Friday, May 30, 2014

It's sure been a week....

  Such a week...the loss of one of the greatest souls of our time, Maya Angelou.  This woman has been inspiring me and lifting me up since I first became involved with her in  I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in 1970. She impacted my life then and has impacted it ever since. She will be missed.

  It's been crazy in a freaky calm kind of way around here.  The Irishman is in a moderate amount of pain, a giant amount of "sick to death of this brace and collar", and a wee bit pissed because he can't do anything to help in the garden or around the house.  He isn't sleeping well...he has to sleep in an almost upright position because of the cervical collar and the brace, of course doesn't allow him to bend. So...he sleeps about 2 hours, wakes up because his butt is going numb, and walks around a little before coming back to bed and trying again. (This is a guy who normally requires a good solid 8 hours of sleep to function). I feel so bad for him...tonight we tried to wash his hair as best we could. 3 x in the past 6 days, I have helped him bathe, as much as possible. They insisted that is not to remove the collar or brace. This is a guy who showers at least once (and sometimes twice) a day and this is  killing him.  Although he rarely admits it (when I ask if he's hurting, he mumbles "I'm okay") I think he hurts a lot. He walks around with a permanent scowl on his face. Bless his heart...he's usually very jovial and laughs and smiles a lot.

  Today I finished putting in the garden. All except a small amount of kale and chard that is going to border a couple of beds.  I'll get to it Sunday maybe. I already have some kale for eating in the box and so none of that is an emergency.  I'm exhausted and I hurt everywhere. But I kept plugging along and got it done. On Wednesday I mowed the yard while he was out at a meeting with a friend.  So, everything is manageable.  The house could be a little cleaner, but I'm not stressing over that.

 I got a call this morning and the insurance company is giving us about 2000 dollars more for the totaled car than Kelly Blue Book says it's worth--Hurray !!  We probably won't see any money for another 2 weeks. They have to contact the loan company and pay off the car loan (2 more payments), shuffle some title papers back and forth between us and them, and then cut the check. They have been great. The medical claims adjuster, on the other hand...has been just this side of rude and mean every time I've talked to her.  I know I am very emotional right now, and overly tired. But I have been through quite a lot, and she could show a little more compassion and decency. I had a little meltdown when I got off the phone with her the other day. Oh well. This too shall pass.

 Our family reunion is Sunday, and I guess we won't be going. I don't think he could handle the ride, 2 hours there and 2 hours back. OH well. Nothing to be done about that.

 It's almost 1:30 AM. I'm still up because I am baking soft garlic breadsticks for a lunch time potluck tomorrow. I didn't start them until about 9 PM, because we were out for a meeting, and before that I was out for PT.  Between those 2 things, I baked an oatmeal spice cake to take to the potluck. So far I have baked about 20 breadsticks, with another 20 rising right now.  Once I get those baked, I'm headed for bed.  I'm tired.  lol

  I keep finding bruises. My joints hurt. My neck is stiff again. My shoulders hurt.  I'm too old to be rolling a car.

Have a grand weekend all. I'm going to check on this stuff and maybe get it in the oven a little early and go sleep.  Thank you all for your continued prayers and all the love. It means the world to me.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Worst Saturday Night Date Ever...

 The little red car after the accident we had on Saturday. 

 We were able to work in the garden a good part of the morning and afternoon on Saturday.  Got the green beans in, the tomatoes, the jalapenos, planted the spearmint. Got all the beds ready for planting except one.  Worked hard and decided we would go out for supper to our favorite little Japanese place about 23 miles from here. We hadn't been out to eat in a while.  I ate lunch, but the Irishman only drank the smoothie I had made for his post breakfast. He was starving. We got to Sakura's, ordered and he wolfed down his food like a mad man. I said--you must have really been hungry and he said I was starving.  We left the restaurant and drove through the movie parking lot. It was pretty crowded (we never go to Friday or Saturday night movies--yuck! Too crowded.  Only matinees for us old folks. lol We left to head home and maybe watch a movie or something.

