Sunday, December 1, 2019

It's happening

Welcome, December.  I’m excited for Christmas and the semester to be ending, and to be getting classes set up for next semester which is something that must be started soon.  I’m having my hip replaced this month...less than a week before Christmas.  I’m trying to remain positive and brave, but it’s really hard with so many people sharing their horror stories with me.  No more looking at need to get any more visualizations of what will be done to my hip.  As the date is fast approaching, I fully realize it’s the right thing to do.  After a 15-minute walk with Gracie, it’s all I can do to limp back to the car. 

Happy creek after the rain

This afternoon, I got on Amazon and bought STUFF – lots of stuff.  Stuff for gifts, stuff for me, and an air fryer – stuff for the house!  All the girls have asked for starts off my snake plant (aka mother-in-law tongue, aka sansevieria).  Mine is large and pot-bound...intentionally pot bound because my hope is that it will bloom.  Anyway, I bought pots and will make three starts, one for each girl.  I also needed a pot for a start off my monstera for Emily. 

My beautiful Christmas cacti

The outside Christmas lights are up.  I’ve carried our larger Christmas tree upstairs, but alas, I’ve not moved ahead with assembly or decorating it.  No doubt I will need to buy more lights.  We’ve used a smaller tree the past few years, but this year, I wanted something more cheerful.  It’s likely that I could use some cheer by the time Christmas gets here.  I can only imagine.  What was it that lady told me at the grocery store – “Oh honey, I was in agony for the first three weeks.”  Agony?  Like, I’m thinking natural childbirth (with Sarah) was something like agony for a few hours.  She was worth it.  Anyway, I’d better make the tree look great because most likely it will be up until I take it down and put it perhaps February is when that will be possible??  

So, my calendar is really busy for December.  I have a doctor appointment for a pre-surgery physical, a dentist appointment, a patient-education class for pre-surgery hip patients, a pre-surgery registration appointment, a Christmas party at work, a Christmas lunch with retirees and employees of my former work family (after 33 years, we are like family), a meeting with my attorney to get some things finalized...and a haircut.  I also have to get in six hours of training before December 15 for a recertification that is needed.  It’s going to be a busy month. I hate busy. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Vita Mutatur

For me, the world and all my plans have come to a screeching halt.  It’s a very long story, but in a nutshell, I learned a few weeks ago that my hip joint is shot to hell (bone on bone, they said) and there’s nothing to do but replace it.  It was quite an unexpected shock to get the news.  I went to the doctor knowing they would take an x-ray of my knee and possibly my hip, wanting to get the go-ahead for physical therapy to fix me (I’ve been limping around a bit, and my knee hurts if I walk a lot or stand for a long time), and thinking worst-case scenario would be a cortisone shot in the knee. 

Well, oh hell no.  The doctor put a cortisone shot in my hip and told me it’s not an emergency situation, but not to put it off for long - schedule the surgery because shots are going to be my life until the surgery is done.  Fortunately, he saw nothing wrong with the other hip or either of my knees.  I researched the doctor and the hospital where he works, after deliberating for two days, I called back to schedule surgery.  They connected me with the nurse who does the scheduling, she pulled my chart, and said “Oh honey, you were just here.  You have to have at least two more cortisone shots (3 months a part) and then at least three gel shots (3 months a part) before we can put you on the schedule.  Right now, we’re scheduling surgeries for eight months out.  You won’t be having surgery until the end of 2022 at best”.  I told her the doctor told me not to delay long.  She said my insurance wouldn’t pay until there is proof that the shots aren’t helping.  I scheduled the next shot appointment for January. 

Next, I called my insurance company.  They said, “bullshit!”  If it’s bone on bone and doctor says surgery is the fix, why waste time and money on shots?  Get it done before my knee or back get damaged from limping.  They recommended I get another opinion and find somebody who can do it sooner than eight months.

