Friday, January 30, 2009

On hearts and ice

Well, we've been iced in over here for 3 days now - had just about an inch of snow but about 1/2" of very very slick ice - in fact, poor John took a nasty fall down the steps outside while trying to skate to the car. He surprised me by drawing a few hearts in the snow (pre-ice) on the deck table. They're getting quite interesting looking as the snow and ice around them melted yesterday. Very sweet gesture which was much appreciated.
Mom continues to do well, remaining snug in her chair in the livingroom in front of a roaring fire (most days). She and I have been going through some items in the house and preparing them for Ebay - we have a lot of stuff, especially in the attic which John organized.
Mom's eye doesn't require as much attention these days, but we do add drops periodically when it starts itching. The sight is coming back so she's been enjoying the paper more these days. Now, though, I'm afraid her hearing is waning so will be taking her to the doctor for that, once the weather breaks. I have a suspicion that it's nothing more than built up wax so really don't think it's going to be a big deal although she's already bucking the system (doesn't want to go see a dr about it). I believe I'm going to win this one as she really isn't hearing very well these days. I, however, can hear the downstairs tv while I'm in the attic (2 floors away!).
I'm still playing around with eHow articles and my fortune has grown to $7.40. If you didn't already figure it out, it's not the money that's so interesting on eHow, it's the writing. I really used to love writing and got out of it years ago. It's fun to be back doing these small articles. Here's the latest (my favorite is the top one about taking the best photos of your dog - I love the picture of Hops in the leaves):

Eh, at least it keeps me off the streets!

John's boat, Namaste II, is due in 2 weeks! Can't wait. We've already got some trips planned - 4 days in June for my birthday, just sailing around the bay. Mom bought John a great book "Cruising the Chesapeake - a Gunkholer's guide' which John and I are reading to pick our path. We'll probably trailer the boat and put in down at Harrington Harbor and pull out down at Vic's house in Solomon's. The Tiki Bar with some friends sounds about right for a birthday celebration.
August could see a trip to Florida and Bimini if plans pan out. Bimini is just 54 miles off the coast of Miami so we could actually even power over in a little over 3 hours and sail back the next day (10 hours of sailing - hmmmm....delightful). It will be great to have the option of power though as his boat is a power sailer. Looking forward to an active sailing summer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Successful outing - sort of

Well, last Thursday, Mom looked at me and said 'Let's go out' - let me tell you, I was up and running upstairs for her clothes. How very very exciting - an outing! Yahoo. So, we discussed our plan - Walmart, Border's and then lunch (I was most excited about the lunch part).

So, off we went to get ready and out the door 2 hours later (she usually requires a nap after getting dressed - well, she is 92... Anyway, we decided to go to the newly renovated Walmart (the one I totally refused to enter all last year) to pick up a bunch of needed items and ogle over how nice the store is now and then over to Border's for a few books. We got in the car after these two chores were completed (my tummy had been growling). I started the car and said 'Where do you want to go for lunch?, knowing that it would probably be our favorite haunt, La Mexicana. She looks at me, smiles slightly and says 'I'd like a chicken sandwich. . 'At home.'

WHAT? No lunch out? No marguerita? No chips! This is a travesty. I've been robbed, I tell ya. So, after much laughter between us, I turned the car towards home where I prepared lunch. Oh well, at least I got her out.

Saturday found me at Tari's in Berkeley Springs with lunch with my bitches - er, girlfriends. It was our girl's night out so, after lunch, we headed up the mountain and over to the cabin for an evening of general laughter and merriment. Had a great time. It's so very nice to get out for an evening. John stayed with mom and made the most of his time by clearing my attic and 2 bedrooms of clutter - I MUST go away more often! The attic looks fantastic - will take a picture once it gets light out and post. My goal now is to go through and pick out items for ebay - there's so much stuff up there that I just KNOW something will bring in a fortune. We'll see.

