Monday, August 8, 2011

Can we make some new rules?

I have to ask this question again. How do elected officials get so rich? I mean filthy rich? I guess it is dirty work but somebody has to do it, I mean, living out of someone else's pocket can't be easy.

I know am not alone in showing my displeasure (i.e., I'm pissed) with our elected officials. So much so, I'm proposing new rules. My plan crosses party lines and goes into affect Second Monday of September. I figure in order to get results that are more reflective of the real people (like me) they must more like the real people (like me). Beginning on the Second Monday of September: No cell phones are allowed, ever. No suits. As a matter of fact, no one shall wear any clothing exceeding $250 at any given time, including shoes. HOWEVER, no sneakers, jean or sweatshirts are allowed. Handbags, totes and brief cases will be Walmart standard issue. Bag lunches or lunch in the cafeteria only! No CEOs, lobbyists, business persons or persons with personal agenda shall have access to the capital or any offices in Washington housing senators or congressmen. Businesspersons will have to run for office themselves if they wish to control the hill. Imagine that. At this point, people pretty much have removed all power cloths, power phone calls, power lunches and must make decisions based on their own vision of what the average real person (like me) needs in order to obtain a job, eat, provide housing with heat, cooling and water, own a car and have two chickens in every pot. One more thing. All material voted on much be read pesonally, not by staff AND if a bill is presented by someone that same someone better have written it themself. Am I asking too much! Am I?

Politics can be exciting though and I have to admit that the posturing for the republican candidate fills the gap left behind by Casey Anthony.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer in the Desert

It's hot here right now with 110 being the average daily temp so there are alot of fun things I'm doing indoors. Spinning, knitting, dying some wool, reading some new fiber books (check out Amazon folks and don't be afraid to get used books for dirt cheap prices!) and the Casey Anthony case has been on the TV for a month. Shame on me but at least I'm honest about it. I'm showing off Jackie's tomatos. She started them from seed and I'm amazed with her results. However, they are small and very thick skinned. Not really edible. I sliced a few and sucked the insides out and oh yum but that is the extent of it. The good thing about the desert is we get a second chance. After the heat diminishes - late August maybe, new plants can be put out this time I'll get involved with choosing the type of tomato she plants.

Our desert landscape garden is really coming along. We are adding red rock and red lannon stone style pavers. In this heat, maybe 3 or 4 pavers are going in at a time. The ground needs to be scraped to achieve some sort of level and when they are all in, the stone goes down around the plants and between the rocks. Exciting work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Thor

Well, it might appear impulsive, and althought it sort of is impulsive, it isn't exactly a spur of the moment purchase. Jackie and Tim had been talking "birds" for a while now. Sticker shock at pet stores didn't keep them from looking at more pet stores but it finally sent them to Craig's list where they found this guy. "Thor" is his name. He has a multiple personality. Very sweet, very threatening, very insane. There are a series of CDs we are going to get for handling him and I'm pretty sure we are all going to be best friends, making the "forever" in the phrase BFF more meaningful than ever.

As an aside, the diet went well until this weekend, I'll be getting back on track today.

Back to the news of the day. Thor is eight so we have the rest of our lives to enjoy him. He talks. When Tim asked why they were getting rid of him the guy said Thor had a potty mouth and the wife wanted him gone. Well Thor says more than just swear words and I only heard him swear once, at least only once that was loud and clear and unmistakeningly foul. He also has periods of sqwauking - awful to listen to but we are getting some materials to teach us how to break that habit.

The kids were also here this weekend and Jackie's friend, Shelia, from Wisconsin is here, making for a very lively two days. The pool got a workout and so did all of us. I came into the house at one point to see Thor watching the fun through the window. He has a "bird's eye view" of the pool. Pets are fun but the grandkids trump all of them. Mackenzie swam for a while without floaties and is doing a pretty good doggie paddle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life in the Fat Lane

