Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Myrtle, Carb Bloat and Implant Boy


That’s our Myrtle in the front yard. It’s in its second bloom this summer. In January – when it isn’t in bloom – I hold forth on how and why we should prune it back: it was planted too close to the maple, just a few snips her and there. Then summer comes again, it blooms, the heart goes pitter-patter, and commitment wanes.

The Bloat

I’m not complaining or explaining, but I’m bloated with carbs. I admit that pretty much covers complaining and explaining. It is H’s fault, and I will not be moved from that declaration. He had to eat soft foods because of the implant, so that automatically meant that I had to eat soft foods. What is soft food? Pasta. Pasta is soft food. And so is a creamy broccoli-cheddar soup with a roux so smooth it slides down like liquid silk, not to mention that pulled pork tangent we went on. We are out of control in this house. I used to laugh at people who told me they felt bloated when they ate carbs. This week will not include: pasta, lazing on the couch with a book and a hubs that must stay still… or getting on a SCALE. No one wants me to shoot myself. Maybe a few people, but they don’t count.

Painkiller Recipe

H did beautifully with this implant business. He’s done it so many times, he’s a cottage industry all on his own. He breezes through these things like he was born to do it. I would still be making an ugly scene: fetal position, clenching pillow, low mournful moaning, occasionally high pitched. Why bother with these things if you can’t get some sympathy?  The dentist told him to try Ibuprofen and Tylenol. He said that Tylenol is wimpy, but when taken (short-term) in between doses of Ibuprofen, it makes a darn good painkiller. H did that for the first and second day and never felt a thing. The dentist gave him a script for hydrocodone “just in case,” but he never needed it. The boy aces this stuff.

This is what happens when we get old. We’re reduced to bragging about our recuperations. He gets bragging rights in this house.




Slow Cooker Pork Roast and Barbecue Sauce

This is the slow-cooker pork roast recipe I mentioned a couple of posts back. You can check out the blog where I found it:  “Add a Pinch.” It was delicious, but my roast was much bigger than the one Robyn used. Her recipe calls for a 3 to 5 pound roast. I used a Boston Butt that was 7.7 pounds. It weighed over two pounds more than my son at birth. I must have cooked it at least 12 hours. Then I let it rest on warm for a couple of hours. It shredded beautifully and was one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. Also, I used Emeril’s Rib Rub instead of making my own. We like it. Next time, I will make this the night before or use a smaller roast. It’s just the two of us, but sometimes I cook like there’s a starving army waiting on the patio.

Pork Roast Recipe

Serves: 8
  • Pork Shoulder Blade Roast or Picnic (3-5 pounds)
  • 8-10 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-5 tablespoons your favorite dry rub, (+more if desired) (I used Emeril’s Rib Rub)

1. Place meat in the slow cooker. Add dashes of Worcestershire sauce to the top of the meat until it is well covered. Then sprinkle heavily with dry rub. Cook on low setting of slow cooker for 8-10 hours. Leave meat in the slow cooker on the “warm” setting for about 4 more hours or until the meat easily will pull with two forks.
2. Internal temperature of pork roast should be between 190º F and 205º F.
3. Remove from slow cooker and allow to rest about 5-10 minutes. Then, slice or pull for serving, basting with pan juices from slow cooker.
4. Serve warm.
5. Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

This is my barbecue sauce. I adapted it from several recipes. We use it with pork and chicken. I didn’t turn the ketchup right side up. 🙂
Bella’s Barbecue Sauce

1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup Grey Poupon Mustard Harvest Coarse Ground/grainy-type
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon molasses
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cider vinegar

Add all ingredients except vinegar to a sauce pan. Add vinegar as you mix all ingredients together. Bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for ten to fifteen minutes or until the sugar dissolves and mixture thickens to desired consistency. Remove from heat and allow to sit for awhile.


