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

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Merriment My Way

It happened. 
I turned into a cat lady.


One more year has passed. I turn a year older next month. I'm officially a Cat Lady. What has happened to my life? Life has happened to my life. We go to the son's house tomorrow for lunch. It will be a nice break from these four walls and it's always a pleasure having someone cook for you. It will likely be my birthday celebration. I don't do resolutions. I don't think I have ever kept a resolution when I did make them.  We can disappoint ourselves easily enough, why ask for trouble? Or so say I.

I plan to make a pizza for our News Years Eve celebration. Prosecco and pizza, perfecto! Anyone have plans? I think after about thirty-ish a night on the town loses it's allure. At least it did for me. A fire, pizza, music and some sparkles, right up my alley.

See you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Complaints. Resolution.

This is how my reading list for 2022 ends. I got my library card mid-August. It is apparent I have a lot of time on my hands by the number of books I have read/listened to in five months. It keeps me sane while I am lingering, waiting for the medical establishment to pay attention.

I do have a video appointment with a neurologist January 19. I had an in-person scheduled but it was April 26. I don't understand this, the video visit takes the same amount of time as the in-person, but....oh, well. At least it's much sooner. The microphone hasn't been working on my computer, but all of a sudden it is. Some things are quirky with Macs and looking at the tutorials on fixing this problem show this is one of those quirks. If it's acting up when I have the video visit I'll need to use my phone. I'd rather not. 

I got a new router today. I spent half an hour trying to convince a person in my computer that I needed one. We have Frontier for internet service. They are our only choice, other than satellite, which I've been warned against by those who tried it. We get a very slow connection and now it's been off more than it's on. I looked at the date on the router and it's eleven years old. I kinda think technology has advanced some in eleven years. I finally convinced him when he asked what made me think it's the router? I told him it's either an old router or lousy service. He said he ordered a new one for me. I can't go to T-Mobile or Verizon wireless as neither are currently available to us. We live 25 miles from downtown Minneapolis, not up in the far Northwoods. Anyway, I've connected it and guess what? This came up faster than I've ever seen our internet service work. Now, if it isn't going in and out of service regularly I will be singing Alleluia!

Well, now. I think this was my morning crab session. I was even able to turn my listening to a lot of books into a crab-fest. I think I'd rather have a crab feast. Nah, complaining has its own rewards. But....I now remember when the son was young we always had crab on New Years Eve. Huh.

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Nothing to see here. Move along, no need to make a bed.

The formed a triangle. Gatto is fully accepted by the cats and Keetah. He is enjoying the soft landing he was lucky enough to find. 

We have gone from double digits below zero to double digits above zero. Mark is feeling better, he had one day under the weather and is now fine. My sinus problem is still plaguing me, the face first fall I took in November didn't help. From the look of my nose it probably was broke. A horse pushed me into the barn door in the 90s and broke my nose. My lovely husband told me not to worry about it, my beauty queen days were over. What a guy! 

We will be able to go to Matthew's for lunch on Sunday unless I take a turn for the worse. Medication is helping. His wife likes the fermented pickles I made so I will bring her a couple more quarts. She is a vegan, no pesto for her.

Gatto wants to drink my coffee. We are currently in a battle of wills. I have momentarily won. A cat that likes coffee, he is an odd one. 

You all have a pleasant day. Maybe have some fun. Ciao.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

He has been called Cat since coming into the house. Since that seems to have become his name I switched it to the Italian version, Gatto. Mark said it sounded too much like the mob boss, Gotti. Gatti is plural for male cat. I think it's appropriate. Cats are psychopathic killers when they get the opportunity. The number of dead squirrels laid at the back door testifies to that.

He is Mr. Chill. Thinks the dog is his bestie.

Frieda has reclaimed her ottoman and throw. 

 Jiggs has one again made it clear she is above the fray.

I haven't felt well since Christmas Eve. I spent the last two afternoons in bed, with Gatto keeping me company. Now Mark feels he's getting sick. 'Tis the season. We planned to go to the son's on New Years Day, since we missed Christmas Day, but if this continues we will need to cancel. 

I do hope everyone had a pleasant holiday and is looking forward to a New Year of good health and contentment.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas


Saturday, December 24, 2022


At 5:00 last evening I heard his yowling. He was sitting in my office.

