Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where I've been...and what I've been doing...

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've been in here. Time flies, you know? The book signing went so well that I'm just flabbergasted. This little cutie pie is six years old. Her name is Allie Vaughn and she asked me to sign her book, which she bought with her own money. I took pleasure in personalizing her book for her. This is the picture that appears in the Progressive Journal News. I sold my stock of books and have another book signing on July 20th in Anson County (North Carolina) at 11 a. The day was a joy for me.

But in the mean time, the garden flourishes.

All week before last we weeded and watered, hoed and dusted. We picked the first little batch of beans last Saturday. We had planted Rattlesnake Beans, which are a green bean with purple stripes on them. When you cook them, the purple stripe disappears, and like magic, it's just a green bean. I cooked them with new potatoes that we dug from our container. So good, cooked together. We also cook cabbage and potatoes together. Do you suppose it's the Scots/Irish heritage?

This is what we harvested this morning...the tomatoes are outdoing's Sink Sandwich time for sure!

But enough about the hard work that Mac and I have put in the past two weeks. I am always having to chastise "the Chief" about over doing. This week we had a little scare. Once again I take you to the halls of Wal-Mart. And what have I told you children? When you're not well enough to shop at WalMart, your next stop should be where? So, there we are in WalMart and I'm just picking up a few items that we need (mainly cat food) and I noticed that he was lagging behind. I asked him if he felt alright and was told rather sharply that no, he wasn't. He felt a heaviness in his chest and was short of breath. Now, the day before I spent hours telling him that humidity was to high, he needed to take a break (as I was doing) and come in and cool down. But NOOOOOO, would John Wayne come in just account of a measly heat wave? You don't know how sick I am of John Wayne. Never mind that The Duke has come in from the garden permanently, it does no good to point that out.

So, as we headed out to the parking lot, I tell Mac "you know there's one of two things that can be done right now."
"And that would be?" he asked.
"We stop in at Carolina Pines (hospital) now or you take the $7000 ride later (meaning the ambulance from home...and that's a low estimation on the cost these days). Imagine my surprise when he voluntarily stopped at the ER of Carolina Pines, but actually walked in with me. I knew this couldn't be good.

They ran an EKG, twice. They gave him a blood thinning shot. They checked his b/p (many many times). Then they admitted him for observation. He kept saying that he really needed to go home and the ER Doc finally told him that since he was a captive audience (IV drip already going) he did not feel inclined to let him leave. Good news, it appears that it was definitely heat exhaustion and that now home, he's heeding the advice of the Doctors. In after 11 a. Now, this is the same advice that I have been giving all week. Do I get an M.D. behind my name? No, of course not. I don't even get the joy of having him pay me any attention. Maybe next time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cloud Walkers

I woke up early this morning. Of course, I waken early most mornings, but this morning when I rolled over and looked at the clock I was amazed to see it read 5 a.m. We worked so hard yesterday on the new raised bed that Mac and I collapsed into sleep at 9:30 p. At 9, Mac said, "what happened to the days when we never made it to bed before Midnight, and now seems like we just can't wait for the sun to go down?"

I allowed as to how we work harder now than we did then. This is a job, taking care of and maintaining lawns and gardens on 4 acres. I've suggested taking a late afternoon nap, but we don't have time. We go out onto the porch at about 6 am every morning and drink our coffee and wait for the fog to burn off. Pretty soon, coffee cup in hand, I'm wandering over to the flower bed because even from there, I can see grass trying to invade the Coneflowers and the Cannas...the Gerbera Daisies are peeking through the spent Iris leaves and I know what the number 1 job will be! A sharp pair of scissors will fan those leaves nicely, about half way down.

My excitement with the morning grew as I looked over and saw that my Hollyhock was blooming. Someone told me that it was a biannual, and I have no reason to doubt their word but the Hollyhock blooms every year. I guess no one told it. As I got up close with the camera, I noticed something else. Kittens in the bed...the plants in this bed are so big and hardy that they can do no damage, so I leave them alone to enjoy their play.

I take a walk over to Mac's Tomato bed. On the wire he has green beans and cucumbers growing. I can't wait to tell Arianna to go pick me some green beans and hear her shout out "Gran, there's cucumbers growing on the bean vine!" We've already picked (and eaten) about six of the cukes and they were delightful. We grow two varieties, the Cruncher and Straight 8...we are looking forward to the first ripe tomato and the first Sink mouth hurts from the watering of it!

The fog is still thick on the ground and I can remember my Grandfather, Dwight Douglas, as he took my hand and we walked out into the morning telling me that we were Cloud Walkers. A chill just went down my back because I heard his voice so clearly inside my head it was as though he stood beside me. Perhaps he was.

I walked over to the Damson Plum tree which was now heavy laden with fruit...I couldn't believe how big they were and couldn't resist showing you...this little beauty was popped into my mouth as soon as the picture was taken! Sweet heavenly breakfast.

