Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Written With A Smile On my Face And Joy In My Heart

I started getting miserable with myself because I made a schedule last night and I might as well not have since I didn't stick to a bit of it. I was silently ranting at myself when I stopped to look out the open door at the chipmunk standing on the deck post chirping away. I told him to shut up which caused him to try flying when he obviously isn't capable. I thought at first that he'd hurt himself but he appears to be fine now, if the speed at which he ran away is any indication.

I didn't tell him to shut up to be mean. I was thinking about the location of the Precious Kitteh, killer of all things smaller than he is. Had Precious been any where around, Mr Chipmunk would have lost the ability to chirp loudly and incessantly. He would have been silenced and left on my deck as an offering the way every other such offering has been. Mice, moles, rats, voles and a squirrel have all found their final resting place on the wooden floor of my deck. Left there as breakfast for the humans who take care of him, I suppose. Unappreciated, by me anyway, payment for food and shelter. I'm quite sure he isn't paying for the vet trips and the shots to keep him free of the many ailments cats can catch.

I'd rather keep him in the house but am unable to until we can devise a way of allowing him freedom from the resident bully cat. I ignored his request to be let out for a bit the other day and was treated to the sounds of 2 cats having a set to with fur flying. Don't know who started it, but I have 2 alpha males and the only way to have peace is when Precious is sleeping. Precious comes in when he needs protecting from the elements, food, a soft place to sleep and cuddles. Outside he's a free spirit with a lust for adventure.

We had a little wind damage to the roof.last week. Husband sets up the ladder, climbs up to inspect and decide what he needed. Came down and into the house for something and when he went back out, Precious was on the roof. When my husband was done he decided he'd grab the kitty to bring him back down but he had to bring down the other things he took up there first. When he turned around to go back up, here came Precious down the ladder. Head first from rung to rung just like he did this every day of his life.

When I let him out I always tell him to behave himself and come home early. From what I can see, he always behaves himself according to his principles but he comes home when he's darn good and ready. Unless it's raining, or snowing or seriously hot or cold out there, he's in his element and I've learned to accept that there's not much I can do about that right now, and maybe not ever.

This reminds me I really, really need to clean the desk off and file the paperwork. There's not as much of it there today as there was when I took this picture. It would be easier to organize right now since there's less of it and Precious Kitteh is outside in the sun exploring his universe. At least he is until time for dinner. Mr Chipmunk lives to chirp another day and I'm blessed to have experienced a great day. Even if I didn't get much done.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Snipping Beans And Talking To My Cat

Lately all the drama online has made me want to dig a hole and climb into it. Between the shenanigans and idiots at my other blogsite and the politics of the day, I'm fed up and in some ways bored with it. It's gone on long before I drove onto the information superhighway and it will be still go on long after I'm nothing but ashes in a container somewhere. I'm trying not to be judgmental but can someone explain to me how, after 8 years of President Obama, people who love guns still have them despite their insistence that he's coming for their guns? All the facepalms, eye rolls and side eyes in the world won't begin to measure the depths of my disgust at the sheer unadulterated stupidity of that one. But that's none of my business.

I am so over sitting in front of my screen trying to find people of sense that I'm actually doing work like things to occupy myself. I actually have a half bushel of beans all snipped, blanched, packaged and in my freezer. One quarter, so far, of yellow wax beans and one quarter of the Italian Romano or Roma beans that I love. I have a half bushel of regular green beans on order and will be getting another round of the Roma and yellow wax to freeze. This bowl of yellow wax gave me 5 quarts of goodness and today's Roma beans another 5.

Once the middle of October rolls around I will have beans, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, carrots and any other root veggies that I can find at the farm markets in my freezer. I've already done the strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. I'm going to add peaches, plums, grapes and applesauce. Home made applesauce which given the price of apples is going to break the bank because I want lots of it.

The decision to do this is due to the listeria scare that happened toward the end of the past winter. If I can do all this, why am I wasting time buying food from a factory farm that is susceptible to food borne bacteria? By the time that recall was over, almost every prepackaged frozen vegetable in my freezer had to be disposed of.

I probably could get a better price if I bought by the bushel, the problem with that is my body wouldn't be able to lift it into my vehicle and out of it to be carried into the house, Then I'd have to work harder to get it put up than I do just buying half a bushel at a time.

I like yellow squash and zucchini but that gets watery in the freezer so I'm just using the yellow squash. Will add butternut and acorn squash as the weather cools. I read that if you pierce butternut squash and bake it in the oven, all you have to do is cut it, scoop out the seeds and then it can be frozen. Same with acorn and buttercup squash although those have real hard shells so you cut and scoop before baking. The yield from these was 3 quarts so I need to buy more this weekend.

With everything I'm doing during the day now, I'm not being aggravated by the people who are choosing to be right instead of kind. I'm moving, building strength, sleeping like a baby nights and waking up excited to see what I'll find at the market or the farmstand today.

