Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

The Devil Makes an Appearance and Making New Friends

Yesterday, I picked up the things I ordered from Kohl’s at early o’clock. That’s the time to shop there. Then I went to Dollar Tree for brown paper for the only package I have to mail, more Christmas paper, a Thanksgiving card for Aunt Ruby, and birthday paper for the two grands who have December birthdays (yes, my son and DIL did that twice – two kids within days of Christmas).

When the cashier – an older lady with pink, yellow and blue stripes in her long, fly-away hair – finished checking my purchases, she made a strange expression: a mixture of dubiousness and distaste. As if she could hardly believe it, she said, “Your total ends in 666.” (eyebrows raised and voice lowered now) “Would you like to make another purchase? How about a gift for a child for our donation box?” Her face said it all. I thought she was going to buy something for me if I didn’t get something. Anything. I laughed and chose a small doll from the box conveniently placed by the register for those who wish to donate something, and moved it to the donation box. A very small but decent gesture, the devil made me do it. The doll changed the total. The rainbow-haired cashier was visibly relieved, and all ended well.

We’ve made new friends. We met them through Crystal. She lived with them for a few months before she found her house, Brenda and Bob. They are a little older than us, but more social, and I don’t know how to say it. They aren’t necessarily more active than we are – especially H – but they “go” more than we do. They shop and lunch and stuff like that. Brenda loves to shop, and she loves bargains. H and I seldom shop in stores. We shop in stores mainly for groceries and supplies for our endless home projects. I don’t shop with Brenda. Nope. Won’t do that, but they are getting us out and about. H joined the wine club. That means we go to a tasting with them once a month and then for a late lunch or early dinner. Sometimes Crystal joins us and sometimes she doesn’t. I see this continuing. Brenda is funny. A little quirky, but I was raised on quirky with Aunt Ruby next door.

It’s funny how different the vibe can be in different neighborhoods. Our neighborhood, while very pretty, is not all that friendly. They wave, but there’s no reaching out. Only once or twice since we’ve moved here has anyone actually walked over to say hello while we were out in the yard. I’ve accosted a few people in their yards, though. Crystal’s neighborhood is entirely different. We’re always over there doing something, and neighbors come over and talk and stay for awhile. I know more neighbors in her neighborhood than I know in mine. It’s more eclectic. There’s a mixture of young and old. I like it.

H’s Latest Project

Isn’t it pretty?

H’s most recent project was replacing the garbage disposal. It was about time. It hasn’t worked well for a while, but it finally stopped altogether last week. So he got a new one from Home Depot. I wish Home Depot would pay me a nickel for every time I’ve mentioned them in this blog over the last decade or so. The new garbage disposal is quiet. I like that.

It’s been cold as heck: in the low twenties the past few nights. All my beautiful flowers are gone. ūüė¶




Ho Ho Ho

I wrote this last night.

My mind is gelatinous. I spent a good part of the day Christmas shopping. I hate to shop. What is it with Kohl’s? I swear, I will never go in that store again. At least not until next Christmas.

As you know, H is now obsessed with coupons, and I have to tell you, he has saved us a bunch of money in the past few weeks. I think I’ll start keeping a tally. There is a coupon for almost every store in America. No kidding. He had that $10 gift card that Kohl’s sends out, but you had to spend at least $25. That was fine. The things I needed would be at least that much. He also had a $5 coupon and a 20% off coupon for me.

My D-I-L sent a link for a cute outfit for my youngest grand that was at Kohl’s. It was serendipity. She didn’t even know we had the coupons and gift card. I love me some serendipity. For some crazy reason, I thought I’d like to go to the store and check it out in person. Maybe I would find some other bargains. An idea that would end in no good thing.

Teaming with humanity, the place was mayhem. Everyone with their $10 gift card in their hand. Everything in the girls department was picked over and tossed around. When I finally found what I wanted, I went to the registers only to find lines longer than the Nile. ¬†There were only a few cashiers, and people were beginning to mumble among themselves. I waited and waited until… I’ll just tell you the truth, I had a meltdown. I put the clothes on the counter and left. I’m not cut out for this anymore.

