Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

…nothing exciting to add…

Things have been kind of regular around here lately. We’re back to “normal.”

H decided he wants to power wash, fill the cracks, and seal our aggregate driveway.  Have I mentioned this before? Because he started power washing it weeks ago, then came rain, then my niece’s move, then more rain and then vacation. So he’s trying to make progress. It’s a long and tedious job. The power washing (hopefully) is the most time-consuming part. You cannot imagine how stained that driveway is/was. The neighbor down the street sealed his last summer, and it looks good. He told H what to buy for the job. So… time will tell, probably lots of time, because rain is expected the next three days.

I’m in the midst of reading a horribly graphic book. A couple of the descriptions are a little strong even for my taste. It’s a James Patterson book, The Murder House. As usually happens in Patterson books, a serial killer is on the loose. This one has a penchant for spearing his victims. I haven’t read Patterson for a while. I’d forgotten how unsettling his novels are sometimes. I had to skip over a small part of one passage. What a wuss. But sometimes you just don’t want to put something in your brain that will roll around up there for years. I’m not generally attracted to happy-ending type novels. Well, I do like happy endings, but only after half the characters have been revealed to be intrinsically evil, betrayers of some variety or other, or end up on a slab in the morgue. Then I want to know who dun it, and I want justice. I do love a good psychological thriller, and Patterson knows how to write them, but don’t go there unless you can take it.

I haven’t read a happy-isn, relationship-type book for a very long while. I don’t like them much, but I decided to try a “beach” book for poolside reading on vacation: Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand.  Three women, two ex wives and a widow, arrive at a cottage on Nantucket, believing they are there only to spread their newly dead (ex) husband’s ashes in the ocean off Nantucket. Unbeknownst to them, he’s left his beloved cottage to the three of them, a place they’ve all spent time with him. Not the most plausible story, I admit. They arrive on the tiny island with varying amounts of luggage – literally and figuratively. He was a famous chef after the fashion of Anthony Bourdain. He was a handsome, edgy, troubled, bad boy, the type for whom women love to derail their lives. It was one of those what-if scenarios, and it was easy reading for public places. I watched young girls doing cartwheels on the beach and looked for dolphins simultaneously without dropping a stitch in the story. No one was speared… except metaphorically.

for the love of routine

We are finally and slowly ebbing back into our former life. It seems like ages since we’ve settled down on the couch with coffee and the time to yell at Morning Joe. Although, there hasn’t been much yelling lately. We’re on the same page. That happens once in a while. I’ve seen a hundred political perspectives over the past week that I thought I’d write about, but it’s impossible to choose. Did you hear that Trump broke a record on Tuesday? He went sixteen straight hours without tweeting. Maybe more, but I heard it at the sixteen-hour mark. I can’t believe they didn’t send out a search party to look for him.

So we’re recovering from vacation, and we’re doing after-vacation errands and chores: unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, doctor appointments, cutting the grass, watering the flowers, etc.

I ran out of one of my scripts for my lungs about a month ago. The doctor would not refill it until I went for an appointment. This annoyed me. I thought he should give me enough to make it to the appointment, but I think it was the fault of the person I spoke with on the phone, not him. Anyway. I had to go off the meds cold turkey. Guess what? I was absolutely fine, but I got the chest X-ray and kept the appointment anyway. I told him how well I’d been feeling. He said, “Well, I think you fixed yourself!” Ha! He said, “If you can do this in the midst of pollen season, then I agree with your diagnoses.” I’ve come back a long way from a few years ago. I never would have thunk it. Neither would my doctors.

I gained 4.5 pounds on vacation. It was ugly, y’all. I was a wild woman. The hotel offered a breakfast buffet every morning: bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits, milk gravy, grits, pancakes, fruit, juice, coffee. Of course, there’s no requirement to eat all that. Let’s just say that I ate my share, and we went to a couple of great restaurants at night where I ate prime rib, fried seafood, garlicky & cheesy mashed potatoes and croissants drizzled with honey. My vacation can only be described as a foray into excessive self-indulgence. I needed saving!! Thank God we can’t afford to stay too long.  I’ve already lost most of the 4.5. 🙂

H is making the coffee and it’s past time for MJ. Wonder what’s new today? Maybe we’ll learn that Flynn disclosed to Trump’s transition team that he was under FBI investigation before Sally Yates ever mentioned anything, and even before Trump appointed him. No… that could never happen.

