Saturday, October 29, 2016

What's new? A few things, maybe

So my last post was on the second to last day of last year. I had a good Christmas.

I expect I'll be working again this year, even though I'm working Thanksgiving. We'll see.

Donna wants Christmas at her apartment, although it's small (I haven't seen it yet). I'm willing to have it here again, especially if I do have to work.

I checked last year's Christmas list. I got the pots and pans I wanted. I finally got a haircut last month. The cats have their Drinkwell fountain, but still prefer the bathtub. I bought a "fleece" steering wheel cover, but it's getting raggedy. The raggedy black sweater I was still wearing to work last year has disappeared. Somebody bought the Sims 4 Get Together (I can't remember if it was me or Kevin, but either way, Amanda and I both get to use it).

I have been president of the Webster County Genealogical Society for several years. This year I'm secretary/treasurer and the former secretary/treasurer is the president now — Susan M. Olson. She's been doing quite a lot for the society and deserves the title.

I'm still drinking diet Dr Pepper and still need to lose weight. I'm supposed to be exercising, but no. I'm not into outdoors and haven't got the money for exercise equipment. I think I could do a treadmill if I could watch TV while doing it, but again, haven't got the money.

Still coloring, although not very often. I buy coloring books, take them apart and put into page protectors in binders so I can copy (for my own personal use only) and color. But with a couple of exceptions about a week ago, I'm trying not to buy any more. I've got enough downloaded art to print out, plus the books in binders, to last a very long time. The exceptions are books that were on clearance at Target and Walmart, including tiny books that fit in my purse and can be taken wherever. I haven't started coloring those yet.

The cats are fine.

Olive had a vet appointment in July. She doesn't mind traveling in the cat carrier and going places. But when we entered the vet's office, she started growling and hissing and continued nearly the entire time we were there.  (To be fair, the last time I took her there, I left her overnight for a spay operation.) She weighed about 10 pounds, 4 ounces.

Jock will have his appointment in January. He doesn't like traveling in the cat carrier and going places. I have no idea what he'll be like at the vet's office ... should be interesting. And I suspect he weighs twice what Olive does.

So, just a few random observations. Until next time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas, coloring and contentment

So, Christmas.

It was pretty good.

I had to work, but when I came home for supper, there were 10 other people in my apartment, eating enchiladas and watching "Elf."

The enchiladas are a family tradition for special occasions. The last time I had them was when Cayla graduated from high school in May 2014.

The 10 other people were Cayla, my sister Donna, Donna's four kids: Alex, Jessica, Suzanna and Richard, Jessica's husband Eric and their sons Noah and Eli, and Suzanna's boyfriend Chad.

We ate, opened a few presents, had some laughs and I went back to work. When I got home, everybody had left except Cayla, who was in bed because she had to work the next morning.

So, my big Christmas gift.

There was a box, and it was big. I unwrapped it and the box said Pioneer Woman cookware, which was one of the big items on my Christmas list. But Cayla said, "open it," and when I did, I discovered a bunch of newspapers inside, and a banana.

On the back of the Lifestyle section from a couple of weeks ago, there are pictures of Messenger employees who rang bells at Hy-Vee one day. By my picture there was a speech bubble that says "I should probably look in Cayla's room for my real present."

She brought it out - the cookware - in a box I had brought home from Walmart for the cats to play in. Sneaky kid. I approve.

Coloring.

Well, I've been collecting coloring pages for quite some time. I get a few each week from Dover Publications. I get an email and download sample pages from their website. I haven't done a whole lot of coloring yet. I did attend a "Color Your World" session at the library earlier this month, which was fun.

I won a set of gel pens from The Write Dudes and I've been enjoying them. I also joined a Facebook group called Coloring Books for Adults.

And I've been thinking I should share my sources for free coloring pages. So here's the first one, from ArtLicensingShow.com. A Holiday Coloring Book

It's got 92 pages, mostly Christmas. But there's a few snowmen that don't necessarily have to be Christmas, and some New Year's (also Hanukah, which is unusual, but nice).

