Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Happy New Year To You


A new year is beginning to peak through
softly beautiful and different like new falling snow,
each day unique and shaped just for you.
Your life adding something as each day does grow.
My wish for your new year is beauty
and softness with surprises thrown in for delight.
Love for each day bringing happiness to you,
making your life a scene of sparkle and shining sunlight.
-- Author Unknown

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I don't think anyone has come up with a cure or antidote for saying goodbye under any circumstances in a more dignified way. Well, let me just say, it isn't particularly dignity I'm seeking just a sincere emotion that you will be missed, you are gone but not forgotten,I will miss you terribly, you can never be replaced nor would I ever try.

We lost a cat on Christmas Day. He was a wonderful sort....I should know I have quite a selection to choose from. His passing was not our first...we have a cat sanctuary and we have lost a few. Each and every time it is not unlike this being our only cat. At the time, he is indeed all that comes to mind.

It is a loss matter who. You continue to fill his long will that last? You still see him on his favorite rug, or in his favorite bed. Is that to make our transition of his not being there less painful? I don't know but at times it does feel like he is still here.

I said my "goodbye" as he was being carried out to the car, I knew he would never return. And he did not. I carry his memory with me. I can look at photos, but dear Klondike you are missed. RIP RD

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all.

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger. - St. Luke 10-12

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Romantic History of Italian Panettone. by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

The Romantic History of Italian Panettone
Filed Under (Breads), (Cakes), (Desserts), (Novelty), (Traditional) by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 In Italian folklore, it is widely believed that Panettone originated in the city of Milano in northern Italy during the 15th century. It became instantly popular. Today, hundreds of years later, people around the world continue to enjoy the sweet bread. It was originally called Tony's Bread or Pan de Tonio . The name has since evolved to become known as the panettone we enjoy today.

As with all ancient recipes, several legends circulate about how is one came into being. Here is the most popular, and most romantic of the versions. How typical of the Italians to meld together romance and food.

In the city of Milano in northern Italy during the 15th century, there lived a baker named Tony who had a beautiful daughter named Adalgisa. A wealthy young man, Ughetto della Tela, fell in love with the beauty and wanted to marry her, but he knew his family would oppose the marriage because she was a commoner.

Ughetto, a quiet, studious man, worked as a hawk breeder in the court of Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza. Undaunted in his quest to marry Adalgisa, he began to secretly meet the lovely young woman late at night, far from prying eyes. Meeting at such odd hours made a lot of sense because Adalgisa was required to start mixing the bread in the wee hours of the morning in her father’s bakery.

Soon, a strange series of misfortunes befell Tony. A new bakery opened nearby and he began to lose clients. Then he fell ill. This left Adalgisa to do all the work in the bakery, including all the heavy chores.

The gallant Ughetto seized upon this misfortunes and offered himself to assist her. He wanted to improve the bread by adding some butter to the mix, but the struggling bakery had no money to buy the additional ingredient, which was very expensive at the time. So Ughetto sold a few of his prized hawks and with the money purchased all the butter needed.

The bread was an immediate success. Loaves disappeared from the shelves. When Ughetto decided to add a little sugar to the recipe, it became even more popular. Soon word about the tasty bread spread. The beautiful Adalgisa smiled, for the bakery was once again turning a profit. Happy to see his beloved happy once more, Ughetto decided to improve upon the recipe once more. This time, he added candied citron and eggs. At Christimas time, he added raisins. Now the bread really became a huge success, well known throughout the entire city of Milano. Tony's bakery prospered and he became very wealthy.

Without hesitation, Ughetto's family approved the marriage to the wealthy young woman and Ughetto and Adalgisa were soon married. Their secret recipe and other bakers soon began to imitate the bread, ever-increasing quantities to satisfy the palates of Italians.

Today, the bread is produced and shipped throughout the world. It is always given away as gifts and graces the tables of all Italians at Christmas.

Once December hits, I find myself making panettone almost daily. My family loves it. Here is my favourite recipe, easily made in the bread machine:

Mirella Patzer's Panettone

3 1/4 cups bread flour (divided)
1/4 cup each golden raisins
1/4 cup candied mixed peel
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp anise extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
1 tsp fress grated lemon peel
2 tsp yeast

Mix 1 tbsp of the flour with raisins, candied peel and citron. Add milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, orange and lemon peels in bread machine pan or proceed as per manufacturers instructions.

Turn on machine and set to normal/basic bread setting, choosing light color setting if possible. Sprinkle reserved fruit mixture into machine when fruit alarm sounds or just as second kneading is ending. Makes one 1 1/2 lb. loaf.

(If candied mixed peel is not something your family likes, this bread tastes just as good with only the raisins.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Imagine My Surprise.....

I had ordered an artificial christmas tree from Ebay several years ago. It had never been unpacked or really inspected by me. It arrived too late for that year and we made due with the tree we had sans the top. That is another story.

I have great plans every year to not get myself or the rest of the family caught up in a rush to get things up and the tree adorned by Thanksgiving at least. This by the way has never happened. Not that I haven't given it a great deal of thought by at least Halloween. I simply cannot be rushed.

This year I decided the living and dining room needed to have wallpaper removed since the cat had begun the process and it frankly looked awful. This task was not monumental, remove paper, prep, paint. Somewhere between prep and paint I lost my way.

I like to utilize my 'oops' finds. I thought I had the perfect match with the top wallpaper, not so. Then I thought if I did a little home made mixing I would find the exact color.....nope that didn't work either. I do have an abundance of latte colored paint however.

I broke down and bought several gallons of sonoma red. Got it up just in time for Thanksgiving. It looked to me that I had made it, no muss no fuss Christmas stuff next.

Here we go. I finally unwrapped the new tree. It was ordered as a double balsem seven and one half foot tree. Eeeegads look at this I is barely five feet tall and some kind of wicked pine. Not unlike a Charlie Brown creation. I already had several table top versions so here was a third of this kind.

In my haste and feverish temper I sprained my knee. Now folks this is the max it is painful. No amount of rubs, soaking , pills takes away that kind of pain. You limp, you are confined to the first floor and all the ornaments are in the attic. You do not merrily go shopping or caroling with a bum knee. So this too has put a damper on getting things done.

We decided to use all three trees. They range in size of four to five feet tall. We now have a forest of lit trees awaiting ornaments. I must make my way into the attic and grab whatever I can to put on the trees. It has been at least a week so my mobility has improved. Bob unfortunately has a repeat of his sciatica so he is of little assistance.

The thought has crossed my mind.....Do Not Take the Tree Down...We could possibly avoid all of this who ha by having Christmas 24/7 365. Is that a plan?

Be care ful out there the roads can get icey. RD

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The diagnosis is in.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I found out yesterday that I have fibromyalgia. Laugh because I had been looking into this disease for many months. Cry because it took so darn long to find out. Actually, with all the people that show symptoms of this disease it is devilish to get this diagnosis in as short a time as I did.

There is a medication out there Savella, which I will begin taking tonite. Ofcourse I read up on this as well. Hey, if I could get a good nights sleep, finish a task in a reasonable amount of time, and not hit a wall everyday at 3pm I'll be good to go.

I waffled between Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia. They do have alot in common. The good thing is you are granted good days and bad days, on those good days is when I always mention in my blogs that I must make hay. I usually can and do. On those off days, they are really off the chart with pain, and a feeling of wasting away.

After about eight months of getting tests and returning to the physicians office to hear well, it isn't this or that I became frustrated. I stopped going in to hear no news. Then I got a note from the office wanting to see me about my results. Hooray, they have come up with something.

I like to know what I have. I like knowing there is a treatment. I like knowing that I will have ups and downs. And getting used to the fact that I may never be able to handle Lucie is the roughest part.

I've told you I needed to remove wallpaper from the living and dining room. That is done, in fact three layers of paint have been applied. Thank goodness Nicci was there to lend a fact truth be told, she did the majority of the work. Now that I'm on the home stretch I need to clean up and move furniture. Just can't be done, I close the doors and know it will be there tomorrow.

This was just to let you know why I've been so sporadic in my postings, occasionally on the dark side. I hope that the new meds will put me on a more even road and I will be a bit more responsive.

Heck, I'm really lucky, come to think of it....this diagnosis could have been so much worse. I'll hang in there and deal with the discomfort and moodiness, you can join me for this ride if you like. Remember....there will be good days.

Be careful out there....pickpocket season is upon us. RD

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What are you Thankful for?

Allow Your Own Inner Light to Guide You
There comes a time when you must stand alone.

You must feel confident enough within yourself to follow your own dreams.

You must be willing to make sacrifices.

You must be capable of changing and rearranging your priorities so that your final goal can be achieved.

