Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Alexandrite

I did it. I bought an Alexandrite / Neodymium crystal toothpick holder. I couldn't pass up the richness in color, bright pink under incandescent light and a moody blue under fluorescent. I bought it from the Etsy store South Florida CollectorsThey have one more, if you are interested to buy it.

It all started back in the 1999 - 2000 time frame. My younger daughter was living in Indianapolis at the time. We (her dad and I) had gone down to visit, and made a day of shopping the sprawling antique shops in the area. We came upon a glass case with quite a few nice pieces displayed. There was a small green item, perhaps a candle holder, that my daughter bought for me. 

But I could not take my eyes away from a small lavender vase. I never saw lavender like that. It had no sheen, no rainbows, or other enhancements you normally see in glass. No, this had a life of its own. It was lavender that hinted that it wanted to be pink and blue at the same time, like a living color inside of it. I was so taken by the color my daughter bought it for me. 

My vase lived on a window shelf, so I could enjoy it in the light. It was always more pink in the sunlight. I didn't think much about it. Then one night I noticed it lost its color! All traces of lavender and pink were gone! It was just a dull, pale, lifeless blue. I was shocked and saddened. How could that be? How could color "leach" out of glass? It was not possible, but yet, here I was, holding my beloved lavender-pink vase that had gone dull blue. With a downcast heart I returned it to the shelf.

The next morning the pink was back!

So now I had a mystery. That evening I looked and again saw my vase had paled to blue. I took it off the shelf and held it under the kitchen light....ahhhhh, the kitchen light. I had recently changed bulbs to curly fluorescent! I still had some incandescent bulbs, so I took my vase over to one of those lights. The pink returned! I began searching the internet for answers. Oddly, none could be found, so I gave up. 

I stumbled upon the answer a week ago. I was reading an article about dichroic glass, which changes color depending on how light sines through it. I took the "changing color" part as a clue, so I searched, and stumbled upon Alexandrite or Neodymium glass. FINALLY I had an answer!  

Alexandrite is vintage but not antique. Neodymium was discovered in 1885 and first used as a glass dye in 1927. Several different companies produced it, each with their own slightly different chemical formula. You can Google it to read more if you are interested, but basically Neodymium absorbs certain lightwaves so it appears to change color under different lighting. Neodymium - Wiki

Here are some pictures that demonstrate the dynamics of this glass.

Daylight 


Incandescent (old-style light bulb)

LED

Fluorescent

As you can see, the vase on the left is aqua under fluorescent lighting. Different glass companies used different formulas, which gives the variety in color.

Friday, December 16, 2016

This and That

I scored another $25 gift card, this time from a different survey company. Yay me! I noticed the companies give you bigger and better surveys after you prove yourself.

Today seemed mild after yesterday's biting 25 below zero wind chill. It started snowing about 3:30 pm. We are supposed to get a total of 8 inches by the time it's done on Sunday.

I'm trying out an app now that I have a smartphone, MyFitnessPal. I enter all the food I eat in a day and it tells me if I'm eating too much of something or not enough. I usually have problems getting enough protein without adding too much cholesterol. I have to force myself to eat fish. I don't eat a lot of meat, and I can't eat nuts.

I also have problems with eating too much sugar. It's in almost everything, including fruit. I have issues with foods that reduce sugar by adding artificial sweeteners, because they cause me to have a scratchy throat and a headache. Carbs have always been my favorite food, although I do like salads, but more so in summer. So, it's difficult, especially since all the helpful info tells me to eat nuts and soy.

I still need to experiment more with coconut flour. I think it's pretty gross, kind of like eating sand, egg-flavored sand, because you need to add a lot of eggs to hold it together.

Here's a typical issue day for me. I'm not getting enough protein, so I decide to scramble 2 eggs. "Your goal is to stay under 300 mg of Cholesterol", the program posts in red letters, as now I have exceeded it by eating 2 eggs.

Do not recommend I eat just the whites. I will gag and throw them in the trash. I hate the whites, and will only eat them if my eggs are scrambled.

I eat yogurt and the program praises me for eating calcium, but then later I eat an apple and the red-letter scolding comes up again, "Your goal is to stay under 50 grams of sugar". Normally I buy unflavored yogurt and sweeten it with Splenda, but my hubby bought me to probiotic kind, with sugar.

So it goes, issues everywhere, but I'm learning and trying.

My daughter is worried about being snowed in at work and she can't get home, or at home and she can't get to work. She said her car doesn't handle well in the snow. I haven't tried driving it lately, so I'm not sure if she's right or just out of practice for living away from winter for 12 years.

I need a short step stool so I can sit in front of the frig. It's a small frig. The whole kitchen is undersized. My issue with the frig is that because of my neck surgery I need to lean sideways to reach in and it's a pain in the neck. The other way is to squat, which I can do, but then my knees start to hurt. The best thing would be sitting in front of it. Note to self....buy a short step stool.

Well, I need to go wash some clothes, and get some exercise  from going up and down the stairs.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm in the Mood for Hearts


Those of some natural hearts that turned up in my life. Spud Heart, from a bag of potatoes, Strawberry heart, from a box of strawberries, and Stone Heart, in the desert in southern California.

I have other hearts, earrings, a necklace, more heart shaped rocks, and my best heart, the one beating inside my hubby's chest.

