Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Last Straw

When drug companies post information about a competitor can that possibly be informative or unbiased?  Of course it legal? Sure it is.  Go ahead and slam the other company before it is readily available to the public. 

This is not by any means a new innovative practice.  It is done all the time...whether it involves dish detergents, air conditioners or drugs. What has gotten my dander up today is the article written by the Chantix legal team  or
more specifically the Legal Lawsuit team  slamming Cysticine.

Cysticine is another smoking cessation product, used in Europe for decades.  It is cheaper and is effective in most cases.  So far as I can see the adverse effects are not as dramatic as Chantix. 

Chantix has had the unfortunate reputation of being a mind or mood altering product causing ,in some cases suicide, and weird behavior.  In my case.....non stop vomiting, when taken as directed.  Did I stop smoking?  You bet I did.  I stopped eating, smoking and sleeping.

I gave this product three tries.  The first time it worked like a charm.  No side effects, no smoking.  I had my surgery and I lit up leaving the hospital parking lot.  Shame on me.  Outright pain or discomfort does this to me, I smoke.  Second and third time not so much success.....the vomiting and or feeling nauseous  ninety percent of my waking hours wasn't at all comfortable.  Lifestyle was hampered, I actually could not go grocery shopping  with this green feeling.

When I read about Cysticine I was newly encouraged that this may just be the ticket.  I have tried Zyban and patches etc having no effect whatsoever.  Hey, an addiction is an is all the same, your brain tells your body you need this poison and come rain or shine you will get it.

Is it because Cysticine is made from trees grown only in southern Europe?  Does the FDA frown upon natural products?  You bet....they want to close down supplement manufacturers with a passion.  To me, this only indicates that this a viable product and we smokers are doomed to smoke and provide the tobacco companies with uninterrupted revenue, or keep the drug companies churning out 'puke pills' with abandon.

Let me reiterate....this is all legal.  Until enough smokers have taken a nose dive off of a bridge or gone mad in a McDonalds and shot up the clientele Chantix will be a valuable product.  They have generously included a warning on each packet....may cause avoid any further liability.

On the other hand...if I were to contact a pharmacy in Bulgaria via the internet and order Cysticine, I may just invite the local SWAT team to confiscate this product.

Actually, all I am asking is to be given the opportunity to make up my own mind and take the risks.  I do not want to be told by some entity that this is bad for me when in actuality it is a political issue.  Drug companies have deep, deep pockets having endless influence on our lawmakers. 

If, when and until this is resolved I will be supporting the tobacco companies , much to my dismay.  I am just flat out of will power I need assistance.

Got a beef?  Let me know.  There are enough out there to fill a library.  Until next safe. RD

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Game State is out of Sync

When this kept coming up on one of my games on Facebook I thought, hey, that's how I feel.  I know its there somewhere, out in the beyond but I can't quite get it to mesh with what I'm trying to do.  Occasionally everything falls into place...well,  I help it along by keeping in touch, keeping current, and sticking my nose to the grindstone.

I don't particularly need to be told what to do next.  Heck, I can see it for myself.  Wishing for three teams to come in and give me a hand is 'pie in the sky'.  I used to think that this was a kidding.  I told myself that it would didn't...and now I am stuck trying to clean up a mess that has been languishing and growing for some years.

I'm not exaggerating.....I went from 'who cares', to Oh my god, and now picking up what is left.  I do sometimes feel that there was a death somewhere close.  And it was me!  All the spark, humor, positive thoughts vanished.  If I gave excuses that would be just it....excuses.  I don't feel justified to just curl up and much as I would just like to disappear.  Maybe just for a little while. 

Life can hand you some pretty awful curve balls.  How you handle them is the ultimate test.  What I'm trying to say and do is to not necessarily pick up where I left off....that would be suicidal, but go on.  That being said I know I have moments of real creativity, but I have learned that sharing my ideas to my family is useless.  Yeah, you do crave some positive feedback, but since it isn't there, and never will be, I need to suck it up and 'do it.'

Now I'm not saying I'm a frustrated artist, nor a frustrated writer, just damn frustrated.  That has been the case for just too long and I'm tired of it.  I imagine my depressing blogs are just as tiring to read.  Sorry, it was just a journaling thing that I would vent my spleen.  That is not to say I woke this morning and felt it was all over, a new and better me was emerging...Not likely.  I still need to get a handle on the damn mess.

I've come to realize that life is short.  Making the best of things as they are isn't an option, you really need to get up and out and see what is going on. Being disagreeable has gotten nothing in return.  How idiotic the notion that you can change someone, especially when you need a whole lot of changin yourself.  That is over.  It was time consuming, degrading, and oh so unrewarding. Now come on....who needs that.?

I do have a more than passing interest in animal advocacy.  However, the reality is you can't do too much sitting at home at your desk and weeping every time some dysfunctional human clobbers and innocent animal or child, or some unsuspecting, undeserving  human.  These are battles that seem to have no end game in sight. Yes, you must keep aware and informed  but then there are the everyday things that need attention as well.

By everyday things....I've got a sanctuary to run.  I've got elderly dogs and cats that need attention and medications.  My frustrations with the vet world are loud and clear.  I've got a bunch of cats that were unexpected who need care and feeding and vetting.  Enough already.

