What a Day!

A different kind of Christmas tree this year, a stowaway, shopping for ankle weights, a really sore back and a Celiac-y me won what? Where did this all start?

Uh, maybe yesterday when I starting thinking about getting a Norfolk Pine, or some small something that we could decorate for Christmas, instead of the whole big tree.  I stopped in at a locally owned nursery to see what they had, with plans to ask hubby what he would like to do. The nursery had Norfolk Pines, and when I asked, hubby said he was all for something small. He works retail and he’s tired.

Today I was lifting a box. I did it like the guy in the drawing of how not to do it. You know, the one with the big X over the stick figure who is leaning out too far. What happened when I did that is all the muscles in my lower back that I overworked two days ago while pulling weeds went all wonky on me and got super tight. They were mostly better yesterday, but not anymore.

When hubby got off work today we went to a different nursery to see if they had more than Norfolk Pines because I’d had second thoughts about getting one of those. If I could keep the thing alive it would get too big for the room. We found a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow shrub and got it. I am really excited about that because I’ve wanted one for a long time. When we are finished using it as a Christmas tree/shrub, it will go outside. This will involve moving a bunch of stuff in the front yard, like moving furniture, but a lot more work with shovels and such. I’ve been wanting to do that anyway.

After we got the plant we went to look at ankle weights. I got a book at Goodwill a few weeks ago, “Strong Women Stay Young,” and I need some ankle weights so I can do the exercises. I’m doing my best in that department – trying to be strong and sort of young. I used to hit the floor running in the morning. Now I try to hit the floor without a splat. So, here we are going into the store and I can barely stand up straight and I’m walking like I’m 99 years old on account of my misadventure with the box, but I’m going to look at weights. Really felt weird to be in such shape while shopping for exercise equipment.

Now, for the thing I won. There was a food drive yesterday and I contributed. A lady at the collection table told me to fill out a coupon for a raffle. This was after I’d been to the plant nursery. I saw a Norfolk Pine among the prizes. I thought I might win that and we could use it for our Christmas tree. I had a feeling I was going to win something. I did and it wasn’t the Pine.

I got a phone call today and was told that I won a bakery tray from the bakery at the grocery store where the food drive was held. I thought, “I can’t eat that and don’t want it in my house because I’m so sensitive gluten” but what I said was, “Oh! Thank you!” and I immediately began to think of who I could give it to. I decided my son and his girlfriend (who is also a friend of mine) could eat it and she could keep it at her house. So, tonight she and I went to pick it up.

Guess what? My photo as a raffle winner – taken while holding the (beautiful, delicious I’m sure!) bakery tray – will be on TV because one of the local stations was doing the food drive along with the Southeast Texas Food Bank. I was laughing. I had to tell the lady at the store who gave me my prize and took my photo that all my friends know I can’t eat gluten and here I’ll be on TV holding a bakery tray.

Oh! I almost forgot. The stowaway. He was a brown lizard and he was on the plant that we bought. I was taking the tag off and looking at the shrub when saw him clinging to a limb, and I’m sure hoping that I wouldn’t see him. I caught him and was going to put him outside when I noticed markings that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on a lizard. I wanted to look him up so I decided to put him in a pickle jar while I looked up lizards online. He made a leap for freedom and I tried to catch him but the cat got him first.

Well, I reckon this is enough living for a day. G’night, good folks. I’m going to hobble off to bed now.


It’s Monday and My Head is All Over the Place

I’m like this a lot on Mondays. Only this time besides just wanting to do a gazillion different things at once, I’m also thinking about things like the two lawyers that I had doing damage control last week when I was in a jury pool for a murder case.

