Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Husband

…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.

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.

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.

The Blue Apron Experience

The Arrival

Our Blue Apron adventure arrived on our doorstep in a big box on Friday afternoon. It contained three meals. An ice blanket was in the bottom of the box, and the ingredients were on top. We chose Creamy Red Rice & Cauliflower Casserole (with spinach and rosemary) for our first meal.

As a main course, the portion size was just enough for two people, but H wasn’t going to eat only a meatless casserole for dinner, so we added some leftover salmon from the fridge to the meal, and served the casserole as a side dish. That way we had leftovers. We both liked it very much, and it was a nice complement to the salmon.

The Ingredients

Everything you will need to make your meal is in the box. Everything was fresh and beautiful, all tip-top quality.  I will say that the ingredients are meticulously measured. Someone is watching the bottom line. Nothing is wasted. That’s for sure. The way they packaged and labeled the ingredients cracked me up. There was an itty-bitty packet of red pepper flakes, and the smallest head of cauliflower I’ve ever seen. H laughed at the cauliflower, saying he didn’t know a head of cauliflower could be that small, but it turned out to be just the right amount for the recipe.

I helped with some of the prep, but H did most of the work. When the dish came out of the oven, everything was balanced: the flavors, the texture, the portions. And why don’t I use rosemary more often? More herbs in general?

Blue Apron’s Photo of Creamy Red Rice & Cauliflower Casserole (with spinach and rosemary)

How it Works

The kids gave H a gift certificate that was enough for six meals for two people. You choose three meals per week, and your box of goodies magically appears on your doorstep on the agreed upon day. If you’re going on vacation, or for any reason don’t want to receive your meals on your chosen date, you can skip to the next week with (I think) 6-days’ notice. Nutritional facts, and directions with colorful pictures on how to prepare your meal are included so you can make your recipe again with your own ingredients. H says he may do an extra one or two because it was fun.  As some of you have said in the comments, it is expensive, and when they say “for two” they mean it, no leftovers.

All in All

I view Blue Apron more as a creative gift idea for a special person, or maybe a splurge for yourself, but not as a regular way of getting your dinner. It’s too expensive (we were lucky to get to try this for free :)). I enjoy gifts like this, gifts that are experiences more than things that end up in landfills, or something you have to store, or a sweater that’s the wrong size. Books (audible now) and tickets to a play are great (both of which the kids have given us); I keep thinking about golf lessons for H. When the experience is over, you still have a fun memory. And it’s a bonus when someone gives you a gift that you enjoy, but would never get for yourself. This is that kind of gift. It definitely beats plaid Bermuda shorts. It takes a little time and a few steps: chopping, sautéing, boiling, grating. Not bad really, but it’s for people who like to cook. If that’s not you, order take-out or give a gift certificate to a restaurant. My only problem with it is that it’s pricy, and I hate for the kids to spend so much on us. Bottom line: this was fun, the food was tasty, it’s a unique and tailor-made gift for the right person… and it has a beat you can dance to!

Taxes and Food Talk

It’s raining and the windows are open from the tops so I can hear it. I love the sound of rain.

H does the taxes. He finished and filed them on Tuesday. In the past, there have been times when tax time was a thorny issue for us: him because he likes to procrastinate, and me because I want it over and done. He likes things open-ended, and I like things completed, finalized. Both Myers & Briggs say so. Neither is necessarily bad, just different. I respect deadlines. To H, deadlines are only a suggestion. He wants to explore all his options before finalizing anything. I’ll never forget – before filing online was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye – the time that H and I waited in a long line of cars outside the post office on April 15 to hand off our taxes to a post office person as we drove by… only minutes before midnight. He said, “See. On time.” Well, this year’s taxes have been filed well before the deadline, and everyone can relax… um, that would be me. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that H was never not relaxed.

I’ve nested the past couple of days. I did tons of laundry. I stripped beds, washed sheets and towels, and clothes, etc. I dusted, cleaned bathrooms and deep cleaned the kitchen, and scurried  all over this place doing this and that. I seldom do all that at once, and I don’t always love it, but I still get in the mood once in a while. It feels good to get everything just right in your house. I kind of enjoy puttering around and fussing with this or that, and I’m too cheap to pay someone to do it, but I will gladly do that when the time comes.

The kids gave H Blue Apron for his birthday. They send everything needed for your chosen meals – vegetables, meat, pasta, herbs, etc – and the instructions for preparation.  The kids know H is a budding chef. He has such enthusiasm for it. I’ve never had the love for cooking that my mother, father and siblings have/had. They were all good cooks, my mother and brother the best of the lot. But now that H enjoys it so much, I enjoy being in the kitchen a lot more than I ever have. It’s more entertainment than work for me now. We’ve already chosen our meals, and I just got an email from Blue Apron reminding me that our first dinner will arrive today. I’m interested to see how this turns out.

