Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rainy days are the best...

  Hello there. I've been missing in action the past couple of months, I know.  I'm starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf, so I won't even say that I'm going to do better, or get motivated or any of that. lol   It just is what it is. And today it's rainy -- a soft rain, thankfully --  and I have a touch of a cold,. so I am more than happy to stay indoors and putter.  I'll probably be lying around a bit and maybe even sleeping some.  I'm not real sick, and I'd just as soon not get that way. I started drinking Golden Milk when the first sore throat symptoms appeared 3 days ago.  It's a mixture of almond or coconut milk with turmeric, ginger, black pepper and honey. A great immune booster. An anti-inflammatory. Anti-oxidant.  So not only are the cold symptoms relieved, but my joints aren't hurting either.  The osteoarthritis has been one giant flare this summer and fall.  It's been a strange year...

  The garden wasn't much to speak of this year. Very little canning have I done, except for a few green beans and lots of pickled beets.  I have plans to can pinto and Great Northern beans in the near future. I have canned chicken breast too, about 10- 1.5 pint jars. Somebody has some beef roast on sale this week and I might buy some of that and can it too.  I have been dehydrating and freezing some mushrooms. In fact the dehydrator is full of the first of the years chicken of the woods right now and I need to jar that up. The dryer is stopped so there are clothes to fold. Something about today reminds me of that wonderful song by Carrie Newcomer, Holy As A Day Is Spent:

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

Shower heads 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
And cars that boom with passion's beat
And the check out girl, counting change
And the hands that shook my hands today

And hymns of geese fly overhead
And spread 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 fear
Like autumn leaves made 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, and the open book
Redemption everywhere I look

Unknowingly we slow our pace
In 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 so it goes...this life on Honeysuckle Hill. The laundry room ceiling collapsed a couple of months ago and yesterday was the final day of getting the roof replaced.  It has been a mess (still is out there, although I spent a part of the morning  picking up shingles and boards and plastic  from all over the yard) but now it won't leak (I pray) and the hammering and sawing has stopped. I didn't realize just how much I value the peace and quiet of my life. It has been stressful and expensive and daunting.   And now it is finished. The gutters still have to go back up, but the rest of it is done.

  So, feels like a soup day, with temp highs in the 60's.  Not sure what kind, but something. I made a Tuscan Tortellini soup last week and it was excellent. One of the many reasons I love this time of year.   Soup.   Yum.  

...Good to be back.  


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A hot summer's day...

 Not so hot really...mid eighties.  But the humidity is through the roof and the sun is shining brightly. 

  I've been busy all morning and trying to do about 3 things at once, which is always a sort of kerfluffle.  I'm dehydrating and cutting up watermelon. I'm cleaning up the mess in our bedroom and trying to get things ready before the carpet cleaners come next week. (Happy Mothers Day to me from my boyo).  I'm doing all the little day to day things that need doing (or at least thinking about doing them). The dogs go out, come in, go out and come back in.  lol  The chickens are crazy about the watermelon rinds, so I have made 3 trips out to the coop. 2 trips to the mailbox down at the end of the road (putting Netflix movies in to send back and retrieving the mail a couple of hours later. Junk mail, I might add-hardly worth the trip).   I am also getting ready to pulverize a bunch of the dried tomatoes I have in the pantry into powder, to use as a spice ingredient and as an addition to soups and stews, and get ready for this years tomato crop. I think I am going to have a bonanza--lots of them out there. I picked 3 bell peppers earlier, thinking I would make chicken fajitas for supper, but it turns out I have no small bags of chicken breasts...only one with about 6 breasts in it. I could make a giant batch, but I hate to do that, although the Irishman will always eat it in his lunch. Unless I can break them apart...hmmm...

  It's been a busy summer so far, with one thing and another. The weather has been strange as ever...extremely high temps and no rain for weeks...or deluges day after day. It has now dropped into the mid to high 80's, which is rather odd for the middle of July around these parts. But it is welcome.  I haven't done a bit of canning yet. Normally I would have been at least canning green beans since the last part of June, but not this year. The plants look great out there and are loaded with flowers, but still no beans.  Curiouser and curiouser. And so it goes...

 I feel like there's not much to talk about. I finally got my car road ready and a bearing went out ion the front hub. Getting it repaired next week.  It's still driveable, but makes a hell of a racket. I am ordering the AC control panel tonight and hopefully that will fix the AC problem. Everything considered, I am still happy with the purchase. Trying to stay on the sunny side of the street, lol.  

  I have a pot of partially cooked beets on the stove that I need to attend to...a gift from some friends...too much to eat and not enough to mess with canning, so I'll figure something out. lol  Trying to watch the sales as it's about time to restock the freezer with meat. I'm down to a few  packages of pork chops and some chicken. One store near me (that has a GREAT meat department) is having a sale on some beef, which I rarely buy, but just might look into this time. I think I have some canned pork in the pantry still too...I could fix bbq pork sandwiches for supper, couldn't I ? With a nice side salad and some Harvard beets. Ooooo...there's an idea.  I would barely have to cook if I do that.  With a nice ripe bowl of watermelon for dessert. 

  I love summer meals...


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Come out, come out...wherever you are...

   Somedays it feels as though I am in a tunnel, rushing forward through time...Dip, dodge, duck and dive. Life flying at me from all directions. And then, suddenly, it stops. Dead still. Unmoving.

