Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Husband

Here to Stay

New Year’s Eve 1990. Get a load of H’s glasses and my hair? And who is that on my sweater. I bet that was a Marshall’s purchase.

Today is our 48th anniversary. Can that be so? Where did it all go? It’s been quite a ride, but it doesn’t seem that much time could have passed. We married after only a short time – three months… almost. We were young and had unrealistic expectations, but somehow we fumbled our way along until we learned a few things about each other and ourselves. We had a lot of growing to do, and I’m glad we grew together and not apart.

In forty-eight years, we’ve seen a lot of changes, except for one thing. He still leaves his stacks of crap all over the place. Even at this late date, we’re still working on that one, which is silly. If I could talk to my younger self, I’d say, “No matter what you hear about how everything changes, don’t believe it. Some things never change, like that one thing he will do that will drive you up the wall. But you will learn it’s a small price to pay. You will have happy times, sad times, even tragic times, you will share a child and grandchildren, there will be joy, illness, loss, and responsibilities that will overwhelm both of you at times. He will be the only person who is there every step of the way. And he will make you laugh when you don’t think you will ever laugh again. You have found a man who will stick when times get rough. And he will install a new garbage disposal when your old one breaks. So stop bitching about his piles of crap. Just show it to the internet.”

My office before H moved into it

Our office this morning

Here’s where I should insert some awful habit of mine, but I can’t think of a single one. Fancy that.

He woke to go to the bathroom around 2:30 am. When he came back to bed, he reached out and said, “Happy anniversary.” As we get older and face the unpredictable changes that come with this time of life, there is no one I’d rather be with. I’m so glad we didn’t screw this up.

Remember this song?

(Ira Gershwin / George Gershwin)

It’s very clear, our love is here to stay

Not for a year but ever and a day

The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know

May just be passing fancies and in time may go

But oh, my dear, our love is here to stay

Together we’re going a long, long way

In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble

They’re only made of clay

But our love is here to stay



Dentophobia, Chilopodophobia and Glossophobia


H is getting a root canal as I write this. I’m glad it isn’t me. I need medication just to get through the door of a dentist’s office. I’m not prone to phobias, but my dentist phobia is crippling. What I would give to overcome it. I’ve yet to find a dentist who can anesthetize my back molars. I’ve been told that the nerves are in the wrong place. I did find an endodontist (root canal specialist) who managed to get my tooth numb before proceeding with the root canal. She shot the hell out of me. It was great. She was great. She talked to her assistant all through the procedure about energy drinks, local theater, restaurants, her husband and her kids. I love entertainment while anesthetized.

After once telling a dentist about my issue, he swore that he would have no problem getting the tooth numb. Even when I told him other dentists had failed, he boldly insisted he could do what no man had done before. He oozed confidence. The whole scene was unattractive for everyone concerned. He couldn’t get the tooth numb, and I ended up screaming like a nutcase and forcibly pulling his hand out of my mouth. It was ugly. I don’t like ugly. I had to allow him to finish. I couldn’t walk out of there with my tooth in that condition. It was horrible, but not the first time or the last. I have a tooth that needs some help right now. It’s a back molar.

I read that 75% of our population is afraid of dentists. I don’t know the study, but I believe it. H is in the 25%. He doesn’t mind visiting the dentist at all. He falls asleep in the dentist’s chair. Seriously. Who does that? He once fell asleep during a root canal. The dentist asked me if he was really that laid back or if he was working on a heart attack. I told him he was really that laid back. The man can sleep anywhere. He attributes this to Vietnam, where he says he learned to sleep when time was available.

I think I’m going to try a dentist who uses sedation.

Another subject that I don’t like.



I’m a little afraid of centipedes, too. Mostly because they skitter across the floor too fast for me to get out of their way. They’ve been known to reach speeds of 16 inches per second. I swear mine are faster than that, but I’d rather allow a hundred of them to crawl over me than go to the dentist. So there’s some perspective for you.

We have centipedes in the bathroom. I’ve mentioned this before. H found some great poison that’s effective for months after only one spray around the bathroom, and it has no smell after just a little while. I’m sure it’s toxic, but… One thing in the homely centipede’s favor, he’s an insectivore. They eat spiders, cockroaches, and other nuisance insects. So that’s a good thing, right? But I don’t care. I hate them more than spiders. One good thing to know: they are prone to dehydration, and using a dehumidifier could help reduce the population. Worth a try. The good thing about November is that centipedes disappear until spring.

