Home > Archive: April, 2016

Archive for April, 2016

T. Rowe's thoughts on my retirement plans

May 1st, 2016 at 12:50 am

So T. Rowe Price offers a free analysis of your overall investments/savings and recommendations for whatever your long-term goals may be, such as retirement.

The service is free as long as you have at least $100,000 invested with them. The person who works with you and prepares the report is a CFP.

You begin by filling out a fairly comprehensive questionnaire that includes what you'd like to know and listing all your current assets/investments and in my case, when I'd like to retire and how much annual income I'd like and so on.

After that, I scheduled a time to talk on the phone with the CFP; it was about a 40-minute phone call during which time she clarified and confirmed various things and we discussed my personal issues, concerns and points of interest. These included, can I retire BEFORE age 60? Will I enjoy the $40 to $43K annual income I desire? Will I outlast my savings?

Yesterday I received the emailed 20-page report which summarizes my original inputting information as well as their specific recommendations, not only in terms of the overall makeup of my portfolio but also recommended T. Rowe Funds to consider. Becus of course they would like it if this resulted in my investing more with them, even though they're aware much more of my money is now with Vanguard.

They also ran the Monte Carlo simulations to see how likely my money would last til the end (age 95 is the number I used) given different market scenarios.

But that's not all. They will schedule a 2nd meeting with me to discuss the report and respond to any questions I have, and to help me implement the plan if that's what I want.

And with my consent, they will check in with me on an annual basis after this, to see if there are any material changes in my circumstances, and so on.

I have to say, I'm impressed to have these resources at my disposal, at no charge at all. Guilt may cause me to invest more with them, even though I really do want to keep as much as possible with Vanguard, because they have lower fees. I also am very partial to index funds whereas T. Rowe would like me to invest more with actively managed portfolios. They're not being pushy at all.

I am very tired right now but I took a quick read of the report tonight. Based on my risk tolerance, among other things, they're recommending my asset allocation remain roughly 60% stocks/40% bonds/cash for the next 3 years, until retirement. I guess, too, this speaks to my current portfolio not being bad at all since they are not recommending wholesale changes. She commented that she thought it was very well-diversified. In retirement, they're recommending a 50/50 split.

They are suggesting some tinkering/tweaking of my current portfolios in terms of weighting of specific funds and one thing i remember her telling me on the phone is that they would not recommend sector funds. Meaning, I'm now invested in their Health Science Fund and a Vanguard REIT fund, both of which focus on a single sector. They feel these are too volatile given my statement that a 15 or 20% correction now, at this point so close to retirement, would concern me "very much."

I'm not opposed to closing those both out, though I do remember one reason i got the REIT fund is that I no longer have a mortgage, so it represented some real estate diversification that I don't otherwise have exposure to.

Anyway, I do have to study this in more details and I believe some of their numbers were off. I'd also like to get them info on my company match each year. Not sure if it's really that significant given I'll only have that for another 3 years if things go my way.

I will share more tomorrow.

In other news, Patient Saver IS crazy itchy itchy itchy. I have a bad case of poison ivy which i got last week. I'm hopeful that "any day now," i should turn the corner and start to see an improvement. The worst spot is on the inside of my left wrist. I have some also near my right elbow and on my stomach.

The itchiness definitely waxes and wanes. I've been trying to wear short-sleeves shirts when I can because even the slightest brushing up against it as a sleeve would makes it really scratchy. It's usually around this time i go see the doctor for prednisone, but if I can avoid nasty drugs, I would prefer that.

The part on my left wrist looks downright nasty. I was planning on going to a reception at the arts group today and i didn't want to repulse anyone with it, so I did wear a long-sleeved shirt to cover it up.

I spent a few hours at the arts place and spoke to a number of very nice little old ladies. They are all so friendly and sweet and kind. I decided to purchase 2 small framed photographs, one of just 2 sales today. I thought they were really quite reasonable, at $40 each, and then I learned that if purchased together, they were just $60 for the pair. They were photos of shorebirds on the beach with frames that looked "beachy." God knows where these will go, with all my mother's art, but I love birds and I wanted to support the arts. Smile

They all seemed quite pleased, although the woman who took those photos wasn't there. She will get a phone call. I won't be able to take the photos home til the end of the show, when I pick up my mother's work. I had someone take my picture with my mother's work there and someone had prepared a half dozen tabletop tent cards describing my mother and her work. Plus I had her bio and framed photo there and 2 of her larger pieces.

