Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I will admit to preferring the popcorn made in a good dutch oven, over a hot fire, sprinkled with real butter and salt. I will also admit to not making it very often that way, and to succumbing to the siren call of the microwave... instant popcorn! (not nearly as tasty, but oh so easy!)
What has been on my secret Christmas List (the one you keep in your head, the one that lists the things you wish you could ask for, but can't because people would give you a really funny look), have been popcorn machines. I want a movie theater popcorn machine.
I even worked at a movie theater for my first out of the house, non baby-sitting job. I made hot dogs and popcorn and sodas (aka cokes for my fellow Texans). I got sick of hot dogs. Soda...the smell of the syrup from the airborne fizzy droplets as I filled the cups, became cloying and I felt perpetually sticky.
What I never got tired of was popcorn.
(ps: I miss my daddy's popcorn balls he'd make for special occasions like: a kid wanted one and asked nicely)
I'm debating about dressing up for passing out the candy. It's going to be such a very NICE night, with temps in the '70's and no rain... we'll probably sit outside to pass out the candy. I like seeing the kids come down the street and with the rose bush by the door, I don't want the kids to get too near the thorns.
So, while I'm passing out the little energy pills disguised like candy (....oh... as a teacher I remember I hated it when Halloween was during the week, because the kids would come to school hyped up on sugar for the whole week!), I MIGHT be wearing a hat, and have some paper stuffed into my sleeves, hanging out near my gloved hands and out of my pants above my shoes. I MIGHT slump over, as if I were a stuffed scarecrow. I MIGHT watch as the kids came closer to the bowl of candy, and then, I MIGHT....hehehehe.... OH, I MIGHT just suddenly come to life....
However, in an attempt to lose weight by exercising more and perhaps increase my mobility, I have gotten a manual wheelchair. I know I can't get exercise by walking. When you can't walk more than a few yards before you either fall down or start crying in pain, you just. don't. walk. Even walking in water isn't much better, because it's the action of moving the legs that makes the pain begin. If I sit down and swung my legs too often it hurts. Walking my pounds off is just not going to be an option, so...let's roll!
I'm going to try to get into a gym again, one with a pool and try to swim without kicking too often. Moving at all has got to be better than not moving enough.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Turns out, I didn't have to worry. He had been helping out with a fence, but not ours. Seems that 'Pup had been passing by one neighbor's house and had noticed some very slow progress towards rebuilding all three of her downed fences. Last night, he saw the gent who was doing the work and stopped to say hello and, yes, be nosy.
The neighbor's son was doing the work by himself, after work, and before he would go home to his own home and family. Because the neighbor behind our neighbor was also an elderly widow (our neighborhood is about half older couples/widows and half young families), the son was also trying to fix HER fences too....for a total of 5 fence lengths.... on his own.
The world is full of unsung heroes, like a good son who extended filial duty to include a woman who had no son of her own to help her.
As he drove on home, there was a nagging voice in his head. (NO, not MINE--not this time)
Now, most people don't know this, but 'Pup has a soft spot for...well, to tell the truth, he has a lot of soft spots and he's a lot more generous than you'd think. By the time he was home, he had decided to go back. He grabbed a hammer and West Jr. (after making sure West Jr. had no girlfriend plans, no homework to do and was off for the evening) and went back to the man on the job.
Something very cool about West Jr.: he thinks chances to do people a favor or a good deed are "neat". (dang, I like that kid!)
So, off they went, and 'Pup and Jr. carried things, 'Pup held tape measures and, no doubt, cracked bad jokes, they got a lot of work done.
By the time I was home, 'Pup had been asleep for an hour after it got too dark to work. I saw Mr. West and West Jr. working on West Jr.'s car. They're fixing it up, for West Jr. to drive when he turns 16. I suspect they'll be looking at auto insurance quotes very intensely. The long term plan is for him to drive this car for a while, then sell it and get a motorcycle. (gulp... a teen on a motorcycle in Houston traffic--- I hope he keeps the car for a while.)
Ike was an "ill wind", no doubt of that. But, like a lot of "ill winds", some good came of it. 'Pup and I are very blessed in our neighbors.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So, other than vanity, I'm not going to have to put Harley parts on my scooter in an attempt to get it road worthy...but it might still be fun.
In more realistic news, I've found a couple of wheelchairs on Craig's List that I can afford. I'm going to buy both of them and donate one. The one I keep will fit into my Saturn and on really bad days, I can use it.
The bad days are getting more and more common. The scooter just doesn't fit into the Saturn and 'Pup feels like a sardine in the Saturn. So, in an attempt to 1) keep us both in the vehicles we prefer (I don't LIKE people driving Ms Saturn... she's MINE) and 2) keep me mobile and use some muscle power, I'm going to be using a manual wheelchair sometimes.
