Enjoyable Temptations

This was one of those days when I was busy from sunrise to sunset. However, it was an enjoyable busy and an enjoyable day.

I woke just before 7:30 a.m. and immediately started making challah bread. I knew we had errands to run, so I wanted to get it braided and rising for the last time before we left. After I got it rising for the first time, I made pancake batter for breakfast. I put  in whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, oatmeal, wheat germ, cinnamon, and apples. It’s a filling hearty meal.

As soon as we ate breakfast, EJ and I loaded some stuff that we were donating to the Hospice store. Danny tried to come along, jumping in the car through an open door, but we had no room for him so I had to pull him out of the car and into the house. He wasn’t happy.

We dropped the stuff at the first Hospice store in a larger town about 30 minutes away. One of EJ and my favorite things to do is drive through beautiful countryside and talk. The drive is a delight because every day the trees get more and more colorful. When we had dropped the items off, we drove to the furniture Hospice store across town. I had seen a behind-the-couch table the last time we were there, and we wanted to consider it. However, it was already sold and gone. Oh, well. No great loss.

We drove on to the grocery store for groceries. EJ bought me a couple jars of Kim-chee. He knows that I like it so he often sneaks some into the shopping cart when we go to this store. I developed a taste for Kim-chee when my Korean sister-in-law made it for my family when she first came to the USA years ago. Yum.

On the way home, as we drove through another town, we decided to stop at the Farmer’s  Market that is set up every Friday in the Hospital parking lot. While EJ bought honey and maple syrup, I stopped at the booth of the lady selling herbs. I have bought herbs from this woman before and she is very willing to share her knowledge of herbs. I wanted to buy a sage plant. I have sage already growing in my herb garden, but it is very large and I want to try to grow herbs inside during the winter so I need a small plant. I selected a sage plant and then the woman showed me some tarragon and invited me to break off a leaf and taste it. It tasted very good, sort of licorice-ish. I set a tarragon plant next to my sage plant. I will have to read up on how to use it in cooking. I saw a plant called Lady’s Mantle and asked the herb lady about it. She said that these days it’s grown mostly for ornament. She said it’s very pretty. So I bought one. All three plants didn’t cost very much. A man was playing a guitar and singing as we shopped. EJ dropped some money in his case as we left. It was fun. I think next week is the last Farmer’s Market until Spring. I will miss it. Farmer’s Markets are delightful.

When EJ and I got home, we carried in the groceries and I put my challah bread in the oven to bake. While it was baking, EJ and I decided to stop at a couple of yard sales we saw down the street. We love thrift stores and yard sales. We didn’t buy anything. We returned home and I scrambled to finish baking the bread and fixing soup.

After EJ left for work, I drove to the elevator at the end of our street to buy cat food. Then I drove to the other end of our small village for our mail. Our village is so small that there is no home delivery within village limits. We all have post office boxes. I was dismayed by this when we first moved here–I mean, whoever heard of no mail delivery??? However, I quickly learned to enjoy walking the two blocks to the post office every day. I had no mail today, but the post office is right next to our library and I had read on Facebook that the library was having a used book sale. We love thrift stores, yard sales, and book sales. The book sale was large with books for sale everywhere, on every table and in boxes under tables.  It was a booklover’s paradise. The books were very cheap: 25 cents for a hardcover book and 10 cents for a paperback. I had a very happy few minutes browsing through all the books. I bought a couple dozen. All those books only cost me about three dollars! Later on Facebook I hinted that the library should continue the sale next week so EJ could enjoy it as well and our librarian commented, “Your wish is my command.” We have the sweetest librarian. That’s one of the perks of living in a very small town. We don’t have mail delivery, but we have sweet librarians.

When I got home, I took Danny for his walk. We had a risk for some storms, but the storms have gone around us, as they often do, so the walk was nice  although it was humid. We met some neighbors–a husband and wife–walking together. As the wife gave Danny some lovings, she said that she never knows if some dogs are friendly, especially if they are running free, but Danny is so cute and lovable and wanting to greet everyone that he makes her laugh and she loves to pet him. Danny has a lot of friends along our route. The kids all know his name. A little further along our route Danny and I encountered a couple more garage sales so we stopped at them. I didn’t see anything I wanted, which is just as well since I didn’t have any money with me. I did, however, enjoy a nice chat with a couple of women holding one of the sales.

JJ left for work, and I spent the next few hours doing dishes, cleaning the house, and planting my new herbs. The sage and tarragon I put in pots and brought into the house. Winter better come soon or I will have a jungle in my house as I add more plants on my window sills. I weeded my herb garden for a while to make room for the Lady’s Mantle.

Keno is unsure of me.
Keno is unsure of me.

Then it was time to go care for my neighbor’s dog, Keno. This neighbor lives two blocks away. She is actually the sister-in-law of my very dear friend who moved away several years ago. The  family is going to a wedding out-of-state and she asked me to care for her little dog while she is gone. Starting today, I have to go every morning and evening to feed the dog and let it outside. Keno is quite cute, but he doesn’t know me very well, so he was a bit nervous to have me there. He kept barking at me and running away.  I was calm and gentle as I tried to reassure him and make friends with him. He let me pet him finally, although he was still unsure of me.

When I got home again, I prepared  parsley for drying in the dehydrator. I am looking for a parsley plant or seeds to grow, but until then I just bought cut parsley at the grocery store today. I want to be able to make Scarborough Tea this winter.

Finally, I was done with the tasks of the day and could sit down and relax. It was a beautiful day, filled with enjoyable temptations.

Autumn Projects

Loading firewood
Loading firewood from the trailer to the truck.

 

Yesterday morning EJ and I got another load of firewood from our friend RB’s place.  We just put the wood into the back of the pickup truck rather than try to pull the trailer home. Today’s wood was heavier–we took the lighter pieces yesterday–so EJ did most of the work. I moved the ones that I could. We picked a couple more apples, but this time I guarded them so Danny couldn’t steal them. They were tasty.

Danny calmly observing the chickens.
Danny calmly observing the chickens.

 

 

The day was beautiful so we took Danny along with us. I didn’t want to risk Danny running away in unfamiliar surroundings and I wasn’t sure how he would react to the chickens so I kept  him on his leash. His leash is retractable and long so he could wander a little. He was pretty calm around the chickens. He occasionally looked at them but didn’t get excited about them.

When we got back home, EJ and I unloaded the firewood. Then EJ dragged out the junk steel we wanted to take to the steel place today. I fixed lunch and then I spent most of the rest of the day working in my garden. I am planning to change my gardens a bit for next year,  maybe take out some ground cover and planting edible plants or veggies. EJ and I discussed where we would plant a couple of dwarf apple trees and some blueberry bushes. EJ reminded me that blackberry leaves can be used to make tea, so I cut back some of the bushes and stripped them of their leaves. I began to dry them in our food dehydrators yesterday, and worked on it some more today after I had finished all my other tasks.

This morning EJ and I loaded the steel into the truck and then we (and Danny) drove to the steel place. They buy steel. We drove up on a scale and they weighed our truck. Then we drove to a spot where we threw the steel stuff out.  When we emptied the truck, we drove back onto the scale and the difference between the full truck and the empty truck is calculated. Then EJ drove up to the office and was given money for the steel. The old microwave, lawnmower, and water heater we got rid of gained us $21.88.

On our way home, we stopped at a home improvement store. EJ bought a fence panel and gate hardware so he can make a gate. He will complete this project when he has time and a sunny day. We got home just in time to make and eat lunch. Then it was off to work for EJ.

Luking using the toilet.
Luking using the toilet.

