Saturday, March 31, 2012


I'm not a fan of exercise.  I spend time and energy on it and when I get through, I have nothing to show for it. My daughter suggested that a fit body counts.  I'm sure that must be true.  But anyway, I like to have something to show for my time and energy.  So the pile below is mulch.  The little cart is what I drag the mulch with.
 Here is the strip of roses I'm currently mulching.  Larry suggested that I use the gator or pay a teenager to do it for me.  I decided that shoveling the mulch and dragging the cart is good exercise, so I'm doing it myself.  Today I only hauled five loads, but I also tilled the rest of my rose strip.  
 Below is a picture of my Mantis.  It is a tiller I saw advertised on television with a woman starting it, picking it up, and using it.  So I bought one and it is exactly as advertised.  I can start it.  I can't start a weed whacker, or a lawn mower.  How I can start this is a miracle.  I have to say, starting a coffee pot is easier, but the Mantis is the easiest power tool I've ever encountered.  It is also excellent exercise.  I can give it just a little power and it will walk itself.  I can give it more power and stand will dig a hole.  The dirt will be fluffy with no chunks.  I love my Mantis.  Exercise isn't all bad:) This is the second year I've had it and it is still easy to start and use.  My husband likes it for small jobs, although he still uses his monster tiller for the garden.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm Back:)

I have my new device for connecting to the internet.  I live in the middle of nowhere so I really doubted it would work.  It wasn't easy but the nice people at Verizon were after call after call.
Best Buy was also helpful.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I'm having trouble staying connected to the internet with my current aircard.  I have a new one that I plan to install tomorrow morning.  Hopefully, my connection problems will be solved.  Or I won't be able to figure it out!
I refuse to worry about it tonight.  So if you are considering emailing me, you might just want to call.

Vending Machines

I'm not a fan of vending machines.  The stuff costs more than if I'd packed myself a snack, and it's usually not good for my diet.  Peanuts are sometimes in there.  I don't like peanuts.
Today I was starving and so I was looking in a vending machine.  They had a package called Deli Bites by Johnsonville!  I didn't get them (I'm still a tightwad), but it would have been a low-carb snack!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good Day

Today I volunteered at the hospital and the other volunteer wasn't there.  It was my first day to volunteer alone.  I found the room where the cart was parked.  I strolled it to the room where the ice machine is and filled the bags.  I remembered to find out how many patients were there so I'd make enough bags but not too many.
Then I went to the Intensive Care part and checked to see if they needed any more bags put in the warmer.  I got out my book that I had taken notes in (a hospital is kind of big and the numbers to punch in on the keypads are very forgetable).  I couldn't find a door that said "Supply."  That's what I'd written.  So I asked somebody.  I determined that it was necessary to actually read what is on the door rather than make it up.
Well, it said, "Authorized Personnel Only."  That wasn't helpful and a lot of doors said that.  Finally I just walked back to it several times to make sure I can find it next time.
Nothing I do is difficult, it's just that I'm not familiar with it.  I tried to help a lady find an office and got us both lost.  I probably need to retrace that path before I forget how to get there.  I could have taken her out, put her in my car and driven her to a different door.  I knew how to find that office from the other door.  It was crossing from the hospital to the clinic that I didn't know.
The weather was wonderful.  When I got home we went for a ride in the gator (equipped with a shovel and bucket).  We saw the dogwoods blooming and found grape hyacinths that grow wild in a nearby field.  We dug up some of them to bring back to our yard.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Japanese Maple

We have several Japanese Maples.  This is the one we planted first.  I thought they were pretty hardy because I tried to climb one in a riding lawnmower.  I thought I had killed it, but it survived.
The foliage is gorgeous in the spring and fall.  It's nice in the summer, but it's not as red.

