she asks what that means.

She can barely get up now. A month ago, I was scared of this, but she got better; at least she got better enough to stand up while I changed and cleaned her. Now she can barely stand up, and once up can barely stay up long enough to get the underwear off.

Sigh.  I'm scared it really is time to get a hospital bed and retire her to it. I've discovered I can't move her enough - roll her, etc., to do what's necessary in the chair. I thought I could, but I can't. Egads, that means finding a place to store her bed while the hospital bed is here. It also means coordinating getting one here and set up.

I think I need someone to come and teach how to do this stuff. Max found the Ky. state website about Ky. Health Care. He said the contact for help in Carlisle County was at the Senior Citizens Center in Bardwell. I plan to go over there and see what help I can get. The Ky. website said respite care for caregivers is available and other help, but not all services are offered in all places. Figures. I sure hope I'm wrong, but I fear all Carlisle County will offer will be meals-on-wheels, in-center med checks, food pick-up, and stuff like that.

She wallows her hair into a bird's nest. When I hand her the comb, she knows to comb. However, she gets the front and that's it. The back of her doesn't exist in her mind anymore.

She will still laugh and grin if I manage to say something that hits her funny bone. When she realizes I'm taking a picture, she always wants to smile for the camera.

That's it for the Lola Update.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Old Military Friends

Patti and Mike
This past Saturday one of my roommates from basic training and tech training in the USAF in 1977 came by for a visit. Patti came to visit! Sadly, the reason for her visit was a funeral she had to attend in Arkansas. Happily for me, it brought her south, and we got to visit. She came down with her husband, Mike, and her parents.

Since my mother's demise and her living in her chair in the living room, there was no place for the visit in the house. So we all met at the local diner for a meal and a few hours worth of visit. It was wonderful to see her and Mike again.

Surprisingly, a few months ago, another old friend from the military got in touch after 30 years of absence. Unfortunately, his email went into my junk folder for some reason, and I didn't see it for a month. I answered it, but he's never replied. Oh, well,  he always did like to play games. Seems nothing much has changed.

Another acquaintance from Japan is a lampworker, and since her retirement from the military has developed a huge following and quite a name for herself. Another old friend from tech school lives in Minnesota, and I hear from him on Facebook.

There are others that I have never heard from since that time. I frequently think of some of them and wish I new where they are and how they're doing - Victor, Dove, Cali, Debby, Beth. It's funny how at the time you think you'll stay in touch, but you never do.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How to Cure and Dry Beef - Yankee Prepper

Here is a video on drying and curing beef that I want to save. It's from Yankee Prepper on youtube.com.

The basics are:
Trim as much fat as possible off meat.
Mix 1:1 ratio of baking soda and salt - start with 2 cups each - in a tub big enough to work in.
Rub into meat repeatedly for about 20 minutes.
Let meat sit overnight in tub in refrigerator.
The next day, rub in more mix if needed.
Tie meat up with kitchen string - roll it, shape it, make it tight.
Hang it over a pan indoors in a warm, dry place and leave for a month.
When the meat is very firm - like a pepperoni stick - when you press it, it's done.
Cut the string off.
Scrape and scrub, with a brush, as much mix off as possible.
Slice thinly.
Vacuum seal in bag or jar and store.
Will keep for 2 years.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lola Update 10-28-12

Here's a quick update on Lola. She's recovered quite a lot from her spell of a week ago; although, she continues to be quite weak both in mind and body. Her balance was affected perhaps, but I can't tell what's a balance problem from what's just being 91, frail, and weak.

She's quite content to simply lay in her chair in the mornings without asking for breakfast or to sit up to watch TV. I have to remind her of these things and do them for her.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Romney and Mormonism

The other day Jill and I were talking about the upcoming presidential election and the candidates. Jill asked me if Romney's being Mormon affects my opinion of him. I replied, "Yes, it does." So she asked how. After I told her how, I was stunned to learn that she didn't know the basic roots of the Mormon church. Since my own cousin, at age 60, didn't know the basics, I thought I'd write a short post on it.

This is my understanding. A Google search or a quick trip to Wikipedia will give you much more detail. I went to the library 30 years ago and checked out books to learn about it. Here my links are to Wikipedia.

The Mormon church was started in western New York in the 1820s by a treasure-digger named Joseph Smith. In 1823, Joseph Smith claimed to have been directed by the angel Moroni to golden plates buried near his home. These golden plates contained words of God written by prophets, mostly one named Mormon, about indigenous Americans. Smith said he translated these golden plates (using seer-stone spectacles) and then gave them back to the angel. Smith had 11 relatives and friends sign a paper saying they'd seen these plates. During power struggles, Smith later broke with or excommunicated most of the witnesses. Smith published his translation as the Book of Mormon

Mormons believe the Bible is the word of God written by prophets. They also believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God written by prophets (or a prophet), and is a companion book to the Bible.

Joseph Smith and his cadre claimed the way to heaven for women was through their husbands, thus setting the precedence for multiple wives for Mormon men. Mormons believe that present-day men can receive the word of God and change church doctrine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lola Channels Joe

Whoo Boy! Today was a wild ride. Lola has been channeling Joe for the last 24 hours. It's not been pretty. Actually, if it wasn't sad, it would have been downright hilarious.

The short of it is that mother barely slept a wink last night. She was up early and falling. She wouldn't stay in her chair. She talked wild all day long. She hallucinated. She also had 4 BMs in the Depends. She wore me out.

Without going into a exquisite detail of the day, here's the gist. Lola wouldn't go to sleep last night. She kept talking, and talking. The last time I remember looking at the clock, it was 5 a.m. She woke me up at 8:30 a.m. wide awake and chipper. And promptly toppled right over, walker and all.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lola Update 10-19-12

Lola October 19, 2012
Yay! Here's a quick update to note that Lola is doing much better today. She managed to get to the bathroom and back using her walker. She's sitting up a bit straighter in her chair. She couldn't name the banana pudding I brought her for a snack this evening, but she's had no real problem eating it.

Lola Update 10/18/12

Lola - October 7, 2012
Lola - October 12, 2012
I'm sorry to say that I think Lola had a minor stroke on Sunday night or Monday. She is recovering somewhat, but she isn't in terrific shape. She is in her chair in the living room, and that's where she's been since I got here there on Monday.

She has been very diminished this whole week. She has no paralysis, but is extremely weak. She could barely make it to the bathroom and the chair on Tuesday. At the time I couldn't tell whether it was the usual fugue or anything more. However, she slept most of Monday, which isn't unusual, but when I finally got her up and to the chair on Tuesday, she went right back to sleep.

Lola - October 18, 2012 
Getting her to wake up long enough to eat Monday was a lost cause. I finally got her awake on Tuesday to eat, but she had lost the ability to use utensils and went at her food with her hands mostly. This was bad because I had cooked split pea soup, which we both like (pppffft to all you who hate pea soup), and at that point I didn't realize how compromised she was.

I started to realize how bad off she was and stood back and watched while she tried to eat. She was missing the soup bowl with the spoon and not even realizing it. She turned the plate with her meat and bread on it over on her lap and was totally unaware of it. I got that cleaned up and thought she might be able to handle pudding. I gave it to her, went to clean the kitchen up, and came back. She'd had her fingers in the pudding, smeared it all over her and wasn't aware of it.

She began to recover somewhat on Wednesday, and could feed herself again. However, getting her up and to the bathroom was a no-go. Oy. She slept an awful lot, and has had trouble staying sitting up in her chair. I've had to keep her reclined because I fear she's going to slip right out of it. Julia came by to see how she was doing, and this was the first time that mother couldn't name Julia. She recognized her, but couldn't come up with Julia's name.