After JJ got home from college, I took Danny to the vet. He suffers from skin allergies at this time of year so he needs a shot to stop his itching. He already had a shot a few weeks ago, but he started scratching again and I could tell he was feeling very miserable again. As soon as Danny and I walked into the vet’s, Danny peed all over the floor. He has never done that before and I felt bad about the mess, but the staff said not to worry about it, it happens frequently. While the vet was giving Danny his shot, he asked how all our cats are doing. I told him about Luke teaching himself to use the toilet. He thought Luke was a genius to teach himself to use it. I think he is pretty amazing too.

The Apple Thief

After JJ left for school and we had eaten breakfast and cleared a bit of sleepiness from our heads, EJ and I drove to our friend RB’s place in the country to get a load of the firewood that he said we could have. He had stacked the wood high in an old trailer made from a pickup truck. It was stacked too high for us to hitch the trailer to our truck, and it didn’t have a hitch ball (or whatever it is called) so we just loaded some of the wood into our truck. As soon as we can, we will come back and pull the trailer with the rest of the wood to our house to unload.

The trailer was nestled in the weeds next to an apple tree. We each picked an apple from the tree. EJ ate his right away, but I decided to save mine until later. I put it in on the seat in the truck. We drove home and then unloaded the wood into the woodshed.

We had bricks stacked in front of the RV, but now that it is sold and gone, we moved the bricks to another out-of-the way place. I got a lot of the bricks moved yesterday. Usually I carry four or five bricks at a time, but these bricks had a lot of spiders and bugs on them, so first I threw them on the grass and then I tapped them to dislodge creepy crawlies. i carried only two bricks at a time because I didn’t want to have an armload of bricks and have bugs crawl all over me. Today EJ helped me move the rest, but he went and got the wheelbarrow and loaded them in. It went a lot faster that way.

While i went in to fix lunch, EJ measured the opening in the fence where the RV had been parked. Thursday we hope to take a load of steel (from an old microwave, old lawn mower, and old water heater) to the steel place. They pay for steel. Then we will go to a home improvement store to buy a piece of fencing and other stuff we need for projects. We are developing a list of all the tasks we want/need to complete. The list is getting long, but the tasks are fun when we do them together.

A couple of days ago my computer broke. The fan had been making funny noises for quite some time, so i think it needs to be replaced. It also needs to be cleaned. AND it suddenly stopped charging for some reason. A broken computer is a very, very horrid thing, but I might survive because my dear husband is letting me share his computer. He uses it when he is home, and I use it when he is at work. His computer keyboard is a little different from mine and none of my bookmarks or pictures are on it so I miss my computer, but I am grateful I have a computer to use. We have a friend who is knowledgeable of computers and he is going to try to fix mine. I really, really hope he can fix it. My computer is my precious.

The Apple Thief
Danny, the Apple Thief

We took my computer to our friend today after lunch. He was at work (he works at the same company as EJ but a different shift) and left it with his wife. We invited Danny to go with us. He eagerly jumped into the truck…and immediately stole the apple that was still lying on the seat. I had my camera with me so I took a picture of him. I decided that I would not eat the apple after all.

After EJ left for work, i took Danny, the Apple Thief, for our walk. The day was very beautiful. It was cloudy today, although it didn’t rain. Some of the trees are colorful, although many of them are still mostly green. We have not yet reached the peak of color. I love the colors of fall–the beautiful trees, the colors of the fields, and the deep blue sky or very dramatic dark clouds. On our route, Danny and I always walk past a new community park the village is developing. I walked down a trail in the park just a bit so i could take a picture of the scenery. Our village is very small–about four blocks wide and long–and the park is on the edge of fields.

Teri Pictures 010

After our walk, i dug up some mint, oregano, thyme, and fennel plants and put them in pots and added them to my collection of indoor plants. I hope that I can keep them alive over the winter. I dry herbs from my garden, but i think it would be nice to be able to have fresh herbs too. I have clusters of plants at all my livingroom and kitchen windows.

Today was a wonderful day.

“Come Little Leaves…”

One of our maple trees
One of our maple trees

Autumn is here! Every day is beautiful in autumn, no matter what the weather is. I like rainy autumn days because I feel cozy. I like sunny autumn days because the sunshine lights up the colorful trees.

The two maple trees in our front yard are getting more and more colorful. They always turn a brilliant shade of red. I honestly think they are the most beautiful trees in the village.

When I was two years old my elderly neighbor, a widow who had had no children, began to take me to church with her. It wasn’t too long before I (and later my younger sister when she turned three years old) began to spend Saturday night and all day Sunday at her house. My parents had six children and it was just easier and less hectic for my sister and I to spend the night at Mrs. K’s house and have her get us ready for church. We loved spending the weekend with Mrs. K and I have many special memories of those days with her. She read stories to us, and played games with us, and many other things.

One of my special memories is that every autumn, Mrs. K recited an autumn poem. It wasn’t long before my sister and I memorized it and recited it with her. Although Mrs. K died long ago, I find myself carrying on her tradition of reciting the autumn poem. I taught the poem to my son as well, and every year we recited it together as he grew up.

Autumn15

Mrs. K also had a poem she recited every Spring….but that will have to wait until Spring.

Friday was special because we had a guest for Shabbat. The 18-year-old daughter of our friend RB has celebrated a couple of the Biblical feasts with us, and she enjoys them so much that she asked to celebrate Shabbat with us. She says she always learns so much and feels as if she has feasted on Scripture when she is with us. After EJ left for work, she and I talked for hours. It was so much fun. She is starting college tomorrow and her life will get super busy, but I told her she can celebrate with us whenever she can.

EJ and I woke up this morning to a rainy day. We spent quite a while sipping coffee and deciding what to do with the day. We wrote a list, and then decided to begin with making a stew for lunch. I peeled potatoes and carrots and an onion and EJ put it all together. He also made a sort of sweet potato pie. Yum.

We were planning to get a load of firewood from our friend, but then there was a knock on the door. It was a former now-retired co-worker friend of EJ’s. EJ invited him in, but the guy said something–all I heard was “murmer, murmer, murmer”–and EJ went outside. I didn’t know why he came to our house, but I spontaneously prayed, “PLEASE let him want to buy our RV.” We have been hoping to sell it because we haven’t managed to find the time to enjoy it–and even if we did have the time, we really no longer have anyone to watch our cats for us. The only activity we do with our RV these days is maintain it, which is becoming a burden.

The RV is gone!
The RV is gone!

After a while, EJ came back inside. He said that his friend had come to our door to ask us if we wanted to sell our RV. He wanted to buy it. EJ showed him the RV and explained its flaws. His friend kept saying, “That’s no problem.” He left while EJ charged the battery and returned later with money–and then he and his wife drove off with the RV. Yay! Although we had fun in it, it’s a relief to have it gone. It’s also nice to have an unblocked view again.

Now we have a new task on our list of autumn tasks: Our RV was too long for our driveway, which is wider than it is long, so we had to drive its nose past the fence and a little bit into our back yard. Now that the RV is gone, we have to put up a gate again to enclose our yard. We will have to buy another fence piece.

We never did any get to our friend’s place for firewood. Tomorrow.

Autumn Chores

Autumn has arrived and the leaves are changing colors, although they aren’t yet as beautiful as they will be in a few weeks. Even though we’ve had some warmish days, they feel cooler. The nights are definitely cooler–some nights the temperature has dipped into the 30s. It was so cool one evening that we built a small fire in the wood stove–and then it got so hot inside that we turned on the fan. EJ had placed bricks behind the wood stove for thermal mass and it really held the heat. I think EJ said it was 89 degrees. We are going to be toasty warm this winter.

