Saturday, August 28, 2010


Can Autumn Be Near?
My husband would never say I am short on words...only if he were unconscious. However, these days he controls what he wants to hear by wearing, or not wearing, as he so chooses, his hearing aid(s).

This morning we celebrate: I arose at 6 a.m. to 56 degrees!!! We had several days of much lower starting temperatures, hopefully an early sign of fall. Hooray!

Otherwise I am not writing a lot as I am experiencing some health difficulties we are trying to straighten out, plus I found out my primary care doctor is leaving for brighter opportunities, which is upsetting. I'll have to find and "train" another physician.

I try not to dwell on continuing depressing news.

I love the Dallas Cowboys,
But I reverence the American Flag!
AND it is FOOTBALL season, especially NFL. I do have a favorite team, but I watch every game my cable TV carries whoever is playing. Other than Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, I have no preference. I do dislike unsportsman-like conduct, and trash talk about going "after" somebody like a target, but generally, I just love the game and strategy.

However, there is a Great Physician which will lead me to where I need to go. I just have to listen! LISTEN is a key word. One of my favorite inspirational writers is Max Lucado who has a book named "When God Whispers Your Name." 
     Although a minister/teacher, Lucado's writings are in general inspirational with everyday scenarios. I have friends of diverse belief systems who read his writings which are short, easy reads as opposed to a several 100-page novel.

I just loaned "When God Whispers Your Name" to a friend in a care facility rehabilitating from a stroke, while her husband is struggling at home with terminal cancer. I figured she needed it worse than me. I have several of his books so will pull out another and read. Oh for a Kindle where everything is in one place. But then I could not easily share, could I?

Mr. Sammy doesn't need to worry
about my indebtedness being
inflicted upon him!
Just a reference to one of my more infamous dilemmas--as much as I can remember, I still only owe for one "spaying (or neutering) a cat." See How Did I Get Into This.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I can get into messes and deals without trying!

This contemporary story happened a few weeks ago. Most of the time I know how I arrived in messes, mostly because I can't say "no" to certain causes, overbook myself, etc., etc., and then get miffed with my wimp of a backbone.

However this ditty is a little different, and even funny to me, even though the joke (which isn't the correct word) is on me.

First I have to assure my housekeeper who is directly involved that I am in no way questioning this deal, trust her completely and this scenario has provided my friends with a comeback to just about anything I propose.

Recently we helped said housekeeper (HK) transport an older car from Missouri to Arkansas so she would have transportation. She lives on a very austere budget. The nice looking older car need a repair axles or something, so it had to be loaded on a trailer, not towed behind a vehicle.

Her very old van died in Calico Rock or thereabouts where it now is the pride (said facetiously) of some guy who towed it to his garage. She gave it to him for parts.

Although we took nothing for the gas, we did accept payment for a U-Haul trailer so as not to tear up her car or our nearly new Tacoma pickup. At the end of the trip she gave my husband a partial payment on the rental, and I thought the balance was $30.00.

Between delivery to another garage for the minor repair and her next work day with me I forgot the whole deal. 

When she works it is like a whirlwind of conversation, dust flying, vacuum roaring, etc. Meanwhile I am doing weekly wash so washer and dryer are humming, too.  Add a lawnmower or whatever husband is doing so lots of noise and hub-bub do not make understanding what anyone is saying very clear.

Anyway, when I paid her the usual fee in cash she refused part of it after we discussed working the garage sale and her helping with marking, etc. Then I swear to God I really don't have any idea what was said or I agreed to, but I went from being owed $30.00 to a commitment to pay $30 to spay a cat at her next volunteer spay and neuter clinic.

Now mind you I don't mind paying to spay or neuter any animal to prevent the millions of unwanted kittens and puppies born, and abandoned to die horrible deaths at some stage of their usual short lives.

When I told my husband, and also my best friend, somehow I am committed to $30 to spay a cat when I thought I was owed $30.00, they are rolling on the floor in laughter.

Now every time any of us discuss some financial matter, they retort, "go spay a cat."

Never let me near your checkbook!!! I have to used Quicken and even then have trouble reconciling.

Math was not my favorite subject, which begs the question how I became a pharmacist. Well the common joke is all we have to do is count to 100, or pour in liquids in to measuring cups a.k.a as bottles with proper markings indicated on them.

