Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Grandchildren

Getting it All Straight

I’ve always been the type that tries to get it all straight, stay ahead of it, but the older I get, the less I care, and the less there is to keep ahead of. It’s a good thing, too, or we’d be living under one of H’s homegrown piles of stuff. Retirement means I have more time to keep us from disappearing down there. On the other hand, he has more time to build his piles.

One of the things you wonder about when you retire is, “How did we ever get it all done on weekends: the yard, the house, the kid stuff, the grocery shopping, etc.” Did we have a life? Yes, we did. We had a kid, friends, social occasions, and family. It didn’t seem like so much. I don’t remember it that way, anyway. I guess it’s because we enjoyed most of it, and we were young. Our 30s and 40s and 50s were pretty good times. Mostly. Let me think. You know we argued more. We still had the energy for it. We laugh more now. We still have the energy for that. Now that I think of it, I don’t want to go back. See how this paragraph took me in a circle.

The only thing I stress about nowadays, besides crazy relatives, and nasty sons of crazy relatives and the dentist and my ever burgeoning waistline, is making Christmas. I’ve learned how to do it, though. I figure out a list early, I shop the list early, I pretty much stick to the list, but I’m flexible enough to change it if warranted, I keep shopping in stores to a minimum, and I wrap early. My rule is to be finished before Thanksgiving.

This sounds lame, doesn’t it? There are people with real things to stress about. Well, Aunt Ruby is a real thing. Not as stressful as caring for Dad. That was on a scale I hope to never see again. Aunt Ruby still lives independently. So that’s something. Most of the responsibility falls to her two daughters, but I can actually do meaningful things for her that make a difference in her life and mine. Having a way to help is something to be grateful for. No kidding. It always makes you feel… less helpless. I know the day is coming, but for now, she’s maintaining. If she’d only had her two daughters and skipped the sons, her life would have been so much easier, but that’s another story.

The other news around here is that I’ve given up my nightly, before-dinner wine. Oh, I know. I’m sighing, too. As long as we stay on Planet Earth, we continue to lose one damned thing after another. Maybe that’s why gratitude grows for what remains as we age. One day, we’ll be grateful just to be able to get ourselves to the toilet. Trust me, that’s not a joke. I think I need to give up the wine, though. At least most of the time. I did this before, but slowly got back in the habit. It has lots of carbs, plus it relaxes muscles. Guess what you have inside there that’s a muscle? Your heart. I’ve told mine that, from now on, it can only relax a little and only on special occasions. If yours is healthy, enjoy extra for me.  We’ll see how this goes.

Again, about my shopping. Not completely finished. I’ll probably pick up a few jars of jam, chow chow or pepper relish – before my farmer’s market closes – for that extra gift… in case someone stops by out of the blue with a bottle of Merlot :), and don’t you agree, it would be rude not to have a taste? Can’t you see how committed I am to abstinence? What?

Some things are yet to be delivered. So I guess, technically, I don’t have bragging rights, but Amazon says everything has been shipped. Amazon, don’t disappoint me, you sweet boy.



So how was your Halloween? We went to Crystal’s. There were probably about 20 trick-or-treaters. She was hoping for more, but kids don’t trick-or-treat like they used to. Parents take them to other events, like trunk-or-treat. Parents fill their trunks with treats, and everyone meets at the school parking lot, and the kids go from car to car for their trunk-or-treat. It’s easier and safer, but it seems a little less exciting and more sanitized.

I loved Halloween when I was a kid. I remember my first Halloween that my mother allowed me to go trick-or-treating. Parents did not go along with the kids in those days, at least not in our neighborhood. We made our own costumes out of whatever we could find around the house. I was very little on my first Halloween. I tried to keep up with the bigger kids, who were supposed to look out for me. Ha! I remember one old lady who came out on her porch and yelled and screamed and carried on. I was so scared that I couldn’t move. Really. That was the most terror I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was paralyzed. My brother had to yank me down the walk. I guess that passed for “looking out” for me. LOL They all knew she was going to scream. I was the only one who didn’t know. Apparently, she did it every Halloween.

My youngest grand was Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the school parade. Her costume and hair: courtesy of her mother.