Anyone who knows me knows I've never been thin (at least post-child #1 and that was 1972). But at the time of this writing, I'm fat. Not my fattest, but fat nonetheless and I need to change. So call me Sparky - I've joined sparkpeople on line. It's a free diet support site with some pretty nifty apps. Turns out that this lady (ahem, me) with MS and type 2 diabetes apparently also has heart disease. I'm waiting for the final tests and results but the EKG and newly developed heart murmur speak pretty loudly. Ironically, after reading up on things, it seems heart disease is in place long before the a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and, people with both MS and type 2 diabetes aren't uncommon and, one step further, both MS and type 2 diabetes are associated with heart disease. Oh my. So I'm freaking out here. I'm remiss in checking my blood sugar. My goal is to keep myself between 95 and 105. Since 150 is pretty routine, I have my eating habits cut out for me. Life without cinnamon rolls with icing, life without fried foods, life without fast foods. And salt! No added salt! Frankly, I can skip the salt, it's the meat tenderizer (ala accent) that I (and all the delis) put in dips and brocolli salads, etc. That is one of those deadly yummies I can't imagine living without. But I have to. The pool is excellent for my MS, I can exercise in it, and now, it might just be my life saver.

Yesterday I had one of those fabulous donuts I love for breakfast and it hit me like a 2x4 that I was commiting suicide. My "ah ha" moment. A long slow death at my own hand. Ironically, I quit smoking in February 2010 and I'm sure that didn't do my heart any good but food? OMG. I will freak until the tests and done and the results are in and it isn't doing me any good in the meanwhile. I sleep alot. I am depressed in spite of taking anti-depressants. I seem paralyzed with fear. But life goes on and June 3rd will be hear before I know it. For now, I'll get used to testing my blood sugar regularly, eating only the most sensible foods and visiting twice a day.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Retirement, Don't Rely on the News Reports!

This is a tiny little rant I have. The news and their lists on the best of retirement, the best places, the best low tax states, the best social life. C'mon! They are all blowing hot air! Security changes at a drop of the hat. It changes depending on who is paying for the survey. Then we should consider where the best health care and the lowest state deficit. All these things can change with a storm, an earthquake, an audit of the books. Seriously, retirement is like happiness; it starts inside. Actually, retirement IS happiness. Yes, you must take certain realities into consideration. An island in the Pacific, although pretty, unique and nice, isn't realistic if you are nowhere near friends, family and in line with the lifestyle you lived prior to retirement. And money? C'mon again! Is there anyone you know who isn't relying on "entitlements?" Nobody defines entitlements when they refer to them but I am thinking retirement plans from companies (including retirement plans from state, county and local governments) and especially, social security. It's the key to eating, drinking and a roof over our heads (or wheels beneath our feet). Granted, anyone under 30 should be taking in all the retirement financial advice out there but beware . . . my retirement "fund" lost 1/3rd of its value and that 1/3rd is now funding someone elses retirement. What? you say. Yes, that cash didn't vanish into thin air. It was stolen and it went somewhere. Basic accounting folks. If it leaves one column it has to appear on another. Now lets all count our losses, add them up and find out where it went. Follow the paper trail people. Based only on the losses counted by you, your closest friends and relatives, somebody is living very grand off their ill-gotten gains and that is just a small amount of you and your closest friends. The government has turned a blind eye to it. Actually, who is in charge of it? The SEC isn't, or doesn't care. The SEC isn't looking out for any body's investments. So pray for the youngest among us and their futures because they can't rely on any plans offered today. Maybe gold is the answer and some cold hard cash. But when it comes to storing said retirement funds, do not, I repeat, do not put it where it can be stolen, taken, controlled by any entity, devalued, etc. Good luck to those under 30. A big fat good luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The last installment on insanity.

This is day three of my ongoing nonsense to get an old loom to perform a miracle. I found alot of sites on line with outrageous plans and very simple plans. It is interesting to see I'm not alone in my quest. I knew my heddle was all wrong. So I started over with suggestions I found online with some tweaking. This is what I came up with. Manila folder cut in lengths with a hole punched in center. I figured I would warp it with one strand through the hole, two strands through the slot and so on. This would work better but I had to start over so . . . get out the scissors.

My plan is working better. It isn't straight. It isn't taught. It isn't pretty yet, I'll continue on my nerve wracking path for a few more days and see what I come up with. Every now and then however, I'll sit and spin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I think it is possible to drive myself crazy!

