Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm very distraught today.
My kitty cat, who had been my housemate ever since I bought my house, 14 years ago, has vanished. Through those 14 years he's been my mostly silent partner (talks to me most mornings but quiet the rest of the day and night) to cuddle with in the evenings. I'd never been a "cat person" before, (and honestly HATE the cat hair everywhere!) but when I moved on my own, I needed someone to be there with me. That was Hans (named after the Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates movie I'd watched the night before I found him at the animal shelter). He is a beautiful cat with bright blue eyes, slightly cross-eyed. A look that made him even more endearing to me. His favorite place to be was in my lap, purring and cuddling. And he was really good at getting his paws around my arms or neck to get in a better cuddle. He'd been de-clawed long ago, and so he was strictly an in-door kitty. In the last few years, I'd gotten lazy and allowed him to wander the backyard garden when he wanted to lay in the sun. A few times he got out the front door--but when he did, within a short time I would see him sitting on the window sill waiting to be let back in. I think he knew our immediate neighborhood well enough to find his way back.
Last Sunday evening I was taking out garbage from the backyard through the garage. The door was open--and I remember him wandering about. But that's the last time I saw him. He never came back home.
He has a collar with his name and ID information--but no one has called.
I have to think the worst by now. Either he got hit by a car or someone has him. But if someone has him, they would have called me by now, wouldn't they? Some co-workers have said that when cats get old or sick they just disappear and sometimes you can find them in small spaces after they've died.
I just can't imagine that happened. He seemed quite well. A little older, belly hanging a bit, thinning around the hips, but still had energy to chase fantasy mouses and bugs now and again.
I put up a Lost Cat notice on the Animal Humane Society web site, but I don't have high hopes that I'll hear anything.
I just keep pacing my home, looking in all the hiding spaces he's known to sleep in and checking several times a night for the shadow of my cat to be there on the other side of the window or door.
I hope I find him soon. I feel awful.
If he died in our home due an illness or being old, that's expected. But for him to die on his own or due to my negligence--that's hard to swallow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Unintentional Compliment

Recently I went to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. Actually the one doing the work was the hygienist who just happens be be a very close friend. She felt the "all around" X-ray of my teeth/jaw was needed this visit too. So, I was escorted into a small closet-type space with a device dangling about the level of my mouth. Before she positioned the X-ray machine she asked me, "Is there any chance you could be pregnant?" Immediately I grinned. Then I had to stop myself from breaking out into a fit of laughter ('cause when I laugh, I've been told, people hear it--from great distances--in a good way....so they say).
Then, a few days later, I was having my routine mammogram. The woman in charge who would shortly compress what God gave me into the thickness of your average buttermilk pancake (in TWO different directions, mind you!), asked me "Any chance you could be pregnant, or are you trying to become pregnant?"
Yowza! Really? I love that you asked! That means that you think I might actually be having sex with someone. (I'm not, but it's already exciting that someone THINKS I might be.) AND that you think I'm young enough that I could get pregnant!
Wow. You couldn't have said a nicer thing.

Small confession: I'm 47. But my ovaries think I'm old enough to collect social security.
And I'll deny my age at almost any occasion. It's a hang-up. I know. I'm working on it. But, it's a big step that I wrote it here and am sharing it with you. ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Garage Sale

