Iced Tea Chat: If You Can't Say Something Nice...
I kid you not...I've been trying to write up an iced tea chat for four days. So far I've had to strike every single one and start over again and why? Because each one has been a litany of whines and complaints over something that upset or hurt or frustrated me. As I cleared off the page once again this afternoon, I realized that Granny's old adage was quite right and one I must do my best to follow: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." Only a blank page and a photo of happy girl with her iced tea hardly a blog post makes. So we'll try again and hope that things go better. I will recapture the two weeks for you in a few brief words and say nothing much about it and then we'll move on, okay?
Well first let us begin with tea. No sweets nor bakery items this week. I keep thinking I shall make something and then I went to the doctor and weighed two pounds less and I changed my mind about baking after all, lol. Nothing like incentive! But there is tea, and lemons and limes and ginger root if you'll have it and lots of ice. Isn't the weather just ripe for iced tea? The AC repair man was in earlier to give us our annual Freon boost and he said he was working rather hard just now. It seems so every year about this time.
Maddie was badly beaten up by our son's dog who was re-homed shortly thereafter, his aggressive behavior towards her being the final straw in a series of events that had made him a difficult pet. Fortunately he was turned over to a man who trains aggressive dogs for guard and police duty. Poor Maddie, poor dog and poor family who truly did love dog and were trying hard with him. I spent nearly a week weeping over it all because it was too much for my tender heart. John quite lost patience with me. Maddie was hurt but not mortally wounded. Her spirit was traumatized. She's such a gentle loving dog for the most part and only ever snarks if other dogs come too close, but she lay about for a week, shying away from any inquiry or attempt to touch her, refusing to come up on the porches, worrying us no end. I was the last person she'd come to as I was with her at the time she was attacked and though I tried desperately to get dog to stop, he paid me no mind whatsoever. He's not much of a respecter of females but did eventually respond to John who showed great command. I'll go no further with the story. Maddie is better, dog is re homed, family is resolved if heartbroken and all is peace here once more.
My son took me out to eat that Sunday following that most awful Saturday. I had to take him to the east side of Macon to pick up his personal vehicle. He suggested we go early (he's a very early riser) and eat breakfast. I had, for the very first time, Eggs Benedict, or at least a variation of it. I got distracted by the waitress who was in good spirits and forgot to ask for turkey bacon instead of bacon. First bite and I realized my mistake, of course. I found the bacon flavor overwhelmed the hollandaise entirely and removed the remaining bacon from the dish. The foods were hot and they were good and fresh so I'm not complaining about the food or service or anything...but I was a little disappointed. It was pretty much a white sauce moment for me.
I'll explain. In the years prior to my having my own home, I'd been reading Emilie Loring novels all one summer and she was forever espousing how lovely white sauce was... I also loved to read a certain cookbook that Mama had. It was one that no one ever touched, in fact, it lived in the depths of a deep narrow cabinet. It was, of course, the cookbook that has long since become a favored old friend of mine, The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook. Well there was the recipe there in the cookbook and it wasn't a delicacy at all but what we in the country called milk gravy! Disappointment was great and all that.
Ditto with Hollandaise. I've heard it's praises sung for ages but it was my first experience with it. I found it okay, very delicate in flavor and prone to being overcome by the taste of anything upon which it sat. Glad I tried it. Now I'll set myself up for another culinary surprise, lol.
I broke my favorite coffee mug, a Christmas gift of sorts from John this past year and not to be mistaken for my lovely thermal cup or my Saturday morning coffee cups which Katie and Matt gifted me. How did I break it? I poured coffee into it and heard it begin to crack and watched the cup start to gape and hot coffee went everywhere. I was quite startled by it and bewailed my not purchasing another the day before while out with Samuel as I'd thought to do. Pooh!
I worked far too hard in the yard and paid dearly in pain for that foolishness. I might have quit well ahead of time but I didn't. Sad to say that for all that, I didn't quite complete the task either and had to put in another two hours at it last Friday but it's lovely now and I've moved on to a new space. I'm taking it far easier in trying to work out how that shall look.
I took Mama out to eat at a favorite eatery on my next free day. I don't know just why it was off, but Mama's food didn't come as described, was cold and she was mighty dissatisfied overall. Thank goodness for free pie that day because I'm afraid she'd have sworn never to go back. My food, by the way, was all delicious and fine and I was quite satisfied but Mama refused every offer of another entrée on the house to eat in or take away as she chose.
On Shabat last week my son and his family (they came in Friday afternoon) took us out to eat at a Korean restaurant we enjoy. And Samuel made two lovely pizzas for supper that evening. Eating out is a weekend treat for them and we were invited to tag along. We enjoyed it but I must confess that going out and fighting traffic and road construction turns and twists and all such did not feel like a restful peaceful Shabat. I do know that peaceful Saturdays at home is likely to change with family in the house with us and that it is temporary but I'm hopeful that this Saturday will be a quiet peaceful day since it will be just the two of us.
