Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Beast: 2020

 This year, 2020, has been quite a butt. Who in this world could deny it?  At the top of the list in terms of what is the worst thing about 2020, hands down, COVID-19: death, suffering, businesses lost, economic devastation for too many people, riots, destruction of art, government corruption, and on and on. Yet, I am grateful for all that has been wonderful this year: my new hip, a visit to the Smokey Mountains, lots of golf, kayaking, hiking, my work, my new car, my pets, and of course, last but certainly not least (definitely most), my children.

October kayaking on the Little Sandy

My family lineage has been decimated in 2020. It seems that way to me because having been raised by my father’s parents in circumstances where parents took care of great grandparents, I knew my great aunts and uncles (and great grandparents) pretty well – I saw them frequently. All the great aunts and uncles on my father’s side passed away this year, as did two of their children. And then my father died unexpectedly.  Well, I’m not sure it makes sense to say unexpectedly given that he was 83 years old and had Parkinson’s.  But the last I had heard, he was getting along pretty well and was in no danger of dying.  Then came a phone call that he’s in hospice and may not survive the night.  My brother and I made an emergency visit (a five-hour drive) to see him – Covid be damned. I had not seen him in over a year because of timing of my usual visits and Covid (and that’s another very long story that I won’t go into).  He was barely conscious, but he uttered a few intelligible words...I don’t think he knew who we were.  He looked bad, but not horrible.  His hair looked marvelous – he always had great hair.  He looked like my grandfather and my brothers.  He died a few days after our visit.

Rest in peace, Dad

It makes me sad that I didn’t know my dad. He didn’t come around much, and he didn’t stay long when he came. As children, I could count on one hand the number of times we visited him at his home. His wife and my grandmother hated each other.  That was the primary reason – that is what I always thought, anyway. Hate.  Nothing good comes from hate. Life is much too short for that.

The long dark winter is nearly upon us. Early last summer (I blogged about this in my last post), I planted lupines and lavender in a tray with hopes to populate my new flowerbed.  The seeds emerged. All but two of the lavender shriveled up and died.  The two survivors lasted until mid-September.  The lupines looked healthy, even sprouted second leaves, but then, they too died. Failure.  I’m hoping next year will be better. It will be better! My first attempt was a “learning experience”.

My girls have given me gift cards for seeds and roses. I can imagine a glorious yard of wondrous gardens, heavenly scents wafting on the breeze, and stunning blossoms.  The reality is that we have many large trees, so very little sun.  Our soil is clay so we have drainage issues.  Voracious deer eat nearly everything they come to, and we have a plethora of rodents. Don’t even get me started on the Japanese beetles! Excuses, excuses, but there are solutions. All it takes is lots of work and diligence.

Molly hunts and kills things (mostly rodents, but sometimes snakes, and baby rabbits or young squirrels) every day, leaving poor little ravaged bodies on the doorstep.  I feed the birds and the rodents take their fair share.  The bird feeders are an attractive nuisance.   I love, love, love my trees.  I could not bear to have any of them cut down. My favorite is the hickory, which as you might guess, is also the squirrels’ favorite. Nevertheless, I am determined to find a way to have so many beautiful flowers that every bee and butterfly in the county will visit us.

Gracie and Molly (the Relentless)

I cleaned out one of our birdhouses yesterday. A mama bird had worked hard to fill it up with moss and bits of straw and leaves. I read that birds are more likely to inhabit a house if it is clean. I checked the newer house (made by my very talented son-in-law) but there is no evidence that anything nested in it.  It must be that I didn’t hang it up in time last spring. I'm hoping a bluebird will take it next spring. I made a third birdhouse from a large gourd and hung it yesterday, deciding that if I wait until I paint it or until Spring to hang it, another year will go by. The gourd has been sitting in our kitchen and garage for nearly three years. It was finally time to take action. Left in its natural state, perhaps it is best to just let it be what it is. 

gourd birdhouse

I've not blogged in a long time and since my last visit, I see that Blogger has added new edit features.  Well done!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Great Expectations

Summer is underway here in northeastern Kentucky.  There is much to be done and yet, it seems that the garden(s) and flowers consume most of my time.  The big garden has cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cantaloupe, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash, beans, and corn.  The raised bed has...2 surviving lettuce plants and a few spindly radishes...damn it!!  It’s a very long story, but my theory is that the soil is tired.  Late last week, I dug up 80% of it and mixed in a bag of 10-10-10...and replanted.  We will see. 

