Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last Sunday in January

This photograph is a pair of Tlinget Indians from Alaska. The picture was on a poster from a traveling native basket collection that made it's way to Humboldt State University one year, and I fell in love with it. The Tlingets are well known for their totem poles and drums, as well.

After reading Enchanted Oaks blog today and noticing that I'm not hearing much about some major things happening in the world, it got me to thinking about war and poverty and a number of the things that we like to shuffle off to the back of our minds most of the time. We have to do this, I think, to survive the helplessness we feel. There is such a surplus of catastrophe out there...I don't have television, and I don't buy newspapers. I read Mother Jones magazine and that is enough to make me scream. I get news off the internet, so it isn't like I'm tuned out to all that's happening. I get newsletters and emails from different not-so-mainstream news sources. I am informed. I try to be open minded about things , but it is depressingly clear to me that the state of the world leaves much to be desired. And I have to say that starvation is one of the things that knocks me off center more than anything. I don't understand how it can be happening and the politics of it all just overwhelm me.

Sometimes I feel like I am some kind of goofy Pollyanna who thinks that everything is all rainbows and sunshine, and I probably sound like that. But it hurts my heart, this stuff that goes on. In some primal, psychic manner...I sometimes feel the pain of the world. Of the Mother Earth. Of hungry children. Of war torn countries. I don't know if that empathy is my esoteric connection to all living things or my imagination. I don't know if I can do anything positive to help change things or not. I don't know if there are souls who choose their paths in this lifetime and I need to stay out of their way while they work their way through to the solutions, or I am supposed to be an activist, fighting to make change apparent.

There is a Red Cedar Circle prayer that I like, that goes like this:

SiSiWiSS Prayer

Ati si si kweeaht
We honor the sacred that is beyond words.

Ati si si sayeeah
We honor the sacred Love.

Ati si si saye-elh
We honor the sacred natural world.

Ati si si kweeaht
We honor the sacred that is beyond words.

Whatever I do, I must honor the sacred. If there is indeed a grand cosmic plan afoot, could it encompass my spiritual connection and growth as well as the plights of citizens around the world.? Could it all be interwoven? Could it be part of an awakening of all people to the hum of the connectedness? That the time for separateness is going now? Am I, (small, here on my little plot of land) a piece of the puzzle every bit as important to the whole as say, governments, or churches, or schools? Is my heart on the same grid as the collective consciousness that strives to make the world a better place? When I plant a garden, tend the earth, feed my soul...share the bounty with others not fortunate enough to have the ability or place or time to do so themselves...does my one small act of kindness make a difference in the cosmic vibration? And is that difference palpable?

I have to believe it is, it does. One small person, doing one small thing. None of us have to feel helpless in the face of this world we live in. We can start by honoring the sacred, changing the vibration of the Universe with our gratitude, our prayers, our compassion. This all sounds rather new agey, but in my soul I know it's right. On a small scale, I look for the good in the people around me. I want to believe that all of us are innocent, sensitive, honest and good. That love is at our core. And I know some people do things that don't prove this out, but is it because people are generally bad? No, I think it's that these people are lost. They are the walking wounded and there is some filter of fear that colors their entire perception of the world. And I'm not talking about just killers or rapists. I'm talking as well about the Maddoxs and the Enrons of the world. Corporate thieves. Warmongers. Bullies. Egocentric monstrosities.

Whew. lol Not sure where all this came from, except that I had some very heavy conversation about some things today, and it has set me thinking all day about life and how it is so different for so many. What is enough? What do we really need to be okay? I don't know if there is a pat answer to this. I know that I have to be where my feet are and try to live simply and be joyful. To learn to trust, when about me all is in chaos. To find my place in the world. To understand the true nature of wealth, and of happiness, and of love. To redefine prosperity and abundance.

And now, to sleep...perchance to dream...


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday at the circus

...Not here, we aren't. We've enough clowns to fill one of those tents where they just keep piling out, one right after another!!

I have never been to the circus. I bemoan this fact, because my heart is in the circus. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be part of a high wire trapeze act. I wanted to be a clown. I wanted to be anything that traveled the world in colorful tents and had weird people as a part of it, because then I thought I could blend right in. Plus, I LOVE elephants.

I grew up in a big family with a lot of kids and never enough money. So, anytime the circus came to town, we never got to go, because when you have 6 kids, every little thing turns into a whole lot of money to do it. That includes things like...movies, circuses, eating out, and nearly anything else you can think of. We could go to the incredible St. Louis Zoo, because it was free. We could take road trips, all of us locked in that giant Ford station wagon, to see the pretty sights. (Right). My dad would load us up and drive up the Great River Road to see the Piassa Bird that the Indians had painted on the bluff. We'd watch regattas on the river and go mushroom hunting and sometimes fishing and picnicking.

But we never got to go to the circus. And sometimes I want to go now, but the timing's never right or we're in no position to go just then or something. Always something. But someday I'm going to sit in the Big Tent and watch the horses and the trapeze artists and the clowns and the elephants and it'll be one of the best days of my entire life.

Today was a very good day. The Irishman took me to town for a speaker meeting/breakfast and then we came home. Not long afterwards, I had a houseful of friends who came to spend a couple of hours with me. We had a great time talking about recovery and doing the things we do...some of them left, and some stayed later and the Irishman went to the Winterfires Coffeehouse that we had planned to attend LAST weekend, before it was rescheduled for this weekend...making it impossible for me to attend because of the surgery. The 4 of us that stayed behind had a lovely impromptu supper of creamy potato soup and thick slices of honey-oatmeal-flax seed bread that I baked last night, slathered with real butter. By candlelight. It always impresses people that we eat by candlelight so much at our house. lol I just love it. We had some stimulating conversation about food and meals and the nature of nurturing ourselves through these activities. It was delightful.

Now everyone's gone home and the Irishman has returned and after about an hour of chatting, he's off to the shower. I am ready to hit the's been a long day and I'm pooped. Today I got to see quite a few people that I haven't seen in a while and it was good. I got to hear a speaker that I am the sponsor of her sponsor's sponsor. lol

The knee is much better today and even starting to itch a little under the pressure bandage...which is always a sure sign that some healing is happening.

The dogs had a grand day running and playing like crazy in the beautiful sunshine. They always ham it up when we have company, and today was no exception. They live for this stuff.

I am leaving this page, grateful for friendships, grateful for life and so, so grateful for love. I'm going to go read in bed for a while and let that Irish guy know that I am more in love with him than I have ever been. That he is the best thing that ever happened to me. And that I would marry him again in a heartbeat...Almost 18 years together and he still makes me laugh and he still engages me in stimulating conversation, and I still care about how he thinks and feels about things. It's still all shiny new with us.

Isn't THAT a miracle???????


