Sunday, March 28, 2010

2:23 AM

My father used to call me Sleeping Beauty, not for my princess-like appearance but for my ability to slumber at the drop of a hat. I could fall asleep anywhere, anytime, anyplace. I loved to stay up late at night and sleep half of the day away. Mornings were evil, or so I thought. All that changed a few years ago when I discovered the sunrise and the quietness of the streets before commuters started their mad dashes to work.

Zeus heads to bed around nine and I am not far behind, although occasionally I will indulge in late night hours if involved in an important project. On my nightstand is the LA Times crossword puzzles or a book that slows my brain down until it is time to turn off the light.

For the last few months I have been plagued with mid-night awakenings, usually when there is some problem that needs to be solved or an issue that has not been adequately dealt with. Last night was another one of those irritating nights. The current project in my lair is Easter dresses for Little and Littlest. They were coming along nicely yesterday when I realized that those twirly girly skirt hems were just not going to hang right due to the bias of the fabric. I stopped the construction until a solution was found. At 1:45 a.m. I woke up. After 30 minutes of imagining yards of pink and blue fabrics in my mind and coming up blank on a fix I got out of bed, set up my camera and tripod and snapped this weird image. Then I went back to bed where Zeus, luckily, had not been disturbed and I eventually fell asleep.

The buzzing alarm at 6:15 a.m. was not a welcome sound this morning but I did drag myself out of bed and onto the streets for my Sunday morning ralk. It was a productive, thoughtful morning and a possible solution to the saggy bias hemline is ready to be tried. But first I will take a nap.


Note: MoneyWalker, I have reviewed your post from a few months ago and will be seeing if any of your suggestions help. Thanks!

Additional note: The dog left last evening. After three days of her constant companionship I missed her more than I expected. But everyone, please quit trying to convince me that we need a dog. Someday, maybe....

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Shadow

I woke up this morning to a long-forgotten smell and wet kisses all over my face. It's been 12 years since there has been a dog in our house and suddenly it is all coming back to me. The sounds of puppy claws on the floors, little doggy butts wagging with joy when you walk in the room, barking at birds outside the window, the slurping of water from the bowl and drops trailing away from that bowl. Also, I had forgotten that I could no longer sit in a chair by myself or go to a different room without being followed. But mostly, I had forgotten that no matter how stealth is attempted a dog just KNOWS that if a human is followed to the bathroom there will be petting and conversation, at least for a few minutes.

Meet Lily, one of our five grandpuppies. She is a cute little 2 1/2 year old cockapoo who had never been to our house before arriving yesterday morning. But then neither have the other four - Mabel, Cholla, Bingo and Hobbes- because they are all BIG. Our home is in an HOA that prohibits animals over 40 pounds. We have no fenced backyards so they must be walked. For six years I have watched the morning and evening parade of dogs walking their humans down the sidewalk, all carrying little black baggies, and have been grateful that I'm not part of the procession.

Within 30 minutes of Lily's arrival Zeus was looking on the Internet at pet sites. Oh dear. As much as I have missed my little Sadie I'm not sure I'm ready for the full-time responsibilities that go along with an animal. Athena and Eris have assured me that they would be happy to puppysit when we travel but that still leaves the walking, scooping and grooming requirements.

Lily did provide some entertainment yesterday morning. She trailed me downstairs and stopped short about three steps up when she noticed Gomer in his dog bed. The hair on her back went up, snarling, growling and a few barks were heard. In a crouching attack mode she slowly worked her way up close, eventually sniffing the defenseless and unmoving Gomer's butt. A truce has been drawn. Each time she follows me to my lair she gives him wide berth before going over for that ritual sniff. And he stays still while she does it.

As I type this post she is sitting on the bar stool next to me. She will be going home tomorrow evening. I'll probably miss her. Maybe. Possibly. Not.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Naughty Neurons

These two medications are necessary for my body to function reasonably well on a daily basis. One of them keeps me from suffering the pain of GERD. The other one keeps my brain neurons firing in the proper order without the ill effects of bone loss, memory loss and liver or kidney failure. The two tablets are taken religiously morning and night. I know all too well the consequences of forgetting them or simply deciding that I don't need them any longer.

