Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Endless, So it Seems

Today's letter is E.
For more E posts,
please click

I've just only settled into a writing groove when it's time to go to the kitchen again.

About eight years ago, the Mama's health was failing because of poor nutrition. All she wanted to eat was cereal or frozen waffles and 2% lactose-free milk. Thank goodness for milk. Maybe if she didn't work so hard and long in her flower and vegetable gardens, she could've made do. But, the Mama can't stand still. And, as we all know, when we live alone, we pretty much eat what we want to eat and when we want to eat it.

So, about eight years ago, it was quite obvious that her high-carbo, minuscule protein diet had taken its toll on her body. The decision wasn't easy for everyone involved, but it was made. The mama, the husband, and I became roomies.

Today, the husband and I seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen every day. Me cooking; him washing dishes; and me, him, and the mama eating. Most days, three times a day.

The mama does her own breakfast because she gets up an hour or so earlier than us. She likes her cereal, and she likes a lot of it.  That's okay, because now she eats cereal only once a day, and she has taken to eating it with nuts and dried fruit. Tiny, big steps for her.

Lunch and dinner are when the three of us come together at the table. Thankfully, we don't have set hours for meals. I just keep tabs on the time and make sure we don't go over five hours between meals. The time between breakfast and lunch is longer for the mama than for us, so to make sure she doesn't get weaky-weaky (her term for being just that) when she's working in the garden, I give her a  glass of juice to tide her over. I only figured to do that a couple of months ago.

I used to pride myself in being able to put a homemade meal together in 20 to 30 minutes. This was before Rachel Ray ever did her thing on TV. Now, its seem to take me forever, which I guess is another aging thing. Lunch, maybe, I can get on the table in 15 minutes. It's usually sandwiches or leftovers.

Dinner is another story. Making dinner can take me almost 45 minutes or an hour, if there's a lot of chopping and dicing involved. I like it when the husband makes dinner. We get in the car and come home with take-out. It would be easier to go sit in a restaurant, but it's not so easy getting the mama to one.

It's a good thing I like to cook; the husband likes to wash dishes (really, he does); and the mama, him, and me like to eat. As for the mama's health? Like I said, she can't stand still. That's a very good thing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Standing On One Foot

Warning: This post is really about nothing.

My first try was 9 seconds. My second try was 20-something seconds. My third try? Ah, a full minute.

Pretty good for a heavy-set old lady balancing on one foot. My left foot, too. And, that isn't even my dominant side.

"What are you doing over there?" asked the husband as he was washing the lunch dishes.

"I'm seeing how long I can stand on one foot," I said, setting the timer on the refrigerator door.

"Why?" he asked, not turning around.

"Because you never know when our survival depends on me being able to balance on one foot."

He laughed. Of course. I did, too. "When could that happen?"

"Say a crook holds us hostage in a bank. He'll only let us go if an old lady can stand on one foot for five minutes."

"Like that could happen," the husband said, rinsing the dishes.

"You never know," I said. "I want to be ready for any event. There could be a Survivor for the older crowd. Now, I'm going to try to stand for one minute on my right foot."

The husband suddenly stood behind me. He said, "I want to see how long I can do it."

I set the timer for a minute. "Are you ready?"

"Wait. . . Okay."


Three seconds later his foot went down.  "I'm trying again. Just keep going."

Almost 25 seconds.

Ding. One minute on my bum right ankle. Hurrah!

"It's not as easy as it looks," the husband mumbled, going back to the dishes.

"Not to worry," I said. "I shall save us."

Next time, I'll try to balance on one foot for two minutes. No, make that one minute, 15 seconds.  No need to go all out crazy about it.

Dear readers, thank you for reading to the end. Didn't I say the post was all about nothing? Next time I'll write about something with a bit more substance. 


Monday, May 9, 2011

Deeper into the Raging Aging Category

I believe that the husband and I have slipped into another level of the old rooty-toot fogeys.

Friday, no Saturday, was food shopping day. I pulled into a space in the parking lot, opened the door, and saw what looked like sand-over-dried-crud on the ground. Sighing, I carefully placed my feet so as not to touch it and hauled my heavy self out of the car.

"Yuck, dried vomit," I said.

