Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year's Eve

Still cold. Ordinarily, during the winter, Finn makes repeated requests to go out, only to want back in after about 30 seconds; then he goes to another door, as if the weather is going to be different there. Yesterday I made him stay out with me while I shoveled snow. Today he is not even asking to go out.
  • I made a deal with myself this morning that if I took the dogs on longish walks today, I can skip dog-walking the next two days. That's if the dangerous wind chill factor forecasts pan out. There's a full moon and a clear sky, so I'm expecting they will.
  • Last night I was so physically tired I felt almost ill. Turned out the lights shortly after 9. When I think of how many decades I was basically inert because of my job and single parenting and general laziness, it amazes me.
  • My SO and I decided to celebrate the New Year today, during the day, while we are still awake and alert. While the sense of a new beginning each new year brings is exciting to me, I don't feel the need to torture myself into staying awake until midnight.
  • When I came home, around supper time, I was so famished I felt shaky. That is a rare thing, but when you reach seniorhood, every little quirk in one's physical or mental well being feels like the beginning of the end. One day, you are perfectly fine, the next day you're not.
  • Usually I make at least a few resolutions this time of year, but I'm coming up blank for 2018. I could still lose weight and exercise more and keep house better and etc., but I am fairly content with where I am right now.
  • Finished watching season 2 of Happy Valley. Will there be more? What should I watch next? River? Broadchurch? I'll check my Netflix queue.
  • Good-bye, 2017. Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Plain old Saturday

Even though I am retired, Saturday still feels like Saturday.
  • Morning routine: Temps and wind chill tolerable. The neighbor with the snow blower who usually helps me clear the driveway is distracted from his neighborly duties by his new girl friend, so I had to shovel snow after breakfast.
  • Saturday routine: laundry, vacuuming.
  • Weaving: blogged about the last swatch, now that it is blocked and all.
  • Entertainment: Ordered tickets for Red, which is being staged by the First Presbyterian Theater. We've seen it before, in another local venue. Should be interesting to contrast and compare. Also, two more episodes of Happy Valley are under my belt.
  • Pets: Beau climbed to the top of a free-standing cabinet. I could hear him knocking things about but could not figure out where he was. Look up, ya idiot!
  • House: While contemplating my old, old "colonial blue" insulating bedroom curtains, which I bought when Indiana took leave of its senses and joined the DST madness and I needed something to block the daylight at 10pm (I'm not still upset, really I'm not), I remembered I had purchased a pair of the same style curtains but in "navy". They were for another bedroom but were never hung. I'm just glad they never made it to the Goodwill bag. I ordered another pair for my other bedroom window, from Plow and Hearth.

Friday, December 29, 2017

More winter advisory weather

This is getting a bit boring for me. You?
  • Dog-walking/step-counting: Took the dogs on individual walks, medium length. More snow fell yesterday, enough to hide the ice beneath. Almost fell once. Despite walking nearly every aisle at Costco, my step count is coming up short.
  • Dog training: Clio seems totally confused today about all commands. Watson gets it.
  • Fiber: The usual 8 rows on the baby blanket. By my estimate, I have 20 more pattern repeats to do, plus the border. That will take 10-14 days. This project is beginning to feel interminable. I finished up swatch #4, so I am free from that self-imposed task.
  • Eating: The pot roast is gone. The pears are gone. There were no 5-oz packages of greens at the Co-op today, so I bought baby spinach, which means I also bought mushrooms and feta cheese so I can make omelets.
  • Entertainment: Finished In the Watershed and returned it to the library. More Happy Valley - I'm addicted. Could not figure out why one of the second season characters looks so familiar - he was Mr. Molesley on Downton Abbey.
  • Health: Not feeling 100% today. Because of the inoculations? The result is a total lack of patience. If I ever get a serious illness, I will be a whiny bitch on wheels, not the sweet old lady who puts up a brave front. 
  • Weather: After all my complaining about mild winters, I am now really tired of having to bundle up me and the dogs in order to go for a walk. The neighbor who usually blows my driveway is distracted by a new girl friend, so I've had to shovel. Not that I mind shoveling a little snow - it's part of my exercise routine - it's the long underwear that chafes (figuratively speaking).
  • Shopping: I have been contemplating my spendthrift ways. Need a moratorium from Amazon.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Still brrr

I guess much of the northern part of the country is stuck with sub-freezing temps for a while. I'll have to get used to it. At least we don't have five feet of snow.