Today my hubby and I drove to Brookfield to do some shopping for winter clothes. Hubby bought a thick, warm jacket for $15, perfect for work, warm and not expensive. He also needed warm boots. He bought nice ones rated to -25 degrees for only $25.


On the way there we were talking. I told hubby that bird woman upstairs was coming home as I was heading down to the basement to wash clothes. In case you didn't know, this apartment building has a locked entry door. I noticed she was standing there in the frigid cold fumbling for her keys. This woman has never answered when I say hello. I opened the door to let her in. She looked surprised, frightened, and stepped back. "Come in", I said gently. "Thank you", she answered in a tiny voice. We each went our own way, but I was happy that maybe I made a difference in her life. I told my hubby I don't think she is bad, I think she is afraid of people, autistic, maybe.

The locked entry doors, frosty from cold

Hubby told me his mom had her surgery and she's fine. She had fibroids. Then we were talking about health. Hubby recalled how we were turned away from a clinic in Indiana. It was a clinic I had visited many times in the past. We were turned away for "only" having the "Bronze" level of Obamacare. He told me that made him very sad. It wasn't the first time health care in Indiana kicked me to the curb. I could write stories for pages. Hubby knows the stories, the denial care, the never care, the "go away you have no insurance" non-care.

Then we laughed about how easy California is. Before we moved I applied for coverage in California. After we moved we received a letter stating that we didn't qualify because our income was too low (hubby hadn't started working yet, we only had my social security), so they enrolled us in MediCAL, California medicaid. I was shocked! 

In the state of Indiana this was a big NO-NO! Immigrants can NOT have any kind of Medicaid services unless it is to save a life, in which case the state of Indiana will then sue for repayment.

We drove to the local office. The lady told us, "Oh, you're fine, we even cover undocumented immigrants in California.

Again we laughed about when we tried to cancel it. The lady sat there with a dumbfounded look on her face. "Why would you want to cancel it?" she asked. "Because we no longer qualify," I explained. She told me no one "gets off" MediCAL, it just expires by itself. Ok, awesome! Free health care. Wisconsin also has expanded medicaid, although hubby has insurance through work and I have Medicare.

Hubby said to me, "We've both had a hard life, I think we are really blessed now. Life is easy here." "Yes," I answered, "but you work so hard." "I like to work," hubby answered. He seemed so at peace, so at home, finally.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Surveys and Stuff

About a month or so ago I signed up for some online surveys, mostly to alleviate boredom, and, well, to see if I could make some chump change in the process. I don't need to work, but I worked from home for 12 years, and in a way, I miss parts of that arrangement.

I think the best of the three that I signed up for is VIP Voice. I managed to get a $25 Amazon gift card from them for logging everything I ate for seven days. I also received 200 points for each day I completed, which I will enter into a drawing for some cash. It only worked out to $3.60 per hour for all my trouble.

Many times I don't qualify for surveys....why? Mostly because I'm not fad shopper or a restaurant chain eater or a TV watcher or a junk food junkie. Gee, I just don't fit into all that commercialism.

Some surveys are a bit tedious. It helps to save receipts, because they ask where, when, how much, etc. Other surveys let me type in our favorite places like Perc Place and the Milwaukee Ale House, and then go on to ask me about every restaurant chain in America. Have I heard of them? Some. Did I eat there? Mostly not. Did I see an ad on TV? uhhhhh...well, no TV, so, no.

The shoe and boot dilemma. I have big feet, I hate that, but they are what they are. And they are wide, and I have bunions, which runs rampant on my mom's side of the family.

My hubby loves to shop for himself, but then he wants to buy something for me.

Anyway, hubby has cut back his shopping drastically because we are saving, but he did buy some Skechers about a month ago. The store had discount prices, so he wanted me to buy some winter boots.

Hubby... "Get something nice, even if they cost $60 or more."

Me..."No way am I paying $60 for something I'm going to wear in the winter slush."

Hubby..."All right." (slightly downcast....yes he's feeling guilty for spending money on himself)

To make him feel better I start trying on nice boots, in the $60 to $100 range.

"Ouch! They pinch my bunions!" I ask for wide. They don't have many in wide. They still hurt. They seem to run small, but the next size up is too long and they slip. We give up.

Next we try Cabela's. Years ago I got a decent pair of ankle boots there.

None of the Woman's shoes or boots come in Wide. None. Nada. Zip. Zero.

The sales lady asks if I want to try Men's. I take a look. I try one pair. They are as heavy as bricks, and chunky. We give up again. I'm not sad about that because the prices were way up there.

Then we go to Walmart. I try on a pair. Perfect! Comfortable, no pinching, waterproof, and only $19.98. Hubby is happy I have boots and he is amused by the price.

In other news, hubby got his new phone, an iPhone 7 Plus. He gave his old phone to me. It is a Samsung Galaxy S4, and good enough to be my first smartphone. I kept holding out because of the expense. We share a data plan, and we just keep data turned off and connect with WiFi, unless we need otherwise.

