Saturday, October 01, 2022

Are You Still Out There?

My last post was a looong time ago in the grand scheme of Blog schedules. But I have an excuse or two or three.

Yes, we did leave to go see the elk and I will post a few of those photos on my outdoor blog "Room Without Walls" but first I want to explain why there are so few photos.

We left on a Tuesday two weeks ago.  The trip up was uneventful in that the traffic got less heavy as we headed for state roads far from cities.  There was one enormous truckers intersection that was a nest of signs and turns, but we managed to navigate and head on further north to the elk preserve.

We checked into a traditional hotel that was about 20 minutes outside the preserve.  

This area wild area produced some of the best ships masts from the white pine forests in the logging area of the preserve back in the 1800s.  Pennsylvania has a 2.2 million acre forest system.  Twenty state forests are located here and comprise 13 percent of the total forest land.  No wonder it was called Pennsylvania.  There are areas where you can do any number of outdoor activities.

We checked into a traditional hotel that was about 20 minutes outside the preserve.  Various state parks intersected and crossed and wound up and down the sides of hills making the preserved area confusing to navigate and signs were sparse and hard to see but we made it up to the elk visitor center as did about 80 other old-timers like us.  We could hear the elk calling and it was dramatic and heart-stopping as dusk crept up, but the crowds got too large and we decided to find another lookout.  We left too early as we heard that several large bull elk had finally emerged into the open area to test their testosterone.

We later did see some of the smaller elk, but tired from the drive headed back to our hotel to venture out with fresher energy the next day.  That evening I had acid reflux or some indigestion (thinking it was from a fresh lemon gin and tonic I had the night before) and tried to sleep.  I woke up unrested but we headed out to explore and my acid reflux weakened.  By mid-afternoon, I felt weaker and somewhat feverish and not even in the mood for a rather over-heavy country dinner that we got at a local woodland restaurant.  I coughed all that night.

In the morning I realized I was sick and took a COVID test from the kit I had packed in my suitcase a long time ago.  Yes, I was positive!  We threw our clothes into the suitcase and checked out a day early telling them that I was COVID positive.  Hubby was feeling fine and had no problem heading home.

Sadly his old Chevy had been acting up and the dash lights and gages went blank when we were about 200 miles from home.  We had filled up on gasoline the night before, so knew we could make it the whole way.

It never rains but pours when things go wrong.  We are weathered warriors and kept our minds focused.

By the time we made it home, I collapsed in the upstairs bedroom with medicines and water and was in a fog for the next five days.  On the sixth day, I got my first negative test and went for a walk along the neighborhood on a beautiful fall day, and while feeling weak, it was the first day I did not feel shortness of breath.  I never had chest congestion, so was surprised when I would get out of breath going upstairs or across the room!  I picked some soft wild persimmons that grew along the drive and washed them and ate one small one.  Hubby was starting his illness by this time.

In a few hours, I found that my pants felt unbearably tight even though I was wearing elastic pants.  By mid-afternoon, I was in extreme abdominal pain.  It felt as if my diaphragm was being pushed into my chest and stretching unbearably tight.  I had never felt this before.  In an hour I got up and emptied the contents of my stomach (only some pinkish liquid and acid) and projectile vomited for a bit.  What on earth??  Then the next morning, I felt fine and realized that it was the wild persimmon that had caused that incident because that was really the only thing I had eaten.!  I have no idea why as I had eaten them before!  Hubby was ready to take me to the hospital, but I fought it because we both had COVID!

Then he got sick and was bedridden for days, and is still testing positive but hs more energy.  Of course, it did not help that the remains of Ian came through with 40 MPH wind and rain and we lost electricity several times last night.  Our new generator kicks in right away, even though it does not run the whole house.  Waiting for the 6ht or 7th shoe to drop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Sex in the State Forest

Well, I have learned, or maybe remembered, that setting an ad-blocker on when reading many blogs is the reason I cannot comment on them. If I turn the ad blocker off when I go to a site, then it allows my comment to be published! Annoying, but glad it is not an unsolvable glitch on my log-in to Blogger.

We are off this morning to go shoot elk in Pennsylvania.  NOT shoot with a gun, but shoot with a camera.  Our old age is making us want to get out and fill the bucket list more.  It is autumn and the elk are bugling.  If you have not heard that call of the male elk, you have missed an interesting natural phenomenon.  Our elk in this country have been wiped out in many areas and have had to be reintroduced.  There are now at least two large managed herds in the Eastern part of the U.S. and a larger herd in the Rocky Mountains and smaller herds elsewhere across the U.S.  There is a hunting season for them as well.

