Saturday, March 26, 2016

And so today, I must fess up.  I am strange.  There, I have said it.  I noticed today when I was perusing Facebook that I was disgusted with several items.

First of all I read that Axel Rose may be joining AC/DC.  I am a solid rock and roll girl but I have just never cared for AC/DC.  Their singer sucks as far as I am concerned.  The only singer who may suck even more is Axel Rose.  His version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” gives me the wretches.  And I am sure there are thousands of you out there who are rockers who just love all of the above.

The next thing that appalled me was the videos of making food stuff.  The first one I watched was Strawberry, Jell-O, Pretzel salad.  I turned it off quickly.  Jell-O is nauseating to me.  My mom was on a constant diet when I was a kid and used to make Jell-O all the time.  Man do I hate Jell-O!  Then add to it two things I really love which are strawberries (mine are wonderful) and pretzels (which I love with a good mustard) and I am outraged.  The only thing that goes with Jell-O is TNT.

So now I am wondering what it would be like to blow up a Jell-O mold with cottage cheese, pineapple and dates.  That would make a lovely mess.  I’d probably take a picture of it.

That is another thing for which I am odd.  I carry around a real camera.  The hubster keeps telling me that my I-phone camera takes must better photos but I am a creature of habit.  I used to own a Nikon and it really kicked butt for taking good pictures.  I gave it up with my first instant cheap thang.  Wish I hadn’t.

Another thing that I really abhor is marshmallows.  The idea of making Smores does not do a thing for this girl.  I hate marshmallow treats, mallow bars and anything else marshmallow related.  And especially those Hostess snow ball things!  And don’t even consider putting them into my hot chocolate!

People cannot believe what I eat for breakfast.  This morning I had seven layer salad.  It was for dinner last night and I had some leftover.  It was good.  My favorite breakfast of all time is an Onion Bagel with smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, jalapenos and mustard, heated.  I like to toast my bagel first.

Probably my most favorite breakfast is leftover Green Bean Casserole.  The son-in-law and I fight over it after Thanksgiving.  Well we don’t really fight but each of us wants the most.
The best breakfast I ever had was my mom’s Gravy and Biscuits.  And I call it Gravy and Biscuits when the entire rest of the world calls it Biscuits and Gravy.  People, it is all about the Gravy!  My mom made her gravy in a cast iron skillet and it got this lovely shade of brown.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

I do wake up in the morning thinking about what I can eat for breakfast.  I like a grapefruit first thing to whet my appetite and think about what is in the fridge.  I loathe cereal of all kinds.  I tried one summer to eat Raisin Bran for breakfast daily to see if it changed my system for the better.  It didn’t.  I can tolerate Raisin Bran but I would never opt for it in the first place.

I guess I don’t feel like I’ve eaten unless I eat something warm or hot.  I like my fruit but an hour or two later I have to eat something that is hot.  Beef stroganoff kicks it for breakfast.  Love my garlic.

You probably know, as I have confessed, I am a food hoarder.  I have a full freezer in the basement, an extra fridge in the garage and my pantry is overrun.  I have been trying to get rid of all my prepared foods but manage to keep a couple cans of Campbell mushroom soup and chicken noodle on hand.  The mushroom soup goes into the green bean casserole and the hubster eats chicken noodle soup when he doesn’t feel well.

I nearly choked yesterday when I went for a jar of my canned tomatoes.  I realized that I have only six quarts left.  And it is March.  I guess I will have to make do.  I do have about twenty jars of spaghetti sauce that should last me for a while.  I have plenty of green beans for my casseroles.

Excuse me but I had to sneeze.  I always, always, sneeze twice.  What is with that?  One is not enough?  It pesters me to death when people make those little stifled sneezes into their hanky.  I let it go.  I enjoy a good sneeze.  It is kind of like a little head and throat orgasm, don’t you agree?

My dad had the greatest sneeze ever.  He shook the house walls when he sneezed.  His whole body sneezed.  I think he secretly loved scaring the shit out of those around him when he sneezed.  He did carry a white handkerchief in his pocket but he didn’t use it when he sneezed.  I still have a couple of his hankies.

