Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Random Thoughts, Varied Topics


I am having trouble bringing up my email server using Explorer unless I choose the html version.  I can't get pictures to load on my blog if I use Firefox, but with it, I can get into the email server just fine.  Sheesh.  I've emailed my ISP.  They replied that they made out a ticket.  That's all I know about that.  My stats report that I am once again getting lots of page views on this blog from Russia.  Sometimes also from France.  I mean in the hundreds when normally I don't get more than 50 views a day, total.  I cannot begin to understand what I might have to say that would receive so much attention from any one country, including my own, so I think it might be bot activity but can't think why it would be worth doing since I'm just an old Redneck woman without any power or influence.  You who regularly come here to read are a special bunch, putting up with rants, banalities, Redneck grammar and punctuation and run-on sentences.  An occasional Redneck sermon.  I don't expect there to be many of you with that kind of patience.  Most people are not interested in knowing my opinion about much of anything.  I don't have anything against Russians, and wow, I was certainly impressed by the French when they dispatched the culprits after the Je Suis Charlie incident.  I have French ancestors and maybe there's some Russian in my German line, not sure.  But I don't personally know anyone who lives in France or Russia.  I do tend to think people are just people, you know?  We get told lots of things about Russians that possibly aren't true, the average citizen just doesn't have any way to know for sure.  And they're in the same boat when they hear stuff about us.  It's sad, really, that whether we're a democracy or not, we're told what to think.  There are lots of ways of making yourself look like someone that you're not in the internet world and so I just don't know what is going on.  Maybe this is happening to lots of bloggers and not just me, which might indicate that the intention is to bring the whole blogging community down, and maybe it's not really coming from the countries that my stats report it does, maybe they're just routing themselves through there.  But it is strange.  My access problems just started in the last couple of days, so I'm not sure the two are connected at all.  I kind of think not.  One day I may have to find some outlet other than blogging.  Everything runs it's course.  Just ask Sears, Wards, and Penney's.

Things are not looking good for the state of Oklahoma, I blame our current governor, I think we had other, more capable people we could've chosen but "we" made poor choices when "we" voted.  Well, I didn't vote for her, but I'm a Democrat in a Republican-majority state. so my vote doesn't count.  More's the pity.  So we're in a "mell of a hess", as my Grammy used to say.  I've heard it said that no one should be allowed to run for public office unless they can pass a mental competency test.  In our governor's case, I think an intelligence test would've been in order.  I'd say voters should have to pass some kind of test, too, so they wouldn't be so taken in by people like this.  This business of voting for anyone, no matter how incompetent, just because they're from a particular party, is just stupid.  We can't fund our schools now, but there's a lot of money being spent in other areas so I just don't understand it.

All these gambling casinos that we have allowed to spring up in our midst were supposed to be a big boon for our schools but that doesn't seem to be happening.  Gambling is a cancer that grows in our community now.  Casinos wouldn't be able to stay in business if people won as often as they want us to think.  I know of several people who brag about how much they've won, and I really want to pull a "Ghost Of Christmas Past" on those people and show them the people who've gone to jail because they cheated vulnerable people out of their money in order to fund their gambling habit.  And/Or messed up their relationships with their gambling addiction.  It ain't pretty.

Not only that, we seem to be hemorrhaging jobs here in our town.  Our long-time major employer, Phillips Petroleum, has had its ups and downs over the last 50 years.  There were rumors about merging with Conoco out of Ponca City for many years before it happened and there were a few stock buy-out scares in the 1980's that I remember.  So now it's doing business as Conoco-Phillips, and most recently has sold its Canadian oil assets which the local newspaper said will require the elimination of 170 jobs here.  As soon as the major employers start cutting back, that has ripple effects throughout the community.  Garfield's restaurant, located in our only shopping mall, has been found to be closed by employees with no explanation given.  In fact, this mall has had many stores leave over the last several years, including the Sears store.  I don't know how many jobs have been lost at the mall.  Sitel, a telephone help desk service that opened up for business here about ten years ago, will be moving out soon.  According to the Bartlesville Development Authority, Sitel provides 325 jobs here.  The loss of more than 500 jobs from just Phillips and Sitel in a town the size of Bartlesville will likely start the ball rolling, there will be less money for people to spend, so this will ripple, not only through retailers and restaurants, but on through non-profits, including churches where, even during good times, it seems there is a constant request for more and more donations to the point where it has become less and less about God and more and more about building and/or buying stuff, or paying for missionary trips when they could probably find people to bless right in their back yards, practically.  I don't understand it.

