September 26, 2020

Fall came and then went on vacation ......


We went hiking last Monday ~ this is one of the photos I took (probably the best one).  Off in the distance is the Kiwanis cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC as it is commonly known) around 1930.  It is quite tiny in the photo.  If you want to learn more about it, go here.

We had a great day, the sun was warm, but the temperatures mild with just the slightest breeze.  A few weeks ago we had a very windy evening and night with gusts up to 70+.  The results of that were the Aspens that were at the top had all of their leaves blown off.  The forest floor was covered with them.  Luckily there are plenty more that were in a more protected places that are beginning to take on their golden fall colors.  They were only just started to turn when we were there....

Beautiful, isn't it?  That is Sioux and Romeo on the trail.  We both tripped and both of us skinned our right knee ~ I found it funny afterward, although I wanted to take a hammer to the root that I tripped over, haha.  Romeo slipped on one of the rocks which have had so many people walk across them that they are smooth and very slippery with a fine coating of dust on them.  It is so dry, that the soil is very like powder.  My ankles and halfway up my calves were coated with it when we got back in the suv to go home. 

Our weather teased us with cooler days ~ in the 50s in the morning to the low 80s to high 70s for a week, but this week the temperatures have climbed back up to the 90s.  Fall is starting out slow, summer still seems to have a firm grip on us.  It has been a very very long summer, and those of us that are ready for cooler weather are ready for it to go!  I do have friends that hate seeing summer end, although I'm not sure if they like for it to be uncomfortably hot or just prefer the longer days ~ I've already noticed it's darker in the morning when I get up.  We all like longer days.....

Although all is going along, sometimes well, sometimes not......I am concerned about the spike in cases in France, India, Israel and other places.  I've heard opinions that here in the states we will probably have another shut down.  I certainly hope not!  Like everyone else, I am ready to be able to step outside without a mask, hug people, be able to converse without feeling like I have to yell to make myself heard. 

We did have a patient that "went off" on us this past week, her husband and son have the same name, and when the claim was posted to the insurance web site I inadvertently posted her son's claim under her husband's name.  She was really po'd, even though she had, right off the bat, stated that the insurance company had resolved the issue based on OUR efforts.  This was a person who just kept berating us for minutes on end, and didn't allow us to have any part of the conversation.  We kept trying to interrupt, but she wasn't having any of it, and was very rude to all of us.  Which resulted in her being booted from the practice.  I was a tiny bit surprised, but honestly, why should anyone have to put up with that type of behavior?  It's still a free country, we don't have to keep on with people that treat the staff like that.  I wrote the "dismissal letter" (because I'm the writer of stuff that comes out of the office for some reason) and the reason given was that we strive to have a positive relationship that is open and honest with our patients where everyone involved is respectful to each other.  So, there she goes.  We all were speculating on if she responds to every "insult" (how dare we make a mistake!) she encounters.  Our consensus was yeah, she does.  Probably because most of the time it works, and she gets what she wants, although in our case, I'm not sure what she wanted.  For us to grovel before her feet perhaps?  :D

Every other Friday I go over to a friend's house to bake.  The Greek Orthodox church we both are members of has a very nice commercial kitchen, and makes good use of it.  When we aren't in a pandemic, we bake goods for the Greek festival (cancelled this year), Festival of Tables (also cancelled, and is a fundraiser for the women's philanthropic group), baptisms, weddings, etc.  The reason we are "practicing" is because Tula (Greek much?) has retired from the position of handling/organizing menus/ fact she moved to Austin.  My friend has been given the dubious honor of taking over for her, and she is in the process (the one thing the pandemic has been a blessing, so she didn't get thrown in) of developing some new baked goods, menus, etc.  She is also "training" me to help her out.  I can bake, no question.  But she is a trained cook, has her culinary degree, and knows much more than I do. 

Yesterday we made these pavlova shells (bottom right) and meringue kisses.  Aren't they gorgeous?  It's a lot of fun even if it is exhausting to work from 7:40 - 2, then go and bake for 5 more hours.  Still, fun fun, and I need some fun!  These particular meringue kisses have been flavored (very delicately I might add) with watermelon flavoring.  I can't wait to try them!

May you all have a great weekend!
Love, 365


September 18, 2020

Contentious with a hint of blue skies....

 I wish I knew who the photographer is on this photo, but just so pretty.

It has been a lovely Friday.  Went to get my hair cut, then to my friend's house to watch the men's final of the U.S. Open (tennis).  Romeo was feeling a little bit neglected I think....    A big factor is that it's my Friday off.  😛

Ms Loud took Thursday off, so it was nice to have a little break.  Did I tell you before that she is talking about retiring in January?  I think I did ~ and as wonderful as that would be, I think it's just hot air.

