Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Yoga

No, I am not talking about yoga that you do in a room heated to 108 degrees.  I am referring to the yoga that I do when I am in a pose and get a hot flash.  I grab something to fan myself and try to keep doing the pose.  It might be a little distracting, but hey, I'm trying!

Today, we were in crocodile pose when the hot flash struck.  Anyone who has had hot flashes knows they cannot be ignored.  I grabbed a newspaper that I had brought into class with me, and I fanned myself.  The teacher commented, and I said it was crocodile with a hot flash pose.  Then someone said it was hot yoga.  I have a hearing loss, and I thought the person had said hot cougar.  That started a whole new topic.  And you thought yoga class was serious?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Disco-Thanksgiving!

My husband loves disco music.  When he cleans fish in the driveway, he cranks up his boombox, and the whole neighborhood hears the disco music (I might be exaggerating).  I usually tell him to turn it down so that the neighbors won't complain (they haven't yet).

This is how my Thanksgiving started this morning.  I wake to the disco beat: boom, boom, boom, boom!  Repeat, ad infinitum...   I think to myself, "He's cleaning fish.  He loves disco music.  The whole neighborhood can hear it."

A few moments later, he walks into the bedroom, and the first thing I say to him is,
"Disco music is an awful way to wake up."  I don't remember what he said, but I think he says, "Sorry."  The music volume decreases.  Oh, thank you!

This music is partly my fault.  Many years ago, I bought him cassettes of disco music since he likes it so much.  I forgot to take into consideration that I would also be hearing this same music every time he cleaned fish.  No, I didn't even think about that.  I do like some of the songs, but others just make me crazy.  I cannot listen to "You Can Ring My Bell-l-l-l-l," without reaching for the "stop" button.  Oh no - now I have that song running through my head.  Quick, what's another disco song?  Oh, much better, the BeeGees singing the sound track from Saturday Night Fever.  

One Christmas, I bought him a Benny Grunch and the Bunch CD - The 12 Yats of Christmas.  The first time listening to it is a novelty, and it's funny.  The second time, it's still funny.  The third time, it's not as funny as the first two times.  The fourth time, I'm starting to get a little tired of it.  The fifth time,  yep, that's me reaching for the "stop" button again.  The disco music is starting to be preferable, but never that "ring my bell" song.

I'm the same way when it comes to listening to music that I really like.  I listen to it over and over and over.  I especially like Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer," and I played it so much, that my neighbors later told me that they now hated the song.  I am so sorry.  I still like that song today, but I don't know where it crosses the line from loving it to hating it if I hear it just once more.

All this to say, "Happy Thanksgiving!"  Hope you wake up to the sounds you like.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lizard in the House!

Whenever my cats fixate on something, I know there's a bug or lizard in the house.  This morning, Zoe would not stop meowing, and she was fixated on the kitchen wall clock.

I walked over to see what was there, and sure enough, there was a green lizard on the wall right above the kitchen clock.  I did not scream (yet).  I opened the patio door in hopes that the lizard could be herded outside, but I didn't go close to do the herding because I could already see the lizard jumping on me and hear myself screaming for bloody murder.

Then I looked again because Zoe was on the floor looking around, and I could NOT see the lizard.  Oy vey, the lizard is still in the house, but I don't know where.  I feel a scream coming on.  Can you just see the lizard jumping on you?

Long ago, when I lived in an apartment, I was on the phone and noticed a lizard on my counter.  I got off the phone and ran outside, grabbing the first person I saw, a strange man I had never seen, and I demanded that he get the lizard out of my house.  He did, but not before he shoved the lizard in my face, just like a little boy would.  He got the desired scream, and I never saw him again.  I have no idea who that person was.

I am hoping the lizard somehow gets outside and I don't find his dry, shriveled body weeks later.  I am also hoping he doesn't jump on me!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How can you not love the library?

I love going to the library.  Many new worlds await you, and you never know what you're going to find.  And the best thing of all - it's free!!!!

