Sunday, April 17, 2016

These Glorious Days

This is my Montmorency Cherry tree in full bloom.  It's beautiful and fuller every year.

 The good news is--the tree is thriving. The bad news (for us) is that the birds are still smarter and faster than we are, so I don't get much in the way of cherries.  lol

 It's that glorious time of year when the world is waking up from it's long winter slumber.  The lilies are pushing up through the rich black midwest dirt. The lilacs are full of heavy budded limbs that will burst forth any minute with their symphony of smell. The Canadian geese are coming in and laying their eggs across the pond...every morning like clockwork they show up circling and honking and scaring the chickens with their big-ness.  And everywhere you look, the largess of Mother Nature abounds. And I, for one, feel so thoroughly gifted by her bestowal, as if these irises bloom just for me. That this lilac offers up the heady aromas, just for me.  That the new growth of blackberries and raspberries and asparagus in my garden are here, just for me. 

  It's a good day to be alive. 

I have been trying to get back to a little more organization in my life. It feels as though I have been on a massive landslide the past year and a half.  And now here I am, at the bottom, and as that miracle of survival always does, I feel energized and elated by the very fact of my survival.  I want to do everything. I want to do nothing. I want to read more and whine less. I want to cook--COOK !! And I want to get my garden going and have all kinds of free fresh organic foods to COOK! and eat. lol In a moment of desperation, the other night I made sweet buttermilk biscuits to cover with fresh cut and lightly sweetened strawberries and called it shortcake like grandma used to make.  It was delicious...not as delicious as it will be in a month or two when the strawberries don't have to be trucked in from Florida or Mexico or somewhere equally exotic. But it surely did taste good nonetheless. 

 I was able to mow my front yard (most of it) for the first time this week and I think it has been almost 2 years since I was able to do that.  It was wonderful. Lots of folks don't like mowing (my husband) but I love it. I love the smell of cut grass, I love a good looking yard. I love where I live, and in a month or so, my yard will look like a private park...completely surrounded by trees and honeysuckle hedges, blackberry brambles and sassafras.  And I will sit out there in the middle of it and wonder at the beauty and read my books and eat my lunch. Or have my morning coffee. Or pray. There are lots of areas not filled in quite yet in front, but the ones that are were getting high, so I pulled out the mower and went to it. I cut the old wisteria all back too. Here's where she stands right now...

Feeling grateful today for the little things in life... hens that are laying, family that cares and blue skies and sunshine.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016's sort of spring-ish...

The weather has been pretty up and down...beautifully sunny or bleak and rainy.  Warm as all get out or so cold the heater keeps kicking on. We were supposed to have a hard freeze last night, but it was really a light one with temps down a little under 30.  It's crazy, but probably typical for April. I feel lucky that I haven't put anything in the ground

 I have finally passed that healing point where my knee and leg are not hurting all the time. Thank was getting old.  It's only been a month and a half since the surgery. Saw the doc, he said I'm right on track and he's pleased.  That relieved a lot of my anxiety about the muscle pain and looking at the x-rays helped too. Both knees looks awesome.  yay me.  

  Today , through the thoughtfulness of a friend, the help of another friend and the generosity of a new friend... I got hooked up with a woman who is selling her mother's house (she passed away in January) and had a cellar full of canning jars.  She boxed them up, drove an hour and a half to meet us in the middle and sold me 16 dozen quart jars for 3 dollars a dozen and 13 dozen pint jars for 2 dollars a dozen. With lots of decent rings too. My friend from here drove me to St Louis in her SUV which we packed them all into...the 4 of us had lunch and then we came home and unloaded close to 350 jars into my garage.  What a deal.  What a day ! I feel so blessed by the love and friendship of the women in my life. 