During the hours I'm working my supervisor lays on the floor just out of the way of my feet to watch what I'm doing and to listen to me talk or sing to the music I'm listening to. When I take a break he climbs into my lap and gives me lots of purrs and cat hairs. So far none of the hairs have made it into the produce. He doesn't seem to care that I don't sing very well. Work seems to fascinate him. He can lie down right beside it and watch. And play with whatever falls on the floor.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Been There, Done That, Probably Have A Few Scars To Prove It

There are times that I'm not a nice person and this may be one of them. Every person handles life and it's many woes differently. I get that, I do, but, when all you do is whine about it, don't look to me for comfort after the first couple of times. I'm not going to encourage that because you aren't dealing with anything I haven't dealt with.

Two of my online friends have lost their beloved husbands this month due to cancer, Boo is handling things, including her beloved's family of vultures with a sense of grace in her loss. Yes, she asks the inevitable question from time to time as any one in that position does, . How do I live without him? The answer for any of us is different, of course. For me it was I don't know but I don't have a choice. Crybaby, on the other hand is not even trying to cope.

 Crybaby is financially secure. She has no medical bills since he had better insurance. When he became ill, Crybaby had to learn how to operate the riding lawn mower and the weed whacker and she had all kinds of help to take care of things. Boo had to deal with her beloved's family trying to take things away from her except, of course, the bills. Boo has that 20% of catastrophe to pay for.

Boo would periodically express her fears but she coped on her own to get through watching him die breath by breath. Crybaby couldn't do anything at all except post on Facebook that she wanted to die. Trust me, I understand that too, and because of the 20% of catastrophe that I had to pay, I almost did.

I was working 2 full time jobs to support myself and pay the bills, only, I didn't always have enough for food. I didn't tell anyone that, I just did what I could do and lost a large amount of weight in a very short time. I wound up living in one room with a refrigerator and hot plate. I had a sofa bed, a dresser and 2 end tables. The shower was in my room right outside the bathroom door. I caught a cold in April and by June I was so weak I couldn't walk without staggering. I was working 76 hours a week and fueling my body on water, coffee from the pot at work and 1 meal a day 4 days a week.

I know what cancer is. Dick had it in his lungs, prostate and his brain. Three years of doctors, hospitals and the knowledge that I was going to be a widow. I handled it. I lived as normal a life as I could being grateful for every day we had together. Even on the days when he had seizures and I had to stay away from his flailing arms. It wasn't him, it was the cancer and I wore the bruises it caused in silence. I was scared to death when he died. Didn't know what I was going to do without him.

Not once did I say I wanted to sleep and not wake up. Not once did I pick a fight with someone and then call someone else to cry and carry on as if I was suicidal. Not once did I complain about my lot in life. I handled situations where his buddies considered me to be a lonely merry widow. I cried when the one I never expected it from tried. I lost every single friend I thought I had because I was thin, decent looking and they didn't trust their husbands. They were right not to, but they should have trusted me.

It was hard, it toughened me and for a while I think it made me bitter. Lost that bitterness when I met my husband. This coming Wednesday we will have been married 25 years. Life hasn't always been easy for us, but we managed. We have what we need and I enjoy a sense of gratitude for that every day that I wake up with him beside me.

I will not ever be someone with patience for those who won't even try to cope with life as it is. The self centered woe is me kind of person that Crybaby is makes me want to be mean and tell her to grow the hell up. I won't because I'm not quite that uncaring. I'm just not speaking to her if I can avoid it and since I know she has enough support at her beck and call, I don't need to bother with her.

Depression is a real illness and I don't wish to take that away from those who suffer with it. If someone who suffers with it isn't taking advantage of all the opportunities to help themselves through medication, counseling or whatever a medical professional is prescribing, then I am not going to enable that pity party. Stop jerking people's chains with this "I want to die" crap and look at what you're doing to those who care about you. Just leave me out of it because I'm not liking what I'm seeing you do and I won't be a party to that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sorry, Not Sorry

I haven't posted here in a week and I don't feel the least bit guilty. I'm spending my time with the fictional characters found in books rather than the social media kind. I've had the first four volumes of George RR Martin's "Song Of Ice And Fire" for quite awhile now and didn't seem capable of tearing myself away from the internet to read them. I don't really know why I managed it this summer, but I'm not really caring about that.

In all honesty it probably has a great deal to do with the political mess this Presidential Election Cycle has become. I'm of the opinion that reading works of fiction is a far better use of my time than supporting the current political process would be. As long as we continue to throw all our efforts into picking one person to head the country and refuse to see that who sits in the White House won't change a thing, we will get what we deserve. The President can suggest, he can request, but it's Congress that has to approve the suggestion and create the law. As long as we keep electing the all or nothing at all Congressional Politicians because that's who we have become, then we will continue to get nothing at all. All or nothing occurs in dictatorships, choose wisely.

