Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Changes Are Happening

Since we are (still) in the first month of this new 2009 year, I’ve been contemplating changes I need to approach/adopt in my life. Nothing terribly dramatic, mind you, but changes going in a forward rather than reverse motion, or even status quo.

First: My house is disorganized.
Second: My housekeeping is disorganized and sporadic.
Third: Well, those two pretty much cover a lot of ground.

Apparently, it takes me a little longer to work up a head of steam now a days, so it’s nearly the end of the first month and I’m just now getting into doing things about organizing and being more practical with my time/resources.

Last week, I worked up a two week menu plan. (Today I finished another two week menu.) Since it was sort of the middle of the week when I started and my menu sheet begins on a Sunday, I just filled in the meals already made on the appropriate days, then moved on to plan for the remainder of the two week period. Perhaps I should mention that frugality is a portion of the impetus for this leap in planning. I knew I had nearly two weeks of meals to plan before payday and didn’t want to run to buy groceries anyway. That was primarily due to the fact that I’ve developed a huge aversion to shopping for groceries any more with prices having increased by leaps and bounds over the past several months. I’ve always tried to “stock up” on basics and canned goods, just cause, so my pantry wasn’t hurting too badly.

Prior to actually deciding what to put on the menu, I was forced to actually inventory my freezers to learn precisely what kinds of meat and how much of each I had to work with. (My freezers consist of the two units that are part of the two refrigerators we own. Nothing so fine as a proper deep freeze.)

The great thing about actually planning a menu ahead of time—and this was part of my design—was that you can plan ahead when and what of your leftovers you can use. Like the hamburger vegetable soup leftovers were a little on the scant side of things, but the penne rigate with marinara sauce blended together was a nice mix, especially when combined with leftover crusty Italian bread.

So, it’s been a week—and all of you who are menu planning pros my hat’s off to you—it’s been great! I know in the morning, or the night or afternoon before what I’m going to fix for supper on a given night! No last minute panic about what to fix for supper! Hurray! And planning to use leftovers is an added bonus because I don’t forget about them—like I sometimes, too often, used to. Savings all the way around!

That’s one of the most fun changes I’ve made. Another fun change I’ve made . . . I’ve cut back on my sweets intake. There are actually days I don’t even think about eating something sweet after supper. And, also, I’ve gotten back to walking (on a treadmill) for about 30 minutes every other day. And I’m SOOOOO happy to report that I’ve lost 8 pounds since Christmas AND I’m back in my size 12 jeans. Which is great! I no longer look like a sixty year old woman who might be 8 months pregnant.

Additionally, I’ve made a chart to track my household chores and other necessary activities—indicating the days I should plan to do certain things and also check them off when done.

It occurred to me that since I have no children living at home now I’ve gotten a bit soft about taking care of things. When any or all of my kids were here 24/7 I had my work cut out. So many demands with their own time schedules. Even when down to my youngest being the only one at home and in his sophomore year of high school, I began teaching a Seminary class Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 am for students in 9th to 12th grades. Every day school was in session, Seminary class was held. I truly enjoyed having that opportunity, which lasted for 5 ½ years. So I had a schedule because of my responsibilities. I got up at 5 am each day and went about my business. Those of you who raise cattle and the like, don’t snicker too much, please! I know you’re so much busier than I! Getting up at 5 am is probably sleeping in for you.

I was having some health issues and felt the early morning challenge was part of the problem, so just a year ago this week I was called to teach college age students instead. We meet one night each week, each semester. I’m loving this opportunity. I was pretty much blown away by that challenge when it came, but I truly love studying the Scriptures and teaching them, so now, I’m in my third semester of doing so. Though I’ve had two years (collectively give or take) of college, I don’t have a degree, so I really have had to work. There’s much I still have to learn, and I expect that when I’m 90, I’ll say something similar to what my Grandmother said to me at that age, “You know, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know—particularly about the Scriptures.” I was in my 30’s when she told me that. My jaw dropped, but I could really quote her now and it would be an accurate first-hand statement of fact.

With all that said, my schedule now is far more relaxed than it has been for the last 33 years, so I have to work at doing what I should be doing without having lots of little, or not so little, people demanding my time and energy. So, yes. I’ve become a bit of a lump and I’m trying to get over that! Now that I have some new tools in place, I’m feeling a tiny less lump-ish. And I’m smilin’!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Converting Celsius to Fahrenheit

Here's a link to help us all convert Celsius temperature readings to Fahrenheit temperatures or vice versa. Let me know if you like it or not. Thanks!