  • Dog walking/step counting: Actually took the dogs on two walks today, abbreviated individual dog walks in the morning, together in the afternoon. While P was at Meier's, he picked up a couple of water buffalo horn chew "toys" for them. They are cheaper than elk antler but I don't think they will last long. No one has urped them up... so far.
  • Dog training: More indoor work. When P came over, "place" was a medium FAIL.
  • House cleaning: I started carpet cleaning with the remnants. Unfortunately, I dropped the canister so now it has a big, leaky crack in it. I hope I can fix it with Gorilla Glue. Sometimes I think it would be easier to replace the carpets instead of clean them.
  • Fiber: Achieved my daily row count on the baby blanket. Started a new weaving swatch: 4x1 twill in two shades of gray.
  • Eating: Almost all the pot roast is gone. That is one dish I think it is impossible to ruin. Down to my last Harry and David pear.
  • Entertainment: Finished season one of Happy Valley.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Am I tired of this yet?

  • Lousy night's sleep. I kept waking up because my shoulders hurt from yesterday's injections.
  • I did not walk the dogs in the morning, as the temp was -6 (NEGATIVE 6) and the wind chill factor unacceptable. I can bundle up in layers and put jackets on the dogs, but it is still a bit much to expect out of them.
  • More knitting on the baby blanket.
  • Dusted my bedroom. Later found the cat had upset a glass of water on the nightstand. At least I assume it was Beau the Feline Destroyer of all Things Nice. Since I had a handwoven cotton runner on the nightstand, most of the damage was contained. At least he did not knock over the lamp. I hate broken glass in my bed.
  • Since it was so cold out, I worked on the dogs inside: come, sit, place, heel (off leash). In the afternoon, when it had warmed up to 10 with little wind, I took them both out together. They did good. My new boots did good, too.
  • Finishing up In the Watershed, as it is due back at the library and I can't renew it because of holds. One more chapter to go. This is a small, thoughtfully written book by a local fellow, about a local river, the Maumee.
  • Finished weaving the checks swatch. Even blocked it. Next one is twill, so I researched how to do that on the swatch maker.
  • Leafed through some seed catalogs and updated my yardening spreadsheet a bit.
  • My tablet is back from being repaired. They wiped it, so nothing is installed anymore. Also the SD card is missing. While the tablet has been on vacation, I have been using my laptop, which I think I like better than the tablet. At least it has a real keyboard.
  • Watched two more episodes of Happy Valley. Gritty.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Dear sister-I-never-had:
  • This morning it was 2 degrees out but little wind. To walk the dogs or not walk the dogs? The walks are actually for me, but the dogs are the motivators. Decided not to. The dogs were confused.
  • A first: my Welcome to Medicare exam. This was not with my GP but at the Welcome Clinic. A nursing assistant did the BP, temp, pulse, etc. A social worker made sure I wasn't sitting on a couch in my pjs all day, watching TV and getting depressed. An LPN did the actual exam. I declined a mammogram, got a script for a dexa scan, received a flu shot and a pneumonia shot, got a script for a massage for my shoulders, and got a referral for a new gyno, as mine retired. All in all, a successful and pleasant experience. And I didn't have to take off my clothes.
  • After having to return the LL Bean boots, I decided to try to find some locally. First, went to Roberts Shoes but the women's boots were more for fashion than walking in snow. Then corralled P into coming with me to the mall. I tried on a half dozen pairs at one store, all of them men's sizes as they didn't have any women's in my size, but while they fit in the toe, my heel kept slipping around. Felt bad for the young guy schlepping boxes but I said pass. P talked me into looking in Shoe Encore and lo and behold, there was a pair of Timberlands in a women's 11 AND they fit!!! And they were on sale!!!
  • Our mall experience included once around the whole place, then we bopped over to Panera for lunch. We were going to stop at Best Buy so P could show me a keyboard for my tablet (which is still at Samsung being repaired) but the line of cars just to get into the shopping center was too long. We'll go another day. I did stop at Pet Supplies Plus for kitty litter, though. Did NOT stop at JoAnn even though their coupons are burning a hole through my purse.
  • More knitting on the baby blanket. I'm almost 2/3 done, but I think I will need another ball of yarn.
  • More weaving on the swatch. The design is checks. Still having trouble with the selvages.
  • Put away some of the xmas decorations.
  • Started watching Happy Valley.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Monday!