I've been having fun with my phone. My daughter has a live wallpaper that I had been wanting so I got that. I also installed a couple others. They are Night and Day, Aurora and Snow. They all have lots of stars and a moon and night, plus sunrise, daytime and sunset. I enjoy them. Here is a link to Day and Night in the Google Play Store

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 30: My Word for 2017...Goals

2016 was a year of change, of going into debt because we moved 2,300 miles to a new state and had to wait a month for my hubby's background checks to finish so he could begin working. When you've lived in two previous states in two year's time, background checks take longer.

For me it was a year of recovery from major surgery. For my younger daughter, it was a new life in the Midwest after her husband said he wanted a divorce because, well, they had grown apart, so they were nothing more than "roomies". She came here to help me after my surgery, because I was mostly helpless for a few weeks. She took a family leave and put in a transfer.

If it wasn't for her I don't know how we could have managed. My husband was new at his job and had taken several days off, plus he was sleeping in the hospital with me and then driving 40 miles to work. With my daughter here, he reduced his time at the hospital because she visited me everyday. Once I was home, she helped me with everything, because for awhile, I couldn't even pick up a glass from the cupboard, nor lift my arms to wash my hair.

I do believe that 2017 will be goal-driven. My husband has established himself as a reliable and hard worker with the company where he works. He will have been there one year in April. As he goes into year #2, he wishes to pick up some training which will give him more opportunities, or perhaps work the weekend shift which has higher pay.

We also have an aggressive savings plan, because we would like to buy a house in the next year or two. Our dream to own a home with a front porch might be realized here. Hartford has many.

My car will be paid in full in just three months, and it still runs great. It's been across the US from Indiana to California and from California to Wisconsin, over loaded both times. It drove like an army tank through near gale-force winds in Wyoming. They were closing I-80 behind us all the way to Cheyenne. Having my car paid off will allow even more income to go into savings.

Trip to Kosovo.....my hubby needs to see his parents. They are very old, and sad, because they are mostly alone. He thought about not going, but I told him he should go, because what if he waited too long. We are hoping he can also meet up with his brothers. He hasn't seen his older brother in years.

Me...I continue to improve. My shoulders and neck are still not as strong as they should be. I will forever have a limited range of motion, but I'm pretty much used to it now. I can sleep without pain (pillows were a real issue for awhile). My hair is growing back. I think it will be shoulder-length again by spring.

I would like to buy a better camera. I am torn between point and shoot and professional. I like the small, lightweight point and shoot cameras. I cannot lug around a full-size DSLR with lenses. I would like to find a small camera with some capacity to take a picture of the full moon, or to zoom in and not become pixilated. Also, my Canon fails with sunset colors or bright oranges and reds. I might look at Nikon.

That's about all I can think of right now. I won't quit writing, it just won't be as often. Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 29: Today's prompt: What was your most embarrassing or scary trip to the doctor?

Well, I never got to the favorite toy prompt.

I've had some scary trips to the doctor. In 1996 I had a lump in my breast. It was tiny, but it was growing fast. Because the doc I was seeing left I didn't have access to a doctor right away. It was something like more than 2 months before I could see a doctor. Those were the grand ole' days when Indiana kicked everyone under the bus unless you #1, had insurance or #2, were dying enough to be seen in the ER. I was terrified. Finally I was sent for an Ultrasound.

I really don't feel like getting into the details again. Yes, it was cancer, stage 2 on the left and in situ on the right. I had lumpectomies, chemo and 16 weeks of radiation that made me feel like my boobs were hamburger.

Long story short, after all the hell, I'm still here. It's been 20 years. The disclaimer papers I had to sign listed all kinds of reasons I might not be here. It could come back in 5 years. I could have leukemia in 20 years, or heart disease. So far none of those have surfaced.

Now...the toy. I had to think about that. I had a collection of toy horses, but I don't have them anymore. One thing I do have is a toy cow. It's not even an attractive cow. I don't even like cows all that much. I mean, I like them but I don't collect them. I really don't remember why this particular toy was so special to me.

Once one of my friends had some other toy I wanted, so I traded my cow for that toy. Then I wanted my cow back. I got my cow back, but the tip of one horn was chewed slightly. Ugh! My cow was defiled. I still have my cow.

I haven't been in the mood to write from prompts, yet I have been busy, and without much time to write. This was a very poor excuse of a blog post tonight.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 28: My Most Precious Possession When I Was a Kid...hmmm

Here's today's prompt: What was your most precious possession when you were a kid?

No time....company...sorry...will post tomorrow

Day 27: Missed Again!

Ok, it's late, I'm tired, I forgot to write again, I shopped and cooked and enjoyed time with hubby before he left for work and invited my daughter over this evening for a bite to eat and fun talking. We laughed a LOT. We made up memes for all the "old" things we remember.

My first computer...a whole whopping 16 Megabites of RAM hahahahaha and Dial-Up OMG lolol it was 9,000 something kilobites per second. Then I Upgraded to 14,000-something. hahahhaha.

My daughter remembers her first video game...Atari....you had to Program it before you could play!

Cell phones....monster heavy, then ity bity, then big again.

All so much fun.

Nite all.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 26: Awesome Soup

When hubby and I went out to eat in West Bend, hubby had a beef and vegetable soup with cabbage in it. He said it was delicious, and asked if I could make it. I peered over at his bowl and calculated what was in it.

"Sure, I can make that."