He spent the entire day sleeping someplace. He moved around the house like he's always lived here when he got up and made himself at home on Frieda's ottoman and throw. She did not like that. He did not care. Of course, he spent the night howling, yowling and then going after the blinds in the bedroom. He put Keetah into a state of high anxiety. We had a circus of fools for several hours. I gave Keetah melatonin. She was so anxious she didn't notice. Finally I got her to calm down and she passed out. This guy finally stopped his 'let me out' and I got some rest.

I've posted him on a local site but I doubt he will be claimed. I've seen too many tame cats wandering to believe he's being missed by anyone. I have a drive in hayloft with a small opening cut out in one of the doors for cats to be able to get in for shelter and warmth. Most are feral, but not all. It's a hard life for cats. I try to make it a little easier. Any cat that lands here for some time gets spay/neutered. There is a program for altering strays. I do my best to keep the cat population down, but it's a drop in the bucket.

So, it's Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you all. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Let Me In

First, we had chicken noodle soup for lunch. Mark told me I made a good version of Campbell's chicken soup. Thanks, Mark!


....this little guy was in the screen porch yowling like his life depended on it. Which it very well may have. He had trouble walking, his feet were frozen, and he was shivering. I brought him in and held him until he was warm. Keetah got a chance to sniff him like he might be carrying drug paraphernalia. When he wanted down, I let him. Keetah followed him and he didn't care. This is the most nonreactive cat I've met. My cats gave him evil eyes and a few warning hisses, which meant nothing to him. He explored the house, met the litter boxes and yowled some. He is young and intact. I don't think he's at the spraying stage yet.

Before I went to bed he was at the porch door wanting out. I got a blanket and put it on the wicker sofa cushion, making a spot to hole up. He wanted back inside, so I let him in. This went on three more times before I told him he was staying in, it's best. 

He is used to being nocturnal. He always shows up after dark. He walked the house during the night meowing and yowling. My cats had enough of him and laid at their usual spots on the bed. He wasn't going to upset their night.

This morning he is not to be found. He has to be somewhere unless he has magical powers. Mark is worried. If a cat wants to hide, they will hide. Or, he's a demon. I think he's a cat.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Time in Chime

This clock belonged to my parents. It's been around as long as I can remember. Something that was there but hardly noticed, the chiming so commonplace to not be heard.

The video quality is terrible. It's not like this in my files but it is once posted here. sigh

After Kate died I gave away a lot to a neighbor and a paternal cousin who had spent time with Kate after my father died. Kate had a grand piano. I didn't want to deal with finding it a home and my cousin had a friend who admired it. I gave her the piano and she had it moved! Win for us both. I tried to give away the clock but no one wanted it. So I brought it home, found it a spot and realized how much I like it. That house was so full of misery it was hard to distinguish between what caused the misery and the place and items within. Healing is happening. Better late than never. Moving on.....

We are cold. It's -12 F and will stay around there all day. Friday and Saturday are setting up to be blizzard days. It's so cold the snow is very light and we got about a foot. We are going to have wind up to 45 mph for two days. Driving will be impossible. Fortunately, we don't need to, but there are people who do. There will be accidents. It is breathtakingly beautiful, though.

Now onto a happier topic, soup. I took stock out of the freezer and will make good old fashioned chicken noodle soup for lunch. I don't think I could find something more appropriate than that on a rather cold day. I've got my holiday meal plan, I think. I will make a pizza Christmas Eve and either ham or lasagna Christmas Day. Mark stopped at the meat market to pick up a small ham. I wasn't specific enough, so....he brought home a ham steak. It's do something with that or make lasagna. My slow cooked ham simmering in white wine isn't going to happen. If I have the energy I will make a flourless chocolate cake. It used to be my tradition.

BTW, the sound in the background of the video is an air purifier and the fan on the fireplace. It sounds like some sort of machinery is being run and I guess it is. Strange how it doesn't seem that loud except when I hear it on the video.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Snug. As a Bug.

When you live in Minnesota, in the winter, life can become very small.

 This is my excuse for a tree this year. It's all I had in me. It will do.

When it's -11 F one, me, tends to stay inside. Life narrows down to the inside walls of the house and the outside view through the windows. That leaves inside photos and talk as my blog fodder today. I have said this room is small, it's difficult for me to get the proper perspective, the camera elongates the room. I did the upper photo in portrait setting and it came the closest to accurate. There's room for two chairs and the TV. The piano sits in the curve, which isn't a useful space otherwise. This room is arched. The German Shedder likes the windows.