 The pollen count around here is through the roof and something is killing me. I have not had allergies in my life, but every few years HERE something comes around that knocks me for a loop.  I cannot imagine people who have to live with this every year !!  My nose is runny, my eyes watery, my throat scratchy and I am sneezing like crazy.  My head feels like it's stuffed with cotton. I stopped at the Walgreens and picked up some allergy stuff and just took one.  Some of these things knock me out, but I only took one and I guess we'll see. lol If suddenly I'm not making sense, you'll know why.  :)

   I got to go to a book release party tonight for a young man I know and it was so cool...He's not very old, maybe 30...and you couldn't ask for a more humble nicer guy. The book is about the heroin epidemic and his life story in all that. Especially close to my heart since I had a great nephew die of an overdose a couple of years ago and another one (nephew) that may be dead any day because he thinks it will never happen to him. Kids are dying every day, all over this country...and I hope that his book does well and maybe even saves a life .  You never know.  It takes a lot of courage to recover from heroin addiction and even more to tell about it.  and talent enough to write it. He has also done a play about it all and it played once and will be presented again at the local junior college at the end of the month. I can't wait to see it.

  I am starting to get really excited about this years garden.  Lots of work to be done out there before planting, but still--it's early for us. Thankfully we have such a long growing season.  I have high hopes for a serious abundance of crops this year. 

  OK...I'm starting to feel drowsy...

  Time to finish up the odds and ends and head for bed. Hopefully (except for one small errand)  I will get to stay home all day tomorrow. I have 3 bd cakes in a row to bake this weekend Fri-Sat-Sun.  I will bake them with love. One is a pineapple upside down cake. One is a cheesecake, And one is a coffeecake.  Some kind of fun, huh ??  I have kinda been on the run this past couple of weeks and I am tired... time for some r&r...



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quiet Moments

    Sometimes...for some people...quiet moments can be hard to find.  Even out here on Honeysuckle Hill there is noise. Hunters shooting guns in the distance, 4 wheelers screaming down the road. Dogs barking. Coyotes howling. Owls calling across the pastures for their mates. Not all the noise is bad. And most of it is not all the time, sometimes even rarely.  And sometimes I react differently than other times.

    I can always tell when I am out of balance. My reactions are way over the top. Little things make me big crazy. I am restless and irritable. I am discontent. My brain goes into overdrive and I cannot think clearly, sleep well or pray or meditate.  Nothing suits me. People aggravate me. Everything is extreme. 

    I am a recovering alcoholic. You may or may not know this. You may or may not care.  One thing I have learned in my years on this planet is that NO one thinks as much about me as I do.  I have a sign on my fridge that says: " I may not be much, but I'm all I think about."  And another next to it that is a Maxine cartoon that says "Don't believe everything you think." That about sums it up.  Being an alcoholic or an addict...recovered or very much about being  a person of extremes. Top of the world or a waste of space. Genius or idiot. Super model or troll.  There are no in-betweens for us. Learning to live in the world without the aid of substances that make living bearable for us is a long sometimes excruciating business that never ends. I say that only so that you will understand that I will never be free of the disease of alcoholism and that, because the world never stops changing,  I am on a life long journey of figuring out how to stay one step ahead of the sense I have that says that I will never be okay.  And some days, I am okay. And other days, I am on the lookout for the loony wagon. 

  Before you start thinking that it's all hopeless and that you feel sorry for me, you should know  that I am living a life beyond anything I ever imagined possible.  I am married to a really great guy and have a perfectly suitable house and a place for gardens. I have a Honda with 209,456 miles on it that still runs like a champ. I have animals and family and friends. Because I am disabled since 2001 when I was in an industrial accident, I have lots of time to do things I always wanted to do but never could because I was on that merry go round  of work work work that left me exhausted and stressed and too depleted for anything but sleeping and eating and working some more.  Which I had to do because we had a mortgage and 2 new cars and  blah blah blah. And I know lots of people who live that life.  It's kind of the norm.  So when I was crushed by this big machine which tore me all up and made it impossible for me to ever work in any kind of work environment (for reasons which I will spare you--tmi)  it turned out that the worst thing that had ever happened to me became the best thing that ever happened to me. I had time for creative things like music and art and writing and gardening. I had time for friends. And when the lawsuit over it all  got knocked  from quite  a bit of money to very little money (because the workers comp. insurance company declared bankruptcy)...that turned out to be a blessing as well. Maybe. 

  Experiences which humble us change us. As much as most of us dislike change, it is good.  The world changes, people change.  Change is growth.  Learning to adapt is evolution. Loving the journey- that is joy. That is hope.  Living long enough to see the  changes in yourself is something else.  I don't always see them. More like short  flashes of something that later on make sense. 