I’m delighted to report that a few weeks ago, in in the late evening after an unseasonably hot day, I was able to smell the blossoms of my Carolina Allspice bush.  At last!!!  After all these years of impatient waiting and disappointment, the bush has finally matured enough to distinguish itself...if only a tiny bit.  My great grandparents had one of these bushes at the far edge of their giant yard in the country.  They called it a sweet shrub; my goodness, it was sweet!  In the evenings, the scent was heavenly and so strong that it even drowned out the honey suckle.  I had hoped that my bush could someday smell at least half as wonderful.  What my bush smells like is not what I remembered.  My bush smells a bit like warm wine with a subtle hint of licorice.  Not unpleasant because you have to be close to smell it at all; however, It does not meet expectations (yet).

Carolina Allspice (sweet shrub) - taking over our backyard

I dug up and planted a new flowerbed.  It has a Mr. Lincoln rose planted in it (a gift from Sarah), coreopsis, irises, dahlias, marigolds, and ageratums.  It has a new birdbath in it as well, with a solar-powered fountain.  It’s a work in progress.  I want to enlarge it and buy a peony for it.  Today, I started some lupines and lavender seeds...if I get any plants from this attempt, they will also go into the new bed.

lupines and lavender underway (I hope)
In other exciting news, I have three lemon trees!!!  I planted lemon seeds in a pot...only because I had seeds from lemons where I made a lemon meringue pie from scratch when we first had the Covid breakout, and because I had a pot of good soil that something had died in.  “Why not plant these seeds and see what happens?” I asked myself.  It’s been like a month ago, and I have been watering the pot whenever I water my other plants on the porch (once a week??).  No special TLC or prayers...just let it be, and I am rewarded. 

Three lemon trees emerged after about a month of neglect
On the smaller back porch, I have beautiful annuals in a variety of old pots.  These get regular fertilizer and daily watering.  I LOVE THEM!!  They need a lot of work to stay alive – excellent soil, fertilizer scheduled, watering once and sometimes twice a day, bug spray sometimes, deadhead the spent flowers, etc.  The other day, I was walking around the shady side of the house and what would you NEVER expect to see??  A petunia that grew up (volunteer, as my grandmother would say) through the dank clay and bloomed!!  God makes His miracles happen where ever he wants. Blessed be the fruit.   

By God's hand, is this possible

Friday, May 15, 2020

KYLady is a material girl?

Madonna says that we are living in a material world.  We need only to log into Amazon to see just how material we are, but there are some things you can’t buy on Amazon (and recently, I learned that some things are available on Amazon now that aren’t available directly from the seller...apparently they are currently only in stock in an Amazon warehouse).

Me and Amazon have been spending a lot of time together lately.  It’s not typical for me to go on a spending spree.  My brother told me once that I’m as tight with money as the bark on a tree.  As much as I hate his accusation (perhaps maybe a shaggy bark hickory or sycamore), I do have a very hard time spending money.  Even when there is something needed and the money is readily available, it’s hard for me to decide to spend.  Whether it’s $1, or $100 or $1,000, it’s the same angst.  It’s just how I am.

Anyway, my last kayak trip resulted in two lost kayak parts: plug, and toggle handle.  The handle is a convenience, but the plug is important.  I was unable to get replacements from the manufacturer, so I scoured Amazon and found parts that hopefully will work (they will be delivered I won’t be waiting much longer).  The handle will be fine; the plug is iffy. 

So, while out on Amazon, I found a flour sifter too, and a garden hose, and a sprayer nozzle thingie...and some other stuff.  Then I reordered some things because it was such a good deal and I can use them again.  I suppose it’s no different than walking through WalMart and just picking stuff up and adding it to the cart.  And then I bought two birdfeeders and a bag of dried meal worms.  And then I bought a solar-powered fountain for a birdbath...which is yet to be purchased. 

