Thursday, January 30, 2014

..the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round...


  Well, it has warmed up, but the wind is blowing 40 mph and it's cloudy with a little sun peeking through every now and then. So, although it is technically 42 degrees, it feels like 30. Still, better than 15 below.  Rain on the way possibly (it looks like it) but the National Weather Service says only a 30% chance. So, as usual...there's no way to know what may happen.

  And isn't THAT the general status and the wonder of life anyway?  Nobody knows anything. The older I get the more I can rest comfortably in that place. I used to think I was supposed to know lots of stuff. That I was required to know lots of stuff.  Of course, in all the things that counted I was wrong 50% of the time anyway.  LOL  And so I would try to know MORE. And it never made a darn bit of difference.  LOL-jokes on me.

 Now, in my 60's, I wish there was a lot less crap cluttering my grey matter. It gets too confusing. Trying to think of someones name and all I can come up with is, school buses never had seatbelts, even when cars had to have them. How critical is it that our kids are safe?   Or...what is the theory of relativity?--Oh, look--a squirrel !

 Now, in the autumn of my life (cough),  I have come to that place of sensibility (or is that senility?) where I understand that nothing is real anyway, except the dirt my feet are on MAYBE, or the elusiveness of time and change.  That the world spins and matter flies around like dust in the wind and I am you and you are me and it just turns everything into a merry playdate.  Quantum physics enchants me. It's like, the scientists are finally saying all the stuff I have known for years, ever since my first LSD trip anyway.  It's enough to make me dance in joy.  Did you know that "Abracadabra" is actually an Aramaic term that translates to "I will create as I speak"  ?   I just read that...hmm... What a powerful concept.

  Such a thought, that we can be guided and affected by the world we have created with our thoughts.  That only we can change our own reality.  That our truth is only OUR truth. Not necessarily anyone else's truth.  That must be why I have always railed against anyone trying to tell me what to believe or what was best for me. And I have always been like that...since I was a young child. IN fact, most kids are like that, if you think about it. We try to tell them everything, and they want none of it. We think we're trying to help, but are we?  From the beginning (and I am as guilty as anyone) we try to stifle our children in the thought that we're saving them (from pain, from mistakes, from doom, lol)...we try to set them on a course (HAH) that we think will "help" them.  We pretty much do everything but teach them to think for themselves.  Is this a cultural thing with us?  a societal thing?   Maybe the hippies had it right all along...just be here now. Just be free and wild.  Just be groovy, man. 


  I don't know anything...these are awfully deep thoughts for a Thursday.  LOL   I may need a nap after all this.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete infinity and beyond !

 Do you have moments like this?   I imagine if I could find my way to this permanently I would burst into a trillion bits, becoming stardust.  As it is, I traverse my way there and back again, dipping and diving and dancing away yet again. Is it because it's too much for my mortal soul to take in ?  Is it because I'm incapable of processing this much wonder in it's totality?

  Yesterday Pete Seeger passed from this realm to the next great adventure.  I have had an overwhelming emotional response to this event. I never met Pete Seeger, though I did see him perform a time or two.  And I have known of him and his activism and his love and passion for life for a great many years.  And he was the kind of guy  that, had I known him personally, would have been a lifelong friend to me, I'm sure.  His music elicited emotional responses in me...too deep and powerful for words.  He lived to see 94 years on this planet, this stunning blue green orb of delight and despair.  What a blessing.

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 I am reading a spellbinding book right now titled  "YOU ARE  therefore I AM " by Satish Kumar.  A fundamental Sanskrit dictum, SO HUM, translates as You are, therefore I am.  This book is subtitled "A Declaration of Dependence".  I'm only about 50 pages into it, but am already completely taken hostage by his humor, his wisdom and his commonality.  Satish has been called the sage of the green movement.  I'm reading about the early stages of his life right now, being raised by his mother after the death of his father.  They adhered to the Jain religion, of which I know almost nothing, but cannot wait to know more. The Jains practiced non-violence, vegetarianism and meditation.  They believe that the whole of life should be lived as a spiritual practice.  I am greatly intrigued. It occurs to me that at one time, I had a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita...and I have no idea where it is now.

    I am a lover of Indian fiction as well...and have read several delightful works of art written in this century.--The Mistress of Spice, The Space Between Us,  The Death of Vishnu.  Such remarkable weavers of stories, of color, of sounds and life.

  One of new heroines is Vandana Shiva , a woman who is making history in India with her organic methods and seed saving mission.  She is an international speaker as well.  You can read a little about her here :

  Such an exciting time we live in.   Such a pivotal era of shifting paradigms and expanding consciousness.

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  Still in the middle of the coldest winter in a long time here. No more snow (maybe a dusting here and there, but nothing really) but frigid temperatures --woke up this morning to 1 degree. And wild winds. So the wind chill factors have been staggering.18, 20 and 35 below zero.  That is just nuts. lol

  We had our ecological discussion group last night. Instead of our normal book discussion, we had a vegetarian potluck. It was awesome, as usual...lots of beautiful and sustaining healthy food. like quinoas and salads and hummus and handcrafted bread.  I was in charge of comfort food on that cold cold night (lol)  so I made a vegetable pot pie with rosemary angel biscuits dancing on top of it.

 It was magnificent, if I do say so myself, and every last bit was gobbled up.  If you're interested in the recipe, you can find it here:

 I made it with all organic vegetables, some I grew myself. I added some mysterious things, like apples and dried basil,  which put it over the top.  I was very happy with it.

It's late and I'm doing laundry for some stupid reason.  Well, not entirely stupid, but it started out [late] because the Irishman had no clean work pants. He worked 6 days last week (he normally works 4-10 hour days) and threw my laundry schedule off. lol  Once I had one load in, it made sense to just keep going. The third and final load is in the wash...his work clothes are washed dried and folded. The dark load is in the dryer. The whites are in the washer finishing up the rinse cycle as we speak. I won't fold any more or dry the whites tonight...plenty of time for that tomorrow.