 The shock from that is enough to throw a girl off her feed.I'm trying to think of anything that's happened the last few months that was so earth shattering that I'd stop blogging. But I can't. There wasn't anything really. I've spent the last months healing, recovering, and being a slow and contemplative kind of person. Sort of.  I've been laying low and hiding out some. I've been dealing with some other issues. My car blew the engine.(240K miles. It was bound to happen sooner or later).  It took me a whole month to get another car, because I wanted something I could buy outright and not have a car payment. Still trying to dig our way out from under the massive medical bills from the last 3 years. My choice to get this older used car...just tired of having to pinch every penny to make it through the month. So--reduced insurance bill and no car payment--works for me. lol

  My son's step brother had a 1997 Chevy malibu that he would sell me for 1100 dollars. Has had lots of work done on it and he wanted to do some other work too *brakes, water pump, etc) to make sure it was a good car for me. I appreciate that. But it took them a MONTH to get everything done.So I was stuck out here (more or less) in the sticks with no transportation to speak of. Amazingly enough--I didn't die. lol  I also didn't do much of anything else. Still recovering from February's knee replacement. Having some other health issues of late.  Some old stuff resurfacing, some new and exciting stuff (not).  Feeling face to face some days with being in my 60's. For instance, in about an hour I have a chiropractor appointment to try to deal with this damned occipital neuralgia that has been killing me for over a week now.  Had an appt last Wed too, and it didn't help much. I have dealt with this for years and usually it's a 2 or 3 day thing. Never lasts this long. My fear is that the degenerative discs in my neck are teetering on oblivion. Let's hope not. I am SO not up for another surgery right yet. And I have always said I would NEVER let them cut my neck, but this pain is pretty rough.  Blah.

 On a bright note, here is my new car...

That's $1100.oo car. Well, 1500.00 now, with the work I've had done in the past 2 days. But still... beats the heck out of 5 years of car payments. AND my insurance went down 5 dollars. lol Winner winner chicken dinner !!

 So, the day is winding down and the chiropractor is either killing me or curing me and right now I'm not sure which it is.  It still hurts, and he said it might for 24 hours. Seems the C-2 vertebrae and the C-1 vertebrae are twisted in different directions, causing the base of my skull to pinch the nerve. The pain is a little less intense than it was, I think. Ugh..

  I made a lovely vegetarian Pad Thai with peanuts and fresh basil for supper.  We ate and watched some Firefly and then took a little drive. When we came back, we walked into the backyard and watched the fireflies decorating the treetops like Xmas lights--it was breathtaking. Our little drive through the country saw lots of them in the fields and trees, as well as a Song Dog (coyote) trotting through the soybeans.  It was hot today and muggy and the garden is overgrown with weeds (well, the tomatoes anyway--everything else that got put in is mulched). The yard needs mowing and the house needs cleaning and some days it's so overwhelming I just want to stay in bed.  But...I don't.  I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trying to outwit Mother nature and keep my basic needs met.

  That's a full time job, sometimes...


Sunday, April 17, 2016

These Glorious Days

This is my Montmorency Cherry tree in full bloom.  It's beautiful and fuller every year.

 The good news is--the tree is thriving. The bad news (for us) is that the birds are still smarter and faster than we are, so I don't get much in the way of cherries.  lol

 It's that glorious time of year when the world is waking up from it's long winter slumber.  The lilies are pushing up through the rich black midwest dirt. The lilacs are full of heavy budded limbs that will burst forth any minute with their symphony of smell. The Canadian geese are coming in and laying their eggs across the pond...every morning like clockwork they show up circling and honking and scaring the chickens with their big-ness.  And everywhere you look, the largess of Mother Nature abounds. And I, for one, feel so thoroughly gifted by her bestowal, as if these irises bloom just for me. That this lilac offers up the heady aromas, just for me.  That the new growth of blackberries and raspberries and asparagus in my garden are here, just for me. 

  It's a good day to be alive. 

I have been trying to get back to a little more organization in my life. It feels as though I have been on a massive landslide the past year and a half.  And now here I am, at the bottom, and as that miracle of survival always does, I feel energized and elated by the very fact of my survival.  I want to do everything. I want to do nothing. I want to read more and whine less. I want to cook--COOK !! And I want to get my garden going and have all kinds of free fresh organic foods to COOK! and eat. lol In a moment of desperation, the other night I made sweet buttermilk biscuits to cover with fresh cut and lightly sweetened strawberries and called it shortcake like grandma used to make.  It was delicious...not as delicious as it will be in a month or two when the strawberries don't have to be trucked in from Florida or Mexico or somewhere equally exotic. But it surely did taste good nonetheless. 

 I was able to mow my front yard (most of it) for the first time this week and I think it has been almost 2 years since I was able to do that.  It was wonderful. Lots of folks don't like mowing (my husband) but I love it. I love the smell of cut grass, I love a good looking yard. I love where I live, and in a month or so, my yard will look like a private park...completely surrounded by trees and honeysuckle hedges, blackberry brambles and sassafras.  And I will sit out there in the middle of it and wonder at the beauty and read my books and eat my lunch. Or have my morning coffee. Or pray. There are lots of areas not filled in quite yet in front, but the ones that are were getting high, so I pulled out the mower and went to it. I cut the old wisteria all back too. Here's where she stands right now...

Feeling grateful today for the little things in life... hens that are laying, family that cares and blue skies and sunshine.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016's sort of spring-ish...

The weather has been pretty up and down...beautifully sunny or bleak and rainy.  Warm as all get out or so cold the heater keeps kicking on. We were supposed to have a hard freeze last night, but it was really a light one with temps down a little under 30.  It's crazy, but probably typical for April. I feel lucky that I haven't put anything in the ground

 I have finally passed that healing point where my knee and leg are not hurting all the time. Thank was getting old.  It's only been a month and a half since the surgery. Saw the doc, he said I'm right on track and he's pleased.  That relieved a lot of my anxiety about the muscle pain and looking at the x-rays helped too. Both knees looks awesome.  yay me.  