Since I've retired, my librarians tease me more than usual.  They love me, and I tell them I'm their favorite patron.  When they see me coming, they say, "Oh, here comes that retired person."  I try not to be obnoxious about how wonderful retirement is, but it doesn't help that I break into my happy dance.

Whenever I return library books, I have to tell the librarian whether or not this book was good, or how riveting that book was.  I ask for reading suggestions, and I am serious about my reading.  I always have to have a book to read before I go to sleep.  I read my Bible and then commence reading the library book.

I get books on tape or on CD or these new devices called Playaways.  I listen to books while I'm washing dishes, folding clothes, cooking, gardening, driving - any way I can.
Yes, I'm still Type A, even though I'm retired.  I doubt that will change.  I have to be doing at least two things at once.  (I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea.)

Today I went looking for a book of dog jokes.  Never found it, but I got all kinds of other books.  Books about traveling to dangerous place, Fodor's How to Pack, Gutsy Women Travel Tips, and a book that is so enlightening titled:  i am neurotic (and so are you).  It's by Lianna Kong.  Everyone has neuroses - quirks for daily living.  Some of us are more obvious about our neuroses.  I have never denied that I am neurotic.  Examples:  I hate peach skin - can't stand to eat a peach with its skin.  Just hate the feel of it.  I never seem to remember if I've locked my car, so I have to go back and click the remote lock again.  Hate touching doorknobs in a public restroom.   Cut all the tags out of my clothing.  These are just a few of my neurotic idiosyncrasies.  Reading this book made me feel so normal!!!  If you have even a touch of OCD, you will love this book and completely identify.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I was on the phone with a friend who was explaining how to talk on Skype.  I googled Skype, went to the site, and installed it - yay! Now I can see the person I'm talking with.  How much fun is that?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paw Under the Door

My cats think it's such a treat to sneak into the room where I have my computer.  When I'm not in the room, I keep the door closed to keep the cats out of the computer room.  There are just so many attractive things the cats can play with and so much mischief they can get into while they're in that room.  After I've been on the computer, I do a visual sweep around the room to shoo the cats out, but my cats have ways of disappearing by blending in with things in the room:  chameleon cats.

I close the door, hoping I got all of them out of the room.  It may be hours later, but I will notice a paw sticking out from under the door.    They usually don't meow.  They just stick out that paw.  Sometimes another cat with start playing with that paw, and then finally I realize a cat is still in the room.

This happens over and over again.  I guess I should count myself lucky that none of them have had an "accident."  Usually the room is none the worse for the incident.  They just take such delight in running into any room that is usually closed off to them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Baby Possum at the Back Door

To understand this you have to know that I feed four feral cats that live in my backyard.  (People occasionally ask me what feral means.  I tell them that feral means wild.)  We've caught them in a have-a-heart trap and gotten them neutered so that we don't have thousands of cats in the neighborhood.  The cats also got tested and vaccinated.

The cats are named:  Linus, Sally, James Bond, Jr., and Moneypenny.  Occasionally, a James Bond, Jr. look-a-like with a collar shows up and samples the food.  (I call him Q.)  After the cats finish eating, the next shift of animals shows up, and we get to watch the raccoon and possum show.  It is still a shock to look out the window expecting to see a cat and see a raccoon or a possum instead.

Tonight, a baby possum showed up.  Most of my friends think possums are ugly, but I like them.  We had a baby possum for a while when we were kids.  We also had a baby raccoon just for a short time.

Well, the baby possum got up on the table where the cat food was, but Moneypenny and James Bond, Jr. were still on the table, too.  What a sight!  The cats just looked at the baby possum while he (or she - I don't know) ate kibble food.

I have threatened to bring home a baby goat for my husband's birthday.  On one of his birthdays, I printed out pictures of miniature donkeys (they really do have mini donkeys), and told him that was going to be his present.  You should have seen the look on his face.  (He frequently tells me, "no more animals.")  I didn't give him the mini donkeys, but I would love to have one, along with a miniature horse and goat.  Every time we see cute animals on TV, he says, "I know.  You want one for Christmas."  It's true.

