Archive forNovember, 2009

Mental exhaustion

Most of today I’ve been trying to upgrade my website.

I purchased a template in hopes that I can be prepared to help my friend Diane come up with a classy site for her art work. It’s not “hard” but very time consuming, especially when I’m working with an “already developed” site and I’m trying to use the info which has already been written.

I have to edit photos and figure our java scripts, which are pretty new to me.

It’s going smoothly but there’s lots more to do.

You can check it out at

One of the neat things is that there are 23 choices of colors schemes. By inserting the color I want in one file and up-loading it, I can switch the whole scheme. I’m trying to get the menu updated. It is fairly complex so it’ll take a while, and I’m in no hurry.

I worked too long and too intently today. I’m brain-dead right now!

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Two weeks from Monday we’ll be taking off for Florida.

I’m famous for my lists and this is when my obsession really makes things easier. I have a list of “stuff to do” so that everything works. Without lists I’d be lost. Things like remembering to forward our mail, turn off our newspaper and our Wall Street Journal delivery, insure our Florida car, switch our phone service to Florida, re-set the house thermostat (and change the battery in it so the furnace will work while we’re gone). My list keeps growing. I also prioritize the items so I know when I must do stuff. Some of it is critical, and other things just make life easier.

My packing list is being perfected too.

I just crossed off “bring a live Christmas tree”. I had thought we would take a Michigan tree to Florida and put it up as soon as we got down there. Now, thinking about it, I’m realizing that neither John nor I should be around live trees. I have severe allergies to spruce trees and with John’s IPF he doesn’t need the exposure to molds and allergens. So I’ll see if it’s possible to buy an artificial tree and decorations when we get down there. A week before Christmas, prices should be low, if I can still find what I want.

Sun City Center is NOT a shoppiing mecca. We have a Walmart Super Store, two dollar stores and Beall’s (where they have great clothes), but that’s about it. There’s shopping just south of us in Ellenton (where there’s an outlet mall), and north of us there’s Brandon with a huge mall, but the traffic there is horrid year-round so I can’t imagine what it would be like a week before Christmas. Guess we’ll take our chances.


I found a lovely artificial Christmas Tree today and would have bought it, but it was a Goodwill and there was another lady who wanted it badly. I saw it first, and it was mine, but in the spirit of the season, I let the other shopper buy it. Sometimes I wish I could be pushier because now I wish I’d bought it! It was 7 1/2 feet tall, spruce with some artificial snow on the branches. The box was marked $200. It was like new. The price was $45. I won’t find another deal like that.

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Drama at the Vet’s

Willow hasn’t been well for several weeks. We’re concerned that we might lose her.

Today, although we’re in Saginaw, we called our Florida vet because he was the last to see Willow. Her symptoms didn’t sound good. He suggested that we take to to her Saginaw vet. We got an appointment and took her in to see her doctor.

I should mention that we have two really caring veterinarians for Willow: Dr. Waldy in Ruskin, Florida, and Dr. Hegenauer in Saginaw. Both go the extra mile to care for our beloved 14-year old small chihuahua.

Willow’s no longer really lovable. She’s always been feisty but now she’s not even “friendly” with John or me. She’s old, her left eye is blind, and she has a severe heart condition and she appears to be rather arthritic.

We continue to give her the best care possible. She’s been a good dog and just because she’s old and her “end” is approaching, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve the best we can provide for her. John and I have talked about her condition, and we agree that when she gets to the point where we can’t keep her comfortable, or she has a condition which makes her life unbearable, we’ll do the humane thing. But that time isn’t now.

We took her in to the vet because for about three or four days she hasn’t eaten at all. When we got to the veterinarian’s office, she was weighed. In January she had weighed 5.3 pounds. She’s now 4.2 pounds. She’s lost over ONE POUND…. 25% of her weight!

She isn’t running a temperature, but there are indications that she has a bladder infection so she’s on antibiotics. We are giving her dietary supplements.

But a very distressing thing happened as we were going into the vet’s office. A shabby guy with a large, obviously injured dog, asked me to move aside so he could get past me. The dog had a large wound on his side.

The man was really distraught. He said, “A neighbor stabbed him in my yard, right in front of me.”

We overheard the man explain that he had no money. It was obvious from the way he was dressed and his demeanor that he was really poor. This was a man who had nothing. I wanted to do something, but what can you do when you don’t really know the story? Do you stick your neck into a situation which might be violent?

Instead I asked our vet, as he was working on Willow, if the dog who had been stabbed was being cared for and he said, “Yes, we couldn’t send a dog away in that condition.” What a relief. I would have offered to pay for the dog’s care had it been necessary, but I guess, not knowing the parties involved, we had to stay out of it. When we left, the dog was in surgery.

I commend Cole Veterinary Clinic, on Schust Road in Saginaw, for their compassionate care.

I wish I’d felt free to step up and volunteer to help with expenses. He obviously wasn’t the kind of person we’d normally approach. It was his attitude and his demeanor that said “stay away.” It was a situation where we couldn’t get involved because he looked really threatening and who knows what the whole story was, but it sure wasn’t the fault of the innocent dog and it haunts me. Should I have asked if he needed help?