Friday, January 29, 2010

~~~My 55~~~

What in the world are you doing? Stop it. Stop it right now!
Her words meant nothing, she could see. They continued to circle and closing in, she could feel the heat of their blood, see the gleam in their eyes.
There was no escaping the inevitable. It would be a fight to the finish.


Here it, go to G-Man and tell him about yours!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Well, hells bells...

Got this adorable award from Chris at Enchanted Oak...the deal is link it back to her and send it on to at least 3 other bloggers? I've never done this, because well, you know...I'm a technotard!! And then list 10 things that make you happy. So, I'm sending it on to...Roxy, and Kathy, and Carol, and Gary
WooHoo! You're tagged!!
My list of (only??) 10 things that make me happy:
1) That Irishman
2) Friends
3) Spring wildflowers
4) Good Coffee!!!
5) Family
6) Furry friends
7) Random Acts of Kindness
8) Being Sober and living ODAAT
9) Other happy people
10) Writing, Reading, and all the other things I take for granted.

And there you have it


I have been feeling great all day, until about 4 this afternoon, suddenly started hurting like the dickens. Laid up and read, took it real easy...this afternoon earlier, I gently swept the kitchen floor and walked out to the mailbox on my crutches. Then around the house to the chicken coop, where I gathered eggs. Hobbled back in and it hurt quite a bit, and I realized it had been feeling so good all day I hadn't taken any pain medication. So I took some and didn't think too much more about it. When hubby got home from work, I asked him to help me change the ice packs because I was feeling rough, and when we opened it up there was blood everywhere. Apparently, I broke one of the stitches on the left side of the knee. (They only have 2 stitches in each one). It's been bleeding off and on all night, so first thing in the morning I have to call the doctors office and see what they want me to do.

It's scaring me a little. One tiny little hole shouldn't be causing me this much trouble. lol

I slept really well last night and didn't get up til after 9 o'clock this morning!!

And I just want to say thank you to you all for your kindness and concern. It means so much.

Tonight I had to wake the Irishman, and I always try to not ever do that...he's an early sleeper/riser and our schedules are pretty mismatched, because of his work hours. Bless his heart, he scolded me for apologizing for waking him up...but I know he doesn't do well without his requisite 8 hours.

So goes day 1 of the recovery process. I hope that I haven't done any grave damage, I don't think I did and the doc said full weight bearing on the guess I just have to wait and see.

Anyhoo, it's off to bed for this old cow...see you tomorrow earlier, with my Flash 55....

Love and big sloppy smoochies to you all.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Post op update

WooHoo! Ain't she a beaut! This is a snazzy splint/ice wrap. I have to keep the knee on ice for about 48 hours. He said he removed about 40% of the meniscus-had it been more than that he would have had to open the knee. And there was almost no arthritis! So, it all got done with arthroscopy, I was home by 5:30. Just as the falling snow was sticking and making the roads tricky. We were met at the driveway by my wonderful neighbor who was bearing hot rolls and chicken soup and a fresh baked Dutch Apple pie. A successful day, all prayers appreciated. The hospital staff was stupendous and my Irishman was the best husband a girl (or a boy!) could ever hope to have.

After eating and drinking (famished and thirsty!), I sat around for a minute, loving up my puppies and kitties, and then decided I had to have a nap. I went in to lie down at 6:30 and didn't wake up til after 10. Oops. So now, here it is after 1 AM and I am wide awake.

The difference in the pain is measurable already. I have some surgical pain, but the other stuff seems to be gone. I don't know about you, but I'm a girl who likes quick results. lol

The good doctor wants me using crutches for no more than 2 days, and the dressings will likely come off by Friday. I have a set of exercises I have to do starting Friday, and should be back to normal within 2 weeks.

Had my new copy of In Defense of Food by Micheal Pollan waiting at the front door when we got home. Can't wait to get started reading it tomorrow. I am almost finished with Julia Child's My Life in France. Maybe another 20 pages to go. So, let it snow. I am all "booked" up and ready to read!! I am all signed up ((Mystery Writer)) on jkayes website for the read a hundred books this year (or is it 200??) and need to figure out how to post it to my FB page and on this blog. I am such a technotard, and it takes me forever to figure these things out.

Okay. Time to try to sleep if I can, or stay awake well if I can't.

Until tomorrow.....


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A great day behind me...

Today was a great day. I didn't get everything on my list done, I'm afraid, but I did get to spend a whole day doing things I love best. It felt a whole lot like nesting, as a matter of fact. I started off the morning with a steaming cup of Starbucks Sumatran. There is absolutely nothing like strong rich coffee from those islands! Is that Micronesia?? (Stimmy??) I don't have an atlas in front of me at the moment. I believe the island of Sumatra is volcanic, as well, and I think that adds to the soil making some kick-ass coffee growing conditions. (Or I could be full of )

After a few sips of that magickal brew, I made a list of things I hoped to accomplish today. I am a list maker, as you know. I think I did a whole post about that particular idiosyncrasy once. It's really just a way to help me feel productive. That list was a number of things I felt necessary to have done so I wouldn't have to do too much the next couple of days after tomorrow's surgery. I wanted to back-up the food supplies, have some ready made meals in hand, get all the laundry done, and certainly vacuum and dust. I made a good dent in it.

I started out the morning putting in a load of laundry. Then I turned to the cooking portion of the list. First things first, one of my sponsees was celebrating 19 years at our meeting tonight,. so I needed to bake her a cake. It's what I do. She said they could buy one. I said no, not as long as I can hop on one leg. lol She is a very special woman in my life, and so she got the best cake I make. I told her tonight that I don't make this cake for just anyone. It's especially labor intensive, all beating and whipping and separating egg whites and yolks, whipping the whites stiff, folding in ingredients by hand. get the drift. It's an Italian Cream Cake. It is probably my piece de resistance. She was flamboozled by it. Everyone was. They always are. It's a beautiful cake, topped with a slightly sweet cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut and chopped pecans on top. And there was enough for her to take home a third of it as well. It has 5 eggs and 2 sticks of real butter and is simply marvelous.

So, after the cake was in the oven (prep time on the cake part alone is half an hour, minimum), I started peeling potatoes, cleaning carrots and celery and chopping onions to make a big pot of Cream of Potato Soup. It's my favorite comfort food, and is garlicky and rich and easy to heat up for a satisfying meal with a nice slice of honey oatmeal bread. I always saute the celery, carrots and garlic and onions in butter before putting them into the simmering diced potatoes, and it makes something wonderful happen. By the time all that was cooking away, I was ready for some brunch, so I ate a Pink Lady apple with sea salt. YUM!

While that cooked, I started chopping vegetables for a chicken pot pie. The Irishman loves this particular meal, so I always make it in a 9x13 baking dish so there are plenty of leftovers. It reheats marginally well in the microwave, and very well in the oven. Went out to the freezer and brought in a bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed out 3 of them and went to work building that bad boy. After I had the filling all made, I whipped up a couple of batches of basic pie crust to line the baking pan and make a cover for it as well. The cake was cooling by now, so into the oven it went. I love the look of a good piecrust....

Last night I made a chicken and rice of those delectable things that cook for 3 hours at a low temperature. We had that for supper and of course the leftovers from it will make another meal. I did not get another loaf of bread made, and I did not get my vacuuming done. Ran out of time, as I had to be at the meeting by 7...and take a shower too.

So...a long day and I need to get in bed. But the furnace is playing games again, and now I've had to shut it off and try to restart it in about 10 minutes. It's cold tonight--about 22 out there. But the minute I get that bad boy going...look out sandman--here I come !! I have to be at the hospital by 10:30 in the morning, and the surgery is at 1. I am sooooooo ready to get this done.

Going to try to get the picture of the cake on here....we'll see what happens. lol Since I have to stay up now until the furnace cycles through.'s annoying, and will work properly for days and days, and then do this again. I hate to call a repairman, because the last time, when he got here, it was working again.

Probably won't be posting tomorrow, but you never know. I am one determined woman sometimes....once the anesthesia wears off.*wink


Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Sunday of rest...

LOL...I love this. It hangs on the wall between my dining room and living room. The first time I heard it I fell over laughing. I thought YES!!

