Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This is December in Illinois ???

By the middle of the week they're saying high 60's. The temps have gone up down up down.  It's almost Christmas and there are still a couple of standing corn fields out there. The grass is still green.  Feels like we died and went to southern Tennessee.

  I have had a busy couple of week and today I have 2 business meetings I have to attend. Then should be home by 4.  I'm tired. Some of the busy has been fun stuff... but it still quantitatively adds up to exhaustipated.  (Too tired to give a good crap).  Last night we attended our annual winter solstice celebration at the La Vista Ecological Learning Center. It was pretty awesome...the young lady who has been turning our staff at these things is now 23 and almost finished with her masters degree... it has been a joy to watch her grow up. We've been doing this for about 11 years now, so she was 12 when we first met. Wow... She is a twin, and her sister used to come too, but not so much now, as she's off in the middle of her life. This one has a hearing disability and has stayed closer to home I think. She's a lovely and brilliant young woman, in the astrophysics field, I believe. Her sister is an engineering student who has been instrumental in mentoring young girls in the sciences field. It started as a course project and is something she has fallen in love with doing.  Anyway, we had a nice crowd, I met some new people, connected with old friends and just basically had a lovely evening. Good job on the awesome parenting, Christine and Gary !

  I'm baking and canning and whining some. lol  Still haven't got the Xmas stuff out and it's getting so late I might not. I have one holiday basket with cards in it and a couple of gifts that have been given to me out on the table where the birdcage use to sit.  I bought some dog toys, a couple of husband gifts and everything else is going to be home made stuff.  My house is still messy.  My dogs are still happy.  My son wants nothing for Xmas so he is getting some jerky I made, some granola and maybe something else. He's a minimalist, lol. And Scroogey.

  I had a small epiphany last night... almost a spiritual experience. We did our ritual of talking about what we will do in the coming year to make the world a better place. Lots of-- I'll be better about composting and recycling. I'll stop using so much paper. I'll spend more time in the woods. Mine was-- we started paying for city garbage pickup a few months ago, and I have already gotten sloppy about throwing things away.  Before, when everything had to be recycled or burned in my barrel, I was much more mindful about what I was doing with things. I've gotten lazy..  The second was... I said that I was in my usual flurry of furious anger and fear over what is happening in the world. I am cursing Republicans and Trump and have so much hatefulness in me that it simultaneously wounds me and scares me.  Then this came across my Facebook page...

And it occurred to me that I needed something to change. That I am not seeing the thousands of tiny miracles when I am in that space of anger and fear and hatefulness. That I am NOT doing what I usually try to do when faced with unpleasant people or situations or things...and try to see them through God's eyes. That I am not looking for God in all the things that are going on. 


I just found this unfinished blog post in my draft folder Wondering why I never finished it. The holiday, of course are way over and everyone I know [almost] survived them.  It is now February and winding down...and all that brutal weather we didn't get in December has been dropping in randomly and trying to kill us. And then the temps shoot back up to 60. It's been crazy. We have had personal financial issues, car troubles, mass murders in schools, and now the high school students from the last one are taking to the streets and the airwaves and social media to protest the lack of gun regulations in this country.  They are scared and they are furious. As are many of us.  Mueller's investigation goes on, 14 Russians indicted for elections interference. And he isn't stopping.  Thank God.

A woman that is very important to me is in ICU with severe infection and they can't figure out what caused it and said they may never know.  She is sedated and on dialysis and  slowly starting to improve.  Her liver may be damaged. It has been a very scary time and lots of folks are praying for her. Today they said they think she is out of imminent danger, all signs of the infection are gone. They may try to wake her up today... it's been terribly frightening. As usual, these things make you sit up and pay attention. To your loved ones, to your life.   To the really important things...

So, I think I will post this draft as a blog entry, even tho the dates are screwy and the content is old and there you have it.  One of my blogs has disappeared into the Ethernet. Can't find it anywhere, can't access it.  Says it has been deleted, but doesn't say who deleted it or why. It's one I stopped mostly posting on, but still... the last time I posted on it was probably only 6 months ago at most.

