Bella Rum

Life on the Pasture

Category: Marriage

Still Not Dead Again

H is a country music fan. I’m not a huge fan, but I love me some Willie Nelson tunes. We took the car in for its 30,000-mile checkup and an oil change. As I waited for H, Elvis sang Always on My Mind.  When H came back, I told him what I’d been listening to. Then it went like this:

Me: Willie had a hit with Always on My Mind, too?

H: Oh, I forgot to tell you. Willie died.

Me: (shocked) What? Willie died and you forgot to tell me? How could you forget?

H: I don’t know. I just forgot.

Me: Really?!

H: Yeah. It happens.

Me: Come on.

H: Oh, wait. I’m not sure.

Me: What do you mean… you’re not sure?

H: Maybe I dreamed it.

Me: Are you messing with me?

H: No. Now I’m pretty sure I dreamed it. I think I dreamed that I got a text, a FOX news alert.

Me: Are you kidding? You never remember your dreams! (and you don’t even watch FOX)

H: No, no. I’m pretty sure I dreamed it.

Can you believe this guy? I quickly asked my friend, Bubba Google, and he said that H dreamed it. The great Willie Nelson survives, however, there have been many reports of his demise. Hoaxes. He even wrote a song about it, Still Not Dead. I’m pretty sure H is the source of the rumors.

Willie singing Still Not Dead


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.

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.

Losing Your Bag and Your Hairstylist

img_1881Frosty Pasture at Sunrise

H is outside with the guy from our irrigation system company. Even though he called them one-and-a-half months ago, this was the earliest appointment he could get. The past three nights have fallen below freezing. Now we know; make the appointment in late August next year.

Even though our nights have gotten colder, our days have been pure splendor. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant a few days ago, and I could hardly believe it was warm enough to eat on their patio. After all, it is late November, but was a perfect day. While I was sitting there, I noticed a car pulling out of the parking lot. The driver’s purse was sitting on top of the car. I actually stood up and started to wave my arms, but it was too late. She was gone. Dollars to a donut that she had a couple of kids in the backseat. They can make you forget anything. When my son was little, I lost a diaper bag that way. It was a good bag, too. When I realized it was gone, I went back to look for it, but it was gone. C’est la vie.

We went to Williamsburg last Friday. After a very short time at the outlets, we opened the sunroof and drove down the Colonial Parkway. It’s a beautiful drive anytime of year, but it’s especially pretty in the fall. What a nice day it was.

We’re puzzling again. This one is “Tis the Season” by Cobble Hill. Now we’re working on “Snow Bird.”

I like my hairstylist very much, not only because she does a good job, but she’s a very nice person. Even though it’s a bit of a drive, I enjoy the small, historical town where it’s located, and the entire experience of the shop with its friendly people, tall, original tin ceilings and antique furnishings and hardwood floors, but… On my last visit, when the woman at the check-out desk handed me my charge slip, I noticed a $14 increase. There have been increases over the few years I’ve gone there, but really? I thought there was a mistake. I asked if it was correct, and she said that the increase had taken place a few days before. I guess I’ll look for a new hairstylist who’s closer to my house. Losing your hairstylist is almost as bad as losing your purse.

Conversation with H

Bella: When you look at me, I think I’m beautiful. Then I look in the mirror.

H: Don’t look in the mirror.

The Most Important Day of the Year

H and I are married 47 years today. We usually celebrate our anniversary quietly, and this year will be no different. He’s at the grocery store buying ingredients for a pot of chili. We’ll make it this afternoon. It isn’t exactly on our diet, but it’s our anniversary and election day. I figure that chili is versatile enough to work for celebration or consolation. You never know when you may need both.

I always love election day. I’ve decided to feel good about the process today. It’s taken a beating lately, but no matter eleventh-hour FBI announcements, accusations of “rigging” or attempts of an external entity to influence our election, the process will go forward. This evening, when the eyes of the world turn toward us, H and I will be settling down in front of the television with steaming bowls of chili. There’s nothing better than watching your vote be counted except believing that it counts.

