Saturday, December 31, 2016

I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and getting a massage about every other Friday lately.  I have had trouble with my neck and shoulders for some time and was getting sick and tired of it.  My insurance gave me a choice of ONE chiropractor to see in the area.

Just my luck that he is gorgeous and very pleasant to visit.  My massage therapist if Adrianna and she is magnificent.  I had a 15 minute session the first time and 30 minutes the second and third times. She has located these balls of knotted fibers and is working to break them up.  It is so painful but I practice my yoga breathing while she does it.  I’m doing an hour with her next month.  Right now my neck is pretty sore from the kneading she gave me.

After Friday’s session, I met up with friend, Garnet, and she took me out to lunch at JMK Nippon.  It is one of my very favorite restaurants.  I had the Tonkatsu, which I always have because I don’t get it very often.  It is breaded pork cutlet and served with Tonkatsu sauce, which is heaven.  The hubster and I make it about twice a year. 

Garnet caught me up on her medical conditions and it is not good news but we laughed and joked and had a great time.  She has such a good attitude and now that her hair is growing she is a happy camper.

There are friends in my life that I just could not do without.  Garnet is one of them.  We lived two houses apart for several years before I met her.  She got me a job at the local Mental Health Institute where she worked and we worked together for about six months and then I moved into the office where I worked for another six months.  We took walks at lunch and after work we rode our bikes around the lake.  She complained with every pedal she made and wanted to turn back all the time.  When we got back, she wanted to do it again.

We parted ways for a while after she moved away from the Lake.  When she got sick I determined that I was going to be part of her life again and we became kayaking buddies.  We have been on many adventures and gone so many fun places together.  She has eaten Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food and many other things she would never have tried if not for my urging.  We even took a trip to Denver, Colorado because she had never seen the mountains.

I’m hoping one day to travel to Jamaica with her because I know she would just love the place as much as I do.  Great food, lovely people, marvelous music, they speak English and you can drink the water.

Cancer is a bitch and I hate it.  It has affected so many people that I dearly love and has taken many folks that I loved.  The only thing we can do is try to see the beauty in the world around us and appreciate the things we have.

Here is the cancer joke I made up.  What do cancer and Adolph Hitler have in common? They are both really bad and I’d love to kick their asses.

I made an apricot pie for Christmas dinner.  And I know that ratty old cookie sheet should be thrown away but I keep it to bake my pies on in case they spill over.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

I just read a very inspiring book called Circle of Three about a grandmother, mother and granddaughter and their mother daughter relationships.  It made me think a lot about the relationship between my own mother, and me and my daughters.

My mother was a very nurturing mother but she didn’t teach me skills.  She didn’t allow me to help with dinner.  She never taught me how to sew.  She certainly never taught me how to raise two daughters.  I sort of made it up as I went along.

My mother and my father, to be exact, did everything for me.  I wasn’t taught much of anything at home except for religion.  My parents were religious zealots who believed everything was sinful.  I wore dresses until my sister who was ten years older than me bought me shorts and insisted I should wear them because I was such a tomboy. It was better climbing trees in shorts and not letting the boys see my underwear when I was in a dress.  My parents assented to this.

I dressed in guilt every morning of my life but I tried very hard to please my parents.  As an adult I very much resent the fact that they didn’t teach me life skills to get through life.  In the book one of the women says, “She (her mother) influenced me to not be like her.  My mother tried to influence me to be her.

I never really wanted children.  I was never around them and frankly, most children pestered the daylights out of me.  I determined when I had my first daughter to teach her life skills.  With the second daughter I was even more determined to make sure they grew up responsible and able to cope.  I didn’t want to be like my mother.

When the girls were very little I sat them on the countertop in the kitchen while I cooked.  I talked about what I was cooking and why to put what seasoning in what.  Cinnamon didn’t go in cornbread.  Sage didn’t go on the pudding.  They pulled chairs up to the stove to practice turning pancakes.  They used a spatula and a chopstick to turn the cakes.  It broke my heart the first time one of them burned themselves on the stove.  But it was a lesson learned.

I also was determined that they should enjoy their childhood.  I made them play in mud and make mud pies.  We went to every playground in the city.  I took them sledding in the winter and swimming in the summer.  Both my girls were in the pool before six months old.  One took to it rapidly but the other one cried entirely too much.

When they were teenagers I insisted that each of them plan and prepare a meal for our family at least once a week.  They both turned out to be excellent cooks.

I tried to teach them gardening but they soon lost interest when the little seeds they had planted didn’t come up fast enough.  One turned out to be a gardener and the other lives in the desert (the non-swimmer).

When the older daughter was in high school she once told me that if her father and I divorced, she was going to live with him.  My heart has never been broken so entirely.
The younger daughter once told her teacher that she adored me and wouldn’t change a thing about me.  The teacher wrote me a letter to tell me so and I still have that letter.  It almost mended my broken heart.

Another heartbreak was when my parents refused to let me be in band in elementary school and I never learned to read music.  Thanks to choir I was able to read music by ear.  I could hear my line of music and could pretty much replicate it by memory.

When my girls were in elementary school I encouraged both to join band.  I wanted them to know how to read music.  I encouraged older daughter to take up the oboe which I dearly love.  She played it for years before giving it up to become a percussionist.  She loved playing her marimba.

Younger daughter played flute and later piccolo.  She taught herself to play the saxophone so she could play in the jazz band at school.  She also brought a bass guitar home and learned to play that also.  I was very proud of her for doing such.

I started my mourning period when older daughter was a Freshman in high school.  I knew she would be leaving me in four more years and I was distraught.  I tried to assure myself that I would have a whole year with younger daughter and I would soon be used to having an only child and then a year later be childless.

Having read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet years ago, I agreed with his philosophy about children.  “Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.  They come through you but not from you.  And yet they are with you, they belong not to you. For they have their own thoughts.  You may house their bodies, but not their souls.  For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

I firmly believed this probably because my parents never would have.  I wanted to raise two children to go out into the world and make a difference because I couldn’t.  Only by helping them to do this, would I have made a difference.