One of my favorite stories is about when my brother and his wife were talking about what to get me for Christmas.  My niece said, "I know.  Let's get Aunt Debbie a puppy!"  I thought that was great.  She's a girl after my own heart.  I think animals are one of the eight wonders of the world.

Gumbo Lessons

Since I've been retired, I have been cooking.  My husband has cooked for most of our married life, and now that I'm home, I have been getting creative in the kitchen.  It's not a good time for me to try to lose weight.

I have never cooked gumbo in my entire life.  Wayne cooks it frequently, especially when the weather starts turning cooler.  I told him that I wanted him to teach me to cook gumbo, and today was the day.  Well, he started to cook, and I told him I was going to go shopping.  I kissed him goodbye, and he said, "You little punking-out-on-gumbo-cooking-lessons thing."  I said, "I know, but I want to go shopping while the football game is on, and it's not too crowded."  I told him I would learn to cook gumbo the next time.

When I came back from shopping, he had just finished cooking.  Perfect timing!  The gumbo was good.  My husband is a great cook.

I really do plan on learning how to cook gumbo.  But tomorrow, I am going to cook chia muffins and granola - I downloaded those recipes from Dr. Oz and The Chew.  And one of these days, I want to cook Boeuf Bourguignon.  (I had to get Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking out of my library just to be able to spell that.)  Ever since I saw that movie with Meryl Streep playing the part of Julia Child, and Amy Adams blogging about cooking all of Julia Child's recipes in one year, I have wanted to make Boeuf Bourguignon.

Sometimes when I read recipes, if they are too complicated, I don't even attempt them.  Other times, I follow all the instructions, and even if the food tastes fabulous, I think to myself, "Well, it was good, but it was way too much work."

I imagine that when I finally make Boeuf Bourguignon, it will only be once.  If I really like it, I'll order it in a restaurant.

Monday, October 31, 2011


The neighbors had good candy.  It's 9 p.m., and I'm all hopped up on sugar.
Don't Be Surprised!

I woke up this morning to the sounds of the cat throwing up.  Happy Halloween!

I'm going trick or treating in my neighborhood.  They're used to me, and when I don't get dressed up, they're disappointed.  This year, as usual, I'm wearing my angel wings, but I'm also wearing my wax vampire teeth that my co-workers got me as one of the many presents they gave me at my retirement party.  So I guess I'm an angelic vampire or a vampire angel.  Either way, I hope my neighbors have good candy...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Much In One Day

Since I've retired, time is so different.  When I was working, all it seemed there was time to do was work.  Errands and chores got done, but there was never enough time.

Now it seems so much happens in one day.  Not all the time - when I first retired, there were days that I did nothing.  But lately, I can't believe everything that I do in one day.  I like the way time is now.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tiny Tot in the Ladies Room

This is the first time this ever happened to me.  When I came out of the stall in the ladies room, there was a tiny little boy with a cube of cheese on a toothpick, and he was eating it.
I asked where his momma was, but he was supremely unconcerned and said nothing.  I heard a knock on the door of the ladies room, and when I opened it, there were two men asking if a little boy was in there.  The tiny tot walked out with the men.  It was the funniest thing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding Your Strengths

Since I've been retired, I have been reading AARP magazines from 2005 that have stacked up and I never had time to read.  They have some really interesting stuff, and I'm always finding things in them that I google.  I just read an article by Jane Pauley who suggested taking a survey to find your strengths.  Once of the things Jane Pauley suggested was writing down a list of all the things you're proud of.  This kind of goes hand-in-hand with writing down a bucket list, a list of all the things you want to do before you die.  When I was in high school, my friend Darlene and I had a list based on George Plimpton's book, The Paper Lion, and it was "100 things to do before you die."  So I've been having this list for a long time.  The closer I get to the other end of life (death), I'm realizing that I don't have all the time in the world.  This is not morbid, though I suspect some may see it as such, but it's just reality-based.

I still have lots of things left on my list, and lots of things I'd like to do but have had to scratch because of health limitations.  My number one thing is to see the Northern Lights.  But that is a posting for another time.