 Today was a rush-rush day of giving a friend an early morning ride to a neighboring town and back (my good deed for the day, lol), dropping all my tax stuff off at the tax preparers office, taking my car to the body shop for them to look over, assess the damages and set a date for me to come in for repairs. They are a little behind from lots of snow related accidents, but will get me in on the 11th of February. They will have a rental car waiting for me.  Then it was off to a quick stop at target for a couple of things and then down to the office for my twice monthly volunteer position. Then home to make supper. The Irishman had to stop and have his  safety glasses fixed before he came home, so I beat him here. Barely. 

 Yesterday was a day of running around too--had a doctors appointment in the morning that lasted well over an hour of being seen by a new (to me) doctor and then the potluck last night. My blood pressure is elevated and she is concerned about that, but I have been having a bit of pain and the numbers were high, but not what my numbers normally are. She took blood to have a few tests run and will call me with results. I need to have a couple of other issues addressed and we talked about that too. I really like her.  Tomorrow I am staying home, puttering, finishing up laundry and I may not even answer my phone all day. I need a break. lol

  So for now, I am back to my book for a little bit before bed.  Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy...


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Where, pray tell, has the week gone ?

  I have lost track of about 4 days.  I wasn't even drunk.  lol   It's been a roller coaster ride of late, since the last post actually.

  I had a good day Tuesday, and went off to share my experience, strength and hope at a meeting. I had to be there at 7 PM, and the roads were still a little iffy, so I set out early and treated myself to supper in town. It was nice, I went to the meeting and then after catching up with a friend I haven't seen in a while, packed my big butt into my little car and headed home.

  Because there was still quite a bit of ice and snow on the roads (especially the back roads that I usually traverse) I thought I'd take the safer way home and  stay on the highways. I was sitting at a red light, waiting for it to change, when a young woman pulled up behind me and rear ended me.  Now, she barely hit me, but it was enough of an impact to cause my seat to come unlocked and fly backwards. I had my seat belt on and I'm freaking out, trying to reach the brake pedal (I am 5 ft tall. I have to pull my seat all the way forward to drive), because all I can think is that I have to stop this car from rolling into the intersection !  Well, I manage to get my seat back up, stop the car, and catch my breath.  I pulled through the intersection when the light changed and pulled into the gas station  and she pulled in behind me. After ascertaining that we were both okay, just a little rattled, we looked at both cars and didn't see any apparent damage. Not on hers or mine...2 little plastic bumper cars that managed to bounce off each other, I guess.  lol  I didn't think I was hurt.  I got her insurance information and name and phone number, just in case, and we went our merry ways.

  It happened about 9-9:30.  I came home, and told the Irishman what had happened. He asked if I was okay and I said I thought so. He said--if you don't feel okay tomorrow, promise you'll go get checked.  And I said I would.

 He went to bed and I came in and got on the computer.  By midnight I developed a headache and my neck was getting a little sore and stiff.  I took some Aleve and went to bed. By the time I got up in the morning, my shoulder was killing me, my neck hurt and my headache was still there.  First thing, I called my insurance company and told them what had happened. They took the information, said the agent wasn't in yet, and said he would call me as soon as he came in. I hung around the house, trying to decide what to do. Finally, at the urging of a few of my friends, I decided to head for the little hospital ER about 12 miles from here. Just as I was getting ready to go out the door, a rep from the insurance company called me. I went through it all over again, and she said they would send a guy out to check the car, as there might be damages that I just couldn't see.  She also set up a medical claim, gave me a number and told me to go get checked. So I did.

  It took me 3 hours to get in and out of that ER. They only have 1 doc there and 2 treatment rooms I guess. And they had other people in them.  A nurse came out and apologized and said that as soon as they got these folks transferred, they'd get me back there.  She sat and talked with me about 10 minutes, making sure I was okay. 

 To make a long story short (HAH!)  I sustained soft tissue damage to my shoulder and neck and it's causing muscle spasms  down into my back. They gave me anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers and a shot of an anti inflammatory and cortisone (or something) to boost the process. Orders are rest, ice packs and the medications. No lifting anything over 10 pounds, no lifting ANYTHING over my head.  I came home and made supper and went to bed relatively early. Wednesday I took a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day and did nothing. Unfortunately, the muscle relaxer they gave me makes me sick as a dog, so I'm not taking it. One of my nurse friends gave me some of hers, a different kind, and they are really helping, and not making me sick at all.  She wrote down the name and dosage for me to give to my doctor on Monday. (I have the best friends !!!)  Thursday, I took another 2.5 hour nap in the middle of the day. Did nothing but throw together some supper.  Friday I was pissy all day, the phone rang nonstop--at least 7 calls from insurance company people, hers and mine. They are accepting full responsibility and I'm not to worry about a thing.  They will repair my car, that the adjuster said had about 500 dollars worth of damage --cracked paint.  (eye roll).  They will pay all reasonable medical bills as well as pain and suffering  (eye roll). They just want me to be okay.   :)

  We had a date to go to a friends home for a game night on Friday and I really didn't want to go because I don't feel good.  But I cancelled last time they invited us too, so I felt like I needed to go.  I made a big pan of bacon wrapped chicken chunks dredged in a brown sugar and chili powder mixture, because I knew that once I got there I'd be glad I went. There were about 15 adults and 3 kids I guess and we had a ball. We played a game called Catch Phrase, girls against the boys. It was a blast.  I'm glad I went and got to spend time with really great people in my life. The food was all great (and all eaten by the end of the night). We didn't get home until after midnight, which is very late for us. The sofa I was sitting on wasn't the most comfortable for me and my body felt a little beat up, but it was worth it. I was in bed by about 1 and slept this morning until 8 AM.

  The Irishman took me out for supper tonight to our favorite Japanese place and we had some wonderful food and  and came home and watched a couple of episodes of the BBC comedy Waiting For God. He pooped out early, because last night was WAY past his bedtime. lol

SOooo...a crazy few days as you can see.  It's time for me to hit the hay, I'm still having muscle spasms but they're a little subdued and I just took a muscle relaxer and an Aleve, so I should be able to get a decent nights sleep.  I'm going to pick up a friend tomorrow morning to come out and have coffee and spend a little time chatting.  The Irishman may have to work tomorrow, he won't know until the last minute.  

