Bella Rum

Category: Husband

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!

Valentines and Politics (sort of)

We were in Dollar Tree for something and saw all the valentine cards, and all the people choosing valentines for their valentines. So we stood there and chose cards for each other. We are not romantic types or big on gift-giving. We’re pretty good to each other all year long… except when we’re not. With every year that passes, it’s easier to be good to each other. Egos have settled down, you finally really know each other (to the extent it’s possible to know another person), there are no trust issues. If there ever were, they’re long gone by now. We can still muster up an attitude occasionally, but it is short-lived and infrequent. H said the other night that neither of us has improved that much, we’ve just accepted each other, so each of us seems better to the other than we really are. That’s probably true. And who else is going to take us at this late date? There is that.

Can I just say, to those of you who’ve followed this blog for a few years, our practically brand spank’n new refrigerator is sick. It isn’t even two-years-old, and this is the second time we’ve had to call someone out. It’s always the ice maker. We lived in our other house thirteen years, and we had to buy three – that’s 3 – different refrigerators. One even caught fire. We always get a warranty now, so this will not cost anything other than the inconvenience. It’s definitely classified as a first world problem.

I just read this:

“The terms third-world and first-world are often potentially offensive code words. Except where their original meanings are meant, they are best avoided in formal communication and in texts meant for diverse audiences.”

What? If it’s a code word, the code is written in invisible ink for me. I cannot keep up. It originated during the cold war to describe countries aligned against the Soviet Union (NATO) and now means capitalist/wealthy countries. Right?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the definition has instead largely shifted to any country with little political risk and a well-functioning democracy, rule of law, capitalist economy, economic stability and high standard of living. Various ways in which modern First World countries are often determined include GDP, GNP, literacy rates and the Human Development Index.[1] In common usage, “First World” refers to the rich nations of the world. Source: Wikipedia

Lately our country is a teensie tiny bit questionable on one of those requirements up there: “rule of law” and maybe “well-functioning democracy” (emphasis on well-functioning). Oh lordy, I’m back to watching the news. It’s fascinating, and educational, and well, fascinating. Then there’s that Russian spy ship off the coast of Delaware.

Added Later:
I found this: “first world” or “third world” can be interpreted as xenophobic or ethnocentric because they imply third-world countries are inferior.

Good grief, I said nuclear sub… no, no, NO. Russian spy ship! That’s it.

Three Things

1. Making a new recipe and using an old but seldom used pan in a way that I don’t usually use it, I burned the dickens out of my hand. I made stuffed chicken breasts (stuffed with olives, sliced almonds, dill and goat cheese). It was pretty easy and pretty good, but… I altered the recipe a little. Following the directions, I browned them on top of the stove, but instead of doing all the cooking on top of the stove, I put the whole thing in the oven to finish it off. When they were ready, and after I plated the breasts and was almost ready to sit down to eat, without any thought, I grabbed the handle of the pan to move it. OUCH! Ouch, ouch, ouch! I held a glass of ice while I ate. I slept with my hand on a cold pack. It’s fine now, but holy moly! Not-even-bad burns hurt! (I added goat cheese to the recipe because… well, because it’s cheese, duh)

2. H was behind a car that had a couple of kids in the back seat the other day. One of the kids gave him the finger. H was on his way to Kroger, and it so happened that they were, too. He waited for them to park. A couple that was our age was with he boys, obviously their grandparents. The boys ran ahead. H approached the couple, and told the man what the kid had done. The grandfather said, “I know he did. I saw him doing it and told him to stop. I’m very sorry.” They talked a little. H said the grandmother was very nice, too. Then they moved on to do their shopping. In a little while, the grandfather and the boy found H. The grandfather said, “He has something to say to you” And then to the boy, “Don’t you?”  “Yes sir. I’m sorry, sir.” H accepted his apology and told him that it all worked out okay this time, but that he better think before doing that again, that doing it to the wrong person could get him in a lot of trouble one day.

3. I have an appointment with Cindy for a haircut later this morning. Wish me luck.

Cup of Joe

It’s almost 5:30 am. I like it when it gets to be 5:00 am. To me, it’s a measurement that marks what is truly morning. The night is returning to its place, crawling over the curve and back to the other side… for a while. More importantly, it means that H will be up in an hour and a half,  and I will smell coffee.

He almost always makes the coffee. I think that started because I didn’t drink coffee in the early years. H was the only coffee drinker in the house in those days. He drank it like it was life’s blood. I couldn’t understand it. Why would anyone drink that bitter brew on purpose?

