Monday, June 28, 2010

Highs and No's

Sweetz and I checked out the garden and yard first thing this morning. Sure was a pleasant way to begin the morning. Peaceful and still relatively cool. Sweetz picked the "produce" - that's a fancy way of saying the veggies that were ready today. As explanation, we usually get enough to eat for the day and a little over that. I washed the veggies and let them wait for supper prep later in the day. BTW, they were great. Too much food, but at least we aren't going hungry.

I have a potted banana pepper plant on our back porch - and right there on it is my first banana pepper. It's growing every day but is still green - but won't be long before it will find its way into a pot to season something or other. Yummy, that will be quite a treat.

Now that I'm not working, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I could share some of my time as a volunteer here in our town. I love to read and bookstores and libraries are two of my favorite places to hang out. So, today after I picked out a few books to read, I stopped one of the nice librarians to inquire about the possibility of volunteering. Ohhhhh, she says, "We have a volunteer already". Wellllll! What does that have to do with anything, I'm thinking. She even pointed him out - putting away books on the shelf across the room.

Where I worked for the past 15 years we had numerous volunteers, both adult and youth. When someone capable and eager inquired, we were happy to use whatever talents they had. Sure saved lots of money in the salary budget too. Oh well, didn't hit a high point on today's pleasure scale. I might inquire one more time a few weeks down the pike and if I receive the same negative reaction, I will close that opportunity and look elsewhere. So, where does a has-worked-in-the-past geezer look for volunteer work?

Tomorrow I'm to have lunch with a friend who "wants to talk/vent". Hope I'm up to the task of friend/psychiatrist. Guess that makes me a listener. Hey, I can do that! And that's volunteering at its best. While in town, I'll visit the recycling center since it's high time that I emptied my containers.

It was hot again today. Hit 98* here. Then just a few minutes ago a front blew through with nasty clouds and high-altitude winds, but it's over now. The temps probably dropped a few degrees, but it would have been nice to get a sprinkle out of it. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quiet Saturday @ Home

Mom came for an early visit so I fixed us both breakfast. Tried to eat healthy: boiled egg, fresh fruit, whole wheat toast. It was delicious for sure.

Ahhh, it was a nice quiet Saturday. Stayed busy but it didn't seem that the neighborhood was as lively as usual. Maybe that's because I stayed inside most of the day trying to stay cool. Or maybe they stayed inside for the same reason. Our thermometer went up to 96 today. Wow, that's too hot for me. One more day of hot weather the weatherman says, then cooler for a few days, which will be well received in this household. This hot weather makes me dream of fall. Well, really would just like temps in the 80s for a change. And after these extreme temps, 80s will seem like fall has arrived!

Sweetz fixed lunch today: a sandwich, chips, a pickle, and iced tea with mint. Ahhh, what a hubby! Oh yeah, ooops, I forgot to mention the cake. He actually baked a cake. I can do without cake but I didn't. You know, didn't want to hurt his tender feelings by not eating it. Maybe he'll eat the rest of it to keep temptation away from me.

These flowers were picked this morning while the dew was still fresh on them. Just had to cut them to add a bit of flare to the dining table. As long as we have flowers, there will be plenty in the house. I also cut two rose buds which are in little bud vases. And we had a surprise today when we noticed the glads are showing some color. They will be in the house before long. Just can't get enough flowers - they liven the room and the mood at the same time.

Since Sweetz made lunch, I rewarded him with a hair cut. If I didn't, I believe the pastor might ask him to tie it in a ribbon tomorrow when we walk in the door. He has thick hair and it really becomes unruly when it gets too long. Today's cut is actually mostly a trim - you know the kind that doesn't actually look like a haircut, just neater. We both got hair all over us so into the shower we went. That felt good to get clean and grab fresh clothes.

I finished the book I was reading - was pretty good. Nice to get involved in a good book and tune out the world and its problems for a bit. I pick out several from the library every 3 weeks, so I have a couple more left unread. Not sure which one to start first. How do I choose which one is next? Go by the picture on the front? See if one title grabs me more than the other one? Guess it doesn't really matter. I have plenty of time. Plus, if I don't like either one - it's back to the library I go.

