Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday ...and counting the hours...

Lemon Meringue...

   Company coming on Friday. House: still not cleaned. Laundry: not done yet.  Green beans: picked another full peck today, and must can today or tomorrow. Teapots: finally back up on cabinet top shelves. list seems to grow longer instead of shorter.  The good news is this: I know how my relatives live, so nothing here...and I mean NOTHING...will offend or shock or disgust THEM in any manner.  This is all about me.  The bad news is this: now I don't have so much motivation to kill myself doing all this.  lol  I was thinking that I might call my son and see if he has the time to come do a couple of things for me that I can pay him for. Not big jobs, but things that would take some of the pressure off me. He's not working much, off and on like crazy, then downtimes that make him nuts. He'd probably come do it just to keep busy.

   I was hoping to have 4 days off, but it's not to be. Looks like I have to work my regular 2 days off and take only Saturday and Sunday so that I can be with the family. How I long for the days when my time was my own and I could do everything anytime I wanted to.  When I wasn't at the mercy of other people and their opinions and their demands...oh well.

  I went out to feed chickens and take Roxie to the backyard when I noticed that I had green beans out the Ya-Ya again. It's a blessing, don't get me wrong. But it takes almost an hour to pick that bed. And it kills my back. And then I noticed that it is dry as a bone out there, so apparently the Irishman is coming home from work, eating the delicious meals I have cooked for him, plopping on the couch,  turning  on the tv and not moving a muscle.  I know he's not been sleeping well. But neither have I.

  Marriage.  It's something else, isn't it?  I saw a little thing at a craft show once that said ...

    "Marriages are made in Heaven,
     But then, so are thunder and lightning."

   I have been married and not married. In a good marriage and a not so good marriage.  In love and out of love.  And mostly, listening to my friends (married and not) we are usually yearning over the fence at the marriage we don't have, or at the single life we wish we did have.  Greener grass and all that, I guess. I am the married sort. I guess. lol  I have spent the better part of this relationship of  two decades either trying to accept him the way he is or trying to change him for his own good.  LOL  It's a conundrum.  Some of the things that I found SO charming about him back then drive me nuts in the right now. He has changed and grown and mellowed...a little too much in some ways (IMHO). But we are a good match, all in all. And  I think I speak from experience when I say that  sometimes that is as good as it gets. There's no perfect life when you live with another human being, I don't care what sex they are. There are going to be days when you pick up those socks that are in the middle of the floor, 2 feet away from the laundry basket, and it will be the last straw. And you will throw them out the window or set them on fire or put them in his lunchbox. There are going to be times when you look across the room in incredulous horror, not believing that THIS is the person that has been sleeping next to you all these years. And there will be those times when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder where the time has gone and how did you get so old so fast. And then you will look back across the room and know:  He's sucked the life right out of you.  LOL

   Of course, there will be other times when you can't believe how the stars must have lined up so right for you to have a blessing like this in your life.  When you realize that here, this person right here, is the one that you have shared history with, that knows you better than you know yourself sometimes, that can still make you laugh after all these years.  

  And for a minute or two, it is all worth it.

  I still want to bake a pound cake.  And those beans aren't going to can themselves. And the marital bed still hasn't been made. So, here I into this life we have made for ourselves that is pretty darn wonderful.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Anger, like a lightning strike at my heart...

  I am calling on those who have gone before me. Those stronger and wiser and better than  I am at handling things that strike at me like a rattlesnake.   Looking for comfort, looking for answers, looking for something to neutralize these poisonous feelings I am experiencing.

  I have been absolutely livid tonight. Someone whose path intersects with mine FOR SOME UNGODLY REASON, has pushed me right to the edge of my sanity and tolerance. I am allowing anothers behavior to do this to me. That's the crazy part. I can't seem to lay it down and walk away.

  Repeatedly, I have been infected by the fact that this person cannot be honest or truthful about almost anything.  Perhaps because I am the adult child of an alcoholic and I grew up in a house where you never knew what was real or true from one day to the next.  Perhaps because in the throes of my own disease of alcoholism, I was the biggest liar on the planet. Sometimes it was a game to see what I could get away with, sometimes it was spiteful and sometimes it was just because I couldn't tell the difference between the truth and a lie anymore. When you lie incessantly,  about things you don't even NEED to lie about, the edges all blur together and it is impossible to discern fact from fiction.

  My biggest voice [in my head] keeps saying "But yeah--this does affect me daily!!!"  Somewhere else a voice whispers "Really? Why is that?"

  The text tells me that anger is the dubious luxury of normal men. That it will kill me.  I know that having a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting  the other guy to die. And there are things I can do to deal with this.

   I spent some time in meditation tonight, trying to quiet that monster of self righteous anger.  It came to me that fear creates a brokenness in a person that causes negative behaviors to manifest.  That all brokenness has the same underlying cause. Fear.  Fear that one will lose something one has, or not get something one wants. And the answer to all fear is compassion.  And Love.  So, is my compassion not big enough to cover this? And if it is not, why?

  So...what do I do to enter this arena I find myself in, with some obvious lessons to learn ? How do I bring my heart into alignment with what I know to be the solution ?  Focusing on my breath, as it comes in and out again. Detaching from my emotions, and from all outcomes.  Planting myself  directly in the center of God's heart and that wellspring of love and compassion...and trying to see this person with God's eyes. And knowing that no one can hurt me unless I let them. My ego wants to react, and never in the right way. So...I stop the reacting. I say the prayer that lets me set aside everything I think I know about the situation, so that I might have a new experience.  And I embrace the person and their brokenness and bless them with all my heart.

