Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pneu to the neighborhood

Will hurt you for no reason.
Last Friday I was complaining (again) about being sick.  Also last Friday, AFTER writing that post,  I hie'd myself to the doc in a box down at that local CVS to get checked out, as the sounds in my lungs were getting louder and I was of the opinion that, in fact, I wan't getting better, but worse.

A call the previous day to my doctor's office resulted in the advice to 'take Alka-Seltzer Plus cold medicine,' which had not helped.  A call Friday afternoon to the doc's office yielded no satisfaction either, as they weren't able to see me and couldn't prescribe anything to me for this because it's been two years since I needed an inhaler and ohwell.  Sucks to be me.  Therefore, the doc in a box.

Turns out I have/had pneumonia.

Turns out I walked out of that CVS with three shiny new medications to combat the pneumonia, and an admonishment to come back Monday if I wasn't feeling significantly better.

It took until Sunday afternoon (48 h after diagnosis and start of antibiotics) to start feeling a little better.  Here it is Wednesday, and I still can't draw a deep breath without my throat tickling and setting off a coughing fit, but I don't have a fever anymore, don't make noises when I breathe, can smell food without heaving, and can stay awake for simply HOURS at a time.

I think I'm going to make it, is what I'm saying.

Seems like  I go through this every couple of years.  It's not something to make a habit of, that's for damned sure.

As a result, of course I don't have stuff ready for Christmas, but ohwell on that too.  It'll get 'done' or it won't.  The tree is up, the lights are on it, and Biff has hung the outdoor lights, but that's it.  I'll probably spend some time tarting up the place before Christmas day, but first  I should do the Christmas CARDS, which won't get to where they need to be by Monday anyhow, but ohwell on that too.

Or is it 'No-well'?

Tiff out.

Friday, December 15, 2017

I'd like to offer up a nice complaint, with a side of whinging

Oh, why hello ailments, how has it been 3 long months ago that I last got horribly ill?  That long?  You say you missed me?  I wonder if you think I can say the same about you.

Oh, to feel your clammy hands on my brow, to be overcome with the flush of feverish heat, to choke and sputter at your advent and, truly, through your entire time with me, you make such a vivid impression.

Why, this time around you have given me more gifts that I have any right to expect.  Shall I name them for you?  Of course I shall, for remembering this visit in case you never come to me again will remind me of the intensity of our time spent together.

You have bestowed on me:

  • Coughs
  • Chills and fever
  • MUCUS so copious I hardly know where to begin in description
  • Nausea and vomiting.  Truly unexpected.
  • Lung noises so many and varied that last night I thought I was dreaming of an Australian woman saying 'oh no' time and time again, but in reality it was just my upper left lobe doing a damned good impersonation.  Really, very impressive, and how specific!
It's been 4+ days now though, sweet friend, and I must ask you to go.  When you are here, I hardly get any sleep, or work done, or  chores completed, and as impactful as our lives together have been in these last few days, I feel the need to return to more mundane aspects of life.

Like, breathing freely.  I miss that.

And eating.  I miss that too.  This was not your best gift, I must say.

Also, I have discovered that as much as I LOVE MY BED, it's not the best place for me when you are around.  Sad, I know, but the recliner that is so reliable in the times we spend together isn't the best place to catch all the requisite 'zzzs' one needs to be fully functional.

So, I bid you adieu.  We have had some intense moments together this year, and looking back on them I will all the more appreciate the fact that I have now, I believe, gotten over you.

With this, I ask that you don't visit me any more.

Consider yourself broken up with.


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Sometimes I re-read, and decide to repost.

I need to get my creative juices flowing again.  Things have been a bit stunted lately.

I miss the days of writing, and blogging, and commenting, and being generally more entwined with people (even online) that I am now.  Things are all so throwaway now.  So packed with monetized content and PURPOSE, like social interaction has to mean something, for God's sake.

Sometimes you just want to laugh at a fart joke.

Or to turn the other direction and read something like this story I wrote many moons ago, in a voice that still tells most of my stories.  I really REALLY wish I knew who this tale-teller is that bubbles up whenever someone tells me to 'write something,' but there she is, time after time.

She needs a name.

Because, apparently, she's had kind of a rough life.

The story below, for example.


Well, you know, it hurt like a sonofabitch for a while, then it didn’t, then for a while it did again.

Fucking headaches, anyhow. They come fast as a buck rabbit on a doe sometime, and sometimes they’re like a hog on a sow, can’t break ‘em.

All my dang life, every day, which one’s it gonna be, buck or hog? If a buck, then the day’s work gets done no questions, cuz there’s 15 hours left of work at least before cleanup starts, but a hog? That’ll take half the day away and the washing won’t get done if it’s Wensdy, nor the irnin on Thursdiy.

Years back, before these grips kep comin on I went to school. I can still remember how to read and write, but by God if just keeping up with everything don’t keep a person from total recall on all the things they once knew.

That’s why I know to write this down now, before all the headaches claim what’s left of my sensibilities and I wind up just chasing one job to another tryin’ to git it all done before I don’t remember how to even speak.
Even my writing takes shorthand now. I just looked at what I wrote, not 60 minutes after the buck left the building, and I don’t even know who that person is. Oh, I know who the fuck the BUCK is, that much is for sure, but who wrote that what speaks of the bucking effects? I have no idea.
This sickness is eating me from the inside; it’s changing me. 
It’s tiring as hell. I don’t even get to drink a damn potion on purpose to make it happen.
I need to go do the laundry now. It’s already Thursday and I still need to iron.
Still Thursday.
A week later.
All is calm.
Friday is here. The boar is back. Stone cold sober he ain’t because he’s been goin at me for hours now, and I can’t get anything done at all. 

Take one step, he take another to block me.

Try to sidestep by chugging some water (sometimes that helps) but he keeps coming on. Determined to win this time. I am no match. Sense make no sense. 

