Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2017 All rights reserved

My Photo
Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Letting Go

. . . of some magazine subscriptions. I've subscribed to Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens for years, but I'm letting my subscriptions expire. Now that I'm elderly, these magazines no longer have much to offer me. Warning: A rant follows:

Check out these covers. Do you notice a common theme here? Food! Particulary food that I—as a gluten-sensitive diabetic—can't eat.  Lots of cakes and pies, etc. Lots of goodies to send my blood sugar soaring.

The covers that don't feature food, feature other things that don't pertain to me. A recent issue of Southern Living features food, but does slip in a nod to something southern—Savannah.

Classic Desserts? Uh, no. Too diabetic. Ditto for the Red Beans and Rice. Those 20 Weeknight Suppers? All laden with carbs. The Savannah Getaway? Can't do that anymore, but my husband and I visited Savannah when we lived in Charleston, SC, back in 1969. Too far to go for us now. Plus who'd look after the critters?

A lot of the magazines—including these—features make-up ads. I'm not sure what they have to do with having  better home, a nice garden, or a life in the south. But those ads must make the magazines  fortune.

Aside from an occasional bit of lipstick if I'm going out, I don't do make-up any more. In fact, I regret ever wearing make-up. All those years of foreign stuff sseeping into my skin couldn't have been good for me.

Trust me, the "style makers" pictured below (on a fold-out cover, no less!) are about as far from my style as you can get.  Looks like none of those folks on the cover do yard-work or farm-work. And the shoes—what the heck can you do while wearing spike-heel sandals except look useless (and maybe fall down)?

I haven't worn high-heeled shoes since I was young and stupid. Two bouts of plantar fasciitis and a heel spur episode have put me in sensible shoes with orthotic insoles for the rest of my life. I also wouldn't think of wearing clothes like that (although I did wear a miniskirt or two in 1969 when I actually had the figure for it, and I did wear wide-legged pants in the late 60s-early 70s). Around the house, I wear sweat pants and T-shirts or sweatshirts.  I do have a skirt or two in the back of my closet that I might have worn in the last decade. Or at least in the last millennium. 

Better Homes and Gardens seems to be trying to bribe me to stay a subscriber. The last time, they threw in a complimentary subscription to Family Circle. Notice it also has the emphasis on food I can't eat, and it seems to be geared to a younger reader: a stressed-out woman with kids and not enough time, a woman who just isn't "good enough" so the magazine will show her how.

The "Five Ways to Reinvent Your Life," for instance, aren't really about reinventing your life.  They're about discovering your passion via asking yourself five questions. (Only I don't think they have much to do with "passion" either.) Here are the questions (with my answers): 
  • What was I like when I was a child? (I was very shy, I wanted a horse, and I liked cats. I got over the shyness, finally bought a horse when I was 32, and now have a gang of cats. What does this have do do wih passion?)
  • Which topic can I talk about for hours on end? (Nothing, but I'm good for about a half-hour on a lot of things. Why would anyone want to hear me talk for hours on end?)
  • If you asked my best friend what I'm awesome at, she would say. . . ? ("Ask somebody else"? I can't think of any friends that are "awesome" at something, even though they have a lot of talents and interests, so I'm glad no one has asked me that question. Why put a best friend on the spot like that, anyhow?)
  • What hobbies do I squeeze in—even when there's no time? (I don't "squeeze in" anything. I usually read every night. I spend time writing—if an idea hits me. Oh, wait!—I squeeze in emergency calls to the vet if one of my critters is sick, but that's not exactly a hobby. Notice how this article assumes that someone has "no time"?)
  • Is there something you always say you'll do one day? (Not anymore. I've let go of a lot of things I'd like to do because I've gotten too old and infirm. I tell myself that I'll make my final burial arrangements, and I've done part of that—buying my own tombstone, and then buying another because the first one was stolen. And again—what does this have to do with passion? Or even re-inventing?)
From a cursory reading of Family Circle, I've decided it has less to offer me than the other magazines. The "Chocolate Love/Reinvent Your Life" issue's 120 pages also had a lot of full-page (and more) ads for drugs: Tylenol, Opdivo, Imbrance, Pristique, Namzaric, Prilosec, Bydureon, Premarin, Prolaria, and Repatha. Plus a bunch of full page ads for foods and other stuff. Who needs that? And at 72, I don't need the story about IUDs either. So I'm letting go of Family Circle.

Women's magazines from years ago had in-depth articles and even short stories. I guess those days are gone now.

And my magazine subscriptions will soon be gone, too. I doubt I'll miss them.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The End Again

Melody Sundance
(August 15, 1989-January 30, 2017

In 2011, I posted "The End" about the death of my elderly mare Cupcake. Now another end has come—this time for Melody—and I am left horseless for the first time in 40 years. Here's how the two looked in their heyday.

While I'd seen Cupcake take her first steps, I didn't meet Melody until she was five. But I have a picture of how she looked as a baby following her mother Tippy Lou at Breezewood Farm in Staunton, Virginia.