I don’t dote on my children any longer.  I let them have their lives and be the person they were meant to be.  I think of them often but they are no longer my reason for living.  We try to talk or text whenever it comes to our minds to do so.  I don’t call them every Sunday and they don’t call me every Sunday.

I live in the knowledge that I raised them properly and they are fine on their own.  I know there are parents out there that think about their adult children constantly and would never understand my point of view.

That is fine because I took care of my own backyard, so to speak, and they can take care of theirs in the way they see fit.  One part of the book the mother thinks about her mother’s hold on her and she says, “She will spend her life getting over losing her child.”  I won’t.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I haven’t blogged in quite some time.  First of all, I am getting winter lazy.  I do it every winter.  I just want to hole up and read, sew or bake and cook.  And I cleaned my keyboard the other day and the stupid space bar keeps sticking and I am getting so angry.

My computer is doing the dumbest thing.  It tries to update and shut down but it goes right to shut down and then it won’t come up in the morning when I turn it on.  I have this little circle of white lights that keeps turning and turning. The hubster looked it up on line and has got this system for getting me back in my computer. I have to unplug it three times and then it will talk to me and say to wait and then a recovery window comes up and he has to type this dos looking stuff into the computer.

I stopped and cleaned the space bar with alcohol and it seems to be working better.  (It is probably clogged with those magical fibers of love that aren’t dog hair.)

I went on an adventure with friend, Lauri, on Black Friday.  We went three hours north of Madison to visit the Amish Walmart.  It was out in the sticks, had no lighting and smelled pretty bad.  I purchased two bandanas.  I ran down the battery on my telephone using it as a flashlight.  If you are into old stuff, antiques and carrying a flashlight to look for things, go to the Amish Walmart better known as Trail’s End.  Otherwise just go to the Goodwill store in Delavan as it has a lot of cool stuff.

I had my Master Gardener’s Book Club Christmas party the next week.  My club read my children’s book, The Cow Who Ate the Hippopotamus, for our monthly selection.   It has absolutely nothing to do with gardening but is a quick read and you can do all those other things you need to do in December like reading, sewing and baking and cooking.  Anyway, I think everyone enjoyed it, but I don’t really know because no one said as such.  They just asked me where I got the idea.  I showed them the huge cow photo from Photobucket.  Just surf huge cow photo and you can see it too.

The next week was my Master Gardener’s Holiday Party.  I was in charge of ordering the meat dish and entertainment.  I put together some holiday carols as they had enjoyed that game at the party two years ago.  Example:  O Shrinking Steel mills is Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.  Facilitate translucent ice crystals was Let it Snow.  Fun game.  Let me know if you want a copy.

We also played a game to guess what was in the stocking.  I stumped a bunch of them with an old broken protractor.

Emily and I haven’t had much excitement.  It is too cold and snowy to go for walks We play sqeeky toy a lot.  I may try to take her to Petco someday.  I just don’t know how she will react.  I guess I can just go in and if it isn’t going well turn around and leave.

I had to clean up some snow yesterday to prepare for today’s snow and Emmie went out with me.  She jumps right into the mounds of snow and leaps and is so very entertaining.  I tried to get her to fetch snow balls but she wasn’t being taken in by that stupidity.   As soon as they exploded on the ground she just walked away looking at me as if I had grown another head.

When we got inside I decided to try the boots on her.  Addi and Sam had gotten them for Jessie dog but she only wore them once and lost one on the way and I had to backtrack to find it.  Well the hubster gathered in the living room to witness the donning of the boots.  I thought at first they were too small but sure enough I gave them a little twist and on they went.  I velcroed it up and her leaping began.  She jumped three legged and shook it.  Then she tried to bite it.  I told her “no” and told the hubster to get a treat and fast.

We assured her that she was the best dog in the world and I got a boot on the other front leg.   She was sitting down to one side and I got the back boot on.  I told her to stand and I started getting the other back boot on.  The hubster was feeding treats and telling her “good girl.”  Well the Velcro got stuck to the other back boot and they both came off.  I lay back on the floor exhausted and she came to kiss me but remembered the boots and started to eat them.

I tucked the boots away but determined I would try again.  I’d really like to walk on the ice again.  I think she must wear the boots to keep her little paws from freezing.   I haven’t walked on the ice on the lake since I got Jessie the first year, that must have been about ten years ago.

I don’t know if you have ever walked on an ice frozen lake but it makes the coolest sound ever.  It kind of sounds like a whale.  And it is so peaceful out in the middle of the lake with nothing but a bunch of drunks in ice fishing houses and holes drilled everywhere in sight.  We used to fly one of those Styrofoam airplanes back and forth when the girls were little.  Some guys used to hit orange golfballs.  It is another world out there folks.

So today I am going to try to make my candied peanuts.  The last two times I made them I burned them.  They are too much work to burn so I have to watch my temperature.

Yesterday I made chocolate covered cherry cookies and candied ginger.  I used Alton Brown’s ginger recipe as I couldn’t find my old one.  He always weighs his measurements (really pisses me off) and so I over sugared my ginger and have a pint jar of gingered sugar.  Anyone interested?  It is pretty good in tea.

The chocolate covered cherry cookies came out great.  I like my cookies to remain a ball rather than let them melt flat.  Son-in-law Anthony has proclaimed the name of the cookies to be Big Black Boobie Cookies. No derogatory disrespect intended!

It snowed last night and the wind was blowing pretty severely.  We have a mound at the front door and I must suit up in my snow gear and go out and clear the way.  The dog has to jump over another mound outside the garage.   Hope my back holds up.  Bengals game comes on at noon and I must go get the snow problem taken care of.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

For the past several years I have opened a Christmas Club savings account and saved every week so we could take a vacation in December and get away from the snow for a week.  This year we have a new addition to our family – Emily the scratch and sniff dog.  She is a rescue dog and spent almost all of her five years in a shelter.  She is still very afraid of everything but she loves me a lot and puts up with her “Da”.

