Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday on the old home place...

  Here's a picture of the newly installed lattice work across the front of the porch rail. I cannot tell you how much better it is ... for both us and the poor dog that has to be tied up all the time now.  Now she can't get all tangled up. There is one hole in the rail, right in front of our front door, the only place where she can go in and out.  That's my handsome son/handyman drinking a B vitamin loaded energy drink after finishing the job. (As you can see, I still haven't taken down the Xmas garland...)

  Today the Irishman and I worked outside almost all day. I mowed until I could barely walk, while he did some repairs on the chicken coop and run, and then turned over the dirt/manure in the garden beds. He had to finish mowing the backyard in the outer areas because I couldn't go no mo.  Tonight for date night(lol)  we went to Mr Curry's for supper. I had Lamb Korma Curry and Patrick had Coconut chicken curry and we shared a rice pudding for dessert. Then we went to Home Depot (none there) and Lowes (found it!)  both looking for a heavy tarp to put over the top of the chicken run.  Then we went to Dierbergs so I could pick up a few things I needed to make salad dressings for the lunch I am cooking tomorrow for the retreat.

  By the time we got home I could barely walk.  I've had some aspirin, so it's a little better now. But my shoulders are killling me--guess it's been a while since I mowed!  I also should have worn a mask, because I am sneezing and my nose is running and my heads all foggy. I'm going to take some alka-seltzer sinus and go to bed.  (But boy--does my yard look good!!)  There were a lot of seed heads and debris getting kicked up by the mower. Not to mention things are starting to bloom.

  There are more hummingbirds every day visiting the 2 new feeders I put out.  And this afternoon we had 2 Coopers hawks circling...odd behavior, they were dipping and diving like swallows, and they were way up there. Patrick thinks it must have been some kind of territorial thing going on.

  I have a big full day tomorrow...I have to be at the Ecological center by 8:30 so I can make 2 soups and salads and apple crisp for the luncheon. Then I have to be all done with that to be at work at 3. So when I leave here at 8 AM, I'll be gone til about 8:30 PM.  It'll be a long day...but a good day.

  I'm off to bed, children.  Have a groovy weekend.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Thursday...and the sun is shining!!!

  Here's an early picture of the painting of the living room. I went through some anxious moments when I was second guessing myself about the color. In the end, I'm real happy with it.

  Here's a shot of the dining area, with some of the junk back on the walls. You'll be proud to know that I did scale it way  Either that, or I've just been too lazy to put stuff back up.  Crikey. Is that a cat sitting in the midle of my table??  Surely not...

  I was way too tired to post last night and was in bed before midnight.  I was up before 7 AM this morning and today and tomorrow I get to stay home and play, or go out and play, or just play and play.  Or work my butt off...which doesn't really appeal to me either. WHAT??  How about a little balance, you say?? How about a little work and a little play? hmmmm....what a concept.

  Yesterday morning  was  weird. I got a call from a lunatic woman across the pond from me, screaming at me and swearing at me and telling me to come get her dog because she was sick and tired of cleaning up after it. Before I could say anything, the gods intervened and she hung up on me. Somehow, I managed not to go over to her house or call her back. It would have been  a mess. As it was, I got angry, I got thoughtful, and I got busy thinking about something else.  I am constantly praying for compassion where she is concerned.  I wish that she and her husband would just move back to the city where they belong. I don't think it will be long. They have taken most of the trees off their 5 acre property because she "doesn't like trees".  She gets pissed becasue the ducks and geese make too much noise on the pond, and it bothers her.  There are bugs in her house, no matter how much Raid she sprays and the mice too...don't get her started on the mice.  I just smile and shake my head. This is country living, bitch.  Out here, you learn to co-exist on some small level with Mother Nature. Or--you go away. Becasue MN will win every time. They fight and scream and call each other vile names...and it all drifts across the water to my backyard.  I told her once that every time they fight, I could write a ttranscript of it. She said she didn't care. I said, well I care.  I care about havingt abusive energy and language assaulting my senses every time I go outside, or if my kitchen window is open.  She flounced off. (She's a flouncer).


