Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things I Have Learned This Week

* Sweep the floors regularly--you never know when you're going to have to spend some extended time on them.

*  Always wear the most interesting pajamas one can find.

*  Having lots of people who are there to help you is AMAZING.

*  Having back pain is like joining a new social organization.  You're one amongst many.  And it's probably the only time that it truly makes sense that everyone coming to your assistance is older than you are.

*  Having a pantry full of soup is coming in VERY handy now that I can achieve enough of an angle to eat soup.

*  Coffee through a straw is much hotter than it is just from the cup

*  Have someone in the emergency room with you who HASN'T  been given a bunch of drugs on the way there so someone can remember what the doctor says.

*  It's okay to let people help you when you actually really need help

*  Celebrate the little things.  I am more excited than I can say to have been able to put my own socks on this morning!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Good Day

If I have ever forgotten to be thankful for friends, things like hurting one's back can be a GREAT reminder.

Today two friends (one old, one a friend of just a few hours) showed up to help finish putting up Christmas decorations.  And do you know what I learned?  One can have a really fun day even when in pain.  It was fantastic, and now each time I see the decorations it's a little reminder of great friends and a great morning.  I think it's the most I will ever enjoy the Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Day You Realize You Might Be Aging

*  Wake up at 7:00 after a long Nyquil-induced night that you hoped would relieve the back pain from having thrown your back out the day before.

*  Make your way to the bathroom, only to realize you are about to pass out.

*  With as much grace and speed as one can muster with a sore back, get down to the floor before actually passing out.

*  Realize now that you're on the floor, you can't get back up

*  Have husband hand you 3 Advil tablets to see if you can numb the pain enough to get off the floor, which you now wish you had swept over the weekend.

*  After a while and repeated examinations by both cats, realize it's rather hopeless.  Consider spending the entire day on the floor.  Wish part of the bathroom was carpeted.

*  Admit defeat and allow husband to call for paramedics.

*  Give the neighbors plenty to talk about as both an ambulance AND a fire truck pull up outside your house.

*  Surrender any last trace of dignity you were pretending you might have had when you greet 8 strange men while you're laying on the floor in your crossword puzzle pajamas.

*  When two young men have helped you to your knees, scare them by fainting from the pain.  It's best not to have warned them that you tend to get dizzy if you want to achieve the full effect.

*  Come to on the bathroom rug in time to hear the paramedics discussing how to carry you down the stairs.  Try not to think about how often the furniture got bumped when it was being brought up.

*  Scream loudly in pain each time they move you a bit to get you strapped onto a very cold metal frame--this will help them appreciate what growing old is like.

*  Pray none of the neighbors are around to see you being wheeled out of your home on a stretcher.

*  Enjoy a long ride in the ambulance as it strives to hit every single bump and pothole on the way to the emergency room and wonder why ambulances are constructed without shocks.

*  Realize that trying to downplay how much you are hurting is stupid as A) the paramedic has pain medications he is willing to share, B) he can see you flinching in pain, and C) you have already completely parted company with all your dignity anyway

*  Scream repeatedly in pain as the doctor examines you, which will result in you finding out that the number one thing people show up in the emergency room for is indeed back pain, and that there is little they can do except give you prescriptions for drugs.

*  When the nurse tries to move you to a wheel chair to discharge you, warn her you're feeling dizzy.  When she doesn't really take you seriously, faint in the wheelchair.

*  Wake up back in the bed with an I.V. now in the opposite arm, and many new wires attached to you.

*  Enjoy a full battery of tests that go on for several hours, only to be told that the body's response to pain is often to slow down the heart beating, which is probably an okay response except when one already has a naturally slow heartbeat.

*  Take several hours before one can get into the wheelchair without fainting.  This time the nurses leave the I.V. in until they're sure they will be able to get rid of you, as you have run out of arms.

*  Make it home with very funky drugs and where you finally get food almost 24 hours after your last meal.

*  Enjoy a drug-induced sleep, interspersed with wake-up head bumps by a very worried kitty.

*  Find out that the drugs might limit your consciousness, but certainly help with the pain as well.  Wish you'd taken a few less spills on your horse as a child--especially the ones involving splatting into the pole arena fence.

*  Decide aging might beat the alternative, but that is still stinks all the same.......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just 9 To Go

Yesterday I finished TWO audio books, so now I just need to read or listen to 9 more books for the year and I'll have reached my goal of 100 books for the third year.  It probably seems quite ridiculous to many, but I enjoy it AND I strongly suspect that I spend about as much time listening to audio books as many people spend watching television, so it isn't like it's a big time-consuming thing. 

What I have discovered is that by reading more I am much more open to new authors and new books.  When I was only reading a few books a year, a bad book really stood out.  Now, unless it is truly a stinker, it's merely a blip.  Audio books make it even easier as I can listen while doing other things, so the book just has to be more interesting than, say, canning.  I won't say there aren't books that I have abandoned as audio books (because I have), but an average book that might not be worth my time to read is usually entertaining enough while cleaning. 

So today is cleaning & working on switching decorations from fall to Christmas (yes I know it's early, but we aren't having Thanksgiving here and it's a big house) and listening to Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England.  Boy, if THAT doesn't put one in the holiday mood, I don't know what will.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost There!

