Cally, our cat, sits out in the flowerbed and waits for rabbits to come out. She is, however, smart enough to know not to pounce on something her size.
With new gardens brings new wildlife, much to the irritation of our cat. I think a family of rabbits moved into/behind one of the planter boxes in the newest area of our garden. As I sit out on the back patio every morning, birds land in my flower beds and boxes, and the rabbits come out to play.
Cally, our cat, sits out in the flowerbed and waits for rabbits to come out. She is, however, smart enough to know not to pounce on something her size.
But it is wabbit hunting season after all.
I had a good, but fractured, weekend. My husband and I were supposed to go camping, but with running back and forth to see my MIL lately and moving her from one place to another, we were just tired out. The thought of loading the RV and driving a couple hours both ways was more than we wanted to deal with.
So Friday we visited my MIL. Saturday she was moved to the assisted living facility which was our goal all along. I ran my hubby around all over the place looking for the perfect patio pots to replace the large wooden planters I moved out to the new section of my garden. After the 3rd Fred Meyer we finally found ones that I liked and even my hubby liked. I was going to post a picture, but it seems like my phone is taking a longer weekend and isn't working properly at the moment. I have writing group today and don't have time to mess with a real camera. You'll have to trust me on this one, it looks lovely.
Then Sunday my husband went to see his mom while I put the finishing touches on the house and started the food for company later. I had one of my writing friends and her husband and kids over for grilled pizza. We also invited our Brazilian daughter, because we love her. It's funny how connected we are to her, especially when I realized she only comes for Thanksgiving every year. I decided it was time to have her over in the summer when it stays lighter later. Plus she brought chocolate cream pie. And that's one of the reasons we love her so much.
We had our pizza, then fired up the campfire for s'mores. It was our Brazilian daughter's first ever campfire s'more.
Then yesterday, I started the laundry, we went to see my MIL, then I came home and finished the laundry, and worked on critiques for my writing group. It was a busy weekend. We are ultimately glad we didn't go camping, although Facebook posted a memory from last year with our first camping trip of the season and I was kind of sorry we didn't go. But there are other campfires in my future both out in the forest and at home.
Last night I went around and reminded the family today would be Tuesday. It's important to remember because it's back to school and work everyone goes, and this is my kids' one early day of the week. All week everyone will struggle to remember what day it actually is, which is often what happens on these holiday Monday weeks.
Because my husband stayed home on Friday, I really didn't know what day it was all weekend. The week might sort itself out because today I have writing group and it was my kids' early day, but I don't have a lot of hope until next Monday when the weeks set themselves right. I hope all of you recalibrate better than I do. Good luck with that.
This is probably the most worthless post I've ever written. I didn't actually cook anything new this week, but I felt an obligation to tell all of you that all marshmallows are not created equal.
I usually bought the generic store brand of marshmallows. They're just roasted into oblivion or nuked into unrecognizable blobs anyway, right? Well, though that may be true, I learned last week that the Kraft Jet Puffed blobs are far superior.
We had a spontaneous barbecue campfire last week with a couple of the girls' friends. I sent my youngest out for s'more makings and she bought the Kraft brand. I thought it was silly to spend the extra money, so I was surprised at how much better they tasted.
I mean really? This isn't a health food crisis. If you're going to eat a marshmallow you're not concerned about the ramifications to your waistline. But on the flip side, if you're going to use calories on a marshmallow, it better be the best damned marshmallow money can buy.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Go forth and eat marshmallows.
I worked in the garden for three hours yesterday, it was bliss. After I was finished I felt so refreshed it was like I'd had a long nap. My Florida friends calls it garden therapy. I should use it more often.
Then I sat on the front patio and admired my accomplishment and my garden. What I really love about my garden is that after I weed and clean it up it still looks like this:
And that's only a quarter of one section. The rest is similar, though not quite as wild. In fact, this is the area where we have a vintage roadster as a planter and it used to struggle because it's surrounded three ways by concrete. Obviously, it struggles no more.
I'm not sure what changed, I guess it matured enough. Isn't that the way with people,too? Except with humans and animals we mellow as we mature. Here's a case in point, our old dog, Pip, "helping" me in the garden.
It's natural that we slow down as we age. Our bodies and our mentality don't desire the need to be wild. That's okay with me, though, I can vicariously be wild through my garden.
I keep looking at that picture not even believing that crazy space is mine. Wild thang, I think I love you!
There are times in our lives where a series of events occur about which we can do nothing but watch and wait to see how it all unfolds.
My MIL is very ill and in hospice care; not just hospice care at the assisted living facility, which is her wish, but hospice care at the hospital because she's too sick transport her the 11 miles back to the place she feels is her home. There's nothing I can do except be as supportive to my MIL, husband and his siblings as I can.
