Mom

 

Just finished watching “Everything Must Go”. It stars Will Farrell. Not a big WF fan at all BTW. Not something I’d ever seek out to view but surprisingly relevant for my mood today.

Gave up both storage units last week. One was my whole life or I should say, had my whole life in it. The stuff that I took with me when I left the house I shared with the dolt I’m no longer married to.

Anyways, the storage units had all the photos, artwork, antiques, family stuff and so on. Gone to some stranger. I no longer could afford the rent on them, so the storage company sold them.

It’s so amazing. Time. And death and loss. I picked up the phone today and as I looked at the window where you see the caller’s name I thought I saw “Mom” for a split second. Yes, I still long to talk to her and even have written to her (not to be published) and will soon see her. Would have thought it’d be my father but, no, it’s Mom I miss the most.

Sure, the experience of loss is often shelved as you proceed to go on living. If it couldn’t  be, you’d be a morose sack of shit. But it resurfaces when you least expect it. Even 17 years later. And that was before I saw today’s movie. Maybe you (I) should expect it.

I no longer have to think about where to put all the stuff. All that’s left is the junk that’s in this rental house and garage here at Grey House.

Most of that’s paperwork, saved under the guise divorce and possibly needing it for some vague reason. Well that and there are a lot of clothes from “a life I no longer have” yet I hang on to for some reason.

Maybe this is how it begins. The leaving. The walking off the planet as it were. You just get tired when there’s no reason for rejuvenation.

Life simply loses it’s luster when you’re totally alone. No one to share anything with. Why care? Why bother?

No one to talk to. No one to reminisce with.

Alone.

I hope you never experience this.

 

The following photo is more to cheer me up than for you, sorry. Love it, so cute. And listening to Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”.

Bait & Switch Frontier Style

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Since the new telecommunications entity in this town is no longer the disliked but benign Verizon, it is now and has been for about 8 months…Frontier communications. OMG. What a BEAST! They cut off my internet while I was in the hospital and nursing homes for December and January, so I had to re-start it. For the service, I was quoted $20.00 per month for internet by the  Frontier salesman. Well, I got the February bill for internet only (no landline) and it was $138.94.

How do they do this???????

I’m totally dumbfounded.

Oh, and I’d take a photo of the bill but discovered more things taken by Presentation, the Philipino thief that 24 Hour Homecare last sent to me was my camera, case and tripod! Wow. Don’t ever trust such services. They make a big deal about how they do all kinds of background and security checks on the people they send out but obviously they don’t or if they really do, they miss whole a lot.

 

Blog Shift and Artichokes

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Veggie Dip

It became apparent to me earlier last summer that I was losing interest in the general subject matter on my blog. I no longer had a dog and my life had become smaller and smaller as walking became harder and harder, so I felt I had nothing to write about. Sorry for my prior extended absences.

What has been consuming my life is aging and everything involved in it. In case you missed the post with my age (I finally admitted it), I’m 66 and will be 67 in May. What I’ve been finding is that there’s very little written for those of us who are aging and the “challenges” we will face. No one seems to have any kind of major info….

So I decided to write about the things I run into as I hit them. “Hit them” is the operative phrase here, because pretty often it’s a shock. The other thing I’m going to write about are the interesting recipes I’ve come across that don’t require a lot of physical work or effort to make. You can stop laughing now…I was referring to carrying big pots of water, food etc. across the kitchen to the stove and back.

As you may or may not know/realize, since the emergency surgery and three or four weeks time I spent in the I.C.U. almost 2.5 years ago, my balance has really deteriorated. I’m now “chained” to my walker as it were.  The whole idea of filling my 5 quart Dutch oven up with water to cook one or three artichokes (looovve them to pieces) or anything else, only to have to move the big (5 qt.) pot of water (cold or hot) between the sink and stove is just really unsafe at this point.

A while back, I had a very nice homecare person, named Antonia in to help me for a few hours. Got a lot done but sadly the artichoke (on sale over Thanksgiving) I’d been lusting after all summer only got halfway cooked before she had to leave. I tried leaving the it in the hot water hoping it’d finish cooking but no such luck. They’re tough little buggers.

So, using my 2 cup measure, I drained it (again, no moving big pots of water around the kitchen) and wrapped it in plastic resolving to figure it out in the days that followed. They last quite well when bagged and refrigerated.

(Oh, and did you know the way to check if your artichoke is ready? You take a tongs and grab hold of one of the leaves in the middle. If the leaf releases from the veg easily, voila, done. If not, cook some more. Usually takes about 40 or more minutes and you really can’t overcook them. Well, maybe 2+ hours would….)