What to donate

April 29th, 2016 at 12:11 am

I had a good talk with someone from the non-profit healthcare center here in town. She and the doctor who founded this place are going to come to my home to see what art I'd like to donate.

I went through about 2 dozen rolled up wall tapestries I hadn't even looked at yet and decided I'd like to donate most of them. They just aren't my style, take up a lot of space and I already have enough to sell with the framed and matted pieces.

I'm also thinking of donating up to another 10 paintings done in what i would call a primitive style depicting small village scenes based on photos my mother took in Morocco and Mexico. The Moroccan ones are interesting, because in some cases I have both the original framed photo of a particular scene as well as the painting, so there's added interest in seeing how the artist interpreted a particular scene.

At the same time, the Moroccan stuff looks very Middle Eastern; my mother was fascinated by the architecture and incorporated a lot of it in some of her work, but we're at a time now when Middle Eastern stuff might not be so appealing to a lot of people becus terrorism has given that part of the world a bad name.

This is all much more than I originally envisioned donating but I think I would feel mostly relieved to move it out of here. It would be going to a very good cause, one I believe in strongly (free healthcare for all) and a highly respected group in town. Plus it would stay in my town, which, after 20 years here, feels important to me.

I would just want to take a few photos of the installed art. Maybe with this size donation we could get a small plaque with my mother's name on it. I would really like that. So would she. My goal is to keep her name alive, and her art still enjoyed by others. This is what drives me.

They are moving into a 5,000 square foot space they'll own this October. So I don't know if they'd wait to put it all up til then or use it where they are now, a smaller rented space.

All that being said, we've had these discussions without them having seen my mother's art yet. To be perfectly up front, I am keeping what I feel are the best pieces, as well as those pieces i think are most sellable. The ones I'm donating I don't care for much and I don't know that they're as sellable either. I hope when they come to see it they don't agree with me or feel I'm trying to donate the least desirable stuff.

And art is so subjective...what if they don't personally like it? Well, regardless of their personal taste in art, my mother's art is very, very colorful, and it would certainly liven up the usual sterile doctors' offices.

My portfolio did pretty well for the month of April, thanks to the stock market. It was up $22,000.

More perennial sales from my garden

April 28th, 2016 at 12:27 am

The 1st woman showed up tonight after work with her mother to pick up some blue milkweed, a very pretty perennial that grows about waist high and looks like an ornamental grass.They spent $42 on the clumps which I was selling for $9 and $12, so I was quite happy they bought so much. Quite honestly, the larger $12 clump could be easily divided into 4 smaller clumps, so I think my prices are pretty reasonable.

It's really nice to be able to earn a little pocket money from something growing in the garden that was "in the way" and would have otherwise been tossed in the woods. Kind of at the last minute I decided what the heck, I've sold this before a few years ago, why not do it again? It makes me feel less dependent on my salaried job, which of course I am, but it still feels good to come up with creative ways to earn a buck.

I have someone else coming over tomorrow and a third person as well, although she seemed less definite.

I have my first case of poison ivy for the season. It's on the inside of my wrist. Ironically, I WAS wearing gardening gloves but the poison ivy rash is immediately BELOW where the glove ended. It's a nasty-looking welt but so far I don't think it's spread.

Just now, someone on Facebook said they wanted 3 yarn cones I've had posted for a while. Waiting for her to ok the ship cost. I recently gave away 3 boxes stuffed with assorted odds and ends yarns that i was having trouble selling becus it was just a single skein in 1 color, for instance, or one small cone. It's all been sitting around here long enough (!), I'd say, since last June, so just about 11 months!! I have just one small table of yarns left, and these are priced at dirt cheap prices. Just to move them out of here. At some point, I'll likely donate any of these that are still left, too.

I've found that one effective way to get people to buy more is to figure out the shipping cost when someone indicates they want something, and then I can often point out that there's room in the box to fit more yarn cones. I've learned from prior experience that adding 1 or 2 additional cones often does not increase the shipping at all, so the buyer is essentially getting those with free shipping. People have thanked me for pointing this out. So it's a win/win!