When I first met Melody, this is how she looked. 

After I'd ridden her and dismounted, she put her head against my chest. I knew she was mine.

Melody was a big mare—nearly 16 hands. She was a powerhouse and could move out when asked. But, despite her wild eye, she was gentle, well-mannered, and cooperative. 

I didn't ride her much the last several years—she had a bout with Lyme disease  a few years back, a bout of founder, a hoof abscess. And I had health issues of my own.

My cousin Mary sometimes rode Melody down the road and on the trails on our farm. You can see pictures on this 2008 post, "Melody Rides Again," and this 2009 post, "Late October Ride."

In the last few years, Melody was mostly a pasture pet or a lawn ornament.

In her sunset years—her mid-20s, she started losing teeth and couldn't chew very well. I added water to her pellets to make them chewable. She still tried to graze and eat hay, though, but often spit out "cuds" she couldn't swallow.

The last year, she started losing weight so I upped her watered-down pellets a couple of times. 

Every morning and evening at feeding time, she'd wait by the fence where I fed the barn-cats. As soon as they were fed and I'd gotten into my golf-cart, she'd hurry to her shed where I'd feed her. That's what she did the morning of January 30. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground and she moved out faster than usual to go to the shed. As she came down the hill, I noticed how thin she'd gotten, but I was glad she could still move out.

As usual that morning, she ate all her watered-down pellet breakfast.

But late that afternoon when I went to feed, she wasn't waiting with the cats. She was in the stall part of her shed where a beam of sunlight shone on her. She didn't come to her bucket and demand to be fed, so I went to her. The light was gone from her eyes, and she didn't respond much as I petted her. Something was horribly wrong. I went back to the house and called the vet. He was there within 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, she'd walked to her bucket but hadn't eaten. The three barn cats—Twiggy, Spotz, and Sherman—came down and sat in a line and watched her, something they'd never done before. While I waited for the vet, I groomed her. 

To make a long story short, the vet couldn't detect gut sounds on her right side. There was no manure in her lower intestine, and no fresh manure anywhere around the shed. When he ran a tube to her stomach, foul stuff poured out from what should have been an empty stomach. There didn't seem to be anything we could do but give her a merciful exit from this world. 

She was already tranquilized, so she went quietly and peacefully. 

She's buried in the pasture beside Cupcake.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Horse Trailer Scam Revisited

On May 14 2015, I posted about a horse trailer ad that my husband noticed on Craigslist. You can read it here: Anyhow, this ad sounded too good to be true. I was sure it was a scam and did a bit of Googling. Yep—it was a scam.

What surprised me was the number of folks who commented on my post. Some were almost taken in, but they did a bit of checking and found my blog. Last night I heard from a reader—Seth—who sent me some jpegs to post. It seems that the former "Jenny Cooper," now Eva Bond (who also uses the names Eva Baker, Amy Jones, Robert Munson, and Tara Lomas) is still selling that exact same horse trailer. Take a look (You'll have to click on the pictures to enlarge them):

Notice in the next one that "Tara" responds that she's "recently divorced" and has to sell the trailer fast because she's "leaving the country for a year on military duty with my medical team." Doesn't that tug at your heart? How could someone like that want to cheat you? Easy. . . .

From the comments on my original post, I knew she'd (he'd?) been selling a Bobcat and other equipment. But it turns out, she's also selling a car—a Nissan for only $1,500:

But folks are catching on:

Poor "Eva Bond" responds exactly like "Tara" in the horse trailer ad—that she's "recently divorced" and has to sell the car fast because she's "leaving the country for a year on military duty with my medical team." 

But word is getting out about Eva/Tara/Amy/Robert's scam. Check out Scam Warners at . 
There's a post by someone who paid her money and didn't get the car at Scam Book:$3,269.89

From what Seth told me, Eva/Tara/Amy/Robert/etc. uses fake gmail addys. Three of them begin totolomas65, emadun69, and evabond69. Plus she/he/they use a masked number when texting via Spoof Card that alters the caller's ID.

Let the potential buyer beware. And never underestimate the power of Google!
Thanks, Seth, for sending me the info.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mattress Cat-Work

by Tanner (Housecat-in-Chief)

Mommy wanted to vacuum under the bed the other day and wash the bedskirt. Ths involved pushing the matttress to the side, removing the bedskirt, and then pushing the box spring to get to the floor under the bed. Naturally I volunteered to help.

As soon as she pushed off the mattress I was on it. I had to give it a good inspection. I didn't see any problems.

I looked all around to see if anything else needed cleaning. This was a different perspective for me.

When she pushed over the box-spring, I checked the floor to see if it needed cleaning. It did.

Then I climbed back up to the top of the mattress. I liked the view from up there.

Plus, up top was a good place to be out of her way while she was vacuuming.

From up there, I could supervise pretty well until the box-spring was back in place and—Wait! Where did Alfreda and Arlo come from?

You might know they'd show up after most of the work was done!