Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Soft Ball. Hard Ball. Laughter.

Shhh, don't tell Mark he's starring today. 

Mark is a nervous energy guy. My kitchen floor is proof of that, there is a wear pattern from his pacing. Under the best of circumstances he has an anxiety aura. With the health problems it has gone up several notches. Which is why I snapped this photo and am posting it, even though it's not a good photo, it was actually dark outside but the phone adjusted the light and gave everything a weird glow. Back to the point. He was talking to his brother and he started laughing, laughing with gusto. It was wonderful to hear and I just picked up my phone, zoomed in and click. He was in a good mood for the rest of the evening. Such a pleasure. 

I made turkey and dumpling soup for last evenings dinner. There's two more meals left. Dumplings are one of those things people have opinions about. Mark would tell me he didn't like them, then I'd make them and he liked them. Repeat this right up to yesterday. He has hard, gluey in his brain and it won't leave, even after four decades. One of the challenges of life with, his words, a weird guy. I like soft, fluffy dumplings. The kind that fall apart just slightly as they simmer. I like them large, don't ask me why. Maybe I kid myself I only had one. Mark only knew the ping pong ball dumplings. I make soft balls. I have enough turkey left to make a shepherds pie. I have to use eggplant I've had a little too long, it's starting to go over. That will be tonight, shepherd pie will need to wait.

We got about 7" of snow yesterday. Today it is blustery and cold. The snow is heavy so it's not blowing around too much. I have a delivery coming tomorrow, which means I can probably wait to plow until morning. It's a little too blowy for me unless I must do it. Mark said he'd do it. No, I have plowed since we moved here and I'll plow until I cannot find a way to get up on that skid steer. Dagnabbit!

Off I go to make some bread dough, we find ourselves out of bread. No fermented loaf today, just a few hour rise. We have dumplings for lunch, we will be okay. I'll check in on everyone this afternoon. Toodles.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Boys and Toys and Kitchens

Yesterday I found Frieda had vomited on my desk and keyboard. The keyboard wouldn't work after I cleaned up the mess, so I had no access to this site, other than my phone which I don't like to use for this. I was able to get a new keyboard the same day, so by evening it arrived and here I am. The things we grow dependent on. My laptop died last month and I've chosen to not replace it. I really don't need it.

We, as it seems much of the country is, are getting a lot of snow. Not what Buffalo got a week ago, but about 7". Not feet! Snow is much nicer to look at. The drab grey we have had since the melt last week was depressing. I will actually need to plow.

I know I have said my son is a chef and I know that word has become casually used to describe a good cook. My son is a chef. He worked in fine dining with the brigade de cuisine system for the first 25 years of his career. He started as a sixteen year old as a dishwasher at Pizza restaurant. When he went to Bemidji for his sophomore year of college he started working in a new fine dining restaurant as a line cook. He got hooked on it, I know not why. When he returned to St. Paul he got a job which altered his life, an ambitious head chef who saw something in him and brought him up the stations. He became the Sous Chef to this future James Beard award winner and his Chef de Cuisine in the restaurant the chef eventually owned. It's a hard way to earn a living, the hours are grueling and the work is hot and hard on the body. A few years ago he left fine dining and went to gastro pubs. After the pandemic, when he didn't have work, he decided he wasn't doing management anymore, he wanted to be an hourly employee with set hours and days off. He has a job at a chi chi hotel in Minneapolis that he really likes. With his background he is a desirable employee. He is in charge of breakfast and lunch service and then he is done. He is enjoying this. So, my explanation of my very smart son who decided to work in a professional kitchen, because....? Passion, I guess.

Now onto another topic involving young men. This truck. A 1997 one ton Chevy diesel dually used primarily for pulling my horse trailer back in the day. It's also used for picking up large loads like grain, pellets, etc. All the years out here we always had three vehicles, my Jeep, Mark's car and the truck. We gave Bill the Jeep early this year. The truck has been going on the road a little more and stopping for fuel or in a parking lot, young men lust over it. Seriously. I don't think any man ever looked at me the way they look at the beast. I guess this is now considered classic by the twenty-somethings and they get bright-eyed looking at it. I own something young men want!

