Sunday, December 22, 2019

Join me down memory lane?

I have a decent dvd selection; nowhere near as extensive as some I've seen simply because I try to limit my purchases to things I'll want to watch again. Even so, I've made some mistakes. For example: I won't watch I, Legend twice because I can't bear to see the dog die, which I should have realized before buying it.

I used to know someone who had hundreds of movies bought and kept on the cloud. He would keep buying even with dozens that he hadn't got around to watching even once. Personally, I prefer to have a physical copy just so I can watch even if the internet is down locally. Technically, I could also watch off the solar batteries if the power was out, but the television tends to be a power hog, so it's doubtful I would make that choice.

This weekend, I went browsing in my dvd library for something to strike my fancy and got the 'aha!' moment when I spotted M*A*S*H. We used to watch it as a family when I was young and it's triggered a lot of memories. Like only having three network channels and PBS to choose from (and only those if the weather was good). We didn't even own a vcr; we had to go to town to rent one. The patience my parents must have had to deal with the choosing the movie to rent debates. Some things you don't really appreciate until you look back after many years.

Now I'm just regretting not having bought more than the first two seasons of the show.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


I was sick yesterday. Funnily enough, my first thought was I must have picked up something while shopping on Saturday; completely ignoring the fact that I'm surrounded by sickness every day at work.

What was fascinating to me was my lack of tolerance for coolness when ill. Covered with throws and at least one cat at all times, the fire roaring, and I was freezing even though the temperature read 70F! In contrast, this morning it was back down to 59F and felt perfectly fine.

I am very glad it was a short illness and I'm sure they will be glad at work too. My evening shift is very hard to fill at the last minute like that.

I learned something interesting while shopping: apparently, the midwest is becoming a popular area for customer service centers because of our lack of accent.

Monday, December 9, 2019


This morning the sparrows were scrabbling around on the bathroom window sill; their way of communicating that the feeders were empty? Definitely got the cat's attention.

After doing chores I stayed outside to do a bit of the driveway, only an inch or so of snow, but I'm trying not to pack any down with the car tires. I didn't get much done before I gave in and came inside to warm up. My fingers hurt so much from that short of time. I need to go back out and do more, but I'm dreading it even more now. The sad thing is it's not even that cold out; 7F with a feels like of -11. It's yuck, but it will get much worse. I'm a wimp this year.

I don't understand how some people can stand to dress like it's summertime. I saw a woman yesterday in shorts and a tank top with just the lightest of jackets. Meanwhile, I look like an enormous brown bear when I venture out.

No new possums last night. Hopefully, the five we've dealt with in the last couple weeks were the entire clan.

When the woodpecker peeps from the trees, I like to imagine it's saying thanks for the suet block because bugs are hard to get this time of year. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

White on white

Yes, the snow has returned. We had the first of two storms coming this week. The drive home last night from work at 11 pm was dreadful. Frustrating because it would have been fine if the plows had kept working but they had stopped hours earlier.

This morning I'm working on the driveway. I'm determined to keep it clear this winter so I don't have a repeat of last year's packed tire tracks that made it unusable. 2/3 scooped and no heart attack yet!

I had two opossums in the chicken coop last weekend. If this keeps up I'll have a mound of dead rodents. They had been stealing eggs and killed one hen.

No pictures because snow is not pretty when it's the enemy.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Spice Shelf Time Capsule

There are very few spices I use enough to need replacing regularly: salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves...that's about it because I don't cook much. I ran out of garlic salt recently and grabbed a replacement from Costco. It was awful! Harsh flavor that didn't agree with me at all, I spent an evening regretting the tiny sprinkle I used on spaghetti.

So, thinking I might just order more of the same brand I had before, I looked online. Apparently, Schillings hasn't been sold since 2002! Which raises the question of just how old my little container was? I will buy some McCormick's brand since they bought out Schillings and hope for the best. I've already told my son he can help himself to whichever spices he wants when he moves out; it only makes sense as he's already a better cook.

