Bella Rum

Life Equals Brevity

I spent money like a drunken sailor this month. In my defense, I spent almost nothing the first three months of the year, but much-needed changes around here have forced expenditures. There was a budget (and I stuck to it) for snazzing up the Grand Trio’s bedroom. It was all necessary, and I should have done it long ago. Now that we have the trundle bed, my grandson will no longer have to sleep on an inflatable mattress. I’m pleased with how it’s turning out. I bought a mattress, and I’ve ordered the bedding, but it hasn’t come yet. I kept the old iron bed. Remember? It was white but I painted it black the other day – like the new trundle bed. That was a whopping three dollars and I love it. H calls me the Earl Scheib of interior decorating. I say, never underestimate the transformative and rejuvenative powers of a cheap paint job… or good moisturizer for that matter.

A Job Half Done



Another Job Half DoneIMG_1176

I’m going to hang all the black & whits of the kids that I had in the office at the last house. I will take pics when it’s finished. I know I’ve been lame about photos.

My friend came for lunch last week. Her grandson’s sport is baseball. She found used baseballs at Goodwill and asked H to drill the holes in the balls to make a wreath for her grandson to give to his mom for Mother’s Day. I found some ribbon and made a bow for it. Done deal!IMG_1199

Everything is green and beautiful around here. That means it’s time to start working on the yard. We’re off to shop for plants and shrubs and such this morning. After all the interior spending, we’re only going to do a few things outside. I’d like to redo the bed around the lamp post and add a couple of things in one backyard bed. That’s it! I swear! Oh, and maybe a couple of potted plantings. That’s it!IMG_1209

The kids are coming soon, and we have a milestone to celebrate. My oldest grand is turning 10. Double digits. What a huge deal. The time has flown. On every birthday, I look at them and imagine what they will be like when they’ve lived as many years again. She will be twenty in only ten short years. A decade is only a snap of the fingers these days, and kids change fast. Wasn’t I holding her in my arms only yesterday? Life = brevity, and nothing reminds us of that more than the evolution of a child.

My son got a promotion. They are moving again, but not far. They will be a little closer to us – not much but closer is better than further.

H is fasting for labs this morning. He remembered. Before he went to bed, he told me not to let him forget. I saw a commercial for an OTC drug to enhance short-term memory the other day. At the end of it, it said, “Remember this name!” I promptly forgot it, but I remembered it started with a P. When I finally figured out what it was, I checked online. It’s $50. I decided that most of what I forget is probably stuff I don’t want to remember anyway… like that time my brother held my head under water until he saw the bubbles stop. That I’ll never forget, but I bet he forgot about it as soon as he did it. It probably wasn’t as traumatic for him.

Bella Rum is off to spend money. “Can’t take it with you” is not just a cliché.

A Hill Dream and Other Stuff

I dreamed I was partners with Hillary in a  Pillsbury bake-off contest. I felt inadequate and was at a loss about what to do. Thankfully, Hillary whipped up four yummy-looking desserts. I can only remember one: a blond brownie.

I dream about politicians about once or twice a year. I’m bipartisan about the whole affair. I never know which party will show up. See other dreams about politicians: Bushwhacked Again, Meet the Bushes, No I did Not Dream About the Bushes Last Night.

The trundle bed for the kids’ room arrived a couple of days ago. H put it together. It’s perfect. I don’t know if you remember how I found the bed I wanted online at several stores, but the least expensive one was out of stock. I decided to play the old wait-and-see game. I checked again last week, and there it was. On various sites, I found that bed priced from $197.98 to $400. Isn’t that ridiculous? Delivery was free, and it was at my door in less than a week. To quote James Brown, “I feel good.”

The bedroom window was open while we (that means H) were putting the bed together. A monarch butterfly flew by. It was the first of the season – a hopeful sign.

I know I have things to write about, but I’m forever forgetting. I must start keeping that little notebook with me at all times. When something interesting or funny happens, I always say, “That just made the blog, ” but I can only remember saying that, not what the actual blog-worthy event was. I still remember my birthday, though, and my address and name. If I get lost, I can ask the nice gentleman in the uniform with the shiny badge to help me find my way home. That’s something. Right?

Bella Rum is wandering in the wilderness without her shoes, but she got a great deal on a trundle bed.

