Sunday, May 12, 2019

Updates and Downers

Well, I got a reply from our veterinary clinic stating a notice went out to all employees regarding the careless mention of feline cancer. An apology and gratitude for my loyalty were a boost. Since I abhor conflict, even when warranted, I used a pseudonym and admitted as much, claiming I didn’t want the person who called personally admonished. Call me silly, but this way I haven’t felt uncomfortable returning.

And yes, we’ve had to go back several times for medicine refills and whatnot. That message from them is about the only positive news in my personal current events.

Jezebel is limping even after I (sometimes) manage to force feed her bupenorphine and/or gabapentin (she’s supposed to get both twice a day but the obvious trauma to her limits my attempts). She and Tilly suddenly stopped eating both their ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ kibble for the aged indoor cat and that canned food. We can keep the cans for a possible future pet but a freshly opened fifteen pound bag of dry food is going to waste. I guess I’ll offer it to friends, though I don’t know if any are caring for elderly felines.

This morning my husband found mysterious charges on his credit card. After calling the company he’ll receive a new card, requiring a change to every single online payment record. That’s got him in a rotten state of mind.

Tomorrow I have to return to Special Eyes as my eyeglass frames broke yet again. This time, it’s a snapped off hinge.

I think I’m going back to bed now, reminding me of a Mitch Hedberg joke. “I haven’t slept for ten days straight… Because that would be too long.” Hibernating for a few months sounds good to me.

Are you familiar with Mitch Hedberg’s humor?

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Good News and a Bad Judgment Call

First off, my husband and I did not euthanize Jezebel the cat today due to advanced bone cancer. The elevated calcium expected to be kidney related, today’s urine sample will show how advanced is her situation.

Why did my mind immediately take the darkest turn possible?

The overwhelming majority of credit goes to that veterinary employee who left the message Friday morning regarding her blood work. He didn’t say simply that elevated calcium can be a concern and needs to be investigated.

No.

This fellow jumped straight to the fact higher levels are a good indication of cancer. Why would someone do that? My imagination took over from there despite my husband’s best attempts to dissuade me.

An X-ray shows she has arthritis. For that, I am to administer two different pain medications twice a day. Wish me luck. Jezebel despises being handled thus.

Despite me stuffing her in a carrier and putting her through stress of another visit, all is forgiven. She is curled up, purring and grooming beside me on the bed as I type.

Meanwhile, the same veterinarian who gave Tilly such thorough care a few weeks ago seemed confused by my constant mentions of cancer concerns. I don’t think she considered that possibility for Jezebel.

Too relieved to feel true anger, I will be leaving a message on their web page advising a friendly chat with their staff on phone etiquette. I have been a wreck for days.

I’m reminded of a “House, M.D.” television episode in which a man diagnosed with cancer sued the kind oncologist Dr. Wilson for renouncing his former death sentence. Preparing for the end, the fellow said farewell to friends and sold his home. His largest complaint involved costs of buying a new residence. I miss that show.

What would be your first positive act if you learned your life would be over within the year?

_

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Whacked Out of My Mind

I know there is nothing unique in my charmed life’s recent downturn. Without over-thinking it, I could name a half dozen people enduring far worse.

Still, I need to rant. And anyone reading who is knowledgeable of the film “Jacob’s Ladder” will learn just what pervasive morbidity my mind harbors.

Anyway, the whiny rant:

This morning we got bad news about kitty Jezebel’s blood work. At fifteen plus years of age, she didn’t surprise us with news of some kidney dysfunction. But the old girl could be in the early stages of actual disease.

Worse, the technician left word that elevated calcium levels could well indicate cancer. Not very good at staying optimistic of late, my thoughts went right to that leg pain and the fact we may not be bringing her home after her Monday morning appointment.

I know we will not put her through the aggressive treatment her predecessor Luna received before passing away in 2014. My husband still admits profound guilt over those extreme efforts to stave off my inevitable pain, despite the fact our sweet girl fought hard herself to stay on this earth. Even hearing me insist her chemotherapy and that radical mastectomy furthered veterinary oncology can’t assuage his regret.

