Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

     I've been keeping our grocery shopping to once a week. If I'm missing an ingredient for a recipe, I make do with what I have or omit it. I feel like all the lean years of frugality paid off for these types of situations. It may not be what you wanted, it may not be perfect, but if it tastes good and is nutritious--we're going to be happy, healthy and fed.

     At first, I was heading to Winco each week, but decided to give our small Roth's a try. I thought that might be where I'd be shopping during this historic Stay Home time, but there were just enough gaps in what I could purchase. I ventured back to Winco today.

     And now? Now I'm enjoying a glass of wine, because the venturing out, the shopping, and the disinfecting afterwards and during--it's a bit stressful.

From our hideout to yours --be well, stay aware and find some joy.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Monday Monday

     Okay, I'll admit it--more partly cloudy days are uplifting. Gives me hope that the mud is getting less muddy, though the weeds are gripping more grippily--as the ground firms up a wee bit. I can feel Spring trying to shift my focus: "look! new growth! look! swollen buds ready to burst open!" Thanks, Spring. I appreciate your optimism and your insistence.

     Moments of note from this day:

Oregon Sorry, Washington and Idaho schools will be closed for the remainder of the current school year
UK PM Boris has been admitted into ICU
Randy Rainbow created a video ode to Andrew Cuomo
Ten thousand citizens of the United States of America have died due to the Trump Virus . . . so far

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Bath, Perchance?

     About every 5 years or so, I decide to try taking a bath instead of a shower. And every time I make that leap to sit, rather than stand--I find I lack the fortitude to enjoy a soak. Why? It sounds so tempting and luxurious. Why does it make me muse to myself why I thought it was a good idea?

     And, you may have already guessed, I tried again today. I can't guarantee that it's been 5 years, but I reckon it's close. I made sure the soaps and shampoo were within reach, remembered the gifted soaking salts, dipped in all the toes and other necessary body parts, and . . . aaahhh. I think I actually relaxed and enjoyed it. Even if it was only 20ish minutes.

     But once this silly old brain began to ponder how I could put the trapped water to a second or third use, I knew it was time to get out.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Satur-blurs-day

     I just turned on the television (it's past that magic 5pm hour), and there's a cartoon playing. No judging N, but why didn't you turn that on while I was still on the couch last night? ;-)

     Today, it's been drizzling off and on. Making me wish that the drizzle had sound--like wee chimes. 

     Didn't do much today, other than crosswords and meals. No reason, just chilling and idling. Though, dinner smells good. (fingers crossed) 

     Take care and let me know how you're doing.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Another Day in the Bunker--no not Archie, Edith or Gloria

     What another day in "the bunker" showed me? All the things to be thankful for:
I'm thankful for . . .
  • the choice we made in 1978, is still holding firm & true <3
  • roof over our heads
  • food in our bellies and pantry
  • entertainment up wazoo
  • technology to visit with others
  • BOOKS and puzzles
  • kitchen dance parties
  • feeling well
  • friends and family
  • yes, the treadmill

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hoo Boy!

     If ever there was a time in history to pick your team and stick with it--this is not it. You don't need a fucking team. You/we need fucking facts. No. Stop. Look at ME. Do not look at that insane idiot, who some short sighted folks thought would be hilarious to hire. He doesn't care about you, me, them--he only cares about himself. His children aren't even that important to him. He sees everything as TAINTED. He trusts NO ONE. He only wants to gain the notoriety and advantage over anyone he sees as a threat.

     In 'his' time of "roole", we've watched the alt right grab a firmer toe hold in rural areas. Yeah, don't be confused by the sheriffs who are embracing the "constitution". They've probably never studied more than what their so called gurus would send out to their "followers".

     Yeah. "Followers". They want you to drink their Koolaid and sing their praises. How gullible are you?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Blursday?

     Today, I'm thankful once again for Carolyn Hax. Last week, she began doing a Wednesday chat--in addition to Fridays. The Wednesday chat is for all of us during Stay at Home. It's a frigging public service! And also helps to make a person aware that everyone is dealing with this in some way--some folks with huge burdens and less than good situations.

Also . . .   
Have you seen this yet?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oof

     As much as I believe in the importance of being informed, this morning's radio news lays heavier upon my head this am. Time to seek some light diversions on and off today.

