Outside/Inside (part 2: a game, and a lesson)

A long post on STUFF. Also written on Thursday.

When I got back to the house after my beach visit, I began to sort stuff. I found many an interesting thing. Some of them I know what they are. Others..well, I posted them elsewhere, but perhaps you might help identify them! I will mark the ‘odd’ ones with letters and you can answer in the comments with your memories and knowledge. (Or guesses!)

Under mom’s kitchen sink were more crazy things. Six containers of kitchen cleaning stuff, several not opened, plus many other assorted bottles of most likely hazardous flammables. (The ancient almost empty bottle of lighter fluid I’m sure wore dad’s fingerprints!) I’ve tackled the junk drawer. It held everything! Three packages of sparklers, three spools of fishing line, two cribbage boards, an unopened deck of cards, numerous batteries, tape of all kinds (new and used), at least a dozen different kinds of screwdrivers, and much more. I was looking forward to emptying it so I could get it closed. Unfortunately, the darn thing won’t release!!! So annoying. I do love getting doors and drawers to close! (TnT managed to fix one in the bathroom. BIG hugs and kisses!!!) I also learned Windex works very well when it comes to removing sticky things from where they don’t belong. (It appears to be like duct tape, only in reverse!)

Now for the game. What are these things in mom’s house??? This first one, it looks like a bottle opener, but twists around. She has two of these.

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This next thing was really popular after cans went from the classic pull off tabs to the ones we use now. I never used one of these, but they are all over the place! I learned some people would put advertisements on them or even use them for campaign ads!

This one is completely beyond me. It is a very tight spring loaded sort of spiky thing.

I fell in love with this find. I wish I could send it to Little Red Dot and GH!

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Another crazy odd thing. It looks a bit like a sea shell we’d find on the beaches called a china man’s hat, minus the point. It looks well used, whatever it is!

I’m pretty sure this is a handle. I might be able to google it and discover what it is, but…Anyway, parts of the black end twist and doesn’t seem entirely secure as a handle for anything made by Corningware.

It is a lot more fun cleaning mom’s house without her hovering. It is also a bit sad. It is definitely an exercise that makes me mad (most of mom’s ‘I’ll get to it later’ makes me angry.). However, I learned something while shopping today from my 7th grade math teacher. She was talking about her deceased husband and thought it might fit mom. ‘There are good people who are always busy and doing. Yet sometimes those people don’t know how to get things done. They mean well and want to, but they never do, because they’ll get to it later. And we have to pick up their slack and forgive them.’  I’ve been hit on the head often these last weeks with lessons on forgiving. It will be something to remember as I continue to delve into mom’s debris.

On the Range

Write it. Shoot it. Publish it, crochet it, saute it, whatever. MAKE.” Joss Wheadon

I’ve been busy in the kitchen the last days. I absolutely enjoy cooking. (I also like being taken out for meals, but that isn’t something that happens often.) This last week I’ve made so many tasty things. The cookies and cinnamon cake went over quite well. (I am getting ready to make PB Chocolate chip cookies next. I don’t have m&ms to toss in, but chocolate chips are basically a naked m&m, right??)

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This meatloaf is one of my favorites and Little Bear keeps asking what I’m going to do with the leftovers. I’ve been eating them all by myself! (Being the mom doesn’t always mean I need to give up good things. Slowly learning this!) I must admit, I’ll put the rest on crackers with cheese melted on top as part of our dinner tonight. I prefer the loaf cold, but not everyone is partial to cold meats. (I wonder if the kid will insist on ketchup???) I know he did a spot of cooking while I was gone, his cookbook is well marked!!!

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I’ve cooked a few things from this book, but it looks like Little Bear liked a few more recipes than I did!!!

The next couple of days include a blood draw and more shopping (first foray out on my own since my return to Oregon!). Because of the draw,  I am drinking tea and beverages with electrolytes. I’ve had a few really low lows, so that has been annoying. I stayed in bed late today. I love the mattress pad I purchased in 2016. Alas, The Craftsman says it hurts his hips. So much for memory foam. Thursday, while I am cooking, the guys will remove it from the bed and shrink wrap it for a future sale. It hasn’t been on the bed long at all and while it was there, nothing more happened than sleeping a few hours out of 24.

