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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Anyone Been to Universal Orlando?

Help!  Anyone familiar with the attractions and layout at Universal Orlando?  I'm planning a family trip for next year and we're trying to figure out how much time we need to allot to Universal Orland to see both parks.  My mom really, really wants to visit them, but she doesn't do roller coasters or water rides, and she has limited mobility.  Universal has a "Rider's Guide for Disabled Travelers" but it didn't tell us what we need to know.  Specifically,  do any of the rides have those moving walkway things?  And if you don't do many rides, how much time would you need to give both parks a good go?  If you have any advice, feel free to leave a comment or email me at

Sad But True

MSN has a news story about a dumbass - sorry but that's what he is - who allowed his eight year old child to drive the family truck on the interstate so he could sleep off his drunkenness in the passenger seat. Oh, by the way, his four year old was also in the vehicle. If you want to read the full article, click here.

They say God protects fools and children, and in this case, it seems to be so, because that truck was full of both.  Thank heavens no one was hurt, and I hope that biological male parent goes first to rehab, then to parenting classes, then to get a vasectomy just in case what he learned in the first two places doesn't stick.

Friday, July 29, 2011

TGIF, Peeps!

I'm still having trouble accessing Blogger during the early morning hours.  I don't think it's my PC, but one of these days I may boot up my lap top just to check.  When I sign in, it takes forever for the page to load.  Forever as in, fifteen or twenty minutes.  Blogger is the only web page I have this problem with.  Anyone have a suggestion?

My eBay dude did not go quietly, but I think he's gone now.  He sent me another, angrier message, calling me names, etc.  I forwarded it to eBay and received a response stating that his actions would not be tolerated and that eBay would contact him and resolve the situation.  I don't know what they did but I haven't heard from him since.  Can you imagine what someone's life must be like if they get that angry, that upset, and that mean over a few bucks?  I feel sorry for the guy.  He must be a very unhappy person. 

Ernie's meds have finally kicked in.  She seems to be feeling better.  She eats everything in sight.  Three times yesterday she woke me for more food.  And of course, every time I fed her I ate a cookie from the plate in the kitchen.  If she keeps this up I'm going to turn into a balloon.  I'm half asleep when I go to refill Ernie's dish and I guess I'm not engaging my brain.  At the moment we're out of cookies, so I'm safe.  Hopefully nobody will decide we need more.  I can't just put out more kitty food all at once, either.  Ernie won't eat it if it starts to dry out.  We have to give her no more than a 1/4 can at a time, max, or we end up tossing it later.  Walker calls me the boss, but I think the real boss is 4.3 pounds of gray fur and loud mouth.  Bless her little kitty heart.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sour Grapes

EBay:  a miracle of modern technology.  A global yard sale.  A veritable treasure chest just waiting to be opened.  Gotta love eBay.  Or maybe, not so much.....

For Diva, I like eBay because she outgrows her stuff so fast.  Shes with us mostly on weekends, so nothing gets a lot of wear.  I buy her one new church outfit a season, and the rest I try to find second hand.   Walker is really hard on his clothes, and he doesnt think about what hes wearing when he gets going on a project.  I have given up trying to get paint and car wax out of new clothes. I pretty much consider his stuff disposable.   For him, I look for new items with the tags still on that are being sold at a greatly reduced price.  The stuff looks nice, and if he wrecks something, no big deal.  For me, its a matter of quantity.  Ive lost enough weight that I needed some smaller sizes, but since Ive got a bit to go I didnt want to spend much.  EBay is great for me in that I can bid on lots collections of separates and usually end up with enough pieces in one lot to get me through the season.  If there are things in the collection that I dont care for, no big deal.  I can always donate them.  The goal is to try to get three bottoms and five tops,  enough for a work week.   I try to get the lot for less than $25. I can do it, too.  Just takes some looking.  All that said, from where I stand it seems that eBay has taken a downturn lately.  Im guessing the crappy economy has forced people to sell items that really aren't up to snuff.  But there's more to my concern that that.  

My most recent encounter happened when I bid on a lot of eight items:  Three pair of capri pants, a pair of shorts, a swimsuit top, two collared shirts, and a pull over shirt.  I really only cared about the capris and the collared shirts, since I can wear those items to work.  I won the lot for about $16, and there was a fee for the shipping that I gladly paid.  Hey, with the price of gas and the intense heat and humidity, I consider shipping charges money well spent if it means I can do what I need to do without leaving my air conditioned house. 