It is my favorite room in the house, especially in winter. It has two names; spring/summer it is the sunroom. Autumn/winter it is the snug. I borrowed this word from the English. I will admit watching waaaaaaay too many episodes of Escape to the Country, where I was introduced to it. I cannot think of a more appropriate word for this close, warm spot. 

It was -11 F this morning. It's not supposed to break 0 today. Snow is expected all day with high wind blowing in Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I think I need to tell the son we won't make it on Sunday. We won't plow out until the wind and snow stop. That will be Sunday. The horses will be in the barn for those days, which means more work when they do get out. It's simply a reality when you live a rural life and have livestock. They must be tended to and the snow must be plowed before we can leave. I, nor Mark, need drama. We will visit another day. New Years if they are available. 

We have plenty of everything and just incase we don't I placed an Aldi order which Mark will pick up after his medical appointment this morning. Unlike Val, I did not have the propane tank filled, last week it was at 45% which will be enough until after the weekend. Pellets for the stove, wood for the fireplace (no Bat Cave fire this Christmas), food, wine, coffee.....all I can want in life!

So, a tour through the snug, a list of weather related issues and a glimpse of life in the slow lane. I think I will leave it at that. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Snow. Wind. Snow.

It was cold and snowy yesterday.

Mark is trudging to the barn for chores. We'd just had five more round bales delivered so we have plenty of hay to get us through this cold week, although I don't think the horses will be outside for a couple of those days. I think a storm is blowing in tomorrow.


Here is Mr. Wonderful, aka Zing, doing what horses do....eating. He's a lean and lanky fellow and requires lots of calories. It's hard for me to grasp he will turn 22 next year. His dam died in birth, leaving me with an orphan to raise. I don't think I want to remember how much work and stress that was, not to mention the loss of Diamond Rose. Well, he's nearly 22 and as much a mischievous game player as he ever was. Mr. Naughty Pants!

I've heard we may have blizzard conditions tomorrow. We have plenty of food, wine, Mark's Wild Turkey, wood and pellets. I'd like to say, and nowhere to go, but Mark has an appointment with oncology tomorrow morning. Maybe, hopefully, weather will hold off. We haven't had a blizzard in awhile. When you are safely tucked inside, there is something profound in watching nature roar.

I had my day sidetracked yesterday with the last 1/6 committee report. I'm not holding my breath. Nothing I can do but wait.

So, the sun is shining, it's -7 F, the furnace is chugging along and life is still with me. I think that is good enuf!

Sunday, December 18, 2022


I may have posted this before, if I did, well here it is again.

My mother died in May, 2020. My father died ten years prior. He was also ten years older than she was. They lived in the house I grew up in for over sixty years and they weren't people who disposed of things. It took me eight months to get the house cleared out and ready to sell. I spent most of that year in St. Paul, in the neighborhood I grew up in, where no one I knew from those long ago days remained. This radio had been in the basement since we lived there. If I ever knew anything about it, I have forgotten. I know it used to work. Decades of unmanaged dampness took its toll on the veneer.  I have no idea how old it is, if it belonged to my father before my mother or had they bought it? I decided to bring it home, clean it up but not try to fix it. It''s got damage from moisture in the top and along the bottom. It's sort of a metaphor for life, if I think about it. In this case it ended up with a more difficult situation, survived and is able to spend the rest of its time displaying my Howard. A resurrection of sorts.

I bought the poster I call Psychedelic Howard online several years ago. It's uncanny how much it looks like Howie. Even down to the woeful, the world-is-too-heavy-for-my-shoulders expression. The old radio fit right into the spot in the corner. I brought home a craftsman rocker from the house, it was stuck in the back of my father's huge shed. I need to put new fabric on the seat, otherwise it managed to survive in good condition. I may put it in the spot where the plant is. 

Anyone else affected by a change in barometric pressure. When it goes down, my whole body inflames. Yesterday was one of those days. I ended up loading the dishwasher and making dinner. In between I did nothing. So much for plans. I told Mark a few minutes ago that I'm not sure this is a good thing, but I realized as I'm frittering away the morning I have no guilt at all. That ingrained yankee work ethic is melting away. Not that I've worked all that hard the past couple of years, but I've spent many hours feeling guilty about not doing so. This morning, another cup of coffee, read another blog, repeat. Mark said not feeling guilty is good. He doesn't practice what he preaches.

