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Monday, August 31

Weird Monday

8:06am It’s weird that it’s Monday and Mike’s not getting ready to start working. He’s got the whole week off. In a couple hours we’re taking Bitzi over to Annettes in St. Charles to stay until Thursday while we’re in Lake Geneva. She’s excited to watch Bitzi after losing her dog last week. Bitzi is very good and I’m sure they’ll do great together. I haven’t packed my bag yet so need to do that. Yesterday I didn’t feel well and pretty much sat around all day. I took a big nap in bed in the afternoon and watched The Birdcage on my iPad. I think the ragweed pollen is bothering my head because I felt pretty tired, dizzy and my sinuses felt pretty weird. I also had some digestive blockage going on so took some stuff for that. I’m better today and slept really well all night. It’s been chilly the last couple mornings and I’ve had to put a jacket on to take the dog out. For some reason I’m feeling kind of glum and sad today. I’m not really sure why. Stuff with my kids probably. They’re all adults with lives and I just need to not worry and give it to God. Nothings wrong that I’m aware of, I just worry when I don’t hear from them for a while. I must have faith and quit wondering worrying. Worrying helps no one. I’m going to go take a shower and resolve to have a good fun positive day. 

Oscar is 8 today!

3:28 We're at the resort now and weee able to check in to our unit early. It looks like it's getting ready to storm soon. Mike wants to go to Elkhorn tomorrow to see what it's like and also check out Kettle Moraine Forest. Trump is supposed to visit Elkhorn tomorrow even though both the mayor and governor asked him not to come......

Saturday, August 29


I know popcorn doesn’t like my gut but I occasionally eat it before bedtime anyway. This morning I feel like I have a big boulder in my gut. I need to stop this madness and quit eating stuff that’s not good for my body. I need to put better fuel in my body. I need to think of food as medicine and not treats. My gut needs more non-starchy vegetables and I need to back off gluten, sugar and carbs. I did a lot of exercise yesterday but ate too much of poor choice foods. I have been blessed to stay alive but I need to do better about eating healthier. I’ve been on a Klondike bar kick for way too long. During the first couple months of pandemic quarantine I was baking and eating breads, biscuits, cookies, brownies, cakes, etc....Neither Mike nor I need that stuff. He’s diabetic and I very much do not want to be diabetic. I need to stop blithering ranting about it and just do it. I also could pretty easily give up eating meat. I’ve had a couple periods in my life where I was a happy vegetarian. There are so many toxins and hormones and GMOs and pesticides in our food supplies. Annettes little dog had to be put down last week and end her suffering from kidney failure and bone loss mostly due to all the extra treats and meat she’d been giving her. Her kidneys failed and the calcium leeched out of her bones and jaw so she couldn’t eat or drink or pee. We are careful what we feed Bitzi. I need to be careful what I eat also. Those are my thought at 6:08 am on a Saturday as I sit one finger typing on my iPad in the front sitting room sipping my vita up coffee listening to Michael saw logs in the bedroom and the wall clock tick. I can see the glow of sunrise coming in the front window honeycomb blinds. 

Mike said he has about an hour of work to do this morning and then before noon we’re going to drive over to St.Charles ( about 30 miles southeast of Huntley where we live) and visit Annette. We’re takingBitzi with us. Annette is watching Bitzi for us next week Monday through Thursday while we’re in Lake Geneva. We’ll take Bitzi back down to her Monday morning. We were going to just put Bitzi in a kennel but Annette offered to watch her and since she just lost her little dog last week we said okay. Bitzi is five months old and is doing good but once in a while if I leave her roaming free in the house too long when she hasn’t been outside to pee she still will find a spot to pee on a rug so we’ve gone back to being more careful. She has a portable pen in the kitchen with her food, water, toys and a little dog bed teepee house. When I bring her inside after she’s gone pee I give her some free time to roam the house and play but I supervise her. Usually after 30 minutes or so I put her back in her pen and I take her outside to pee every hour or two. Maybe it’s me that’s trained! At night she sleeps in a smaller dog crate with a towel over it. She has never whined or whimpered at night. She almost never barks. She doesn’t shed. She’s easy to carry and give a bath. She’s pretty good mostly.

I don’t know if it’s ragweed pollen or what but I’ve been slightly wheeze-y the past week or so. I get this every year around this time. Generally when September gets here is when I come down with some full blown cold, sinus infection, bronchitis- BUT that’s usually after all the instrument testing at all the schools has begun so planning to avoid that this year. Yay! 

Now that it’s light out I’m going to go ride my bike around the lake path!

7:17 back from my ride. It’s much cooler out today. I had to stop and button my lightweight white short sleeved Columbia shirt over my sleeveless scoop neck yoga top so I wasn’t too uncomfortable. This was my first time riding around the lake path. It was very smooth and easy to ride on. There are benches every so often if you want to rest. I passed two old guys walking the path. It’s not a very big lake. 

8:18 I just took Bitzi for her first ride on the bike. I fastened her car seat in the back basket and clipped her leash to the car seat clip. She loved it! We rode around the neighborhood ringing the bike bell. Most everyone is still sleeping. 