Lola didn't want to wake up today, but I finally goaded her into it, and she spent from about 3 to 10 watching TV. I got her bathed, cleaned, and in fresh jammies, and got a good meal down her. She wanted to go to sleep about 10:00 p.m. which is quite unlike her. She had the strength to use the walker to stand while I changed her clothes and bathed her, thank heavens. However, making her way to her bed is beyond her.

I'm divided about whether or not to get her to her bed, but leaning more to simply keeping her in the chair. In her bed I could manage bathing and changing diapers with sheets and rolling techniques. However, I think she's reached the stage that once she hits that bed, she will never get up from up.

The chair is leather, and it's one for the elderly that rises to assist in standing up and also reclines with feet raised. The leather is easy to clean, and the standing assist is fantastic for as long as it's an option. In her chair, she can be raised to sitting - which allows her to engage and watch TV and pushes her to continue.  Also, I can get to her from all sides in the chair.

If she goes to a bed, I think it would have to be a hospital bed. So I'd have to rent a bed. But she'd be out of daily life. I'd have to take a TV in there, but being in bed encourages disengaging from life I feel.

The main members of the family and I have discussed what to do, and we are all agreed that with her expressed wishes, we are to let things happen as they will. There is no need to take her to a hospital to have an MRI which would confirm or not a cerebral event. There is nothing to be done if there was - she's 91, frail, and failing. It's not like rehabilitation is a viable option, so it really doesn't matter whether or not we know what has happened.

If she was mentally competent - thinking and happily engaged with daily events - it would be a different story. However, she hasn't been able to remember since last November that her husband is dead. I haven't been able to talk her into even stepping foot on the front porch, much less sitting outside, in over two years. She has not been aware of her bodily functions, and hasn't even expressed a desire to be changed from urine-soaked adult incontinence underwear in over 6 months.

There's not much else to say.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Murder, Paper Mills and Commercials

All in all I really love west Kentucky. There are things I don't like now - the changing climate and the hotter temperatures, being used to easier access to more cosmopolitan areas that isn't here, etc., but all in all, I love it here. I love the topography - the gentle hills, the fields, etc.

However, there is one thing that absolutely turns my stomach. It's the paper mill 15 miles north of here. When there is cloud cover, the smell from that place is sickening. When I began this post, it was raining cats and dogs outside, and I would have loved to open a window because this room was warm. When I do, it smells like a sulfur pit or an outhouse. Choose one. It doesn't matter. It stinks.

Pesky commercials. It's probably because I get most of my news online that the commercials I see are hilarious, or sad, and the repetition really brings it to light. When you watch news shows online, there's normally 30 seconds of commercial every 5-10 minutes. The problem is that it's frequently the same commercial for a whole show. Thus my cynical take on Big Oil's commercials.

The last two days have presented at least a real advertisement for services - concierge banking from Chase. Hoo boy. Count me in. However, I don't think Chase is going to be terribly impressed with the size of either our checking or savings account and assigning us a "concierge" to manage it.

Not too hard to figure out what social/economic class that ad is targeting.

More disturbing is the fact that a few nights ago, there was an attempted murder and a suicide 3 houses down from ours, and I was totally oblivious to it. That's really, really disturbing to me. It happened around midnight, and of course, I was up. In fact, I was sitting not more than 2 feet from a window. I didn't hear a thing. Albeit, I almost always have earplugs in and am either listening to a book or some kind of entertainment.

The estranged husband of a woman who was seeking a divorce broke down both her front and back doors, chased her outside, shot her 3 times - breaking both of her legs - sat down on her body and shot himself. I didn't hear a thing - none of the arguing, the screaming, and none of the four shots.

Of the countless times I've wandered outside after midnight because of cat fights, owls screeching, coyotes baying or even, once, seemingly a goose in trouble, I missed a woman screaming for her life and her husband shooting her and himself.

I couldn't have done anything other than join the other neighbors who dialed 911, because things happened so fast and I'm a chicken when it comes to estranged husbands waving pistols while attacking their wives.

It still disturbs me terribly. I heard no arguing, no screaming, no gunshots, no police arriving, no ambulance arriving and saw no flashing lights or unusual traffic. Nothing. Nada. I don't think I've ever lived in a house which is as insulating from neighbors or community as this house is. You think that's what you want until something like this happens, and then wonder what you could have done to help.  You can't help but wonder what would happen if it were a stranger breaking in on you.

Thankfully, Monica is alive, and will be arriving back from Nashville and surgery on her legs in a few days.

Friday, October 12, 2012

More State versus Less Federal Government

I've got a bone to pick. What a silly way to say you've got a problem with something.

I've got a problem with the people advocating less Federal Government and more State Government.  It makes me want to scream,
     "Don't you want to live in one country?????"

Seriously, do the people clammering for more State Government and less Federal Government, want to live in a series of Luxemborgs and small nation states?

Do you seriously want to base the decision on where you live on the options provided to you by states rather than by the nation in which you live? Think about it. Think in depth about it. Think of the things that impact you.

Since I live in extreme western Kentucky, an area surrounded by many states, the issue of State Government is especially pertinent to the people of the region.

People that want to stay within, say a 100-mile radius of their family have the option of living in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri or Illinois. Even if the radius is much smaller, 50 miles, Tennessee and Illinois are options.

On the surface, you probably think, eh, wherever I get a job is where I'll live. Likely it'll boil down to that, but should it? With more State Government and less Federal Government, there are a lot of things to consider. "What," you may ask, "would cause me to target a specific state rather than another?"

How about schools? Roads? Utilities? Taxes? Judicial systems? Concealed Carry laws?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dream Park and Imager Novels, and Big Oil

I just finished relistening to all of the Dream Park novels by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes. It's funny that I really liked the last one, The Moon Maze Game, and Max found it one he could barely get through. As a matter of fact, I think the last one is the one I liked best. Max mentioned he was disappointed that it picked up with the son of the main characters from the 1st three books, and didn't include those characters much. I found it refreshing.

The iPod has just been loaded up with Imager series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., and I'm going to work my way through them. He sermonizes a bit much in them for my taste, but I love the way he develops his characters and story lines. Modesitt has worked his way up to being almost my favorite author. It's such a pity he won't get his Chaos books on audible. I'd snap them up in a heartbeat. I could sit a loom, a spinning wheel, or do chores for hours while listening to them.

Recently I commented on an oil commercial that was dominating air time for marketing during news show I watch online. Here are the other two I couldn't remember at the time of the comment. ConocoPhillips is pushing their ad for "diversity" in energy solutions and supposedly caring about economics and the environment. Exxon Mobil is pushing an ad lamenting the U.S.'s bad showing of placing 18th in global math and science competitions, and pushing backing better education in those fields.

Why are these oil companies doing this? If you don't believe it's propaganda to make you think nicely about the richest companies on the face of the whole wide world, I own a bridge in Brooklyn I will sell you.

They're not selling an ad to make you buy their product - go shop at my gas station and buy my gas; they're selling an image of them as good companies.

Why do YOU think oil companies spend millions of dollars on air time to make themselves look good?

I'm going to pop this up on the blog quickly. Max is coming in today, likely around 7ish, and I'm looking forward to this second weekend in a row with my friend and husband in the house with me.

