Hardly any pain or stiffness today, even in my right hand. Applied blue polish, but found it wasn't dark enough to more or less match my lapis pendant (the real one). Have to remember to take the pendant for comparison next time I shop. On the plus side, wearing polish really does seem to prevent some of the breaking & tearing of nails that I've been having, though the polish doesn't last long since I use my hands so much.

Made up a new batch of chai spice mix; should probably pull out my recipes & make cardamom cake or scones to use up the jar, I can't remember *how* old it is (though if I were an out-&-out chai fanatic I'd buy fresh spices). Also need think of something to use up the Creole seasoning mix while I'm at it. Mom's sensitive to cayenne pepper, so better not to try it on pork chops or chicken, but it might be OK in a stew.

One faucet on the bathroom is too tight for Mom to turn anymore, so Jeff & the boys spent a good part of today trying to figure out how to loosen it. They did loosen it a good bit, but it's apparently still too tight for Mom. Well, I've been having to open open jars, etc. for Mom for quite a while now, I guess it was a matter of time before that faucet became too hard for Mom to turn. I'll doubtless be calling the plumber first thing tomorrow.

Needless to say, Samuel & I didn't get any work done on my bed. But that's OK, morning temps tomorrow will be mild, though edging into triple digits by afternoon. Heh--I have a pitcher of lemonade & one of spiced herb tea in the fridge ready to go.

I think Elizabeth enjoyed the Halloween & Thanksgiving Barbie outfits as much as I thought she would; I noticed the little witch's hat on the kitchen table when I left. : D

Still a bit tired out from the weekend; had a marvellous time socializing & catching up with people I hadn't seen in quite a while, *in the flesh*, & oinking out on Russ's excellent brisket. Keeping an eye on the kids while Louann had a rest was pretty energy consuming, esp. as Andrew & Alex (Alix?) were like two halves of a critical mass! Managed to avoid damage to persons or property, though, which with excited kids hopped up on sugar & waving around wooden swords, staffs, etc., is an unqualified success.

The Dome is probably the best place to sleep in Central Texas, I only got up at some unhallowed hour to put my Jedi cloak over my feet when they got cold, & was up earlier & felt more refreshed than I thought I'd be Sun. morning. Miss Elizabeth insisted on helping me get ready for the day by combing my hair (good job, too), & I had a very brief walk round the Dome before the wind chased me back inside. Then we all watched the latest Doctor Who ep (gods of all my ancestors!!! (also, euw!)) & Russ supplied me with a generous amount of brisket & a loaf of the wonderful homemade bread someone brought before I left.

Guess Mom intends to give the upholstery & curtains a thorough clean before while the weather is mild enough to have the windows open, she had the curtain in her room down for washing today. Hopefully she'll want to do Jeff's curtains tomorrow, it's voting day, & the kitchen curtains are a bit tricky to get down & will need ironing before going up again, I don't want to wrestle with them if I've had to stand around for any length of time, & I don't want her wrestling with them by herself, period. (I prefer her not to wrestle with curtains by herself at all, but Jeff or I can't be here *all* the time...)

Noticed a few roses blooming when I went to look for a box in the storage shed this morning; two pink & one dark, velvety red, on the small side, esp. the red, but the best I've seen in weeks. The stems were short, so I put them in the short blue crockery vase, but I'm thinking now that they'd've looked prettier in the black glass or one of the smaller green glass. (I've almost given up on ceramic vases.)

Thought I had more to donate to the Kidney Fund, but I guess I'd taken most of the things I intended to donate to the American Trooper store. At least the dress, one of the two I bought for Lindsey or Mike's wedding then decided wasn't dressy enough, is in perfect condition, having never been worn.

Still trying to nudge Mom into going to the doctor, still unsuccessfully. But at least she said "I'll get around to it eventually." Just have to keep working on that glacier...

