Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Squeak! Squeak! Can you hear me now?

Hello everyone! I'm still dragging around a bit. I'm getting better, but still am not fully well. Mostly I'm getting through the work day and then coming home to go to bed. I'm even missing a concert at my church tonight by the Ugandan Orphans' Choir. It would be great to go hear them, but I just do not have the energy. I've been missing a lot of church lately.

I also still have very little voice. Laryngitis is something I never got until just a couple of years ago. I hate the squeaky attempt to speak, knowing that I'm wasting my time and no one can hear me anyway. That certainly has contributed to my hibernation mode.

Tonight I stopped by the grocery store. I'm going to attempt to cook -- maybe -- later this evening. First I'm going to drink a Diet Coke and probably catch a quick nap.

In addition to feeling punk, I've had to pull extra duty because of a co-worker being out with her very sick mother. Co-worker had to leave the office today and just minutes later I heard an ambulance dispatched to their house to take her to the emergency room. I'm trying to do everything I can to cover the major parts of her beat on top of mine. There certainly is a lot going on and it won't be long before I drop one of the spinning plates. Not long at all, I'm afraid.

Well, I don't suppose any of this is new -- it's really been going on for a while but I felt like I needed to check in again.

If I actually summon the strength to do it, I'm going to marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a combination of lemon juice and soy sauce, then roll them in seasoned bread crumbs and bake. I'll make a baked potato for the side and slice up a tomato.

Right now, though, I really, really need a beverage and a nap. It's warm enough I'll probably crash on the couch with the front door open for a while.

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying fall!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Checking in

I'm alive. Not completely well yet from my upper respiratory infection. I still have a lot of residual coughing and some head-spinning from my cures and vapors. I can sleep at most an hour or two at a time before the coughing wakes me again, so this week has not been a great one. I worked from home last Tuesday morning and then didn't come out of the house until Thursday; I've worked as much as I can, including on Saturday. I'm having to do more than I would in this condition because I'm also having to take up the slack for a co-worker whose mother is very ill with cancer.
Yesterday I stayed house-bound, but at least I was able to shine up the bathroom to a high degree. Everything is clean -- I even hand-scrubbed the floor and cleaned the venetian blinds. Shower curtain and rug washed. Fixtures and walls scrubbed and polished. Every cubic inch is clean, clean at last!

Now, someone find me a replicator so I can just push a button and have the rest of the house equally clean, please!

We've had a lot of flooding in the county this week. The South Fork River is currently at 25.8 feet -- flood stage is 17 feet. There were a lot of emergency rescues around the county this weekend -- people trapped in chest-high waters.

The thing I reported on that tickled me most this weekend was someone who drove a car through a local cabinet maker's shop.

"I shouldn't have been in the car," the errant driver told me after I got photos of the vehicle still inside the business, poking through the wall.

No kidding.

"It's going to be in the G.D. NEWSpaper!" the car's owner wailed at him (while wailing on him).

"I'm sorry, I really am. But that's what happens when someone drives a car through a building," I told her.

"Did you get good pictures of my car?" she asked.

Priorities. It's all about priorities, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Down for day two

I've succumbed to some sort of illness. Yesterday I did a few hours of work from home before giving up -- made my deadline on a couple of stories and then died. (That is why they call it a deadline, isn't it?)

Today, I can't even rally enough to do that much. I'm just up for a few minutes right now to breathe. I've called in to the boss and will be crawling back in bed. I particularly hate being unable to work today because my good co-worker is out of town, taking her mother to her first chemotherapy session. This is going to be hard enough for her, having to drive 100 miles to the big city, finding the right building at the big hospital and then going through all that, then having to drive her mom home, unsure how she will react. Then the next couple of days are going to be rough. This cycle is just starting and will continue for several weeks until the tumor has shrunk enough to allow surgery. And then, the "fun" really begins.

This will cause a hardship on our small staff. Most of the remaining chowderheads have already chimed in to say "I'm NOT doing it" when it comes to her work. Well, right now I CAN'T do it, and someone is going to have to suck it up and just do it. Sorry, I'm getting a little peeved about this.
And I'm too sick to be getting upset on top of it.

Food-wise, I'll be scrambling to find things to eat here at the house while I'm down. I think there's still some soup around, and I have milk (if it hasn't expired) Plenty to make-do with if I just think about it. There will be no feasting until I'm better, though. Heck, for that matter there won't be any feasting for a couple of months because of some huge bills I've got to work into the strained budget. No, I'm not going down that path today!