Now I have an appointment in Lexington in a few weeks with somebody who has a great reputation (based on Internet reviews and my sister-in-law who lives in Lexington.  I’m hoping to get surgery sooner rather than later...perhaps over Christmas or my spring break in March.  We will see what they say.  Meanwhile, the cortisone shot didn’t hurt as much as people tell me they hurt...the doctor put it in after rubbing something really cold on my hip first.  Moments after, I moved my leg around a bit and the doctor remarked it greatly improved my mobility.  Well, maybe so, for a few days.  But now, my limp is worse and it hurts sooner when I walk very far.  I’m blaming the shot, but maybe it’s just that now I’m paying more attention to it.  Someone and I played golf yesterday and I took Tylenol after because everything was aching.  Being crippled is not for me.  Perhaps the real point of the shots is to make you grateful for surgery.

To change the subject (PLEASE), Gracie traumatized me one morning last week.  It was still very dark and I was making my lunch to take to work.  Gracie goes out in the mornings and spends the days inside until Someone or I get home from work.  Anyway, she was outside and I heard her barking, and then something that sounded like a cat started howling.  My thoughts were that Gracie was terrorizing a cat, perhaps a feral (several live behind out house in the woods), or worse, one of the neighbor’s cats.  I ran outside just in time to see Gracie with something larger than a squirrel or rabbit in and gray in her teeth.  She was shaking it violently and it was screaming.  I shouted “NO!” which is one of only a few words that Gracie understands, grabbed a broom and smacked her with it.  I heard the poor animal’s last unearthly squeak, Gracie dropped it and stood over it.  I grabbed her collar, and pulled her back into the house.  It was dark, but from the garage light and a quick glance, it looked like a gray striped cat.     

I grabbed a box and flashlight, and went back outside (leaving Gracie in).  I was hoping the cat was dead so that I wouldn’t feel compelled to take it the vet for euthanasia or whatever was’s not right to let an animal suffer.  I was relieved to see it was a raccoon and already very dead.  It looked like Gracie broke its neck.  Poor makes me sad to think about it.  It’s likely that Gracie cornered it in our garage.

Gracie smiling

A few days later, I was sweeping the kitchen and saw both Molly and Gracie in the family room acting strange.  Molly ran behind the couch and out from under the couch ran a little ground squirrel.  Gracie lunged at it but it darted to safety under the love seat before she could catch it.  Molly ran to the love seat and tried to squeeze herself under it, but it ran back across and got under the couch again.  I opened up the back door to the deck so that perhaps they could chase the creature to the outside and it would have a chance to escape them.  Finally, I stopped watching and within 10 minutes, the cat, dog, and hopefully the rodent were all outside.  On one hand, I wanted our pets to take care of the pest, but on the other, I hate for anything to die needlessly (plus, I didn’t want bloodshed in the house). 

Our fall weather has been mostly hot and dry.  Leaves were later than usual to begin changing color, but just in the last few days, the color is stunning.  We had a hard rain last night and many of the red and orange leaves dropped off the maples.  Today the sun is shining and it’s breezy.  Every little gust brings down more leaves.  Within a few more weeks, the hills will be bare.  Ugh...winter is a dreary time of year, but at least we have holidays to occupy our minds and time with until January.  Oh yeah, and surgery, buying a car, buying appliances, getting new floors, painting walls, ...and whatever else comes along. 

Late October leaves
Fall leaves smell wonderful

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Adios Summer 2019

KYLady has not blogged in a very long time.  Summer has come and gone, and my goodness, it was a wonderful summer.  Truly, KYLady is blessed to have so much wonderful stuff to do, and yet, much that she planned to do over the summer did not happen.  Such is life. 

Someone and I went to Myrtle Beach in July, meeting up with Someone’s family there like we ALWAYS do.  I mean ALWAYS in every sense of the word.  It has been the same vacation for 25 years now – same beach house, same restaurants, same...well....everything pretty much. We played golf every day.  I can’t do the intense sun on the beach, but I walked the beach in the mornings and evenings looking for shark teeth.  I found plenty, but also found the best one ever.   