This morning when hubby was sleeping, I went to the store and bought this:

Stew meat (beef)
celery
carrots
cabbage
(I already had onion and potatoes)
can of diced tomatoes
tiny pasta (I bought Creamette "Rings")

I never use soup bases or flavor packets. They are full of chemicals that make me sick.

I browned the meat well, until it was brown. Non of that gray stuff, it must be brown. Don't let it burn, or the broth will be bitter. Then I added water and set the meat to simmer. I chopped onion and celery and sauted them in a little olive oil. Then I tossed in two peeled and sliced carrots. I like them cut like medallions. I set that aside to while I transferred the meat and broth into a dutch oven. I then added the veggies and the can of tomatoes. At this point I peeled and cut up two potatoes and sliced up a wedge of cabbage. After everything was simmering together for about an hour I added a handful or two of pasta rings. I added a spoon of paprika from Kosovo, which would be Hungarian paprika here in the U.S. After simmering for another hour I added some black pepper and some salt, to taste, of course.

"Red Pepper" in Europe, or at least in the Balkans, is Paprika, but with flavor. It's not hot, but it's not the flavorless Paprika we use as garnish here. Here in the U.S., "Red Pepper" is Cayenne, which is flaming hot, so don't get them mixed up!

Not much left, but you get the idea.

I served it to hubby after he woke up. He loved it! He said it was much better that what he had at the restaurant. I have to admit, it was one of the better soups I ever cooked.

Yay me!

Day 25: Missed Again

Well, we were busy. We went looking for shoes for me, didn't find anything (normal for me, to not find anything). Then we popped into a couple stores we never were in before. Then we ate at a restaurant that we won't go back to (not great food, but the coffee was good). That was all in West Bend. Then we came home and I cooked hubby's lunch (for work) while he took a nap. After he left for work I decided to take down and put away all the fall decorations. I got out my lights but have no way to hang them in the window, well, that I can reach, anyway. I was disappointed to realize my LED candles won't sit on the too-narrow window ledge. Unless I tape them to the glass, it will be the first time ever that I haven't had LED (or some other type of electric) candle in the window. I took some fake flowers and glued them to an embroidery hoop and hung them on the door. So that's why I'm late posting.


Moved the flowers and raised the LED candle so you can see it. Too bad the hall light is so bright you can't hardly see it

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day 24: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hubby and I are both thankful he has tonight off, and we are thankful for my daughter's company. We are thankful my other daughter and her family visited last weekend.

We had a nice dinner, not as fancy as I normally would cook, but it's all I could do with my neck and shoulders, and this tiny kitchen. I am extremely grateful and thankful that my daughter washed the dishes for me while I dried and put them away. Otherwise I would have been hurting a lot more than I am by now. She also baked an awesome pumpkin pie, her signature dish.

No pictures tonight. I'm tired and sore. Hubby went to see his cousin for a little bit after dinner. We will probably watch movies when he comes back.

That's all for now. Need to relax.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 23: Up in the Air

Hubby has been off work since last week. He is working tonight, and I'm waiting for 10:05 pm to check his work schedule for tomorrow. If he's working, then he and I will have a bite to eat before he leaves, and then my daughter will come over after she gets home from work at 6 pm. She is baking homemade pumpkin pie. I'm doing the sides and a roast chicken, because a turkey is too big, and hubby doesn't like turkey.

This morning the gloomy weather had us both in a funk. It seems like all the things we want to do just keep getting pushed to the future. My neck and shoulders are still not strong and exercise is still difficult. My neck is stiff, with limited mobility. Oh, woe is me. Anyway, we went to the store and came home and took a nap together and felt better.

I've been dabbling in some things to keep me busy. I'm doing a few surveys online. I'm getting paid $25 to do one on food. I'm playing more with photography, trying to learn more, and hope to figure out what a good camera would be for me, because I can't lug around a heavy one. I really want to push more into my hobby. It just so happened that all three of us (who were taking pictures) shot the same scene. Here is Lake Michigan at Port Washington. Samsung S7, Maxx Droid 2 and my point and shoot Canon. I think the Samsung wins hands down. My hubby wanted the one that was blowing up.



Hubby talks about buying a house, but he isn't settled into a job he wants to keep "forever". What if we buy a house here and he finds a better job in another town? Well, credit cards first, gotta pay them off. We are nearly done there. Then there is his trip to Europe to visit his parents and brothers. He has mentioned postponing it but he already told his mom he's coming and she has been crying. We've thought about just renting, but darn-it, can I ever have More Windows than just facing One Direction? Our plans are up in the air.

Two more minutes and I can look at his schedule.

Yay, he's off tomorrow. It says "Holiday Shutdown".

Well, one thing is settled, we are eating together tomorrow, the three of us.

I purchased some online photography courses. Yay

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 22: What the Heck Are We Seeing??

Earlier in the month hubby and I drove down to Germantown to do some shopping. The sun was setting as we were driving home. We love to take the rural roads, and they are the most direct way to travel from Hartford to Germantown.

Just after the sun dipped below the horizon I noticed a bright star with a tail near the clouds.

"I didn't know we had a comet in the sky, but it's tail should be more opposite the sun," I thought.