     More dance party, less reading of news.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Despite the Years of Training

     Something I've begun to notice (and be amused by), is how condensed a day in the house can feel. About every other night, when I start my evening ablutions, I stop and peer at myself in the mirror and ask, "Didn't we just do this?". I'm not alone, am I?

     Not sure why that's the moment my brain chooses to question my actions. Is it the mirror? That moment of looking oneself in the eye at the end of the day?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The First Change . . .

     I don't remember the defining moment or the specific news story, but I do remember laying in bed on March 8th, realizing that I could no longer go to my kindergarten volunteer gig. Those blankets offered small comfort as I struggled to justify all of the joy I'd be losing without working with the littles. When I sent the text to teacher Jodi. She understood and wondered on text whether she ought to encourage her other volunteers to stop coming in. Just now, when I went to my text app to see when I made that decision, I was surprised it was in March. This all feels like it's been months instead of weeks! (Get a grip, K)

     And then my other anchor disappeared. Dependable Kim--when she's not traveling. Her partner is a long time FUXNews devotee, though she is not . . . completely. Her partner decided there would no longer be grocery shopping or walks with friends. Don't worry, I'm doing my best to stay in daily touch. I don't want to lose any of my anchors--they keep me moored. I'm keeping my focus on the fact that her partner finally saw the light--even if it's a tainted light.

    So, I'm hoping you all are doing okay, with your routines and buds and exercise and eating. Yeah, everything. Take care and remember, it's temporary. The world will come through this. Gaia just has to weigh her resources and problems from time to time and seek some balance. We're just weights on her scale. Maybe we ought to try harder to be benefit.


   

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I Don't Know About You, But . . .

     N's long been mystified over my ability to set an alarm and hop out of bed when it goes off. Now? Those days are long gone--even before the Trump Virus. Because after retirement, I began to slowly assimilate to N's habit. It's a way to listen to the news, with little interruption. And if we happen to drop back to sleep? No worries! The news repeats on public radio!

     Once I'm up, it's time to feed the pups, carefully prepping their 3 tablespoons of wet food and then smushing it together with the added water. (Thankfully, with 3 feedings a day, the wet food no longer activates my gag reflex.) Then it's time for our morning oatmeal. When did I start adding a handful of granola to our oatmeal? I'm not sure, but I enjoy the contrasting texture. Then it's time to empty the dishwasher and start a pot of tea before digging into breakfast.

     That's when I sit down to work on my first of three crossword puzzles of the day and write letters. After that, I hit the shower. Not sure how or why others are showering less--I do some of my best musing under the showerhead. At least that's my opinion. Besides there's lovely moist solitude in that stall!

     In the afternoons, we usually walk the dogs, work on the latest crossword puzzle, do chores, read, dance in the kitchen, and begin to contemplate dinner. Then into the evening we drift, eating dinner, watching the NewsHour, deciding what to watch on TV next.

     As a long time introvert, I feel like I've been training for "Stay Home" my entire life. Though, to be honest, I doubt it'll take us long to spread out our tendrils and enjoy people, stores, parks and life as we knew it. See ya all on the other side.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Rotisserie Chicken: And How Many Days it Can Feed Two

     Oh boy, do I enjoy Costco's rotisserie chicken. So moist, so tasty, and a bit on the buff side. It's sustained us for many quick dinners and chicken salad lunches. There are other businesses doing the same, but their chickens tend to look scrawny next to the "pumped up" Costco version.

     The first dinner, is usually (depending on time of day of purchase) rotisserie chicken with veg and baked potatoes. Since there's just the two of us, after dinner, I remove all of the leftover chicken from the carcass. It tastes better removed, than if I left it on the carcass. Perhaps this is a personal preference. {shrug}

     I have some favorite uses of those moist, tender, leftovers--not counting how I like to dip a small piece in mayo to nosh on. One of my favorite, is (what I affectionately refer to as an accidental dinner) a combination of onion, garlic, chicken, rice, tomato, black beans, chicken broth-- seasoned with oregano, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes. I try to make just enough to be sure there will be lunch leftovers to stuff into flour tortillas.

     Then there's chicken and cauliflower over rice: I trim and prep the cauliflower into bite size or slightly smaller pieces, place on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with coriander and ginger and salt. Massage together. And roast in 425 degree oven for approximately 12-17 minutes. Then I saute onion and red pepper, add rice, diced chicken, chicken broth. Season with cumin, coriander and chili powder to taste. Add cauliflower when roasted.

