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

Friday, May 31, 2024

A Good Day

I must start with the conviction. I fervently hope the jurors names are never, ever leaked. That said, it was a day when we saw justice served.

I picked most of the flowers that were on the ground in one garden. Pretty flowers everywhere. The season is too short. I need to get to the nursery to buy my few vegetable plants and herbs. I plan to sow flower seeds this afternoon. We had rain last night, it's wet out there. Jim did come over yesterday to mow the lawn. What an improvement. Mark got another flower bed weeded. He has a follow-up appointment this afternoon, so no weeding today.

Yesterday we saw a glimmer of hope for our country.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Blooming Season

We are in bloom.
We have a power line that comes onto the property and the electrical box is on it. Not the prettiest of pretty, but morning glories grow up along baling twine I hang on the box. I planted a morning glory about a dozen years ago and it has never failed to re-seed itself year-after-year.

The ferns are in fern heaven from all the rain. There are quite a few hostas in the fern forest I will need to move to a new home.

I brought this iris with me from our home in Saint Paul. They were there when we bought the house, so the generations carry on.

I split peonies maybe six years ago, transplanting the spits here. I also moved some iris to this bed. I will be needing to split again in the Fall.

In the first years we lived here I planted several different shrubs in this place. Everything I planted died, so I went into the tree line and dug up honeysuckle. Now, I knew they grow large, but I frankly didn't expect them to live. They did. Until the past few years I only needed to trim them in spring and autumn. I trimmed them back in April level to the bottom of the windows. No good deed goes unpunished.

I will be picking peonies today. The rain beat them down.

The Russian sage is sprouting like crazy, as per usual.

The mosquito invasion is messing with our plans. We will need to cover every inch of bare skin and endure it. Bill said we should hire his brother to mow the lawn. He has a large, I think the are called zero turn, mower. We will see what his brother says. Bill often volunteers someone else before consulting with them. He fixed one of the problems on the mower, but there is something else wrong that he hasn't yet been able to  diagnose. He did mention that maybe his brother would sell his old mower to us. Which tells me he isn't sure the mower is fixable.

I did do some sorting of my clothes and so far have one bag to donate. Yesterday I went through and organized jewelry. Yes, you read that right. My mother was a jewelry addict. My father was a bit of a bon vivant, where clothing was concerned. There is a very large collection of cufflinks and tie pins. I brought it home and left it sit. I went through it yesterday. My son can deal with what to do with it when I've departed this earth. I will confess that I have a fair share of my own, from the days I actually had a job outside of a barn and I went out and also often had parties at my home. Talk about a 180 (thanks, Boud) turn in life! Maybe I will wear it around the house. I have pearls I could clutch.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

It's Soaking Wet

Mr. McCool spent a rainy evening on my hassock. He usually spends the night in the house.

We've had a lot of rain. A lot. As you can see with the afghan, it's also been cool. Not McCool, but chilly. And let's not forget the mosquitos. It's mosquito heaven. Did you know the mosquito is the Minnesota state bird? People mistakingly think it's the loon, but it is the mosquito.

I'm doing laundry today instead of yesterday. I decided to treat Monday as a holiday. I "plan" to sort through my closet and drawers to eliminate what I don't have use for. The clothing that is too large for me is going into sealed plastic bags for storage. I'm realistic enough to know I may need them again in the future. Not being a  fatalist but simply practical. If my son finds them still packed away after I go toes up, yippee for me.

After bringing up weight gain/loss....I made a brisket yesterday that was, no brag, fantastic. So tender. Today will be a brisket sandwich with horseradish sauce and fried onions on the lunch menu. One half of a ciabatta roll for me. 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Not Title Worthy


For Lori and anyone else who is interested.


I was unable to mow, as the mower wouldn't start. Neighbor Bill will look at it when he has time. Until then, welcome to the jungle. The iris are in full bloom and the peonies are about to pop. I took a quick photo this morning. Anyone want to paint a shed and fence?

So, yesterday I spent in the house pouting because I couldn't mow, instead of going out to do something else. But, I did that very well. 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mow, Mow, Mow the Lawn....

The rain stopped late morning and then the wind kicked up yesterday afternoon. It's sunny and mild today. I will be mowing and Mark will be weeding. It will be nice to see the bearded iris without looking through a weed forest.

Yesterday was a do-nothing day for me. That used to be every day and now it's about every other. I did make the bread I'd mixed the day before. It's one half white whole wheat and one half bread flour, with two tbs of vital wheat gluten. The crumb isn't as open but still not dense. I know I need the whole grains but I sure love those white flour loaves.