Anyway: the box arrived.  The capris were great, but the shorts had paint all over them.  Well, I didn't really need the shorts so oh, well.  The swimsuit top reeked of cigarette smoke but okay, I can wash that out.  But one of the collared shirts was missing.  Not okay.  I need that piece!  It was one of the reasons I bid on this lot to begin with.  So I emailed the seller, and his response was this: "
Hi: I think you recieved 8 pcs and the blue one might have gotten mixed up with another color."  There is just so much wrong with this.  Where is the apology? Where is the promise to make it right?  And, no, I did not get eight pieces, I got seven.  Not cool. 

So I contacted eBay and requested a partial refund for the missing item.  Not sure why, but eBay refunded all my money, including the shipping charges.  Which let to this charming email from the seller:   "Hi: That was one slick move you did. You got the clothes for free and the shipping and you got your money back. Thanks for the education, a bit crooked, but effective. "

So now I'm a crook?  I don't think so.  I forwarded the email to eBay but I'm done with this, regardless of what happens next.  Life's too short to get mired down in other people's pettiness. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Such a Waste

I was driving to meet my family for dinner when I heard the news that singer Amy Winehouse had died.  She was only 27.  It just made me so mad.  She had so much talent but she seemed bent on destroying herself.  Of course, her cause of death has not been determined, but if it isn't drug related I will be very surprised. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Waiting for Sleep

It was pretty much morning when I got home from work today.  I've been working late every night this week.  Can I tell you?  I'm wiped out.  Since the sun was already up, I thought about taking advantage of the slight break in the heat wave by taking my bike out for a ride but honestly, I do not have it in me.  I really need to go to bed.  Unfortunately, I need to unwind before I do or I will never get to sleep. So here I sit, catching up on my blogger pals.

Ten hours from now I'm due at a family dinner.  After that, I have to go back to work.  In between I need to catch a few hours' sleep, finish the laundry, clean up the house, and maybe, if the rain blows past, spend some time at the pool with Diva. Just the basic, Saturday in July stuff. 

Which brings to mind the fact that today is July 23.  Um, can someone please tell me where the time has gone? How can July be almost over? I think I need to take a couple days off work and enjoy the summer.  Seems the older I get the faster time flies by.  Before we know it there will be frost on the lawn and the leaves will be turning.  I want to enjoy these days as much as I can.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Way to Go, Ernie!

When I say, "Way to go," I really mean "go".  Apparently Ernie decided she was not going to suffer through another enema. She presented me with two, ahem, projects, in her box this morning. Just in the nick of time. I called the vet, we decided to keep an eye on her, and her enema was cancelled.  Hopefully she's not a one hit wonder.  I also started her on the new medication today.  With a little luck she's be "moving things along" in no time.

Of course, I'm still signed up for project work at the office.  I'll be working this weekend, even though I don't have to shell out for Ernie's procedure.  Ah, well.  Who can't use a few extra bucks, right?  This heat is expected to continue through the weekend now, so we wouldn't be doing much anyway.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Gotta Be Smarter than the Cat

Ernie can't be feeling too poorly.  She gave the vet a pretty hard time.  Luckily this vet is not as intimidated by my four pound cat as the last one.  He pinned her down with one hand and did his notes with the other.  Of course, she peed all over while he held her, but at least no one got bit this trip. My old kitty has a lot of fight left in her.

The treatment plan now says, "consider euthanasia".  That was hard to see.  When my last kitty was sick, he got so thin and so weak.  My cuddly kitty did not want to be cuddled, held, or even petted.  He was struggling to breathe.  Though it was very hard to do, I never doubted that putting him to sleep was the best thing.  I do not feel that is the case with Ernie.  At least, not yet.  So I signed up for more weekend project work at the office and scheduled Ernie  for another enema. In the end, it will probably be more cost effective to go to vet school myself than to keep taking her in, but whatever.  I can work the overtime.  She's worth it. The vet did say that once we get her cleaned out there is one more medication we can try.  If this doesn't work.....well, we cross that bridge when the one we're on collapses, I guess.

In the meantime, Ernie has decided not to eat her kitty food.  She'll eat other stuff, if you're new here and actually try to leave a plate of food unattended.  She eats things you would not expect: pop tarts, donuts, salsa, taco salad, chili, spaghetti...If you don't want to share with Ernie, you do not leave the table during dinner unless someone is there to watch your food.  But she is supposed to eat just this special renal food, and she's not eating it.  So I drizzled it with the contents of one of my fish oil capsules.  Score!  She didn't finish the serving but she did eat more than she has in several days.  I don't want her getting weak before her sedation.  We gotta do what we can.

