I am blessed to have a niece who really should be an interior design specialist.  She and her husband  volunteered to help us with our Christmas decorations.  E is the keeper of the ladder, so he was elected to put the garland and lights and Santas  on the shelf that runs at the top of the wall the length of the living room.  He also got to put the lights up on the outside trees.  At LAST we can hold up our heads as dusk comes and the neighborhood lights up.  The house directly across from us, and the one to the north of it, had lights shining immediately after Thanksgiving.  We’ve had at least a week of eye searing lights keeping the street safe from robberies.  The houses flanking us had their lights up a few days later. We were missing a timer and some three-way plugs for our lights, but it all came together today.  It’s a lot of fun to look out and see our trees decorated, and that we are a part of the neighborhood.

K worked on organizing the nativity scene and finding things for the mantle.  She set out table runners and candles of all shapes and sizes and we put up the “Snowman” quilt my mother and I made.  She hung ornaments from the chandelier in the dining room, and filled the Waterford bowl on the table with ornaments.  She even got out the Christmas guest towels.

It looks like Christmas here, and tomorrow I am going to work on the first of the Christmas baking.  Sunday, K will return with one of her cousins and we will bake cookies together.  Christmas is getting closer!

Network News

For some time we have been bemoaning a trend in network news on TV.  The stations repeatedly tell you what they will be covering. Five, six, seven times they will “tease” you with the news to come.  And when it’s time to report on those subjects, they don’t have time to say more than a sentence, or two if you are lucky.  This is not the journalism I remember from my childhood.  Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and Peter Jennings must be spinning in their graves each time a network news program is aired.

It used to be that “Who,” “What,” “Where,”  and “When” were the absolute minimum in reporting, and we hoped to to know “Why” as well.  Sometimes we also were treated to “How.”  Now, we’re lucky if we get two of these questions answered.  Frequently we are told that someone has been shot, but while they might tell us the corner where the shooting took place, they most likely won’t tell us where the victim was hit, or whether they will survive.

Today must be a very slow news day.  The big news byte is that the shooting in California is now being classified as a terrorist attack.  I think we could conservatively guess that in a five minute period at 4:55 this afternoon, we heard this same comment fifteen to eighteen times on one station.  I’m sure it’s the same on all the others.  Why not do a good job of covering the story in full, and then go on to other news?  Just as I am sick of the commercialization of Christmas, I detest the same thing happening to the news.

Serious reporting has disappeared at such an alarming rate that we are changing to news programs that will give us the deeper story, like the “PBS Newshour” and “Charlie Rose.”  I  rarely go to CNN for news, but I may check them out to see if they are doing a better job than the networks.

And, while I’m at it, it seems that radio news announcers feel that time is money, so they now leave out the little verbs, and report in incomplete sentences.  Stations which used to pride themselves on their presentations feel they have to go with the flow, so there will be a generation of radio listeners who won’t know there is anything wrong with this.

We need a groundswell of complaint, a grass roots movement, to let the stations know WE DON’T LIKE IT!!

November First

November first, at the crack of dawn, we headed out for a two week trip to the south.  The  plan was to drive down to Orlando to spend a few days with our granddaughters and their parents, and then visit New Orleans for  a bit before driving home.

We decided to drive east to Indiana and pick up Interstate 65 and take that south to Mobile.  The first day we drove through Indiana and a good part of Kentucky, stopping at Bowling Green.  The second day we finished the trip through Kentucky,  zipped through Tennessee and slogged through Alabama.

I’ve never made this  particular trip and was amazed at how beautiful Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Alabama are in late fall.  We drove through foothills (of the Smokies, I assume), and early in the day either clouds or fog ringed the tops of the hills.  We had an overcast day, but very little rain, which made the travel quite easy.  There was a brief spate of construction just after I took the wheel in Tennessee, but it didn’t last long.  Dear Husband was delighted to find an exceptional seafood restaurant a block away from our hotel in Mobile.  We opted for just about all the peel and eat shrimp we could eat.  I think I might have had hush puppies, too!

The third day of our trip we headed east out of the very tiny bit of Alabama that fronts on the Gulf of Mexico, into Florida.  The panhandle of Florida goes on FOREVER!!!  The worst part about the panhandle is that every mile looks the the one you just drove, and the one up ahead.  A little variety would be nice.  I think it might have taken us five hours to go from Mobile to Interstate 75, where we turned south.