All Over the Map

Weather. Hmmmm. I suspect that most folks in most locations (USA and much of the rest of the world) are experiencing temperatures and precipitation that is "all over the map." Am I right? Places that are normally cold are experiencing warmer than usual temperatures (at least occasionally). Places that are normally warm are experiencing cooler than usual temperatures (at least occasionally).

For instance: Wednesday this week our high was 57 F/low 26 F
Thursday our high was 74/low 34
Today (Friday) our high is 73/low (predicted) 51
Tomorrow (Saturday) predicted temps are high 51/low 35

Now I don't know how anyone else feels but I'm getting a bit of whiplash. I'm NOT going to ask "what next?" because I firmly believe that our Good Maker will be kind enough to show us (me) just what next might be. (I'm sincerely hoping we have no tsunamis come this far inland. The Gulf of Mexico is more than 100 miles from here. And I hope it stays that way!) I pray we have no freezing rain storms. We experienced that--including no power which corresponded with NO HEAT--for 3 days and nights of 14 degree high temperatures--a little over 20 years ago. I tolerate cold less well now than then. I'm praying for no more hurricanes for a while, too. We've had enough for me (and a host of others who suffered far more than I) for several years. Haven't had a recognizable earthquake around here--at least that I know of--and that's good, too! Fortunately, the ones I experienced in Utah, California and Japan were minor by comparison to what we've recently heard about in other countries.

I'm trying not to complain--only to point out the strange weather behavior--which, for some, wreaks havoc on the health of a large number of people.

Now, not entirely changing subjects, but has anyone ever noticed how the thermostat reading in your home seems incongruous with the outside temperature readings?

What I mean is: IF we set our thermostat to 70 degrees F and the outside temperature is, say, 25 degrees, it simply doesn't feel like 70 degrees in the house! It doesn't feel at all like being outside in 70 degree weather--which I happen to really enjoy! NO! When it's 20's or 30's cold outside and 70 degrees inside, I have to bundle up in several layers and cover up with blankets, quilts, afghans, etc. Then equally disconcerting, is when the very same thermostat is set to the same 70 degree F setting and it's 95 (or more) degrees outside. Again it doesn't feel like the same 70 degrees when it was 25 degrees outside! The ceiling fans will be on, I'll be dressed in far fewer layers of clothing; blankets, etc. will be no where close to me and I'll be wiping perspiration from my brow! (And just to let you know, most of the time in the summer months we do keep the thermostat closer to 78-80 degrees.)

Just as an aside, my husband has continually contested the accuracy of any and all thermostats wherever we happen to be. Just to check the accuracy of our own, I've invested in several other little room thermometers. Unfortunately for his perspective, they all agree. He's convinced they're all wrong. Yes, each and every one of them. I'm convinced it has something to do with perceived temperature and actual temperature. Then, top that with what level of physical activity we're experiencing at any given moment.

And that's not to mention hot flashes. They're an entirely different entity. If you experience them, you know what I'm talking about. If not, well . . . Maybe one day you'll be so blessed to have first hand experience. For you, I hope it is a brief encounter. My stint with this blessing has been on-going for more than 20 years, if I remember accurately. Let's see: My young son is almost 22. The hot flashes started not long after his birth . . . My OB said, "Naw. Not hot flashes--you're just about 40 and having to run after a toddler. That's all." I'm afraid that explanation doesn't hold water now. Actually, it didn't then either, as far as I was concerned!

So, just to be sure you understand: I'm not complaining about the weather. It will ALWAYS change. Sooner or later, it will change. Residents in several locals will say, "Hey, if you don't like the weather here, just wait five minutes." It's all good! I'm still smilin'--and because it's so warm today, my smile isn't frozen on my face. Either.

Blessings to all you who are freezing as well as to all you who are melting with the weather you're currently experiencing. I promise, it will change. Sometime! Don't know when, but it will change!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Dental Tools

Look what I found! I was browsing the "Toothbrush/Toothpaste" aisle a few days ago and found this nifty little box of "dental tools." I think this container of 8 "brush/picks" cost around $3.00. I have several crowns (on my molars) and a bridge, so I'm constantly having issues with food getting uncomfortably stuck between my teeth. I've carried dental floss with me for years to dislodge the offending bits of food and use it quickly after eating. But, I'm always searching for something more easily managed.

