Saturday, April 28, 2007

Only four years to live? ACK!

For years now we have been hearing about the African Bee, and how dangerous it was, and how it was going to destroy our honey bees. We are in the middle of a crisis RIGHT NOW, that not many of us have heard about, and probably because it just offends the senses. It does not create public outcry, and it is SERIOUS folks.

It has a name, but the common term for it is Bee Diaharea! It spoils a hive, kills the bees and thus eliminates that hive of bees from the pollination field.

This week in our local paper THE WHIDBEY NEWS TIMES It hit home, and I am going to post part of the article here.

Whidbey hives collapse

By Paul BoringApr 25 2007

A scientifically baffling and poorly understood phenomenon causing bees worldwide to drop like flies has made its way to Whidbey Island. Tom Schioler, Greenbank beekeeper and the only commercial pollinator on the island, recently lost at least two hives to what is widely referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder. The story began more than two months ago when the local beekeeper, despite his most fervent efforts to save the bees, lost a hive to the unicellular parasite Nosema. “Nosema is basically bee diarrhea,” Schioler said. “Bees don’t poop in the hive unless they’re really sick. I noticed brown spots on the hive and knew something was wrong.” After two treatments and an attempt to revive the hive by moving a bottom screen board from one hive to the top of the struggling hive to use the residual warmth, Schioler was forced to write off the colony. “When I first opened up the hive, the bottom brood box was just filled with dead bees,” he said. Nosema has a name and a face. What happened next was less discriminating and really stung. Following the recommendation of a colleague from the coast, Schioler tried using an antibiotic on two hives as a precautionary measure. “It didn’t work,” he said. “They died.” Both hives had never been used for pollination and were thus never exposed to diseases. “I just used them for honey,” the pollinator said. “I thought the second hive three weeks ago was gangbusters and then Thursday I look in there and all the frames are empty.” The bees he found were black and wet-looking, consistent with Colony Collapse Disorder. At the bottom of the box, the queen was half the normal size and only she and young, attendant bees remained. The hive was full of honey and nectar, leaving Schioler puzzled, as other bees will generally swoop in and loot if the opportunity is presented. “They stayed the hell away from it,” he said. “There were no older bees.” Schioler divides his time between producing honey and commercial pollination. At last Sunday’s Ballard Farmer’s Market he met a beekeeper who lost 20 of his 22 hives. Another beekeeper in Tenino had it much worse, losing all 350 of his hives. Whether a person shares Schioler’s passion for bees is irrelevant in the face of what he claims is a potentially catastrophic harbinger. From 1971 to 2006 approximately half of the U.S. honey bee colonies have vanished. Theories for the cumulative loss range from environmental change-related stresses, to malnutrition, to mites, to pesticides, to electromagnetic radiation, such as cellular phone signals. More recently the rate of attrition was alleged to have reached new proportions, according to Wikipedia, and the term Colony Collapse Disorder was proposed to describe the sudden rash of disappearances. “Einstein predicted that if bees were to die, humans would starve within four years,” Schioler said. “If this continues, we could starve in two generations. People need to decide if they want a beautiful lawn or if they want to eat in the future.” In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote the book Silent Spring, which has been credited with launching the environmentalism movement in the West. The book claimed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment and ultimately facilitated the ban of the pesticide DDT in 1972 in the U.S. “We’ve known the problems were there for a long time,” Schioler said. The decline of bee populations in the U.S. prompted the importation of 1.5 million hives from Australia. “That’s how short we are,” the beekeeper said. “And they fear that will bring problems of its own in the form of small hive beetles.” With a relatively modest 39 hives in Greenbank and 10 more in California, Schioler makes the most of his resources. His colleague and mentor Jim Malsch of Arlington manages 700 hives. The seasoned bee veteran has not been affected by CCD and is loath to predict doom and gloom. “If you’re a beekeeper, the healthier you can keep your bees the better they’re going to be for pollinating and over-wintering,” Malsch said. “If you can keep good, healthy bees, they’ll survive.” The longtime beekeeper and pollinator has had his battles with mites. In 1993, he was left with just 160 of the 400 hives he sent to California for almond pollination. Varroa mites had irreparably weakened the hives. In the end, he said, the onus falls on the beekeeper. “You have to be diligent about keeping on top of it,” Malsch said, adding that some attrition is to be expected. “If you lose 20 percent of your bees in the winter, you can live with that.” Malsch said mites have been the biggest problem since they appeared in the late 1980s. “I kept bees before we had mites here and it was a lot easier to keep them and over-winter them,” he said. “You have to keep the mite population down. You’re never going to totally get rid of them.” Waxing theoretical, Malsch postulated that Colony Collapse Disorder is a result of bees becoming weakened by mites and rendering them helpless to mites and parasites. “I believe the viruses have always been here, but when the viruses come along with the mites, the bees get in a weakened condition through stress or mites or whatever and they’re more susceptible,” he said. Whidbey Island is a microcosmic example of what is taking place nationwide. Ohio alone has lost nearly 90 percent of its hives. “There’s virtually no bees left on the island,” he said, imploring people to stop using pesticides and to cease cutting down blackberry bushes and wildflowers. “Honey is emergency food. Nectar and pollen are what bees need.” Bees are often mistaken for oft-maligned hornets, which are carnivorous. Schioler said the role bees play in helping the food chain from humans on down is crucial to survival. “People have to change their attitude toward bees rather than arbitrarily kill everything that they think looks like a bee,” he said. “You have to physically crush a bee to get stung.” Schioler, because he pollinates, is able to produce 14 different kinds of honey. His breed, however, is a rare one. “Twenty years ago there were about 3,000 pollinators in the U.S.,” he said. “Today there are less than 400. We probably have four commercial pollinators in a 100-mile radius who can do over 50 hives and maybe five to ten who can do 50 to 100. There is not enough pollination on Whidbey.” Schioler is looking to do his part to help in the pollination process. He is always looking to park hives on property with large amounts of blackberry bushes and other types of flora. “If people are willing to let me put hives there, they’ll get some very good honey,” he said. Schioler can be reached at 425-299-1135. A few hours after I added the above poem to conclude this piece, my husband informed me that he was down to visit our bees today. We live in Maine, and this year (2004) we have had a particularly bitterly cold winter, with extended periods of night time temperatures below zero (F) and day time highs in the 5-10 degree (F) range. We were certain our bees, already depleted by a late season partial swarm in August, were dead. On the day of this writing, it was near 40 degrees (F). My husband reports that there were a few bees flying around the hive mouth today, many more walking about on their “launching pad,” drinking from melted snow there. We are not out of the woods yet. This is a difficult season for bees in Maine. We are months away still from spring flowerings. It will be very damp. Our bees also show signs of Nosema disease (a protazoan parasite which results in diarrhea and wasting), which may result in the death of the hive anyway, though we will begin treating for it tomorrow. While we wrapped and otherwise prepared the hive last fall, there is little we can do for our bees during the depths of winter. But we can tend them as best we can, in our own backyard, and beyond, and wait for their emergence in the spring, on