  I really wish I had 40 or 50 acres, so I could live in relative peace. Of course, I'd have to have a handsome young handyman to help take care of it all.  *snork

   I'm going to take my baby sister out for lunch today, if she's free, and maybe bring her home with me for a while. That means I need to get off here, get a tiny bit of straightening up done and maybe start a load of laundry.

  Then I'll make a nice supper for us and actually have an evening meal  with my husband.

  OOooo...the possibilities.

  For now, I have to check on my chickens. The rains have turned their chicken run into a muddy mess.  I'll feed them and talk to them and collect some eggs and maybe make a nice quiche or something. We'll exchange some chicken loves and then I'll mosey on into the day....


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Twitters

                                 [Apple Crisp]

 It's late and I should be in bed. But I slept late this morning and now I've been careening around the web, reading new blogs and old friends and looking looking looking to try and find out the last name of that prince guy and his boyos from England.  I am so tired already of all the hype about the wedding...and--BTW, he uses Charles Mountbatten-Windsor. But if he ever becomes king he will drop the Mountbatten.  LOL  He  also has like 4 first names. Man.  Those rich people...they hog everything!!!!!!

  It was a nice day. I had lunch with a friend, nothing fancy, just pizza at a local place. But we had a great time, laughing and talking and I had no idea how badly I needed that. I have been isolating a lot...going to work and coming home and that's that. Not much interaction on a social level.  My pendulum swings from one extreme to the other...

   Saturday I will be cooking lunch for a group at a yoga retreat. I'm fixing a mixed salad and bread and 2 veggie minestrone and one that's a quinoa chowder.  That will be fun. I'm going to make a vinaigrette dressing and one creamy dressing of some sort.  And an apple crisp for dessert. Simple good food.

   This weeks starts my scaling back to only 5 days a week. It's gardening time, and I need more days to myself. I hope to get some seedlings in some dirt tomorrow...things are so wet here there will be no planting in the ground for a while. I'm glad we got some manure on the beds so that the rain could soak it into the dirt. I'm going to start some squash and maybe some peppers. I have a lot of my seeds already and need to pick up a bit more.

   I'm feeling all mama-ish about my grown married son of late.  I worry about him and know I need to keep my nose mostly out of his business and his marriage...but it ain't easy. It doesn't matter how old they get, they are still your babies.

   Alrighty. I'm heading for bed. It's almost 2 AM and I should be sawing logs already!!  ZZzzzzzzz.....


Monday, April 25, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays...

 I just loved this picture, that's all. Kinda says it all.

  It is raining cats and dogs out there. The morning's humidity was so high that I had a constant glitter of sweat on my face constantly. It wasn't nearly as attractive as you'd think. It was late afternoon when it finally started to rain..a soft rain, as the Irish describe it. A constant drizzle. By early evening it was torrential. Lightning and thunder and the whole nine yards. Coming home tonight around 8, the country road I live on was a  flooded mess. I had to go out back and check on my chickens, then down to the road to pull the garbage can back up to the house and when I came back in, my pantlegs were soaked up to my knee. There is a good 4 inches of water standing in the driveway...All the fields on our road are looking more like lakes than fields. It's a mess, and it isn't supposed to let up any time soon.

  It's warm in the house, but I'm afraid if I open windows it will get too cold overnight.

  I'm going to lunch with a friend thinking I may call her up to come here instead if she will.  She might.  lol  I really don't feel like eating out, if you can believe that.  And it isn't even the eating time at home is so precious to me I don't want to waste it.  Starting this week, I am cutting work hours down from 6-7 to only 5 days a week.  2 days a row.  I cannot wait. 

  My little dog is lying here, dreaming of chasing rabbits and whimpering and kicking.  I saw her again today, sitting at the edge of the yard, looking and looking for Lucy, her best friend, to show up. She looks so chokes me up and makes me cry. The first day she was gone, the little dog went from room to room looking for her everywhere. I guess I am such a sap....but it breaks my heart. And I KNOW I should not be hating and blaming my neighbors for this....but I do.  I know that once the hurt has subsided, I will feel least a little. In the meantime it is all I can do not to go over there and scream at them. And so I mutter and pace and shoot dirty looks across the pond at them...and wait for the grief to subside.

