Saturday, April 29, 2023

drivel of various kinds

I began getting seriously depressed in 2020 during the Trump/Covid period; Facebook escalated my moodiness, and it got to the point I would start crying at the least little thing.  The doctor suggested I take Escitalopram to level me out, and within two weeks I felt better about myself and the world in general.  I've been wanting to get off it since last summer, but winter was coming on and I decided to wait until spring. I've been prone to winter depression my whole life, although I never took any meds for it.  But a little over three weeks ago, I began splitting my 10MG pills and just taking half a pill; I did that for two weeks; no problem.  Then I began taking half a pill every other day.  And now I'm off the stuff with no bad consequences.  If I feel the need sometime, I'll get another prescription from the doctor, but I'm hoping I won't. 

The garden is at a complete standstill now.  I won't be planting even one more seed in this desert we're currently living in.  We hopefully check the weather on television and on the Internet, but all we're getting is 10% to 25% chances of spotty rain that never come.  If we ever get a real chance of a decent rain, I may plant something and hope for the best.  So far, it doesn't look good.  I go out every morning with the dog and cat and look at what's there.  The strawberries are blooming like crazy, but we won't get any berries at this rate.  I water the five tomato plants and one hill of 6 corn plants.  That's it.  

I've been walking in the pasture and woods again, although I walk fewer places now and have less hills to climb.  My heart soars when I'm walking barefoot in the cool, green grass; problems vanish... other than the tick I picked up today.  I rubbed insect repellent on my legs up to my knees and thought that would do the job, since I had pants that only went down to my knees.  I suppose he jumped down from a tree limb onto my head.  He hadn't fastened onto me yet, and I sent him to a watery grave.  The grandson said ticks were really bad this year.  At one point in my walk I had a desire to lie down in the grass for a bit; now I'm glad I didn't!

When I was getting ready to go to bed night before last, I heard the Pink Panther theme playing.  I thanked the dear Lord it was my bedtime; my husband has probably seen all the pink panther movies 50 times, and he still laughs so hard watching them that I sometimes think he'll choke.  This morning we were discussing this and he mentioned mentioned that Henry Mancini wrote that song.  I knew he'd written a lot of songs we're familiar with, and googled to find out what some of them were.  Most of them, we found out, were written for movies and television shows; Cliff was positive Mancini wrote Last Date, but I didn't think so.  It wasn't his style.  I went to Google again and quickly learned that Last Date was written by Floyd Cramer, to which Cliff said, "Oh yeah, that's who I was thinking of all along."

What?  How could you possibly get those two confused?  Cramer is country, Mancini isn't, not even a little bit.  However, I did find out that country singer Charley Pride recorded a song Mancini wrote, All His Children:

When you're standing aloneWith the mountains and the seaWhere the arms of the world open wideWhere the truth is as plain as the falling rainAnd as sure as the time and the tide
You know we're all His childrenHis next of kin, that's the way it beganNo matter where you're going or where you've beenYou're part of the family of men
When you walk down the roadAnd the sun is on your sideWith the sweet river breeze for your faceWhere you don't hear a sound as you look aroundEverything sort of falls into place
You know we're all His childrenHis next of kin, that's the way it beganNo matter where you're going or where you've beenYou're part of the family of men
You know we're all His childrenHis next of kin, that's the way it beganNo matter where you're going or where you've beenYou're part of the family of men

Kind of pretty, isn't it?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Are You there God?

I shared these words on Facebook just now, and decided to start a blog entry with the same words.

Years ago, my daughter brought home a book written for young girls aged preteen to mid-teens.  She left it laying around; I couldn't help noticing the title, which I've never forgotten:  "Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret."

I started reading it and couldn't stop.  I understand the book was banned in some places, but I loved every bit of it as a woman with a daughter.  Even now, in a crisis, I sometimes whisper to God, "Are You there God?  It's me, Donna."

It's our little joke.

And now it's going to be a movie.  I can't wait until some streaming service picks it up.