I got up before 6AM to start putting things out and try to come up with prices for things along the way. My mom spent the night so she was up early along with me. It was more fun together. Fortunately T slept until 8:30! Totally unusual for him, but turned out excellent for me! I was afraid he'd be freaking out at all of his toys and clothes out for sale. He kept telling me all summer that just because he doesn't play with a toy for a long time, it's not because he doesn't want it--he just forgot about it for a while. "So don't sell it, OK Mama?"
It didn't matter that I tried to justify that if we sold the baby toys that means we had more room in our house for NEW toys. Uh-uh. What's mine is mine, in the eyes of a 6 year old. And that means forever.
He came out of the house, fully dressed in the outfit he picked out all by himself (I usually pick out the clothes, so they match). But he didn't do a bad job! Nice job T! And he wasn't freaking out with all the stuff set out to sell. He admitted that he was scared of having a garage sale before, but he's not scared anymore. Whew!
My brother also woke up semi-early and helped quite a bit. Plus he made all the brightly colored signs and put them up in the neighborhood, strung colorful flags across the driveway and placed helium balloons around the yard with the words "Garage Sale" on them.
The customers started coming at 7:45!!! Sheesh. I knew they'd come early, but I specifically said in my Craig's List posting that I was open at 9AM!! After a while I was afraid I was missing too many opportunities and I started to sell stuff at 8:30.
Every thing went really well! There were no super-pushy people that tried to haggle to a ridiculously low price (well, OK there was one woman but she didn't get away with super expensive item.). I think I sold about 2/3 of the stuff I had. Including a lady's fur coat from the 1960's that mom had brought over! Even the neighbor across the street, whom I don't really speak to anymore, broke the silence and came over to buy a tricycle and a Leapster alphabet toy. So we chatted and I feel things are OK between she and I. (Still not speaking to her husband, but I've decided to stop being angry and will occasionally wave to them if they're outside.).
In total, I made $482!!! That's amazing! My mom and I split it 50/50. She helped a lot with the sale, and if I'm being honest...she probably bought most of the stuff I was selling! My brother made a few bucks selling some of his old fishing rods--so he was happy with that. And T did great taking the money and putting it in the drawer. He even learned to figure out and make change to give back to the customer. We'll have to work on his eye contact during the transactions--but he did great! He was all about collecting money. That boy LOVES to take money and put it in his piggy bank. Something he's picked up from me, I think. I mean, where else would it come from? Or maybe it's an inherited trait? Either way, it's a good habit to learn, huh?

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, I'm excited. The slug working on the club house has shown up 3 days this week and gotten some real work done. It's gettin' there. I still haven't spoken to him since he generally gets there after I leave and packs up before I come home. I'm sure he'll call me when he needs money.
Dad made a surprise visit to my house just before dinner time. I called mom, who had not quite yet arrived as expected and asked what was going on. She said, "Oh he's been talking about how much he missed T and said he might come by." So with the whole gang at my house, I opted for the easy dinner choice: Pizza. So I picked up a couple at Round Table (the best pizza I know!) armed with my 15% off coupon. I got $7 off my order and then the owner gave me back my coupon so I could use it another time! Wasn't that sweet? I told him I certainly would use it! Thanks, fella! Hmmm...was he flirting with me, or making it more likely a good customer would come back? Who knows.... But I like it when a man gives me a special treat with a beautiful smile. He's kinda cute, too. Now, I know what you're thinking. But, I don't think there's any potential. Well, OK. We'll just see how the next visit to the pizza parlor goes.
My mom stayed over last night with the intent of getting things going for the yard sale...but then Survivor was starting and we got all excited. Dad took his cue and left. He hates Survivor--all that conniving and back stabbing. I defend myself: It's entertainment, not life lessons to live by.
So much for doing actual work. We grinned at each other and sat down on the sofa. We were horrified with one contestant--a mean, manipulating, multi-millionaire who owns his own oil factory, for goodness sakes! We want him booted off ASAP! He's doing things like dumping his team-mates water out of their canteens, burning their socks in the fire while they sleep, and telling lies everywhere. Anything to make everyone tired, cranky, on edge and in a fighting mood. He's a mole. Only two people see him as the conniving SOB that he is--and one of them was voted off--totally due to the mole's (also known as Russell) nasty lies. He's horrible. I can't believe that ANYONE in the business world would want to work with him. He's completely untrustworthy, and an ASS. We'll see how things go. I'm going to keep tuning in. I'm a fan. A total fan to this show. And also to the Biggest Loser. LOVE that show! I've made it a rule, thanks to Bob, to do sit-ups, or squats with weights during every commercial break. And those breaks are LONG, I tell you. Didn't they used to be, like, every 15 minutes or so we'd have 2 minutes, 2 seconds of commercials before the regularly scheduled programming came back? Not anymore. I haven't actually timed it, but I think it's more in the range of 8 minutes--with about 8-10 minutes of the DESIRED programming thrown in between commercials. What happened to the rules?? They didn't ask the public to weigh in on it, because I KNOW we all would have said no to that change. But when you use the time to workout--it does, or will, bring great benefit to my legs and bum! If only I could stick to that rule with EVERY TV program I watch. So far, it's only with the Biggest Loser. They inspire me. :)
Wish me luck with the hard-bargaining yard sale shoppers tomorrow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

So slow....