 About 2/3 of the way home...wait.  let me digress... I am a total control freak.  I usually drive when we go somewhere, because his driving makes me crazy. I have been trying to be better. To niot nag him when he drives. To this end, on the rare occasions that he does drive, I take a book to read. That way, I am not constantly critiquing his driving.  So, like the good wife that I am (always striving to better myself) I was sitting  there in the passenger seat with my nose in a book. About 2/3 of the way home, I look up from my book and out the passenger window.  I see that he is heading for the shoulder, so I yell HEY!!  Hey HEY !!  He jerked awake and tried to pull the car back onto the pavement , but was already in the gravel. That, along with the fact that the  pavement and shoulder were about 4 inches different in height, caused the car to go into a spin across the road. I could see a car coming towards us in the other lane and I'm pretty sure I screamed (or maybe it was him) as our car went down into the ditch on the other side of the road. It was a deep ditch, next to a freshly plowed field. The little red car went into a ballet, barely missing a big electrical pole and flipping upside down and then flipping again to right itself.  Probably more of a roll than a flip. And we sat there, frozen, him wincing and groaning in pain, me just in shock. I just sat there and couldn't move. The couple in the oncoming car (along with another guy) came running up to us, saying that they were EMT's from Bunker Hill. That we should sit still and not move, that they had called 911.  I was shaking and breathing hard. The Irishman was saying that he was hurt. I could see that the windshield had shattered and there was glass shards all over me. He had a small contusion on top of his head, but it was his back/neck that was hurt. The EMT got into the backseat and stabilized his head against the head rest, telling him to breathe, deep slow breaths, because the Irishman kept saying I think I'm going to faint, everything is blue and blurry.  They tried to open his door and after much exertion, got it open. They couldn't open my door. I kept telling them I thought I was alright. Just bruised and battered. They told me to just stay put until the ambulance gets here. The sheriff was the first one to show up. He got the driver side door open, and I asked if he could please see if he could put the car on park, because that key alarm was driving me insane. You can't remove the key if it isn't in park. All the doors were ope.  DING! DING!  DING ! DING !  It was like an icepick being shoved into my eardrum.  It wouldn't budge.  Finally an ambulance showed up (it probably didn't really take long, considering we were out in the middle of nowhere, but it always seems like it, doesn't it ?) They took himself first, and said another ambulance was on the way.  He screamed as they tried to get him out of the front seat onto the backboard  and  I nearly cried.  They hauled him off to the ambulance and left. The other one showed up and they got me out the same way. It was torture. I have a very bad back and pelvis, you know, and I cannot ever lay on my back. I wound up being on that backboard for over 4 hours. I was hurting so much I was crying. At the little local hospital, which is not trauma certified, their protocol is that when this kind of thing comes in, they stabilize as much as they can, and ship the patients off to Springfield. So after a bit of a time, they call in ambulances to take us up to Springfield (a little less than an hour away).  We traveled separately, I didn't know what was happening with him, nor he with me.  Finally we arrived at the big city hospital, and you can imagine what it was like on Memorial Day weekend. In the trauma unit, they swung into action. The cut our clothes off, started IV's, hooked us up to all kinds of machinery, and put me on oxygen.  My blood pressure had skyrocketed to 220/105 and I guess they were expecting me to stroke out.  They did Cat Scans, MRI's with dye injection, x-rays.  They did lab work--blood samples and urine samples. I had asked to be catheterized before we left on the ambulance ride, because of the injuries I sustained in the industrial accident of 2001, I have sacral root nerve damage, and have no bladder or bowel control.  I didn't need any more problems or humiliation, so I asked to have the catheter put in. 