I think I've covered whatever popped up in my brain for now. I'm going to mix some bread dough. I got my flour order yesterday, I may as well put some of it to use. Oh, it's cold outside, it was around 0 F this morning. Not getting out of single digits. I am happy Bill fixed the pellet stove!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Books. Cats.

We finished the remaining stew at lunch with a bit of the spelt bread. It was a little sparse on potatoes and carrots, but still good on a winter day.

It's going to be cold for a couple of weeks, with highs a few days in the minus. Lots of comfort food days ahead. I got a library card in August and use it for ebooks and audiobooks. I saw I have read or listened to 32 books since then. I started the 33rd yesterday evening. I don't know why I bought these books for years. I just never thought about borrowing them. It took me a long time but I did learn. 

We have a very friendly, young orange tabby coming around in the evening. He's intact, in good shape and very affectionate. He wants to come in until he sees Keetah. He sits on the veranda, looking in through the french doors, mewing. I've been leaving the screen door to the adjacent porch ajar for him in the evening. There's food, water and cushioned furniture for him if he wants it. I need to get a photo of him to post on a local neighborhood site to see if he belongs to someone or if he was dumped. I can't keep him because Keetah likes her two cats. That's it. At the very least I'll have him neutered. He is the friendliest cat I've met. Living in the country brings so many cats to my life. Most are feral, hang out in the hayloft where it's warm, eat cat food and then either move on or become somethings dinner. If I get the chance to tame them I have them altered through a program for strays. This fellow needs a home.

Ok, I'm caffeinated and motivated (sorta) to do something with this day. Stay warm, fed and content.

Friday, December 16, 2022

The Staff of Life

A Spelt Loaf 

I did manage to make a loaf of bread yesterday. I've been wondering why I stopped making bread with the ancient grains. I used to buy spelt in 25 pound bags, then I stopped. I realized it's when I believed some problems I was having were related to gluten. I then discovered einkorn, which is an ancient grain, but many gluten intolerant people can use it. I found later that I had no beneficial bacteria in my gut! So, gluten was not the problem and I just drifted back to the less expensive standbys. Eating this flavorful, dense bread has piqued my interest again in using alternative flours. I've been lazy, just making no-knead bread, which really works quite well with the more dense flour. So, there we have it....but, no 25 pound bags of flour are in my future anymore.

It snowed all day yesterday and throughout the night. We have the same winterscape this morning as yesterday. It's so pretty, and wet! I lit a fire in the bat cave since its not cold outside so the enormous hole in the roof can be justified. Mark walked into the room and asked "don't you feel like a greedy bastard having two fires in one room?" I said "no, I'd need to have the other fire going to feel greedy. I'm just a bastard." And so the evening began.

We had a meat and sort of potato dinner, sort of being sweet potato. Lori has me thinking about salad and how interesting they can be. She makes beautiful salads. I don't.  Pondering.

That's all there is from this corner of Winter Wonderland. Stay warm.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


What I awoke to this morning.

Beautiful snow scene all around us. It's hovering around freezing so the snow sticks to where it lands. This is one reason I like winter, it's beautiful. Sometimes in a soft way such as this. Sometimes in stark, raw wonder. I will never be a snowbird.

Today I make bread. Spelt. It's been awhile since I have used that ancient grain. I wonder why? I also used einkorn, it makes wonderful bread. It's also quite expensive. Probably even worse now. Bread is one of the wonders of the world to me. Flour, salt, yeast, water. How is this so good? Man may not be able to live on bread alone, but this woman could.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Rain. Sleet. Snow.

More snow scenes from winters past.

Being unable to get around leads me to images from days gone by. That's not a bad thing, I am enjoying remembering back some. When I would wander around with my good camera, sometimes going out at twilight to catch that setting sun, or, as here, getting photos after a fluffy snowfall.

Yesterday was not a day for that, even if I were able. It rained. Then we had sleet, heavy sleet. Sometime during the night there was about an inch of snow. It's so slushy that the footing for the horses is fine. Ice and hooves don't go well together.

