Coffee Chat: Groundhogs and Geese
Hello dears, do come in. I've been thinking all day of some sweet treat I might make that is low sugar and tasty but haven't come up with a thing thus far. I really must buy myself some more Splenda. I'd gotten quite good at substituting with it once I figured out that adding 2 tablespoons of sour cream would offset the dryness that resulted in subbing Splenda for sugar. Now I think I might substitute nonfat yogurt for the sour cream and have the same results. Ah well...I can always make us a piece of cinnamon toast which is quite welcome this time of year, agreed?
Our weather has been all over the place, typical of this season. Warmer and muggy as it is today , cold and breezy, rainy, snowy...Yes, snowy, though ours could have been measured by the 1/4 cup measure per acre. A little further north there was several inches and then beyond that it was half again as much as we had.
I like snow. In extreme moderation when it falls on a weekend so that we've nowhere to go. But you see we had someplace to go the snowy weekend. There was a tug on our heart that we had to tend to. It involved this:
Isn't she lovely? She chattered at us and took out her frustrations on my water bottle and generally charmed us which is every little girl's right, I guess. In the photo she is busy rubbing my necklace across her gums which apparently are ready to produce more teeth. She'd been very content to sit on my lap and shove the beads in her mouth, but she'd gotten frustrated. Little girl is a calm happy baby with a bit of impatience mixed in, lol. I was amused at her when she couldn't quite get things to do as she thought she wanted them. She'd sling something away and then grab it up again to wrestled with it a bit more. We've been missing our grands and this one was available right away so we got our Gramma and Grampa fix.
It was a lovely drive up to Katie's home. There was, as I said a nice bit of snow between her area and ours and it made everything look so beautiful and fresh somehow. The roads were clear and for that I was deeply glad. It was a very pleasant day overall despite the deep bone chilling cold and hard winds that blew. Katie made spaghetti which suits me perfectly when it's cold outdoors and a lovely salad. I brought along a peach cobbler and the stuff to make that cheesy garlic bread that so suits Spaghetti...Do you know the one I mean? It is a mixture of fresh garlic, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese and if you do it as the recipe says you add in butter, too. Then you spread it on a coarse but not dry bread slice. I like a good french or Italian bread. Then toast until the cheese bubbles. Usually I bake it at 375F or even 400F but never any hotter than that.
John took a brief nap after dinner as did Taylor and as soon as she was asleep, Katie asked if she might do my nails. I haven't really done much with my fingernails in years. Over time they have taken the brunt of housework and yard work and polish never lasted 12 hours much less 24. To remove and reapply aggravated my dry ragged cuticles. So I've resorted to keeping my nails clipped short and kept them clean and that was that. I do generally do a pedicure weekly in the warm months but no manicures.
Katie wanted to do a gel polish on my fingers which she promised me would hold up at least 9 days to hard wear. I think I surprised her with my color choice:
She chose the 'accent nail' color. I love it. And honey this was one hard working nail polish. A week later, I'd not chipped one nail. I cleaned and scrubbed and washed and scraped and mopped and had done all the usual things. Not one chip.
I am so sold on this type of manicure that I purchased my own kit this past week so that I can have the pleasure of painted nails once more...though Katie did offer to give me a manicure each time I come to visit and honestly if there is time I plan to take her up on it. But I also plan to make this my year to 'polish' up on hand care. I'd already started by adding a small tube of a deep moisturizer and a larger tube of hand cream to my makeup box. I'd taken to applying both just after washing makeup from my hands and my skin and nails were looking a little better than they have in many months.
I also tucked in a bottle of eyeglass cleaner and one of those special lens cloths so that my glasses were cleaned each time I put on makeup as well. It's all part of my improved grooming resolution for the year.
I've been decluttering things again. Someone commented that I do this all the time and I must have nearly nothing, lol. Well, no. But what I do have is fairly well organized. However, it's also truth that I have this collecting habit and this keeping habit and over the years I've sort of worked my way down through the real clutter to what has sifted down underneath. Our closet looks almost empty at the moment aside from paper work that needs to be gone through. I'm sure I'll end buying a new shredder as I've nursed this current one along and repaired it three or four times now. But you know what? I feel lighter and less burdened than I have in years upon years and that's why I am always working on decluttering.