I have one dr appointment on Wednesday after my blood letting. I tried to make one with my MS doctor, but they said I needed an old patient referral. So, I had to call my primary doctor’s office to schedule a new patient appointment with a new physician because the previous primary doctor I used to have has moved. All this in order to get that referral! At least I will get to see my Diabetes doctor next week with no waffling around.

I’m looking forward to cooking for the holidays. Although, I asked to have the turkey put in the store room (we usually keep thawing birds in there as the temps are chilly, but not bad.). Unfortunately, the temps this week are in the low 30’s to 20’s. I finally brought it in the house to see if those temps might assist it in warming a bit! (the area it is in is still cold, but not as cold as the other room!)  I also have a roast in the sink. I think that will be tomorrow’s evening meal. We can snack on it on Thursday afternoon before the main meal. I forgot how much these guys actually eat!!!

I have gotten a bit more cleaned. Saturday is when I decorate for Christmas. So, I reckon I’ll do more cleaning as I get those things arranged. I’ll also see just what things are not needed and pass them on. I’ve gotten several things sorted and bagged to be donated. Not ones for this great idea. I am going to have to do this, especially next year when I go thru all of mom’s things.

Litter

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In the aftermath of Earth Day and the loss of snow, I’m reminded of one of my least favorite things in the whole world. Litter. All across the internet I saw videos and pictures and stories of machines and people and projects dedicated to removing trash from places it shouldn’t be. I wondered, if so many people don’t like litter, why is there so much? In my early years, PBS was almost the only place a kid could watch kid shows. Even the boys, when they were little, had PBS as their main tv hangout. So many times the focus would be on litter and trash and recycling. And yet, the problem is worse as time marches on!

I’ve always been aware of tossed garbage. I think I was in 3rd grade when I went on my very first litter patrol with a group. (As I look back, I’m astonished by the memory, all of us kids and not much supervision!) I remember walking up a hill above the school with a huge group. Other kids ran off past the ditches to collect obscure finds. Older ones came back with tires and I recall, a bra. (I remember being so embarrassed! I was a girl and these boys found ‘girl’ underwear!) The most decisive moment in my life of being green happened when I was in the Youth Conservation Corps.

I was in High School on the Kenai Peninsula. Summer jobs were babysitting or working around fish. Mum didn’t want me in a cannery yet (ages of kids working back then weren’t quite as controlled as it is today.) and somehow I got a job with the YCC working in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. I had more fun than I could have ever imagined (I might have written about some of those experiences here before somewhere) and learned a great deal. Lessons of life that stuck hard in the malleable brain of my adolescence. The abhorrence of litter was one of those.

We made trails through the woods, we hauled canoes overland to lakes we paddled across to get to more trails, and we cleaned up after people. We spent weeks in one area refurbishing a campsite that had buildings. I had stayed there in 6th grade and we were back to modernize and tidy it up once more. One weekend a church group had rented it out. One of the guys with us was excited about this, it was his church group and he was looking forward to having them see what he had been doing all summer. We got back to the site after they left and were appalled. All of us were. It was an absolute pigsty. I’ll never forget the anger my friend felt for his thoughtless friends. (It think it was then I realized church didn’t mean someone was necessarily a good person.) We worked hard to clean up after that organization’s visit. Another life changing day was before a major holiday. It was probably the 4th of July. We picked up so much trash on a popular trail we made jokes about the beer cans and diapers. It was horrible. Then, after the incursion of the people, we went back and found more garbage. Nasty.

My boys, being in Scouting, learned to leave no trace. But, as with the church groups, having them wear a uniform of an organization who is supposed to care for the environment doesn’t always mean they will. Thankfully, the people who lead my sons did care and helped hone the skills I forced upon them. In the world of life with me, trash was never improperly discarded. Not even a gum wrapper. We lived in a camping area on the Oregon coast and they boys thrived out there. (I recall once asking my youngest if he ever felt bad cuz we never went anywhere or did anything like Disneyland. He looked at me incredulously and replied, ‘Mom, we lived in a vacation!’) One of our favorite swimming holes we always knew to avoid at certain times of the year, because of the trash left behind and the day we found human feces, toilet paper, and partially burned almost everything on the river bank near one a fishing spot was never to be forgotten. Strider cleaned up a bank site for part of his Eagle project. His group found everything from fishing line to submerged televisions.

