Beginning to Pull Out of It

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I just needed some emotional distance, I think, and one thing I knew would work was to distract myself by reading — piling the first six books of the Foreigner series by C. J. Cherryh in the way of ruminating about what happened.  “Rumination” is the $45-an-hour word for “beating yourself up over something.”   Going on a guilt trip gets you nowhere that is either healthy or productive.  I haven’t knitted since Tuesday a week ago.  I fully intended to go to knitting group this past Tuesday, ate lunch about 2 p.m., sat in the chair to read, closed my eyes for just a moment and woke up at  9 p.m.  All that missed sleep waited until I wasn’t paying attention, caught up with me, and there you have it.  Next week.

For the past week, it has been unseasonably cold and rainy.  Found out the other day that we’re having an El Niño year.  Seeing as how we’ve been in extreme drought conditions for the past 5 or so years, we’ll take the rain.  We just wish it wasn’t in such big gobs and had a little time to soak in before more comes.

Screenshot_5On The Weather Channel, there was a video that showed the water in the street in Chickasha, Oklahoma, was so deep some guy was riding around in it on a jet ski.  We’ve gotten 7.76 inches/19.7 cm of rainfall through 21 May, which is almost half our yearly average rainfall of 16 inches/40.6 cm.  Some parts of Texas and Oklahoma have had as much as 20 inches/50.8 cm of rain this month.  Unfortunately, more is on the way.  They’re talking anywhere from 1-2 inches/2.5-5.0 cm through Saturday.

Screenshot_6I had a birthday yesterday, and mom and I went out to eat.  It was sprinkling as I pulled up to her house and while we were driving over to the restaurant.  Just as we were tucking into a lovely meal, we had a cloudburst. It rained hard and fast for about 10 minutes, and by the time we were done and on our way out, it was over.  My mom gave me my favorite birthday gift, which is an autographed piece of paper that had a “$” followed by nice round numbers, so after I dropped her off at her house, I went home by way of the bank, followed by a brief stop at the post office to mail a book I sold through Amazon.   This was the front of my birthday card.  The birds are black capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus).

img049Now I’ve got a fat black kitty trying to sleep between my knees, which is problematic since when he decides to stretch out, he pushes one or both my legs off the side of the recliner’s foot rest — which is liable to pitch me upright and dump him off onto the floor.   I think tomorrow I’ll finish the book I’m reading (Foreigner: Explorer) and I may knit some.  I might knit on the other baby afghan and binge watch season 5 of Downton Abbey.

Showing the Flag

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Image © Oskar Pernefeldt,

This is the proposed flag, not of a nation or group of nations, but of the whole planet.  Oskar Pernefeldt proposes this as a design for the flag of Planet Earth.

International flag of planet earth

Image © Oskar Pernefeldt

Personally, I like both the flag and the idea behind it.  That’s why I’m boosting the signal. We have to stop thinking in national terms and start thinking in planetary terms.  We have to realize that what one nation does affects the whole planet — and act upon that knowledge. We have to stop thinking in terms of how we are different and start focusing on how we are the same.  We have to stop thinking in terms of “race” and start thinking in terms of “species.”   We have to get our collective act together.  We are only one of billions of species on this big blue marble we call home and whether we like it or not, like the seven rings on the proposed flag, we are all interconnected.

Cheese and Crackers for Tea

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Three slices of cheese and 18 crackers.  (Too bad that phrase doesn’t scan any better than that, else it would make a great first line for the chorus of a country song.)  Two slices of Sargento muenster cheese and one slice of Sargento sharp cheddar cheese and 18 of the sea salt and olive oil flavor Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisp crackers.  The cheese slices are stacked and cut into equal thirds lengthwise and the thirds cut into equal haves.  A predictable taste – one sixth of a slice of cheese laid atop one cracker.   A known taste. An expected taste.  A dependable taste.  Comfort food.  No surprises.

America Grand-Canyon-Walls-HDMy wallpaper program shows a photograph of white water rapids down a narrow canyon with steep, perpendicular walls.  That is how my life is right now.  Focus narrowed onto doing what is next, putting one foot in front of the other.  Attention sharply focused on getting through the tricky bit that lies just ahead.  Sufficient unto the day . . .