For trick-or-treating, she became the clown in Stephen King’s It. Hard to believe it’s the same child. Her mother’s artistry again. That face!


Snakes, be Gone

Though I’ve mentioned insomnia, nightmares, walking in my sleep, etc., I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned restless leg syndrome (RLS). It’s a common neurological movement disorder. Do you have it? More women have it than men. Something to do with our hormones (no doubt). Anyway, that’s why I couldn’t sleep last night. Twitchy.

H mentioned that he needed to go to Lowe’s for Snake-Be-Gone. I said, “Isn’t it a little late for that? Won’t they all be going to bed for the winter soon?” Then he told me. He saw another snake wiggling away from our doorstep! Good grief! So he wants to make sure they brumate somewhere other than our yard, that they make it back to last-year’s den, and don’t have to stay with us until they become active again in spring. That means it’s time for another Snake-Be-Gone application. I’m onboard but… You put it around the perimeter of your property to keep them out. It seems to work, but what if there’s one or more in your yard when you put the application down. Won’t they get trapped in your yard?!

Every time someone leaves the door open, you can hear me shouting, “Don’t let the snake in.” Why do they like our doorstep so much?

This is my oldest grand. She’s the serious one, not usually smiley, but she looks pretty happy here, doesn’t she?

The kids came down for the weekend. We took the Grand Trio to a pumpkin pickin’ place. There were baby goats, horse riding, and other activities. We went on a hayride to the pumpkin fields. We came home and had a cookout. Crystal came over and ate with us. Very nice weekend. The youngest said to me, “I go to school now, you know.” She seems to have adjusted. Good thing. This is only beginning.

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.

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!

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.

Crazy like a FOX

My son called last night. We talked about family and politics. He and his wife are the only two in my family that I discuss religion or politics with. My son mentioned that he watches CNN most of the time now. “H,” however, says he watches either CNN or MSNBC, but every time I turn the other television on, it’s on FOX. He watches one of those FOX shows featuring all the legs. He claims he only watches because he likes to hear what all sides are thinking.

My niece sold her house and is moving closer to me. This makes me very happy. She’s staying with friends until she finds another house.

H bought a new lawnmower.

The handle folds down, and it sits upright for storage. Kind of cool. Our old lawnmower will not make it though another summer, but it lasted 16 years. That’s a pretty good run.~

Getting a new lawnmower is a sure sign that he’s turning his attention to the yard, and  that Jan/Feb projects are at an end until next year… for the most part.

After we hung up from talking to my son last night, I got a text from him saying that Lilou started crying after we hung up because she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. So he took a video of her telling us goodbye, that she loved us and wanted to come see us. That one grabs you by the heart and won’t let go.

Hearty Gals

We had snow flurries yesterday and woke this morning to ice. The trees were beautiful with their fragile limbs coated in frosted crystal.


It felt cold in the house. We figured it was because it was very cold outside. The wind was blowing, and it was flurrying again, but that wasn’t it. The circuit breaker had tripped. Ah. How much warmer it gets when the heat is actually working.

Then the cable kept going out and coming back on. Humans sure do get verklempt when a couple of their “things” don’t work.

I changed the security question answers on several of our sites. I’m not usually one to blab, but if you stick bamboo sticks under my fingernails, I’ll tell you what they are (Didn’t those old WWII movies scare the bejesus out of you? I always thought I would let my country down in a millisecond if they so much as waved a bamboo stick in my direction.)

With our friend, we’re going to Gloucester tomorrow to see the daffodils, eat lunch, etc. (that is, if there are any daffodils left that haven’t shriveled up and died in this insane weather we’re having) We’ve had 80s in February and 20s in March. It’s going to be in the 30s tomorrow. Don’t be thinking I’m a tough cookie (if the bamboo sticks  didn’t convince you), because I’m not. I would have postponed until next week in a heartbeat, and just gone for lunch somewhere nearby or made lunch here, but our friend didn’t want to cancel. She said she didn’t mind the cold. Okay, superwoman. I hear ya. So I’ll find my long john shirt, and bulk up with a sweater, scarf, heavy coat, socks and mittens. We’ll have fun no matter what. Good company and lunch in a cozy place will ensure that.

