Friday, December 28, 2018


Old KyLady has been screwing around since Christmas.  It’s been kind of good in a way, but it’s time to get down to business soon...but not tomorrow, and probably not Saturday.  Sunday – business starts on Sunday. 
Christmas was pretty marvelous (for me, anyway).  I now have a new hobby thanks to a gift given to me by my thoughtful and generous daughters – a drum set.  It was a HUGE surprise.  Playing drums is something I always thought would be fun, but not something I ever expected to actually do.  We all went together to see Elton John’s farewell tour a few months ago.  I remarked that my favorite part of the whole concert was watching the two drummers.  Perhaps that inspired the gift idea.  The girls also gave me a DVD that taught me how to basically play drums and a few beginner beats.  I’m working on it.  It’s kind of frustrating, but really lots of fun.  I may have to actually engage an instructor if I’m ever going to get good at’s a goal.  This is me after about 3 hours of playing around on my drums.

I’m starting to get serious about buying a newer vehicle.  I’m driving a 2002 Camry every day and have a 2004 minivan for my kayak (and hauling stuff).  The van comes in handy, but it seems wasteful to have it only for occasional use given the cost of insurance and property taxes on it.  I could sell both of them and buy a RAV4 – with a roof rack for hauling my kayak.  Too many cars...what a terrible first-world problem to have.

It’s 4:33 in the morning.  I caught a nasty cold on Christmas Eve and took cold medicine last night thinking that sleeping would be easier if my nose wasn’t running all night.  Silly me.  My nose isn’t running, but sleep is out of the question.  I’d go play my drums but Someone is asleep and has to get up for work in a few hours.  I will wait.  Perhaps now would be a good time to do some real work...

Monday, December 10, 2018

Tis the season

Tis the season.  I love Christmas despite all the extra work that goes with this time of year.  For some odd reason, I’m ahead of schedule.  It is only December 10, and already the outside lights are up, the stockings are hung, wreaths affixed to doors, some presents ordered and delivered (not wrapped), and the Christmas tree is well under way.  Only a few more boxes of shit to hang on the tree, and then we’re done with decorating.  No, really there’s no “shit” on the tree, but I was asking myself this morning (as I was hanging box after box of ornaments), is all this shit really necessary?  It all comes down in just a few weeks.  It seems like a tremendous waste of time and energy...but it’s what we always do.  I do it only because it’s what we always do.

My favorite part of decorating is setting out the nativity set.  It’s not that I’m a very religious person – I am most definitely not.  But the nativity represents the reason for the season, and this nativity set is marvelous (in my opinion, at least...and that’s the only one I care about).  It’s got everything, except for I wish there were more animals.  For some reason, that just sparked an idea...a nativity where all the figures are cats.  That would sell.

Gloria - our little nativity
One would think we could invite friends and family over soon, but we have a mess in the family room, which is our primary living space.  I bought a new couch and love seat three months ago.  It was delivered a month ago.  For the past month, we have two couches and two love seats in our family room because NOBODY in this part of the world can be hired to haul away a load of unwanted shit.  The room is FULL of furniture because it’s a small room – none of the rooms in this house are large.  I have tried HomeAdvisor, checked Craig’s List and Facebook MarketPlace, solicited Facebook friends who have sons, advertised at the community college and two high schools, called three numbers in the local paper for people who claim they will do manual labor and odd jobs, and nobody wants the job of hauling two pieces of furniture to the dump – name your price.  Evidently, our economy is booming and nobody needs money.

It’s OK.  I have a plan and a minivan.  I will cut off the fabric to expose the furniture skeletons, then dismember them into manageable pieces.  This will happen right in the family room since Someone is unwilling to help me move these monstrosities.  Someone likes to brag about carrying two 40-pound buckets of rocks up the side of a mountain in his Spartan races the past two summers, but ask him to do some practical heavy lifting, and he’s worried about hurting his back.  When it’s all said and done, hopefully there will only be sawdust and perhaps some splinters to clean up (if a saw will not suffice, we have an axe). 

Perhaps I will start this endeavor tonight during Someone’s favorite activity – watching Monday night football on the big screen (in our little family room).  Does that sound a bit passive-aggressive?  It might be that if I cut the pieces small enough and bundle them well, the garbage men may haul it all away bit-by-bit.  I could set out a bundle (or two) every week, and put all the cushions and stuffing in large black garbage bags. No trip to the dump!  I’ll just store all the debris on Someone’s side of the garage until it’s all gone.  I’m sure he won’t mind.

Monday, November 12, 2018

opportunity knocked

Things are fixing to change dramatically for KYLady come January.  She was offered a full-time position, and she accepted.  Heck, why not?  Classified as full time she will earn a mucho larger paycheck (like really, no comparison), and she will not be working very many more hours at least that is her expectation...we will see.  In the background, KYLady has been mulling over whether or not this is really a good idea given that her dream-job scenario was to work full time fully online so that she would not be tied to a specific workplace and worktime.   She has decided to move that goal to the back-burner for now. 
Life is...
With all the mental background angst floating around about this favorable opportunity and decision to grab it up, I conjured a nightmare in my sleep last night.  I dreamed I was back working at Big Oil in our little cubicles (before the last remodel while I was there).  The big room where the cubes were set up was much dimmer and dirtier than it had been in reality.  The cubicle walls had spray-painted graffiti on them.  Boxes were stacked up everywhere inside and outside the cubicles, there was trash and pop cans laying all around on the floor, and I had to step over a sea of keyboards to get to my cubicle.  I walked into the room and heard my phone ringing (don’t ask me how I knew it was my phone, I just knew).  As I was rushing to get to my cube, Steve (a former co-worker) barked at me to be careful not to step on his keyboards.  Fortunately, I woke up before I could see inside my cubicle...I didn’t want to see it. 

