Tuesday, December 27, 2022

So... this is how it feels....

 


   We have been the proud parents of a severe winter event here in the midwest. All over the country, actually.  The winter of '22 will go down in the history books as one with the most severe winter weather in centuries. Something called a bomb cyclone hit the Great Lakes regions and spread it's perverted cheer all over the country.  Texas had zero and single digit  temps for crying out loud. Here in  Corntown, we had temps below zero with wind chill factors of 35 below.  The wind blew for 3 days at about 25-35 mph non stop. It was scary. For the first time since we lived here (18 years now) the water pipes froze and as of today we have been without running water for 5 days.  The temps are finally on the upswing and in the 30's today.  Heading for the 50's by Thursday. Hopefully that will thaw things out so we can see where we stand as far as repairs, etc that may need to be made to the plumbing.  It's really aggravating and makes everything so much harder and I am stomping my feet and having a hissy fit.  lol  And that has changed ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. 

 

 I had a good cry last night. I don't know if it helped or not. I don't generally fall apart when SHTF --  I'm usually really good in emergency situations.  But this time I am just tired. Seems like it's been one thing after another (it has) and I am not being my usually resilient self.  Add the weather, the financial strains, the deaths of people I love, the illnesses (Covid is back in the house ! Not my house, but probably a matter of time).  Being a one car family when we 're used to having two. The physical issues I am dealing with. Having all these ANNOYANCES going on in my life.  And that might be the worst part. None of this is life shattering. None of this is anything, in the great cosmic scheme of things. And this isn't even the first time in my life for a lot of these things. But, for whatever reasons, it is all hitting me really hard. The house isn't warm enough. The windows are drafty. I can't come and go as I please. I'm tired of everything being os hard.  Boo Hoo.  Poor little me.  lol

  I have spent more time this past month in a melancholy state than I maybe ever have in my life.  Not completely depressed, I don't think. But certainly tinges of that. I'm not normally a depressive person. I tend to have a very Pollyanna-ish outlook on life.  I am blessed to have not been raised in a religious family (although plenty of my siblings and cousins are now, it seems), so have spent my life picking and choosing what works for me in terms of a Creator or Higher Power or Spiritual life. No heaven or hell, no good or evil, necessarily. No sin. Waywardness, maybe. It gives me room to grow and learning to be the Annie that God dreamed me to be. Whoever God is. Connections. To the Earth, to God, to each other. Some spiritual guru said, When I hurt you, I hurt me.  We are one.  I like that. And it gives me pretty clear guidelines on how to live. Another guy said, Do unto others as ye would have others do unto you. Same thing.  Be kind. Love others [as best you can].  Primum non nocere, latin for First, do no harm.  Attributed to Hippocrates, but not part of the Hippocratic Oath. Part of the unspoken Annie Oath though. In 10 days I will celebrate 70 years on this planet.  Whether I have been on other planets before this one, I'm not sure.  But it wouldn't surprise me either.   Not much surprises me anymore, with the exception of my own behavior sometimes. So I think sliding into 70, being home alone a lot more, and this shitshow of my life right now has me feeling a certain way. Whether it's depression or melancholia, doesn't much matter. What matters is...what do I do with it ?

  So, for today, I am trusting that things will be okay in the end. If it is not okay...it is not the end. I don't have to skulk around pouting and hissy-ing.  I don't have to say things that don't need saying.  I don't have to do ANYTHING I don't want to.  Because THAT, children, is the gift you get for living this long. 


  Later taters. I need to go stir that big pot of veggie soup I made for vegetarian supper.  See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Last day of November...

                         




   And we slide into the end of the year.  The weather this past month has been stupid warm or stupid cold, with not much in between. Yesterday was 60 and today is about 35 and feels like 29 because there's a healthy wind blowing out there. Tonight's low will be 19.  My brain and my body can barely cope. But still, I soldier on. lol


  We had a nice Thanksgiving with himself's brother that drove down from the Twin Cities and a friend. My son stayed home because he was deathly sick. The other guest was having some troubles and cancelled. It was a nice meal, I cooked a small turkey and a small spiral sliced ham. All the trimmings.  It was a good day all around. We had a nice visit with Mike, who left on Sunday to make the trek back. In the meantime,  lots of people I know are suffering from an epidemic of flu and colds and upper respiratory viruses. One of those folks came by for a visit on Monday and then got really sick in the middle of the night. She called to tell me and I tried to reassure her not to worry, I would probably have been exposed somewhere, one way or another. 