They even have it set up for bloggers to share.

92 Free Coloring Pages


So, it was a nice Christmas. I got to spend a little time with family. I'm enjoying coloring for relaxation. And I get to share. Contentment.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Christmas list

I have been making a Christmas list, just a variety of things I would like to have at some point. The prices of items vary, and to be honest, I'm expecting that whatever my family chooses to give me will be at the lower end of the price range. That's fine with me.

So, here's my list:
  • Sweet Stripes (a tub of these candies is about $5.88 at Walmart)
  • Gel pens (I just won a set of 24 and I'm having fun coloring with them. They are cheaper at Walmart.) Right now I don't need any more coloring books, as I've got enough coloring pages downloaded to last for months.
  • New pots and pans (I like the Pioneer Woman set, preferably turquoise, but red is good, too. $99 at Walmart)
  • A Flip-Pal scanner (around $150, online. Totally not expecting this, but I keep it on my list because someday I will have one.)
  • A gift certificate to Cato (maybe $20-25, enough for one top)
  • A black sweater (mine is getting pretty raggedy)
  • A fleece steering wheel cover (I had one of these awhile ago and it. was. awesome.)
  • A haircut (last time I got my hair cut was in January. It's way past time.)
  • A Brita pitcher (I've got a coupon!)
  • Sims 4 Get Together ($27.99 at Target this week, so I've been informed. This would be a present for Amanda, as well, as she plays on my Origin account because I've got more stuff.)
The cats want a Drinkwell fountain for Christmas. They can't write a letter to Santa, though, so I'm putting it with my list. You should see Olive drinking from the bathroom sink. She loves fresh water.

Christmas will be interesting this year. Cayla works in the morning. I work in the afternoon. But family is coming over and hopefully there will be enchiladas and one new baby. The other new baby is due at the end of the month.

We haven't put out our tiny tree because cats. The tree belonged to my mom, and now it's Cayla's. It's got all of Mom's small ornaments and one normal-sized one that I bought for Cayla last year.

I already know what I'm getting Cayla (and told her, so she knows, as well). I have an idea for Amanda and Kevin. That's about the extent of my giving this year, except I have a gift in mind for someone who is not expecting it (not a relative).

Oh, and by the way, there's a giveaway on another blog. I just entered. Tracy Horner is giving away a set of slightly used Derwent Inktense water color pencils. She started with a set of 24, but liked them so much so upgraded to 72. She's giving away the 24 set. I would like to win, but don't want my family spending money on them.

So, just some random babbling about Christmas. A giveaway on somebody else's blog. New babies coming. There's more going on, but I'll blog about some of it later.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A long dry spell - and irony

So, yeah. It's been a very long time since I blogged.

And the irony is that the microwave I bought last December to replace the one that quit working ... has quit working.

Cayla was using it and it made a weird noise or something, and quit (I wasn't home at the time, so my description is vague). The whole apartment smells like burnt metal. I'm not sure at this point if I want to get a new one, as I have my eye on an apartment that comes with a microwave. I just have to enter my life story in triplicate to apply for it.

Cayla is attending Iowa Central this year. Amanda is living in Ames. We have two rescued cats: Olive and Wee Jock.



Wee Jock is short for No'-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-Wee-Jock-Jock, a character in "The Wee Free Men" by Terry Pratchett.

Both of the cats have slightly dramatic rescue stories, which I may expand upon later.

For now, enjoy this video of the cats:

video

Friday, December 19, 2014

Is anybody out there?

My interest in certain things ebbs and flows. I get caught up in a particular activity and ignore other things. I've had blog posts in mind but haven't been sufficiently interested to actually post them.

Maybe later.

In the meantime, a little catching up.

