Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Capture - Joy

Once again I started with the definition. I always think I know the meaning of a word but sometimes it's just my impression of what it means and it's a little off kilter so here's what I got: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation

Are here are the pictures that to me scream JOY!

So I guess the definition of joy for me on this special day would be Carrington and Racecar!

For more joyful pictures go to Beth's Ishouldbefoldinglaundry site

And when you see how happy all these pictures make you, you'll want to join in the fun so go take a couple of pictures and POST EM!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Name Game

I love my koi. They may not be real tame but they are my pets. And they all have names. I mean they all should have names. The truth is that each one has been named but I've found out that if the name doesn't fit, it doesn't stick. Especially after a long winter where they hibernate at the bottom of the pond and you don't seem them for 3 months or more. If it wasn't a good name, it's gone in the Spring. So I'm hoping for some help in the naming of the poor, neglected koi whose name didn't fit and therefore didn't stick.

Here's an example of how we choose names. This is one of the new guys who is still in the nursery (aquarium) in the house and who is going to be released in the big pond this weekend.

Isn't he pretty? He has beautiful iridescent coloring and flowing fins which qualify him as a butterfly koi. And his name is Stealth. And it's going to stick. Why? Because when he's in the pond, he's virtually invisible. Looking down on him, his silvery black coloring against the black pond liner renders him almost impossible to see. Hence, his name is Stealth.

But the other three koi in the aquarium need names and preferably before they enter the world of the big pond. So maybe we can start with this guy:

He's what we call a platinum koi. He also has a nice iridescent quality but although you can't see it here, there's some very light, undesirable orange on his back. We've had platinums before. Most recently we had Moonshine and prior to that we had two named Whitey and Kracker. So we need a name for this guy. Please leave a suggestion in the comments section. If your suggestion is chosen, not only will you have the unmitigated pleasure of being the sponsor of his name but there will be a prize involved as well.

Let's see what you come up with. Thanks for your help.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I had my appointment today where the doctor assessed my ankle and decided what our next course of treatment would be. To be honest, I was hoping that he wouldn't have me walking my complete route right away because I don't feel completely healed and it's a LONG walking trip that I take everyday. But I was hoping, and confident that he would agree, that I could start walking at least a couple of hours a day. But no. He said we'll see again in 10 days. There's still swelling and there's still discomfort and I still wake up at night when I turn my foot while I'm sleeping. So I have mixed feelings. I'm glad we're looking for complete healing before he turns me loose but I'm so frustrated. I've GOT to get moving. I want to cut my grass. I want to do a least part of my route. I want to clean up my flower beds and start making my ponds beautiful.

The height of my frustration came yesterday. What a touching, moving day it was. I participated (but couldn't walk in) the March of Dimes - March for Babies. I was part of Team James and Jake, a cause very near and dear to my heart. But, although I could fund raise and be there, I couldn't experience the walk. And there's something so fulfilling about finishing that route. You feel like you're doing it for all the babies whose names are on your back. You feel like you've REALLY done something physical to show how much you care. So I did the next best thing. I stationed myself where I could catch pictures of all these wonderful, beautiful, loving team members who did finish the walk.

And some people got back before I was ready. Here they they are:

There were a couple more I didn't catch so to see pictures of the whole team, go here where Beth and other members of the team have posted some really wonderful pictures.

I couldn't walk but I was so happy to be a part of this amazing team. What a thrill!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Something's Fishy

Well it's almost time and I can hardly wait.

Last year when we went to the Chicago Koi Show, our intention was to buy one large, breeding size koi. But when we got there, it was way too hard to pick out just one so for the same money we picked out seven. I called them the magnificent seven because I thought they were so special. Well, it's not good to take too much pride in your koi because that (or something) caused the demise of my three favorite. A beautiful, fast growing green one, a gorgeous tri-colored butterfly, and a black and gold one named Goldmine. There are technical names for these types but I haven't learned them yet.