Sometimes, familiarity and comfort need to be challenged.

There are times when you must take a few extra chances and create your own realities.

Be strong enough to at least try to make your life better.

Be confident enough that you won't settle for a compromise just to get by.

Appreciate yourself by allowing yourself the opportunities to grow, develop, and find your true sense of purpose in this life.

Don't stand in someone else's shadow when it's your sunlight that should lead the wa

After reading this and several other articles I could help myself but to ask you .."What are you thankful for?"

I don't consider myself a religious person, but definitely a spiritual one.Whatever that means to you it more than likely means something entirely different to me. But this is not meant to be a level playing field it is an exchange of ideas.

I want to write down the first thing that comes to mind and keep on listing the wonderful things that have enlightened me this year. What I have found though is that I may indeed take my life for granted in many respects.

I can walk. That is a great thank you from my heart.
I often can paint. The muse is not with me as often as I like but I won't quibble.
I am able to do the things I most want to do, watch my daughter take on the struggles of life and often beat the odds.
I can play games on line with my grandchild. Denied me for over ten years.
Most days I can care for my companions with the help of my computer, and occasionally a visit to a vet I admire.
I can watch the sun rise, if I desire, from my own home.

These are but a very few of the things I am thankful for. How about you? Is your health holding up? Is your family close and supportive? Do you like your life?

One last thought....I will be eternally grateful for not having to eat some of the concoctions I have been seeing on my 'foodie' sites. Oh, I think it is all about fusion fashion. But haven't they gone a bit mad with this? I hope that we won't be seeing these whipped up delights next year. Back to the basics for me.

I'm here to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. Drive safe. RD

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fire Dreams Carl Sandburg (1918)

Fire Dreams
from Cornhuskers by Carl Sandburg (1918)
clr gif

(Written to be read aloud, if so be, Thanksgiving Day)

I remember here by the fire,
In the flickering reds and saffrons,
They came in a ramshackle tub,
Pilgrims in tall hats,
Pilgrims of iron jaws,
Drifting by weeks on beaten seas,
And the random chapters say
They were glad and sang to God.

And so
Since the iron-jawed men sat down
And said, “Thanks, O God,”
For life and soup and a little less
Than a hobo handout to-day,
Since gray winds blew gray patterns of sleet on Plymouth Rock,
Since the iron-jawed men sang “Thanks, O God,”
You and I, O Child of the West,
Remember more than ever
November and the hunter’s moon,
November and the yellow-spotted hills.

And so
In the name of the iron-jawed men
I will stand up and say yes till the finish is come and gone.
God of all broken hearts, empty hands, sleeping soldiers,
God of all star-flung beaches of night sky,
I and my love-child stand up together to-day and sing: “Thanks, O God.”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shore Life: Egomania the new Pandemic

Shore Life: Egomania the new Pandemic

Egomania the new Pandemic

It wasn't too long ago that I read the article mentioned in the link. I have been mulling this subject matter around and around. Rather than mulling I decided to write about it only in hopes of getting it off of my mind.

Easier said than done, my friends, I gave birth to an ego maniac. Once the normal span of egomania should evolve into a reality seeking human the problem should go by the wayside like soiled diapers. This is an infantile symptom a part of growing up. Hopefully you emerge fulfilled and go on to the next step in life.

Egomania is an illness of the mind, but I don't think it is thought of as such. It has been given all sorts of room to roam. What I mean is that it is thought of as minor, a me me type of thing that is expected of a select group of people.

I wonder at times.....did I forget to remind this child of reality. How to behave in the real world? I seriously doubt it. My life is steeped in reality and it has little room for one so immersed in themselves there is no space for anything else. But, here again, if this individual will not listen to an authority figure of any do you make an impact....or do you?

I've learned that these individuals will achieve their personal goals at any expense. Their satisfaction is primary. Feeling good about themselves is what it is all about. The insidious goal of making others feel fear or worse yet respect for them is what it is all about. We have amongst us these individuals of no morals. If you happen chance mention consideration for others you are automatically considered weak....and prime for their self serving achievements.

Have no doubts they are among us, they are often thought to thrive in our society. Isn't the me me society their playground? But lest we forget....they can also be a victim of him/or herself they can become bullies of major irritation to everyone around them. Is it insecurity that is the driving force behind this behavior or is it a kind of defense mechanism?

Clearly, I have many more questions than answers. On this personal level I made a decision to remove this from my life. I became so tired of pushing away that my arms nearly fell off. I talked myself hoarse. I sought every make and model of intervention and therapy...of no use.

Make no mistake....this is an illness. There are no pills out there to make this person feel compassion or love of others. In fact, this has so many victims left in the path of their self-proclaimed importance that I often feel the slightest twinge of someone trying to push and pull me in their direction I totally pull back. I no longer wonder what makes them tick....I know within a short amount of time I will be a victim.

I'm often told how very strong I am. I'm independent. I feel an enormous amount of compassion for others and do what I can. But this....."done me in".

May your weekend be splendid. Take care. RD

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Poppy Day

November 11, 2009

Veterans deserve respect, gratitude for their sacrifice

Whether you think of it as Armistice Day, Poppy Day, Remembrance Day -- assuming you are Canadian -- or Veterans Day, those who are aware that today is a national holiday dedicated to honoring those who served their nation in uniform will be in the minority.

For most Americans -- despite the public service announcements during station breaks in the middle of their favorite television shows tonight that say "Happy Veterans Day" -- today is just another Wednesday. And that is a shame.

In a time when military service has become more important, given conflicts in the Middle East and the post-911 world we live in, most Veterans Day observances today were probably sparsely attended, and mainly by aging veterans and their families along with some elected officials and a handful of citizens.

While today's climate and attitude toward veterans of military service is light years better than what it was in the Vietnam era, when returning soldierscould look forward to jeers, curses and even being spit upon, sometimes it seems as if Americans like to talk a good game rather than play a good game.

And also remember, today is the day to honor veterans. While some commemorations will include words about those who made the ultimate sacrifice -- and they, too, should never be forgotten -- that is Memorial Day, not Veterans Day.

It might seem to be only a small semantic point, but it isn't.

Veterans Day is for veterans. For those men and women who served and sacrificed and took the time out of their lives to put themselves on the line for the greater good. And for that, the least the rest of us can do is remember them and honor them and give them their due on Veterans Day.

But if you forgot to attend that Veterans Day ceremony this morning, all is not lost.

Everyone who forgot today is Veterans Day still has a daily opportunity to thank the veterans in their community for their service and their sacrifice. Just stop by the local VFW or American Legion post and simply offer to shake the hands of the men and women there. Politely thank them for their service and be on your way. Simple, heartfelt and sincere. That is all it takes. A few minutes out of a busy schedule and some good karma for the rest of the day.

With an economy just now beginning to turn around and everyday worries about children, families, finances and what to cook for dinner, it's easy to overlook things like Veterans Day -- even more so this time of year when everyone is gearing up for the holiday season.

But there is time enough for everything, if we make the time.

It's not about being patriotic or waving the flag, but about acknowledging an effort made by someone else. And it's not just the veterans who saw combat who deserve our thanks.

The thousands upon thousands of men and women who served in uniform and never fired a shot or dove into a foxhole under fire deserve our thanks, too. They all served countless hours learning and training and essentially standing on guard so the rest of us could watch high school football games on Friday nights and be able to choose between a half-dozen different brands of cola at the corner market and decide not to cut our grass this weekend because there were too many other things to do.

Simply put, their service at lonely military bases across the country or in strange lands overseas or aboard ships in the middle of the ocean was for one thing and one thing only: To preserve freedom for all of us. Even the freedom not to serve ourselves.

But however one feels about the military and the nation's policies, the service of veterans is not something to be scorned or diminished. It was real and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

And it doesn't have to be Veterans Day to stop and thank a vet. Because we enjoy our freedom every day, that means every day is Veterans Day.

Click Here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I was hard pressed to find a vintage card sans black cat. I'm partial to them so I won't use them as halloween props. RD

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Looking back upon our decision to move to the Eastern Shore led me to re-read "Patricia Cornwell's Unnatural Exposure". Whatever was I thinking way back then in 1997?

The author got the essence of the location down to a tea. That location was Tangier Island, Virginia. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. What they speak there is a 'fossilized or remnant of 17th century English'.

Let me tell you this is nigh on to impossible to understand.Bob had clients from this remote place and I went with him on a very few occasions. I am the worst at deciphering dialects or accents. I don't know why but I have always had difficulty understanding so I do alot of smiling and nodding.