I came across this plaque at a time when I was having some less than satisfactory dealings with some people who were (I thought) my friends. I was in that place of not knowing who to trust or not to trust, who to believe ...well--you know. We've probably all been there, at one time or another in our lives. Unless of course we live on some high spiritual mountaintop, and never have to deal with other human beings. (cough) That's certainly not my story. lol

Anyway...I remembered thinking how great it would be if there some little thing...some little affectation maybe, that could help us recognize the folks who don't really love us. Some little LIMP, for instance. lol But it isn't like that, is it? So we all muddle through as best we can, and we get our feelings hurt and our toes stepped on and maybe we retaliate and maybe we don't. And it's all just so exhausting! Trying to figure things like this out can be frustrating (not to mention, time consuming). So what to do?

I read something once on my Buddhist journey that talked about things like allowing each person we meet to be who they are, and where they are. Because we are all on a journey in this life, not all going the same way or to the same destination necessarily, but still a journey nonetheless. SO my ideal behavior here is to honor everyone wherever they are on THEIR journey. To respect all human beings and to have compassion for the ones that have lost themselves on the way. And to keep my mind focused on my own journey. Not their journey, or where I think they should be going. But to stay where my feet are, and to honor all living things. And that includes animals. And the planet. And my rude neighbors. lol

When I can remember to do this, it makes my path a much smoother place to walk. It makes me look at the people around me through God's eyes. Someone reminded me once that we..."Have to crawl before we walk." And it's true. Gandhi said we .."Have to BE the change we want to see in the world." And I know that when all a person knows is one way of being, and never sees any other way, they will think that their way is the only way. And so it becomes my responsibility to "Be the change" and in most cases that merely means that I have to be kind, and be honest, and be loving. Not just to the ones who love me, but more importantly, to the ones who really don't. And here's another little gem that a woman, a complete stranger to me, dropped in my lap one day. She looked at me and said, "Hurt people, hurt people." And when I can pair up these things, it teaches me to be compassionate. It gives me a little more understanding of why people do what they do sometimes. And I can back off and shut down my ego-reactor and say a little prayer. For health. And for healing.

And then there are days when I just look for the turned ankles....


Saturday, January 23, 2010

A beautiful Saturday

It's been a very nice day today for me. Even the pain in the knee was not horrible, and I did some housekeeping and some reading and some cooking. I am making a plan for the next couple of weeks, trying to get all my ducks in a row. So far, so good. It is fiercely storming, and I should probably shut down this computer. No lightning, ut lots of thunderboomers.

I keep getting kicked off...the miracles of satellite internet. lol Not sure if I'll be able to post this or not...I've tried to put a picture on 3 times and it keeps not loading, and saying that the connection was reset. Whatever the hell that means. lol

I roasted a beautiful chicken tonight for supper, all basted with olive oil and natural juices, seasoned with a simple salt and pepper and garlic mixture. I also roasted a whole pan of sweet potatoes, white potatoes and baby onions. Cut them into big chunks and drizzled with oil and seasoned with more salt and pepper (freshly ground, of course) and then a healthy dose of rosemary. They were exquisite...especially the onions, which tend to carmelize around the edges. We ate with wild abandon!

(YES, I am reading My Life In France, by Julia Child!!!!!!!!!) LOL

Watched a very good movie tonight called Frailty...with Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaghey and Powers Booth. It was weird and scarey and too real for my taste. lol I'd recommend it, but not alongside your dinner.

The Irishman is in there now watching African Queen, with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. LOL>..I hear the marriage ceremony near the end..."Okay--I now pronounce you , man and wife--now-on with zee execution!" He's laughing himself silly...

I'm going to try to post this and get offline. I'll be back tomorrow..same time, same station.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Welcome to the Cat House...

We have an unhealthy ratio of cats to humans at our house. I never in a million years thought I would become a crazy cat lady. And really, I'm not. The Irishman is. But it's guilt by association, I guess. And since I am the one home with them all the time, everyone just assumes they're mine. Don't get me wrong...I love a good aloof and arrogant cat any time. But we have 9 cats that are inside/outside...Nine. It started out as 2, which is a respectable number. They were Lily, our little torti, and Leo de Catrio, our big lion-maned yellow boy. And then before we could get her spayed, she had 2 kittens. So, then there were 4. That's not a horrible number, but it feels like a lot. One day across the road at the mailbox I heard a pitiful little mewing sound, and there was one of the baby kittens, the little black one! I didn't know how he could have possibly gotten out of the house!! I scooped him up and carried him back to the house and went to put him in the box with his brother...only he was already there. It was an evil trick!! But he was here and he was hungry, and mama cat let him nurse, so he stayed. Then, like an idiot, I agreed to foster 3 cats for a woman who brought them here and never came back for them. The Irishman looked at me and said...???? And I gave him that look and said--Don't say it. I couldn't believe she was abandoning her animals like that. But she did. So, then there were 8. This was insane. One day, one of the foster cats didn't come back home and was never seen again. One night in a horrible thunderstorm, I heard a little tiny mewling, I thought. I said to the Irishman, "Did you hear that?" He looked straight ahead, and said NO. I said--listen. He said NO. I hear nothing. (Bless his heart...) I opened the front door and there, against the pelting rain and lightning was a teeny little drowned rat of a kitten, huddled up against the storm door. I picked her up, talking to her all the while, and brought her in. Look, I says to the Irishman, look--she's so tiny...and he says to me, we need another cat like we need a hole in our head. I says, but look, she's starving, and she's soaking wet. What can I do? I can't leave her out there to die. And besides, Leo de Catrio had gone off to find less crowded accomodations and hadn't been seen in 2 weeks. This one brought us back to 7. She became MY cat, and climbed all over me every time I sat down for a second. She was named after Junko Tabei, who was the first woman to climb Mt. Everest. lol Then one afternoon when the Irishman was working out in the backyard, a fat little yellow and white kitten appeared and started following him around like a puppy. He named him Augustus Octavio, because he was the 8th cat, of course. A stray found her way into our garage that was so cold and we let her stay of course. She wouldn't come into the house, and she looked pitiful, all skin and bones and crooked and twisted, like she'd been hit by a car or abused. Little by little she came to trust us and we got her into the house during the coldest days. She repaid us by eating like a pig and finally starting to look halfway healthy. Of course, you've guessed by now...she was pregnant, and graced us with a litter of 4 kittens. (Ogden Nash said it best:"The only trouble with a kitten is THAT-eventually, it becomes a CAT." ) Now. This would be 13 cats, except that I managed to find a farm home for 1 of the fosters and the little mailbox kitty, who were getting aggressive with the other cats and needed to go. That left 11, and one of our original kittens got very sick and had to be put to sleep. Down to 10. And our darling Augie (the 8th) was hit by a speeding car that swerved to miss an oncoming car, as he sat at the bottom of our driveway, and died instantly. So now, we have 9 cats.

I only tell you all this to make you understand what life in rural America is like. People dump animals all the time, cats and dogs. (And, I guess, to make excuses for why we have so many animals). All 3 of our dogs are rescued, one from a shelter, one from a relative and one that came out from under the back porch one sunny afternoon. We had another dog for a while, he was an old dog we named Fred the dog, and he was dumped out here too. I hoped he had just wandered off and couldn't find his way home, and I put up flyers in the stores in town and talked to everyone I knew. He loved it at our house, and he loved all the cats. But he was a big dog, some kind of a yellow lab mix, and ate like a horse. He was an incredibly sweet old dog. Of course no one claimed him. But I found him a home on a farm with an old farmer who had just lost his own old dog. Fred jumped right up into the front seat of his old Chevy pickup, and they waved as they drove out of sight.

So, here we are with more animals than normal people should ever have. Cats everywhere. On the top of the fridge, waiting to drop down onto visitors shoulders if they get too close to the fridge. Under the chairs, where they'll play with your shoe laces and scare you to death. On the island in the kitchen, because they can. Under the dining room table. On the bed. In the window sills. On the back of the couch. Inside , outside, every where a side, side...even on top of the bird cage and the aquarium.