Tension! I need Tension! As you can see on the right, all looks well. I have the "back beam" on the outside of the loom and since I couldn't find any large rubberbands (need to buy veggies with rubberbands) I used yarn to tie it to the loom. However . . . . as seen on the left, everything is sagging on me. I need to find a way to roll the front off with tension. I made a heddle with cardboard, using a hold puncher to creat holes. The other heddle is paperclips fed through a long thing knitting needle. After hours of messing around with this I am tempted to buy a small rigid heddle loom. If I monetize this to hit on Ashford, Kromski, Schacht, Le Clerc, Louet & Dundas maybe I can nickle and dime myself into a loom. Explain my obsession ... please! In the meanwhile, I might just spin up some of this hand carded montedale.

Actually, the scarf experiment might work. The glob in the center of the scarf is a broken warp so I tied it and that knot and stringers make the glob. Basically, I like it and might add more globs to the scarf as I got along. Primative? Definitely.

I keep forgetting to post about our fabulous day with Paige and Dave, Gypsy and Ginger, the later two being weener dogs. We had the most delightful day and in the fall they may stop over for another day of spinning, chatting, catching up and dog play. The dogs got along so well it was unbelievable, especially since Gypsy has never trusted me enough to get near me and Rocky can match her feisty nature and temper. During dinner, she all but sat in Tim's lap for some scraps of food. Granted, it was chicken off the rotissouri but still, a huge suprise. While we were spinning Paige noticed book 5 of the Outlander series and it turns out that she read it too, and loooooved it. Another shared interest. She says, Jane is reading it now, which is amazing because I really didn't think Jane would go for this sort of book but it is an amazing series and a memerable read. Jane is a book hound, having had enough books to start a book store back in Indie where her victorian summer home is. Jane is my other dear friend from our time in Apache Junction. If I could visit them more often I would. I think I will this winter. So the dogs got along well, the hubbies had a good time and Paige and I had an amazing day. Oh, and I have a special thanks to Dave who changed my flat tire!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Still Say "For Sure"

Loom together - warping yarn ready!

Seems to be moving along well.

I have to redo the ends. I need to have the "rollers" on the outside and perhaps connected with thick rubber bands.

The weft.

Once upon a time my mother gave me a primitive loom, more basic than primitive I guess. I used it years ago for several small projects and caught the weaving bug so I got a real loom. But then along came retirement and the loom is among several things we regret selling; like the Harley. I did not, however, let my stash go and recently I gathered the storage boxes together and reunited myself with my favorite stuff, fiber! It's a whole lot of wool. My task might seem overwhelming but as any other fiber freak will tell you it might be challenging but it is not overwhelming. You can never have too much fiber. So whilst hand-carding a large amount of montedale, a wool which tends to want to "pill," I began thinking about that little loom. A while later I decided to get out that little loom and put it together. I wanted to weave a scarf and began to examine the loom and see if I could apply some of the big loom concepts to this small loom. The ideas flowed and snowballed. Since this retirement blog has taken a huge turn off the snowbird map I decided to record my efforts here because it is still about me having a whole lot of time on my hands, "for sure"!

With the warping board long gone I strung my hand spun warp on the back of chairs and began to warp the tiny loom. I don't have a heddle so I'll have to weave each row by hand and I still have to decide what to roll the scarf on as it is made but I'm sure I'll manage. I've been searching the web for a pattern or design but I still have a few hours left before I decide because there is still some beautiful blue/green hand spun drying on the monkey bars. This'll be fun . . . for sure!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer's approaching!

I'm swimming! (On the steps) You go girl!

Getting the toes wet.

One year anniversary to the moment! Still smiling:)

Oddly naked garden but it has 10 plants. The large one in the middle is a Joshua tree and in front of it is a small Saguro. It has a ways to go.

My snowbird friends will be leaving their winter nests and heading back to bugs, storms, humidity but more importantly, to friend and family. One such couple are coming our way and staying an extra day to say "hay"! And I'm looking forward. Paige and I share an important bond, fiber! Can't wait. We'll be spending some time spinning on our wheels.

Jennifer and Jorge came to Vegas to celebrate their 1st anniversary (yes, it's been a year already) and Rachel and her family came too. Papa and I had alot of grandkid time and that amuses me to no end. Kids don't care what temp pool water is. They went from getting their toes wet on the edge of the pool to swimming until their lips turned blue. Mom, Auntie Jennifer and Jackie and Nani joined in too. We went neck deep and stayed in for about 1/2 hour. It isn't that cold, almost 80.

