Sunday, July 12, 2015

Oh, Miss Alice

      I am saddened by the post my blogger friend wrote today.  If you read Go Ask Alice ... When She's 94  you already know that she has been taken to hospice.... which is good.  Sad, but good.  It is where she needs to be.  She has had a difficult time recently.  She wanted to make it to her 100th birthday, not far off, and I hope she can make it too --- if they can make her comfortable until then. 
     I have very little family.   I never knew my grandparents and my mother passed in her 70's ... oh my goodness it has been 23 years...  so I have really enjoyed the posts about Alice.  By sharing Alice with the world on her blog Andrea Carlisle let us get to know her mother, love her, and feel like both of them are our family.   I know the next portion of Alice's life will be difficult for her family.  I wish I could be there to help bear their burdens and give support.   
    Thank you, Andrea,  I wish you and Miss Alice peace. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Love Laughing At Myself

       Keep in mind my hearing is not worth a darn and I no longer have hearing aides.   
       I went to the chiropractor on Monday. I have been 3 times since Thurs---I have two bulging disks in my neck causing the headache from hell.  He said my neck muscles were back to being real stiff, which I knew because my neck exercises were more difficult to do that morning . 
       I was laying on my back and he was doing this pulling thing on my neck and I heard him say "breathe deep" so I did. Then he said it again and so I took a good deep breath again.  He stopped manipulating my neck and moved his hands which had partially been covering my ears.  Then he said "Hhmm... usually when I tell people to wiggle their feet they loosen up their muscles." 
      Breathe deep ..... Wiggle feet ..... they sound the same to me!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Picture This!

       When I moved to my new apartment last July I bought 4 large picture frames so I could have photos of my four children and their families where I could see them from my big, comfy chair.           
        Before Trey, the baby of our family, moved to Seattle he let me take photos of him in a park near our home.  I just have a point and shoot camera and I am not a good photographer by any means but I love the photos I took.  I had one enlarged to an 8" x 10"  size for my matted frame. 
       I told my other three children that I needed photos for my wall.  I offered to take the photos, I offered to pay for them to go to an inexpensive portrait place here in town, I said a snapshot taken by someone else would be just fine too.  Last July I reminded them that Christmas was coming in only 6 months and what a perfect gift that would be.  It has been a year now and I think I shall have to do what another mother I know did ... draw stick figures and put in the frames.
       Daughter #2 wants to lose weight before she has her photo made.  Since I see her every day I keep telling her just let me take a photo, like I did of Trey.  No, her hair is not perfect, she doesn't have make-up on, and she hasn't lost that weight yet.
       Daughter # 1 and her two sons had their photo taken at that portrait place but didn't like the results.  Her photos are stuck in a drawer somewhere.  I never got one, perfect photo or not.
       Brent, child # 3 of mine, and his precious family even won a photo shoot with a real photographer.  Why no, they haven't had a family portrait made as of yet.  First they wanted to wait until the second child was born, then they wanted to wait until he wasn't a newborn baby.  The new baby will be 2 in October.  It was my daughter-in-law's mother who drew the stick figures for her frames.
      All this thinking about photos came about because a family I know had world war 3 over some photos that were taken by another family member and then shared with relatives (me and a niece) that could not attend the party.  The photos were of a child's birthday party that took place at a lake.  The mother of the birthday girl had on a swimsuit because swimming in the lake was part of the activities.  The war was over photos that included the mom in her swimsuit and she felt they were unattractive, or something.  You know what? They were photos of a beautiful momma hosting a really fun party for her little girl.  Photos that little girl will treasure when she is older.  Since I live in another state and seldom get to see this family I love it when I have a chance to see pictures.   The relative who meant no harm sharing the photos, as well as me, are sorry it caused a big fuss.  (but honey, everyone at the party saw you in the swimsuit... why be upset that there is a photo?  You know I think you are beautiful)  Permission to choose the ones being shared should have been obtained, and those she didn't like deleted but that is another story.
      I told that swimsuit wearing momma that when my children were growing up I was the one who always took the photos so there are almost none of me.  Looking at those photos now you would think they didn't have a mother.  I wish that I had a million photos of us doing ordinary things, having fun, being silly, but with Mom included.  Looking just like I looked, in whatever I had on at the time.
       I have decided I am going to write a little book for my grandkids.  Letters from Grandma, or Grandma's Little Instruction Book (do you remember H. Jackson Brown's Life's Little Instruction Book?  I bought each of my children one when they were teenagers).   No, I can't use his title ... help me come up with a title please, folks.
      The first entry is going to be TAKE PHOTOS.  Don't worry about make-up or weight or the clothes you have on.  Save those memories.  Write about who is in the photo and what they are doing.  And realize the candid shots of you without make-up, or in a swimsuit having fun with your family will be the most precious ones.   

