Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who? Me??

For the past two mornings, I've stepped outside to temperatures hovering around 34 to 35 degrees. This is not to complain. My hormonally challenged body is very appreciative. I can step outside and wash away the heat flush that seems to trying to crisp me up from the inside out.
I've heard people say their wives were going through "the change" and her crabbiness they attributed to the lack of hormones she produced prior to this rite of passage. I want to say right here and right now, that crabbiness is because she is hot. Wave after wave, flushed face, sweat gathering at the nap of the neck, and saturating clothing and sheets and hell..wouldn't you be crabby? I wish now, I had listened to those older women sitting around comparing their menopausal moments with each other. What? I didn't think someday it would be me that would be comparing notes with my peers?
Honestly, I never really thought about being "old". I noticed that the elderly didn't move quickly, especially when forced to walk behind them until I could find a clear area to the right to "pass" and move on. The limps from bad knees, the rolling way they walked because of bad hips and the electric carts rolling around the stores were just a part of the scenery as I barreled along to get done what I needed to do.
The heels traded in for wide, sturdy leather ones with spongy, flat soles  was duly noted but never once did I wonder about their reasons for wearing something so unfashionable.
I'm there folks! Wide width sneakers replaced the pumps that tweaked the calf muscles that peaked out from the hem of that short skirt. That short skirt has been replaced by a pair of Capri's or shorts that are a modest knee length.
My medicine cabinet now has the meds I swallow each morning and night to keep my lipids under control and my blood pressure from stroking me out. I consider myself fortunate that these are the only two medicines required at the moment.
Somewhere in the past ten years, I quit bemoaning the fact that the gray hairs have tripled. The jeans I wore in my 20's now a vague memory; I'm  grateful to be blessed with the relatively good health I enjoy. That's when you can tell you have really arrived at old age. You can appreciate the fact that you can still move around pain free and enjoy life, though it might be a bit slower paced. The wrinkles, thicker waist and gray hair are minor annoyances. Health is your biggest wealth; something it takes us years to appreciate and realize.

If you'll excuse me now, it's time to step back outside for a few minutes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Traditionally Yours

Bah Humbug! I mention every year about this time, "I'm just not into this!" then I head for the Little House to plunge into the containers holding the decorations for Christmas.

Carrie spent most of her week off from school with me. Saturday morning, after her breakfast which really could be considered brunch as it was her favorite meal of noodles and was served at 1000 hrs. we headed for the Little House. She was excited to be included in retrieving and decorating for Christmas.

We pulled out the tree in it's wheeled container and headed for the house. She carried a few of the pieces that are old world Santas that sit around the edge of the tree. We were on our way to getting festive.

As the tree was set up and the bells and baubles were unpacked, I listened as she would exclaim "I remember this Nana!"  Certain things would bring memories gushing back to her and she would hold aloft the bauble, wave it around and laugh as she hung it on the tree. Suddenly, and for the first time in years, I recovered a bit of the holiday spirit.

It wasn't about all the shopping nor about all the cooking but about a little girl's delight in seeing these things she recognized from her past here with me. She has such a short past and half of it she is to young to remember at her age of 6 yrs.  I needed this little person to remind me of the importance of tradition. Of the sameness and the comfort of that sameness she was enjoying and I found I was enjoying the decorating too.

We decorated the mantle and the sofa table with greenery and lights and before she found Ma and Pa Santa, she was enquiring as to their whereabouts. Eventually a plastic tote was opened to expose them and as usual, she giggled as she grabbed them to examine. I'll share a picture later today though I know I've posted it before on one of my other December posts.

I'm heading back out to the Little House in a few minutes to look for more Christmas stuff. I'm suddenly in the mood to light up the room with memories of Christmas past and this I attribute to the joy of a little girl's squeals and laughter that gave back to me one of the reasons for the season. Tradition. It's a good thing.

Now for the eggnog and rum.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stop and Go

I've started and stopped so many posts lately. They bore me and I can imagine how boring it would be published. I'm in a mood lately. That mood is a bit hard to describe and putting it into my words doesn't make sense even to me. I read a blog yesterday that explained to me how I felt. I find it amazing that what someone else has written appears at just the right moment to enlighten. I planned on linking right here to that blog site but right now I'm just too lazy to go back and copy it.

