Thursday, December 24, 2009


Speedy enjoys his Christmas present.


Happy Holidays to ALL. Whatever you are celebrating this time of year, I hope it's happy.

I went to see Lloyd this morning during a lull in the storm. The wind was still high (27 mph with gusts to 50mph), but the sleet had stopped. I gave him his presents and read our Christmas cards to him. We popped a Christmas cracker together. By the time I started home, it was snowing again.

To give Speedy something to do while Lloyd and I were exchanging good wishes and kisses, I gave him his present—a hambone. He thinks this is an excellent present. He even wanted it in the car—an unusual event. When we got home, he almost refused to give it up to take off his hoodie. As you regular readers know, he hates clothes, so you know he is really serious about this bone. All this afternoon, he has been in a quandary because I would not let him bring the bone up on my lap. Finally he opted for a snooze on my lap over munching on the bone.

The word of the day for December 24, 2009 is "
holiday" —
Pronunciation: \ˈhä-lə-ˌdā, British usually ˈhä-lə-dē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hāligdæg, from hālig holy + dæg day
Date: before 12th century

1 : holy day. 2 : a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically : a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event. 3 chiefly British : vacation —often used in the phrase on holiday —often used in plural. 4 : a period of exemption or relief [corporations enjoying a tax holiday].

Our quote today is from Charles Lamb (1775–1834), Work:

Who first invented work, and bound the free
And holiday-rejoicing spirit down
To that dry drudgery at the desk’s dead wood?
Sabbathless Satan!



Sunday, December 6, 2009


out with the old

new living room window
The living room windows were two double hung on either side of a picture window; now they are two sliders and a picture window.
The two front bedrooms are still double-hung, but without the divided panes.
The guest bedroom window is identical to the one in the computer room.
The master bedroom had two double-hung windows that were replaced by sliders.

The kitchen window now has a crank-out window that I can open instead of the double-hung that called for balancing on the kitchen sink.
before after

Also, the patio door was replaced with one that has a keyed lock.

inside and out

"Renewal by Andersen. We love our new windows" goes the catchy Southard Corporation jingle. Those of you who know me well know that I tend to take advertising with a large grain of salt. Yet, from my initial inquiry through the finished installation, I have been favorably impressed with the workmanship and professionalism of the Southard Corporation employees and the quality of the Anderson products.

Yesterday I received the survey from Renewal by Andersen concerning the replacement windows that were put in last month. The Southard Corporation replaced all five windows and the patio door. They now are all double paned—filled with insulating gasses. I purposely avoided the triple panes because of the extra weight. These new ones can all be washed from the inside; except for the patio doors and the stationary picture window, they all tilt or can be lifted inside—by me if necessary.

Now I must consider new draperies for all of the windows. I just ordered some woven wood panels for the patio door, to which I will add some sort of valence once installed. I've had the same drapes in the bedrooms for nearly thirty years, so I'm thinking about possibilities for them as well.

Our word of the day for December 6, 2009 is "aperture" — Pronunciation: \'ap-ə(r)-,chu̇r, -chər, -,tyu̇r, -,tu̇r\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin apertura, from apertus, past participle of aperire to open
Date: 15th century
1 : an opening or open space : hole. 2 a : the opening in a photographic lens that admits the light. b : the diameter of the stop in an optical system that determines the diameter of the bundle of rays traversing the instrument. c : the diameter of the objective lens or mirror of a telescope.

Our quote for the day is from Alessandro Manzoni (1785–1873), I Promessi Sposi, The Harvard Classics. 1909–14:

The poor man wandered from room to room, pale and almost breathless with terror, striking his hands together, commending himself to God, and imploring his servants to stand firm, and find him some way of making his escape. But how, and where? He ascended to the garret, and there, through an aperture between the ceiling and the tiles, looked anxiously into the street, and saw it swarming with the enraged populace; more terrified than ever, he then withdrew to seek the most secure and secret hiding-place he could find.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009



Mini-deck framework
So, I decided this autumn to get some of the projects done around the house. I've got Speedy at Bessie's Puppy Love Daycare during the day, so neither he nor Lloyd will be bothered by the noise/mess. I started with the plumbing. This week, Handyman Matters is building a deck just barely big enough for a chair or maybe two. Mostly though, it is because I'm tired of having to go up and down the ten inch steps to get in and out of the patio door.

Naturally, although the weather had been really nice last week, yesterday it rained like crazy all morning. Fortunately, I had cleared out the garage so that Ed was able to put the framework together out of the rain. Today he is putting on the floor and the lattice-work to keep critters out from under and Speedy from jumping out into the lawn instead of the patio.

Ed is almost finished.

The word of the day for November 10, 2009 is "construction" — Pronunciation: \kən-ˈstrək-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 : the act or result of
construing, interpreting, or explaining. 2 a : the process, art, or manner of constructing constructing something; also : a thing constructed constructed. b : the construction industry [working in construction]. 3 : the arrangement and connection of words or groups of words in a sentence : syntactical arrangement. 4 : a sculpture that is put together out of separate pieces of often disparate materials.

Our quote for the day is from Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822–1885):

I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effectual as their strict construction.



Thursday, October 29, 2009


The following is a list of books I have read since September 1, 2009, to complete the Goodreads Seasonal Reading Challenge for Fall 2009. The challenge runs from Sept 1 through November 30, 2009. Two people were finished with all the tasks by the end of September! Some people didn't even decide to join until last month.

