Pollen Season!

Also, the Weather in this part of the world has it’s own mind about how to behave. I’m pretty sure it’s sentient, and laughs at all the plans.

For instance, yesterday was predicted to be sunny and warm. All the weather guys and channels and stuff said so. So, I did laundry. The dryer is a little fritzy so rather than depend on it, I use the Solar Powered Dryer in the back yard. We’ve had a lot of rainy days, so I planned the laundry for that day. Only, it was a little chilly in the morning (whatever.) But, the sun seemed to be trying to shine and I just ran with it. 4 loads of laundry all hung out and….here come the clouds. It wasn’t supposed to be cloudy. With a good sunny day each load can be done in about 2 hours. I was going to hang them, check hourly and as soon as they were dry bring them in, because….pollen. Who wants the crisp white cotton sheets covered with a coat of The Yellow?  How annoying. But the stuff was already washed and damp (thank you, Samsung, for the awesome spin cycle) and HAD to be hung out. What to do? Hang them out and hope for the best.

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Today, it’s raining. Tomorrow night it’s supposed to frost. Saturday will be in the high 60’s and sunny. Who knows what comes next? It’s snowed in March before. There will definitely be wind and a lot of it. More yellow. Some tan oak pollen. Then the privet blooms and more allergies. The photinia happens, and it smells like old socks. and hopefully by May it will all be done with and breathing can commence and headaches can stop and I’ll stop sounding like a 30 year 4 pack-a-day smoker baritone.

I want to be able to open the windows and get fresh air in here, without the whole inside taking on a yellow glow. Maybe if we lived in some place like…I dunno. A place with no oaks or pines. Does it exist?

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Right now, thank you for Big Pharma…antihistamines, decongestants, mucolytics, and coffee, hot tea, lemon-and-honey, albuterol because of asthma induced by allergies. I know, there’s all sorts of holistic homeopathics that probably eventually work but I don’t have time for eventually and I am sort of addicted to breathing. I’ve tried giving it up but never succeed. I like it too much. It makes me happy and keeps my skin looking clear and pink. I don’t have time to wait 6 weeks for homeopathic garlic, echinacea, and tumeric to deal with this. Ok, so I should go ahead and start and give it time to kick in. I may wind up smelling like an Indian curry (not sure how The Fella will like that) but by gosh, I will be able to breath.

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Anyway, Pollen Season is here. It’s the price we pay for having a Winter we hope comes on a Wednesday so it won’t mess up the weekend.

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3 years later

Himself had his heart attack 3 years ago today. His body stopped working 30 hours later. This weekend will be difficult but I know that going into it and will deal with it as I deal with everything upsetting: by working hard. The garden needs some tending, as there are vines and mess and all that beginning-of-the-growing-season work. It’s a good thing. Throwing myself into it will be cathartic.

A lot has happened in 3 years. I’ve started school, and will finish in May with (Lord willing and my grades don’t change) a 3.8 GPA. I’ve met a wonderful man (The Fella) and plans for our future together are being made.  The boys lives are going in directions away from Home (a good thing, but still a big change).

I’ve learned a lot about myself. I am capable of living on my own, but don’t like it much. Do you know how hard it is to cook a good meal for one? Way too much trouble, and far easier to throw an Amy’s frozen meal (vegetarian, generous portions, and delicious) (The Fella gives me the side-eye and reaches for a steak whenever I mention them) in the microwave, or crack open a can of V-8 and call that a meal. (It’s vegetables, and vegetables are good for you. Practically a salad, it is).

I tried being un-stingy (nicer people call it frugal) and have learned that seriously, it’s more fun to see just how cheaply I can live and still do/have the things I want. It’s like a game. And it’s fun. And I really am stingy.

I lost 55 pounds, and am having a terrible time with clothes. Even under the best of circumstances I don’t care much about them. However, The Fella didn’t like that I was wearing the jeans from 3 sizes ago, and just belting them in, or the shirts I’d had since 2007 and was content with, or all that black I bought (from Goodwill, refer to the “stingy” statement) right after Himself died because making decisions about what to wear was more than I could handle. “You’ll feel better wearing things that fit and YOU ARE NOT A SIZE 18 ANYMORE.” said he. I went through the closet full of pretty things I’d purchased last year, lovely lightweight skirts and tops in summery colors and I was so proud of myself for actually owning things with (what I considered) style. All too big. Dangit.

So the last 3 years have had more change in them than any in my life before then.  I’ve changed the way I think. I went from being in Wife and Mother mode, to being in Single College mode (only…at 52, the College Party Life isn’t for me.) (Except that now and then I’d get together with other women my age, drink margaritas and daquiris, and snort-laugh about our kids), or maybe A Single Woman of a Certain Age.  At one point I was fairly convinced that I’d remain single because apparently men my age were more interested in 25 year olds than women like me.

