Friday, November 27, 2015

...and let the games begin...

All the little towns around here have put up their Christmas decorations this past week.  Lots of yards are decorated with grizzly ropes of lights and inflatable santas and reindeer and Disney characters. (All of which look particularly gruesome in the daytime when nothing is lit and the inflatables  become partially deflatables.) Today is the craziest shopping day of the year I understand, although I have never once in my 62 years on the planet taken part in it. Today will be no different.

I don't have to buy a lot of gifts anyway, so generally any shopping I do is around 2-3 days before the big day itself.  There might be a couple of things I buy online before that, but not much. I love to cook around the holidays (of course I do) and we usually host a big party at our house sometime in the middle of the month for all the misfits like me who are members of the same tribe. I should probably start planning that soon. God--I am the queen of the last minute planners...

I woke up to a rainy day here on the prairie. It was supposed to rain yesterday, but didn't. The cloud cover kept last night's temperatures warm and the furnace hasn't kicked on for quite a while.  I was gone about half the day yesterday (maybe not quite that much). Came home and laid around and read and then had supper with my son. It was nice and we watched a movie and I  was amazed at how much I enjoyed the solitude after he left. The Irishman is in Wisconsin visiting his father, so all the dogs and half the cats are sleeping with me at night.  The youngest dog, Bella, keeps sitting on the couch looking out the window waiting for him to come home from work. lol He'll be back on Sunday. He called yesterday and said he had just come back from a walk in the snow.  Most of his siblings didn't come for the dinner and he was a little saddened that he might not get the chance to see them too. Our Thanksgiving here was a little fractured and unusual as well. We didn't get together as a family. Sister-in-law too ill to tolerate a lot of noise and chaos, baby sister's kids both with their in-laws (they are having a family dinner today--I might stop by since I'll be down that way for PT this afternoon).  I spent the noon meal with a group of sober alcoholics at a club where they always put on a big Thanksgiving meal for the people who have nowhere to go. It was fun. I took a crockpot corn dish and a pumpkin crunch dessert. Stayed for the meeting afterwards and then came home and hit the couch and heating pad. My right shoulder/neck is hurting...not sure if I slept crooked or pulled something, but it's a bugger. I may just skip PT ... it is really hurting. Last night I put alternating ice and heat on it, used my TENS unit on it and even slathered it with Cryoderm (like Biofreeze). It still hurts this morning...maybe not quite as bad as last night. 

I do need some coffee.  I made the last pot of my Starbucks Sumatran beans this morning, but there is no way I am going to brave the rain and traffic to go to the college town 20 miles from here to get some. lol I'll have some leftover in the morning and drink it cold...and will go pick beans up tomorrow.  lol

I never put out my Christmas decorations until the second week of  December. And by decorations, I mean all the mish mash of stuff I have that does NOT include outside lights or inflatable Santas. I do have evergreens that hang on my front porch railings and a few pieces of outside wooden art that people have given me over the years. I do have a collection of porcelain  Santas,  shelf size and one big one. I have several pieces of  Odd other culture decorations ...I have my beloved Gifting Stags,,,lots of greenery and pinecones and bird nests and sea shells --you know--nature stuff.  Winter Solstice stuff.  One older Nativity set.   And of course, my little fiber optic tree that cats can't climb on and tear down and break ornaments. That reminds me of a lava lamp. lol

Just went out and loosed the chickens. They had 3 eggs for me. We have a heat lamp in the coop that is on a thermal cube, so that when the weather gets cold it comes on. It's too warm today (damp and chilly, but not heat lamp chilly). lol So it's really dark and gloomy out there. Especially inside the coop.  I have a leak in my front bathroom where the exhaust fan never was...there's a new leak in my bedroom closet, but it isn't too bad. We need a new roof but can't afford it, so we patch and re-patch and hope for the best. And keep small tubs and pails under the drips. Such is life...

 Alright ... I am going to a meeting at noon (unless I change my mind) and will spend some time with a friend later today then I'm home and into my snuggle fleece pants and sweatshirt to hunker down for the evening. I started re-reading A Yellow Raft on Blue Water by Micheal Dorris last night. He was such a talented man and wrote several pieces and a book on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He was married to author  Louise Erdrich and they even co-wrote a couple of books. 