1. Daughters of the Grail by Elizabeth Chadwick
2. After the Apple by Naomi Harris Rosenblatt
3. Jack Nastyface: the Adventures of an English Seaman by William Robinson
4. Krapp's Last Cassette by Anne Argula
5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
6. Web of Evil by J.A. Jance
7. My Journey with Farrah by Alana Stewart
8. The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon
9. Unstrung Heroes by Franz Lidz
10. This Time Together by Susan L. Liepitz

1. Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward L. Beach
2. The Seven-percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
3. Stories Children Need by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
4. When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep by Sylvia Sellers-Garcia
5. A Visible Darkness by Michael Gregorio
6. Sacred Ground by Mercedes Lackey
7. Aphrodite's Flame by Julie Kenner
8. Joining by Johanna Lindsey
9. Jayhawkers by Bryce D. Benedict
10. Catfantastic 1 edited by Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg

1. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson AND
- Swim to Me by Betsy Carter
2. Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
3. Addition - 11 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho AND
- Division - 31 1st - The Black Gryphon,
4. Valor's Trial by Tanya Huff
5. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez AND
- Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
6. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
7. Risk by Dick Francis
8. Japan: The Ramen King and I by Andy Raskin AND
- Canada: Burying Ariel by Gail Bowen
9. Dance with Chance: Making Luck Work for You
------ by Spyros Makridakis, Robin Hogarth & Anil Gaba
10. To Sir, with Love by E.R. Braithwaite AND
- Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde

1. Zora & Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney
2. Exile's Valor by Mercedes Lackey,
- Fanuilh by Daniel Hood AND
- Grayheart by Tara K. Harper
3. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

1. Ogden Nash's Zoo AND
- You and No Other by Cathy Maxwell
2. Restoree by mother, Anne McCaffrey AND
- Dragonsblood by son, Todd McCaffrey
3. The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres
4. Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
5. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
6. The Shadow of Blooming Grove : Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell
7. 1: Compromised by Kate Noble,
- 2: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline AND
- 3: Fool for Love by Eloisa James
8. person: Saving Faith by David Balducci,
- place: The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz AND
- thing: Face Down under the Wych Elm by Kathy Lynn Emerson
9. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks AND
- Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung
10. The Werewolf Principle by Clifford D. Simak

1. Holes by Louis Sachar AND
- The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge

1. The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland,
- Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik AND
- Baby Teeth by Blythe Holbrooke

Totals: 45 tasks, 62 books, 690 points
Reward: an expanded mind, a disheveled house and the right to choose a task for the Winter Challenge.

The word for the day for October 29, 2009 is "challenge" - Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 a : a summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting; specifically : a summons to a duel to answer an affront. b : an invitation to compete in a sport2 a : a calling to account or into question : protest b : an exception taken to a juror before the juror is sworn c : a sentry's command to halt and prove identity d : a questioning of the right or validity of a vote or voter. 3 : a stimulating task or problem. 4 : the act or process of provoking or testing physiological activity by exposure to a specific substance; especially : a test of immunity by exposure to an antigen.

Our quote for the day is from William Shakespeare (1564–1616), Romeo and Juliet Act II. Scene IV:

Ben. Tybalt, the kinsman of old Capulet,
Hath sent a letter to his father’s house.

Mer. A challenge, on my life.
Ben. Romeo will answer it.
Mer. Any man that can write may answer a letter.
Ben. Nay, he will answer the letter’s master, how he dares, being dared.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Monday, October 5, 2009


A wealthy couple greet Faire attendeesGreetings and Salutations

DJ and VickieDJ and Vicki in the entry court

DJ rejects a hat DJ rejecting a hat that might have fit Hoss Cartwright

Jan with man in armor (Vicki on far right) As the men in kilts were too fast, I managed to catch one in plate armor.

Vicki checking out the kilted fellow. Vicki checked out one of fellows in a kilt from afar.

dog in kilt They also had a dog in a kilt.


It was "Men in Kilts" weekend at the Bonner Springs, KS, Renaissance Faire. The day was cloudy, breezy and cool, so DJ lent Vicki and me each a cape. As we were all in vaguely 16th century garb, the capes worked very well. It was a really good day to go to the Faire.

The food was excellent. Vicki had the veggie wrap for lunch to allow her to have the strawberries and whipped cream. As the fruit was served on top of funnel cake, I became the enabler; I ate most of the funnel cake so she didn't have to overeat. For some reason, I kept calling it "flannel cake," so my sister decided it was red plaid.


The word of the day for October 5, 2009 is "scrumptious".
Pronunciation: \'skrəm(p)-shəs\
Function: adjective
Etymology: perhaps alteration of sumptuous
Date: 1830
delightful, excellent; especially : delicious

Our quote for the day is from Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951). Babbitt. 1922:
Babbit: “Honest I did. Well, well, come on—now we’re friends—what’s the darling little name?”
Ida: “Ida Putiak. It ain’t so much-a-much of a name. I
always say to Ma, I say, ‘Ma, why didn’t you name me Doloress or something with some class to it?’”
Babbit: “Well, now, I think it’s a scrumptious name. Ida!”


