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The BOMB

Welcome to the BOMB.



The Blog Of the "Mother" of Bandit.
Bandit is my Hairless Chinese Crested--he's the "normal" one. I, on the other hand, am unrepentantly "pet-crazy." You know the type--the spinster who lives in the haunted house three blocks over with 72 cats...okay, so I don't have 72 cats, and my house isn't haunted--but my dogs wardrobe is better than mine! Need I say more? :~)
I've never been consistant at journaling, so the timing of my blogs will be sporadic at best. I just hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me; however, be forewarned: Most of my blogs will be about The BaldOne. In spite of his Don King "do," I think he's just as cute as any of the Brothers B!
Now, if I can just remember not to get him wet--or feed him after midnight...

About Me

My photo
My bags are packed and I'm always ready to seek out an adventure with Bandit and Moggy in tow. Bandit is my ten year old Chinese Crested, who I frequently call The Bald One or The BaldOne Boy (like he was one of the Baldwin Brothers). Moggy’s full name is Pip-Moggy. He’s my gansta-resuce kitty. I couldn’t decide between Pip (which are the spots on die and domino tiles) and Moggy (or Moggie when I mistakenly thought he was a she), so I combined the two. Moggy refers to the British term for "cat of unknown parentage .” So in essence, I have an almost bald dog, and I’ve named my cat “Spot.”

Fun Stuff (I'm doing now or have done)

  • Artistic Attempts weekly (alternating between Painting With A Twist, That Art Place, and Peniot's Palette).
  • Bunko with the Belton Bunko Babes monthly.
  • Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
  • Spades and Liverpool Rummy with the Spadetts weekly.
  • The Mighty Texas Dog Walk, Austin (fund raiser for Service Dogs, Inc--they train shelter dogs to be Service Dogs, then give them free of charge to people with disabilities.)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strays

I haven't had any escapees at the laundromat in a while, so I was rather amused and somewhat baffled when a singleton sock, in a brand I usually don't purchase, started hanging out with my clothes.  I always assumed it was me that attracted strays. Maybe it's not me after all--maybe it's my clothes.  Or the Color Catcher. (I love that stuff!)

Nah, after mulling it over I've come to the conclusion  it's me.  This escapee must have chatted up my spoiled boys.  And he agrees with the word on the street:  Life is good at Mary Lou's Zoo.

It's a pretty sure bet he's not heard, or at least not believed, those nasty rumors out there...

Like my habbit of alternately drowning and dehydrating my plants. Okay, so technically that's  more truth than rumor. 

I don't think he's heard the annoying  fire drill that takes place each time I cook either.   Maybe that's  not really a rumor either since it's more of an occurance.  BTW, is it really necessary for the batteries to self-test  each and every time I turn on the stove? 

Of course, it's not all bad, the battery self-testing has introduced me to some very nice Firemen.  And the Firemen  have taken a really cute photo with Bandit. 

Several times.

Now if only a stray winning Lottery Ticket would find it's way to The Zoo....

Friday, April 28, 2017

Moggy's Midnight Madness

Okay, it wasn't really midnight--I just like alliteration.  It was actually just shy of  1:30am when I wittnessed Moggy go into Territory Protection Mode. I attempted to call Moggy off before he engaged The Other Cat, who was  slinking toward us from shadows edge; however, Moggy had ideas of his own.

Imagine my surprise at finding  a cat with independent thought ignoring me. 😉

Moggy dropped into prey mode and ran  to meet TOC, but rather than fully engaging him in the claw-de-tooth cat fight I feared, (the type cat fight from which he has previously drug himself home a little worse for wear),  he abruptly stopped and sat in full attention:  ears forward, body sitting tall and rigid, and he gave TOC the  same intense stare with which he has awoken me on several occassions.

TOC fled.

Moggy ceremoniously dusted his font paws, clenched his dominate paw, and raising it high into the cool night air, shouted, "Good riddance to ya! And don't be comin' back 'round here--your kind aint welcome!!"

Okay...So it didn't go down exatly like that...but it was the cat equivalent:  Moggy held his statute imitation a few heartbeats, then stood, nonchalantly turned his back on TOC, and strutted to the front door, tail standing straight up, with just the slighest tail-tip twitch. The Tail Twitch is Moggy's tell. He was well pleased with himself and feeling good.

Moggy met me at the front door, I praised him and thanked him for his protection, and invited him inside. He, of course, ignored my invitation to enter. Actually, he attempted to engage me in one of his favorite games:  lets see how many times the human will attemp to get me inside before she finally closes the door. Three is usually my limit.  Last night, I cut the game short and closed the door after the second invite.

I barely had the front door locked before Moggy was bumping the back door wanting to come inside. I get it--he had to do a final perimeter  security sweep ensuring the safety of his Family before he could come inside and go to bed. 

Yeah, or maybe he's a strong-willed, independent cat,  who ensured his person opened the door the third time.  Who says it has to be the same door? 

Score one for Moggy.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Thanks for the Reminder Elvis..."It's Now or Never"

Lately there have been far too many deaths in my circle of family, friends, and FB Friends:  my Aunt Margie, my Aunt Gwen (a little bit farther back), Betsy's Mom, Curtis' Dad, Rhonda's MIL, a Choir Member, multiple  Church Members,  HS classmate Tim, other classmates relatives: a Brother,  a BIL, another Mom, another Dad; people I work with now (and at former facilities): a Coworker, a Coworkers Wife, a dear Veteran who was also my favorite WalMart Greeter, (I know I'm not recalling all who have died within the past 2-3 weeks)...and the list goes on... 

For several I had just recalled a funny or sweet memory, and thought I need to touch base with them--just see how they are doing and let them know I'm thinking of them. 
In a couple instances I actually called or sent a card.  I'm so thankful I did.  It took all of 20 minutes to pick up a card, jot down a memory or two, and run it by the post office. I had to be in all those places anyway, so it wasn't even an inconvenience.