Dear diary:
  • This is a rare white xmas. I was afraid the new guy who plows our addition thought he had the day off, but he finally showed up. (This is my concern because I am the treasurer of the HOA and I hired him. If anyone complains, they will become the new treasurer.)
  • Besides snow, it is really cold out. Abbreviated dog walks - Clio actually sat down a block and a half from the house and refused to go further. It is supposed to get even colder this week. I finished shoveling the driveway.
  • Pot roast for xmas dinner, the easiest homemade meal ever. My son and his new girl friend stopped by and helped eat it. P's pumpkin pie (his secret ingredient is eggnog in place of condensed milk) lasted through two meals.
  • Like little kids, the dogs were overly excited about the holiday. Clio even piddled when my son arrived, then later out-and-out peed on the dining room carpet. WTH?
  • I am peopled out, ready to hibernate and have some alone time.
  • Also: xmas is over, folks. Time to return to our regularly scheduled program, including two more repeats on the baby blanket and the start of a weaving swatch.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Winter weather advisory

Dear diary (you need a more interesting name):

  • I slept in a bit this morning even though there were THINGS TO DO
  • Finn was out all night. I hate it when he does that in winter, but the temps were near 30 and he has a straw-filled dog house to hunker down in. At least he was waiting by the patio door this morning, but oddly voiceless. Usually he talks to me when he comes in. Silent treatment?
  • Quick run to the grocery store: chuck roast for tomorrow (it's easy to cook) and a few sundries. 8am is a good time to go, at least on a Sunday.
  • The new paper carrier missed me for the second Sunday in a row. I think she is putting my paper in my neighbor's box (who I think no longer subscribes) but I didn't want to presume.
  • More cleaning - the ground is frozen enough to make mopping the kitchen floor worthwhile -  plus washed the dog bedding because it STINKS. My life is very dog-centric these days.
  • The Lagom book is not bound very well, as the pages are starting to fall out even though it is brand new. I dread returning it to the library because I will feel guilty about the damage even though it is NOT my fault. BYW, I did not read-read it but skimmed through.
  • My daughter and family came bearing Mexican food from the nearby Cebolla's. Not cooking was a great gift! Gave me time to shovel snow before they arrived.
  • I love listening to seven-year-old Nora explain things. She has really made leaps and bounds in her vocabulary and her comprehension and her ability to explain things. 
  • Peace to all!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Definitely a stay-at-home day

Dear diary:
  • A regular night's sleep - ahh!
  • Regular morning routine. It looked slick out because of crap falling from the sky, but it was ok.
  • More cleaning - the house looks kinda nice (for a change). Also laundry. When I was working, I got into the habit of doing all the laundry on the weekend; that way everyone had clean clothes for the week. When I retired, I tried to break that habit, to no avail.
  • Knit more on the baby blanket.
  • Homemade soup and a homemade Egg McMuffin for lunch, salad and popcorn for supper.
  • Wrapped presents. I occasionally donate money to NWF. They send me calendars and wrapping paper and lots of requests for more money. Does any of my donation actually help wildlife?
  • Winter weather advisory for tomorrow, from 10am to 10pm. I need to go to the grocery store. Maybe around 7am? Before the dogs get up?
  • Finished season 3 of Last Tango in Halifax. Started reading Lagom.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Stay-at-home day - almost

Dear diary:
  • Last night I did not sleep well, which is unusual. I use audio books as a sleep aid, but even that did not help. I blame the chocolate I ate at the spin-in.
  • I followed my usual morning routine, except is sounded like one of the dogs threw up A LOT in the crate. My water bill is going up from washing dog bedding. However, this time it was all noise with no results. 
  • Even though I did not want to leave the house, I ran a couple of errands, one to deposit a rather large withdrawal from an IRA account. I didn't want that check laying around the house where it could get pitched with the wrapping paper. I also dropped off the LL Bean boots for return. I let the dogs ride along, so they get used to riding in the car when there is no fun activity in the offing.
  • Some cleaning happened, too! I vacuumed up cobwebs and other detritus usually missed with the regular vacuuming, concentrating on the living and dining rooms. I also dusted.
  • Pasta and homemade marinara sauce for lunch, a loaded baked potato for supper. Now I feel loaded.
  • I knit two more pattern repeats on the baby blanket. I'm itching to do some weaving, though. And spinning. And dyeing. And wool scouring. And even sewing. What happens is I get caught up in all those lovely activities, letting things like housework, errands, etc. slide. 
  • More Last Tango in Halifax. I'm into season three.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Solstice