Before going to bed last night, I thought: you've got this new tool, why not try it out? So, I did. I like it! I've not yet worked on the "brush" part yet, but I shall. I think the "brush" end will work more easily on the backs of teeth spaces than the "pick" end did for me.

According to label instructions, these nifty little tools can be rinsed after use and replaced (I believe they mean discarded) when the bristles are worn. AND, as you can see, they come in a convenient little plastic case (with a small mirror on the back of the case--which I didn't make available for you to see. Sorry.) to tuck in a pocket or purse for when you're on the go.

So, check it out. I'm really excited that someone (over at DenTek I'm guessing) came up with this ingenious package of dental tools!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Mom

This is my Mom.

She's almost 82. Her hair color is natural, which she's very proud of--particularly since her four younger siblings all "went white" long ago. In fact, her only sister--12 years her junior--began going white at 17 and was completely white by 35. I love my Mom. She was really good to me and taught me many things of value as I grew up. She had her problems, as everyone does, but now, since she's been a widow for just over ten years, she's really struggling with the changes that have come into her life. (In this picture--taken back in July 2008--she's listening intently to my oldest brother telling her something at family gathering.) I mean no disrespect to my Mother in any way, as I mention some of the issues she's dealing with currently. Age and changes in one's life often are met with resistance. We're all human, of course, and meet these challenges differently.

There are several negative things I’ve seen that seem to be fairly consistent in elderly people I’ve encountered over the years. Some are family members, some are not.

As their bodies and minds age creating a multitude of physical limitations, they regress somewhat in taking responsibility for themselves—while demanding others do things they should be doing for themselves.

  • They become very ego-centric
  • They fight those family members who try the most to help them
  • They often refuse to do those things that would most help them live a fuller, healthier life
  • They become petulant
  • They complain about their family members, yet . . .
  • They smile more and are far more compliant for “therapists” and doctors—while those individuals are with them face-to-face
  • They can only hear what they want—amazing selective hearing properties (similar to our children)
  • They feel neglected and useless
  • They become easily discouraged and despondent with their physical limitations

However, we’ve all seen elderly people who are full of life and “vim and vigor”. My Mother’s father was one of those. Suffering with macular degeneration didn’t hold him back from going bowling 3 to 5 times a week. He’d been involved in bowling most of his adult life, I suppose, and was league secretary for three different leagues simultaneously—while his vision held out. When I spoke with him one day, he said, “You know, I bowled a 300 today!” “Wow, Grandpa, that’s amazing!” I said. He had a good belly laugh and then continued, “Yeah. It took me three games of 100 each, but I bowled a 300!”

Grandpa was 93 when he died, and was only bed ridden the last 2 or 3 months of his life after suffering a heart-attack. My Grandma lived to be 96, and died not long before Grandpa.

So, some elderly folks embrace life to its fullest, even though hampered by some physical limitations—like my Grandpa, who was legally blind for years, but still went bowling 3 days a week! He always enjoyed life and interacting with people.

After my step-father died ten years ago, Mom’s become more and more reclusive and far less independent. She’s had a lot of struggles in her life—two unhappy marriages before her third, very happy marriage are just part of the whole picture, I suppose.

So, if you have parents that are aging (look out, my dear off-spring), try to encourage them early on to stay physically/emotionally/intellectually active and inter-connected with you and your families. And the old golden rule applies: “Do for them what you’d like them to do for you.” Okay, whether you’re the child or parent or anyone else for that matter, that rule of thumb works very well. And pray a lot for guidance and good health and wisdom--for them and yourselves!

And y’all have a great day. I’m feelin’ good and smilin’!!! (Children, your Dad and I just discussed this last night and we’re going to try very hard to not be difficult for you in 20 years or so from now.) Yeah. Right now you have to take us as we are. Heh, heh.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Black Eye Is Gone

Yeah, today, officially, the "black eye" is G O N E, gone. There's still a lingering little red "dot" under my right eye, but the big, yucky, purple/blue/orangey/yellow-green with brown under and over tones is nowhere to be seen. I was even brave enough to dispense with the "cover-up" foundation stuff (which I hate using on a regular day anyway) and went out in public w/o anticipating anyone looking at me with those "knowing" looks or, someone that I know--and don't see often asking (as one acquaintance did a couple of weeks ago) "What happened to your eye?!!!