The green nail polish I ordered arrived today; hallelujah! finally found the exact shade of metallic emerald/leaf green I've been looking for. The other was more of an olive drab shade, but the green dominates so it looks OK. Didn't get the last Barbie dress I ordered, but if it doesn't arrive by Fri. I'll just add it to Miss Elizabeth's Xmas prezzie. I may anyway, I've already got the other dresses & accessories in a box with one of the dolls we used to keep for Lindsey. (Looks like it's going to be quite a while, if ever, that Lindsey or Mike present me with grandnieces.)
Got the last of the Barbie clothes I ordered for the Fenix & Cyplops' little girl. Prettiest little Halloween witch costume I've ever seen, Elizabeth should go nuts over it, the Thanksgiving/harvest/general autumn motif dress & the petticoat & underwear set. Much gratitude to fyrdrakken for recommending crafters on Etsy; as long as Elizabeth likes dolls, I won't be stuck for a present for her!

As long as I was spending money, I broke down & bought two brands of green nail polish as well; hopefully, one or the other will be the exact shade I've been looking for. If not, I'll use 'em to color code things--Jeff's threatening to change the locks on the storage sheds & workshop so Mom won't get her hands on his power tools & damage them. (You'd think Mom would handle tools more carefully, as her father & grandfather both having been sheet metal workers.)

Speaking of Jeff, he asked me whether Mom had seen Dr. Bentley yet--I guess he thought Bentley was an internist instead of her ophthalmologist, & was annoyed that she'd changed her mind about seeing an internist after she'd made such a fuss about wanting a new one & he'd given her his doctor's card. Can't say I blame him, Monday before last I got pretty aggravated at waiting all morning for Mom to get up so we could go to the doctor, only to have her decide she wanted to wait till after she'd had her eye checkup. At least her eyes are doing as well as can be expected at her age, & much better than most!

Not such a good day for Isaac, he dropped his brand new phone & cracked the "glass", & his mother flew off the handle with him about it, as usual. For somebody who's done such downright spacy things in her life, you'd think she'd be pretty understanding about accidents. Oh, well. At least I could let him use my net connection to do some research on the game mod he's working on. (Still think he should've stuck with the automotive repair program, I'm dubious about the company hiring him when the internship is over--just got through reading about yet another wage theft scram by a high-tech company.)

Samuel doesn't seem too disappointed that he & Jeff didn't go camping this weekend after all, though he was supposed to get his cooking/meal planning badge. Asked him to help me peel & cut up some peaches for dessert & found that he can handle a knife more deftly than I can; guess I shouldn't be surprised, Samuel has excellent motor skills.

Jeff's talking about washing the truck, & Mom talking about sweeping up this year's crop of acorns, so I guess tomorrow's going to be busy. I Mom sleeps late, maybe I can get Samuel to help me get up the acorns before it gets too hot.

Guess Mom's recovered from having to be up & about earlier than usual & having to walk back & forth for a couple hours at the clinic yesterday, she back to scraping paint off the porch post. If she'd wait till Isaac could come over on a weekend, it could probably be done in a day, but I think the goal is more to keep herself active & busy than the job itself. We still wish she'd accept a little more help, but if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak.

Meanwhile, perfect weather today, & there are enough of the red sage & light purple whatever-it-is (it's *not* kind of impatiens I've been able to identify!) for a desk bouquet. (The speaker light shining through the diamond/honeycomb pattern of the vase is also quite pretty.) Steve mentioned last time he was over that he'd like to have some of the sage for his yard, so I need to see whether he can start some from cuttings or needs to transplant them. Either way, these were here when our family moved into the house in '59, so they're *tough* little shrubs, & he shouldn't have much trouble getting them started.

Mom & I were at her ophthalmologist longer than expected this morning, they did a whole series of tests, one of which they had to re-do, & Mom pretty well wore herself out worrying over some decline in the strength of her right eye, so she napped for quite a while once we got home.

Don't know whether Mom hasn't written to Uncle LZ for a couple of weeks, or if he'd misplaced her last letter, but he called this afternoon while she was napping to ask if she was OK. Well, LZ's last stint surgery went awry, & between nearly bleeding to death & discovering he's allergic to morphine, I decided he didn't need to worry about Mom, so I told him she was OK, just busy, then talked about Lindsey & Michael's, & Mike & Anne's weddings, & his 2nd surgery, which is scheduled for Mon. Also told him I'd talk to Jeff about our going up to visit him & his wife after he's had a chance to recover & rest up from the coming surgery.