The Home Stretch


Our Youngest on Halloween

I can hear H moving the ladder around and climbing up on the roof. If we ever divorce, it will not be about another woman, it will be about that ladder and his penchant for high places. He’s cleaning the leaves that gather in the many angles of this roof. It’s a handsome roof with lots of interest, but those angles are excellent leaf-catchers.

I’ve heard so many metaphors over this past year. Some of them were incredibly descriptive and accurate and even funny. I wish I’d written some of them down. I heard one this morning. It’s graphic but accurate. I’m paraphrasing. — This last week of the race is like one long, dry heave. We’ve vomited almost all the disgusting stuff up, and there’s nothing left but the heave.

Have you ever heard that we get the leaders we deserve? We choose them to represent us. They come from our ranks. We educate them, grow them, nurture them, foster their ideas, beliefs, and choices. They are us. God, I hate being one of those old people who talks about the decline of our national moral fiber. I’m not a negative person. Really. I only want you to be prepared for the water pressure to drop on November 9 when we all take that collective shower.

Now let me tell you something that isn’t tragic. I recently figured out that I’m allergic to kiwi fruit. My ears itch after I eat it. Is that the silliest thing? It’s only a few minutes and not bad enough that I would refuse to eat it under any circumstances, but I probably won’t put it in my fruit salad anymore.

The Grand Trio is coming this weekend. There’s nothing like innocence to make a body believe in possibility.

Traffic and Errands and Shopping. Oh, My!

I got my hair cut yesterday. Then we ran errands, made returns, got stuck in traffic and bought one stocking stuffer. We stopped by Sam’s for almonds and walnuts and then Jo-Ann Fabric. I got needles and a threader for the blind. Remember these. Even I can thread a needle with this little guy. needlethreader

What a grand invention. It embodies simplicity and utility. And it’s easy to store – a great combination of characteristics for any gadget. I HAD to get new needles. After trying to thread the only size – teeny tiny – needle I had in the house when I needed to sew up the moth hole in H’s sweater, I decided to put needles on the list. My only needles are probably fifty years old, a package that we got from H’s mother’s house when she died. She probably paid 10 cents for them. They are perfectly fine, but the holes are overwhelmingly microscopic. I’d have to find a five-year-old with perfect vision to thread it for me if I didn’t have a threader. I paid $3.29 for these. IMG_8544

We stopped by Starbuck’s for a gift card for my DIL, which I had already bought and lost once.Starbucks-Christmas-Limited-Edition-cards-caddy006_640x480
I bought the first one a couple of weeks ago and put it in the glove box. H got it out of the glove box and brought it in the house and up the stairs and into the bedroom. That’s where his memory stops, at the bedroom door, and here I was counting on him to be the one to keep his memory. So we know it has to be here… somewhere, but who knows when we’ll find it. We’ve looked high and low. When we find it, we’ll have a treat for ourselves – unless it was thrown out with scraps of wrapping paper. 😦

We have plenty of stores on this side of town, but when I need to do serious shopping, I have to go to West End. I hate West End. There are too many people, too many traffic lights and too much traffic. Thank goodness they do not have cameras on the traffic lights. I’d have about five tickets just from yesterday. You may or may not remember my run-in with that traffic-light camera last year. It was down at Dad’s, a place where I was always stressed and pressed for time. I scooted through the light in the last seconds of a caution light, and I watched as it turned red as I went through it, and there was a damned camera on it. They sent me a ticket and photo of my plates. Seventy bucks, ma’am.

H and I have the same conversation every time we get in the car.

Me ~ You moved my seat.

H~ No, I didn’t.

Me ~ You moved my seat.

H ~ No, I didn’t.

Me ~ You moved my seat.

H ~ No, I didn’t!

Me ~ I know you did.

H ~ …

I know he moves my seat.

Okay, off to get coffee and see what happened while I was sleeping. Have a good one, everybody.