    I am reminded of something I was told a long time ago, by a spiritual advisor. "You must honor everyone, wherever they are on their journey."  We are all traveling, each of us on our own path, at different places on the journey. We have to crawl before we walk sometimes.  And today I must remember that  sage advise hanging on my refrigerator...

 "You are a child of God. So ACT like it."


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finishing up the day....

  Sigh....sweet little Roxie is coming into her own. She's started challenging the other dogs at the food bowl, barking and chased a neighbor's dog across the yard...(running headlong into this behemoth of a dog), and today she found the pond. She was exploring the wooded area around the back yard while I was watering the garden this morning and suddenly she was gone. I called and called and no answer.  The Irishman got home about this time and I pointed him in the direction I last saw her and he went down to the edge of the water and sure enough, there she was, along with her favorite babysitter, Bella. Bella was just watching her dig dig dig into the mud, Pat said. He brought her back up in the yard and before we knew it, she was down there again. Stuck in 3 inches of mud, with her little 4 inch long legs!  We had to give her a bath--she was covered in thick oozy mud.  She has been digging a lot, along the gardens edge, in front of the chicken coop...she bites the dirt and digs furiously with her feet, and pulls weeds up and flings them aside.  It's a riot to watch!

  I picked another gallon of green beans today...I have enough to can tomorrow. I also picked bell peppers and a few more jalapenos. I'll pickle a couple of small jars of the hotties and freeze the bells in strips-I froze 3 quarts the other day. The peas are coming along famously and the green beans are looking good...except the part of the bed where someone got in there and dug the plants up. No proof of who that might be, but it looked like the work of a big dog. We have lettuce spinach and kale showing from the second planting. And a couple of yellow crooknecks that may or may not make it to the fruit stage.  We'll see....

  Counting down to the weekend visit of the husbands brother and sister. I can't wait to see them--2 of my favorite people in the world.  I have so much work to try and get done between shifts this week. And yes--I have a grand list.  :)

  Everyone is sleeping around me. I filled the bird water and food dishes and cleaned up a little in the kitchen. I have iced tea ready to make and  a couple of other little things and then I will probably head to bed. Feeling quite tired today.  I still need to feed the fish. Oops. Nearly forgot them. The aquarium is looking a little better all the time since I cleaned it the other day. I'm ashamed that I let it get that bad. I need to take the filter out and rinse's still just a little milky in there. 

  Feeling a little spiritually adrift these days...not keeping to my usual routines of prayer and meditation. This happens to me from time to time and then I have an AHA! moment and get back on track.  I need to remember to.."Make time for quiet God whispers, and the world is loud." I'm glad I can notice this stuff today...and have the solutions to the problems.

  Watched several good movies the past few days...The Lincoln Lawyer, with Matthew McConaughey  and a wonderful cast that includes William H. Macy and Marissa Tomei and Ryan Phillippe...and a comedy called Your Highness, starring Danny McBride and James Franco.  Then I watched The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, which I always love.  And some schmaltzy Hallmark movie about 2 Italian Winery families from the Napa Valley that I loved..with Patricia Heaton and Lainie Kazan and Tony Lo Bianco...the scenery was breath-taking and made me very homesick for that part of northern California where I lived when I first moved out there.  That's more tv/movie watching in 2 days than I do in a month!

  Alrighty then. Time for this old woman to get her affairs in order and start meandering towards her beauty sleep. I have a few unfinished things in the other room and then I am out of here. Have a great new week coming up, all y'all !!!!



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Messing up my PLAN....

Here's the thing.  I generally have a PLAN for my day. Even for my part days, when I know I have to head to MissB's house.  I am a list maker, among other things, because it helps me be more organized and efficient. (AND because I was forced to take one of those DayTimer workshops, and they brainwash the hell out of you and you never forget some of that stuff until the day you die.)  Anyways...on my days off, when I get to stay home and catch up on everything and accomplish Great Things...I always have a list that I make the night before. It is all prioritized and pretty and I generally stick to it. At best, I get a lot done. At worst, I know what needs doing and I either do it or I don't. If I don't (and this is the beauty of the DayTimer people and FranklinCovey), why, I just move it to tomorrow's list. FranklinCovey is the training team that the corporation I worked for a million years ago sent all it's management people to so that we could learn enhanced time management skills and enjoy greater personal productivity.  (FYI--I tried to refuse to go because I really am an old hippie and this was NOT my idea of a good time. I was threatened with demotion and possible job loss, as this was a MANDATORY workshop.)  

  But, I digress....

 Getting back to the original story here....when I woke up at around 8 AM, the Irishman was STILL HERE. He didn't go to work this morning, because he overslept and when he called in to say he'd be a little late, they told him there wasn't a lot to do and that if he wanted to just take a vacation day, he could. So, as any red blooded American man will do, he did. HE thought he'd done a great thing, because now he could be home with me all day.  I went into the bathroom and threw up. (Not really).

Here's the thing. He gets in my way. Even if he's out in the yard. Even if he's doing things totally unrelated to what I'm doing.  HE IS NOT PART OF MY PLAN.  So, I had to make breakfast, which cut into my list time. Then I had to make him lunch--again, not on my list. And I had to stop what I was doing a hundred time to answer a question or go "look at something".  