The first one was a prosecutor who asked if we were all familiar with DNA. Of course, everyone has heard of DNA. Then he said something that I thought was a leading question like you see on TV when the a lawyer objects and the judge sustains it. He said something like, “So you all know and agree that DNA is accurate?” Everyone agreed except me. He was stunned. I had to explain that labs make mistakes and it’s not 100% reliable, you don’t get 100% certainty. He kept asking for specific times that I could tell him about when it wasn’t. Good grief. I kept telling him labs make mistakes and I’ve read about it and I have the impression, although I couldn’t give him details, that DNA is not 100% reliable and with 100% certainty. So, he ended up talking in an encouraging and persuasive tone of voice to everyone else about how people are set free when DNA exonerates them. (Of course they are. You can say with 100% certainty that someone’s DNA does NOT match, but not 100% certainty that it DOES.)

The other lawyer whose head I seem to have messed with was the defense attorney. He asked who all had police officers in their families or were close friends with any cops. I raised my hand and told him I used to ride with them in the Ride-Along program, and I knew a few over the years from church or from being in the same organization.

Then he asked if we would believe the testimony of a police officer over the testimony of another person. I thought his tone of voice suggested that we should. As everyone else was nodding their heads “yes”, I raised my hand. He looked over at me and said, “You wouldn’t?” He didn’t sound thrilled. I told him, “No. People are people.” We had a bit of conversation and a bunch of other people started talking and it’s all gone fuzzy in my memory by now, but then he said, “Well, she rode with them.” I told him the ones I rode with were good cops. I liked the ones I rode with, but people are people and I watch the news.

I was #11 out of 40 in the seating order, but I wasn’t chosen for the jury. Whew. I was glad because I had a bit of a stomach ache. It was from being glutened (accidentally ate gluten and I shouldn’t ever eat that stuff) for the second time in eight days and it took a few days for it to wear off completely. Thankfully, I feel great now.

The week before last when I was glutened, I was writing checks and I made a deposit and I wasn’t recording any of this. Normally, I would record it, but I’ve learned to take it easy when I’ve been glutened and my head isn’t all with me, so I did that. Only I forgot. One afternoon last week I went to the doctor and when I got to the office, it dawned on me that I better look in the checkbook and see if I had the money to pay the doctor. (I think my head was more messed up than I realized, so it’s really a good thing I was not put on a jury.) So, in the parking lot and within 10 minutes of my appointment time, I looked in the checkbook and saw that the checks I had written were more than the last amount of money that I had showing. Uh, oh. For over an hour, until I could get back home and get online and see where I was at with all this, I thought I might be overdrawn. I have overdraft protection so I would be covered by money in my savings and I think they would charge me something to do that, but at least nothing would bounce. When I checked on it, that’s when I discovered the deposit I forgot about. Whew, again. Oh, I used my credit card at the doctor’s office.

One thing I want to do today is order a set of cookware and a few other things that I need to replace. Mine is mostly old so it needs to be replaced anyway, but I’m having to do this because of gluten cross-contamination. I’m more sensitive to gluten than I was when I first came off of it. Sometimes that happens. I’ve learned that it’s not only plastic mixing bowls that can harbor bits of gluten, but also a non-stick pot with a single scratch. So, my scratched ones need to go, as well as my pitted aluminum. I can’t use my rolling pin because wood absorbs gluten, and my wooden spoons are out, too. It’s aggravating, but it’s worth it. I’ve had a bit of a problem with stomach acid at night, not as bad as before I came off gluten, but I may be getting just a tiny bit of it from my cookware. OH…cast iron and cooking stones absorb gluten, too. I read that they can be run through an oven with a self-cleaning cycle that goes up to about 900 degrees and that will kill it. I’m looking for a friend with an oven that I can use that does that.

My kitchen is inside out because of me going through everything and I hope to make some visible progress on that today. Also, I want to try out my new bread pans on some Basic White Bread. This will be my first attempt at making gluten-free sandwich bread. Baking gluten-free bread is different from baking regular bread, which I was only so-so at baking, so I hope I’m better at this kind.

There are about 50 things I want to clean here today. (Not really that many, but you know how it feels when you just want to clean everything?) And this evening, I want to work in the yard. And I need to make some soap. I want to try using a different recipe this time. I’ve been using recipe #8 on this list, but I want to try #7 today, just out of curiosity. I see one or two others that I also want to try later. There are some things I want to pack up to send to my grand-daughters in Canada. And some other things I want to send to another son near Houston. And I want to take some time to read the next section in a textbook that I’m reading. It’s a college literature book and it’s interesting.

