Thursday, August 17, 2017



Something interesting happened to me yesterday.   We had a new student in our Pilates class last Friday.  His name is Jeremy and he is a 33-year-old black man in training for some kind of martial arts thing.  He had asked me about my broken finger and I took the opportunity to bitch about my broken finger, eczema and the fact that I ran over a freshly painted yellow line on the highway.  I was unable to clean my truck of the yellow paint.
He told me that he would wash my car for $5.00.  We decided next Wednesday after Pilates, he would wash my truck.  “I’ll bring my stuff.’  He told me.

I got to the Pilates class yeserday and he didn’t show.  I was so sad but at the end of our class, in he walked.  I was elated and I know the other ladies in my class were happy to see him.

We made arrangements with Fitness Lifestyles to use their water and they loaned Jeremy a five-gallon bucket.  He had brought a sponge and a bottle of cleaner.

He got started and I went back into the gym to pottie.  I had my phone and a book but I had forgotten my reading glasses. I went out into the parking lot and sat on the book.  I pulled up some music on Pandora – Steely Dan.  I figured he wouldn’t mind a little soft jazz & blues.

We got to talking and I learned that he was a deeply religious person. While we talked he looked to the sky frequently and gave thanks.  He was very sweet and quite ripped for such a little guy.  During our conversation, he told me about his ambition in this martial arts thing.  I found out he was originally from Chicago but had lived in New York City for the past eight years.

It took him over an hour to get most of the yellow paint off the truck.  I commented on what a good worker he was and he told me, “if you are going to do something, do it the best you can.”  He also told me that he was going to clean my car as if he were cleaning his own.  He certainly did.

For those who don’t know me, I drive a 2003 Chevy S-10 pickup truck which my father left me when he passed away in 2006.  I have been pretty hard on it.  I have hauled dirt, compost, manure, rocks, weeds, and have loaned it twice to people who were moving.  It has had regular oil changes and maintenance as needed.  Just this year we had to put $1,000.00 into it.  But I love my Daddy’s truck and was heartbroken when I discovered the yellow paint.

Jeremy put in over two hours washing my truck.  He said he would come to my house and clean it too. “I’d knock that bitch out.” He told me and I sure believed him.  What a fantastic worker.  I had $36.00 in my change purse and I gave it to him. He jumped for joy and gave me a quick hug. 

He said, “Today I can pay my way.”

When I got in the truck I found two more dollars and gave him those too.  I almost invited him to lunch with me but didn’t think he’d want to.  I was also afraid he would want to buy and I wanted him to keep the money.

I believe the truth of the matter was that Jeremiah is homeless and has been for some time.  He has no family or friends.  From the things he told me I also believe he has been institutionalized before.  He is quite the fanatic.  He is also a lovely human being, and I believe the powers that be brought him to me to wash my truck so he could pay his way that day.

I am forever grateful for all my blessings and yesterday, Jeremiah was my blessing.

Photo is my Daddy, Don Marshall VanHoose


Peace be with you.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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One of my lovely readers said to me the other day, “You haven’t been blogging.”  I could have kissed her (and liked it).  I just love it when someone reads my blog.

Well this is what my life looks like these days.  About a month or so ago I broke my ring finger on my right hand.  I got a splint and wore it for two weeks when I got a case of Dyshidrotic eczema (interpretation – blisters from Hell).  I developed little pussie blisters all over the palms of my hands.  I had had this about a month before but they went away in a day or two.  Not this time.  I got them on my knee, between my toes and on my forearms.

I decided to go see my doctor who diagnosed my illness.  While looking at my feet she told me I not only had the blisters there but I also had toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.  Can I get an amen?  I ventured to the pharmacy and got my prescription and a tube of anti-fungal cream and a lovely little bottle with a toenail fungus photo on the box.

When I got home and washed my feet to apply all of the above, I read on the toenail box that “this product is not effective on nails.”  What the …?  Why would you put a photo of toenails with fungus on a package of shit that does not work on toenails.  I’m taking it back and demanding they take it off the shelf.

By the way I don’t have athlete’s foot.  My toes were inflamed with the eczema and after two days of use of the prescription cream for the eczema my feet were fine.