I have not talked to anyone lately who has lost their job since the election but I suspect they might be somewhat baffled depending on their political views.  The economy was supposed to get better, right?  During my growing-up years, this city was home to Cities Service, which competed with Phillips Petroleum, and also there was Reda Pump that morphed into TRW before the boom was over.  We had Superior Welding, Metal Goods Manufacturing, Applied Automation, H. C. Price Company, and several other employers of more than 50 people.  But they have all gone or been absorbed by other companies.  The city has, in recent years, made deals with businesses to bring jobs into our midst, but it seems like they only stay long enough to fulfill their contract obligations and then they move on to the next city that's willing to make them a deal.  Seems to me to be a kind of a parasitic relationship, and usually these businesses treat their local employees with such disdain and/or have such poor working conditions that after awhile the only people they can employ are those who can't find work anywhere else.  Sitel may be one of those, not sure. 

I have been laid off from jobs twice in my career.  The first was at a stock-brokerage company where I was being sexually harassed by a senior broker who represented a large number of 'old money' clients.  After I told my supervisor, I found out that it was so much easier to get rid of a lowly wire operator than it was to lose their biggest producer, never mind that he was obnoxious and had a habit of fart-bombing people, among other things.  So disgusting.  The second time, it was at a mental health agency where I was last hired and so first to go.  It didn't help that I was intensely disliked by an employee who was the MIL of our office manager.  She was offended when I told her that there were a lot of people on her newsletter distribution list that had been dead for a long time.  She was horrified when I laughed about her opinion about how Harry Potter was introducing devil-worship to children.  She was not my supervisor, or anyone's, for that matter, but she over-supervised me and the receptionist.  She had the office across the hall from me and every time I would get a call from my grandsons' school, she would come to my door and stand there till I would interrupt the call to ask her what she needed.  There was great understanding when her SIL would have to leave work because of some issue with the toddler he and her daughter had adopted from Uganda, however.  And she would go to him with baseless complaints about my work or her fears about what evil things I might do with opportunities that presented themselves to me, and get me 'counseled', which would've been funny except that they weren't laughing.  Sheesh.  Both layoffs came at bad times in my life when I really needed the paycheck and the insurance, but I was nevertheless happy to leave, and eventually better off for it.  And I had a nice giggle when I found out my nemesis got laid off when the Director did, during a shake-up that happened, later on.  And another, well, not quite a giggle, when the Director's admin assistant asked me if there were any openings where I worked (as the admin assistant to the Director there).  I liked her, she was nice to me, but toward the end I began to sense she was "workin' both sides", if you know what I mean.  Karma's a bitch, is all I'm sayin', but sometimes you have to wait for it....  I had good skills and was a hard worker who learned fast and could multi-task.  I never had any trouble finding a job because I liked to learn and try new things.  Generally I was nice to everyone even when they weren't nice to me.  I even designed billboards for awhile till I grew weary of the owner's violent temper tantrums and all the F-words thrown about, though not ever directed at me.  The owner's grandchildren digging around in my desk during the weekend, a young receptionist who was dating one of the men, so insecure that when they hired a single and attractive young women as a sales rep, Pam got her number off her resume, called her and warned her away from taking the job.  I began to suspect that some of the things Pam did that weren't quite kosher got blamed on me, stuff like that is common in small businesses.  She loved to be rude to telephone solicitors and we suddenly lost a big account with a large car dealership, and I wondered if Pam might've mistaken their contact people for someone else when they called.  At least my leaving should've made Pam behave herself, being left with no one to point the finger at except herself.  For a short time I worked at a call center for Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs.  It handled everything from customer complaints to employee medical claims, and was the most stressful job I ever had, some of it because of the prison-like environment, but mostly because the general public, when things are not going to their liking, will be intensely rude to the person trying to help them.  I had no power to do anything but write up their complaint and transmit it to Arkansas and this was a source of much frustration for most people. 

But what I'm saying here is that sometimes loss of a job is the catalyst to better things, if we are willing to reinvent ourselves.  And we must accept that, in life, the only thing that stays the same is that things change.  You just can't stop change.  Sometimes you have to work low-paying or otherwise less desirable jobs, just to be able to keep the wolf away from the door.  It's difficult to search for a better job while you are working where you are being over-supervised but it can be done, and there are things to be learned while you were there that will make you a better person if you process it in the right way.