I decided to find out why it was banned back in the 70's, and here are the reasons:

1. age inappropriate:

2. religious views

3. It made Christians look bad.

It made Christians look bad??  We Christians have been making ourselves look bad for years; I probably make Christians look bad at least once a day!  (And for those of you who are thinking I do it far more often than that, just keep your  thoughts to yourself.)

Religious views?  The whole world is a mix of all sorts of religious views, and if you think reading a book is the only way you'll see that, something is wrong.  If you live in this world, you will see a lot of religious views totally different from yours.  The whole world around us is a cesspool, and you think a book someone wrote that was meant to let young folks know they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings will ruin their lives?

Age inappropriate?  I believe any child who can pick up that book and understand it is ready for what they will read.  

I had to learn about the birds and the bees after Sunday night church from three girls whose mothers had explained to them how their bodies would be changing; while the parents stood inside the church and visited with one another, we girls went and sat in someone's car and they all compared notes on what they had learned.  I only listened, because nobody had told me anything.  My mother felt that if you told children about those things too early on,  it would make them develop sooner and they'd get into all sorts of trouble.

Mother meant well, and I survived, so I was fine.  We moved to the city, and when I was 12 years old, the school nurse gathered us girls in a room and tried to explain everything to us... although it just confused me more, I think.  She may not have been the best person for the job.

I can't wait for the movie, though.  You'll find the review of the book HERE.    I read about why it was banned HERE.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

the outdoor/indoor cat

All winter I let Blue-the-cat in the house every day when he asks, and he knows which end of the couch is his.  He will nap there for hours on a really cold day, only going outside for a bathroom break; then he's back.  He has to sleep outside in his insulated box made from an ice chest at night.  That sounds cruel, I know; but he makes the best of it.  When it gets down around zero, old Mama Kitty gets in with him, and that keeps both of them warmer.  

He does like his house privileges, though.  When he starts shedding handfuls of hair in March, he loses the right to come in and nap on the couch.  He does not like being in such a situation and lets me know about it.  

If I open the door to let the dog out, guess who runs in furtively and heads for his scratching post?  His royal highness, Lord Blue.  He knows I'll be running after him, so he gives the post about three fast scratches and runs to Gabe's water bowl.  I will never understand why he prefers Gabe's water to his own that's on the back porch, which is plugged in to keep it  from freezing; it's the same water from the same well, but when he gets in the house he will lap up Gabe's water for two or three minutes, drinking for a while, stopping for a bit to look around, then getting a little more of the precious stuff.  Gabe doesn't always like this situation and will go push the cat's head over and drink water with him, obviously agreeing that inside water is best, and shouldn't be wasted on felines. 

However, I did find a way to keep Blue happy outside, and it seems to satisfy him.  It occurred to me that maybe if I'd just let him in and give him time to walk to the various rooms and make sure nothing's changed, that might be all he wants.  Perhaps he's just making sure his domain, the place where he considers himself the mayor, is still in working order.

My plan has worked very well, to my surprise.  Sometimes he will come in through the front door, nose around for a minute or two, then ask to go out at the back door.  Other times he'll check his house and then start to get comfortable, sitting and washing one paw and then another in the middle of the living room.  I give him a little time doing that, and if he won't come to the door when I call him, I simply pick him up in my arms, pet him, and tell him what a wonderful creature he really is.  Then he doesn't mind being carried to the door, where I gently put him down on the porch.  There he's liable to finish his grooming and will sometimes take a nap on the sunny side  of the porch for an hour or so.  

He now knows I will let him in the house, even if just for a few minutes, and it seems he is content.

In the garden this morning.  These two own me.

Old Mama Kitty is showing her age.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

good times

Ah, morel season.  There's something that will make one's heart go pitty-pat.  Our grandson has been very generous with family and friends, and today was his best hunt yet. 

He and his girlfriend only went to two of their honey-holes back of the Green Cathedral and got all these; more that 100, I think he said.  I have a large bowl of them in salt water in the refrigerator, but we probably won't be eating them until Friday or Saturday.  Tomorrow is shopping day in the forenoon and a funeral at noon; his girlfriend's grandmother died.  Alex is like part of our family at this point, so I'm going to the funeral.  Her grandma was a member of one of the two churches I attend, also.

