Thursday, March 21, 2019

Positive Focus Thursday - Listening and Unicorns

Wednesday produced two different stories, but they are both intertwined.

First, I was the driver for Texter for a couple of doctor appointments. One in the morning which was a follow-up and the second one with a rheumatologist to hopefully get an answer to her question, "What is wrong with me?"

Me, while I am happy we may finally have an answer, it also means I'm not at home doing 'my' stuff. However, because of where we were going, I could stop by 2nd and Charles and use my store credit and maybe pick up Lady K's birthday present. So it would be one chore ticked off my 'to-do' list.

Between the half-off sale on it and the 'flash' $5 off on $25 or more, the $50 plushie cost me $2.50 out of my wallet. I call that I win!


Grandma, the unicorn!

Actually, there is a story behind Grandma. When I walked across the street to pick up Lady K when I got home, I told her while I was waiting for Mommy to finish up with the doctor, I saw this...

Since I was sitting outside in the car so I could listen to my audiobook, I walked over to see what it was. (Plus it was really nice outside and sitting in a doctor's office didn't have any appeal.)

It was a unicorn! And it was looking for someone and it got lost. The Tooth Fairy had told 'her' there was a little girl who just lost a tooth who was having a birthday and she needed to go find her. But there were so many people and she was lost. 

So I helped her out of the tree and she followed me home.

I got squeals and screams when Lady K got her out of the car. 

Later in the evening, I asked Lady K what she was going to name 'him'. First, I was informed it is 'her' because it has eyelashes. I stand corrected. Secondly, she named it 'Grandma'.

Ok, Grandma?

Because that way anytime I am not around she can still have Grandma with her. 

Yes, there might have been a watery eye with that pronouncement.

But back to Texter and the doctors. Doctors who are listening to her.

For several years now, Texter has been complaining about aches and pains. To the point, I confess, I had turned a deaf ear to. To the point, I would think "suck it up" or "just one day without complaining about aches already".

Based on positive blood test results, as well as the negative results of an MRI and an eye exam, it was looking more and more like she was finally going to get an answer to the question 'what is wrong with me'. And the best part of this process, she was talking to a doctor who she felt was listening to her and not shoving her out the door when her 15 minutes was up. Someone who wasn't dismissing her and telling her it was 'hormones', 'all in your head', 'you are making it all up', etc.

Of course, the hives and then the more hives as an allergic reaction to one of the drugs they gave her to take while they were sorting things out, did help show there was 'something' wrong.

She has been so thrilled just to have someone listen to her and believe what she was saying about the aches and pains she is feeling. And all I could think of was I had stopped listening. 

How many times do we do that? Stop listening.

Oh, we hear those around us talking, but we tune it out. Like in the cartoons, it all becomes 'blah, blah, blah'. 

The problem Texter is experiencing will not be 'cured' and go away if she has what we think she has now. But it is treatable and something she can learn to live with. She already feels better just because someone is listening to her and she will soon have a 'name' for what is going on in her body. But people are finally listening to her.

To see the delight and relief on Texter's face coming out of the doctor's office because she is closer to getting a real answer to her problem makes me feel bad for all the time I heard her, but didn't listen, makes me ashamed of myself. And to have a large, white, squishy unicorn named Grandma because she wants me around all the time, when I don't always listen to what she is trying to tell me, hurts.

So listen to those around you. Really 'hear' what they are saying. Not just the words, but the meaning behind those words. Make the time. Because there will be a time you really need someone to listen to you. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tuesday Sundries - Crazy Cat Lady

So Sunday before last, after taking Texter to the Minute Clinic at Target and sitting around for an hour and a half, I was taking her home. 

She got a text from one of her managers at Lowe's she is friendly with. It seems there was an 'emergency' at her house.

There was a semi-feral momma cat which had given birth under the house a couple of days earlier. And with it being cool and rainy, they needed to be moved somewhere better.

Unfortunately, while they had momma trapped finally, her husband was allergic to cats. And the local animal shelters weren't taking any more cats. They were packed. So what do do?






There is one grey, two dark black and one which is a dark grey (hard to see in these pictures).

Momma Cat, who is solid grey, stays in hiding until it's time to feed the babies. She comes out to eat, too, and then goes back into hiding. I don't know what we are going to do with her when we wean the babies. But since they are barely two weeks old, there is a bit of time before we have to make a decision.

I say 'we', but I agreed to this only as the caretaker. Other have to find homes for the babies and Momma cat. At least the little ones will be use to being handled and a child. When they get a bit older, a dog and other cats. 

But for now, I'm hoping they keep their little smushed up faces. 

