Most Popular Condo Complex

I’ve decided that possibly animals living in my city have voted our condominium complex as most popular.  In addition to the deer, fox, coyote, and bear, yet another critter arrived this week to check us out.

Our neighbor was so thrilled to find this visitor sunning on his sidewalk that he took a picture and submitted it for publication in the condo newsletter, of which I am coeditor. 

How pleased I was when I opened my email and found the picture of this striking multicolored rascal. But as endearing as he is, it will be fine with me if he stays up on the hill by our neighbor’s condo.

Residents here tend to name animals that arrive in our community. I haven’t yet had a turn at naming and have decided it’s my time. I call him, Eigil. This is a Norwegian name that has, in my opinion, a meaning that fits this particular creature.

Our fearless security guard checked out our visitor. Whether or not this guy stays in our community will be at the discretion of the security officers.


Kitchen Frustration

While making peanut butter cookies this week, it occurred to me that methods for doing things in the kitchen have changed considerably over the past few years. Many small kitchen tasks have been transformed from relatively simple acts to time-consuming processes.

Let’s take removing the lid from the jar of newly purchased peanut butter as an example. This once simple procedure has become an event that merits a block of time scheduled on one’s calendar. In the “good old days,” a quick tap on the rim of the lid with a wooden spoon would break the seal and the lid could be easily twisted off. No more!

Manufacturers have developed a formula for semi-permanent lid-seal. At least from my experiences, this is what I have come to understand. For me, the process for removing a lid from a peanut butter jar still begins with tapping the edge of the lid. This is done with the hope that the rigid plastic will not fail and send red pieces of plastic to kingdom come. Of course, the lid tapping does nothing productive and I proceed to the next step.

Step two finds me holding the edge of the plastic lid under hot water. This action is accompanied by prayers that the peanut butter which now tantalizes me from inside the see-through plastic container will not melt and become gooey. Following the water bath, I grasp the cap with a rubber lid-gripper and grit my teeth as I attempt to loosen the exceptional substance separating me from my peanut butter. Still no luck!

My hand now aches and the imprint of the rubber grip, the latest purveyor of false promises, now covers the palm of my hand.

Step three finds Hubby holding the gripper over the lid and grimacing until the glue finally surrenders. I find it interesting that in this society of litigation there is no warning label on the jar. Though it would have provided no help with opening the jar, I feel that a label should have been attached to the jar warning: “This may be a two-person process. People with arthritic hands may be required to seek the help of another person while opening this jar.”

Now I can make my cookies. Not so fast! I am now faced with the removal of a metal-coated cardboard seal. But the manufacturer foresaw the problem this might cause and kindly provided a tab which may be pulled in order to remove the seal.

I have no reliable statistics on which to base this claim, but I’m relatively certain that when the tiny tab is pinched between the thumb and forefinger and moved in an upward motion as directed, ninety-nine out of one hundred times helpful tab escapes the fingers.

Now the help of my trusty pliers is employed and I use them to carefully grasp the tiny tab firmly and pull in an upward motion. It is at this point that the tab parts ways with the remainder of the seal. 

Frustrated and still craving peanut butter cookies, I retrieve the utility scissors from the drawer and proceeded to stab a hole in the seal while attempting to keep the scissor’s points above the level of the peanut butter and all fingers intact.

With deft precision, I finally make a neat slit across the seal and then carefully peel the seal away from the rim. Finally, the peanut butter is accessible! Before moving ahead with making my cookies, I put a teaspoonful of the peanut butter in my mouth and savor the creamy goodness.  Then I turn to the unopened can of shortening.

I’m so thankful for all of my recently acquired kitchen utensils: regular pliers, needle-nosed pliers, screwdriver, string, wire, and assorted knives. Bring on those containers. I’m prepared.


You know you live in a dry climate when. . .

. . . a local TV station enters a post on Facebook that says: “Do you guys have any great pics of this morning's rain? Post them. . .we'd love to see em!” So what’s the deal with that?  Have they forgotten what rain looks like since the last time we had a sprinkle or two? Before moving to Colorado I was not aware that rain was such an exciting event.
Other indications that you live in a dry climate:
·        Trees that are considered “water guzzlers” are cut down as a conservation measure. Goodbye Russian Olive (beautiful hedge-forming trees in humid states/noxious weeds in Colorado) and Cottonwood trees.
·        Water needs to be added to a compost bin unless one wants the process to be a two year rather than a two month process. My opinion is that there should be no garbage canisters in yards. The rationale for doing so is way above my level of understanding.
·        Creeks have no real need for a bridge. Little or no water flows in them.
·        Lip balm is a staple in purses and pockets. A person who runs out of lip balm can no longer smile.
·        If lip balm is in the right pocket, likely eye drops will be in the left. The “whites of the eyes” have been replaced by the “reds of the eyes.”
·        Twenty ounces of body lotion is roughly a one-week supply. That’s a lot of glycerin and aloe for a body to absorb. Where it goes, nobody knows!
·        People who do not have Xeroscaping are considered unpatriotic. Water guzzling plants must be planted on the sly and one must appear really surprised when they are noticed by a neighbor.
·        Plants that might be considered weeds in places such as Indiana and Ohio are displayed proudly in vases. (Think Queen Anne’s Lace.)
·        A tiny patch of green grass is valued as a beautiful lawn. With relationship to the amount of irrigation required to keep it green, it should be considered a family treasure.
·        A day with high humidity is when the level reaches thirty. When the weather reporter gives the high humidity for the day as nine, it becomes easier to understand the disappearing lotion.
Should I decide to move to warm, humid Florida, it’s possible I might forget what snow looks like. So sometime around December when I’m sitting on the beach soaking up the sun, I’ll send out an SOS on Facebook to my friends who still live in the north.  My post will say: “Do you guys have any great pics of your snowstorm today? Post them...I'd love to see em!”