My Thanksgiving meal will be served one day early. Carrie and I spent the morning baking and putting together part of the meal. Carrie is off this week and has spent much of it with us. I've been employed in being a "student" with Carrie as my instructor. We have sang our 'ABC's", played the hand clapping game over and over and I've made countless trips for drinks and food. Carrie keeps me busy;sometimes I'm grateful and some times I'm exhausted from her visits.

At 0500 I was out of bed and on my way to the kitchen. My Thanksgiving meal will be served today.  Casseroles, vegetables and hot rolls have to be prepared and ready by noon. I was ready early with my meal.

The daughter asked about inviting a few of her friends, and the granddaughter called with the same request. Come one, come all! And for those that couldn't make it, a plate was filled and sent off after the meal.

Had a bit of snow been on the ground, it would have seemed a normal northern Thanksgiving. A chilled air served the state after the rain storm passed through last night. It was a relief to step outside to cool down from being in the warm kitchen with the stove whose oven was on most of the morning and the pots of food simmering on all four burners.

We had a pleasant afternoon and it's over. The kitchen counters have been cleared and most of the food was sent away with the guests. A platter of food was kept for dinner for the two of us. Happy Thanksgiving and now we can concentrate on Christmas?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Football Sunday sometimes Saturday...

It's not always about the score for me. Dressed in their tight pants and numbered jerseys, they skip into the arena, knees pumping, leg muscles flexed and ready for their job. It is a job after all. We tend to forget maybe because they are named "players" that they are actually there to earn a paycheck and do a job. Granted, it's a job like no other requiring a hard fit body, speed, agility and balance along with a quick mind, football players are super athletes.

I watch as the receiver of the ball, eyes trained on the prize thrown high into the air by the quarterback, reaches up to pluck it out of the air. BAM! He is hit by a tackle running at top speed, clipping him beneath the knees and taking his legs out from under him. That same receiver, after taking this hit cartwheels up to a standing position and walks away.

My head would still be ringing, my legs unable to support my body and I wouldn't get up to go through this again. It's the physical shape of these players that earn my admiration. Whether they win or lose the game watching these athletes doing their jobs is impressive.

So many hits and so many get up and go on. I'm saddened to see one of these warriors get taken down and unable to get back up or if they do stand to be escorted off the field with a knee injury or a shoulder injury that will end their careers in a matter of a few minutes on a play. When they prance into that arena, they face the fact that it might be their last game. That takes some fortitude.

We take offense to some of their off the field indiscretions. I'm one of those that is quick to be critical of these well paid men that squander their talents by becoming involved in fights, wife beatings or even murder. Are they just human or do they think they are above the law when they walk on the other side of the law?

Granted, many of them are family oriented but as with fame and fortune comes temptations and their own expectations for  allowances for their actions.

I can admire their abilities and still be critical of some of their behavioral antics.

That was yesterday. Today I'm painting T-shirts with Carrie. I promised her I would be at the school this morning to help her teacher with the students. Carrie hasn't had a great weekend. A low grade fever, coughing and a drippy nose contributed to a crappy night of rest. She doesn't complain but her face belies her health. Her eyes are mere slits; she looks like she needs to slip beneath the sheets and sleep for hours and hours. She won't admit to feeling sick. She wants to play.

We met at the school and sat around that dang table that is less then two feet off the floor. The little chairs are miniature in size to slip easily beneath the table. Shirts that have been dyed a tan buckskin color, sliced in fringes along the hem and the sleeves to look at though an Native American might be seen wearing it, is our project.  The theme of the t-shirt painting is "signs" as language. Sheets of paper with herioglyphics of the American Indian kind were spread out on each table. Little pots of paints, brushes and cups of water were centered above each child's station.

The adults that gathered there to help were in charge of the drawings. Each child selected the signs they wanted from the sheets of paper while the parents drew those signs on the t-shirts. The children would then pick up their paint brushes and outline the signs drawn on the shirts. The children had been instructed by the teacher before we got there to always rinse off their brushes after changing colors and dry them off before dipping into a new color.