Pick Your Old Skin

Look around at old people's skin.  I have, lately.  My own is the easiest to see.
If you want brown freckles when you're old, that's easy.  Don't worry about it.
If you want scars on your face, pieces missing from your nose and ears, that's easy, too.  Don't worry about it.
If you see an old person with nice, smooth, unblemished skin, and you want that, that's harder.  A very strong sun screen is good.  A hat is good.  A ball cap will protect your forehead somewhat, and maybe your nose.  But to protect your ears, you need to put sunscreen on them, or wear a brimmed hat, or both.
The dermatologist can help, but your first line of defense should be in your medicine chest and closet.
Yes, I look funny with that big straw hat.  I feel funny putting sun screen on.  I don't sun burn.  I didn't think I needed it.  But I keep getting places that don't heal up.  When I google the lab report, it says those places are caused by overexposure to the sun!  And I never laid out or frequented tanning salons.  I just like the outdoors, the beach and my flowers.  I don't plan to change that, so I'm adding sunscreen and broad-brimmed hats.
Oh, and don't forget garden gloves!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lots of Puppies

The toddler carrying the puppy by the neck wasn't concerned with proper puppy care.  Oh, I'm holding it wrong? Slam, fling that little sucker to the ground and grab it around the middle!  I was trying to explain that if her mom carried her that way, and put her down like that, it would hurt her and the puppy shouldn't be handled that way, either.  The puppy, by the way, did not complain.  I handed over the package that came for the mom while she was at work, told all of them "Bye," and went back across the road with TWO toddlers trailing after me for hugs!  I administered the required hugs and have worried ever since that the little ones will decide they need hugs and get run over.  The puppies are in a cage.  The pit bull is tied up, and the children are loose.  Mom was out there with them, though, and looked really, really tired.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I Can Keep a Secret

I can keep a secret until hell freezes over...if I know it is a secret!  So if you tell me something and you don't want me to tell anybody or a particular person, don't keep that information a secret from me.  Discretion doesn't seem to be my middle name.  Who knew?

Easter and Greenhouse

 I've been trying to think of something I could donate to the hospital gift shop for Easter.  I brought a couple of vases home that are large enough to get my hand down into...both for cleaning purposes and to arrange what I put in.  I used gift shred from Hobby Lobby and put three blown eggs I carved with a drimmel.  I dyed the eggs with Rit dye.  They don't show up very well in the picture, but there is a red one, a purple one, and a green one.
 The weather has been very warm and I'm anxious to start putting out the plants I saved over the winter.  I tried two different things this past fall.  One, I totally emptied the baskets and put in new coco liners and just broke off the angelwing begonias to start them in the baskets so they would be well-established when I put them out in the spring.  The other was to break off all the branches, remove the root ball from the basket, put in new soil and liners, then put the root ball into it.  They both did OK, but the ones with the root ball are really full.  It was also easier.  The branches I broke off, I rooted for the flower boxes this spring.
 These baskets contain rootings.  They are obviously not as full as the previous picture.  The angel wings at the top left are some of the rootings.
 These are tomatoes and peppers I've started from seeds.  The seedlings are doing well.  The guy on the radio said to pinch the tops so the stems will thicken up and they won't be so leggy.
 More seedlings.  These are annuals.
These are Impatiens cuttings I rooted in the fall.

Friday, March 23, 2012

They're Not Dead!

 I planted three tiny bits of ground cover last year.  They are happily blooming this year!  I've had this before and killed it.  The best I can tell, I should not fertilize it.
 I hope I only planted one of the white ground cover plants, because it's all I can find.
 This is a rhododendron we planted last year.  We haven't killed it yet.
 This is a double pink knock out rose that we planted last year.  The one below is one we planted this year.  The one above was the size of the one below when we planted it last year!

