My socks, beans and mixed veggies therapy

September 29, 2010

I’m doing the exercises designed to prepare my knees for the double knee replacement I will have in five weeks.

I do them while sitting in my favorite chair in the corner of our bedroom where I read, watch TV and sometimes inadvertently take a little nap.  (If I feel one of those little naps sneaking up on me, I push the DVR button to record the rest of the show I’m too tired to watch.  That DVR is a wonderful invention!)

Most of the exercises are pretty straight forward, but I had to get a little creative for one of them.

For the “knee extension stretch” the instructions read, “Prop foot up on a chair.  Place towel roll under ankle and ice pack over knee.  Put 5-10 lbs. of weight on top of knee (a 5-10 lb. bag of potatoes or rice works well).  Do for 20 minutes per knee two times a day.”

I didn’t want to bring the dirt associated with a bag of potatoes into the bedroom for the weeks I would be doing the exercises and I didn’t find rice in bags, so I got dried beans. But I got 1 lb. bags of beans because I wanted the ability to adjust the weight.

So what could I get to hold the eight small bags of beans in some kind of fashion to be able to keep them on my knee?

I cruised the store’s bedding and clothing departments looking for a solution, and I found one — the long, heavy gray men’s socks with red heel and toe that they use to make sock monkey’s!

One sock will only hold three of the 1 lb. bags, so in order to use 8 lbs. of weight I have to use three socks.  I put the bags of beans in and then knotted the top of each sock.

So this is what this looks like.  I put the rolled up towel under my ankle on the foot stool.  Then I put a hand towel over my knee.  Next is a bag of mixed frozen vegetables that have been in the freezer for a long time that can just be thrown away after they have served their purpose by being slightly thawed and then refrozen many times over the next few weeks.  And on top of all that goes the three socks full of beans.  Twice a day I have to do this for 20 minutes on each knee.

Not pretty, but it works.  And, as a plus, I see warm feet and lots of bean soup in our future!

Best Advice of the Week: Bug Spray? or “Mug” Spray

September 25, 2010

We have had two break-ins in our neighborhood recently. One was while the residents were asleep and the other was during the day when no one was home.  But even if thieves don’t plan to come face-to-face with the homeowners, there is always the possibility that it could happen.  So I guess it’s no surprise that protection from home intruders is a subject that is definitely on my mind right now.  (Of course, if Hubby was home, he is very proficient with a gun, so I’m sure he would capture intruders, no questions asked.  But I an not good with a gun, so I don’t consider that a good defense strategy for me!)

A few days ago a friend told me about a suggestion she had heard for self defense in your home that sounds pretty good:  Keep a can of wasp spray in your bedside table. Specifically wasp spray because  it has a long tube that the stuff squirts through so that it can be accurately shot at wasps from a safe distance. Perfect. Even if an intruder was across the room from you, you could pretty accurately direct the stream of chemical at his face.  It won’t permanently injure him, but it should definitely discourage him and either make him run away or give you time to get away.

Hopefully this is advice that none of us will ever have to put into action but, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Where did YOU come from?

September 24, 2010

Both of my children have recently mentioned to me (separately, without talking to each other about it!) that they wish I would do some research of their roots for the sake of my grandchildren.  And DD went one step further and suggested I document my attempts here and also share any interesting stories I find along the way.

DD thinks that if I, who have never done anything formal in regard to genealogy before, document my learning process and, hopefully, some successes, it might pique other’s interest in that process and maybe encourage them (you!) to do some searching of your own family tree.

My immediate reaction was not enthusiastic, but I’m gradually warming to the idea.

I’ve since recalled some interesting stories I heard from my father’s cousin and her husband, Irene and Damon, because they spent many of their retirement years traveling the country researching family history.  One time they were invited to attend the reunion of a very distant branch of our family out west somewhere.  What a surprise it was when they walked in and immediately met one of those very distant relatives who Irene said looked like an identical twin to her first cousin, my father’s sister, Aunt Mary Jane.  I also remember them talking about tracking down the grave of one long-lost ancestor who was buried in an Indian cemetery in, I believe, North Dakota.  Her marker just said, “white woman”.