When I dropped off art for my mother's tribute show last night, one of the women on the board asked me if I'd want to present the Best in Show award, but I quickly declined since as you may recall, i don't like speaking in front of a crowd. Although I think I could handle saying like 5 words. She accepted that, but she also mentioned they would say a few words about my mother, and recognize me as her daughter, at the start of the ceremony. So I have been shanghaied into going to the opening reception this Saturday, which I hadn't really planned on doing. Oh, what the heck, I may enjoy it. They told me the person who last year's show was dedicated to (i think also the child(ren) of someone who died) sold their work at the show, even though it technically wasn't part of the show, becus only live people can take part. I brought 2 large pieces of my mother's, and one woman on the board commented that the prices I had on them, $400 each, was very reasonable, which confirmed what I felt was true. But again, I need to start moving some pieces.

I think I will bring my camera and ask someone to take my picture standing in front of my mother's work. The women there are so kind. I will get a better idea of the cross-section and makeup of this group at their Saturday function.

I also had a meaningful conversation with a woman when I got a postcard in the mail from a arts/cultural center in Pearl River, NY. It was about an art opening, and I knew my mother had exhibited there before, but I figured since I could safely say I wouldn't want to schlep art that far (an hour away, and it would mean 2 trips, 1 to drop off and 1 to pick up), I decided to call the phone number to get my mother (me) off their mail list, as I have done for countless other types of unwanted mail.

As it turned out, the woman who ran the gallery answered the phone and she knew my mother very well. She knew my mother when she was still married to husband #3, and that's going back many years. She also was the one, she told me, who introduced my mother to a well-known sculptor, now deceased, who collaborated with my mother when she wove a silk tapestry for the Chapel at West Point. It was one of the high points of her career. I am in possession of some correspondence she had with the sculptor, along with a very nice thank you note on West Point stationery.

Anyway, she was saddened to learn of my mom's passing. I knew there would be people close to my mother whom I wouldn't necessarily know about by looking at her phone directories. The woman said she also does a lot of exhibits at hospitals and healthcare centers and that Pearl River is only her base and that she travels a lot. So even though I'm not up for "schlepping," we did agree that when I had time I would email her some jpg photos of my mother's work that I'd be up for selling. And I'll see what, if anything, comes of it.

Coincidentally, she said she and her husband were driving from Vermont that very day, where I guess they live, down to Manhattan, to meet the sculptor's widow for dinner, who must have met my mother at the time of their collaboration. They said they would mention my mother to her.

And the week after next, I have an appointment with the local florist in town, who also had a very nice gift shop. I will bring representative pieces of some of my mother's styles/genres but they have very limited wall space so it has to be "small."

So each place has their own requirements and I am trying to be thoughtful about which pieces to offer where. I still haven't heard back from the medical facility where I'd like to donate a few pieces. Maybe tomorrow, my next work-at-home day.

It's going to be a very busy day. Tomorrow I also am getting a call from T. Rowe Price. Assuming you have a certain minimum invested with them, they give you a complimentary evaluation of how you're doing after you input all your balances and tell them what you are most concerned with knowing. It'll be a 40-minute meeting so I'm curious to hear what they have to say.

Dumb, de dumb dumb

April 26th, 2016 at 12:40 pm

i was really looking forward to voting for Bernie today. Unfortunately, when I showed up at the polling place, they informed me I was "Undeclared/independent." I thought I changed over to Democratic years ago, but I guess not. DARN IT. I have been very independent all my life, but let's be real -- I've never voted Republican, so why not just register Democratic so I can at least vote in primaries.

I am back to selling divided perennials from my gardens, not because I have to, as I did around 2010, 2011 and 2012, when I was underemployed, but only because I wanted to dig up two large overgrown clumps of blue milkweed and after planting it in 4 different spots around the perimeter of the yard, still hated to toss any away.

As before, there were plenty of people expressing interest in my blue milkweed! It's different, people aren't familiar with it, and yet they should be, because it's deer-resistant, attractive and looks similar to an ornamental grass with pretty blue star cluster flowers in the spring. I have people scheduled to come over today, tomorrow and Thursday. Very cool.

Right after work I'm off to Arts Association to drop off 2 large pieces of mom's art for the spring juried show which will be dedicated to my mom's memory. In addition to the 2 pieces, I've created 2 8.5 x 11 desktop frames, one with her bio and one with her photo and a short quote by her on her art running along the right column. It all looks good.

I will wait til after this show is over to tell them I don't want to do the solo show in the fall. It's just too much work and the chances of a sale or sales after just a 1 month exhibit is pretty limited, IMO.