I came home, and after huddling in the fetal position for a while, I finally went online. I was allowed to use the gift card and the 20% coupon, and I found exactly what I wanted. I got free shipping to the store which is five minutes from my house. Hopefully, the pickup will go smoothly. I got really good deals, but you know Kohl’s still made money. There is such a markup on clothing.

Why don’t stores just give us a fair price to begin with, and not force us to behave like cattle going to slaughter in those lines? It’s all about the psychology of marketing. We feel like we’re getting something special if we have to fight for our lives to get it, and the idea of holding something in your hand that says $10 is enticing. I don’t begrudge them making money, but I do begrudge them not being prepared after distributing gift cards, and promoting the hell out of a sale like this Veteran’s Day sale. A lot of registers stood empty. They had to know the crowds would show up. This was not their first rodeo. Everyone within thirty miles was there with those $10 gift cards, better people than I. I couldn’t do it. I will use my Kohl’s gift cards and coupons online from now on like I usually do anyway. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Before I could finish this post, Kohl’s texted me that my order was ready for pickup. They probably found it on the counter where I left it.

Here to Stay

New Year’s Eve 1990. Get a load of H’s glasses and my hair? And who is that on my sweater. I bet that was a Marshall’s purchase.

Today is our 48th anniversary. Can that be so? Where did it all go? It’s been quite a ride, but it doesn’t seem that much time could have passed. We married after only a short time – three months… almost. We were young and had unrealistic expectations, but somehow we fumbled our way along until we learned a few things about each other and ourselves. We had a lot of growing to do, and I’m glad we grew together and not apart.

In forty-eight years, we’ve seen a lot of changes, except for one thing. He still leaves his stacks of crap all over the place. Even at this late date, we’re still working on that one, which is silly. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d say, “No matter what you hear about how everything changes, don’t believe it. Some things never change, like that one thing he will do that will drive you up the wall. But you will learn it’s a small price to pay. You will have happy times, sad times, even tragic times, you will share a child and grandchildren, there will be joy, illness, loss, and responsibilities that will overwhelm both of you at times. He will be¬†the only person who is there every step of the way. And he will make you laugh when you don’t think you will ever laugh again. You have found a man who will stick when times get rough. And he will install a new garbage disposal when your old one breaks.¬†So stop bitching about his piles of crap. Just show it to the internet.”

My office before H moved into it

Our office this morning

Here’s where I should insert some awful habit of mine, but I can’t think of a single one. Fancy that.

He woke to go to the bathroom around 2:30 am. When he came back to bed, he reached out and said, “Happy anniversary.” As we get older and face the¬†unpredictable¬†changes that come with this time of life, there is no one I’d rather be with. I’m so glad we didn’t screw this up.

Remember this song?

(Ira Gershwin / George Gershwin)

It’s very clear, our love is here to stay

Not for a year but ever and a day

The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know

May just be passing fancies and in time may go

But oh, my dear, our love is here to stay

Together we’re going a long, long way

In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble

They’re only made of clay

But our love is here to stay



We went to Crystal’s house one day last week. She was at work, but H wanted to put a few more landscape timbers down (he’s working on the second side of the driveway now). I took the opportunity to listen to my book. I got a pretty bad headache. I rummaged through her medicine cabinet. She had several off-brand bottles of over-the-counter pain relievers that sported no familiar brand names like Advil or Tylenol. My sister left them the last time she visited.

I can’t take Advil or some other pain relievers. I tried to read the bottles, looking for the active ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen, but do you think I could read that itty-bitty print on the bottle? Fat chance. I asked H to read it. He found what I needed, and I took a couple. Okay, I took three. I stretched out on the sofa, put my earbuds in and listened to my book. The next thing I knew, H was waking me.

We went to Home Depot so H could get more landscape timbers. I stayed in the truck. When he came back, he found me sound asleep, my head leaning cockeyed on the window (no drooling). We came home. He drove.