But in far too many other instances I waited too late, thinking, "I'll do it later..."
Tell someone you love them today. Don't love them?  Share a funny memory.  Don't have any memories? Ask how they are doing--and really mean it--and be prepared to rejoice with them and their good fortune, commiserate with them in their despair, or just acknowledge their presence. 

There may not be a later.

In fact, live your life as if your life  were the title of a song...don't hold back, don't forget to reach out and just say "hey" to an old friend, help a new coworker, or just smile at a stranger you pass on the street...live your life as if  "It's Now or Never."

(I hope the link below works--it's for Elvis Presley's version of "It's Now or Never.")

https://youtu.be/QkMVscR5YOo

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ping Pong Ball Collecting: Funny or Futile?

I recently viewed a short 20-second video on line that gave me pause.  At first glance it's a funny little short with a toddler gathering ping-pong balls and placing them in his cup with his chubby little hand.  Each time he bends to retrieve a ball, another ball he has previously placed in the cup falls out, hits his shoe and rolls away.  He toddles to the fallen ball, bends to capture it and out pops another ball. This repeats a couple times until,  becoming frustrated, he throws a temper tantrum and  tosses the cup and all of the balls onto the deck. Someone titled it, "My life summed up in 20-seconds." 

What I started watching as a funny little snippet turned quickly into a statement of futility as my initial uplifting thought of "always chasing the dream," was quickly replaced with darker thoughts of, "No matter how hard I try, I can never get ahead,"  "Nothing I do is ever good enough," and, "One step forward, two steps back."

Then I wondered why  the adult was videotaping the toddler rather than teaching him to put the cup on the deck and bring the balls to it. Or cover the opening with his hand when he bent over. Or trying any number of possible solutions to his delemia. Why didn't they teach him to think outside the box--or in this case, the cup? 


Surely this video has some redeeming quality.  Of course it does.  It actually has several truths for me hidden in it.  So what can I take away from this video?  At least four lessons (and that's with little or no analysis).

First, sometimes clutching the dream too tightly can kill it--sometimes you have to put the cup  down in order to capture, and hang on to whatever you are seeking--whether it be a dream, a prize, a goal, or a ping-pong ball.   It may seem like you are giving up, when in fact you are merely regrouping.

Second, throwing a tantrum and giving up because achieving the dream takes dillegent effort, is never going to make you successful.  Success always takes a lot of hard work.  And there almost always will be what appear to be failures or setbacks along the way. The only times you actually fail are when you allow the frustrations and failures to define you--or you  give up and just don't try.

Third, if you see, or know, a better, or different, way to do something, and it causes no harm, by all means try it--or help someone else try it.  You might actually find the solution--or lessen someone else's frustration level.

Finally, surround yourself with dreamers, cheerleaders, teachers, and inventors-people who will encourage you, uplift you,  and open your eyes to new possibilities--avoid people who videotape your frustrations  and failures just so they can post it online or enter it in a contest.

And a bonus:  don't play with ping-pong balls if there's a camera or smartphone around--unless of course you are Yan Weihao, Ping Pong World Champion (2017).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Using the Crook as an Unexpected Snare

Recently my five-year old neighbor came to greet me as I returned home.  He carried a ball in his hands and, as will happen with those learning the finer art of coordination, it escaped him.   As the ball rolled under my SUV, my neighbor started to clamber under, then realized the ball was outside his grasp, and he would not be engaging in a safe practice.   He spied my cane and asked to borrow it. I gave him my cane,  thinking he would turn it around and use the handle as a crook to snare the ball. 

This being his first attempt at retreiving a ball from beneath an SUV, he did not think the same way.  He preceeded to hold the handle and point the end under the vehicle. As he swiped the ball it drifted further under the SUV and ultimately became wedged.

Before I could say, "lets turn the cane  around and use the handle to snare it," his father joined us and took over--except, he held the cane by the handle as well.

Not wanting to correct or critique the father in the son's presence, I smiled and silently thought to myself, "Like father, like son." 

He tried a couple times.  Each time the cane tipped the ball, it rolled further away. Finally, on his last attempt, the father shifted his angle and successfully retrieved the ball, in part due to his longer reach, and in part due to the new angle.

I wonder how much easier would the task have been, if he had simply used the cane in an unexpected way? 

More importantly, how often do I use the tools at my disposal in the same timewarn way?  When was the last time I approached a problem with fresh ideas?

How long has it been since I used the crook to unexpectedly accomplish my goal?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Might Be a Jane Austen Novel

OMGosh. Not only am I currently IN a Jane Austen novel...I think I most likely AM one! 

For instance...
I am usually the one trying to persuade others to go on a trip. I don't think I'm disagreeable--although I do like to stir things up by playing devils advocate from time to time.

I usually like playing cards (or board games), but again, I am not disagreeable. Some who have played with me, and have seen my competitive nature might not agree.  However, they're wrong.

Someone I know has fallen ill--not dramatically so, but interestingly so.

I don't think the  piano player hates me, but I know she's no longer my friend.

All of my dresses ARE nightgowns.

I once took a walk with a cad.

Everyone, girls and boys alike, tell me their secrets. But I don't despise them for it. Unless they tell me they are secretly rich, skinny, and beautiful blonde bombshells. But I still don't despise them. I just plot their next accident....

My Mother is neither dead nor ridiculous; however, I do have numerous females who treat me like a daughter. (Thanks Moms!)

My Father was in Finance in the Air Force--he made sure everyone got paid--so he was very popular.  He was very good with numbers and was chagrined when I told him I no longer balance my checkbook. I do closely monitor my accounts online--much closer than I did when I actually wrote checks and balanced my checkbook.

I once fell off a cliff at a picnic--does it still count as something gone  horribly wrong if I only sustained scratches and missed out on the rest of the afternoons activities?