  It took forever for my blood pressure to come back down to it's normal range.  They deduced that I was beat up, but nothing was broken. that I would have quite a bit of  soft tissue injuries, but basically I was doing okay. They were waiting on all the test results to come back. I kept asking about my husband and they said he doing okay, it looked like he had a T-3 fracture. They were still waiting to find out if he would need surgery or just be able to get by with a collar and back brace.

Thank you, God. It's the brace contraption. It's a minor fracture and should heal.  We have been so blessed throughout this whole thing that I am speechless.

 More tomorrow...I am so tired...


Thursday, May 22, 2014

She's going 'round the bend, folks...

 Yup.  That would be me.  And now the crazy is bleeding all over into the other parts of my life.

  Whatcha gonna do ?  lol

  For at least 3 days now, I have thought that today was the last Thursday of the month.  There is a women's meeting that I attend with increasing irregularity, and the last Thursday they have a potluck and a speaker. The speaker this month is one of my dear friends. I made arrangements to pick someone up and give them a ride. I talked about this to a couple of people. I got up this morning and baked a cake.

  Then I got a phone call and in the course of the conversation, I said something about tonight, and she said, week. And I said, no, pretty sure it's tonight, last Thursday of the month. And she said..uh, week is the last Thursday of the month., I called the person I was picking up, explained that I have lost my mind, and will be picking her up an hour later than planned, and there will be cake.  LOL 

  I got to spend a little time out in the backyard, with a perfect brown egg in my hand and my toes in the grass.  I cleaned the coop yesterday, and I am amazed at how much mess they can make in 24 hours. You'd almost think they were somebody's husband.  It's really nice out there today, only in the mid 70's, compared to yesterday's pre-thunderstorm- that -never -really- happened - 90's.  My irises are all finally abloom (always a week or two behind every one else's) and they're gorgeous.  The wisteria that I butchered has been sprouting like crazy and the Rose of Sharon that I merely topped off this year because I waited too long, is looking great. The plants and flowers are loving this goofy weather.

 Yesterday I got a 5 gallon bucket of spearmint from my gardener pal and will start my very own patch of mint. I have some chocolate mint in a pot (yes yes--I know all about mint), but I want a veritable hedge of spearmint going on here.  I'm planting it away from the gardens, in a sunny spot down by the bird feeders.  I am excited about it, can you tell ?  I love spearmint more than any other mint. I don't really like the chocolate mint, but my old neighbor gave it to me and I stuck it in a pot at the edge of my bed of hostas and bee balm and it has been there for several years. It dies, it comes back and there you go.  

  I baked one of those yummy Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cakes this morning, and the house smells grand ...cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves...coconut and almonds in the brown sugar and butter broiled topping.  I'm hungry and would really like to have a  I think I'll eat some celery stuffed with almond butter instead.

 I've only lost 7 pounds and I am in week 3 of the diet. I'm frustrated and cranky and thought about giving up last night.  But I won't. At least not yet...I keep reading about other women (and men) losing weight so much faster and easier than I ever seem's agonizing to me.  Maybe I should stop reading.   lol  I feel better and my clothes feel looser. There's that. 

 I put some chicken thighs in the little convection oven. I guess now I have to figure out what else to fix. (It was a potluck tonight--I wasn't going to make much supper) Now I have to think. lol

 My son has been catching catfish like a house on fire the past couple of days. He brought over 4 big fillets last night and I baked them with herbs and lemon and made some rice and a massaged kale salad. We feasted.  While I was sitting in the back yard doing my brown egg meditation, he came home with another really big one.  He's something, that guy. One thing I will never ever have to worry about is his starving to death, lol. He will always be able to feed himself.

 Okay...I have some things to attend to, so it's time to get off here and back into the world.

  (Feel better Mama Pea--sick little girl!!)

