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Monday, July 30, 2012

Women's Volleyball at the Olympics

Gene has the remote control today so we are watching the Olympics.  It is indoor women's volleyball that is holding our interest.  The USA just beat Brazil in today's match.  Have not a clue how many more matches to go till gold, silver and bronze are assigned.

While working for Texas Instruments I was one of many young women asked to join the volleyball team for the day shift of the Integrated Circuits department.  Carol, my roommate, was tall and worked in the same department so we decided what the heck.  I was neither athletic nor tall.  But it was fun playing with those other young women at the Texins Activity Center.  It was indoor volleyball, not sand volleyball.

Earlier this year the young women at church started a mixed softball team.  I would really have loved to just hit a few balls but I am a coward.  I was afraid I would twist my knee and cause some sort of damage.  Gene on the other hand is being much more of a risk taker with his knee.  He is out walking in the very un-level yard.  The moles have had a heyday in the areas where I have been watering.  As I watched Gene all I could think was one misstep and what could happen to the new knee.

Volleyball does not require a lot of risk taking.  It is physical and can be mental when played at the Olympic level.  Texins volleyball was just women from about 18 to 25 years old having fun and later some burgers at the local Kip's Big Boy.  I sure hope the young women of all the events of the summer Olympics have a great time with both friends, teammates and foes.  But I do still wish success to the women of team USA Volleyball at the Olympics!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning

When we took our last major vacation in 2008, I drove Gene crazy singing songs that went along with whatever situation or location we found ourselves.  I have never had a good voice nor a good ear for pitch.  So Gene just endured the noise, laughing at how my mind worked but my voice did not. 

I really do not remember many of the songs.  "Tumbling, tumble weeds" fit in more than once as we crossed endless open miles in both Canada and the upper Western US.  "Running Bear" worked in both seeing bears.  It could be used for couples in an embrace, too.
The last song was sung outside Dodge City, KS.  We were at a veterans retirement community.  Gene suggested we could live there till we died and probably at a reasonable rate.  "What do you think?" he quarried.  I responded with the first thing that popped into my deranged mind, "Oh, bury me not one the lone prairie."  Gene actually laughed out loud at that one.

In the tradition of my dad, I would just make up rhymes if there were no songs that came to mind.  These are never something that need to be recorded for posterity.  Usually the rhymes are best just left vibrating into the nothingness of the universe.

Today on this easy Sunday morning and afternoon I have enjoyed working in the garden, preparing Gene's favorite breakfast and feeding the little fishes in the pond.  I gathered lavender and bundled to dry for later use.  As I settled down to check on family and friends via facebook, Gene called his mom.

Edna worked outside the home in the 1940's and 1950's.  During WWII, she worked at an Air Force base in Kansas.  After the war when the family moved to Aurora, Edna worked at The Color Press, a catalog and book publishing company.  In later years the company became MWM.  Edna was a typist for the firm.  

While working at The Color Press, Edna had brought Gene a book for which she had typed many of the pages. The book was about a cow that came to the US from the Isle of Guernsey.  For the last 15 or 20 minutes, Gene read a book over the phone to his mom.  The book is not the one she helped type but it was a book about a Guernsey cow.

With listening to a son read via a phone to his mom just so she does not feel alone and watching the birds enjoying my back yard garden I am inspired to think of a song.  I do not much care for all the lyrics of the song, but I do like the repeated phrase, "Easy, easy like Sunday morning".

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Hot Time, Summer in the City"
When it gets to be this time of year I always start humming or singing this Loving Spoonful's song, "Summer in the City".  The lyrics pretty much says it all especially in the hot, dry summer.

Summer in the City

The Lovin' Spoonful

(John Sebastian - Mark Sebastian - Steve Boone)

Hot town, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it's a different world

Go out and find a girl

Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity

That the days can't be like the nights

In the summer, in the city

In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city

Dressing so fine and looking so pretty

Cool cat, looking for a kitty

Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I'm wheezing like a bus stop

Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop.

or if you want to listen to the music:

This was the # 1 song the month I met Gene one hot summer night in August, 1966.  I met him in front of my apartment.  I opened the door to take trash to the complex dumpster and there he stood, Mr. Wonderful with a head full of hair!  I asked if he was Gene.  "Yes" was the reply and I slammed the door.  I had been cleaning house and my hair was not even combed.

Gene was with our mutual friend and my roommate's boyfriend, Alan Frerick.  Gene had stopped to visit Alan who lived in the same apartment complex.  They were discussing if they should knock on the door as Alan had been trying to get Gene and I together for a few weeks.  Guess we sort of lived the lyrics that summer.