Whidbey Island is a microcosmic example of what is taking place nationwide. Ohio alone has lost nearly 90 percent of its hives. “There’s virtually no bees left on the island,” he said, imploring people to stop using pesticides and to cease cutting down blackberry bushes and wildflowers. “Honey is emergency food. Nectar and pollen are what bees need.”

The decline of the commercial honey bee population results from a variety of factors. One is the decline of the commercial honey business itself.1 Commercial honey bee populations have also been poisoned by the use of insecticides in agriculture. While commercial honey bee colonies can be moved away from the site of pesticide use, they are not free of risk. Some estimate that 20% of all losses of honey bee colonies involve pesticide exposure

When I first heard about this I scoffed it off, But then I started noticing that the plum trees in Leas yard were FULL of blooms last year, but NO FRIUT! Why? My peach tree was LOADED with blossoms, but very Little Fruit. HUH? Lea and I both attributed it to a very cold and windy spring, which blew all the blossoms away before they were pollinated.

It appears I was wrong. We are losing our bees. I can sit outside and not get "bugged" by the bees. (pun intended) THe YellowJackets and WASPS are a different story. They are here, but they do not pollinate. THe hummingbirds do, but not every blossom.

As was pointed out in the article, people are clearing great huge swaths of blackberry bushes from their land. (Pacific Northwest KUDZU) They are very invasive and if allowed to grow untended, they will cover everything. THe farmers are using stronger and stronger herbicides to keep them at bay, and that is one major source of necter for the Honey bees. Dandilions and wildflowers are too.