I don’t know what PTSD is like for somebody who has it, but it’s very unpleasant for me to think about going back to that time and place.  It was very stressful work environment in the cubes.  Before our company was taken over by the “Other Company”, we had offices in that space with floor-to-ceiling walls, and doors that could be shut.  The “Other Company” supervisors came down for a visit and declared that our work environments (offices) were not appropriate.  Our space was being leased, so they instructed the building managers to move us to another floor and remodel our area to be more like the spaces at the “Other Company’” headquarters – Cubicle City.  “Other Company” even moved used  cubicle walls and office furniture to our place so that we could be EXACTLY like them...only worse because we got their old stuff left over from their last remodel.  The cubicle walls and chairs reeked of cigarette smoke.

As if that weren’t bad enough, they set up the cubicles in the center of the giant room, far away from the windows which were marvelous floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a lake and woods.  They were also placed with very-narrow aisles between the cubicles...tight and cozy.  If you talked while standing up, your voice echoed in this big area.  The noise level from phones ringing, conference calls, and people talking was puts a knot in my stomach to just write about it!

After corporate managers visited and blessed our new workspace, we moved the cubicles over toward the window so that some of us could have a view, and we put more space between the aisles.  It was still very noisy, but a bit more tolerable.  About two years before I retired, an engineering group wanted to move in with us.  They completely remodeled the entire floor, giving us offices again.  Thank the Lord!   

I am looking forward to a better paycheck.  It’s not that I’m hurting for money since retiring, but more that it’s been a self-imposed austerity program for me since summer of 2016 (until I start collecting Social Security and my pensions).  As soon as I was offered the job, I began thinking of things to buy – a new phone, a new laptop, and a new used-car. (The dealers always refer to those as pre-owned).  I see no reason to buy a brand-new car ever’s kind of a waste of money considering how quickly they depreciate, not the mention the insurance and property tax on them.      

University #1 is winding down for the semester...just a few weeks to go.  University #2 is currently suffering from low enrollment.  The work I’m doing for them just now is negligible.  At some point, I may have to decide to cut the cord with them (so to speak).  For now, I’ll linger and see what happens.   

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cream Candy

My little brother (Mike) called me yesterday to ask if I could help him with a computer issue.  We chatted for a while because we hadn’t talked for a long time...which is kind of sad given that we only live about 35 miles apart and rarely see each other.  Anyway, he asked if I was going to make cream candy this year.  Quite honestly, I hadn’t even been thinking that far into the future (cold weather or Christmas).  Before we hung up, I promised him that if I did make any, I’d be sure to get some to him.  He loves cream candy. 

My grandmother made cream candy every year until her shoulder got too eaten up with arthritis to pull it.  She took a break from making it, finally had shoulder replacement surgery, and then I helped her make it a few years after that.  She was a master at making it.  I was a poor apprentice in comparison.  She always made a double batch, and when it came time to pull the candy (which is one of challenges of making cream candy), she would split the batch into two ropes, giving one to me and she taking the other.  Then we would pull and pull to make the candy cream (pulling traps air into the candy rope).  Only my rope, especially when it was hot, always transformed into a mass of frayed strings whereas hers was always a beautiful shimmering rope.  We would swap and she would take my mess and transform into what it should be while I turned her beautiful rope into a mess.  Once we traded enough times, we’d have two perfect ropes of candy and then we cut the ropes with scissors as quickly as possible.  Cutting is another challenge.  If you cut too soon, the candy isn’t as creamy.  If you cut too late, the candy is too cool to seal at the cuts and so it isn’t as creamy.  Once Alzheimer’s took over, she lost all interest in cooking or baking anything, but before that happened, she wrote the recipe for me.  This is a photo of it.  Her penmanship was lovely.

Mom's recipe

During World War II, Mom and her sisters lived together with their children on Glover Street in Portsmouth, Ohio.  Her sister, my great-aunt Ruth, still lived in the same house until I was about 12 or 13 years old.  I remember it well.  It was an old two-story white frame house with practically no yard but I huge maple tree in the front with big roots that caused the sidewalk to heave up.  All the houses on the street looked similar and were close together.  Aunt Ruth was always my favorite aunt.  Why?  I think it was because she was always cheerful and she laughed a lot.  Not only that, she always had candy and gave it freely to my brothers and me.  Bribery will get you everywhere, perhaps. 