Edited day of post to add:
Phooey! Just called Max to have him stop for burgers before he gets here, and he nearly laughed himself sick trying to tell me today is Thursday, not Friday.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cut Rounds, errr, Biscuits, Lola and Max

Another episode of Edwardian Farm has gotten me tickled over the differences in Brit-speak and American-speak. In episode 9, Ruth has gone to quite a lot of trouble learning how to put together a proper Devon cream tea. She's learned how to traditionally make clotted cream (easy), and it has me drooling.

She's also learned how to make the area's Cut Rounds, upon which the clotted cream was served with jam or marmalade. Well, Cut Rounds from Devon are simply American biscuits, buttermilk biscuits to be more precise. Since I've not tasted a cut round, I can't be sure, but from watching them being mixed the only difference I saw was how the rounds are cut.  In England what they call biscuits, we call cookies.

We seem to be having our usual autumn which has become the new normal - from hot summer to cool weather in one week. Used to be we had very hot Augusts, with Septembers becoming cooler, and one could enjoy September and the first part of October. I even remember going Trick or Treating rarely having to wear a coat. In the last 20  years, it's become more normal to go from having to have the A/C on to needing to have the heater on in one week.

Max was in this weekend. We didn't get a lot done. The kitchen got cleaned up, and some groceries were bought. He brought barbecue left from his company's "Employee Appreciation Lunch," and I appreciated it greatly. In the evenings we watched "Tales from the Green Valley."

The yard needs mowing, but the lawn mower is refusing to move. It runs; it just won't go anywhere. Sigh. There's always something, it seems, that needs fixing.

On Friday we had a sump pump attached to the heater and pipes run to pump the condensate over to a proper drain. Joe, bless him, decided to simply knock a hole in the basement floor and let it drip out there. The problem with that is that every time the ground was saturated with water, so was the basement. Now we've just got to plug that hole up, and we might have a dry basement.

Physically, Lola has been doing better lately. She's gotten off her jag of wanting to sleep all day. That makes her steadier on her feet and less shaky getting around. Mentally, she's a mess. I've had to take her trash can away again because she started dumping half-full glasses of juice and water in it. Also, there was a whole stack of prized photographs in it, which I managed to save from a dousing. Now I just have to pick up all the food and candy wrappers she throws on the floor.

She's begun to want to eat her food with her fingers a lot. She has to poke her forefinger in everything on her plate. Then sometimes she picks up her fork and sometimes she doesn't. She's also developed a strange demeanor when I'm in the room with her. She stares in my direction at stomach level and won't speak. She won't look up to see who's in the room with her, and she won't look directly at the person. Other than that, she's carrying on getting up and watching TV all day.

Tales From the Green Valley

Huzzah! "Tales from the Green Valley" is back up and available from Dailymotion.com.

This is a documentary about living a year on a small farm in Wales set in 1620. It has historians, Ruth Goodman and Stuart Peachey, along with archaeologists Peter Ginn, Alex Langlands and Chloe Spencer. They dress in period clothing and use the available housing and tools of the period.

Max was here this weekend, the first weekend in October, and he spent Friday night and Saturday night watching all of them.

I've included an embed of Episode 1 here to bookmark it for myself. If you click on Dailymotion in the lower left-hand corner of the video, you'll be taken to the website where you can pick up on the following episodes.

E1 Tales from the Green Valley by zodiacza

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spices, Green Pans, and Afghanistan's Plains

So it's on to a new documentary series for me while waiting for the next episode in RG, AL, & PG's newest series, Wartime Farm. The series I'm rewatching is "Edwardian Farm" set in 1901. Click here to watch. What prompted me to write this is my astonishment upon noticing that, as Ruth Goodman set up the new Edwardian kitchen and stocked her shelf, she put a tin of Colman's Mustard up, and it's the exact same tin as what I buy today in 2012. Amazing.

Around Arlington and Bardwell, McCormicks was the stock spice for ages, mostly still is. It comes in itty bitty tins and costs far too much. When I can, I tend to buy spices in tiendas (Mexican stores) where they are reasonably priced and British or Hungarian brands, same thing. A lot of my fiber friends buy online from Penzeys, which they swear by, but I've not tried. I figure my palate isn't delicate enough to discern the difference.

Likely I use more powdered mustard than most around here. I make my own mayonnaise, and only use powdered mustard for that. I don't know anyone else who makes their own mayo, which I find weird considering how easy it is. At least I know what I'm eating and am not eating strange chemicals in it. I get enough of those in things I can't control. I also like to use powdered mustard in my deviled eggs.

Okay, let me say that  if you don't have any of the new green pans, you need to get at least one. The other day in a local Dollar General Store I fell prey to a "gotcha" display and bought at quite a decent price a 10" skillet with the new green finish. Since I'm yammering about it, I ought to provide more information on them, but I simply don't want to go out fishing for it. Suffice to say, it's a non-stick finish more durable than the original teflon we fell in love with. It's not supposed to peel off like teflon eventually does, and not supposed to pose the health problems that disintegrating teflon does.

All I can say at this point is that this is the easiest skillet to clean I have ever owned in my life. It's a nice heavy one - by that I mean it's stocky enough to heat evenly without being as heavy as cast iron. So far, it doesn't seem to matter what I cook in it, all I have to do is spray it with water, run the light-weight scrubbing brush around it, and tip it over into the drainer to dry.

And just because I'm rereading David Weber's "March to the Sea" which quotes part of this poem, and I'd heard it ages ago, before we first went in to war in Afghanistan, here's a stanza of a poem, "The Young British Soldier" written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895. I remember wondering what the hell America had gotten itself into when it didn't go in, smash the Taliban to smithereens, find Osama Bin Laden at the outset, and get the hell out.

Afghanistan has been conquered by no country. The British Empire fled, the Soviets fled, and I wish we would flee before 2014. How stupidly egotistical our military was and is. And yes, I'm an Air Force veteran who disagrees with the big boys in Washington.

The Young British Soldier, Rudyard Kipling, 1895

....When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
     An'go to your Gawd like a soldier.
     Go, go, go like a soldier....

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Extreme Tact and Cool

Extreme tact. What is extreme tact? This is tact that goes so far beyond being tactful that it begs the question, "Why the hell didn't you just say...so and so?" This morning, after staying up until 4:00 a.m., my mother decided to get up at 9:30 a.m. Me, sleeping on the sofa, sort of woke up and realized she was up and went back to sleep. At 11:30 a.m. I finally began to wake up, and moved around a bit. My mother, keying on this, sang out to the living room, "Gayle? Have you had breakfast yet?"

So, to save myself from thinking this is tact going beyond the point of stupidity, I have to remind myself it is coming from a woman with no mind power. She's sat for 2 hours not more than 4 feet from me sound asleep on the sofa, and she asks, "Have you had breakfast yet?"

I know I have the tact of a door knob. My husband has worked with me for 20 years to improve this fault. He still needs to remind me of it. But, seriously, what the hell is wrong with simply saying, "Gayle, honey, I'm really hungry. Would you mind getting us some breakfast?"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lola Update 09/27/12

A few words of update on Lola. She seems to be declining a bit more lately. It's getting harder and harder to get her up out of the bed. She has a little hacking cough at times. However, her appetite is as good as ever.

Getting Lola out of the bed is troublesome. She's slipping more and more into simply sleeping. I know that if I weren't here, she'd simply lay in bed until she died. I face a dilemma whenever I go to get her up - it startles her so much to be awakened, and I hate to make her feel that way, yet if I don't force her to get up, she'll get progressively weaker and not be awake long enough to eat enough to nourish her body.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Paying Bills and Stores Changing

I've become a hermit, seriously. If I don't absolutely have to go out, I don't. In regard to paying bills, here, again, is the sweet spot of living in a small community. The cable bill is the same each month, and they do automatic billing, so that's set on automatic withdrawal. The electric, water and gas are different. The amounts change each month, and none of those do automatic billing. Well, maybe the electric does by now - it's been nearly 3 years.