***Taking a break here- need a shower and to get supper figured out. Wanted to start this***



  Jumpin' Jehosophat !!  I thought I had started a new blog post, but when I looked on Dragon Woman's Kitchen, there wasn't one. So, I just figured-- my old pal senility has visited again.  lol  Then I go to start a post here and find the draft.  Didn't get very far and never found my way back. 

  It's the story of my life.

 Just for the record, 2022 has NOT been my favorite year.  Certainly not the worst in my life, but definitely down there in the lifetime rock 'n roll favorites. 

  It's the middle of December now. less than two weeks til Xmas. I have one decoration up, but I might be inclined to get some out today.  Maybe.   It's rainy today, but about 55 degrees too, so there's that. The weather has yoyo'd up and down so much you never know what's going to happen. Cold winter Illinois temps are supposed to start moving in next week, so we'll see. I could do without those Arctic temps, but it is what it is.  So far, our house is warm, the roof doesn't leak and we have enough food to eat for probably close to a year. If we are careful.  The world over sees people and countries tightening their belts and trudging through life and sometimes falling flat but mostly not... dire predictions coming at us from all directions, amidst the head in the sand ostriches claiming that things have either never been better or aren't really SO bad. Things look scary out there though, to this little Pollyanna. I am  (and have been) trying to keep my thoughts positive, my actions kind and my pantry full and that's about the best I can manage.  Life here on Honeysuckle Hill has had it's ups and downs this year.  2 years ago I would have told you that THAT was maybe the worst scariest year ever.  And it WAS interesting.  Achilles tendon repair in February, which resulted in my being no weight bearing for 2 months and partial for another.  Covid hitting like an atomic bomb, affecting everything in it's wake. Then August was open heart surgery, and being housebound for the next 6 months to keep me from being exposed to Covid which could have easily killed me then.  Lots of time for introspection, surely, but mostly lots of time figuring out how to make it through.  The next year was mostly occupied with learning how to live [gratefully] in my new normal and within my new limitations. Oh wait, did I forget to mention in February  '21 I fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night and broke my ankle ? A very nice break, called a Trimalleolar fracture where 3 bones break down in the lowest part of the ankle, which required surgery and pins and plates and another 6 weeks of ABSOLUTELY no weight bearing. 3 days home from the hospital, sitting in my recliner , my sweet little JRT dog, Molly laid down beside my chair and took her last breath while we loved her across the Rainbow Bridge, breaking my heart into a million pieces. We knew it was coming.  She was almost 18 years old, way past her time. Then a month later I lost one of my outside rescues-turned -lap cat that was hit by a car at the end of our driveway. We never quite made her an inside cat, as she was an adult when she adopted us. Then all this gimpy walking, etc caused pain in my knees (replaced in 2017), which caused pain in my back (more pain, as I'm already dealing with the chronic pain of an old industrial accident). And then my neck got involved and my shoulders and ... it goes on and on. 


  So life goes on... and we with it.



   And now it's December again. A time of parties and gaiety and rich foods and gifts. My gifts this year have already been bought and paid for. A huge vet bill when we thought our Bella was dying, which she did not. Yet. And that is enough of a Xmas miracle for me. A dead truck and no immediate view of what to do excepts share the good vehicle we have. Which is mostly inconvenient for me and otherwise not a big deal. After 30+ years of cohabitation, we don't need to exchange gifts, we have plenty of food for a nice Xmas meal. We have lots of friends and family who love us. We have each other, still crazy after all these years. lol  


  It looks like it might be a tough winter. But the gifts of trying to live it all one day at a time help immensely. The kernels of faith carried in every human being in our soul, give us hope and some trust that everything will work out exactly the way it is supposed to for the good of all. In my world, 2 + 2 = 4 still. Love will win over hate. Kindness is always the best choice. And especially, this:  



Thursday, August 18, 2022

Reverie...

 



  It's a quiet Thursday here on Honeysuckle Hill. I love days like this... I was able to sit out on the front porch with my coffee first thing this morning, and be serenaded by the buzzing of the hummingbirds, the calls and whistles of all the wild birds both in the trees around me and at the feeder.  I love living out here. It's certainly not a mansion, but I get to have space to breathe and be in wonderment a lot of the time at the beauty of the natural world. And other times it's inconvenient living so far away from towns and people and stores. (But not often enough to make me move.) lol  And that's just life, isn't it ?  You do the best you can (or want to) with what you've got and you take the good with the bad and the happy with the sad and in the end it all sorts itself out, one way or another. 

                         My front yard on Honeysuckle Hill.


