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...

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Plight of the Haggard Homeowner...

 


 This is why there is mariticide. (Mariticide (from Latin maritus "husband" + -cide, from caedere "to cut, to kill") literally means the killing of one's husband or boyfriend. It can refer to the act itself ...) Sometimes someone just needs killing. Numerous trips back and forth for parts because things don't fit.  Cut out part of the wall because this new water heater is bigger than the old one. (Don't ask).  No hot water for 3 days now. It has been a home repair shit show extraordinaire.  Then it was all piped and the glue dried and ready to turn on, only to find out there was an airleak in the pipe leading to the overflow bladder, which must have gotten damaged trying to get the old heater out.  Of course, it's on the BACK SIDE of the copper pipe, so there was no seeing it ahead of time. He is at the end of his rope...my uber intelligent nice guy of a husband. He considered strangling the boy at the Rural King who had no idea what he was talking about, when he was looking for a coupler to fit the pipe he had to replace.   He is not generally a violent man.  But I suspect that home repairs can turn even Caspar Milquetoast into Charles Manson.  He just came in and said everything is glued and in place and now we wait 2 hours for the stuff to dry. 

Update: It's leaking.

  Jesus.  

Not one to ever know when to give up, he's back there, at it again.  I am in the other end of the house, except when he needs me to do something useful, like google the difference between  C PVC and regular PVC. And offer moral support.  

  In the meantime I am working on the back bedroom, cleaning it up and getting ready for a house guest this next weekend.  That poor room... everything with no home winds up in there.  It IS the home for some things. The closet is a storage/pantry. There's a shelving unit that houses several small appliances, including 2 crockpots, a rice cooker, a dehydrator, an electric skillet, a waffle iron, a George Foreman grill, a large cone colander in a metal stand.  Last Christmas's rolls of paper, bags of ribbons, gift bags  and several assorted and sundry cardboard boxes were on the bed. Other things that I put in there, thinking--I'll get to those later (and don't).  And of course, that also where, all along one wall, we store our 45 gallons of sprig water that we get from the springs and drink, There's a large dresser on another wall that houses linens and stuff.  The top of said dresser is a train wreck.  It will take me at least 2 days probably to get that room cleaned up. But git 'er done I shall.  I've made a big dent in it today. Work a while, stop a while. Work a while again. It's my MO. lol

  I found a fully cooked smallish (loaf pan sized) meatloaf in the freezer that is thawing for supper tonight. Trying to empty out enough of the freezer to be able to put ice cube trays in.  lol  It's 88 right now, and feels like 94. We've gone from winter to summer it appears. It's not horrible in here, AC and fans going, curtains drawn. Drinking lots of water. I'll heat the meatloaf in the airfryer, cook some potatoes with onions in the microwave and heat up some peas the same way.  Not much added heat to the house that way. 

 **New update:  Apparently he forgot to glue that particular joint..  All the pieces had to be dry fit and then glued and he overlooked one.  Bless his heart. He glued it and is now off to the park with a dog.  He needs a break from this circus...lol

  Well, I'm ready to get back at it.  There are canning supplies in there that I need to figure out whether to put in the garage or ??  And I may vacuum and I may not.  Might be a tomorrow job. We'll  see. AT any rate, it looks like we may have the water heater installed.  Again-- we'll see.  Hats off to all of you people who manage to keep your homes and homesteads in working order without resorting to murder.  Prayers for those of us who struggle.  

  Happy last week of May.


  

Friday, May 14, 2021

Living a life stark raving sober...

 


  Lots of people sleeping these days.  Have had strange conversations with people who have their panties in a wad about not getting a vaccine. Being part of the more vulnerable population makes me take this bs a little personally.  I don't care if you want to get the virus, but I sure as hell don't want it.  It's the age old argument about where your rights (legally or morally) begin and mine end.  I told someone this morning that if it were me and I carried (knowingly or unknowingly) this thing to someone and it killed them, I would not be able to live with myself.  I guess I don't understand how everyone doesn't look at it like that.


  I'm eating some dark chocolate--IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.  That's the kind of day it is.  Some days, it just is what it is and other days I am in a fighting mode about all the stuff I live with daily.  It's exhausting. Thank goodness I don't feel like this every day. The past 20 years have been a circus fun house of learning to live with permanent disabilities that are rarely pretty or fun to talk about.  That are sometimes so frustrating I want to scream.  Other times I'm a regular girl Buddha, smiling through the ride.  I'll spare you the details.  Suffice it to say that life has handed me lemons on occasion and I have thrown them angrily against the wall.  Or made lemonade. You know, depending on how I feel on a particular day.  I suspect this is the way most people live their own circus lives.  Not insinuating that I am different than anyone else and certainly not unique. We're all doing the best we can and just walking each other home. Or, you know, making a shirt out of their skin.