Now, back when I thought this was quaint or cute. This is where I wanted to live. The other plus was that Ms. Cromwell spoke about cat food factories dotting the shoreline on the mainland. I had cats, perhaps too many cats and I needed some financial the factories must have an outlet of sorts. These by the way, were fiction. It sounded good and plausible fish, fishing, canning why not?

Now I come to the real crux of my story....many of the folks from Tangier migrated to the big cities of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland. And they brought their language with them. It seems natural that they moved to places like the Eastern Shore where they had easy access to Tangier by ferry. This ferry runs all summer bringing tourists to and from the island and by request in winter or more likely very seldom.

The inhabitants of Tangier must purchase everything on the mainland. That usually involves a trip to Chrisfield or better yet Salisbury. Same goes for doctors, hospitals you name it...they must travel by plane or ferry. I'm sorry, but this would get very old, very fast.

Now I've given you the background of the strange speech patterns of this area. Bob usually interprets for me ,whispering the question asked of me in my ear. I am catching on but I'll admit our heating and cooling man cannot be understood by me. So although he understands me he chooses not to talk to women, so that pleases both of us.

My daughter is ocassionaly asked to do some clerical or computer work for a friend, which she gladly does. However, this time it comprises fourteen hours of tapes to be transcribed. She has done this many times before....but not by a fossilized 17 century English speaking man.

This is a real conundrum....I've rarely seen her weep but this is so foreign to her she is stumped. I guess all that she can do is make this a family affair....where Bob interprets for her as she types this up. Another day on the farm.

Keep safe,my friends, its rough out there. RD

Friday, October 23, 2009

A word for Thursday

Main Entry: es·trange
Pronunciation: \i-ˈstrānj\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): es·tranged; es·trang·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French estrangir, estranger, from Medieval Latin extraneare, from Latin extraneus strange — more at strange
Date: 15th century

1 : to remove from customary environment or associations
2 : to arouse especially mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness : alienate

— es·trange·ment \-mənt\ noun

— es·trang·er noun
synonyms estrange, alienate, disaffect mean to cause one to break a bond of affection or loyalty. estrange implies the development of indifference or hostility with consequent separation or divorcement . alienate may or may not suggest separation but always implies loss of affection or interest . disaffect refers especially to those from whom loyalty is expected and stresses the effects (as rebellion or discontent) of alienation without actual separation

This word did not come to mind out of the blue. My daughter, who has been 'estranged' from us for the past six years has suddenly emerged out of the ashes.

I've been taken aback, I am confused. To treat this estrangement as though it was a small matter occurring last week has left me gobsmacked. RD

Monday, October 19, 2009

Got Mail?

Bob celebrated his birthday this past week. He, my dad and Columbus always celebrate together. So, if there are well wishes sent through the post office they always receive them before the date or more likely after. But this year there was only one card in the mailbox. And this was from some business aquaintance who was promoting their October specials.

I'd like to address the problem of letter writing, post cards and other cards sent, just because. When is the last time you received a handwritten heartfelt letter? Mine was at least four years ago. And I do not remember if I sent a reply or not.

Back to Bob's birthday...he got scads of email, ecard type aknowledgements. Does that make up for a real letter or card? I don't think so...yet I do this myself. For convenience, or timeliness? Laziness?

I used to send cards to my whole family. I had the dates written on my calendar days before so I could go out choose an appropriate message and drop it in the mailbox or go to the postal office. No longer on my things to do list. But why?

Let's face it, many of my recipients have passed on. Their children, who are my age, don't send cards. Heck, they don't even send an email. As families decline, so do things that were formerly just plain etiquette.

I always loved walking to the mailbox and receiving a letter or card. Didn't you? Gosh, someone was thinking about me while they were traveling or just sending a note that I was on their mind. It made my day.

The fact remains that an entire industry may well be going by the wayside, or has been eliminated altogether. We chose our statioinery with care, just the right weight of paper and just how to position those all important initials. Of course the paper was vanilla with perhaps a daring dark blue border. I loved going to the stationary shop and leafing through those huge three ring binder books.

Call me old fashioned or just call me old I miss this stuff. Shall we start a letter writing campaign? A post card a month? I think that this is entirely too late to dig up something from the past that by consensus has fallen by the wayside. I just may write a post card or two to myself...reminding me to do some odd job or recollecting some thought. What do you think?

Hope your week is sunny and bright. Watch out for those hunters. RD

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Darkling Thrush.....Thomas Hardy

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

-- Thomas Hardy

Monday, October 12, 2009

You Rest......You Rust

That appears to be the mantra of the osteo arthritis bunch. Of which I am a member. But as I was thinking about it...doesn't that apply to anything? Your mind....use it or lose it. Same premisis in my book of 'isms'. All I am saying it is nothing new. However, it may just be a new treatment for those of us with arthritis.

As I was paging through my animal catalogs I was pleasantly surprised....they have more choices for dogs and cats suffering from this debilitating disease than they do for humans. Should I send for those and hope I get a moment's relief?

I've been active my whole life. Not one to sit down for very long. We have become so disillusioned with tv programming that we just stopped ordering up the cabel offerings, bty that is all we get, we don't have local programming. So I'm not sitting in front of the television set. I still try to keep to my daily routines...with all of these animals what choice do I have?

But I must hurts to move. Sure, some days are worse than others, but there you can you plan ahead? The affected joints move around as well, some days I can't type, others my knees won't allow me to climb the stairs. Take today, for instance, my wrists and thumbs simply scream for some relief.

I have been to five or more physicians in the past ten years and it wasn't until I screamed loud enough that my hip was replaced. By then it was too late to do anything but. I'm not sorry I had this procedure done, I just wish it had been three years earlier and saved me the aggravation and discomfort. Now it is quite evident to me that my knees are in trouble. I'm frustrated because I know from extensive reading on the internet that there are remedies for this condition.

I have mentioned this to two of my physicians and they go on, once again, as though I hadn't said one word. So now I am forced once again to look for someone who willingly takes a proactive position. This is always a royal pain. We have no listed Rheumatoligists...not anywhere in the vicinity of 200 miles.

Now I must tell you I function well, almost pain free, with propoxy. These were prescribed for my daughter, and when I need one she offers. I asked for this medication and the physician got totally out of control because I took something that was not prescribed by her. Actually, it was prescribed by the surgeon I had last year and even more potent meds later on and folks , they work.

I am moving around as best as I can, I exercise by walking my dogs. We have discovered that they enjoy beach walks and that is in my daily plan. I own an exercycle and will resume that when it gets a bit cooler outdoors. But please tell me that I don't have to do all of this without the aid of a pain reliever.

I'm currently looking up every imaginable alternative med that I can. I stay abreast of what's new, what works, and positive feedback if there is any. I'm trying to learn about my disease and finding no help from the medical community at all. They would rather treat a hang nail than what is clearly a problem.

I'll tell you quite honestly....when you hurt from head to toe exercise is not the first thing that springs to mind. How about just making it through the day? Goodness knows....I know there are millions of people suffering with far worse conditions and with far worse prognosis. That does not mean that I should come first , last or inbetween...but there are things out there to make a person's life bearable and productive and they are not forthcoming.

Its harvesting season....they are currently doing all the land around our house...what a dusty business. I'm forced to remain indoors while this is going on. After all it is the 'deadly' soy product. Could be just another Virginia tall tale...who knows, but may as well be safe than sorry. Hope your week is brilliant. RD

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Door.....taken from Clive

The Door

One day you’ll see:
you’ve been knocking on a door
without a house.
You’ve been waiting, shivering, yelling
words of daring and hope.

One day you’ll see:
there is no-one on the other side
except, as ever, the jubilant ocean
that won’t shatter ceramically like a dream
when you and I shatter.

But not yet. Now
you wait outside, watching
the blue arches of mornings
that will break
but are now perfect.

Underneath on tip-toe
pass the faces, speaking to you,
saying ‘you’, ‘you’, ‘you’,
smiling, waving, arriving
in unfailing chronology.

One day you’ll doubt your movements,
you will shudder
at the accuracy of your sudden age.
You will ache for slow beauty
to save you from your quick, quick life.

But not yet. Hope
fills the yawn of time.
Blue surrounds you. Now let’s say
you see a door and knock,
and wait for someone to hear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What the Shore really needs

I have been thinking about this blog for sometime. I didn't want it to reflect my personal unhappiness at what is missing, I wanted it to reflect what the population thinks is missing.

Then to my wonder and article appeared in our twice weekly newspaper 'Needed Businesses'. Wow, I was ready to be shocked, instead I was pleasantly surprised that the people who responded to this query actually came up with quite reasonable responses.

First and foremost the incident that brought this about was the initial groundbreaking of the one and only Walmart. This troubling event was ten years in the making, so you can see just how ornery these locals can be..well, the supervisors mainly. They have fought all building and commerce from the year one. It is truly a good old boy system that I'm shocked anything of this magnitude got accepted.