When I go away from the house and leave Emmie behind she just goes to bed and sleeps.  Even if the hubster calls her for a treat, she might come get it or not.  It will just take time.

And so, I decided I could not go on a vacation this year because of the dog.  I couldn’t be that mean to her to be away for a week.  I thought about the money I had saved and asked the hubster if I could have my dream herb garden built.  He said, “You saved it.  You spend it.”  This is what I wanted to spend it on.

I contacted our local landscaping company and sent them a photo of my ideal garden and they sent me a quote.  I accepted and Jim told me they wouldn’t get to it until October at the very least.  That was okay because I still had herbs to dig up and bricks to move.  I also had a volunteer tomato plant and two volunteer cherry tomato plants that were still producing.
I cleaned up the herb garden and brought in all the plants to save for next spring.  I left the tomatoes grow and covered them when the weather got chilly.  A couple of weeks went by. 

I got anxious and called the landscaper to see when they were coming.  He told me the end of the week as they had other jobs to get done while the weather was still fairly warm.

I pulled the tomato plants and brought all the tomatoes inside to ripen.  The landscaper didn’t make it at the end of that week, nor the next week or that next week.  I emailed him and asked when and he told me Thursday at 10:00.  Yessireee!

I emptied the last bag of alpaca manure that I had saved for the herb garden.  I spread it all out.  I checked the compost bin and that stuff was ready to go in too.

I walked the floor all morning on Thursday. I started a project and got distracted but then I heard a door slam outside.  I got to the door before he rang the bell.  I was like a little girl wringing my hands and smiling until it hurt, I was so excited.

We walked out to the garden and he introduced me to Emmett, the gentleman who would be building my garden.  He didn’t introduce his assistant who I assumed could not speak English as they spoke mostly in Spanish. They drew the circle and asked if I wanted it bigger.  Yes, I wanted it at least a foot bigger.  I wanted to include the entire section that was already dug out.

He instructed the workers to make it a foot larger.  He took off to supervise other jobs that were going on.  I told Emmett to carry on and went inside to work on my project.

Inside I was worrying that Jim (the landscaper boss) had not told Emmett to add the compost to the garden.  They had brought black dirt.  I ran out and explained to Emmett that I wanted the contents of the composter to go into the garden.  We opened the composter and he said he understood.

I kept sneaking out to the garage and watching from the window.  I even took a couple of pictures.

I know I worked on my project and was smiling ear to ear (SETE) the entire time.  I simply could not believe this was happening.  I had been interviewed by the newspaper last summer in my herb garden and I was sort of embarrassed by it.  Now I would be so very proud of my herb garden.

I went out after they had left and came back from lunch.  He pointed to the garden and said I had some really good dirt in there for my garden.  With all the compost and alpaca poo, I knew I did.  We discussed the bricks and I told him I wanted them to meet and not have any space between them on the “X” path.  “No problem,” he said and they changed them.  Later he rang my doorbell and asked if I had something I wanted to go in the center.  I went and got my, what I call an unopened lotus.  I’m not really sure what it is but that is what I call it.

He sat it in the center of the path and it did not meet.  I asked if they could make it meet and Emmett told me they would be cutting the blocks to make it fit.  They had this big ass chain saw sitting on the ground.

I went back to work on my project and kept sneaking out to see how they were progressing.  Later, it seemed awfully quiet out there.  I went out and they had finished and left without saying a word.  I had planned on giving each of them a $20.00 tip but they had just left.

What do you think?  Isn’t it amazing?  I simply cannot wait to put plants in the garden next spring.  It is missing something, you say.  How about this?

There, now it is perfect.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I haven’t written anything in a very long time.  I have had a back and neck problem for about six weeks.  My back started going out at an exercise class and it kicked in about a week later.  I have to take a bunch of pain meds and roll around on the floor until I can pop it back in place.

It took a couple of days to do this and after that the pain travelled up into my middle back where it felt like I had a knife in me.  I have never learned how to deal with middle back issues and so I lay on a heating pad off and on for a couple of days.

At that point the pain entered my neck and I was constantly turning from side to side and back and forth.  I called my insurance company and inquired as to whether they covered chiropractic care.  They gave me the info and I called to make an appointment with my doctor to send a referral.

I got the chiro’s name and number off the internet (you can’t believe everything you read on the internet) and called the number.  It was busy for four straight days.  I was in Rockford the next day and stopped by the address.  The place was closed.  Oh well.  Must be the reason the HMO offers his services – because we can’t find him.

About a week later I got a call that said they had received my referral from my doctor for chiropractic care.  It seems the good doctor had closed his private practice and joined a Pain Management group.  I finally got my appointment.  I went in and he was gorgeous.  He examined my back and neck and recommended x-rays first.  I went and had them done and was back in his office on Friday.  I got my first adjustment and we talked a lot about my x-rays and what could be done for my crooked back.

He gave me a lecture on my posture and I sat up as straight as I could.  I have very bad posture and have always had.  I started maturing at age 8 and was the worst tomboy in the world.  My first bra was a 32 A.  My mother didn’t seem to notice that I was a slouch.  If only she had told me on occasion to stand up straight.

So anyhow, the lower back is better, the middle back out of pain and I can move my neck without marbles rolling around in there.  I just have to remember to stand up straight.  If you see me, please remind me.

I had problems sleeping last night.  I woke up to my nose whistling.  I turned over but it persisted in whistling.  I finally coughed and it stopped.  Iwas thinking what is the connection between nose whistles and coughing.  I know the nose and throat are connected but why?  I’m thinking of the scientific theory of whistling.  I usually pucker up my mouth and suck some air in or out.  Does my nose airway shrink up for some reason and the breathe has to whistle while coming in and out?  But no, it is only on my exhale that I whistle.  I had to look this up.