Frankly, I am the world's worst on mailing in checks. I'm quite full of good intentions, which fall by the wayside. I am so spoiled by living in cities where every single bill can be set up on automatic, that for the life of me, I cannot handle actually writing a check, sticking it in an envelope, smacking a stamp on it, and mailing it. How friggin sad is that?

However, there is the nicest man that knocks on our door from the electric company who says, "Hi, dear. If ya don't pay, your lights go out." I quickly get the checkbook and pay, gladly. I keep thinking I must pay this darned bill in a timely fashon. But, but, but, I like the man that knocks on the door. Besides Uncle Charles, Aunt Agnes, and occasionally Julia, Jill and Jeanne, and Sheila, with a car payment, I don't have visitors. The electric man chats  a few minutes while I write the check. He tells me about the new house he and his wife have moved into, and it lights up my whole day.

The City Clerk, Anita, calls me, and in not these words, says, Gayle, get your butt down here and pay the water bill or we'll cut it off. Occasionally, she misses a call, and when I realize I can't run water for coffee, I get cleaned up and walk into her office with a hang-dog look and pay the bill. Then we laugh, chat if the office is empty, and that makes my day.

On stores changing, Hocker's is changing as the times change. From the time I can remember, Hocker's had one big grocery store room and a room off of that that housed appliances and furniture for sale. At some point in time while I was away, they acquired the store next to them and brought in more appliances. Yet as the times changed so has their market, and they are doing a good job of adapting.

After the hardware store in Bardwell closed down last year, Hocker's started carrying more household repair items in the room next to the grocery and moved most of the appliances into the third room. I hope that works for them, and I'm glad because a lot of houses around have seriously old electrical systems, and finding fuses for this old house is frustrating.

But the upstairs of the second room always held furniture. There is a large wooden staircase, at least 8 feet wide, in the center of the room that leads to the second floor. There's a loft that runs around the front of the room, and they always had sofas, chairs, beds, kitchen tables, whatever you needed for a house on that second floor. My grandmother's chest of drawers from I don't know when had a Hocker's stamp on the back of it; it was likely bought in the 1920's. Jill and I tormented our mothers running up there the minute we hit the store.

Today I decided I was over the chairs in Lola's house, and that it was time to buy a comfortable recliner. While Joe was here, it wouldn't have worked as he would have thrown a fit. Since Mother can't even remember that Joe is dead, I figure she'll deal with a new chair in the house. Now, I knew that Hocker's was cutting back on it's furniture but still hoped they'd have a chair I'd like. I mean, really, I'm going to have either pay a $50 delivery fee to get a recliner from Paducah or beg help in getting a ten-ton chair out of the pickup truck and into the house.

So I walk into Hocker's, and to my dismay there wasn't stick one of furniture on the second floor. I nearly cried. On the one hand, I don't want to be one of those old women who simply can't adapt to changing times, but on the other hand, there are some things you just don't want to let go of.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Thoughts on Lola and Me

Just wanted to make a post to record some odd thoughts and different things.

Last night, I just let Lola sleep in her chair. She stayed up so late that I thought she'd never give it up. When I finally cried "uncle," - it was after 5 a.m. -  I was fed up with her and didn't want to mess with changing diapers and clothes. So I just covered her with a throw and plopped her chair into full recline, said good night, and left her to it.

Of course, she was up and moving before noon, but I wasn't ready to face the day. I've allowed her to totally screw up my day and night cycle. In the afternoon, when I finally agreed to sit up and acknowledge I would have to live, she had been up and moving. 

Lindsey Stirling New Video

Lindsey Stirling has just uploaded another eye- and ear-candy video. Just love that gal!

Meatless Sausage From Food Storage By Imstillworkin

Here is a video put together by Imstillworkin over at youtube.com. This seems to be a fabulous recipe for emergencies - electricity is out for a long time, stores are closed, and you're out of breakfast meat. Of course, it's also pretty good for any vegetarians in your life or if you're trying to cut back on meat and fat in your diet.

The link she followed on the internet for the recipe is here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Zito Media

You know, I’ve not been one to post a bunch of complaints about consumer services, but I've had it with Zito Media. Zito has provided the absolute worst service for internet connection that we’ve experienced since 1995. That’s 17 years. What a reputation for a company – the worst service in 17 years.

Max and I have had cable internet connection via Comcast since 1995. We had it in Oak Ridge; we transferred it to Harriman when we bought a house there. We transferred it to Memphis when we moved to Memphis. Occasionally while we were living in Harriman we had a bit of trouble with connection, but we also knew that Harriman had infrastructure issues.  We love our Comcast account.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lola Update 9/13/2012

Lola is puttering along just fine. I think I see a bit more of diminishing mind. Lately, she's been unsure how to put her bottom dentures in. After I hand them to her, she frequently asks if she's holding them the right way to put them in. Mostly she is. However, she's more frequently putting her fingers in the denture glue and not realizing how to hold them to avoid messing up the glue or her fingers.

Her ability to communicate with me has been a problem, and I thought it was bad before. It's getting even worse lately. When I wake up in the morning, and she has come into the living room and sat down in her chair, she never ever greets me anymore. She used to do that when I sat up from the sofa and indicated "let's get this day started."

The Fish Butcher and Eric Ripert

Yes!!!! I found a clip of Justo Thomas. It's in one of Eric Ripert's "Avec Eric", which makes sense since Justo Thomas is the fish butcher at Eric Ripert's restaurant La Bernadin.

Go to about 14 minutes 4 seconds if you just want to see Justo.

That episode also has a recipe for what looks like a lovely scallop dish. I love good big, fresh scallops. They're hard to find around here.

On January 12, 2016, I edited this post, because I originally said to go to 4 minutes, when actually the clips of Justo are at about 14 minutes. Sorry and apologies to anyone I unintentionally misled.

Boys, 4-Wheelers and Insurance Commercials

The boys across the street have a four wheeler.  I sit here in the den and watch them riding that 4-wheeler. It's a gas. It's absolutely amazing how entertained those boys are by riding that 4-wheeler in circles/squares around that yard. In the last 2 years they've worn a path on the left/east side of the lawn.

As an adult, you know how quickly kids tire of things. Yet, for the past 2.5 years, those kids have ridden that 4-wheeler around and around that yard. They're still not tired of it. Amazing.

Unum is showing a commercial on hulu that's driving me nuts. It's portraying people acting as if health benefits aren't important, as if they were young and thought they'd never need benefits. I think the people at Unum that approved this ad must be rich. I don't know any middle class person that acts like they don't need health insurance.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The King and I

This is just a quick post to keep a memory. Tonight we had another storm go through, and of course, it knocked the cable and internet out for a while. Last week I struggled to find a movie for Mom to watch. This time I found a DVD of "Anna and the King" which I put in for mother to watch. She has sat there enthralled.

It brought to mind a poignant memory for me. Many years ago either Mom or Jeanne, I bet Jeanne, procured tickets for a stage production of Yul Brenner in "The King and I" in Nashville. Jeanne, Jill, Mom and I went to see it. We sat in a balcony so high up I was scared to move. But I will never ever forget going to see that production.  Mom has forgotten it.