Lilou, the tick queen, has produced no bullseye rash to date. She’s recovered from her nearly earth-shattering experience, and moved on with her life. Yet another example of a superwoman in my world.

A Happy Story, A Not So Happy Story, A Neutral Story

A Happy Story

After losing 19 pounds, H got the results of his blood work back Friday. Everything showed improvement, even his cholesterol. His “good” cholesterol increased significantly, and his “bad” cholesterol was within the normal range. His triglyceride was a little high before the weight loss, but it dropped a lot, and he’s well within the normal range now. Before the diet his A1C was not in the normal range. Now it’s in the normal range, and it’s the lowest it’s been for four years. I’d say that right there is a success story!

A Not So Happy Story

My DIL shot me a text Saturday night that she’d found a tick in Lilou’s chest. When attempting to remove the tick, the head remained. It was finally removed, but Lilou wasn’t happy about it. 😦  Now we keep an eye out for the early symptoms that indicate Lyme disease: bulls-eye rash (occurs 70 to 80 percent of the time in Lyme), flue-like symptoms, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, fever. Some of this is made more difficult because she’s recovering from strep. Poor baby. You can find a comprehensive list of early and later signs at CDC. Warm weather is on the way. Check yourself after being out and about. Ticks love juicy little (and big) people.

A Neutral Story

H has seen a neighbor standing in his driveway several times with his golf clubs. He looked like he was waiting for someone to pick him up. H said he’s going to approach him the next time he’s in his yard and tell him if they ever need another guy, he’s their man. I was always the social one in this relationship, but all that’s changed. I value alone time.  He’s more outgoing than he used to be. I didn’t know things like that could change so much. I thought we were kind of bent a certain way from the beginning. Little changes and evolutions as we mature, sure, but we seem to have switched places. It’s all good. Just pondering.

The weather is frigid – in the twenties last night. It snowed yesterday. No accumulation, but still.

That’s all I got. Bye!


The Dream

I had a dream last night. I was in Dad’s house after he died. About a dozen people showed up from some nameless organization that made monthly visits to make sure I was caring properly for my father, and that the house was clean. One woman wiped her hand across the paneling and gazed disgustedly at her palm. Angrily, I told her that my father was dead, and they had no right to be there and no right to judge me. Another woman said, “Too bad he put the house in his son’s name all those years ago. It would be in foreclosure by now, and I could get a good deal on this waterfront property.” That’s when I shouted, “Shut your mouth, or I’ll throw you out.” Then I heard H’s calm-talking-to-a-child voice saying, “Where ya going?” I was sitting up in bed, getting ready to throw her butt out. That’s what I was doing, but H stopped me. Lucky for her.

So what is this all about? A whole dozen people judging me, and finding me lacking. Ouch! Couldn’t be me judging myself and finding myself lacking, could it? 😦

Fierce Porch Pub

H was out in the yard yesterday when a neighbor walked over with his dog. The dog was full of energy and running all over the place when he suddenly came face to face with St. Patrick’s Day Porch Pup and froze in his tracks. H said that he took a brief look, turned tail and ran like his tail was on fire. Ha!


So far this week we’ve had 81 degree temps and snow. I’m not religious anymore (in the traditional way) so tell me, is the end near (Judy?)? Or is that a myth about the seasons being indistinguishable near the end?

We ran some errands today. I wore my black shawl/cape kind of thingy. I love it. It wraps around me and feels so comfy, but I forgot about the March winds. Oh, my gosh! It was freezing cold and so windy. It kept flying and flapping and whipping around me. I must have looked like a crazy witch without her broom.


Lilou has a fuzzy, pink coat. I asked her what it was made from. With a serious expression, she told me, “bunny rabbits.” :/ I hope the Easter Bunny didn’t hear that. She starts school in the fall. I asked her if she was excited. She said, “No.” I asked her why. She said, “I’m going to stay home with Mama foreva!” I feel just like her lately. Staying home with Mama would be such a nice, safe place to be. Create some crafts, eat a sandwich, take a nap, have a snack, play with Shopkins and Rainbow Dash, eat supper, go to bed, repeat. What’ could be betta?