We are enjoying a very quiet holiday weekend, thanks in part to having taken part in the family Christmas celebration last Tuesday to accommodate travel schedules. Today we still are trapped at home with a blizzard warning stretching into the early evening. Yesterday, there was rain, followed by snow, followed by mixed precipitation. The Interstate is now closed down across the state, from here at the eastern border to Montana, and also from Grand Forks up to the Canadian border.

I took no photographs, Tuesday evening.

While waiting for my first appointment with the dietitian, I have been more adventurous with my grocery shopping. The scheme seems to be three meals and three snacks at approximately the same times each day. I cannot imagine a world in which this could happen. In order to increase the variety of the menu, since I obviously am going to be eating more, albeit smaller, meals.  For breakfast, this morning, I added fresh asparagus:

Today’s Breakfast

The Scampers are now a year old. Thaddeus is still on a high-fiber diet; he’s eaten two more dishcloths this week and also a dishtowel.

And there was ice on the front window during the earlier cold snap. Speaking of which, our temperatures are going down, now, but we’re expecting a high of 30°F and snow on Wednesday. Some places, this weekend, there was snow thunder.

Changes No Longer Pending

My garden will be in a new section of the back yard, next year, and so I will have no more flower photographs from my back yard, this fall. Al has decided to build a workshop that will impinge on the garden and also some of the area that holds my gazebo. I do wonder what that will do to the pattern of snowdrifts, come winter.

I thought to share a few of the photographs that I took yesterday. The puppies are nine months old, now. They’ve had their first trip to the groomer’s, and we are late on getting them in for a second cut.

My mother entered a nursing home under hospice care, last week, and the first care planning meeting is to be next week or the week after. Between the ER, hospital stay and move to the nursing home, along with Al’s cataract surgeries and the permit for Al’s hobby outbuilding, there has been more excitement than I’m comfortable with.

On a brighter note, the pollen index has sunk much more rapidly than I had expected, and I am doing well with breathing. I am pedaling the exercise bike more consistently and with more tension, so that my muscles have more resistance. Thought that would never happen!

The construction folks are not to begin work before 8 o’clock, but I expect that I should now get up to feed and “out” the puppies, before any excitement begins. We didn’t find out until late yesterday afternoon that the work would be done before the end of the week. Weather permitting. And so I also have to get to my appointment for a haircut (rescheduled from the first of the month because of changes in Al’s surgery schedule) and visit with my mother in the nursing home afterwards. Al is dropping me off there, and then returning home to interface with the construction folks.

I am not good at being around people for extended time periods. Argh!

And life goes on…

Life with two new puppies has been hectic. In the midst of the potty training, we also are dealing with the on-going downsizing efforts, ripping out the carpeting, stripping extraneous books from the shelves, trying to find a new home for the piano, cornet and trumpet, and coping with the hospitalization, this week, of a parent.

In addition, I have been trying to rework my mother’s computer to accommodate her failing eyesight and come up with a way to simplify the interface. Just got Win 10 installed and am now trying to reorganize the START page so that the tiles she needs to use are at the top of the page (and nothing else!) I am so happy that there are family members in the home town to help them with daily and weekly chores.

With ongoing health issues (contact, respiratory and food allergies; low blood oxygen levels; MCS/fragrance sensitivities, &c.), I have had to give up on handling more than one “event” a day. Yesterday, a visit to the hospital, today the appointments with the veterinary for the dogs. Computer installation and visit with Mother, keeping track of Father’s treatment plan (as communications center) in hospital, tending to the dogs and trying to fit in naps and self-cares here at home. The house training of the dogs has left me with chapped, bleeding areas on my hands, which has kept dish-washing to a bare minimum. I do so miss the woman who previously (before her death several years ago) came in to help with the housework.

Last night, after we’d gotten the dogs into kennels for naps, we went out to eat and blew the remainder of our “entertainment” cash card for the pay period. It was worth it. And I brought home a left-overs box of food to heat for today’s breakfast.

I have not remembered for many days to take the camera with me when I go out-of-doors. (This morning, it was/is raining, which made collecting samples for the vet visit lots of fun.) (I do so need emoticons for my blog posts!)

Not enough spoons [Spoon Theory, by Christine Miserandino].

Going back to sleep, now, if I can manage it.

Recent publication

Pleased to announce the publication of one of my short genre poems.

Race to the end
Last galaxy in gets to start
the next Big Bang
 —Elizabeth Bennefeld
Star*Line 38.4 (Oct. 2015)

Stray Coffee Breaks

I am pleased to announce the recent publication of one of my short poems by Star*Line.

Race to the end
Last galaxy in gets to start
the next Big Bang

—Elizabeth Bennefeld
Star*Line 38.4 (Oct. 2015), p. 15


Star*Line is the official newsletter and quarterly literary magazine of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. The Archives of previous issues include links to the texts of Editor’s Choice poem selections.

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Monday Flower Art

Monday was a good day, here. Samantha is now allowed in the back yard without a leash, but still accompanied by one of us. The bunnies haven’t made an appearance for a couple of days, now. Last spotted, they had moved to a protected spot under the gazebo.

Samantha without a leash
Sam and Flea

I am still having trouble breathing, and so have limited my activities. I discovered when I went outside to photograph flowers, that I have much more difficulty arising from a kneeling position. I must get try again to use the exercise bike, I think.

Breakfast &c.

I woke up a little after seven o’clock, this morning, and had the next-to-the-last cup of Toddy coffee while I browned the packet of Italian sausage we’d bought at the butcher shop on Sunday. I added the remnants of chopped onion to the pan, also. When it was done, I divided it into thirds, putting two containers into the freezer and leaving one in the refrigerator for more immediate use. It went nicely with the scrambled eggs, bell pepper slices, strawberry jam, a couple of berries and a glass of orange juice.


After I ate breakfast, I brought out the Toddy Coffee maker and put half a pound of medium-grind coffee to soak in five cups of water. The coffee concentrate will be ready for decanting at ten o’clock tonight. I must have that last bit of Toddy coffee, this afternoon, and wash out the carafe for the next batch. I’ve taken to steeping half a pound at a time, rather than a full pound. Just because that weight is easier to handle when I lift the container to balance it on the carafe and pull the cork out of the bottom.

We have (tentatively) switched our Internet to cable from DSL. A few more weeks within which to make the decision, here. I am in favor of also dropping the landline, since our number is one digit off from a rental management company and used to be the telephone number for a local Friends monthly meeting, which was laid down some years ago. I think the latter is why we keep getting telephone marketing calls to “update” our “Google listing”.

Taking iron supplements consistently seems to be helping with both my general energy level and my sleep patterns. I’m now sleeping between six and nine hours each night. My oxygen level’s still not great, but I am able to put more miles on the exercise bike, again, and I continue to lose weight without trying to do so. I think that I ate because I had no energy, and so tried to add calories; The iron supplements boost my energy level, and so I do not eat to gain more energy. Also, I cleared a spot on one of the living room bookshelves for my Nook tablet and moved the exercise bike in front of it, so I can read while I am on the bike. I read for nearly five miles, yesterday, without noticing how long I’d been at it.

I have noticed that in the interim I have not kept up on any of my personal correspondence, and I feel badly about that. Maintaining relationships is, seemingly, lower on my priority list than it should be.