Anyway, here are the four that are left:

Now the big event that is coming up is that soon the young koi that we've kept in the aquarium (or inside nursery) are going to join these big guys in the big pond outside:

And soon after that, the winter pond will turn to a summer pond and it will be beautiful again with lots and lots of happy koi that I'm hoping against hope will spawn lots of little koi this year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Capture - Letters

I thought 'rustic' week was hard but I think 'letters' week is much harder. Like last week I turned to the dictionary for help. And it didn't. Letters meant pretty much what I thought it meant. Either written communication or symbols that represent sounds of speech. Way too abstract for my analytical mind. I need very specific direction.

Then last night we went to Ariel's open house and I spotted these letters:

They seemed kind of all encompassing but I felt like I could do better so I turned to letters that have special meaning for me with two sons in the Army:

Still not knowing if I'm on the right track, I started looking for letters everywhere and I found these:

I felt a little uncomfortable taking a picture of the inside of someone's garage, so I decided to finish with my best letter of all. It's a T but it says so much more than a letter:

Falling + Being Sick = YIKES!!!!!

So I wrote about falling here and here and about being sick here. If you read these posts, you'll know that I found both of these situations dreadfully inconvenient. There was a plus side though and that is that the doctor (or a total of 4 doctors that I saw) prescribed that I not walk on my appointed rounds until at least next Monday. I miss my customers and I miss the exercise but I have to admit that I enjoy going home on a nasty, cold, rainy Spring day when the object of my appointed rounds is particularly difficult to handle. Like today. So it's all good, right? Wrong.

Because my unceasing exercise was the only thing that kept my weight from ballooning at an unprecedented pace. Now the lack of that exercise coupled with my unceasing boredom at home from not being able to do much of anything has caused the unthinkable. Weight gain. Not a little - a lot. Prior to getting sick I had been on vacation for a week which resulted in the usual weight gain but I expected to remedy the situation shortly after returning to work by walking 9 or so miles everyday. And just when the initial soreness was starting to fade and the pounds were starting to drop, I fell...and got sick....and you know the rest.

Fortunately my foot and ankle are feeling better..not great...but lots better and I fully expect to get back to normal, or at least start working towards normal, next week.

And until then, I get to watch more HGTV and learn more about decorating and spaces and buying houses and it's SO interesting. I'm seriously addicted and it influences my feelings about how I can improve my own space and that's all good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Heart This Cause

Today I must write about something that is very important and close to my heart.

On Sunday, April 26th, I will be participating in the March of Dimes - March for Babies walk in Valparaiso. Previously, we've suffered the loss of identical twin grandsons, James and Jake; and two more grandchildren, Jonathan and Grace. All four perfect, midterm babies died before they had the chance to see the light of day. I held each of these perfect little babies in my arms and the heartbreak is unimaginable. My eyes fill with tears just thinking of the pain. So I'm participating in the hope that maybe by participating someone, someday will be spared the agony of losing a grandchild and watching a child suffer through such a terrible loss.

Although unable to walk the 6 miles due to my foot/ankle injury, I'm participating because I'm committed to the March of Dimes mission to celebrate babies who are born healthy and to raise funds for babies who need help to survive and thrive, and I would be grateful if you would join me in this worthy cause.

If you can help, please do. Just visit here to make an online donation. No amount is too small.

Thank you so much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Capture - Rustic Week

Rustic was kind of hard for me mainly, I guess, because I wasn't sure what rustic means. My impression was always that it meant 'old' but when I checked my thesaurus, it said pastoral, country, rural, bucolic. So I went out and took some pictures that said pastoral to me like this one:

But, although I'm proud of this picture, I feel like it missed the mark. So I'm bringing this picture to the table. It's a picture of the site of my parents' rural home. The house has been razed but the site is still there. The house was surrounded by a canopy of trees and in the foreground you can see the daffodils that my mother planted many years ago.

And here's a closeup of what's left of the swing that brought so much fun to so many children (including Beth) when they were young.

And finally, below are the pictures that represent what I REALLY thought rustic meant:

To see many more, much better examples of rustic, go to Beth's site and check them all out. And, if you really want to have some fun, take a couple of pictures and post them.

Falling In Your Sixties

A week ago last Monday I fell, as I noted here.

It's okay. We all fall at one time or another. But when you're in your sixties and you fall, here's what you'll get: Have you had a bone density test? Do you take calcium? And here's what I answer. If I had poor bone density, every bone in my body would be broken because I fall all the time. Because I have an all walking job in every kind of weather condition that requires me to concentrate on something besides my walking all day. And, if you took a 20-year-old woman and threw her down on the ground, hard, 10 times in 3 months, she'd probably break something at least one of those times.