The males are entering their mating season and bugle to attract females and warn males.  Some do it so much that they lose their voices.   They can best be seen at dawn and dusk and I am stealing myself for crowds...hoping to find spaces away from all of those (like me) who are nature lovers.

It will be a five-hour drive and we will take several overnights in a local hotel.  We have outgrown the tent camping experience and the cabins are full.  The cheaper hotels are pretty rustic.  There will be no cell service in many parts of the large park and restaurants are only in certain areas.  Thus it will be a bit of a challenge for old folks who are used to things going their way.

We will head back home on Friday.  And in the following days I will have fun  culling and editing my photos and will share any if they are intersting.  Lokoing forward to the fall color as well as the great wild outdoors.


Friday, September 09, 2022

Riding the Current

I blinked and suddenly it was fall outside.  Cooler weather means I will have the energy to vacuum and wash my little car.  (It has been months--actually maybe the entire year!).  

My husband's nephew left last weekend.  He paid to have his brother fly up from Florida to drive the big trailer back down with him.  The broken collarbone does seem to be healing.  He has had two visits with the local osteopath up here and the day he plans on getting home he has a visit with his local GP who will refer him to the bone doc down there.

While it was challenging having someone living in the house (someone we really did NOT know well) for over a month and having to lend our bathroom as it had a walk-in shower, it was also a good exercise in growth for all of us.  I actually now miss him.  I would see him up every morning before me and I get up early!  It was a test having someone chatter away while I had my first and second cup of coffee.  He, like my husband, is a talker!!  He would walk two miles every morning and then watch his favorite TV shows which were all car racing or car repair things.  Something that bores my husband and me.  Sometimes he would watch downstairs while we watched a British mystery upstairs.

He never complained about the fact that he could not do much to help but it did frustrate him.  He is one of those people who likes to help others.  He was a former engineer as a defense contractor and knew his electronics.  It was very useful having him here while the propane company installed our backup generator (which means we will never have another storm that takes out our electricity 😉).  He was a polite oversight to the various workers that drifted in and out for the four days, which was useful as the supervisory electrician they sent was a grumpy sort.

We had to leave him alone for a week while we took our oldest grandson down to Andros to get his dive certification.  That was also a challenge as I worried about him being alone in our house and having an accident.  We took him food shopping before we left and gave him our neighbor's phone number just in case.  He downloaded the UBER app as well.  

Our Bahamas trip was another challenge, as we stayed at a rustic lodge at the end of nowhere.  It was also very hot, but the people were very very nice and the food was mostly good.  Grandson passed with flying colors and got his certification.  I will treasure that time with him before he leaves for college next year as most precious.

I have not written too much about my husband's memory challenges during this time, and maybe when I have finished riding the current toward autumn I will reflect on that.  If you are on the cusp of spring, be sure to smell the flowers, and if like me, you are on the cusp of fall, avoid sneezing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Only Up From Here

I had to come back home late last week because I was having trouble getting into our TSA (Transportation Security Administration) database to get our KTN (Known Travel Number) so that we can go through the "fast" line at the airport next week. After an hour's drive up to the DMV Office where the Security people are located, we discussed why my husband and I were not in the database and the lady there was able to circumvent the tragic telephone tree where you never reach anyone and talk to a real person! It appears that there is a space between the letters of our last name (which is European) and I did not enter the space between the letters. It does appear that way on our passport, but I never noticed!  Load off of my mind on that.

Hubby in his frustration with his dementia wants so badly to go diving with his grandson who is 17 this year as one of his bucket list items.  So I am accompanying them to the Caribbean island for a week of lessons, etc.  I will not be diving.  I have not done SCUBA for years and find that just snorkeling is enough for me.

Our houseguest, my hubby's nephew, will remain here alone in the house and I am hoping he is careful on the stairs!!  I gave him our neighbor's cell phone if he needs anything because he has been told not to drive.  He will remain with us another week after we get back, and then his brother is flying up to drive him back home, if the Doctor gives his approval.  Below is a photo taken before the fall on the boat!

I will be so glad when the world slows down in September and the cool fall weather is back and I actually have time to read blogs.  Good days ahead!

Monday, August 08, 2022

Ten Minute Breather

Up early this morning and after a quick tea, changed the baby and then played with her for an hour hoping she would go back to sleep but no luck. She is a very sweet baby (now at 3 months) and even sweet when she is cranky. We are wearing N95 masks whenever we are close to her just to protect her from any asymptomatic COVID.   Wearing these masks  most of the time in the house  and all of the time we are around her, really gives me perspective on how difficult it  is to wear them for  long periods of time!  I now have empathy for those who protested, but  not enough to wave their ignorance.