I heard little voices from around the room raise in alarm when the rinse water in their cups changed from clear to the color they were rinsing from the brushes. The teacher assured them this was to be expected. They had been schooled well in what to do and anything out of the ordinary had to be justified to them.

I watched and listened as 21 small children sat in this classroom intent on their assignments. They would look for praise on their projects and I was quick to tell them their shirts were beautiful. I kinda  enjoy hangin out with them for these little exercises.

The little boy sitting beside me was a broad shouldered fellow, 5 yrs old with sandy hair that was pin straight and worn in a long buzz cut. It haloed his head and I could imagine 12 years from now him being dressed in helmet and shoulder pads charging down the field chasing a football. I looked around the room and tried to imagine what each one of these little persons would be doing 12 years from now. I have been able to follow some of the older grandchildren's friends as they have moved along through school and beyond on their own paths.

Carrie was bundled up and taken home to be medicated with some benadyrl and put to bed. She has the remainder of the week to be a student.

I'm off to enjoy the outdoors. We have some hair frizzin humidity. I watch the television reports of the blizzards in Colorado and I'm grateful for the warmth we have here and the nice dry roads. I don't want to ever fight those icy, snow roads and the winds of the winter west!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary 11.11.2011

I'm sitting here looking at 54 degree temperatures and watching television. It's 1000 hrs and by noon it might be warmer. I want to wash the Marquis and the Solstice but I don't want to do it while it's this cold so I wile away the morning and wait....and it never got done. This was started on Thursday and here it is, Friday and even colder then yesterday. The temperatures dipped down to 37 degrees last night and today it hasn't rebounded to a degree that I would accept as one to washing of my automobiles.

The outdoor wedding and the pig roast is scheduled for late today. This is not the only wedding I'm aware of today. It seems that more then a few people want the date of 11.11.2011 as their anniversary date.

Around 1900 hrs and around 47 degrees, the bride in all her white dressed sleeveless beauty will trip down the short aisle in imagination only, stand on the elevated, white organdy decorated  platform and emotionally and legally unite with Mr. Groom. Hopefully the pig will be roasting, a huge fire more important for warming the guests then cooking the pig.

I foresee a bunch of shivering, coated and gloved guests milling around the patio and in  the decorated shed with it's plywood floors and walls with cutouts for windows and doors in it's stage of near completion. I'm hoping for party pictures later in the week and a report on the festivities meanwhile I dodge all the fun and the chill in the air beneath a blanket on my sofa, remote control in hand. I'm indoors. I'm warm. I'll enjoy the wedding reports tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1991 Corsica

It has been a while but I can still remember scraping up coins and pop bottles to buy a couple gallons of gas for the clunker on wheels that would normally pass for a car except a car should move one around. My car seldom did that. Much work was needed to get it running for those short spurts that it ran. Calling it a sprint car might have described it best. I still remember those days though I don't remember being especially stressed when it wasn't running correctly. That was pre marriage and pre only child. By the time I had graduated to a marriage and child, stress came along to join the parade of emotions when the car of the moment was misbehaving. I connect that with the responsibility of having a job, a child and little money.

The granddaughter and her roommate have now taken up those slots I left behind. The slots of car woes that, as you become more prosperous and can afford a new car, you leave the clunkers for someone else to coddle.

When Christin's car began overheating, a car with over 200,000 miles on it, we had it taken to the shop. A blown head gasket was the diagnosis along with all it's other ailments sealed the fate on this ride. Since then I've been looking around for a replacement. Something that was cheap with low mileage and that has been well cared for. I might as well have started looking for a camel and saddle for Christin to drive to work. Scarce and close to non existent will you be able to find a car using those qualifications. The used cars here have 150,000 miles on them with a sticker price of 10,000.00 or more.

I kept looking. Occasionally something pops up as in the case of the grandson's truck..low mileage, perfect condition and an even more perfect price. These are usually one owners and are sold by that owner. Finding them is the trick. Ted was born in 1993 and so was his truck which makes it unique for him. He loves his truck.