THere used to be a field right by the OLF that had hives stacked out there by the hundreds, but they are all gone now.

Since the major crop of Washington State is Apples and Pears, and Cherries, all depending on the Honey bee to pollinate, we could have our entire economy collapse.

If you live somewhere that does not depend on Honey bees for pollination, you probably wont take time to read this article, but it is serious! We need to wake up and smell those wildflowers, and listen to those honey bees buzz around and start becoming a more earth friendly species.

It Ain't just global warming that is gonna do us in. It might be as Einstein said...THE HONEY BEE's DEMISE!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Springy Tuesday...

It is so pretty out side right now. ALl of the tulips and daffodils, lilacs and Rhododendrons, and all of the fruit trees are all in bloom right now. Usually this takes 2.5 months, but this spring, everything is hitting at once. THe tulips are going to all be gone before this weekend when the big celebration in Oak Harbor and the Skagit Valley hit. We will be celebrating Holland Happening in Oak Harbor, for about the 30th year. Now mind you, there are only 2-5 % of the population is still Dutch, but we still gor for it!

We have windmills in the city parks, and wooden shoes nailed to barns, and tulips and bulbs at every front door. Some of the names are still around, but there is not much Dutch blood anymore. They have all intermingled with the Irish, and the Norwegians, and the Swedish, and the Aisians. SO you are very likely to see a Vanderzicht with black hair and brown eyes, and fair skin. We are a very homogenous group here.

When I first came to the island, I was 8 years old, and the Navy had only been here for about 12 years. The Dutch were very antagonistic about losing theirland to the US Government, and I cant say as I blame them, but they took it out on all of the Navy personell that came after the fact. You were not allowed to date a sailor if you were a single girl. If you did, then your family shunned you. It got much better after the 60's, but there was still a stigmatism to being military, and not a native.

Dont know how I got off on that bent, oh well. I was going to talk about the weather...

I woke up this morning to pouring rain, and it smelled so good on the freshly cut grass. I just sat on my bed with my arm on the windowsill, with a big cup of freshly brewed coffee in my hand, and my feet stuck under the electric blanket,and watched it rain. The birds were really enjoying the fact that I had taken all of the windfall out of the birdbaths, and the fresh rain had filled them up again. Mrs. Robin was chirping and splashing, and singing like mad! Mr. Robin was sitting on the wisteria and watching, but he let her have the bathroom all to herself which I thought was very considerate of him. They look like they enjoy their baths as much as a baby does his.

The hummers are back in force, and I need to dig out the other 5 feeders and fill them up, because soon, the babies will be hatching and then I will go through 5-6 feeders full of bird juice every day. It is so much fun to watch them fly and try to defend their feeders.

The Goldfinches are back waay early too. They usually only hit my yard in Early July, but they are here now. I have not seen any colts or calves or lambs yet though. I know they are born now, but they must not be on my normal routes now.

The rain has stopped for now, and I must say that I spent the whole day in my bathrobe, reading a book, and watching the rain and the birds. Lazy ass aren't I?

Felt really good too!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Sorry I have been so absent lately, but I have been a busy little bee this past several weeks. I know that is no excuse, but I just have not been able to keep my mind focused on writing.

I am so busy at the playhouse, I am working on two shows, YOURE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, which is in production right now, and A CHORUS LINE which will go into production in late May, or June. I have a lot of computer work to do for each of these shows, and it has kept me hopping! I just about have Charlie Brown's computer work done, so all I will have left is at rehearsals, so that will be ok, but Chorus Line needs to have the Logo finalized,and then posters made to send out so all the dance studios will know that we will need talent this summer.

I still have to get Charlie's Poster done, and a press release written and then the light cues finalized. Since I have to send everything through the box office, they get edited, and sent back for re-writes, and that just makes all my time really tight!

THen there is SPRING!! IT has finally hit with a vengeance, and the grass has grown so fast! Bob came over SUnday and knocked down the back yard, but I still have to do the front yard! THen I need to get the Lilacs cut before they are all gone. GOtta have a big bunch of Lilacs!