Then I watched in amazement as it DRIFTED SLOWLY to the west. It looked like a meteor but it didn't move like one. As I fumbled for my camera it began to fade. "It's moving behind a cloud" I thought. "No, it actually faded away!" Just then I noticed another bright dot appear in the same place as the first! It grew a tail and drifted. By now my camera was ready and I was desperately trying to take pictures in spite of the motion of the car.

I told my hubby to pull over. "See that bright thing in the sky with the tail?" "There...There!" I pointed. He finally saw it, while driving the curves of the road. "PULL OVER SO I CAN TAKE PICTURES!!!"

"I can't! Cars behind!"

"Pull over there!" I pleaded, or demanded, or both.

He found a spot near the corner. I hopped out and grabbed as many pictures as I could. I saw at least four of them, all originating from the SAME AREA of the sky. My hubby speculated they might be UFO's. I told him, "Well, they are unidentified flying objects, but they move WAY TOO SLOW to be meteors."

I've been a sky-watcher all my life, I've seen lots of meteors streak across the sky. I saw a fireball when I was a teen in L.A. I discovered a comet when I was five and we lived in the California desert. I told my parents it was a comet. My sighting was confirmed when the morning paper announced a comet named by two Japanese astronomers. I've watched the International Space Station cross the sky. I've watched high-flying jets leave trails. I know what things look like.

I shared my photos with as many pages I thought might have an answer to what they were. Never got an answer. That happened November 8th.

The today I watched a video of the SAME THING filmed by a teen in Japan!

Amazing, I thought. At last, someone can show how crazy SLOW these "meteors" are. The article "connects" the slow moving meteor to the earthquake, which is pure speculation and coincidence, since we saw the same objects on the 8th. here in southeast Wisconsin.

Here is the video:

And here are my pictures from November 8

Uncropped

Closely cropped with an enlarged view inside the circle

Brightness lowered to show it better

Another one, drifting off to the west

Have you seen any of these? Do you know what they are?

Day 21: How Much Do You Spend On...

I use Mint to keep track of all expenses. I use a Spreadsheet of my own design to keep track of bills. Hubby and I have a pretty good handle on things. I have helped him become a saver more than a spender, because we have saving goals. However there is one area where we fall short, groceries.

The FDA uses "the Thrifty Plan" to figure that a family of two adults our ages should be spending $496 a month on food in our zip code.

I have a question about the thrifty plan...

What . Are . They . Eating?

Is it just Wisconsin or is food costing like hell everywhere? I also need to factor in the fact that we don't eat dollar a box junk. I steer away from highly processed food with a lot of chemicals. We don't eat pork, which is pretty much the cheapest type of meat. I won't touch fatty beef with a ten foot pole. It needs to be lean. I only eat chicken breast, but not often. Hubby eats legs, which are cheaper. I can't eat a lot of the cheap meal fillers like potatoes and rice because of my health. Coupons are normally for food we don't eat...brand name prepared foods full of chemicals. I shop at Aldi a lot, but I can't buy everything there.

I found this handy budget calculator.

Family Budget Calculator

And I missed posting this before midnight. I guess I will elaborate in the morning. <sigh>

Update---another website said $688, so that's closer.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 20: Happy Birthday Hubby!

We had an enjoyable day with my older daughter and her family. We were going to walk at the Lion's Den in Grafton, but it was closed for hunting season. We were bummed about that, but decided to make the short drive north to Port Washington. It turned into a fun shopping trip. My daughter and her hubby completed some of their early Christmas shopping at Port Washington's unique shops. We took a frigid walk in the wind around the park and took pictures of Lake Michigan. Then we went to Smith Bros. Coffee House to warm up and then shopping. Afterward we drove back to Grafton and ate dinner at The Ale House overlooking the Milwaukee River. Hubby and I had been there earlier in the year with his cousin. It was good, but maybe next time I won't have fish and chips. They seemed greasy this time. There are other places to eat in town. Time to explore more. Here are some pictures:

Port Washington, two lights that mark the harbor entrance

Bundled up against the chill, we took turns at the lookout

I zoomed in and cropped to you can see the waves out there on the lake

Grafton

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 19: Short & Sweet

Hubby's birthday is tomorrow. We celebrated today. My daughter and her family are in town. We had a lot of fun. Made a cake for hubby. I am sooooooo sleepy, gotta go to bed!

Here is the cake. We were hoping the top layer wouldn't slide off (it didn't). Those are strawberries.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 18: Did We Fight?

Today's blog prompt is "What is the dumbest thing you and your partner ever fought about?"

I'm listening to the wind. The windows rattle occasionally. I can hear leaves blowing around outside. My husband is napping an hour before he needs to get up for the night shift. I'm listening to his soft breathing. He is the love of my life. I'm thinking about my blog. Did we fight about dumb stuff? Did we fight at all?
My hubby and I walking last June, a month after my neck surgery

Why, yes. Yes we did. When he was a new immigrant, he came face to face with all the laws and regulations we have here in America. "America is not free" he once told me. "In my country if you want to hunt you just pick up a rifle and go to the mountains." I restrained from the common American knee-jerk reaction of "why don't you go back, then" and explained that we have too many people here to just go off in the woods to hunt like that.

We argued over street lights. Apparently in the parts of Europe he drove in, when your light is green, all the on-coming traffic is stopped, so you just pop a left turn, or even a U-turn, with no danger.

