Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello



This is the mood I'm in today.
Bring it.
It's 35 degrees up here in NW Indiana, and I believe I can rest now, knowing that outdoor pursuits are laid to rest for the time being.

For some reason - I always feel in limbo at this time of year.
Fall - absolutely my favorite time of the year - but I'm left wondering if I should start pursuing indoor activities, or continue weeding, etc.  
You think it's all over outside, and then it's not - just kidding  - it is - wait, nope...

That's how it seems to me!  
Do I put the hoe away or not!?
Make up your mind!

With a frost due tonight - I can say - 
Goodbye.

Goodbye mosquitoes good bye fresh beans, goodbye humidity, good bye summer breezes in my bedroom window - goodbye grass mowing, goodbye zinnias
 (perhaps the hardest goodbye of summer).  

But, as I increase in wisdom and wrinkles, I'm realizing that behind every goodbye, 
 there awaits a 

hello.

Sometimes these hellos are unwelcome, as I've found out recently.
I did not welcome sorrow with open arms.
I did not.


And yet - with sorrow unwelcomed - there are still lessons if we search deep enough.

Oh how I'm embracing my friends and family now - oh how I make a point to contact my sisters daily - I never let Glenco leave without a hug and a kiss.  Family suppers are much more often.




Sometimes in death - we find life.

So, as I sit here robed in fleece, clutching my new favorite tea - 'Yorkshire Gold' - 
I'm feeling a goodbye in my heart, a so long to summer and all that it holds.

As you may or may not know, I strive to go the entire winter without complaining.
So I say this right now - 



Fall - you are welcome here!

You - in all your blaze of glory - even though you bring certain death behind you - I embrace you.
I will drink your tea, I will celebrate your pumpkin-spiced anything - I will revel in the color and texture you bring to our world.
I will embrace the condensation on my kitchen window whilst the soup simmers.
I'll slip on my fuzzy slippers with gratitude.
I will be thankful for a cupboard full in preparation of the cold.
I will marvel in the cyclical nature of things.

And I will make the most of you.

I will dive into my indoor pursuits with abandon!


I will find beauty and balance in all things.


I will continue to be the best Jayme that I know how to be - and I will continue to 
look for ways to improve and live fully.
As the leaves fall off the trees, I will let thought patterns and behaviors that do not benefit me fall.




Goodbye summer - hello fall.

What are you happy to say hello to at this time of year?

Bonus points if you say 'Downton Abbey'.

:-)


Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Pig Named Cool Whip

the contentment of pigs

I've been quite busy in my absence.
I still struggle with time management - trying to stuff 10 lbs of turnips in a 5 lb sack so to speak.

I still struggle saying no - cause I really do want to do everything.
The more I say yes, the more frazzled I become and the next thing I know I'm somewhere mid-week, bra-less, in my pajamas, overwhelmed, nursing a latte at 3pm. Sometimes it feels as if squirrels have nested in my brain, and I can't for the life of me think right or prioritize anything.  

When I get overwhelmed like that, I dream the craziest dreams.  Full color, feature length film type dreams.  I had such a dream shortly after picking up half a hog that I purchased locally from a gal that raised it humanely and organically.

Seriously

Let me talk about bacon for a moment before I tell you about the dream - did you know that half a hog only has about 8#s of bacon on it?  I'm not sure I can convey the disappointment I felt when learning this news.  The butcher had called me asking me gobs of questions like 'how thick do you want your pork chops?', 'do you want your bacon thin or thick?' - that's when I stopped him.  I asked him how much bacon there was.  "About 8lbs.".  My heart (and my stomach) sank to the ground.  I was hoping this half a hog would last us a year - until I could purchase another one.  There was no way 8lbs of bacon was going to last me much over a week, let alone a year - anyhow - I had the bacon sliced thick, but only had them process half of it.  I'm going to try to smoke the remaining 4lbs myself.  Stay tuned.  