Other than that, my cold has moved into my lungs bringing about some coughing. Bleah, I am so ready for this to be over.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Mixed Review

In one way it was a great weekend...I had it off! Even better, the last warm day was Saturday so I could putter around outside. I also had the last load of firewood delivered. For the first time I chose to pay to have it stacked; I knew I couldn't get it done before it got dark and the forecast was grim.

This is really for next year's winter/emergency supply and it makes a nice fence between our yards.

Sunday gets negative reviews because the temps plummeted and I came down with a nasty cold. Grumble, grumble. One thing I did was go spelunking in my son's closet looking for the missing Legos. I didn't find them, but the layers dug out were fascinating. I even found the hair clipper set I was searching for last winter!

Today, Monday, we can only hope for a high of 16F with wind chills below zero. When I was doing chores I noticed something strange about the roof of my house. Went down to the basement to discover my furnace had kicked on...I guess smoke coming from the other chimney isn't so strange after all.

Local birds are thrilled I filled the feeders. There was even a woodpecker visiting this morning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Today I head back to work...yippee...;) It was wonderful having those four days off even though it rained on two of them. I finally got some of the little chores done that I had put off, like bringing in the last garden hose before it froze solid (and split) and emptying the rain barrel. I also spent some quality time with my parents and a good friend.

I was just reading a BBC article with this line "Risks of adverse health effects arise when indoor temperature drops below 19C, with serious health risks occurring below 16C, it says." Out of curiosity I looked those temps up in our terms: 66F and 60F. I would be very interested to learn what these serious health risks are since my house frequents drops into the 50s. Granted, I usually put on an extra layer and when sitting have a cat or two acting as lapwarmers, but it isn't a hardship by any means.

Recently, I bought myself a treat, a box of assorted Lego pieces. I have had SO much fun sorting them by size and shape that I got out my son's Legos to play with too. Not only do I enjoy them, but it brings back happy memories of getting down on the floor and building with him all those years ago.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Working Blues

Today is my 7th day of working in a row; but it's also the last day before a long weekend off! I cover the Urgent Care or Emergency Room shifts so always in the evening. That's my preference; I leave the morning shifts for those with children and spouses to go home to. This way I get to sleep in. :)

My house was in the 50s this morning as the fire died down during the night. I suppose eventually I'll have to turn the furnace on, but we haven't even gone below zero yet and it just feels too early. What I will do this weekend is put flannel sheets on the bed!

I should go back out and bring in another bag of wood. There is nothing worse than waking up to an empty wood rack by the stove; I try to keep enough for a day and a half inside. Of course, there's the emergency stack in the porch, but that's for sickness, blizzards or injuries; basically, whenever hauling more in becomes a major event.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Year of the ...

I always try to take pictures of my crab apple tree when it blossoms. This year it was on May 20 and the pictures were still on my camera because I haven't been on the computer.

So, those were my spring photos; now for the fall shots:

It's fascinating that no matter what the weather does, some things thrive and others struggle. All summer I was calling 2019 The Year of the Duck as there was an abundance of wetlands that never dried up. I didn't realize it was really The Year of the Garden Spider! If I'm lucky I'll get one of these to make her home around my place. This year I counted nine and there were probably more that I didn't spot.

I didn't miss the grasshoppers, but was sad there were fewer snakes. Frogs did quite well also. Maddening that the fleas were everywhere. I heard ticks were bad, but my chickens keep those in check.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hello, again

The summer has wound down and autumn is here to stay. It's been a memorable year so far. The crazy wet spring that kept over half the fields unplanted stuck with us. To illustrate that: I never had to water my garden all summer long. Sadly, it culminated in flooding a few weeks ago that cut the town I work in in half. People had to drive miles out of town to reach a road that would take them to the other side. Power was shut off because so many basements were full of water and/or sewage; which meant sump pumps stopped working and more basements began filling up. Residents have been scrambling to get replacement water heaters and furnaces installed along with the rest of the clean-up.

Ironically, when this all happened the county had their emergency response drill scheduled; wisely, they chose to cancel that.

This was bad enough, but what concerns me is what happens next spring? Flooding this late in the year is very unusual for us. The ground is still saturated and will soon be frozen. If we continue to get these extremes in precipitation all winter, we could be seeing even worse flooding when it all melts.