Before the war, Ruth’s husband got sick and died, leaving her with their three children who were still young.  Her sister, Louise, was not married and moved in with her to help with the kids while Ruth worked at the A&P grocery store.  As it were, Louise would have been married, but her fiancĂ© died in a car wreck.  It was many years before she met another man and married.  Anyway, once my grandfather went off to war, my grandmother and her son (my dad) moved in with Ruth and Louise.  My grandmother and Louise both worked at the Selby shoe factory, but with three adults in the house, somebody was always there to deal with the kids. 

In late November, the sisters began taking orders for cream candy.  They were able to sell all that they could make.  Because of the war, sugar was rationed.  The shortage limited the amount of candy they could make.  My grandmother told me that when they priced candy, the cost was in dollars plus sugar ration coupons.  They made the candy outside on the screened porch on the back of the house during the winter – the colder, the better.  There was a large wooden table on the porch where they had three marble slabs to pour the candy on. 

After the war, my grandmother made the candy every year as Christmas gifts for her sisters.  We took a box of it to school for teacher gifts.  She also made it to sell in the church bazaar.  It was famous – Lucille’s cream candy brought top dollar at the bazaar every year.

I have a marble slab and I’ve made cream candy with it, but her recipe is very inconsistent for me.  Perhaps it’s just finicky stuff.  Mom always told me the humidity has to be very low and the temperature very cold for it turn out.  She said that there was a specific brand of cream of tartar that was required for the recipe, but the brand was no longer available after the late 1960s. Without that special brand, she had more failed batches herself.  We didn’t mind.  We were happy to eat her failed batches whether they were chewy taffy or ugly lumps of hard candy.

I have another recipe that is a little bit more fool proof.  With this recipe, three out of four batches will turn out OK (on average).  You will quickly note that KyLady’s penmanship is not nearly as lovely as her grandmother’s. 

The recipe I use

Now, before I post this, I realize old KyLady’s memory is not so good as it once might have been.  I have already written about this entire story pretty much here.  It’s basically the same story, but with some added details this time. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October morning glory

I love my work, but no kidding, it’s officially “fall break” for me as of 3:45 this afternoon and I’m loving it already.  It’s not that I won’t be working through the whole thing, but more that I won’t have to go to campus for 11 days.  It was my intent to ONLY teach online at some point in this career change thingie that I did.  That hasn’t worked out just yet, but really, I’m grateful for the experience of teaching face-to-face.  I have way more fun with the students when we are all together in class.  I do have fun...hence, why I love my job(s).   

October arrived in glorious splendor.  The weather the past few days has been utterly and completely delightful.  Tuesday evening, I met a friend and we paddled Lake Vesuvius for the first time (my first time, but she had been there once before).  Vesuvius is just across the river in Ohio, even closer than Greenbo, I discovered.  How is it possible that I’ve lived in this area for all these years and never ventured over there (all of 10 miles) to check it out?  It’s in Wayne National Forest and full of cool hiking trails (at least, from what I could see from the water, there are caves and stuff to explore when hiking).  It was becoming dusk, but I snapped a couple of quick photos. 

Lake Vesuvius, Wayne National Forest, Pedro, Ohio

More Lake Vesuvius

In other exciting news, the hummingbirds have not yet all left for Mexico (or where ever it is they go for the winter).  The ruby-throated ones are gone, but there’s still a green one hanging around my feeder.  I refilled it yesterday morning and saw the little hummer several times.  I LOVE hummingbirds. 

You might remember that I planted sweet peas and morning glories in early summer.  Honestly, I believe it was just too late to plant them.  Nevertheless, the sweet peas vined voraciously, but never bloomed.  Then they withered and died.  Such is my luck ALWAYS with sweet peas.   The morning glories were spindly and finally seemed to want to live and began growing up the poles.  Yesterday, when I stepped out to collect the hummingbird feeder, I noticed a single bloom.  It was so marvelous, that I took a photo.  If it blooms anymore, the deer will discover it and that will be the end of my morning glories.  Tis the season when the deer become bolder about foraging in yards for food. 

Morning glory - heavenly blue

This morning, I was driving to work, and no kidding, I saw an eagle fly over the highway.  At first, I thought it was a big hawk, then an owl, then even a heron, but then it became obvious that I was seeing an eagle in the wild.  What a thrill that was!  Just before my class, I Googled to see if there really are eagles known to be in this part of the state.  Sure enough, eagles nest at Yatesville Lake, and I was only about 6 miles from Yatesville Lake when I saw the eagle.  Lawrence County in Kentucky has all sorts of wildlife – not only eagles.  They have bears, cougars, and wolves.  Of course, all of those have been spotted in my county...but we have more civilization here.   

I have plans for my time “off”.  I need to paint the bathroom ceiling, and the family room.  Oh what fun!  There are closets to clear out, and it’s time to shop seriously for flooring once I decide what to do.  I thought my mind was made up, but now it’s not.  Then...there’s another very important project.  More about that later.   