   This has been a long day and I am tired. Guess I'll go climb in that big sleigh bed and snuggle up next to the Irishman and listen to his soft breathing for a bit before I fall off to sleep.  I have been listening to that breathing for a lot of years... and it anchors me and cradles me and reminds me that there is big love in this world. I just finished reading a glorious post by Ms.Moon that warmed the old cockles of my heart.  Got me to thinking about love and how it really is all around us...blessed by love. In all it's different guises.

  Night all....


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

  Ever have that feeling that you're dancing as fast as you can...and any minute you're liable to spring right up into the skies?  Today has been like that for me.

  I cooked a half a ham that was in the freezer. I candied some sweet potatoes from last years garden...with butter and brown sugar and pecans.  I cooked the very last quart of green beans from last year with bacon and onion..And I made a toasted coconut cheesecake.  I did 3 loads of laundry.  I vacuumed the house and several pieces of furniture.  I sorted through the seed box from last years seeds and decided what was good and what needed tossing.  I started a brand new garden journal for 2011...the one before finally fell apart...and had entries from years 2002-2010.  I vowed to do a better job with this years journal...I did diagram the beds, but everything else pretty much fell by the wayside. I finished all this by 1 PM.

   After my husband and I ate a nice Easter dinner, I went to work. And this sounds crazy when I read it, even to me.  Now it's midnight and I am tired. I didn't hear from one single member of my family today. I did get calls and text messages form a few friends...but not one word from my family. Nobody got together for dinner this year. I guess. Either that, or I just wasn't invited. I know my son wasn't sure what they were doing, probably going to his inlaws, he said.  I sent out an email saying happy easter to everyone.  Ain't that some shit?

   We have had some serious storms around here.  Tornadoes and straight line winds and torrential rains.  The creeks are swollen and the yards are saturated. The roads are covered in water in lots of places. This is going to push the farmers back a few weeks in their planting. It will give me more time to start some seedlings indoors...if I hurry.  Squash mostly.  They are forecasting rain for at least the next week.  Sigh....

  The best part is that everything that was so brown and dead is suddenly lush and green and dizzyingly beautiful.  Almost overnight.  It's the miracle of spring around the Prairie...

   Guess I'll head for bed here in a minute.  I need to get a grip on my world here, hanging on tight, so that I do not fly away....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday at grandma's house...

Picked up the notorious 14 year old grandson tonight after leaving MissB's. It was raining and they are predicting storms...but it seems to be bypassing us. So--that's a good thing! We have had some pretty horrendouos weather around these parts the past week...tornadoes and thunderstorms...roofs blown off schools and barns, carports ripped away and flung about the land. One little town had houses smashed flat and people trapped in their basements. Yikes.

  I am getting lots of lessons in attachment and trust and love lately. Not sure whether to thank God for them or just ask WTH ???   I know that at some point, I will see the point to it all. I do believe a couple of things: 1) Things DO happen for a reason and    2) God has a plan for my life.  If I can hang on to those two basics, I can make it through to the other side of these emotional wounds and upheavals.  I also believe that there is always potential for healing.  Always. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  I am just so impatient.

  Tired tonight...but I am off tomorrow and will be up making waffles for my boy.  As he was falling asleep he whispered "Grandma?" I said yes...and he said "Can we have waffles for breakfast? You promised last time...." and he drifted off to sleep. He is growing up so fast....he'll be 15 in November and I can't believe how the time has flown. In my mind, he is still 6 and telling me how he loves me with ALL his heart, and he promises he will never change.  When he comes to grandmas house, he is a little boy again, and we run and play and act silly as hell.  And we eat waffles. With lots and lots of butter. And life is grand and nothing intrudes on that. And that's the way it should be.

  My son came today and put the vinyl lattice up on the front porch. It looks great. I took some before and after pictures...of course they're still in the  Now Miss Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist can only get in and out in one section of the railing. No more getting tangled and tied up. It's a godsend. I've been wanting that done for 5 years....even before dogs were being tied up there.
While he was doing that I was busy fixing sausage and sauerkraut and garlic mashed potatoes for the Irishman's supper and my sons and my lunch. I also whipped up an old fashioned lemon meringue pie ...straight out of the old Farm Journal cookbook.  yum...