We had a frost and freeze both Friday and Saturday nights, so we covered the tomatoes and peppers with buckets and such (five tomato plants, four pepper plants... so that wasn't difficult.)  Here's a strange thing:  Sunday morning the temperature was at 28°; we were forewarned, so we dug up some raggedy old sheets and drapes and threw them over the strawberry patch.  Some of them were already blooming, and I assumed a freeze would destroy the blooms.  When I got home from church and uncovered those plants, they were fine... but so were the ones we hadn't covered!  

We still haven't gotten a really good rain, so I'm not planting anything more than I already have.   The 7/10ths we got last week soaked up so fast, it's already disappeared.  I'll water the tomato plants this year, but that's it.

Cliff and I are both reading "Growing Up Amish", which was suggested to me by a blogger friend.  We are learning a lot about their religious practices. 

That's all I have for today.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

It's a good day for corn bread and beans

I really thought we were getting a good rain this morning, thinking we'd get another 4/10 of an inch:  That's how much we've gotten from every rain so far this year (not that I care, at this point).  We got a new rain gauge from Amazon day before yesterday, one that we hope will last over one year; if it doesn't, though, it only cost about six dollars.  So it didn't break the bank, you see.  When it seemed like the rain was over, I went out with a flashlight to see how much rain had fallen; there were about two drops in the bottom of it.  Ha!  There may  be a little more coming, but as usual, the big part of this front is in Iowa.

 Anyhow, it's going to be a fairly cool day, and I had a ham bone left from Easter.   I soaked the beans all night, poured off the soaking water and added fresh water, chopped a big onion, a couple of celery ribs, garlic and tossed all that in the pot; added a bay leaf, a little cumin, pepper, cayenne pepper, and parsley.  I like some color in my pinto beans!  All I have to do at our noon meal is get out the cast iron skillet and make the cornbread.

I recently read Lucy by the Sea after seeing it among the books Stargazer had read.  I like a lot of the same books she does, and if she gives it a good rating, I usually try it.  We don't always agree on everything we read, but I usually find her reading options match my own.  Tayla Tate Boerner, who is herself an author, makes a list of the books she's reading every month or so, and I often find good reads on her blog.  I discovered Tayla from following Galla Creek Ephemeris.  My Arkansas friend mentioned one book some time ago that I can't find in any of the three libraries from which  I download books, Traitor King: the Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  One of these days I might have to break down and buy it.  I don't want the physical book, though, because I do read a lot on the exercise bike; there's no room on the bike for a real book, so I'd have to hold in my hand for half an hour.

It's raining again, and I hear thunder.  Cliff is awake and putting his ear on, so I started his coffee.  I'm out of here!

P.S.  I was looking at the rain gauge wrong.  After it rained yet again when Cliff got up, I waited until the rain stopped and went to look.  We received over seven-tenths of an inch.  I'm not used to the new gauge and looked at it wrong.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Rachel's Song

I hesitate even now to do this entry, since it has me singing.  I was never a "great" singer.  

I think my daughter was five or six years old when she asked me if wishing wells really work, and I told her they didn't.  After that conversation, though, I thought about how happy I was at that stage of my life and wrote a song.  It isn't the best tune I've ever chosen for a song.  At 78 years old, you will hear me straining for the higher notes, and I hit a lot of flat notes.  That's not an apology, it's just how it is.  I'm not trying to get people to tell me I'm better that I think I am.  :D

I practiced with my guitar, trying to get through the words correctly.  Frustrated, I thought, "I'm no musician; why don't I just do the song without the guitar, since my guitar strumming is as bad as my voice or worse.  So I'm doing it "raw".  You will see I have a notebook in my hands because for some reason I kept messing up the words on the last chorus.

I should add that it isn't a nightgown I'm wearing; when the weather gets warm, I have a closet full of what I call my "hippy dresses", loose garments that are comfortable and cool.  I wear them here at home all the time in summer, but change clothes if I'm going any further than the mailbox.  