Another thing I found on FB this morning was this video of this guy in India who makes disposable eating utensils out of stuff you can eat.  When you finish with your meal you can eat the utensils.  I love him.  I hope he makes them out of fruit for dessert.  As you know, I detest plastic utensils.  I carry a real fork whenever I carry my lunch.  I usually have a cloth napkin too.  There is just too much waste in the world.

For some strange reason I noticed a while back that when I say the word “them” I really say “thum”.  Ever since I listen to people to see if they say “thum” too.  I also love it when people say “fur” instead of “for”.  I do it and so it makes them (thum) more human to me.

I have this habit of writing down stuff that I think I should remember.  At the bottom of this page where I wrote my notes for writing this blog I have written, “odd-HardB.  Calcatec-“world inside his brain”-and a word I can’t read that looks like elven or ewen.  I have no idea what this is about or where it came from.  I do like the “world inside his brain” statement.

I surfed Calcatec and it didn’t strike anything familiar to me.  I surfed “world inside his brain” and got Atlas of Creation, which after reading a few lines I am sure is much too complicated for my simple mind.

And simple my mind is.  I believe in Karma, I believe in the simple things in life that give you happiness.  I believe we should be kind to each other.  I believe that people who are not kind will reap what they sew and try to leave it at that.  I confess that I sometimes want to make a voodoo doll of them and pierce their eyeballs and tongue.  But I won’t because I believe in Karma.

This strangeness all began when I was a child.  I hated my name, Wilma.  I hated when my mom called me to dinner out the back door, yelling, “Wilmareaaaaaa…”  By the way Wilmarea which is my name sounds a lot like the call of a red winged blackbird.  Walk with me sometime and I’ll introduce you.

I was visiting the dentist who is one of the worst memories of my childhood and one of the best.  The dentist commented that I had an interesting name.  I mumbled in disgust.  Then he proceeded to tell me that my name was a derivative of the name Wilhelmina who was the Queen of the Netherlands.  I think we called it Holland back then.  He went on to tell me that it mean helmet or protector.  I’m thinking of those leather football helmets that used to be worn, with me in it.

This dentist continued to talk as most dentists do.  Do they really want us to respond?  He said my name Van Hoose was a Dutch name and it meant “the house”.  And therefore, my name meant “protector of the home”.  I think I had to stop him at that point so I could drop my jaw in awe.

I went through years of childhood thinking I had the most magnificent name there ever was.  It was not until I was older and discovered that my name Van Hoose had been changed at Ellis Island and that Van Hoose was not really a Dutch name after all.

I am proudly odd.  I am such a unique individual that I sometimes leave myself in wonder.  I am a product of a fabulous childhood filled with great experiences and people.  I found myself when I had children and enjoyed all the playing time that I didn’t get enough of as a child.  And now that I am retired I am finding so many new adventures and new and excited people   It is a never ending adventure, let me tell you.

Photo is of me contemplating the Three Sisters Oaks in Sugarcreek Forest Preserve in Bellbrook, Ohio.  It is where my ashes will be scattered one day.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yesterday I completed my winter project.  I covered all of my potholders with new material.  I learned some quilting techniques over the fall and applied them to my potholders.  I would dearly love to make a beautiful quilt but I’m afraid I don’t have the patience to do so.

I have sewn together two quilts for each of my daughters.  The first one was a memory quilt from scraps I gathered during the years from their pjs, favorite old shirts, grandma and grandpa discarded shirts and other materials.  I really enjoyed making them and when I finished them I wrote the girls a story about the pieces in the quilt, where they came from and what it meant.  I gave them to the girls when they graduated college.

Then I made them each a pretty quilt just because I wanted to make my daughters a quilt.  My mom gave me a quilt and I cherish it to this day.  Two of my favorite aunts have also given me quilts over the years and they are very special to me.

I had been working on this project for several months.  I kept putting it off.  First the sewing machine was acting up and I took it to the repair and it was there for a week.  I then caught some kind of mucus death thing and am still coughing up phlegm.  Next Jessie dog was sick and I didn’t do much of anything but hold her, feed her, take her outside and worry about her.

Last week I decided it was time to get my act together and straighten up.  I began exercising again.  I even took a couple of long walks outside.  Then I came across the sewing pile and realized that what I really needed was a sense of accomplishment.