So much concern about medical insurance now, but we're attacking it from the wrong direction.  We've allowed Big Chem and other industries to poison our food, water and air and Big Pharma to suck away our wealth and then finish us off with the side-effects, and the sheer numbers of sick and dying Americans has crippled the economy.  Their profits are huge, especially when one considers how their levels of predation upon the people so heavily outweigh the benefit level of whatever they produce.   Insurance companies are in the business for profit and no altruistic reasons whatsoever.  So the sicker our population gets, the more their insurance company must pay out.  So now, in order to make a profit so that their executives can live like kings and queens, they must have young and/or robustly healthy people buying insurance so they can pay for the medical needs of the rest.  People should not be forced to have medical insurance.  At least there are some wellness services for which insurance will pay and I would recommend anyone who is forced to carry health insurance to get fully educated on what wellness benefits they have available to them.  The answer to our problem is not to get sick in the first place.  Medical costs are insanely huge in the USA, one trip to the ER by a person who has no insurance impacts the hospital because many of these people don't have the money to pay that huge bill.  Too little attention is paid to prevention, and when it is, it's in the form of invasive tests that actually can cause problems within the body.  When someone is sick, the symptoms are all that are being treated and not the underlying cause, because no one knows what to do about that and sometimes not even what that is.  The facts are that we have failed as a nation to safeguard the health of our people, and our doctors are being trained to be drug prescribers.  I don't know about you, but I feel betrayed.  Allowing carcinogens into the food chain, the water supply, and the very air we breathe should be a crime against humanity.  The problem is, we don't just fall over dead right after we get a dose of this stuff.  It circulates around in our internals until our cells are damaged and sometimes even our DNA.   *sigh*.

So sorry to bombard you with all this gloom and doom.  Maybe it would be best if I went on to less serious stuff.

Do you ever watch Cook's Corner?  We sometimes do, it airs on Saturday.  We noticed Christopher Kimball is gone from the show.  Turns out there's been some kind of disagreement and he and his wife have split off and he's started a new venture called Milkstreet Magazine.  I've been to the website and, like Cook's Illustrated, there's an annoying pop-up that forces you to create an account before you can view what's on the site.  That just hacks me off, big-time.  Recipes are pervasive things that you can usually find somewhere else without having to jump through so many hoops.  Here's one for Vodka Pie Crust on AllRecipes, for instance:   http://allrecipes.com/recipe/223524/easy-vodka-pie-crust/

People bring their magazines to the Wellness Center so every now and then I borrow a few and return them after I've read them.  Here are a few interesting websites I've been to from links shared from some of the magazine articles:

https://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/
http://gardenforeplay.avantgardensne.com/?p=6253
https://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/vegetable-garden

The rat patrol continues.  I lost count at 30.  They are eating my spinach and I've had two plastic knives I was using to bait the traps with peanut butter to disappear.  They run across our patio, and damned near everywhere else.  There's mice in the shed that I'm baiting with D-Con because they are too small to trip the traps.  We went to a benefit breakfast for a local fire department and I had a nice visit with one of the firemen about the conditions we suffer through when local ranchers burn off their fields and pastures.  Apparently the area fire departments have had to start charging ranchers extra to come out and fight the fires they set.  He told me it costs them $500 just to come out prepared to fight a fire.  It's a politically-charged topic since big ranchers have some other profession, such that they may be doctors, attorneys, etc.  Apparently it's going to take direct-result loss of life and homes before this practice can be stopped, and maybe not even then, since it's something they feel is required management of their grazing lands.  *Sigh*.  Something to think about when you buy Oklahoma beef.

The beet seed I have planted is not coming up.  I sowed several rows and I have, like, six plants on the end of one row.  Nothing in any of the other rows.  I went yesterday to the new Atwood's store to buy more seed.  Atwood's no longer carry several different brands of seed.  Now it's all Burpee.  I have not had good experiences ordering things from Burpee and I don't like their seed very much.

The plum tree I bought at Tractor Supply died and there's something coming up from the rootstalk.  I wonder what it will be.  Probably another Santa Rosa (gnashing of teeth).  The Victoria rhubarb I planted (last year?) has gone to seed.  I have read that this will greatly reduce the harvest and might cause the plants to die completely.  I went out to cut off all the seed heads and found that this will involve practically every shoot on the plant, so I just left them alone.  *Sigh*. 

Maybe I will get good seed to start over again but I may not even bother to try.  I should probably just buy rhubarb at the store when it comes available in the spring.  All I use it for is to combine with strawberries to make jam.  Half rhubarb and half berries, follow your favorite strawberry jam recipe.  Delicious.  Mostly on vanilla ice-cream or in a cup of unflavored yogurt.  It looks like I will have gooseberries this year if I net them so the birds cannot strip them off right before they ripen.  Maybe I could use them instead of rhubarb in my recipe.