Caught Jeff up on Mom's doctor visits a little while ago, told him about LZ's call, & asked him about scheduling a visit some time soon. The condition LZ & Mom are in, Jeff is tentatively considering having the boys take a day off school & a day off from his job, so we can visit during a weekday when the trip will be easier on Mom.

OK, got the presents to the friends' kids sent off, got most of the cards sent, & got the mini-loaf pan I ordered from Amazon. Just going to throw cash at the niece & nephews--though a little less for Samuel, he decided last Sun. he wanted to adopt a humpback whale, which will have to be his birthday present now. Have my eye on a small cut-glass bud vase at the resale store for Cheri, & a stack of mystery/thrillers for Steve. So, I just have the last few cards to finish, & ingredients for the fruit bread to buy, then I can begin baking Xmas week--if Mom doesn't go into a candy-making frenzy. If she does, maybe I can get the kitchen to myself by volunteering to help--cooks always like it when someone else does the cleanup.

Meanwhile, I bumped acquisition of an adult tricycle to the head of the list, it's just getting too difficult to manage carrying anything heavy or bulky any distance while supporting myself on a cane.

Broke down & bought copies of Deer Hunting with Jesus & the HBO version of Parade's End as long as I was ordering from Amazon. Read excerpts of Deer Hunting on Joe Bageant's blog & elsewhere, looking forward to reading the whole thing.

Watched Parade's End yesterday. Have to say I was disappointed, even allowing for the limitations of time & budget, there wasn't enough attention paid to the social & political background for the viewer to really understand the characters' motivations or what effect events are having on the characters' emotions. Some events that could have been used to communicate some of the sociopolitical context & the effects it had on the people in those times were played as comedy, which glosses over & trivializes issues that were literally matters of life & death at the time, & many of which are still with us today. In the end, the series' themes basically amounted to the romantic triangle among Sylvia, Christopher & Valentine & Christopher & Valentine's betrayal by their friends Vincent & Ethel--& if I wanted a period drama focused entirely on the romantic & personal lives of the characters with no reference to larger political events, I'd have gone for a dramatization of Austen's books.

Mom still hasn't made a decision about her med. ins., & winds up treating me to a solo precision display of bad temper, directed at D.C. in general & Obama in particular. Finally got tired of it & told her that this mare's nest of an insurance act was first proposed by Tricky Dick back in the '60s & devised by the Heritage Foundation. Pouting, but the pointless histrionics trailed off. As with everything else, I'm willing to help Mom out with whatever she needs, but I'm not going to waste my time listening to long tirades about how awful it all is.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Jones, a friend of Mom's who's been ailing for some time & had been in the hospital recently,
died Wednesday, & I was on the phone (I might as well have that thing surgically attached to my ear) to the neighbors who knew her, & my brother Steve, who's good friends with her son, also named Steve. Mrs. Jones was being buried Friday in Durant, & Mom & I were going to skip it, but Steve was lucky enough to get Friday off & was going to give support to his friend, so he & Cheri offered to drive us up with them in their big-ass SUV--which is a pain for Mom & me to climb into, but I admit is a lot more comfortable for a long drive.

Just a brief ceremony at the cemetery, then friends & family visited & caught up with each other for a much longer time. Our family wound up heading back to TX together, stopping off for the two Steves to buy cigarettes & chewing tobacco at the Choctaw store, then at a little mom-&-pop restaurant the guys always used to eat at when they went fishing in Texoma. I can see why the guys were so set on having lunch there: best crab I've had, ever.

Almost feel guilty that going to a funeral was such a pleasant outing, but it was pleasant to catch up with people I grew up with & meet their families.

With all the focus on going to Mrs. Jones' funeral, I'd forgotten that this weekend was one when Jeff gets the boys all weekend; I only remembered when I heard Samuel saying hello to Mom in the living room. I was surprised again when I went out to help Steve & Samuel carry things in from the truck & found that Isaac had decided to come over as well. Gather the Arkansas Airhead has been haranging him about getting a job again so he wanted some time away from his mother. Can't say I blame the Airhead for being concerned--& hell, I worry about Isaac--but he's applied at a lot of places & even got a couple of call-backs, so why's the damn woman still nagging him? Ahhhh!