I had my first colonoscopy in November. Everything was fine, so I don't have to do it again for 10 years. The prep solution you have to drink was the worst. It tasted a little like salty pineapple, which normally wouldn't be a problem, but when you have to drink 1/2 gallon in the evening and another 1/2 gallon the next morning, the effect adds up. I had to measure out each cup and mark them off as I drank them. I played a level of Plants vs Zombies or a game of Solitaire each time I drank one, as a reward system. In the morning, though, I just couldn't drink the whole thing. I got to a point where if I had taken one more sip, it would have all come back up. :-( So I stopped. But, I feel that as long as the results are there, it's all good (I am NOT giving medical advice to others - your mileage may vary).

Cayla is home for Christmas. She's set to return to school around Jan. 9 or so.

Family Christmas will be at my place. We're having homemade enchiladas. It will be the Snyder side of the family (me, my sister and any of her kids and their families/friends who wish to come). I suggested to my girls that their dad can come on New Year's Day, as I'm off then. I do have to work on Christmas Day.

Yesterday was my 32nd wedding anniversary. Kent and I have been separated since September 2008, but not divorced because neither of us has filed (or neither of us can afford a lawyer). I found out (yesterday, on the wedding anniversary) that apparently he's engaged, but we don't know to whom. He unfriended me on Facebook quite a while back, so I don't get any updates from him. I don't usually go look at his page, so I'm not in the loop. Whatever.

Our microwave oven died, so I'll be heading out shortly to get another one. I had to wait until payday, of course. Amanda has been making pizza rolls in the oven. I'm not sure if Cayla cares one way or the other, but Amanda and I use the microwave a lot.

My van has this weird thing where the "communications array" doesn't work from time to time. What that means is the dashboard indicators don't indicate, so I would have no idea how fast it's going or how much gas is in it. Driving in town, that's not a problem, as I can tell the approximate speed by what the engine and muffler sound like. But for picking Cayla up at school, it does cause problems. I'm reluctant to drive highway speeds when I'm not sure exactly how fast I'm going.

But my mechanic told me there are apps that will calculate speed based on GPS. So on Dec. 12, I tried that - I went down to Ames using the app the whole way there and back. It does work. So did the speedometer for that trip (taking Cayla her birthday presents and spending time with her) and one this Wednesday to pick Cayla up for her break.

One more thing about the van: I had decided to keep it running as long as possible. I've spent a lot of money on it so far: new starter, brakes, a couple of things in the front wheels (a tie rod for one), new tires (3 brand new, 1 used in good condition). Last week, after having some problems when the van would start (it was either sluggish, or would start, die and have to be started again), I put the key in and turned it and the thing went nuts. It wouldn't start, but the door locks were locking and unlocking rapidly - even after I took the key out of the ignition. I ended up having it jump-started and drove it to the mechanic. It needed a new battery. So I had to pay for a new battery and the jump start. The battery probably cost more than one from Walmart, but I had to get it through my mechanic because it was between paydays and he will hold a check. (I just checked - not quite as much difference as I expected, but a bit more.)

So now, new battery. That, getting a new microwave, and having Cayla home for three weeks (another mouth to feed) make things a bit tight. So Christmas won't be about what's under the tree (we don't have one, and nearly all my Christmas stuff was stolen by Kent's friends a few years ago), but about hanging out with family. I guess that's not entirely a bad thing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Headache and heartache

I watched this video this morning before getting ready for church, and lapsed into full-on sobbing.




Even now my eyes are welling up and I have a lump in my chest.

I miss my mom so much. All the distracting I did today to get my mind calmer is just not working now.

This morning, I learned that it's difficult to eat and shower while sobbing. I barely made it through sacrament meeting - I had to walk out during the intermediate hymn to compose myself. I had a headache from the crying earlier, and it's coming back now. After church, I learned that it's also difficult to drive in that condition.

