Archive for April, 2009


The other day, while writing my blog post, I had a brilliant idea for a post.  Now, I usually make notes right away.  My home is littered with post-it notes, writing on the back of envelopes and the covers of magazines.  And, there is a good reason.


Because I have no memory.  So, the other day, I said to myself, “I will do that right after I finish this post.” 


It was to be a brilliant post, witty, short, with a broad appeal to all post.  I remember thinking I should have thought of it two days ago, when ‘something’ happened.


Well, it’s gone.  Lost in the mush that is my brain.  All that brilliance wasted!!!

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Sheryl here:  jumping up and down, clapping my hands in glee, Master’s Daughter and I have tickets for the Harry Potter show at the Museum of Science and Industry | What’s Here | Exhibits | Harry Potter: The Exhibition | Exhibit Guide | Introduction.


I really love Chicago and all of the museums.  I used to spend hours just roaming around with my sketchbook; both in the city and in the museums.  And, now, I get to go and sit in Hagrid’s chair and repot Mandrake’s, Museum of Science and Industry | What’s Here | Exhibits | Harry Potter: The Exhibition | Exhibit Guide | Hands-On  and enter through the “frame of the fat lady’s portrait.”  And, yes, I am sixty-one, but what fun is there in life if you cannot get excited over a bit of magic?


And, the really neat part of it is that I get to spend several days with my daughter.  That means South Bend Chocolate cafe for Aztec hot chocolate and a chinese restaurant and a yummy yarn shop and about a gazbillion laughs. 




It’s a whole month away.  Are we there yet?

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I just love Crazy Aunt Purl, although I am a little miffed lately because she has had to cut off comments and sometimes there is  something I just want to tell her or comment to her and I can’t and that is why, like Crazy Aunt Purl, I would like to stab someone repeatedly with a fork.  In my case, and I would not doubt she would like to also, the idiot who was stalking/harassing her.

I mean, I do not think that was the reason Crazy Aunt Purl wanted to stab someone repeatedly with a fork, but it would be a reason for me.

Scroll down to April 15, 2009, on Crazy Aunt Purl and read “Just another day in the neighborhood.”  I have lived in semi-rural neighborhoods, small city neighborhoods and rural neighborhoods, but I have never lived in a big city neighborhood. 

I have always thought that city living would be fun to do for a year or two though.  You know, get rid of the car and the insurance and the repairs, grab a bus when you want to go anywhere, spend Saturdays at a museum, Sundays at the park, just walk to the neighborhood night spot and listen to some jazz or blues.

I have however, lived in apartments where I could hear the next door man beating up his wife (yes, I called the police.  I do that kind of thing.), or I had to go next door and  hold the new baby because the 17 year old nervous mother had no idea what to do to calm him.  

Now, our neighbors are dogs and that is not a commentary on their personality.  It is their non-human companions I am talking about.  We rarely hear from the neighbors themselves, it is their dogs that we have to deal with.  No one seems to keep their pets in their yards and dogs wander all over.  They all travel through our yard.  This includes the two Chihuahua’s across the street to the two St. Bernard’s two doors down the road from us, who own their very own pet, a 9 pound dog that hangs with them.  And, they leave piles for our Irritating little Chihuahua to smell. I mean, if you came across a pile of poop as big as you are, well—–. 

In her city neighborhood, Crazy Aunt Purl has a loud mother with children who suffer from a rare form of selective deafness (probably from all that loud talking), and neighbors who cannot seem to learn to shut their car alarm off when they open their door. 

In my semi-rural neighborhood, I have automobile owners who think it is cool to hang Confederate flags on their car, wear shirts riped out on the side so everyone can verify they have armpit hair and blast out “Watermelon Crawl’ from their mammoth woofers.  Then there is the family whose young child screamed for two years straight.  I do not believe that child learned to talk until she was five.

