30 July 2008

neglect, part two

A quirky thing about me: just prior to leaving home for a road trip, whether it be short or long, I have this uncontrollable freakish thing about completing both stocking and deep cleaning projects all around the house. It becomes almost a manic thing, running on over-drive and caffeine, throwing aside sleep.

The kind of deep cleaning that involves: scrubbing the abyss underneath the burners and drip bowls, where the fossilized boiled-over bits of past meals have found a home; taking the bins out of the refrigerator and scrubbing the walls and shelves in the back, where dehydrated bits of food cling; removing all the items that "decorate" the counter-tops and scrubbing the tile grout with a brush in a futile effort to rid it of coffee and tomato stains. Let's not forget organizing drawers in the bathrooms as well as the pantry, and getting all the laundry done (including blankets and quilts). Granted, some of these things are done each day, each week, to some degree, but usually just "surface".

Almost out of baking powder and vanilla? Down to the last one-third tube of toothpaste? Laundry soap half gone? These things need to be purchased, along with anything else even remotely perceived as possibly running out before I return.  I give it a one-month window of stock.

My thought behind this behavior, I have come to realize after years of self-therapy and reflection, sits on the premise of my potential demise while gone. Don't laugh. Who wants strangers and family to see a disorganized, messy house? This "problem" of mine is exponentially heightened when the only one leaving is me. I don't want my husband to have to worry about the cleaning, the lacking of basic things being stocked, or any disorganization while also dealing with me not being there. I don't want him to become overwhelmed with daily things or house details in my absence. He is quite capable of being on his own...I just don't want him to have to worry about it.

So, when my doctor called me recently at seven in the evening telling me, ordering me, to go to the emergency room right then, my retort was "Are you sure? Can it wait until Monday?" After all, my obsession of leaving the house and affairs in a certain state was kicking in at a record-breaking speed. I didn't hear much of what she said after that because I was running through my mind the time it would take for me to do certain "necessary " things before I trudged off to the hospital. And I had to pad some of that time-line since I wasn't feeling well. OK, so on hindsight, my frame of mind wasn't "normal". I had a small meltdown as I tried to do some laundry, straightened up a few projects, and generally bounced around the house. I stalled by packing a bag, thinking that if I packed it, I wouldn't be staying and would return home later that evening...and I wouldn't be leaving anything unfinished.

As a result, the refrigerator never got updated. It had only been two weeks since it had been gutted and scrubbed, so how bad could it be? Then I was gone for two days, followed by several more when I was out of commission. I remember my dear husband saying something about a bag being squishy, but I was on medication and I assumed he took care of it.

This morning I went to the refrigerator in search of soup-making ingredients such as green onions and spinach. What I found were bags of green slime and soft indistinguishable substances. Food for my worms, already partly digested. A soup only they could appreciate. A soup that dripped from the bags as I lifted them out of the drawers. A soup that led to everything being removed and scrutinized for freshness. See why I have this abnormal cleaning and stocking issue?!  Really, it's not his fault at all.  I "came" this way.

It now sparkles. No odors. No questionable containers or packages. No outdated, over-ripe, products. I'm ready for my CSA box!

28 July 2008

neglect, part one

Because I have an organic yard, free of chemicals and full of beneficial insects, keeping the shade structure and garden from looking like something out of a horror film complete with leg-tangling-throat-catching-spider-webs takes an almost daily sweeping of a broom and spraying of the hose. Sadly I have been preoccupied the past week-plus.

This morning I ventured out to have my morning coffee while surveying the explosion of vegetables in the garden when I came to an abrupt stop. My little wall of tiered pots, while bursting with color and growth, have also become a habitat fit for the arachnid kingdom. Most spiders are indeed beneficial and I don't begrudge them their spot in the yard and cycle of life, just not quite so close to me or my Air Chair. I am both drawn to and repulsed by them--always have been. This one is quite colorful and her web is stunningly large (over three feet in diameter). I guess that means she has been quite busy eating and growing. There are several other spiders of different varieties which have built mesh-like, tent-like webs between the tiers and pots as well. All in all, the quantity and medley of web designs give the entire potted area a shimmering light display in the morning sun worthy of fairy magic. I am not quite sure how to proceed with her. I think for now she will remain, under my watch. If she sticks to her side of the posts, I can live with that.