Oh. Did I forget to mention that we have fish and a bird too? A cockatiel named Chico that was dumped at the door of a pet store because somebody didn't want a cockatiel that wouldn't talk.

Oh. And chickens. Right. Chickens too. But they're not pets, so they don't count, right???


Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Pocketful of MIracles

I really love this picture. It has all the components of what makes life miraculous. Mystical magick of a rainbow. The incredible hues of a bluebird. Mother Nature. A sky that's a color that is hard to imagine showing up to cover a world.

I have been thinking today of miracles. Of how I lived for a lot of years in misery and in fantasy and in denial of who I was and what I wanted out of life. Probably it's all part of the learning curve, but if you're a person of my ilk, you barrel through life not paying attention to stuff, intent only on the journey. Never looking up to see where you're going or what you're doing to get there. Burning bridges and breaking hearts and always on the run, run, run. Of always trying so hard to catch up with the how it used to be's...even though I was never that crazy about how it used to be. It was more of an obsession to be in the fast lane. And not really knowing what that was.

Having known the kind of people who inhabit both extremes of the spectrum, I have always been amazed at how people settle for so little in their lives. I felt like that back then, and I feel like that now. Of course the parameters have changed, but it's still thought provoking to me when I see someone still living in the same town, still doing the same things, still with the same people. I couldn't wait to be shed of this place when I was young. I knew there was a big world out there (I was a reader, you know...*snort), and I knew that SOMETHING was waiting for me out in it. And by the time I was 18 years old, I had already lived in 3 states. I would take off for little periods of time, up to a year, and then I would come back and hate it all the more.

What I didn't know then that I sometimes remember now is that ...wherever I go, there I am.
What I didn't understand about all those other people who were content to just stay in their familiar little corner of the world, was that THEY weren't being chased around and around their heads like I was. They had some serenity--I had none. They didn't sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop like I did. They weren't constantly living in another reality, because this one was just too much to bear. They were getting on with their lives and their loves and I was whirling like a dervish that couldn't afford to stop long enough to even figure out what I wanted or who I wanted to do it with.

And so the race continued.

Until I was so worn out and so used up and so freaking exhausted from it all that I felt like I was going to die. And that was about the time that a Power completely outside my understanding intervened. And a series of events took place that was to change my life forever. Things happened that could only be called incredible. The stars lined up and the planets followed suit and before I knew it, I was a changed woman.

A Course in Miracles says that a miracle is a shift in perception.When you take someone like me, and you take away all the mind altering drugs, the booze, the collection of what I thought were my survival tools (men, sex, work, money, security, denial), you take away the ego, you take away the old way of life....something is bound to shift. And in that shift, that chasm between the old life and this new life, miracles are born.

Alcoholics Anonymous tells me to "Expect a Miracle". They tell me that for a person like me to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is nothing but a miracle. They are absolutely correct.

In my own mind, when I try to reconcile the old me with the present me...the obvious result is awe. I am completely amazed at the things that bring me joy today...things (that are never things) that I used to never even see. Things I thought couldn't possibly matter, in the great cosmic scheme of things. Things that I dismissed...not worthy of my attention.

I know that fear is what separates me from God and from my fellow human beings. I know that love is the only thing that can glue that crack in my cosmic egg...that can repair the damages in my life. Ipso facto, God equals Love. And Love equals God.

And that's all I really need to know. Love is always the answer.

What I didn't understand about all those other people who were content to just stay in their familiar little corner of the world, was that

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thunderstorms are rolling in...

It's nearing midnight here and the thunderstorms are rolling in. My pals in SoCal have been experiencing gully washers and a friend in Arizona is begging God to stop the rain. lol We are so wet from the snowmelt that rain is likely to be a catastrophe here as well. It's still 40 degrees and has been foggy for 5 days straight now. A damp, chilly foggy forty. Brrrr....

I spent a portion of the morning at the pre-op testing place. It's up by the mall, of all places...I had blood drawn and an EKG done and signed lots of papers saying it's not their fault if they kill me and that I have to pay them anyway, no matter what happens. LOL Got all the stuff filled out and signed and put in the computer. They will match and cross-type my blood, and when I walk in to the hospital next Wednesday, all I have to do is lie down, shut up and hold on. Then I took a drive to pick up some cookbooks from a Freecycle connection,. stopped (for the second time) to pick up prescriptions, and then came home and had lunch and cleaned the holy heck out of my house. I had put some beans and a smoked ham hock in the crockpot that morning, so when I got back, I just had to transfer them into the big pot to finish cooking.

For supper we had my magnificent cornbread (as my Irishman calls it--says it's the best on this continent!), and brown rice and beans. I cooked about half and half black beans and great northerns together. Thinking, of course that it would look cool. Forgetting, of course, that when black beans cook, the color leaches out onto everything. So, instead of a pot of black and white beans, I got a pot of grayish purple beans. But they did taste REALLY good...I always cook them with a little onion, a little bay leaf, some garlic, and lots of black pepper and sea salt.
It's a satisfying, nutritious meal.

Thought I was ready to go visit the tax fairy tomorrow, but it seems I still am missing one W2 form...damn! Now I have to get up early and call's one month of wages...aarrggghhhh....

Have some company coming around 3. Have to run one errand before then. Good thing the house is pretty much cleaned. lol

I haven't been sleeping well....that said, I slept a bit (fitfully) last night, and when I did finally doze off, I had a hellish nightmare. I was awakened by my Irishman saying "Wake up, you're okay. Wake's a dream..." and I could hear him, but I couldn't quite pull myself to the surface of it all. I was crying and face and pillow were soaked. He kept holding me and saying, It's okay...but I was paralyzed and couldn't move. I was being beaten to death by a man with a (golf?) club, he was beating me to a pulp and I couldn't get away from him. I could feel the blows raining down on me, and there was blood everywhere. My face was unrecognizable. I kept saying to my husband, I can't move, I can't move... and I'm telling arms were weighed down and my legs wouldn't move either. I lay there terrified for about 10 minutes...I could barely breathe...

Maybe sleep isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I don't have nightmares very often, but when I do, they're doozies.

Maybe before I go to bed tonight, I'll go read XXXXXX post about Unicorns pooping cupcakes. That should change the direction of a dream... LOL

Big cracks of thunder now,...time to shut off Le 'Puter!!!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Does Your Garden grow ????

My gardens grow all willy nilly. In any given season, there are lettuces and onions and 'Maters and squash and corn all growing up and around each other. I plant flowers all interspersed with my veggies too. Zinnias and marigolds and nasturtiums...all blooming away and giving the bugs something else to think about. This picture has potatoes and zinnias and radishes and lettuces and ...something else over there. lol There are garden gnomes and whirligigs and little plaques that stick in the ground and say things like, "The Earth laughs in Flowers." There are butterfly houses and toad homes and all manner of practical art to be found out there. And as always, at least one lazy cat sleeping in the shade of the green bean trellis.

I am writing this garden post tonight to psychically combat the winter. It has been grey and foggy here for almost 5 days. I need sun!!!!!!!!! I need to be reminded that spring is on it's way, that it comes every year and that the darkness won't last forever. The garden catalogs help. Looking at pictures of my gardens help too. I'm feeling better already.

I plant in raised beds that are not nice perfect rectangles, sided in by boards. I do a jig called Lasagna Gardening, where you lay organic materials down on top of each other and build it up, up, up. In the fall we start putting leaves out there. And at the beginning of winter, we empty out the series of compost bins where the chicken manure and used straw from the coop goes. There is also a bin that is all kitchen scraps. We (in a good year) put cow or horse manure (preferably horse) on the beds too. Then we cover them with black plastic and let 'em "cook". We also have a barrel composter that you crank to turn. All this good stuff goes on the garden beds. I generally start about 2/3 of my seeds in late March, in trays in the back bedroom or out in the mudroom, depending on if we're having a warm or a cold winter. It all breaks down into some of the most beautiful dirt you've ever laid eyes on. We do our part and God does his part. It's a good partnership.