I wanted to try a log cabin pattern that I had on one of my potholders that I had purchased at a craft show many years ago.  Talk about lessons learned.  I had to take the darn thing apart several times before I got the hang of what I was doing.

I think they came out pretty nice.  I wish I had more of that deep maroon material but I only bought a swatch and when I went back they had sold out of it.  Another lesson learned.  If you like it, get some!

Now that I look at them, they kind of look like Christmas packages.  Oh well at least they are clean.  Wanna take bets as to who burns the first one?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Today would have been Jessie dog’s 13th birthday.  I came across her little sweater that she wore when we went walking in the cold.  I miss her so much.

She just brought so much joy into my life.  What am I doing without her?  Having fond memories and trying to get my life back into shape.

She adored me.  She wanted to be next to me at all times.  In the bathroom, in the kitchen; everywhere I went she wanted to be next to me.  She went in the truck about everywhere I went if it wasn’t too cold or too hot.

She was there when I needed a friend.  When I was lost and didn’t what where to go she walked beside me.

She wasn’t the lovingness of dogs.  She was more like a cat.  She wanted tummy rubs and her ears scratched and butt rubs but she never licked me or kissed me.  It was more in the way she just wanted to be next to me always.

She will stay in my heart forever.  Happy birthday, Jessie dog.  I adore you.

Photo of Jessie dog at Thanksgiving licking the turkey roaster.  Spoiled dog!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I am feeling more like myself today.  I have been working on my first presentation as a Master Gardener.  I am going into the Extension Office tomorrow to put it into a Power Point presentation with the help of my associate at the office.  It is entitled, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”.  I will be presenting it to the Pecatonica Garden Club next month.  I hope it will be the first of many presentations.

I wrote my presentation a couple of months ago when I was first asked to do the presentation.  I have read it over many times to try and memorize all the information.  I have made 3 by 5 cards for my benefit.  Today I prepared slides of the main topics for the Power Point.

I have gathered many photos of my herb garden, drying herbs and even some cartoons to add to the demonstration.  I have photos of some of my unusual vegetables and various pictures of my herb garden in each stage of growing.

I have also included recipes for my favorite recipes in which to use the various herbs I will talk about.  Included in my preparations is a door prize to be presented to one lucky attendee.  It is a packet of each of the dried herbs that I am talking about.

I think part of the healing process of grief is to get interested in something else to keep your mind off the grief.  Gardening is one of my passions and I will give my grief over to my passion.

Part of the adventure of giving a presentation is knowing fully the subject matter you are discussing.  I know my herbs and I know my material.  I just hope I don’t get a case of the jitters and blow the thing.  Confidence, girl, confidence!

Wish me luck.

The top photo is what I wished my herb garden looked like.  Bottom photo is what it really looks like.

Monday, March 7, 2016

On February 8 I took Jessie dog to the vet.  She had lost a toenail in the snow and ice and was limping.  It turned out that Jessie had a growth on her liver and was going downhill fast.  Thus began a month long depression for me and my household.  I counted on my calendar and in the last four weeks I have done yoga only four times.  I haven’t attended my Pilates classes and I have done Zumba only three times.

Enough is enough!  It’s time to get my positive ass back into gear.  Yesterday I went for a long walk.  It was cold and the wind was killer but I made it three miles.  Then at 4:00 I went downstairs and did Zumba.  Baby steps matter!

I decided today I had to blog about something.  I was so surprised to learn that my last  blog about my precious little Jessie dog had gotten 71 reads.  That is the most I have ever had.  Thank you so much to everyone who read or shared my story.  I read somewhere that if you can tell your story, you can get over the pain and go forward.  I must believe that to be true.

I dreamed of Jessie two nights ago.  I thought I looked out the window and she and Boris were outside playing.  I thought to myself, “maybe she will learn how to be a dog.”  She was so much more like a cat, bless her heart.

Last night I dreamed she came into a room that I was in.  I told her she couldn’t be here and I watched her as she walked away and walked right through the closed door.  My little invisible dog.

The hubster drove me up to the vet’s office on Friday and we picked up her ashes.  They also created a little heart that had her paw print on it.  I cried on the way home.  He told me I would and that is why he drove me there.  He can be a sweetheart when he wants to be.