I never toss away plastic bottle rings without cutting them apart, I am glad when I see plastic grocery sacks being banned (as handy as those things are, they don’t belong in trees), and I pick up garbage when I find it. It is interesting that sea glass takes decades to turn from trash into treasure, it fascinates me when people discover new ways to use garbage, and I appreciate recycling. It angers me that recycling (at least here on the Kenai) is not as good as it sounds. If I separate my trash and toss it in the proper bin, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be recycled. Often, I was told by an attendant, if a plastic bag full of shredded paper is tossed in with the paper that usually contaminates the whole batch. If the attendant doesn’t remove the bag and discard it, the person collecting the material will, more than likely, deep six the whole mess. There isn’t much money in recycling. Which is sad, we spend a lot as we make messes across our world. You’d think cleaning it up would be easier.

Cleaning Up Cat Nips

The domestic cat seems to have greater confidence in itself than in anyone else. ~Lawrence N. Johnson

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I am not a person who likes too much debris around me. (I am sure others may laugh if they read this, however, if it needs cleaned, I’ll generally clean it!) I am not a neat freak, but I am fond of mostly tidy. Cats, I’ve noticed, don’t really seem to care what their abode is like. As long as there is a place to sleep or sit in relative comfort, they will be ok. (However, warm clothes from the dryer and boxes do seem to be favorite locations.)

I had cleaned up the living room one day. For some reason it was more of a mess than usual and in a frenzy of tidy, I managed to get things looking fairly presentable again. Because our family has a lot of movies, Little Bear was documenting what we had with paper and clip board. I knew it was going to be used later, so I let it be on the floor. Since it was the only thing ‘left’, Moses decided it was a platform for his protest of a lack of proper seating arrangements. After I took his picture and sat down on the couch, he moved to my lap. Probably his entire plan in the first place!

Spring Cleaning Cat Nips

Wrinkled is a casual look.

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In the weeks before Easter and Christmas one tends to clean. That is where the phrase Spring cleaning sprang from. In order to get everything ready for the Holy Week between Palm Sunday and Easter, cleaning was a must for house and body. It was often the first bath after a long winter and it was always a time to make all things tidy. Not everyone could afford a new costume, but anything new was worn on Easter to celebrate the Risen Lord.

In my own house, I like to open doors, rearrange dust bunnies, and welcome the fresh air full of the scent of violets and cut grass. If it is breezy, I’ll hang clothes outside. I love the scent of spring in cloth. Little Bear prefers the ease of the dryer. He often opts for the casual look of wrinkled after it sits for a few hours. Sometimes I can get him to actually fold his laundry after it has dried. (above is a photo of the kid’s clothes basket.)

Moses also likes clean laundry from the dryer. Many times I’ll fill the basket, leave it in the living room, leave for a minute, and come back to see him curled up inside. Often I have to move the cat to get to the towels or t-shirts  and socks so I can fold them. Generally, he climbs right back on top to resume his nap. Moses Mc Conikitty doesn’t care what time of the year it is. Naps are always in season for a cat.

Busy or bust

I should really call this ‘When you are busy all day and get nothing done!’

I had planned on doing a great deal today. Mostly house elf things. Alas, Mum and the weather disrupted things a bit. She didn’t sleep well, part of that was cuz she wanted to see the men’s curling and figured it would be broadcast in the wee hours. Another part was cuz she didn’t feel good. (I had to change one fitting on Friday night.) Then, we got snow!!! I love snow. (almost as much as books or kisses. Somewhere I read snowflakes are kisses from angels or an angel in heaven. I like the idea of the old lady in the sky shaking her feather blanket.) So, this morning I shoveled off areas full of snow and filled feeders. It was perfectly silent.