H Gets Another Implant

H got another dental implant this morning. I’ve lost count of how many this makes. The appointment was at 7:30 a.m. We were home by 9:15, and that included a stop at the grocery store for soft, fatty foods for him. I was stocked with soft foods, but I thought of broccoli-cheddar soup, and a baked potato with butter and cheese and maybe sour cream (the doc said fatty).

He slept in the car while I went in the store. I was only in there a few minutes, but I thought about how you’re not supposed to leave your pets or children in the car on hot days. What about a drugged-out-of-his-gourd husband? When I returned, he was sleeping like a baby, but not unconscious, panting or sweating profusely. The police were not called, and I didn’t go to jail. All in all, things worked out well.

This implant is the third thing he’s scheduled in a month. Remember the two MOHS surgeries? The first MOHS surgery hadn’t even healed before he got the second one. I had no idea he was scheduling like this until we were in the midst of it all. It’s kind of like a roller coaster. Once you’re on the ride, there’s no getting off. He said he wanted to get it all over with. He promised me that this was the end of any appointments that involve cutting, stitching, extracting or implanting. Of course, he was under the influence of drugs when he said that.

I texted my son a photo of his dad with a plastic zip bag filled with crushed ice that was shoved inside a lady’s stocking and tied around his head.

Son: Expletive!!! (one that mother’s don’t allow)

Son: At least the black eye is mostly gone

Me: I know. He’s sleeping… probably for the rest of the afternoon. He made all these appointments a week or two apart. I didn’t know until they started.

Son: LOL Yeah, sounds like him. An efficient sadist he is. Or is it masochist? He enjoys efficiently hurting himself.

Me: Masochists like to inflict pain on themselves or for others to do it. Sadists like to inflict pain on others. Dad’s a masochist. I’m a sadist.

Son: Now I will NEVER forget.

Me: I will be sharing this text.

Son: 🙂

Why fatty foods? The doctor said that fatty foods release endorphins that make us feel good, and it will probably help him with the pain. Or maybe make him feel good about the pain?? I don’t remember them telling me that on any of the half-dozen other implants he’s gotten, but I realized immediately the truth in that. Who doesn’t know that mashed potatoes and gravy make you feel good, and  ice cream and chocolate pudding.

Fat + Sugar = HAPPINESS.

He has enough implants in his mouth to buy a new car, but they are great, better than real teeth. I comfort myself with that when I look at the bill. The dentist said he needs a night guard. He said, “I told him that before, but he didn’t tell you, did he?” Nope. He said, “He won’t remember any of this. Tell him he promised you a new car.” The new car is in his mouth, Doc.

Food: Boston Butt Pork Roast and Carbs

I bought a Boston butt pork roast today. I’m going to cook it in the slow cooker tomorrow. Have you ever made one in a slow cooker? It’s pretty simple. I haven’t made one since we were taking care of Dad. He loved barbecue sandwiches, so I shredded it, mixed it with my barbecue sauce, and served it on buns. It took years to figure out a good recipe for barbecue sauce. I can’t tell you how many mediocre recipes I used before I kind of made my own by combining ingredients from a couple of recipes. This one is a keeper. I’ll let you know if the pork butt turns out well, and I’ll give the recipe if it does, and the sauce, too, if I haven’t already. I know I shared one, but I don’t know if it’s “the” one.

watermelon rinds

Let’s talk carbs. I’ve been lax this week, and I’ve paid for it on the scales. I think my willpower just tuckered out. It isn’t as if I’ve been eating chocolate cake with chocolate icing, but the tomatoes are in and ohmygod, they are made for eating, and the watermelons (love watermelons) and Bing cherries. I’ve had an enduring lust for Bing cherries for as long as I can remember. My son (now 43) has a deep dimple on his butt (I’m sure he’ll be thrilled that I shared that). I always told him was the cherry I craved the whole time I was pregnant. I used to wait for the price to go down before I would buy them. After years of H nudging me to buy them at whatever price, I finally buy them more often. They were only 99¢ a pound last week. I got a couple of pounds. Livin’ large.