I've got a house that is temporarily saved from the auction block that needs tremendous TLC.  And I'm not blowing smoke when I say that ....  it is too kind....I really need a demo crew.  I know that the helping hand I was hoping for just isn't there.  That was a real wake-up call in itself.  You do it or it falls apart...and in some cases it did.

I have some plans of action in mind, they do not include teams, helping hands or anything of that nature, it requires me to get up and go , when I'm able, and 'git er done', one way or another.

Coming to terms with what is real is the big victory today.  My game state may be out of sync temporarily but I ain't dead yet!

Be safe.  Until next time. RD 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Clearly a useless past time of mine.  Afterthinking something that was important at the time but I wasn't quite into the 'give and take' of the situation.  Oh, I used to be a snappy comeback queen.  At least I thought so.  If I could make the opponent shut up that was a victory for me.  Just don't start...OK?

I am no longer that comeback fact, I barely listen.  This is what aging has done for me....I just don't give a damn most of the time,  Mostly it has 100% to do with the person who is trying to get a rise out of me.  You are familiar to near boring death of what is about to come out of their mouth.  If you do catch a few phrases you are not disappointed we go again.

Lately, in our impoverished state, the argument of most unjustifiable. and unsubstantiated crap is what the cats and dogs eat!  I went out on a limb earlier and began concocting  recipes that I thought would have the nutritional  elements needed for a healthy diet, plus being cost effective. 

When you do this type of thing the initial layout can be an eye opener, but as time progresses and you continue and streamline your efforts; it is not as time consuming nor expensive as canned anything. So I merrily thought this was a good thing....I am told on a nearly daily basis how foolish I am. 

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how in the name of everything that is sacred that this has become a contentious issue.  He, who has no love for animals in general, he who wouldn't be able to detect anything amiss in a cat or dog, has now elevated his status to "master of the animal kingdom". 

Yes, we have gotten 'suddenly poor',never in my thirties or forties did I foresee what the future might bring in the guise of health issues or financial issues.  Would it have been logical to think back then." Oh I want to save the world of homeless animals so I will take them all in no matter what the future brings?"..Of course not...but that is what WE did and now we must make numerous sacrifices to keep up the menagerie.  I might add including adoption.

But this is the issue that has a monotonous refrain day after day.  I cannot stop it, so I simply block it out and continue what I am doing.  Of  course there may be some truth to this argument....if we didn't have cats and dogs we would be better off financially.  My response is .....get another career.  Now that is just as ridiculous.

Sometimes there is light at the end of the tunnel, and then again it too fades.  So you must be up for anything.  Take it or leave it.  And in most instances you do not have that must do something.  For now our home has been saved...that should be great news.  It is and it isn't....I hate this place, but it is the only place for now.

Bob has taken a great pleasure in telling me daily how really old I am.  Like this is from a spring chicken?  I began taking this to heart...I look in the mirror and see a stranger; one who has aged 25 years at least these past ten unhappy years.  Once it are sunk....unless you have the means to get it pulled back.  But it isn't just the issue about looks changing its attitude....that changes as well.

I'm not thrilled about where my attitude is taking me or not taking me.  I need an attitude change. Digging deep within me I will either come up with a rose or an empty hand.  It is those days where I don't give a damn that frighten me. 

Here is to digging deeper, finding  a real keeper.  Please be careful out there.  Until next time. rd

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dream On

Don't you just hold back a yawn when your best friend tells you his or her dream .  Well, go ahead yawn....get it over with.  I too had a dream.  I suppose I dream just as much or as little as the next person...but generally I'm not a rememberer.  Nor do I actually share them with anyone since I too am a yawner.

Here goes.....I won a house.  In Sweden.  It was so ordinary,so plain, nothing that could be called 'that wow factor'. was free!  That was enough wow for me.  I went was open, sun streaming in from all sides, including tubes inserted into the ceilings to let more sun in.  I was in love.

The kicker was....I needed to furnish the house exclusively with IKEA products.  I do so love IKEA that didn't seem to be a problem...just made me more excited to get on with it. 

I must have completed every room.  This includes bathrooms and outdoor decks. All grey and white and a hint of ice blue.  I really do like this scheme, but I don't have a thing in my current home anything like that.

Here is the unusual part.....I continued sleeping. But I awoke in the family room around 3:30 am paging through my IKEA catalog.If asked....I couldn't tell you where it was.  I hadn't looked at it in ages.  Why get myself all excited over nothing.  The nearest location of a store is in Washington D.C. ...fat chance I would be going there any time soon.  Lets not even talk about the expense is non existent.

All in all it was quite lovely.  I felt at home at last.  My current address is quite the opposite.  Dark, hot, heavy, and did I say dark? Not at all to my liking.  walls hung with things I no longer look at, or care about.  Just an unpleasant place for me. 

Now I will tell you quite truthfully I have been under enormous stress.  Singly, each challenge is quite manageable, but again it requires  a McIver attitude to reach any kind of conclusion.  Time and time again I am asked to accomplish the near impossible, with thought and time I can with the help of my daughter. 

This time it  is different.  It is all happening at once, and requires immediate satisfaction.  If the hand sander fails , as it did, I can't just go out and replace it.  I must finish that damn foyer makeover regardless.  Weeks later, after a short incapacitation and much agonizing over the hand sander, Bob comes in from the dreaded ssssssssssssssssssssnake  barn with another sander. I believe he found some joy in handing it to me like didn't you know it was there?  Damnit, no I did not.So that project is underway.....again.