"Spilled drink," countered the husband. "It's all over here, too."

I thought about moving the car, but let the moment past. I took out the grocery bags from the back seat and as I slammed the door I saw another one behind the passenger's seat.

"Can you get that bag on your side, please?"

The husband did, which meant first opening the front door, next unlocking the back door, and then fetching the bag with his bum arm. 

Now flash forward about 25 minutes. After loading our bags into the trunk, the husband and I noticed the front passenger side door wide open.

"Did I leave that open?"  he asked at the same time I asked "Did you leave it open?"

Nothing was taken. But, then, why would anyone want to even touch the mess in the back seat. Yeah, we're those kind of people.

As we started to get into the car, a woman in a red SUV leaned out her window. "Excuse me," she said. "Your door was open when we got here. We didn't want to touch it. So, we decided to wait here and watch your car until someone came."

Wow, huh?

We thanked them. I said, to my surprise, "That was very sweet of you." The woman gave me a look of surprise in return. An unexpected little-old-lady response of gratitude, I suppose.

So there you have it. The husband forgetting to close the car door in a parking lot and me saying little old lady things. Two a-little-bit-more old rooty-toot fogeys.

Heaven help us. Please.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Casual Outing

Today's letter is C.
For more C posts,
please click

On the husband's and my last 23rd date, we got in our car and drove east over the mountain to finally do the wander we started a few months ago. The fog was too thick then so we had turned back. Not so a few weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day for being carefree and fancy-free.

Back in January, a waitress had told us if we wanted to see some great views, we should go to the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine and drive up to the flagpole. She was right.  The husband thought that the Veterans buried at the cemetery were probably happy to finally be in a peaceful place.

San Joaquin National Cemetery in Merced County is one of the 131 national
cemeteries for U.S. Veterans
. To read personal comments about the cemetery at, click here.

We had one goal that day—to hike in the Great Valley Grasslands State  Park. It is truly an undeveloped park. It's a good thing we did our homework. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known by which unmarked gate to park.

I expected grass above my head and to be walking through it. Maybe it was
further up the path, but we only got a mile in because.  .  .

.  .  .this killdeer Mama stopped us in our tracks with her screeches. She was hatching
her four eggs. Rather than stressing her out with us walking by, we watched her for a bit,
then turned around and headed back to the car.

We definitely want to return to the Great Valley Grasslands State Park and complete our trek.

After getting back in the car, we decided to just wander. The husband and I took turns saying which way to turn. Left. Right. Straight ahead. Through the farmlands of Merced County we drove.

"Look at that!" "Did you see that?" "Wonder where we are." "Do we have a map?"

We drove through Livingston and wondered if a Stanley lived there.

"Are you hungry?"

When you're in the middle of ruralness, you won't find any convenient picnic tables. So we did what any of you, dear readers, would've done. We pulled off the road and into an orchard,  set our beach chairs under a shady peach tree, and made sandwiches out of the bagels, salami, and cheese that we brought from home. I can still remember how good those sandwiches tasted and how relaxed we felt just hanging out there in an orchard far away from responsibilities and duties.

The husband had waited several hours to read the comic strips.

After lunch, we continued taking turns saying Left. Right. Straight ahead. And, of course, Stop! I gotta take a picture. 

Water towers, my new fascination.

We eventually came to Merced, the county seat. Both of us had never been there. I'm ready to return if just to see more of the Merced County Courthouse Museum. That 1875 building is a beauty, both in and out. Because we got there half an hour before closing, we rushed through it with a docent following us all the way. Picture-taking is not allowed in the museum. I didn't know that.

It turned out to be a good thing, as the docent told us stories about the courthouse that we wouldn't have learned on our own.  For example: "See those scuff marks on the wall by the steps," the docent said, as we were walking up the stairs to the second floor. "They were made by the prisoners' ankle cuffs as they walked up the steps." I could just hear the sound of shuffling feet and metal scraping against the wood.

The statues that perch atop the old Merced County Courthouse.
At the tippy top of the cupola is Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
Below her is Lady Justice. She holds a sword and scales. Hmmm.

From Merced, we headed homeward.  Left. Right. Straight ahead. Jiggity jigg.