Went walking with a good friend at work yesterday. She was very supportive when I was going through all the stuff with my mother, because her husband had been through the same thing with his mother just 6 months prior. To treat themselves after a few very tough years with the Alzheimers, they took a weeklong trip to some Caribbean islands to a very expensive resort that cost them about $7,500 for 3 people. It was a heavily discounted packaged. She raved about the resort, the trip and entire experience. Wow. I could probably tour western Europe for 2 months for that price! But they can afford it; she and her husband both make good money.

10 ways to honor the Earth in 2016

April 23rd, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Technically, I believe Earth Day was yesterday, but many towns are celebrating today.

There's so much you can do to keep the planet we live on healthy. How many of these are you doing? This list is oriented toward other homeowners; I am sure if you rent you could come up with your own lists just as easily.

1. Pick up litter. Each year my town has Lose the Litter day where volunteers fan out across town and pick up litter on their own streets or on assigned streets. Organizers hide special gold soda cans with free movie or restaurant tickets hidden inside.

Litter is a blight and shows disrespect. As a vegan, I believe my body is a temple; in the same way, I feel the Earth is our home and should be treated with respect.

I've picked up litter for years, tho not always during the town-sponsored Lose the Litter days. I must admit to getting out of the habit in recent years, but i do still pick up things I think could hurt wildlife, such as broken glass or deflated balloons that can be mistaken for worms by birds.

2. Recycle. When I stop to think about all we recycle these days, it's a lot. But so much more needs to be done. Debris floating around in the ocean and choking marine life is in itself a terrible thing.

In my town, I recycle cardboard, clean, dry paper packaging, copy paper, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, plastic food containers, metal food containers, glass, plastic garden nursery pots, coat hangers, kitchen "organics," meaning food waste, clothing (via GoodWill) and shoes/sneakers, when I learn of a drive going on, household hazardous wastes. My town also recycles mattresses, used motor oil and large bulky metals like refrigerators.

IMO there's an urgent need to find a way to recycle Styrofoam and soft plastic bags.

3. Drive an energy-efficient car. I think I'm on my 5th Honda now; the next one will be a Prius. If you're lucky enough to live in a urban area where you don't need a personal car, even better. Here in suburban Connecticut, mass transit is sorely lacking.

Low gas prices are definitely not here to stay. Even though they're low now, I still try to consolidate trips whenever possible.

4. Here's a controversial one: Consider having just one child. Let's face it, the Earth is over-populated. If you consider how many resources it takes to raise just one individual, and how many resources that one individual will consume in their lifetime, just think how much impact choosing to have one child instead of 2 or 3 could have on the planet.

5. If you can afford the upfront costs, which have dropped considerably, put solar panels on your roof.

6. Make sure you have adequate insulation, especially in the roof, where most heat escapes.

7. Use a timer for your lighting, furnace and hot water heater, none of which need to be on 24/7.

8. Consider leaving a portion of your assets to worthy environmental groups in your will, and donate during your lifetime.

9. Use electric or cordless outdoor landscaping equipment. These days, battery or electric lawnmowers, trimmers, edges and blowers are readily available. Who wants to mess with dirty, noisy gas-powered equipment and have to store flammable liquids in their garage? The neighbors will thank you each weekend when they get to enjoy their outdoor barbecue without the roar of your mower in their ears.

10. If you have children, spend quality outdoor time with them so they come to love the solitude of a walk in the woods, understand the wonder that comes from watching a dragonfly flit above a meadow or a box turtle plunk into a pond. The more time kids spend glued to their iphones, ipads or iwhatnots, the less they'll connect with nature, and the less inclined they'll be to protect it.

Look what i found at the dump!

April 21st, 2016 at 11:41 pm

I'm so excited to have found this there:

A Japanese lantern! I saw a new one like mine on Amazon for $141,

though it appears mine is missing the roof. It also has one broken leg, which I also was able to retrieve from the concrete/masonry waste pile at the dump. Too bad I didn't have the roof. But it still has a very distinct Buddhist temple-like look to it, which I like.

It was quite heavy but I managed to haul it into the trunk of my Honda. You never know what you'll find in the masonry rubble pile! Once I found some perfectly good, unbroken terra cotta pots, including one that was quite nice with a weave design, which I still have. Another time I found a few dozen Belgian blocks, which I used to line some perennial beds. I'll have to check there more often!