Holy Crow, It's Hot Outside

Like most of the country, we're havin' a heat wave.  We get humidity, too, so much so that driving home from work was like something out of a movie.  It was thicker than fog, and it looked different.  The moon was a pink orange color, something I have never seen before.  The heat index is forecast to be in the 115* range.   Yikes!

Our neighborhood is undergoing a transformation this summer, as roofs, windows, and siding are being replaced due to hail and tornado damage.  Even in this heat, crews are working.  I guess they have to - the season here is so short.  We have a wonderful linden tree in the side yard, and today, the roofing crew from next door set up camp on the lawn under the tree where the shade is dense.  I felt so bad for those men, working in this heat.  If it were up to me they would be enjoying a paid day off.  But, since it's not up to me, the best I could do for them was haul some patio chairs under the tree so they didn't have to sit on the ground.  Not much, I know.  I would have made them some iced tea or lemonade, had I known they were starting work.  They did have a big cooler full of bottled water on ice.

We're not expected to get a break from the heat until the weekend. Here's hoping that the weather gurus are mistaken.  In the mean time, we're logging lots of hours at the community pool and trying to stay cool any way we can.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back to the Vet

Ernie has an appointment first thing tomorrow morning.  The vet was not encouraging.  He told me that since this happened again, and so soon, it will probably keep happening.  He can do another enema, but he has to knock Ernie out to do it, and that's hard on her.  There is a surgery that may help, but none of the vets in this area are equipped to do it.  The closest place is about 150 miles from here.  Ernie doesn't enjoy traveling.  Of course, I'm pretty sure she doesn't enjoy enemas, either.  Walker is wonderful about helping with Ernie, but the decisions he leaves to me.  I've had Ernie for 22 years.  I've only had Walker for 8. He will support my decision but he won't offer an opinion.  I have some hard choices to make.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ready or Not

First, Miss Lucy asked after Ernie. She spent most of the day either curled up on her blanket on the sofa or snuggled in Squeak's lap.  The short story is, the home remedies are not working.  It's been more than long enough that if they were going to work, they would be.  I will be calling the vet as soon as the clinic opens.  If there are alternatives to having her sedated for another procedure, I'll try them.  If the sedation is the only option.....I just don't know.  The last one was hard on her.  She was clearly uncomfortable for several days, and of course, it only lasted a few weeks. Not to mention the $600 price tag.  We can't go through this every other month.  But one step at a time, right?  I'm hoping there are stronger meds than what she's currently on.

As for me....well, last night after the fair Walker and I stopped at that huge grocery warehouse that I love so much.  I figured with Walker along, maybe we could get in and out before we were eligible for social security benefits.  We did better together than I usually do on my own.  I had done some research, looking for triglyceride lowering foods and recipes.  I had a pretty short list but I figured it would be enough to get started.  Bro had just gone grocery shopping, too, so there wasn't a lot of room in the fridge.  I ended up getting some plain Cheerios, some Kashi shredded wheat squares, some Egg Beaters, a carton of blueberries, a couple cans of tuna and mayo made with olive oil, a bag of almonds, and some sour dough English muffins.  That last bit may or may not be okay:  one website advised that half an English muffin with peanut butter is a good breakfast, but another website said to avoid all products with white flour.  I dunno which one is right. Got more research to do.

My biggest concern with this whole triglyceride thing is that I have no way to monitor my progress before the big retest.  There are no symptoms to alleviate, no at-home tests to take, nothing.  I have to just do my best and cross my fingers.  I feel very intimidated by that.  I have some control issues, LOL, and I like to be able to check up on myself.  This is totally pushing me out of my comfort zone. 

Date Night!

Walker and I braved the heat wave to head into the country.  Why?  Well, because it's State Fair time!  I don't remember the last time I went to the fair, but it's been many years.  I wanted to play with the kittens in the small animal barn, and see the gorgeous horses, and eat greasy fair food before I embark on my triglyceride lowering lifestyle modification plan.  Plus, the fair is free, parking is free, the music tent is free.  It doesn't get any better.

There were no kittens in the small animal barn, but there were some adorable baby chicks and more bunnies that I have ever seen in one place.  We looked at hogs and horses and cows and sheep, but I stayed out of the goat barn.  Goats hate me.  I have been bitten and peed on more times than I care to think about.  Seriously.  Goats hate me.  So we steered clear.