Before I put my newly washed, now thoroughly dry bath mats back down, I got the kitty vacuum — a Eureka cannister vacuum I’ve had since the apartment on 21st street, which was 14 years ago, and had it there at least 5 years, so a nearly 20-year old vacuum (there’s a testimonial for you!) which has been the vacuum next to the litter box for at least 10 years — and vacuumed the bathroom floors.  In addition to a dusting brush, an upholstery brush, and a crevice tool, the vacuum has an extension wand attachment and a floor brush.  La voilá.

Parts of my bath matting strategy baffle my mom.  In the bathroom that has the tub, I have a mat in the prescribed location beside the tub, for stepping out of onto same.  No surprises there.  Owing to the configuration of the full bath (the one with the tub), the tub-side mat also does double duty as the mat around the base of the toilet.  In the half bath (the one that only has a sink and a toilet), I have an actual toilet mat in place.  Again, no surprises. Its the mats in front of the respective sinks that baffle her.  She thinks of bath mattage in terms of floors — protecting wood floors from water and the slip hazard of wet feet on ceramic or vinyl tile.  She does not go barefoot in the house.  (The only places she goes barefoot are in the shower/tub and in bed.) Not me.  I go barefooted or sock footed as soon as I can conveniently shed shoes upon entry indoors. (Don’t need shoes inside.  Inside got floors.  Outside’s where you need shoes.  No floors outside.  That’s why you have to take them with you when you go.  Portable floors.  What a concept!)  To bare feet, a mat in front of a sink, a place to stand where the floor is not cold, makes sense.  Also she washes with a washrag — oddly enough — in the bath and at the sink, but  I don’t use washrags.  I use a nylon net puff in the bath, but for washing my face, I use bare hands and soap.  This makes a difference.  With a washrag, water doesn’t run down your forearms and drip off your elbow onto the floor like it does with bare hands.  So again, even in terms of her water-on-bare-floors mattage strategy, a mat in front of the sink makes sense.  So, both my bathroom sinks have mats in front of them.

(parenthetical question:  Orthographically, would the result of root “mat” plus suffix “-age,”  meaning “act of, state of, result of,” have one “t” or two? — two,  because of the short versus long vowel/silent “e” rule – double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel — which is the reason “mate+age” would only have one “t.”)

(I almost put “kitties’ vacuum” above Only, it’s “kitty’s” now. I’ve had kitties for 18 years, and this is the first time ever I’ve only had just the one. ) (Aftermaths.  They’re everywhere.)

Habit patterns.   Over 15 years of “Don’t leave the cupboard door open, the white one will get in there and . . . ,”  but there isn’t any white one any more.  Over ten years of  “check around before you close the bathroom door to make sure you don’t shut the grey one up inside . . . but there isn’t any grey one any more.   A dozen times a day I catch myself almost doing something I don’t have to worry about doing any more.  Leaving a piece of paper unattended where a certain white kitty could chew on it.  Watching where I step  (As long as we’re talking about hapit patterns, it’s coming on seven months since I don’t have to stick-shift any more and I’m still catching myself reaching for a stick shift when I stop at a light or stop sign, but then I stick-shifted for twenty seven years, and old habits die hard.  Yes, they do.)  Then I think of my mom and 68 years of habit patterns.  Grief is having to live in an emotional mine field of old habit patterns that no longer apply.  Because. (Aftermaths.  They’re everywhere.)

I thought I’d gotten used to the quiet of the white one not being here any more, but the house is even quieter now that the Littermaid has only one cat to cope with.  It doesn’t cycle for hours and hours and hours.  I keep thinking I need to get up and check it to see if it’s blocked.  Then I remember.  Maybe I can keep a Littermaid for longer than a year now before the motor just flat wears out.

A while ago, i noticed how dark the room was, looked up and saw it was only 6 o’clock,  looked out the window and saw the yellow cast to the light.  I really didn’t need to look through the blinds to see the darkly lowering clouds.    “A yellow darkness sinister of rain.”

Sinister of rain indeed.  All of a sudden, we’re having a good old fashioned thundershower, and it’s bucketing down.  Big booms of thunder, and tick-tocks of small hail against the window.  The grassy area in among the buildings is a lake.