Since John was coming up to his home in WV at the same time that I was heading back to Boyds, we decided to meet up for a nice lunch in Hagerstown. Went to a great restaurant - Aqua 103. A buddy of mine is the manager of the local Bone Fish and his wife manages Aqua so, knowing my tastes, he suggested we drop in sometime. Aqua is not at all what we expected, being in an office building (for some reason, I thought it was one of those places in an old rowhouse in the downtown area). Regardless, the food was outstanding and the prices were just fantastic for a quite upscale restaurant. We highly recommend the place if you're in the area. Note: dinner prices looked to be more in line with what we expected for the type of restaurant - more expensive. After a nice lunch, John and I headed off on our opposite directions and back to normal life. When I got home, Vic was still here, dawdling and talking to Mom which worked well for me as I then proceeded to beat her in a few games of Boggle before she headed back down to her home in Solomon's Island. Had a great time, as always.

Here's my latest eHow articles - I'm at $5.05 today. Too funny.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ok, now I'm into the video thing

Having a blast looking through old videos on the computer. The advent of digital cameras has certainly changed out lives, hasn't it?

Here's one of my favorite videos of Killian. He's an Australian Shepherd (about 2 years old in this video - he's 5 now), supposedly the 2nd smartest dog in the world (bested only by a Border Collie). I estimate his intelligence right around that of a 1.5 or 2 year old child. Sometimes, though, he's just incredible. Just last night, I was in the kitchen with Mom and asked him to go bring me a toy. The sucker walked right over into the diningroom where there were, still in the plastic sleeve, 3 toys left over from Channukah. Now, he's been wanting those toys, but my backyard already looks like a toy graveyard so I've been holding off giving them to the dogs. He walked right over to the bag, sat right in front of it, looked at me and let out a long (I think, disgusted) sigh. I just know what he was saying - 'LOOK! I told you I've wanted these a million times - can you just use your thumbs to open the package and give them to me?!' Mom and I were rolling. All 3 toys are now somewhere in the backyard - along with about $200 worth of other toys! I'm such a sucker for dogs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lazy days...

The cold has Mom and me pretty much sequestered into the house - well, that's the temperature cold and the fact that I'm still fighting a cold. I finally broke down and went to the doctor yesterday for some antibiotics that should kick this out of both John and me. I hope! Been down for 7 days now, totally atypical for either of us.

Been spending some time writing more eHow articles - here they are - get in there and click around. I've 'made' $4.49 so far. Too funny.
Got Gert all nice and clean today. I had a plumber turn up the pressure for the water so the shower is stronger now but the shower head sometimes gets away from her arthritic hands, thereby drenching me in the process. Happened again today. As we were drying her off, I asked if she liked her shower today. She looked at me and said it was really more of a rain forest. Eh, at least she's clean and smells great. I've been using a really nice body lotion on her that keeps her smelling really nice for 2 or 3 days. Big bonus over here. Interesting how it's the little things these days that really keep us happy.

Mom and I spend a lot of time watching the cooking channel these days. Paula Dean made her mouth water yesterday with short ribs and sauerkraut. I'm afraid I've made a drastic error in judgement as I'm making it for dinner tonight. Wish us luck.

I ran across this video just yesterday, and it's too funny not to post (yes, I told Mom I was doing this!). Dad and I are chuckling in the background. The woman likes her bourbon. She's at the 'spa' at my cabin in West-By-God Va and, no, she's not topless (close but not quite). I had a hell of a time even getting her to cover up this much at the cabin. Who knew Gert was a nudist?!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Presidents of the US

Mom and I are watching the Inauguration festivities in Washington and were talking about how many presidents she's seen in her lifetime: 17! She has lived through 17 U.S. presidents. Somehow, this amazes me.

The first one she remembers is Roosevelt. She says:

'Everyone loved him. He had fireside chats. Everyone hurried home to hear him because they really did like him. He had a wonderful voice - a very soft voice.'