Meanwhile, thinking of all that’s happened in the last thirteen months, starting with my father’s estrangement over a dumb misunderstanding to every major or minor insult and injury since, I developed an eerie sensation. I mean, come on. Yesterday afternoon I netted one of my four adult ‘typhoid’ mollies, the poor creature found dead at feeding time.

What more can go wrong?

More poignant, what if my reality isn’t what I think?

That wonderful flick “Jacob’s Ladder” introduces us to Jacob Singer, a military veteran of gentle disposition returned from the Vietnam war. He soon begins experiencing demonic sightings. Reunited with his fellow servicemen, they compare notes and start suspecting nefarious governmental, wartime experimentation. One by one they begin dying mysteriously. There are fantastic twists and turns, so I won’t say more and spoil it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the plot but interested in how the movie provokes my surreal sensation, please leave a comment and I’ll visit your blog with the answer.

On another ‘whacky’ note, our tiny back stretch of grass is so long I fear any regular lawnmower will choke. So I plant to try and run the weed whacker out there this afternoon. Wish me luck.

You know I have to ask if you have seen “Jacob’s Ladder”. And have you ever considered that the term talkies gave way to movies from ‘moving pictures’? I just thought of that while typing this.

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Friday, May 3, 2019

I’m Not Broken, Just Mildly Sprained

That ‘mildly sprained’ quip is a misquote from a film we adore, “Gross Pointe Blank”, when the heroine assesses her long lost love. It’s rather how I feel right now, but with good news to share.

Jezebel seems to be in fine health for her age.

What my overactive imagination conjured as some neurological defect is likely a pulled leg muscle (your kind wisdom is appreciated, Strayer!). The veterinarian didn’t even order an X-ray, which we approved in advance with the welcoming technician. That pleased me, since we could have been bilked and never been the wiser.

So we are about another $150(US) poorer, but she got overdue blood work. I hope we receive no bad news tomorrow about other problems, such as involving her kidneys or thyroid. On this late morning, she acts a bit discombobulated but is on a pain medication we hope will keep her a little sedated and less likely to overtax her injured limb. And her appetite was excellent. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she improves and doesn’t actually suffer a hairline bone fracture.

Now I am sitting on my back patio enjoying a perfect temperature and rain on our tin roof. As it’s outside our walkout basement, I closed the cellar door upstairs so she can’t follow me down. Thanks for all the well wishes!

What is your weather like today?

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Don’t Kiss and Tell – & – Getting a Leg Up


My pets are going to be the death of me. Between diseased fish dying earlier this year and now issues with both cats, I feel almost like I’m going to keel over at times from the stress.

While medication is helping my anxiety, I believe my empathy cost me a real and very specific physical illness.

A few weeks back, before Tilly displayed evidence of another urinary tract infection, I succumbed to violent gastro-intestinal distress in the middle of the night. My husband offered more than once to take me to an urgent care center as food poisoning symptoms continued throughout the day and into late afternoon. I declined, certain hydration and rest would get me through, and they did.

It took a few days for full recovery from the aftereffects.

Then Tilly got diagnosed with her e. coli infection. Something clicked over this past Tuesday and I recalled my habit of kissing her atop the head after administering her hyperthyroid pills. Since my husband stayed free from my sickness, thank heaven, and we ate almost the exact same home prepared meals for days prior, it seems logical I poisoned myself via that poor kitty.

So I’m not kissing her anymore. A pat on the head is quite sufficient.

Now to the second part of my whacky title, I found Jezebel limping this morning at 7am.

Jezebel Curled Up Napping on a Happier Day
Have I mentioned her periodic little front leg tremors? She’s almost always looking out the window and we chalk it up to excitement. Today, frantic she’s having neurological complications I’ve neglected, I telephoned my veterinary clinic before they opened in hopes some early arriving tech would pick up the phone.

Instead, I got a recorded message that the wireless customer did not have current service and to try back later. Well, I did, over and over. Finally, I got through and they will see her at 8:45am tomorrow, the earliest available appointment. They weren’t having the best day, either, with both Internet connection and telephone operations requiring service.

