Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - The Christmas that wasn't .................

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas. We didn't have Christmas this year. Last Friday, I got a headache, sore neck, and started running a fever. Hubby was already suffering from a sore throat, cough, and stuffed up head. I called my brother and told him we were postponing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals. I didn't want to infect him with whatever germs we had. I put the oysters and turkey in the freezer and went to bed.

I stayed in bed from Friday afternoon until Wednesday, only getting up every so often to stumble to the kitchen for a glass of ice water and some Advil. Hubby was stretched out on the sofa, coughing his head off and trying to handle the cats on his own. (Not an easy job if you don't feel well.)

I wasn't feeling better and couldn't get my fever down, so I told Hubby we were going to the doctor Wednesday. He went first and was diagnosed with a virus and was given two prescriptions. He has bronchitis and any type of lung infection hits him hard. I went next and was told I have viral meningitis. I was told to take Advil and Tylenol every three hours to get the fever down and that I should be better by the first of the week. My throat was beginning to get sore, which meant I was trying to come down with the virus Hubby has. The doctor gave me a prescription to take for it now before it gets too bad.

So, we had no Christmas meals or celebrations. We didn't even have any gifts to open. I had ordered a watch for Hubby from a local jewelers and it didn't come before Christmas. They called Tuesday and said it was in. I haven't been out to pick it up. Hubby gave me a Kindle which I have been using for several weeks. I never did go out to get the kitties anything for their stocking.

Actually, missing Christmas didn't bother me. I don't have big expectations for holidays. I've learned if you don't expect anything, then whatever you get is a pleasant surprise. We are so lucky when compared to some people in the world.

Will try to visit everyone's blog and comment soon. I still have a headache and can't sit up for too long.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas prep .............

Have you missed me? I haven't been around much lately. No special reason for my absence, I've just been busy with normal life stuff. I can't believe that it's the middle of December already. I think it would feel more like Christmas if it were colder. I still have roses blooming, my herbs in pots are thriving, and we're still having to cut grass.

My Christmas preparations are almost complete. Our Christmases are low key and quiet - no frantic shopping and gift buying, no big parties or entertaining, and very little baking or candy making. I will put up my tree either tomorrow or Friday. I have Hubby's gift on order from our local jewelers and the kitties have a new scratcher and catnip. I've already gotten my gift - a Kindle to go along with my Nook.


The amarylis I got earlier at Walmart now has four blooms and looks very festive.


I don't think Maggie May feels well. She usually spends all day outside and has to be forced back in at night. She hasn't wanted to go out for two days now. She goes in the bedroom and sleeps on the far side of the bed all day. Right now she is curled up in front of me watching me type this post. She has been eating a little so I'm not too concerned. I'll keep an eye on her.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

After Thanksgiving ............

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday. As usual, we stayed at home. I cooked a turkey with all the side dishes. My brother was our only guest, so the three of us ended up stuffing ourselves. Most of the leftovers are gone now, so I plan on making a big pot of soup tomorrow.

Did you check out all the sales? You couldn't pay me to go shopping on Black Friday. There's absolutely nothing I need or want enough to put up with the crowds. I don't do much Christmas shopping anyway. I've ordered Hubby a watch from a local jewelers and will find a small gift for my brother. That is all the shopping I plan on doing.

My brother eats supper with us several times a week. Mollie Ann has fallen in love with his lap. As soon as he sits down, she jumps up and settles down. She doesn't move until he gets up to go home. I've tried to talk him into adopting her, but he already has one cat.



Is that a picture of pure relaxation or what?

We've been busy getting up leaves in the yard. They seem to fall faster than we can get them up. With 2 acres of yard we don't try to rake except where the leaf vacuum doesn't go. We have an abundance of acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, and sweet gum balls this year. Hope that doesn't mean we will have a bad winter.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Relief ............


....................... Miss Mollie Ann .......................

Thanks everyone for the tips on self treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. I've been doing exercises every day to stretch my calf and foot muscles. They do seem to help.