     Chicken Alfredo with broccoli (so many recipes for different tastes available out there, but here's one...) https://www.thekitchn.com/make-these-chicken-alfredo-shells-tonight-244597

     Tomato, Spinach, Chicken Spaghetti, is another recipe with plenty of options. I sub pesto for the basil: https://juliasalbum.com/tomato-spinach-chicken-spaghetti/

     But, barbecue chicken sandwiches, might be my favorite. It's a situation when the barbecue sauce, and bread matter . . . a lot. Bacon can add a little something extra, as well as some nice thick tomato slices on top of the spinach leaves, and don't forget that sour dough and a bit of horseradish sauce. Sometimes I'll add a slice of Monterey Jack cheese on top--telling myself that it's all about keeping the chicken from falling off the bread.

     What's your favorite use of rotisserie chicken? Because I'm always looking for another good recipe.

   

Sunday, March 15, 2020

I Grew Up in a Small Town

     First off, let me admit that the group of small town classmates I grew up with were a bunch of anarchists (yes, I include myself). What else would you call an entire class of third graders who conspired against a substitute teacher, by carefully placing thumbtacks on the seat of her broad wooden chair?

    That wasn't our last effort. We continued until the very end and if I'm completely honest--Timothy Paulsen was our ringleader. Well, that's what we told our parents. And they were eager to embrace him as the villian, but (as many of us know) parents are happy to defend their own and vilify the rest.

     Looking back over some of the most memorable moments of our reign, I have to believe that we were an anomaly, that was all about that particular time of history. Whenever I'd broach the fringes of the topic with my older sister, she'd always reduce it to the era of the Vietnam war. Perhaps she was correct--history has much to do with human behavior.

     In the end, we battled with the small town school board to create the graduation we desired. They were happy to give us one of the lesser demands--the music we walked into the gym to and the song we sang together. And still we weren't happy. It's all about the struggle, isn't it? The struggle for independence. The struggle for identity. Yet, we were privileged young white people. We had zero idea of what a real struggle was.

   

Monday, March 9, 2020

Lungs, Lovely, Lungs

     I was one of those children who (it seemed) always had a sore throat or a cough. So many home remedies: my least favorite was the (very) damp cloth diaper-pinned around my neck during sleep. The most effective was that shot of brandy, my exhausted mother gave me in the wee hours of the night. Something she hated to admit. And I completely understand.

     Several weeks back, I realized why I probably suffered more than some--it may have had an impact on my upper respiratory system that, nearly every week, our dining room (and the dining rooms of my parents' friends) were filled with cigarette smoke, during their card games. And, possibly, due to living when many homes were heated with a wood furnace or stove. {Cough, hack, spit}

     I don't miss that cough or bark--I know my coworkers didn't. And I'm still thankful to the doctor who prescribed an "as needed" inhaler and suggested I get my pneumonia shot early. That doesn't help the teeth I ruined by sucking on cough drops at night, for months at a time, but it's kept my lungs feeling normal. Hooray for science!

    Today, I decided--as much as I love (LOVE) volunteering at school, I need to quit for now. If I brought that bug home to N, I'd never forgive myself. I tried to bargain with myself in the wee hours, but loving that activity isn't a good reason to continue during this time. My personal pity party may drag on a bit longer, but imo it's the right thing to do.

Monday, March 2, 2020

November 2009

     About once a year, I recall the month that H1N1 stole from me and how long it took to get back on my feet. I was glad to (re)discover today that I wrote posts during that time, because details can matter when it comes to the next virus.

     One detail that rises above the others, is the pain I experienced under my right shoulder blade when I didn't have any other noticeable symptoms. Though, without running a temperature, perhaps the doctor wouldn't have ordered an x-ray. Impossible to know.

     Going back and reading also gave me an opportunity to re-experience gratitude for all of the help I received from family and friends. Yet another reason to feel good about having taken the time to write it down.

   

Friday, February 28, 2020

Daffy Down Dilly

Good golly! I had no idea this was a long poem! I had assumed it was a single stanza created for the art project we did each spring.

Daffy Down Dilly

Daffy-down-dilly
Is new come to town,
With a petticoat green,
And a bright yellow gown,
And her little white blossoms
Are peeping around.

