31 January 2011

Ominous looking weather


....and they say it never rains in the desert....Yay! My car will get a much needed bath(sort of). It does rain, but not often. Generally and according to local weather forecasters and meteorological statistics (the last 30 years or so), the rainy time of year is during the months of December, January, and February.

Yes, of course we have what used to be called "Monsoon Season". It is now called 'the summer thunderstorm season' which runs from June 15 to September 30. I never quite understood the use of the word 'monsoon' with regard to a summer thunderstorm (in the desert) that would last about and hour and a half. I get that monsoon means heavy rains, (which is also what a good thunderstorm or cloud burst will produce) but to me monsoon meant days and days of torrential rains without letting up. Perhaps, my thinking was incorrect.

The storm arriving today through tomorrow will not be a soaker or major rain maker, but it is certainly ominous looking out my door...and it will cool the desert down to more seasonal temperatures, upper fity's and lower sixyt's daytimes, and near freezing overnights depending on where one lives in the valley.

In any case, the valley and surrounding areas will get some much needed rain. The area needs a bunch of these storms through the next eight weeks or so. It's so dry here. Perhaps if we get the needed rains, there will be a significant bloom in the desert. Tiny flowers and plants will peek through the sandy soil and push their faces toward the sun for a few weeks, the catci will bloom through May, a variety of flowers and splendid colors. It's really awesome to see.

It's here and it's raining.....

28 January 2011

The road back to Massachusetts (and home)

Just the other day, I was offered an amazing opportunity .... or is it? I've been dreaming about moving back to Massachusetts, for Lord know how many years. At least since before the economy took a nosedive across the United States, anyway. I'm originally from New England, and consider myself a hardy soul, even though I've lived in warmer climes for many years.

Each time I've considered relocation to the northeast, I've shelved the idea simply because there wasn't enough savings to make the 2800 mile trip with a horse, my possessions, and three cats. Then there was the consideration of an affordable place to live, a decent job to pay the additional expenses (the cost of living in Massachusetts is higher than in AZ), and where to board the horse, so he is comfortable and accessible.

I'm homesick. I want four seasons, I'm tired of the desert, (though, I have to admit, I love the weather in AZ most of the year with the exception of the excessively hot summer months), I want to be closer to family, too.

Here's the deal .... I've been offered a 'ride along' when a friend leaves AZ in July for western Massachusetts. This offer includes, the horse, my possessions and the three cats. How can I refuse? It's almost too good to be true.

I'm not so naive to think there won't be hurdles along the way. On the other end, I need a job to go to, I need a place to live which includes my cats, and I need an affordable boarding facility for the horse.

Logic is telling me I need a better plan and some of the unknowns on the other end dealt with before I begin this journey. My sis thinks I over-think everything, she's probably right, but I'm not twenty years old anymore, either.

I remember when I was twenty. Had I been offered this opportunity, I'd have jumped in with both feet and gone for it. I remember doing stuff like this back then. I lived by the seat of my pants for many years, before I took responsibility from being irresponsible. I'm nearly sixty and not twenty.

Okay, this wonderful, hard to believe, opportunity has been placed in front of me to consider. I have time to decide, maybe do some planning too, the journey doesn't begin until July 23rd, 2011. Help me decide......

24 January 2011

What's for dinner tonight?

I haven't been cooking much since Curmudge has been in the hosptial and is now in skilled nursing ... So what's been for dinner (or supper if that's what you call it) these days? Good question? I have a freezer full and nothing appeals.

I hate cooking for one. I tend to eat what pleases me and not what is healthy. I gain weight when I cook for one because I always cook too much (with good intentions of eating leftovers). I never do though, eat leftovers that is. As an adult, I'm not a fan of leftovers. I guess it comes from being brought up on leftovers. But, I do have good intentions when I cook....

If it was good for me, I'd have a greasy cheeseburger for dinner every night. I know a greasy cheeseburger is an artery clogging, high cholesterol food, especially when you add things like cheese, mayonnaise, horse radish, sauteed garlic, lettuce and tomato, onion and put it between two slices of bread and have it all over yourself before you get to eat it..... Nope, not a fan of ketchup unless it's for french fries, which I also like with a greasy cheeseburger. I don't even want to think about calories. A greasy cheeseburger is my favorite 'quick meal'.

I'm a pretty good cook when I put my mind to it, it's just soooo hard to cook for one and I like to cook. I'm a meat and potatoes (rice and pasta, too) kind of gal, so I'm not creative in the kitchen. I suppose, I'm a creature of my upbringing, and not much of a casserole fan.

Each week I check the sales flyers that get in my mail box and head to the store with a list and a certain amount of money to spend. I shop what's on sale and rarely come out with extras.