We drove to Ocala, another place I had never visited.  I researched seafood restaurants in Ocala.  They have every kind of seafood place there:  shops where you walk up to a window to order, fast food chains that feature deep fried fish, nicer restaurants where you are waited on, and a few really classy joints.   We opted for the nicer restaurant, and made our way to the center of town.  Ocala is very people friendly.  We had almost no trouble finding our way around, and had a wonderful dinner at Harry’s.

The fourth day of our trip we were about 90 minutes from Orlando, and had the day to ourselves before we met up with the kids.  We slept in, had a big breakfast and continued south.  When we entered Florida, there was a rest stop that had fliers on just about everything you can do in Florida.  Dear Husband found a flier on a quilt shop on the Atlantic side of the state.  Since we didn’t have any plans, we went fabric shopping. (I know how odd that sounds.)  We bought the fabric for a baby quilt I need to make, and DH found several pre-printed panels that would make absolutely adorable quilts.  Before I singed the credit card  we headed back to Orlando to meet our family

And with that, it’s time for me to hit the hay.  Hopefully, I can give you the shorter version of the rest of our trip when I return.

Words never to be used

Did you know  that there is a movement among a small group of educators to stop fourth graders from using the word “said?”   “Get,” “nice,” “very” and “thing” are also on the list.

I understand the intent, to help students learn that there are amazing, and more specific ways to express yourself, but there are pitfalls in the current practice.  This is supposed to be  a two-step process.  First, you expand their vocabularies, and then you help them learn when to use the two-dollar words, and when to use a simpler description.  Unfortunately, the second step seems to be forgotten in many schools.

I think it’s fine to expand a child’s vocabulary.  I’m all for clear descriptions.  But, I think we need to work on flowing prose, and interesting sentences, rather than how to pack a paragraph with adjectives.

Here’s a link to the article, if you’d like to read about it.

The Passing of an Era

Last month Dear Husband sold the Arr!!  It now resides in the Atlanta area.  We understand that its new owner is going to refurbish it over the next couple of years.  It will get cleaned up, repainted, all the bright work will be done, and the wood will be sanded and varnished.  I’m so glad it’s gone to a new home.  It was a yarr little boat!

DH is still very interested in soaring.  He’s reading all the ads for gliders and talking with the members of his soaring club to learn which gliders are worth looking into and which are not.  I socked away the cash from the Arr!! into a fund for a possible purchase.  We’ll see if he flies the club’s planes or gets one of his own.  There are advantages both ways.

DH tried to solo before the planes were put away for the winter, but there just wasn’t enough time.  If we had been home in November, he might have made it.  This just gives him more time to study for the exam which will follow soloing.

So, we have left “Anchors Aweigh” behind and are moving on to “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder.”  DH is never a dull man to be around!

Where did November go??

I have thought about blogging for the entire past month.  As we traveled through the south, when we played with our granddaughters,  when we were almost T-boned just an hour from home as we returned, as Fred began PT and we both came down with a miserable bug that I just can’t seem to shake.  But, I just thought about it.  All those thoughts are still bouncing around in my head, so you’ll get those thoughts in strange order, or maybe even not at all.  Most of those thoughts are centered in November, but there’s Halloween, too.  So, I’ll talk about Halloween here.

This is our second year in our ‘new’ home.  Our first Halloween we had roughly 106 trick-or-treaters.  This year we had closer to 160.  While it was cold, the rain held off just enough for the kids to get in their visits.  Dear Husband did the door duty this year, so I didn’t get to see the clever costumes and exclaim over them.  I really enjoy Halloween, especially since I know that the trick-or-treating is limited to between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.

We’ve been very lucky not to be TP’d, and none of the kids have done any tricks.  We gave out Rice Krispy Treats and one little girl said, “Oooo, I LOVE Rice Krispy Treats!”  I guess DH chose our treats well.  :-)

Great News!

For those of you who have read here recently, I want you to know that my husband is doing very well!  He was in the hospital for a total of eight days.  He had an incredible number of tests done, and he will have a lot of follow-up visits with several doctors, but he is well!  I know…I know….. He is MUCH better than when he went into the hospital.  I think I’ll be able to say he is well before too long.

Dear Husband missed the speeding bullet.  HIs nurse described the mostly clogged artery as “The Widow Maker,” so you know it was serious.  We’re working on lifestyle changes.  This evening we had cod for dinner, with steamed broccoli.  Yes, there was a little bacon, and some cheddar cheese over the cod, but considerably less than there might have been a year ago.