  All I got done today was ONE batch of jelly, 3 loads of laundry, and supper.  Oh, and I did color my hair. And that's another story.

 I put a medium auburn color on my hair, thinking I would lighten it up a little from the dark brown it usually is. (And yes--I AM ending that sentence with a preposition).  Well, it's red. I'm a redhead. Not copper penny red, but red red red nonetheless.  Not what I had in mind. Holy crapola. I jump every time I see myself in the mirror. He says it's not THAT bad, that I'm over reacting.  Oh, I'm over reacting alright. I'm ready to lay my head on a train track for a quick decapitation. I'm not going out without a hat for 6 weeks. was a bust. I didn't get the floors vacuumed. I didn't get my teapots and googlies all put back up on the walls and shelves. I didn't get anything dusted. I didn't clean the closet or the spare room or my bedroom or my office.  I didn't pull weeds in the front yard or sweep the porches or clean the mudroom. I didn't paint the laundry room OR the front bathroom. I didn't do anything, except ruin my life with a box of Miss Clairol.

  At least I have things for tomorrows list though.

 I try to play catch up on Thursday so that I can play a little on Friday. Oh well.

 On a brighter note, we did have some lovely porterhouse steaks for supper, with corn on the cob and garlic green beans from the garden. The green beans have started producing again...I hope they keep it up through next weekend when the Irishman's brother and sister are coming.  I have a whole gallon in the fridge, and I'll have enough for a canner load in a few days. AND--my oven suddenly started working again. Go figure.

Alright. I'm off to bed. To dream dreams of a happy and useful that does NOT include a DayTimer within arms reach AT ALL TIMES. (Oh yes they did--they pounded that home, over and over).  I did acquiesce, and kept it in the trunk of my car. And almost NEVER used it. I just couldn' was against everything I ever stood for.  lol


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


  Summer is winding down.  I don't know if I'm relieved or glad or sorry to see it go.

  It's been a brutal season this year. Most of the garden is shot, although we have replanted for a late harvest..things like peas and green beans and turnips and kale.  We don't usually do this, as normally I get all the food I can use out of the first planting. But this year was crazy...first, WAY too much rain and then later no rain at all. A hot start and then a crazy cool down and then hellaciously hot temperatures for weeks and weeks.  Burned up everything. It's cooled dramatically in the past 2 weeks, but already the air conditioner has kicked on (and it's set at 76) so I'm thinking that if it kicks on at 6 may not bode well for the rest of the

   I have a new great nephew. I am so excited to go visit a week or two, so that mama can get settled and the family, which consists of 2 school age boys and one day care aged girl can get into their new routines. I suspect they are having lots of company right now, so I shall save it until the dust settles. lol  I can do that, because I am old..  I have found directions for making all hand sewn bibs for babies in a book I got recently, titled "SEWN by HAND~~Two dozen projects stitched with needle and thread."  I thought it might be a cool thing to do, and be a keepsake as well. One of the bibs that I particularly liked, has  a cutout from one of those old linen kitchen calendars, you cut out the month the baby was born, and then embroider a tiny heart around the birth day. I love to make things by hand...and I haven't been doing much of it lately....

   I have family coming for a visit next week. I am excited about that too.

And mostly, this morning, I am tired. We were awakened last night by dogs going crazy around 2 AM, Mr. Opossum decided to pay a visit to the dog food bowl on the front porch.  Then we were roused again by something crazy that happened...the bedroom ceiling light came on. ALL BY ITSELF, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT !!!!!  Hmmmm...a visitor? Or just bad wiring from when my son and husband installed the new ceiling fan/light fixture?

  At any rate, I went to bed just after midnight and was up for the last time at I am thinking about going back to bed now. It's about 10 til the morning, people!!!!  lol  I am getting sleepy now..I stayed up and made the Irishman's breakfast and lunch for him...I may not plan any chores for today...and just go lie down and sleep if I need to. I don't do so well on not enough sleep...never used to bother me, I could go for days and days...not anymore.

  I made a crockpot full of beans yesterday...lovely Great Northerns and Butterbeans and Cannelini beans...cooked with dried okra (just because there was part of a bag ion the refrigerator door) and onion, carrot, celery and garlic. I have been hungry for beans lately, so it was just what I needed.

 I don't have to cook any dinner for tonight or really do anything I don't want to. 

  Yee Haw.

  The dogs are all sleeping around me, little Roxie has been out for her morning excavation effort (diggingest dog I've ever seen!), and it FEELS like it could be nap time....think I'll give it a try...

  Namaste, my friends.....


Saturday, August 20, 2011


  August 20, 1985  was the day my dad died.  He was 60 years old, and died of lung cancer. It was a drawn out and debilitating death and  he was magnificent through it all. When he died, he was cremated and had his ashes scattered at Shelter Cove, in Northern California, one of his favorite places on this planet. I have this little fantasy in my head when I think of him being gone all these years, that like DB Cooper, he jumped out of that plane and landed on the beach and is sitting there in a chaise lounge,  drink in hand, watching the surf roll in and out.

   It's funny, even after all these years--26 now-- that I don't always consciously remember this date, but my body and my psyche does. It's  cell memory, and  for a couple of days now I have been very emotional and exhausted and  wondering why I started crying today watching Extreme Home Makeover.  It wasn't until about an hour ago, reading my Facebook page where a friend was saying it was the anniversary of his mom's death, and then reading that they have named my newest great-nephew (who was born yesterday) after my father, that it hit me that today is the day he died.