I love working in the gardens. I love the smell of dirt, I love to wander out in the early mornings of summer and have a handful of cherry tomatoes or sugar peas for breakfast. Mahatma Gandhi said " To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves." I believe that...there is a very old and primal part of me that revels in putting plants and seeds into the earth and watching them grow. I was made to grow my own food...

Time for bed. Early day full of stuff tomorrow. Pre-op tests and then off to pick up some cookbooks from a Freecycle ad. WooHoo! It'll be like Christmas!!!!! I have no idea what they are or who they're by...only that they are all hard cover books. If you have never checked out might wanna. It's a program to declutter AND keep things out of landfills. Just put in your town name...

Namaste...I shall dream of vegetables and sunshine...

Monday, January 18, 2010

What's on Your Plate?

Garden Bounty....

It's been a slow and semi- productive Monday. I got laundry done, I cooked a roast with carrots, potatoes and onions and celery, I made 2 loaves of fantastic french bread in my new (happy birthday!!) french bread pans. I have fielded a few phone calls, discussed the state of the world, started a new read (My Life In France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme), encouraged 2 new college students and put clean sheets on my bed. All in all, a satisfying and serene day.

Am sitting with the heat pad on the old knee, it follows the ice pack I had on earlier. ((Prayer Girl)), to answer your question, I am having surgery for the meniscus repairs and cysts removal on the 27 th...a week from Wednesday. I can't take it any more. I got the call from the hospital to come for pre-op tests this Wednesday at 11. He's going to try to scope it (arthroscopy) and if it turns out to be worse than we think, he'll open the knee if he has to. I hope it will be a quickie, run-of-the-mill repair. All prayers and healing modalities will be appreciated. I hope to be back playing touch football in no time. LOL

MIchael Pollan has a new book out, called Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. I still haven't read his other two in their entirety, mostly excerpts from them. But I have read and seen him enough to know that the guy is onto something big and he really knows his stuff. He's my new hero, and has made a mission of getting information out to people who have no clue. One of the things he says is :"If your great grandmother doesn't recognize it--don't eat it!" He's a big fan of sustainable and organic farming, and a big archenemy of GMO's. Below are a few of the rules he wrote...I like them!! Again, not to sound like a broken record, but if you haven't seen the documentary Food,Inc....make it a point to do so. You will be shocked and amazed at the stuff that's going on right under our noses.

Here are six rules from Michael Pollan’s upcoming book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual“:

#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

Food marketers are ingenious at turning criticisms of their products — and rules like these — into new ways to sell slightly different versions of the same processed foods: They simply reformulate (to be low-fat, have no HFCS or transfats, or to contain fewer ingredients) and then boast about their implied healthfulness, whether the boast is meaningful or not. The best way to escape these marketing ploys is to tune out the marketing itself, by refusing to buy heavily promoted foods. Only the biggest food manufacturers can afford to advertise their products on television: More than two thirds of food advertising is spent promoting processed foods (and alcohol), so if you avoid products with big ad budgets, you’ll automatically be avoiding edible foodlike substances. As for the 5 percent of food ads that promote whole foods (the prune or walnut growers or the beef ranchers), common sense will, one hopes, keep you from tarring them with the same brush — these are the exceptions that prove the rule.

#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.

#36 Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
This should go without saying. Such cereals are highly processed and full of refined carbohydrates as well as chemical additives.

#39 Eat all the junk food you want — as long as you cook it yourself.
There is nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, pastries, even drinking soda every now and then, but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. The french fry did not become America’s most popular vegetable until industry took over the jobs of washing, peeling, cutting, and frying the potatoes — and cleaning up the mess. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them — chances are good it won’t be every day.

#47 Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
For many of us, eating has surprisingly little to do with hunger. We eat out of boredom, for entertainment, to comfort or reward ourselves. Try to be aware of why you’re eating, and ask yourself if you’re really hungry-before you eat and then again along the way. (One old wive’s test: If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.) Food is a costly antidepressant.

#58 Do all your eating at a table.
No, a desk is not a table. If we eat while we’re working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly-and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we’re doing. This phenomenon can be tested (and put to good use): Place a child in front of a television set and place a bowl of fresh vegetables in front of him or her. The child will eat everything in the bowl, often even vegetables that he or she doesn’t ordinarily touch, without noticing what’s going on. Which suggests an exception to the rule: When eating somewhere other than at a table, stick to fruits and vegetables.

Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from
Food Rules Copyright © Michael Pollan, 2009

I think if we were all a little more mindful about what and how we eat, the world would be a better place. Little habits are easy to incorporate, and can really make a difference. I plan to try to be more mindful and pay more attention to these things in my life this year. I plan to eat more meals at the table, with candles and flowers, and less at the tv trays watching movies. I hope to cook more vegetarian meals and less meat centered ones. I want to use more honey and molasses and less refined sugar, and get the white flour out of the house completely. I already do some of these things, but I have a tendency to get lazy and unimaginative...and that needs to stop. I know I can do a better job. More consistency and more discipline.

But I'm still having Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream now and then...and I don't care what anybody says. lol

It's time to say adieu...sleep calls. Here's wishing you and yours a healthier and happier New Year. It starts right here, right now....with you and with me.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday January 17, 2010

A beautiful Sunday, almost finished. We slept in, skipped the morning meeting, attended an afternoon District Meeting, came home and made supper. The weather wasn't particularly great, although it was pretty warm. Been very grey and foggy the past 3 days.

We had a nice dinner and watched Sean Penn's movie of "Into the Wild". It's a movie that is, by turns, heartbreaking and hopeful. It's the story of the young man Chris McCandless that trekked around the country, winding up in the wilds of Alaska, where he ultimatley died of starvation. It was very well done and a grim story for this mother. After I got sober, probably the first 2 years, my son decided he was going to live the life of a nomad and live off the land. I didn't know where he was for months at a time, and didn't know if he was alive or dead. When he would surface, he would be so skinny and dirty, it made me cry. It was horrible, and watching this movie awakened those old feelings of helplessness and fear in me. As I watched the end of the movie, all I could think was, this could have happened to him. I could so easily have lost him back then...and I cried like a baby. Whew! I am so glad those days are behind me...

Not much on the docket for tomorrow...a languine day of laundry and reading, as I have received my copy of Julia Child's "My Life in France", and cannot wait to start reading it. It has been so warm here the past few days that all the snow is melting and the whole place is a giant mud bowl. The dogs (and cats!!) are tracking in mud everywhere and try as I might, I cannot keep it cleaned up. So I'll stop that in short order. I can deal with this...I can deal with this... lol

Finished reading the demons and guardians trilogy yesterday. It wasn't bad, mostly. Glad it's done though, so I don't have to keep making excuses for reading it. LMAO!!!

Think I'll go get a turkey breast out of the freezer to thaw so I can cook it tomorrow. That'll give me some leftovers for sandwiches too, which is always a good thing.Or maybe a pork roast. Hmmm...decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow is the observance of Dr. King's birthday, which means no mail, no banks, no government offices open. WooHoo!!

Several of my friends have offered to come by when I have the surgery a week from Wednesday and help me out around the house. Wow. That's some awesome stuff, there. I'm grateful for women friends who are always there when you need them.

