Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Heartfelt Thank You

This moving business is not easy for me.  I don't do change very well any more.  It is hard to think about leaving my home of well over 20 years.  The home where I lived with my husband until his death several years ago.  The home that is jam-packed with memories.

I am slowly getting used to the idea.  The notion of living where I might be a bit more mobile is a definite plus.  A place where I can go outside without having to use the dreaded stairs.  A place, perhaps, where I can see green grass and trees rather than concrete and asphalt.

The wheels are turning.  Oldest daughter is checking out home care options to deal with my physical limitations.  And looking into light housekeeping services.  Youngest son is in charge of finding a suitable place for me to live.  He has suggested that perhaps I might enjoy living close to his family (45 miles away from my present location) so that I could spent time with my three youngest grands.  That would be delightful.

I am doing my part.  The canning and dehydrating, aside from the food still in my freezer, has been put on hold.  I am beginning to sort and toss - some for charity shop donations, some that my kids might find useful and some for the dumpster.

All of this will take time, but there is no great rush.

I write about many things here on this silly little blog.  Sometimes I debate with myself whether or not I should post about my difficulties or less than upbeat topics.  But what it boils down to is that this is life.  And life is not always unicorns and sunshine.  There are storm clouds now and then.  So I write about them, too.

What really amazes me is that there are folks out there who stop by and visit and leave comments who are caring enough to offer suggestions when I find myself in a place that is less than ideal.  Many times those suggestions have helped me deal with one thing or another.  I want you all to know just how much I value the friendship of each and every one of you, for even though we have never met, I still consider you as friends.  Thank you for continuing to stop by, even when the unicorns are not here.  I am truly humbled.

Monday, August 28, 2017

There comes a time...

when a person has to stop pretending that all is well and face the harsh realities of life.  That time has arrived for me.

I finally had to admit that I need help.  Simple day to day housekeeping chores have become overwhelming.  What should take an hour of my time now takes the better part of a day.  I can still cook my meals and wash my dishes and do my laundry.  I can take care of my personal hygiene and can dress myself without help.  It is the rest of it that has become a bugger.

So yesterday I talked to all four of my kids about the problems I am facing.  They mostly agree that I need to move into an apartment that is more suited to my needs.  My apartment is too small to be able to use the walker.  There just isn't room.  I need additional help in dealing with the cellulitis in my legs.  I need additional help in maintaining the cleanliness of my living space that the arthritis has made difficult.  And I need to live somewhere that doesn't have stairs as the only means of getting to and from my apartment.

So my kids are researching the possibilities.  There are several options.  The only option I refuse to consider is a nursing home.  I need my personal space.  I am somewhat ornery.  I do not play well with others.  Should some fresh faced little nurse's aide tell me it is time to eat, time to sleep or time to go to the community room for a sing-long or for arts and crafts, I am apt to throw something at her, even though she would just be doing her job.  Aside from my family and those blogging friends I have made, I mostly want to be left alone.  Living somewhere that has a schedule that must be kept and that expects participation in activities that hold no interest for me is my idea of what Hell would look like.

I kind of feel sorry for my kids.  They have their work cut out for them in finding ways to do what needs to be done and still stay within my budget.  But they are smart.  They are good at finding solutions to problems.  And even though I have made good on my promise to live long enough to be a problem to them, they still love me and are more than willing to help me through a time that is not much fun.

I am not telling you about this life changing time because I desire sympathy.  I do not.  I still enjoy life as much and sometimes more than most.  But I know there are some who might read this that are facing a similar change.  I put it off longer than I should have.  I am a stubborn person.  And because my stubbornness got in the way of common sense, this isn't as easy as it could be.  There is no shame in admitting you need help, especially in the later years.  I still do as much as possible for myself, but it has gotten to the point where it just isn't enough.  And if this helps even one person, then it has accomplished what I hope it would.

And even with complications, life is still grand.  :)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey...

has made landfall in Texas with high winds and rain being measured by the foot rather than by the inch.  All reports indicate it will continue to wreak havoc for several days.  If you are of a mind to do so, please join me in prayer for the safety of those folks in the path of this monster storm.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Weird Weather

I suppose there have been times when the month of August has been cool, but I don't remember any.  In a normal year August is hot and sunny.  Today at noon, even with the sunshine, the temperature was only 68 degrees with promise of the 50's for tonight.

Those who delight in days spent lakeside basking in the heat are not happy.  Gardeners are bemoaning the fact that their tomatoes are very slow to ripen this summer as are other vegetables.   There is talk of an early fall and a long, cold winter.

But I don't care.  It is now cool enough for me to drag out my green fuzzy blanket at nap time.