  I got a lovely card for Lucy from my friend in made me cry. Last night as I was passing through the living room, I looked down in the dark and saw a dark lump and reached down to pet was only a new dk green pillow, but for a moment I forgot Lucy was gone. I pulled my hand back and started to cry now...I will be glad when this pain has dulled and I stop this stabbing sense of loss I feel constantly. It's only been a week tomorrow...

  I am trying to pray for more tolerance and practice more patience with the people around me but it's not going all that well.  I got several calls today from a drunken woman whose drunkenness was escalating everytime she called. I finally stopped answering.   I told her the first time that if she was drinking, there was nothing I could say to her.  I have a pretty firm policy NOT to talk to a drunken person who calls, it's too frustrating and almost always a complete waste of my time. Unless it sounds like life or death...which it rarely does.

  I hope that tomorrow is a little slower, a little kinder, a little sweeter and a lot more gentle for all your souls out there. Especially mine.  lol

   Let's take good care of ourselves and each other, okay ?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Who ARE you?

Where Dreams Come From
by Marge Piercy

A girl slams the door of her little room
under the eaves where marauding squirrels
scamper overhead like herds of ideas.
She has forgotten to be grateful she has
finally a room with a door that shuts.
She is furious her parents don't comprehend
why she wants to go to college, that place
of musical comedy fantasies and weekend
football her father watches, beer can
in hand. It is as if she announced I want
to journey to Iceland or Machu Picchu.
Nobody in their family goes to college.
Where do dreams come from? Do they
sneak in through torn screens at night
to light on the arm like mosquitoes?
Are they passed from mouth to ear
like gossip or dirty jokes? Do they
sprout from underground on damp
mornings like toadstools that form
fairy rings on dewtipped grasses?
No, they slink out of books, they lurk
in the stacks of libraries. Out of pages
turned they rise like the scent of peonies
and infect the brain with their promise.
I want, I will, says the girl and already
she is halfway out the door and down
the street from this neighborhood, this
mortgaged house, this family tight
and constricting as the collar on the next
door dog who howls on his chain all night.
"Where Dreams Come From" by Marge Piercy, from The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010. © Alfred A. Knopf,

  I read this first thing this morning and had to laugh. Someone has written a poem about me. When I was about 9, I wanted to learn to play the violin and my mother laughed derisively and said: "Who are you?"  When I was 14 and talked of going to college, she looked at me like I was from another planet and said "No one in our family goes to college. We are poor."

  I supposedly have a visit today from a sister who lives down south, finally at home in the fanatically Christian world she has built around herself and her family.   It has been about 15 years in the making, I would guess, and she is insulated from anything that doesn't suit her. And by anything, I mean weather, poverty and heathens. And unmanageable family.  I suppose I am part of the latter...she is in the area and was supposed to call me about whether I got the day off today, but I haven't heard a word from her since she arrived on Friday. None of this is unusual. She often makes plans to visit and then never even makes it to the state, but never calls to let anyone know. She lives in a world that excludes consideration of things like that, not maliciously I think, simply unconscious of those things outside her parameters of God and home.  It makes me crazy, of course.

  On a spring note....we have been hauling manure into the garden beds and getting it all turned  under.  Cleared up last years debris and setting things ready for planting in a month or so. The weather around these parts is still flip-flopping around: we had a magnificent hail storm the other day with hail the size of ping pong balls! It gets warm, it cools back down...up. down. up. down. But the lilacs at the end of the driveway are blooming and I think I'll bring some in the house for a vase.  The fruit trees are all abloom as well. Maybe spring really is here....

