Monthly Archives: May 2010

Remembering those who have fallen and those who still serve.

My nephew in Afghanistan

      May you all come home safe and soon!

No more robbing Peter to pay Paul


     We went through years of where we thought we’d never see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We’d get close but then someone would move the end.  We had those calls from creditors where you want to scream at them, “How do you get blood from a stone?”  You knew it was bad when you’d cringe at the ring of a phone.  We lived in creditor hell for a while and it is the worst place to be.  I’m not going back there.

     I never thought this day would get here.  One more check to write and we are debt free.  We can pay our regular bills as they arrive. 

     No more loan payments!  We cleared that last week.  We’ve always had a loan payment.  20 years ago when we paid off the mortgage, we still had car payments, and there was a home equity loan we had to take out when most of our major appliances committed suicide on the same day.  Like anyone else, we kept refinancing that loan to pay for things we needed.

     We don’t owe the credit card companies a dime.  I’ve worked hard to keep them clear by only charging what I knew I could pay when the bill came.  Believe me that wasn’t easy. 

     We’ve paid our oil and cable bill for the year, the car insurance too.  Holy crap, we won’t know how to act.  We might even be able to build up a decent savings account.  Wow.

I began to write again


     I always danced to a different drummer.  I never fit in with the ‘in’ crowd.  I wasn’t a nerd, I wasn’t an athlete, and I wasn’t a straight A student.  I barely cracked a book and was happy with A’s and B’s giving me a high B average.  I was bored and ignored in school.

     I did a lot of daydreaming and spent most of the time with my nose in a book.  I wrote bad teenaged angst filled poetry and short stories.  I loved my art and English classes.

     My junior year of high school I had an English teacher that managed to light a spark.  At first I frustrated her because I’d read every book on her book list.  Then she made another list.  I messed her up on that one too since I’d already read over half of those books.  She didn’t give up.  She saw something in me that most teachers had overlooked.  She’d never had a student quite like me.  I had a passion for reading and writing.  She never stopped pushing and prodding me the whole year. 

     For years afterwards, I put that passion for writing aside, busy with working and keeping house.  Then one day I began to write again.

Here we go again


     I have my hands full with Gavin tonight.  One of his ears is once again inflamed and he won’t leave it alone.  This means he’s back in ‘the collar of shame’ at least that is what he thinks about the E-collar.  I had to put it on him because he kept digging at his ear, not a good thing.  He only makes it worse that way.  At least with the E-collar on him I can try to break the itch scratch cycle. 

     This is a chronic problem with him.  It took him an hour to settle down in his crate after I put the collar on him because he was not thrilled.  Last time I put it on him he did a Houdini and got it off.  I found it in the back of the crate.  We were fortunate that he didn’t chew it up and eat the thing.

Is it a bear or Sasquatch?


     There’s a man, who walks his dog past our house.  Sometime in the future, he will be a character in one of my books.  He wouldn’t be a main character or even a minor character.  He’d be a walk on.

     He’d be one for one reason only and that is for the way he dresses or…um…doesn’t dress.  The only reason I dread hot weather is that this man wears teensy shorts and goes shirtless or he wears a tank top with his shorts.  It hit 92 degrees here yesterday.  Someone gimme some bleach because I need to scrub my eyeballs.

     Gentlemen, if you have more hair on your back than your Pekingese has on his whole body, wear a shirt.  If you are hairy enough all over to be mistaken for Sasquatch when you wear shorts and go shirtless in the summer, you need to put on long pants and a shirt in public.  Please not a tank top because that only emphasizes your hairiness. 

     If in addition to the hirsuteness, you have a beer belly that extends so far out you haven’t seen your feet in at least ten years, cover yourself.

Too hot too soon


     Wow, did it get hot today.  The temperature leapt to ninety-one.  If you add to that a lot of humidity, you can be sure that DH was miserable.  He turned on the AC. 

     The pups were happy since they like the AC and they squabbled for the best place on the floor in front of the unit.  Share?  Are you kidding?  It’s like living with perpetual three-year olds.

     I like the heat so it didn’t bother me.  I did some work outside and then took advantage of the heavily shaded hammock.  All was fine while there was a breeze, but when that stopped, I decided it was time to retire to the house where it was cooler.

     I hadn’t realized how hot it was outside until I walked into the kitchen.  The cool non-humid air hit me like a tall ocean wave and felt as refreshing.  However, I do hate sitting in the house all the time so I was soon back outside. 

     I harvested the rhubarb and took some over to G.  Then I baked a rhubarb custard pie for tonight’s dessert—pure heaven.  DH was more than a little delighted.

Something special


     Occasionally you need to treat yourself (and your best friend) to something special.  G knows I hate to shop and I really hate to shop alone.  Today we went shopping for a few items I needed to pick up.  We found all but one but that’s okay.  I’ll find it elsewhere.

     On the way home from the conference I’d spotted a sign for a new restaurant’s grand opening and thought of G right away.  After we finished shopping, I rather surprised her by making a right turn where, to go home, I would normally turn left.

     I further surprised her by pulling into a shopping mall parking lot, parking the van, and telling her we were having lunch.  G was delighted.  She told me she was glad she hadn’t had any before we left.  That was the idea I’d had when I dragged her out before noon.

     Of course, after shopping, by the time we did get there for our lunch it was after the lunch crowds had left.  We had a wonderful lunch and a lot of fun.  By scoping out the restaurant first, we know we’ll be able to take the DH’s there too.