After we looked at all the animals we went through the exhibition halls.  There were booths selling craft items and jewelry, honey, cosmetics, cookware....then we looked at the 4H stuff.  They had woodworking, needlework, photography.  Lots of kids winning lots of ribbons.  I did notice, in some of the photography entries, that the kids had taken one photo and submitted it in several categories.  Like one would be color, and one would be black and white, and one would be cropped as a close up, but all were the same photo. That surprised me.  But I guess if you get a great photo, you have to take advantage.  Especially the nature shots.  You can't plan those.

There was this one exhibit that I really liked.  It was a large aquarium filled with all the fish that are native to this area.  They had a fact sheet showing each fish and telling what it eats and where it lives and all that.  It was pretty cool.  But the excessive heat and humidity that always seems to plague the fair was causing the tank to fog so badly you couldn't make out most of the fish. I did take photos of the fact sheets, cause my nephews go fishing with Bro every week.  If they come home with one of the unusual ones, I want to know what it is. That keeps me firmly in my spot as Coolest Auntie Ever.

After that it was on to the food court, where we indulged in some yummy, fair only treats like Indian fry bread and these little nuggets:

This, my friends, is a plate of artery clogging, heart stopping, stroke inducing batter friend Oreo cookies.  Yep, fried cookies.  They were good, too.  Tasted a bit like warm chocolate donuts.  Yeah, I'll be keeping this discovery to myself at the next doctor's appointment.

There was a band playing during the later hours, but we didn't stay for much of that.  Despite downing several bottles of cold water each, we were both feeling the effects of high heat and humidity.  We packed it in at dusk and headed for home.  The drive through the farm fields is so pretty, and so calming.  The humidity is so thick, you could see a heavy haze hanging in the sky.  They say it will get worse - dangerously worse - today, and for several days to come.  We're taking the kids to the community pool this morning, and doing very little else after that.  I hope y'all are cool and safe, too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Checkup

It was mostly good news.  The lab got their orders so my blood tests were done on time.  The Tamoxifen isn't wreaking any havoc, which is about the best news.  My overall cholesterol is within the normal range, though it's at the high end.  My triglycerides, however, are another story.  They are well into the "too high" range.  And my thyroid test was wonky, too.  It appears I am under medicated.

So what now?  Well, the doctor ordered a higher dosage of the thyroid med, and I've already picked that up so I can start that today.  The rest of it is pretty much the same advice they give you for most everything:  eat a low fat, high fiber diet, exercise more, cut out sweets, limit red meat......I also have to take fish oil supplements.  The doctor is giving me three months to get my numbers down.  If I can't do it, she'll add prescription meds.  I don't want to deal with more prescriptions - the hassle, the side effects, the drug interaction, the expense, the follow up tests - so I'm rededicating myself to improving my diet and exercise habits.  Who knows - maybe I'll end up making my weight loss goal after all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Well, It Was a Good Idea, Anyway.....

A couple weeks ago I got an appointment card in the mail for a blood test at the cancer center.  My doctor wanted to do a six month test to make sure my liver wasn't having issues with the Tamoxifen.  Since I also have my annual thyroid check in July, I called my thyroid doctor to see if she could add her lab tests to the oncology lab tests, so I'd only have to go for one blood draw.  Apparently I inherited tiny veins from my dad and blood draws are a long, complicated affair. 

Well, it was good in theory.  The thyroid doctor agreed to add the lab orders to the oncology orders, but somewhere along the chain someone dropped the ball.  When I showed up at the lab yesterday after doing the twelve hour fast as required, the phebotomist did not have orders from the thyroid doctor.  She tried calling that doctor, but could not get through.  So she took an extra tube of blood and left a message for them to call her.  I decided not to leave it to chance and called myself, when I got home.  They still had not put in the orders, even though my appointment to go over the results is today.  I spoke with several people, each of whom blamed someone else.  Well, I don't care what happened or who messed up, just, please, fix it, now, so I can keep my appointment today.

We'll find out at 4pm.

Ernie continues her roller coaster ride of health issues.  She appears to be constipated again, but this time, rather than have her knocked out for another enema, I decided to try some home remedies first.  We started giving her Benefiber in her food, which she doesn't seem to mind, and we're also giving her a bit of milk, which normally is not good for kitties but according to my research, a quarter cup of milk a day for a couple days in a row can clear up constipation in kitties.

We'll find out over the weekend.