We have been busy trying to prepare for winter. Over the weekend, EJ harvested most of the veggies in the garden. I cut back some of the berry bushes. I also brought in the plants from the front porch. I could have kept them outside for a bit longer, but I couldn’t resist bringing them in on a cool evening. I feel like doing autumn chores. I have more plants to bring into the house this year than previous years–two Rosemary plants, a Bay, a Lilac, two Ginger, horseradish, two cacti, and my spider plant, which my cat Tessla slept in so it’s looking quite pathetic. I also dug up a little bit of mint today and hope it will grow in a pot over the winter. I’d like to find some parsley to grow inside because I just discovered that mine died in the garden over the summer. I don’t know if I will find any at this late date, however.

Most of our windows are quite narrow, but our window sills are very wide–perfect for window plants. However this year the plants are in big pots so I can fit only a few in each window. The others will be on stands near the windows. The cats love to sleep on the wide window sills also so I have to leave space for them or they will sleep in my plants and squash them. I happily keep moving the heavy plants to find the best place for them all. Once the window air conditioner is taken out, I can put some plants in that window as well.

Sunday afternoon we visited EJ’s friend. RB has a place in the country about five miles from us. He has some old trees that he took down and he is going to give us the wood–maybe about 6 face cords. He even cut it all up. We just have to find the time to go get it. In previous years we got wood during the week and then EJ could drive the car to work while JJ and I unloaded the truck. However, with JJ driving the car, it’s harder to find the time to get wood because we’d have to get it all unloaded in the mornings before EJ goes to work. He can hardly drive a truck full of wood to work. Really, the only day we can get it is Sunday, and often Sundays are busy too. But I think RB has a wagon so maybe we can tow it to our place and then unhitch it and I can spend the afternoon unloading it.

RB's beautiful chickens
Some of RB’s beautiful chickens

RB also gave us three dozen eggs from his chickens, and said we could have more. His chickens are free range and they followed us as we walked around RB’s place. I thought the chickens were very beautifully colored. They made me feel sort of wistful. If we had a place in the country, I’d raise beautiful chickens too. And I’d have fruit trees and a big garden and maybe a cow or steer. And maybe I’d have bees so I could have my own honey. <Wistful Sigh> Maybe someday…

EJ's new chair.
EJ’s new chair.

This morning EJ and I had to go to the store in a town about 30 minutes from us. It is the only local store that sells the delicious grape juice we use for Shabbat. The hospice stores are in the same town and EJ remembered that the last time we were there he saw a couple of glass doors that might work for the book cases EJ is planning to build in our living room. We love books and have a room upstairs filled to overflowing with books. I can’t wait to have floor-to-ceiling shelves downstairs where they are more accessible.

Anyway, since we were in the same town, we stopped in at the hospice store to check out the doors. They were two glass doors for $15, but we decided that they wouldn’t be suitable. They were actually exterior doors and too thick for a bookcase. However, while we were at the store, we wandered around through the rooms and we saw the perfect Lazyboy recliner chair for EJ. His current chair is shabby and falling apart so we had been planning to buy him a new one as soon as a suitable one showed up at the store. We didn’t expect it to happen so soon. It was only $35.

We also found a very nice sturdy, well-built, four-drawer Steelcase file cabinet. I have been wanting to find a four-drawer file cabinet for a long time because my two two-drawer file cabinets take up too much floor space. Our house is smaller inside than it looks like from the outside so we are always trying to be more organized and space-saving. At first I told EJ that we probably shouldn’t get it–maybe wait until he got paid again. The file cabinet was so inexpensive, however, that EJ insisted on getting it also. A bargain like that doesn’t happen every day and there’s no guarantee that it would still be there in a couple of weeks. I think that if we bought it new it would cost about $200. EJ will use the old file cabinets in his shop in the basement.

EJ and I had so  much fun together today. We are very blessed in that we are best friends who enjoy hanging out together.

The Hospice Store

Today was a splendiforous day. I love that word. It just rolls off the tongue. It means magnificent and wonderful.

After JJ had left for school, EJ and I set off to the hospice store in a nearby town. The hospice store is a thrift store which raises money for the hospice. There are actually two hospice stores in the same town run by the same organization. One store has smaller items like clothes, books, toys, dishes, and knick-knacks. The other has larger items like couches, tables, dressers, beds, and exercise equipment. We enjoy them both. Today we set off for the second store to search for a couch to replace the one our cat, Annie, ruined.

I love thrift stores and yard sales. I love that shopping at thrift stores is a lot like treasure hunting. We never know what we might find. We might find nothing or we might find something totally unique. Often we can buy good quality items for not much money. Also, I love that I don’t stress if a secondhand item gets stained or ripped, which is important if there are pets in the home (or small children). I mean, it’s one thing to have a cat pee on a $10 couch and quite another to have her pee on a $1,000 couch that has to be replaced with another $1,000 couch.

The hospice store has rooms filled with furniture.  Sometimes we go there even when we aren’t shopping for furniture. We just like to browse. But today we went there hoping to find a couch. I have missed having a couch. I tried to get used to sitting in the wingback chair, but it just wasn’t as comfortable. And I couldn’t curl up and fall asleep in the chair if I got tired while waiting for EJ to get home from work.

EJ and I wandered through the rooms and found a lot of couches. The style of many didn’t suit us. Some weren’t comfortable. Then we found a couch that would work AND it had a matching loveseat. It had a few flaws–it is, after all, a used secondhand couch–but it was in good condition. We kept looking…because you never know what other treasure there might be. We found another couch that would also work that was in even more excellent condition. We considered them both and decided to get the couch and loveseat. It just appealed to us more. Together they cost only $185.

Our new couch
Our new couch

We loaded up the couches and took them home. We had fun putting them in place. The amazing thing is that they match our curtains really well. When we first moved into our house, we had furniture with blue accents so we bought blue curtains. However, we bought our previous couch (the one Annie ruined) at a neighborhood yard sale in a lake community for only $10. I think the owners were moving across country and needed to sell everything. The couch was high quality and in absolutely excellent condition. Never again will we find a used couch as good as that one for such a low price. The same day, we bought an excellent recliner that exactly matched the couch at a different sale for $5. They were both green. They did not match our curtains. When you treasure hunt, you can’t always choose color or pattern. However, the couches we bought today are blue and match our curtains as if we had specifically bought them with the curtains in mind.

EJ’s recliner is getting worn out, but we couldn’t find any recliners that we liked at the hospice store to replace it. We will keep checking the store to see if they get one in.

The love seat. We were planning on building bookcases on this wall.
The love seat. We were planning on building bookcases on this wall. Now we have to brainstorm what to do.

The only dilemma we have now is that EJ was planning on building us ceiling-to-floor bookcases on one wall of the living room so we can bring our library downstairs where it’s more accessible. However, we have placed the loveseat along that wall. So now we have to re-think our plan. We have to decide whether we want to still build the bookcases there or, if we do, how we will place our furniture. Every dilemma should be so enjoyable.

Before we left for the hospice store this morning, I walked into the bathroom and saw someone peeing in the toilet. My first reaction was to say “Oops, sorry” as I backed away. Then I realized that it was our cat, Luke. He was actually using the toilet. I was so surprised. We didn’t teach him this. He has been isolated in the bathroom while we give him meds for a health problem. I have a litter box in the bathroom for him, but apparently he decided to use the toilet. EJ and I were so surprised.

We had such a fun day today. It was a gift.