The day after I saw the doctor for the skin condition, I had to remove the splint on my broken finger.  The skin was worn away and I had quite a few blisters on that finger.  A week or so later I got the splint back on.  I am now, as I type, typing with one hand and a couple of fingers.  Another reason I haven’t been blogging.

And all of this time the garden has been exploding.  I have made 14 quarts and five pints of hot dilled beans,  two pints of tomato sauce, five quarts and seven pints of French sliced green beans, four quarts of tomatoes and have dried the dehydrator full of dill, basil and parsley.  And the garden is still full.

I made a pot of cabbage rolls but used kale for the leaves.  It was different but still delicious.  I need some kale recipes.  I bought and planted 4 plants and they have taken up about half the row, shading my jalapeños. I have only gotten a few peppers so far. I have trimmed away the shading leaves so hopefully they will start producing.

All this and I have had to keep up with the laundry, some housekeeping (dear god my house is a mess).  And I have smeared this eczema cream all over the place.  I’m sure the dog will never get eczema.  And my steering wheel is safe too.  Plus all the door knobs in the house.
The worst part of this thing is learning how to wipe my ass left handed! I am completely useless with my left hand.  Except for typing, thank goodness!

I also took three days and made it to my daughter’s baby shower in Tucson.  I was so embarrassed with my pussie hands.  (Note that I didn’t spell it pussy. What is the correct word for extremely pus-filled blisters?)

When I got home from Tucson the dog about ate me alive.  Dodging the blisters!  And the garden was covered in weeds and produce.  Weeding the garden one handed is not a fun Zen therapy.  I did manage to get it under control.  The milkweed is starting to produce seed pods and I should get rid of them soon.

I was in the garage yesterday cleaning the dirt off my potatoes to store them for winter.  I got almost ten pounds of potatoes. I had to pull onions to dry next. I think there are about five pounds of them.  And I got 13 heads of garlic.

So anyhow, I was listening to NPR while I worked in the garage and Ted Talks was on talking about time.  It was so very fascinating.  One guy said something to the fact that past and future are real but the present is just an illusion.  F…ing blew my mind!  Be Here Now is one of my all-time favorite books.  I try to be in the here and now but I keep thinking the now is already gone as I say it. Light bulb moment.

I am in the garage Zenning out cleaning the potatoes and I look down and the floor is so dirty.  I naturally get distracted and end up sweeping the garage floor.  If I could just stay focused on what I am doing I could get so much done.  I guess I write that way also.  The Digression Queen is my title.

I get back to the potatoes and realize that I should really put the stuff on the garage floor on the shelves so I can get that part of the floor swept.  I rummage on the shelves and actually throw away and recycle quite a few items.  I am so proud of myself.  I can be such a hoarder when it comes to saving junk I really don’t need.

I had a clay strawberry pot that I had never used.  I put it out on the curb hoping someone would pick it up.  (It’s still there!)  I also recycled several empty vinegar jugs that I had intended to use.  And I recycled several Chock Full of Nuts coffee cans I thought I might need.

I make toddy coffee and I pretty much always use CFON.  It is so delicious.  You put a pound of dry coffee into this plastic container and cover it with water.  Twenty-four hours later you drip the condensed through a filter and into a decanter.  I freeze the coffee in ice cube trays and when I want a cup of coffee I just add a cube to a cup of boiling water.  Ta da!

And so dear reader, I have had a month of Hades.  I decided to take a morning off today and do a couple of things I had been putting off.  Next, I have to vacuum up dog hair.  Emily is doing well, but god, she sheds like a freeking banshee.  (Do banshees really shred?  And what is a banshee?)  Take time out, look on Google.  (An Irish legend; a female spirit whose wailing warns of in impending death in the house.)  Holy guacamole!  I guess she sheds like a retriever.


Peace be with you. And blisters be gone from me.

Sunday, June 25, 2017



The past while I have been working on a new garden project.  To the south of my fairy garden was a spot that wouldn’t grow grass and just became overloaded with white pine needles.  I decided to turn it into a garden area last fall and began working on it.

I had torn the bricks from my old herb garden and wanted to do something with them.  I stole them from the State Bank of Davis after it was built.  They had discarded a lot of unused bricks, some whole and some broken in half.  I took the whole bricks to the south west side of the house and made several planters out of them.

I have since filled the planters with Japanese iris, Blackberry Lilies, my transferred Japanese fern, a transplanted Bleeding Heart and I purchased a delphinium last week to go in also.