 It will be Sunday by the time anyone reads this, so...Happy Sunday, ya'all...


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happy Monday, Happy Furnace, and Barbara Kingsolver

 Well, Monday finally made it here. Whew! That was a close one.  lol

  It's been absolutely gorgeous today, 46 degrees and mostly sunny. The doglets cooperated  with mama today by playing outside almost all day so I could get all the vacuuming done. Yippee !  No more tumbleweeds of dog hair floating around. lol  (for now)

 Happy Birthday, Dr King.    Martin Luther King Jr. — ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’  One of my favorite quotes. Something I must believe as well if I am to survive this crazy world. 

 I spent some time outside today, (okay--it was out burning trash and tending chickens, but it was still outside!!)  It felt good in the middle of winter to be able to feel the heat of the sun on me. I swept down the front porch too, just stalling so I wouldn't have to go in yet. lol  Plus, of course, if I don't, I might as well not bother vacuuming, because all the leaves and dirt come right through the front door.  The furnace guy was here right off the bat, first thing and got my furnace put together and running like a top.  Thank goodness. It wasn't the guy that came Friday, but his brother, who is every bit as nice and competent as Todd.  He cleaned things up and asked for my broom. I told him I would gladly sweep it up, as I have to vacuum today anyhow. He asked about my writing...last time they were here I was working on NaNoWriMo and he was seriously impressed. Said he didn't know anyone who was a writer before. lol  I was surprised he even remembered that.  lol

 So the house is all comfy warm and the day was warm and tonight is supposed to plunge to 12 degrees and snow is on the way. Again.  Tomorrow's high is forecast about 15.  Sigh...looking at the forecast, the temps are going to be up and down and up and down again over the next week. I'm more ready for spring every day, and it's still January. 

  Having some vertigo issues today...feels all out of kilter even when I'm not dizzy. This sucks.  It was bad for a bit this morning  and I was all nauseous and stuff too. Glad that passed. 

 I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's newest novel this afternoon. Flight Behavior.   Magnificent storytelling once again.  I might just have to read it again before I give it back to my friend. lol  I have a serious crush on this woman. (Kingsolver). The very first book of hers I read was called Pigs In Heaven. At the time it had been out for a couple of years. I thought it was her first, but it was actually about her 4th. I have been in love with her writing since about page 4 of that first novel. I've had about 4 copies of it, because I keep giving it to people to read and not getting it back and then getting another one,  and then giving it away. and get the picture.  LOL  And you know what?  Mostly I LOVE that I know so many people who read.  Kingsolver is the angel who sings the songs of my heart.

  Hoping there won't be too much messy weather tomorrow as I am supposed to drive to a little church about half an hour from here and tell my story at a  12 step  meeting.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

  The little dog is doing an amazing job of not chewing her stitches out so far. The wounds are healing nicely and the areas are clean and healthy I really need to learn more about dewclaws. Are they vestigial ? Hang on...

  Never mind. lol  It's already Tuesday and it snowed about 2 inches last night, but the sun is trying to come out. The wind has been howling and the wind chill has us at about 0.  Better than up north. But still pretty cold.

  Alright..this needs posting. Catch y'all on the flip side.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Such a Friday it's been...

  Beautiful full moon tonight, in a crystal clear sky full of stars.  Bodes another stark cold night, temps in the low teens. This isn't my moon, but it's a great picture, so I'm using it.

  Little Miss Caylee had to be at the vet at 9:30 this morning to have the dewclaws removed from both her back legs.  We've had them clipped a couple of times and they seem to be growing back faster and faster every time. Then they get hung up and tear and bleed and then she's limping and the last time the vet said-- lets just remove those damn things, this is ridiculous.  I hadn't asked, because I knew that normally those are removed from young puppies.  We've never had a dog with this problem before. So anyway, that was the deal, and today they removed them and I picked her up tonight at 5. It was horrible leaving her there...she gets so scared and she's the one dog who does not EVER want to ride in the car or leave Honeysuckle Hill. She was  so scared she was shaking.  And I had to leave her and when I got back out to the car I cried. Not because of the surgery, but because I think I know how she feels. Lordy...  And the back room with all the little kennels in it was full of big barking dogs and that made it even worse.

  Anyway, she's home now. And sleeping at my feet.  The bandages are a little soggy, but doc said leave them on until tomorrow and then bring her back in 2 weeks to get the stitches out. It went very well. When I went in the back to get her, she was so excited to see me she peed all over herself.  And then hung her head in shame.  I just pulled her out and hugged her and loved her up.  We toweled her off and I said--I'll clean her up at home- and then we went on our merry way. She jumped into the back seat straightaway and settled on her blankie and looked at me like--LET'S GO!  lol


  In the middle of all this, the furnace decided to start making weird noises.  I was sitting in here on the computer (this room is directly across the hall from where the furnace is), and heard a funny squeal. Thought-huh, what was that?  Then the fan changed pitch. Then it sounded like it was slowing down and I walked over there and it sped up again. Then it shut off. For about a minute I thought, oh, I guess it's fine, let's wait until it kicks on again and see what happens.  My next thought was --why does this always have to happen on a Friday? On a 3 day weekend?  So I called my furnace guy (who happens to live up the road from me) and he said he was heading home and he would stop by on his way.  In a matter of minutes he was here and checked it out and confirmed my fear--the blower is going out.  He had to order one and said it would be here on Monday and he would come and put it in.  In the meantime, we're hoping it will limp through the weekend. If not, we have the kerosene heater all ready to go. So far, it's still heating the house and keeping us toasty warm.


 When I came home this morning without Caylee, the other 2 dogs were terribly upset.  We are such a pack here. lol They just moped around all day until I brought her back. It was adorable.