Myrtle Beach by moonlight

Not quite a megalodon tooth, but pretty big nonetheless

Someone heading out to the beach (as I am heading in)

Emily and I did a mini-overnight stay in a Cabin near Cave Run, and then sometime in July, Erin, Emily, Sarah, and I did a weekend visit.  We stayed in a rustic cabin with a hot tub on the porch and a copperhead that lived under the porch (he stuck his head out once to assure us that we were invading his home).  We went swimming at Cave Run, made smores by the campfire, and played Pandemic (a fun board game) and Catan (a not-so-fun board game).  Sarah loves Catan though, so we played.  I love spending time with my girls – it’s the best thing in my life.

Campfire with the girls and that silly bear statue
Hanging out on the back porch
Cave Run - beach - photo doesn't do it justice

I’ve had the kayak out plenty of times this summer.  Someone has taken a liking to kayaking and has been renting one to come along with me sometimes.  Once, Erin was home and she came with us.  Another time, Emily came with us.  For both Erin and Emily, it was their first time.  I think they had fun.  Someone and I had fun with them...we like spending time with our girls.

Someone and I took Gracie on many hikes over the summer.  I wonder if we would hike as often as we do if not for our dog – probably not.  She loves going for a walk – it’s what she lives for and it’s absolutely the highlight of her day.  Someone or I need only say the word walk to get her excited.

Sweet Puppers is all tuckered out after her walkies
Miss Molly is taking a short break from hunting (and eating)

Life is very busy just now...but not nearly as stressful as it was a month ago (or even yesterday).  I had enrolled in a master of applied economics program, thinking to take enough hours to teach economics (I needed 15 more graduate hours).  What the hell was I thinking?  I do like economics, but after reading enough to remind myself about it, it’s just not something that I want to teach.  I prefer technology -  something where students (and I) get our hands dirty with to speak.  I finally pulled the plug this morning – withdrew myself completely from the program.  Hooray!!!!

So, what is next for old KYLady?  Well, for one thing, shopping.  We need a new garbage disposal and dishwasher.  Also, a new car (or perhaps a used one).  I am currently driving a 2004 minivan and a 2002 Camry.  The minivan is super handy for hauling the kayak, and the Camry runs great.  Still, these vehicles are old.  The Camry doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, and the headlights are wretched in comparison to halogen headlights on newer cars.  It’s handy having two vehicles so that when one is in the shop, I still have one to drive.  But there's insurance and property tax on two cars and maintenance on two cars...I will live with inconvenience.  Then there is also the issue of new flooring throughout our house.  It is time.  I’ve decided that some will be hardwood and some will be vinyl plank.  Good riddance to the carpet.

Work is keeping me busy.  I have seven classes with University #1 this semester, and five with University #2.  It’s a lot.  I enjoy the work, but it’s a lot.  I do plan to begin preparing to recertify with Microsoft Office.  I’m almost ready...but I need to spend more time learning some of the newer features for the 2019 version.  It’s work, but all good.       

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Idle Speed

I had my kayak out today, for the first time in 2019, sadly.  The spring has been very wet and unpredictable.  What with me working full time until the end of May, the weather, and my procrastination about getting a new battery for my minivan (only vehicle for hauling my beloved kayak), today was really the first opportunity.
Put-in time was around 9 AM.  We had a splendid morning – cool, slightly breezy, and mostly sunny.  With all the rain we’ve had lately, the trees and bushes are lush and all the leaves are shiny.  One could not ask for a more perfect morning for doing anything outside.  I paddled all the way to the back of the lake, to the backwaters of the dam.  It was there that I found the peace and quiet I was hoping for.  Nine o’clock is too late because there were already many people fishing, kayakers, and canoers all over the lake (on a Wednesday morning – don’t these people work)??  To make matters even worse, three pontoon boats loaded with little boys sped past me – definitely NOT idle speed as directed by signs posted around the lake.  They were whooping and shouting at each other across the water *sigh*, but I will not be one to put a damper on their fun.  Most likely they were a Cub Scout troop, but perhaps they were a Boys Club or a similar organization that takes under-privileged children out for a good time (so as to take their weary little minds off their unfortunate situations).  We have way too many children like that in this part of Kentucky, but our economy is improving over the past two to three years...and if we can just get a handle on the heroin crisis that would help.   I’ve digressed.