Well, hubby went in to work at about the middle of the morning and my writing itch was too great to ignore, so it’s now early afternoon and I better get started on this stuff. OH…I am going to call the courthouse and see if the jury is still hearing that case. I haven’t seen anything at all in the news about the outcome.

The Experience That Reminded One of My Sons of an Episode of Seinfeld

The following is a slightly edited version of what I wrote to one of my sons on Google+:

We came out of church Sunday to see a puddle under our truck. It was gas. We stopped at O’Reilly’s to get something to patch or plug it with until we could get it to Our Usual Place on Monday.

The leak was on the front tank which we don’t use because the pump doesn’t work, and/or the float doesn’t work. It was also up under the shield that is on the tank, so your dad couldn’t get to it to fix it. So, we had this drip, drip, drip going on and it was Sunday and Our Usual Place was closed.

We called Sears and Wal Mart. Neither of them mess with gas tanks. We called the gas station where your dad used to gas up trucks (after Hurricane Rita damaged the other place they went to for gas) but they are closed on Sunday. (They have also inspected our truck and done a couple of small repairs for us – windshield wiper motor and horn replacement.)

So then, we – your daddy, your younger brother and I – ran around here like crazy people trying to figure out what to do with all this gas. We couldn’t just let it sit out there and drip all night. They were gathering up buckets to siphon it out into while I was trying to find a way to avoid doing that. What would we do with 12-13 gallons of bad gas? It had been sitting in the tank since at least 2006, so it was too old to be any good.

It finally dawned on me that we could put a small container under it to catch the drips. I had saved a couple of empty dishwasher soap pellet containers from church, so we used one of those. We were letting it drip, but as least it wasn’t dripping on the ground.

Monday morning, your dad called Our Usual Place to tell them what was going on and that we needed the tank drained. He told the man who answered the phone his name, but this guy didn’t know him. The man he was talking to asked someone else about draining our tank, then came back to the phone and said they didn’t have the equipment to drain a tank safely and they couldn’t do it. What?! That made no sense to me because they said they could fix it before when it was just the pump or whatever and they could drain it back then.

So, here we were again not knowing what to do. I got the not so brilliant idea to call the fire department and your daddy was so desperate, he did it. So, here come firemen in the big truck to our house. All we wanted to know was who could do this. Oh, boy. So, I figured they were going to condemn our truck to the driveway until it’s not dripping gas.

While they were on the way, I called the gas station again, since it was Monday. They said they could do that, no problem! So, I went outside and told this to your daddy and the three firemen who were all looking underneath our truck when I came around the corner of the house.

They said they had some stuff to patch it but the leak isn’t accessible. We told them that we had the same problem. We discussed how I just found a place to fix it, and no, it hasn’t dripped more than that inch or so into the container since the middle of yesterday afternoon, and that it would probably be safe to drive it just to the gas station, and how your daddy wouldn’t even drive it a few blocks to visit his dad the day before because he was afraid to drive around a truck with a leaking gas tank, and how I’m like a Safety Officer because I’m a mom and I was always warning y’all about explosives and poison. So, they let us drive it to the gas station.

We borrowed Pawpaw and Granny’s car so we could get back home and took the truck to the gas station. (Thankfully, the one day your dad went in to work late this week was on Monday!) After a while, the gas station called. Your daddy answered the phone and talked to the man. Then he came in the kitchen and told me the gas station couldn’t do it because it would cost too much for the disposal. What?! What do people do with old gas?

Your daddy said since they wouldn’t do it, he guessed he would have to siphon out all that gas into buckets. I said, “And then what are we going to do with 12 or 13 gallons of gas? And the fire department knows we have a leaky gas tank and they have our phone number and address and everything and if they check up on us and we didn’t do this right, you’ll have the EPA and everybody after you!” (Notice how I went from “us” to “you”?)