A Dagobah Day

Order and sanity is returning to my home.

The cats all seem to be in good health…or on their way there. After we took Luke to the vet the other day, we put him in the bathroom.  The bathroom is smaller than the back porch, but we were able to give Luke lots of loving attention whenever we went into the bathroom. We have a cat door into the back porch but had closed it off to isolate the sickest cats there. I had to put a litter box in the house for the other cats. It was nice to be able to return all the litter boxes to the back porch where they belong. Luke seems to be doing better, so we let him out of isolation early this afternoon. He missed us. He’s sitting on the arm of the chair as I write this post.

This morning I went outside to give Annie lots of attention. She actually is doing  very well outside, but I was thinking that her life has changed–she is no longer an inside cat because she has committed the Unforgivable Sin. People have debated for years what the Unforgivable Sin is. I now know: It’s peeing on me and the couch. As I cuddled Annie, I found myself singing to her: ♪ It’s a hard knocks life for you… ♪ Then I laughed because the song is from the musical Annie. We originally named our cat Anakin, thinking “she” was a male. Then we discovered “he” was actually a female, so we switched her name to Annie. The name “Annie” actually suits her very well because she has the most musical meow I’ve ever heard. She sings her meows. No one except us has ever heard her though because she refuses to meow on command.

The mantle shelves above the woodstove.
The mantle shelves above the woodstove.

The weather is becoming more and more autumnish. During the night the temperature has been dipping into the 30s or 40s, and during the day it’s only reached to the high 50s or low 60s. Definitely sweat shirt weather. It almost feels cool enough to build a fire in the woodstove.  Almost. I love it.

Yesterday it rained all day so we did inside tasks. EJ painted the woodstove with heat-resistant paint and then he put oak trim on the longer shelf above the woodstove to match the shorter shelf below it. I cleaned the house and cut up the hot peppers our neighbor had brought us on Saturday. I put them in the food dehydrator to dry. For the rest of the day, the house smelled very strongly of hot peppers. It was almost over powering.

I shot Ewoks.
I shot Ewoks.

This morning when EJ returned to the house after taking out the garbage, he said “It feels like Dagobah outside.” Dagobah is the planet in Star Wars where Luke first met Yoda. It is gloomy and misty and wet there. We used to fight clone troopers and droids on Dagobah when we played Battle Front games with JJ on his Playstation game system when he was in his early teens. He had only two controllers so we took turns playing each other, two at a time. We also fought on the moon of Endor where the Ewoks lived. The Ewoks really irritated me because they would follow us around constantly yelling “Ai-yi-yi!” So I started shooting them. Really, I did. My son gasped, “You can’t shoot Ewoks! They are on our side!” I replied, “No they are not. They are irritating and their constant chattering is giving away our position to the enemy.” Then I shot another one. He wouldn’t let me play on the Ewok plant anymore unless I promised not to shoot Ewoks. I told him I would try not to shoot them, but I could make him no promises. Then I shot another Ewok. “Oops!” “That wasn’t an accident! You shot him deliberately!” “You can’t prove it was deliberate….” I’m probably the only person who shoots cute little Teddy Bear Ewoks.

Anyway, this morning was damp like Dagobah. Later it got a bit sunnier, although there were still some clouds and dampness in the air. EJ worked on a variety of tasks, including FIXING THE LAWN MOWER! Yay! After he left for work, I walked Danny and then mowed the lawn. It looks so nice now.

Not the Worst of Summers

It also has not been the worst of summers. It has also not been the best of summers.

Compared to problems many other people are experiencing, our lives are greatly blessed and our problems are small. I have a loving husband. My son is doing well at work and college. We are not homeless or hungry or sick with a scary disease. Our car survived JJ putting diesel in the gas tank instead of unleaded gas.

Still this summer has been wearying, and this last week was not fun either.

EJ didn’t feel well and ended up staying home from work from Monday through Thursday. On Wednesday we took him to the doctor. She sent him for a blood test and x-ray to check for appendicitis or some sort of blockage. The tests came back negative, which is good, but we still didn’t know what was wrong. EJ returned to work on Friday. Several co-workers said they also have been sick, and they described his exact symptoms, so maybe it’s just a bug going around. I sure hope so.

It’s been two weeks since I have mowed the lawn. I tried again to mow the lawn on Thursday, but again couldn’t get the stupid mower to work. EJ said a wire is probably shorting out (or something) and he could fix it, but he’s been sick so he hasn’t been able to fix it yet. The mower is a small problem, but it’s another problem in a frustrating summer and I really felt like taking a sledge hammer to it. I really wish it could have lasted another month so that we wouldn’t have had to worry about it until spring. If the grass gets more then about six inches long, the Village will fine us $50.

I have spent most of the summer cleaning up diarrhea from the cats, washing and disinfecting litter boxes and the back porch where we had the sickest cats in isolation, I’ve also scooped up worms and poop and urine to be analyzed by the vet. EJ and I have given a variety of meds to struggling unhappy cats. We have bought more expensive, better quality foods for the cats. Most of the cats got better, but some cats continued to have problems. I was getting exhausted and the situation was becoming intolerable. We had to make some difficult choices.

Earlier this week, Annie was sitting next to me on the couch and she peed all over me and the couch. We moved the cushions and discovered that she had been peeing on the couch for probably about a week. We hauled the couch to the truck and took it to the landfill the next day. Fortunately, the secondhand couch had only cost us $10, but it was a very nice well-made couch and could have lasted years more. We can’t have any more furniture peed on, so Annie has become an outside cat. We considered finding her another home, but in these tough economic times no one wants an adult cat who pees on couches. Fortunately Annie is adjusting well outside. I spend time with her when I am outside.

Luke had been peeing on the floor, so he was in isolation on the back porch with Yafah. He is JJ’s special cat whom we raised from a tiny kitten, so we decided to take him to the vet to see if he had a urinary infection. If he did, we would do our best to treat him. If his problem was behavioral, he’d have to join Annie outside. We took him to the vet yesterday morning and learned that he has crystals in his urine–so his problem is medical not behavioral, which is good. We have to give him antibiotics and a very special food. He is still in isolation, but when he improves he can join the other cats in the house.

Yafah
Yafah

That left Yafah. Yafah seemed to improve a little bit, but then her diarrhea returned. We believe Yafah is the source of the health problems and we couldn’t risk her re-infecting the other cats. Neither could we continue exhausting ourselves and our finances. So yesterday EJ took her to the vet on his way to work and had her put to sleep. He asked the receptionist if she knew of ANYONE who would take her, but she said that they have a long waiting list for healthy cute little kittens needing homes. There was no hope for Yafah. EJ cried as he left her. It was very sad. Yafah was a beautiful, sweet, and interesting cat, but the situation had become intolerable. When we took her into our home, she was a starving, wounded, and homeless stray. At least she had a loving home for the last year of her life.

I will be very, very glad to see this summer go. Hopefully the autumn will be more calm and peaceful.

On a good note, I got the garden path finished. A small section of bricks near the bees is not as level as the rest, but overall it looks pretty good. The path is now wide enough for me to get the mower through. When the mower gets fixed, that is.

A Blessing and A Curse

“May you live in interesting times” (Phony Chinese curse)

Sometimes co-workers greet my husband with “How’s life?” EJ usually replies, “Boring. Very Boring.” They always respond, “Oh, that’s too bad.” EJ says, “No, it’s good. Think about it: ‘Boring’ means there’s no explosions at work, we aren’t unemployed, no one in our family has been in a car accident, we don’t have any major diseases. ‘Boring’ is good.” “I see your point,” they say.