Mom & I talked calmly with Isaac about his job prospects for a while, then I went back to my room to look at the news. Buuut, Nephew Samuel is in a hyper, needy mood this weekend, so after being interrupted several times to admire his clay figures (they actually are admirable--a deinonychus less than an inch tall & with correct proportions) & listen while he told me about the extinct life forms he'd recently learned about, I gave up & went googling pictures & articles about the critters.

The boys were both looking to earn a little money, & there's always something to do around here, so Mom had Isaac helping her clear stuff from the workshop while Samuel cleaned acorns & leaves off the driveway & sidewalk. Or he was supposed to--I got tired watching him wave the broom around & took over the sweeping the stuff into a shovel while Samuel held it, then dumped it into a trash bag. Had another talk about dinosaurs, & went on to various events in human history, & ended up explaining about modern constitutional monarchy & parliamentary rule. Don't know if any of it made an impression, but the kid's not going to grow up as clueless as a lot of the other young people these days if Jeff & I can help it.

Supper time; better go ask Jeff if he'd like any help cooking.

Finally stopped raining yesterday morning, a good thing because there were twice as many acorns on the driveway & sidewalk as at the beginning of the week. Mom remarked while we were sweeping them up & shoveling them into bags that it's a pity pecans don't bear as many nuts as our red oak does. Agreed--though if the worst comes to the worst & we have to start eating acorns, we'll certainly be well supplied.

Was a good day for cleaning up acorns; cool, strongish blustery winds, but quite welcome with temps in the mid-to-high 70s. Beautiful clear blue sky with feathery wisps of clouds, & the crystalline blue autumn light. Love that particular quality of autumn light, though living in the Metroplex we don't see it much because of the smog.

Had considered wearing a costume & handing out candy to the kids this Halloween, but Mom & I both could hardly walk after cleaning up acorns, so we draped a black garbage bag over my little typing table, put a big box of candy on it with a note for kids to "take two", let the kids have at it. & there were a lot of kids trick-or-treating this year--I thought we had plenty for any trick-or-treaters & would have some left over, but it was all gone by about 8:30.

May post more later--or maybe not, the first thing Mom said to me this morning was a tirade that "Obamacare" was "going to mess people up", & while I'm far from enchanted by either Obama or the ACA, I'm so tired of the years of GOP hysteria, lies & political games on the subject I sat down & wrote a long note explaining that it was actually the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation & first proposed by Tricky Dick Nixon. Which led to a display of mild, if rather confused in its object, outrage from Mom. But the bright side is that it looks like Mom isn't as averse to my being actively involved in her business as I thought she'd be, she ended her rant by asking me to look over her ins. co.'s new policy. I may not need an IV stand of Valium after all..
Didn't get the acorns swept off the driveway or trim the crepe myrtle outside my window today, it was raining on & off all day, but as always there was plenty else to do. First thing Mom wanted when she got up was for me to make an appointment to have her hair done, but the salon's answering machine wasn't working; Mom got it into her head that it was our phone at fault & started out to Radio Shack to buy a new one, & rather than try to stop her march to the door, I grabbed the phone & went with her--needed new batteries for the display anyway. Once the batteries were replaced at the store I managed to convince her that we didn't need a new phone, & back home, she held still long enough to understand the actual problem.

The new paint on the windowframes in the kitchen has dried enough we can put the curtains back up, & while Mom ironed them, I attempted to log on to her insurance company's website & get a look at her records to see if I can determine whether she really had double-paid for one month. Couldn't, though I very conscientiously entered the ID & PIN numbers the cust. svc. rep. told me were the correct ones yesterday. So, I'll have to either call the company back, which is a can of fat, writhing worms or let it go. I'm inclined to the former, as I don't have power of attorney & I don't want Mom working herself into another semi-hysterical state for a while.

