Thursday, July 27, 2023

Asthma, or a heart condition?

Cliff was having a hard time breathing in early 2021, to the point that he could barely walk from the house to the shop.  That's when our regular doctor made an appointment for him with a pulmonologist.  

That doctor prescribed two inhalers to use, plus a pill; I thought they helped, because at least he has been able to go to the shop and do a few things.  However, he's always had trouble with the inhaler; he said it made his throat sore all the time, and wouldn't use it regularly.  He still says the inhalers do nothing for him.

His first pulmonologist really didn't do any sort of tests on him, although he did have him get a chest X-ray.  I think he just asked him questions, and decided he had asthma.  Two or three months ago, that doctor retired, leaving us to find another specialist.

I didn't go with Cliff to his appointment, but he said two different nurses ran all kinds of tests on him before he actually saw the doctor, tests that he'd never had before.  According to what they found out, the doctor said he doesn't think Cliff has asthma.  He thinks the problem might be pulmonary thrombosis.  So Cliff will get a scan of his chest (CT scan?  Cliff doesn't remember medical words very well) and will see him after that.  The pulmonologist thinks the reason the inhalers hurt his throat is because he doesn't have asthma. 

I suppose that means Cliff will need to go to his heart doctor if he doesn't have asthma.

I think I'll go with him next time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

So many anonymous commenters

I'm getting more and more comments from people who used to show up with their name and are now anonymous, and I don't understand it at all.  I tried to find something about it on Google, but only found one thing on a lady's blog.  I really don't understand it, but if you want to see it, it's HERE

That's all I have except to tell you that Cliff's new pulmonologist did several tests on him, and he doesn't think he has asthma; he thinks it's something with his heart.  I find it hard to believe.  This doctor had him stop the inhalers and the one pill he was taking.  I guess we'll find out if he gets so he can't breath.  He's already wheezing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Busy, but happy (and thankful)

Alright, boys and girls:  When do we plant our turnips?

25th of July, wet or dry!

When do we harvest our turnips?

25th of October, drunk or sober!

So, at 6:30 this morning, I planted a row of turnips.  Then I planted a row of carrots, although I have little faith they'll grow.  This will be the third time I've planted carrots this year.  But since I have plenty of idle places in my garden, why not try again?  Carrots don't like hot weather, and it's going to be in the nineties and even over one hundred for the next two weeks or so.  We had 6/10ths an inch of rain yesterday.  It's amazing how such a small amount of rain can perk up garden plants.  I've been putting quart freezer bags of tomatoes in the freezer.  I'm thinking about going ahead and using some of the garden tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce, although I won't put meat in it until I get it out of the freezer to use.  I find myself with more tomatoes than I can use.  Those two Red Deuce tomatoes are still giving me huge, tasteless tomatoes; but I found out they are just fine for spaghetti sauce.  The grandson and Alexandra were here Saturday for spaghetti, and everyone agreed the sauce tasted just like it always does.

These are the two Red Deuce tomato plants that really bear lots of big tomatoes but aren't that tasty.  They'll probably be gone in a couple weeks, because the leaves are very blighty.  But I'm freezing them as they get ripe, so I won't have to buy canned tomatoes when I make chili.  All my frozen tomatoes from last year are gone.  There are plenty  of tasty tomatoes coming on now from the other plants, although some blight is on all of them.

I finally have okra, so I can make smothered okra again.  For a month or so, I was only bring in one or two lonely okras; by the time I had enough to make fried okra, the oldest ones left something to be desired.  I finally put the soaker hose on that row and they were happy enough to start doing their job.  They are still only about as high as my face.  Until the last few days, they were about to my chin, which made it hard to get all the okras because those broad leaves hide the product.  And of course, the leaves make me itch when I have to reach through the leaves from the top.  Picking tomatoes also leaves my arms itching, not to mention they put green slime on me so when I wash my hands and forearms with soap, the soap foams green as it comes off.  But tomatoes are worth it.

Cliff just headed out to keep an appointment with his new pulmonologist in Lees Summit.  I was going to go along, but I'm in the middle of cooking dinner.  The green beans I picked are done, because I thought I was going to go with him and wanted to be able to just warm them up when we got home.  But then I picked everything I needed for the smothered okra, started making it, and realized I had worked myself into a corner... so here I sit, wondering if I should go ahead and make some spaghetti sauce to put in the deep freeze.

