Saturday, December 23, 2023

String blocks

A couple of people asked about the quilt blocks I helped Shelly work on. They are called scrappy string blocks, and a bit of search turned up a nice tutorial: Scrappy String blocks. I found a decent picture, too.

When I made them for Janice, they were on a paper foundation. The paper was telephone book pages. These are less common these days, but yellow page books are fairly available. Shelly used parchment baking paper from an enormous box of same she had acquired. Whatever works for you.

The foundation paper must be a square, for these blocks. I built a supply of these by tearing out one phone book page, folding it diagonally, and then folding the excess at the bottom to produce a square. I used a ruler on the short bottom fold to tear off the excess paper. 

Open out the square. From any box of your many precut strips, put one strip centered on the fold. Secure with a pin, top and bottom, so it doesn't slip.

Set the sewing stitch very small. This makes the paper tear away more easily. Put the next strip along the first and sew with a quarter inch seam. Press with your thumbnail, and sew down the next strip. Press down and continue to the end of the square.

Reverse the block to sew a strip to the other side of the first strip. Thumbnail press, and continue. The blocks need pressed, trimmed, and the paper torn off. Then set together as you please.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

A lovely sight!

I longed to finish that dratted towel warp this weekend. I wove whenever I could last week, and spent most of today weaving. Yesterday saw a couple of hours in the morning, before my daughter Shelly came for lunch and with  a project of her own.

She had a tote of quilt squares sewn on paper and the paper needed torn off. These are the very same squares I used to sew for Jan and she would turn into little quilts for children in need. Shelly and I tore off all the paper backings of her stash of squares.

The gist of this story is, now she has Shelly sewing single bed tops and Jan is donating them to a group called Good Knights. This group's mission is to give a bed to children who do not have a bed.

And there are thousands of children here in Northeastern Ohio, who sleep on the floor for want of a bed. The single bed quilt tops Jan is making now go to this project. A bed and a quilt.

I smiled, remembering all the bags of scraps left behind my sewing chair by Jan's quilting customers. I asked Shelly if the quilting customers were still leaving bags of scraps at Jan's studio, and the answer is Yes. She probably will never run out of material for quilts.

But I digress. I really hoped to reach the end of the warp today. I wove an entire tube of the blue, but didn't trust the warp to last for one more tube of blue, so I went to my usual end of warp ploy, cream towels.

And I wove and wove and wove all day today. I did not take off the blue towels because that would involve tying the warp back to the front beam, and wasting many inches. I just kept weaving the cream.

Every time I looked at the back beam, there were still a couple of turns of warp left. Until suddenly one section had just one turn left! It was that wonderful event that happens to weavers on occasion. One bout is short!

The length of towels is still on the beam. I am too tired to take them off and secure the ends. A job for tomorrow afternoon. As soon as they are finished into towels, they will go on the web site and that will be the end of towels.

My next project is much more complex. I can weave a 36" width of fabric on this loom, and that will be my next undertaking. It won't be plain fabric; the surface will be a textured pattern very like the leaves of the Hosta plant named August lily.

This is what is called an overshot pattern. Every row is separated by a row of plain weave, the over and under of potholder weaving. I'll use the rest of the towel colors. I'm looking forward to this, but it will be some time in coming. There will be 18 bouts to wind on and then thread through the heddles!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Adjusting again

At supper last night, Rose busted me for missing another bingo game. "Why weren't you at Bingo?" was the second or third thing she asked. I replied it was the same as ever, "No quarters!"

"Why don't you go to the desk and get a ten dollar roll?"

"I've lost every quarter I've invested. I even thought I'd break the cycle when Lisa counted out the quarters in the stamp box and there  only were seven dollars. I told her not to look for any more, I'd take that magic number and compound it. I lost it in one week."

Rose rummaged in her Rollator seat and thumped this tiny purse near my plate.

It was deceptively heavy and rattled suspiciously. "Did you pay in pennies?" I asked, because she did owe me for towels. I opened it.

"No more excuses!" It appears to be two or so weeks of Bingo. I thanked her, and will play. No one makes a living from Bingo here, and no one goes broke. It takes four dollars to play, and all these damn quarters just circulate among us. No where to spend them. No vending machines. Once I bought a stamp!

Bingo is subject to statistics. I had discovered a card with frequently called numbers, and made sure to select that card for every game. It worked, until a newcomer with a long bingo background made sure to learn my card's number and made sure to arrive early enough to select that card thereafter. The first time she had it she won the jackpot. The card was due. Now I need either to find another "good" card, or get to the game early enough to secure that card.

I turned over another new leaf in December. When I finished the last loaf of Heinen's bread I put the toaster away in the cupboard and began going downstairs for breakfast. It means getting up half an hour earlier, to be sure Kitty is properly cared for. Not an onerous undertaking, but my schedule is jumbled. Sleep and shower are in disarray. A first world problem, to be sure. Nevertheless, more adjustment is required.

I prefer a shower in the morning. All the years I was on the road I showered at night, after a long, dusty day in the sun. The shower generally happened even before dinner, giving my hair as much time as possible to dry before bedtime, which was around midnight, with the alarm ringing around seven.

Now I sleep nine or ten hours a night, and generally wake with a start when the alarm rings. Several mornings a week I shower and wash my hair, then dress and dry my hair, prior to all the other morning obligations. Now it's looking as if my only option is to return to showers at night, and drying my hair before I go to bed. As I said, first world problems. However, preferable to getting up another hour earlier 

It is that time of year, again. I took the holiday ribbon from its shelf and put it on my door again. I will find a larger storage bag at the end of this season, so less fluffing will be required next December.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Two old ladies get a job done

From the table talk, it was apparent to me that Rose wanted an RSV vaccination in addition to the current Covid jab we had here at the Atrium. I wanted the shot, too, and made a phone call to the drug store to make an appointment. I was told the shots are also available every Thursday, without appointment.

