Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Let there be peace...


  No one can ever live in a PLACE of peace, I have decided. The world is too chaotic and loud.  The trick is to find that sanctuary inside yourself where you can cultivate and immerse yourself in peace.  Easy to type, not always so easy to do. It takes discipline, it takes practice and it takes a willingness to forego all the things you think you know about yourself and the world. If we are lucky, we get to live in quieter places, like I do. That makes it easier.

   The ancient Indian ideal of Ahimsa hands us that on a platter.  A basic practice of non-violence, it becomes a guiding force of reverence for life.  Transformation of me is necessary for transformation of the world.  "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me..." words to a spiritual song that tells us as citizens of the world we must cultivate peace in our own hearts if we want to "...be the change we wish to see in the world" as Gandhi taught.  So many words of wisdom can be found around us...our job is to pick them up and find the one that fits us.  Of course, that's only IF we are seeking peace and serenity. I know people who have no problem with the crazy life they lead. The drama, the hatefulness, the chaos.   It makes me tired... it hurts my heart.

   I have a list of suggestions to help me practice a discipline of peacefulness that I read every morning. It breaks it down into each day of the week one simple suggestion.  Today is Wednesday. For today I get:

    WEDNESDAY: Speaking For Peace.

     Today, the purpose of speaking is to create happiness in the listener. Have this intention- TODAY, EVERY WORD I UTTER WILL BE CHOSEN CONSCIOUSLY. I will refrain from complaints, condemnation and criticism.


   Easy enough to do (maybe??) when I'm at home here on Honeysuckle Hill by myself. How will I do out in the world ?  Can I slow myself down enough to even process what's getting ready to come out of my mouth ?  Practicing mindfulness certainly helps. And practicing watching my words as they swirl around in this cabbagehead of mine helps too.  BEFORE they come rushing out the gate. lol  Most people, I find, do not usually have the intention of hurting other people. And yet over and over we do... unconsciously  perhaps, because we are ego driven and un-mindful, When all I think about is me, I ignore the effects my words and actions (however seemingly insignificant)  have on others.  Decades ago, someone made a comment about how sarcastic I was.  Then they said-- do you know that the root of the word Sarcasm means to tear flesh ?  That every time you are sarcastic with someone to show your superiority, you are chewing them up, tearing them down. I was shocked. I remember sputtering that I wasn't sarcastic because it made me look smarter, better, quicker...but because I was witty, funny.  I'm pretty funny... and the more I thought about it the sicker I got. It was true... and I have made a practice to watch that ever since. It still creeps in sometimes and I still get some pleasure out of it. But for the most part, the idea of belittling someone else in that way does not serve the woman I am today. Thank Goodness.

  SO, for today, in search of peace in my heart and peace in my world, I will carefully choose to speak words of peace, words of  uplifting, words of assurance.  I will remember that As With in/As With out. I will hum the words Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. And it will be a good day.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Keep Calm... spring is coming !

  
The daisies aren't quite this lush yet, but I am hopeful.  lol  These are in my backyard, down by the bird feeders. I planted the originals (which have spread every year) to cover some areas  I didn't want to mow.  :)  The promise of spring is an amazing tonic during the cold dark winter months, and this year it has been like a dangling carrot, bribing us forward step by step through this seemingly endless winter.  The irises are up, about 4 inches tall in some places. The trees are leafing out, as are the honeysuckle vines and the lilacs. The peach tree is covered in sweet pink blossoms.  Makes me feel a little more certain that as May approaches, we may actually see some spring.  The temps have  been a little warmer the past few days and yesterday and today we have some showers and mid fifties temperatures. I need some sun.  We all need some sun.

  The yucko-bug has hit the husband and he has been sick for over a week now. Bad cough and I am hoping that he won't pass it back to me. It's been a rough winter here on the Hill as far as respiratory ailments go.  I'm feeling better but the cough lingers...which is the main complaint I hear from everyone who's had it (and that's a lot of folks).  I'm trying to pace myself with all the stuff going on and running around I have to do. Generally it's go a day, take  a couple of stay home days. I have 2 big projects I need to start, but am not feeling quite ready to start them. lol  So... I am hopeful that one day I will wake up all bright eyed and bushy tailed and get busy. (HEY! It could happen...). We'll see how that works. 

