Thursday, February 8, 2024

Sledge hammers and litterboxes


  This has been a rollercoaster of a few months.  I don't know  where to start.  I feel like I really need to get some things out of me and on paper, so I have chosen to blog about them, since this doesn't get read by many anyway.  I take full responsibility for that, as I am such a hit and miss blogger the past few years. It is past midnight and I am beyond tired.  This past summer one of my nephews died of a heroin overdose. A couple of years before that, HIS nephew died of a heroin overdose.  My heart breaks for the brother that these belong to. It is brutal and senseless and so unnecessary.  The one that died this summer lived with us for a while when he was in HS. His life has been nothing but grief to his family these last years and it was inevitable. I tried at one point to get him into a recovery program, hooked him up with a nice young man close to his age, but he didn't want any part of it. It's heartbreaking watching the havoc addiction wreaks on the lives of the addict and everyone who loves them. Then just before Thanksgiving, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.  We kept the news to ourselves for a while, as he tried to process it all. Then we told family members. I had confided in a couple of very close friends, but he was keeping it bottled up. Finally he told a few people and then it was out.  December was full of consults and dr appointmnets in St Louis and in the first full week of January, they started radiation treatments.  We're blessed to have one the nations top cancer centers here.  The medical care from the VA has been superb.  My husband has a great attitude and managed to work half days through the treatments.  After they were finished, the side effects began. He has missed the last week of work and is feeling really crappy.  (**it's weeks later now).  He missed another week and a half of work before he could go back.   He had a little down time before they started the chemo treatments, and on January 30th the first infusion was administered. The second one is coming up in 12 days. In between, he takes 2 weeks of chemo PILLS, one week off, then the next infusion.  Total of 4 infusions.  Then tests to see if they can do surgery yet to remove the tumor. He's had some strange side effects from the chemo, most are fleeting. He looks tired. He's worked 40 hours this week by the time he gets home. Last week he was able to work 20.  This stuff is not for the faint of heart.  Today is his 64th birthday. He doesn't want a celebration, but I'm making one of his favorite dinners of lemon chicken with rice and some vegetable.  He's lost about 8 pounds since this started, his appetite is different than normal.  I made some sugar free chocolate pudding with almond milk since he didn't want a cake. lol  The chicken is marinating right now. I've been a householding fool today, and managed to get a lot of things done, (like laundry and scrubbing out litterboxes). I have a little birthday bag for him with an Irish flag and a Celtic symbol on a chain that he'll probably never wear. But I liked it.  lol  

   So, in between all this, I had a bad diverticulitis attack that landed me in the ER.  They ran all kinds of stupid tests (as they are wont to do) and then ordered a post ER Ultrasound on my gall bladder. Seems I have developed gall stones. Sigh... not causing any real trouble yet, but they want to remove the thing before it does. Been a real clusterfork trying to get it scheduled because I need to do it around his treatment schedules and I want to do it half an hour from here instead of over an hour where they originally wanted to schedule it. It's all been frustrating. Oh, and did I mention that my brother also died rather unexpectedly in December, right before Xmas ?  At the same hospital they wanted to send me to ? can imagine my general state of mind. Top that with a new phone I got that will not work well...supposed to be "senior friendly" and I bought 2 and after much ado, am sending them both back and getting my $$ refunded.  Dropping calls, not opening apps, lousy reception and speakers.  Luckily I only set up the one to see how it worked. lol  So we still have one halfway dependable phone. 

  All in all, it's a wonder I haven't run screaming through the streets. But so far, I've been okay. We have lots of love and support around us and I am so thankful for everyone that has offered and done little things to help us. My friend Mary comes to mind, who said once... "Life comes at us like a sledgehammer sometimes.  No time to duck."  Whew. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

I'm the worst blogger in the history of blogdom...


But, in my defense, it's been a crazy few months. lol  Not that I haven't had tons of stuff to blog about, but getting the time, motivation and energy (all at the same time) to get on here has been the problem.  Even now, I should be cleaning up this house. Instead I have sat on the front porch and read and waited while the fat lazy mailman stuffed a box that was too big into my mailbox, instead of driving up the driveway and putting it on the porch. Hell, I would have even walked out to his truck and gotten it. I couldn't get the damned thing out of the box and had to come back in the house (cursing his name) get a long flat edge screwdriver and pry it out of the mailbox.  Luckily it was double boxed, so I didn't damage the dvds.  I was furious.  So far I have refrained from calling the PO and registering a complaint. He really is a huge lumpy limpy mess. This isn't the first time he's done this.  But dammit, I am disabled too.  Grrr... (bless them and change me...bless him and change me...)

 On a brighter note, it's beautiful out there today. Sunshine and blue skies.  We have had the screwiest weather imaginable, all year. May is proving to be no exception to it either.  It got to temps in the 80's, then crashed back down to the 30's. Lots of severe storms.  Dust storms so bad (from freshly plowed fields- we live in corn country round these parts) on the interstate north of here that it caused a gigantic crash Monday morning of 30 commercial vehicles and about 42 cars...7 people dead and 30 injured. Explosions from gas tanks and big trucks created black smoke you could see for miles. 60 mph winds that were NOT tornadoes.  They closed the road for 2 days trying to get vehicles cleared away, and then the next day the winds were bad again. Today though, it's barely breezy and the temps are in the mid to high 60's. 

  I'm getting ready to start a batch of marinara for supper tonight. All vegetables, salad and garlic naan, unless I run to the store right when he gets home. I was going to bake some garlic rolls, but like everything else I was going to do, I haven't.  lol  I've been hungry for some Sketti. I probably still have time to make the rolls...but I probably won't. I don't know what's wrong with me.  I have 6 baby kittens that are about 4 1/2 weeks old and so cute I am paralyzed with adoration.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  lol  They are starting to gallop down the hallway now and climb anything they can reach.  Including our pantlegs.  lol

  So...all in all still alive and well.  Life on Honeysuckle Hill moves on.  Life continues to be a series of miracles.  And that's about the gist of it.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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


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


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Last day of November...


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

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

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

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

  It's the story of my life.

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

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

  So life goes on... and we with it.

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

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

Thursday, August 18, 2022



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

                         My front yard on Honeysuckle Hill.

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

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

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

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

 Hasta la Vista, kids.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

On Death and Dying.

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

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

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

Monday, November 15, 2021



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

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

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

  That should cover it.