The same was true with my mother when she went to the store when I was growing up. There were seven mouths to feed in our house so she planned ahead. Sunday's was always a big meal, what was left was for dinner on Monday nights. Tuesday nights, there was a casserole of some sort, either hamburger, tuna, or maybe even mac and cheese with hotdogs. Wednesday nights was spaghetti. I can't remember what was for dinner on Thursday and Friday nights, though I expect it was leftovers from the other nights. Saturday nights we always had hotdogs, homemade baked beans, and Boston brown bread. Sunday nights after the big meal from the afternoon, we had a choice of a bowl of cold cereal or scrambled eggs and toast. We were on our own when it came to dinner on Sunday nights.

These days, when I plan, I usually change my mind between the time I buy at the store and get to fixing... so I have options in the cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer. I like quick and easy ... less than an hour to prep and cook. Chicken wings, breasts grilled, or legs, steak at least once a week, burgers, pork chops, and of course a roast of some kind for Sundays. I really try not to repeat the same meats or poultry on successive nights.

Anybody got suggestions for one? I need some if you have them ....

19 January 2011

Curmudge is being moved today....

Curmudge is leaving the hospital today. He is going to a 'skilled nursing' facility for at least two weeks. As you know, he's been ill for more than a week. He's making progress, and is now ready to begin the process of getting his strength back, getting on his feet and doing for himself. This will require physical therapy, and daily assistance from skilled professionals. He is still on IV therapy, taking high powered antibiotics.

He has a staph infection in his blood. We don't know where it came from or how it got here, though I have my suspicions. MRSA (Methicillin-resisitant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a shotrened term for a broad range of staph infections. Most strains are treatable, but are resistant to the normal antibiotic therapy, so the reasoning behind the continued IV therapy, and the move to the 'skilled nursing' facility.

In the last few days, I've spent three good visits with him and he's been able to converse coherently, something he was not doing last week. He's resting more comfortably and sleeping less, though he is complaining about headaches. He is eating better, too. I am pleased about his eating better, since he eats like a bird most of the time.

I'm seeing progress. I can only pray he continues to make progress and gets better soon.

17 January 2011

Timeline....

We (Curmudge and I) moved into our new bigger place on December 27. I thought it would be an easy task to get done and settled. I was motivated, too! But alas, I'm still trying to put stuff away and still have a 10 x 10 storage area full of my personal stuff to sort through and bring home. I'm running out of hidey holes to put stuff into, though.

Since last last Saturday night, I've been back and forth to the hospital. Curmudge is there. He wasn't feeling well before we moved, and then after .... he went downhill. It took more than a week to convince him he needed to go and to get him there.

He's been sick before, but never like this.... according to himself... my answer to that is...'Curmudge, it's taken a long long time to get here, it's not going to get better by snapping your fingers, or overnight....' He's getting the best care there is and is being monitored around the clock. I'm not sure what the prognosis is, but he's making some improvement everyday. I'm hopeful he will recover in time.

This past weekend, I finally got my antique dresser home and into my room. Yeah! I'm not living out of suitcases anymore. Oh, I still have boxes of clothes in storage! Somewhere. My winter jackets and sweaters, stuff like that. I know, and I've said this before .... and everyone thinks it doesn't get cold in AZ! We do have winter here, but not like the rest of the United States. 'Sides, my 'winter stuff' is stuff I've collected since I was still trucking over the road, was all over the countryside in all kinds of weather. Okay, so now, I'm getting sidetracked .... The dresser is home and in use.

My camping air bed, which has been my savior the last few months .... because it is portable ... has sprung a leak, I think. In any case, it's not holding air through the night and is lumpy and uncomfortable by the time I wake up in the morning.

At the old place, I was packing it up everyday and shoving it into a corner. I wonder if maybe that is why I didn't discover it wasn't holding air for any length of time. Hmmmm. I have a regular mattress (of the same size) in storage, but I'd considered getting rid of it, because I liked this air mattress camping bed so much. Guess, I'm going to have to bring it home .... have to check out the air mattress for visible leaks first tho... will keep you posted.

07 January 2011

Closing the gap ... 8 months lapse .... blogs I didn't write

Last year at this time, I was dealing with ... I don't know what you would call it ... Anyway, I'd recently been in the hospital ... four days (bronchitis and new exacerbated illness's). Okay, so I'd been sick. We all get sick at some time or another, I've been there before, but not like this. I was scared and I was alone. My family lives 2800 miles away.

I should have been blogging all those days. Instead, I sat in the chair worrying about things. I sat looking at the keyboard and monitor thinking I should write something and post it. I didn't know what to write. I didn't know if anyone would care. I wasn't ready to share what I was feeling or what I presumed I would be going through for however many months it would take.

I excused it away as writers block. How could that be? I'm not a writer ... I'm not on a schedule and I don't have to publish if I don't want to. So no, blogging is not construed as writing in the purest sense.

... I had doctors visits, I had testing, I had all manner of things going on around my health issues. It didn't seem I was making a whole lot of progress getting answers ... I was stressed, I was tired all the time, and I was worried how I was going to pay bills since I hadn't been working.