Finally, I left mum. I needed to get something I can only get in the next town over. I also decided to get more glucose tablets. Except, that pharmacy no longer carries bottles of glucose tablets. (I’m still stunned. It’s a pharmacy and they only carry little tubes??????) I decided to go to the phone company and completely forgot they aren’t open on Saturdays. So, I got ice cream. I left the town a different direction and stopped at another pharmacy. They had tablets, but the generic ones. I got two containers anyway. I also stopped at a larger chain store to see if I could replace my gold amethyst stud. (I’m not sure where I lost it. I have the back, but not the pretty part) I figured if I found a place that did piercings, I could get it there. I was informed if I wanted a piercing to go to ANC, they are thought to be more professional, and I’d probably not be able to find a stud of that caliber today. (it appears the stud from the 80’s was a much higher quality than the ones used for piercings today). {NOTE: I just read this over and saw that entendre….laughing!} The store was having a sale (not a very good one, but enough so I decided to get a couple of things.). I had purchased a trio of panties awhile back and one of them was orange and not pink. I don’t have anything orange in my clothing and in my craziness, I must match as much as possible! So, now I own orange. I didn’t get earrings or new tennie runners (there are a bazillion different kinds of those out there!!!! I was slightly daunted and dazed.), but the tops were paid for using a very aged gift card I found in mum’s stuff. I had no idea it was any good.

I decided not to go shopping for groceries and headed over to elf. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I managed to squeeze in about an hour. I think I messed up the vacuum again, too. House elves are really not at all technical. I did listen to part of the ladies curling championship as I swiffered and ran the sweeper over the floor. (My tools were a ton cheaper than those used in Pyeongchang.)

Dashed out of there, annoyed I only spot elfed, and decided to get mom a rotisserie chicken and a few other things. When I got home, mum was really under the weather. Her glucose was super high and she’s not wanting to go to church Sunday. Which is good and bad. Good, because she really doesn’t need to play the piano and bad because I was going to leave her there and go shopping! Maybe I’ll go anyway. I really need to put the photos from my laptop onto something else. I’m running out of room!!! I also need another photo thing. I think I changed the settings from where it was and it is using up more chip. The drive wasn’t plowed either (it was where I elf!!!).

Had to change another fitting tonight. She’s letting me do it because she hurts. We have to remove the wrap that is around her abdomen to hold things together while she heals. It is a lot of work. There are two incisions on her back. One where the pump was situated and the other down her spine. (I’m not sure exactly what the second one is for. I am going to call on Monday and ask.) Anyway, it is too uncomfortable for her to change things at this time, so she’s letting me do it. I’ve also done a few shots for her, because she’s forgotten. She’s also in pain again. The pump probably needs calibrated up (they start out with a low dose), but they’ll have to wait a few weeks til we set up an appointment to visit the big city again. (I may not get to return to Oregon for Easter.)

Meanwhile, I’ve had 4 cans of diet Pepsi this afternoon (maybe 3) and my tooth hurts and I really really need a shower!!! I rinsed off after elfing, but I didn’t have time to actually clean myself. I’ll wait for mum to go to bed. She said she was going to do that earlier than usual, but she’s reading. (I come by my addiction naturally!)

Cat Nips-Escape Artist

This post refers back to Garfield’s Hug who said Garfield needed a wash.

“In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange.” Jim Davis

I have more stuffed animals than anyone needs. Most of them are from books or have book names. Hen Wen. the white pig from Prydain; Kaa, from ‘The Jungle Book’; Santa Mouse; and Garfield are just a few. Because of this collection and my distaste for clutter, I keep them conveniently stored out of sight elsewhere. Unfortunately, that other place has mice. Which gnaw and chew and nest in the disemboweled remains of the friends from my youth. (I collect mice figures and stories. I like them outside, I do NOT like them in my house and my belongings!!!)

After finding a mess left after one foray into a box of memories, I cleaned it up, and brought the surviving toys home to wash. Washing stuffed animals used to be something I hated to do. The machines would mat the fur, scuff (or remove!) the eyes, and leave them less than appealing. Having boys, I often washed their toys and bedding. I finally learned to put the stuffed friends of most makes inside pillow cases with the tops sealed shut. They go from washer to dryer to arms with nary a muss! Perfect.

However, in the batch I’m sharing about, there was a small window cling Garfield which needed cleaned. You know, the stuffed animals with those sucker things on them somewhere making them easy to attach to a window? They were great for cars. The Craftsman had this particular one on a window in his souped up Bug and later on the back window of a pick-up. At any rate, they washed and I chucked the ‘bag’ in the dryer and left for a bit. Eventually, I heard thumping noises and realized the tie had come loose. There was an escape!! Thankfully, it was towards the end of the cycle and the little guy’s furry outsides had not been compromised. I wasn’t paying attention and just scooped the warm animals from the bottom of the dryer into a basket. Sitting with my reunited friends, I lovingly put their fur and whiskers to rights and realized one was missing. Where was Garfield??? I went back to the dryer, opened the door, and there he was!