I don't dance publicly. The resentment would be directed at me--actually, I think it would be ridicule.

Would the military commander with no morals be the same as a non-military leader or authority figure without character? Those seem to abound all around me.

I am the woman with the absurd hat. It was actually a gift. I'm not really a hat person--although I would like to be. If I didn't have to get all dressed up to be able  to pull off the look.

My surviving garden and house plants, are astonished they are still alive so I guess my garden IS an astonishment--to my plants, my friends and neighbors, and especially the plants I apologize to when I bring them home.  I tell them they were picked because they looked strong, and if they survive me and the winter, I'll pot them. 

Three men in my life?  I've got only two.   Alas, neither Bandit nor Moggy are marriage material.

If a charming single man attempted to flirt with me it WOULD be terrible. Especially if he were also handsome, sexy, rich, and emotionally ready and able to sustain an adult relationship.  In fact, it would be so terrible  I'm not sure I could handle the terribleness of it....however, in the spirit of Jane Austen, I'm not going to take the easy way out and forgo the testing, so try me! ;~)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"How Many Boobs Do You Have?"

My Supervisor sent out an email reminding us to place our upcoming leave requests because she wanted to work on the schedule. I had already placed about half of my  sick leave requests for the "Prehab" I'm doing in preparation for knee replacement surgery I hope takes place in late summer. So I finished placing the rest, and added the other appointments listed on my latest appointment printout from the hospital:  a mammogram, a couple of iron infusions, labs and follow-up appointments with my Hematologist and Primary Care Physician, etc.  If I could have remembered my Dental appointment I would have entered it as well.  

All-in-all, I entered about 20 requests.  I also threw in a one-day  annual leave request for the Friday before my 40th High School Reunion.

I've made the drive to Northwest Florida and back to Central Texas in just a weekend, but it does make for a tiring 2-day trip. Besides, I wanted to attend the Friday night mixer if possible.

A little while later, my Supervisor called me and she started off the conversation by saying, "I have to ask a delicate question. Please take this in the spirit in which it's meant." 

Right away I knew I'd done something wrong.  I'm kinda quick like that.

"Okay," says I, after first taking a calming breath and counting to ten.

"How many boobs do you have?" She chortled and barely managed to ask.

Immediately I realized what I'd done. I'm smart like that. "Did I place two requests for mamos?" I giggled.

"Yep," She snorted. We are both Registered Nurses with somewhat twisted and bawdy senses of humor.

"Well, I have two boobs of course--so naturally I placed one mamo for each boob."

We were both dying laughing, which of course only encouraged me to continue in fairly close succession:  

"And as a Nurse, I am a strong advocate for the smashing of the mammies."

Her laughter spurred me to add,  "Besides, I'm a glutton for punishment."

And, remembering my one day annual leave request I had tossed into the mix,  I  ended with, "We're so short-staffed I'll do anything for some time off!"

To which she replied, "I think we can come up with something a little bit less painful."   Dare I hope she would grant the annual leave request?

It's only a day; however, it's during a 2-week leave of another coworker, and our policy only allows for one of the Patient Care Coordinators (PCCs) to be off at a time. Of course, we've been working 2 PCCs  short for the past 9 months (and we never filled the vacancy that would have kept us at 7 several years ago), so we've had many a time when only 3  PCCs provided coverage during the week. As well as several times when there were only 2 PCCs. And of course there is only one PCC on the weekend, every weekend.  Friday is also an extremely busy day--even when we are fully staffed. I knew when I placed it, my request was a long shot.

She later told me while she is unable to grant the annual leave request at this time, she'd review it again closer to the date, and see if the new girl was up and running by then.

If not, I may have to reschedule that second mamo after all--and take the whole day for "recovery" time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Falling Asleep at the Dinning Room Table

I left work half an hour late tonight-that's almost early for me--the new PCC (Patient Care Coordinator) is supposed to start next month--almost a year after the two PCCs retired--and the second position is posted. Again. We are all tired and I'm cranky. Covering my ward, plus part of ICU--plus part of a third ward (when someone is out, as has been the case this week--and almost every week, for forever), and covering weekends and holidays  is getting really old (especially when the admissions to my ward alone already account for 38-40% of the total hospital admissions).

When I arrived home, I loaded up the clothes hamper and Bandit and set off  for the laundry. I prefer the laundromat because I can do a mountain of clothes(6-8 loads)  in 3 hours. Tonight I only did a single load, so we were there less than an hour. Bandit and I listened to one of my library audio books while I waited until I could fold.  I ended up only having one disc left, so then we drove around in the general direction of the library, until we finished the disc and I returned the audio book.

It was after 10pm when we finally arrived home.  Moggy was waiting impatiently for us on the carport.  He readily came inside for his dinner and didn't even try to go back outside when Bandit went for his bedtime potty break.  If you read this mornings FB post, you'll recall he was a headstrong, unherdable cat who ended up staying outside when I left for work.  I guess he decided inside wasn't so bad after all.

I made a quick dinner, followed by falling asleep--AT the table--usually, I can at least hold out until I get to my recliner for book reading wind down time, before I actually crawl into bed. Not tonight. I slept, sitting upright, at the table until 2am.  Did I mention  I am past tired?

When I awoke from my 3-hour upright snooze, a quick trip was required, so I popped into the guest bath--I needed to replace the empty TP roll anyway. The door opens onto the hall and dinning area--I spied Bandit curled up in my clean clothes, and Moggy sprawled out on my chair.