Wearing this  mask and hauling laundry up and down narrow stairs  from the top  floor to the basement also makes me  realize I need to find some other exercises to give me more stability.  It does  not  help  when the mask pushes my trifocals out  of alignment either or the basket moves off my hip and locks my view.

My son is still running a fever of 99+ on the third day and hiding out in the dark basement which is his sound studio. It is cramped and full of electronic gear but has a bathroom all to himself.  Hopefully now that Monday has arrived, he can get an appointment with his  doctor and see about  geting Paxlovid.  I am  not sure how  contagious he will remain even after that.  It seems it took a  President  to show  us there is no magic bullet.  We will depend on tests.  I made him go sit outside for 10 minutes for  some change of scenery.  It is so hot and humid but maybe he got some vitamin D.

Their dog also demands walking and feeding times.  He  is too big for me to walk and he has to be fed sharply at 6:00 AM.  I think he has them well-trained, but it  does present problems when you then have a child!

Ah well, they are learning  the hard way.  I have an important appointment with the TSA in  a few days and hope that my daughter-in-laws mother can come down and help for  a while.

It is amazing  how much time is taken up with feeding, entertaining and changing a 3-month-old, making sure the dog is happy, doing laundry and helping with cooking in  a kitchen that  is not  mine.

Regarding our houseguest which I  mentioned in the prior post, it appears he  has broken his collar bone and hubby is trying to get a follow-up appointment with a specialist today.  Looks like we will have him with us for a few weeks (months?) more.  He drove up in a big truck pulling an airstream, so  he is not going to be able to make a getaway any time  soon.

Send thoughts  to  the powers that be for  good energies  here to  keep baby safe and  speed up healing  for those who are ill.  Thanks.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Jekyll and Sapelo Islands and 16 Children

Putting aside the reality and seriousness of this world this morning, I will reminisce about my recent trip to the East Coast of Georgia with my husband and my 11-year-old grandson. Hubby and I have been boosted twice and grandson once. We we cautious but felt this opportunity was too important to postpone. Every time a grandchild turns 10 we take them on a trip of their choosing somewhere in the US. My grandson is 11, so we have postponed it once already. It is an opportunity for us to really get some one-on-one time, except, it is usually heavily scheduled. 

I apologize for the length of this post without photos, but it is what it is. 

Our trip out was a bit of chaos. We picked up C. at a restaurant midway between homes, where we had lunch with his mother. We got back to our house about 3:00 and as I sat down at the computer and checked my calendar, I realized that our drive down was supposed to have started that morning! It is a little over 11 hours and we broke it up into two days. Thus, we were already a few hours behind! 

We threw our gear into the car (all had been prepacked) and we headed out as I called ahead to the hotel to tell them we would check in after 10:00 that night. I was busy making sure that my grandson's gear was correctly stowed and that we had packed drinks and snacks. I had moved my two suitcases and small bag to the driver's side of the driveway for hubby to load. He was getting his suitcase from the house, so I moved in my large suitcase to the trunk while I pulled out some stuff to make more room and moved grandsons' stuff to the backseat. Then I got into the  car and made the call to the hotel as we backed out. I asked hubby if he had loaded everything, and he said yes. 

Lesson learned here is that if your husband has beginning dementia, you must follow through on your own for everything. When we got to the hotel I saw that he had walked right by the two small bags of mine sitting by the car and got into the car and started out! I was panicked, because my camera was one of the small bags and my toiletries, pajamas and medicine were in the other. I was angry and frustrated. All could be replaced except we had left in pouring rain and my camera bag would be soaked and I certainly needed my medicine for my chronic cough. 

In the hotel room as I opened my big bag to find something to sleep in, I saw I HAD packed my medicines in a small pocket. Relief passed over me as I accepted that a quick run to the nearby Target the next morning would replace the PJs, make-up, hair dryer, sunscreen, bug spray, and other stuff that had been left behind. I had failed to take my small camera out of my purse, so it would have to be the substitute. I also had my phone camera, but I have never like trying to take photos with it, although it does a fair job. (There are no photos to post as I am up at my son's house right now which another whole story.) 

 The next day we ate breakfast, shopped quickly and completed the second leg of our journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia. The hotel where Road Scholar had us pre-booked was a lovely old historic building sprawling across acres of grass and old trees with a croquet area, a swimming pool, trails to nearby historic sites, etc. 