Mark is taking his CPE course today and tomorrow and I get the fun task of sitting at his desk when he needs to be away from it for a bit. I have to click the icon that periodically appears to show you are in attendance. His work would bore me into a coma. I just spent some time with it. Good god.

I think I'll stop before I go onto some other thrilling topic. So happy to have a keyboard!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

My daughter-in-law and granddoggie, Homer. He is the sweetest little guy.

We had a very nice day with them for Mark's birthday. The son made steak with a beurre rouge sauce, roasted potatoes and a delicious spinach salad. Topped off with Dutch apple pie! It was a beautiful day in the mid-fifties with lots of sunshine and no wind. The weather gods looked kindly upon Mark on his day. I held Homer for a long time and got to see Murphy the cat. He had shown up in our barn winter of 2012. He spent the winter and early spring with us. I had a house cat that would not tolerate other cats, all the dogs I wanted to have were fine by her. No Cats! He is the sweetest laid back fellow and I didn't think he would survive outside life so I gave him to my mother. When she died Matthew took him. Big old love bug.

Mark will be taking advantage of the moderate weather today and tomorrow to spread manure. Yep, life on the animal farm. What goes in, must come out. What comes out, must be spread. It's a cycle. We have half a turkey left so I'll take the meat off and make stock with the bones. That will be my day. Better than hauling manure.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Birthday Bash

Today is the old boy's birthday. He's celebrating this morning by turning out the equines and now going to pick up grain and water softener salt. The excitement may be too much for him! We will be heading to North Minneapolis for lunch with the son and his wife. That will be a nice change from the daily routine. Someone else will be doing the cooking, another nice change.

I had no photo of Thanksgiving, so ta-da.....yesterday's post Thanksgiving lunch, in all its starchy-ness!

We are on a weather rollercoaster at the moment. We're supposed to have a high of 51 F today. Most of the snow has melted, but more is to come on Tuesday, when we get back to more seasonable weather. The pellet stove is working and keeping half of the house warm on low setting. I feel happy to have finally got it fixed. I cannot even say why I let it go for years. But, it is fixed now.

I guess I should prepare myself for an afternoon of peopling. As a naturally reclusive person who has been living in a cocoon for a couple of years it is hard work peopling! Whew. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Day After

They are empaths, they felt our food coma.

I know we did. Mark said he should not be allowed to put food on the plates. I agree, I knew it was too much but I ate it anyway. 


I put a fire in the Bat Cave the last couple of days. It's been temperate outside so having a giant hole open in the chimney didn't matter so much. The light at dusk is soft and everything glows. We rarely use this room anymore. It was great when I still entertained, open to the kitchen and perfect for people to mingle. Now we snuggle up in the room of glass behind it.

I know this is hard to comprehend, considering my propensity for food photos, but I took not one photo! Of food, that is. I did take a couple of photos, obviously. We go to the son's house tomorrow for lunch. That will be a nice change. It's easier if he does the cooking, my son is a chef, since his wife is a vegan and I would rather not have that responsibility. He is not vegan so he cooks for her and then the rest of us when we visit. We get to see his Yorkie and the cat I gave my mother years ago. He took Murphy when Kate died. Murphy has been good for their other cat who was very skittish. Big old Murph is calm and gentle.

I hope you all who celebrate Thanksgiving had a day of good food, good company and an empathetic cat or dog or something to feel your food coma with you.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thank You For Being Here

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey is the oven. Pie is made. I'm about to make the dressing. It is a quiet, easy holiday for me. I hope you all have a day of food, company and happiness. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


There is some material available.

What a couple of minutes scraping of Keetah produces. She has limited patience for brushing, so I do the best I can before she bolts. Then she guards her hair.

I got some work done yesterday, which means I stayed off the computer and phone. Today will be busy but I'll take some time to see what's going on with you all. I haven't made a pie in several years. I have pared it down to a galette, which is a rustic open pie. Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind to make one with pumpkin. Part of the trepidation is Mark raves about my crust and I am very out of practice. I can see crust failure in my future. Otherwise the meal is simple enough. Over the years, especially after the death of my father almost 13 years ago, I have made the meal more simple. It's down to turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes (which I could do without, but not Mark), gravy and a vegetable. None of this is difficult. I'm just hung up on the pie!