Okay then. I'm off to bed. Prayers for Haiti and sending blessings of comfort and peace to all the victims of the quake.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday January 16, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King. I knew it was yesterday, and thought about you, but forgot to mention it. IN honor of the great Dr King, here is my favorite quote from him:

" Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illumines it."

This man was all about love and life and is one of my heroes. I have the above quote taped to the top of my monitor, where I look at it every morning, reminding me that we always have a choice on how we look at life, and how we deal with things. We can always choose love, as Marianne Williamson says. And that's what Dr. King was saying too. Choose love. In every small and large aspect of your life. Choose love. Learning to act and react from that place of love inside your heart or your genes or wherever it lives...learning this one small thing will change everything. Love is compassion. It is empathy. It is small kindnesses. It is consideration. It is a smile, a touch, a shoulder, an ear. Love, at it's core, is what we are.

So...happy birthday, Dr. King. Long may you be remembered as one of the heroes of our time. I have a dream, too.....


Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday January 15, 2010

Since cats seem to be the theme of the week around this blog, I found this adorable picture too. Some of the most amazing acrobats, these feline funny guys!


Spent a good part of today with a "normie" high school friend of mine. She lives in a delightful old house at the edge of a town I'd never been to before. I didn't make the coffeecake to take along, turned out to be just as well, as she doesn't eat sweets. (In my head is screaming that scene from My Bigt Fat Greek Wedding, where the bride to be is telling her aunt that the fiance is a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat, she explains. The aunt [at the top of her lungs] says "WHAT??? HE DON'T EAT NO MEAT !?!?!?! WHAT YOU MEAN HE DON'T EAT NO MEAT?????") Of course I'm thinking--you don't eat no sweets??What????? lol

We had a good time chatting away and I stayed a long time before heading home. I met one of her sons and her husband and it was all real nice. I came home with about 15 pounds of sweet potatoes (maybe more, I can't tell) and a light heart. I don't have many connections from when I lived here all those years ago... but this woman had tracked me down back when I lived in Oregon (1995) about a class reunion, and we have been vaguely in contact ever since. It was funny, listening to her talk about things that I have no recollection of for the most part. But isn't that how it is for us, sometimes? I go through this with my family all the time....and try to explain to them that I cannot remember much stuff from back then...that alcoholism stole all memories of lots of things for me. I didn't tell my friend that today-no reason too. Just shook my head a few times and said I didn't remember.

Tomorrow we are going to dinner with friends. Out. Like a real date or something. lol I'm looking forward to that, getting to know some new people that we SEEM to have a lot in common with. Life is good.

I am very tired tonight and getting ready to go and read in bed for a bit before falling off to sleep. It's horrendously foggy here...from late this afternoon through tonight. GUess it's from it getting so warm while there's still so much snow around...

I came home today feeling very blessed to be me and have my home and planning my own garden. My friend gave me a beautiful heirloom seed catalog from a company in Missouri that looks like a quality coffee table book. It is gorgeous! I'll post a little more about that tomorrow.

***Happiness lies not in getting what you want, but in wanting what you have.***


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday January 14, 2010

Cats are a freaking riot.

They refuse to come when you call them, or even look at you, for that matter. They do whatever they want to, with nary a thought to anyone else. And they are maniacs, once they start "running with joy" as a good friend of mine calls it, they lose their minds and go completely bananas. Over the tables, across the ceiling, up the drapes...they defy gravity and all laws of social order. You HAVE to love them...or you would never let the little monsters into your home. They exhibit serious catitude.

Wanted to share this with you, as I find it hysterical, and oh-so-true.

The Creation Myth

On the first day of creation, God created the Cat.

On the second day, God created Man, to serve the Cat.

On the third day, God created all the animals of the earth, to serve as potential food for the Cat.

On the fourth day, God created honest toil, so that Man could labor for the good of the Cat.

On the fifth day, God created the sparkle ball, so that the Cat might, or might not, play with it.

On the sixth day, God created veterinary science, to keep the Cat healthy and the man broke.

On the seventh day, God intended to rest, but He had to scoop the litterbox.

And there you have it friends. The truth of life in catdom. Ancient Egyptians once worshipped cats. Cats have never forgotten this.

Tonight, one of our cats put his claws into one of the dogs heads. Right on top. And just held her there and glared at her. It was really funny, except to the dog.

On this note, I am off to bed. Going to visit an old high school friend in the morning and get some sweet potatoes from her (she grows them by the gazillions, apparently). I'm gonna bake a quickie coffee cake or something to take with, and spend a morning chatting and catching up over coffee.

Feeling especially blessed to be looking at my world through a filter of God's love....


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday January 13, 2010

It's been a day of laughing a lot. First, I started reading a book by an author that I normally wouldn't be caught dead with. She's cashing in on the latest craze of demons and magic, and I was given the set of 3 books to read by someone who reads that kind of stuff all the time. Now, this writer is a romance writer, and a VERY prolific one at that. I don't know why I am such a snob about this stuff. This woman has written over 150 books. I have written, well...none. Anyway, I was laughing to myself about the absurdity of me even worrying about what I read. I am a voracious reader and will pretty much read anything that isn't nailed down. I have been like this all my life. And this stuff is really vaguely interesting. So....

I have been entertained by all these animals at my house all day today. I've had cats doing tightrope acts across the top top of my kitchen cabinets, dogs chasing frozen smashed plastic milk jugs around the yard, a cockatiel that kept trying to out- talk me the whole time I was on the phone today, and a kitten that got his big fat kitten head stuck in a drinking glass, trying to steal my iced tea. I laughed my self silly with that one.

I tried to get up the energy to go to town for a haircut and I just couldn't do it. I started looking at my hair in the mirror and thought, what the hell? I could probably cut it myself. Granted, when you are talking to yourself in a mirror, it's generally NOT one of your more stellar decision making moments. I grabbed the barber scissors and started hacking it off. Then I pulled out a razor comb and ...well, you can guess the rest. I took off about an inch or more, I think. It's not horrible...and as is usually the case when I get a haircut (no matter WHO cuts it) my first thought was, well--it'll be great in about a week.

I was looking around my living room tonight thinking...what is the deal with me???? Because the thing is this: I really don't care about stuff like I should. My house is decorated in yard sale chic. My pets (as babies) have chewed the edges of tables, clawed upholstery to ribbons, peed on my carpets...they sleep on the furniture, they climb across the cabinets, and they drink out of the sink. (well, the cats do--not the dogs. lol) Between last night and today, I cleaned up cat puke twice and dog puke once. The cats have scratched up my beautiful dining room table chasing each other up and over and across it. I would no more consider buying new furniture that animals couldn't sit on than I would fly to the moon. I look at little teeth marks and remember Molly chewing when we first got her, as she tried to get used to new owners and a new home....where little Caylee cut her teeth. The floor is littered with dog toys, and they have their own toybox. I don't care if my hair isn't perfect or that I NEVER wear makeup or that I tell people if you don't want fur or feathers on your clothes, don't come to visit me. I live in a comfortably shabby home, with coverlets and throws on the furniture to keep the staining at a minimum, curtains and drapes that have claw marks in them, and stains on the wall where we throw the dog toy down the hall and the Jack Russell Terrorist flings her little body against the wall like a racquet ball player. There's enough fur under my table somedays (usually vacuuming day, which is every other day here) to make at least 3 new dogs or cats at any given time. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, I laugh at my haircut, finish the dishes and turn out the lights. The animal food bowls are all filled, the cat boxes are all scooped, and the Kelley house settles down for the night.

It's enough to make a girl pee when she laughs....


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday January 12, 2010