I bought some plants labeled as bell peppers in the spring, but they are not!  The fruits are big and sort of pointy at the end.  They do taste like bell peppers, though, but they work well for stuffed peppers.  My daughter tells me they are poblano peppers.  They are a good substitute for green peppers in recipes, so I won't complain.  I have three or four bell pepper plants growing from seeds, and hopefully they'll be giving me something for bell peppers before it's too late.

I have dishes to wash, so I'm going to get busy.  

Here's my dog Gabe watching my husband eat.  He will watch in the same  position until the very last bite, every time.

Yes, the couch is a mess and everything is crooked.  Just like me!

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Strange things happen sometimes

First, let me tell you about the new picture at the top:  Cliff was cutting the weeds in the pasture behind our house; it used to be a real pasture, but ugly weeds have taken over.  I hate it, but there's no use buying expensive seeds when there aren't any animals on the place to eat the plants.  He very seldom uses the big White tractor, even though it has a working air conditioner and he has asthma, because his more modern little John Deere uses much less gas, and does most of the jobs on our 40-acre play farm in a superb manner; he does use a mask if he's mowing with the John Deere, though.  

But he loves bigger, older classic tractors.  I'm not outside as much as I used to be, and I don't carry a camera around all the time looking for a good picture for my blog.  But when I saw Cliff mowing, I decided to see what I could do, and took half a dozen shots.  I love this one, with those clouds in the blue sky.  He likes it too.

Now, about the strange thing that happened the other day.  Both of us were sitting in the living room looking at our computers and all of a sudden, I had no Internet.  I told Cliff our Internet was down; some fifteen minutes later, I noticed he was still surfing the net.  I checked my Macbook... still no Internet.  Hmm.

There are two iPads in our house.  Cliff has the oldest one, an iPad Mini, which was Cora's to play with when we babysat her.  Later I let Cliff have it for reading his library books.  Since Cliff had Internet and the Macbook did not, I decided to use my iPad, but again, no Internet.  How could this be possible?  I tried the old Mini... still no Internet.  Cliff was loving it.  He likes to make fun of my Apple products, especially the Macbook, because it doesn't have a touch screen.

We have Nexus for Internet.  They usually fix any glitches promptly.  I got a text message saying that there was a problem in some places, and they were working to find whatever was wrong.  Even then, Cliff surfed on.  After four hours or so, my Internet was working again on all three Apple devices.  

I've never had anything like that happen before, but Cliff needed some laughs, so I guess it's all for the good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Still gardening

We've eaten enough ratatouille in the last three weeks to float a battleship.  There's always some of it in the refrigerator.  One reason for making it so often is this:  Those two tomato plants with the huge early tomatoes aren't so great.  They bear big fruit spectacularly, but the tomatoes are hard and tasteless, even when they're dead ripe, and they aren't juicy at all.  All the tomatoes seemed to come on at once, but the plants themselves never grew after a certain point.  I have never encountered such a tomato plant, and I hope not to again.  Anyhow, if I add water to the ratatouille to take the place of tomato juice, it's delicious.  As for my other, more normal, tomatoes... well, this is a strange year.  They were terribly late putting on tomatoes, and they see to be making more foliage than I've ever seen.  Perhaps that has something to do with the constant drought conditions.  We have had a couple of 1-inch rains lately, but could surely use more.

Monday and Tuesday I froze most of my first planting of sweet corn, sparing enough so we'd have some for the table right now.  There are five quarts of corn in the freezer, so I'll have some to take to my reunions in the crock pot.  The next planting of corn will be ready in a week or so; after that, the wait will be longer for more corn.  

Today we're having green beans from the first crop, and now it's time to pull up those plants.  Of course, the next planting will be ready soon.

We've been watching Quarterback on Netflix, since our Chiefs quarterback is one of the featured players.  Also on Netflix, The Lincoln Lawyer, based on a series of books that I've read a few of.  I was going to quit Netflix for awhile, but I couldn't resist seeing our quarterback on TV in the summer!  

That's really about all I have to talk about today, so I'll bid you adieu and be on my way. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sunday Stealing

1. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?  1. I'm not very social  2. I'm a slob  3. I believe in Jesus and try my best to follow Him; sometimes I fail, but I try.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?  I thought God was like a magician and he just dropped newborn babies beside the mother, abra cadabra.  Later, I decided babies must come out of the mother's belly button.  My mom didn't tell me any of the facts of life until I was 12, and even then I didn't know where babies come from until I watched a barn cat have her kittens.  