All that stuff is on it’s way...and it makes me giddy to think we’ll have Christmas in May.  But that’s not all.  Today, I shopped for and purchased a new laptop.  Actually, I’ve been shopping for a new laptop since at least last November.  Mine is approaching six years old.  The paint is worn off E, S, and D.  There are things I can’t do with this laptop (mostly when making instructional videos) because the processor speed is too slow and the video card is too old.  Not only that, this old laptop is 5.5 pounds.  The new one will be less than 4.  That’s not much difference, but when you’re lugging a laptop around for long, it’s a huge difference.  The new machine has an SSD – it will be lightning in comparison to my SATA sloth hard drive.

As if that were not enough thrill for one day, I went to two greenhouses and bought four flats of plants and two pots of columbine.  I can spend an entire day strolling through a greenhouse. Someone declined to come with, thank the good Lord.  He would have been bored to death.  I came home with green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, butternut squash (something new to try), snapdragons, impatiens, begonias, alyssum, verbena, and zinnias.  I have morning glory, lettuce, and radish seeds to plant, and also, we grow beans and corn from seeds.  I will plant the morning glories this weekend, and start setting out flowers. Someone always wants to wait until June to plant the vegetable seeds – we have to do Myrtle Beach in July every year.  We can’t agree on things in the big mostly it’s his garden because of that.  I did finally convince him last year that watering in the evening causes fungus to grow and ruins everything. 

Beautiful columbine growing wild along the Michael Tygart trail, Greenbo Lake State Park
When the governor opens the state more, Sarah and I are going shopping for my birdbath, and a peony, and perhaps some perennials.  I bought columbine today – these are perennials.  The two I set out last fall (deep discounted because it was end of season) did not survive the winter.  Alas, we will try again. 

The hummingbirds are back and there seems to be many more visiting the feeder this year.  The woodpeckers love sugar water as much as the hummers do.  This year, we are seeing lots of bluebirds in our backyard.  This inspired me to order mealworms and a feeder designed for serving up mealworms.  The birdbath with fountain is for the hummers, but other birds will likely use it.  My son-in-law gifted me with a birdhouse for Christmas – he made it himself.  I hung it early this week which may be too late for this year, but it’s available now for any creature who wants shelter.  I have another birdhouse made out of a gourd.  There might be something nesting in it, but it’s pretty much hidden from view and I haven’t checked it this spring. 

New birdhouse built by my son-in-law
One of the things I love about working from home is filling the bird feeders in the morning and watching the birds and squirrels while working.  That, and spending days with Gracie and Molly makes the best possible work environment.  I’m living the dream, but unfortunately, it's because of the pandemic. 

Miss Molly loves watching birds and squirrels out my window too

Saturday, May 9, 2020

and that's a wrap

Spring 2020 semester for University #1 is done (for me, anyway).  Final grades are calculated and posted, retention forms completed and submitted, and courses closed to student access.  This really was a very successful semester in terms of my students, not that I did anything different this time.  Nobody withdrew from any of my classes – that’s never happened before, and probably never will again!  So, it’s 100% retention and this reflects well on me, though I’ve never felt like I have much control over retention.  Shit happens.  Shit especially seems to happen to people attending University #1.  I am flexible when students come to me with their myriad of unfortunate events and situations, but ultimately, it’s up to them whether or not they deal with stuff and get back on track, or just give up.

Sadly, there are no graduation ceremonies this spring. I hope University #1 will plan a ceremony later in the year, but right now, nothing is planned.  High schools have already commenced in virtual ceremonies.     

Someone and I went on a grand adventure last Saturday.  It was a fabulous spring day – cloudless, 70 degrees – just magnificent!  We met up with some of Someone’s YMCA basketball buddies and their wives for kayaking on Tygart Creek.  I have never been to this creek, but had heard it can be dangerous at times.  Someone assured me it would not be dangerous and his buddies were very familiar with paddling this creek every spring.  I trusted.