Beachin’ It

from the balcony

I spent the last few days getting ready for vacation. The kids are coming the day after we return, so I didn’t want to leave the house in its usual chic disarray. That means that I wanted them to have a clean bathroom and towels.

It’s beautiful here. Our weather is supposed to be in the upper 70s/low 80s. I know these are not swans, but I had to give you a toilet shot of our hotel towels. Only the best! for you!!

I had lots of funny, pithy things to tell you about, but I left my notes at home. I do remember seeing a man leaving Kroger as I was entering. He was carrying a huge box, and he was on his phone. In his official CIA voice, I heard him say, “The chicken is now in my posessiln. ” I’m sure someone at home was preparing to feed a lot of people, and the chicken was an integral part of the plan. He wanted to ease that someone’s mind.

I’m using H’s new laptop. He’s sleeping, and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to get my hands on it. Pretty fancy.

My niece came over for a visit on Saturday. I’m going to love having her close by.

So I’m on vacation, but that doesn’t mean I left my crazy dreams at home. I just woke from a dream about H. H was having an affair, a long-time affair. He told me about it and wanted me to meet her and accept the whole thing. See, that right there is how you know it was a dream. He took me to her condo that had a splendid view of a harbor dotted with sailboats. She was lovely and  younger than us, and she had lots of plants in her condo. Then I noticed a coffee table that was mine. I thought that H had taken it to Goodwill. Then I saw other things that were mine. Her condo was filled with my cast-offs, only they didn’t look like cast-offs. They looked nice, y’all. She had not only stolen my husband, but she’d commandeered all my stuff, and it looked better at her house than mine. I remember thinking that I would adjust, I would forgive H, but I also thought it would be very hard. I realized I was one of those women who thought her husband would never do this.

My favorite love-to-hate television couple are now a real-life couple. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are engaged. For over a year, H repeatedly asked me, “How can her husband stand it. It’s obvious she’s sleeping with him.” I would just laugh because I couldn’t imagine her with him, but H called this one a long time ago.

I’ll be poolside with a book in a few hours, and walking the beach a while after that, and having dinner at a favorite restaurant this evening. I love the beach.

Ancestering, People Watching, Organizing

I’ve been ancertering lately. Yes, ancestering is a verb. It’s fascinating stuff, and I’ve made a lot of headway, but I’m beginning to see that it’s endless. Every path leads to another. There were ministers in my family, but most of us were farmers, carpenters, boat builders and homemakers. Working people. I don’t think I’m going to find royalty, philosophers, musicians, or artists, but you never know. The quest goes on.

I had to get a chest x-ray yesterday and some labs. Since a bit of waiting is the norm, it gives me a chance to engage in one of my favorite pastimes, people watching. There were two older women sitting across from me. The larger one wore bright yellow pants and a striped shirt of yellow, green and blue, and she had a PhD in bossing. Clearly. She also had a horrid case of RBF. She was knitting away, but it did not interfere with her bossing job. She kept leaning over and giving the smaller lady her opinion about what she should do and how she should do it. I could only hear the tone, not the words, but the facial expressions and body language of both women were something to behold. The smaller woman looked like she was used to it, but did not subscribe to the larger woman’s philosophy… despite her PhD. I bet they were sisters, and had been at it since they were toddlers.

I plan to organize my closet today. I don’t think I’ll toss much because I did that a few months ago, but I need to get my summer clothes in one section and my winter things to the back so I can find what I need when I need it. We’re going on vacation soon, and I have to decide what I’m taking and maybe even… wait for it… iron a few things. Ha! I’m looking forward to wearing some of my new things. It’s so nice to have clothes that fit again. I still need pants. My niece has implored me to get new pants. She says a commune of hippies could live in there. I still need to lose weight, and I’m still losing very slowly, but it feels more like maintaining to me. When I get back from vacation, I plan to get serious, but I have to enjoy myself. It is vacation!