Oh, did I mention SOMEONE in the house has claimed Marshmallow as hers?


Monday, March 18, 2019

Mandala Monday

Ok, this is weird. 

I'm seeing a 'face' in this mandala. Well, technically three faces. 

Do you see it? It looks, to me, very 'Arthurian' with a moustache and crown, a nose and he's scowling a bit and has long hair.

Fine. I'm strange!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Week In Review - March 10 - 16

Ok...the week started off slow. As in all I was doing was taking Texter to/from doctor's appointments and the minute clinic. There is another appointment in the coming week with a specialist to see where all her ailments may be coming from. Fingers crossed we finally get a definitive answer.


On Wednesday, I get an email invitation to an open interview for Food Lion. I had applied there months ago and had heard nothing until this email.

Friday morning, I get up and dress in 'Food Lion' colors, thinking maybe if they see me dressed like an employee, I would get an offer.


Deep breath. Can I say I am really excited? The interview was so much fun and went really well. There were about 6-8 managers in the room interviewing and I was lucky enough to be directed to a young man who is the Customer Service Manager for a brand new store opening in about 6 weeks. I was offered a job immediately!

It will be a huge, flagship grocery store, with all kinds of 'goodies' like hot food bars, sushi bar - a really deluxe store and I will be helping to get it up and running. The good thing is that it isn't all that far away from the house. I will be a cashier, making $3 more to start with than I am making at GameStop and consistent hours, which I so need.

So, tomorrow, Monday, I will be going in to fill out paperwork and get my Food Lion shirt to wear and find out my schedule for training. Excited!

In the meantime, this evening will be my last shift for a while with GameStop. I told them I would be available to fill in on occasion. Plus Savvy will keep me in the loop in exchange for food.

Speaking of food...


I celebrated 'Pi' Day on the 14th with a Chocolate Meringue Pie. I did turn my back for a moment when browning the meringue, but it's just as tasty anyway.

Last Sunday was spent taking Texter to Minute Clinic as she had erupted in bumps again and had sores in her mouth where she was breaking out. Then Monday was an eye appointment for her and a blood draw to do some additional testing.

Tuesday night was a mini-Dr. Seuss 'musical' at school for Lady K. She knew every song, every move and it was well worth taking a couple of hours out of the evening to attend. I also had a chance to connect with Ms. Henderson, her teacher, about a possible volunteer event. Which means on Wednesday, I signed up with the school district to be cleared as a volunteer. 

Friday was my interview and I spent the rest of the day dancing around the house in glee. And the Saturday, reality set in and I started planning on how my time was going to be spent once I am working more outside the house. I took my planner and did some pre-planning until I get more information on Monday.

I really need to motivate myself to drink more plain water (or water which isn't iced tea with sugar). And to get my steps up each day. I would like these to become 'thoughtless' habits, but not there yet.

Otherwise this week...

  • I wrote four posts
  • I finished off six books

I was also entertained by the creation of paper armor on Saturday.

It started out with paper shoes and then...

We had a 'hat' and a belt. Also, quite a bit of rustling as she walked. This was not the armor of a ninja by any means.

Then the 'hat' became a 'helmet'.

Stealth was not a requirement of this armor. So was being able to see where she was going. Luckily, I have a huge ream of cheap paper and extra tape.

This coming week...

  • Get settled in with Food Lion and find out my schedule for the next week or so
  • Pick up some potting soil and cups and do a bit of transplanting
  • Cupcakes to school on Friday for Lady K's birthday celebration at school
  • Start on my 'planning' for April, May, and June
  • Write some letter I owe to people
  • Max out work (which I haven't been doing)
  • 5 new 'guests' in the house (more about that on Tuesday)

But for now, it's switching to water since I have had two cups of coffee already (maybe).

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Positive Focus Thursday - Just When You Think...

I'm 61. 

I'll be 62 in 6 months. 

I'm too old (in my opinion) to be raising a soon-to-be six-year-old. Or at least in my mind, I am. After all, both my daughters are in their 20's now. Then I see the report on TV about how multi-generational families are a good thing. 


And then this...

A school performance in which Lady K knew all the words and moves to the songs. 

Oh. Did I mention I just signed up to be a school volunteer so I can take my tiny tomato plants (Red Robin and Totem Cherry tomatoes) to school so the kids can plant their own plants?

And just when I think about giving it all up and canceling my 'grandmother' card...

So I guess I'm 'stuck' being Grandma for a while longer.

Luckily, our rain has stopped for a bit and we have been getting mornings like this...

It makes going to the bus stop in the morning bearable.

So does this...