In thinking about the things I'm proud of myself for doing, it makes me reminisce about by life so far.  I'm proud of these things:
getting my Ph.D.;
travelling around the U.S. to finish my masters thesis on Christian communes, and living in communes for two summers;
backpacking through Europe;
being able to help my mother with peritoneal dialysis without passing out, and being a tiger for her when it came to dealing with medical personnel;
being a social worker for 35 years;
learning sign language;
studying French, Spanish, and Latin (notice I didn't say speaking those languages fluently!);
ziplining in Costa Rica;
swimming with the dolphins in Grassy Key, Florida;
feeding baby tigers in Wilmington, North, Carolina;
white water rafting for a week on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon;
snorkeling in Belize;
the ability to talk with anybody about anything anywhere;
hiking National Parks out west;
learning statistics;
learning how to make jewelry and stained glass pieces;
becoming computer literate;
taking pretty good pictures;
refinishing furniture;
being a cat whisperer;
learning to cook late in my 50's;
giving things away;
becoming assertive;
having come through four major surgeries, with my sense of humor still intact.

I will think about this list some more and add to it from time to time.   And I will start a new bucket list....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Techno Dinosaur

I just got my own computer this year, and now I finally have internet at home.  Whenever salespeople would ask for my e-mail, I'd say that I'm a dinosaur - one of the few who still doesn't have internet.  Now when I tell people I started a blog, they say, "Yeah, but you're not a computer person!"

Actually, my work for the last 10 years involved writing reports on the computer all day long, so the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was get on the computer again.  I have come a long way in learning technology.  I remember when I took a statistics course in graduate school, I had to get one of my professors to show me how to turn on the computer!  I started statistics back in the old days when you had to use punch cards, and you had to have a card for each piece of data.  I still have those punch cards up in the attic.  (My pack rat genes - my brother will catch that reference.)

Now I am so proud of myself when I learn something new on the computer.  Of course, the opposite is true:  I get completely frustrated when I can't figure out something on the computer.

One of my friends told me that there's a Zumba class on YouTube, and I found it.  I was doing Zumba in front of my computer and trying not to step on the cats.  Once you find the Zumba demonstration, then you can find hundreds of other Zumba videos.  I wore myself out doing Zumba, but it was fun.

Having internet is so convenient.  I look up everything.  Whenever I have a question about something, I google it.  Lately, I've been googling Irish Wolfhounds and rescue dogs.  Don't know if and when I'll get a dog, but I want to be prepared.  The cats are going to be shocked.  Not sure about how to break the news to them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Virtual Makeover

Either I am becoming bored in retirement or I am becoming more creative (and silly - as if that's possible).  So last night, when I was staying up till all hours of the night, I was playing on the computer (how many stories start out that way?), and I decided to see if I could find a site that would show what you looked like with different hairstyles and hair colors.  Turns out, there are many sites like this.  Just google "virtual makeover," and see how many there are.

I tried a variety of them and had a blast.  First, you have to upload a picture of yourself.  Then you choose a hair style.  It's pretty funny trying to fit the hair style on to your head.  Then try changing the color.  See if that's not the most fun you have had all day.

What made it even more fun was uploading my husband's picture and trying out different hairstyles and colors on him.  He laughed when I showed him his picture, but not as much as I did....

Yes, you read that right.  Two weeks ago, my friend, Patty, invited me to see circuscats for an early birthday present.  First, she had asked me if I was available without telling me anything about what she was going to bring me to;  all she said was that she promised I would like it.  I pressed for more information, and she reluctantly told me what the surprise was.  She was going to bring me to see circuscats.  I went online, and sure enough, there is a site for circuscats.  They are called Acrocats, and I was thrilled to be invited.  Who wouldn't want to see a bunch of cats doing acrobatics, but the main thing is - how would you get them to do the acrobatics???