  Today , through the thoughtfulness of a friend, the help of another friend and the generosity of a new friend... I got hooked up with a woman who is selling her mother's house (she passed away in January) and had a cellar full of canning jars.  She boxed them up, drove an hour and a half to meet us in the middle and sold me 16 dozen quart jars for 3 dollars a dozen and 13 dozen pint jars for 2 dollars a dozen. With lots of decent rings too. My friend from here drove me to St Louis in her SUV which we packed them all into...the 4 of us had lunch and then we came home and unloaded close to 350 jars into my garage.  What a deal.  What a day ! I feel so blessed by the love and friendship of the women in my life. 

 The pollen count around here is through the roof and something is killing me. I have not had allergies in my life, but every few years HERE something comes around that knocks me for a loop.  I cannot imagine people who have to live with this every year !!  My nose is runny, my eyes watery, my throat scratchy and I am sneezing like crazy.  My head feels like it's stuffed with cotton. I stopped at the Walgreens and picked up some allergy stuff and just took one.  Some of these things knock me out, but I only took one and I guess we'll see. lol If suddenly I'm not making sense, you'll know why.  :)

   I got to go to a book release party tonight for a young man I know and it was so cool...He's not very old, maybe 30...and you couldn't ask for a more humble nicer guy. The book is about the heroin epidemic and his life story in all that. Especially close to my heart since I had a great nephew die of an overdose a couple of years ago and another one (nephew) that may be dead any day because he thinks it will never happen to him. Kids are dying every day, all over this country...and I hope that his book does well and maybe even saves a life .  You never know.  It takes a lot of courage to recover from heroin addiction and even more to tell about it.  and talent enough to write it. He has also done a play about it all and it played once and will be presented again at the local junior college at the end of the month. I can't wait to see it.

  I am starting to get really excited about this years garden.  Lots of work to be done out there before planting, but still--it's early for us. Thankfully we have such a long growing season.  I have high hopes for a serious abundance of crops this year. 

  OK...I'm starting to feel drowsy...

  Time to finish up the odds and ends and head for bed. Hopefully (except for one small errand)  I will get to stay home all day tomorrow. I have 3 bd cakes in a row to bake this weekend Fri-Sat-Sun.  I will bake them with love. One is a pineapple upside down cake. One is a cheesecake, And one is a coffeecake.  Some kind of fun, huh ??  I have kinda been on the run this past couple of weeks and I am tired... time for some r&r...



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quiet Moments

    Sometimes...for some people...quiet moments can be hard to find.  Even out here on Honeysuckle Hill there is noise. Hunters shooting guns in the distance, 4 wheelers screaming down the road. Dogs barking. Coyotes howling. Owls calling across the pastures for their mates. Not all the noise is bad. And most of it is not all the time, sometimes even rarely.  And sometimes I react differently than other times.

    I can always tell when I am out of balance. My reactions are way over the top. Little things make me big crazy. I am restless and irritable. I am discontent. My brain goes into overdrive and I cannot think clearly, sleep well or pray or meditate.  Nothing suits me. People aggravate me. Everything is extreme. 

    I am a recovering alcoholic. You may or may not know this. You may or may not care.  One thing I have learned in my years on this planet is that NO one thinks as much about me as I do.  I have a sign on my fridge that says: " I may not be much, but I'm all I think about."  And another next to it that is a Maxine cartoon that says "Don't believe everything you think." That about sums it up.  Being an alcoholic or an addict...recovered or very much about being  a person of extremes. Top of the world or a waste of space. Genius or idiot. Super model or troll.  There are no in-betweens for us. Learning to live in the world without the aid of substances that make living bearable for us is a long sometimes excruciating business that never ends. I say that only so that you will understand that I will never be free of the disease of alcoholism and that, because the world never stops changing,  I am on a life long journey of figuring out how to stay one step ahead of the sense I have that says that I will never be okay.  And some days, I am okay. And other days, I am on the lookout for the loony wagon. 

  Before you start thinking that it's all hopeless and that you feel sorry for me, you should know  that I am living a life beyond anything I ever imagined possible.  I am married to a really great guy and have a perfectly suitable house and a place for gardens. I have a Honda with 209,456 miles on it that still runs like a champ. I have animals and family and friends. Because I am disabled since 2001 when I was in an industrial accident, I have lots of time to do things I always wanted to do but never could because I was on that merry go round  of work work work that left me exhausted and stressed and too depleted for anything but sleeping and eating and working some more.  Which I had to do because we had a mortgage and 2 new cars and  blah blah blah. And I know lots of people who live that life.  It's kind of the norm.  So when I was crushed by this big machine which tore me all up and made it impossible for me to ever work in any kind of work environment (for reasons which I will spare you--tmi)  it turned out that the worst thing that had ever happened to me became the best thing that ever happened to me. I had time for creative things like music and art and writing and gardening. I had time for friends. And when the lawsuit over it all  got knocked  from quite  a bit of money to very little money (because the workers comp. insurance company declared bankruptcy)...that turned out to be a blessing as well. Maybe. 

  Experiences which humble us change us. As much as most of us dislike change, it is good.  The world changes, people change.  Change is growth.  Learning to adapt is evolution. Loving the journey- that is joy. That is hope.  Living long enough to see the  changes in yourself is something else.  I don't always see them. More like short  flashes of something that later on make sense. 

  I am doing a 21 day meditation exercise right now. It's an Oprah and Deepak Chopra series on Shedding the Weight. Physical, mental and spiritual. It's about balance. It came just when I needed it, as these things are wont to do.  I've done several of the ones they've offered over the past few years and I have always come away with  good stuff.  Today was day 7 of this one, so it's only just begun. I am feeling the centering that regular meditation always gives me.  I am realizing once again that I have a very bad habit of not doing things that I know are good for me.  Things that I KNOW make me a better person, woman, friend.  Things that I KNOW enrich my life and make it easier for me to live in the world. 