I wanted, on Mother's Day, to spend the day alone. It might sound odd, but it was what I wanted. My son and Bess were off to see her parents. John was working. Katie had other plans. I knew the rest of my children would call and I wanted to be able to chat leisurely with them. I was perfectly okay with being at home alone and everyone knew it including the one person who stopped by anyway and told me plainly she didn't care that I wanted to be alone. It was a negative visit with someone who doesn't respect my boundaries ever, and as I took a phone call from my oldest daughter she made me feel I had to rush off the phone by sighing deeply repeatedly, so my longed for conversation with Amie and her family was cut to about three minutes .
I've had several nights of poor sleep. I can't decide which is worst: lying awake with owl eyes peering into the darkness or dozing in fitful snatches and waking to lie awake for an hour or so before dozing in more fitful snatches. Or a night that combines both bookended together. Ugh.
Politics dominate just now and it's only going to get worse I'm afraid. I shall say little on the subject except that I'm not thrilled with any candidate, don't trust the electoral delegates in the least and am praying hard. There are myriad local elections going on and you can barely tell a 'For Sale' sign on a lawn from the plethora of election signs that dot lawns as well. I did wonder momentarily just how much those signs affect the notice houses for sale might get.
There was one sign that read "Vote for Misty". That was it. No last name. No idea what office Misty was running for either. I told John I feel disinclined to vote for anyone who thinks they can get by on recognition of their first name only. It seems a bit too casual for my taste.
I will say honestly that I am sure of two things. No matter how much it's spoken of, Hilary Clinton will not be indicted over this whole email thing despite what some media news keeps pushing. I think it was swept off the table long before this campaign began and that it is not even thought of at all by her higher ups. And I do believe that we're seeing history made. I don't think the Democrat nor Republican parties are going to carry as much weight in the future as they have in the past. I believe this country is so looking for change that we'll find ourselves with new political parties in coming elections.
So that's it. I'm going no further with all that.
Bess and Josh joined Sam here this past weekend and I had a feel for what life with them might be like for the next month or so and decided we will survive it. I laid down gentle house rules and we are all agreed to do our best for the month to six weeks they shall be here. These kids amuse me. They go to bed rather early, usually by 9pm (and that's late for them!) and are up quite early in the morning. They make me feel a bit of a rebel to stay up until 10:30 or to lie abed after 7am. I will say that Sam and Bess are rather like minded to John and I, just as Katie and Matt are. It's no hardship to have them in the house and I've noted all week how diligent Samuel has been to try and remember the house rules, which is much appreciated.
We've decided we shall try to just lead our lives as much normally as we can, but I've found the constant interruptions to my prayer and study time do necessitate moving out of the kitchen area where I normally sit of mornings. As well I'm going to have to declare my temporary space as a no phone zone because morning texts are interrupting as well. I don't want anyone else to stop texting or talking, I just need to reorder the main morning activity. I am thinking hard about how I might get coffee in the bedroom which I think will be my temporary space.
It's fun watching the grandchildren at their current ages. Josh is now quite the parrot when repeating anyone but it's gibberish when he attempts to say it all on his own. I've loved hearing him say his ABC and counting to 10, or parroting back a sentence "Pick me up please" for instance. He did tickle us all Saturday evening. We've eaten every meal as a family since their arrival and Saturday evening I was just tired. I suggested we all have our pizza before the TV. Josh went to the table and cried at us because we weren't there. He was not well pleased at being in the living room. The kids thought it too funny since they eat most of their meals in the living room. I think they'll find they really do need to use that gorgeous dining table at least once daily as a family after staying here with us, because it is so important to Josh.
Katie sends photos of Taylor standing on her own and climbing over barriers put down to keep her in the play areas. She's begun to speak clear words too, and asks for her dog by name each morning. Hard to believe she shall be a year old in a few weeks...Oh time does fly! JD reported that Zach, who has resisted potty training rather hard, caved when he was told he'd have to stay home from school unless he could learn to go potty like a big boy. It seems going to school next autumn was just the incentive he needed! I didn't get to speak long to Amie, as I reported, so no clue what the children are up to there. Josie will be 13 this year and has been allowed to go on Facebook. I'm not too concerned at present since her first friend requests were all to family members! So that's the family news.
On Monday of this week I went to the doctor and asked please to come off the Coumadin. I am on half dosages until this current bottle runs out and then I'm off completely thereafter, which will put me at the one year mark. Unless I have an illness or problem for other reasons, I am no longer under doctor's care and do not have to have any more blood testing done. I confess that May this year feels much like a 'New Year' to me after all that went on last year and looking back I shake my head in wonder at all the scary and terrible and wonderful things that the past year has encompassed. Its been quite a year! Fortunately, things went well for me, for us, and 'normal' took on a variety of disguises as I found my way through.
