Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Change in the Weather

O D T A A (pronounced Oh'D-taahhhh)

Meaning: One Dang Thing After Another

This is a BB gun shot hole in the back door. The door is a full length window.

Sometime this weekend, as we were out shopping ect.. Our neighbor boy (young man of 15) was shooting his B B/ pellet gun. I don't think he MEANT to shoot out our window, but imagine my surprise this afternoon as I stepped out back to take some pictures (posted here later) and discovered that the whole window looked shattered. The safety glass held, and is still holding, but will need to be replaced tomorrow. I don't know how much it will cost, probaby another couple of hundred dollars that we are going to have to put on a credit card and pay off....

The good news is, that the neighbor boy owned up to it immediately. He even offered to do something to help pay for it... work in kind around the yard, mowing the grass...

The Sherriff (we'd called to report this before the neighbor boy'd gotten home) who took the report went over to talk to him and the young man stood up to what had happened and made the offer of repayment immediately. The Sherriff said in five years of his experience, this was the first time he'd ever encountered such honesty. Sherriff said he'd like to meet the young man's parents (they'd gone to eat out after church and weren't back yet) to congratulate them. They must be doing something right. It is a very good family, and I'd already told the Sheriff we'd not be pressing charges. Accidents do happen, especially to young men of a certain age...

I just wish we'd stop having these things happen to us. I think we've had our quota for the year, wouldn't you think?

Okay... on to a happier post--the one I'd planned when I stepped outside to take pictures.

For The Lioness , I post a picture of a butterfly larva. I counted at leas 11 of these on the remnants of my passionflower vine in the backyard.

They're not as beautiful as the butterflies they become, but they are a promise of future beauty. The butterflies are a bit optimistic, to lay eggs in November, but I think they have a good chance. The weather's changable, but these little feller's are durable.

Next, for those who requested a recipe for buttermilk pie....

It's basically a custard pie made with buttermilk instead of heavy cream. It's got a sweet/tart taste and lovely consistancy and is one of my favorites... along with pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan and coconut cream.

This recipe is from

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place beaten eggs in a medium bowl. Gradually beat in sugar.
Stir in melted butter, salt, flour, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Mix until smooth.
Pour mixture into pastry shell.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Bake an additional 10 minutes.
Pie is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Let Us Give Thanks

I hope all who read this had a warm and comfortable and companionable Thanksgiving Day yesterday.

'Pup and I went to see my parents for Thanksgiving. We ate out, (all 18 of us!) in a local restaurant. It wasn't a memorable meal as far as the food went. The restaurant usually does a better job than we had yesterday, but perhaps that's just the way things fell out. We were the largest group they had that day, though not by much. Most of the other family groups were smaller, or were just older couples deciding to let someone else cook the turkey this year.

I don't think the adults had much appetite anyway, and the children were more interested in the pumpkin pie nearby on the dessert buffet (rather handy to the table) than they were for the plate of food that finally arrived.

My father is still with us, but much reduced. He cannot use his right hand at all, and his right leg is dragging. He is unable to speak, though he can understand everything that is said to him. His face is swollen from the steroids and chemo, but he still has some of his hair. What hair he has left has now turned from the dark brown liberally salted with silver from last year, to the purest white, that competes only with the paleness of his face and scalp. The scar from the one surgery biopsy he had about 6 months ago is a pale and almost unnoticeable crescent just where the skull starts it's vault over his left ear. His blue eyes are often distant and preoccupied.

Still, those blue eyes still betray that, inside his battered skull and beleaguered brain, there still lurks a man who delights in seeing his family. Especially the littlest ones. He manages to flirt quite nicely with his youngest great grandchild, and the two of them seem to have no problem understanding one another. My mother has no problem understanding him either. I suppose after knowing someone more than 50 years, words aren't the prime tool you use for communication.

I got to see a couple of good things about one of my brothers yesterday as he helped care for our father. My brother T. spent a lot of time somewhat estranged from the family (his choice), but is being brought back to the family by a new lady friend. She's a very nice person, quite lovely too. Turns out that she's the mother of a teacher who started at the same school I was teaching at (before my surgery) just at the time I was leaving.

