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Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Parade of Lights

On Sunday, we stayed at a hotel downtown for the annual Fort Worth Parade of Lights.  We had reserved seating in front of the court house, the starting point for the parade and where the announcers were describing the floats.  It was so much fun.  The weather was cold but no wind until near the end of the parade and then it was just a slight wind.  We were both dressed for the cold and had a throw to put over our legs.

I've been pretty limited for the past year due to the surgery on my left foot.  The implant has caused stiffness and a lot of pain.  I am both learning to deal with the pain and finding ways to function through it.  It was about a half mile from the hotel to our seats.  I managed to walk it both ways with very little trouble by wearing a compression sock and lace-up shoes.  My foot hurt quite a lot during the night, but I was able to walk OK Monday morning.

I have pain meds, but don't take them.  I have known too many people who got hooked on pain meds.  The body will tell you that there is still pain in order to get the drugs you are hooked on.  Most of the time it starts with a back problem and ends up an addiction.  I tend to rely on aspirin.  

I have severe rheumatoid arthritis.  I continued working, much to my Rheumatologist's surprise.   I even went back to school and got my Masters in Public Administration with a 4.0 GPA, working through the pain and many days the extreme difficulty even walking.  I was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2003 and given two years to live.  I kept working and stayed in school.  I am definitely not a quitter and very proud of it.

Living a good life and trying to do the best we can to be good people is what keeps Stan and I going.  We have worked hard all our lives and are able to enjoy life now.  We are looking forward to Thanksgiving and being with family.

Posted by stormi36 at 2:12 AM CST
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Saturday, 18 November 2017
Irrigation System

Our irrigation system is digital, fancy, phone accessible and all that other techie stuff.  I would have thought it was smart enough to know when the time changes.  Guess the manufacturer didn't think of everything or maybe we need to download the software to our phones so that it is a little smarter.  It is supposed to come on at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday.  I woke up at 12:45 p.m. and thought it was raining.  Ah, technology.

We are going to make our Texas experiences map today.  We are mounting a map of Texas on foam board and will mark the things we do in Texas.  Later we will do a US map to pin the places we go.  We are in disagreement about the type of travel trailer we want, so that is pretty much on hold until we do a lot of looking and exploring.  I don't want to buy something only to not be happy with it.  He wants big, I want small.  We will be in mostly national parks that have really nice facilities, so we don't need as much as we would if we were camping in total wilderness.  (We are a little old for that.)  These are "vacation" trips, so I don't plan to cook and clean, etc.  If I can't make it in a microwave, we will be eating out.

We have some exciting things planned for December.  I am loving life so much now.  Retirement is really great!

Posted by stormi36 at 7:26 AM CST
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Thursday, 16 November 2017
A little baking today.

I made a large bag of Grands Southern Style biscuits and a raspberry scone mix (Great Value) this morning.  I don't remember ever having scones - maybe once at a tea at Montgomery Street Antique Mall.   I wanted to try a mix before I attempt to make them from scratch.  I liked them a little more than Stan did.  He was a little happier after I put strawberry jelly and whipped cream on it.  He still doesn't really care for them.  He does like the biscuits.

I finished my pom-pom snowman today, adding felt eyes, nose and buttons.  It actually doesn't look quite so much like a sheep dog now but does seem to resemble some fluffy bird.  I was going to make a garland of snowmen but really don't like the finished product.

We are going to Jennifer's for Thanksgiving.  She is one of my "lost" nieces.  She wasn't really lost, just "misplaced" after a divorce.  She and my nephew Billy and niece Kathy are three of the nicest people one could ever hope to know.  We are so glad to have them back in our life.

It is a windows open kind of day.  We take every opportunity to open the windows and get fresh air.  We waited as late as possible to close the house for A/C this spring.  I gave up around 85 degrees.  We close most of the windows at night right now but leave one cracked in the bedroom.  It's nice to hear the sounds of the world.

Bailey, one of our neighbors, brought her new daughter home yesterday.  Savannah weighs just a fraction over five pounds.  She was born with a full head of dark hair.  Armando, another neighbor, is in the hospital with an as yet undiagnosed ailment - high fever and disorientation.  Shana and Jeff's former house is probably now rented to a lady in her 30s or 40s with boy and girl ten year-old twins.  Jennifer's former house is for rent again.  The first occupant was there a couple of months before he purchased a home in Roanoak. 