Also, when you're in your sixties and you go to the doctor because of your injury, here's what might happen. The attending doctor might treat your injury as a sprain. That's okay. But when you go back for a follow-up visit and she notes that the radiologist thinks you have a fracture, she might say, "Oh, I saw that on the xray but I just thought it was because I was not looking at the xray of a 20-year-old but that's what the xray of, you know, someone our age just looks like."

Now she might be right. I had new xrays today. And a different doctor. And this doctor said, "yes, I can clearly see the incomplete fracture on the large bone between your ankle and your foot. Have you had a bone density test?". Aaarrrgh.

Tomorrow I see an Orthopedic guy. And he might say there's no fracture. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Except maybe if someone judged me and my xrays for what they are and not for my age.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And Being Sick

Friday I wrote about falling. A most egregious hazard of walking outdoors all day while focusing on something besides the walking itself. I really felt hurt that I fell and, while I always believe that there is a reason for everything, it's hard to justify the insult of a fall.

On to 'being sick'. I've been fighting a cold for some time. During the first part of the battle, I was on antibiotics for an infected tooth that had to be extracted. Even after the extraction I continued with the antibiotic for another week or 10 days. And during this time I had some rather mild cold symptoms.

Then, a few days after the antibiotic series ended, the cold started to get more serious. First came the sinus infection symptoms followed by the throat and ear pain. Everyday seemed to bring more and worse symptoms. Finally I woke up one morning with my first awareness being of a tight chest and pain with the lightest cough. And the body aches that accompany even the slightest fever were quick to make their appearance.

I knew it was time to see a doctor; and, of course Occupational Medicine doctors, at least where I went, would not even look at these other symptoms so I made an appointment with my GP. He prescribed a powerful antibiotic and slowly but surely I've started to feel better. I have a long way to go before I feel good again and I'm so tired I can barely function but it's getting a tiny bit better everyday.

And most importantly, now I know why I had to fall. It was so I would be put on light duty and not in a position where I would spread the nastiest of nastiness to 500 people on my appointed rounds.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


What a winter it's been. There must be thousands of ways to fall and this past winter I've personally found a lot of them.

A light coating of snow that doesn't slow you down. You stride out, trying to make time and who knew? Under that light coating of snow on the corner, there's a large patch of solid ice! Down you go.

A cold day, no new snow, but black ice making it quite difficult to detect. As you walk as quickly as you can, the instant you hit the black ice, you're down. You didn't even know you were going down.

Then there are the completely snowy days. You're walking along and a variation in the terrain under the snow is not detectable. All of a sudden you roll your ankle and down you go.

As you descend some steps, you realize they're slippery and you get a firm grip on the railing. It doesn't matter how firm your grip is, once you're foot meets that ice, you're down.

You make a delivery, turn to cut across a lawn as required, there's a little slope and it's slippery. You didn't know it until your head impacted the brick planter.

You wear boots and cleats when appropriate. You try to slow down to be safe. You watch as closely as possible every change and variation in the terrain. It doesn't matter. If you walk all day in all kinds of weather. You're going to fall.

This year I made it through the winter with only lots of falls. BUT none serious enough to impact my work. Just falls that feel insulting and hurt my feelings along with various parts of my body.

And finally we get to April. Home free. A light layer of snow in the morning is rapidly melting. Although it's wet out, it doesn't seem particularly hazardous. Then a gentle five foot slope to a mailbox is not made up of just grass as it seems, but a mixture of mud and grass. My left foot slid about 2 1/2 feet and my right foot didn't. My right knee bent under me and I must have ended up sitting on my poor twisted, right foot. WOW! That hurt!

I walk to my truck after making two more stops, change pants (mine are soaking wet and muddy), and continue rather tenuously on my route. I called to notify my Supervisor that I had fallen and hurt my right ankle and foot but that I would keep on going. Just not as fast.

I walked the rest of the day. It hurt but I kept going because it's just pain. I can work in pain.

I couldn't wait to get home that day and put my foot up. A half hour after I did, it swelled unbelievably and the pain was really bad.