  I finished the caramelized onions finally. And I froze them instead of canning them.  The next batch I will can. I just  couldn't do it with everything else. This batch was only a third of the onions I bought. Oy vey.

  I am planning a trip this fall to Gulf Shores Alabama with a girlfriend of mine,. We are renting a condo for a week (and it's only 650 dollars!!) .  No One in this house is nearly as excited about it as I am.  I need a vacation and this gives me plenty of time to save my pennies for the trip and have things all lined up.  I'm just praying that my gardening/canning schedule cooperates. It's at the end of September, so I think it will be okay. I usually have a little hiatus right about then, I think.  She used to go fairly often and thinks this may the last time she gets to make the trip.  I'm  really looking forward to it. I am also attending and participating in a women's retreat in April.  I am doing some things I want to do for a change.  Being responsible for my own happiness....


   Well, no such luck with the furnace limping thru the weekend.  Right about midnight it made a noise like the Titanic hitting an iceberg and stopped dead .  Got the Irishman up and we pulled out the kerosene heater and got it lit and finally back to bed around 12:45.  Sigh...when we got up this morning the house was a toasty 72 degrees (warmer than we usually keep it) and the bird was still alive.  So, all was good. We turned it off today during the day and put out some electric heaters and they have worked adequately.  He's filling the heater now and we'll get it going again for the evening.

Making some fish tacos and guacamole and chips for supper.  Maybe some beans, maybe not. I have a bunch of avocados that need using, so--voila ! Guess I need to get in there and get chopping.  I'm hearing some swearing from the vicinity of the heater...maybe I'll wait a minute before going out there. lol

 We had some pretty heavy snow flurries again this afternoon, but it didn't stick.  It did however get cold enough to make a skating rink out of any flat surface out there.  Am feeling more and more ready for spring by the minute.  Had a nice morning - breakfast with a friend, a meeting and then home.  My sister-in-law is coming up tomorrow for lunch, just me and her. Thinking maybe I'll make a chicken pot pie.  Some good old comfort food.  She said my brother is going to be sitting around watching ball games all day, and she is not doing that, so she'll come see me and then go see her son and his family on the way home. I told her I might have the house straightened up, but to wear old clothes, just in case.  She laughed.

 Ok--I'm off to the kitchen.  Happy Saturday, y'all.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My get up and go done got up and went...

Just wait until winter, she said.  Things will slow down, she said.  I'll get so much done that I just cannot get done when I'm so busy with the gardens and stuff...


I seem to be running around like a parody of myself.  Like a Sufi dancer in a rut. Spinning spinning (slowly) like a dented child's tin top...wobbling and dipping and falling, only to right itself again and spin even more slowly, if that is possible, and then finally coming to a complete stop.

I do little small cleaning jobs, but never completely finish one. I cook and do laundry and take care of the critters, sure.  But the desk in my office is a disaster, and my new 2014 desk calendar is still propped up against the wall on the floor.

  The dust is getting thick again on the bookshelves and end tables and any static surface, actually. I took the slipcovers off the loveseats to wash, and didn't put them back on immediately because it started raining and was such a muddy mess out there that the dogs and cats were tracking in, I thought--I'll wait.  It hasn't rained in days now, and the covers are still not on.  Sigh...the wood floors are all covered in paw prints of various species. I'd mop them, but really--what's the point ?  So, I vacuum and I sweep and I look at them from a different angle and think " it'll do ".  Plus--this time of year it's hard enough to run the vacuum when it's too cold for the critters to be outside for long and they all think the vacuum is the weapon I'm using to try to murder them.

In my bedroom, I have a long (maybe 8 ft.) dresser that sits along one wall.  It has (naturally) become a catch all. The Irishman stacks his work pants there. I stack things there that I carry out of the dining room (off the table mostly) when I'm trying to pretend I'm cleaning house. I also have a stack of old levis of his that either A) Need repairs that I can't do--(zippers mostly)    or B) That need pockets resown or are just shot, but still have a lot of good denim on them.  I think --Hey--I could cut these up and make something with them...a car quilt or something. I can't bear to just throw them away... You get the picture. The dresser is  a behemoth that is piled about 3 foot high.  Both our bedside tables are stacked high with books and odds and ends.  And did I mention the dust?   And lots of his papers from  District and  OH lord !!  He gets all grumpy when I mess about with his I tend to leave that side of the room alone, even when I do finally clean up the rest. So it's never magazine picture clean.  And it should be!  You know..I have this gorgeous big cherry sleigh bed and matching lamps and bedside tables and SHOULD be an inviting room and pretty to look at.  And it just isn't.

My living room is cluttered and while, relatively clean, it never is. There's always dog hair and cat hair and feathers raining down and floating around. And the floors are dirty and the carpet is stained and though I try to keep it clean, it's impossible. But I also have books everywhere. The end table by the couch is so full of stuff you can't see the wood.  The dusty wood. (Maybe that part is a blessing?) lol Again, that's where the Irishman plants himself to read after supper, and what are you going to do? I dutifully go through there and put his glasses back in the case and in the drawer. Pick up any pens or bookmarks or whatever. If I try to put books away, he wants to know what I did with his stuff.  I am not kidding: there are no less than 10 books on that table. Surely he can't be reading all of them ???

The kitchen is a dizzying series of clean and cluttered and clean and cluttered again.  The most recent phase of cleaning was due to chopping and cubing 10 quarts of pineapple for the freezer. Finishing that up allowed me to get rid of the big boxes the pineapples were in and clearing off the island in the middle of the room. (I always wished I had one of those islands, and -while I do love it-I now know that it's just one more place to drop things.)  And because pineapple juice is so sticky and sweet, it forced me to move all the things on the counters and wipe everything down good.  Yay !  But then I cook and do one more thing in there and suddenly BOOM! You can't tell it's been cleaned in weeks.