 We soon met up with our group. Most of the children were not ten, but eleven and twelve. There were 8 boys and 8 girls. Because of this, perhaps, the rest of the trip was filled with giggling and roughhousing, etc. as they showed off for each other. There were a few times that they did not pay attention and when they wanted to have a table all to themselves without grandparents at dinner, this chaos lasted only one evening. A few of the young boys had ADHD and that added to the chaos. My grandson was not at all interested in the wild behavior. I am sure that some of the grandparents thought he was shy and nerdy with his glasses, etc., but he actually was not interested in crazy behavior but interested in a nice dinner with us. It certainly made our job easier. As a result we did enjoy the trip very much.

 Some of the grandparents were singles, some had serious health issues that required bravery on their part to keep up with the tours and stairs and sometimes odd seating. After a walk across a meadow that was supposed to house gopher tortoises and an arrival at the canal where the children would use dipnets to catch creatures for looking at under the microscope, one of the grandmothers leaned against a wooden fence over the canal in exhaustion and the fence gave way! It took several people to pull her back up before she completely fell in, and it did frighten her husband. 

 Another grandfather who was trying every single day to keep up did take a nasty fall adding cuts and bruises. 

 One of the visits was to an old lighthouse where we could go all the way to the top, about 129 steps. I made it up in the heat and humidity, but the next day my femor muscles were hurting with every other staircase I took on that day. 

 We also had a private show by some of the Gullah Geechee singers in which our grandchildren got to participate. This might have been my favorite activity. The children also went on a small shrimp trawler where they were able to look at and even handle some of the creatures in the waters of the sound such as stingrays, sharks and spot fish. All in all, it was a fulfilling trip and I learned much. 

This post is getting waaay too long so I will not talk about the scary near miss car accident on the drive home doing 70 to keep up with traffic on the freeway. Suffice it to say we missed any damage. I am posting no pictures, because I have had to rush to my son's house to help with the babysitting, as my son seems to have contracted COVID and his wife has to start work again and they need baby support. My husband is back home entertaining our house guest from Florida (his nephew) which is another story in itself as they ended up in the emergency room last night! Does this never end????

Saturday, July 30, 2022

I am Dancing as Fast as I Can

I am just going to post a bunch of unrelated photos while I breathe.

My first comment is to post my thankfulness for Blogger allowing me to meet Mage in person several times. We were strangers and have little in common and have so much in common. She loves life as do I. She loves history as do I. She has fun with photography as do I. She is an adventurer and I like to think I am but in a different way. She is more sophisticated than I as she came from a name family while I came from a farming family.  She is on the journey to another place. That journey sounds painful and stressful and also hard on George, her husband, now. That journey that we all will make at some time.  I am so glad I was brave enough to meet her and George when she came to the city near me. I will miss the insight she has on so many things. I am so glad that her family is close with her now.  

My second comment is that I am home from the Roads Scholar trip that I took with my second-to-youngest grandson.  We explored the islands of Georgia.  We experienced the culture, nature, and each other.  The trip started with a small disaster that could have been more difficult but we managed to survive.  They survived my anger and I survived all else.  There were other dangerous surprises.  I will post a brief review if you are interested.

My saga of dead appliances continues.  The dishwasher that died is still not replaced because the brand I selected is not available at any time in the future.  Since I ordered from Best Buy, the college student that helped me failed to tell me that!  I finally had to go back and cancel and order another brand.  In between, there were a number of failed appointments regarding disconnect and removal in an installation that ruined the week.  I realize that the supply lines are heavily compromised, but retail outlets have to communicate that and not let you find out weeks later!  I also had issues with the electrician who came this week to preview our electrical panel for the installation of our backup generator.  With the more dramatic weather, we decided it was a good investment(?).

Not checking my privilege, I will also complain about having to replace both boat lift motors this month as well.  Our nest egg that my husband was concerned about just sitting in a small non-interest bearing account is somewhat depleted and I am glad I did not let him invest it elsewhere.

We have a step-cousin on a visit in a few days.  He is not close to my husband but we are happy to have him stay on a planned overnight.  Then the next weekend my son and his daughter and new baby are coming for a two-day visit.

I have been working for hours trying to find out why our process for getting a renewed TSA (Transportation Security Administration) KTN number is not working.  There is absolutely no way to talk to a living person except by scheduling another appointment and driving up 30 miles and I dread that the lady there will say she has no power over that database even though they took my $140.00 for a five-year renewal within days after our first appointment with her.  If those of you who live outside this privileged country think this makes this sound like a bureaucratic nightmare you have NO idea.