Email Communication

It’s only been within the past few months that I’ve learned how to express exact meaning in an email. I’ve discovered that a special code exists for doing this. Today I will explain the finer points of expressing emotions through email, just in case you don’t already know them.

Email Communication Code:
  • Use of all capital letters:  I am yelling at you.
  • Use of all capital letters with selected words underlined: I’m still yelling, but at times I’m shrieking.
  • Use of capital letters with some bolded words mid-sentence: I feel that you are probably too stupid to get the point unless I emphasize it for you.
  • Parenthetical statement: (I added an unrelated statement to support my thesis.)
  • Use of quotation marks and bolding: I’m angry about something someone said about me.
  • Use of the phrase, “bless his/her/their heart/s: I’m insulting someone – in a nice sort of way, of course.
  • Black text is replaced with blue text: I am now copying to you something another person sent to me by email.
  • Blue lower-case text is bolded: The person whose email I copied does not yell as loudly as do I.
  • Red text in the middle of a sentence: Now I’m really hacked off!
  • Blue text is capitalized: I’m asking a rhetorical question.
  • email unsigned: Since I’m really angry with you, I won’t even grace this email with my special name.

Following is an email I’m sending to the coyote that lives on the hill behind our condo. This email uses all of the above techniques for effective email communication.


I do not have time to personally come up there and take care of you. If I had that kind of time in my life, all of my summer clothes would be out of storage and my windows would be sparkling clean. (Are you aware that you are the most unpopular resident of this neighborhood?)

I hear that you referred to me as “NOSEY.” I CONSIDER IT MY BUSINESS WHEN YOU BARGE RUDELY INTO MY NEIGHBOR’S YARD WHILE SHE IS GARDENING AND BITE HER ON THE ELBOW. The blind people from the Division of Wildlife are looking for you, bless their hearts.

I’m not alone in my feelings regarding your behavior. Dear Verla, I’m refusing to serve on the condo swimming pool committee until something is done about that coyote.

As you can see, Mary is so upset she is refusing to accept a new committee assignment and SHE IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEMBERS TO EVER HAVE SERVED ON ONE OF OUR COMMITTEES.




Great Stories as Told by My Dad

My dad recounted the things that happened in his life with great flair. As a child I loved his stories and listened with rapt attention to every detail of his amazing adventures.

In his younger years, Dad planned to be a boxer and was actively pursuing that path. I’m extremely happy he chose a less brain-damaging career. It was because he had such a keen mind that he remembered things in detail, and he passed those memories on to his children in the form of remarkable stories.

During the Great Depression, Dad and Mom lived in Scott County, Virginia, near the Clinch River. I fell in love with that beautiful mountain area long before I ever visited there, and it was Dad’s stories that caused me to choose that unique place as the childhood home for the protagonist in my novel. No matter how many times Dad told the same stories, I was always transported to that place where, along with him, I climbed a mountainside, fished on the Clinch River, and gathered and cracked black walnuts to take to the market to sell. I could visualize the swiftly flowing, muddy water when the river flooded and feel the possessiveness of the people as they protected their little community against outsiders, of which Dad was one.

The first person other than family who read and critiqued my novel asked me when she returned it if the story is about me. The answer to that question is no, but parts of the story are “as seen through Dad’s eyes.” The descriptions of the time and place and some incidents in my novel are retellings of stories I heard as a child.

Father’s Day is Sunday, and that day always reminds me of what a wonderful father I had. Dad taught me to trust in God and live by faith, to take the hard knocks without assessing blame, to see the good in others, and to seek today to be at least one step ahead of where I was yesterday in every area of my life.

Dad - forever loved; always missed!

D. W. Lacy


Ms. Clown Goes to Church

The church I attend is located in a tourist area and we often have vacationers drop in for morning worship. But even though I was aware that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town, I was a bit surprised on Sunday when, just minutes prior to time for service to begin, a clown arrived.

As would be my luck, when I took my place on the pew beside Hubby, Ms. Clown was sitting at the other end. Not sneaking sideways glimpses during the service was rather like trying not to laugh when laughter is an inappropriate response. And telling myself I would not look even one more time at the pink hair and garish hat seemed only to insure that I would, indeed, steal another glance.

