Friday, November 20, 2009

Screwey Business, this Blog!

Since I last blogged (admittedly a long time ago) I have changed my email address to Apparently I have to keep using the old email address (which actually doesn't exist as an account any longer) to sign in with. I tried changing the primary email address to my current gmail address, but the system won't let you use a gmail address with Blogger! Is that weird or what? As long as I can find the blog online, which is how I managed to get into it, and post successfully (which remains to be seen), I don't care. I just think it's screwey! But then what about computers isn't?

OK, catching up. I don't have any pictures to post today, but maybe will again soon.

I guess my current health is the big issue. I'm having significant back problems and may need surgery. I'll find out Dec 2 when I see the neurosurgeon. This is not new. Had back surgery in 2000, which was successful. But the same problem--stenosis with buldging--has recurred, so we'll see. Just so something can be done to help the pain. I'm reduce to minimal activity, no real exercise, and getting sick of it.

Elsewise, all is well. My mom is doing well at 95. (I should do so well!) All furry creatures are in good shape.

I got back to the blog because I was looking at Laura's blog--which won't allow me to comment, BTW. No matter what I tried, it wouldn't accept my comment, apparently because I am not a "member". What the H does that mean??????? I was invited, and I signed up to follow it, so what gives? More Blogger screwiness!!

OK, here goes. It will post--or not, but I'm not investing any more time/energy until I see what's what.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Second try for Florida post 09

OK, Blogspot still won't let me move the pictures. If I had thought of it sooner, on this post I'd have posted the later pictures first, so they would have been in order, but it doesn't much matter.

Anyway, Kim and Ron, my daughter and SIL, have a lot of animals--four dogs, two horses, a donkey, a ferret, a kitten, a red eared tortoise, and four parrots. There have been various others over the years but this was the current census. It rained in the mornings and was steaming hot in the afternoons and/or we were gone until dark most days, so I didn't get any pictures of the outside animals.

Penelope, the filly, is now just over a year old and a gorgeous horse. (see blog post from June 08 when she was born).

This is Gizmo, Kim's sugar glider. He's a tiny little marsupial who is nocturnal and leaps from curtain to top of shelf to top of someone's head, etc.

Closeup of Gizmo in his hamster wheel. They say sugar gliders "bark" but all I heard him do was make a sound when we disturbed his daytime sleep--sounded like "weh, weh, weh, weh, weh".

KIm's new kitten, a real sweet little girl, who has the dreadful name of "Fenderburg". My SIL has a warped sense of humor.

Daisy swimming! Nobody stayed in the water very long because it was full of moon jellyfish! The bald guy is Russell, Kim and Ron's friend from Georgia, who drove down for her birthday. Nice guy.

This is my SIL, Ron, "water skiing", except he's on a kite board, pulled by our pontoon boat. He's pretty good at it!

OK, there are more pictures but that's the jist of it.
Anyone else having trouble moving the pictures around or is it just me? Anyone have any suggestions? email me at

Florida Visit Aug 09

A pelican perched on a channel marker in Destin Bay.

OK, Blolgspot is giving me fits. It won't let me move the pictures into the proper order, so I'm just going to load them and post what's what under each. Maybe later it will let me move them around.....This is ridiculous and the whole post will make NO SENSE! I'm going to try to edit this one, and if I can't I'll go ahead and put it up and try a second post.

This is Daisy, Kim's Aussie Shepherd, who is a reall Mama's girl. They have four dogs but Daisy is the one who gets to go everywhere with Kim. She has her own life jacket, as you can see.

Aug 7 This is Guisippe's a lovely restaurant on the bay. We docked the boat there, and had lunch overlooking the bay. Gorgeous!

(This was suppposed to be the first picture.) My daughter, Kim, and SIL, Ron, live in Crestview, FL. Her birthday is Aug 7, so every year I drive or fly down (flew this time) to spend it with them. Kim teaches health ed and personal exercise classes at a nearby college. Ron is an electrical engineer with Boeing and works at Eglin Air Force Base. The base has boats for rent, and this is the one we rented on Kim's birthday. We spent the day tooling around Destin Bay.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

...and the Beat Goes On...

