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

Friday, March 31, 2023

Cat on a Piano

I have posted multiple versions of this shot. Madam is regal as she poses on the piano I don't play anymore. In this photo her contracted front leg is visible. She was one of the kittens born to a stray in the barn. There were four of them. The mama became friendly, unfortunately she disappeared after they were weaned. She'd been spayed so if she did run off, which I doubt, she wouldn't be reproducing. Three of the kittens were part-time house cats, including this one. Mona had no interest in coming inside. Miss Priss started disappearing for up to a month at a time. The last time, in 2018, she was gone for three months and we didn't expect to see her again. In late November she came limping into the barnyard. She was thin and had a dangling front leg. She became a house cat without any complaining. From the knee down she had no feeling, she was fine from the knee up. I wrapped the dragging foot until I decided what to do. In the meantime her leg contracted and I decided she could stay that way. It's not dragging, she didn't need to go through the trauma of surgery and I think it gives her balance. She gets along well. This is her fifth year as our tripod. Those four kittens will be eight at Mother's Day.

I've got soup simmering, I made tomato sauce for chili yesterday. I realized I have not made chili this year, so I'll make it today and serve it for dinner tomorrow. I think it's better the next day.

We had overnight rain and it's been raining on and off. It's supposed to snow later, so it's definitely soup and chili weather around here. I read two emotionally heavy books in a row. By the time I finished Beloved I was drained. I've read one mystery and started on another. I have always liked mysteries, so it was my go-to for lightening up. I like to guess who-done-it. Fortunately, Minnesota isn't banning books. I can't believe I am typing those words and that it's not conspiracy talk. Banning books is back. I don't bring these things up for my own sake. I spent my adult life engaged in politics, now, I can't withstand the, well...horror. Autocrats don't acquire that total power by themselves. We don't need to go back too far in history to see how it's done.

Okay, that's enough. As hard as I try to tune out, I am well aware and it's in my mind and sometimes I need to open the pressure valve. We will have soup and biscuits for lunch, a sirloin cap roast for dinner, a crackling fire. Red wine for me, rye whiskey for Mark, listen to some music and pet a cat. May you have your own pleasures.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Boil, Boil

While many are having daffodils bloom, grass green and weather warm, we in the Northland are still very much in wintertime activities. Like making soup stock.

Sitting in front of a good fire, reading a book.


We are used to it. That doesn't mean that Minnesotans don't complain about the weather. We proudly let the world know it's cold, going to get colder. Then it's hot as blazes and will it ever stop/start raining. I have never complained much about winter, as least by Minnesota standards. Summer.....that's different. The last dozen years have become increasingly warm, but the worst of it is the humidity. It gets downright tropical. I never signed up for the tropics. Unfortunately, my opinion or want doesn't matter, it's happening. It will continue to happen, this seems evident. So, I go back to my motto, having the motto doesn't stop reality, it simply helps shield me from it. I'll eat the food. Drink the wine (or coffee). Pet the animals. Enjoy the beauty. Find a motto, repeat it like a mantra.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023



A brief buongiorno to you all. I have things to accomplish but want to read your words and stop by briefly with some of my own. I see many of you have mud and some have Spring. We have winter, it was zero this morning, high of 24F today. It will end. It will.

At this time cooking is my main activity so ..... well, it's what I have. Now that I'm off the Medical Mystery Tour. I thawed shrimp stock and plan to make shrimp risotto for dinner. Has anyone made biscuits with cake flour. I do sometimes and did yesterday. They come out very light.

I finished Beloved by Toni Morrison yesterday. I'm surprised I hadn't read it. I have thoughts, lots of them which I don't have time for now. I will say I still learn and feel shame.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Never Too Old

Food report:  I made fish or fisherman's pie for dinner. My blog friend, Boud, mentioned it and I had to try. I really liked it and so did Mark. It's like a cottage pie with fish and a creamy sauce. I'm amazed at how good it was. Adding horseradish to the mashed potatoes, sweet potato to the vegetables and Old Bay to the poaching milk boasted the flavor.

Other than this, life is rolling along. We are still in winter, it was 7F overnight, will reach freezing today and an exact repeat tonight and tomorrow. We are glad to have a slow thaw, with all the snow we've had it could be a wet mess in three of my stalls. The barn is at the bottom of a slope. We had drain tile put in to stop the water, but decades have passed and it's not working as well as it did. I do have reserve stalls in the adjoining pole barn if needed.