  Have a great day, wherever you are !!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Secrets of Joy

 Meet Pancho.  He's a little thin and a lot scared, but he's starting to relax a little bit. Welcome to the  "let's dump our unwanted pets out in the country"  season.  Sigh... He's a beautiful boy, very sweet and affectionate when he's not jumping or running off at every little noise or quick movement. His markings are gorgeous, aren't they ? And his eyes are a beautiful green. And yes, I'm feeding him, and yes it looks like he has found a home, if he sticks around. We will have to have him vetted if we can catch him and get him into a cat carrier. He's not neutered. Whether he has shots or not is, of course, unknown.  He has some scars on his head that aren't real noticeable unless you get really close and he bends his neck a certain way.  Otherwise, he seems pretty healthy. 

  This is how it always goes. I cannot throw away an animal, turn away a stray (note house full of them) or stand to see an animal not be loved. It is my curse.

  I love my animals. They love me. I find a lot of joy in the relationships I have with them.  They teach me about small blessings and loyalty and simple joy. Watch a dog roll on her back in freshly cut grass with a look of total ecstasy on her face. See a chicken scratch for bugs in the new straw you've put down in the coop.  Watch a cockatiel bathe in a dish of water you put in the cage...lolling about, dipping, joy.  See a cat stretching out in a patch of sunlight on the office floor, savoring every second of the warmth, the stretch, the sleep. 

  When I am at odds with the world, or sad enough to cry, I will always find at least one dog and cat coming to sit with me. To lean their heads against me and comfort me with kisses and soothing sounds.  When I'm happy, they're happy.  They share my life, my world, my heart.  The very first pet I had was a big old yellow tomcat named Butters.  He was their baby when I was born, and we had that cat until I was about 9 years old. He never begrudged me taking his place in the family, I don't think. My mom used to tell me that he would sit vigil at the foot of my crib every night, protecting me in the dark. He was a huge cat, probably weighed in at 22 pounds in his old age. lol  Ran dogs out of the yard. We had more dogs than cats later, as I grew up.  Mostly German Shepherds and Labs, big outside dogs. At about 12, I had a parakeet and a rabbit.  As I got older and had my own places to live, I had an assortment of, hamsters, birds, dogs, cats, sugar gliders.  Always, ALWAYS with the animals.  Today I have fish, birds, cats , dogs, and chickens. It's a good life.

  Sometimes, when I get caught in that cycle of looking at what other people have (nice houses, big bank accounts, good jobs) I forget that I have my own secret joy. When I start comparing myself to others, it never ends well. lol  But when, as Lao Tzu said, I can  .."Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."...then I can find the joy in the small simple things that make up my life.  Then I can be content that things are perfect just the way they are, that my life is perfect just the way it is.  And peace prevails. In my heart, in my mind and in my world. At this stage of life, I think that might be the most important thing.


  It has been a good and busy week.  I got to visit a 2 week old baby and hold him and ooh and ahh over him.  I got to work in my garden. I got to travel to Southern Illinois and be the speaker at a picnic.  I had physical therapy twice, I had a massage yesterday and I am going to volunteer at the office today and then go to a meeting and hear a friend share his experience, strength and hope before coming back home. In the meantime, I need to figure out some kind of crockpot supper to get going and leave for the Irishman. Or maybe just cook him a couple of hamburgers, since it is going to be almost 90 degrees today.

  It's really beautiful out there this morning. I think I will head out back and clean the chicken coop, sit outside for a while with my toes in the grass and maybe come in and vacuum the house if there is time. If there is not, I'll just save it for tomorrow. I have nothing on my calendar for Wednesday or Thursday.  I could do some serious damage to the dirt in this house with 2 full days of nothing else to do.  lol

The wrist is better, slowly but surely. I'm getting more mobility in it, but it still is weak and I guess it will be for a while. The range of motion is not great, but it's better than it was. I'll take it. There is great joy in being pain free and capable again.