I mentioned yard work. There's so much that wants to be done!! I finally made up my mind that I should simply follow the Arthur Ashe quote that I found in a magazine and posted on my clip board where I see it each time I pick it up: "Start where you are, do what you can, use what you have." Where I am is at the beginning, what I can do is a little at a time and what I've been using is some of what I have and some of what I've found really inexpensively and what I've accomplished has astonished me. Who knew?! I've three lovely flower beds at present, I'm working on a new one. My front porch is finally close to being finished and the back porch needs cleaning and a little something extra for work but both are going to be quite nice once I get that done. My house is pleasing overall and coming along a little at a time, too. This afternoon I shifted the dining table and found the area just looks so much more roomy and less cramped than before. I have plans for so many things my head almost aches thinking of all I want to do.
I've come to some firm decisions about various things, too. First, there's the booth. It gelled for me this week when I went in and paid full rent on my booth. It's not a huge sum nor does it affect our household budget in the least, but for the bulk of this year I've paid a majority of the rent each month out of my pocket money, as I'd told John I would when I started. I worked hard at my booth in mid April. I looked it over and critiqued it and while in St. Augustine I went into a couple of similar stores curious both to seek treasure and to see how I stack up in comparison. Truthfully, my stock is good stuff. It's not junk.
The store where my booth is located doesn't look like much. Some of the booths are quite nice and some are so so and some spaces are just thrift store quality. I don't know what else to do at this point to generate interest and I can't, honestly, go out to thrift and pick up more new merchandise when things are not selling that are there now. I never went into this thinking I'd be rolling in earnings, but I had thought I'd make rent and a little more besides each month, you know expand my pocket money a tad. Well that hasn't happened in three years.
I was talking it over with John earlier this week and I said I was thinking of letting it go when I work through this current year (which ends August 31). I spoke of it with Samuel one evening and in one of those enlightening moments I said to him "Why it's like I'm paying for storage space and it's costing me '$XXX a year and I've got my own shed in the yard .." and that was it. I knew then and know now that booth is history. I don't know what I shall do with all the stock. I do like it all, and some of it I will enjoy using. I may try to do an Etsy shop or go back to eBay listings, but my time being a booth owner in our little town is done.
And that brings up the need to clear the shed because I will need room to store things and right now it's rather packed. There are some things that need to be moved out and let go of in that shed. It's not a major project but it's not a day's work either.
I have made up my mind, cautiously, to let go of the small freezer. It's mainly stocked with fruits I keep meaning to make into jams I oughtn't eat and chicken broth which I have in more ample supply than demand necessitates. It is a handy spot to store milk, but then I've a load of things in the big freezer we seldom seem to use either and that space might be better used to store milk and broth both. I don't need two freezers. Frankly I'd love to use that closet space for craft storage or to extend the pantry or both, though I'm not dead certain that's how I'll choose to use that space either. But it is space and it's a closet which is high commodity in this house. I do have plans for offering the freezer to someone but if there's no interest I'll see if I can sell it perhaps. It's an older freezer but one of the most steadily running appliances I've ever had. 25 years now and not a single hiccup ever.
Of course, I might add I'd also made up my mind that this was the year to landscape about the house. Slow and steady it is but it's coming together nicely and I'm happy with the look of it all thus far. I guess mostly I've made up my mind to stop putting things off thinking I can't because I don't have physical strength or money or time or ability. Honestly that Arthur Ashe quote truly has inspired my thinking in so many ways!
Take for instance the household budget. I know what John makes and I know what we must pay out and I know what it takes for us to manage even with care. John's doing his best by working an extra half shift at least once or twice a month and he'll continue to do so for as long as the time is available. I don't count on it as income but I am trying hard to make it count when he does earn it. So far, I've paid off a loan we took out last year to pay medical bills, have been steadily saving a set amount each month, setting aside money for real savings and for future medical bills, as well as putting a portion aside for two large bills that came in March. I don't mind telling you that it's nice when we do have the usual short check and no overtime was available, to be able to pay whatever bills come up. This month there was an added amount owed at the doctor's office for the first time and I knew I had it in my sub account so I paid it off. I think John's rather pleased with me about it.
I was worried the pantry was looking a bit low, but honestly just now I don't know exactly what I have or need. I moved a lot of things to the kitchen so I wouldn't have to invade the guest room too often. I want the family to feel they've their own space, you know? And I've brought as much out as I can store and keep it safe. I told John that I'll make that my priority again when they're in their own home and we can settle back into ours. I know we'll need to restock beef by then, most especially ground meat. In the meantime, I'll do my best with what we can purchase and store and use the pantry foods to help extend the budget while we've a few more mouths to feed. It is my intent to save all of the room and board money and hopefully use that to restock.
Well, I'm afraid I'm chattered out...and it's getting late, too. My nephew was just by to drop off packages he accepted in town from a courier service who was having trouble with his GPS. Jason was heading home to supper and I realized with a start that I've actually been having tea all afternoon. Time to start preparing for the evening hours in our homes. Talk to you later!