kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Trying to Keep Busy

It's been a long few weeks.

We are trying to keep busy and not think too much about our loss.  It seems like we have so much more time on our hands.  I didn't realize how invested we were in Brad and Kami.  We didn't always spend a lot of time together, but they still took up a large part of our lives.

We are trying to get out and do a few things and not sit around the house dwelling on the sadness. It's apple season here in PA.  We enjoy driving down through Adams County and seeing all the trees loaded with fruit.  We visited our favorite orchard and came home with a nice variety bag of apples.

I'm going to tell you about a fire at our house the weekend after Thanksgiving last year.

Way back when we first bought our house, we didn't have enough money to build a separate chimney for the furnace.  So we put the furnace in front of the old kitchen fireplace because there was a hole there for a stovepipe.

So on that weekend our very old furnace decided to take a fit and coughed out some sparks and flame and caught the old mantel and the  wood around the fireplace on fire.  If it hadn't been for the quick action of Brad and Kami, the whole house would probably have burnt down.  I called 911 and then frantically tried to fill containers of water to rush to the kids to try to pour on the fire.  Zip was busy getting a cup of coffee.  What???  The house is on fire?  But I just woke up!  The fire was going up the wall and smoke was starting to come up through the rest of the house but he had to have a cup of coffee before he could make any fast moves.

Anyhow, the fire company arrived and with sirens and flashing lights.  They brought in the hoses, set up fans and opened all the doors and windows.  Zip and I were in a panic because we couldn't find the cats and the firemen would not let us look for them.  We had to get out!  By that time the fire was extinguished but there was still smoke in the house.  We prayed that the kitties would lay low and not panic and run outside.

Luckily when the smoke had cleared and the doors and windows were closed again, all the kitties were accounted for.  The only injury we had was that Penny had burn blisters on her paw pads.  We have no idea where she was that her feet had gotten burnt.

Then we had a two-week period when we had no heat in the main part of the house while the cleanup crew cleared out the smoke damage and the furnace installers did their work.

So what does this all have to do with getting apples?  My wonderful dehydrator fell victim of the smoke clean-up detail.  Also two looms, a lot of old musty yarn and many other treasures were hauled away.  It was a great way to get the cellar cleaned out but I don't recommend you try it.  I will say that our homeowner's insurance did an excellent job of finding clean-up people and restorers.  I am very grateful for their timely response.

So I bought myself a nice new dehydrator and went to work.  And luckily I had a supervisor, because I could not have done it on my own.  Thank you, Isabell!  I now have a nice bag of dried apple slices to snack on during the winter.  I also made a big pot of apple sauce that went into the freezer.

Yesterday I had to go to the podiatrist and have my toenail removed.  I've had a toenail fungus in my big toe for many years.  Mostly I just treat it with Vicks to keep it in check.  Lately I have been getting an ingrown toenail every few months.  The podiatrist decided that it was time to try removing the whole toenail.  I told her I wanted gas during the operation.  She laughed and said that was not something they did in the office.  So I had to settle for a few good shots of lidocaine.  It was a painless surgery until I got home and the numbing wore off.

Today I'm trying to take it easy.  Hobbling to the bathroom is about as far as I want to go.  Getting old is so much fun sometimes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Brad and Dad several summers ago.
If you would like to read Brad's obituary, it can be found here,

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Writing Therapy

I've been debating starting to blog again for quite a while.  But like many things in my life, I keep putting it off.  Now life circumstances have made it necessary.  I need the therapy.

There have been a lot of changes in our lives since I last posted several years ago.  I will write about them later, but this is the biggest and most devastating change.

Two weeks ago, on Sunday September 15, our dear son Brad passed away.  He had been diagnosed in the spring with stage four lung cancer.  We were reassured at the time that with the newer chemo treatments this did not have to be a death sentence.  We had hope.  The first round of treatments did seem to make him feel better.  He had gained some weight and had more energy.  Unfortunately when he had his pet scan, it was found that the chemo was not as effective as everyone had hoped.  