Physics Forums states:

One person is absolutely adamant that the vibrations are caused because of the air being pressurized as it goes out the lips, causing the lips to vibrate. Another claims that vibrations are caused outside of the mouth, as the air stream forms vortices that interfere with each other. And another insists that the tongue causes vibrations in the mouth, acting like a reed. Which is it? I'm not crazy about any of these explanations.


Well I don’t understand it in the least.   What the heck is a vortices?  (A mass of whirling fluid or air.)  And now my hubster’s is having nose whistles.  So much for a good night’s sleep!

I finally got some sleep and woke up to hear that my beloved Leon Russell has died.  I just adored him.  He was so down to earth, and man could he play the piano.  He wrote just the most romantic song ever written, “A Song for You.”  The hubster and I saw him in concert in Madison one year and we danced right in front of him when he sang that song.  He was so different from when he was young.

Years ago I interviewed Danny Zelisko who is a concert promoter in the Arizona area.  His parents lived down the street from me and introduced me to him.  I wrote an article for the paper about the interview.  During the interview I mentioned Leon Russell and Danny told me that he had met him several times.  He said that his wife of many years left him and his heart was broken.  He was never the same afterward.   Never break the heart of a romantic.

Check it out.  Thank you Leon Russell for all the wonderful memories and songs.

I also have to admit that I have been doing something that is totally inane.  I have noticed lately a lot of vehicles with only one headlight.  When I have only one headlight I get pulled over by the police and warned to get it fixed and fast.  Am I the only one?  So anyhow, I figured, there should be a universal sign to indicate to drivers that they have a headlight out.  I cover one of my eyes as I pass them.  I did this with friend, Lauri, recently and she almost wrecked the car.  Sorry about that!

Years ago, daughter, Addi, and I made up the universal sign for your gas cap is open.  We put our hands together and open one of them.  Doesn’t that make a lot of sense?

So I want all of my friends and family to start using these universal signs and let drivers know that their vehicles need servicing.

Other universal signs?  You ask.  Handing a person a tissue if they have a stray booger on their nose.  Wiping at your chin if they have stray crumbs on their face. Showing folks your middle finger if they don’t use their turn signals.  The “V” for peace.

And peace be with you.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I am just sick to death of this election.  I can’t stand either candidate and I hate all the mudslinging from both sides.  I was watching Chelsea last night and that wrestler who became Governor of Minnesota, Jessie somebody, was on.  He said about the election, “When you have to choose between the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil.”  He stated that he was voting Independent for Gary Johnson.  I’m still pondering the subject.

And so to change the subject drastically, the food processor that wouldn’t die has done it again.  Several years ago I wanted to make something that required a food processor.  I didn’t want to buy one and so I borrowed one from my neighbor, the lovely Diane.  I think I borrowed it several times that summer.  I did return it after each use.

The next year the lovely Diane’s lovely husband, Jeff, brought the food processor and told me to keep it.  He had bought his lovely Diane a new one.  He pointed out that the food processor he was giving me had a crack and it was going to die anyhow.  (Secretly I worried that I had cracked the food processor.)

So anyhow, I have used the food processor that wouldn’t die so many times it is unbelievable.  It even once pooped at the crack in the stem.  Dark oily crap oozed out of it.  I cleaned it up and it never happened again.  The crack seems to get a little bit bigger each time I use it but so far, so good.

Just yesterday I made nine jars of caramel apple jam.  The food processor that wouldn’t die made them into a shredded mess and the jam is too wonderful for words.

After I got the jam mess cleaned up I baked three of my pie pumpkins that came up voluntarily in my garden this year.  I baked them for an hour, cleaned and peeled them and the FPTWD went through them without a second thought.  I put up three quarts of mashed pumpkin.

The pumpkin will be used to make treats for my little Emily.  The Dog Father has put her on a diet and restricted grains.  I use buckwheat flour for her treats.  And as you may or may not know, buckwheat is not a grain but a seed of a fruit related to rhubarb.  Who’da thunk?

The caramel apple jam, on the other hand, will be Christmas presents for some friends and family.  I saved half a pint for the hubster and myself a little vanilla ice cream treat.  I mentioned it and he said he really would prefer it on a biscuit.  To each her own.

This was my 66th birthday week.  I got a killer of a present.  My back went out.  It had been threatening for a couple of weeks.  I woke up on Wednesday morning about 2:30 almost crying from the pain.  I wallowed in the floor doing my back exercises which I had not been doing for quite some time.  I took a bunch of Advil and an arthritis pill that the doctor prescribed for me.  I took a hot bath with Epsom salts in it and relaxed and stretched in that for a while.

After a day and a half of misery I woke up yesterday morning after sleeping most of the night on a heating pad, and the back was better.  The first step I took was quite dainty to make sure the back was still holding up.  Thank you Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna and all of the others I failed to name.

I did get a couple of nice surprises for my birthday.  About 200 friends on Facebook wished me a good BD.  Love back to all of you.  I mean people literally came out of the cracks in the wall to give me birthday wishes.  It was great seeing your names on my wall after not hearing from you for so long.  (Do you think some people just read the notices and never comment or say anything?  I do.)

On Wednesday I had a package in the mail.  It was a bunch of fresh lemons from the Webbs in Arizona.  They smelled so good and I couldn’t wait.  I had to crush one and squeeze it into water and drink it then and there.  The next day I squeezed a bunch of them and froze an ice cube tray of lemon juice.  I also made a batch of Lemon Squares.  Did they come out great using freshly squeezed lemon juice?  Yes they did.

Yesterday I had another package in the mail.  It was from older daughter, Addi.  In it were a new black t-shirt with no writing and a life supply of dental picks.  The last time Addi and hubster, Sam, had visited they discovered that I use a dental pick and wash it in the dish washer and use it one more time.  They were appalled!

