Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 CSA Week 2: Greening It Up

This week brings us more delicious early spring greens.

Rainbow chard
Pea shoots

So let's be honest, shall we?  Last week we did poorly.  The oregano and kale from last week are literally still in the bags unchanged from when I bagged them.  We did eat all the lettuce and spinach. I used ONE green garlic stem. I just threw out the pea shoots from last week because we got an entire new bunch this week and I think Dr. BB used like five pieces on a sandwich. Maybe. 

And let me continue to be honest. We're going to be out of town this weekend and then we'll be moving on Tuesday and Wednesday next week and honestly, I don't see things getting better this week.  I'm trying to cut myself a break here because our lives are just so damn chaotic right now, but I feel quite guilty that this beautiful produce is being wasted.

I will saute the spinach with some of the green garlic from last week and a scallion or two for lunch one day when we are home and have access to our frying pan. I'll chop that ginormous cuke up and eat it as a snack maybe as we're driving. I'll eat those radishes for lunch.  Now we have chard AND kale that will probably be used in egg dishes, but honestly one or the other is going to get tossed unless we can pawn it off on someone. Dr. BB will eat the pea shoots on sandwiches (which, as we saw last week, is not actually a guarantee of action).

Sage? Who the hell knows? Outside of eating it with squash soups, which is an autumnal meal, I have no ideas for sage.

So. Week two and I'm already behind on the CSA. Woot.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Know

Sunday night, I was with Dr. BB and my sister-in-law in the room with my mother-in-law.  Some pseudo-relevant information is that my sister-in-law is a doctor.  My mother-in-law heard the front door to the house close as my father-in-law went outside to water the yard.  She yelled for her husband.

My sister-in-law calmly tells her that she, Dr. BB, and I are all in the room with her and we can help her. My mother-in-law got really agitated really quickly, asking for help, and asking where she was.

Now. This is not unheard of for terminal patients. There's something called "terminal agitation" and it's basically caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and other failing organs. But we've been very lucky and my mother-in-law hasn't had much of this.  Many terminally ill patients, my mother-in-law included, are given anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medications for just such an occasion.  My sister-in-law was quick to react and gave her some of her pain and anti-anxiety medications and my mother-in-law fell asleep.

Cut to me sitting on the floor "how to help dying patient." One of the suggestions was to always introduce yourself before you speak so that the person knows who you are.

The next morning, my sister-in-law has gone back to her family and job and Dr. BB and my father-in-law are mowing the lawn. I'm reading on my Kindle on the bed next to my sleeping mother-in-law when the phone rings. I answer the phone (telemarketer) and my mother-in-law wakes up.

"Hey M.A." I am whispering because we always whisper.  "It's NGS." (The Google told me to!)

She looks at me, eyes clearer than I've seen them in weeks. "I know," she says in the most sarcastic, snotty tone ever to come out of a dying person. It was like having the old M.A. back for a split second, the one who would have rolled her eyes at me for introducing myself. I laughed and laughed and even she wheezed out a chuckle. I want this memory forever. I want this memory of her feisty self to stay etched in the wrinkles of my brain.

And then she asked me why this is all taking so long. I don't know if she meant why the boys were taking so long with the grass or why she is still clinging to this mortal coil, but all I could do was look at her and say "it will be over soon."

Friday, June 09, 2017

2017 CSA Week 1: The First Share!

We honestly don't have time to actually deal with our CSA goodies right now, but the growing season continues on regardless of my schedule, so here we are. We're actually going to be moving after the first couple of weeks, so our pickup location is changing, but let's not worry about that fact just yet.
This week brings us:
Green kale
Green garlic
Pea shoots
Radishes/turnips (we got a bunch that is a mix of the two)
It's greens all around. I will...honestly I have no idea what I'm going to do with any of this. Dr. BB will use the pea shoots and lettuce on sandwiches for lunch, more lettuce will be eaten with burgers were having for dinner, I'll eat the radishes/turnips for a snack, and the kale will inevitably get used in an egg dish of some sort. The oregano and spinach may be made into a pesto, but honestly oregano is kind of gross, so maybe not. The green garlic is super, super useful to have around, but it keeps for a while so maybe we'll use it later this month.  
Honestly, using all the CSA stuff has been a high priority of mine in the past, but this year I'm just a teeny tiny bit upset that we started a week earlier than last year, which means that I'm a bit preoccupied right now and won't be able to take advantage of the early baskets and in the fall we'll stop getting delicious squash and sweet potatoes a week earlier. But whatever. CSA season is here and I'm going to up my vegetable side game.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Final Walk Through

No working lock!
You guys! We did our final walk through on the house this afternoon. The requested work from the home inspection has been completed, the current owners are in the midst of packing mayhem, and there's a random porcelain bathtub in the garage that wasn't there the last time we were there.  I sure hope that bathtub is removed or I'm going to raise a stink about that.

