If I do move, the laws have to make sense

My mom very much wants me to move back to Minnesota to be closer to her. Right now that isn’t a possibility, financially or emotionally. But I’ve agreed to consider it a few years from now.

However, the longer I stay where I am, the happier I am here. Still, I think the desire to spend as much time as possible with my mom while she’s alive will eventually drive me back north.

No, the cold doesn’t bother me. Well, it does, but I can live with it more easily than many others. I have to say this about winters in Minnesota: if it snows, there are plenty of plows to keep the roads clear. Where I live now that isn’t the case, not in the least. It isn’t unusual for some roads–and some parking lots–to never get plowed.

And while the law in Minnesota requires people to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes, the law here is tricky. If you shovel a path and someone later slips and falls, they can sue you. If you never tend to the sidewalks, there’s no recourse for the fallen. The law is similar for parking lots.

A few years back someone had the brainy idea to publish obscure or wacky laws throughout the United States. I don’t know if shoveling laws from any state made it on that list, but a quick Google search uncovered these fun facts:

  • It is illegal for women to drive while wearing a house coat in California.
  • In Texas, it is illegal to milk another person’s cow (that one has a germ of sense–it could be theft–but in practical terms is a tad foolish).
  • In Los Angeles, it is illegal to wear a zoot suit. That has to be problematic on some movie sets.

No doubt each state has it share of crazy laws, and no doubt each of these laws had some common sense at its inception. We all know how, in our nation’s capital, laws that make it through Congress usually have some sort of attachment that seems completely unrelated (and likely is) to the law in question. That’s crazy, but that’s politics.

Well, I titled this post “If I do move, the laws have to make sense,” but we all know that isn’t wholly possible. I’ll just have to leave my house coats and zoot suits at home when I visit my relatives in California.

Image Credits: Map © Bigstock; Zoot Suit © stock.adobe.com


Winter Can Stick Around As Long As It Wants

Well, spring looked like it was on the way earlier this week — but today we reverted back to winter.

This isn’t as difficult for me as it is for some of my neighbors. They’re ready for summer by now. Or so they say. Last year we got no spring. Not one day of it. We went straight from coat weather to 80 — then 90 — degrees. So they complained about that.

As for me, I lived in Minnesota long enough to believe March is still a part of winter. Spring comes along in April. Plus, I rather like winter, certainly more than summer. Now I can do without the sub-arctic cold experienced by much of our country earlier this year, and I don’t like driving in the snow, but overall I like the coziness of the cold.

My heating bill is generally lower than that for air conditioning (both electric, the only option in the rocky terrain I live in). And I love having a bowl of chowder simmering on the stove or a pan of rolls baking in the oven. Yes, I can do those things in July, but it just doesn’t have the same effect.

So winter can stick around a little longer.

Image Credit: ©lena_zajchikova – stock.adobe.com


I just bought the most wonderful piece of housecleaning equipment — a vacuum designed to pick up pet hair. It still scares the cats (they look so bewildered when I dare to use it, as if I’d promised not to clean the carpets ever again after the last vacuum pooped out.) I’m embarrassed by how much cat hair I’ve pulled up already, but that’s not going to stop me. Next step is to shampoo the carpet, which will pick up even more.

You see an adorable kitten or a forlorn cat waiting to be rescued, and you think, “I must take this sweet baby home.” You know about the food, toys and litter. You’ve factored in vet visits. But it’s easy to forget in the passion of the moment of adoption just how much that cat hair is going to invade your life.

It’s all over my clothes and forget trying to get it out. If I wear something black, I’m bound to get a knowing look and this question, “how many cats do you have?”

Now hairless cats are an option, but I’ve learned a few things about them. They secrete an oil that’s just as difficult to eradicate as the hair. A co-worker owns six (and two “hairies”) and she’s brought one in to meet us. Actually, she brought Kate in for a brief stop before her (my co-worker Kelli’s) husband could take them home, but regardless, it gave me a chance to meet and hold one.

Their skin feels like a shammy cloth and they are super sweet. That’s apparently characteristic of the breed. Still, I like my cats to have a full body of fur. Those wrinkles in the skin freak me out.

But back to the vacuum cleaner. It’s like a new toy for me, which is good for the carpet. But not so good for the kitties!!

Image credit: (c) geosap — stock.adobe.com

Three Weeks

A month ago I had a routine mammogram, and a few days later I got the news.

The news, via the Internet, telling me (in somewhat technical language) that they didn’t like what they saw and I needed to come back for further testing. I was on the phone in a heartbeat, making that appointment, only to be told they couldn’t get me in for three weeks.

I’ve had so many mammograms and they always came back negative (as in nothing wrong), so it hadn’t even occurred to me this one might be problematic.

I did a self-exam (something admittedly I’m typically lax in doing) and felt a small bump. That’s what they tell you to look for — a lump the size of a pea.

I went to work that night knowing my life might change in three weeks. Three weeks! I had to wait that long.