Summer days are hot and humid and that is why I have posted photos that make you think it is nicer here than it really is!

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Lost in Thought?

Came across the word "Compartmentalizing" the other day.  (the Brits spell it with an 's'.)  I remember first hearing-reading that word many years ago when they were describing former President Clinton and his approach to discussing issues.  I wasn't sure if they were denigrating or admiring him for this skill.

I guess it is important if you want to keep from going emotionally crazy.  Oh, Merriam-Webster's definition is" to separate into isolated compartments or categories. "  That definition is not really in-depth enough unless you think about it in context.

I found this on the web which has a bit darker definition:  "In psychology, compartmentalization is a defense mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events."

Wikipedia- "It may be a form of mild dissociation; example scenarios that suggest compartmentalization include acting in an isolated moment in a way that logically defies one's own moral code, or dividing one's unpleasant work duties from one's desires to relax. Its purpose is to avoid cognitive dissonance or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves."

"Recent Examples on the Web
Candace has that ability to compartmentalize and sort of dissociate from the things that are bothering her.
— Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022
After an intense ending to the Halloween party, Spencer tries his best to compartmentalize everything and focus on the big Homecoming game.
— oregonlive, 23 May 2022
His attempts to compartmentalize are further complicated by interactions with grieving families. — Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022

I think we may lose this skill as our lives get longer with more complicated events and actions by us and as we become less flexible in changing approaches.  Are we more sure of what our actions should be?  What do you think?  I also think I have trouble falling asleep at night due to my inability to compartmentalize.  Hubby closes his book, turns off the light, says "goodnight" and in 5-8 minutes is breathing deeply in his sleep and is out for the next nine hours.  He is great at compartmentalizing.

Are you good at it?  Do you have some trick that works?

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Time Flies By Whether I am Busy or Not

Saturday already. Just got back from volunteering in the Children's Garden where the last of the spring produce was harvested and taken to the Food Pantry.  It was not much to bring, sadly.  We are in that time between seasonal crops, but lots of herbs.

The installation team came for two whole days to install our new HVAC system which does run much more quietly and has all those bells and whistles, like being able to control it from your phone while you are lounging by the pool in that distant hotel!  The screen even controls the humidity very closely and tells me the temp and humidity outside.  It also came with the price tag of a used car in excellent condition!

On the same day, our young electrician friend (Who made some major error as a supervisor with our local electrical company and is now again unemployed!) came and helped us fix the hanging ceiling in the basement and restore the shorted wire.  It looks almost new once again.  I think hubby paid him $25 an hour which will probably not provide food for the week!  The ceiling above was not damp and the wood not wet, so odd that the tiles absorbed it all.

I managed to squeeze in time to get my haircut, but I am growing tired of the style and thinking of letting it grow out...maybe wait until fall.

The luncheon with our 96-year-old friend was delightful.  She is still very sharp although slowing down physically and unable to do stairs.  We are going to try to make this luncheon a regular thing because her daughters took away her car on her birthday.  She has not had an accident, but they felt it was time.  One of the daughters is a psychotherapist...Ahem.  All three daughters live an hour or more from her.  She lives in a retirement community where there is lots of assistance and easy transport, but she said not having a car makes her feel isolated.

My daughter and the two grandchildren arrive tomorrow night for an overnight and morning visit the next day for Father's Day.  I have no idea what to cook and am thinking of ordering out.  I will make a ricotta cheesecake this afternoon.

I have a high school friend arriving next week with her husband from the midwest.  They will be staying elsewhere with relatives but want to meet up for one day during the week.  When we made this plan my week was pretty open.  Now I only have Tuesday really free.

I also have to drive up on Wednesday to the city to babysit my new grandchild and then stay overnight and come back on Thursday.  There is a farewell dinner for a friend that we are going to that Thursday early evening!  I am going to bring a fruit platter as I have no time for a potluck casserole!

Thus far I have nothing on the Friday and Saturday that is to come, but with my luck, my gregarious husband will book something!

(Oh, the biopsies were both benign, but they want to squeeze my mammary glands more often in the future!  I laughed at the Doctor's notes..." procedure was tolerated well by the patient."  That is a matter of opinion as I screamed bloody murder at least twice during the hour. )

For those of you missing your fathers, you are lucky to have had such love, and for those who still have fathers, take them their favorite food or make a date to share time in the future.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Bees Are Not This Busy

My last post was on May 31st, a little over two weeks ago. I am getting lazier or busier. Which is it? 