If you didn’t know, I am the cheapest date in the world.  I use my toothpaste down to the very last morsel by folding the tube and keeping it in place using a bobby pin.  I save the little leftovers from bars of soap and melt them to make a new bar.  I once considered washing my dental floss but that is too silly.  Pick yes, floss no.

A couple of years ago I wrapped a special Christmas gift for Addi and Sam.  It had a toothpaste tube, the remains all folded up and completely empty and a few of those chunks of leftover dial soap.  Addi made a video of Sam opening the special gift and the look on his face was astounding.

I know people laugh at me behind my back but I frankly don’t care.  I am cheap, I am a food hoarder, I shop at Goodwill Stores.  I am who I am and if you don’t like it, I couldn't give a rodent’s gluteus maximus.  And besides, most of the stuff I do, I just do for laughs.

Peace be with you.  And may your back always stay in place.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

This week went well for me.  I got my hair frosted across the street from where I live.  My old friend CJ is a part time hairdresser and I had her frost my hair last year and decided I needed to do it again.  We had a fun time catching up and I just love my hair.  The grey is showing these days and I really think I am too old to go back to being an auburn haired woman.

I went to Pecatonica and saw Mark Clark for my hair cut.  He is so funny.  I tell him I want the sides and back cut off but leave it longer on the top.  He gets to talking and just keeps snipping away.  He does give a great haircut.

Yesterday was a day I had been looking forward to for a very long time.  Friend, Garnet, and I decided to go to the Geek Convention in Rockford as we had never been.  We are both such people watchers and knew there would be a lot of folks to check out.

Daughter, Jess, had loaned me her Blind Melon tap dancing bee costume.  Initially, Garnet was going as the bee.  I was planning on wearing my pirate costume or my “I Saved Jesus” t-shirt that Garnet made for me.

Funny story…Garnet has this t-shirt and it says “I have issues.”  On the day I first saw her in it she had a button up shirt over it and I could only see the middle letters.  I asked her if her shirt said, “I saved Jesus.”  She got such a kick out of it that she made me a t-shirt with that on it.  I don’t wear it much because I don’t want to offend any Christians out there.  But still, the story is funny!

Garnet re-watched the Blind Melon video of the little girl in the bee costume and decided her arms were too flabby to wear the outfit and so she went to the nearby second hand story, got a mask and a trench coat and decided she would be a flasher.

I was stuck being the bee and showing off my flabby arms.  But what the heck, the costume was very cute and I wanted to be the bee anyhow.

I drove to Garnet’s house and dressed there while her hubster taped her large diaper in place.  She had made a fake penis and put a squeaky toy inside.  It hung out of her diaper.  She is honestly the most insane person I know and I just love her for it.

She kept telling me how cute I was in the bee costume.  She took forever to finish getting dressed.  We were finally on our way to the convention.  I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going.  Okay I know.  I have a smart phone, why don’t I use it?  We drove down Riverside in Rockford and saw a sign for a sports complex and drove in.  I asked a woman who was in the parking lot if this was where the Geek Convention was and she looked at me in astonishment and said “No, it’s a soccer field.”  Dumb me.  I had let her see my costume for nothing.

We drove further down Riverside and finally saw another sign for another sports complex and turned in.  The guy in the orange alert jacket told me with a laugh that I was at the right place.  He said I looked like a giant bee.  Thanks a lot.  My arms aren’t that big.
We parked and as we got out we sighted a guy putting on a Transformers costume.  It was huge.  He looked great and all kinds of people were gathering around him.  As we walked by I heard one person say, “Oh look at the bee.”  Attention – that’s all I require.

I got several smiles as we walking to the entrance.  I was leading Garnet because she couldn’t get the mask straightened to see well.  It turned out that I was leading her all over.  If I turned away she turned the other way and lost me.

Several people stopped up and asked for photographs.  There were no cameras allowed but everyone had their smart phones out taking pictures.  I was so pissed because I can’t seem to get my photos from my phone to my computer.  I took some photos anyhow.  It seems there were several “celebrities” at the convention and you had to pay them to take your photo with them.  Hence, no cameras.

I ran into my neighbor’s son who looks just like Jake Gyllenhaal and so I had Garnet take our photo so I could say I had my picture taken with a star.  She takes lousy pictures except with her own phone and so Max had his buddy take a picture of us.

We walked around for an hour or so and decided to have a seat and people watch.  We found a circle of folding chairs and each took one.  More people stopped to take our photos and we took a couple of Batman and his sidekick, another Batman and his sidekicks and Willy Wonka.

A gentleman came over and asked us to move since the circle was for playing a game and we weren’t playing we were watching.  We moved upstairs to the concession area and discovered they didn’t sell beer.  The line for food was very long and we didn’t feel like waiting in line.  We sat by the window and watched the convention for a while and pointed out various costumes and freaks.

I asked her what she thought and she said it was like a home show with comic books and freaks.  I said I was hungry and wanted to split and go eat something and get a beer.
We left after only two hours at the convention.  Ten dollar lesson learned.

We went to Long John Silver’s and got our lunch.  I got quite a few stares in my costume.  I ran into my old mechanic who got a chuckle out of me.  Two guys asked if they could take my picture with them.  What fun!

And so our adventure that we had looked so forward to did not pan out like we thought.  I had a blast and loved wearing the costume.  Thanks Jess.

Here is a website where you can see photos of all the costumes at the show.  https//

This photo looks like one of those puppies with their big nose right in the camera.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mondays are our usual day of the week to work in the garden at the front lake here at Lake Summerset.  Yesterday I found myself working alone.  That’s okay because I don’t expect the ladies on my crew to show up every week.  We all have lives and do what we can.  I copped out one day this summer because I had a cold.

I had a pleasant hour deadheading Purple Cone Flowers and Black Eyed Susans.  I cleaned up some day lilies (if you don’t know I despise day lilies) and watered all the recently planted plants.  I had put some mums out in the ground and one lady donated a rose bush.  I made sure they had plenty of water.