 Things are getting green now.  This picture shows dogwood trees, a Japanese maple, spirea that isn't blooming yet, lavender, and hybrid tea roses that aren't blooming yet but didn't die over the winter.
More dogwoods, a forsythia that is almost gone, and Camilla bushes.  There are some blooms on the Camilla bushes, but they don't show up from a distance.
I love spring in spite of the pollen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pollen Count

I typed in "pollen count" and my zip code.  I usually just look at my car to see if it's high.  But it's raining so we moved both vehicles out so the pollen would wash off.  I was wondering how much the rain would help the pollen count.
Well, it's listed as high today, medium high tomorrow and the next day, then back to high.  It also said the main things producing the pollen in this area are juniper, elm, and something else that looked like a maple leaf.  I don't remember what it said, but it wasn't oak.  I was seriously expecting oak to be right up there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Games Are Usually Safer Than Power Tools

Today we went to the dermatologist in Memphis.  We wanted to stop at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast but my husband said he only knew where one was and we'd passed it.
I said, "I don't know how to tell you where one is except there is a gas station with a McDonald's next to one where we've eaten."
He said, "Exit blah-blah."  And he was right.  I commented that I was amazed anybody could recognize the location based on the clues I'd given (honestly, I've already forgotten the exit number).  He said he thought paying attention to the measurements, etc., when he builds something helps his brain (I told him I play card games on my computer to try to keep my brain from turning to mush).  I said AARP wasn't going to start recommending that old people use power tools to keep their brains functioning!
Then I was thinking about where the dermatologist is.  It's on Union something or other.  When we get to Danver's Restaurant, it's time to get in the left lane.  Then watch for Taco Bell on the left.  Turn immediately after Taco Bell and circle that block back to the left.  I notice food better than street names or numbers.  Ouch!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Greeting Cards, etc.

Today I separated the greeting cards into types and labeled the locations.  A lady came in and asked if we had thank you cards.  Well, who knew?  They were arranged haphazardly.  So she said she would come back later. I separated the types of cards, found envelopes that fit, and wrote on tiny price dot labels what was what.  When she came back, I showed her three cards that had pictures on the front and nothing inside.  I told her she could write "Thank you," inside.  So she bought all three and I made a note of what we were out of.
I dusted.  We labeled boxes so volunteers would not have to open the boxes to determine what was in them.
The other volunteer showed me how to fill a helium balloon and get it ready to give to the customer.
We handed out the newspapers that the county paper donates to the hospital.
I brought home a couple of vases to clean and put something in for Easter.  We dug through the stuffed animals and put them together in the display window so they would be available as Easter stuff.
The biggest deal to me was that they were purchasing an alarm device that would call 911 if the wearer needed assistance.  They paid tax on it.  I pointed out that they are a non-profit organization and could get a tax number.  I'm not sure how it's done, but it should be easy enough to find out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flower Boxes

I have all of the flower boxes on the south side of the porches cleaned and put up.  I only have two on the east side put up and none on the west side.  I put out six loads of mulch again today without taking a break in the middle.
I read up on the red cabbage nutrients last night.  The slaw looked pretty disgusting, but according to the nutrition articles I read, it is healthier than the green (and I'm not knocking the green).
I've changed porches.  My husband is very pleased with the wind chimes.  I gave them to him for his birthday.  He wanted them.  I can't sit on the porch with them because they are too loud.  When I sit on the other porch, they are more subdued.  This means I'm not sitting on the porch with my husband.  I asked him to move the wind chimes.  He likes them where they are.  Well, he's in charge of that, but he's not in charge of where I sit.  I wonder if that was his plan.

I'm Shorter!

Part of the physical examination they did when I volunteered at the hospital included height.  I used to be 5' 6 3/4 ". Then at school a few years ago, I was 5'6" even.  It was hard for me to believe and I made her do it again.  Still.  This time I measured 5' 5".  I don't feel shorter.
I was talking to the lady who volunteers on Wednesdays with me.  She bumped into a table and broke a bone.  I told her to stop running in the house, but I was just kidding.  I know she wasn't running.  Her bones aren't strong.  This is scary.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ugly Slaw

I made slaw with red cabbage instead of green.  It was seriously ugly.  It tasted just fine and was on our diet, but it sure was ugly.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mulch and Fertilizer