Another night at dinner I told Rose I was going to the drug store for an RSV shot today, and if I could figure out how to get her into my car, she was welcome to come along. I thought with Uncle Walt's handy little stool and some sturdy perseverance we could get the job done. In fact, we decided to have a dry run of inserting little Rose into the Pilot on steroids last Tuesday.

As luck would have it, last Tuesday Aurora had a snowstorm on steroids. We had more than a foot of snow, with high winds, lasting to early afternoon. It was so bad I even cancelled my long awaited mammogram. Rose and Joanne did not leave the building. It was do or do not today.

I was in the lobby, with the upside down stool on my walker and the key on my finger, waiting for Rose to come back with her "outing" walker. Nathan came from his office, probably headed for the men's room, and halted abruptly. I know I looked suspicious, and he began a conversation. I told him it merely was two old ladies with adventure in mind. He volunteered someone to bring the car around, warmed up. I handed him the key.

Rose returned, but no car appeared. I told her Nathan had gone to fetch it and I sure hoped nothing was wrong. I hoped the low tire light wasn't on again. I'd promised the dealer I'd make an appointment to fix it in that event. Finally Nathan and the Pilot appeared. He had snow in his hair, and had spent all that time cleaning the car!

Nathan supervised Rose climbing into the car and even stowed the stool and her walker. We were off.

At the drug store, Rose led the way, straight to the correct window. There were two people ahead of us, but already shot up and leaving. After the administrative preliminaries, Rose and I were seated in the line of chairs. While we waited, two more people took seats, one on either side of the two of us. The nurse approached, with two (and only two) syringes in her hand, asking who was there for RSV shots. 

The woman who was seated to my right offered her bare shoulder. "Excuse me," said I; "Rose and I were first." The bare shoulder retreated. A clerk called out to her, "Are you registered?" The bare shoulder went back to the counter, Rose and I had our jabs and were off.

Nathan is a new character and if you want to identify him in this charade, he is the Managing Director of Independent, Assisted and Memory Care units. A very nice fellow.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Good company

This isn't easy! I was working on a draft for the next weaving project, first working it out, then daydreaming over it; thinking about some interesting colors, or applications of color. Perhaps hemstitching top and bottom. Then my mind interposed: blog before you forget what fun it was!

This year the dining room was arranged in two longish tables, consisting of a dozen or so of our square dining tables arranged as two long tables down the dining room. There were plates and napkin wrapped silverware settings on each side of the tables, plus a setting for the head and foot. About twenty settings were put out at each table.

I arrived in the Bistro, and attached myself to Rose, her daughter and son-in-law. In the dining room, Rose was seated at the foot of the table, I was on one side and Lauren and Mike opposite. At the last minute, in came Frank. His party had been ignominiously cancelled, he said, and he was looking for a meal. If he promised not to talk, could he sit by me. I answered "Yes," on the condition he did talk. And so he did.

The five of us were a very congenial group. Frank and Mike had lots in common and knew a lot of people in common. Lauren and I even had similar interests; we both ride (rode) motorcycles. Lauren has several skydives to her credit, a sport I would never take up. Rose conducted the laughter.

Dinner was good, too. Turkey, ham, baked sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce. Pie and ice cream for dessert. I noted all the marshmallows were scraped to one end of our bowl of sweet potatoes. We ate our way through the feast, and kept laughing and talking. 

Finally Mike noticed all the other thanksgivingers were gone, save we five, holding down a table and a quarter. The kitchen staff were clearing the tables of festivities, table cloths, napkins, till only we five were left. It was still a couple more stories, before we took the hint of Rose's and my walkers produced from their parking places along the wall. So, Goodbye, a pleasure to know you, and with a couple of dinner rolls in my pocket, we went our separate way.

A lot of pictures were taken (by staff), but none have posted yet on Facebook. Here's a picture of our dining room. For the "feast", the staff had a long table down the center strip. It leads to the kitchen. All the square tables were lined up like railroad tracks. The staff distributed bowls and platters of food around the tables, to be passed. It was lovely. And the rest of the time we have dinner in groups of three or four around the individual tables.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Big Changes

Laura dropped by, with a bouquet of flowers. She called me, a month or so ago, to announce she was back, no longer in Greece. She ended her term prematurely, for two reasons. Her asthma, souvenir of one of her several bouts with Covid, seriously inhibited the twenty minute uphill hike from her residence to her classes. And, she was homesick.

She still intends to go to Australia, "which will be very different," but first she has fences to mend and bridges to rebuild with her university advisors. This won't happen for at least a year.

Well, the towels sure are winding down. I began probably my next to last set of towels, garnet. I love this color, and my fond memories of childhood vacations, squatting in North Carolina creeks with my dad, looking for garnets. Fun little stones. My grandma had a garnet necklace I really admired. I'm sure it wound up with my cousin, who never understood that his grandma had another set of grandchildren!

The garnet I started this morning, after a serious round of housekeeping. The only task I cannot do well is to vacuum, and I set about doing laundry, and folding and putting it away, emptying wastebaskets, cleaning sinks, blablabla, with determination.

This is all that is left of that warp Caroline and I wound on last January. Enough for the garnet towels, and possibly a few more cream towels. The black towels are done, on the web site and on the shelf.

In less boring news, I must give you an update on life at the Atrium, a year and three months later. In spite of that time, it's still hard to believe I am stepping out the door into Portage County, not Summit County. It is half an hour to forty five minutes back to anywhere I need to go in Summit County. And since most of those "needs" are doctor appointments, I decided some time ago to find doctors who practice closer to home.

I saw the first of these "new" doctors Friday, a new kidney doctor. He told me I presented well, certainly not like an eighty year old. Who recommended me to him, he wanted to know. And I told him he'd met my basic requirement, the first available appointment when I'd called scheduling, months ago. 

He warned me about trusting to luck. And I told him another requirement had been fulfilled when I scheduled a new primary. The scheduler told me the first primary available next February was Mary Grace..."Tell me no more," I said. Mary Grace Charisma, repeated the scheduler. When I finally looked it up, the spelling is totally different. But who cares.

