Thursday, February 28

I Don't Need Drugs

I barely made it through class yesterday. I could feel the impending doom of sickness creeping over me.

I stopped at the grocery for 2 quarts of Dole Orange Pineapple juice and a package of celery hearts. My plan was to drink the juice, double dose on some herbal remedies and then get up and make some Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup later.

I wiggled into some comfy flannel pajamas and turned back the bed clothes. Members of my fan club apparently saw this as an invitation!

I moved the two of them over and slid between the sheets. The sun shone brightly through the window and warmed my aching bones.

I looked out at the passing clouds and tried to find images. I remember lying in the grass doing this with my sisters when I was a little girl.

Not enough out the window to hold my attention, so I turned to the unfinished wall. The wall that I had removed the 50 year old wallpaper held more prospects that the clouds outside.

Do you see the half man, half animal face that I do?

And how about this guy with sunglasses and something hanging out of his nose?
Do you think maybe he's caught the sickness too?

Wednesday, February 27

In Sickness And In Health

The wind has shifted and is gusting from the north. Nothing or no one wants to be outside longer than absolutely necessary.

I've been dressing in layers and trying to keep my chest covered. JB apparently comes from tougher stock, because he seldom sees the need for a coat--but that's a man thing.

Nonetheless, he became ill on Sunday afternoon. Since then, the living room has become a sickroom.

He went 24 hours or better with nothing but juice. You know something is desperately wrong when the man of the house has no appetite.

I have stocked the frig with the all the essentials. I tempted him with his favorite foods, to no avail. I did this in an effort to get him to eat... something...anything.

I phoned him as I was leaving school Monday to check for requests. Tomato soup and orange sherbet is what he wanted. He began nibbling on Monday evening.

I have encouraged him to rest and allow his body time to mend. My efforts to make him comfortable have, for the most part, been appreciated. The times he has become exceedingly grumpy, I slipped off to work on homework. As I struggled through frames and animation for my Web Design class, I could hear the beeping of the digital thermometer as he checked his temperature.

His temp has ranged from 100 to almost 102, but he has repeatedly refused a wet washcloth for this forehead. I don't know if this actually helps, but Momo always did it for me when I was sick as a kid.

A couple of evenings, I have taken a place at his feet on the couch and watched bad movies well into the night. Inevitably, as the night grew longer, I would look over and catch him snoozing. But the moment I tried to slip off to bed, he'd awaken and ask me to stay.

Today, we have a breakthrough! As I am posting, JB has driven himself to the local store. I'm taking that as a sign that he feels much better.

I hope so... because now I am beginning to feel ill.

Saturday, February 23

Blowing In The Wind

The day the wind was at its greatest was the day my Environmental Biology class went to tour the wastewater treatment plant. That may have been a blessing in disguise. Nonetheless, a large majority of the young students found the fragrance overwhelming.

I am beginning to realize how fortunate I am to be able to exchange ideas regularly with those half my age. The best part is that since they don't really know me, I think they're a bit more honest and open. Wonder why we speak more freely to those we barely know?

One young lady wore sandals, even though the wind was gusting 25 mph from the north. Being maternal and outspoken, I asked her if she had thought the day was going to be warmer. She explained that her boots had come apart and the gorilla glue she applied the night before hadn't done the job she had hoped. I can't imagine having no more than 2 pair of shoes. But, really... just how many pairs of shoes do we need? I think most of us have far more than necessary, don't we?

This class has me thinking a great deal about our excessive lifestyle. I'm talking mine and yours, too. How did we become such a nation of waste and abuse?

JB says I'm very reminiscent of a born-again Christian, in that I am very free with all this newfound information. But what good is knowledge, if it can't be shared?

I'm just starting to really research which products are more environmentally friendly than others and which companies have the most respect for Mother Nature.

I'll keep you posted as to what I find out and I would really appreciate it if you would share any relative information as well. For now, I know I will continue boycotting Walmart and will be doing my shopping at Target.

I have a conscience and I'm thinking there are a lot of others who do as well.

Thursday, February 21

A Little Birdie Told Me

Recently, I've been noticing how often we must refill Thomas' food dish.

The small birds in the area have developed a taste for Purina's Mature Cat Blend.

Tuesday, February 19

Proceed With Caution

Women, being tuned in to the more cautious (and more creative) right brain, are more reluctant to do something unless they're sure they're going to get it right.

Here's how one neuropsychiatrist put it: Think of a man as carrying a quiverfull of arrows. When he spies a target, he lets fly with the whole caboodle.