Oh. I can’t see.
There’s a bug in my mouth. I can’t let go of it for fear of alerting the headachers. One complaint, they’re back. No complaint, I can keep the peace. It’s a burden, but worth the stillness. Like a quiet uncomfortable soundtrack, a secret silence, a scream in a vacuum.

It’s fine. I can do this.
Things are so heavy all over. Workin against the weight is hard. Daggone boar is hard at work now, pushin and mashin and just being ugly all over. Can’t get much done anymore. I scream at myself when I can.
Roll over. Hurts in arms. Night is everywhere. Legs are jumpy. I vomit.
There’s the spider. I hide it under my arms so nobody sees it. There are lots of people around.
Bright lights.
I feel strong and weak. 
More spiders. I vomit them from my guts, my lungs, my brain, my heart, my skin as I am bursting from within, bones breaking, heart growing, fear escaping.
I shout spiders, scream them, roar them, own them, claim them, banish them in this moment of power.
The spiders leave. They are afraid.
So are the buck and boar. They are afraid of the truth in my mouth, the poison they put there I was so feared of loosing. Cowards. Me included ,but no more.
I hold someone soft and warm.
Bonny baby.

So, yeah.  Happy All Saint's Day.  I guess.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I should never travel for work

Goes like this:

I was offered an opportunity to go to a really cool conference few months ago because of a group  I participate in at work that's all about innovation from within.  I do enjoy some innovation, but when you are trying to steer/outfit a big ol' ship, sometimes (most of the time) it's a very difficult thing to do.  Like, our company is an ocean liner big, and innovations mostly happen in the 28-foot cabin cruiser range of companies.  So, the chance to innovate on an ocean liner ACTING like a skiff was one  I couldn't pass up.

You know, by way of background.

The time for conferencing came and thus this Monday and Tuesday our ocean liner got a bunch of folks together to innovate.  Many of these folks came in suit coats and slacks/skits as their interpretations of 'innovation casual' (the actual dress code!), which means that 1) they own a suit coat, 2) feel more comfortable wearing one that not, and 3) are obviously People of Some Importance in the OL, like Officers and not the Enlisted.

(OK, there were some enlisted there too, like me.  I opted to wear Not A Suit Coat [surprise!  I don't own one] but rather floral-print black flowy pants with a long-sleeved v-neck black tee [thanks Eddie Bauer!] one day and a rib-knit crossover dress [Torrid] over cropped leggings [also Torrid] and a print infinity scarf [Charmin' Charlies!] the next.  The SAME black flats both days [The horror!]

I looked POSITIVELY innovative, if I must say so myself.)

However, clothing is not the reason I shouldn't travel.  I felt no embarrassment about my outfits, having thought through my choices and picking the ones I felt were a good mix of comfy/flattering/interesting.

No, the reason  I should probably re-think travel for work (or anywhere, especially when planes and hotels are involved), is how I LOOK when I travel.  OK, how everything above my neck looks, if we're being precise.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what 1) nights of poor sleep and 2) entire days of dehydration do your your (not so) faithful correspondent:

Normal me
Travel me.

NOT an exaggeration.  I lose my eyelashes and everything!  And stay this way for the duration of the trip!  Even with Visine and fancy eye creams and all the water I can get down my gullet!

Y'all, I feel SO BAD for the people that had to spend time with me the past few days.  It was NOT a pretty sight, though I tried my best.  Also, hotel lighting schemes suck in a major way, so there was no really good method to ensure I was 'doing it right' in terms of horror amelioration.

Shamefaced admission: For years I read in fashion mags and Good Housekeeping and ladies rags of that nature, that models are slavish to facial spritzers and chugging water and all manner of skin hydration methods  to stay 'fresh' while they jet-set, and I scoffed at their puny selves for not being more resilient and tough-skinned, like me, for whom travel never seemed a bother.  Well, SOMEONE must have found that picture of me in the attic and given it a nick, 'cuz now I scoff no more.


And should be shown to nobody, ever.

I did have a good time though, so there's that.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who suffers from the dreaded TF, won't you?

Tiff out.

Monday, September 11, 2017

In which I regret a thing or two

Hold my beer...
Hello once again, and welcome to another installment of 'why I should never answer a knock at my front door.'

Ever, really.

Years from now folks probably won't recall that the past few days have seen a gigantic hurricane, Irma, rip through the Caribbean and into Florida, and is now eating up portions of South Carolina.  Damage is horrific, loss of life is significant, whole islands have been rendered uninhabitable.

Stick with me.

Folks started leaving the Southern-most states a few days ago, and if they were lucky had enough gas to make it through to a mid-Atlantic state (or further).  The pictures of the traffic snarls on the northbound highways were mind-boggling, I'm sure being IN the snarls were enough to MAKE you snarl.  Folks were running out of gas, food, and water, things had been pretty desperate.

This is not why I should not answer a knock at my door, though.  Not yet.

One of the families that evacuated north are folks who used to go to our church.  Nice younger couple, he's a musician/worship lead, she's a teacher who now homeschools their young son and will do so for their baby daughter someday if I'm any good as forecasting the future.  They made what I think is the absolute right decision to get out, and their target destination was right be here in the 27587.  They still have friends here, it seems.

Saw them at church yesterday and had a nice chat; they were disappointed that Biff wasn't there (he had a gig).   Very sweet.

Almost there, hold on a minute longer.

So, I work at home.  This involves a commute of about 3 steps from my bed to my desk, and also very often involves me not getting out of my pajamas until late in the afternoon.  Also likely involved is a distinct lack of hairbrushing or other niceties that one would be expected to engage in if one was planning on being seen by anyone other than the dog.  It's a pretty darned impressive low-impact system, and one that I'm reasonably comfortable performing.  Sometimes I throw a bathrobe on if I'm feeling classy.

So  I should have known better than to go see who was at the door this afternoon.  I really should have.  I was in full-on PJ and bathrobe regalia, my slept-in hair blossoming almost OUT of the topknot I'd wrestled it into the day before, face unwashed, you get the idea.