Now don't you call this
A most exquisite thing?
Don't it give you a thrill
With the thought of the spring,
Such as once, in your childhood,
You felt, when you found
The first yellow buttercups
Spangling the ground?

When the lilac was fresh
With its glory of leaves,
And the swallows came fluttering
Under the eaves?
When the bluebird flashed by
like a magical thing,
And you looked for a fairy
Astride of his wing?

When the clear, running water,
Like tinkling of bells,
Bore along the bare roadside
A song of the dells,—
And the mornings were fresh
With unfailing delight,
While the sweet summer hush
Always came with the night?

O daffy-down-dilly,
With robings of gold!
As our hearts every year
To your coming unfold,
And sweet memories stir
Through the hardening mould,
We feel how earth's blossomings
Surely are given
To keep the soul fresh
For the spring-time of heaven!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Life in Oregon

     There we were, driving to Tillamook. I can still remember when the two of us traveled to N's interview. He'd been working as an assistant manager for Willamette Tree Systems, a tree planting company, whose owner was ready to retire to Eastern Oregon. This new job offering seemed suited to his experience and education. And oh did that sun shine on the coastline that day! Glistening white foamy waves, highlighted by the gorgeous blue sky. Perhaps that's what teased us into submission.

     Once that avenue had played itself out, we hitched up our britches and headed to Roseburg, to a new job, a new employer. Roseburg was good to us. We made some good friends, as we dove head first into volunteering at the girls' elementary school. And I found my 'vocation'--working with the wee folk. Good friends, good neighbors, and we loved the area--it wasn't easy, but we pulled up our happy, established roots and moved to Salem.

     In Salem, I realized it was time to say goodbye to many of my rural habits and beliefs. As well as learning how to drive and navigate on busier city streets. The transitions were slow, as I resisted, shaking off all that we had loved about Roseburg. Growing up with few education choices in the HS of my youth, I was hopeful that the girls would receive a better education than I had: the lure of better schools, more opportunities and more friends to choose from. All in all, it was a good place to end up.

     Even though my folks were sure that living in a city with a prison or two, would end with us all being murdered in our beds, we've come to love Salem. She's not perfect--a plus in my opinion--but she's lovely, vibrant, eager to please, and oh so green. People come here (I assume), to escape the big city, yet live with many of the benefits of one. A small city can make you feel like you do make a difference, that you are needed, and you won't have to worry as much about sharp elbows pushing you out of the way. It's not for everyone, but it is for me.

Ps. And guess what I forgot? All of the gratitude for the family help we received during every move (including the moves from rentals), except for the last. That's when the benefits of staying with the same employer came into play. Finally.

   

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Sand Dogs of Time? The Dogs of Sand Time?

     As our pups continue to senior on, the more I notice the small adjustments we all make. So many small accommodations and changes. When Shiloh and Gretel (dogs from our past), were getting elderly, we didn't notice as much, due to raising an active family, but the signs were there.

     It's difficult to forget those defining moments: for Shiloh, it was a vacation that included a stay at Rainier NP, that caused us to embrace her frailty. Thankfully, N was able to carry our Golden Retriever on that trail. Not sure how, but forever grateful. And Gretel? She decided to hide from us, after a hike on Mt. Bailey--definitely a sign of changing abilities.

     In the wee hours last night, Izzy, who no longer sleeps with us, began to dream-bark in the living room. At first, the overwhelming response was to worry we were under an unknown assault. I laughingly asked N if he had checked the 'perimeter' before returning to bed. But no, it's part of our current chapter.

     Caring for pets in the difficult stages, feels like a responsibility. And I don't mean that in a reluctant participant kind of way, but as a human trying to make sense of a situation. And as a human whose family rarely took a pet to the vet, I often question my motives. And so I'll continue to watch the pups as they sleep and cough--because they've given much to us.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Ants are Back

     And now, Sir Elton's song, The Bitch is Back, is playing in my head. Thanks, ants. 

    I don't remember ever seeing a sugar ant, until we moved to Roseburg. They were constantly coming into our bathroom and crawling all over the toothpaste. I'm unclear as to what remedy we employed back then, though I think it was a simple exercise in removing or relocating whatever was attracting them.