I went to bed as soon as we got home… around 2:00 pm. Just before I crawled in the bed, I mumbled to him, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think I’d been drugged.” Over two hours later, I came back to the land of the living. When we went back to Crystal’s, H checked the bottle. Just as we suspected, he had missed the PM on the bottle… or so he says. :/

Because I can never get enough, more about sleep.

How did you do with the time change? Was your fall back a soft landing? What did you do with your “extra” hour is the familiar question. I’ve always liked the extra daylight during the summer months, and I never had an issue with “falling back” or “springing forward” until a few years ago. I noticed a little struggle with the time change, especially the “fall back.” Because of my sleep issues, that extra hour presents a problem. I already rise at a ridiculous hour, usually between 3:30 and 5:00. I always feel that anything after 4:00 is pretty good. So I feel that I already have extra hours every day. Throw another extra hour in there, and well, you can see how that could be a problem.

We turned the clocks back before we went to bed on Saturday. This year, I woke at 2:30 am on Sunday morning, and could not go back to sleep. ¬†So I had a lot of extra hours. I did what I’ve started doing recently. Instead of getting out of bed and going on the computer, I listened to my book and hoped to drift back to sleep. No dice. I could not go back to sleep. So that’s what I did with my extra hour (s) this year.

Like a newborn, I stayed on schedule yesterday: ate my breakfast, lunch and dinner at the usual times, drank a lot of water, stayed busy with projects, and tried to get my body on track. After being awake for 20 hours, I went to bed around 10:30 last night. I woke at 4:30 this morning. Not too bad. Better than 2:30 am. Only one day and I’m back to normal… I hope.

How about you? Is the time change a struggle for you or do you skate through it with ease like I used to do?

Dentophobia, Chilopodophobia and Glossophobia


H is getting a root canal as I write this. I’m glad it isn’t me. I need medication just to get through the door of a dentist’s office. I’m not prone to phobias, but my dentist phobia is crippling. What I would give to overcome it. I’ve yet to find a dentist who can anesthetize my back molars. I’ve been told that the nerves are in the wrong place. I did find an¬†endodontist (root canal specialist) who managed to get my tooth numb before proceeding with the root canal. She shot the hell out of me. It was great. She was great. She talked to her assistant all through the procedure about energy drinks, local theater, restaurants, her husband and her kids. I love entertainment while anesthetized.

After once telling a dentist about my issue, he swore that he would have no problem getting the tooth numb. Even when I told him other dentists had failed, he boldly insisted he could do what no man had done before. He oozed confidence. The whole scene was unattractive for everyone concerned. He couldn’t get the tooth numb, and I ended up screaming like a nutcase and forcibly pulling his hand out of my mouth. It was ugly. I don’t like ugly. I had to allow him to finish. I couldn’t walk out of there with my tooth in that condition. It was horrible, but not the first time or the last. I have a tooth that needs some help right now. It’s a back molar.

I read that 75% of our population is afraid of dentists. I don’t know the study, but I believe it. H is in the 25%. He doesn’t mind visiting the dentist at all. He falls asleep in the dentist’s chair. Seriously. Who does that? He once fell asleep during a root canal. The dentist asked me if he was really that laid back or if he was working on a heart attack. I told him he was really that laid back. The man can sleep anywhere. He attributes this to Vietnam, where he says he learned to sleep when time was available.

I think I’m going to try a dentist who uses sedation.

Another subject that I don’t like.



I’m a little afraid of centipedes, too. Mostly because they skitter across the floor too fast for me to get out of their way. They’ve been known to reach speeds of 16 inches per second. I swear mine are faster than that, but I’d rather allow a hundred of them to crawl over me than go to the dentist. So there’s some perspective for you.

We have centipedes in the bathroom. I’ve mentioned this before. H found some great poison that’s effective for months after only one spray around the bathroom, and it has no smell after just a little while. I’m sure it’s toxic, but… One thing in the homely centipede’s favor, he’s an insectivore. They eat spiders, cockroaches, and other nuisance insects. So that’s a good thing, right? But I don’t care. I hate them more than spiders. One good thing to know: they are prone to dehydration, and using a dehumidifier could help reduce the population. Worth a try. The good thing about November is that centipedes disappear until spring.