I am feeling better, not my body but my attitude. I am taking more of an interest in life, perhaps it's medication or perhaps it's getting off the medical hamster wheel. No matter, I am more engaged. 

I have a motto I formed over the past couple of years; eat the food, drink the wine, pet the animals. It's what we have control over. I'll add; enjoy the beauty around you. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Flying Monkey

From the first when Frieda invited herself into the house she had a fascination for the rafters. She jumped onto the dining room table and made like she was going to leap. It took her five months to figure it out and led to furniture rearrangement for me. This is a tree cat. She made a five foot leap from a bookcase to the rafter She used a cabinet as a launching pad to get to the top of the nine foot bookcase. In the photo she was seriously considering leaping onto the fan blade, which was rotating.

We quickly learned she could get up and down from there on her own, this wasn't a one time deal. I had to move her launching pad. She was a real unhappy kitten. Now I have Gatto and he is a wild thing. After Frieda I said no more kittens. Then Gatto was freezing on the porch and somehow ended up inside. After he was neutered it sent the kitten signal through his body. He is a completely obtuse being, seems to have a general lack of understanding 'no'. It is fair to say he does not care that my other name is She Who Must Be Obeyed. Somehow I have become the chosen one for cats who live outside the box, except they are inside a box, my house. The spirits are laughing.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Hot From the Oven

I made the bread from the recipe Beatrice shared a few days ago. I made a minor change, using bread flour (my canister with all purpose was empty) and one third white whole wheat. My Pyrex bowls are varying sizes so I just made one larger loaf.

This is an extremely simple recipe with limited proofing time. It has a soft crumb and before storage the crust has a good crunch. It is a good sandwich and toast bread. Gets an A+ from me.

Until the last several years I couldn't make a casserole to save my life. I could make food that is a casserole but not in the standard tradition, or a hot dish as is the common name for it in much of Minnesota. I really was born and raised here but I swear I never heard that term until I was an adult. I made lasagna, which is a casserole, manicotti, various parmesans, all forms of casserole, but otherwise, nope. I think I overthought it. One day I made one and Mark, who grew up on 'hot dish', said it was good. I think I had brain freeze that finally thawed. This is all to say I'm making a pasta casserole for dinner. I have bacon ends, asparagus, spinach and lots of cheese. Tomorrow, following in Boud's footsteps, I'm going to try a fish pie. It is like cottage pie but with white fish. 

Since today is obviously only about food I may as well add something more. I made a rack of ribs yesterday. I do two different ways in the oven. Low and slow and wrapped in foil or low and slow for a shorter time unwrapped. I wanted a single pan dinner so I put cut up red and green peppers, thick cut onion and several whole garlic cloves as a base for the ribs. I dry rub ribs, I am not a fan of barbecue sauce. This spent about 2 hours 20 minutes in a low oven. It was so good.

That's it from my kitchen for now. Go visit Beatrice if you want the bread recipe.

Friday, March 24, 2023


I have been taking desiccated bovine thyroid for one week today. So far I have had no side effects. One more week then I'm to increase the dosage. I have been feeling better emotionally, but I'm not going to attribute that to the medication at this point. To use an obvious metaphor in my case, I like to hold the reins.

I'm going to make Beatrice's bread recipe today. I like the simplicity of it. As I've said, simple has become my go-to. I'm also going to start a creme fraiche culture. It's so easy to do and the results are delicious, so why did I stop? I'm sure there's an answer, I simply don't remember what it is.

We are going into much warmer weather now. We will be in the high thirties to low forties into the next week. It's not possible to predict if we are going to have spring in April or not. 

I used the small cherry tomatoes to make a shrimp and pasta dish a couple of days ago. I made a game hen and the romanesco cauliflower last evening, I forgot to photograph it. The cauliflower is good, I don't know how to characterize it....milder cauliflower, maybe? I kept calling it broccoli because of the color but it didn't taste like broccoli. I'd buy it again.

I received a call from the Bariatric Center yesterday to set up an appointment, even though I had already cancelled my appointment. The friendly person said she wanted to make an appointment for me. I told her I didn't think this was the place for me. Silence. Then a tentative 'ok'. I then said that after doing the questionnaire I felt the lifestyle counseling centered around eating and emotional disorders. She said it did. I thanked her for her time. Another person who thinks I'm in denial. I'm getting good at this!