Walker is concerned that we have gone overboard with the treatments and will find out in a most unpleasant way.  I hope not.  I'm giving the home remedies until Monday, and if Ernie isn't......cleaned then, she has to go back to the vet.  Given her bad behavior at the vet, I really hope it doesn't come to that.  I bet the vet hopes so, too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Night Owl

I've been having trouble with Blogger lately.  It won't let me write a new post in the early morning hours, when I get home from work.  Wonder if they've been doing maintenance or something?  Sure is frustrating. 

For the most part, I love working nights.  I used to be a regular 9-5er, but it never came easily to me.  I went on the night shift as a fill-in type thing when my previous employer had a temporary opening.  I loved it.  There was a bit of an adjustment socially, as I was no longer able to do the once-a-month girls' night at the movies or the occasional (okay, weekly) happy hour.  On the other hand, it sure is nice to be able to hang out at the community pool during the golden days of summer. 

Walker has long worked nights, and in the beginning it was one of the things that made our relationship special. We would meet for breakfast, the only couple enjoying a leisurely meal in a restaurant full of business people snarfing down some oatmeal before rushing to the office.  We could go to matinee movies and have the theatre pretty much to ourselves.  In the spring, before school let out for the summer, we'd visit parks and bike trails and hiking paths and not see another soul.

There's a whole different mind set that goes along with the night shift.  Walker and I understood each other as most others did not.  If I had a buck for every time someone commented to me that it must be nice to have my whole day free, I would be able to retire.  Some folks don't seem to realize that since I work when the rest of the town is sleeping, it stands to reason that I would sleep when the rest of the town is working.  I just love when someone calls me, early, to "check if I'm sleeping".  Um, yeah, I was, before you called, thanks!

But for all that me an the night shift were made for each other, I do get frustrated when, after a long night at work, I can't come home and do the things that "regular" people do.  You know: call a friend, watch "real" TV, balance my checkbook and pay bills online, write blog posts....the TV overnight is mostly infomercials, with a couple of 80's sitcoms thrown in.  I usually have home shopping on for "company", but rarely actually watch.  Many times the websites I visit are down for maintenance, or the cable company is doing maintenance and I can't get online at all.  I used to come home and clean, since Walker works later than I do and I'd have the house to myself, but now Bro and the boys are sleeping.  No more vacuuming at 3am for me.  Which, if you think about it, is not a bad thing.  =)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Updates

Ernie's eating again, though not as much as she should be.  I'm trying not to fuss over her.  She's never been a cuddly kitty, though as she's gotten older she's been friendlier.  She seems, to me, to be uncomfortable.  She fidgets a lot when before, she'd hop on the couch, curl into a ball, and sleep the day away.  Now she's always readjusting herself. She does this thing where she kind of squats.  She looks like she's laying down but when you look closer, there is daylight between her body and the sofa.  It reminds me of the pose a kitty goes into right before they pounce on something.  Only she never pounces.

Walker and I went to breakfast this morning.  This is getting to be a Sunday tradition.  I like it. It's our "just us" time.  We were almost to the breakfast place - it was a fundraiser thing, not a restaurant, and it was fabulous - when the skies opened up and it poured buckets.  We parked right in front of the place, but just running to the door we got drenched. While we were eating this older couple came in and I just knew I was familiar with the woman, but I couldn't figure out how I knew her.  After a couple minutes it came to me - she was my babysitter when I was a kid.  Before I started kindergarten.  Um, yeah, I remember that.  Doesn't everyone, LOL?  I even told Walker where she used to live, and what her house looked like, right down to the cowboy linoleum in the basement play area.  I remember the first and last names of the other kids she used to watch, too.  So given that all this was 39 years ago, Walker drove past her house on the way home.  It was pretty much like I told him, right down to the color, except that they added a gazebo in the back yard.  We did not peek in the windows and check out the linoleum, but after we got home my mom stopped by and Walker quizzed her on the old babysitter.  Of course, my memories were confirmed by my mom.  Score one for me.

The project of the week is research for a family vacation of sorts, planned for next year. Walker and I have been saving, so I think we're good in the budget department, but the logistics are giving me fits.  Finding a schedule that works for half a dozen people is no small feat.  I think I have it down now.  Once I get confirmation from everyone I can start making reservations.  I'm excited, but I'm keeping it in check until we get some plans nailed down and the dates get closer.  I know how quickly things can derail when you're planning ahead.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Ernie

Ernie cat is curled up at my feet.  She usually sleeps on any warm body she can find, but though Walker is dozing on the sofa Ernie is hanging out with me.  She did not eat on Friday.  Not one nugget of kibble, not one bite of canned food.  Her dishes looked exactly the same when I got home from work as they did when I left.  Ernie didn't want to take her medicine today, either.  Normally she loves the taste of it, and begs for it like a treat.  I don't have a good feeling about this.  Hopefully she just has a bug or something, but at her age.....I made her up some fresh bowls of chow, added a couple of salmon treats, and I'm hoping for the best.  I'm not ready to give her up yet.