Scattered doctors appointments and testing throughout the many months and waiting, enough so that if I'd had a job, I'd have probably lost it. I couldn't seem to get appointments organized so I could function at a job if I'd had one.

Answers, no answers, the oncologist was scratching his head. I love this guy, he's very good at what he does. He didn't have the answers we were looking for, a clear diagnosis of what was causing the irregular blood issues. He finally suggested a consult with another oncologist who might be able to ferret out the answers we were looking for. I agreed.

I still didn't have to words to post optimistic feelings about what I was going through, and I wasn't feeling very optimistic. More waiting. I finally got an appointment to see the doctor who would consult on my case. More testing, more visits, and he was scratching his head, too. He didn't have the answers and suggested maybe removing the spleen (which had become grossly enlarged) might help the issues.

I'd blossomed from a slim 160 pounds to 190+ pounds since January. I hadn't changed my lifestyle, except I was eating better and exercising more than usual. There wasn't an answer for the weight gain, except the spleen.

I wanted to go back to work. It had been almost a year. The doctors didn't want me driving a 'big rig' (that's my job, driving 18 wheelers), they didn't recommend riding the horse either (a favored past time for me and the horse). They were concerned the spleen might rupture. I get that! But both of those things are absolutely necessary in my life.

Okay, I agreed to the surgery. I spent a week in the hospital recovering, no computer, no cigarettes (should quit anyway), and very few visitors. I don't begrudge 'my friends' not visiting in droves. No one likes to see someone they know in a hospital bed with tubes everywhere looking like death warmed over. I was sorely bored. Only bad TV, the nurses bustling about the floor, and the food! Institutional food is lousy! What food there was consisted of a clear diet. Lord, I hated that! I wanted a cheeseburger sooooooo bad!

I went home, but not to my abode. I'd moved the week before the surgery. Gone to stay with Curmudge at his place. I was glad to see my kitty's. Curmudge had taken good care of them (he's not a cat person) and they seemed to be adjusting to their new circumstances. They were not allowed outside anymore, since the move.

I wasn't writing. I still wasn't ready to share what I'd been through. I was still recovering from surgery and had some minor issues after the fact. It took a while before I was able to function at some kind of normalcy, about three weeks, I think. There was no optimism about sharing my adventures. Would anyone care? I decided not.

The good news! I can go back to work! I can ride my horse again! I haven't had any breathing issues, and I'm blogging again regularly. These are positive things in my book.

I'm healthy, removing the spleen was the answer. It weighed over 6 pounds. Yep, grossly enlarged! My blood work has leveled out to more normal levels and there are fewer, less frequent visits to the doctors.

I've closed the gap on all those months I didn't blog, and in far fewer words, than would have originally appeared .... progress. I have to let the past go. It was a trying time, stressful, full of uncertainty. I've survived. It's a new year. It's past time to move forward. I've closed the gap.

03 January 2011

New Year's resolutions and baggage

In retrospect and after many, many years of making New Year's resolutions, I've given up making them. I make 'wish lists' instead! I'm a good list maker. I make lists for everything, and I excuse them away by saying .... if I don't write it down, I'll forget to do it....

Somehow if the wish list doesn't materialize in it's entirety ... at least I know I've given it a good go.

My wish list for 2011 is short.
1. A full time job that pays enough to exist
2. A decent place to live.
3. Time to do what I want to do, which is sometimes much of nothing, lol.
4. Continued good health.

Short list there you have it. No, no, I'm not busy, busy, I'm just overloaded with baggage.

Ahhhh, big sigh. I'm prompted to write this by my niece, something she wrote on her blog and a comment she made to mine. I think we all have baggage in some way or another. I think we accumulate baggage as we age. Is the term baggage another word for memories? Or is it the stuff we've collected and can't seem to part with? It's both, I think.

Baggage ... all our memories stuffed into one place or many places. Some gets lost in the shuffle, most gets shoved into crevices in the back of our minds only to be retrieved on holidays, birthdays, and the like. Some baggage we never loose.

Curmudge and I moved last week. His apartment was moved first. I've put most of that away. I'm already running out of hidey holes in the new place to put stuff. Then I went to my storage space and opened the door ... I have stuff! An 8 X 10 space packed full of stuff! What am I going to do with this stuff? Funny, after all these years, a whole lifetime of stuff can be crammed into one 8 X 10 space.

I'll admit, I'm a packrat of the first order. I have a lot of stuff ... I've collected and don't remember where it came from or why I got it in the first place. Stuff that is necessary for everyday living, precious stuff, and just plain stuff.

Some of my stuff will go to the dump. It's not worthy of a yard sale, nor do I have the inclination to put on a yard sale. Some will come home to be used everyday, like the washer and dryer, my dresser and mirror ( yes, I do look in the mirror) my antique dishes and silver, yard ornaments and outside tools, the horse's stuff .... it's all there and more.

Add a number 5 to that short list of wishes.... storage space needs to be? All this said, I resolve to packrat less! Yep, I also resolve to go thru that storage space and weed out what is no longer necessary.