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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can't Sleep ~

Bro is buying a house today!  He's going to sign on the dotted line, and we'll all caravan to his new digs to help clean and haul boxes.  Just one problem ~ I haven't slept much, and I have a long night at work tonight with month end billing.

I went to bed early - around 4 - but Walker came home early, around 7, and woke me up.  Then Bro took his kids to school but forgot his house key and had to ring the bell for us to let him in. I've been up ever since.  My alarm will be going off in about an hour.  Bro's been packing all morning, and we have to load up.  I do not know how I will get through the rest of this day.

On the plus side, all the potions I've been cooking up for Ernie have worked their magic, and she seems to be doing much better.  One crisis averted ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Very Generous Gift

So Bro and Walker went shopping the other day.  Walker is the kind of guy who takes everything at face value, so when Bro asked him to tag along to Walmart "for company", Walker didn't think anything of it.  When they headed to the electronics department, Walker didn't think anything of that, either.  Bro is setting up his new house this week and he's bound to need some things.  When Bro started making conversation about the problems I've been having with the second hand PC I use for my work-from-home job, Walker took it as friendly conversation.  And when Bro loaded a brand new PC into the cart, Walker just thought Bro was buying his kids a new computer.

Walker was mistaken.

My brother brought the computer home and gave it to me, so I could get through my work faster.  He chose one with advanced graphics, so I can play around with editing my photos.  I have never owned a brand-new-out-of-the-box computer before.  I was touched beyond words. I think Christmas came early this year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kitty Gets a Chef? Not So Much

I spent the better part of the weekend in the kitchen, stirring up concoctions to try to tempt Ernie.  I was not very successful.  We decided to try adding Metamucil to her food, but she didn't care for that.  You have to be careful giving Metamucil to a kitty.  If she doesn't drink enough she can get dehydrated, and if it doesn't work in a couple days it can make the problem worse.  I started with a half doses in a couple different kinds of food and she said, "No, thank you!" to each one, it so we moved on.

The vet recommended adding canned pumpkin to Ernie's food, but she wouldn't eat that, either.  So I tried mixing in a little cream cheese - her favorite - and she ate a bit of it, but not enough to make a difference.  Kitty gourmet attempt number three was a take on a recipe I make for the kids - butternut squash mac & cheese.  I got the recipe from Rachael Ray's website.  The kids love it and Ernie begs for table scraps, so I decided to try a modified version of the sauce.  No noodles.  I used coconut oil instead of butter, a generous pour of low sodium chicken broth, a touch of half & half, some pureed squash, and a few shreds of cheese to hide the squash taste.  She loves it, but it hasn't worked. This is the one I had high hopes for.  She's had three servings of it, and we'll let her finish the batch, so maybe it will kick in eventually, but when she's had it before the results in by the end of the day.

Walker and I are not in agreement over what to do next.  I had a deadline of today, if she wasn't having more luck going potty she was going back to the vet.  Walker thinks we should just let her be, as she gets totally stressed out at the vet and they already told us there's nothing different they can try.  She seems fine, when you watch her.  She's active and vocal, she eats well, she pees.  But, you know, she has to be uncomfortable.  I can't stand knowing that and not doing anything to try to help her.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Got my Black Friday shopping done, LOL.  In truth, all I did was visit Sephora's website and pick up a couple of their $10 deals.  A palette for me and an eyeliner & mascara combo for my friend's daughter.  And I had a code for a sample bag, (the code is fromsephora if anyone wants it) plus I went through Ebates so I'll be getting 10% back. Ebates is great for people like me who do a fair amount of online shopping.  They keep track of my purchases and send me a rebate check once a quarter.  I always put my checks into our vacation account, so we can do something special on vacation.  The link above is a referral link, just so you know. 

Anyway:  I have no intention of braving the hordes of bargain hunters at the local stores.  I used to do Black Friday, but after too many years of hearing , "Sorry, those are gone," ten minutes after a store opened - at the crack of dawn, no less - I decided it just wasn't worth it.  So now I do my little bit of shopping online, and if the website is down or the items are gone, no biggie.  It's not like I can't find some way to spend my money during the holiday season.  As far as Christmas shopping, my mom doesn't like gifts but she does look forward to her annual calendar from Alaska photographer Susan Stevenson, which I already bought.  The older nephews just get cash, so that leaves the three little ones - Diva, Cubby, and Squeak, to buy gifts for.  Walker and I don't exchange gifts, nor do the adults in our families.  Just to make things interesting, Diva's birthday is in December, Squeak's is in January, and Cubby was born in March.  So when I shop for Christmas gifts, I look for birthday gifts, too, and tuck them away.  I have no idea what any of the kids want this year, but I do know that Diva was trying to sell enough Girl Scout cookies to win an iPod.  Since she didn't make it, and since I have a brand new pink iPod Shuffle that has never been out of the package, there will be music in Miss Diva's future.

