Happy Birthday Mom!

It’s my Mom’s 82nd birthday. She won’t mind my telling how old she is because she looks damn good for her age, but then again she has always looked good.

Unfortunately she is not feeling well on her big day as she has been sick all week. Please send prayers for a quick recovery. She isn’t good laying low. It means she can not do all the things that keep her the most active person her age. She can’t paint or play bridge or walk the mile long farm road which are things she does everyday if she can. It’s too cold to swim, which she does everyday when it’s warm.

She can read one of the many library books she has sitting by her bed. She can’t stand to ever buy a book when you can get it for free from the library. Since it’s Saturday she can’t watch the stock market and make some trades. But if she feels up to it she can always iron. She has a strong feeling that she was an upstairs maid in a past life for she loves to wash and iron.

I find this hysterical since she ruined a load of my clothes when I was a child and told me, “If you don’t want that to happen again you should wash your own clothes.” I did after that, but she could have just told me it was time for me to do my own laundry. I did not inherit the love of washing and ironing so she may be right about her past life. I must have been the cook in my past life.

Mom, does not like to use punctuation or capitals when emailing or texting. Except for using a comma as an apostrophe, but never as a comma. This is hilarious to me because she is such a grammar freak.

So Happy Birthday to my Mom. I used a lot of capitals there just because she wouldn’t. I also used an apostrophe as an apostrophe, just to remind her that it comes on a standard keyboard. I wish you many more years of painting, bridge, a bull market and all the best books to be in stock at the library.

Celebrity at Bridge

Friday is my normal bridge day three days out of the month. It turns out that today we had a very special guest at the Bridge Academy, the First Lady of North Carolina, Kristin Cooper. She was invited by our bridge unit 191 even though she doesn’t play bridge.

One of the members of our unit, Pearl, is well over 100 and one of the best players around. The First Lady came to meet Pearl. Since we had her as a captive, Henry, the 2018 bridge teacher of the year, gave a five minute lesson on how to play bridge. Then my partner, Deanna, who is President of the unit gave a brief talk about what our unit does and the local members of note, meaning the best players.

After all that, the First Lady said she promised to learn to play bridge. I’m not sure she really knew what she was promising. I have been playing bridge a while and after the First Lady left I played about the worst bridge I have ever played. Sometimes I wonder if I am going to progress. Of course only playing three times a month is not enough. What I really need is a game that starts early in the morning, as I play on the afternoon, which is my worst time of the day. I only hope that if I play as long as Pearl that I get to be half as good as she is.

Waiting Seven Months

Today was supposed to be the day, but it wasn’t. The day my tile guy was to come and install my tile backsplash to finish my kitchen that I started redoing on July 1.

I didn’t pick a tile out until I finished painting my kitchen. When I did, I picked one that was custom made and took 9-12 weeks to get. My tile guy placed the order with the girl who helped me. Fifteen weeks later when the tile guy called the place to ask where the tile was he found out the girl who we placed the order with quit and never put my order in. So another 12 weeks and then it was Christmas.

My tile guy called me three weeks before Christmas and said he would come after the new year. We talked last week and picked today as the day. The day I have been waiting for forever. He told me they would come at 8:00 AM. I woke up at 5:45 so excited this day was finally here.

At 6:30 I got a text that the tile guy’s father was being taken to the ER. Today was not the day. Thankfully I got another text at 1:00 that everything was fine and tomorrow is the day. Not so fast. I am not available tomorrow so Monday is the day. Please lord let it be so. Maybe Monday I will have a back splash to blog about. Today, I have nothing.

Wuhan Where?

If you have watched the news at all in the last few days you most certainly have heard about the corona virus. It’s some kind of deadly virus that experts say originated in Wuhan, China.

Have you never heard of Wuhan until this virus news? What’s the big deal with a virus from a city you have never heard of. Well, Wuhan has a population of 11 million people. To put that in perspective New York City, the largest city in the US, has 8.3 million. That means that Wuhan is a third larger than New York.

Russ spent a lot of time in Wuhan in the early nineties building a factory for a Chinese cosmetic company. Back then it was only nine million people. He used to say Wuhan is the biggest place most people have never heard of.

Today the Chinese authorities announced they are stopping all transportation in and out of Wuhan. They have suspended busses, subways, trains, ferries and planes. These are the ways most people there travel. They are asking people not to travel in or out of Wuhan. They have not stopped private cars, but most people don’t have them.

Imagine if our government tried to stop all travel in or out of New York City? Never could happen. Hopefully the medical people can figure out the source and a treatment for the corona virus. I am thankful they are taking this virus seriously, and feel for the people of Wuhan. I am certain this is not how they wanted to come to the attention of the world.