  Old dogs. New tricks.  sigh...It's after 1 AM and I need to be asleep.  I walked about a quarter mile today as part of my knee rehab program and it went pretty well. I did take a nap this afternoon late and that's why I'm still up.  Spring is in the air here finally...thank goodness. I am ready.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Life love and everything...

  Just a catchy title. lol  What do I know about life , love, or anything--for that matter ??   Not so much. Or quite enough.  

  We have passed a couple of milestones since my sister died...first Valentine's Day, her birthday. St Patrick's Day.  All things that she took great pleasure in and had loads of fun doing.  The loss is still so close and I guess that's how it always goes...for me at least. When I don't expect it, something will make me cry. Or a memory will make me laugh. And it's all so incongruous. But everyone soldiers on, especially in the face of the things that we have absolutely no control over or cannot do a single thing about.  Brave, aren't we ?  Human, aren't we ?

  We've had some beautiful spring days, with threats of rains that barely appeared and threats of light snow showers that never appeared. Last night, however, the temps dropped into the low 30's and there is some frost out there.  Looks like that may be the end of it, according to the extended forecasts. But one never knows. For our part, we have begun cleaning up the garden beds, which mostly means trying to knock back the blackberry and raspberries that try to take over our garden beds. They are incorrigible. The Irishman did a lot of work out there on Friday, and even got 2 of the smaller beds turned over. I might be able to get out there this week, if it warms up enough, and rake some of it and at least get some kale in. We haven't bought any seed potatoes or onion sets yet either and I need to look through my seeds and see what I have and what I need to get. We'll get the garden journal out and start making a plan this week probably. Things have been a little busy around here the past few weeks, but finally are starting to settle down.  As always in our life, there are still things going on all the time, but we are getting better at picking and choosing.  The older I get, the more I do whatever I want to do and not so much what everybody else wants me to do. Ah...more freedoms of old age.  Awesome, innit ?

   The knee is healing, the muscles are feeling the tiniest bit better every day. Last night was better.  I only got up once and took some Tylenol and went back to bed. I find that if  I march around a bit when I get up it helps.  Lying too long or sitting too long and the muscles start tightening up again and it hurts. Not a bone curdling hurt..just a whimpery kind of hurt that wakes you up and is annoying.  I just want to wake up and feel good and have this part done.  I am now 1 month and 4 days post-op.  For heavens sake--how long does this healing stuff take ???  Patience is NOT my strong suit. Perhaps this is where I learn some. (Not.)  

  My chickens are eating eggs like crazy. I don't know what to do about it. I go out there often to try to catch it before it happens but not much luck.  And now someone wants to give me 20 chickens  (all,supposedly) under 3 years of age) and I don't know if I want them. I really don't know if I have room for that many.  I have had this egg eating dilemma in the past a few times, but never so consistently. It's maddening. Not to mention the fact that I am feeding them and getting nothing in return. This cannot continue, as you know, and once the weather warms up we'll see what happens.  Never thought I'd say it, but I'm almost tired of having chickens and dealing with all this stuff. Someone is pecking the hell out of another one too, all about her head they have pecked her until she's bald.  Sigh.... chicken behavior is so strange sometimes. We have 6 sweet (snork) little hens..and they cannot behave themselves it seems. I gave them more calcium (thinking the egg eating was dietary).  Nope.  I buy them kale in the winter so they still get plenty of greens. Nope. I threaten them, I beg and cajole. I sing to them. Nothing works. 

  Well...the dryer has shut off (his work clothes). I have a bit of a full day today...20 pounds of chicken quarters has been cooking away in the roaster all night (Found it yesterday for 19 cents/lb) and I have to pull the meat off the bone and either can or freeze it.  making a chicken pot pie for supper with some of it too.  Have a potluck meeting tonight that I have to bake a cake for and make some kind of appetizer, Also am squeezing physical therapy in the middle there at 2 o'clock.  Guess I'd better get moving.   Haven't loosed the chooks yet either, but it's only 30 degrees out there even though it's looking sunny.

  Heigh HO---here we go.  Hope you day is a fun filled productive one !!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Writing as a means of avoidance

  Today is destined for greatness. 

 lol   Temps in the mid to high 70's with NO rain. Sunshine.  Lilies are popping up everywhere, daffodils are blooming, the yards and fields around here are going green. That gorgeous rich spring green that makes your heart sing.  Today I will throw open the windows and turn on the ceiling fans and sweep and dust and then go meet an old friend for lunch. Then I'll pop in and vote on my way out of town to go buy chicken feed and shop at Aldi's (they're right across the street from one another). Then I'll come home, drop off the wheelchair I didn't use last weekend and take a nap probably. lol

  The conference  went off with only a few minor glitches, and although it pretty much used me up, I had a ball. Met lots of new people, re-connected with others I haven't seen in a while.  Had some good food and a bit of a spiritual experience. Not a bit. A major shifting of something inside me. I know I talked about feeling this happening last post (or before), but apparently this past Saturday I was exactly in the right place at the right time in the right frame of mind. I'm not ready to talk too much about it yet, but believe me, the time will come when I will.  Right now, I feel like one of my gallon jars of KimChi...sitting on the counter bubbling away.  When the fermentation time is right, it will roar out of me like a geyser.

   ...meanwhile, back at the

  I came home the other day and went out back to check on my chickens because they were acting a little funny. Not distressed really, but not quite right.  I got back there and on the other side of the run there were 2 gorgeous  wild (I guess??) turkeys. One white, one a rusty brown.  They are presently hanging out like they live's crazy.  I put some scratch grains out for them and they seem content to hang out and scrabble in the dirt. 