     Since we moved to Salem, 28ish years ago, sugar ants have become as regular as the seasons. What really opened our eyes, besides the (sometimes) massive ant biway that traverses our backyard, was when we replaced our roof and discovered other massive trails on the rafters. Our main defenses have been Terro traps, placed on the offending trail. They help, but don't cure. To be honest, there is no cure, but there are ways to stop them from coming into the house.

     When N retired, he began to take a more active role in the ant situation. So now, our main weapon is Ortho's Home Defense, in-door and perimeter. It's not easy--having to leave the spray undisturbed as it dries, but the dogs leave it alone and I can't detect an odor. Again, it's not a permanent solution. He usually uses it around the foundation a couple times a year, as a preventative, and less often, inside the kitchen or bathrooms. 

     Probably the most important thing when you're dealing with sugar ants, is to remember not to squash them. Their scent will alert their nestmates to come retrieve the body. I don't know if it's the best way, but I sometimes use a window cleaner to knock them down and a paper towel to swipe them up. But . . . I do wonder what food value they offer. Talk about a renewable resource!

   

Monday, February 17, 2020

Garrison Keillor
I know, it seems outrageous, But it's getting a lot of attention on some very respectable Web pages - which mainstream media won't mention:

Donald Trump was not born in

Queens,

He was born in the Philippines,

In a hotel in downtown Manila.

Where his hair turned bright vanilla

Due to vitamin deficiencies.

His mom and dad were Celanese

And left him with Franciscan nuns

At the age of fourteen months.

Adopted on the 3rd of June

By a real estate tycoon

Who took the little boy away

To a mansion in the U.S.A.

Bestowing on him great largesse

And naturalized him more or less.

The record of his nativity

Is kept under lock and key

With his tax returns, the MRIs

Showing what's behind his eyes

Including, according to rumor,

A diverticulated tumor.

I hope it isn't true, although

It comes from folks who ought to

know.

A week ago, a panhandler in Times Square sat holding a sign, "Give me a dollar or I'll vote for Trump," and people laughed and reached into their pockets. His bucket overflowed. He stuffed the bills into his jacket and other panhandlers looked at him with admiration. The man could've sold franchises and retired to Palm Beach.

The panhandler knows what every New Yorker knows, which is that the biggest con job since the Trojan horse is taking place in our midst. Millions of Americans are planning to cast their votes for a man who has lived his life contrary to all of their most cherished values. They are respectful, honest, generous, loyal, modest, church-going people with no Mafia connections and good credit records who try not to spout off about things they know nothing about.

His followers out on the prairie were brought up to be wary of slick-talking New Yorkers and here they are, falling right into line behind the biggest braggart ever to hit the sawdust trail. It's going to be an education for them, watching him cut taxes while expanding the military and building a wall and deporting 11 million people. In America, you can't send gendarmes through the streets to round up people in trucks and load them on boxcars and ship them away. There is a judicial process. Lawyers are involved. People have certain rights.

His boast after the Manhattan pressure-cooker bombing Saturday night was revelatory. "I called it!" he cried on Fox, as he had after the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shootings. It would've been classier for him to have congratulated New York's Finest but instead he took it as a personal coup.

What the bombing showed was the courage and smarts of the NYPD, arriving on the scene in time to defuse a second bomb, identify the suspect, and track him down Monday morning. "We've got to be very, very tough," cried the candidate out in Colorado, but back in New York, the work was being done by men who know how to do it.

Ah, chutzpah! There was once a mayor of New York who overruled the NYPD and the Secret Service and put the city's Emergency Command Center on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center, and whose emergency plan for the towers led to massive confusion and miscommunication, some desperate people directed to climb up, others told to stay put, as the mayor stood in the streets below and urged residents to be calm, and thereby became a national hero and started his own security consulting company. This is like the captain of the Titanic, had he survived, writing a book called The Art of Navigation. The mayor is now a close Trump adviser.

Trump is a man whom few Republicans would care to invite into their homes. So what's going on here? An epidemic of hippocampus poisoning from bad enzymes in cheap beers? The man is a fraud, a tax cheat, a compulsive liar, a clueless playboy, and his presidency would be an unmitigated disaster for the country. If you would make us the laughingstock of the world just to irk your liberal sister-in-law, you are someone who should not be allowed to come within 500 yards of an elementary school.