3. Thinking of school classes, which were your favorite and least favorite?  Favorite was always English, hands down.  I didn't like math, but my least favorite was Physical Education. 

4. What is your favorite fast food?  Burger King

5. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

6. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?  Hahahahahaha.  Nope

7. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?  I've had a wonderful life.  The few lows that have come in my life only make the highs better when they come.

8.What arts and crafts have you tried and decided you were bad at?  I'm not crafty in any way.

9. What is the truest thing that you know?  Thankfulness breeds happiness

10. Are you more of a giver or a taker?  I think I'm both at different times

11. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?  Not always

12. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?  Having my babies, I suppose

13. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?  I'll pass on this question.

14. What is your favorite line from a movie?  Round up the usual suspects

15. Can you eat with chopsticks?  I've never tried, but I'm clumsy and probably couldn't do it anyway

How I end up spending so much time on the Internet

 Last time I was at Walmart, I went out and looked at the clearance plants; there weren't many to pick from, but there was a daisy marked down that looked healthy and happy for $3, so I grabbed it and took it home with me.

Today I posted some pictures of my various flowers on Facebook.  Here is how I captioned the picture:  "'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you." 

Later, thinking about that song, I said to my husband, "I wonder when that song was written.  I'll bet it was before automobiles were in the picture."  Sure enough, I was right.  Not only did I find the age of the song, but I found an interesting story to boot!  I also learned the actual name of the song, "Daisy Bell".

"Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" is a song written in 1892 by British songwriter Harry Dacre with the well-known chorus "Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I'm half crazy / all for the love of you", ending with the words "a bicycle built for two". The song is said to have been inspired by Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, one of the many mistresses of King Edward VII.

When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged import duty. His friend William Jerome, another songwriter, remarked lightly: "It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty." Dacre was so taken with the phrase "bicycle built for two" that he soon used it in a song. That song, Daisy Bell, first became successful in a London music hall, in a performance by Katie LawrenceTony Pastor was the first to sing it in the United States. Its success in America began when Jennie Lindsay brought down the house with it at the Atlantic Gardens on the Bowery early in 1892.

The song was originally recorded and released by Dan W. Quinn in 1893.

I found this on Wikipedia HERE.

Now, if you aren't familiar with this song, I did a blog entry where I mentioned being in a school program: I pedaled my tricycle in a circle with a classmate riding on the back step of it.  This is the time I wrecked my trike, throwing us both to the floor.  I mentioned this (again this morning) to Cliff, and he laughed and said, "Even on a tricycle, you couldn't drive."

If you want to hear the 1892 version that wowed American audiences, 
you'll find it HERE

And now you know how easily I can get lost following an endless rabbit hole on the Internet.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Summertime, and the livin' is easy (NOT)

 We're having a heat wave, which isn't anything strange in Missouri in July.  It's funny, we always act as though it shouldn't be happening, knowing full well that it's the norm here.  It's clear that global warming is real:  icebergs are melting, lakes are disappearing.  But temperatures in the 90's are nothing new here.  I used to make fun of people who couldn't live without air conditioning, but over in our old house we finally got a small window unit so we could sleep better at night.  Once we moved to the trailer house, we had whole house air conditioning.

God bless the man who invented air conditioning.  

I'm in the same position as last year, dragging soaker hoses from one row to another.  Half the garden isn't planted because I can only handle so much, especially in this heat.  About this time last year, I swore I was going to cut down the size of the garden, and I have.  Oh, it's the same space, but there are plenty of spots where nothing is planted.  I swore I wouldn't deal with soaker hoses again, yet here I am, doing it.

Cliff is having more trouble breathing all the time.  He's now sleeping in the recliner all night.  If he gets up in the night or early morning and goes on to bed, he coughs constantly.  His last pulmonary doctor retired, but he does have an appointment with a new one in August.  He and I both know how the asthma journey goes ... his mother and aunt both suffered with it all their lives.  There's no cure.  

Thanks to our next-door grandson, Cliff is still messing with old tractors, letting Arick do all the hard work as he gives instruction from the sidelines.  Arick living next door has been a wonderful gift to my husband.  He also mows, weed-eats, and carries any heavy loads for him.  I don't know what we'd do without him.

For some reason I woke up thinking about one of my favorite folk songs this morning.  I love the words to it.

