Thursday, April 16, 2015

He Closed the Shutters. I Opened Them.

An eye-catching post found its way to my
Facebook page recently.
It's from Jen Hatmaker, author, blogger, television

 Jen said:

"I have observed this before and it is still true. 
This is my life with Brandon Hatmaker:
I open the blinds.
He closes the blinds.
I open them.
He closes them.
And then we die."

From the flood of comments identifying with Jen,
it is obvious that this situation isn't just 
hers and mine!!!
No!  It happens all the time!!! 

I guess there's not always an open blind and a
closed blind person in a marriage,
but there certainly was in mine.
Jack was obsessed with making sure no one
could see in--ever--in any way--whatsoever.  Period.

There's a small window under the stairs
which allows light to shine on plants which live there.
Before I knew it he would fold himself up,
crawl under, and close the shutters
 on the little window.
Even though it would be nigh on to impossible to
see anything inside through said window.

I, on the other hand, love light and airiness and openness.
My morning routine is to open all the shades in
our "glass room," and the shutters in front.
That might have been okay with him, as long
as all were securely shut by dark.

 I would...maybe...occasionally do a "bit of complaining" when I caught him shutting shutters!
I am reminded of what I wrote HERE about
the futility of any type of argument.
Jack wasn't just being arbitrary.
He felt as strong a need to close those shutters as
I felt to have them open.

Just a typical case of
sweating the small stuff.
I guess it happens in the best of families.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ABC News Caught Sensationalizing

By ME--personally!
Red handed!
Why should I be surprised?

 My ears perked up when I heard that the
upcoming story on the evening news was about
 an outbreak of illness on two cruise ships.
The ships were Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas,
and Celebrity's Infinity.
They both pulled into Los Angeles today.
The story was that "hundreds" onboard were ill
with the dreaded norovirus.

Well...the Legend was carrying 2076 passengers.
133 were ill on the voyage.
I got out my faithful calculator.
That is 6.4%.
93.4% were not ill.
Will we have a story about them tomorrow night?

The Infinity had 2217 passengers.
100 were taken ill.
This is less than 5%.

So the "hundreds" were 233.
I guess, technically, that is hundreds.
But I certainly pictured more.

Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity were very
aggressive in combating these outbreaks,
as we would want them to be.
But should these two events have been shown 
on the prime time national news?
Must have been a slow news day.

It seems that even ABC might have had some
misgivings about the seriousness of these stories.
Just in case...they threw in a flashback to
two years ago when the Carnival ship lost 
power at sea and drifted in un-air-conditioned
misery for days.
How that related to the cases of norovirus is
a mystery to me.
No it's not.  It's strictly sensationalizing!

In reading reports about these recent "outbreaks"
I found the following:
"According to the Center for Disease Control,
20 million people on land in the U.S. 
come down with the norovirus every year--
1 in 15.
The odds of contracting norovirus in a cruise ship
outbreak is about
1 in 12,000."
It was stated that the CDC had sent this info
to ABC News.
Funny--that wasn't mentioned!
The balloon of sensationalism might have been burst!

By the way...I've been on both of these ships,
more than once on the Legend,
and I've never had the norovirus.  
Don't let media exaggeration and hype scare you
off from cruising! 

As for me, I'm thinking I need to spend much more
time on cruise ships, since the odds of
contracting norovirus are sooo much less there
than on land!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Still Shaking Off Trauma

Yesterday I had agreed to chauffeur some of my
dear friends on a "field trip."
Their garden club was going to the
Biblical Arts Museum in Dallas, and they
were fearsome to make the hairy drive.
("Chauffeuring" is one of the callings of my
old age late stage in life.)
Besides, I had never been there and was
delighted at the prospect of going.
And...I know all the members--
I used to belong myself.
It was much like a happy reunion.

My passengers were to be at my house at 8:45.
E A R L Y!
So I was busily getting ready when I heard
lots of barking!
I had let Charleigh-Girl out earlier and was
leaving her as long as possible since
I knew I would not be back for an extended period.