I decided I wanted to decorate some more for fall.  I had gotten two bales of straw last week and put the mums next to them.  I went down highway 75 to the pumpkin farm and got four pumpkins.  Deciding that was not enough, I ran home and got four of my still green pie pumpkins.

But I wanted more!  I called the farm that sells sweet corn in the summer to see if they would sell me some corn stalks to make a fodder shock.

If you don’t know what a fodder shock is let me explain.  You take a bunch of freshly cut stalks of corn and stack them into an “x” shape.  Nothing screams fall like a fodder shock.

The farmer called me back and told me to come on over.   I took my big ass clipper (thank you Jess and Anthony), jumped in the truck and headed to the farm. The farmer met me and we shook hands.  Isn’t shaking hands just the nicest gesture?  I like it so much better than the two kisses on the cheeks like the Europeans do.

The farmer checked to see that I had the tool to cut the corn stalk.  I proudly displayed my lovely big ass clipper.  He pointed me across the street and told me to take about twenty and that would make a nice shock.  I gave him a fiver.

My big ass clipper made headway with those corn stalks.  I had twenty in no time at all.  I pitched them into the back of the truck, closed the tailgate, with some effort, and made my way back to the front gate.

When I got back to the gate and parked I discovered I had screwed up the tailgate.  Somehow, the little wire that holds it in place had gotten tangled in the closure.  I’m sure I will have to take it to the Chevy dealer to get it open again.  At this point in time I should have realized I should just go home and go back to bed.

I lifted my corn stalks out and tied five of them together a little above the midway. I put them in a tripod where I wanted the fodder shock and lifted each leg out to balance the shock.  Then I put a corn stalk here and a corn stalk there until they were all in place.  About that time the wind picked up.  I gathered all the remaining fodder that had scattered around me and when I looked back the fodder shock slowly leaned and fell to the ground.  J C Penneys!  I took it all apart and put it back together again.  This time I pulled off a couple of ears of corn to make it not so heavy.  It fell again.

Cars were passing by and a couple gave me a wave.  Probably splitting a gut laughing at the old broad who was trying to stack corn stalks.  Well to heck with them, I’m making a fodder shock.

I got it back together and it seemed pretty stable.  I had laundry going at home and determined to head there and get something done today beside stacking corn stalks.

I cut a long length of twine and decided to go back later and tie the fodder together.  In the meantime I got three loads of laundry done.

When I got back to the front gate the stupid fodder shock was on the ground.  I put it back together again and tied it at the top.  I took a picture of it so I had proof that it once stood tall and lovely.

It rained last night and if it is on the ground today it will be mildewing.  Oh goody!  I’m allergic.  I’m taking three bamboo poles today and if it is down I am starting with the bamboo poles in the ground.  An Asian fodder shock!

Peace be with you, and my fodder shock.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I had a lovely week this past.  On Monday I gave my presentation on vegetable gardening to the Lake Summerset Garden Club.  I had many folks ask questions and I felt quite comfortable answering them.  I also took the remaining seven mums that I had left from my plant sale that was on Saturday before.  I sold all of them and so I can say my first sale, I sold out.  Yeah me!

On Tuesday a landscaper came to look at my herb garden.  I am having it turned into a real herb garden.  I am so excited.  I decided that if I couldn’t take a vacation this year, because of the new dog, that I am going to spend my vacation money on something very special for myself.  And that is my dream herb garden (photo above).

On Wednesday I picked about a gallon of cherry tomatoes.  I turned them into tomato sauce.  I whirled them in the food processor (Thank you again Jeff and Diane Scaduto.) put them into a strainer and pushed the pulp through the strainer.  I had about a dozen Italian tomatoes that were ripe and I crushed them into the sauce.  I tucked this away to make spaghetti sauce later.

Friend Garnet called me and asked if I wanted to go kayaking the next day and we decided we would do the river again.  A friend had told us if we went past the place we got out before, where I did the splits, there was a better place to get out.  Garnet showed up early and explored and didn’t find any other place to get out.  We decided we would drive to Rock Cut and go kayaking there.

We left my truck at the Forest Preserve and headed to Rock Cut.  It was a glorious day.  The sun was shining brightly and the clouds were perfect.  The weather was just right for being on the water.  We put in with no problems.  We started to the right of us as we had already explored the left and straight from us before.  I dubbed the bay, Lily Pad Bay, as there was a bunch of lily pads.

Making it to the other side we realized there was a lot of noise.  There was a guy with a chain saw and chipper cleaning up brush on the edge of the lake.  I told Garnet that he was shredding body parts like that guy in Fargo.  We watched a flock of birds for some time even with the annoying noise.  Garnet wanted a rock or something to throw at them because she wanted to watch them take off flying.

We watched another group of birds flying into the woods.  There was a bird that looked like it was sitting on a nest.  I thought it rather late for baby birds but the bird just sat there the whole time we watched.

My tailbone gets pretty sore during kayaking and I told Garnet that when I broke it I sat on my Grandma’s donut for about six months.  We decided that “I sat on Grandma’s donut” should be a country and western song.

I was sick of the noise and allowed the wind to turn me around.  Then I hightailed it around the bend and away from the noise.  A paddle board caught our eye at the other end of the lake.  We decided to go see what it was.  It turned out to be like a surfboard and the girl was standing on it and paddling with an oar.  We talked to her for a while.  It seems that she rented it there at the lake. Thirteen dollars for an hour.  Garnet and I decided we had to try it.  Our plans were to go get Mexican for lunch and come back and do this for an hour.

Well the best laid plans of mice and men do go awry. I got my kayak out of the lake and onto the cement landing.  I pulled it out and looked back to find Garnet in the lake and her kayak upside-down.  It seems that when she got ashore the kayak got stuck in an indentation in the dock and turned over.  She was soaked!