It turns out that the front door of the house honestly doesn't have a lock on it. There's a hook and eye on the screen door AND THAT IS THE SECURITY. That's not really an issue for us because next week we're having a locksmith come to the house to change all the locks, but it did reinforce to me that the town we're moving to is pretty safe.

Other things that are happening:
1) Handyman is coming to talk to us about installing a dishwasher. This is going to involve carpentry, plumbing, and electricity, but we are not savages. A dishwasher must go in. I've read lots of stuff online about how humans been washing dishes by hand forever and this may be so, but I have chronic dermatitis on my hands and immersing my hands in hot water makes it 1000% worse, so a dishwasher is a necessity.  Anyway, we've looked at dishwashers, costs of permits, and now we need to find someone to actually do it. 

2) Housecleaners are coming to do a thorough cleaning before we move. There weren't a lot of options here, so we had to go with someone who doesn't have the best reviews in the world, but that's the price you pay for living in middle America.  I want a thorough cleaning done, but I don't want to do it.

3) Pest control people are being contacted. I don't want to write too much on here about my husband's relationship with insects, but suffice it to say that this was on the top of his to-do list.

4) Switching utilities. This is Dr. BB's duty, so I don't know much about it. I think it's mostly electricity, gas, water, and garbage, but I think he's also working on internet. Not my deal-o.

5) Movers will be moving us. We will do a small amount of packing, but mostly they're going to be packing and moving us. This is not taking place until about a week and a half after we close, so we're excited to have a bit of time in between to do things like changing the locks and cleaning.

Things we're sort of undecided on:
1) There's one room that absolutely needs to be painted. It's pink. Like Pepto-Bismol. But it's a room we're currently calling the "extra room" because we don't know what we're going to do with it. We've read that you should paint right away before the room has stuff in it, but there's not going to be much in it, so...can't this wait?

2) The yard is a jungle. Should we hire a landscaper to help us figure out where to start or just start tearing everything up? Can we do that in mid-June/early July or does all that have to wait until fall or next spring? Should we buy a lawn mower? What kind? HOW THE HELL DOES ANYONE KNOW THESE ANSWERS?

3) We haven't quite figured out which of the bedrooms will be our master bedroom and which will be the office. This should be easy but only one room has appropriate outlets for our computer stuff and that's the room that should be the master bedroom. The room without appropriate outlets has no closet so I'm not sure that's a master bedroom sort of room. There are other layout questions (most of them revolving around where our books will live), but I'm hoping that in the week and a half between closing and moving we can figure that out. 

Thoughts? Advice?  Suggestions? 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Someone Else's Life

I feel like I'm having an out-of-body experience for most moments of my life right now. There are three main tracks in my life and they seem to be running parallel to one another in non-complementary ways.

Track 1 is the house. We're set to close next week and I'm excited in kind of a muted way.  I mean, way to decimate our savings account, you know? I remember talking to our photographer right before our wedding and he said something about how it is be hard to picture yourselves in wedding photos before your own wedding and it seems unreal, like it only happens to other people, but afterwards it will be crazy to imagine your life without those wedding memories and I kind of feel like that is how this house thing is. I mean, it's a beautiful house and that should happen to people who aren't me. But once we move in and settle in, it will feel like that's how things are meant to be, right?  Anyway, when we are at home, this is heavy on my mind.

Track 2 is my mother-in-law. We're there a lot by her bedside, watching daytime television and watching her sleep. It's emotionally and physically excruciating.  There's something about the fact that Dr. BB and I, a couple of the few non-medical types in the family, are the ones that are there the most frequently that makes me a bit nervous. A prolonged death is terrible, for the the dying and the living.

Track 3 is my family. We were supposed to go on vacation with them this week, a vacation that's been on the calendar for over a year. Instead I'm getting crappy cell phone camera photos from them at the end of each night and a guilt-trip from my mother. 

So none of these actually work together. If I'm at home, dealing with stuff that needs to be dealt with (calling maintenance pople for help on the house, pricing dishwashers, calling the banker, getting an oil change, getting quotes from movers) I feel terrible that I'm not with my mother-in-law. When I'm just sitting there watching her sleep, I feel like shit that I'm not with my own family doing something fun and making memories with people I so rarely see. And when I'm lying in bed at night, I puzzle over how it seems like this is someone else's life I'm watching from overhead.  I feel pity for that person whose life I'm watching.


I also know that all of this is temporary. Dr. BB and I are healthy, we are lucky to have time to spend with my mother-in-law, and we are going to get through this.