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I Have No Words

Nine righteous souls
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
     If I lived closer I would have wanted to have been in that church this morning.  I have no words to express my despair of how we treat each other.  In this day and age this should not be happening. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Another Confession

      I have been trying to break out of my comfort zone and read some popular fiction instead of just cozy mysteries.  My confession is I feel guilty. While I liked the basic storylines of some books I have recently read, I just can't take reading another book that is sprinkled with language I find offensive and I am going back to cozies.  I tried to overlook that language, but it just isn't me.  The Rachel Joyce books were good but I feel guilty for having suggested them when they contained language really outside of my comfort zone.  Am I weird or do people really feel the need to talk like that? If so, I am happy to be weird.
      Moving on, a few new cozy titles that I thought were really good:
Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris
Drizzled With Death by Jessie Crockett
Bloom and Doom by Beverly Allen
     As for that pain relief gel I wrote about... I think it has done wonders for me and I am going to Sam's for the big bottle.
     I am concerned about my Oklahoma blogger friends ... let us know about the rain in your areas.  I hope you are not dealing with flooding.  I did read that Blake Shelton aided a driver stuck in water.  If I ever need to be rescued I will take Blake Shelton please.
    And finally, I saw on Pinterest a quote that sums up my life :
HAha! "I tried everything to get to sleep. Everything but putting the book down."

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Really May Be On To Something!

      OK folks! Either I am on to something and the blue emu gel (  Blue Stop Max Gel ) really works wonders, or the fact that my daughter rubs it into my knotted-up-like-crazy muscles has somewhat relaxed them -- or maybe a little of both, but for the first day in a long time, weeks in fact, I haven't hurt so bad I wanted to cry.  The knots still hurt when she rubs in the gel, so much so I have to ask her to stop, but it gets better each time.  So, for what it is worth, there you go.
      And I saw something on Facebook today that explains a communication problem between me and Zoe:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Big Chair, $ Signs, and Emu Oil

     After I moved to my new apartment last year I bought a new rocker recliner upholstered in a microfiber fabric.  The color is called Oyster.   I wanted it to use mostly for rocking my now 19 month old grandson and 4 year old granddaughter.  We love it.  We call it Grandma's big chair.  What? Why yes, I did say I purchased an oyster colored chair -- a color somewhere between white and light beige -- with the intention of using it with young children.  Microfiber -- let me tell you, that is one kid friendly fabric that cleans up like a charm.  I highly recommend microfiber for people with dogs, children, or who are just a little messy.
       Besides the fact that I am 61, out of shape, and overweight my body seems to be taking a beating from a few things I do.  My toddler grandson weighs about 25 pounds.  Being left handed I carry him in my left arm any time I pick him up.  I carry my purse hanging from my left shoulder.  While I have less in my purse than most anyone I know, it is still a little heavy.   Grocery bags, library bag of books, anything I carry I carry with my left hand.  I walk my dog, Zoe,  at least 5 times a day.  Most of the time I hold her lease in my left hand as we walk in "I smell cats and other dogs" speed.  Zoe is almost stronger than I am and we are working on how she pulls on the leash when she wants to go faster than I do.  If she actually sees a cat, dog, squirrel or something blowing in the wind (I think she has a vision problem) she can kick up her speed and it becomes a tug of war between dog and Momma.  I win, most of the time, but my shoulder bears the brunt of it.  On top of all of that, I wake up with my left shoulder twisted underneath me as I have slept on my side most of the night.  Thus I have knots in my shoulder and back muscles that ache like crazy.   All day long I keep thinking they hurt so bad I would cry if it would help any.
     When we went to Wal-Mart yesterday I told my daughter I wanted to get some Icy Hot, or something similar, to use for my aching shoulder muscles.  Just above the Icy Hot product was this Blue Stop Max gel --- an emu oil product.  Someone told her it would help her fibromyalgia pain but she had yet to try it. My daughter really thought that was exactly what I needed.  Now, being on a fixed income I watch my pennies pretty close and this stuff was $9.99 for 4 oz.  I balked at spending that much, so she said she would pay for half and we could both try it.  Still seeing $ signs, I finally agreed to give it a try.
    What does my chair, $ signs and emu oil have to do with each other?  Well, I had my two youngest grandchildren with me on that shopping trip.  When we got home I sat the Wal-Mart bags down while my daughter and I got busy changing a diaper, greeting the dogs, filling glasses of ice water.  My helpful 4 yr old granddaughter got busy unloading the bags for us.  When she got to that pricey little jar of emu oil gel product it was just too tempting.  She took it over to my oyster colored chair, took off the lid, and spilled about half of the jar of BLUE tinted gel into the seat of my chair.  It is just liquid-y enough, the consistency of not quite set Jell-O, that it slid right out of that jar pretty quickly.  All I could see were $ signs, BLUE $2.50 an ounce $ signs.  I tell you what, my daughter and I were scooping that stuff back in the jar faster than we have cleaned up anything in a long time!
      After my daughter rubbing the product into my aching muscles last night and twice today they actually do feel better, for about 4 hours or so at least.  During those 4 hours I don't feel like crying from the pain so maybe I am on to something.    Actually a little bit goes a long way and it has a nice peachy smell.   I plan to keep using it and hope it really works.    If  I think it works I am buying the 16 oz bottle available at Sam s at $1.50 an ounce instead of the little jar.  Have any of you used this product and had good results?  I really would like to hear from someone that has actually used it.  It would be just my luck to buy the larger bottle and figure out my first impression was just the placebo effect and it doesn't do a thing. 
   And yes, I know, you would think I could tell if it helped or not.  It seems to, but I don't trust myself.  Does anyone else do that???? Not trust their reactions and perceptions?  Or is that just yet another real weird thing about me. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Weddings, Cadavers, and the Triple Crown