Yesterday (thanks to Theo, the wake-up kitty), I got an early start to my day and these
were converted to 15 pints of curried green tomato sauce.
 which leaves me with just these left from our insane green tomato harvest:
I'll give the tomatoes a few more days to see how many more turn red, then do one more round of canned tomatoes, then freeze,dry, or launch any others.  I am SOOOOO ready to put away the canning equipment!

And--even after swearing not to do anything so foolish--I was carrying out some empty vinegar jugs to store in the shed, but I thought I'd first get them ready for their future mini-greenhouse role:
 and then since I had them and lettuce is really a cold weather crop.......
I planted lettuce yesterday.  I have no idea if these will withstand the really cold temperatures we're about to get, but it sort of doesn't matter.  If it works, it works--if it doesn't, it doesn't.  If I had the zipper repair finished on the greenhouse, these could be in there, but that has to wait until the canning/cleaning/decorating is done.  Maybe what I need are 8-day weeks.........

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Think I've Earned It

If paying bills, gardening, and cleaning TWO bathrooms doesn't earn one a chocolate martini at the end of the day, I don't know what does.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Think I Have Discovered A New Life Form

Yesterday I took all of these,
 converted them into this,
and still have all of these left:
Personally, I think they have discovered a new way to multiply without the use of an actual tomato plant.  I don't know whether to be excited that I have stumbled across a way to cure world hunger or chapped because there are still tomatoes to be dealt with.  I wonder if Einstein ever faced any tomato-related dilemmas?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

All Mixed Up

Today I am canning red tomatoes.  The green tomatoes we picked a couple weeks ago have been happily ripening here in the kitchen, so I should be able to put up another 10-15 pints.  As I cook with a lot of canned tomatoes, this really, really is a good thing--even if I have no greater desire right now than to take the canners outside and beat them into pancakes with a sledgehammer.  With only one income, one of the reasons we tell ourselves that gardening is a good idea is that it saves us money.  I think it actually might even do so--my future therapy bills not withstanding.  In all actuality, because jars can be reused and we eat a lot of salsa and I eat a lot of pickles, I think the garden pays for itself with just those two items, but now every additional jar of tomatoes I get from the garden saves us about $1.25-$1.50.  So while today's $15 or whatever doesn't seem like much, it's all extra now.  We've spent all we're spending on the garden for the year, and every extra can of tomatoes is pure "gravy" right now as it were.  This sort of thinking is what saves me from running down the street screaming and throwing tomatoes at passing cars.

Because the climate has changed so much, I am still canning while it would be very helpful to be able to eat some of the things I have made.  Usually, this overlap doesn't happen as there's still fresh stuff.  Unlike past years, so far I haven't flipped out entirely at the mere mention of OPENING a jar, and we've even enjoyed some lovely chicken soup.  Today I am using some of the basil pesto that has basically overrun one of the freezers.  The fact that I need the freezer space in order to freeze the extra vegetable broth might have something to do with it.  But being in an opening AND canning mode is very, very weird.  I think it would be wisest, however, for no one to go near those darn jars of canned tomatoes just yet..........

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lessons Learned Today

*  Celebrate the small things.  Having solved the problem of cornmeal and polenta being mixed up is an achievement.  That the new corn-products-all-over-the-floor-of-the-pantry-problem has not been resolved yet is an entirely separate issue.

*  Being proud of oneself for finally thinking to buy a restaurant-sized stockpot for canning would make a lot more sense if one had thought to buy a spoon with a restaurant-sized handle.

*  Making a double batch of vegetable broth to can would make far more sense if one figured out ahead of time how to strain broth if its volume exceeds everything you own except the stockpot it's already IN, and whether or not the subsequent number of jars also exceeds the capacity of the pressure canner.

No matter how many problems one encounters, it's hard to have a bad day when there is chocolate-peanut butter ice cream involved.

*  The fact that I'm always surprised when the lawn-care program we signed up for notifies me that something else needs to be done to the lawn is probably the best illustration of why we NEED a lawn care program.

*  Ignoring the green tomatoes hasn't made them go away, but at least it makes them turn red.

*  No matter how this vegetable broth turns out, the fact that it is the last thing I'm making with the pressure canner this year makes it my favorite canned thing EVER!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good Thing They're On Top of This!

Yesterday we received a letter saying we are part of a class-action lawsuit over the refrigerator we own because there may be a defect that causes the light not to go off when the refrigerator doors are closed. What I want to know is: How do they know??????

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Couldn't Have Summed It Up Better Myself

I personally am not a religious person, but have no problems with anyone's chosen beliefs or how they personally choose to live or worship, but I am tired of the extremism of the so-called "Religious Right" and the people for whom religion is all about what OTHERS should do and not what they themselves should do.  Fundamentalists of any religion are dangerous, and I do not believe any of my truly spiritual or religious friends have anything in common with the fundamentalist "Christians" who cannot and DO NOT respect the rights of others to their own beliefs or lack thereof.  (Nor, of course, do I actually think the Religious Right has anything to do with all the positive, caring things that the Bible credits Jesus with saying, for that matter) I think this:

sums up the Fundamentalist problem quite nicely.  Thank you to Atheist Eve for putting it so clearly.

Fall! Finally!

Even without extremely hot summers, I've always loved fall.  A little coolness in the air, leaves starting to turn, sweaters coming out-...