For me it's more than physical stuff, it's emotional and personal. In the house I grew up in, on the surface we appeared to be one thing, an average lower middle class family. Under the surface was a mess. I mean literally, in closets and drawers and inside cabinets there was a mess! Clutter and hidden things. And so it was with our personal lives. Alcoholism, compulsive spending habits, compulsive eating habits, and lots of hurt and heartache. I'm not so naive anymore that I don't realize that many families deal with something like this, some form of dysfunction. But at that time, it seemed to me that the closets and cupboards told more about the truth of our family than the neat clean surface and the oh so carefully worded lies did.
Have I swapped compulsive neatness and cleanliness for compulsive eating or other behaviors? No, not at all. Look into any closet or other storage area in my home and you'll see a neat, mostly organized space with some obvious things that need a little work yet. And yeah, I'd say that is pretty much who I am. Not perfect but better, still in need of some work.
I was in a fog of sorts last week and I think it was the odd weather and the lack of routine. I was out of the house 5 days in a row this past week which is very unusual for me. It meant I kept up with the routine home keeping and meals but I'd not gotten beyond the surface things, not in work nor in thinking. And then too there are books. I finished two last week, started two more this week. I've read vintage magazines which is also a sort of escape from reality. I've not been hibernating exactly but I do feel a bit as though I have been.
And yet, I have some things from January I can easily look back upon that did get accomplished. Like that mini makeover in my bedroom.
And there is that closet that is almost empty of all but clothes and suitcases, as it ought to be. I moved all the photos into baskets I'd purchased and put them in the washstand next to the bed, so they are better protected. I have albums on the other side of the compartment. I have sorted out a few books and dusted walls and tweaked things just enough to make it feel different. There is a lightness about the house that wasn't there prior to this month.
I've been deeply involved in Bible study this month as well, going deeper than I've been in quite a long time. There have been wonderful lessons and revelations.
I've faced things I feared and got them all sorted out as best I could on my own and made choices and decisions that I'd rather not have had to make at all.
But I still feel I've muddled about. That I've lost chunks of time. And it is my wont when I'm working at making things fresh and clutter free to not stop work to go out to the shed. No I pile everything in the guest room and it's like a smack in the face to go in and see the mess I've made for myself. I knew this week was going to be a wee bit busy and so I have pushed cleaning the guest room back to next week...but oh come that first free day next week! I mean to get that room cleared up and made nice once more. I may not yet have the dresser/vanity/storage I'd hoped to find for the room and I may have to wait a bit before I can attend to it yet, but I can most certainly make it look a lot sweeter than it does at the moment. Fortunately I've no guests planning to come spend time with me just at present.
I haven't written as much as I'd intended to last month. There have been distractions, and malaise and hiding myself away and then being overly busy. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting outside the body shop that repaired the Honda. John was inside and I was sitting in the car minding the ice cream we'd just bought, wondering how long it could stay frozen. I reminded John of the ice cream and bagged it in one of the insulated bags and then I pulled out my Sudoku puzzle book which I keep handily in the car's dash pocket for just such a time. You see the guy at the body shop is also a guitarist and though he means to hurry along, John and he will discuss guitars.
So I'm sitting there waiting on John, and I hear the train whistle blowing. Not odd, as the body shop is next to the railroad tracks. The whistle blows again and again and I looked to see which direction it was coming from and discovered to my horror there was a man standing on the track at the crossing nearest me, his back to the train, staring straight ahead. I thought at first that perhaps the man was deaf and couldn't hear the train. I waved at him frantically but I realized when I looked at his face that he was doing this on purpose. He stared stoically ahead and remained perfectly still, ignoring me. I screamed at him and started out of the car only to watch the train come within inches of him...and he stepped out of the way at the very last possible moment. I felt ill. Then I got just plain old mad. Had the man stepped to my side of the track I'd have given him a good old fashioned mad fit. As it was, I was on the opposite side of the train which ground to a halt with smoking brakes and effectively stopping traffic from going through the three crossings in town.
I have no idea why or what the purpose of this man's 'dare' was but I was mighty upset by it. John came out of the shop and took one look at my face and said "I'm sorry! I was coming!" I shook my head at him and said "Nnnoooo...The man, you see there was a man...." and at the same moment the wife/owner of the body shop said "Huh...the train never stops here like that..." I explained to them what I'd seen. It made no matter that the man had stepped away just in the perfect moment to keep from being hurt. Ugh. My emotions were all over the place. And then I got mad because this unknown person had taken up so much of my emotions! How dare he play his stupid game and not consider there might be others who witnessed it?