I had asked our OM for 3 to 4 additions to my PTO (paid time off) in lieu of a raise, and although I don't think that will happen, she did give me and one of my other co-workers 3 more paid days off this year.  I will take it!! I already asked to be off on Oct. 1.  No rhyme or reason, just a day off, giving me 5 days in a row instead of 4 on one of my 4 day weekends.  I am so spoiled.  

So, although the world at large is still a stressful place ~ especially with the election rhetoric heating up ~ there have been a few bright spots here and there to keep me from running around screaming.  Which might scare Romeo, not to mention the neighbors.

I hope all of you have a few bright spots too.  Enjoy your weekend!

Love, 365

September 13, 2020

What do we do now?........

We are on the cusp of my favorite season of the year.  Yeah, I'm a fall junkie.  I love fall colors, fall food (pumpkin pie, apple pie, roasted chicken ~ everything we don't usually cook during the hot summer months).  Some of the most beautiful landscape paintings or photos are painted/taken during the fall.  

 Fall is also the season of flu, colds and other crappy illnesses.  Romeo bugged me relentlessly to get my flue shot, even though I thought it was a little early, which I did get last weekend.  Not that I am expecting it to help with Covid, of course.  With Covid on the scene, and cases starting to rise again (see above) and in France, we all know this is not over.  Not by a long shot.  😕 

The West coast is still burning.  I feel so sorry for all of those that have lost their lives, their homes and possessions, their pets.  So much gone.  There have been Facebook sunset/sunrise photos in New Mexico that have tragically been more colorful (and beautiful) because of all the smoke in the air.  I certainly hope that the fires are put out soon.  And I think we should all pray for those firefighters who's lives are on the line trying to protect lives and property.  

Sadly, there is enough bad news, I could fill this post with it and it would end up being the longest post ever.  It's not easy to try to maintain a positive attitude these days.  We don't want to bury our heads in the sand, but at the same time we don't want to walk around with a black cloud over our heads day in and day out.  I will respond with silliness.......   

I hope all of you have a great week, in spite of the challenges.
Love, 365

September 6, 2020

Lazy Sunday......and happy Labor Day!


Saw a lot more, this is one of them.....Love, cactus style 😊

Hmmmm, what a great idea!

Well, it has been a pretty boring week, except for that this week Ms Loud has a new theory.  The rapture.  The rapture is an eschatological concept wherein living Christians and those that are "resurrected" are carried up to the clouds to be with or meet the Lord.  Sort of like "Left Behind".  There are quite a few movies in this genre.  I think that perhaps, although she doesn't want to admit it, she is terrified.  The fun never ever ends with this one.  Everyone else is looking forward to fall, and she is preparing for the rapture.  

I shall be very tempted in January to ask her what happened.......but I will not, because that just encourages her to spout off another crazy idea.  

We had a few days in the 80s, but the temps just climb back into the 90s.  It was over 100 for two or three days for my family in south Texas.  My son works as a mechanic in a shop that doesn't air condition the shop.  Cruelty.  

Here's a new Amazon story ~ I ordered Romeo a hands free leash, and when the package came, it was empty.  So, yes, that is correct ~ some automated system sealed the package, put an address label on it, sent it off via UPS,   Where it landed on our doorstep with absolutely nothing in it.  So I sent to Amazon and explained what happened, and of course they agreed to refund me the money.  They did offer to refund me via a gift card so that I could re-order right away, but I declined that offer.  Do I really want to try again? 

I did a search on hands free leashes, and found Iron Doggy.  This is a company in Colorado, so I hoped it would arrive quickly, which it did.  And Romeo loves it.  It has the added bonus of reducing the pulling, it doesn't tangle around the dogs feet or around Romeo's legs if she dashes around him.  I am so relieved, because I've seen some of the areas they hike/run in, and truthfully I was worried she would pull him over onto the rocks, or worse, into a big ol cactus (we have lots and lots of that).  So, if you are interested in a hands free leash, I will put a little promotion out for this company....

Romeo does run with Sioux, but you don't have to be a runner to appreciate hands free dog walking.

Well!  Enjoy your long weekend!  

Love, 365

August 29, 2020

Don't you hate it when......