Ceiling Fans and Cold Snaps

IMG_1161The pasture first turned green and now yellow with the arrival of the buttercups. The sunsets are becoming more vibrant and demanding of attention. Even if it’s too cold to sit outside, we always remember to watch from the comfort of central heat. 

Yesterday, H installed a ceiling fan in the family room. His foot is better, but I’m surprised that it still occasionally bothers him a little. I think it’s going to be a chronic sort of thing because of the arthritis. I believe it will lie down for periods of time but flare on occasion. Just my theory. I can’t stand it when H’s age-related vulnerabilities show themselves. He acts, moves and seems twenty years younger than he is, and I like that illusion just fine. It’s hard to believe that he and my brother are the same age, born only a few months apart, my brother has severe arthritis. He keeps going, but it isn’t easy.

Anyway. Ceiling fans! What’s not to love? This house has an open floor plan, and I love how ceiling fans create that cool and breezy feeling during the summer months. They help with the electric bill, too. We do most of our living in four rooms: bedroom, office, living room and kitchen. They’re all open to each other, except our bedroom. It has a door, which is only closed when the kids are here, and we’re ready to go to bed. The living area and kitchen are in-between the master bedroom and the guest rooms. The guest rooms hardly see my face except when I change the sheets for the kids. This is an easy-living house. Eventually we will have ceiling fans in every room. The next one goes in the office. It’s the warmest room in the house because it faces south.

I got my hair cut yesterday and she nearly shaved my head. And all my color is gone. I’m a mixture of gray and red. It’s a calico-like look. I don’t mind it much.

H is playing golf. He wore a thermal shirt under his collared shirt and threw a wind-resistant jacket in the car. The days are beautiful, and they smell of potential and rebirth, but it is still unseasonably cool here. Unseasonably? What is that? Nothing is unseasonable nowadays. It’s anything, anytime, anymore. So goes it. You open the door and hang your head outside to see what the day will bring. It was in the thirties last night. That may not seem cold up north, but it’s unseasonable for this time of year down here. The crepe myrtles we planted last fall leafed out last week, but a cold snap burned their tender leaves down enough to frighten even the most ardent shred of ambition out of them, the same story with the hydrangeas. They must be brave about it and begin anew. That happens with humans sometimes, too.

Murder on Her Mind


The redbud trees are blooming once again. I miss mine, but my neighbor has one that I’m enjoying.

They’re back!!

Yesterday, when I stepped into the shower, one of those hairy-looking, hundred-legged creatures was waiting for me. It’s that time of year again. I hate them. There’s nothing worse than a gross, skittering, scurrying, hurrying thing. And to have it in the shower with you!?!! Where you’re barefooted!?!! And bare everything else. And they move at mach speed!! I can’t believe how fast they move.

H swears that he will wipe them and all their kind from the face of the Earth (our bathroom). The job will be easier if he finds their entrance point first, but don’t you love a man who promises to eradicate an entire species just for you. Girls still like that kind of thing.

Our bathroom is the only room they inhabit. My theory is that they’re coming up the drains, but H says no. That’s a myth, and then he followed with some stuff about basic plumbing. Centipedes have only one thing to recommend them; they eat spiders. The battle continues.

Thursday, we made a day trip to Smithfield, checked out a couple of antique shops and stopped for lunch at a diner on the way home. It was a beautiful day. I found another fox-hunting print that I liked. On Friday, I found more pictures in some of our unpacked boxes. Can you believe we still have unpacked boxes? It’s been almost a year. Anyway, the newly-purchased hunt print went in the office.

Last week, in a store across town, I found two pieces of art (one is huge) to hang in our bathroom. They’re both inexpensive, mass-produced things, but pretty and cheerful and will do fine in there: a huge beach/boating scene and a sailboat scene. Cheap means that I don’t have to worry about the humidity harming them.

Our bathroom is the next room to paint. After that, only the powder room and laundry room will remain unscathed. I’d like to get them all done before we hit the one-year mark (May 28), but I don’t like my chances.  The weather is warming up, the grass is growing, and someone is dying to put down mulch and weed flower beds and plant new shrubs and flowers. Once he throws himself into yard work, I will have not even a slim prayer of keeping him inside long enough to paint a tiny closet, let alone an entire room.

Not much going on around here. I’m resorting to writing about painting again.