Today was one of those days that every mother of grown children dream of...a day long visit from a child whose life is entirely too busy most of the time, with his work, his own family and his own life. It was like a Christmas/Birthday present all rolled into one !
His work is sketchy this time of year, and because he is in the union, he draws an adewuate unemployment check. So he gets to hang out and play and do things this time of year that pretty much evade him the rest of the year. Today, he came over to help me make laundry soap (he makes it at his house too!) because he has this big mortar mixer (he's a tile setter) that connects to his drill and he says makes the laundry soap so well mixed you won't believe it. He came around 10 and we talked and talked and then we made soap and then we had lunch. I cooked up some chunks of pork with diced green chilies and garlic and onions, some cumin and salt and pepper. We ate it wrapped up in big soft tortillas. Then we hung out and talked and talked some more. He's been spending his time off inventing things, and building wind turbines and solar stuff. He's having a ball. Saturday he and the youngest grandson are coming over to put up a wind turbine in our backyard, on an 8 foot tall stand. To see how it works. He can't do stuff like this in the subdivision where he lives, because they have "rules". lol We also talked about partnering up in the spring to raise chickens for meat. I said I wanted to do it, if he could handle the butchering, for a take of the harvest. He likes the idea. We also talked about raising rabbits for meat too. We'll talk about it some more, but I think we might have a deal. I wound up doing some house cleaning and some laundry and that was about all today. I am exhausted...the knee pain is keeping me from sleeping and I'm hoping to sleep tonight....from sheer exhaustion. It hurts so bad...I am counting the days til the surgery. The dogs are outside for their final hurrah, and when they come in, I am outta here. It looks like the satellite signal is gone little icon on the toolbar is looking ominous. That means I may not be able to post this....and if I lose the whole thing, I'll scream. I'm going to leave it be and see what happens. Blessings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday January 11, 2010

I have a need to celebrate tonight. And I am celebrating all the incredible women I am coming to know here in cyberland. Every day I start looking through my blog and move on to looking at all kinds of blogs from all kinds of places.Many of my favorite bloggers are women from all walks of life...women who are talented and beautiful and strong and spiritual. Women who have overcome incredible odds..against alcoholism or incest or the death of a child. Against illness or debilitation or fear. Against violence and depression and heartbreak. And almost every one of them without exception, comes out the other side stronger, more beautiful and more compassionate than anything I have ever witnessed. And they come online and they share their experiences, their strengths and their hopes with anyone who takes the time to read. The honesty and the raw courage exhibited empower me to be a better person. They constantly give me the hope that good prevails and that love is always the answer and that we can do together what we could never do alone.

I got an email from an old high school friend of mine with this picture in it. I fell in love with it, and that got me to thinking about the women in my life.

We hold each other up. We care for each other in a hundred little ways. We laugh together, we cry together. We take care of each other's children. We bring casseroles when we are sick and still have families clamoring for supper. We clean each other's houses and visit in hospitals and sit up through the long nights of missing children and out of control husbands. Once we have connected, we are locked in, and it usually takes a LOT to break that connection. We understand how it feels. We have great empathy for each other. We celebrate birthdays and bring flowers when husbands forget to. We trade clothes, we trade stories and we trade hopes and dreams.

I don't know where I would be without the women in my life. I was young and growing up pretty much without a mother, until she died when I was 27. It was my girlfriends who taught me things I needed to know about life and love and nurtured me along all those years. As I got older, I came to realize the importance and strength of those women, and I wanted to be like them. They are great role models for me, even now.

I have women in my life today who mentor me and cheer me on and keep me laughing.

They make me know that I am important to them too.

And I am so especially blessed by your presence in my life...and I just want you all to know how much you mean to me. All you women bloggers--listen up!

Thank you for enriching my life every day. I love you all.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday January 10, 2010

The big 7 birthday cake effects compliments of Swayze the cockapoo, who insisted on helping me.

Whew! It was a long and wonderful day...I left the house around 11, stopped to get the oil changed in the car and by the store to get a birthday present, and then headed off on an adventure to Southern Illinois, for my niece's 7th birthday. It's about 2 1/2 hours from here to there, so it's a commitment to go there for me. lol But I wouldn't have missed it for the world. This baby girl was a long time coming...her folks (my baby brother) were trying to conceive for years and couldn't, even with all the help modern medicine could offer. Then suddenly one day (after they'd thrown in the towel) bada bing, bada boom! Our little darling appeared. It was a rough and scary pregnancy, and she was born way too early. She had breathing problems (lungs weren't developed quite enough) and she had leg and foot problems, and she had to stay at the hospital way too long for our liking. But she finally came home and she was beautiful (all of our babies are beautiful!!) and she had to endure a lot of surgeries and casts and things little tiny baby girls should NEVER have to endure (so says her bestest aunt). And today (and for a few years now) she is healthy and happy and runs and hops and jumps and skips and marches to her own beat. And I adore her. She is funny and sweet and cries easily and throws fits. She draws and she writes me poems and songs. She is smart as a whip, and I am teaching her to grow up and be a wild woman. lol

So, I got home around 10 PM and am recuperating from the drive.

I finally found a car wash that was open for business today (most have been closed because their water supplies were frozen). I got my little red car cleaned up (it was practically white from salt and road goo) and you can even see out the windshield. lol We had absolutely balmy temps of 20 degrees today. 20!!!!!!!! It felt like the tropics.

My surgeon appointment is tomorrow afternoon, so I am heading to bed soon to get a good nights sleep. I just got off chat with a girl from NC who stayed with us for a few months after getting kicked out of a halfway house. Her granny is preparing to leave this world, so if you have an extra little prayer of condolence and comfort for J--, I would appreciate it. Her granny was more of a mother to her than her own mother ever was, and this is a terribly sad time for her.

Life is a beautiful mystery that unravels for us moment to moment.... don't forget that today is a gift...that's why they call it the present.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday January 9, 2010

The Snowbringer. I swiped her from somewhere that evades me just now, because I thought she was so incredibly beautiful.

The mercury is registering ZERO degrees right now. It will get colder still before daylight. A friend of mine in Floriduh sent out a picture of a snowman she built yesterday. This is some crazy shit, dude. Today there was a 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of my old stomping grounds. They are saying that there are some gas, sewer and water leaks, some traffic lights came down, minor injuries from breaking glass, but all in major damage.I have to admit...I kinda miss earthquakes.

Heading south tomorrow to my brothers for my nieces 7th birthday party. Hard to believe--seems like she was just a baby, waiting to come home from the hospital. She had to stay a while, becasue she was a 7 month preemie and had lots of problems. BUt today she is a little hellraiser and constantly on the go. She had to have a lot of operations so she could walk, and the Shriners Hospital in St Louis were such a blessing to my family. It's one charity I never fail to support...they work miracles for families and children. Today she's one of the healthiest kids I know. (Thank you, God.)

Trying to get to bed early tonight, so I'm cutting this a little short. We watched 2 movies tonight, first Silence of the Lambs and then Hannibal. Had some wonderful Spaghetti and garlic bread for supper. A low key stay at home kind of Saturday. Nice..........

Grateful tonight to be sober and happy. Grateful that all my needs are met and all my wants are few. Grateful that I have a nice warm house to live in and that I have plenty of food to eat. That I can read and write and watch 2 movies in 1 night if I want to. That I have family who never turned their backs on me at any time during my alcoholism, even though they probably should have. That I have grandkids who have never seen me drunk.

That I can go to sleep, and wake up in the morning ready to face a new day, and be grateful for everything that comes.

Blessings and sweet dreams to all y'all....


Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday January 8, 2010

OOPs...forgot to take the birdbath down. Good thing it's about 200 pounds of concrete.