When I was hiking Lamoille Canyon a couple weeks ago, I came across a fallen tree that looked much like a walking stick insect, complete with legs and all. I wonder how many dozens of hikers, pushing their way up the trail to the lakes, just pass it up (both going up and coming down the trail) without a thought. I sat on a granite rock in the shade (admittedly allowing my at-sea-level-lungs to actually take in what little oxygen exists at that altitude) admiring its unique shape. What an amazing art find!

25 July 2008

hello friday :: a wrap up

One quick mention of my weekend-gone-crazy and then I won't speak of it again. If one is to have an allergic reaction to medication, it's best to have it while under the twenty-four-hour care of ever-vigilant nurses and doctors. Apparently my body is discerning enough to want the real "McCoy" instead of a synthetic product. What can I say? I'm a delicate flower. Day six: I am up, walking vertical (for the most part), and not needing medication (which is a good thing because I am looking at my knitting over the past few days and I have to say that frogging is in order... I have a mess, much like the effects of spiders given drugs).

A couple weeks ago, my mom, a cousin, and I took a road trip to say our last good-byes to four close family members, and fresh hellos to other members not seen in recent years. There were rough, emotional moments but we three made a good musketeer troop, managing to spin goofiness into our time together.

This splendid mountain range was in my backyard growing up. It is aptly named the Ruby Mountains, after the garnets found there. Don't let my picture at such a distance fool you about their size: the base of the range is about 6000 feet (above sea level) and the highest peak is 11,032 feet.

My maternal grandmother grew up hiking, climbing, and horseback riding all around the largest valley, Lamoille Canyon. After their marriage, my grandparents camped and hiked countless times, throughout their fifty-plus years together, up that same glacial-carved canyon.

We traveled there, the three of us, honoring the request of grandma, grandpa, and my mom's two sisters to be returned to their favorite spots.

To reach Lamoille Lake, the trail-head begins in the canyon at 8800 feet and travels up two miles to 9740 feet.

The three Dollar Lakes are found along the trail, just below Lamoille Lake at 9610 feet.

At such altitudes, spring was just beginning. Wildflowers were blooming everywhere. Streams and creeks were flowing with ice-cold water. Large snowbanks were still clinging to the slopes and covered bits of the trail.

The loveliness and grace of the dancing leaves of the quaking aspen trees in the breeze were such a sight. Old, healed scars of now-illegible carvings in the bark of these trees keep past loves secret.

"Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life." ~Albert Einstein

21 July 2008

a fork in the road

I promised pictures and accounts of my two weeks, but I came upon a fork in the road Friday morning.  My morning date of coffee with a friend was cancelled and became a visit to the doctor, which lead to lab work, an ultrasound, an emergency room visit of nine hours, and finally a surgical bed at the Kaiser "Chalet".

I am home now, minus a gall bladder.

A few things I have learned along the way:
  • emergency rooms contain weird people who also seem to dress for the occasion in what can only be described as their laundry day clothes
  • laying in a fashionable hospital "draft" gown in a bed in the hallway of the emergency room does not scream privacy
  • lack of sleep, pain, stress, and over two days without food are combinations I would rather not repeat
  • caffeine withdrawal headaches can take down the strongest person
  • throwing up while going into the operating room is not the best way to greet those who will be treating you
  • rubbery hospital jello tastes good after not being allowed to have even an ice chip for a total of 50 hours
  • "sleep" is a five letter word hospitals do not recognize
  • hospital medications are far superior to what one is given to take at home

18 July 2008

hello again

Oh, my! I've been absent from blogland for almost two weeks. Yikes! Traveling, spending quiet evenings with my husband, connecting with friends for lunch...these favorite things pulled me away from being plugged in. I'll be back on Monday with written accounts and photos of this "lost" time.

I'm slipping into my sandals and heading off for coffee, conversation, and a bit of shopping. Have a wonderful weekend!

09 July 2008

it's an apple day

I am mobile again. She-who-is-not-yet-named (don't you name your computer?) is sleek, white, and can communicate freely without being tied to a desk {yes!}. I have to add my own touches and programs, change around a few things for convenience, and find some one-on-one time to get to know each other. All good and quite do-able in the next few days.