Then my daughter, my helper, comes down with a serious pain.  Hip off we go after a reasonable wait to see my hip doc. X-rays taken, MRI taken nope it isn't in need of hip surgery.  Well, what is it?  She asks for pain meds since she is no longer comfortable walking, sitting, or ya go kiddo...take some Tylenol and you will feel great.  Not so.

Let me explain....we do not get pain meds here in Virginia and Maryland.  I have no idea what has changed but docs will not prescribe. So I spent futile days on the internet trying my best to get something that is 1) non addictive2) won't burn a hole in a stomach, and did I mention is not a synthetic morphine? Or is reasonably priced.  I did but haven't ordered because the next situation needed my attention.

Last year Bob inspected a home that was in foreclosure.  It had been vacant for months if not a year or more.  It was dark ( no electricity) stinky and obviously he was in a rush to get outta there.  At that time he brought home fleas from this dump.  I was beside myself....I had never encountered an infestation like this.  Of course by the time your pets are itchy and scratching it has been under way for weeks if not months.

He must have done it again!  It is the only explanation I can come up with.  All the aforementioned critters have been on flea prevention 12 months of the year.  Fleas do not go to south Florida for the winter, they like it here too much.  This time it is worse than before....we cannot get a handle on it.  Please...let me explain....we have 30 indoor cats, and three dogs , who do play in the yard.  Now I have been on the internet constantly to find a perfect solution.

What I mean by a perfect solution is perfect for me....I can't , on my own, do the required all at once approach.  Impossible.  Nicci is laid up, Bob thinks this is woman's work and too gross for him. So I am trying to tackle all the places the cats go.  That is upstairs and downstairs.  Numerous rugs, wooden floors with wide gaps between floorboards, and I couldn't tell you how many kitty carpeted condos are around.  Every one of them needs to be vacuumed, put spray on, or borax for carpets, wash bedding, then put new stuff on the cats, because Frontline didn't work. And catch these miserable teen cats to pop a Capstar down their little throats.

I'm still in the process.  We are enduring a monster heatwave.  These old houses were not built for 100 degree temperatures.  Air conditioners are running....then not running...we experience kind of rolling brown outs.  So we stay off our computers as much as possible for fear the house will explode.

I dreamt of  a near perfect place.....I got to experience some solitude and silence. I did what I long to do, decorate a house from scratch. Plus....I got up in my slumber and found the IKEA catalog.  Now that ain't bad afterall.  Until next time keep safe, cool and well. RD

Monday, June 6, 2011

Feel Good Books for Summer Reading.

Directly from AbeBooks Newsletter here are the summer feel good selections:

I rarely, if ever, read a book for enlightenment to forget the cares of the day and wile away my time on pure feel-good or fantasy.  Coming back into the real world after one of those reads must be a bit of a downer, well, it would for me. I'm strictly into crime, true or otherwise, historical novels,true or otherwise, and for more relaxation than I can hardly stand anything my neighbor lends me.

Life is just way too short to get bogged down in heavy stuff this summer.  I have a room that is filled with just my how-to books.....I think I purchased them before the internet.  I know now that I just need to pose a question and I am on my way to rewiring a lamp or how to speedify getting wallpaper down.  They do come in handy once in a while. 

I also collected cook books for a very long while.  Unfortunately none of them deal strictly with frugal meals, and that is what I am into right at this moment.  "How many ways to charm your guests with renditions of beans and rice".  Its a good thing I am  not asked to entertain any longer, it would put me beside myself. 

I'm going to give a selection of these a can't hurt.  Here is a thought ....  why did I wrongly think that the population here is not interested in reading?  When I go to the library it is full of people, young and old.  The books that I take home are filled with previous due dates.  I think I should hang out there and meet some of these readers.  And perhaps invite them over for'beans and rice'.

Until next safe. rd

25 Feel-Good Reads

Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
Lady Oracle
Margaret Atwood
Good-bye Mr. Chips by James Hilton
Good-bye Mr. Chips
James Hilton
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bean Trees
Barbara Kingsolver
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Bel Canto
Ann Patchett
Thin Blue Smoke by Doug Worgul
Thin Blue Smoke
Doug Worgul
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Cold Comfort Farm
Stella Gibbons
Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones' Diary
Helen Fielding
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Truman Capote
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Banana Yoshimoto
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
The Incredible Journey
Sheila Burnford
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Princess Bride
William Goldman
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Crocodile on the Sandbank
Elizabeth Peters
Unless by Carol Shields
Carol Shields
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
A Town Like Alice
Nevil Shute
The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
The Anthologist
Nicholson Baker
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
High Fidelity
Nick Hornby
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Remember Mama

Of course, Mother's Day is tomorrow, why wouldn't I remember her?  The fact of the matter is I remember her every day of my life.  She is always with me, I talk to her telepathically each and every day.  No longer seeking approval, but advice. Goodness knows I could use it.

She was always there it seemed, one way or another.  She influenced my life more than she will ever know.  Not unlike her in many ways, I struggle on with depression just as she did.  I didn't know at the time that this was such a pervasive problem....or her mania which I secretly loved.