The butcher also asked me if I wanted the lard.  I said yes, just because I thought if I had it coming, I wanted it.  What I would do with it, I had no idea.  Of course, if I were still baking pies daily, I could have used it.  I toyed with the idea of making soap.  It just sat in my freezer for a while, and just recently, I gave it to my homesteading neighbor - because I purchased a quarter of a cow and needed the freezer space.

Bacon

The meat, by the way, is incredibly delicious - and quite different from the pork I had been purchasing at the store.  I still struggle with eating meat - and if I think about it too much it truly bothers me - but for now - I do get my meat locally, raised organically - and it eases my conscious somewhat. I do know that I shan't raise my own birds for meat again, or at least at this writing, I know I won't.  We all know how I change with the wind though.  Don't be surprised if next week I'm ordering birds for butcher!

Back to the dreams - 

I dreamt I had a pig named Cool Whip and we were the best of pals.  Then, I dreamt about that bucket of lard.  I dreamt that I was slightly stalking Alton Brown.  I mean - I've got a total crush on the guy.  I drove to Cleveland to meet him - he was so kind. (that really happened, I didn't dream it!)



In my dream, Alton was avoiding me like the plague, until he found out that I possessed a bucket of organic lard.  The tables then turned, and he was pursuing me.
And that my friends - is the power of hog.

I'll close here with a recipe - it's for ribs (of course) by Alton Brown (of course).

My favorite rib recipe by far - although I do leave the chili powder out of the rub.


Til soon, 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Recommence




I've missed you.
I've missed me.
I've missed blogging.

Thank you a million times over for all the love and comfort you gave to me last month.
All the cards and notes did my heart a world of good.

I only have a moment today, but I wanted to thank you and let you know that I'm OK.

I'm just as squirrely as I ever was.

Talk soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Hair Past Six




It was just a hair past 6:00AM when I seated myself in my sister's Ford Explorer - put my coffee in the drink holder and buckled myself in.

We were headed to Missouri.
My haphazardly packed vintage suitcase was in the back, and I wondered if I'd packed a hairbrush.

My oldest sister Vivian had taken ill, and the Pastor was summoning the family to come.

At a few hairs past 6:00AM my sister's cell phone rang with the news that Vivian had been unable to wait for us, and decided to go on home.

I've never lost a sibling before.
It's a different genre of grief.



It's losing a partner in crime - childhood memories - it's squinting at the horizon line of life and seeing something that you couldn't quite make out before - and now it's coming into view more clearly.
Your own mortality.

I just wanted to share one quick thing - and honestly, I just don't have it in me right now to say anymore.



In the final two days of my sister's life - she kept talking about a black cat. 
She wanted a black cat - a stuffed one - a real one - a black cat.
None of us knew where this was coming from.
My sister bought a little black stuffed cat for her, and was bringing it to her.
One of her caretakers had a black cat, and was bringing it by for a visit.
We were all perplexed.

Until today - going through photos - I found this.


My sweet sister Vivian as a child with a black cat.

This photo just tore me up.

I found this sweater today when shopping for an outfit for the services:


I do believe it's 95 degrees in Missouri, but I'm wearing this to the funeral.

I'll be gone the better part of a week - I'm so not looking forward to all of this - 
if I cross your mind this week - do say a prayer.
My mind is aflutter with thoughts like 'is she whole now?' 'is her mind working fully?' and 'why is it that we consider her abnormal?'

My prayer for us is that we'd really really realize how brief our time is here, and that we'd begin to be kinder to each other.  We'd be more understanding, patient, accepting.  We'd put our phones down and look into each other's eyes and have deep conversations.  We'd listen more than talk.  We'd cherish each other. We'd take our eyes off of Facebook long enough to enjoy the sunset.  We'd spend more time with friends and family.  We'd take better care of ourselves.  We'd slow down.  We'd even stop more often.

It's over in a blink.