Someday we'll roll away the stone
That we have carried for so long
All our burdens will be gone
And I can't wait

We will find our way to
An understanding of all views
No prayer shall be refused
I can't wait

It seems we have gone too far
And now we don't know where we are
I believe we'll find a guiding star
But I can't wait

If faith is the final place
Where all fears have been erased
And the locks have fallen from the gates
I can't wait

Someday we'll roll away the stone
That we have carried for so long
All our burdens will be gone
And I can't wait

We will find our way to
An understanding of all views
No prayer shall be refused
And I can't wait

Written by Fats Kaplin, Kevin Welch, and Kieran Kane

Monday, July 10, 2023


I have come to realize that mornings are my most anticipated occurrences.  Yes, it's come to that.  When I go to bed, I'm thinking about how quickly I'll be looking at the sunrise on the morrow... if I can only stay asleep all night, which I never do.  Lately I've been waking up at 2 A.M. every single day.  I force myself to stay in bed until 3, but then I get up.  

Years ago I tried melatonin.  It did nothing for me.  Over-the-counter sleeping pills work, but I won't use them more than once a week, and usually just take half of one.  I've had trouble staying asleep for at least 30 years, so I'm used to it.  It's one of those things I can't do anything about, so why fuss and complain?  Seeing the sun come up makes me happy, and I haven't missed many sunrises in those years.  Sometimes I read things on the Internet that tell me if I don't get eight hours of sleep, I'll get dementia, or my life will be cut short.  Well, I've read everything I've found about how to get enough sleep, but none of it works for me.  I know a lot of people are in that same boat with me, and we all seem to be able to drag ourselves out of bed and start doing what we must to make our way in the world.  

I've been going outside before the sun is fully up and then watching the day gradually brighten as I walk around the garden.  I'm particularly interested in the state of my butternut squashes.  By the way, I googled what the plural is for squashes.  It can either be squash or squashes, but the latter really seems awkward.  

The vines have flourished in the southwest corner of my garden, and there are some huge squashes well over a foot long and still growing; but I've only ever had a crop of them one time thirteen or so years ago.  The rest of the time, just as the vines start putting on fruits, squash bugs enter the scene and the vines are dead within a couple of days.  I did notice some vines dying recently, but most of the remaining vines seem fine.  I'm not counting on anything, though!  If it happens, it happens.

We are eating green beans now, and within a week it looks like we'll have all the tomatoes we can eat.

Last week was wonderful, with our son here from Georgia.  Our daughter lives nearby, and she and her husband ate several meals with us and spent time here off and on throughout the week.  Now it's just us.  Cora will be here tomorrow, though, for her every-other-week Tuesday visit.

I ponder on the fact that I'm 79 years old, and wonder if I'll make it to 80.  Wow, eighty sounds really old!  I'd better get back out to the garden while I can still walk.

Friday, July 07, 2023

The best birthday gift

Today  I am seventy-nine years old.  Our son, his wife, and their granddaughter arrived Sunday for his annual Fourth of July trek, a trip that can take 13 hours.  Jim's trip is always a good time for us; his wife is caregiver for her mother, so she usually can't come along.  This time, though, she came and brought their four-year-old granddaughter (our great-granddaughter) and what a joy she has been.

This year, they all slept at the grandson's (Arick's) house, since our only extra bed is just big enough for one person.  They come over here for breakfast, though, and the rest of the day, the men spend a lot of time in Cliff's  Arick's shop.  Daughter-in-law Deb spends her day between houses.  And Maelynn, the child, spends her time going from house to house, often stopping at the shop for awhile.

That girl has a sunny disposition, a bright mind, a wonderful sense of humor, and enough confidence to kill a Goliath if she needed to.  She has been my helper several times this week.

Gabe always loves children, but this kid is a favorite

Picking green beans in the shade of the sweet corn

Grandma-Great (yeah, that's me) with her helper

Ready for the Fourth of July

Playing with leftover biscuit dough while I washed dishes.  She played with a handful of dough for almost 45 minutes.

Yukon Gold potatoes from the garden.  She loved watching me dig them up with the potato fork and picking them up.

We found an ear of corn in the garden that was actually ready

So, you can see that I have had a wonderful birthday week, and Maelynn has had a week of learning where food comes from, as well as many other lessons for life.  Every day is a lesson for life to a four-year-old.