Sunday, January 15, 2017

Throw Back Sunday

Throw-back Thursday is a thing on the blogosphere, but I'm going to hijack it to Throw Back Sunday, because Sunday is a day of rest. Each week, I'll repost a blog that I found my self re-visiting this week. Here's this weeks selection:  Letting Go

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rural Sprawl

The episode of "Lost", my guilty indulgence before bed, was not complete without Veggie Straws and refreshment. Walking back to the couch, my foot somehow caught the metal curved foot of Murphy's "place" (raised bed that she likes very much) and I sprawled face first, catching my shoulder on the metal pole edge. Veggie Straws went everywhere. I lay there, contemplating whether they were still good to eat. My drink, luckily, was in a capped plastic bottle. I yelled at the dogs to get back - the Veggie Straws should still be good. (At least, they weren't Cheetos.)

I realized my right shoulder hurt, but only if I move it. Previously having torn a tendon or muscle, it will heal itself as it has several times. Lifting moderate weights helps a lot. But falling? Really? I guess this is what my future old self has in store. I have always had great balance, and losing it is unfamiliar. Guess I need to step up my exercising routine. (Or at least have one.)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Losing My Senses

Trying to pick up un poco de Español myself, my good Spanish teacher friend graciously allows me to sit in the back of William's class. It is also a perfect opportunity to socialize William Murphy. At the beginning of the class, she was a bit loco, whined a particular whine that I've learned to not ignore. After potty, I decided to walk the hallway just a bit to settle her back down.

The church building in which we have classes had a leak, making the carpet below wet. A carpet fan was running, and Murphy shied away from it. Unfamiliarity was my diagnosis, so I told her to sit and I crouched down, assuring her that the the fan was harmless and would not hurt her. It looked somewhat like this fan:
(Carpet fan, maybe not same brand)
That's when the fan began to short circuit, lighting up inside with electrical sparks and making that scary buzzing sound like an episode of "Stranger Things". Now, I could smell the distinct odor of something electrical burning. Likely, Murphy could already smell it. Probably she thinks I'm not too bright.

She spent the rest of the class absorbing mucho Español.

It seems my ability to listen to what animals are clearly saying has not improved over the years. Probably more than a decade ago, I was taking a short ride on my horse, JoJo. She had a tendency to be a little nervous (or was picking up on my less than relaxed state). We were passing by a pond which harbored Canadian geese. She stepped sideways. Reaching down to pat her neck, I reassured her that the geese would not harm her. Almost immediately, one took wing and dive-bombed us, passing only inches over my head. Somehow, I stayed on. You think I'd learn to listen to animals by now.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

For the Want of a Toilet

In my late twenties, I was the foreman of a synthetic detergent manufacturing plant, the first female to work in the building much less supervise. This presented a number of challenges, the least of which was that there was but one single, utterly filthy (in a truck stop bathroom sort of way) toilet with no doors just past a very small break room where sat those crusty men that I supervised. 

Now, I say the "least of which" because of course I was not enfolded with welcoming arms into this male kingdom. There was a good reason to believe the operations were sabotaged on more than one occasion on my shift. Over time, somehow, I gained a measure of respect and acceptance because of my work and willingness to get dirty, and because of the foul chemicals, "breathe through my asshole" as one of the other foremen would say.

I have many stories from these days of the challenges of being a woman engineer in a man's world. But while watching Hidden Figures this past weekend, Catherine had to run half a mile to the coloreds only bathroom which reminded me of my young self. In the middle of the night, on third shift, I would time "running the traps" (translation: checking the steam siphons on all of the chemical tank dikes) with finding a bathroom in another building that actually had a door, no Playboy magazines, and no men just around the corner listening. If the plant was experiencing a problem such that I could not leave but nature was calling, I had to kick all the men out of the tiny break room, and gagging, use that excuse for a bathroom.

The women in Hidden Figures faced even more discrimination because of their skin. What a fantastic movie! We were gifted with sitting on the edge of a large group of black women who had all come as a group after church. I loved hearing their laughter and their comments, but the movie resonated with the entire (full) audience based on the applause at the end. The movie documented the shameful way we humans sometimes treat each other, and for no reason other than ignorance and power. 

This movies should be required viewing of all, but especially children and teens. It contains history, science, math, diversity training, and humanity - which is something that seems to be lacking in the news these days. The one down side is that I left feeling that I've not accomplished so much. I've not put a man on the moon or become somehow important. I have, however, put three good people on this earth, and I hope their accomplishments will mitigate the lack of my own.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Keep It 100

Slang words change so quickly these days that I often have to consult the urban dictionary to make sure I don't make a major gaffe. While playing Words With Friends with my daughter online, I was looking up word that begin with "qu" to use up some of my unfortunate letter tiles. There are words I've never heard in everyday conversation but evidently, some people, somewhere, use these words. As I envisioned using such a word and my daughter looking it up for the meaning, I had nose milk. I'd better not use those words.