Then it hit me! Call Our Usual Place and see if Our Usual Man is there and ask him what he would do! So I did, and he answered the phone. I said, “I am SO glad you answered the phone!” He didn’t quite know what to say because that was the first thing I said to him and he didn’t know who he was talking to or why. And I was, and sounded, mighty desperate.

I told him we have a leaking gas tank. It’s the front tank and we don’t use it and we can’t find a place to drain it. We took it to the gas station and they said they could, but now they said they can’t because it’s too expensive to dispose of the old gas. What would you do? We’ve even called the fire department and they don’t know what to do! We can’t drive around town with a gas leak! What would you do? We called y’all and y’all couldn’t do it and we have to do something and we don’t know what to do! What would you do if you had this problem?” I was about to cry. He hadn’t said a word.

Then, he said, “You called us?” I said, “Yes! You were our first choice! But y’all said you couldn’t do it and we don’t know where to take it or what to do. What would you do?” He cheerfully offered to put a new gas tank on the truck. (Yeah. They don’t have the equipment…sure. That’s what your daddy thought. They didn’t want to do a small job and didn’t know it was us who have been going to them for a gazillion years. I think they might have done it if we had just driven up to the place and asked. But I’m glad to know what we learned, so that’s OK.) I asked how much would a new tank cost? He said he could make some phone calls and find out and call me back. I told him two or three times that he couldn’t just put the old gas back in, it would have to be disposed of some way. He never said a word about that.

I told your daddy the man was checking on putting a new gas tank on it, and he said that would cost a thousand dollars! I said that I didn’t know what else to do. Then I said, “I know! I’ll call the gas station since the truck is already over there and compare the price for a new gas tank!”

I called the gas station and the man said he didn’t even know if he could get a tank for that truck any more. He also said he thought we didn’t want to use the tank anyway. I told him we didn’t want to, but no one could just drain it. He said he could drain it. He was just telling your dad that it’s expensive to dispose of the old gas, so that would add to the cost of the job. I told him I would expect that! So, he told me it would be $75.00 labor and $4-$5 a gallon for disposal. I told him that would be great, go for it.

Then I made my last call ever to Our Former Usual Place and told them the gas station could drain it; your daddy and the man on the phone just mis-communicated about the disposal. This mix-up saved me the phone call I was going to make. I was going to call and ask why they couldn’t drain it when they could have fixed it a few years ago and it would have involved draining it. It didn’t take long and the gas station had it fixed and now has a new customer.

So, how was your Monday morning?

Things I Remember About Dolly Parton

I read an interview with Dolly Parton earlier today and found out she is 65 years old. I remember her on The Porter Wagoner Show. (I remember that show when it first came on TV. I was four years old.) She was only about 20 years old when she joined the show in 1966. I guess I was about 10 or 12 when The Porter Wagoner Show came to town and we went to see it. Minnie Pearl was there, and Dolly Parton, and Porter Wagoner, of course, in a suit that could blind someone, it was so flashy. My favorite song of hers has always been “Coat of Many Colors.”

Dolly Parton must have what they call “staying power,” I guess. Remember the movie,  Nine to Five, with Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda? We took our oldest son to that movie when he was almost three years old. Not that we thought he would like it especially, we just didn’t have a baby sitter and he was a good kid. He made it OK through the first hour and a half or so, then he started fidgeting. He was in and out of his seat and squirming around. He kept standing up and flipping the seat up and down. I kept whispering to him to be still and be quiet. I told him he was making it difficult for the people behind us to enjoy the movie. Finally, in an angry sounding whisper, I asked him, “Do you want me to take you out of here?” Of course, he said, “Yes!” and the people behind us cracked up. So, I guess that movie would probably be his earliest memory of Dolly Parton.

I don’t know what my other two sons’ earliest memories of Dolly Parton are, but I know they were very aware of a certain aspect of her in a way that little boys are when they were about six and seven years old. We were on vacation with my parents and these two little clowns came in our room to “show us something.” They squatted down with their knees up by their chests and pulled their t-shirts over their legs. Then they alternated their feet, up and down, up and down, which made their knees look like…uh,…well, you know. They said they were Dolly Parton.