But, the worse are those who have dogs who bark all night.  I mean, literally all night long.  Some live like a mile away and I have no idea how they sleep through it, but once in  a while I have a neighbor who shoots dogs.  No, it is not me.  But, you can only be sleep deprived for so long.  Last night the barking was coming from three directions.  I felt like I was in a 101 Dalmatian movie with a dog telegraph going on for an emergency.

By the way:  Crazy Aunt Purl  has a book out and it is hilarious.

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I must add to this, before I have even begun.  My, we are off to a good start.  One more day being sleep deprived and I will be a raving lunatic.  I need my sleep!


So, to add: This all started off last week, when the dog had to have surgery on a certain gland.  I did think I could have made some fame on filming the Irritating little Chihuahua on pain killers and anesthetics, but that would have been just too cruel.  So, that was ER  visit #1.


Then, day before yesterday, we had EMT son on hospital ER #2.  He is trying to eat as if he has low blood sugar and seems much more energetic.  His mother and brother both had the problem, starting at about the age EMT is now, but doctor’s visits are scheduled.

Yesterday, I picked mom up to take her to the Ophthalmologist.  She kept sliding in little hints about “having trouble breathing” and “legs are leaking” (they used to call it dropsy) and “swollen legs.”  I made her show me her leg and off we went to the Doctor.  His offices said take her to the ER. 


After some cajoling, I made a deal with her and took her to the Ophthalmologist and then out to eat lunch and then she would willingly go to the ER.  I have been known to take her to town, on the pretext of taking her shopping and, instead I dropped her off at the ER.  So, she knows there is very little wiggle room there, but she wiggles anyway.


Later that day, at ER#3, in seven days, mom is admitted.  She has Congestive Heart Failure and these visits are becoming increasingly common.  They have to drain the water out of her, which isn’t as painful as it sounds.


It is mainly giving her an elephant shot (in her IV) of water pills and then she does the draining.  She may even come home today.  I plan on sleeping after that. 


I announced to the whole family, last night, that the next person who goes to the ER will just be shot on sight.

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EMT has had a health problem lately and passed out twice yesterday.  The second time was around 10:30pm and off we went to the emergency room, again.

He requested the ER in Franklin, Indiana; as an EMT with experience in these things.  And, he was right. That had to be the most efficient ER I have seen. Triage was immediate.  Before he could fall asleep, they were in drawing blood and taking an EKG.  The doctor was in next and ordred at CaT Scan.  We were out in an hour, I bet, not counting drive time and the delay in checking out.

The delay is because of a drunk.  How interesting to see two uniformed Police Officers and just about every person on staff, surrounding a drunk.  A drunk who has to be one of the stupidist drunks in town.

First, the guy is at a bar and calls police on his cell phone to report a disturbance.  Ordinarily, I would consider that a wise move, except he was the one who was making the disturbance.  America’s Dumbest Criminals, move over, this one called  to turn himself in.  

So, he is screaming the whole time he is in the ER; privacy laws not withstanding.  His mouth just went on and on.  He was yelling at the officers because they made him poop.  The big one, the officer not the poop (thankfully, I did not have to see that.), but the big officer who scared him was all of 5’6″ probably.  Of course, the drunk was a pretty scrawny guy, and very drunk. 

Then, he was mad at the hospital because he never went to the ER before and left without pills and “goll darn it.”  he wanted pills.  Just what he needed on top of probably twenty beers.  I’m sure the officers at the jail, which he was on his way to, would have let him keep those pills too.  Right!

The final words I heard from the hospital staff was, “And, it’s not even Friday night.”

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I received a comment on my post Words you do not want to hear « Savanvleck’s Weblog and just felt like this deserved a full answer.


My Osteopenia was actually caused by a para-thyroid gland gone wild.  It was robbing my body of calcium.  The tests I went through for this were really interesting.  You have not lived until you have had to carry around a gallon jar of your own urine.  


One possible problem with me is that they could only find three of my four para-thyroid glands and so I do not know if I still have one, in hiding and malfunctioning. (That test involved nuclear testing.  I love it when I have to walk alone down a long concrete hallway and be treated by a guy wearing lead clothing.)  When they went in to take the para-thyroid out they also removed half my thyroid (it was hard as a rock – gee, did they do that with the testing?).  All I know is, doctors see me coming and they start checking the want adds for a summer home. 


