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Showing posts from May, 2011

New Morning


we can get back to whatever passes for normal around here.

Normal this weekend involved heat and cleaning and dirt and heat and cooking and gardening and heat and mowing and did I mention heat? Whosoever denieth climate change is cuh-razy! 'Cause it ain't s'posed to be 90 on Memorial Day in southern West Virginia. South Florida, maybe, and definitely South Texas. But not here on my little mountain.

I'd like to invite you to eat off my floors.

First, never let it be said that I'm an early adopter. Also, I'm frugal. I've lusted for a steam mop since the Shark first hit the shelves at Sam's Club, many moons ago, but my effort and energy always trumped the cost of yet another appliance. Well Home Depot had a super sale on a less expensive model – not as sturdy as a Shark, I'm sure, but not as pricey, either, even at retail. Which I didn't pay. And you won't either since the Internet special appears to still be up and runn…

I Shall Be Released (this is VERY long)

Okay, on Friday, when I said 'tomorrow,' what was I thinking? Also as I reread that post I see that not only did I forget about 34, I also forgot to tell you I forgot 34. Also, I met my third husband when I was 33, not 35. I think we were married when I was 35, but I'd have to go find the marriage license (ripped into shreds and delivered to me the day our dissolution was granted) to be sure. Oh, well, I think we can safely move on.

Although I told you last time life started getting better when I was 39, it started with my mother dying on January 8, 1991. However, I was sober and present and with her when she made that passage, something I couldn't have done at any other time in my adult life. I hadn't yet found AA, but was in OA and Al-Anon. The 12 steps are the same across the board, and knowing I was powerless (Step 1) allowed me to simply accept God's will for her. My first AA meeting happened a couple months later, in Atlanta, GA. Newly sober former husban…

Desolation Row

Continuing the saga, my life from 26 to 39 wasn't very pretty. While it's sometimes painful to look back on it, it's also instructive and provides a wonderful opportunity for gratitude. The past 20 years have been pretty fabulous, all in all. But we have to slog through the middle of my life first. Sigh.

I met the man who would become my second husband when I was 26. I was introduced to a completely different kind of life through him, a dark life, and one neither of us are living in now.

Twenty-seven. See four. And six. Some things are better left unsaid.

At 28, in a moment of clarity, I broke up with the man who would become my second husband. The fact that I eventually married him should tell you a lot about my state of mind in my late 20s.

My doctor hospitalized me for a long weekend when I was 29. I was clinically depressed, suicidal, and he was concerned for my safety. I remember my parents couldn't even visit without checking in at the nurse's station first. …

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Today's title is appropriate (and you Dylanophiles will be familiar with the line), since my husband told me on the way home from dinner that 60 is the new 40. Yeah! I've got 20 more years until I turn 60! Again!

We ate at a place called The Char, in Beckley, WV, which is one of those old-fashioned, family-owned supper clubs – a bar in the middle, fine dining, excellent service. The food (salmon and snap peas for me, ribeye and baked potato for my husband) was excellent. Our salads were topped with a tasty salsa, pretty much eliminating the need for additional dressing. We even splurged on dessert – blueberry bread pudding for him, strawberry shortcake (with a candle! How did she know?) for me.

As my husband prefers "dining" at all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants (he's always the thinnest person in the place, grrr), taking me out to dine was quite a treat. That it didn't disappoint was icing on the birthday cake.

My other gift was six tons of topsoil. That'…

Cake is just a four-letter word: Debbi turns 60

I totally stole the title of today's post from NPR. It was much better than anything I could come up with. (Except when I worked for a newspaper, we didn't capitalize every word of our headlines. NPR, apparently, uses a different style book.)

I was inspired by Faith to create an awesome list of 60 at 60. It'll take a while to finish it, which is a gift for both you and me. I don't have to look back over my entire life in one swell foop (as my mother used to say), and you don't have to slog through it all in one session (as if you even would).

When I was one, my grandmother adored me and thought I was hers. And I was an only child.

My brother joined the family when I was two. Being an only child didn't last long.

My first memory, when I was three, is of sitting in a corner of the dining room listening to my mother and her friends talk about childbirth. It's a wonder I ever reproduced.

Apparently nothing happened when I was four.

I started school when I was f…

Happy birthday, Bob

If you've checked out my Blogger profile, under "Favorite Music" you'll find two words, repeated three times. And while I listen to a lot of music by a variety of artists (including the GaGa!), my heart belongs to Bob Dylan, who turns 70 today.

Dylan and I share an astrological sign and, had my mother gone into labor a little sooner, he and I might have shared a birthday. I've been to many of his concerts, including one during the "Saved" tour. I remember someone shouting from the back of the auditorium, "Play 'Lay Lady Lay!' " But Bob was only performing his Christian music that night, which disappointed a lot of concert-goers.

Not me, of course. Because if you really, really, really love Dylan's music, you'll listen and enjoy. And probably justify your passion to your friends and acquaintances who make fun of his raspy voice and nonsense lyrics, and who don't recognize the live version of the song they heard on the radio.

Gaga for GaGa?

