Saturday, August 30, 2008

Harvest Time

Twice a week, three or four of the local growers load up fruits and vegetables into the backs of their trucks and SUVs and assemble at the pavilion at the park, where they unload everything and make nice displays on the picnic tables, and hope that someone comes and buys. And people do come, and they do buy. In fact, you better get there early because someone just might buy all of what your mouth was watering for.

And here he is coming to buy, walking with purpose and doing his part to be green by bringing canvas bags to carry home the produce.

Indeed, he is walking so fast that I can't keep up.

This is Marguerite. Her husband was an amazing gardener. He was instrumental in organizing and starting the Farmers Market in our town. After he passed, she continued his legacy.

Were I one of those creative women in the household arts, I would have bought a few of these wonderful warty-looking gourds and made a lovely table arrangement. Alas, I am not, and I did not.

Now, the woman at the table next to her went to the trouble of making attractive strings of those little hot red peppers. I did not buy any of them either. Just one more thing to hang from a nail and collect dust.

Farmers work hard for their money, and I especially like the idea of buying directly from these local growers. I have to buy from them because we no longer have garden.

I used to make a garden. I used to worked very hard to get things to grow. We made raised beds. I hauled manure and composted it. I worked on the soil — we have very poor land here — and the work paid off. We did grow and enjoy. But, Richard has never met a tree he doesn’t like. Gradually trees sprang up and there was no more garden spot.

So aside from the tomatoes he grows in containers, during the summer months we depend on others for the fresh squash, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, pears, turnips, peppers....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your...

A soft summer breeze wafts by the window (which is open because we don't have air conditioning), bringing with it the....

acrid smell of smoke...


and more smoke...

Clouds of white smoke.

Our neighbor to the south has decided to repair what is left of the fence that divides our land and is in the process of clearing the trees and brush on his side.

And he is burning the brush piles.

My mind keeps wanting to jog down memory lane to when they expanded the highway and cleared the land in front of our place and torched huge piles of trees and brush, which burned for days and days.

R had already decided not to hang the clothes out on the line because the humidity has climbed too high and they won't dry well before evening. But I would have stopped him because of the consequences of hanging clothes on a line when there is smoke in the air.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We’re Eating... What?

Our usual conversation about this topic started off normally enough:

R: What's for dinner tonight?

But then something unexpected happened.

Me: Kuckey tacciatore

There was a moment of silence as we both contemplated what I had just said.

R: Huh? What was that?

Me: Aha ha ha ha

R: Would you like to try that again?

Me: Uh.... wait a minute.... let me get my mouth organized.... turkey cacciatore....

Yes indeed. Just another delectable dinner served up in my efficient well-organized country kitchen.

Actually, turkey cacciatore is very good. It's just a variation of your basic chicken cacciatore recipe; in fact, just about everything I make is a variation of the way the recipe is supposed to be made. For example: Is there a very good reason why vegetables that are going to boiled until tender in soup must be first fried in oil? Well, I never fry vegetables first; why add the extra calories?

At any rate, you chop up some onion and bell pepper and throw that in skillet that has a lid (I have a teeny tiny little crockpot that works particularly well for this) along with a can of diced tomatoes and their juice, or add some tomato sauce if it seems too thick.

If I was CD's Wife or Pioneer Woman, at this point I would have a nice picture of all the ingredients, and then show step-by-step the process. But I'm neither of them. And I would have to spend too much time cleaning up after myself after each step. I do nothing without spilling, dropping, or otherwise slopping it on the counter.

Add some Italian type spices (oregano, basil, whatever seems good). Cover and cook until the onions are tender, then add a can of mushrooms and the cooked turkey and warm it up. Then you dust on some Parmesan and serve it with whatever carb you happen to want. I'm a potatoholic, but pasta or rice are both good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Funny, funny

From my sister:

I just read your blog for today-with Allie and MICAH (not Noah - you did it again ha ha ha ha.... I always get mixed up and call the kid Caleb - these fancy names!) and the old geezer ahhhh. He's so cute...

Well, I fixed the mistake in the post earlier, so it now says Micah.


Posting First and Asking Questions Later.... and... and.... Geezerhood!!

I could have e-mailed Poops and gotten the correct information about the little girls in the Eyes Have It, such as how they are related and what their names are.