We won't even talk about the guest room.  It gets cleaned when someone is coming (almost never) and it gets cleaned when I can't walk through there anymore (More often). There's a dresser and a queen sized bed in there. There's a pantry in there.  The squash and potatoes and onions are all stored in there. The springwater bottles (6 cases of 4 one gallon ) are stored in there. That's the room we turn the heat off in and use for winter storage. And all the small appliances (crockpots, rice cookers, foreman grills, pasta makers, waffle irons, food processors, stand mixers, electric skillets --you get the idea) are also kept in there.  Ideally in the closet on a shelf, but honestly, on the bed where I can get to them easily.  Sigh....and then every now and then I open the door and go in there and put everything in it's rightful place, vacuum the floors, remake the bed with it's lovely little blue quilt and close the door again (to keep it cool).  And the cycle starts all over again. Right now, on top of all the other stuff, there are still residues of Xmas wrappings and boxes and ...oh just never ends...although, I did get the boxes of decorations out of there when I packed up all the Xmas stuff. it is, the middle of January, and all those plans I had have still not come to fruition.  I haven't got the energy to even contemplate a plan.  What to do?  If I had lots of money, I still wouldn't hire someone else to clean up MY mess, because that's not how I was raised.  Hodgepodges, mishmashes,  collections of things I don't care about really,  clutter, dog toys,  books, and dust, dust, dust.  It never goes away, that dust.  The price of country living, I tell myself.  The price of not keeping my house sealed up like a mausoleum.  Because every chance I get, I throw the doors and windows open and let in every bit of fresh air I can. Not many chances of that in this weather, but still, the dust finds it's way in, albeit at a slightly slower rate than in summer.  And the dogs and cats track in bits and bobs of leaves and twigs and dirt and pebbles.  And the Irishman tracks in mud and dirt on his workboots.  And really on whatever shoes he happens to be wearing at whatever time. lol  

I keep telling myself--This is country life. This is our lived in home. And I haven't given up completely. soon as I get that 30 pounds of onions peeled and sliced and get the caramelized onion comfit canned...I'm gonna give it another try.

There's still February and March, right ?


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter Fires...

 Quiet miracles. I have experienced some of those. In fact, today I got to celebrate one. My beloved sister-in-law, who is as much a sister to me as either of my 2 blood sisters,  sat next to me today at lunch. The lunch was a birthday celebration for HER son, sister(me), daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. And she is here to celebrate it. One year ago (in a matter of weeks) the doctors at Barnes Jewish hospital dropped the C-bomb on us, telling us that her brain tumor was a malignant Glioblastoma Multiforme. That it was one of the worst brain cancers, most aggressive, and that generally the prognosis is about 1 year to live for people with it.  We were all devastated and scared out of our minds.

  Here's a picture of my quiet miracle

Isn't she beautiful ? Of course, that's me in the grey t-shirt and her in the dark jacket.  Almost one year later, and she is relatively healthy and looking good.  The last MRI showed no signs of regrowth. The new state of the art chemo continues. She still tires easily and she gets sick when the chemo is going on. But it's a pill form that they came up with that could finally permeate the brain barrier. That has always been a problem with brain cancers in the past. And God has graced her with a genetic mutation that only 35% of the population has, apparently, that is enabling them to use the tumor to create a vaccine.  All cutting edge, experimental stuff, but it seems to be working.  So many small many elegant blessings. I am so grateful.

  So, I got to spend the noontime hours with my family of origin, or some of them anyway. My brother and my niece and my nephew and his children and his wife and some of her family too. 

  I go to talk to my youngest brother and his daughter tonight, as her birthday was yesterday. More blessings. Little Skyler is another one of those miracles.  My brother and his wife tried for years to have a baby and couldn't. Then finally, when they gave up and settled back--POOF!  And little Sky was born premature and has had a few struggles in her life, but she is amazing! Shriners hospital in St Louis was practically her second home in the first years of her life as they worked their magic on her legs and feet. Because she was a preemie, her lungs were fragile and everyone had to be sure to stay away unless they were cold and germ and flu free. Watching her grow up and blossom in spite of great obstacles has been such a lesson to me. And her parents--her biggest cheerleaders. I love them all so much.

  Last night we attended the annual Winter Fires Coffeehouse at La Vista. We gather every year, and some read poetry, some play music, and we all bring desserts and enjoy a wonderful fellowship.  These people are the family of my heart.  This year was particularly wonderful. 2 novitiates from Zambia and one from India. 3 priests, who are as different from one another as night and day, equally precious and beloved. Sister Maxine, who works so hard organizing these things and is a dear friend to me.  Lots of people I know, some I met for the first time. Some kids (who are growing up before my eyes) that have been part of our celebrations there for the past 9 in her first year of college!! (How can that be?? They were all 3 little girls last time I looked).  2 read poems, one played guitar (Beatles--Blackbird).  A friend I haven't seen for a while who played a beautiful tune for us on her cello.  And made a connection with a local artist that felt really good...we spoke for a bit and exchanged numbers.  Lots of small miracles...connections. Art. Beauty. Humanity.  (And did I mention really great assortment of desserts?)  We heard readings from Tennyson and Mary Oliver and Rumi and Hafiz and Carrie Newcomer and Wendell Berry and the Bhagavhad Gita and Robert Frost and oh so many others.  It was just perfect.

  And Saturday morning I witnessed another miracle...someone hitting an early  milestone in the recovery from addiction process...30 days of continuous clean/sober time.  These miracles I get to see often, as I am in the recovery community myself. I never cease to be amazed at the beauty of God's grace in the lives of the downtrodden. I hope I never will. 

  Einstein once said something like ..." There are only 2 ways to live your life: Either everything is a miracle, or nothing is a miracle."  I prefer to be of the former persuasion...everything can be seen as a miracle.  According to The Course in Miracles, a miracle is a shift in perception. The whole world unfolds according to how I perceive it.   Things change, according to my expectations.  The depth and breadth of every single event in my life is constantly changing.  I can be as awestruck or as bored as I choose to be. I can be as happy or as miserable as I choose as well.  Looks like a no-brainer to me.  Everything from the miracle of life to the sprouting of a seed to the sunrise every morning...from the artists paintings to the music of Bach to the soft warm towels that come out of my dryer.  The promise of Love. The promise of Grace. 