Her ups and downs were often maddening and exciting for a young child.  When she was up....she flew with the birds and she would grab me and take me to the moon with her.  She drove like the wind in her auto.  Not reckless, but a heavy foot that brought her some semblance  of peace.  She flew along the roadways, often singing some of her youthful German songs.  That is how I learned many of the songs that I strum in my mind now....singing along with mom.

She was so talented...she baked, served up feasts for so many friends and family.  No one ever left hungry or felt ignored by her. 

I really think she could do it all.  She played the mandolin.  The house would rock with music when each of the friends or relatives pulled out their instruments, my dad played the violin, my aunt the piano, accordions were pulled out and of course the popular harmonica.  Quite a mix.   In fact, one party got so loud a few glasses cracked....that's what I'm told.

When I began piano lessons she didn't want to feel left out or perhaps wanted to participate in my practice.  She did well....she loved it....I didn't . She always wanted to learn new things, she'd master them and move on to the next. 

She knit, sewed, embroidered, did a multitude of crafts.  Her crowning jewels were her candles.  No one ever left our home during the holidays without a candle.  They were stunning.

She didn't have the patience or persistence to master just one thing.  There  were craft projects everywhere except her craft room, I think dad finally gave her the basement to clutter as she wanted.  She had large banquet-like tables along the walls littered with her various projects.  She always welcomed company and was so generous with her time to teach me or others what she was doing. 

Then there were her animals....we had cats and dogs.  Or she had cats and my dad had the dogs. Never a dull moment...when I came home from school telling her about a friend's litter of kittens she would drop everything  and we'd zoom over there to see if they were being well taken care of.  That is not to say we had a house full of animals...we didn't....but we never were without. 

She was my Girl Scout embarrassing was that?  Now I would be thrilled, but at the time I thought she was showing off, and picking on me.  Kids!  I remember the Christmas gifts we made under her direction.....soaps with cutout Christmas cards dipped in wax.

When I entered high school she became ill and I was shipped off to another state to attend boarding school.  I missed her terribly, had all the usual teenage angst about being to blame.  All the usual teen drama associated with being cast aside from the family but not neglected by the school .  I grew resentful.

Now I understand quite well that she was suffering from an emotional illness, I would think it would be classified today as bi-polar, or something similar to that.  She never really recovered.  She was withdrawn, and her zest for life only reappeared when she had grandchildren to shower affection on.

Yes, I miss my mom.  I wish I had been able to tell her so many things.  I wanted her to know that I admired her and loved who she was, all of it. In many respects I have become the mirror image of her, I can truly say I can feel her pain and her joy.

I lost my mom a long while ago, but it seems like only yesterday.  I'm grateful that I am able to talk with her every day, it matters so much to me.  I miss you mom. xoxoxo

Monday, April 4, 2011

Before I Die Project....Candy Chang

I read Candy Chang's presentation of a project that she initiated in New Orleans.  She found an abandoned building and installed one wall of blackboard painted  with lines and places to install what it is that you want.  She provided chalk and the reception was outstanding. 

Each time the wall is full it is gently washed and begun anew. 

I found this project interesting not only because of what is already written by participants but just how hard I would have to think if given this opportunity.

Of course, we are all given this opportunity every day.  Just what is it that you want to do before you die? 

I found the answers quite compelling.  Many of them centered around one talent or another.  I want to dance, I want to sing, I want to have fun.  Others.....well, we always have the I want world Peace legions.  That's well and good but hardly attainible in the political climate we have.

Are there just too many things we want to do before we die?  I think this may be the case.  I would need to visit the wall several times before I felt I had written it all down. 

Paramount among the things I want to do before I die is to move away from the Eastern Shore.  But once I've accomplished that....I want to be healthy.  I want to be able to walk fast.  A geographical move may help in some small way ......oh, lets say climate change will lessen the aches and pains.

But then again....I'd like to have some fun before I die as well.  You know...the spontaneous kind.  Planned fun isn't what I'm talking a vacation...."you will enjoy yourself".  Stuff that comes from others and yourself because you feel joy.

I'd like to see my grandson graduate into the life he has planned for himself.  As of this is pro football with a law degree to see him thru the off years.  Sounds nice ,sounds balanced...perhaps my daughter had some influence there.  Hmmmm but knowing Patrick he didn't need much help in deciding his future.

I f you were to come upon this wall in New Orleans....what would you write?  Actually, I'm still thinking. Be careful out can be slippery. rd.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Have Become a Cry Lord.

Good grief....what does that mean?  I have shed my bullet proof heart vest? I have twisted and turned my life into a zwizzle stick and become more human?  Or....I'm depressed. 

I have come to the conclusion that I'm depressed.  I get emails daily....asking the question...Could you be depressed? I used to read them to prove that they must be wrong.  I wouldn't succumb to  not me that used to find humor in just about everything.  It kept me at my computer signing off on one blog or another on just how funny life really was.

Now....I look at my own home page on facebook and weep openly on subjects that a dear to me.  What's this all about?  I watch a television commercial and tear up.  I cry when things are sad, or I'm glad, or when someone says something nice, or not. 

What did I do in the past?  It just used to roll off my back and went on with my day.  Oh sure, I gave it some thought but I didn't become emotional.  I fixed it if I could, or went on to the next thing. Finis....end of thought process.