My Ernie seems to be having issues with constipation again.  I'm not sure how bad it is.  She seems okay - eating, running around, jumping onto the furniture - but there have been no packages in her litter box.  Last time we had her at the vet they told us that what we're doing for her is all we can do, unless we want to travel to the University of Madison, Wisconsin to their vet clinic and have surgery done to remove part of Ernie's colon.  The last couple of inches have become very narrow and seem to be the cause of her problems.  I won't be taking that route, though, because she's still having kidney failure and there is no cure for that.  I won't put Ernie through the trauma of a trip and surgery.

I did some research into home remedies, and as long as she's strong and active I'll keep trying those.  We just have to take it one day at a time. The vet did say they could try another enema, though her chances of surviving the anesthesia are not great and there is nothing to prevent this from happening over and over. The only alternative the vet can give us is euthanasia.  Not so great, for any of us.

Updated:  I no sooner published this post than Ernie gave me a present.  I guess I should have outed her sooner, LOL.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

From Our House to Yours

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving with lots of blessings to be grateful for.  I am thankful for my family.  I'm thankful that Bro is with us, and that he found the strength to go on when he really wanted to just give up.  I'm thankful for my Walker, who puts up with all of us nutballs.  I'm thankful for my mom, for too many reasons to count.  I'm thankful for the kids in my life, who can be counted on to dress up a Thanksgiving table like nobody's business.  These little turkeys are made from silk flowers and felt, and will be turned into place cards by dinner time.  Bro and the kids made them while I was at work last night.

I'm grateful for my job, even when it drives me nuts.  And for technology, which allows me to get to know each of you, my blogger buddies.  I'm grateful for each of you.  Thank you for the company and support.  And thank you for sharing your lives with me as well. 

I'm thankful for medical science, and that I can spend this holiday season happily cancer free.  I'm thankful for veterinary science, too.  Thanks to the fabulous staff at the animal hospital, Ernie will be enjoying another round of table scraps this Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful for Ernie, my baby girl. Five pounds of mouth and attitude.  Gotta love her. 

I'm grateful to live in this beautiful country, and for the men and women of our military - and their families - who have sacrificed so much for all of us. My dad was very proud to have served in the Navy, and he taught all of us kids to share his pride of country.  I miss my dad.  I'm sad to say, I don't remember a single Thanksgiving that we shared with him.  He moved west when I was five.  

I could go on all day, but I won't. =)  Suffice to say, I'm a very lucky girl, and I know it, and I am grateful.  Blessings to all of you ~

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dear MSN News.....

Dear MSN News:  Please remember that not everyone lives in a nine to five world.  Some of us work nights and record our favorite TV shows to watch later.  Some of us do not appreciate front and center headlines telling us who won Dancing with the Stars (though we are very glad he did!). Next season, if you want to spill the beans, please post a teaser headline with a "Click HERE to find out!" tag.  Thank you very much.

And congratulations, you know who!  I was hoping you'd take the mirror ball!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cold Is A Relative Thing....

You don't want to hear how my day went.  And I don't want to complain to my friends.  So instead, I thought I'd share something that turned up in my email inbox.  I don't know who wrote it, but it wasn't me. That counts as a disclaimer, right?  No plagiarism here.  Anyway - Enjoy!

Cold is a relative thing ya know....