I'm too busy for words today, but wanted to clue you in on a great deal. Download the new Lady GaGa album "Born This Way" for just 99¢! Today only … you can thank me later. Heh.

Friday Quote Day

All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time. ~ Mitch Albom
I thought this quote would be appropriate today, since tomorrow is Judgement Day. Not the end of the world – that will happen in October, according to the Judgement Day website. But if you're saved, according to some, you'll be taken up while the rest of us will live in chaos and disaster for the next five months. That period of time will be like enhanced interrogation, after which you will say anything (I believe! I believe!) in order to join the rest of the Raptured.

(I find it very amusing that one of the Judgement Day web ads offered me life insurance. In fact, I find that roll-on-the-floor laughable.)

I am a Christian, and I do believe. But I fully expect to be alive and well, feet firmly planted on the ground, come Sunday morning. I haven't paid much attention to this whole rapture thing (I've been watching the raptors, though!), but it's definitely trending on the internets a…

One more day, maybe two

and then we get to see the sun for real, for real.

I'm sorry to be such a boring drag by bitching about the weather all the time. It could be sooooo much worse. I have to keep reminding myself that we're not experiencing any of the havoc those along the Mississippi are going through. Our little river is rising, for sure, but we're not going to have a hundred-year flood. (That happened 18 years ago, only 82 to go!)
Completely off topic: Have you heard of this new storybook? I've sooooo been there, done that!

Patch of blue

Did you know there was a Facebook page called Rain Rain GO AWAY? I didn't "like" it, because I can guarantee that by August everyone who grows food is going to be doing the rain dance.

I took this shot of the sky yesterday simply because the clouds parted for a second, showing us that the sky really is still up there. (I have long thought that airline pilots must be less depressed than land-dwellers simply because they see the sun more frequently than we do!)

Those teasing clouds closed up again, and this morning there was another .3 of an inch in the rain gauge, for a total of 2.5 inches this week. Gardens do well with an inch a week. Weeds do great with 2.5 inches.

The good thing is I've only planted half the 80-by-35-foot garden space, so I only have half a garden's worth of weeding to do, once it dries up. If it dries up. The remainder of the space has been plowed but not tilled, so the weeds can be tilled under instead of pulled by hand.
The weather doesn'…

Ahh, spring!

I stepped on the bathroom scale yesterday for the first time in more than a month. I have seriously either not thought about checking my weight, or not wanted to check my weight. I consider it a sign of growth that I wanted to act on the thought yesterday. It was a face-the-music moment, and I was ready.

I also was disappointed, because I haven't been eating much from the bad-food category, and I haven't had time for snacking. I eat breakfast (whole-wheat toast or cereal with milk), lunch (leftovers from the previous night's dinner and a piece of fruit) and dinner (something healthful, because that's how we roll).

I'm up three pounds since mid-April. Grrr.

The difference is that I've suddenly, mysteriously, stopped walking. It's been more than two weeks since I've posted a walk photo on Facebook. I've thought about walking. I just haven't made it out the door.

Of course it's been raining for more than two weeks, so that might have something…

Work it

Saturday was a good day to work outside, and I took advantage of it. We've decided to landscape a large area in the front yard. I started the project a week or so ago by spraying Round-up on the area to kill the grass. Here's the "before" shot (and if you also check in on my photo blog, these will look very familiar. In fact, you could just come back tomorrow! Heh.):

Now for the fun part: Filling in the blanks with perennials. My husband's job is to gather enough rocks to line the outer edge of the space, to make it look more finished and to mimic a couple other areas I've planted. I would love for this space to eventually be as lush and gorgeous as the one at the end of the driveway.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love working at a garden center?

Sunday surprise!

This rain we're having is certainly good for the perennial gardens. The one at the end of our driveway is absolutely lush! Here are a couple of shots. (The panorama originally was two photos. I love how Photoshop magically stitched them together perfectly.)

Tomorrow I'll show you all the work I did Saturday before it started raining. Again. Heh.

Friday Quote Day

It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success. ~ John Mason 
To put it another way, little things do add up, eventually.

An example: Eating a healthful breakfast starts my day off right. I don't much feel like eating crap for lunch if I've had a decent morning meal. I do fall into the "well, I had a donut this morning so I might as well blow the whole day" trap occasionally, but not so much when my first fuel is clean.

And, of course, knitting is the perfect example of hammering away, day by day, stitch by stitch, until you've successfully completed the washcloth/scarf/shawl/afghan you started a day/week/month/year ago.

But little things can drag you down, as well.

I had a bit of a temper tantrum last night (and if you know me, that means I pouted and said a bad word) when my bathroom light bulb burnt out. That's the second burned-out bulb this week, and I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just change all of them at once. You know, …

No gardening today

This rain would certainly come in handy in August, when we really need it. Unfortunately it's May. A big storm woke me a couple hours ago. Frankly at 4:37 a.m. I was more worried about lightning striking our water pump than not being able to plant stuff, but now, in the light of day, I'm thinking about how much longer it's going to be before I can do any more tilling and planting. Heck, I'm even wondering when I'll be able to weed what's already in there!