  My stepmom had called and asked me if there was a chance I could get down to see him anytime soon, and I was too busy and couldn't get away just then. My visits with him were getting more and more difficult (for me) as I was watching him deteriorate and having to face the cold hard facts that I was about to lose him. He and I had pretty much said everything that needed saying and he had made a couple of requests of me and it seemed like all I could ever do was cry when I was with him. It is so hard to watch someone you love die. I was so scared and so angry and nothing in my world made sense.  I got a call at 5 o'clock in the morning, telling me he had died in his sleep and that she would keep him at home until I got there to tell him goodbye. I lived 4 hours away at the time.  In a daze, I packed a bag and left. My husband didn't go with me, and so I had to make the drive by myself. I probably never forgave him for that... I don't even know how I got there.

  The loss of a parent is something we all have to deal with sooner or later, and for me it was sooner all the way around. My mother had died 5 years earlier, and it didn't have near the immediate impact that this did. In time, as I have learned, a person gets to experience all the things you missed or refused to deal with when it comes to this emotional stuff.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly...

  Now I am old.  I am amazed still at the nature of grief...the power of that soul chewing sense of loss.  There has been a lot of loss in my life, and that's what happens when you live long enough, I guess. I am sure that it has affected my personality and hope that it has made me a more compassionate and mindful person. 

  And now, this tiny little man has come into the world to carry on my father's name.  He is beautiful and healthy and weighed in at 8lbs 4oz.

  I once suggested naming my son after my dad, and he offered to beat me with a skillet if I EVER did that.  lol He went by a nickname all his life and most people never knew him by anything else. His name was Oscar. No middle name. I don't know who he was named after, if somewhere in the family tree there was another Oscar that can be blamed for my fathers misfortune, or if it just pleased my granny. All I know is that everyone who knew him called him Brownie.  My brother just told his son that--that there was a reason everyone called him Brownie.  And I know he would have hated it, but would have been so proud at the same time.

  So, here I sit, amazed at the circle of life, even though I sometimes feel beat up by it as well.  Missing my dad, excited about seeing the newest member of our family, and relieved that my emotional rollercoaster isn't just a glitch in my aging brain.  There's a reason I'm feeling sad and even if my addled brain didn't remember, the rest of me did, and so it is. I want to lay my head on my desk and cry...cry for all the things he missed by dying so young. Cry because he never got to see any of his great grandchildren.  Cry because he never got to see his own children grow into relatively happy and healthy adults. He never got to see me get sober and he never got to meet my Irishman and he'll never get to see my gardens or my little home in the country.

 He would have loved it all. He really, really would have.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursdays are a busy day

 This is Caylee.  She's having the hardest time with the new dog...she doesn't like change.  lol


    Thursdays are always a busy day, for one reason or another. Usually, I am home for the day, and trying to catch up on all the chores that slide on the days when I am not. I try to catch up the laundry and do any vacuuming, housecleaning, etc that I need doing so I can play on Friday, the other day when I am home. HOWEVER.  I will not be home today, as I am working to atone for the time I took off with the kiddos. I do have some things to get done, one of them being off to the bank and then to the feed store to get chicken scratch grains. I have a good sized bag, close to 10 pounds, of Roma tomatoes in the other room, waiting to be made into Old Fashioned Tomato Preserves. I may not get vacuuming or laundry done today, as the window of opportunity is slamming down with a vengeance the longer I sit here on the computer.  lol  I have been up for several hours, and have had coffee, and am still in my pj's and oh, dear...well, all I can think is that this is the perfect chance to visit a feed store I haven't been to that is closer to my house than the one I usually go to and if I play my cards right, Roxie and I could be in the car heading down the road in less than 15 minutes.

 Roxie.  Yes...we took a car ride yesterday and she was in hog heaven. She stood on my lap and stuck her tiny head out the window and had her ears flapping in the wind...just like a real dog! lol  She's so comical, with those stubby little legs and that sweet face of hers, always looking to me to see if she's doing something wrong before she proceeds.  Today I Will take her with me to MissB's house, to play with the little Pomeranian and run in the fenced back yard.  I have told MissB all about her and when she remembers, would love to see her. She slept out on the couch last night and slept like a baby. The first night I put her in a crate, thinking it would be better for her, but she barked and cried half the night. That wasn't better for ME...I got almost no sleep. Last night was blissful.  She has a little pillow here on a box of books that she has learned to jump and curl up on, right next to my desk. When I'm here, so is she.  She's sleeping and making funny little puppy noises.  She loves to go outside and the Irishman took her out into the garden with him last night. He said he laughed so can barely see her above the grass. Said twice she started to dig, but when he told her NO- she stopped.  When they came back home, she curled up next to him on the couch and snuggled.  That's where I found them when I got here.

  A new dog in the house always wreaks a little havoc for a bit, while everyone tries to find and re-find their spot in the hierarchy. It doesn't take long usually, and every now and then there might be a little power struggle. Just like their humans.  lol

  I need to get moving. It's a cloudy warm morning out there and I think we may have some thunderstorms on the forecast. A cool front was moving in last night...yesterday I saw school buses, kids walking home form school..and I guess it's really getting on fall. They are starting school about 2 weeks earlier than usual, it seems to me. Brings back memories...

  Thursday----here I come!!!!!!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe....

...with so many furry children, she didn't know what to do. [So she somehow managed to pick up another stray]  Sigh...