 I found some sandals at the Walgreens that my friend said she bought and they are the most comfortable things ever !!  Yesterday i found a second pair in my size, hot pink (yikes!!) but I bought them anyway, because the black pair I got first I am wearing almost every day, they are so comfortable. I have a bone spur that is growing into my Achilles tendon on my right foot and my left knee is so bad I have had to wear good tie up sturdy shoes or I could barely walk. I am wearing these sandals (I thought I would never be able to wear sandals again!!) every day and  it feels great. So I said if I could find another pair I was going to pick them up, and I did.  Maybe I will even get a pedicure now !!  Another--the JOY of pretty painted toes !

 Alright. Enough sitting in here at the computer on such a glorious day. The big question will be, to turn on the AC or not.  90 degrees didn't used to be so hot, did it ? Right now it's so perfect out there, but I suspect that at about 3 PM it's will be smothering.  Such high class problems I have today. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the chimes are gently filling my world with a beautiful music.  The county mowing team just went down the road and the smell of cut grass is exhilarating. My irises are starting to flower, there's at least 2 of them completely open out there that I can see from my office window. Beautiful shades of lavender and butter yellow, lining the rock wall. The blackberries are flowering, the fruit trees have tiny fruits on them. The honeysuckle is turning green and growing with a vengeance. Even the wisteria that I recently butchered is sprouting leaves and vines. 

 Spring has come to Honeysuckle Hill and has maybe never been so welcome, after the hard winter we had.  I'm going to find the joy in every single minute of it. 

  I guess the secrets of joy aren't really such a secret, are they ?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Visitors have arrived...

2 cats have been dumped out here and have taken up residence under our house. They come out and sneak around, but are pretty wary of  contact. One is coal black like this picture. The other is a grey tiger striped kitty.  I don't know that they came together, but it's 2 more cats that I don't particularly need... My son came in and announced that he has named our 2 new cats Midnight and Pancho. I told him to shut up, they aren't ours.  He begs to differ...sigh...

 The memorial for my friend was well attended and a little sad. When they scattered his ashes in the river, they saved back a part of them and sent them to Hawaii where his good friend scattered the rest of them this morning.  Goodbye's been an experience knowing you...

 On a brighter note, 2 of my friends are celebrating 29 years this week...closing in on 3 decades of living the good life.  Best wishes to them both.

 On an even BRIGHTER note...I spent a stellar morning at the Best Buy today, changing my phones and phone plan. Bye Bye iPhone. I was never as thrilled with it as I should have been (as all my friends who have one are). Part of that is I don't like any device that is smarter than I am and the other part is that living out here in BFE, I could rarely access the wifi easily or use most of the applications available.  There are things on that phone that I had no idea of their purpose. lol  So...since my contract was up in January, I have been mulling over what steps to take and finally decided that we will try  the no contract GoPhone.  We still had to stay with ATT, because there is no other service out here. With the help of the nice young Nathaniel, I came away with 2 phones (total cost $64 after taxes) and a monthly phone bill that will be less than half what I have been paying. And NO CONTRACT.  Plus, it's a better deal than I had figured out, because for the both of us, we have our same numbers, unlimited texts and minutes, blue tooth capability and you can check your emails, etc.(We won't. Ever).  lol  The quality of the calls seems great. The sound is great. The camera is more than adequate. (The Irishman insisted he have a phone with a  This is the guy who could get along with 2 cans and a string...)  So far, so good.  Kudos to Best Buy for helping this old woman make a sound choice and  give her budget a BIG break.

  It's been drizzly and bleak all day. We went from temps last week of the mid to high 80' 60 today. It's supposed to rain most of the week and the temps are staying in the low 60's, in the mid 50's at night. So bizarre.  And none of our garden is in still and I am just refusing to get all tore up about it. It will happen. Hopefully.