So, if I’m going to try this, I need somewhere to start, and information that Irene and Damon collected in their travels seems like a logical beginning.  So, yesterday I fired off a note to Damon who lives in California near his daughter now, asking him for anything he can share.  I’m kind of excited to see what he has to share with me.

I’ll keep you posted if anything interesting develops.

Now THAT’S a welcome!

September 23, 2010

When we arrived at DD’s house in Chicago on Saturday, her girls had been busy decorating the driveway with a welcome for us!

Just looking at that driveway makes me smile. I can picture all the love and energy (not to mention all the chalk!) that went into its decoration.  Thank you Coco, Lulu and Mimi.

Grandchildren are the best.

Learning the Mac is a new adventure …

September 21, 2010

… exciting but scary too!

Today is our first day back from a fun weekend with DD and her girls in Chicago.

So, I’ve now taken some time to learn a little more about my new laptop.

Today’s experiment is uploading a picture from the ones I have saved on this computer.  Wish me luck!

Ta Daaaa!  I figured it out!!

My first photo to upload from and edit in the Mac’s iPhoto.

Phewwww, I’m exhausted.  That’s enough for today.

Best Advice of the Week: Gunky Soap Cup Begone!

September 18, 2010

If you use liquid clothes soap in your washing machine, you may be like me … totally disgusted by how gunky the lid/measuring cup gets by the time that bottle of soap is used up.

But this week I read a solution to keep that little cup clean that is easy and it works!

When the cup begins to get gunky, the next time you are doing a load of warm water laundry, just toss the cup in with the load. Of course, you do need to remember to remove it before you put the load in the dryer.

I immediately began using this hint when I read it, and it works great!

A first NOT to be celebrated!

September 17, 2010

There are lots of “firsts” I would love to celebrate.  Two that come to mind are a hole-in-one in golf and reaching my goal in Weight Watchers.

But not all “firsts” in life are to be celebrated.  Two of THOSE which come to mind are … your first adolescent pimple that made you realize you didn’t inherit your mother’s perfect skin … and the first time (many, many years later) when you realize, “That person is treating me like I’m old!”

Yesterday I had another of those not-so-great firsts.

It was a very windy day and my golf league was playing the second week of the tournament which is the culmination of our season.

My two playing partners and I were on a green, ready to putt.  I was furthest away from the hole so I should putt first.  Neither of them was between me and the hole so there didn’t seem to be any reason to ask either of them to mark their ball.

I visually lined up my putt … it was about 6 feet. Certainly not a “gimme” for me, but I had been putting pretty well so I was hopeful.  I struck the ball with just about the right club speed and it headed for the hole.  But when it got a couple feet from the hole, it suddenly veered to the right.  It wasn’t going very fast by that time, so even though it was obviously not going to go in the hole it looked like it was going to stop pretty close to the hole.  But, even though going very slowly, it just continued to roll … and very slowly rolled right up to another ball and ever so slightly tapped it.

I have never hit someone else’s ball when putting … ever!  I knew there was a penalty for doing that but was really surprised when one of my partners looked it up in the rules … and the penalty was TWO STROKES!  Rats.

I hadn’t thought about the wind having been a factor until a group of us were having lunch afterwards and several of my friends said they had seen the wind change the direction of one of their putts.

So, I don’t feel quite so bad about this awful “first” now, because I’m going to assume it was a wind-assisted “first”, so not totally my fault.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The Final Ride-Along

September 16, 2010

When Hubby was a young cop, all new officers began in the jail.  The next step in their career would be to become a road patrolman.  So, the new officers worked in the jail as confinement officers until a spot opened up on “the road”.  But until that happened, they could get some on-the-job training by riding along with a road patrolman.  Not only did it look good to their superiors that they were doing this on their own time, but it was also a chance for them to get a taste of being a “real” cop — at least what many of them pictured a “real” cop doing.  Hubby did some of that when he was new, and he has always said that he really learned alot from just actually watching an experienced cop do his job.