    You just have to see this wedding photo a fellow blogger posted.  It is the cutest thing ever and I am so glad she shared it as I can always use something to smile about!  Go to this link  Oh, how cute is that! Peeking out from under her wedding gown! I love it.   Gee, I hope it was ok to link to her blog -- If I have violated blogger etiquette somebody tell me.
     Last weekend my 4 year old granddaughter was a flower girl and my 19 month of grandson was the ring bearer at a wedding. My granddaughter went down the aisle first, dropping her rose petals left and right. My grandson, who is the "neatest and tidiest - gonna be ocd" little boy went down the aisle behind her picking those petals up in his little fists. I know he was just thinking "she is losing her flowers and making a mess, I better clean up!"  Wish I could share a photo with you, but one of these days I will get it figured out. 
     I had a busy afternoon at the Dr where they took 5 vials of blood to check my liver and evidently everything else that can be checked with a blood sample.  For once, I remembered to ask all the questions I had for my Dr.  I go to a Dr at Texas Tech Medical School.  I told my Dr that I plan on living another 30 or 40 years but would Texas Tech have any use for an old woman cadaver when the time comes.  She was so sweet and respectful about my question I almost cried.  That part of our conversation almost felt reverent.  I really like my Dr.  She told me yes, yes they would and gave me some details.  She also explained that the school has a memorial service when one donates a body and told me a little about that.  It was a good experience.  I will have paperwork to add to my little notebook of instructions for my kids when the time comes.  LOL!  As I said I plan to live another 30 years at least but we all know we don't know when our last day is.  Being in my 60's I am trying to get my ducks in a row.  Getting rid of things so my kids won't have that job.  Leaving written instructions (no traditional funeral please),  and I have written my obituary (with blanks for my kids to fill in later, but saying what I want it to say and sounding like me, not some obit writer).
    A Triple Crown winner and I forgot to watch!  Dadgum.  And how awesome is that - that the jockey, Victor Espinoza, is donating his winnings to a cancer research center.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Goodreads List

     Anonymous left a comment that said they would like to see the list of books I have read so far this year.  I am up to 62 books as of today and you can see the titles here...   The book covers should appear and if you click on them you will see what the average rating by readers is and then the number of stars I gave the book.  This year I have only given one title 5 stars out of 5, and that was for A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler.   If my name pops up it won't be Aunt Betsy, but my real name.  The challenge I set for myself for this year was 52 books.  Last year I set my challenge at something like 300 books and I didn't make it so I lowered the bar for myself, knowing if my depression gets bad there will be periods of time when I am incapable of reading a book.   So far I am reading about 3 books a week.   If I would quit playing Words With Friends I would have oh so much more time to read.  :)
     Mostly I read cozy mysteries, what might be referred to as fluff in some circles, a fun and entertaining read in others.   If you aren't familiar with cozies they are mysteries that seldom contain gore, graphic violence, ugly language, or sex.   For me they are just a fun read and "safe" since I don't want to read anything akin to a thriller, anything explicit, anything involving child abuse, anything too intense that is going to keep me up at night.
       I use this site to stay on top of titles being released --- most cozies are series --- and then place holds on the titles at my library.  One of my favorite series this year is the Amish Village mysteries by Vanetta Chapman.  The Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross are always fun and at the top of the list of my favorites.  Number 17 in her series came out this spring.  There is nothing tamer than the Miss Jeffries series by Emily Brightwell.
    One of the things I like about the goodreads site is I can add books to my "want to read" list as I hear about something that sounds like my kind of book and then when I need to place holds on books I don't have to try to remember titles.  I think I have something like 120 books on my want to read list. 
    I am fortunate to live in a city with an excellent library that is well supported with a healthy new book budget.   If you are not familiar with "placing holds" on titles it is simply a service offered by most libraries.  Either in person, over the phone or by clicking "place hold" on online catalog entries you attach your library card number to a book, staff pulls the book off the shelf or catches it when it is turned in, then notifies you when your items are ready for you to pick up.    For me it is like Christmas when the library calls to let me know I have half a dozen or so books to pick up. 
     I need to break out of my current cozy mysteries mold and read a few more books with a little more depth. Do you have any titles to suggest for me?  Not only new books but your old favorites?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Need a Really Good Book to Read?