In the meantime, I feel better seeing Jezzy act normal in every way outside favoring the leg/paw. Otherwise I would take her to an animal urgent care center. Despite what I dare call mishandling of Tilly’s case, those folks have given our girls excellent care throughout sweet Luna’s life and beyond.

Jezebel could have hurt herself jumping off one of the tall cat trees during the night or, as my husband additionally suggested, suffer arthritis that became too painful to support her weight. Curled up in bed feeling sick and miserable myself (prior to contacting the clinic), I was joined by her for a typical quiet snuggle.

After I got up and felt better having scheduled her exam, she displayed a healthy appetite and is now curled under the guest bed covers, another of many favorite lounging areas.

Do you think that theory regarding my stomach bug makes sense?

-

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Flop, a Flip, and a No Flip Flop Zone

For the first time in maybe eight or nine years I failed to meet a writing challenge. It turns out that my keyboard time gets interrupted more than I realized. A self set goal of two hours a day editing and/or typing new prose proved more difficult than spouting fifty thousand words in a month. Meeting those goals, I tend to start rapid fire storytelling about an hour before I anticipate my husband requesting my company.

Yesterday I put down my laptop with thirty-nine minutes still needed to reach sixty hours for April. It seemed a minor thing to finish up after my husband went to bed. Instead, we both fell asleep on the sofa and I woke up at 12:30, missing the deadline.

Oh, well. It’s an interesting lesson.
I may have gotten in the way now and then, but the fail is all her fault.
On the flip side (get it? heh…), my husband’s hearing has improved a good deal. We no longer have spats about sound volumes and hearing tests, a huge relief.

He believes now that he picked up a mostly painless ear infection of some sort. Tenderness and swelling he came to recognize have both improved alongside his audible range. While his right ear’s capacity is not back to where it was, we are not complaining since his left ear has been useless for a number of years now. Incidentally, back then his physician believed he developed an otherwise symptom free case of the mumps (!), surprising because he got vaccinated as a young airman before United States Air Force boot camp.

As for flip flops, and I know many are fans, they should never be worn around a running lawnmower. That may be obvious, but I have witnessed more than one woman doing so, sometimes in a bikini. And there’s a reason I bring this up.

I last mowed on Sunday during a blessedly cool and cloudy period. Unfortunately, I couldn’t complete the job, which inspired this whole train of thought regarding footwear.

More than halfway through the process, my mower blade disconnected and got spat out across the grass. I am fortunate to have received no injury. The machine is awaiting repairs as I type, the lawn still a mess. A neighbor offered to lend us his mower when asked but my husband worries about the missing bolt causing damage. It turns out the guy also owns a metal detector. It seems I’ll have to approach him over the matter as we’ve not heard more from the man.

On another bright side, while waiting for my spouse to conduct our business at the repair shop a young worker approached me to ask about my car. He purchased a used version one Volt last winter and wondered how I felt about the 2017. Geeking out with another enthusiast brightened my day. He wasn’t bad looking, either.

~wink~

Have you, like me, begun considering monoculture lawns a waste of time and recourses?

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Here We Go Again

Tilly, Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed in November Before Spring Grooming
For the third time since last September, our cat Tilly displayed curious behavior indicative of a urinary tract infection. It began Sunday afternoon as happened on December thirtieth last year. Once again, I got lucky making a same day veterinary appointment.

The first time, dear readers may remember we chose the Convenia antibiotic shot as we left for our autumn vacation before receiving diagnosis. Our pet sitters, a wonderful couple, handled her care.

Upon the second occurrence, I requested tablets. To my surprise, the vet that New Year’s Eve day told me they are more effective against the average UTI than a one time shot.

Okay.

It would have been nice to know earlier, but we had no real choice in the matter anyway. The pet sitter prefers not to administer oral medications after a nasty dog bite. I can’t blame her.

This past Monday, I got a more disturbing surprise. For an additional $95, a urine analysis on the specific bacteria will allow us to better target treatment.

What?!