Friday, August 28


10:20 am. It’s Friday but no days seem like the day they are anymore. It’s weird but I’ve heard other people say that too. Things are different now. I went for a nice bike ride a while ago and went across the way to Wildflower Lake and rode through the parking lot. I’m not sure if bikes are allowed on the path that goes around the lake, I know golf carts and walkers are allowed. I then rode up past the main Prairieview Lodge and then back home. It was a long way for me just starting to ride a bike again. My bike doesn’t have any gears to shift to make the few small inclines easier.  After I got home I cooled off a bit and then took Bitzi for a walk up to the top of the hill at the park across the street. I’m still sweating but it’s a cool slow sweat now.  I hate when I have the big sweat going and my face sweats. I hate that!  It’s really thick and muggy out there lately. When we moved Mike gave his nice 10-speed bike to his son Casey. I wish he still had it so he could ride with me. Of course he’d be going a lot faster than me with the two very different bikes. Maybe he can borrow the bike back from Casey and if he likes riding can buy a new one.

Right now I’m waiting for a guy from TRS to call me back. I’ve received my last school pay check and now I want to know when my pension stuff kicks in. I’ve called TRS several times in the last few weeks and gotten random rude hags who tried to rush me and cut me off and we condescending. I don’t know whether they have a shitty work condition or what but I’ve gotten some real bitches lately. I just want a few important questions answered by somebody who in polite and knows what the hell they’re talking about. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, is it?

Mike has always wanted to handle the money and pay the bills. That has been fine for him to do that. Of course for almost 20 years I had $600 a month taken out of my paycheck and put in my own private account. I just needed to do that after what I’d been through in my first marriage. About a year ago I finally started having my full check amount deposited into our joint checking account. That was a HUGE deal to the other day Mike got a call from the Nicor gas company saying we hadn’t paid out bill in 18 months and they were shutting our gas service off on August 31. We ALWAYS pay out bills in advance ALWAYS so that seemed completely ridiculous. Still, I couldn’t recall seeing that bill come in the mail. I guess I figured he was paying it online. He looked through all our records, bank statements, credit card statements and found nothing. After  about 9 calls with Nicor we finally found that when we moved and called them to change the address they had written down the wrong address and had been sending the bill somewhere else for 18 months since we moved. But Mike, who pays the bills, never realized we weren’t getting the Nicor bill and we weren’t paying it. So there was a late penalty tacked on but he argued with them and got them to take it off plus a reduction for the mistake. So we just paid $700+ for 18 months of unpaid gas bills...........crazy shit........

It looks sunny outside now. It was overcast to the west and thunderstorms are predicted for late afternoon and evening. I may go to the outdoor pool later if the weather holds out. I really like my water exercise. I’ve been feeling a little drain-y in my sinuses the last couple days and wheezing a bit. Last night I was coughing a bunch at bedtime so I took a Benadryl but I woke up twice coughing with the drainage. I sleep on a wedge pillow for that draining problem but last night it wasn’t helping much. I’m sure it’s the pollen in the air-probably ragweed. I get this every year about this time. I don’t test as allergic to anything but I sure am sensitive at certain times of the year.

So we’re going to the resort in Lake Geneva Monday through Thursday next week. Annette, Mike’s mom, has offered to take care of Bitzi. I think it will be good for her , considering she just had to put down her own little dog last week. I’m sure she and Bitzi will have fun, plus it will save us some money. Mike gives Annette money all the time anyway. He paid her vet bill last week to have her dog put to sleep, a memory paw print plaque and her ashes in a urn........We spent almost a thousand dollars on his nephews wedding with the shower and wedding gift. Seems extravagant to me. My family are so much simpler folks. Oh well......and now Mike is freaking out to me to find out when my pension money will start......I know it will get here. He just frantically ordered me this morning to call and find out exact facts. Whatever.......

I finished the last episode of my rewatching of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale last night. June IS Badass. I love rewatching old favorite movies and series. I’ve rewatched the Sopranos and VEEP and Deadwood many, many times. 

Next week on Saturday I’m going to my daughter Sarah’s in Lewistown and watching the boys. whe I go home I’ll stop in Peoria and see my sister Vicki. I may just come back home on Sunday or stay a day or two depending on how it goes. I should go see my other kids, other sister and some friends too while I’m down there. 

Thursday, August 27

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

It’s Thursday 11:39am. I went to our indoor pool this morning and did a very rigorous workout with my foam dumbbells. I feel tired and my muscles are telling me I worked them a lot but I feel really good. There’s something about the water that heals me. At the end of every water workout or swimming session I float on my back and look at the ceiling and thank God for my life and another day on earth. Seriously, I am grateful and blessed. 

This afternoon I’m going to another Sun City resident’s house to look at a used (like new) adult trike with a basket. I still don’t have too good balance to feel safe riding a regular bike. Well I haven’t for a couple years. I think I tried my old bike once or twice after the stem cell transplant and fell off at least once. I’ve just had too much brain shit to ride a regular two-wheel bike and feel safe and confident. I may look like a total eccentric old lady on this read trike but I’m okay with it. It may not be big enough though since it’s only a 24” frame. I’m a big girl. So we’ll see.

4:20 Well I got the bike. It seemed to be in pretty good shape and he gave me 1/3 off his asking price and he helped me load it in my car. I unloaded it when I got home. I had to work pretty hard to pry off three nuts to loosen and raise the seat. I test rode it a couple miles. I hadn’t ridden a bik in years! I’m amazed I could ride a bike! 