The kayak adventure was marvelous.  In my quiet place at the far back of the lake, the only sounds were wind in the trees and water running over the spillway.  At some point, a hawk was shrieking from somewhere high in the sky, but I couldn’t spot it.  It must have been over the hill tops somewhere.  The horizon is very limited when you are surrounded by hills.

Greenbo Lake

Someone and I played golf yesterday afternoon – my first round of golf in 2019 and only Someone’s second.  Someone has a job where he can take afternoons off when he wants to (most of the time).  Usually by now, I’ve at least gone to the driving range a few times and played a few rounds of golf.  Not this year.  In fact, the driving range we usually go to didn’t open this season, so now the closest one is about 25 minutes’ drive.  I expected to play dreadfully, but it really wasn’t too bad.  I managed a birdie and five pars...and the rest doesn’t matter.  Someone had good holes and bad holes as well...such is golf. 

This afternoon, I will spray down with Deet, put on my straw hat, and go work in the garden.  We have a few more plants to set out, and then it should be all done but for the routine weeding, pest control, and harvesting.  These few extra plants were after-thoughts; Someone noticed that we had leftover space (only because he made the corn rows shorter, I pointed out to him).  So now we have some extra pepper, tomato, and cucumber plants.  We spray Deet on ourselves because it seems to work best to repel the nasty biting mites in our garden.  Without Deet, you can’t stand in the garden for long without feeling them biting you.  You can’t see them, but they’re there.
I cut flowers earlier this week (between cloudbursts).  I love cut flowers, but I hate cutting my flowers – it’s a conundrum.  It’s important to cut them early in the summer so that they develop multiple stems and produce more blooms.  I thinned the lettuce, another job I hate.  Who am I to play God and decide which little plants get to live and which must die? 

Flowers from my garden

My new little rose bush is thriving and has sent out a new branch and a bud.  It’s exciting (as you might imagine if you’re a plant lover).  I’ve been spraying it with Seven every time I spray the cabbage and Brussel Sprouts growing only a few feet away from it.  Bugs are eating the hell out of them – I can only hope they don’t discover my rose.  

La Park rose - new bud

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Las Vegas

We are recently back from a week-long vacay to Las Vegas.  Good Lord, seven days was way too long in that place.  It’s not that there wasn’t more than enough to do – believe me! – a person could spend months there and never run out of new things to see and do.  If you can image a Disney World for adults, that is Las Vegas. 

Fremont Street area
Entrance to Fremont Street

People who obviously have way too much money go there.  We spent too much money there (in my opinion), but we had a great time seeing shows and doing things.  The cost of living is much higher there than in our part of the country.  Someone loves to play slot machines – I have zero interest in playing slots.  I’m not a big risk taker so after losing a little money, I’m ready to do something different.  Someone can play slots all night and finish up plus or minus $20 from where he started and be as happy as a clam.  I suppose it’s whatever floats your boat.  Gambling is not for me. 

Emily and Erin came with us.  It was nice to have them along, and fun for them to experience for the first time something in the western USA.  The landscape in Nevada is nothing like here – when we landed back on Terra Firma Sunday (at the Cincinnati airport), we were all grateful to see green trees again.  Perhaps the biggest shock for all of us was seeing woman (and some men) so scantily dressed in public in Las Vegas (primarily on the strip where there are so many people).  It was not at all unusual to see women walking around in fish net tights and no panties at all, or just a thong.  Sometimes there was nothing on top but for pasties – I mean, absolutely nothing left for the imagination.  We saw women (usually in pairs) walking around like that, and wouldn’t you know, oftentimes men would wait until the women walked past them, then turn around and snap a photo of their butts.   Yep, that’s pretty nasty.  We also saw men wearing nothing but thongs and flip flops...gross.  I didn't see any woman snapping photos of their butts.