... the beat of hammers and crowbars and chain saws and stump grinders...and other miscellaneous noisy tools.

The latest episode in this saga has to do with the repair of the spare bedroom. Day before yesterday, Seth tore out the ceiling, and part of a wall came with it. He called me in to see it. "This is major termite damage. It's old damage and the good news is I don't see any evidence of current termite activity" He pointed it out to me, but it was easy to see.

In case you ever wondered what termites do to wood in a house, this is it. This is the section of wall above the window on the back side of the room. If you scratch the wood with a fingernail, it flakes off like dry cereal.

This is the wall next to the door of the bathroom that adjoins the spare bedroom.

When I bought the house 6 years ago, I had it inspected, of course, and old termite damage was found underneath. It had been repaired and there was no sign of active termites. I've had it inspected for termites every year since and no problems. Of course, when the underneath damage was found, they couldn't see into the walls. Apparently the original termite treatment killed all the little buggers, but the damage was done, hiding behind the wall, just waiting to be exposed--which the storm did.
Seth explained he would check all around the room to see how extensive the damage was. It turns out if affects the back and one inside wall--and the adjoining bathroom walls.

This is the gutted bathroom. Walls and flooring will be replaced. Total additional cost, about $2000, and not covered by insurance--I checked.

The roofers are here today too, ripping off the shingles and tarpaper. With the ceiling down and the outer layers removed, the holes show up really well. If I wanted a skylight, this would be the time to tell someone.

This is the view immediately outside my back door--which is obstructed by shingles and tarpaper. They asssure me this will all be removed today.

But then, the tree guys assured me the logs and other debris would all be removed yesterday--and they didn't show up at all!
At least one of the tree guys has a sense of humor. One of them found Madison's stuffed "Tigger" toy, which although now headless, is still recognizable, and placed it on one of the logs.

I stuck my arm outside the door and took this shot of the yard. (Due to falling debris, I was afraid to try to step out onto the back stoop.) The workers are stumbling over one another. The sawhorse is Seth's stuff, the ladder is the roofer's, and the logs....well, I guess until they're hauled off they are technically still mine. Too bad I don't have a really big wood burning stove! Note the huge pile of sawdust to the far left of the picture. That's where the stump of the pine was. The sawdust will make good mulch and cover for the path Madison beats running to the side gate. If I don't keep it covered with some kind of mulch, it becomes a muddy mess.

Right after the storm, people who do have woodburners were driving around with pickup trucks, picking up free firewood. Now they all have enough to last through the next 10 winters and don't want any more.

I called the chief tree guy at 8 am this morning and he "promised" they would get their act together (his words) and get the stuff chopped up and hauled off today. I figure Madison thinks he's been abandoned at the kennel, and I am sick of looking at all the crap in both front and back yards.

Yesterday evening I went online and found a website selling "fast growing trees". I ordered two dogwoods, a pink and a white, which will arrive in 2-3 weeks ready to put in the ground. They will be small saplings, but fast growers, and I already have a plan where to put them in the back and how to protect them until they are big enough to be safe from Madison's romping around. I felt a lot better after I ordered the trees, since I felt as if I had accomplished something positive.

The other day I went to the Neighborhood Co-op, which has a lot of organic stuff, natural remedies, etc., and I bought a defuser, some essential oil (lavender and chamomille) and tea candles. The defuser came with little crystals to put in the top area. You add a few drops of the oil, a couple of teaspoons of water, and then light a tea candle in the compartment at the bottom. Pretty soon the aroma of lavender and chamomille wafts up from the crystals. It really is a very soothing aroma. However, it's so noisy today, with hammering over my head and stuff falling both inside and outside, that I feel like I need to put the oil directly up my nose!

Ah, well, this too shall pass. I just hope we've reached the end of storm-related troubles, since my nerves have just about reached their limit. Tonight is the Small Group Storm Sharing meeting at church, and I know I can dump some of the stress there. So many people are going through this all over the area. You can practically feel the stress oozing out of everyone's pores.