 We've had some big excitement around these parts the last 2 days. Monday afternoon I was sitting in the chiropractor office parking lot reading when I heard some really loud crazy noise. Couldn't figure out where it was coming from or what it was.  Turns out it was at the airport across the highway, and was the big aircraft that hauls the Secret Service vehicles. (Did you know they take their own cars everywhere they go? I didn't...)  They were here because the Vice President , Joe Biden, was here today. They blocked off roads and made it clear for him to travel to St Louis for some fund raising shindig, and to the Arch.  I got caught in one of the roadblocks today   ... but just for a little bit, the police were helpful, asking where I was headed and telling me to make a U-turn and go back this way and that. I still got caught on the other end of it for about 15 minutes, and could see the motorcade going down the road. This is pretty exciting stuff for us country folk.  lol  Flashing lights, helicopters, fun in the rain.

  So...that's the news from mudville.  I made a big pot of 5 bean turkey chili today for supper as it is definitely soup weather. I turned off the AC, opened the windows and felt the chill.  Today it felt good after yesterday's sweltering humid 87.  Tomorrow it will probably feel cold.  lol

  I can hear the  intruders out there yowling.  If they're hungry, there are plenty of mice to catch. They look healthy enough, but I really do not want any more cats. I already have 4 and that is adequate. Stay tuned...more to come in the saga of the abandoned kitties...'s midnight and I think I am about ready for bed.  I have a headache niggling around the edges of my skull.  From no caffeine, perhaps...from just tired maybe.  Sweet dreams, y'all...


Friday, May 9, 2014

...and the wheel of life keeps on turnin'...

 I am so sad to read of the loss of one of my favorite bloggers, Annie's Granny... Carol's last weeks and months since her cancer diagnosis were filled with the love of friends and family, and that's maybe as good as it gets. She died May 7th, surrounded by her family, passing peacefully into her next great garden adventure.  She will be missed, ever the intrepid gardener, loving wife, grandmother, sister and aunt.  

  Goodbye dear one.


Been a whirlwind around here ... nothing particularly big going on. My friend Dave's ashes were scattered by his partner and long time friends. There will be a gathering this Saturday to celebrate his life.

 Some friends of mine are finally tying the knot after living together for 6 years, so at the end of the month we will have a wedding to attend.  My friends daughter had her beautiful baby boy a week ago and everyone is over the moon, as you'd expect. Other friends are hanging it up after about 6 years together, unable to make their marriage work. Graduations,  going on too--2 women I know just graduated from nursing school on Wednesday.  Lots of activity...and I am so grateful for my boring little life. SO grateful.

  The big old wheel just keeps on turning...We're born, we make a life, we die. It never changes.


 I am back on track with the diet, and have lost 4 pounds since Monday.  Feel much better today, after 2 days of sugar and caffeine withdrawal.  I broke down and had a cup of earl Grey tea yesterday and it perked me right up.  lol  The food list for Wed and Thurs is a very limited one and that is the hardest 2 days of this diet. I made it through somehow.  By the skin of my teeth and 2 very long middle of the day naps. lol  Yesterday I was home all day (Yay !!) and got a lot of cleaning done that was way overdue.  It's that time of year when the elm trees start releasing all those little amoeba like seed pods which are EVERYWHERE--in the gazillions-- and now the maples are sending out all their little whirligigs too.  I swept down the back deck and half an hour later you couldn't tell. Same with the front porch. And because I was vacuuming the house and mopping floors, I had to do it, even though I knew it was futile.   It looked like it was snowing outside with all those damned things floating around.  And then, after my house was all cleaned, the dog blankets were all washed, the couches and chairs all vacuumed, the floors spic and span...every time I turned around, I would find more of those elm seed pods .  AARRRGGGHHHH  !!!!!!  It was like they were falling out of my butt.  I know they were probably falling out of my hair, because every time I had to go outside I was brushing them off me. (BTW--I go through this every year.) The people and the dogs and the cats all track them back in.  Sigh....