I took this photo of Tripod Kitty last evening while she was giving herself a spa treatment. This chair belongs to her, no one else, including Frieda, sits in it. She gets along amazingly well with one front leg. She can run and jump without effort. I don't think she can catch mice, she has Frieda for that. Somewhere along the way I turned into an old cat lady. Who'd a thought?

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Come Here, My Pretty. Said the Cat to the Mouse.

Cats. Just Because....

Mark had a productive appointment with the radiologist yesterday. He met with her for two hours! He told me he asked a lot of questions. Why am I not surprised? Where questions are concerned, no one does it better. He is confident in her and in the treatment and now has a schedule set up for six weeks, starting January third. 

My serial killer, Frieda, got two mice sometime during the night. Poor Keetah was upset and guarding a mouse corpse this morning. Frieda did a perfect cat swagger through the kitchen, laid down and preened herself, I think cockily, but then aren't cats always cocky? Yes, but she had a little something more. 

Mark has some shopping to do today if he wants a proper Thanksgiving dinner. I saw an article yesterday about how expensive these items are at this time. I need to remember to take the roasted pumpkin out of the freezer since I have promised a pie. Mark asked if I wanted a premade crust. I would love to say yes for the ease of it, but one thing I do well is pie crust and it really would feel like I threw in the towel. So, no. Not yet.

I got nothing other than laundry done yesterday so I must concentrate on the dog hair and dust. Put down the book. Clean the house. Yes. OK. I really do need to get it done, for my own sake. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

German Shepherd Detritus and Other Fine Things

No talk of music, cats, dogs, clowns or jokers. Back to basics. Although warmer yesterday it was still cold so we had soup for lunch. I don't know what happened to Mark, but he delightedly said "soup for lunch". He used to see soup as not food!

Then, this is what using what you've got on hand becomes for dinner. I had a small amount of leftover meatloaf. Tomatoes and shredded zucchini from the freezer, curtesy of the garden. Some garlic, basil cubes and pappardelle, a little parmigiano and it was dinner. Done in the time it takes to boil water.

Mark's birthday is Saturday. We are invited to the son's house that day as we don't see them on Thanksgiving. It's been a year almost to the day since we have seen his wife. She has a new job she's happy with and I think things are going well for them.

Mark meets with the radiologist later this morning to go over the treatment plan. I think he starts treatment sometime in December. Mark's absolute favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because of the food and leftovers, so he is really pleased his treatment won't be messing that up for him. He has a few items to pick up for his favorite day and the turkey gets picked up on Wednesday. I need to rally to make a pie, the guy is obsessed with pie. A birthday, cancer...I think I need to make a pie.

That's about it. The sun is shining again, it's in the 20s F and heading for a warm up. I need to find the energy to clean the place, German Shepherd hair is everywhere. Anyone who may do spinning, I could keep you supplied....just saying.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Wine. Music. Memories.

🎵 Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you. Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you. 🎵

 It's Keetah's fate in life.

We sit in the snug, known as the sunroom in summer, before dinner, Mark with a Wild Turkey and I with a glass of red wine. I have the fire lit and the cats and Keetah join us. It is routine, a long ingrained ritual in our home. We are joined by music. Music of our youth, for the most part. I am a classical music lover, Mark not so much, so in the evening it is music of our generation. We listened to Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd last evening. It's the only album they put out that I like. Some of what's on The Wall I like but not much. You realize you are not a kid anymore when the music you relate to is 50-60 years old! Mark and I, totally unbiased mind you, feel that the 1960s to early 1970s were the most prolific and innovative time in generations for output of music. 

I was and am a fan of Shawn Phillips. He is a niche person so not a lot of people know who he is. I told Mark when I was a teen if Shawn walked into a room, tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I wanted to see the world with him I would have gone, like that! Mark doesn't care for him. 😄 I did take Mark to see him at the Guthrie in the late '70s and then in the late 2000s, again at the Guthrie. The seats were packed with grey-hairs that time! How could you be a teenage girl and not swoon over a guy with beautiful hair past his waist?