Why didn’t they offer that months ago? I wonder if past treatments never even cleared her of whatever bacteria strain’s plaguing our poor darling, resulting in these uncomfortable reoccurrences. I’ll have you know, I kept my cool in the examination room and beyond, until returning home and raving to my equally bemused DH.

Meanwhile, I spent over $300 and still have to purchase more of whatever pills are recommended. And for now Tilly endures not only her preliminary antibiotic twice daily on top of the regular thyroid medication, but also ear drops and a liquid oral pain medicine morning and night, as well. I must admit, the mild sedation of that last seems to bring us more peace and quiet until she decides it time to demand another serving of canned food.

Tilly is spoiled, and loves pestering my husband for attention. And thank heaven, goes into peaceful sleep on his lap every afternoon. Now, let’s hope the ear drops clear up some mild irritation and reduce her wax overproduction.

A call should confirm our next step toward her UTI in a day or so. Meanwhile, her blood work otherwise showed the feline in good health, especially considering her age. That’s a relief.

If she suffered kidney dysfunction, antibiotics could be prescribed for up to six weeks (!) as opposed to two. Unless someone goofed up reading reports on our phone message, she won’t need that. We have been given false hope with a past error. Wish us luck.

Are you aware that people not completing a prescribed course of antibiotics is a contributing factor toward the emergence of resistant bacterial strains?

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Where Am I? Happy News, &, What’s That You Say?

During this month’s Camp NaNo writing challenge, I decided to count hours instead of fresh words. That flexibility offers a chance to work on edits and new story as I see fit.

Yesterday and today I made minute changes to a short story. Finished reading those words, I moved back to a WIP with different characters. In one amusing moment this afternoon, I recognized a mistake. Switching between Nickolas and Alex in Cincinnati, I set Arick and Lita in that same region instead of their native US state of Idaho.

I rectified that with a chuckle. Meanwhile, I am enjoying this ongoing dedication as a writer sans the stress of attempts to publish. We shall see what the future holds in that department.

In other happy news, lunch with someone considered the little brother I never had and a lady who has been making him very happy rounded out another successful and rewarding day. Now I’m about to join my husband for some YouTube video content. On a less pleasant front, a few days ago his hearing seemed to take an abrupt and sever downturn.

Deaf in one ear for several years, attributed to otherwise asymptomatic mumps (shocking considering he received inoculations in the Air Force decades ago), my spouse has been turning broadcasts up to the point it makes me flinch on occasion. To combat this, I put cotton in my ears.

Even that proved inadequate the other evening and I located Styrofoam ear plugs. When spotted, that did not go over well. He stormed out of the room and got on his computer. Today I implored him to get a hearing test. He met that with stoic dissatisfaction. I guess we all are in denial over something.

Any suggestions for what I should do next? How far should I push, and how fast before things deteriorate further?

Anything exciting happening in your neck of the woods?

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Monday, April 15, 2019

A Novel Idea & One Horrific Article

This April, for a writing challenge I have continued my work-in-progress (WIP) revamped during National Novel Writing Month last November. It’s been a joy spinning the romantic yarn and exploring the plague upon poor young Arick. He and Lita, I’ve decided, are going to make a formidable team against supernatural forces of evil. For a change, my tale is spooling toward novel length.

Today I realized how and why a man from each generation of Arick’s family suffered his burden, saving innocents from accidents and murder. Their bloodline can be traced back to the evil and cruel Delphine LaLaurie from New Orleans in the early 1800s. The society woman’s heinous crimes were familiar to me thanks to “American Horror Story: Coven” several years ago. In my tale, her monstrous spirit lives on even as her descendents pay for her crimes following a Voodoo curse.

Reading some details on the Mental Floss website proved more hair-raising than fiction. Seven other atrocious tales round out the article. In case you share my morbid fascination, you can find it here.

Do you like horror movies/shows?

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Cheeta Man

Since cutting the cable and buying a Roku, my husband and I have found more interesting television than ever before, often via YouTube. Somehow, yesterday he came across ‘Cheeta Man’, a fabulous story about big cat conservationists.