So, this is our new doctor visit.  I haven't had one yet, but Romeo has, and said it was super easy.  My insurance called me a month ago and said they offer a yearly "health assessment" and wanted me to schedule it.  So I did.  Then I changed the day because they had Saturday appointments.....which was today.  
~We hiked a short one today, so that I could be back in time.
~I decided not to go to the church service I signed up for because I didn't want to cancel and reschedule again.
~They were supposed to call me today at 9 am, but by 9:30 I figured they weren't going to call.

Now I am annoyed.  I would have gone to the service.  By the time I figured they weren't keeping their end of the bargain, it was too late to go.  So, I have their number and plan to call them on Monday to ask what happened.  Although I am really irritated, I suppose something happened that prevented the person who was to call from doing so.  

Otherwise, life is moving along.  It isn't exciting.  It's not new stuff, just a rehashing of all the usual stuff.  For the time being work is as it usually is.  Ms Loud is now spouting off a theory that the entire economy is going to collapse in the next couple of months.  She has sold one of her rental properties and is currently buying coins and gold.  I am ignoring her, mostly because...well, because it's her.  

My garden, pitiful as it is 😋 is still producing.  The tomato plant looks rather sad, but hey! there are still tomatoes on it, I picked three off this morning.  The pimento plant is now fruiting, but wow, it really takes a long time.  The serrano pepper is putting out fruit, and for some reason Romeo is freezing them.  I plan to make salsa with them so I suppose if they were previously frozen I suppose there's no harm.  They are really hot, so I'll have to be judicious on how many I put in!  I am already planning next year's garden, and plan to put in at least one more raised bed for next year.

Today is also dog bathing day.  This is not my favorite chore.  Sioux hates baths ~ I suppose most dogs do (although if there's a stream or a lake, she'll jump right in).  We are all enjoying the hikes in the foothills (we live a block from the open space), but she just really gets dirty, and sometimes she rubs against the tires of the cars in the garage, and those black smudges just don't come off without soap and water.

So, sounds like fun, huh?  
Cool heart-shaped cactus....

Enjoy your weekend!  

Love, 365

August 21, 2020

The Dog Days of Summer.......Siriusly?


Days of the Dog Star....

Seems like a lot of areas are experiencing a heat wave.  But the Dog Days of Summer don't have anything to do with our puppies....but the dog star Siruis, which used to make it's appearance during the hottest part of the year.  We are breaking a few records here in New Mexico.  All I can do now is hope the garden pulls through for that last crop of tomatoes.  I've really learned a lot (or re-learned that is) about how to put my garden together for next year, and I plan to add a few raised beds for herbs and a few more veggies.  Oh, do you need any Greek Oregano?  Because that darn thing is taking over.......

This past week was soooo much better than last week.  Ms Loud took Monday off, and was in a much better mood the rest of the week.  It's a relief, like having a nice rain.  I guess those anti-maskers are not doing well with being forced to comply.  Our numbers are going down.  Why aren't they making that connection?  

The three of us took a very long walk this morning, since it was my day off.  It was so nice to spend time together, just walking.  We always need to check the dog for cactus spines now, we've found one in her leg, and last week I found one mixed in with her wiskers.  Poor poochie!  She didn't complain but it did bleed a bit.  So, now we check to make sure she doesn't get an infection.  She loves the long walks....she spends the rest of the day sleeping except for meal time 😃

We've settled into such a routine.  I suppose it's the only thing to do.  I make bread on the weekends, Romeo cooks during the week and I do on the weekend.  And even though Romeo is happy enough to stay home, we are planning a trip to Ruidoso in the fall, and a visit to White Sands.  It is such a beautiful place, with all of that gypsum sand.  In less than two months the weather will be beautiful....I can't wait to go!

I hope all of you have plans to get away, even for a few days....

Love, 365

August 16, 2020

The long and short of it........


Me (on the front left), my cousin Kathy and Barb and Earl.  No one has figured out the little girl on the upper right of the photo.....

This past week was the week from hell.  I worked an extra day, to help get caught up from short staffing from the week before.  That alone is exhausting.  I's pretty hard to feel sorry for someone who works 34 hours a week on average.  Just remember, I'm not used to it....😀

On Tuesday, there was a complaint from a patient that one of us (I give you one chance to guess who) wasn't wearing a mask.  That was bad enough, but on Wednesday, there was another complaint.  So, although we could take off our masks behind the plexiglass, if a patient came up to our desks, we put it on.  I put mine on whenever a patient walked in the door, and kept it on until the waiting room is empty.  

During the Thursday morning meeting we were told that we must keep our masks on at all times.  

Now, Ms. Loud had even brought a pulse oximeter to the office ` it measures your oxygen levels in case you don't know.  She claims that wearing a mask gives her headaches, changes the pH of her body, increases the carbon dioxide levels.  She's a staunch anti-masker.  