I'll be taking it to Spring Fling in Chicago. I have places to go and things to see and I'm not going to NOT be able to go somewhere.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
One more plant that had gone away before the storm, but is popping up here and there, once more. Now, if only ALL of them had done that... sigh... I need to plant new caladiums this spring/fall/winter...
I think I've mentioned that our GP doc has recently retired. To tell the truth, for the last year or so, he's been slipping. He's had some health problems of his own and I think there were some personal stresses too. At any rate, we're going to new doctors.
Our first doctor was a podiatrist. We'd set the appointment up even before we knew our doc was going to be closing down. We like the podiatrist, and if you live in Northwest Harris County, drop me a line if you need a good foot doc, 'cause I'd recommend him.
From the podiatrist, we went to a rheumatologist. Another good doctor! (again, I'm willing to refer!) The rheumatologist was/is a little concerned about the medicines we're taking. He's changed 'Pup's pain meds, and has confirmed that both of us have osteoarthritis. This is actually a relief of a sort, as I'd been afraid 'Pup had rheumatoid arthritis, a muchmuchmuch baaaadddder thing.
The other thing the podiatrist has done is give 'Pup some medicine that actually helped with the breakouts on his face. (Just a hint, Triclear, is not so good). His face is not perfect yet, but getting better.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It looks like the Pinata rose has mostly recovered from being half yanked out of its bed, and the Golden Showers rose was blooming too...just too high up for me to get to it.
And Ms Belinda (Belinda's Dream) is busting out all over with blooms. Walking up to my door is a very rosy sweet experience. Just be careful of thorns...
I've been reading some of the garden blogs belonging to people who live in colder climates than mine. The amount of work it takes to get ready for winter! You have my respect and admiration.
So, now she's looked at wedding invitations, and they're out... and the wedding will be in February...in Baton Rouge! I've never been to Baton Rouge, and I'm excited to go there for my friend and for me. This year is turning out to be a well traveled one.
I am beginning to wonder what is coming next. I can't wait.
Turns out, I have a heel spur. Ouch. Really. Ouch. I've gotten some physical therapy, but it didn't do much for a long term solution. I wear a boot to bed to stretch the tendon, and now both 'Pup and I are getting some special shoes. They're not exactly "stylin'", but like these MBT shoes, they promise to give some support where it's needed and hopefully it will make it easier to walk without pain.
My issues with the nerves running to my legs is a different issue, but any improvement in other areas, should help with that one. I'm tired of not being able to get myself from one place to another. I wasn't able to walk nearly as far as I'd have liked to walk while in Chicago. When I go back, that is going to be different. Somehow....
Friday, October 17, 2008
Excerpt from: Mending Fences, by Robert Frost.
That wants it down.' I could say, 'Elves' to him,
After taking down the old fence (which took quite a while), we...by that I mean Mr. West and wife and I and 'Pup tried to dig post holes with no post hole digger. Those things were harder to get than ice after the storm, and NO ONE was giving them away. We did get to borrow a neighbor's, but we got another one special order from Ace Hardware.
As you can see, Mr. West still has his back fence to get to... but his neighbor to the north is promising to help out. Eventually.
And it's all done... and Ah Heyallped. I really did! I pounded in most of the bottom course of nails....well I pounded in a lot of them. It's remarkable what you can do sitting down. All in all, it's a pretty good deal for the Wests and for us. For far less than $2000, we're replacing 4 complete fences, not just 2 halves. And we're getting some time to spend with some good neighbors.
When we got back from Chicago, Mr. West had not only finished his western fence, but had also started on the new posts for the north fence in our yard.
Since he didn't want the dogs to be let loose, he kept the old fence up... easy to do as it had been blown to the North's yard.
She's a Charmer, ain't she? When she got over here, she was yelling more and cussing and carrying on. We told her that if she wanted the fence taken down before we got to it, she was welcomed to do it. She indignantly told us that she couldn't do that, as she didn't have a truck. Uhmm.. neither do we.
Her last shot was a long wail about how useless her (eastern) neighbor was and that she was going to have to put in a WHOLE SIDE fence by herself.. and that now, she couldn't put her dog (a little white, fluffy barker), couldn't be put outside because he might get stuck in the old fence and DIE.
I am developing a real dislike of that woman.
More about my good neighbors next. This episode has taken me about 4 days to write. The good stuff is just a whole lot more fun, somehow.
Of course, the new pain pills the rheumatologist gave me might have something to do with that too...
I think I love my new rheumatologist. He gave me a shot of cortisone in my knee and it started feeling better within a few minutes! The next few days after the shot, I could walk without wanting to hit someone..errr something, I mean....
Sigh.. it's wearing off, but it's still better than it was. The pain pills will help too. It's a low enough dosage that I don't feel too muzzy, but still makes it easy to ignore the knee and sleep or walk or sit or....whatever.