Today I put out six carts of mulch.  The most I had put out before was four.  I've got it around all the roses and lilacs now and have started filling in between the roses.
We put out fifty pounds of fertilizer around the daffodils that have finished blooming.  We used the gator for that so it doesn't count as much exercise.
I used saddle soap on the rest of the leather stuff that had molded in the basement.  I'm not sure where to put the stuff now for storage where it won't mold.  I also used saddle soap on a leather ottoman.  It's pretty old with a couple of places that look like they are about to crack.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flu Shot

My husband went to the doctor today for a shot.  The nurse and doctor had just taken their second flu shot.  They said the public schools in their town are closed because of the flu.  The normal time people take a flu shot is in October.  It is good for three months.  The time people here get the flu is around February through April.  The flu shot taken in the fall isn't working any more and insurance won't pay for another one even though it is in a different calendar year.  Interesting.

It Didn't Wash

I dragged three more carts of mulch to put around the lilacs.  That counts as my exercise for today.  I may do three more this afternoon, but if I don't, I've still exercised today:)
We had eight tenths of an inch of rain last night so I looked at the mulch I've put around the new knock-out roses to see if it had washed.  It hadn't.  That was good.
My husband asked if I was pleased that we're cleaning up the shed for about 30 minutes every weekend.  I said I wasn't.  I said every weekend I hoped he would forget about it.  He wanted to know why.  I admitted I didn't know except I'm way happier sitting on my butt, drinking coffee, and reading.
Since then, he has asked me to help him every day!  Isn't that fun?  I have my list of crap stuff to do and his list of crap stuff he wants me to do isn't right.  I don't make a list for him.  When I do, he is very noisy about hating it.  Which means if I want him to do something, I just call somebody else and pay them.  Maybe I should be as noisy as he is.  I don't want to listen to me any more than I want to listen to him complaining.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moldy Leather

I cleaned one of my leather purses with neutral shoe polish.  It looked OK, but it smelled bad.  Richard suggested putting soda in it.  That worked.  It took about three days, but today it smells like leather.
I also wanted to find my Bridge waist pack as I want to take it on vacation with me.  Well, when I found it, all the stuff in that sterilite container in the basement had molded!
 I took the moldy treasures over to an Amish guy who does leather work.  He recommended cleaning them with saddle soap.  So I spent hours this afternoon cleaning these.  Tomorrow I'll do more of them.  The saddle soap did an amazing job and they don't smell.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Awww...Kids Are So Cute!

Our son at our house on the phone to his sister: Yes, this is an unannounced inspection.  Our parents are clean, the house is clean, and they have enough to eat.  They passed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Funny Blog

No, not mine.  Mine is boring is everything goes according to plan.  I just blog my stuff and try not to have anything go horribly wrong.
This blog, however, celebrates the horribly wrong:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pebble Isle Marina and Patsy Cline

Today we went to Pebble Isle Marina.  It has been closed for the winter, well, not the marina, but the restaurant part.  We like the restaurant because it is on a floating thing that reminds us of the barge on the Rhine where we would go on Friday afternoons.  April 1 it will reopen all the time but for now it is just open Thursday through Sunday.  The trees are starting to get that light green look to them.
On our way back we went to see the crash site where Patsy Cline and several others died during a storm on March 5, 1963.  She was only 29.  She is the first female vocalist I remember as a kid.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Act of Valor

