Friday, October 28, 2011


With the onset of winter I begin to hibernate. It happens every year when the temps drop, frosts then snow cover the ground and the winds howl incessantly.

Any outside chore that can be avoided is. Short of calling 911 for an ambulance ride I'm staying put. I haven't stepped outside in three days. Nor have I showered or got dressed. Today may be the day I scrub off but I'd rather crawl back in bed and say to heck with the world.

I absolutely hate this time of year.

At night I dream of warmth, sunshine and never wearing boots, gloves or socks. During the day I think of sandy beaches, grilling, sunglasses and shorts and T-shirts.

Last night I pleaded with Sweetie: "Please, let's just hop in the car and drive to Florida."

"Not until March," he said.

I felt like sticking out my tongue and telling him he's a meanie.

Juvenile behavior for sure but I hate the onset of winter more every year. If it weren't for my elderly friend's needs and our writing group and art exhibits I'd hibernate for six months.

We certainly have enough food & supplies to last an enforced quarantine. As long as the electricity is on our online connections, TV and phone would connect us to the outside world. Add to these my puzzle collection, sewing, art supplies, books, cooking, household chores and our pets and I'd keep myself occupied.

Trouble is, right now I want none of it - except a cup of coffee and a magic carpet ride to a warmer climate. Oh well.

Coffee cup's almost empty and I'm getting a chill so back to bed I go.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As the World Turns

To every life there is sorrow and joy and we've had our share these last few years. Tonight came news of another family death. Her passing wasn't unexpected but still a shock.

As my father said when I called him with the news: "Well, that's one more person to cross off the Christmas card list, the address list and the road map when I travel."

A few minutes later he added: "I suppose you're the last generation who would even know what a Christmas card list, address book or paper map is."

His remark brought a flood of memories. We talked of family photos, dinners around the picnic table my aunt and uncle kept in their kitchen and my aunt's penchant for dying her hair black and wearing pearls.

Phone calls, emails and texts will fill the next few days as we prepare for her funeral. In nearly every conversation today I heard that my generation is fast approaching the "elder" stage. My Dad and his 93 year-old sister are the last of their group.

My generation (55-69) are far flung geographically and diverse in nearly every respect. Our parents were closer to one another in location and beliefs/viewpoints and honored family traditions.

Today, traditions are dying as fast as their guardians. It's sad from my perspective and a shrug of the shoulder to my children and grandkids.

My Dad's most poignant remark was, "The world's changing too fast & I'll be glad to check out."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Company's Cooking

Our friends from the Flint area arrived Wednesday afternoon & we've done little but laze around since. I'm fighting a cold and aching muscles. Her husband's got vertigo and the weather's been miserable. Hard frost tonight and nearly non-stop rain since they arrived.

One blessing has been she's done all the cooking! We seldom eat out so having someone else make their version of chili, beef & provolone sandwiches on pumpernickel or pumpkin pie has been a treat.

Our freezer is full so tomorrow we'll clean up leftovers. If the weather warms to 55, we may venture down to the fish ladder & fish. None of us can tolerate cold weather just now so the warmer it is the better, regardless of whether the fish are biting.

In other news, there was a spirited discussion here this morning about the president's Jobs Bill. It ended when I asked them all to pipe down and take their discussion outside.

I received news of a second cousin dying in Texas while being hit on his motorcycle by an 18-wheeler. He leaves three young children. His parents have passed on & his wife is in drug rehab.

This email was followed by a Facebook message from another cousin who's trying to recruit me for housecleaning jobs for the clients she can't cover. It's something I'll have to think about. I haven't worked for four years or more and want nothing to do with retail, management, waitress or dealing with more than one or two people. In addition, my multi-tasking ability has nearly evaporated. Then there's the medical problems with Sweetie and our dog and the unpredictable course of MS and fibromyalgia. Yet, it may be good for me to do something outside our home that isn't high pressure yet gives me some income. My cousin supports herself quite well cleaning six homes. Two are in the Gaylord area and four in Wixom where she used to live. She drives from her northern home to Wixom once a week and stays overnight at her daughters, cleaning three homes each day before driving north.

Once again, we'll see what develops.

Meanwhile, it's great to have company who feel comfortable enough to lounge in pajamas, clean their bathroom before they leave and prepare meals.

Need to get some rest. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Family Visit

My youngest son and his children plus his girlfriend and her daughter visited us for three days.

What a contrast in life styles!

With the exception of the two year old, all of them were constantly on the move or hooked up to their electronic entertainment. It was comical to look around the living room their first night to see me on my laptop, Sweetie with his headset on so only he heard the TV and son and girlfriend texting while the grandchildren stared at their PSPs.

Friday Sweetie stayed home with our furry companions while we raced around Lansing, taking in as much as they could in 12 hours. Three hours at a museum; nearly two hours at a Chinese buffet; six hours at the mall and an hour fighting traffic and detours was enough to quench their fear of boredom - until we got home. Within five minutes of our arrival my son was searching for a movie theatre.

I'm still capable of giving him one of my looks which he recognized in time to realize the kids were asleep on the living room floor.

Saturday my son made a four hour round trip to drop his girlfriend off at her brother's. As soon as he drove in, his kids were putting their jackets on. I said, "Maybe we're not leaving for town yet." My granddaughter laughed and said, "Grandma, we have too much to do."

So, minutes later we were on the road again. We shopped at Meijer, Walmart, Menards and a local hardware. After another fast food lunch, we spent some time at a county park where he'd waded into the stream and nearly drowned at age three. Then it was off to a corn maze and KFC for a drive through bucket meal. Our dinner appointment was with my elderly friend who hadn't seen my son in 29 years. Another couple hours were spent reminiscing, laughing and making plans for next year when she'll be 78.