  I have to tell you ...I read the lyrics of the Carrie Newcomer song, Holy As A Day Is Spent, for my poem last night. I am in love with this song...and I have posted them before, but I'm going to post them again. Because I can.  LOL

Holy is the dish and drain
The soap and sink, and the cup and plate
And the warm wool socks, the cold white tile
Showerheads and good dry towels

And frying eggs sound like psalms
With bits of salt measured in my palm
It’s all a part of a sacrament
As holy as a day is spent

Holy is the busy street
The cars that boom with passion’s beat
And the checkout girl, Counting change
The hands that shook my hands today

And hymns of geese fly overhead
And stretch their wings like their parents did
Blessed be the dog
That runs in her sleep
To chase some wild and elusive thing

Holy is the familiar room
And quiet moments in the afternoon
And folding sheets like folding hands
To pray as only laundry can

I’m letting go of all my fears
Like autumn leaves of earth and air
For the summer came and the summer went
As holy as a day is spent

Holy is the place I stand
To give whatever small good I can
And the empty page, the open book
Redemption everywhere I look

Unknowingly we slow our pace
The shade of unexpected grace
And with grateful smiles and sad lament
As holy as a day is spent

And morning light sings “providence”
As holy as a day is spent. 


  And with that, I am going to bed.  Sweet dreams and may you witness every miracle that life has to offer.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside...

SURPRISE !!!!   Yup--more snow.  Sigh...and it really is this color out there. And it's dreary and it's cold and it's going to add another layer to the road travel fun by dumping some freezing rain on us too.

  I had hoped to get out a little today, but it ain't happening.  The Irishman says the road (last night) is still as bad as ever, and you can't tell that they've even done anything out there.  The boy came home yesterday after a foray into town and said that though the main roads are good, 3/4 of Detour (our road) is still iced over and at some places is only open 1 car width.  If you meet somebody on the road, one of you will have to back up enough to get off the road somewhere.  

  Well then.  I stopped writing at around 2:30 PM and went back to the bedroom to do something and was suddenly overcome with a fatigue so great I lay down on the bed and fell immediately asleep. LOL   I slept until 5 o'clock and then only woke up because my phone went off.  And I had me some tremulous dreams...the Irishman, (who, btw, looked like Matthew McConaghey) was working out, some kind of crazy routine that was taking him all over the place. I could never catch up to him. When I finally did, it dawned on me that he was getting fit so that he could run away from me. (?? Dream Reasoning?). I was very sad, and he yelled at me to go in the bathroom and bring out his contacts. (He doesn't wear glasses or contacts).  I said-that makes no sense, what are you doing?  And it just kept getting crazier from there. He brother came in the house and told me I needed to let him go, that he had important things to do.  I said--what kind of things? and he said -secret things.  I said, I don't want him doing secret things, and he told me it was out of my hands. That I needed to stay back and out of the way. Of course, I refused to do any such thing. And we had 2 young kids, and I kept thinking, he can't leave me with these kids, I'll leave him first. And I kept crying and asking him why he was doing this, and he got a very kind look on his face and said what? Why am I doing what ?

  And then the phone woke me up.  I felt very discombobulated for about an hour after I got out of bed. Very strange...

  And the exciting news of the day is:

My Vitamix arrived today !!!!!!!!    The poor UPS man could barely get his truck up our driveway.  This baby is a thing of beauty...the cookbook that came with it is an elegant publication, on thick glossy paper, hardback...I haven't used it yet, but first thing tomorrow morning, I'm gonna fire that mother up ! Smoothies for breakfast!  I'm giddy as all get out. The Irishman is very impressed with it...the weight of it, the size of the motor, the 7 year warranty.  He grinned and said, hey--I did good !   lol

The cold seems to be hit the low 30's today. It isn't raining (yet) and so maybe I can get out tomorrow. I do need to pick up a few groceries...mostly fresh greens and such. And Aldi's is now carrying a bunch of organic produce, so I'll check them out too. I'll definitely be getting some pineapples and bananas and avocados from them. My honey said the roads were better this evening coming home, so...maybe I can get out.  We'll see.'s midnight and I am winding down. A few more things to do and then I'll be hitting the hay. It's been a long day here on Honeysuckle Hill...time for rest...


Monday, January 6, 2014

•¸¸♥¸¸•*¨*• ♪ ` ♪Happy*Birthday`•to.¸¸~ME♥~¸¸♫•*¨* ♪ Happy ♪ ♫*`Birthday*`♥¸¸ ♪ Happy ♪ Birthday ♪ ♥¸ ♪Happy ¸ ♪ Birthday ♪ ~¨♥♫*..

•¸¸♥¸¸•*¨*• ♪ ` ♪Happy*Birthday`•to.¸¸~ME♥~¸¸♫•*¨* ♪ Happy ♪ ♫*`Birthday*`♥¸¸ ♪ Happy ♪ Birthday ♪ ♥¸ ♪Happy ¸ ♪ Birthday ♪ ~¨to*•.~ME ♥♫*..

  Yes gentle readers is my birthday.  The day I transition out of 60 years old and INTO my sixties. And I've been feeling like either a big baby  (my husband and son both forgot my birthday until late in the day)  or like a woman blessed, because I have gotten about 200 birthday wishes, phone calls, emails and texts from people who DO love me.  As you can imagine, I nearly have whiplash over the reeling emotions. And I'm old.  lol  AND--I have now officially outlived my father, the elder of my deceased parents, my mom having died 5 years before him.  That is a creepy relief.  Sort of.