I forget so much of my life. That's one reason for this blog. Yet seeing that play with Jeanne, Jill, and Mom has stayed in my memory.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cooking Tuna with Jose Andres

This post is to include a link to a show featuring Washington, D.C., chef Jose Andres in a show he did called "Made In Spain" cooking dishes with tuna. Here is the link:


For those not used to a Spanish accent, Andres has a fairly strong one. Just remember that the letters -cia, z, and s in the middle of words usually sound like "th" to us, and the letter v sounds like a "b." For example, the area Galecia (Ga-lee-see-ah to us) sounds like: Ga-lee-thi-ah. The area Valencia (to us Va-len-see-ah) sounds like: Bah-len-thi-ah.

The first dish he makes is a tapa called Ensaladilla Rusa, which is actually a potato salad with tuna, and he tops it with trout roe. The potato salad is different from what we're used to in the U.S., or at least in my area, in that it also has cooked carrots and green peas. I can hear Max groaning now. Andres made an olive oil mayonnaise, which I have to admit has me groaning. He also used balsamic vinegar as the acid. I've tried using only olive oil for mayo, and it went straight in the garbage pail. Goes to show my appalling lack of taste, I guess.

The next segment of the show  is shot at sea as the fishermen fish for tuna, the bluefin. Then he goes into a restaurant famed for its treatment of tuna and shows various dishes and treatments of tuna.

Following that Andres goes back to his home in D.C. to do a dish. I had to just shake my head because the man started the segment with a block of tuna that would likely cost $100 at the very least. Yep, I'm gonna run down to my local Kroger and pick up a block of tuna a foot long, 4-5" wide, and 2" tall. Mebbe after I win the lottery.

Other than the appalling waste of food used in filming cooking shows, though, I've enjoyed the series. In keeping with my effort to refine my taste enough to like fish, I wanted to keep track of the recipes and methods shown.

As an aside, I have looked and looked but been unable to find a clip of Justo Thomas going about his day as the fish butcher of Le Bernadin, Eric Ripert's restaurant. I've found a few showing Mr. Thomas filleting a fish, but that's not what I want. I remember watching a full segment of him. I think it was filmed by Anthony Bourdain, and must have come from one of the "No Reservations" shows.

Justo Thomas is an amazing fish butcher who daily prepares at least 700 pounds of fish for Le Bernadin. Ripert states that when Thomas is on vacation it takes 3 people working 12-hour days to replace Thomas. Wouldn't most of us love that kind of job security!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Steampunk and Junk TV

Watching a foodie show the other day, I was tickled to hear a man in Australia talking about the label he drew up for a small winery he started. The winery name was Moon. The man said he'd lived in the northern hemisphere for so long, he simply drew a moon for the label, and they got a bunch printed. Yet one evening he was walking outside when he looked up at the moon in the southern hemisphere and thought, "oh, shit, I drew it the wrong way."

Max stopped by Sunday on his way back from Dragon Con. He was bushed from the long drive from Atlanta in the early morning to far western Kentucky in one go. He sat on his keister all evening, and we watched back to back episodes of Storage Wars, i.e., junk TV.

I've put in a pic of him in his Dragon Con get up. He was dressed up steampunk style. I think his punk was a little sparse, but he had fun, and that's what counts.

The temps around here have finally actually gone below 90F for rare amounts of time. That's usually after 9 p.m., but we may be seeing the time when it becomes bearable to go outside. I mean, it's a bit after noon here right now, and it's only gotten to 88F.

I was hoping Max would be able to till the garden in the first few weeks of September, but it'll be the middle of the month I suppose. He's going to be on call next weekend, so it'll be the 15th before he can attempt it. Watch, it'll rain that weekend.

Lola Update 09/04/12

On Sunday I jotted a few notes about things to consider addressing or documenting here. Let's see if I can pull the thread of them together.

As I've said many times, I think the major thing that bothers me the most about my parents' slide into the end of their lives has been their slide into mindlessness. I keep hoping that once this is over that I will gradually forget the hopelessness, anger and stress the caretaker suffers. There are many acquaintances who assure me this is so.

I really do hope so. Because right now I am more or less, depending upon recent events, extremely angry that all humans don't just pop off this mortal coil in one fell swoop but that some lose the vital integrity of their makeup and become either uncontrollable, aggressive animals or mindless hunks of flesh.

With my parents, I've had the sad endurance of both. My dad became extremely aggressive and uncontrollable. My mother has become a body with a bare hint left of the essence of her as a person.

On Saturday, I think it was Saturday, we had a major storm front blow through as a result of Hurricane Issac. Fortunately, most of the harshest parts of the storm passed either to the north or the south of our little town. Unfortunately, if any harsh weather passes to the north of us, our cable provider coughs and dies immediately. Sometime I think all it has to do is look like it's going to rain, and the internet side of our cable service goes tits up.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Canning Tuna

I'm making a link here to a show that I've been watching on hulu.com, and this particular episode is about water, but for my interest it shows canning tuna in Italy. In this video there is only a short highlight of canning the tuna. It shows cooking the tuna in boiling water, scraping the skin off and boning the tuna, cutting it into pieces to fit the jars and putting the jars into a pot of water.

What I get from watching the video is that the tuna is packed in jars with screw tops unlike the canning jars we use in the U.S. but tops that things like our pickles from a store come in. I forget the different names for the different tops. Blast getting holes in my mind. Regardless of canning warnings from Ball, I frequently can things in recycled pickle-type jars. They seal. Period.

I also get that they are canning the tuna in a water bath. My Ball Blue Book calls for processing tuna in a pressure cooker for 1 hour and 40 minutes for half-pints or pints.

Now I know that the canning guides for the U.S. are litigation driven nowadays, and that the way people canned things in the past was different. People can argue that science is better, and we have more knowledge of bacteria, its survival and affect on our food than people used to have. It's still a subject that I ponder frequently.

At ORNL I worked with a man from a city west of Nashville, TN, and he used to talk about his youth and how his mother did things. He was from a large family, like, 14-15 siblings, and they weren't well off. He has talked about his mother canning fish whenever the kids brought a large one home, and she would pack the jars and cover them with melted, hot bacon fat or lard.

At one time I priced tuna for home canning. I was wondering how effective it would be cost-wise. My conclusion was that living in the middle of the country made buying fresh tuna prohibitive. Maybe if I lived on a coast and could go out fishing for tuna, it might be worthwhile. Otherwise, nah.

Here's the link to the video:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/85506#i0,p0,s1,d0

Friday, August 31, 2012

How the RNC Treats Its Own

Sigh. I must be on a roll today for posts. That's okay because I'll hit another period where I go weeks without posting anything.

This vid clip is an interview I just watched from the Jon Stewart show of Michael Steele, former chairman of the GOP. Since I hadn't followed politics all that closely in a lot of previous years, I had been wondering why Mr. Steele was now appearing on shows not especially close to the Republican Party.  This went a long way in explaining it, although the details aren't laid out.

Anyway, ya just have to laugh.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Michael Steele Extended Interview Pt. 2
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The Kia Hamsters Are Back

Just because it's cute.

Snake In His Dashboard

Bwahaha. Looks like I'm not the only one with snake problems this year. This vid clip is from Knoxville, TN, and the section of I40 that Max and I commuted on for nearly a decade. Brings it just as close to home as the ones here at Lola's.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anniversaries and DragonCon

On August 28, 2012, Max and I had our 20th wedding anniversary. True to us, we commented on it coming up last Saturday while he was here. Our comments were generally on the side of: OMG, I can't believe it's been that long.