Had just given up on the ins. company when Mom came in & announced that she'd run out of the spray she uses on the curtains, & needed more envelopes & paper for writing letters, & I needed shampoo, so rather than futz around the house on a sticky, dismal day, I went with, & introduced her as my mother to one of the cashiers I'm friendly with; it never hurts to be on pleasant terms with the staff of a store where you do a lot of business.

Mom & I got the curtains back up; noticed Mom was having some difficulty climbing up & down the stepladder, but didn't say anything, it would only upset her & she's in a continual state of anxiety & frustration anyway.

Called the_blue_fenix for a brief visit & to ask how the healing from her surgery is going. Mutual commiseration for worries over her kids & my nephews, but she seemed pleased at being offered some decorative barrettes for her daughter. (When my hair got long because I didn't have time to get it cut during an intensive training course years ago I went a bit crazy with accessories--hey, it was the first time in my life I'd had really long hair--& have oodles of small barrettes from styles that didn't work out.)

Came across an article about the effects of B12 deficiency on mood, concentration, etc., & I've certainly been more short-tempered & irritable than even the recent family & political stress can entirely account for, so I'll try taking some of that as well as my usual Centrum Silver. If it doesn't improve my mood, at least it may help stave off some of the hordes of cold/flu bugs that will soon be upon us.

Another day on the phone with another of Mom's insurance companies, this time medical, so I couldn't leave a message & have someone call me back. Tried going to the company site online this past weekend, but the ID & PIN numbers Mom gave me were wrong, so it was basically, sit around waiting to hear a human voice while Mom fretted & worked herself into a tizzy. Think we finally arrived at some sort of conclusion--for now--but I just flat told Mom that I'm going to have to start taking an active part in her finances. Went as expected, ie, Mom thinks I'm familiar enough with her business. But Jeff & I have both noticed that she's getting forgetful, & Jeff understandably feels that he has enough to worry about with his boys without Mom as well, so I'm digging in for a long campaign.

Needless to say, I didn't get much accomplished in the way of household chores while the phone was clamped to my ear, but absolute essentials like putting out the trash got done, & everything else can wait awhile.

Samuel didn't show up for his weekend visit Sunday. We kept waiting & waiting, finally Jeff drove up to his ex's place to ask a few pointed questions. Story goes that Samuel was afraid he'd get his little bottom whipped. Jeff set him down int he truck next to him & had a long talk about age-appropriate behavior & the amount of disruption & worry he caused around him. When Jeff got home reiterated his intention to talk with Samuel's therapist today. A very fun day for Jeff, as today's also the day to turn in Samuel's popcorn orders to his Scout troop.

Only good thing to come out of all this is that Isaac displayed good judgment in calling Jeff immediately he learned what was going on; of course, the Airhead got onto him for "creating drama". The excuse she gave for not calling Jeff herself was that she "had things to do". Aaaghh!! ONE OF THEM SHOULD'VE BEEN CALLING THE BOY'S FATHER!!!

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get in touch with someone who knows something at Mom's homeowners' ins. company about some peculiar charges. I'm too tired for a rant about the games ins. companies play to maximize policy payments while avoiding payouts whenever possible.

Jeff & Samuel won't be going rock climbing with the Scouts this weekend after all. Samuel said something epically stupid at school today, giving his teacher cause for concern that he'd hurt himself, with the inevitable cascading results. Of course the Arkansas Airhead didn't call Jeff to let him know she was taking him to Children's Medical for observation, Isaac called Jeff after he got home & his stepfather Curtis told him what was going on. The psychiatrist at Children's told Judi that Samuel was just acting out & sent him home, but Samuel will be starting therapy Monday. Apparently there have been other "incidents", as Judi so delicately puts it; gee, I wonder why--the kid gets more attention & consistent discipline when he's over here on weekends.

Well. Jeff's taking off work Monday because he wants to talk to Samuel's therapist so he'll have a fuller picture of the situation, & Jeff & Samuel will be here this weekend instead of with the Scouts. Don't know if Isaac will be over as well, but can't say I'll really blame him if he isn't: tense doesn't even cover it.