It’s no secret I adore lean young men with long hair. Soft spoken, twenty-eight year old Frenchman and naturalist Olivier Houalet (pronounced Olivi-ay Wha-lay) knocked my socks off. The story of what he and his collaborators endeavor, attempting to reintroduce orphaned cheetahs back into the wild, is astonishing.

Mr. Houalet is brave to the point of insanity. If you want to get an idea of this but don’t have three quarters of an hour to spend watching the entire cool documentary, the opening shows Olivier’s typical interactions with the five wild animals. Throughout the project, these two sets of related brothers and a single loner share fascinating, changing dynamics among themselves. I highly recommend watching in entirety.

Would you go on an African safari if you could?

                
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ups and Downs – aka – A Beautiful Boy, My Lovely Man, and One Lucky Lady


I have seen light at the end of the tunnel through my anxiety issues. Talking to a doctor and getting on medication have me feeling on a more even keel. I even managed getting to the YMCA two days in a row last week.

Then I fell ill with some sort of stomach bug the night after my second trip. In an ironic twist, my husband thinks I picked up something at the gym since we ate pretty much the same exact foods at home all week and he stayed healthy while I turned inside out.

It took me five days recovering before I felt up to proper exercise. A little apprehensive, I returned to the gym yesterday. And I got my payoff, dirty old lady style.

While on one of the resistance training machines, I saw the most beautiful boy walk past. He had exquisite lean muscle tone, impossible to miss since he wore a sliced up excuse for a shirt that gave a gorgeous view of his bared arms and lats. And he worked that thick head of shoulder length dark hair, flipping those coiled locks after each rest between weight lifting sets.

Since my lovely spouse is so confident and tolerant of my adolescent sensibilities, I admitted my lechery upon returning home. He laughed when I spoke of changing my routine to keep the guy within casual viewing range. Back in the nineties, my silly guy debated with me over who was hotter from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Legolas or Aragorn. Over time, I came to agree with him that it’s the latter. ~grin~ He called Legolas a ‘greasy elf’.

Viggo Mortensen - the Face of a Hero King
Have you read J. R. R. Tolkien?

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

New and Improved, Not

After my friend introduced me to the term ‘first world problems’ I can’t stop applying the term. Today’s little gripe definitely fits.

Another one of them has an actual name – choice paralysis. It’s when a person goes to the modern grocery store and has trouble finding the desired item due to so many options.

That issue cropped up yesterday in an unexpected way. Shopping with my husband, I decided to pick up a box of sesame sticks. They’re one of the few snacks I crave, if only now and then.

Last night I opened the container and put one in my mouth. Instead of succulent sesame, I got hammered by garlic. It turns out the manufacturer decided to try a new recipe. These are ‘everything’ sesame sticks. Just like the bagel of the same name, I find the taste overwhelming.

~sigh~

One of these days I’ll learn to check every last label to the finest print. Oh, well. They can be eaten along with the white cheddar crispy things my husband picked out and decided they taste horrible. Maybe they’ll cancel one another out.

Are you a snacker?

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Review of Corruption by Nick Wilford



“Corruption” is the second book in Nick Wilford’s Black and White series. As in any good second act, the success of our heroes comes into question. The apt title alludes to that.

My favorite part of this story is the bold adventure our intrepid trio undertakes. More timid with every passing year, it seems, I enjoy the heroism of others.

Their motive is both clear and laudable. The teenagers’ scientist friend George promised to update Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible, along with Welles’ long lost twin brother, on his group’s quest to cure the insidious disease killing the Loritanian populace, crippling their society. When the kids hear nothing, they don’t sit on their laurels in the relative safety of Whitopolis. They take action.

What they find at the end of their ocean voyage is staggering. One can only imagine how they will make restitution for the evils perpetrated upon this continent. And I look forward to reading just what Mr. Wilford’s mind has conjured.

My only complaint is how unabashed is the evil here. Of course, the series is called “Black and White”. And much younger readers are the target audience, not that I’m anywhere near the most sophisticated person on the planet.

As with the first book, this manuscript is exceptionally clean. That’s important to me, as typographical errors yank me out of a tale faster and with more jarring impact than just about anything else.