Another round of treatment was started with a stronger drug.  It did not work well.  He began to be overcome with secondary problems.  He lost his appetite and began the downhill slide.  We just didn't expect the end to come so soon.  Even when you know that something like this can not end well, you are never prepared when the time arrives.

I've heard so many people say that parents should not have to bury their children.  Unfortunately life doesn't always work out that way.  We are not the first nor will we be the last.  We just have to go on and find our way in this new and altered reality.  We can be thankful that he and Kami moved in with us several years ago and we had time to live closely with them and see them on a daily basis.

Kami has gone to live with her grandmother until she decides what direction her life will be taking.  She says she can't live here where she is reminded daily of her and Brad's life together.  We all must deal with grief in our own way.  We will miss having her with us, but we talk to each other daily on the phone.  She will always be welcome here if she decides to come back after taking time to heal.

So it feels like we have lost both our kids.  Zip and I are trying to keep busy and not dwell on the loss.  

Thanks for reading and allowing me to vent.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I Think It's Time....

I haven't posted since December of last year.  I think it's time to admit that I am done blogging. 

There seems to be nothing new and exciting to write about.  My handcraft endeavors are few and far between, I've shown and talked about all the major interesting local attractions, my life is so predictable that I hate to even mention it.

I've thought about taking a blog in a different direction.  Maybe fashion ideas for old fat ladies, in a hope to upgrade my style.  But THINK was all I've done about it.  I'm still wearing jeans and t-shirts so that isn't an option.  Ha-ha!

I really regret that I've lost my interest because I have really enjoyed writing over the past years.  I thank all of you who have followed me and taken the time to comment.  I will be keeping my Reading List and continuing to follow many of your blogs.  I may even leave a comment occasionally.  I may decide to come back and write again some day if there is a good reason.  I like to leave the option open.

But for now, I'm just going to leave the blog where it is and move on.
Thanks to all of you for reading.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Winter Bucket List

First, I want to thank all of you for your kind comments and emails from my last post.  I took your encouragement to heart and got out those knitting needles and yarn.
And haven't looked back...

I haven't posted since then because I've been knitting like a crazy fool.  My Kindle is dying of neglect.  I have gone on to library books on CD so my hands are free.

Here is the first sweater.  It looks pink in the picture but it's burgundy for real.  My photography skills have gone to the dogs.

I used the plus size A-line cardigan pattern from Deb Gemmell of 'Cabin Fever'.  Her patterns are my favorites for making larger sized sweaters.  She adds in all the little extra techniques that make sweaters fit well on larger women.  Thanks, Deb!
I finished this one in October.

I immediately started another.  This one is also Deb's pattern from her book 'Need A Plus Cardigan'.  I modified it to make a crew neck pullover.  It's a really basic sweater but fits well and I am happy.  I had a skein of darker wool that I added on the neck, sleeve and bottom ribbing to give it a little interest.   I finished that sweater last week.  The picture of the finished piece didn't come out well.

Yesterday I started another!  Same basic pattern but this will be a v-neck pullover. 

This one will be a little more challenging because I'm doing stripes with slip stitch and a lot of color changes.

So far I have cleaned out about a quarter of a bin of yarn from my stash.  I did have to buy the variegated yarn to pull together the burgundy and dark green in this sweater.

My winter bucket list is to knit six sweaters four is OK too) and clean out a whole bin of yarn, or most of one anyway.

The kitties have been helping me.  Anyone for a pile of cats???

This is Deiter and his harem.  The girls just love him!  Ha-ha!
And where is this pile of kitties located???
Right behind my laptop in my messy work area.

The basked with all the manilla envelopes is my filing system for circular needles.

The only needles I use any more are circular ones and this is the best way I've found for keeping my 50-plus sets neat and organized.  In the past I've had nice plastic sleeves in a binder or a case with fabric pockets to hold the needles and neither of these methods has worked as well as this inexpensive method.  If the envelopes get torn or dirty, I just replace them.
The plastic tubes in the back are double point needles and crochet hooks.  I got those handy little tubes years ago when I worked in the hospital lab.  They held inoculating loops for microbiology specimens.

Just one more knitting thing, then on to other stuff.

I got the 'Sweater Wizard' software to be able to create and modify my own patterns.  I'll have to play with this a while before I can make a judgment on how well it works.