It was so much barking that I had to go check
for the problem.
As I passed the front door I saw activity on the
front sidewalk, where she most
definitely was not supposed to be.
But she was.  
A lovely lady (angel) was kneeling down
attempting to get close enough to read her tag.
I had on only my sleepshirt, but I threw
open the door.
Charleigh rushed in as I stepped out onto the porch.

The lovely lady (angel) said,
"Is this where she belongs?"
I said that it certainly was.
The LL (A) said that little CG had just 
experienced extreme trauma.
She was way down our street, and two big dogs
were on top of her ("had her down.")
 I guess the LL (A) stopped and ran the big
dogs off, then I know she followed CG in her
car until she stopped at our yard. 
All I could do was blubber my thanks.
Over and over.

I just knew the gate was closed.
It is automatic, and occasionally I hit the "close"
button and it doesn't respond.
But I try to always check it in my rearview mirror.
Sure enough it was closed.
So I began to check around.
The back gate was open just a little!

I simply could not be mad at CG for escaping.
She is, after all, just a dog.
Well, not just a dog--a very special dog.  Of course.
I sure wanted to be mad at the owner of those
two dogs who traumatized her, cause they
shouldn't have been out loose!
But then...neither should she!
(If I didn't know this already, I have
certainly learned it from Judge Judy!)

So...I was just amazed and thankful.
She did not have a mark on her.
She had not been run over.
(Actually, she has zero street smarts.)
And a lovely lady (angel) stopped to help her.

I'm pretty sure she has shaken off her trauma,
but I'm still trying to "let it go."
Thank you, Lord, that I didn't see it happening.
I'm having a difficult enough time 
coping with the mental picture.

But...guess what the first thing I did this morning
Yep, check the gates.
I hope Charleigh-Girl Stovall has escaped
for the last time!
Lesson learned--miraculously.
By me, of course.
I'll bet she would take off again in a 
little doggy heartbeat!

She's not nearly as tough as she thinks she is,
I'm afraid.

**  UPDATE **

We have a neighborhood email website.
I posted a request for CG's angel to contact us,
and she did!!!
Her name is Cathy, and she stopped by to see us.
She said CG was running for her life,
but the other dogs had a size advantage!
Thank goodness, they were not vicious at all.
And, God bless dog lovers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Reminiscing Through Receipts

Of course I knew this drawer needed to be cleaned out.
 But...I had no idea how badly.
 I decided these weathery days provided a good time to do it!

This is a receipt drawer--overflowing but
just with a specific type of receipts.
These are only those from catalog or online orders
 I have placed. 
I have no idea why I kept them all, but
this "chore" turned into a very nostalgic walk
down memory lane.

Could it be possible that the one on the bottom
was from 1998?
 Yes, it could.
Madeline was only 5; Susannah just 3.
Gaga did not yet have Alzheimer's Disease.

This was the earliest receipt.
October 29, 1998!
An "Arthur" Jack in the Box and kids' pinking shears!
(Embarrassingly enough, the shears are
probably still in their room upstairs!
I don't think Arthur is!) 

Here were bears with personalized sweaters--
Madeline and Susannah--
circa 2003. 

Then there were the American Girl doll years.
This one, also from 2003, shows that two had 
zip ankle boots compliments of Mimi and Gaga.

This receipt is from the Vermont Country Store
when the girls were 12 and 10.
I don't remember the cheerful chimpanzee,
(most likely for Susannah)
but the Tangee lipstick was Tangee natural.
 That was the first lipstick I was allowed to wear,
so I wanted Maddie and Susie to experience it!
Only a SOG (silly old grandmother) would
fork over this per tube--which probably cost a quarter
or less in my day!
(Anybody else start out with Tangee natural?)

And then the Juicy Couture years began
(and went on and on and .....)
("Arthur" stuff was much cheaper!)

And we're still in the Broadway years!
Some things are here to stay!!!

Here's an interesting receipt I found, although
it actually didn't belong there.

We must have been preparing for a trip in 2002.
I see we bought lots of film, which had to be carted
with us, then developed.
Aren't digital cameras wonderful?

There were receipts for shirts for Jack,
for cases for his watch collection,
and then the Alzheimer's years began.
and the receipts were for books to try to
help understand and cope.

 Incidentally, I accumulated quite a library
on the subject which I would gladly share.