That said, I just started exercising a couple of years ago and did so for nine months and then because I became tired, exhausted beyond belief, I quit.  Without insurance, it took two years to diagnose and finally get emergency surgery on my heart.  Then, without insurance, I was never given heart rehab, which most people get.  So, it has taken me two years post surgery to get back on the treadmill. 


I may not be the best example to use as a guide and I would not want to see you stop exercising because I am not Osteopenia free.  I have recently gotten insurance and had a new dexa-scan and am still diagnosed with Osteopenia.  But, I have only been exercising this time since February 2nd, 2009. 


I do take Calcium with D twice a day; I do the treadmill three days a week and weights three days a week.  But, I am not up to real vigorous running or weights yet.  I am eating a lot better and have now lost thirteen pounds.  So far, I have not broken a bone, and I know that I feel a lot better.  They say that the exercise will help your bones.  I do not know whether exercise will reverse Osteopenia or not. But, even if it just stops it from getting worse, it is worth it. 


This is kind of like the bursitis in my shoulders.  I woke up one morning and my shoulder was frozen.  With exercise, I am nearly back to full range of motion, but I will always have bursitis and always need to exercise it. 


So, keep up the good work.  You are going to feel so much better for it.

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It would always be nice to get the full story before you write a story.  Perhaps I need to start treating this blog as I did my school newspaper days.  The full stories are usually so much more interesting. 


This is in answer to XUP on a blog I wrote a couple of days ago  We have an exciting future ahead of us! « Savanvleck’s Weblog about my great grandfather bringing home railroad dishes that were dumped out at the end of the line.  I have now received an answer from mom Padairvanvleck’s Weblog, so here is the full story, or as full as we know.


My great grandfather was a nighttime switchman.  He did not enter the dining cars or any train cars.  He stayed outside. 


Apparently there was no union for, probably any of them, but the waiters did not get paid overtime.  So, if they stayed to do any dishes, after their run, it was on their own time and we all know how tired you can be after standing and walking and working in a train for “x” number of hours; and they weren’t going to “give” the railroad company their time.  So, they would pick up the table cloths, with dishes in them and dump them, food and all.


 Mom also states about the dish pile,  “I suppose rats ate any food,   But Mom did like the heavy dishes, because we didn’t break them so easily, when doing dishes. …goodness, he had a lot of faults, but I doubt stealing was one of them.  I’ve just never considered his story anything but the truth. I think if anything, he would say they gave him the dishes because they didn’t want to wash them before they went home. If the railroad found themselves short of dishes at any point. they could blame it on travelers , as I’m sure some were broken that way…


“Since it was the last run of the day,  and at no time did Grandpa claim it was a huge amount on a run, perhaps only one table was still to be emptied. We will never know. I do know that if Grandpa DID steal them, he would think it a great joke after we moved to the hill, because that’s when he retired.”


I could tell you a lot of other Great Grandfather stories:

·        He liked to throw roaches on the wood stove because no one else liked the smell.

·        When a window was broken and there was no money for glass, he liked to tack the spare linoleum with the pattern out because it mortified my mother when she got off the school bus.  This lead to a great story of one of her grandmother’s standing staring out the “lineoleum covered dark underside” window one night for some time and then stating,  “It’s the darkest night I’ve ever seen.”

·        He had a naked chicken (no feathers) for a pet


The stories go on but I’m waiting for the book to come out.  Mom is writing her life story  and it should be a doozy.


P.S.  Mom send me another email this morning.  Here’s the final installment of this story:


“Did I tell you that Grandpa wasn’t the only one that brought home those dishes. It was common knowledge, and he didn’t always get first pick. Sometimes he only brought one item home. He had to be on duty, to catch the dishes thrown away , and if he was down the line when the waiters cleared the last tables, the throw-a-ways were picked up by others.  They may even have eaten left over sandwiches. or doughnuts.  With food being so scarce,  I’ll bet they didn’t mind a half eaten sandwich.”