You also probably know who was at the door.

It was not the mailman.  It was the nice young couple from church.

I'm reasonably certain that having me show up at the door, shambling around in a too-big bathrobe with a fully-risen hair muffin on my head, changed their perceptions of me a touch.  Maybe more than.  That's on them.

That's not the worst of it though.

That came a few minutes later, when their young son allowed as to how he might need to make a potty stop, which of course I agreed to after I put the dog out back.  The youngster and his Daddy made use of the facilities and were soon on their merry way, after which I needed to make a pit stop of my own, at which time  noticed what was The Worst Thing.

See, I live in a home with three very accommodating men.  They put the seat down after they're done peeing, so I don't normally see the underside of the seat.  Today was a day I also wish I hadn't seen the underside of the seat.  Really really wish that had been the case, but no.

The toilet I allowed that little boy and his nice Daddy to use today was...sullied.  Besmirched.  Bedecked.  Soiled, splattered, you get the idea.  This lovely little boy and his lovely Dad flipped up that seat and were met with the unfortunate aftermath of one of my family members' potty visits.

There's no way they could have missed it.


And THAT is why I shouldn't ever answer the door.  Because I might just unknowingly completely gross out people with the slovenly nature of my toilet seat.

Now where's the Clorox?

Tiff out.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hanging out, listening in

For the record, alchemists
usually work alone
In the nonstop glamour that is my professional life, there is ample opportunity to become involved in meetings of all manners.  Planning meetings, update meetings, strategy meetings, advice meetings, etc and so forth and on and on.

Yesterday there was a 7-HOUR meeting to talk through a 180-page document.

Seven hours was not enough.  The team reconvened at 5 p.m. last night and appeared to have remained online for at least 3 hours.

Even that was not enough, for today the team are meeting for at least 3 MORE hours to talk through the last 20 or so pages of the document.  Which means, of course, that the computer systems are super-slow and seem to be teetering on the brink of collapse in the meeting sharing window.

The best part of this is that I'm really only just listening in to folks talking through the issues, picking apart what's been written, re-dictating crafted language, and scrambling to get this done.  I feel really bad for them, as this is a project that was super-sped up by the big bosses in the face of what was already a challenging timeline.  They're doing their absolute BEST, but jeez, how much can be asked of a group of individuals?  They're practicing virtual alchemy to create a golden ticket from a pile of confusion and conflicting opinions, at incredible speed.

It's astounding.  And for once I'm glad I'm not the one driving the content.  I just have to own the process, which is enough.

It's going to be enough to QC that 11-page reference list against the text...and get the data-driven sections QC'ed...and ensure it's the next 10 days.

Goodbye, weekend.


So, big eclipse plans?

Me neither.

The kiddoes are going with their Dad down to SC to see it happen, which is a nice thing to do with their Dad I suppose.  He's pretty big on Life Event things, so they have those moments built into their collective life experiences.  Me?  I'm not a planner and don't really like to go to place where I know a crowd will also be, so tend to just stay home and live vicariously through the participants on the street.

After seeing what happened in Charlottesville and Barcelona this week, maybe staying off the streets isn't a bad idea.

But, eclipse.  Let's talk about that.

Way back when (1991? 1992?  Can't recall), there was an eclipse, which happened during work hours.  I know this because all us science nerds were hanging out in the windowed stairwell of the beautiful new research building, peering up at the sun through a tiny window of a 'floppy' disc.


Yup.  Apparently one can view an eclipse directly by pulling back the 'locking' tabs on the floppy disc and using the disc itself to screen out harmful rays of sunshine.  Like this:
Ta daaaaah!
We probably looked really cool doing this in our white lab coats, a mass of nerdiness peering like Devo at the fireball in the sky.

Heck, 'probably' nothing.  We rocked the look and the eclipse, then got right back to work saving the world.

Good times.


And that's twice this month I've posted.  You are welcome.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Good DAY, Sunshine!

These didn't survive the Michigan-like winter, let
alone the brutal summer.  Goodbye, penstemon.
Summer 2017 has one giant bowl of hot n' muggy.  My flower garden can attest to that, as it's simply been too awful outside to go pull weeds or, you know, care much.  I bought some petunias before we went on vacation, then didn't PLANT the darned things, so now have $32 of wasted petunia to throw in the trash.

So of course I bought more flowers on  Sunday.  They remain unplanted, but now that the weather's turned a little nicer (high temps of only 90!) tomorrow morning I'mma be out in the garden finishing the weeding and planting my purdy new flowers.  I won't let that $27 go in the bin, as God is my witness!!


Oh, vacation was nice too.  As we do every year, we headed up to Smith Mountain Lake for a week of boatin' and floatin' and bloatin'.  We had a nicely zippy tritoon (150 horsepower is great!), a waverunner that had enough power to cause blisters on the (admittedly fairly soft) hands of one of its riders, and a speedboat that mostly ran pretty well.

The goal of any good lake week is to not put shoes on the whole week and not travel anywhere by car.  I can never achieve those goals, because someone needs to do the trash runs, and it's a nice drive with good views, so I slap on the sneakers and go.  Also, this introvert needs some time alone on a regular basis, which doesn't really get to experience when living for a week in a house with 6 other people and other family dropping on by for funtimez on the water.

I love my family, know.

On a related note, one of the long trips of lake week is to traverse the South-to-North path of the Roanoke River up to Hardy VA to eat hot dog bites and see what kind of crosses and hot sauce they have at Bay Roc Marina.  This year I elected to not go.  This is a trip that in years past has, for whatever reason, stressed me to the point of nausea (usually thunderstorm related), and I just wanted to avoid that this time around.

And you know what?  I might have missed out on some fun, but I had a WONDERFUL time by myself.  I relaxed like crazy, did some word searches, worked a puzzle, watched the water, and grabbed a tiny hunk of inner peace.

Fabulous, and very very tasty.


Anyhow, the laundry is washing, the dishes need doing, dinner needs fixing, and excuses for tomorrow's potential failures need to be created and catalogued.