Oh, yeah. Taxes. It’s time. We’ve begun… No need to bother with these things until the first week of April. Right?

Important and Not-So-Important News

IMG_1116Porch Pup

Not-So-Important News

I’m looking for a new shower curtain for the newly painted guest bathroom. Boy, I must be picky because I’ve found hardly anything that speaks to me. I stayed in a hotel recently, and I liked the simple, beige-on-beige, small-patterned, geometric shower curtain very much. Sometimes it isn’t good to  know exactly what you want before you begin your search. I find that I’m less flexible when I have a set idea. I couldn’t find the small geometric. I found a lot of large patterns, and a lot of gray. I need beige, but gray is the current neutral. I finally found a neutral chevron pattern, not the small geometric I liked, but I think it will do the trick. It’s 100% cotton which I like.  I think it will give me that clean, neutral look I’m trying for.
shower curtain

Important News

I do not like my cardiologist. I want to, but I can’t. He will not look me in the eyes, he will not answer my questions, and I suspect that he obfuscates about things I should know. I’ve gotten information from him and another doctor that conflicts, and last but not least, I’m uncomfortable with him. Communication skills are not my short suit. I can make a post talk to me. I wear them down, but not this guy. I’ve want to switch to another doctor who is in the same practice. Awkward. He was one of my doctors when I was hospitalized a couple of years ago, and I liked him very much. He actually practices in the same physical offices with my current doctor. I do not want to switch to someone who practices at another hospital. I like having my doctors and hospital close. So I’ve slowly crept up on the decision to do something about this situation…

when… low and behold…

I received an email from my doctor’s practice informing me that he is retiring. Ahh. I’m not sure why. He isn’t that old, but… I called the office this morning and asked to be switched to the doctor that I want. They did it on the spot, and I have an appointment that falls only two days after the one I already had scheduled with my current doc. I would call this a very-good-special-in-every-way day!! Wouldn’t you? Have you ever had an awkward situation with a doctor?

We had a nice Easter. I hope all of you did, too. The weather wasn’t nearly as beautiful as the days leading up to Easter, but we found a window of time on Sunday – when it wasn’t raining – to hide and hunt Easter eggs. We colored eggs on Saturday. They were very pretty. H had a happy birthday. Anytime the kids are here, he has a good time. His foot is improving.


Soft Tissue – And I Don’t Mean Toilet Paper

We spent part of yesterday afternoon in the emergency room. H’s foot started swelling and hurting. He couldn’t put weight on it. He spent most of this week painting the guest bathroom and hanging towel bars and toilet paper holders and light fixtures. Essentially going up and down the ladder, plus doing his regular exercise routine every morning. It started swelling a day (or two?) ago. He didn’t tell me until yesterday afternoon. Hmm.

We drove over to the emergency room for an X-ray. It is so nice to have a hospital only three miles away. I can’t recommend it enough. Anyway. They did the X-ray. Yay! No break. It’s a soft tissue injury and the X-ray showed a little arthritis, AND evidence of a previous break, of which he has no recollection, and never told me about. He’s like that. He probably broke it sometime in the past, and just lived with the pain until it healed. Craziness!

When it’s all said and done, it wasn’t so bad. They prescribed Naproxen and something for pain. We were home within two hours, not bad for an ER visit. I’ve had some doozies with Dad. All day on Christmas Day once. I blogged about it, complete with pictures of my Christmas dinner – Cheetos and soda from the vending machine.

The swelling has already improved, and the pain is receding. Naproxin really works when it works. So it is true, “All is well that ends well.” And the grands are coming this weekend. Easter baskets will be involved and jelly beans, and possibly little fuzzy wabbits with floppy ears and sweet expressions on their faces.  What could be bad about that?

Old Friend

There’s nothing like lunch with a long-time friend. Patsy and I have been friends for 47 years. We met when we both worked at VEPCO.  One of my earliest memories of our friendship is the time she set me up with a blind date. She was head-over-heals in love with a Marine from Norfolk. He was taking the bus up to Richmond to see her because he had no car. She said she knew a guy who had a Charger and an 8-track, and that I had to go out with him so she and the Marine could double with us. She would never ask me to do another thing.