I am craving comfort food which is leading to beef stew for dinner. A simple and satisfying meal when the weather outside is lousy. My pasta larder will be filled in soon. The pasta I buy, but wasn't available, has returned and I ordered. Yippee. I made a mess of my flour order with King Arthur and have an email sent to them asking what I should do. What happened to my brain? I've paid for an order I completed on PayPal but not on King Arthur's site, so I don't know how to fix this. 

The day is ticking away. I'm not dressed yet. I try to keep up a routine, not allowing myself to lay about in PJs and a robe all day. That can bring a person down. Somehow the morning has snuck by me and here I sit, in PJs and a robe. Don't tell anyone. I think I'll rectify this and get myself clothed. You all have the best day possible.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Gloomy Day

Lentils for lunch

What makes lentils even better? Shredded cheese!


We are having miserable weather; raining on top of the snow we already have, then supposedly snow later. The equines are spending the day in the barn, 34 F, windy and raining is no weather for my barn babies. 

I gave my gallon of blood yesterday. The suggestion I should bring up Lymes is a very good one and I will do that. I have two more days of prednisone, I can't hardly wait for that to be over. I get extremely edgy. The first day I thought I was going to dodge that feeling. I didn't.

Other than lunch, weather and blood I am a little low on ramblings. Tomorrow is another day. Stay warm.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Reading. Listening.

I spent the afternoon in front of the fire with a new book. I recommend Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. A well-written book. I'm now listening to Wintering by Katherine May. This book feels as if it's my life, not specifically but just the general feel of it. The narrator has the perfect voice for the subject matter. I would recommend listening to it. Thank you, Boud, for mentioning this book. I'd placed a hold on Ng's first book Everything I Never Told You and it became available today. I have high expectations.

I am going in for lab work this morning and really should be getting ready to go, but I'm feeling shaky from prednisone. I need to rally myself if I'm going to get it done. We, as is much of the country, are in for some bad weather this week. If I plan to get this done I must do it today or wait another week. So, off to get stabbed by a needle.


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Therapy Session

My name is Sandra and I am a food hoarder.

I have a food insecurity or perhaps more accurately, I use food, not the eating, but the keeping, as a security. I have not understood it until recently, when a friend who is a psychiatric nurse, told me it's not about the food. It's about control.

I came from a financially stable home. That was the only thing stable about that home. I understand my need for order, but why every cupboard, pantry space, shelf has to full with dry goods? Freezer packed to the breaking point and no empty spaces in the refrigerator? I never knew a hungry moment in my life. When my friend said this to me, I started to understand this very strange need.

As children we are at the whim of the adults around us. Depending on who or what those adults are, coping mechanisms are formed. I formed several and control has always been at the forefront. Overstocking food was never about deprivation of food. 

It's so deeply ingrained in my psyche I will never change and that's ok. It's not the worst trait. I don't hoard food in that I don't use it. Hoard is the wrong word. I cannot have empty spaces, so what has been removed must be replaced. And everything must be placed front forward! Yep. That's me.

The conversations about food preservation, finding ways to avoid waste, both food and other things, brought this to my mind. I don't mind opening a curtain into my life, showing some of the oddities. That I can be obsessive I think is evidenced by my horse collection! That I cared for myself. 

I had something entirely different I was going to write about, I sat down and this is what passed through my fingers. Another thing about me, I do things like that. Plan, work something out and then do a thing not even close to what I had planned. People are odd beings, I think. If you ever visit my house, walk through the pantry, see every can facing forward, all items in a row and think "at least she isn't hurting anyone"!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

A Good Day

Another winter scene from several years ago taken with the Canon DSLR. 

I have no side effects from either of yesterday's vaccinations. Mark, as per usual, has some very mild flu symptoms. This is the second day taking prednisone and I'm surprised I don't feel like I'm on speed. Every time I've taken it I got slightly manic and I'm not. No complaints, mind you. I can feel it reducing inflammation. I'm taking another day of rest with hopes of tackling the neglect around here tomorrow and the following four days I have prednisone.

I have the woody ends of asparagus and vegetable scraps in the InstantPot on slow cook. I make broth with those unusable ends which I add to chicken stock and cream and whatever else I want. It's not really asparagus soup but it's good and I haven't wasted those woody bits. It always bothered me so I decided to experiment and it works for me. I took smoked pork shank stock from the freezer this morning for lentil and sausage soup in the next couple of days. I need to make room for more in the freezer. I'm making asparagus tonight so I'l be putting those bits in the freezer. I save my freezer bags when emptied by putting them back in the freezer until I need them. A bright bulb idea I had a couple of years ago. We waste too much plastic. There's nothing wrong with those bags. Mark used to call me pioneer woman until the person on one of the food channels used that name, Ree something? I asked him to stop after that, she kinda turned me off and ruined my Mark-given name! She did have Basset Hounds, though. One thing in her favor.