Long story short, we parked in a grassy area in the median of the Interstate – between two bridges that cross above Tygart Creek very near the Olive Hill exit.  This, of course, is not good practice...actually, it’s illegal.  We unloaded kayaks and some took their empty trucks to the take-out spot farther downstream, and then one guy brought everyone back.  We tossed kayaks over a security fence – they tumbled roughly to the creek far below.  I must add that it did not please me to have to treat me dear kayak so brutally, but there was really no other way with this location.  Then we climbed over and carefully picked our way down the muddy, rocky, slippery slope to the tall weeds at the edge of the creek.

We put in off the rocks right into white water – this was a virgin experience for me with my kayak in water this rough (about Class 1 rapid...or perhaps something less than Class 2).   I went first and the guys assured me that things got calm around the bend of the creek and I could wait there.  It was exhilarating to say the least, but I made it without issue through the rapids.  When the water calmed, I turned around to watch others come through.  Twenty minutes went by and still nobody came, and then finally, two came through successfully, and then here came Someone paddling hard, too hard, and he flipped over.  His kayak came on downstream and I snagged it.  Someone fought his way over to shore with his paddle.  Two guys worked hard to paddle back up against the current and to take his kayak back to him.  Long story short, Someone had already flipped over several times before I ever saw him.  The water was not deep, fortunately.  To be fair, three others flipped over in those rapids.

Tygart creek is beautiful, but there were trees down across the creek that we had to negotiate, and places where the water was too shallow to paddle.  There are beautiful cliffs in places, waterfalls, and wildlife.  It was great fun, but I didn’t take many photos because mostly I was working to stay upright in white water or watching the creek bed in front of me to avoid getting stuck on trees and rocks.  This was not a leisurely trip, but great fun nonetheless.  Someone had fun despite being wet the whole day.  He borrowed a kayak for this trip.  I think he’ll be wanting to buy one this summer.

Someone ahead of me (in red) on Tygart Creek

We stopped for a break on Tygart Creek (my beauty is lime green)

The pandemic gave me reason to blow the dust off my sewing machine for the purpose to make masks.  The governor of our fair state has ordered/requested all people to wear masks in public staring May 11.  Indeed, the college president has requested that we wear masks starting May 11 if we are coming to campus.  This will be the new norm, it seems.  I made masks for me and Someone, and also for my brother, Erin, and Emily.  Sarah has been making masks for months...she is an expert at making masks by now. 

KyLady in green mask (of course, green)

Miss Erin approves

Also, rather than doing things that desperately need doing (like cleaning house or decluttering), I’ve been baking: cookies, lemon meringue pie from scratch, cinnamon rolls from scratch, and white bread.  None of this is good for us to be eating, but Someone eats the lion’s share (and sometimes the lioness’s share as well).  Someone is an exercise bulimic so it’s OK that he eats so much; he just runs extra miles. 

white bread (recipe makes two loaves)

Lemon meringue pie

Pie after Someone cut himself ONE piece

Cinnamon rolls after Someone had ONE (serving) for breakfast 

Ever since being able to climb stairs after my hip replacement, I’ve been sleeping in a spare bedroom.  It’s really nice having my own space...I’m not sure that I’ll ever rejoin Someone in the master bedroom.  For one reason, I sleep better alone, despite sharing my little bed with Gracie and Molly.  Someone likes to watch TV late into the night.  If he gets up early to run, he flips on lights and rattles around like a bear foraging through garbage cans.  The spare room was Emily’s room at one time.  She selected the paint color, the most God-awful Pepto-Bismol pink that you can imagine.  I changed out the ruffled curtains yesterday, and the next task will be to paint the tiny room something reasonable.  Later this year, I hope to have the entire upstairs refloored.  No more carpet!

Miss Molly Flufftail purrs loudly at night

Gracie does not share the bed well.