  This is little Roxie (we think). My niece rescued her from an abandoned rental house where  some godawful people had left her for over a week. The house was a shambles, with rotting food and garbage everywhere, and she survived eating out of garbage bags.  She was crawling with fleas, of course. She has a bad spot on her rump from flea dermatitus.  Her toenails were about 2 inches long and had curled backwards, cutting into the pads of her little feet. The poor thing could not walk on her back feet, and had developed calluses on the back of her legs from walking on them. She has a very raspy bark, and the vet said she had either been hit or kicked in the throat, damaging her vocal chords, or had had a prolonged infection that went untreated and damaged them. When A- found her, she was sleeping on top of a big bag of trash.

  She emailed me about her, and of course we'll take her, I said. Without speaking to my husband about it first.  Oops.  *grin  Tonight she brought her out here and we have fallen in love with her already.
She is timid, naturally. She is very affectionate. She fell asleep on my chest earlier, with her little head lying on my heart. I'm guessing my heartbeat soothed her. A mini-Dachshund. Seems to be getting along with the other dogs so far...they are very nosy and she is tolerating it well. She is sleeping in a little crate now, here at my feet. So far tonight, she has followed me from room to room and cried when she couldn't see me. I hope she'll sleep okay .

 It was a goofy hodge-podge of a day...nothing went right, it seemed.  I felt discombobulated all day...Mercury is in retrograde and I guess it could be that. Why not?  I got 2 new tires for my car and the guy couldn't get the lug nuts off.  Took him forever. The car sure rides nicer now though.  I lost my keys and couldn't find them anywhere. (Finally found them in the laundry basket--in yesterdays pants pocket). I had to figure out some goofy bank stuff.  Traffic was terrible. 

  I am tired out, in love with a sweet little girl, blessed to have a tender-hearted husband, and lucky to live out in the country where there are no authorities to label me an animal hoarder.  LMAO

  I thought Roxie the Doxie was too cute....we'll see if it works for her. Apparently the previous owners named her Buffy, which she doesn't answer to either (Can you blame her????)  If Roxie isn't her name, I suspect she'll let us know soon enough.

   More to come, in the saga of the Kelleys of Honeysuckle Hill...and all their sweet babies... 

 For now, I am going to sleep.


Monday, August 15, 2011

A Waning Gibbous Moon

  Now that I have put this picture up, I think I may have already used it recently, but for the life of me, I can't remember.  It's the most beautiful jalapeno jelly I have made yet. Happy as a clam with this stuff, and I will NEVER use another recipe.  lol  I hope to put up some sweet red pepper jelly as well, and today found a recipe for tomato preserves.  I can remember eating tomato preserves at my granny's house  a hundred years is a delight. It uses a LOT of sugar, lemon slices and cinnamon and ginger.  Very excited about trying it out.

   Slept in until 9 AM this morning...guess I was tired. lol  I was having some really crazy dreams too...about my ex-husband and people from my life all mixed up in a wrong time, wrong place kind of way. It was all so confusing that I kept trying to wake myself up, but would immediately fall back to sleep and resume the dream.  lol   It wasn't exactly a drinking dream, but there was lots of drinking going on around me. I was [apparently] curious, but not thirsty.  lol

Had an interesting day with MissB...she was frantic about one of her cats, and stood at the sink after searching for it for half an hour, and almost cried. She said she knew people thought she was crazy, I said, no one thinks you're crazy, sweetheart...and she said, I just love these damn animals and I worry about them, I can't have any thing happen to them, they're all I have... I said, you know I understand...and then I told her a story about one of my cats who goes missing on a regular basis, and every single time I worry myself into madness about it. And every single time, the little monkey shows up at the last minute and jumps into my arms.  About that time, I went to the front door one more time, and sure enough, the little cat came strolling out from under the hedge, pretty as you please.   We had a good day today, and I even managed to get some housework done while she was outside (she won't let anyone do anything...if you ask if you can, she will say NO) so the floors got cleaned a bit and the dishwasher got emptied.  When it was almost time for me to go, we went out front and sat on the porch. We can do that now, as the weather here has finally cooled down to some normal temperatures.

  I have sleeping dogs at my feet and the house is quiet. I'm going to head to bed soon as I have a lunch date with a friend in town from North Carolina, way too early in the day. It's been a good day, and I have nothing to complain about.  LOL

  The moon is fabulous tonight...even more fabulous last night.  I love the full moon....

  Sweet dreams to all....


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday night...winding down

  This is part of a display at Cahokia Mounds, the Indian Museum we went to on Thursday after our lunch. The burial mounds make up the biggest part of the place, but the inside museum is awesome, with all kinds of information and displays and scenes of tribal life and about anything else you could ask for. We had a great time. The kids climbed the largest mound, Monks Mound in record time, reporting back that it was 260 steps to the top and 260 steps back down. I got a [bad] picture of them at the top...
  (They're the specks at the top) lol

   Here they are, at the entrance to the park.  Looking totally cool, eh? 

  Interacting with archeological data and stuff...

 And later, back at the ranch...making banana pudding with Vanilla Wafers...her assistant nowhere to be seen!  lol

  We had a good time and they wore themselves out running around. It was great. Later we played Cranium, a board game that's harder than it sounds.  Team youngster beat the snot out of us old folks.

  Spent some time playing with poochies too...