Oh, and sometimes they care for their young. Sweet.

Still hate ’em.


I also hate public speaking. I’ve written speeches for others, but I will not give them, not even when the cause is dear to my heart. All of the anxiety symptoms arise if I have to speak publicly: sweaty palms, icy hands, racing heart, trembling. Again, I’d rather let centipedes crawl all over me.

What about you?

What are you afraid of?



Pruning and Bargain Hunting

Yesterday, H wanted to revisit the limbing up of the crepe myrtle. Then he wanted to go to Crystal’s to get some limbs that fell from her pecan tree, and take the whole mess to the dump.

He did the pruning; I did the highly sensitive work of “suggesting” which limbs he should prune, and dragging the limbs away and stacking them. After I scratched the heck out of my hands, I found some gardening gloves.

I was going for the umbrella-look, but I think it may look more like a lady getting air blown up her skirt.  Many crepes have attractive bark and interesting trunks. I like to expose them. They’re beautiful. So what do you think? An umbrella or does she look a little vulnerable?

When we got to Crystal’s, H decided to replace another landscape timber along her driveway. He does one every time we go over there. I went inside, but I didn’t read my book. I watched the news instead. I couldn’t stop myself. It’s like watching news about another country, another planet. I keep thinking, this isn’t us. Right?

Crystal has recently nudged H into bargain hunting: sales, coupons, etc. Especially groceries. Bargain hunting is her avocation. She’s a single woman with a mortgage and only one salary. She’s careful with money, and is obsessed with a good deal. On the other hand, H has always compared prices online for big purchases, and he might read the grocery store flyers occasionally, but endless perusal of sales and coupons in the paper and online coupon hunting have never been his thing, but yesterday, he went to the grocery store and came home waving his receipt in the air like a kid with his first sports trophy. He spent a little over $80 and got $25 off, and it was all stuff we normally use. Nothing weird. I was impressed. My only caution: don’t use a coupon to buy something you don’t really need.


Day Trip, Lunch, Toothache

H and I have different doctors, but both of them are in the same office. We stopped by Wednesday morning so I could get lab work, and H could get his flu shot. As I was leaving the lab, I caught only a snippet of a conversation. A woman was holding forth to everyone in the waiting room, “And after three months of marriage, I was out of there. And now, 22 years later…” And that’s all I caught. I wanted to go back, take a seat, and listen to the rest of the story. Can you imagine telling your business in a waiting room filled to the brim with people? Not me. But I’ll listen if anyone wants to spill.

We finished before 9:30 a.m. and were on our way home. It was a dazzling, sunny, 75ºF fall day, and we decided to seize it. We took a short day trip to a small, historic town about 45 minutes from us. We did a little shopping and wandering and then ate lunch in the center of town. We both got the special: squash soup and a very small grilled beef and provolone sandwich. It was tasty and plenty for me, but that sandwich was only an appetizer for H.I forgot to take the photo before I bit into my sandwich. I should lose my blogger’s license for that.

Look at that spoon. It was too big for the bowl. I had to take it out and rest it on the plate in between bites.

That night, H woke in the middle of the night with a toothache. When he called his dentist’s office the next morning (yesterday), she gave him an afternoon appointment. A few weeks ago, she filled the tooth next to the tooth that is now bothering him. She said that it was a very large filling, and it “stirred up” the tooth that is now hurting. She gave him an antibiotic, and told him that he needs a root canal. She caused it and will now charge him to fix it, but she really had no choice but to fill the other tooth.

While H was waiting for the dentist, a man finished the newspaper and offered it to him. H said, “No thanks.” The man said, “I know. It’s all bad.”

Question: What could be worse than waiting in a dentist’s office? Answer: Reading the paper while waiting in a dentist’s office.

Bella Rum only spills to the entire internet.


A Nice Couple

Yesterday we ran some errands and did a little shopping in odd places. We didn’t buy anything of consequence. Then we went to lunch.

When H and I were at Goodwill – after going up and down a few aisles – a woman approached us and said, “You two make a nice couple.” I said, “Well, thank you.” She said, “No, really. You’re very good together.” We talked a few minutes and went on our way. I said, “Wasn’t that sweet.” H said, “She probably saw me grab your butt.” I said, “I’m just glad she didn’t see us at the deli the time you let that woman slice the salami too thick.”