Omeprazole is the generic name for Prilosec. For many years Zeus and I have crossed the border of AZ into Mexico as often as possible to buy this medication because the cost is about one-fourth of what would be paid in the USA. Same ingredients, same medicinal benefits, different country and label. No expensive doctor visit/copayment required to get a prescription. (Yes, I know it is OTC now but when I started it wasn't.)

The other medication, the one that I must take if I want to maintain a driver's license or remember the vacation to San Diego is mailed to my home every three months. In Canada you can buy the same pills for $115 per 50 tablets. At Costco in the USA it is listed at $210 per 50.

I'm lucky. Each month Zeus lovingly writes out a check to pay for my Cobra health insurance plan. The cost is outrageous and is probably enough to make a new car payment. We are both grateful that I am covered and that those nasty-tasting pills prevent my unpredictable neurons from staging an entertaining fireworks display.

At the other end of the spectrum is a close friend of ours who needs a similar medication as mine. He has no insurance. The OTC cost prohibits him from getting the help that he desperately needs to live a full life.

I'm very frustrated today. Once again I am disappointed in the failure of many to see the larger picture. Why shouldn't every person have access to health care? Why is the United States so damn far behind other countries in this regard? Why are people so eager to feed off the system whenever it is to their own benefit but refuse to help those less fortunate?

In 2020 I hope that the miracle drugs that I take will allow me to remember that FINALLY, something was done that should have been done many years ago.

For all of you who don't approve of this post, read THIS.


PS. Jim Mattheson, I have no words for you today. At least that I can write here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The New Toy

Lincoln logs. Wooden railroad trains. Legos. Electric trains. Books. Puzzles. All are favorite toys of kids that last lifetimes.

Zeus and I took Bubba to AZ for a week every year until he started school. To keep him entertained on the 14 hour drive there were books and tapes, puzzles and a pillow to sleep on. He was a great little traveler and a joy to have with us.

One year I came across a building set of tubes, gutters and marbles. The object was to build a structure where you inserted the marble at the top and watched as it wound its way through the complex passageways until it ended up at the bottom. I don't remember the name. We just called it the marble game and were entertained for hours at a time during the long AZ nights. Although the younger grandkids have played with it none were as fascinated, nor as successful at it as Bubba. It's possible that game started his interest in engineering.

Last week while at the Discovery Museum in SLC with Littlest and the Princess we played with a new kind of building block. A large table in the museum was filled with these magnet-filled shapes that "popped" together yet never repelled. Adults as well as children were busy assembling all manner of three dimensional objects. When it was time to leave there was a slight meltdown by the Princess because she was enjoying them so much.

What choice did I have? The Discovery Museum carried sets of these Magforms and after careful consideration we chose the size and color to bring home with us. They have been played with every day. Bubba has given them the thumbs up.

For more Discovery Photos jump over to the Shooting Blog.

$2.62 (it's getting warmer each day!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Spooning

It's a sure sign that Spring is on it's way when the crocus peeks out of the flower bed in the front yard. The yellow bulbs are just starting to bloom and will be followed by purple and a few white. Crocus doesn't seem to mind getting snowed on. They just close up and wait until it melts so they can open again.

The daffodils will be showing off in about two weeks. Just this afternoon I noticed the tulip tips have now pushed up through the dirt and bark.

Last year I planted an unusual crop and they seem to have survived the winter quite well. As you can see, my forks and spoons are gearing up for summer. Because these species are very rare in Utah they have drawn some interesting comments. Shortly after planting them late last fall my neighbor's young grandson asked her about the spoons. She explained to him that we were growing them for a party. As soon as they got big enough we would harvest and use them to eat ice cream sundaes.

In years past clear knives were planted in the pumpkin patch. They didn't do well and got lost in the large vines. A few of my forks have lost some tines and some of the spoons were broken in half when an unknowing person stepped on them. Soon these pretty white ornamental plants will be surrounded by green leaves of the perennials that hopefully are under them.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grandma's Glasses

These are Grandma's glasses.
This is Grandma's hat.
This is how she folds her hands and
Puts them in her lap.