The next day I went to an occupational health facility where they diagnosed a sprain and put me on light duty. Two days later, the doctor noted that the radiologist thought he saw a small fracture in my foot. Now I'm on really light duty and crutches. What a pain.

Friday, April 10, 2009


So for You Capture - Week Seven, our assignment was to take a picture of fun. And I wrote that this seemed like the hardest assignment yet because I wondered where is the fun and I mean FUN in my life?

And when I reread it, I thought I sounded like a fairly unhappy woman. After all, who has to look for the fun in their life? When I thought about it further, I realized that maybe I was equating fun with happiness or contentment. And I am happy and content. I'm just not a laugher. I laugh but not all the time and not about everything. I'm fairly easily amused but very seldom do I break into peals of laughter.

Sometimes when I'm around a group of women and they're all laughing hysterically about something that I think is mildly amusing, I get a little uncomfortable. But you know what? They're having fun. Maybe you have to make some of your own fun.

I know I'm really, really lucky. I have the best family in the world. And I'm really happy about that. I also have a home that I'm comfortable in, a koi pond that I enjoy, all the flower gardens I can handle; and I pretty much get to do everything that I want.....except retire. And I think that's the fly in the ointment. My job. It's too hard, the people I work for are too mean, and the sun and weather are too unkind to my skin.

So to clear the record, I'm happy. But I don't think the world will be a bowl of cherries for me until I retire. And I'm pretty sure at that time I'll be light hearted and everything will be fun.

I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You Capture - Week Seven

Well, here it is. Week 7 and maybe the hardest assignment of all for me. Where is the fun and I mean FUN in my life? I discovered it in the oldest member of our family (not counting me..wahhhhh) and in the youngest member of our family.

First here is Mr. Right doing the very funnest thing he could possibly do. He looks forward to this fun from the season ending game in what, October? November? to the season opener in April.

And second, here is the youngest member of our family (you may recognize him from another site) having fun. I'd like to pretend he's having fun playing with the hanging toys in his floor gym but in reality, he's having fun watching his parents turn themselves inside out to make him smile. He finds this very entertaining.

For more "fun" pictures, go to Beth's site where she's hosting the You Capture series and, if you really want to have some fun, join in.


I'm anxious to retire. I'm not sure I can though because I don't know what my retirement income would amount to. Why? Because back in 1968, I started a 2 1/2 year stint working for the Air Force in Alamogordo, New Mexico. When I left that job, I was paid part of what would have gone toward my retirement because I never expected to work for the government again. And wouldn't you know it. Now I do.

So when I started this job 13 years ago I began a quest to find out what I owed so that the 2 1/2 years that I worked for the Air Force would count toward my retirement now.

It took literally years to get the information I needed. Evidently there was a fire in the records department in St. Louis that made the information very hard to retrieve. Finally, I found the right person who could get the information. But then I procrastinated for several months before I sent the check.

After I didn't hear anything for several more months, I called on 11/05/08 and explained that I sent my check in August for the full amount and that I had not heard anything regarding what my retirement benefits would be and how much more I owed in interest. I explained that when I called in August to ask the additional interest, I was told that the system was down and I should just send a check and would receive a statement telling what the additional interest would be.

She said the system was still down but that the additional interest was $115.83. I told her that it was important to me to know what my retirement benefits would be and she said that the system went down in July, was supposed to be down 2 months, and was still down now. When it comes up, she said I will receive statements telling about my benefits (yeh,right). On that same day I sent the check for $115.83 making sure to include every reference number and document necessary to ensure that my retirement information would be expedited.

Yesterday, 5 months later, that check came back to me. I forgot to sign it. My fault, no doubt about it. But five months to return it? Five months to let me know? I am appalled.

So I called the number on the explanation sheet. You know. The one that says, if you have any questions, call this number. And that person said, "Oh, I'm not surprised. I've had people complain that's its taken 2 years to process their check." When I asked if more interest had accrued, she said I'd have to call another person at another number to find out.

And you won't believe this. No one answered the phone so I had to leave a message. I left a detailed message; and you won't believe THIS. No one has returned my call.