Busy busy!

Tiff out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Weight, lifted

Yesterday I lost 400 pounds.  Click here to see the amazing secret how!

Yep.  About 400 hundred pounds.  Or a million it you're really into heavyweight hyperbole.

Either way, I was freed for a moment from the weight of responsibility and accountability, and it was awesome.

Today I threw the yoke over my shoulders yet again, with a different load to haul, BUT, with familiar yoke-mates to haul with.

This make all the difference.

One heavy load dumped, 5 lighter but no less heavy loads taken on.

September can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Breathe deep, then sneeze

That's about a day's worth.
It's the most wonderful (not) time of the year, which is nearly (I hope) almost over.  That's right, once again it's pollen season in the Old North State, during which time we  long to fling open windows and gulp in great lungfuls of fresh Springtime air, but are often thwarted in such attempts by the sheer load of plant sex in the air that devolves inhalation into powerful coughing fits.

We really didn't have a winter this year, it almost never got cold enough to put on a jacket.  The trees don't know when to attempt procreation, so have been flinging out their romance for what seems like an extended period this year.  Then we'll have a freeze, REALLY putting a chill on matters, and a day later it will be 80F and it's knees-out season again.

I keep the windows open when it gets above 65F or so, and a glass of water is at the ready to combat the throat tickle that comes from breathing unfiltered air.  No complaints here - I heard it SNOWED in Maine the other day, and that's just too cruel.


So, there was this little basketball game last night.  NCAA finals or something (*wink*).  UNC won - it was a pretty big deal.  Both the kids were at the Dean Dome watching on the jumbotron, along with 10,000 other folks, and I've heard it was quite the event.  Franklin Street, which is on the north edge of campus, was totally swamped right after the game; which is fine because the cops blocked it off in case of a good outcome for our guys.

I did not watch the game.  My heart isn't strong enough for all that stress!

So, yes.  It's been a good year in sportsing my 'my' teams.  UNC men's bball champs, WFHS state football champs, and JMU's team did pretty well on the gridiron in 2016 as well.

No, I didn't watch the football games either.  I'm the kind of person who reads the end of a book before I ought to, too, so there's another thing you can call me 'freak' about.  Surprises and me just don't get along all that well.


Well, it appears as though the work truck has leaked out all its electricity, so I'm off to pick up Biff, who just got the thing inspected (!).

Fingers crossed this isn't a $500 repair...we just spent twice that to get it up to code!

Tiff out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ow, my aching...

Fire. Cracker.
My job requires a lot of sitting.  And staring at a computer screen.  And typing, data mining, researching, blah blah blah.

Oh, I KNOW how lucky I am, so don't make a habit of complaining.

But Lord have mercy I just took a lap or two around the house, then grabbed on to the rim of the kitchen sink and LEEEEEANED forward, stretching backward, and someone shot off a string of those little cracking fireworks right outside my kitchen window.

Oh wait, that was my BACK.

There was much movement of synovial fluid, friends, and I feel taller now.


Speaking of synovial fluid...

It's been while since the initial injury that resulted in my slicing off a little bit of my left middle finger right at the base of the fingernail.  It's probably been about a year since I sacrificed a little of myself to the kitchen gods, so the boo-boo healed with just a little defect in the skin because old people heal slowly.

Then, a few months ago, something popped up right in that spot - a swelling, a bleb, and a 'something' that concerned me, so I brought it up with my doc, who said 'it's nothing to be concerned about it just a mucoid cyst.' Better than a sarcoma, thought I, and so went home to research what the HECK a mucoid cyst is.

Turns out, when I went all Master Chef on my finger I cut deeply enough to nick the bursa around the top finger joint, allowing synovial fluid to LEAK OUT, causing the blebbiness.

Then, because I messed with it a a little, it started to hurt, so I did what any reasonable person would do, I pricked it with a pin and POPPED IT.

What came out was a little bit gross, like jelly that's really slick and sticky.  The stuff that lubricates our joints - the precious synovial fluid!!  So gross, so fascinating!  So...yellow?  Ew.

I put a pressure dressing on it and was good for about a month until I banged it on something, and it swelled again, I popped it again, and same deal - oozy synovial goo, only  this time...clear.

Apparently I missed the memo about getting your fluids changed every 40 years or so. Did anybody else know this needs to be done?

The doc said it might go away on its own, it might not.  It might always be with me, a little portal into, well, me.

And that's what happens when you get under my skin.  Goo happens.

Tiff out.

PS - mucoid cysts are apparently really common in folks with osteoarthritis.  Apparently the bones develop spurs that grind away at the bursal lining, and leaky leaky things happen.  How truly dreadful.

PPS - 'The Mucoid Cyst' is my new superhero name.  Guess what my superpower is??

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Watching the storm roll in

The tide is turning.

Rolling inward this time.


In to the swirl and business, the tumult, the crowd, the chatter.

It needs to be borne, there's no force to conquer the wave.

The edge of the rip tide that's most comfortable to paddle in is swept away.

Instead, a boisterous party surrounds, where friends abound,

Who dazzle and frazzle and exhaust with their love.

It's a weird place to be at for a few hours.

But then the crouch of all the ocean behind the haunch of waves calls

It's time to go, RIGHT NOW, to go hunker on your sand bar

Safe and alone until the next tide hits.

Like breathing, but the out fits better, a sigh not a suck.

Tumble in, breathe out.

Putting words down...Tiff out.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I'm watching you

I don't subscribe to his channel
But I do know who he is...
I'm old enough to remember home movies.  On FILM.  I remember home movie night, when at the end of the film after the free end 'flapped' it's way on to the receiving reel, the screen would show up bright white from the  projector bulb and all the kids would get up and dance in the light like we were on stage.

Every. Time.

Then, home movies became all about capturing those special moments on videotape, and Lord how we were freed from the tedium of having to get the Kodak moments not only filmed, but developed and processed!  Instant gratification was to be had, and it was fantastic.  But, sadly, no light to dance in.  No imagination to spend, all we had was the reality of what had just been shot.