The certified letter was from the bio-daughter. More of the same. Sigh.

A Family Affair

It’s been a busy time. I haven’t written posts or visited blogs this week. We’re in spring planting mode around here, and H put down mulch Saturday. It always looks so nice, but that isn’t what’s on my mind today.

My niece took us to dinner on Saturday night, and I busted my diet. I’m getting good at breaking the daily routine and getting right back on the horse the next morning. It’s becoming the norm, but I must say that it took my system until mid-day the next day to feel just right again. It’s gotten used to eating clean and lean, but it was so much fun being with her. She has the kindest heart.

We talked about my sister (her mother). The daughter she put up for adoption in 1960 is still trying to find her. Well, I should say, she’s trying to get my sister to meet with her. A few months ago, she sent my brother and me letters and photos (she looks like my other niece) asking for information. Neither of us contacted her. We both feel that it’s our sister’s decision, and at this point, my sister knows about her so there’s no business in this for us.

Months ago, when she first contacted me, I searched for her online. I found her thread on a forum for adopted children looking for bio-parents. She wrote about her search for my sister. I didn’t look at it again until a couple of days ago. She had written much more about my sister and our family. That’s where I learned that since sending the letters to my brother and me, she also sent a certified letter to my sister months ago, and my sister signed for it. So my sister knows, but is not talking to any of the family about it.

On the thread, Bio-daughter said she found two cousins – one on our side of the family and one on her bio-father’s side – who agreed to meet with her. She already visited one, and will visit the other soon. She also found her bio-father who lives down the street from my brother. He called my brother and asked for information on my sister, but “he refused to talk about his sister’s pregnancy.” She wrote that he would now try to contact her mother’s younger sister (me!). Her bio-father felt I would help because “she’s more talkative.” Really? Why didn’t they just say that I’m a snitch? Ha! I’m sure he meant more cooperative or social or something flattering like that.

Even though my brother and I believe we would choose differently in this situation, if my sister does not want to meet with her bio-daughter, we cannot be the ones to give her information. Though I do sympathize with her bio-daughter, I find that even though my sister and I are not close and barely see each other, I cannot help her make contact with my sister (I think she wants a cell # and general information). It doesn’t feel right, but at this point, it doesn’t matter anyway. The bio-daughter isn’t stopping, and will make contact with every relative my sister knows until she agrees to see her. Even though one of my other nieces asked her to stop, she is as persistent as my sister, and will not take no for an answer. I don’t know what I think of that either. Shouldn’t either side have the right to say yay or nay. My sister must feel that her life is being picked apart… molecule by molecule as bio-daughter visits, contacts, talks and writes to every relative she can find. In the letter she sent to me, she wrote, “I don’t want to cause trouble.” Why then does it feel like I’m watching a trouble train coming down the tracks… closer and closer?

When we returned home from dinner with my niece on Saturday, a card  from the postoffice was waiting for me in the mailbox. It was a notification for a certified letter. It’s at the postoffice and I have to sign for it. Two guesses who it’s from? I will know today. What a sticky situation. I’m thinking that my sister never told her present husband, and to say that his entire family will be surprised by this is an understatement, especially his children. I think they already have a few issues with my sister.

I’m pretty sure that my sister feels shame and embarrassment. I’m not saying that she should, but how awkward this must be for her. Over fifty years ago, in a different time, she found a good family for her child. She wanted the best for her, and by that child’s own words, she had a good life with loving parents. Her adoptive mother died two years ago, and that’s when she started looking, which says a lot about what’s going on here. She is successful, degreed, smart and incontestably determined. She is definitely my sister’s daughter.

Kids!