Calvin and Hobbes:

  • I was able to follow my morning routine uninterrupted as the phone and Internet are back. Yay!
  • Today's color is pink-ish. Sewed a button back on cherry red parka, then washed it - it looks much better.
  • The xmas eve celebration will be at my house, so I'm starting to panic a bit about cleaning. Not actually doing much about it.
  • I reluctantly boxed up boots to return to LL Bean. SO disappointed they are too small. I may have to give up on trying to buy footwear online.
  • I knit two more repeats on the baby blanket. This is for P's daughter and hubby who are adopting a baby in February. If I stick with the plan, the blanket should be done by then.
  • The dogs continue to drag in way too much dirt. Instead of letting them just run loose in the backyard, I am chaperoning them, in hopes of teaching them to stay out of the flower beds and to stop digging holes. I also worked on re-teaching them DOWN, but it did not go well; I need to work with them separately. The mental workout did seem to tire them out, though.
  • My son-in-law showed up to pick up Nora... except she was not here. A rare mix-up.
  • Since I wanted to buy some more chartreuse and turquoise roving, I attended the spin-in at Little Shop of Spinning, but I didn't take my wheel. Worked on a face mask I could have used yesterday. The colors I wanted were not available, so no purchases. Listened to a handful of sad stories; didn't share my own. 
  • Two more episodes of Last Tango in Halifax. More family secrets are revealed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Testing 3

Today I...

  • followed my usual routine of coffee and news, blah, blah, blah. Got a bit stuck on the NYT crossword puzzle.
  • walked the dogs. I was supposed to take one of them to a group training session this afternoon, but I rescheduled that for after the holidays.
  • ate breakfast - more of the usual.
  • showered. Today's clothes color is brown, so I fixed the button holes on my brown faux sherpa coat.
  • picked up dog poop while it was still cold out. The temps won't stay down this month, so the ground is not frozen, so the dogs keep tracking mud into the house. I try to clean them up with foot baths but they hate it, resulting in much struggling and swearing.
  • vacuumed (damn dogs).
  • set out the mowers to be picked up for servicing. I think the man picking them up was the same one who delivered the zero-turn Toro last summer and "trained" me in how to use it. The training mostly consisted of my dragging information out of him; his answers implied I was an ignorant slut.
  • had lunch with P. at Qdoba - rice and beans for me. We were going to walk the mall but it was too crowded, settled for coffee at the Starbucks across the street, where I could use a gift card (I can't use it at the B&N cafe).
  • I was supposed to pick up Nora, but her dad called and said he would, as his training ended early. That freed up the rest of my day.
  • Did not knit two more repeats on the baby blanket because I was distracted by my telephone and Internet being down. Called Frontier customer service who forwarded me to someone else who forwarded me to someone else who was finally able to tell me there was an outage in my area. While I was distracted by that minor emergency, Clio dug a hole in the backyard and Watson got into the trash in the living room. Damn dogs.
  • supper = the cookies I took to the guild meeting last night.
  • suffered Last Tango in Halifax withdrawal. Finished reading a NYer from the library, made progress on In the Watershed, neither of which can be renewed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Testing 2

Today I...