But did I?

No. Of course not. That would be too easy.

I got some of it right, but I guess I will correct the mistakes. Poops says: You are pretty close with the family connection. Adrie and Little Hunny are first cousins to the little girls' Mama, Nicole. And yes, they are Tony's grandchildren.

So, here is another picture of the cute little girls. This one was taken at Little Hunny's 18th birthday and high school graduation party -- the one I was supposed to go to in June

In this picture, Victoria, the one with the differently shaped eyes, is in the middle, and the younger sister on the left is Aviana. Now, the little girl on the right is no relation at all, but her family has been connected with our family since, oh maybe the mid-1950s.

Her name is Allison – Allie for short – and her grandpa was Gene Rogers, and he was the pastor of the church our family went to for about 25 years.

He was also one of my dad’s best friends and his fishing buddy. For many years they went on week-long fishing trips to Baja California, and they called themselves the Baja Pals. And here they are with some fish they caught on June 14, 1993.

Gene, he's the one on the right, passed a few years ago, when Allie was about 18 months old.

And now that I am on a roll, there is one more cute kid that I need to include.

This is my brother Andrew with their grandbaby, Micah.

But, moving right along. Today is a

big day

for my very own sweetie. Yes indeed. Today my honey officially becomes a geezer.

Happy birthday!!!

He has gotten very good at making lists to restore order to the chaos (see yesterday's post).

He has gotten very good at being a househusband. He is much better at being a househusband than I am at being a housewife. He does the dishes and puts them away.

He find food for dinner and gets it out of the freezer in plenty of time to thaw (it's on the counter there, on the right).

He makes his lunch. He cleans up after himself.

I have a problem in this area.

The kitchen after I have cooked and not cleaned up after myself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Deep thoughts...

Him: Gosh! I’m going to be 65 tomorrow.

Me: Any profound thoughts you would like to share with the American public?

Him: Mmmmmmmm. No.

Silence for a minute or two...

Him: I sure don’t feel it.

Silence for another minute or two....

Him: Your father sure has enjoyed his retirement. What with his crossword puzzles and his routine. I don’t have a routine. I just have chaos.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Eyes Have it

I don’t have young children of my own, or grandchildren for that matter, so I’m going to borrow somebody else’s children so I can have pictures of cute kids on my blog just like everybody else.

Here are some cute kids. The young women on the left are my sister’s girls; that would be Adrie on the far left and next to her is Little Hunny. I think the two other girls are also sisters. I don’t know their names, but their father and my sister’s girls are first cousins.

Jennifer, did I get that right? These are Tony’s grandchildren, right?

I think that makes them second cousins.

At any rate, the genes tell the story. We have always been fascinated by Adrie’s eyes. No eyes like that have ever appeared in our family. So those eyes came from their father, only he doesn’t have those eyes either. But someone in their father’s ancestors back there in Italy had to be responsible for those amazing, almost almond-shaped eyes. She's smiling so they are sort of squinched up but they are almond shaped.

And surprise, surprise. Here they are again in yet another generation. Take a look at the eyes of the girl on the far right.

Here... I'll help...

The eyes have it...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What have I gotten myself into?

Once upon a time (6 years ago, maybe), Pastor David was thinking about doing a study on Revelation and I loaned him a book -- a good one -- that my mom had sent me. I think he changed his mind about doing the study. Several months went by and I asked him about the book and he said, "I can't find it." He'd shake his head and look puzzled. "I don't know what happened to it, but it just isn't there..."

Whenever Pastor David's wife, Sheila, invited us to their house, I'd
wander (sneak) off into his office to look for the book. He was right.

It wasn’t there. I couldn't find it.

They continued to look. They couldn't find it.

They hadn't thrown it away or taken
it anywhere, but it just wasn't there anymore.

Not lost, just temporarily misplaced.

Time kept on slipping away into the future. David resigned the church and became the pastor at the church down the road from their house. We got a new pastor -- well, several actually -- but finally, a really good one, Ralph.

Sheila and I continued to be friends – something that often does not happen when people leave one church and go to another. Then about a year ago, Sheila e-mailed me with the news that she had found the book. She was fixing up the bedroom where a girl they had hosted as a foreign exchange student had slept so it would be convenient for a married daughter who was coming back for a visit with a new baby. The girl had taken the book to read, without telling anyone, and had left it under the bed when she went back to Japan. Sheila was a bit embarrassed to admit she had not done anything in the room for several years.