It was Girls' Day today.  We hadn't had one in a while.  We had a blow out before we even got out of town.  Which was handy because help was near.  Her husband came and turned his truck over to us and put the spindly little tire on her car and drove it home.
We saw Act of Valor.  I liked it.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I especially like holidays and birthdays because I usually get to talk to all three of my kids on the same day:)  On a good day, I get to talk to two of them, but on holidays and birthdays, I usually get all three.  Also, I get emails and notes and cards.
Today was my first day to go to the swing bed volunteer time.  I thought they didn't need me.  There were four of us in pink smocks (volunteers), two employees, and one patient.  If they can't find something for me to actually do, I'm going to find something else where I am actually needed.
One of the volunteers goes to church very near my house.  She said that a couple who lived together but weren't married came but got the cold shoulder and quit coming.  Then the preacher talked to the congregation and asked them to make the couple welcome.  He said they weren't married because if they married, she wouldn't continue to get her dead husband's social security check.  The volunteer said the lord would provide and they cold shouldered the couple again and pointed out to the preacher that if he preached against adultery they wouldn't feel good about it.  She said she believed the lord would provide.  I said maybe their arrangement was how the Lord was providing for them.  At lunch she invited me to her church.  I said that in the twelve years I've lived here, she is the first person who had invited me to that church.  It is the first place I've ever lived where people didn't invite newly-arrived people to church.  She apologized and I said it didn't matter.  And actually, it didn't.  If they didn't make sinners welcome, they may be a little too tightly-laced for my peace of mind.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gray Day

Here is the mulch that was delivered yesterday.  I used my little cart to start putting it around some plants we've put out this year.  I only shoveled and dragged three loads.  Hey, it was exercise.  I thought I'd put more out today (it's going to take a while...10 cubic yards), but it's a frog strangler out there.
So I went to the post office to send off for a new passport.  I had my old passport and new pictures, but filling out the application paper was iffy.  I don't know my mother's middle name or birthdate.  I'm pretty sure I got the year right. And it cost about twice what it cost the last time I got one.  Well, everything else costs more, why not?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Smock and Key

Today was my first day as a volunteer at the hospital.  Nobody could let me in the gift shop where I was supposed to be because the other volunteer wasn't there and the supervisor was in a meeting.  So I sat in the ICU waiting room wishing I'd brought my book.  One of the workers at the nursing counter asked if I used to work at the school.  She recognized me, but I don't think I taught her because I didn't know her and she didn't say I had.
Finally the meeting was over and somebody let me in the gift shop, showed me the stuff I might need to know and said somebody else would have to show me how to inflate the helium balloons.
Then while I was filling bags of ice the other volunteer got there.  We finished filling the 20 bags of ice and put the cart in the little room where it goes.  I helped hand out newspapers.  I don't know if the papers are donated by the  newspaper people or paid for by hospital funds, but it was a couple of big stacks.  We also checked the mail room and handed out cards for the patients who'd received them.
Nobody bought anything while I was there.
I am supposed to go back Friday afternoon for "Current Events."
We get lunch free but I wasn't looking forward to it.  Most places don't have much that is on my low-sugar, low-carb, high fiber diet.  Sure enough, the food in the hot section wasn't anything I could eat on a regular basis...I can eat out occasionally, but twice a week plus eating out would be too much.  But their salad bar was good.  I like a lot of the stuff that is on a salad bar, but when I make a salad, it is seriously expensive to buy all those different things plus it makes such a big salad that some of it goes bad before we eat it.  But I can eat salad twice a week when I volunteer and feel like I have helped my diet rather than sabotaging it.  I had water with my meal.  I could have had coffee, but I picked water this time.
When I got home, I found they had delivered my big pile of mulch.  Spreading that around will be my exercise for the next little while.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shopping Day

I like to try to do shopping once a month and only pick up incidentals during the rest of the month because I spend too much if I go to the store too often.  So I make a list and try to stick to it.  Today we made it to Krogers, Walmart, Lowe's, and a place to order a load of mulch to be delivered...all by noon plus we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  I always feel bad about ordering breakfast there because I can't eat all of it.  Today I got a kid's meal and ate everything except one of the two slices of low carb whole wheat bread.  It was cheaper and I didn't feel wasteful.  Cracker Barrel's kid menu says for kids of all ages so I didn't have to borrow a child to order it:)
The wind chimes are pleasant when there isn't a tornado watch.
The mulch place is going to deliver my mulch in the morning.  I'll be gone to my first day to volunteer at the hospital, but Larry will be here.
Nice day.  Tomorrow is our 44th wedding anniversary.  Leigh reminded me.  So then I reminded Larry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Three Shots and a Badge