The progress on the "club house" in my backyard is SO slow. The guy I hired to do the job rarely shows. He has no car either! You just can't do much without a car around here! And when he does find someone to drive the 30 minutes it takes to get to my house, he stays for an hour or two tops, and then he's gone again. I know he doesn't like working here when my lazy-ass brother is here 100% of the time watching TV and never offering to help. It's not something I'm proud of--but knowing my brother, it's predictable. He's lazy and just loves to cut someone down when he can. He had lots to hand down in how the electrical work was being done. But then, for Pete's sake, can he HELP him do it right instead of just point out all the wrong doings and non-code short cuts? It's not so much the information, but how he says it. Demeaning.
But still. The guy should have been done by now. It's a small project and he started it the first week of July. He had some valid excuses (his mother took ill and he had to make sure she was place in home, dialysis going, etc...) but the work is not getting done. He said she was settled weeks ago. Now, I just don't even want to talk to him. So I called my brother in law (the one that recommended this slug-handyman) and he gave him what-for over the phone. And THAT'S why he materialized in my backyard today. Damn. I was kind of looking forward to firing him and hiring the contractor my neighbor used. She can't say enough nice things on what he'd done for them with their home remodel. Oh well. The expectation is that the slug will finish this week (according to my B-I-L). I sure hope so. The weather has been weird and we've had some nasty thunderstorms and rain. I'd like to get my stuff settled and out of whatever weather comes our way.
In the vein of getting my stuff moving...I'm having a garage sale this Saturday. What a pain. Lots of prep work. But I've got to clear out the garage and organize it so my brother's stuff can vacate the still post-demolition backyard and then some REAL work can start in creating my dream outdoor space. I'll post some pictures of the transformation soon. So far, I've just got before shots and some from the jack hammer day. It's a mess.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank you PW!

I've become a die-hard fan of Pioneer Woman (aka PW by some). She's AMAZING. Honestly, I don't know how she finds the time to do all she does and then blog about it all. And she homeschools too! Her blog is some good clean fun. She has some helpers (and that's my excuse for why she is able to put such a blog together, but really she can't be human. But no. She is.) I've learn a bunch about taking great pictures, and even more valuable--how to mess with 'em in Photoshop so that they pop off the page, or screen.
Last night I tried her recipe for Shrimp Quesedillas. It seemed so simple. So I stopped by the market on my way home from work, grabbed some shrimp and mexican red sauce and headed for home (mom picked T up from school to bring him to Tae Kwon Do, and then back home). Within 45minutes I whipped out a wonderful, totally new-to-me meal. I felt pretty proud. Everyone loved it.
If you haven't checked her out, please do.
PS. She didn't pay me to write that. She doesn't know I exist (I'm pretty sure).

Love, and raking up embers

I've been reading blogs and taking the time to read long ago published posts. It's fun to get to know my new friends; to find common ground and learn what makes them different from anyone else. I like my new friends. And some don't even know I exist (at least I think so...).
Some of my friends have had the most beautiful things happen to them. There has been sadness and even some tragic news, but I'm finding myself more attracted to the stories on the miracle of love lately. There have been more than a few of these stories in the past weeks. I'm SO happy to hear about it. I drink it in. I need it too. I surely do. I'm ready for it to be now.
Love. It's like a drug, isn't it? I'm so happy to read that it really happens to folks doing the same sort of thing that I do. Regular women. Strong women. Smart women. I think I'm slowly beginning to accept that the only male I might love is the six year old that calls me Mama. And I'm not knocking that, but you know what I mean....
I didn't realize why at the time, but a few months ago I started trolling the search box on Faceb**k for friends from long ago. It's fun to connect with old friends. But more and more I was looking for ex-boyfriends, male friends from the old neighborhood, anyone that I might have been attracted to before. I know, it's like recycling. But I knew them once and there's a sense of shared history, making it more comfortable from the start. Most, curiously, are not on FB. And they don't come up on a G0Ogle search either. I guess I fell for guys that were mostly not computer fans. I've found one--but he hasn't "friended" me yet. Maybe he senses what my motives might be. This is the first time I've tried to contact him in over 20 years. I had heard he married, and has kids (I can clearly see them in his posted FB pic) but marriages often break up--one never knows. Or rather, hope never dies...Depending on your perspective. He lives in another state, so he's not even geographically desirable, but I'm just looking for a little excitement. Some emailing, sharing of stories and highlights of the last 20 or so years. But nothing. I can't find any embers to rake!
I wonder if the next 10 years will be just like the last, romantically. A big fat ZERO. Oh, except for that guy that I dated a few times, after reconnecting at the high school reunion. I was SO ready for love, it surprised me how quickly I fell for him (since I'd known him since the 3rd grade!), but he was just getting out of marriage #2 and his heart needed more time to heal. I knew all this, but he seemed ready ('cause that's what I wanted) since it was HE that came to me. Rebound stuff, I guess. And that event happened EIGHT years ago. I'm sure his heart is all better now, but I still haven't heard a word. I know roughly where to find him (thanks to the update in address information at the last reunion), but I can't go to his home and make up some story about how I was just in the neighborhood. If he wanted me, he knows how to find me. I've lived at the same place for the last 14 years and I'm totally G00glable. *sigh*