As far as this lantern goes, without the roof, there's a round hole where I can put a plant in. And believe it or not, the lantern stands fine without the 4th leg, so if I wanted to just turn it so the leg was facing into some shrubbery, you wouldn't even notice it missing.

I am wondering if there's a way to repair broken concrete stuff?

Forever Wild & Free, by Luther H. Patient Saver

April 21st, 2016 at 09:35 am

Yeah, so The Human is fond of saying she is "a writer's writer." Meaning, she has a passion for what she does and she was born to do it.


Where does she come up with this stuff?

To which I say, Hey, lady. If you're a writer's writer, I'm a cat's cat. Hear me roar. I am Cat. Forever wild and free.

It makes me chuckle when I think about how the only place "safe" for The Human to pet me is on the top of my head or back of the shoulders.

Occasionally, she can scratch my ears.

Anywhere else, and those human fingers are fair game.

She just doesn't learn. She says my giant paws with the hair growing between my delectable Maine Coon toes is just too hard to resist.

Unwisely, she tries to touch them. This triggers my bite reflex, but somehow the years of domesticity have softened the 3,700 pounds-per-square-inch strength of my jaws, so I will lunge for her paw, clamp down on her tasty little finger in my mouth, then immediately lick it a little to let her know she'll get off with just a warning...this time. She still hasn't taken the hint though. Slow learner.

Allow me to properly introduce myself.

My full name is Luther Hoover Patient Saver. I was named Luther partly for the German theologian who began the Protestant Reformation, and also partly because if you say "Luther" very fast it sounds like Lucifer, the devil, and umm, that sounds like me.

As for my middle name, I was NOT named for our 31st president, as you might think, but for the venerable vacuum cleaner that, like me, sucks up everything left on the floor. Stringies, rubber bands, giant wandering ants, bits of strangely alluring dust and captivating, captured flies are just a few of my favorite things.

I am daring and dashing when it comes to anything food-related. The human says I'm "food-oriented." I don't know about that, but I can tell you nothing stands between me and FOOD.

Like, every night, we get our after-dinner snack. When The Human heads upstairs for the evening, I know the first thing she'll do is head into the bedroom to draw down the blinds. I like to race joyfully into the room ahead of her (practically tripping her in the process and often eliciting a loud shouting of my name), so I can leap atop my giant cardboard cat scratcher. This will put me about 12 inches higher and 12 inches closer to the aforementioned snacks when they fall from her paws onto the floor. One needs to be prepared.

So last night at the all-important Snack Time (something I've petitioned Obama know, declaring a national Snack Day) The Human put a few snacks in front of me on the scratching post and a few in front of my bro, Waldo, who was lying on the bed.

I wolfed mine down in .45 of a second. Surprisingly, Waldo didn't touch his. What can I say, sometimes he's in the mood, sometimes he's not. I jumped on the bed and Waldo, who's such a push-over, allowed audacious me to gobble up HIS snacks from right between his paws, with nary a protest.

Wow. He's so mellow. It's hilarious.

Like me, Waldo can only be petted very carefully. But not because The Human could lose a finger from him like she could from me. It's because he's still so gosh darn shy. As long as The Human doesn't move too fast or try to scoop him up in an embrace, he's good. As he tells me all the time, he's a lover, not a fighter.

I guess that's why we get along so well. Cus I'm the alpha, and he's not. It works for us.

Well, it's 5 a.m. and I need to fit in another cat nap before daybreak. hope you enjoyed these little insights into the workings of the feline mind.

Up Next: Me, the Escape Artist

Found myself a new lawnmower man

April 21st, 2016 at 12:58 am

I decided to work at home today because I think I have a cold. It's either that or the allergies I mentioned yesterday. I'm really not sure becus if it is a cold, it didn't come on like they always do, starting with a sore throat.

I found and hired a new guy to mow my lawn this year, at the same price I paid last year.

I called at least 4 guys who said they didn't travel this far out; i had called them because they ranked high on Angie's List.

If the first guy I reached had gotten here last night when he said he would swing by to look at the lawn, I would have given him the job right then and there, because he is fairly local and matched the price I paid last year. But he was a no-show last night and while I touched base with him this a.m., he didn't say when he would be here so I waited here all day; he didn't show up til tonight.