The sun is shining, I'm vertical and the refrigerator is full.  

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Happy Heart

In two days the refrigerator went from no fresh produce to being packed with it. We picked up an Aldi order Tuesday and my monthly Misfits order came Wednesday. The bag on the second shelf is full of fennel fronds cut from the four bulbs I got from Misfits. I'll be making more fennel frond cubes while saving some fronds to use with steamed fish. Unlike basil, the fennel fronds can be frozen as they are, I just like the convenience of the cubes. 

The bananas were already here, they did not come that ripe. I really like Cara Cara oranges and Aldi had them.

The potato and onion bins are now full. Aldi has sweet potatoes the size of, well I don't know. They are huge.

The itty-bitty tomatoes will be used  with shrimp and pasta.

These are the fennel cubes I mentioned. I had some in an ice cube tray ready to transfer. 

This was a quick tour of the kitchen, the things essential for life. The heart of my home. There is a pantry and sort of a butlers pantry as well. Yes, only two of us live here, do the cats count? I like frozen vegetables and if they are going to be steamed that is what I go to. But fresh produce, greens for salads, adding to sauces and soups. Roasting vegetables, asparagus on pizza, in eggs... I feel sort of lost when I have a bare refrigerator. I think that's a universal feeling. I got something I haven't seen before, Romanesco Cauliflower. It looks like a sea creature to me.

Everyday I have been putting some things away which I have left around, never quite got to where they belong, for too long. Some of the neglect has been ennui, some because of pain and fatigue. I've been overcoming the first and working around, as best I can, the latter. As we all know, something done is better than nothing done. My new approach to life. Full speed ahead, damn the torpedos, left this life-form quite awhile ago. And that's okay.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Woman Can Live on Bread Alone

Boud reminded me of soda bread a couple of days ago.  I made a loaf yesterday and can't imagine why I forgot about it. Soda bread is delicious and easy, I won't forget again. I didn't take a photo of the loaf, Boud, but there's a bit of it perched on the bowl.

Yesterday another blogger buddy, Beatrice, posted a recipe for a simple and scrumptious peasant bread. It will be the next loaf coming out of my oven. It's a blessing to have bread bakers in my life.

I finished The Goldfinch yesterday. A weighty tome but well worth the time. It was a lot of time. Donna Tartt can write. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I had a good day yesterday, I got some work done in the house, slow but steady. I'd brought up a bag of frozen whole Romas a couple of days prior, so in the afternoon I peeled them and started a sauce. I added frozen shredded zucchini, lots of garlic, (vampires will never bother me) basil and red pepper flakes. I added white wine and let it simmer all afternoon.

The tomatoes were highly acidic and even after adding butter they were still too tart for my taste. I added a couple of heaping tablespoons of ricotta and it turned out delicious. I couldn't finish mine, so Mark will have an extra side for another meal. Something creamy will almost always save the day.

It was 5F this morning, it's supposed to reach 34F. Then we start transitioning into warmer weather. 40s are in our future!

A friend brought up someone she watches on YouTube, Mary's Nest. I haven't looked at it yet, but Deb mentioned making yoghurt. I used to make yoghurt, creme fraiche and kimchi. I don't know why I stopped. I think I will pick it up again. I also did sourdough but found I am a terrible caregiver to starter. I don't do these things to frustrate myself, so I stopped.

Mark's cousin will be bringing his tax documents over today, so that means two visitors in as many days. Whoo-hoo! Almost a social life. I don't know him, other than he is a Trump guy, so I will leave him to Mark.

A couple of days ago I got a form from  Bariatric Surgery and Weight Center to complete. It started out with criteria for being seen and what they offer; surgery, medical weight management and lifestyle counseling. Surgery, which I wouldn't do, is not available to anyone seventy and older. Medical weight management, I assume medication, isn't available to anyone sixty-five and older. Lifestyle...let me tell you some of the questions. Do you hide when you eat because you are embarrassed. Do you binge eat until you vomit. Are you addicted to food. Do you feel disgusted and depressed because you overeat. Do you feel a compulsion to eat. Have you been hospitalized for emotional problems or substance abuse. Do you use street drugs. There are more of the same in various forms. Since I'm not eligible for the other two treatments, this seems to be why I was referred to this program. After a couple of years of appointments, it comes down to this. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Still Winter

We've been spending a lot of time in front of a fire. It has been cold, yesterday we got to 8F as a high. Started out at zero this morning. 