I can’t remember what was wrong with her car, but the rest is history. She married the Marine, and I married the guy with the 8-track. She and the Marine divorced after a mortgage, 2 kids and 20 years of good and bad experiences. He’s somewhere in Iowa now, and she’s still across town from me, my ever faithful buddy. She did the best deed for me anyone has ever done.

We had such a good time yesterday, and the food was great.  H opened all three windows on the back wall in the breakfast nook before she arrived, and he joined us for lunch. Sometimes he plays golf instead. The windows are directly in front of the table with a view of the pasture. It was like eating lunch on a porch. I felt like I was outside. This is our first spring here, and it’s fun to watch the brown pasture come to life again. There are hints of green here and there. It won’t be long before we’re looking at a pasture of green and then yellow when the buttercups arrive. The squirrels and birds put on a show for us while we shared our stories about family and mutual friends. She had stories to tell and I had stories to tell. We laughed and ate and enjoyed the spring breeze through the open windows. It was a good way to spend a day. Lifetime friends remind you that you were worth keeping.

Today, however, not so much. I have to go to the poke-in-the-eye doc, but I don’t think he will do the injection today. Just a look-see. While I’m across town, I’ll stop by Fresh Market to check out the salads and a few other things, and I may stop by Trader Joe’s if the mood strikes.

Hope you have a good one.

Grand Plans

I am so hungry. And I’m trying not to eat. I wonder if one of my meds stimulates appetite. I’m going to check. I have such an appetite. Oh, and how I’ve gained weight recently. I’m so tired of struggling with this. There should be a moratorium on this battle. After sixty, we should be able to eat with abandon, suffering no consequences. Somebody start a petition.

H is playing golf. He’s so happy that the weather has turned. He will put mulch down soon. We talked about it. He refuses to hire someone, insisting that they will not do it “right.” I told him that if he persist in doing it himself, he has to do it on cool days, and he shouldn’t do more than one truckload a day, not two or three or even four truckloads in one day. Yes, he has done that. He agreed…. in theory. We’ll see. The ongoing discussions about staying out of trees and off the roof continue.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I do more online shopping now. I’m in the market for a daybed with trundle for the grand trio’s room.daybedI have an antique iron bed in there for the oldest grand. We also have inflatable mattresses. My grandson never complains, but he is quickly outgrowing his mattress.  My D-I-L found a bed at Filene’s that’s perfect, and the price is right and delivery is free, which is nice. But it’s out of stock. I found it somewhere else for the same price and free delivery, but… you guessed it… it’s out of stock. I found it somewhere else but it’s a little more expensive. I’m on the “in-stock alert” for the lowest priced one, and should be notified when it comes in, but if that doesn’t happen soon, I’m just going to go for the one that’s a little more expensive.

I’m not nearly as willing to wait for things as I used to be. When I was younger, I could wait till the cows came home for a bargain. At some point, time became more important than money. When did that happen? Maybe it was always thus, and I just didn’t notice. Don’t worry, I’m not spending wildly,  but I am more likely to grant my wishes to myself than I once was… within reason.

Now I’m starving. Writing this post distracted me for awhile, but my stomach will not be denied any longer.

Newsy Bits

I hate to admit it, but I believe DST got to me this year. I usually have no problem. Yesterday, I slept until almost 9:00. I haven’t done that since I was a teenager. This morning, I got up at 4:00. I dreamed that my cousin, who was beautiful when we were young and is still pretty darn attractive at 60+, decided she was going to earn a living stripping.

Yesterday, H returned my friend’s mail. She said the post office changed her zip code. I’m assuming that because we share the same address (the number part only), they delivered her mail to me because I have that zip code. It doesn’t really make sense.

A friend is coming for lunch on Thursday. I’m making quiche and a fruit salad. Dessert is a lemon cake (Ina Garten’s recipe) that I have in the freezer. I made it ages ago. It actually made the move with us from the other house (only 5 miles from here). I hope it’s still good. I’m finding that lunch is easier than doing dinner for friends. First of all, it’s a simpler meal. Also, many of my friends are retired and daytime get-togethers are just as easy for them, and daytime driving may be even better. I’ve come to appreciate the lunch vs. dinner thing.

I’ve gotten so I almost never shop in stores except for grocery stores, Marshalls, Dollar Tree (for the grands) and big-box stores like Home Depot (my second home). I order everything else online, but I  do go to a couple of clothing stores in spring and fall to spruce up my pitiful wardrobe.