I still have a warped left eyebrow bone that is a little tender. My nose still has an extra bulge or knot or something that is still tender to touch, but it looks pretty "normal" too, so... I'm thankful. Funny thing, however: I received a tetanus (+other stuff) shot at the ER on Christmas--I suppose one of those unexpected Christmas presents, you know. Well, the nurse got me good. There was no mandatory band aid applied after the injection, and since they'd already pumped (OK, dripped at super-fast speed) a liter of fluid into me (same arm) the nurse caused a gusher. I had on two different shirts and the blood spot I later found on the "under shirt" was soaked in a silver-dollar sized spot and the top shirt was soaked with two smaller, but not by much, spots of (by the time I discovered them) dried blood.

With all that horrendously long explanation, as of today, I still have a bruise at the injection site that's about 2.5 inches long and maybe .5 inches wide. Cool. Huh. (Rolls eyes.)

Just thought you'd want to know how things are going.

Grateful that's the worst of the deal. I can come and go if-n-when and I'm only a slight bit ditzier than before Christmas. (For some reason both my husband and I seem to have this residual light-headedness since the "BUG" came to visit.)

I'm sure you have far more interesting things happening around your houses. Like Mary at Jumping Off Cliffs with no heater working and frost-bite weather at her home. Mary, I wish I could share my fireplace (with the nice fire in it right now) with you guys. I am so grateful we bought a fireplace insert when we bought this house. And I'm also VERY GRATEFUL for the firewood we've been supplied with from some great friends. (We did burn up all the rest of our mighty fallen oak--quite some time ago.)

Y'all take care and don't freeze out there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ice on the Mighty Mississippi

All the following pictures were taken (at some personal risk, i.e., the risk of freezing slap to death mind you) on 24 December 2008.
The brown stuff at the ice covered water's edge is what's left of some grass--and is the line of demarcation as to how close I got to the river! Just to take the death-defying fotos.
The darker blue ribbon you can see in the upper third of the photo is water free of the ice. The little black speck on the far side of that blue ribbon is a Bald Eagle. (Hard to see for sure from your vantage point, I know.) The eagles were fishing that day. I didn't see any success stories I'm sorry to say, but then what fish wants to swim at the icy top when the bottom has to be warmer--especially when it chances the opportunity of becoming the main course on the dinner menu?
More ice and one lone eagle. You might be able to see just a tiny spot of white indicating either heads or tails, I can't tell from here either!
The bird of the far side of the open water I believe is an adult Bald Eagle. The one on the near side--since it doesn't display the tell-tale white head and tail feathers is most likely a juvenile.

After waiting in the truck's relative warmth (self-preservation being one of those innate characteristics I often display), I finally managed to catch a soaring Bald Eagle! (Now if I'd just had Bush Babe's camera! [Oh, yeah, and skill.] ) It might be a much better photo!!! Sorry! Best I could do!

Now, I think I'll go stir up the fire on the hearth, make a steaming cup of hot chocolate and settle under a thick blanket and pray for my daughter and her family that will experience -20 degree chill factors this week. I think their high temp today is supposed to be 30 degrees F. Their predicted low is -3 F before the wind chill (15-25 mph winds) for that -20 F. That's like -29 C for you Down Under with your 40 blistering C degrees. I don't envy either of you at this point. 60 - 70 degrees F is my comfort zone. I keep tellin' ya, I'm a bit of a wimp.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Makin' Peaches

Just so you know, all the photos in this post were taken January 12, 2009, within minutes of each other. Nothing has been retouched or changed. They are straight out of the camera!

You may question my sanity by speaking of "Peaches in the Makin' " and then show you a picture of old, dried wisteria branches and seed pods. My goal, however, is to show the contrast of living things on the same day, in the same yard. As you might know, wisteria plants are actually weeds that will take over and kill grown trees if left to their own devices. Yet, we love them in full bloom. They are particularly beautiful in full bloom climbing all over huge, evergreen pines. The color contrast is spectacular! But, the truth is, if left unchecked, wisteria can be the ruin of other living things, even large ones. Now, this next picture is of a tender Sweet Gum tree. They, too, grow like weeds in the South, USA--and perhaps other places. The color of their leaves is quite unique in the fall (or winter as the case is today.) On the same tree--I suppose the older, more well established ones in the neighborhood and elsewhere)--I've observed Sweet Gum leaves of several hues from deep purple, to brilliant red, to yellow-orange, to yellow, to green. It's quite a sight to behold, especially because it's all on one tree!