At least my neighbor hasn't raised any complaints today--yet.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Storm Clean Up Continues

(All pictures on this entry were taken early this morning.)

This is what's left of the 115 foot pine tree on the south side of my back yard. The tree guys have been working on it for two days to get to this point and today the rest will come down. For a while I was feeling like a "murderer", having the tree cut down, although I knew it had to be done. Then the chief tree guy told me the tree was essentially dead anyway, and would have come down on its own, sooner or later, and probably on my house, my neighbor's house, or both. So I don't feel like a "murderer" any more.

This truck was left overnight smack in the middle of my back yard. They use it to pull around the lift (pictured below), and the weight of the truck and lift is tearing up the yard something fierce. But again, it can't be helped.

This is the lift that the tree guys use to get up into the tree and attach ropes so they can guide the limbs down as they cut them. It's parked in my south next door neighbor's driveway at present. These neighbors have been super cooperative, since they realized their property was threatened by the tree just as much, if not more, than mine. Some of the limbs had to come down in their yard, but they had no problem with that. (Wish that were the case with the neighbor on the other side.) Notice the fencing on the far right side of the picture--part of my backyard fence that had to be removed to get the equipment in.

This is the maple on the north side of my back yard. While not as tall as the pine, it's badly damaged, and probably would also die--but most likely would come down in pieces with the next storm of any strength. Several large limbs are already severed from the truck and just hanging in the tree. At least one of those is poised to come down on my north next door neighbor's house. As soon as the tree guys finish with the pine, they will start on the maple. But... neighbor is not being cooperative. She called me last night around 8 pm and read me the riot act about the tree, the tree guys, etc. Apparently the chief tree guy made the mistake of talking to her yesterday, trying to explain that at least one limb would need to come down on her side of the fence, but that they would remove it immediately and clean up any debris. She threw a fit and threatened to call the police!!! She raged at me on the phone for 10 minutes and I couldn't get her to accept that it was for her protection as much as my own that the tree had to come down--and it needed to come down in the safest, most efficient way possible. No go. She's still threatening to call the police. The chief tree guy says, "Let her call them. I'll deal with it."
I find it interesting that she is reacting this way in view of the fact that her home was only minimally damaged during the storm--a small section of guttering bent, and her back yard swing slightly damaged. Part of a tree belonging to her other next door neighbor came down in her yard, causing no damage, but she gave them fits until they had it removed. They were dealing with some severe damage to their own home, plus they have three small children, but she pitched such a fit that they had someone get the limbs out of her yard. (Legally, if a tree or other debris fall onto your property during a storm, you are the one who is supposed to deal with and pay for the removal--not the person whose property the tree was on to begin with--unless the tree was clearly already dead and had not been dealt with by the owner. She was the same way with me last year when the ice storm took down part of the maple onto both our fences. I paid for the repair of both fences, because she was going on and on about it, and I just wanted her to get off my case.)
This is my lovely temporary blue roof. So far it's working well keeping out the rain. I've got fans running and several dessicant products in the spare bedroom to keep the moisture level down until Seth can begin repairs. He's coming over this afternoon to give me a quote on the interior work. (I just realized I caught myslef in this picture in the reflection from the diningroom window. I have on a white tee shirt and was holding the camera up high to get the roof.)

This is the front yard, and just a small portion of the pine tree limbs. They have already hauled off two large truck loads of limbs. They use a big scoop-like thing to pick up the big limbs--and it takes a bite of yard along with it. Too bad, but another thing that can't be helped. Grass seed is cheap.

I'm hoping the tree work will be wrapped up by tomorrow afternoon and the fence put back in place so I can bring Madison home. I miss him soooooo much! I talked to the lady at the kennel this morning and she said he's doing fine. It's ME who isn't doing fine without him!

I slept poorly last night, mostly because of my neighbor's phone call. It's one thing to tell myself not to let it upset me, and quite another to act on that thought. Hopefully, after all the tree work is done, she'll settle down and things will get back to normal. I'd prefer to get along with her--but at this point that's pretty much up to her.