  On Friday, the Irishman went to work and planned to be home by around 12:30.  I got up, made the requisite waffles for the munchkins and started planning our upcoming day. I hard-boiled eggs, cleaned out the cooler, put some Vess sodas (orange, grape, cream and rootbeer) on ice, made sandwiches and packed us a picnic lunch. I threw in some granola bars and peaches and bananas. Packed cloth napkins and silver ware. Got everyone showered and dressed and ready to go.  All this was between wrestling and dancing and chasing and puppies and kittens--oh my!  We gathered up hats for everyone, found an old comforter to take for the picnic blanket, and played some more.  When the Irishman got home, everything was pretty much set. He showered and changed clothes and we were off to the St.Louis Zoo...

  We had our picnic lunch at Forest park, where the zoo is located. It's a huge park that houses museums, the Muny and lots of other exciting stuff.  We sat under a big pine tree and ate on the grass, and all the food tasted better than ever.  When we were finished, everything went back in the car and we hiked over to where the trolley would pick us up. The kids were already having a ball by the time we got to the front entrance of the zoo itself...

  It's one of the top rated zoos in the country and was immaculate. The animals all looked great and we saw everything we could cram in to the time we had.  We got rained on, and just skipped down the paths singing ...Zooing in the rain...just zooing in the rain...  It was great, because we were hot. Unfortunately, it also rained right when we were approaching the penguin and puffin house, which is kept at a cool 36 degrees.  It got a little chilly.

 It was a great visit to the zoo...even if I was limping badly by the time we left. My poor knee...

  We stopped for pizza on the way home and then got back here and crashed. We were all tired out!

  Saturday, the kids headed out to work in the garden, and planted kale and turnips and peas and carrots and beets and lord knows what else.  They had a ball out there helping Grandpa/Uncle Pat. The boy left around noon, and around 1 the girl's parents showed up to get her.  They left around 2 and I was getting ready to head for work half an hour later.   WHEW!!!

  It was great, but exhausting. I'm so glad they're gone and the house is quiet again (mostly) and I am starting to get rested up from it all, though I daresay it might take a few days.  I wouldn't have missed this for the world...And now it's time to get some shut-eye.  Sweet dreams, all y'all....


Thursday, August 11, 2011

O, me-oh-My-O

 This is a partial shot of the Magic House, in St. Louis. The entire front "yard" is an interactive garden, where there were things like the begonia powered kaleidoscope, giant foam tinkertoys, a fountain to play in, a footbridge and gorgeous blooming flowers everywhere.

 We took our 8 year old niece on Wednesday evening, when they are having a free family night (through the end of August).  We had a blast. She climbed the three story beanstalk 5 times!  It consisted of big "leaves" and knotted ropes that formed a netting, and was FULL of climbing children, going every which a way. lol

 All part of this:

There was an Alice in Wonderland  exhibit that came from San Jose, CA

 All kinds of neat stuff there too.  It was really a neat place and was great seeing all the families and children running around. 

  This is the Under Construction Zone. They got to put on hard hats, tool belts, and goggles, and climb around and do plumbing work and shovel gravel and sit in a caterpillar earth mover. They could hammer, screw, drill and let their imaginations run wild.  (Uncle Pat had to help get the tool belt on...he had at least as much fun as the wee one.) lol

  There was lots of awesome art on the walls, and so much going was exhausting!  There was a Solve the Mystery area, an electric area, a kitchen area and a camping area.  There was a Supreme Court and Oval Office area in another section that was all about government.  There was a Poet Tree, where you could write your poem on a leaf shaped paper and hang it on a branch.  There was the electromagnetic ball, where you could go stand on the platform and let the static electricity shoot your hair out from your head and stand on end.

  So much...such a sensory overload for this old woman...I'm tired just writing about it.  We all fell into bed totally exhausted last night and slept the sleep of the dead.  lol

  Today, the grandson came and we all went to lunch and then the three of us headed to Cahokia Mounds and the Indian Museum...but that's a post for another day. I have taken tons of pictures and will take more, since tomorrow we are going to the St. Louis Zoo.  My plan is to make a scrapbook for her of her summer "vacation" with her old auntie, using the pictures and other things I have picked up. Won't that be fun??

  My body is screaming for rest...we had an easy supper tonight, and then the four of us played a silly board game for a few hours. The kids danced to the 50's&60's rockn'roll radio I had playing and they watched a movie for a bit and are now both sound asleep. We are having such a great time...

  Goodnight all...pleasant dreams and here's hoping you can find time in your busy life to just PLAY.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Gettin' old ain't for sissies...

  Yesterday morning, I struggled and struggled and finally gave up. Trying to think of a word that I know only too well. I could think of every known synonym, every application...and yet--the damned word itself evaded my crumbling memory drive. It drove me a little crazy...not crazy enough to get off my ass and look it up inh the thesaurus or  IS THIS HOW IT STARTS ??????

  The word, gentle readers, was ...PROCRASTINATE.  lol   And here I sit this morning...looking around me, making a list (over an hour ago) of things I need to get done today...and the things are still not getting done.  What is it with me????  I can find a gazillion things to do except the things that I need to do. And thank GOD for the helps me lose hours and hours of my life that would have been spent doing nasty and menial chores like cleaning the fridge or vacuuming. (Both of which are in dire need of doing!)

   Ah well. There's always tomorrow.  And that, dear ones, is where the problem lies. I do much better under pressure and with deadlines than I will ever do with too much time to get things done. In all fairness, I have cleaned all the yucky things out of the fridge, just haven't washed the shelves yet. And I did get the garbage to the curb. But still...