Two weeks ago, I laid down newspapers and covered them with weed barrier.  I hoped to kill most of the weeds that were still growing.  This week I got brown mulch and filled the garden bed.  Yesterday I purchased gold mulch and filled the pathways.  Ta da -- a new garden.

I have to finish spreading the gold mulch today in the upper flower bed.  And then, I have to put in some time weeding and getting rid of some irritating plants that are trying to take over.  Anyone out there looking for some daisies?  They must be thinned.

My hollyhocks are looking so beautiful in my flower garden, thank you very much Noeha Garard.



The dog is growing and is a happy camper.



Life is good.


Peace be with you.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I had a pleasant surprise this past weekend.  I was watering the plants at the front gate when someone pulled up beside me and said, “Hello Wilma.”  I turned to see who it was and to my surprise it was one of my best friend’s, son and his wife. Jay and Katie were out visiting the old neighborhood and wanted to stop by.  I told them to give me an hour to get to the grocery and back and I would love for them to visit.

We had a pleasant visit.  Katie is pregnant and she and Jay caught me up on all the details. They invited me to join them for breakfast on Saturday.  We met at Rowe’s A Frame in Durand.  I had biscuits and gravy with a fried egg on top.  It was very good.

Later that day, Jay and Katie came back to the house to help me transplant a Norfolk Island Pine that lives in my solarium and is about 12 feet tall.  Neighbor, Jeff Scaduto, joined in the replanting and after struggling for some time we finally got the plant out of its old pot and into a new one with more room for it to grow.  And it took all three men and myself to get the thing done.  Thanks to Jay, Jeff, and the hubster.




Afterward the hubster and I repotted my Phyllodendron bipinnafidatum which is also a huge plant.  We had to cut it out of its old pot to get it into a new one. It has had a baby and is starting to grow another one. If there is anyone out there who would be willing to take on a monstrosity of a plant, I have one.

It finally rained last night and the garden is looking good.  Snow peas for dinner again tonight.



Peace be with you.

Monday, May 29, 2017



One of my friends on FB posts frequently, “what is on my mind today.”  I’d like to post what is on my mind today.

First of all I am sick of all the Trump bashing.  I remember when Clinton and Bush and Obama were president, all of them were bashed as well but no nearly so harshly. I’m not a big Trump supporter but let’s back off a little and give the guy some room.  Maybe he will straighten up his act, and become the gentleman we want as our president.

I have also noticed that most of the bashers are very much against bullying.  What is this bashing, but adult bullying?

When I was in Springfield recently I read a bunch of articles and political cartoons that were printed when Lincoln was president.  They were really hard on his ass too and look how history has acclaimed him some hundred and fifty years later.

Speaking on being hard on asses – I read an interesting article this morning by a psychologist who suggested that parents need to take more responsibility of raising their children with discipline and love.  Wow!  What a unique idea!

I was not the best parent in the world but my goal was to raise children who would go out into the world and make it a better place to live.  I told them “no” more than once.  I forced them to get along.  They stood in a corner often as babies.  They had an occasional spanking as young toddlers.  I housebroke them and we all got along pretty well in their teens. I explained that there were things that were appropriate for adults and not children – drinking, smoking and sex.  When they became adults, they could experiment with these.

My girls live very far from me but that is okay.  I raised them to know right from wrong and they are both doing quite well.  We have a lot of fun when we get together but I don’t need them up my ass all the time, and I know they don’t need me in theirs.

Another thing on my mind today, is Memorial Day.  My parents called it “Decoration Day.”  I believe that term originated after the Civil War.  After several more wars it became Memorial Day to honor those who had died in service to their country.  Veteran’s Day, however, honors those who are currently in service or those who were in service.

I am thankful for all of the above.  When I graduated from high school I wanted to join the service but I was 17 and my parents would not allow me to enlist.  I sure could have used the discipline in my life, and I really wanted the help the government would have given me to go to college.

This year as a retiree, I am staying home on Memorial Day.  No big bashes for me to attend.  It is still a little cold for swimming and besides, everyone and their grandma are here at the Lake for the weekend.  The line at the front gate yesterday was at least ten cars long.