**Michael Dorris graduated from Georgetown University in 1967 and earned a Masters Degree in anthropology from Yale. His Native American ancestry (he was part Modoc Indian) led him to found a Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College, where he began teaching in 1972. He also adopted three Native American children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). He later married novelist Louise Erdrich and had three biological children. He published 14 books, including 'A Yellow Raft in Blue Water' (1987) and 'The Broken Cord' (1989). The latter book was an account of the family's struggles with FAS, and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dorris won great respect for having adopted three FAS children; at that time, little was known about the condition, or what to expect when parenting a FAS child, and Dorris' work put FAS on the map. However, Dorris suffered from severe depression, and he and Erdrich separated in 1996. In 1997, he committed suicide.**

Off into the day I go...time for breakfast.


Friday, November 20, 2015

There once was a girl from Nantuckett...

(Well...there probably was, but it wasn't me...)

 It's a jazzy kind of Friday.  I'm doing laundry, and have a list of stuff to do because my brother and sister-in-law and niece are coming up tomorrow from southern Illinois for a visit.  I haven't seen them for a while, so that will be nice. My house, on the other hand, is still in various stages of recovery from not doing any housework for the past months when I was either a) in so much pain I couldn't walk) or b) recovering from a total knee replacement. Believe me...even though I have doing little things of late trying to find some kind of order in the can barely tell. I have to go out and sweep the front porch again because I vacuumed yesterday but the dogs (and their man) keep tracking so much back in every time they go out you can't tell.  Sigh...that's my life.  lol

  The weather is turning cooler and they are predicting snow on Saturday. Probably just too much milk and bread piling up on the store shelves. It is getting down to something crazy like 19 tonight, so I guess anythings possible. But 2 days ago it was 75. Go figure. Whatever happens, I don't care. The only reason I have to go out is to physical therapy and that will only be another week or so.

  The Irishman is going to spend Thanksgiving with his family in Wisconsin. I am staying home. My sister-in-law is feeling very badly and might be nearing the final stages of brain cancer. They are trying the last hurrah on her and have said that after this, there is nothing else to try. She cannot tolerate a lot of noise and chaos, so there won't be a big get together this year.  I'll probably stay home and have a nice quiet day with my son and we will eat until we die. lol  One of my nieces may come with her children, but that isn't a sure thing. Apparently "everyone hates her" and she isn't doing anything for the holidays. People hate me too, but that doesn't stop me. lol

   My friends husband died a couple of days ago of another cancer. I am so sad and relieved for her...she has lost the love of her life, but his suffering is finally over. This is how I will grieve with my brother too, when that time comes.  Cancer seems to be everywhere these days...

    Well, I have done some cleaning...different slipcovers for the chair and loveseat. Swept the porch (this is the only time of year I am not absolutely in love wth my yard and all the trees). Cleaned the windows behind the couch where the big dog leaves a mess with her nosiness., Got a couple of loads of laundry finished and one more to go. Started clearing up the island and getting ready to slice mushrooms for dehydrating. (Sonny boy brought me in a gorgeous 7 lb. half of a hen of the woods he found.) and we can't eat all of it quick enough, so I always dehydrate some to use in winter soups and stews.

  Gotta leave in about an hour for my reschedules physical therapy session. Try to get at least one more thing done before then...

  Hope your day is fun too !!  


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mid- November and the butterflies and small snakes are everywhere

 Today's temps were in the low seventies. Sunny and beautiful. Tonight the rains are coming in for a 2 day visit. The night time temps will stay in the low 50's.  Daytime temps around 60.  We are about to be swallowed up by all the leaves, I sweep and sweep and they come back like magic. The beautiful dance of falling leaves of gold and red and orange is something that never fails to enchant me. 

  I had 2 business meetings today, one that started at noon and the other at 2 that lasted until 4. So ready to retreat home to my sanctuary when it was over !  Before I left the house I had washed dried and put away one load of laundry, washed the second load and put in the dryer, and started the 3rd load. I also made a batch of granola bars for the Irishman's lunches, and got the bars all cut and wrapped. Felt like a productive day. Tomorrow I have to go early to the doc for my INR monitoring blood draw then come back home and start baking french bread (2 loaves) and soft garlic breadsticks (probably about 2 dozen). We are having a pasta potluck and I am also making a couple of pasta dishes. Gonna make a simple chili-mac because it's a local favorite and I just happen to have a lot of leftover chili (on purpose) in the fridge. Not sure about the other dish...either Aglio y Olio  OR  Porcini stuffed tortellini with a butternut squash sauce.  Or perhaps an Alfredo, but that is almost a little too rich. I'll decide once I start cooking. lol  A rainy day will be good cooking weather.