But still - that gratification was sweet, at least for the one time we ever watched the tapes before setting them on a shelf to collect dust.

Nowadays, everyone has smart phones and GoPros and social media AND, if you're really ambitious, a YouTube channel, where lots and lots of other people can watch your home movies!

I'm proud to say that I have only subscribed to 22 YT channels so far.  Is that a lot, or not that many?  I don't Pin or Snap or Insta or Etsy or Lularoe or anything like that as a huge time suck, so have turned to YT to fill my inner void.

There are a few food bloggers in my list.  OK, more than a few food bloggers.  This should surprise nobody.  There are some comedy channels, Buzzfeed in a couple of different flavors, a history one, a couple of gardening ones, a couple that never post but I keep around because memories of good times past, and a re-enacting one that I love because it's so dang calming and educational.  Almost every single one is offering up a teachable moment, it just now has occurred to me.  22 channels and not ONE that's pure drivel, though I was tempted by the 'Russian dash cam' feed a while back.  I figured I could dole those out like after-dinner mints once done with a binge watch, just to clear the head.

If  I have an evening at home with no family around and not much to do, I'll likely be on YT scrolling through the video feeds.  And, if the progress bars on the 'watched' videos are any indication, I get bored about 6 minutes into almost any of them and click away to explore something else.  I like my videos snappy!!  (Tip: video tours of Tiny Houses are almost always really quick if you only have a few minutes to waste.)  No shame - even in those brief spans of time I've learned enough that I can tell you the best time to plant courgettes (Allotment Diary) or how to make isomalt stained glass windows (Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio), or the best way to install a closure that lays flat (too many channels to count - look it up).  I know the best place to get all sorts of exotic Asian foods either on the street or in your kitchen (Foodranger, Mark Wiens, Soukyoung Longest) and why Beauty Blenders are the best (Grav3yard Girl).  I'm aware of how to make an earthen oven (James Townsend and Son), that sometimes you deserve a drink (Mamrie Hart), and political musical comedy is still worth it (Randy Rainbow).  I could go on, but you get the idea.

All of it utterly useless, admittedly (except for the earthen oven thing, obviously).  Completely harmless.

Just like me. ;)

Tiff out.

PS - tell me I'm not the only one with a subscription list 20+ long, please?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to blow a bonus

Let's just see how many page hits THAT title gets, shall we?  Then dive right in...

This year is the first year in a few years that I was fortunate enough to receive a work bonus.  Listen,  I know how lucky I am to have the job I do, and never EVER forget to be grateful for it, even when occasionally complaining about it, but the bonus is a really nice garnish on an already full plate and sometimes garnish is tasty and useful.


What a weird word.

When the bonus (all that parsley!) showed up in my bank account, I felt rich, as one might expect.  The account had bulked up to something I consider impressive and to an amount that most financial advisors say you should have in your account as liquidity in case of emergency.  Yep, for a moment I flirted with the '6 months of pay' cash level when the accounts were all totaled up.  Giddyup, hiyo, we're on our way to fancy-town!

Naturally, this state of affairs couldn't last.  I live in America, after all, and HAD TO SPEND IT!

Now, before you start to sweat and fret about how nuts  I went with all those monies, it should be noted that I had made plans for that money before even getting it, so I didn't go all willy-nilly and Amazonian cray in this heady new Scrooge McDuck-like fiduciary space.  Nope, I'm not THAT out-of-kilter, though I have every right to be because AMERICA.  :)

See, Thing 1 drives (or, rather, drove) a very old car that was leaking fluids with abandon and wasn't all that reliable anymore.  Overheating, sensors going, you know how it is.  Repairs are costly.

So  I bought a (reasonably priced) car.  With cash.  Because, bonuses are meant to be shared.

Now he drives a much newer, safer, more reliable (I hope) vehicle and Thing 1 is immensely grateful for this development.  He will pay me for the insurance coverage, and potentially start making payments to purchase the car from me in time.  Winning!

Then, because bonuses are meant to be shared, I shared some with Biff so he can finally go ahead with his flight instructor career and get out of the remodeling biz (for the most part).  Customer service can be exhausting, and he wasn't living his dream by renovating bathrooms, so BOOM, bonus further shared.  And bonus...gone.

I have no complaints.  Next year, though, I'm booking travel with any bonus I might get.  That's also a good way to share a bonus, by taking the fam someplace far away (like  Canada!) to experience life outside our little corner of the world.

Dreaming big here.  Canada.  I might just be crazy.

Tiff out.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A new season slides into town

Not the property we looked at,
but this IS on the same lake.
So, Spring.  Appropriately enough, it was warm and sunny today.  This is an improvement over what nature  was TRYING to shove down our throats recently.  Good grief, I almost had to wear an actual COAT, instead of a fleece or vest.

Another sure sign the Spring has arrived, and in merciful time - the Bradford pear quit blooming and we can now all breathe much more easily.   It's anyone's guess, and probably well-known in botanical circles, why the tree smells so BAD when in bloom, so I'm glad it's for a short period of time that this year was accompanied by frosty nights so the blooms fell off right sharpish.

Also, lawnmowers are starting up all over the neighborhood.  Shoot, Biff mowed the backyard the other day, which I thought was early, but according to Facebook is right on time for this neck of the woods.

It's going to be 80F here tomorrow.  Straight into summer.


A couple of weeks ago my younger brother, Biff, and I went up to Smith Mountain Lake to look at a piece of property that was 1) on a decent part of the lake, 2) very flat (rare!), and 3) reasonably priced.

We didn't buy it.

Why?  Well, because the a) land is full of fill dirt so a perk test would require a BACKHOE to get to proper soil, or that b) the seller was going to ask the buyer to do the test (!!!), or that c) the concrete boat ramp  that takes up a fair portion of the right third of the property would be taken out if I had my druthers but in fact isn't private but instead has deeded rights for the neighbor to use when they want to, or that d) the neighbor's shed can only be accessed (currently) by using said boat ramp.