It's been a year and a half since she died. I've been pretty good throughout it all, but a couple of days ago my train of thought went from me getting some cash at the bank, which used to be her account but she added me to it, then when she died, I took her off of it. I was thinking how handy it is to have an account so close to work, but I would give it up in a second to have more time with her.

Then I thought that I would shave my head to make a wig for her, if that would help. (She had a type of alopecia and as long as I could remember, she always wore a wig.) I would sacrifice in other ways, if it gave me more time with her.

But that's silly. I know Mom is beyond all that. There is a purpose to our lives, and she has gone to another part of her existence. Someday I will see her again. There is nothing that I can do to make it happen any sooner.

So, I will have to miss my mom. I will have to try harder to do what I know is needed to be able to see her again. I know there will be good days and bad days. It will be hard at times. It's hard right now.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cayla is coming home

Cayla has been staying with my dad and stepmom in Illinois, and working to save money for college. She has not been emailing or Facebooking me every day (like she's supposed to!), so it's been kind of weird not knowing what's going on with her.

Some things I had to find out second-hand, like she dated a guy while she was there.

But she comes home tomorrow.

Also, my laptop should be back tomorrow. I sent it away to get fixed, but wasn't sure if I would get it back in time for a family history workshop on Saturday at church. UPS says it's in Des Moines right now.

The problem was that it's been really sluggish lately, and when I play Flash games, they crash - a lot. I checked to see if it would be able to play The Sims 4, and the site I used to check it said it didn't have enough RAM. That confused me, as it's supposed to have 6 G of RAM, which should be plenty.

But when I looked at the specs, it was only registering 1.46 G of RAM.

That's not right.

So I checked the extended warranty I had paid for, and called customer support, and they sent a box for me to send it in for repairs. I've been waiting anxiously for it to return.

Amanda has allowed me to use her desktop, but there are times we both want it, so I've been reading a lot lately.

A few of the books I've read in the last week or so:

"Peter and the Starcatchers," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
"The Last Continent," by Terry Pratchett (and a few of the other Discworld books)
"A Dance With Dragons," by George R.R. Martin
"Imager," "Imager's Challenge," and "Imager's Intrigue," by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Cayla will only be home until Tuesday, when she leaves for college. It's such a short time, and I have to work three of those days. But I do have Tuesday off, so I can go help her move in. 

On the educational front, Amanda is nearly done taking the HiSET tests for a high school equivalency diploma. The last test is on Monday.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Semi-productive

My normal day includes a morning nap because I was usually up too late the night before.

Today, however, I spent naptime at Iowa Central Community College, so Amanda could attend the orientation for the HSED program. This included a couple of evaluation tests, which she passed, so she only has to attend classes for 12 hours, instead of 40.

Which is good, because we have other things we need to do during that time period (besides my naps).

We then stopped at my work so I could take care of a thing I forgot about last night, then over to pick up chicken fried rice for Amanda and home. I messed around on the computer for a bit, then took a nap for about half an hour before going to the library.

Normally I volunteer at the Webster County Genealogical Society on Wednesdays. Not every Wednesday, but today the volunteer was on her own for the first time and I thought I would stop by to see how she was doing.

I brought my laptop and stuff to do, although I didn't get anything done that I had planned. I also brought my lunch, as I hadn't had that yet. (I went to the Hardee's drive-thru.)

I did get some work done on the genealogy society's website, although I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out. I'll work on that later.

After the library, I went to Walgreen's to drop off some film. I have 17 rolls of film and a disposable camera that need to be developed (14 rolls of film now). The machine at Walgreen's is broken, so I went to Walmart instead.

Three rolls of film. Two are Agfa brand and have writing in German, so they might be from when I was in Germany in 1978. Or they might not. I have no idea.

The other roll is Osco brand, so it's from when I lived in Chicago. We moved to Iowa in 1996. So who knows what's on that roll?

The photos should be back on Tuesday. I got double prints and the CD. Apparently they do the CD automatically now - you don't get your negatives back.