Well done, Mr. Wilford. Thank you again for this opportunity to read an advanced, gratis copy. My apologies for the delay in repaying your kindness with a fair review.

If you, dear reader, are interested in dystopian fantasy stories, I hope you will check out this series.

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***
Purchase Links:
Add it on Goodreads


Is there any sort of adventure or act of bravery that would lure you out of your comfort zone?

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Okay, This is Different

My husband shared the following article: Face-eating Squirrels Ravage Jack-O’-Lanterns

Yikes!
Out of season, but funny story. Hope you enjoy the article.

Do you carve jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween?

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Rockin’ the Body and the Brain (not quite over the rainbow)

I have struggled leaving the house ever since our car accident. Kudos to my husband, who prefers not to drive, for stepping up and going by himself on a few occasions for groceries and whatnot. But this is not how I want to live, however mean the world outside can be.

View Outside My House March 14
Going to see a physician on Monday proved to be a positive step forward. Took me three weeks to get an appointment, but learning the occasional stress induced chest pains are just that, nothing serious, and making a plan to get out of this anxious rut got me back to the gym. This morning’s resistance training is my third for this week and proved to be my 462nd total (!) since joining the YMCA a few years ago.

Following my checkup I agreed to go on a super low dose anxiety medication, perhaps just for a few months. We’ll see how it goes. My husband encouraged this, in fact, which told me how much my condition upsets him. He hated when I took Abilify and some anti-depression pill or other years ago, saying they dulled my wit and personality. In 2012 I left my stressful job in exchange for going off the stuff.

I never saw this attending doctor before Monday (so much for keeping your regular doctor through the health insurance marketplace). He and his fellows are working toward residency under guidance of senior physicians including my husband’s longtime doctor. I liked him.

He asked about my dreams. Any nightmares?

Oh, yes.

To that he offered another medication formulated to ease symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Yes, you read that right. Mine is an off label drug use, with potential of lowered cholesterol and reduced nightmares as possible side effects. So, again, we shall see.

The pharmacist warned me about the drug’s main purpose, as if I didn’t already know and would be offended. As if. I find it all very amusing. My entire adult life I’ve felt like a seventeen year old boy resides in my brain. Why not a fifty year old male? Maybe ‘he’ grew up alongside me in strictly a physical sense and developed prostate issues. My husband found that notion hysterical.

Meanwhile, as I prepared to park near the pharmacy, a nasty driver honked at me for driving too slow. In a parking lot, as I drove behind a pedestrian. Nice, huh? But the joke’s on them because my anxiety level was high enough the honk barely caused a bleep on my mental radar.

This afternoon I’m happy retreating into my fiction. Editing to ‘The Crow’ soundtrack has been therapeutic. I’m about to get back at it while rocking out to band Black Light Burns.

What is your preferred escape from reality?

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Unveiling of the Blue Meanie

With a little help from my husband (ahem… I’m hearing a certain Beatles song here), I managed to personalize our Volt 2.0, the Blue Meanie, with two of her namesakes. The submarine gave me the biggest problem because I did that one by myself.

It’s a little disappointing that it has a slight front end tilt because I let the turret and steam stack stay attached while resettling the lifted hull. And there are a few tiny bubbles.  Oh, well. He said we could always order another sticker if I feel the need.

Doesn't that car antennae look like it belongs on a submarine? Or a shark?
He had the wise thought to hold the bottom half of the larger sticker away from the window while I started with the ‘bunny ears’ and smoothed downward using a credit card. That one went on like a charm.

Are you seeing sunny weather today?

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Who Let the Hedgehogs Out? – & – Blue Willow Saves the Day


My husband asked me a question this morning that one doesn’t hear every day. “Did you leave a hedgehog out?”

Rather than reply with a facetious query as to who else might have, I concurred.

And no. We didn’t import those spiny mammals into our menagerie.

The last time we shopped the giant international market, Jungle Jim’s, I found these cute Japanese red bean filled buns in a representative shape. They weren’t expensive, so we brought a box home.

