Monday, October 3, 2011

As The Tan Fades

Back from another year of sun and fun at the timeshare of a friend, who for over 23 years has shared her week at the beach with me. This year we couldn't have asked for better weather. It rained at her house in Tampa on Saturday, in fact, it was a frog strangler and more like a river running down her street. But just as soon as it came around, it went away and for the rest of the day the sunshine state kept its reputation intact. Once we made it across the bridge to the resort, it was smooth sailing and quite a day for it. Oh dear, my tan is already fading.

As for the Dallas weather, talk about an overnight change. Thirty days ago we had non stop 100 degrees everyday. In fact last Friday we hit 100 degrees again for a new record since 1953. This morning it was 53 degrees outside and wow, what a beautiful crisp and delightful change.

Yesterday was productive on HubPages for me. I released a short story I had been working on for some time. http://pegcole17.hubpages.com/_1lvmratkz5gih/hub/A-Day-in-the-Life-at-Leisure-World so that's done. I'm still finding errors and changes to make so it's a work in progress. Traffic seems to come and go there; different from the way it was for the first 18 months before the Google Panda update. Anyhow, this will all settle down and hopefully get back to being the site I remember.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Big Chill Down in Texas

For the past sixty something days we've had 100 plus degree weather here in Texas. That's right. Since the time my friend visited on the 4th of July, the temperature has reached 100 or more at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport all but one day. Yes, one day it was down to 99 degrees so we broke out the blankets and flannel shirts.

Until yesterday when a north wind came blasting through the plains bringing glorious cool weather. With the wind came a blessed relief of 69 degrees this morning when I let the dogs out at 5:30am. It's like living on another planet; a much cooler one.

The worst drought in 50 years has created enormous cracks in our yard, exposing tree roots and blistering the already stressed leaves and killing many well established trees. We're still praying for rain desperately needed to combat the wildfires raging in our state.

Possum Kingdom Lake took the forefront last week as the top story in the news with 6200 acres aflame and out of control for days. The same area burned in April, dispelling the myth that lightening doesn't strike twice at the same place. Maybe not so true with fire. This morning another wildfire rages in south east Ennis area ravaging homes and property. Floods rage just to our east with Louisianna pelted with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee. Too much water there, not enough here.

With the cooler weather, despite the lack of rain, we'll celebrate the Labor Day holiday as usual doing what we enjoy best in our quiet country home.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blistering Heat Continues in Texas

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful. . ." With temperatures in the 100s and higher for the past thirty something days, one day becomes much like the next here in north Texas.

Our last rainfall was too long ago for the thirsty and distressed trees to remember. Weather reporters and Meteorologists take a daily ration of despair with folks demanding a better forecast.

After temperatures inched into the 110 degree zone one day last week to break a record we're hoping this blistering heat streak will soon be gone.

Channel 5 forecasted these temps last night which give us little hope for a cool down.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kyphoplasty on the Horizon

Today has been packed full of activity. You know how some days are bland and vanilla, while others have more energy stuffed into 24 hours than most people can handle? This was one of those days.

We've hit another milestone in Mom's health. She's been suffering since early April after lifting a potted plant and injuring her spine, again. No surprise. The last visit to the hospital, Dr. Neece took me aside after her Kyphoplasty procedure was over and said her bones are "like oatmeal". Now, I said, what does that mean? Well, the Kyphoplasty involves inserting a hollow needle into a collapsed vertebra and inflating a balloon to lift the bone to where it should be, then sending cement in the needle to fill the space. So when he did the last surgery in March 2009, he said he could push the needle into her bone with his fingers. That's what he meant by oatmeal. He let me know he thought she "should be in an assisted facility". He wasn't being unkind. In fact, he said his own mother was in one herself and it was very nice with progressive levels of care, etc..


Mom at Dr. Neece's Office in Frisco
 This time, Mom injured T-10 on her back. The next step is scheduling the "procedure". Since when do they call an operation a procedure? Long time now. But anyway. Possibility that it could happen on Thursday, but with her insurance having to approve things, could be next week.

And that's what's ahead on our agenda. The issue of getting someone to stay with Louise while Mom is out of commission is next. It's just not safe for her to be alone at this point. Her birthday last month, when she turned 91, reminded me of how great she is doing: taking care of Sugar, her cat and Fritz, her little dachscund-basset hound mix. He's finally passed her in years and is no spring chicken. But Louise continues to amaze me and inspire me. She still dressed in a matching outfit everyday, makes her bed, washes the dishes, makes lunch for both of them, takes showers on her own and washes her hair. All, things we take for granted, but how will we handle these tasks when we're in our 90s? Let's see.