I could wander down the musical lane of memory for quite awhile. I was fortunate in where I lived to see many, many concerts. I had season tickets for years for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, some of it during the years that Itzhak Perlman was music director and brought in Isaac Stern and Yo Yo Ma. I used to drag my son to those concerts, as I said, Mark is not a fan. I dragged that kid to lots of things boys of his age didn't do. Poor kid. 

I won't go on. My own magical musical tour is over! We have sunshine, not seen for a long time, and warmer temperatures for a week or so. Mark meets with the radiologist tomorrow. She is a Harvard Medical School graduate, which, whether it should or not, gives a sense of confidence. Life carries on. One foot after the other.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Bay All The Way

I took a couple of photos through the window of my eating machines. I used to say I should have named the farm Nothing But Bay because that color gene was extremely strong in my bloodlines. There is a chestnut out there somewhere, the bay gene didn't get a chance there because both parents were chestnut. And chestnut & chestnut produces chestnut. I could have also called the place Dark Horse Farm. But for a woman from St. Paul moving to the outer edge of Minneapolis it seemed like the end of the world to me.

Top photo is Bright, Scamper and Bounce. They are paternal brothers.
Far left, barely visible, is Ben, a Lippizaner cross, the chestnut, Laddy, and Topper, the now gelded sire of the three brothers. They range in age from 19-26, Tops being the eldest.

They are the boys, the geldings. Geldings are like ten-year-old boys, no matter how old they get. Mares quickly become stern old ladies, no nonsense. Lots of people don't care for mares, I do. They are to be admired, they are my ladies of substance.

We have a high of 16 F today, low of 9. Tomorrow it jumps up to 32 F. When there is snow on the ground and horses going out to paddocks these temperature shifts are not welcome. Freezing/melting creates havoc. I never have been able to get the weather to listen to me, no matter how I try.

So, a view of horse butts is about all I've got today. The pellet stove is still working, Mark keeps the woodbox full for the smaller fireplace and we aren't being pummeled with snow like NW New York. Sometimes, it is the immediate that I must remember to be thankful for.

Friday, November 18, 2022


A friend sent me this. It perfectly describes my feeling toward winter, except I see the fires, wine and comfort food as desirable. These are part of my winter quiet. My friend in Denmark introduced me to hygge (and told me how to pronounce it!) before it sort of became a marketing word. I enjoy the early dark and short days. I realize I am in a unique position, one I was not in for most of my life, but even then winter was quieting for me. Perhaps it's that I am a Capricorn, born in a northern climate. 😉

The winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this is a period of descent and rest, of going within our homes, within ourselves and taking in all that we have been through, all that has passed in this full year which is coming to a close... like nature and the animal kingdom around us, this time of hibernation is so necessary for our tired limbs, our burdened minds.
Our modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, comfort food and consumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and the weather so bitter that people are left feeling that winter is hard, because for those of us without burning fires and big festive families, it can be lonely and isolating. Whereas in actual fact winter is kind, she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards this annual time of peace and reflection, embracing the darkness and forgiving, accepting and loving embracing goodbye the past year.
"Winter takes away the distractions, the buzz, and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth".
.. and then, just around the corner the new year will begin again, and like a seed planted deep in the earth, we will all rise with renewed energy once again to dance in the sunlight
Life is a gift ❤ a Happy winter to you all...
Written by Bridget Anna McNeil
Artwork by Jessica Boehman

Cosy up, read a book, drink tea and enjoy where you are and what you have.

Thursday, November 17, 2022


Little Miss Naughty Pants

Basking in the evening glow of firelight. Three years ago on the evening of November 1, Frieda came to the kitchen door, which is glass, stood on her hind feet and knocked with one paw. She had shown up in the barn about a week earlier. She was tiny, a recently weaned kitten, and fearful. We couldn't get near her but we fed and watered her. She stood by the silo that day mewling at me, but would skitter away if I started toward her. Then, that evening she decided enough was enough and knocked. She came strolling in like she lived there and that was that. I guess she couldn't see herself as a barn cat, she does love life's comforts, and Mark's tri-pod kitty didn't care about Frieda moving in, so I have the Brat Cat.

I have been told tortoiseshell cats are unusual and I would say this is an understatement. I have never known a cat like this one. 

