Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home again

I got to Vegas on Saturday afternoon. Ann's father had been transferred to a hospice facility earlier in the week. I met her at the facility and was immediately impressed by the home-like surroundings and the level of care by the staff. Each time the nurse came in to do something, she bent down and spoke into his ear, explaining what she was going to do and why. Most people probably would have just addressed themselves to the family members, instead of the patient.

"Dad" was in a coma, but was holding on until his son, a pilot, could fly out from St Louis. But the son had been bumped from his first flights and the flight he finally got on was delayed. With only about three minutes before the car could get him to the hospice, Dad's breathing got very irregular, and we were afraid he wouldn't last. The brother got there with just minutes to spare. After visiting with his father for a bit, telling him what all the children were up too, and sharing memories of road trips, Dad died with his family around him.

I stayed to help Ann get caught up with her paperwork for the end of the school year next week. She teaches kindergarden at a twelve-month school and needed to get report cards and permanent records completed to pass along to the next teacher. Then she had me laminate a zillion things for the next term, which starts in 3 weeks. I am a laminating and trimming whiz now!!

But I had to go home before the funeral today. I think she and her Mom are doing as well as can be expected.

When I went to Vegas, I really had no idea what I was doing there. All I knew is that she needed my help. But actually watching someone pass form this life into another is unexpectedly intimate. I feel like I probably would if I helped to deliver her baby. A powerful moment shared. I will remember this forever.

As I type this, we are surrounded by tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. What a welcome home!! I hope for better weather tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We interrupt this program....

I am off to Vegas for a few days to spend time with my friend, Awesome Ann. Her father is dying and I want to be there for her.

I'll catch up with you later next week after I get home.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I don't know WHAT got into me!!

I knew I wanted to work inside today, but when I awoke, I really had NO IDEA all I would end up doing . I knew I had to do something with the stuff I pulled from the garden the other day. But first, pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Can't work on an empty stomach!

Then, right into the produce that included:

All the beets from the garden, which I had already cooked and peeled. Not nearly as traumatic as last year's fiasco. Maybe I'm getting better at this??

Carrots (and a couple of potatoes that Studly exposed by mowing off the edge of the plot!)

Oh yeah! And this whole basket of carrots, too! (Ignore the red onion and the unripe tomato. They will be dealt with most severely later on with the potatoes.)

Since there weren't really enough beets to make a major canning worth-while, I just bottled them up with my yummy spice, sugar, and vinegar mix and stuck them in the fridge to hoover snack on in the not-too-distant future.

I washed and washed (and washed) and peeled and shredded endless carrots and put them in the dehydrator for a couple of hours. That resulted in a small bag of dried carrots for soups etc later.

For lunch, I made potato salad and a tuna sandwich for Stud Muffin, who had been cleaning out the garage.

Then it was on to bread making.

This is my second outing with the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The first time, I only made a half recipe, and it came out too salty. I also baked the bread last time on a pizza stone, and this time I used a loaf pan. The recipe makes enough dough for 4 loaves and you can keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.


While the bread dough was rising, I made Studly his favorite cake, white cake with white frosting. I only frosted one layer and froze the other for later.

Dinner was Italian meatballs and sauce over wide egg noodles. The sauce included homegrown garlic and oregano.

Now, I am tired. I am feeling very short, with sore feet and legs, and dish-pan everything! And tomorrow, I still have this whole load of red onions to slice and dry.

I am determined not to waste anything coming out of the garden this year!!

And then I will eat cake!

Edit: While I was sitting on my bum eating bonbons all day, Studly was getting my internet upgraded! And all it took was a zillion phone calls, some tree-trimmer guys, a sack full of money, and 3 appointments with the installer! Easy peasy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

For want of the right tools

My husband always says, you need the right tools for the job. This has afforded me many good years of purchasing all manner of devices to do ... well, whatever I was trying to do at the time. Todays job was removing the extraneous trees and branches that were standing between me and reliable internet service.

I have figured out why felling trees and chopping up limbs has been so hard for me since I moved out here to the sticks. (Get it? "Sticks"? Oh never mind!) I now realize it is because I don't have the "right" tools for the job. For the tall trees, for example, I need one of these:

For comparison, that's Studly (on the left) and the tree man supervising.

