Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Grandchildren

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.

Then…

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.

Update:
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!

A DREAM, PORCH PUP, MARCH WINDS, LILOU’S WORLD

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!

March

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.

pink-bunnyLilou

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?

A Grand Visit

What a great weekend for a visit with the Grand Trio. It was in the seventies and sunny with the bluest skies you’ve ever seen. It was a three-day weekend because of Presidents’ Day, so they didn’t have to leave until Monday.

The meatloaf and mashed potatoes went over just fine with my grandson. That kid makes me feel great. No matter what I cook, he likes it.

The oldest grand will turn eleven soon. I’ve smartened up about the older ones. I got her to show me what she wanted online. The little one is still pleased with anything you give her, but the older they get, the more selective they become. You can’t just pick up a doll with magnetic clothes or a stuffed doggie anymore. She chose something very inexpensive (I didn’t even know what the thing was). I wanted to give her more than what she chose, so her mom took mercy on me. She told me I could contribute to a larger gift they’re getting for her. That makes it so easy for me. I think this is the way to go as they get older.

img_2332Lilou loved the bike that H found for her at Goodwill. It looked brand new, and it even had a basket on it. H bought pink handlebar streamers, and that was all the fancying up it needed. A man who can choose pink streamers and knows all the names of all the Disney princesses is a rare find, and she knows it. She loves him so much. If he goes to the bathroom, she instructs me to tell her as soon as he’s finished. When it was time to leave, she told him she didn’t want to go.img_2334

It came equipped with a princess license plate: wrong state, correct title.

Since it was such a pretty day, we took them to a nearby park. On the way home, out of the blue, Lilou asked, “Do you know what would make me happy?” Impersonating the intensity of a talk-show host, her dad said, “No, Lilou, but we’d love to hear. What would make you happy?” She said, “A puppy!” Still the baby – for now – but it’s fleeting.

I did not see a blow-up swimming pool this weekend, but I did see bare feet. And no one caught pneumonia.

Bare feet in February!

Note:
Today is detox day: clean food, exercise and lots of water.

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.

Another One Almost Gone


grand-trio-xmas-morningMy DIL took this one.

What a nice visit with the kids (the adult ones too). The oldest grands are growing up. Sometimes it’s easier than other times to see the changes. This was one of those revelatory visits. They are in the process of baking into good people. It’s fascinating to watch.

My son got a promotion a couple of weeks ago, and that feels good. No matter the age of our children, it always feels good when they progress, reach, stretch. We still get that good feeling – like when he was ten and scored a goal. Without a doubt, it’s his accomplishment, but H and I always feel a part of it.

Last night, my son and DIL treated us to Olive Garden. I ate carbs in the form of delicious shrimp scampi. I so enjoyed it. I ate every shrimp, every strand of angel hair pasta,  and every drop of garlicy butter sauce.

I think today is their last day. They will head to my DIL’s parents’ house tomorrow afternoon. They will celebrate New Year’s together. There’s always an adjustment after they leave. The energy level drops like a dud rocket when they back out of the driveway. H and I will start removing the decorations and making way for a new year.

No snow for Christmas. It was 68º yesterday. I’m ready for hot soup and cold snow. January, what will you bring?