On the day of the anniversary, neither of us wished the other a happy anniversary. Neither of us mailed the other a card; it has to be mail since we don't exactly live together right now. Neither of us got the other a present. We are such fuddy duddies. Even for 20 years, it's like the day slid right by us. So let me say I love him dearly and have been so glad to have him in my life.

Right now, though, to add insult to the injury, my husband is on a vacation to DragonCon with his bloody sister, while I am listening to books and doing puzzles at jigzone.com . We were hoping I would be able to go, but life hasn't been kind that way. At $9.00 an hour, getting a sitter for Lola for  me to spend 5 days in Atlanta just isn't in the cards. Yep, I'm having some whine with my cheese.

For relatives who don't know what DragonCon is, it's the premier Science Fiction/Fantasy convention in the United States, if not the world. The list of authors and actors in the field that are there right now is mind-boggling. It would have been fun to attend a session or two, stroll through the vendors, and watch the stars. Lynn talked Max into at least getting together a costume, although I'm waiting for pictures to verify that he actually donned it. She pulls together fantastic costumes. This is Lynn in the middle with her pointy elven ears at some con she went to, I think in 2009.

So I'm sitting here in Arlington waiting for Max to send me pics via phone or post some to his own blog http://opinionatedcats.blogspot.com/  so I can vicariously enjoy the vacation. In the meantime, I'm listening all my Michael Connelly books of Detective Harry Bosch and attorney Micky Haller ("The Lincoln Lawyer") and am getting ready to start another run through David Weber's "Honor Harrington" series.

Also, I finished Catherine Asaro's last Skolian Empire book, "Carnelians," but it just left me wishing for more. It was a lot of character building and conversation, which I usually like, but this time I rather wished to just have the story move along. I wish Audible would get another Lois McMaster Bujold or L.E. Modessitt book. Both have plenty out in print, but I find I'm awfully spoiled to listening since I can move about the house, spin, or whatever (used to be weave or work glass) while still "reading."

Lola stayed in bed all day today. Sigh. I suppose I could say it was nice she wasn't up at 9:30, after going to bed at 4:00, and clicking the light on and off, on and off, or flipping pages in the photo album. She simply had no interest in getting up. So finally late in the evening I got her up, cleaned the incontinence issue up and fed her so she wouldn't starve to death. She ate and promptly laid back down. I'll have to make sure she's up early tomorrow to overcome the stagger effect of staying in bed all day today.

And just because it's irritating, I'm noting here at the end that my cable is out, although the internet is still on. The internet connection has been iffy though, the whole time I've been writing this. I gave up on waiting to watch the comments on Paul Ryan's speech tonight. Heavens know I didn't really want to watch Mr. Less-Government-Unless-It's-A-Woman's-Uterus, but I am interested in the short cuts the commentators will put up on him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Potwench - Oven Challenge

Okay, Potwench. This one's for you. Snork. Actually it's for me, as it's about time I got my rump in gear and did something, anything. You in the mood for a little challenge? How about building an earthen oven challenge?

Since it's way cooler where you are, you go first (no! it's not a set-up.) and you and Bruce cobble one of these babies together. Whenever (in the next decade?) it gets into the 70s around here, I'll start work on one and cry, wheedle and beg Max to help me on it.

Then we'll review, critique, compare and see what we think. You think?

Oh, and BTW, I think I'll make my door big enough to take a good sized pizza. Screw sweet pie. I want pizza pie.

Lemme know if you want to go for this one.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekly Update 8/26/12

Wow. It's nearly the end of August. Maybe one of these years, the summer will end. Ya know, I don't mind blocking out the months of January and February from doing much of anything outside because it's too cold. Normally Max and I block out the last week of July, all of August and the first week of September because it's just too danged hot. Actually, until these last two years, I was pretty much shot for most of the summer, but that's changing.

This year? Whoooee, we've just blocked out the whole dang summer. There was no working up to getting acclimated to hot temps this year. It hit 80 in May, and before we turned around, 90 came down on us, and on 90s tail was 100. The best I can say about this last week is that it hasn't broken 100, although it's come close. For August, though, 90s are the norm. Even as I write at 9:28 p.m. it's 81 F outside. Sheesh.

The garden has been a most spectacular flop. I alternately am angry, sad or laughing about it. I do hope it cools off some in a week or two because I want to till this flop of a garden under and plant garlic, turnips and greens.

Max was in for the weekend. Mostly we didn't do much, but he did manage to get a new light fixture up in the garage so we can see on the other side now. It was almost too hot for him for that. Remember now, he works in IT, and they have to keep the temps really cool to keep their equipment running. So he's not acclimated to the heat this year at all.

On Friday, Ms. Mary Helen called to ask if we thought we'd like chicken pot pie for supper. Well, duh. Of course!  She also said she had a watermelon if she could get some help carrying it. Ms. Mary Helen is 91 and still as sharp as a tack. She came over about 6 p.m with a huge pan of chicken pot pie. It was delicious. She used seasoning sold at Patti's Restaurant up by Kentucky Lake. I'm still trying to suss out the rest of the ingredients because it was fantastic. Thank you, Ms. Mary Helen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Raging Grannies Reply to Todd Akin

I hope this video gets a million hits.  Todd Akin deserves the last line. The stupid idiot.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birthday Wishes and the State of Life

The amount of happy birthday wishes I've received on Facebook has been gobsmacking. Facebook is not a website I visit often. Actually I tend to stay away from it. Yet yesterday notices kept arriving at an amazing pace for people posting happy birthday wishes on my Facebook wall. I was stunned. 

I think something clicked off on birthdays for me after my parents didn't have a birthday wish or a present for me on my 12th birthday. Being a child, still, I was mortified but hungry, and ended up asking for a birthday present. I got one, but it was so tainted that I still remember it with a mixed measure of like (because I got something I really wanted) and dislike because I had to friggin ask for it.

So for Tuesday, I wasn't expecting anything out of the normal for my lala land world. Except that the weekend before Max had made sure I had a birthday present - a Kindle. Yay! Also, except that on Monday Jill called to let me know that Jeanne, her mother and my aunt, had decided she had to come visit her sister, my mother, and they'd be arriving after noon on Tuesday.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Papa and the iPad


One can really hope someone as young as this gentleman seems really wouldn't be this ignorant about technology. Seriously now. But still and all, age isn't everything.

Don't worry about understanding the language.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Copperhead, Oh, My!

There are certain things I really don't like about living in a fairly rural setting. Snakes sail right up there to the top of the list. This little fellow was on a patio wall no more than 4.5 feet from my window. I think he's a copperhead from the markings; although, his head looked liked aged copper. His markings fit. Won't be doing any wading through the weeds in the garden to get the last of the veggies that may be surviving the strangle.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Do You Know About Paul Ryan?

Warning! Personal Opinion to Follow

Following Mitt Romney's announcement that his choice for vice-president is Paul Ryan, I've been surprised to learn just how little the people around me know about Paul Ryan. Even my husband, Max, didn't know who he was a couple of months ago when I asked his opinion on Ryan's budget. I had to consciously close my mouth when he said he didn't know anything about it. Until lately, Max has notoriously been more aware of politics than I.

Here are a few video clips that do a very good job of explaining Ryan's ideas on the economy in terms that don't require one to be an economics expert and his idea's on women for the country as a whole.