THen there is my dreams: I woke up yesterday CRAVING a big bag of See's Candies Bon-Bons! Orange ones, tipperarree ones, maple nut ones, Apricot ones, OH MAN!! I NEED A BIG box of Bon Bons. All day yesterday I was just craving and craving them. Maybe the mailman will send me some tomorrow...or not. I may have to drive the 55 miles in to Mt Vernon just to buy a big bag of them and then just pig out on candy and get it over with. ANd while I am there I can get a big box of their strawberry creme chocolate ones, and the raspberry ones, and the butter creme ones. AGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I'm dying here!

ANd I have a kitten on my mind too! any kitten! I need a kitten! I need to start taking drugs when I go to bed, so I can not dream about these things that I dont need!

I am also swimming three nights a week! It is so freeing! No pain for 75 minutes! HEAVEN! I cant imagine getting tired of it, but We shall see.

THen there are all the bad headlines this past week. THe world is going NUTS! going to hell in a hand basket! When will it all end? hopefully not before I get my See's Bon-Bons!! And Phyllis I dont need any crap about it not being good for me either!! :( So there!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sunday Funny!!

Urine Test

Like a lot of folks in this state I have a job. I work, they pay me.

I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as they see fit.
In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test,
which is no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people
who don't have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn't a person have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check,
because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their
feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping them sit on their

Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to
pass a urine test to get a public assistance check.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Can you name the OTHER 32?

I was watching OPRAH today, with her special report from Blacksburg, Va with Lisa Ling. Lisa was interviewing anyone she could find that knew anything about any of the shooting victims. I switched over to MSNBC just for a quick check and Brian Williams was telling about the "Manifesto" that came to NBC today. Evidently mailed in between the two shootings. I did not want to watch it so I switched back to Oprah, and she was interviewing a young man who was at Columbine and saw his sister killed there too.

What the young man said was what the entire world should be concentrating on. He and his Father go around to groups and schools and talk about the shootings and the victims, and how to cope with the death. But what was unique was the fact that he said he NEVER gives the two shooters any press at all. He only concentrates on the good things. THe work that his sister had done, the subjects that she had studied. THe things and the families that the other victims left behind.

WHen Oprah asked why, he said that there is always going to be someone who wants to be bigger, and better and faster, and gorier, and why give them something to aim for? He said that if the media would just not give them the press that they want, then the violence would calm down. They only want to be on TV, and they want their faces known. He is right.

Last night I was watching the news and they had pictures of some of the victims, only 15 out of the 32 that died! and NONE of the wounded. But they had about 15-20 minutes of the shooter and his manifesto, and his picture, and his mental evaluations, and the who what why and when of his life. But No mention of the rewst of the victims.

THere were people who were killed that were research scientist, there were WWII holocaust survivers, there were Grad students working towards their PHD's. WOnderful beautiful people all, and no mention of them. No mention of their families, or the work they did. It took Lisa Ling to get that this afternoon.

I am so tired of the media running full tilt with the first bang of a gun, and then re-living it, and re-living it until you are sick to death of it. How many times can you watch the 5 minutes of very bad cell phone video? I know that there is freedom of the press, and I would not want to do anything that would staunch that, but damn, people, wouldnt you think that one of them would stop and just say whoa! I will report it once, and then I will only concentrate on the goodness of the victims. DONT give these maniacs any more coverage! Let's find out who these murdered people were and what they did, and who loved them, and who they loved, and what we can all do to prevent it from happening again, but let's quit giving press and coverage to the criminals! That is exactly what they want. AQnd we played right into his hands.

I'll bet we can all name the criminal, and where he was from, and who his family was and what his grades were but I will bet you all a doughnut, that you can't tell me anything about 5 of the victims off the top of your head.

We are a SAD society!

Monday, April 16, 2007


Have any of you watched TWO AND A HALF MEN? I roar every Monday at that show. It is so damn funny! But then I have a wicked sense of humor. I always have. I caught on to the dirty jokes very young in life. Even though I was personally very prudish and inexperienced. My Mom and Dad would talk about “things” in code, and I always caught on. Pig Latin was the language of the house when we were young. Got that right away. Nothing was safe. My parents never talked openly in front of us kids about the other sex, but growing up Navy schools, we got it through osmosis.