  The dogs are all outside. It looks like today is the first day of the end of the heatwave.  Only supposed to get to the high 80's today, which will be a welcome relief. I need to go out back and check on the garden, pick some peppers and some more tomatoes. Thinking I'll make marinara with the rest. Maybe I'll even get the pepper jelly made. (NO--I HAVEN'T DONE THAT YET EITHER!!!!!!!!!)  But, first things first, and I'll get the vacuuming and dusting done while the critters are all outside. That won't take long. Then I need to spot clean some places on the rug. Nothing serious.

  I won't get home tonight until about 10...but tomorrow I am off for four glorious days.  Gonna start it off with coffee at a friends house. It'll be all downhill from there. My niece will probably arrive around noon, and then the fun begins.

  Alright. Here I go.

 NO, really.

  I SWEAR!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lazy daze of Summer...

 Of course, the bloom is no longer on the rose..this pic was taken in late June, I think. I did notice, however, that even though the roses all burned up, there are new tiny ones starting to show themselves again. Almost like a resurrection...

  I am in a funny state of mind this morning. Partly because I didn't get enough REM sleep last night, as I was awakened on several occasions by animals crying, puking,whining and howling. It was not an ideal night at Honeysuckle Hill. lol  Husband gave pork bones to the dogs after his supper. We do give them stuff like this all the time, but the newest dog doesn't tolerate them well. AND she has peed on the carpet twice this morning. Poor thing...her world is in an uproar.  For the time being, they are outside and and I am trying to motivate myself to get things cleaned up in here and do something productive before I leave for MissB's house for the day. It might not happen.

  I have managed to waste several hours already on the computer, reading a couple of new blogs. My husband left about an hour ago. My son is here, apparently, out fishing.  I have not spoken to him, lol, he went straight to the pond. It's already stifling out there, high humidity. Another heat advisory for today into tomorrow, and then the  temps are supposed to start sliding down into the mid-high 80' which point we will probably feel like we have died and gone to heaven.

  Bee Balm.  It is now burned into oblivion, all the beautiful red and lavender flowers just brown dried up seed pods. The good news is that this flower bed will be even bigger next year. The bad news is that I only have pictures to remind me of how beautiful they were. The bees and the hummingbirds love them.

  The vegetable garden is on it's second chance road. Getting all cleaned up and ready to replant. Even after the big rain we had, Patrick says the dirt is still bone dry about 5 inches down. We need soaker hoses. Will he get them? Who knows. I shall keep my eyes open for hardware store sales, and might be able to pick some up rather reasonably. Maybe.

  I need to get out to the garden this morning and look things over. I'm sure there are some tomatoes and okra that need picking. Not much else. The potatoes are okay and the sweet potatoes are the only thing out there that are lush and pretty still.  lol  I'd better go before it gets any hotter.

  As bad as the growing year has been, I am still blessed to have gotten quite a few things canned and frozen. I have more to do, and I need to remember that every little thing I can do or change about the way we eat/live/work things out is still a step in the right direction. I am trying to get the freezer emptied of the older packages of meat and sorted out as to what is old and what is not. It's hard to keep a chest freezer organized.

  I also want to make an inventory list for my pantries. That might be a fall adventure...kinda busy just now. But I have a bunch of gallon jars to start keeping my dry goods in, like beans and rice and flour and such...that will another organizing day or two that will make it easier to look in and see what I have without having to sift through bins like I do now.  This is definitely one of my important future projects.  I think I read somewhere about putting a bay leaf or two into your dry beans and rice jars to keep insect infestations down, in the event they have gotten into the plastic bags  before you got them. I have been trying to buy more of my stuff inh bulk to start with, to save that problem, not to mention the packaging thing.

  Today is my baby sisters birthday. I have to call her and sing, like I always do. lol 

  Alright. I have stalled as long as I can.  My life is calling.....


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Best laid plans...

 So....the first batch of peach pit jelly didn't set up. And do I know why?? Of course I know why.  Because, after almost 3 decades on this planet, I STILL never follow directions about half the time. I put the sugar and pectin into the juice at the same time and brought it to a boil. Instead of following the pectin directions (which naturally, I did NOT read, since I know everything) and putting the pectin in first, bringing to a full boil and then putting the sugar in, I have to redo the whole batch. OR...use it for syrup. The only reason I don't want to redo it is the waste of canning lids, which are up to over 20 cents apiece this year. The thrifty bitch that I am, hates that. lol

  I'm going to think about it some more. Too late to do anything this morning anyway. 

  Yesterday I made 3 batches of pesto from the gardens basil.  It turned out good, even with the plants being a little past their prime.  I went shopping in the morning for olive oil and pine nuts, and nearly had a heart attack when I found that pine nuts are between 27 and 29 dollars a pound.  I knew they would be expensive, but I was thinking like 17 dollars a pound expensive. I opted out of them this time. At the Green Earth grocery cooperative (our local health food store) I browsed their cookbook shelf, because I was pretty sure I had seen a recipe using walnuts. Sure enough, I found several and one using raw sunflower seeds. At 2.99/lb I bought 3 pounds of those, and having walnuts already at the house, went on my merry way. I am sure that pine nuts makes the optimal product. However...since the Irishman and I are NOT Julia Child and Jacques probably doesn't make that big a difference. I was happy with the end results, and that's really all that matters. To me.  LOL

  I bought 4 new plastic ice cube trays that forevermore will be labeled PESTO ONLY, and filled them up and froze lovely little cubes of pesto, which I put into a gallon ziplock freezer bag this morning. They are now resting comfortably.  I still have a container of pesto in the fridge too, to use up within the next week or so. AND...I made a pasta primavera last night with pesto, to go with the filets and corn on the cob we had for supper.  And we ate like kings.