Today I got a flu shot, a tetanus shot, and my second TB test.  Then they went over more rules and took my picture for my badge to be a volunteer at the hospital.  I don't have the polo shirt they want me to wear or the smock, but I'm supposed to start at 8 am on Wednesday.  I guess as long as I have the badge I'm authorized to volunteer.  Maybe they'll have the items of clothing when I get there on Wednesday.   There are also scary things about a hospital.  I wonder if I'll turn into an obsessive hand washer.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I Want a Fountain

I've wanted a fountain for a while but I didn't see anything affordable that I liked.  Then I found one at the co-op but the pumps weren't in yet, just the structure.  So I showed Larry and he agreed that it was reasonable for the space I intended.
Well, you don't just buy one and put it out running an extension cord out to the pump.  It involved a cement pad and a trench for the plastic pipe which will protect the electric cable from my garden tools.  We have the pad and trench.  Now we need an electrician.  Then I can get the fountain.  Winter isn't the prettiest time of year for my flower bed, but a few bulbs are trying to compete with full spring.  The little bulbs on the corner of the pad were flattened during the work.  The boys carefully stood them back up and propped them with dirt.
This is what that spot looked like this past fall.  I can't wait to see what it looks like this coming fall.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

That Was Shallow

Yesterday I was grousing about the noise from the wind.  It turned out tornadoes were all around us, states to the north and south of us suffered damage and loss of life.  All we had was noise from our wind chimes.  We were lucky!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mystery Dinner

I put things in foil tins and then freeze them.  When I make lasagna, I make enough for the freezer, eggplant parmigiana, and dressing with chicken are my favorites to make for the freezer.  Today Larry took a tin out to thaw thinking it was lasagna.  I looked at it and thought it was dressing.  Either was OK.  After it had baked for a while, we were able to identify it...eggplant parmigiana without the cheese!  Larry doesn't usually eat that but I made them for school lunches.  Well, he ate it tonight and said it was better than he'd thought it would be.  That's pretty funny because he wouldn't eat it with the cheese and it is definitely better that way.
So we knew we were having Brussel sprouts, speckled butterbeans with okra, but the mystery dish also turned out to be a success:)
I guess I should not only put the date on it, but maybe what is in the tin.  Who knew?

I Don't Like Noise

 My husband wanted wind chimes for his birthday.  We jangled them in the store and they sounded mellow.  Well, the wind is blowing like crazy and they are nonstop and sort of melodic.  I have suggested he move them to his shop.  I think we could still hear them from there, but not as urgently.
 Before we put the wind chimes up, I thought the flag flapping in the wind was noisy.
 The daffodils are blowing sideways in the wind, but they're quiet.
The wind has blown the huge garbage can over.  I wonder if we have enough wind to benefit from a windmill.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Safari Park

We went to Safari Park this morning.  The lady with the kangaroo joeys asked if we wanted to buy some food for the animals and I said we didn't.

So she gave us some.  I didn't want the food because the animals gather around people with food.  Not being an idiot, I didn't want the animals close to me.  I'd rather use the zoom lens.  Well, now I have a tub of food sitting in my lap and I opened the window to get a better shot.  Those things are fast!  I'm busily rolling up the window hoping I don't decapitate an emu and also hoping it doesn't start pecking at my lap!  Well, neither of those things happened, but it was a close call.  When we got to the walking part of the park, I passed the food tub to Larry.
 She said the buffalo's mouth wouldn't fit in the tub, so it would take the whole tub.  But the buffalo wasn't interested in getting up.  Peacocks were everywhere.
The lady said they didn't have teeth like that would prevent pecking.  That's Larry's hand.  I'm the one with the camera!
We saw this place on television recently.  They'd had a fire and wouldn't let the fire trucks deal with it.  They said the noise would disturb the animals.