Her first full day in the house she got onto the piano and stared at the crossbeams and made slight upward movements, like she wanted to jump. Fast forward to April, 2020, there she is. She managed to jump from a side table to the top of a 9' bookcase, then she took the leap of about 4' up and across to the beam. In this photo she is contemplating getting on the ceiling fan blades. Mark got a tall ladder to get her down. In a minute she was back. This is when I saw how she did it. Several more forays before I had to move her starting point, the side table. That led to a day of cat protestation. We called her the flying monkey. 

I did need this little terror. My beloved dogs had died, I had finally cut off contact with my toxic mother and the world seemed a hostile place. Then along came Frieda. Sometimes, the fates are aligned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Sticking to a Theme

More books on a couple of shelves in the living room.
Most are well worn. 

I kind of reached the end of my tether yesterday. I filled in a request for an appointment with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN yesterday. This morning a representative called me, took more info and sent a link for me to give detailed information and also a link to set up a patient portal. I tried to message my doctor afterward but the site for Park Nicollet wasn't working. I need a referral from her. Not to get into Mayo but in order for insurance to pay. We have a convoluted system, those of you who have spent time in it know that. I've been on the merry-go-round long enough, it has become apparent I haven't been proactive in my own care. As a side note, it's good to know, as I read the doctor's comments after the last visit that I am well-groomed and coherent! Also, that I think I have a fairly balanced diet. Maybe I'm reading into it, but I saw a ya, right in there. Probably because I've seen it before, and not subtly. 

Taking the bookshelf photos is reacquainting me with books I have forgotten I have. I finished an audiobook yesterday so maybe I'll pick one of those forgotten books up.

It's a mild day, not snowing. We have about 5", which will probably melt by the end of next week. My Misfits box comes today with fennel in it. I have a whole chicken in the refrigerator just waiting to roast with the fennel. Yummity-Yum!

That's all there is for today. Take care.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Brief Hello

Evidence that I did actually make bread yesterday.

More snow and cold-ish today. I have leftover soup and it's a good day for soup and crusty bread.


Monday, November 14, 2022

Monday Monday

Currently happening in the West Metro. We are expecting about two inches. It's 25 F with a high of 27 F. There's the weather report.

Yesterday was much like today, other than just light flurries. It was good soup weather so a pot of garbanzo bean and potato soup was made, which led to a merry-go-round conversation with Mark about vegetarians. Would they eat it since it's made with chicken stock but no chicken? Sometimes he drives me a bit crazy because there is no answer he will accept! Don't know, maybe, no, it depends on the vegetarian? Just eat your soup, you're not a vegetarian.

Then, as further proof he is not a vegetarian, I made pizza for dinner with prosciutto. Also fennel, kalamatas and artichoke hearts. It was good, although the crust was meh. Whole wheat without a mixture of white flour does not make a light, airy crust. It's been awhile since I made pizza, a sign I haven't been myself. 

More food talk. I finally mixed the bread dough I planned to make days ago. This is a no-knead dough that sits for twenty-four hours, made with half whole wheat and half bread flour. I need to get my mojo back, we do like our homemade bread and I've always enjoyed making it. I want to make a rye loaf for Bill. 

Monday is laundry day. It's the one consistency I have hung onto. We had the laundry moved upstair in 2003 which makes it hardly seem like a job. The son asked me if I'm using stairs, he did see me after the collapse. I don't need to go to the basement for much and the house is a single story. We have a ramp on the back deck. My basset, Howard, had trouble with stairs at the end of his life, and we just kept the ramp. Service people appreciate it.

So, off to the day. Take care.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Food. Weather. Food.

Aren't we lucky....I decided to grace this page with a food photo. It's been awhile, for me a long while!

Steelhead trout, squash from the garden and broccoli. I looked up steelhead trout some time ago, as I like it a lot but didn't really know what it is. It's in the same family as rainbow trout, but one of them is in fresh water and the other is sea water. Now you know and can stop wondering. Steamed in butter with shallot and garlic, what could be better? 

It's a grey Sunday, not getting above freezing and some light snow. About what we expect from November. I don't mind.

