Saturday, May 4, 2013

Herb Garden

Planting season is upon us. While Bob works in the garden out in the way back, I have been starting an herb garden. (click on the pictures to get the full view) A good herb garden should be convenient to the kitchen, and we are lucky enough to have a nice bed by the porch just steps from the kitchen. I tried to think about what herbs we use the most in cooking and I want to experiment as well. Along the back I have chives, purple basil, garlic chives and English thyme then some irises we transplanted from the back yard. in the middle we have a clump of basil, Thai basil and purple basil, along with some Greek oregano. Finally, in the front parsley, cilantro, sage and bee balm. In the green pot we have rosemary. Off to the side, we have a piece of concrete that we salvaged from concrete my father poured in 1970 when my Dad put in palm trees . My hand was so tiny! The palm trees have been removed and we are still deciding on what to put in their place. Fruit trees are leading the race. Behind it you see the base of my Grandmother's bird bath. My grandmother has such an incredible green thumb and we were very close. I never had the heart to get rid of the base so it has become a planter for some golden lemon thyme. I wanted something that would creep down the sides and thyme fits the bill perfectly. Finally, I have some mint, grapefruit mint and lemon balm in a container. Mint can really take over so its great to keep it contained in a pot.

Many of these plants were purchased at the local farmer's market with a few from Home Depot. I try to support local growers when I can!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Secret Shaver?

Scintillating conversation in our house tonight:

Bob: What happened to the hair on my legs?
Me: Huh?
Bob: Look at my legs. The outside of my leg is not as hairy as the inside.
Me: So?
Bob: I think you have something to do with this.
Me: So you think I am shaving 1/2 your leg while you sleep?
Bob: I wouldn't put it past you!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

Well, the new year dawned cold and rainy, but I love this weather. It was nice having Bob home for New Years. We celebrated the ball drop at midnight EST. I heard the noise at midnight but rolled over and went back to sleep. We watched the Rose Parade. I always cry a little missing my Dad when I see a parade, because he really enjoyed them. We also watched some football and ate kielbasa and sauerkraut which is one of Bob's family traditions. All it does for me is give me the ability to fart "Ode To Joy" with perfect pitch.

I am looking forward to the new year and what it will bring.

Some of us may have celebrated a bit too much though.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kitty Surprise

Today was the day the Gracie was being spayed. Bob has the week off so we decided to drop her off first thing and head to the Jelly Belly Factory because Bob has never been. We packed Gracie in the carrier with her blankie from Nanna Sue and dropped her off and headed out.

We had a great time seeing jelly beans being made and sampling candy and headed back to town. Since Gracie was the first surgery of the day, we had expected a call by now so I decided to call to see how things went. The receptionist at the vet said that everything was fine but the vet wanted to talk to me. I was a little curious about that.

The vet came on the line and told me " I have some good news and some embarrassing news. The good news is the surgery went fine. The embarrassing news is that Gracie is actually Grayson". Yes, when we first brought him in at 3-4 weeks he didn't have noticeable "boy parts" so he was labeled a she. Now I had begun to suspect that perhaps that wasn't the case, but when I pointed them out to Bob he told me "all cats look alike."

Well, Grayson is at home and we are adjusting to calling him a him. He is still full of piss and vinegar.

Bit now he seems to like watching 3 Stooges with Bob. (Its a guy thing)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Promise 2010

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done..." ~ John Lennon

This year, we have been blessed again to spend our Christmas Eve with Christmas Promise. For me this is how we celebrate Christmas. This year, Chuck, our elf for several years past moved up to being a Santa. Our replacement Elf had his schedule changed at work and was unable to help so we decided to try and steal an elf once we got there.

We waiting about 20 minutes and we finally snagged an Elf. She happened to be one of the main volunteers who was in charge of the pot luck and has been working with Christmas Promise for many years. We got our assignment, loaded up the sleigh and headed out.

Our 2 houses were within spitting distance from each other so I figured this would be easy. The first house was in a groups of fourplexes which not only did not have legible street numbers, did not have good unit indicators. Our Elf tried to find the location, but we ended up having Santa call the family. After a bit of a language barrier, Santa finally convinced them he was legit and we discovered they had moved to an apartment complex about a mile away. This turned out to be an enormous complex with no parking so the sleigh had to be parked on the street. Our Elf scouted out the location and came back to give Santa directions. She also indicated there were a couple of teen aged boys with skateboards on the way, so Santa stowed a six pack of coke in his bag and headed to the apartment. I stayed with the truck while our Elf tailed Santa with a bag of gifts. A short time later the boys cam walking by and headed up to the corner to meet their friends with the cokes in hand. I could hear a bit of the conversation.