 The diet is going along slowly.  But I have lost 17 pounds.  So that's something I suppose. And I am wearing jeans I haven't been able to fit into for a few years. I'll take it. It's a healthier way to eat, all in all. I'm going to start eating some fruit that I've been avoiding though, because my body feels like it needs that. But no sugar, no flour, no rice (mostly) or pasta.  The inflammation in my joints is down. I am off the blood pressure medications as well as the arthritis meds.  So, I keep on keeping on. Tonight I am going to oven fry some pork loin chops for supper, with a nice salad and some green beans  or broccoli.  Tomorrow night we will feast on zucchini noodles (Zoodles) with marinara and home made meatballs. And salad. It isn't hard to eat this way really. Just that sometimes you want bruschetta.  lol  Experimenting with using coconut and almond flours.  New things to learn. Made some low carb peanut butter cookies the other night. Meh. lol  But like so may things, it's a matter of getting used to a slightly less sweet product.

  We still haven't taken the plastic off the garden beds and haven't planted a thing. Trying to reconfigure  the crops we plant, since there are a few things we are no longer eating so it's silly to plant them. Thinking specifically of spuds, of course. Things to think about.  More cruciferous vegetables, less carbohydrate rich starchy ones. We need to sit down and figure it out. I'd love to grow a ton of cauliflower this year and rice it and freeze it. But it's a late planting plant here I think.  I haven't grown it since we lived here because the summers are so hot.

  Well, I feel like taking a nap instead of straightening up the house and making supper. I have somewhere to be at 7:30, so I have to map it all out or I'll be late. Takes about half an hour to get anywhere from here.  But it's only 3 PM. I could sneak in a nap and a shower and do some minor straightening when I get up. And then do some more tomorrow.  Part of my lazy is the gloomy rainy weather. Part of it I was away from home yesterday for over 8 hours, doing some stuff.  Playing a little catch-up today.  

  See ya later, taters.  I'm off for a nap. (But I'll set the alarm to make sure I get up in a timely manner). lol  Hasta Luegos, babeeees...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Quiet Moments



  It's a quiet Sunday morning here on Honeysuckle Hill and it's snowing. I didn't think it would-- it's been relatively warm out there. But, what do I know ?

  It's been an interesting week or so around these parts.  Lived with the one car after the truck died for a little over a week and decided it was too hard. So off to the dealership we went and sold our soul  and bought a new car. A 2017 with 200 miles on her... a little Nissan Versa Note (hatchback, close to 40 mpg,  a nice little drive).  Here she is (Zelda)  in her first snow:  lol


  So now all the money juggling begins again. It's good to have a very dependable car, and one we can drive on long distance trips and not worry about having a breakdown. It's all good. We'll probably save enough money on gas from just not driving that truck that it will pay much of the car payment. lol  We did get a good price on it, because of the showroom miles and the fact that they are clearing out the 2017 inventory to make room for the 2019's already.   And so it is...


   The seed catalogs have started coming in and the back gardens are all compost-y and warm with the black plastic over them. Himself was raking up piles of leaves yesterday in the front yard (and now they will be wet and heavy) and those will go on the beds too at some point.  We use lots of that kind of yard debris for our gardens. Makes for good healthy dirt. Looking forward to warm weather so we can really get out there and get some stuff done.  I bought a high pressure washer that hooks up to the garden hose so that I can get the gunk cleaned off the outside of the house this spring. In the past (when I have done it) I have just used a scrub broom and a 5 gallon bucket. Makes it a hard job. This should simplify my life. It will really help with the decks too...they get really slick between the algae or moss or whatever it is that grows on them and the spring rains. I have almost busted my keister more than once out there. The other thing is the chicken coop... it's almost time for the chicks to start showing up in the farm stores and we have done nothing to get the coop rebuilt. Always so much to do.  And the older I get the faster it seems to fly by, leaving me in the dust of unfinished projects.  I guess it's part of the joys of home ownership, these unfinished projects. I remember 13 years ago thinking-- we have all the time in the world to get this or that done. Hah. 