And then a receipt for his ID bracelet.
Can't believe I waited until 2008.
This should have been a priority much earlier.

There were so many more!
Quite a walk down memory lane.
One from 2001 for a graduation Limoges box  
for Terri when she became Dr. Stovall!
One for the coolest billiard balls ever for Jay in 2007--
clear with each one saying "Jay Stovall."
And, of course, Rob's cherished "Power nap 
head pillow" in sleepy blue from 2013!

So now the drawer looks like this:

I am holding on to this J. Peterman catalog,
which I had no idea I still had,
and which did not belong in this drawer
in the first place.
Remember J. Peterman (John O'Hurley) from
This is an actual Christmas, 1995, catalog
Stay tuned.
This is a treasure which I will share parts
of when you're not so tired of 
reading my trivia!



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Mug Shot

Here it is:

 NAME:  Stovall, Charleigh-Girl
HEIGHT:     22 inches
WEIGHT:  30 pounds
AGE:  Almost 10 Years

Yes, I had finally had it.  Pushed to the limit.
Time for a citizen's arrest.

The final straw:

Now, you might be thinking this doesn't look
that serious, and...
it's actually not as serious as the last thing she did--
chewing up a complete book of blank checks--
which cost money.
The above infraction, however, occurred while I was
in the bathroom getting dressed!
Never before has she been so bad with me at home. 

Who can forget this event...

 But...that was five years ago!
She was just a juvenile delinquent then. 
Now she's a geriatric delinquent!

Who am I kidding?
This is really all my fault.
She is just bored.  I don't play with her enough.
I haven't been consistent enough with her.
I am not firm.
I am consistently not firm.
Besides, who can be mad at this face?

ME--that's who.
But I can't stay mad.

She is almost 70 in people years.
I don't think she's going to change.
I don't know how I'll make it without her
and her badness. 

Oh...and don't worry about her getting upset
over my citizen's arrest of her.
Here is how she felt about it.

It was just one big yawn.
I'm just like her.
All bark and no bite.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stop the Year! I Need Do-Overs!

Things started derailing on December 23, 2014,
when I went to my primary care doctor
for an overdue but routine checkup.
After being my doctor for about 30 years, 
 he was retiring.
For the first time in my long life,
I heard, "Your blood pressure is a little high."
Trigger a whirlwind.
Retaken--not quite as high; "Yes that is high;"
"No that's not that high;" "That's dangerously high;"
"I need medication;"
"This med is making me feel bad;" "Stop med;"
"Monitor;" "BP high only in morning (?);"
ending with:
"Go enjoy your cruise without medication!"
("Oh--no salt either!")

Now that's not all.
My only question for the doc regarded 
Lipitor, which I took for my high cholesterol.
I had heard a couple of the guys at bridge saying
they couldn't take Lipitor because it made
their legs hurt.
Hmmm.  My aching legs were a tremendous
problem to me.
The doctor suggested I leave off the Lipitor
for a couple of weeks to see if I 
noticed improvement.
I did, and I did!!!  So much better.
However, I haven't gotten the new doctor to
prescribe a replacement.
("Maybe you'll be okay without it!?")
So...if I keeled over in St. Thomas, I have two
new possible causes.
(For "old" likely causes, read HERE)

Fretting turned into true misery on
January 8, 2015.
I awoke with a horrendous sore throat, too
nauseated to drive myself to the doctor.
I was sure I had the flu.  Positive.
Susan took me for the diagnosis.
I was grateful to be wrong.  
It was not the flu, but
now I think I might have recovered
more quickly from that than from whatever
it was!
Virus, respiratory, sore throat, nasty cold,
sore throat again, cough, on and on.

I have not been this type of sick in years.
I think this has made up for it.
I have never been down this long in my life.
I have gone for days without leaving home.
My friends and family have brought
me food and faithfully checked on me.

I'll tell you what this episode has done for me.
It has made me so thankful for my wonderful,
comfortable home to which I can retreat.
My head may be stuffy, but my heart is so
warm from the way my kids have rallied 
around me.
I have thanked God over and over that my
circumstances are such that I can
keep my unpleasant self inside--
not spreading these awful germs to others.
I don't have to go to work.
What a giant blessing.
And...I am grateful to be at a point in my
life where I am responsible only
for me and Charleigh-Girl.