The cerebral part of pharmacy is the drug's, interactions, uses, etc. I was great and knew doses, too, but I did not make them. Everything comes in a little bottle and all I did was count and pour. A technician even typed my labels in my latter years in the profession.

I am beginning to wonder to what I have committed myself with the yard sale. My little town has a city-yard sale every year in September and it is a booming success.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation you cannot figure how you arrived there??? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


there is often something beautiful to behold! As I hope you will see what I mean at the end of this post.

The Towel Brigade is over. The towel inventory is now washed, dried, folded and neatly stored for normal use.
The central air conditioner drainage seems to be alleviated thanks to fast response from the company of our choice. The same-day response was rapid considering the time of year and midst of a heat wave, even if I did pay extra for travel and overtime.

Second, the telephone problems intensified Sunday with a faulty part at a central location, but the phone company fixed their part the self-same day and surprisingly called me ON SUNDAY to verify.

Today my husband is attempting to mend the damaged telephone wires beneath the house. In our state the company fixes the lines to the house, but the wiring system within the house is privately owned, i.e., we own it, we fix it.

The light fixture in one room is not yet fixed. BUT WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS! He is still painting outside, too.

My blood pressure is still worrisome and strange. It is highest and acting the weirdest in the morning upon awakening. I do have some emergency meds to lower it quickly. I carry a few tablets everywhere I go. At least a pattern is forming so maybe someone will figure it out.

I have several related tests next week.

One or two days of the intense heat this past week, I ventured for only a few minutes outside to shoot a few snapshots--no time for artistic planning. I also took one or two inside the nice cool kitchen.

English Ivy
Planted from one
mail order sprout
about 15 years ago!
Naked Ladies
(Surprise Lilies)
Red Roses surviving the English Ivy over growth
from a plant  on our lot when we purchased it.
This is a hardy rose as we never prune nor feed it.
I think it may be a climber, too.
You might see a Naked Lady bulb
peeking in on edge of the photo!
Ripening Produce with
two of my mortar/pestles
from my collection
on the window sill
of my window box.
Tomatoes Ripening on Window Sill
Mortar &Mortar Pestle Is Behind
Solar Shade (a tad softer look).
This Photo is SOOC
[Straight Out Of Camera 

Thursday, August 12, 2010


NO! It is not raining, although ISOLATED SHOWERS (10%) is in our forecast.That percentage is probably one drop somewhere over the Arkansas River from the trail of a riverboat or barge which decided it was better to be in the River than the air.

However, we have dripping water at steady rate at our house from the central air conditioner. Now, that is normal in hot, humid weather, but the design of central air conditioning units is removal of humidity and  disposal by drainage line to a designated area outside our abode. That is one part of "conditioning the air", the other part being cooling, which may also contribute to the water problem with some condensation.

Unexpectedly this morning I accessed what we call the heating/air conditioning unit closet to find a significant amount of water accumulating around the unit. I suspected the drainpipe was plugged, as we have had this problem once before. 

My husband is at the church blissfully mowing in the 90-plus degree heat.

I called the HVAC company who said it would be tomorrow afternoon, or I could pay for after-hours today. I chose 'after-hours', but have a bet with myself that does not materialize. In fairness, everybody is broiling; air conditioners are working overtime when the temperature creeps above 90; another way to say it, it they may suffer from heat stroke, too.

I am doing a towel (not paper towels) relay soaking up the water. The relay starts with (1) find dry big towels, or remove from dryer; (2) pull out the 3-4 sopping wet towels; (3) replace with 3-4 dry towels; (4) place wet towels in washer on final fast spin cycle; (5) remove towels from washer to dryer; (6) Repeat cycle every 30 minutes.

The owner of HVAC company we use was here yesterday to evaluate improvement in ducting. Although we are not sure, he may have unintentionally pull some of the telephone wiring apart under house, as part of our system is down. That is not repaired but we have the lines isolated that need to be checked. Some lines are working and we have cell phone.

What is strange is the owner mentioned some condensation below the house; too bad he did not look a little harder. However, from the water I found this morning, I think this event had not been occurring very long. We store a lot in the same closet; very little was wet.

One small blessing is we care for a home next to us. The perk is we may use it ourselves or for company. It is not a mansion but a roof over our heads. We can move there if this continues very long. It also has central heat and air.