Oh, and sometimes they care for their young. Sweet.

Still hate ’em.


I also hate public speaking. I’ve written speeches for others, but I will not give them, not even when the cause is dear to my heart. All of the anxiety symptoms arise if I have to speak publicly: sweaty palms, icy hands, racing heart, trembling. Again, I’d rather let centipedes crawl all over me.

What about you?

What are you afraid of?




So how was your Halloween? We went to Crystal’s. There were probably about 20 trick-or-treaters. She was hoping for more, but kids don’t trick-or-treat like they used to. Parents take them to other events, like trunk-or-treat. Parents fill their trunks with treats, and everyone meets at the school parking lot, and the kids go from car to car for their trunk-or-treat. It’s easier and safer, but it seems a little less exciting and more sanitized.

I loved Halloween when I was a kid. I remember my first Halloween that my mother allowed me to go trick-or-treating. Parents did not go along with the kids in those days, at least not in our neighborhood. We made our own costumes out of whatever we could find around the house. I was very little on my first Halloween. I tried to keep up with the bigger kids, who were supposed to look out for me. Ha! I remember one old lady who came out on her porch and yelled and screamed and carried on. I was so scared that I couldn’t move. Really. That was the most terror I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was paralyzed. My brother had to yank me down the walk. I guess that passed for “looking out” for me. LOL They all knew she was going to scream. I was the only one who didn’t know. Apparently, she did it every Halloween.

My youngest grand was¬†Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s¬†for the school parade. Her costume and hair: courtesy of her mother.



For trick-or-treating, she became the clown in Stephen King’s¬†It.¬†Hard to believe it’s the same child. Her mother’s artistry again. That face!


Pruning and Bargain Hunting

Yesterday, H wanted to revisit the limbing up of the crepe myrtle. Then he wanted to go to Crystal’s to get some limbs that fell from her pecan tree, and take the whole mess to the dump.

He did the pruning; I did the highly sensitive work of “suggesting” which limbs he should prune, and dragging the limbs away and stacking them.¬†After I scratched the heck out of my hands, I found some gardening gloves.

I was going for the umbrella-look, but I think it may look more like a lady getting air blown up her skirt. ¬†Many crepes have attractive bark and interesting trunks. I like to expose them. They’re beautiful.¬†So what do you think? An umbrella or does she look a little vulnerable?

When we got to Crystal’s, H decided to replace another landscape timber along her driveway. He does one every time we go over there. I went inside, but I didn’t read my book. I watched the news instead. I couldn’t stop myself. It’s like watching news about another country, another planet. I keep thinking, this isn’t us. Right?

Crystal has recently nudged H into bargain hunting: sales, coupons, etc. Especially groceries. Bargain hunting is her avocation. She’s a single woman with a mortgage and only one salary. She’s careful with money, and is obsessed with a good deal. On the other hand, H has always compared prices online for big purchases, and he might read the grocery store flyers occasionally, but endless perusal of sales and coupons in the paper and online coupon hunting have never been his thing, but yesterday, he went to the grocery store and came home waving his receipt in the air like a kid with his first sports trophy. He spent a little over $80 and got $25 off, and it was all stuff we normally use. Nothing weird. I was impressed. My only caution: don’t use a coupon to buy something you don’t really need.


What We’re Reading Now

H is a doer of the highest order. He always has something he needs to do, something he wants to do, and something he has to do this very minute. He keeps a list, and he attempts to works the list, often getting sidetracked by something else he realizes he wants to do while on his way to handle the original¬†task he wanted to do. He’s the perfect person for retirement. He is never bored and never understands people who are.

However, this doer gene prevented him from becoming a motivated reader before retirement, but he has time now. He will never read as much as I do because I’m insatiable and lazy. That’s a great combination for a reader. I have no problem hunkering down with a good book and ignoring all of humanity.