As we are walking down the hall towards our desks, she leans over and whispers that if she gets a headache, she's going home.  Which doesn't really sound too bad, except she and I were the only staff up front that day of our usual 4.  So, I freaked out.  

To make matters worse, she did nothing much at all that day.  Normally when there are two of us, both of us sit up front.  Her desk is behind me, with her back to the waiting room, which is where she stayed all day.  Oh, she answered the phone.  But she didn't help with checking anyone in, or with anything else that required her to face the waiting room, so that she could take off her mask for most of the day.

So, even though this was my "short" weekend, I was never so happy to see Friday come to a close.  I hope she retires soon, although I doubt it.

Next week should be better.  I am counting on it.

Love, 365

August 7, 2020

This and that and in between......

I think I mentioned that my employer requires that we stay home for 5 days & if we remain symptom free, we can return to work.  I have enjoyed it, I must say.  I don't really feel too bad for my co-workers who are probably working their asses off, I've already done that for two of them.  The way I see it, it was "my turn".  But I figured I would file for unemployment for this week, since it wasn't my choice, and you can't get a test unless you have symptoms.  It won't be much $$, but it will still help!  Hope I don't have any problems.......

Just found out that there are (again) two residents of the assisted living facility where Mom is at that tested positive.  They had just "enjoyed" about 10 days off of lock down, and now they are back in it.  I think this is going to continue to happen, sadly.  Because in Texas, no one tells you what to do.  Actually, that's really true everywhere.  People are stupid.  And apparently feel invincible.  So many that don't consider that that person you're visiting without a mask doesn't realize they have Covid, because they don't have any symptoms.  

During the shelter-in-place order, lots of people who had an interest in bread baking suddenly discovered they have lots of time on their hands and decided to explore sourdough baking.  I've been doing it for years, but I noticed this Facebook page called Perfect Sourdough.  It both inspires and annoys me.  Here's why:

Actual photos from the FB page.  Decorations gone mad.  It's obviously more about how pretty you can make it instead of how delicious it is.  And yeah, I'm a tad bit jealous.

Then bakery owners have to get their two cents in.....I kinda like the flower design....

Blue pea flower?  I just don't get it.  Is that a flour?  Or does one grind up the flowers and add it to the dough?  Why would I want bread that is blue?  

Oh, I get it.  Lol.  

Don't get me wrong, I see posts of mistakes too.  One spectacular fail was bread that was in the oven for 6 or 7 hours and looked like bricks.  That one was a good chuckle, and others ask, what did I do wrong?  I am enjoying the posts so far.  All I have to do is unfollow and remove the irritation.  But I have seen some really great tips that I've experimented with.

Friday. 😒 So, after this weekend, it's back to work.  I suppose I'm ready.

Love, 365

August 4, 2020

How Covid has changed the travel industry ........


Any one interested in flying?  Southwest is continuing to keep the middle seat vacant until mid-Sept, or something like that.  Excuse me, but that's not near enough space between me and who ever.  I always thought that the air on a plane is recirculated, although I know they use hepa filters.  I guess that's just not comforting to me.  Viruses are small, very small. And the idea of sitting in a plane with lots of other people ~ who may not behave as paranoid as I do ~ just seems like an unnecessary risk.  Hence my driving to Texas, which is about a 11-12 hour drive.  But not wanting to do that drive all in one go, I stopped in Ft. Stockton Texas to spend the night.  Spent about $70 which isn't too bad. 

Trains?  Nah.  Same problem.  Too crowded and wow, it takes so long.  I would be bathing in hand sanitizer every 15 minutes. 

Which leaves driving.  A car or if you're lucky enough to have more money than I do, a camper or an RV.  Because I have no room for a camper, and I figure that the cost of one would cover many nights in a hotel/motel, I have discounted that option.  Driving takes me back to when I was a kid, when we would load up the station wagon (remember those boats?) and travel across country.

La Quinta used to be a respectable hotel chain.  Maybe it still is.  But not in Ft. Stockton.  There was hair on the floor of the bathroom, and when I went to sit in the recliner, I found one of those big round cheeto type snacks.  So I stuck to the bed, which had the appearance of freshness.  When I left the next morning, I wrote a tiny note (because the only piece of paper was an old envelope in my purse) that there IS a tip here somewhere, you just have to find it.  And how gross it was to find that cheeto.  Which I put at the top of the note.  I put the $5 in the cushions of the chair where I found the cheeto.