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(Yes, I jumped back!)

Mittens Makes the Bed

I decided last night my bedding  needed washed, so I proceeded to tear it apart in the morning. Mittens (mum’s cat) was interested in the proceedings and fortune favored her when she found her favorite toy. She has many toys, but for some reason this one is preferred. It is a little green mouse.

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Stripping this bed was a lesson in frugality. The mattress I have wanted to replace for YEARS. However,  it is a visitor’s bed and is rarely used. So, it remains. (I’ve been visiting for quite a while...)  This mattress is one my dad bought for my sister’s bed (her bed is in the basement and my identical one is in OR) when we moved to this house. I think I was in 7th grade and I graduated from HS in 1983. (yeah, I’m old!) I had wanted to use some flannel sheets with fish on them, but could not find the fitted one for the mattress. I did, eventually. Last fall, I washed and remade the bed with clean sheets. Mum, somehow, got to the bed and added layers. Let me ‘splain from the bottom up.

On the mattress was a mattress protector. On this was the sheet I’d been looking for!! On that sheet there was one of those eggshell pads of dubious vintage. On the pad was a blanket! On the blanket was the sheet I’d been sleeping on. (I knew the blanket was there, I have changed the sheets since I’ve been home. I just kept using the same ones and didn’t move the blanket. Making beds is a lot of work and this damsel is a weenie!) Some of the sheets and blankets were also of an ancient linen-age. As in from an Inn my grandparent’s owned and operated (the brown one Mittens is sitting on) or from when I was a kid (the ones which resemble the  70’s).

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I washed several loads to make sure all the bedding I was going to use and had used was clean. I absolutely love clean linen. I don’t pay attention to thread count. As long as the threads are whole, I don’t care. Clean is the most important part. Making the bed is also important. When I was in college I learned many things. Two of them were (a) always make your bed, it makes the room look much cleaner and (b) sleep between the colors. Mittens appears to approve of this last thought.

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Once made, she gave the bed the feline paw of approval with a roll. Later, while I was in bed, she arrived to make sure I was in place before wandering off to whatever cats do late at night when their two-leggers are abed.

She came back later to sleep on the fuzzy blanket which has horrible fuzzy clingons which I CANNOT get rid of. The roller brush with ‘tape’ gets a little. The best attractant appears to be cloth and then you can’t get it off the cloth!!!!

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However, Mittens is happy, my linen is clean, I have a bazillion layers to keep me warm, and I’m very much looking forward to slipping myself between those sheets!!!

Clothes?

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I had washed a basket of mum’s laundry today. I saw the jammies she had worn sitting on the floor in the bathroom, so decided I’d better fold her clean clothes and bring the basket back upstairs. As I passed her this evening, she was in the living room, she said brightly,, ‘Oh , now I have clean clothes again!’

I closed my eyes and was not nice. I told her, ‘Mum, you have clean clothes. A lot of clean clothes. They are in your drawers and piled on the floor in your room.’ I then proceeded to empty the basket and put the clean folded clothes on top of the stack on the floor at the end of her bed. She is wearing one of her favorite sweatshirts tonight, because she cannot find the bright red fleecy sleep shirt I bought her in February. She keeps going thru her things and finding ‘new’ clothes to wear. I noticed on top of her ‘jewelry’ dresser, she put the bag of tubing for her oxygen machine. Old habits cannot be changed…… Gods, I HATE clutter!!!!!!

Hidden Treasures!

20170427_013112 When it is time for mum to go to bed and I’m waiting for her, this is the most tempting place in the world! Boxes and drawers and containers of sparklies!!!!!! In one of the boxes there is a super awesome VERY shiny beaded necklace, in another some ulu earrings I’d wear in a second, and then inside the ‘shutters’ there is a string of pearl like beads which are soooo pretty. I don’t have much reason to wear necklaces (they sort of look odd with sweatshirts or a t when you are just hanging around a house). I do like to wear them if I dress nice (RARE occurrence!) and I almost always wear my amethyst stone on the cord. That goes against my skin. BUT, oh my…so many lovely things to peruse. They really need sorted  or organised. But, mum would notice and be a bit unhappy. Not being able to wear jewelry is a sort of sad thing and there are most likely a great many memories in those miscellaneous boxes. I can wait.