At 65 degrees, Arizonans turn on the heat. People in Minnesota plant gardens. 
At 60, Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in Minnesota sunbathe. 
At 50, Italian & English cars won't start. People in Minnesota drive with the windows down.. 
At 40, Georgians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves, wool hats. People in Minnesota throw on a flannel shirt. 
At 35, New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in Minnesota have the last cookout before it gets cold. 
At 20, People in Miami all die. Minnesotans close their windows. 
At 0, Californians fly away to Mexico. People in Minnesota get out their winter coats. 
At 10 below zero, Hollywood disintegrates. The Girl Scouts in Minnesota are selling cookies door to door. 
At 20 below, Washington DC runs out of hot air. (Ya think? Nah.). People in Minnesota let their dogs sleep indoors. 
At 30 below, Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Minnesotans get upset because they can't start the snowmobile. 
At 40 below, ALL atomic motion stops. People in Minnesota start saying..."Cold enough for ya, eh?" 
At 50 below, hell freezes over. Minnesota public schools will open 2 hours late.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Random Bits

My time card was submitted to the payroll department without the missing hours being added back in.  I had to contact Human Resources to try to fix it.  They're looking into it.  I remind myself that this time clock system is new for the bosses as well as for us worker bees.  We're all still learning.  I'm not going to let it go, though.  I deserve to be paid fairly for the time I worked, plus it makes all my overtime show up as regular hours, and that will never do.  Hopefully by the time I get into the office on Monday all will be resolved.

I made it through the last shift in my long week.  We got the rain we were expecting, but luckily it didn't get cold enough to freeze.  We're hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, so when I get up later today we're going to get everything cleaned up and ready for the parade of relatives.  I hope the boys start without me, LOL.  I'm planning to sleep in.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working for a Living

It may be below freezing outside, but someone in my office must be having hot flashes.  I couldn't figure out why I was so cold but when I checked the thermostat - somebody had the air conditioning on.  Since I was alone in the building I had no reason to leave it on, but it took a while to get the chill out of the air.

I've almost finished my long week of overtime.  Just two more nights.  It hasn't been too bad.  The forecast is calling for freezing rain on Saturday, which could make things interesting.  A couple of my coworkers have a real commute, and I've already told them if it rains, just stay home.  I can cover for them and it isn't worth them ending up in the ditch, or worse, attempting to get into the office.

We have a new time clock system at the office.  It started at the first of the month. I missed a punch coming back from dinner one night that first week, and my time card has been messed up ever since.  I emailed my boss, who tried to fix it, but I think whatever he did fixed the first problem and messed up something else.  He had trouble putting in my day off on Veteran's Day, too.  The hours showed up on Saturday the first time he put them in.  When he fixed that, the hours for the following Monday disappeared.  I think he's getting irritated with me emailing him every day, but at this point, I'm missing nine hours on my time card and I want to make sure I get paid.  This week, every time I punch in it shows me punching out, and vice versa.  Which means the 14 hours I'm at home during the day are showing up as work time.  The nine and a half hours I'm at work are showing up as my time off. The half hour for my meal break is also showing up as work time.  Have I mentioned that I have a new boss and I have not even met him yet?  His first impression of me is, I'm a problem child who can't figure out how to punch a time clock.  Lovely.  Only twenty three more years til retirement, LOL.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spendy Mart, Now Open!

Every night on my way home from work I pass a brand new, 24 hour grocery.  Every night I think, I should stop in there, but I really want to get home.  I wanted to get home tonight, too, but I stopped in anyway, as I made out the shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner and I wanted to check out the produce department in the new store.

That is one pretty produce department, LOL!  Everything is bright and colorful and pristine.

The problem with shopping at 4am is that there are stockers blocking the aisles with pallets full of merchandise.  The floor buffer guys are hard at work and the noise level is pretty high.  I think a couple employees offered to help me but I couldn't actually hear them.  I'm used to all that, though, cause I often stop at the store after work.  What I had a hard time with were the shelf tags.

How long has bread cost $4.89 a loaf?

I don't often buy bread, and the loaf  I picked up today was for Bro, who likes whole grain stuff.  The white was a bit cheaper.  When I do buy bread I get artisan sourdough from Walmart's bakery - makes great toast - and that runs about $2.50 for a large loaf.  We needed some soup for a casserole, too, and that was $1.39.  Last time I bought soup it was under a dollar.  They had Snapple on sale, so I got a 6 pack of diet raspberry tea, and along with the soup and bread that was all I bought.  The prices seemed too steep for any more shopping.  I guess that's the tradeoff for a really pretty produce department.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dang Girl Scouts and Their Dang Cookies!

I do not even want to know how much sugar I have consumed in the last 24 hours.  Cursed little nuggets of delicousness!  They call to me.  Seriously!  I can hear them.  They don't shut up until they're in my tummy. Walker better find somewhere to hide them before I pack them up and cart them to the food pantry.  He can eat two boxes a day and not gain an ounce, so he has no idea why having cookies in the house is a bad thing.  Guess he'll figure it out when my rear gets too big to fit through the door.