I can “get” a joke usually before it is finished. And when I was younger, I could tell them along with the best of them. Salesmen would come and look for me at the store, because they knew I would always have a fresh new one to tell.

About 20 years ago, it became very Politically incorrect to tell Dirty Jokes in Public, and the Government spent a LOT of money training all of it’s employees to be correct in talking to the opposite sex. Sexual harassment became the buzzword around the offices, and Dirty Jokes could no longer be told. Sad.

Now, I no longer hear or tell these jokes, and every once in awhile I will get forwarded a really good one that I haven’t heard before.

It is rare that I find today’s sitcoms funny, they are usually asinine, but TWO AND A HALF MEN has it nailed! They know young boys, and what they are thinking and they know lod men and how they react to young boys. If you have not had the opportunity to watch it on Monday nights at 900 on CBS, I would really advise you to take the time some week and do so. It is FUNNY!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tulips in the valley!

We took a drive off island and into Mt Vernon this afternoon. I had forgotten that this was smack dab in the middle of the 2007 Skagit Valley TUlip Festival. Traffic was a AWFUL with everyone trying to get off the highway and on to the roads that would take them by the tulip fields. It was really kind of sad to see, as the fields that used to be full of tulips and daffodils and iris blooms are mostly gone now, and are concentrated into one or two groups of fields run by big companies. Washington Bulb Company and Roozengarten. What flowers there are, are beautiful, but not nearly the same as driving down every road and seeing field after field in bloom like a patch work quilt.

ANother sign of Farms being sold off to developers. I wish I could have seen this country when the white man first came here. I have seen pictures of trees as big as houses, and it was awesome. I remember when I was a little girl and the fields were all in bloom, it too was just awesome. THe Dutch had come and settled the skagit Valley and the Delta, and diked it up and turned it into fertile farmland. THe bulbs were legendary.

I will try to go back and get more pictures like I do every year, because I know that soon, there wont be any more flowers growing there. It will be houses, and condos and it just wont be the same any longer.

So sad!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Busy again!!!

Whoops! Better hurry they are taking blogger down in 20 minutes.

I have been so very busy this week, with the playhouse, so please excuse me for being so quiet!

We were beating the bushes and everywhere else trying to find 4 men who could blend their voices in 1950's music, but we were unable to come up with a cast for FOREVER PLAID. THat is a real shame as it is a really good show. HOWEVER! we are going forward with YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, as we can get the rights to it and Rusty can direct it and we have it cast already. Whew!

So re-doing all of the logos has taken up my time.

I am really loving the Water!! I would swim every day if they would let me. But there are only evening classes M W F so that will have to do. I will say that yesterday we worked on our legs and lower back muscles, and it felt really really good. I am not giving up hope!

I found the bathroom scales, and jumped on them to expect to have lost a few pounds anyway, and was unpleasantly surprised that I weigh a lot more than I thought I did. ARRRGGGHHHH!!! Better hurry and get my legs and back in shape so I can get out there and walk it all off.

I wonder if Professor Harold Hill's Think system would work?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Do Ya THINK maybe? It's Spring?

Spring has finally turned the corner from Winter…We think. It snowed on Tuesday, broke records for highs on Friday, and then got cold and dark and rainy on Easter. Bob and I drove over to the Peninsula and went to visit Tim. We caught the 845 Ferry off island, arrived in Port Townsend at 915, and headed West.

As we left the Island, it was warm and sunny, with scattered clouds showing up just as the sun broke out. We watched the mainland come into view, and noticed the dark grey clouds and fog over the foothills. AS we got off the Ferry and made our way through the drive through at Mickey D’s, it was starting to rain. We headed down 101W and as we drew closer to the Wilderness, it got darker and wetter. There is a reason that the Olympic Peninsula has several rain forests. It RAINED!! And it rained, and it rained. It was so pretty. No traffic, just a good spring rain, and great scenery.

Tim Looked good. He was wearing his non-prison clothes, that I sent him last week. He looked like a real human! He was in a good mood, counting the days until Fire season starts, so they can get out and fight fires. Hw has started some of his classes. He is waiting for the ones that will show him how to not be an addict anymore. I think he thinks that they are gonna wave a magic wand and they will be “cured”. He seems to really want to get something out of these lessons. He swears he will never be back there again. (DEAR GOD! Please )

My yard is too wet to finish mowing. And it is sposed to rain again tomorrow and the next day too. I may not be able to get it mowed again until it is as tall as it originally was. I wish I could afford to have gravel or concrete poured out there. I just cant mow it.