Friday, July 8, 2011

White Coat Fever

I went to the dentist yesterday.  I enjoy going to the dentist, for the most part.  Everyone there is so nice - not a crab apple in the bunch.  The hygienist has a daughter with thyroid issues, so we always talk about that.  Good timing, since my annual thyroid check is next week.  The hygienist always tells me about websites and such with current information on them.  We talk about other stuff too, like what's in the news and what we've been up to.  Then the dentist comes in, and he's smart and funny and he always finds something nice to say to me.  The time just flies by.  It helps that I have pretty good teeth - they don't have to do too much to get me out the door again.  

And yet, the morning of my appointment you'd think I was going to face a firing squad.  I get so. Freakin'. Nervous.  Sweaty palms, shaking hands, stomach cramps, the whole bit.  I wasn't always that way, though I don't remember exactly when it started. It's like that whenever I have something even vaguely medical:  the dentist, the eye doctor, lab appointments, everything.  Once I get there, actually in the treatment room, I'm pretty much fine.  Go figure.

I used to joke with Walker that I could never have a serious illness.  I wouldn't make it through daily appointments without having a nervous breakdown.  So you'd think that since I did make it through, and I didn't lose my marbles, the anxiety would be gone, but I actually think it's worse.  I bought myself an IPod, thinking that music would help.  I haven't taken time to load it up yet.  In the end, I just tell myself to suck it up and I get through it.  I'm hoping that it will fade out pretty much like it came in.  Guess time will tell.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Save Karyn

Okay, I'm just going to put this out there:  this book ticked me off.  All I knew before I read it was that it is the story of a young woman who lived in New York, ran up some credit card bills, and got very creative to pay them off.   I thought at worst, it would be an entertaining story.  At best, maybe I could learn some tricks to help me in my quest for fiscal fitness.

Not so much.

The book itself is okay.  It's not the greatest writing, but then, I wasn't expecting it to be.  But Karyn....she's something else.  She has a way of justifying every ridiculous purchase - $400 a month on haircuts and color. $900 for ten sessions with a personal trainer - four times.  $778 on lingerie, so she could hook a man  (it didn't work).  If you can afford those things, more power to you.  But Karyn could not afford those things, even though she kept buying them.  And a whole lot more.

But that's not the part that made me mad.  It turns out young Karyn had once blown all the money her parents gave her for college tuition on crap.  That made me mad.  Not only that she had been so irresponsible - she was a kid, after all - but that she had not learned her lesson.  Her mom sent her another check for her tuition, so I guess there was no lesson to learn there, except maybe that if you screw up royally mommy will fix it.  Which is probably why, when she found herself $20K in debt and unable to pay, she started a website asking people to send her money.  And they did.  And even though I recognize that what other people do with their money is their business, I feel disappointed that instead of donating to a worthy charity, some folks sent donations to Karyn, a girl who clearly needed a reality check.   She has an amazing sense of entitlement.

At one point, Karyn writes that she did not have money for food.  So she stole an apple from a co worker.  She thought it would be okay since the apple had been on his desk for a couple days.  So why didn't she just tell him she didn't bring her lunch and hey, could she please have that apple?  Nope, she stole it.  When she wrote about it on her website and people called her out, she confessed to her coworker and gave him another apple.  But guess what - after a couple days, the apple was still on his desk, so she stole that one, too.  That made me mad as well.  Not about the apple itself, but the idea that hey, I want it, so I'm just going to take it. And she clearly doesn't see anything wrong with it.

I think it's that attitude that got her into trouble in the first place.  The whole idea that she deserved things because she wanted them, and who cares if she could not pay?  Someone would pay, whether it was mommy, her website readers, or someone she hadn't thought to hit up yet.  It just would not be Karyn.

