Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Around The House

Enjoying Summer and A Visit with The Grand Trio

I can’t stop reading. It’s got me by the throat and won’t let go. H, who is not an obsessive reader – more of a worker – is almost as bad as I am lately, leaving his yard work at intervals to sit on the patio and read, then returning to his abandoned wheelbarrow and shovel to give a half-hearted effort at finishing the job before he comes back to prop his feet up again. It’s nice to see him relax a little.

I can’t remember when I’ve dipped myself into summer and not come up for air like I have this summer. I think it’s the weather and the ubiquitous breeze that rolls in off the pasture. I can’t get enough of it, and I just know I’m going to be sorry for writing that. I’ll open the backdoor one morning soon, and the cursed humidity and suffocating temps will have arrived, but until then…

Yesterday was a hammock day if ever I saw one. I actually fell asleep in my lawn chair, my feet propped up, a breeze gently moving strands of my hair, and the Boston-accented voice of the narrator droning on in my ears. I could not keep my eyes open.

We drove up to see the grand trio Sunday. What a good time we had. We all went out for lunch. It was a beautiful setting, and we got the best table in the place with the most beautiful view.

We sat on a terrace overlooking a lake as we ate and talked and watched big, fluffy, low-hanging, white, cumulus clouds drift by in a sea of deep blue sky. Restaurants and shops and fountains and beds and pots of vibrant flowers surrounded the lake, and a choo choo train drove around it all. There were as many old people riding it as young. A merry-go-round sat on the other side of the lake, and  paddle boats dotted the water along with swans and ducks.

The kids went for a ride on a paddle boat – a mighty dragon boat – with their mom. They found out that paddling those boats was a lot of work, even though they took turns. Sweating and red-faced, they all looked like they’d done hard labor in a work camp when they returned, but they recovered quickly with snow cones. While they sweated it out on the lake, H and I had margaritas in the shade as we watched. This grandparenting stuff rocks.

This one, in her pretty dress, was the only one who looked fresh as a daisy when they returned. The older grands and Mom may have done all the paddling, but she worked hard on that snow cone/icy.

Just so you don’t think I’m a total slacker, I did replace a broken toilet seat this week, and I did a load or two of clothes and dust mopped. Oh, and I watered and fertilized my pots and potted some dill. Golly, when I put it all together like that, I sound almost productive, but don’t be fooled. I’ve had my feet propped up and listening to a book most of the week. It was a good week.

…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.

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.

Mind Monsters and Blue Apron Comes to an End

I woke at 2:00 am this morning and never went back to sleep. I checked today to see if the moon was full last night. It was… 100% full. There you have it.  My mind wouldn’t turn off. That’s never good. Next thing I know, the mind monsters show up. I’ve learned to get up and busy my mind with something else. Most of the time that shoves them out of my head, and I can pretend that life will always be this good. I don’t tell you often enough how fortunate I am, and how much I realize it.

Let’s close out these Blue Apron posts. I’ve abused you enough.

Photo found on Google Images

We made our last two meals from Blue Apron this week. A few days ago, we made Chicken Under a “Brick.”  It’s cooked in olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on top of the stove. The instructions said to put water in a sauce pan, and sit it on top of the chicken (in lieu of a brick I guess), but…

there were two bricks in the garage that I’ve saved for years, and moved with us to each new house. One was from the foundation of my grandfather’s house after it burned down. The other was from the original Sand Castle Hotel in Myrtle Beach where we vacationed when we were younger. The lady who managed the Sand Castle saved it for us when it was demolished. H wrapped them in foil, put them in a cast iron pan, and placed them on top of the chicken. Voilà!

Spinach pizza was our very last Blue Apron meal. Another pic from Google. That’s pretty much what ours looked like.

I’d never made homemade pizza. It was way delicious, but someone at Blue Apron forgot to put the pizza dough in the box. Oops. We used Stefano’s Pizza Dough from Food Lion. It was good and easy to work with. They have a website with a video. 

We went to a play on Sunday afternoon. Most of my clothes are casual. I only have one or two “good” outfits. A lot of older people attend the Sunday matinées. Every time I go to the theater, I think I need to shop for new clothes. Where do these ladies find these great outfits? Maybe I should consider walking into a brick & mortar store, and trying things on. What a novel idea.

Lunch, Refrigerators, Washers and HVAC

Patsy will be here around noon for lunch. The refrigerator repair guy is here now. H is in there talking to him. The guy is telling him all about it. H loves this stuff. He wants a play-by-play if possible. I just want an ice maker that makes ice and doesn’t leak. This is the fourth time we’ve had him out here. Instead of repairing the old one, he is replacing it with a new one this time. Let’s hope this one works for more than 18 months.

Oh, and the washer wouldn’t do its cycle this morning. It kept making funny noises. I cancelled the load and started all over, and it worked the second time. Fingers crossed.

Lunch is as simple as it gets. Grilled ham and cheese sandwich, potato chips for Patsy (not us), and lemon thins and coffee for dessert. The only time I eat bread anymore is when I’m with someone else for lunch. I splurge.

My DIL just texted that the HVAC guys are at her house to install a new heating/ac unit, AND it’s the kids’ first day of spring break. So she’ll have those guys and three kids all day. That right there puts my mean-reds’ post into perspective. What’s a little itchy eye and a headache? Absolutely nuthin’.

Honestly? Do you know anyone whose junk breaks down more often than ours?