I am LOVING Aquarobics! I am now going three times a week. M W F. It feels so good to float and get that weight off of my back. I just wish it would HELP me. It does not seem to be doing that. In fact it seems to be getting worse when I am not in the pool.
I will keep on going until I hear from My Dr that I should not be going. And then I will be raising hell and demanding an operation to stop this pain. (yeah right ML. You do that!)

Phyllis fell again today coming out of the pool onto the parking lot. She fell over the curb; right onto her good knee. I worry so much about her falling. It is almost like she can’t see where she is putting her feet. There were people right there to help her get up and back onto her feet, but she fell HARD. She is gonna hurt tomorrow.

I have not seen any squirrels in several months! I think the dirt bag cat next door killed them all! The little Brown and red Douglas Squirrels came from that side of the forest. The Big grey ones come from Lea’s side, where it is more exposed, and I think Owl or coyote predation got to them. I did see one grey squirrel (Suzy’s) Saturday, Early. SO maybe they just come when I don’t see. I have not heard Lola though. She makes a real racket when S/he comes along the fence. Chattering and yelling and whistling. I hope they come back during the warmer weather. I lured them in all into the yard, and sure would not want to lose them to Jupiter’s hunting.

Gotta go wash the Chlorine out of my hair, so I will catch you all tomorrow!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Welcome a new blogger...

Judy aka CatmommaJ has finally posted a new blog! She is concerned that no one will find her, so everyone go on over and say howdy! she is a really neat lady that I met in the Light Booth during OUR TOWN. She is widowed and lives with her seven cats. so go welcome her.

Be gentle!! Don't scare her off...JOHN! DICK! BRENT!

Have a happy and safe Easter everyone. I am on my way to visit Errant Son.

My Visual DNA

I found this over at Bobbie's place, and it looked like fun!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Guest Blogger....

My friend Catmama J sent me this post in an Email. I have been trying to encourage her to start a blog of her own, but she is really shy!! (HA!) anyway, read and enjoy!.......

O.K.,,, so I've been miserable with allergies for the last three or so weeks, and I decide today that maybe if I do a really good house cleaning, It'll help with my stuffed up nose and itchy eyes.

I get out my trusty canister vacuum and seeing that the bag is full, I go through the process of changing out bags. This involves duct tape and a bit of ingenuity on my part in getting it all together, as the machine is old and parts of it have gone missing over the years.

I get the new bag in, which means taping it to the inside of the vacuum around the opening, then inserting the hose head on the outside of the canister and applying duct tape all around it to make a good seal. Off I go to start with the bedroom. I have already taken out everything I can carry, and put said items into the guest room ( which now looks like something transients might be living in).

I start with the corners and work my way under the dresser and around the end tables and around the bed. I'm picking up dust bunnies, odd and ends, bits of thread, and bits of packing peanuts etc. etc. Now I'm starting on the headboard ( which being a bookcase headboard, has a collection of photos, flashlights, books, and a little hand-crank radio with a wrist strap ( un-attached) that I bought when the power went out last winter.
The vacuum is picking up all the dust when all of a sudden......sploot.... the wrist strap for the radio gets sucked up! I swear, and as I turn around I see little Grey-C sitting there on the bed watching all the action. I say something to her like 'Geez,,, now what do I do?', while I'm thinking, do I want to try and retrieve the strap, or just 'fa-git-aboud-it'. I really don't want to waste this new bag, I just went through all the trouble getting it on the vacuum, but then I think, 'Man, that's really lazy of me', so I decide to remove the tape from around the hose and see if I can fish the strap out with a piece of coat-hanger that I keep for various jobs requiring precision digging.