The Best Western I stayed in in the lovely town of Las Cruces (which really is a nice town, when it's not 98 degrees outside) was very clean.  Very fresh.  Nice clean bathroom.  I tipped the same amount, but it was on the dresser with a note (they had a small note pad & pen) of how appreciative I was at the cleanliness of the room. 

Many years ago, I realized that the women who clean those rooms are not paid well.  So I try not to make too much of a mess, dump all the towels I used in the tub.  Did nothing to the bed though, I'm not crazy.  And I always tip at least $5.  Oh, sure, $20 would have been better, but times are tough. 

Last night I pondered us traveling to Boston, but the drive is 31 hours.  Nope.  No way.  I guess we'll wait until Covid is much less of a problem, which likely means after the vaccine comes out.  Who knows when that will be?  Maybe next fall?  If we're lucky.  So we made plans to travel to White Sands, New Mexico this fall, and soon to the Very Large Array in Truth or Consequences.  I've never seen it, and it looks pretty cool for a day trip. 

Are you doing anything to get out of town? 

Love, 365

August 3, 2020

The long drive..........

Sunrise on "the acres", my sister and brother-in-law's small Texas ranch....

I have already written of the heart wrenching ordeal of helping my sister clean out my Mom's house ~ soon to be up for sale ~ so I won't go there again.  Although sis had mentioned once that she hated the idea of me taking vacation time to come, and maybe she could handle it, before I left she had changed her mind and was glad I had. 

I wish we could have had some fun, but with Covid in the background, there was no where to go and nothing much to do.  We do enjoy hanging out though.  She pretty paranoid, so limits her grocery shopping as much as possible.  We have entered times when being paranoid is a good thing.

By Thursday, I was ready to come home.  I missed Romeo and Sioux (the dog, ya know).  I missed the low humidity of the high desert.  I missed gazing at the mountains and just plain ol' being at home.  I wasn't excited about the drive so much. 

The first day I drove from Comfort, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico.  A distance of about 550 miles, and over 8 hour drive.   It was mostly uneventful with the exception of the heavy downpour just outside of El Paso.  I was beginning to hurt from sitting for so long, and by the time I checked in to the Best Western I was in pain.  I looked up and down and in both pieces of luggage for the Advil.  Never found it until the next day, where I discovered it was in the car 😕  I slept for about 10 hours and felt fine in the morning.  I guess just sitting and driving is more exhausting than you would think.  Of course, considering how much pain I was feeling in my joints, I was sure that I was coming down with Covid.  Which is both silly and matter how careful I am, I always make mistakes.  Rubbing my eyes, or some other part of my face is probably my most common one.  I do keep a tissue to do that with, but now and then I forget.  So far no temperature or any other symptoms, for which I am grateful. 

Apparently the availability of tests is an issue again, and when Ms Loud came back from her trip to Montana she wasn't able to be tested (they required symptoms in order to do the test) ~ we need a negative test before returning to work ~ so the docs decided that if you leave the state you need to stay home for a minimum of 5 days symptom free before returning.  Since I returned yesterday, that means I am off this week.  Which I am honestly looking forward to ~ I can bake bread, catch up on some things.  I think Ms Loud isn't too happy though because she texted me yesterday asking when I returned from Texas.  All of us at the front desk have been working short one or two people for the entirety of July, and now into August.  In all, 2020 just continues to suck the big one......

Have a wonderful week!
Love, 365

July 30, 2020

Adventures in Texas......

No crying but some choice words.....

I have already mentioned that it is oppressively hot and humid.....almost like taking a shower with your clothes on.  Might be more fun than a seriously cold shower.  I am speaking from experience 😟 

The first time I was unaware that if one person is taking a shower (at my sister's house) then the other shower  only becomes tepid ~ on the cold side.  I managed.  It wasn't the most fun.  But this morning I decided I would get my shower done early, turned on the faucet and hot water.....not even close to hot water.......

So, I thought, well, I'm ready, I have my lovely shower cap on.  Let's see how this goes.  Oh.  I didn't really cuss or use real words, but mumbled and grumbled while I did my best to take a really quick one, only hitting the important parts.  But wow, when that cold water hit my upper back, I almost jumped out. 

Turns out that there was a lot of wind here yesterday while we were in Austin and it blew out the pilot light. 

I couldn't even yell out, it was too early and I figured I would wake everyone up with my screaming 😱

So now that's 2 cold showers I've had since I arrived!!

Have a lovely day....
Love, 365

Fall came and then went on vacation ......

  We went hiking last Monday ~ this is one of the photos I took (probably the best one).  Off in the distance is the Kiwanis cabin built by ...