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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It is a sunny day - the gardening bug arrives!

I woke up this morning to sunshine.  Literally woke up to the sun -- in my closed eyes. Because I have those new stunning windows in my room that are not yet framed on the inside, I have no curtains.   Which is so funny because yesterday it was so cold, windy and wet I did not make a required trip to the dump to empty construction mess because my fingers froze when I was tying it all down.  I got very wet, threw my hands in the air, mumbled something disrespectful about the temperature, took my wet clothes off and tossed them in the dryer, and clambered back in bed for a nap with the heating pad and cat. (The cat is no dummy, he is drawn by the heating pad, too.)
I culled seeds from these giants last year, but have about six types of sunflowers that are going in. 
When it is sunny at this time of year I get the gardening bug -- you know it? The one that sends you outside to clean-up and prep for the upcoming growing season?  I have too much compost (positive side effect of having horses), a neighbor with a small tractor, so I am going to put the two together and make a narrow bed next to my driveway that goes around my house and put in sunflowers. The last three years I have sporadically planted them (really, I walk around the yard plugging in seeds here and there...) but this is going to be a solid stripe of yellow running in front of and next to my home.  My neighbor and his tractor will do the large scale moving of all that compost. I will follow behind and "prep".   I define myself as a lazy gardener.  I will have him move and dump loads of compost in a loose row (tractors are never good at meticulous work).  I will cover it with plastic.  In a few weeks I will uncover it, maybe drag a rake over it to make the bed look planned as opposed to haphazard,  and push a bunch of seeds into it.  Then I will spend a week or two opening my window in the house and yelling at crows picking through and eating said seeds. But by mid-summer  I will have flowers galore. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kids trump all

Taking up the most of my life is raising kids.  Yeah I gotta house that needs work.  Yeah my gardens are expanding and I am thinking of getting a greenhouse.  Yeah, I have a whole lotta animals and their respective vet bills.  But the bottom line that runs through every day is my two kids.  One, Rose, 17, is almost out of the house. A senior applying to colleges, her time is spent being a teenager in the best and worst sense of the word.  She takes AP classes and is in Debate. She has put a dent in every car except one. She has made questionable choices with her friends.  She seems to spend alot of time on hair and makeup. She yelled I HATE YOU once to me when really really angry.   BUT, I vaguely have a wispy memory from the recesses of my brain that I hated my mom at this age. She was so dumb. And her rules were ridiculous.  Of course, having my own kid this age brings back all those memories, so in some ways I imagine I am a very frustrating mom. It does not hurt my feelings when she yells that, I know that she needs to cut her tie to me.. to make a clear stride toward autonomy as I did.
The hardest thing for me is to let my children fail.  Not fail in the little things, but the big, hondo, impact-your-life kinda way.  My daughter has made some questionable friends.  On the outside they are all sugar and sweet, successful parents, they look a certain way... but there is some weird stuff going on in their families and in their heads and consequently they are on their way to having juvenile records for theft. (Seriously, who steals from Walmart.)  I caught Rose playing hooky with one gal and turned them in at school. (Actually another mom saw them and called me - the blessing of a small town!)  On a hunch, I had them both empty their bags.  A stolen bottle of vodka was emptied out of the friend's purse.  This is where I failed.  I was not willing to get them both suspended so I took the bottle and threatened them both to high heaven. They got in school suspension for cutting class.
My daughter was grounded for months.  The restrictions are lifting but she is being monitored.  So far she has been where she says she is, doing what she says she is doing.  But, BUT if she does something more serious with her "best friend" I need to not step in and rescue her.  I did not easily come to this conclusion.  Besides friends that are an ever-lovin' source of support, I have a therapist.  I brought her on board when I was navigating divorce, she stayed through all the mortality crap I have been through, and now gets to tackle a more challenging topic with me - teenagers. She talks with Rose, too, and is a neutral support system for us both.  We all have figured out that my stroke impacted both kids enormously (no, duh.) and unfortunately Rose is "working through" some things she does not have words for.  God how I wish my kids didn't ever have to experience that, but it is not for me to fix. 
Three generations cracking up.  Daughter, Mom, Grandma.

Siblings.  You have no idea how many dozens of pictures I have on the computer of them hamming it up. 

It is also a saving grace to have her dad living 15 miles away. The kids go there on weekends and I gallivant about the countryside.(OK, maybe gallivanting is a stretch, but I am childless for a solid day...)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What is this? The strange power of spring? Hormones?