And last, and least, a look from my window (and Kitty's):

My green area grows smaller and smaller. That's not just a drive way to the two back doors. It's a parking area for about five cars.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Table talk

I've been here something over a year. That and a contentious election helped me settle a couple of issues. Last fall I approached the activities director to see if she could help me sort the more liberal from the more conservative. Her response was to pull up her tortoise shell. All the residents are old, she said, and mostly more conservative. Hell's bells. I could deduce at least half of that for myself.

Conversation around our dinner table was friendly, non committal and restrained after my outburst about forced vaccinations. Then one evening Rose and I lingered after Betty left. Margaret was semi gone; she moved to a condo with her daughter, but seemed to be here all the time, with Frank.

In short order Rose confessed she was voting for both the abortion right and marijuana consumption bills on the November ballot. I confess it was wonderful to hear that from someone ten and more years older than I. I know Marilyn, my next door neighbor, and Madi, a floor mate, agree, but I don't have opportunity to be together as much with them.

And now both bills have passed, and reproductive rights are a constitutional right in Ohio, our Republican legislature is having none of it. The mildest remark has been it all must be tested in the courts. But the extreme right position is to overturn it or ignore it. So, the fight goes on. I wonder how many more liberals I'll turn up.

My sister made a quilt for Kitty. She diabolically used a wool batt to quilt the little thing. We both know, from a long history with cats and wool, they find it irresistible. I was not here, and Kitty chose to hide when Jan delivered her little goodie. When I came in:

And after supper, when Kitty usually is busy at play,

I bought Kitty a bed, a sung little igloo (in size large), and set it up on the other end of her sofa. The next morning I found it in an ignominious lump on the floor. Not only dumped, but beat up. Tomorrow Jan is bringing a new quilted igloo floor with wool batt to fit the bottom of Kitty's new room. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Better luck next time

Yesterday I made a list of all I wanted done. Top of the list, "Ask Diana how to use the new washing machine." It was my day for housecleaning, my best opportunity to find Diana and myself near the machine at the same time. It's pretty much the opposite of the old machine. Instead of turning on the machine last, turn it on first. That activates the panel to make the selections.

It was a fairly long list of mundane jobs I would forget or overlook otherwise. Get gas. Pick up script. Etc. The job I didn't put down, because of course I would remember it: Put snow scraper in car.

I pass it on the way to the door. Easy peasy. I needed a new snow scraper because the old snow scraper went to Minnesota, with the Subaru. Did I remember it? No! Did it snow? Yes!

The good news is I have nowhere to go for a week, and after the weather gets over snowing, then rain, it will be sunny for a few days. And yes, it is an unholy trash mess out there, as we go into the second winter of construction. In my lifetime there will be a lovely green courtyard from out the window!

Kitty now is the mistress of most of her domain. She holds her post on the sofa no matter who comes through the door. She watches them carefully, and only leaves if the new person approaches with outstretched hand. Fair or foul, she leaves. And petting still does not please her. One stroke and she leaves. She also leaves for the vacuum cleaner, the other intolerable intruder.

I guess she's also in charge of me. I've quit buying what I think she will like and stick to what I know she will like. The banana toy, for example. It's just a fabric banana stuffed with catnip. She loves it. Oh, great, I thought, and bought a fabric pickle, stuffed with catnip. Total disdain. 

The old banana is worn out, chewed flat. I bought a new new banana toy. It's being thrown about the living room at this moment.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Muffins and more

I learned over the summer that my sister Jan had fallen into the apple sauce muffin trap. First, on a trip to Amish country last summer, she wound up with a lot of apples. In her amble in an apple orchard, she picked up a peck of apples. When she returned to the car, or more accurately, when Tom returned to the car, too, it turned out they had three pecks of apples. Or maybe four, I don't remember.

At home, she made apple sauce. And apple pie and apple crisp. And more apple sauce. Then she heaved a great sigh, bought a supply of half pint jars, and began canning applesauce. I heard Tom enjoyed the apple sauce and occasionally had a jar for lunch. She gave me a little jar, and it was darn good. (I must return the little jar!)

Then she told me Tom asked again for apple sauce muffins. Talk of nostalgia. When Mom was still alive, up to 1989, she made me a dozen apple sauce muffins to take to a show. They were my breakfast, and supplemented cheese sandwiches for lunch.

The muffins are made with apple sauce, oatmeal, raisins, some cinnamon. Fortunately Jan knows the recipe; I don't. However, I think that is the basic recipe. No flour, no sugar, no shortening. Or as an exhibitor friend who took one for breakfast said, "women always know how to put a days worth of essentials down your throat by breakfast!"

One day I came in from an appointment and found a dozen muffins on my counter. I also found a message on the phone:  "I left muffins on your counter!" I called at once to thank her. I had one for lunch every day. The day I ate the last muffin I also called her because I hadn't had a word with her since the day the muffins appeared. 

We caught up the news and then she said "How are your muffins doing?" and I had to confess the last one was gone. "Well, you're muffin-worthy," she said. And today I had a text, "I'm on the way over with more muffins." Since I seldom read my texts, I had no idea until there was a knock on the door, and Jan with a dozen muffins.

I'm down to one table mate at dinner this week, Rose Marie. Rose is a tiny little lady with snow white hair, who uses a bright red Rolator style walker. In good weather she tries to take a daily walk and generally goes around the building. Two sides of that walk involve public sidewalk. Yesterday Rose told me that as she came up along the side road a car pulled off the road beside her and asked "What are you doing here?"

"I live here," from Rose. "But what are you doing outside?" "Taking a walk!" said Rose and proceeded on her very slow way. The woman exited her car and confronted Rose. "Should you be outside?"  Rose realized she thought she was a Memory Care or Assisted Living resident, and told her the very large building behind her was the  Independent Living facility, where she lived. Rose isn't sure she convinced the woman, who thankfully left. Probably to go around the corner and call The Atrium.