  It was supposed to storm last night and rain all day today. It LOOKED like it was going to storm last night...and the winds came up and cooled us off, but the water part never materialized.  And it isn't raining today yet either, save for a few sprinkles when I went out this morning to loose the chooks.  It got really hot and humid yesterday, and at one point in the late afternoon, it was one degree hotter outside than it was in my house.  I am fighting turning on the's not even the middle of May yet !!!!!  I almost broke down and turned it on, because I was about to start cooking supper and that was going to make it even hotter...when I realized that the condenser was still wrapped up like a Christmas present from the winter, so I didn't.   After the Irishman got home from work, he went out and took the covers all off and hosed it down and said it was ready.  I said I don't want to turn it on yet, and he said better to run it and see if it needs servicing now, than wait until it won't work and it's a hundred degrees outside.  Good point.  But then it started getting cloudy and windy and so it didn't get turned on  after all. But as soon as it heats up again--it's ready.  lol

  Alrighty. It's after 9 now and I've been up for 3 hours. Had a good breakfast with 2 eggs, Ezekial Sprouted grain toast and half a grapefruit. And a big glass of water. And yes...a mug of coffee. And boy--does it taste good.

 Have a grand day...and tell the people you love that you love them. Don't ever miss that chance.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Springing into summer

 Looks like "spring " is going to be a short lived springboard into summer. My cousin (who lives in Wichita)  said that they had 102 yesterday. It was only in high 80's here, even hotter tomorrow. Then maybe rain. Yikes. But at least there's no snow. 

 Been the same old routine around here with chiropractors and physical therapy and stuff. Only twice a week now and moving the chiro down to only once starting next week I think. Yay.  I need to be home a little more. Today is my volunteer day down at the AA office, and before that I am going to pick up someone who's just out of detox and waiting to get into a rehab ad go to the noon meeting. I've arranged for another of the women I work with who is kinda new to meet us there and she will take her home and I will go the other direction to the office.  That means that most of this day will be shot, lol. My floors are in dire need of vacuuming, the blueberries need weeding and fertilizing and the garden needs working. Oh well.  I'd say there's always tomorrow, but tomorrow I am meeting up with a woman I grew up with for lunch. We were pregnant together and both had boys. I haven't seen her in about 37 years or more.  Can't wait for that ! It will still keep me not getting much done around here. Oh well. There's always Thursday.  lol

 It's absolutely gorgeous outside this morning. My yard finally got mowed, mostly by the Irishman and partly by me.  (Yes, that was a mistake). I could barely move afterwards, because of course, the riding mower wasn't working so I used the regular mower. I soaked in a tub of Epsom salts and baking soda that night. That helped some. That was  Sunday, since Saturday we were gone most of the day. Speaking of Saturday, we went down to Cahokia Mounds to hear a Choctaw storyteller by the name of Tim Tingle from Oklahoma. He was there as a part of the 35th annual storytellers gathering hosted by the University of Missouri at St Louis.  The Irishman stayed afterwards and hiked a bit and then went across the river to UMSL for the evening's grand finale. I came home and took care of critters, had dinner and watched a movie.  Sunday morning we were up early and off to a meeting to see a young woman get her 1 year anniversary coin and then we had Chinese lunch and came home.  It was Sunday that we got a little yard work done finally.  Sigh...there's just so much to

  Last evening after supper, we sat out on the front porch in the rocking chairs soaking in the beautiful weather. At least 2 Ruby Throated Hummingbirds were curious enough to come buzzing around, with the usual display of Cardinals and Titmouse, Junko and Wrens. The sparrows are building nests in a couple of the bird houses. Sunday I got the wisteria all chopped and the Rose of Sharon trimmed (I waited too late to really prune them--they were budding out leaves like crazy). So the yard is looking really nice for a minute. I love spring with all the different shades of greens...

  We do seem to be having an explosion of ticks already this year.  YUCK.  You'd think that a harsh winter like we just had would help to control the populations of some of these bugs, but those and the big carpenter bees are EVERYWHERE.