Now back home safe and sound, the book settled in on my bookshelf, where I promptly forgot about it. Until now. Several months ago I began a series of lessons on worry (which I desperately needed to teach myself).

Yes. This was the first thing I handed out to the class. Only I didn't learn the lessons all that well, and I started worrying about what I was going to teach next.

I suggested that Ralph continue on with a series of lessons on Revelation he had started on Wednesday nights three summers ago but never finished. He canceled that service because he had major surgery and we never started back up.

He threw down the gauntlet:

"Why don't you teach the class."


"Me? You've got to be kidding?"

He wasn't.

Well, silly person that I am, I got to thinking about it, and lost my mind for a moment, and I
picked up the gauntlet and launched into it.

I thought the church was going to shut down because too few people were attending and that I would not actually have to finish what I started.

At the last church business meeting, we were supposed to vote to close the church because of dwindling attendance and I calculated that I would be able to quit about the time the Four Horseman showed up.

I was wrong. Everybody voted to continue having church. And here they are

Now I will have to finish, unless a Trumpet sounds sometime when we least expect it within the next couple of months.

And now on to the mystery of the 144,000.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chances are....

...we will not be going to the Johnny Mathis concert that is scheduled for sometime in September in Branson. On or about 35 years ago (give or take a few years), Richard saw Johnny Mathis at the Greek Theater with his sister. No. that's not right. Richard and his sister saw Johnny Mathis at the Greek Theater. My parents were probably also at the Greek seeing Johnny Mathis.

At any rate, Richard has always loved Johnny Mathis. I wanted to honor him for his devoted attention to me during the past couple of months, and also this is a big birthday coming up at the end of August, where he officially enters geezerhood, and so I thought I would get tickets to see Johnny.

The ticket prices start at $162, and that’s for the cheap seats.

$162.00 each.

$324 for both of us.

He mulled this over for about 2 seconds:

R: No.

Me: I love you, you’re worth it.

R: No.

Me: You did an amazing job taking care of me. Once in a lifetime sort of deal here.

R: No. We’re not paying $324 to hear Johnny Mathis. The artist usually sets the ticket price and that is just pure greed. No.

Sorry Johnny. This is as close as we will be getting to hearing you sing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finding my happy place

Lord, have mercy.

When Richard was emptying trash this morning, he found in our son's trash the packing slip from an envelope that arrived in the mail yesterday showing that he spent $10 on some sort of gold commemorative medal or coin.

Ka-pow, ka-pow (that's the sound of me spitting nails.)

Well, he pays us room and board to live here, so I suppose what he does with the rest of his money aside from that is his own business. But given that he is on the verge of bankruptcy, one would hope -- just a little -- that he might make some wise decisions about how he spends those few remaining dollars that are left from his meager paycheck after he pays his bills and buys gasoline to get to work. He desperately needs underwear and new socks. Last week I had to sew up a terrific tear in one of his remaining few boxers. In fact, I almost bought him new underwear because I felt sorry for him.

Now I am just mad. Furious.

And also disappointed. Frustrated.

OK, taking a deep breath. Calming down. Going back to my article on extracranial carotid artery aneurysms.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Songs in the night

It is not quiet at our house. Indeed not. A few years ago, two lanes were added to the highway by our house, US 60, which is the main southern east-west corridor in the state from Oklahoma through Missouri, and it joins up with US 63, which is a north-south route for a while so that people can head on down to Arkansas, Tennessee, and points beyond. It’s the main route to Branson. And there is a lot of traffic on it. And the two new lanes didn’t go on the other side of the road.

Oh no.

They came on our side. Up until then, there was sort of a hilly area between us and the highway that was very overgrown with trees and brush. We basically couldn’t see the highway, and it served to buffer the noise. That was all ripped out and graded away, and now the road is basically in our back yard. And there is nothing to block the sound. There is actually less traffic noise at my folks’ house in Los Angeles, which is only separated from the Harbor Freeway by two houses and Hoover Street and a tall “sound wall.” In addition, that noise is a constant low hum, instead of here, which is periods of no traffic noise at all and then bursts of sounds getting...








