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Old 04-23-2017, 03:37 PM   #4121
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Nothing too exciting going on here...a lot of phone time, a little yard work, a little cooking, a little laundry, walked Lily and washed the new car.

I have two prayer shawls completed since I've returned home, ready to turn in tomorrow...and have started another, in a pretty shade of pink.

They get credit for 12 hours of volunteer hours for each shawl turned in....I would say, that's about right.

A busy week ahead, lots of odds and ends on my calendar.

Thinking about where to toodle around to here in a couple of weeks...the Interstate is calling to me to take her out on the road.


Maggie
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:19 PM   #4122
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Don't forget you need to come to Green Creek...
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:01 PM   #4123
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Green Creek is a fur piece, Vince...looking for northern Illinois, a little Great River Road into Wisconsin, perhaps.

My children decided I need a garage door opener. A gift from them, along with the installation.

They said I would have never bought it for myself, and they were right.

No, the little house has never had one, nor has it ever had a dishwasher. Very nice little house, but basic and simple, easy to maintain in 1985 for a single mother with no mechanical skills whatsoever.

I consider it good for my aging self to haul that heavy door up and down, but that's just me, and eventually there will come a time when I can't do it...so, they want the door to be ready.

I remember Doug's mother, capably mowing her yard on a riding lawnmower at age 90, and she was as spry and physically able as a woman 30 years younger right up to the last year or so of her life. I feel certain that can be attributed to her activity level, and to doing things for herself.

Going to require adding an outlet to the ceiling of the garage, first, but not my circus, not my monkeys...going to just sit back and watch it all happen.

In the Amish grocery in Iowa a few weeks ago, I picked up dried date pieces, and made a triple batch of this bread this morning...cut it into sections, package for my freezer, and I have many delicious, healthy, fiber rich breakfasts.

I substituted 1/3 coarse whole wheat flour...


Date Nut Bread

This famous date nut bread is from a 1961 "Hints From Heloise" column, and was submitted by Pat Nixon.

8 ounces pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp baking soda
cup boiling water
4 T butter
cup sugar (can sub 2T brown sugar)
1 egg
1 cups flour
cup chopped walnuts
tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 8x4x2.5 inch loaf pan.
Place dates in a large bowl. Add baking soda to boiling water and pour over dates in blow. Set aside and let mixture stand while mixing other ingredients.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Strain water from the date mixture into batter. Add flour and beat well. Add nuts, dates and vanilla and combine unitl all ingredients are well mixed.
Pour the mixture into greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 mins, or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:35 PM   #4124
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One thing to consider- hauling up a garage door can be an easy way to tweak a back if you get just a bit off.
Especially if it is being a little recalcitrant.



But good point about keeping active.
You can come over and mow my lawn any time you want.

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Old 04-24-2017, 01:00 PM   #4125
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Funny. I don't mow even my own yard, never having had a riding mower, either.

After Doug died, I began hiring it out. I could physically do it, but am very heat intolerant, also fortunate to be gone for a good part of the mowing season.

Yep, pulling the back happens on occasion. I'm still dealing with a pulled muscle from planting ivy under my yews a few days ago...reaching and stretching and digging with a trowel, on my hands and knees.

Overall, tho, doing pretty well for an old woman.

Maggie
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:53 AM   #4126
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Miss Lily, in the early morning sun...
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:05 AM   #4127
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Spent yesterday running some errands, doing labs, and meeting with a long time financial anchor to review this and that, and go over some regulatory changes coming up.

He is a good, solid human being, who has never once led us astray and I trust him completely.

If you are lucky, you have a good, solid, handful of those people in your life.

Hold them fast, as they don't grow on trees, and are not a dime a dozen.

We need these people, as they are our anchors in life, our guidance during storms, and there to be leaned on when needed...we need to appreciate them, and their trustworthiness, and to tell them so.

I remember a multi-problemed mother of many children, that I met with for the first time in the course of my employment 12-15 years ago.

She was a long time, hard core, drug addict, had been in and out of the system for years as she had children, they were removed, her rights terminated, etc.

Having recently moved to the area where I was employed, she was again pregnant and hoping to keep this baby. I went thru with her the reality of her situation..her history, court findings, current situation, and what necessary change had to occur to reach her goal.

We met for a long time, after which this system-savvy woman, who'd had many prior caseworkers, said to me "I don't get no bad vibes from you, Maggie"...the very beginnings of a frank, honest, and trusting relationship that lasted a number of years, and thru several difficult setbacks.

I thought at the time "I always want to be that person"...the what you see is what you get person, the real and honest and straightforward person, whether with my clients, other professionals, friends, family, acquaintances. I strive for it every day.

I still feel that way, and I so appreciate people like that in my life... and, I am fortunate to have them, my good, solid handful...more than some get, and I am grateful for them.

They stand in stark contrast to the snakes and sociopaths who find their way into ones life....cultivating a sense of trust where none is actually there, taking for themselves without regard for their professional obligations to you...and I've had some of those, too, where the damage was skillfully done before they revealed their true selves.