  The longer I sit here and write, the more I am avoiding all this stuff I need to do. lol  I need to pick up potato and onion sets as they need to be put in the ground soon. Looks like the temps are planning to stay in the 50's and 60's from here on out, so that means it's time for gardening plans to be put on the table. I was out there this morning and the chives are up. The trees are budding. The  world is shifting into grow mode. 

  Okay. It's after 9 and I am lunching at 11:30.  Time for action. Still having a bit of muscle and ligament pain. but have been discharged from all home health services. (It's my excuse for everything)  Yesterday I started PT with my guy in the next town over. 

  I have high hopes.  This is going to be a great summer....


Monday, March 7, 2016

Time Marches On...

 I am trying to stay awake later and later. I have gotten my sleep patterns all goofy because of the surgery pain and the pain medications and all that jazz. Everyone says "Go Slow"  and "Take it easy" and  I really have been...but the problem is that I am sleeping a lot and going to bed way early (for me) and then I am walking the floors at 3AM because I am awake and my muscles are cramping from laying too much and my brain is racing.  lol  Last night I stayed up til after 1...then for some reason I woke up at 3. And then went back to bed at 5 and got up at 7 because I had some places to go. Long story short, I was so freaking exhausted that when I did get home this afternoon, I lay down and slept the sleep of the dead for over 2 hours. And I am still tired. lol

  Life is slowly getting back to normal; A new normal. but nonetheless...

 Today (7th) was my darling girl's birthday. When she was alive, we always got together for her and my birthdays.   So many little things that change and sadden and tear your heart out when you lose a loved one.  I texted both her kids and said I love you. I know this will be hard for them. I hate it when you lose someone so close to holidays and birthdays and such. She passed on the 12th, and their Valentine's Day will always be marked by her passing... and so close to her birthday too (within a month).  I called my brother at home a few days ago to check on him and the answering machine picked up and it was her voice and I started bawling...felt like someone punched me in the gut. I could barely leave a message. All these things will ease with time, but time seems to be all warped for me right now.

  Had the PT at the house today and I was complaining that all this is taking so long and everything is going so slow...and she looked at me like I was nuts. She said--honey. You're only 3 weeks out of a major surgery. You're doing great. And I was---what ? Feels like it's been 3 months. The knee is doing great and the only pain I really have is the soft tissue damage from all the manipulating of muscle and tendon that they have to do to get knees in and knees out. It's almost more severe discomfort than pain, but I still don't like it. lol  I will be discharged from Home Health this week, do 8-10 weeks of outpatient PT  and get to working in my garden.  lol 

  Spring is showing itself around these parts. We supposedly have some serious rain coming the next 3-4 days.  It was almost 70 degrees today, but cloudy. Just enough sun to make you happy. lol  I opened up the house to blow the stink out and turned off the furnace.  At almost 1 AM it's still 58 degrees out there.  How weird is that.  I just looked and now they're saying no rain tomorrow, but moderate rain Wed-Thur-Fri.  We'll see,

  I'm going to head for bed here in a bit and see what happens. One of the local markets is having their big 10 for 10 sale and have both carrots (2 lb pkgs) and celery on sale. I need more dehydrated celery as I'm down to my last jar. And I was thinking about canning some carrots. So I'll be making a quick trip to the market in the morning I think.  We'll see how the night goes. Sometimes I get so little sleep that I wind up napping off and on for much of the day. That's a habit I need to break./ lol

  Alright. I'm outta here....


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The time of new beginnings...

  CRazy crazy weather...last night when I put the dogs out the last time before  heading for bed, it was still almost 40 degrees. It had reached a high of nearly 60. At 3:30 (apparently) it started snowing and by 8 AM we had upwards of 6 inches. It was a heavy wet snow and the Irishman and the boyo could not get out to go to work. (they tried). lol By 3 PM the roads had all melted off , as well as the driveway and sidewalks where they had shovelled. It stayed in the 40's and rainy all day  and there's still a little snow in the grass but that's about it.  Only supposed to get to 19 Friday and then the temps start climbing again. Sigh...

 I am up at 3 AM, unable to sleep or lie quietly so I had to leave the bedroom.

  Got the knee replacement done on the 17th and it went without a hitch. Mostly.  lol  No blood clot issues anyway. GUess the knee was  crooked and they had to practically alligator-wrestle that bad boy out of there after they sawed the bone. So my thigh and calf are very bruised and black and blue Quite the sight to see. Recovery is going well...had surgery on Wednesday and left the hospital on Friday.Going in tomorrow for a post op check up that is usually dome at 2 weeks but it will only be 1. Not sure if he'll take the stitches out or not, but I am having home health  and PT both in so maybe the nurse can take them out as he has shuffled the post op appointments due to a "conferences curriculum" or something silly.  lol I just took a couple of more pain pills, so will be heading back to bed shortly. My friend Kat is driving me to the appointment tomorrow. We have to leave around noon for the 2:30 appt. We'll have lunch after..I'm ready to get out of the house.  lol

  My beloved sister surrendered in her battle with cancer on February 12th.   She was a courageous woman and there is a gaping hole in the heart of my family. Because it was so close to my surgical date the drs didn't want me attending any big gatherings because of viral infection risk--the last thing I needed was a bug that could turn into pneumonia during the sedentary recuperation period after one of these things.. so I did not get to attend the memorial service.  We are slowly getting our lives back in order, and as these things always are, it is up one day and down the next.  Like any family that suffers these dreadful events, we are exhausted, ragged and leaning on each other to get by.  Her children are crazy brave and hurt and devastated.  No matter what, you are never ready for these things...even when you know they are coming.