I've got lots of rambles. I am relieved I don't have to host Christmas. I am doing no decorations. It has taken a lot of pressure off me, I don't mind saying. I realized on Thanksgiving that the Specter of Holidays Past is starting to fade somewhat. I haven't had company on holidays here since 2018 but the day was always high anxiety for me. This past Thanksgiving I realized I was relaxed. It felt foreign. And good. There is hope.

I just saw the time. I do believe I need to start a fire, find my throne chair and finish my book. I have big hopes for tomorrow. Big in my mind, probably rather small in reality. Adieu.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Such a Good Girl

I love this photo. WF Al Malika and Chloe. Chloe was a Dalmatian/Lab cross I got from a neighbor in St. Paul as a puppy. They got her and she was too much for them, so I took her. She was a protective, serious dog who adored foals. The mares and babies accepted her in the stall, she just wanted to be near the babies. This photo would be late 1990s.

We got the booster and the flu shot this morning. I'm glad to have that done. We will get the shingles vaccine next month. We finally decided we should do that. I think I'm going to give in and just sit down and read. I have Little Fires Everywhere to finish  and Wintering, which Boud had suggested, has just come available to me through the library. I'll light a fire, sink into my throne chair with a warm throw and Frieda and finish my book. I'm tired and that's just that.

It's overcast and has that damp cold feeling that's permeating my bones. A roaring fire is just what is needed. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Down the Rabbit Hole

I had the video appointment with the doctor today. It became apparent to me that I had not really been taken seriously. I will take part of the blame because I do stiff-upper lip things. Right from the start she asked how I am and I said the same and then some as I have been all the other times you asked. I was on the verge of tears throughout. I told her I'm going to be in a wheelchair before long and it's not right I don't know why. She did have the decency to apologize for how long it's been without answers.

I'll have lab work next week. I asked if she had the full thyroid panel ordered and it was just the TSH. I asked for the full and she ordered it but said endocrinology won't take me if the TSH is within normal.  What? I was on thyroid medication for five years until that doctor retired. After that I couldn't get the meds, I was told I didn't need it. Five years later, sixty pounds heavier, what appears to be symptoms of longterm thyroid disease and I'm told this? She said I should see a dermatologist for my hair loss. I'm at a loss.

I will get the lab work done, see what comes of it. I could go off like a rocket right now, but that doesn't help matters. I stayed civil with her although my voice was shaking. I don't know if it was tears wanting to flow or rage wanting, well, to rage. Why do I believe if I were male this wouldn't be happening to me? I told her I wanted to interact with my horses again, that I still have 14. She said that's a lot of horses and I replied I had a whole lot more. I did tell her it was annoying, if also amusing, when I have been told to get more exercise to lose weight. Do you know how much work taking care of 30-40 horses is? She didn't have a response. Why so difficult? Since my early forties I gained weight that I couldn't lose and would add more in blocks every couple of years. Finally I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and lost a lot of weight. Off the meds, back with the weight. It also seems a body that's breaking down.

My medical mystery tour continues. I get the latest Covid booster and flu shot tomorrow. I also have a prescription for prednisone to pick up. It's an attempt to cool down some of the fire in my body being caused by inflammation. I've had prednisone before. When I told Mark about the prescription his response was you'll being going wild. Even he remembers what it has done to me in the past. I am on a high buzz. It's still worth a shot.

I could continue venting but I think I've made my point. Now it's wait and see.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Frieda's Got This

Me the next time a doctor tells me to eat less snacks and fast food and exercise more.

How is everyone today? Now that Frieda has given me inspiration I think I'm feeling a bit better! 

We are having a pretty snowfall, light and fluffy. It's a coolish day, 15 F, but the snow is lovely. Currier & Ives. I finished Maggie Haberman's book, Confidence Man, a couple of days ago. When I started I thought I wouldn't continue, did I want to rehash all of that? It did keep me interested, as she started in the '70s and worked forward, spending a lot of time on the people around him. In the end, I still don't get it. I got the book from the library in audio form. I'm not sure I could have read it. I'm now actually reading a book, Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. It has my interest. I'd be lost without access to the library. 