Jessie dog will remain in my heart and soul.  She came to me at a time when I needed her the most.  My life was lacking and she filled a much needed void.  The many walks we took, the many truck rides we went on and so much more are memories that I will never forget.

I want to take all her stuff and donate it to the animal shelter.  But I am afraid to go there.  I’m afraid there will be a little girl who needs love and I might have to bring her home to love her.  Give me strength!

Photo of Jessie sleeping on the porch in the sun.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Several years ago my walking partner was Naomi, and her dog, Dot.  The first time I had met Dot she was loose in the yard when my car pulled into the driveway.  She headed straight to me barking fiercely and I quickly jumped back in my car.  She scared the heck out of me.  Naomi got her pulled away and under control and I slowly put out my hand to meet Dot.

I made sure every time I went for a walk with Naomi and Dot that I had a treat for Dot.  I would take her a scrap of meat, a bone, a milk bone, always something so she would grow to love me.

When we walked Dot sometimes jumped up at me and nipped at my hair or ear.  She was so cute.  If we walked past a mud puddle she would open her mouth like a bucket and drink from the puddle.  She had to poop on just about everything; I’ve never know a dog who liked to poop so much.

Once when we were out by the dam Dot jumped up at me and knocked the lens right out of my glasses.  I watched as it tumbled into the deep water below up.  Oh well, so much for those prescription glasses.

Dot grew older and Naomi had to work more and couldn’t take Dot for many walks so I would arrive at the house and open the door, let Dot out of her cage and we would take a walk by ourselves.  The older she got the slower she became.  Her nails got so long and the last time I remember walking her I knew she was in great pain from the nails.

I felt so bad for her living in a dog house chained to it or in a kennel in a garage.  I wished she had been my dog so I could keep her close to me.

Naomi and her family moved across the lake and I didn’t see them for a while.  She rode by on her bike one day and I was working out in my garden.  She had to tell me that Dot was gone.  I know I cried.  She was such a wonderful dog.  I had so often wished that she had been my dog.

Several years later when I was working as the secretary at school my boss, the Principal, asked if I knew anyone who wanted a dog.  It seems as though his daughter was getting married and the man she was marrying already had a dog and her dog didn’t get along with it.  They were looking for a home for the dog.  He showed me the photo and I couldn’t resist that adorable little face.  I put up the posters and asked everyone if they wanted a dog.
About two months later the Principal told me they were taking the dog to the kennel on Monday if they didn’t find a home for the dog.  I went home and asked the hubster if we could try out the little dog.  He agreed after a very long discussion.

After work on Friday I went with my boss to his house to pick up the dog.  Her name was Jessie and she was three years old.  She had been enclosed in the hallway in the basement and when the gate came down up she bounded.  She saw me and hunkered down and gave me the cutest roar I had ever heard from a dog.

She came close and jumped and put her front paws on their dining room table and I admonished her.  “Good girls don’t get up.  Down.”

I got down and began to pet her and she was such a wiggle worm.  She had to go outside to pee.  I was impressed that she went out unleashed and came right back in.

“Well what do you think?” my boss asked me.

I told him we would give it a try for the weekend.

Jessie got right into the truck and was excited to be going for a ride.  It was to be the first of many, many rides we would take together.

The hubster wasn’t impressed with Jessie.  He said he was pretty sure he was allergic to her.  I took her for a walk and it was not a good sign.  We met a dog and its owner walking and Jessie walked right up and bit the dog.  I could have died.  I explained to the owner that I didn’t own this dog.  I was just borrowing her for a walk.  We got around the block and sure enough another dog came bounding out of its territory and came up to Jessie who tried to bite it.

I was very discouraged.  I couldn’t understand this dog and her aggression.  I realized much later that she was protecting me, her master.

Jessie was very strange with the hubster.  He would get up to walk through the kitchen and she would bite at his sweat pants.  He was not taking to the dog at all.
We went to bed that night and I put Jessie’s little bed beside me on the floor.  I didn’t sleep well that night for worrying that she would have to get up to go outside.  She slept the entire night in her bed.
I worked in the garden the next day and Jessie stayed right by my side.  I was so impressed with this little dog.  We took a walk again and this time she didn’t bite any other dogs. 