Now we come to this peach tree that has been in residence since the summer of 2002. It was a memorial gift to my husband from the ladies he supervised in the accounting department after his Mother died. It was a terrific gift. You've probably heard me speak of it in previous blog posts. I'm ashamed to say that I've call this very peach tree some unkind words over the years.

Like that first winter when below freezing temperatures were forecast, and my husband and I went dutifully out into the cold night after night to cover the "poor misguided tree" that had blossomed in January. What self respecting peach tree blossoms in January?

Then, each succeeding year, this strange peach tree began to blossom a week or so earlier than the previous year. Now I thought peach trees knew that blossoming in the cold winter months (even though temperatures around here might reach into the 70s) was just a dangerous waste of strength, energy and other essential resources. Yet, this one blossomed right on in spite of the weather.

After the second winter, my husband and I gave up on the daily covering/uncovering of the protective sheets for this misguided peach tree. And, to top it all off, the tree never lost its leaves and gave us time to prune it in February, like we heard peach growers recommend doing. Actually, in December 2007, it did lose all it's leaves a day or ten prior to beginning to bud out, again. That was a first!

On December 1, 2008, I looked at the tree and noticed one lone, yellow-green leaf, high in the top branch. "Wow!" I thought. "It's going to lose ALL its leaves again?" I continued to think, maybe if we're lucky this time, we'll get to prune it. It really needs pruning. Scanning further down the tree I noticed bumps. The kind that swell up just before buds and leaves begin sprouting out. Further examination revealed something else, too. Toward the bottom branches of the tree . . . a single blossom. It looked so fragile! I walked closer and found several blossoms almost ready to join their sister. I shook my head. Why does this tree not figure out the proper season to blossom? What's the matter with it?

Then, one day while reading Debby's post from Life's Funny Like That, I gained a different perspective. Maybe, just maybe, this little peach tree is like Debby. Maybe it sees the cold and dreary world and decides it can be different. It can and will blossom even though conditions aren't ideal, or even easy. It may have decided that it has the capacity to bring color and joy to those who take the time to see the wonder of it all--a peach tree in full bloom in the winter, when temperatures may soar to the high 70s or plummet into the low 20s or teens. It's okay with that. It isn't crazy. It isn't stupid. I happens to glory in being alive, and showing forth beauty and joy and living where it's planted. Providing fruit in due season. Very welcome, and tasty fruit, I might add, before the more conventional peach trees are fully geared up to do so.

So I hereby repent of my name calling and unkind misunderstanding of our precious, joyous peach tree and now choose to glory in its beauty and resplendent display of life and giving. I also pray I'll be more observant and kind in my future assessments of all living things--even people I might think are a little crazy or weird or whatever. For all I know, people might be thinking I'm a little crazy and weird, too. (Okay. My kids don't count. I've come to know they often think that about their Mom. I still love them.)

And in this picture below . . . you see the bees doing their part in "makin' peaches". Thank Heaven for the gifts we are so blessed with in this life--even in difficult and uncertain times as we hear about in the news these days. Life still goes on. Beauty still exists as does kindness, love and a host of other gifts from God.

In the back there, you can see some peaches that are "makin' " as the blooms have already shed their petals.

I do love this valiant peach tree. I pray I'll be kinder to it from now on. (Even though I still don't know when to prune it!!!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Over the Hill

I'm happy to report to family and friends I have made it over the hill--without too much trouble, tumbling, or scrapes--since Christmas Day, anyway. It's odd how one goes about thinking of Birthdays and Years on this planet, etc. At 5, I remember being terribly envious of people--anyone--taller than me. I was very tiny at 5 and had trouble reaching most things. I must not have weighed much either, because one day while waiting for a bus with my older sister and some of our friends, the wind was a little blustery that day and, since there was some rain involved and I had a parasol, I found out how vulnerable a small girl could be. I was literally being "blown away" until an older boy, Bill Terrel, who was 8 rescued me from the wind and won my eternal gratitude. Some time after that, Bill, my hero, also gave me my very first kiss. Yes, on the mouth. I was totally, and irrevocably in love at 5. I saw him again when I was 15 and he 18 and, man! In ten years time he was at least 10 times better looking. But, I digress.