Wednesday, August 26


I’ve taken Bitzi on a couple long walks today. It’s pretty hot and I carried her some of the way. She doesn’t tolerate the heat that well and starts panting pretty hard. It’s the middle of the afternoon and baking hot out there right now. I have an appointment for a 3:45 indoor pool slot. Actually I’m too tired to go and thought about canceling but I’m going to go anyway and try it. Maybe the water will be invigorating.

My old friend Marilyn called me a while ago. I hadn’t talked to her in almost a year. She wanted to get together for lunch. I guess sometimes it is my friends who contact me. I just have to wait them out I guess. Marilyn has been retired for several years. She’s kind and sweet and funny. I’ve always liked her and her quirky ways. Anyway we’ll probably get together for lunch in a couple weeks. She always has interesting stories. I’ve known her for twenty years. We were band teacher friends to start.

It feels weird and good at the same time. I’m just not used to it. I feel like I’m locked in a closet and I’m supposed to change into a costume but I don’t know which one to put on and there isn’t enough room to change anyway. Kinda like that.

Tuesday, August 25

Blessings are always there for the taking

11:15 I went over to the lodge for my scheduled indoor pool time and just as I scanned my ID card and entered the fire alarm went off and everyone evacuated the building. I stood outside for a while. Police and fire responders came. I saw nor smelled any smoke so eventually I just got in my car and came home. Since the one- hour pool times and cleanings in between are scheduled all day my time was used up a lot so I just gave up. I’m still a bit tired from yesterday anyway. 

I have a phone interview later for a neurologist’s receptionist position. Sounds like it might be a good deal. As long as Mike is still working I might as well work too. We don’t know when the axe will fall on him.

1:57. I thought the interview went well and I’m excited about it. There are other candidates being interviewed though. I know the neurologist. This is a good company to work for. I am hopeful.

Mike has been worried about TRS screwing up my retirement stuff. All these years I have covered him with my school district insurance for everything and now he’s going on his own company’s  insurance. He’s had me go recheck everything again today. He’s being a worry wart but better safe than sorry.

We’re going to our resort in Lake Geneva next week and staying in a luxury condo. It’s a little weird because it’s only 30 miles away but hey, it’s going somewhere. Bitzi will be going to a kennel and making lots of new dog friends! 

Monday, August 24

Adrift in the ocean

It’s Monday morning. It’s still odd to me how time now seems like a blur with the pandemic, so many working from home, my retirement, listening to the Covid-19 reports every day. Just a really weird period we’re going through. This is the first day of online back to school classes for my former school district. It’s an odd feeling but I have no regrets. 

I have a 2:15 indoor pool slot scheduled to go exercise. Yesterday I went for a couple walks and planted two rose bushes. I’m doing laundry right now. I’ve taken Bitzi outside walking around the yard twice this morning. She is too distracted staring at things, sniffing and trying to chew sticks and leaves.

We went to the wedding Friday night. There was a huge tent in their big back yard with tables for fifty people, a makeshift alter and a dance floor. The flower arrangements were beautiful. The catered food and service were excellent.

Saturday we took my mother-in-laws tiny yorkie to the vet to put her down. She had kidney failure and bone loss and couldn’t eat. It was sad but it was time. 

I’ve been rewatching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu this past week.

I need to go to the store this morning and transplant some more plants.

Friday, August 21


I’m typing with one finger on my iPad in the still of the early morning. I can hear Michael’s faint rumble snore from the bedroom behind the sound of the ticking wall clock. I had a pretty good sleep although I woke up a couple times itching. I think a mosquito must have gotten in. They always find me.

I have an indoor pool one- hour time slot reservation this morning. The schedule five time slots each week day allowing twelve people total. There are also four two-hour times you can swim at the outdoor pool. You don’t need an appointment and just show up but they only allow fifty so it’s a first come basis. I’ve been there twice now. Most of the people are there just to stand ( or float on pool noodles) and chit chat. At the indoor pool everyone is exercising or swimming laps. I took my foam barbells and did my exercises at the outdoor pool the other day but everyone else was just standing around. I just did my exercises for an hour and left. I was worn out.

Tonight is the wedding in Elburn. I’m looking forward to it. There are only going to be around fifty people there. It’s probably going to be kind of strange with people in masks but oh well. I’m wearing a new royal blue wrap dress and haven’t even tried it on yet. I hope it looks good.

Mike at Rush hospital 11 years ago when I was very bad and near death.

Lola a few years ago learning to shoot her bow.

I know the pandemic is going on but I keep daydreaming about getting away somewhere- the Florida Keys, a cruise, Gatlinburg, The Mirage in Las Vegas......I just want to get away. Mike is too wary of one of us contracting the virus . The damned virus.

9:15 Mike is in a Zoom meeting in his office. I cleaned up the kitchen and scrubbed the crusted baked beans dish with an SOS pad and got it clean finally ( it soaked overnight) and I loaded the dishwasher, wiped the counters off, took out the trash and recycling and cooked the two remaining ears of sweet corn in the microwave so I can keep them in a ziplock bag in the fridge. Mike loved the ribs I made yesterday. I let them char on the grill then wrapped them in foil and cooked them slow in the oven for several hours sealed in foil. Mine was a bit too salty for me. I think the rub plus the barbecue sauce equaled too much salt but he loved them. I haven’t made ribs in a couple years. 