Happy Wednesday. I just heard that a zoo in Ohio or somewhere gave birth to a baby camel and named it Alexander Camelton. That was worth every minute I have wasted online this morning...bahahahahahaha

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Egg Salad Days

  Sigh... I just put an almost 500 dollar electric bill payment in the mail.  I cannot keep this up.  We had bitter cold temps the past 2 months for days on end.  We are held hostage by an electric cooperative that charges us outrageous sums of money for electric.  My car is in the shop getting new brakes. Last month we had an 800 dollar truck repair bill and now it is on the fritz again.  I'm trying to breathe in and breathe out and just stay where my feet are. I am okay, right here , right now. I am tired of struggling to make ends meet and I am tired of all the work and all the animals and everything.  Rant over.

   Time to stop buying groceries for a while and live out of my pantry totally again.  I will have to buy eggs now and again because I have no chickens. But otherwise... I am boiling some eggs now to make egg salad. I can eat that on the low carb diet.  And it's a cheap meal. I remember a time when I was so poor, all I had to eat was eggs and bread. I ate eggs: fried eggs, scrambled eggs, egg salad, hard boiled eggs.  And I lived. lol  And I will survive this time too, because that's what I am. A survivor.

   I drive a 21 year old car.  I live in a doublewide with an attached garage. On some dirt out in the country. There is nothing fabulous about my life.  Mostly.  Sometimes I have to talk it up to myself.  Look at the things that make me happy (gardens, space). Be grateful for the things I do have.  Trust that tomorrow will be better. This financial insecurity is killing me. Or not. Maybe I'm just a drama queen.  Lots of people have it worse than me, I know this for a fact. But today I am flailing about, trying to understand how, at my age, it can be like this.  It's not like I didn't work most of my life. It's not like I am wasteful or extravagant. And somedays, probably like a lot of people, I feel like throwing in the towel.

    So, for now, the eggs are boiling away in the kitchen, the cat has just knocked over my big pot of aloe vera plants and scattered dirt all over the office, the puppy wants to eat the dirt and has pooped in the floor twice after being outside for an hour.    I cannot house break this defective dog and it's driving me insane. Of all the animals I have had over the years, I have not experienced this. We have had her almost a year...I don't know what to do. Except constantly clean up carpets. Because, of course, she never pees or poops on the wood floors.  Sigh...

    I need to find some kind of work. I am looking into a company called Upworks which my friend works for...and that may be a fit. I can work from home. In my sweatpants. lol   I am trying to navigate their site and reading some tutorials about getting started with them.  Hoping it will turn into something that helps.

    So...til then, I'll eat my egg salad and make a concerted effort to not buy anything more than what I absolutely need for a while. Staying home and cutting down on the gas bill (himself may be having to take my car to work anyway if his gets worse).  Turn down the thermostat (why does 60 in the spring feel so much warmer than 60 in the house in winter ?)  some more.  Cut some corners where I can.  You think you live a frugal life, but you can always find more ways to cut costs...

  Welcome back, egg salad days.  It will be alright...eventually.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Whoa... another new year ?

  It slid in there, between 2 bouts of the crud (flu/not flu-- who knows).  Finally feeling better, but still a little tired. Not sure if it's leftovers from the crud or the fact that starting January 1st, I eradicated sugar and most carbs from my diet. Hoping to lower the inflammation in my body and clean up things a little more. I need to lose about 45 to 50 pounds and if that happens too, then yay. If not-- I spent the first half of my life underweight and if I die fat, I'll just call it balance.  lol