That's about it. I think the last couple of weeks have zapped my brain energy, leaving me sort of vacuous where thoughts are concerned. I think I'll have another cup of coffee and make some soup.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Dusty Pages

Reading Boud's blog this morning gave me an idea for a post. I had nothing and now I do, for whatever it's worth! She said she enjoyed looking in the background of Zooms and posts, at what people had on their bookshelves. This is an intentional look at what some of my shelves hold, dust and all. These are two book cases in my office, now just the place that holds the trusty Mac and cat things. And dust.

I like the idea of this, I think it gives greater insight to who the person is at the keyboard, seeing what they read, perhaps what they collect. I am all over the place on both levels. I have mostly bought digital books for several years now. I am not even buying those anymore, I borrow from the library. I have many books and have decided I don't need to own them, my son will have enough to do when I kick it. That smiling little boy is him many, many years ago. Thank you, Boud, for giving me inspiration for something other than health problems and complaints.

It is cold, we have a light dusting of snow, the pellet stove is still working and I brought chicken stock up from the freezer for soup tomorrow. The horses are now happily eating round bales of hay during the day, so I guess all is well in the world. In their little corner of it anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2022


I have said I was referred to neurology. I got a text to contact them to make an appointment. So I do. I'm told the earliest appointment I can get is the end of April. Yes, April. I was dumbfounded for a second, then said perhaps I could be dead by April. She apologized, I told her I knew it wasn't her fault, but REALLY? Yes, really. I didn't make the appointment. I sent a message to the doctor and I'll wait to see what I should do. I'm discouraged.

On the other hand.....the pellet stove is working. I started it yesterday morning and it has continued to run. Hurrah! It's four degrees warmer in that room than what I have the thermostat set at. After finding I can't get into the specialist I was moaning and groaning. Mark told me look at the bright side. What bright side? We have a new furnace, a working pellet stove, a fireplace with a blower and more wood than we and Bill can use. All we are missing is the message from god. 

I think I‘ll make some bread dough, I can punch dough for awhile and maybe feel better. I know I'll enjoy the bread, no matter what.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Good Morning

I had a video appointment with my doctor this morning, which went well. I like her. She is referring me to neurology, which I think is a very good move. She feels my collapse on the deck last week is related to everything else going on. She also is scheduling lab work. So, I feel encouraged. I feel I have found a doctor I can probably spend the rest of my life with if she doesn't go elsewhere. She's 30s-early 40s, so that is possible.

It's getting cold throughout the day and won't get above freezing tomorrow. The windows haven't been put in the barn yet, so that is on Mark's list for today. Yay for Mark!

I thought something nice would be a good thing so here is Tilly the Bulldog and Fallon the Afghan Hound, circa 1982. Fallon always struck a pose when a camera came out. She channeled her inner Greta Garbo. I have never known a more difficult dog, ever. Yet, she grabbed my heart and held it tight. Sweet Tilly was nothing but love. From the Afghan I went to Greyhounds and from the Bully I went to Bassets, but of course there were various others in the mix over many years. 

Fallon and I spent years in obedience training, to absolutely no avail, other than the amusement of the people in the folding chairs watching the class. You can tell she was a star and she knew it. Her other name was Devil Dog!

Ok, mes amie, I am going take a plunge, pour forty pounds of pellets in the hopper and hope the stove works. I may be doing a happy dance or channel my inner dock worker. One thing you can count on, I'll let you know!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022


We had a productive consultation with the urologist yesterday. There were four options, although he said surgery after sixty-five is not recommended. After discussion we decided Mark will have radiation. It's a six week treatment, that starts six weeks after some prep treatments. The rating system for prostate cancer is 1-5, with 5 the worst. Mark is 2. The doctor was good at explaining everything and encouraging about the outcome. Now we are waiting for the pathologists report on the huge area of melanoma removed form Mark's upper left arm. We are waiting to find out if it was completely removed. How did it happen he has two forms of unrelated cancer at one time? Fingers are crossed.

We had a busy day, not returning home until later afternoon. Some round bales had been dropped off and Bill wanted to bring the part he'd taken home to fiddle with back so we can use the pellet stove. We'd stopped at the local place for pellets only to find we need to order them in advance. They did not have that info on the website. I ordered six bags from Fleet Farm for curbside pick-up, which we will do today.