Long ago, in a chat about my weaving days, I published this picture. In the olden days we applied to shows with slides of our work. Here is my photographer's model wearing one of the shirts in a size too large. Sigh. Anyway, this was "cool" in the '80's and '90's. There is no describing the "feel" of the cotton fabric. It had great hand.

I know the work of many artist friends from thirty, forty, fifty years ago routinely comes up for sale on EBay, but I never considered Jan's and my work to be that sort of stuff. It was way more "feel good" than artistic. 

Imagine my surprise when my daughter texted me this:

This seller knows nothing about presentation! Grrrrr. This is a lovely jacket, and looks nice hanging, without the wrinkles. The hem hangs even; I know, I pulled every thread for the straight of grain. I even painted the blue wooden buttons. Forty years ago we sold this jacket for about $125. Beth found it on EBay for $225, down from $250. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Good grief

Next Tuesday, then again in November vaccines will be administered here. That is excellent, save the page of tiny print we have to fill out. So much of it runs together, I think it is unintelligible. So I will take my wallet of cards with me. They can white out and re-enter the info, though why it cannot all be done on a tablet I don't know. We all are quite adept at signing electronically--I think.

Another weekend has come around. As none of my relatives has offered some recreation, I guess I'll stick with slipping in my load of laundry on Sunday morning. I thought I'd rustle up Ruth and arrange a lunch at the Cabin. But I found her without car, as I had been early in the week. My problem was resolved on the day, but hers awaits a part. So, I'll wait for her call.

I think I must order a small, cozy bed for Kitty. She is making herself crazy trying to build a nest behind some of my studio shelving. Far be it from me to argue with an eight year old street cat. She will only sleep under the goose duvet when I am not here. She won't sleep on it. For one night she slept at my feet, and I thought Hooray, settled. But I guess it didn't suit, and nothing has since. 

All summer Kitty contented herself with the furniture, the sofa, a chair, my desk chair. But now that it's growing colder, she's on the hunt. Last year's winter nest of a carpet on a shelf is turned down this winter, and she's busy pulling my shipping envelopes down behind the shelving, trying to fashion a nest. I guess I must intervene.

In other news, romance is in the air. A former dinner mate, Margaret, now dines exclusively with Frank. Her former dinner mates are kicked to the curb, as is said. Both arrived here about the same time last winter. Margaret was seated at our table. Frank sat next to me in exercise class and we introduced ourselves. 

Frank told me his very first girlfriend, in the third grade, was named Joanne. But then Margaret recruited him to help her campaign for that supermajority constitutional amendment, and he went to sit by her. I figured it was just a pick up line, but I never did ask Margaret what his first girlfriend was named. And the supermajority need for an amendment failed. 

 In good news, remember Craig and Debbie? Craig has been carrying around a wedding band in his pocket since forever, and can't get her to say yes. Well, they are getting married, right here at the Atrium, in January, and we're all invited. He's one smiling man.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

It's been a year!

Hard to believe--one year ago Kitty went to the  vet for the first time. One year ago I had no car and was resigning myself to scavenging for rides. I wonder where I was going with that. I stopped to make lunch and lost it completely.

I did some housekeeping this morning. I looked in every cupboard and found my stash of light bulbs in the second drawer I opened. I replaced a lightbulb that went into the lamp when I bought it, probably about 2018. It's been in use all day every day. These bulbs are crazy long lasting now. And cost fifty cents each to throw away at the recycling center.

First thing this morning, after breakfast and the cat station, I went to the local BMV and transferred my old license plate to the new car. The road hog. The beast. The Honda my dinner mates assure me will drive on and on and on. I've had Honda motorcycles, though never long enough to test super mileage. 

My brother Walt once rode a Honda 750 year round, through sunshine and snow storms. He was being macho, as only Uncle Walt could, and rolled who knows how many thousands of miles. He finally got tired of carrying groceries on the bike, and went back to a car.

The Honda gets its first inspection Monday, by a local car dealer that will be its forever mechanic if I am happy with their work. In fact, I am so far. I took the Subaru to them when lights came on and they returned with a list of which I was already aware; it came with the car when I bought it. To sweeten the pot, when I explained the Honda's complaints, they said they would come for it. That way they have a ground zero to work from.

We had a mild winter here last year. I have no sense of what this will be. Like finding a new DMV, I don't know my way around Portage County. It's still very more rural than Summit ever was. Sort of the Summit County of my childhood. The Atrium, where I live, was the Sea World hotel. I visited Sea World with my children, and later with my mother, and we never would have considered staying at a destination hotel.

I look down on this courtyard every time I go to the elevator. I see friends basking in the sunshine down there, through the summer and early fall. Now I am seeing lots of birds gorging themselves on sunflower seeds, from the several plants residents have furnished the little buggers. 

It seems they also find sustenance on the top of the table umbrella and even under the rain guard. Yes, those are little birds backing out. Perhaps it only had something to do with sparrows, who I believe will inherit the earth.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Gone grippe

Did anybody's grandma get the grippe? Once when I went back to bed several mornings in a row, my beloved grandma told me I had the grippe, and to just sleep it off. That's not quite what I did, having a toddler and a husband, but tonight I can tell you, she was right! 

Kitty was so patient! Her box was cleaned once as late as two in the afternoon, when I finally got the meaning of the long, hard stare. Then she danced and chirruped around my feet like a new baby chick. 

Monday evening I was ravenous and sat in a stupor at dinner, eating all but the napkin. I excused myself and came up to bed, though I do recall Margaret patting my head on her way by. One last thought before I drifted off..."Tomorrow you will get up and get something done!"

And, I did. 

The periwinkle is off the loom, washed, dried, cut into twelve towels to be hemmed tomorrow. And now, a quandary. Some time ago I promised to weave colors in the order they were called out.

Under that scheme, the next color will be khaki, the grey/brown under the black, third from left, bottom. I have enough warp left for at least three more towel colors (an enthusiastic grandchild can wind a lot of warp!), so let's see what you like. Fair warning, that turquoise top row, second from left, actually is Christmas green. Everything else is pretty much as represented.