   Last year I told you how awesome I thought this book was ---
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Well, author Rachel Joyce has written another absolutely wonderful book --- 
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
I highly recommend you run to your local library and get both of them.  Read Harold Fry first.  I don't think one would call The Love Song of... a sequel but more like a companion book, but then what do I know.  They are both wonderful stories, his story and her story. 
 It is possible you might want to pick up a box of Puffs as well. 
If you need further prodding just go to and read the professional blurbs about both books.  If you have read them please share what you thought about them.  I am only on page 161 of the Love Song of... but I plan to finish it tonight. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where've I Been

Hello, World!  Where have I been?  Well, life happened.  It has mostly been good except for a few pesky things:
  • Right after I wrote the last post (Nov 2014) I got sick and that turned into walking pneumonia (why yes, I have had 2 rounds of regular pneumonia in my life, and now walking pneumonia, AND I had the pneumonia shot years ago.)  It took awhile to recover from that because my lungs are scarred from the previous two bouts of pneumonia that tried to kill me, and as a result this spring has been just one asthma attack after another.
  • I am still struggling with finding the right combination of meds to control the nerve pain in my feet, my depression, and not aggravate my liver as a side effect.  I find it ironic that this little old Mormon grandma that has never smoked or drank alcohol has lung and liver issues!
  • Since we have been messing with my meds trying to keep my liver happy my depression has not been good.  But enough of that, like Robin Roberts Momma always said, Everybody's Got Something (that is the title of Robin's book, and what her momma said).  And thank goodness I don't have anything like that woman has been through. 
  • The worst thing though, is right after that last post my dadgum laptop died!  I have killed more laptops than I can keep count of.  I took it in to a trusted place and they declared it too dead to revive so I did without for a few months.  I have a little tablet that lets me read email and things like that but I love to take photos and mess with them (crop, red eye, share them with family and sometimes you guys) but I can't do my photos on the tablet. Therefore, for my birthday in January I bought myself a little small laptop, more like a notebook, and I am only simi-happy with it.  3/4 of the time when I try to open something it declares "that page is unavailable" (annoying) but the absolute worst is I CAN'T GET MY PHOTOS ONTO THE COMPUTER!!!  My reason for buying the dadgum thing, to play with my photos.  It is a different windows than my previous laptop.  On the old one I could connect my digital camera and they downloaded (uploaded??? I am technology challenged) right to my laptop, no problem, and I was happy as a clam.  This one refuses to do that for me.  Something about Cloud.  I don't want them on Cloud, I want them on my laptop. I want them to go to that place where I can crop, etc and open them whenever I want... but no, for some reason that doesn't happen, and I can't figure out how to get the photos on Cloud either.   I am very disgusted.  Since I can't get them to transfer from camera to computer I can't get them to Shutterfly, Snapfish or any of those places.   :(  AND I lost photos of my grandson's first year of life when the laptop died and I had not been moving the photos to Shutterfly or some such place.  :(
  • Other than that I have been playing with grandkids, living life with my dog, and reading.  Since January 1st I have read 57 books.  I love it that I can keep track of them on Goodreads. 
  • Since I am too broke to ever do anything, too introverted to be out and among people much, and just too boring to have anything to write about  I didn't go back to blogging when I got the little laptop. Then a blogger friend sent me an email and said she missed me.  Since I missed her too I thought well, why not.  I may not have much of anything to write about but if I can get someone to help me figure out the dadgum computer/photo problem at least I will post a photo every now and again. 
  • And here is a goofy thing... I felt guilty about not blogging so I didn't read your blogs either.  The only blog I have read, and I highly recommend, is Go Ask Alice...when she's 94.  Alice is now 99.  The blog is written by her daughter.  Go and read the "about" etc.   My own mother would have been 95 this year but she has been gone a long time.  Maybe that is why I like reading about Alice, I don't know.  Alice is a hoot, but recently she has not been well. 
Zoe, my dog, is jumping all over me telling me it is time to go for a walk so off we go.  I WOULD put a photo of my dog here just so you would have something to see but you know....