Mark has a procedure today, then next week he meets with rehab to go over what he may need after radiation. I'm so happy he is getting proper care and attention. I've been using that store of frozen tomatoes I am now thanking myself for. Tonight will be a red sauce with meatballs! Freezing whole tomatoes makes removing the skin so easy.

That's about it. Life in the slow lane and all that. Later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022


I couldn't get an office visit with the doctor until 1/8. I made the appointment and then this morning I checked for video appointments and I made one for Thursday. I guess they prefer video to in-person. I have kept the office appointment incase I need a follow up. This is all I can do for now. She's getting tired of me, I think. The feeling is mutual.

I made chicken stock a couple of days ago and brought the vegetables I'd roasted and froze for eggplant soup up to thaw. It will be eggplant soup for lunch! It is soooo good. I got my Aldi order picked up yesterday so the refrigerator is full. I bought apples, as I'd told Mark I would make him an apple galette in lieu of a pie. It's easier and I'm all about easier right now.

Mark has an appointment on Friday for a procedure to prepare for radiation. He's anxious, well more anxious than usual. This has become the old person medical problems news letter. How did this happen? 🤷

Because it cannot be all about the troubles, a winterscape from a few years ago. Those are mares in the background. Val, I used to wander about taking photos. Not trekking through woods, but out in the snow! I like photographing winter.

Now, time to tally-ho and away I go to do the laundry I forgot about yesterday. Toodles.

Monday, December 5, 2022


I received this email from the Mayo Clinic on November 18th. It upset me and put me into a depressive nosedive for a couple of weeks. I have finally pulled out of it, but I am not pleased with Mayo. It feels dismissive. I have made an appointment with Park Nicollet's neurology department and followed the advice given to me here to go on the cancellation list. My appointment is at the end of April. We get our booster and flu shots on Friday. I'm making an appointment to see my primary in person the following week. I'm going to give her one more shot at listening to me. About two weeks ago my hair started falling out. In a weeks time my scalp became visible, and I had a lot of hair. This isn't right. I'm weak and terribly fatigued. It's as if I don't matter. I will ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, which will probably be available in August. I was on thyroid medication for several years. The doctor retired and no doctor would prescribe it because they felt I didn't need it. But.....I was prescribed Ozempic, a diabetes medication, for weight loss. Doesn't that lower blood sugar and can't that be dangerous? Rhetorical question. I didn't get the medication because insurance wouldn't pay for it and it costs, wait for it, $1007/mo. I wasn't comfortable about using it anyway. I found that Medicare will not pay for any weight loss medication or any eating disorder treatment. They'd rather pay for the resulting consequences.

So, remember the song by Crosby, Stills & Nash with the line I almost cut my hair ? I did cut my hair, about 11". Long, stringy grey hair is not lovely. Good thing I don't have any attachment to how long my hair is, but going bald hasn't been on my bucket list.

I'll end this not-on-the-bright-side tale with the observation that we have a very messed up system of care and delivery of healthcare services. Yet, Mark is getting proper care. He says it's because what is wrong with me doesn't have an obvious reason, like cancer that can be detected. It's easier to just set me aside. I know he's right.

We appreciate the confidence you have expressed in Mayo Clinic and thank you for your recent request.


The Division of General Internal Medicine, Minnesota has received your information. Unfortunately, demand for our health care services exceeds our capacity. We have thoroughly reviewed your provided materials to determine if we can add further value or treatment options to your care. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you an appointment at this time. Please know decisions like this are not easy, Mayo Clinic strives to provide the best care possible to all of those in need.


This e-mail was automatically generated from a non-response mailbox. Please do not reply to this email. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sunny Sunday

The sun is shining and we will reach the low 30s F today. The horses have hay, we have an almost unlimited supply of wood and one ton of wood pellets. The freezers are full and I have a grocery order to pick up tomorrow.  The roof is still over our heads and Frieda is still getting into trouble. This is to say;  I am looking on the bright side. A place I do have trouble visiting. I am poking my head in just a bit.