Y'all, we're not hard on our computers. We use them to manage our finances (and the finances ain't exactly on the large side!), and store our pictures. We use them to blog. It's not like we need an industrial strength Linksys router or anything more than something that will just get the Internet from the phone jack to the airways...
Sigh, time to go shopping. I'm tired of being tethered to the phone cord.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
It's been right at a month since the hurricane. I lost a lot of leaves then, and not a few blooms from the plants. Well...things have recovered a bit.
Belinda's Dream is planning on a bodacious bloom in a few days. The first buds have opened, but there are about... a gazillion (okay, a hundred or so) buds ready to bust out all over.
Oh, and when those buds do open, they spread an incredibly sweet classic rose scent.
The Fragranza rose is open, with about 6 blooms and buds. Now, mind you, it hasn't finished replacing the leaves that got blown off the stalks, but it's blooming!
So is the Cherry Parfait, with more on the way.
Mr. Lincoln bloomed a few days ago, but has one still open (barely) to show off.
The Peace rose is open, with 5 blooms open and 4 buds still to bloom.
The Gold Medal rose is open, 5 or 6 blooms and a few buds swelling....
The mauve colored no name rose is open, it's still a small plant, but growing! Even the JFK (not shown) rose has a bud, and is holding it about 5 feet high. The roses will have all winter to grow and get strong. Next spring will be very good.
The Hummingbird bush is still going strong. It didn't loose leaves or flowers during Ike. Just after the storm, there was a hummingbird flitting around feeding from it. I still wonder where that little bird sheltered from the storm. It was a miracle.
Hope, in the form of Esperanza is blooming in the front and backyards.
This is a view of the Esperanza, Hummingbird bush, Belinda's Dream rose and the lemon grass in the back.
I do believe I'm beginning to see the color change on my blood orange. I only have 2... on a very young tree... so I was sooo happy to see it survive Ike.
The cross vine is growing on the Juniper and is becoming heavy enough that I think I'm going to have to cut it back, as the tree (about 15 feet high) is actually bowing from the load.
The Mexican Mint Marigolds, aka Texas Tarragon, is blooming.
If you look closely, you can see why it's called a "marigold", though it's not in the same family...and the leaves have a anise scent, rather like tarragon, though also, not related. Its saving grace is that it can grow here and be used.
Alas, the fire ants also survived. This is one of 3 mounds I found this morning. Out comes the ant poison. I don't use many chemicals, but fire ants are beyond noxious, as they not only sting people, pets and small animals, they also tend to predate on other ant species and on small critters like caterpillars, anoles and beneficial bugs. Fire Ants have NO saving grace.
The bougainvillea is blooming, though only on the branches that have reverted to the non-variegated leaves.
Looks like I'll have some hibiscus tea this winter, though probably only a cup or two. I'll be saving seed from this and planting more.
The portulaca in my front bed... just the white blooming for now.
This is a rogue petunia, who, against all odds, survived the whole summer. I think I'll let it set all the seed it wants.
This isn't a flower, but it is a butterfly I've not seen in my garden before. I know it's some kind of swallowtail... but what kind? It's small, only about 1 1/2 inches and a very fast flutter about. at rest, it half folds it's wings. Anyone who can help? There were two of them!
The butterflies were feeding on the hyacinth bean flowers.
These trilliums are some of my favorite wild flowers. They bloom all year long around my air conditioner.
And some purple jade is blooming.
My newest canna, no name, but isn't it pretty?
The Maid d'Orlean's jasmine is blooming, but no open flowers. Like the four o'clocks, I just cannot seem to catch one open.
This croissandra sheltered in the doghouse during the hurricane.
And this canna is blooming again!
The yellow lantana (that was supposed to be WHITE!) is blooming, though weakly. It was in a bed hit/sheltered by the fallen fence to the west.
The two green chair trellis' that support the pink jasmine and the Pinata and Golden Shower's roses fell over, bringing the plants with them. There is no lasting damage, but they're still recovering from the stress of having their roots pulled almost to breaking.
The Ham'n Eggs lantana are blooming and setting berries, so the birds that will be migrating through this area soon will have something to snack on as they rest a while.
The hibiscus in the side yard is very happy just now. We've had enough rain and warmth to make them bloom well.
And finally!!! On one of the two new tomato plants I got from Nelson's Water Gardens, not only is blooming, but is also setting fruit! I may actually have tomatoes this year after all! Will wonders never cease?
Note to self... from now on, just buy plants from Nelson's Water Gardens . I don't know if it's the way they treat the plants (exceedingly well!) or that I think the growing conditions there are just about identical to my back yard... well. The plants are proven winners, and so I'm going to stick to them.
Bloom where you are planted.