  Seems like we have had an inordinate number of terminal cancer cases popping up in this area. Learned of 2 more last week. 4 I know off hand already that are battling various forms. Makes you think.  I've always been that one who hollered about pesticides and chemicals in processed foods and all the other things that we know cause cancer. And at this point in my life, I'm too tired to keep hollering.  I just keep not drinking city water (we have a spring accessible to us nearby), not using deodorants with aluminum chlorhydrate in them (35+ yrs now)  and staying away from processed foods as much as I can. Is that a magic formula ?? Probably not. But at least I'm not making decisions on a daily basis that increase the odds. Reality can get pretty scary unless you just stay where your feet are, and remember to be mindful about the present. God bless 12 step recovery. It's the thing that saves me.  In June I will celebrate 28 years of 12 step living. It has given me tools for a life that works.

  Here's a little more snow... in case you don't have enough at your house.  lol

  It's still coming down.


  Well... I have laundry to do today because I didn't do jack yesterday. A little housekeeping--nothing serious.  It's after 11 AM and I am still in my pajamas, so I guess it's time for clothes and action. Well... movement anyway-- let's not get carried away, on this quiet snowy Sunday morning.

  Namaste.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February. What can you expect from a month spelled like that ?


  My latelys have been a crazy mixture of trepidation and contentment and wonder and sorrow.  Am I just human ?  More often than I care to admit, I am emotionally rocked by external goings on in the world I inhabit. On a large scale (school shootings, government, world politics) and on a small scale (my life and home and community). And I seem to react equally. Huh. What's that about ? 

   The truck engine gave up the ghost last week. After an $800 repair bill *that included a new battery*.  Seriously ? Sigh. So we are now down to one car and I have been looking at cars the past few days.  Online.  And then the sales people track me and start calling, offering me all kinds of deals. lol  I got a letter in the mail telling me I was pre-qualified for 75K in auto loans. 75K.  Really guys ? I think not.  That's more than I paid for my home.  So anyway, it looks like we are about to enter the "Ididn'twantacarpaymentbutIhavenootherchoice"  zone.  The talk around Honeysuckle Hill is to get a newer car for me and he will drive the Malibu to work. Discussion is continually ensuing over whether or not we even really need to have a truck.  My vote is not so much. His is oh yes we do. And so it continues...endless debate between married couples that has been going on since time began.


   Things have been relatively calm around here (and by around here, I mean in my head). lol  In spite of broken cars and choking dogs and exploding canning jars. I thought about canning pinto beans today, but have decided I'm not doing much of anything instead.  Himself is off hiking or something and I am home here with 60's hits playing on the radio.  Haven't even cleaned up the breakfast dishes yet, because I didn't want to. Looking around at my living room and  kitchen/dining room I am annoyed...it was all cleaned up on Friday when I played Holly Housewife all day and had things looking great. Now the dog toys are scattered everywhere, his shoes under the end table, crap spread out all over my nice clean table, mud tracked in all over the floors from dog feet and his boots. Sigh... job security, I guess.

  I just read this and thought it should be passed around--A LOT.  lol 

Women aren't nags--we're just fed up



  And so it goes... just another day in February.  It's been sunny all day for a change and the temps mild. The whole next week the temps look like May.  I need to figure out what's for supper and make a plan. Sun rise, sun set...and the world keeps going. Himself is out taking the last dog for a walk, I watched The Library of Congress Gershwin Awards ceremony in honor of Smokey Robinson and then The Royal Tennenbaums. Made some lunch, washed the dishes.  Straightened up the living room, picked up all the dog toys and put them, back in the basket. I'm meeting up with someone this evening and will be leaving here in a couple of hours.  For now, that's about as far ahead as I can plan.  Adios amigos.

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.