I think tomorrow I’m going to clean out under the bed, take the folding doors down from in front of the washer and hang that shower curtain my BFF got me of the Eiffel tower.   I have to clean out under the bed so I’ll have a place to store the doors to put back up when I eventually move out.  The doors are really inconvenient.  If the left one is open, you have to close it to open the front door.  It’s tricky to get out my clothes drying rack which I keep between the dryer and the wall.  They don’t completely cover the opening — there are half inch gaps on both ends between the door and the casing and between the doors, which looks really makeshift.   Maybe if I deal with those stupid folding doors, that will segue really nicely into cleaning and sorting out the closet in the office, and the closet in the hallway.

I’ve been plotting a pasta salad.  I have some elbow macaroni, some chicken fajita meat, and some cherry tomoatoes, celery, black olives and green onions.  I may go do that here directly.

Aftermaths

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Of all the books to be reading right this now, “Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis, which I was about two thirds of the way through already, might not have been the best choice of bedtime reading matter this evening. The story is set at Oxford University a century or two in the future; the History Department has a working time machine, and the head of Medieval History, your typically shortsighted, microfocused university department head, takes advantage of the fact that it is Christmas vacation and he is acting head of the whole History Department to steal a march on Twentieth Century History and send one of his university students back to the year 1320, to a small nearby village which is currently being excavated, to see what it was really like.  The student is more than willing to go and she (yes, it’s a woman, going back in time to Medieval England — what’s wrong with that picture?!) is exceptionally well prepared (all things considered). Of course, never mind that Middle English is actually pronounced nothing like the Middle English Expert has taught her it was, that she can read and speak Latin when the village priest can’t (he’s memorized the mass by rote), and never mind that the coordinates got set wrong because the Medieval Head has less of a notion of what time travel is about than your average random person on the street and used an intern to set the coordinates and parameters of the time machine rather than somebody who actually knew what they were doing, and never mind that instead of arriving at her target little village near Oxford a couple weeks prior to Christmas 1320, she arrives a couple weeks prior to Christmas 1348, at the exact time when the Black Death came to that little village, what could possibly go wrong?

It’s an incredible story, and you aren’t 10 pages into it before you’re thinking, Duh!, how could this book not be nominated for and then not win both the Hugo, and Nebula awards. It’s that good.  (It’s one of those books where opening the cover and starting the first page is like getting into a roller coaster car, and by the third page, the chain drive has engaged and you’re heading up the incline to the first big drop and the story is not going to turn loose of you until the ride’s over.)  But, it’s about the Black Death, for crying out loud, and about a young woman from our future being dumped into the ignorance, superstition, brutality and squalor of Medieval England at the time of Chaucer (and in the meantime, unbeknownst to her, in her present, they’re having an influenza epidemic and key people are getting very sick), and when she finally realizes what year it actually is, she realizes they’re going to open the time portal 28 years too early, and she’s going to be trapped, and all these people she has come to know personally — men, women and children — are dying horribly and inevitably around her of a really nasty disease and there is literally nothing she can do to stop it.

The book has fully-realized, eminently believable characters, a rock solid plot, and a writer who has all kinds of chops, but people die in it of a brutally hellish disease, and the people around them are totally helpless to do anything about it.  Not the kind of thing to take one’s mind off what happened 10 hours ago. I was too wired to sleep before I finished reading the book and put it on the bedside table, and I’m still too wired to go to sleep, despite have had little in the way of sleep except  2-3 hour naps for the past couple of days because I knew what I was going to have to do and when I was going to have to do it.  I know it is the best, most humane decision I could make under the circumstances, but I am right in the middle of having to live through that decision and the emotional train wreck of its consequences.  Again.

2015_04_01-09I have this very fat black cat lying beside me on the bed, and the motion of me putting the book aside suggests to him that since I now have nothing to do, I obviously need to give him scritches for at least an hour or two.   So I beach this whale on my chest and scritch the top of his head and his cheeks and under his chin, and he’s blissing out big time.

And then I say to him, “It’s just you and me, now, fat boy.  Just you and me.”  And the dam breaks, and I’m just sobbing and sobbing, because all I can think of is the visual memory of this big male tech who’s got my little baby girl kitty by the scruff to hold her still so the vet can fit the syringe into the IV port in her foreleg and slowly press the plunger, and I have this tactile memory of having her in my lap helping to hold her, and her thin little body struggling in my hands, and then all of a sudden, she’s just limp weight, and I’m cradling her little body in my hands while the vet listens for a heartbeat that isn’t there any more.