I got my hair cut yesterday. Francine is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She and her husband were Catholic when they were young, and he went to seminary. In their twenties, they both fell away from religion. They have three kids: two girls (16 and 17) and a little boy (5). Francine is about the age of my son (42) and very attractive. She owns the salon, and her husband owns a local pizza place. They both work hard, and I suspect they’ve done well.

A very young woman was at the reception desk, and she was cute as anyone could possibly be. I didn’t interact with her much when I arrived. Francine called me back almost immediately, but when I left, she took my money. Her slothful movements and bored expression said that she wanted to be anywhere but there. No one but a teenager can look that bored with life. When I asked a question, she answered as if it was a big bother, and she never gave me eye contact. I felt as if she was doing me a favor to take my money. One thing was clear, she didn’t care if she kept this job or not.

It took me a few hours after I got home to realize she must be Francine’s daughter. That explains her behavior AND why she still has a job. She did not want to be there, but her mother did want her to be there. She was sulking. I’m not sure who was winning the battle, but kids usually win. They are committed and gifted at beating the parent into submission. LOL

I bet anything that she’s her daughter. Ha. I’m going to ask at my next appointment. Kids! I bet she would never act that way if she was working for someone other than a parent. Her mother should put a nanny cam on her.

In about five years, she will be a lovely young woman; no traces of the indolent, spoiled teenager will remain.

When my son was a teenager, we kept a sign on the refrigerator door that read, “Teenagers: Tired of being harassed by your parents? ACT NOW! Move out, get a job, and pay your own bills while you still know everything.

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but it definitely has some truth to it. He’ll need it for his fridge in a couple of years.

Nowadays, our refrigerator offers different information. How soon life does change.

Pantygate

Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.

Because rain was expected on Saturday, and because old retirees are flexible, my niece’s moving day was changed to Friday. It’s a good thing because it rained buckets on Saturday. When we arrived, she was drying one last load of clothes.

Her next-door neighbor Mike popped in unexpectedly and helped H move the washer and dryer. He seemed like such a nice guy, and he was a lot of help. He and his wife are expecting their first baby. Crystal said they’ve been great neighbors for six years, always helping her with things around the house that would be difficult for a single woman. She repaid them with pots of soup and spaghetti sauce. They both begged her not to move.

When they started to move the washer and dryer, Mike called to her, “Crystal, what do you want to do with these?” She’d left a few panties in the utility room. She was so embarrassed. After a few exclamations of “Oh, my God!” she apologized. Good-naturedly, he said they weren’t the first panties he’d seen. We all laughed and moved on.

Crystal called last night and said, “Auntie, Mike texted me, saying he’d like to see me, that he’d like to take me to lunch” (he works from home, and his wife works during the day). She texted him back, told him no, and reminded him that he was married and about to have a baby. He texted her again, reiterating that he’d like to see her and hoped she’d reconsider. She ignored him.

One other thing: she’s a lovely and fit 52, and he’s in his early 30s. She said she lived there for six years, and he was never anything but polite and gentlemanly. She never felt any weird vibes from him. Nothing. I would never have pegged him for a hound either, but a hound he is.

I told her that her life is exciting, but exhausting. The only drama around here is what’s for dinner, what will we plant in the yard?

Dinner tonight: Chicken Under Brick

Plantings: impatient plants, hostas, coral bells, ferns, bleeding heart, zinnia seeds…

Fact: Bella Rum wears 100% cotton grandma panties.

Photo: images.google.com

My Niece’s Move, My Brother’s Knee Surgery, H’s Niece, My Cousin, Doctor Visit

I’m at home today, so I thought I’d jog the blog muscle a little. Our life has picked up the pace recently.