We have been living in very interesting times this summer. I’m ready to experience “boring” for awhile. Our lives keep getting more and more interesting.

Yesterday EJ and I went to the doctor about my reoccurring rash. Well, actually our doctor’s schedule was full so we saw her physician’s assistant, Kathy. Kathy is very sweet and she said that the rash is psoriasis or eczema. It is likely to recur, but it is not serious. She said she has dealt with this many times before (and many have worse cases than me) and she has developed a “rash plan,” which, if I follow, should keep the rash under control. She handwrote out her plan, which includes using some OTC meds like Clariton and Benedryl, a prescription cream, gentle hand soap, and gentle lotion. She wrote down when and how to use each item. I was so relieved to know what was causing the rash and to have a plan. I think the worse thing is not knowing what is causing a medical condition.

On the way home, I told EJ that it looked like our life was finally settling down for us: We have a rash diagnosis and plan, the cats diarrhea and worms are disappearing, the flea problem is under control. Whew!

And then life got interesting again.

Twice this week–on Tuesday and again on Thursday–JJ called me on his way home from school to tell me that his car was beeping that he had “low fuel.” JJ thought he might have been siphoned–and theft does increase in hard economic times–but I remembered that EJ had said that modern cars usually have anti-siphoning devices so a car can’t be siphoned. I thought JJ had just forgotten to check the gas gauge because he is not used to keeping an eye on it since he didn’t drive the car much until recently. Forgetting to put gas in the car once is just, well, forgetting.  Twice in one week is getting old. “You are responsible for keeping enough gas in the car,” I told him, “and you MUST make sure you have enough.” The worrying thing is that EJ drives the truck to work and JJ drives the car to school so I have no transportation to help JJ if he has problems on the way home from school.

Horror Photo: http://www.desvirtual.com
Horror
Photo: http://www.desvirtual.com

JJ made it home ok. He was very tired from not sleeping well the night before, but he had to work last night. He stopped at the local gas station before driving in to work. A few minutes after he left, I got a call from him: “Mom, I accidentally put $20 worth of diesel fuel in the car instead of gas.”

With all the other problems we have had this summer, this was too much. Instead of my life flashing before my eyes, our finances flashed before my eyes. If we are very careful and very frugal, we will have absolutely everything paid off, including our house, in about two years. Meanwhile, money is tight. The car isn’t yet paid off, we can’t afford expensive repairs, and we can’t afford to buy another car. If the car is ruined, JJ will have no transportation to get to college…

A flurry of calls and texts erupted. I called EJ at work and he said, “Tell JJ NOT TO START THE CAR under any circumstance.” I called JJ at the gas station. He said, “I had to start the car to move it away from the gas pumps…” I called EJ, “Oh, no! Call a tow truck and have them take it to the repair shop and call the repair shop…” I called JJ, “A stranger at the gas station gave me money to put gas in the car and he said the car is ok to drive.” I said, “You have no idea who this stranger is or if his advice is good. Do NOTHING until you talk to your Dad.” “But Mom…” “Do what I say! NO ARGUMENT.” Argue, argue, argue between my sweet strong-willed son and me.

EJ talked to co-workers who know cars. I do not know cars or car lingo, but apparently the stranger had advised JJ correctly about filling the gas tank to dilute the diesel fuel. The stranger had also bought JJ some…I think it’s oxidizer liquid or something…to put in the tank. These actions helped save our engine. EJ told me to cancel the tow truck and told JJ he could drive to work since he probably would still be driving on gas instead of fuel. Then EJ took a few hours off work, filled the tank again with gas from his gas can, and drove the car to the repair shop across the street. Then we waited.

Gas/Diesel Pump
Gas/Diesel Pump

Diesel nozzles are usually bigger than gas nozzles so that people can’t accidentally put diesel in their cars. EJ asked how JJ got the diesel nozzle into the car. JJ said the diesel nozzle slid right into the car with no problem. After investigating the car, it looks as though someone defeated the anti-siphoning device on our car, denting our car slightly, and did steal some gas. This is why JJ was unaware until too late that he was putting diesel in our car and that is why he had low gas.

I asked my FB friends to pray. Friends from around the world began to pray. (Did I tell you that I love FB?)

This morning EJ talked to the repair shop. It would have been best not to ever start the car, but the repairman said that every action taken after that was exactly the right thing to do. We drove to the repair shop and the guy repeated that it should be ok to drive the car if it is driven with care, gas is put in frequently to dilute the diesel, and the oil is changed in a bit, and stuff like that.

The shop charged us….NOTHING.

"Let me do the math here..." Jayne Cobb, Firefly Series
Jayne Cobb, Firefly Series

If the car had needed repairs, JJ was going to have to pay as much as he could for them. I asked EJ to let me tell JJ how much this was going to cost him. When we got the vehicles home, I called to JJ, who was upstairs studying, “You need to come down so I can tell you how much this is going to cost you.” He came down groaning. Because we love to quote from movies, I quoted from Jayne Cobb, a character on Firefly, our favorite TV series:

“Let me do the math here… nothin’ and a nothin’, carry the nothin’…” 

“You mean it’s going to cost NOTHING?” JJ exclaimed. “Are you serious? Whew!” We are all so relieved. And so thankful. This is an answer to prayers from friends around the world. THIS is God giving us a gift. Of course, I think it’s also a gift when things don’t turn out the way I want because often those times end up teaching me a lot. However, those “not-turning-out-the-way-I-want” experiences are not so obvious or easy to see at first.

I found out later just how sweet the gift was. Besides the repair shop not charging us anything, while he was at the gas station, not just one stranger helped JJ, but a group did. A group of people gave him advice. Several people gave him money to get gas to dilute the diesel, and one man bought him the oxidizer. JJ is going to the gas station to see if he can get their names so he can thank them and offer to pay them back. I guess we raised him right.

We stopped at the Farmer’s Market when we went to retrieve the car from the repair shop. We bought honey, maple syrup, eggs, and a bushel of apples.

I didn’t have time to make challah bread this morning, so I will make it this afternoon. I also hope to mow the lawn this afternoon and try to work in my garden.

It’s a beautiful day.

NOOOOOOO!

This is how I felt.
This is how I felt when I saw Timmy’s worms.

Last night I saw that Timmy has worms. Will the nightmare never end?

I woke in the night thinking that we needed to give worm medicine to all the cats, and wondering how we could afford it.

I called the vet this morning and explained the situation to his receptionist. She asked how many cats I had and I replied, “Eight.” She exclaimed, “Oh, Wow!” She probably was thinking of what it was like to struggle with eight (very beloved) cats with worms and diarrhea. Or maybe she was thinking of the expense of worming eight cats. I know I was.

I told her that one cat was already taking worm meds so I only needed enough medication for 7 cats. Then I said that two cats were indoor/outdoor cats, but we were keeping them outside so they wouldn’t get what the other cats have and we could probably wait until our next paycheck to worm them, so we really only needed worm medicine for five cats right now. She said she would talk to the vet, and then returned a few minutes later to tell me I could pick up the meds at their clinic. With great dread, I asked her how much it would cost. I was surprised and relieved when she said it would only be $15. I have a suspicion that it should have cost more but the vet had sympathy on us. I never would have asked for a price break because the veterinarian is running a business, not a charity, and he needs to make a living as much as anyone. However, if he did give us a break, I am very thankful.