We spent some time on the strip and I was able to snap a picture of Jennifer and Jorge at exactly 1 year to the minute of their wedding and that was fun (corny fun is the best fun). We got some shopping and gambling in and Tim joined us after work at the Rio for a seafood buffet. Lots of crab and sushi. Oh yummm.

Tim is looking forward to the school year coming to an end and doesn't plan to return to work driving the UNLV kids around. It is almost full time and that isn't what he wants. We started a desert landscape garden and Tim's enjoying designing it, including carting in a few large rocks. We have more plans for it so I'll be anxious to post most progress as it goes along. We visited Springs Preserve here in town and got alot of inspiration and although we love the plants here saw them in such a beautiful and bold setting. We also drove to Lake Havasu in our Winnie and bought the Joshua tree there. It is hard to find them here. And it is tagged, to prove we didn't dig it up in the desert illegally. We love the desert plants!

Well, y'all take care and I'll write soon. Mummy, Diane

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Visitors Galore

If it rains it pours. The month of January was dull but there were fun things on the horizon, we just didn't expect them all at once. Tom and Deb had plans to visit and arrived on the 20th of February and since they arrived the pool people have been in and out like crazy. Rachel and the kids are in town to see their family's new addition, Dannelly and Rowell's son Davyn who at 4lbs 11oz appears to be the most adorable baby I've seen in a few years. Our Darrian, who is 2 1/2 years old is completely potty trained. He strips to go potty, but I'd rather redress him than change a diaper. Yesterday we had the pool people "shot the gunite", or at least that is as close to the term as I can or even need to get. Translation: the pool has the majority of concrete in place. I have to water it 3 times a day now until they return.
Shortly after Tim left for work yesterday Tom and Deb asked if Rachel could drive Tom to the ER. CHEST PAIN! OMG. We gave him an asperin and they were off. The ER kept him and we are waiting to hear from his nurse/doctor for some word on his tests and later today he gets a stress test. Deb is visually impared and Tom sent her home with Rachel because she would be like a prisoner there in a holding pattern. That was a good decision. Now, when it comes to health issues Tom is a man of few words so he is happy to just get a good rest in while we worry. Deb did call and found out they had him in a bed, not in a recliner like they usually do here in Vegas ERs, but was in the ER until late last night so we didn't hear anything until Deb called. She called again before we all went to bed and he was okay and since their cell phones, and ours, are Wisconsin area codes, the nurses don't call because it is long distance. Unfortunately he left his phone here . I have to wonder if they would call if something critical happened to him. Of course, that is very unlikely and as far as Deb's vacation, we will take her to Springs Preserve and a little more sightseeing. She is loving the casinos and is luckier than me and her $20.00 entertains her for hours before she goes bust. So far we visited the California/Nevada border (lottery tickets and border casinos), parts of the strip, Hofbrauhaus for some good German fun, Freemont Street, plenty of food and Hoover Dam, where Deb can say she walked to Arizona.

The kids loved their bunk set and Mackenzie slept in her top bunk by herself (A FIRST!) Normally she prefers mommy's bed. In the middle of the night Darrian wanted to join her so Rachel put him in with Mackenzie. I loved seeing them and we parked them in front of the patio doors so they could watch the work being done on the pool. They had some pretty intelligent questions about the whole pool thing but the most often asked question was "when can we go swimming?" I was so frustrated when I went to make a little flix of them on the top bunk. Battery died. Murphy's law.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Almost not Retired? But still finding adventures.

Loving my life and all the changes but I find myself wondering why it was so important to return to stationary living. It's because I love it. It's hard to be uncomfortable all the time and that I was. The same said for Tim. Ergo, we have the new addition of Lazy Boy recliners. Ahhhhhh! I have two long term house projects. Photos and the garage. I have more pictures than I can stand and need to sort them. Ours, and 4 piles for the girls. Do they ever care? The garage has been an on going project ever since the movers arrived. I'm looking forward to sharing before, during and after pictures but it will be a while.

Tim is working full time driving for the students at UNLV. His route is pretty easy and he seems to enjoy the kids. During the summer he will be driving double decker red English tour buses on the strip. He is looking forward to doing that and so am I. I am going to stow away on one of the tours.