I made the potatoes Pixie posted for dinner last night. They were a hit. Anything including bacon is a hit with me. I used to watch a Canadian cook on the Food Network who had studied in France. She once said, wryly, the French consider bacon a vegetable. I'm onboard with that!! I did take a brisket out of the freezer, let's hope it has time to thaw, although I have a backup plan of grilled pork chops. It would be the first use of the grill this season.

That's the story today. Enjoy your story, whatever it is.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Just...You Know. Stuff.

It's been raining all night and into this morning. Mark was going to weed gardens and I was going to mow. That isn't going to happen. I made bread dough yesterday for baking today and it's a right proper day for that. 

Mark just now brought me another cup of coffee. He wants me properly caffeinated and pleasant. Such a good guy. He wants to put the equines out but I say leave them in. They are all old, the landscape here is rolling and the soil is greasy black clay. We just had a mare on stall rest for over a week because she pulled something in her hindquarter. 800-1000 pound invalids are a whole different story. He'll leave them in and then moan about it all day. We both know the drill.

Monday is Memorial Day in the US. It will be quiet for us. I plan to cook a brisket. I have two in the freezer, I guess I should use one. Perhaps I'll even make a clafoutis. No promises, I don't want to get carried away with myself.

Have a GREYT Friday everyone.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Musing on Aging


I wrote last month about a man I was close to in the '70s here who died, unknown to me, five years ago. Being the Nosey Parker I am, I looked him up online and found the mortuary obit. I am so surprised that I did not recognize him at all. I thought I had the wrong person, but reading through it, I did not. Then I thought, we could have run into one another face first on the street and neither would recognize the other.

It is amazing how we change. Not everyone. Mark is recognizable as his younger self. I am not. This man definitely was not. I saw a photo of his brother who was a friend and co-worker and he was even more changed. It felt weird.

Maybe about 1983


I just posted this last week. Current     

The only sort of current I could find of Mark. Late 2000-teens. Looks the same now except different glasses.     

Mark changed, obviously. He is still recognizable as himself, though. I, on-the-other-hand, really am not. Which is why I shouldn't be surprised I did not recognize the man from my long ago past. He was a handsome Sicilian-American, tall and lean. He lost his looks and his lean, but who am I to talk. Mark has lost the rest of his hair and some of his lean, but he is still my dear, kind nerdy man.

I guess I am shallow, as I focused more on the change in this person than I did on the fact that he is dead and his family will never see the further change that would have come. Perhaps because I no longer knew him, I reacted differently. I knew the man in his twenties, this one, a stranger. I needed time to mourn the loss of youth, the swift passage of time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Another rainy day. My lawn needs mowing again.
This is better than drought.

I'd asked Mark to pick up some shrimp when he went into town. He bought cooked, so after heating it was a bit dry, but still good. Anything with asparagus is going to be good. Except if there are mushrooms. That's a BIG nope.

I'm thinking of making a rhubarb clafoutis. Our rhubarb is ready to be picked and I believe I might like that. I rarely bake for two reasons. I do not crave sweet things and I shouldn't eat sweets. Once in awhile I do bake something and this time it will either be a clafoutis or a galette. This year I must remember to pick wild black raspberries. My tree line is loaded with them. I also need to get the elderflowers picked in time to make cordial. I'm always too late. I like a little cordial mixed with sparkling water and that stuff is expensive to buy. Since going on Wellbutrin my wine days are over. Not my whine days, though.

So, that's my story. Until the next time.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Frieda and Other Stuff

Her stage name is Flying Monkey.


Frieda was made to jump and climb. She has the largest flap of under-belly skin I have seen on a cat. As a Public Service Announcement, I think I should say be wary of stray kittens who show up at your door saying let me in. They aren't your run-of-the-mill kitty cats. And....please excuse the fibrous material on the screens. It is a constant battle, one I've almost given in to.

Now, onto the exciting stuff. I got the entire lawn mowed over three days. Yay, me! Mark got two overgrown flower beds weeded. Then it rained all night, but I can say, let it rain. It is Monday, so the washing machine is spinning as I type. We will have another week of clean cloths. I know I had plans for today besides laundry but it seems my mind has erased them. Not kidding. I don't remember what I had planned. I think my brain has become lazy.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

And Then This Happened......

Rain. Lots of it. Last evening. 