But back to my original subject...the people here want diversity in grocery shopping. And no bones about it the people want a gourmet variety deli, that includes imported cheeses, ready-made to go dinners, more than is currently offered like the over-spun rotisserie chickens.

They wanted movie theaters . A movie plex would be nice. We currently have two or three that are open for business at odd hours and don't advertise their showings and when they has to be something that has been available on Netflix for ages.

How to attract tourists? How about a boat rental place? How about gambling in a Mississippi River Boat? How about OTB...that might bring in people who might stay longer than a half hour.

We have oodles of land that is available along the one highway thru the penninsula. What about a shopping mall, Outlet Stores, a Lowes, a new car dealership.

The people that live here want to be able to chose a fast food place, they offered up Popeye,Arby's , Chili's. We currently have Mc D's, Wendy's and Bo Jangles.

The kids have always been a concern of mine. They have no outlets for sports, video, ping pong,big screen TV's, meeting places for events that could include families. We do have a YMCA. Not the same is it.

They asked for an Urgent Care facility. Not a bad idea. You either have the local hospital,ugh, or a hundred mile trip to Salisbury.

All of these businesses would offer the much needed jobs for this area. Right now you can work in a auto parts place which there are many of, or you can work in the chicken industry. That's about it.

My point in mentioning this at all is to let my readers know that there are places in the United States that are currently doing without the basics. Yes, you can be terribly disappointed in some of the results of progress, then change them.

But to hold on to a way of life that has long passed and is irritatingly insufferable for those of us that live here now is incompetent. I am personally indignant each time I must drive one hundred miles for the slightest thing. Don't these supervisors realize that we are forced to shop in another state, and they are losing revenue as well?

What are your thoughts? Go with the flow? or stay put in another century. Have a beautiful week, it looks to be a nice one here. RD

Saturday, September 26, 2009

All That's Old is New Again

I must say....that is a horrible thought. It screams ... no original thought is happening. To rework something that has come and gone should be left buried...we are literally exhuming stuff that was awful once, and now we are looking at those things with a different eye?

Think about it, they have chosen to revisit the 1980's. I don't know about you...but Joan Collins comes to mind. Lots of makeup, those wonderful smoky eyes, bright red lipstick, racing stripes for cheek color, and those shoulder pads!

I'm also recalling the movies and music of the time. Our favorite bands... really, I liked this stuff. The movie buff will do far better than I but all that comes to mind is "Big" with Tom Hanks. And who could forget the "Gremlins" movie? Kinda light and airy and pure entertainment for the prepubescent crowd. Simpler by a long shot.

I lived in Phoenix then. I liked the 1980's. Not a house on the block could be found without a Nagel predominantly displayed. All that lacquer furniture. White and black reigned at the top of the pile. And as I sit here I couldn't forget the many glass items, tables, lamps, whatever went with black and white and a touch of pink.

Talk about a love affair with pink! Wow, "Pretty in Pink", Barbie pink and neon pink dresses by designers like Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors. This is not to say that I was or am a slave to trends..."NO" is far too expensive a hobby to embrace for myself. But remember I had two daughters...who wouldn't be caught dead without the proper accouterments to an evening out on the town or at a concert.

I could have literally been living with Madonna's twins at that time. Not all bad. I must say it really became a time of resourcefulness. They scoured the consignment stores, thrift shops, Goodwill and came up with some terrific costumes. (and that is what they were)

Well folks, this might be in your future. Leather, fur, gloves, (yes, gloves),strapless feminine dresses, ruffles, off shoulder dresses and tops, ( oh, how I despised those)how about the less irritating look of the mono-chromatic look. And most of all the bold placing of colors like red and orange together and having it look good?

This has been touched on in several blogs that I read. However, the real eye-opener came when my doc asked about my meds. Oh, I see you are on theophyllien back to the old meds I see. However he qualified his statement by saying "maybe they will get it right this time" "you know a lot of people died while trying to use this stuff back in the 60's. I too hope they have it right this time.

Having had my say on this subject I came to the conclusion that if you really are into being in style....once again....go to a thrift store, a consignment shop, or Good will...You'll be the bell of the ball.

Can it be? The weekend is upon us....Drive safely. RD

Friday, September 18, 2009

Senior Pets, Senior Owners.....A solution I am in favor of.

Programs support senior pets, senior clients Send us feedback about this article

September 16, 2009
By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service

After having to euthanize another elderly animal and hearing yet another owner say she was too old to get a new dog, Dr. Raymond J. Ramirez got to thinking.

How, he wondered, could he help good clients ease past their fears that their pets might outlive them and have no place to go?

From this question was born “Love and Life Goes On,” a new service at Lakeview Veterinary Clinic in East Peoria, Ill., through which owners need not worry what will happen to their animal companions should they die or become too infirm to tend to their needs.

“What we say is that we’ll take care of your dog or cat for you if there comes a point where you can’t take care of them any more. No questions asked,” said Ramirez.

It’s a huge commitment, but Ramirez sees it as a way to help his elderly clients responsibly continue enjoying pet companionship. It is also smart business. The clinic he bought a year and a half ago is located in a region with an older population. “If my practice is to remain a good, viable practice,” he reasoned, “I need to figure out ways to keep my existing good clients or attract new ones.”

The question of how best to support senior pet owners and their pets is a familiar one for many practitioners and rife with ethical land mines. In an online discussion on the Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN), a division of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), technicians spoke of their clinics being asked to euthanize healthy pets when their owners were no longer able to care for them, or when the owner died. Some techs said their clinics’ policy was not to euthanize healthy animals; others felt an obligation to honor an owner’s wishes.

2nd Chance 4 Pets, a non-profit animal-care advocacy organization in California, estimates that half a million pets are euthanized in the United States each year because their owners neglected to plan properly for the animals’ ongoing care. The organization is dedicated to educating pet owners on how to provide for their pets during the animals’ lifetime.

Amy Shever, who founded the all-volunteer organization in 2004 and serves as its director, said she is against euthanizing healthy animals just because their owners have died or become disabled. “I think it’s unethical, and I think it’s ignorant,” she said, arguing that someone else out there could be an equally capable and loving owner.

The issue is relevant for all pet owners, not just seniors. Shever was motivated to establish 2nd Chance 4 Pets after the deadly World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Eight hundred animals in New York City were left behind,” Shever said. “The average age of the owners was in their 30s.

“This is something that every responsible pet owner needs to think about,” she realized. “We don’t know how our destiny will play out.”

2nd Chance 4 Pets urges pet owners to, at the very least, get an agreement from someone — be it a family member, a friend, a pet-sitter, or a fellow pet owner from the local dog park — to take care of their pet or pets if something should happen.

That agreement is something that should be discussed and renewed periodically, “because people’s lives change,” Shever said. Someone who agreed 10 years ago to take your pooch might be unable to honor that commitment today.

More formal arrangements are another option. According to 2nd Chance 4 Pets, a growing number of states permit residents, as part of their estate planning, to establish trust funds for pet care.

Shever noted that some veterinary schools also offer “perpetual pet care” programs that provide for the lifelong needs of pets whose owners have died or become disabled. These programs tend to be expensive, requiring payments by the owners on the order of $25,000 or $30,000.

At Lakeview Veterinary Clinic, the security owner Ramirez is offering his clients is, in some respects, institutionalizing what’s been a long-time practice at many veterinary hospitals.

Mary Jean Calvi, a licensed veterinary technician in upstate New York with 12 years in the profession, has acquired a menagerie through clients who couldn’t keep their pets any longer. Specifically: four dogs, six cats, eight birds, four rabbits and a tortoise.

The most recent acquisition is a ring-necked dove that belonged to an elderly client who needed medical treatment but delayed because of her many animal charges.

“(She) refused to enter the hospital because she was concerned for the future of her pets,” Calvi wrote on the VSPN discussion board. “She knew that many of them were difficult to place because of who they were: a pit bull, several older dogs, a diabetic, older cat, a crow, a dove .... The entire staff stepped in and we each took in one of them so the client would allow them to admit her to the hospital. She died a few days later and most of the animals are STILL with the people who offered to take them in. I got the dove.”

Added Calvi in an interview, “Anyone who’s ever worked in an animal hospital knows, you inevitably bring home an animal. It’s an unspoken law.”

Besides providing for the lifetime needs of pets, one aim of Ramirez’s plan is to provide his clients with continued animal companionship. Talking with directors of retirement housing in his community, Ramirez heard of instances in which pets apparently prolonged their owners’ lives.

“They saw that if someone came in with a pet, that it was pretty quickly after the pet passed away that the person (also) passed away,” Ramirez said. “They didn’t have anything to live for. You need something to look forward to every day.”