She also remembers Truman. She says:

'Dad always said that he was a very good friend of Israel.'

Nixon? Of course everyone remembers him. I was 15 and at a party at Don Beckstead's house, watching tv when he resigned.

Both Mom and I are hoping that Obama continues the path he's laid to connect with the American people. We need and deserve just that.

Snow abounds today. We've got the fireplace roaring at the moment. Vet visit for wee Rita and Hops drained my wallet a fair amount. Hops, having 3 legs is starting to slow down just a bit - of course, he's almost 11 these days and muscle tenderness is setting in. Vet says there's not much arthritis (excellent news), so he's on muscle relaxants for 30 days to see if that speeds him up a bit in the morning. One problem is that this old farmhouse is mostly hardwood floors which is tough on Hops but, if I put more throw rugs down, it's tough on Mom. Not a toss up at all - Mom wins which means that Hops will just have to continue to slide around. But, whatever happens in the future, I think he's had a very rich, very wonderful life since being adopted at 11 months. He's quite the lover and, by far, my sweetest dog. I'll miss him greatly one day, but, for the moment, he's here, happy, and we should have years to go yet before he rests. He is, however, on a diet.....he's at 45 lbs (now, mind you, remember, this is just 3/4 of a dog as he's minus a leg...). I've been instructed by the vet to bring him down to 39 lbs or so which really shouldn't be a problem since I've, in turn, instructed dear Gert to STOP feeding him! She pouted a bit but she'll get over it.

We were watching Oprah a moment ago and noted that Joe Biden's mother is younger than Mom. She's 91. I figure that, if I had bundled Mom up, we probably could have gotten tickets - dammit!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mom's wit

Mom comes into the living room to find Rita spread out, sound asleep, in Mom's chair. Mom looks at me and says 'Hello? You rented out my apartment?' Rolling over here. The woman's humor just doesn't quit.
It's a balmy 31 degrees out today so no fire going yet. Went to get the paper barefoot (not that big a deal for me as I'm always barefoot but, man, the last two days? Even I've been wearing shoes out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I just KNEW it was a mistake...

Ordered a magazine: Cosmopolitan. Should have known it didn't come in a brown wrapper, but Mom and I sure did have fun reading some of the articles together. I liked the one that started '4 things you must need to know for good sex.' Mom says 'wait, let me get a pencil - you know I can't remember things.' Yes, these are some wonderful times with Mom.
I've recently discovered a way to make part-time money - It's a forum where you can submit articles and get paid for them, depending on how often they're viewed, who buys what from the links, etc. I've vowed to put all the money into something for Namaste II (John's new power sailer boat which should be here next month - yeah!). Now, mind you, no one's getting rich - in fact, that $3.49 I've earned so far is about 1/4 what I need for ONE drink holder (absolute essential item) for the boat. Better get writing. Here's the links to to the articles I've written so far:
Dog articles:

Elderly articles:



Likeisay (I'm becoming my mother...), it's not a way to get rich, but I've always liked writing and it's just fun doing these. It's something that Mom and I can do together in the evenings. In fact, she gave me the titles for a few of these. I'll be posting more as they occur or would love to have anyone reading this blog place ideas in the comment section - of course, it has to be something I know even a little about (supposebly - that was for you, Vic)....Feel free to pass the links onto anyone else you know! I'll keep a tally here too of the thousands of dollars I earn....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol season - again.

Horrible singers were on. I said to John 'that guy was horrible!' Mom pipes in with 'that's why I don't audition.' I suppose the fact that she has NO talent escapes her. She's doing well though and reports that her eye is much better. We've backed off the eye drops and it appears as though she's clear of the pain, finally. Her vision is coming back which is quite interesting for both of us. She surprises me by seeing things clearer close up that I can. I frequently have to ask her to read a recipe to me.