We had alot of our "do it next year" projects done already. The pool man is getting permits and lining up the workers. We bought a pool table which we were wanting since we bought the house and had some concrete poured. We got alot of Concrete!
We also found time to have a day trip to Laughlin, visited Harrahs and won some dough and took the Christmas Tree Pass through the desert for kicks and giggles on the way back. It is 16 miles of dirt road and best traveled with 4 wheel drive but the Edge did just fine.
To our suprise, we came across trees along the way that people decoorated with their ornaments and trim. Next trip coming up soon but more important, waiting on Tom and Deb, they're arriving on 2/20. Fabulous. Until next time, love and kisses. Mummy

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shout out to AJ friends

Tim and I took our first real road trip in the new Winnie. We went to Apache Junction with two goals in mind. Reconnect with snow bird friends for a few days and visit with Donna and Jamison, who drove from the Dallas area to see us. Well damn if weather didn't just kill that time and although I was able to spend time with Paige, I was lost to Joan and John and Dave and Tim's friends jumped ship and headed home to beat the storm to Texas. We left early too, heading west to California on Hwy 10 and then north and managed to skirt the storm and arrive home safe 2 days early. The worst part was driving over the hunks and chunks of snow and ice that fell off trucks and other vehicles along the otherwise clear road. We'll have to go through Lake Havasu City in the daylight next time, it was awesome in the dark, I can't imagine what it will look like in the daytime. We did stop in Lake Havasu City for a steak dinner at I believe Montana Steakhouse. Raw oysters on the 1/2 shell, steak, butterfly shrimp, fabulous salads and a thick creamy carrot soup which I wish I would have ordered but I hate hate hate cooked carrots and Tim got the last bowl. He let me taste it. I admit, I have to find this soup on the computer. We had our desserts to go. Yum! And I must say, Rocky was a very good little guy with people and traveling and Zoe was very happy to see us when we came home. My trip to the Tempe Yarn and Fiber with Paige was heaven. I bought some dye for my fiber and an off white cotton 220 in a lighter weight than I'm used to buying and am looking forward to using it on . . something. I have to finish booties for my folks and then I can play with the new stuff. Spring will bring a few changes here - we are going to put a swimming pool in out back and a pool table in the house. Some more concrete and a patio cover with a lattice roof for the west side of the house and extending the parking/driveway out front and we should be set here for the rest of our lives - except we'll be poor and living on fixed incomes but what the hell. We'll only live once.

Life with Dell - my need to compute

I've managed (with the help of family members) to kill 3 laptops in as many years. Laptop #1 was a Dell I bought in about 2003. She served us well and died about the time we sold our house in Edgerton. She was replaced with Laptop #2, an HP bought at Walmart in Hayward WI in June of 2007. She was a matter of life and death, total life support. I'm shamed in that I cannot survive without a trusty computer. There were several features I didn't like about her but I accepted her anyway and we worked our way through our issues; that is, Tim and me and the computer worked our way through issues. I was the mediator when problem solving was needed. We headed to Apache Junction, Arizona and that HP helped us stay in touch with friends and family and entertain us through the a winter in the sun. We headed back to Wisconsin for the summer and then on to Port Aransas, TX and poof, she up and dies. Actually just her hard drive died but you might as well have removed my own brain. That computer lasted all of 18 months, just outlived its warranty and left me high and dry without any communication outside my immediate surroundings. That should not suck but it did. Winter 2010, drive to Best Buy, purchase another Dell, laptop #3. This computer died two weeks ago. I put on my copy cat hat, the "I've seen Tracy do this" hat. She fixed Dell #1 which is okay except it powers down if my hand passes over the keys, which keys exactly is yet to be discovered. She replaced the hard drive in #2 while she was here and since the computer did not come with backup disks I had to order them and restart it. Monkey see, monkey do. Dell #3's hard drive was removed and replaced by me and since it did come with start up disks I was able to get it running too. Ironically, an old Compaq PC circa 1998, a relic for sure, sits on the desk, still running. She's a bit slow, dull in color and the printer only prints in black in white, in spite of new color cartridge. All this information shared only to confess my addiction to computers and the need to "compute". This leaves us with two restored laptops and one faithful PC. Next time, should I dish out the cash for a Mac? I hear they are "perfect".