EJ and I drove to the vet office. When we walked in to the reception area, it was full of people sitting and standing around. We smelled a delicious aroma and discovered that the clinic was having a birthday party for one of the staff. There was food. We chatted to the vet a bit. He invited us to have some food, which was nice. EJ took a little soup, but I didn’t want to feel that I was crashing their party so I didn’t take anything, although I wanted to. EJ was drawn to the kittens in the “Free to Good Homes” cage. I was not even tempted. Not this time. Not for a long, long time.

When we returned home, EJ and I dosed five cats. Most of them were ok with it, but Annie hated it and really fought it. With all the meds we have struggled to give the cats in recent days, it’s a wonder any of them come near us. However, all of them still come for cuddling.

The situation really is improving (I think) despite the setbacks.

This afternoon Danny and I went out to work on the path in my garden. I really want to finish the path soon so I can get started on another project before colder weather arrives. For some reason, Danny didn’t want to go through the front gate so we went around through the back gate. I wonder now if he knew something that I didn’t?

It was another very beautiful autumn day. Summer used to be my favorite season, but over the years I changed and I now prefer autumn. There’s nothing like the blue of an autumn sky, and I love the colorful leaves (they are just beginning to change color now), and I love the warmness and coolness of the days. I was soaking it all in, rejoicing in the perfect day as I happily worked on my path, when I became aware that there were a lot of insects flying around me. Then I realized that they weren’t insects, they were bees. I figured they must have a nest in the ground. I thought it would be very good to retreat. I was retreating when suddenly….OWWW! A bee stung me in the arm. I haven’t been stung in years and years and years. Maybe not since I was a kid.

You know what? Bee stings HURT!

Bee ID card
Bee ID card

I am very, very thankful I got stung only once.

I called my Danny to come with me and I carefully retrieved my garden tools, put them away, and then asked my Eagle Scout son if he knew what to do about bee stings. He did know, so I took his advice and made a paste out of baking soda.

I decided that I was done working in the garden today. And tomorrow maybe I will start working at the OTHER end of the path. And maybe I will leave a section of the path unfinished until it gets too cool for the bees. Or something.

EJ texted from work asking how we were doing at home. I replied that I had gotten stung by a bee. He said, “Was it for sure a bee? Or a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket?” I replied, “Once I realized they were bees, I didn’t stay around to ask to see their ID cards.”

I will show EJ where they are tomorrow.

Scarborough Tea

I thought today was going to be a difficult day because I stayed up much too late with EJ and I got up much too early with JJ. I like to greet EJ when he comes home from work and I like to fix breakfast for JJ and send him off to college. Last night I think I went to bed at 1 a.m.–it could have been later–and EJ and I got up at 6 a.m. with JJ. After JJ left for the day, both EJ and I took naps. EJ slept in his chair and I curled up with Annie on the couch. I slept a little–until Kee-Kee stepped on my head and then tried to sit on Annie, who growled at him. I pulled Kee-Kee on top of me and wanted to fall back to sleep, but it was useless.

I thought today was going to be a difficult day because I was so tired, but it turned out to be a very good day. Working in the garden yesterday had really relieved my stress. I love to work in the quietness of the garden, and as I work I often ponder or pray and absorb peacefulness into my spirit.

After working in the garden yesterday, I remembered a time years ago when I went to the doctor for a sinus infection and she told me that my lymph nodes were very swollen but “don’t worry yet until we know more because it could be nothing serious.” I wondered what exactly I wasn’t supposed to worry about, so I went to the library and looked up “lymph nodes” in a medical book (we didn’t have a computer at the time), and I found a whole lot of things to worry about. I slammed shut the book and decided that I would not waste time worrying until I was diagnosed with something to worry about, and if I was diagnosed with something to worry about, I’d deal with it one step at a time. I think that the scariest point is when you don’t know if something serious is wrong or not. After a diagnoses, then at least you start developing a plan to deal with it. It turned out that the lymph nodes were swollen only because I had had numerous sinus infections and not because of a scary disease.

So after regaining my perspective yesterday, I decided that exposure to MRSA didn’t mean we would actually get the virus, and I wouldn’t worry until I had something to worry about. That’s pretty much what the doctor told EJ when he called her this morning: Until symptoms develop, there isn’t anything to worry about. If symptoms develop, we can start treating it.

It looks as if the better cat food that is specially formulated for digestive problems might be doing the trick. The cats aren’t completely back to normal, but it looks like they are improving. For the first time since they got diarrhea, I have hope that there is an end in sight.

EJ had recently read that fleas love humidity and that if they will die if the humidity gets below 50 percent. He noticed that the basement had become damp and humid, so after he talked to the doctor, EJ set up two dehumidifers in the basement. Hopefully that will take care of the few fleas that have survived our other measures.

After EJ left for work, I took Danny for our regular walk. Danny is a real mooch–he always follows the food. Sometimes on our walk, he finds food that people have dropped in the grass or road. I always pull him away because I don’t want him to eat something that will make him sick. Today Danny was interested in a spot in the middle of the street, and when I realized he was trying to eat something, I pulled him away. It was a blob of gum that someone had eaten. As I pulled him away, the gum stretched out, one part in his mouth and the other still stuck to the street. It was a funny sight.

I spent the rest of the afternoon–before and after JJ left for work–working in the garden. The day was gorgeous. It was sunny and had an autumn-ish feel to it, with both a warmness and coolness at the same time. I felt a lot of joy as I worked. This is why I garden–not so people will admire it, but because of the perspective it helps me find. 

I made some progress on my path. I didn’t get as far as I wanted because it is hard work pulling up the vines where I want to place the bricks but I am pleased I got as much done as I did. I am maybe halfway done with the path.

Often when I take Danny for a walk, children run up to me and ask if they can pet him. They always ask his name, of course. Whenever new children run up, ones who had met Danny before tell the other children about him: “He has soft thick fur.” “He name is Danny.” “Danny is nice.” While I worked in the garden this afternoon, several small children walked by with an older girl. I heard the children say, “This is where Danny lives.” Then they peeked through the wild rose bush growing on the fence and saw me. “Hi! You have a big garden.” “Your whole yard is a garden.” “You have pretty sunflowers.” Danny rushed up to the fence and they all petted him before they moved on. The kids are adorable.

A few days ago, we found a recipe for an antibiotic tea made up of parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Since I grow all those  herbs in my garden, I made the tea. It is yummy. The ingredients reminded EJ of the lines of a very old ballad called Scarborough Fair. I do not know if the tea already has a name, but because of the ballad, I decided I’d name it Scarborough Tea. The song helps me remember the ingredients. I thought I’d end this post with a beautiful video of Scarborough Fair sung by Celtic Woman.

“Define Interesting”

My family’s conversations are filled with quotes from favorite movies. Star Trek, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, and others are filled with very quotable quotes. If we see a beautiful full moon, one of us will say, “Wow! Look at that moon!” Another will quip “That’s no moon…that’s a spacestation!” (Star Wars) Or if one of us says “This plant is dead.” Another will say, “It’s not dead. It’s only mostly dead. I’ve seen worse.” (Princess Bride). We do this all the time.

One of our very, very favorite TV programs is a science fiction series called Firefly that originally aired in 2002-2003. It was created by Joss Whedon and starred Nathan Fillion. We have the whole series on DVD and we watch it often. Nathan Fillion now stars in the TV series Castle, but he loved Firefly. Castle is filled with Firefly references and occasionally Firefly cast members guest star in Castle. We love it! Anyway, Firefly is filled with wonderful quotable quotes. I’ve been thinking of one quote in particular this week because it pretty much described last week. EJ found a youtube video of the scene for me. It is worth watching.

The week started out quite well. JJ started college last Monday. He’s had a few days of feeling overwhelmed, which I told him to expect, but mostly he is enjoying it.