So, I googled “can artichokes be microwaved?” and got all kinds of info that will now make my life and hopefully yours easier (and safer). What follows are just a few sites addressing this! Here are just a few:
Ten Minute Microwave Steamed Artichokes
https://thismodernwife.com/2013/04/25/10-minute-microwave-steamed
-artichokes/
(This article is really interesting because it talks about how to eat the stems! Some of the stores in my area actually advertise in very early summer having chokes with long stems because they are very similar to the heart of the artichoke. Who knew?)
How to Microwave Artichokes
http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/microwave-artichokes/
Ways to Cook Artichokes
http://artichokes.org/cooking-artichokes

So getting older may be an evil none of us can avoid, but hopefully you, like me, will realize there are a number of ways around some of the problems. Oh, and for sitting through this long post, here’s my recipe (yes, I finally measured the ingredients vs. eyeballing them!) for a dip that’s fantastic with almost any form of raw veg as well as a great dip for the artichoke leaves and other cooked veggies. I’ve used this recipe for the last 35 years with virtually no alterations. It keeps (in my experience) for over a week in the fridge or until the whey in the sour cream has separated into a watery layer on top (just stir back in or pour off if you’re so inclined).

Dip for Artichokes

1 c. or more of Knudson’s sour cream (16 ounces or 2 cups shown below)
1-1.5 t. Lemon Pepper (not an expensive one)
1+/- t. Beau Monde by Spice Islands
1+/-t. Bon Appetit

Alternate measurements or to taste:

2 c. of Knudson’s sour cream (16 ounces or 2 cups shown below)
2+ t. Lemon Pepper
2+ t. Beau Monde by Spice Islands
2+ t. Bon Appetit also by Spice Islands

Sprinkle on the surface of the sour cream in a fairly solid track. First one direction vertically (or horizontally, doesn’t matter) and same with the other in the opposite direction. See photos.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Begin by topping with Lemon Pepper (as above). I used McCormick’s. You use the most of this “spice”. In other words a bit more than what’s seen here. And yes, this is a 16 ounce container of Knudson sour cream.

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Lemon Pepper with Bon Appetite over it

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Now with Beau Monde over that.

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Mix well and chill to blend for about 1 hour. If you don’t let the spice “crystals” bloom, the dip will be crunchy if used immediately.

Notes:

-Buy a cheap brand of lemon pepper vs. one by Spice Islands or any of the high end pricy ones. Easier to find and they taste better. My opinion. (This note applies to the spice mix Celery Salt also. I’ve tried the higher priced ones and the flavor doesn’t blend into itself well. Each element in the mix fights the other rather than becoming a homogenous flavoring. Again, my opinion.)

-You can always add more spice to the dip if it doesn’t suit you. Just let the spices meld again.

Dip and enjoy!

 

Color Me Happy

5 A.M. Monday 2/20/2017

Can you tell I stayed up all night and watched my DVD of Pretty Woman? (I was referring to my choice of titles for this post) Love that movie for escaping to. Earlier, Nubber’s guys left to go buy parts for the 60+ year old gravity furnace. While she waited, I got Nubbers to help me clear a few things to the trash. She even volunteered that if I called, she’d come over and help me get rid of more stuff since walking with my arms full is no longer an option with my knees. At least she’s brighter than the bulk of “helpers” I get from 24Hr. Homecare. Just don’t want her to “pay herself” by raising my rent!

 

A Week at Greyhouse Journal

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As you age, touch typing after a long hospital/nursing-home stay is tough. Like now, I tried to type a paragraph and wound up erasing it far more easily. Anyways, it’s (good grief, having to forefinger-type AND  look at the keys sucks big-time) going to be a post that spans several days…sorry.

Friday and Saturday were long miserable gray, rainy days. I’m watching The Crown on Netflix. It’s a series!!! Award winning even! Who knew? I’m really enjoying it.

The furnace in this rental house croaked on Wednesday. Today (2/18/17) it was finally sunny in the afternoon…how nice! Warmth…but short lived. Of course the cheap-ass landlord and property manager have not called a furnace repair company yet.  Nubs, the property manager went out after dinner tonight and bought a huge portable heater (I’m sure she figured this would alleviate the need to replace the 65+ year old gravity furnace.)

One very large problem, it was really big and powerful. Where the heck would it fit and not start something nearby on fire or melt something? So I have no heat again for the night and it’s supposed to be about 50F or less tonight in this rental with no insulation.

She said she’ll go tomorrow, return the huge heater and get me a tiny one like my own.  Again she seems to think this will be a lasting solution. Good grief. She probably thinks since it’s “almost spring”, no problem.

And Eric wonders why I call him vs. her when there’s a problem with this rental. Only catch is that I’m going to be freezing for more nights to come and it’s the weekend so I can’t even call the city and ask what the “rules” for a livable dwelling are. Again, good grief!

2/19/17 It’s Sunday morning and still no solution. Nubbers said she’ll be getting a smaller heater for the bedroom this A.M. but no luck for Nubbers finding a furnace company yet!!!

I haven’t gotten any sleep for five nights because it’s been so cold (if you live in the Northeast, you can stop laughing now). In 2 days the night temps will fall into the low 40’s! So for this 600 square foot ice box of a rental I pay $2100+/month!

It’s now Sunday afternoon and no heater plus no news of a furnace repair company.

Well, she just saved herself by showing up at 12:20 P.M. with a (not too) big electric heater which I had her put in the kitchen, yay! Lightweight too. She even took the info on the furnace survice I found, shock of shocks!

It’s now President’s Day and @ 9 AM Nubbers was here ’cause “her guys” were due to arrive and fix the furnace. Supposedly they know how, we’ll see. As always they wanted to use my vacuum to clean out the furnace box.