While I washed and dried the length of toweling, I amused myself with the saga of the washing machines. Here is the machine I use:

The first dial is for water level, then temp, then type of load, then start. For an entire year we residents worked out how to get our laundry done with one machine, the other being broken most of the time. It was identical, but past its prime.  

Then we had an influx of new residents, some of whom considered themselves laundry police. Apparently they were good for a little more than "monitoring" laundry. One day a new machine appeared!

I've heard the cleaning staff will give personal instruction on the use of machine. I've found there is enough interest in the beast to ease the use of the old machine, busy with my load of towel fabric in the picture.

Sunday, October 8, 2023


I hate being sick, but I am. It all started with a mortified toe and a long wait for the podiatrist appointment. An  x-ray was OK, but the lab work showed staph. In the meantime, I was on a course of doxycycline (because I'm allergic to penicillin), and that was the real problem, I think. 

By the end I barely functioned. Burning up, can't stay awake, weak. I guess I add it to the "cillins" I don't take. Fortunately this is the weekend. Both days the alarm rang at eight and I got up at nine thirty. Yesterday I even took a two hour nap. I'm burning up and don't have a temp, and I don't have covid. I brushed a year's worth of dust off that box to open it.

And poor Kitty. She says little, but puts on a class woe begone act that did not register with me until yesterday afternoon. Today I got her food and water done after breakfast, on schedule, but didn't get to the litter job until after a nap and lunch.

To add insult to injury, I lost one of the ski pads from my walker yesterday. Anywhere from the doctor's parking lot to mine. I arrived half way through a very good pizza supper and was struck by a giant wave of sick several bites into a marvelous white pizza from one of the Chicago or New York natives in the kitchen. Fortunately Amazon delivered another set yesterday, but I still need to muster the strength to make it happen. My daughter put on the last set.

Now the news. What the hell is going on? Why is Hamas putting Yael's life in danger. And by extension, her children and grandchildren. I cannot tell if she is in a town being evacuated, though I see all the towns along the Gaza Strip are being evacuated of civilians. Israel has responded with a declaration of war. Yael has posted she is safe so far, and frightened.

Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Waiting for dinner

 For lunch I had a banana and a dish of coffee cookies and cream ice cream. The latter was wonderful and a banana is generally OK. Nevertheless, I'm hungry. I probably concentrated too hard at Bingo, to no avail.

I came back upstairs rather than stay around for happy hour. I think it will be close to pandemonium down there, and so I left. The kitchen is short staffed, so dinners are being served in our rooms or in the Bistro. I've had dinner there one time, and I didn't enjoy it. Too noisy. The ceiling is low and noise bounces and bounces and bounces.

Kitty greeted me, expecting her after dinner treat. I showed her my empty hand, which she associates with no treat, and she left for the sofa. 

Like all cats, she has to sleep in/on whatever is available. If that red cushion were down, she would be on that. When supper arrives, she will ask again or wait till I clear up. In short, we rub along quite well. I'm anticipating "very well" in another six or eight months.

Outside my window there is moderate progress. The front end of the building looks much closer to occupancy than the back end here by me. My end is looking seasonal, with yellows, orange, reds, and not even on the tree.

I'm pretty close to having all my blog posts reinstated. Probably the person most interested is me. Most I can just republish, but some I have to reread and relive, remember. There were about nine hundred when I began and I'm down to two hundred and fifty-ish. It's 4:45, and my banana and ice cream wore off long ago, so I'll go work on blogs until my doorbell rings!

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Waiting for the washing machine

Laundry has become a problem recently. There are more tenants competing for fewer facilities. One day last week, one of two washing machines was removed. Yay, making room for a new machine! But wrong. Removed to that masculine lair of "the workroom" for repair. It has been "broken" for the entire year plus I've lived here. It makes a great deal of noise on one of its cycles.

Personally, I would call the GE guy. I had a magnificent Maytag repair guy back in the township. I had him for forty years. Well, him, then his son. But that isn't how they do things here. So, since the only machine is in use, I set my timer for forty five minutes, and then I'll go look.

In the meantime, I have a car. Actually, it's closer to a tank. In the week or so it has lived out in the parking lot, I've driven through a tank of gas, keeping appointments. The worst was the Reclast infusion. I have no problem with needles and stuff dripping into my veins. I do have a problem with time expended and side effects. 

My doctor assured me this second drip of Reclast would not be painful. Not the infusion, but the day after. Last time my housemate gave me a Tylenol with codeine, from her stash. "Oh, don't worry. There are few to no side effects the second time!" said my doctor. Liar, liar, pants ablaze. 

Since he is so far away from me, a long drive south, I've decided to ask for an endocrinologist at the local clinic. I've been doing that for  the rest of my specialists, and soon I'll be driving fifteen minutes for most of my doctor appointments. It will be sad to leave many of my current doctors, but not all. 

My endocrinologist, for example. When I first found him, it was by reading reviews carefully. When he turned out to be exactly as described, I recommended my sister to him. We've both been satisfied patients for forty years. But he has really upset me of late, Reclast not the least of his "sins", and a change is in order.

My laundry has been swishing away these last forty minutes, and I had a nice chat with Marty, the woman ahead of me. She began so defensively I was sad. I do like her and know so little about her. So I asked about her background, and learned she had been a teacher and a home maker. That seems to be the history of so many here. No really kindred souls.

It set me searching about for something else in my immediate surroundings to make me smile. That would be Kitty. She has two toys with balls. One is four tiers, a ball on each tier. The other is flat, with a cardboard scratching pad in the middle. The former was the first, and it was an immediate success. She tackled it, wrestled it to the ground, rolled over and over, attempting to tackle all four balls at one time. She often woke me at night with the sound of the balls.