Thursday, October 1, 2009


Speedy's new dog door Handyman Matters sent out James to install a permanent Hale door for Speedy. This one has two flaps and weather stripping for insulation. The transparent, black security panel is Lexan (TM) and has a bolt latch which also holds the panel up without removing it from the tracks. Plus the door itself won't interfere with the patio door in any way. The timing was approximately a week for delivery of parts and two and a half hours installation. I had intended to put in a mechanized door, but finally decided that Speedy can go in and out under his own power. We're green at our house.
Speedy went outside just after full dark last night. I was in the bedroom when I heard his door flap magnets clack. He started barking in an unfamiliar pattern. When I got to the the patio door, I could barely see him circling something on the patio, nose to the object. Once I flipped on the lights, I could see that a toad had hopped up onto the concrete.

I went out and got the poop-scoop to encourage the toad to leave the fenced portion of the patio. Unfortunately, I didn't grab Speedy first. The instant the toad moved, Speedy was on it. "No! Drop it! Leave it!" Speedy complied, somewhat reluctantly. The toad appeared unharmed; it hopped off through the fence and off toward the unlit part of the patio.

As dogs have no lips, you can't say that they exactly spit. However, Speedy was making the attempt to spit out that nasty toad-taste. He wouldn't take a drink, so I held him over the sink and managed to rinse his muzzle, although I don't think I got any water on his tongue. So he sneezed and spat for the next half-hour. This morning he is fine. He may have learned a lesson, but I don't intend to bet the farm on this. The weimaraner that lived across the back fence used to spend much of the summer and fall catching toads and "spitting".


The word of the day for October 1, 2009 is "toad" Pronunciation: \tōd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tode, from Old English tāde, tādige
Date: before 12th century
1 : any of numerous anuran amphibians (especially family Bufonidae) that are distinguished from the related frogs by being more terrestrial in habit though returning to water to lay their eggs, by having a build that is squatter and shorter with weaker and shorter hind limbs, and by having skin that is rough, dry, and warty rather than smooth and moist. 2 : a contemptible person or thing.


Our quote for the day is from William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I:

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelt’red venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I've been window shopping. That's right, I need to replace the windows. A week ago Thursday, I stopped at four businesses that advertise window replacements. All four made appointments. I told all four that I would be looking at other vendors.

The first salesman came out the next day as arranged. He did the whole pitch: showed me samples and a short video about the company. (What did we ever do without laptop computers?) He did a rough measurement of the windows and we discussed possible replacement options. We even talked about the feasibility of a through-the-patio-door dog flap for Speedy. He gave me a rough estimate and said he would get back to me in two weeks with a fine-tuned estimate.

The second guy was to come out Wednesday, but he called to postpone the meeting as he would be out of town until late Thursday evening. He wanted to come Friday afternoon, but that was when the fourth guy was to come out. How about later Friday, second asked? OK, I said. Then the first guy calls and says he will be at the State Fair on the day he had set up to return; could I work him in sooner? Sure, come on Saturday, I said.

So the third guy calls and cancels Tuesday with a promise to get to me Saturday morning. The fourth guy doesn't show on Friday afternoon - no call, no explanation. I call the second guy after waiting a half hour and asked if he'd like to come out a little sooner. Which he did with alacrity. He measured the windows and showed me samples. He even had a solution to the dog flap problem. He asked about the others. I explained about the rearrange schedules. He said, they're just trying to be the last one you look at so you'll be more likely to buy their product. Like he wanted to do, I guess. I said, I'll call Monday whether or not I choose your product.

The third guy came out Saturday really early, did the measurements, gave me a price. I rejected his proposal on the spot, because I thought his price was too high for his product. He also wanted to sell me more than I wanted, so his company is out of the running.

The first guy came back and said, we can do the dog flap, but I really don't recommend it because the materials aren't the same composite as our regular windows and will not have the same warrenty as either the less expensive sliding glass door or our top of the line swing doors. Plus, there's the problem of the screen door needing a flap as well. As I'd already figured that one out, I said write me up the final estimate. His configuration will cost about a fourth more than number two's. Still I like the first company's materials- also, the willingness to work with me on configuration and to listen to what I say. So I've signed with company one, Southerd's, who have been doing business in the area for about sixty years.

Tuesday number two called. (I had forgotten I meant to call him Monday) I declined his offer. You went with the last guy to present, he accused. I told him that it wasn't a matter of timing, nor of cost, but that I was sold on his competitor's materials. I said I was especially impressed by the minimal expansion/contraction rate of the composite that makes up the frames.

"That's just silly," he said.

Take a moment to think on this. I've told this guy I work in engineering - with composites. I've mentioned that my Dad was an award-winning window and door salesman (among other things for a lumber warehouse) for most of his working life, giving me the opportunity to pick up a thing or two about construction. I've asked what I thought were pertinent questions when the sales guy didn't offer the information on his own. So when I explain why I'm turning down his offer, he basically tells me that I'm stupid. I had to take a deep breath at that point.

"Nevertheless, I'm going with your competitor. Thank you for your time." [click]

He was lucky. That was the second time I didn't go postal on Tuesday.

The word of the day for September 16, 2009 is "salesman" Pronunciation: \'sālz-mən\
Function: noun
Date: 1523
: one who sells in a given territory, in a store, or by

Our quote is from Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951). Babbitt. 1922:
The service of the Lord had been more profitable. He was about to retire with a fortune. It had been well earned, for, to quote his last report, “Rev. Mr. Monday, the Prophet with a Punch, has shown that he is the world’s greatest salesman of salvation, and that by efficient organization the overhead of spiritual regeneration may be kept down to an unprecedented rock-bottom basis. He has converted over two hundred thousand lost and priceless souls at an average cost of less than ten dollars a head.”


