Friday, April 28, 2017


 Bosco and Scruffy
waving bye-bye as I embark for town

Many thanks to the kind people who left  such nice comments about my piano tape on my previous post. I deserved it. I'm damn good. And I'm very often far too modest.

You're also completely full of yourself, Jon.

Hell, if you have it - - flaunt it. 

Actually I'm full of other things: I had two beers, several lethal doses of Daytime NyQuil, and two aspirins that are outdated by a year and a half.

I tried to buy aspirin in the Walmart pharmacy today...but couldn't find any!!
I did a search worthy of Hercule Poirot and came up empty. Where the hell do they hide them? I found rainbow-colored condoms and an alarming array of feminine hygiene products that were beyond my comprehension. But no aspirin.

Yes, I made the perilous and infinitely long journey into town today. The sole reason being that I was completely out of cat food. Again.

Why don't you stockpile cat food, Jon, so you have an extra supply at home?

That would be a great idea if I was a millionaire. Unfortunately, after spending a small fortune on cat food, litter, and other feline supplies - I hardly have enough left for human food.

Yea, I'm human. Some of you will find that debatable , but tough noogies.
Those damn cats eat better than I do.

Speaking of cats, Scruffy has been having bad asthma attacks lately. I can't imagine why but I've been monitoring her carefully.

As most of my regular readers know, I always go into a severe panic mode when I have to drive to town. The narrow, winding, dangerous mountain roads completely unnerve me. 

How unnerved do you get, Jon?

Let's put it this way:
I'd rather be hung upside down, with bamboo shoots wedged under my fingernails, and a group of male orangutans peeing on me.

I don't think I had an hour of sleep last night. I kept getting back spasms so severe that my screams were heard in Kentucky. I sounded like Kirsten Flagstad on a bad day.

Driving to town is bad enough. Doing it in the company of agonizing spasms is worse.

I have no doubt that I'm being punished for past sins. God is probably laughing so hard that he blew a fart and fell off his throne.

It was a very warm, muggy day. 
82 degrees outside......and 175 degrees in the car (that's Fahrenheit, for those of you in Krakatoa).
By the time I got home all the frozen food was thawed, the icing melted off the donuts, and the cottage cheese curdled.
And then I remembered several things that I forgot to buy.

Everything where I live is on a mountainous slant. I have to literally PUSH the door of the car open with both feet (try that with mega back spasms). Then I have to tote all the groceries up a hill to the back door - while trekking through ten-foot-high weeds and being mercilessly attacked by wasps and carpenter bees.

This is getting monotonously long, but I wanted you to get an idea of my dire predicament. Rural life is less than enchanting.

BTW - I got a tick bite on my ankle yesterday. I always have bad reactions from tick bites. Last summer it took me over a month to recover from one. This one is swollen and itching like hell.

Have I said enough? 
Heck, I haven't even warmed up.


  1. Dear tortured Jon, I empathize. 3 days ago my doctor put me on a new med for general anxiety that turned me into a quivering mass of jelly this morning. I don't ordinarily wake up like that and am not used to it, so I called his office and told his receptionist to relay my disenchantment. Haven't heard back, but am curious about your use of NyQuil. I read it contains Doxylamine, an antihistamine that is also a short-term sedative. Haven't tried it --does it work? I also have asthma, like your cat --or maybe distemper-- but it's worse this time of year with allergens and breezes. When I worked, I'd sometimes call in sick with Parvo, a related disease suffered by dogs, but nobody questioned it. Keep that cat indoors.

  2. Truthfully, I don't really like to take any meds - even over-the-counter ones. When I was younger I used to take Nighttime NyQuil a lot, and it was successful in helping me sleep. But I never took a full dose.
    Now I use the Equate brand of daytime cold medicine, which is available at WalMart and is less expensive than NyQyil. Again, I only use it sparingly. And I've never used it at night.

    Have you ever tried the herb valerian? I used to use that a lot to calm my nerves and/or help me to sleep. I used to always purchase it in tablet form at Walmart - but so far haven't been able to find it here. Valerian is quite safe and effective.

    I've been having allergies lately. Perhaps that's Scruffy's problem, too.

    1. Valerian has a very unique (strange) smell - but don't let that dissuade you. It comes in tablets or capsules.

  3. Aaah! All becomes need to bring extra revenue in. Gotta have some flexibility in your budget. How about Webcam piano lessons? Perhaps angled towards adults who started as children and now regret not continuing on with the lessons? It now sits in their bucket list. I googled the subject and found one guy on the East Coast, I think, who does just that. He charges 20 dollars per half hour; he sets out a pretty detailed list of the requirements. All offered via Skype. As for funding it, if needed, I have lots more ideas on that. Just whistle and Aunty Maggie will explain more.......MaggieB

    1. I'm whistling, Maggie - I always need all the help I can get. I've never heard of piano lessons via Skype, but it's a unique idea (things have sure changed a LOT since I was a child....).