We used to vacation in Myrtle Beach during the summer before our son was born in 1974, and for a while after. We had finished our one-week stay in our room overlooking the ocean at the Sand Castle, a brick u-shaped hotel with a courtyard and large fountain. It was a charming place, nothing like the high-rise Sand Castle that would replace it later – more rooms, more profit, less charm. It was June, and we were on our way home. We’d had good weather that week, but the temperatures suddenly dropped and the cool rains began.

We stopped for lunch. I was wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. The rains soaked me to the marrow when I ran for the restaurant. I was freezing. When the server brought H his coffee, for the first time in my life, it didn’t look so bad. I ordered a cup. I didn’t drink it black with a little sugar like he did.  I added a little sugar, and then watched as the cream turned the coffee from black to mocha. I sipped. I’ll always think it was the day, the rain, shivering in the air-conditioned restaurant, leaving the beach and returning home, but the coffee was palatable, comforting.

I don’t think much has changed about my relationship with coffee. I’m still not a hard-core coffee drinker. I’m a poser. I look forward to it, I like it, but what I really like is the moment, that coffee moment, that rich, familiar smell that wafts so easily through the early morning air, but most of all, it’s joining in the ritual with someone else. It’s the social bonding, the starting of a day or a break in an afternoon, it’s holding the warm mug in your hands. The least of it is the taste.


There are several theories about why coffee is referred to as a “cup of joe,” but these are my two faves.

  1. In 1914, Secretary of the Navy Josephus “Joe” Daniels banned alcohol from U.S. Navy ships. They were left with coffee. Referring to a cup of coffee as a “cup of joe” was a way for them to register their dislike of the ban.
  2. Joe is a term for the average man, “the average Joe.” Following World War II, “cup of joe” may have been sustained by “joes” or average guys returning from the war. In the 1940s and 1950s, average working guys who ate breakfast at diners were served ‘cups of joe.”


I managed to achieve the ubiquitous five-pound gain over the holidays. I told you my stuffing was delicious this year. That stuff kills me every year, and you must have gravy with it or what good is life? And mashed potatoes.

I got a set of hand weights and two boxes of chocolate covered cherries in my stocking. TWO! That’s what I call an incongruous pairing? I guess Santa decided I should get a little of what I wanted and a little of what I needed.

The fudge is gone, the cake is gone, the pecan pie is gone, even the black-eyed-peas we had on New Year’s Day are almost gone.

Yesterday, I started exercising again, and I returned to my reasonable, not ridiculously low, low-carb diet. I lost a pound this morning. I think this holiday weight is willing to go away quickly if I give it a little help, and I plan to do just that. The debauchery of the 2016 holidays is over.

I went to the grocery store and bought things like mushrooms, salmon, asparagus and strawberries. We had the salmon and asparagus last night. It felt good to eat a meal and not feel so so full at the end of it.

Now, about the decorations. With H’s help, I started at one end of the house – the kids’ rooms – and moved forward to the kitchen: scrubbing every flat surface along the way, removing ornaments from the window, packing up Dickens’ village, and the red place mats that I got for the holidays, vacuuming carpets, shaking throw rugs, removing linens, and returning fresh ones to the beds.

I opted to leave the tree and mantel in favor of restoring the other end of the house first. I usually take my tree down the day after the kids leave, but I’m not in a hurry this year. We’ll do it today, along with the rest of the indoor decorations. H took most of the outdoor decorations down a few days ago. Porch Pup is still wearing his Santa hat. It’s a little worse for wear. I think I’ll get him a new one next year.

The excitement has melted away. The hustle, the bustle, the crowds, and the high wire acts have all gone home. It was all so wonderful. We’re down to the behind-the-scenes work now, sweeping away the popcorn and scooping up the elephant poop. Soon we’ll be back to our dependable routine, and that’s fine by me. The party can’t go on forever. I like routine. We always seem to salvage our morning ritual, no matter what happens in our world. Even when the kids are here, we rise early, get our coffee while everyone else is sleeping, and return to the bedroom to watch the news (cooking shows nowadays). It’s a good way to start the day.

Forty percent chance of snow on Saturday.

H just got up and said he lost 2 pounds this morning. Men!

Broken Things

plumberIf you’ve read here long enough, you know it happens this way every couple of years. Visitors come or visitors are expected. One thing breaks before they arrive, another breaks after they arrive, and one or two more things break before they leave.

The coffee maker died the day before the kids arrived. There was no time to shop for another. With four coffee drinkers in the house, we pulled an older, less fancy version out of the pantry and hooked it up. The day after Christmas, my son and H, who could not wait to shop for a new one, went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and picked up another. While they were there, my son bought a new espresso machine for their family because, why? Because men are like that. When buying machines or gadgets, they know for a fact that one is good, but two are better.

On Christmas Eve, just before they arrived, the kitchen faucet started making horrid sounds. H checked below deck to see what was happening. It was leaking. He put a bucket under it, and we lived with it until today. We went to Home Depot and bought a new faucet. May as well, they already have the rest of our money. H installed it today.