The success of Trump will show our children the exact value of education, which is: not that much. It will mean that fact-based journalism has very little bearing in America and a Manila-born Celanese child can aspire to the highest office in the land. So here's a dollar in the beggar's hat. Good luck to democracy. Hang in there.

Keillor is an author and radio personality. Garrison Keillor, distributed by The Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News.

Forgiveness

As soon as I read this, I immediately thought of the following letter, as found onhttp://viewonbuddhism.org/ange...
What forgiveness is
"Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn't deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is an internal process. It can't be forced, and it doesn't come easy. It brings with it great feelings of wellness and freedom. But we experience this only when we want to heal and when we are willing to work for it.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. We no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims. We claim the right to stop hurting when we say, "I'm tired of the pain, and I want to be healed." At that moment, forgiveness becomes a possibility-although it may take time and much hard work before we finally achieve it.
Forgiveness is letting go of the past. It doesn't erase what happened, but it does allow us to lessen and perhaps even eliminate the pain of the past. The pain from our past no longer dictates how we live in the present, and it no longer determines our future.
It also means that we no longer need resentment and anger as an excuse for our shortcomings. We don't need them as a weapon to punish others nor as a shield to protect ourselves by keeping others away. And most importantly, we don't need these feelings to identify who we are. We become more than merely victims of our past.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who hurt us. It is understanding that the anger and hatred that we feel toward them hurts us far more than it hurts them. It is seeing how we hide ourselves in our anger and how those feelings prevent us from healing. It is discovering the inner peace that becomes ours when we let go of the past and forget vengeance.
Forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing all that we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It is realizing that the energy that we spend hanging on to the past is better spent on improving our present and our future. It is letting go of the past so that we can move on.
We all have been hurt. And at one time or another most of us have made the mistake of trying to run away from the past. The problem is that no matter how fast or how far we run, the past always catches up to us-and usually at the most inopportune time. When we forgive, we are dealing with the past in such a way that we no longer have to run.
For me, learning how to forgive wasn't easy. But I did learn, and my life is better for it - even here on death row."
Michael B. Ross
Death Row
Somers, Connecticut

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The List

     I like lists. They give me purpose, direction, focus and a reward when I cross off an item. But, I've begun to notice, they no longer drive me in retirement as they did before. There was a time when they meant much to me, and when I forgot, I'd create a list after I'd spent the day tasking, just for the satisfaction of drawing a line through each entry. Currently, we have The List magnetically attached to the fridge door. It's been there--waiting, nagging, since last spring--with only two items marked off. One done this week. Oof!

     What's happened? I don't get it. We have a routine with regular outings and tasks. There doesn't seem to be a problem in the routine area. Maybe it's the extra stuff--the things that aren't as easy to get excited about. To be honest, clean floors and clean sheets are a tad exciting to me, because accomplishments can bring joy. And now as I reread that last sentence, I'm rolling my eyes, but for me it's true.

     With all the pondering time available, I'll be sure to let you know when the epiphany hits. Because it will. Eventually.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Rediscovering One Percent

     After the stomach issues caused my weight loss, and I was able to enjoy food again, my doctor cautioned about losing anymore weight. "Your bmi is just right", said Dr H. Losing weight without effort seems like a good problem, until you've watched your posterior disappear. I mean . . . a person needs some cushioning!

     And so, I was having some trouble with keeping the existing weight on. I was talking to oldest child and she suggested I try whole milk or cream in my tea and oatmeal in the morning. Which sounded good, as the fat has a soothing effect on my stomach.

     I've been following her advice for over a month now and good advice it was. Until, my taste buds began to balk over the whole milk flavor. Oi! I sat down to ponder the situation and how I've learned that our brains need a certain amount of fat for functioning. Then it hit me: both of us could benefit if I changed to one percent. Maybe that fat really does help the brain!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

February Musings

Oof! That February afternoon sun is fierce today . . . oh wait, it's stopped. Whew! And now it's raining! Whew!

Hmmm, maybe that's why the NW coast tugs at me now--intermittent sun. There were times, when we would camp with family at Sugar Loaf CG at Cascade Reservoir, when the sun would make me feel sad and headachy. One afternoon, N found me sweaty and sobbing in our sweltering tent. Not the sanest thing I've ever done, but there was nowhere else to find private relief.