I won't guarantee that this post will be here long.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Found on Craigslist

On February  20, 2016, I bought a Schwinn recumbent bicycle on Amazon for $349.99.  I know this because I can do a search and look at every order I've ever bought for as long as I've had the account.   I've worn out several cheap exercise bikes in the past; they didn't last long.  I thought if I spent more money and got one with a lot of good reviews, perhaps it would last a while; this one has stood the test.

When I first got it, I would often ride 45 minutes to an hour a day, but two or three years ago I realized I'd better take it easy, since my knees were getting so sore when I went for my walk.  Now I try to ride it 30 minutes every day, but pedaling slower and doing less time.  

Four or five  years ago when Cliff couldn't walk anymore because of his hip, he started doing 30 minutes daily also.  Our old bike has had lots of punishment and is still working for us.

However, when Cliff is riding, it's developed a sort of soft thumping sound as he pedals.  He tore into the working parts of it the other day and I was sure he'd ruined it, but he reassembled it and it's still working.  The noise is bothering him, though.  And I'll admit it has worried me a little, simply because it could get worse and then break.  It's the only exercise Cliff gets, really.  His body aches and he has trouble breathing due to asthma, but that's one thing he can do.

Looking on Amazon, I saw the updated model 230 Schwinn recumbent now costs $599.  It's worth it, but forget it.  We'll wait until some bargain comes along.

Meanwhile, Cliff was searching for an ad on Craigslist that his brother placed for a piece of farm machinery he wanted to sell.  He looked for awhile, but couldn't find the ad.  Knowing about his troubles doing Internet searches, I looked for the ad and found it.  It was likely the first time in two years or so I've been on Craigslist.  Everybody seems to prefer Facebook Marketplace, and there aren't nearly as many scammers on Facebook.  Since I was there anyway, I thought I'd see if anybody had a decent recumbent bike for sale.  I typed in the search "Schwinn recumbent" and behold, there was one 40 miles away for $125.  Bingo!

Cliff agreed it sounded like a deal.  It's difficult to find a used, worn-out exercise bike because people will buy one, ride it once or twice, and then hang clothes on it for a while until they finally put it in a garage sale.  They seldom get used.  I guess they've never tried reading while they ride, because that's how we stay faithful with it.  Time passes very quickly.     

Yesterday afternoon after Cliff went out to the shop, I got hold of the guy with the bike and talked to him.  I asked him if it had been used a lot; he said, "Well, we haven't used it much; I got it at a garage sale, and I don't know how much they used it, but it doesn't seem to have been ridden much."  I asked him if he would consider taking the price down to $100.

I went out to tell Cliff I was ready to go look at it; he said, "Oh, I had decided not to get it."

I told him I got the price down, and he agreed to go.

We now have a newer version of the same bike we got in 2016, and it looks shiny and new.  I'll bet it hasn't seen over 10 hours of use.

Now if I could only get Cliff to move the old one out of the house.  He says he's going to leave them side-by-side so we can race.  What????  

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A conversation with a stranger

We went to have Cliff's Cochlear implant inspected and found it's working great.  He also began the process that will get him an implant on the left side.  The lady told us it probably wouldn't do as well as the one he already has, since that ear has been basically deaf for over twenty years; but she said it should help him hear a little better, and if nothing else, might help him know which direction noises are coming from.  Honestly, even if it did nothing for him, it would have been worth trying.  We haven't had to pay very much for our part of the doctor bills.  And this one will be even less costly, because he's already had the MRI.  We do realize there is always some risk with any sort of procedure like an operation, but Cliff chose to take that risk.

After Cliff had signed in for his appointment, a lady came in with three children:  One about eight years old, one probably four, and a very tiny baby in a stroller.  At the front desk when she signed in, the woman at the desk said, "Oh yes, you had an appointment for her for December."

"Yes," she answered, "but I had the baby instead." 