Last week I went to Walmart looking for some type of insoles to put in my shoes to give my feet extra support. I noticed they had one of the Dr. Scholl's Foot Mapping Kiosks that I had seen advertised on TV. I decided to give it a try, since I had no clue as to what type of insoles to buy. You take your shoes off and stand on the base, lifting first one foot, then the other. It measures the amount of pressure being exerted by the different areas of your foot and recommends the best custon fit orthonics for you. I found out that I have a very high arch and was recommended the CF130 inserts. They have a system that stabalizes and supports your arch.

They were almost $50.00, but I was willing to try anything that would give me some relief. While the package promised immediate and all-day comfort, I was just hoping for less pain. I put them in my shoes as soon as I got home, and I was amazed at how comfortable they were. My feet no longer hurt with each step! They did provide immediate and all day comfort!

When I took my shoes off that night and put on my slippers without the inserts, each step I took was painful again. I plan on buying a second set so I can put them in my slippers. I don't know if they work as well for other people, but they definitely get my recommendation. I have happy feet again!

I have received no compensation from Dr. Scholl's for my comments.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Colorful leaves ..........



Our leaves have been pretty the past week, but are browning quickly. We're having cool nights and warm days. I worked today on cleaning out some of my flowers and hope to clean up my garden squares tomorrow. I have a few tomatoes left, but they are small and green, so will probably be hurt by frost before they ripen. I did pick a bunch of green peppers today.

I've been suffering with aching feet for the last month or so. I have self diagnosed myself as having plantar fasciitis and have decided that I need to go shopping for shoes with good arch support and cushioning. I've reached the age where comfort becomes more important than fashion in footwear. I haven't been able to use the treadmill or walk as much as I'd like because my feet hurt.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall flowers .....


The leaves are just beginning to turn here in Central Virginia. Since I don't have any colorful leaf photos to share, I thought I'd share some colorful fall flower photos.




Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A fall drive ........

Monday was sunny and warm, a perfect day for a drive. We decided to head north toward Sperryville. We stopped for breakfast near Mineral, which was the epicenter of the east coast earthquake. A lot of houses had chimney damage and some buildings had damage to brick facades. We didn't feel any tremors while we were there, although the news said this morning that there was another aftershock last night.



(I apologize for the poor photos. It's hard to take a picture while riding in the car at 50 mph. Hubby isn't one to stop in the middle of the road so I can take a picture.)

When we arrived in Sperryville we stopped at an antique store we like to visit. We were disappointed in what they had to offer, so we didn't stay long. Our next stop was a stand selling apples, cider, honey, jellies and jams. We got a basket of apples, two jugs of cider, and a jar of damson jelly. I love damson jelly and preserves. After stopping at a few other shops along the road, we entered Shenandoah National Park and got on Skyline Drive heading South.

The day was sunny, but it was a bit hazy in the distance. The trees have turned up on the mountain and are beginning to turn in the valley.





We didn't continue south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but got off near Charlottesville and headed home. It was a very pretty drive and an enjoyable outing.

While we were gone, the tree service had come and taken down our tree. I was disappointed that I hadn't been at home to watch. The tree was really, really tall and I wanted to watch as they cut it in sections from the top with the bucket truck.



This is all that is left of the tree.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blogger's block?


It's been ages since I updated my blog. I don't have any excuse other than every time I think about posting, my mind becomes a blank. Is there such a thing as blogger's block?

Things have been quiet and uneventful around here. We are still waiting for the tree service to take down the tree damaged by the hurricane. They dropped off a trailer and a bobcat Tuesday, so maybe they'll get to work soon.

Our trees are just beginning to turn. I'm hoping we can take a day trip to the mountains the first of the week. I want to get some delicious Virginia apples.

My mind is totally blank again. Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here and all is well.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My porch .......

The porch at my front door embarasses me. No matter how often I sweep and clean it off, I never know what may be lurking there. I'd hate for company to accidently step in some of the strange things I find. Yesterday morning there was the back half of a rabbit deposited on the mat. Later in the day I found the innards of some unknown animal. Then this morning I look out and Mazie Grace had a rat that she was tossing around and playing with.


Mollie Ann was very interested in what was going on. I think she wanted to play too.


Once Mazie Grace starts to eat, I have to leave for awhile, since I can't stand to watch her. Five minutes later the porch was clear once again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A visit from Arthur Ritis ............