Thursday, August 20

How do you keep going?

We are all just on our path of life. There will be obstacles along the way. Some of many, many big obstacles. Some have them more frequently than others. You can’t get too set on your path at a certain pace or intensity because sure enough something will come along and you’re going to have to jump, dodge, weave, duck down or stop for a while until it passes. That’s how life is. The better you get used to that the better able you’ll be. Some are really good at anticipating obstacles before they occur. That is ideal.But they are going to come, often at the most unexpected times.

I feel like I’m currently in a pretty good place on my path. I’ve been through many major shit storms though and I never forget it. I’m always on the lookout for the next tiger or monster or tidal wave or shit storm. Just figure they’re going to come. Try to put on the best helmet you can and hunker down. Walk cautiously but joyfully along your path. Oh and try not to be oblivious and fall down any holes or trip over a thorny log either.

Mike just left to play golf. I need to get a wedding card and some coleslaw today. I bought some babyback ribs and put rub on them last night and they’ve been marinating. I’m going to char them on the grill and then shove them in the oven to cook low and slow to tenderize them. I’m hoping they turn out good. I don’t have much experience in cooking ribs. We both like a more vinegar-y sauce. Mike’s favorite is Open Pit.

This morning I took Bitzi out for her walk and then I watered all my flowers outside and my new plantings from yesterday. I ordered two double knockout pink rose bushes so they’ll go in front as well. My goal is for the front flowerbed to eventually be gorgeous.

Arlo, my three year old grandson started preschool on Monday in the same school building where his older brothers go but after a couple days of his crying and screaming my daughter Sarah decided to just give up and wait until next fall. It’s normal for a kid his age. He’s really still in the terrible 2’s. He is pretty clingy to his mama and I can see her wanting for him to go for a couple hours and play with other kids and get used to it. But it was not meant to be. Usually Arlo wants to be like his older brothers and tries to be a big boy but not in this situation.

I have a bunch of aloe Vera plants on the back patio but they had been too near other plants that I needed to water so evidently they have been getting too much water or mist and looked pretty sickly and brown so I moved them to a couple small tables in full sun a couple days ago and already they’re starting to turn more green and plump up. I just hate when I kill a plant. They’re like my babies. I should repot one or two today.

In the past couple years I’ve gotten a lot more freckle-y on my arms and legs for some reason. I’m not thrilled but it is what it is. 

I’d better take Bitzi outside again and get on with my day.

More later. 

Wednesday, August 19

Strange fruit

It’s Wednesday 

I just took off and went for my mammogram by myself in Bloomingdale, then across to  Bartlett and west to South Elgin to my old favorite car wash and then to my old oil change place and then home. My car's  gas tank is full, it’s clean and the oil is changed. I’m happy.

I went out and planted all the new flower bulbs I got for free  in the spring and a whole bunch of perennial flower roots in the front flower bed. I gave all my roses their fertilizer spikes and watered really good. I washed myself, my crocs, my garden gloves and my hand shovel with the hose. I’ve been inside cooling off, having lunch and playing with the dog. I may go to the pool at 3.

Tuesday, August 18


7:25am. I’m drinking coffee 1. I got up, showered, cuddled up Bitzi and took her outside for a walk. I had to pull a leaf out of her mouth that she was trying to chew up. When we got back inside I put her in her little kitchen pen with fresh food and water and she started eating. I’ve been here in the sitting room about fifteen minutes reading the news. Mike just went out in the kitchen and said Bitzi had thrown up. I wonder if she managed to swallow something outside. She’s only about five pounds so I worry when she gets sick. Probably nothing. She seems okay now.

I have a 9:15 pool slot this morning so I can get my exercise in without screwing up my knee. Since it’s  cool I might start digging and planting later after the pool if I’m not too tired.

Monday, August 17


I’m drinking my second cup of coffee for the morning. I’ve taken Bitzi out once. I’ve done a few household chores, ate some Raisin Bran, threatened to discipline Mike for his harsh smart-ass comments - a typical day. Now he’s back in his hole starting to work. He has Zoom meetings to attend today and all sorts of BS. I am way past sick of this whole pandemic business. I wish it were over. I wish it was safe. I wish it could go back to the way it was. It will never be the same again.

I’m signed up for Music & Moves class at 11 and light yoga at 12, both at the pavilion. I’m not feeling it this morning but intend to go. I’m sure it will get better as I get started. It’s a nice calm sunny day. I need to move my body as much as I can. I need to quit eating Klondike bars. I’ve had some reconsidering thoughts about the old friends. Maybe I’ll reach out but let them know how I feel. People aren’t mind readers and I will say that over the years I’ve always had a crazy amount of super busy and drama going on in my life. I can’t deny that fact. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to reach out. AGAIN......

We have tentatively decided to have a neighborhood block party in late September or early October. Not as hot or as many bugs out then.  People usually bring their own lawn chairs and drinks and set up on peoples’ driveways in Sun City. I’ll have beverages and snacks on hand.