Then I decided she needed more scratching opportunities than my sofa, and bought the flat unit. She abandoned the other unit for this. It was pushed half under the chair to make way for the vacuum, and this is her favorite place. She spends half or more of each day's play time subduing the entire unit. Sometimes she attacks from behind the chair leg, sometimes around it, a paw on each side. And sometimes she simply lays around and pats the ball from side to side. To side to side to side to side. And I fall asleep.



Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Short and sweet

The web page is fixed, almost.  It takes orders, and that's all that matters right now. In fact, Blake fixed it this morning and an order came in on its heels. Over the course of the day, two more, so that the yellow towels are gone, and some of the lime and most of the terra cotta.

I'm winding periwinkle bobbins now. Hopefully they will not take me so long as the previous colors.

Back to the web page. The address at the bottom of the page is incorrect. It is the Keenan Road address I had when I began selling towels from the web site. I thought I'd found and corrected it a few weeks ago, but I only deleted it, which suspended the web page.

If anyone tried to contact me there, it surely would be lost in the mail, as they say. Fortunately, I suppose, we use email almost exclusively these days. I'm still working on correcting it.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Up to date

Much has transpired since I last was here, only a few days ago. Several rescheduled doctor appointments have come to rest in rows for the rest of the month. I have a dental appointment (cleaning) this afternoon, my pulmonologist tomorrow, and another infusion on Thursday of Reclast. Yes, the same one that laid me low a couple of years ago. My endo doctor says it cannot possibly be so awful this time and he has not prescribed Tylenol with codine. How I hope he is right!

A lot of Uber trips, you say. Especially in light of a couple more appointments the following week. But, I bought a car. The six thousand dollars I had from selling the Subaru had to stretch out to seventy four hundred dollars, for a 2012 Honda with 188,000 miles. How I hope it will serve me well. 

When I got in to drive home, I didn't find time to tell it I will take care of it and it needs to take care of me. It was difficult to get into the passenger seat when I went with the salesman to get gas. When I switched to the driver's side, much easier, but the seat was too low. It was all I could do to reach and adjust the mirror! Seeing over the wheel was impossible, so I looked through it.

Back here in the parking lot I set about rectifying what I could. I found the lever to release the steering wheel, and put it all the way down. I understand it also collapses, but I haven't found that yet. When I leave to go to the dentist, I'll look for the vehicle manual and give it a good perusal when I get home. 

Other than that, a fairly normal week. Another set of towels finished. This one is terra cotta, a color I've never done before. I like them.

I spent more time figuring out how to rotate the photo than I did photographing it. I hope to remember next time. 

A reader brought a problem with the web site to my attention. You can get all the way to clicking on a towel selection, and then the program indicates "Not Available". Of course they are, but for the moment, they aren't. I've asked Blake, my computer guru, to look into it.

My next color to weave is periwinkle. I haven't made this color in quite awhile. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Table talk

I have three dinner mates. Two have come to the facility only recently, are former neighbors, and are tea party members. This is for real. Their way or the highway. They campaigned loudly and long for the Ohio super majority amendment, which was resoundingly defeated. The third table member is Rose, a conservative, probably a Republican, but completely open minded.

Tonight's table talk was about Covid, and the general shut down of the population during the recent crisis. We asked our server if all meals had been served in rooms during that time, and she said Yes, and that it had been as awful for them as for the residents. Personally, I think the residents had it worse, with little human contact.

The talk turned to vaccinations. One tea partier recited how many injections will be required; two for covid, two for flu, and I don't remember the last injection. The two tp's were actually bullying Rose to say she would not be vaccinated, and I stepped in.

My hand shot up and I said I'd be there to tell them the efficacy of the shots, which surely would be combined to two. Rose mumbled that at her age she wouldn't risk skipping. One of the tp's also is ninety, and started back on Rose for agreeing to the shot.

I lost it, and said I couldn't believe she actually thought she would be thrown to the ground and have needles shoved into her arm. "But what about the military!" she sputtered. "You're not in the military. Furthermore, joining the military is voluntary assumption of mandatory inoculations."

And I left the table and came home to my cat. Before I raised my voice a lot more.

Did I ever tell you, Kitty snores. And not just a little. When she is  really, really sleeping, those extra membranes in her throat really vibrate. If I get up in the night for that trip we take, I sometimes sit on the edge of the bed and listen. It's rather comforting, another living being.


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Undoing the undo

After I moved back into the old rooms at the old house two years ago, I was dealt an ultimatum. All my old posts had to go and any new posts had to be totally neutral. That became a nonnegotiable item for living there. It was delivered in January, when I returned from convalescing from the broken femur. It was pack up the loom and the broken leg and leave, or spend a month deleting the life I'd recorded.

I deleted the first post, about finding a kitten in Pittsburgh. Like slitting my wrist. Not just cutting, actual slitting. Muscle, bone, sinew. It was gone! I sat and stared at the screen for a long time. I could not do that again. Mary Moon made me brave enough to blog, told me just to start typing and the rest would take care of itself. And so it has.

All the rest of the posts were suspended. One at a time, day after day, week after week. It takes time to suspend eighteen hundred odd posts. My life from 2011 to present. But finally I was left with nothing but the present. January 2021 and on. Some very canny old timers caught on. River, for one, and Ellen. I just went on from there, for a year, a new beginning. 

But I never really recovered from that broken femur. I could have, but my heart wasn't in it. I started looking at ways to rehab without working at it. And here I am. I love the irony of the Independent Living retirement home. All the rest is pretty plain. Then Assisted Living. Then Memory Care. And so on. Down the last long (?) path to dead.

I decided on the Atrium. Although it is counter to my old tree hugging, liberal and loud days, I was not scared. Nothing would change me, and perhaps it was time for a change here. Jan and I toured the facility and I had decided before I saw the room. That was a year ago. From time to time over that year, I reposted some blogs. 

Now that I am at one year here, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get going. I've reposted about a thousand entries and have about seven hundred to go. Of course, I can't just pull it up and hit "Post". Often I have to stop and read. It's fun.