The upside of this whole insipid book is that the spirit of generosity is alive and well.  Karyn's readers bailed her out of debt.  How she's doing now is anyone's guess.  I did check her website, looking for updates.  There aren't many.  Her last post was weeks ago.  She has joined a gym again and she has adopted a couple of those tiny designer dogs that she dresses up in little outfits.  All I can say is, I hope she paid cash, and I hope she has a savings account now, cause vet bills are not cheap.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Nom Nom Nom

Ernie's been getting fussy with her food lately, so this morning Walker stopped at the vet clinic for a bag of the "other" kidney food, a dry kibble type thing.  I wasn't sure she'd eat it but holy crow, I no sooner opened the bag and she literally came running.  She was chowing down and she started making these noises.  Seriously, I thought she was choking.  Um, no.  She was just happy.  Walker makes the same noises when he eats, LOL. 

I Want  a Big Backyard

Yesterday we took Diva to the community pool.  It's a pretty little pool with diving boards and slides and fountains.  There's a zero depth entry and two divided areas with varying depth.  Great when the kids were little.  But.  There are a couple brats hanging out there, and there are a couple lifeguards who need a new profession.  The brats had a spitting contest off the slide.  Really obnoxious.  Especially when one of them got the bright idea to spit on the hand rail and see how far the goober would slide.  The lifeguards in question spent more time talking to each other than watching the water.  Walker and I were sitting in the shade having a soda and we watched half a dozen people break half a dozen rules.  For myself, I don't really care what everyone else does, but this tells me that I can not drop the kids off and go.  Ever.  If they lifeguards aren't paying attention sooner or later someone's gonna get hurt.  I trust my kids to behave but that doesn't mean there won't be an accident or that someone else won't start something with them.  We finally left when the pool closed for an hour for a "fecal incident".  I know, right?  I wish we had a big backyard so we could put in our own pool and be done with it.  When I was a kid my mom would send us to the pool for the afternoon, and I don't think she ever came.  She didn't drive us, either.  We rode our bikes.  The admission was a dime.  Now we pay a hundred bucks for a season pass for the three of us. And if Diva goes, an adult goes with her.

Happy July 5th

My neighbors shot off fireworks all weekend.  Til after 2am each night.  We haven't had much rain lately, and the grass is very dry.  Rockets are prohibited in the city, but people shoot them off anyway.  I enjoyed the displays but I'm glad it's over now, too.  The noise was a bit much that late at night.  And there's a lot of mess to clean up.  Bits of burned up fireworks are in the street and all over my lawn from the neighbors.  I will never understand how some folks can make a royal mess and just leave it.  We're pretty much used to it from those people.  Their kids are heading to the teen years and I dread it.  They're pretty obnoxious now, cussing all the time and getting into trouble.  I have a feeling it's only going to get worse.  Maybe they can go to reform school with the brats from the pool, LOL.

Miss Diva

Diva has signed up for a bunch of day camps.  The one she really wants is riding camp, where she would spend a week learning to care for and ride horses.  She signed up with her friend from school, but the class was full so they ended up on a waiting list.  I hope they both get in.  They also signed up for archery and bowling.  Those are just one day each.  My mom handles the arrangements and makes sure the kid gets dropped off and picked up at the right time, as these camps start bright and early and Walker and I are still doing the night shift.  I love that the kids have so many opportunities these days.  When I was a kid they didn't have all these activities.  Maybe Diva will develop a passion for something.  I think, at times, her life can be difficult.  I don't think she's aware of that yet, but she will be, soon.  Both her parents are divorcing her step parents, and she's moved around a lot.  She's gone to several different schools.  She's a happy kid, and a smart one.  If we can keep her focused on something positive, I think she'll be okay. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Day in the Garden

I tried to talk to Squeak this morning, but he didn't have time for me: he was busy making his bed.  I came back a few minutes later, but no dice.  He was still busy making his bed.  After all that diligent bed making, I had to laugh when I saw the finished results. I made sure Squeak was out of earshot first.

Walker and I found our red oak tree.  We brought him home in the convertible with the top down. That was a fun ride. The tree people don't get many requests to load fifteen foot trees into the back of convertibles, but they wrapped the canopy up and we got him home safe. 

After we dropped the tree off, I took Walker out for brunch.  He's seemed stressed lately.   He didn't have much to say, but I'm pretty sure that having extra people in the house, including the kids, is taking a toll.  I told him, if there is something specific bugging him, just say so and we would try to fix it.  Time will tell if he does.  Really, he's more likely to just stew about it.  I hope he starts speaking up.  I have to say, it was a nice treat to have a meal together that I didn't have to cook or clean up. 

After brunch we went home to plant the tree but then Walker decided to get some tree rings, then he wanted to fill the rings with bark mulch, then he wanted to back fill the tree hole with compost so while he was running around buying supplies and filling the compost bucket at the city compost pile I used the time to do some much needed garden grooming. 