"Stop!!! They won't stop, they will hit us!" I don't know how many times I yelled that at my husband as he cursed the drivers that nearly hit us when he pulled his daring left turns.

"Stop!! There is a stop sign!" is another one. Kosovo is devoid of stop signs. I think I saw two in the whole city of Prishtina. Most smaller intersecting streets have nothing, no light, no stop sign, nothing. Cars just drive at the intersection from all four directions. When they get there, they slow slightly and instantly figure out which way is busier. The busier street gets the right of way, so the others stop. But then, you must nose your car into the intersection to stop the other cars, or you will be sitting there All Freakin Day.

The first time my husband tried to nose my car into traffic to stop it, I freaked! STOP!!! They won't stop for you.

In Kosovo you need to drive like you are King of the Road, because there are no signs. Thankfully my hubby has learned to navigate the stop lights, street signs, arrows on the pavement and stop signs that are literally plastered everywhere. He is relaxed when driving, and a safer driver now. I'm pretty much over the fear of being T-boned.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 17: I'm Addicted to Rocks

Apparently I am addicted to the same rocks. Well, I like different ones, too, but since that majority of my collecting has been done by the Pacific Ocean, the Smith River, and now our Inland Sea, Lake Michigan, I mostly find rounded ones. My favorites are pure white round or egg shape, flat black ones I can stack, sparkly ones, and anything else that grabs my attention. I was looking through my California rocks and did a double take. California rocks on the right, Lake Michigan rocks on the left.


I thought it was interesting that I picked up almost identical rocks over 2,000 miles away.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 16: Summer in November

We had a foggy start to a sunny day. Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, and then we crash into winter. We washed the car and then drove to the Lion's Den in Grafton. I got a few decent pictures. Of course I filled my pockets with rocks. We walked some distance along the shore. The air is very fresh here, no steel mills in sight. The brisk breeze was kicking up some rolling waves, the signature of our inland seas. You can listen here.As I panned across the lake, my hubby decided to recycle a stick of driftwood. You can hear me giggle as it goes ker-splat. (you might need to click twice to start the video)

video

Here are some pictures:

The Tide Pool

Looking north to Port Washington

Just a big rock too heavy to carry

The Dunes

Fog shrouds the Lake in the distance

One can never have too many rocks

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Day 15: Shopping, Walking

My hubby bought a jacket, which seemed to fit great, except the sleeves. We really didn't notice until he wore it while driving and the sleeves crept up his arms. We took it back. He got another style. It fits great, and was $10 less. Hubby tried to find me something and I insisted that he not. I never knew a man who loved shopping more than a woman. If we had the money he would need his own walk-in closet. Just give me a couple pairs of jeans and a few tops and I'm fine.

It was a foggy, gloomy day all day. Finally, about 2 hours before sunset there was a break in the clouds, so we went for a walk along Pike Lake.

The colors were soft and muted

I call these "Poldark clouds". They are the same color as in the intro

Poldark is on Masterpiece Theater on PBS. One of my favorite shows.

I decided to try doing some surveys to kill time and alleviate boredom when hubby is at work. I think I've earned about $10 in 3 hours time. That's pretty low, but they are supposed to offer higher paying ones after some time. The biggest drawback in signing up for one survey company leads to half a dozen others. It also takes some judgement calls. For instance, the offer for a free iPhone 7 came along with an agreement to receive texts and/or phone calls from advertisers. The list must have had 200 companies on it. No way!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 14: Crazy Computer Day

Today I did a complete backup. Something is wonky with my computer. I ran scans. Everything seems to be ok. This morning I had problems with boot up. It's done it before. It boots up, but then my email won't open because my computer is "busy". No, I don't have a virus. It's not that kind of "busy". Once the antivirus program is finished scanning I can check my email. It's the processor. It can't multi-task. But today the issue seemed much worse.

Well, this was a free computer, given to me by my former "boss". It has served me well. It would probably work fine in Linux. I'm not sure my favorite programs would work in it, though. I would need to move all my photos to an external drive before taking such drastic measures. It's been a long time since I fiddled with Linux.

My hubby got his Wisconsin driver's license today. He tried to get it after we moved here but his 2 year Green Card was expired. He has his extension letter but they won't accept that. It took almost 20 months from filing for him to receive his 10 year GC.

We are still have mild weather. Here is a picture of the Super Moon tonight:



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 13: Almost Forgot to Post

I'm too tired to write a lot, so it's just headlines tonight.

My daughter in Indiana and her family are coming up next weekend!

It's my hubby's birthday next Sunday.

The Savings plan is doing well.

My hubby works too hard. He's taking off Tuesday and next Saturday.

He's flying to Kosovo next spring.

We're talking about buying a house again, which involves more savings.

I miss working from home, but not at the capacity I was at before.

Some pictures from today:

Squirrel in a tree

Lousy shot of the super moon because my camera is incapable of taking moon shots



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Day 12: Good Morning!

It was cold last night. We had a pretty good covering of frost when I woke up.


The window sill seems to be warmer by a couple degrees, maybe because it's near the exhaust for the boiler, I still have flowers blooming!