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Finding magic

Sometimes, a little magic is needed to make things extra special in this life.  As an overly-practical person (honestly, I’m probably part Vulcan), my belief is that magic in not real.  Yet, I know that sometimes things are magical.
When Sarah was young, she asked for a real magic wand for Christmas.  Her disappointment that Christmas made me so sad.  If only I could have granted her simple wish.  But really, knowing that magic isn’t really real makes us appreciate magical moments all the more.
Last Thursday morning, I set my alarm and rolled out of bed extra early.  The weatherman predicted a fabulous day, and he was completely correct.  We had heavy fog, a good sign for this time of year that the day will be clear, not humid, and divine.  I loaded the kayak, and headed to the nearest lake (Greenbo).  The lake was all mine that morning.  No fishermen, no other kayakers, not even anyone fishing along the shores (that I could hear or see).  AHHHHH...I slid my kayak into the water and paddled way back, all the way back, into a cove.  Thick fog on the glassy water merged into a solid cloud of gray.  The marina behind me disappeared quickly, and no doubt I disappeared just as fast into the fog...nothing but the soft sound of my paddle cutting the water.  THAT was magic. 

Fog lifting on Greenbo

The air was still so that there was little drift when I stopped padding.  The fog made my hair damp and my clothes feel wet.  Fish swam up and circled to see what was this strange green vessel floating on the water.  As the fog began to lift, the world around me came alive.  Hawks shrieked above me, woodpeckers tapped on the trees, birds sang, I heard squirrels cutting nuts with their teeth, walnuts or hickory nuts dropping into the water, fish splashed – lots of fish in that lake, and turkeys everywhere.  Turkeys are’s OK.  Turkeys are magic. They travel in flocks along the hills clucking to each other.  They aren’t all that pretty, but they’re big and plentiful around here.  I’m grateful for turkeys and hawks; they are magnificent. 

Late morning in September on Greenbo (after the fog)

Sarah and I did a road trip together this weekend.  We went to Indiana to visit my dad (her grandfather).  I was grateful to have company; I usually make the trip alone, and it’s a little more than five hours of driving each way.  We talked about everything, and even though we disagree on many of the world’s issues, it’s OK.  

On the way home, we stopped at IKEA, the first time either of us had visited one.  IKEA was pretty awesome – such a big (BIG) retail place, but much more awesome than that, was the rainbow that appeared in the sky as we pulled into the parking lot. We were in central Ohio, toward the western side between Dayton and Cincinnati where everything is flat and the rainbows are HUGE.  This rainbow was magical.  People all over the parking lot were standing around looking at it, and some employees stepped out of the store to take a look.  The world seemed to stand still for a few minutes as all marveled at the rainbow.  If God could put enough rainbows in the sky all at once, do you suppose we would have a few moments of world peace? 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Old KYLady is not in the mood to work anymore tonight.  She could go to bed, but no.  She will post to the Old KYLady Blog - The Journal of Despair and Woe.  Well, sometimes it is.  Sometimes it’s the Journal of Continuous Mundaneness. Tonight, it is the Journal of What Is.

What is happening these days?  Working and thinking, more thinking, more working.  Pretty much, that is it and all of it.  I’m thinking that I work way too many hours for my paychecks.  Certainly, University #2 seems to be in a downward spiral.  It’s too bad because I love the students there, but the handwriting seems to be on the wall.  My days there are numbered unless they get out and recruit.  So, even though it’s counterintuitive and perhaps even irrational, I applied for a full-time professor job there.  It was like pulling my own teeth to update my CV for this opportunity... a task that I’d been putting off for months, like no exaggeration, at least six months.  If you have not applied for a job online, you would have no appreciation for the frustration of uploading a detailed CV or resume, and then typing all that shit into an online form.  GRRRRRRR.  It’s a wretched bunch of crapola.
So now, my CV is up-to-date, and it’s time to hunt for more work.  Perhaps, better-paying work.  The problem for me is that I’ve not published in a peer-reviewed journal, I’ve never presented at a conference, and hell, I’ve never done anything that really matters in the academic world.  As an adjunct, nobody pays for conference fees...except me.  It’s hard to think about forking over $800+ to attend a conference for a few days to even see what goes on at one.  I’m disinclined to volunteer to present at one until I know what these things are like.  Granted, I attended conferences long ago in my Big Oil days, like in the 1980s and 1990s...and these were oil industry conferences, not education industry ones.  They were fun.  I had fun at them.
Meanwhile, I’m taking a course (self-paced, online) to learn more about setting up networks for IoT devices, and some basic programming of IoT least, that’s what I believe the course is about.  I’m only 75% finished with first module, but it’s some interesting stuff so far.  Also in my spare time, I’m making instructional videos about very basic use of Microsoft Word and Excel (for my students).  I suck at making videos, by the way.  I need a faster computer processor...something else I’ve been procrastinating on...buying a new laptop.
Has this become a Woe and Despair post again??  Maybe old KYLady needs to make a visit to the liquor store and buy a bottle of cheer.  But for now, the night is late, and there are classes in the morning.        

Monday, August 20, 2018


I came to my blog today, determined to write something.  ANYTHING.  I like to write, so why is it that writing rarely happens anymore?  In fact, the title of my last post – Status Quo – pretty much has become a mantra for all aspects of my life.  The truth is that it’s hard to be inspired to write when nothing happens.  Surely something has happened lately...but it has not.