But by mid-afternoon, I had lost faith he would show up at all, and so I found a guy in my hometown who also matched my price. I decided to go with him because he told me exactly when he would come by and he arrived on time.

They were both very nice but if the 1st guy had that much trouble just getting here, I was wondering if the mowings themselves would be a problem.

I decided to give 4 large boxes of yarn odds and ends to a weaver friend of mine; she came by mid-day to pick them up and we chatted for a while. These are half used cones or small volume skeins that wouldn't be of much use to most people but i thought her weaving groups might be able to play with the yarns all the same. Seemed a shame to throw them out but it was getting harder and harder to sell them, especially since most at this point don't have labels as to fiber. I still have 1 small table of yarns I am selling, and the weaver friend purchased $20 worth. I helped carry the boxes to her car.

I have an electrician coming over Saturday morning for 5 small jobs; i don't know that he'll be able to do them all.

When I was at work Monday, I stopped in at a new French Vietnamese restaurant for something as I was still hungry after having my own tomato/brussel sprout soup.

I got a coconut tapioca and was wondering why it cost so much ($5). Well what a treat it was. It was the large pearl tapioca with something crusty on top and under the tapioca was some gelatinous chia seeds and under that was pineapple chopped up very fine. The whole thing was very delicious, so much so that it inspired me to search for chia seed tapioca recipes. I made a super easy chocolate version. What happens is that the chia seed turns gelatinous when you combine it with a liquid like almond milk, so it works great in any kind of pudding. I made it for tomorrow's breakfast but it may not last that long. Smile(

Tomorrow I have to go over to the local IRS office to verify my identity by filling out a special IRS form, all so they will accept/process my mother's federal tax return. What a pain.

We're expecting a possible frost tonight so I decided to cover up quite a few ground phlox already in bloom, along with tulips and other tender bulbs also in bloom. And I cut myself another bouquet of gorgeous, gigantic daffodils, just so I can enjoy them in the house, becus i couldn't cover all those up.

I started deadheading other spent daffodils.

Wow, 9 pm already..time to watch The Good Wife. Smile

Big $$ Scare

April 19th, 2016 at 07:06 pm

No sooner did I receive a letter in the mail from state of Connecticut acknowledging my payment of $7,000 from my mother's estate did I get another unwelcome surprise in the mail, this time from Medicare.

The document ("This is not a bill") indicated I owed $17,000 to Masonicare for my mother's care. This money would come out of my pocket indirectly, since it would be deducted from my mother's estate.

Needless to say, I was very alarmed but I also knew there were some much smaller doctors' payments owed, according to the Medicare statement, but when I called the doctor's office, they said it was covered.

These Medicare statements are also very confusing in that they often seem to cover overlapping periods of time.

Anyway, I was able to quickly confirm that I don't owe Masonicare anything more than I've already paid (which was a lot)! Really big phew.

Today I got my new TD Bank card. It was very nice that the rep, without being prompted by me, confirmed that after spending $1500 in 3 months I'd get $200. I was glad she did this becus usually I take a Print Screen of the offer in case there are any issues upon redemption, but this time I forgot and for the life of me I could only find $150 offers online. So anyway, it should work out okay. Time to spend.

The strangest thing has happened to me. Yesterday morning at work I realized I had a very itchy right side of my nose; it felt like I was going to sneeze. All day. And since then, I've had a stuffy nose. I had heard you can develop allergies any time during your life, and that was my first guess, because the tree pollen levels are high right now.

But it's also very upsetting becus, while my mother and sister have always had allergies, I never did, and to think I've gone my entire life blissfully allergy-free only to develop them now, in my 50s??

It's kind of depressing because it's not that enjoyable. However, today I'm wondering if I actually just have a cold. I say that only because from yesterday's itchy and occasionally sneezy nose, it's now more stuffy, probably on both sides.

Yet it seems odd to get a cold now, and besides, I always start off with days of just a sore throat, and then it develops from there. This time, it started off with a very itchy nose, just the one side, but now today I am feeling kind of tired/achy.

So which is it? I'm actually not sure. I'm not aware of any other symptoms.

For those of you who might be interested, I thought I would share the link to the little art blog I helped my mother set up while she was alive; she never really got the hang up making posts on her own, but since she's been gone I have been trying to keep up with it occasionally when I have news of an exhibit. Here's the link; I encourage you to "follow" us!

One bit of encouraging news...after actually being turned down TWICE by non-profits who weren't interested in donated art (who knew this could be so hard), I connected with one that is interested.