  I'm listening to cassette tapes the past few days.  Yep, you heard it-- cassette tapes. Those buggers are practically indestructible and last a lifetime. The problem is finding some way to still play them, when even cd's are becoming obsolete. Like me. I feel like I am obsolete a lot of the time.  It used to bother me.  Now that I'm sliding into my 7th decade of life, I don't care so much.  Still obsolete, but don't care.  lol    But listening to all this old music has made me a little melancholy, or thoughtful, or something... Pulling up old memories out of the nethers of my mind.  Yesterday I listened to John Denver. That really tugged at some heartstrings.  The day before I listened to Paul Simon's Graceland. Today it's Peter, Paul and Mary. We disconnected from Direct TV this month and I used to always play the music channels, so I had to find a new option and remembered that I had an old stereo in a pretty little cabinet, so I dug it out and set it up.  So far can't get the turntable to spin at the correct speeds and the cd player won't open.  But the tape player and the radio work okay. It'll do for now.  (Don't tell, but I also do have vinyl phonograph records. LOL)  

  Life seems to be whizzing by. School has started again, so twice a day the school bus rumbles down our country road.  Autumn is on it's way and the summer is winding down. I'm getting some free produce from some kind people who are sharing their bounty either because they're really sick of the vegetables and all that goes with that OR they're sweethearts.  lol  Probably a little bit of both. At any rate, I'm grateful as the tomatoes and cucumbers are just enough for me to eat.  And we all know, there is NOTHING like home grown tomatoes.  And I adore those little pickling cukes, just wash and eat. YUM.

  I broke my ankle about 3 days after my last post on here.  Took a dive in the bathroom in the middle of the night, fell over the little trash can.  Trimalleolar fracture. Least common, doc says (naturally). 3 bones broke down in my ankle, so surgery, pins, plates and 6 weeks of no weight bearing.  Almost drove me mad.   I'm not good at that kind of stuff.  But all over now and am back on my feet with just little twinges of pain from time to time. I think I've had about enough.  lol  I don't like being in a wheelchair. 

   Guess I'll stop rambling. I felt like writing this morning, maybe I'll work on my story that I'm trying to turn into a book. (Not trying that hard, but it crosses my mind from time to time...)  So much going on in the world that it's easy to be distracted.  And I'm teetering on senile, so there's that.

 Hasta la Vista, kids.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

On Death and Dying.

       I'm preparing myself to sit Shiva for my JRT.  She's dying, and she's taking her sweet time about it. This behavior is not unusual for her, as anyone who's been owned by a Jack Russell Terrorist will attest.  The entire world is at HER beck and call. My husband  (who is the primary property of this girl) cannot bring himself to believe that she is ready. I spend at least 15 hours a day with her, he spends about 4. When he pulls out the leash, she suddenly comes to life and hobbles out the door with him. All the rest of the time, she is sleeping or staring aimlessly into space, or doing what she is right now- alternately laying under my feet, trying to walk down the hall, stumbling, or looking like she doesn't know where she is.  It's breaking my heart...the thought of having to have her put to sleep by our vet. I would really like for her to go in her sleep, as I think that would be easier on all of us. Tonight I was telling her to "just let go. We will be alright. It will be alright." and through my tears I started laughing, because that damn dog NEVER lets go. Of anything.  She came to us at about 4 months old.  She is almost 17 now, which is past the best by date of a JRT. If you'd known her as a pup, she never stopped running. It was like she was charged up to the max and had more energy than she could hold. When we brought her home, she immediately marked her territory, which included about a 17 mile radius of neighbors properties as well as our little place. And for a lot of years she ruled that territory with a vengeance. She started slowing down a couple of years ago, and due to some issues we had to start putting her on a lead anytime she went outside. She had an indomitable spirit, but it definitely changed her. We had to start giving her arthritis meds a few years ago. Now her back legs will go out from under her randomly and she stumbles and falls sometimes. She's taking a maximum dose and there's not much left to do. Vet says, she's old and it's amazing she lived this long.





   The other animals have been sticking closer to her the past day or so.  I trust that they sense something humans cannot, and she is even sharing the dog bed with Sassypants, the special needs kitten. She has had it in for that kitten ever since she came here. We decided that she (dog) knew that something wasn't right with her (cat) and you know how brutal animals can be (in our eyes) with defective babies. Molly didn't want that kitten even breathing her air. Every time kitty crossed her path she would snarl and snap at her if she got too close. Kitty loved her anyway. lol When Molly would fall asleep, the kitten would sneak over and lick the pads on Molly's feet. It was hysterical. The past 6 months they have made friends. Now they share the dog bed that kitty took away from the dogs.  This old girl has been loved fiercely by us and she has loved us the same. Her loss will leave a giant hole in our life and I am not looking forward to it.  Over the past years together we have lost several animals that we have loved and every time I have said, No more, I can't take it again.  And somehow I survive it and somehow life goes on and somehow, we have memories enough to keep us heartbroken for years to come. 


