Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December's end...

 A rough ending to a rough year. Looking ahead to some easier times, hopefully.  We're in the middle of a vehicle crisis right now that's costing us in the neighborhood of 1200 dollars...not a lot by some standards, but pretty much a wipeout by ours. Just when it seemed we were starting to get a little caught up...

 Isn't that the way of it ?  This is one of the VERY few times I wish we had a credit card...just to soften the edges a little.  But...but.  We made that decision and it's best to stick by it. Although, we may be re-visiting it soon. Who knows.  We have only 4 more truck payments left and we could be rid of that.  The truck is in the shop...originally for a ball joint, alignment and tie rod job. To the tune of only 400 dollars, which is easily doable. Not pleasant and not ideal, but doable.  And after that was done, the mechanic took it out for a test drive and came directly back to his garage and called us after putting it back up on the lift. The rear end is shot. He called this morning, found another one and parts and labor for what needs doing is another 800 dollars, Sigh...We trust him, so don't immediately think what  comes to mind. When we took it in, we had had it at another place who quoted us 900 for the 400 job he did. That's what we told him needed repaired and so he didn't even look at anything else. 

 I'm tired. It's been a rough year.  If one more thing happens, I swear I''ll go over the edge. lol Just let this year be over.


  On a bright note...we had a nice quiet Christmas and party on the 20th was a huge success.  There were about 35 people in my home, and we ate like big dogs and talked and laughed and finally the last of them left about 10:30.  (Note to self: if I ever do this again, set a start and END time.)  It was great fun and everyone had a good time. I was exhausted for 2 days afterwards. lol

  The temperatures have been dropping the past few days and it's finally feeling like winter. Xmas day was about 50 degrees. Crazy. Still no snow here, but Sunday night we had a seriously hard frost that almost looked like snow, and completely froze the pond.  Brrrr....

  I have a MEN blog to get written (almost late) and a nap to take (only slept 4 hours last night, from 5 AM til 10 AM.  Went to bed but couldn't sleep, and the Irishman was snoring like a freight train and that was the final straw. SO, I just got back up and waited for his alarm to go off. lol Then I stumbled back to bed and was asleep within an hour. SO really, only 4 hours of sleep I guess.

  Need to get something going for supper too...although it might just be breakfast.tonight. Not sure. 

 Have to go up and make a partial payment to the mechanic when he gets home from work (he's having to drive my car, so I am semi-stranded), but at least he's only working 8 hour shifts this week because of the holiday.  Also have to make the 20 minute drive to the credit union to get some money out of the savings account. He gets paid this week, but not til Friday.

  I seem to be having some side effects from the bp medication. Why now? I've been on this same one for almost 4 months.  Sheesh... strange hissing/ringing in my ears. Palpitations. Silly stuff.  One of my nursey friends said it was probably the meds, so I looked it up on the Mayo clinic website and sure enough, there it was. Crikey.

 Wanted to stop in here and wish you ll a very Happy New Year. Didn't realize it's been over 2 weeks since I posted. Oops...I'll do better next year.   (wink)

  Blessings of prosperity and peace on us all....


Friday, December 19, 2014

Heavens to Betsey ! December has taken over my life ! !

The weather has been up and down, some cold, some warm, some snow, some sun. I have been overrun with the spirit of the Holydays this year.  I've decorated my house, my garage, my dog.  Anything that holds still long enough has a ribbon or a garland or an ornament on it. lol  I am throwing a party (tomorrow night, in fact). Today I will start the cooking for that...4 soups, assorted breads and relish trays, crackers, cream cheese plates with red pepper jelly on one half and jalapeno jelly on the other.  Chips and salsa.   I've instructed the guests to bring cookies and candies.  And a couple to bring more bread and crackers. Just in case. lol

