The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Disarming Excuses


How are you?

I’m fine, thanks for asking.

Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I even missed the August installment of “Changing Seasons.” My bad.

Oh, I dunno… this and that.

Well, the library, for one – I’m learning how to use the new scanner to digitize the collection of negatives, slides, and photos. Nothing like a learning curve to keep the brain engaged. And to keep the butt clenched firmly on the not-so-ergonomic office chair.

The search for Women’s Institutes records has been fun – but I didn’t anticipate the load of admin work – correspondence, databases, shipping labels, instruction sheets (one per each of the 150-ish books), receipts for pick-up, tracking hours and expenses. I’m not complaining – well, my shoulder and wrist are. I have to meter out the work in small batches.

Back at the library, I’ve been helping with data entry and backup of the web site files. Including separating the 1972 interviews from one long page into 200 separate files. After a while, I was chanting the keyboard shortcuts as I opened and closed and cut and pasted the files. I need a good “working on the chain-gang” song to help get through a task, don’t you?

Mid-Century modern in a 1909 Arts and Crafts home.

I helped Vivian’s daughter stage the house in preparation for the real estate agent. Staging? Oh, you know, clearing counter tops, rearranging furniture. Some really cool (but awkwardly heavy) “mid-century modern” pieces. Good news: the house sold almost instantly. Which is astonishing for Cobalt.

An essential part of Northern Ontario: poutine. This is the steak variation for the carnivores who came to visit. Complete with squeaky cheese curds from Thornloe Cheese Factory.

Oh! And! Family has been visiting – which has been great – wall-to-wall rock collecting and poutine and s’mores and potato chips and beer.

On the health frontier, it delights me to report that the family celebrations did not interfere with the weight-loss regimen. I behaved myself (more or less – more chips and beer, no s’mores) and I’m still on a downward trend. Plus, my MD referred me for a stress test – strictly for baseline purposes since there is a family history of heart disease and stroke. Results: my heart is in excellent shape. AND, my BP is now a bit too low, so half doses of the meds!

In the “I hate when that happens” category, I broke a tooth. So, off to dentist. An hour and three-quarters later, happy new molar. Wow, what a marathon – at one point, the dentist asked if I wanted a break. I declined – getter done! – I indicated. But it occurred to me, he probably could have used a stretch after an hour hunched over, focused on re-building the tooth.

Late season blueberry picking. This patch was phenomenal! Berries in clusters as large as grapes.

The common denominator in most of these activities has been physical tension. Somewhere along the line — I suspect it was while moving furniture — I tweaked an old whiplash injury. Which is frustrating in that I need to limit my time on the keyboard exactly when I am using it more than usual. My neck, shoulder, and right arm are numb-ish. Yes, I’m getting treatment for that, too. And we rearranged the office furniture so that I have a work station equipped with a proper ergonomic set-up.

Hence, little by way of blogging for me. Especially since summer has arrived! Which has been somewhat disorienting, talking about heat and humidity when the trees are brilliant scarlet and gold. So, yeah, I’ve been out-of-doors when I’m not working at my volunteer stuff.

Oh! Yes! The kitties! I’ll wrap up with the one-liner that I didn’t submit on Wednesday:

“… looks like we’ll be having house-guests for the winter,” he said.

Asbolane making himself to home. Dot is elsewhere, enjoying his breakfast.




Categories: In Other News


51 replies

  1. Wow. You have been busy. Except for the tooth incident it sounds like it has been good busy. Family is great! Congrats on the positive health report. It was so good to see you and have a catch up! Hello Absolane.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It has been a good busy, Cheryl. And as much as I hate to admit it, I needed the kick in the butt to find a new dentist. It’s been almost two years since my last check up.

      Happy to read on your blog that you managed to land on your feet, so to speak, clear of Irma. Man, the southern states have been walloped!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good update. Sorry about your shoulder stuff but it sounds like it was a fun summer anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very happy you’ll be having house guests for the winter. Sorry about the aches and pains — I can relate. The film festival wraps up today in Toronto. There was a time I got the 50-movie pass and saw 5 – 6 films a day for 10 straight days. Now I’m lucky if I can sit through 1 without the need to keep fidgeting because something hurts or something’s getting stiff. Grrrrr …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very happy? Oh, so am I Fransi. I actually teared up when my husband finally saw reason to invite the kittens inside.

      He loves them to bits, but was worried about the potential for mayhem. Our place is by no means child/kitten proof. There was no way that it was going to happen simply because I said so. He had to figure it out for himself. And I am so glad that he did.