Jennifer Witzel, a licensed veterinary technician in Marshfield, Wisc., has witnessed the power of pet companionship in her own family. Her husband’s grandmother, at age 80, adopted a “poodley mix guy” from the local humane society. The grandmother is subject to bouts of depression and has told her family that needing to feed the dog and take him out gives her a reason to get up every day.

“She’s said many times that (without him), she would have thrown in the towel long before,” Witzel said. Her husband’s grandmother is now 97.

But some adoption agencies decline to work with elderly would-be pet owners, out of concern for the animals’ long-term welfare. In Washington state, Kelly Nelson, owner and founder of a pet-adoption and foster-care organization called Kindred Souls Foundation, remembers being contacted by a woman who was trying to find a pair of cats for her mother. “She was having trouble finding an organization to adopt to her because she’s 80,” Nelson said.

That got Nelson thinking about impediments to pet ownership for seniors and ways to overcome them. From that thinking arose Senior Companion Program, which matches people aged 62 and older with cats or dogs age 10 and older. Kindred Souls pays for the food, cat litter and medical services for each animal for the rest of the animal’s life. Each animal/caregiver pair is assigned a volunteer case manager who takes care of delivering food and litter to the home and can provide transportation to veterinary appointments.

The new program, initially supported by a budget of $10,000 for up to 10 animals, has so far matched a handful of senior cats with senior caregivers. Nelson said much of the work Kindred Souls does is possible because of its relationship with Chambers Creek Veterinary Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., which provides the foundation with free and discounted medical services.

“That’s our pro bono; that’s our cause,” said Dr. Ann Marie Thiessen, who serves as Kindred Souls Foundation’s medical director. “We feel so privileged to be able to help in whatever way we can.”

Noting that many adoptive owners continue to bring the animals to Chambers Creek for care at their regular prices, Thiessen said, “It’s a symbiotic relationship, as well.”

Back at Lakeview Veterinary Clinic, Ramirez said he doesn’t anticipate being overwhelmed with the pets of clients who turn them over to him. The program is so new that no client has yet taken up the offer.

The subject of death, whether a pet’s or a person’s, is obviously touchy. Ramirez has found that those clients whose pets have already died and who have decided that that pet will be the last are perhaps the least receptive to the invitation.

“If they’ve gone down the path and made the decision, I think us coming in with that suggestion is not likely to change their mind,” Ramirez said. “They’ve mentally made it so it’s not fun anymore, as a defense mechanism.”

But for clients whose pets are still doing well, the idea seems to be gaining traction. Ramirez said he will continue to tweak his approach until it works

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of my hip replacement. I cannot begin to tell you how very grateful I am.

To think....that I once gave the notion of continuing to suffer in endless pain rather than surgery. Upon reflection I see just how ludicrous that thought is.

Fearfulness is something that needs to be put to rest by each an every one of us in our own way. I chose something that was something like an out of body experience.

It wasn't until I had recently visited the hospital on my third trip that I realized that is where the surgery took place. I couldn't tell you anything about the experience. Which is probably a good thing. If you are a surgical nurse I'm sure you hear this often.

All I can say is that if this hip replacement is in your future go ahead. I've never felt better about a decision in my life. Don't wait, as I did, making one excuse after another, the result can be hazardous to your health.

It's raining, it's raining....fall is here. Play nice. RD

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall is upon it or not.

I'm not particularly a fan of fall, I'm a winter gal myself and do welcome the change in seasons. The cooler nights do help. This is a wonderful time to be out and about. I say this with tongue in cheek.

Why....? Fall allergies. Goodness, I have never in my life experienced these types of allergies. It is a cycle that I believe can only be broken with a frost. Sneezing, itching, runny eyes and nose and on and on. But of course, there are remedies....over the counter put you to sleep remedies. Then of course there is my dog Gemma, who is licking, itching and carrying on as I do. She too gets the over the counter remedies and she sleeps for an hour or so and is right back at it.

We both are awaiting a bit of cooling off. Whatever the culprit is is really in good form this year. I'm thinking mold. It is just everywhere. You breath it in day and nite. A dog is closer to the ground and they have their noses right in it.

Come to think of it....I spent Thursday eight hours of Thursday on the road and in Salisbury's Peninsula Regional Hospital getting tested. Oh yeah, the same old stuff, chest x-ray, spirometery, and finally a consult with a pulmonologist.

I have to say....this fellow was one wippy guy. The second that I have met in the ten years of living here. He was sassy, feisty,knowledgeable, not that difficult to look at either. Yup, I have allergies, yup, I have asthma. We already knew this, but it is getting worse. He suggested I move. MOVE....heck I've wanted to do that for the past ten years. He offered to write a note to Bob to stress the urgency of my getting out of this climate. He suggested Northern Arizona. Funny he should say that.

As anyone who knows me just a bit will tell you I have been looking in various places among them Texas. He nixed Texas. Too much of the same types of allergens that I'm sensitive to there. Why northern Arizona...I really don't know...but he mentioned that I clearly don't belong here or back in the 18Th century of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

I explained why we have no choice in the matter at this time because of the sorry state of real estate both on the Eastern Shore and many other places. He then suggested .. failing that we must modernize our home by installing central air, some kind of heating, not the oil we have now. Now come on....spend thousands to stay where it is unhealthy and dismal?

I am rather happy about the could have been so much worse. But he did mention that the dizziness is not lung is in my head. Oh no, that means more tests.

I've got to tell you....I went on line, (when I could) and found some really nice digs in Prescott Arizona. I'm pumped up again and looking at the world a little differently.

My friend suggested I look into Environmental Diseases. I did so and I am suggesting that everyone take a look. It is amazing what this site can come up with so many symptoms that are environmentally induced. I've often complained about driving behind these huge live poultry trucks.....well there you many viruses are dispersed into your space it is no wonder I walk into walls. But....the red herring is...just trying to find a doctor who agrees with these theories may take awhile. Enlightenment is not that easy to find.

I'm pleased to say Nicci's foot surgery went well and she is a hard one to keep down. Thankfully, the pain relief she was prescribed also knock her out for several hours. Yea!!!!

My journaling is going to be sporadic...we have a problem with our carrier, Vonage. It will be rectified on the 11th of September and we will be back with Verizon. Hopefully that will be the end of this fading in and out. Was it so unreasonable of me to think that it was the signal? Like a satelite shifting and we are losing power down here? Bob seems to think I've lost my mind. Well, just once he could be right.

This is a holiday weekend. Be Safe. See you soon. RD

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting to the bottom of these health issues

Here I am once again talking about my ongoing health issues. I really hope I'm not boring you silly but who else to run this by but you?

Yesterday was my appointment with the pulmonology department in Salisbury having a spirometry test and another chest x-ray. I've mentioned it before, but to refresh your memory, it is a ninety minute drive. Which by all standards is quite doable, but not when the temps are ranging in the ninety five degree mark and so so airconditioining.

Now I have had these tests before, I've had asthma all of my life. It is usually under control with meds. Only when I get a stubborn virus is it a bother. So I was not particularly anxious about the test.

We got to our destination....second floor of the brand spanking new building. I gotta tell you they have been on such a building spurt that the hospital is unrecognizable from what it was ten years ago.

I was met at the elevator by the tech and walked to her office. The testing takes place in like an acrylic phone booth....with all sorts of breathing gadgets right in front of you.

It is a little step up and backed into the chair. Holy cow....what just happened? Pain shooting from my back, down my leg , down my arm and seemingly getting stuck in my rib cage. Did lightening strike? Is this a heart attack? Was I shot? All in a matter of a nano-second ran through my mind.

None of the was a sciatic event. The tech was able to have me walk it out somewhat, I mean it still was persistent in my rib cage. I told her I needed a moment to collect myself...she insisted I go home. Her tests lasted an hour and my time would be better spent on the drive home. I reluctantly agreed.

Thank goodness Nicci was driving and she always comes prepared with extra meds. I took a pain pill with a Latte and off we went. I was fine, really. Just glad that it was over. What a surprising thing to have happen....just making a stupid little turn and BANG you are in a world of pain.

Today every nook and cranny of the right side of my body is aching. Not an unusual aftermath. But just think about it...this could happen at any time to anyone, anywhere. No warning just pop.

Thought I'd pass this along to give you a heads up on this type of event. By the is looking more and more like the dizziness episodes and lack of oxygen are due to anxiety. Go figure....Just what in the world am I so anxious about?