There’s this breathless, suspended, slowmo instant between the realization that you’re going to crash into something, and actually crashing into it.  I’d been in that moment ever since I walked out of the vet’s office until I was lying in bed scritching the black one and said that, and then — trainwreck,  And I’m thinking if I hadn’t been in Petsmart that night buying cat food . . . if that little 8- or 9-year-old girl had not walked right up to me as I’m standing in the checkout lane and just handed me this little black kitten with a white tip on his tail, I would be  alone right now.  I already had three cats.  I didn’t need four.  I could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Instead, I put him against my chest, got out of line, went back and got a bag of kitten kibble, wrote the check for the $40 adoption fee, and got the ferret cage out of the storage building.

11-28 sharing

Stormie and Jett

12-2007 Double Decker Kitties

Gobi and Stormie

During those agonizing moments in the vet’s office after we were shown back to the conference room and left to wait, when I was petting the grey kitty through the top of the carrier, talking to her and trying to calm her (with that damn yappy little dog yapping incessantly a wall away), I was talking at her (and to myself), about how she was going to be going to where the white one was, and where the black stripey one was, and that they would all three be together again, like they were for over three years before I brought that obnoxious little black boy home with me that night in September of 2007.  Well, he’s an obnoxious big fat black boy now (who’s going on a diet as soon as the last of the hairball formula kibble gets eaten up), and he’s it. I’ve never had just one cat.  I started out with two mackerel tabbies, littermates, which I had for two years, then got the white one and had three for about eight years, then four for a couple of years, but I’ve never had just one.  And he’s never been the only one.   We’re both in for a period of adjustment.

A Sad and Rainy Day

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8d638-8-2007womaningherpostIt was a cold and rainy Saturday in November of 2004 when I brought home a little grey classic tabby kitten from a Humane Society adoptathon at Petsmart, which was why I named her Stormie.  She was the only survivor of an abandoned litter.  She weighed a whole pound.  I had her a whole day when I had to take her to the vet because she was having profuse diarrhea — Giardia  was the verdict and she got medicine to take.  She was barely over that when she got a horrible case of ringworm.  She hated the goo I was supposed to give her and let it run out of her mouth rather than swallow it.  We had to resort to tablet griseofulvin — she got a fourth of a tablet, and several pieces of kitty treat as a chaser.  (She was too tiny to eat a whole kitty treat so I had to crunch them up for her.)  Because she was so small and I had two adult male cats besides her, she lived in a large ferret cage until everybody hissed and made up, and until she got big enough to hold her own.  The cage was wheeled from room to room as I worked, slept, did things in the kitchen, watched TV in the living room.  She was still in the cage in when my late sister-in-law of over 20 years, my brother’s first wife, passed that December.

IMG_0002My little  grey girl liked to curl up on my chest, and we cuddled off and on, she and I, while it rained quietly and steadily all last night.  She would cuddle a while and get pets, then walk off into the bedroom to nap for a while beneath the sheet and bedspread curled up  in the hollow on the far side of my body pillow, then I’d hear a thump, and see her up on the dryer eating.  I knitted on the yellow baby afghan betimes, setting it aside when she would jump up on the arm of the chair for some more pets.  I finished it early this morning.

She was just skeletal.  I could feel every bone in her poor little body when I petted her.  She had lost all of the nearly a pound she gained back two months ago, and she was getting feline acne on her chin again, which she hadn’t had since a kitten, a sure sign that her immune system had missed a step.  She was eating well, but she had several episodes of retching Monday, and I put even more hot water into her canned chicken, mixing it with the chicken “juice” that was in the canned chicken, in an effort to get her to drink more.