Sixty-five years old. She said (this was in Parade Magazine) that if she “sees something sagging, dragging, or bagging, I’ll have it nipped and tucked.” She said people will tell her she looks so happy and she tells them it’s Botox. Well, I think a good sense of humor keeps us young on the inside, so I reckon she’s still a youngster.


God Sure is Patient

While ago, I was doing something that involved reading. I can see better without my glasses when I’m reading so I took them off and laid them on my desk. When I put them back on there was something interfering with my eye. I thought it was hair behind the glasses and kept trying to get my hair out of my way. Nothing was changing, so I took my glasses off and saw a piece of tape on them. (I’m keeping a couple of tiny pieces of sparkly cut glass on this tape. It’s a long story.) The tape was on my desk and it had gotten stuck on my glasses. I immediately thought of something similar that happened years ago.

Once when I was newly married, I was complaining to myself about my husband. Not out loud. Just in my thoughts. But God hears our thoughts. As I was complaining in my head about him being tight-fisted with money (which he’s not!) I sat down on the edge of the bed. At that moment I saw a penny on the floor. When I bent over to pick it up, I bonked my eyeglasses on the nightstand. The first thing I thought was that I needed to get the nightstand out of my own eye before I tried to get a splinter out of my husband’s.(Matthew 7:3-5)

Today, I was complaining in my head, when I took my glasses off… I’ve GOT to learn this lesson!

Kate Who?

I thought that this woman – Kate – who is marrying that Prince – William – was an American actress. Maybe I had her confused with Kate Winslet? I guess Kate Winslet is American? Anyway, I thought that until this week. Then the other day I saw something on TV about how Kate and William met in school. Oh. She’s British and she’s not an actress.

The reporter said they were college friends and William had probably never seen Kate wearing anything other than jeans and a sweat shirt. Then one day, Kate was walking down a runway wearing something that they said was a dress. I’m glad they told me, because I was wondering, “What is that woman wearing?” Prince William was in the audience at the time.

I don’t know why she was walking down a runway (she went to college to be a model?) or why the Prince was in the audience, but after he saw that much of her (very skimpy “dress”), he had to marry her. Well, he decided to anyway.

I didn’t watch the wedding. I even forgot it was happening today. I guess I live in another world entirely.

Roller Skating

I just remembered once when I was on roller skates and it had been a few years since I’d skated. Getting going is one thing and going where one wants to go is quite another. So is stopping. I was coming up behind a small child and I was going faster than he was and I couldn’t do a thing about it except catch him under his arms and take him with me, all while telling him, “It’s OK, Honey. I can’t stop.” I took him to the rail. We stopped. He was OK. I was embarrassed.

Another time when I was in the 9th grade, the school had a skating night for us. They had one night reserved for each of the four high school grades. My parents took me and, boy, was it crowded. They were sitting on the bench by the wall watching everyone when they decided they wanted to tell me something. Of course, that meant they had to get my attention and the worst thing that could happen is that they would get the attention of the entire 9th grade while fussing at me for not getting there fast enough. I didn’t have to worry about that. I took care of it myself when I tripped about 1/4 of the kids who were there, by cutting across the crowd. Yep. I did that. Biggest people pile up ever. And I was at the bottom of the pile, which was also the front of it. It went on quite a distance.

Then there was a certain song they always played at the skating rink, and I fell every time they played it. It became my goal to stay standing without grabbing the rail while “Rub it In” played. It’s an old song about someone putting sunscreen on someone else. It’s a long 2 1/2 minutes when you’re trying to stay vertical and not land suddenly on your own sacroiliac. And the beat is hard to skate to. Excuses. I know.

With absolute amazement, I watched those folks who could dance around the rink on their skates. I was doing good to cross my right foot over my left to make a turn. And not knock anyone else down while doing it.