When the person calls me back (yeh, right), I'm sure she'll tell me that the system is now up, (yeh, right) and she'll tell me about my retirement benefits (yeh, RIGHT).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Garden Of The Gods

While we were visiting Colorado Springs, we took a drive through the breathtakingly beautiful Garden of The Gods. The rock formations are incredible. So today I'm sharing a few of the pictures I took while we were there. You'll see that there was every kind of formation to be seen and many of these structures resemble living things. So today, my question is: What does the formation in the last picture look like to you?

And here is the controversial formation. What does it look like to you?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Traveling With TomTom

As I've discussed in previous posts, we've recently returned from a trip to Colorado. We enjoy traveling by car and always see interesting sights and get along well together on long trips.

But in the past couple of years, traveling has become far more relaxing and enjoyable than ever before. I've always been a pretty good map reader so being the navigator was, for the most part, enjoyable for me and a good way to pass the time. Then along came mapquest and my job as navigator got much easier. But that improvement was nothing compared to the joys of traveling with TomTom.

I think everyone must already have this gps navigation system but just in case you don't, I'm telling you. You've GOT to get it.

The pleasant voice (you can choose the one you like best) patiently tells you everything you need to know about navigating to your destination. She (we chose a woman's voice) gently guides us to the proper lane for our next turn, tells us the name of the street or highway we need to take, and exactly how far it is until we get there. Her warnings usually start at about 2 miles out and she reminds us at 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/4 mile, and then so many feet. While her voice is telling us what to expect, it's clearly displayed on the easy-to-read monitor.

Another enjoyable and useful feature is that the monitor displays and constantly updates exactly how far we still have to go to reach our destination and what time we are expected to arrive.

If somehow you go awry and turn the wrong way, she tries not to panic as she repeats, "turn around as soon as possible"; and if you don't, she tries to figure out an alternate route using your ill advised turn.

Last summer I had an opportunity to go to Washington DC to do what I could to help my son, Secondborn Army Guy and his family move into their new home. Mr. Right couldn't get off work and my daughter-in-law had just given birth to their 4th child and could not join my son and their older 3 children right away due to follow up appointments for her and newborn appointments for their new son.

So I set out with nothing but me and my Tomtom. I want you to know that I don't think I ever could have done it without it. If you're not familiar with the Beltway around Washington DC, let me just describe it as formidable and fearsome. The traffic is unbelievable and the shear size of the beltway is amazing. I've never seen so many lanes on any interstate.

Here is a picture we took as we drove into DC in 2004. This is what it's like before it gets really big and really congested. I couldn't take pictures at that point though because I was navigating and it got really hairy...and scary.

But at about 1 a.m. I sailed into DC just like I owned it. I made an errant turn and Tomtom patiently guided me back on course. And when our destination address changed at the last minute, I typed it in and drove seamlessly to the new location.

So this post is meant to be a community service post. If you don't have a gps navigation system for your car, get one right way. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it. And not only will you have new found independence to travel alone, but when you're traveling with someone, you'll have lots more time for the license plate game.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

You Capture - Week Six

I tried to capture some Spring shots on the way back from Colorado but had little success. I got the shots. It's just hard to make them out because they're so blurry so I ventured outside after work yesterday and searched for signs of Spring. Here's what I found. First there were tiny, little, almost leaves on my lilac.

And then these brave lilies in my koi pond:

To see more, much better Signs Of Spring pictures, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry. Better yet, take a picture and join the fun!

And the most sure and dependable sign of Spring of all:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I've Been Gone

I've been lonely for my blog but my thoughts have been overwhelming and jumbled and I just couldn't get back to where I was.

First of all. We're home. We left Colorado Springs two days after a surprise Springtime blizzard. That day the air was crystal clear and the mountains were never more beautiful. Pikes Peak was magnificent with a fresh blanket of snow. This picture was taken from my son's living room as were the others I posted a few days ago. (If you look closely at the very bottom of the picture, you'll see a jet which is parked at the Air Force Academy.)

And here is my son. I asked him to shave but he's on leave and enjoys the rugged look while he can. He's still handsome, isn't he. Just think. I have two just like him!

Tomorrow, a few more pictures and one that I'd like your opinion on.

And another day I might post about jumbled, overwhelming, sad thoughts.