Let me see, looking at my calendar: I have had a "personal interview" to renew and update my TSA number for traveling. TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration. That is a 40-minute drive from my house to the Vehicle Administration Building.  I am still waiting for the number as it will take 10 or more days to get the number to be able to move into the "faster" line at the airport. No removing of shoes, etc. This luxury costs about $100 and lasts about(?) five years. 

I helped with the crowds of visitors at the Master Gardener Booth at the Children's garden. That was at least five hours of talking and taking promo photos and transplanting free native plants to give away. 

My granddaughter got a new job so we had to postpone our trip to later on that Saturday.

So, on the same day later in the afternoon, I went up to the city and took my granddaughter on a clothes shopping trip for a belated birthday.  After a few hours of enlightenment on what teenagers are wearing these days---not much (I really could not tell the difference between bras and "outer" tops!) .  I also learned that my daughter and granddaughter's favorite perfume is $300 a bottle!  Not buying that for her birthday.  I did learn that all of the most popular items at the make-up store were not available.  We are continuing to suffer from transportation issues due to the WAR and COVID.

Long lines to try on clothes.  Yes, this is an upper-middle-class mall.

Using the screens to scroll through hundreds of stores.

The very next afternoon, I helped with another Master Gardener booth at a nearby museum and historic mansion.  Over 800 visitors!  That evening I was wiped or whipped like fine cream and really wanted a reprieve, but....

The VERY NEXT day I headed up to the local radiology center (another 30-minute drive) and had not one but two breast biopsies.  This time I asked for some Xanax as my biopsy over two decades ago was pretty traumatic.  It was still extremely painful.  Hubby drove me up and back.  I learn later today the results.  This time she nicked an artery and my left boob looks like ...well never is not pleasant.

I relaxed last week after all the above.  This week I have the repair people coming to replace the HVAC system which will take two full days, maybe lots of noise, and a large closing payment.  Living without AC is no longer possible in this climate-changing world.  The rest of the basement ceiling tiles that had absorbed water finally gave way this week and now, I need an electrician and a handyman.

On Thursday I got up my energy (remember I am an introvert) to call a 96-year-old friend I have not seen since before COVID and am taking her out to lunch at a local restaurant.  She is a little hard of hearing and I can tell by talking to her on the phone that she is slowing down, so I am gearing down.  She is a brilliant nutritionist, so it is hard for me to see this.

Then on Friday my daughter and maybe some of the grands are coming down for a Father's Day visit.  Only the evening and perhaps a bit of the morning on Saturday.  They are SO VERY BUSY.  They really are.  Just following their few posts on FB makes me exhausted.

Well, that gets me through this next week.  At least I have an excuse for failing to update my blog.  I hope those of you that celebrate real Father's Day and Volunteer Father's Day have it full of hugs and gentle memories.  

And aren't you jealous at how busy I am...EGAD.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Pouring/Spilling Water

An early morning boat trip that I will write about on my other blog...soon

Yesterday we brought down the bird feeders. We had not been filling them for a couple of weeks, but it was time to wash them to remove any mold, fungus, or diseases so we could use them next fall.  A small percentage of my finches carry eye disease and I do not want to spread it to the other birds.  Birds rarely come to the feeders this time of year anyway because the bugs that are flying and crawling about are much higher nutrition and also the type of thing that is digestible to the baby fledglings.  

I have a deep sink in the laundry room and sprayed the feeders with a pet rug spray. (It really works wonders, something I bought when we fostered that dog.)  I then add a cap of bleach to the water in the sink and soak the feeders for an hour.  

I went on my merry way to do so many other chores that had been piling up but had to go back to the laundry room a while later to drop off some laundry.  I was dismayed to find that the faucet had not been turned off completely and water was sneaking over the counter and down onto the linoleum floor as well as behind the doubled stacked washer and dryer and then into the floor vent!  This was when I learned that my laundry room deep sink does NOT have an overflow drain!  It was just a small bit of water running, but that can add up in no time.

It took 30 minutes to mop up, move the heavy rug on the floor and wring out the rags I was using.  I had stopped the water from flowing across the floor from behind the washer to the floor vent, but next had to check the basement.

The water was dripping rapidly from ceiling tiles ( a dropped ceiling) and flooded the tiled floor to hubby's office and his boat gear room.  I had him help me carry out the dripping rug to the table on the patio and then went back to put a bucket under the main area where water was dripping and to mop and dry the rest of the floor with a portable fan.

