… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…


Turkey Yield

Turkey facts for future reference: 20 lb bird: It takes about 3 or 4 days to thaw in fridge, 20 minutes to rinse, clean, olive oil, salt, poultry season and drop in roaster, 4 hours to roast in the electric roaster on 325, (after browning for 1/2 hour at 500degrees). This is a good time to sleep, during the roasting. At 1a.m. you will wake to the curious sound of bubbling turkey, it sounds like rain, or more like someone left the sink faucet running in a drizzle… Thank goodness the noise woke you up, because you forgot to set a timer. AGAIN. Get up and shut off roaster. If you let it cool about 3 hours, it’s easier to handle. This is a good time to sleep. After cooling, it takes 1 hour to completely strip (and carve the breast) meat, sieve the drippings, and clean the roaster and all processing trays, the counter tops, the sinks… I still have to go down in the garage and get my scales, so I can calculate the yield, but don’t want to wake the house. Also, 5 a.m. is the best time to do all this, with WQED playing on the kitchen radio, it’s a challenge to keep all the pans and lids from banging, but it’s really a lovely time, just you and the dogs and the music and a giant bird…

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winter blues…

it’s cold on the hill this morning… I miss my Grandma… sometimes when I bend over and pick little things off the floor I think of her, she was always picking little things off the floor because the sweeper was too heavy…

drove by the barbershop on my way home, like I have every day for the last several decades… blinds were closed on the shop…sad to think.. ol’ Wayne won’t be holdin’ court in there any more on Wednesdays and Saturdays… watched the mailman deliver mail in his big ol’ mailbox built to look like a barn, badly in need of paint, that mailbox, I feel like painting it… would that be intrusive, to ask Donna if I can paint that mailbox? Come to think of it, my own mailbox and white post, (just had to have a white mailbox and white post) are in bad need of a fresh coat of paint themselves…

I’m schmoopey…

lunch yesterday at George’s with Mrs Riddle Michele, it took us a half hour to order because we had so much catching up to do before opening the menus, we had a waitress in her 70’s (which, incidently, isn’t seeming so old anymore, when you’re 51 yourself), but the waitress came back to take our order 12 times until she finally said, only half-joking, this is your last chance…my little friend put down her menu and said, I’m having a turkey club and I said SOOO WEIRD, I’M HAVING A TURKEY CLUB TOO! It was weird. Only she said mayo on the sandwich, I said mayo on the side.. I wish I’d asked for wheat bread… but it doesn’t really matter, regular wheat bread isn’t much different than white.. Also, the turkey club, this is my restaurant review, the turkey club had very little turkey and wayy too much club (lettuce, tomato, and bread)

very ashamed of my netflix viewing choices last night, plus the fact that I dragged my family down into that unforgivable vacuous sludge lagoon known as “Dance Moms”… by the third episode, Zack knew all the names and was outraged that Chloey never gets as much time nor attention as Maddie to perfect her routines, and so how is she ever going to win in the junior solo category…

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Zack’s Push-me-Pull-you moment

Zack was out feeding the horses some grain, so that he could reach through the fence and pet the baby horse… I looked out the kitchen window just as he looked up.. he seemed to be trying to get my attention, so I went to the door, opened it, and yelled out “WHAT?”   Zack jumped up, scared, and looked towards me but did not see me.  He then looked back at the horses…  He swirled around again and saw me at the door and said “For a second there, I thought the horse said that”.  I proceeded to laugh at him, almost falling out onto the porch.


Medjool dates

got home tonight at 9:30, it’s so frigid out, the whole ride home, my back was CLENCHED, even though the car heater was on I couldn’t get warm, and knew that I had to go outside again and shut the horses in the barn… can’t stand to think of them with open barn door, wind blasting through and that agonizing cold,

I know they;re furry for a reason, but I still can’t stand them being out there.. last year it was unbearable, because it was one little horse, all alone… I’m no farmer.. I have no common sense… and so she spent more than a few nights in the garage, clomping about destroying the place, pulling everything off the shelves and pooping and peeing on it all…

So I got my barn coat on and my muck boots, a fresh bucket of water, and a handful of grain for each… headed out the door, into the fracturing wind and down the path to the gate… no horses in the pasture, they must be in the barn… I wonder and I wonder… do they stay in the same stall, do they hang together and keep each other warm.. do they like each other…  I dig my flashlight out of my pocket and shine it into the barn, hoping I don’t startle them…and what do you think I saw?

