Thursday, May 27, 2010

Expecting a Storm

I heard we are in for a severe thunder storm, and I guess it's true, since I hear some rumblings outside.  That's ok, I really like the sound of storms.  I just love rain, period.  After spending 17 years in San Diego, where we just didn't get much rain at all - average rainfall was 10 inches, and many times we didn't get that much all year - I'm in heaven here in Maryland where we get lots of rain and some snow (although this year we had a lot - 81 inches!)

The day we moved into our house here 7 years ago, the movers were unloading our boxes and furniture, and my husband and I stood at our front door and watched as sheets of heavy rain moved across the valley and toward our house, sending the movers scattering to haul things into the garage so keep them from getting wet.  I'll never forget that sight, and feeling so excited and thrilled at all that rain.  I have to say, I just love it here.  Hubby really hates the humidity in summer, and I have to say I'm not too thrilled with it either, but I gladly put up with it so that we can fully experience all four seasons.  San Diego's four seasons were just Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, and Next Summer.

This photo is of our red maple tree next to the patio, just after a rain last week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time Share Tales

Today was really hot and humid, but I stayed inside, and it was very comfortable.  Got a lot of laundry done, cleaned the fridge, and spent hours trying to make vacation plans for us for our time share weeks, 2 use-it-or-lose-it weeks that will be gone if we don't use them by this October.  Sigh ... and of course, there's nowhere that both of us really want to go that is available - Ireland, England, Italy, France, Greece - the list goes on and on.  That's the problem with time shares.  Unless you make arrangements 2 years in advance, you are at their mercy.  And that's not how we live our lives.  We don't make vacation plans way far in advance.  You never know what may come up and prevent you from following through.  As example, we made plans to use a week in St. Martin in 2007, and had made our plans months in advance.  Bought the airline tickets and booked the week, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  All is well now, but at the time I was just beginning chemotherapy, and my oncologist said I couldn't go because my immune system was compromised.  We managed to get our airline tickets refunded, but we lost the week and the deposit on the time share, and it was unable to be compensated.  I was very sad about that - I knew I was in for a long haul, and this was going to be our last vacation before all the medical trauma ahead.

So for now, we may settle on Argentina, the only place where we could find 2 consecutive weeks.  I'm sure it will be fine once we get there, but I really don't have much enthusiasm yet.  We've sold the time share, so other than one more week that will expire in 2011, we won't have any more weeks.  Worst investments we ever made.  At one point we had 2 of them, now we don't have any.

Ming Poo is moving very slowly today.  I did a better job this morning with her pain injection and her antibiotic by mouth.  She's been quiet and off sleeping most of the day.  The vet called around 1:00 to check on her, which I thought was very nice.  She's on my lap now as I'm typing, using my arm as her pillow.  I've had many corrections to make as I type!

P.S.  Forget Argentina - Hubby looked up air fare for 2 to Argentina, and it's $11,157.00 round trip.  No, that's not a typo!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ming Poo is Home

She's home, and although going slowly, seems to be feeling ok.  I had to give her an injection for pain and a dropper of antibiotics.  Neither one went in completely - I will be better tomorrow, I hope.

Here is the needle and a photo of Ming resting after she got home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ming Poo's Ordeal

Our little Tonkinese cat, Ming Poo, has gotten herself in big trouble.  Yesterday she found one of my threaded needles on my magnetic pincushion.  She started trying to eat the thread.  When I saw her she had the thread and needle hanging out of her mouth with about 5 inches of thread attached.  The more I tried to catch her, the more she kept swallowing and the needle got closer and closer to her mouth.  She ran down the stairs, around the furniture, and I grabbed at her a few times, only to have her slip out of my grasp.  On the final grasp, the needle went down her throat.  I opened her mouth to see if I could see it, but it was gone.

I called the vet this morning and he told me to bring her right in.  He did an X-ray, and there it was, in her abdomen, assumedly in her intestine.  No choice, she had to have surgery.  He spent some time with me informing me of the various scenarios that might take place, but having the needle come out on its own wasn't a likely scenario.  I felt awful.  I tried advising him to keep her at his office and take another X-ray later on to see how it was progressing, but he said that wouldn't work, and if it perforated her intestines and a few days later she still had to have surgery, he'd send me to a specialist because it would involve lots of other issues.

He just called me, she's out of surgery and starting to wake up.  He located the needle in the intestine, but it wouldn't have made it to the next corner turn without becoming stuck.  It was turned with the pointed end facing out.  The needle was found without the thread, which may or may not cause another problem.  He will keep her for the afternoon and at 6:45 I have to go back and have her transferred next door to the Emergency 24-hour clinic for them to watch her overnight to see that she gets her pain medication, hydration, and see that she doesn't get tangled up in the tubing.