I need one so I can avoid knocking down (or blowing up) the propane tank and/or the satellite dish.

To get rid of the pesky branches, I need one of these!

Now I have a wood chipper, but this sucker makes mine look like it came out of a Cracker Jacks box!

I could also use some of these guys too. Makes my job a whole lot easier!

This guy was the "tree wrassler," lassoing the soon-to-be-mulch tree to direct its fall. Handy when you don't want it to take out your fence.

Or your propane tank (thingy with the red cover.) Have I mentioned that the trees were really near the highly-explosive propane tank?

Between the guys and the chipper, entire trees were sucked into the chipper, ground into bits and spit into the forest!

Been working on the vegetable garden, tidying and harvesting, but I will leave that for another post. So I will leave you with more gratuitous photos of ...

Nick, and


Monday, July 13, 2009

Where it's at

Well, the internet satellite dish is running again... for the moment. We had an appointment with the installer to upgrade our dish and realign us to a satellite that is newer and less prone to problems. BUT, when he got here, we found that we needed to remove some trees to get a clear shot at the satellite, and since these trees are right next to the propane tank, we now need our tree guy to come and cut them down without exploding the tank. Exploding the tank I can do all by myself!

So, we are still on tenuous service until then. Whenever THAT is.

Other than the great internet hunt, I have been a complete and utter slug. It doesn't help that EVERY SINGLE TIME I step foot outdoors, something bites me and leaves an itchy spot somewhere inconvenient.

By Pick one, it's probably taken a bite out of me!

Like behind my knees. Or on a spot that should have been impenetrable by the complete coverage of the ginormous Granny panties I find so sexy! So, I spend the day with an ice pack trying to freeze myself into comfort. And as I render myself completely numb, I work on my (current edition) ACT books. Funny how trying to use rusty 30 year old geometry information can make you sweat even as you sit on a block of ice!

I also spend an inordinate amount of time playing computer games. But that's what summer vacation is for, right?? Dulling your mind with electronic entertainment?? If so, I am well ahead of the power curve.

I went into school to review my program score sheet... just to torture myself a bit more. I already knew where I stood educationally, but wanted to see my interview results. And some of them were surprising.

Over all, I scored pretty good, but there were a few line items that stumped me. Like "communication skills." I didn't score as well as I would have expected. One would have thought that my frequent use of "you know" and "fer sure" would have garnered me some points. Do you think they took some off for saying "awesome" and "groovy" too many times?

Then there was "knowledge of the professional field." I really scored badly here. I would have thought that blathering on about all the job shadowing I did, and what I found interesting in the latest issue of the organization newsletter would suffice. So, I plan to set up an appointment with the clinical director, who conducted the interview, to throttle her neck pick her brain about what they we looking for in this category. I mean, it's not like they are going to let me irradiate people just to see if I enjoy it, right?

Finally, and this one really hurts, there was "clean and professional appearance." Let's see... I had SHOWERED and WASHED MY HAIR. I was wearing a SUIT, complemented with tasteful, understated JEWELRY. I had on MAKEUP, had PLUCKED MY EYEBROWS, and was wearing coordinating HEELS and HANDBAG. My hair was in a tasteful, if boring BUN, my nails were swiped with a muted BEIGE nail polish, and I was carrying a leather notebook to write down answers to the questions I had for them. What more did they want?!?! Do you think the Carmen Miranda, fruit-basket HAT was over the top?? Should I skip that next time??

So, guess what I am saying is that I am still feeling a bit sorry for myself, and hiding out wasting my life until I feel better. Which, I promise will come... as soon as I win the lottery or the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes. Either one. I don't care!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Out of touch

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Internet. Broken. Again. Stealing bandwidth from libraries and schools. Hopefully back next week!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Plan B

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Friday, July 3, 2009

The letter came...

The mailman brought THE letter today. You know, the one I have been waiting for. If it had been a college acceptance I was looking for, I would have been mighty disappointed. The letter was so thin, I almost missed it in the envelope.

Based on the news, I should have left it in the envelope.

I was not accepted into the program this year.

I am disappointed, but not surprised.

I guess I will have to work on Plan B. And eat a LOT of chocolate.