So, I'm putting it out there to the Internet and the Universe:
I want to fall in love.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The other shoe dropped

Now it's Dad's turn:
Tuesday, my dad phoned early in the morning and asked if I could accompany him to his doctor's appointment in Urology. He forgot about the appointment the day before and the doctor had called him to make sure we got in to discuss his diagnosis and possible treatment plan. The first thought I had was "It's starting. The march towards death is beginning." Breathe. Breathe again.
That already doesn't sound good.
It just so happened I had the day off (as I work this Saturday) so I had all day for this. Other nameless errands can be put off.
Mom decided to come too. Six ears are better than 2, I say!
When Dr. Harris came in I was pleasantly surprised. He was quite charming and totally cute. Just the kind of guy I'd like to date--no wedding ring, decent physical shape, a little on the short side, but I'm willing to overlook that, nice smile, beautiful blue eyes...) I started day dreaming immediately. But pulled it together quick enough--I only lost the first 20-30 seconds of the introductions. :)
Aww. He's probably gay. But maybe not. How can I find out? Isn't this way inappropriate??
Dad has prostate cancer. He had bladder cancer last Spring but that was totally unrelated to this, according to the cute doc. We were told that 100% of men that reach 90 have prostate cancer, and about 2/3 of men in their 70's have it. Dad is 78. So this was expected, I guess. Good thing is that prostate cancer is the slowest growing cancer known to man (or woman). He layed out the treatment options: surgery, radiation, hormone therapy or expectant (do nothing and continue to monitor PSA blood tests). All treatment plans except the last one have side effects, and it didn't sound too appetizing.
So after all the talk and questions answered, Dad decided on just following the PSA tests every 6 months and if they spiked unexpectedly he might consider the hormone therapy. That sounded about right to me too. It's weird that you wouldn't treat cancer aggressively, knowing that something else is much more likely to threaten the life of a 78+ aged man. Scary to stare down at death's door.
Dad had a bone scan done a few weeks ago and the results were inconclusive. He may or may not have cancer metastasized to the right femur, but it was impossible to tell by the scan alone. Dad has no symptoms. So that's good.
But dad is very good at denial of any diagnosis. He calls it being "Christian Science--like" and just thinking positive about health. Letting God or the universe take care of it. It doesn't really help when the diagnosis is diabetes and so there is no effort to change diet or exercise routines. Dad has always been passionate about 2 things: Food and music. So I don't see him changing his ways on account of a little thing like DM II ("number two" he says--like it's a little thing and way less serious than DM I. I guess it is in many cases, but still shouldn't be discounted either!)
Dr. Harris asked if I could be present at all future visits since dad's memory isn't as good as it used to be and to help explain things should he forget. Dad seemed a bit surprised that he would make that request. I guess it's more obvious to others than just my mom and I. But I'm listed as the go-to girl in both their Advance Directives and Trust/will so I really should be there and hear things from "the horse's mouth" instead of relying on what dad tells me is going on.
I wrote Dr. Harris an email the next day and gave him my contact information to be place in my dad's chart. (And of course, I fantasized that he might continue to chat with me socially. Ha! It's desperation...as you can see I've got nothin' going on in that department.)
After the visit we had a nice cup of coffee at my house and then walked over to the nearby Chinese restaurant for a lovely lunch that dad sprung for.
In a couple of weeks he'll undergo another cystoscopy to check on the bladder cancer treatment success.