Miss Lucy asked about my overtime schedule.  This week, I'll get overtime pay for my extra hours, but sometimes I have the opportunity to have a shorter shift to make up for having to work longer another night.  In this case, one of my two coworkers has the week off, so I have no choice but to stay late every night.  No chance of leaving early.  I don't mind the extra hours, and a few more dollars on the paycheck will come in handy when we go Christmas shopping.  It's all good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Walker Never Could Say No to a Pretty Girl.....

And we have lots of them around here.  They wear green outfits and have sweet smiles and big eyes.  They know who to ask for when they ring the doorbell, too.  Then, a month later, I come home to this:

This is phase one of a three part cookie drop off.  We will be having cookies for Thanksgiving dinner at this rate.  What this photo does not show are the empty boxes - yep, I said boxes - that Walker polished off during the football game.  At least I know I have a generous man......

Monday, November 14, 2011

The New Week Begins

The closing on Bro's new house is getting pushed back.  The sellers need more time to move out.  He's had to postpone it once himself, so he's understanding, but I hope it works out eventually.  Around here, a lot of sellers pull their homes off the market this time of year, as very few people want to move in the winter.  If this deal falls through he could be stuck.  Hopefully it'll all work out in the end.

My closet cleaning project has inspired me to move on to other, less frequently used closets.  There's a big one in the basement that has become a holding tank of sorts.  I took a peek inside and immediately identified half a dozen tops that still have tags on them, but are not the right sizes for me to wear.  I see some eBay listings in my future.  I think I'll be doing a lot more closet cleaning this winter, when it's too cold and too icy to do much else.

Miss Ernie seems to be needing some help, but I can't figure out what she needs.  She's been coming over to my chair and just crying.  She has food, she has water, her box is clean.  Her rice bag has been reheated throughout the day.  I know she's trying to tell me something but I don't know what.  I hope she isn't in pain.  She hops on the furniture easily, and she literally runs after I give her her medications, so I don't know that her issue is physical.  I really wish I could get inside her mind for about ten minutes.  I hate not knowing how to help her.

I have mandatory overtime at work this week, every night. I have to work the weekend, too.  I don't mind working extra hours but I don't know how much time I'll have for other things.  I know I have to work late, but how late remains to be seen.  If I don't get to check in with y'all, know that I'm thinking of you and will visit your sites soon ~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Is There a Twelve Step Program for Cosmetic Junkies?

I spent my night off cleaning the linen closet.  It was a project that was long overdue.  It wouldn't be so bad if all we stored in there were linens, but that closet also has all the bathroom stuff, like shampoo and lotion and toothpaste.  It's amazing to me how much of that stuff we have.  Walker has one basket for his necessities, I have a shelf for medicines and band aids and vitamins, and two shelves (okay, one and a half)  for towels and such.  The rest of the closet?  Full.  Of my stuff.  Makeup, hair products, skin care.....I could open a shop, I think.  I have a whole basket of nail polish, and I rarely paint my nails.  I have four jars of bath salt.  Um, I don't use bath salt, as I generally just take a shower.  I can't even donate them cause, of course, I opened them and tried them out.  That's probably the source of the problem, though - I never use anything up but I always want to try the next great new thing. 

So the challenge to me at this point is to start using things up.  I'm sending myself to cosmetic rehab and I'm getting control of my stash.  No new products!  Whatever I can't, or won't, finish will find a new home somewhere else.  We're planning a vacation for next year, sometime around Easter, so that's my deadline.  Whatever I have sitting on a shelf when we get home from vacation is going. 
 Hopefully there will be some available real estate on these shelves soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Random Bits

Happy Veteran's Day to all!  Please remember our veterans and their families today.  I am grateful for their service and their sacrifices, today and every day.

Baby Diva at the Veteran's Day parade
Planning our vacation for next year, we realized we had enough frequent flier miles for one free ticket and one reduced ticket.  Went to book them a couple days later and - of course! -  the requirements have gone up.  A lot.  Sigh.

Walker gave in and fired up the furnace this morning.  Denial is over and, at our house, winter has officially arrived.