Neighbor Bill stopped by this morning for about an hour, we solved all the problems of the world, then he went home to start lunch. We haven''t seen him in quite awhile. It was good to see someone other than a doctor. 

I started my self-prescribed thyroid medication yesterday. I'm hopeful it will help me, regardless of the medical diagnosis of Mental. Fat. Old. I have MFO. I have stayed level in mood ever since I found myself released by the medical establishment, i.e., kicked to the proverbial curb. I did not know how much it was weighing me down. So, onward, forward, whatever, upward? The mood is upward. That's a huge improvement.

I have things I promised myself I would do today. Right now I feel I can do them. Seeing Bill did brighten my day, I hope he knows how appreciated he is. He went home to leftover corned beef for lunch, we get leftover soup. We are all happy.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Things Change

It's raining. Then it will be snowing. Ah, well. Minnesota in March. The son of my parent's longtime neighbor messaged me to say his mother and sister (she never left home) are moving into a townhouse. This family moved into the neighborhood maybe forty years ago, so they were not there when I was, but they got to know my parents and helped them out quite a bit. Through this I grew to know them to a degree. As I understand it, the mother is a 'collector' of stuff. Lots of it. So, the son said he and another sister are working on her to let go. He updated me to say she's doing better than they thought, but it's a process. There is another neighbor that's been there maybe ten years longer, but I never really got to know them. This is the coming end to an era. My mother was the last of the originals. I'm glad they have the foresight to move now. It's hard to let go. 

Howard's question mark. Talking about letting go, the boy has been gone for six years. It hardly seems possible. Time is traveling at warp speed. We have two more stray cats hanging out here. Hopefully not female. One seems friendly but Keetah scares it away before I can try to pick it up. Keetah is starting to show her age, but the barking is not slowing down.

That's the rambling for today. The time change has me more messed up than usual. I am one of the people who does not do well with DST. I never completely adjust. But it does give people more time on the golf course. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Horse Sense

The Four Mares of the Apocalypse

Forever Elegant. Sunspot Baby. RF Fleetwind. LF Diamond Rose. All were in foal, all are now deceased. This would have been 1997? Fleetwind departed last, 12/21.

Lots of horses over lots of years. I like mares. They are matter-of-fact. I like them all, but mares...Diamond Rose once kicked my Saddlebred gelding into the next county without lifting her head from eating grass. He never bothered her again. Yes, I do admire the mares. There are still six mares on the property, two of them out of Ellie, two out of Fleety and the first born on the farm, out of Diamond Rose. Babe is now a very old lady. 

I guess it's a short stroll down Memory Lane. It's difficult to actually remember how hard I worked, it's all kind of a haze, seeming like a dream. It did give me purpose, that's for sure. I don't regret it. Even though they are expensive pasture fluffs!

Well. We are in for some weather tomorrow. Rain, followed by snow later. The fluffs will spend the day in the barn. Because they are also barn babies. The baby of the farm is the sixth mare, Ivy, now an opinionated seventeen-year-old. This is becoming a home for the elderly.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


This is a common sight. They are best buds.

I got a referral to weight management, then an email from that department advising they are 30+ days out for appointments. That's fine by me. It's another colder, sunny day. I've got chicken stock simmering, I will mix up bread dough and then try to do a little more cleaning. Sounds exciting, yes?

I really am caught up in the book, The Goldfinch. That the book won a Pulitzer is no surprise. It's an audiobook, 30 hours! I'm a little over halfway. By afternoon I am pulled to the book, that's it for the day.

Whatever tugs at you, maybe go along with it.


Monday, March 13, 2023

Gatto No Got It

It's a beautiful morning, bright sun, mild breeze and 13F. March lets us know it is not a Spring month in the North. Gatto has been in full-blown kitten mode all morning. He's trying hard to be a flying squirrel, when in reality he is the clumsiest cat I have personally known. If he had to escape up a tree I'm fairly certain he'd miss his mark and tumble over. He is cute, he's got that going for him.

Monday always means laundry. It's the one routine I have managed to stick with. I have always been a person of routine, even as a child. That personality served me well when I was running the horse business. Having a way everything should be done helps in a world where chaos can spring up at any moment. The routine may be disrupted but is picked up again. Horses are like me, they thrive on having a routine. 