Mollie Ann's new favorite place

I haven't been around lately. Mr. Arthur Ritis paid me a visit and settled in for an extended stay in my neck, shoulders, and back. I was too uncomfortable to sit at the computer and was in too foul a mood to converse by any means with other people. I believe the worst is over with and hopefully I will be back to normal soon. Needless to say, I haven't been doing much other than trying to find a position that was bearable. I don't know of anything special that brought the flare-up on. Every so often it just decides to act up for awhile.

We are in the process of closing the pool for the summer. The weather report is calling for cool temperatures this weekend. Even though the days have been hot and humid, the nights have been cool. It's perfect weather for sleeping with the windows open.

We easily got the yard cleaned up after the hurricane and were thankful that we had no damage. A couple of days later a huge limb on a tall oak tree in the back yard broke off. We will have to get a tree service to come in and take it down as it is too high up for hubby to reach. While they are here we're getting the whole tree cut down. As you can see in the bottom picture, it is leaning out over the yard and will fall sooner or later taking the electric wires down with it. I'm surprised the whole tree didn't come down.



I apologize for not commenting on your blogs lately. I'm off now to catch up on everyone.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene cleanup ...........

We've been busy the last few days cleaning up after Irene. We were very lucky. We had no major wind damage, no flooding, and we had electricity except for two hours on Saturday. Our yard was covered in sticks, leaves, and branches. Our neighbors lost a tree and several large limbs, but all we had was small stuff. We went over the yard with the bagger on the mower and got up most of the debris. I raked up the rest.



The pool was full of leaves and I spent a couple of afternoons getting it cleaned out. It won't be long before it will be time to close it for the winter. I hope we have a few more hot days so we can enjoy the water a bit longer.


We seemed to be just on the edge of the strong winds. Just thirty miles to the east of us there was extensive tree damage and even a death from a tree which fell on a house. There are still many areas without electricity. Luckily, we are not in an area that floods.

We have much to be thankful for. I hope everyone was as lucky as we were. The east coast had a rough week - first an earthquake, then a hurricane. This week the weather has been beautiful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A whole lot of shaking going on .......

We had an earthquake this afternoon around 1:50. It was a 5.8 magnitude quake, the stongest in central Virginia history. The epicenter was near Mineral, Virginia which is about 50 miles north of us.

Hubby had been cutting grass and was sitting in the garage resting. I had just taken clothes off the line and had come in the garage when we heard a rumble and things began to shake. We both realized it was an earthquake right away. Things on the shelves in the garage were rattling and at one point the house began to creak and groan. I stood there fascinated by the shaking and noise, then calmly walked outside and looked around. The only damage I've been able to find is that a thermometer was knocked off a tree in the yard.

I came inside and turned on the TV. I wasn't sure if there would be any reports on our local TV stations. I was totally surprised when I heard that it had been felt all along the east coast and that it was news on all the major stations as well as MSNBC and CNN.

Earthquakes are not all that rare in our area, but they are usually so weak that unless you are paying attention you don't even know they happened. We did have one in 2003 that felt as strong as this one.

Now our attention will be on hurricane Irene which will arrive this weekend. I plan on going to the store tomorrow and stocking up on water and batteries. I'm hoping it stays far enough off shore that we do not get stong winds, but close enough so we get rain. It's still too early to tell what her path will be.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bears and snakes and cougars ..........

I have been reading our local weekly paper. A neighbor of mine reported seeing a black bear with two cubs near the barn behind her house. In recent years there have been more and more bear sightings in my area as they move east out of the mountains. I haven't seen one yet and hope I don't run up on momma bear and her cubs.

I also read about a guy who worked with Hubby being bit on the hand by a copperhead snake. His hand was swollen to almost twice its normal size and he had to spend two nights in the hospital. I've killed two copperheads in my yard this summer. Black snakes I can tolerate, but not copperheads.

Then, there have been more cougar sightings in the area. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries keeps declaring that we do not have cougars here. Since so many people have seen the cougars, they finally conceded that someone must have let them loose. I wouldn't want to come face to face with a cougar while going for a walk, and I do worry about my cats being supper for one.

I never considered that I was living in the wilds, but I may have to reconsider.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Smokey .........


