Saturday, October 29, 2011

What's up, Pussycat?

Last night, the temperature fell below freezing for the first time in my neighborhood. I could tell that right away when I got up because I haven't turned the heat on yet this fall. (I'm cheaping out.) I fed the cats--always the first priority of the day--and put on the coffee pot and went to get dressed.

After I finished my mug of coffee and the newspaper, I got up to let out the cats who were quietly waiting at the patio door. I was shocked to see a pretty Siamese cat sitting outside the door looking in. It moved on after a while and the cats went out to do a little exploring in the wooded lot next door.

Later in the morning, after the cats had come back in, a big gray cat showed up outside the patio door. This is highly unusual. What do they want? Why are they coming just when the temperature drops? What is the word on the street about our particular patio?

Up until three years ago, we had made a habit of feeding birds, squirrels, possums and sundry night-noshers that we never even saw.  Our patio was beehive of activity. This is how we came to acquire the lovely puffball, Gracie whom we so adore. (Seen in the window above.)

We paid a heavy fine to the condo association for these sins and haven't fed animals on our patio ever since. (We still put out lots of water.) However, the wooded lot is a different story. It's about 15 feet from the side of our unit and below a 3-foot retaining wall. It's wild (a doe had her fawn there this spring) and full of birds and squirrels. The cats can sit in my bedroom window in their heated bed and watch them during the winter.

Which brings me back to the visiting cats, what brings them to our patio? Do we give off some kind of vibe that lures them to us?

I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are you hungry for lemon bars?

This morning, I was reading my friend and fellow blogger, Pearl's blog ( and she mentioned Lemon Bars. I immediately had an intense yearning for a lemon bar. I haven't had one in years. I used to make them often but somehow forgot about how good they are. The mention of them set off a loud ping in my brain and now I have to make some!


2 c flour           1/2 c powdered sugar      1/2 c butter
Mix together and press firmly into 9 x 13 pan. Bake 20 minutes.

Combine in a bowl:
4 beaten eggs   1/3 c lemon juice              2 c sugar
1 T flour                       1 t baking powder
Mix together until frothy, pour over baked crust and return to oven for 25 minutes.
Cool and cut in squares. Sprinkle with powered sugar, if desired.

Friday, October 21, 2011

To make the change, just go to our Website and click on...


I got a notice in the mail from State Farm Insurance Company the other day. It stated that my automatically deducted premium would be increased 16 cents on the next EFT withdrawal from my bank. But then they added a $1.00 service charge for mailing me the notice!  REALLY!!

When I cooled down, I discovered there was a note on the statement that I could elect paperless billing for my account. Silly me--I assumed that is what I was doing when I set up the automatic billing.

 I dutifully followed the instructions and logged in at their website. The next step of the instructions was to click the "Turn off Paper Bills" link supposedly listed under insurance policies.

But, first I had to set up an online account with them. I entered all the required info including my oldest grandchild's middle name and the city where my mother was born. The system rejected the information! I started over and re-entered the info only to be rejected again.

So, I got on the phone and tried to call them.You know the go through a series of prompts and finally reach a person who immediately transfers you to Interminable Hold. Frustrated, I eventually hung up without ever learning why State Farm Insurance Company thought I was lying about my oldest granddaughter's middle name.

Long-story-short, after an hour of wading through countless screens and false starts, I finally found a screen that actually addressed my complaint. I first had to click on "Agree" to a long document regarding automatic billing, all of which pertained to my already-existing EFT deduction.

I then had my choice of three options, none of which was "Turn off Paper Bills".  I clicked all three (which seemed to be what they wanted) and hoped for the best.

According to the note on the paper statement, I will now have to go into their crazy-making website to learn if and when they make 16-cent adjustments to my premium deductions in the future.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting a little political

This is something that I re-posted on my Facebook page. So, here it is for my bloggie friends.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is blogging therapeutic?

When I began my blog three years ago, it was like diving into the middle of a revolution. Even though I'd never been much of a letter-writer, I thought that blogging would give me a voice. Since I've always been the typical "Minnesota-Nice" type, I rarely ever would speak up with my true feelings, I needed to vent!

Being "nice" meant that I'd stand by, seemingly mild and pleasant, while someone was spouting the most inflammatory, despicable garbage. Of course, I would always beat myself up afterwards for being such a spineless wimp. And worse, I'd carry around a load of rage at the offender--but Lord knows, my demeanor was always mild and pleasant.

I'm now in my 70's and find that all the years of Minnesota Nice have added up to being a big nothing. As my car-buying experiences of the past year have shown, I am a spineless wimp. It's obviously stamped on my forehead--car dealers take one look at me and know they can walk all over me without fear of objection.

It seems that the only thing that blogging has taught me is that Minnesota Nice only leads to depression and self-loathing. I'm tired of sitting down to blog and not having anything positive to say, but when I vent my feelings, I feel guilty about it. I read other blogs full of insights, energy and peaceful pursuits and wonder what's wrong with me.

Maybe I'll have to ask one of those car dealers.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Did you ever feel this way?

I first saw this picture some years ago and it brought tears to my eyes. It still saddens me, not only because of the cruelty, but because I identify with the situation of being so helpless. I'm on a fixed income--apparently permanently fixed since there hasn't been a COLA raise for several years. Nevertheless, every single one of my bills has increased.

I keep trying to look at the bright side, but I can't find it.

Anybody know where it is?

..... Anybody?