My grandsons start in-person school in Lewistown today. My granddaughters in Canton start e-learning school Wednesday. It’s kind of weird to not be going back but I am not regretful at all. I believe my former colleagues have a whole week this week of e-learning training in preparation for the 8/24 student start. I thank my lucky stars I am not in that mess.

Once again I’m typing on my janky keyboard with the little piece of nano tape stuck to the back of my iPad to keep it from slipping off the holder that doesn’t fit. I’m more used to the key action now at least. It works . No sense in buying a new one. I’ve pretty much stopped looking for jobs. I’m gong to wait until after my retirement checks and lump sum payment and new insurance and all the jazz is done to see how things actually shake out. I may not need or want a job. I have plenty to do. Also whenever Sun City really opens up there are lots of clubs, activities, classes and trips to take advantage of that I couldn’t do when I was working. I have a friend who works from home doing medical coding but I’d have to have training to do that. Or transcription work but that mostly takes training classes too.

I’d like a job petting animals or tending plants and flowers. I don’t have any people beating my door down to hire me for those things. I’m just going to be me and freestyle it for a while.

The lady who came to look at our kitchen cabinets about painting them still hasn’t gotten back to us with an estimate. I like to just get shit done. I hate the dicking around waiting bullshit. With anything anytime. I hate it. If she doesn’t get back with us this week screw her we’ll get somebody else. There are a whole lot of things I want to get done and Mike always wants to be late and drag his feet and take forever on everything anyway. I need my cabinets painted, new hardware and under cabinet lighting installed, the new pantry cabinet, new sink and countertop, the flooring, the tv mounted and hardware installed in the old pantry. I need shit to start moving. I am not always a patient person. I agreed to this house that Mike wanted and loved with the stipulation we would redo the kitchen. The kitchen is old and dated and depressing to me. I hate it. It embarrasses me. I want it frickin fixed and I’m tired of waiting. I hate the cabinets, I hate the flooring, I hate the counters and the sink, the dim lighting.BUT IT IS FUNCTIONAL.  I’ll just make do until I can do better. I am grateful and have more than I deserve. I don’t mean to sound like a greedy ungrateful bitch. I forget myself sometimes. I do have my dreams though..........

I still haven’t done my digging and transplanting. I’ll have to look at the weather forecast and see if there’s a cooler day after it rains. That would be ideal, otherwise I’ll just do it. I have a couple bushes to dig up and move and a bunch of perennials to move, fertilize and water the hell out of. I guess there’s no time like the present . I’ll get it done this week, I promise. I also have to rip out all the garden stuff and throw in the compost barrel to clean it up so they can till it under this fall. I’ll have to make a list so I don’t leave anything off. That should keep me moving and out of trouble.

I’m trying not to read the news as much -too disturbing with all the rising Covid-19 numbers and all the racial and political furor. I am going to watch some of the Democratic convention tonight. I believe next week is the Republican convention. Gotta watch some of both of those.

I’m continuing to have some diverticulitis swelling, warmth and mild pain in my lower left abdomen. It has never been acute, just annoying and bothersome. I know if I eat popcorn and junk food it’s worse and I’ve eaten that this past week. My left knee is still not right but not acute. I haven’t been wearing my knee brace for a few weeks now but it still reminds me every day to be careful. I have some lower back funk and my left wrist has something wrong. All signs of aging. All signs of the high miles that are on this old jalopy. I’ll just keep doing the best I can with what I have. 

Bitzi is staring a hole through me from her kitchen pen so that must mean she needs to go out. 

2:14 I’m home again. At the first exercise/dance class this morning I got overheated and started feeling pukey and my knee was hurting bad and snapping so I left and came home. I’m aggravated with myself. Such a puss to whimp out on a dumb class. I skipped the yoga class too. I like the pool exercise better and I can do my own stretches at home.I just took a typing test for an online transcription job for the hell of it. It was not good. This keyboard doesn’t help, but to be honest I’m just not that good even if it was a great keyboard. I am rusty. Oh well. I suck.......

I cooked a few chicken breast pieces that were in the freezer with garlic, pepper, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. I’ll dice that up and add it to the pho noodles for dinner.Use it up. I spent so much money on groceries and eating out when the kids were here and trying to use things up that we have at home.

It looks a bit overcast but I don’t think it’s supposed to rain. I think my best bet weather-wise for the digging and transplanting is Wednesday. It’s supposed to be cooler. I’ll water extra good tomorrow night to make the digging easier. 

Little Arlo who is three started going to preschool today so he feels like a big boy like his brothers. They’re all three so cute. 
Mike was just out here in the kitchen. He has a zoom meeting now and went back to his office hole. I’m taking Bitzi out again and also to get the mail.

Bitzi still doesn’t get freedom to roam the entire house. I let her have “free time” in the house several times a day but we watch her. She is not allowed to go in the bedrooms by herself and isn’t supposed to be on the living room carpet although that’s where she heads every time we look the other way. She is still a mischievous puppy who is looking for stuff to attack and chew up.

3:28 I just gave Bitzi a bath in the utility sink and now she’s zooming through the house like a jackrabbit.

Sunday, August 16

The clock

It’s Sunday morning. When I got up an hour or so ago Mike was up and said he’d been awake a couple hours. I went to make my coffee and he went back in to bed and back to sleep. I don’t know if I had woken him up earlier or if he had been sick or what. No clue but I’m letting him sleep as long as he wants.