  I made myself a pineapple/coconut/pecan Upside Down Cake this afternoon and I ate a HUGE piece of it, and it was GOOD.  I made vegetable soup and peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch. My son and husband had been out shoveling the driveway for about 2 hours and I called them in to eat after a guy on a big red tractor with a plow came by and offered to scrape the 4 foot drifts out from in front of the cars.  It took him about 6 times up and down the driveway to clear it. Thank goodness for country people ! We didn't know him, but he said his frail mother-in-law lived up the road and he always digs out her drive so the ambulance can get to her if it needs to.  lol

  Yes, the storm hit us, and it hit good.  It didn't start snowing until 6 AM Sunday morning. In 5 hours it snowed 4 inches. The conditions were blizzard-like.  It snowed all day, combined with howling winds, and we got around 13 inches of snow. The temperature was -14.  The wind chill was -35.  It was horribly beautiful. It stayed that way all night, and finally stopped snowing around 8 PM Sunday night.  Today has been a high of -6 and right now it's back to about -10, but not supposed to get any lower.  Tomorrows high of 22 will feel like Jamaica. lol

  The dogs and cats all have cabin fever and have gone out in bits and bobs but nobody can take it more than about 5 minutes.  It's been a long time since I have seen weather like this. Back when I was a kid, maybe. There's been one fatality that I've heard of so far...a man from a town north east of here died while trying to walk from his disabled vehicle (in a ditch) to his home. This kind of cold is nothing to mess hurts to breathe out there.

  Other than that, not much news from Honeysuckle Hill.  I have not been outside but once to go to the garage to get chicken out of the freezer for fajitas for supper. I abdicated responsibility for the chickens to the men folk, when I saw the drifts up over the back porch and could not see where the steps were. The good news is the chickens survived the day and nights, and we hooked up one more heat lamp in the coop to help.  Our house furnace has barely been able to keep up, and has been running almost nonstop. When I got up this morning I knew it had been running all night, because I kept hearing it...the thermostat read 65. We keep it set at 68.  It was just too darn cold.

  They're saying it is a POLAR VORTEX that has swept across the midwest.  Whatever it can go now.  We've had enough, thank you.

  The most amazing thing is that we have had no power outages.  Hallelujah !  And, no frozen water pipes. And lots of people have.  Double Hallelujah !

  We may still not be able to get out our road...the Irishman got up this morning and as going to try to "see if I can make it" and I immediately put the kibosh on that stupid idea.  I got up around 5:30 because he had gotten up and hadn't come back to bed. I went out and there he was. I said ...honey. there's no way you can get out. WHAT ARE YOU DOING ???  At some point he was convinced to call in and tell them he wouldn't be in to work.  Seriously ?? I saw a great pic today that says it all:


My son and husband were like little kids out there.  When the Irishman finally came in, his whole beard and moustache were frozen with crystals hanging off them. Good grief.  And I was laying odds that they had both written their names in the snow.  You know.  With Pee.  (It's a boy thing).  LOL

  Alright...just wanted to check in and see what's shakin' and tell anyone who cares that we made it through the Ice Age and that I survived my birthday.  anything else is old news---wait.  There is something.

  My birthday gift to myself, from my husband,  is a new blender.  And not just any blender, but...

Vitamix 7500 12-in-1 64 oz. Under Cabinet Variable Speed Blender

Vitamix 7500 12-in-1 64 oz. Under Cabinet Variable Speed Blender 


  I think I died and went to heaven.  

  The only reason I could afford it was that I will be billed in 5 installments. I nearly had an anxiety attack ordering it...and stopped and restarted a couple of times...trying to ask myself again and I really need this? should I really do this ? Will I use it enough to justify the expense?  And ultimately the answer was yes.  I can grind my own peanut/almond/sunflower butter with it.  I can make smoothies with it.  Soups, ice cream, etc, etc.  It's a miracle worker of a blender.

  It will be here in a few more days, hopefully.  Thanks Husband.  lol We discussed this back when he kept saying what do you want for Xmas and I kept saying nothing, I don't know...Right after Xmas I said--hey, I know what I'd like for my birthday/Xmas present this year, if I can find a way to get one and pay it off in monthly installments. He said what? And I said, either a Vitamix or a Kitchenaid Mixer. He said--do it.  When I decided on the Vitamix, I brought him in here and showed it to him (this was January 2nd) and I kinda cringed.  It's a lot of money for us to buy something like this. But I had read the reviews and it has a 7 year warranty. And all the reviews for it were 4.5-5 star.  And it has a 30 day return guarantee if you don't like it. 

  I'm still pretty giddy over it, and it's the only thing that got me through turning 61 with almost no acknowledgement from these 2 men in my life. Until the last minute when they were both all apologetic and kissy.   In all fairness, I don't think either one of them had looked at a phone or calendar, and didn't realize it was the 6th today.  This damn weather superceded EVERYTHING.

  But still.   

  Alright. I'm going to sleep and dream of outrageously priced kitchen appliances all snug in my queen sized sleigh bed.  I hope you all had a great Monday.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hunker Down, Pa...thar's a big un a'comin'...

 Waiting for Snowmageddon ... they've been scaring the bejeezus out of everyone around here, threatening us with subzero high temps, howling gales and 10-12 inches of snow.  It was supposed to start at 9's now 10:40 and still no snow.  After all people have put themselves through today, wouldn't you think the snowpocalypse could have the decency to show up on time ? 

  It has been ridiculous.  People stormed the Walmart and they had to OPEN ALL THE CHECKOUT REGISTERS !!!!!!  LOL  At least that's what people told me.  And that there were people and carts lined up almost to the back of the store.  I had to make a stop at Office Max today, because I can't possibly get through a storm of this magnitude at the beginning of a new year without a 2014 desk calendar. I also picked up a two pack of scotch tape, in case we run into a tape emergency (if you recall, I ran out of regular scotch tape at Xmas and had to finish up my wrapping with the clear packing tape).  Office Max happens to be right near the Walmart, so I had a look at the parking lot. It was a sea of cars. I did have a small list of things to pick up (but never, ever at Walmart), and my plan was to stop at the Schnucks (a medium sized family owned grocery chain)  in Bethalto, but when I got to the intersection there, I could see that their parking lot was packed too.  No way, no how am I going anywhere with that many people in there. So, I just toodled on back this way, stopped at my favorite mom and pop market here in town and bought 1) Garlic  2) ground beef  3) and celery.  Period.  Oh, and buttermilk for making biscuits and gravy for my 2 favorite men tomorrow morning.  My thinking was that I would make a meatloaf for supper tonight and that would be ideal for leftovers and sandwiches in case we lose power. I already have some soup made. There were a couple of shoppers there, with their cart loaded with milk, white bread and eggs.  I guess they're thinking that if they're going to die in the snowpocalypse, they're gonna die with their bellies full of either bread pudding or French Toast.