I tried online dating. That was weird and several times someone attempted to scam me into…I am not sure what…it never got far enough to find out.  I found The Fella online, but that didn’t happen until I quit looking for romance, and was just bored one night wanting someone to talk to for a bit.  The other night, he and I went out to eat, and a group of women sat next to us. They started talking about online dating, as one of them is a widow like me. We joined in and had a nice conversation about the pitfalls of the endeavor, exchanged a few dating horror stories, and gave encouragements about the potential successes. To be honest, at this point and at my age, I’d rather try the online thing than go to a bar or wherever.  At least with that, you know why you’re there and why he’s there (as long as you can weed out the Handsome Architects With Contracts in Dubai…it’s always Dubai.)

And now? 3 years later, I’m making plans for the future with The Fella. There are many possibilities, and both of us have learned from our histories that God can laugh at our plans and is going to do His own thing. The way to handle it is to roll with it and accept that, while we can make all the plans in the world, they don’t always happen the way we intended.  While I am never going to be thankful my marriage to Himself ended the way it did, I am thankful God had a plan for my life that included a couple of years on my own, a chance to go to school, and a new relationship. I miss Himself, and thinking about what might have been makes me melancholy, but I am also hopeful for the future, for myself and for my sons.

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A Difference of Opinion

Ok, so there’s The Fella and me. All’s good, I think we are both enjoying this whole Relationship Thing. Being 50-Somethings means we are both kinda set in our ways, but also both adult enough (I think) to recognize that and make accomodations.

Right now the thing I’m having to get used to is our culinary differences. He’s a Carnivore. Like seriously, “I was a body builder and it takes a lot of protein to keep this muscle functional I need meat because salads aren’t going to work.”  (to his credit I have seen him eating vegetables, but they aren’t his favorite thing)

On the other hand, I’m an herbivore like practially but not entirely a vegetarian. I’m content with a meat maybe a couple of times a week and bowl of chopped kale and pumpkin seeds the rest of the time.  I wince at the idea of cow constantly and he gets glassy eyed when I make noises like “chopped kale and pumpkin seeds.”

But on the other hand I have no complaints about all that muscle. It’s handy. Not to mention nice to cast my gaze upon. But definitely handy when something heavy needs moving. You know me, I’m all about what’s practical.

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Anyway….I’m figuring it out because he can cook a MEAN steak, and give me a little card-deck sized piece and I’m happy, and I can chop up all this shrubbery and not have to worry if there’s his favorite salad dressing and he’s content.  Neither of us are dessert eaters, so there’s that too.

Anyway, I’ve also figured out the local deli has this great gut-scrubber salad (well that’s not what they call it but it’s essentially chopped up brillo pa…I mean…curly kale…and brussels sprouts and other high fiber green things) that I can get by the pound and have for myself while The Fella eats his daily dose of cow and we both comment on each other’s culinary preferences.

The truth is, he keeps all that muscle functional by eating cows and I’ve dropped from a size 20 to a size 10 by eating brillo pa…I mean…kale, pumpkin seeds, and the occasional slice of cheese. Go me.

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I mean….really?

The Fella and I went to Alabama for Christmas. Alot of food was eaten, mostly Cow and a bit of Pig, generally cooked on his giant grill with a wood fire. We worked on The New House, and got the laundry area tiled. Half way through we hired a tile guy because…Anyway.

On the way home we came through an area of darkness and woods. Deer country. There was a herd of about 12 including a very large buck with an impressive rack. A little further on there was a large doe at the edge of the road so The Fella honked (what was meant to be) the horn on his Manly Man’s Silverado With The Ranch Hand Cattle Guard On The Front. The Truck politely says “Um…would you please maybe move out of the way” . It went “meep” The great big doe looked at the truck and flicked one ear, saying “dude. seriously?” The Fella honked the hornish-noise maker again and it went “peeeeww”, as if it had a touch of intestinal gas and wanted to be polite in relieving itself of the pressure.

We looked at each other and started howling…because when one drives a Silverado 1500 with a Ranch Hand cattle guard one does not expect a horn that sounds like delicate little poot in the ladies room at Nordstrom.

Today has been spent on the computer, looking for a more imposing horn.

Dear Chevrolet,  You need to get on that. People who buy that truck aren’t the sort who are satisfied with a dainty horn, and obviously it doesn’t work well for getting wildlife out of the way.

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Apparently it’s December and there’s Christmas or something going on. Or so all the TV ads and Salvation Army Bell Ringers say. I think I did about 3 minutes of Christmas shopping in the form of looking in my folder of recipes and saying “Oh. I need some almonds.”  That’s what the flu will do to me. I intend to spend next week baking the cookies and foods and stuff that I give away every year.