Sunday came and I kept expecting the dog’s owner to call me to pick up the dog.  It was late in the evening and I finally called her.  She had misunderstood that I would call her not the other way.  It was too late and I kept Jessie again overnight.

I had to work the next day and so did the hubster.  Jessie would be staying in our house alone all day.  I was so nervous.  What if she ate the furniture, what if she pottied all over the house?  I got home at 4 that afternoon and she met me at the door.  The house was intact, no messes, no potty accidents.  She went outside and did her business.  All was well.
I don’t know if we decided on keeping Jessie or if we just got accustomed to her being around but Jessie stayed with us.  The hubster was probably allergic to her but after a while he grew to love her as much as I did.

I had never heard of a Mountain Cur dog breed before and I didn’t think Jessie was such a pretty dog.  My mind was changed by what I consider a visit from an angel.
My almost brand new dishwasher was not working properly.  I called the company that we purchased it from and asked if someone could come out and take a look.  The next day my doorbell rang and it was a young man who told me his truck was in the shop and he had driven his car.  His name was Brian and he was to look at my dishwasher.  Jessie was beside me and I tried to keep her back but she jumped up on Brian’s knee when he stooped down to check the dishwasher.

I apologized to him and told him I had just gotten the dog and she didn’t have very good manners.  He told me it was all right and proceeded to pet and love on Jessie.  He asked what kind of dog she was and I told him a Mountain Cur.  He said he thought so.  His parents raised Mountain Curs at his home in Ohio.  I was amazed.  He told me that they are vicious hunters.  He told me once his parents were walking one of their curs and a raccoon tried to attack them.  He said the cur took the raccoon’s head into her mouth and killed it instantaneously.  He told me that Jessie was so beautiful.  That there aren’t many blonde curs left.

Well Brian didn’t fix my dish washer but he gave me a new appreciation for my little dog.

A couple of days later, my door bell rang again.  There was a service truck in my driveway and a guy with the name “Brian” on his work shirt.  I was baffled.  He said he was Brian with the company we had purchased the dishwasher from and was here to look at my dishwasher.  I told him about the other Brian and he said he didn’t know anything about it.  They hadn’t sent anyone out from the store.

Brian number two fixed my dishwasher but I was still left astonished.

I got a message from Jessie’s previous owner.  She told me Jessie’s history.  She had been born to a breeder and the breeder was going to keep her to breed puppies because she was so beautiful.  The lady got very ill and couldn’t keep the puppy and so Jessie’s first master had taken her.  He name was originally Dot but they changed it to Jessie.

My Dot had come back to me.  I should have left her name to be Dot but she was used to Jessie and I couldn’t change it.

Jessie is a blonde cur and has a white line down the center of her face which is a white mask.  She has a big white dot on her forehead.  She is a lovely cur.

About a year into our ownership of Jessie she started peeing blood.  I took her to the vet and they determined she had bladder stones.  She had an intense surgery where they had to scrape her bladder because she had so many bladder stones.  She went on a Science Dogfood diet and could eat nothing else. Of course, we still gave her food scraps and treats.
Jessie and I took many truck rides, went on too many walks to enumerate, and had so many adventures.  She wasn’t the lovingingess dog.  She never licked me or wanted to hug.  When I sat in my lounge chair to watch tv she would climb into my lap and sit for ear rubs and butt scratches.

She did eventually end up in our bed.  Once when I travelled to Ohio for a weekend, she climbed into the bed and the hubster missed me and just let her stay, and hugged her instead.  She came to hogging the bed.  She wanted her nose to touch him and her butt to touch me and would not learn to sleep lengthwise.

The hubster had aquariums when we first got Jessie and when he cleaned them she “chased snakes”.  The tube from the aquarium to the sink filled with water and occasionally pulled out a hunk of moss or fish poop and Jessie would see it and chase it to the sink.  It was adorable.  She would grasp the tube in her mouth but never broke it with her teeth.  I think she came to know when it was Sunday and the day to chase snakes.

Another of our little activities was for her to “find her food”.  She was getting too fat because we spoiled her with whatever she wanted.  Her first cup of food she would have to find.  Dad would throw a piece of food into the living room and she would have to go find it.  Or she would have to shake and give a “high five” before she got a piece of food.  We had dog food bits all over the living room.  It was like the Easter Egg hunt of dogfood.