But what about the actual rehabbing business? Back on my feet! Well, here it is. I'm still on the walker I adopted after living here a short time. Every fall here has taken more starch out of me. I got so sick in March. That took another cup or two of starch. But, I have stayed with the exercise, three times a week. It has saved me.

The exercise classes have made me able to save myself from some of the consequences of the several falls I've taken. When I've determined help was not coming to get me off the floor, I got myself up. Think about that. Not my long term goal, but good enough at the time to be able to get up and get on with it.

Every fall has involved my head, though, and I am fully aware of how much more mental ability a fall has cost me. I'm OK all morning and afternoon, but by supper time I am through. I cannot remember, think, reason. But, I can still get back to my room and pass the evening to bed time.

At supper last night, RoseMarie and I and Betty were the last at the table, as always. It used to be just Rose and myself, but now Betty stays to help Rose up from her chair and over to her walker. I used to do that, but am so grateful Betty has taken over. I'm much more sure on my feet than Rose, thanks to exercise classes, but I know I could easily misstep and fall again.

As we were pushing off, Rose said she always intended to get this old, just not this decrepit. I agreed, saying I had no idea I'd be using a walker to get around. I guess that's the hint I've waited for. I need to start in the gym, on the recumbent bike, next week. Won't be Monday, though. I have an 11:30 doctor appointment in Cleveland. By Uber. Report to follow.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Things that have changed this year

My youngest daughter became a nurse practitioner. She was awarded  the degree she set out for fifteen or twenty years ago. How I applaud the achievement, though she climbed several mountains of her own making.

I came to a decision about weaving towels. When I have finished the warp currently on the loom, I'll be through with towels. I will go back to "fashion" weaving, making shrugs and shawls and such. In the beginning they will be cotton, but when the last of my 8/2 cotton is gone, I'll change to 10/2 and probably some novelty. It will be fun. 

My car was a whole nuther mental wrench. My trusty red Dodge had come up against another costly repair. Northeastern Ohio winters are hard on cars, and mine had a rusted out something or the other front end assembly. In addition, the entire driver's side fender assembly had rusted through. 

I got on the internet and found the only "new" car I could afford, a Subaru two years younger than the Dodge. So, I bought it. It had impeccable lineage; one owner; bells and whistles; well maintained. The problem, it turned out, was changing me from driving a domestic car to a foreign car with every add on available. The back up camera was OK; the rest was not. Gas tank, wrong side. Lights, I never did figure out. Or any other control.

Resell it! But, the used car market tanked, literally the week after I bought the car. Market value was half I paid for the car. So, I sold the car to my daughter, for my granddaughter to drive back to college in Minnesota. Great for her, but I have no car. I think my daughter is happy her eighty year old mother no longer has wheels, but I can still drive.

Beginning this coming week, we will see my ability with Uber. Or Lyft.  I have a doctor's appointment literally every day next week, and will be using one or the other form of transportation. I'll let you know.

And, I took on a cat, Katherine. What cat? No one has seen her  on a regular basis, except moi. She hides before the doorbell finishes its ring. The only other people who have seen her are housekeeping, my sister and my daughter. Housekeeping knows her because Diana took care of her when I was in Assisted living last spring. So did Jan.

So, that's the year in review for me. The rest of my year has been all the people who live here.  I think I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

One year

I've been here a year. Hard to believe, in a way. It's time for a retrospective, a review, an attempt to improve the future.

What have I done? I've ploughed through some daunting obstacles. I've faithfully attended improvement classes that have been instrumental in overcoming the obstacles. I've made a decision about weaving. I sold my car. I saw Shelly get her degree; master of science in nursing, making her a nurse practitioner. I've become a friend to my grandson, Blake. And, I rescued a cat.

Obstacles: several falls and a pacemaker. I hate falling. I don't trip on rugs, which I don't have. I don't stumble. I just don't know. The last fall was a month ago. I had my laundry in the wheelie cart, in the laundry room. I was repositioning the cart, it caught my foot, and back I went. Another time on my back. I pushed my button and waited. Nothing.

Eventually I got on my butt, scooted to the door, used a chair and the door handle to get upright. I took inventory, and except a very sore noggin, nothing. So, I did my laundry. The next day I reported the incident to a supervisor. She had me push my button and showed me, real time, that I did not register. Dead battery.

Why am I the test canary? The guinea pig who pushes the right buttons, or not? The good news is, they surveyed the building and discovered more than a few dead batteries. Battery replacement has been backed up one month.

The pacemaker was a total surprise. I went to a regular doctor appointment. I was happy to keep the appointment; my legs kept swelling from excess water, and the condition had extended to my left arm. The doctor sent me to the emergency room for an evaluation. They sent me to the hospital, in potential cardiac arrest, in an ambulance. 

I arrived pretty late in the evening. The next day was evaluation, and a recommended pacemaker scheduled for the next day. When I woke from the surgery, the placing doctor was there, apologizing for poking a hole in the membrane around my lungs. I was just too skinny, he explained. Anyway, that was another surgery and four more days on my back.

When I was recovered from the hole in my chest, the hospital offered me a couple more days in the hospital to recover more. I knew I would be stuck several more times to reset their damn IV line, and I decided to go home. So, Jan and Tom drove me home and deposited me in my room. When they left, I was in too much pain to move. No one could come help me.

Eventually I hit on Blake and over he came. Got me into a nightgown and into bed. Came in the morning to take care of the cat. I decided I needed to switch to Assisted Living, so I got that done. A big mistake, but that's another story.

In AL, I immediately caught the lurgy going around. So sick. I was in bed and immobile for several days. I missed my birthday. I recovered slowly, first in a chair, then up and shuffle to meals. I stayed another week in AL, then back to my room, my cat, my routine in Independent Living.

This gets me from September to mid April, and the end of the big trauma. As you may know, Laura is going to Greece for a semester, then Australia for a semester, with a couple months in between to bum around Europe. She came to say good-bye for awhile; she leaves Wednesday. She's looking over my shoulder as I type, and has OK'd a new picture to go with. I'll go on and on later.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Weather, whether or not

Last week we had an incredible storm. Actually, a tornado or two came through. So many trees took out so many power lines that we woke to no power last Friday. All the public areas of the facility had power, and one elevator functioned on the power from the generator.