When I picked her up and put her in the carrier, she cried, because she knew she was going to the vet, and she hated it.  I didn’t call ahead this time, and should have.  We were shown to a consultation room rather than an exam room, and had to wait for a vet to come get her.  She was so thin they had to put a catheter in a vein to make sure she got the whole dose and they brought her back to me wrapped in a towel.  There was a puppy or DYLD* somewhere near where we were (they also board pets) that yipped and yapped constantly and another dog that would howl intermittently, sounds that upset us both, my poor little grey girl and me.  She did not go gentle across the Rainbow Bridge.   A tech had to hold her by the scruff.  And then it was over.  She crossed the rainbow Bridge at 11:07 a.m. There was a kind of symmetry to her coming into my life on a grey, rainy day and leaving me on another grey, rainy day.  She will be cremated like the three others who preceded her.

I have two soft-sided carriers, the one I took her in, and another one.  I got them for the first two I got.  The black one is too big to fit in one.  They are being donated to the local humane society as soon as I can connect with somebody who will take them. .

When I went outside to take out the trash around 1 p.m., the clouds were clearing off and the sun was shining.  There’s irony for you.  And the day continues to go downhill.  A while ago, when I went into the half bath off my bedroom, my foot squished on the bath mat.  The toilet had leaked between the pedestal and IMG_0004the floor.  Now in addition to washing a load of clothes (washed, dry and hung up) and a load of sheets and towels (in the dryer), I’m having to do a load of bathmats.  As long as I’m washing one set, I might as well wash both sets. Sigh. I’ve already got the drying rack set up.

It’s just me and the black kitty now.  Well, he always wanted to be an only cat. Now he’s gotten his wish.  I think he may find it a bit lonely when I’m out and about and he’s here by himself. .

*damn yappy little dog

Stormalinda Phogg-Foote October 1, 2004 – May 13, 2015

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Stormalinda Phogg-Foote

1 October, 2004 – 13 May, 2015

Alias Stormie, alias Baby Girl, alias Lady Penelope Pitti-Patti, she was the only survivor of an abandoned litter, hand raised by a shelter lady, and my first rescue.  At barely 6 weeks old, she was so tiny, with the little pink ribbon around her neck.  She weighed a whole pound when I took her home that rainy Saturday in November.  She’s was a classic tabby, the girl with the swirl.  Small, slender, gracile, and very high strung.  An inveterate snuggler and a momma’s girl, she was slow to make friends because she was so skittish.   Jaks was always “bouncing” her, the little thug, and I would hear a yowl and a hiss, and know he had ambushed her again.  In early 2014, she began to lose weight until by January of 2015, she was painfully thin, and the sad news was that she was in early renal failure.  Unfortunately, she could not regain and keep the weight she had lost, her renal function continued to worsen and I let her go while she was still alert and interactive.  She crossed the Rainbow Bridge on a rainy Wednesday at 11:07 a.m.

The Best Kind of Burglary

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When I went by my mom’s to deliver the flowers I got her for Mother’s Day, she was not home.  However I can open the garage door with a key and get in through the garage.  I wasn’t thinking that mom would have armed their burglar alarm until I opened the door.   I had the instructions on how to turn the alarm off tucked into my billfold*.  Of course, my billfold was in my purse which was locked in the car.  I left mom a note on the door from the garage that I was sorry I set off the burglar alarm, and then made my getaway.  When Mom gets back from where ever she’s gone, she’ll discover she has been burgled — but not only was nothing stolen, the burglar left her a dozen red roses!

In other news, on the way over to my mom’s, I passed a playa lake that was about to run over it was so full — the water level was about 15 feet higher than it usually is because of all the rain we’ve had recently.

The new cell phone I ordered  came in the mail today.  I’ll have to sit down with it and see how it works.  Then I’ll have to go get my car owner’s manual and see if I can get my car and my new cell phone to speak BlueTooth to each other.

 

*Turns out I didn’t. When I got back to the car, I looked all through my billfold and couldn’t find them.  Don’t know what happened to them.

Fizzled Good Intentions

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2015_05_02-01I was going to finish that baby dress — I only have 10 more rows to go.  Instead, I started another one, got stalled on it, and didn’t do any of my mom’s scarves — the four I was going to shorten, the one I was going to finish, and the two I was going to make.  I just read books and blogs, and vegged. I just needed some down time.  Below is the little dress I started in a variegated pink and white.  very delicate and pretty.  It will have a bonnet to match.  I also need to make about four pairs of booties, too, or five.

