Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Snow Moon and Snow

It is snowing again today, which makes sense, I guess, since this week was the rise of the Snow Moon, another gorgeous super moon.   My new little camera -- a gift to myself, surprise! oh you shouldn't have -- takes better photos than my cell phone did, but so far I haven't figured out the right settings to pick up the moon's features, which were striking in real life.      But what all of this means to me is that we will put off our trip further north to visit my brother for at least another week, which is a disappointment to all of us.   Cabin fever is starting to itch a bit.

The local deer are feeling it, too, and they are grazing closer and closer to the edge of the road.  Last week I saw several lying down underneath trees, no more than 20 feet off the highway.   Soon they will lose all sense of caution -- again -- which can make driving a bit more nerve-wracking than usual.    I have never hit a deer, knock wood, which is a pretty good track record for a life-long Michigander.

Not a lot is new since we are not venturing far from home these days.   I am making long lists of the things I should be doing, but not doing many of them.  I have gotten a couple of test recipes lately for cocktails, which makes me thing that the America's Test Kitchen people are finally starting to understand me, so that has been fun.    We are not really big cocktail drinkers, so I have been making a single serving for 3 or 4 of us to share, but it's been an enjoyable experiment.   And I've been  baking more than usual, yogurt cakes and banana bread and such -- comfort foods.    All in all I  have no complaints.   Life is slow right now, but it's all good.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ice Ice Baby

Weather is the main topic of news hereabouts lately.  Every time it clears up enough to go out on errands I see the deer herds clustered around patches of scrubby grass, gorging themselves in anticipation of the next wave of cold or snow.  My grandkids have no school again today for the 8th school day in a row because of extreme cold, or snow, or ice.   Today the culprit is ice, making the roads too slick for school buses -- or me -- to be out.    Local people are posting clips on Facebook of their kids skating on the streets outside their houses, or rolling down car windows to punch through a full pane of ice that remains in the window opening.  Winds are going to pick up tonight to about 45 miles per  hour, which could cause wires to snap since they are coated in ice.   Outages are already being reported.    We hope it won't happen to us -- of course, everyone hopes it won't happen to them.   Theoretically we are luckier than some: Hubby has a generator, but we would have to go out for gasoline to run it.   Since I am the only driver here, that would mean me.   Can you hear me whining in anticipation?   I have gotten so soft in my old age.

We hope things get back to normal, just ordinary cold and snow, soon, just so we can get out of the house again.   We are scheduled to get a photo taken tomorrow, and we have volunteered to be judges at my grandson's middle school on Saturday.  Both things can be postponed if necessary, but I am hoping it won't be necessary.

Meanwhile, I am using the bad weather as an excuse to bake and cook.   Applesauce muffins, orange chicken, whatever nonsense I can get into without going to the store.  

Jack, unexpected as always, is using the time to figure out how to use a serger, something neither of us have ever used or wanted and which he inexplicably decided to purchase last week.     He has taken to making socks. so that we often match, and it is fun for him to have a new hobby since so many things became less fun when his vision was impaired by the stroke.    In the beginning I only wore his creations in the spirit of supporting the Team, but I have grown to like them.   They make me smile.

Speaking of  socks, my son's family gave us a few month's membership to the Sock Club, and that has been fun, too.  

And speaking of fun (notice my smooth segues), I received a sweet note in the mail from a former sister-in-law, congratulating us on our wedding.  She is someone I have not had contact with in the 30-some years since my divorce.  It was a nice surprise.  One of the saddest things about divorce is that  you generally lose a whole bunch of people you care about, just because you decide (or are forced to) to go on without the one person.   Her note brought back so many memories of times with her family and it has been long enough that I was able to entertain those memories without the sadness or bitterness that might have been there before.  She was just a child when I first met her, and all my memories of her are pleasant ones, so it was nice.

I hope you are keeping safe and warm, wherever you are.   I am deep in hibernation here, getting lazier by the day, and honestly not minding it a bit.   

Saturday, February 2, 2019

One Last Day

My brother is being released from the hospital this morning and I will finally be heading home.   He has been diagnosed with a rare side effect of another treatment he underwent, but they think they have a treatment regimen in place.  It will be months before they know for sure whether it works, but in the meantime he can go home.   And so can I!!  We are both ready.    There will likely be another hospitalization, probably surgery, ahead, but for now things are looking good, thank goodness.

I walked to the main hospital pharmacy yesterday to pick up the medications he will be taking home, which was a pleasant little walk since the halls of the hospital are lined with art work.   I have been here before, with him and other loved ones, and the artwork is always different.   Today I found a little gallery of hand-colored quilts, which I thought created a cozy and comforting space for patients and visitors, even though we are not allowed to touch them.  I was sorry that there was no information posted about how they were made, just that they were created by textile students.
When I left the hospital yesterday evening I asked, as I was paying my daily parking fee, whether my brother would have to pay the full amount, since he came in for an out-patient test and will be leaving after six days.   Well, come to find out that neither patients nor their visitors are supposed to have to pay the $20 a day.  Bummer for me that no one thought to mention it before, but good news that I found out in time for my brother!  
Another surprise was that it was a balmy 15 degrees yesterday afternoon, so warm that I didn't even need to wear my gloves!   It is supposed to be warm again tomorrow, and springy-warm by Monday, in the upper 40s, which means that I missed out on my chance to throw a cup of hot water or blow bubbles outside in the sub-zero temperatures.   Both are supposed to be pretty cool experiments, and I'm sorry to have missed the opportunity.   My grandson told me he tried tossing water into the air but said it disappeared so quickly that he couldn't get a good video of it for me.   I would have liked to see that!  I am grateful that my brother doesn't have to go out in the bitter cold, though, because I suspect he is feeling a bit more fragile than usual.

It will be so good to get home.  Not that it's been all bad.   Although dinner alone is not much fun, I have treated myself with the occasional glass of wine or dessert!
And it is always good to have time with my brother.   This time, the concern about his health led to several fairly deep discussions, the kind that we too often put off, and that was a good thing.    We are both getting (a lot) older, and our time together is increasingly precious.

One more cup of coffee and I will head over to the hospital.   My brother grumbled to me on the phone that he had hoped he would have been released by now, but he has to wait for one final doctor to sign his discharge papers so it's hurry up and wait.  He is eager to get out of here and I have a million make-up errands to do.  But I know we are so fortunate to have these minor frustrations instead of a major life disaster, and I am not going to let either of us forget it.