Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday 9: Moon River

Saturday 9: Moon River (1962)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is featured in a Dove candy bar commercial. What's your favorite way to enjoy chocolate (cookie, candy bar, ice cream, hot cocoa, etc.)?

A. I like chocolate any way I can get it. I suppose I prefer a candy bar, though. And no coconut.

2) It was originally written for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Where's the best place to eat breakfast in your neighborhood?

A. Cracker Barrel.

3) Were you able to see the moon last night?

A. I don't know. I didn't look.

4) When Andy Williams' show was first telecast in color, viewers commented on how very blue his eyes were. What's the first thing you notice about a person?

A. How they are standing and whether or not they invade personal space. Ominous-looking people scare me.

5) The Andy Williams Show gave the Osmond Brothers their first national exposure. When younger sister Marie joined the act, she made her debut on his show, as well. Let's say you have just been bumped up to first-class for a three hour flight. Which Osmond would you prefer as your seatmate, Donny or Marie?

A. Marie.

6) Even though Andy was a millionaire many times over, he was still careful with money, once saying he would never pay more than $50 for a haircut. This leaves Sam shaking her head, because she spares no expense when it comes to her hair. What's something you splurge on?

A. I used to get a massage every six weeks or so.

7) Andy's Moon River Theater still draws tourists to Branson, MO. Have you ever been to the Ozarks?

A. I think I may have been through there but I am not certain.

8) Andy had a discerning eye for Native American art. His collection of Navajo rugs was sold at auction for nearly $1,000,000. Have you ever bid on an auction?

A. Yes, I have. Many times. I've bought tools, glassware, and books at auctions.

9) Andy told an interviewer that his earliest memory was hiding from a storm in the cellar of his family's Iowa home. What's your earliest memory?

A. I remember running into the house to tell my mother there was something horrible wrapped around the tree in the front yard. I was so scared I couldn't speak, but finally she understood that it was a snake. I had been playing right at it for a long time before I saw it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Could Spit and Hit

This little buck is in my front yard, just outside my office window. I swear I could open the window and spit on him, he's that close!

Clouds, Not Eclipse

I really wanted to see the partial solar eclipse yesterday, but when the time came, alas, there were clouds.

I even had my pin-point paper and all set up to see the thing, but there was nothing but cloud.

And while it made for pretty sunset shots, it did not make for a good eclipse.

And it wasn't long before the sun was behind Tinker Mountain and I couldn't see it anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

1. Today is National Mole Day. Apparently this is not to celebrate either the growths on the body or the little things that plow burrows in the yard, but instead is a celebration of some kind of math equation. Go figure.

Pelicans on the farm pond
2. I read frequently about habitat and how the loss of it is greatly upsetting our ecosystem. The migration of monarch butterflies is one example. The collapse of honey bee hives is another. At one point there was a lot of talk about frogs being a barometer of things gone awry. I've noticed it in some migration patterns. For example, late this spring we had a flock of white pelicans on the pond. It was a first in anybody's memory. We have more Canadian geese in the fall. We also have stink bugs now, which up until about five years ago were things I'd never even heard of.

3. Hunting season has returned to Virginia. I was reminded of this earlier this week when I went trucking through the house without a stitch on, seeking out the clothing I wanted in the laundry room, only to emit a quick screech and slink back into the other part of the house for my robe when I realized there were strange vehicles in the driveway, and hunters standing around in camo. Fortunately, they all had their backs to the house as they were watching the woods. They were my husband's friends, but still. You don't want to give people a heart attack.

4. I have 19 items on my to-do list at the moment. If I get the top three done I will consider it a good day. My suspicion is that I won't, though I may knock a few things off the list.

5. CNN says China is going to the moon. I was disheartened when we began defunding NASA and it saddens me to see our space program in the toilet. I watched every space launch that I could, including the one in 1969 when a human being first stepped on the moon. I have cried when shuttles exploded and lives were lost, but the space program offered us hope as a nation and gave us a common ground for national pride, something we seem to be lacking these days. That is, unless you want to be proud of being first in the world in the number of people per capita you incarcerate, or first in the world in military spending, which I do not and am not.