And I'd almost forgotten the summer we went to Indianapolis to visit daughter. The best part was spending time with oldest daughter and seeing the sites, but the worst part was the constant summer haze. It seemed to defuse the sunlight into a constant glare pointed at my eyes and then drilled through my brain.

I feel most happy and settled when I'm amongst the trees and green. When we lived in the south end of the state, I can remember driving northward, away from the bare, rolling hills, and feeling the relief wash over me, as the trees grew taller and crowded together on the hillsides, awash in soothing shades of green.

The Trees
by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Tritanopia

     To be honest, I can't remember exactly when I learned about my issues with not seeing all of the colors--but most likely it was in my teens. Because that's my first memory of living with these eyes I inherited from my Mother.

     My cousin, Clarissa, also ended up with Tritanopia. When we were teenagers, we would ask to be dropped off at the mall for the usual teen activity: shopping. Bold Clarissa would often turn to a close-by woman, hold up an item of clothing and ask, "can you tell me what color this is?". Some women would look at our young smiling faces and assume we were part of Candid Camera or another kind of joke. But most would happily or cautiously answer. I can't remember if anyone would ask a follow-up question. They probably just wanted to escape. I think I would, too.

     Working in kindergarten, I could ask children for help. They rarely asked me why, probably because we're always asking them questions we already know the answer to. I can remember twice, during the years I worked, when I noticed a student with a color problem. I'd help them use the possible clues/strategies: crayons might still have their color word wrapper on or they could ask a table neighbor.

     And people I meet, who find out, will usually have a list of questions. Which caused me to fine tune my explanation--though I have no clue if it's a good one or not. But, it's the best I've come up with. My answer is that I can see the colors in the crayola box of eight, but I can only guess at the shades/hues in between.

     It's on my mind today, because the website where I learned the name of my color deficiency has put out an app with a new type of test. This morning's test, shows the severity of my Tritanopia is increasing. That's permission to dress however the hell I want . . . right? Don't worry, N, I'll still consult you (when I remember) when I buy something for the house. Hopefully.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Meh Dinner Reinvented Into Tasty Breakfast: News at Eleven

     Several days ago, I opened up the refrigerator to find some dinner inspiration. And there you were, Jimmy Dean, you sexy chub o' pork and fat . . . begging to be included. I'm not certain of all that was tossed into that slap and dash dinner, but I do remember diced potatoes, onion, a small amount of rice (who knows why), and possibly a can of tomatoes with green chilies.

     Last night, as I lay in bed, telling my brain to calm the hell down, I began to ponder feeding that meh dinner to N as (wait for it . . . ) BREAKFAST! My brain also remarked, "Dude, that was hash you made", and then I went to sleep with thoughts of Jimmy Dean being mentally transformed.

     How did a meal go from "meh" to "tasty", due to eating it at a different time of day? I can only surmise that those 'several days' in the fridge were what that globby mass needed. OR perhaps it had to do with those over easy eggs, dripping their golden gravy over the hash? Whichever--it was a success and I'll be craving it again, no doubt.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Dreams

     I was kept busy in my dream (the one I remember) last night. It's a vague and foggy memory now, but it was all about Hope dog losing parts of herself. My job was trying to locate and reattach the lost parts. The strangest thing? When I shared with N and learned he had a similar dream. Which is a BIG deal, because N rarely remembers dreams--if ever.

     What's it all about? Most likely her age--she's the oldest of the two. But so bizarre to dream about her snout falling off unexpectedly and me believing all I had to do was put it back. But I was fine with the falling, flying, warring dreams? LOL Maybe there ought to be a chapter on dreams in the book we ought to be handed at the age of 10ish. "Here are some types of dreams you might experience at certain times of your life"  Yeah, that oughta do it!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Couch on 21st Street

The Couch on 21st Street

Old enough to shave our legs
     but not everyday.
Her head at one end
     and mine at the other.
"You're supposed to be sleeping"
     my older sister warned.
We giggle, we chatter, we whisper
     feeling each other's prickly forests
     on our young limbs.
~KGM 2020

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Writing On Paper With Ink

How long has it been now, Roni? Weeks? Months? Years? When I peer back, it seems like close to a year, but to my 'heart-brain' our letter exchanging still feels recent. I don't know how else to describe that, other than it's comfortable mailing words to her--sharing mundane, ordinary scraps of our lives. And somehow, reading those bits, those sweet fragments, you start to feel that old familial connection again. Which is fitting, because what I knew about her and the rest of their family, was listening to Mom read their Mother's letters out loud.