At age 5 I knew I could do ANYTHING if I were only taller. I especially envied teenagers their height and ability to do what they wanted, when they wanted. Several things frustrated me in those days. But I always wanted to be taller. But, even though I was 2nd oldest of 8 siblings, I was always the runt. Smallest baby, still the shortest--currently at 5'3"--lost 3/4" over the years, apparently. My four brothers range in height from about 5'11" to 6'3". My baby sister might be an inch (or less) taller and my two other sisters are 5'9" and 5'11". So you can imagine how jealous I've been of tall people. Then my 6'3" brother has 4 daughters and they're ALL tall! A couple of them, I think are close to the 6' mark. And they're all beautiful, too.

But then, I met Mr. Right, and he's 6'4". I don't get the whys but he told me he liked short girls. Well, he got one! Still, I digress.

I was always envious of people that were taller, more capable, better looking, and so on. Mind you, it didn't slow me down. I kept right on plugging away at life and somehow or the other, felt I could do just about anything I set my mind to doing. I finally realized, that getting taller just wasn't in the works for me and adjusted to my shortness. Then, when I was about 20 a guy who was rather short/slight himself, told me he "honestly" thought I was at least 5'8". It was flattery, to be sure, but he kept going and said that I had "the air" (???) of someone 5'8". So, I somehow felt better about myself.

Well, back to being 5 and going forward. At 15 I'd reached my full height (grew six inches one summer!!! How's that for a growth spurt?) and got hips, square, bony hips, but hips that same summer. Talk about awkward! At 20 I fell in love (with my husband of 38 years and counting) and realized that how tall I was didn't make much difference--unless we were slow dancing. What a crick I can get in my neck!!! But, still I love slow dancing with him--if-n-when we ever manage any more to do so.

I always looked forward to turning 40. Don't ask me why. I'm not sure I know, but I did. Then I turned 40, got deathly ill with pneumonia and almost kicked the bucket. Glad I didn't go there.

Turning 50 was interesting. I did feel a tiny bit slower. My memory (or the lack of instant recall, at any rate) was a little more frustrating. And that was the year I began writing love stories. It was great fun and very enlightening. I learned things about how some characters, once they're introduced, try to take over the story and take on their own personalities and how much you have to reign them in and redirect them. That was also when I learned that people could relate to what my characters did and that they learned things about themselves through my stories. Discussing my characters with my husband had many wonderful side benefits. I needed a man's perspective and would query him (often against his wishes) as to what he, or another guy, might do in one situation or another. It was really nice because we got a lot closer as a result.

Now, ten years later, I've hurtled into the 60's of my mortal existence. I can remember my grandmother when she was 60! It just startles me to think I've turned 60, less than 24 hours ago, and I can't remember how those years accumulated so quickly. So all of a sudden. On Saturday evening, while talking with a friend who's birthday is exactly one month after mine, I told him I'd let him know Sunday how "going over the hill" felt.

Well, big surprise. I passed over that threshold and--interestingly enough--it feels the same on one side as it did on the other. Whew!!!! Of course, my knees were a bit achy this morning. Must be due to all that walking I did over that last hilltop. Right?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I know you're all dying (or not) to hear "the rest of the story" following up on "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Oh, and thanks for asking. My hugely blackened (or more like purpled) eye is almost back to normal. My eyebrow is still tender to the touch, as is the bump/crack on the bridge of my nose (which still shows a little bluish and yellow-green icky, icky yellow green, but the split on that bump has healed over.) The little "purple-now-red" spot under my right eye is still noticeable along with the much larger purple spot under my left eye. But, hey! I'm looking mostly back to normal now! Woohoo!

So, Friday, the day after Christmas, I woke and took a shower, gingerly shampooing my hair and cleansing my battered face. I felt so much better. Showers are great for that, aren't they? Then I looked closely into the bathroom mirror. Well, I do have to say that the purple/plum coloring on my upper eyelid was beautiful! I mean, it's a favorite color, all shiny and, okay, somewhat swollen, still. Trouble with bruising around one's eyes is this: gravity. You know that without doubt all the blood oozing above one's eye is gonna flow down. That's just the way it works. So this day, the swelling and coloring had moved south, too.