It's in the 50s F and rainy today. Both are fine by me. I want to thank you all for your kindness and concern for Mark and for me. I also want to let you know Mark is aware I am writing about his health travails and is A-Okay with it. It is his personal business and I wouldn't say anything if he didn't want me to.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can get back to my routines, one of which is reading and commenting on your blogs. I have always been someone who is orderly and subject to routines. After my brain injury it became even more so, which means if things change I have trouble getting myself centered. Let's just say I wouldn't be able to be a horse breeder now.

Again, thank you all. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Voting and Other Things

I normally have my days wide open, other than tasks I schedule for myself. Today is full. We go to Mark's appointment with the urologist in a half hour from now. Then we have several stops to make for various reasons. The last stop we will make is at the township hall to vote. It is never busy so we don't expect that to take long. We live in Trump Country in which means we may see the poll watchers, although I kinda doubt it.

It's a cold, blustery day with rain forecast in the afternoon. We really need the rain, we don't need it to freeze. It will do as it likes.

I need to finish getting ready for this day. I'll update later.

Monday, November 7, 2022

It's a Cat's Life

The first photo I put on Instagram was of cats sleeping on an unmade bed. Here we are again. I got up and this one immediately took my place. Why let a warmed bed go to waste? No cat worth her salt would do that.


This little monster was a quick follow of her comrade in snoozing. It's evident from the hair on the comforter this is a favorite spot. I put the comforter on the bed before putting the cover on it. Cats don't wait.

It's cold with bright sunshine. It's always cold when we have bright sunshine this time of year. 

I was interrupted when I was writing this in the morning. Bill and his wife, Shiela, stopped by so Bill could double check something on the wood stove. Then the movie Bullitt was on tv and I got caught up in it. I love the chase scene. A neighbor's sister had a Mustang Mach 1 when I was a teenager. I grew up in a neighborhood of muscle cars. There were a whole bunch of motor heads, one of them taught me how to drive a manual transmission when I was sixteen in his Chevelle SS. Another neighbor boy had a GTO, we got stopped by the cops when he took me for a ride to show off. He was a nice guy. Those were the days. 

There is no longer bright sunshine, it's overcast and cold now. What a difference a few hours made. We have a busy day tomorrow, hope to hear good news.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Hello Standard Time.

I have missed you 

This is not hyperbole. I really, really don't like daylight saving time. It shows the ridiculous nature of humans, thinking there is some magical hour gained. I'll leave it here. But I will say, welcome normal circadian rhythm.

Yesterday ended up being a full day on this normally quiet and boring piece of earth. Bill came in the morning to put the new motor in the pellet stove. He spent an hour or so cleaning the workings of the stove, then went home to do some adapting of wiring and have lunch. Matthew, my son, in the meantime sent me a text asking if he could come for lunch. The past four times he's asked I've had to say no for legitimate reasons and I thought he may think I'm putting him off. I didn't want him to see my beat up face but I said yes. The past couple of years he has not-so-subtly implied we should move. My faltering condition now combined with the mess of my face wasn't something I looked forward to. And then there is Mark's cancer. He looked disapproving but stayed quiet. 

Bill came back to finish the stove and the four of us talked for awhile before Matthew went home. The stove works, there were some pellets  in the hopper, so it ran until they were gone. Bill was very surprised by the amount of heat it puts out. Mark, ever the optimist, wants to buy one or two bags of pellets to make sure it will continue to work. Of course, I want the pallet. There's no place close to buy them and I see it as a waste to drive 50 miles for a bag of pellets. He thinks I can magically find something close. Get me that wand.

I'm better and today I will visit and catch up. It's a cold but sunshiny day. We have a few above normal temperature days this week, but November is becoming November. We find out on Tuesday what treatment is recommended for Mark's prostate cancer. Having some specifics will help us both. He had a large area on his upper arm cut out on Friday. There was still some cancerous tissue remaining after the last removal. There was enough skin to suture it, which is good. The wound is about five inches and sore. He's restricted for two weeks on use of this arm. He's managing well for a guy without a lot of dexterity!

That's all the news fit to print. Enjoy the "extra" hour.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Madame Barks-A-Lot

Trying a short post. I feel better but I still have neck and shoulder pain and I look like the loser of a fist fight. I will try throughout the day to check-in on everyone. 