Friday, September 4, 2009



First, I would like to thank those of you who have been kind enough to enquire about me and mine. Lloyd is back in the hospital (after a couple of months in the care home) for refusing to eat and take his meds as well as threatening the staff. I have a feeling that this will be a cycle for the foreseeable future.

Speedy has finished his Advanced Obedience Class. He passed his Canine Good Citizen certification test (by the skin of his teeth. He has a spring under his tail that bounces his hind end up immediately after he completes his "SIT".) I need to send off for the certificate and tag.

Meanwhile, I have been attempting to (re)build a normal life. I've been attempting to sort out thirty years of accumulated stuff with the intention of not having to do thirty-five years worth when I get ready to retire. I also have attended church, joined a book discussion group at the library, did the Summer Reading Challenge on Goodreads and looked up some friends of long-standing.

The weekend of August 16th, my sister and I drove up to Minneapolis to see my high school friend, Doc Anne. (We had lost touch with one another shortly after graduation, and only found one another again through the sad event of her brother's death.)

We had a great visit. We chatted as though we had only been separated a few weeks. Although I had never met Dan, her husband, he seemed so familiar that we must have been good friends in a former life. As I had never been in Minnesota, they took me on a tour of Minneapolis featuring the park around the stone-arched railway trestle across the Mississippi River and the sculpture garden. My sister decided to spend the day resting in the motel room, but joined us for supper.

On the way home we stopped at our home town: my sister had lunch with her mother-in-law and I lunched with another friend, Alice, whom I have seen infrequently since school days. She's working at the newspaper now. She has a son, who is married now and living out of state.

I drove past the house that I still think of as my Dad's. There's a For Sale sign in the yard. No, I'm not even thinking of buying: I'm in the process of renovating Lloyd's and my house. The current owner probably should tear the house down and make the property into a parking lot.

The word of the day for September 4, 2009 is "travel" — Pronunciation: \'tra-vəl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trav·eled or trav·elled; trav·el·ing or trav·el·ling \'tra-və-liŋ, 'trav-liŋ\
Etymology: Middle English travailen, travelen to torment, labor, strive, journey, from Anglo-French travailler
Date: 14th century
transitive verb 1 a : to journey through or over. b : to follow (a course or path) as if by
traveling. 2 : to traverse (a specified distance). 3 : to cover (an area) as a commercial traveler

Our quote for the day is from Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Of Travel:

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.



Sunday, July 19, 2009


Jan, Lloyd & Speedy at the hospital

I stopped at Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store after attending Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I needed the sustenance of a brownie fudge sundae, than which there is no better made than Braum's. Then I went home and took Speedy to the park to work on his sit-with-D-cubed. (That's distance/duration/distraction, which he doesn't get much of in our house.)

A neighbor boy was sitting on a bench in the playground, looking bored. I went over to him after a period of "No, Speedy. Sit, Speedy" and asked if he would like to help by coming over and greeting me so that Speedy could practice company-manners. As a reward, I offered to let the boy pet Speedy. The meet and greet went off without too much jumping on Speedy's part, but he still needs a great deal of practice. Subsequently, while we were petting Speedy, another boy came up on his bike and asked if he could pet Speedy. The dog was in heaven: multiple petting!

We went home after that. Speedy obediently jumped the perimeter cable when I held it down a bit. Then I about did myself an injury, as my foot slipped on the cable as I went over. Fortunately, I managed to catch myself without looking too foolish.

Oh, and yes, I enjoyed HP&HBP in spite of the gratuitous fire. Of course, I had read the book - multiple times - so I knew when they had just cut out unessential stuff and when they really lost all contact with Rowling's narrative. I'd give it 4 out of 5. And I'm glad they're getting book 7 ready as I write. From I see that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is to be released as a two-parter. I was afraid that by the time they released it Radcliffe, Watson, et al. would be old enough for real-time depiction of the epilogue.

I did enjoy the cinematography in that the lighting was dark. Even the outdoor daytime scenes were rainy or cloudy. I also thought the scenes of Draco in the Room of Requirement were quite well done. The scene with Harry at Dumbledore's side after Draco and the Death Eaters get away is very nicely done also, although not "strictly true" to the book.

The word of the day for July 19, 2009 is "replete" — Pronunciation: \ri-'plēt\
Function: adjective
Etymology:Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French replet, from Latin repletus, past participle of replēre to fill up, from re- + plēre to fill — more at full
Date:14th century
1: fully or abundantly provided or filled [a book replete with…delicious details — William Safire]. 2 a: abundantly fed. b: fat, stout. 3: complete.

Our quotation is from Henry James. (1843–1916). The Portrait of a Lady:

Isabel came back to Florence, but only after several months; an interval sufficiently replete with incident.



Thursday, July 16, 2009


Mike from Handyman Matters


Today I stayed at home, remoting to my work computer. I had just plain gotten tired of jiggling this faucet handle a tad to avoid dripping or activating the toilet mechanism just so for the flapper valve to seat properly. Then the master bath shower head sprang a leak, and the same day the handle on the outside tap broke as I was trying to close it tight enough.

