Bella Rum


H put the flower beds to bed this week. He pulled up all the zinnias and stuffed them in Lilou’s bucket that usually keeps her bathtub toys. I thought they were perfect.

Life has been uneventful here on the horse farm. The days are getting shorter and the nights and mornings cooler, probably just like where you are. We close the blinds before 6:30 and turn on a couple of lamps with low-wattage lightbulbs. It always feels so comfortable in here.

The heat goes on at night. H called someone to look at the gas fireplace. We thought it might be nice to have use of it on these cool mornings. As is always true with our appliances and such, there was a faulty part. As always, the repairman did not have the part on the truck. So we wait. No problem. It isn’t necessary. Only a pleasant thing. 

I’m sixty-six years old. My mother died when I was twenty-three and I still think about her. I think about her more lately. I’m not sure why. I’ve long outlived her age. I was barely a woman when she died, and still I think about her. This tells me how much impact mothers have on their children – maybe even more on those who lose their mothers before they have a chance to know them well into adulthood. I didn’t have the time to work through my grief prior to her death like I did with Dad. She was there one day and gone the next. When you see someone slowly lose themselves, you are more ready when it ends. At least that was true for me. I suppose these things are different for each of us. 

I’m still eating healthfully. So is H. I’ve lost eighteen pounds, and I’m walking at least twenty minutes a day. I feel better. My doctor was thrilled. Okay. She was not thrilled. She was happy and congratulatory.  I’m thrilled.

I’m watching carbs but I’m not on the very low-carb diet that allows no more than 20 carbs a day or even 50. I think that’s too strict for me. I haven’t had a real dessert since I started and only two slices of bread and no pasta, but I would have them occasionally if I felt the draw. I still have a small potato now and then. I’ve fallen in love with fruit. It’s my dessert. I’m really into fruit salad. I make it with a couple of strawberries, for or five blue berries, one half of a kiwi fruit and walnuts. It is to die for. Ha! Fruit is so much sweeter when yo don’t eat rich desserts.

Livin’ Life

We drove over to Sam’s yesterday for salmon, paper towels and H’s protein powder. It was a gorgeous fall day, one of those glad-to-be-alive kind of days. We turned off the AC, opened the sunroof and relished a rare day.

When we finished our limited shopping, H got in line. When he was almost ready to check out, I headed for the car. We had parked a good distance from the store because I wanted to add a little bit of a walk to my earlier walk around the house. It felt good, and I started to step it up a little. When H came out of the door, he saw me. He said it made him feel so good, that he hadn’t seen me walk like that in a few years. I’d say it’s a miracle. It feels like that, but I guess it’s an everyday occurrence now. Dr. Heartthrob is probably making someone’s life better at this very moment.

We went to lunch after our Sam’s shopping. I made the best selections that I could for this diet. I think I did pretty well, and we had salmon for dinner. We’ll see. It’s always a mystery until I get on the scale. My head’s in the right place so everything feels possible, and I can exercise now. That should be helpful. I want to get in the best shape possible.

H power washed the patio and steps this week. Boy, was that an improvement. Mold seems to get a foothold back there. The perennial bed is limping along. It’s time to put it to bed. Zinnias are blooming all over the place. I guess I’ll cut them and bring them inside. The nip is in the air, the flower beds are fading and the sun sets earlier every evening. It’s time to accept the inevitable.

I talked to my D-I-L the other day, and she told me that my ten-year-old granddaughter made a new friend at her new school. She’s Latina. Some boys were taunting her, and my granddaughter stood up for her. She is the tiniest little thing, but heavens to Betsy, she has a backbone, and what good is it to have a backbone if you don’t take it out for a spin once in a while. I guess. Still. In the back of my mind, I worry that the boys will now pick on her. I guess my backbone isn’t as stiff as hers. I hope there will be no updates on this subject.

So What’s New

image1Our Farmer’s Market

I’m awake in the middle of the night. So what’s knew? The ablation didn’t fix that. But what did it fix? I’m afraid to say or whisper or even write it, but I think I feel better. I can take a shower without having to lie down to catch my breath. I can even blow-dry my hair and get dressed.

I cannot wait until he removes some of my meds. I think that will help, too.