It has everything but Internet, and there may be a way to get that, too. I probably could move my wireless router to a different place in my house, were I could pick up signal in the neighbor's house.

We have other options as well, but hopefully will not have to use them.
Meanwhile the towel brigade continues... See you when the drip dry cycle is broken. I have a few pictures showing beauty still around even in the heat, but gotta rotate towels, not cards and computers!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The guided striped bass fishing trip was fun, I assume. The result was one eight pound striper. A hybrid striper was caught and released to grow up a tad.

According to my husband {H} it must have been a day of what we call short 'hits,' where the fish somewhat reluctantly feed. I, being a foodaholic, have no idea how to 'reluctantly feed.'

He, his friend and the guide all were reeling fish in but about half-way to the boat the fish released, jumped off, whatever....they never made it to the boat. The guide seemed frustrated himself.

Despite taking his camera, H made no pictures.

One of you mentioned it was too bad I did not go, too, as I like to fish. Well, with my bionic knees, short legs, etc. I am somewhat of a pain to take fishing. When I don't go, no one has to worry about me falling overboard, etc. [I don't swim.] It was not my birthday, so I happily stayed home awaiting the fishing report. Besides the hot humid weather is not very compatible with my various health maladies.

As far as recipes for cooking, the South is primarily FRY! BABY FRY! I have heard of some expert backyard grillers, grilling striped bass. Most recipes have a variety of herbs and a touch of lemon and wrapped in foil.

Here is my favorite coating and technique for BAKING FISH TO TASTE NEARLY LIKE FRIED. It is composed of two mixtures. You have to determine the amount of fillets to be be baked and adjust the mixtures.

If you like heavily battered fish double these amounts which are for about 20 oz of fillets cut in 4 pieces.

Heat Oven to 400 deg. F

Lightly beat one egg; add 1-2 T milk or cream if not watching calories. Water may also be used.

1/4 c  cornmeal
2 t     parsley, dried
1/4 t  black pepper
1/2 t  salt (optional to those watching salt)
1/8 t  cumin
1/8 t  cayenne
1/4 t  paprika

[Herbs and spices certainly can be varied in kind or amount to taste]

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Dip fillet in egg mixture, moistening it well; then roll in coating mixture, lightly coated,I and place on baking sheet.

When all fillets are on sheet, lightly spray fillets with cooking spray, so they will brown.

Bake 10-15 minutes or just opaque in center.

Suggested side dishes, backed potato sticks and lemon wedges.

This is and adaptation of a Weight Watcher recipe. I found cooking time is a little longer, plus turning the fillets and spraying with cooking spray makes browning more uniform.

Further if those sharing the meal really, really like fried, I sometimes double the mixtures and really coat the fish.

Although I have never tried it, I feel the mixtures could easily be pan-fried or deep-fried.

Some day when I bake this recipe I'll try to capture a photo. 

Otherwise today I spent the morning perusing grocery store selections for low to no salt versions of various items. I found Kashi has two ZERO sodium ready-to-eat cereals (Heart to Heart). I found Nabisco Wheat Thin Flatbreads, and Ritz Lower Sodium Crackers low enough to eat carefully and also Kashi TLC Crackers in the non-cheese flavors.

I bought two flavors of Mrs. DASH (no salt) to try, on at the table and the other to cook with, although I have several homemade mixture that employ very little salt. I make and store them in old spice shaker containers I've washed and saved.

It is hard to watch salt, sugar and fat all together, although SPLENDA does alleviate so sugar cravings.


[I don't know why some of my hyperlinks are highlighted in yellow as I have speller turned off.... I checked.] 

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Today is my husband's birthday. You can figure his age from the title of the post.

After a marriage of 41 years and no children, we usually choose our own celebration or lack thereof. This year he chose a guided striped bass (colloquially called stripers) trip on Lake Norfork with a friend, also our neighbor.

I previously gave him a guided trip about two years ago, so guessed it was one gift I won the lottery on. Gifting sometimes is difficult as life churns on.

I actually think he started celebrating with all the improvements and renovations we completed on the property. But that is OK, too.

He is fishing as I write this, and hope one or both guys hook one of the big ones. For those who are unfamiliar with stripers, they are an ocean fish that have adapted to certain deep freshwater lakes. The striped bass is related to the fresh water white bass; and there are hybrids of the species. A striped bass can be over 6 feet long and weigh about 125 lbs. Typically in our area they are much less.