The Day after Christmas, two toilets (the guest bathroom and the powder room) broke within minutes of each other – no relation to each other. This could have caused a disaster of cataclysmic proportions with five extra people in the house, but H rigged both of them to work until the troops arrived. The troops arrived today when we picked up the guts for both toilets while we were getting the new faucet. Triple play for Home Depot. Before he started on the sink, H repaired both toilets.

I don’t think I’ve left anything out. My husband is a fixer and a rigger of the highest order. If he can’t make it new again, he will make it work until new can be had. Chewing gum, twine and a battery can light an entire city for three days if he’s in the mix. If the Russians ever attack our gird, his services will be in high demand.

Can you believe tomorrow is the last day of this disturbing year? We may not be beyond repair, but we are in need of mending. Let’s hope we find a few fixers who will  help us limp along until the troops arrive.

Note: Mercury is retrograde until January 8, 2017.

Help in the Kitchen

What a difference a year makes. Last year, there was a point in preparing the meal when I got a little overwhelmed, and thought that I wasn’t going to pull it all together. I was so physically impaired, but it’s hard to give up what you’ve always done. That’s another post.

In hindsight, H realized how hard it was for me last year. He told me a couple of days before Christmas that he was going to help me in the kitchen. I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to help remove the debris of Christmas morning, do all of his usual stuff with the kids, get batteries for the lone gift we missed, etc., and still help me in the kitchen. I could tell he really wanted to make it easier, and he’s so good in the kitchen now. He knows what to do and how to do it. He was fantastic. I was tired when we sat down to eat, but it wasn’t the kind of exhaustion I felt last year. I feel so much better since the ablation. I still marvel at how well that all went.

And the stuffing was good, y’all.

After dinner, my DIL told us to take a nap, and we did. She and my son did all the dishes. I didn’t have to do a thing. I slept like a baby for an hour and a half. So did H. Then we enjoyed the evening, and everyone ate leftovers when they felt the urge. It was very informal.

My DIL said they will cook tonight or we can eat leftovers again, and they’ll cook tomorrow night. She is a very good cook. The next night we’ll do takeout. In other words, no more cooking for me. 🙂

I had the best conversations with the older grands, and the littlest one fell asleep in my arms as I sang The Ants Go Marching to her. It was a good day. I hope yours was, too.

The Making of Christmas


I’m losing track of days. They’re flying by. We’ve been busy, busy, busy. This weekend we knocked out the decorating. I thought we were practically done. I can hang a wreath on the door, the stockings on the mantel, decorate the tree and call it done, but H was in the spirit, and he wanted to do more and then some more. Who can resist someone who’s in the mood?

Boxes everywhere, and I do mean everywhere, open, spilling over on the floor, stacked, uncontained, ribbons, Santas, candles, bright papers and faux sprigs of pine and berries, enough to smear Christmas from sea to shining sea. I was in the middle of making a wreath, because H had dragged me into the spirit, and that’s when the text came. H’s cousin texted to say she was in town, and would like to drop off the cake container that I’d left at her house… and to see our house… for the first time.


H said about the mess, “She won’t care.” “No, but I will.” So there we are. That’s me. I’d like for my house to look nice and somewhat clean when someone sees it for the first time and is going in every room… and even peeking in a closet… maybe… cringe. And I’d like for there to be no bras hanging in the laundry room because I don’t put my bras in the dryer (they last longer).

My mother called it, “putting on the dog.” Getting all spruced up when someone is coming to visit. At least the first time they visit. You grill steak instead of hotdogs. You wear your blouse without the stains. You vacuum the dog hairs off the couch. Well, I did the best I could to make things presentable, at least not hazardous, and I made some tuna fish salad for sandwiches and pulled a container of homemade vegetable beef soup out of the freezer, and we all had a good time. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, even if it kills you. 🙂 


Do my photos appear too large?

As for the decorations, it’s all pretty now. Most of the boxes are hidden in closets, and the rest will soon join them. H is so excited for Lilou to see Dickens’ Village. He just knows it will be the memory she keeps till she’s 85, the thing she’ll tell her kids and grandkids about. When you boil it down to a nub, that’s what it’s about.

H wrapped garlands with lights around the railings on the front steps and around the lamppost. The man cannot stop. He loves it. The wreath is on the door, the tree is up, Dickens’ Village is alive and well once again, the Porch Pup guards the front door, the stockings are hung, and the mantel is cuter than ever with a couple of stuffed mice wearing dresses – one with earmuffs and one with a whimsical hat. Another Christmas has been made. It’s only waiting for kids to arrive and make it real.


Bella does not like to be caught with her pants down.