2015_05_09-02I  don’t think I can wait until the end of the month to say goodbye to my baby girl kitty.  She would be 11 in October.  Bless her little kitty heart.  She’s hungry all the time, and yet she doesn’t gain any weight.  It’s painful to look at her.  She is just skin and bones.  From the “heft” of her when I pick her up, it seems like she has lost what little weight she had gained back.

I got to thinking just now.  When I moved from 21st Street to the duplex, I had three kitties.  I lost my two original kitties while I lived there, one to osteosarcoma and one to diabetes, but I also gained the grey one and the black one.  I had those two and the white one when I moved here, and now the white one is gone, and the grey one will be joining him soon.  It seems every time I move, I lose two kitties.

I need to get ready here directly and go get some flowers to take to my mom.  Mother’s day is tomorrow.  I’m going to get her roses, I think.  We’re going out to eat after church tomorrow, so when I get back, I’ll need to wash my hair.

I really, really need to do some housework.  Even after the sliding doors were fixed, I still haven’t sorted out the closet in my “office” bedroom, nor cleared off my dining room table.  I just haven’t had the energy.  The whole house is at “critical mess”  Once I clean out the “office” closet and sort my yarn stash, I need to tackle that one closet in the hallway, and then dust and vacuum, and do a load or two of laundry, but even just the thought of what needs doing makes me tired. Maybe next week. Part of the problem is that the two little soft-sided cat carriers are in the office closet, and they’re getting donated to the Humane Society once the grey one doesn’t need hers any more.  That’ll just leave the one carrier for the black one.  I’m sure I just don’t want to face up to not needing them any more.

It also occurred to me that this month marks a year since I moved here.  How time flies.  I must be having fun.

Beauty to Reflect On

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“Reflections from Uyuni” is a Time-lapse short film by Enrique Pacheco that shows the intrinsic beauty of the salt flat of Uyuni and the province of Potosí in Bolivia. The reflections produced by the water flooding the area in the rainy season, are the main protagonist of Pacheco´s camera.  The salt flat of Uyuni is the largest in the world at over 10,000 km2/3900 sq.miles.  It is located in the province of Potosí, Bolivia, near the Andes, at an altitude of 3,656 m/12,000 feet.

Thunderboomers and RAIN!

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Tis the season for thunderstorms and tornadoes here in the flatlands.  We’ve already had both, although not any tornadoes close enough to worry about yet (touch wood!). Typically, because of geography, the South Plains, where we are, has cells of thunderstorms build up that dump a lot of rain in a short period of time,  typically produce hail and high winds and also tend to spawn tornadoes, which is why there is a wide swath of the plains that is known as Tornado Alley.

Although we’re several years into a severe drought, we are currently under a flash flood warning.  Until Monday, the wettest May on record for my town was set in 1941 at 4.32 inches/10.97 cm for the entire month.  We got 4.5 inches/11.43 cm on Monday alone, which is to say it bucketed down for literally hours with tremendous claps of thunder that rattled the windows.   We had a very wet and soggy Star Wars Day.  Tahoka, which is a town about 35 miles/56 km south of us has gotten around 9 inches/22.96 cm of rain between Sunday and Tuesday morning, and they had to close the schools Tuesday because the roads were impassible due to flooding.

Just to give you a frame of reference, the average yearly rainfall here in the flatlands is around 16 inches/40.64 cm, so Monday, we got over a quarter of our yearly average rainfall in one day.

Screenshot_4We were also under a severe weather alert Tuesday night so knitting group was cancelled.  We got more rain and some slushy hail out of the storm we had Tuesday.  These Weather Channel maps show red for tornado alert and orange for thunderstorm alerts.  We’re not currently under a tornado alert, but we will be later today if the forecast holds.

Poor Oklahoma is getting pounded.  Again.  There was a tornado reported on the ground at 8:45 in Norman, Oklahoma, that had done some damage.  Some part of Oklahoma gets trashed every year by tornadoes.   Every year.  Oklahoma County, Oklahoma was hit by 19 tornadoes between 2000 and 2015=to-date.  Cleveland County, Oklahoma was hit by 13 tornadoes during the same time period, including the one that hit Norman tonight.   You’d have to pay me big bucks to get me to live in Oklahoma, especially around Oklahoma City (which is the county seat of Oklahoma County as well as the state capital).