This is my contribution to the book meme, sent to me by my pal Anna.
The rules are as follows:
  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the 5th sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag 5 people
I'm tagging: Linda, my gardening pal, Hoss, blackbird, cce, and Jen.

If those three sentences have you a bit interested, here's the book:

Sunday, February 17

Finding A Warm Spot In The Cold of Winter

I have dreams of sewing. The fabric from last post (below), is what I hope to use to recover the kitchen barstools.

I have different plans for this batik cotton:

I'm trying to stay ahead of the homework and home work so I can get in a little sewing. And speaking of home, would you look at the new home I noticed in the basement while I was folding laundry?

Looks to me as if some small creature has decided to make his home in my strawberry pot. The Devil's Spine growing in this heavy clay pot is a succulent, so it doesn't need much water. I think maybe a small field mouse has wiggled himself deep into the warmth of the dry soil.

Just like everytime I get up from the computer to tend to something while doing homework, Thomas wiggles himself into my desk chair and--finding it warm--makes himself comfortable.

This warmed my heart when I saw it while visiting Momo and Pop's home yesterday. Pop made it for Momo--and although it wasn't a Valentine's gift, it's just as sweet.

What's keeping you warm these days?

Thursday, February 14

Everything we have is taxed - even our patience.

Since last tax season, my accountant has divorced and remarried. I tried not to look suprised when she made mention of it. She flashed her matrimonial diamonds and complained of her braces, all the while, pointing out every endearing quality of the new man in her life.

The more she spoke of her new partner though, the more I was reminded of her old one. As I listened to her go on, I realized I had heard her say the very same things about her previous man. They seemed to be very much alike--just different packaging.

Chit chat out of the way, we started the dreaded deed of tax forms. I sorted through receipts and asked "hypothetical" questions while she tried not to appear too shocked.

She finally stated--rather flatly, "You need more income."

"I know that!" was all I could say. I am very well aware of this. How could I not know this?

Does she think I'm an idiot? JB and I have been discussing this for some time. Actually, we often discuss this at length.

""President Bush said today that it is our job to vote. That's what he called it, a job. And considering the way the economy is going, that may be the only job we have." —Jay Leno

But then again, we discuss all sorts of things.

I Brake For Butterflies

Last night JB came home in the early stages of my cooking and guessed I was cooking Chicken Enchilada Skillet, instead of Chicken Quesadillas. He swayed me. But I needed onion powder and cumin to finish the enchilada dish, and we had none.

After calling my little friend down the road and coming up dry, he started mentally going through his list of alternatives. The schoolteacher across the road would be a likely candidate for spices.

JB and I had first visited her house together before I was old enough to drive. She's been a widow for 10 years or better and the kids are all grown and gone now with their own families. But the house is pretty much as it always has been. The only notable change is the number living there. JB decided it was worth a shot to go dig in her cabinets.

After warning me against substitutions, he heads out. Within minutes--too quickly--he pushes back through the door, almost breathless, and says "Lord have mercy, I've hit a dog."

I react like a worried mother. Which one? Any of them could be a candidate, because they all present themselves as personal escorts. Anytime one of us ventures out, they're running the eighth of a mile up to the cattle guard, right alongside the car.

But the victim wasn't running parallel to the driveway. She was cutting across the driveway on her way home from visiting one of the big dogs on the hill that don't get out and visit anymore-- not since their owners installed an electronic fence.

After notifying the dog's family, JB and I set about finding the wounded Lab. Jake sniffed her out, while JB followed with a flashlight. Blankets were gathered, and a team effort lifted her to the safety of the family van. I learned my neighbor had 5 or 6 children and her husband was out of town. She regrettably confessed that she was just too tired to walk the dog and had thought--just this once--it would be okay to let her out, instead.

I was visibly stunned. Did she really think it was her fault the dog got hit?

Then she started preparing the family pet for the 30-mile ride to the vet. It had just began to snow. She took a quick breath, and started coordination. "I better take the baby because I haven't nursed yet." The little boy would stay with Grandpa and the little girls. Grandma climbed in the back of the van with Kansas, the dog.

JB and I just looked at each other. It all happened so fast. The plan was organized and put into motion almost simultaneously among three generations within a family.

Why did it work? Because it had to, that's why.

Tuesday, February 12

A Little Knowledge

I had a craving for fried chicken last week. Jb makes excellent fried chicken but the turkey cooker oil needs to be removed and replaced so I was thinking KFC. Quick and easy.

When my Jessica was a small child, she always called it "chicken right." That's primarily because of their advertising campaign that always boasted "We do chicken right."