Meanwhile: Mom & I moved one of the kitchen doors out of the workshop this morning & put it on sawhorses outside. It seems the biohazardous fumes in the workshop weren't paint, just cleaner, & the painting has yet to commence. Delightful; but at least it's outside--I don't know about Mom, you'd think with a husband, two kids, & two grandkids all being asthmatic she'd schedule projects involving noxious chemicals more carefully...on the other hand, Gran'pappy not bothering to do anything to even keep the cold wind from blowing threw the holes in the walls during the wintertime, not to mention the damn big rats, I guess I can understand why she's so fixated (compulsive, even) about the condition of the house. Just wish it didn't involve so many chemicals.

Should be dry enough tomorrow for me to sweep the latest fall of acorns off the driveway, & check the crepe myrtle branches outside my window to see if they need trimming back again. Think it's about time to scatter the bluebonnet seeds too, though I don't know if they'll sprout, long as they were sitting around in the trinket box Rose gave Mom. Got some beading & jewelry work done during the rainy days, the biggest being restringing & putting a new clasp on Granny M's black & crystal necklace, that's '50s vintage at least, & maybe '30s. Not entirely satisfied, it had broken at the original clasp & there are some beads missing, but it will take a bit of looking to replace them.

Also pulled out a couple of Granny's brooches for replating, I'm putting that off  till we get through carrying the kitchen doors in & out of the workshop & there's room to turn around again.

Bugger. The Arkansas Airhead just called wanting to talk to Jeff, who was too upset to stand talking to her, so I took the message that Samuel had had an asthma attack at the hospital (figures), & wants to keep him at home this weekend while she gives him a nebulizing treatment. If I thought that...creature...ever thought enough about other people to consider the effect her actions had on them, I'd swear she was trying to give Jeff a heart attack or stroke. As it is, I could cheerfully & enthusiastically beat the wench to a pulp--old as I am & wobbly as my bad knee is, I think I could take her. (Snarl.)

Well, the government shutdown means Samuel's Scout troop doesn't know whether they'll be able to go on their hiking & rock-climbing trip next weekend or not. Meanwhile, Jeff & I had a good, if malicious, laugh at the howling & backtracking on the part GOP officials in states that depend heavily on income from tourists visiting national parks.

Had given up taken a couple of painkillers last night, & with it being another rainy morning & not getting to sleep till an obscene hour, I was drowsily trying to decide whether or not to get up when our neighbor Lisa came over to borrow our phone, as it's a land line, & all her electronics were out. She spent some time trying to get it straightened out, of course in today's corporate business model different departments in the same company don't communicate with each other, & neither know nor care how any other department operates; such is the service economy.

The kitchen doors are still in the workshop, I don't know whether they'll need another coat of paint or are ready to put up as soon as the rain stops, & don't much care as long as I don't have a headache & runny eyes & nose from cleaning fluids, primer, etc. I've noticed that I've been in a better mood since Mom & I moved the doors into the workshop to paint them; well, constant allergy symptoms aren't good for anybody's mood.

Vegetable beef stew for supper, but from Mom's recipe, so, bland, but very tender meat with a good flavor, & can always add seasoning to my bowl, or sneak some in when we reheat it. Had finished the dishes & settled down to look at the news & send off some emails to Congresscritters when Mom came in to apologize for breaking a pretty dessert plate Michael gave me years ago. Not expensive, but pretty, & a gift from a nephew, so, irritating, though partly my fault, Mom has always handled everything fairly roughly, if I don't want things broken, they shouldn't be anyplace she might handle them. Oh, well; I still have a frosted votive Michael gave me, I've lit a candle & am having a lemonade while enjoying the soft candlelight.

Don't know if the doors &/or the weather will be dry enough to bring them back in & put them up, but as the Scouts say, Be Prepared, so I'll be hitting the sheets.

The Arkansas Airhead took Jeff's boys visiting her family last weekend, & we took the sliding doors & tracks in the kitchen down & into the workshop for cleaning & repainting, so I had the kitchen to myself long enough to try out the Hawaiian Banana Bread recipe Jeff gave me. Didn't have crushed pineapple so I used chunks, & the flavor probably wasn't as well distributed in the batter, but it turned out well enough--certainly not as dry as the banana bread I made at the fenix & cyclops' place! But definitely need to used crush pineapple next time. But I have a lot of other fruit bread recipes I want to try out before I make the Hawaiian again.