What happened to my smile?  It's gone.  I often wonder when I see something on the boob tube and the announcer is smiling up a storm and just can't imagine how that is done.  Do they give smile lessons?  I must look to others like a cranky old person. 

Yup, when I used to visit my parents in Sun City.Arizona I would often mention that I was curious why most of the people there looked grumpy.  Did they know they appeared this unfriendly?  Now I do and haven't a clue as to what it is that is making me this way.

I sure have enough the rest of the world, but they manage to put on a happy face and get over it.  No one would know that they are suffering from illness, poverty, hunger.  That is not to say we should band together and have a smile-in.

The news in Japan has been more than unsettling.  These people appear so brave and stoic that I can't imagine myself in their shoes.  Or have they given up....accepting the inevitable, dealing what life has tossed their way?  Of course we identify with their misery more than the usual natural disaster....why because they are an enlightened society, they seemed to have it all. Technology, education, wealth were the hallmarks of they must rebuild to achieve that standard again.

Now I must achieve some semblance of balance.  That is the key word...balance.  Yes, you cry , when things call for tears....but not at television commercials.  I should be able to view my home page without weeping for all the wrongs in this world, but how to help alleviate them in some small measure. 

It is a solitary task in front of me.  Finding balance is never easy, not in a painting, recipe, or life. I need a little time to reach this goal....perhaps I will smile again in the very near future. .

I"m going to make lemonade....share my experiences and become who or what I was with additions like kindness, and caring. 

Take care my never know what lurks behind that bush.rd

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On the Shore

1. Shot a dog with my pellet gun and...................

Was working midnight shift this week. Got to bed around 8 A.M. About 9:30 A.M. I was woken by the sound of my Chickens freaking out and a barking dog. Went to the back door saw the Chickens milling about in a pile on the yonder side of the run and saw an unknown dog shoot past from direction of the chicken run. Went back inside and rather than grab a 30.06 M1 Garand, shotgun, or .22 rifle I grabbed my pellet rifle. I'd rather not kill any animals. As I walked out back I spotted the dog in my neighbors yard come out from behind her shed. I cranked off a shot from about 100 feet. Didn't know if I hit it or not. I then saw a couple of other dogs run out. Just then I saw the fellow who lives behind me walking in the woods shout to the dogs. I yelled to him to get them out of the area. He yelled back that they were hunting rabbits. I went back into the house to try to get back to sleep.

Before I could get back to sleep a State Trooper came by the take a report. He said that the neighbor was at the vet with his dog. I gave him the report.

About a couple of hours later my supervisor,(I'm a Deputy Sheriff), called and told me that the dog had been euthanized.

The Trooper says he will be talking to the Commonwealth Attorney about bringing charges against me. Looks like a Class 6 Felony of Animal Cruelty.

Just being charged will mean the loss of my job. What a drag.

And I'm really bummed out about the poor dog on top of everything else.

Normally I don't write about animal stuff on this site.  But my point isn't about the dog...surprised?  Its about a deputy shooting off his weapon in such close proximity to homes and people.

From this article and the one that is similar in our twice weekly rag it sounds to me that this was a populated area, maybe dense, I don't know.  I do know I have no neighbors within shouting distance, nor do I haul out my weapons when I see a dog.

The matter that just ruffles my feathers is the constant gripe I have with these neophytes shlepping their dogs on hunts.  To further annoy me....when hunting season is now...they just abandon them.

They run wild across the fields in packs, hungry, angry and dangerous. I know, I've met up with a couple of them while walking my dogs.  Not a pretty sight.  Me running...or being dragged behind my three dogs to flee the mob.

This is a problem that remains undefined.  Oh sure, it comes up in front of the legislature every now and again, but the hunters reign supreme in Virginia.  So nothing gets done....go home with what you came with, don't let them run wild and chase livestock and poultry, and for goodness sake round em up before you leave.

My property is surrounded by about 50 ac of woods and streams and of course agricultural land.  The owner, whom I detest for other reasons, rents it out to hunters.  Ok,  this is an option for him, but I really,really get my undies in a bunch when a stray bullet whacks my house.  No argument there I hope.  The south side of my house is riddled with holes.  Since it is vinyl sided it is never a clean hole, but a large cracked like affair that is never easy to repair. We've tried over the we leave em.

You think its the holes that bug me?  Sure...but we are in the structure that is being used as target practice.  We've mentioned this to our local police....uh hum..the not disturb the hunter....a missed shot could cost us a fine! This is the way of rural Virginia and no 'come here' is going to change that.

No hunting after dusk....really?  Tell that to the avid neophytes. Hunting is next to super bowl time..We are left with the remains of these campouts.  One an example...the abandoned dogs drug a deer carcass onto my front yard flowerbeds. That's say I beg you to attempt to fetch your mail walking past this meal.  No way.

So what is a person to do.  After all hunting season doesn't last all year.  (it can here if you plead hardship).  I pity the dogs left behind, I pity the deer that get shot, and I pity the hunter who has nothing better to do than make a fool out of himself.