  It's taking a lot of time researching new recipes and reading labels..something I've always done really, just looking at different things now.  The husbandman thinks it's crazy strict and not healthy. He is taking his own path, as usual. That's okay.  I can still cook him some rice and potatoes, and buy him bagels. lol   Mostly it hasn't been too hard and I'm feeling a little better, after the initial detox from sugar (right after Xmas)  and the other stuff that goes with starting a new way of eating.  Yesterday I bought a veggie spiral cutter. Tonight for supper he requested "that garlic chicken you made that had too much garlic in it, with a little less garlic".  I'm laughing because I have no idea what he's talking about. So I found a low carb  baked chicken recipe: Baked Garlic Butter Chicken. I will make that for supper, with a side of "zoodles"  (zucchini cut into spirals and cooked like spaghetti) with marinara on top. There's leftover rice in the fridge, so he can have that if he wants instead. He's a little skeptical about some of these dishes, although he's usually good about eating whatever I put in front of him. I was out shopping yesterday and couldn't find spaghetti squash. He likes that okay. He'll probably like the zoodles too. (Notice how I am already learning the low carb lingo ?  Zoodles, net carbs, BPC, lavash flatbreads -- the list goes on and on and on). They have their own little cult, these people. There must be a hundred sites online with a gazillion members. Most of whom support each other and brag and cry about how their weight loss journey is going. Some are regular Nazi's about the rules, some say do what feels good, some say throw away the scale, some say weigh every day and pee on a stick.  Having spent a lot of my life thin and thinner...this stuff amazes me. I always had one of those metabolisms that enabled me to eat everything I ever wanted with no repercussions. Then I had a hysterectomy at 35. I started slowly gaining weight, about  2 or 3 pounds a year probably.  Still, wasn't particularly bad or unhealthy. Then in 2001 I had the shit knocked out of me in an industrial accident. Couldn't walk without assistance for over a year.  Chronic pain, limited mobility and medications like I had never taken in my life. Changed everything. At one point I walked past a storefront window and was shocked at the sight of myself.

  At this point I have become sadly comfortable with my body. I would laugh and say-- skinny half my life, fat the other half.  I love to cook, as you know. I love food-- growing, preserving, cooking and eating it. I love feeding other people... a nurturing exercise that I need.  I am not so happy with my body anymore and the inflammation in my joints (from a combination of  osteoarthritis, too much weight and an extremely acidic diet) has to be addressed. So- happy 2018. I'm down 8 pounds and starting to feel a little better already.  Hopefully I can get creative enough to keep cooking and enjoying life, while eating better.  I don't expect to be 27 again, but hey--  sometimes less is more.

  Other than that, this year so far has been interesting.  I turned 65 on the 12th day of Christmas. It was a nice enough day. We have had crazy temperatures roller coasting through the midwest,  55-60 for 2 days, then sliding back down into the single digits. We had some wicked cold weeks for a while there, and had snow for the holidays. Everybody and their uncle is sick with the flu. Hospitals are packed, no doctor appointments available, schools closing.  Trump is still in the oval office, but maybe not for much longer.  Maybe.  There is so much unrest... it is scary.  I am trying to stay where my feet are. It's all I can do.

  My car was out of commission for over 2  weeks. I was sick for one of those. So home I stayed and hunkered down and snuggled up and got a little nervous at how easily I could become a hermit. I'm getting out a little right now, and trying to find some balance. Some days I feel like I am being pulled in a 20 directions.  Nibbled to death by ducks. Dreaming of 40 acres and a mule... just far enough out to justify never having to go anywhere I don't want to ever again.  
  I have realized something important: How much I need discipline and structure in my life, even at my age.  As you may (or may not) know, I lost all my chickens at the end of last fall (predators). Not getting more until we revamp the chicken coop and run. The simple act of having to get up and take care of those chickens everyday was a profoundly grounding experience for me.  Now I stay up til all hours and sleep until noon sometimes.  It's crazy. I spend a lot of time spinning in circles, it seems. I get almost nothing done generally. I feel lazy and slovenly and unkempt.  It's only January and I am so sick of winter and cold weather that I could pack up and move to New Mexico.  Tomorrow.

  Sigh....  so much for the ramblings of an old mind.  The laundry is ready to go in the dryer. I have a massage appointment this afternoon.  I have a puppy that won't leave me alone and wants to play play play. My house looks like a demented day care, with puppy toys everywhere (3 dogs here).  I pick them up, put them in the box and they get them out and methodically distribute them all over the living room floor.  I straighten the slipcovers on the couch and loveseat, and they pull them off to burrow underneath.  The puppy has started taking mouthfuls of dog food out of the bowl and walking away from it munching, and dropping bits of kibble everywhere.  Instead of eating the stuff she dropped, she goes back and gets more.  And drops a third of it as she walks away.  