I just found out my youngest had a rough day yesterday with bad news about credits she can't use, losing her sketch book, and school not being a good enough excuse to get out of jury duty. I feel like I should go Mom someone up for her (as in rough someone up), but I'm hard pressed to know where to even start. Plus she needs to work through it herself. I've finally come to the conclusion they need me to step out of the main part of their lives. Which makes me sad and helpless.
I have to meet with my neurologist at some point to discuss going back on MS meds. I'm not happy about the idea, but I'll see what he has to say on the matter before I make my decision. A year ago, I was empowered to give them up, it makes me feel like I failed if I have to take them again. Admittedly, I don't have the energy I had a year ago. I don't know if it's because I've been stressed lately or because the freedom from drugs "honeymoon" is over.
My critique group is meeting today just to write. I can't wrap my head around sitting still and writing today.
Last night I was trying to decide what I could do today that would make me feel good about myself and productive. Then the garden called my name. I haven't been out there all season and it needs attention.
I'm hoping some garden therapy will set my mind to rights and calm my agitated state (it's not even the steroids this time). At least as right as I can be with all the current circumstances. If nothing else the garden will get weeded.
The biggest problem with buying large pieces of furniture is you have to get rid of the old piece. Of course, we never think of it until the new furniture is bought and purchased. Not that the reminder would really prevent us from buying new, but it's always a conundrum.
After all these years, we have gotten very good a dispersing furniture. We know what shape it should be in so we can take it to Goodwill, or at least what corner or cushion to hide so they won't see the reasons we're getting rid of it, or a quick repair I can make to conceal any damage. Usually our furniture is in decent shape and it's one little tear or something that will make the Goodwill employees send us packing. It's frustrating, because at any given time we could walk onto their "showroom" and find something in far worse condition. But that person receiving donation items has all the power right then, so you best not mess with them.
We've learned to seek the path of least effort, which normally follows the patio and driveway, directly to the free pile. We also have the option in that moment to just throw it in the truck and either run to various thrift places peddling our wares or straight to the dump.
It's an emotional choice to leave it in the free pile because it's only slightly more dignified than being rejected by Goodwill. We watch it sit there for days on end, covering it every evening to keep it dry until someone deems it worthy to adorn their living room. We don't blame anyone for not taking it. I mean we got rid of it, right? Everyone knows there must be something wrong with it. So though it's physically easier to leave it by the light pole at the end of our driveway with a free sign on it, it's a bit stressful hoping someone will take it.
After my husband and I arrived home last night and it was still there waiting for a new home, he almost threw it in his truck and went on down the road. But our youngest's car needed to be fixed and it was Sunday afternoon. I told him to just leave the couch and I would call for a home pickup today. We did that with our last huge couch and it was rather nice to have someone else do the heavy lifting. This time I didn't call right away because they said it had to be two pieces of furniture to be home-pick up worthy. Over the weekend we moved my MIL to a smaller apartment and brought home a chair so we could make two.
This morning as I left to go swimming, I noticed the cone we used to keep the tarp from blowing away sitting at the side of the RV. The free sign was clipped to the cone and the tarp folded neatly under the cone. I wondered why my husband would take the time to do that on his way out the door that early in the morning. As I backed out of the driveway, the couch was gone, taken just like the new one arrived, in the dusk of night, so no one could observe.
Trust the power of the free pile!
I truly feel I have come out the other side. I feel so much clearer today than I have for the last couple weeks. It's a relief. Yesterday afternoon, I tried to offset the jacked up sensation by mowing the lawn. I only served to break the lawn mower and temporarily mow myself into a blinder, lamer, state.
After I cooled off everything settled down again. Then my husband came home and fixed the lawn mower. What a great guy to clean up my destruction. All's well in the world again.
Friends don't let friends mow on drugs. Just sayin'.
I'm eating breakfast and writing out on the back patio for the first time this year! It's so nice to be out here again enjoying the fresh air, and my garden. What a contrast from last year. Facebook popped up with a "share your memories" from this time last year and it was a video of salvia flowers by my front fence covered in bees. Not only is there nothing that prolific blooming right now, but the bees aren't out yet either.
I have a lot of writing to do today and it probably doesn't help my cause to sit out here and gaze at my flowerbeds, running all the tasks through my head I'd really like to be doing: getting my hands in the dirt, letting myself get enveloped into my massive front garden weeding. Sigh. I may have to change my venue if I hope to get any writing accomplished.
My Mom is the catalyst for today's Good Food Friday. I was at her house this week so she could refit a dress I love. For a couple years for my birthdays she bought me dresses. Now that I've lost so much weight they don't fit well anymore, plus I wanted them to be more tailored rather than billowy as dresses for heavy people tend to be. There was one dress I was totally in love with the fabric, so I told her I wanted her to take it in for my birthday.