I'm going back to bed for now, folks. Hmm. It looks foggy out there through the slit in the curtains. Maybe I'm not missing much today after all.
I'll sure be glad when I'm no longer barking like a dog and my nose isn't wet any more.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It must be one of two things

Either it's:
1) the change of seasons, or
2) everybody is hungry.

Most of the blogs I frequent have been synching to one common thread this week, particularly today: Comfort food!

There's been banana bread at Posie Gets Cozy; creamy carrot soup at Pioneer Woman as she cooks with her kids; scrambled eggs with prosciutto over at Drew's "How to Cook Like Your Grandmother" (Men who cook -- and men who eat: Check out Drew's blog and tell me you aren't slobbering on the screen.) and a GRREAT essay on home cooking vs. eating crap at Crazy Aunt Purl's place.

There's a new hope in America, my friends. Real food is making its way back to our tables, replacing "food by-products" that came packaged in styrofoam and cardboard for lo, too many years.

Real food has roots in its roots, literally. Real food is grown in the dirt, and is harvested by people, washed and eaten fresh. You can tell it is real food because there's not a long list of things typed on the side of it. It's food, not chemical formulations.

And it is GOOD.

Often I buy my beef from a local meat market/butcher shop where I know the cattle are locally raised in small operations rather than large feed lot operations. But still. I'm not fooling myself into thinking that most of the beef I eat just willingly jumps into plastic-wrapped packages.

I wish economics would still allow most of our food to come from small, wholesome operations, but I think those days are passed forever. I remember our extended family's farm, where cattle and hogs and chickens were raised along with crops. More than enough to feed our own family, it was enough to provide my uncles and grandparents a living and good food for a region. Now corporate farms are taking over.

Anyway, my point was: It's time for GOOD food. Slow food. Make some; share some. Tell me what you're eating now that it's turning cooler! Visit these other blogs and take a look at what they are eating. Maybe it will inspire you, too!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Greetings again! Today is Sept. 6

Although no one has asked me to post again, I thought I would anyway. Hey, I can... it's my blog!

I've dropped out for a bit because my inner peace has been disturbed. The world has be out of kilter here and my spirit and energy have been drained. At this point I'm thinking that I've got to try the "fake it to make it" approach and start visioning life the way I want it, rather than the way it is.

When I feel like this I go searching for beautiful, peaceful, creative blogs. I like to read about people who are living a gentle life, who feel rooted and loved and through whom good energy flows. Those are the things I want.

I yearn for soft calico fabrics to replace the harsh, scratchy burlap of life. Beautiful dinner tables to replace the starving spirit. The warmth of puppies snuggled up on the couch beside their person to replace the emptiness of the house.

Sometimes I make a little progress through such daydreams. Creativity is its own medicine -- right along the curative powers of laughter. I think they go hand-in-hand.

At times like this I search for soothing colors and textures. How providential that fall is approaching -- the word "comforter" is so rich in meaning in so many dimensions right now. A comforter offers warmth, softness, tactile pleasure. But there's also a deeper quality that comes with it, one that touches the spirit in its own special healing way. It offers a cocoon in which to hibernate during the low seasons, whether that be created by harsh weather or a harsh world.

Now is the time when I pull out my favorite collection of "home" books, too. Books like Alexandra Stoddard's "Creating a Beautiful Home;" or Terry Willits' "Creating a SenseSational Home." Similar names, similar ideas. The home appeals to our physical senses as well as provides shelter from the outside world. Sometimes we forget how important it is that our homes appeal to those senses through things such as light, smells, sounds, tastes and touch. In this thread of thought, the "extras" like candles, flowers, pretty dishes and soft bedding are not extras, but essentials to our wellbeing.

And there's where I've been negligent for the past year. All these "extras" have been boxed up or piled up where I can neither use nor enjoy them. I've been living in a hovel, not a home. Some of that is changing. Two weekends ago I hooked up my electronics so that I can use my stereo and the DVD player/VCR. I still don't have cable, so I can't watch television (what a pity during this political season) but I can use the television to watch movies, and I have taken advantage of that.

I've put away piles of books into real bookcases, which has decreased the clutter in my "living" room. There is still a ways to go, but there has been progress. At this point, I need to go through the titles and pull out books that I don't like, won't read, don't need. Others can take their place and I can move on, creating more spaces and making the house more comforting.

I wish this wasn't such a long journey, but I guess in some ways the journey is the fun part. Taking a mess and turning it into a home should give a sense of accomplishment, peace and self love. We'll continue to see how it goes.