I think I’ve talked enough politics recently, but it’s worth mentioning about Bing cherries that the cultivar was created as a crossbred graft from the Black Republican cherry in 1875. I’m very bipartisan when it comes to my cherries.:)

Wish me luck on my butt roast.


The Fall, Scarborough, Kushner

Petunias Go Before A Fall

I put some pots of flowers on the front steps this year. The front of the house has a southern exposure (you can tell by the over exposed photo below), so I have to water them every day. There’s a railing on both sides. When going up and down the steps, I keep my hand on the one not visible in the photo. There are no obstacles.

Photo taken a while ago, before they all started blooming.

Earlier this week, H came out while I was watering. When I turned to come back up the steps, he took my hand. I got to the top step, and we dropped hands. He started for the curb to get the garbage can and recycle bin. I started into the house. I thought I was on the landing, but I was still on the top step. Should’a looked down. I took a nose dive onto the landing. It felt as hard as brick… um… that would be because it is brick… all brick. I only abraded the pads of my hands, bruised my left elbow and scraped both knees. Brick is very unforgiving, but I escaped practically unscathed. It was not lost on me that I’m always worried about H falling off a ladder. It appears that I should worry ’bout myself.

Trump Makes Strange Bedfellows 

Joe Scarborough, co-host of Morning Joe, served in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 as a Republican. Tuesday night, on Stephen Colbert, he announced that he’s changing his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. So he’s in the same club as Bernie Sanders now. I can’t put my finger on it, but I know there’s a joke here.

Short-Term Memory Loss

It’s hard to imagine that a 36-year-old man forgets a meeting with an attractive Russian-based lawyer, which happens to take place only a few weeks before he is required to disclose said meeting on a government disclosure form that explains at the top of the page that less than full disclosure is a felony, punishable up to five years. (I wonder what the punishment is for a run-on sentence)

Now, if he was older, I could sympathize with Kushner. I’m sure I’d give some vague answers if I had to list several people I met at a Pampered Chef party two weeks ago: there was the one with the great pixie cut, the tall girl with the cute shoes, the woman with one green eye and one blue (I worked with that woman at Aetna). These days, I would probably remember two out of three, maybe three out of four on a super, good day. But if I was 36, and if I knew that failing to disclose a meeting was a felony, I think I could conjure up a meeting I had a few weeks prior, or, here’s a thought, get the information from my brother-in-law. Hey, Jr., shoot me an email with the name of that hot Russian lawyer, would ja?

Kushner has now added over 100 foreign contacts to his disclosure list. I’ll have some of what he’s taking for memory enhancement.

I just realized I still remember seven out of ten of the items on my short-term memory test that I took over six years ago when applying for long-term care insurance: glass, mother, paper, captain, silver, rope, orange. There should be a trophy for that.

Weather Report

Hot as Hell


Black Eye, Weird Phone Calls, Amelia

H received a big old black eye as a gift from his MOHS surgery. It’s still black but getting better. When he was working on a flowerbed in the backyard yesterday, he tied a bandana on his head to prevent sweat from rolling into his eyes. He looked positively piratical. He didn’t even need an eyepatch. A hoop earring would have been a nice touch, though. Now his entire cheek is a blackish-burgundy color where the blood dropped from his eye. It always does that when he gets a black eye.

A couple of hours ago, a man called our landline, and asked if someone from this number had called him. H told him no, but he was persistent. This is the second time this month we’ve received a similar phone call. I believe the last one was a different man. Weird.