So, if the photos turn out, I'll post some when I pick them up, or probably next Wednesday, when I'll be volunteering at the genealogy society again.

 5:42 p.m. Is it too late for a nap?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Graduation and enchiladas

Cayla graduated today.


 First was church. Dad didn't enjoy it much because he couldn't hear very well. We do have the receivers for the microphone system, but they are set up for the Spanish-speaking people and nobody knows how to (or if it's even possible) have different receivers on different channels like Spanish and English. So he spent part of the time in his car. He also has back problems, and  lying down helps that.

At Cayla's graduation, we sat on a bench on the track (like in the background of this photo). He went to his car while the valedictorian was speaking, because he couldn't hear. I couldn't either, but I was bound and determined to video the part where Cayla crossed the stage (and I did).

After commencement was over, Dad took me back to my place. Donna and Jessica arrived right after we did. Cayla went to get Kent, since she couldn't remember how to get to his place before the graduation ceremony and he missed it Suzanna showed up later, with her boyfriend's niece Lexis in tow.

Donna and I made the enchiladas. She dips the tortillas in the sauce, then in the oil. She flips the tortilla over, then takes it out, lets it drain a little and places it on the foil-wrapped cookie sheet. I put the cheese in and fold the tortilla from right and from left. We made about 1 1/2 packages of tortillas. There were four packages of cheese - which was quite a bit. But there's leftovers for Suzanna's boyfriend Chad and Jessica's husband Eric, and even some for my nephew Richard, who should be stopping by in about half an hour.

Dad told some family stories - most that I hadn't heard before, and one that I had, but not all the details. Jessica's baby Noah loved listening to Dad talk. Also, I put the movie "Up" in my laptop and played it for Noah, and during the beginning part, he liked it. He was laughing at young Carl and Ellie when they first met.

 Four generations represented here. Photo by 6-year-old Lexis.

Catching up and moving on

It's a little after midnight. I've got potatoes cooling in the kitchen to go with enchiladas after Cayla's graduation Sunday afternoon.

I've crumbled the queso fresco and cut up an onion. Part of the cheese is still in a block because it hasn't thawed yet. We discovered years ago that the cheese crumbles better if it was frozen first. And the onion might be in bigger chunks than normal because it was nearly midnight when I was cutting it and, quite frankly, at this time of night I don't feel like cooking.

It's been a long day and there's a couple more ahead. Cayla graduates on Sunday and leaves Monday to spend the summer with my dad and stepmom, and she'll be working to save money for college. Also on Monday, I'll have to go into work pretty much as soon as they leave, as I have a big project that's due Tuesday and it's nowhere near done.

Some things that have happened lately

Cayla's last band concert














What was supposed to be her last orchestra concert was canceled because the teacher/director was ill.

Cayla's art on display














A wee visitor














I got to babysit one day while his mom was working 9-5 last week. There were some not-so-Hallmark moments, as well. It's been awhile since I've cared for a baby for such an extended period, and when it was my own kids at this age, we had milk on tap, so to speak. No waiting for the formula bottle to warm up under hot tap water. Also, I don't think we have any good books to read to infants. I should just read anything - at this age, he won't care much what the content is.

Senior class night














She did get an award, something to do with the PSAT/NMSQT, I think. I didn't catch what it was and haven't seen the certificate. It was also her last high school orchestra performance. I wish I had videoed her walking up to get her certificate. From her position in the orchestra, she stepped onto the platform at the right, went up and got her certificate, then came down the other ramp (out of the frame), stepped near the top of the first part of the ramp near the plants, across to where she first stepped on the platform and sat down.

So now, I've got to get some sleep. Church at 10, graduation at 1:30, and family coming over after that for enchiladas. If our wee visitor comes back, we might get a four-generation photo or two. But I'm sending my camera with Cayla, so there probably won't be any pictures from me for awhile.