That afternoon, the fun began. Daughter's family had just signed the final papers the Friday prior on their first home. AND they had arranged with friends from Church to move on Saturday. Well, the weather forecast promised rugged conditions: sleet, freezing rain, wind, nasty, nasty stuff for Saturday. Not good. Particularly when moving furniture and boxes in a mostly open horse trailer in those conditions. So, at the last minute (nearly), arrangements were altered. Those good friends from Church--very new friends I might add--were troopers. They came in the evening to begin the process. And let me tell you, with the configuration of the stairs and the size of some of the furniture, I frankly don't know how they managed! (Sometime I may have to post about how I think architects need to help move people into houses and have to deal with the plumbing, and electrical repairs--the real practical application of house design--before they're allowed to draw up their first house plans. AND then, having to do the same after their house plans have been built. It could be a very long post.)

Grandma and Grandpa gathered up all their stuff, took it to the new home, and got out of the way. At supper time, they went to the local Pizza Hut and purchased large quantities of nourishment for the troops. Grandma was sorely tempted by the ensuing aroma wafting from the steaming cardboard boxes, but owing to the still rocky condition of her gastric column caved in only to a couple of bites of bread stick. But I have to tell you it was sooooooo tempting! The thought of pepperoni with mushroom pizza, hot and steamy, crunchy, chewy crust and all just within reach . . . But, Grandma counted the cost of the previous days events and held off! It was a monumental exercise in wisdom guided self-control.

Well, after the awesome friends and son-in-law struggled through a load of furniture transferring from rental house to home, they decided to call it a day and try again later. Grandpa wanted to help but had been dealing with some back issues for over a month, so he was not allowed to lift heavy objects. At all!

And then, that night, poor Grandpa got hit by the BUG. He did not pass out. Thank heaven!!! Grandma felt much better, though she still looked very much like she'd been run over by a reindeer driving a Mac truck. Owing to several factors of inconvenience, Grandma and Grandpa decided for the sake of everyone concerned, they'd get a room at a local motel pretty much around the corner from the new house and moved in Saturday morning, two days after Christmas.

Then the weather hit. Tornado WARNING SIRENS started to go off. And, due to the fact that the motel had TV service, we were able to keep abreast of the weather conditions, which we shared with our daughter. It was a little scary. The sky was indeed very black and threatening. The wind howling. The rain, sleet, hail came. But, alas! The Good Lord preserved us. We were very blessed to NOT have to endure a tornado. There were some that apparently hit areas very close to where we were. Later that day, the valiant friends came back to help with another load or two. Apparently, some of the boxes got a bit wet and unpacking/airing out became an immediate necessity.

When the conditions improved, I ventured out to purchase some essential nourishment. I contemplated the reactions I might get as I "went public" with my purple, swollen eye and nose. I didn't feel up to masking with makeup yet, since everything was still very painful to touch. But, mostly, all the flu symptoms for me had flown. Poor Grandpa, on the other hand, was suffering miserably.

Human nature is interesting. I made these observations at the grocery store where I purchased some nutritional essentials. Women would look at me with perhaps an understanding or disinterested expression. Men, however, looked at me with what seemed like an almost guilty or at least uncomfortable expression. It was all really odd. I've never had a black eye before, so I've never encountered the reactions of different people to that experience. I think it kind of sad that in our society viewing a woman with a black eye seems to evoke a response that they think "battered wife." It was weird.

I've only known one woman, thirty or more years ago, who I ever witnessed with a black eye from an abusive husband. I think it is one of the most despicable acts for a man to abuse a woman or ANYONE, actually. I can't fathom it. And, because my husband is so far removed from that type of behavior, I must thank God I've been so blessed. I tell my husband I'm so grateful for his tender, loving hands.

We had talked about heading out on Friday or Saturday, depending on weather--naturally, but with Grandpa being so sick, we had to wait for the BUG to leave. Sunday, he was feeling a bit better and the major symptoms had mostly abated, so we went to the new house and said our good-byes. (I hate having to tell our grandchildren good-bye. Though they live closer now than before, it's still a very long journey to see them.)

That night I crashed at 8:30. Since I did, I woke at about 2:22 am Monday. Husband woke around 3:33 am. We decided we felt up to the long drive back and hit the road prior to 5:00 am. It was such a blessing! We then were able to miss the rush-hour traffic an hour and a half later! AND for the rest of the day, our stops were held to a minimum of wasted time (till the final couple of hours from our destination). Still and all, I think we arrived home around 7:30 pm.

Oh the joy of being back in one's own home and bed! Grandpa is still suffering with back pain, though. We may have to take a trip to the doctor. Ugh.