A Seattle buddy said I have to write these down because I will forget and they should be documented for humor and so they can rib me later.  My friends are lovely, aren't they?

I was on the ferry yesterday reading.  I heard a voice over my shoulder and then a man stood next to me and said : Boy, I wish I hadn't had my morning coffee already, I would just have to come join you that smells so delicious.  Me: It is tea.  He: A bit flustered. Me. It is good, you should try tea. I smiled.

Geri went with me to church this weekend.  We were guzzling our tea/coffee before the service and a fellow sat down with us. I began talking with him, he is from a neighboring island and boats in for the service.  He said : I hope you are really happily married.  You should be happy in your marriage. Then he blushed.  BTW, we were not talking about marriage OR relationships. We were talking about enviromental activism. 

Obviously this man-thing is not done.  I will keep you posted.   Oh, I'll tell you the architect story, too.
I won an architect at my son's auction.  He came over to fulfill the certificate and we sat at the dinner table talking what he was going to do.  He then asked me about my kids school where I won the service.  He asked me about schools and when I was telling him he said : Maybe this would be a good conversation over a glass of wine.  Me: Awkward. When I get in "house mode" there is no time for romance.  Practical house stuff, man, we got things to do!

I put that pic up of me in the previous post so you can see how I look when all this is happening.  A lot of times my makeup has worn off, (if I even remember to put it on) maybe I have hay in my hair or mud on my shoes. And this is not just mud, this is more "horse" mud, the naturally scented kind.
I swear I am not flirting.  S-W-E-A-R.  At least there is an end in sight.  I am pretty sure it will come to a grinding halt when my hormones adjust out of whatever mode they are in.  I am also writing this down because this sort of random stuff does not happen to me. Never. Or never so blantantly.  It's all this damn heart opening stuff.  (I am pretty sure the calm gentle souls teaching this don't use that terminology... but I think that is my new acronym for it - D.H.O.S.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Contractor - I found a good one.

My house has never been so strapped down.  It has been seismically retrofitted, with monster brackets tying the whole thing together.  That and the posts and beams are new should make this all more solid.  Should.  I notice my south wall is moving.  I notice this because the previous ding dong owners built the stairs so they don't all touch the wall... it looks like a floating staircase at points.  Yes, in architecturally significant homes they do this purposely and it is quite a feat, in my house... an accident because what - they ran out of wood?  I dunno, but it has always been this way and I have called it "charming" in my mind. If I think "charming" and "original" that allows me to be more generous of spirit than if I focus on the words "idiocy" and "cheapskate".  Some days it is a toss-up. 
The staircase is becoming more and more floating.  As in, the wall has moved a quarter inch away. 
Guess we aren't done in the basement. 
I will have a structural engineer over to confirm, but I will have my contractor do the work.  Because even if I question how he supported the south wall, the bottom line is I can call him up and say "Walter, seriously, this wall is moving because of what you did". He does not argue, get all blustery about it and grumble that it was like that before, or he did it all correct it must have been something I did (can you tell what sort of people I have had do work previously?) He just says something like : Sue (the project manager) differed in opinion on how to support this but we ran all the numbers (and boy did they run numbers) and I thought this would work but I guess we need to revisit this, or yeah, we didn't know (blah de dah), let me come over and figure it out.  Other than this, they stayed in budget and did phenomenal work. The ease of working with them all on a plain old farmhouse is worth it.  And, with this house, nothing is ever simple.  And no, I don't want a new cookie cutter development house which would take no brain power to own. Because for me, I need to have a challenge.  Oh, you say, having teenagers, being a single mom, health adventures, a geriatric horse or two,  acreage, gardens, aging cars, chicken eating coyotes is not enough of a challenge for you?  No, no, it isn't.  I need an old bug chewed, slightly tilting, story-filled, farmhouse thrown in the mix!   And yes, I should probably plan on being buried in the backyard because all my money is sinking into this landboat. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Doctors and who to sue if I keel over.