* followed my morning routine of coffee and news and social media (if Twitter does not bring me joy, should I thank it and delete my accounts? What about IG? FB?); deleted one of my Twitter accounts, the one with my real name
* weighed myself - I think I lost 2 pounds. Of course, it depends on where one starts counting.
* walked the dogs
* ate breakfast (the usual yogurt-fruit-nuts)
* showered and washed my hair. Now that my hair is shorter, I may have to start washing it more often than twice a week
* ran (more) errands: dropped package at UPS (my Samsung Galaxy S2 Tab needs warranty repair - hope I followed the packaging instructions well enough - since I couldn't disable apps on the device itself, I changed as many passwords as I could think of via my laptop, hope none of my accounts get hacked), deposited a check (not for me, for the HOA) at the bank, strolled through Rekindle (looking for a frame of some sort for my kitchen window, something with a smaller footprint than a drying rack to air my handknit socks on, little chotchkies for the Hamilton printer tray that maybe someday will actually get hung on the wall, a wolf of some sort for Nora - it's her new favorite animal, ideas for storing weaving tools - came up empty; it looks like stuff there is not moving very fast), checked Goodwill for same items - no luck, picked up book on hold at library (Lagom).
* ate lunch: egg and cheese on English muffin, navel orange, popcorn, mocha coffee (soup wasn't thawed enough to get it out of the jar)
* knit two pattern repeats on the baby blanket
* worked a bit more on the optimistically named "fiber studio". I think it is coming together, bit by bit. It would help if I didn't have so much raw material.
* researched more solutions to the dogs turning the backyard into a mud pit. Gravel?
* answered the phone because for once it was not a robocall about medical insurance or my credit cards or the warranty on a car I no longer own
* received boots I ordered from LL Bean. I'm afraid they are too small. Have my feet gotten bigger? Or are shoe sizes shrinking?
* attended the xmas party for Flaxers and Fleecers, the local spinning guild. There was a gift exchange, which I chose to not participate in as this is my first time and was unsure what gifts were "appropriate". Turns out roving with cashmere is very popular, as are little replicas of objects like spinning wheels and knitting bags; books not so much. I took store-bakery cookies, brought most of them home because OMG all the cheesecake!
* watched another episode of Last Tango in Halifax with the dogs. I assumed this Halifax was in Nova Scotia, but then why is everyone driving on the left side of the road? Turns out it is not Nova Scotia but somewhere in the UK.

Monday, December 18, 2017


(I'm trying an experiment of using lists on this blog to describe my life. This is not a to-do list but a what-I-did list. Feel free to comment.)

Today I...

* Performed my morning routine: coffee, online comics and news and NYT crossword puzzle and social media and email.
* Walked the dogs
* Ate breakfast
* Took a shower
* Ran errands: dropped books at the library; paid my hair stylist (forgot my checkbook last week); mailed handknit socks to son's girl friend; went to Staples in search of a box, bought packing peanuts instead and a gift card for P; searched for an electric fence at Lowe's, Menards, TSC; bought a cabinet knob at Menards and a projecting xmas light; at TSC purchased a new pair of rubber boots; stopped at Krogers for bananas and cookies to take to xmas spinning guild meeting, also bought a pizza. Is that all? I think so, took all morning.
* Ate the WHOLE pizza for lunch.
* Picked up Nora.
* Fixed Nora hot chocolate; did hidden picture puzzles in Highlights for Children with her; played Uno and checkers with her, too. The Nook tablet remains "lost".
* Knit two pattern repeats on baby blanket.
* Skipped supper (see lunch above); tried one of the pears - not quite ripe yet.
* Washed dishes.
* Watched an episode of "Last Tango in Halifax" with the dogs.
* Ate bedtime snack - Cheerios, milk, banana, walnuts.
* Went to sleep after doing a crossword puzzle; still using Sherlock Holmes as a sleep aid.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Just say YES

After I lost Charlie, my basset mix, I enumerated all the reasons I shouldn't get another dog. A friend who had also recently lost her dog listened to my reasoning, then stated firmly that she had thought those same thoughts, but decided she didn't care. She went on to get TWO dogs, while I adopted Betsy Beagle who was destined to become the doggy love of my life.

A little over two years ago, Betsy went to doggy heaven. I still tear up thinking about her final days. A lot was happening back then: my father passed, I retired, etc. Eventually, I felt ready for another dog, and along came Watson.

My goal was to get a dog who wanted to go for walks but didn't need to go. That criteria turned out not to match Watson at all. He is a bundle of energy, always on high alert. We walk 2-3 miles a day and he still needs more.

Meet Clio. She is a yellow lab/pitbull mix, adopted from the Fort Wayne Pitbull Coalition. Before my daughter adopted a pit mix, I would not have considered the so-called breed, but Maybell is such a sweetheart! Clio has a similar temperament, despite coming from less than ideal circumstances.

Before Watson, I had considered getting a yellow lab but decided they were too big. Clio weighs the same as Watson, but is much leggier. She is 8 or 9 months old, so while I don't expect her to get much taller, she will probably fill out a bit. I'm hoping not too much.