I think it was last Sunday when I was on a birdseed, dogfood and catfood run, that I slid into the drive through and placed my order for an 8-piece bucket with 2 sides. I was thinking--if I time it right-- my arrival with a bucket of chicken would coincide with Momo and Pop's visit. They never eat at our house. They nibble sometimes--whatever I have cooked during the week that makes for a good nibble.

Well, there was no visit from Momo and Pop as I recall. Jb wasn't too keen on the thought of "chicken right" for dinner, either. He complained of the high fat content--this closet choclolate eater and lover of Shedd Spread on toast.

In an attempt to disprove JB's thought on a bucket of chicken as an invalid meal, I set out to do some internet research for nutritional content.

This is what I found.

After seeing this, I had no appetitite for "chicken right."

Thursday, February 7

All A Matter of Scheduling

The warmer temperatures have me thinking of spring.
I need time to trim and clean up a bit in the yard.

No time--
I hustled around the napping animals
and tried to catch up laundry and housecleaning...
and homework!

I think Thomas was hoping I wouldn't interrupt his napping.
Is he playing possum?

And--as usual--time runs out.

Before I know it, it's time to head up the road to my evening class.

Wednesday, February 6

Good For What Ails You

In everyone's life, a little rain must fall.

I'm offering that as an explanation of yesterday's post.

It's the dreaded mother's guilt that gets me and attempts to suffocate me at times. Does that ever end? Is it possible to be 100 percent certain you did what needed to be done in the appropriate fashion?

It might just be me--but I think it's worse during menopause. Everything is out of balance and then sometimes the pressure just builds up and you have to let off some steam. So I did. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I sniffled as I wrote that post about my insecurities.

But I wrote it for me. In fact, I think it was a therapeutic to put it all into words.

And being done with that, I think I'll go and have some Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup.

Tuesday, February 5

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

My baby girl turned 22 on Sunday.

I spoke with her on the phone twice that day. The last time we spoke, she mentioned how she hadn't had a decent birthday since before she was 15.

I believe my daughters have had every conceivable type of birthday celebration. I remember parties at the gymnastics center, pizza parlor hoorahs, and slumber parties. Once we even celebrated at a local beauty college where the guests enjoyed manicures and new hairdos!

I tried to make it interesting and tried to make it memorable. Was that the wrong thing to do? I thought a mother's job was to create a happy childhood for their children.

The only problem with that concept is that we can't control everything. I never thought in a million years, that I wouldn't be able to continue grand celebrations year after year. I never though we'd all be so scattered, either.

I believe on Jeni's 15th birthday, she realized her life had changed. The life she knew up to this point, had ceased to exist. There would be no more family dinners... shared family memories in the making.

I tried to smooth things over by reminiscing about all the happy times from her childhood birthdays. I joked about how I still have the birthday present from her 15th birthday.

I then offered up the fact she is an adult now, and sadly, adult birthdays are just different.

So, all you mothers of little ones out there, I was all set to ask your thoughts on this. I was doubting myself for creating a memorable childhood. I hate it that she misses it now. I grieve for her loss.

But I think I've figured it out. I think Jeni is fortunate she has experienced the joy and love that comes with a being part of a family. But she is far ahead of her contemporaries in other respects.

She has also experienced the pain.

Sunday, February 3

Too Many Cooks Can Share The Broth

Homemade sausage biscuits prepared by JB.

I have never known a man (before JB) that could make homemade biscuits! When we first married, my Jeni was equally impressed with how her stepfather prepared breakfast for us all. She watched him making biscuits and calmly stated, "Mama, he's your bitch."

JB is a different sort. We share time in the kitchen. I cook or he cooks and it's really no big deal who does it. It doesn't always work out if we are both cooking at the same time, though.

He has his methods and I have mine. But we are learning that sometimes its best to keep your methods to yourself, and allow others their preferences.

Last night he made dinner so I could complete web design assignments. He prepared a marinade for his steak and was comfortable with me seasoning my own.

Cooking can sometimes become too personal. But like life, there's so much to be learned by looking beyond our own concepts and ideas, into the life of another.

Friday, February 1

I'm Well Protected

Freezing rain this morning changed everything.

Branches on the crepe myrtles look as if they are encased in glass.

The ice is so very pretty, but also so very treacherous. I won't be making the 35 minute drive to Environmental Biology class today.

Pop called me this morning just to make sure. He gave me an update on the weather conditions, told me the rate traffic was flowing and asked if I was going to school.

JB overheard our conversation and announced he wasn't letting me go today. Letting me go?