My life
It’s completely my own fault (that there is nothing new to write about).  The summer is waning and I’ve not even once taken my kayak out.  Someone and I have not been on a long hiking adventure in forever.  We have been playing golf a few times a week...that must be it – golf has replaced all the other things.  Don’t get me wrong, golf is fun – sometimes lots of fun.  The issue is that it’s not like I’m an LPGA hopeful or anything.  My game is average at best, so at the end of the round, there’s not a lot to commit to memory (a few holes, perhaps an excellent putt or drive here and there). 

Truly, it is time for change.  Someone has a commitment for this coming weekend so weather permitting, KYLady is getting her ass in gear and taking the kayak out.  If the weather sucks, it’s time to go shopping for new flooring and furniture.  YES.  This house needs some renovation...again.  Paint, floor, drapes, and furniture.  It makes me cringe to think of the amount of work all this will be for me, but it needs to be done. all my free time.
But for now, it’s time to work again.  I need to create some lecture videos.  This teaching thing has become an awful lot of work. I like the work, but it’s taking a lot of time...for so little pay. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

status quo

Vacation has come and gone.  Someone and I did the usual Myrtle Beach vacation with Someone’s family – same vacation in all senses of the word same for as long as we’ve been married...soon to be 24 years, I think.  Someone loves Myrtle Beach so much that he wants to move there.  Perhaps some day we will sell our house so that Someone can move to Myrtle and old KYLady can get a small cottage in the country somewhere in Kentucky.  We will visit each other when one misses the other. 

I’m just not a beach person.  The landscape is bare – too desolate.  Sand, water, and sky.  Blah.  I go out on the beach with a good book and sit and read for a bit.  Then what?  It’s hot and the sand gets all over everything.  I don’t like intense sun for long.  I went for walks and read my book on the beach in the early mornings and walked on the beach at night.  The rest of the time, I worked or played golf.  We did play golf five days, so that was fun.  The course we played is nice, but expensive.

walking over the sand dune at Myrtle Beach

While we were gone, our garden fell mostly to ruin.  Nearly all the cucumbers and peppers died.  The lettuce bolted.  The bugs destroyed the cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  My flowers on the back porch withered away.  I think we should vacation in the winter or spring and stay home to tend our garden in the heat of summer, but Someone won’t hear of it - Blasphemy!  One cannot bake in the Myrtle Beach sun in the winter or spring!!  Someone and his family like suntans. 

In my world of work, tonight at 11:59 PM the summer term closes for my 41 students at University #1.  The final exam is online and has been open for four days.  Professor KyLady realizes that students have busy lives outside of school-life and tries to keep things flexible.  The exam becomes unavailable in less that 20 minutes and I can see that six students are taking it just now, and another five have not started it.  Why do they wait?  It blows my mind.  My policy was clearly stated at the beginning of the course and four times over the past week in course announcements, emails, and news videos.  There is no make-up for the final exam, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Still, they delay.  No doubt there will be emails through the night and tomorrow from students asking that I reopen the exam for them because they got called into work, they had to run an uncle to the hospital, their dog got hit by a car, their Internet died, their kid broke his leg, they got stuck in traffic, they overslept, and a host of other creative reasons.  Sometimes they will pair misfortunes to influence me (i.e., my dad had a heart attack and I wrecked my car while rushing my sister’s dog to the vet).  Yes, it’s all sad but NO EXCEPTIONS means just that.  It’s why they get so many days.  I hate to say no, but I do (except in a few very rare cases for students who have sincerely worked hard and being late is not a chronic habit).

As for me personally...things are...not happening.  No resume, STILL.  No CV.  What the hell?  I’m worse than my students.  I’m failing Life 101.  Something needs to happen.  Something...drastic?

Sunday, June 24, 2018


Rain.  And more rain.  We planned a camping trip over the weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Emily had scheduled herself off work, but a co-worker had a car wreck and Emily was tapped to fill in.  Then, we had a multi-day monsoon.  It rained hard this morning as well.  Someone and I were going to play golf, but now we’re thinking the course will be a muddy mess.  The course where we usually play does not have good drainage, and the creek along side it often floods.  We are members there because it’s not far to drive and it’s affordable. 

Sarah’s grandmother (on Sarah’s father’s side) let us have her cabin at Park Lake in Fleming County Friday night.  It was delightful!  Sarah’s father and I spent many days and nights out there when we were young.  I have many memories of the place, but it’s odd to be there after so many years.  The cabin has been modernized and is MUCH nicer than it was in those days.  The whole place seems nicer (more civilized) than it was in those days (30 years ago).  WOW – I’m old.  I should write about some of those memories, but maybe I already have. 

Anyway, I have new memories at Park Lake.  Sarah, Erin, and I went swimming in the lake, just 20 minutes or so before the thunder started and it began to rain again.  Getting in and getting out of the lake was the most fun.  Sarah and Erin had rafts to slide into the water on, but me (being old school) just dove in because getting wet quickly is the most merciful way to enter the water.  Getting out was a challenge.  The dock had steps that hadn’t been used in a while.  They were slimy and covered with mussels.  We managed.  I wanted to cook hamburgers on the grill for dinner, outside, but it got dark and there was just too much rain.  We made them in a skillet on the stove which is not as much fun, but it was fine.  Dinner on the screened porch serenaded by a choir of frogs was elegant.  As the night grew darker, a three-quarter moon peaked out through the clouds and lit the lake – beautiful Park Lake.  I took no pictures that evening because there is no cell service there, so I didn’t have my phone close at hand.