Be safe, keep cool and have a splendid day. RD

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to Stay Young

HOW TO STAY YOUNG by George Carlin

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes
age, weight and
height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why
you pay "them "
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts,
gardening,whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle
mind is the
devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you
gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on.
The only
person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be
ALIVE while
you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether
it's family,
pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies,
whatever. Your
home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve
it. If it is
unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can
improve, get help.
9 Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the
mall, even to the
Next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we
take, but by
The moments that take our breath away.

These simple steps may save your life. The only other suggestion I might offer is to think about aging long before it happens.

This is without a doubt a ageist society. Just watch your television programs for awhile....they have seemingly 12 year old defending a vicious criminal, or a story line that includes a prepubescent doctor. Now for the aged and aging all I ever saw were hemorrhoid commercials, denture adhesives, and diapers.

This is how we are portrayed to the up and coming generation. Need I explain further? Not the epitome of the joke....a youngster speaking with a senior citizen on the value of learning new technologies, keeping up with the space race...when the senior citizen finally got a word in....he mentioned the fact that it is our generation who invented these new technologies. What is that generation going to contribute?

Quite honestly, I never ever thought of growing old. Not the horror of it, nor the "gone fishen" side...just never gave it a thought. We watch as our parents age....I always saw my mother and dad as young and vibrant. They didn't age, they had a few health issues and one day they were gone.

Now why wasn't I paying attention at the time? I had a life, I was busy, I was working. Was I different than most, should I have been paying closer attention and planning for my future? Who knows, in any event I didn't see the handwriting on the wall and went about my selfish life.

One day about three years ago I awoke to such pain in my leg and hip I thought that I had tossed and turned once too often and broken something. Later that day, while painting the kitchen I turned on the ladder and wow....that was a sensation not soon forgotten.

The rest is history. I've got a new hip, no pain there. I would suggest this be done to anyone suffering with OA. But......the side effect....I was aging. This is an old people's disease, I must be unique...ready for Ripley's Believe it or Not. I was still in denial. I wasn't planning on my future being anything but what it once was.

The influx of mail sent to me from Social Security must be a mistake. They are way too early. I don't want to understand this stuff so I'll just put it in a folder for a rainy day.

Body parts heading 'south'. I've been active all of my life....I never considered health clubs, excercycles, walking machines. I did it all routinely. I walked the dogs on long healthy walks, I climbed our steep stairs multiple times a day and we ate a healthy well balanced diet. Let me tell you youngsters that's not enough.

One day things just wear out. Like my most recent appliance maker Kaput. You either replace it or do it the old fashioned way. Same story for your body. Let's not forget about saw your did they age. You can be a carbon copy.

In conclusion, don't leave by thinking I've got this all worked out. Far from it. I'm just coming to grips with it. I'm really doing you a favor....start planning now! Have a wonderful weekend. RD

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Philadelphia Eagles sponsers

The Philadelphia Eagles website lists these companies as corporate sponsors, but the images aren’t clickable, so I’ve looked up as much contact info as I could find.



AAA (American Automobile Association)
Take a close look at Heather Hunter’s bio. She’s worked on behalf of rescues, so she might be worth contacting.





Chrysler & Jeep

CJ’s Tire


Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia

Dietz & Watson

Dunkin Donuts





Independence Blue Cross

Jefferson University Hospitals

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Lincoln Financial Group


Miller Lite


Corporate Office: 888-735-6332

Papa John’s
They donate to the Louisville Zoo, so I assume at least someone there likes animals. They need to be consistent and not support a team that contradicts their previous donations to animal welfare.

Pennsylvania Lottery


Twitter (see their website for more Twitter accounts)


Rite Aid



Sovereign Bank

Facebook (inactive)

Taco Bell


TEVA Pharmaceuticals

Ticket Exchange by Ticketmaster

Corporate Headquarters: 480-693-0800


Waste Management

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No Time Like the Present

That used to be my motto. Getting things done did not need to be thought about but done as quickly as possible and on to the next. Not so anymore. Oh, I'll admit there are multitudes of things that need doing but I realized that I can't do them. Well, not all of them.

We are getting there....slow but sure. That could very well be my motto now. I work slowly and then that may be too much. The frustrations are building up and have nowhere to go. I can't pick up the phone and talk to a nearby pal. My support system now comprises my daughter and husband. And they each have issues themselves so cannot begin to understand what is going on.

I don't know what is going on. The doctors do not know what is going on. When do you call it quits and throw your arms up in the air and say 'uncle'.Alright, I'm giving it just one more shot. I've been referred to a pulmonologist. That will take place several weeks from now. I also have more blood tests to fulfil...geez, the blue marks are just fading from the last time.

Have you ever been on an amusement ride and in the middle of it wanted to get off? No way you can stop get off collect yourself and go on to the next ride. That is very much what I'm experiencing. It all starts with the dizziness. Out of the blue mind you....then it moves on to short of breath.

You feel like you can barely make it to your room or some other safe place to sit or lie down. You grab at anything that is available to you to keep from falling. Your arms are outstretched and you take on the Frankenstein shuffle. You finally park yourself somewhere, hopefully near your medication.

These episodes can sneak up on you in another manner.....I'm told I will be late, or why isn't dinner ready, some such nonsense which you would normally have roll off your back and tell them to JUST WAIT. Not are not unlike a fainting goat. You want to drop then and there....I have not fallen on my back with all four limbs in the air, that may be next.

So far the doc has given me a new asthma med, a breathing machine, and oxygen. If you think about it it does have merit...somehow blood pressure plummets, you feel faint or dizzy and the oxygen should revive you to continue what ever you've been doing.

Now I look the same. Nothing has changed. My balance is impaired and that is what you can see, but I cannot take a chance on wandering too far from my stash of meds so I have become housebound. This, to me, is almost intolerable, but that is the state of things at this moment.

We are expecting a house appraiser any time within the next few weeks. So in addition to cleaning in spurts and fits to accommodate this fellow. I'm having to put things away that I love to work on between chores and flopping around . This is maddening.

My daughter's surgery was approaching at a fast pace. After three years of pain and agony of walking on a lump in her arch, and being seen by several doctors one of whom said it was nothing to worry about, Fri was the cut out date. She went in for pre-op work up yesterday and was told she had a hernia and they could not operate.

The surgical scheduling is quite a challenge for these doctors. From the main hospital Peninsula Regional, a specialty surgical place to now McReady Hospital in Chrisfield Md. She has been shuffled around and is getting the tumor removed on the 28th. I'm wondering.....everything is being done with such haste after sitting on this for three years.

This is just the normal day to day life on the farm. Nothing special, but each item taken by itself is either troubling, or time consuming beyond belief. I'm far from throwing the towel in over these matters I just don't want to wait weeks and weeks for results. I am learning patience in my old age and that is a good thing. Be Safe. RD

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Modern Love

Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear

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Published: July 31, 2009

LET’S say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.

o decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind.

So he turned mean. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That’s when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family.

But I wasn’t buying it.

I said: “It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?” he said.

“Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you’ve always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you’re talking about.”

Then I repeated my line, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”


“How can we have a responsible distance?”

“I don’t want distance,” he said. “I want to move out.”

My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer.

Instead, I went to my desk, Googled “responsible separation” and came up with a list. It included things like: Who’s allowed to use what credit cards? Who are the children allowed to see you with in town? Who’s allowed keys to what?

I looked through the list and passed it on to him.

His response: “Keys? We don’t even have keys to our house.”

I remained stoic. I could see pain in his eyes. Pain I recognized.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing,” he said. “You’re going to make me go into therapy. You’re not going to let me move out. You’re going to use the kids against me.”

“I never said that. I just asked: What can we do to give you the distance you need ... ”

“Stop saying that!”

Well, he didn’t move out.

Instead, he spent the summer being unreliable. He stopped coming home at his usual six o’clock. He would stay out late and not call. He blew off our entire Fourth of July — the parade, the barbecue, the fireworks — to go to someone else’s party. When he was at home, he was distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He didn’t even wish me “Happy Birthday.”

But I didn’t play into it. I walked my line. I told the kids: “Daddy’s having a hard time as adults often do. But we’re a family, no matter what.” I was not going to suffer. And neither were they.

MY trusted friends were irate on my behalf. “How can you just stand by and accept this behavior? Kick him out! Get a lawyer!”

I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a pushover. I’m weak and scared and would put up with anything to keep the family together. I’m probably one of those women who would endure physical abuse. But I can assure you, I’m not. I load 1,500-pound horses into trailers and gallop through the high country of Montana all summer. I went through Pitocin-induced natural childbirth. And a Caesarean section without follow-up drugs. I am handy with a chain saw.

I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen.

Privately, I decided to give him time. Six months.