I really, really need to make a more serious effort to get back on schedule.  I am going to do the meal plans today and get the shopping list ready for tomorrow.  I have been letting my foot (still recovering from surgery) and my RA limit me, which is something I never used to do.  I don't need to get up and get dressed for work every morning, so I tend to be here, in our home office, on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  That's too much idle computer time when I have stuff I really need to do when I'm working in the office,  I have thousands of photos (probably not an exaggeration) to scan, hundreds (exaggeration) of web pages to get done in the photo album section, tons of crafts I want to do and lots of lifestyle planning.  I did manage to do a backup to my Seagate yesterday.  It doesn't stay plugged into the computer so it's a pretty safe place to store my files.

Well, off to other things for today.

Posted by stormi36 at 10:12 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2017 10:16 AM CST
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Murder on the Orient Express

Loved it!  I've seen Albert Finney 1974, David Suchet 2010, and now Kenneth Branagh 2017.  The Finney character is a little too robust for me.  Until today, I preferred David Suchet, probably from years of watching him do Poirot on PBS.  Kenneth Branaugh nails the need for perfection and balance and adds humor and a lot more humanity to the role. 

In the first scene, set in Jerusalem, Poirot sticks his cane in the wailing wall.  Just as Shakespeare used witches to signal a play was a tragedy, the cane later (at least to me) indicates that a little comedy may follow.  Indeed, comedy does follow.  There are humorous insults by Peroit and almost everyone in the audience laughed - not something that happened with the other two versions.  In the Finney version, there is a reference to a jury of twelve men that I thought wasn't going to be made.  When it finally is, it's a not done with words but art.  I think I was the only one laughing at the Leonardo sight gag.  Maybe the rest of the audience didn't get it or didn't think it right to laugh at the image.  I thought it was both campy and amusing.  (I am easily amused.)

There were moments where I was almost in tears (I cry easily also).  The other versions didn't make the death of Daisy Armstrong so heart wrenching.  There was real anguish from the actors.

The scenery is digital but amazing.  I don't know if it was because the A/C was working overtime in the theater or because the cold on the screen was so realistic, but I wish I'd worn a sweater.

Yes, the critics don't like it.  It is a little too fresh and strays from the novel.  The differences are improvements that update the story.  One doesn't go see it to find out who did it - we already know that.  I wanted to see the presentation of the characters and the story and I wasn't disappointed.  This is definitely my favorite version.

Posted by stormi36 at 6:11 PM CST
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Good Morning

I got one magazine read yesterday.  I got distracted by a new book I got in the mail.  Years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer (2003) and told I had two years to live, I got hooked on Lillian Jackson Brown.  I had most of her books but found I was missing three so I ordered them.  The first to arrive was sent from England!  I didn't pay any attention to the origin since I ordered them through Amazon.  Even though I had read all of them before, I was probably not concentrating too much due to the more serious events in my life and the required reading for the graduate classes I was taking. This time, I am retired with no death sentence hanging over me and they are a lot more enjoyable.  They are still very light reading but fun.

Having recognized my need to actually do some of the Pinterest projects I had pinned, I went to Michael's yesterday and obtained two punches and paper to make garlands.  I love garlands.  They are so cheery.  I'll be making a Valentine's garland from two gold papers (heart of gold) and a New Year's garland of black, silver, and silver/black patterned paper circles.  There were a couple of pins with layered garlands that really looked good. 

Stan found a "Christmas Tree" of silver garland on metal rings.  It collapses to a pretty flat state.  It hangs on a central pole.  It's very skinny and he found a perfect place for it by the fireplace.  Arg....Christmas up before Thanksgiving.  It's OK though because it was his find and I love when he gets involved.  So now, there are still crows from Halloween (overlooked when putting up that holiday's decorations), lots of pumpkins, and some Christmas.

Even though it got bad reviews, we are going to see Murder on the Orient Express this week.  I am usually patient and wait for movies to be released to home audiences, but this is one to see on the "big screen."  I haven't been to a movie theater since 2002.  We are going to plan a daytime visit so maybe the ticket prices won't too much of a shock!