So I got on-line to Service Magic who matched me up with several handyman services. I chose the right one, I think. Mike from Handyman Matters got here at ten a.m. as agreed, looked at all the little problems I have with the taps, etc. He gave me an estimate I can live with. Then he turned off the main at the meter and proceded to take things apart.

bathroom sink in exploded view
There is something slightly perverse about human nature. The second the main valve was shut off, I needed to use the facilities. Never fails, like the itch at the end of one's nose when one's hands are full of glop. Ah, well, I suppose I can always pull out the box of unused puppy pee-pads.

The word of the day for July 16, 2009 is "plumbing" — Pronunciation: \'plə-miŋ\
Function: noun
Date: 1666
1: the act of using a plumb. 2: a plumber's occupation or trade. 3 a:the apparatus (as pipes and fixtures) concerned in the distribution and use of water in a building b: an internal system that resembles plumbing ; especially : one consisting of conduits or channels for conveying fluids.

Our quotation is from John W. Gardner (1912 - 2002):

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exaulted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy...neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.


Friday, July 3, 2009


project started


half done
my new library

The company, at the Unions' behest, gives us Friday off this year because Independence Day is on Saturday. I had originally thought, oh goody, more time to read. However, I decided that, as I have been moving things about, I ought to get with the program and get the bookshelves I have been promising myself ever-so-long. So yesterday on the way home, I picked up a couple of DIY media storage units from Walmart.

It took about three-quarters of an hour construction and about three hours of recuperation for each unit. Anyway they are nearly full of the books that I had brought up from the basement that I am determined to keep on hand. They have taken the place of the unused bar table and chairs that were in the dining area. My next project is to get a cabinet to store Speedy's paraphenalia (you can see the containers on the left in the last picture. Now I can spend all of the Fourth with a glass of sun tea and a book, listening to the neighbors' fireworks.

The word of the day for July 3, 2009 is "indolence" — Pronunciation: \'in-də-lən(t)s\
Function: noun
Date: 1710
: inclination to laziness :

Our quote for the day is from Henry James. (1843–1916). The Portrait of a Lady:

He wintered abroad, as the phrase is; basked in the sun, stopped at home when the wind blew, went to bed when it rained, and once or twice, when it snowed, almost never got up again. A certain fund of indolence that he possessed came to his aid and helped to reconcile him to doing nothing; for at the best he was too ill for anything but a passive life.

Monday, June 29, 2009


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1) The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

Calling AM Smith's narratives mysteries is really a disservice. In The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency he touches on mysteries, true, but the real story revolves around a full life - in this case of Madame Mma Precious Ramotswe - and justice in many things great and small. I am pleased to see that this is just the first of a series, as I want to know more about Mma Ramotswe and her friends.

I just finished this book for
Cynthia's Summer 2009 Reading Challenge for the Day of the African Child task. Having also just read Mr. Smith's The Sunday Philosophy Club for the July Masters of Mystery Book Discussion at my local library branch, I wondered how the change of venue would affect the structure of the narratives.

The Sunday Philosophy Club (Sunday Philosophy Club, #1) The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

"Isabel Dalhousie saw the young man fall from the edge of the upper circle, from the gods," has got to be the best opening line since the book that opens with the protagonist's death in a bowling accident.

Ms. Dalhousie, with help from Mr. Smith's engaging set of characters, works out the cause of the fall while working her way through a life rich in relationships - her own as well as others'. A satisfyingly rich read.

View all my reviews.
I must say that Ms. Dalhousie of Edinburgh is an entirely different creature than Mma Ramotswe of Gaborone. Mma Ramotswe sets out to become a detective with a frank determination. Ms. Dalhousie almost backs into the detection by virtue of her philosophical struggles with morality as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics.

These two books are the start of separate series. Both of them, I feel, adequately introduce their principals and create interest in the later books. The voice of each book is entirely consistent with the settings.

The word of the day for June 29, 2009 is "mystery" Pronunciation: \'mis-t(ə-)rē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural mys·ter·ies
Etymology: Middle English mysterie, from Latin mysterium, from Greek mystērion, from mystēs initiate
Date: 14th century
1 a: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand. b (1): any of the 15 events (as the Nativity, the Crucifixion, or the Assumption) serving as a subject for meditation during the saying of the rosary. (2)capitalized : a Christian sacrament ; specifically :
eucharist. c (1): a secret religious rite believed (as in Eleusinian and Mithraic cults) to impart enduring bliss to the initiate. (2): a cult devoted to such rites. 2 a: something not understood or beyond understanding : enigma. b obsolete : a private secret. c: the secret or specialized practices or ritual peculiar to an occupation or a body of people [the mysteries of the tailor's craft]. d: a piece of fiction dealing usually with the solution of a mysterious crime. 3: profound, inexplicable, or secretive quality or character [the mystery of her smile].

Our quote for the day is from Alexander McCall Smith, Mma Ramotswe in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Anchor Books, 1998:
It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.


Sunday, June 7, 2009




Speedy has been working hard for the past eight weeks. Today he finished his Intermediate Obedience training. The instructor, Connie from Petsmart, is a real whiz at showing us how to get the dogs to do what we want. As my uncle used to say, "Obedience training is to teach the people how to handle their dogs."

Dogs, unlike cats, want to please their people. It is only fair that people figure out what the dog can do, and consistently ask him/her to do that thing under the same circumstance until the dog has "learned" to come/sit/stay/whatever on command. Speedy has learned the basics, along with a couple of dandy "tricks"—behavior not entirely necessary for good canine citizenship, but easy to do and fun to watch. His tricks are "shake"(lifting one paw), "crawl" (just what it sounds like: on the belly) and "dance" (up on the hind legs).