 

Neighbors, Grands and a Day Trip

We’ve had a lot of wind. A few days ago, when H was taking the trash out to the curb, he noticed the neighbor’s (don’t know his name) house across the street. They have a trampoline, but it was no longer in the backyard. It was on top of the neighbor’s car. H started trying to remove it when two neighbors (husband and wife) walked by with their dog. H asked the guy to give him a hand. When they were in the middle of it, the neighbor came out of the house, and the three of them managed to wrestle it off the car. The neighbor was very appreciative.

A little struggle, a  little need, it builds camaraderie. It’s how neighbors become neighbors. Everyone is pretty independent here. We seldom have an opportunity to meet our neighbors. When my son was young, and we moved into a new neighborhood in Maryland, I made tons of friends quickly. We all had a built-in commonality. Friendships were easily made.

Later the next day…

The kids were here this weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the upper seventies. We spread a blanket on the front lawn under the maple tree, and brought out a few lawn chairs so we could watch the kids ride their bikes. The “trampoline neighbor” was on his way somewhere. He slowed down as he drove by and yelled out that the kids could play on their trampoline if they wanted. Of course they wanted. Nice.

We are on our way to a small seaside town today. March is H’s birthday month, and he decided he wanted seafood for his birthday dinner. It’s a nice drive, and the food is good. I didn’t have to buy him a gift because I gave him the lawnmower. Now, you know that’s not really a gift. It was more of a “he needed it so he got it” kind of thing. We’re not big on gifts. As we get older, we get things as we need them. I used to hear older people say, “I don’t need anything.” Now I get it.

He used his lawnmower in the backyard for the first time a few days ago. He loves it. It’s self-paced, which is a little different from self-propelled. He walks behind it, holding on to the handle. As he walks forward, the mower goes forward, and the mower goes at the speed he walks. In other words, it’s self-propelled, but it isn’t just one speed. It goes as fast or slow as he wants to walk. Fancy pants! Self-paced technology has probably been around for years, but this is the first mower we’ve bought in over 15 years. We experienced the same thing when we bought our new car a couple of years ago. We were like babes in the wood – all those new gadget-y thingies. My son mowed the front yard for H this weekend. Like his father, he likes the exercise. I should only be so industrious.

So that’s what’s happening this Monday morning. Now it’s time for Morning Joe with my morning joe, then off for a day trip.

The Scales, The Powder Room and The Grippers


lady-on-scaleThe scales are finally back to where they were before the kids came for a visit. I think this 80/20 thing is good, but 90/10 sure would be faster for reducing. :/ I’ve been at this since late September. It’s been a long slog, albeit a comfortable one. It may have been slow, but I have lost 30 pounds – nothing to sneeze at. All in all, I’d say this is the best way for me. Dr. Heartthrob emphasized taking it slow. He can’t say I haven’t done that.

H is finishing up his Jan/Feb projects painting our tiny powder room red. I’m not sure why this house even bothered with a powder room. It has a guest bath that’s accessible to everyone, but there’s a little powder room tucked in just around the corner and across from he laundry room. I think it’s probably more comfortable for guests because it’s private back there.

grip [grip]
1. a grasping or clasping.
2. to secure and maintain a tight hold on; seize firmly.

A couple of days ago, I had the grippers. I don’t think it was an intestinal virus. I think the sour cream I ate at dinner had gone over. It tasted okay, but it’s the only thing I can think. H and I ate the same dinner except for that. It was the end of the container. I should have thrown it out. I blame it on that “waste not, want not” philosophy that a lot of us were taught by Depression Era parents. I still remember when we moved back home from Dad’s – after being away for years – and my son cleaned out my pantry for me. He pulled up the trashcan and tossed every single thing in it that had an expired date. Let me tell you, I took gas on that one, but he probably kept me from killing H and myself. I guess I didn’t pound that “waste not…” thing into his head.

Fish and Foul

salmonIncredible
adjective
1. so extraordinary as to seem impossible
2. not credible; hard to believe; unbelievable

Incredible Weather
I know I’m obsessing about the weather, but no matter what I say, you will not get how incredible our weather has been recently. It was 82º F today – balmy, breezy and drop-dead gorgeous. It’s scary. It’s been 82º before in February, but only once since 1949, and we still have a chance to beat that. The kids are coming next weekend. If this continues, Lilou will want H to pump up her blow-up pool. The fact that it’s February will not impress her.

I remember wanting to go barefoot at the first hint of warm weather when I was a kid, but my mother wouldn’t let me. I wanted to shed those socks and shoes, but I had to wait. It was always too early. I think this February would shock her. I loved going barefoot. And yes, we did that when we were kids. I guess people don’t let their kids do that anymore, and I guess they don’t let them get into swimming pools in February either.

Fish & Foul
When we got up yesterday morning, the kitchen smelled foul. H noticed it first. He remembered that he’d put the skin from the salmon we’d had for dinner the night before in the trashcan (salmon is so much moister when you bake it with the skin). The trash bag had a hole in it, and a disgusting liquid had leaked into the bottom of the container. I sprayed a mold and mildew product into the trashcan because it had bleach in it. The fetid mixture almost made me gag. This is the exact reason double bagging was invented.

Locked Out
H went to the grocery store today for cream, eggs and fresh green beans. When he walked out of the store, an older gentleman asked him if he could use his phone. He had left his keys in the car and couldn’t get inside. H said, “Sure.” The guy called his wife and told her what he’d done, and that he was at Food Lion. He thanked H, and H went on his way. A little later, H’s phone rang. It was the guy’s wife. She said, “Are you the man who let my husband use his phone?” H told her, “Yes.” She said, “Could you please tell me which Food Lion he’s at? There are three of them around here.”

Old people have to stick together.