We got the kayak up and turned it over and popped the plug.  It took some time to drain and Garnet said she would be dry by the time it drained.  She wasn’t.  We wrung out her towel and I offered to wring her shorts dry too but she wouldn’t let me as it would wrinkle them.  (They were already wrinkled!)

We wrestled with the idea of her putting her towel around her waist but I felt we would embarrass ourselves at the Mexican restaurant.  Her not me!

We got the kayaks loaded into her truck and stood around watching a girl with two kayaks and a dog.  Wondering if the dog had its own kayak, we saw another girl pull up with a baby, and wondered if the dog and the baby had their own kayak.  We were laughing so hard at this idea.

We hung towels and clothing on the kayaks and continued to watch the girls to see how they would manage with the dog and baby.  The first girl carried the kayaks to the landing with the dog on the leash.  Garnet wanted to tell the other girl to carry her own kayak.  The girls took their time loading a bunch of equipment and getting suited up.  The dog and the baby had their little life vests and climbed right into the kayaks. It took them some time to rock and roll the kayaks into the water and sure enough, off they went.

During this time a car pulled up and an old friend stepped out of the car.  Her father had just called me the day before.  I had worked with him at Shirland School for many years and knew his daughter well.  I gave her a hug and she introduced me to her boyfriend.  It was good to see my old friend.

Garnet decided that she was dry enough and we headed to the Mexican restaurant.  It was a new place that we had stopped at a while back but it wasn’t open yet.  It was very nicely decorated and I got a Mexican pizza which I had been craving for some time.  I got chorizo on it and it was delicious.  I ate the whole thing and Garnet’s beans, which she didn’t want.  She had tostados which she always gets and bitches about how messy they were.  (Then get tacos instead.)

Our adventure was over and we headed back to my truck.  We had decided that we were too exhausted to go back to Rock Cut and do the paddle board thing.

That evening was my class that I had signed up for on using your I-phone.  I got this phone for Christmas from my dear friends, the Webbs.  I still was not used to it and wanted to learn more.  I was highly disappointed.  There was a bunch of ladies about my age with their I-phones and all we did was ask questions and the instructor would answer them.  I did learn about Siri and how to use it and how to clear my history.  I learned a few other things about the settings on the phone.

I want to make a movie of Emily playing with her toys to post and I didn’t learn how to do that.  I think I just have to not be afraid of the phone and try to use it.  I did get my Apple id and password changed so I can look at aps that I might want to put on the phone.  Any suggestions out there?

Yesterday I got that tomato sauce out and made spaghetti sauce.  I sautéed up some onions, peppers, garlic, celery and carrots and threw that into the pot.  I added some tomato paste and some of my tomato flour.  Added some herbs and seasonings and it came out pretty good.  I will decide tomorrow what I want to make using it.  I’m thinking some stuffed shells.

This week will end with the hubster and I having dinner with his parents at Nunzio’s in Rockford.  They have this Steak Sinatra that is out of this world.  And their house salad is to die for.  It was the inspiration for my big ass salad that I make frequently.  It has everything but the kitchen sink.  I always get the au gratin potatoes and save them to bring home for my breakfast the next day.

Life is good.  Peace be with you.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I have had a couple of weeks of stress, fun and stupidity.  First my good friend’s husband died and I went with her to Iowa to plan his funeral.  I am so glad that I could be with her and we had a lovely long ride and a chance to talk a lot about our feelings and such.

A group of friends gathered and drove together to the funeral that Saturday.  Two and a half to three hour’s drive each way.  We did stop in a little town on the way home and had a tour of the place and we girls had a pizza.  The boys weren’t hungry.  It was called The Silent Woman in Fennimore, Wisconsin.  Very cute atmosphere.  The pizza was undercooked and Nancy sent hers back.  They topped the pizza with balsamic vinegar.  Very interesting!

On Thursday night, Garnet, Lauri and I went to Madison, Wisconsin.  It took a while to get there as Wisconsin has decided to go into orange barrel mode.  County T had a detour that I had forgotten when we drove through for the funeral.  And then a little farther up they had another detour.  Garnet sat next to me and brooded that we were lost and wouldn’t make the concert.  She is such a fraidy-cat!

We finally made it to the roundabout in Oregon, Wi and I missed my turn so we had to make another round about the roundabout.  Take about embarrassing!  Lauri had sent me a map of a DETOUR to take because we were hitting Madison at rush hour.  It took forever to drive this country back road to get to Target where we were meeting Lauri.  We went through another roundabout but I refused to do it a second time for Garnet.  The most aggravating thing was that Lauri kept texting me and Garnet couldn’t figure out my phone.  (She can’t figure out hers either.)  So I finally stopped and texted Lauri that we had just crossed Fish Hatchery and that must have made her satisfied as she quit texting me.

We made it to Target and gathered in Lauri’s car and headed off to the Mexican restaurant that Lauri had decided to introduce us to.  She almost ran a red light before I screamed for her to stop.  We were busy talking and chatting.

We had dinner at the Mexican restaurant and I had a delicious chiies rellenos, a tamale and a tostado.  Topped that off with a Corona with lime.  That being taken care of we ventured on to our destination.  We went to the Majestic Theatre in Madison to see one of my favorite bands, Over the Rhine.

I had ordered tickets way back when I saw they were coming and the week before the Majestic emailed me that if I wanted box seats to call the phone number listed.  I called and said I wanted three box seats and gave them my name, phone number and number of the tickets.  I never heard back.

When we got to the box office I asked the girl at the ticket booth if I had been okayed for the box seats.  She checked her computer and asked if I was Marla.  No, I’ve been called a lot but not Marla.  She asked about another name but it wasn’t mine.  I was so pissed!  When I got the tickets initially I asked for the box seats and they told me that their theatre was general admission and first come first serve.

We headed in to get our seats.  The balcony seats I had asked for were empty and I told the girls that we were taking them and if we got thrown out, so be it.  I volunteered to go get the beers.  Figured if we got thrown out I wouldn’t be present.  Not really, I just wanted to treat my girlfriends to a beer.