I guess I'm not the only one tired at our house.  😴😴😴

Now that I've got my second wind, I need to clean off the table, clean up the  kitchen, and put away my clean-now-Bandit-smelling clothes. And go to bed for some real sleep. Or, I might just go to bed and deal with everything tomorrow. 😉

The best news I received today was actually threefold:
  1)   The article I submitted about a hard case my Social Worker and I handled recently was accepted for publishing on a nationwide VA website, and is in the running for inclusion in the eLetter that is sent out to everyone.
  2)    The mock-Joint Commission survey we just had, loved our care plans, so we continue to remain on track. Twelve years ago our PCC position was created in large part as a response to less than favorable reviews of VA Nursing  care plans. Over the years, our responsibilities have grown to include much more than merely documenting the care plan, but it's still our major focus.
  3)  Rumor has it Joint Commission is currently at a local hospital.  Since they tend to hit several in a row, and since we are currently "in the window" for our next due survey, we may actually have a real survey within the month.  This is good news because then it will be another 3 years before we are due again.  I'm too outspoken  (and tired) to be intimidated by people evaluating my performance. I've always said, I'm going to do my job as well as I can. If I'm doing something wrong, or subpar, tell me and I'll fix it. Until I hear otherwise, I'm gonna keep on doing it my way. So far, although I'm FAR FROM PERFECT, in my 27 years being an RN,  I've been able to answer all  questions they've asked to their satisfaction.

The bonus feelgood moment came today when an administrator passed my Supervisors office while we were talking. He saw her sign that says, "Adopt the Paulette Stance," and asked about its meaning. Paulette  is our Service Chief. I popped up and said it means to be strong and independent. My Supervisor added, "Don't take 'No' for an answer, especially when it's clearly the wrong answer."  He looked at the two of us and said neither one of us failed to be assertive.  Funny thing is, he's only observed my ID Meeting with staff and the Providers  once, and he's only been attending the Bed Huddle we have every morning with the Chief of Staff and sometimes Director for a week or so.  Because our new Director has only been here less than a couple of weeks, I've actually been on pretty good behavior. For me.  I guess my reputation precedes me:  Have Oppinion--Will Share.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Prehab

I started my Prehab today. Yep. Prehab. It's not a typo-even though the 'droid keeps trying to correct it. 

Last month my PCP (Primary Care Physician) and I had a heart-to-heart about my knees.  The steroid injections are no longer giving me any relief, so it's time to consider replacement.  We updated the knee x-rays and  when he reviewed my x-rays, he could see I'm not faking the pain--2 years ago, I still had some space with just a little bone-on bone action.   Now, I have no space--both knees are bone-on bone all the way across, AND I have bone spurs on the outer aspects of my knees. 

We talked about options, prayed about it, and he referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon. He also cautioned me that the Surgeon  would probably encourage me to lose some of the weight I've put back on the past couple of years. I expected that, so I started back on healthier eating practices that very day: high fiber/high protein, low carbs (my downfall), and portion control.

By the time I saw the Orthopedic Surgeon a couple of weeks later, I had dropped 6 pounds. Even without being able to exercise. The Surgeon was encouraged that I'm taking this seriously and started eating healthier before I came to him, but he still wants me to lose 50 pounds (I was kind of hoping for 25 🙄). And he likes that I'm doing LifeStyle Changes rather than fad dieting. 

LifeStyle Changes are really the only thing that works over the long haul. It comes off slower, so it takes longer--but it's healthier and ultimately you're more successful in keeping it off. 

He also wants me to do Physical Therapy prior to surgery to strengthen my knees and get the edema (swelling) under control.   So today I had my initial PT evaluation.

My therapist gave me some home exercises (stretching exercises done on my back and side, so they are no impact).  They are the kinds of things I'll be doing during my post-surgery Rehab as well.  She also taped up my knees with some blue stretchy tape for some added support and stability. I wear the tape 3-5 days, the remove it and give my skin a 24 hour rest period, and then reapply new tape.  The tape makes quite the fashion statement. Luckily I don't wear light-colored pants to work.  We also set up additional Prehab sessions--which I'll be doing for the next 6-weeks--hence the "pre" rather than "re." And I'm back to support stockings to improve the circulation.

If all goes according to plan, the next time I see my Orthopedic Surgeon, I'll be 50 pounds lighter, we'll be able to see my ankles once again, and my knees will be stronger.  Then we will schedule surgery, and I'll get new knees sometime late summer.

So there you have it: healthy lifestyle choices+Prehab with support hose and blue tape+surgically enhanced new knees+Rehab=increased mobility and (eventually) reduced pain.

That's the plan. I'm off to Prehab now.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Little Scale Humor

A week or so ago I weighed both at work and the doctors office. The scale at work said I lost 6 pounds. I like that scale. 

So a couple of days later I weighed again and the darn thing said I had gained two pounds.  I thought it was defective. Or possessed. I talked bad about that scale the rest of the day.

Today, I saw three scales in one of the store rooms.  I decided to check my theory that one (or more) are not calibrated correctly.  Or they are  possessed.

I made sure they were all zero before I checked my weight on all three, one after the other--so there could be no weight gain between weighings.

The first scale IS possessed. It gave me the same weight that it gave me last week. I dislike the first scale--yes, I know, I liked this scale last week, but I don't like it anymore.  The only scale I dislike more is the scale at my doctors office--that evil one that weighed me as 6 pounds more than this one. The scale at the doctors office is WORSE than possessed--the doctors scale is the spawn of you-know-who.

But back to todays experiment: the last scale read my weight as a pound lighter.  I always liked that scale.  It is a fair and just scale.  A little slow on the uptake sometimes, but it's heart is in the right place. It makes me happy.

But my favorite scale was the scale in the middle. It told me what I wanted to hear--that I lost two pounds. Obviously it was the smartest, most awesomely correct scale. It is the scale that makes me happiest.  I think I will mark this scale so I always use it.

For consistancy of course.

Okay, so that was a little "light"-hearted tongue-in-cheek humor; but, it points to a couple of "heavy" truths:  First, Truth doesn't change. It may appear to change, depending on what it's measured by, but when it's all said and done, truth is still truth.  Second, just because I'm told what I want to hear doesn't mean it's True.