At least 8 ceiling tiles in the basement are stained and will have to be replaced.  Since I avoid going on ladders, I will need to find a helper!

This was most annoying because earlier this week our heat pump in the attic had frozen coils which filled the aluminum pan beneath the unit and then dripped water out the corner of the trim to the attic stairway and onto the wooden floor and side of the oriental rug in the guest bedroom.  Hubby and I were in bed and the evening rain had started.  At first, I thought that was the sound of rain on the roof, but realized the rhythm was weird.  Fortunately, we caught that "spilled" water in a few minutes and turned off the heat pump as hubby sopped up the water from the drain pan with a sponge and I cleaned up the floor and put down a bucket.  (The repairman recommended replacing both AC/Heat units as they are 18-years-old!)

I know that pouring water is a ritual in many spiritual communities, but I had to look up "spilled" water.  It seems that in most cases it means a change to good fortune or good luck---don't we all need that! I am waiting... guess it happens after the fortune we have to pay for two new HVAC units.  

Since I keep spilling a small bit of water when filling my coffee maker in the same place, one article said it was a spirit that was trying to get my attention! 

Do you have any water issues that you confront?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Heavy Brain Stuff

No matter how busy I get I find I also require time on my hands as I get tired both mentally and physically.  I have an artistic side that needs I am NOT an artist, but clearly, my brain pushes me there.  

Digital photo

I am trying to wrap my mind around aging and the march towards endings.  Then this contrasts so much with my recent (number 4) grandchild's arrival and all the wonderful beginnings of life.  (The first for this particular set of parents.)  I have teenage grandchildren and when they arrived there was so much more energy to share on my part!

I am still wearing a mask indoors in public as this is the price I feel I should pay to be able to hold my new granddaughter on Tuesday.  (My husband and I were the only ones masked at our recent in-person gardener's meeting.)  I also updated my DTAP shots the same day I got my second COVID booster and while the medical experts said I could certainly do both, that knocked me for a loop for at least two days.  When you have not been sick in years, a mild reaction to shots can be an awakening.

I have only seen this new gal in her mother's arms in the NICU and she was so tiny and quiet back then. Now she has been home for almost three weeks and parents are slowly descending from cloud 9 to that period where you sit exhausted between chores, errands, feedings, and changings and wonder if you will survive.  They are in their 40's, so "survival" is a bit larger challenge.

I find that night-time thoughts go to dark places and I really must work on meditation or unwinding or more artwork to displace this.  Thoughts about things I said or did years ago that were unkind, thoughts about my carelessness with life, thoughts about all the dangers my loved ones will encounter as they move forward in their lives.  I worry about the medical challenges many of my friends are facing.  I do not think this mind wandering is due to COVID or Wars or even aging chemistry because I remember when my own little ones were growing I kept being sad about when they would move into adulthood and leave. Yes, a bit of an odd duck am I.  It is just the way my brain is wired.  Be thankful you have balanced electricity in that gray matter up there. Crossed wires can be exhausting.

Do not worry for me.  I am strong and realize I have no control over the universe, even though I think I could face that challenge.  I feel I could do a bit of a better job at it...much less suffering, please!

Now I am going to go downstairs and run on the elliptical.  I have not done that in almost nine days.  LAZY ME!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Today I Am in Midsomer County

I have spent way too much time re-watching the Midsomer Murder TV series. I do try to exercise while watching to justify, but I got my second COVID booster shot on Tuesday of last week and for the first time since I have been doing these shots, I got very fatigued. Just felt like sitting in front of the TV after a short nap. Hubby slept the entire day! 

Yes, we are elders and no one should be surprised. I was surprised as my first two vaccines and the first Booster did not give me any side effects.   I was pretty non-reactive.

Today I feel as if I am in some cottage garden in England.  It is misty and foggy on the river and there is no sun because the gray clouds are drizzling spring rain everywhere.  This should be posted on my other blog about the great outdoors, but I started here on this blog!

Spring rains and an abundance of flowers.  Below is our native geranium.

Above my "rose arbor" just like the flowers in Midsomer.

Poor Iris always want to bloom when the rains are so heavy!

The yard is full of columbine that scatter their seeds EVERYWHERE.

And below is a photo of one side of my house, that I think DOES look a bit of a Midsomer Garden...wonder if there is a body down that foggy hill to the river?

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Big Yawn, Big Sigh

I am exhausted. Could it be that it is because I got both my Second COVID booster and a DTap shot today? Surely that is not the reason. 