If you're not aware, Paul Ryan's budget is famous. He has proposed a budget that is known as the "Kill Medicare Budget." A simple explanation per http://healthcareforamericanow.org is,
"The Ryan plan essentially would kill the guarantees that provide seniors and people with disabilities a specific set of benefits and services and then replace it with vouchers to private insurance companies."
Republicans are claiming Ryan is a fiscal conservative. If one looks at Ryan's record and the true definition of "fiscal conservative," Ryan is not at all a fiscal conservative.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'd like to preface this next clip with remarks that are nonprejudicial. I can't do it. The idea that any man has the right to tell me I cannot control whether or not I have a child makes me fume. This video shows Ryan's record on women's reproductive health issues.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It would be very easy for me to rant on about my personal thoughts on men controlling women and society. I won't.

I will say, however, that I don't want this man within spitting distance of becoming president.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

West Ky. Drought

Well, we've slipped into the classification of extreme drought here in my area of w. Ky. I live in the 2nd county down on the extreme western edge of Kentucky.

Since I'm not a farmer, it's not impacting me as dreadfully as it is impacting the farmers. The problem on my end is the heat rather than the drought. It has been in triple digits for days upon endless days. On the days it doesn't make it into triple digits, it doesn't make it below 95F.

As I said in an earlier post, I've abandoned my garden to the grass. For years I've not gone outdoors much in the summer. Something went whacko whacko with my internal thermostat some years ago, and I became so intolerant to heat that it crippled me in the depths of high summer. High summer used to be August. What I consider high summer is above 95F. This year, it's been high summer almost since May.

After I first moved in with my parents, the indoor temperature my father wanted to keep the house nearly killed me. He stayed in one room that used to be called the breezeway, one room between the garage and the house. In the middle of summer, I would walk into it, and he would have the wall heater on and be sitting in his chair in front of the TV, and he would be in a t-shirt, a shirt, and a fur-lined hoodie with the hood pulled up. The temperature in the room would be no less than 85F. He would be complaining it was cold.

Mom and I tried to keep the rest of the house at a temperature we could tolerate, and he would be moaning and bitching about how cold it was - at 75F. When I first moved in, 75F nearly immobilized me. As time went on, I became accustomed to it, and began to inch it up more towards 80.

So I was really tickled contemplating my first garden in years. I had become acclimated to higher temps and would be able to handle things. Especially, I'd be able to since planting in late April, early May, meant the temps wouldn't become unbearable to me until the end of July, beginning of August, and nearly everything I wanted to plant would be in by then.

Lo, and behold, we get the year of breaking the high temperature records of over 1,400 high temp records across the US. By the second week of June, weeding the garden was intolerable to me.

I really, really, really don't like this weather. Really.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beyond Grace and Dignity

Sometimes making a blog post can be a cathartic thing that brings its own solution. After making my original post about Grace and Dignity, something inside of me eased. I've found myself coping much better. It's like throwing a tantrum and then being able to cope with the cause of the tantrum.

After the post, I received a nice comment from a stranger and an email from someone I consider a best friend. Both helped me in totally different but most welcome ways.

It's almost as if making the post blew my coping block to smithereens, and now that its residue has drifted into the wind, there's not much of a problem.

Yay, catharthis!

Ethical Question

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Lola wanted to just stay in bed. After allowing this and just getting her up to eat and clean her body, today I forced her to get up earlier in the day. When she stays in bed, she goes into the fugue. When I force her to get up, she doesn't. When she's in the fugue, getting her to the bathroom is scary with her being so fragile on the way. If I keep her up and moving, she's stronger.

On Tuesday, I gave her Rice Krispies, and for the first time ever, she didn't eat them. She ate a pudding, but not anything else. On Wednesday, she wouldn't eat the Rice Krispies again. I asked her if she wanted tamales, and she did. She ate plenty of them. Another taste change, I suppose. It will take me a while to adjust to it. Hopefully I won't starve her while I'm adjusting. So much for crowing about how she'd now eat anything and everything.

Just wanted to document that on Wednesday, her color wasn't too good. Also, her urine output decreased. That may be because she was asleep so much and not drinking. I've had her up today and forcing more liquids into her.

This brings up one of those ethical questions I so despise in caring for my parents at the end of their lives. In my heart of hearts I feel I could just let my mother lay in that bed, clean her body, and feed her meals, and she'd shortly die. I could also continue to force her to get up and move her body, force liquids into her, and continue to force her to bathroom details, and she'd not die as quickly.

When does keeping someone alive become inhumane?

When does it become inhumane to do everything possible to keep an elderly person alive who couldn't do it on their own, who can't control their bodily functions and who has no place of time and place?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grace and Dignity

Lola is existing as is normal for her now. She's on a binge of staying in bed until I wake her and force her to get up. When she does finally get up she alternates between madly flipping through magazines and watching TCM. It's amazing.

She can't see diddly, and she flips through the magazines at nearly the speed of light. She's clearly not processing a thing in them; it's something to occupy her hands and mind. Quite a few of the major actors who are her contemporaries have recently died - Andy Griffith, for one. One would think maybe these people would pierce her armor of haze, but they haven't. It's crazy, but you can't help but finding yourself hoping that even if the woman can't remember her own husband is dead that maybe the death of a contemporary movie star might penetrate. Yeah. Crazy. I know. 

Because she sometimes gets up and goes into the living room while I'm in another part of the house, unbeknownst to me, I've taken to putting an incontinence pad in her chair. She gets up and doesn't realize she's in urine soaked clothes. Then she sits in the chair, and the urine gets squished out every where. Now she's taken to shredding the incontinence pads. So that's something to pick up/vacuum up. 

The other day I gave her a large chef's salad and instead of crackers to go with it, I tried putting some croutons on it. Big mistake. She threw croutons north, south, east and west on the floor. No leaving them on the plate. No putting them in the trash. Let's just toss them wherever. 

It is because of all of these things and my inability to handle them well, that I find myself having a terrible problem with treating my mom with grace and dignity. All of us should have grace and dignity. Every human should. 

I find myself being extremely sharp with her. My mouth opens and words pour out, "Thank you for throwing all these soggy croutons on the floor for me to pick up," while my mind is screaming "What the hell are you saying this for? Like she knows what she's doing? You're a bitch for saying these things."

Grace and dignity have fled the building, and I'm madly chasing after them. Please may I catch them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lola Update 07/18/12

Lola is just about holding steady. She's been setting into a pattern of going about a week that she gets up on her own and a week of my having to force her to get up. Last week she would have stayed in bed 24/7 if I had let her. The last 2 days, she's gotten up on her own by about 1-2 p.m. The week before, she was up at 7:30 a.m.

I've become used to having to wash a load of pajamas every 2 days. Even with putting 2 depends on her at night, the incontinence has reached a point of wet PJs at least 2 times a day. I have to admit that trying to get her to the bathroom in time to catch the incontinence has failed. I've given up on it. She has no sense of needing to go. Trying to get her to go every 2 hours or so when she's up to prevent accidents became more of a burden than just tending to her in the morning and evening. My sense of when she may need to go is far off. It irritates her when I badger her. It's simply easier to clean up.

General Update

Times call for a general update. Nothing much has changed - including the @#$% heat wave.

I have to admit, I've thrown my hands up in the air and cried uncle on my first garden in ages. When the heatwave first hit, I figured we'd have a few days of blasting heat, and then things would go back to "normal." I figured it would return to normal June temps, and I could go back outside and do damage control on the grass that has taken over the garden.

Cocaine Anyone?

A bit of a startling title? Imagine our surprise as we were merrily traveling down the road and passed a nearby village's grocery/hardware/feed/seed store. We absolutely HAD to stop and take a pic. Unfortunately, it was Sunday, and they were closed; so we couldn't ask.  If anyone knows of a country vet reason for this ad, please leave a comment.

On the other hand, do I need to stop by and purchase for a medical stockpile?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

When Women Got the Vote

WARNING: Political Personal Opinion Follows.