May is typically a bad month for tornadoes in this part of the country.  Lubbock was hit by two tornadoes on May 11, 1970.  An F1 hit at 8:10 p.m. that only damaged property, but it was followed by an F5 that hit at 9:35 p.m. that killed 26 people injured 500 people and did $1.4 billion (in 2005 dollars) worth of property damage.  Lubbock still holds the record for the tallest building to survive a direct hit by an F5 tornado and remain standing.  The steel frame of the building was twisted — visibly; however, the building is still in use.  They just had to retrofit it with smaller elevators.

Tuesday, I didn’t know knitting group had been cancelled until I got there, got rained on going into the library building, and saw the sign on the door.  When I got back to my apartment, I looked up and saw that a pane of my dining room window had cracked in two.  Don’t know exactly when it happened, but it happened sometime during the past week.  The apartment maintenance guy came and fixed it Wednesday morning — from the outside, which is good because my sideboard is in front of the window, and it would take an Act of Congress to move it.  I didn’t see any traces on the floor that water had gotten in, though. Typically, when I’m sitting in the living room,  the black one gets up on the ottoman and lies beside my feet.  I was sitting in the living room reading while the repairs were happening, and the noise spooked both of my kitties.  The grey one came and perched on the back of the other armchair and the black one resituated himself on the ottoman and they both watched the source of the noise intently until the window was repaired.

The grey kitty was up on my chest a while ago getting pets, and I could feel every vertebra of her little back bone and the tops of her little pelvis bones, and ever rib.  She is painfully thin and all my efforts at putting more weight on her are not succeeding. She’s still active and alert, but this can’t go on much longer.   I am in the process of coming to terms with letting her go at the end of the month.

Portrait of J. Adam Neuthard

Reverend J. Adam Neuthard, my great-great grandfather

My mom goes on her bus trip to Chicago this month, and after that we will want to go see my cousin in New Mexico.  Also, I want to go to Round Top, Texas to see the church my great-great grandfather founded, visit his grave, and see the other historical buildings in town like the Schiege cigar factory where my great-grand father was foreman, and the foreman’s house where he lived and where my grandmother was born.  I’ve never seen those two places, and I’d like to.  The foreman’s house is now a bed and breakfast.  It would be cool if my mom and I could stay there.  She’s stayed there before, and they have it fixed up nicely — It’s now much nicer than it was when my grandmother lived there as a young girl since the current owners have installed indoor plumbing and air conditioning!

On the way to Round Top is the house where author Robert E. Howard lived in Cross Plains, Texas, which I’d also like to see.   We passed through Cross Plains on our way to and from Pearland in December and I saw a sign for it, but we did not stop.

My mom has had a new fence built.  The old one came with the house in 1963, and really needed to be replaced.  She’s getting the kind where they set 3-inch metal pipe in concrete for the fence posts, and then bolt the wooden cross pieces to the pipe that the fence boards are nailed to.  It’s an 8 foot fence across the back, although the part between her and her neighbor to the west is only 6 feet — he’s paying half the cost of that section.  This is a popular style of fence here as it’s harder to blow down, which tends to happen to fences here a lot.  I emailed her a while ago asking about the details of her Chicago trip and whether I need to take her to where the bus leaves from and when she emailed me back, she said her water heater went out on her Wednesday and she had to have it replaced.

I ordered a new cell phone yesterday from Consumer Cellular, which has a plan where you get 250 any-distance any-where minutes a month with no roaming charges and no contract for $15 a month.  I get a slightly lower rate than that and a price break on the cost of the phone because I’m a member of AARP.  It was time to make the change as they don’t make chargers for my AT&T Go Phone any more, and I can’t get a car charger for it.  The Go Phone needs to have more minutes added on the 15th, and I’m so tired of fooling with AT&T.  I shall have gotten the new phone and have activated it before I need to refill the Go Phone.  The phone comes with a wall charger, but I also opted to get the case and car charger accessory package.  I get to keep my same cellphone number, too, so that’s nice.   I really wanted a car charger because there have been times when I’ve forgotten to charge up my phone and have been out and had to make a phone call that nearly exhausted the battery.  Also, this phone has Bluetooth capacity so I can answer it hands free in my car, and I can get a Bluetooth ear piece for it later if I decide I want one.

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