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...

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.