The vet had given us pills for giardia for all the cats, in case that infection was causing diarrhea. Not all the cats have diarrhea, but he wanted to eliminate that as a cause. We had to give eight cats a quarter of a pill morning and night. EJ and I worked together. As I always do when I have to give the cats medication, I caught and wrapped each cat in a towel so he/she couldn’t get away, scratch, or bite, and held him/her while EJ administered the pill. The cats HATED the taste, and they did all they could to resist. I’ve never seen them fight and squirm so hard to get away. I got pretty good at holding the squirming cats so they couldn’t get away. EJ got pretty good at giving the pills to the cats, but it still was an effort to get them to swallow them. Some of them held the pill in the side of their mouth so they could spit it out later.

The pills did not help the diarrhea.

EJ said a couple of his co-workers said that their cats had a bad case of diarrhea so they switched to a high quality cat food like “Science Diet” and it cured the diarrhea. So we bought some good cat food and we are trying to see if that works. It is distressing to me that the cats have diarrhea. I did see some non-diarrhea poop in the inside litter box not long ago, so maybe the food is helping.

Yafah has worms (we are giving her worm medication) which might be responsible for her diarrhea. However, I also wonder if part of the cats’ problem is stress or environmental. We are still battling fleas. They are not at all as bad as they were several weeks ago, but I occasionally find one or two on me (and that’s one or two too many), and I am trying to get on top of the problem so they don’t get worse. We have to medicate the cats and spray the house in sync so that one does not reinfect the other. In previous years, if I noticed any fleas, I just gave the cats some flea medication, sprayed the house, and then the fleas were gone. This year it hasn’t been like that. I have never, ever, ever had such a problem with fleas. I’ve heard from several sources that this year the fleas have been very, very bad–much worse than normal.  I guess the weather has been perfect for their breeding.

I am getting exhausted dealing with fleas and diarrhea.

Also, the rash I have been struggling with this summer has reappeared.

In addition, EJ came home from work and told us that a woman at work who is addicted to serious drugs kept working after she was diagnosed with a contagious virus called MRSA. Everyone who worked in the same plant with this woman has been exposed to it.

WebMD says that MRSA is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics. MRSA is spread by contact. So, you could get MRSA by touching another person who has it on the skin. Or you could get it by touching objects that have the bacteria on them. The symptoms of MRSA depend on where you’re infected. Most often, it causes mild infections on the skin, like sores or boils. But it can also cause more serious skin infections or infect surgical wounds, the bloodstream, the lungs, or the urinary tract. Though most MRSA infections aren’t serious, some can be life-threatening. Many public health experts are alarmed by the spread of tough strains of MRSA. Because it’s hard to treat, MRSA is sometimes called a “superbug.” MRSA infections are common among people who have weak immune systems.

I am concerned for EJ and JJ. EJ is concerned for me because for much of the summer, I was taking Prednisone for my rash. Prednisone weakens the immune system.

Great.

Tomorrow we will call our doctor to begin the process to test to see if we have the virus.

Fleas…cats with diarrhea…rash…MRSA.

I felt so stressed today that I went out to work in the garden. Gardens are good stress-relievers.

First of all, I admired my sunflowers. In late Spring I planted sunflower seeds in various places through the yard. Sunflowers are very cheerful flowers. Some of the sunflowers got knocked down in a storm, but most of them are holding up pretty well.

The stick...and my garden cat.
The stick…and my garden cat.

Then I headed back to worked on my path. As I crossed the back yard, a large spotted frog LEAPED in fear (I probably nearly stepped on him) and landed on my foot. I screamed, and he went one way and I went another. After I got over being startled, I went back and found him again. He was a pretty frog. I wish I could have taken a picture of him, but by the time I had gotten my camera, he had hidden.

After I removed the bricks a few weeks ago, I lined the path with the bricks. However, when I tried to mow the path last week, I discovered that the lawn mower is too wide for the path. So today I found a stick that is just a little wider than the mower, and I used it to help me make the path wide enough. It is primitive but very effective. As you can see, my garden companion, Rikki-Tikki-Tabby, joined me as I worked–as he usually does when I work in the garden.

The part of the path that I finished today.
The part of the path that I finished today.

I have a lot of vines in my garden. I had to yank up the vines that were in the way so that the bricks would set level. This was a very hard job. I used the hoe and clippers to get the vines out of the way. I had a brilliant idea of mowing the vines to then make it easier to use the hoe. The mower nicely did what I wanted, but I was able to mow just a few feet before it died. I couldn’t get it started again–although I tried–so I went back to yanking up, hoeing, and clipping the vines. It was so difficult that I had to stop just before I reached my goal of finishing the path along one side of the house. I will work on it again another day. I hope.

I was exhausted when I quit for the day, but the garden had helped relieve much of my stress and I was in a more cheerful frame of mind. The day was beautiful.

As I said, my week (and summer) sure was interesting.

College–and Cats

Back in my other life, before I was married to EJ and had a son, I was a word processor at a consulting firm. When I mentioned to my supervisor that if I ever got married, I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom, she said, “Oh, you will be totally bored staying at home!”

She was wrong.

About me, anyway. I think she was very bored staying home and preferred to work. Me? I am almost never bored at home. Something is always happening.

JJ trying to avoid my camera.
JJ trying to avoid my camera.

Today was JJ’s FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE. I took several pictures, partly because I wanted to have pictures of this huge milestone, but partly because I was enjoying his insincere protests about me taking pictures. He had fun dodging me and I had fun stalking him with my camera until he got in the car and drove off.

JJ texted me that he had reached the college ok, which was a relief. However, he took a wrong turn on the way home, which filled me with anxiety because I didn’t know how to help him get unlost. He figured out his error and found his way home. Whew! He had a good day.

While JJ was off at college, I painted the second half of the porch again. Maybe I am finished, but I might put another coat on the areas that get high traffic. I’m not sure.

I went to clean the back porch (cat diarrhea) and discovered that Yafah had coughed up a worm. Eew. So I called the vet’s office and was told to bring in the worm so they could see what kind it was. I used a plastic spoon to scoop the worm into a sandwich bag. Then I also scooped some of Luke’s poop into a bag as well, in case they wanted to look at it. Luke’s poop isn’t as runny as Yafah’s, but it’s not the normal well-formed poop either.

Sadly, I am becoming a poop expert.

The worm was still alive and wiggling when I arrived at the vet. YUCK! The vet identified the worm and prescribed the appropriate medication for Yafah. He gave me a syringe of worm medication and told me to give half to her now and another half in two weeks to kill off any new worms that hatch from the larvae. Then he examined Luke’s poop for parasites and a specific kind of germ or bacteria or something. All clear. YAY!

The vet said that there is another germ that can cause diarrhea but which is too small to see with his microscope, so he gave me medication for that. He gave me enough for ALL the cats as a preventative treatment. I have to give EACH of our EIGHT cats, one-fourth of a pill TWO times a day for FOUR days.  Imagine that for a moment. This is going to be interesting. Some cats are relatively easy to give pills to, but other cats keep spitting out pills or they fight tooth and nail. The resistance gets worse as they learn to expect it. EJ said he will help me. We will have an adventure trying to capture each of the cats and shove pills down their throats. The cats are going to hate us. We will give them their first pills tonight when Eric gets home from work. We might end up ripped to shreds and in the hospital.

Pray for us.

Yafah needs the medicine most, but she is going to be particularly hard to medicate. Yesterday she vanished from the back porch where she is isolated. EJ was really worried that she had gotten outside somehow. I told him not to worry because I was sure she had just found a good hiding place. This morning I saw her climb into her hiding place behind a board near the ceiling.