And my esophagus is feeling better.

image1-3There’s a big square that runs around the inside of my house. A hallway leads to the kitchen and the kitchen is connected to the breakfast nook and then to the family room and the family room leads back to the hallway (and the shin bone connected to the knee bone). I use the stove timer to time myself while walking around it. I walked for 15 minutes yesterday.

I will progress.

When we first moved in last year, I know I mentioned the advantages of living in a one-story house, but did I ever mention how much I like living in a smaller house? My theory is that insomniacs should live in small, cozy houses. You wake when the house is dark, sometimes cold, and the rest of the world is asleep. A small house cozies right up to you. I can stand in the middle of my house and see from one end to the other. I’m not a huge scaredy-cat, but I was creeped out a few times in our other house, (sounds that go bump…) always hearing something on the floor that I wasn’t on. I feel cocooned away in this house, like the evil people can’t find me even if they want to. It may be an illusion, but it’s one I like.

Today was a beautiful, sunny day with a nip in the air. We went to our farmer’s market. I didn’t have my camera with me so I used my phone. It’s so pretty with all the Chrysanthemums and pumpkins and gourds. Oh, my!

After Ablation

red-heart-4Everything went well, and it’s behind me. I’m experiencing some irritation with my esophagus, because the esophagus runs behind and close to the heart. Dr. Heartthrob used the freezing method to destroy the offending areas on my heart, and in the process of this application, the esophagus can be injured. It’s common, and not a longterm concern. I’m taking Carafate, a bubblegum-colored liquid, to help in the healing process.  It’s a mere $171 that the insurance company refuses to pay. Thankfully, H’s former company will reimburse us.

When he was testing his repairs to make sure the heart would not go back into A-Fib, he found a previously unknown problem in another area and repaired it. No wonder I was feeling so punky all the time. I’m ready to get my zest back.

I’ll see him in his office in a couple of weeks. He may take away some of my meds. That would be nice.

I foresee a trip to Charlottesville for a little wandering around, stopping for apples at the orchards on the way, and lunch under shade trees in the midst of shops and restaurants. A fun day. I’ve missed our day trips.

When we went to bed last night, H realized he’d forgotten to take his meds since Thursday night. He completely forgot! That is what happens sometimes when you’re busy caregiving, you forget to care for yourself. Yesterday, he dozed off while a couple of friends were here. He crashed right there on the couch when they left. It was the best thing for him. He is such a caring man.

Well, I think I came through this pretty well, and I am grateful for that. We’ll take this baby out for a test-drive soon.


I’m happy to be home, and the ablation went well. I’m pretty tired and will try to write a proper post soon.


Getting my Ellen Burstyn on

ellen-burstynCan you believe I forgot to make an appointment to get my hair cut before the ablation tomorrow? It was looking all wild and witchy. I called Brooke yesterday, and she had an opening this morning at 10:30. So all is well. I will not wake looking like an old crone, but instead like a squirrel pulled backwards through the shrubbery, which is what my hair looks like the first few mornings after a fresh cut. I’ve let the color grow out of my hair, and now that Brooke cut the last remaining bits off , I’m gray (sort of beige really) around the front and still have some red in the back. I’m looking rather Ellen Burstyn-ish. Don’t I only wish. That photo makes me think about growing it a little longer. My D-I-L and Brooke are always suggesting that I let it grow. I’m pretty sue it would take a lot more than good hair for me to look like Ellen. She is lovely. I could dress like her, though. It wouldn’t be all that hard.

Our days have recently turned cooler. We can feel the nip in the air in the morning and as the sun goes down. I was washing the front windows in the office as the cul-de-sac kids were going to the bus stop this morning. In a surprised tone, one teenage girl said, “Oh, it’s so cold.” I had to laugh. That tiny, little skirt was  not made for warmth.

We’ve been sitting out back again with coffee or tea and an afghan for me. The leaves have already fallen off the locust tree, but the poplars and maples are just beginning to get their colors. The pasture has turned from its lush green of summer to its autumn-golden shade, and will soon be its winter-nutmeg brown. I love this time of year.

My impatience plants have decided to take one deep breath, and show off as much as possible before their last gasp. They are beautiful, a profusion of pink. I’ve decided to ask H to blow leaves over them, and let them sleep through the winter to see how many will volunteer next spring. I had impatience that volunteered when I lived in MD, and they were a massive ocean of blooms all summer.