 OK!  On to the chocolate factory, Willie Wonka!
Well, it's not really a factory.  It's a warehouse and distribution center.  And a discount store. 
It's the new Lindt chocolate outlet right off of I-81 just south of Carlisle.  What fun!

Bins of truffles!  Quantity discounts!

Great time of year to shop if you like to give chocolate for Christmas.

Doesn't this picture just make you want to eat chocolate.  Be still my heart!  Ha-ha!

That trip was three weeks ago.  Sadly we are all out of truffles.

So that you don't get the idea that I've been noshing on a steady diet of sweets, I have been cooking occasionally.
Do any of you love the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden the way I do???
I used this basic recipe
with a few modifications.

Chopped onions, garlic and kale.  BTW, kale is the only thing left living in the garden.  I hope it survives a while yet.


I didn't add any bacon, the sausage added enough flavor.  And instead of potatoes, I added cannelloni
beans.  It was yummy!

I've rambled on long enough for one time.
Thanks for stopping in!

One final picture.  This is what I see every day while I'm working on the computer or knitting.  Deiter laying right behind my work area looking at me with his head upside down.  Life is GOOD!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Putting my Life on Hold Until...

I haven't been knitting lately.  Like two years lately.  Same with sewing.
You may ask why.  Or you may not give a rip.  But I'm gonna tell you anyhow.

About four years ago I was doing well on Weight Watchers.  I lost 99 pounds.  I vowed that I was NEVER going to go through the gaining weight thing again.  I had made a 'life style change'.  I got rid of all my fat clothing.  Never gonna need them again!

How delusional can one person be???  I never did lose that last pound to make it 100.  Even with all the effort I was far from THIN.  And after a whole year of sticking to the plan and restricting what I ate, my resistance dissolved and I went right back to binge eating big time.  And it took me a year to gain it all back.  How ironic.

So for the past several years I have 'maintained' at my high weight.  The thought of restricting food again puts me in a total meltdown.  I just can't do it AGAIN.

So my life has been on hold.

I did not want to knit because I gave away several nice hand knit sweaters to the thrift shop that were too big at the time.  Now I wish I had just stashed them away.  Oh, dieting hubris!  So when I think about knitting, I remember those sweaters and think 'why waste yarn on big sweaters in case I lose again?'  Same thing with sewing.  That fabric is really pretty, I should save it until I get thin.

The reality is:  NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

So I gave myself a slap upside the head and said, 'get out your patterns and that darn yarn and do something with it!'  Do I wanna die with all that great yarn laying around???  The kids will probably take it to the landfill.  Make big sweaters!  I can always take them apart and make them smaller if...  Oh, don't even go there!

So I'm starting with this sweater.

I made this one before I lost weight the last time.  I made my own buttons for it.  Now they are gone forever and they looked so good!  I still have enough of this yarn to re-make a sweater just like it.  Whether I will make new buttons is questionable.

So I'm gonna dig into the stash and use that lovely yarn and those favorite fabrics.  There's no time like now no matter what size I am.  And if I use up all the yarn and fabric and somehow through a twist of fate become a smaller size, I can always buy more.


Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Horay For Running Water!

This is one of the best products I've bought recently.
It's the Cat Mate pet fountain.

Previously I had a Drinkwell 360, which was a nice enough fountain.  At the time when I bought mine, they were fairly expensive.  The cats liked it but it had it's drawbacks.
For one thing, it was a big round fountain and took up a lot of space.  It was too big for the counter top so I had to put it on the floor where more dirt and hair seemed to collect in it.  The filter was a plastic tube with holes in it and was filled with charcoal.  The hair went right through it and got stuck in the intake holes of the pump making it necessary to clean the fountain at least every few days.  It was a job tearing it apart, cleaning all the little tubes and hard to reach places, and it took a whole gallon of water to refill it.  I finally retired it to the basement.  We went back to the old basic water dish.  The kitties weren't happy.

I did some research on Amazon and found this small fountain that costs less than $30.  I was skeptical, but the price was right and if I didn't like it I could donate it to the thrift store.