Time with hubby and mom, great meals, good books, peace of mind. Life is here for our enjoyment. I'll treasure today's blessings and look forward to another great day tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Just a Name

Ahhh, I figured out a title for me. I'm not a retiree since I quit. And I quit earlier than retirement. Soooo, I decided I'm a "quitee". The name seems to fit just fine.

My migraine began to zip up it's stay so about 11am I felt good enough to tackle some out and about time. So, I ran a few errands and while out and about I met a friend and we chatted a long time and got caught up on the news. About 3pm I realized the migraine had gone. They usually last 3 days so it was time to see it's tail lights. And good riddance. Don't come back either. Wish I knew what caused those things and I'd bottle it and bury it in the backyard.

More good news: my first SS check has been deposited. After working for a variety of bosses during my years, some excellent and some on the other end of that scale, I feel I earned every penny. I don't get much, didn't earn much, don't deserve much. Ahhh, so now I'm enjoying this new phase. A few pennies in the bank and now I'm official. A stay-at-home quittee.

The weather is hot here but our AC is churning and I have all that I need. Happiness is just swelling under my brow. I chat on the phone with a friend and I get off the phone smiling. I read and I smile. I wake up late and I smile. I see the birds doing their bird thing and I smile. Ahhhh, life is good. I can't change some things about this cruel world but I'm going to make the best of what God has given me and thank Him for each and every blessing. That's what they are too. Blessings. I could sink down and complain about this and that or the other. Nope, don't feel like doing that. There are beautiful things around us every day, sunrises and sunsets that can stir a photographer's juices, family and friends to keep us content, neighbors to share a chat and a piece of cake. What a life. I'm blessed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's a Migraine

Gag, how I hate headaches. But this one is a migraine. A full-fledged triple decker variety. I get the "light shows" prior to migraines. Had one and then it eased off later in the day after meds. Then the next morning, a light show and migraine nearly immediately. Even with meds, it just wouldn't totally go away. Then later in the afternoon, another light show and more meds and it's still present. Oh, my goodness, will it ever go away???? I've lived in our bedroom nearly exclusively with the drapes drawn and no noise or light anywhere that I can stop. I'll be back writing a bit as soon as I can handle the light. Stay cool!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wandering and Pondering

Sweetz had a delivery today and asked me if I was interested in going along. Yahooo, a day off from...what? Retirement? I was his first mate/right hand man/ helper, whatever. I asked him what my commi$$ion would be. He chuckled. Hey, I helped didn't I? Oh well, he fed me all day and gave me an interesting day away from home. Afterward the delivery we wandered around Mt. Airy and we ate at Snappy's Lunch. That was soooooo disappointing. Gag. Their famous fried pork chop sandwich was awful and most of mine went in the trash. Our young waitress was awful and didn't deserve the tip we left. Thankfully another waitress saved the day when she took over our table and helped with drink refills, etc. After that bad experience, we checked out some of the shops along the main street and I snapped a few pictures of some of the shops made famous in the old Mayberry episodes.

Then we stopped in two RV repair shops to see if we could find things we needed for the camper and happened to see a used camper for sale that we liked. Talked to the owner awhile and ---- it's a possibility. It's a bit longer and newer than the one we have now. It's something to ponder. And ponder we shall.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Finally painted the bath

First comes the primer. Kilz2. Worked great.

Then comes the final coats. It's beige, although who knows what this color appears in this blog.

Finally. Yes, finally. I painted the master bathroom walls. It's pretty. I'm happy. Sweetz is happy. Yipes, now I see I need to paint the ceiling. Ohhh, no, I have to paint the trim. Golly, I thought I was finished. Can it wait? Sure, doesn't look like we will be able to sell this house yet. Sweetz plans to retire the end of the year. Will this paint job help sell the house? Ummmm...hope so.

Happy and Sad

It's been hot around here but the AC feels good inside. I try to get outside as often as I can but that heat is pretty tough to manage sometimes. Sweetz found the first two Japanese beetles near the roses yesterday. Bummer. They are such a nuisance and eat away at the blooms as well as the emerging buds. He trots out to the rose garden with his trusty jar filled about 1/3 with soapy water. He taps them and they drop like anchors into the water and can't get out. Now, if we can keep ahead of those things we just might have a rose bloom or two to enjoy. The adult stage only lasts about a month and they spend it in wild abandon eating and ...ah hem...doing the wild thing.