T. was very good with my dad. Gentle and competent, and matter of fact. He also helped to remodel the bedroom and bathroom for my parents so that both of them can use it. That bedroom and bathroom suite has turned out to be quite lovely too. My mother designed the colors... my brother and brother in law executed the design my brother in law came up with for turning one small walk in closet and a tiny bathing area/dressing area into a huge walk in closet and a nice vanity area and a sumptuous walk in shower. At the same time, they made the house more handicap accessible and are still working together to add ramps to the doors and handholds. It's good to see.

Now, just because my family ate at the restaurant doesn't mean that my mother didn't cook a turkey. She did. She even made a version she's never made before.

Food channel... you've made my mother experiment on a turkey.

She tried out the "two hour turkey", stuffing it with FRUIT(!), and basting it with butter and dill. Y'all. That is not the usual turkey. I'm just sorry we had to leave before it was done, but we live a hundred miles from my parents and wanted to get home before dark.

There were also a few pies to be eaten at my mother's house... much better than the ones at the restaurant. I shouldn't have, but I even ate most of a piece of buttermilk pie so sweet that I felt my blood sugar spiking as I ate. I won't be doing that again. The sweet taste of the pie wasn't really worth the bad feeling afterwards. Damn. I like buttermilk pie. But I value my eyesight more.

We're due to get some violent weather tomorrow. Got a Pacific front coming in, and that means rain, wind, thunder and even some possible tornados. 'Pup is already stressing a little.

Did anyone go to the early sales today? I'd have loved to have gone, there were some deals out there to make anyone cry...., but I have neither the funds nor the energy.

I need to win the lottery. Y'all think good thoughts.

(Yah, yah, y'all want pictures of the crochet projects.... maybe next time.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life Goes On and On and On...


The Good Doctor says I'm not allergic to the antibiotics (the rash was the wrong kind of rash), but that I DO/DID have HIVES. So I'm allergic to SOMETHING, we're just not sure what it was that made me break out in hives. I have my suspicions. They involve some dried fruit with dried strawberries in it.

Now, I know I should stay away from strawberries. And I do. Mostly.

Problem is, they just taste so dang good in the summer, and I've discovered that if I'm careful and don't eat too many or eat too many too many days in a row, I can have a few fresh strawberries. This discovery may have made me a little cocky.

I now vow to stay completely away from strawberries and strawberry flavored anything. (Y'all feeling sorry for me yet? 'cause there is this really cool treat that combines chocolate with huge strawberries.. and I've got to stay away from that too!)

Okay. So, I've got a medpack of steriods, and will have a better antihistimine when the pharmacy gets it in, and I already feel somewhat better. My hands are still too swollen to wear my wedding rings, so I've got them hanging around my neck on a piece of yarn.

Oh, I've not mentioned yarn in this blog yet, have I?

Well...I've been infected you see. There are all these really cool blogs out there devoted to really cool and sweet and talented people who DO things with yarn.

My great grandma, my grandma, and my mom all could knit, crochet and tat. My mom never did much of it, but I remember her doing it now and again. All three of these nice ladies tried teaching me the arcane arts, and I picked up a little. But, being perverse, I preferred embroidery over knitting and crotcheting and even tatting (tho I always thought that was the COOLEST thing I ever saw anyone doing---like creating something out of nothing, with just this little red triangular thing and a bunch of very fine thread). And I did me some embroidery y'all. I really enjoyed counted cross stitch, using the finest high count Aida cloth I could afford. I made many a Christmas present too.

Then one day, it happened. I could no longer hold a needle fine enough to do embroidery. I'd try, but I couldn't keep hold of it, and my hand would go numb. We thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome, and it may have been--partly. Now I suspect it also has something to do with the problem with my spinal chord.

So, for many years (8) I was without fiber arts. And it was not good. Though it did lead me to my current gardening obsession, so it wasn't all bad.

Then, the internet spoke: And lo, it was good. I was reminded of my lessons of my childhood. Unfortunately, my adult brain has lost some of it's childhood plasticity. I'm going to need knitting lessons again, and tatting will definitely be harder to pick up again. Plus, tatting requires the ability to hold small things in my hands. Might not be possible.