Anyway, all this to tell you that Audible is offering a 2-for-1 credit sale – two books for only one credit. It isn’t a site-wide sale. You have to choose from a list of eligible books. H chose the Bourne Identity.¬†I chose the award-nominated Thriller¬†Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff. I think I’ll start mine today.¬†I’m looking forward to January and February when I can read to my heart’s content.

It’s been a nice weekend. We went for a wine tasting and dinner with friends Friday night. We went to a fall festival sponsored by Crystal’s company yesterday. The weather was perfect. It’s overcast today and threatening to rain. This house has a beautiful roof, but it also has a few angles, and the gutters have to accommodate those angles. Our lovely but obnoxious locust tree drops tiny leaves that are small enough to get under the gutter guards. They collect in a couple of the gutters’ sharp corners. I think we will have to take that tree down eventually. It presents a continuous maintenance issue.


Day Trip, Lunch, Toothache

H and I have different doctors, but both of them are in the same office. We stopped by Wednesday morning so I could get lab work, and H could get his flu shot. As I was leaving the lab, I caught only a snippet of a conversation. A woman was holding forth to everyone in the waiting room, “And after three months of marriage, I was out of there. And now, 22 years later…” And that’s all I caught. I wanted to go back, take a seat, and listen to the rest of the story. Can you imagine telling your business in a waiting room filled to the brim with people? Not me. But I’ll listen if anyone wants to spill.

We finished before 9:30 a.m. and were on our way home.¬†It was a dazzling, sunny, 75¬ļF¬†fall day, and we decided to seize it. We took a short day trip to a small, historic town about 45 minutes from us.¬†We did a little shopping and wandering and then ate lunch in the center of town. We both got the special: squash soup and a very small grilled beef and provolone sandwich. It was tasty and plenty for me, but that sandwich was only an appetizer for H.I forgot to take the photo before I bit into my sandwich. I should lose my blogger’s license for that.

Look at that spoon. It was too big for the bowl. I had to take it out and rest it on the plate in between bites.

That night, H woke in the middle of the night with a toothache. When he called his dentist’s office the next morning (yesterday), she gave him an afternoon appointment. A few weeks ago, she filled the tooth next to the tooth that is now bothering him. She said that it was a very large filling, and it “stirred up” the tooth that is now hurting. She gave him an antibiotic, and told him that he needs a root canal. She caused it and will now charge him to fix it, but she really had no choice but to fill the other tooth.

While H was waiting for the dentist, a man finished the newspaper and offered it to him. H said, “No thanks.” The man said, “I know. It’s all bad.”

Question: What could be worse than waiting in a dentist’s office? Answer: Reading the paper while waiting in a dentist’s office.

Bella Rum only spills to the entire internet.


Here’s Your Hat; What’s Your Hurry

I visited Jennifer, my primary care doc yesterday. I was a little early, and they took me almost immediately. H had to update my information and forge my signature because they called me in so quickly.

Jennifer is okay, she’s nice, but not very in tune. Maybe it’s the nature of the PC doc’s job nowadays more than this particular doctor. ¬†I know I’ve written about this before, but sometimes it feels like her “job description” is more about my medical records than about my actual health. PC docs have become more like personal assistants who make referral appointments for us, organize our medical information, keep track of our vitals, etc. They are responsible for keeping it all straight, keeping us on the right track, and preventing mistakes. And maybe she has too many patients. That could be part of it. She’s in a hurry. And maybe it’s that I’m old enough to remember a different setup, a time when the doctor actually looked at you when he/she talked to you, and not at a computer.

I really like my other doctors, my specialists. So there is that.

She reminded me of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland yesterday. She asked questions so fast (obviously had a busy day ahead) that her words were occasionally garbled. She had places to go, people to see, and I was one more dirt road to be traveled.

She asked the usual Medicare questions: can you walk up a flight of stairs, feed yourself, dress yourself, do you still drive, any hearing problems, any memory problems, had any recent falls, etc. Believe me, if you can follow her rapid-fire patter, you have no mental issues. The nurse gave me my flu shot. Yay!! All appeared well with my health in general, and I was out of there in 15 minutes. What more can you ask. It takes longer to get the deluxe wash & wax at the Grand Prix Auto Wash down the road.