The Petsmart instructors are pushing for Speedy to take Therapy Dog training after his Advanced class. I don't know whether we'll go for that or not. Being a Jack Russell terrier/chihuahua mix, his breeding is really against being calm and cool around people in the nursing home. Although, if Lloyd were willing to make the dog behave, I might be able to leave Speedy overnight with Lloyd.

Rommell Rommell



Molly Molly
The word of the day for June 7, 2009 is "intermediate" — Pronunciation: \,in-tər-'mē-dē-ət\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin intermediatus, from Latin intermedius, from inter- + medius mid, middle — more at
Date: 15th century
1 : being or occurring at the middle place, stage, or degree or between extremes. 2 : of or relating to an intermediate school [an intermediate curriculum].

Our quotation is from E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898:

The Jewish Rabbi believed that the soul of the deceased was consigned to a sort of purgatory for twelve months after death, during which time it was allowed to visit its dead body and the places or persons it especially loved. This intermediate state they called by various names, as “the bosom of Abraham,” “the garden of Eden,” “upper Gehenna.” The Sabbath was always a free day, and prayer was supposed to benefit those in this intermediate state.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The good news is that I don't have strep throat. The bad news is that I do have something—probably terminal sudbunny's disease—for which the doctor prescribed sulfa drugs. I complained that sulfa always comes in such large pills. I already have a sore throat. The sulfa molecules are apparently very large, so they have to have a large delivery system—rather like the difference in sending a document by Kevin Bacon on a bicycle and sending a nuclear missile by railcar.

This is not swine flu. I might get some sympathy for that. No, this is just spring allergies getting out of hand and opening the door for even nastier stuff. One of my co-workers has been muttering about the "Days of the A'pork'alypse" and 'Ham'ageddon. My niece says one of her co-workers reminds us that there were a great number of people prior to the presidential election who said there would be a black president when pigs flu. Black president—swine flu....

Anyway, today I am working from home. I will not post a photo; it would not be a pretty sight. Suffice it to say that I put my laptop on the hassock in the living room, in front of the most comfortable chair in the house. Speedy decided that he wanted to join me. "Off" I tell him... several times. We finally come to an accomodation. So, I am on the front edge of the chair and he is curled up behind me. Every time I need to go to the kitchen or bathroom, Speedy has to get up, too. (He has separation issues.) Then when I sit back down, there is jumping, shaking and shoving until he is comfortable. This is one of the reasons I usually go in to work.

The word of the day for May 19, 2009 is "streptococcal" — Pronunciation: \ˌstrep-tə-ˈkä-kəl\
Variant(s): also strep·to·coc·cic
\-ˈkä-kik, -ˈkäk-sik\
Function: adjective
Date: 1877
: of, relating to, caused by, or being
streptococci [a streptococcal sore throat] [streptococcal organisms].

Our quote for the day is from Anne Landers:
You need that guy like a giraffe needs strep throat.


Sunday, May 3, 2009



Claudia Mair Burney’s Amanda Bell Brown is a delightful lady and excellent sleuth. Too bad her life hasn’t been on a smooth path lately. Still, in Deadly Charm, she perseveres—with God’s help—through an intervention, an exorcism, and a possible murder to get her marriage and life back on track.

Burney has written an engaging cast of characters who carry the reader through the plot with verve and grace, giving Deadly Charm both style and attitude. Her grasp and depiction of milieu is excellent. I found this to be a thoroughly satisfying read.

That said, I feel I must tell you that I don't read much in the Christian Fiction genre. The writers of CF tend to think that they must write perfect people. However, of the people I know who lable themselves Christians, the ones I tend to like the most are the ones who don't claim to be perfect. Most CF novels tend to be about as interesting as having to sit on the end chair next to your name-dropping aunt at Thanksgiving dinner.

Ms. Burney is certainly a welcome change from novelists who think that just inserting the name of Jesus every third paragraph makes a book Christian, and also from those that think dialogue full of curse words makes a character sound macho or evil.

The word of the day for May 3, 2009 is "sassy" — Pronunciation: \'sa-sē\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): sass·i·er; sass·i·est
Etymology: alteration of saucy
Date: 1833
1 :
impudent 2. 2 : vigorous, lively. 3 : distinctively smart and stylish.

Our quote for today is from Anna Quindlen (20th century), U.S. journalist, novelist. Living Out Loud, “Baby Gear,” (1988):

The best thing about Sassy Seats is that grandmothers cannot figure out how they work and are in constant fear of the child’s falling. This often makes them forget to comment on other aspects of the child’s development, like why he is not yet talking or is still wearing diapers. Some grandmothers will spend an entire meal peering beneath the table and saying, “Is that thing steady?” rather than, “Have you had a doctor look at that left hand?”



Saturday, May 2, 2009


This is a loooong post. It is mostly so I can keep track of what happened this past month. The short version is that placing an adult in 24 hour care is very difficult if that person is neither violent, observably aggressive, incoherent nor comatose when persons in authority are in attendance. Legal problems you never thought of will arise. Insurance won't pay for nearly anything. Paperwork to prove anything is never where you thought you put it.

I'm still working through a number of things, but I am getting where I want to be: physically, emotionally, mentally, socially.