    2. Re: locating items at Walmart; I use Google Search [you would type "walmart kentucky" in search box; find your local walmart at scroll left of screen; click on "website" --little blue world icon at address-- this takes you to that store's site; there's a "search our shelves box" mid-screen, type aspirin or any single other item. This will bring up brands, availability and most importantly the aisle number and letter of its location in your store. Walmart updates these sites everyday at midnight. Good luck!

    3. Hey, Geo - I tried it and it works! My local store does have a website. Thanks!!!

  4. Ibuprofin works better than aspirin. Oh, and you can tell if aspirin is too old to use: when you take off the lid from the bottle, take a sniff of the contents. If you smell something like vinegar, you should get rid of them. They won't hurt you, but they may not help you much either. I grew up with nothing but old aspirins in the house: My parents avoided taking aspirin unless they REALLY needed it, and my mother was so frugal she usually bought a bigger bottle because it seemed cheaper per pill. So, I only took old aspirin.

    1. Thanks for the info - and I'm relieved to know that old aspirin isn't lethal. I have heard that Ibuprofin is much better than aspirin (especially for inflamation) but I also read on the Internet that it could cause numerous side effects including irregular heart rhythm (and I already have an irregular heart rhythm).

      Your parents sounded like mine. I think we always had an old bottle of aspirin around when I was a kid. I also remember that orange-flavored children's aspirin (was it St. Joseph's?).

  5. Jon,
    Oh how well I remember living on slanted land. Our home in the woods in Pennsylvania was on the side of a big hill (not a mountain). Walking around on uneven land does get to your body especially if you have a bad back which I do from arthritis. I love this flat Delaware coastal land. The mountains are beautiful but I'll take this flat land for living.
    Hard to believe that Walmart was out of aspirin. Unbelievable.
    Scruffy is probably suffering from allergies from pollen.
    Ticks! I had a tick bite last year that took me months to recover from my tick bite.
    I always enjoy reading about your adventures in those beautiful Tennessee mountains.

    1. Ron, I'm sure that Walmart had aspirin SOMEWHERE but I just couldn't find it. Too many fat-assed people were blocking the aisles. I'll look again next time I venture into civilization.

      I never realized how difficult things are when you live on a mountain slant. I tried to put a ladder up to fix something on the side of the house, and the ladder kept toppling over! And it's extremely difficult to walk. I do prefer FLAT land (like in west TX).
      Ticks scare the jeeters out of me - I HATE them!

  6. You didn't ask a clerk where the asprin was? You must be shyer than I thought. ;)

    Living on the side of a hill can be treacherous. I did once for a few years in Wisconsin--in the country--and the rain, mud, snow, and ice were downright dangerous just getting from the car to the house so I have an idea what you are talking about. I couldn't be living there now with my health the way it is. It must be hell with your bad back--really!

    I know about being too poor to stockpile very much. Sucks! But Karma always had her special favorite foods and better cat litter--LOL! We are just animal lovers, my friend. :)

    1. I know I should have asked a clerk - but it was all too much trouble...and the store was really crowded. I'll look again next time I go.

      There are really MANY dangers lurking when one lives on a hillside, especially when it's muddy or icy (and it's muddy here most of the time). It's definitely not a good place to live as one gets older - especially the isolation. I'm not exactly ancient but I'm WELL over fifty and have a helluva lot more health problems than I used to.

      I admittedly treat my cats VERY well.....

  7. Great minds! I was about to ask, "Have you ever tried Valerian Root?" when I spotted your responses. (Note to self: Find some before boarding the plane!) I like that it just seems to 'take the edge off.'

    Like her angel sister Caraleigh, our Macie suffers from what they call a 'backwards cough', but I suspect asthma .... relieved when I pull her chin up and gently massage her throat.

    Hope that tick bite doesn't become as fearsome as what you experienced last year!

  8. Valerian root has always worked very well for me. I don't know how much is psychological - but it does induce a calming effect. And God knows, I need it. Next time I venture to Walmart I'm going to SEARCH for aspirin and's gotta be in there somewhere.

    I've been trying to keep Scruffy very calm (maybe she needs valerian??). She seems to get the "asthma" attacks when she's active or excited (Bosco has a habit of getting everyone excited....). I'll try gently massaging her throat.
    I'm also TRYING to keep the house free from dust and dirt, but it isn't always easy.

  9. And I have always thoughts Fridays should be a very relaxing laid back day. After reading I feel as though I'm itching.