No, really, doesn't that sound like a GREAT DEAL??

Yeah, me neither.

Nor my brother.

Nor Biff.

Best of luck to the sucker that buys it.  We'll be sure to take a look this summer to see if it's sold.

Sixty-eight thousand dollars for that mess?  No thanks.


There IS a piece of property on the water going for less than $40K.  2.5 acres.  Gently sloping.  On a decent part of the lake (read: not waaaay down- or up-stream).

Gets me thinking: Wonder what's wrong with it?

Giant nest of zombies?  Sinkhole city?  Ghosts of former illicit whiskey distillers hidin' out from the revenooers?  Copperhead breeding grounds?  CLOWNS?

Gotta be something.

We missed the chance to dress up our holiday ravens like Cupids and Leprechauns, so I took a few moments today to deck them out in bunny ears and noses for Easter.

I hope you decorated your holiday ravens similarly.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Time to hypersalivate!

What to do with condensed milk.
Not too long ago Biff and I went to the Sam's club to pick up 4 (FOUR!) items.

We left with a cart full of stuff, and still needing to get 2 (TWO!) items that the Sam's didn't have in stock.  That's just how things go, right?

For some reason I have yet to figure out, Biff plopped a 6-pack of sweetened condensed milk in the cart.  I think he said 'it's a good thing to have on hand' or some other shady thing, but I'm not sure there's ever a really good defense for picking up that much sweetened condensed milk.  Y'all let me know if I'm wrong.

Of course, now that the stuff was in the house I needed to find something to DO with it, to associate some value with it.  Thus,  I went recipe shopping, and the internet did not disappoint.  Behold, I bring you a pound cake recipe ripped directly off from the Eagle Brand website, only with a process order that makes sense instead of what you'll find here.  It's my opinion that recipes should start with mixing up ingredients before jumping directly into the baking stage, but maybe that's just me.

Tiny House Pound Cake

  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (15 oz)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325F

Coat tube pan/Bundt pan/Fluted fancy tube pan with cooking spray and dust with flour

  1. Beat butter until fluffy
  2. Blend in sugar and eggs, beating after each egg and scraping down bowl
  3. Blend on high for 3 minutes and incorporating/scraping
  4. Mix in milk, vanilla, and almond extract
  5. Mix in flour and salt, blend on medium for a minute.
  6. Spread in pan (batter is really thick) and bake for 90 to 95 minutes.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then for an hour after taking it out of the pan.  It's OK to pick off some of the crispy crust if you have too, but don't go overboard because other people might want some.

And there you go - a dense ring of calories that carry all the shame and regret you can muster in a delicious coating of decadence.


It's March, so that means the lawn guys are back out, blowin' and mowin'.  Rather akin to spotting the first robin of Spring, that.  It IS sunny and in the high 60's, and I am in the South, so this is not an entirely unexpected turn of seasonal events.

What's it like in YOUR neighborhood today?

With that, I take my leave.  Someone at work is expecting something from me, and I must deliver or perish!

Tiff out.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Count on it

Happy Monday, folks!

I slept kind of poorly last night, as is becoming a more regular occurrence (Why God, WHY??), and so spent the last 3 or so hours of darkness on the recliner in the living room, practicing deep breathing while wrapped in Biff's flannel robe with a fluffy towel covering my legs.  I was the picture of comfort, and absorbent materials.

Spent some time being grateful to be alive, which I find a useful thing to dwell on when one is awakened at 4:30 a.m. by terrible dreams and one is tempted to 'poor me' one's self on a loop.  Sure, terrible dreams and missing out on precious sleep is rotten, but at least I woke up, and that is in fact something for which I feel grateful.  That bit won't always happen, the waking up.

Does that seem a bit morbid?  Probably.  No excuses though; it cheers me up and adds some perspective as I lie in a nice recliner wrapped in a cozy robe and prepared for spills of all types.  Some people don't even have a towel (bless!), much less a roof over their heads or other such niceties.

And, having dwelled on that thought for a little while, I got some sleep.  I enjoyed that part very much.


I use Blogger to blog.  Seems like the right thing to do.  All along in the 11+ years I've kept this blog, Blogger provides a count of the number of views and comments each post gets.

Proud to say that at one time, NAY was read by sometimes over a hundred people per post.  ;)  Wooo!!

Now though?  I won't have those impressive numbers to review in my golden years, because as of today it looks like all those posts were read by exactly 0 people.  Some of those 0 people provided comments though, which is confusing to me.  Is it ghosts that do that now?

To be fair, some comments lately are more along the lines of 'I make $9000 per week reserching old shoos and butterfly harvesting for an international conglomerate of navel-gazers who want to give you a million monies if you would pleasae just buy our yoga clothes.  Love Abbagabbadingdong Al-boingocha'  I don't think those commenters read my posts at all, so maybe ghosts ARE reading and leaving no trace but for their pitifully confused lamentations/invitations to make shady money from the great beyond.

Still, ZERO.  It's disheartening.  I got all excited a little while ago seeing that one post got 163 views, but now I can't go back and bask in that glorious number anymore.  It's gone, all gone.

I'm just a big zero now.


Tiff out.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Make a new me!

The trials and tribulations of the imiquimod saga are still with me, and I'd have to say this one thing about it: healing HURTS.

And itches.

And burns.

Sure hope it's worth it, and I won't still have to have surgery after the lesions have healed.

No, I'm not going to start treating the other shoulder quite yet.  I'm not nearly that masochistic.


You know this person I'm about to describe: the friend who sells shakes or skin care or cleanses through social media and obsesses about those things, making thinly-veiled attempts to get you to sign up to be a special customer or whatnot to help them grow their business.

We all have them.  You know you do, and you might even be one of those people.  No shame there, and good on ya for becoming an entrepreneur.