I am normally a purist when it comes to books and movies. I either read the book and refuse to watch the movie or I see the movie and won't read the book. I don't have HBO so I actually haven't watched a single full episode. I have watched the highlights on Youtube and have read the spoilers that occur every Monday following and episode. However, once beyond Book 1 "Game of Thrones", so much is changed that doing both would be a good idea.

During the time of watching just the highlights I was a big fan of House Stark. Reading the book taught me that despite their honor and integrity, they weren't very smart about the ways of the world. They stood and fell on that honor without the faintest clue that their failure to listen to the needs and opinions of others contributed to the end of their lives. Everything for them was clearly black or white with no allowances for extenuating circumstances. Their honor drove them to be right all the time with no room for kindness.

When Ned Stark lost his head and his daughters were left to suffer, Sansa at the hands of Queen Cersei and the wholly evil Joffrey and Arya at the mercy of every bad thing she encounters in her travels,  I was shocked and angry. Now, reading the book, I see why this had to happen and am looking forward to seeing who gets their just desserts and who actually wins at the game. I suspect it will be someone with their own somewhat slippery sense of honor and integrity but sometimes when the stakes are high, those gray areas need to exist. Even life has it's moments when gray areas need to be explored.

I hope to be moved into a home on my own property before the next season debuts on HBO. I will be able to switch from the more expensive satellite internet connection to Roadrunner since Time Warner is available there. We also will be giving up our Verizon landline since there is a different and much cheaper phone company that services the area. With so much in savings I will be able to enjoy HBO and will be able to see the last 2 seasons of episodes there. I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lifestyles Of The Couch Potato

Behold the species of fauna commonly known as Couch Potato, sub genre Husband and Cat. Quite easily studied, if one was inclined to study something this common. I don't recommend it since it's akin to watching paint dry or grass grow and is quite likely to put the observer to sleep. I find it a rather poignant occupation since I am aware that we are living on borrowed time. So much of our life behind us and so little remaining to enjoy. I shall not complain since I count us as among the lucky in life to have lasted this long. Blessings counted and unfortunately promptly forgotten or taken for granted.

If we ever find a mobile home that has axles and can be moved to our property, I have been thinking I might like to get a dog. I had pretty much decided that I would be out of my mind if I did, when Hubby said something at suppertime that surprised me. He said that people find him odd because he doesn't want to own a dog. He prefers cats. I found myself wondering where this person came from because for 29 years I thought he preferred dogs.

The cat I had when we met was not pleased with him when he came to visit because he would bring his dog Buck with him. When he moved in with me his brother took Buck because my landlord didn't allow dogs. When we found someplace that allowed us to have a dog, his brother and sister-in-law were so attached to Buck that we didn't have the heart to take him away from them. Buck lived happily where he had land to roam and people there with him all the time. In our home work would have forced him to stay alone all day.

For all the years Buck was alive we visited with them weekly and once Buck was gone so were our visits. I've always thought he regretted not keeping Buck and today I found out he prefers cats. He just didn't want to appear to be abandoning Buck since the dog belonged to him in the beginning.

I can understand at the age we are now not wanting to disturb our Couch Potato status to spend the time walking the dog, picking up poop in all kinds of weather. Snow, sleet or freezing rain can't prevent a dog from having to do it's duty. Cats have litter boxes, dogs have yards, roadsides and sometimes other people's front lawns. Litter boxes are easier.

On the one hand, I'd get more exercise if I had to walk a dog. On the other hand I'd have to walk a dog in the snow, sleet and freezing rain. This doesn't appeal to me for some strange reason. I'm not overly enthusiastic about being outside in the heat either so there's that too. Besides, my cats would object. They don't even like each other, but they sure do like my Husband.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Letting Go And Moving On

I had myself convinced for far too many years that my husband's children thought of me as part of their family. I found out in a very painful manner that they don't when my uncle died. They didn't say a word. None of them asked me if I was all right, they didn't offer me an "I'm sorry for your loss". I posted his obituary on my Facebook page and people who have never met me reacted to it with the sad emoji or said they were sorry in a comment. From my husband's family there was absolutely zero acknowledgement for my loss.

My husband and both of his sons are self employed. While the sons have their own business certificates and company names, their business comes to them from the business phone number and advertising paid for by my husband. When I retired, that phone became my responsibility. I'm the one that answers it, takes the messages and forwards them to the proper person or I set up the appointments and portable restroom rentals and forward that information. I receive no pay for this. I benefit from my husband's income, however, the bulk of the calls I take are not his. I saw this as helping people I care about and willingly put up with the aggravation of not being able to go anywhere.