I made waffles and put honey butter and mixed berries on mine. I gave Bitzi a tiny pinch of plain soft waffle. She slurped it up.  Normally she doesn’t get any people food except a half egg once in a while. I’ve taken her outside once so far today. It’s very sunny. The air was chilly and damp.

I brought some tomatoes, cucumbers and a tiny eggplant in from the back of the Tahoe and rinsed them off and put them on the window ledge over the kitchen sink. 

We went out to the community garden last evening to salvage whatever we could. That garden plot is a grassy weedy disaster. I picked out the remaining vegetables.  I pulled out the tomato cages and newspapers. The sweet corn, planted too late, tasseled way early and short and won’t produce any edible ears. I’ll go back out there in a day or two and rip out the tomato vines & other plants and throw them on the compost pile. Next year I’ll just have vegetables in pots in the back yard- much  easier to tend and keep weeds out. This has been a sucky year from all angles. 

It’s weird sitting here only hearing the wall clock ticking and faint locusts or whatever buzzing in the back field behind the house. It’s like the whole world is asleep.

I’ve been thinking about old friends the past couple days and wanting to schedule get togethers. The problem is that I’m the one who always has to contact them and suggest it. And then they’re always happy to schedule it and get together but it’s always ME. I’m kind of sick of it so that’s why it’s been so long. I’m fed up with always being the one to reach out. I don’t think I’m out of line feeling this way. So I’m moving on. Again I’ll mention the people who are just emotional vampires and only take and take. You teach people how to treat you, you know?


Mike actually went to the outdoor pool with me this afternoon. The water was perfect. I got in a 50- minute workout. There were about 25 other people there.

Tomorrow I have a music dance class and a yoga class from 11-1. I hope it’s not too hot as they’re at the outdoor pavilion. 

Saturday, August 15

Friday, August 14

Just keep swimming!

I missed signing up for an indoor pool time this week so was SOL but this morning noticed there was a cancelation for the 9:15 slot so I nabbed it, I did a good 50 minutes of vigorous water aerobics. My knee is still a little wonky but it feels better exercising in the pool. 


3:35 I’m coloring my hair light auburn. I’ve kept it strawberry blonde forever. Hope it turns out nice.

Thursday, August 13

The last rose of summer

I really love listening to nature and bird sounds. I’m sitting at the kitchen table typing away on my less than spectacular iPad Bluetooth keyboard. It’s getting a little better. I put a little piece of nano tape on the back of the iPad to keep it in place in the holder propping it up to the keyboard. As I mentioned yesterday it didn't’fit right when I bought it. It’s obviously made for a wider device but it works so we make do with what we’ve got. Whatever.

I took Bitzi for a walk up the hill at the park across the street. She absolutely loves going for walks and smelling all the smells and meeting people and dogs. At five months she still gets way too excited when we meet someone and want to go batshit crazy and jump on them. We’re working on her staying calm and minding her manners.

Before the park I ran over to the Aldi store (conveniently only a mile from my house) because we were out of milk. I also got some salad stuff and coffee. I try to be quick. Mask up, in and out. I prefer Aldi because it’s small compared to the other stores. There’s a SuperWalmart on the other side of Rt 47 from Aldi and that probably only a mile and a half or two from my house. There are lots of things close by for convenience. Huntley is a smallish town (compared to other Chicago suburbs) and our community, Sun City, is a subset within Huntley. We have about 10,000 residents in Sun City, all over 55 years of age. 

I need to wash the kitchen floor as there seems to be something sticky over by the sink. I also need to pull nails out of the walls in the spare bedroom and do some digging and transplanting outside. I’ll need to take Bitzi on a couple more walks today. I took some leftover pasta and sauce from the freezer to thaw for dinner. Last night I doctored up frozen pizzas and we watched Castaway with Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt. I forgot that I don’t like the way they ended it. Really great special effects during the plane wreck though. Tonight we’re going to rewatch The Irishman. I got bored and fell asleep the first time a couple years ago. I resubscribed to Hulu to rewatch The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ll probably cancel when I’m done unless the new season drops. I’m also waiting for the new season of Harlots and on Amazon Prime The Amazing Mrs. Maizel.

Mike’s  newspaper company recently had several people accept the buyout offer, a few were just laid off and some of the remaining staff had to be reassigned. There were several very unhappy people but I believe that’s kind of settled down now and today they’re having a company-wide Zoom meeting to big farewell to those leaving and thank them for their service and to thank those taking job reassignments. Mike is supposed to speak at the beginning to salute one of his former reporters who is going. He’s been going over his speech and bouncing ideas off me. 
His paper sold their big corporate headquarters building in Arlington Heights a couple years ago and then rented two floors in a nearby office building to save money. Now after months of everybody working remotely they’re realizing they don’t even need that so are going to sublease it and move any needed office space at all into spare rooms on their big print facility building on the Elgin-OHare expressway. The individual  bureau buildings in Elgin, St. Charles, Aurora, etc...were closed several years ago. The company continues to downscale and condense operations as the world and media coverage changes. They still have a brisk online newspaper presence but the print newspaper produc is dwindling fast. The world is always changing and your have to adapt or die. Simple. 