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I try not to lecture on this blog but I just have to say this, so please bear with me.

Susan Boyle, the British singer on Britain’s Got Talent, steps out on stage and people roll their eyes and laugh. At what? At the nerve of a frumpy woman, with frizzy hair, to dare think she deserves our respectful attention long enough to give her a chance?

I was raised with the concept that you treat everyone like you would like to be treated.  Isn’t that really the only rule you need to live by?  You would not want someone to shoot you, to cheat on you, to steal from you, to laugh at you, or to judge you by your looks alone. 

And, believe me, those looks are fleeting.  Snap your fingers and you too will be sixty and have wrinkles and battle weight as your body slows down.  So—–

Everyone. Let me repeat, EVERYONE, deserves respect until they have proven they do not. Our children deserve our respect. Our parents deserve our respect. Disabled people deserve our respect and that also means people who do not obviously look disabled, as my husband has never “looked” like he was disabled. Of course, now that he looks like he is ninety, when he is really fifty-six, he gets more respect for his disease.

We are so quick to judge! Whether it is someone’s weight or looks or hair or teeth or scars or, or or. Let’s give everyone the respectful attention they deserve and that we would want, if we just weren’t so darn perfect.

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I am so excited this morning. I heard the President’s speech about the high speed train system. I swear, every time he steps up to the mike, I get more hopeful for the future of this country.

Images of the future look positively clean and space-age, as gleaming trains speed across the country. Indiana to Wyoming in just over three hours would be a possibility. I could do a book tour without getting on an airplane.

Now, I really would like to take an old fashioned train trip, watching the scenery float by; having lazy conversations while eating in the dining car. My great grandfather worked on trains. Way back then, they used to throw the dishes out at the end of the line, rather than wash them. When great-granddad got off work, he would go to the dish pile and collect the unbroken dishes and bring them home.

There were three adults and six children living in that home and it was the depression. These dishes were a big help. I still have an oval plate and two coffee cups. The cups had two handles on them so that you could sip your coffee with less chance of spilling it on you.

I don’t think spilling will be an issue on a train going three hundred miles an hour. That track had better be smooth.

I can’t wait.

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Summer is almost here.  Tulips and daffodils are blooming and tomato starts, in the bay window, are two inches tall.

This means that I will soon be reminded that I have, yet again, overestimated my youth and energy.  I am still weight lifting and doing aerobics, and still stuck at 11 pounds lost, but I do hope I have the energy for the garden this year. 

I have a hard time throwing out the weaker plant starts.  I just cannot imagine me ever being able to chop up the Mandrake roots.   Since I do like to have extra plants, and thus extra produce, to take to the Seniors in mom’s apartment building, I planned on planting more this year anyway. 

No one is fond of mowing our 3.8 acre yard. A couple of areas of the yard are wooded, so we just leave those alone.  I think one winter day, when the ticks are hibernating (Do ticks hibernate?) I will put the teens to cleaning the woods.  That is, if they are ever home long enough. 

No longer a Teen, #1 is living in Santa Fe, temporarily and is 22 now.  Teen #2 will be 20 this June, and is always gone to the fire department or nursing schooling, or working.  Teen #3 is now best buddies with his girlfriend’s dad; whose house he goes to for extra tutoring and also to help around their property.  The latest project is a “man cave” in the barn; complete with comfy chairs and a television.

It is always a spur to tell them that they can use the wood they pick up for their fire pit, plus, them being volunteer firemen (and cadet) they realize the fire danger of an overgrown/deadwood woods.

Our drive is 400 feet long and I would love to build a Japanese style walking garden on the strip of land to the east of it. The area between house and pond, to the west, could be deck and terraced gardens; thus, eliminating most of the mowing. We would then be left with the area around my studio to mow. I would love to have that in square foot gardening plots.  Thus again, dreaming of a time when energy and aching bones was never a problem.

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