Brick & mortar stores are taking a beating. Remember when we used to rant about Walmart coming to town and putting all the mom & pop businesses on Main Street out of business; now Walmart, if not getting crushed, is at least getting a pounding from Amazon and its ilk. No one asked me, but I think it all started when they dropped the hyphen. They’ve had no choice but to offer online shopping to their customers, and I’m sure you know they are closing 269 stores. Here’s a list of some U.S. stores that are  closing.

Remember when – – –

At the end of its second-quarter earnings release, Wal-Mart dropped a bomb on the business community. Henceforth, the big-box behemoth would no longer be called “Wal-Mart,” but rather “Walmart” — or, as they’ve put it on their signs — “Walmart*.” Although the star is optional, the hyphen, or lack thereof, is not: Wal-Mart is no more.
Source: Daily Finance

Another interesting thing. Well, interesting to me. Do you shop at Republican stores or Democrat stores? Well, yes. You did know they would do a poll about where we like to shop, didn’t you? They’re going to poll us to death soon. They pigeonhole us and then market to us and then attempt to convince us that we should use this toothpaste, drink that soda, believe in these ideas, aspire to those dreams. They know what kind of beer we have in the fridge, what kind of books we bought last week, what size bra we wear, if we suffer from constipation. Sounds paranoid, doesn’t it? Tsk, tsk, tsk. It’s all true, little girl. It’s out there somewhere. It annoys me only when I think about it. The rest of the time I benignly accept it as reality. A person can’t be bugged by everything all the time, even though I worked hard at that when I was young. Eventually you have to give it a rest. Life is much more enjoyable. But seriously, who will keep track of these things when I’m gone?

So, back to where Democrats and Republicans shop.

Stores Where Republicans Shop

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Lowe’s & Home Depot

Office Max and Staples

Sam’s Club


Bed Bath & Beyond

Stores Where Democrats Shop


Foot Locker


Family Dollar Store




Get the complete list at Wall Street Journal.

The theory is that Dems live in and near cities and Republicans live in the burbs and rural areas, and this determines where they shop. All I can tell you is that, according to this list, I’m Republican most of the time.

Unpacking an Assortment of Thoughts


I must have imagined it, but just as I was falling asleep last night and dwelling in that in-between state before complete sleep, I could have sworn that I saw (heard) someone jump on the stage with Donald Trump and throw water in his face. This morning, I saw the clip in which a man almost made it on stage with him, but the water-in-the-face non-incident must have been a groggy-brain conjuring. Don’t be smug. It isn’t as if it’s out of the realm of possibility. I’m sure someone out there wants to throw cold water on this fiasco.

Just a Thought:

You know how they pack and unpack all the First Family’s possessions when they move into and out of the White House? Can you imagine? I’d have to buy all new under clothing and pajamas. I’m a person who wears those things way too long. I’m only guessing, but I’m willing to bet that Malania will not have that issue. But seriously, isn’t that a little creepy? I’ll unpack myself, thank you very much! I’m also taking a wild guess that I’d never fit in with the one percent.


I didn’t realize that my friend and I have the same numbers in the same sequence in our addresses until I sent a Christmas card to her. I thought, what a coincidence. The first letter of the street name is the same as mine, too, but the street name is entirely different. Then her Christmas card returned to me a few weeks after Christmas. That would be the end of story, but yesterday, I received her mail. Is this the biggest coincidence ever?  After we got married, our first dog was born on Richard Nixon’s birthday. You could call that a coincidence. Or seeing Elvis in your morning cereal. No, that’s wrong, Elvis is a religious experience. That’s an entirely different category.

Dreamiest Dream

Last night, I dreamed the most beautiful and peaceful dream I’ve ever dreamed. My mind, spirit and body were at peace as I slowly walked down a ribbon of pearl-white sand. Waves gently lapped against the beach. As soon as my bare feet left evidence of their passing, soft but resolute waves claimed their imprints, erasing them from existence as if I’d never been there. I watched as a setting sun  ignited the sky with swirls of peach and mango and  salmon and the most tender bits of liquid lavender. I’ve never felt such harmony within myself and with the world. Please sir, I want some more.

That was a once in a decade dream for me… or more.


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