With a fading flashlight, and my trusty bit of coat-hanger, I can see the strap, but can't get a good hold on it no matter how many times I try to hook it. I'm still not about to waste this bag, so I decide the only thing to do is cut it open. I get my scissors and my roll of duct tape and with only a moment of hesitation, I make my incision. Not too long now,,, I must be able to seal it up once I've completed my task. I open the slit and gently pry it apart and shine the flashlight into it's depths. Aha!!! there it is,,,, looking so much like some long black alien appendix. I pull out some of the contents that are wrapped around it and lay all the fuzz and dust onto the floor. I pull out the strap, shake it off, and lay it beside me on the floor while I pull off a strip of duct tape, carefully cut off a piece, and seal the slit on the bag. Ahhh,,, I could have been a surgeon it looks so good.
I put the hose head back into place, cut more strips of duct tape and seal carefully all around it to make it air tight again. Taking the hose in hand, I turn on the vacuum and proceed to suck up the mess surrounding me on the floor.
SPLOOT!!!! There goes that damned strap again, right back into the machine!!!!
I can't believe what I've just done!!!! I say words I didn't even know I knew!!! Now Grey-C is sitting on the end of the bed looking at me with such wonder in her sweet little cat face. I can only guess what thoughts are going through her head right now, because my own brain can't comprehend what just happened. I sit there on the floor for a minute wondering what I really want to do next, and I determine that I'm not going to let this thing beat me!
Once again I grab my trusty scissors. Will the patient survive??? Is this a lesson of futility??? Has any vacuum bag ever gone through so much for so little????
I make my second incision............ more crud pulled out and onto the floor......... my fingers once again reaching into these wretched bowels. Once again I retrieve the strap. This time, I place it on the bed next to Grey-C. Again I pull off a strip of duct tape and seal up this second incision. I take a moment to again admire my work, and then put everything back together hopefully for the last time. I turn on the vacuum,,, it's working!!!! I look at Grey-C and she and I decide that I should quit while I'm ahead.
In the meantime,,,, after being so thoroughly immersed in a bag full of house dust, I........, I......, I................,


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Leave my TV ALONE!!!

When I was a little girl, we had no television until briefly in 1952, then again in 1955. It was a huge console tv with a round screen, and had a 13” viewing area. It was in black and white. There was no color TV being broadcast at that time. In 1956 we were transferred to Hawaii, and that was ANOTHER trial. Television was just in it’s infancy, and there was no such thing as being broadcast 24 hours a day. It did not come on until early morning. Around 700 and then it was religious broadcasting, or news until 800 and then it was captain kangaroo, then Mom’s soap operas and the,n Beanie and Cecil and Kukla, Fran and Olie. Seasonal shows were always several months late, so we were watching the Christmas programs in April or May. Reruns were several years old. At night after the few programs that were broadcast, the National Anthem came on and then a test pattern and a tone was broadcast for the rest of the evening. Stations were only allowed to broadcast a certain number of hours a day. We were lucky if there were more than 2 networks on at any one time.

When we got back to the states, we were stationed in Washington state, and on a remote island 100 miles north of Seattle. Needless to say Television was not the best. By this time it was the very early 60’s. Still a black and white television but this time it was a bigger screen and it was sorta square. A Muntz was the name brand. It had a fancy set of rabbit ears on the top that we had to turn every time we needed to get a station in clearer. 9 times out of 10, those rabbit ears would be broken. The tips came off easily. So Dad would Jerry-rig them with a piece of tin foil wrapped around the tip. We were able to get 2 Seattle Channels, and 2 Canadian channels, so we felt pretty lucky.

Seasonal shows started the end of September, and the shows stayed at the same time and the same day for the whole season. If it did not warrant a second season, it was quietly cancelled at the end of the season, and a new show would be introduced into it’s time slot. It was NEVER allowed that a network would change a time slot around to increase ratings, as that would be putting other shows and networks in jeopardy. You always knew what night Uncle Milty was on, and you always knew that Friday nights was the Gillette Friday Night Fights.

As I grew into a young teen, television was coming into it’s own. There were quality programs on, and you knew that the season would be pretty stable unless there was a real stinker on. The biggest change was that dramas went from 30 minutes to 1 hour!! WOW. Then several years later, they went to 90 minutes!! Talk about scandal! My Dad was so concerned that his favorite shows would eventually be canceled for MOVIES. (Shock)

Through the years television has evolved and I am not sure I agree that it is for the better either, as there are several inane comedies on that could well be better serving by NOT being on.