Since she is so tall, I forget that she is still a puppy, needs puppy food and puppy naps. She also needs some lessons on where to pee (NOT IN THE HOUSE PLEASE) and other training. So far, she responds well to treats and has learned to sit on command already.

Watson has certainly met his match energy-wise. They play well 95% of the time, still sorting out who top dog is. Watson is older and male, but Clio can straddle him which he finds frustrating. He was acting submissive yesterday but is trying to turn the tables today.I can't wait for the mutual humping and genital licking to subside.

I know people who, after losing a pet, swear off animals forever. I can't believe they would sacrifice years of happiness for a little sadness. Unwanted pets is not the problem it used to be around here, thanks to spaying and neutering programs and alternatives to euthanasia, especially for stray cats. Adult dogs and cats usually come housebroken and ready to love someone new. Even senior pets can provide years of loyalty and affection.

Please, please check out the animals in your local shelter. Say YES to love. You can save a life... and some little furball just might save yours.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Another way to eat

If you are like me, you are eternally searching for a healthy way to eat. In the past, I tended toward the high-protein, low-carb diets for weight loss, but found them unsustainable. Similarly, I like the idea of being vegetarian but could not get it to work for me, particularly the emphasis on soy products (ugh).

Then my ex had not one but two heart attacks recently. Now I'm more concerned about overall health rather than just weight loss. Coincidentally, my neighbor across the street turned me onto How Not To Die, by Dr. Michael Greger, and his Daily Dozen (available as an app).

For the past month or so, I have been migrating toward Dr. Greger's plant based way of eating. It hasn't been that hard, as I like fruits and vegetables (and they are all in season right now) and nuts and beans. Not one to throw out food, I have been gradually clearing the cupboards of foods not on the list.

One thing I like about Dr. Greger's approach is he promotes what to eat instead of what not to eat. For example, if the only way you will eat salad greens is if they are topped with Bacon Bits, go for it, because eating the greens is more important than not eating the Bacon Bits. For me, I can't seem to live without dairy.

One thing I do not like about the Daily Dozen is it is WAY too much fiber for my system. I find it more doable if I alternate bean days with salad days, and choose Cheerios over oatmeal. Also, I cut some of the high fiber portions by half.

A surprising side effect of eating this way is my craving for carbs has begun to fade away. I like to eat something salty followed by something sweet. Now instead of chips and a Snickers bar, popcorn (with butter and nutritional yeast) and then a piece of fruit usually suffice.

I'm not 100% compliant, but then that is not the point. I no longer buy meat to cook at home, but when eating out I usually have some kind of animal protein (bacon still tastes wonderful but other meats now seem rather meh). I still enjoy ice cream but add fruit and nuts to my sundaes.

So far, I am finding this an enjoyable way to eat. I haven't lost any weight (see ice cream above) but I feel more self-righteous. We'll see if it affects my cholesterol numbers in six months.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's only money

I used to joke that it is easier to buy a new car than new tires. This year I did both. The plan was to trade in the car before it needed tires, but I procrastinated a bit too long, then didn't want to feel rushed into a car-buying decision. (In Fort Wayne, Tire Barn is the place to get tires - fast and friendly.)

I test drove both a Honda CR-V and a Subaru Forester. Either car would have made me happy, but I went with the CR-V because it was familiar, the dealership is familiar, the salesman is familiar, and the car itself felt fresher than the Forester. Ordinarily, I steer clear of extended warranties, but this time purchased one because of all the fancy new electronics.

Boring colors to choose from. This is Sandstorm Metallic.

Speaking of which, some of those electronic features are not working out like I expected. Android Auto is a disappointment, rarely works without rebooting my phone, and then craps out unexpectedly. The Bluetooth hands-free mode is better but still sometimes requires a phone reboot to connect. And one time the display screen went completely blank; I had to stop and restart the car to get it back, something I'm not likely to do on the highway.

For everyday driving, the car is fine, smooth and zippy, and I like the safety features... mostly. Sometimes when the car beeps at me because it thinks I should be braking, I get annoyed. But I am growing fond of the blind spot indicators on the exterior rear view mirrors, as well as the backup camera, when I remember to look at them.