They do serve to teach us how better to discern those who are good from those who are not, however.

There it is...my small soap box this morning, as I reflect on and appreciate the truly good people I am fortunate to have in my life, and try every day to be one of those, as well.

Heading out to buy cedar mulch this morning and get that down in my south bed and flower garden.

We've had some heavy rain, but my yard guys got a mow in yesterday morning, and my new plantings will be very happy, so ain't gonna complain.


Maggie
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:38 PM   #4128
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Double pink impatiens, hung from a moveable hanger that I installed myself...on a stool, drill and Phillips screwdriver in hand.

They are gorgeous.
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:10 PM   #4129
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Maggie, I so enjoy following your blog here. You are a wise, amazing, inspiring woman. Thanks for all you share. I just added your date bread recipe to my library along with some other recipes you have shared and plan on giving it a try this weekend. I hope you are planning on Canopener again this year. You take care.

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Old 04-26-2017, 03:43 PM   #4130
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Aww, thank you, Judy.

I deeply appreciate the good folks here, and the outlet for the written word....the good, the bad, and the ugly...tho it doesn't all make it onto these pages.

I'm not going to be at CanOpener next year, going to head into Louisiana in early January, and I'm thinking go back to New Orleans for the first time since Doug has died.

A favorite place of ours, where we honeymooned and then visited many more times. It will be hard, but I want to go, walk the Quarter, listen to the street musicians, have a cafe au lait....lots of good memories there.

I've decided, too, that gatherings of 300-350 people are not generally for me, Judy, tho I enjoyed the event earlier this year, the new people like you that I met and catching up with some fine folks I have gotten to know over the years.

There are some Lily-haters who will be glad I don't return, is the truth, and that's okay.

Thanks for dropping in, Judy.


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Old 04-27-2017, 04:53 PM   #4131
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It is cold here today.

57 currently with a "feels like" of 44, which we are going to have off and on for the next week or so.

No freezing temps predicted, tho, so my plantings should be safe, but I may need a fire.

Nothing too exciting going on here...spring choring, needlework group this afternoon, Grandparents Day at sweet gdd's grade school tomorrow afternoon.

The gentleman I have spoken about, with rapidly progressing dementia, went into a nursing home on Monday.

When he has a moment of lucidity, or semi-lucidity, he calls, wants his car keys, and demands to be taken home.

He is not improving, but steadily getting worse.

The last few weeks have been chaos and a prolonged state of crisis for his kids, navigating this process and the nursing home outcome for which he was unprepared physically or financially.

They have good advisors and plenty of support, but most things only his kin, and not advisors, can do....they of course with families, jobs and other obligations.

I listen and offer perspective, but there is little I can do.

Sigh. Makes me want to have as much of my life in order as possible...not that it is in disarray, as I do not do disarray ...but one doesn't get up in the morning and think "what if I am suddenly very ill and then never able to live independently again?..what if it happens today?...am I ready, if not what can I do to prepare?"

Bad things often happen quickly, life changing in an instant.

We always think we have time, but usually we don't.

When Doug was stricken, had he survived with meaningful brain activity he would at minimum have needed extended rehabilitation services.

The first day or so, I was concerned about that, and how the ---- we would pay for it. Somehow, we would have.

By the end of the first 48 hours, it was clear he would not survive this, and plans turned a different direction....getting his kids on board with taking him off life support, making arrangements to get his body home, getting myself home, planning a funeral....

We did not have long term care insurance, and I still don't...I did look into it after Doug died at the request of my children, but simply can't afford it and still have any quality of life. I do have some resources, but they may not be enough.

This man doesn't have it, either, and Medicaid will take everything he does have to provide his care....likely now for the remainder of his life.

It's been a frigging mess, but he is safe from himself...not at home, and not on the road.

He drove the day before the last hospitalization a couple of weeks ago, but those days are over.

The point to this story....as my medical social worker daughter said, "most people don't die as Doug did..they are stricken with something debilitating, and linger often for years."

So do what you can to prepare, for those who love and will survive you.

Maggie
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:39 PM   #4132
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In and amongst Friday choring here, I had a man I found on Angie's List come to look at some damaged siding on the north side of my house.

There is fence there, and I haven't a clue as to how it happened, damage about 15" in circumference just appeared on the siding in the last couple of weeks.

There is no one who should have been in that area but the guys who mow my yard, and I don't think they did it.

It looks to me as if a shoulder slammed into it, and hard.

Someone playing football nearby on Easter Sunday, football went over the fence, they continued the game in the small area between the house and the fence?

It's about the right size, blunt rather than sharp impact, and sizable enough damage that its unsightly self needed repaired. The drain pipe on that corner of the house has also been knocked loose.

At any rate, I found this guy on Angie's List, he came this morning to look at it, and repaired/replaced the damaged areas on the spot from leftover siding I had in the garage. Cut the damaged parts off and returned it all to my garage.