  I am doing a 21 day meditation exercise right now. It's an Oprah and Deepak Chopra series on Shedding the Weight. Physical, mental and spiritual. It's about balance. It came just when I needed it, as these things are wont to do.  I've done several of the ones they've offered over the past few years and I have always come away with  good stuff.  Today was day 7 of this one, so it's only just begun. I am feeling the centering that regular meditation always gives me.  I am realizing once again that I have a very bad habit of not doing things that I know are good for me.  Things that I KNOW make me a better person, woman, friend.  Things that I KNOW enrich my life and make it easier for me to live in the world. 

  Old dogs. New tricks.  sigh...It's after 1 AM and I need to be asleep.  I walked about a quarter mile today as part of my knee rehab program and it went pretty well. I did take a nap this afternoon late and that's why I'm still up.  Spring is in the air here finally...thank goodness. I am ready.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Life love and everything...

  Just a catchy title. lol  What do I know about life , love, or anything--for that matter ??   Not so much. Or quite enough.  

  We have passed a couple of milestones since my sister died...first Valentine's Day, her birthday. St Patrick's Day.  All things that she took great pleasure in and had loads of fun doing.  The loss is still so close and I guess that's how it always goes...for me at least. When I don't expect it, something will make me cry. Or a memory will make me laugh. And it's all so incongruous. But everyone soldiers on, especially in the face of the things that we have absolutely no control over or cannot do a single thing about.  Brave, aren't we ?  Human, aren't we ?

  We've had some beautiful spring days, with threats of rains that barely appeared and threats of light snow showers that never appeared. Last night, however, the temps dropped into the low 30's and there is some frost out there.  Looks like that may be the end of it, according to the extended forecasts. But one never knows. For our part, we have begun cleaning up the garden beds, which mostly means trying to knock back the blackberry and raspberries that try to take over our garden beds. They are incorrigible. The Irishman did a lot of work out there on Friday, and even got 2 of the smaller beds turned over. I might be able to get out there this week, if it warms up enough, and rake some of it and at least get some kale in. We haven't bought any seed potatoes or onion sets yet either and I need to look through my seeds and see what I have and what I need to get. We'll get the garden journal out and start making a plan this week probably. Things have been a little busy around here the past few weeks, but finally are starting to settle down.  As always in our life, there are still things going on all the time, but we are getting better at picking and choosing.  The older I get, the more I do whatever I want to do and not so much what everybody else wants me to do. Ah...more freedoms of old age.  Awesome, innit ?

   The knee is healing, the muscles are feeling the tiniest bit better every day. Last night was better.  I only got up once and took some Tylenol and went back to bed. I find that if  I march around a bit when I get up it helps.  Lying too long or sitting too long and the muscles start tightening up again and it hurts. Not a bone curdling hurt..just a whimpery kind of hurt that wakes you up and is annoying.  I just want to wake up and feel good and have this part done.  I am now 1 month and 4 days post-op.  For heavens sake--how long does this healing stuff take ???  Patience is NOT my strong suit. Perhaps this is where I learn some. (Not.)  

  My chickens are eating eggs like crazy. I don't know what to do about it. I go out there often to try to catch it before it happens but not much luck.  And now someone wants to give me 20 chickens  (all,supposedly) under 3 years of age) and I don't know if I want them. I really don't know if I have room for that many.  I have had this egg eating dilemma in the past a few times, but never so consistently. It's maddening. Not to mention the fact that I am feeding them and getting nothing in return. This cannot continue, as you know, and once the weather warms up we'll see what happens.  Never thought I'd say it, but I'm almost tired of having chickens and dealing with all this stuff. Someone is pecking the hell out of another one too, all about her head they have pecked her until she's bald.  Sigh.... chicken behavior is so strange sometimes. We have 6 sweet (snork) little hens..and they cannot behave themselves it seems. I gave them more calcium (thinking the egg eating was dietary).  Nope.  I buy them kale in the winter so they still get plenty of greens. Nope. I threaten them, I beg and cajole. I sing to them. Nothing works. 