Hubby was a road patrolman for many years and he was the lieutenant in charge of the third shift road patrol for 15 years.  He enjoyed the work and had quickly developed a reputation for being very good at it so he was popular with ride-alongs.

But among all the ride-alongs Hubby had over the years, his most memorable and fun one was one of his first … Joe.

Joe was an eager young cop with puppy dog eyes and a self-deprecating sense of humor.  When he started riding with Hubby, Hubby had only been on the road himself a year or two, so it was fun for him to have a “rookie” ride along and watch him do his job.  Although at first Hubby wasn’t exactly sure how to take this young, eager, funny rookie who made no bones about the fact that he idolized Hubby!  But once Hubby got to know Joe, and his humor, they got along great.  In fact, we started getting together socially with Joe and his wife, Sue.  (Sometime I’ll have to tell you a funny story about Sue and I eating cheesecake.)

After about a year working in the jail, Joe came out on the road too, and did a good job.  But one of the things young cops find out, especially on a large county department, is how many other jobs there are in police work besides the road patrol.  I don’t remember all the divisions Joe worked in, but I think I remember him working in Warrants for a while and he ended up as a detective.

Over the years, Joe and Hubby didn’t see each other regularly, but they always enjoyed any time they did get to spend together and they always had that bond from when they were young cops and Joe looked up to the “veteran” cop, Hubby.

The last time I remember seeing Joe was at their daughter’s wedding reception.  It had been quite a while since we had seen Joe and Sue so it was great to have a chance to do some catching up.  Joe had, of course, gotten older but that great sense of humor was still there and I could still see that young, enthusiastic cop in his eyes.

Not too long after that we heard that Joe had cancer, and we were shocked when we heard not too long after that that he had died.

Funerals are never easy, but are especially hard when you’ve known the person a long time.  And apparently being at Joe’s funeral made Hubby vividly recall all those nights that Joe was his ride-along many years ago when they were both just “kids”.  Because after the funeral when the cars were lining up to go to the cemetery, I saw Hubby talking to the funeral director.  And then he came over to me and asked me if I could drive myself to the cemetery and told me why.

The funeral director had agreed to let Hubby drive the hearse to the cemetery — Joe’s last ride-along.

This was years ago, but even so it brought tears to my eye when I typed that previous sentence.  I was so surprised when Hubby did this because he’s not one to make a “grand gesture”.  But he told me later it just felt right to do that one last thing for Joe and he thought Joe would like the idea too of him taking him for one last ride.  I agree.

I’m back!

September 14, 2010

This morning I told Hubby that I would be just as happy if the internet would never have been invented.

For reasons I cannot fathom, my blog suddenly became unaccessible to me after I posted on Saturday.  Also on Saturday, my SIL, the other Sandi, and I went on a much more expensive than usual shopping trip … and both came home with Mac laptops.  So we are now attempting to navigate the Mac learning curve together.

And today, just to make things more interesting, Frontier, our new e-mail service, decided to shut down our e-mail service right in the middle of my “conversation” with two very smart people at wordpress who were trying to help me figure out why in the heck I couldn’t get into my blog.

But, as they say, “All’s well that ends well.”  I am finally back on my blog and am actually typing this on my new laptop.  Wahoooo!

It’s a good day after all — I have learned some new things and succeeded at a couple things I didn’t think I could conquer.  All because of the helpfulness and patience of some very knowledgeable miracle workers at wordpress and the geek squad.  God bless them all.

The How-we-met Story That Got Away

September 11, 2010

Please don’t forget to go back a few posts and leave a comment about how you met.  A winner will be announced October 1.

By the way, my dear friend, Linda has started writing a blog.  That is wonderful news, because Linda is a faith-filled, funny lady who was just born to blog.  So be sure to visit her new blog, To Behold The Beauty, and welcome her to this new adventure.

And Linda and Doug happen to have a great story of their own about how they met.  You can read it here.

Welcome to blogging, Linda.  You’re perfect for it.  I look forward to re-reading all the funny things you have said to me over the years, but that I have since forgotten.  That’s the nice thing about having “old folks” for readers — everything looks new to us!