The word of the day for May 2, 2009 is "diatribe" — Pronunciation: \ˈdī-ə-ˌtrīb\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin diatriba, from Greek diatribē pastime, discourse, from diatribein to spend (time), wear away, from dia- + tribein to rub — more at
Date: 1581
1 archaic : a prolonged discourse. 2: a bitter and abusive speech or writing. 3: ironic or satirical criticism.

I could not find a quote for today, so you get the diatribe:

Sequence of Events Concerning Placing Lloyd Combs in 24 Hour Care:
1. In the weeks before March 13, 2009, Lloyd would often refuse to eat what I fixed and left for him. He claimed he could get his own lunch, but would not eat or take his meds unless reminded by someone in the house.
2. Jimmy Fields of Home Instead Senior Care warned me that Lloyd was denying that he was married to me and also that Lloyd would refuse to eat if he thought I had fixed the meal. However, most afternoons, Lloyd would take his meds at Jimmy’s direction and would eat a snack and supper with me after I got home from work.
3. On Thursday, March 12, Lloyd demanded to know why I thought I was in charge. I told him because I love him and wanted the best for him. He said I didn’t love him and then denied that we were married.
4. The morning of March 13, Lloyd had a difficult time, he had one of his anxiety fits about 4:00, but settled down. At 6:00am, I could not rouse him to take his meds and eat his breakfast. He had several more anxiety fits before heaving himself to a sitting position. He got out of bed, but fell forward into the bathroom. He did not hurt himself, but managed to pull himself up to sit on the toilet.
5. I took his glucose reading, gave him his meds and left his breakfast for him, as I had to be at work.
6. I came home at 11:00am as customary and found that he had not eaten his breakfast. I fixed his lunch and left.
7. Per prior instruction, I called Mrs. Roberson, the nurse who usually attends Lloyd’s examinations by Dr. Buth, and told her that Lloyd had fallen. I also explained about the anxiety fits.
8. Monday, March 16th, I made an appointment with Elizabeth Henry to discuss obtaining guardianship and conservatorship for Lloyd because I knew that he would resist being put into 24 hour care.
9. Tuesday, a nurse from Dr. Buth’s office called and told me to make an appointment for Lloyd to see Dr. Buth. The first available time was on Thursday, March 19th
10. March 18th, I met with Ms. Henry and explained the situation. She said she would go to court the next Monday and get me temporary guardianship.
11. The 19th we saw Dr. Buth. Lloyd was given a mini-mental test, on which he scored 12 out of 30, a definite decline from the past mini-mentals he has taken. Dr. Buth told Lloyd that I would need to arrange 24 hour care, as I was no longer capable of giving him the care he needed.
12. That evening, Lloyd asked repeatedly if Dr. was joking. I answered, “No, you need more care than I—even with Jimmy’s help—can give you.”
13. Lloyd refused to eat or take his medicine—both pills and insulin. He also refused to allow me to do the blood glucose check. He threatened to call the police on me.
14. I called Dr. Buth and explained the situation. Dr. Buth told me that if Lloyd refused his medicine in the morning, I should call EMS and have him taken to Via Christi/St. Joseph for a psychiatric evaluation.
15. The next morning, the 20th, Lloyd refused to eat or take his meds, again threatening to call the police. I called 911. An EMS unit was sent out, but they would not take him as I had no guardianship order in hand and by that time, Lloyd was not violent nor unresponsive.
16. I paid Ms. Henry to start the guardianship proceedings.
17. I looked at a couple of nursing homes and talked to staff at several others and settled on Sandpiper Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.
18. Angie from Sandpiper came out to do an assessment.
19. Thursday, the 26th, from the Agency on Aging came out to do an assessment. Pamela Thompson, who was assigned by the court to represent Lloyd postponed her meeting with him until the next Tuesday.
20. Tuesday March 24th, Ms. Thompson came and served the court papers on Lloyd and talked with him (making her assessment).
21. I went to sign admittance papers to Sandpiper for Lloyd, Thursday, April 2, for admittance the next day. I asked what I should do if Lloyd refused to go to Sandpiper with me. They told me to call EMS and have him delivered to St. Joe’s.
22. When I got home, Lloyd was dressed and wanted to know when “the lady was going to take [him] away.”
23. April 3 Lloyd refused to go with me to Sandpiper. I called 911 for EMS. Even with the guardianship papers, as Lloyd was neither violent nor comatose, they wouldn’t take him against his will. Fortunately, one of the EMS personnel persuaded Lloyd to get in the ambulance.
24. I followed to see that Lloyd was properly admitted to the Senior Behavioral Health unit.
25. After admission to the hospital, Lloyd decided that he did not want to talk to me.
26. April 9th, Lloyd was transported to Sandpiper.
27. I took the dog to visit Lloyd on Friday, April 10th, Lloyd was overjoyed to see us.
28. Monday the 13th, I received the court order that I was to post bond and sign an oath for the conservatorship.
29. I visited Lloyd at Sandpiper again on Saturday morning (giving him a shave) Sunday evening and again Tuesday, the 14th (again shaving him)
30. The nursing staff said he wasn’t taking his meds or eating and they had done a blood test at Dr. Bryant’s request.
31. April 15, 2009, James from Sandpiper called to let me know that Lloyd had fallen while being helped to the toilet in the early morning hours. After getting back to bed, he had one of his anxiety fits. When James tried to help him, Lloyd “turned over and started trying to punch” James.
32. Dr. Bryant was called. He ordered that Lloyd should be taken to St Joe’s.
33. I arranged for a bond policy, which I will sign April 16th.
34. At some point on Wednesday, the St. Joe staff was told that Lloyd hit someone at Sandpiper.
35. Lloyd told me that he had had a fight with “one of the black men on the staff” at Sandpiper. He had to defend himself as he “didn’t want to be beaten to death.”
36. I went to the Wednesday staff meeting anyway. The dietician, Donna, witness to Lloyd’s episode. She said he was sitting down in the day room when he cried out for help and started shaking all over as though he were having a seizure. James, a nurse, went to help him. When James touched him, Lloyd pushed him against the wall, pinning him between the chair and the wall, and came up swinging. He also said, “You want a piece of this?” Donna called to him: “Come over here, Sir. You’ll be safe here.” James escaped during this distraction. Lloyd looked at Donna and said, “Why would I want to do that? You’re just as bad as the rest of them.” Then he sat back down in the chair as though nothing had happened.
37. Visited Lloyd at St. Joe every day.
38. Dr. Marsh put him on Haldol for “paranoid delusions”. The staff also worked to get him to eat with the others and attend in the day room instead of hiding in his room.
39. April 28, Lloyd was released to Sandpiper again.
40. I took Speedy to see Lloyd. Lloyd told me that the male nursing staff were a bunch of thugs, that I had made a mistake by sending him back to Sandpiper because the men were talking and conspiring against him.
41. I gave Lloyd a shave and told him that I would see him Thursday. He was upset, and did not want to go in to supper.
42. Thursday, Lloyd was cheerful and there was no mention of conspiracies. However, someone asked the name of his dog. Lloyd said, “That’s not my dog, it’s my mother.” The nurse said, “What’s your mother’s name?” His answer was “Cybil.” Not sure if this was a joke, a memory lapse or an attempt at a joke when he recognized a memory lapse.
43. I’ve asked that Sandpiper do his laundry. Doing laundry all week is too tiring for me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009