I have a few friends like that, and by and large have resisted their entreaties for a greater involvement in whatever product line they are spokesmodels for.  I can erect a pretty strong wall around my money when necessary.


I've recently started using this eye cream and this lip serum sold to me by a friend, who promised great things and showed me 'before and after' photos of real people experiencing real results with the use of the products, and I bit.  Just a teeny-tiny bite, but bite I did.

I know.  Me and self-care?  Nearly imponderable, but dang those B&E's were gooood and I wanted a piece of it for my scaly old self.  You can talk all day but pictures (generally) don't lie, even if you DO have Photoshop Pro.

And you know what?  After about 3 weeks of using this stuff on a daily basis, my eye crinkles are lessening and my lips are plumping up and are way less chapped than they have been for, oh, the last three years or so.

Well worth the money spent, IMHO, as there's TONS more product left in the pots and capsules, even though it's said that each pot lasts only a month or so.

Tish tosh to that.  TISH TOSH!!!  I'mma squeeze 3 months out of each container.  I'm SAVING MONEY!!

(refer back to the money wall)

Then recently, a new offer was made to pick up a 'bundle' of products at a reduced price (even more if you sign up for the 'special customer' deal), which includes a lash-growing product the B&E likes of which I was captivated by.  Who doesn't want long fluttery lashes in only a few weeks' time?  Nobody, that's who.  Even boys want that Justin Trudeau ish, believe me.

For sure by now you know what I did.

I bundled up, baby.

Bottom line is this: by summer my skin should be soothed (that damned rosacea isn't going away by itself), my eye-skin should be almost line-free, my lips should be bulbous and lush, and my lashes should be sweeping nearly up to my eyebrows like they did what I was 16 (no lie - they did).  I have high hopes.

And if all that doesn't come to pass, I'm stopping all the Rodan and Fields products and start living life as a lonely goat-herder and former Miss America contestant up in the mountains of Mebane.  Because that's all that will be left of my life to achieve.

Goals, we all should have them.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Imiquimodding it up

Looked about like this to start.
If you don't know by now, I am a middle-aged white lady who is, through a series of unfortunate decisions regarding the sun and teenage job choices (lifeguard should never have been on my list of things to be), prone to skin ailments.

I have had multiple things frozen off my skin, two things cut OUT of my skin that required plastic surgery, a couple of other things just straight-up cut out, a few 'shave' biopsies, a round of Efudex (preventative), a couple of rounds of light therapy (another preventative) and now, the latest in the series, I'm undergoing imiquimod therapy for a basal cell carcinoma on my left shoulder.

It works like this: you get the news that you have a BCC, then the doctor either says 'let's go for surgery' or they say 'you can use this goo once a day for a month and see if that gets rid of it.'  I opted for the goo this time, and since the middle of January have been applying it once a day to the spot and surrounding area, as it says on the label to do.

For a couple of weeks, nothing happened.  That indicated to me that the shave biopsy got all the bad stuff.

How naive I was.

Starting around week 3, the spot began to inflame.  And itch, and swell up in a dermatologic snit.  Not long thereafter, an adjacent spot began similarly snitting.  Another BCC or anomaly?  Possibly, so I widened the treatment area a little, and am now suffering the comeuppance of that action, as there are now 4 added small spots that have loud-mouthed their way into my awareness.

FIVE spots that itch and hurt.  In the bra-strap area.  Understandably then, I have not worn a bra in the last week unless absolutely necessary.  I hope sweatshirt season sticks around a while longer, but it's supposed to be 80F today and I'm not sure I convince ANYONE that a sweatshirt is needed under those conditions.  I pray for a strong wind to make a cover-up a plausibility.

Yesterday, after I took a shower and thereby softened up the scabs on those 5 spots, I had a burst of enthusiasm and got dressed to head out to do some errands.  That included an unfortunate decision to wear a bra (it was in the 70s!) and not tie up my hair, which goes to the middle of my back when loose.  I also wore a loose-necked shirt, because comfort.  Things were going great, except for the intense itch of once of the spots that hides out under a bra strap, until I turned around to grab the seatbelt and a strand of hair that hds gotten STUCK in a scab tore loose and just about made me say a bad word.

That's right, I ripped off a scab using only my HAIR.

Y'all, I don't know how women get their nethers waxed, if it's anything like ripping off a scab by the hair-removal method.  That chit burns, folks.

Nearly 24 hours later, as I sit here typing this, I can feel each and every one of the irritated spots on that shoulder.

As a result, I have stopped treating the area.  Enough damage has been done.  Six weeks is two weeks longer that I was told I needed to treat, and so I applaud myself as an overachiever, satisfied that I've done what's needed.  Treated one spot, came up with 4 more.  Enough.

Tomorrow though I might start on the OTHER shoulder, just to see what's there.  And maybe buy a strapless bra, so I can be publicly supported while my shoulders go all meth-addict.

Time will tell.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hurry up and wait

Happy Wednesday, y'all.

Let's play a game today, OK?  It'll be fun!  It doesn't involve any kind of physical exertion either, which is great when you're a desk-chair-bound sloth like myself.  Perhaps you are too, and worry that playing a game might be too much for your sluggish systems, so fear not!  The only thing you have to do is answer a few simple questions that anyone with a speck of logic will find easy.


Here goes!

We're going to make a cake, two ways, you tell me which one makes more sense.  We'll use a box mix to make it easy.

Way One

  • Preheat oven to called-for temperature
  • Empty the bag of mix into a bowl
  • Add eggs, oil, and water as called for on the box
  • Mix either by hand or with a mixer according to the directions
  • Prepare pan(s) according to the directions
  • Pour batter into pan(s) and place in preheated oven
  • Bake for the specified amount of time and until tester comes out clean
  • Cool 
  • Frost
  • Take to neighbor's house for dinner party.