But, there was crochet. I remembered some of THOSE lessons, having had them reinforced about 10 years ago before my grandmother died. Unfortunately, when she died, I lay down my hook because it reminded me too painfully of her death.

I've taken it up again. I'm currently relearning and practicing stiches, making sure of my tension control. I have made a large afghan, 3 scarves and one long single stitch scarf that I'm going to try to embroider. 'Cause I still likes me some good embroidery, and I might be able to do it with a larger plastic needle! The afghan is warm enough that I've been sleeping under it (I told you it was a BIG afghan) during the current "cold spell". (In Houston, any weather that includes night time lows under 60 is a "cold spell")

I may even someday be bribed enough to take a picture of one or more of my projects. But not until I can do so without going (uhmm NO).

Till then, just know that they're warm projects and in pretty colors.

And enjoy pictures of my garden.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Little Hiatus in Life--Break out the Cheese, this is a Whine Alert

Y'all remember the cellulitis? Well, it's better, mostly. The antibiotics worked.

Unfortunately.... turns out I may be allergic to one of two I took. Which one? Dunno. Don'care neither just now.

I started itching Saturday night. in my sleep. It woke me up. Fortunately, I'd recently cut my nails down to nubbins so as to recover from a bad manicure, otherwise, I might have done damage to myself sleepscratching.

It took me a few moments before I realized what was going on. I've been there, done that before. There are several antibiotics I'm allergic to, and now I guess I get to add one or two more to the list. I checked my breathing.. and other than a little tightness, it was okay. I woke 'Pup, who wasn't happy to be awakened at 3:45 am (I don't blame him--wasn't my idea of fun either), told him that unless the benedryl worked, he was going to get to go to the emergency room with me. He reminded me that if we did go, we'd likely spend several hours sitting in uncomfortable chairs, surrounded by very sick people and crying kids. I decided to give benedryl a real chance.

About half an hour after taking the pills, I was asleep. 4 hours later I was awake again itching. I then took another dose. This continued most of Sunday, interrupted by some soup, a sandwich and a nice cup of hot tea delivered by 'Pup. A coolish shower also helped a little.

Last night, I upped the dosage a little. I slept about 9 hours straight. I'm still drugged out and groggy, but have a phone call into the doctor's office. I just called them back and asked them to bug the doctor again.

My hands are so swollen that I've had to take my wedding ring off. It wasn't easy to take off either, it involved very cold water and soap.

Ahhh heck

Enough whining.

I'm going to post some pictures of a few things I've got growing, and lay down till I have to leave for work.

Yes. I'm going to work. 'Pup's going to be driving, as I don't drive medicated. Well, not often.

I've got an extra hour of work today, as some of my regulars rescheduled so as not to miss their lesson this week. They've got the entire week off from school, so they can come in early. I wonder if we'll have a lot of drop ins...just realizing that they'd have a week without homework without us. 'Cause I'm telling you, these are some homework lovin' kids! Really! It's kinda freaky to me too, but as a teacher I'm rather pleased to know that there really are kids out there who learn because they like it and because they think it's important.

Anyway: here's my winter container garden.

Mixed lettuces, doing well.

The first cucumber. Okay, it's a little odd, but it's a cucumber. I swear, someday I WILL grow one that's not an oddball. I will, I will!

Tomatoes... note the little spot of red in the one to the right. That's a ripe tomato. Yah, in November. hehheheheh

And more are setting:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So, Every Garden Needs Some Fertilizer...

More about this later.

And lately, my life seems a little fuller of it than normal. I'm going to try to stay upbeat about this, but will ask forgiveness in advance.

Let's see..

Currently, my compost bin contains:

A family member in legal trouble.
A father dying of cancer.
A mother handling it, sometimes better than other times.
My physical problems, including the cellulitis (getting better, thank you).
Husband: being laid off... but that has some upsides to it as well.
Pa-in-law: biopsy results weren't good, but he'll be with us for several years at least. The prostate cancer isn't the aggressive type, and the doctors are declining to operate on an 81 year old diabetic.

And to top everything off, as we went out of the house Sunday morning:

No, we didn't hear it happen. The dog did, came in barking Saturday night, but we didn't hear it. We were either asleep (most likely) or the dog's barking covered some of the sound. The bedroom's in the back and nicely (usually it's an asset) insulated from the street sounds.