It finally cooled off a bit at the end of the week. I had plans to get outside and catch up on some of the long neglected yard work. However, we were under a blanket of smoke on Friday and Saturday. People were warned to stay inside since the air quality was so bad. There is a huge fire in the Dismal Sawmp. Wind currents were bringing the smoke this way. Also, a large cut over piece of land was being burned on the other side of town and we were getting smoke from it. I tried to do some things outside but the smoke burned my eyes and throat so I gave up and stayed inside. I did get outside today and got all the shrubs in front of the house pruned. They have been growing like weeds this summer. I was beginning to worry that the house would be completely hidden by bushes.

Maggie May has an appointment at the vet tomorrow morning for her rabies shot. It should be interesting getting her in the carrier. She runs in the opposite direction every time she sees it. For some unknown reason, she has decided that she wants to stay in the house all day. Not too long ago it was almost impossible to get her inside. Maybe she is smart enough to know that Mollie Ann comes in the house when she goes outside and she doesn't want Mollie in her house. Sometimes they are hard to figure.

I'm still on my reading binge. I need cut back on the reading and spend some time crossing things off my long, long "To Do List". I also need to start walking again. I just gave up completely during all the hot weather and I can tell that I haven't been exercising.

Hope you have a nice week.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bits and pieces .............


Summer is going by much too fast! Our local schools open next Monday. It seems like they open earlier every year. When I was young, we always went back on the Monday after Labor Day. Of course, that was back in the olden days.

This has been an extremely hot summer. We've spent lots of time in the pool trying to cool off. After several 100+ days the water was so warm it wasn't at all refreshing. That's when we retreated to the air conditioning and hibernated inside.

I've been on a reading binge. My Nook, which now has 305 books, has had a workout. My favorite so far this summer is "The Mill River Recluse" by Darcie Chan. It is a beautifully written and engrossing novel. This is Mrs. Chan's first novel and I'm anxiously awaiting more from this talented new author. The book is only $.99 and can be purchased for your Nook or your Kindle. It is well worth the price.

The three M's - Maggie May, Mazie Grace, and Mollie Ann - have been very, very lazy cats during all this hot weather. They stretch out in the coolest spot they can find and refuse to move.

A week ago we moved the rest of my brother's things from New Jersey to Virginia. We got up at 4 AM on Saturday morning and headed north. We got to Cherry Hill around 11 AM, rented a UHaul trailer, loaded his furniture, and began the trip back south. We got caught up in a traffic jam caused by a ball game near Washington DC. Then the interior light on the truck came on and we couldn't get it to turn off. For some reason the trailer was causing a short or something in the electrical system. We were fooling with the lights and missed our turn off 95 and ended up having to go through downtown Richmond. It was 11 PM when we got back home. That was a long and tiring day. It took us all day Sunday to recover.

The monster plant has not strangled anyone yet. I did move it to the guestroom so the cats wouldn't chew on it and get poisoned. It still looks the same.

Friday, July 22, 2011

116 .........

That was our heat index awhile ago. The actual temperature was 102. The humidity has been very oppressive the last few days. The air is so laden with moisture, it's like living inside a cloud - a 102 degree cloud. We were in the pool earlier, but the water is too warm to be really refreshing, so we came back inside with the AC. I brought all three cats inside this afternoon and put them in separate rooms so they wouldn't fight. The heat is dangerous for animals as well as people.

Hope everyone is managing to stay cool.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The monster plant ............


Several months ago I bought this Sago Palm to put on my coffee table. It gets plenty of light where it sits and once a week I spray it off in the sink. Not long ago, shoots began to grow from the top. They grew and they grew and they are still growing. Does anyone know what they are? They seem awful long to become new leaves. I looked up Sago Palm flowers and these are not flowers. I told Hubby he should not turn his back to this plant when he takes a nap on the sofa. It may reach over and grab him. It is rather sinister looking - like something out of a horror movie.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I've been a bad blogger ......

I've been terribly neglectful of my blog. I have no excuse other than laziness and procrastination. I also want to apologize for my lack of comments on your blogs. I do read your blog posts every day, however.