  I have been doing a little house renovating. painting and the like. Been needing to paint for a couple of years, and this year my son came to do it  and everything now looks fresh and new. I have been decluttering and have not put back 1/2 of all the stuff I took off the walls. It's inspiring me to get rid of even more stuff. I have 2 new loveseat covers coming today that I ordered from colored corduroy stretch-fit covers. It was 1/4 the price of having some made.  I am up early and wanted to get on the computer a minute before I get back to my cleaning and such. I have to make granola bars for the Irishman too...he's been out several days and neglected to tell me.  I'm going to marinate some chicken breasts for supper, make a big wonderful salad full of mixed greens and whatnot,  make some cocnut pudding or maybe even a pie...although I still have some leftover blackberry pie that I made for the Irishman to take to the coffeehouse Saturday night out at the Oblate.

  We had to put one of our dogs to sleep this past Friday. She was a sweet dog and I miss her terribly.  I keep expecting her to run up to my car when I come home at night... She was a big part of our family these past 4 years.  I might be cried out, I think, and then I watch our littlest dog Caylee sitting out in the yard looking for her to come home and I cry all over again. She and Caylee have been constant companions and best buddies since Caylee came to live with us.  I am so emotional over my animals...and each time something happens, I swear that this is it. I will not do this to myself again...and you can see how that works for me. In all fairness to me though, most often God just sends another little angel to me, and they show up on my doorstep abandoned. And I fall in love all over again....

   Okay, this housework isn't going to do itself and it's going on 8 AM already. 

  I'll write better this week and show up and be present. Life has a way of getting away from me....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday's Work Plan

 I had no idea I was going to end up like this. When I was young and full of anger and dreams (fuel, right?) ,  I was sure that I was destined for something REALLY big and important. Something that was going to make a difference in the world and catapult me into fame and fortune. Well, fame, anyway.  I wasn't sure what it was going to be...but I knew for damn sure what it was NOT going to be.  I wasn't going to be a mother.  I wasn't going to be a housewife. I wasn't going to be anybody's secretary. And I wasn't going to stay here in this stilted, backwards, close-minded rural area where I grew up. 

  I was going places, baby.

  To be fair, I did go places. And even though I became a mother at 18, I didn't do a good job of it. And even though I started out my adult life as a fecking housewife, I also wrote for a little newspaper once a week and wrote poetry and kept journals and read like  rabid librarian.  I grew organic gardens and desperately wanted to "Live off the the land" while I smoked pot and took LSD and lived in a fantasy. Lived anywhere except in reality and the present. By the time I was 21, I had lived in 3 states.  And was looking for the next one. (By the time I was 35, I had been in all 50 states, plus Hawaii and South America.) I was unhappy and furious and living a life run rampant. At 24 I did the unspeakable to people from Illinois.  I moved to California. (In case you didn't know, one of the covenants you have infused in your IL born DNA is "Thou shalt NOT live in the land of fruits and nuts.")  Everyone was aghast and I was euphoric. I loved it there. I finally could breathe. I was finally home...this was where I had always belonged.

  I stayed there 20 years.

  All this background bio takes me back to my original thought here.  I didn't know it was going to be like this.  One of my relatives innocently asked me if I thought I would have maybe NOT become an alcoholic if I had just stayed home where I belonged.  I had to burst out laughing. And I told her that I probably wouldn't have lived long enough. I would have shot myself in the head years before.

  I left California for the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and stayed there 10 years before somehow winding up back here.  I almost feel like I moved back here in an emotional blackout. But I didn't, really.  I had been very badly hurt, almost killed, in an industrial accident. I suddenly wanted to be nearer my family, most of whom live here. Especially that son that I wasn't much of a mother to. He had moved back here some years prior, and I had a sudden obsession with being closer to him, and my sisters and brothers.

  Anyway,  Here I am. Back in the middle west. Getting itchy for garden season. Getting ready to do some spring cleaning in my ratty little house that I love. And some yard work in my very own yard and gardens.  Going to clean carpets today, and get ready for my brother and his family to come Friday for a day together. Got paint to get the living room and kitchen painted this weekend...the boyo is going to come and do it and I'm completely changing the color scheme...still earth tones...but a lovely sweet woodruff sage and a rich pecan for the kitchen. Right now it's all cremes and was so dark when we bought it I had to hit the other end of the spectrum and make it light and airy. 6 years later (where has the time gone ?!?!)  it's in dire need of paint (thank you to all my dogs and cats!!) and I'm ready to get 'er done.