Now, you're probably wondering how in the
world I did on a cruise during all this.
My throat was terribly sore again the first
two days and nights, but the interim
doctor had recommended chamomile tea w/honey
as a treatment.
The spa had chamomile tea bags, room service
brought honey, and the fancy schmancy coffee
machine in the Studio Lounge 
 had hot water.  Voila!
The lounge also always had cold orange juice.
I took lots of Advil and drank lots of oj.
And the annoying sneezing and accompanying 
unpleasant symptoms did not really begin
until I got back home.

Incidentally, any thought I had of going to
the ship's infirmary, either to have my
blood pressure checked or to have my poor
throat cultured, had to be quashed.
The doctor could have confined me to my
room--my 99 square feet!
I didn't love it that much!

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon,
February 8, 2015.
This is my New Year's Eve.
I'm declaring myself well tomorrow.
I am implementing plans I had for
January 5, 2015,
to improve my lifestyle a bit.
If they pan out, I'll tell you all about them.
(If they don't, then I was just "keeding!")

A giant THANK YOU to all who have
shown such loving concern for me,




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Here's a Peek at my Getaway!

On Saturday morning, January 24th, I took off
to go get my Mexican vanilla!
Kudos to American Airlines!  It was a great flight!

And...smooth transfer to ship--the Norwegian Getaway.
First sight of ship:

(And, perhaps, the best picture!  You can't see the
gaudy part!  Just wait!)

I got a bite to eat, then started looking for my cabin.
It was a studio--and it took me forever
to find it, even though I knew it was on
the eleventh floor.
In fact, it was 11,573.  See it on this sign?

So did I, but it eluded me!

Success!  Here it is!

 And with my slightly excessive luggage!

The room was exactly like the pictures; therefore,
exactly what I expected. 
The size did not bother me or make me
claustrophobic at all. 
It was clean and new and efficient.'s the best part.
The two story Studio Lounge.

From my floor looking down.

And the best of the best?
  The coffee--everything machine!
Cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate, hot tea!
Loved it!

 We always had cake and cookies...
 and fruit.
Now looking up at my floor.

Only we solo travelers had access to the Studio Lounge
via our room key.

Okay...On to my second favorite thing--
the Thermal Spa!

The "Salt Bath" is more of a "Salt Room"

 You sit on the tile bench (left)...
and put your feet here. 


This beautiful chandelier changed colors.

Something I LOVE about Norwegian.
The fish on the carpet swim "forward."
Let's you know whether or not you're walking
the right direction!
My cabin was starboard and forward.
Important to know, or one can get a little
more exercise than one bargained for.

This is my room and my hall.

 The colors in the hall also changed.

Now to our stops.  First--St. Maarten
We were definitely easy to spot in any port.
Would anyone argue the fact that we were gaudy?
The "Gaudy Getaway!"
I'm so sorry this is the only picture I got
 of the outside decor of the ship.
(Not really.) 

So off I go to the butterfly farm on the French
side of St. Maarten.

Do those things ^ really turn into these?

And here we are crossing back into the Dutch portion
of St. Maarten.

This picture hardly does justice to going from one
country to another. 
In fact, it is downright pitiful.

Next stop: St. Thomas.
Mission: Mexican vanilla
Method: Rode three van taxis downtown
 and right back unsuccessfully
in the heat through wild traffic.
Pictures: I have some, but I'm going to spare you.

Third stop: Nassau, Bahamas
Mission: Mexican vanilla
Method: Walked miles in the heat.
                  What a stunning picture.

               Oh, Constellation.  You are so boring.

At some point while trudging around Nassau
 searching for Mexican vanilla, 
it finally dawned on me.
For Mexican vanilla,
perhaps I needed to go to Mexico!
So...I got...Bahamian vanilla! 

 I hope it's not good, cause then I'll have
to go on another cruise--
to Mexico this time!

This was as much of an adventure as I imagined.
It was surprising how many solo travelers
there were onboard (every studio was occupied) and how sold they were on the studios.
Personally, I missed seeing the water.
I did not miss paying the "single supplement,"
which translates "paying double!"