Could it be because I have my electrician friend here working on a mercurial outlet on the deck that jumps the fuse that also goes to my new freezer in the basement? Could it be my concern because this dear man has lost his job with a big utility company because he failed to follow up and inspect a job that he had assigned to an underling and that meant some customers went without electricity for 30 minutes? He was the man I wrote about earlier who helped us and we helped him as he got out of jail and reunited with his family for new beginnings. 

I am exhausted. Could it be because I wanted to take a nap after my shots and now I cannot because he showed up?

I am exhausted.  Could it be because I was lifting moving and standing the former two days on my feet setting up, being available, and taking down the plant sale for the County Master Gardeners and being outside one whole day in the cold and drizzly rain--- a sale that brought in more money than ever this year?

I am exhausted.  Could it be because the very next day, Sunday, I was summoned up early that morning by my son whose wife gave early birth to a new baby girl, 4 weeks early, who is now in NICU but should be released in a few days? (So lovely!)

I am exhausted.  Could it be because last week I invited over a friend for lunch that we had not seen in years due to COVID and I ran around trying to make everything hunky-dory instead of just relaxing and enjoying company?  She is an excellent baker and I did feel intimidated.

I am exhausted.  Could it be the lovely post Mother's Day dinner I had with my daughter and granddaughter at the lovely Mediterranean restaurant near their house?  Followed by the very long drive back home.

I am exhausted and I know spring is getting away from me.  Still so much weeding and planting to do!  I need an 8 or 9-day week!

Sorry, I am not going to read your blogs to catch up.  I now have to find a manual for my electrician.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Procrastination, Parties and Preserving Food

My world has been crowded with events and procrastination has been at the top of my list of things to do. Blogging has been tapping on my shoulder and I have felt guilty but ignored it rather successfully.

First I lost my upright freezer and at least half of the contents.   It was an old freezer that we had purchased from a neighbor when they moved. The rest of the food was given away or re-frozen in my now super packed little freezer below my refrigerator.  The lesson learned is that:

1.  I freeze way too much stuff for two old people. One could say this is depression-era syndrome but I am NOT that old.
2.  I bake too much stuff for us to eat and all that baking isn't healthy eating anyway.  I split it into smaller bags, but all have to be frozen.
3.  Hubby processes all his tomatoes into dried tomatoes and thinks we can go through tons of that in one year.
4.  Hubby makes huge batches of freezer jam...and jam is not all that healthy either.

This drawer above to my refrigerator freezer now only closes if we mash everything hard!

We bought another upright freezer (delivered today) and I moved it to the basement instead of the garage where the other freezer was plugged in.  The new freezer is about 60% the size of the old freezer and I am sure we will fill it fully in no time!!

Hubby wanted to invite our neighbor ("Martha Stewart") over for an oyster dinner.  She told him she had never eaten broiled oysters(!)  Hubby invited her that very day and said he would do all the planning and cooking and I would not have to worry.  Needless to say, he got to talking and talking to our guest and I had to cook everything except the oysters which he put in the oven to bake for about 8 minutes before he realized he had not turned on the broiler!  The meal went well in spite of all the craziness.  She is super polite and a perfect politician.  (Never having eaten a broiled oyster after living in this state most of her life. Ha! ) 

I had apologized to her that we did not have seafood forks for the oysters.  We probably could have used the crab forks, but we enjoyed the oysters and store-bought veggies and cake and the meal went pretty well, although I felt out of my depth in the hostess department.

A few days later I came home to find on our front porch a small gift bag filled with tissue paper and these: 

She seems to have the perfect hostess gift for any occasion.  I do feel a little intimidated that for every one thing we do for her she responds with at least two things!

Along with the above events are the Master Gardeners' activities, which are in full swing with lots of meetings and planning.  That crowds my calendar and I am trying to get out of much of it.

And the cherry on the "Too Much to Do" cake for this month was my daughter-in-law and son's baby shower.  I helped my daughter move chairs and tables and helped with menu planning and shopping and brownie making, etc.  It was outdoors and for 40 people.  She and her husband - ever the host and hostess - did the games.  The crowd were people in their 40's so it was much more different than an age 20 baby shower.  It went very well, I was in charge of photos and we were not entirely exhausted when we delivered all the chairs and tables back to my daughter's neighbors throughout her neighborhood.  Early afternoon the weather was lovely and then it turned a bit cold.

Today I am supposed to pay bills and exercise.  Sigh.  I think I will read blogs instead.