I've been enjoying summer. Since we got the pool in operation, I've spent almost every afternoon in the water. We had several days near 100 degrees with high humidity. One afternoon the heat index was 112 - that is almost unbearable. The last few days have been simply gorgeous with lower temperatures and lower humidity. Temperatures will be up near 100 by the end of next week, however.

We've been getting tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. I love fresh summer vegetables. I wish we had planted a larger garden so I had extra to can and freeze. We used to have a larger garden at the back of the yard but the deer would invade it every night and munch on everything, so we gave up and went with the garden squares closer to the house.

Mazie Grace brought a mouse into the house the other morning and let it go. It ran under the china cabinet in the diningroom She sat for awhile, waiting for it to come out, then got bored and went in the other room for a nap. Mollie Ann sat on the scratching box in front of the china cabinet and watched for awhile, then she fell asleep. I have lazy cats. Hubby went to the hardware store and get a mousetrap and we caught the mouse. Why do we have cats?


Mollie Ann waiting for the mouse to run to her.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

At last ......

We finally got our pool in full operation today after six weeks of trying to get it fixed. When we removed the cover this spring, the water was green with algae. Last fall we purchased a new cover which was suppose to allow water through so we wouldn't have to add so much water in the spring. We didn't need to add water, but the cover let dirt and algae into the pool along with the water. It was a mess. Needless to say, we threw away the cover and ordered the type we had been using. Before, when we took the cover off, the water would be crystal clear.

We tried filtering the water for a few days with little results. We decided the best thing to do was to drain the green water out of the pool and replace it with fresh clean water. We have a well and it would be impossible to fill the pool from our well. We had to purchase water. When we checked with our pool supply store, we found out that water for the pool would cost us an outrageous amount. After discussing it, we decided to have the liner replaced while the pool was empty and before paying so much to fill it. With our luck the liner would have gotten a hole as soon as we paid all that money for water and we would end up paying twice.

We finally got them out here the first of June. They put the new liner in and used two big milk trucks of water to fill the pool. The next morning the water level had dropped about six inches. We called the pool company back. They discovered a hole in the new liner. They put a patch on the liner and said they would order a new one. By then the water level was down at least a foot and was below the skimmer. They rigged up a hose that allowed us to run the filter but not skim the water surface.

For a month we got promises that they were coming back with the replacement liner. They had more excuses for why they couldn't come. The pool was no longer leaking and we could get in the water. Of course it was over a foot low and since we couldn't skim it, the surface was always covered with bugs, etc. Not the best situation.

Finally this morning they came. We now have a new liner, new hoses, and a pool full of clean water. Time for a pool party.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My garden ...........

I'm finally posting pictures of my garden. We are getting squash, cucumbers, radishes, and lettuce. I've had a few small tomatoes ripen, but they have had dry rot on the bottom and were not usable. We had a big chef salad for supper using bounty from the garden. Ummm good!




We're having another hot week with temperatures in the 90s. It's midnight and my thermometer says it's still 79 degrees outside. We've been getting smoke the last couple of nights from a forest fire near Wilmington, North Carolina. Some people actually woke up thinking their houses were on fire and called the fire department.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A relaxing water fountain .........


We got a water fountain this spring and set it beside the deck. It is so relaxing to sit and listen to the water as it falls from one level to the other. I can close my eyes and imagine that I am a child again, spending my summer afternoons at the creek. I've spent more time than I should lately sitting on the deck and reading to the sound of the water.

I've gotten the house back in order. I still need to do some deep cleaning, but I'm putting that off for now. We need to get the rest of the rooms painted. One thing leads to another.

We're beginning to get zuchinni and cucumbers from the garden. We have little green tomatoes that won't be ripe any time soon. Nothing is better than a ripe, juicy tomato straight from the garden. Umm, Umm. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Remodeling is complete ........

The remodeling of my kitchen and bathrooms is complete! They came today and completed all the finishing details. I'm very pleased with the job they did. I've gotten things pretty much back in place. I still need to do some cleaning, wash windows, etc. It's a real pleasure to have my house back in order. Here are some before and after pictures.

Kitchen before ...



Kitchen after ...



Bathrooms before ...



Bathrooms after ...



Now I've got to concentrate on getting the pool straight. The story of our problems with it will have to wait for another day.