My neighbor found out I love Starbuck mugs as much as she does and that I wanted/needed a North Carolina mug. She didn't find the NC one but found a Charlotte mug instead. I'm happily sipping out of this one this morning.

While at school this week, I caught a glimpse of this...

Plus, while taking Texter on a round of doctor appointments to find out what is wrong with her, I stayed in the car reading.

Sunshine! And warm temperatures. Not too hot and not too cool. Just right. Basking in the sunshine and reading a good book.

The reflection of budding trees was lovely.

And my new 'lawn boy'!

I borrowed Savvy's mower all last year. Hefting it into the back of the van and lugging it and gas to/from my house. So I broke down and bought 'Joe'. He's a cordless, electric mower. Charge him up and push a button and off he goes. A couple of things I have already discovered which I am in love with...

  • Quiet! No loud mower noise.
  • Chops up the grass into super small pieces which is really great for using the clippings as mulch.
  • I can pick him up with one hand he's so light.
  • I don't have to mess with gas.
  • I don't have to pull and pull on a cord to get him started. So much easier on my shoulder and wrist.

While I shouldn't be complaining about grey days and rain when my friends in Montana are still dealing with snow, I am delighted to be able to set out seedlings for a few hours every day to toughen up before planting them. However, I think it's really strange they keep sending me pictures of one finger to show me they have gotten another foot of snow. Or at least that's what I think they are telling me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday Sundries - More Seediness

Sunday was going to be a 'quiet' day. I had a large batch of cookies to make. And I wanted to up-pot some of my seedlings and plant MORE 'stuff' before I had to go pick up Lady K from her dad.

Well...sorta happened!

First, Texter has all broken out again and had sore in her mouth and couldn't eat. So a trip to Minute Clinic for some relief. And about an hour and a half wait. Luckily, I needed some groceries and it was at Target, so killed two errands with one trip.


A co-worker messaged her. There was a momma cat who had given birth under their house in the crawl space. They were barely a week old, but with the cold and damp we have been having, they wanted them out. Animal Control wouldn't come to get them. The shelter is packed. So...

Yep, I am 'fostering' a semi-wild momma cat and four kittens. The babies are about a week old. So they are set up in the spare bedroom in a large kennel with blankets and food for momma. (Pictures to follow after she settles down some.) Texter has promised me she will do the leg-work necessary to find them homes in a few weeks.

But I did manage to squeeze in at least making the cookie dough and repot/plant some seeds.

As I pulled out seedlings to up-pot, I filled in the 'blanks'. The 'new' seeds were for the following...

  • Cinnamon Basil
  • Dark Opal Purple Basil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Watermelon (Sugar Baby)
  • Kale
  • Hot Salsa Blend Peppers
  • Greyzini Squash
  • Burpee's Best Hybrid Zucchini

In cups, I now have the following...

  • Lemon Basil (and more to transplant)
  • Hyacinth Bean (2)
  • Queen Red Lim Zinnia (17)
  • San Marzano Tomato (11)
  • Red Robin Tomato (11)
  • Rainbow Blend Tomato (15)
  • Pick a Bushel Cucumber (6)
  • Sungold Tomato (3)
  • Lemon Cucumber (7)
  • Mesclun & Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce (a bunch)
  • Jack O'Lanter Pumpkin (3)
  • Sugar Pie Pumpkin (4)
  • Mountaineer Squash (3)
  • Oregon Spring Tomato (3)
  • Black Krim Tomato (4)
  • Brandywine Red Tomato (2)
  • Sweet 100 Tomato (2)

I also planted two saucers of Cat Grass for my cats and Savvy's cats.

Part of the plants will be given out to friends (and probably strangers!). But I really hope I can get a good crop of San Marzano tomatoes to can. And for Lady K, I would love several watermelon and pumpkins. 

I have one Hyacinth Bean I need for the weather to cooperate and warm up some so I can put it outside. I really want it to do well so I can get some seeds for future plantings. 

My potatoes which are in tubs already seem to be doing well. I have one batch in a large whiskey barrel and they are growing like crazy.

Next on the list of to-dos...

  • More cups for up-potting
  • Start collecting (buying) containers to plant in
  • Drill holes in the bins I already have
  • A trip to the county composting site to buy compost for planting 
  • A trip to Lowe's for 'stakes' for tomatoes (using 6-foot poles) and wire for beans, cucumbers, and zucchini.

But for now, just hoping for warmer weather and my lawn mower to arrive!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Week In Review - March 3 - March 9

Believe me when I say I am certainly not 'springing forward' this morning.

More to the point I am shuffling along with coffee in hand. And hoping the sun will come out today.