Well, there's lots of shouting and vehicle movement outside, so I think they're getting ready to pull the top down. I expect it will shake the ground. Even though I will expect it, I imagine I'll still jump. Been pretty jumpy in general lately. PTSD for sure!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I survived the "Inland Hurricaine" of '09

I have already emailed and spoken to some of you, but I'm finally together enough to post about last Friday's event.

At around 1:30 pm the tornado siren went off and I grabbed pillows, my emergency kit, and a sweatshirt and headed for my "safe spot" at the end of the hallway. There is a sort of cul de sac where no windows are nearby, if the two bedroom doors are closed off. Madison (my Golden Retriever) and I hunkered down, covering our heads with pillows, and turned on the battery operated storm radio. When I heard the phrase "80 mph winds with gusts to 100" I knew we were in for it. I kept murmuring to Madison, "We'll be OK, we'll be OK", and I figured we would be--until there was a huge crash close by and the house shook. At that point I decided maybe we wouldn't be OK after all, but I just held onto him--it's all I could do. There were several more crashes, and the house shook with each one. I was totally terrified. At one point there was a brief lull in the wind and I stood up, opened the door to the room where I thought the first crash came from, and saw this:

and this....

and this....

and this....

...which used to be a vertical blind on the window above it.

The wind picked up again and I shut the door and sat back down, gathered the pillows and the dog around me, and just sat there, sort of numb. There were several more crashes and some more shaking, but after a total of 45 minutes it got very quiet.

I threw on the sweatshirt and sturdier shoes, and ventured out my front door. All my neighbors were coming out of their homes as well, and little knots of people formed to discuss what had just happened. One neighbor advised, "Take pictures now if you've got a camera handy", so I did.

This portion of a maple tree landed across the fence and gate, taking out the gate and one section of fence. Fortunately the fence is still functional so Madison can't get out of the yard.

Another piece of the tree that hit the fence, but this one landed smack in the middle of the back yard, missing the house, the shed, the birdbath, lawn furniture, bird feeders, and planters--thank goodness.

This is the back of my house, and the tree that came through the roof. I'm lucky it didn't also take out a couple of windows, but just one screen was damaged.

Closer view of the back of the house. Both pine and maple trees tried to get in--only the pine tree was succesful!

Don't know how well you can see it in this picture, but there was a huge limb of this pine tree just dangling by the bark. Fortunately I was able to have it taken down before the next storm came on Tuesday night.

There were hundreds of downed power and phone lines throughout the area. This one is in front of my house. Directly in the center of this picture you will see a tree downed on a van and house. That house is a home for high level developmentally disabled adults, and I expect they were frightened out of their wits when that thing came down on ths house. No one was hurt. In fact, thoughout our area, there was only one fatality, and only a few relatively minior injuries. The same storm system is blamed for three deaths in Missouri, however. I'm sure the early warning of our tornado siren saved many lives.
The rain held off until Tuesday night, but the temporary roof patches didn't hold. A lot of water came into the spare bedrrom, and I lost the mattress and some other items from that room. Also, a couple of light fixtures , one in the hall and one in the diningroom, shorted out due to the water. Could have been worse.
While this storm was technically a tornado or series of tornadoes, it has been referred to in the media as "an inland hurricaine" because it had many similarities to a hurricaine. The sustained high winds--the peak was logged at 106 mph--the duration of the storm, and the wide area affected are all more characteristic of hurricaines than tornadoes. Whatever you call it, it was a devastating storm, the worst I've experienced in my lifetime of living in Southern Illinois, which is part of the midwest's "tornado alley". Seven counties in Southern Illinois have been declared disaster areas, and the cleanup and repairs are estimated to take as long as 6 months. The power and phones are back up in most of the area, but this was the longest--5 days--I've ever been without power and phones. Yay for cell phones and inverter chargers. I will probably blog some more about this tomorrow, but I want to get this post up now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Baby in the House