She would have come away with a different perspective if she’d seen us on salami day. It’s impossible to judge anyone’s relationship in its totality when you only get a snippet. Heck, it’s hard for us to judge our own relationships when we’re in the thick of it. What woman knows if her 28-year-old husband will help her take care of her aging father thirty years later? Only years later can one look back and get a feel for how it all went: the good and the bad of it, the highs and lows of it, the stand-by-me-through-thick-and-thin of it.

When H and I were hanging pictures at my niece’s house, she said something very similar. After hanging a grouping on a wall, which required some effort to get everything just right, she said, ” I could hear you guys in the other room. You work well together and you’re so funny.”

This all reminded me of a documentary I saw about a hundred years ago. Psychologists claimed they could predict the potential success or failure of a marriage by observing couples as they tackled complicated tasks or projects together. It was interesting, but I think H and I would have been judged as “doomed to fail” back then. We’ve learned to co-operate… mostly, but not always. There are plenty of times when we still butt heads. I assume the couples who worked together smoothly on their projects did well in marriage, but maybe not. What do I know? Maybe the couples who co-operated and completed their projects without too much conflict bored each other to death after two years of marriage, and went looking for someone who would challenge them.

I do believe you can learn a lot about a relationship when people have to work together toward a common goal. Mostly about how they disagree with one another: do they do it respectfully, do they degrade their mate or bully their mate. But people change, grow, learn to work together, or not. I think common values are probably a better indicator of potential marital bliss than being able to complete a task without strangling your partner when you’re 25. Of course, it helps if he gets the salami sliced thin enough.

Myrtle, Carb Bloat and Implant Boy


That’s our Myrtle in the front yard. It’s in its second bloom this summer. In January – when it isn’t in bloom – I hold forth on how and why we should prune it back: it was planted too close to the maple, just a few snips here and there. Then summer comes again, it blooms, the heart goes pitter-patter, and commitment wanes.

The Bloat

I’m not complaining or explaining, but I’m bloated with carbs. I admit that pretty much covers complaining and explaining. It is H’s fault, and I will not be moved from that declaration. He had to eat soft foods because of the implant, so that automatically meant that I had to eat soft foods. What is soft food? Pasta. Pasta is soft food. And so is a creamy broccoli-cheddar soup with a roux so smooth it slides down like liquid silk, not to mention that pulled pork tangent we went on. We are out of control in this house. I used to laugh at people who told me they felt bloated when they ate carbs. This week will not include: pasta, lazing on the couch with a book and a hubs that must stay still… or getting on a SCALE. No one wants me to shoot myself. Maybe a few people, but they don’t count.

Painkiller Recipe

H did beautifully with this implant business. He’s done it so many times, he’s a cottage industry all on his own. He breezes through these things like he was born to do it. I would still be making an ugly scene: fetal position, clenching pillow, low mournful moaning, occasionally high pitched. Why bother with these things if you can’t get some sympathy?  The dentist told him to try Ibuprofen and Tylenol. He said that Tylenol is wimpy, but when taken (short-term) in between doses of Ibuprofen, it makes a darn good painkiller. H did that for the first and second day and never felt a thing. The dentist gave him a script for hydrocodone “just in case,” but he never needed it. The boy aces this stuff.

This is what happens when we get old. We’re reduced to bragging about our recuperations. He gets bragging rights in this house.





H Gets Another Implant

H got another dental implant this morning. I’ve lost count of how many this makes. The appointment was at 7:30 a.m. We were home by 9:15, and that included a stop at the grocery store for soft, fatty foods for him. I was stocked with soft foods, but I thought of broccoli-cheddar soup, and a baked potato with butter and cheese and maybe sour cream (the doc said fatty).

He slept in the car while I went in the store. I was only in there a few minutes, but I thought about how you’re not supposed to leave your pets or children in the car on hot days. What about a drugged-out-of-his-gourd husband? When I returned, he was sleeping like a baby, but not unconscious, panting or sweating profusely. The police were not called, and I didn’t go to jail. All in all, things worked out well.