A soup-less lunch yesterday.

Is it a regional difference, grilled cheese vs toasted cheese sandwich? I've always known it as grilled cheese.

My thoughts are deep. Soooo, anyway....I got a little cleaning done yesterday. My body isn't working any better, of course, but my mood is elevated. Mood plays a huge role, doesn't it, in overcoming limitations. Or at least enduring limitations. Before I know it I may be Suzy Sunshine! Don't hold your breath, ha.

May we all bask in the sunshine of our lives.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Long Journey



I think this will be the last post for awhile concerning my Mystical Medical Tour.

I spent most of yesterday in research mode. The amount of trusted information available with the click of a keyboard is really astounding and so useful. When I saw the neurologist, very engaged person by the way, I mentioned that I had been trying to avoid Dr. Google. He told me Dr. Google would be a good thing for me. I now realize what he meant. I wasn't going to get anywhere. He was the only specialist who would see me. He recognized something is wrong but it is outside his expertise. Dr. Google and my intimate knowledge of myself were my available help.

The Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, The American Thyroid Association and others gave me useful information based on the symptoms I have been living with. The interaction between iron (ferritin) and thyroid is new to me. The American Thyroid Association has a blind study on the website involving raw desiccated thyroid and the pharmaceutical Levothyroxine. Sixty-nine percent of the participants preferred the desiccated thyroid. The report said more study was needed on this. I was on Armour Thyroid for several years, it's porcine desiccated thyroid gland. I found through the the ATA site that there is also desiccated raw bovine thyroid gland. More computer keyboard clickety-clacks for info on this. Long story, short comment. I can buy this without prescription. The FDA doesn't approve any of this, including Armour, which somehow got put in prescription only status and the ATA seems neutral. After most of the day spent reading and learning I have decided I will supplement with iron and desiccated thyroid, staying very aware of signs of too much iron. One afternoon gave me more hope than three years of doctor visits. This may not be my answer, but it's a place to start. I am feeling more positive than I have in years. I want my life back. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

I've Become a Country Song

I got a call from the Nurse Practitioner yesterday morning. Why not call in the morning and ruin the rest of my day? The rheumatologist had reviewed my file and said he didn't need to see me. His diagnosis: I am obese and I need to realize that things change as we get older. I told Gloria I was insulted. She apologized. She suggested weight management (it's now all about my weight). I won't bore you with what I had to say to her. It seems this is my diagnosis. I'm mental. I'm fat. I'm old. Is this treatment common or am I just the lucky one? I did remind Gloria that at our first meeting she told me I am a person and not lab reports. She said again that she is sorry. I have decided to go once to weight management. I told Gloria I've been down that road before and it's a dead end. I need to keep a primary for medication, so I'll appease her and go. If it's what I expect it to be, that will be it, once. They have bariatric surgery  as the header on their clinic page.

I have done a lot of research on my symptoms. Someone needs to. I'm pretty certain it's autoimmune and in my research I find they can be very difficult to diagnose. There actually has to be an effort put into it. I know I have a thyroid problem that doesn't show up in the tests. I saw a doctor for several years who diagnosed it and put me on Armor thyroid. I lost 70 pounds and felt better than I had in a long time. She retired and no other doctor would treat me for thyroid. Isn't it odd that it is now common to prescribe diabetes meds for weight loss, drugs which seem dangerous to me because, what, aren't they supposed to lower blood sugar? But I talk about thyroid and it causes a kerfuffle. There is another possibility in addition to thyroid. An autoimmune involving iron deficiency. I have nearly every symptom, brittle nails, hair loss, I have developed cracking at the corners of my mouth, sallow skin, pain and extreme fatigue. I've looked at treatment, which is iron supplementation. I have iron pills, I know not why. I've also become aware of symptoms of too much iron, which are pretty clear, so patient heal thyself. It has come to this. Three years of doctor appointments and I decide to take iron pills. In the end, maybe I am just mental, fat and old. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Metaphor and Other Gibberish

The sustenance of life.

I had a busy day, for me, yesterday. I made buttery baking powder biscuits, this loaf of bread (white whole wheat, all purpose flour, Herbes de Provence) and pizza dough which became pizza for dinner. Whew! It snowed all day and into the night. Most didn't stick because we were right above freezing. The overnight snow has stuck around. There's more coming next week. By the time I had my first cup of coffee Mark had let the horses out, took the garbage to the road and shoveled the sidewalk and deck. We have switched, he's now the morning person and I'm the night person.