Well, back to other things that need to be done today and to make my second cup of coffee.

Posted by stormi36 at 8:54 AM CST
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Monday, 13 November 2017
Server Error

For the second time in a month, the server I use for my web page wouldn't connect to my blog. I may move it to the web page if this continues.  It is a little more complicated to do it that way.

I'm enjoying the warm, overcast weather and doing a lot of reading.  I subscribe to about 20 magazines and they keep me busy along with my books.  I used to give the magazines I'd read to a neighbor, but she moved back to Wisconsin.  I did find out I can donate them to Half-Price Books to be redistributed.  They charge $1 for most magazines, but that is probably not enough for their staff to do all the stocking and straightening work that goes with magazines.  If you don't want the mess of so many subscriptions and live near a store, that might be an option.  Today is set aside for finishing up my unread magazines then a trip to donate them.  I doubt I'll finish today, however.

I also have a lot of stuff I want to make/finish in my craft room.  I discovered I have so many Christmas ideas in Pinterest that it would take me almost seven years to do them all if I did one a day.  It would take even longer for the Halloween stuff.  Maybe I need to spend more time doing instead of pinning!  I did make one of the folded Christmas trees out of a Reader's Digest.  I only need to put a little green paint on the edges and maybe decorate is a little.  I'm more about the tree than the decorations.  I had to put my soda bottle witch on hold before Halloween because I needed kitty litter (fill to keep the bottle from falling over) and a dowel to hold the head on.  I will enjoy her next year, perhaps.  I know after Christmas I'll have cold days to sit inside and craft, so it will get done along with the 5,000 pins I really want to do (right).

The flowers around the edge of the back terrace are still blooming.  I love Texas because you can have flowers until Thanksgiving most years and sometimes we even have roses until Christmas.  A tenant at the airport who moved to Texas in winter time told me that he knew summers here could be brutal but you don't have to shovel heat.  I guess we will do winters in Texas and travel north in the summer.

Well, off to the magazines!

Posted by stormi36 at 11:08 AM CST
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Monday, 6 November 2017
Cooler Monday

We had a really nice weekend.  It was 60 this morning and shouldn't get over 75 today.  Stan was off this morning to get my car inspected and have the oil changed.  The visitor to the engine compartment apparently is alive and well and brought a few peanut shells in and ate a little more of the poison.  I don't blame him, the poison smells like chocolate.  I just want him to go away somewhere and go to sleep forever.  We take the poison out before we drive the car.  I'm afraid it will fall out and a cat or dog will find it in the road and eat it.

We got a new bird feeder yesterday.  We had been using a flat feeder but the squirrels were taking it over.  We got a normal feeder that is supposed to be squirrel-proof.  So far, it's working.  The squirrels aren't happy!

Stan got his new weather instruments set up yesterday.  It is a Weather Channel model with wind speed and direction, humidity, barometric pressure, alarms, rain gauge and probably more that I can't remember.  We had an old decorative windmill tower from one that the bearings had gone bad on.  We couldn't find a replacement ring for it.  It makes a wonderful mount for all the monitors.

Today is market day and we/I will be off when my car gets back.  I love my car.  The paint job makes it look like new.  It still runs like new despite over 200,000 miles.  We had a back-up camera with stereo and Bluetooth capability installed last spring.  We can talk hands-free and I feel better backing up knowing I can see any children or critters behind my car.  The 4-Runner came with all that and I was a tad jealous. 

I've heard rumors that colder weather is on the way this week.  It was uncomfortable yesterday.  I finally gave up and shut the windows and turned the A/C on. 

I got another year done of the on-line photo album this weekend.  All the new pictures inspired me a little.  I hope to stay inspired, but with a serious chill anticipated, soup making is the order of the day.

Posted by stormi36 at 10:15 AM CST
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Saturday, 4 November 2017
Wisconsin is Cooooold

Our former neighbor Shena stopped by for a quick visit.  She had been in town for a very short time to finish up some business here in Texas.  She said it is cold in Wisconsin.  I'm contemplating shutting the windows and turning on the A/C.  She is very happy with her new job and mostly with the improved benefits.  Jeff got a job immediately with UPS.  We are so happy for them but sad for us.