Sweetz cut our second magnolia bloom and I tried to get some decent shots of it but never could get the lighting right. Oh well, it is a gorgeous flower that is nearly a perfect 10. And the smell - quite a heavenly fragrance somewhat similar to a lemony scent. It's in the dining area now --- ahhhh, what a smell.

We ate dinner with our son Brian and his family last night in honor of Father's Day. We had a great time chatting around the table and enjoying our two grandsons. They had alot of fun playing with some "quiet" toys while we talked. Here's a picture of them playing Tic Tac Toe. They also colored Father's Day pictures for their dad. They had been to the pool most of the morning so were nearly tuckered out and it wasn't long after they ate that they were having trouble keeping their eyes open. It was too late when I thought about a 3 generation picture. Oh well, hopefully I will remember the next time. Nolan is sporting a tie and a watch so he can be just like his dad. How adorable.

We received an email last night from another son to tell us he leaves today for a year in Afghanistan. That will be a tough year for both him as he is away from home serving our country and also his wife and 3 kids who will remain in Texas. We will hang our small yellow ribbon banner and also will buy a large yellow ribbon for the tree in the front yard. And pray each day for his safe return.

Just heard that one of my neighbors was taken to Hospice House after an extended struggle with emphysema. Her husband has done an awesome job taking care of her at home as long as he could. She is not doing well and the family has requested no visitors at this time so they can maintain her privacy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hot As Blazes

I had just arrived at my line dancing class today when I got a call from my mom saying she was feeling funny, dizzy, nauseated, and fainty. Knowing I needed to check on her, I told a friend of the situation and headed out to check on my mom. I stayed with her until about 6pm when I was convinced she was doing ok. I actually think it was dehydration and being overheated. She was sitting outside when I arrived. We went inside and she felt better in about an hour after drinking some fluids and cooling off. About 1pm she said she was hungry so we drove into town to get something to eat. Today is the last day of school and as we were eating several students apparently came in to "celebrate". But out they went after the last bite was consumed. They have sooooo much to do and must rush, rush, rush. Guess I was the same way at that age.

My high school class reunion is coming up in October. Naaah, I will NOT be attending. I didn't like my high school, nor the town, nor the state. I get several emails every week wanting me to register. Then today I get a printed reunion registration in the mail. I've previously emailed weeks ago stating I would not be attending. How many opportunities do they think are required to convince me to retract my negative RSVP? I did have a bit of fun and found the high school website and checked out some of this year's activities, messages, menu, sports, valedictorian/salutatorian. Our reunion notice was on it too and of course...another opportunity to register.

It was hotter than blazes here today. Not sure if I could stand to be any farther south than I already am. If I didn't know better, I could swear I was close to the sun. That's hotter than blazes. The afternoon the sky darkened, thunder began to rumble, and then we had some rain. It was noisy with the lightning striking closer than I like, but eventually moved off. We could use the rain, but it was the noise and light show that makes it less enjoyable.

Yesterday morning about 8:30 I saw a tiny darling fawn complete with spots walking through our backyard. Very very cute. It moved around like it was looking for the rest of the family. Today while I was at mom's, Dear Hubby said he went to the mailbox about 3pm and out in the middle of the road was this little fawn. Broad daylight. He said it made some warning noises at him several times. Then eventually bounded off into a neighbors wooded lawn. At this point I think the little one has been separated from his mother. Wonder why they don't come back to find him? If something has happened to the mother, then it would be nice if the aunts and other females would adopt this little orphan.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not Anymore

My brother pulled out about 3:15 for home. He should be arriving about now. I would imagine the traffic was awful, especially the last 100 miles. Just think, I used to live in all that traffic and thought little of it. It was exciting to be in the big city and experience the hustle and bustle of an active lifestyle. Whoa, not anymore. Give me the gentle life now. I'll pass on that city life. Not even sure I'd like to visit a big city anymore.