  Himself is walking the dogs. His OT shift today was shorter than usual by a couple of hours.  He watched with amusement for a bit as I whirling dervished my way around the house. It got to be too much, so he had to find somewhere to go.  Or he was afraid I'd ask him to run the vacuum. Either way, he's off to the park and reservoir to let dogs run.  It's about a 3 hour endeavor generally, as he takes them one at a time. The Meemonster,


of course, cannot be allowed off the leash. She'd wind up in Alabama. But the 2 older dogs run to their hearts content and always keep the truck in sight in case this is the time he decides to abandon them.  The first picture is Bella and the second is Miss Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist.



He gets a walk in and they get their run in and they all live happily ever after.  And I get a little extra time to finish up some things and get supper on the table.  Win/Win.

Alright. Enough for now. I haven't been able to write much since the big event last August, and in my mind I don't understand, since it seems like I'd have even more to say. Having a mild brush with death changes a person. No argument there...

  Later, taters. I have cleaning and cooking to do. 


  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

...and the sailor home from the sea...

 


  This is my favorite picture, taken at his 80th birthday party, in Altoona Wisconsin in October of 2016.  Our little inside joke was that I was his "favorite daughter-in-law".   Joke because I was his only daughter in law.  That's how I would always sign our cards to him and when I talked to him on the phone, I'd say Hey Pops-- it's your favorite daughter in law !  And we would both laugh.  I met Gordie Kelley about 8 or 9  years after my own father had died, so he was my dad's stand in for the rest of his life. They were a lot alike actually, in temperament and personality, so you can imagine I loved him from the beginning. 


  They will lay him to rest tomorrow, up in northern Wisconsin, next to his first wife, my husband's mother. He was blessed to have known love twice, his second wife died about 6 months ago. She is laid to rest next to HER first husband, in the same Catholic cemetery.  Their children will gather to pay their final respects to a man that fiercely loved his family, was unwavering in his commitments to the Lions Club and the church choir, and was the craziest pontoon boat driver I've ever been on board with.  He loved his little trailer up at the lake, and fishing and drinking beer. He served his country in the United States Navy and was an active veteran. A couple of years ago, he got to take part in the Freedom Honor Flight with his daughter (a retired navy person herself) by his side.  Freedom Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor. The day trip includes visits to the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. With spring and fall flights, the organization coordinates the transportation and itinerary of more than 200 veterans annually.  It was probably one of the highlights of his life. He was a really nice man and I am so grateful to have had the chance to be part of his family. He totally and enthusiastically accepted me from the start --  no questions asked, no conditions. He was one of those rare people who loved with their whole heart.


  So, it's been an emotional and relieved time for all. He was ready to go "home". He had been in a nursing home for over a year and it was hard for him to understand why no one was coming to visit (Covid) and when his son called him (usually a couple of times a week), he was more and more confused.  His health had declined and his will to live was diminished.  We are all so thankful that he didn't suffer too long and that most of his children were at his side when he made the decision to let go.  It will be hard to learn to live without him, but he leaves behind a trail of smiles and family memories and Packers memorabilia and comfort in the knowledge that he lived a good full life. He lived to see his great grandchildren born.  I think, maybe, it doesn't get much better than that.


 Goodbye Pops.  We'll see you on the other side.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hump Day, Babeeee.....

 



   Finally- snow.  North of us has had snow, south of us has had snow, and finally today we have snow too.  lol    Not that it's my favorite thing, but it sure is beautiful and it blankets everything in a soft quiet kind of tranquility.  It's much better retired of course... I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to.  I'm still in my pajamas right now, and might just stay in them.  Getting dressed seems a little overrated on days like this.


  The pandemic has changed everything.  My once hectic life has slowed down a lot, just in time for  a heart attack and surgery which demanded slowing down.  I had an icky Achilles tendon surgery in February of last year which had me housebound and in a wheelchair for a good amount of time. Got out of the worst of that just in time for the Corona Virus.  So this has been a year of contemplation and quiet, of re-evaluating and reconsidering. Some of this, I'm sure, is my age. Some of this is the times. Weird times.  People are losing their minds. I seem to be finding mine.  lol


   The critters are napping all over the house. The dogs have been out and back in a couple of times.  The old girl doesn't like the cold, the baby keeps wanting to go out and check it out and then run back in.  The outside cat comes and goes.  She's been sleeping inside on the colder nights and will sometimes even stay inside during the day.  She has a little basket high on a table to sleep in where those  other horrid cats don't bother her so much.  She's old and cranky and has no tolerance for their shenanigans.  The twinlets are 2 years old and the Grey kitten is 1, and still very kitten-ish and playful.