It's a very special kind of place, a healthcare center right here in town, run by a doctor and nurses who volunteer their time to provide free healthcare tho those who could not otherwise afford it on their own. I believe they are moving into larger quarters soon, still in town, so perhaps that is part of the reason they are interested in art!

They haven't actually seen mom's art yet; i just inquired via a phone message. I was reluctant to email jpgs this time around because my photography skills aren't that great and I don't feel my photos really did the art justice. I wasn't really given specific reasons why the 2 other groups weren't interested, and I did feel bad, wondering if they had a personal negative reaction to the particular pieces I'd earmarked.

The woman isn't around this week but hopefully next week we can schedule a time I can come in and show her a few things in person.

I think my mother would love the idea. I know she wanted me to donate some art, but a not-for-profit medical facility is something especially worthy, I think.

I made a bunch of phone calls this morning for someone to mow my lawn this summer and an electrician. There have been some communication problems with the guy who mowed for me last year, and he billed me for a mowing I'm not sure they did. In October, I left him a phone message, sent him an email and wrote on a bill I mailed payment for that I wanted him to stop mowing. The reason being that I like to run my own mower with its mulcher blade on it over the fallen leaves so I don't have to rake. His mowers didn't mulch.

However, his mowers still showed up and luckily I was home and told them they weren't supposed to mow anymore and sent them away. I also remember there being an issue where they kept scalping my lawn, and after pulling up tufts of grass, weeds would grow back in their place. I asked them not to mow so low and they kept doing so...i think there was a language issue as he's Latino.

Finally, i found him through Angie's list, where he offered a 5% discount. I assumed this would be applied all summer long; he didn't say otherwise. About halfway through the summer, he stopped deducting for the 5% and I paid the bills without noticing until toward the end. When I brought it up he said that was for new customers only.

Anyway, he's feeling disgruntled becus he thinks I owe him for one last mowing, and I'm unhappy for the reasons listed above. So I'm hoping to find someone else who will do it for about the same price as it comes out to about $1,000 for the season, which is a lot to spend on lawn mowing.

A purr-fect day

April 18th, 2016 at 11:17 am

I felt so indulged yesterday.

After breakfast (mom always feeds us boys before herself), I was brushed all over with the wire brush that I love. I can work up a purr just seeing it when it comes out of the drawer. It's like heaven, and I oblige mom by periodically turning over so she can get every bit of me. Mom got a lot of hair off me, as I'm shedding my winter coat. Ahh, it doesn't get any better than this.

After that brushing, it seemed only natural to do what I do best: nap. In fact, while mom and Luther were rummaging around in the attic and knocking around the kitchen, I continued to nap and had the bed all to myself til lunchtime. Yes, we boys have a lunchtime, a small tin of Fancy Feast. I mean, some day, we'll look back on times when people only fed their animals once or twice a day and realize how cruel that truly is. Luckily, Patient Saver bends over backwards to keep me content. Smile

That afternoon, I basked in the warmth of the sun room as I lay on the chaise lounge. Well, mom was laying on the chaise lounge; I was laying on her! This is my favorite room in the house, because we've got a great view of all the goings on in the backyard. Over the years, we've seen foxes, lots of turkeys, skunks, wood chucks and of course deer in our backyard. And the occasional intruder cat!

But today, our main visitors were the cardinals, blue jays, chickadees and what not looking for a handout. Luther eyed a tufted titmouse pleased to discover sunflower seed in the little bird feeder that's been empty all winter. Frown

So we whiled away the day pretty well. As is my wont, I energetically pulled up an edge of the frayed family room carpet with my scratching, and this time, mom did nothing to stop me. It's probably too far gone. Smile He he he.

Then, oh lordy, the best treat of all: I shared dinner with mom, a heavenly wild Alaskan sockeye salmon (the only salmon mom eats) that tasted of the sea. I figure I snagged about a third of it, and it was oh so good.

In the evening, we watched an episode from The Good Wife (we're into the 3rd season) and another from Curb Your Enthusiasm (2nd season). The 3 of us barely fit in the queen sized bed, but we make it work. Smile

Here's to the good life. Never in all my days at the shelter could I know that, one day, I would be dining on salmon, getting belly rubs on demand and cuddling under the covers with such a wonderful woman, Patient Saver. I am living in the moment.