Yafah's hiding place.
Yafah’s hiding place.

Here is Yafah in her hiding place:

Can you see Yafah in her hiding place?
Can you see her?

Here is a closeup:

Yafah in her hiding place near the ceiling.
Yafah in her hiding place near the ceiling.

I know that as soon as Yafah sees me, she is going to run into her hiding place. I have no idea how I am going to get her out so I can give her medicine. I will have to be tricky. Maybe put medicine in her food or something.

After I got back from the vet, I cleaned and disinfected the back porch. Then I took a shower–because handling poop and worms and everything made me shudder and I wanted to feel clean.

This has been a difficult season with the cats.

Paint Memories

Today was laundry day. Usually EJ goes with me to help me, but he had to work six days this last week and I knew he was really tired, so I drank only ONE cup of coffee and then I loaded the dirty clothes in the car and went to the laundromat, leaving EJ home sleeping. When I got back home, I took the baskets of wet clothes to the back yard, and then I went back into the house to fix breakfast. When JJ left for work right after breakfast, I went outside and hung the clothes on the clothesline. I really enjoyed the morning, which was sunny but nicely coolish.

After I finished hanging up the clothes, I paused to think about how to spend the rest of my day. I decided that this would be a very good day to paint the front porch. I have wanted to paint it for a couple of years now and was determined to paint it this year, but was afraid I’d run out of summer before I could get it done.

Everything moved from the porch
Everything moved from the porch

I moved the patio table and chairs and all the plants off the porch and under the lilac bush. Then EJ helped me get the paint supplies together. I started to sweep the porch, but EJ ended up taking over the task while I found some old clothes to paint in. I am not a neat painter and tend to get paint all over myself. I used to have a shirt and shorts that I always painted in. I never washed them so they contained the memories of years of painting projects. I could point to spots of paint that had been used to paint our bedroom when we first moved in, and spots of paint used to paint our living room once or twice, and both times we painted the bathroom, and a LOT of paint from the last time we painted the porch. The last time I painted the porch was maybe ten years ago or so. JJ was 8 or 9 years old and he helped me. We ended up getting into a paint fight. It probably started when one of us accidentally painted the other, and then the other not-so-accidentally painted the first one, and before you know it, we were both deliberately painting each other until we were covered in paint. It was very fun. Sometimes I sort of miss those days. Teens tend to have too much dignity, worrying about what people will think, and being embarrassed by their Mom’s silliness. it’s not until they get older that they remember how to be silly again.

I think I threw the paint shirt and shorts away a few years ago when I was cleaning out closets and drawers. Now I will have to start a new paint shirt and shorts with new paint memories.

Painting our porch.
Painting our porch.

EJ didn’t want me to paint parts of the porch that were in the sun because he felt those areas were too hot. So I painted the half of the porch that was in the shade. Painting is another task that I do not LOVE like I love reading and walking Danny, but which I find great pleasure doing. There is something very soothing and relaxing about painting, especially when it’s outside on a sunny and coolish day.

This is where we bought wood. From one post to another is one face cord.
This is where we bought wood. From one post to another is one face cord.

After I finished painting the porch, EJ and I went to buy a face cord of firewood. A face cord is a stack of wood that is eight feet long, four feet high, and about 16- to 18-inches deep. In previous years, we bought our wood from three people who cut and sold wood in their spare time. This year, two of the three appear to no longer be selling wood. We drove to the third, but the man wasn’t home. EJ called the phone number on the sign and the guy said he’d be home at 5:30 p.m, so EJ said he’d return.

When we got home, I painted the porch again. The whole porch was in the shade by this time, so I put a second coat of paint on the half that I had painted earlier and a first coat on the other half. I also painted the steps.

After I finished, I had just enough time to get cleaned up, do the dishes, and take the clothes off the clothesline, and then it was time for my Hebrew class, which I co-teach with a friend. We teach our class through video-chat. We have students from several different states and even from another country. Pretty cool.

While I was teaching, EJ went to get the firewood. Usually the guys we buy wood from help load it. I was glad EJ had help since I couldn’t help him this time.

After my class, which ended at 7 p.m., I went out and painted the whole porch and steps again. Tomorrow I will paint the second half again, and then I think I will be finished.

We unloaded and stacked this truckload of firewood
We unloaded and stacked this truckload of firewood

When I finished painting, I started stacking the firewood into our woodshed. I didn’t tell EJ that I was stacking it because his back has been hurting, and also his shoulder, and I didn’t want him to hurt them even more. I had unloaded and stacked about a third of the wood when EJ discovered I wasn’t still painting the porch and he came out to help me. JJ helped a bit too, and it went faster so we finished before it got dark. Now we only have nine more face cords of wood to buy to be ready for winter.

After I got cleaned up, I made popcorn and relaxed and wrote this post. Now I must get back to work and fold the clothes.

I have been busy from morning until night. I am tired, but it is a good tired.

 

 

 

The Path

We had been going to the Farmer’s Market every Friday morning, but EJ has been very busy and working very hard at his job this week, and he was very tired, so we didn’t go this morning. We need honey, but we have enough eggs.

Yesterday after EJ and then JJ left for work, I mowed the lawn. It is usually JJ’s job, but this week has been busy and I knew he wouldn’t get to it, so I just went ahead and did it. Radar showed storms moving in quickly, but I figured that it wasn’t raining until it was raining, so I went ahead anyway. It ended up not raining until about an hour after I finished.

I actually enjoy mowing the lawn. When I was a child, I somehow figured out that if I had to do something, I might as well do it with a good attitude and find something about it that I enjoyed. So although there are tasks that I can’t exactly say I LOVE like I love reading or walking Danny, there are many tasks that I very much enjoy. Mowing the lawn is one of those tasks. I really like the way the lawn looks after it’s mowed, and I like the smell of freshly mowed grass.

Stacked bricks
Stacked bricks

Sunday I had finished digging up all the bricks in the path through my garden. I am digging up the bricks because I would now prefer to just mow the path instead of having to weed it. Today after my guys left for work (and after I had taken Danny for a walk, of course), I lined the edges of the path with bricks and hauled the excess bricks to the new place where I am stacking them. (I ran out of room in the other place.) I used the wheelbarrow so I didn’t have to take lots and lots of trips.

Half of the path I removed bricks from.
Part of the garden path

The path winds along one side of the house and most of another so I was only going to do a little bit, but I ended up throwing the shoe and doing it all. Sometimes I don’t know when to stop. I just keep doing a little bit more and a little bit more of a project until it is done. After I dug up the bricks Sunday, my back hurt for several days. I am sure my back is going to hurt some more from today’s work.  When my back hurts, I always wonder how EJ can endure the pain he lives with every day.

Danny nicely refusing to move from the hole he dug in my path.
Danny nicely refusing to move from the hole he dug in my garden path.

Danny came out with me. When I returned after taking a load of bricks to the stacking place, I saw he had dug a hole in the middle of the path and was lying in it. You can’t really see it from the picture, but it was quite deep. I tried to call him into the back yard where he had dug a hole to lie in a few weeks ago, but he just nicely refused to move. Danny has become an expert at non-violent civil disobedience. Whenever he doesn’t want to do something, he just wags his tail and smiles and stays where he is. I think I should change his name to Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.

I ended up letting Danny enjoy his hole. I can fill it in later.

After I finished the path, Danny and I went inside. Danny actually obeyed me this time when I called. I finished my inside chores. I will spend the rest of the evening relaxing with a cat on my lap.

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