Some lights on the strip
We loved watching the fountain shows in front of the Bellagio (so does everyone else)
Sharing vacation with these two made it especially nice.

This view captured from near the top of the High Roller - a big ferris wheel

The lights on the casinos and in the casinos were, of course, excessive.  When you walk down the strip, most people have drinks in hand.  Recreational marijuana is legal there, but (unfortunately), I never saw a place to buy it.  You could smell it and see people smoking it.  It must not be sold anywhere near the strip because we did a lot of walking on and around the strip and I never saw a shop. 

We saw a Cirque du Soleil show (O, at the Bellogio) which was the favorite vacation thing for all of us.  Someone got us fantastic tickets - center, near the front - so we could even see the performers’ faces up close.  The entire show was a total treat – amazing stunts and so much happening on the stage at any one time that it was hard to take everything in.  That show was worth the money, for sure!

We spent a day in the Valley of Fire State Park, near Las Vegas.  That was inexpensive and fun – we climbed around in the rocks and sand.  We also took a day to visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.  At the Grand Canyon, we walked out on the Sky Bridge which was a waste of money, but part of a package deal we purchased, so I did the bridge walk.  It’s not really that much of a thrill.  In a place like that, looking down is not nearly as impressive as looking out. 

Typical scenery - Valley of Fire
Climbing up - because they can

The weather was unseasonably cool the whole time we were there.  In fact, Someone got so cold at the Grand Canyon that he bought a sweater (because they were on sale and much cheaper than sweatshirts).  The temperature was in the 50s, it was raining off and on, and it was very windy.  None of us had clothes that were warm enough.  At times, we were downright miserable.  In Vegas, the temp was in the upper 60s to low 70s.  Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised, but had I checked the weather before we left Kentucky, I would have packed more pants and fewer shorts.  We had a washer and dryer in our villa, so it turned out OK.

Grand Canyon
More Grand Canyon
Overlooking Lake Meade from above Hoover Dam

Our flights were surprisingly timely.  Perhaps things are getting better these days (I had not flown for nearly three years).  All went well except that Delta lost Someone’s bag on the way home.  Fortunately, it turned up and was delivered to us within 48 hours. 

So that was our big vacation for 2019.  Someone and I, now that our kids are grown and we are nearing retirement (and debilitating old age is just around the corner most likely), have made up our minds to travel more.  Our next big trip (just Someone and me) will be to Hawaii.  The thought of sitting on a plane for all those hours is a total turn off, but it’s someplace that Someone wants to go.  We will 2020.  As for me, I want to visit Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  Perhaps that vacation will happen in 2021.    

Friday, May 3, 2019


It’s been months.  How did so much time slide by without me having written even a single paragraph?  I wrote plenty of paragraphs, but nothing for my blog, sadly.  Life as a full-time AND part-time professor has kept me very busy.  I decided not to give up the adjunct work because that university is all-online, and my ultimate goal is to teach full time completely online.  The house has fallen to ruin again, but soon, very soon (within the next five days or so), I’ll have more time to work on it.  Today was the last day of the semester, next week is final exams. 

I like the work.  It’s a very different experience to get up early and go to work when you actually like what you do.  The hours are very short compared to working for Big Oil, and I have lots of freedom to do my job.  It’s great. 

So, old KYLady is now at a crossroads and must decide soon what to do.  I mean OLD in every sense of the word.  People my age are retiring or planning retirement.  Well, I did that already, and now I’m back to work doing work that is fun.  The university asked me if I was interested in teaching economics because they are desperate at the moment for an economics instructor.  In fact, the entire state-wide system is desperate for economics instructors.  I don’t have enough graduate hours to teach it, so it was suggested that if I return to college for some classes...there would be plenty of work for me. 