Dr. Oz has "discovered" cottage cheese.  The "experts" have gone back and forth about cottage cheese for as long as I remember.  During the 1950's and 60's, if you ordered "the diet plate" at a restaurant, you'd get a leaf of lettuce with a scoop of cottage cheese on it and a twisted canned pineapple ring and a sprig of parsley on top of that.  Then they started saying it was too high in fat to be included in anyone's diet, and if you MUST consume it, buy the low-fat or nonfat.  Well, I found the nonfat to be nasty and the low-fat nearly so.  Both had a grainy texture.  That's when I started eating yogurt, even though I can happily eat REAL cottage cheese plain and I can't stand unflavored yogurt unless I've stirred in a spoon of jam.  There for awhile people were saying, "Don't Eat Anything WHITE".  So now, guess what?  Dr. Oz says cottage cheese is every bit as good for you as greek yogurt and they're even selling it blended smooth for eating like you do yogurt.  I was amazed that there were actually people in his audience that had never tasted cottage cheese.  He even says to buy the full fat version because you get a more pure product.  "If that don't beat all, I don't know what does", as Aunt Viv would say.  Sometimes I just wonder if there's not some expert over a warehouse somewhere that keeps track of things people aren't buying.  I can imagine that he/she gets on the phone and tells some advertiser, "You'd better start finding a way to get people to start buying this as it's spoiling on the shelves!!"

I bet Aunt Viv would have enjoyed the sign they had up on the board at the Wellness Center this week:
"How's the diet going?"
"OK, I guess.  I had eggs this morning."
"Scrambled?"
"No.  Cadbury."
But seriously.  You'll have all kinds of people giving you advice as soon as they find out you're trying to lose weight.  Some of it might work for you.  Some of it might get you off-track.  So if what you're doing is working for you, keep doing that.  You'll also have people sticking things you shouldn't eat in your face, telling you it won't hurt to "just have one".  Any alcoholic knows that's not true.

I'm not sure that I'm very happy with my experiment with using annual ryegrass as a green mulch.  I sowed the seed last fall, and it germinated quickly.  Now it has pretty thoroughly taken over the garden and maybe that's a good thing, maybe not. 

I suspect I am creating a wonderful habitat for all those rats.  The roots go quite deep, such that the plants are hard to pull up, and at this point I'm not able to get out there and do that much with the shovel.  Maybe I'll see less bindweed and bermuda grass as a result, and that would be nice.  As I understand it, it's supposed to be left in place till summer, at which time it dies and then can be tilled into the soil when the garden plants that were planted amongst the grass will be finished.  The White Dutch clover that I sowed in the walkways is beginning to bloom now.  The bees love the flowers and I'm thinking this will bring more of them into the garden.  It's impossible to go barefoot out here, anyway, so there is not much danger of getting stung in that way but I've heard that bee venom is wonderful for arthritis.  No, I won't tempt fate.  I'll be careful and respectful of those bees.

That's a good view of Randy and Sherry's new house from the garden.  The geese seem to be awfully confused this spring because they typically hang out in the area where that house is now.  This courting couple is walking down the road between our driveway and Joe's house.  I used my zoom lense because I didn't want to disturb them, and so the background looks a lot closer than it is.  Ah, technology.  Just cool enough to make up for the drawbacks. 

I had planned to try out the experiment of growing petunias amongst squash but I had no luck with seeds.  So I bought a few plants at Atwood's, on "sale" for $1 a pot.  Also bought a hibiscus in a color I don't have and a Lantana.  I have tried to start Lantana with seeds and the seeds just rot.  And it's not a perennial.  Might turn out to me more of a pain to try to have each year than it's worth.  I have heard they tolerate heat and dry conditions. 



We are getting lots of rain these days.  Spring is typically our "monsoon season".  For the past two or three years it has rained until my grapevines and peach tree have come down with Black Spot, and then, Mother Nature being pleased with the whammy that she dealt, it starts drying out and we are in full-blown drought by July.   At least most of the extra tomato plants have been put into the ground.  Hubs has been helping by doing the digging and it has been more like burial than transplanting, but it's the best that can be done this time.  I have not planted beans yet. 

I'm about midway through my first month of physical therapy now.  They have a sign on the wall that says, "Oh, did that hurt?  Good."  There's a whole lot of truth there.  After yesterday's session, I literally needed to crawl out of there except that THAT would have hurt, too.