For now, I'm off to fix my dinner after spending the morning shopping for groceries for Mom and Louise, then taking Mom to Frisco for her MRI which kept us out until around 7pm. Today's another day Scarlett, and we'll think about these things tomorrow, at Tara. Peace and may God Bless you today and always.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ushering in Spring with Zest

Last week felt more like spring with temps in the mid 70s and warm breezes; a great time to start the spring cleaning. Took a trip to the grocery store on Monday with Mom tagging along- I did her shopping while she sipped a coffee at McDonald's, much safer for her and faster for me.

Tuesday I was determined to furnish the nearly-empty living room, vacant since building the family room addition two years ago and moving the furniture out there. To my own amazement, I found a new Simmons hide-a-bed couch (ahhh-memory foam), a wildly patterned armchair for the bedroom, a rolling lift-top coffee table and a solid wood bookcase in the Rooms for Less showroom that's closing soon. My good fortune was enhanced by the amazing news that the furniture could be delivered that afternoon - and to my delight, it was!

Wednesday I made an appointment for Louise's little Beagle-Dachshund who's needed a trip to the vet for months. Mom wanted to tag along to get out of the house, so the she, Louise, Fritz and I drove to Sachse and saw Dr. Pirkey for an update on Fritz's shots and a general exam. For a 13 year old dog, he's holding his own.

The morning was filled with the noise of professional tree trimmers who managed to turn my three big trees into a sculptured art form. Then we went across the road and they worked on trimming up the mulberry tree at Mom's house.
Tree Trimming Article with Pictures

But the day got even better when I stopped by to speak with the next-door neighbors, who having enjoyed the entertainment of the tree trimming event at Mom's, observed the workers looking under the hood of her old Crown Victoria and asked if I was selling the car. Yep. SOLD! Hooray. No more insurance premiums, inspections, license renewals and best of all, no more costly repairs to Mom's old car.

Thursday was relatively quiet. Hubby and I took a truckload of cardboard to the local recycling center then picked up groceries for our house. Returned home in time to write an article on HubPages - my tawdry escapism and current addiction.

Friday I took Mom to the Rooms for Less store where I'd seen a reclining chair that looked perfect for her. She wanted it, naturally, so we'll go back this week to pick it up. I don't look forward to dragging the thing out of the truck and wrestling it into her living room, but it wasn't worth the delivery fee for one item.

All in all it was a productive week. There's nothing like the warm winds of spring to get me motivated.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring is Sprung as March Marches in

Spring is making its presence known here in Texas with mild temperature in the 70s this week.  It's a blessing to see the new blossoms appear on the Bradford Pears and baby Sparrows happily feeding at the bird feeder.

Another welcome event was the sighting of three woodpeckers in the backyard but only one let me capture his image.

The crops in the pastures along Highway 78 are starting to wear their finest green color as St. Patrick's Day soon approaches.

Ah, spring - so delightful.

Below the woodpecker taps out his song to the beat of his own drum.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Quiet Neighborhood

I sat in the living room of my neighbor's home this morning enjoying the company of Mr. and Mrs. H. my neighbors down the street. We spoke of Mr. H's parents, whose picture was displayed on one of their bric-a-brac lined shelves. His dad was born in the early 1800s - his Mom died when he was 5. That was 82 years ago and he still thinks of her fondly. He said in sweet remembrance - "Oh, Daddy got remarried. She was a nice lady." Mr. H celebrated his 87th birthday last week.

The temperature in the room was sweltering with the help of a space heater placed near the couch. Mr. H sat in his auto-lift chair hooked up to his newly acquired oxygen machine. Over the past few weeks he's undergone surgery for a blocked artery in his neck. His wife "E" is confined to her recliner, yet over the past few weeks, she's taken back the task of meal preparation in their country home. They do have the luxury of a Home Health Aide who comes 5 days a week to help with the daily tasks of bathing and light cleaning of their home. But in times like last week's deep freeze, they're grateful for the neighbors who come to help. "Oh, we can always count on Rick who's there for us 24/7" Mr. H says, delighted to use his up-to-date lingo. "And we're so grateful to folks like your Mom who's such a good friend to us."

For two people who are homebound - they are the most positive, upbeat people I've run across in months. They attribute everything to "God's good grace" and are grateful for every day they have on this planet. Although their view of the world has now been reduced to the landscape they can see through the glass storm door on the front room where we sit, they thank God for all their blessings in this life.

We compared the ages of the folks in the room, my Auntie L taking the lead in years being about to turn 91 this April. Mr. H followed with a close second - but his long-time wife "E" will surpass him in a few weeks when she turns 88. The baby in the room is my Mother who, at 85, is the youngest, not counting me.

When the conversation lagged for a moment, I thought it was a good time to introduce them all to the new technology I carried in my purse, a Smart Phone.  Although I'm an amateur at using it, they were absolutely amazed when I pulled up a Google Map and it showed an arial view of our exact location, the curve of the street and the little brown house where we sat.  I used my index finger to scroll over a couple of streets to show them my house - the garage where our red truck could be seen and the white Blazer I recently traded in was visible in our driveway.