Jessie never really barked a lot but she did roar.  When we got home or if someone came to visit she would do a downward dog position and “roar”.

She was also a tummy rub whore.  When the hubster got up to get ready for work in the mornings he would just have to look her way and over she rolled to get a tummy rub.  Whenever we met little children on our walks she would immediately roll to her back for a tummy rub from them.

Jessie began to slow down about a year or so before we knew she was ill.  Our walks used to be two to three miles but slowed down to the mile around the block.  She got slower and slower and I ended up pulling the dog around the block.

When she first refused to eat we knew something was seriously wrong. She was such a chow hound.  It all started when she came in one evening from being out side in the cold and she was bleeding all over the kitchen.  I stopped the bleeding and found she had lost a toenail on her back paw.  For the next week she limped and then began to refuse food.  I made special food for her out of tuna fish, peas and rice.  I took her to the vet and got an appointment with not our usual vet.  He checked her out and said she had very bad arthritis.  He prescribed a medication for her arthritis.   She ate the medication willingly but didn’t get better.  When she started refusing food entirely I took her back and got an appointment with our regular vet.

She did an ultrasound and found that Jessie had a mass growth on her liver.  She explained that a biopsy of the liver was a complicated surgery and that if it was cancer she had very little chance of surviving.  The hubster and I decided that Jessie wouldn’t go through another surgery and that we would keep her home and make her as comfortable as possible.

She was still able to go outside and do her business but she didn’t eat anything.  I purchased a little syringe and fed her the meds and some babyfood.  She was sick to her stomach a lot and I cleaned up a bunch of dog puke.  I started giving her Pepto Bismol to help with her stomach problems.  She didn’t poop for a good two weeks.  When she did it was diarrhea.

The day came when I could take no more of her suffering.  I was forcing her to eat when she didn’t want to.  She was forced to take medicine that she didn’t want. When she went outside she just wandered as far as possible and I had to herd her back to the house.  Getting up the steps to the front door was a challenge and I had to lift her little feet to get her inside.  She lost so much weight that in the end I could pick her up and carry her.
We made arrangements with our vet to come to the house and assess her situation.  The vet told us that her liver mass was critical and her kidneys were shutting down.  She hadn’t peed in two days.

The vet gave her a sedative and Jessie’s breathing calmed down.  We petted her and loved her and then the vet gave her the injection to end her life.  We were all crying and little Jessie said “Adieu.”

They rolled her up into a blanket and took her away in the vet’s vehicle.  They will call when she has been cremated and they make a little heart with her paw print on it for us.

My heart is broken.  The hubster is a mess too.  He wants to get another dog but I just don’t think I can at this point.  She was such a special little dog for me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Jessie’s Lament      2/29/16

I’m tired of lying on my bed
I want to go out and play instead
Run in the grass so green and eat a couple of blades of it
Dig for a gopher or chase a squirrel until I get tired of it.
I want to go for a long walk with Mommy
Get home and have Daddy rub my tummy
I want to chew on a bone that still has meat and gristle
I want to hear the gopher’s whistle
To be where the sun is bright
Then sleep by my pack through the long night.
I want the pain to be gone from me
And let my little mind be free
Of the persistent loss I feel inside
I’m not sure it’s time I want to die.
Mommy lays next to me and softly cries
Daddy holds it inside and slowly dies.
So scratch my butt and rub my ears
And wipe away those unwanted tears
And think about the many walks we have had
Some were good and some quite bad.
But my bed is warm and my bankie clean
Just lay down for a moment and then I mean
To get up and roar at you one more time
Scratch my ears, sing me that stupid rhyme.
“She’s Jessie the mountain cur
Best dog there ever was in the world.”
I’ll find Boris and Dot and give them your love
Think of me when you look above
To the sky and thank the great spirit for my final calm
And remember me when I was in your arms.
When you ride in the truck I’ll be with you
Next to your Daddy, and next to you.
I was the little girl you looked for when you lost your others
I was your baby and you were my mother.
The love we shared was always tender
In my heart and yours, you just have to remember.
Look very closely when you care
In your heart and soul, I’ll always be there.