You're female? You're conservative? You actually listen to the entertainer Rush Limbaugh? You give him credence as anything but an entertainer? You like what he really thinks about you?

You're male? You're conservative? You actually listen to the entertainer Rush Limbaugh? You give him credence as anything but an entertainer? You like what he really thinks about women?

If you fall into either of these categories, your character is weak. If you're a woman, you don't have enough confidence to trust yourself and your own opinion. If you're a male, you don't have enough confidence to not fear a woman. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, you don't have enough confidence in yourself to walk the world and be proud of yourself.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Temperature Log

To start off with, here's today's pic of the thermometer. Sheesh. I actually did get out of the house today and to the store. Nothing like running out of soda to get you out in 107F weather.

Actually, I had an ulterior motive. My Dad's cat, dismally called "Stoopid," who isn't really that stupid, was awfully mouthy this morning. Usually when he's that mouthy, it means I have a lovely present of a vole, a mole, a bird, or a rabbit. This morning I didn't see anything, and finally batted him away. About an hour later, as I went back to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, I did the skitter dance because there was a lovely, little, striped green snake on the floor of the den about 3 feet from me.

Ulterior motive? To get Larry from the store to come over and get the snake outta da house. Because after I skittered more feet than I care to claim, I dashed to the kitchen, got my tamalera and upended it over the snake. To make certain the itty bitty demon was corralled, I put the box fan on top of that. To make things easy for Larry, I put the yard-long barbecue tongs over the fan.

You know how you like to think you can do anything? Well, I freely admit, to all and sundry, without reservation, that I can't do snakes. Oh, and heights. So I go into the store, and corner Larry quietly and ask this big favor of him. "When you get home will you please get the snake out of my den?" The next thing I knew, from all over the store I hear, "In the house?"  "Gayle?" Oh, gee, thanks, Larry. Let the whole damn store know I can't get near a teeny garden snake.

Sigh. Whatcha gonna do? Basically, I'm going to say I cannot begin to give enough thanks for good neighbors, nor give enough thanks to Larry for all the things he has done for us. He has come over at 3 in the morning to pick up my father who fell out of bed. He came over 4 times to pick my father up the last day Dad was at home (which is the day I cried uncle over caring for my dad at home.)  He has filled in the old collapsed septic tank with dirt. He has plowed up a new garden for me. He has fixed an electric line from the house to the workshop that was taken out by a limb in a storm.

Those are some of things I know Larry has done. There have to be countless things I don't know he's done for my parents. One cannot begin to thank someone enough for the things like these that they do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Garden Update

To start off with, here's a pic of the thermometer today. Yesterday was a tetch cooler, and today seems to be backing into the present pattern of triple digits. I am so tired of this I could scream. However, at least we didn't get hit with the storm and derecho winds of a few days ago, thank heavens. So we still have A/C. I'll probably cry when it comes time to pay the bill.

As far as the garden goes, its best crop this year will likely be grass. If I didn't get a thing out of it this year, you couldn't pay me to go out and hoe it in this heat. Likely I'll take the manual lawn mower and mow between the rows.

Here is a pic of the first produce from the garden - a yellow squash that was almost hidden in the grass. In fact, I didn't know it was there until today.

The rest of the pics are of the sad tomatoes - the last time I saw tomatoes this short was years ago when it was a rainy year. The Hutterite Soup Bean plants seem to be weathering this all very well. The pumpkin plant may take over the world.

Oh, and I should add "Happy Fourth of July" everyone!

Sad Tomatoes

Hutterite Soup Beans

The Pumpkin Plant (3 seeds)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dehydrating Tomatoes Into Fake Figs

Okay!  When my tomatoes come in, I'm going to have to try this:  Dehydrating tomatoes into tomato figs. This is a video from youtube.com by imstillworkin. It is a recipe she found in an old cookbook, and it is a way to mimic figs. However, she commented that to her the taste was more like dates than figs. Whichever they taste like, I love them both. That makes this look like a win/win.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lola Update 07/02/12

There's not a lot to update on Lola. Her condition is about the same. The heatwave has been keeping me inside, and I've been listening to a lot of books via audible.com.

An interesting point for anyone that has someone they're caring for that needs incontinence protection - brand names don't mean better. I'd been buying generic "Depends" for my mother and came across a sale for the real "Depends" at a better price. Thinking brand name means better, I scooped a bunch of them up. Big mistake. Don't go there.

Whereas using generic "Depends" putting Lola into two of them at night contained everything, using two brand name Depends made washing sheets mandatory every time. So before you buy large amounts, test each one.

So as you can guess, Lola has absolutely no toilet control. The best you can do is force her to go to the bathroom and change into dry clothes when she gets up in the morning. Yes, force, because her mind doesn't recognize that she's sitting in what her body has processed. She can stay up later than I can and get up earlier than I can when she's not in a fugue state.

The fugue state takes her by stages/days. For days, she will stay in bed continually unless I force her to get up and come out of her room and eat. Then for days she will stay up until after 1 a.m. and be up and rifling though photographs by 8 a.m.

Mother still recognizes me. It seems that's about all she recognizes, though. She's consistently reached the stage that she does not know what food is on the plate that is set before her. That's a good thing in that idiosyncrasies she had are no longer valid. Like, she wouldn't eat hot chicken before but now scarfs it up. She used to only eat crackers and ice cream, and now she eats whatever is put in front of her. She used to say she couldn't eat salad, and now says it's delicious. It doesn't matter much what I offer, she eats it. A year ago, she was a tyrant regarding what she'd eat.

The best I can say is that I don't know what life would be like if we didn't have cable and the old movie channel. It consumes her. Her mind is gone. She has no clue where the bathroom is or her bedroom is or if she's eaten or not. As long as the TV is on the old movie channel she is captured.

Alex Dragon - Online Acquaintances Gratitude

This post is to express my gratitude to an online acquaintance, Alex Dragon. Alex and I have been members of a fiber-craft chat group since December 1999. That group, loosely know as "Thrillers" because we are thrilled by sheep, and not in the Grecian fashion!, has gone through many changes as the internet changed.

Alex has recently been commenting on my posts about caring for my elderly parents, and his comments have contained invaluable tips and information for their care. I want to thank him for the comments and the help he has given me. Without doubt, his interest from our fiber group, has led him to give me information that has lightened my life.

So for all the fears, valid fears, that we should have for total strangers on the internet, sometimes there are shining examples of the good that can come from strangers on the internet.

It hadn't seemed as if Alex and I had struck up an immediate close communication from the beginning of the group. He was extremely interesting as someone who was from New Zealand, and I enjoyed his posts and followed them. He seemed to be absent from the group for awhile and then popped back up and posting from Australia. I was glad to see him back in our fiber group.

Now he's been helping me with the care for my parents because 1. he's an acquaintance from an online group, and 2. his career is caring for the elderly.

Who could have ever foreseen that someone from an email group about spinning and from New Zealand and Australia could help someone from Kentucky as much as this.

Alex, if I ever manage to get to Australia, there's a dinner on me for you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

How to Celebrate at a Wedding

Okay, so I've been spending a lot of time watching youtube vids. Feeling kinda trapped with Lola lately - can't do a lot of going, shopping whatever. So I've been surfing around watching whatever catches my interest.

Now this is the way to do a first dance at a wedding. You'll have to click on the link inside the video to watch it I think.


and this:

And to have had a dad with a sense of humor:

Not the best dancers in the world. You can't find fault with the sense of humor, love, caring and joy in living, though.