I don't know where I might have planned on taking this, but wanted to share a small piece of the interesting process of writing regular letters back and forth. How sometimes the letters seem to write themselves (whoa Nelly!) and others are more of a narration on the past week's highlights. But there's no reason to despair when they don't flow like the ink. Think of it more as a way to gauge a mood or energy level. And some brain benefits might be nice--yeah, I'd like that. All the more reason to trade those letters.


Monday, January 20, 2020

Smugly Speaking

Way, way, back--back when my eldest sister was married with 2 small tots, I slammed a car door on my right thumb. I have a vague recollection of Mom not having time to deal with my situation and dropping me off at the house of my aforementioned sister.

(To be honest, I could be intertwining two memories. I'd forgotten about burning my upper arm on their wood stove's interior chimney pipe, but I'm carrying on to where my memory leads me.)

Sister iced that thumb of mine, as I sobbed myself to sleep on her couch. My present day self would've used that bumpy thumbnail as often as possible for 'show and tell' opportunities, but young me did not want to be different or odd.

When I worked with the wee folk, they would often discover my bumpy thumb and want all the details. And then they'd share their own painful stories. A handy tool, when you're hoping to distract them from the situation they're struggling with.

I've had strangers tell me what I needed to fix that thumb. One energetic mall worker, asked if she might smooth it for me, but that definitely wasn't the right idea. The smoothing had thinned it to such a degree, that I had to find a temporary way of keeping it from further damage and to keep the bumpy bits from snagging on everything.

Using superglue, nail stickers and Barielle ridge filler, I've been able to grow out the top layer of the nail. My fantasy, was that growing it out would help the layers become one. Either it will never happen, without removing the nail, or it's going to take another year of growth. Whatever the deal is, I now have a new annoyance--debris has gotten between the layers of keratin, making my nail appear bruised.

I could add color to my nails--though I hate the fussiness of worrying about the condition of polish. Or I could laugh at myself. That's my usual MO.
To sum up: small problems keep me entertained for hours. And who doesn't enjoy personal entertainment?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

What Chapter is This?

A couple evenings ago, I began to reflect on our daily activities. This reflection illuminated something I've been vaguely aware of for the past couple of years: short outings/activities can be a result of your pets becoming elderly. But what had not occurred to me before--are we currently living in a pet hospice?

Our sweet (to us) Izzy, seems to become more anxious every month. Electronic dings and pings, rile her up, and lately she no longer stays sleeping in the same room with us during the night. Her reluctance to drink water on her own, means we feed her 3 times during the day (nearly 2 cups of water added to prescription food)--which keeps us close to home.

And then there's cantankerous Hope, who has become friendlier to strangers in her old age, but it's obvious she's losing strength and agility. She's 3-4 years older than Izzy, but seems more active.

And during this chapter, I'm thankful for N. He's a better pet parent than I. He notices things I don't and is awesome at getting us out for dog walks. {full disclosure: walking may be the wrong term--it's more of a sniff and stop and mosey}

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Social Media Feels

I have weeks when I feel the weight
     of all the words I add to social media.
The words occupy active space in my brain:
     I replay my posts/comments repeatedly,
          I edit, I delete, it even bothers my sleep.
And often I don't just ponder deleting.
     Once I start deleting, on fb particularly, I find it difficult to stop.

But then I wonder . . .
    if I delete fb completely . . . will I feel worse?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A New Year, A New Post

After reading Carolyn Hax all these years, I've become more aware of personal boundaries, how numerous they are and why it's important to respect other folks'. And then, over a year ago, I lose a bunch of weight. The questions began to be asked--questions about the weight of my body.

My first thought:
"No one would be asking these questions if I'd gained weight."

I tried to deflect curious folks I don't know as well and soon-- I began to get irritated when asked.

Do I have all this boundary stuff wrong?

Looking back, I wish I had been less concerned with the boundaries being crossed and realized those asking the questions thought we were close enough to broach the subject of my weight. AND I wish I'd understood it all (okay, most) came from concern and love.

Perhaps this is a lesson in: One Size Does Not Fit All?