  This is my life.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

  See ya later, taters.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

  At long last. Winter is here.   We got a small amount of snow last night and is supposed to snow more tomorrow.  It's sunny now, so it won't last long, but it was extremely beautiful this morning. I started a post and saved it to draft to come back to, and now it's jumping between blogs and won't let me access the Elegant Blessings stats page again. Grrr...I thought that last time I signed out on one blog but that doesn't seem to be working this time.   So, here I am, hat in hand.  Posting all of it without stopping this time. lol

  I am in the middle of a flare up of my chronic back problems again. Earlier this week, I stepped through a resin furnace grate on the floor-- leg went down about a foot into the duct and I fell face first.  Managed to not break anything (thank goodness), hit my head and torqued my shoulder when I landed.  Pretty much caught myself and didn't slam face first, so my glasses were just a little bent not broken.  My wrists and hands hurt like hell for a couple of days. And I feel all jammed up about the neck and lower back. Last night I started having muscle spasms pretty bad.  Finally found a position I could sleep in  for a bit, but locked up my hips and I'm hobbling.  Was supposed to go to a family Christmas breakfast and didn't make it. Couldn't get my pants on. Even my deranged family frowns on that... lol

  I have been a baking and nut brittle making fool the past week. Got 4 packages mailed off to the northern plains (Wisconsin  MN) and the eastern seaboard   (MD) . Got what little shopping I was doing done, but most everything is home made this year.  Even finally got some decorations put up..a little tree and some doodads here and there and a couple of wreaths.  Have to go pick up the golden turkey this's being killed and dressed as we speak. A local farm that grows nice healthy turkeys and charges an arm and a leg. We are trying it this year, and it better be fantastic. lol  It's costing 3x as much as I usually spend.  If it's really out of this world, maybe we will raise our own for next year. My buddy that convinced me to do this said I would never be able to eat store frozen turkeys again.  We'll see.

  We're having a friend over for Christmas Day dinner. He has no family and has been here before on holidays. A big sweetheart of a guy. I will make him a Xmas stocking full of goodies and share a little love and kindness.  We'll eat like big dogs (me, hubby, son and him) and then watch some Xmas movies while we sleep off the tryptophans. lol 

  So, today I am trying to get the laundry done, clean up a little and do most of it tomorrow.  I do need to seriously wash all the slipcovers and vacuum the furniture that these dogs have coated with shedding hair.  I have a dehydrator full of celery to unload and jar up. (Celery was .69/head at Aldi's so I bought 7. )   I did finally vacuum the furnace filters (it's ancient--don't ask)  and with any luck will get the aquarium cleaned. That's about the gist of it for today.  Hope you all have a serene and happy holiday and  don't let yourselves get too crazy and caught up in the madness.  It will be a quiet time here...watching as the days slowly get longer and the quiet fills the house. 

  Happiest of Holidays, from all of us here at Honeysuckle Hill....

Thursday, December 7, 2017

First week of the last month...

  Counting down a strange and uncomfortable year... between opportunities for growth and eye opening horrors...between joys and sorrows.... between lives and deaths.  This has definitely been a year for the books. And I, for one, am not sad to see it go.

  We are in the middle of an influenza epidemic here in the middle part of the country. A local high school has suspended classes with 20% of the students out and many of the teachers. We have had it here on Honeysuckle Hill as well. It's Influenza  A, they said.  Whatever that means. I am on the trailing end of it (I hope) and the Irishman had a milder case of it, but maybe his wasn't flu, but just a bad cold.  With all the coughing going on around here, it sounds like a TB clinic.  I have been suffering through it since the 18th of November. Slept a lot the first week and then just yucky and snotty and grumpy since then.  lol  And no, I didn't get a flu shot. And if one more person asks me that I will scream. Hear ye, hear ye... ANNIE KELLEY NEVER GETS A FLU SHOT.  And probably never will. And NO, I don't get a pneumonia shot either. Or the shingles shot either. And if I ever die from these things, feel free to stand at my grave and shout that you told me so.  