I am putting this in writing.  Today I went to the cardiologist.  I stood in line to check in behind five people, two in wheelchairs.  I sat in the waiting room with a dozen folks.  The average age was 20+ years older than me. Out of a dozen patients... I was the only person in that room able to drive herself to an appointment.
Just figured out the new camera on my computer... don't I look tired after a day of docs?
I am having issues being taken seriously in the doctors office.  I look healthy.  I am sparky. (Oh, especially if I have an excellent double shot of espresso before heading in to the doctors office).  I am eloquent.  And If I am not, I write it down so I don't forget.  I am confident.  I don't whine, cry, or look sad.  Worried, yes.  I want them to take this seriously so I put on my "work face".  The one that I would use to get people to donate money and the one for public presentations.  I need something from them, so I express that need.  My old doctor pre-stroke blew off all my CLASSIC stroke symptoms because she said it was menopause symptoms.  I feel like my cardiologist blows me off because I am female, way younger than him, don't smoke, don't drink (enough), have a healthy heart, am a decent weight, eat well.  When I am in front of him, my heart is fine.  Well no duh.  After telling me I had a small stroke, (when my neurologist calls it a serious stroke) he suggested it was anxiety.  That sounds a lot like he is going down the menopause road.    They can make me feel like a hypochondriac until I remember... nope, not a hypochondriac if I had a stupid stroke people. 

Note: I am the least litigious person in the world.  I am not condoning suing. There is a lack of significant medical studies on women, menopause and embolic episodes, hence a lack of comfort by doctors to venture  outside of the "averages" of prescription drugs and medical journals.. Unless I find a study of some sort -   my medical concerns will not be addressed fully until a) I do have a heart attack or another stroke or b) I age.  Probably need to find other doctors, too.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Heart Story Part 2

Tuesday I was heading over to Seattle by ferry to a neurology appointment.  I called the aid car with some weirdo stuff this weekend so needed to check in with my big gun doctor. (Reminder to self: when calling an aid car make sure you are not wearing your horse riding bra - you know the old questionable one? Because, not that you are necessarily thinking about that in a time of medical trauma, but what if they are super handsome and charming and seem like they are not from around here? And are not nerdy like the last EMT guys who blushed when they put the heart monitor stickers on you? Just sayin' ....) Sorry. Sideline.

When we parked on the ferry for the 40 minute ride, a smiling woman in her 60's tapped on my window.  She said, "I think I am supposed to meet you." Huh. This has been an odd journey of late, so why not? We talked a bit and I invited her to sit in the truck with me (40 years of ferry riding I have never invited someone to sit in the car with me...) A thoroughly sweet woman, she went on to say last night she was at a dinner party and mentioned that she really wanted to ride a horse again.  She and her husband are going to Maui and some folks at the dinner said Hana on Maui had the most beautiful horses.  She pulled in behind my truck on the road to the ferry (which by the way I never take to the city because I can't park it anywhere and the gas mileage is atrocious.)  While driving she saw my bumper sticker, "Fight Smog, Buy Horses - Hana, Maui",  and my personalized license plate about traveling.  The coincidence struck her as odd, and so she decided to meet me.  She had horses previously in her life, but has no room for them now.  She moved up from California to be with a new husband and felt isolated (welcome to the Northwest Freeze!) on the end of a forested road in on a drippy gray weathered island.  We talked endlessly like very old friends until we landed in Seattle. It was not awkward at any moment, truly like we were just picking up on a conversation we had already started. 
We exchanged numbers and went on our merry way. 
I went to my neuro appointment, gave him my list of symptoms, and he sent me directly to the cardiologist and an appointment next week with the words "We may have it figured out why you had the stroke... this sounds like your heart. "  Since my hormones are in flux again (ah, lovely menopause) it is playing havoc with my heart rate. I had this before the stroke, but post stroke nothing.  Post stroke there was a complete and utter change of diet and lifestyle.  I was in charge of nothing. Not the house, kids, career, whether the cars got their oil changed.  I ate nothing greasy, caffeinated, sugary or salty.  I slept a lot. I lost 3 clothing sizes (it doesn't look it being that I am 6' tall!) Today, my diet isn't quite that strict (caffeine and sugar have slipped back into my life) but it is much better than previous.
Marcy left me a sunny message tonight about a "mile high" chocolate birthday cake she was given two days ago (her birthday was valentines day) and wanting to meet at the local public place to share with my kids and I. 
See, there is something to this heart stuff.
I am doing this "heart opening" , or trying anyway, and people start walking in my life. 
I haven't even told you about three men in one day inquiring about getting together for wine, coffee, lunch....that does not happen to me. Ever.
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