We left her home at 6:30 p.m. with the kids asking, "What now?, Dad?"

By then my legs felt like rubber and my mind like evaporating mist. We passed the theatre as the kids begged to see another movie and I fell asleep. After changing their clothes and more texting, they took off for town and I curled up on the sofa.

Sunday morning the son and his son went to a race car swap meet while my granddaughter and I baked cookies, apple crisp and lasagna. About 1 p.m. we all gathered at the kitchen table for a family meal with their cell phones placed next to the silverware. Sweetie asked if the phones were ever out of sight and my six year old grandson said, "Only if I'm in the shower."

An hour later they were on the road toward home but not before visiting some attraction in Mt. Pleasant. They planned to stay a night in a motel near Gladwin so they could pick his girlfriend up this morning. Whether that happened or not, I don't know. Maybe they finally tuckered out and are still asleep!

I spent Sunday afternoon washing bedding and towels, emptying garbage and returning pop cans. By 5 p.m. I collapsed on our bed for an overdue nap.

It was wonderful to see everyone but what a workout!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Internet and Home Security

Our computers are useable again thanks to a referral from our local librarian. Both were infected with viruses and Sweeties desktop had not been updated properly.

This unexpected expense began when the keyboard on my laptop tanked. After ordering a replacement via the techie (because I knew we'd need more help) I logged on to the PC. What a mess! Sweetie plays Freecell and manages our bank accounts/charge cards online. Once in awhile he does a search. How he got the PC messed up is beyond me but the good thing is none of our accounts were accessed - not that they have much in them.

Once again we were told most viruses enter through people using Facebook. Once again I posted on FB that I have NO INTEREST in online games and why. Once again a couple people messaged me that I was "boring." Oh well!

Thankfully, we could spend $155.00. As prices continue to escalate and income shrinks or stagnates spending is carefully considered - and delayed if possible. Yet, nearly every week I hear of someone who needs their computer cleaned up because they've made careless choices online.

While waiting for the techie I received a call from a friend.

Their home was robbed between noon and 2 p.m. Friday - after the she discovered their computers had been hacked. Notice, I said,"after." On Saturday her husband beat her home and found a messages spray painted on the house and garage - "Your booze was great but your computers were shit."

Robberies are on the increase in this area and bolder than ever. Thieves grab cash, drugs, guns and electronics. Within a hour of the robbery they fence the items in Lansing and keep themselves jacked up until they run dry and hit a few more homes.

My friend's home is within 45 feet of a well traveled road. It was locked up like a fortress so the punks went behind the house and threw and outdoor planter through a window. The nearest neighbors are each about 400 feet away and have a clear view of their house - yet no one recalls seeing a vehicle. Unless they came in by helicopter one must have been there. Otherwise, how did they move three flat-screen televisions, four computers, I-pad, small safe, a case of vodka and sack of prescription pain killers?

I told Sweetie about the incident and he said, "They show up here I'll shoot first and ask questions later." Well intentioned thought but he sleeps through most anything.

Last night my youngest son called and said he and his two children plan to visit this weekend. Thankfully, my mind was on their visit and not sleep. At 3:10 a.m. today I was looking at a photo album when I thought I heard a vehicle. I checked each entrance & looked out the windows but saw nothing.

I sat down again and continued reminiscing. Again I heard the sound and then voices. After sitting in my chair a few minutes I got up, walked to the back door, turned the lock, grabbed the shotgun, slowly opened the door and yelled: "You bastards better hope I miss!"

One of them swore about hitting his foot as they raced down the driveway, jumped in their car and took off. By this time Sweetie had woke up.

He comes to the back door, sees me holding the shotgun and swears. According to him I should have called 911 then woke him up. Perhaps, but I suspect by then the thieves would have been long gone.

Once again they approached our home with out using their headlights - "running dark."
Once again my great hearing and swift action prevented a robbery.

However, this time a certain man here thinks he'll lock up everything every night.
His bass boat was sitting in the yard with the fish finder, poles, tackle boxes, life preservers and THREE motors not attached to the boat. The pole barn was unlocked and one full five gallon gas can was still inside the truck bed where he left it after filling it at 10 p.m..

It doesn't pay to be careless about security. Tackle is spilled on the ground with two broken poles. The largest outboard motor was found half way down the drive.

Will I call 911 next time? Maybe. Our sheriff and state police force have both been cut back. There are simply too many accidents, robberies, domestics and other calls coming into 911 to cover every call promptly. When most resources are used for accidents at opposite ends of the county and your home is being robbed in another location 20 miles from either location, you are your best response.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Welcome to My World

We didn't pull the carpet up in the study/studio or paint the walls. Decided to heck with more work.

It's time to write, paint, make jewelry, read, sleep or tinker. And I've done a lot of each since last Monday.

So nice to grab my cup of morning coffee and stroll into my own space. Because I have beautiful items I couldn't bare to part with, I placed some in my study/studio. Others are still packed in plastic storage containers stacked where the built in book shelves will eventually be.

Another source of inspiration this week was an author's visit to our writing group. She was once our realtor in Kalkaska and what a joy to see someone doing what they really love. Her visit inspired me to devote a minimum of an hour a day to my novel.

Low and behold, I read what I've written thus far and thought: ummmm, not that interested in this piece anymore. Later, while loading the dishwasher, the first few lines of another story came to mind. No matter what, I couldn't shake the lines and started saying them out loud. Thankfully, Sweetie had his headset on or he may have called 911 my words were so gruesome. Best thing to do in that case is write.

Four thousand words later and the passion to keep writing remains.

While doing online research for the novel, I realized I've had two men in my life who can answer just about any reference/technical question I have - my father and Sweetie.

Here's a few pictures of the study/studio (including a window that needs replacing) and two necklaces I made this week. Earrings will be made another time.