We have another camping trip planned for Tuesday.  It might be possible to get Sarah, Erin, and Emily together for one night.  I am hopeful.  This trip will be at Cave Run Lake, another favorite place. 

KyLady’s garden is growing.  The lettuce is superior.  The buttercrunch is my newest favorite variety.  The Green Ice just didn’t grow well this year.  It was marvelous last year, so I don’t know what changed.  In this picture, you can see my raised bed makes a U.  In the foreground (right) is buttercrunch lettuce.  In the foreground left is Brussel’s sprouts.  On the far side are carrots (should be ready in another week or so). In the far corner are radishes...I need to plant more radishes behind the ones that are up.  All the rest is Green Ice lettuce – missing in action except for three plants.

Raised bed - Creeping Charlie is invading
Buttercruch lettuce - ready to eat

Out in the big garden, the cabbage is coming along.  The egg plants have dropped their purple blooms and have formed little...eggs?  The cukes have blooms and we have some green tomatoes.  We planted corn and beans late because Someone likes them not to bear until August.  It rarely works out that way.  We always have a ton of beans just before we leave for the beach. 

And now, something I’m very excited about, sweet peas and morning glories.  No rustic trellis unfortunately.  What I really want to do is going to take more work and planning.  The planters will do for now.  I am hopeful that the blooms will come and be spectacular.  

The "big" garden

Sweet peas
Morning glories are alive and well

This morning, after the rain stopped, I planted some petunias and hung them up.  These were cheapo end-of-season discounted petunias.  Fifty-cents per three pack, so I bought two.  With any luck, these will be lovely in a few weeks...assuming the Japanese beetles don’t eat them up.  The beetles are feasting on my other petunias.  I hate Japanese beetles. 

$1.00 petunias...anticipation 

You would see pale yellow petunias in this photo but the Japanese beetles ate them. 

My newest project in mind – fire pit.  That needs to happen this summer.    

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Head games

I’ve played golf for a while...since I was maybe in my mid-twenties.  I had no interest in the game until I went to work for Big Oil, and actually not until I began working with the pipeline folks who took golf very seriously.  Pipeline was mostly a men’s work group.  Working in IT, of course, even that was probably 80% men in those days.  But once assigned and dedicated to work on pipeline applications, I can only think of a hand-full of women who worked in that group.  As such, because nearly every group-wide meeting involved an afternoon of golf with beer followed by a day-long meeting, I learned to play golf.

Once I became reasonably skilled with the game, I LOVED to play golf.  In fact, I was a golf addict once upon a time.  I played every opportunity and even played competitively on an amateur level.  During a several-year period in my life, I hung with a group of women – like eight of us, who played several times a week together for years.  Those were good times.  We had a blast because we played strictly for fun and socializing.  Men might “pretend” to play that way, but men are just too competitive to play like that.  Like, you rarely see a woman get mad and throw a golf club on the course, but men do it all the time.  (That’s not to insinuate that we women don’t say our fair share of cuss words). 

It never rains here (and other myths)

One thing I know is that golf is a head game.  If you’re mind isn’t on the game, you won’t be able to play worth a shit.  If you start thinking negatively (like about a bad shot you just made), it’s going to screw up your next shot.  If you’re thinking about anything other than where you want the ball to go when you strike it, chances are good that the ball will find itself somewhere difficult or unfortunate.  One of the fun things about golf is pure luck.  For example, when you hit a ball that hits a tree squarely – well that’s unfortunate because obviously you’re trying to avoid obstacles.  More often than not, the ball hits the tree and goes somewhere awful.  But sometimes, good fortune smiles on you – you hit a tree and the ball ricochets off the branches and lands two feet from the pin, or somewhere near the green at least.  That’s what makes the game fun. 

Someone and I were playing golf this evening.  It was getting late, nearly 7:45 PM so the sun was almost below the hills.  We were on the 17th tee and could see something unusual in the fairway.  It was obviously an animal – we realized it was a skunk.  The fairway is fairly narrow and the skunk seemed to be meandering around in the area where we normally hit what either one of us would consider to be a decent drive.  We had nobody behind us so we waited several minutes to see if the skunk would move didn’t.  Finally, Someone hit his drive and it landed a good 50 yards beyond the skunk in the middle of the fairway.  He was pleased and told me that if I hit into the skunk, I should take the cart and he would wait by the cart path.  I busted a marvelous drive, one of my best of the day, that rolled well beyond Someone’s ball (beyond Mr. Skunk) and stopped about 30 yards from the green.   The skunk ran off when it heard us coming – I will say it looked healthy with a beautiful coat – not like the scraggly ones we see in town.  Based on our drives on that hole, the skunk brought us extraordinary luck, or perhaps it just gave us incentive and reason to focus on our game.        