We got to the Shadowbox Theater on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, and we sat down to watch all the other theater patrons.  It was an interesting group.  We got settled and awaited the circuscats.  The "ringleader," a woman named Samantha, came out on stage, and she enticed people to buy kitty ear headbands.  I told Patty I already had those at home.  "Of course you do," she said.  Anyone who knows me knows this would be true.  She explained that cat training kits would be for sale after the show so that we could have our cats do the same amazing feats the circuscats would perform.  Cat magnets would also be for sale.  She further explained that the proceeds would go toward feeding and caring for all of the cats.  She said she wouldn't tell us how many cats she had, but suffice it to say, she is single.

The show began.  Ta-da!  A white cat named Tuna came out of his kitty carrier, and Samantha directed him to jump over an obstacle.  Tuna walked out onto the stage, looked at the audience, stretched, and walked around some more, ignoring Samantha.  She continued to direct him to jump.  He continued to ignore her.  They went back and forth like this for several minutes.  Patty whispered to me, "Debra, I am so sorry!"  I was thinking that I felt bad for Patty because she spent good money to bring me to this, but at the same time, I was laughing at the whole situation because anyone who has tried to make a cat do something knows that cats cannot be made to do anything!

Believe it or not, after much cajoling, Tuna finally deigned to jump over the obstacle.  One by one, Samantha and her assistant let different kitties out of their kitty carriers, and each of them performed tricks.  I laughed a lot, but my mother always did say I was easily amused.  The last act was the Rock Cats - each cat played an instrument in a rock band, but I wouldn't really recommend their music.  It was pretty funny, and Patty got me the Rock Cats magnet, which is now on my refrigerator.  I even got a cat training kit, and immediately began trying to make my cats do tricks when I got home.  I am having the same success that Samantha had with Tuna!

Here I am in front of the Rock Cats band.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Month After Retiring

Nobody tells you that being retired is weird.  I was so happy to leave my job, but everyone else is still working.  It's a whole other world out there during the day.  I went to the K-Mart at 10 a.m., and it was quiet.  People were walking around the store very quietly and politely.  It's totally different when you go to the store after work or on the weekend. Even traffic was different.  People drive without rushing and aren't as rude, trying to cut in front of you without using a blinker.

The other thing that's weird is that everyone wants to know what you're doing now that you've retired.  I tell them, "Nothing!"  I'm so happy about that, too.  Or I say, "I'm going to be a housewife for the first time ever."  Really, it's wonderful.  I sleep when I feel like it.  I stay up till all hours of the night.  I have become addicted to playing Freecell.  I am cooking.  I am going through my house room by closet by drawer, straightening things out, throwing things away, and giving things to others.  My motto is:  "If I am not using it, I am giving it away to someone who can use it or needs it."  I'm not in any rush to do this.  It's happening without any drive to get things done.  That's what's so nice about retirement.  I'm just not as rushed as I was when I was working.

Another thing that's weird is that once you say that you're retired, lots of people will tell you, "Oh, now you can do this or that."  I am saying that I'm not doing anything for a year. After someone dies, you're not supposed to make any major decisions for a year.  I am not mourning the job I no longer have, but it is quite a change.  I want to do lots of things, but I decided to give myself time until I have recuperated from the work world of the past 35 years.  I worked longer than that, but that's post graduate school work years.

I want to learn to play the piano and guitar again.  I want to learn how to draw, paint, sculpt, do pottery and glass blowing.  I want to get a puppy or a dog, not sure what kind, but I want to be able to do pet therapy with the dog.

I did start going to Yoga classes.  It wasn't ever something that I thought I could do.  I tried two different classes.  I can do the easy class, so I'll stick with that one.

Health is always an issue.  Didn't want to start my retirement being blind or crippled, but I have been dealing with both of those.  Had laser eye surgery on my left retina because it was detaching.  So far, so good.  Have had three steroid epidurals in the past three months to deal with low back and hip pain.  Hoping for relief...

Have been watching lots or movies and reading lost of books.  Love books on tape because you can do housework and listen to books at the same time.  Still Type A even in retirement.

Will eventually learn how to do more things on the computer.  Not sure about Facebook though.  It's bad enough I play Freecell every day!