I feel really bad.  She's my little baby, even though she's 5 years old and 7.2 pounds.  Of all the cats, she's the one who doesn't go outside, for fear she would be eaten up or stolen.  She'll go up to anyone.  Needless to say, the vet bill is enormous.  I won't be asking to go on vacation this summer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Red Hat Lunch

Today was a luncheon with my Red Hat friends.  There are 20 women in our chapter, and we've been meeting every month for the past 6+ years.  It's a really nice group, and I enjoy the get-togethers, but I have to say - I really hate the dressing-in-red-and-purple-with-red-hats part of it.  As my friend Sharon and I have said, we feel like Senior Hookers.  Very embarrassing walking down the street.  Another thing I really don't like is the "hat hair" we inevitably end up with after the hat comes off - flat and squashed.

I remember one time when we went to a garden/nursery called Surreybrooke for lunch and a tour.  It was in summer, and the temperature was in the high 80's, with humidity to match.  Sharon was wearing a hat that she had spray painted with red paint, and she was afraid to remove her hat for fear her blond hair would be streaked with red.  So even though we were all sweltering and sweating and had taken our own hats off, Sharon kept hers on.  When she got home and took off her hat, she was right - her hair was red!

This photo was taken last October, and everyone was supposed to dress in costume.  Sharon dressed as Maxine, with a cigarette holder and Margarita glass, and I wore my red silky pajamas and a red and purple night cap.  And we went this way to a restaurant in broad daylight!  

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Red Bud Tree in bloom- PS'd

Another beautiful day here, and the temperature was perfect.  I asked Hubby to get out my small rototiller so that I could dig up my garden patch, and I'm happy to say it's now all planted.  It's an 8' x 10' space at the front of the garage next to the lawn.  In previous years, I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and a few flowers and herbs.  This year I planted sunflowers against the garage and a Songbird Flower Mix in the rest of the space.  We'll see.  It should be colorful.  I may put a tomato plant in a container on the patio this year.  I'm stiff this evening after using the rototiller, but not too bad.  It's a small gas-powered engine, and it's not heavy, but there's a certain amount of wrestling it about and controlling it.  Not something I'm used to at all.

I started reading my Photoshop Elements manual(s) tonight.  My friend Cathy loaned me two, and I had already bought one myself.  She made a great suggestion.  She said to pick one topic and read that topic in each manual to see which one works best for me.  I thought that was a great idea.  It seems to me that the manual that I prefer is the one I bought myself, so that's a good thing.  Boy, there's a ton of stuff to learn.  You see here the photo I took this spring, and the photoshopped copy made to look like a watercolor painting.  The jpeg format needed to put it on the web has made the image look somewhat washed out.  Much better before I put it on the web.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekend Events

Wow, what a beautiful day.  Great for yardsailing.  I picked up a few treasures, some great ribbon I can use for crafting, some matting for framing, a double frame, some cat earrings I can take apart and use in assemblages, a sweet mini teapot, a small birdhouse, and a zippered file.  The latter can be used for sorted coupons.

We got a call this evening from Hubby's 70-year old brother, Alan.  He climbed up on a stepladder to look for a shutter in the eves of the garage, lost his footing, and came crashing down with the ladder on top of him.  The result was that he dislocated his right shoulder and broke the right humorous bone in his arm.  He's in considerable pain, because there was no one at the hospital until Monday to take care of the problem.  All that was done today was X-rays and a sling and some pain killers.  I feel so badly for him.  I've had a few broken bones in my life, and it's very painful.  Now, unless he finds someone who can take care of it before Monday, he'll be immobile in a recliner chair with an ice pack and pain killers.  Poor guy!   This was his right arm, and of course, he's right-handed, so he'll be incapacitated well into the summer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Introduction to Photoshop Elements

My friend Cathy is a Photoshop instructor, and today she came to my house and spent a couple of hours with me giving me my first lesson.  I received a copy of Photoshop Elements for my birthday, and after a difficult time loading the software, it's off and running.  Cathy showed me a lot of information today, until my poor brain was fried, but tonight I started playing with it.  After playing around with various photos, here is one I made to look like an old photograph.  It's a photo I took outside a cafe in Venice, and one of my favorites.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where've I Been?

This is the first post I've made all week.  I've been really busy at home and with my volunteering jobs, and I'm just plain pooped.  When I got home this afternoon, Hubby and I decided to go out for Mexican food, and it was delicious.  We used to live in San Diego, and Mexican food was a given anywhere.  Here in Maryland, it's a lot more scarce.  We have a place called El Azteca that we have gone to a few times, although it's more than a 30 minute drive from here in Clarksville.  However, it was well worth the drive - for the Margarita alone!  Both of us ended up with leftovers to bring home, so that's always good to look forward to.  Besides, I try to cut back on the calories by only eating about half of what I order in restaurants and having the leftovers the next day or so for lunch.