Thursday, May 31, 2018

randomly rambling

This is a photo of my lunch today.  The lettuce and radish were fresh from my garden, picked no more than 15 minutes before consumption.  The carrots were from the grocery store, because my carrots need about another 40 days in the ground.  It’s OK, they are coming along nicely.  My salad was delicious, by the way.

On Facebook, people post all sorts of food porn.  Not only food that they’ve ordered in a restaurant, but also recipes that show delectable (decadent?)  deserts.  I don’t often take pictures of food I’m going to eat, but sometimes I take photos of something I’ve just baked that turned out well.  It never looks as good in the photo as it does in real life.  I suppose that’s true with most things...although with picture editing, we can enhance the appearance of some things (better than real life).  I don’t edit photos, but perhaps it would be a useful skill.

I planted flowers in pots yesterday.  I enjoy doing that.  In my imagination, the little plants are thanking me for freeing them from the tight plastic tubs they are trapped in when they are sold at the nursery.  Their roots will have space to grow, and their leaves will have room to spread out and breathe.  In my imagination it’s all good, but there’s a nagging worry in my mind that they might not be pleased with their new environment.  Like, maybe they know they need more sun and space for optimum health than what I’ve provided or planned for.  They’re thinking, what the hell?  Do you expect me to bloom here?  We will see...perhaps they are more grateful than I’ve given them credit for. Perhaps humans are much more critical than plants (and other animals). 

Emily moved out of her college apartment and has added all sorts of new clutter for me to deal with.  Most of it is now stacked in the if the basement needed more crap.  She will be taking it when she moves out again, in two or three years.  We will manage.  It is hard to deal with because Someone tends to be a hoarder.  My tendency is to be a minimalist.  Like, I don’t like lots of knick-knacks and stuff collecting dust.  I detest junk mail and magazines laying around.  My preference is to keep important papers filed. I hate small kitchen appliances that set around on the counter tops.  Also, I hate to have more supplies on hand than we can use in a three-month period. 

Someone stockpiles (aka - hoards).  I’m pretty sure we will never have to buy another light bulb in my lifetime.  When LED bulbs first came out, they were expensive.  We only had a few, but as soon as the price dropped, Someone went nuts.  I had to remind him SEVERAL TIMES to please not buy any more lightbulbs.  We have an entire shelf in the closet devoted to lightbulbs.  We also currently have a paper towel collection, air freshener collection, laundry soap collection, and a peanut butter collection.  We probably will not need to buy any of these for at least 18 months.  It’s nice to not run out, but it’s a lot of stuff in the house.  Someone likes to shop, especially when he can find a good deal. 

So, the real reason this blog post is happening tonight is that there is something important that needs doing, but I don’t want to do it.  Don’t misunderstand; I want it done in the worst way.  I’ve been putting it off for MONTHS now.  MONTHS!  And look at the time.  I will post this and go straight to bed so that I can get an early start on this important thing tomorrow.    

Friday, May 25, 2018

welcome summer

I’ve been way too busy lately for somebody who considers herself to be semi-retired.  I’m pretty sure I logged 50 hours last week (in three days) – I was trying to catch up with my classes and get ahead before Someone and I took a mini-vacation (Thursday through Sunday).  Then when we arrived back home Sunday afternoon, I dug deep into the rut to catch up work that came in while I was gone, plus opened a new session for University #2. 

Much has happened since my last blog post.  Erin and Emily graduated.  I’m a proud mama as you might guess.  Both graduated with honors and both will start graduate schools in August.  Someone and Someone’s parents attended Emily’s graduation in Morehead, and Sarah and I attended Erin’s in Louisville.  I hated that I couldn’t attend both, but on the drive home from Louisville, we stopped for lunch (still well over an hour away from Morehead) and watched the live cast of Emily’s graduation on Sarah’s phone (which has a bigger screen than my phone).  We got to hear Emily’s name called and see her walk across stage for a brief second or so.  It was better than nothing, but it made me sad that I couldn’t be there. 

Evening after graduation - Emily and Erin let me take photos of them
And then they got all goofie
Silly girls

I don’t think a girls’ vacation is in the plans for this’s on my mind to take one but corralling three girls for a few days in one place is nearly impossible.  I might wait until fall and rent a cabin at Natural Bridge State Park, inviting any girls who can make it.  It’s a place I’ve been wanting to see, and it should be beautiful when the leaves change.        

I don’t have seasonal allergies, which is a blessing because many people in the Ohio Valley suffer horribly with allergies.  A few days ago, I took Gracie out for her usual walk.  It looked like rain but I thought we had plenty of time to get a walk in.  Well no...we got about a mile from the car and all hell broke loose.  The sky blackened, thunder rumbled, and then the wind came.  So much wind!  Wind carrying more pollen than you can imagine.  As a contact lens wearer, my eyes felt like rocks had blown into my eyes.  My nose felt liked I snorted cotton balls, and so then I began breathing through my mouth which made things even worse.  I started coughing and sneezing and wheezing.  Gracie did too.  We were both miserable and grateful to get back inside the car.  Gracie and I are still coughing.  It kind of feels like a summer cold now...hopefully it will pass quickly.  