My weight did not fluctuate by two pounds in the span of  a minute. The only thing that changed was the measuring tool I used.

It's imperative that we acurately measure ourselves by the same perfect standard every time.  Otherwise we'll always be a little off. 

And the scales that weighed me heavier aren't really possessed. 

They're just misguided.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Comfortable Voyeur

You'd think I'd be used to the voyeuristic tendencies of my FurKids by now.  After all, every pet I've ever had has felt it their duty to accompany me to the  bathroom and watch as I do my duty.

Tonight Moggy reclined in the hallway just outside the bathroom and groomed himself while watching me. No surprise there.

Bandit, on the other paw, has taken his voyeurism to a new height.  He grabbed ahold of the robe I left on the sofa, tugged it through the livingroom,  down the hall,  and stopped with it in front of the bathroom. He then scrunched it up to make it fluffier before he plopped down it. 

Bandit:  the Comfortable Voyeur.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Moggy: HelperKitty

Some days I think Bandit is dumber than a post.  He is so clueless and unassuming when it comes to his brother-by-another-mother, Moggy (aka The Cat). It always floors Bandit when Moggy picks on him.  And yet he continues to trust Moggy, and attempt to engage him in playtime.

You would think that Moggy, a rescue, would be appreciative of a warm, soft bed, access to plenty of fresh water, boutique catfood, enough toys to decorate a master suite,  and free Healthcare. If he is appreciative, he has an odd way of demonstrating it: he glares, alternates between tripping me up and lying down exactly where I need to stand (like when washing dishes or brushing my teeth--it's not like I can move the sink to accommodate him), and giving little love nips--okay, the love nips could actually be his version of yanking on my pigtails as a little boy way of showing affection; however, the bopping on the head is not. Especially when he draws blood.

Tonight I was in the guest bathroom and Bandit sought me out. Heaven forbid I do something without him. So he comes in for a scratch and a snuggle, and I ask him, "Where's your baby?" When he hears that phrase he will perk up and go find his favorite toy of the day, always passing up the other toys.

Upon finding his baby of the day, he will perform the death shake and, if he's not previously performed a successful squeaky-ectomy, he will give the squeaker a couple of chews, before bringing his baby to just outside my arms length.  It's his sadistic version of "fetchless fetch."

Tonight was no exception. But after he came in for the snuggle, then went in search of his baby, Moggy sauntered around the corner and without warning or provocation bopped Bandit on the top of the head three times successively. This is new.  He normally only goes for the singular head bop.

The look of hurt and bewilderment that overcame Bandit was heartbreaking.  It was as if I could read his mind, "All I wanted was to go get my baby--why did he bop me?!"

Scooping Bandit up, I  loved on him a little extra, and patted his  head softly while seriptiously checking for blood. Moggy sometimes bops with unfurled claws.

I reminded Bandit he has permission to defend himself against The Cat. And I scolded Moggy for being ungrateful and picking fights. I told him he needs to love his brother and get along with him, because hes the only brother hes got. Moggy glared. Then he blinked and he almost looked chagrined.

Almost.

I decided  to take Bandit with me to Austin on a Marketplace buying run. The Marketplace is addictive. I never knew all the stuff other people were selling that I needed. Anyway, a little time apart might be just what the boys needed.

When we arrived back home, Moggy ran to greet us and was actually civil. Then I went into the master bath. 

Moggy has taken to  turning his nose up at the chicken selection of the variety catfood pack, so when I saw the toilet paper up and over the cabinet in order to lie on the food dish, I thought Moggy was sending a stronger message than his usual patented show of disdain: the loud sniff,  followed closely by the nose in the air, and saunter away.

But then I realized two things: first, his food bowl was empty. And second, the TP was not shredded, nor was it wadded--it was neatly folded. Not only that, it was not covering his now empty food dish--it was actually on the cabinet edge I use to hoist myself up when the knees are bothering me.

Finally, it dawned on me--Moggy was trying to make amends by being a HelperKitty--he had neatly folded the TP  and readied it for Mommies next use!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tarnished and Character-Laden

Lately I've been enamored by all things tarnished and character-laden.

When they introduced The Marketplace, FB actually did something right.  At first, I was angry because I didn't know why, all of a sudden, I was seeing all these garage sale type posts. I am a member of a local hometown online garage sale page; however, I signed up for it--it was not foisted on me. Not so with the Marketplace.  I asked where all these new posts were coming from and no one knew.  The response was always one of two: "So-and-so signed me up."  Or, "I don't know--they just started showing up on my phone." Well, I didn't know So-and-so. I began to wonder if FB was behind this, or if the 'droid had hijacked me.  After a decade or so of iPhone use, I'm still trying to assimilate to the 'droids  way of thinking and doing.  Thus far, it has been neither a pretty nor an easy transition.

After I got over being angry at this intrusion, I started noticing the really great deals to be had. And how rapidly they could be lost if I hesitated on making an offer.  But more than the deals, I was stunned at how quickly people are to discard perfectly usable stuff.  Especially if it was a little bit tarnished.

This month, within 24 hours I scored an antique typwriter, copper singing tea kettle, tulip light, and silverplated chaffing stand--all for pennies on the dollar.  Last month I scored dinning room chairs from the historic Stagecoach Inn, and bookshelves that were delivered to me.  Each peice is dirty, tarnished, slightly mared, or missing something easily replaced.

Take the tulip lamp. It's missing a single bulb cover. The five present are presentable and functional--the color is an okay amber; however, when lit up, it is stunning. But because I would have to replace a cover (unless I kept it facing the wall where its absence went unnoticed), I stole this georgous lamp for a song. On looking for replacement bulb covers I found beautiful covers that I fell on love with for $20 each. I normally would never think of buying $120 worth of covers.  But then I saw how it would transform my $35 lamp into something that replicated a stunning $560 lamp.  I may talk myself into splurging and buying six covers after all.