  My chickens have gone insane. If I didn't know better, I' think they were taking LSD.  They repeatedly kick over the waterer that sits inside the coop (it's a gallon size and very heavy when full) and make a complete mess of the floor. They kick all the straw out of the nesting box and insist on laying eggs  willy-nilly all over the place. Then they turn the box upside down . They will lay only one or two eggs a day for a week and suddenly lay 6 every day for 2 weeks. I am seriously considering therapy. For them or me--not sure. lol

  We are considering raising a pig next spring. It would be in a small enclosure back of the property near the pond (but not too near). It sounds like a good idea, but we'll see. 

  The Irishman is going to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving again this year and I am staying here with my family.  Not sure what we are doing, but it may not include my sister in law. She is becoming increasingly sensitive to noise and chaos, and we are a big loud bunch. I have invited my brothers daughter and her kids to come here, as they are basically alone since my brother moved to Georgia. Add to that strained family relations and well...they are still my family and she seems so sad sometimes... There is lots of love to go around. May invite a couple of other friends that have no family nearby...we'll see.  Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner--I'd better get a move on !  I have lost track of this thing you call time...

  No matter what or who--I am cooking a turkey. and that is that.  lol

  The midnight hour beckons and I am tired. Sleeping earlier these days since the knee replacement I started going to bed around 10, but am slowly staying up later and later.Hmmm...good or bad ?  Who knows. 

  Sleep well dear ones...   Namaste.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lost in the woods...

  She's been lost in the labyrinthe of her crazy cockamamie world...  lol   But she's still the queen of Quite A Lot.

 I finally had the knee replacement surgery, for one thing.   I will be having the other one done too within the next 6 months sometime. Depends on the other stuff going on. I had some issues with blood clots  from the surgery, and am taking  Coumadin and trying to find the right dosage to get things leveled out and the numbers of the PT/INR where they are supposed to be. 

             [The prothrombin time (PT) is used, often along with a partial thromboplastin time (PTT), to help diagnose the cause of unexplained bleeding or inappropriate blood clots. The international normalized ratio (INR) is a calculation based on results of a PT and is used to monitor individuals who are being treated with the blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant) warfarin (Coumadin®).]

 It seems I  vacillate between clot city and hemophilia. lol  I had a pulmonary embolism while at the hospital. It was a small clot in my lung (never life threatening) and was addressed immediately. I spent a week at the most amazing hospital ...4 days longer than I was supposed to.  The knee replacement itself went exceptionally well and I am now at 6 weeks post-op and am walking without even a cane. The relief and lack of knee pain is so amazing I am begging them to hurry and do the other. lol  

  This is a pretty brutal surgery. They cut the femur bone in 2 places (above and below the knee), manipulate the muscles and tendons and out with the old and in with new. The pain from the surgery is pretty bad,--who knew cutting your bones in half would hurt so much ??  Those ladies at the circus make it look so easy when they are sawed in half...  

 Anyway I had home health for a few weeks because it was just too hard to get rides and to appts (exhausting) because I live out here on Honeysuckle Hill. I have to have that blood monitoring done weekly, so it was easier for them to come here and the physical therapist too. But now I am driving again and back in life. Have a few weeks of outpatient PT and then I'm finished with that. Very happy to have finally taken care of everyone said I would be.

  I have stopped writing everything for a while here.  No blogging, no magazine stuff, nothing. I wasn't even on the computer at all for days at a time. Been lots of other stuff going sister-in-law's brain cancer is in full progression it seems and we are all dealing with that.  Within a 6 month period 8 people I knew died, one of whom was a family member. The weather was a nightmare here this year and I had no garden to can. Imagine what THAT has done to me.  lol  I did buy some tomatoes and can some salsa. have canned some Cowboy Candy. Have frozen what few bell peppers made it. It was awful.  By next spring my pantry will be empty. Thank goodness I have canned so much the past 2 years when the gardens were bountiful.  One of my peach trees died. My apple and pear tree were hit by fire blight and are going to have to come down. The county sprayed and killed ALL the blackberries along the front of my property one day when I was guys working for them and didn't understand about the wrath of Annie (they do now).

  All in all--a very strange year indeed.

  Hopefully I will get back on track. I have missed you all so much. Missed writing. Missed reading your blogs. I feel like I am coming out of an intensive hibernation. On a bright note,  I did have 2 of my recipes PAID FOR and PUBLISHED !!!!!!!!  by Grit magazine in a special bread issue they put together. As soon as I can find one of my copies, I'll take some pics and show you.  Very proud !  lol  

  You can imagine the disarray of my house after several  months of not being able to do my householding chores. First because I could barely walk there at the end and then the recovery from surgery.  Slowly but surely I am making my way through it. lol