  I have a million things to do, so I decided to try one more stalling technique and come here and write. lol  My office is such a mess I cannot see the desk calendar. I have minutes to do for the upcoming assembly on Sunday and haven't even started it.  I have 2 dishes to make for a potluck tonight and it starts at 6:30 (we have to leave here at 6)  and it's almost 1:30 and I haven't started that either.  It's just a simple cake and a pan of scalloped potatoes.  And I do want them warm for the trip, but still. I have raised procrastinating to a new art.  My living room is a cluttered mess. My dining room table is covered [again] with crap. I have been just sick enough to do very little these past couple of weeks. And guess what ?? No one has died, and it's still waiting for me.  lol  I haven't got out any of my Xmas stuff-- but I often wait until about the 10th of December to do that anyway, since I leave it all up til after my birthday, which is the 12th day of Xmas.  Probably Monday  I will do that.  Have done a minimum of Xmas shopping. Doing mostly home made stuff this year. Did get a little something for the Irishman, (Both of us really).  My son has already emphatically stated that he wants nothing from us. NOTHING. lol  So, I will make him some granola and some chicken jerky. And he will love it. Will send a couple of boxes north and east of some homemade goodies to family. That's it.  Merry Xmas y'all.  

  I'm using my home canned potatoes for the dish for tonight, hope it works out well.  I've been making a lot of pantry meals lately.. trying to stagger one dish meals with regular meat and vegetable meals. I made a gallon batch of granola yesterday for himself. I need to get the bread machine going too...ran out of bread yesterday. After the first I am going on a low carb diet and try to shed some poundage.  But himself will not ever quit eating bread. So there's's not hard for me. Pasta and sugar are the hardest for me.  Hence not even considering doing this until after the holidays are over. I need to learn to make some low carb alternatives to bread and maybe even pasta. Who knows.

   The world is in an uproar. All the wrong people are leaving government service and all the wrong ones are staying. The tax scam bill is a travesty. Paul Ryan stated today that they will work on "reforming" the entitlements programs in 2018.  Maybe the gods will send a tsunami/earthquake/tornado/flood  and knock DC off the map. I have been purposefully not listening to any more news/politics than I can avoid. It just makes me sicker. These treasonous bastards are destroying this country, all to line their own pockets.  And that is all I am saying. And I am scared.

  Okay-- I guess I better get in the kitchen.  Wheat bread, scalloped potatoes and Oatmeal Spice Cake are awaiting me.   Happy Pearl Harbor Day people...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

RIP Mz Junko Tabei

 My baby cat died today around 5 AM.  I knew it was coming. Acute renal failure. It was fast and it was fatal. She had disappeared for about 3 days last week and showed back up on Sunday afternoon.  Most likely she got ahold of something toxic somewhere  (could have been an ibuprofen somebody dropped)  could have been anything.  She was my buddy for over 11 years, coming to us in the middle of a righteous thunderstorm one night, huddled up against the front door crying to be let in, a wee babe, lost and scared.   OR-- looking for me, which is what I prefer to think.  She fit right in to our family, and a kitten she would come in here when I was on the computer and climb up my leg and across my shoulders and on top of my head. I was talking to my friend Beto one night and he asked what I had named her. I said I hadn't yet, I was waiting for her name to show itself.  I started laughing because she climbing in my lap and I said to him "She climbs me like I'm Mt Everest."  He paused and then said-- her name is Junko Tabei. The first woman to climb Mt Everest.  And that was that. A striking cat, she looked like a Picasso...her face coloring in angles and 3 colors. She had a stripe of tawny and white on her all grey tail, about 2 inches down from the tip. She was magnificent.

