Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seriously, Marie, You Have To Do A New Post

This is Randolph Hall on the College of Charleston campus.  My alma mater.  Such good memories.

 The Dock Street Theater (on left) and St. Philips Church in Charleston.

This is Suzzallo Library, the main library, on the campus of the University of Washington, where I went to library school.  

Downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, and Mt. Rainier.

(Sorry about the sizes of these pictures, but they don't look good any smaller.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring! -- I Missed Most Of It

I've been sick for most of the past three months.

First, I had a little cough, so I went to my doctor to take care of that.  But the cough continued.  In order not to keep waking Richard, I slept in my easy chair for a couple of nights. 

This was not a good idea. 

I wound up with a severe pain in my spine, just below my neck.  None of the OTC things I had on hand would touch it, and I was beginning to be concerned.  Finally, I asked Richard to take me to the emergency room. 

This also was not a good idea. 

I was admitted to the hospital, but before that happened they determined that I had a slight case of pneumonia, plus a dangerously low blood sodium level.  They hooked me up to an antibiotic IV drip...

....which turned out to be yet another bad idea.

The antibiotic wiped out pretty much most of my natural bacterial flora and I wound up with colitis.  This progressed into a Clostridium difficil infection of my colon.  C. diff. is an especially nasty bacterium which killed off even more of my intestinal flora.  To make a long story short, I had diarrhea for over a month.  The prescribed antibiotic I had did not kill the C. diff. completely.  My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist in the middle of my first relapse, when I was still on the same antibiotic, and he said to give him a call if it came back. 

Which it did....

.....while Richard and I were visiting his sister and brother-in-law.  We arrived at their house on Friday evening, got up and had a fun and fabulous morning on Saturday, but then Saturday afternoon, I knew it was coming back.  We had to leave late Saturday to come home, even though we had planned to stay until after lunch on Sunday. 

I called the gastroenterologist, who prescribed an antibiotic that does nothing but kill C. diff.  It was expensive, but at that point I was glad to pay it.  It turned out that the price the pharmacist quoted to me was the without-insurance price ($2,400.00).  It was for a 14-day supply.  Fortunately my insurance covered most of the cost.  Also, my scientist husband did some research and found a pro-biotic that restores the vital flora that C. diff. kills. 

I've been taking these medications religiously, even getting up every morning at 4:00 am to take the first antibiotic of the day (4 per day).  I'm feeling pretty darn good now.  I think maybe the gastroenterologist nailed it.  Of course, if he hasn't, there's another, yet-more-outrageously-expensive antibiotic to try.  Oh, joy.

I'm looking forward to NO MORE RELAPSES!!  Dammit.

Well, I apologize for this bummer of a post, so here's another spring-celebration photo to cheer you up:

Y'all take care, and avoid hospitals!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's a Stick of Butter?

For the nice commenter from the UK:  A stick of butter is one-fourth of a pound.  Here in the US, butter is usually sold by the pound and is divided into four separately-wrapped sticks.  Happy baking!  Sorry to take so long to respond.

Here's what a stick of butter looks like.  You can buy both salted and unsalted butter here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

As I Promised....Here's A Recipe

My mother worked in our hometown post office.  Since our hometown contained only about 3,000 people, almost all of them knew my mother.  One of her coworkers was Mattie Saylors, a substitute mail carrier.  (I never did get the P.O. hierarchy; Mama worked full-time for years as a substitute clerk before she was promoted to clerk.)  Anyway... Mattie Saylors gave my mother this recipe:

Mattie Saylors's Fool-Proof Pound Cake

3 cups sugar
2 sticks margarine (I guess you could use butter, but why tinker with perfection?)
1 heaping tbsp Crisco
5 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour tube pan or Bundt pan.

Cream sugar and shortenings.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Combine flour, salt, and baking powder and add to batter alternately with milk, ending with flour.  Bake for about 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 20 minutes.  Turn out onto cake platter.

This is a wonderfully tasty pound cake.  I hope you try it and enjoy it.

Now, I may have to go bake a pound cake.....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good Heavens....

....here it is June 18, 2013, and I think it's high time I posted again!  I don't have anything of great import to say, so I guess I'll just say it anyway.  What?!?!

Here's a nice picture I found and it's followed by a nice Irish wish:

"May your heart be warm and happy, 
with the lilt of Irish laughter, 
every day in every way, 
and forever and ever after."

I'm sitting here listening to Eric Clapton.  The album is called Clapton Chronicles, and it's pretty darn good.  Well, it IS Clapton.