For eleven years I worked as an office manager for a couple of different Optometrists. Although my uncorrected eyesight has always been sufficient to pass my driving test I still occasionally wore glasses to improve distance vision until about eight years ago. One of the perks of those positions was free eyewear. I collected lots of glasses as well as contact lenses, the kind that somehow turned my dark brown eyes a light blue, deep green or the creepy gray.

Fast forward a few years. I no longer need distance correction. However, after reaching the magical mid-forties I became painfully aware of my shortened arm length. Reading glasses became my friend. With no astigmatism correction it was possible to bypass an expensive RX and go directly to the dollar store.

Ten years later I have two, three or four pairs of reading glasses in every room of my home, car and camera bags. (Top photo shows a few of them.) The computer glasses are a different strength so they have their own special places at my desk. Because I only pay $1 for each instead of the $100 or $200 per pair of prescription lenses my little readers are abused, scratched and generally ready for the trash can. I don't panic when one breaks or gets yanked by little ones.

In my collection of eyewear is one that stands out. It is the pair (above) that my maternal grandmother wore. This photo below shows her and my grandfather in the early 50's with similar glasses, the style that she wore until she passed away in the 80's. I don't have the glasses that my grandfather wore although I do have some that are identical to them. For a long time I wore one made with my own RX. They are made of 14kt gold will probably always be my favorites. The case that they are kept in is well over 100 years old.

Zeus was my favorite patient of all time. I put his first set of bifocals on him. He asked me out on a date while we were chatting at the fitting table. That was a good day at work.

(Went out for a four-mile run this morning. I love it when it rains while the sun is shining.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Little Ms. Eris is a Girl Scout.

Just when I'm making progress with the scales it's THAT time of year.

Thin Mints is an oxymoron.

Girl Scouts. A little bit of evil.

$2.66 (total from two ralks)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Double your freshness, double your fun...NOT!

Note: I had a different post all ready to go up this morning. Instead, I will be posting a rant and will save the gentle one for the future.

Last week I got some pretty new shoes. Unlike many around me, shopping for shoes (or any clothing for that matter) is an unpleasant experience. But running and ralking shoes are the one item of apparel that I take seriously. In fact, my running shoe specialist didn't have my size in stock so I'm waiting, impatiently, for the call saying they have arrived. (That's another rant for another day.)

Back to the original rant. I was able to get my everyday ralking shoes last week and am still enjoying how sparkly white they are. Twenty minutes ago I walked in the house and my brand-spanking new shoes were suddenly making a weird sound with each fall of my left foot on the tile floor.

Damn it! There was a big wad of GUM on the sole. Two more steps and that crap would have been ground into my carpet!

All grandchildren know that before entering my house there is a mandatory security checkpoint that they must go through. Mouths are opened and swabbed for any signs of bubblegum, breath-freshening gum or just plain old Doublemint Gum. If found, the offender is pointed in the direction of the garbage can and must listen to my anti-chewing speech for a minimum of five minutes before being released. Tears and complaints of how new the gum is fall on deaf ears.

I once was a compulsive gum-chewer. Oh yes, I could pop that gum both inside and outside of my mouth for hours on end. As a child I remember getting more than one haircut because it fell out of my mouth while asleep. That old pink Bubble Yum probably contributed to the mouthful of dental fillings that decorate my teeth.

When I am out ralking and numismatising the globs of gum that dot the asphalt is disgusting. Gum chewers have no qualms about sticking their used-up wads in public places. Drive-through windows are particularly notable for this as are telephone booths and handrails. And for heavens sakes, never, NEVER feel the underside of a restaurant table.

I won't even start on the grossness of some open-mouth chewers. Mirrors, anyone?

Rant over. I will now go to the garage to carve the glob of sugar-gumbase-cornsyrup-natural and artificial flavors-glycerol-aspartame-soy lecitin-asulfamaneK-mixed with saliva from a stranger out of my brand new shoes.