What I am going to do is go out into my Eden and work on my yard and garden.  It is pretty muddy right now because we were on the verge of building an ark.  I do hate weeding in the mud.  I got new gardening gloves though and they are working wonders.  They are kind of rubber on the fingers and palm and material on the hand part.  I highly recommend them.  (Thank you Pat.)

Yesterday while working in my yard, I discovered that I was growing a Pitcher Plant.  I vaguely remember getting seeds or a piece of one last year. It is so cool and now I want to move it to somewhere I can appreciate it.  It is growing under a shrub right now.  I forced a limb to cling to its neighbor so I could get the photo of the Pitcher Plant. It is carnivorous and I can’t wait to see what it catches.  I hope it catches Japanese Beetles.

Happy Memorial Day.  Wouldn’t Solemn Memorial Day be more appropriate?


Peace be with you.

Added:  I discovered what I thought was a Pitcher Plant to be a Jack in the Pulpit.  I guess it won't be eating those Japanese beetles.

Saturday, May 27, 2017



About a month ago I cleaned out my cabinet that held cook books.  I realized I didn’t use half of them and I really needed space for some new gadgets I had gotten.  I brought the cook books upstairs to sort them out and send to the Goodwill store.

The cook books are still sitting next to me.  I kept looking at the top one which was American’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two.  The casserole on the front cover was haunting me.  I wanted that!

I took the cook book downstairs and read it through.  I earmarked three recipes that I really wanted to try.  They were Shrimp Scampi, Beef Enchilada Casserole (the one on the cover), and Chicken Saltimbocca.  I have never made these recipes nor eaten them, except for Beef Enchiladas, just not in a casserole.

Last night I was anxious to make something different for dinner. I had purchased prosciutto at the grocery and was determined I was going to make the Chicken Saltimbocca.  The hubster was hesitant about the recipe.  I read it to him and he said he’d try it.

He sliced the chicken breasts into cutlets and I got them prepared for the fry pan.  We had six lovely cutlet pieces.  I headed out to the herb garden for sage.  You needed a teaspoon of chopped sage plus a sage leaf for each piece.  The sage was in fact the ingredient that made me hesitant about the recipe.  Chicken, sage and Italian ham?  Okay, maybe it would work.

I got all the ingredients ready at the work site.  I put in the first three pieces and as usual, the hubster took over the frying.  He cooks the meat, I made the salad.  I was ready to put in the last three pieces but he told me to hold off as they would cook differently and he wanted to watch them closely.  (He’s a bit anal, but he does cook a mean piece of meat.)

Meat all browned nicely and put aside, we sautéed the shallot and made the initial sauce.  Meat back into the sauce and we whisked in the butter, parsley and lemon juice.  The aroma was magnificent.  I think it was the lemon juice that did it.

I must say that Chicken Saltimbocca is now on our list of dinners to make.  My only regret is that we didn’t make more sauce and have a little pasta on the side.  A couple of ravioli would have been perfection.

Chicken Saltimbocca

¼ C plus ½ tsp. flour                                               Pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets                       4 slices prosciutto
2Tbsp olive oil                                                          1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth                                              ¼ cup vermouth
1 Tbsp. butter                                                          2 tsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice                                                     salt

Spread ¼ cup of flour in a shallow dish.  Pat the cutlets dry with paper towel and season with pepper.  Dredge the cutlets in flour and sprinkle top with minced sage.  Top with a piece of prosciutto.  Press lightly to help prosciutto adhere.

Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the whole sage leaves and cook until the leaves begin to change color.  (15 to 20 seconds)  Transfer to paper towel.

Carefully lay the chicken cutlets in the skillet, prosciutto-side down and cook until brown about two minutes.  Flip and continue to brown.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tsp of the oil left in the skillet.  Sauté the shallot two to three minutes.  Stir in ½ tsp flour and whisk about 3 to 5 minutes.

Return chicken to pan, prosciutto side up.  Heat about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a platter.
Off the heat, whisk the butter, parsley and lemon juice into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon the sauce over the cutlets, garnish with the fried sage leaves and serve.

(Note:  make more sauce than this because you will need it.  I’d probably double if not triple the sauce ingredients.)

Peace be with you.



Sunday, May 21, 2017



In my retirement, I find that most days are like all others.  I have my little routine and I go through it and find much enjoyment and satisfaction.  However, on occasion, I find an adventure coming up and I get so excited.  Tonight, for instance, we are meeting quite a few friends for dinner.  The special occasion is the hubster’s birthday, my friend, Nancy’s, birthday, and our good friends Suzie and Greg Watson are in town from Arizona.  There are sixteen of us meeting for dinner and drinks.