That's about all I know for the time-being.  Stay well, safe, happy, and be grateful for life's little blessings, and big ones, too, when and if they happen.  Hugs xoxoxo 

6 comments:

  1. **sometimes loss of a job is the catalyst to better things, if we are willing to reinvent ourselves. And we must accept that, in life, the only thing that stays the same is that things change.**

    PT can be very painful at times. I remember sitting there with tears streaming. But, it's worth it to be mobile again.

    Have a great week dear Ilene ~ FlowerLady

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  2. This was interesting, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one getting a lot of page views from Russia. When it first happened, I thought, surely not that many Russian women are interested in my quilts! Really I find it rather frightening what with all the "hacking" in the news these days. I'm just careful not to ever click onto those places I know nothing about.

    I just can't imagine that many rats! I did see a mole run in the yard last week after a few years without any moles. Now that I don't have cats in the yard, the moles may become a problem again. Our biggest pests now are fire ants. I've seen some around my flower beds. Gotta take care not to step on one of their hills!

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    1. Charlotte, do I have good news for you! Buy some Diatomaceous Earth. It's made of tiny crustaceans, as I understand, and while it feels very soft and powdery to us, it's like walking on glass shards barefoot to ants. Just scatter some on the area where they are swarming and they'll be kept so busy with that they won't even think about getting on you. The ones that don't die tend to move away. And moles are where they are because they are eating grubworms. So if you get some milky spore inoculant powder, and apply it in a grid of about 2' x 2', right before a rain, or water it in, whichever, the grubworms will die and the moles will go elsewhere. I used a piece of pvc pipe so I wouldn't have to keep bending over. I first used it at The Ponca House in town, we had moles really bad there, we could hardly walk in the yard without tripping over the hills. That was not hard at all to treat as the yard was not very big. It tends to inoculate connected areas, too and they say it continues to work for about ten years. I noticed that year we moved, we and our neighbors on both sides did not have mole hills evident in our yards but the neighbors across the street had them all over their yards. Out here in the country it has been more difficult because of the sheer area. I inoculated all the flower beds and garden beds and hoped it'd spread to the spaces in between. Still, the grubworms damage my potatoes and other things that grow underground. They say the disease will turn the grubworm white and I do find some that color when I dig in the garden, but mostly they are still that dirty beige color. When the junebugs start to divebomb my patio, I actually go out there and pick them up, drop them into an empty milk jug. Some mornings I get a full workout and enough bugs to take a treat to the neighbors chickens. Geese love the junebugs, too.

      Yes, clicking of links can take you somewhere that you really don't want to be. Once in awhile somebody I've emailed before gets their email address hacked and I will get an email that looks like it's from them but contains only a link. I know not to click on that. And replying to that email does not go where it's supposed to. So I create a new email to them and copy and paste what I got from them into it so they can see. They are always grateful for someone to tell them because a lot of people don't know how to notify them in a way that works. And when I do a search, I don't go to sites that my virus protection does not classify as a safe site. Oh, for the days when the internet was so new that we didn't need virus protection!

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  3. Interesting about the petunias. I had great germination with old-fashioned vining, balcony and Rainmaster petunias this year. They are still crowded in their pots and will have to be planted using the clump method if the rains ever stop.

    I have given up on rhubarb here! I will be looking for it elsewhere.

    Lordy, I thought you had the rats under control! I can't imagine having that problem although we seem to be overrun in the outbuildings with mice. We don't have enough cats these days.

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    1. I don't think we'd have a rat problem if it weren't for all the burning off of pastures around here. I know that isn't done where you are and so I imagine it isn't necessary here, either, but ranchers have done it for so long it's, like, grandfathered in or something.

      You know, I had petunias at The Ponca House that I started from seed, and they reseeded themselves and came up volunteer for years. These were new seeds from Baker Creek, too. I thought I'd try to collect seed from these I bought, if they do ok, and maybe keep them going.

      Country Living is a hostile environment for cats, it seems, with so many wild critters around. I've thought about getting a cat again, but it just about broke my heart to have to have Sam put to sleep, and then Sonny shortly after. I decided maybe we were just having too much trouble taking care of each other without an animal that needed caring for as well. Joe's gone out and found one of his dogs dead in the back yard and so has Jay. I think maybe a D-Conned rat made it's way to them, as they wander all over the place for 4 or 5 days after they've taken the bait. It's not an ideal way to fight the rat invasion because of that.

      I went looking for rhubarb at the local stores the other day. No one has any. Walmart produce people said they never get any. Homeland produce manager says they don't get it till fall and sometimes not then, but that they have frozen rhubarb almost year 'round. I wonder where they get it from if it doesn't ripen till fall. Isn't it a spring crop?

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