He does painting and general handyman work, and I am hoping he will become a resource for me for things I can't do myself....like getting on the roof and looking around...

I need someone handy, reliable, and trustworthy....also someone who will not try to take advantage of a widow by herself.

We'll see...I am cautiously optimistic, as darling daughter said after her 3rd date with the man who is now her husband.

Grandparents Day this afternoon, Emma and I will run a few errands and then pick up her brothers for supper out with Grandma...some alone time for me with them, and will give their parents a chance to breathe after a very busy week.

It will be fun.


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Old 04-29-2017, 01:11 PM   #4133
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I took the kids to Avantis for supper last night, their choice, where they consumed an impressive amount of food...then most of the leftovers while watching a movie on Grandma's new tv, while Mom & Dad had a little time off.

Sweet babies, but I am always glad I am not responsible for feeding that crew three meals a day, plus snacks.

2nd day of lots of rain, and cool, but I have decided I will not start a fire no matter how tempted I may be.

Tho I love my woodstove, it is not the cleanest way to heat, and I have been plodding thru annual deep-cleaning of the little house...so why go backwards. It will be over soon.

A few days ago, watching the local morning news, they made a healthier version of always popular Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip...which I then made, because it sounded good, and it was excellent.

But, how much dip can you eat.

I froze some , and kept out a cup or so which I decided today to heat and then mix with hot, cooked pasta.

Absolutely delicious, and a balanced meal in a bowl. Kind of like a good pesto on steroids.

Better-For-You Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

1 bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed to remove excess moisture
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 cup finely chopped green & red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 cartons plain yogurt, about 1 1/4 cup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder

Mix together in large bowl, baked at 350 degrees in greased casserole dish about 25 minutes, til hot and bubbly.

Eat with raw veggies, crackers, good bread, etc....refrigerate leftovers.
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Old 04-30-2017, 11:47 AM   #4134
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Lilacs thru the window in my daughter's old room...Doug and I planted these the last fall he was alive.
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:28 PM   #4135
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Hi Maggie!!! Looks like spring is there... I just saw on the news 46 inches of rain here since October!! 4.5 so far this April... geez.... however, spring things are happening... I'm sure ready for the rain to take a break!! Love the spinach artichoke dip recipe... one of my fav dips... never made it but I may now!!! Have a fun day there... hugs and love from out here....
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Old 04-30-2017, 01:14 PM   #4136
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Hi Miss Gail!

Yes, spring is well underway here....tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc., have bloomed and gone, lilacs are now doing their thing.

I love lilacs.

We have had a couple of days of rain here, pretty much over at this point and sunny days with wind are coming.

Maggie
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:19 PM   #4137
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I thought the rain had mostly passed at mid-day yesterday, but I was wrong.

We had torrential downpours early evening, with thunder and lightning so loud and close that it shook the house....sounded like a fighter jet was making a pass directly overhead. Yikes. Lily was not happy.

Depending on which rainfall map you look at, we got 1-3" of rain in 24 hours, and I would bet on the higher range.

There is widespread flooding along Illinois creeks and rivers, washed out roads and bridges, and folks stranded in their homes, but the little house is on a slight rise and so there is no flooding going on here.

I think part of the same storm system that has been tormenting the south, spawning tornadoes and causing so much death, destruction and devastation.

Carpet steamers are coming early tomorrow, to do the living room, hall and master bedroom, so I have this morning been moving furniture, vacuuming, wiping baseboards, etc., in preparation....wearing the Sloppy Joe's Key West tshirt I pulled out of the back closet the other day.

Bought on our last trip to Key West, one of those v-neck, unisex, Henley styles, and a shirt that Doug and I shared.

I haven't had it on since he died, but it is one of those I couldn't bring myself to give away...so there it hung, in the closet of the back bedroom, his man-cave, still with all his prints, pictures, etc. from the time he died...and the 2014 Labrador calendar he had purchased for himself, still open to January, when we headed out on our last trip.

Doug loved Lily....he a man who often said "I have never had a dog", to which I would respond "no, but a dog has had you".

I miss having your help to do this stuff, honey, I told him.

Maggie
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:41 PM   #4138
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Good morning, Maggie. We've had some rain this spring...badly needed. During our recent snowstorm, we had "thunder snow". Always surprising when that happens, and the pups don't like it at all. Any time we get thunder they all come to me for protection. Have a good day.
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Old 05-01-2017, 12:53 PM   #4139
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Hi Evelyn.

No, drought is not good, either...we all need water, and I hope our spring rains made up for the lack of snow this past winter.

Farm country, you know....it's all about the crops.


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Old 05-01-2017, 01:59 PM   #4140
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good morning Maggie... I've been watching the weather station.. I was wondering where you were in relation to all the flooding... what a mess... what a winter it's been!!! We may have some sunny days this week!!! Weee!! Life is good... enjoy the day.. be happy!! Keep having fun!!!
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