Then there are the buttons. There is a button to start the car, several to open and close the hatch, three to train (one opens my garage door). The moon roof switch works like the window switches, with auto open/close. Locking the car involves touching ridges on the door handle, unlocking is accomplished by just grabbing the door handle.

There are some features I executed during the test drive but have not had the opportunity to try on my own, like the adaptive cruise control with low speed follow and the road departure mitigation. Tomorrow my SO and I are taking a mini road trip, though, so there's my chance.

I'm geeky enough to be turned on by all the new technology, but sometimes the CR-V feels like too much car for me, too fancy. Some days I have to remind myself that learning new things is good for my brain. I also really loved my old CR-V; it was hard to let it go. This one won't be the automotive love-of-my-life, but it'll do. And my granddaughter is really impressed by it - that counts for something!

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Invisible Woman

I'm the kind of person that, in general, other people don't see and don't remember. I'm guessing I fly under their radar because most women don't find me a threat, most men don't find me attractive. I'm not ugly; I just don't stand out. This city was settled by Germans, and being mostly of northern European extraction myself (although I self-identify as Danish), I blend right in. Just another Hoosier.

Case in point: At the sixth of eight dog training classes, when the instructor took attendance, she commented, "Nice to see Watson is back." Yes, she recognized the dog, but didn't realize we had not missed any classes. In fact, after the previous class, I had stopped to discuss one-on-one a particular problem I have with Watson. Apparently, looking me in the eye for five minutes was not enough to earn a position on the stack of her short term memory.

It is also not unusual for me to be mistaken for someone else, sometimes someone I actually know, but to my knowledge never does the reverse happen. For example, the parents of one woman I'm frequently mistaken for moved nearby; when I mentioned to them that I was often mistaken for their daughter, they looked at me as though I were crazy. Or maybe they were just horrified.

One disconcerting experience of mistaken identity has been with the medical community. Someone with the same name as mine must be a real bitch because I have been treated oddly and sometimes rather rudely by a variety of nurses (one yelled at me over the phone, so I know it wasn't my looks) and a dermatologist once tried to examine me from across the room. I have changed doctors enough in the past few years that this particular issue seems to be resolved. Or maybe the other woman died. Or moved to Florida. (Which is worse?)

Sometimes I have fun with my invisibility. While attending a fiber arts festival, I spotted a member of the local spinning guild. I confess I myself am not good with names and faces, but this time I not only recognized the face, I remembered the name. I called out to her and chatted her up a bit, but I could tell she had no idea who I was even though I sat next to her during several meetings when she served as the guild president. I decided not to help her out.

I've learned not to throw my arms around old friends and former co-workers I have not seen for a while, just in case they don't recognize me. A different hair style and new eyeglass frames can really throw people, not to mention the aging thing. Being older has actually raised my visibility to strangers, though, I guess because it's considered a blessing to help the "elderly" (I'm 64). Unfortunately, my profile has also been raised with those Medicare supplement call centers that keep phoning. And they don't even know what I look like.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


My last post must have jinxed me, as things have NOT settled down. I should point out that the bad stuff is not happening to ME but to those around me. I'm fine, just in constant support mode and vaguely unsettled much of the time.

I don't want to tell stories that really belong to others, but one recent event was my ex had a heart attack. It could have been The Big One - in fact, it was The Big One, the doctors were surprised he survived - but through the miracle of modern medicine, he not only is alive but should be kicking, for a while at least.

My ex is not the first of my "cohorts" to have a health crisis, but he is the closest. The natural reaction is to try to pinpoint why HIM and not ME (easy, he's a smoker). Another reaction is, What if I were still married to him? (Thank goodness I don't have to be his caretaker through this.) And of course, there is the reminder that everything can change in a heartbeat, literally.

I try to prepare for the worst while also hoping for the best. What is "the best" at this stage of life, though? How do I want to live going forward, knowing there is only so much forward to go toward?

I have lived in this house over twenty years. When I retired, it was with the expectation I would remain in this house for another twenty. I joke that I cannot move until Finn, my indoor/outdoor cat, gives up his roaming ways. Most days I like my house, but there are times when I don't want a house or a yard or even a car anymore.

When in the anti-house mood, I declutter. Sometimes I apply Marie Kondo's methodology (keep what gives me joy), sometimes I simply wander through the house, looking for things to get rid of. I also rearrange what remains, to suit ME. These changes are prioritizing my possessions. Theoretically, when I do decide to downsize (or the decision is made for me), figuring out what to take may be easier than it might otherwise be.