After my fitting, she graciously fed me lunch, which was no small feat this week given my voracious appetite with the steroids and all. She made a sauerkraut soup. It doesn't sound great because sauerkraut is, well, sour, but it was fantastic. The kraut is rinsed three times to rid it of salt and sour. My mom used ingredients she had, which is how I always advocate making recipes. She had sausage instead of bacon and Johnny's seasoning instead of Mrs. Dash. I may try it myself with the bacon, but I have to say, the texture of the kraut with the sausage was pretty incredible.
She served it with rice cakes, which added a most satisfying crunch and makes me want to go out and stock up on rice cakes. All mowing aside, it was a pleasant afternoon at my Mama's house.
Sauerkraut Soup (from Natashaskitchen.com)
I read back over my blogs of the past week and feel like I should tie up some loose ends. First off, yes, putting water in the Pampered Chef egg poacher did indeed give me a perfect poached egg.
I realize that's the least question on everyone else's mind, but I'm jacked up on steroids and you'll just have to come along for the ride. After my five days of IV treatments, buying couches, and Mother's Day festivities (none of these things has anything to do with meds or symptoms, just a way to indicate the weekend passed), the neurologist put me on a taper down oral prednisone, to wean me off the good stuff. Remember, it's been over 20 years since I've taken any drugs for severe MS symptoms. I've been happy to ignore the few I've had and ride them out. Now I know why.
The oral steroids had a totally different effect on me than the IV. I don't know if I don't remember because it's been so long since I've taken them, or if they just affected me differently now that I'm older. But they really jacked up my mind and I've been reeling all week, which caused my thoughts to projectile vomit out my mouth (figuratively, here, I didn't really throw up).
My family was more than happy to get away from me during this week, as I chattered nonstop. My daughters were sprinting out the door for school earlier than normal just to get away from me. The animals were happy to hang around outside in the driving rain rather than be stuck in the house with me. My husband got a lot of work done out in the shop after he got home from work. It was bad, but it was one of those kinds of situations I was aware of, but didn't comprehend until the next day as the meds reduced by one pill. Each day got a little clearer, but every morning I was left with a fuzzy memory of things I may have said or done reminiscent of a night after hard partying in my younger days.
However, because I was still taking them, my reasoning capabilities were not completely up to par. I was left in the house, alone, with my racing heart and thoughts. Little things started niggling at my mind. It was an unwise decision to watch the news this week (because I usually don't). I obsessed over the small earthquakes this area has apparently been having and the big computer virus that's going around right now. It freaked me out more.
Then the furnace kicked on.
My thought process glommed onto this one aspect I could control: Why was the furnace kicking on? It was at the temp I set it at, the house hadn't cooled. I have a new furnace. What is going on? Why does it keep doing that? Hmmm? The bonus room isn't heating as well as it could. I should have someone see if something can be done. We spent a lot of money and I want to make sure everyone has done everything that can be done to make it as good as it can be.
I made an appointment. I told my husband that I was going to wait to follow up with my neurologist until after I finished all the meds and things had settled down. Perhaps I should have given the same courtesy to the furnace guys at Pacific Air Systems.
When Da Man, who I duly named after he crawled under my house and reattached a duct while he was preparing the estimate, and his trainee showed up, I was grateful my husband was home so they didn't immediately hightail it out of here. Ever the professional, he ignored my manic state and began at the top of my list of concerns in the hallway. He explained the thermostat was doing what it was supposed to be doing by maintaining the temperature of the house, not letting it drop.
After they opened the furnace to see what could be done to increase air flow in the bonus room, Da Man did something that almost made me throw myself into his arms and profess my love for him. He asked for the instruction manual. Good thing my husband was there to restrain me. Da Man knew what he needed to do to help the furnace perform better, but he wanted to see the map of our particular system. He wanted to read the map. That just made it better. Am I right, ladies?
I don't know what he did, something about upping blowers, fans, amps or something, but he fixed the problem and heat is flowing much better. I can honestly say now that I'm totally happy with our new furnace system. He also showed us how a deluxe heating system like ours could really work in our favor when it's set properly. Then we all received a lesson on how to set the thermostat. I stood there in my agitated condition, shuddering like a Chihuahua, excited over all the new opportunities our furnace system opened up to us (even temperatures, better air circulation). I was happy my husband and oldest daughter were there to observe said instructions, because I understood enough to know I wouldn't remember anything the next day.
I have to hand it to the guys at Pacific Air for not bolting when faced with the challenge I presented. Nobody gets paid enough to deal with the likes of me.
It makes me laugh that I totally vague-booked in my blog yesterday - "couches may have been involved". No one said a thing. Though the only people who would have even caught such a statement would have been my mother and sister. They probably just rolled their eyes.
Yes, couches were involved. We were on the hunt for yet another couch. The cats and my oldest daughter have done a number on my living room couch. It's nice everyone is comfortable enough to use the furniture to its fullest potential, but someday I would like to say I've had a couch for ten years.