It's been a while since I spent an afternoon gardening. I cleared out dead leaves and sticks from the storm last week.  I put a new coco mat in the hanging basket.  It looks better but with the contrast of the new coco mat you can really tell how badly bent up the hanging basket got during the tornado.  I don't really get weeds in the flower beds, thanks to bark mulch and a bit of Preen sprinkled about in the spring, but there were spent blossoms to dead head and some careful pruning to be done.  It looks much better now, groomed and healthy.

Diva asked for a rose bush to be planted outside her bedroom window, and I noticed one at the back of the garden wasn't doing well, so I moved out some hyacinth bulbs and brought in the rosebush.  It just has a couple wimpy little leaves on it.  I'm not sure it will survive.  But if not there are half a dozen more and we can move one of those.  We're going to call this photo the "before" shot.  Hopefully there will be blooms on this little guy before frost.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Three Days Off!

The heat wave broke, as they so often do, with a summer storm that knocked out power and brought in high wind, rain, thunder, and lightning.  There was no storm in the forecast, so I'm not sure where it came from, but while I was at work the weather bulletins started coming in.  Before long the winds picked up, then the power went out.  We had generators, but nobody else in the neighborhood did.  It was eerie, how dark it got. We could not see even to the end of our parking lot.  The police went door to door with flashlights, checking.  An hour later it was all over, but driving home was reminiscent of the tornado: branches down, trash blowing around, garbage cans in the streets.  I stopped by my mom's and cleaned up her yard in the dark.  She had lots of flower pots and such scattered around, and her garbage cans had blown from the back yard into the street out front.  It's very dark in her yard at night but I think I got it all.  My yard had lots of tree branches, but none that were too big. I cleaned that up, too.

This week was a long one. Early in the week I had a minor accident - a stack of boxes piled against the wall in the supply room toppled over on me when I was putting freight away, hitting me across the back - and things went downhill from there.  We're short staffed because of the holiday, but there is extra work to do as we close out the second fiscal quarter of the year.  This happens every year at this time, but so far we haven't found a way to make it better. You gotta give the staff their time off.

So I went in early and stayed late.  When I finally got home tonight I came in to a messy house, a kitty with an empty food dish, overstuffed garbage cans, and my patio plants all rolling around, toppled.  Not the best way to end the week.  Especially since Walker had the day off.  I thought the dishes, at least, would be done. No such luck.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, though.  I'll get the dang house cleaned, then I'm taking Diva to the swimming pool. It's been open late due to the heat wave, and I'm hoping the extended hours will go through the weekend. I love to swim at night - I sleep like a rock afterwards.  I'm on the hunt for a red oak tree for the side yard, too.  We had to take one of our trees out after it cracked nearly the full length of the trunk.  It was a beautiful locust tree, but we still have another locust in the yard already so I'm going to try the red oak. If I can find one.  There will be fireworks on Monday night, and maybe a cookout, and probably a bike ride or two.  Bring on the weekend ~ I'm ready!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot!

Holy crow, it's HOT outside.  When I left work at 4am it was still over 90 on the heat index.  And humid!  It's like breathing soup. 

When I was a kid we didn't have air conditioning.  Neither did most of my friends.  The next door neighbors had central air, as well as a kid my age.  She had asthma, and on humid, hot days she wasn't allowed to go outside.  So the AC would be on, and we'd play at her house.  The problem was, her mom always made us play in the basement.  It was musty down there, but her mom hated the sight of kids' toys scattered around, even if we were actively playing with them. So we were banished to the basement.

My mom finally got a window unit for our living room.  It was small, but if we kept the doors to the hall and kitchen closed it did a good job of cooling down the living room and the dining room.  We would sit and make jigsaw puzzles on the dining room table, since there were six of us and not a lot to do in those rooms besides watch TV.  My mom would let me sleep on the living room floor on hot nights.  I loved that little window unit.

When I bought my first house, I finally had central air.  Of course, I had to put it in, but at least I had it.  I have to say, I'm spoiled now.  I especially like to have the house cool when I sleep.  I can still remember those long, hot nights when I was a kid.  My mom always had fans going but all that really did was keep hot air blowing around.  One night my sister and I tried to sleep outside but the mosquitoes made a banquet of us, and we ended up back in the house before midnight. 

The heat index for today is predicted to reach about 118*.  I will be riding out the heat wave behind closed doors, with my air on.