Don't call me Sonic...
Sad to say, the texture proved a bit dry, though I appreciated the lack of extreme sweet featured in most Midwest treats. With one left and freezer burn setting in, this lonely critter got set out on a plate to thaw.

Color Enhanced
They had been microwave heated in past, a tricky balance of defrost and high settings. Alas, this countertop method dried out the little guy further, though I’m sure the frost visible on its tiny intact head didn’t help.
The filling was a disappointment...

As you may know, the plate beneath bears the Chinese Blue Willow pattern first popular Stateside in the 1920’s. A fan since childhood (not the Roaring Twenties), I requested a few place settings for our wedding. Selected for special occasions, they saw zero use. For everyday wear and tear, we stuck with his old CorningWare set from long distant college days.

A few years ago I admitted having grown tired of that blue flower pattern and gained approval to choose anew, the old decent set donated to charity. Knowing from reviews that these new bowls would be too tiny for salads, I decided to pull out some more befitting from, you guessed it, my Blue Willow cabinet.

By the way, I bought additional recent manufactures from a kind colleague and avid antique collector, adding to our original collection despite their lack of usage. Anyway, the bowls brought into rotation saw not a single breakage.

Oh, and I once broke a plate from our old CorningWare. Shards appeared for years.

To my chagrin, the same hardiness could not be attributed to the newer CorningWare. After a few months the cute simple swoops became damaged, dulled and disappearing in increments quite unlike those vintage blue flowers.

Looking at our stack of nice untarnished bowls made me decide to replace all that increasingly ugly dishware (to which food tended to cling throughout various dishwashing cycles, I might add). The rest in storage, one now serves as a water catcher for my Christmas cactus.

Wish I had a use for the rest, not much fit for charity.
The China from my former coworker, made in the home country, show more white between the central and edge designs while our original pieces (as shown above) came from England and have a tighter configuration. All are servicing well, holding onto their designs and shrugging off food stains.

Did you know the term ‘blue plate special’ is thought to have originated with this design’s popularity?

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Comical Choice and Amusing Accord


Discussion regarding our new Chevrolet Volt led to my sharing prior thoughts on calling her Blue Meanie. My husband liked the idea, as it turned out, having enjoyed with me a recent viewing of the Beatles animated film “Yellow Submarine.”

Mean, yes. Also fun and colorful!
Since we have a collection of plush and plastic sharks honoring our favorite vacation spot, I suggested maybe trying to find a Blue Meanie plushie. That idea fell by the wayside when he found them costing $50 and, in addition, I didn’t want to crowd out the sea life.

Heh…

Another idea came to me, and I ordered vinyl stickers, including the one above from Redbubble and this below. I hope they hold up well as the one we had on our last Volt, again advertising our love of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Ordered off Amazon in a smaller size than the one shown above...
Have you ever seen the psychedelic film “Yellow Submarine”?

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Exercise Wins Again


Let me start at the beginning before explaining this post’s title.

This morning I struggled with something that should have been one of the little joys in this life. A new compact disk came in the mail and I uploaded the album to my laptop endeavoring to sync my iPod Touch with iTunes. The normal opening steps achieved, the last failed, communication between linked software evaporated.

Grabbing my trusty old iPod Classic and its cord, I hit pay dirt. The album loaded in less time than it takes to turn on my computer. What the heck? Software and both hardware devices rebooted, follow-on Internet tips explored, and several more attempts provided the same failed results.

Following the fourth or sixth (?) failure my husband returned from a routine doctor appointment. Ever the mensch and longtime computer expert, he offered to help. Sent links to additional suggestions confused me more until he took over my laptop and iPod, me standing over his shoulder.

Together, we finally solved the issue. He managed to pull up a Touch settings popup window in iTunes. There, I discovered a checkbox preventing a sync with the entire library. Since my newest album was not selected by hand, the program overlooked all those tunes.

Grrr…

I’m thinking now that perhaps an earlier reboot of my Touch changed that setting. Otherwise, why have I not fought with it every time, or today with the Classic?