Someone and I visited Williamsburg, Virginia last weekend.  It’s a long story about how we happened to go there, but it was supposed to be a 3-day golfing vacation.  I booked it several years ago.  Our travel dates were flexible; however, I waited until the vacation deal would expire (at the end of May), so it became a use it or lose it situation.  As luck would have it, it poured rain the whole time we were there.  Fortunately, it was showers during the day and thunderstorms at night, so we were able to walk around and see things with our umbrellas.  What I liked most of all were all the flower and vegetable gardens.  Most houses there in historic Williamsburg section have gardens in the front or side yards where people can admire them.  

What a good sport!  He posed in the rain so I could take this photo  :)
A marvelous vegetable garden
A beautiful border of foxgloves
Beautiful poppies
Governor's Palace - we toured the inside.  Long rows of catalpa trees (blooming) on both sides of the green
In the garden behind the palace
A magical place

Yesterday, I visited two greenhouses and purchased what I thought would be enough flowers and vegetables (now I know it was not enough).  Today, I set out tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, and egg plants in the big garden (we already have cabbage and broccoli growing).  Someone still needs to plant corn and beans...when he’s damn good and ready.  He likes to wait so that nothing is ready to pick until August.  God forbid that I should plant the sacred seeds before he wants them planted.  Fine – he can do it.  My raised bed has radishes that are ready to pick now, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.  My sweet peas are just starting to sprout.  I can’t wait until they start twining up the trellis and put out spectacular, sweetly-scented BLOOMS (I am hopeful). Sometime this weekend, I’ll plant flowers in pots, and zinnias and snapdragons in the big garden for cutting – weather permitting, of course.

I love planting and gardening.  It’s a wonderfully mindless thing to do.  When I was a kid, I hated working in the garden.  It was boring and nothing but a dreary chore to me.  Now that I’m an old woman with one foot in the grave, I love it.  (Honestly, I’m not quite old-age yet...and I don’t think the grave is in the same county...or maybe that’s just denial on my part).    

It feels like summer.  AT LAST!!  Once I’ve taken the kayak out, it will be official.  Next week?  Next week!   

Friday, May 4, 2018

off the rails

KyLady has gone a bit off the rails lately.  If you remember that dress in a prior post (the one that I was going to wear to Sarah’s wedding), I didn’t wear it.  In fact, it’s still hanging in my closet with tags on it.  I like it, so maybe I’ll wear it to Someone’s niece’s wedding in late May rather than returning it.  

Then, there’s this “rustic trellis” project I started and was so excited about in my last post.  Nope!  Not happening.  I bought a large planter and then decided the trellis was too damn big for it.  Even cut down to size, it’s still too big and heavy.  I think the best bet is to just use a small trellis that I already have and that’ll be my sweet pea attempt for 2018.  And by the way, KyLady has still not started the seeds yet.

KyLady is usually as reliable as the tides, or clockwork, or death and taxes, or some such very reliable thing.  But lately, not so much. 

On a happier note, the raised bed is planted with two kinds of lettuce, carrots, radishes, and Brussels sprouts.  In the big garden, we have cabbage and broccoli planted.  Next week, I’ll visit the greenhouse and buy some flowers (annuals) to put in pots and in the garden for cutting flowers.  I have favorites, so it seems like that’s all I ever plant and nothing else...maybe that’s not a bad thing.  It’s also time to get my hummingbird feeder out.  I love spring!  It’s finally here. 

University #1 had their graduation ceremony tonight.  This year, I didn’t go.  I wanted to, but they didn’t announce the keynote speaker and that’s the main reason I go.  I watched the ceremony on the live stream and was glad I didn’t go.  What a total disappointment!  There was no keynote speaker.  It’s really not fair for the graduates to have such a crappy ceremony.  As the camera panned over the faculty and honored guests section, there were MANY empty chairs.  There have been lots of lay-offs at University #1 (and across all the state universities in Kentucky)...I suppose morale is really bad and nobody wanted to attend. 

Erin and Emily will graduate a week from tomorrow (Saturday).  I am excited for both of them, and proud (of course).  What a lucky mother I am to have such brilliant, talented daughters (all of them).  Emily’s robe has been hanging in my doorway for several weeks remind me to press it for her.  Erin will not even get hers until late next week.  I can’t wait to see it!  Emily’s school colors are blue and gold (at Morehead State); whereas Erin’s are red and black (at University of Louisville).  They will look very different.  Someone and his parents are attending Emily’s graduation.  Sarah and I are attending Erin’s.  I HATE that I can’t be at both of them.  Both girls have been accepted into graduate programs.  Emily will go to Marshall University and be...a buffalo?...they are the Thundering Herd.  Erin will stay at Louisville and remain a cardinal.

Emily's regalia

I scrubbed the winter filth off the screened porch on Thursday and carried all the plants out of my kitchen.  The plants are delighted to be outside where they have fresh air and space to spread their leaves freely.  All will be fertilized with the next watering and they will surely take off.  I am delighted to have my kitchen back to livable condition.  With all those plants in there, it's a bit suffocating, like a jungle...we only have a narrow path to walk through the kitchen, and space for only two people to sit at the table.  The kitchen looks so bare now...I think it’s given me a bit of postpartum depression.  But not for long; I’m already adjusting to the extra space. 

Some of my lovelies