6. Speaking of space stuff, there is a partial eclipse of the sun late this afternoon, visible in the US. Apparently it begins around 5:50 p.m., close to sunset. Don't look directly at the sun as it can damage your eyes. And looking at through a digital camera is not something I recommend, either.

7. I've been seeing a lot of posts about health care insurance costs. Most of these blame the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it by its misnomer, though the media does it), but our health insurance has been rising steadily since the 1990s, and even with an employer picking up the tab for one of us, we pay out more than $9,000 a year just to insure the other one on the same policy. The insurance company was constantly bullying us about medications and doctor visits pre-ACA. I don't think the ACA was a good deal - I think it was a gift to private insurance companies - but I also think the insurance companies have looked for and found every loophole they can to increase premiums and deny claims. I'm grateful we have health insurance - we'd be bankrupt if we didn't, given my poor health and my husband's accident this summer - but yes, it is expensive. It is not, however, as expensive as the $100,000+ it would have cost us out-of-pocket to save my husband's arm. So I guess in the long run, you need to ask yourself if you're worth it or not. Maybe you can do without an arm.

8. In the meantime, we need real health care reform, and for me that means a national single payer system. Yes, Medicare for all. Of course it would not be perfect, but then absolutely nothing dreamed up in the human brain is. I would, however, like for everyone to have the opportunity to keep their limbs should they have an unfortunate accident.

9. I am who I am. I don't need anyone's permission to be me. Nor do I need anyone's permission to dream, big or small, or to do much of anything else for that matter. Unless I am invading someone's personal space, they really don't have much of a say over what I do. But when I am invading personal space - whether with words, too close in body contact, with cigarette smoke, perfume or whatever - then yeah, they - and I - have the right to say something. It's called boundaries. Like Baby said in Dirty Dancing, "This is your dance space, this is my dance space. Spaghetti arms!" Or something to that effect.

10. Some days coming up with 13 somethings is tough. Today is one of them. Can you tell?

11. This is my horoscope for today from "It's not too late to improve your daily routine, even if it's an upgrade you should have made much sooner. Today's Scorpio Solar Eclipse plants the seeds in your 6th House of Habits, indicating sudden changes that can set a series of profound consequences into motion. The potential is greater than you realize, so make every action count as much as possible while you have the planetary magic on your side."

12. Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. Levavi Oculos in Latin. It's the motto of Hollins University, my alma mater. I've been putting it in my blog header for about two years and not once has anyone asked me about it. But that would be the answer to the question.

13. And speaking of Hollins, I just received a notice in my email that it's Tinker Day. Tinker Day is a day off from classes given each October; only the president of the university knows the date. The students find out about 7 a.m. that classes are cancelled. They dress up, perform skits, and climb to the top of Tinker Mountain, where they are served up fried chicken and Tinker cake trucked up by the college staff. The tradition dates back to the 1880s. Enjoy your day, young ladies. You are our best hope for tomorrow.

Tinker Mountain in the background

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 366th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.

from whence cometh my help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More Purty Pictures

This is looking back at the farm from the Botetourt Sports Complex. 

This is Uncle Bill's house, nestled in the trees.

Today is another of those weeks where I have some kind of health care appointment nearly every day. Between physical therapy, the chiropractor, the dentist, and my regular doctor, I am burning up the roads.

I am doing better compared to when I was at my worst, but I am still nowhere close to where I was pre-gallbladder surgery in June 2013. I still can't believe that such a "simple" surgery has completely changed my life, and not for the better. My activity level has been reduced significantly, and my pain level remains high. It is tough to walk around with a level 5 pain in your belly all the time. It is especially difficult when it shoots on up there to an 8 and bends you double.

On top of that, scar tissue and adhesions have pulled my hip out of alignment and created a problem in my gait, which has caused severe and chronic tendonitis in my foot. The pain in my ankle feels like someone is hammering hot spikes up my foot and into my calf. I have been using a cane off and on now for nearly a year. I have good days when I don't need it around the house, but I don't dare do something like venture into Walmart without it.

My husband is doing very well following his horrific accident with the hay baler. He still has some mobility issues in his hand, and I am concerned about the cold weather. I fear it will bother him and cause him some pain this winter. However, he is back to work and mostly doing everything he was before, with some modifications. I am so thankful he is recovering well, and grateful his injury was not worse.