The next day I contacted my doctor’s office to see if they had any clout in getting me in earlier. They didn’t.

Three weeks!

It was, as you might imagine, a long three weeks. I was able to put it out of my mind for short periods of time, even telling myself they couldn’t have been that concerned about what they saw or they would have gotten me in earlier. But I wasn’t sure about that. Still, for the most part, I was able to maintain my equilibrium. I didn’t tell anyone and as far as I know, no one suspected anything.

I didn’t check the bump again. I didn’t get on the Internet and research everything. I figured the testing would tell me everything I wanted to know.

So yesterday I went in for the ultrasound. Even longer than the three weeks was the wait in the lobby. The television set was airing an episode of Love It or List It. I didn’t care what the homeowners did.

And longer than that was the wait between the time they did the ultrasound and the time they gave me the news — which I’m guessing was five or ten minutes.

When the tech came back in, I could see the relief in her face. It was only a cyst, she told me. Very common. Didn’t mean an increased risk of cancer. Be sure to have my annual mammogram on time. Did I have any questions?

The obvious one, although I didn’t voice it. Why did I have to wait three weeks? For an appointment that altogether took less than 30 minutes?

I don’t have the answer to that, but at least the answer to the other question weighing on me for three weeks was the one I wanted to hear.

Image Credit: ©grandfailure – stock.adobe.com


Today we received a laughable phone call at work. Let me set this up a bit: I’m working for H&R Block, doing taxes for individuals. Now HRB has policies about using their name in social media, so out of respect for those policies, that’s all you’ll hear me say about the company.

Anyway, the call was from a man wondering if he could claim his “elderly” mother on his taxes (the answer is yes under specific circumstances). How old is this elderly woman? Sixty-four.

That’s not even retirement age!

Now his mother could be frail or disabled, and he’s taking care of her financially and otherwise, so I’ll cut him some slack. The reality for me is, my mom and some of my friends are in their 80s and the last word I’d use to describe them is “elderly.”

Where would we be without generational differences? I recently saw an episode of a favorite series of mine, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” in which Rob is trying to set up his older, but spry, uncle, with a “mature” lady. The woman he ultimately comes up with barely looks older than the two younger couples to me. I wonder if the writers of that show (yes, some are still alive) roll their eyes now at what they perceived to be mature.

Well, if they even pay attention to the work they did fifty-plus years ago.

Old age for pets comes a lot earlier, and I’m reminded of the time shortly after my cat Paco died. He was sixteen, a good long age for a cat. But when I told an eight-year-old friend of mine how old Paco had been, Gavin grew alarmed.

“He was only sixteen?” he said. He started to cry.

“Oh Gavin,” I said. “That’s old for a cat.”

Gavin clearly was not convinced, so I told his mom about it in case she wanted to talk to him further. She told me he hadn’t yet comprehended life expectancy for different mammals, and it was a point of confusion.

At the age of eight, I think I believed sixteen was the height of womanhood. I give Gavin credit at having a more realistic perspective.

Perspective is everything when it comes to age.

Image Credit: ©rolffimages – stock.adobe.com

Cloud Talk

Today I was early for work, so I leaned back in my car and watched the clouds float by. It was a windy day and they were moving quickly.

Like Charlie Brown and friends, I sought images in the sky. First face I saw was a cameo-like profile of s woman. It morphed into the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame, and then became nothing more than abstract poofs.

I moved on to the image of a mountain lion, and began to wonder if some legends of old found their start in cloud formations. I know the stars inspired some stories, but what about clouds?

What inspires stories, the tall tales or myths of today? We hear sometimes of odd prompts that influenced an author, songwriter or other artist. We don’t see the connection, but it’s there in the mind of the creator.

As for me, I watch the clouds float by and listen to hear what they might be saying.

Photo Credit: © Pakhnyushchyy – Fotolia

The Simple Things

Life’s simple pleasures are the best, the ditty goes, and this is a time when I agree. I’ve been following the Facebook posts of a college friend — who lives 2,000 miles from me but is close in my heart — about her husband’s battle with ALS.

First let me say, Sue is just about the nicest person you could ever meet. I loved her spirit and humor in college, and she was a loyal friend. When she met her husband, he was a widower with a small son. She ultimately adopted that little boy and they have a healthy, supportive relationship today as he seeks the answers we all sought in our 20s.

It hurts that a friend has to watch her husband deteriorate, knowing the worst is to come. Sue has been very honest about her feelings, and one post tugged at my heart. In it she told us the hardest part was the little things, like holding hands when they take a walk. Jerry has to work so hard to walk that that simple show of affection is now lost to him.

So I say, think about the simple pleasures in your life and treasure them, for they may be lost to you tomorrow. Appreciate all that you have without fearing losing it, just  recognizing that we can take nothing for granted.

Because simple pleasures are the best.

Image Credit: ©kieferpix – stock.adobe.com