That all said, and perhaps this is on the bright side, Mark brought up Christmas last evening. Poor guy, he's been worrying about this. He mentioned, hesitantly, that he didn't think I'd be able to host. I told him he is absolutely right. The relief on his face was monumental. He was certain I would resist. I keep telling him I have a practical side that keeps me from stubbornly doing things, or attempting to do those things, which I cannot. I wear out running a bead of caulk along a window. How am I going to do Christmas? I'm not. I will text the son today and ask him if he is willing. If not, we can skip it. Christmas was never a religious holiday in my family. Christmas has always been a time of stress, a panicky feeling. My mother really went on a rage during that time. There are not joyous, warm and cozy memories for us, including my son. He spent his life with it, too. The bright side? Being ok with it all. 

Mark has made his siblings aware of his cancer, so there are lots of calls from them. He comes from a family of ten children and all are still living. So he gets lots of caring coming his way. I can hear him in his office laughing while talking to one of them. I am grateful he has so much support. 

We are a month behind on getting the Covid booster and our flu shot. Too many things have been happening at once. We are scheduled for Friday. 

And just because. Frieda doing laundry.

And a warming fire.

Look for your bright side.

Saturday, December 3, 2022


Bill came over yesterday to help get round bales out to the equines. This is my Jeep, or was my Jeep. We gave it to Bill earlier this year and he's finally driving it. It needed a new radiator and a couple of other things I don't remember. Bill is a mechanic so he was able to do the work himself. He does so much for us. His SUV was falling apart, we had a vehicle we did not need which he could use, so we gave it to him. He resisted at first but realized we were thanking him for being him. I rarely saw it clean. It looks nice

The equines enjoy new bales.

It's a cold day; 1 F with a -14 F feels like. Mark has the tank heater plugged into the truck with plans to pick up a pallet of wood pellets. The stove has been working well so he feels safe buying a ton of pellets. He needs to put diesel in the truck, which is like taking a second mortgage.

I'm going to attempt to finish winterizing, since it is obviously winter, folks. Mark just came in with the weather report for the barn. 37 degrees and all the outside water tanks are fine. All is well.

I guess that's it from this patch of earth. I need to get those pellets ordered so he has something to pick up or he could become a mite upset. 

Friday, December 2, 2022

The Old Grey Mare

As an extension of yesterday I thought I may as well show the tack room. There was a lot of activity in here once-upon-a-time.

This is my first born. Tempered Steele, aka Babe. For those who don't know about horse colors, Babe was born bay but she is a grey. They aren't born grey, they are born a color and then they start to lighten. It can take several years. Babe was perhaps three in this photo. She's the old grey mare now, completely grey (like me) and 28. Yes, she's still with us. She is the maternal sister of Topper and Zing. She produced some very good foals.

This is Topper giving a smile. Actually he smelled something he liked, probably mare urine! It's what they do. I still like to think they are laughing at me.

A couple  of horse photos, Lori. They aren't current but it's the best I can do right now. I have hundreds of photos of the horses but they aren't all digital. I need to take the time to do that some day.

I am not one to look back. That personality trait was helpful when I was in the business. Breeding is all about the next one, all about the future. Of course there's the present, but looking ahead is what you do. Going through some of this is making me look back at all the years and realizing how much time has passed. I haven't had a foal here in over a decade. I stopped, not only because the market went in the toilet, but also because I started having almost a panic when someone was interested in buying a horse. Being in the business allows you to get a close look at the underbelly and it's rancid. Humans have a high propensity for cruelty and they do like to use it on animals. They really like to use it on large animals. Fear plays a role in this, but not exclusively. Let's just say I soured.

Not on the beasties, nope. Horses are complex characters. They adore routine, so we got along fine. Madame Routine here! They form relationships with one another. Topper and two of his boys are always together. They play their head games together, eat at the bales together and crab at one another. His other boy learned to hang out with the "big guys" I think because he is a skittish guy and for some reason they give him cover. His name is Bright, aka Frighty Brighty. 

I do not have a patient nature, which is potentially deadly with horses. They taught me to behave like a grown up and use the supposedly large brain we are said to have. They taught me to hold my temper and think before acting. It's said our personalities don't change and I think that is probably true, but I am proof that we can modify who we are. If we have the proper motivation. Like 1000 pounds of sentient being on four legs telling you to knock it off!

I guess that's enough horse talk for now. We are having a one day warm up before we nosedive tonight. I have some winterizing to do, as I see it is winter. Happy trails.