No more ruffled curtains in KyLady's house - little girls grew up

It’s time to be scrubbing the porch and setting my houseplants outside, and getting the garden planted.  So much to do, so little time!!  But today is another fabulous, cool spring day.  Someone and I are taking Gracie for a long hike near Grayson Lake today. Play today, work tomorrow.  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

All hell

Oh dear – its been a very long time since I last blogged.  Someone and I had a marvelous mini-vacay, returning home just a few days before all hell broke loose with the Corona virus (COVID-19).  It was a perfect time of year to go – early March (last days of University #1’s Spring Break) – we spent two days hiking in the Smoky Mountains.  The weather forecast was supposed to be rain, rain, and more rain.  As it turned out, the weather was cool but not cold, the skies were cloudy, but no rain at all, and the sun peeked out a few times as well.  Ideal. 

Thanks to my surgery and efforts with physical therapy, I’m proud to say that I was able to hike 6.5 miles up and down mountain sides on the first day, and nearly 8 miles the second day.  A restaurant clerk recommended a marvelous app, which I downloaded and we used (and still use) – the AllTrails app.  It uses your phone’s GPS to show trails near you – you select a trail and the app sends directions to your selected navigation app to take you to the trailhead.  Perfect technology for when you are unfamiliar and you don’t want to waste time driving around looking for a trail (well, perfect as long as you have a signal so that you can use the app).

The Smoky Mountains are beautiful.  Lots of rocky creeks - the streams were raging (not flooding), but lots of waterfalls and white water.  The creeks are mostly rocky and shallow – the fun kind to play in if the weather was hot and water not so fast.  There had been wildfires a few years ago and we could see areas of burnt trees and downed timber.  Even so, still very beautiful in those mountains.

On one of the trails, we came to a creek where there was a single railroad tie-sized timber across the creek with a crude, rickety board handrail to help you balance.  The bridge was about 6 feet above the rocky creek rushing with about three or four feet of water below, and about 15 feet long.  It looked scary; Someone doesn’t like heights, and I was a bit worried about him or me falling off the narrow bridge and how we might climb out of the creek if we did fall in, or even if the water might carry us on downstream.  After about a minute of assessing possibilities, I said, “Let’s do it.”  Someone went first.  No problem.  I stood on my side and declared, “I’ve changed my mind.  Let’s go somewhere else.”  Someone gave me a can imagine.  He crossed back over and no more than stepped onto the bank on my side when courage and determination took over.  I stepped up onto the timber and crossed the bridge – defeat was not an option...  Once safe on the other side, I raised my fists in triumph and looked back at Someone, who gave me a look (you can imagine), shrugged, and crossed back over again.  In the early evening, heading back toward the car, we had the same concerns (though unspoken at this point) about the bridge.  But there was no choice, and we were both tired and hungry.  We crossed uneventfully.

In our evenings on vacation, we walked around Gatlinburg which is purely a tourist mecca - not my favorite kind of place, but plenty to see and do there if you like shopping, restaurants, and tourist stuff.  Our room was great.  We had a giant jacuzzi bathtub which I enjoyed the hell out of after those long hikes.  We also had a fireplace with gas logs which was marvelous.  Instant ambience.  I’d love to have gas logs in our fireplace at home (no work of cutting wood and carrying it into the house, and no messy ashes), but the cost of running a gas line to our house makes having one impractical. 

Now, about COVID-19...all the classes for University #1 were moved to online format by mid-March and all faculty and staff are working from home.  I love it!  Gracie and Molly love it because they are not home alone all day.   Someone is going into work two mornings a week (in essence, his work-week cut from 25-30 hours to 7 hours).   He is driving me crazy.  He tends to talk incessantly while I’m trying to work.  He finds a reason to go shopping every day – not only for us, but for his mother, sister, and mother’s friend.  In my opinion, he’s doing his very best to catch the virus and bring it home. 

Gracie and I have quality time every day now

As far as I know, we don’t have many people infected around here, less than 30 at any time – thank the Lord.  There is not much where Sarah lives either.  Where Erin and Emily and Katie are living, there is plenty of it.  The thing is, how would we know how much of it is really around?  People aren’t being tested.  They go to the doctor with symptoms, they’re tested for flu and then sent home.  If they don’t get better, they return another time or two before they are finally tested for COVID.   If you get better, you’re never tested.