John and I just returned from a great cruise to Cozumel for 4 days (where he made us take cheezie tourist pictures like the one on the left). We had great weather all 4 days and much fun was had by both of us. We still haven't seen the inside of a cruise diningroom, having forgone formal dinners again. We did manage to make an 8:45 reservations at Chops restaurant on board though. If you're ever on the Navigator of the Seas, the $25 cover charge is well worth the money. As the ma'tre de seated us in a great private velvet booth he said it was reserved for 'young couples or newlyweds' - we didn't disuade him of either of the notions as the seat was da bomb! But, it did leave us giggling. We also managed to partake of Johnnie Rockets grill one night - that was delicious as well. Great burgers. Cozumel saw us doing some minor shopping and then heading to an all inclusive beach resort. The drinks were perfectly horrible, the food mundane but the ocean - OMG. Worth every penny of the cover cost. The best part though, of the whole trip, was when John and I took out a small catamaran for a quick sail. John mastered the thing in about 30 seconds and we were up on plane (bow of ship is out of the water) and rolling along at around 10 knots. He brought the boat back with great mastery. The guy who runs the concession even told him that he had been watching John and was amazed at how quickly he got us going and how great he was at just sailing the ship (into the wind!) right back where we took off from. We've decided that one of these small boats is in the future sometime.

The Navigator is the nicest ship I think I've ever been on. The middle of the boat is the promenade and is amazing (picture on the left). Every night finds a party going on down there. The shops are also quite nice with very high end stores. I nabbed a great Guess bag as a thank you for Bobbi for helping out with Mom. And, we got a few great cigars to enjoy on the wonderful balcony off our room. Great trip, except for the night at South Beach where the cold I'd been fighting came on in full force and put me to bed for 17 hours of sleep. John was wonderful in tending to me, and we spent the evening watching tv with me dozing - was sorry to miss all the action outside but it was still a nice evening.
Sunrise on the left.
Came home to find Mom healthy and happy after being cared for by dear Sophia and Bobbi. I always love when Sophia is here as there's always wonderful homemade chinese food stocked in the fridge - always a nice homecoming. What wasn't a nice homecoming though was to find that dear Rita had popped up at least a pound (a lot when you started off weighing 15!). Turns out that Mom decided to feed her about 1/2 of what Killian (who is 62 lbs!) got. So, strict diets abound here now. Mom's taken to telling Rita 'Not now, Lori's looking' whenever Rita jumps up and looks in vain for her '2nd breakfast' of mom's leftover toast with butter (butter must cover the toast for Rita too). Someone's spoiled and we won't mention names.
Very cold out the last two days so I've had the wood stove going pretty much at full bore. It's nice and very very toasty in the living room - Mom says she's plenty warm. Me? I walk around in sleeveless tops and barefoot. Shorts are next.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the holiday season and such...

Well, best laid plans blown - yet again! As Mom and I were preparing for our exodus to the Mansion West (aka, the cabin) for Christmas, John called to tell us the cabin was iced in. In fact, he and his brother had to walk the last part of the mountain to 'rescue' Killian and Barley who were up in the house. So, our plans flopped and Mom and I stayed at the Mansion East - well, at least, Mom did. I ended up going to John's house to celebrate the holiday with his family. A mobile feast was provided by me - Ham, szechuan green beans, brownies, quiche, etc. Delicious brunch at least. John and I did manage to sneak away to the cabin for a few hours where we lit up the outdoor firepit and sat down with some nice wine. The ice had mostly melted below the cabin but, above it was still iced in. It was a good decision to divert our plans.

New Year's Eve found Mom, John and me enjoying a nice chicken soup that John made. I had planned on making a turkey but was under the weather so the soup was a great idea. I was asleep at 7 - ugh.

Monya's gang came down for a small Channukah celebration which was very fun. The kids loved the toffee cookies I made - they're just too good. We had a very nice afternoon and then they were off. Monya reported that Jacob slept all the way home - too much excitement, I suppose.