I’m still shaken.

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For years I’ve had a mental list of all kinds of projects which I planned to work on “someday.” I love hand arts: crocheting, knitting, tatting. Many of my “mental list projects” involve these time-consuming skills.

Back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, I purchased most of the crochet cotton stock from a Frankenmuth store when they closed. I also purchased the stock from Jacobson’s when they eliminated their crochet department. My horde was growing and so was my list of future projects. I had in mind bedspreads, clothing, doilies, and more and more projects.

Sometimes I’d get in a sewing mood, and buy up material for suits, and dresses. My list of projects grew.

In the early 1990’s I purchased a knitting machine and with it materials for knitted projects.

My list of proposed projects always justified the purchases of more materials because I’d need that stuff when I got around to working on them.

Back about ten years ago, I discovered eBay. Folks would sell their hordes of crochet materials and I’d buy them up .. always cheaply .. always in volume.

I have at least three plastic bins (the big ones) filled with balls of crochet/tatting cotton. I have hundreds of balls .. yards and yards .. all sizes (thicknesses) of crocheted cotton. I have cones of yarn .. yards of fabric .. shuttles, hooks, needles, books, patterns, more books, more patterns… Well, you get the idea.

I’m now 67 years old. If I got busy and worked night and day on all the projects I’ve dreamed of, I could never put dent in my list of projects. I couldn’t even scratch the surface.

I probably should start selling my horde. It no longer brings me comfort. In fact it’s become an unfinished blight. I no longer think of the mental list as “do-able.” Maybe it’s time to purge.

I’ll have to put that on my list of proposed “projects.”

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Today in Frankenmuth at Fischer Hall

John and I just returned from a wonderful day with our Saginaw Subterranean Strings Hammered Dulcimer Club. We had the “annual dinner” today.  Approximately 35-40 folks enjoyed a huge dinner.  The club bought chicken from a catering service (Kern’s).  John and I brought mashed potatoes and gravy.  We organized the day.  We had the members bring a dish to pass.  Linda Conklin brought a huge pan of her wonderful dressing.  We had everything you could wish for.

We ate from 12:00-1:00 then played wonderful music from 1:00-4:00.  Although we hold our event in Frankenmuth (which is Michigan’s largest tourist attraction) we didn’t expect much of a crowd but we had a nice sized audience all afternoon.  We have a box near the door where people make “contributions” to the historical society which owns the building.  We probably didn’t collect any fortune, but it was satisflying and our folks had a great time. 

We played a lot of holiday music to get us ready for the Christmas season.  I invited Diane Rostollan to sing “Oh, Holy Night.”  It was so incredible that some in the audience were in tears.   She also did some selections from a new CD she just finished.  She sang a hymn from the CD “Come Thou Font.”  It was really lovely.

We always end up with “Amazing Grace.”  We do it several times through.  We start out with a solo whistle (George), then we all played it, next we let Diane sing it through, then we had the audience join in, and we ended up with a solo whistle.  The whole thing was grand.  What a wonderful day.

Our club members were so supportive. They all pitched in. They are like family and we really appreciated their involvement and support.

Life is too short. We need to cherish each day like today that is filled with really nice friends who are like family.

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Midland Dulcimer Festival

Margaret Loper, John and I resigned this week from the Midland Dulcimer Festival management team.  (John and Margaret aren’t well enough to continue, and I couldn’t do anything helpful without involving John and creating stress for him that he doesn’t need.)

The Folk Music Society of Midland board is meeting on December 9th to decide if the festival will continue and who will be the chairman and do the workshops. 

Finding somone who will organize the workshops won’t be easy, and no one wants to “be in charge.”  Personally we feel that the festival would be better ending than disappointing attendees but that will be determined at the December meeting which we don’t plan to attend. It’s in their court.

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Working with Websites

I’ve promised some of my Florida friends that I’ll help them create a website when I finally get down there.

One lady, Diane, a super artist, is especially interested because she needs a gallery type site to display her work. She also wants to do one for the “art league.” I’ve located a template website which has several possible formats. I’m really impressed with the quality of their offerings. I’m thinking about upgrading using this template:

Possible Template

The butterflies will be replaced with photos of our festivals.

If I work with the site prior to helping Diane, I’ll be in a much better position to assist her. It’s not cheap to by the template, but I figure it’s a business expense, and learning to use the “Allwebcodesign” templates should give me a lot of tools to use with my site. I can include a gallery, frequently asked questions area, and even a paypal shopping cart for It comes with 23 different color possibilities. I’m seriously considering it. I love the challenge of learning a new program/technique.

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I’m still limping around. Still haven’t tried wearing shoes (figure another few days without them will make it easier). If you wonder what I’m talking about, read the earlier posting.

We have a performance and Frankenmuth Dinner performance on November 21st. On the 30th we’ll practice. The rest of the month is fairly quiet. In December, we have a huge performance in Bay City on the 2nd with our club, and on the 3rd for just the two of us. Then we go until December 13th when we have our last performance before we head south.