It takes very little to make me happy.  :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Frozen Treasure Hunt

Cleaning out my chest freezer is proving to be interesting.  I have found all sorts of things I had forgotten were there.

I knew about the gallon bags of cranberries.  I have been putting off dealing with them, I suppose, because I knew the work involved.  But I finally dragged them all out and thawed them.  I intended to make juice to can, but the recipe I use calls for much lifting of heavy pots and straining of berries and time standing on my feet stirring.  My physical limitations put the brakes on that idea.  So I just filled jars with the thawed berries.  I used plain water instead of the usual sugar syrup.  By canning them in water I can use the cranberries multiple ways - for cranberry sauce, in muffins or cranberry bread, or I can make juice, a couple of jars at a time.  I wound up with 20 pints and 20 quarts of whole cranberries.

I found seven one-pound packages of yeast.  Those I stacked in my closet pantry.

I also found a bunch of those small snack sized Ziploc bags full of chopped onions.  I thawed them out, cooked them until they were translucent, packed them in half pint jars and pressure canned them for 45 minutes.  I got 7 jars of onions.  I usually use my dehydrated onions for cooking, but these canned ones are handy for when I need onions for dishes like hamburgers or meatloaf.

The next projects are a stack of quart freezer bags full of pumpkin puree to be dehydrated and a layer of quart bags full of sliced apples to be turned into applesauce.  Those are going to wait a few days until the latest arthritis flareup subsides.  Until then, it is quiet time for this chubby granny.

I can hardly wait to see what treasures lay underneath the apples.  :)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just Because I Can

My youngest son, David, stopped using Facebook a while back.  He said he was tired of posts from a few friends and relatives that were dedicated to Trump bashing.  I understand why he just eliminated that hassle from his life.  But David was really good to post pictures of his family.  I missed that.  So when he and his family stopped in the other day, I whined.  I asked him if he wouldn't reconsider just enough to post some pictures for me.  He did.

This is Boston on her way to dance auditions to see which team she will be on this year at the dance studio where she is in competition dancing.

This is Maddie Mae just being Maddie Mae.

This is Jacob at the end of the summer baseball season, with his other grandparents.  I'm so glad they can go to his games to cheer him on.

And this is Oreo with her favorite squeaky toy.  She is just so stinkin' cute!

David's sister Jill posted this photo of my grandson Zach at Aviation Camp in July.

I love it when my kids post pictures.  It helps me stay connected to family and that's important.  So thank you David, for indulging your mother and going back on FB long enough to give me more pictures.  And thank you Jill, for all the pictures of Zach.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flying South

It is a lovely day here in southeastern Minnesota.  Temps are in the high 70's.  The sun is shining.  I have windows open to let in the soft, summer breeze.

We have a large number of Canadian geese here.  They fly south usually in late September and October and return in the spring.  But today I have heard the unmistakable honking of several fairly large flocks of them, all heading south.

I wonder if they know something we don't!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It has been quiet here...

in my little corner of the world.

I guess the nut jobs were congregated in Charlottesville, busy with beating each other to a pulp and doing their best to run over as many as possible with a car.  Didn't seem to slow Chicago down much, what with 5 dead and 22 injured in shootings over the weekend.

But in my world, laundry was caught up, floors were mopped and scalloped potatoes and ham were consumed.

The politicians are trying every way possible to blame each other for the grievance of the day.  I don't pay attention to them any more.  World leaders are rattling sabers and making not so veiled threats to one another.

But in my world, brownies were baked and grandchildren were properly hugged and the words, "I love you, Grandma" were heard.

The headlines still scream gloom and doom.  Nearly every crime and perversion is touted in bold type.  And nothing changes.

But in my world, raspberry pancakes from a mix given me by my grands (along with a jug of real maple syrup) made a memorable breakfast this morning.

Often I find myself wishing I had exciting things to write about like so many other bloggers do.  And then I take a look at the world around me and quickly decide that I am perfectly content with my life here at my little apartment.  Nobody tries to shoot me.  Nobody tries to run over me.  I get to see my youngest son and his family when they stop in after a day at the local arboretum.  I get to spend time with my oldest son at least twice a week.  My daughters are close by as are the rest of my grands.

I get to do what I want when I want, which usually includes a damn good cup of coffee and a mystery book.  Or time spent doing things that make me happy like sewing or crocheting.  Or canning and dehydrating.

I will take this less than exciting life any day of the week.  :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fabric Fondling and Other Pursuits

'Hello.  My name is Vicki and I am addicted to fondling fabrics.'
I wonder if there is a 12 step program for that.  :)

I have spent the last few days pinning and sewing and marking and cutting fabric.  One quilt top is nearly finished and two more are in the works.  Photos will be posted when I have finished them.  I hope to spend time working on them over the upcoming weekend.