Who knows when things will get back to normal – maybe they will never be the same.  Maybe we will have a new normal.  It seems that we will always have worry until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.  We are learning a lot from this pandemic, or at least, we should be.  There will be more pandemics.  We definitely need to be moving the manufacturing of our drugs and critical supplies back into the U.S.  These things will cost more as a result, but perhaps things cost more to make in the U.S. because of tax laws and regulations that we comply with.  I’m not saying that we need fewer regulations or lower taxes, but perhaps if we can eliminate duplication of local, state, and federal regulations, the cost of compliance can be reduced. 

I’ll put the soapbox away.  I’m not one to discuss politics.  I HATE POLITICS.        

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Do as I say!

Where to begin?  I am teaching a new course this semester in business communication technology.  It’s going OK.  This past week, as I was preparing for next week (because I’m struggling to stay even a week ahead, unfortunately), I read a lot about best practices for blogging (for business purposes).  Clearly, KYLady has violated all the best practices with her own personal blog.  I ramble.  I have no central theme to the blog (this, that, and the other about life and the world is a very broad scope).  Posts are not submitted at predictable time intervals.  My post headlines are a complete mystery at times.  Proofreading happens sometimes.  Tagging happens sometimes.  This will be a Do as I say, not as I do lesson, for sure. Of course, not too many people on this planet even know my blog exists, and certainly it would not be something I tell my students (or anyone else) to go take a look at.

This week, I embarked on a great adventure with my class.  Honestly, once I made plans to go there, I thought it was not uncharted territory for the University #1 system.  We began playing with Microsoft Teams. As I was configuring the Team, every question I posed to our on-site “expert”, she forwarded to the system “expert”, resulting with an answer like in theory, it should work like this..  Clearly, this technology was bastardized for our use case, implemented, and released into the wild with not enough vetting.  Oh well, so far, about 50% of my students have tested the water and it’s going OK.  I am encouraged that there will be some value in what we are trying to do.

I promised a photo of my mini-succulent garden in the skull planter.  As it turned out, the skull was smaller than I planned for, so I stuck one succie in its own little teacup planter.  The results are OK.  Having plants in my office makes it so much more pleasant to sit in.  They make the place feel a little less cold and stark.  There are 7 potted plants in my office right now.  

My succulents
My new hip is doing great so far.  I’m still doing physical therapy twice a week, for how much longer, I don’t know.  There will be reassessment this week to see if there’s anything else that can be accomplished.

Last night, Someone and I went to Lexington to watch UK Cats play the Florida Gators (it’s college basketball, in case you’re not a fan).  It was a great game, especially because we won.  Our seats were near the roof of the arena.  The stairs inside the arena are very steep.  I was grateful for the stair railings. Whereas normal stairs are easy for me to use like a normal human, these steep stairs caused be to go back to the way I did stairs right after surgery – one at a time, good leg up\good leg up and back leg down\bad leg down.  No doubt people behind me loved that, but too bad.  I noticed that heavy people and many of the “older” people had as much or more trouble than I did. 

In a TV time-out, a banner unfurls over the little student section.  
Other than the stairs, we had one little incident to remind me that I’m not as good as I used to be.  Someone was so eager to get to the arena (we had to park about five blocks away), that he kept walking way faster than I could keep up with him.  It’s not like we were pressed for time – we had two hours until the tip-off.  I offered to send the tickets to his phone so that he could run ahead and enjoy those extra minutes of noisy ambience, but no, he just kept stopping and waiting for me to catch up (with that sulky, impatient look on his face).  Anyway, we were waiting to cross a busy street and there was a break in the traffic.  Someone grabbed my hand and said “Come on” as if we were both going to dash across the street in this short window of opportunity.  He pulled me off the curb – fortunately I hit the ground with my good leg and then broke free from him as he ran across barely beating the oncoming cars.  Idiot.  I could have never made that!  A few moments later, the light changed and everyone who waited crossed safely.  Someone is like toddler sometimes.