  I've got some stew meat in the microwave thawing to make a nice pot of beef stew for supper.  Full of carrots, potatoes, onions and celery, it will be a nice with a loaf of fresh baked french bread.  Himself works outside parts of the day, so he comes home hungry and cold and grumpy.  A nice substantial supper puts him right. We usually eat around 6:30-7, depending on what time he rolls in.  This weather might slow him down some, or some days he works late.  Nice thing about a pot of stew is that it will be ready when he is. Our evenings are pretty quiet, and he is usually off to the shower and bed by 9:15 or so. He gets up around 4:45 AM and works 10 hour days M-TH, then [usually] an 8 hour OT day on Fridays.  Makes for a long week, and I try to do everything I can to make it easier for him.  


  Found a recipe for a DIY oven cleaner made with some pretty innocuous ingredients, so I may try to clean my oven this afternoon. before I get the bread going.  And then again...  lol  I have a hard time with commercial oven cleaners. Seems I react to something in them and wind up coughing and choking from the fumes.  So, I'll try this and see if it works.  My friend assures me that it does, but she doesn't cook like I do, and I'm pretty sure her oven never gets as trashed as mine.  lol  I'll let you know.


  I've been cooking and canning up a storm.  Hit a grand meat sale, and bought about 75 pounds of 80% lean ground beef, pork loin and bottom round roast for around $150.oo.  I froze 2 batches of pork loin chops, several packages of ground beef and a couple of bags of stew meat (plus cooked a roast for supper one of those canning days)  and canned all the rest of it.  My pantry is stocked. I've been buying some extras of basic staples like flour and sugar and oats and oil and rice.  Should be able to go without grocery shopping for a while. I have bought a few extras now and again of things like laundry supplies, dish soap and paper products.  My first aid kits are all stocked.  Pet foods are stocked (mostly) .  Playing with the idea of canning some dog food, but that may or may not happen. 


  That's about it from here on the Hill. Hanging out, staying in and trying to not be too worried about how crazy people are getting. I have high hopes again about the state of our nation with a new president, I pray that everything will work out without too much strife.  There does seem to be a faction of folks that  don't want to anything but cause strife.  It is worrisome...  Be well everyone

Monday, January 11, 2021

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World...

 



  This has been one crazy week. Crazy, scary, devastating.  I have no words.   On my birthday, Wednesday, Trump and his minions attempted to stage a coup to stop the certification of the election.  It didn't work. Lots of property damage, people damage and 5 deaths. These idiots were filming themselves as they terrorized Congress and destroyed property.  Now the FBI is asking for help identifying them FROM THEIR OWN PICTURES and rounding them up a few at a time and they are outraged. They brought weapons into the Capitol and threatened people, even threatened to hang Mike Pence because he was doing his job. And they are butthurt about being demonized and arrested now.  If it wasn't such a travesty it would be funny. Unbelievable.  Certainly a bd I will never forget.

  I have been staying home most of the time, going out now and then to do a curbside pickup of groceries.  I had to take my new glasses back to the eye place today, because I can't see with them.  I'm back to wearing my old ones, which frankly, are fine.  The nice man at the office finally figured out what the problem was and they will have to re-grind my lenses and they should be ready to p/u by the end of the week. He also said the new prescription was not very different at all. I wish they had told me that before I spent 250 dollars on them. (And that was my share- after insurance.)  While I was out, I stopped by a local discount grocery store and picked up a full case each of diced tomatoes and chickpeas. Then stopped to load up on pet food.  I got all put away, and even found jars for 20 of the 40 pounds of flour that came the other day and has been sitting on my dining room table, lol.  Today sesame seeds (2#) and wheat germ (1#)  came, so I jarred that up for storage too.  I use the wheat germ in my bread. I use the sesame seeds in lots of things. I've been cooking more Middle eastern and Mediterranean dishes, and many of those call for things like tamarind paste and fish sauce and sesame seeds.  I keep this stuff stocked up.  I love having the opportunity and ability to make and try lots of dishes from other cultures.  Last week I made a Muslim style rice noodles with beef that was out of this world !  I keep a nice stock of pastas, including rice noodles, cellophane noodles, soba noodles and regular old egg noodles and macaronis.  Also rice and quinoa and cous cous (which we don't eat very often, but it's nice to have).  Being able to buy things in bulk from Amazon is nice, especially during these crazy quarantine times. My husband hates that I'm on a first name basis with about 5 delivery drivers.  lol It's just a sign of the times. 