The last two years have certainly not turned out like I had hoped. But I guess that is how life happens: when you least expect it, a beer truck comes crashing through your house. Not that this has happened, but it kind of feels like it.

Anyway, I hope that you, dear reader, are well and spending your days feeling loved and comforted, and in good health. Thank you as always for taking a look at my little corner of the world. I am grateful that you take the time to share it.

CountryDew aka Anita

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Watching the Weight

It's no secret that I am overweight. I've mentioned it here before and anyone who looks at me can see that I could stand to starve for a few days and it wouldn't kill me.

Dieting is harder for some than others. My weight issues began around the same time I started having trouble with endometriosis. Doctors put me on drugs that they now admit causes terrible hormone imbalances and weight gain. Twenty-five years ago, though, I was told that the medicines had nothing to do with weight gain, even though I put on about 30 pounds in six weeks without changing a thing in my diet.

Drugs change you, and change you forever. I seriously doubt I could ever get back to the weight I was when I married simply because my hormones are so screwy.

Of course, I have picked up some bad eating habits along the way. I also don't care for cooking, which makes convenience foods attractive. And then there are those hours when I grow bored and a perhaps a little lonely, and my friend Mr. Chocolate Bar saves the day.

I used to tell myself that I wasn't *that* overweight - I wasn't one of those women whose body fat droops over the edge of the chair, the ones with bellies hanging out of shirts or whatever. The ones driving around on the little cart in Walmart because they can't haul their own body weight around. And I am not that large, but I am at an unhealthy weight.

Serving sizes are a constant challenge. This morning, for example, I chose to eat a fat-free Pop Tart. I've gone back on Weight Watchers and so that's 5 points gone for today, and I only have 29 points all day long. But there are two Pop Tarts in a baggy in the box. If a serving is one single Pop Tart, why don't they put them in separate baggies? Because of course the other one is going to go stale before I get back around to wanting another 5-point Pop Tart. I don't eat them that often. A box of those will last me a month.

Nobody I know actually eats 1/2 cup of cereal, or drinks a half bottle of pop, or eats just 1/3 of a can of Vienna Sausages. They eat a bowl full of cereal, which is at least a cup if not more, and they drink the whole bottle of soda, and they eat all the little Vienna Sausages in a can.

While I take full responsibility for the state of my health, it would be nice if the food industry would also look over the corn stalks and take responsibility for its role in America's obesity epidemic. They don't have to supersize it, and shouldn't a serving of Pop Tarts, when there are two to a baggy, be listed as two of the darned things?

Virginia has a reported obesity rate of 25-30 percent of the population. Right next door, West Virginia has an obesity rate above 35 percent! Nationwide, about 34 percent (78 million) of Americans are obese. Not just overweight, but obese. If you count the folks who are just a little overweight but not yet obese, at least half of the nation is in need of a diet.

I have lost weight on Weight Watchers before. I manage to make it about 3 months before something happens - a holiday comes up, or I simply tire out, or I become ill and then can't get back on track with the diet. I've had so many new health issues pop up in the last 14 months that dieting has been the least of my concerns, but I need to worry about it now.

People who don't have weight issues have no idea how much of a struggle it is to deal with eating problems. It's not like being an alcoholic - you don't have to drink bourbon in order to live. But you have to eat.

The thing I most dislike about Weight Watchers is that I don't think it teaches you how to eat well or how to eat healthily. If you look at some of the foods they recommend - mostly their own brands of snack foods - they are full of stuff I don't want in my body. Aspartame or sucralose, carrageen - all sorts of things that aren't good for you. So Weight Watchers is really all about the money, like most things in the USA, and not about making people healthy. Weight Watchers does help with portion controls and if you stick to the points and simply stop eating when you hit your daily allowance, it works.

However, I want to learn how to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. My head knows how to do this, sort of, but there is some disconnect between my brain and the rest of me. I've read enough books on the topic to know to eat fresh veggies and as little processed foods as possible, but that not-liking-to-cook thing gets me every time.

Also, at present I can't exercise much because of pain issues. Whatever is wrong with me simply isn't going away.

If you've been successful at dieting and have any tips, I am open to them.