Keetah is a barker and it is fair to say the the adage about not teaching an old dog new tricks rings of truth. I've learned to adjust to it, as she has not learned to stop doing it. There is danger everywhere. She is ever vigilant.

It's cold and cloudy this morning, looks sorta like November. I have soup I made before the big tumble and it's a perfect day for it. I'm being quiet, using a heating pad, topical and oral pain meds and mostly sitting with my legs up. It takes time for the body to heal from blunt force. Horses have taught me that a few times.

I'll try to check in throughout the day, little bits at a time. 

Friday, November 4, 2022

Quick Note

I had an incident Wednesday around lunchtime. I went on the back deck, more like a platform, to pick up a rug I'd set out to shake some of the dog hair off before washing it. I was just about to lean down to pick it up when I went down like a wet sack. This deck is no more than three feet high and I was standing in the middle of it. It was like fainting but I didn't lose consciousness. I didn't trip or lose balance, I just went down. I fell forward with my body from the waist up going over the side, my face and arms hitting the ground. From the waist down I was on the deck. I hit hard, as I wasn't able to do anything to stop it. I broke my glasses. The left side of my face took the blow. I have abrasions on my forehead, nose and cheek. A cut on the bridge of my nose where the glasses dug in, a cut along the left side of my nose, a black eye and a swollen nose. Because my upper body had the impact my neck and shoulders are very sore. Nothing is broken, just painful. It is uncomfortable to sit at my computer so I am not spending time online. 

It was traumatic. This has happened to me once before, about eight years ago, in the shower. That time I fractured three ribs. I'll ask my doctor at my appointment Thursday what she thinks caused me to topple like that. I wasn't dizzy. I wanted my friends to know why I'm not interacting right now. I am better, not nearly as painful, so I will continue to keep myself quiet, feet up, heating pad on my neck and staying away from the computer except for this brief update. I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Good News

Mark got the result on his bone scan. No cancer in the bones! He also got a call from the dermatologists office; the latest scraping is benign but he does go in Friday to have more cancer removed from a previous area. We meet with the doctor on Tuesday to go over the treatment options for his prostate cancer. It's odd to be talking so much cancer. We both feel relieved about the bone scan.

It's another unseasonably warm day. It will reach 75 F today....in Minnesota. In November! Mark is busy working on fencing. I will putter around doing what I can. My hay guy told me he'd get round bales to me later this week. I hope so. We are in a serious drought and the pastures are done. They need their round bales in the paddocks now. It's costly and not time efficient to put square bales out for them. Four-legged eating machines.

Mark did point out that my planned meal for this evening is not what on a 75 degree day it would normally be, chicken and dumplings. I told him by the time we eat it will be dark and chilly. Because it is November. The rules of November still apply. So say I.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Mark had the bone scan today and will get the results in a couple of days. He's stopped his lumberjack work for a day and has gone to a pasture to repair some fencing. He never sits around. I do enough of that for both of us!

I did make chicken soup this morning for a chicken and dumplings dinner tomorrow. Mark asked for matzo balls but I don't have any matzo meal. Regular dumplings will have to do. The medical center is across from Papa Murphy's pizza, so Mark picked one up for this evening.

I sent a link to Bill's son for replacement parts for the pellet stove. I wanted to be sure I bought the right one. I did have the correct motor so I ordered it today. The company is about 25 minutes west of here and I asked Mark if he wanted to pick it up or have it delivered. He has changed. He said he thought it should be delivered. He didn't want to take the time. Laser focused on his wood chopping.

I haven't used that stove in at least eight years. I got it in the first place because that part of the house was always really cold. The stove worked well to warm it. Then we had a new furnace installed in November 2010 and the hvac guy wanted me to come downstairs. When the old furnace had been put in the part for the a/c unit had been placed over the opening for the ductwork going to that part of the house. We had an answer as to why it was so cold in there. The stove stopped working a couple of years after that and I didn't bother to fix it. Bill Jr said he'd clean everything up and lubricate all the parts so hopefully it will be good to go.

It's a really nice day. I think I will sit on the deck and repot a couple of houseplants. They are in serious need.

Take care. Ciao