Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Wild and Wacky Wednesday

It started off like most Wednesdays, with a stumble out to the kitchen to throw a lunch together for my husband, make some tea and coffee, feed the dog, check out the Sac Bee food section - not always in that order. I was back in bed, lunch made, drinking my coffee, dog fed, reading the paper when my husband calmly tells me he is having some chest pressure and he is about to call 911. His recent back pain was now more like extremely uncomfortable pressure and his first nitro he popped since his heart attack seven years ago took the pain away for a few minutes."WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME BEFORE NOW?" was my response. He reminded me that I needed to stay calm, so I said "why didn't you tell me before NOW?" I went and threw on some clothes, opened the front door for the paramedics and wandered around aimlessly trying to wrap my head around this unwelcome development.

Ernst had been dealing with back pain for over a month, and it kept getting worse, but he was by no means sick. A few weeks ago he dug up a stump in our front yard for crying out loud, his heart and health were great. And now we're calling the fire department out for nothing but some back pain? Silly us! Here we are getting the neighbors all worried about a huge fire truck out front and about a zillion firefighters pouring through the door. (While it's not something I wish for anyone, if at some point you can experience the rush of thankfulness and relief that a zillion firefighters pouring into the house brings, you'll know how I felt.) They took his stats. Fine. They took his EKG. Fine. They asked me if he looked pale, and I had to admit he did look a bit off. But of course back pain does that to a person, right? Any stress lately? No. OK maybe a little stressed that our living room is full of firefighters looking concerned about a guy whose chest pressure went away with nitro, but other than that, no stress.

While trying to be a good hostess to the rescue guys and gals, and trying to not look like I cause any stress whatsoever to my husband, I thought it might be a good idea to make some phone calls. I called our neighbor Linda and our friends Jeff and Myra. Jeff showed up in mere minutes, dressed like he was about to teach a course at a fancy college. The only thing better than having a zillion fire fighters show up, is having a well dressed friend show up in an emergency. It was decided that Jeff would follow the ambulance to the hospital and I would grab some items that one needs to for an ER visit, like my brain and my husband's medications. I could not locate the former, and I mistakenly grabbed the stash of old medications Ernst keeps in the fridge for dire emergencies instead of the current ones he keeps in the vitamin drawer. With my hair disheveled and really needing to be washed, my bare feet shoved in some boots because it seemed like a good time saver, and all the wrong meds, I raced out the door to pick up our neighbor on the way to the ER. She was well dressed and had a bag of practical items that would prove very helpful on this Wednesday to remember.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Capitol idea! Or was it a Capital idea?

When we lived in Tahoe the only time we went to the lake was when we had guests. Dumb yes, but true. It's so easy to get too busy, with every weekend passing by with puttering around the house and yard, working on all the things that had the nerve to break down. And I offer that up as my excuse for never having been inside the Capitol in Sacramento. Yep, that building downtown that my Moldovan friends call The White House had never been graced by my footsteps. 

The Capitol in Sacramento in the Capital of California (the building has the O, the place and the adjective have the A) has some amazing plant and tree specimens. I know this because a few years back we were in a contest called the Great Sacramento Race, and part of the competition involved running around getting information from the identifier plaques from various trees. Last Sunday, we took the grounds at a much easier pace, mostly because we decided to not only bring our out-of-town guests, but we brought our dog Molly too. I figured it just might be camellia season, and it was! Full on gorgeous camellia season with dozens and dozens of professionally tended bushes coaxed into the most amazing shapes. These had passed up the term "bush" long ago and were outright trees. White, pink, red, red with yellow centers, red and white peppermint swirls, compact, fluffy (see how I really know my camellia terminology?) they were just lovely.

And what a surprise when we saw that the Capitol was open for tours, on a Sunday no less. Taking turns outside walking the dog, we all stepped into the warm and welcoming building. There is a long hallway with all the counties' attributes displayed. Our guests from Lake County enjoyed seeing their county display, and we all were able to use a real bathroom as opposed to the port-a-potties set up for a rally outside. I finally saw the beautiful rotunda under the dome. My Dad worked on the renovation of the building years ago, and got to see the artisans restoring it. He was right, it is really stunning. So there, the Capitol in the Capital was seen and appreciated. Capital! 

Someone knows what they're doing.

The rotunda

Arnold, the bear that Schwarzenegger left.

Molly left a little something herself, on the grass.
Ernst, a very good pet owner, got a bag out of the trash and did the right thing.

We don't know what we're doing, but we still got blooms
from our Charlie Brown Camellia bush.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Feeling a bit blue

The quest to clean out the fabric stash continues. Not because I plan to give up quilts, but sometimes I just want to say goodbye to the old before I make room for the new. I do the same with our produce. I don't know when exactly the mood will strike, but sometimes I just must wash, slice, chop, mash, cook or purée every last living fruit and vegetable in the house. I make a big soup that may or not be that great, a salad of enormous proportions and a few more odds and ends, mostly odds. Once I prep the living daylights out of all living things in the kitchen, I feel free to go stock up all over again. It's so liberating to walk into the produce section and think "Hmm, what do I need...Oh yes, EVERYTHING!"

Trying to resist the urge to buy more fabric, I'm shopping my closet so to speak, peeking under stacks of material to see what can be made. Thinking on purely a color level, the other night all the blue hues started talking to me. When fabric talks, I listen and I started chopping the living daylights out of all the blue fabric I had on hand. Out came a very pretty quilt that is easy on the eyes and soothing to the senses. After it was done, my sister emailed and said a friend wants to mail me a bunch of fabric. Hopefully I can get a pink hued quilt cut up and sewn together so my stock will be super depleted before the new stuff arrives. I just love the look of an empty veggie drawer and a desolate fabric cabinet. I think Mother Hubbard was choosing to keep her cupboards bare and her options open. Either that or she just felt like Thai takeout. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter turns the corner

The days are getting a wee bit longer, our cold snap is easing up and it's a new day/month/year. It was the Decembah to Remembah, and I'm certainly glad it is over. For a person still without a steady job, I had too much work. Between the proctor job in Chicago and working for the school district, I'm ready to get back to my regularly scheduled life. I ended the year with a 12-hour shift at work on New Year's Eve, with a possible intruder in the yard of where I work. That will keep a person awake! If need be I was all set to whack any intruders with the drying up Christmas tree, but it wasn't necessary. I'm sure the deputies patrolling the place were more of a deterrent than the risk of a face full of dried pine needles.

When the days are cold and dreary, I need soup and I want it hearty. As soon as the sun comes out, so do the smoothies and salads, even if the calendar still says Winter. My knife is sharpened, my cutting boards are handy and the fridge is stocked with fresh produce. Winter blues? Like a dead old Xmas tree, that's so last month.

We have salads with citrus dressing. Yum in a bowl!

We have smoothies with strawberries, bananas, pineapple and Romaine. Yum in a blender!

We even have a farm to forehead hat. Because it's January and Spring is just around the corner!