The chafing stand is pretty useless without the dish that goes with it, but I wanted to try a chemistry experiment for removing tarnish from silver (or in this case silverplate) before I tried it on a tea  and  coffee service I have. For $5 I couldn't go wrong. The experiment was a success. Most of the tarnish was removed with a simple soak in a receptacle lined with tinfoil, filled with boiling water, to which I added baking soda.  Plus, I had a nice cup of tea while the tarnish soaked away--maybe not all of the tarnish--a small amount remains in the cracks and crevices.  If I felt so inclined I could easily buff out the remaining tarnish. But I like the  look.  I think it adds character and definition.  So I'm leaving it.  It's going to make a pretty display.  I'm thinking a glass ball or flower pom-pom.

The typewriter is far from usable, but that's perfect since I'm a frustrated wannabe writer. I envision it displayed in all its patina-laden glory, sans the dust layer, on an  antique desk with first pages of famous novels crumpled and strewn around it.

The initial cleaning of the copper tea kettle has proven slightly problematic.  The lemon sliced in half, dipped in salt, and rubbed on the kettle, shined up the top beautifully--except for a dime-sized spot; however, the rest of the kettle is much more tarnished.  I may have to move on to another tarnish removal method. Also, it no longer sings.  This is less of a problem than you would think in the Age of YouTube.  I found a video that describes how to adjust the kettle, so I'll see if that does the trick. Retail this singing copper tea kettle sells for $160.  I paid $5. Even tarnished and mute, it makes a nice cup of tea.

As for the shelves, I noticed a couple of places that need to be touched up. Again, an easy fix.  And the dinning room chairs? At first I wanted to stain them a darker color and reupholster the seats, but then I decided I will just freshen them up with a deep cleaning.  Like the tarnish on the chaffing stand and copper tea kettle, I like their character as they are.

I'm not sure, but this new-found interest in patina-laden objects may be due to my own brush with personal patina.  Or, perhaps character speaks to me because I am one.

Patina? Character? Moi?

You betcha!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Independent Moggy

Moggy went out today and decided to stay out while Bandit and I went to PetCo.  I attempted to entice him with canned cat food--the sound of the popping top usually gets him running toward me. It didn't even phase him. Perhaps because the neighbors dog was raising a ruckus. I think Moggy was  rather enjoying antagonizing a new dog.

Bandit and I  stayed out several hours. When we returned I half expected Moggy to come running up to the SUV as he has in the past. I was saddened and a little hurt when he did not. And then I grew concerned that  something bad might have happened to him. Perhaps the neighbors dog had gotten loose...

Opening the front door I heard a frantic scratching at the back, and my fear intensified. Something might be chasing him.  I hurriedly wrenched open the door, and  Moggy shot inside like a rocket. I was surprised to find it was only him, and not a demon dog hot on his trail. 

Once safely inside, Moggy strutted into the bathroom, sniffed at the food bribe, turned his nose up and sauntered away--only to return a few minutes later to gobble it up. After doing his duty and cleaning up, he hopped into his newest lounge--my nightstand.

I suppose now he'll want a pillow and cushion to be installed in it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Live Life Inspired

I have amazing friends. One, a Veteran-Teacher-Registered Nurse-Artist, posted a request for her friends to post their sixth most recent photo. So I did. 
My 'droid photo view is currently set in gallery mode, so I looked at the sixth photo to the right.  It was a photo of an old typewriter I recently purchased.  I have not found a suitable table or desk on which to display it, and I have not even cleaned it up (the dust is thick). It's currently sitting on a dinning room chair. The chair was from the historic Stagecoach Inn of Salado. Behind the typewriter,  the first  (and only) pastel I've done leans against the back of the chair. My pastel is supposed to resemble Georgia O'Keefe's Magnolia.
Then I decided to look at the sixth photo swiping down on the left corner.  There I found a photo of a Dollar Tree puzzle that you color once assembled. It's put together, but only partially colored.  From time to time I add a little color.
Upon seeing these photos, my first thought was: I live an artistically inspired life.
My second thought, close on its heels, was:  My life is like my projects, it's a journey in progress.
But then, self-doubt and negativity reared their ugly heads, and they said: you don't finish anything.
I had a decision. A choice must be made.  I could listen to them, the doubting nay-sayers, or I could choose to go with my positive first two thoughts.
And then I was reminded that daily we have the opportunity to choose to be positive. Some days it's harder than others.  Some days the silver lining is thin and elusive. Some days you have to hunt for anything good. I chose to go with my gut instincts which were positive.
Just for grins I looked at the very last photo I took.  Peppered in the gallery are photos of Bandit and Moggy, selfies, and friends and family.   But the very last photo I took, was of another project--it's a silver-plated chaffing stand that is sorely tarnished.
Frankly, I love the tarnish, but I wanted to try a bit of  chemistry I recalled about any easy way to remove tarnish: lining some sort of receptacle with tinfoil, adding baking soda and boiling water, then submerging the tarnished object.  So I prepared to submerge the stand.  And, since I had the tea kettle on, I made a cup of tea.
The results were truely amazing. Not all of the tarnish has disappeared--but the majority has. With just a simple soak. While I sipped my tea.
Again, this project is incomplete. But it's a process, a journey that mirrors my life.  I'll choose two positives over the negative any day. Every day. 
My life may appear incomplete, but in reality, it is a journey. Some days there will be setbacks like not finding the right table. Other days there will be advances like the removal of tarnish. But everyday there is a choice to be made.
I choose to live an artistically, inspired, positive life.
I encourage you to be positive and live your life inspired as well.

Monday, February 13, 2017

WWIII May Start in My Bedroom

If World War III starts anytime soon, it may start in my bedroom.