Tomorrow is the day, and I will post something as soon as possible. It should all be over by this time tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll get to eat supper. You guys are the best buds – always supportive and informative.

“K” is for Kourage

threekingsWe Three Kings – by artist James C. Christensen

We voted yesterday. We were the only two there. It took only a couple of minutes. It would be hard for me to wait in line now. I’m hoping that by election day I’ll be better than today, but I didn’t want to take a chance.

Just before the ablation on Thursday, I’m having (submitting to) a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). They insert a probe with a transducer (microphone) down the esophagus. The whole procedure will take about forty-five minutes. 

I’m a little nervous about the TEE even though the ablation is more invasive. I think the thought of the TEE bothers me because I have to do my part… sort of. They will medicate me, and I’m happy in all sorts of ways about that. I have no participation in the ablation, the success does not depend on my skills or abilities… like swallowing a microphone and a flexible tube. I guess you could say I suffer from performance anxiety.

It reminds me of my first grade Christmas play. My mother helped me practice my line. I had it down cold, but each time I said it, I’d stop part way through, go back to the beginning, and say the whole thing again. It went something like this. “K is for three Kings who… pause… K is for three Kings who came from afar – to welcome the stranger – and were led by a star.” I know, but it rhymes. Okay?

The big night finally arrived. 

Behind the curtain, Mrs. Keifer herded us into a straight line across the stage. She gave each of us a large piece of poster board with a letter on it.  All of the letters of the alphabet were represented. Dressed in our finest, we stood there, each of us holding our own letter, each of us knowing a line that matched our letter. We could hear the low hum of voices beyond the heavy curtains, and then it was showtime. The curtains opened to friends and families. The child holding ‘A’ stepped forward and said his line and stepped back in line. B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J and finally K. I stepped forward and started my very practiced line. “K is for three Kings who …pause… K is for three Kings who came from afar – to welcome the stranger – and were led by a star.”

I choked. Too much pressure. 

I remember being concerned that I’d probably embarrassed my mother, but when we found each other after the show, she seemed no different than usual. I don’t recall any big declaration about how bright and shiny I was. Parents didn’t do that so much back then, but she was pleased with my performance. I could tell. After all that practice, she didn’t care that I hadn’t gotten it just right. It was fine, I was fine, this was fun, but let’s go home and get out of our finery.

K is for Kourage.

Matters of the Heart

fanciful-heartI had a CT Angiography (electrophysiology mapping) yesterday. They map the heart in 3D. I felt pretty lousy most of the day. I had to take two beta blockers: one on Wednesday night and the other one yesterday morning. As you can imagine, my heart rate was very low. Not to worry, this will be over soon, and before I know it, I’ll be back to mindlessly watching Trump double down on calling a woman Piggy and Miss Housekeeping. Welcome to the new normal for American politics.

The nurse who put the IV line in my arm was a novice. Her hands trembled. Fortunately, I’m indifferent toward needles. Suddenly, blood started running everywhere. She was very apologetic.  If he’d been there instead of the waiting room, H would have been  agitated by it all. He cannot stand it when they use me for practice. That seems to happen a little more often than you would think, but they have to practice on someone. My D-I-L tells me to ask for someone else on the third try. I do that now.

The scan went smoothly, and everyone was very nice. 

They made me drink a beverage and eat a snack before they let me go home. By that time it was about 11:00 AM. I hadn’t had anything to eat since the day before. They offered apple juice, orange juice or Diet Coke. I chose the Diet Coke because of the zero-carb count. When I finished the CT scan, the Coke and a basketfull of all sorts of carb-laden snacks (I had no choice :o) were on a table beside one of those big, leather chairs. She told me to sit, and I chose some sort of slightly sweet cracker/cookie that was tasty. I did find one bag of peanuts that I stuffed in my pocket for H. It’s not technically theft if you tell the nurse. I knew he was starving, too.