  Well...the dryer has shut off (his work clothes). I have a bit of a full day today...20 pounds of chicken quarters has been cooking away in the roaster all night (Found it yesterday for 19 cents/lb) and I have to pull the meat off the bone and either can or freeze it.  making a chicken pot pie for supper with some of it too.  Have a potluck meeting tonight that I have to bake a cake for and make some kind of appetizer, Also am squeezing physical therapy in the middle there at 2 o'clock.  Guess I'd better get moving.   Haven't loosed the chooks yet either, but it's only 30 degrees out there even though it's looking sunny.

  Heigh HO---here we go.  Hope you day is a fun filled productive one !!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Writing as a means of avoidance

  Today is destined for greatness. 

 lol   Temps in the mid to high 70's with NO rain. Sunshine.  Lilies are popping up everywhere, daffodils are blooming, the yards and fields around here are going green. That gorgeous rich spring green that makes your heart sing.  Today I will throw open the windows and turn on the ceiling fans and sweep and dust and then go meet an old friend for lunch. Then I'll pop in and vote on my way out of town to go buy chicken feed and shop at Aldi's (they're right across the street from one another). Then I'll come home, drop off the wheelchair I didn't use last weekend and take a nap probably. lol

  The conference  went off with only a few minor glitches, and although it pretty much used me up, I had a ball. Met lots of new people, re-connected with others I haven't seen in a while.  Had some good food and a bit of a spiritual experience. Not a bit. A major shifting of something inside me. I know I talked about feeling this happening last post (or before), but apparently this past Saturday I was exactly in the right place at the right time in the right frame of mind. I'm not ready to talk too much about it yet, but believe me, the time will come when I will.  Right now, I feel like one of my gallon jars of KimChi...sitting on the counter bubbling away.  When the fermentation time is right, it will roar out of me like a geyser.

   ...meanwhile, back at the

  I came home the other day and went out back to check on my chickens because they were acting a little funny. Not distressed really, but not quite right.  I got back there and on the other side of the run there were 2 gorgeous  wild (I guess??) turkeys. One white, one a rusty brown.  They are presently hanging out like they live's crazy.  I put some scratch grains out for them and they seem content to hang out and scrabble in the dirt. 

  The longer I sit here and write, the more I am avoiding all this stuff I need to do. lol  I need to pick up potato and onion sets as they need to be put in the ground soon. Looks like the temps are planning to stay in the 50's and 60's from here on out, so that means it's time for gardening plans to be put on the table. I was out there this morning and the chives are up. The trees are budding. The  world is shifting into grow mode. 

  Okay. It's after 9 and I am lunching at 11:30.  Time for action. Still having a bit of muscle and ligament pain. but have been discharged from all home health services. (It's my excuse for everything)  Yesterday I started PT with my guy in the next town over. 

  I have high hopes.  This is going to be a great summer....


Monday, March 7, 2016

Time Marches On...

 I am trying to stay awake later and later. I have gotten my sleep patterns all goofy because of the surgery pain and the pain medications and all that jazz. Everyone says "Go Slow"  and "Take it easy" and  I really have been...but the problem is that I am sleeping a lot and going to bed way early (for me) and then I am walking the floors at 3AM because I am awake and my muscles are cramping from laying too much and my brain is racing.  lol  Last night I stayed up til after 1...then for some reason I woke up at 3. And then went back to bed at 5 and got up at 7 because I had some places to go. Long story short, I was so freaking exhausted that when I did get home this afternoon, I lay down and slept the sleep of the dead for over 2 hours. And I am still tired. lol

  Life is slowly getting back to normal; A new normal. but nonetheless...

 Today (7th) was my darling girl's birthday. When she was alive, we always got together for her and my birthdays.   So many little things that change and sadden and tear your heart out when you lose a loved one.  I texted both her kids and said I love you. I know this will be hard for them. I hate it when you lose someone so close to holidays and birthdays and such. She passed on the 12th, and their Valentine's Day will always be marked by her passing... and so close to her birthday too (within a month).  I called my brother at home a few days ago to check on him and the answering machine picked up and it was her voice and I started bawling...felt like someone punched me in the gut. I could barely leave a message. All these things will ease with time, but time seems to be all warped for me right now.