So the number of plays isn’t huge, but we need to practice and get ready for them.

So I’m hoping that within the next few days I’ll be able to go out wearing shoes. Right now, it’s hard to contemplate.

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Lost Stuff and More Toe Trouble

I lost John’s medical records this week.

Our house was a disaster during the time when everything was moved out from our great room, dining room, and master bedroom so the flooring could be installed. I remembered relocating John’s important medical records from the dining room table where they’d been for several weeks. I wanted to be sure they wouldn’t get lost. I planned to put them in the portable file case which we drag back and forth to Florida. But when everything was back in place, I went to look for them in the case, they weren’t there.

It took me more than a day to locate the records and the DVDs of his CT scans, etc. When I found them it was one of those “Of course” moments. It all came back to me crystal clear. I remembered I couldn’t reach our portable file case. Everything had been stowed in the hot tub room and it was really really cramped and crowded. I remember standing at the door of the hot tub room and realizing I couldn’t reach the file case so I slipped them in my laptop’s computer case. As soon as I saw the case, I remembered that they were safe.

It’s awful when you get old and forgetful.

Toe Trouble – OUCH!

sore toesWhen it comes to Toe Trouble, I’ve had more than my share. If you’ve followed this blog you know I have frequent “Sore Toe Problems” (as indicated in this 2007 blog posting).. Today I was changing the bedding and I tangled my foot in the blankets which had been pushed to the floor at the end of the bed. When I caught my right foot in the blankets, my poor toe caught the hard corner of an oak chest of drawers. I doubt that it’s broken, but it’s sure bruised, swollen, and sore.

Add that to my bad back, which I’ve been suffering from for a couple of weeks, and I’m pretty miserable.

I know I should have done a pedicure before posting a photo of my toes. I will haul out the polish before I go to Florida because I know when wearing sandals they’ll show, but here, in Michigan, legs, underarms and toes are all ignored by us old married folks when it gets cold and those areas are hidden.

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Our Michigan home looks grand and we have very little to do until the 21st of November when we put on the Subterranean Strings annual dinner at Fischer Hall in Frankenmuth.

We found out today that McBrite Manor, where we have played with Subterranean Strings for more than a dozen years for their Christmas Open House, will not be hosting a December event due to the flu risk. With John’s health problem, I’m just as glad.

We are gradually backing away from our music “commitments.” It’s not easy to say “No, we can’t do it,” but with John’s illness, he really can’t continue at the tempo he’s maintained for so many years. It’s just not possible. I’m sure there will be some people who won’t understand and will feel we’re abandoning the music community, but I’m watching him try to stretch his breathing resources. He just can’t continue to push himself.

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Sadly I did it!

I just marred our new hardwood floor! It’s not ever 48 hours old and I did it!

I extended the foot of the recliner where I was sitting and the recliner mechanism squeezed down on the power box thingie of my computer forcing it into the floor. A deep dent resulted. It’s lucky that I didn’t leave two because there was a transformer box from the phone also under the recliner but it was smaller. At least it’s hidden under the edge and will never show but I feel awful! The installers told us that the advantage of wood is that you can always take out a board and replace it. If this was out in the open, I’d definitely be calling them to do it. It’s that bad.

But in the overall scheme of things, this is not a crisis. Bad health creates a crisis. This is just a pimple.

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Before and After

Before and After our Flooring project
John’s dream was always to have hardwood in our great room. We selected an “exotic wood,” Brazilian Cherry. The boards are 3/4″ thick and tongue and grooved. The installers were fussy which shows. (If you look carefully out the right photo, you can see the little lake we live on.)

I still have a lot of stuff to put away. The carpeting from the living room was installed in our bedroom. It is lovely there, but in order carpet the walk-in closet, we had to take all of our clothes out. I’ll be busy today sorting through everything. Only the stuff I am certain I will actually wear again will be put back in the closet. The rest will go to charity. I figure there’s no way I’ll ever live long enough to be able to wear all the clothes I’ve squirrelled away, even if I change my outfit several times a day. And let’s face it, I will probably never again be a size 4 or 6. I’m getting rid of about 1/3 of the stuff.

The rug in the “after” photo (above) is just a temporary solution until we can find the right area rug. I want a light colored one that’s about 8 x 5 1/2 which will provide a nice accent. Eventually I want to go with a different color scheme, so I want something neutral.

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Florida Fashion

I’m watching the Today Show and they’re featuring fashions for this winter. Everything is in dark rich colors and knee high boots are a big “must have” fashion item.

I have a pair of those boots which are perfect. I can be “right in style.”

But in December, we’re heading to Florida. In Florida, the only people who wear dark colors are northerners. They “stand out” like a sore thumb.

Florida folks wear resort wear year-round. Capris and bermudas are always popular. Pastels and white are appropriate even the middle of their “winter.” I’ve never seen anyone wear boots but sandals are big year-round.

At least that’s how it’s been the past few years. But maybe this year it’ll be different. Should I drag along my black high leather boots?

I always think of that locale as more “style conscious” than here in Michigan. But admittedly in Florida they have their own look. It’s not 5th Avenue, it’s “Florida style.”

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