      I sympathize that you can relate to the aches and pains. Grrrrr is absolutely the right expression.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I get you about learning a new machine while sitting uncomfortably. Seems to me that people need to learn to focus as much attention on buying comfy chairs as they do on acquiring techie stuff. They both are necessary, working in tandem, if we are to progress as human beings using computer-y things for the good of all mankind. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right on, Ally. If it’s not repetitive strain to the wrists, it’s the awkward tilt of the head, or eyestrain, or grinding teeth, or tense shoulders or, or, or…

      Last week a friend of similar, shall we say, “vintage” almost hospitalized herself by sitting too long at her computer while she pulled an all-nighter to meet a deadline. She sat with her legs wrapped around the chair legs. When she tried to stand up, she couldn’t. She had to call her son to help her.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You never stop do you? That is not a judgement, by the way, but a very heartfelt ‘way to go Maggie’ for keeping busy and active and filling your life with things you love. Poutine… yum! I have been delving into my fall/winter recipes now that we have turned the corner on fall here. Mushroom anything is high on my list right now, but it’s been some time since I had poutine- think I need to go hunt down some cheese curds. And a resounding YES for the kitties!! Safe and warm is where they belong.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And people think all librarians do is file books and check them out! So much else to do in this digital age. Congrats on the ongoing weight loss. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Such a busy lady, we forgive your absence…sort of. Glad to hear you had positive medical results, even that you can take less meds, in a world that wants us to take more.
    I must admit, never had poutine, but anything with gravy is ok by me. Take care of yourself, come back when it’s comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Now I need to go take a nap – you’ve just worn me out! I have this naggy part of me that keeps saying I should . . . do something, but then there’s the part of me that shrugs her shoulders and says “why?” That part does not consider “because” to be a good enough answer. I will have to do some vacuuming today though because the pine trees are showering us with an abundance of seed pods this year, which the furry girls and I keep tracking in. At least it’s not snow, so I’m not really complaining. Just commenting. I’m glad your furry kittens have decided they can grace you with their presence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The kitties have just now discovered the climbing tower that has been sitting neglected in the corner of the bedroom. They are rocking that thing. Literally!

      I must confess that I am unfamiliar with the person I see volunteering her time helping out at the library and whatnot. This is so not like me! Sure, part of the deal is filling a void created by retirement, but honestly, I don’t recognize myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice to get caught up with all you have going on. I did a bit of digitizing of historical photos when I worked at the Ann Arbor Library. You definitely need a desk, chair and equipment at the right height. Then I did a bunch of scanning of personal photos here and ended up with an impinged rotator cuff. NO FUN! Take care of yourself…and keep us up to date when you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the update. You have not been idle this summer!!

    I couldn’t help but smile at the little furry face on your couch … this looks like the face of mischief! 🙂
    So it appears that you have now established that they are both males and it seems they have both adapted well to domesticated life. I predict lots of furry antics to smile about over the long winter months ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maggie–that last line had me grinning from ear to ear. Yay!! Hey, take care of yourself. Happy for the low BP, but…..what in the heck happened? I work in risk management, so am all about ergonomics. Get them to set you up right, Maggie. It is amazing how little tweaks to your work environment can make all the difference in the work. Thanks so much for this update–it was great to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lois. Grinning back atcha! 😀

      When I worked for the phone company, we had regular health and safety training meetings and even an office ergonomics “specialist.” I know that stuff and how important it is, too, and I make sure that my station is properly equipped.

      Well, I used to. When we moved up here, I should have set up my desk properly from the start. Now I think I’m paying the price for more than a year’s worth of improper poster.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I was wondering about the kittens! I’m glad you were able to interrupt their feral fate! Good to be able to interrupt the reproductive cycle.
    Those were indeed some heavy mid century moderns, however Vivian’s house is actually Arts and Crafts in it’s design, though clearly eclectic in it’s interior decorating! Thank you Maggie and Reiner for the staging help!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, that’s busy stuff!
    Look at inside kitty, all cozy! 🙂
    Sorry about your numbness, but glad you’re getting that taken care of. I have been mentally numb from scanning, myself.
    I find myself looking forward to poutine days. Cause those are cold days. 🙂
    Don’t stay away too long, we’re still recovering from your last hiatus! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sounds like you’ve been busy for sure but it all seems to have ended well-ish. I knew those kittens would wiggle in. Yay to that. Good job on the BP and diet.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I knew it! Those kittens wouldn’t stay outdoor cats for long. It looks like they are enjoying having a staff at their service, just like Kate’s. I never did “get” poutine… it always looked like… well you know what it looks like. I couldn’t get beyond the visual enough to eat it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – Yeah, “staff” is exactly right.We are constantly retrieving toys or treats or food and rarely lose sight of them.

      Back when I used to order fries regularly from chip wagons, I’d never order gravy. Couldn’t grasp the concept. But add the cheese. Hoo boy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I meant to tell you that you inspired me to work at weight loss and wanted to thank you for that. Slowly my body has porked up to a new high and its time to get back to something less porcine. Plus, none of my winter clothes fit and I’m damned if I want to buy new clothes.