What went through the window?

Yep, that's a peanut butter jar. The lid was in the front flower bed by the curb.

Of course, the peanut butter didn't only go through the window. A little of it was thrown on our cars.... along with, (and this is weird) some marshmallows stuffed in the handle of the van's passenger side door.

Fun, fun, fun.

Someone's coming to fix it today.

I was going to end this with a nice upbeat story about a fun night on the town with some very lovely, intelligent ladies. My bosslady from the downtown tutoring gig was in town and called all her tutors to come eat with her and keep in touch.

We went to a very nice restaurant called El Mezon, in an area of Houston known as Rice Village. It's a trendy/fancy shopping and dining area that I used to enjoy walking through. Lots of interesting shops and fancy window displays. Not that I could ever afford to shop there, but dining there was within my reach (within reason). I'd seen El Mezon, but had never been there.

The dinner was tasy, the conversation was great! Picture this: five educated women, all of us from different cultural backgrounds talking politics, women's issues and comparing experiences dealing with different cultures. Not once were fashion trends, boyfriends, or purses mentioned.

As I drove one of the ladies home (she lived only 5 min or so from the restaurant), I was feeling good. Tummy nicely full, taste buds nicely sated, and brain nicely stimulated. I like these women and am very pleased to be included in their company.

Then, as I was driving home....

Something wasn't setting right. That wonderful dinner? Not so good anymore.

I made it to a gas station before I threw up. I suspect the attendent suspected I was drunk. I wish.

There is nothing quite so miserable as throwing up into a gas station trashcan, knowing that you are vulnerable and knowing that you are alone and not able to protect yourself.

Oh, and anyone who's over a certain age, you know what else happened as I was throwing up, right?

Fun, fun, fun.

'Pup came and picked me up... by then I was feeling strong enough so that we didn't have to leave the car in a public parking lot and he followed me home.

Compost anyone?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fullness Achieved

Okay, This was 2 days ago, and now the roses are even fuller, but several of them are getting a bit we'll call this one the "peak".

I'm not going to be posting much for the next couple of days. Seems I got myself a little case of cellulitis in my right leg. How? Dunno. Doc's doing a few blood tests, and I've an appointment with him again next week.

Oh, when I say again? It's because, when I called the doc's office Tuesday night to tell him that my right leg and foot were very swollen and a bit painful, they had me come in that night. At 7:30 PM. Yes, my doc keeps very late hours.

We finally saw the doc at 11:30 PM, and finally out of his office at 12:05 AM.

My doc has a policy. He sees every patient that needs to see him, no matter what. Okay, he's a little crazy, but dedicated and I wouldn't do without him, even though regular patients in his office (he has regulars that have been going to him for 20 odd years) KNOW to take a long book, project or video game when waiting. Three hour waits are common.

Why do we wait so long? Well........ when you go see a (normal) doctor, you may wait only 30 minutes, but you WILL be out of his examining room in under 15, no matter how much you need to discuss with him, and no matter that if he'd spent an extra 5 minutes listening to you and examining you, he'd (or she'd) be able to PROPERLY MEDICATE AND TREAT you. THIS doc takes whatever and however long it takes to make sure he's examined everything and listened to all symptoms. He also has a rather incredible memory for things you've told him in the past.

The only downside to knowing you are not going to be rushed out of the examination room is the knowledge that this IS the way he treats all his patients. ALL of his patients. Who necessarily become very patient patients, or they go elsewhere. I have a feeling that many end up coming back after experiencing a clinic setting where the doc spends 5 minutes trying to figure out who the HELL you are and then 5 minutes looking you over and then 5 minutes writing the perscription while pushing you out of the door.

It's not so bad. His waiting room (the tiniest one I've ever seen btw) does have a tv with cable and the patient patients are usually good natured enough that it's easy to negotiate a show that most can enjoy. His nurses and assistants are also good natured, caring and necessarily adaptable.

'Pup and I have multiple VOLUMES of medical history files. It is a running joke in the office that between the two of us (mostly him! as he's known this doc twice as long as I have) we have a whole corner of his medical history bookshelves.