I had good days, and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. A man doesn’t mow his lawn if he’s going to leave it. Not this man. Then he fixed a door that had been broken for eight years. He made a comment about our front porch needing paint. Our front porch. He mentioned needing wood for next winter. The future. Little by little, he started talking about the future.

It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.”

He was back.

And I saw what had been missing: pride. He’d lost pride in himself. Maybe that’s what happens when our egos take a hit in midlife and we realize we’re not as young and golden anymore.

When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

My husband had become lost in the myth. But he found his way out. We’ve since had the hard conversations. In fact, he encouraged me to write about our ordeal. To help other couples who arrive at this juncture in life. People who feel scared and stuck. Who believe their temporary feelings are permanent. Who see an easy out, and think they can escape.

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.

Laura A. Munson is a writer who lives in Whitefish, Mont.

Having read this article several times today.....first go-around found me wishing I could be this detached and self serving. Second go around I came away with a different opinion....this is fiction.

If this is to be believed they must indeed be a pair matched in heaven. He, being emotionally abusive and she the eternal mother and self sacrificing to the point of carrying on as though daddy has a few issues to work on , so lets go gang and have some fun in the sun.

If he were not bringing home a paycheck through out this little experiment I can guarantee you this would have a different ending. It doesn't mention whether she had a career as well...which would change the complexion of "let's give daddy space".

If this is true....she is a far better person than I am. Where she is expert at ducking I would be walking out the door. No amount of counseling praying, or ignoring the problem will change ..... he became disillusioned. Life was a disappointment although he achieved his goals. It almost parallels the state of being of an actor or person who achieves fame and can't handle it. What's with that?

After reading about this, I came to my conclusions. ...What do you think?

Have a marvelous weekend. Be safe.RD

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Its a Brand New Day

and I'm looking forward to what it will bring. I may have said that too soon. Bob just brought in a huge box of veggies from the Eggman. And a musk melon the size of a basketball, I love melons.

So there is no doubt that I will be making salsa for the next few hours. Nicci isn't here to give a hand so I had better start.

Here is good gateleg table materialized overnite. I cannot tell you how pleased and delighted I am. Some things just need to be left unsaid....I'm not asking because in all reality I won't get a straight answer. It is a bit worse for wear...table top split in half. It can be mended and that is what I'm here for.

The temperatures on the sidebar do not indicate just how awful it is out there. The air is so heavy you can chew it.

I'm off to the kitchen. I seem to be spending an awful lot of time in there. All good things. Take care. Put on that sun lotion, you never know. RD

Saturday, August 1, 2009

There is no reason for

this story to have ever happened or written about. It is just a crying shame that people like this exist and are free to do what they will.

Remember back when I told you about the sweet gateleg table I found? Yes, it was marked with tape and easily identified as a piece I wanted. Along with a small kitchen cabinet that I will rework, and a smaller wooden cabinet that had the signs of being stripped and I would finish the job.

This is what I do. Lucky for me Bob is in real estate and has been fortunate enough to be a foreclosure specialist. Sometimes the homes are empty and spotless and other times when a death has occurred the family has gone through the belongings and left the remainder for the agent to dispose of.

The gateleg was in one of these houses. As I said it was clearly marked but not permanently marked just masking tape "X", as were the hutch and cabinet. Bob also is responsible for the clean up and has a team of two that have done this for him forever.

We are talking about something that took place in May of this year, not ages ago. James usually brings the items over. He is the team. This time it took a real effort to do this. Always an excuse of one kind or another....none of them held water so the red flags started flying about.

One Friday after countless phone conversations James brought the hutch and cabinet. Ah, excuse me, where is the table? Bob is the only one that chats with James, he has an accent that is unintelligible to me, and I've been knows not to understand these local accents.

I just know a conversation went on maybe something like this.."where's the table James?.... what table? you know the one with the 'X" on it? Oh, yeah, its safe in the barn. But I asked for you to deliver that as well. I didn't have room he replies, looking at the size of the truck you could carry the majority of a household in there. The subject dropped.

I had time to repaint a room that this table was to go into. I had plans ,if you recall, of painting it red. I never let go of the subject, until one day Bob said not to mention it to him ever again. Huh? Its been sold? (this is what James does, he has a 24/7 rummage sale going on).

I have not mentioned it again. But I have thought of nothing else. I have lost respect for Bob, but this is not news. I want something to be done about James. Yesterday I made of photo copy of a gateleg table, just a precaution incase the doberman gang of a police force is at a loss as to what I will be registering a complaint about.

This has taken me so long since 1) we were told early on we do not sue our neighbors.2) I'm not sueing, I want to know the truth of the matter.3)it is such a painfully small community, and I am the outsider I think my charges will fall on deaf ears. 4) this could easily backfire onto Bob...who needs their commerce. As for me....I've said it often enough...I don't give a hoot about these people and a thief should be called out and reprimanded.

Do I have a leg to stand on? Geez, I hope so. But in reality...very unlikely. I'm going down there today. Wish me luck. Keep safe. RD

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Am I Seeing Red or....

is everything coming up roses. Best guess...neither.

My malady, illness, condition has not got a name,although I have been to Salisbury and Pokemoke City numerous times being poked, x-rayed, swallowing my pride,plus drinking stuff I wouldn't toss out of a car window for fear of injuring someone.

Does this mean I'm to live like this...walking into walls, not being able to hold on to a paint brush? Tiring at the slightest movement. Taking naps that rival my cats. I sure hope is becoming 'old' and scary.

Thank goodness for books. They have gotten me through the bulk of this. Oddly enough I can hold a book upright and easily get lost in the written word.

Most recently I have been reading P.D. James and Elizabeth George. Two wonderfully entertaining authors.

I have become fixated upon Cornwall. Last night I went so far as to find estate agents, and browse through the offerings. Nothing dimmed my enthusiasm. I saw the ideal lodgings. This is just my fantasy of course, but it keeps me occupied. Much like finding a man like Tommy Lynley...fiction of the first order.

We are coming to grips with the dog situation. The trainer/behaviorist finally consented to answer my email. (her phone was not listed) She admonished me by stating the obvious....'had you come last year as you intended this may not have happened.' After getting over my initial fit of rage, I decided to email her back and dismiss the obvious and want to continue in the quest to train my two dogs.

This week also found us without transportation...water pump on the car needed replacement. You have no idea what lengths you need to go through to just get a simple referral. Our usual mechanic hemmed and hawed coming up with very little useful information. Alas, Eggman to the rescue. He knows the good the bad and the ugly about these parts.

Car is back, the bill was not as frightful as it could be,and included in the fix yet another referral to an air conditioning shop. It doesn't get much better than that. We just want to make informed decisions...and that has been denied us for the past ten years. I've told you how surley these folks can be.

Now that we have wheels, new appointments being made, and requesting that trainer/behaviorist be included on vet visit, I think I have things covered.

Truthfully.....I would like nothing better than to bite into something sinfully sweet. Is that using food as a reward? I don't care what its called I need chocolate.

Play it safe....RD

Friday, July 24, 2009

Its Been Awhile

After finishing my last two projects and gung ho to embark on the third....I came down with what I thought was a temporary condition.

This condition has persisted for the entire month of July. It is vertigo, along with lethargy and malaise. Now it is no picnic getting around the house or anywhere else for that matter. I sometimes opt to sit it out rather than fall flat on my face.

Sure, I've been seen by ,infact, two physicians. One was totally useless and didn't detect the pneumonia I had been carrying around. Then an urgent care visit to my usual doctors office where I was met by someone new again. My doctor was vacationing.

This proved somewhat successful. She found the pneumonia and began treatment. We needed to address that first. Forget for the time being I couldn't navigate from my room to the kitchen. Not totally, I was prescribed antivert, which does help on occasion.

I am being tested for pre diabetis. Just to find my triglycerides are high....just stop eating everything you love and you will be fine. Or it could have been what I ate the night before. So I'm not taking any chances and munching on all the right stuff.

I should have been to the lab again today, but forgot myself and broke my fast. Shame on me or tough. This time it will be for thyroid and chest x-ray.

Now this is all quite new to me...I'm the one that never got sick. If I were laid low temporarily, I recovered with the speed of lightening. I would never devote a whole blog to my physical condition if this were not a rare and unusual occurrence.

It is quite difficult to maintain my sense of humor and lightness that I normally approach life. My lifestyle is being affected and I want it to stop. I will do what is asked of me, but there are limits I need to re-evaluate.

In addition, we have endured a recent shift in doggy hierarchy. This latest movement was not unexpected...between dear Lucie and cranky Gemma. Gemma tries a patience of a saint, Lucie is not a saint and put Gemma in her place not once but three times. Not a little snappy tooth event .... but the real McCoy. Envision the dog fight videos that Peta loves to remind us of.