A couple of days ago the kitchen TV was on, some older show, the guy used the term bread for money. Mark commented he hadn't heard that for a really long time. He wondered why money was called bread. I think because bread was for centuries the sustenance of life and money is also the sustenance of life. Maybe too logical, but it works for me!

I make egg bakes all the time, another easy go-to. If I have the energy I think I will make a quiche for dinner. I might as well keep the dough rolling. Another word for money. I think I'm onto something. I have bacon ends and asparagus to use, so if I don't feel like making a crust I'll simply make the bake.

So, I wonder where moola came from?

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cat, Dog, Choices

Just another evening at Casa Gatto.

From the first he moved into the house he has been tight with Keetah.

Doing what best friends do.

We have been sitting in front of the pellet stove for a couple of weeks. I mentioned awhile ago that I had stored two chairs in the basement which I thought could be used for this purpose. It does work, it fills the room a bit more than I'm used to, but it works. I had an old hassock in my office, so mama gets her feet up. We had a spell of heavy snow and then ice. Getting to the wood shed was hazardous for Mark, so no fires in the snug. Mark prefers sitting here in the evening. I prefer the snug, but also am perfectly happy here. Choices, choices.

I made a burst tomato sauce last evening. If you haven't done this, do. It's so easy and GOOD. It's supposed to be cherry or grape tomatoes left whole, put in a pan with butter and a little olive oil to keep the butter from burning. Let it cook until the tomatoes burst and form a sumptuous sauce. I use regular tomatoes because that's what I have. I quarter them, they are medium size, and use them that way. I love garlic so I had plenty of that in there, as well as a fennel frond cube. I usually use basil, but changed it up. You can use any seasoning you please. Salt, pepper and some cheese ravioli. It was heaven in a pasta bowl. Fast, inexpensive and delicious.

We had four more inches of snow yesterday and are supposed to get at least that today and tonight. March. I feel like I can make bread today. The bread lady seems to have been on vacation. I plan for pizza tonight, but it all depends how the day goes for me. After making a huge pot of soup yesterday I need not worry about lunch. Yay.

May you burst your tomatoes.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

It's snowing.

I made enough soup for a family of twelve. You would think I was the one born into that size family instead of Mark. We've been having steady, fluffy snowflakes all day. It's pretty and it's not cold. It's going to like this for a few days. I have the soup to last through it. I'd like to say it was forethought, but it really was no thought. I just made too much.

I don't know about anyone else, but this time of year does start to close in on me. Spring is not really a season in Minnesota. We go through this month and often April as winter. Then we have mud and then it's summer. This is my complaint about the weather. The rule of thumb was not to plant a garden until after Memorial Day. It has become warmer and more humid, but that is entrenched in my mind, so it's what I normally do.  I wasn't going to post today, because as you can read, I got nuthin'. I blame it on March.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

I made a white bean casserole for dinner last night. I don't know why, but it's been a few years. It's just about the easiest thing to make. I guess it slipped my mind. I buy bacon ends from Misfits, they work so well in something like this. Cut to the chase, it was really good. 

I've had a couple of days of self-pity. Making comfort food has been, well, comforting. I made an eggplant gratin Sunday, something else that seemed gleefully delicious. My pity-parties need to be short or I will look completely like a swollen tick. What's not to enjoy about generous amounts of melted, browned cheese? One more bit about food. I made stock with a smoked pork shank yesterday. Soup is in our future.

Gatto's prowlin-n-yowlin has lessened a lot. Losing his parts has allowed him to be the kitten he is. He and Frieda have some rollicking good times! I don't know his story, I had originally thought he'd had some sort of home, but his actions are often that of a feral cat. It's hard to say, but I am working on his manners. He is Keetah's best bud. 

Boud mentioned yesterday that she does the tree pose in front of her kitchen window, giving passers-by something to look at. She graciously said what it is, one foot against the opposite thigh with hands clasped above the head. I tried it in my bathroom this morning, wisely standing against the sink. If the sink had not been there to hold me up, it would have been timber, as I had replied to her. I do chair yoga.

I guess that's about it. Frieda has just made herself comfortable in her bed on my desk, the coffee is gone and I have things to pretend to do. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Zinger

We've had an additional 4" of the white stuff overnight.


I started this book last evening. 