Let me make one thing clear, Gene never begged me to dance all night.  Sort of the other way around as I loved to dance.  But we did cruise Spring Valley Road in Richardson in Gene's brand spanking new 1966 Mustang.  We were cool in spite of the heat.

It is still being a hot time in this city and many others this year.  I would bet there are young men and women meeting each other through mutual friends.  Hope they find their special mate during the cool of the evenings.  There is nothing I would trade for my memories of that summer nor my Life's Love that came one August night In the Summer In The City.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just Weird

When you have a blog there is tracking done by Google to trace what sites view the blog.  The system even traces the nation from which the ping occurs.  So in the last 24 hours my blog has been viewed seven times.  That is not very many views in blogger land.  So that is probably why most of the time I am mostly just "typing out loud".

There are some days there are no views.  Not sure what the difference is but I have noticed the title seems to cause a spike in activity.  It is just odd to see that the second most viewed from countries are still Russia and Poland.  Todays stats are now 9 views.  5 US, 3 Russia and 1 Poland.  That is just weird.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Rain, No Pain, No Gain

It is sad looking in the countryside and even lawns in town these days.  I am watering my back yard garden beds every other day.  I keep trying to get the timers to work but am not terribly successful at that.  I am afraid there are a couple of shrubs in the front that we may lose due to the lack of rain.  I failed to notice how dry they were in time to get them properly watered.

I cannot imagine what it is like in places like the Horn of Africa or some of the farms and dairies here locally. I know the rain will come eventually.  Just know there will be some loss before it comes.  Still it is easier to get water than when I was a kid on the farm in Texas.

Rather than get all backward looking tonight it is time to give a Gene update.  He saw the doctor's assistant today as a follow up from last week's visit to the ER and doctor's office.  The cellulitis is pretty much cleared up after one round of antibiotics.  His staples are out and little steristrips are all that is holding the incision together.  We thought I recovered quickly but Gene is doing even better than I did.  We will be taking walks together again soon!

Gene has had PT here at home until yesterday.  Now tomorrow he begins outpatient therapy at the Sports Medicine place.  We will see if he enjoys the Game Ready as much as I did.  Gene sure has liked the electric ice pack machine here at home.  Kept me busy making, buying and borrowing ice for the thing.  He was one hot dude!

I even hauled Gene to Walmart today after the doctor visit.  He noted there was still some pain but nearly so much as when we were shopping at Target with the grandsons!  So 16 days from surgery Gene was feeling better than one week before surgery.

Even with no rain, there is very little pain.  This is really a gain!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Breaking Up Housekeeping

Breaking up housekeeping is a phrase used by the last generation of folks down where I grew up in Texas.  It did not refer to a divorce but a different type of end to a couple's life together or giving up a home by an individual.  The term described the time when elderly folks could no longer maintain their own home.  All their life's possessions would be parsed out to friends and relatives or sold for needed money.  

The inability to care for themselves due to health reasons was a common reason for breaking up housekeeping.  Just as common was a lack of financial means to maintain an independent home.  In families where the adult children had very little more than the parents, the couple might actually have to live separately with different children.  In really bad financial situations, folks would go to the "Poor Farm".

Granny & Grandaddy Chandler did not really break up housekeeping.  A devastating fire took care of the majority of their possessions.  Their final years were spent at the Tanner Cave house at the corner of farm to market road 543 and US highway 75.  They shared this last home with their two youngest sons after WWII.

After Grandaddy Chandler passed away in the early 1950's my mom let me spend a great deal of time with Granny and Uncle Clay.  I loved it cause they spoiled me.  Especially Uncle Clay.  And Aunt Opal, Mom's sister that worked in Downtown Dallas as a phone operator.  Clay bought me a cowboy suit with hat and boots.  I still have the pants in my cedar chest.  Aunt Opal brought me a Golden book every time she came home.  I still have about 45 of the books.

In Texas there was a program named Old Age Assistance.  The checks were mailed once a month.
I fondly remember being at my Granny Chandler's home the day the check was due to arrive.  She took my hand as we crossed the road to check the mail.  I ask her if she had got her "Old Ladies check".  I can still see the smile on her face.  And the story is a standard at family reunions.

In 1953 Clay married a wonderful lady, Celestine Miller, who had two children, Jerry and Lynda.  The deal up front was the Granny would always have a home with Clay.  Granny would come to our house lots of weekends.  After Aunt Opal and Uncle Bud married and started families, Granny would spend time with each of them.  But Granny's home, the place where her bed, wardrobe, cedar chest and fan were, was with Uncle Clay and Aunt Susie as we called Celestine, till Granny's death in February, 1969.  