There is a sweet sadness in seeing my last roses of the season knowing they’re in for a winter’s sleep and hoping they survive to bloom next spring. I have a pink knockout rose blooming now on the south side of the house and two pink tea roses on the north side and three red knockout rose bushes blooming but dropping petals and fading. Last winter I covered the roses up really well so they all survived.

11:43. I took Bitzi out for another walk and then brought her inside and let her have some free time running around in the house before she went back in her portable pen in the kitchen to start eating her egg. She gets free time a few times a day but only while we’re watching her. There have been a couple pees and one poop on rugs or a carpet. That was a few weeks back but we still are not giving her free run of the house. I have a couple belts on a strap hanging from the back door to ring when I take her out. I did have her pen over by the door with the bells but then she was bumping in to them and ringing them all the time. Hopefully once she earns free run of the house she’ll know to ring the bells to go outside to do her business. That is my hope. She may be old enough next month and come in heat. I’ll have to get some little doggie diapers I guess. The vet said she shouldn’t be spayed until she’s at least a year old or 18 months or older if I decide to breed her. I’m not sure yet. If I breed her I’m considering another ShihTzus or a toy poodle but it needs to be no bigger than 10 pounds. I don’t want any chance of complications giving birth. These dogs typically only have three pups per littler. I’m sure if she did have some I’d just want to keep them all.

I’m not getting my to-do list done. It’s getting kind of hot and humid outside which is why I’m not out there digging and transplanting. I should have done it this morning but I was feeling kind of dizzy and foggy the first hour after I got up. I stayed up later than normal last night watching the end of The Firm and then Castaway with Mike and then an episode of The Profit and then I went to bed but watched 2 episodes of the the Handmaid’s Tale before falling asleep and then I woke up for a while after Mike came to bed after having taken Bitzi not sure how much sleep I actually got.

I’m okay that Biden chose Kamala Harris for his running mate.I liked her during the primaries in the beginning until she got nasty with Joe and that soured me on her. Hopefully they can make a winning team. I just wish it was all over, he won and it was February already and the pandemic was over. Normally I hate February and all those weeks of dreary overcast bullshit. I guess we’ll have to wait another year or two to be snowbirds since Mike is still working. He has a bunch of accrued vacation time but cannot ever spare the time to take off.......because they have SO FEW people now.

Yes I should be doing something more productive right now but I’m not feeling like it. Is this what retirement feels like?  I don’t want to wither away and curl up in a dusty ball and not do anything. I guess I’m now in my introductory / exploratory phase of retirement. I shouldn’t feel guilty.

Lola and Milo stayed at their grandpa’s house ( my ex) and were riding the horse following the donkey this morning and were going to the sale barn with him this afternoon. The girls said he’s doing better and feeling stronger and eating again. I saw him last week when he and Sarah met me in Mendota to drop off Oscar so he could come stay for a couple days with the other kids. I hadn’t seen my ex in at least a year and half and he was huge then. the other day he look gaunt and had flesh hanging from his face. I guess the colon cancer was so far progressed and he wasn’t eating and lost a ton of weight fast. When he was doing bad I know it was hard on my younger daughter because she lives in Lewistown closer to him and was taking care of him. He’s a very demanding, nit picky narcissist and now all four of my kids realize how he is. I guess it’s better for Sarah now as he’s able to take care of more of his needs. He obviously feels good enough to have the kids stay there.



After lunch I started getting sick at my stomach. I felt hot and broke into a sweat but didn't have a fever. I threw up several times until empty, waited a bit, took an alka seltzer, fell asleep in bed for a while. Feeling better now. I don't know what hit me. When I got up I had a couple of swigs of Diet Pepsi and took the dog out and picked a last of the season bouquet. The flowers are all getting dried out & crunchy. No transplanting flower roots for me today. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12


Yesterday I went for my annual physical and bloodwork ( free with my teacher insurance that’s changing August 31 to my retirement insurance so figured I’d get it done).

9:03 Now I’m trying to use my old janky iPad keyboard case that doesn’t fit the iPad right and the keyboard keys feel all junky and hollow plastic like a toy. This has been sitting around unused for a couple years -unused as I had my much nicer keyboard on my work iPad but I turned that in in May so haven’t really bothered it with it much until now. But now I feel like I ought to at least give it another try. So here goes. The part of the keyboard case that actually holds the iPad is too wide so it slides down a little bit but it rests on a track on the keyboard part so that’s not that big of a deal. The key action feels awkward and junky but then I haven’t even been typing for quite a while so that’s not going to matter in the long run. I had a nice new work laptop too that I barely used (preferring the iPad) but that got turned in too. As of yet I can not justify buying a new one. I’m kind of in use it up, recycle, repurpose mode. 

I’ve been searching -kinda- for a new job. I’m not really sure I even want or need a job but have been looking and applying on Indeed and Snagajob apps. I’ve had a couple phone interviews but just kind of fizzled out in the middle and told them no thank you. Maybe I don’t really want another job. Maybe the universe wants me to live a simple, humble, poor Amish life. Maybe the universe will bring me the new job when it’s time. Maybe the universe doesn’t want me working while the pandemic is still going on. I believe in a higher power and things all happen when and as they’re supposed to.