Breakfast was served, as usual, Friday morning, and everyone had light in their apartment due to the atrium setting of the building. My room faces west, so I had light all day. There was Happy Hour as usual, Friday afternoon. Our entertainer has no power at his house, so he was just one of use.

We wondered about dinner Friday night, and at 5:00 o'clock on the dot, the kitchen doors opened and out rolled carts of dinner containers. The kitchen staff spent the afternoon preparing a meal of excellent ham and cheese wraps, chips, carrot cake. We gave them three cheers! One staff member produced a bag of flash lights and went through the Bistro passing them out to anyone without a flash light, along with a solemn promise to use the light to go to the bathroom.

The good news was, power was restored as daylight faded. I wondered if the facility was prioritized because a couple hundred or more seniors live here, and couldn't be relied on to remember to use the flash light to find their way to the bathroom. Toni, our fitness instructor on Monday and Thursday, also lives in Aurora, and remained without power this morning. She came in with half a dozen plastic gallon milk cartons which she filled with water for cooking and hygiene. Their neighbor is away on vacation, and they are relying on jugs of water from their pool to flush toilets.

Then, to add insult to injury, we had an earthquake over the weekend. It even made my news feed; a 5.0 earthquake in Madison, Ohio. Well, it wasn't a 7.0 in Perry, right by the nuclear power plant, like the last one I knew of, way back in 1986 or 1987. And, the current earthquake was downgraded to a 4.5 when the meteorologists more closely studied their graphs. Small achievements. Reminds me of a screen shot my daughter sent me recently:

 Those were the days! Now to turn our attention where it's really required, lets pay attention to Idalia, heading to Florida and promising damage. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Home again, home again

In truth, I was home Sunday evening. I've spent the intervening time on catching up on sleep, a lot of sleep! I neglected to take my pillow with me. The bed was decent, but the pillows were those hard, flat versions. Two nights of bad slumber left me awfully deprived.

Then, laundry. and, oh, yes! Sunday night Kitty barfed, big time. I slept through it. Somehow I did not slip in the puddle I encountered in the middle of the night, and when I woke and found that mess in the morning, I was not pleased. Puddles all over the carpet. 

I got through it, and that's all I have to say about that. Except, much as I love Blake, who came Saturday and Sunday to take care of Kitty, he also fed her half a jar of those very rich cat treats. And Sunday night, she gave them back.

Letchworth! I am amazed at how far back our history goes with this park. My parents took we four children to Letchworth. It turns out, Ruth and Bill took their children to Letchworth. The children grew up and took their children. Beth and Bill rented a cabin for several summers. Mine camped with Mom and me and their cousins, in a camper and a tent.

Here we are. Caroline, my youngest granddaughter, Beth, me, Ruth, overlooking the Grand Canyon of the East. I was last there probably in the eighties. So much has changed, so much remains the same. We found a pioneer cemetery, relocated there years ago, but the first time any of us saw it. All the major areas have been expanded and improved. The rest rooms are first class.

No groundhogs to be seen. Those remain a big part of my Letchworth memory. Many of the "meadow" areas along the upper park are no longer mowed lawns, but returned to wildflower areas, with ample stands of butterfly and bird attracting vegetation. The Mary Jemison statue has been iron fenced off, to protect from vandals.

All the overlooks remain, but there is a lot of view obstructing vegetation between the top of the "canyon" and the river below. We started at the north end of the park and worked south, to the great falls of the Genesee River. I did most of my "walking" with the aid of two canes. I was exhausted at the end of the days, and in fact made my last "expedition" to see the falls in a transport chair Beth had brought.

The weather was exceptional; blue skies and big white clouds. At the falls I had the good fortune to have a freight train crossing the bridge. The hard part was getting Ruth and Caroline to turn around!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Overdue Kitty update

I suppose we simply have settled into an "old couple" routine. Kitty spends a good deal of time with me, but in the same room, not in the same chair. I am permitted to stroke her once or twice as my reward for giving her some treats. Absolutely no petting. I have never lifted her from the ground. That would lead to claws and snarling, as does an extra stroke before treats.

If we progress no further, I am satisfied. How far we have come from the cat who hid under my bed. Whose worse case scenario happened last March, when I had that pacemaker setback and went to assisted living for a couple of weeks. Kitty found a tunnel to "under the covers" of my bed, and lived there until I came home and displaced her.

Even now she disappears when someone comes into the apartment. Gone Kitty. My cat is a bit of a joke. I do have pictures on my camera. She does spend a good deal of time in my presence. It's not a large apartment; I know all her hiding places. She is still up when I get up in the morning, waiting for her treat. If I get up to use the bathroom, she dogs me the entire route, asking for a treat, which does not happen.

She is still up in the morning. I greet her, and her first request is for a treat, which happens pretty soon after I get up. Then I finish my morning routine, eat breakfast, provide another treat and move on to take care of her food, water and cat box, before I leave for my first 10:00 a.m. exercise class. Perhaps she plays some more, perhaps she just stalks off to sleep.

Kitty seemed ill lately, excessively wheezing and coughing. Eventually I traced it down to a wooly sheep toy she daily attacked and killed. It turned out she was clawing bits of the sheep away and eating them. It went out in the trash.

I bought three replacement toys, a catnip banana, which has mildly interested her, a different rolling ball toy, also mildly of interest, and a ball I must look into some more. It's smaller than I thought, and will go straight under the chests, the refrigerator, the bed. I must look into it some more before I release it.

This weekend I am going with Beth, Caroline and Ruth for a "Hen Weekend" at Letchworth State Park in New York State. The weather is supposed to be much colder; I'm packing accordingly. In the meantime, in our usual evening posture, Kitty is on the sofa behind me, keeping an eye out for her evening treat. We know each other well.