We used to like to camp along the river, have the windows open to experience the night sounds and perhaps even let the trickling sounds of the river ease us into sleep. Not anymore. Wow, I can only imagine the catastrophic experience of those campers along the river in Arkansas who lived through an experience they'd prefer to never have happened. Many are still missing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones or are waiting for information on their condition. A quiet summer night with an awful ending. Makes me rethink where I'd like to park our camper in the future.

Sweetz brought the onions in that he had dug up yesterday. They are smaller than I would have thought. Our garden soil after 30 years must be depleted. It produced luscious veggies the first few years, not anymore.

Situations change, people change, conditions change. Our world was once clean and efficient, a happy and peaceful place. Not anymore. I used to be skinny and energetic. Not anymore. I used to be part of the working class, not anymore. Oh well, life will go on and we'll make the best of what we have been given. One day at a time. We'll wake up tomorrow morning with a fresh outlook and the chance to make a difference in both ourselves and those around us in little ways. One step at a time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Weekends Are For Workers

I've noticed I don't care for weekends. Too many people around, going quickly hither and yon, in a hurry, impatient. The neighbors are off in their cars up and down the roads, coming and going. Did I do the same thing when I worked? I walked again today trying to get my body back in some sort of improved shape - and they passed me and barely noticed I was on the side of the road. A few waved. But I'm OLD and GRAY and obviously not worth the space I'm occupying. They are young and active and have a life - they have a mission! Well, I was their age once - which seemed like just a few short years ago! Did I treat the older folk that way?

My brother will be leaving tomorrow about 2pm on his way back to Northern VA. Talk about traffic, and impatience, and busyness. I'll keep our slow country area over that. Wow, never thought I'd say that. I used to love that area, the hustle and bustle, the activity, the stores, the seemingly endless opportunities. Now that I've been here for 30 years, the slowness of this area has grown on me. I'd still like to have a smaller house - or none at all and travel until wanderlust dwindles. With our present economy, few houses are on the market - guess no one wants to admit their For Sale sign is rusting in the front yard.

My mom, brother, Sweetz, and myself went out for supper. We went to a local BBQ restaurant which was delicious as usual. Then we went up the road to an ice cream shop and had dessert. Ummmm, yummmm, good. Neither one of these places were busy. Both were not even 1/3 full of customers. So where are the cars going? They are in a hurry to go somewhere. WallyWorld, maybe. Although when I go there, the number of customers seems greatly reduced from a year ago. I noticed some stores had closed - a drugstore here, a little shop there. No new businesses, no new buildings. Still, I noticed few homes for sale. I found that a bit puzzling. For sure, the Realtors are obviously feeling the pinch since they work on commission. Even small towns like ours are showing the result of the economy.

We'll go to church tomorrow, spend a bit of time with Wayne before he leaves and then settle back down to finish the weekend. We'll perk up next week when the commuters have headed out for jobs in the city. I'll walk around my neighborhood and probably won't even meet a car at all. Yep, Mondays might soon be my favorite day of the week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Change of Pace

Decided to cut a few snips off two geranium plants to root them in water. But decided a picture would be great while waiting for roots to appear.

This hydrangea is so pretty this year and is loaded with blooms in our front yard. Not sure of the name but is certainly a delight to the eyes while I hang out on the front porch sipping tea and reading. Oh, and watching the neighbors rush off to work. One of my favorite times of the day!

And this caladium plant has an unusual protrusion that I haven't noticed in the past. Wasn't sure at first, but now looks like it could be a flower. Umm, can't wait to see what it looks like when it opens.

It's already Thursday, but I'm not busy so the days move along their merry way. I hope I'm not getting lazy but it would be easy to do so.

My brother is visiting this week, staying at mom's next door. The four of us ate supper at a local seafood restaurant last night, then came back here for a chat and much laughter...over dessert. They looked at my Pennsylvania trip pictures on the digital frame. Those are pretty neat and I don't have to do anything except click on slide show and let them run.