Until then, enjoy this photo of the lake in town, taken at dusk. I'll be enjoying it every chance I get for the next few weeks.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Coloring with Anna

For the last ten weeks, the longest stretch of time that I have slept in my own bed is five days. Most weeks it was much less than that.  We have chosen professions that give us flexible schedules and that have allowed us to spend a great deal of time with Dr. BB's mother in her last days. But, honestly, two months ago, when the doctors said she had weeks to live, no one imagined it would last this long.  Everyone deserves an end like she is getting - filled with care and surrounded by family - but it's proven to be emotionally and physically draining. Driving back and forth, constantly worried about who's going to feed the cat and how we're going to get all our work done, is not an ideal way to live a life.

But there are so many good things to come out of it. Because of our near constant presence with her Grandma, Dr. BB and I have developed a fun relationship with our youngest niece. We have found Waldo, colored, and played Spot It with her and she'll leave the room quietly with us now instead of crying for her mother. We are now buddies is what I'm saying.

My niece helped me color this and then told me to send it to my mommy. I mailed it to my mom who promptly put it on her fridge. I'm in my thirties and insanely proud of this.

We were watching Jeopardy one day and there was some question about some pope and Dr. BB's mother, who we thought was sleeping, said the answer, clear as a bell, as if she wasn't on enough narcotics to kill the average person. I've heard her expound on face tattoos thanks to Judge Judy (not in favor), discuss Ryan Seacrest hanging out with Kelly Ripa (pretty in favor, but she really liked Strahan), and talk about how it is possible that Kathie Lee still looks that damn good (she really does - poor Hoda). 

We were there when Dr. BB's father, a retired family physician who has never shown any emotion to my knowledge, gently calmed his wife down by grabbing her hand and kissing her forehead as tears welled up in his eyes.  He loves his wife and watching this is painful for him, but he knows what to do for her and this show of love and affection was worth all the hours in the car and the scary hours sitting at her bedside watching her pulse.

This isn't easy, but I'm doing my best to be grateful for this time and to appreciate how lucky we are for this extended goodbye.

But I'm going to be super excited when I can sleep in my own bed for more than two nights in a row again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

We read The Sellout by Paul Beatty for our book club this month. I didn't get to go to book club, so I can't tell you much about how other people reacted to it, but I definitely had mixed feelings.

This is biting satire. I'm not sure I found it "funny," although I did frequently find it thought-provoking. It begins with a black man before the Supreme Court on charges of slavery and it's a flashback so that you can see how this relatively normal, educated man ends up attempting segregation and slavery in order to actualize change and fulfillment for the citizens of his town.  It's absurd and totally on the nose.

On the bright side, there was so much culture and history I learned by reading this book. Post-it notes are busting out of the side of the copy I borrowed from the library. Beatty is often hilarious - I frequently imagined a stand-up comic using the material on stage. I did chuckle an awful lot.

"He...belonged to that scary subset of black lycanthropic thinkers I like to refer to as "wereniggers." BY day, wereniggers are erudite and urbane, but with ever lunar cycle, fiscal quarter, and tenure review their hackles rise, and they slip into their floor-length fur coats and mike stoles, grow fangs, and schlep down from their ivory towers and corporate boardrooms to prowl the inner cities, so that they can howl at the full moon over drinks and mediocre blues music...Normally I try to avoid wereniggers at all costs. It's no the fear of being intellectually ripped to shreds that frightens me most, it's the cloying insistence on addressing everyone, especially people they can't stand, as Brother So-and-so and Sister This-and-that." (page 96)

I laughed out loud for a full minute.

On the other hand, though, this was just too much of a bitter pill for me to swallow. I think fiction on race can be pointed and hard to read, but worthwhile, but after a couple hundred pages of this, I just wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out again. Maybe that's the point?  I don't know. I just didn't find it enjoyable to read.

It is definitely excellent writing.  So if satire is your jam, go for it. 

Slang terms I didn't know: kine bud, cholo school, skrill, and Soreno.  I should be embarrassed, but I'm not.

Pop culture references I had to look up: golliwog, Stepin Fetchit, Guy Laroche, jubo, Kunta Kinte, Mr. Green Jeans, Slicker Smith, Chattanooga Brown, Beulah "Mammy" McQueenie, Kara Walker, Killer of Sheep, Lee Morgan, Kathleen Battle, Basquiat, Fran Ross, and Johnny Otis.

Other things I that went on post-it notes: PW Botha, Luftwaffe, Panglossian, mercurochrome, varnas, Wannsee Conference, and Arschloch.

I'm probably a better person for having read this novel.
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