Today, we took Gracie for a hike.  It was great to get out into the woods again.  Our February has been wonderfully mild.  We heard an owl in the woods...that was the highlight for me.  Owls (all raptors, really) are marvelous birds.  The trail we took today is hilly with lots of rocks and tree roots to navigate.  Part of it winds around the lake under pine trees – my favorite part (and that part is easy walking).  I was able to go about a mile before turning around.  Perhaps next time, we’ll try a little farther.  Baby steps – I’m getting my life back.                                 

On the Michael Tygart Trail.

More trail (around Greenbo Lake) - Gracie always checks to see if I'm coming

Sunday, January 19, 2020


My surgery was four weeks ago, yesterday. At two weeks, I stopped using a walker, and about mid-week last week, I stopped using a cane. No cane, but I’m still hobbling around.  When will the limp go away – everyone is different, so says the physical therapy folks. The longer you walk with a limp before the surgery, the harder it will be to stop limping.  Well great.  People have been telling me I walk with a limp since about 2012; long before I ever believed them.

Things were going totally great with recovery until today. I wanted to go to Walmart and get some “stuff”.  I hate Walmart but there are just some things our Kroger doesn’t have, like towels, which was the main thing on my list.  Our towels are all old and really tired...or maybe I’m just tired of using our old ratty towels.  Hindsight is 2020...I should have just ordered off Amazon and let it be...but no, old KYLady decided to get out and see towels in person so that she could pick the color accurately and feel the weight of them.

Someone LOVES Walmart (like you have no idea how much he LOVES Walmart).  He was delighted that I wanted to go and said he’d come with me.  OK...and he wanted to drive...OK.  We get down there and the place is a zoo, because it’s Saturday.  Without considering my condition, he parked where he always parks, at the very end of the parking lot.  I should have objected, but I thought the walk would be good for me.  He even asked if I wanted him to move the car closer to the building, but no...I wanted to walk.  By the time we got to the doors, I told him he could pick me up at the door when we left. 

Then into the madhouse we went.  The store was re-arranged from the last time I’d been in there.  We had to wander a bit to find towels.  I selected some nice ones – soft and thick, sort of a ashy aqua color.  We made a pass through the soap and shampoo aisle, and then to check out.  We did not have to wait too long... thank the Lord.  My hip was getting pretty achy by that point.  We walked out and Someone said he’d bring the car up.  Well he did...about 20 minutes later.  It was raining and cars were waiting on parking took Someone forever to get up to the front of the building...while I was standing there all that time because there was no place to sit out of the rain.

So, ever so slowly, we made our way back out of the parking lot and finally got near the road to turn out of the chaos, when a car zoomed up beside us, honked, and motioned for us to roll down the window.  The kind driver reported to us that there was a huge bulge on our tire.  Sure enough, there it was, like the size of a softball.  Someone bought his tires at Walmart, so we just drove around to the car maintenance area.  Someone ran in and they told him it would be about a 30-minute wait.  Long story short, we parked in the line and went inside to wait in the customer service area...lovely, hard metal benches were all they had.  About 15 minutes of that and I was wishing I’d thought to bring some pain pills with me (I’ve not taken anything stronger than Tylenol since the first week).  An hour went by and there were still several people in front of us.  I was beyond done at that point.

We don’t have Uber or Lyft in our area (and only minimal public transportation services).  I called for a cab and that was going to be a 40-minute wait. In the meantime, Someone called Emily who was on her way to work.  She called her boss and detoured to come and get me (I cancelled my cab).  My angel of mercy!  I was nearly in tears by the time I got into her car.  Home, a pain pill, a cup of hot tea, and now I’m back to normal.  Lesson learned.  As it turned out, Walmart’s 30-minute wait was more like a 150-minute wait.  Someone’s tire was under warranty, so no charge, at least.  He got to "enjoy" Walmart for a very long time.  I’m grateful that the man in the parking lot was kind enough to chase us down and warn us. 