  I have been sick with a cold/flu thingy since Sunday night, and between coughing so hard my ribs hurt and nearly snotting myself to death, I am exhausted. And emotionally exhausted on top of it. I stayed home today to rest a couple of more days, and am doing a series of small chores around the house. A load of laundry including everything the kitty came in contact with. Honey wheat bread in the bread machine. Some breakfast and lunch dishes cleaned up.  Jarred up the 4 pounds of pecan halves my brother sent me, and got them in the pantry.  Had a little lunch and a very little nap and might get the birdcage cleaned, although it may wait for tomorrow. It's been beautiful outside-- nearly 60 degrees today. Coming home last night after 9 PM it was 55.  At the end of November.  Crazy.

  The older I get, the more emotional I become over the loss of these pets. Is this colored by my own imminent mortality ? I will be 65 after the first of the year.  Not particularly old these days, but no spring chicken either.  Age gives a certain patina to memories and losses and love, I'm finding.  I watch the world with different eyes.  I experience things with a different heart.  And for the first time in my life, I am sensing that there isn't enough time (or money, lol) to do all the things I want to do, to meet all the people I have yet to meet, or have all the adventures that are still out there waiting.  Aging is a bittersweet blessing... beating the alternative, but still making you look at life so differently.  My body is breaking down ever so slowly. My mind not as sharp as it once was. My peers are succumbing to the ravages of time too-- dying, losing their grown children, suffering with cancers of a million varieties. It's all around, this face slapping bite of reality. But when I look at the big picture, I can be grateful that I have had a full life. As full as it gets with love and family and friends, certainly. I have traveled some.  More than some and not as much as others. I have seen almost every state in this country, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, South America. I got to see Macchu Picchu.  Diamond Head.  Pike's Peak. The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. The Giant Redwoods.  I have stood in places of power in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visited the battlegrounds of Gettysburg. I have driven north to Washington State up the Coastal Highway and stood at the edge of the grand Pacific Ocean, marveling at my own insignificance.  It's been a full life. Much good, some not so good, some boringly ordinary.  Maybe it doesn't get any better than that.

   And so...on a sunny Saturday afternoon... I can smell the almost done honey wheat bread I'm making and thinking about what to cook that man for supper. That man who has loved me through thick and thin these last 25 years.  That man who buried my baby cat this afternoon by himself, because I just couldn't do it. That man who holds me when I cry, no matter how snotty and coughy I am. That man who loves me when I can barely love myself... and then I know that this life of mine is precious. A gift from my Creator that I shall hold dearly and tight, until the very end.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

  My guys...digging in.

  I came home from last weekend's regional forum, where I met up with about 400 of my closest friends, with a terrible cold/flu kind of thing.  I have been down for the count all day Monday and most of Tuesday. Felt a little better yesterday and today, did a little prep cooking yesterday and finished everything else up today. Got up at 8 AM to get started and finished it up right around noon. Roasted 2 turkey breasts, baked a maple glazed spiral sliced ham, made turkey gravy, mashed red potatoes, stuffing with cranberries and sliced almonds, buttered peas, artisan bread and a cranberry orange salad.  An apple pie and a sweet potato pie.  Ate like big dogs. lol

  And now it's all over and the boyo has gone home and the mister and I are hanging out. I am uninstalling a security program that pissed me off for the last time with all the pop ups and screams to buy more more more. The only thing worse than all that is the godawful wait time for downloading new stuff.  My adobe flash is not working right. Trying to fix that. I don't really know enough about computers to know anything, but I persevere nonetheless. And to top it all off, my picture viewer keeps showing blacked out frames when I try to download pictures.  So I have to guess at what they are. Frustrating. 

  The world is as crazy as ever. I am hiding from it for the week. 

  The link from this blog to it's stats page seems to be broken. When I click on the little b icon for this page, it redirects me to the Dragon Womans Kitchen page.  And I am powerless to stop it. I have tried to figure out what's causing it to no I just started posting on the Dragon Woman page all the time. That's why it looks like so long since I've posted.  I may stop using this link for good and only use the other.  

  I'm over here-- Dragon Woman's Kitchen

 And if you have some good information for me about these problems I'm having, please feel free to let me know.  Because I am clueless.

  Later Taters...and Happy Thanksgiving