With the rapidity of change of technology and culture, I'm not sure how to keep up. My parents only had to know "groovy" and "dig it", but I have a whole urban dictionary of words. Today, for example, my son and I were shopping for a "dirty Santa" ugly sock gift exchange. I found this pair:

Although I've seen this phrase about webpages, maybe Facebook, I had no idea what it means. So, I looked it up. (Thank goodness for Google.) It means "to keep yourself real and true, to be honest and stick to the way you are, no matter what any one else thinks." -Urban Dictionary

For someone dealing daily with Type 1 Diabetes, this was a treasured find. Testing your blood glucose and getting a reading of 100 mg/dL is called a "unicorn" or getting the perfect number. For us, it isn't really - we prefer numbers in the 90s or 80s. (My favorite number is 87. I don't know why.) But since diagnosis, if William tested 100 exactly, I gave him a dollar. It was and is just a silly game, trying to exact a little surprise and fun from gouging yourself with a needle, squeezing for blood and waiting for a darn number.

It goes a little deeper for me (and perhaps I've had too much coffee and it is late,waiting to make sure his BG stabilizes before I nod off) that when he is in range - or 100 - he is his true self. When he is out of range, he is not. That is why I work so hard to normalize his blood glucose, so that he might live the life he was meant to live. 

Now, enough serious stuff. I know you are just sitting there wondering about the "qu" words anyway.

Note: The amaryllis plant has begun to flower, but it opens much more slowly than I thought it would after the stem grew so quickly.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Chickened Out

I'm done with chickens. It was a great phase of my life and I felt very Pinterest-y.  About a year ago, I was overheard by a friend who has chickens, "Do you have eggs laid in your barn?"  Why yes, I do. An elderly man in our neighborhood raises chickens as a hobby and for $4, he lays two dozen in my tack room once a week.  I don't have to do a thing.  No cleaning out coops, no feeding, no freezing water in the winter.  No expensive feed!  Wow, has the price risen on corn!  No finding that your favorite hen was murdered.  After several "Chicken Lickin's" got picked off, we decided the name was cursed and no longer named them that.

Well, time has passed and sadly, my chicken man retired. I now have the inconvenience of having to actually go to a store to buy eggs. We go through two to three dozen a week (they are low carb). I do miss the chickens, but not the work. And now, I have my new puppy project to keep me busy, although chickens don't have to be potty trained. There is that.

If you search this blog on the word "chicken", you will have enough posts to read for a week or two.

Friday, January 06, 2017

"Feed Me"

This amaryllis is growing so quickly that it needs a live webcam so people can check its progress. It grew a half inch last night. This morning, finally, the flower has begun to open. I'm hoping it doesn't require human blood to survive.

From "Little Shop of Horrors"

Notes; Today is Epiphany. Everything turns to drab as I remove the Christmas tree and lights. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A Little Jelly on Your Toast?

Today's search for food on my property turned up brown jelly fungus. I guess if the apocalypse occurs, I'm going to starve to death. There is no way.

Wikipedia says that although not poisonous (usually), the taste is similar to soil. Yum! The texture isn't all that appealing either. So many interesting things to find in the yard.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Green Thumbs

Once gardening was a treasured past time for me. When I found out that our garden site was over our previous house owner's old septic system, it kind of spoiled it for me. That, and having so many weeds my husband would mow over what in the spring was an optimistic planting of "this year, I'll do better". 

Inside the house, I like growing plants, but I prefer the growing to be a bit more scientific. There is the plant from my father-in-law's funeral that receives only leftover coffee for watering. It is doing quite well! I have my father's orchid that is still blooming, but maybe not as nice as when dad grew it - he had better light.

Around this time of year, amaryllis are sold and remind me of my dad (he liked them), so I bought a bulb. I'm a bit shocked at the rapid growth and double impending bloom. This thing is like the plant from the Little Shop of Horrors movie. It is currently over 24 inches tall and a bit suggestive.


Avocados are one of my favorite foods, so I was encouraged by an article about growing your own. I'd tried many Haas avocado pits without success, so I tried a Hall avocado from Florida. Using a bulb vase, it quickly grew roots and eventually sprouted. They are hearty to 20 degrees F, I read, so it can go outside in the summer on the porch. (I doubt it would survive a freeze.)

And finally, my little oak tree. I got it from our yard this past spring with it's acorn still attached. It seems to not have noticed that autumn has come and gone this year.

Oak tree
I don't know anything about bonsai trees and really don't need one more thing to learn right now. I take good care of it, but wonder about the ethics of confining it so now that the news is full of how trees communicate and even take care of stumps of trees cut down. And...they do this using fungus, which connects back to the mushrooms in my yard. Huh, there I go learning again.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Doing Mushrooms

On a small walk back by the creek, I found some mushrooms.  Now, I've always been a little leery about eating mushrooms from the yard, knowing that a mistake could be fatal. Yet, these are well documented:

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Oyster Mushroom
I'm wondering if I'm daring enough to make this tea which promises an immunity boost?

At dinner, I was telling my family of my find.

Daughter: It's well documented that people DIE of eating backyard mushrooms.
Husband: Are those the kind that have you seeing dead relatives?

I guess I'll have to experiment on my own. 


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