During the service, I probably thought more than I should have about the disguised woman sitting just a few feet away.
• Who is she?
• What’s the purpose?
• What are the children thinking?
• How can the minister pretend nothing unusual is going on, when there is clearly something really strange right in front of his eyes?

So, you may be wondering, “Is she making this up?” Nope! Ms. Clown was happy I wanted to take her picture and offered to bring her camera next Sunday since I used a cell phone and she was sure I didn’t get a good picture.

I did get answers to some of my questions. Ms. Clown feels that the charitable organizations in our town are not doing their jobs well, and she has started her own one-woman charity organization to raise money specifically for medical care for the poor. Her theory: her clown outfit will call attention to the need and entice people to give. Her inspiration: the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I agree that the outfit attracts attention!

Ms. Clown plans to be around for a while - most likely until cold weather disrupts her project. Well, the costume thing does work for Santa at Christmastime, and I’m sure we will get used to having Ms. Clown in attendance at church during the summer.


A New Season

Until this year Colorado Springs has had four seasons: winter, spring, geranium eating season, and fall. Geranium eating season begins when I find that the little geranium plants I’ve babied for several weeks are chewed down to the roots. For the sudden disappearance of my plants, I can thank the neighborhood deer.

Being the not too bright person that I am, I start over with the geraniums and, of course, the deer show up for dessert. I know this was their space before people arrived to lay claim, so I try to be forgiving. Being forgiving seems a good option when compared to the nasty smelling rotten egg spray that will keep deer away. Smart deer! Hang out someplace else for a few days and let those human types deal with the odor they created.

This year we have a new season to replace spring. It’s smoke season. What a surprise to wake up one morning and find ourselves looking through a gray haze at outlines of the mountains. Who could have dreamed that Arizona would so generously share the smoke from their wildfires with us way out here on the opposite side of the Rocky Mountains?

Tourists expecting to enjoy the beautiful mountains, our major claim to fame, are scratching their heads and trying to decide what we think is so wonderful. Some residents are also starting to question the wonderful part. Burning eyes and the odor of wood smoke are constant annoyances. Our city now seems to be in non-compliance with all environmental guidelines.

A continuing smoke advisory cautions individuals with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly to limit prolonged exertion and to stay inside when the smoke thickens. My house would not be a good choice for an inside stay. The haze didn’t limit itself to the mountains, but also created a layer of grime on all of the surfaces in my home. (Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. At last, an excuse!)


Fitting Names

Some businesses have very fitting names and it’s easy to determine what it is that they do. With others it is more difficult.

Soon after I moved to the city of my retirement, I saw Six and Geving in large letters on the side of a building. Curious about what the company does, I researched using the internet. There I discovered that their game is insurance. I would never have guessed. Though I have no idea why, I did think it might be an investment company.

One business in our city goes by the name, Wreckmasters. From the name, one might guess they are in the business of wrecking, and that they are very good at that. The opposite is actually the case. They repair damaged vehicles. A business that goes by the name of Body Shop also repairs vehicles, but some Body Shops sell skin care products. Apparently, at least in some instances, it’s easier to create a business than it is to select a name.

I do have great admiration for one business located in the downtown area of our city. Not only did they come up with a creative name for their establishment, they selected one that I nominate as winner in the category of “most fitting name for a business.” The sign reads, HeeBee JeeBees. Their game? Tattoos!


Drastic Measures

Osteoarthritis pain is, well, a pain. Though I’ve exhausted advice from doctors and friends, I continue to search for ways to alleviate said pain.

While on the internet the other day endeavoring to find yet another suggestion, I happened to remember a creative method I read about a few years ago in the Olathe, KS, newspaper. The dateline was Muncie, Indiana. I once lived in Muncie, so that caught my attention and I read on.

The article was about a Muncie lady who had a bunion on her foot that caused her a great deal of pain. Her goal was to get rid of the bunion and, in the process, relieve the pain.

Pain Lady’s chosen method of attack was a razor blade. This partially succeeded in that the bunion was no longer visible, but her foot became infected and, subsequently, the pain unbearable.

Since method number one was not totally effective, Pain Lady planned and implemented method number two. Shotgun in tow, she went to her back yard and shot her foot at the spot where the bunion had been. Needless to say, the prognosis for pain relief was not good.

Having had cortisone injections, hyaluronan injections, surgery, and physical therapy, I’m now methodically working my way through a list of self-help remedies including: apple cider vinegar drinks, glucosamine sulfate, ice packs, hot packs, exercise, relaxation techniques, warm baths, weight loss, giving up beer (well I have never had a beer, but I am staying as far away as possible from the nasty odor), creams that supposedly contain pain relievers, creams with pepper extract, creams with camphor and menthol, and, at bad times, an Ibuprofen.

I’m still praying and am open to suggestions just so long as they don’t include anything related to gun powder.