Monday, September 12, 2011

A Year? Seriously?

I haven't blogged for a whole year? Why the hell not?
Oh yeah...
Overworking- I worked 93 hours of overtime last fall only to find I can only bank 78 hours, so I got a nice paycheck in December.  Not what I was planning.
My dad died in February. I cared for him while in hospice at home & trying to work full-time.  That's a couple posts on their own.
My mom struggled with cancer most of the winter. I did most of her appointments.  When my Dad died, I left my house, my cats & my life behind. I renovated the second floor in her house,& made an "apartment". The doors keep cat contained but I have no running water, no functioning bath or kitchen. I use the downstairs bath & kitchen for my needs.
Did I say "cat"?  Yeah, that's because I put Dhaimhnhait down in September- mass on liver probably malignant, but she was incontinent & unable to eat. Tough call but right call.
Cujo went blind from a hypertensive episode in November. He coped pretty well on medication. When I moved in to take care of my Dad, my neighbor took care of the kitties for me. I hustled beyond belief to make my "apartment" safe for a blind cat & moved in with kitties. Cujo deteriorated rapidly. Despite giving him SQ fluids to support his kidneys, he declined so rapidly I had him put to sleep in April right after I moved. 
My house stood alone & unoccupied for a few months. My son lost his job & moved back, so at least the house has a caretaker. 
My son & his wife presented me with my first grandchild.  A welcome addition to the family after a round of grief & loss, she is the apple of my eye.  I try and see her at least twice a month if possible.

So now my free time is completely revolved around medical appointments, cleaning & care, and compensating to my remaining cat for locking her in a small apartment 15 hours a day alone. And compensating to the 91 year old with advanced & severe osteoarthritis, advanced & severe GERD & loss of spouse of 64 years. 

I try not to think about life too much.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Well, we had a celebration for my sister's 25th anniversary 6 months after the actual date. That pretty much guarantees that she'd never suspect a thing.

Good turnout of cousins and friends. I've had a lot of good feedback and few complaints, so it's a good thing (as Martha would say).

 The kids helped to decorate and did a damn good job. They got really into it.
Good cousin turnout.
 My camera sucks for these indoor things.

The kids were delighted that all their cousins were together.  They were very well-behaved.  The boys were delighted when I told them the fruit and cheese was self-serve. They complimented the waitresses on how nicely presented it was.   I ordered chicken strips and fries for the kids.  When Ted heard, he made a beeline for their table and scavenged for a bit.  They were highly entertained and happy to share. Some things never change.

We took the opportunity to take some family photos while we were all gathered together.




 Four generations.  The aunties, sibs, offspring, significants and of course the nextNEXT generation.

Siblings & Spouses.

 The music was on but my son turned it down-everyone was having too much fun visiting.

 Maras mugging.

 The next generation.
 Friends and family mixed well.

So, despite all the crazy technical glitches, the actual day went smoothly.  Everyone was happy to have an occasion to gather that did not include a eulogy.  And that's what it's all about:)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blog or bullets?

I have blogged less and less over time. I initially started my blog when I was in school, to catalogue my journey. I have maybe 4 readers. I don't care. I do it for me not for attention. I don't have to prove to anyone else that I can write or that I am clever. I know what I am.
I've had great pleasure using the social network FB. I can post in bullets and communicate in realtime. I have access to a wider network of folk whom I enjoy communicating with. It's easier to post bullets than to elaborate-but it's the elaboration, the essay format that actually helps me process.
I can sum up my blog entirely in bullets as recurring themes
1. I am tired. Always.
2. I work too much and don't have much fun
3. My house is a bit beyond my ability to take care of
4. Plow guys are fickle.
5. My cats dominate my life.
6. I would do anything for my family.
7. Harry Potter rocks.
8. My neighbors are nuts.
9. My family is nuts.
10. I snatch what beauty I can in moments and savour them for what they are.
So- do I end it here & keep to the bullet format?
I'm not sure.
I have been vastly entertained by JSmooth's Fun Facts-he says he will stop at 1000.
I am considering doing them myself and stopping at 1000.
I will see.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I can't believe how seldom I post now. Ever since I took up this job I am in, I have expended all my energy on it. A very demanding clientele that is seldom pleased with anything, techs with poor habits resistant to change, management that is less than helpful...
I have spent many hours of unpaid overtime cleaning, clearing, organizing and bringing the site into-well I wouldn't call it compliance but a reasonable facsimile.
Days off have been medical appointments (certainly not for me), visits to ill relatives,and keeping up with the house. Shoveling is a pastime. Kitty litter (we average 30 lbs per week) is another.
My fun activities- well, the jewelry-making is pleasant and those I have gifted seem pretty pleased with my results. I had dinner with some former co-workers & that made me happier than I have been in a long time. I took the nieces to the theatre in an eventful and delightful, magical night. And I have been precepting a practical lab at my college, which is surprisingly re-energizing.
Taking on another work commitment may seem crazy, but the interaction with students has been very very stimulating. I remember being so nervous in school but not so clueless-although I am sure I must have been.:)
I have a membership to Netflix and find I hold onto movies an average of 3 weeks before getting to watch it-not really cost-effective, but I don't have the heart to stop the service quite yet.:P
Anyway-my days off aren't always restful, but when I feel the immune system kicking in, I have no choice but to lay very low. There's been quite a run of nice weather & I got a good portion of my garden weeded, mulched & neatened.
Today was icky & rainy & I was extremely tired from a bad week. I am watching movies today, snuggling with the kitties & laying low. Not good meat for a post, but there it is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The House Across the Street