  I have been thinking about canning some dog and cat food items...things I could mix with oats or rice in the event that I couldn't get dog and cat food.  I don't want to get crazy about the state of the world, but today the FBI is warning law enforcement across the US of possible  armed protests at 50 state capitols starting Saturday through the inauguration on Jan. 20th.   These people have lost their minds.  As far as I can see, it wouldn't be a surprise for the chain of supply to be interfered with. I like to think we are prepared for anything that happens, but I don't know.  I guess we can just do what we can do and trust that it will be enough. I've looked at my seed vault and thought about ordering some more garden seed, but I probably have enough.  Again-- I don't want to get too crazy. There's enough of that in the world. 


  I have skills.  We have survived some pretty scary things-- natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes)...a car accident 5 years ago that turned our world upside down for a while. Food shortages and rationing things, tho no one starved and it was minor compared to some places, it's not something we're used to dealing with in this country (or in this house).  I have been convinced that it was necessary to keep a stocked pantry because 1) We live out in the country and if it snows a lot, we can't get out and 2) You never know what might happen.  When himself was hurt in that accident and couldn't work for 3.5 months, we got a real exercise in what it could be like, just from having to pay bills and survive on my disability. And we did it.  And it was scary and eventually satisfying to know we could do it. And there you go.


  Alright, this old girl needs to hit the hay. I have plans for tomorrow...some things I really need to get done. Here's to democracy and level heads and crossing things off my list.  It could turn out to be a very productive day.

 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Monday Musings 2021

 


  Here we are... the first Monday of January in 2021. It even feels like a sci-fi thriller.  Covid is wreaking havoc with peoples lives,  supply chains are slowly being disrupted, and people are generally grumpy AF.  Someone was talking today about a Covid "syndrome"  and my two cents was that we're just scared shitless of dying.   Call that a syndrome if you want.  I call it fear.   And of course we are afraid.  The numbers keep climbing, the vaccines aren't available like they should be, and we don't even really know that they will work.  And the reality of the seriousness has finally sunk in, even to the people who called this a hoax and "just the flu" a year ago.  With over 350K dead and a confirmed minimum of almost 21M cases in the US alone, even the die hards now know someone who has had it or died from it. Scary times around this world of ours. 

  I am eating a bowl of leftover stew for my breakfast/lunch.   Life is going right along here on Honeysuckle Hill... made it through the Holidays and his 12 day vacation with no angst or bloodshed.  lol  He was starting to get a little restless, pacing and such, 12 days is a little much. He said last night he didn't want to go back to work, but I think secretly he did.  lol  

  Today I am doing a tiny bit of housekeeping, but I slept late and so kinda shot myself in the foot. I think that I am  making a meatless Monday meal, maybe a pasta with putanesca sauce and some home made french bread. And salad.  I'm hungry for a salad. Picked up a grocery order from Aldis yesterday and got most all of it separated into meal sized portions (the meat--chicken and ground beef).  Thought it was all put away (he helped) but I just found 2 bags sitting on the pantry floor.  If I get off my butt and put them away, I can still at least vacuum (and have supper ready) before he gets home at 6. lol  Had a thought to doing laundry today, but it can wait til tomorrow. Trying to pace myself. lol He went for a hike yesterday, and pulled in the driveway 5 minutes after I had unloaded all the groceries from the car...7 bags and a box.  I was plum tuckered out after that.  lol    The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be...

  So, as you can guess, I have been stocking and restocking my pantries. I am going to can some ground beef tomorrow or Wednesday. Freezer is full.  And all of it needs re-arranging probably and inventorying.  But the weather has been goofy and I have been lazy and it hasn't gotten done.  I did inventory the pantries, and am pretty happy with that.  I am waiting for pork loin to come up on sale again so I can CAN 10 or 12 jars to add to my meat stash.  I have chicken, roast beef, and a couple of jars of pork left.  I have store bought canned tuna and salmon. I have a case of shelf stable tofu, plus a couple of packages. All in all, I feel pretty ready  for any worst case scenarios, food and supply wise.  I still have a few things that I feel you can "never have too much of" that I will buy as I see them. One of those is chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. They are a great source of protein, and I have learned to make several Indian dishes with them for a base.  AND-- I secretly eat them right out of the can, heated up with a little butter and black pepper.  lol   Usually when I find myself either not wanting to eat at all, or craving protein.  I am awfully grateful that I have a broad palette and like most things, and that I love culinary adventures. I have made American (of course), Vietnamese, French, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Greek, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Moroccan, Native American, and heaven knows what else kinds of cooking. It helps that I have a man who is not too picky, and will try anything once, and loves to eat too. 

  That's pretty much it from the Hill.  No more dr appts unless I have a problem. Keeping a casual eye on my vitals, and doing what I am supposed to be doing. We have both been healthy and are so thankful for that.  The critters are all fat and sassy and make our lives better every day. Here's to 2021 --  may we all march to our drummers and keep our heads held high.