Friday, August 1, 2014

All the News Worth Printing

A month?
Seriously?
I can't believe it's been one month since I've sat here and jabbered.

Remember that soup that I was making in early July?
It was a premonition.
We've had unseasonably cool temps here, and I've even been chilled at night in the yard at times!

Life is good friends, it's very good.

It's so good indeed that I don't know what to talk about first.

Let's talk about Aaron...we haven't talked about him in, like - forever.


Do you know the child is nearly 19 years old?  
It always flabbergasts me when I look at him - and he's a man - but he's a boy.  But he's a man.  

He's doing great - loving life - planning his move to Chicago.


His cologne lingers longer in the house than he does.
He breezed in last night for a few minutes.
I hadn't seen him for two days - and we'd just sat down to a bowl of Ina Garten's Chicken Chili 
(see, I'm still cooking up the fall foods!) 
and I was so excited to see him.
I ushered him to the table in between hugs and kisses - 
"tell me what you've been up to!"


He brings so much life into the house - I love hearing his stories - Lord - the laughter!
I was saddened when he said 'I've only got a few minutes Marmie!  I'm leaving for a five day camping trip to Wisconsin - I'm just here long enough to pack!' To which I respond 'but what about my hair!?'

And so that's how it goes here with him.
He's happy.
I'm happy.


I told him to be careful - and my exact words were 'now - don't be drinking and fall off the boat and drown - cause things are really looking up in my life right now'.
We collapsed in laughter and kisses - and he blew the horn on his way out of the driveway.
He's a boy. 
He's a man.

On to the yard - 

I've fallen in love with gardening all over again!
I'm so enjoying the changes, and the downsizing.  It's like I have time to think again, and be creative!
I'm not spread so thin that it's all I can do to maintain things.

Here's just a few snapshots...there's still so much work to do here, but I'm just over it - it is what it is.
It'll get done.
Someday.
I'm waking up to the possibility that there is life beyond being consumed by this old house.

Thank God for kind neighbors with heavy machinery!



Where I sit with my morning tea/coffee.

This used to be the garden where the brick walkway was, and the scarecrow....ah well....it's all lawn now, with a little veggie garden.  I'll get some new photos soon. (like next month!)

 I promptly took out my seeds and planted a little vegetable garden.
I'll get a few beans and cucumbers before the frost.
Today I plant more lettuce and peas.


The chickens are terrific.  I just have 8 now.
I sold 10 to a great gal in my Beekeepers Club.



The bees are doing 'ok'.  I've got a few great hives, and a few not so great hives.
I've ordered a naturally raised half a hog - and a quarter of a cow.
I'm doing well with eating right and have started excersing again, as much as my knee allows...and I've even *gulp* committed to doing the RAGBRAI bike ride (500 miles across Iowa) next year with a blog reader I've not met yet!
I'm in a good, mentally and emotionally healthy place with food and my body.

The best news of all - I'm well.
So is Glenco.
Nary a thing to complain about.
Remember a year ago?
I do declare that it's taken nearly a year of getting that Effexor out of my system for me to truly 
feel like myself again.  
What we've gone through here is a lot.
I know that drug has helped some people - but I believe it's harmed just as many, if not more.
I can't encourage you enough to use drugs as an absolute last resort.  
Let food be your medicine.
If you are going through a hard time - find a friend to be an advocate for you - don't blindly follow Dr's recommendations.  Research things for yourself.  Follow your instincts.

Peter McWilliams wrote:

Definition of a victim: a person to whom life happens.

And doesn't life just happen to us all?
I suppose it depends on what we do with it.
Will we dwell on it, or let it destroy us - or will we find the gumption to get up and start over?

I feel like I must have been in the front of the Gumption line when God was handing it out.
I'm not sure where I get it from, but I flat out refuse to quit, give up, see thing negatively, or believe that life is anything less than what we make it.

I'm looking forward to August - not with butterflies in my stomach - but butterflies in my spirit.
Somethin' good is about to go down.