I'm also trying to simplify the yard and garden chores. This summer I purchased a riding mower. My yard is not quite large enough to justify it, but it preserves my energy for the more fun aspects of yardening. And now mowing is FUN. In fact, I wish my lawn were larger. And that is happening somewhat, as I decrease the garden's footprint. I'm losing interest in growing food.

Until those jet packs become available, it looks like I am going to have to replace my Honda CRV. Soon. It has over 100k miles on it, and while it is still going strong, I am hesitant to take it out of town. A couple of days ago, I test drove the 2017 Honda CRV, and oh-my-goodness, the thing practically drives itself. Maybe all new cars are like this now - I'll have to test drive a couple more to see - but the technology has really advanced in the last 12 years. So even though I would like to magically be transported hither and yon, just as TV is more enjoyable with Netflix and Amazon Prime, driving may be more fun with a new vehicle.

Hanging onto old stuff mindlessly is actually stressful in a backwards sort of way. Yes, car shopping is stressful, but a new car would make my day-to-day life less so. Yes, learning to drive a zero-turn mower is challenging, but it is worth the time and energy saved. Yes, I may throw out something I later wish I hadn't, but I'm fortunate to be in a position financially where I can replace it if need be, so why worry about it?

Just as stuff gets prioritized, activities are dropped and added on an as-needed basis. Do I like doing X? If not, perhaps it should go. What about Y? Maybe I'll try it and see. Oh, gotta do Z, it's important to ME.

It's not that I don't still struggle with the SHOULDs that rattle around in the back of my brain. Sometimes I don't know if I truly like doing something or if I am just doing it because I always have or believe I have no other options. The events of the past year have driven home the truth that there is very little under our control. We still need to make wise choices, but after that, life is a crap shoot. So get rid of the crap.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spending my children's inheritance

Wow. It has been a while since I posted here. The past year or so has been crazy-making challenging, but I am cautiously optimistic things will settle down a bit in the personal realm. To paraphrase someone, life is meaningless, but here we are, so we might as well make the best of it.

About two years ago, Betsy Beagle went to doggy heaven. I still get teary eyed missing her, but decided to wait a while before finding a replacement. Well, recently I found that the time had come.

This is Watson, former resident of Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. I picked him out from the pix they post online, he was still available when I arrived at the shelter a day or two later, and I was able to bring him home right away. There was an adoption fee, but since I am a "senior", the lifetime registration with the city was only $5.

I had given my daughter most of the doggy things left over from Betsy, but I was able to get some back, including the crate. Multiple trips to Pet Supplies Plus and Petco resulted in the purchase of new dishes, a new leash-collar set, a waterproof cover for the backseat (which prevented my newly detailed car from suffering the indignities of dog pee and dog vomit), a fleece coat (for the dog, not me), poop bags, etc. I eyeballed the toys, but fortunately Watson likes the resident cat toys.

Speaking of the resident cats, they are not amused. Although Watson was described as an English pointer-beagle mix, I have yet to see him point at anything. Instead, he wants to chase. Finn is smart enough to not run, but Beau totally freaks out. Consequently, I bought a tall gate and installed it between the kitchen and the mudroom, converting the den and laundry into a "safe room" for the cats.

As a shelter dog, Watson received a complimentary vet check. Unfortunately, the shots, nail trim, anal sac expression, and heartworm meds were not complimentary. Yes, I have another dog with anal sac issues. I'm trying a grain-free, double-the-cost dog food to help mitigate that. Also, coconut.

My last two dogs were pretty laid back, but Watson is on high alert and barks a fair amount, usually at nothing. My SO's home was burgled recently, so I don't discourage the barking, especially when directed at Jehovah Witnesses. There have been other behavior issues, though, so I invested in a Mini Educator eCollar. Also, we just started obedience school.

I didn't intend to get a dog that needed a lot of exercise, but I did. It is easy for me to talk myself out of outdoor activity, especially when the weather is icky, but now I am greeted each day by an enthusiastic walking companion. Our routine is two poop walks a day (less poop to pick up in my own yard), covering between two-to-three miles total, on a hard surface (eliminating the need for nail trimming). The activity keeps both of us healthy and sane. Theoretically, that will save money in the long run, right?