On the advice of blogger friend Taryterre, I got the electric heating pad out for Ernie, so we wouldn't have to keep heating up her rice bag in the microwave.  That didn't go so well.  She sits next to it and howls.  Rice bag it is.  My mom made her a bigger one, and she curls up and sleeps for hours when we heat it up for her. Heating pad went back into the linen closet, and we are back jumping to attention when Ernie needs a reheat.  Ah, well - it was a good thought.

On the advice of blogger friend Shelley, I tried a new brand of fish oil - Norwegian Gold - and - SCORE!  They don't smell like fish and I don't end up with a nasty fish taste for the rest of the day.  I just may get my cholesterol down yet.

I took the night off work today, just because.  Walker is off, too, which is his normal schedule.  Our big plans for the day?  Run some errands, shop for a new snow thrower, and put plastic over the inside of our windows. Aren't we a couple of crazy fools in love, LOL?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Next Chapter

The snow came, right on schedule.  It was wet and heavy and sloppy.  Its mostly gone now, but it left behind a great sense of urgency to get Bro settled into his new home before the real weather sets in.  Its a waiting game, home buying.  Hes hoping for a closing by the end of next week.

Im happy for him, and excited for him.  It will be nice to get my old routine back, too.  But I will miss Bro and the kids, as they will all be living two towns over and when school is in session, I wont see much of them.  Id be lying if I said I had no worries.  If youre new here, the story of how Bro came to live with Walker and me was pretty painful.  The short version is, Bro had a tough time accepting that his marriage was ending.  We tried to offer up a soft place to land while he got things worked out.  Hes done very well, I think, but I also think that coming home nearly every night to an empty house will be very hard for him after so many years.  I dont think hes lived alone since just after college, about twenty years ago.

I know I need to have faith that if he starts to lose his way, he’ll yell for help.  Faith has not been my strong suit, but I’m working on it.  I trust my brother.  He’s worked very hard to deal with his demons.  It’s time for the next step.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dirty Words on TV Again

The weather folks are talking SNOW.  Already!  And not just a few random flakes, they are saying we could be in for up to six inches.  Of course, this time of year it isn't all that cold so I doubt it would last but they did talk about possible accumulation.  Which would mean possible shoveling.  Tell me again why I choose to live here?  I honestly don't usually mind snow, but for some reason this has me all out of sorts.  At least I now have a good vehicle for getting through it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Catching Up

I feel like I've been behind the eight ball all week. In a way, I guess I have been.  It started last Sunday, when Walker announced that he would be doing the weekly cleaning.  I officially had the day off.

I have this rule that when someone does something to help you out, you don't tell them how to do it.  You smile and say thank you and be sincerely grateful that someone is willing to take up your slack. So I left Walker and his scrub bucket in the kitchen and went outside to clean up the garden.  The thing is, I know Walker and I know how he cleans.  He is very, very thorough.  You could pretty much do surgery in there when he finishes.  Which is great, but time consuming.  I was sure there was no way he could get everything done.  I did offer to help, every so often, but Walker cheerfully assured me he would stay up all night if needed to finish the list. 

He didn't finish the list.

He didn't even get past the kitchen, except to change the sheets on our bed.

So I went to bed Sunday night thinking that I would get up in the morning and finish the list.  Only, I woke up feeling a little green.  I chalked it up to too much Halloween candy and went back to bed.  Of course, by the time I got up again I had just enough time to get ready for work before all the little goblins started ringing our bell.

When I'm not feeling well I tend to just ignore it.  If I don't have a fever and I'm not coughing all over the place I  still go to work. So that's what I did, all week, despite the fact that I was having chills and body aches.  I never did get a fever but looking back, I think I probably should have stayed home at least a night or two.  On a normal night I get home from work around three, go to bed around five, and get up around noon.  Last week I was going to bed at four and sleeping until anywhere from two until after four in the afternoon.  I can pretend that I never get sick but my body tells me otherwise.  I ate a lot of chicken soup and drank a lot of tea. It's all good now.

So while I was under the weather, the boys pretty much went through the week business as usual.  Which means this weekend I had lots of catching up to do. I'm pretty much done now.  Just in time to go back to work. Sigh.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I think this is the last of our fall color.  It's raining pretty hard right now, and I'm guessing that when the sun comes up many of these pretty leaves will be in soggy piles on the ground.  We're due for a cold spell, too.  Might have to break down and fire up the furnace.