  Had the PT at the house today and I was complaining that all this is taking so long and everything is going so slow...and she looked at me like I was nuts. She said--honey. You're only 3 weeks out of a major surgery. You're doing great. And I was---what ? Feels like it's been 3 months. The knee is doing great and the only pain I really have is the soft tissue damage from all the manipulating of muscle and tendon that they have to do to get knees in and knees out. It's almost more severe discomfort than pain, but I still don't like it. lol  I will be discharged from Home Health this week, do 8-10 weeks of outpatient PT  and get to working in my garden.  lol 

  Spring is showing itself around these parts. We supposedly have some serious rain coming the next 3-4 days.  It was almost 70 degrees today, but cloudy. Just enough sun to make you happy. lol  I opened up the house to blow the stink out and turned off the furnace.  At almost 1 AM it's still 58 degrees out there.  How weird is that.  I just looked and now they're saying no rain tomorrow, but moderate rain Wed-Thur-Fri.  We'll see,

  I'm going to head for bed here in a bit and see what happens. One of the local markets is having their big 10 for 10 sale and have both carrots (2 lb pkgs) and celery on sale. I need more dehydrated celery as I'm down to my last jar. And I was thinking about canning some carrots. So I'll be making a quick trip to the market in the morning I think.  We'll see how the night goes. Sometimes I get so little sleep that I wind up napping off and on for much of the day. That's a habit I need to break./ lol

  Alright. I'm outta here....


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The time of new beginnings...

  CRazy crazy weather...last night when I put the dogs out the last time before  heading for bed, it was still almost 40 degrees. It had reached a high of nearly 60. At 3:30 (apparently) it started snowing and by 8 AM we had upwards of 6 inches. It was a heavy wet snow and the Irishman and the boyo could not get out to go to work. (they tried). lol By 3 PM the roads had all melted off , as well as the driveway and sidewalks where they had shovelled. It stayed in the 40's and rainy all day  and there's still a little snow in the grass but that's about it.  Only supposed to get to 19 Friday and then the temps start climbing again. Sigh...

 I am up at 3 AM, unable to sleep or lie quietly so I had to leave the bedroom.

  Got the knee replacement done on the 17th and it went without a hitch. Mostly.  lol  No blood clot issues anyway. GUess the knee was  crooked and they had to practically alligator-wrestle that bad boy out of there after they sawed the bone. So my thigh and calf are very bruised and black and blue Quite the sight to see. Recovery is going well...had surgery on Wednesday and left the hospital on Friday.Going in tomorrow for a post op check up that is usually dome at 2 weeks but it will only be 1. Not sure if he'll take the stitches out or not, but I am having home health  and PT both in so maybe the nurse can take them out as he has shuffled the post op appointments due to a "conferences curriculum" or something silly.  lol I just took a couple of more pain pills, so will be heading back to bed shortly. My friend Kat is driving me to the appointment tomorrow. We have to leave around noon for the 2:30 appt. We'll have lunch after..I'm ready to get out of the house.  lol

  My beloved sister surrendered in her battle with cancer on February 12th.   She was a courageous woman and there is a gaping hole in the heart of my family. Because it was so close to my surgical date the drs didn't want me attending any big gatherings because of viral infection risk--the last thing I needed was a bug that could turn into pneumonia during the sedentary recuperation period after one of these things.. so I did not get to attend the memorial service.  We are slowly getting our lives back in order, and as these things always are, it is up one day and down the next.  Like any family that suffers these dreadful events, we are exhausted, ragged and leaning on each other to get by.  Her children are crazy brave and hurt and devastated.  No matter what, you are never ready for these things...even when you know they are coming.

  I wanted to post because I have been MIA for a few weeks and this short month is slipping away quickly.  I am blessed to have friends who are helping out here and bringing food and offering rides and such-- not that I have been out yet. But as time ekes on I feel better and am healing and will soon be up and running full speed ahead!  The farm store flyer came out with the sales beginning on seed potatoes and onion sets and the baby chicks are in the stores. lol  Spring is coming and before you know it, we'll all be up to our knees in garden work. I am so ready...this has been a rough year.  I am ready for the new start that spring will bring.  The pantry is beginning to look a little bare, the lilies are starting to pop through the snow and the promise of a new beginning is in the buds of the fruit trees.  

  Time for me and walker to head back to the other end of the house.  lol  Stay tuned for the saga of old Annie and her new knees... the upcoming conference...gardens and canning and more.,