A few years back, I read a discussion on the environmental costs of heating. Someone had calculated that it would take less energy to move everyone to a warm climate for the winter instead of heating buildings in the north. Is there a word for something that sounds good in theory, but would be an absolute nightmare in reality?

First there would need to be adequate living space and infrastructure for all those people and their pets. Next, how would it be organized when even evacuating a small city seems to be beyond our abilities? Do the jobs go with the populations? More infrastructure needed. Force people out at gunpoint or keep military on site to stop the looting? Farm animals. Nursing home and hospital patients. The homeless. There are probably dozens of other issues that any half-decent debate team could spot.

Conclusion: have adequate insulation, replace drafty windows and put on a sweater. ;)

I'm going to try to get back into regular blogging. Wait and see how that goes.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Could I be more disorganized?

Last November I bought a 12-pack of C size batteries. Today, when my flashlight gave up the ghost, I looked for that package which should still hold 9 batteries. I've identified many places where it isn't; logical places like with the other regular batteries or even with the rechargables and illogical places (any flat surface I may have set them)...nothing.

This isn't the first time I find myself growling in frustration as I hunt for something I know I've purchased. I just wish I would learn to be more careful and, dare I say, organized.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Move more

I needed to drop off my utilities payment tonight so grabbed my car keys and walked out to the street; where I stopped and wondered why I would drive two blocks when it was so warm out (23F, wind chill of 12F). Especially when I had been annoyed by my lack of exercise! Thus, I went for a walk.

Some new additions were visiting the bird feeders today, three mourning doves. Loki sat in the porch window and made that weird, hunting-cat noise at them.

We only got 3" of snow with yesterday's storm. Hopefully, the doom-sayers calling for another 30 to 40 inches this month are just being silly. Will have to wait and see on the next system coming through this week.

More training in the ER for work. It's not bad when there are people around, but I don't like the feeling of isolation in the late evening. Very glad I'm not slated to work the 11 pm to 7 am shift.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

My garden in March

Since Leigh posted her garden, I thought I'd show mine. For perspective, my garden beds are 3 feet tall.

But if I look at it too long I get depressed.

How about this one...can you see the solar panels?

No? Well, neither can the sun. I did use the snow rake to pull some of it off in hope that someday solar will be a thing in South Dakota again.

How about some flowers...these were mums by my driveway. The driveway I had to get towed out of and can't use now.

On a happier note: the birds are loving the seed I buy. They empty one feeder every day.

There were three blue jays hanging around also. Does anyone know the identity of the bird with the stripes on its wings? I wish I knew more about wild birds.

Finally, I found these still on my camera:

Such a nice reminder of what is to come.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

For love of

Books! One of my recommended Kindle books this morning was Time for the Stars by Heinlein. I couldn't resist taking that journey into the past and found it just as delightful as in my youth. That led me to digging around in the tucked away books of my library where I found seven of his paperbacks. Interestingly, they are all from his "Juveniles" collection. I never enjoyed his grown-up books; too dark and preachy for my taste.

The other author I pulled out was Lawrence Watt-Evans; now to find out if his work also holds up to the test of time. The books I'm putting away in disappointment are Piers Anthony's Xanth series. I remember loving those, but now they seem flat and contrived. Maybe some future generation will enjoy them again. I didn't bring out my H. Beam Pipers; those are already on my Kindle - true classics.

I forced myself to bring in more firewood, fill the bird feeders and hang up laundry before settling back down with a new, old book. See you among the stars!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bits of this or that

The flower shops were delivering to the hospital all day; bouquets, balloons, and boxes of chocolate. Sadly, I still can't smell anything (darned cold) and could only admire the beauty of the roses. One thing I did notice was all the deliveries were to the young (30s and under) wives and girlfriends. Nothing for the women who have been married for decades. Is romance for the young? Or just romance on demand per arbitrary holidays?

The other day I came home feeling worn out from trying to learn new procedures while fighting the horrible head-cold. Then, heading out to do chores, I spot a woodpecker industriously pecking away at the feed block I bought just for it. Hooray! Funny to see all the tiny mouse tracks in the snow under the feeder, too.