Walter lost his brother-in-law this week.  He stopped by in the afternoon to tell us about the arrangements.  He was married to Walter's sister Fay for 70 years.  We had organic made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup for lunch.  I sent two servings home with Walter for his dinner.  Since the surgery, he's been able to eat whatever he wants without the interference of the hernia. 

The box of photos Stan retrieved from the storage building was still on the ottoman where Stan put them to look through.  He pulled out a few of Mother and Walter when they were much younger - Walter had dark hair and Mother had red hair.  I told him I would give him all the prints once I get them scanned.  That gives me more incentive to work on them.  I will add any new ones to the years I already have on the web page as I go.

 I did laundry while I was cooking and Stan cleaned the garage.  We ate our soup on the front deck, enjoying the lingering summer weather.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Posted by stormi36 at 6:52 PM CDT
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Friday, 3 November 2017
The Bees

Yesterday we went to Foreman's for traps and bait for the car invader.  They had a sign on their marquee "Ask about 5 lbs free bird seed," so Stan did.  They all looked at each other in amazement.  Turns out the sign had been there for three months and he was the first customer to notice it.  We got free bird seed.


We were near Tom Thumb and it was lunch time so I suggested we go to the deli and pick out something for lunch.  I decided Chisholm Park would be a good place to have a spur-of-the- moment picnic.  It was wonderful out.  I'm told it got up to 93 yesterday but it wasn't that warm yet.  We were almost through with our sandwiches when a bee started buzzing my head....then another....then another.  They were small like honey bees but darker.  They were a little too aggressive for me, so we put an end to the picnic just in case they were bad bees.


Later that afternoon, Stan was looking for something in the storage building.  He found one of my boxes of photos and brought it in.  I went through the envelopes, then he went through them.  There were so many memories in that box.  I found the two photos I had been wanting to share with my nieces and nephew and put them on Facebook.


I had gotten a little burned out on my web page, but this may give me new inspiration.  There are hundred of photos to get scanned and sorted.   There were photos of the day Tawnya came home from the hospital.  There are photos of Jerry Jeff and Kirsten's wedding.  There are pictures of me skiing in 1979.  There are pictures of my sister's kids before the last one was born.  It was a time before digital cameras and cell phones.  You had to remember to take a camera and then remember to take the film to be developed.  It will be fun remembering and scanning.


 I had been trying to do the pages by year, but some of the photos aren't dated and will be sorted some other way I guess.

Posted by stormi36 at 7:04 AM CDT
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

I haven't been very good at updating this for the past couple of weeks.  So, working backwards....Halloween was wonderful.  Walter came over early then DJ and Robin brought their grandkids over.  I had made a large pot of chicken taco soup and sent some home with Walter for dinner.  Robin and DJ had soup and the kids had sugar frosted flakes - I know, nothing like more sugar on Halloween.  There was one other group of three children and two adults that stopped by.  It was cold, windy and a school night.  This is the worst turn-out we've had ever.  Even our first Halloween when there were only about five houses on our street there were more kids that came around.  Back then there weren't any Halloween Bashes at the park or trunk-or-treat events in this area.  Watauga has changed a lot since then.


Our irrigation system is installed and working beautifully.  It is mostly drip with a couple of zones in the back that are spray.  Stan is now able to nap in the late afternoon instead of being outside hand watering.  I love having the drip all the way around the house because it will really benefit the foundation.


Last Sunday I asked Stan to put washer fluid in my car.  He opened the hood and found a horde of peanuts near the windshield.  We cleaned them out and I quit putting out peanuts for the blue jays since it appeared the squirrels thought they had found a good place to hide them.  I asked Stan to check the car yesterday and sure enough, there was the start of another horde.  He cleaned it out and we are working to keep the little pests out.  We aren't sure if it's squirrels or a rat, so traps were set and they should deter either from entering the car again, WE HOPE!


We are really enjoying the cooler weather and so is the electric bill!  I'm thinking the water bill will be lower now too since the drip is so much more efficient.  Stan has all the winter-over plants in the sun room now.  His watering duties have now turned into yard maintenance duties, falling sticks from the trees triggered by north winds and the falling leaves.  He is slowly working around the yard to tamp down the trails left by the installation of the irrigation.  

Posted by stormi36 at 7:46 AM CDT
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