I'm still off the Diet Coke.  I had been going to Starbuck's and getting myself an iced mocha, but I've come up with my own recipe, so I prepare it at night and put it in the refrigerator, then in the morning I put it in a suitable container over ice and head on out to work.  That's usually the only caffeine I have on any given day, but that gives me some leeway to have more if I'm in the mood.

I've also been going to the YMCA, which is just up the road a piece from our house.  I get up at 5:00 am and usually get there by 5:40.  I do as much as I can stand (I'm still working on building up stamina) and then I go home and have some protein, usually yogurt.  At that time of day, I usually have the place to myself, at least the women's area.  I had to run a man out of there the other day.  He missed the sign that says "Women Only Area."  He seemed to be both pissed and embarrassed.  He should pay attention to what's going on.

In case you didn't know, I'm an Atlanta Braves fan.  I watch them play at every chance.  Last night they were still in a rain delay when it was time for me to go to bed.  Maybe Atlanta won't get rain tonight.  They're still number 1 in the NL East.  It sure would be nice to see them in the Series again.

The picture below is here just because I like it.  I don't know if it's a photograph or a painting.  But it's nice.  It's even better when it's bigger and also my desktop wallpaper.

I think I may have to start posting a few recipes.  I have some good ones that my family passed down to me, some that I've found elsewhere and tweaked a little to suit me.  Next time.

Well that's all the rambling I can do today.

I hope everybody has a lovely day, week, month, year, lifetime...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Changes Needed...Maybe

I was thinking of changing the name of my blog.  Anybody got any suggestions?

"Cats and books, etc." was the first thing that popped into my head when I first started this thing, and while I still love my cats and my books, I tend not to stick to the theme. 

So, if anyone has any bright ideas (that might help me recharge my writing batteries) leave a comment, either here or on Facebook.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


This used to be one of my bad habits.  Then Richard read an article about how colas can contribute to osteoporosis.  I'm getting older and I don't want to have osteoporosis.  So I decided I had to quit drinking Diet Coke.  I have tried cutting down on it before but that never worked out, so I had to quit cold turkey.  As Gretchen Rubin, on her Happiness Project blog, has said, you can be either a moderator or an abstainer.  Moderation only works in some situations, but for me and my Diet Coke addiction, I needed to become an abstainer.  It's been about a month since I quit the stuff.  So far, so good.  There are some meals that I still think would be tastier with a Diet Coke rather than water, but I have yet to fall off the wagon. 

I really didn't want to give up caffeine, but I failed to establish a Diet-Coke-free caffeine habit.  I keep reading that coffee has some health benefits, but I find drinking hot drinks in the morning to be a bit strange. 

Today at work I mentioned to co-worker Nick that I was in dire need of some caffeine.  Ever-helpful person that he is, he said, "I could make a Starbuck's run."  I immediately thought of their Iced Mocha Latte, but said, "No, that's all right," and went back to my office.  Before I got through the door, that Iced Mocha Latte thought floated rather insistently through my head again.  So I grabbed a ten-dollar bill and sent Nick off to Starbuck's with instructions to also buy himself something.  He got me my latte -- grande -- and I swear to god, it was just what I needed.  My brain perked up happily, and I was able to concentrate on what I was doing even better than if I had had a Diet Coke. 

Tomorrow I plan to leave early for work and stop by Starbuck's on the way and pick up my Iced Mocha Latte.  (What I really need to do is learn to make a reasonable facsimile of said latte, but until I do, Starbuck's is it.)

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging lately.  I really am over losing my kitty.  Well, not over it, but at least I'm used to his not being around.  I miss his habits occasionally.  We have adopted another kitty.  Her name is Billie and she is a dedicated outdoor cat. She was employed as a mouser by the family that lived two doors down from us, but for some damned reason they moved off and just left her!  Richard, my soft-hearted hubby, started feeding her.  Then she got to where she'd let us pet her.  Then we took her to the vet for a check-up.  That was relatively painless, and didn't seem too traumatic for Billie.  As the vet said, she seemed pretty mellow.  When we got her home, we let her out of the carrier inside the house.  After keeping her inside overnight, we realized that she was unhappy there, so she's now living back outside.  Richard bought a little cat bed and put it on the porch where we feed her, and she sleeps there every night.  She knows when it's mealtime and if she's not on the porch, you only have to call her once and she comes running. 

When a loved one, even a pet, dies and leaves a hole in your heart, something or someone comes along and partially fills up that hole.  Billie has done that for me with the loss of Dashiell.  She's a sweet kitty.  I wish I had a picture of her to show you.