Been thinking of heading out to a few shops to get away for awhile. This lounging around without a boss is rough work! So I think I need to spring for some freedom. Guess I should get another wireless modem to replace my bad one, but so far being connected with a cable hasn't irritated me to that point yet. When that happens, the plan will be to buy one. So, I need to see what I can do for excitement today. Working in the house and yard offers insufficient excitement. A trip out and about seems to be the answer to renew my spirit.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back Home

Even as much as we enjoy occasional bus trips, it's always nice to get back home. We had a great trip to Lancaster PA and surrounding towns. One of those was Intercourse PA which is a hoot to the natives who sell everything with the name of the town on it. Like: "Virginia is for Lovers, but Pennsylvania is for Intercourse".

We had nice accommodations and all the buffets were delicious and varied. It's very easy to over-eat - but I worked the carbs and calories plus fat grams into great meals. Came home with nary an extra ounce showing up on the bathroom scales. The trip included a night at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, complete with delicious dinner and "Huck Finn" play. Both were outstanding. Another night we saw "Joseph" which was also outstanding. Tours of Amish countryside, plus some demonstrations of the Amish lifestyle, their handwork, and their cooking, shopping, etc. made for a nice visit to this area of our country. All-in-all, it was a memorable trip.

I was going to line dancing this morning but my internet was down from yesterday evening and never returned. So, I spent my precious morning hours on the phone with John the Cable Guy. He was young sounding but patient with me as I did his bidding: unplug this, turn that off, click on another, delete thisamagig, enter whatchamacallit. Presto, internet back on - problem is the wireless modem. So, I'm hooked up directly with internet cable and am confined to my short leash. No problem, I am happy to be connected once again. How impatient I am when my internet access is down! I've snipped and dried and packaged my first harvest of dried herbs. Nice but now my hands smell strongly of rosemary, oregano, and thyme. I won't have to add any herbs to my supper. Only a dip of my hands into the pots should do the trick.

My brother is here for a week's visit. He will be retiring in August so is practicing this new lifestyle. He and the little woman live in northern VA and tend to get crowd overload and he loves to come to the country to unwind and find some peace.

I'll tack on some photos (some from the bus windows) of our Amish country bus trip.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Road Trip

I'm coming to terms with being unemployed. Not much money in the sugar dish, but we're doing ok. We're being resourceful with our pennies and have made it this first month just fine. There were years earlier in our marriage when we were raising 4 boys on one income, part of the time Sweetz was furthering his education and I worked as a secretary in a surgeon's office with low pay/no benefits. Most of the time Sweetz worked and I was a stay-at-home mom. Times were tough and now when we look back at those years, we wonder how we did it. Definitely had to keep our focus but we survived it. So, we've had experience in frugality and it has paid off now. Anyway, at our age we don't need much except for the necessities.

We are heading to PA tomorrow for a few days to enjoy a bus trip with a bunch of other "seniors". Haven't been with this particular group before but have traveled previously with three couples. We will see two plays while there: "Joseph" at the Millennium Theatre and "Big River - The Adventures of Huck Finn" at the Dutch Apple Theatre. And then there are the Amish buffet meals. Waaaay tooooo muuuuch fooooood at those, but hopefully I can continue to eat healthy. I've lost 5 pounds since I left work a month ago, so I don't want to put them back on. I have the luggage out and Sweetz already has most of his stuff packed. Not me, but I'll get it done just in the nick of time. I do have the camera ready - but that's my priority. Doubt I'll get good pictures on a bus trip, but at least I'll have it to remember a few things. Mom will come and feed the katz while we're away so that's taken care of.

Speaking of the katz, if we travel much, we face the decision of what to do with them. Our camper is small and we can't see the two of us sharing it with the two of them. Sweetz thinks we can head west after Christmas. Sure hope we know what we're doing. Many questions, many unknowns. Many challenges. Which includes what to do with our two katz...

My herbs are drying nicely and should be ready for packaging when I get back home. Cute labels would be a great touch. Did I mention my line dancing class last Tuesday? Really loved it and can't wait to go again. If I can continue...there's one glitch, but maybe that can be worked out. If not, there's a senior aerobic class at the community college which might be almost as good. Need to keep moving and get some more pounds off. Getting old aint for the faint of heart. I need to get busy now since my mom and I are scheduled to meet a friend for lunch. Hey, something on my social calendar! Think I can remember how to act in public?