Two little horses, snuggled together in the back stall in the soft bedding,… I don’t have to wonder any more. They stay together and  keep each other warm. They may even like each other a little.

Medjool dates. I love ’em. Now. I love ’em now. Hated them last year, this year, I can’t get enough of them. I think it’s because I turned 51. My eyesight went to hell, but I got the medjool dates.


Worth it

Cassie and I had a major breakthrough with Tank today, for that may be his name, so far everyone seems to find it agreeable… So we headed out to muddy slushy pasture,… I got them both to go in the barn and kinda cornered him in the back stall… then sloooooooow like molasses, I got up near him and reached for his halter… he didn’t like it much, but he didn’t panic… attached a lead to him, and one to Juniper, handed her off to Cassie, and away we went, round and round the pasture, she led, he followed.. we traded horses after a couple times around, so she could feel what he was like to lead… he’s like having a tiny firefly on the end of a string, you can barely feel him, until he gets scared and stops for a minute… but then if you let him think it’s his idea, he’ll start walking again… we did just a few rounds, and then left him go on a positive note, gave him his grain, and here comes Zack out to the fence… both him and Cassie reaching through the fence to pet a baby horse, discussing just which part of him is the softest, is it his neck, is it his forelock, is it his muzzle (Me, I already know the answer, it’s the muzzle, hands down.) My kids have never shown much interest in the horses, they’ve always seemed to consider them just Mom’s Kinda Annoying Kinda Smelly Yard-Hogging Pets… So if I ever questioned whether it was worth more than double the cost to get a baby horse over a two-yr old gelding… well, I’ll never question that again

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Jan 4, time to kick it in gear for the new year

time to get my list together, oh thank god for this enormous human brain, capable of so many things, especially LIST MAKING OH GLORY BE how I love to make lists…

you see, when you make lists, you are much more focused on goals and completion and accomplishment, and have no time for self-beration (i made this one up, it means to berate one’s self), self-flagellation, self-immolation, annihilation, degradation, humiliation, and other words which will come to me later… living in the moment, with my lists..

My dad likes the new pastor, he says.. The new pastor was giving his sermon, and man, can this guy PROJECT HIS VOICE, he is BOOMING from that pulpit, and lucky us, the family who always fills up the front three pews on Christmas Eve (that’s when I go to church, Christmas and Easter) So one Sunday, dad says, Pastor was delivering a hearty message, when out of the pews there arose such a clatter… a child did ring out, raising a fuss wailing cry, a child who was bored with the sermon perhaps, or itchy in a church sweater maybe? hungry? thirsty? just plain old cranky in church wanna run wanna play wanna eat gummy bears and peanut butter? who knows, but the parents began flustering about trying to shush the poor thing, and didn’t the pastor raise up his hand and say, “Don’t you worry after that baby, that is music to my ears! ” He explained that he was once pastor at a church with NO CHILDREN, for years and years, they had no children… and so…. perspective… and so, my dad likes that pastor. And this year, when mom and dad hosted the family New Years Eve party, and there were dogs and kids and games and food and drinks and cookies and blankets and pillows and people just strewn about from wall to wall, my dad said, “Don’t your worry after any of it, it’s music to my ears! It gets kinda quiet around here during the week with just me and your mother…”

Forgot to drink coffee the past couple days, just didn’t occur to me until this morning when I woke up with a crunchy little withdrawal headache… I’m drinking my coffee black for the past couple weeks, trying to give up dependence on Stevia, and other sweeteners, especially so much sugar, gads, the sugar…. so black coffee, could be why I forgot to drink it, just not as much to look forward to…