Silence for a minute or two, and then here comes the next truck or group of cars. And have you noticed how the cars seem to travel in large groups with gaps in between?

During the day the traffic noise is not such a problem.... What am I saying? Of course it is a problem!

“Leilani, can you....” muffled unintelligible sound...

“What? I couldn’t hear you. A truck was going by....”

But it can be hard to fall asleep at night sometimes in the summer with the windows open, which is necessary because we don’t have air conditioning. And it would really be a problem if it weren’t for the singing insects filling the gaps between cars with their songs. My favorite is the katydid.

I love the song this insect makes. Anyway, the trees where they hang out are close enough to the house so they are loud enough to be heard over the sounds of engines...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Brand New Day

Things went well at church Sunday. At least my contribution to the fellowship meal went well. I made lasagna out of turkey sausage, which I doctored so that it tasted like Italian sausage, and several people commented on how good it was, and they ate nearly all of it. This was a pleasant change from the determined silence that erupted at last month’s meal when everybody began eating the soggy, soggy enchiladas that I took. I made the mistake of assembling the enchiladas the day before, but didn't bake them then. Nobody went back for a second helping, and I had to bring most of it home.

Unfortunately, something that I ate Sunday did not agree with my gut. I did not have a belly ache, which was nice. However, I did have to run to the bathroom a lot yesterday, but since run is not an operative word these days, that caused some problems of its own. Unpleasant problems. And I was a little worried about becoming dehydrated, so I opened a bottle of a Gatorade knock off to keep the electrolytes and fluids up, and I was not impressed. How can people drink that stuff? Whew. But, today is a new day, and so far, so good!

It is so hot. Really hot. And humid. We have survived 27 summers here without air conditioning in the house, although R did have a small window unit for his office, but I think that now that we are getting older, we are definitely going to need central air or several window units. Old folks don't do as well in the heat as younger people do, and hey, R is officially a geezer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sweet Honey

Ok... just stop what you are doing right now, and go here and click on segment 3, and listen. You'll have to wait for an introductory remark by Garrison Keillor, but that won't do you any harm.

Then listen to these women. These amazing women. Then weep or shout or laugh, or dance around the room for joy at the beauty of the of the songs, if you're able that is, and I'm not quite up for that yet, but I would if I could. There are two songs, so wait till the end.

Israel will be fed with the finest flour
and satisfied with honey from the rocks. Psalm 81:16

Go. Now. Listen

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wheelcharing, Walkering, and Crutching

One of the great things about the English language is its fluidity; new words come into everyday use, and other words fade into oblivion. The students at West Plains High School are known as the Zizzers. For 27 years I wondered what the heck a Zizzer was, but I finally found out a few months ago. This year is the 100th anniversary of West Plains High School, and a local radio station was broadcasting "Zizzer Moments" every day during the time I drove to the aerobics class. Apparently, zizzer was a slang word in local use at some point during the school's history that was used to express admiration for someone who was great, sharp, excellent, etc. "He's a real zizzer" a girl is reported to have remarked after some remarkable athletic accomplishment, and it stuck. That is what they ended up calling themselves. The Zizzers. Sort of dumb, if you ask me, but nobody has, and besides, I didn't really start this to talk about them.

Late last week, the radiologist reported that the fracture was healing, and I was given the OK by my friend, who is a nurse practitioner, to begin "ambulating as tolerated." I have been using three new verbs to describe the various modes I have been using to get myself from place to place. I have been wheelchairing around the house, and down this very fine ramp that my dear husband built, since some friends were kind enough to loan me their wheelchair.

For about the past 2 weeks at night, I have been walkering from the wheelchair parked at the bedroom door to the bed, and being able to sleep in bed again after 6 weeks on the couch was heavenly.

On Monday I crutched to the car, drove to the YMCA, and crutched inside. I visited with my aerobic friends, sat in a chair and did the weight-lifting exercises, and then I crutched over to the stationary bicycle and rode it for 15 minutes. I crutched back to the car and drove myself home, feeling very tired indeed. It is amazing how out of shape one gets after 2 months of no exercise.

And since yesterday, I have been walking short distances around the house. Am I a zizzer, or what!!!