I watched the Amelia Earhart documentary that aired on the History Channel Sunday night. I was a little disappointed. I felt like they were trying too hard to convince me. That’s probably how most shows are produced these days, a mixture of entertainment and facts. I have to say that I was impressed with a couple of things: the convincing credibility of an elderly Japanese woman who believed, when she was a young girl, she saw Amelia in prison. I was also impressed with the facial-recognition software they used to identify Fred Noonan in the photograph. Cool stuff. However, a few days ago, I read an article or two, and another one in the New York Times yesterday, that bring the timeline of the photo into question. A history blogger claims to have found the same photo in Japan’s National Diet Library. He also claims that it was published two years before Earhart went missing, but the photo has not been authenticated yet.

The History channel said its investigators are “exploring the latest developments about Amelia Earhart and we will be transparent in our findings. Ultimately, historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers.” 

So the claims about Amelia’s story continue. Maybe the never-ending interest in finding the truth is a tribute of sorts. Eighty years later, she is still remembered, and people are still looking for answers. No matter how many versions of her story are told, one thing will never change; she was a great pioneer in aviation history and possessed a fearless spirit.

I received an email for my 50th high school reunion on Monday. Holy Cow!


A documentary, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” airs on the History channel at 9 p.m. tonight. It promises to present new and compelling evidence about the unsolved fate of pioneer female aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. Earhart, her navigator, and her plane famously disappeared on the final leg of an around-the-world flight in 1937, never to be heard from again.

I was fascinated with Amelia Earhart and her disappearance when I was a kid. As you can imagine, crazy theories abounded. The big question: Did she survive the crash? She was my first experience with conspiracy theories that spring up like weeds after the unexpected or mysterious loss of a beloved (or despised) public figure. JFK would come later.

The boys at school seemed more obsessed with rumors of Adolph Hitler faking his suicide and escaping to a safe, prepared and undisclosed location, but it was Amelia who captured my imagination. Instead of subscribing to the most widely accepted account of her plane crash-landing in the Pacific Ocean, I preferred to believe she was living happily on a deserted island, wearing her cut-off aviator pants, eating local fruit and drifting to sleep in a hammock. It was easier than accepting the more obvious theory that this unbelievably courageous daredevil came to an abrupt and unheralded end, and was now sleeping in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. No! She dwelled in a self-constructed hut, and picked bananas every morning for breakfast. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The documentary focuses on a “black-and-white photograph found by former Treasury agent Les Kinney in declassified National Archive records in 2012.” It is believed to have been taken by a British, Australian or U.S. spy. What appears to be a woman wearing the style pants Earhart wore and sporting Earhart’s signature hairstyle – too long for a man of the times, too short for a native woman – is sitting on a dock. A man who meets the description of Fred Noonan – a Caucasian man with a prominent nose and a sharply receding hairline – stands on the dock with several local people. Facial recognition software indicates that this could be Fred Noonan. This new theory embraces the idea that Earhart survived the crash, was captured by the Japanese, by whom she was believed to be a spy, and was taken to a Japanese prison and died there.

A new theory takes its place among the others.

Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence – History channel tonight at 9 p.m.



Closing Day, Spinach Dip Recipe, Cell Phone Cleaning Solution Recipe

Yesterday was a good day. My niece Crystal closed on her house (3 minutes from my house, YAY!!!), which, YES, calls for three exclamation points. I’m so happy about this.

The house is in a quiet, well-maintained community. It’s as cute as can be. Everything went smoothly with this sale. No big surprises. The sellers were reasonable and so was Crystal. Win/Win

She has a rent-back agreement with the sellers. They are building a house, and will rent Crystal’s house for the next month, but her realtor made arrangements for us to go to the house after closing. We had a small, short celebration: photos of Crystal holding a SOLD sign on the front steps, more photos of her putting the key in the door, a toast to happiness in her new house, and another look-see at the house. It was fun.

Do you remember that ubiquitous Knorr vegetable soup spinach dip that was at every party during the 80s? Or was it 90s? I made that and took some fruit and cheese and some sparkling wine. They liked the spinach dip, but neither of them had ever tried it. I guess it’s gone out of style?