For 16 months of my retirement I left the house to go grocery shopping, to the doctors office or to the hairdressers. For 16 months I carried a phone into the bathroom so I wouldn't miss a call. I have gotten out of a shower covered in soap and dripped all over the bathroom floor more times than I can count so that nobody missed an opportunity to make money. For 16 months I saw my 93 year old uncle maybe 3 or 4 times.

He was 93. He needed help that I am qualified to give. There is so much we could have shared had I not been so sure I was doing the right thing for people who mattered to me and who I thought I mattered to. I essentially gave up being there for my family to be there for someone else's family and I can't make that up to my Uncle because he's gone.

I did a Facebook post about how I felt. I said in it that I taught them to treat me as if I had no value to them. I got told that I had no right to criticize my husband's children or their spouses. They had lives outside of Facebook. They don't seem to grasp that the lives they have outside of Facebook are made possible by the life I lost answering their business calls. I actually got told by one of them that she lost her Mom and Dad 5 years apart and she didn't attack anyone. Odd how she doesn't remember I was there offering her a shoulder to cry on if she needed it. Something none of them offered to me.

None of them cared enough about me to offer condolences and as far as they're concerned I had no right to expect any. There is absolutely nothing I can do about this except move on. The problem is finding a way to move on without damaging my relationship with my husband. I refuse to place him in the position of having to choose sides or to deal with a major blow up.

I'm still stuck answering the phone and taking their messages although sometimes I just give out the cell phone number belonging to the person the call is for. Today I'm purchasing a new phone system so I can let an answering machine relieve me of the need to go to the bathroom with the phone in hand. I have missed a couple of calls for one of the sons who found out about it when they ran into him. He was quick enough to call me to complain. I didn't even say I was sorry. I just said that I went to the bathroom, shit happens. I handed the phone to his father and walked away.

I have never asked them for anything and a part of me wishes I had. I would have been forced to acknowledge the situation instead of continuing to fool myself. Truthfully, the evidence was there, I just chose not to see it because it occurred in situations that weren't so painful for me. I can't say I forgive you for what you did to me because they didn't do it to me. They just did what they always do. They were who they always have been. It was me who placed trust in them to care enough to pick me up when I was down. It won't happen again.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Some People Need To Be Loved From A Distance

This past Monday I ran into a former co-worker while I was out and about. She's a nurse who has done the same case on the graveyard shift for 18 years. The case was the result of a Dad who shook his baby badly enough to cause serious brain damage. This nurse has dedicated herself to this child, now an adult child, to the point where she really wasn't there for her family. She allowed her need to care for a baby to come ahead of the need her teen children had to have a connected Mom in their lives.

She was there for the drama, but in between the bad stuff she didn't share with them the things they were interested in. She was too tired to attend school functions since she needed to sleep to go to work. When she did attend, her conversations were all about the condition of the abused baby. You never heard a single thing about the triumphs of her own children, just the bad things. Like when her daughter got into drugs and they affected her mental status. Then there was the attempted suicide of her son. Her husband getting caught cheating on her, his heart attack, etc.

All the times we talked I would tell her she needed to take care of herself and her family first. The only time I ever earned a trip to the bosses office for a session was because I told her that company policy was family comes first. It wasn't anything other than an offhand statement to her apology for letting the client's family down when her daughter was in the emergency room, but she lodged a formal complaint against me for saying it. I chalked it up to her own guilty conscience and didn't make a fuss because the conversation didn't go on my record. Now I can say what I want and she can't do anything about it. I told her she needed to learn to take care of herself.

I was shocked when I saw her condition. She moves like a woman 20 years older than she is. Her litany of health issues include fibromyalgia, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis of the knees and a possible detached retina. She drove to work last Sunday night unable to see out of one eye. Reaping what she sowed is an issue with her. She is unhappy with...well...everything.

Her oldest child will help her out but the other 2 can't find the time. I'm standing there looking at a woman who is 8 years younger than I am whose skin is gray, she's obviously exhausted, she can't stand up straight so she's leaning her full weight on a shopping cart. She told me that she was going out on disability at the end of the month unless the doctor took her out after the appointment she had for 2 pm that day. I hope he did, but I don't know because I've gotten a grip on myself and am taking care of me.

I very badly wanted to give her my number and tell her to call if she needed anything. I didn't do it because I could see the big black hole of need that I would be sucked into and that black hole is toxic. Her decision to accept her disability and give up her patient showed her how little loyalty that patient's family had to her. She now has to face the reality of what she did by prioritizing that patient over the needs of her family and it's not pretty nor does she like it. She oozes negativity and I fail to believe that situation will change.

I am hoping that she finds peace in life. She'll feel better when she does. I know I feel less pain when I'm content with myself and my choices. Even when they are somewhat selfish. Sometimes it's necessary to be selfish and put ourselves first. In life people come and people go, the only constant then is me. I'm learning to be here for myself because nobody else can be here all the time except me.