But I feel I am going to be disappointed, but at least it's supposed to get a tad warmer.

Today I have 'plans'. Plans which include carrying several trays of seedlings to the garage and transplanting some of the larger seedlings. And then planting some more seeds.

The ones I transplanted earlier in the week have been doing well. On our one day of sunshine, they were quite happy basking in lamplight and sunlight. 

But after closing GameStop two night in a row, which puts me home after my 'normal' bedtime, I don't know how 'springy' I feel. And I have cookies I need to make today in order to hand them out on Monday. 

I  also have a dilemma.


I received this as I was leaving for work yesterday. It's hard to decide what do to, plant or read! When one of your favorite authors comes out with a new book, you just want to drop everything and read.

I did venture out this past week and pick up some compost for today's plans and this followed me home.

Lady K and I went to the library after school for a program. It was about cooking and they made smoothies. The coming week will be an art program.

But on the library front, I was excited to learn about Universal Class. Through the library, I have access to this service and have started on my first class in Aromatherapy. So far the classes seem very professional.

Otherwise this week...

  • Started another sourdough starter
  • Ordered my electric lawn mower
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Finished 2 books
  • Fed 'Paul' Pitcher Plant a dose of blood worms

This coming week...

  • Transplant seedlings and plant new seeds
  • Max out work-from-home
  • Texter to an eye appointment
  • Cookies passed out 
  • School program and early release one day
  • Work on 'Queen of the Middle Court'

But for now, I'm springing forward for more coffee.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Positive Focus Thursday - It's the Little Things

Fingers crossed the two little 'growths' on the right are flower stalks emerging. It would be so awesome. This phal is in the bathroom beside the tub and seems to be doing well.

Along with its buddy, Fiddle Leaf Fig #1...

Who is putting out new leaves right and left (or up and up, depending on your point of view).

Which brings me to 'little things'.

How often do we think its that big vacation or that luxury car or the honking-big rock on our finger that makes us happy? When actually if we slow down and take a moment, it's the little things which bring us a sense of satisfaction and a smile to our face. 

Also upstairs, and recently transplanted into a larger pot, is a peperomia.

It's nestled in a pot with a couple of 'pups' from my succulents.

A tour around the house this week pointed this out to me. In less than 30 minutes my mood had improved and I feel 'good'.

While my nasturtium and hyacinth bean vines just aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing, I do have one. One nicely growing, transplanted (and not dying yet) and hopefully will make it well outside this summer.

Sometimes a sense of pleasure and satisfaction and 'happy' can be achieved just by moving things around.

The moving cart I had the bulk of the plants on downstairs was overflowing! And I needed to make some room and move items around. So...

The heavy side table I picked up off the curb a couple of months ago and which has been sitting in the garage, I moved it inside. I could pull things off the window sill and put my herb garden on it. My thyme and oregano are still little, but they seem to be thriving.

This allows me to give more space to 'Cindy', my Montana violet.

It's the only surviving leaf which came from Montana. I suck at growing violets from leaves, unlike the Queen of School Buses, who looks at a leaf and it immediately grows roots and puts out other leaves. But now I have one 'regular' violet (which is putting on flower buds) and one variegated violet.

Another 'small thing', which is getting bigger and heavier and more yellow every day, is my first lemon on 'Mike' Meyer Lemon.

We all have to remind ourselves to take a minute and to look around and find pleasure in our surroundings. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Tuesday Sundries - It's Getting 'OLD'

Six years ago I was packing up and preparing for a move to Montana. Texter was VERY pregnant. We were going to a new home, blind. We had never been to Montana. We had only seen the house we were renting online. It was a giant leap of faith.

Now, fast forward to today...

We are back in North Carolina. And the tiny, unborn 'thing' is a thinking, reasoning (unreasonable), talking, dancing, walking, being. And modeling the hat her Aunt Savvy has worn in the past. It was 'crazy hat' day at school and she wore it for the day.

And today, it is 'Mix-n-Match' day. So last night she picked out her outfit for the day.

So what's this all about?

I have been fortunate to be there almost every single day of her life. I have been able to participate in her life more than I was able to for my own daughters. Working 8-10 hours a day kept me exhausted and removed from a lot of what was going on with Savvy and Texter. Unfortunately, that's the lot of most parents. 

And while there are times (many times) where I think it would be great to be an 'empty nester', 'this' does get me up in the mornings and sends me to bed tired most nights. Asks questions to which I still have no answers. Aggravates the hell out of me and hugs and kisses me sweetly.

And in 19 more days, of which she is counting down, it's her 6th birthday. 

I hope to be here when she celebrates being 46!