Breakfast Makeover

For years and years I ate Special K high protein cereal with some kind of fresh berries most weekdays mornings. I liked the original version of it best and was Not thrilled when Kellogg’s changed the formula about five years ago, but I still ate it.

Last year when I tried intermittent fasting I more or less stopped eating cereal since my first meal of the day was after ten in the morning. This year my push is to give up added sugar and artificial sweeteners. I have not had a sweet ‘n low in my tea in 2020 and that has been the hardest part.

In my quest for good health and since I am not ding intermittent fasting, I needed to find a new easy breakfast for mornings I don’t have time to make eggs. Although I never added sugar to my cereal I could taste the sweetness in it, even though it was billed as a healthy cereal.

As a kid I lived on Quaker hot instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal. As the kids in our house always made our own breakfast, this was the easiest hot thing to make when you are eight years old. I knew I couldn’t make that now because I am certain it has as much sugar as Special K. I decided to just have plain oatmeal.

Having seen things on Pintrest for overnight oats, meaning oats that are soaked cold overnight, no cooking needed I decided to try that. I have to say it has become my favorite go to for fast mornings. The only problem is I have to remember to make it the night before, although it is the simplest thing.

I put a half a cup of oats in a glass, add 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 3/4 of a cup of skim milk. I mix it up, cover and refrigerate. In the morning I add a good dose of cinnamon and a handful of fresh berries. It is incredibly filling and I find I am not hungry for lunch until much later in the day and I don’t miss the sugar.

I think I might cook up a few apples and add cinnamon to them and see if I might relive the taste from childhood sans the sugar. Life without sugar has not been that bad.

Day of Service

It’s MLK day. Around here that means it is a day of service. Our church organized a lot of activities with our friends from the Divan center, a Turkish Muslim faith community, where we could could do things for other people. Since Russ’ office was closed (that does not mean he did not work) we volunteered to spend five and a half hours working for the greater good.

Russ and I signed up to be the people who “could be sent on any job.” That meant that we started at church and helped back “Welcome Home” baskets for homeless people that the CASA agency finds permanent homes for. We had laundry baskets and we filled them with things you might need when setting up your first home, like kitchen utensils, and dish towels, cleaning supplies, personal care items and some food. Since we just set Carter up in her apartment in Boston I know that when you have nothing and need everything it is very expensive.

We had a lot of help doing this task. I was making bows to adorn the baskets which held a large trash bag with all the items inside. Nothing like a bow to dress up a trash bag. I had the pleasure of teaching a young woman from the Divan center who is a junior in high school so we talked about her studying for the SAT’s and her interest in going into medicine. Her family had moved to the states five years ago from Turkey and she was a delightful helper and excellent bow maker.

We finished the CASA baskets in record time so Russ and I drove two of our new Turkish friends to Githens middle school where we built new picnic benches while others refurbished old broken down ones.

Russ’ large collection of power saws, cordless drills and ratchet sets came in handy. Our years of watching This Old House and general handy man knowledge was useful. Russ did feel like the loss of wood shop in schools was showing in the young people and needs to be brought back.

The bonus for me is Githens is a huge school so I got all my steps in for the day as I went to photograph other people painting walls in classrooms and fixing picnic tables in other areas.

I am certain the the other groups who went to Reality Ministries and Hope Valley Elementary were equally successful as were the people back at church who were writing letters to cancer patients, prisoners and elected officials.

Over all there were well over a hundred people who came out to work together. I enjoyed meeting our Muslim neighbors as well as our own church members. Thanks to Amy Hill and the Deacons for organizing the whole day. It felt like the best thing to do to honor Dr. King’s legacy.

Dog Body Language

Shay is a very quiet dog. She rarely barks or growls. Once in a while she will make a little purring sound to say, “I am pleased with you.” For the most part she has developed a few poses which tell us everything she wants us to know.

Her favorite pose is one where she stands on her green bed with very good posture with one foot in front of the other. Paris models could learn a thing or two from her stance. This position is almost always made after she has finished eating the chicken in her dinner bowl, but not the kibble. She stands there to say, “I would like more people chicken or cheese before I can continue to eat that god awful kibble.”

You can ask her if she wants to go out, but the answer is always the same- she stands her ground, not changing position.

Once you have adding just a little cheese and she has eaten to her satisfaction she will lie on her bed with her head on her toy snake, which is alway on her bed. Other toys travel throughout the house, but not the snake. It belongs on her green bed.

Shays other well rehearsed position is standing on the bath rug in our master bath looking out the door towards our bed. This means, “I want you to pick me up and put me on the bed because for some reason I am too tired to jump up there.” Now she jumps up on the bed all the time, but maybe after her dinner she might be feeling a little to heavy and doesn’t want to attempt to jump and fail.

She has us so well trained that when she is in these positions in the exact spot we know what she wants and give it to her. I would like to train my people as well.