Worse than this frustration, and the mild blood pressure spike such electronic brawls always trigger, is that my current brain chemistry translates elevated BP as a reason to full-on panic. My guy wanted to show off the navigation upgrade he wants to gift me for our new car’s OnStar package (since I refuse to carry a smart phone… Heh…). I couldn’t do it. I had to walk away with apology.

Heart hammering and head starting to pound, I needed to jump on the NordicTrack before things got worse. Blessedly, exercise speeding my heart sort of resets the mechanics. Cooling down, my body calmed to normal. What a relief.

Mr. Williams hanged himself at age 34 in 1998.
Have you ever heard of tragic American Gothic singer Rozz Williams or his musical projects?

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Blue Meanie – an Update, another Pun, and a Crazy Kitty

I don’t really like my nickname for our lovely 2017 replacement Volt, but decided to run with Blue Meanie here, for now. As for an update, our newest vehicle is more a peach than we knew.

Turns out we can access the newbie’s history through a Volt website. You see, my husband geeks out over my energy use statistics and sharing information with other fans. On an amusing aside, he received a message from the site inquiring over our 2014 ‘baby’ due to a lack of communication.

Maybe they have a RIP page. Heh…

As for this history, to our amazement the person leasing her the last three years ran the car on gasoline to a near exclusive degree. So the battery is all but brand new (!) and should serve us very well. That ’14 lost little charge capacity despite constant taxing.

In all likelihood, due to the longer battery range our car will one day run a cycle that utilizes aging fuel, burning it off. In this current cold I have been using a fraction of a gallon for every five or ten mile drive, a protective mode warming the battery system.

On the punny note, a friend of mine driving a standard (not diesel) Chevy Cruze calls it ‘Tom’. Get it? ~rolls eyes~ Maybe I’ll just go with ‘Baby’ again. Any better suggestions?

On the subject of cats, for some strange reason crazy little Jezebel seems to like tasting my body lotion. Fortunately, Griffin Remedy Omega-3 Ultra Moisturizing Skin Food lists nothing harmful in the product.

Did you know it’s possible, though not easy, to type while a cat licks the back of your hand and fingers?

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Buyer Beware - & - Getting My Groove Back

Yesterday we decided it time to look for a replacement electric hybrid Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle no longer in production. Our diesel Cruze sedan just isn’t designed for short hauls around town. My husband said upgrading from a 2013 to ’16 or ’17 model equated to making lemonade out of lemons following our hit and run collision last month.

Using our insurance company’s online assist, he found a car through a nationwide company that delivers a vehicle right to your door at no charge. Hmmm… Sounded interesting.

He reached out and a representative named Nick called. The polite fellow talked us through features on their website, specs on the selected car, and offered to get us started on the delivery process. In agreement my husband and I could handle the procedure on our own, we put on the brakes and decided to poke around first.

I am so glad.

First off, ‘free’ delivery cost $399 if we decided to keep the car. Then my smart guy thought to check the Better Business Bureau. Besides getting two out of five stars, this used car ‘dealership’ received a plethora of complaints that echoed similar issues. Among them: long overdue deliveries, filthy interiors, mechanical failures, and poor customer service.

One victim tried buying two different vehicles before demanding back his trade-in. When he got it back after a long delay, his expensive speaker system had been replaced with substandard factory units. Also, the excuse of a new paint job justifying his wait proved a patent falsehood.

All that, not to mention the fact our ‘suggested’ wait time on delivery was ten days, told me to move on. Did those people even have the car? I doubt it, seeing as the supposed ‘real time’ online image looked like a one car showroom.

I suggested checking out local, long trusted Voss Chevrolet the next county over. And we hit pay dirt. View of a mythical car half the continent away paled in comparison to recognizing the drive-thru service bay on Voss’ website.

I've stood on this floor many times arranging automotive maintenance.
Last night we came hope with this pristine 2017 Chevy Volt LT in metallic blue with well under twenty thousand miles (!) on the drive train. I think a conscientious elderly person may have leased this car. We face a learning curve on newer technology, but that should prove interesting. I apologize for the poor image below. It was cold!

At home, plugged in and charging.
(left front tire was a tiny bit flat)
Do you try to shop local, whether for large or small purchases?

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