But until then, it is time to get on with the food storage thing.  I don't think I should put it off any longer, considering that the North Korean lunatic is threatening to nuke us either at our military bases in Guam or here at home.  Might never happen, but with a loose cannon like that, you just don't know.

At any rate, there are 24 lbs. of butter melting on the stove in preparation for canning.  There are about a gallon and a half of Great Northern beans (the ones the bugs didn't find) to can and two gallons of cranberries thawing to can whole.

So I am off to spend some quality time in my kitchen.  If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, send in the Rescue Squad.  I will be the chubby granny buried under a stack of canning jars.  :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Other Day...

my phone rang.  It was my brother.  He was about two minutes away from my apartment.  I urged him to hurry.

We had had a phone conversation a week or so earlier.  He wanted to know about my physical condition.  I assured him that I was doing alright, considering.  That wasn't good enough.  He had to come and see for himself that his big sister was OK.

We have a long history of little brother looking out for his sister.  Kelly is 15 years younger than me.  When he was about four years old, he spent quite a bit of time with me and my young son.  At that time we lived in a rented house.  The landlord was an grumpy old man who liked to yell at people.  That landlord had yelled at me for something long since forgotten, but he did it  when Kelly was with me.  The next day my mother discovered Kelly with pockets full of rocks.  When questioned about the rocks, he said they were to throw at the mean old man who yelled at his sister.

Once Kelly had seen for himself that I was getting along just fine, we sat at the kitchen table, drank coffee and strolled down Memory Lane.  And we talked of his kids, my kids and all the grands.  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Kelly  wanted to know if there was anything that several thousand dollars would fix as far as my physical condition is concerned.  I told him no.  I told him that the best I can hope for is maintaining.  He remarked that I seemed so happy.  I am.  I have made peace with the facts of my situation.  Mostly I am just content.

We don't get to do this very often.  Kelly lives at least a 4 hour drive north of me and his job takes him further afield for months at a time.  When he was getting ready to leave, he expressed regret that we couldn't do this more often.  I told him that he knows how much I love him and I know how much he loves me.  And that is enough.

Thursday, August 3, 2017


plants growing in pots on windowsills have a shelf life.  All were doing well.  They were starting to put out blossoms.  And then.....they keeled over and died.

I noticed all was not well when I saw that the blossoms would start to open and then they just withered and fell to the floor.  And the leaves began to curl up and fall off.  And those plants standing tall sort of leaned over and gave up.

But I had fun trying to grow veggies in my window sills so it wasn't a total loss.

Oh...and my harvest?  One bean.  It was delicious.

So now I am cleaning out the pots and putting them away until spring.  It gets too cold in the window sills in winter for plants to survive.  Come April or May I will plant things that do not need blossoms to produce food, like lettuce and spinach and beets and maybe celery.

I have one pot of bell peppers that is still healthy.  I will continue to care for that one just for the fun of it.  Like I have said before, it takes very little to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Sometimes of an evening when the work day is done and when the foot traffic between the several bars in my neighborhood is at its peak, filled with Happy Hour revelers, I will pour a mug of coffee, pull up a chair and watch the comings and goings on my street.  It is a great time for people watching.

This particular evening found me watching the groups of ladies, having been released from their office cubicles, strolling down the street in a cloud of perfume and giggles.

Along came the office girl's counterparts, having ditched the suit coats but retaining white shirts and ties, trying to impress each other with the deals they had put together at work that day.

The construction workers, retail sales people and fast food workers came in, all in good moods, happy to be released from whatever jobs they held.  Many had husbands / wives / boyfriends / girlfriends in tow, all determined to create a memorable 'partay.'

Half a dozen Harleys lined up at the curb across the street.  Their riders were all decked out in leather and dew rags.  They looked tough.  They looked mean.  And because I recognized a couple of them, I knew they would go back to their jobs at the local grocery or accounting firm in the morning.

And then I saw him.  Strolling down the alley across the street, headed for the bar next door.  He wore starched Levis, a plaid western style shirt and what looked like brand spanking new cowboy boots.  I'm not sure he was quite used to walking in boots with heels, for he sort of listed a bit to the left every now and then.

But the hat.  That magnificent white cowboy hat.  The hat that had been worked and manipulated to create just the right effect.  The hat that sat at a rakish angle on his head.  The hat that was bigger than the one worn by Hoss Cartwright in 'Bonanza.'

Keep in mind that there are no working ranches within several hundred miles in any direction.  This is farm country with Holstein milk cows and fields of corn and soybeans.  We have horses, but they are either used as kiddie rides at the apple orchards locally or they are the subject of bets placed at the track on the other side of town.

And yet, there he was  Doing his best impression of a cowboy.  And all I could think of was...

All hat - no cattle.