I expect I will like it.

Sunday, March 5, 2023


Happy Sunday 

We are in for some more weather, kind of like everyone else. I've spent a quiet morning puttering around and searching private practice medical clinics. I'm listening to a book, Vanderbilt, written by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe. I find it interesting and insightful into the current greed and the mental illness which comes with never having enough. I'm three quarters through and it has kept my attention. Anderson Cooper is the reader.

I made wild rice soup yesterday. We had it for lunch again today, there is enough for one more lunch. What would I do without soup? 

I'm waiting to see if rheumatology will see me. I saw the NP did put the request through. If it's no, I have found a private clinic in Minneapolis I will try. It can't hurt. I had a doctor in a private practice throughout the 2000s and up to 2014. He is a good doctor. The problem was when his partner decided to enter politics and became a state senator. There was another problem, one I was able to overlook, religion. Because it's a private practice religion was part of the deal. Religion combined with politics became too much for me. I also didn't like the partner as a doctor or a person. I could probably go back, except that doctor ran for governor and was a Covid denier, a proponent of eliminating public education and a lot more. I just can't do it. I'll see what happens in the next week.  

Beyond that, there is no news fit or unfit to print. The doldrums of late winter set in. I know it's early spring for some of you, but we aren't there yet. 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Mark says he has alley cat charm.

I had an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner yesterday. She was very kind, spent a lot of time with me and it all resulted in nothing. I have become acutely aware of the limits of modern medicine. These limitations were highlighted in a book recommended to me by pixie, "The Invisible Kingdom" by Meghan O ' Rourke. It is worth reading. I also listened to an excellent program on NPR a couple of weeks ago; practitioners and patients talking about the inequities in the system where women are concerned and how everything has come down to lab reports. Puzzling over a mystery is gone from medicine. Sadly, I have become too familiar with that over three years.

I finally experienced what I have read happens when they don't have an easy answer; perhaps I should seek therapy. Not physical therapy. The other therapy. My response was, I feel hopeless and helpless because I am hopeless and helpless. I am because my physical body isn't working. It's not working has caused me to become inactive, not the other way around. I have purpura on my back, one knee and behind the other knee. For those who don't know what this is, like I didn't until I looked up purple blotches on skin, it's caused by small blood vessels bursting. There are also many small red blotches across my shoulders. It's the same thing, just smaller blood vessels. Purpura is a symptom not a condition. There are several conditions that cause purpura. I guess the medical info I read forgot to mention mental health as a cause of bursting blood vessels. In December about one third of my hair fell out. I have tremors mostly in my hands, but sometimes through my body. I am hampered as far as activity is concerned by extreme fatigue and profuse sweating. I did ask her why she felt it is worthy of concern that I feel depressed and hopeless, when I am unable to do much of anything and all I get is a pat on the head and told to take NSAIDs. I think it's a normal response, under the circumstances. She told me psychotherapy  would make the body issues better. OMFG. I have prescription pain meds from an injury I had but didn't need them. I'm going to use some for a couple of days to see if it helps enough for me to get some much needed housework done. I will give it a few days and then research further options. I'm not one to give up, even when I feel overwhelmed. Oh! She did say she would send my file to rheumatology to review. If they won't see me it will cost $50. If they do see me it becomes part of my treatment and insurance pays. The specialties have gatekeepers.

I am aware that trauma affects the body. I know that. I also know I am unwell and feel strongly it's not a mental issue. It's an easy out when a condition does not advertise itself. My physical abilities are worsening, whatever is wrong is progressive. A year ago I cleaned up our basement, painted a wall in the kitchen and kept the house clean.  I was able to do some yard work. All while feeling pain, but I could do it. Now I can barely cross a room. I must say this....I have never, ever been so thoroughly dismissed in my rather long life. It still stuns me.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programing

They were having a standoff.

Gatto capitulated.

He has two females who regularly let him know his place. Poor Gatto. Not really. I have a rare busy day and Mark already has lunch planned at Culvers! He said I need a treat. I agree. Ice cream. I'll catch up later in the day.

Thursday, March 2, 2023


My mother. Kate.