I am not sure what brought about the change of term for the end of independent living.  Probably started with some ad guys like the ones in the advertising agency depicted in "Mad Men".  Older people were encouraged to live in "Senior Communities" or "Golf Communities".  It really does not matter what it is called.  Retirement community, assisted living, skilled care.  It is still breaking up housekeeping. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

We enjoy good coffee.  Gene has made it his business to make the best coffee each day.  With him still on the mend I am having to step in to fill a really big pair of shoes.  He has been working with me over the last few months training me in coffee making.  Please, join me as I make coffee The Gene Way.

You will need a burr grinder, filters, a brewing device preferably without a hot plate for the carafe.  Our son gave us this stuff several years ago for Christmas.  There is a press pot and an espresso stove top unit Gene uses for smaller quantities.
Select quality coffee beans.  Do not use beans with an oily look as they have been over roasted.  Gene's favorite is Kulmans but Ed has left the business.  We use Boca Java at this point.

Measure by weight 5 grams of beans for every 8 oz. of water.  Gene is very specific about this.  And we must use distilled water.  No stray chemicals to influence the taste.

Now it is time to grind the beans.  Experience has proven it is good to remove the cover before pouring the beans into the hopper.  Failure to do so results in beans pouring on the counter top instead of in the hopper.  This causes extra steps in the process to get the beans gather up and back into the hopper.

Vibration during the grinding process will at times cause the little bin that catches the ground beans to move forward causing grounds to go all over the cabinet.  This causes extra steps in the already too stinking long process......  Shove something heavy in front of the thing.

Place a liner in the basket of the brewpot.  Add the grounds.  Pour the distilled water in the well of the brewpot.  Place the basket of ground coffee in the brew location.  Begin the brew process until the grounds are covered with hot water.  Turn off the brew process.  Please, take note of caution at bottom of blog.

Looks like this while "steeping in the flavor"

Set a time for 4 minutes.  This allows the grounds to begin releasing all that good flavor.   Once the 4 minutes have passed, place the carafe in the holder and restart the brewer.

Brew cycle is complete and now you can sit and enjoy the perfect cup of coffee along with a little Valium tablet or a large hunk of chocolate.

 !!!!!!       CAUTION       !!!!!!
Please, note during the first brew/steeping phase of the process do not allow your attention to be distracted from watching the amount of water going into the grounds basket.  For instance, do not begin changing the foil lining of you little toaster or answering the phone.  Just wet your pants if the need arises......   

Failure to pay close attention to the amount of water in the basket will result in the need for "early release" of coffee onto your cabinet.  You will grab the carafe and slam it in place too soon losing the effect of steeping.  This will add extra time to the brewing process and possibly negative language.  Negative language can influence the final taste.

In addition, you may need to change your shirt after cleaning up from the mess made by your lack of attention.  The soiling of you clothing adds time to this %*#& process and detracts from the perfect cup of coffee.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's Always Something

I really enjoyed Gilda Radner's humor.  Especially in the character of Roseanne Roseannadanna.  Roseannadanna's comments would be greatly appreciated during this election campaign.  Of course, it seems no one actually stops to govern long enough to accomplish very much anymore.  It seems to be all about the campaign or news clips.  And no one party or group is less guilty than any other.

While attending the 2011 legislative event in Jeff City, my local representative to the House was unable to come to breakfast.  His aide did a good job of filling in on information and bills being considered.  Well over a thousand bills are submitted each year facing committee and sub committees with only a handful coming to a vote in both the House and Senate. 

The "excitement" of new carpet in the living room has faded over the last few months as we have dealt with the Poltergeist fireplace.  Tomorrow the person is to stop by to determine what additional materials will be needed to complete that part of the "new carpet" project.  I am not allowing myself to even think this process is nearing an end.  I feel like the project is stuck in some obscure sub committee meeting!

Gene's rehab is going much better as the swelling and redness from the cellulitis is disappearing.  His unassisted flex is 95 degrees with extension being -11.  Still keeping the leg iced almost 24/7.  That can use a lot of ice in a day's time so I have been making trays of ice.  Good to have an ice pick to break it all up for the little Kodiak.  Sort of feels like maybe Gene's rehab has been passed by the house and is being sent to the senate with a better than average chance of passing.