My rant this week is not about the quality of the shows, nor the content of the shows, but the idiotic way that the television networks have decided that if they are not in first place then they need to move the show around to find a better time slot. The season had not even been on for a month before the networks were rerunning episodes, and putting them into a time slot and day that was totally foreign to it.

I went to DISH network last year because my cable company kept dropping networks, and raising the prices. I now get 180 channels for 10 dollars more than I was paying for less than 50 channels BUT the non ABC ,NBC CBS shows are on EDT not on PDT. So you have to surf the guide to figure out what is on when. TV Guide does not work for DISH network.

So imagine my dismay, when last year after I FINALLY got used to watching TV again, and knew when what was on where, that the networks started shuffling shows around again! I hate that they do that, I don’t think it has saved any troubled shows at all. And why the re runs when the season has just gotten started? And why is the re run on on one day and the New show is on another? Why are they on several times a week? JEEZ guys, settle down with the musical chairs! I am old and cranky, and I am one of the ones that you should be catering too, as I am the first of the Baby boomers, to retire, and I have CLOUT! Real honest to goodness CLOUT! You SPAM my mailbox with email after email to get me to buy things and watch shows so I must have Clout. IF I really do, then PLEASE leave a show alone until it dies on it’s own. Where did you move Criminal Minds to? And what happened to CSI Miami on Mondays? Or was it Sundays? Tonight I am watching a 2005 episode on TUESDAY night. ARRGGHHHH!! And where did Men in Trees go? I hate change! Leave my season alone! Damn I miss CBC!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

SPRING!!! Really????

So yesterday we woke up to snow and hail and freezing temperature! It went away as soon as the sun came up, but still!!! The latest we have had snow is April 17, and that was in the '50's! I would not be surprised to see some even later than that this year. Our weather has been so atypical, that Nothing would surprise me.

My nephew gave me a gift certificate for a day's worth of manual labor, for Christmas, so This weekend he came up and knocked down the foot high grass! ANd then Sherry my SIL came over on Sunday and pulled weeds in my front yard! THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I just can not get out and garden like I want to. For one thing, I cant stand up very long, and If I sit down to weed, I cant get back up! What I really need to get is one of those STURDY yard helpers, that you can sit on, kneel on, use to help you get off the ground, etc. I had one that My Dad bought for me, but it was so flimsy that it bend the first time I used it. Ah well!

All of my tulips out front are already blooming! THey are way early. Usually they dont bloom until the end of April. Everything is blooming early! Makes me wonder what kind of a summer we will have...probably hot and dry!

I have been going to aquarobics 3 times a week, and I LOVE it! I can not believe that I waited 40 years to get bac water. I was very concerned about my size in the pool, and in a bathing suit. I should never have been! I am not the biggest one in any of the classes and that made me feel really good! It feels soooo good to get in the water and just float! the gravity goes away, and my back does not hurt the whole time. HOWEVER! as soon as I get out of the pool, the gravity takes over again, and I am in even worse pain than I was before. I hope I am not exacerbating something. If it hurts in any way doing the excersises, I stop. I have been kicking trying to get strength back into my legs and buttocks so I can get back to walking.

Last night the jets in the hot tub were not working, and I really missed them! I sit with my back pressed right up against one of them and just relax for 15 minutes after working out. AHHHHHHH Feels sooo good.

I heard from Tim Sunday, and he is doing fine. He got his latest box from me, with some civilian clothes, and now he feels like a real person! They have a choice of wearing the uniforms given to them or their own clothes, which have to be brand new, and in good taste. SO I sent him a pair of jeans 2 shirts and a pair of shoes. He LOVED the Carhardt hat, says he feels so much better now. I can imagine that it really helps their self esteem to be able to wear something different for a change.
He has started his self improvement classes, and is excited about that. (I hope they work!) I will go visit him on Easter, so I can see him looking good! :)

I see that Critterchick has posted, and it is so good to see her feeling good and getting out and doing something. I have been so worried about her. I have never met her, and may never meet her, but She and I connected about 4 years ago, and consider ourselves soul sisters. So many of my blogger friends are like family! It hurts when one of them is hurting, or when one of them just disappears! You grieve for them in a certain way. and wonder why they left. SOme of them I still hear from in emails, and others have just dropped off the face of the earth! Blogging is such a unique world isn't it?

Sunday, April 01, 2007