Way Two

  • Put eggs, oil, and water into bowl
  • Walk away for a week
  • Panic when you see the dinner party invite on the fridge and realize it starts in an hour
  • Dump cake mix in bowl
  • Stir a couple of times
  • Pour batter into a pan slightly larger than called for so the cake will cook faster
  • Put in cold oven you've set to a slighty higher temp than called for so the cake will cook faster
  • Take a quick shower
  • Remove cake from oven at specified time, remove from oven.  Don't bother testing, there's no time.
  • Place cake directly in freezer, go get dressed
  • Hear can pan shatter from the hot-to-cold transition
  • Remove from freezer, pick out large shards of glass, run vacuum over the cake to get the remaining pieces.
  • Dust with confectioner's sugar (who has TIME for frosting?)
  • Take to neighbor's house for dinner party, arrive 15 minutes late.

Question: Which method do you think would yield the better result?

Think long and hard on this.  Don't feel like you need to rush to decide.

Ready for the answer?

It's Number TWO!!!

Or it is if you're me, and a work project is all 'cart before the horse and we have three minutes to go 12 miles.'  I'm working on the most upside-down kind of project ever, and it's a challenge staying ahead of things and not falling into a panic.  Like, seriously.  Not linear at all.  Not even 2-dimensional.  This thing is all arms and legs and tentacles.

Currently the situation is such that I'm waiting for finalization of 2 things that in normal circumstances would have been done and dusted BEFORE I start my chunk of work, and the thing that would normally start AFTER I'm nearly done is beating my stuff to the finish line, which is coming up fast in the ol' rear-view mirror.  That of course means that all the folks working on this stuff have to keep an eye on everyone else's stuff so that nothing that gets packaged together argues with whatever else might be in there and everything is presented the same and contains the same info.

Not really the calm cool method normally used, and is proven to get a reasonably good result.  Nope, we're smashing eggs and getting confectioner's sugar all over the place in our metaphorical kitchen, hoping that everything will turn out in the end.

I mean, it'll still be a CAKE, it just might not be as nicely frosted as it might have been.  Or even  frosted at all, like poor 'nailed it' Barbie's picture up there.  STILL CAKE!

So, right - good job on playing along with me!  Hope you learned something!

Have a slice of this cake.  Oh, it might be a little crunchy, so don't bite down too hard.

Tiff out.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rumble rumble

The very one!
Lord y'all.  Or you, or whomever might be reading this.

It's been a hot minute since I last wrote.  A New York Minute, one might say, or perhaps a cotton-pickin' one, as if there's any difference amongst things that are all 60 seconds long, which there isn't, but must be, if at least three varieties, aside from a regular minute, can be offered up.

Meaning to say, it's has, once again, been a while since I popped in to say anything atall.

However, with the way things are going over on social media and in the world at large, it might just be that the number of whatever type of minute you might choose is likely to be shrinking between entries here at NAY, because the world is just a little too much for me right now and escaping the din of politics on Facebook and the endless slaughter of innocents on the news seems the right medicine to choose right now.  I've been negative for way too long, and need to rise above the smoke and mirrors to peek a little more clearly about what's going on in my life and brain.

You are invited  along to the peep show.


Spent a lovely Saturday with Biff after having a tiny spa getaway Friday night.  Biff was having some back pain, which cried out for a hot tub treatment, so we snagged a room at a local hotel that has such a thing (see pic above for a nearly live-action shot!) and soaked and lazed around and watched 'regular' teevee on a king-sized bed (the luxury!) and soaked some more in the morning.  I do love me a hot tub, so am inching ever closer to spending some savings on one for our very own.  Surely spending a few thousand is better than spending increments of cash on a hotel room 3 miles from home, right? (Someone set me straight on that logic, please.  Has to be along the lines of 'let's buy a jet ski and pay for maintenance and insurance and a trailer instead of renting one for a fraction of the cost for the week a year we use one.' (note: we have not yet bought a jet ski, chiefly because we have no place to store one for 51 weeks a year)).

We spent Saturday, well, SPENDING.  Sam's Club got some slice of dough, with a real impulse purchase thrown on top of the regular heap: a 'cooling' memory foam mattress topper (only $139!) with (of course) new sheets also because our old ones won't fit the height our mattress + topper will be.

If we ever get the topper on the mattress, that is.  The hurdle we're currently attempting to leap is the SMELL of all those terrific chemicals that are used to create the 'cooling' effect, which smell like a headache a-coming.  Takes 24 to 72 hours to air that thing out, so the labels and instructions say.  We are on Day 3 of airing, and that sucker still smells like disinfecting day at the Shady Acres Boarding Kennel n' Rest Home. 'Oh, but the treatment is harmless!' says the label, to which I reply - well so is perfume, but given the 'right' type and amount it can still give folks a powerful migraine.  So, out over the porch rail it sits, baking in the sun and degassing.  Biff is all excited to put it on the bed and revel in its therapeuticness (remember that back pain thing), but I am less so (dat smell tho).  Fingers crossed it's non-offensive by suppertime, 'cuz we really have followed instructions and don't want to have to shove that monster back in the box and return it.

Then we bought a new storm door for the front door.  The old one had a sprung hinge, and kept unlatching in a stiff breeze, breaking the closer thingie, and rendering the whole notion of a storm door pointless.

Also, groceries.


Then on Sunday, at 1:41 a.m., I lurched out of bed knowing something was the matter, and barfed.  Spent the rest of the wee hours changing it up between barfing, resting fitfully on a recliner, running to the potty for 'other' reasons, and having the worstest of dreams.

Good ol' times.

Was better enough to have a wee dinner last night, and hoped for the best for today, but I was kidding myself and so am here, typing this, nursing a cup of cream with coffee in it and slugging down water.  Canceled my meetings for today and will shortly lose myself in updating a document for a quick review meeting tomorrow.  Things could be worse though, so one must keep plugging along.


I'll wrap this up with this: the daffodils on North Main are abloom.  The 'Purple Queen' plants are emerging in the front garden, and forsythia are popping out like lil' weasels.  I do believe that this means Spring has arrived in the 27587, and that is a happy thought.

Tiff out.