It wasn't long before someone came and took the eight-year-old back for her appointment, telling the mother they were going to take the girl with them and teach her how to hear.  Right after that, it was Cliff's turn, and I went with him.

After Kristen had checked him out, she went with us to the front desk to make the next appointment.  When we walked into the front office, the four-year-old waved and smiled at me; since I'd heard her name earlier, I said, "Hello, Emma.  Are you still here?"  Her mom sighed and said, "Yes, it's been over an hour."

Emma seemed like she was being a very good girl for someone her size.  Her mother was holding that tiny, skinny little baby and feeding her a small bottle.  I asked her if I heard correctly that the baby was born in December.  She said yes, that she had weighed a little over two pounds when she was born.  She told me the baby was in the hospital a long time before they got to bring her home.  I asked how much she weighs now, and she said, "Exactly seven pounds."

Born in December and finally weighs seven pounds!

Then she mentioned she has five children altogether.  My goodness, how awful it must have been to have a baby in the hospital and not be able to spend time with her because of the children at home.  She said once the child was out of danger, they moved her to some other hospital, but then nobody held her or did anything with her except what had to be done.  I doubt that was the fault of the nurses; there's a shortage of nurses now, and it seems to be getting worse. 

I remember reading one time about some hospitals having volunteers, people who would come and hold the preemies and rock them.  I thought, "Now there's a job I'd love.  Just rocking and singing and talking to infants for as long as they needed it."

Unfortunately, there's no hospital next door to me, so I won't be volunteering.

This was really the first time I'd ever talked to someone with that woman's experience.  I will be thinking about her and her children for a long time.  I  wish I'd have asked if all her kids were girls.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Going with the flow

I've been watering every row of my garden every other day, not getting much for my efforts.  As soon as the sun came up today, I went out to see if anything new was growing and saw little difference in any of it and asked myself, "Why are you doing this?"

We always have plenty of food.  We do not depend on a garden to keep us alive.  Yes, it's true that freshly picked green beans and early June peas are much better than what we buy in cans at the store, but we can, and have before, lived without a garden.  As of this morning, I resolved not to water anything more except tomatoes, and possibly peppers, this summer.  I may just put a soaker hose down in the tomato row and leave it all summer, so all I'd have to do is connect it to a garden house, turn on the hydrant, go in the house, and set a timer.

Speaking of plenty of food, I practically fainted when I was getting ready for our weekly shopping expedition and noticed Price Chopper had 80% ground beef, the 10-pound roll, for $2.29!  I don't think it  was ever that cheap even before the pandemic.  I picked up a roll of it, and when I got to the checkout the lady said, "Did you know they'll cut that and wrap it however you want, so you don't have to take that long roll to your car?"

Nope, I had never even thought of it!  I've always come home and divided it up on my own into 1- and 1-and 1/2 pound freezer bags; or put the whole roll in the freezer, then got it out until I could cut the portions with a knife.

Our trip to Amish country went fine.  I always enjoy walking through their stores and finding some things I'd never see at any other location.  We had our picnic in the truck, since it was pretty windy at the park.  I didn't buy much:  A little bag of orange-slice candy in one place and some tasty over-priced cheese at a cheese store.  Then there's one store I love that is a combination of Amish store and bargain discounts, foods having a date that's about to expire.  I purchased a couple of regular jars of Miracle Whip for a little over $2 (expiration next month), and Cliff got a great deal on a big case of Gatorade; he loves the stuff.  I don't. 

Our last stop was a remarkable greenhouse selling lovely garden plants, both vegetable and flowers.  So I spent $16 there; the plants were very cheap... tomatoes, four smallish  plants for $2.  Since I had bought two large tomato plants close to home, I was glad to have a few small ones.

Today we go to Kansas City, Kansas, for Cliff  to have his hearing checked again.  I think he's going to get an implant for the other ear before long.