So in the tradition of SNL, here is a characterization on Wikipedia of life in general according to Roseanna Roseannadanna:

She, Roseanna Roseannadanna, was talking about eating a hamburger in a restaurant and how she felt something hard in it. And she spit it out and it was white and looked like a toenail. She said, "I thought I was gonna die. I mean, what was a toenail doing in my hamburger?" Then she went to the restroom and on the way to the restroom she saw Princess Lee Radziwill who she described as the "classy lady that no one knows where she's the princess of." But what the Princess didn't know was she had a tiny piece of toilet paper hanging off her shoe, and she was walking around and the toilet paper wouldn't fall off. "I thought I was gonna be sick. So I says to her, 'Hey Princess Lee—what are ya tryin' to do, make me sick?' " So Jane Curtin asked her what this had to do with anything. Roseanne said, "Well it just goes to show you, it's always something, you either got a toenail in your hamburger or toilet paper clinging to your shoe."

You get a government that is more political than government or a fire place that just cannot be fixed.  Well it just goes to show you, "It's Always Something........."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Got A Lot Of Living To Do

I look around me at all the possibilities of ways to spend my time and realize I still have a lot of living to do.  But I seem to always be putting off the fun stuff until this or that is accomplished.  Right now helping Gene with his recovery from the knee surgery and cellulitis is my number 1 priority.  I want nothing else than to care for the love of my life.

One way I can "do" for Gene is brew coffee from freshly ground beans.  And to have a hint of hazelnut adds to his enjoyment of this soothing beverage with breakfast.  Of course, later in the day root beer or Dr. Pepper are other options for his pleasure.  Add blueberries, watermelon, cherries and cantaloupe with meals or as snacks and that is about as helpful as he will let me be.  Oh, and adding ice to the little cooling unit for his leg.

The other "thing" to be accomplished is the completion of the fireplace and floor covering in the living room.  I spent a couple of mornings while Gene was in the hospital reviewing options.  Then Mr. Copperfield came and measured for the job.  It has been fun in some ways making a decision of the look for the resurfacing of the front of the fireplace and hearth.  I suppose that enjoying the task at hand is really doing what I need to do instead of waiting for the fun stuff.  So come along for a few of the options of what to use on the fireplace.

 So shall it be tumbled natural stone available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors?  Or a manufactured stone look that comes in larger sizes for fewer grout lines?  Maybe a mixture of sizes and materials creating a mosaic look?   Since the area to be covered is less than 30 sq. ft. costs between the different options are not a show stopper.  Well, no more than the whole leaking, poorly constructed chimney, rotted wood and termite visitors have been show stoppers.

 Anyway, choices have been made and purchased.   We have laid them on the hearth and one row along the bottom of the fireplace face.  And we are feeling pretty good.  Hope Mr. Copperfield's son will feel positive about the installation when he looks over the project on Monday.  Until then I will have fun going to Walmart to pick up prescriptions, cereal and fruit for Gene.  Cause, you see, I got a lot of living to do.....

Monday, July 16, 2012

MHS Class of '65 is Turning 65 Celebration!

In Texas at the time I started school a student had to be 6 by August 31 or wait to the next school year.  As a result of this outdated law, there are a lot of 1965 graduates turning 65 this year.  I achieved the landmark last December 4.  While I graduated from Allen High School, I attended more years of school in McKinney.  Most all my Chambersville elementary friends graduated from McKinney High.  

Tonight finds me sitting in my living room watching the Brewers and Cards playing ball.  After several sort of busy, crazy weeks of everything from vacations to tearing up tiles it sure feels good to just sit.  I even took a short nap this afternoon after running errands at mid day.   Even taking some time to cruise Facebook where I am reminded of a '65 class reunion for McKinney graduates.  I like this use of Facebook.

I look longingly at the celebrations that are being planned for the class of '65 this fall in McKinney.  Familiar names show up on the friends list that entice me to read posts.  Don Bourland posts a tribute to the members of that class that have passed away.  Two were casualties in Vietnam but most have passed in the last ten or so years.  Faces and names of friends and acquaintances from what seems like a different person's life.

In the mid 60's Friday morning in the fall was a special time for McKinney High.  Classes would assemble in the new auditorium with its plush, theater style seats in Lion Blue for the Pep Rally.  Seniors in front, Juniors next, Sophomores in back on the lower level.  Freshmen were relegated to the balcony.  But we were around 400 strong back in the fall of 1961.  The Baby Boomer generation known as the class of '65 was the largest class at the time.  "We're the greatest class alive, senior class of '65" would almost vibrate the walls as the classes would attempt to out shout each other with our class yells.