    Such a strange summer we’ve had, eh? Hot as the hobs of hell in Ottawa too and the trees are sporting their fall colours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You come over here: I wanna give you a big ol’ hug.

      Yeah, that weather! We are travelling to Norwood next weekend for a mineral meet – the forecast is for 30!!


      • Norwood, eh? What kind of minerals? I only know Norwood as a place we drive through when we go to Toronto on Hwy 7.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m looking forward to the trip – the autumn colours will be on display, and it’s a nice bunch of like-minded mineral folk. Mark Stanley is a collector friend and used to own the auction barn in Norwood. He hosts the afternoon event every September. You’ll find a little of this and a little of that – mostly stuff that collectors have found during their field work – so, apatite, silver, garnets, titanite… some pretty, some only a mother could love.

          Mineral swap: G.A. Brethen Coliseum, which is located on the Norwood Fairgrounds. Directions are from the traffic lights on Highway 7 in Norwood, travel south one block on County Road 45, then turn left onto Alma Street. Travel 3 blocks down on Alma Street and turn left onto the Norwood Fairgrounds, the Coliseum is about 200 meters straight ahead. There will be signs out to help you find your way. The address is: 56 Alma Street, Norwood.

          Liked by 2 people

  17. Fuzzy houseguests are the best houseguests. Glad to see them taking up residence.

    Teeth are a terrible thing to go wrong – nothing puts you off your stride quicker than a tooth gone bad…so it’s good that you got ‘er fixed up.

    (I should talk – my last visit was over 2 years ago…)

    And YEA on the lessening of the BP Med – you gotta be doing something right if the pressure is coming down 😀

    Lastly…poutine. Never had the stuff. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE fries and cheese curds – but I can’t wrap my head around pouring gravy over a pile of ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Peg – I’ll be glad when everyone (especially me!) gets used to the new energy level in the house. The older cats are very tolerant of the kittens and the ambush antics. The place looks like a romper room – hubby came home with a boatload of toys and cat-related paraphernalia.

      As for poutine – there was a time when ordering fries and gravy was a stomach-turning option. I’ve obviously gotten beyond that since gravy is essential to poutine. But still – I’ll only add ketchup on a regular order of fries.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What change of seasons? Oh, we don’t get much change until after Thanksgiving, but I hear it’s cooling and beautiful in other places during fall.
    Fall. That’s when cats decide they want to move indoors and claim the sunny spots, right? Our old one has already put the dog on notice that they are all hers, hers, hers for the winter.
    Enjoy the outdoors while you can. Then the library will have to do until spring? (Great places libraries – librarians are the most interesting people)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, I know you! Pied Type and other bloggers were worried about you and that Hurricane Harvey. Delighted to see that you made it to the other side of that event!

      As for the cooling and beauty of fall – this season you are half correct. Normally, yes, cooler – nice sleeping weather. However, over the next several days, the temps will be hot and humid. The seasons are backwards this year.

      I feel badly, complaining, though, especially since you are in flooding recovery mode.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People always laugh when I say never buy a house in Houston/Galveston area without sloshing in during a flood to see how it fares. (That and “always have flood insurance no mater what anyone says because it’s really flat and if it rains long enough in any area it will flood” ) We are natives and went through Carla and other hurricanes. This house is on as much of a hill as there is around here and built to Florida hurricane standards – so far so good. The street didn’t even get water over the curb as it drains quickly to the lake 2 blocks away. But a few blocks away, streets and streets of flooded houses (the first pictures of that flooded nursing home in Dickinson is about 5 min. from here. It will be 2-4 months before all the shoulder high piles of building materials and household goods are cleaned up (fingers crossed) But the people in shelters are now in transitional housing, the schools are open serving 3 meals a day (no big deal as they already served 2) Houston is open for business. We’ve been here before – but gads. enough already. Traffic is horrendous with damaged roads and all the people out of place/routines. Last week was really fall-like with low humidity – this week is back to summer – and more rain for 3 days in a row. Cold front coming next week – yea! No matter what, everyone here will celebrate that! (Wonder if there will be less leaf raking in Nov. since the storm ripped off so many leaves? Acorns everywhere…squirrels thrilled)

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow, Maggie, you’re a busy lady! Retirement can do that too you. More time to expand your interests and do many things! Brava on the lower B/P meds. As your weight goes down, the B/P follows. When I saw the blueberry picking photo, I got a twinge of homesickness for Maine where I grew up, and picked blueberries with my family. Nothing like a Maine blueberry here in the US. Hope the overuse injury heals quickly and you’re back to business. Interesting job at the library. Keep us updated when you can. 🌷 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have been to the dentist three times since graduating high school in 1973: 1978, 2003, September 2017. Not that I disliked dentists. I’m just not one of those people who needs to fix what isn’t broken.

    Liked by 1 person

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