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?
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.
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'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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Maybe it's Menopause

You know the jingle
"maybe it's Maybelline"?

That's what we sing around here, but we change the words..

"maybe it's menopause!"

I just sang it a few minutes ago in the kitchen.

It's the 1st of July. predicting a high of  82 degrees today, with humidity in the 3,498% range,  and I'm up in the kitchen making vegetable beef soup.

I'm sure Glenco and Aaron can't wait to get their mouth up on a bowl of hot, hearty beef vegetable soup on a steamy July day such as today.
Maybe I'll bake a pumpkin pie.

What would possess me to make a pot of this today?

Perhaps it's that my veggie drawer in the fridge is starting to resemble a morgue.
I'm going to call Glenco to the fridge soon to see if he can identify some of the contents.
I'll cover the veggies with a paper towel and somberly pull it back as Glenco looks on in horror.
 'Yes!  I recognize that leek! The last time I saw it was at the Piggly Wiggly -
 that had to be over a week ago'.

It's time to make some soup, y'all!

Last night I made this for dinner, and it was a hit.

Recipe  HERE

Strawberry Poppyseed & Bacon Chopped Salad

The only problem was that Aaron ate all the bacon up on me. 
I was perplexed, as I'd cooked it before I left for the day, only to find it mysteriously missing when it was time to assemble the salad.
Aaron was also mysteriously missing.
He knows better. 
 I could have flown into a rage when I noticed the bacon missing!
Or started crying.
Maybe it's menopause!
(seriously - I never fly into rages, I really don't.)

As delicious as the salad was without the bacon, I can only imagine (and trust me I did) how great it would be with that divine salty crunch.

In other news, we had some pretty hardcore storms hit the area last night.
I lost a potted plant.
I shall rebuild.

In other other news - I found out that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee, and some bone on bone action there as well.  Couple this with the tendinitis that is still in my right shoulder and forearm - I'm a hot mess.
I could barely raise my right arm today.

As I stand out in the garden with my fork...I feel like I'm standing at the ocean with a Dixie cup.
You just have to laugh, you know?

I do promise to post some pictures of the carnage that is my yard.

I cannot tell you the grieving process I've been in over it.
Literally - all the steps.

I in no way mean to make light of the loss some people have experienced, but loss - is loss.
Yes, the loss of my garden doesn't compare to the loss of other things - but I do believe that we need to even grieve and process the small losses in our lives.

Shock:  How did my garden become such a hot mess?

Denial:  Wait, I can do this.  Sleep is overrated.  We don't really have to do anything else this summer other than yard work, do we?  Order a pizza and let's get busy!

Anger:  Why won't anyone help me?  Don't they like yardwork?  Who planted all these stupid plants!?  Why do things keep growing!?  I want to move to a retirement community.

Bargaining:  OK, OK - I can do this.  I should just make it a LITTLE bit smaller - I mean come on - look at all the time you've invested in this.  It's so lovely!  Everyone will miss your gardens.  Maybe you could just mass plant - yes - mass plant - that would be easier than the cottage garden.

Depression:  All is lost.  I have no life.  Who am I without gardening?  No one will ever like me again.  Why would anyone want to come here?  I'm such an idiot!  I've created a monster!  I'm old!  I'm crippled!  I can't do this anymore!  I don't want to do this anymore!  Is there really life outside the trowel?  I'm going to move to Florida and take up Zumba and macrame.

Testing:  This is where I am now.  Making peace with simple.  Making peace with a little well done.

Acceptance:  Stay tuned.  : -)

As always - I encourage you all to love your family hard today, live a little slower today, and be grateful for.every.little.thing.

Like hot soup in July.  

Til soon.


Monday, June 30, 2014

I Got Nothin'

Thank you for such a warm welcome back!

I've been sitting here in my living room, savoring a delicious latte as I listen to a gentle storm passing through the area.

We've sure had our share of the rain up in here.

I've got my yoga video queued up and I'll be unrolling the yoga mat in a moment.

I've sat down a few times to write a blog, and well...

I got nothin'.

The beauty of nothing new.
I'm embracing it.

In actuality - there's a lot new - but it just doesn't seem noteworthy.
I'm more about listening than talking these days.

I've downsized the chickens.

I have 7 now.
I'm liking it.
I can dote on them again.
It was hard to spread my affection between nearly 20 hens.
I don't know how the Duggars do it.

The gardens continue to be under construction, or perhaps more accurately - deconstruction.  No sooner do I close one up - I fight the urge to make a new one elsewhere.

Glenco is great, Aaron is swell.
I'd have to start thinking hard to find something to complain about.

Word on the street is that I'm flat out tired.

If I'm honest - I'd say I've caught myself resenting summer this year.
I shan't have it.

I think I'm more menopausal than I'd care to admit.

I feel that in ways my eyes have been opened to my manic, yet endearing views of life.
My 'go big or go home' ways of living have caught up to me.

I bet I've apologized to, and thanked Glenco a hundred times in the month of June.
I've thanked him for all the hard work he's done around here, and apologized for how often I've changed things - over and over.  I keep promising him that this downsizing is for real - and will stick - and I dasn't plan on changing my mind about it.

No, really, I don't.
"Go small and stay home" is my new mantra!

I just wanted to drop in today and tell you I was thinking of you all - and let you know how much I appreciate you!  Please know that I as I go through my daily routines around here, I think of you all and smile - 

Til soon...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Up From the Dead She Arose

Have you wondered where I was?
Did you think some evil befell me?
Were you having visions of the chickens pecking at my decaying carcass?
: -)
I'm here - and very, very well!
There's going to be heaps to catch up on - but I just wanted you to know -
I live.
Just over a month ago - my laptop gave up the ghost.
Replacing it, or repairing it was low on my list of priorities - so I just closed it and put it away.
I pulled out my old defunct cell phone and tried to stay somewhat connected through that - but it was such a
I tried in vain about four times to put a one sentence blog post up letting you guys know what was up.
Thank you for your comments and emails!
A blog reader from California, sweet Mary Jo - heard about my plight on Facebook.
She had a dream in which she sent me a laptop.
Upon waking - she sent me an email saying that she felt she was supposed to send me one.
I hemmed and hawed a bit - not knowing if I could/should accept such a generous gift - and how would she feel if I didn't blog - but just sat around and ate Cheetos and surfed Pinterest?
I thought perhaps I was done blogging.
I was enjoying my season of being unplugged.
Then, one morning whilst making the bed - I had a blog post burning in my duodenum that I felt needed to get typed out.  I even had a title for it "Chasing the Noodle".
I accepted her offer.
This beautiful laptop I'm typing up on is nicer than anything I could have purchased for m'self.
It literally just came out the box, and here I sit - pecking feverishly, letting y'all know I'm alive.
Do you know that feeling you have after you've slept in a strange bed for a few nights?
How good your own bed feels?
That's how my fingers feel right now typing up on a real keyboard!
I'll catch up with you in the days ahead.
I've missed you.
PS - I apologize for any technical errors this post seems to have - I have to do some figuring on here....