To make the long story shorter, I hunted around for cheap classes and found the perfect program for me – a graduate certification program (fewer hours than a master degree) in applied economics for somebody who wants to teach economics at university level in an accredited program.  That’s me.  I called about it, and they waived the application fee.  I requested that they waive the requirement for a GRE score...they did.  Today, they notified me that I am in and will receive my class schedule for fall semester.  I am expected to sign a commitment contract to get the cheapest tuition.  I believe they will have me take two classes for three semesters – 18 credit hours.  I only need 15, but if the classes aren’t too nasty, I’d most likely do all 18.  Lord, I have not had any economics since 1984 or so...that’s how old OLD KYLADY is.  Old KyLady is a bit worried that she may not be able to hack it.  It’s hard to remember stuff when you get old like me. 

So anyway, I have to decide whether or not I really want to go for it.  The go-get side of me says YES, but the lazy side of me (which is definitely the bigger side) says HELL NO.  Should I start without complete commitment?  Thinking back to when I started the doctorate, I was not committed at the beginning.  In fact, with every big decision I’ve ever intentionally made, I was not fully committed.  Maybe that’s just how all things are with me.  I don’t like to take risks.

On a more positive note, spring is here, and it’s glorious!  I’ve been picking violets in the yard.  I worked a tree give away event to celebrate Arbor Day, and brought home two redbud trees to plant.  I will plant these in the backyard as soon as the ground dries out a bit – we’ve had lots of rain lately.  I did get some cabbage and Brussels sprouts planted in the garden.  I have seeds and rose bushes on order.  It’s time to scrub down the back porch and set my houseplants out for fresh air – they will be so happy to get outside.  I will be happy for them...they crowd our kitchen terribly.

My beloved violets
Coming soon to my backyard - redbud trees

Graduation is soon at my college.  Tomorrow, I’ll dig out my graduation regalia from the back of the closet and see if the moths ate it...or if it needs to be cleaned.  I haven't had it on since my own graduation 2013?  It will be exciting to put it on again.   

Sunday, January 20, 2019

change is good

It’s a bitter-cold winter night.  Winter has come to stay.  As much as winter gets old, especially toward the end of January, I love some things about it.  This morning, despite the roads being slick, the dusting of white snow on the landscape (overtop the ice) was beautiful.  The woods behind our house look like a magic fairyland.  I filled the birdfeeders and watched the squirrels and birds empty them as I worked at my desk this morning. 

The semester started at University #1 where I am now classified as temporary full-time.  Assuming the budget isn’t cut, the position will become permanent and it will be advertised.  I have to apply for it, but other professors there told me that advertising the position is a mere formality. 

It’s been kind of weird going back to work full time.  Weird how?  (You might ask).  For one thing, I used to work around the clock, but now that I am on campus and sitting at a desk – almost like being chained to a desk some of the time – so when I come home, I don’t want to even log onto my computer...but I do because I still have stuff going on with University #2.  I think it’s just the sheer numbers that make the work different.  I have eight sections of students (compared to three or four sections, typically), more than 200 students, and three of the classes are classes I’ve never taught before.  It’s pretty overwhelming, actually.  At the same time, it’s really good to be there.  The people are nice and I’m making new friends.  The pay sucks, but the benefits are fabulous.  It’s a state job.  Someone also has a state job (although he is with a different state). 

I’m still puttering around with my drum set.  I learned a drum fill to go along with the drum beat I’ve been working on.  I’ve attached a short recording of it.  I’m also working to learn a triplet beat, and paradiddles.  I think it’s time to invest in a metronome, and lessons.  Well, lessons will probably wait until later in the spring or summer.  Lord knows I have little spare time now. 

While Erin was home over Christmas, I potted a start off my Monstera for her.  While I was at it, I repotted my asparagus fern.  It had become root-bound and was looking all sickly, like it wanted to give up.  I noticed today that it has put out a bunch of new arms (or whatever you call those sprouty things that will get leaves – stems?).  That reminds me, Emily also wants a Monstera.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll cut one and get it rooting. 

Asparagus fern is reviving

Emily moved out into an apartment.  I miss her, but I think she is happier being out on her own so that she can seem more like an adult.  Like me, Erin and Emily are heavy into their classes now.  I think they are happy with their lives.  That is my primary wish and prayer for all my girls. 

Love these girls