I am just so excited.  Not only do I get to see my old friends whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years, but I get to visit with my close friends with them.  I have an hour to blow before I start to get ready and so I thought I would start a blog.

Friends have been so important in my life.  I wasn’t very close to my family. I consider myself a displaced zygote.  Which means the stork dropped me in the wrong family?  I loved my family, it is just that I didn’t have much in common with them.

And so, friends became important to my life.  My very first close friend was Emma.  She and I were in Kindergarten together and we were in the same class throughout elementary and junior high school.   We drifted apart in junior high and I became close friends with a bunch of the kids from the class ahead of mine.

In high school, I became close to Jeanie who I had known since childhood.  Her family lived across the street from me when I was four.  She lived down the street from me and since we cheered together, we became best friends.

In college, I met Pat, and she was my best friend for two years.  We just met up in Springfield a couple of weeks ago and it was like we had never been apart.

In my adulthood, the hubster was my best friend for years.  We adopted a few friends (Dave, Dave and Fuzzer) and we hung out for many years.  I didn’t really have any girlfriends during this period of my life.  I had girlfriends who were the girlfriends of boyfriends but I never got close to them.

When we moved to Illinois, I met Ellie.   Her husband and mine got along, and her son was about the same age as my girls.  She was such a dear and often loaned me her son. We were both social butterflies and organized various groups of people to go out to dinner, to parties or to plays.  We grew very close to each other.  We walked together, talked together and shared many memories and feelings.  I just about died when she moved to Arizona.

Across the street was Nancy.  Her son introduced himself to me as Joshua Fairchild Heath.  I asked about the Fairchild as I have two ancestors whose names were Fairchild.  He told me his grandparents’ names were Fairchild.  After that he told everyone that my girls were his cousins.  Nancy and I became very close also and still are to this day. We often get together to bake or to can. We call ourselves, “Women who drink and can,” or “bake”.

Beyond Nancy lived Garnet.  I lived here three or four years before I met Garnet.  I don’t’ even remember meeting her for the first time.  We ran into each other off and on and she and I started riding our bikes around the lake.  She got me a job at the mental health facility where she worked and we worked together for half a year. Garnet and I drifted apart as she likes to be a loner quite often. In recent years, she has been going through chemo and radiation, and damn her, but she is going to put up with my presence, whether she likes it or not.  (I think she does like it.)

Suzie moved into the house across the street when Nancy moved away.  (Five doors down.)  Suzie was determined that she was going to become a reflexologist and write a book.  Darn if she didn’t do it. She and I became very close.  We made several trips together and did quite a bit of walking and hiking. When she moved to Arizona, it broke my heart.



When Suzie moved away I became closer to her sister-in-law, Lorraine.  Lorraine is like my spiritual sister.  She is also a reflexologist and is going to instruct me in reiki.

Lauri was the wife of the man who sold us the lot on which we built our house.  Her daughter babysat for us once when we were hard up not knowing anyone in the area because we were new.  Lauri painted and wall papered for a living in those days and she asked me if I wanted to join in with her.  I did the trim and she did the rolling. We worked well together.  She married and moved quite a distance from me. She went on to become a CNC operator and we saw each other frequently but not enough.

Naomi was another friend who meant so much in my life. She played guitar and sang like an angel.  Or a demon when she wanted to.  I sang harmony, and soon, there was a whole group of people gathering on my deck with guitars and percussion entertaining the neighborhood.  We never did have one complaint in all those years.

These women are my sisters. They know me, my good, bad and ugly self.  I know theirs.  Tonight, I get to see some of them and catch up.  I am so excited.  As we get older these times are far and fewer in between.  I shall cherish tonight and hopefully, have a couple of photos to share with you. Photos to remind me of the memory of being with my close friends.



It was truly a night to remember.  We shared lots of hugs and kisses, laughter, joy and so much more.  And the food wasn’t bad either.

A few folks I expected didn’t show but the group that came had a wonderful time.  Our waitress and staff took lots of picture of the group of us.  I enclose a couple of my favorites.




This will be a memory for always.  Peace be with you.