My sister sent me today's post, bless her liver. I think that she knew how my latest attempts have been turning into screeds of self-pity, which get wiped before I can hit the PUBLISH POST button.

I am reminded of the greeting card with the picture of the cat hanging onto a limb by both front paws. The caption inside reads “Just Hang In There”.

Of course, just hanging in there can be for the birds. In a former life, known as high school, we had physical education classes twice a week. Being a total klutz, these were not my favorite times of the week (and during marching band season I managed to avoid them altogether) . Organized sports (basketball, volleyball, softball, badminton) were a total disaster—usually I ended up being a referee/umpire by virtue of nobody wanting me on their team.

But the truly worst times were the physical drills and tests. You know, all the calisthenics, the relay races, the obstacle courses, climbing ropes (the only thing I was good at), the sit-ups, the chin ups, and the dreaded hang time.

I don’t know the official name for that last exercise, but it was torture to grab that bar and just hang there while the arms started shaking and the hands burned.
Right now I know that Jan is hanging on for all she’s worth and everything is shaking and burning, but I also know she is stubborn as all get out and she is not about to let go of any more than she has to.

Hang in there, kid. Love you bunches.

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner, neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill and fortitude of the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security.

--Author Unknown

The word of the day for March 21, 2009 is "fortitude"   /ˈfɔr tɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [fawr-ti-tood, -tyood] –noun
Origin: 1350–1400; ME -tude
Synonyms:See patience.

: Show mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation.

Our quote for the day is from Jacqueline Bisset:

Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.


Friday, March 13, 2009



Lloyd fell again this morning. He had gotten out of bed and was on his way into the bathroom when he went down. I don't think he actually had gotten his balance. As he is so much larger than I, there is no way that I can effectively help him when this sort of thing happens. Eventually, he was able to pull himself up, using the fixtures, but it was not easy.

His hands are all swollen this morning, also. He complained about the pain and swelling before he got out of bed. Catching himself certainly did not help. I asked if he would like me to get the heating pad to lay on his hands when he got off the throne. "It doesn't do any good," he said, waving away the very thought. It took him five minutes of working to get his wedding ring off his finger. It left a deep depression between knuckles. I soothed some lotion onto his hands because the skin was very dry.

Recently, I've been looking at nursing homes. It's depressing, but I know the time is coming that he will have to have 24 hour care outside our home. He will not go willingly. He refuses to go to a Senior Center for day care, and thinks that having Jimmy come in to help is a waste of money. Lloyd won't even discuss signing power of attorney for medical matters to make things easier. Speaking to a lawyer the other day, I learned that I will have to go through the court if Lloyd won't voluntarily sign the POA.

This all sounds depressing, and it is. However, I've been praying for help in these matters, and I forgot the adage, "If you pray for patience, God will send you tribulations."

The word of the day for March 13, 2009 is "prehension" — Pronunciation: \prē-'hen(t)-shən\
Function: noun
Date: circa 1828
1: the act of taking hold, seizing, or grasping. 2 a: mental understanding :
comprehension. b: apprehension by the senses.

Our quote for the day is from Norman Mailer (b. 1923), U.S. author. Stephen Rojack, in An American Dream, ch. 5, Dial (1965):

I had a quick grasp of the secret to sanity—it had become the ability to hold the maximum of impossible combinations in one’s mind.