I was doing some engraving today that requires heavy-duty concentration (very expensive pieces)when I noticed this 30-some-odd white guy come out from behind my house & walk up my drive toward the street. He stood on the street looking around then proceeded away. I made a mental note of what he was wearing & his appearance in case a police report might be required later. Ten minutes later, my head down into the machine and my loupe to my eye, my screen door banged with a knock. I just about jumped out of my skin. It was the guy. "Have you seen a really little kitten", he asked. I stepped outside (sharp calipers in hand, does that make me parnoid?). He explained that he just moved into the house across the street & when he took out the trash today, he thinks his new kitten may have slipped out. He's had the kitten 3 days. It's small, he didn't know how many weeks old, but it's the same color as a cat he had seen in my yard (Cujo). I hadn't seen it, and I had been working in the sunporch all day, engraving. I told him to check at Catherine's-she puts out food for strays, and her yard attracts cats.
I resumed my work and as I worked, I thought of the same scenario played out in late September. A sixty-ish guy smelling very strongly of alcohol, knocked on my door looking for his cat. He had had the cat 5 years & was terribly fond of it. He had moved in the day before and intended to keep the cat in for a few weeks until she got acclimated. His wife went out to smoke a butt and let the cat out purposely, thinking it should just get used to the new environment. He called and called, but she didn't come. He was very distraught. I directed him to two neighbors who are out of work and who are crazy cat ladies; they would be more likely to spot the cat than I. I agreed with him that felines need to acclimate slowly to a new home and told him that I had put mine on a harness & leash the first few times out. We live on a busy street & there are frequent animal carcasses. A day later, he knocked again: kitty had come home-could he borrow my harness? I gave it to him and showed him how to put it on her, told him to keep it. He said he didn't like the apartment or the town. I never saw him again and I assume he moved back to his more rural town.
Two people in the same house in six weeks who move in and lose a cat within a day.

Then I started thinking; is my fate to always have a weird house across the street? This house in this small town has several units: I can't tell if it's 2 or 4. There is a never-ending parade of people moving in and moving out. Over the summer there was someone who played violin; he or she practiced in the afternoons, never at times that would bother anyone. It was lovely to listen to and do my work with music in the background. And then it was gone. I wonder why this one house always has trouble keeping tenants upstairs; the downstairs family has been there at least 7 years. They keep to themselves but their dog is always chained to the porch. A forlorn little terrier, my cats have no fear of him & taunt him by strutting on the doorstep, knowing he cannot reach them.

When I lived in the big, ugly city, the weird house across the street was a six-apartment tenement up the street a bit more, across from my friend Sue. There was an endless procession of moving in and moving out, children left unattended and hollering, drinking, fighting and blue lights in the night.
When I grew up in the big, beautiful city, the weird house across the street was a six-apartment tenement right across the street. We had no relationships with any of the myriad people who moved in or out, unlike every other house on the street.

As I worked and thought about all the weird houses across the street, I realized they have always been there and the theme is always the same. Absentee landlord who doesn't care & lets the place get rundown. Misfit tenants who take the place until they can find something better; they seem to move out the minute they do. And anything must be better, because they stay a month or two, a year at most.