Be careful out never know what is behind that bush. RD

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Cat is Out of The Bag

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen..the list of my many blogs of the past five years.  Having thoughts of dementia, brain tumor, etc. Muscle Cramps

Muscle Fatigue and Weakness

Irregular Heartbeat


Mental Confusion


Abnormally Dry Skin

Insatiable Thirst



Nausea and Vomiting




Low Blood Pressure

Periodic Headaches

Salt Retention


High Cholesterol Levels

Glucose Intolerance

Impaired Growth


Extreme cases, cardiac arrest
And last but not least vertigo!
Ok, ok  I was in hospital again.  I was released Valentine's Day.  My stay amounted to three days of endless tests and thankfully bedrest.  This doc was very determined to find out what was amiss.  I thought just another bunch of tests that proved to be nothing there.  A waste of time and gobs of money.  But I must admit I was getting very tired of hearing it was all in my head, or worse.
While Nasawadox, no less, I flourished with the pints and pints of magnesium and potassium.  I apparently had a severe deficiency.  Hmmmm, you would think five years of giving blood for tests that proved nothing that this would have been a no-brainer.  Also a waste of time and more gobs of money.
The red flag was the vertigo. 
I was just medicated for vertigo but never diagnosed as to why I was on this stuff...In my head I suppose.
The last straw came about two weeks ago....constant asthma ( I usually don't have this) .  I have a little cocktail that fits the bill so this is almost an aside disorder.  But.....when I called in one of the scripts for renewal...the back office decided I no longer needed this.  No refills.  What?  Walmart also made a call or two asking the back office to refill....always getting an answer that had nothing to do with refills.
Finding a new physicians office here is like seeking the golden new patients, or their speciality was something very precise. None of which I qualified for.  Family physicians are like hens've heard of them but can't find them.
I needed an ambulance to get me there in time.  The ride is very long and I didn't think it was a good idea to try.  I had the benefit of oxygen, duo meds and professionals at my side.
The asthma was treated very quickly, it always is for me.  But there were underlying discrepancies.  Thank goodness for this ER stone was left unturned.  "Why do you take this? Why that?"  Led him to believe I was being medicated to death.
Three days later I had scripts in my hot hands, a vague idea of what was amiss and instructions that were simple to follow. 
Was this a Godsend or what?  I'm over my anger regarding my previous doc....serves no purpose.  Got a snappy referral for a Family Physician , whose back office does not prescribe.
I am happy to be able to share this for the purpose of be careful what you get.  I thought I had my health issues covered, I was aware of my condition and looked up most everything on the net.  But, as in all avenues of life....garbage in...garbage out. I can rest easier need to have these deep black thoughts.  I don't have what I thought I did and what I do have is treatable and not worthy of another health related blog.  (clapping in the background)
No doubt...I'm achy breaky now but not for long.  Take care, be aware! RD

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Soup from Scratch

There are times when you just crave something, you must have it and no amount of time spent making it is wasted.  Or you know in your heart that this is just the best thing you can do for your family at the moment and they too must wait.

Canned or powered soups just don't cut it when prescribing for a cold, scratchy throat, runny eyes,  feverish you know what I'm saying.  You or someone you love feels miserable...what else but chicken soup.

Lately I've been doing quite a bit of remembering my mother's chicken soup, or my aunt's excellent oatmeal..Oatmeal?  I don't know what she did but it was wonderful.  We had a discussion the other evening and it centered around eggs.  Did you know that graduation from a culinary school requires three perfect egg dishes?

I finally fessed up, no, Bob I don't love your scrambled eggs, and Nicci I don't like yours either , too dry.  I only like my mother's scrambled eggs.  I have never been able to duplicate them, but I keep trying. Back to soup.  I didn't like my mother's chicken soup either, she would always sneek cauliflower into the pot and that was a no no.

I did have a fave recipe, and I've misplaced it.  after looking high and low I thought what the heck, be daring and try another.  I settled on Ina Garten's Chicken Soup.  It appears to be the closest to the one I lost.  Here it is.


3 (5-pound) roasting chickens

3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered

6 carrots, unpeeled and halved

4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds

4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)

20 sprigs fresh parsley

15 sprigs fresh thyme

20 sprigs fresh dill

1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

To serve:


4 cups 1/4-inch-diced carrots

4 cups 1/4-inch-diced celery

1/4 cup minced fresh dill

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Matzo Balls, (see recipe)


Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove 2 of the chickens and allow to cool slightly. Remove the breast meat from both chickens and set aside. Return the remaining chicken and carcasses to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered, for 3 more hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and chill. Remove the surface fat, then reheat the stock as follows, or pack in containers and freeze.

To serve the soup, return the stock to the pot and reheat, adding the diced carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. Shred the reserved chicken breast meat into large pieces and add to the stock. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables and reheat the chicken. Season, to taste, and serve as is, or ladle each serving over 2 warm Matzo Balls.

Tomorrow I will begin to make the stock.  That too is from Ina Garten.  This is a two day affair so I do hope my chilled family will be ready for it.  Oh, I know they will wait. 

Since there are literally hundreds of chicken soup recipes I thought you might like to add your special ingredients  to this recipe.  If I'm not mistaken there isn't a mention of nutmeg in this one...I always like that taste too.

Until then. Keep well. RD

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh NO, Spring is Rapidly Approachng

Oh, no, Spring is rapidly approaching.