 The MotherBeast

Today is her birthday. She was eighty-three in this photo. She had been telling me she always wanted to take a day cruise on the St. Croix River, so I booked one for us. That day she was gracious  and happy. She had told me a couple of years earlier how she wanted to tour New England in autumn, that now she had no one to go with. I looked at bus tours, I didn't want to drive there, and found a luxury tour. Comfortable bus, everything would be done for you. All you had to do is show up. It was expensive, but hassle-free, which was necessary because she was not. Hassle-free, that is. I told her I would book it and pay for it if she wanted to go. You'd have thought I was offering her a shot of arsenic. She did not want to go with me. I did not book the tour.

Kate had a personality disorder. I knew something was wrong with her, seemingly my whole life. Face to the public, what you see in the photo above. Inside the walls of her house; mean, demeaning, raging beast. I was groomed to take "care" of her. I never stopped trying to please her, all the while despising her. It's messed up, but that is what continuous  abuse does to a person. My father moved my grandma, Kate's mother, into our house when I was about ten. This is what saved me, having grandma around, which curbed Kate to a degree. Grandma was gone often, to stay with a friend, so it wasn't all sunshine and roses. 

On the outside, I was the privileged kid. I had a horse, I had skiing lessons, nice clothes and vacations. It was very important to Kate that she be seen as the kindest, most generous of mothers. I would have been better off poor but loved. She sent me to a finishing school over the summer when I was 14. Then she berated me for thinking I was so superior because I knew things she didn't. I did not ask to go there, what 14 year old wants to spend her summer learning the proper placement of cutlery? It was all about how Kate was seen from the outside. 

I have a younger brother. Kate doted on him, having a son was the crown jewel. The doting was perhaps more toxic than the disdain she showed me. He separated from the family twenty-nine years ago. I have no idea where or how he is. Separation was what we knew. By the time I was eleven all family on both sides disappeared from our lives. The exception was my grandma, who lived with us, and a cousin, the daughter of grandma's oldest child. Kate's niece, eleven years older than me. Grandma and Marie were my cushions. I finally stopped talking to her, something I did every day since my father died in 2010. She finally put me over the edge. I told her I was done, I wouldn't have her warping reality anymore. She said fine, hung up and that was that. This was eight months before she died.

Kate died May 4th, 2020. Peacefully, sitting in her rocker. It appears she died in her sleep. I'm glad it was an easy death. It's been a process and I know I will never have her out of my head, but having the knowledge she's actually gone and can't hurt me or my son anymore has helped. My son has become more interactive with us in the last couple of years. She was toxic to him, as well. He told me for as long as he can remember she tore me apart in front of him. Sometimes my father would tell her to stop, but mostly he protected himself.

Families are complex. What you see isn't necessarily what is there. Mothers are not sainted because they give birth. Fathers can be cowardly. Siblings can be set against one-another. You never outgrow abuse, you learn to deal with it. My brother was better off getting away from it, but if he hasn't looked it in the face and worked through what she did to him, he is still very damaged. I am getting there. I don't forget she is dead anymore. I don't dream of her raging in my face anymore. Small but useful steps.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Down the Hole

I might say I'm sardonic. Others may say I'm just a smart-ass. Sardonicism has a touch of cleverness, humor brushed with skepticism. Perhaps a certain amount of wisdom. I'd like to be that, although I'm probably just a wise guy.

I'm writing these thoughts because I had to fill in the patient questionnaire before my appointment with the new Primary on Friday. There is a mental health portion, which I've always filled in honestly except for question #9, the last question. I feel it's worded wrong, which is why I have never been truthful. This time I didn't care. The question is about feeling hopeless, perhaps wanting to hurt yourself. Feeling it might be better if you weren't here. I do not want to hurt myself. I am feeling hopelessness, for more reasons than just my health, but three years of being ignored by the medical establishment may tend to make a person feel unworthy of care. I got a phone call from the clinic, a nurse with a concerned tone to her voice. She wanted to know if I was considering harming myself and if perhaps I should go to the emergency room. I held my smart-ass tongue on that. If you aren't feeling suicidal before you go through a six hour wait in ER, you will be afterward. I reassured her I am not in danger of harming myself, I just decided to be honest. Then I said after three years of being ignored, I would find not feeling a sense of hopelessness to be abnormal. I flustered her a little so she went back to the dialogue. I assured her again I am not suicidal. Then the misplaced wise guy came along. I said I don't feel suicidal, maybe a little homicidal. OOPS! I immediately said, joke...joke. Yes, I am a wise guy with occasional tinges of sardonicism slipping in. But mostly I'm just that guy. 

This could be an interesting appointment.