Faubion Middle School was McKinney High in 1965
I would love to spend a weekend with this group of childhood friends.  Just as I would have loved to have seen my classmates from Allen a few weeks ago.  But as so many times before, I will send regrets.  Choices have to be made as to the number of trips we make.  So the choice would be see old friends or be with our grandsons for Thanksgiving.  So, sorry past friends, I have to choose the present.  But I will hold in my heart all of you MHS Class of 65'ers turning 65.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Work & Knee Replacement

Remember back in the good old days when gas stations were really service stations?  The bathrooms were locked but not always the cleanest.  And you really had to look for an open service station on Sunday.  As a matter of fact you had to look really hard for much more than houses of worship, hospitals and family homes to be open.  Back in the good old days.

Those days saw old folks, now referred to as senior citizens, crippled with the "itis" family.  Authur & Bur C. Itis made life a little less mobile for some old folks.  Of course there were a myriad of diseases and conditions that shortened the lives of many old folks.  Nobody talked about the golden years back in the good old days.

Something changed our spending habits or desires.  There began to be a few corner markets open on Sunday as well as hamburger joints.  At least in the McKinney,Texas, area where I grew up.

"Hi, all.  I made it through surgery".  Still groggy from surgery anesthesia.
Gene noticed as I recovered from my February knee replacement that he was not being able to keep up with me in stores, etc.  After a consult with my favorite Dr. Seagrave and PA Adam, Gene had injections in his right knee and hip.  The knee was already advanced enough with arthritis deterioration that the shot did not give the relief Gene for which hoped.  The hip was not showing the same problems, so the injection made a noticeable difference.

Tuesday afternoon 3 hrs.
 after surgery.
Last Tuesday, July 10, Gene had that pesky knee replaced.  He is doing better than I did at this point once pain meds were adjusted.  Of course while in the hospital he fell for all the young nurses and aids along with PT Carol.  And they came to enjoy my big, teddy bear of a husband.  The night nurse even had to give hugs to Gene before the end of her shift early Friday morning.

Gene acting silly for my sis.
Gene came home Friday afternoon after a looong 5 mile ride with the affected knee in more of a bend than was really comfortable.  Saturday was his first home health care visit.  The nurse was pleasant and noted a couple of things to watch like the rash on Gene's affected leg.  For Gene the most important event of the day was the golden ring achievement, the laxatives finally took effect : )  

You put your right foot out...
Sunday morning was a busy one for Gene as he bathed, dressed and prepared part of his own breakfast.  He cut the banana for his cereal, poured the cereal, added vanilla, milk and sweetener.  I did get the cereal down, toast some raisin bread and reheat coffee for him.  There was just time for him to complete his breakfast when the physical therapist arrived.

And you shake it all about!

Doing the PT Two Step!
Now I tell you, the gentleman that came to take care of my 6' 2" husband barely came to my shoulder.  I was certain that if Gene fell I would have a squashed PT on the floor.  He told us the equipment he carried weighed more than he does!  And we were shocked that therapy in home would take place on Sunday.  But then hospitals stay open as do all sorts of stores.  Not to mention that when there is enough rain to make the lawns and landscaping grow, lawn services are in full swing on Sundays.

Grandson, Brad, with his Nana, Cora, 103 yr.
This is certainly not like the good old days.  Heart surgery is common.  We live longer.  Saw a 103 yr. old lady in the hospital that was fine till she broke her hip about 3 weeks ago.  Even with all the modern miracles it is her time to move on to her Lord.  And while I would not trade any of our modern miracles for anything, occasionally I yearn for the time when one day a week was held separate, no work except for an emergency on  Sunday .

Monday, July 9, 2012


I am such a control freak.  I want to always try to figure out what I need to do next.  All that does is make me crazy on days like today.  Carpet needs to be cut up to put in the trash, the house needs to be at least vacuumed and the part of the kitchen/dining floor I can get to is grungy!!!!  Stuff needs to be dropped off at Salvation Army and Habitat.  All the while we are awaiting calls from the hospital with the time of Gene's surgery tomorrow and Mr. Copperfield about the stupid fireplace situation.

We have not restocked on groceries since vacation.  Vacation laundry was completed on Friday.  On Saturday additional bedding was unearthed under pillows between some pictures stored in one room while the second room was repainted and new carpet.  That pile was made in early May.   No wonder I had forgotten the stuff was there!

My mom has fallen several times lately.  Nothing broken except her spirit.  Looks like either a nursing home or moving her in with us or a sister in Oklahoma.

Thank God for sisters, extended family and friends to keep us in their prayers.  Also, a husband that is tough as nails through all this.  Grandsons and our son to give us good times to remember during long hours of waiting.  I think I will just go cut up the carpet and wait on someone else to figure out what is next.