Everyone who has had one knows that a new baby in the house can be fun, interesting, and exhausting, not always in that order. It's been nearly 2 weeks since my new baby, Dusty, entered my life, and as often happens, the new arrival has taken over the household.
This is Dusty the day I brought him home from the shelter, called Rightway Rescue. It's a no-kill shelter located near here, but until 2 weeks ago I'd never heard of it. Two Fridays ago I attended a benefit spaghetti supper, auction and sale at my church, put on by a bunch of high school kids who have formed an organization they call MAD for Animals. They are doing all kinds of things to raise money for Rightway, the county Humane Society, and an area wildlife rescue operation. I think it's a grand idea, and wanted to support them. However, I had no intention of adopting another animal that night, and didn't even know there would be animals present who were up for adoption.
There were several cute dogs, but this little guy was the only kitten. I was told it was a female, and I made the (fatal) mistake of asking to hold it. Adorable doesn't begin to describe this (then) 8 week old Himalayan mix with fluffy fur, huge blue eyes, and a playful disposition. After thinking it over, I decided to adopt, and filled out the application on line that night after I got home.
This shot gives him red eyes, but trust me, they are sky blue.

I had to wait until the following Monday to pick him up at the shelter. When we arrived back at the house, I put him in the back bedroom, which was prepared with food, water, his own personal litter pan, an old bath mat, a pillow and a tee shirt of mine on the floor. After playing for a while, snacking on his kitten kibble, and exploring the room, he curled up on the mat and took a nap. So far, so good.
Like babies sometimes do, he often fights to stay awake, afraid he'll miss something. Here he's just about to plop down with his head on the mouse, a common sleep position for him.
A few days after he came home with me, he was checked out by my vet and pronounced healthy and a fine fellow. By this time, of course, I knew "she" was actually a "he". After a bit of ruminating, I decided on "Dusty" for his name, since he reminded me of my lamb's wool duster. I kept him isolated from the other cats for three days, but he finally wore me down wanting to go out of the bedroom. It took him about 10 minutes to make the rounds of all the rooms, find the "big kids' '" water bowl and litter boxes, and decide he approved of everything. He also demonstrated he was perfectly able to go up and down the steps to the garage, thank you very much!
His favorite place has turned out to be my computer desk, probably because I spend a lot of time sitting in front of it. He's a real "Mama's Boy", and wants to be near me--on me, actually, if he can. I don't mind, except he has one annoying habit--he likes to "nurse" my ear lobe! I'm aware he was separated from his mother and littermates at a very young age, and evidently needs the comfort of "nursing", even if no sustenance is forthcoming. So, even though it tickles, I let him nurse" for a few minutes every day. He purrs loudly into my ear, pumps his little front feet up and down on my neck, and slurps away. This has resulted in Dusty having to spend the night in his own bedroom, where I tuck him in when I'm ready to go to bed. Otherwise, he's up in my bed, slurping away on my ear and purring like a tiny buzz saw! Not conducive to sleep for me!
Dusty is a big fan of Hoyles Card Games, and tries to "catch" the cards as they move around the screen. Here he is "watching" a game of "hearts".
Everyone who has met him has fallen for his sweet face, funny antics, and cheerful disposition. The other cats are doing well with him, and Buttercup, who I thought might present a problem with jealousy, has adopted him as her chief playmate.
I mentioned his "little" feet, but actually they are large for a kitten. The vet tells me he's likely to be a large cat, so I keep warning Buttercup she better take it easy, or one day he'll whip her butt! She gets the upper hand in their play now, and occasionally he squeals when she kicks or nips him, but he shakes it off and dives back in for more, so he must enjoy it. I monitored their play carefully for the first few days until I was certain she wouldn't really injure him.
We go back to the vet next Wednesday for the next baby shots. Just like any baby, he has to be vaccinated and get regular health care. In about three more months, it will be time to have him neutered, but he'll keep his claws intact, since I don't have any of my cats declawed.
Right now he's napping on a dining room chair cushion, another favorite spot. Like all babies he sleeps a lot. It's a dreary, rainy day here, so it's a good day for cat naps. I may take one later myself.