Now ... the iPod Touch intimidates me just a bit. It is very shiny, trim, and slim.  If only it made coffee...  I continue to still be in awe of Apple's packaging and product.  Off I go now to find some tunes and podcasts.  Have a great Wednesday!

08 July 2008

well done

Canning is not for the weak and faint-of-heart. Ten hours of cleaning, cutting, cooking, and canning has produced thirty-three pints of corn relish and a very full compost bin. My worms are having a feast.

The recipe is from my mother-in-law, given to me over the phone so many years ago. Well, good cooks--cooks that have been making dishes for years and years--know by volume, taste, and feel whether a recipe is correct. Her "recipe" went something like: "a couple bags of corn, a half bag of peppers, several baskets of onions, cabbage, a handful or palmful of (various) spices, half a gallon of vinegar". We have long since written down more exact amounts for the corn relish (after many practice batches), although it's still not "precise". No cook worth their weight in salt or flour would stick exactly to a recipe, but would tweak it from time to time.

This relish is a favorite in the family. My grandma used to eat it right out of the jar as a snack (I believe my mom does this too). It's wonderful on a sandwich, something hearty like a meatloaf sandwich or as a topper to a baked potato. Yesterday, my husband discovered that toasted cracked black peppercorn and asiago cheese bread smeared with fresh, hot corn relish is a new delight. Hum. I wonder if thirty-three pints will be enough.

07 July 2008

into the looking glass

What a fantastic weekend:

  • a morning at Denio's farmers market and swap
  • trenches dug, pipe laid, water/drip lines half complete for the front
  • paint colors discussed and narrowed down
On the plate for today:
  • oil change and rotation of tires for the Pilot
  • prepping, cooking, and canning (yes, in the 100+ degree F. heat, but it can't be helped)
  • many errands to run before the temperatures are in the unbearable range
All right then...no time to waste! Let's go!

01 July 2008

tagged and shipped out

Marta tagged me -- but come to think about it, Tournesol tagged me back in May (oops). Springtime is busy, very busy. Here you go...

The Rules:

  • "The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs, leaving them a comment about being tagged, inviting them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers."

What was I doing ten years ago?
  • attending water polo games, swimming meets, and plays in support of my (then) high school aged daughter in her varied and many interests/pursuits
  • working in non-profit and attending university classes
What are five things on my to-do list for today?
  • sew pillow shams
  • lose myself for an hour in a good book
  • make some fresh whole wheat pita bread, souvlaki, and tzatziki for dinner--mmmm
  • visit the farmer's market
  • take delight in the little things
What are some snacks I enjoy?
  • raw veggies
  • multi-grain pretzel sticks (yes, the stick shape does indeed taste better than the "traditional" twisted shape, in case you are interested)
  • fresh coconut (don't peel it, thank you very much)
  • fresh pineapple
  • popcorn
  • a good creamy milk chocolate--better if it included almonds or hazelnuts
What would I do if I was to become a billionaire?
  • invest
  • set up a trust fund for my daughter
  • move to another country (no, I can't say which country since there are so many contenders)
Where are the places I have lived?
  • Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, California (all in the United States, sadly)
What are the jobs I have had?
  • my first job was in a Sprouse Reitz store at the tender age of fifteen
  • a few odd facts about that first job: my favorite section of the store was the fabrics, from which I created many a dress and skirt for myself; after the manager saw my handwriting, I made all the signs for the store
  • my latest job--no, career--is an elementary school teacher
  • there were many sorted jobs in between, but probably the more interesting and possibly unusual for some folks: engineering drafter--before the age of computers when plans had to be hand-drawn and hand-written (water and sewer piping, steel and iron detailing for buildings, roadways), and carnation grower
Thus, I come to the end of the task. This is the part that is uncomfortable to me. It feels too much like a chain letter, having to write down names of people to "send" this to, because to not pass it on is inviting danger into your life (wasn't that what we were told to believe through those dozens of chain letters that seem to still float around even after all these years). It's the same level of discomfort as having a sales clerk hover nearby when you are just looking at a shirt, then she rushes over to "help" with coordinating other pieces of clothing (I didn't know I needed any help in that area of my life) and can they put these in a changing room for you or put them at the desk. Oh, the pressure. Here goes:
**Oh, by the way, this post makes an even 100 posts...who knew! Happy dancing all around!