Category Archives: Family

Raison D’etre

Our tortie cat loves anything related to eggs or chicken. She was a hobby farm kitten before we got her, and we suspect she was exposed to eggs and poultry.  Any time she hears eggs being cracked in the kitchen or finds out that we are preparing a chicken dish, she is a constant pest. She steals eggshells out of the sink and bats them all over the house.  She fishes eggs out of bowls on the counter and rolls them on the floor.. Her favorite prank is to steal chunks of chicken off our plates or serving dishes. She rolls around provocatively on the counter in front of us whenever we have chicken out, in what we imagine to be an attempt to charm us into giving her some. We call it her chicken dance. Stealing chicken and being charming are her current reasons for existence.

Other of our animals have had definite life goals. Our terriers lived to have fun and investigate anything new. Our current grey cat lives to chase paper balls. I think my raison d’etre is still tied up in my work, but I am beginning to think about other things to live for.

What have your pets lived for?  What is your raison d’etre? How has it changed over the years?

Hats Off

Husband owns and wears what I consider to be a large number of caps. He usually stores them in a plastic tub in the entry way. He displayed them on the dining room table for me so I could take the photo.

The ones in the back row have team, club, or university affiliations. The middle ones are work caps, since they are older and soiled around the sweat bands. The ones in the front row are his special collection of blue caps. He said he started wearing caps after he got a Pioneer Seed Corn hat from my father when we were in graduate school.

Every time he leaves the house, he has to have just the right cap. It has to coordinate with what shirt he is wearing and what activity he is going to engage in. He rarely leaves the house without one.

I don’t understand the purpose of these caps. I think they would be hot to wear in the summer and insufficiently warm in the winter. He is about to take the cap tub into the basement for the winter and get up his stocking caps. (Oh, he also has a blue wool one with ear flaps that he sometimes wears in the winter.)

They are oddly important to him. He says wearing a cap helps him pass in the world of men who work outdoors.  He also likes them as they protect him from the wind.  I don’t think he needs to justify wearing a cap. I just would be irritated with something like that on my head all the time.

 What fashion trend would you like to see return? What fashion trend did or do you abhor?

 

I Need Book Advice

My mom, Nonny, is really doing well with shelter-in-place.  She has always been superb at doing what the doctor recommends – always.  I think I’ve probably said here before that if the doctor told her to stand on her head every Tuesday and spit wooden nickels, you’d better have a bucket to collect those nickels every Tuesday. 

At 88 she is taking covid precautions very seriously.  She is staying in, staying away from neighbors, only going shopping when absolutely necessary and then she goes the extra mile (sprays the inside of her car, wipes all products off when she gets home, wears a mask, etc.)  She is not an online person, so she’s watching a lot of tv and doing a solitary walk every afternoon.  She’s mentioned a couple of times over the last couple of months that she is “out of books”.   Despite the fact that she introduced me to libraries as a child, she is not a library person.  Although I’ve suggested she find a close one, she is worried about hanging about in a library and bringing home potential contaminants.  Telling her that she can talk to a librarian about how they are handling covid to possibly reassure her hasn’t helped.

I thought I would get her some books, but I’m stymied about what to send.  I know that her favorite author is Mary Higgins Clark.  I know that she likes mysteries and thrillers but not things that are “too dark”.  Too much graphic violence and sex is right out as well. 

So if I go to the bookstore to pick up some titles for her, what should I get???

Anger Management

Last week, the secretary at my office whose husband’s company did our cement work took the cheque I wrote for the job to our bank to cash it. The bank refused to honor the cheque.  They said that we never wrote cheques of that size, and that it didn’t look like my signature.  They apparently compared it to other cheques I had written. They tried to phone me, but I was busy with clients. I never noticed the calls. Husband had to go to the bank and confirm that the cheque was legitimate.

I don’t know how to feel about this.  If the secretary in question didn’t look really Hispanic, I probably wouldn’t be upset about this. Ruby said that the teller was condescending and rude.  I appreciate that the bank is looking our for my interests, but really!  Ruby’s husband, an immigrant from Mexico, came up with excuses for the bank, but I still am upset.

How do you manage your anger? 

Husband’s Dutch Fit

Husband and I have a pretty equitable division of labor when it comes to housekeeping.  He decided yesterday was the day for him to clean his bathroom.  He organized all the shelves, tossed out unnecessary stuff, and then gathered  all the cleaning supplies he thought he would need. You can see them on the counter below.

It is a small area, but it took him all morning.  Lots of rags were used in the cleanup. Different cleaning products were used to clean different parts of the room.  He had what our family calls a Dutch fit, an episode in which you go over and above regular cleaning.  He still needs to wash the floor. That will happen today.

I am grateful he cleans his own bathroom.  Housework has mysteriously gone by the wayside since the virus and the increasing election nonsense.  There have been few Dutch fits. I think we have been too exhausted to put energy into much cleaning. I am hopeful our house will shine and gleam after the election and the virus subsides.