Always having a weird house on the street has made me into a wary neighbor; the residents are never invited into my home, although I do interact civilly when necessary. Male residents of these houses make me conscious of my need to hold a sharp object in my hand, such as my keys or my calipers; I am pretty sure my voice registers in alto when I speak to them, and that my city accent comes out loud and clear. I've never had a major problem with the transient people in the weird house, but I don't intend to start now.

Does every neighborhood have a weird house? Or is it just a phenomenon I've discovered?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So Busy

Haven't had time to blog much this rainy summer. I am now on a real schedule,working regular days. It's much kinder to me in terms of energy. My commute is short and relatively pleasant and I am still deriving new shortcuts. I do so love a shortcut. My latest circumvents the local school system completely and hopefully will minimize crawling behind a bus. The main one involves driving past two ponds rather than a main road. No brainer.
The negative side is the total lack of organization, demanding and unrealistic customers and major personnel problems at this workplace. I like the group as individuals, but I cannot abide the DRAMA. A few of them can't help it, the drama imposes itself on their lives but the rest aspire to create it. I have spent a lot of energy imposing order, logic and routine into the environment. Yeah that's right-me, the Queen of Chaos, wielding order. Lots of effort but seeing results already. Lots of OT, due to a building remodel. I have banked enough time for a short vacation for the upcoming wedding and racked up some nice extrabucks.
The ability to keep to a schedule, and the need to unwind mindlessly has led to two new hobbies; television watching and jewelry making. The increase in income has enabled me to upgrade my cable. It helped that I got a flat screen in a flurry of mass consumption and had tech help to get it going. Now I have bright and clear picture coupled with a gazillion channels and for the first time, there is always something on. I am discovering indie channels, nat geo, history, sundance and HBO. No more HGTV most evenings. I started keeping a record of movies I watched. I still watch very little mainstream tv, but there's a whole new world out there.
The jewelry thing is going astoundingly well. I have made some really incredible pieces. It's a bit amusing the types of stone I have affinity for and keep gravitating towards. I have a good eye, and have been able to afford to indulge in good materials. For the first time in my life, I am letting myself spend some money to have fun. I don't drink, I don't go out much, I don't buy a lot of stuff for myself, so I indulge a bit on my hobby. It's working for me.
Fall is shaping up to be an incredibly busy time, so I am enjoying the every end of summer. It rained so much I never minded working a lot, but I did get to the beach once. I didn't get much down time, but then, when do I ever?

Monday, June 22, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

A week in between jobs. I thought of visiting a friend in the Caribbean-she got sick and came back to the states. I thought of accompanying Kate to California and sght-seeing a few days before her new job started=but my mom booked a trip to Atlantic City and asked Kate to Grampy-sit (he's been falling a lot).
So I decided to just stay home and maybe hit the beach a few days- the only days the sun came out were the days I had previous appointments.
But I did have a nice week. My sick friend came to recuperate in some peace & quiet, so I hung around and puttered and watched movies and so on.
The dutiful things I accomplished:
*Oil change and tuneup
*Eye exam and picked out new glasses
*Car inspection
*Cleaned the kitchen really well
*Took old clothes to St Vincent dePaul
*Set up new computer
*Bought new tv (the girls set it up)
*Shopping trip with son for items for his new apartment
*Two trips to the transfer station
*Shopped for dress to wear to wedding
*Engraved 2 jobs & delivered both
*Cleaned the clothes closet & gave away a lot of stuff
*Scrubbed the bathrooms sterile
The fun things I accomplished:
*Went out to eat with Son, GF & friend
*Went to dinner w sister & friend after dress shopping
*Visited a friend for a jewelry consult
*Had an ice cream soda at Friendly's
*Took friend to visit some of her cousins, who were delightful to meet
*Played Bejeweled so much my hands ache
*Saw Star Trek again n the big screen with son & fiance & friend
*Cooked a spinach lasagna
*Made a vat of chili with rice & corn bread
*Made a vat of pasta
We watched a real lot of HGTV, but also saw lots of movies, both on TV and DVD, including:
*My Big Fat Greek Wedding (again)
*Pursuit of Happyness
*Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
*The Color Purple (again)
*Night at the Museum (again)
*Harold and Maude (after many many years!)
*Young Frankenstein (after many many years!)
*Intolerable Cruelty
It doesn't look very restful, does it? And I still didn't finish vaccuming.
Tomorrow I start a new chapter in life. I look forward to it!
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