I watched a teen leaving the clinic with her mom, take off the mask she had been asked to wear for others' safety, throw it away and walk into the cafeteria. Grrrrr. Influenza is rife in town.

Sometimes when asked if I'm ready to check someone in, I have to fight the urge to mimic Mr. Humphries from Are You Being Served with a cheery 'I'm free!'

We're still getting new snow almost every day; light stuff that swirls around the buildings and blows constantly. So, with all this snow pushed across the roads, creating near-whiteouts, I'd expect most to drive with their headlights on...or not. I wonder how many drivers are so used to their vehicles turning the lights on automatically that it never crosses their minds that it can be daylight and still very difficult to see. Drive carefully!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


If someone could come up with a cure for the common cold I would fully support them receiving the Nobel Prize. How can something non-fatal make me so utterly miserable? Not to mention, by taking in so many fluids yesterday, my bladder had me up and down all night. :)

Other grumble-worthy stuff: still too cold to let the chickens out, even if they would venture out into the deep snow. Eggs are all frozen. And it's snowing again today...and tomorrow. I've run out of lettuce. So many dishes to wash.

There has to be something good to say...the fire is burning nicely. I spent yesterday curled up with an old favorite book. Yep, that's all I can think of.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Stretching my brain muscles

I made it through the first week of my new job. So much to learn! Every other patient I have to jump up and ask someone how to do something. By the end of the month I should have new insurance cards down pat. :)

Each morning when I get dressed I send a mental 'thank you so much' to my sister who sent me her ENTIRE wardrobe of business/dressy tops. Not having appropriate clothes can be very stressful; I will definitely support the charities who help with that.

Back to the weather (because that's what small talk is in South Dakota), we started warming up on Friday and Saturday was gorgeous. Almost too nice because today didn't go above freezing and all the mush has frozen into bumpy, slick walking hazards. Back to normal tomorrow with the highs only reaching single digits above zero.

It's been fun to see the chickens traipsing back and forth between the two coops after a week shut inside. Kraken has a bad case of frostbit comb, but it isn't slowing him down at all. In important news: I finally settled on a name for my stealth rooster; he's a buff-laced polish and waited to start crowing until after the extra roosters were moved out of the flock. Slender, jumpy and quick to run away...he is a Rincewind through and through. (If you don't get the reference, get yourself to the library and read Terry Pratchett!)

Monday, January 28, 2019

News from the frost front

I started a new job at a hospital today. Yay! Much to learn. One of my tasks today was to do a 'back screening' with a physical therapist. All my new co-workers moaned and said it's awful but I won't get fired for failing and I only have to do it once.

I didn't think it was that bad. After I explained about my history of back problems and the bad knee, he found ways to work with me. The funniest part was the wall squat, which is what most people do the worst on. I kept my bad knee straight so most of my weight was on one leg, but had no trouble holding the position. The PT commented on my strong legs and said I did better on that test than the other parts. I chose not to mention that my legs carry a very large amount of weight every day so they better be strong.

We're heading for the worst cold snap of this winter. The forecast calls for tomorrow's high to be -10F and a brutal low of -34F. Wednesday is supposed to be worse. These numbers are before the winds are factored in. Yikes.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Is it spring yet?

Friday we received 12+ inches of snow; dry, light snow at least so easy to move around. Which is exactly what the wind proceeded to do. It's also been bitterly cold and the chickens are tired of being shut up in the coops. It's supposed to reach 15 F today so I opened the pop hatches, they can at least look outside even if none of them want to venture into the snow.

Odd thing at work yesterday. Customer was upset that $60 of k-cups weren't coming off her ebt card (food stamps). She ended up not buying them, instead only getting the $40 of 'food' items: chips, pop and two boxes of cold cereal. During the conversation she showed me her $350 ebt balance. Normally, I don't pay any attention to what people buy with ebt, but this struck me as odd.

I remember getting WIC when my son was little. Cheese, milk, and a few varieties of cereal; nutritious and very welcome. Something about the current ebt program seems a bit off track.

Brrr, I need to put more wood on the fire. :)