  I've been cleaning the past couple of days. No point in getting too far ahead of myself in that department, or by the time of the party it won't look like anything was cleaned at all.  Yesterday my son came over and helped me take the teapot collection off the top if the cabinets so I could scrub the greasy dusty kitchen dirt off of them. Then he scrubbed the fronts of the cabinets. I finished up cleaning and organizing the shelves. Finding lots of stuff to throw away.  The worst of it was the bottom lazy susan ...in the corner where cabinets meet, I have 2 lazy susans, one on top and one on bottom.  The bottom one was really dirty. It's where most of the spices are, so it's used a lot. It's also right by the stove...you can imagine. I still have a long list of things to do...one of the reasons I'm up so early. Been up since 4 AM, got the Irishman off to work, and am finishing my coffee. Then I'll get busy. I'll make 2 of the soups today and the other 2 tomorrow morning.  I've been digging out my crystal relish plates.  I have most of the stuff I need I think.  As usual, it will be what it will be. I'll either get everything on my list done or I won't. The guest list has gotten a little out of hand, and I need to call my neighbors and make sure we can use the lot next door for parking, (They are coming too.) There could be anywhere from 20-40 people here, as the past couple of days, people have been asking if they can bring a friend, or can they bring their kids... and of course I say yes. It should be fun.  I'm charging my camera battery, so there should be pictures galore to share next week...once I recover.  lol  And, it looks like the weather is going to cooperate, with temps in the low 40's for Saturday. 

  I belong to a group that is a bunch of women of assorted ages that gets together once a month for a Goddess Circle.  We were getting together on the solstice, which is Sunday, and now they've changed it to today. That is going to throw a bit of a wrench in my plans... part of the reason I'm up so early. I would skip it, but I promised to take a woman with me this month and she's so excited I don't dare not go. lol  It'll be fine...I'm sure that long about 3 PM I'm gonna be ready for a break. lol   Everything will be fine...the house looks very festive and clean enough (almost). I have lots of candles to light and  there will be so many people here that no one will notice that I haven't cleaned the carpets.  I'm counting on those clean shiny sparkly tea pots directing everyone's attention up high, and away from the floor.  lol

  Is everyone ready for Xmas ?  I don't have too much to buy. I already have the Irishman's.  The boy doesn't want anything, so I'm going to get him a few 25 dollar gas cards, lol.    And as for me, I told the Irishman that all I really want is an Excalibur dehydrator for my birthday and Xmas present combined, and I want to find a deal on it.  So, I am in charge of that and will probably wait until after the 25th to even look. I did hint that he could buy me a new fish tank filter today when he stops at the pet store today. He just shook his head. lol  (Am I so weird? )  I have 2 filters on my big tank (which has too many fish in it), but one of them is an older smaller one and I would really like to have another Whispersoft. They are a pretty good filter. And I'm having a little trouble clearing up the water after this last tank cleaning.  sigh.... it's cloudy. I like it sparkling clear.

  Posted my 4th Mother Earth News blog two days ago.  It's so fun doing this....and this one has already had  122 shares.  YeeHaw. I'm still on cloud 9 over all this,  as you can tell.

  Things will quiet down here at Honeysuckle Hill after Saturday. I have a friend coming down from the state capitol and she's going to spend the night Saturday. That will be fun.  We'll have some time on Sunday to sip tea and catch up.  Hopefully she'll be able to come down a little early on Saturday too. That would be nice.

 The seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  The canning jars are starting to stack up again. At one point I was out of empty jars. We've been eating out of the pantry consistently.  It's still full.  lol  All the soups I am making are coming directly out of my food storage...canned, frozen and dehydrated. This party is really just a food show.  LOL  I'll be pulling pickled beets, pickled okra, pickled peppers, pickled green tomatoes and dilly green beans out of the pantry for the relish trays.  The daughter (15) of one of my friends asked me on Facebook if I would please make that yummy spice cake that I made for her mom's birthday for her since she's coming to my party.  It's the old fashioned oatmeal spice cake and it's fast, easy and cheap. of course I will !  Guess I have to fit that into today's stuff too.  It will only take a minute...and will be a nice change from Xmas cookies if anybody wants it. Just so she gets first dibs, she won't mind sharing.  lol  Looks like we're going to have an interesting range of ages of kids...I was going to make some Xmas stockings for them, but suddenly the number was too big for me to handle.  So, I guess I'll just buy some candy canes and let it go. 