.by Margaret North on Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 16:00.That is by no stretch my imagination. It is coming and I'm not ready. Ready to plant? Ready to peruse the gardening catalogs and order? Nope, none of the above. IT IS CLASS REUNION TIME!

Anyone that knows me, or of me or has made some wild guesses about me knows I don't like these kinds of occasions. I have been under a rock low these many years and my school search engin has not been able to find me. That was perfectly fine with me.

Until this winter....I received a card from miles away from an old aquaintance reminding me that our reunion would be this April. And went on and on just how much fun it will be to see all of us we think we could still fit into our uniforms? I'm sorry Mary Jane I tossed that long, long ago. I do not wax nostalgic for the dull gray and blue outfits that were mandatory untill graduation. Along with the sadle shoes.

Why is it that I havn't given these people a second thought for more than a decade?I went my way....out West. Wide open spaces and fewer rules to break. My memories are really foggy, and names generally escape me. I just got a death notice from a classmate whom I had no clue who she was.

I would much rather remember what little I can and leave it at that. The search engin must have been working overtime to catch me so unawares. But now that they have found me I seem to be getting some little tid bit of un newsworthy mentiones on a monthly basis. Who is that? Did I know them? Probably not.

I was just as reclusive then as I am now. I hung with the boarders and generally ignored the day students...and that is how it was, no quirk of mine. I thought about it for a second or two and discovered....I would not regognize any of my classmates if we were to bump into one another on a street.

Isn't that awful? Not the time I did have certain friends and hung mainly with them for years. But I havn't received a Christmas card from them either....they as well as I may as well fallen off the face of the earth.

Oddly enough, I remember the instructors. I remember being chased down a hallway by a bat in the attic....after curfew. I remember the horrid lamb dinners on Sunday's, I only ate the mint jelly. But weekends were special when we had fried apples....what a treat. One of the house mothers had a rather severe drinking problem....I relied on that to do my nightly rounds of visitations. The next year... my housemother was so old I could antagonize her just by being able to walk faster than she.

Sure I remember these and other things...after all I'm not brain dead yet. But are these few and far between memories enough to get all worked up over? And go to mandatory teas, sherries, walking tours and a gala dinner?? Nope I think not.

I will take a pass on this event....which in all reality may be my last chance to participate in something quite like this. I want to remember things as I thought they were. I do not want to revisit my past, not now not ever. A shame really but that's me....usually taking the low road and remaining invisible. I know my dad wouldn't approve of my decision but I know he would have given me an alternative event to this one with one of his own....I know for a fact that as long as it didn't involve a dentist I would grab at his suggestion.

See you in the here and now. RD I dare you to display your high school picture as your avatar....I will.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three things can't be hidden: coughing, poverty, and love." - Yiddish proverb

This proverb struck me as being right on the money.  You simply can't hide this stuff.  I've been coughing here in Virginia for twelve years.

Like clockwork ...  come October and it starts, and doesn't abate until May.  I've been prescribed all types of meds and until NOW haven't had any positive lasting results.  No, I have no clue what causes this but I do have some rather obvious guesses.... mold being one.

Poverty is difficult but not impossible to hide.  You can smile, dress in several seasons ago clothes and look like everything is hunkey dorrie.  That gets old fast.  It is a battle every day to maintain some kind of normalcy.  I have reached my limit of being funny, thoughtful, and generally being nice. It can be done but the anger is just beneath the surface and just jumps out at very inopportune times. 

Forget for a moment you cannot cook as you once used to.  That a trip to the store has become a hate filled experience.  Sure, I read all I can lay my hands on for more budget friendly recipes.  I shop the perimeter of stores where the good for you food is available.  I've even joined some groups and web sites of "good and cheap".  It too can be done, but there are times when something sweet, unhealthy and wildly extravagant  gnaws at your psyche and you cannot get it out of your mind.

Love.....hmmmm, really difficult to do.  I cannot help but think that things could be hugely different had Robert listened to me twelve years ago. This was a no brainer....this is a poverty pocket and from what I've heard and read always was one.  Six months into this move I saw the handwriting on the walls, sidewalks, people's faces....whew, not for me. 

I always adhered to the fact that you must not blame....that is past behavior, instead look for the solutions.  I think I found several that were doable including a move to Panama which was desperation  calling.  But Robert cannot, could not be budged.  He was going to conquer the Eastern Shore.  That made him unlovable to me. 

Stubbornness is not attractive, it wears on you , in fact you dream about solutions, finally you your tracks.....and give up. Forget the perimeter shopping, forget the plans you had like a consignment shop, the chronicling of events and submitting them to the local paper and then....creativity goes down the drain like everything else.  You wonder to yourself   just what did I have in mind for that desk or chest of drawers.  It doesn't move, it taunts you day in and day out...."paint me"  "do something".  Then it dawns on you....'oh, I was supposed to buy several more colors of paint'  then the project could be completed...nope, can't do, gotta feed the cats and dogs.

My daughter had a solution....she is the all time wunderkind of peanut butter pie.  I can't recall just how many she baked or simply gave away to give the citizens of the Eastern Shore a taste of delicious tasting  heaven.  Well, that too, went by the wayside....who can afford the gourmet ingredients  when there are meat and potatoes to eek out of little or no money.

