Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Pets Are The Best Companions


Almost everybody has a pet, some more than just one. When you take in a pet it appears like you are doing it for the pet, but no, it is actually for you. A pet adds so much to your home and your life. You are never alone. Even if you are going through something bad, like a death in the family or a divorce, or some other tragic event.....your pets will still need you to care for them. They keep you focused so you cannot let the dark hole of depression swallow you up.

Mickey and Carrots

When you are a child, having a pet is fun and it teaches children to care about someone other than themselves. If the pet is the family pet, then everyone shares in the care of it.......or that is how it should be. If it is one child's pet alone, than that child should care for it as much as possible with adult supervision, of course. When I was growing up things were so different from today. In my house our dog ate leftovers, no bought dog food. That was fine in those days and in our house, I was a "finicky" eater, so we had plenty of leftovers. My parents were not the kind that made you clean your plate.


After we moved to Florida in 1962, I was allowed to get my first cat. He was an orange kitten I named Tiny. My brother and I soon had an assortment of pets after that. Cats.........lots of cats, hamsters and a pet rabbit. Her name was Carrots, and my brother brought her home from school one day. I kind of forgot about Carrots until the day a white rabbit showed up in my barn many years later. I had a pet red hen who bonded closely with me and she was a pet that I enjoyed very much. Of course, everyone who reads my blog here, know about my horses and my beloved dog, Nikita Blackwolf, who passed away in 2013.


Getting a puppy taught me a lot more about dogs than I had ever known. I never had one of my own as an adult. Getting Nikita in the winter of 1998 when she was just 6 weeks old was a learning experience for me. She was with me more, because I was home with her and my husband was driving an over the road truck. He was only home on the week-ends, but she adored him right from the start. Boy, did this puppy test my patience! She needed a lot of attention at that time. I trained her quickly though and she turned out to be an extremely intelligent dog her whole life. Sometimes I wondered if she was training me instead!

Rabbit, my house bunny

One area I see that pets are essential is for people who live alone. A pet gives you someone to talk to and care for. I know for me, living alone, I have my pet rabbit to be responsible for. To feed him and clean his cage. Although he does not live in the cage, being a free roaming bunny. When I go anywhere, I am aware of not leaving him home alone too long. I like to keep my apartment clean and uncluttered for his safety. Other pet owners who live in my building have pets, mostly dogs and cats. The dog owners have to walk the dogs outside and that is good for them too, getting them outside for fresh air several times a day. Whatever pet you choose, they will give you more love than you could ever imagine and are well worth the work and time. Plus, if you are living alone, they truly become your companion.

Copyright © 2019 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2019  Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My DIY Disabled Kitchen Design

The high cupboards in my kitchen I cannot reach easily.

Even though I live in a senior housing apartment building and my apartment is handicapped accessible, my cupboards in the kitchen are too high for me. For anything in the upper cupboards above the bottom shelf, I have to stand on a stool or chair to get anything out or put away. Since that is not too smart for me to do anymore because I live alone, I decided to organize the items I use the most and put them in an easy reaching location for me. As much as I love the minimalist look of having cleared counters, I cannot do that here. I have been watching tons of YouTube videos on organizing kitchens and getting a lot of ideas. Nothing worked completely for me. I had to come up with my own design.

This cupboard is the only one wide enough for dinner plates, but way too high for me!

Cupboards that are high are not only difficult for someone in a wheelchair or someone short (like me!), but if you have difficulty reaching up above your head. For me that is very painful and one reach can affect me for the whole day. As you can see in the photo, I have kind of a mess in that particular cupboard because it is hard to put stuff away above my head. Most of those items I don't use that often. So if I need it, I can wait for someone to help me (my son or boyfriend) when they are here. 

Bowls in this basket

I love baskets and decided some on the counter would work for other items. I put my small bowls, like my bowls from Corning or Pyrex custard cups in this basket because I use them often. Here they are easy to get or put away. Even though on the corner rack, I have some bigger bowls, these are the ones I use most often. I think the baskets keep it looking neater and more organized. It is easier for me to do this since I live alone, but even if you are living with a spouse, this is still doable. Having a large family would make it harder due to not having enough room. But then, you would not be living in a studio apartment as I am!

My hand mixer and immersion blender are kept here.

This basket is a bigger and sturdier basket than the other one. Both of them, all of my baskets, in fact, came from the local thrift store. In this one I keep my electric hand mixer and the immersion hand blender. So much easier to have it right there when I can get it out without much fuss. I realized after watching a few YouTube videos on organizing a kitchen, that if some items are not in plain view, you might not use them as much. It is due to forgetting you even have them or thinking I can get by without using it since it is so much trouble to get out. Now I use the electric mixer more and it has the beaters right here with it. No searching for it in a drawer or cupboard. Which I did all the time!

Kitchen Corner Shelf Organizer

I tried using  baskets for the plates on the counter, but they rubbed against each other and I was afraid of breaking and chipping them trying to get one out. I wasn't sure what to do with them. I hate having them stacked up. I decided to see what Amazon might have in the kitchen organizing category. Amazon did not let me down! They had the perfect answer. This organizer is actually made to be in the cupboard, but it works this way too. Makes it so easy to grab a plate real quick and no more trying to reach up into a cupboard for it. This one is also made to stand on its side and the plates would be standing on their edges. I like it better this way for my counter. This little rack is my favorite thing! I love it!