  Okay--a few things to do before I have to vacate the premises here. One of them is get dressed. lol The dogs and the chickens need their water bowls refilled.  I have to pack some food to take with me for my snack and lunch while I'm out all day. (Yes, I started back on the Fast metabolism Diet yesterday. Finally.)  Trying to get back in the habit of eating every 3-4 hours. And no caffeine and no sugar and no wheat.  Sigh...

  Happy Tuesday, everyone !!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

More Elegant Blessings...

  A quiet evening at home by myself. The perfect time to get the news that my friend Dave has lost his battle with cancer this morning. Perfect because it has afforded me a little time to grieve, to contemplate, to sing a song of passages in the back yard, my face turned to the sun. I am glad it is done for him. It has been a very hard road, both for him and his loved ones. By the time he was diagnosed, it was Stage 4 and there wasn't a lot of hope, as these things go.  His partner accompanied him through these final months, made some things happen (with a little help, of course)...he got to ride in a DeLorean, something he had always wanted to do. He got to see Niagara Falls. He traveled to Hawaii to see an old friend one last time.  Old friends and not so old friends got to rally round him and love him and help out when needed and talk about important things, like rock and roll and misspent youths.  He leaves behind 2 children, 17 and 12 (I think) and his partner Kim.  My love and prayers go out to them.

  These events always leave us thinking about all the what ifs, all the unexpected tragedies and blessings in out lives. Several days ago the friend of a friend took his own life. On the outside a man who had everything. Apparently not so much on the inside.  My friend is shocked, as people are wont to be when a loved one kills themselves. And as is often the case, we think, I should have paid more attention. I should have reached out. I should have said I love you more than I did. We've all felt like that at one time or another. And later, we go back to being the same people we were, doing the same things we've always done. Pain erases itself, subtly, leaving dark spaces where light use to be and that delicious anesthesia that takes away the jarring memories and replaces then with a soft, telling, grief.

  I few years ago I got involved in a little (big) project called The World Needs More Love Letters      I did it on a rather small scale compared to some, but I did it faithfully.  Every week I would write X number of little love letters...words of encouragement to tuck here and there for random people to find and read. Sometimes my own words, sometimes an uplifting verse or poem. I would tuck them into grocery aisles, between bottles of salad dressing. I would put them between the slats of a park bench. I would tuck them into a book at the library. I put some into the hymnals at church. Anyplace I could think of to stash a little love.  It's very true that the world needs more love letters. We need more lovers. We need more love. More of these things and less of the things that seem to be woefully abundant...things like hate and fear and sorrow.  I never heard about anyone finding any of my letters, but I would go back and check every once in a while and they would be gone, so I know they were being found. The act of my writing these love letters changed me profoundly.  Lots of times in my life I have suffered from hurt and misfortune and frustration. I understand how that feels. Every once in a while, someone would cross my path and listen when I needed it or say just the one right thing that I needed to hear. Or even just be my own personal cheerleader.  And it made all the difference in the world. I would write these little love letters, imagine someone finding one when they were in their darkest hour, and maybe it would feel like a blessing had just dropped into their lap out of nowhere. And it would would make me smile, and it would make my heart grow a little bigger and I would imagine that maybe I was making a small difference in this big crazy world we live in.

  Sometimes we need to write love letters to ourselves. To our children. To our spouses. To our parents.  To our friends.  The World Needs More Love Letters.

  A couple of weeks ago, I was able to go sit with my friend at the hospital for a few hours. We talked some. I read to him a little. I watched him sleep, his body wracked with tremors and pain, even in repose.  A week or so later, I got to bake him a raspberry pie that he was craving.  Small acts of love. 

I am grateful that I got to do these small things. I am grateful that my last memories of my friend are these.  NO regrets. No dramatic emotions. Just consideration of the Elegant Blessing of Death, that his pain is gone, his suffering is over and he is free as a bird to traverse the heavens and find his way Over the Rainbow.

 On to the next adventure, David.  Ever Onward.