Moggy is having problems this morning with a couple of my basic rules to keep the peace:

1)  Don't knead Bandit
2)  When walking on my chest, keep your butt outta my face

It really doesn't seem that difficult to me.  However, Moggy can't, or refuses, to follow these basic rules of conduct.

I fear WW3 is about to erupt.

I'm a Junk Junkie

Have you seen the Marketplace on Facebook?

I am hooked on it.

Hi, my name is Mary Lou, and I'm a Marketplace  Junk Junkie.

I think the Marketplace is part of the last FB updates.  Either that, or the new 'droid hijacked me. 

On your FB page there's a house.  Click on it and you find a virtual garage sale. Depending on the market, and time of day, the junk you're selling can be seen by hundreds of people in minutes. And you can see the junk hundreds of others are selling. I've gone over the deep end in my purchases. 

Tonight I bought a singing Chantal copper tea kettle (retails for $160) for $5. 

It's tarnished, and it may never return to its former glory, but I love the lines, and frankly, it's cleaning up real nice--with just a salt and lemon juice scrub.  And by "scrub," I mean I've barely rubbed it. 

The girl selling the tea kettle, said it "just needs some paint." Yikes!! I knew I had to rescue it right then and there.  Paint is wonderful stuff, but it's not the fix for everything.

I haven't even come close to finishing cleaning it, but it's past my bedtime, so I'll post this and then pop into bed for a few hours.  I'll post the final results in a day or so (photos are on my FB page).

If I can stay off the Market Place long enough. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I'm Puzzled

Anyone who reads my Facebook Page knows I have an ongoing board game challenge with three of the Borum Grandchildren. During the Christmas break we sit down to play every game known to man. And every year they beat me. In almost every single game. I don't feel too bad, since they beat most of the other adults as well.

Normally I am not competitive; however, board, card, and word  games are the exception.  In these games, I  play to win. To the point that I've had Church Friends refuse to play games with me.  I tell them it's biblical--Philippians 3:14 admonishes us to Run the race to win it. And Colossians 3:24 tells us  to Do everything as if we were doing it for God.  You wouldn't want to do a half-baked job for the Creator and Savior of the world would you?  Of course not!

So go for the win. I do. Even when playing with children.  There are no "participation trophies" at my table. 

However, I  also keep it in perspective--after all is said and done, it's only a game. A game I seek to win--but nevertheless, in the big scheme of things, it really is just a game.

It's not just the BorumGrands that like to play--the adults join in as well.  Even Santa stuffs an IQ puzzle in our stockings. This year Santa left us a pair.  I'm unsure if that's because we are so smart, or because he thought we needed remedial help.

Last night, after I ate dinner and read a little, I took a puzzle break. Several weeks ago I actually solved the Fifteen Puzzle Santa gave us a few years back.  I was thrilled when it happened--almost effortlessly. The win encouraged me to try the pair of puzzles we received this year:  the Classic Wooden Cube (that, when undone resembles a long snake chain of small connected cubes, but when reassembled correctly, forms a larger  perfect cube), or Klotski (the IQ puzzle based on a Chinese strategy game in which you maneuver the largest of 10 multi-sized tiles around the board and out through a thin slot, through which only the large thin tile can fit).

I'm hoping to be able to post a photo of the puzzles (blog readers may have to see my Facebook page to see it).  My cube needs a little more work--it's really more of a free-form impression of a cube.  I guess I could call it my attempt at PicasoCubism.  

However, like my Fifteen Puzzle, my Klotski now sports the correct solution.  I've only been playing with this Klotski  puzzle a little over a month.  Noone has solved it in less than 81 moves--not even the computer (and a slightly different version can not be solved in less than 100 moves); however, I literally found the solution for Klotski  in my sleep.

Impressive, you might say.  But then I would have to tell you that I actually had help.

Of course, after persusing the Facebook photo, you may have already deduced I had help (and just who helped me) by the slightly soggy appearance of one of the small red-dotted tiles.

You see, when I fell asleep, I dropped the puzzle and the tiles scattered. I retrieved one small tile from Moggy, before he could bat it into oblivion--and Bandit found another small tile and thoughtfully hid it from The Cat until I could retrieve it, from inside the mouth of The Dog. Hence the soggy.

I can't wait to tell Santa, and the Borum Grandkids, I solved this 81-move puzzle in under 15 moves. I'm pretty sure that's a record even they can't beat.

Two puzzles down. One to go.  I'm on a roll (dice pun intended).  Perhaps I should tackle the cube-to-snake-back-to-cube puzzle).  After all, I've already got the cube-to-snake part perfected, so I'm over halfway there. 

I think Moggy, my Hunter Extraordinaire,  is pretty adept at killing snakes, maybe he can assist me with whipping the snake back into the cube-shape...

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I Killed the Pizza.

Someone once said there's no such thing as bad pizza--you just can't mess it up. They were wrong. Twice. On the same pizza. Because I'm talented that way.

Last week as I roamed the isles of my home-away-from-home (aka my small-town  WalMart  Superstore), I came across an item I had never encountered before:  pizzadilla.  It's advertised as "pizza + quesadilla." I love pizza. I love quesadillas. Win-Win.

And it would have been.  Until I killed it.

Leaving work early on Friday to attend my regularly scheduled medical appoinment, I shook off a hard workweek.   This particular Friday was worse than usual because our already streatched to the limit slim beehive was down another absent worker bee.  To make matters worse, because they can always be worse, my weary state was compounded by my waking up at 3am and inability to return to the land of slumber until after 5am.  The good news:  the in-between time was productively spent making breakfast burritos for the upcoming week.  

After my Friday afternoon injection and some disheartening news, I went home.  I decided it would be a leftover kind  of night. I'd pop something in the microwave--maybe a breakfast burrito--take the chill off, then crawl directly into bed.  Before 6pm. Like I said, it had been a hard week at work.