My son cooked H’s birthday meal. I was impressed. I honestly didn’t know he could do all that. I should have known, huh? But H and I usually do the cooking. He has grilled for us before, but there was all kinds of goodness in this meal. He grilled rib eye steaks, sweet potatoes, a mixture of vegetables: red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. Then, separately, he made the most delicious mushrooms drizzled with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and herby yumminess. H is going to make those again. Men love to grill, don’t they? And I say, have at it! I’ll do my part: eat and gush appropriately.

When the kids were here last weekend, I dreamed that my DIL was pregnant. After they got home, she texted me that she felt nauseous all the way home. The power of suggestion is a mighty thing… or…

A Sign

H is officially a septuagenarian now. I told him that 70 is the  official cut-off date for climbing ladders, trees and traipsing around on rooftops. This cracked my son up. Men love it when another man’s wife “nags” him – even when it’s his own father. Of course, we all know, H will not listen to me.  His compromise: he will cut the dead limb out of the big maple in the front yard when I’m not home, “so it won’t bother you.”

We enjoyed a beautiful day on Monday. We drove about an hour to a small seaside town, ate a delicious seafood meal with a water view, drove around the town a bit and returned home. Such a simple thing, but very enjoyable.

I was in the grocery store the other day, looking for the Honey Nut Cheerios box. I wanted to see if there were boxes still on the shelf featuring Buzz on the box. Cheerios pulled their mascot Buzz the Bee to bring attention to the rapidly collapsing population of bees. Our tiny, little bees work hard for us in a huge way by pollinating 35% of the world’s food supply. Due to parasites, pesticides and habitat loss, they are struggling. This year, a bee species in the US was declared endangered. That’s a first.

So I was looking for the box when a woman on the same aisle said, “Here it is. He’s still on this box.” We chatted about the bees and their troubles for a minute, and I started on my way when she said, “It’s a sign, you know.” I quickly said, “Yes” and kept walking. Then with an all-knowing tone and louder, “It’s a sign, you know.” Uh, huh. Got it. To make sure I didn’t forget, for the rest of the day, H kept reminding me, “It’s a sign, you know.”

The sad truth is that it is “a sign.” A sign that we’re all going to be hungry if we can’t help Buzz and his friends. I’ve listed ten things that we can do to help bees. We may not be able to do all ten things, but maybe there’s one thing each of us can do. There’s a link at the bottom that will give more details.

Ten Things We can do to Help Bees

  1. Plant a bee-friendly wildflower and flowering herb garden in your yard.
  2. Weeds can be a good thing.
  3. Don’t use chemicals and pesticides in your yard.
  4. Buy local raw honey.
  5. Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of water outside your home.
  6. Buy local organic food.
  7. Learn how to be a beekeeper with sustainable practices.
  8. Understand that honey bees aren’t out to get you.
  9. Share solutions with others in your community.
  10. Let congress know what you think.

Learn more at Queen of the Sun

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.

About H and His New Doctor

H’s doctor appointment was yesterday. She was pleased with him, and said that he started her day right. She told him to go forth and tell everyone he knows to reduce their carbs. Ha! AND she told him he was in “better shape” than most men younger than him. He enjoyed that. She also told him that now his numbers were better than most men his age. So! I’m feeling like I got a really good deal on a used car.

H was in “good shape” body-wise before he lost weight except for his middle. Like most men, all of his “extra” weight was in the middle. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the best thing I ever did for him was give him Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo VHS tape (replaced by a DVD at some point) back in the late 1980s. When he was in his early forties, he started doing it four or five times a week and never stopped. It’s the “never stopped” part that’s important. If he had stopped, I doubt he’d ever be able to do it now. He also does negative pull-ups for muscle tone, and they really work. Now he’s talking about joining a gym.

I think his new doctor has gotten him “all pumped up” (said with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent). He had a male doctor for years, but he’s on the board at the hospital and decided to go full-time into administration. So H just started with this new doctor – in the same practice – last year. She is all about keeping him fit. I think she inspires him, and I think some of that has to do with the fact that she’s a she. 🙂 Seriously, they do have a good rapport, and seem to like each other. I’m for anything that will keep him healthy. He turns 70 in a few weeks. So the next ten years are important. Heck, all the years are important.

Note: Holy cow!!!! I searched for Tae Bo on this blog to see what I’d written about it in the past, and I cannot even tell you what I found. Okay, I’ll tell you. In a post I wrote a few years ago, I linked to a Tae Bo video. I clicked on it, assuming it was a video of Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo, but it went to a site with a disgusting video, selling things I’d never heard about. I now realize how sheltered I am. Now it’s in my brain. Can’t get that stuff out once it’s in there. Think of kittens, buttercups and fresh spring mornings. Nope. Still there. Sunday School, baby smell, puppies. Nope. Still there. Needless to say, I broke the link. I don’t want that stuff in your head. I hope none of you have ever clicked on it. I wonder how that happened? Any ideas? Can links change like that? Could I possibly have linked to that? I can’t imagine linking to something I hadn’t checked.

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!