Lindsey had a break between classes & came down to visit Steve & Cheri, she & Steve came over with some flowers as a belated birthday gift for Mom. She made a fuss about cards, flowers, etc. "just throwing money away" as she's done for the last 40 years; but, the economic outlook for ordinary people as uncertain as it is, I have to admit that I agree--& I've been taking her at her word for years & just giving her a pound or so of raw peanuts or a small package of the sweets she likes, & it really does seem to be all she wants.

Mom noticed I donated some of my jewelry to the nearby resale shop, & putting the earrings I want to keep in a box on my dresser, including the carved ivory roses I've had since high school. Guess it made her think, she pulled out the diamond pendant Dad gave her, & asked me if I'd like to have that & her wedding & engagement rings. Told her to offer them to Cheri or Lindsey, I don't care much for diamonds or white stones. So she showed the pendant to Lindz & offered it to her when she was over the other day. I think she might as well give them to Lindz now, Mom hasn't even worn her rings for years, & rarely wore jewelry anyway, & diamonds become Lindsey's complexion.

Mom decided she just didn't like the bouquet as it was, so I broke it into three smaller bouquets, put one in my room & gave another to our neighbor Patty. Mom was right, the smaller bouquets are prettier.

Got a note from the City saying not to put trash/recyclables till the day of pickup--which is BS, inconvenient for working parents, & an actual hardship for some elderly people. Another bright idea from the hoity-toity twits north of Campbell, a letter to the City is in order.

Bah. I'm already in an iffy mood from the shenanigans in D.C. & having to buy a new hard drive, AND my knee's been pretty bad the last week or so. Think I'll get a cold drink & stick pins in my voodoo dolls for a while...
It was 2:30 before the shop called, so any hope of getting my business at the credit union done today was shot. But both the underwear & outwear hampers were full, & except for a couple of Mom's shirts needing to be ironed, it's all done.

Was surprised to get a Barnes&Noble card from our neighbor with the dog as well as bills & advertisements in the mailbox this evening. It wasn't any trouble to go over to her place to feed & water her dog, & let him out in the yard for a little while, but if it's worth it to her, I won't say no--I am making a conscious effort not to have anything on my bookshelves that I absolutely, positively bear to live without, but my read/acquire list is still about 13 pages long.

Though, speaking of reading, I was watching a movie with Jeff & the boys yesterday afternoon, & I don't think it's a good idea to put off getting my eyes checked any longer, just could not get a clear view of the TV, no matter how I tried to adjust my glasses or position my head. May need a new prescription as it's been several years since my last one, but hopefully if there are any changes since then, they aren't too significant.
Looks like the altruists in DC are hellbent on another war in the Middle East which will result in nothing but more billions of dollars of war costs that ordinary Americans must somehow pay for, thousands of innocent Syrians killed, maimed, & traumatized, & yet more justifiable hatred & resentment of the US abroad. But I'm sure "defense" industries will rake in cash by the truckload, & I'm sure that's the most important thing.

Well, I did all I reasonably could signing petitions & expressing my views to my nominal representatives, & I'll continue to let the maggot-infested turds my opinions (albeit expressed more politely), but I'm not going to obsess over it.

Finally got round to taking a box of bric-a-brac & clothes to the charity store that recently opened nearby. Intend to donate the bowls & cups & saucers from my old dining set as well, but Mom decided now was a good time down & repair & repaint (why can't she do these things in the springtime or early fall?) the windbreak on the back steps & stored the pieces in the shed, & I frankly don't feel trying to get around them to take out my cart & a box big enough to put my dishes in right now; time enough when we get the windbreak back up.

Meanwhile, have been collecting recipes for fruit breads other than banana & pumpkin, & looking for affordable mini loaf pans. Finally found what I wanted--manufactured in the US, too!--this morning; interestingly enough, similar sets manufactured abroad cost only slightly less, so I think I'll do my bit to support US manufacturing & labor.