Falling credit cardsScumbucket – A person with the moral fiber of a gnat, and all the class of a sweaty armpit. Source: Urban Dictionary

So we get a lot of junk calls. You know, junk mail’s first cousin – the equivalent of the mail you toss in the trash. It’s gotten to the point that we don’t answer the phone when we don’t recognize the number. We know it’s a political poll or they are eager to tell us that someone (an anonymous relative or generous benefactor, I presume) has generously prepaid for a medical alert bracelet/necklace for us. All we need to do is give our information to them and we will receive it free of charge. We also get a call with the same scenario, but a home security system is the prize. Exploiting the fears that some older people experience is a consistent thread.

And then there’s the Indian gentleman, Jim, who wants to help me with my computer because there’s been a “security breach.” “Are you sitting in front of your computer now? Please go to your computer now. We’ve been informed that your computer has been hacked. Please hurry.” If I complied, I’m sure he would ask for passwords, etc.

Who the heck put my name on the “mentally fragile/elderly sucker” list? It really is sickening how this particular brand of scum preys on older people. I hope there’s a very bad place waiting for them. Maybe a place where they are very, very old, and someone hits them on the head with the eraser end of a pencil all day long.

So the latest scumbuckets who’ve worked their way into my life nabbed my credit card number, and probably made a card with my number on it. I have no idea how they got it: maybe through the breach in security at Home Depot or maybe when I used it online? Who knows? I do know that H used our card at Home Depot during that vulnerable time period that we were warned about.

We received a call from our credit card company yesterday. Someone in Austin, Texas made a $100 charge at a retail store. It was approved, but when the culprit attempted to make another purchase, Capital One refused approval and called us. Thanks to prompt detection, we only have to suffer a minor inconvenience. It will take five days for a new card to be issued with a new account number. No problem.

When my sister died, we went to the cemetery with my BIL and helped him with his choices. After we spent an hour or so choosing the container for her cremains, the bench memorial, the plot, he handed over his charge card. The gentleman left the room. He quickly returned and informed my BIL that the card company would not approve the charge and wanted to speak with him. Someone had used his card or account number to make purchases. Can you imagine? He used a different card, but what a ridiculous thing to have to deal with at that moment.

If these people would put half as much effort into honest work as they put into scamming people, they could do just as well. No thrill, I guess.

Here’s the good news. Today is our 45th anniversary. I’m not married to a scumbag or scumbucket or even a mediocre fellow. He’s always worked, showered and never stolen my credit card, but best of all, he knows how to turn negatives into pluses. He’s very good at that. He has many more characteristics to recommend him, but he just brought my coffee so I have to go.

The Chicken & Rice Solution

The kids will be here in time for lunch. I’m making chicken & rice soup this morning. I know it’s a fall/winter thing, but it’s my son’s favorite childhood food, and for some reason I haven’t made it for him for a long time. The last time he was here, he said, “I haven’t had chicken & rice soup for a long time.” I said, “I know. Only a few days ago I was thinking that it’s been ages since I made it for you, and how as soon as the weather cools down I should make it.” He said, “Really?” I said, “Sure.  Then, he said the strangest thing, “Good. I thought maybe it was a passive aggressive thing… that you didn’t want to make it for me.”


Is that the funniest? I had no clue. Do we ever know what’s going on in someone else’s head? You can think you do, but you do not. I felt bad, and then I wondered why I hadn’t made if for so long. Mothers are so ridiculous, but there you have it.

H and I managed to get into a considerable kerfuffle over nothing yesterday.  We seldom argue, but one of us was tired (me) and the other was edgy for some reason. We both took a nap, and marital bliss reigned in the cul-de-sac once again. We’re like toddlers. Naps do a huge service for our dispositions.

I seldom mention it here, but the news is horrifying. It’s too much to absorb, too much to make sense of. I cannot watch, and I cannot not watch. It’s like eating something bitter. I try a little, and then I back off. Then, I hold my nose and dive in again. I can’t decide if our world will be a fit place for my grands or if perspective is impossible to come by with access to so much information. If you were locked in a hospital for the mentally ill for a year, your perspective would be askew. That’s how I feel about watching too much news. It’s so grim, we should all play with puppies a couple of times a day to cleanse our mental palates. A little chicken & rice soup would be good for our world and a mama who would cook it for us and then make us take a nap. Oh, if it were only that simple.