Yesterday, I called one of my niece’s who lives in Texas. I’m a little ashamed that we lost contact after my sister died nine years ago, or at least very loose contact. She was so happy to hear from me. I’m finding that some of my most fulfilling relationships now are with my nieces. Nieces and nephews have warm memories of your presence in their childhoods, they know intimately all the people you know, and they are tons of fun. I highly recommend them. I had to leave a message the first time I called. A warm feeling washed over me when I heard her voicemail greeting. I left a message, and when we finally caught up with one another, she said the same thing about hearing my voice. I cannot understand why I allowed this relationship to wane. That will not happen again. The only downer is that she lives so far away, but she’s coming for a visit after Christmas. Fun will ensue.

Middle of the Night Blog Buddies

It’s the wee hours of the morning. I woke from an awful dream, kicking and screaming and finally pulling myself awake. I was a nurse and trying to get information from an elderly patient before his procedure. His son attacked me, and when I started kicking and screaming, my feet went right through him. He was not human. I woke while kicking the covers sky-high. I think it’s easy to figure out where this came from. I’m beginning to think about the ablation. It isn’t too far away now.

I started looking around for a distraction, something soothing and easy. I looked at my blog roll that I never look at anymore. It hasn’t been updated in ages because I follow my favorite blogs through my reader now. I noticed a blog that I used to visit regularly, The Writing Life, written by Oh. Some of you know her. It was like finding an old friend after a long separation. In January 2013, she suddenly disappeared from blogging, and I later learned that she died. It was so unexpected and seemingly sudden because, as far as I knew, she didn’t tell anyone. She certainly didn’t blog about it. That’s the thing about blogging after a while. You get to know people, to look forward to their perspective, and suddenly they are gone. Just like life. Sometimes you learn why and sometimes you don’t, but sometimes their blogs remain, and you can find them on a lonely night and feel the warmth of their glow again.

Then I jumped over to Marmelade Gypsy, written by Jeanie. That blog is like walking through a small, charming town on a summer day (without humidity). You cannot help but be cheered by its brightness. Jeanie travels, and she takes you along with her. She’s an artist, and she lets you peek inside the process. There’s nothing but fun over there, and it’s perfect for chasing away mean dreams and clearing away the cobwebs.

So that’s what I did tonight. Now I’m going to try to go back to bed and a dreamless sleep.

Preparing for Cooler Weather and Subtle Pleasures

When H opened the blinds this morning, I heard him say, “Fall is officially here.” Fall is here? What? What’s that? “Yep, fog is on the pasture.” And so it was, land-hugging, dusty-white billows of moist softness obscured the pasture. No matter the weather or time of year, our view never fails to please me. I feel so lucky.

When the fog lifted, I went outside to blow the patio. I can handle that blower for a few minutes, and that’s all it takes to clear our small patio of leaves and debris. Pieces of straw from making the straw man were still scattered about, and leaves galore from the wind and rain we had earlier in the week. What a mess. The backyard is wearing its usual unkempt, autumn face, too. Things are looking worse for wear. They are ready to be put to bed, but H and I are not ready yet. I beg of them a few more days, another week… or so, please stay just a while longer. Then you can rest.

H will spread the non-toxic Snake-Be-Gone soon. It worked very well during the spring and summer after our spate of snake spottings in the backyard and on the back steps. He doesn’t want them coming in the yard when it’s time for brumation. Last spring, he also found some miraculous (probably toxic) spray for the centipedes in the bathroom. It works for at least 30 days. I don’t smell it so maybe it isn’t so horrible.  We haven’t seen a single one all summer long.

I ordered several puzzles this morning – free shipping. When colder weather arrives, we really enjoy our puzzling. I hope my grandchildren will enjoy low-tech entertainment some day, but I guess it took me a while to appreciate more subtle pleasures, too, like morning fog on a pasture. I think the little one may be our only puzzler. She puts them together with H, and she warns her older siblings to be careful around her when she’s working on them. She doesn’t want her accomplishment sent asunder by horsing around. She’s the smallest one, but she doesn’t let the older ones run over her.

H gets the grandson out in the garage or blowing off the patio, etc. He always feels a sense of accomplishment when he finishes. Kids need that feeling you get when you start and finish something on you own or with a little guidance. I think that boys especially bond during an activity. They don’t want to sit and talk and make eye contact and bare their souls. They want to “do.” And if you’re careful, you will see their soul in the doing.