We will be adding exercise to our routine, and checking blood pressure and blood sugars, so we’ll have plenty of feedback.  I hope we will BOTH be healthier as we enter the coming year.

Thank you for your kind messages, and for your positive thoughts and prayers!



My Dear Husband

It’s been a difficult week.  Dear Husband had trouble sleeping Monday night and ended up sleeping in a recliner in the living room.  He’d had “some discomfort” in his chest and sitting up made him feel better.  Tuesday night I went off to do that darned sleep test, so we were apart.  When I saw him Wednesday morning, he said he’d had another tough night.  We went to exercise, and when we came home, I reminded him to call the doc to make an appointment.

When he described to them what was bothering him, the doc said, “GO TO THE ER!!”  We had lunch and I drove him to the ER.

After six hours in the Emergency Room, DH was admitted to the hospital.  Thursday  they did a phalanx of tests, one of which was an angiogram.  In the midst of that test they decided to insert a stent.  One of the arteries was 90% closed, and the other was 80% closed.  His kidneys are not very tolerant of the dye, so the second stent will be done on Tuesday

The docs are using the three day holiday weekend to observe DH, and to continue collecting test results, so he’s cooling his heels and everything else in a very expensive hospital bed.

I’m confident the doctors are going to make a huge difference in his life.  I’m confident that he is going to feel MUCH better, and that I will have him around  for a while longer, but I’m not kidding myself that we are out of the woods yet.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this coming Tuesday.

Sleep Tests

At long last, I persuaded Dear Husband to do a sleep test, and probably not a moment too soon!  To get him to do it, I had to nag, brow beat, offer to do one, and MAKE THE APPOINTMENTS!!  That’s all water over the damn now.  I’m SO glad we did the tests.

I was sitting back smiling smugly as we listened to the consultant talk about the results, because I knew DH has much more apnea than I do.  BUT, the doc knocked the wind out of my sails when he told me that I have a more serious problem with depleted oxygen levels.  I’ll have to go back to the sleep center for further testing to determine just what kind of equipment I’ll need to use.  I expect to be a new person once we get this straightened out.

Have you done a sleep test?  I do not know how they can realistically expect you to sleep.  First, they wrap two bands around your chest, to help hold equipment in place.  Then they glue 23 leads to you: in the hairline around your face, across the top of your head, on your throat, on the front of your chest just below your shoulders, and also on your lower legs.   Then, they gathered the wires together and helped me into bed.  I’m light sensitive, so I needed to turn away from where the equipment plugged in .  I was surprised to find that I could turn over.

It took me 47 minutes to fall asleep, where it normally takes me five.  I woke when the nurse came in to reattach something, but went right back to sleep.  Then, at 3:00, she came in once more to add something that delivered oxygen.  They tell me I went back to sleep, but it took a while.  At 6:00 they woke us.  We dressed and headed for home to clean up.  We could have showered there, but preferred to travel light and shower at home.

I’m not thrilled to be going back, but the pay-off will be huge.  We will have energy and be able to accomplish so much more each day.   We can expect our health in general to improve, and we should have more years together.

Win-Win wouldn’t you say??  :-)



Mother would have said…

“It’s as hot as the hinges of Hades!”  We’ve been fortunate that the temperatures have been fairly moderate this summer, but the “dog days” of August are upon us.

We went to exercise this morning.  It was warm, but bearable with the fans running.  We came home to a cool house and planned the meals for the coming week.  We stopped for lunch, and then headed to Meijer’s and were nearly felled by the heat radiating up off the blacktop, as we walked from the car to the store.

We did the shopping and then I was such  sissy that I asked Fred to bring the car to the front door to load.  He’s truly a prince.  He didn’t make me walk in the heat with him.

We got home and unloaded the car.  Fred noted the darker clouds to the south as we left the store.  He kept up a running commentary on how dark it was getting, and the increase in the winds.  We haven’t had much rain the past few weeks, and I figured I was going to have to go out to water the patio plants, when the storm slid past us.

Right after we got the groceries put away, the heavens opened!  I love hearing rain on the roof.  I felt “snug as a bug in a rug,” (another of Mother’s sayings??), knowing that I could sit inside and listen.  The rain was pretty hard, and was getting lashed by heavy winds.

Alas, it didn’t last.  I doubt we had fifteen minutes of rain.  But, at least I don’t have to water the plants!  It will be interesting to see if the storm washed out any of the humidity, or whether it just added to it.