  Okay. I've stalled long enough.  That carpet isn't going to clean itself, and I have chickens clamoring to be fed and the world that I have created for myself is a full and satisfying, alcohol-free, sanctuary.

  WHO KNEW ???


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Whaaaaaaaattt ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I don't know what happened to the past few whipped by me at warp speed and now here it is Tuesday.  Yikes.  Sometimes I think old age is like a black hole we fall into, and from time to time peek back up over the edge and are startled all to hell at where we've ended up.

My only son is battling a terrible toothache (broke off a molar--otherwise, his teeth are magnificent)and cannot find affordable help/care anywhere. He is unemployed and has no insurance.  He called the local dental school that does sliding scale work, but they are closed this entire week for board finals or something. I cannot do anything to help him except loan him money to go somewhere, but he doesn't want to do that, of course. He's mad as hell about the state of heathcare in this country and all I can do is nod my head and agree...I thought I'd try to call and see how he is in a few...

We just had 2 days of cold, extremely  windy and rainy weather. There were freeze warnings last night, for heaven's sakes... Today is sunny and nice again and supposed to hit 60. All uphill [supposedly] from there for the rest of the week. We'll see. I need to get busy...I have family coming on Friday and am thinking if I can get the back deck cleaned up we'll grill burgers and brats or something. They are predicting high 70's for that day. I need to get some house cleaning done, shampoo my carpet and work in the yard these next few days. Spring cleaning.

I really had good intentions of hitting the gym this morning, and was even up early, but my dang knee is hurting so bad I don't think I could manage.  It was rough last night, and I alternated heat and ice for a couple of hours. Not sure what I did to aggravate it again...sigh...getting old ain't for sissies.  lol   So, I think I'll go root around in the freezer and find something wonderful to cook for the Irishman's dinner and my own too, make my kefir smoothie, and try to get a jump on a little outside work...assuming I can fit it all in before 2 o'clock. 

Have a wonderfully springy day, y'all.  I'm dreaming about gardening and might even get a few seeds going today. I haven't started anything (and I know, I know...I'm LATE!!)  But I do plant about 3/4 of my gardens directly into the ground from seed.  Because I'm such a procrastinator and always late getting things going, not for ANY altruistic reasons.  lol This year April kinda snuck up on me...I usually at least have lettuce going by now.  Most people around these parts start putting their gardens in AFTER Mother's Day. That's about the safest. Plus it gives the MOTHERS one last free day before they start working themselves to death outside.  lol

 Take the time to savor your life today...


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring at last ??  It could happen. Yesterday I snipped fresh chives from the garden for my salad. I also dug up some runaway perennial onions to take to a friend so she could start her own bed of them. I can't believe it's Saturday already.

  I went to check out the kitchen at the Oblate on's where I'll be teaching the canning and preserving workshop.  It's nice and big and relatively well stocked as far as cooking pots and things go. I stayed and had tea and outlined the class with the coordinator, the sister who facilitates the discussion groups we attend.  It was a lovely late morning/early afternoon and I came home after that. I was waiting for an order from Amazon that was being delivered by UPS...I got organic Thai Kitchen coconut milk for a really good price by the case. And free shipping. the meantime I had the Irishman get the satellite internet pieces down from the roof so I could ship the trai and the modem back to them and get that over with. Conveniently, I was able to hand over that box to the UPS guy when he finally arrived. Deed done.

  We went to Chinese Buffet for supper last night. I was able to pick and choose food that was sort of okay for my diet.  I can feel the effects of the high sodium today though. But it was good...and then we went to see the new movie Limitless. It was very good.

  I need to get out in the yard and do some garden cleanup today. I also need to prune my Rose of Sharons before they start to bud. I should have done it in the late fall...I have tons of  flower garden debris to clean up and then I am off to MissB's this afternoon.  Not enough time in the days anymore...I really miss the old days...but am very grateful to have a little extra money. An ancient

  The temps are warming up daily. Yesterday was pleasant, in the mid 50's. Today we are inching up a few degrees and tomorrow should be around 70. I am so ready for the warming...

  Happy Saturday all.  This week just flew by...