I'll never forget the emphatic "Amazing - absolutely Amazing" words he used to describe this new phenomenon - a 4G phone. They'd never seen anything like it. His ebulient smile and enthusiasm was absolutely Amazing to me. What a long way we've come in this world we live in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wintry Conditions in the Dallas Metroplex

Our venture out yesterday after being cooped up for five days of below freezing weather was a much needed change of view. Here's what the local grocery store looked like on the Saturday before SuperBowl XLV.

The WalMart in Wylie TX was not the usual landscape for Texas.



And our driveway. . . . (what driveway?)


And Love Field where Southwest Airlines completely closed down after 6" of snow fell on a thick sheet of ice that dropped in on Tuesday and hung around all week.

A picture from the TV NBCDFW Channel 5 broadcast last week.  Most of the schools were closed during the week due to hazardous road conditions.

It was pretty if you didn't have to drive in it.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday and the temperature has reached 46 degrees. Snow is beginning to disappear and the icicles are plummeting to the slushy ground. Finally . . . and just in time.

Workers' Comp - The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies

Workers' Comp - The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Put another log on the fire . . .

Record low temperatures that haven't been felt in fifteen years here in Texas have inspired me to fire up the old Englander Wood Burning Stove.  It served us well in the early years before we had central air conditioning and heat. This morning, our HVAC unit was set for 74 degrees but was struggling to keep the inside temp above 68. That's a wee bit chilly for these bones.

We're in the midst of a winter storm that shut down the schools and many of the businesses across the metroplex yesterday and today. The Arctic Blast has brought on power outages to homes and buildings. Streets have become a major hazzard to most Texans who are unprepared to drive on the ice. Even seasoned truckers lost it yesterday driving on roads that resembled glaciers from the Ice Age.

Dallas Texas - Hazardous road conditions
It was a great day to stay home and make a big cauldron of steaming hot Chicken and Barley soup a recipe that required only the basic ingredients I generally keep on hand. The soup turned out quite good for my first venture into the Barley food group. So we're having it for lunch again today. Soup really is good food.

We're grateful that our power remains on, unlike the thousands of folks who've lost power in the worst storm of the decade.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February whooshes in with another Arctic Blast

We could hear the tap tap tap of little ice granules when it began late last evening, ushering in the full force of another winter storm. By the time the alarm went off there was a visible layer of tiny white pebbles covering both the front and back porch. The dogs, who got up at 3am to make their rounds, were fascinated by their water dish which has frozen into a giant slushie.  It was just two days ago we were enjoying a brief sunny break in the winter temperatures with a pleasant 70 degrees. Today the mercury has remained fixed at 20 degrees.

Most of the Dallas Schools are closed along with countless businesses as the ice settled on many of the overpasses and streets faster than the sand trucks can keep up. At the last report, there were 15 tractor trailer rigs involved in a series of accidents after jack knifing and sliding into one another and any neighboring cars. It's a great day for reading, writing and enjoying a nice cup of tea.
Hubby has ventured out in the mess to keep an appointment with the Pain Management Doctor, another new one. This guy has actually prescribed something to reduce the muscle contractions that accompany pathology at four levels of the lower back. Thank goodness for the little things that keep him going.

Workers 'Comp -The Little Guy vs The Big Insurance Companies
Here is the latest in the continuing saga of his battle with Workers' Comp. We had the Contested Case Hearing last Friday and are waiting to hear what the Judge's decision will be.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday, January 13

The Arctic blast continues here in Texas with temperatures hovering below freezing. Most of the snow has melted with the exception of the pile on the hood of my car. Yesterday was beautifully sunny, reflecting a blinding white across the stretches of snow remaining on the ground.

After it warms up some I'm headed to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up some much needed supplies.  When compared with the weather in the north east, we've got it made here. The streets are clear and dry and traffic moves in its normal sluggish fashion.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Post of 2011 - Winter has come to Texas

Nearly 7 inches of snow fell Sunday-Monday in NE TX
Wednesday January 12, 2011. Still it's strange writing the year and saying twenty-eleven. Saying nineteen something seems such a short time ago, as does Y2K (year two thousand) which had everyone so freaked out. Time marches on.

Starting off the new year differently . . . on a caregiver level. Finally I've found a service that will come all the way out where we live (I called over a dozen companies) and provide housekeeping services for Mom and her sister! Hooray! So starting next week they will have a team of two persons who will clean their house on a bi-weekly basis. They'll mop floors, vacuum, scrub sinks and toilets, change the linens, dust from ceiling to baseboards. There will still be plenty to do keeping the ladies active, happy to be living in their own place with their own bathrooms and privacy. Quite a feat for 85 and 90 year olds.