No complaints. After a couple of years of drought I certainly welcome rain. It is what has kept the lawn a jungle, but this is better than the maybe twice I mowed the lawn last year. I got only about a quarter of it mowed yesterday. It was in the mid 80s F yesterday with full sun. I became over-heated and stopped. There is over an acre I mow and since I need to have the mower on a low speed, because of my back, it takes two/three days for me to finish. You can see in the photo someone (me) has not graded the driveway. So much to do, so little mojo to do it with. I doubt it will dry enough to mow this afternoon, but we will wait and see.

In the mean time, I guess I'll make bread.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Cats. Lawn. Raccoon.

She knows she is cute.

Today is the day I finally tackle the jungle formally known as a lawn. Rain has cut off any plans I had of mowing before today. It is going to take a few days, this I know. Too bad I can't fence it and let the horses mow for me. 

The once thin stray orange tabby is still hanging around and isn't thin anymore. He and Rocky the Raccoon have been enjoying the cat food I put on the porch. Rocky stares through the door if the dish is empty. It's a good thing he grew up with cats, he presents no danger to them. I thought he would move on once he was grown, but the cat food buffet has kept him grounded here. 

That's the excitement here. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

On the Road Again

Aren't they cute?

Yesterday was busy. We were gone all morning and into late afternoon for a medical procedure for Mark. This was the day I wrote about dreading, as I hadn't driven for three years and had to be on a very busy interstate. Those who said it would come right back were correct. I had only one short practice drive beforehand and yet I had no problems. Coming home was a busy, busy drive, but I was fine. This afternoon we have a follow up appointment at the same place. It's about an hour from home. The Twin Cities is a sprawling metropolitan area, so depending on where you are going it can be a long drive. Tomorrow I wait for Culligan Man. Our reverse osmosis system isn't flowing well. After that is done I need to get to the mowing. The place looks abandoned.



Monday, May 13, 2024

The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

I was given a vase of lilacs on Saturday from a bush they had planted. The aroma is wonderful.

I had plans to mow the lawn yesterday. That didn't happen. It was hot and I was unmotivated. I did manage to make pizza dough and then in the evening the pizza. I often use prosciutto or speck, Italian cured ham, on pizza. It's paper thin and crisps well. I used the remaining tomato sauce I'd made for the meatballs as a base on the crust. That worked well and was good use of a leftover. My husband is very food centric, I'll lead with that to say, he told me as he is eating his messy pizza that he hit the jackpot when he married me. It's amazing how food erases all the years of a difficult me! Oh, I just bought another horse, here, have steak. I think I'll move to Atlanta, here's some lasagna. He is a saint. Don't tell him I said that.

It's laundry day, I also have tentative plans for some mowing in the afternoon. I do need to do it, it's a jungle out there. 

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Here and Now. Long Ago.

Okay....I do not photograph well, especially selfies. Something I inherited from my mother. As I wrote a few days ago, I have lost sixty pounds over the last two years. The health benefits are worth the effort and some of the less positive results. Old skin sags under the best of circumstances. Old skin that has been stretched by too much weight sags even more. Lets just say there is a lot of drooping going on around here.

Because I have no shame, a photo of me at twenty-three looking duh. This was not too long before I separated from husband # 1. I married too young. I won't get into the family dynamics which played a large roll in that happening, the reality is.... it did. 

Because it's Mothers Day, a very grainy photo of young me hours after baby boy was born. Now he is a fifty year old man. I am surprised I did as well raising him as I did. I know being me was sometimes difficult for him, especially his young teen years. I was not your run-of-the-mill mother. He asked me once why I couldn't be like all the other mothers. All I could tell him was because I'm not like all the other mothers. He turned out well, despite, and because of me. Of course, Mark played a role later on.

I am a bit melancholy this morning. Not sad, just reminiscing. We had a very, very nice time with son and his wife yesterday. I asked him how it felt to be fifty. He said good. I told him I thought that was probably the best decade of my life, overall. He thinks it will be for him. I hope so.

Happy Day to all the mothers out there. 

Friday, May 10, 2024


I know, another ta-da photo of a cleaning accomplishment, but this time there is a dual purpose. The first photo is taken with an iPhone and the second with my early 2000s Canon DSL, which I have not used in at least a dozen years. Since I got my first iPhone, whenever that was. I used to know how to use it, now I was lucky to figure out how to turn it on. I have the manual somewhere. I need to look at it. There is no reason not to use the camera.


If I were an actual photographer I would not have let the camera sit for so long, but I'm not, I am basically point and shoot with a nice camera. Or, I was.