This implant is the third thing he’s scheduled in a month. Remember the two MOHS surgeries? The first MOHS surgery hadn’t even healed before he got the second one. I had no idea he was scheduling like this until we were in the midst of it all. It’s kind of like a roller coaster. Once you’re on the ride, there’s no getting off. He said he wanted to get it all over with. He promised me that this was the end of any appointments that involve cutting, stitching, extracting or implanting. Of course, he was under the influence of drugs when he said that.

I texted my son a photo of his dad with a plastic zip bag filled with crushed ice that was shoved inside a lady’s stocking and tied around his head.

Son: Expletive!!! (one that mother’s don’t allow)

Son: At least the black eye is mostly gone

Me: I know. He’s sleeping… probably for the rest of the afternoon. He made all these appointments a week or two apart. I didn’t know until they started.

Son: LOL Yeah, sounds like him. An efficient sadist he is. Or is it masochist? He enjoys efficiently hurting himself.

Me: Masochists like to inflict pain on themselves or for others to do it. Sadists like to inflict pain on others. Dad’s a masochist. I’m a sadist.

Son: Now I will NEVER forget.

Me: I will be sharing this text.

Son: 🙂

Why fatty foods? The doctor said that fatty foods release endorphins that make us feel good, and it will probably help him with the pain. Or maybe make him feel good about the pain?? I don’t remember them telling me that on any of the half-dozen other implants he’s gotten, but I realized immediately the truth in that. Who doesn’t know that mashed potatoes and gravy make you feel good, and  ice cream and chocolate pudding.

Fat + Sugar = HAPPINESS.

He has enough implants in his mouth to buy a new car, but they are great, better than real teeth. I comfort myself with that when I look at the bill. The dentist said he needs a night guard. He said, “I told him that before, but he didn’t tell you, did he?” Nope. He said, “He won’t remember any of this. Tell him he promised you a new car.” The new car is in his mouth, Doc.

Obesity and a Weird Text

This is what I find every morning when I flip open my chair. A little Carolina Wren likes to hang out there at night and chow down on sunflower seeds. Maybe he’s the one who pooped on me twice this week. Good luck, don’t cha know?

Yesterday, H had his second Mohs surgery, and hopefully the last for a while. There’s a second waiting room where, after their surgery, the patients wait while the doctor checks the removed tissue to make sure she’s gotten all the basal cells. That’s where I wait for H. A half-dozen men were in there. Not a single female patient. Men are more likely to get skin cancer than women, but usually there’s at least one woman.

On the way home, H asked, “Did you notice that all those men…” I finished his sentence, “Were overweight?” He said, “Yes, they were huge.” And they were. They were all about H’s age, and they were startlingly overweight. Their legs were too large to keep them closed. Their shorts were tight, and everything was on display. H said he didn’t notice that. 🙂 A couple of them couldn’t fill out their forms by holding the clipboard on their laps because they didn’t have laps. They had to lean over to the table at the end of the couch. It was awkward for them. One man was panting after taking only a couple of steps. I’ve never seen so many people struggling with obesity in one place. You would have thought we were in a bariatrician’s (healthcare provider specializing in obesity) waiting room. Obesity is an epidemic in this country.

I got a weird text last night. This entire text is his.  I did not text back. I hit delete, but only after sharing it with you.

Messaging on this thing is a pain in the ass.

Let me tell you a few things about myself so you can decide if you want to run.

I only drink when the time calls for it. Used to drink a lot back in the day, but not really my thing anymore. I do smoke cigs, but would love to quit so just give me a reason. I do smoke weed but only at the very end of the night after my day is over. I’m self-employed HVAC and I have two big dogs that are sweet as can be so you must like big dogs.

Oh and I’m 5’9 1/2

F*#k wrong person.

I do like big dogs. That’s a place to start. Right?

My niece’s closing is today. We’re meeting her at the house after the closing. There will be wine and cheese to celebrate. I’m so happy for her.

The Kids and Update on H’s Mohs Surgery

Let me take care of some leftover business first. I forgot that I’d even taken a photo of the Mediterranean Baked Chicken recipe that I wrote about in the last post. This is what it looks like. I also forgot to mention that I substituted halved chicken breasts for chicken thighs. I don’t think I could make it as a food blogger. 😦 It’s a good thing I don’t mind sharing my business. I wouldn’t have anything to write about.