Or so I thought. I was discussing it with my mother a few months ago and realized that I don't mind getting a new couch every three to five years because I get bored with furniture. My husband is okay with it too. In fact, he was the main catalyst to the newest addition in the family room that we bought several months ago. I never divulged that we had replaced it because, quite frankly, our couch cycle can get a bit embarrassing. Especially when you give couches to friends and they are perfectly happy with your cast-offs.
I Googled the best quality couches, and though I've done it before and came up with the eight-way-hand-tied-coil-spring variety, someone changed the rules and some experts say that's not the best after all, but one should spend a quantity of money on a piece of furniture if one wishes it to last a long time. Then I Googled fine pieces of furniture, which, according to customer reviews is a crap shoot. That was about the time I came to peace with my penchant for new furniture.
This time I wasn't necessarily actively looking for a couch. I was willing to come upon it. But my husband and I were having a leisurely day making our way home Saturday, so we stepped outside of the box and stopped at Dania. They had several reasonably priced couches, the one we both liked best had red, burlap-like fabric. But do you know who else likes a nice burlap textile? The cats. Which is one of the reasons the old couch was on its way out the door, with is loopy texture, it looked just like a scratching post to the orange cat, who sat on his haunches and dug in on a frequent basis.
We left Dania and considered our options. Then we pulled by Fred Meyer and saw a nice brown leather-like couch. The saleslady told us it was microfiber, "created especially for kids and animals." She had me right there, my husband loved the feel of sitting on it. He has back-conture specifications he likes when he sits down, it was about $100 off for that day only. We bought it and brought it home, making sure we hauled it in in the dusk of the evening so none of the neighbors could definitively confirm our furniture psychosis.
The old couch is on the patio waiting for a sunny day when it can go on the free pile, which will give us away in the long run. Oh well.
Mother's Day is one of those sticky commercial holidays that presents a conundrum for many woman all over the US. I've always maintained it's a holiday for mothers whose mothers have passed away or live far away. In my life I have neither scenario, with my own mother or my MIL. Not that I would want the mothers in my life to be absent, but I also strive to have a mother's day I can enjoy too.
Although this one was an odd one due to circumstances beyond my control, I'd have to say it was one of the most enjoyable ones on record for me. In past years, I have taken charge and drug my mother and in-laws to cold, windy, Northwest beaches with a picnic. Sometimes I'd let them call it and we'd picnic indoors, but I'd bring the food as my mother's day offering to them. My youngest posted this pic with the following caption on Facebook:
I don't know if this was an actual Mother's Day adventure, but they usually looked like this. There were a lot of views of this picture, but my little girl was really the star of the show on this one. I mean, how cute is she? It made me smile and brought back a lot of memories.
The circumstances of our weekend shaped up as my week with MS symptoms carried on. I thought I was finished with my three-day course of IV steroids on Friday, when a case of double vision got sucked into the mix. This is one of those "count your blessings" scenarios for me, because though I had to have two more rounds of steroids on Saturday and Sunday, it was fortuitous in its presentation.
One was that it was a weekend and by then I was not able to drive because of my vision issues, so my husband was home to drive me. Two was that since I hadn't had a break in the treatments, I was able to just add two more on to the end. Had I finished the whole round and the double vision showed up today or later this week, I would have had to start over and gotten five more. Three was that my MIL is still in the hospital, and though not the same hospital where I received my treatments, it was nearby, so we visited her. Not that we wouldn't have gone to see her had we not been out already, but two birds and all.
My husband and I ran errands and took our time on our way home Saturday. Couches may have been involved. When we finally made it home there was a lovely pot of flowers from my oldest, my husband picked out a gorgeous fuchsia for me from our local produce vendor, and my youngest replaced my bear statue with the squished elf on the bottom of his foot that I broke last year.
I felt truly loved. And that was just on Saturday.
On Mother's Day my MIL was doing much better and wasn't in pain, which was a gift unto itself. We had a nice little conversation and my husband's brother and sister were there too. It was fun to hear them reminisce over their childhoods. So my MIL had as nice of a mother's day as she could have considering her situation. And she didn't even get drug out onto a cold, wet, windy beach.
Then we drove home to have our last round of Mother's Day festivities with my mother. My youngest made a fruit salad and I made fish tacos. I also bought a couple homemade fruit cobblers from our local produce vendor whose mother makes them homemade every day.
I felt truly blessed this Mother's Day with the love of my husband and kids, that I still have mothers in my life to celebrate with, and that though the circumstances may have been unfortunate with my MS symptoms, today's modern medicine gives me hope.
I was truly feeling the love on Mother's Day.
Coffee with Gleigh
These are my morning musings. Have a cup of coffee with me and we'll solve the problems of the world, or at least laugh at them until they make sense!