It's a beautiful day, I have things to do and here I am, messing around with a camera. Ah, well. Life is short, sometimes we just need to mess around.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

More Food

Yesterday was early morning rain and then gloomy the rest of the day. It did reach 70 F even though overcast. It was still a good day for soup, so that's what I did in the morning. Make soup for lunch. I had turkey stock from Thanksgiving in the freezer and thought it was about time I used it.

Boud and Lori both made spaghetti and meatballs (Boud's were plant-based balls) a few days ago. It made me crave this delicious delight, so I finally got around to making it for last evening's dinner. It did not disappoint. So, another post with food photos. In between making both meals I did get a bit of work done in the house. Just a bit, but it's better than nothing. The piano and the center island both were polished with beeswax. I love that stuff. So does the wood.

It's a pretty day, sun shining and warm. I'm going to attempt to concentrate on sprucing up the house in anticipation of son and wife visiting on Saturday. I've decided to make a pasta salad using an olive oil dressing for the vegan. Mark picked up some Talenti sorbet for desert. I have trouble remembering if it's sherbet or sorbet that is dairy and egg-free. It's sorbet. That problem is solved.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Sunday started out with making a loaf of bread.

It ended with making a sort of stroganoff with leftover flank steak, cream and Worcestershire sauce.

In between I mowed part of the lawn. Talk about a jungle out there. We've had a lot of rain, causing a burst of growth and also an inability to mow said growth. Phlox and weeds are competing with one another for garden takeover. The iris and lilies cannot even begin to put-up a fight. I plan to finish mowing today, in the afternoon when it's dry enough and my Monday (mundane?) laundry duty is finished. 

The son and wife are coming here on Saturday for lunch. I'm planning a pasta salad with an olive oil dressing to accommodate the vegan. I'll need to do a little fluffing inside the house to make it visitor acceptable. With tomorrows expected rain there won't likely be any weeding. We have the worst soil known to humankind.....black clay. Until moving here I had no idea such a thing existed. Saint Paul is on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, this has some relevance to the wonderful sandy loam I was used to. This stuff, boot sucking, tendon popping when it's wet, hard as cement when it's not. Weeding has a short window, not when it's soaked, but don't let it dry. Trials and tribulations.

The sun is shining, the washer is washing and I am grumping. Happy day everyone.

Sunday, May 5, 2024


Don't we know it.

 Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

About Weight

About Attitudes.

I gained a lot of it, starting slowly in my forties, holding steady (mostly) in my fifties. Then I gained a boatload. More like an ocean liner load. Weight gain and weight loss are not the simple equation we have had drilled into us. Shame is a large part of this. If you are overweight, or Oden help you, obese, there is a shroud of shame around you and your round body. I know this well. I was a small person into my early forties, then something went awry. One day I existed, the next I did not. If you are fat..... you are lazy, you eat too much, you need to eat less and move more. Then, viola`, all will be well. Nonsense.

I have hormonal problems. I am insulin resistant. I am not diabetic, just on the cusp. With insulin resistance, the insulin has difficulty getting glucose into the cells, so instead the body stores the excess glucose as fat. This is why so many Type 2 diabetics are overweight, with much of the weight in the belly. This becomes metabolic syndrome: risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 

I was prescribed Ozempic in 2022 for this reason. Because my A1c was just under diabetic, insurance wouldn't pay for it. At that time it was a little over $1000/month. Nope. Shortly after this the drug became well-known and somewhat notorious in many circles. It also became available in compounded form, bringing the cost way down. The drug itself is semaglutide. In short, what it does is assist insulin to push glucose into the muscle and liver cells instead of it turning into fat. It becomes energy.

All this to say I have been on a very low dose of compounded semaglutide. I have never increased the dose because the low dose is working. The drug is doing what it is supposed to. My A1c is much lower, I have more energy, not a lot, but more. And....I have lost sixty pounds. Unbelievably, to me, I still have 30 - 40 pounds left to lose before I get out of the overweight category. I am out of morbidly obese, but still obese. I'm in my 70s, I am tired of lugging this weight around. I know I am at risk of diabetes and heart disease for certain, since both parents died from heart failure and my father was an insulin dependent diabetic. Both parents had the metabolic syndrome body shape. As do I.

There is a lot of chatter that people using this drug are cheating, taking the easy way out. I say, people may think what they want, I am not going to be aiding in my death or at the very least, spending the rest of my life in discomfort because of misguided opinions. I will likely be on a lower maintenance  dose for perhaps life. I can live with that. Literally.