    1. Actually, I can't remember having a relaxing day since I was ten or so.

      Just tell me where you itch and I'll scratch it......

  10. Oh Jon I think your were safer in Taco Land. I find it hard to find a lot of things I need in our Walmart. One Aspirin used to cure what ailed me but now I can't touch it with the blood disease I have. Only Tylenol. Be careful on that hill side.

    1. Paula, I'm beginning to think you're right. At least I didn't slip and slide all over the place. And I never saw any ticks in west TX (maybe it was too hot for them??).
      But I HATED those scorpions.

  11. I love this post. Our Phil is a picky eater. He has eaten the same thing since the day we got him. But the price of the 'same thing' has gone up $10.00 a month! And I think the little cans are smaller!
    You mentioned hanging upside down. That might make your back feel better; getting a good stretch and taking pressure off your spine.(the mother in me saying this)
    I went to college in the mountains of NC. When I first arrived, they had me convinced that the cows had two longer legs so they could stand on the side of the mountains and graze. I was so gullible then, or maybe just more gullible then I am now.
    Keep an eye on tick bites. Tick fever can make a person mean!

    1. I wouldn't risk hanging upside down. I have enough trouble maintaining myself right-side-up!

      Cat food is indeed getting more expensive and some of the cans are definitely getting smaller. My cats generally eat dry food, but they like the expensive ones (and I always buy two different kinds to give them variety). I also get a special canned food for Scratch, which she likes as a snack. And a different canned "snack" for Bosco and Scruffy.

      The cows around here have much better equilibrium than I do.
      And I'm mean even without tick fever....

  12. i am sorry to hear you couldn't find the aspirin. i always keep a couple boxes on hand. i usually take the childrens kind because they are chewable. hopefully next time down the mountain you will find a hearty supply and stock up.

    1. I suppose I'm guilty of not looking hard enough - but the store was very crowded and impatience got the better of me.

      I generally don't like taking any medications. With aspirin I often get the low-dose "safety-coated" tablets.

  13. Hi Jon. Back again. You may not want to publish this, as you won't want your detractors to 'muddy the waters'. There are actually quite a few people offering piano lessons by webcam. The one guy I mentioned. John Aschenbrenner ..... His explanation of what was involved for set up is straightforward and he charges the least at 20 dollars per half hour. Another one called. 'Pianoforall' lists a very detailed breakdown of the curriculum they offer, and another one Dr Teresa Dybrig gives a detailed breakdown of all equipment needed. She also runs longer lessons, 90 minutes for 140 dollars, 60 minutes for 95 mins and 55 dollars for 30 mins.

    You will recognise more then I would, some of the setup costs. PayPal (if you don't want the hoo ha of c.card set up, skype,boom microphone stand, lots of discussion above on computer equipment needed, music sheets or books, etc.

    I was going to research further the idea of crowdfunding. From what I could see this morning, it would appear to be IndieGogo, kickstarter and MicroVentures. There may be others. I didn't get into some of them as some seemed Facebook based, and I don't do any of that social media stuff. Sooooo Jon get googling and reading. If you go the crowdfunding route, you could perhaps offer free lessons or onwardly discounted piano lessons to get advance money. Make a video as part of the are good at that, give them a demonstration of your ability etc etc. Play around with some of those ideas. Best of luck. Obviously if you decide not to go the crowdfunding route. Perhaps for your own reasons you want to keep it simpler....then setup a website to draw/drive traffic to you. Perhaps you have an old friend, cousin? Somebody you could practice on to begin with....just to iron out the mechanics of it. If I had your email I could have sent it directly. This is written on my iPad and cannot scroll back to refer to what I have written so best of luck. Hope you can decipher. MaggieB

    1. Many thanks for taking the time to gather this information, Maggie. I posted your two recent comments because it's easier for me to read (no one will see us here way down at the bottom!).
      This is a venture that I had never thought of and it's well worth looking into.
      It's amazing what can be accomplished with computer technology nowadays.

      I hope you've recovered from your celebration.

  14. Hi Jon: hope my long winded follow up winged its way over to you?. Was out celebrating with sister, nieces and brother outlaw last night, so today in a bit of a fragile state! So I hope information I put forward was enough to go on? Don't want to be thought of promising much, but with no follow through. Think I'll go have a nap now. Not the girl I used to be. MaggieB

  15. Tick bite... be sure the tick has gone. I believe you can pull the little horrors out with tweezers, although it does depend exactly where it is...

    1. There are three things that terrify me - spiders, scorpions, and ticks.
      When I moved away from Texas I was delighted that I'd never see scorpions again. Now, alas, I have to worry about ticks....
      (yes, that tick is gone...I made sure it was dead)


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