  So, time to get busy. Merry Christmas to you all, in case I don't get back here before then.




Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Blissful Sunday

  It's a quiet Sunday morning here on Honeysuckle Hill. The Irishman was up early to make a trip down south for an assembly and generally, when he's up, I'm up.   So I've been up as well, since the butt crack of dawn (4 AM).  Might be a nap in my future. lol

  I've made a list of things I want to get done today that include mundane things, like making the bed and cleaning the kitchen. More extensive messes, like cleaning the aquarium.  And fun stuff, like writing in the blogs.  I have to go to another town and pick someone up later today, around 3, and so I won't have a lot of time to do a lot of things today. But that's okay.

 I can't tell you how strange my morning routines are ...unsettling almost, now that I don't have chickens to be 2 focal points of the day. Not that I still don't have enough to do, with 3 dogs and 4 cats and a husband.  It just seems so...different.  I can't wait til spring to have chickens again. They ground me.

 The weather here has been very erratic, with temps in the 20's or 65.  It has been sunny, raining, foggy and frosted. And we had snow flurries one day. It's enough to make your head spin. But at least we're not experiencing  some of the weather around the country.  Thankful for that. The past couple of days have been so grey and bleak that you almost don't want to get out of bed.  A couple of people I know that suffer from depression are having a really hard time. More things for me to be grateful for   1 ) that I don't suffer from that and 2) that I have friends.

  Having a big bowl of leftover beef stew for breakfast. Because I can. lol  It's really hitting the spot too.  Do you ever eat weird  (to some) breakfasts ? I remember in my early 20's I was on a kick of eating big green salads for breakfast. I was a waitress in this small town in northern California, and I would bicycle to work every morning (about 20 miles as I zigzagged through the pear orchards) and get to work early and go in the kitchen and make myself a giant salad of lettuces and eggs and cheese and veggies and wheat toast. lol  My boss would say--Geez--let me make you an omelet! But nope--I wanted a light and healthy breakfast to keep me going.  Boy, to have that kind of energy again !  Then I would work a hectic 8 hour shift and bicycle back home again.  Needles to say, I weighed in at about 102 soaking wet back then.  lol

  Well, I'm doing it.  Planning a big Christ,mas party here at my little house. So far about 25 people have rsvp'd to say they're coming. I'm going to do a soup  and breads buffet, with whatever little accoutrements I deem necessary (relish trays, chips and salsas, vegetable snack plates) and have asked everyone to bring holiday cookies or candy. I'll have coffees, hot chocolate and hot spiced cider for beverages.   I'm going to enlist the aid of a friend who's pretty crafty and make up some Christmas stockings for the kiddos that will be here.  It will be fun. Another friend is going to help me get the house ready (she cleans for extra $$) . Hopefully today and tomorrow I will get the boy to help me get the Holyday decorations in the house from storage.  I don't want to put them up unti I get some cleaning done though, so there's no big hurry for that.

  Speaking of that boy...bless his heart. This past week he took his poor old mom's car and put new brakes on the back and repaired a cover under the front end that had come loose and was hanging down to the road almost. He's a handy guy to have around...

  Alrighty then. Now that I've eaten that bowl of stew I feel like going back to bed. lol  That didn't work so well. Guess I'll get off here and get moving....or go lay down.  We'll see...


Monday, December 1, 2014

Buh-Bye, November !

End of the road and beginning of the end. 2014 has been an interesting year, that much I know.   Lots of ups and downs and many many lessons.  So here we come December...today is the first day  of the last 31 days of the year. Sometimes it went flying by and sometimes it didn't seem like it was ever gonna be over. But, here we are.  