What are your favorite cleaning products? What are your least favorite  cleaning projects?

Voting Options – who knew?

This past summer the state sent out a “do you want a mail-in ballot” form and it asked about the primary and general election.  I checked both boxes so wasn’t surprised when the ballot for November showed up two weeks back.

I had actually intended on going on election day to vote but YA wanted to vote early.  In fact, she was rather adamant about it.  So we both filled out the ballot and got then into the envelopes to mail.  That was when she informed me that she didn’t want to mail the ballots because she was worried about the postal service getting clogged up.  I said I didn’t think that was likely, but certainly not a month out.  But I acquiesced and looked up where you could drop your ballot off.  Downtown.  Ick.  I detest driving downtown and I didn’t want to pay $10-$15 for parking either.  But the drive-by drop-off in August didn’t happen until just a few days before the primary and YA was nagging me every day; I knew she wouldn’t want to wait until the end of October.

So yesterday I took a deep breath and looked up the exact location for drop-off and was ready to drive downtown and take the plunge when I saw a link to drive-by drop-off.  Yesterday was the first day!  As I headed into town I was a bit worried that it would be hard to find or that there would be big crowds, but I worried needlessly.  As I turned right onto 4th Avenue South, there were big banners at the sidewalk and there was only one other car in the drop-off area.  The worker who came out to take the ballots was friendly and helpful.  I mentioned that I was glad the weather was so accommodating and hoped it would stay that way.  She told me that they would actually be getting a tent soon so they would be able to operate in the rain.  Way to think it through Minnesota!

How will you be placing your vote this election?  In person?  Mail-in?  Drop-off?  Drive-through?

Christmas Is A Comin’

We purchased scads of stories on audio cassette tapes when our children were young. They listened to them as they drifted off to sleep. Daughter says she still has to listen to audio books before she can go to sleep.  Some of these were stories narrated by famous actors.  Meryl Streep narrated Peter Rabbit  and The Tailor of Gloucester.  Danny Glover narrated How the Leopard Got its Spots.  Jack Nicholson narrated The Elephant’s Child and How the Camel Got Its Hump.  The stories changed as the children got older, and there were crime mysteries, old time radio shows, and, finally, recordings of novels like  A Wrinkle in Time and the Lord of the Rings.  They all sit now in the basement in boxes.

In our effort to get rid of stuff, we are going to have these stories transferred to electronic files and CD’s, and give them to our children for Christmas. Our grandson is old enough now to appreciate stories. It will give us the pleasure of passing on these wonderful recordings and make space in the basement shelves.

Christmas is coming, and we are starting to plan for quiet visits with our son and his family in Brookings. Our daughter is flying to Sioux Falls for a wedding at that time, and we will see her in Brookings, too. It will be a quiet and very much appreciated time together.

What are your plans for Christmas?  What are your ideas for gifts? What stories do you think are essential for children to hear?

Who Dunnit?

Today’s post comes from Jacque.

What a week for dog drama and a Who Dunnit.

Lucky, our 8 year old Beagle/Terrier mix, had been ill for about 9 months with a tumor in her bladder.  We noticed the problem last January in AZ when we walked her during the day.  We pursued treatment for an infection, but then an ultrasound showed a mass in her bladder.  We knew for some time how this would end, but it became clear that my soft-hearted husband was struggling with the decision.  This caused conflict between the two of us.   Lucky’s illness  progressed, she was not feeling well and her behavior was getting irritable.  Several times she got a bit aggressive with our other dog, Bootsy (Corgi mix).  But it was only growling and barking.

Our neighbor, with whom we have had a very good relationship, was caring for her sister’s three large, movie star dogs (the  neighbor had two for a total of 5).  They are the dogs, a black Airedale and a part wolf dog, in the dog food commercial in which a dog leaps, then turns from an Airedale into a wolf.  These dogs have been escaping lately.  They have ordered a fence, but it was a long waiting list, so the dogs kept escaping despite their best efforts.  Meanwhile, coyotes have been hanging out in our yards and have been getting bold, sometimes showing up midday.

Tuesday afternoon something/someone, the coyotes, our sick dog, or the neighbor dog, mauled our other dog, Bootsy.  She was injured very badly, requiring surgery.  Lou had the girls outside with him in the yard, but he did not see anything happen.  Later, back in the house he noticed she was hiding and would not eat.  I looked around, finding her in the kennel.  Then I found patches of blood on our bed, in the kennel, and two guest beds which she visited looking for comfort. Lou had not seen the blood which left me incredulous.   We rushed her to the emergency vet.  Finally, at 1 am she was sent home from surgery with an external drain, many stitches, and a mesh cover over her torso.