We're having perfect weather except for very little rain, and I'm not worrying about rain any more, so you'll hear no more griping about that from me.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

What a wonderful day

We got about 3/10 of an inch of rain yesterday.  When the sun came out after noon, the grandson went looking for morel mushrooms.  He and Alexandria found little grays that were too small to pick, but that's enough to get a morel hunter excited.  People in the Kansas City area are advertising morels $50 for a quart or $100 for a gallon, so there are a lot of them somewhere.  It's been so dry here, it's no wonder we aren't getting any.

I have radishes, onions, peas, beets, and spinach up and beginning to grow now, so that makes me happy; I planted my potatoes, as usual, on Good Friday.  I even planted a row of green beans.  I bought two good-sized tomato plants last week and set them out.  

Tomorrow we're planning to travel up to Jamesport, Missouri, to Amish country.  There are always folks selling garden plants up there, so I'll likely get everything else I need in the way of plants.  There's still the possibility of a hard freeze, but looking at the ten-day forecast, it doesn't seem likely.  I could easily cover the tomatoes if it does get cold, and everything else that's up can stand it.

We decided to go to Jamesport tomorrow because our dog, Gabe, goes to Bed and Bones for a trim.  We'll drop him off after 8 A.M. and pick him up when we get back; meanwhile he can have fun with his furry friends that run around the place.  We have some ham from Easter Sunday, so I'll make us some ham and cheese sandwiches and take a couple pieces of the chocolate cake I made today for dessert.  The next three days are supposed to get up to 80, so it'll be a nice day for a picnic.

That's all I have today.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Sunday Stealing

1. I've come to realize that my chest-size... isn't what it used to be.  (I had a breast reduction years ago.)

2. I've come to realize that my job... is to take care of my husband.  

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving... I must be dreaming, since I never had a driver's license.

4. I've come to realize that I need... God.

5. I've come to realize that I have lost... most of my energy and enthusiasm.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it... when there's a drought. 

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk... I must be dreaming again.  This particular old lady doesn't drink anything alcoholic at this stage of her life. 

8. I've come to realize that money... is worth less every day. 

9. I've come to realize that certain people... want everyone to think like they do. 

10. I've come to realize... that I'll always be selfish. 

11. I've come to realize that my sibling... is as perfect as a woman can be.

12. I've come to realize that my mom... only ever wished the best for me.

13. I've come to realize that my cell phone... has a dead battery half the time.

14. I've come to realize that when I woke up this morning... I was still tired.

15. I've come to realize that last night before I went to sleep... I was still thankful for my life.

Monday, April 03, 2023

Strange weather

I should be used to "strange" weather, since that's what Missouri seems to excel in.  I just have an uneasy feeling we're going to end up with another dry summer.  We have a lot of days when it rains, but for the most part, we're lucky to get 2/10ths of an inch each time.  After moving the soaker hose all over creation last year, I've resolved not to do it this year.  I do have some seeds coming up; that's the good news.  Also, the fire my husband started in my garden did not hurt the strawberry plants; there are little green plants coming up all over the burned-black area.

I'm feeling a little out of sorts right now, and I'm not sure why.  Oh, there are some family things that are bothering me, and Facebook is getting on my nerves again as one by one I stop following certain people again.  The world situations aren't the best now, either.  But we're all in that mess together!     

I'm just a grumpy old woman, nobody special, and I should be super thankful for my health, my home, and my life; actually, I am thankful.  

I'm reading a relatively new book about Paul Newman that is holding my interest just fine; a lot of it is in his own words, and there are also comments here and there from his friends and family.  I'm sharing part of a review I found HERE

Newman, who died in 2008 at age 83, began working on a memoir in 1986 with a pal and confidant, writer Stewart Stern. After several years of effort that included recorded interviews with relatives, friends and colleagues, their project began to drift. Newman’s daughters Melissa and Clea decided to turn that raw material into a book punctuated by first-person accounts by others, including Newman’s first wife as well as his second, actress Joanne Woodward. The result is a brutally frank reflection on a life filled with self-doubt.

My Arkansas Blogger friend at Galla Creek mentioned she had read the book, so I found it in the digital library and checked it out for myself.  

I think Gabe and I will go for a short walk back to the point.