  I wanted to post because I have been MIA for a few weeks and this short month is slipping away quickly.  I am blessed to have friends who are helping out here and bringing food and offering rides and such-- not that I have been out yet. But as time ekes on I feel better and am healing and will soon be up and running full speed ahead!  The farm store flyer came out with the sales beginning on seed potatoes and onion sets and the baby chicks are in the stores. lol  Spring is coming and before you know it, we'll all be up to our knees in garden work. I am so ready...this has been a rough year.  I am ready for the new start that spring will bring.  The pantry is beginning to look a little bare, the lilies are starting to pop through the snow and the promise of a new beginning is in the buds of the fruit trees.  

  Time for me and walker to head back to the other end of the house.  lol  Stay tuned for the saga of old Annie and her new knees... the upcoming conference...gardens and canning and more.,


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An old woman with no regrets

 Check out those shoes.  I was a fashionista even in 1953.  lol

  Someone in my family posts lots of old pictures on Facebook and I'm always muttering under my breath to not post any of me from about age 9 til..oh, NOW.  I dislike having my picture taken. I am not a really good looking woman and maybe I never was, but there are some times I was even ridiculous looking. I am not photogenic. I run from cameras. lol This picture though, I can live with. I thought that maybe to set it all to rest, I should just pick out the maybe  5 pictures in my whole life that I can live with and splash across a page somewhere. The problem with that, naturally, is that I am just old enough that most of those pictures are not digital, but yellowed pieces of developed film.  I could still take pictures of the pictures (and I have done that a few times) but it seems like an awful lot of work. So here is little Annie at the happy and tender age of 10 months. Before any other siblings came along. I was an only child, and it was GOOD. My parents were thrilled to be parents, since my mother had been told she would never have children. (They were wrong).  I was loved and exhibited and praised and told that I could do or be anything I wanted to be. Life was good.  And then a second child came 2 years later. And then another and another and another. And then one more. And my idyllic world came to an end. Oh well.  Isn't that the way of it ?   lol


 Fast forward 20 years. About 1974. Me, as usual, in the kitchen. This was a big old OLD farmhouse--one of the best places I have ever lived in so many ways. Living on a wing and a you can do when you're young.

Again...later in 1974

About 1978 I think...look how fast my hair grows (grew) lol

 Another 20 year jump through time and space and I am 40.  Sober. In love with this Irish guy I met.  Part of all that bulk is a big sweatshirt. But some of it is me. Post menopause, sober and eating, and content. The perfect recipe for 35 pounds. lol

 2014.  With my beloved sis, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer right before this picture. Not the best picture of me (again) but a lot of love right there.

Around the same time. Me with the infamous broken wrist. lol And my pal Micki

And last (but certainly not least) my  knee last September. Let's hear it for spare parts...  Edited to add (how could I have forgotten this ??)-- The knee surgery is set to happen a week from tomorrow. The 17th. That's assuming I can pass the pre-op physical. (Pretty sure about that). WOO HOO !!!!!!

  Lordy. What an exercise in ego drive !!  Or something. It's interesting looking back at life...and knowing that I am destined to be an old woman with no regrets. And it really makes me think of all the pictures I have lost...although some are still on hard drives of a couple of old computer towers I have sitting in the closet.  Someday...someday ...


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spring in winter...

  The weather around these parts of the prairie has been so odd. We meandered out of January with temps up to 70 on a couple of days. We have started off  February with temps in the 60's. Today it is grey and rainy and peaceful. And warm. Way too warm for February. Strange stuff...supposed to have a little cold spell and then warm back up into the 50's. Mother Nature is being a bit petulant.  The good news is the chickens are still laying full force, mostly, and the bad news is that the trees are starting to bud. If a big freeze comes back it will wreak havoc. But...nature will have it's way and there's not much we can do about it. Except maybe to learn to roll with the punches...

 Not much to report on this end.  The world rolls along as is it's way..times change and people come and go. My sister-in-law is still hanging in there.  The cancer that ravages her brain circles around and around. She is losing her cognitive skills and her muscle activity.  No word yet on my surgery scheduling. la la la la la...

 Was reading something this morning about a young doctor who left the profession because he aid he couldn't bear watching people being made poorer and sicker by the commonly used medical treatments.  So now he is a permaculture farmer and works in a free clinic giving medical care. Wouldn't it be a grand thing if that happened more often ?  Think of how it would feel to live in a society where people followed their consciences and had the integrity to stand up to the money changers ?  I heard last night on NPR that several big cancer medications are coming to the end of their patents and the result will be a BIG decrease in cost of these drugs. Like 30% (is that big??)  So now the particular drug they were talking about will only be 180.00  A PILL.   ONE PILL.   It made me want to scream.  It made me want to rise up and cry out to the profiteering makers of these things, and to the doctors who prescribe them. It made me want to...

 ...plant an organic garden. Keep drinking pure spring water.  Pay attention to what I put in and on my body and where I live and watch the stress and do whatever in the hell else I can to be healthy.  And maybe I need another dog. A puppy. And start writing again and doing some more creative artsy things. And praying more. And loving more.  And doing whatever I can, wherever I can and whenever I can to make this world a safer better place.  What was it Mother Teresa said ?  Not all of us can do great things,  but all of us can do small things with great love.  So my goal for the new year is to do all the small things I can. And to love more and judge less. And to listen more and talk less. And to share whatever I can with whomever might need it.

 Like most people probably, I know what I should do. I know that the thing that stops me often is inconvenience or fear or indifference. I don't want to be that person who is afraid of not having enough for myself so I don't share what I have. I don't want to be that person who looks the other way when others are being mistreated or hurt. I don't want a life in which I feel inconvenienced by someone in my path .   