So, before going inside to get ready for my exciting day today, here's a picture of my Thumbergia vine...often called Black Eyed Susan...I am thrilled with it's progress as it attacks the porch railing with beauty and determination. But today, I have a Book Signing at the Chesterfield County Library. I'm excited and maybe that's why 5 a came early, but I didn't even mind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Papa Loved Mama

I'm not sure yet what the title of this post should be. It will have to come to me as I tell the story. I often tell you that I was brought up by Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. That's because they were not dissimilar from that famous TV couple. Daddy, the hot blooded Latin (from Quito , Ecuador) and Mama, the zany red head (and only her hairdresser knew for sure) from the Carolina's. The accents meshed somehow, as did the personalities. Their love and devotion often clashed with their tempers, but it always worked out somehow.

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that while their love carried them all over the world, their spats were never dull and often accompanied them along with their luggage. When the green eyed monster reared his ugly head, the luggage became baggage and the fight would be on. My mother, a beautiful woman, often caught the eye of men and it killed my father, while it simply tickled my mother. I can hear him even now..."that man was looking at you." My mother, smiling at him would simply say, "it's a free world. Looking costs nothing." Glares all around would be the order of the day.

Daddy never talked about himself. He would only talk about Mama and what all she had accomplished in her life, as though she had done it without his help. He would tell about the missions of mercy she often found herself embroiled in, providing medicine in South America for those who could not afford it or were unable to obtain it. Her many acts of kindness and generosity while she and he worked their behinds off in the Valverde Clinic. After losing her in death (of Ovarian Cancer) several years back, we were sure that we would lose him, too. They had rarely spent a night away from each other in over fifty years. We didn't know how this man, who didn't even know how to operate a microwave (but could diagnose a disease often with an exam only) could get along on his own. He refused to move in with any of us, it was just him and his cat.

What we came to call "the Mama Stories" still poured out of him, as though just talking about her brought her close to him. I suppose it does. But we kept urging him to tell us something about himself, and he would haltingly tell us of working in Havana as a Doctor while Batista was still in power, then going to Panama to work, gradually working his way up to the United States. We would be all agog, never having heard these stories before. We came to suspect that he had been hiding his light under Mama's bushel. But in my mind, I could still hear their heated quarrels over minor things, the heated quarrels that made up their life as surely as their love did. If there was some problem that we really didn't want Daddy involved in, I could hear Mama telling us, never mind, let me handle your father. And we knew she could. And would. You see, even I do it...Mama has once again taken over and Daddy is the man standing just behind her, peering over her shoulder. I blame him. He's the one who taught us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Woman in the mirror

I don't know about the rest of you, but I can remember when I was little that "The Aunts" would gather on the porch a few afternoons each week to discuss their "ailments". There was lumbago, rheumatiz, (I know it's misspelled...that's how they said it) gout, "woman problems" and the all famous "noxious gas". Of course that last one was mostly when they were discussing the Uncles. The Aunts Florence (there were two of them ) Aunt Della, Aunt Edith and of course my grandmother, Nancy Douglas would gather on the porch, bushels of beans at their feet, big aluminum pans in their laps. Funnily enough Nancy, my grandmother, never complained about her "miseries", she just announced in a rather matter of fact way that, now she was a woman of a certain age, nothing worked right anymore. That was it. No long drawn out complaints, just a simple statement of fact. Otherwise, she would sit with the bean pan in her lap, nod solemnly as the Aunts continued their litany of ailments, and shell and snap beans for dinner or the freezer.

I have discovered that as we get older (I hate the word old, so we'll go with older) we have more and more in common with our fore mothers. It will be up to us to decide into whom we actually morph. Do we become one of the Aunts decrying the fact that your body is busy deserting your spirit, or become like my grandmother who just took things in stride. I frankly enjoyed listening to the Aunts as they grumbled and groused, but I'm sure those who had to hear it on a daily basis soon tired of the tirade. I know we all remember my "what a big girl I am" stance when I refused the gently offered suggestion of a colonoscopy from my beloved Doc Moyd. Uh huh, I stood my ground and said "no no no". I was channeling my inner brat. Then a few weeks later...not months mind you, mere weeks, I ran headlong into my own mortality and landed in hospital for two weeks. The dreaded colonoscopy would have saved me that bit of a near death experience.

So, to add to the list of complaints showing just how low we can arthritic foot...that constant source of pain and betrayal, sent me to the ER a couple of weeks ago. While they were taking x-rays, yet again, they did a little blood work. My hemoglobin was 9.9. Normal is between 12 and 14 and mine had been 13.5 in January. So, getting the call from Doc Moyd, in I go to do a double check. His main concern was just where my blood was going. I took a deep breath and sighed loudly when he asked if I had scheduled the colonoscopy with Dr Dameron. "We do that on Tuesday, " I told him. He then explained that Dr. Dameron would most likely want to do an Endoscopy on my sorry self, too. I nodded at him, all the time in my mind saying "no way, no way no way in hell!"

On Tuesday I found out that my Doc Moyd had been a busy little beaver before I actually got into see Doc Dameron. They had been on the phone with each other and the wagons were circled. I surrendered gracefully. BOTH procedures are scheduled for July 8th. Wish me luck.
And call me Nancy.
Publish Post