It is a very nice little fountain.  It fits perfectly on the counter top.  It's easy to clean.  The filter has both fiber and charcoal so that very little hair gets through to the pump.  It takes less than a gallon of water to fill.  And one of the good sneaky things is that if you buy a few filters to begin with, you can take the little plastic cases apart and replace the filter fiber and pelleted charcoal if you are handy with such things.

Needless to say, I am thrilled with the Pet Mate.  We got a second one for Brad and Kami's cats who live upstairs.

Here are the happy cats trying out the different levels, the waterfall and the water slide.

                                                   Penny enjoying the top level

                                       Isabel thinks it makes a great foot bath
 I do keep a paper towel beside the fountain because they can be messy drinkers.

                                               Deiter and Isabel sharing a drink

If you are trying to encourage your cat(s) to drink more water, this is the way to go.  It would probably work well for small dogs too.
I think they also make fountains for larger dogs.

The kitties who modeled for this post were well compensated for their time.  They accept petting, hugs and praise, but they prefer Temptations kitty treats.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Sum of my Summer

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Well, this is a picture of my summer, sad to say.

+ computer
+ Kindle
+ library books
+ fans, lovely fans
+ lime Jello, my favorite food on a hot day.  But not my only food, unfortunately!
+ lots of heat

The bottom line is a big fat nothing.  That was my summer.

OK, I did a few things but you've seen all the greenhouses, farmer's markets, and whatever before.

No handcrafty stuff either.  My craft area has been a mess since rearranging rooms when Brad and Kami moved in.  A messy work space doesn't make me feel like creating.  Maybe instead of wasting my time reading I could have been cleaning and organizing.  Do ya think???  But NOOOOO...

And my helpers weren't into it either.  Deiter was too busy being ON the computer.

Do you see that lovely country scene that's on my desktop?  Walking down that dirt road on a nice 75-degree day is what I really should have been doing.  If I were not so old and fat and lazy.

Zip and I did ride around in air conditioned comfort and take a few pictures of houses and flowers.  There's nothing I find more appealing than a nicely decorated entrance.  These make me want to stop, knock on the door and ask if I could please come in and have tea.

 I don't know any of the people who live in these houses, just dreamin'.

                                                 Newville, near the Big Spring

                                                         Downtown Newville


Now I'm going to rant about the weather which has such a strangle hold on my moods.

The summer started out hot.  We had rain, usually about twice a week.  The yard looked good, the garden flourished, the flower beds filled in nicely

Then came July.  The rain stopped.  It got hotter than blazes.  The garden dried up, the grass turned brown and crispy.  For the past two and a half months we didn't get enough rain to dampen a paper towel.  And it drove me crazy, checking WeatherBug daily to see if there was a storm anywhere near Newburg.  But NOOOOO!  There were storms all around us but not over Newburg.  I am so glad that I did not marry a farmer.  I would have been hauled off to the loony bin years ago.

Then there are the weather people on the local news stations with their cheery predictions of chances of showers and thunderstorms.  Chances, mind you, that never seemed to materialize.  If I had been in charge of the personnel at those stations, all the predictors would now be on unemployment.  How can you be so wrong so often and still have a job???

We finally got a nice little shower on Saturday (yes, they predicted right for once, but we got less than they said we would), not nearly enough but at least we know it still can rain.  That little bit of rain and the cooler temperatures that followed have renewed my faith for the moment.  The grass is a tiny bit greener.

Oh, and several of my favorite places have closed or in the process of closing.

The Fabric Outlet in Lemoyne, my favorite place to buy fabric if I ever decide to sew.
The Country Pantry outside of Shippensburg, my favorite bulk food store.
The Mannings weaving supply and school is closing at the end of the year.  One of the best yarn
       suppliers and only weaving equipment and thread supplier in the area.

I will sure miss all of these places.

Has sitting around in front of a fan reading and eating Jello turned me into a whack job???  Probably.  I was on my way down that road anyhow.
But I will end this diatribe with a happy summer picture.

Don't you just love this little fountain in the middle of a residential section in Chambersburg?

                                                        Water, cool water!   
Happy, happy!  Fall is on the way!