One of the projects I worked on all week was reorganizing my craft room cabinets.  I had already redone the rest of the room, but wanted to pull out all the things that were in the wall cabinets to fit them better and to sort out what was in them.  (I also went through the desk drawer and reorganized it as well.)  It was really a big task, but I have to say I'm thrilled with the end result.  Now I know exactly what I have on hand and can find everything very easily.  In the process I put together a large bag of donations for Goodwill and threw away other things I didn't need.  Now I'm all excited about doing some projects.  I have some sewing I want to do, also some mending, and plan to start working on some assemblages this weekend.

One thing I've been neglecting lately is my reading.  Book Club is this coming Monday, and I haven't even started the book!  I feel badly about it, but I usually read when I go to bed, and I've been so tired lately that I haven't been reading at all.  Now I feel guilty.

This picture is of 2 of our great-grandchildren, Kayla and her new baby brother Gabriel Brendan, who was born a week ago.  They are in Connecticut.  We haven't seen him yet, but this is a photo from the family's Facebook page.   We have 9 great-grandchildren now, and the 10th will be here in about 6 months or less.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Today was yard sailing day.  We were supposed to have rain, but it never materialized.  However, it was really windy all day.  And the "haul" was wonderful.  Three round tables and a great cart that will live on the patio.  Also, a brand new birdhouse lamp.  Very nice, and I needed one to replace the table lamp in my craft room that was broken.  Sharon scored an adorable FREE 2-piece rabbit adorned concrete fountain.  The woman who gave it to her said she had had it for about 10 years, and was getting a larger one tomorrow, perhaps as a Mother's Day gift.  When we got to Sharon's house, she put the bowl piece in the flower garden and will put a flower pot inside, and the top with the rabbits is now a garden ornament.

I picked up a number of smaller things that I will be able to use in making crafts, and a great top in my size for 50 cents.  How cool is that?  Tomorrow I want to work outside on the patio and in the flower garden to take care of the weeds.  I also want to rototill the patch of garden next to the garage where I usually plant tomatoes.  This year I have sunflower seeds and other flower seeds that will go in their place.

Happy Mother's Day, all you mothers out there in cyberspace.  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jury Duty

I've been on jury duty all week.  The judge told us today that the closing arguments will occur tomorrow morning, we will be brought in lunch, and after lunch we will begin our deliberations.  All I can say is that it's a case in Federal Court.  I've been concentrating so hard all week on everything that is being said that I found I was exhausted when I got home this afternoon and immediately took a long nap.  I'm glad for the opportunity to serve on a jury and I take it very seriously.  Once the trial is finished, I'll write about it, but not now.

This is the second time I've served as a juror.  The other time was perhaps 10-12 years ago in San Diego, on a DUI case that took a full 5 days.  Although we were not told why, I'm sure it was because the woman's license would be pulled because of prior offenses, and possibly she was facing jail time or a heavy fine for repeat offenses.  She challenged the arrest.  Unfortunately for her, the verdict was guilty.

The most remarkable thing to me about the case was that the prosecutor was totally blind, yet he had total command of all the facts and figures, and there were a number of charts and graphs.  After the trial was over he spoke with a few of the jurors who remained behind to talk to him.  We learned that he began losing his sight while he was in law school, and had to learn to function in a blind world.  He had a computer that he could access in the courtroom that had a head set attached, and he could locate what he wanted to review in his files, and have it spoken back to him via the head phones.  He rarely used it.  I admired him immensely.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Craft Room Unveil

It's not 100% complete, but here's my craft room redo. The first photo shows my box organization system, tucked into every available nook and cranny, as you can see.  My craft room also houses my tread mill, on the right. On the left is a beautiful knitting bag, and trays I haven't figured out how to use yet.  Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The second photo shows the top of the wall cabinets.  I use the top of the cabinets to display my much loved decor pieces.  Storage of fabric, sewing materials, rubber stamping materials, and polymer clay materials inside the cabinets.

This is the desk.  Not used as a desk, but as a book case and display piece.  The cat boxes fit into a shelf.  The one on the left is a hand painted box.  I love those two!

The top of the desk, with more display pieces and bottles I plan to alter.  On the left is a birdhouse I made with a book as the roof.  The figure in front of the green bottle is my chemo angel.  I'll post about that at another time.

Tucked between the desk and bookcase - more storage boxes.  The whole book case is devoted to craft books.  In front, the tread mill again.

Love those teddy bears on top of the bookcase.  We have Sherlock Holmes with his pipe and Dr. Watson sporting a monocle and holding an umbrella.  They're adorable. 

Here we have another bookcase, with fiction books.  Display on top.  I love this glider and ottoman.  So comfy!

My garage sale plastic storage boxes on top, and the plastic drawers on wheels next to my work table.  Still haven't filled all the boxes yet, but they will be soon!  Cigar boxes under table were 25 cents each at a yard sale!

My bulletin board, work table, and sewing machine.

Entry door on the left side, with my toy chest filled with yarn and housing some beads on top.

Close up of the storage boxes underneath the TV cabinet.

More storage box containers under the desk.

I love these boxes!

Hope you liked the pictures.  I'm very happy with how it looks now, and it will function beautifully!