Dogs are now separated, call has been put out to the single dog trainer/behaviorist on the peninsula, the situation has been brought to my vets attention. I will do what I need to do to make this can see for yourself ...a person with vertigo is not the answer and is frustrating me beyond belief. I will do or will this challenge into the realm of possibilities....I must.

So you can see for yourself....not all has been well at "Wits End Farm". Everything has taken a back seat to my projects, in fact I find them all a bit selfish at the moment. Until there is a change in the goings on I will be rather absent.

Take care my your veggies. RD

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How to build an inexpensive water feature by Pearl Sandborn"A Storybook Life"

Home and Garden - Home > $10 Water Garden
See how I built my own water garden for under $10, and
learn how to build your own water garden feature

© Pearl Sanborn

Water gardens are not just for those with piles of extra cash to spend! Anyone could build a beautiful water feature like this one with a bit of time & a few dollars.

About 5 years ago, my husband came home from work to find me digging a hole in our back yard. I'd seen these wonderful little water gardens in all kinds of books and magazines, so knew that I could find a way to build one into our cottage garden.

If you've ever looked into purchasing a pre-formed water garden kit, you know how expensive they can be! I've seen price tags anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars, to a couple thousand or more!

I decided to call my local farm store, and ask them what I could use for a liner. They suggested that I look into a product called a "silo cap." I'm sure all of the farmers who are reading this article will know exactly what I'm talking about. These are the large pieces of plastic that are used to cover a silo & keep the contents dry. They come in different sizes and thicknesses. The averages sizes are; 14x14, 20x20, 26x26 they are all generally 3mils thick, and are black plastic. Prices range from $6 - $15, and you can find one at any farm store. For me this has proven to be a great find! You can also check with your local large building supply store & find some inexpensive sheet plastic.(I recently bought a 100' 4mils. thick for under $8).

Because there are as many opinions as there are people, when it comes to building your pond, don't be put off by any of the nay-sayers that don't share your new found excitement :)

The Hole

To begin this water garden feature, you will need a hole, a liner & water. Some optional things you may also want to look at are; stones, plants, fish, and maybe a water pump. You can finish this project in a few hours - up to half a day.

(Here's the beginnings of my new pond, you can see the plastic, hole, and the stones.)

You need to pick a good location for your new project. Partial shade is nice, because it helps discourage algae growth. You also may not want to position it directly under deciduous trees, because they drop their leaves each fall, and this requires a yearly thorough cleaning. Take a peek through garden books, catalogues, and magazines to help you decide what you like best. It's a very good idea to think things through before you start digging! The size is up to you, but you will need to make sure that you're liner is big enough for your new water garden.

First lay a string, rope, or garden hose around the hole, as this will help you determine the shape. I think a shape other than a complete circle is more attractive and pleasant to look at, but this is entirely up to you. You will also need to decide if you want water lilies, or other water plants. If you do want some type of pond plants directly in the pond, you will have to make it deep enough to accommodate the frost line in your growing zone. One thing you can do is, create shelves in the walls of the pond out of soil to place your potted water plants on. Within the hole, you simply pile up soil to build ledges that are wide enough to fit a potted plant. This will of course then be covered by the pond liner.

The Liner

If you have rocky soil, be sure to take the stones out before you place the liner in the hole. Most sand yards will let you take sand by the bucket full for free, or you could try to sneak some sand from the kids sand box :) Scatter the sand in the bottom of the pond to cushion the liner, and to keep it from tearing on sharp edges.


(I've laid the plastic down & added some water, so I can position it properly.)

Spreading the liner... Lay the "pond liner" out over the top of the hole, then gently push the liner into the bottom of the pond. You can leave the edges in tact, this will be of use later. Also if you have a larger enough piece of plastic, it wouldn't hurt to double it. This will give you 6 mils of thickness or more, and a longer liner life. Next, fill the pond with water. As you are filling it, carefully position your liner to make sure it stays in place.

The Water

I use water directly out of the hose. If you have city water, be sure to wait at least a couple of days to put any fish in. This will allow enough time for the chlorine to evaporate & the water to reach air temperature. If you skip this step, you could possibly kill your fish!

The Stones

(For a natural effect, place stones around the edge of your garden pond)

Now is the time to cover all those edges of the liner. Use any kind of slate or stone from around your yard and place them around the edges of the pond to make it look as natural as possible. There's nothing worse than seeing a pond with large areas of plastic showing through! I like to place some stones or pebbles in the bottom of the pond to give it a more natural appearance & a place for the fish to hide. Please be careful not to toss stones in - or cause a rip in your pond liner.

The Plants

There are so many kinds of water plants to choose from today. Most are costly, but here are a few frugal garden ideas to make your new habitat look beautiful no matter how much you have to spend! First go to area ponds, swamps, parks, etc. and look at the kinds of plants that are growing in your local area. This will give you an idea of the kinds of plants that are hardy for your area. Many times the owners won't mind if you take a couple of things to further the species ;) Be sure to ask first if it's private property. You also want to look into endangered species laws in your state, so you aren't taking plants unlawfully. This will give you a "free" start to your water garden plants! For planting around the pond, I love things that look tropical. I was able to get a few beautiful ferns from the woods - free. Also plants that you might already have such as; vines, ground cover, small evergreens, forget-me-nots, clover, and day lilies will look beautiful next to your water garden. Again think about nature here. How about cat -tails? They grow in almost all of the ditches in my area. This would be another source of free garden plants for you.

The Fish

For my new fish, I went to the local pet shop & bought some beautiful fish called - feeder goldfish. They were very cheap at only .10 each! I was VERY surprised at how fast they grew. I was also extremely excited when they decided to have babies in their their home! Here in NY our winters are very cold, but because I thought my pond would only partially freeze, I decided to let my fish stay outside in the pond the first year. BUT this was not the case! My little fish froze solid right in the middle of the ice! They looked like fishcicles! OK calm down everyone ;) To my amazement, in the spring when things started to warm up, the little guys started moving around! I could not believe my eyes! They were totally unharmed by the deep sleep! It is totally up to you what you do with your little friends, but you will need to decide how you will take care of the fish before you buy them. =) Some people bring them in the house, and keep them in a child's swimming pool in the basement.

A note on fish: Before you release the fish into your pond, be sure to leave them in the bag & float them in the pond for 45-60 minutes. This will help them adjust to their new home - instead of "jumping in with both feet" :) Caring For Your Water Garden
Try to keep all debris out of the water. This will cause the water to get smelly & might kill the fish. You will need to keep the pond filled up - as the water will evaporate. If you have a small pond, it would be no problem to empty the water out & clean it every spring & fall. Or, if you'd rather, you could just use your hand to remove the leaves & things that have collected over the season.

Other Options

You may want a pump for the beauty of a fountain, or merely circulating the water. Small pumps go for approx. $30. A waterfall is easy to incorporate also.

* Use soil to build up the area where you'd like your waterfall.

* Line that area with a piece of the liner.

* Be sure to bring the liner all the way to the bottom of the pond & overlap it - if you don't the water will drain out! The preferable thing to do is, make the waterfall & pond area with 1 piece of liner if possible.

* Connect a piece of plastic tubing to the pump.

* Bring the tubing up from the back of the waterfall - to the top. This keeps it out of view.

* Arrange some stones to make the actual waterfall. Make this look as natural as possible.

* Put the tube under the first rock so the water can spill out & run down the other rocks to form the waterfall.

I've had my pond for over 5 years & it's still a source of beauty in my yard. Will they come? Oh yes! We've had frogs, tadpoles, butterflies, birds by the flock, bats, hummingbirds, cats, dogs, coons, dragonflies, and more! Just a few more of life's precious gifts! Take a few hours to claim a little piece of earth, for your family enjoyment.

Garden Pond & Water Garden Forum - Ask questions, and share your pond pictures!

I was thrilled when we first moved to this farm. It had the type of large backyard that screamed for a pond. I put Bob to work as we shared the digging process.

I went into the house and left him on his own. I had other things to tend to. When I had not seen him for a while I peeked out the kitchen window. There to my amazement I could only see the top of his head.

I ran out to rescue him from this task. I thanked him profusely as he showed me the shelves he had carved out of the sides of what is clay. And the neat gradual incline should one of the animals step in. Let me say he really got into it. It was huge.

Then our friendly contractor informed me that I would be attracting every snake for miles if I installed this pond. That was enough information for me to halt the process.

It became a fire pit of sorts. Where we burned endless things gathered from the garden or where ever. During the early spring it became the home to several rabbits. Oh, we saw them hopping out now and again. Then the baby rabbits began hopping out.

Needless to isn't a pond, it isn't a fire pit, it is home to whatever decides to lay out a welcome mat. RD