     Maybe tonight is the night. Maybe not.  She wants to go outside now and howl at the moon. That's how I want to go too...

Monday, November 15, 2021

                                     

                                         


  Ai ai yi...  A million things to do and haven't started one.  What IS it with me ?  I feel so lazy some days. Yesterday I accomplished quite a lot and today-- zilch.  I have a 5 gallon bucket of apples to process that are still setting there., I have dehydrated celery that needs put away. It's almost time to make supper and I haven't even thought about it. I was out and about in the world today for a minute. Then I came straight back home and that was it.  Didn't even get a nap in !  Of course I didn't get up until almost 10, so there's that. It's a little warmer today than it has been. Still a tad chilly, but I turned off the heat for a bit, to give everything a rest.  


  Yesterday I used my electric roaster to cook a turkey I bought and didn't have room for in the freezer. It was yummy, we had turkey and stuffing last night for supper. Today is Meatless Monday and I am not sure what I'm fixing, but thinking about Peanut Butter Tofu with brown rice and steamed broccoli. That's always good.  I made myself a Mushroom steak for lunch from the bag of 'shroom steaks (Hen of the Woods) my son brought over the other day. Boy, is it ever good !The 'shrooms this year have been amazing.  I have quite a lot in my fridge that he's brought me and as soon as I empty the dehydrator, I'm going to dry some of them. Love those things, and they are humongous this year. Look at these he brought by last week--


So I'm feeling pretty good about the oncoming winter and  whatever else is coming. Gas prices are high, food prices are high, shortages are showing up... but I have done what I can and my pantry is stocked with nutritious foods. I feel pretty confident that we can get through it all, no matter what. Being prepared brings a feeling of confidence that is extremely satisfying. Some one said to me the other day that they were trusting God to take care of them. All I could think was that God helps those who help themselves. Who knows really ?  I know that my family won't starve.  We have backup plans in place for lots of different scenarios... which include food, heat and water. Winters in Illinois can be fickle. I try to conserve and preserve what I can. Be thrifty.  Be conscious of the world around me.  And to come from a place of love in everything I do. 


  That should cover it.  

Friday, September 3, 2021

Duck, Goose, MACARENA !!

   


   Feels like the world has lost it's ever lovin' mind.  AGAIN.  I am torn between joining the madding crowd and fleeing to an isolated place of solitude. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires,  record high temperatures, floods, drought...end of war, more war.  Too much of some things and not enough of others.  I know lots of people feel as embattled as I do.  I see it everywhere. Now the Covid Delta variant is spreading like crazy and the hospitals are full to bursting with unvaccinated people and those with run of the mill problems like heart attacks can't get a bed.

 When does it let up, for crying out loud ?  We could really use a break. 


  I have been trying to get my pantries restocked. It's time for a major re-organization in there. I've been spending more time out in the world these past couple of months (not necessarily a good thing) and things have gotten a little cray cray here in my abode. Plenty to do always. Not quite enough energy to get it done. Sigh... it's an old story.  lol

  Been canning some meats when I find them on sale. Going out in a bit to try to get some more chicken. 10 pound bags of leg&thigh quarters for .49 a lb.  I cook them and then bone the chicken and can. All told, it's a protein source for meals that's VERY affordable and versatile, with chicken scraps to can into dog and cat food.  Not that I've done that yet (have refrigerated and frozen, just not canned).  That will come in handy since pet food supplies are getting hard to find, and I have 4 cats and 3 dogs. Buying up what dog and cat food I can find, but never hurts to have some backup. Because I keep stocks of rice and oats, I can mix any of those with chicken scraps for a filling and nutritious pet food. If I have to. And before anybody loses their shit over me feeding my dogs chicken bones, these have been simmered/roasted over a couple of days and are soft as all get out.  And I do feed my dogs bones and they never have a problem. JS.


  I need some food in my gullet, to get dressed and to get back home.  lol  I can't believe I haven't posted here since June. Not sure what I've been doing, lol. Hope you are all staying well.  I passed my 1 year post heart surgery anniversary. Seems like a hundred years ago, and sometimes like last week. lol  Things are rolling merrily along, though a little slowly sometimes and with plenty of naps sprinkled in. 


 Been cooking 3 vegetarian meals a week mostly. It's been fun trying different recipes from other countries, like Egypt, Thailand and India. We are doing almost 100% of our eating at home these days, so that keeps me busy. We've always eaten at home a lot...  Maybe it just seems like more now.  