Now I’m getting a little more used to this janky keyboard. 
Mike’s typing skills are phenomenal. I have never seen anyone else type with such ferocious speed and accuracy. I sure don’t like him watching me try to type. I used to like typing and considered myself pretty good back in the day when there were actual typewriters.

I’m taking Bitzi to the groomer at 10 and going to buy a new toilet seat for my bathroom. My seat has a big crack in the side and I’m not getting any more thigh pinches! I’m pretty sure everything in the house is the original from 21 years ago. I deserve a new toilet seat.

Today is garbage day. I’m sitting at the kitchen table typing with the sliding screen door open. I can hear the garbage truck booming and whooshing as it goes along our street stopping at each house. 

We had a lady who does cabinet painting come over and check out our kitchen cabinets and she will give us an estimate on painting them. I’m also buying an additional pantry cabinet to add to the side of the existing (small, inadequate) set up. We’re going to paint, install new hardware, sink, quartz counters and bright under cabinet lighting. The new pantry cabinet I want is at Menards and is ClearVue brand and has a ton of space and nice pull-out drawers.. The existing pantry cabinet is gong to house some of the TV media stuff when we mount  the TV on the living room wall behind it. I also want to install an inset electric fireplace beneath the TV. And we’re getting luxury plank vinyl flooring in the kitchen, living room, front room and entryway. That will also snowball in to painting all the doors and trim..........Not sure how soon this will start but I’m gong to keep typing on my janky keyboard for the time being. I have thought about work from home online jobs, perhaps transcription but that would require me to type faster and more accurately. Medical transcription jobs require a training course and certificate I believe. My efforts at blogging so far have just been personally therapeutic and not gained any other value at all to be honest. I guess I’ll just have to keep investigating.

My oldest sister Vicki is doing better now. She had a very bad bowel blockage but that’s been resolved. She’s feeling better and perkier and more like her old self again. My oldest daughter took my youngest granddaughter, Hennessy, and went back to Muncie  Indiana with her husband for his construction job. She went with him last week while I kept both her girls and my youngest daughter Sarah’s boys. Having them all together was a mistake but now I know and won’t do it again. We survived.

2:25 pm

Bitzi got a great cut at the groomer. Everybody loves her and she loves going and seeing all the different dogs. I got my new toilet seat at Walmart and Mike put it on during his lunch break, although he said it was a giant pain in the butt squeezing back in that dinky toilet closet inside the much bigger master bathroom. One of the bolts (surely had been on there for 21 years) was rusted and broken off while he was trying to get them off so he had to go out to the garage and find a wrench. But he got it done then I scrubbed and cleaned and disinfected the whole bathroom. It needed to be done.

My lab tests results all came back fine and normal. I am very grateful and feel blessed considering everyone our age on blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.... meds. I feel blessed.  I made an appointment for my mammogram for next Tuesday morning. It’s been two years. Since my sister Vicki had breast cancer I’m considered higher risk and have to get them more often I guess. 

We’re redecorating the spare bedroom and gave away the full bed that was in there. We also have a foam mattress topper and some old pillows to get rid of but we forgot to put them out for the trash. We going to paint in there and fill the nail holes and get a new futon and a little desk table for me. I like to just get shit done and Mike moves at a cautious glacial pace with everything.

The more I think about it the more picky I feel about taking another different job. I don’t want to drive more than a few miles. If it requires much driving at all, screw it. I don’t want anything with stress or drama. If it has that then screw it. It has to pay a decent rate. If it doesn’t, screw it. It cannot contain much germ exposure at all. If it does, then I’m out. That pretty much narrows down the field. The older I get, the faster I know right away if I like someone or something. I just get a vibe or a gut feeling. I am superficially pleasant and social with most people but my guard is always up for users, emotional vampires, freaks, weirdos, controllers, assholes...... For me to let my guard down and be genuinely comfortable and sincerely honest takes a lot. And once in a very great while I meet someone and know right away but those are few and far between. Only a couple times in your life do you earn a true blue heart to heart risk your life friend. Those people are the roots of your tree, your soul, your existence. Those people are the ones who you know will always be there for you in spirit even if you don’t hear from them for years. The other people are the limbs, the branches, the leaves.....and if those happen to blow away or fall off on their own your tree roots will still survive and maybe grow stronger because of it.

We had some much leftover food in the fridge from when the kids were here. The last couple days we’ve been trying to use it up and clean out the fridge. Neither one of us needs to be eating much and especially not kid junk food.  

This afternoon I’ve been doing laundry and outside watering my flowers. I’m going to dig up and move a bunch of flowers in the next few days to the new bare spot in front where we had the tree and bushes removed. I’d really like to get a couple knockout roses and plant in there too but don’t know if any stores have them now. They’re more early spring or summer plants in the stores usually. It would be nice to try to plant them and get a bit established before winter though. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go look at Lowes.

Next week on Friday is a small family wedding for Mike’s nephew (godson) and they are keeping it to 50 people. Originally before the pandemic it was going to be a big fancy event at a country club. And it’s be postponed and rescheduled a couple times so now it’s for a much smaller group in the bride’s parents’ back yard. Semi-formal attire requested. In a back yard. I’ll have to be covered in deep woods OFF or dip myself in pure DEET . I really dread his family functions. Everyone is so loud and talks at the same time about themselves.

Ten tricks to stay positive

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