  I want abundance. I want prosperity. I want to share this world with everyone in it. And be secure in my place too. I want the sick cared for, in a compassionate and reasonable manner. I want the hungry to be fed. I want children and adults alike to know love. And security. And peace.



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Musings on a winters night...

 It's way past my bedtime but I can't sleep.  I'm working on a conference program and it's driving me crazy. I'm just not computer literate enough, I guess. I finally got the template I need from someone in another town though, so hopefully this will solve my problems. Grrr,,,

  I had a relatively relaxed and peaceful was one of my twice a month volunteer days in the office and I puttered around the house up until tie to leave. Not enough time for a project or anything (like canning apples), but enough time to make supper so that when I get home about 20 minutes after himself, I can heat some stuff and finish off the vegetables (green beans tonight) and we can eat by 7. I baked some chicken thighs and cooked some quinoa. Swept the wood floors. Cleaned the chicken coop and was off by 1:15. 

  Lots on my mind today. Going down to see my sister-in-law and spend time with my brother and niece tomorrow (today).  I had baked an oatmeal spice cake Monday for a friends birthday and posted a picture of it on Facebook and she saw it and said--ohhh you know how much I love that cake... lol. 

 So her old auntie will bake one early tomorrow morning and take it down for her.  It's an easy cake and has a broiled frosting on it, which goes on while the cake is still warm. My sister-in-law's sister has been here from California and I guess she's going back home on Friday. I'll get the skinny tomorrow. I may be spending a lot of time down there and maybe some over-nighters if my brother needs me. She is still hanging on, bless her heart. Can barely sit up and can't stand much at all anymore, her muscle tone is fading fast. Hospice is there to help as much as they can. Life on life's terms.  Thanks for any prayers you can send this way.

  How did I allow myself to get into this conference thing ? lol  It is a kind of big deal and lots of work organizing and presenting these things. I am only the co-chair at least.  But there are a million little things that have to be followed up on and done and re-done. Negotiations with the venue itself (which has been a nightmare) juggling costs and trying to find volunteers to help with all the different committees.  I keep telling myself to just breathe...the dates for it are in March (11th and 12th) and the time is flying by suddenly. My worst fear is that the docs will sudden;y agree to do my second knee replacement and it will fall in the middle of all this. lol  You KNOW which choice I will make...commitment be damned. I want to be pain free and able to walk and kneel by spring garden time. 

  My latest INR was 2.3  That might mean a surgery date. Fingers crossed.

  I just realized a bit ago that in a couple of days I will have been blogging here for 7.5 years. Is that crazy or what ???  Not well or regularly, necessarily...but still. 7.5 years people !!!  wowza

I listened to an interview on NPR today...Terry Gross (Fresh Air) doing an interview with a scientist who wrote a book about the brain. Stress. meditation, etc. It was very interesting and renewed my motivation to really get back into the Mindfulness meditation practices. So very good for one's body and mind and soul.

 I am also getting back into the study group out at the ecological center (I took a hiatus) and we are going to be watching a series called  Inner World Outer World. The first day of it will fall on the Irishman's birthday, February 8th.  There's also the annual winterfire coffeehouse coming up out there this Saturday. It's always a good time. I have missed those people.  A lot.

  OKay...I am dragging this old butt to bed.  It's 2 AM and I have to get up early tomorrow. Hope you're all dreaming of spring...


Saturday, January 23, 2016

...a bit of magic...

  For some reason I have had a quote from English author J.B. Priestly on my mind...

  " I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning."

 This was a day of ... curious and interesting phenomenon.  I didn't sleep well last night-tossing and turning and flipping and flopping around. Hot flashes causing me to kick off the blankets and then the chill from winter's cold causing me to grab them all back up again.  We keep our bedroom rather cool and the nighttime temps here have been in the single digits.  I was in bed around midnight and then up at 7:30 this morning with a full day planned. I did go out and do most of the things I had planned but skipped the evening portion because I was just tired enough to be cranky and to really be feeling the stress on my knee.  I looked at canes today, but didn't buy one. The jury is still out. lol Hoping to hear from my ortho doc this coming week. The regular doc is back from his vacation and I should have a new set of blood test results in on Monday, so hopefully they will communicate and I will get a surgery date set.

  In the meantime, my husband surprised me today with a collector's gift box set of George R.R. Martin's  A Song of Ice and Fire that the Game of Thrones series is based on. I nearly had a seizure when I  (Frugal Freida) saw what he paid for it. He got a bonus at work this year and most of it went into the New Roof Fund, but he kept a small portion of it and bought me these books.  What a guy, huh ?

  The snows are melting finally, although we still have quite a bit. Temps the next few days are supposed to be in the low 40's, and rain on Monday, so that will take care of it. Then of course we have flash flood warnings. lol  Never a dull moment here on the prairie.  Strange weather, without a doubt.

  Watched a good film tonight called My Old Lady, starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristen Scott-Thomas. It was  set in Paris and turned out to be better than I expected. Then (since it was early) we watched another episode of Downton Abbey. I really am liking that show. It is hard to turn it off and not finish a disc, but it was almost 10 by the time we finished that episode and so-off it went. I did up the supper dishes and cleaned up the pudding mess I'd made.  Found a can of organic coconut milk in the pantry and between that and making up the rest of the quart with coconut milk that we use for cereal...I made a lovely coconut pudding, topped with more toasted coconut.  nice supper of comfort food--roast pork and gravy. mashed potatoes and then pudding. Even though it was still warm (the pudding) it was delightful. We LOVE coconut...