I'm not going to rehash all the thoughts that went through my mind that day, nor the next. I am grateful the outcome wasn't something horrific. I am grateful there were apparently few witnesses besides myself and the train conductor. I finally decided that whatever his purpose, I had given over enough of my thoughts and emotions to that stranger.
I struggle with enough things, including relationships in my personal life, that take up far too much of the real estate of my mind. I'm learning to shut thoughts off and I guess this last situation was enough to help me see how much better at doing this I've gotten. Not perfect yet, but better and for that I'm grateful.
We had a fairly busy two days back to back and then there's been today. Sunday it was church and then we came home. Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment and John decided Sunday night to go ahead and buy groceries, because I'd mentioned on Sunday that we'd be in that same town three or four times in the coming week. It's 35 miles away for goodness sake and it does begin to add up when you're going over several times in a 7 day period! Anyway, he decided we'd go ahead and purchase groceries even though we hadn't yet gotten paid and then he decided we'd go down and pick up his check. He'd forgotten all about the doctor's appointment and there was only an hour of time between our finishing up with groceries and the appointment. He said he didn't want to just sit and wait about and I understood that, but what else was there to do?
We went to the grocery deli and ate in the food court. There were baby boys everywhere I looked yesterday and I couldn't help but think of my own grandsons and the new baby that's on the way...Oh I hadn't mentioned that one to you had I? Yes, my youngest and his wife are expecting their second baby come late summer or early autumn. Bess and I agreed we are both anxious to know whether this baby is a girl or boy. So I sat and pondered on what the coming baby's sex will be and though over my other lovely grands.
My doctor visit went well, as I assumed it would since I have had no troubles over the last three months. He was concerned about my migraine which I'll still lay at the weather's feet as it's been crazy with mugginess and clouds and rain and then sudden sunshine. Do you know it was 79F here today? But I was telling you about my doctor, wasn't I? Concerned he is and he urged me to eat fish at least two times a week if not three and I admitted that once was plenty for me but I'd be sure to do it at least once. He suggested I take a higher dosage aspirin as well. It seems with my 'history' of blood clot now we must worry about sticky platelets. Frankly, I admit I am sure it's weather related but then I remind myself when I was suffering with pulmonary embolisms I was convinced it was an allergic reaction to Carageenan so what do I know? Practice on the side of caution is best. I agreed to take a higher dosage of aspirin but told him I preferred to build up slowly as in the past it's been killer on my stomach to have full doses. He is very accommodating this doctor of mine and will accept reasonable compromises. I also promised I'd really get out and walk...as in every single day. Not just rely on housework as my exercise you see. No doctor seems to feel housework is really exercise...
I'd lost another ten pounds over the last three months, which surprised me. I didn't feel I'd lost weight despite going down a size in jeans. I don't know...we do lose objection when we're observing ourselves up close don't we? At my age and stage of life, my face sometimes swells a little...and Katie always mentions that the baby loves to grab 'turkey neck' which I told her I found mildly offensive and she retorted 'too bad', lol. She did explain that the baby grabs her own neck and that was what she called it, but I do have a little lack of tone and tension there and so of course, it bothers me. And we just won't even discuss the other areas that appear to be flabby! Anyway, I didn't feel I'd lost, didn't see it in the mirror and so I was nicely surprised to find I had and that too is a good thing, turkey neck or not, lol.
This morning, I sat down to pay bills, a task I had little time for yesterday. I didn't have the TV on, something I've been doing more and more when John is gone. I prefer to sit here and listen to the house and to the world outside. This morning I heard Geese. Lots of geese. As in hundreds of geese flying northward. I suppose ten or twelve bands of them went over through the hour I sat there paying bills and each time I'd listen hard to them honking away. I thought of the Ground Hog and I suppose he saw his shadow as it was sunny at the time but the local news says he didn't and there were the Geese on their way north once more. I felt my heart lift a little, because spring must surely be near once again. And I felt sad a little because we didn't have much of a winter (I say this knowing a blizzard is sweeping across the midwest northern states at the moment). I have appreciated winter this year and I mean to continue to learn to appreciate it. There is no doubt however, we've had nowhere near enough the cold hours to make peaches and that as you know is my most looked forward to summertime
Oh my gracious! I'm afraid I've kept you too long, it's gone dark outside. Well hurry home but hurry back too. I hope to chat a bit more often now that February is here.