Finally broke down & got a PayPal account as fewer & fewer online merchants are willing to accept personal checks or money orders, & I don't want to get drawn into the credit card con game. Oh, I'm sure PayPay is also a con at some level--it's the brainchild of an anti-tax, anti-statist, misogynist Libertarian loon, after all, but, Scylla & Charybdis...

On a less sour note, I while I was out taking a donation to the charity store, I decided I'd swing by Dollar General for a junk food fix, & found a copy of Val McDermid's A Place of Execution. Wow, can that woman write! I'm barely 20 pages in, & it's already so much clearer than in the TV program how & why such events could have taken place.

Well, house- & dog-sitting for the fenix & cyclops was a very nice little break from my usual routine, as I told the cyclops, I enjoyed myself so much I almost felt guilty accepting pay for it. I think the dogs remembered me, they settled down & didn't give me any trouble aside from being a little restless, I think from spending so much time inside--I let them out around 6am & let them back in whenever it hit 100 degrees, which was before 11am most days. I got bit more rambling around the property in than the last time I housesat, this time I thought to bring my boots & insect repellant, & though I didn't manage to make a complete circuit of the property, I covered a good bit before the heat & my limp sent me back indoors. I think walking in a field is actually easier on my feet & joints than walking on pavement, & walking around open fields in an area that's still largely rural certainly makes a pleasant change from walking around the same old neighborhood of block after block of '50s frame houses & generic shopping centers.

Took the opportunity of having a kitchen to myself to cook a posole from a recipe I got from Jeff. I'm sure it would've been better if I could've found exactly the ingredients called for instead of having to make do, but it turned out OK, tasty & satisfying, though next time I'm using chicken bouillon instead of broth--bouillon usually has a better flavor, & it's easier to adjust the measurements if you need to tweak a recipe.

Got tired of wallowing in the riches of the fenix & cyclops' TV & library, & the cyclops hinted that I use some rapidly browning bananas to make banana bread, so as long as I had a kitchen to play in, I found a simple recipe online & made a loaf. I thought it was "meh", & my family recipe was much better, but cyclops liked it, so guess the bananas didn't get squashed in vain.

I'd lost track of "Who" after about this season's 3rd episode, so of course the cyclops insisted I catch up while I was at their place & viewing it on their big screen TV. I'd pretty much forgotten everything about this season, so I watched it from the beginning; OK, I admit it, the quality of the equipment does make a difference in the impact a program makes (Happy, cyclops, you big ol' technogeek?), though to be sure, the cyclops had me at "the missing Doctor" & "Time War".

Regarding the fenix & cyclops' kids, I'm happy to say I nailed it with "Mini-Weapons of Mass Destruction" for Andrew, & as for Elizabeth, she's a very girly kind of girl & likes the colors pink & purple, so I couldn't miss with a Barbie in a purple dress. The kids were happy enough with their gifts they took them with them in the car; if only all my gift selections turned out so well.

Got home just before 11am on Tues., & was settling into my routine after scurrying around stuffing dirty clothes in the wash & everything else to their regular places when Mom came into my room needing me to make a dental appointment for her. Thought she might give the clinic nearby a try, the dentist there seemed to do a pretty good job when I broke a tooth last year, but they wouldn't accept her insurance, so I had to make one with the dentist a little further away; oh, well. Later, when Jeff got home he told me our next door neighbor had asked if we'd look after her dog this weekend, so we went over & got basic instructions. (Looks like Jeff & I are becoming the go-to people for dogsitting.)

Turns out Mom's teeth were OK, it was food particles caught between her teeth that were making her jaws ache. I admit I was mildly irritated when Mom told me her dentist had given her a water pick years ago but had stashed it in a drawer or cabinet somewhere & now there are critical parts missing; I'm either too tired or too used to Mom's crazy-making antics to react anymore, I just grabbed my broad-brimmed straw hat & went to Dollar General for a package of the little brushes I use. & as her birthday's next month, perhaps I should look at electric toothbrushes too.

Speaking of Oct.: Fencon. That is, barring unexpected emergencies/expenses, I should be able to attend at least one day.



August 2015

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