I've been shopping for a phone case. My hubby is giving me his Samsung Galaxy S4 after he gets his new phone. I want a new case, and since I intend to take a lot of pictures, I want a wrist strap. What I don't want is one of those cases that folds up into a wallet. Do I want to talk with a wallet stuck to my head? No. And speaking of that, maybe I will get a blue tooth thingy....not sure yet. Do I want a thing clipped to my ear? Maybe not. I don't know. I'm just really undecided. What I want is some way to hang onto my phone so it doesn't cascade off the side of a cliff or tumble down into a gorge because I didn't have it attached to me.

Here are a couple things I'm looking at:

This one is made in the USA. The one thing I don't like is the lanyard and ring it clips to are big. I could use a wrist strap, but still, that ring...
Samsung Galaxy S4 Nonslip Protective Case and Neck Lanyard


This one looks nice, but it's not real leather. The strap could easily be modified. Ships from Mainland China
Samsung Galaxy S4 fake leather case


And, my hubby got his 10 year green card!! Finally. It was a 20 month journey.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Day 11: Stuck in the Middle With You

I was going to write about the pretty sunrise and sunny day today.

And then I was going to write about the Fire Alarm and the police and fire department showing up because the guy upstairs had a freakin' FIVE GALLON bucket FULL of cigarette butts and it was ON FIRE.

But then everything I wrote got lost and it wasn't saved. The fire was put out, my hubby and I went for coffee, and all is well with us.

So then we were talking a little bit about all the stuff going on since the election. Now, a little backstory here. My parents were democrats and even though they weren't religious, they taught me to be kind and tolerant. My first husband was a Republican. I learned early on that people don't need to be on the same political party to love each other. My second husband cannot vote until he is naturalized.

Fast forward to the election. Well, we have no TV, only Internet, so we are a bit isolated from the news, to say the least. I honestly did not want to vote for either candidate. I certainly was put off by Trump, and his comments about Muslims were deeply troubling. Hubby asked me, which one was more likely to protect Kosovo, after all, he has family there. I told him Hillary. He said he felt she was more level headed and a better choice. I agreed. I was actually choked up when I voted, because I was voting for a woman for the first time. I was also voting for my and my hubby's choice, because, as I mentioned, he cannot vote.

I stayed up until Trump was declared winner. My hubby was at work. I texted my younger daughter, "F**k he won. She was as angry, stunned and upset as I was. However, I suspected my other daughter and other family members as well voted the other way. I knew they were not bad people. After my shock wore off and the riots started, I gradually began to learn a few things, like, most people who voted for Trump were not horrible racist people, they were hard working people who wanted to prosper again. Mind you I am not talking about @ss holes who are doing @ss hole things. Trump being elected didn't cause them to be @ss holes. They were already @ss holes. We could argue forever about being tired of political correctness and all manner of things, but I'm not here to argue.

I'm not going to try to defend one side or the other. There is enough of that chatter going around. With the whole nation in an uproar, the one constant in my life is my husband. I started hearing a song in my head, as my hubby and I drove home from Starbucks.


Stuck in the Middle With You ~  Stealers Wheel

Well, I don't know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down those stairs

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, and I'm all over the place

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

Well, you started off with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

And you started off with nothing,
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please.

Yeah, I don't know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down those stairs

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you
Stuck in the middle with you
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day 10: My Head Hurts

Well, not literally, but so much has happened it's mind-boggling. I don't have TV, so I rely on facebook for news. I don't know if that's good or bad. There are riots, there are cases of people being bullied, and opinions about everything are all over the place.

So, I'm taking a break. No comments today.

In other news, my daughter and I had an "Apple Tasting Party" last night. I cooked tacos (my hubby doesn't like tacos, and he was at work) and my daughter brought 8 apples. I cut two slices of each on a paper plate on which my daughter wrote their names.

I discovered I am terrible at evaluating apples. "They taste like apples." Some were stronger, some were more tart. I was too tired to take good notes. I didn't sleep much on election night.


We both agreed the Red Delicious was the best

In other news, there are succulents planted OUTSIDE at the library, and one of them is the one I named "Bumpy" and left behind in California.

Firesticks (a type of euphorbia)

"Bumpy" (Lampranthus deltoides)

Out the front window is fall's last hoorah, the last tree to turn color.


That's all for today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After the Anger, After the Shock

Excuse my Rant that I posted early this morning. I would like to say I am hearing a lot of good things from a lot of people. Many people are talking about pulling together, about watching over our neighbors, especially if we feel or see that they may become victims of hate crimes. I think what many people are saying is, hate is not what we are about, and we shouldn't let our President define us as such.

*********************
"Set Back 50 Years"

It looks like %$@$#@ is going to win, not that I liked either of them, but I felt she was the lesser of two evils.

I hope and pray we don't end up in a nuclear war. I hope and pray that f'tard doesn't play into Putin's hands and destabilize the Balkans. My hubby has family there.

All these angry people here who voted for him....what are they thinking? Do they think this asshat will draw a line around America and cut off everything? What...make America great again? What they really mean is "make America white and Christian again". That's stupid, because there have always been other religions here and other colors here and other races here.

Ok that's all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day 8: VOTE!

Another sunny, beautiful fall day here. Hubby is off so we will be doing lots of stuff together, after I vote of course, and after he sleeps some, since he worked all night.

In short, I've been flip-flopping around this election. I have friends and family on both sides. I tend not to discuss things, because, well, I'm not into political fights with family.