There’s still romance


     Thirty-seven years and there’s still romance in our marriage.  Life has been hectic for both DH and me over the last several months…um, years even.  We haven’t seemed to have much time to take a breath, relax, and simply enjoy each other.  However, once in a while….

     It had drizzled all day but around seven, the sky cleared.  After weeding the gardens, I set the new hammock up since the weather reports have indicated several dry days heading our way.  DH came out to see what I was doing.

     The hammock is a huge rope one, almost as wide as I am tall and quite long.  DH decided to try it out.  He sprawled out in it and looked deliriously happy and comfortable.

     “Move over,” I said and joined him. 

      “The pillow is too small to share.”

     “That’s okay I’ll use you.”  I rested my head on his shoulder.

     He snuggled closer and we scanned the sky to catch the first star.

     After a while I said, “I like this.”

     “I’m glad you bought the hammock.”  He kissed the top of my head.  “I missed doing this.”

     “Me too.”

     We stayed there until all the stars looked down at us.

Writers’ bait


     I promised to tell you what we used for writers’ bait.  Although Jackie’s guesses were good, she didn’t come close. 

     Writers’ bait has been a running joke with a few of us for a couple of years.  It started one year when we were sitting in another hotel lobby.  I put something on the table in front of us.  It wasn’t long before more and more people joined us.  It seems I found a weakness. 

     What is it that few people can resist?  What was in almost every basket at the Chinese auction? 

     Throughout the weekend, six bags of Dove Dark Chocolate and three bags of Hershey Dark Bliss candy disappeared.  Not only did the night shift hotel staff enjoy the nightly treats I handed out, but all the writers who sat with us did too.

     There’s magic in chocolate, my dears.

Tomorrow I’ll do the bills


     Today was a perfect day to place my butt in the chair and write.  I couldn’t go out and play in the garden because we had a constant drizzle of rain all day.  DH had the dogs pretty well worn out when I got up.  The only other thing that screamed for attention was to pay the bills.

     Do the bills or write?  Bills or write?  No contest there.  I poured some coffee, turned on the computer, pulled up three of my books and began my juggling act.  A paragraph here, another one there, some dialogue in the third, I was humming along and then the phone rang.

     The mother-in-law, DH had to run over to her house for another ‘only her son can take care of it’ situation.  Here we go again.  I knew he’d come home exhausted.  While he was gone, I made sure the dogs went out, twice.  I decided what to make for dinner—something that would take long enough for him to squeeze in a nap when he got home.

     An hour and a half later, he dragged through the door.  I sent him up for a nap and crated the dogs so they’d be quiet.  Both dogs passed out, snores emanated from the crate within minutes.  Oh, yeah he’d tired them out for sure.  I set a timer to stop me when I needed to start dinner then went back to the computer to do more writing.

PW conference in the cheap seats


     It was cheaper to go out to dinner than to pay for the banquet at the conference.  Don’t get me wrong, I often attend the banquets but this year I wasn’t sure how much money I would have so when I sent in my registration I skipped all the extras.  I share the hotel room, which cuts that cost in half.  Even at half price, it isn’t cheap to stay for four days. 

     The costume party was fun when I attended one two years ago, but I skipped that too, again it was the money.     

      A small group of us went to the conference on the cheap. We got our entertainment watching the boys and girls go into their prom.  They were adorable.  The gowns were lovely and the tuxedos looked a lot better than the ones I remember did back in the day.  Some of the lads even wore tails.  It brought back many memories of the three proms I’d attended.  The best arrival was the couple that came in an antique car.  For me, the only thing that could’ve topped that would’ve been a fancy horse drawn carriage.

Who hid the Aleve?


     I didn’t count how many plants I bought on Monday.  I did count them today.  My jaw dropped when I hit forty-four.  Yikes!  I planted all but six of them today.  Am I an idiot?  Yes, yes I am.  Because not only did I did dig thirty eight holes and stuff thirty eight plants into the ground I also dug out three large Iris groups, a few coreopsis, a couple of moss roses, two sedums, and by the time I finished, I felt as if the partridge and pear tree had come along for the ride.

     Why did I dig up so much of my flora?  (It barely put a dent in the garden)  Wednesday, I was telling G that I needed to split many of my perennials this year.  I knew she couldn’t take them.  G’s tiny yard is already jam packed with flowers.  For a postage stamp yard, it is gorgeous.  I made the comment about wishing I knew someone who’d like some flowers.  

     M walks her dog past our yard daily, we’ve only talked briefly, and that was about Patty who wanted to eat her dog.  Patty’s greatest desire is to wipe all dogs (except her big brother Gavin) off the face of the earth.  I was sure I was on this young woman’s list of people to avoid.  However, she was within earshot and I saw her eyes light up.  I asked her if she gardened.  She grinned.  G and I introduced ourselves M told us her name and that she lived on the other side of the cemetery.  The three of us talked for quite a while and M and I arranged for her to come for flowers today.

     Around five, the yard is shaded, the rest of the time most of the gardens are in full sun.  M arrived with a shovel and bin.  I gave her a list of all I had available to split.  We didn’t even come close to one of each item when we had filled her car.  M will be back.

     I still have a ton of iris to split, bleeding hearts are running rampant among the beds, and many other flowers that have bivouacked where they don’t belong.  Jackie, bring a shovel and expect to work for your flowers.  I’ll supply the coffee. 

     I’m sore tonight—not getting any younger.  Where the heck is the Aleve?