  Watched a very strange movie last night starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz (sp) and Ellen Burstyn. It was called The Fountain. Not sure if I'd recommend iot or was truly hard to follow at times and almost scifi.  That's how we spent our big Friday. lol

  I put a big ole pork roast with onions and bay leaves in the crockpot last night before I went to bed. It simmered slowly all night and this morning I put in some red potatoes and carrots from our garden. I have to go to work at 3, but it will make the Irishman a nice supper. I don't know if the veggies will be done enough for me to take in my lunch or not...we'll see.

  The Irishman is out back, getting ready to plant. We had a terrific storm last night/this morning and it dropped about 2 inches or more of rain on us.  Thank goodness--finally some rain. We'll plant green beans, kale, turnips and pea pods.  That'll be enough.

  Well....I have a few more things to do before I go to work. A couch pillow to mend (Bella fun), one more load of laundry to finish, and a couple of other odds and ends. Hope everyone has a grand Saturday. I only have 3 more days of work until I am off for 4 glorious days in a row.  YIPPEE!!!!!  

   Walk gently, people.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thundering Thursdays

Not really.  I am just dreaming of rain..and yet, none comes.
It has cooled down some though, and at 9:30, it's only 80 degrees. Balmy. Sunny and nice out there.

  I've been busy this morning making the second batch of Peach Pit Jelly, all told, 20 jars of jelly, some for keeping , some for giving...excruciatingly sweet for my taste, but yummy nonetheless. I was going to make Jalapeno Jelly today too, but have remembered that you have to use liquid pectin for that, and of course, all I have is powdered. So--it goes on tomorrow's list. I need to do some housecleaning anyway...

  There's another pint of jelly in the fridge.  Bad planning.  lol

  Whew. I always feel like I'm burning the candle at both ends this time of year. I stay busy all the time anyway, and the canning season just crams more work into what little space is left. lol I'm not complaining--I love doing this and I love eating my own food.  But it can be a lot of work. Trying to get the garden ready for second plantings, and today would be a good day to get out there too...sigh...but it's really too damn dry to plant anyway. And I have got to  May have family coming for the weekend from Minnesota. Won't know til the last minute, it looks like. If I don't do anything else, I HAVE got to vacuum up the tumbling balls of dog hair and dust and get the spare room straightened up--just in case. And now that I've had a jelly marathon I need to mop the wood floors too...because no matter how I try, I get jelly everywhere it seems. (That's it--I need a wife!!!!)  

  As I was looking up some different kinds of recipes for the pepper jelly, I found some delightful looking sweet red pepper jelly that I may HAVE to try too.  I'm gonna wind up having to buy more jars this year, I'm afraid. That's probably another thing to put on my hurry-up list : :inventory empty canning jars.  I'm guesstimating that I've already used over a hundred canning jars this season, counting jelly jars.  Maybe more than that.

  Tomorrow I am going to pull my basil and make and  freeze pesto.  I'll swing by the big store where I can get pine nuts today before I meet my girlfriend for lunch.  I still have 4 big grocery bags of dried basil from last year that hasn't been bagged yet, so...there are at least 8 basil plants out there awaiting their fate. Probably more tomatoes and peppers too...I haven't been out to look since Tuesday. But it would be great having pesto in the freezer and thanks to Judy for the idea. I have a great soup recipe  called Potato Basil Beef that uses pesto in it...mmm...haven't made that in a long time...not to mention a million other things to use it in.

  Feels good to just sit for a minute. The hardest part for me, physically is all this standing. 10 years ago last month, I was injured in an industrial accident. My pelvis was crushed and my hip was broken and my gluteal muscles were ripped away from the bones and I have all kinds of peripheral nerve damage and paralysis and  limitations from it. Very hard for me to stand for extended periods of time. I have learned how to adapt as much as I can, have special chairs and stools and do a little, rest a little, do a little, rest a little. I really need to invest in a fatigue mat for in front of my sink...I think that would help too. So you see...I have to work as much as I do to get half as much done as a "normal" person.  lol  It's all this resting between things that messes me up. lol

   Am planning a girls lunch next week with my sister and sister-in-law and several nieces. It's my sisters birthday on Sunday, and we try to get together every month or'll be fun having Skyler here to be part of it too. We'll probably go to Red Robin, about 15 miles from here. It's central to everyone. Sort of. lol  If it works out, it'll be7 adults and 3 kids. Fun,Fun. Next week is going to be like a serious staycation for me.  I can't wait!!

  Alrighty...breaktime is just about over, and I have a lovely little list of things to do. Just finished wiping down all the jars of peaches and putting them away, to make room on the counter for the second batch of jam. That will sit for another 24 hours or so before I can put it away too. Need to figure out what to make my honey for upper tonight and get that going too. Gonna see if I can get ahold of my MN sister in law and pin her down about coming...don't really expect's one of THOSE things. I know she'd like to, but her life tends towards the unexpected drama/crises alot.  We'll see...

   Have a grand day, ya'all.  I'm going to!