Two important discussions came up between me and my hubby, because with him I discuss everything. I said "discuss", not "give into", for anyone who doesn't know us, my hubby is my soulmate. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, something was resonating with me, with us, and that is Hillary will defend Kosovo and Trump will dump it. The other important discussion was that Hillary has a level head and Trump is a knee-jerk jerk. My hubby is not a citizen yet. He cannot vote. I will be voting for both of us.

The other thing I want to bring up today is, although I'm posting everyday, I'm not in a contest to win any awards with my blog. I like to write and talk about stuff, and about life. I'm not into themes or making money with my blog. If you are here reading, great! Thank you and hello!

One thing I will be working on is some page or linked blog with the best of my photos. Not sure how I want to do this yet...still thinking. I have a vast number of photos that are not categorized, and that are spread across several blogs and folders on my harddrive and back-up drive.

I leave you with another picture of my sedums, this time in the sun. I am thoroughly enjoying my tiny piece of outdoor garden.

Monday, November 7, 2016

She Wanted Me to Hold Her Paw

It was my son-in-law's birthday and the household was all rushed with cleaning and cooking. The kitties were in the spare bedroom, except for Sophie, who was in the front room, because Murry and Macey didn't like her. My husband and I had moved into the other spare bedroom earlier in the month. It was our chance to get out of the dirty city air where I had lived so long. Anyway, that's another story.

Murry, Macey and Sophie became my charges in 2002 when my daughter married and moved to Australia. I was their "foster mom". Eight years later my daughter divorced and left Australia. After a time she and the kitties moved to California....enter....my new hubby and I, also in California in 2014.

Macey and Murry, like brother and sister, "The Gang" or "Kitty Mafia"

Macey had "Catatude"

Sophie ~ "So Soft Sophie", luxurious thick, fine fur and very shy. She sounded like Chewbacca.


My daughter got Murry from a pet store in the fall of 1998. He almost died from a severe infection when he was a kitten, which left him "dumb as a box of rocks". We finally figured out that he caught the infection at the vet's, because I recalled maybe the table had not been wiped down before I put him on it. We never went to that vet again.

My daughter found Macey in a Walgreen's parking lot on the south side of Chicago. She was working for an inventory company, and someone had found a dirty, abandoned kitten. My daughter agreed to take her. It might have been the spring of 1999, if I recall correctly.

"She looks mean", I told my daughter. "Look how cute she is! She has extra toes!" Exclaimed my daughter. Macey was a polydactyl, with extra toes. She turned out to be the most intelligent cat we had ever known.

Murry and Macey became best friends. They were a team, always backing each other up. When Sophie joined the group as a new-found kitten with a slight limp, Macey and Murry teamed up to get rid of her. Sophie was shy, and hid from them. In the years they lived with me, and after when my daughter took them all back, Sophie had her own room separate from "The Kitty Mafia". Macey actually accepted Sophie. Murry was almost always sleeping, so most of the time it wasn't a big issue. If he woke up, he would attack her. Sophie fine-tuned herself to run to her room if he twitched.

As I mentioned, Macey was the smartest cat we ever knew. She was too smart for her own good. She was a "people cat". She would greet company with a chirp, sort of a trill that started with a "B", and a rub. If they sat down she would be in their lap purring. I often thought it would be a good idea to build a "catwalk" at eye-level all around the house so Macey could trot along side us as we walked. That's where she wanted to be. My furniture had the scratches to prove it. She had the annoying habit of jumping up on anything so she could "talk" to me, even if I was cooking. She never jumped on the stove, but she would jump on the kitchen island. One evening I was rolling dough. I saw her sitting on the floor looking up at me, twitching her tail. "Stay down!" I scolded. "I'm cooking. Don't you dare jump on my dough." In a blink of an eye she landed on the very edge of the Island, all four feet as close to the edge as possible, not a single paw on my dough." "Chirrrp!" She said, as if to say, "See I didn't touch your dough." That was Macey. Always in your face, the "interactive pet".

I had checked on Macey in the morning of the party. She and Murry were both of advanced age. We knew Macey didn't have much time left. Three years earlier she had been diagnosed with Hyperthyroid disease. She needed a daily dose of medicine to slow her thyroid. It's that time most pet owners hate...learning to say goodbye. Macey looked bad. I tried the best I could to make her comfortable. I tried to offer her water, gently touching her lips with my finger dipped in water. I closed to door and went back to cleaning and preparing for the party.

People were arriving. I checked on Macey again. She cried faintly and reached for my fingers with her paw. I held her paw, tears began to flow.

"Mom!"

"Macey, I have to go," I gently told her. I rushed to wash my face and rejoin the party. I didn't say anything. I didn't want to ruin my son-in-law's birthday. My heart was breaking.

Guests were leaving, finally all of them were gone. My husband opened the door to check on the kitties. "Come! Come quick! Macey is bad!" We all came running. My daughter found a clean towel and wrapped her in it. She held her until she died in her arms. Then we buried her at the back of the property.

Beautiful Macey R.I.P. 1999 - 2014

A few months later Murry passed, and a year or so later, Sophie was gone, too. Murry didn't want to be bothered, but Sophie wanted to be held. Like people, some animals want to die alone, and others just want you to hold their paw.