Well we didn’t get thrown out.  We sat right above the stage for the entire concert.  First up was Lucy Wainwright Roche whom I had seen before with OTR and she is quite good.  She has a very interesting voice that I cannot describe.  She is the daughter of Loudon Wainwright III who wrote Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.  I hate it when people mention that song because it becomes my next brain worm.

She did a very short session and we all headed to pee one by one so as not to lose our snarfed box seats.  We got settled and the lights dimmed and out they came.  They had a guitarist, mandolinist, other stuffist guy and I didn’t catch his name.

Karen let us know that they were a little low key because they had lost the Big Blue Dog, Minnie Pearl that week.  It broke my heart.  Lauri lost her husband one week and had to put one of her dogs to sleep the next.  My Jessie had died in March.  We all shared a moment of dog love.

They did manage to play one of my favorite songs, Born.  It goes, “I was born to laugh, I learned to laugh, through my tears.  I was born to love.  I’m gonna learn to love without fear.  Great song.  Yes, I cried.

The concert was very laid back.  Garnet had threatened to dance but they only played one song to dance to and she refused my request.  Bitch!

They played their set and came back with Lucy W R and did a really great version of a song that slips my mind right now.  Song about everybody needs someone to love.  But it was a song from a man’s perspective and Lucy and Karen kicked its butt!  (After the fact I thought of it.  It was Hungry Heart by Bruce Springstein.)

Then they finished with OTR doing an easy going version of All My Favorite People which is a song Karen wrote when her mom was in a nursing home and she realized that all of her favorite people are broken.  Really touches your heart.

Lauri got us safely back to my truck at Target and said our goodbyes.  Garnet reminded me of the detours and I made my mind to take a different route.  When we got close to the Amish farms in Brodhead, I headed east to the first road and took that south.  I was sure it would take us to Route 11 and we ended up riding for quite a while in a lovely but kind of spooky country road.  At this time Garnet started on her whine about being lost and having to call her hubster to come and save us.  I asked her if she had locked her door.  She quickly did.

I was just hoping that we wouldn’t come across a bunch of deer.  She was hoping we would see civilization which we didn’t see for quite some time.  A light came over the next hill just about when I was ready to stop and get out my smart phone.  We ended up in Orfordville, which is the home of the famous Knute’s Bar and Grill.  They have this blue gill and walleye fish fry on Fridays which is fabulous, if you’ve never been there. And their potato pancakes are the best ever!  It is well worthwhile.  We were just a few miles out of Brodhead on Route 11.  Told you so!

We went through Brodhead and took Mt. Hope Road to Stateline Road and made it home safely about 12:30.  Garnet and I said goodnight and she drove home in the dark and I was so worried about her but she texted me and said she made it safely.

My next adventure this week was the annual Lake Summerset Garden Club’s Fall Plant Sale, of which I was in charge for the first time.  I had ordered my $200 in small bills and a money box from the bank in Davis.  Plants had been ordered, signs made, put a notice in three papers and put it on the Neighborhood on-line site for Lake Summerset.  I was all set.

I packed up my truck with my supplies the night before and was all set for Saturday at 6:45.  I got to the front gate and put up my signs and started setting up.  The lady who was in charge last year was there to help me get set up.  Little did I know that the email to garden club members had said to be there at 7:30 and not 7:00 as I had scheduled.

The truck arrived at 7:00 and the two older folks who delivered and we two gardeners started unloading.  The guy who drove the truck said, “All your volunteers are watching us and will show up when we are finished.”  What an attitude!  At 7:30 several volunteers arrived on time and we finished unloading the truck and van.

We had to count the plants before we started and I kept getting 120 of mums instead of 130.  Stupid calculator.  I’m used to an adding machine.  We counted again and I was satisfied.

Just about the time we got into full speed with the plant sale it started to rain.  I hadn’t thought to bring a jacket because it was supposed to rain a little and stop.  The wind was bad and we were all soaked in no time.  We actually sold quite a few plants despite the rain.  One lady had an extra jacket and I put it on.  I was out there in shorts and a tee shirt and they all had on parkas and umbrellas.

One volunteer admired my naturally curly hair.  Naturally fuzzy if you ask me! I took a photo of the volunteers but they insisted that I be in the photo so one lady volunteered to take the photo.

Just before my second crew arrived the group insisted that I go home and change my clothes and wet shoes, which I did.  The dog acted as if I had been gone for a week.

I got dried off with fresh clothes and went back to the sale.  At the end we had nine mums and two asters left.  Not bad, not bad at all.  I went back later to take down my banner and the security chief bought two mums and the two asters.  Seven mums were left and I am taking them to the Garden Club meeting on Monday, where I am the speaker for the day.

I am giving a presentation tomorrow to the Garden Club on vegetable gardening.  I don’t know how many will show up for this.  I can’t imagine it is an interesting subject for most gardeners.  Most of the gardeners have really pretty yards whereas I have a vegetable garden and a so-so yard.

Today I am practicing my presentation.  I hope to get outside and tackle my tomatoes which are pretty much done for the season.  I also want to get a few weeds out of my flower and shrubs.  I also have to change the hummingbird feeders and it will probably be the last week for the birds to come visit.

Fall is a wonderful time but I start getting depressed because I know winter is coming.  I used to enjoy winter and went cross country skiing and walking on the frozen lake but I am older now and afraid of falling and being unable to get up.

After tomorrow’s presentation, I plan to veg for a while.  I was thinking of going to Cheese Days but heard it is a crowd of thousands and I can’t deal with that any more.  Although I am a cheese addict I think I will stick to the house or maybe go kayaking with Garnet.

I also have a class on Thursday night this week.  I am taking a class to learn to use my I-phone.  I am very excited about that as I am constantly embarrassed that I can’t figure out how to use it properly and to my advantage.  Wish me luck.

Peace be with you.