It snowed a good part of the day today, and even better than that, the winds kicked up and blew all the snow out of the fields and across our road. So, the road we drove home on was 10x more treacherous than the one we'd driven out on earlier in the morning. It aided in the decision to just stay in tonight. So, we both skipped our usual Friday night meetings.

This morning we left with all intentions of buying me a set of French Bread pans at the restaurant supply store, or at the Chef's store. Then we were getting some groceries and stopping for some lunch before coming back to the ranch. Luckily, I called the supply place first to make sure they were open. They were and the guy that answered the phone said he had never heard of French bread pans, and so was sure they didn't carry them. (???) Alrighty, then. The Chef's Store, on the other hand, carries them but are currently out (big Christmas item, apparently). We wandered around the store which is beautiful and ridiculously over-priced on every single item they carry (because they are a CHEF'S STORE). *snork The pans are my birthday present from husbandman. So he was all hung up on buying me something from this store, and I practically had to have him sedated and removed from the premises. I'm sorry, but I just cannot allow that. I think the only thing I have EVER bought from one of those stores was my brulee torch, and only because I couldn't find one anywhere else. I asked the store person how much the pans were, and she went into a big elaborate explanation of how they are Chicago blah,blah,blah...only the very best perforated nonstick pans, blah blah blah. I told her she could stop right there, because I wasn't buying anything nonstick, but thanks. She hollered after me as I left..."$32.95...they're only $32.95!!!!!"

Anyway, then we left and went to our favorite little Chinese place, The Orient, for lunch. We had a soup-for-two called Special Soup or was marvelous. A rich broth with scallops, shrimp, crab, mushrooms, carrots and onions. We had a small order of fried dumplings. And we ordered the Seafood and Tofu Pot...a delightful covered dish of dark Hunan sauce full of chunks of braised tofu, crab, shrimp and scallops, and of course, steamed rice. We ate almost all of was heavenly.

We came home and I went online and found exactly the pan I was looking for, Italian Bread Pan...for NINE dollars. Yup, nine dollars. plus shipping of course, which brought it up to about 15 dollars. So I am very happy, needless to say.

I grilled chicken breasts on my little Hamilton Beach grill (like a Foreman, only cheaper). I marinated them in an Italian dressing, in honor of the bread pans, and served them over a beautiful Caesar salad, with artichoke hearts and grilled onions on the side. Food fit for a king (of my heart).

We watched a movie tonight called "Things We Lost in The Fire" with Halle Berry and Benecio del Toro. It was a big time tear jerker and a beautiful love story. If you've not seen it, DO.

It's past time for me to be in bed. I have been f-ing around with Shelfari for an hour or more. I am so grateful for the miracle of love and of sobriety in my life. I am so grateful that I can read and am in a position to own books and get books. I am so blessed to be loved by a wonderful man who would walk through fire for me.

(See--when I am overly tired, I get all mushy about things like love...) lol.

It's 7 degrees with a minus 5 wind chill factor right now. I'm gonna go climb in that big bed, under that wonderful quilt and lay as close to my sweetheart as I can manage. And say a prayer for him and his happiness and his health and his welfare. I cannot imagine my life without him in it.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday January 7, 2010

Arghhh...I am having trouble with the comment moderation on this blog. 2 comments that I wanted to publish have disappeared, one from Tabitha and one from Cabo. The last time I got some weird error message...either way, they are both gone ...Pfffftttt!

I am very tired, mostly from not enough sleep last night. I didn't do much today, read, went out and checked on my chickens. Went down to the end of the driveway and got the mail. That was enough to wear me out. Did a little computing, a little reading and fielded several phonew calls. My phone signal was iffy today too, and several times got voice mail alerts when my phone never rang.

The cold is still with us, and the weather alerts are for the actual cold itself, telling us that in winds like these, you can get frostbite in less than 20 minutes. The chickens are hanging in there, of course we have a heat lamp in there on a thrmostat and a heated water bowl as well.It is snowing again, and has snowed off and on all day.

I am reading the last quarter of the book The Lacuna. It's quite good, and the main character is now living in Asheville, North Carolina...near where I lived the last 10 years before moving back here. The descriptive passgaes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the town of Asheville itself (Tunnel Road, Pack Square) are making me homesick for the place. Just the names of the French Broad River, the Swannanoa River, etc evoke great memories...

I have been especially blessed to have lived in some really beautiful places in my lifetime....

I'm off to bed. Blessings and sweet dreams to all...


Wednesday January 6, 2010

The aftermath of last nights took out the computer satellite signal and I couldn't's quite beautiful out there. Even more so, since I don't have to drive anywhere! lol

My birthday was grand...thanks everyone for the wonderful comments and wishes. My baby sister took me to lunch at Dead Lobster(sic) and then we hung out a bit. It was nice. I came home and made peanut butter chicken with jasmine rice for supper and had a very laid back evening.
Husbandman got a speeding ticket on the way home from work, at a well known speed trap in the little town of Wilsonville. He says it was because he was flying home to be with the woman he loves on her birthday, lol, truth be known, he rarely drives the speed limit through these little towns. Maybe he'll be more careful from now on...

Do you know that on planet Starbucks they think a PINT of coffee ice cream will feed FOUR people ???? HAhahahahahahahahahahahahahah...I ate a whole pint myself last night while I was reading The Lacuna. And I have to tell you, that blend of espresso and coffee and sweet ice cream is enough to send you into paroxysmal ecstacy. At least it did me...

My internet connection is a bit sketchy yet this morning, and rather slow. Hopefully I can get this posted before it goes away. We are supposed to have 30 mph wind gusts this afternoon. Right now it is gorgeous out there and dazzlingly, painfully white. Looks like we only got about 4 inches after all, and hubby made it out to work with no problem. The power hasn't gone out (knock wood) and everything is fine as can be. I am thinking about what will be for supper. Probably leftover meatloaf. I could make a brown onion gravy and some mashed potatoes and have hot meatloaf sandwiches. Oooo, that sounds good...

The dogs are clamoring to come back in. My life in a nutshell: let dogs in, let dogs out. Let cats in, let cats out. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum...

My life is full and happy today. I can see past the irritations and fear most of the time, and it makes for a smooth sail. I am so grateful for all the gifts of friends and family and love and sobriety.

Blessings to all!! I leave you with this lovely quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday January 5, 2010

My favorite part of winter is not the crystalline beauty of the snow and ice. Not even the incredible birds that show up here. No, my favorite part is that January is the month that they start sending me seed catalogs for the upcoming gardening season. My favorite one is the one in the picture above, from H.R. Shumway seeds, out of Randolph, Wisconsin. I love it especially because (as you can see from the cover) the pictures inside of the veggies and fruits are all hand drawn. It is absolutely a work of art. It's an oversized newsprint papered bounty of the most wonderful things your heart could imagine. Every year I start checking the mailbox the first week of January, and I always can count on them to have it in my box at or before my birthday. It's one of those" little gifts from the Universe to me" kind of things. lol Well it came and it's beautiful and I plan to wear it out by the time spring arrives.

I get another one I really like from a company in ...Connecticut or Vermont. It's called Kitchen Seeds. And it's a hip and slick publication full of things you rarely find elsewhere. I like it a lot, but it's no

I'm one of those gardeners that plan. I have a garden journal where I draw diagrams showing where I've planted what in any particular year, so I can identify them, when they start coming up and also so I know how to rotate when necessary. I keep detailed notes on germination times and yields, and this helps me to organize my garden for the next year. Also helps me to remember what not to plant again. (Like the baby Japanese Eggplant....) I am a companion planter, so this helps me to learn what does well next to what, and it really does make a difference. I keep some sketchy weather notes in there as well, like the date of the last frost
and about how much rainfall we have.

I have high hopes for the 2010 gardens, especially now that we have water.

Well, it's officially midnight here and I am officially 57 years old. Time for me to go to bed, my sister is talking me to lunch tomorrow and I am really tired tonight. So, I bid you adieu and sweet dreams of gardens and all things green. (And that's a really nice wish, especially around here this week, whee the temps have been as polar opposite from spring temps as is possible.)