As you can see in this photo, there is plenty of room on my counter for food preparation. I am always figuring how to make it easier and having less work is one of my top priorities. 

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Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Best I Can Be At My Age

Not the most flattering picture, but my hair was long.

After I got myself all settled in to my new city life, I wanted to work on my appearance a bit. Since I am in my later sixties I am aware that I will never look like I did in my twenties, nor do I want to. What I want to do is to look and feel the best I can at the age I am now at. I had let my hair grow very long and it was really too long. Hard to prepare foods when your hair is in the way all the time. Not good for kitchen work at all. One of the reason I had stopped getting it cut at the hairdressers was because we did not have the money. I am serious. Our money was very scarce back then and we had no extras. Unless it was money to be spent on essentials, not luxuries.

After having my hair cut off!

So a few weeks ago, my boyfriend treated me to an appointment at Teasers, the hairdresser around the block from me. Sophie, my hairdresser took about 10 inches of hair off! Can you believe it? Yes, she had me donate it. So I am happy that I did not have to see my hair laying on the floor around my chair. I felt good about that because my hair was very healthy and shiny. I hope it is welcomed by whoever gets it. I had her cut it about shoulder length with bangs. Now it is easy to wash, dry and style. I love it! It is more stylish. Now I don't look so much like an old hippie from the 60's.

The entrance to the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, NY.

Soon I wanted to do more. So I was looking for a place to get my ears pierced. I had pierced ears for years and always wore earrings and other jewelry. Then I got into the homesteading lifestyle and it seemed senseless to do that. Rings would get in the way working in the garden or kitchen. Soon I was not wearing any at all. My holes in my ears had closed up and when we needed money I sold most of my good jewelry on eBay. I just have a few pieces left. Next thing I know, my boyfriend is taking me to the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, NY. My old stomping grounds! I spent an awful lot of time in that mall in the 80's. It was my favorite place to be in my previous life.

The Piercing Pagoda

We ended up at the Piercing Pagoda picking out a pair of amethyst studs. This is where I had my ears pierced originally long ago. I must say the woman who pierced my ears was very quick and I barely felt it. The piercing was free with the purchase of the earrings. I have to leave them in for a month before I can start wearing other earrings. I still have a few pairs of my earrings left which I did not sell on eBay. Now I am having fun looking at the jewelry on eBay! Uh oh!

Living in the state forest

People think I must have been living in a third world country to have gone without things that most take for granted. No, I was only 6 miles from the closest town. It was a matter of not having enough money for these things and every penny went for bills, hay, gas and what was left went for food. No extras. I was not in the position to go out and find a job. When I did, I had to spend money for gas to get to the place to apply, then go back for an interview and then it would be a dead end. Nobody would hire me for I could not walk very good and had to use a cane. I felt like that put up some sort of warning to them not to hire me. Because they probably thought my health was not good would mean lots of sick days. Though that has never been the case with me. I am rarely sick. My knees are bad and that is really the only thing that affects me. My walking ability without a walker or a cane is not good at all.

So here I am. Not living the homesteading life any longer. Less work. More fun. Time to enjoy doing things I like to do. Less worry. Much happier!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

I Am Looking Forward To Fall and the Holidays

Beginning of fall colors in NY state

Fall is here. Holidays are coming. I am happy about both. Happy? More like excited. I can decorate. I can make a holiday for my friend, my son and I. Just like we used to have when he was younger. I used to go all out for Christmas all the years he was growing up. After his dad and I broke up, not so much. Now he lives a block away and we can celebrate holidays together again. Now living in an apartment building for seniors, I don't really expect to have trick or treaters for Halloween. But you never know, so I will at least buy a bag of candy, just in case. And then there is Thanksgiving! Which I am really looking forward to. I will write more about that is a future post.

Light and airy in my apartment

I am waiting for the fall colors to brighten up a bit and then I will take some good pictures to share the beautiful NY fall with my readers. As much as I loved the colors of the trees as they changed, in NY, it means cold weather is coming. Dark days and a lot of work in my previous house. I lived with wood stoves and an alternative energy system, which depended heavily on solar.....sun. Not easy at that time of the year. Being dark as early as five and sometimes earlier. Living here in my new apartment, this will not be a problem. I will have plenty of lighting and no wood stoves for heat. Snow removal is included in our rent here, so nothing I have to concern myself with.

The Parking Lot

The hardest thing, I believe I will have to deal with, will be walking with my rolling walker in the snow. I am guessing that my ramp and parking lot here will be completely plowed out to the surface. So it would not be a problem getting out of my building and to the parking lot. I have to believe the other parking lot behind the stores on Broad Street, will also be plowed out pretty good since it is a city parking lot. So hopefully, I will be able to use my walker all the way to the stores on Broad Street. Most of the time though, my friend will be driving me to the store. I would not take a chance on falling due to icy conditions.