My “adult” kids are in New Orleans, my son and his wife. The grands are at their other grandmother’s house. My DIL texted me a photo of my son standing on a bus. She said that he gave up his seat. I guess this has become a family thing. His father never sits when a lady is standing, so neither does my son. He ran into a bit of a problem when he was working in NYC. When on the subway, he would always offer his seat to any lady who got on after all the seats were taken, but he said they sometimes looked a little skeptical. 🙂 I guess it’s a Southern thing, or maybe an old-school thing, or maybe it’s just a NYC thing.

We’re reading Lisa Gardner. Have your read her? We’re on the Tessa Leoni series. Really good.

H had his Mohs surgery on Thursday. The doctor got everything on the first try, and made a nice and clean closure. He has to get another basal cell removed on Wednesday. His doctor is fantastic.  His face has been carved up so much, but you can’t tell. Impressive. It takes about three hours because after the doctor removes the offending tissue but before she closes, you wait while she checks the removed tissue to make sure it’s clean around the edges. If it’s clean on the first try, she closes and you go home. If it’s not, she takes some more tissue, and you wait some more while she checks it again. It’s a long process.

It’s hot and humid today. You feel sticky as soon as you step out the door. It’s as if someone gave the Weather Gods a calendar, and said, “Look, it’s July.”

June was beautiful. I miss you, June.

Mohs Surgery and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Mediterranean Baked Chicken Recipes

H’s regular dermatologist removed several basal cell carcinomas (BCC) for him a couple of weeks ago, but he has to have Mohs surgery to remove two more from his face later this week. This is an ongoing project. They will continue to pop up as long as he lives. I can’t believe I haven’t had this problem. I grew up on the beach, water skiing, swimming and on boats every summer, and I’m a redhead. Okay. I used to be a redhead.

I tried two new recipes this week, both winners. I adapted each of them only a little, but I’ve made links to the originals. One was stuffed pork tenderloin from Chaos in the Kitchen. I got the tenderloin on a special for only a few bucks. I would show you a pic, but mine turned out a bit messy. The stuffing was falling out all over the place. I made a little too much of it, but it tasted great. I altered the recipe a little, sautéing the spinach with garlic before stuffing the loin. I also altered the time, because it needed a little more cooking. I should have used my thermometer.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

• 1 pork tenderloin
• 1 oz dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped
• 3 cups fresh spinach, washed, dried and sautéed with 1 clove of minced garlic in a small amount of olive oil
• 4 oz goat cheese
• 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 sautéed with spinach, 1 for stuffing)
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted about 5 minutes @ 350F
• 1 tsp rosemary, minced
• 1 tsp thyme leaves, minced
• zest of one lemon
• salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup basil pesto
• 2 tbsp oil or butter
• 1 tbsp honey
1 Preheat oven to 400 F.
2 Cut a deep slit lengthwise on the tenderloin from end to end without going all the way through.  Open the tenderloin and pound out as flat as possible.
3 Sauté 1 clove garlic in a little olive oil for 1 minute. Add prepared spinach and sauté until wilted: about 1 to 2 minutes.
4 Combine mushrooms and next 10 ingredients (including spinach) in a bowl.  Spread mixture over pounded tenderloin and roll.  Tie with kitchen string.
5 In an oven safe heavy skillet, heat oil or butter and honey over medium heat until browning but not burnt.
6 Brown tenderloin on all sides.
7 Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 30 more minutes.
TIP: You can make the stuffing ahead so preparation goes faster at dinnertime.

The second one was Mediterranean Baked Chicken from The Clever Carrot. Don’t you love that name? It was easy as pie and very tasty. I changed the time on this one because I like the veggies a little more done. I also added a red bell pepper to the vegetable combo and some whole Kalamata olives in addition to the chopped ones. I also think eggplant would be good in this. This recipe is pretty healthy. Bonus.


• 1x 14 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, juice only
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped
• 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
• 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
• reserved artichoke hearts
• 1x 14 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
• ¼ c. roughly chopped Kalamata olives and some more whole
• 1x 8 oz. tub marinated bocconcini (mini-mozzarella balls), drained
• salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ c. roughly chopped parsley
• 2 tbsp. basil leaves, cut into ribbons
Kitchen Notes:

Save extra artichoke juice to drizzle over the finished dish for flavor.

You will need a roasting pan at least 13½ x 11 inches or larger.


Swap mozzarella for crumbled feta and can add bell peppers or mushroom, etc.

Use cannellini or Great Northern beans.