The recipe is still on the soup packet, but I tend to print copies of back-of-the-box or packet recipes that I like. They stop them sometimes. I follow the recipe, but I cut the sliced water chestnuts into little strips. I’m big on texture, and I love the texture when they’re cut into strips. Warning: You can’t stop eating this once you start.

Knorr Spinach Dip

Yields 4 cups


1 10-oz Box Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 16-oz Container Sour Cream
1 cup Hellman’s Mayonaise
1 Package Knorr Vegetable Recipe Mix (dry in packet)
1 8-oz Can Sliced Water Chestnuts, cut into strips
2 Green Onions, chopped


Thaw spinach in microwave. When cooled, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the spinach. Add all remaining ingredients to spinach, and combine thoroughly. Chill at least 2 hours to allow the soup to reconstitute before serving. Serve with crackers.

Following: Info that will make you feel better about public toilets, but worse about your cell phone.

How often do you clean your cell phone? That thing is loaded with nasty bacteria, but you already know that. I’m curious. Do you have a UV phone sanitizer or do you wipe it off with a solution of water and 70% isopropyl alcohol once a week, or some other method? Or are you like me and don’t think about it much?  Inquiring minds want to know.Recipe for Cell Phone Cleaning Solution

* Bottled water
* 70% isopropyl alcohol
* 1 mini spray bottle
* 1 microfiber or lint-free cloth

Fill a spray bottle halfway with distilled water. Fill the other half of the bottle with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Screw the cap back on, and shake the bottle to mix the solution. Once a week (not every day), LIGHTLY spray the solution on a microfiber or lint-free cloth, and clean your phone. Source: BuzzFeed

So, how do you clean your phone and how often? Fess up.

Oh, I forgot to mention that H has a horrible black eye from his MOHS surgery, but he says it doesn’t hurt.

Obesity and a Weird Text

This is what I find every morning when I flip open my chair. A little Carolina Wren likes to hang out there at night and chow down on sunflower seeds. Maybe he’s the one who pooped on me twice this week. Good luck, don’t cha know?

Yesterday, H had his second Mohs surgery, and hopefully the last for a while. There’s a second waiting room where, after their surgery, the patients wait while the doctor checks the removed tissue to make sure she’s gotten all the basal cells. That’s where I wait for H. A half-dozen men were in there. Not a single female patient. Men are more likely to get skin cancer than women, but usually there’s at least one woman.

On the way home, H asked, “Did you notice that all those men…” I finished his sentence, “Were overweight?” He said, “Yes, they were huge.” And they were. They were all about H’s age, and they were startlingly overweight. Their legs were too large to keep them closed. Their shorts were tight, and everything was on display. H said he didn’t notice that. 🙂 A couple of them couldn’t fill out their forms by holding the clipboard on their laps because they didn’t have laps. They had to lean over to the table at the end of the couch. It was awkward for them. One man was panting after taking only a couple of steps. I’ve never seen so many people struggling with obesity in one place. You would have thought we were in a bariatrician’s (healthcare provider specializing in obesity) waiting room. Obesity is an epidemic in this country.

I got a weird text last night. This entire text is his.  I did not text back. I hit delete, but only after sharing it with you.

Messaging on this thing is a pain in the ass.

Let me tell you a few things about myself so you can decide if you want to run.

I only drink when the time calls for it. Used to drink a lot back in the day, but not really my thing anymore. I do smoke cigs, but would love to quit so just give me a reason. I do smoke weed but only at the very end of the night after my day is over. I’m self-employed HVAC and I have two big dogs that are sweet as can be so you must like big dogs.

Oh and I’m 5’9 1/2

F*#k wrong person.

I do like big dogs. That’s a place to start. Right?

My niece’s closing is today. We’re meeting her at the house after the closing. There will be wine and cheese to celebrate. I’m so happy for her.

Happy Fourth

Porch Pup says, “Happy Fourth of July.”