As they come on the market, we’ve done a few drive-bys on houses in my niece’s price range, and we’re helping her move the last of her things to her storage unit on Saturday. It’s amazing how much easier it is to move if you have the time to do it. She started early since she isn’t waiting for a close date on another house. We helped her last Saturday and the Saturday before that. We finished before noon both times. A few big things remain: a wardrobe, sofa, washer and dryer. They will be a little awkward, but shouldn’t take long. A friend of her’s will help H, and H has ramps and a dolly and a hand truck, and straps. He is very good at this. My niece is so much fun to be around. I will be glad when she finds a house. She’s as picky as I am. So…

My brother has severe arthritis. One of his hips was replaced 17 years ago at age 53 (he needed it long before he did it). The other was replaced 14 years ago. They both need to be replaced again. Both of his knees are shot, so his doctor asked him where he wanted to begin. He chose his left knee. That was three weeks ago. He and H are the same age. My brother seems so much older.

I went to Marshall’s a few days ago, and hit the jackpot on tops. That never happens. I’ve complained that I don’t look like I’ve lost any weight. My DIL and niece both told me that my clothes were too big. I hate to buy clothes while I’m still losing, but I have nothing that fits and we’re going on vacation soon. I think I went a little crazy because when I tried things on in the dressing room, I could see a big difference. Not there yet, but progress. It felt good. I found white and black linen pants in my closet that I didn’t take to Goodwill, and that was helpful.

H is making noises again about climbing to the top of the huge tree in the front yard, and getting rid of a bad limb. I over heard him telling my son. It’s too high for him to reach with his pole trimmer.

We ran into H’s niece in Marshall’s. That was a delightful experience. I haven’t seen her in years. She’s as beautiful as ever, inside and out. H’s sister-in-law is turning 80 soon, and she invited us to a dinner for her. She told us that H’s 82-year-old brother (her father) injured himself while on a ladder replacing a window on the second floor. The window was resting in the frame but not attached when it fell, shattered and cut him badly in several places. There was an ER visit. It must run in the family.

A cousin I haven’t heard from in years called me yesterday. We caught up on family that I haven’t seen in ages. She told me that one of my cousins, while working on the roof of his barn, fell and broke his pelvis, one arm, and a few other things. His cell phone was at the top of the ladder. He had to climb back up the ladder to call for help. His recovery was lengthy and laborious. Can you imagine?

I went to my doctor Tuesday. She was pleased because I’d lost another 10 pounds since my last visit. A new nurse was shadowing the other nurse to learn the routine. She was showing her my info in the computer. She quickly went down a list of things, and all I caught was “fall risk assessment.” It made me feel old for a minute, but I know how much better I feel. I think it’s my cousin’s, H’s brother’s and H’s fall risks that need assessing, thank you very much.

A Beautiful and Productive Day

It was a beautiful day yesterday. It put me in the mood to work outside.
One of my irises that we brought from our last house bloomed. Love that wine color. My coral bells are still thinking about blooming. It was one of those days that begs you to come out and play. I washed the winter off all the lawn chairs and the table and its four chairs and even the cover on H’s grill.  I bought some wave petunias and a couple of geraniums at Home Depot (where else?) to plant in a pot at the front door. I haven’t gotten the pot yet. I hope to get that at Home Goods later today. I’ll do it after my 6-month doctor appointment. I’m going to put impatiens in those two turquoise planters up there. We get a lot of shade in the backyard. My niece gave me the red reclining chair. She didn’t want to take it to her next house (?).

No sooner than I finished cleaning all the chairs and came inside for a break, the wind started blowing like mad. I ran outside to save a little foam pillow that was a headrest for the red chair. I’d taken it out of its cover (which I’d washed and hung on a tree branch) and placed it on the red chair. Just as I stepped out the door the rain came pouring down, the wind collapsed the red chair, and lifted the foam pillow and took it away. It went airborne, then bounced, then went airborne again, then bounced … I went after it like I was chasing a dog off its leash – with speed, purpose and determination! What a spectacle. I was lucky it didn’t go over the fence because my determination wanes at fences. That pillow would be wherever Porch Pup’s St. Patrick’s Day flowers are. They blew out of his basket and haven’t been spotted since.

Easter Porch Pup

Porch Pup in his Easter Attire

His ensemble lasted all of 10 seconds after she arrived.

What ever you celebrate, Porch Pub wishes all of you a happy day!