  Thanksgiving was lovely, at my brothers house who lives about 40 miles from me. Most of the gang was there, but lots were not. Had a couple of babies, a lot of old people and a few in between.  The food was good and the family time was even better. We got home to our fur babies before 6 PM, so that was good.  On Friday we were invited to a potluck with some friends...since I didn't have any leftovers to bring I went through the pantry and pulled out some jars and made a to-die-for carrot and sweet potato soup.  A cream soup with no dairy in it. With fresh ginger in it.  It was great--and I need to write that recipe down before I forget how I made it.  It was a fun time meeting lots of new people and seeing a few older friends--haven't known any of them terribly long.  It was fun, but I have to tell you...on the way home I looked at the Irishman and said..man, those kids made me feel really old. He laughed and said that he was pretty sure that the oldest of them all was about 20 years younger than he was.  Guess I just don't fit in as well anymore with the younger crowds.  In my head, anyway. lol There were lots of young children at this potluck too. I'd guess the age range for them was about 4 months to 10 years ?  LOTS of energy. It was fun watching them and not being responsible for any of them. lol And watching the dynamics of these children of young hippies (for lack of a better word).  What DO they call themselves ?  I'm out of the loop... Big brothers taunting little sisters, boys fashioning guns out of sticks, playing bad guys. Running and chasing and screaming and whispering...some things never change. Sent me back in my mind to the days when my son was little and we would all sit around watching the kids play at the farm. Getting muddy, running through the barns...just having a great time. Unfettered. Wild.  A long, long time  ago.   Sigh...

 It's Monday. And there are a million things I could be doing, but instead I'm fooling around on the cyber highway to nowhere.  I didn't do much yesterday besides some cooking.  Spent a lazy Sunday at home by myself, reading and resting. I did make a bread pudding with leftover Thanksgiving rolls and coconut milk. It turned out really great.  Then for supper I made a pot of Posole...an awesome pork and hominy stew seasoned with Mexican spices. The weather yesterday was perfect for it. It started out really nice and warm and then suddenly, in the middle of the afternoon changed it's mind and dropped over 20 degrees in an hour. It's been cold ever since. At about 2 AM we had a little sleet storm and the ice is still out there, because today's high is only about 32.  It went down into the 20's last night.   So, we dined and watched a movie and all was warm and comfy, both in our bellies and in our house.

 Tomorrow I go down for my service commitment, a 4 hour stint in a generally boring office, answering the occasional phone call, selling the occasional book.  I need to call and reschedule my chiropractor appointment that I cancelled last week. I guess. I've seen him now (a new guy) about 4 times (I think) maybe 5. The problem in my shoulder/neck/hands --whatever it is--doesn't seem to be getting any better. My hands and arms are getting so numb at night that it wakes me up.  I need sleep !  lol  Not to mention that it hurts...

 I don't think there is anything on the docket for this upcoming week, but I haven't turned the calendar over yet, so I could be wrong. lol   I need to start looking for a 2015 calendar too...the big one that lays flat on your desktop. I write the due date of bills on it and any appointments we have.  And any other pertinent data. Like paydays.  lol  I can usually find one at the dollar general, but I think last year I had to go to Office Depot to get one. Anyway... Not sure that I'm buying much of anything for Christmas prezzies...a few gas gift cards for my son and maybe a point and shoot digital camera for the Irishman.   We have reached that stage of life where we just really don't need much of anything. We'll have a nice dinner together and spend the day watching movies probably. Oh...and I am going to have a Christmas party this year I think. The Irishman's been wanting to do it and I keep dragging my feet. But it isn't really that much work...a couple of soups, some artisan breads and have everyone bring cookies. Hot spiced cider, hot chocolate and coffee for drinks.  I've been invited to a small party on the 14th, but so far that's the only thing happening I guess.  Methinks I'd better make a decision and get with the cleaning if it's going to happen. lol  My kitchen and office are really the only places in need of a serious cleaning, and in the kitchen it's mostly the cabinets.  Doors and shelves. Amazing how dirty they get when you only clean a couple of times a year. lol  A little Murphy's oil soap will work wonders. It's mostly getting the ambition to do it. lol  And then putting up some decorations. I never put them up before the second week of December, because I leave them up through my birthday, January 6th, which is the 12th Day of Christmas. Works out pretty good.  There have been Christmas decorations and lights up around here since 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  People just looking for some extra cheer, I reckon.  It's all good.

 OK--I'm outta here.  Stay warm and cozy through this wintry month, y'all.