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I like to give food for Christmas. It’s easy, people can’t just go to the store and get the stuff I make, I put my heart into it, and when it’s gone it’s gone and there’s no “oh great what do I do with this (thing)?” About 25 years ago I got a copy of Gourmet magazine that had several biscotti recipes in it, and I gave them a try. Easy to make! And people liked them. I learned how to play around with combinations of flavors, hunted around for  more recipes, and thanks to the interwebs, have found even more that let me use ingredients not commonly found (like black walnuts!). I know that once I start cooking them I’ll get into the Christmas Spirit a little more and maybe even dig out a few Santa mugs or turn on the little ceramic Christmas tree for the pretty lights.  I also have a fireplace DVD Complete With Crackling Fire Sounds.  (Ok, The Fella, quit rolling your eyes, I know you have a delicious woodstove and all that pecan wood, but it’s A Tradition.)

Last year, instead of gifts for all the boys, I cooked a big fancy prime rib dinner, and they all seemed happy with it. That’s going to happen again. I like it that way. They’re all adults now and if they want something in particular, they can get it for themselves. Cooking a nice dinner for them is something I like doing, they like having, and there’s leftovers.  After Christmas, The Fella and I are going to go to Alabama, for Christmas 2.0 with my family (Bro&Wife, and Aunt from Texas, Mom and Dad, #3andFam) and knowing Bro, there will be competion in the kitchen, and Mom won’t have to do a single thing culinarily.

So, now I’ve managed to talk myself into a modicum of Christmas Spirit (even through the fog of the Flu) and am actually starting to kind of look forward to it a little bit, maybe.

I need to get some pretty boxes for the cookies….

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Gizmophiliacs Unanimous

Apparently Gizmophilia is a thing. According to the interwebs, it has to do with computer things, gadgets and doodads, but it has been around since men were savvy enough to invent a wheel or smack something with an oddly shaped rock. There’s a Gizmophiliacs Facebook page, and a couple of definitions out there. I have my own definition of them. I think Gizmophiliacs tend to be creative thinkers, always looking for the next best way to accomplish a task, or perhaps simply celebrating the creativity of someone else who thinks outside to box, and gets the job done.

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A long time ago I made Dad a charter member of Gizmophiliacs Unanimous. It’s an organization (if you can call it that) of people (generally men) who…you know….like gizmos. More than like…have an inability to pass up a good one. Drawers full of them, those oddly shaped items people like me will look at and wonder “why?” and when I ask “why?” I get a puzzled look and a reply of “how is that even a question?”

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Well…The Fella is a Gizmophiliac. I mean, I kind of figured that given the several shops and the boneyard in the back and all the wood and metal and unidentifiable items in the kitchen drawers, but I didn’t really think about it that hard until I saw the useage directions (for something I can’t identify) on the refrigerator. I looked over at him and said

“You’re a gizmophiliac, aren’t you.”

He looked away, then back at me, then away again and said “I go to meetings.”

“Really.” I replied. “Where?”

“They’re called Flea Markets.” he answered.


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I spent Thanksgiving plus a few days with The Fella and his family in South Alabama. It is a lovely farm-place in the country (as if there’s be one in the middle of the city?) with old houses and dogs and relatives and food and noise and children all over the place.  As it should be. And way too much delicious food but that was even kind of beside the point because his family is lovely and very family-like. Mom, Dad, and #4 drove the 90 minutes south to join us for the Thanksgiving Day, and #4 stayed on with me until Sunday, when we returned to Mom and Dad’s and left for a cruise Monday morning.

Very early Monday morning (like 5:30am) #4 had a nasty asthma attack that ended up with him in the emergency room, and me making plans to cancel the cruise. However, Modern Medicine and Big Pharma pulled through, he recovered, and we made it to Mobile in good time to board the ship and go about our business sitting in hot tubs and eating food and taking naps. Costa Maya was fun, Cozumel was even more fun, #4 acquired a loudly colored Hawaiian (Mexican?) shirt and a giant caricature of a sombrero, which he wore for the rest of the trip (photos forthcoming). He also managed to eat some pesto with pine nuts in it and wind up in the medical bay, as he is highly allergic to them. Benadryl took care of it although it was a scary hour or so. I ate a lot of food and slept a lot, charging batteries for the upcoming Holidays, and also #4 acquired The Flu, which he generously passed on to me, because he’s a giver like that.

After the cruise, #4 and I came up to The Fella’s place in South Carolina, as I wanted #4 to see it and spend a few days getting to know The Fella better. However it appears he may spend those days in the bed, suffering and coughing and infecting everyone. Oh well, it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.  I am frantically eating Zicam and vitamin C and hot tea, in order to mitigate the symptoms a little bit. In the mean time, I will do some planning and figuring out how and when The Fella and I will eventually combine our respective households. Getting married (yes, I said it) as 2 50-somethings with complete households isn’t as straightforward as it is with 2 20-somethings who don’t have the proverbial pot to piss in.  We’ll figure it out. I am sure of that. He’s worth the figuring.

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