Opening the refrigerator, I perused it's contents. Nothing spoke to my belly--not even the breakfast burritos--besides, I rationalized, if I eat them now, I won't have them  on mornings  when I'm running late and pressed for time.  

Because I'm not a morning person, that would be every single  morning. 

Moving on to the freezer, I considered my frozen options.  And there it was--shining like a beacon amidst a storm:  the pizzadilla. 

I preheated the oven, popped that baby in, and grabbed my cell phone to set the timer function...and perhaps do a little surfing to while away the 15-18 minutes of cook time.

Twenty or so minutes later, I realized I never set the timer.

Kill Number One:  The bottom crust was pretty much toast.

Not the good kind of toast that's golden brown and soaks up the butter and jam. Nope. It was the kind of toast that is black as coal and grates on your ear like fingernails on a chalk board when the butter knife scrapes across the surface and deposits black char-flakes on the plate. 

However. I thought the top layer was salvageable, so that was dinner.  Before I trotted off to bed,  I boxed up the remains in a gallon-size baggie. (I wrote that on purpose--just to mess with your mental imagery.)

I normally  eat leftover pizza straight from the icebox.  Today I thought I'd zap it in the microwave for a minute--hoping to soften it up. Only, for some reason my one minute got punched in as 10.

I realized this when I thought to myself, that minute sure is taking a long time

Nothing gets by me.

Glancing at the flashing green remainder clock I read 5:32. 

Kill Number Two.

Even Bandit turned his nose up at it. 

Instead, we shared a breakfast burrito. 

I'll always have another sleepless night that will afford me more breakfast burrito making time.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Aspiration: Cool Neighbor

I'm working my way up from Friendly Neighbor to Fun Neighbor.

My goal is Cool Neighbor. 

During my cleaning this week, I found the long lost treat bags I prepared for Bandits "Treat or Trick" (reverse trick n or treat where we take treats to Bandits pet friends).  I can't remember the reason we skipped this past year.   Anyway, I came across the treat bags.  The candy was toast. But Moggy liked the cat nip  (and Bandit stole it from him and played with it as well). I almost threw out the two small bottles of bubbles because candy had melted on them.

Then I remembered the new guys.  My neighbors from one of the  Carolinas.  They were playing outside when I came home tonight, so I asked the Mom if the kids could have them and she said yes. 

Instant Fun Neighbor.  😁

I know I have sidewalk chalk somewhere--if I find it I may get a bump up to Cool Neighbor.

Or maybe not--I did lay down a couple rules with the bubbles:

1) no bubbles blown on Mama's car, Daddys truck, or my SUV.

2) when Braden spilled the bottle, his Mom said "Not a problem, we can make some  more."  But then he poured the rest out on purpose--still not a problem, I had given them the bubbles so they were theirs to do with what they please. 

But then he decided to "cry" about it--before Mom could say anything, I popped up and told him "You can not cry when you pour it out on purpose."  He stopped crying immediately. 

He really is a great kid. They both are.

So, since I make and enforce rules, Cool Neighbor may take a little longer to achieve. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Nothing to See Here Folks

Nothing wrong here.  Move along.  Nothing to see here folks

Frantically searching for my readers, I  could not find them anywhere.  And yes, I patted my head down to ensure they weren't hiding from me in plain sight. (Pun intended.) It was plainer than merely being on top of my head--when I found them, they were right there under my nose. 

Or rather, right there on top of my nose!

Deciding I must need brain food, I traveled to the kitchen, wherein I fixed myself a bowl of my favorite cereal: grapenuts.  I like them best when they are moist, but not soggy. First step, pour cereal onto the plate.

Plate?!  Funny, I don't feel overly tired. And I haven't had any medicine or strong drink--not even a glass of wine.

Yep, nothing to see here  folks.  Just a girl losing her mind.

Friday, January 13, 2017

May The Sixes Be With You

Last night Erin hosted Bunco.  I love playing Bunco at Erins house. I sit at the head table rolling sixes the whole night--almost--I was dethroned twice. I ended up tied with  Lou.  We had a roll off.  The sixes decided to leave us. We threw several rounds of roll off before I finally was victorious. 

After I win Linda tells me to go straight home and not to go spend my winnings at WalMart. She knows how tired I've been and I do have a rep for late night shopping--winning Bunco or not. But I  had no intention of running any errands.  I told her, "the FurKids have food and I have Diet Dr Pepper.  We're good."  And I meant it.  It's been a hard forever and I'm in a constant state of exhaustion.

My plan was to go directly home feed the boys and crawl into bed.

I made it all the way home and waa preparing to park before I thought of something I desperately needed. It couldn't wait until today.

So off I went to the HEB gas pumps.

When I pump gas I make it end on a full dollar amount or quarter change (25, 50, or 75 cents).  That way I always know if the charge on my statement is for goods in the store or gas at the pump (unless I'm traveling, I  only get gas at WalMart or HEB). I usually have to adjust tge amount to make it end uo tgat way.

Without having to adjust the amount the pump popped off at $25.25.  It was the equivalent of rolling Bunco sixes. I continued my hot streak of rolling sixes. I hope everyone has that kind of day.

May the sixes ever be with you.

Unless you are in a Bunco roll off against me. 😉

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Crash

Not exactly the sound I want to hear in the middle of the night. Yet, the crash awakened me, thanks to a certain inquisitive rescue who shall remain unnamed lest he receive secondary gain by way of internet notoriety.

What he does not know, is that simple candlestick lamp with the multicolored ribbon shade is my favorite lamp of all time.

I bought it broke, and I fixed it. Twice. And I'll fix it a third time.

I am armed with Gorilla Glue, so bring it Rescue Kitty.  I will prevail!

Now, if I can just find my clamps....