  Alrighty-- time to get my big butt dressed and fed and out the door, before I decide to take a midmorning nap.  lol  The godawful heat seems to finally be done, and the temps have been a little cooler the past few days. We were having heat indexes around 107. It was so humid you had to swim through it. Have an exciting Friday, nippers.  






Monday, June 21, 2021

Om mani padme hum

 

Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama,



Well... I certainly got the BODY part down.   Now I just need to work on the mind and my foul mouth. LOL  


  It has been a crazy couple of weeks around Honeysuckle Hill. You know all about the water heater debacle. Next in the terror of 3's was the central air conditioning. The raccoons have gotten under the house and torn up everything, which includes the duct work for the air and heat.  Little bahstahds.  And of course, we here in the prairie state are having record hot temperatures that make it impossible to even go outside. The heat index a few days ago was 115.  That's freaking Death Valley temps, people.  Sheesh.  After making numerous calls to assorted and various HVAC places (after my regular guy couldn't even give me a future appointment, he is so overbooked and bogged down), no one is available that lives in our area. I called one guy in the city 30 miles away and they said because we're way up here, it would be a $100.00 service fee and they couldn't get out here until the middle to end of July.  Thanks but no thanks.  My son went under the house and jury rigged a few spots and it helped a little. For a minute. Then the days that were so hot the AC couldn't keep up, so the condenser outside froze up. In 100 degree temps, people, it froze. OUTSIDE.   We finally went to Lowe's and bought a second window unit to put in the open floor plan living room/kitchen.  Short term solution. But it made it comfortable.  I had gotten a memo from the cardiology team urging me to ..."exercise EXTREME caution in this heat and stay insode as much as possible." Also bought all new duct material to replace all the old stuff that was torn up.  He got under there and found a busted sewer pipe and a giant mess, so he spent the biggest part of Sunday cleaning up, and replacing that. It was really disgusting, and I felt so bad for him. But he soldiered on and got it done.  Thankfully we finally got a little rain and it cooled things down. And now today (and the next few days I guess) temps are in the low 70s.  Bizarre.

  I have been chanting a lot these past few days.  lol

  Last night we headed south to a short speaking engagement. Still not sure why they asked ME to speak  on a topic of prayer and meditation and a conscious contact with God. I'm one of God's rodeo clowns. lol  But it was  good to see people I haven't seen in over a year and it wasn't a huge crowd, so that was good. I have strange relationship(s) with the gods of my understanding.  I identify as a tree hugging, dirt worshiping, mutant Buddhist. I'm sure that tickles the shit out of God. The only reason I was able to stay in the recovery program that was full of God this and God that, was because they added a caveat: Why don't you choose your own concept of God ?  31 years ago (or 32, depending on how you do the math) I didn't have much belief in anything.  And my spiritual journey began. A man told me not to worry when I said I didn't know if I would get it fast enough. He said "Ya gots to crawl befoe you walks."  And maybe I have been crawling ever since. But it's okay. I have a deal with the god that I may or may not understand.  I don't drink, one day at a time, and I try to be a little better on all counts than I was yesterday. I pray a little, I chant a little and I dance a little.  And the god of my misunderstanding taps her foot and bobs in time. 

  I brought in the hummingbird feeders and cleaned and filled them and moved them around.  One feeder is not getting hit at all, picky little turds.  I may have found a solution. When I looked out the window a minute ago, there were about 10 hummers out there, fighting over 2 feeders.  That's just what they do.  lol  I also filled the seed feeder and the suet cage and there is a massive amount of traffic out there. Cowbirds, Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Wrens, Titmouses (Titmice ? lol) . Catbirds, Chickadees,  and a few others.  I think the cooler weather has triggered there appetites. We always have a lot of traffic, but this seems like way more this morning. I did a lot of vacuuming and carpet shampooing and am paying for it today. My lower back, my left hip and leg hurt like the dickens.  So I am going slowly into this good day and not planning to do much of anything beyond what I've done so far. Already you can barely tell I vacuumed...the dogs are shedding like it's a paying job.  Sigh...  oh well...  Today is one of 2 or 3 meatless meal days that we have been doing for a while.  Not sure what I'm going to fix, but it will probably be something simple.  I will look through some recipes and figure something out.  I keep tofu and several kinds of beans on hand all the time for protein sources.  And eggs we eat.  And lots of rice and quinoa and millet.  And vegetables of course.   Sometimes I sleep too long during my nap and wake up startled and run in and throw veggie burgers in a skillet.  lol  I don't think there are any left in the freezer though. I got some first world problems today, I'll tell you...