  People love to freak out, don't they ?  I already have a stocked pantry. I have a gas stove, a gas grill and a camp stove.  I have candles, oil lamps and a kerosene heater all ready to go if we lose power. I always have water stored. We always have a fridge full of leftovers, because all I ever do is cook.  We always have batteries and flashlights  at the ready. All critter food stocked up.  Bring it on.  I even stopped by the Goodwill today and picked up 3 paperbacks for reading during the blizzard, and a new pair of gloves and a hat that looks warmer than the one I have.

  BRING.   IT.   ON.

  lol  Always ready for an adventure...


  Well that's about it.  I did get out today and went to a meeting and picked up somebody new. The highways are clear, but my road (2.5 miles to the highway) was about 75% snow/icy still.  That was around 9:30 AM. Today got up into the 40's and so melted off most of the rest of it by the time I came back home at 3.  I had a nice lunch with a friend before coming home, and thought I should get out since I haven't left the house since coming home New Years Day.  And if this storm proves to be anything near what they're forecasting, I may not be leaving the old homestead for another 4 or 5 days. So, la di I danced and had a great time.  Got home and did 3 loads of laundry, just to have that caught up, and made the meatloaf for supper. The Irishman was watching Titanic when I got home (he's such a girl) and finished the second half of it just in time for supper.  So, we watched Usual Suspects, the old movie with Kevin Spacey and Gabriel Byrne and Chazz Palminteri  while we chowed down on leftover mashed potatoes and gravy and leftover green beans (both from last night's supper) along with the meatloaf.  He took both dogs to the reservoir to run this afternoon and was pretty much beat. After the movie he was dozing off, and finally showered and went to bed.

  It was interesting today, going down (25 minutes south) to the meeting to see that they only got about 2 inches of snow down there, and we still have 5 in our yard.  I swear, sometimes it feels like we're in or own weather zone up here.  lol

  Well, just checked out the window and still no snow. Hmmm...probably we'll wake up to a blizzard. Time will tell.

  Yaawwwnnn...thinking it might be time for me to start pointing my old butt towards bed.  I'm pretty tired today myself.  Gotta check, I think there may be a cat outside in the garage who needs to come in. Everybody else is all snug in their beds.

  Sleep well, my friends.  Or play well, depending on what time  you read this !  lol

(WooHoo !!  This is my 900th post!!)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

Welcoming in the first week of the new year with a veritable blizzard. We got 5 inches of snow in about 4 hours, lol  It's breathtakingly beautiful, as is the nature of snow.  Thankfully, I don't have to leave Honeysuckle Hill for anything, so it can snow all it wants. This is a picture of my son loading some big chunks of hardwood into the back of his pickup to help with driving. He went into town and came back and said, OMG, don't even THINK about it mom.  I just laughed...seems the highways are as bad as our little back road here. La dee da...I'm making a pot of vegetable beef soup with a small chunk of arm roast I had in the freezer, will make some home made yeast rolls to go with. Hot tea, hot cocoa, hot everything I need here...

  It was pretty cold this morning and promising to be even colder tomorrow, with a high of 5.  YOWSA!!  Those are Mama Pea temps, not mine !  lol  It has climbed from 14 to 21...with the help of that dazzling sun out there. 

We had a good time New Years Eve...took the little trip up to Decatur and had some great food and met some new people and got to speak in front of about 200 people. (That part was a little daunting at first). lol  We stayed up until about 1 and then slept fitfully in the motel  (it's just never as good as your own bed).  We went for a late breakfast (about 10 AM) and then toodled around looking at the historic architecture in this town and then headed home. Got here about 1, and was thinking about a New Years Day movie, but wound up just staying home instead.  It's all good. Grilled some porterhouse steaks for supper, with a side of some leftover basmati  rice with some almonds and basil in it, and of course a dish of black eyed peas and greens for luck. This year I took a hint from Mary Moon and cooked the greens in some tomato sauce and they were really good. In fact, leftovers is what I'm having for lunch as soon as I finish this post! (How lucky is THAT ???)  lol

  I should be cleaning house, but it's tough to get motivated. lol  All the critters are in the house, which makes running the vacuum a mean thing to do, since they all think I'm trying to murder them with it. I'll probably just straighten up a little, sweep up some and call it good enough. Still on the fence about taking down the Xmas decos  before my birthday, which is Monday. No big deal...we'll just see what happens.  Being housebound for a couple of days COULD change everything.  lol

  So, did you make any New Years Resolutions ? I didn't really, but sort of.  lol I did resolve to become more mindful about money and to institute a savings plan of some sort.  There's a 52 week Money Challenge making the rounds of Facebook, and I'm going to use that plan, only in reverse.  It starts with saving 1 dollar the first week, 2 dollars the second week, etc. By the last week of the year, you have put in 52 dollars for that week, and saved $1378.00    It seems to me that the last part of the year is the hardest part, so since we have 3 paydays 3 weeks in a row in January, I am going to start with the $52.00 the first week, and work it backwards.  That way I am having to put in less and less as the holidays approach and I think it will be easier to stay on track.  This might not seem to be much to some, but our finances are very limited, will be a big deal for us.

  My other resolution is to become more mindful of attraction and manifestation of the things that are important to me in my life.  To stay more positive, to be aware of the way I am looking at things and my expectations.  That's about enough for one year.  lol  I will be getting back on the Fast Metabolism Diet on Monday, but that's just an ongoing thing, not really anything new for the New Year, so I'm not counting it.  lol

  I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year, and that you will join me in wishing the world a little more Peace, a little more Kindness and a lot more Love. This might just be the greatest year, ever.