I'm wondering what will become of us.  Yes, I'm bitching  I just can't think straight anymore.   The likelihood of the sheriff coming to the door  and posting an auction sign is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Do I think that this problem is unique to read about folks just like us every day.  What do they do?  I have no idea.  I know that they try to make things right, they get one or more jobs, perhaps they approach social services.  Again....don't forget this is a poverty pocket...what services are available are slim to none,,I've checked it out.

What is the next step?  RD

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Out Of The Woods

Today, January 5, 2011 at approximately 1:30 p.m. I witnessed my daughter have a stroke.  She was quietly attempting to activate Robert's new phone. 

I was especially watching her because she had been feeling "strange".  She was released from the hospital the day before.  At that admittance she was suffering from complications of asthma and flu - like symptoms.  She was by no means ready to be released.  She became ill yesterday, vomiting and complaining of her five year headache.

She began to lean to her right, not able to speak, flailing her arms telling me....I don't need help.  I didn't listen.  Within five minutes a rescue squad arrived.  Same that took her to the hospital the other day.  They were so professional, and quick to aid her. 

Robert spent the remainder of the day in the hospital waiting room.  When Nikki arrived the neurologist and ER doc were waiting and ready to take over.

At long last she got her MRI and dozens of blood tests and x-rays.  Why the anxiety over the MRI?  She and I have been asking her primary  for years to do one.  She needed to find out once and for all what was causing this headache,  That is not to say we know now....but it needed this?  to get some answers?

Low and 7p.m she called me from her intensive care room.  She did slur her words a bit but she felt fine otherwise.  She improved as the evening went on. 

Her last visit from her Doc....he jumped up and down  that she responded so well to their aggressive measures upon entering the ER.  I guess I'm jumping up and down myself...a little cautiously however.  I've been on the phone constantly with her sister who happenchance is temporarily living with her inlaws.

Her mother-in-law is a veritible encyclopedia of health issues.  She has survived 6 heart attacks and I don't know how many strokes. So talking with her made it easier for me to comprehend what was happening.  In fact Elaine spoke with Nikki at the hospital and quizzed her as she was quizzed after her stroke.  She feels that Nikki is doing fine but to be cautious.

That is all I know for today.  I needed to vent this with you and hope that tomorrow will bring some sunshine. Keep yourselves safe...RD

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year Soup Recipe

New Year Noodle SoupIf you don't have beans that have already been cooked you can use canned ones. Or you can soak the garbanzo & borlotti overnight, and add them after the broth comes to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the yellow split peas/lentils. This way the beans/lentils should be done cooking around the same time. The original recipe calls for fresh borlotti beans, which aren't in season. I used dried borlotti that I cooked a couple weeks back, then froze until now. And, on the noodle front, I couldn't help but add more than what the original recipe called for. You can actually use more/less noodles - even when it seemed like too much, they always manage to get slurped up in a soup like this.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 long red chili OR green serrano, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 1/2 cups / 2 liters good-tasting vegetable stock/broth

100g / 3.5 oz yellow split peas or brown lentils

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if using canned

2 cups / 350g cooked borlotti beans

fine grain sea salt

120 g thin egg noodles, fresh or dried

3 1/2 oz / 100g fresh spinach leaves, finely shredded

1/2 cup finely shredded cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

juice of one lime


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

100 ml sour cream or creme fraiche

50g / scant 2 ounces of toasted, chopped walnuts

Heat the oil in a large, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and the chile and cook until they soften, a few minutes. Add the spices and cook for another thirty seconds, just long enough for them to toast a bit, then stir in the stock. Bring to a boil and add the split peas/lentils to the pot. Cook until they are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and borlotti beans. Once the beans have heated throughout, season with salt to taste.

In the meantime, you can prepare the toppings. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat along with a couple big pinches of salt. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 8 - 10+ minutes. Set aside.

Just before you're ready to eat, add the noodles to the simmering soup and cook until al dente. Stir in the spinach, and cilantro and dill. Add a big squeeze of lime to the pot or serve wedges along with each bowl of soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Serve right away, each bowl topped with a big spoonful of caramelized onions, some creme fraiche, and a sprinkling of walnuts.

Serves about 4.

Adapted slightly from the Ash-e Reshteh / New Year Noodle Soup recipe in Saraban, by Greg & Lucy Malouf

Prep time: 20 min - Cook time: 40 min

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Related EntryHealthy One Pan Recipes

My favorite healthy, one-pan recipes. The type of things that you can pull together any night of the week without too much fuss or fanfare. I love big-flavored, colorful stir-fries, and hearty chunky soups, so I included a lot of those types of recipes on the list.

I didn't want to start the new year out by copy and paste, but that particular wish was not written in stone and I was so intrigued with this recipe I needed to spread the good news around. 

We are all sick on the Wits End Ranch.  In fact my daughter is in hospital right now with severe asthma and some kind of infection.  I stayed up all nite doing breathing treatments just to stay out of the ER on New Years Eve. and Bob is sneezing and coughing to beat the band. So what is better than a comfort soup?

I'm a bit over chicken noodle,  the first go at it during the early winter months its a treat, but then I get to thinking "what is that dead chicken smell?"

Perhaps tomorrow I will give you the scoop on the new blog name.  No big secret just don't have the time at this late hour. 

I wish you all a healthy week ahead, and I will be trying out this soup recipe.  Take care. RD