Air Conditioner and Electric Heater

I will be exchanging air conditioning for heating. So I imagine my bills will remain the same. I have not done too bad on using air conditioning. I have it on all the time because I am always hot. So I like to keep my apartment cool and only turn it down when someone is here, who can't take it that cold. My maintenance man is going to put silicone on my windows when he takes out the air conditioner. I have not been able to open and close them myself. In winter, I would like to be able to open them at least a little bit. Need some air, even if it is cold.

Rabbit last year at the house keeping warm.

I am not too worried about being cold. My building is an old school building and built with brick. It will hold the heat well. I have a cedar chest full of afghans crocheted by my mother and these things keep you really warm. Plus I have heavy robes, nightgowns, sweaters and sweatshirts. Did I mention I am a hot person? Yes, usually I am too hot rather than too cold. The electric heaters are the baseboard type, so Rabbit can get as close as he wants. He seemed to like the wood stove in the winter time at my house. We are ready!

First sign of fall!

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Flame of Love

Love is like a fire, if you do not stoke the fire,
the flame will go out. It needs tending, as love
will die without it. If it is not addressed daily,
it disappears. Taking it for granted, without a word,
never mentioning the L word, will kill it for sure.
Feeling unloved and insignificant is the most lost
feeling ever, so pay attention or you will feel that
way instead…...just a matter of time.

“I love you” is not that hard to say, though for some,
it seems to be. Showing love with little silly gifts,
cards, surprises, rides, meals shared, messages, phone
calls, just whatever you think of. Gets those love juices
flowing, into your heart and mind. Feeling love from
another fills you with love for them. It makes you feel
energized, positive, happy and joyful. It makes you thrilled
to just hear their voice or see them at your door.

Falling in love, that excited feeling you get at first,
may tend to fade, but instead will deepen. Deepens as
you learn every detail about your loved one. Learn what they
like and think. Put them first and they will do the same
with you. Never, ever take them for granted or expect them to know
…… know how you feel if you do not speak. Deep kisses speak
more than words, but words are needed as well. Just a piece of paper,
a note, a text message, with the words “I Love You” say more than
you will ever know.

Why is it so hard to keep your love alive? Why is it so hard to
say what you feel? After your love of your life has left, will you
speak then? It will be too late. One person will come along who
will speak those words. Will do those little things. They will
develop a lasting love that is strengthened by constant tending of
the flame of love. Strong vibes of love reaching the inner deep
spots of the heart. Fighting for love after it is gone is futile. There is none
left. It is gone on to another. Another who is not afraid to show love.
Not afraid to say or write those magic words. Doing all those little silly
things, and some not so silly. That is how love is.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, October 01, 2018

St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery

St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery, New Berlin, NY

Spending an afternoon in a cemetery? Now who in their right mind would want to do that? Well, me, for one. I love to spend a day in a cemetery. So one day in August, my friend took me for a ride and I never know where we will end up. It just so happened we were in New Berlin (NY) which is not that far from where I live. Yet I had never explored it before. This particular day we had lunch and then was driving up the street and we spotted this awesome church. Not only was the church beautiful, but the cemetery surrounding it was enormous. It was St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery on Main Street. As far as I could see, there were gravestones. I can't imagine how you would find someone you were looking for without some help from the office.

The small town of New Berlin is six miles from Norwich, NY, which is the county seat. It was formed from Norwich in 1807. The name was changed to Lancaster in 1820 and changed back the following the year to New Berlin. It is on the Unadilla River. The land this small town is built upon is rich in native American history. It is a pleasant town and most people drive through it on their way to another place. If you stop and browse a bit, you will find a historical treasure. The gem I found was St. Andrew's Church and Cemetery. It was the first Episcopal church in Chenango County, NY.

St. Andrew's was organized in 1814 by Reverend Daniel Nash, the first pastor. It was consecrated by Bishop Hobart in 1816. The original church building was torn down in 1847 and the church that stands today, was then built of stone in the Gothic style of architecture and was then consecrated by Reverend Andrew Hull. The cemetery is owned and cared for by St. Andrew's. 

The day we were here was a beautiful summer day and we spent some time driving through the cemetery. The grounds were vast and covered in gravestones as far as I could see. There were many old graves with some that were difficult to read. And others that were old, but so well marked that were as easy to read as if they were put in recently. 

I hope to go back there one day and take photos of some of the more unusual grave stones and monuments. They really are a work of art in some cases. The Victorian era, 1837-1901 was a time of elaborate tombstones and headstones and cemeteries evolved into a park like existence. Loved ones had started adding more to the headstones to leave a bit of information about the deceased. Some adding the sculptured designs which included their religious beliefs, their occupation, social class or other such notes. The Colonial era, was just the opposite fearing the afterlife.  

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a nice day. Though most of the cemeteries I like to visit are ones that have my own ancestors buried in. Having worked on my family tree for more than a few years now, I like to go to their graves and visit them in person and take my own photos. I have not found any of my family members in this cemetery as of yet, but who knows what or who I may discover in the future?

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2018  Kathleen G. Lupole