"Hey, where'd you get the sodas?"
"From Santa."
"No really, where'd you get them?" Followed by an argument in Spanish.

A few people passed me standing by the truck and everyone was happy and wished me a Merry Christmas including the woman and her "ugly husband" as she put it who were going to the corner store.

We finished the delivery and headed back to stop number 2 which was and upstairs unit at one of the original 4plexes. Santa headed up the stairs followed by the Elf who hung out around the corner. Santa came out to get the first bag. Elf took 2nd bag up. When Santa came out to get the 2nd bag, I saw Dad come out and look around. Elf was hidden and I could see him shaking his head. Santa said he kept asking where the stuff was coming from. As Santa was handing out gifts he noticed that one little girl was not getting anything. Turns out she was a cousin who was visiting. When he came out to get the next bag he relayed her info to Elf who gave me the info. I made a quick call to the North Poles and the Elves got to work on getting together gifts for a 3 year old girl. Elf ran the last bag up the stairs. When she came down I took the pecan pie rolls and sodas up so she could have a break. As I got to the top of the steps, one of the sodas slipped out of the six pack and fell down the entire flight of stairs hitting each step as it went. I figure it would be pretty tacky to give the a "5-pack", so I brought them back and tried not to giggle.
As Santa left he assured the little 3 year old that he would be back. She just looked at him and shook her head "No No".

Back we flew to the North Pole where we found Chuck back from his run. Paula informed me that he cried after his delivery. When he got to his house he asked for the little boy "C' by name. "C"'s eyes got big as saucers. "Are you "C"?" "Dad had to prod him to answer. Then Grandma saw Santa and burst into tears. Uncle was there, pretty drunk and insisting that Santa was his "best friend". "C" told Santa that he was the answer to his prayer. Grandma kept quizzing Santa on where he was from and who sent him but Santa didn't break. Santa didn't think Grandma would ever let him go. When he got outside he broke down and cried. I am so proud of Chuck. He is hooked now on being Santa!

Bob finished his paperwork and we grabbed the gifts for the little 3 year old and headed back. They were on the balcony when we came back and the little girl was so excited. I think she thought Santa forgot her. I could see her jumping up and down and Santa brought her gifts out of the bag.

As we were leaving, a woman came out from one of the other apartments with a toddler and a young boy about 8 who kept telling her "I told you Santa was real!" Santa had some gifts for them in his magic sack and then we hopped in the sleigh to head back home for a long winters nap.

Chuck's Elf, Chris Denny with Santa Bob

Santa Bob filling out his paperwork

Santa Chuck

Santa Chuck and his Mrs. Claus, Paula

Monday, December 20, 2010

Time to Remember the Poor

Cold winter is come, with its cold chilling breath
And the leaves are all gone from the trees.
And all seems touched by the finger of death
And the streams are beginning to freeze.
When the young wanton lads o'er the river slide,
When Flora attends us no more,
When in plenty you are sitting by a warm fireside:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The cold feather'd snow will in plenty descend
And whiten the prospects around.
The keen cutting wind from the North will attend
And cover it over the ground.
When the hills and the dales are all candied with white
And the rivers are froze on the shore,
When the bright twinkling stars they proclaim the cold night:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The poor timid hare through the woods may be traced
With the footsteps indented in the snow,
When our lips and our fingers are dangling with cold
And the marksman a-shooting does go.
When the poor Robin Redbreast approaches your cot
And the icicles hang at the door,
And when your bowl smokes reviving and hot:
That's the time to remember the poor.

The thaw shall ensue and the waters increase
And the rivers vehemently grow;
The fish from oblivion obtains its release
And in danger the travellers go.
When your minds are annoyed by the wide swelling flood
And your bridges are useful no more;
When in plenty you enjoy everything that is good
Do you grumble to think of the poor?