 A hybrid is still a pretty big fish, too.

So I am waiting for his arrival home in a couple of hours to see if they were lucky today. Hot weather is not the best fishing time for a great number of species in our area as they are lethargic and deep. So I just hope they catch a keeper of any species.

We'll post results and pictures later as he took his camera.

Usually if the guide fails to deliver results, a second trip is given free or half price.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Instead of a Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, this household has two Cowards and a Dog in a House with a Tin (Metal) Roof!

By the way, my favorite line from the above movie:Maggie the Cat (Elizabeth Taylor): "The truth, the truth! Everybody keeps hollering about the truth. Well, the truth is as dirty as lies!"

Today is predicted to be 101 F degrees in our little area of Arkansas. I don't even want to know the heat index.

Maybe I should cook lunch and dinner on the concrete block steps to save electricity. But a better idea is not to cook at all. I'm working on the latter idea.

I had a medical appointment at 9 a.m. and will exercise at 2 p.m. Since I am in the midst of how to treat my recent diagnosis of malignant hypertension, I'm not sure what kind of exercise fits.

More tests are being ordered; I aced the carotids test, but the ultrasound technician could not see the renal artery very well; a different test will be tried. This is worrisome as I only have one renal artery and kidney.

I bet Silver Sneakers fits in as I am in the MSRO class, not the cardiac one. My only gripe is the room is not cool enough. I just hate to leave my cool, comfortable abode.

Weather cycles of temperature extremity, whether hot or cold, seem to run in decades. !980 was one of those years. I thought we were moving to a more temperate area that boasted four distinct seasons, unlike my perception of Texas as summer and winter, or for lack of better adjectives hot and cold, or in green and brown.

Summer in 1980 in North Central Texas was an introduction  to Hell. We were in transition for two months: May - June. These were months I perceived would be mildly warm in Arkansas; NOT.

The transition was worst because we rented an apartment in Texas while my husband finished a job. when I was at the Texas apartment, the air-conditioning system failed. We and our German Shepherd at the time lounged around covered with wet towels and portable fans on us.

I traveled back and forth setting up our house, which had natural gas central heat and air. Guess what! My community did not have natural gas available.

Since I intended the house be converted to all electric, that first had to be completed before I invested in a central heat/air conditioning unit. By the time I purchased a unit, everyone was ahead of me, a newbie in the area, so I was at the bottom of the list.

I soon learned the advantages of finding a reliable firm and being a loyal customer.

Which leads me to another interesting current event in late July. My 3-year-old dryer, (a very high ticket model), developed an intermittent grinding sound. I could rearrange the load and it disappeared. With some loads there was no noise.

Because I purchased a 4-year maintenance agreement, I dutifully called the "800" number requesting the noise be checked. In two days I had an appointment for service.

The service man appeared promptly, and with a somewhat cursory exam, said the model washer and dryer I purchased had few moving parts. The dryer in particular had a propensity for a bearing wear-out. He would order a replacement.

I expected the usual 6 week wait, but was told I could continue to use the dryer, which I did with no additional problems, except that which was reported.

Two weeks ago I received a call from Lowe's who said the part could not be found in the entire world and they were sending me a gift card for the entire original price including taxes. I have always thought maintenance agreements were primarily a waste of money, but this washer/dryer combo was very high ticket; salesman also said he had never had take one back.

Never in my entire life has this happened. I was flabbergasted, or maybe in shock. Do you think Lowe's now has a loyal customer? Almost, maybe, well, certainly I'll shop there first.

When I picked out my replacement, same brand and style, but different model number, the sales person said it was the first one they had ever had to replace! Or at least at their location!

The dryer will be delivered Friday and the old one carted away. I bet if someone knew how to make a bearing, it would still be a good dryer for someone.

NO! I am not being paid for this sales pitch. My philosophy in blogging is to be positive when I mention well-known brands, names or businesses. Nor is this to say I might not have received the same treatment by other sellers of appliances.

 I've never heard of an appliance failing [after a 3 year period of use] and be refunded fully including taxes. I suppose somewhere in the whole wide world it may have happened.

Since I am inveterate shopper of WalMart, I will say I've had no problems with refunds there, but my ticket items have never been as large as the dryer.