I do thank God for this man. He kept on looking for a reason my back hurt, and didn't just settle on trying to medicate the pain. Any other doctor, I would probably have had to wait 3 or 4 days at a minimum to see about my swollen leg, and might have ended up in a hospital instead of at home using antibiotics and (eh hemmm!) having my foot propped up in bed (which I'm not doing just now, cause I'm typing...).

So, y'all take care, and I'll try to move my lap top to where I can use it in bed. I'm addicted to y'all's blogs you know.

Be well.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Just a quick update on what the rose bush is doing.

Not QUITE in full bloom, but we're getting closer.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Okay, Just a FEW Pictures...

Click on the rose bush and see how many buds you can count. I'm thinking by Sunday or Monday they might be bursting into bloom. I'll post a picture then. I got the rest of these at the Houston Garden Center... the pansies were full price, but the roses and the lavender lantana were 70 % off.

This bouganvilla blossom is the one and only.. that plant is driving me crazy! Some plants have personalities.. and this one is THORNY.

Take a close look... and see the price on these mini roses....and then take 70% off. I LOVE fall color!!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pictures.. uhmm yah.. pictures

uhmm between an unexpected visit by a friend and oversleeping, I didn't get the new plants planted and now it's time to scoot to work and tomorrow I have a million and a half secret shops (well.. not so secret for some of them--- I'm replacing decals on some soda machines-- hard to stay secret there)... so I'll post the stuff...errr lovely pictures on Sunday evening.

I will! I Promise!

Y'all stay warm.

Oh... 'Pup is out of town, visiting his mom and dad. My dear Pa in law needed someone to drive him to a doctor's appointment. I told him there was an upside to everything that's been going on. If he were still working, he wouldn't be free to go help his dad now.

Life goes on!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Got my Saturn back..... seems to be okay now.. but we'll know after I've driven it for a while....

Had a leaking filter, that was allowing all the transmission fluid to spray everywhere. The mechanic thinks I got there in time to prevent any long term damage.. PHEW!!

All in all, under 200 bucks isn't bad for a 10 year car.

To celebrate, I went to the garden center and got some plants at 70% off....

Post pictures tomorrow....

Bye all!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November 1, 2005

First, I'm reposting the link to the Frappr! map. I hope if you've not posted there, you'll please take the time to visit and leave a note.

And have y'all ever seen such a Duffamous Maximous?
He's a good dog.

Sadly, Halloween in Houston was drowned out. Just as it was getting to the time most kids would have been hitting the pavement and ringing doorbells, a deluge of cold, wet and thundery rain washed away their hopes of hitting an all time high in blood sugar levels. We had not a single visitor alas....and we were ready with jars of bubbles (left over from last year when I'd bought them as presents for my former class), and several kids of CHOCOLATE candy. Now.. what am I gonna do with all that candy? I guess I'll have to take it to work and bribe..errr I mean reward.. my hard workin' little darlin's.

And, please, let us take a moment to think kindly of my dear little Saturn, who seems to have developed a severe transmission difficulty. (How does fate know when we don't really want to spend any extra money?) I hope it can be fixed inexpensively and permanently. Otherwise, I'll be forced to get a new car, and I don't want to have a car payment just as we'd FINISHED paying off our van. It would be nice to have two completely paid off cars for the next two years. 'Pup needs to be able to finish his surgery, take some courses he wants to take while he has the time and then get another really nice job.

Other news: I'm applying for retirement due to disability from the Texas Teacher's Retirement System. I've a lot of paper work, and my doctor has to fill out some forms, and then it has to be approved by a board. I hope it is approved. The past summer and fall of working part time has made it unfortunately clear to me that I may not ever be back into the kind of physical shape needed to handle a class-----at least according to most school districts--- who require that I be able to pick up and carry and walk for a certain distance, more weight than I really should. Sigh

And Now, for all of you that think Texas, especially Houston has no "Fall Color".... I post the following pictures.

And THEN... there's the REAL TEXAS FALL COLOR:

What can I say? There's color, and then, there's COLOR! The rose bush has about 50 (I stopped counting when I hit 50) buds ready to bloom in the next week or so. I'd cut it back pretty hard just before Rita hit, and now I'm reaping the reward of warm weather afterwards.

Y'all have a nice day now, y'hear!