Emily saved the day

This past week, because I’m getting around better, I’ve been taking a plant into my office every morning. I won’t be taking anything giant, although there is plenty of room for giant plants.  It’s just too much trouble and stress on the big plants to transport them, and then I’d have to bring them home by mid-May.  I bought a fun pot that looks like a skull over Christmas.  Initially, my plans were to put ivy in it, but my mind changed today.  It needs to be a small succulent garden.  Coming soon...I will share photos when it’s finished.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Thank God that I’m a healthy person. It’s very easy for a healthy person to take their good health for granted, but having survived this recent surgery (total hip replacement on December 20), I now have much greater awareness of what good health means when something big comes along.  To be completely honest, I had more tests and more “health care” in the month before surgery than I’d had cumulatively over my entire lifespan...including birth of a single baby and birth of twins. Truly, I am blessed, and I intend to make more effort to remain as healthy as I am.

This was my first-ever surgery.  To say I was a scared wreck that day (and the few days leading up) is an understatement, but I did my best to be brave and remain chill.  Someone was stressed out enough as it was, and it was certainly not in my best interests to add to his stress level.  Everything I knew about surgery was direct from friends’ stories and what I’d seen on TV shows.  What a pleasant surprise it was (or maybe my positive impression is because of the good outcome). 

I was wheeled into the operating room which was much like a freezer.  The lady pushing my gurney apologized for the extreme cold.  I had no vision correction at the time, sadly.  I remarked that I wished I could get a clear look at the equipment and tools.  She said I was better off not seeing it because it scares most people.  A team of people met me in the operating room and they rolled me up beside what looked like a tilt table of some kind, with breaks in the table so that knees could be bent or the person could be placed in a sitting position. Behind me, somebody was moving heavy metal objects that clanged together.  I asked if they wanted me to slide over onto the table.  The anesthetist said no, that people would move me onto it after I was asleep.  I lamented that I would have tried harder to lose weight if I’d known people were going to have to lift me.  One lady told me not to give it another thought – they oftentimes move people who are 300 to 400 pounds onto the table. 

They put a mask over my face and told me to breathe deep.  The last thing I heard was the anesthetist say my oxygen level was at 100%, and now she was going to put something in my IV to make me go to sleep.  When I wake up, it will all be over.  Sweet dreams...  She was right.  I remember nothing of the recovery room, but a nurse woke me up in my room and it was all over.  Easy peasy (for me, anyway). Nothing hurt, I was alive and well, and Jerry was standing close by. 

Fast forward, 15 days later (today), and I’m well on the road to recovery.  Yesterday, I graduated from walker to cane, and I was able to put my own socks on.  Today, I was able to tie my shoes.  Woo-hoo!  Tonight, I’m climbing the stairs so that I can sleep in a bed rather than on the couch, and tomorrow night, I’m taking a real shower (instead of washing up in the sink).  The only thing I still need help with is putting on and taking off those F’ing TED hose off my operated leg.  Good leg, no problem; bad leg, no way.  Erin has been home since I got out of the hospital and has become expert in helping me.  She went back to school this evening, so now, Someone will have to step up to the plate.  God help us.   

I start back to work Monday morning.  Tomorrow, I’ll take a short drive over to the bank to make sure there are no issues with getting in and out of the driver side, and to put some gas in my car.  We have one week to get ready before the semester starts.  Even though I got a lot done before leaving for Winter Break, there is still much to do.  I have one brand new class, one class with new course materials, and then the other four classes will be just as I taught them last semester.  University #2 has no winter break so my online classes there have been going on throughout my recovery.  Work is good...I like it.

Erin took down all the Christmas decorations yesterday, boxed them up, and carried them to the basement.  The only thing left to take down and put away are the outdoor garland and lights.  It has been pouring rain the past few days, and our porch is slippery when wet.  I asked Erin not to bother and we’ll just leave it for a few months down the road when I am able to climb a ladder again.  We will not be turning the Christmas lights on, and the garland is more winter-seasonal than Christmasy. It will be fine to leave up until spring.  Erin has been such a blessing to have at home these few weeks.  She has helped me (and Someone) with everything.  

My blessings