My dog’s been limping since Jan 2. Back left leg. We have no idea what or when or how she got hurt, can’t see anything swollen or cut, she lets us touch it and move it… but she won’t put it down. There are few things in this world more pitiable than watching a 34 lb turgid black water balloon hitch and lurch her way across the floor to her food bowl… She’s stayed pretty much curled up, tragically, in her little puppy bed, and the house is sadder for it, no Poppy bug-eyed wiggle-butt greetings, slobbering, licking, jumping up and scratching, climbing all over you with all her weight digging into your stomach or your temple, depending on if you’re sitting or lying on the couch… So… I’m waiting and watching and thinking… gotta go to the vet Monday… last time she had a limp, it took two weeks but it healed, it was a cut on her foot, where she and Boo got into and altercation and we had to rip them apart….sigh… it’s so bad when they fight… and so infrequent… but we never become complacent about it, especially Zachary and myself, we are in-tuned to the energy, we are direct-wired to those dogs, we can hear their change in pitch when they play, or can spot the raised hair on the back in an instant, and KIBOSH, we slam down the KIBOSH on the game or the toy, whatever it is… usually it’s a stick in the yard, they’re really weird about their sticks, like it’s the last stick in the world, and yet, the trees throw down an endless supply of new sticks daily, with every breeze, if only I could reason with a dog… So two days of worrying after the dog, and heart breaking watching her try to straddle on three legs to pee… pitiful… Then this morning we get up and head for the door, and doesn’t she go trip trip trip across the floor, FOUR LEGS hitting, not all the same, that back left one still tender, but she’s putting it down across the carpet, she still  lifts it at the hardwood floor… but down on carpet… and out she goes, pees on four legs, and back in, leg still lifted, now down again, one two three four legs hitting, and I’m so grateful to see her improving, and will never take for granted my little four-legged wiggling wild-eyed greeter, not that I ever did, I love her more than is probably healthy, but oh when they are injured… the sound of those four little paws hitting the ground, “music to my ears…”

Well, as we speak, Chicken just backed his way across the entry rug, hacking and spitting up hairballs or whatever they do, and now he’s moved over to my good dining room rug, still hacking and spewing… sigh… delightful sound, really, and I sip my black coffee…

so new year’s… goals… lists…

2015 For A Really Great Year, Not Perfect, Because Aiming For Perfection Makes You Sick, But a Really Great Attainable Year:

  1. Sunday dinners- this inspired by my friend, Michelle, I want to have a Sunday dinner with my whole fam once a month, sit down together, eat the stuff, and play some board games for at least an hour. we don’t do that any more, we crash with a movie, and I fall asleep within the first five minutes. we buy board games and card games and we don’t play them together, the kids might play here and there, but we don’t all play. we make meals, but then everyone eats when they get home, all staggered, on the run, on the COUCH even, not even at the table?!!! Ridiculous! Why did I get that beautiful table and chairs and why do we have dishes and glassware we never use, oh how I love those gorgeous blue glasses… Also CANDLES!! Inspired by my friend, Poola, we shall have candles and dinner music! Montovani even! Why not? Why not indeed. One a month is do-able and reasonable. Twelve dinners a year. I can do that.
  2. 200 work-outs in 2015. That averages to four days a week.  I probably averaged about 2.5 days a week last year, if I’m brutally honest… But that’s 100% more than I ever did in my life before that, so I’m gonna call that a WIN!! WEHEEEEEE!!!  I’m tracking work-outs on What qualifies as a work out… hmmm…. A) a bikeride, any distance, just the fact that we make the effort of loading and unloading the durn bikes is worth that!  B) jogging 3 miles on treadmill, or a half hour outdoors   3) 2000-2500 steps on stepmill, still my favorite workout… New goal is 3000 steps in 35 minutes, and NO LEANING ON THE HANDLES, ohmygosh, this dude at the gym, he told me one time that he gets 4000 steps!! And I was like, HOW ON EARTH, and I felt bad and wretched with my little pitiful 2000 steps… UNTIL: one day I saw him on the steps and I saw how he does it, he LEANS HIS ELBOWS ON THE HANDLEBARS, so that his legs are sorta hanging down and just spinning across the moving steps, Fred-Flintstone-like… he’s not doing the work of lifting his body weight! Cheating! And you’re only foolin’ yourself, buddy.. feeling smug and superior… lol… I shouldn’t do that, smugness never gets me anywhere… 4) 18-20 minutes of Turbo Workouts with Craig Ballantyne
  3. JANUARY GOAL: Get more life insurance and update Will. Ugh… blech blech blechhhhh   this one’s been at top of the list for 3 years. I’m setting this as a JANUARY 2015 GOAL. GET IT DONE.
  4. Catch up on backlog of pictures. Get them developed and into albums. Not too many though. I do not have to have every pic developed. what’s a good number? I don’t know. 300? 400 per year? That’s reasonable, that’s about one per day… right? I have no perspective, I’ve got such a mess down there. I also want to work on the kids’ scrapbooks. is that out-dated? Will anyone want theirs? I don’t know… no perspective… I’m gonna think about this…
  5. Clean craft room and first garage and get my life back. Take stuff to auction. Let go.Make space to work and live and breathe… let it go… collections KILL, man, didn’t you learn anything by watching Hoarders? Collections kill… good mantra…
  6. No yard sailing. Let it go. Or maybe once a month in the summer.. and only for clothing and building supplies. And pillow cases. I love my pillow cases. But No nick nacks, no lawn ornaments. Also, let a few of the lesser pillow cases go. Let them GO, you do not need two giant stacks. Let the colorless, charmless ones go! Make room for better ones!
  7. Work 10 days a month, subbing for the next 5 months. That’s part-time and doable, and allows me time to get Cassie to school, and covers the grocery bill and my pillow case habit, also, my summer’s are free. the perfect job!
  8. Write. SOMETHING. even if it’s just this gobbledeegook journal, 100 entries in 2015? Why NOT?? Why the heck not… Do-able. This has been a hard one to stick to in the past. But do-able. That’s every third or fourth day.
  9. Sew more stuff. Use up half of that huge pile of material and scraps. USE IT!!! Or let it go!
  10. Renovate Christmas. Remake it. Shape it into something meaningful, with meaning, that totally means something, instead of driving you crazy. You do it every year. You are literally sick of it. Christmas is not a bad thing, you only make it bad.
  11. JANUARY GOAL: Get Dad and Aunt Alice and my scanner and my computer together and get those pictures developed and saved on labeled discs.
  12. FEBRUARY GOAL: Finish labeling family trees, especially Vannaukers and Yosts, and Roy’s FINISH them!!
  13. CAMPER GOAL I’m setting this as a MARCH GOAL-new cushion covers and curtains
  14. HORSE TRAILER GOAL-get it out and take the horses places. They want to see new things too. And I should share a baby horse with others, it’s selfish to have all that fluff and velvety softness to myself. ONE TWO THREE times this year
  15. VEHICLE GOAL- get a bigger vehicle that can haul my camper and my horse trailer and young people and dogs and my entire family. Geez. Having mini-van dreams again…
  16. FEBRUARY GOAL- don’t freak out in the gray slush. Plan some fun things. Hike at the Yough and see the frozen falls. See a  play or two. Meet Darlene at the cottage and camp out, go out for steaks… HAVE A PLAN, because February is rough.
  17. ROY GOAL: invite my fatherinlaw over for dinner at least 6 times, 12 would be better, GOSH, this is a no brainer, but if I don’t write it down, I’ll not remember. Do-able. ONE (had Roy over for french toast after he and Hubs went for hay 1.4.15 TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN TWELVE
  18. Mindfulness Goal: Move more mindfully. Resolve to hit your knuckles on the dryer opening WAYYYY less often. This happens because you are in a hurry, slamming about,  and not enjoying the simple basic motion of doing the laundry in working, functional machines… Remember when you didn’t have a dryer, and you had to haul the wet loads up three flights of stairs to the attic to hang dry in the hot air of an old house? Or strewing wet clothes out across chair backs and broom handles in the sun in the tiny postage stamp backyard, because you didn’t even have a clothesline? You remember those times? Move more mindfully than ever, so you don’t fall and bust an ankle too, you can’t jump off the rock wall out front any more, you’re not 12, you forget… You can still run, but the jumping has to be regulated.
  19. Get the horses’ hooves done more often this year. They need more filing in between visits from the farrier, you can do this, GET A BETTER FILE FOR ONE THING, and they need more visits from the farrier. Period. Do-able. MAY  AUG NOV
  20. GREENHOUSE GOAL: build a greenhouse this year. just do it. it’ll be worth it.
  21. CHICKEN GOAL: Get chickens. It’ll be worth it.
  22. Better relationship with the internet. Time limits. Stop clicking on celebrity gossip TIME suck, who gives a DOO DAH, gosh, you’re wasting time…
  23. Better sleep
  24. Cat Feeder, mouse problem
  25. Dog stairs, figure it out

HOOOBOY, you see what I mean about the list-making, I could go on for days…  It’s raining like sixty outside, a warm January rain… what the heck is that, the pasture is thawed and sloppy as hell, I’m gonna take advantage of it and get out there and clean out the barn good, it’s a messy job, but think of happier little horses and also the compost, beautiful black GOLD!!

Also, much of today will be devoted to Zack’s history project. Sigh… He wants to make some sorta diorama of The Fountain of Youth, which I disagree with on the grounds that it’s a fictional rumor, a legend, not a historical fact.. but he argues that Ponce de Leon was a real human who did stuff in history…  Right now he’s reading Jon Stewart’s book America-the Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, which I picked up for him at the library, he looks up just now, and he says, Mom, what is this book, it’s not factual, but it’s hilarious!! Welcome to political satire, son, keep your sense of humor, you’re going to need it… Love that kid, he’s music to my ears