The time will come when our Saviour on Earth
All world shall agree with one voice.
All nations unite to salute the blest morn
And the whole of the Earth shall rejoice.
When grim death deprived of its killing sting
And the grave rules triumphant no more
Saints, angels and men Hallelujah shall sing
Then the rich must remember the poor.

(Traditional English Folk Song)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farewell Sweetie Pie

The hardest part of being a pet parent is knowing when its time to say goodbye. On Tuesday, December 14, 2010 we said goodbye to Sweetie Pie.

Sweetie Pie came into our lives in July of 1999. In February of that year, my Father passed away and in June, we had to say goodbye to my Mom's dog, Holly. Mom was completely alone and very unhappy. A small voice, which I think was my Dad, told me to go to the pound one weekend. There in one of the cages I saw her

She was a beautiful cream, brown and black. She was not bouncing like the other dogs. She seemed to be waiting patiently. She reminded me a bit of my brother's dog Sunshine, who had stayed with us years before. I took her into the walking pen and knew that she was the one. I filled out the paperwork and then went to Mom's house to tell her.

Mom was a little unsure at first, but all doubt was swept away when we went to pick her up from the vet. They had given her a bath, checked her over and microchipped her. They also guessed her age at about 3-4 years old. Mom was overjoyed. The vet techs kept talking about what a sweet temperament she had so Mom ended up Christening her "Sweetie Pie".

She and Mom were inseparable. She slept on the bed with Mom, ate cheetoes with Mom and really brightened her spirit. We discovered she was terrified of loud noises. During thunder storms she would try to hide behind the couch. As long as her head was covered and she couldn't see anything, she felt safe. She was pretty strong and if you were sitting on the couch when thunder cracked, you would almost get thrown off the couch from her diving behind it.

I would come over to clean house for Mom every week. Sometimes I would bring my cats Sayuri and MoMo. Sweetie was scared to death of cats and would cross to the far side of the room to get away from Sayuri. Sayuri knew this and would purposefully come and rub up on Sweetie. Mom was another story. He was still a kitten. He looked like a cat, but didn't quite smell like a cat. Sweetie would follow him around sniffing him. Sometimes she would be sniffing so hard that his hind end would not ever be on the ground anymore!

She also had a problem with gunk build up in her ears. Dr. Faber from our local vet clinic would make house calls to treat her and visit with Mom.

Sweetie did not have a tail, but when she was happy she would shake her whole hind end. With her long hair she looked like a hula dancer when she got going.

She was there for Mom after her stroke. Caring for her helped Mom stay focused.

Bob and I adopted Sweetie the day Mom passed away in 2002. I had gone to the pound a few days earlier to get a second dog to be a companion for Sweetie. They day we brought Honey home from the vet was the day Mom passed away. She never got to meet Honey.

Sweetie's life changed a bit after that. She was outside more because both Bob & I worked, but she had Honey for company. She continued to sleep on the bed for as long as she was still able to get up there. She also loved playing in water so we bought her a kiddie pool and she would splash all summer long. She would not fetch but would bounce and bark when you threw the ball for Honey. She also surprised everyone by stealing a whole tri tip at a bbq we hosted.

Time began to take its toll on Sweetie. Her muzzle became greyer and her steps a little slower. On Thanksgiving morning this year, she had a small seizure. We thought perhaps it was from the cold, but a week later she had a grand mal seizure. At first the vet thought it might be a brain tumor, but the blood work showed a pancreatic tumor. Sweetie had pancreatic problems for years. We had to add a special enzyme to her food to help her digest it. Now her body was producing too much insulin causing her blood sugar to drop dangerously low. For a dog the normal range is 100-160. Hers was dropping into the 30s. We began feeding her small meals every 4-6 hours but the seizures were becoming more and more frequent. She would sleep much of the day, and when she was awake, she would stagger aimlessly. We knew it was time.

We made that final trip to the vet. Dr. Faber was there with us. She was not sure she could do it, since she was so close to Sweetie Pie too. We all help her and loved on her as she passed from this world. I sat on the floor sobbing into my hands. It was hard to say goodbye, but I know as we bid her farewell here, she was bouncing up to Mom in the next.

I think the card my co-workers gave me sums it up best

"Dogs have a way of teaching us about love, loyalty, joy and friendship. The gifts your dog gave you - happiness, companionship, unconditional love - these will never leave you"