  I have to bake a birthday cake on Monday for a friend. I have to make a townie run tomorrow because I have a friend who has a bunch of business work clothes she can't wear because she's lost weight and is giving them to me to pass on to another friend who is job hunting and has gained weight and none of her clothes fit anymore.  Just spreading the love around, folks.  lol

  My taxes were ready to be picked up today. The federal money should be deposited with 7 days, but-they said- God alone knows when the great state of Illinois is going to pay people's refunds. Possibly by May, but don't hold your breath. This state is a mess, like many other states in this country lately.  Like many other countries in this world. Interesting things happening around the globe...I think about shifting paradigms and balances of power and wonder if I will live to see how this movie turns out. Something has to change, that's for sure. 

As for me, I shall go to bed now and dream of bright days and the follies of my youth and the upcoming gardens of spring. I am already drowning in seed catalogs.  It had to happen....


Thursday, January 21, 2016 feels like winter...and I'm spring cleaning

 When it snows even this much, it's too much to go out in. lol

  We actually got between 3 and 4 inches. And it was beautiful powdery snow. The main thing is that the temps have been way down in the single digits and low teens.  And windy. SO it's a miserable deal out there. I still have to march around the house and go out checking chickens several times a day, otherwise the eggs are freezing and breaking.  I have been taking warm oatmeal out to them in the mornings and they really love it. I only open up their coop into the run for about 5-6 hours, sometimes less. Depends on how cold it is. We have a heat lamp in there but with the door open it doesn't stay very warm. So once the afternoon sun starts it's descent, I close them back up. So far it has worked pretty good. I'm walking very slowly and deliberately to make sure I don't slip and fall. Although if I busted that, no.  Never mind.  lol The snow plow has still not made it's way to our road. One of the farmers up the road came through with a tractor and a blade, and mostly just packed it into a slippery sheet. I cannot risk going off the road out here because I would never be able to walk back home. So when it's like this, I stay home.  sigh...

  Speaking of that pt/inr numbers went all screwy again. They have upped the dose twice now on the coumadin.  My regular doc has been on vacation the past 2 weeks and when he comes back, the ortho will have a conversation with him and hopefully I will get this knee done.  I am this close to stopping the coumadin completely and drinking apple cider vinegar with garlic and ginger in it. The first time I had a blood draw after they upped the dose, the numbers had fallen yet another point. sheesh...

  And as always, life goes on here at Honeysuckle Hill. I haven't left the premises since Monday night and am starting to get a little bit of cabin fever. lol  Not too much though--God knows there is enough here to keep me busy til spring if I would just hunker down and get to it. I have been doing a little cooking and a little of this and that. Finally yesterday I attacked those cabinets and drawers in my kitchen. I have a mouse problem (nothing new--every winter we are the Ritz Carlton for touristy rodents) and had bought some of those sonic rodent repellers. I don't think they're working really. After I cleaned out all the drawers--vacuumed. scrubbed, new liners-- the next morning I saw evidence that they were still here. next exercise in control is going to be peppermint oil on cotton balls  We'll see.  Either one of the cats or one of the dogs caught one the other day...the dog had it when I saw it, and the cat was standing over her while she growled and bared her teeth at him. I won eventually and got the chewed up mouse away from her and tossed it into a snowbank. It galls me that I have mice while there are 4 cats living in my house. lol

  I have had a couple of friends/family members wind up in the hospital this past week. Both were TIA's and stroke. One also had had a heart attack that did some damage.  And 2 or 3 more musicians have died too.  Is there a great culling of the planet happening ??  I wanted to thank all of you for your kind words on my last post. I have not responded,  but I have read them all and they comforted me. I'm trying to rearrange my emotions surrounding all this.  It does me no good to be  walking around all dismal and despairing. None at all. I need to find that fine balance where I can acknowledge my grief and fear and still look for and see the millions of tiny miracles. I was chatting with a friend last night, and reviewing the conversation, I was aware of how intolerant I am becoming in my old age. This will simply not do. SO--what to do ?

  I spent time today cleaning up and uncluttering this office space. It has been a mess. It started last fall when I got a new computer but was in so much pain and limited mobility that I just threw it together willy-nilly so I could use it. I had cords and crap strung out all over the top of my desk and there is such a pile of medical bills and notes to myself and just crap that I couldn't use the desk without constantly knocking over the modem and pulling cords that would knock other things over. Sounds almost cartoonish when I say it out loud. Suffice it to say that it was a mess with a capital M. There were also all kinds of things piled in the floor near the desk and by the bookcases. You could barely walk in here. Since I spend an inordinate amount of my life in this room (altars, computer, bills, books, writing) I thought it might be a starting place for creating a serene place to be in.  When there is chaos surrounding me physically, it leaks into my head and my heart and I become someone I don't much care for. Since I spend a lot of time alone, that just won't do. lol  So I spent a couple of hours re-routing cords and clearing away clutter and putting things back where they belong (hair combs and ties and earrings), recycled empty bottles of medicines and liniments and bio-freeze and Vicks  and all that.Dusted everything, vacuumed and although it is still very messy by some people's standards, it is a comfortable place for me to be now/ And I can even see my desk calendar.

  My behavior so reflects my spiritual well being. When I am not right (and I am sometimes the last to know) I start behaving badly.  I swear more. I become very critical of other people. I become very intolerant and impatient and judgemental. I become irresponsible. Lazy. Mean. Sarcastic.  I don't want to be those things. I want to be ...well, maybe not Miss Suzy Sunshine, but certainly a pleasant and loving human being. I want to have a quiet mind and a peaceful heart. So,,,let it begin with me. Let it start right here, where I am.  With  a clean desk and a clean house. Well...clean as it gets around here.  That will be good enough.