Wednesday evening, Lou let Lucky out and stood at the door.  The neighbor’s dogs got out again, rushed into our yard, and Lucky yipped.  The neighbor texted me apologizing for the dogs getting away from her and scaring our dogs.  But one of those dogs had bitten Lucky on the shoulder.  It was superficial, so we did not even find the bite until the morning.

Friday morning Gentle Pet Vet came out and euthanized Lucky.  It was peaceful and actually, a very sweet experience.  We had a good cry, then buried her in the yard with her beloved squirrels which she loved to chase.  Bootsy is recovering very well.    Now we are still wondering, who mauled Bootsy?   Lucky?  The bite marks appear too big.  Coyotes?  A real possibility.  The neighbor dogs?  That is my theory.

Have you had any mystery or drama lately?  What is your theory of my mystery.

Licorice Alert

Wouldn’t you know it!  Husband has Type II diabetes, and watches his carb intake very carefully. We rarely, if ever, have chips and such in the house. His blood sugar levels are quite stable and in the normal range. He loves to snack on figs, so I order organic Turkish figs for him from a place in New York that sells all sorts of dried fruit, candy, dried beans, baking ingredients, etc.

Husband doesn’t eat much candy at all, but has a love for black Finnish licorice.  I really like it, too, and we go through a one pound  bag of it pretty fast. The New York connection sells wonderful Finnish licorice, and the last time he ran out of figs, I decided to order three pounds of figs and, to save money, I bought a five pound bag of black Finnish licorice.

A few days after the licorice  arrived, a news story emerged about the dangers of eating more than two ounces of black licorice a day.  Some guy on the East Coast collapsed and died from heart complications from eating a pound of black licorice a day for months. Licorice root in any form apparently has a compound called glycyrrhizin that lowers potassium levels which can lead to heart arrhythmias. Even licorice tea can increase blood pressure. The guy who died apparently had a really poor diet, and was eating in a fast food restaurant  when he collapsed. His potassium level was really low, and caused his heart to fail. Husband’s potasium levels were a little higher than normal at his recent checkup, probably due to figs, which are high in potassium. His blood pressure is in the average to low range.

All this hasn’t stopped our licorice eating, but it sure makes us hesitant to eat too much at once.  The five pound bag on the counter might last pretty long time.

How do you respond to expert dietary  advice?  What favorite snack would be hard for you to give up?

Mad Cat

When I moved into my house 30 years ago there had been a cat door installed in the door from the kitchen to the basement.  At the time it never occurred to me that I would ever have a cat so I took out the flap (which was broken anyway) and put a brass kick plate across the hole.  Since I left the door to the basement open most of the time anyway, it was just fine.

Then I got a cat.  And a cat box in the basement.  And a dog who was VERY interested in the cat box.  Eww.  So I took off the kickplate and closed the door.  Zorro was just fine with just a hole in the door for many years, although it always bothered me.  When we got Nimue I decided that I wanted something nicer looking so I bought a cat door/flap kit to install.  Of course, the hole was too large to install the kitty flap (or any kitty door/flap that I could find) so my local hardware store crafted a piece of scrap wood to fit into the hole so I could install the door.  Of course, this makes it sound easier than it was; after I got the scrap piece in place, I put off installing the door for a couple of weeks.

At the end of that two weeks, we had a thunderstorm during the day.  I’m sure I’m probably mentioned that my Irish Setter was not a big fan of thunderstorms.  At night I could keep her a little under control but that day, while the storm raged, I was at work.  I came home to see that in her mania to get to the basement (she always thought she would be safer from thunder in the basement), she had completely clawed the wood piece, to the point where it was unusable any longer.  I decided a hole in the door with no kitty flap would be fine after all.  I left the scrap piece in place and put the kitty flap kit in a drawer.

Fast forward to this week.  Rhiannon is no longer with us and Guinevere, while afraid of almost everything else on the planet, is not afraid of thunderstorms (don’t ask me why, it doesn’t make any sense to me either).  And we have company coming in October so I have a long list of projects that I’d like to get done.  Kitty flap/door was yesterday.  Turns out that the kit had instructions written by Martians and if I originally had all the pieces and hardware, I didn’t have them now.  Punting took just two trips to the hardware store.

Once the flap was installed, I took Nimue’s favorite kitty treats, went down the basement stairs and shut the door behind me.  She came to the door almost immediately when I shook the treat container; I had a treat in my hand and was just about to partially open the flap from my side when the dog decided she needed to assist in the operation.  Unfortunately, she wanted to assist by herding the cat, which is one of the cat’s least favorite things.  She fluffed up and ran.  When YA tried to help, Nimue ran upstairs where she ensconced herself in the middle of my bed.  She practically dared any of us to get near her.

She did eventually settle down but I’m worried that her first traumatic experience with the kitty door may be a bad omen.  I put several of her kitty treats on the other side for now, so we’ll see what happens.

Have you pissed anybody off lately?  On purpose?  Are you sorry or not?