It's funny (not funny ha-ha, but funny interesting) how much attention I pay to the weather these days. It's not like I'm growing all the food we're going to eat for the coming year, but I did grow a lot last year and hope to do a little more this year. This very rainy spring season is just One More Thing to work around and deal with.

Yesterday I found two nearly ripe strawberries with no slug damage. I've been sprinkling coffee grounds around the plants and it seems to have made a differen…

I forgot the camera

You'll just have to trust me. My intentional activity yesterday was planting a flower bed for my mother-in-law (her Mother's Day present). I realized when I got there that my camera was tucked in its little bag back at my house – 12 miles away. I had neither the time nor the inclination to go back and fetch it, so no before-and-after pix of the transformation from ugly dirt to beautifully landscaped.

At some point I'll take the "after" shot. I found myself really being present as I completed the project – loosening the soil, pulling weeds, adding compost, digging holes, carefully placing (and sometimes rearranging!) the plants, watering and, finally, mulching. It took two and a half hours, start to finish.

Then I came home and put 30 tomato plants in the garden.

Garden progress: Half of it is planted, but of course the strawberries and garlic were there from last fall. I haven't decided what's going to go where, but I have plenty of time. It rained a lot …

What normal feels like

It's been nearly two months since my husband's health scare began. His final (we hope) follow-up appointment is today, and he can enjoy the remainder of his favorite month.

Normal feels like:
CookingCleaningLaundryGardeningYard workWalking
Not necessarily in that order. We're so happy we don't have that Big Thing hanging over our heads any longer.
I bought 20 bags of mulch yesterday, and have already spread half a dozen of them. Today I'm going to plant some perennials at my mother-in-law's. We told her that would be her Mother's Day gift, but she doesn't know when it's going to get done. I think it'll be fun for her to exit her home and find all new plants in the big planter next to her driveway.
It's kind of hard for me to find anything to write about that doesn't include tumor, cancer, benign, gratitude, doctors or surgery. My life is kind of boring compared to all that.
Kind of … um … normal. And I'll take it!

What's eating Susie Strawberry?

I was so surprised the other day to see this in the garden, it seems much too early for strawberries to ripen:

I was equally surprised to turn it over and find half of it gone!

A little internet sleuthing has convinced me that slugs are the problem. Beer is the number-one slug deterrent, but I don't have any. Coffee grounds also are suggested; those I have plenty of, so I'll start spreading them around the plants instead of dumping them in the compost pile.

When I found this first half-eaten berry, I didn't think too much of it. I figured there would be plenty for human and bird/slug consumption. But from what I've read this morning, some people never get to harvest a single berry from their plants. I'd rather not be one of them. Heh.

I was in a fruity mood over the weekend. Finding ripe strawberries and putting in some blackberry bushes tipped me over the edge: I planted three apple trees.

I can see them from my dining room table, and believe me, the view is lovel…

All is well

While I can't say I was really worried, I was experiencing a bit of stress about this surgery. But you knew that, right? Heh.

It was over in a flash, as I look back at the day, and my husband didn't even have to spend the night in the hospital. He did amazingly well, and continues to as we rest at the hotel.

His throat is beginning to get a little sore, because of the intubation. The neck wound looks much worse than he says it feels. No dressing – the incision was glued together and the surgical glue protects it as well as a bandage would.

The final pathology report will be available in a week, but the surgeon was extremely confident that it was and is a benign parotid tumor.

We have been treated so well, by every staff member we've dealt with; we couldn't be happier with the hospital and the very professional health care team.

We'll be home tomorrow. Thank you all so very much for your support. You've lifted my spirits more than you'll ever know.

I'm g…

So much for cleaning out the stash

I was pretty busy in the morning, had errands to run and chores to do after lunch, and didn't get home until after 3 p.m. And yes, I could have started a major project at 3 p.m., but by that time of day I'm ready for a break, not a major project. So my good intentions have been put on hold for a few more days.

Here's what kept me busy yesterday morning:

I have to work for a few hours today and then head to North Carolina this afternoon. My husband's surgery is tomorrow morning at Wake Forest. I'll check in here sometime tomorrow, probably not early, though.

We don't know what to expect as far as his recovery goes. I hope he won't be in a lot of pain, but anytime a surgeon penetrates skin, there's going to be pain. Hey, I can call him a pain in the neck and mean it! Heh.

Knitting? What knitting?

I wish I could report that I've been knitting up a storm, what with all the storms lately keeping me out of the garden. I've had plenty o'time on my hands, too, what with all the doctor and hospital waiting rooms I've  spent time in lately.

But I have to confess: If the waiting room has wifi access, my fingers are on the laptop keyboard, and not on the knitting needles.

Part of the problem is I'm paralyzed whenever I open the door to the yarn storage area. It's a 5x10-foot cedar-lined closet that is literally stuffed to the ceiling with yarn, more yarn than I'll ever have time to knit. Just peeking in the door makes me want to shut it right away. I don't know what's in there and I couldn't find it even if I did know.

So obviously one of my priorities ought to be to clean out the stash. Wow, is that ever an understatement.

I've previously done two or three major purges and am left with a wall of cotton, a larger wall of wool and a wall of goo…

A picture is worth a thousand words