Yesterday I stopped in after passing this little car a few times. I stopped to look at another car in the neighborhood. A car owned by two people and both of them in the same family. It had less then 100,000 miles on it, very clean and with a 2000.00 price tag. I crawled beneath it, checked the ground where it sat for spots from leaking, checked the wear on the tires for front end problems, looked beneath the hood for condition of hoses, and leaks and checked the oil which needed changed but was registering "full". No gunk or old oil noted inside the oil filler cap so I picked up the key and took it for a little spin. Over speed bumps to check the struts, twisting the steering wheel violently to the left and right to see if it returned to center, listening for knocking or pinging and quickly braking to a stop, this little car is a keeper. It will get Christin back and forth to her job and if she drives it for a year, she will have got her money's worth out of it.

Today I'll go pick it up and get the paperwork done and it licensed and Christin will be driving it to work this afternoon.

I'm now officially no longer looking for an automobile unless of course I find something with low low mileage and in perfect condition for the perfect price. I'm always open for that.

Right now it's time to coax Carrie out of bed and into her school uniform.

I want to get the car papers done and make a trip to the jewelry store to pick up some jewelry in for repairs and then I might just pack up and head for Amite, La. In a few days the job there will be done and from there we can head to New Orleans for a fall break!
I'm busy, busy, busy!
and I'm done here. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I'm tired. I've been on the go all day. The granddaughter hauled herself out of bed before 1400 hrs which is most unusual for her. She was here before noon and those brakes on the front of her car was our goal today. I've been trying to get this done for months now but that pesky sleep schedule the granddaughter insists on adhering to has derailed my plans on more then one weekend.

We pulled one wheel off the front and unhooked everything. Carrie stayed close by wanting to help. For a while she hung on my back with her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. Moving around with her attached was impossible and as much as I hated to, I had to reject all this attention from her. She wanted to help so I put her in charge of the lug nuts. She watched closely the steps we took in taking apart the brakes and calipers. Soon we were all covered in black brake dust. Our fingers and then our faces were smudged black. We loaded up into the other car and headed for the parts house.

The job would have been a bit faster if I had done this in the past 15 yrs. but I hung up my wrenches years ago and it has been that long since I did brakes. I had to take them down again and change the direction of the anti rattle clips and connect everything again. Done. Lisie, the granddaughter and the driver of this car assisted and learned. She is in charge of the next brake job this car will need someday.

We still have the back brakes to do. They will be another lesson for her as they are drum brakes. I watched as she loosened the lug nuts a little, jacked the car up and then finished removing the lug nuts. She won't have any trouble changing a flat tire should she need to some day.

We finished up and wiped off some of the black dust and had lunch. Soon they were headed home and I still had to clean up the mess Carrie had made of the living room, load the dishwasher and get a shower. I'm tired but I'm grateful for what we got done today. It might be months before I can get the granddaughter out of bed early again to do those rear brakes and I refuse to work on her car alone.

I'm not really into doing this anymore so if I have to, someone else must suffer along with me. Plus, since I've had my metal knee, it's more difficult to pop up and down to chase tools, jacks and parts and having her to do that for me saved a lot of extra running for me.

Not an interesting day, but a productive one and it will be an early bedtime for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Leafing and Leaving

The giant maple tree sitting off center from the front of this house litters the yard with leafs and I look the other way. Most of the leaves on the tree are still bright green which is odd to have them dropping before they travel through the color changes that are usually a prerequisite for them to escape their attachments to the branches they glombed on in the spring. Enough of them fall to form a messy sprinkle on the lawn. I could start up the mower and crunch them up but for what? Within minutes more will drop and just enough to irritate. I'm sure the neighbors, my treeless neighbors, expect me to be out there diligently raking and bagging to protect their pristine lawns from inheriting from the wind the leaves that jiggle and bobble along in it's wake. Ah the disappointment. I haven't cared for a few falls now whether they stay where they belong. When the carpet gets deep out there I'll drag out the mower and mulch them up. I refuse to bag leaves. I pretend as though I live in the forest. You never see bagged leaves sitting on a forest floor. You won't see them sitting beside the road in front of my house either. Think of all the landfill plastic I'm saving. I am  contributing to the "green and save the planet" drive.

I flip on the weather channel to see some snow. Denver is accommodating this week, The Eisenhower Tunnel  and Summit Pass is beautifully white right now. I can enjoy this view from the comfortable position I hold on my sofa. I've driven those roads through that pass many times in the winter. Watching from my sofa is much more relaxing. I remember my body being tense, expecting any moment to follow the other drivers that had slid off the road into the snow banks. I miss the Rocky Mountains or maybe I miss the young age I was when I traveled those mountains in the cold winters. Would I want to live there again in the winter? An emphatic "no". My metal knee would prevent me from skiing. Slippin and slidin in the snow and bundling up in winter clothes serves to remind me that living on the coast especially during the winter months is something I look forward to each year.

It took me until this time in my life to understand why northerners move south as they get older. I always thought it was because they didn't want to deal with the winter snow. Shoveling snow and driving in it was what I thought propelled them to move south. Now I realize how wrong I was. Pain is their inspiration. Things hurt as one ages. Arthritis is more forgiving in warmer climates. I now believe those snow birds are looking for pain relief as they head south for the winters.

My excuse? I don't really have any arthritis and for that I'm grateful. My appreciation for living where I do is that I can travel anytime. The roads won't be closed from the snows. Rain is the slickest road hazard here unless you count the usual oil spill on the highways from some of the many trucks hauling oil products.

The husband just got back into town a few days ago and will be leaving again this Friday on a job in state. Back to Zachary where we were a few months ago and since it is just 8 miles from Baton Rouge, I may make this trip with him. I'll follow him in the roadster so I'll have something to drive. Now to decide on packing long pants or short pants. That cold front expected next week will arrive and depart quickly. I'll pack for both. I'm off to sort and pack..and repack and repack and wait for the temperature to climb back to 80 degrees today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hot and Cold

I can't remember the weather taking a nose dive this early in the year. It's the last of October. In most parts of the country, frost has settled in but that's normal; it's not normal here.

I'm wrapped in a soft blanket, thin and lightweight as it is, it's warm beneath it. I'm waiting on Carrie to find her way here. She is buried in  the blankets in the king sized bed. It's Saturday, no school, chilly out and what a better way to spend the early morning hours but snuggled down beneath some warm blankets.

Carrie doesn't tolerate heat well. We get along famously. Few blankets are needed and don't invade her space with your warm body. She is quick to let you know you are causing her to be hot and you need to move away. Gone are the days when she would let you hold her close as she went to sleep. I understand. My thermostat runs a bit hot too. A thin sheet covering me is the most I need at night.

Halloween! It seems to have came around too soon after the last one  as most things do these days. Carrie made her first stop here dressed in turquoise and white, a Cleopatra with full head dress. Her earrings were long and sparkled with the stones that caught the light and twinkled when she swung her head from side to side to feel them sway. She collected her treats, left a kiss and was on her way with her parents to walk the neighborhood.

Next door, a young couple live who are great fans of LSU and the Saints football teams. Each Saturday a crowd of their friends gather to watch the game and share the food each one of them brings to the communal table. Occasionally I will drop by to watch the last quarter of the game with them.

Last night, as Carrie left here and headed for their house, I instructed her to say "Trick or Treat and Go 'Bama!"  (LSU plays Alabama this coming weekend...big rivalary..and both teams are undefeated thus far).

I peeked around the corner of my house to watch her walk up to their door and ring the bell. It was most obvious when she delivered her statement. I laughed as they leaned out to look for me and laughed again when they shook their fists as they laughed too at Carrie's jab.

The gremlins and goblins paraded through. I sat outside until the trek was over and Carrie had made her return trip with her sack of bounty. A quick shower, a bowl of noodles and it was soon time to go to sleep. Another school day approaches soon enough for Carrie. She needs the many hours of sleep and rest.

We laid in bed with the iPad and as I browsed, she read what she could on the screen. Her popcorn word list continues to grow. Two more words were added yesterday and with her collection, she can read sentences, simple though they are, she is excited to be able to do this. Soon she won't be asking me to read to her. Another step in her journey to independance and her decreasing need for me. Each thing she learns, each skill she acquires is in preparation for her to stand alone. I can't help but be a little sad but also very proud of her achievements.