Saturday, November 28, 2020

So special!


I had to replace the old pooper-scooper recently and when I received the new one, it came with a pair of white gloves.  According to the illustrated instructions, one was to don the gloves before putting the parts together.  Is one to also don said gloves whilst scooping the poop?  I wish Erma Bombeck was still around - she'd know the answer.

I opted not to gather on Thanksgiving this year.  The instances of Covid are rising and I have too many at-risk loved-ones.  The thing that pushed me over the edge was the last minute arrival of my niece - who I doubt follows any protocol for protecting herself from the virus.  I consoled myself with the thought of leftovers but, to my dismay, it appears that they dipped the turkey carcass in the Amazon River after dinner and the piranhas got anything edible.  At least there will be broth.  Geez.  While I was wallowing around in my pool of self-pity, I got a text from Marianne asking how my Thanksgiving went.  When I gave her the lowdown (boohoo), she packaged up a heap of leftovers for me.  Bless her.

The pups' holiday gift came early - two faux fur throws - and I might not see Peanut until spring.  He is burritoed on the left and you can just see Lovey's ear on the right.  I'd say they were pleased.  Slimmie has taken over the dogs comfy saucer bed, so we are set for the cold weather.  Whenever it comes.  So far, November has been warm and rain-filled.  And grey.  And gloomy.

On the medical front, there has been a victory!  After mulling it around, I decided that I would rather change doctors than change insurance.  I had visions of bureaucratic snafus abounding, as I tried to change from one company to another within a month.  I went online to check Humana's doctor network and, lo and behold, there was my orthopedic surgeon!  I took a deep breath and called to make an appointment.  When the receptionist asked, "Still BCBS?" I plunged in - no, Medicare with Humana.  She took my membership number without batting an eye.  It is a mystery, but I have an appointment with the surgeon next week.  Who would have thought I'd be so excited to see a surgeon!

Last week, I received two packages out of the blue from two of my ex-coworkers.  One packaged contained an almost lifetime supply of organic peppermint tea and the other contained this:

It is like a fairy cup - I swear!  It has irises on the saucer and cup, with a beautiful hummingbird handle.  Even the spoon is iris themed.  While they hoped I would think of them every time I had a cuppa, I cannot even think about using this precious object!  It is safely displayed in my hutch.

I am finally done with all the stuffies (although there are two very special ones I am planning on making for myself) and am moving on to more useful knitting, now that Christmas is looming large on the horizon.  How did that happen!?!  I'm working through my book purge - now combing the shelves of the cookbook collection - with tons more to go.  I have a particularly hard time parting with cookbooks, and my job is not made any easier every time I go into Marianne's store.  I have to be firm.  Pfft.

I hope you all had a comforting thanksgiving - or as comforting as it can be in these strange times.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Mi curtido sabe fantastico!


(Translated:  Damn!  My curtido is yummy!)  I finally remembered to check on the progress of my ferments.  I had made a half gallon of sauerkraut and a half gallon of curtido with ONE HALF of the giant cabbage.  This year I decided to go au naturel with my sauerkraut, as opposed to my usual blueberry/caraway seed sauerkraut.  I also decided to try a new curtido recipe, as I wasn't all that thrilled with previous results.  OMG.  It is delicioso!  I got the recipe from the book included in my Mason Fermentation kit.  In addition to the usual carrot/cabbage/red chili of yore, they added grated garlic and oregano.  I love it!  And it's purty.  

Since I know y'all can't wait to hear the latest in my social security wranglings, let me say that I found yet another reason to go local.  I laid out my concerns to a local representative of the SSA and she said (to paraphrase), "well, I wouldn't give the government more money than I have to - it will take forever to get it back.  You'd be better off just going with the flow and it will resolve itself."  When I voiced concern over getting cut off because I didn't pay the quarterly bill (there's a slight gap of 2-3 weeks between when the bill is due and when they will be taking Medicare out of my SS payment), she said, "if they harass you in any way, just call us."  So.  

I am tackling the insurance issue today with "Gary".  I have an appointment with my dermatologist in mid-December and I was dreading finding out if or if not she accepted Humana.  I finally pulled up the BGPs and checked this morning.  Hallelujah!  She does.  Good thing, too.  It takes a year to get an appointment with this woman.  She refuses to use a PA, so it's one doctor to every 5,000 patients.  Crazy pants.

I'm trying to find ways to bring the homogenous-ness of my days into some kind of focus.  So far, it's not working out as well as I hoped.  Some of it has to do with the fact that I am unable to do more than one largish task a day.  I cannot tell you how frustrating that is.  Yesterday, it took me an hour to get all my recycling and trash into my car for the trip to the transfer station.  At least they are still taking pity on me and sort everything when I get there.  I am planning a trip to the grocery store today - I figure I will get there when they open so that there will be fewer potential Covid-carriers milling about.  I have a short list, but I will go bonkers if I spend more time in this house.

Also on the agenda is:  take down wind chimes, take out compost, vacuum, sweep, clean bathrooms, wash dog blankets.  I can hardly stand the potential thrill of it all.  (sound of dripping sarcasm)  I have had the vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning on the agenda for an alarming amount of time.  I manage to segue off to something totally irrelevant every time I am faced with housework.  Such as waxing the top of Lorenzo, the dining room table.  I may need an intervention.  Or cleaning service.

In my defense, at least a little purging has been done - I have tons of books on gardening, homesteading and self-sufficiency type stuff.  Looking to the future - and my tiny home - my library is going to have to be severely curtailed.  I had a big box of books to put on FB marketplace and figured it would be one of those, "I'd like that ONE and could you deliver it to my house, 30 miles from you?"  However, it appears that there are a few young families that are taking the plunge, so I ended up with three requests in a row.  Miracle of all miracles, the second family (first one lived 40 miles from me and wanted delivery...) picked it up within an hour of requesting it.  I am going to go through the second batch and will just send them along to the same family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Volunteers, Autumn tries for a foothold (and fails) and Dimples finds her flock

I have been enjoying the fruits of my volunteer arugula for weeks now.  There is nothing more satisfying than produce that you didn't have to plant and fuss over, right in your backyard.  This little cold frame has been churning out early and late greens for the past four years, bless its little untreated wooden heart.

It's very frustrating for someone who loves autumn with all her heart, to have to suffer the return of summer, smack dab in the in the middle of fall.  All the trappings of my autumn/winter cocooning have been put in place.  We had three days of snow.  My furnace came on.  Then it was 72 degrees.  Good lord.  Being inherently stubborn, I continue to drag around in my fleece robe, sweating and grumbling.  The twinkle lights on the fireplace are the only things keeping my spirits afloat.

It seems as though I will be spending most of my retirement on endless phone calls.  I thought I had everything in order - but, no.  I received a bill for my Medicare coverage at the same time I received notice that they were deducting my medicare payments from my monthly SS.  This means that I have to sit down and brace myself for an hour+ of calls to track down a human that knows his/her stuff and can straighten this out before it get out of hand.  To further complicate things, I discovered that, just because your medical center accepts your insurance, not all of the doctors within that center follow suit.  Yes, you guessed.  All my doctors except the orthopedic group accpet Humana.  Fernatssake.  The good news is that I am still within the open enrollment period, so I can switch insurers without penalty.  The bad news is that I am not looking at surgery until after the first of the year.  It should be an interesting winter.

There are definitely good things about gimping around with my cane.  I went to the town hall complex to get transfer station tickets and had to go through the whole hip explanation with the town clerk.  By the time I got to the transfer station with my recycling, two days later, both attendants raced to my car and would not hear of my lifting a thing, having been told about my 'affliction'.  It does make my independent-as-all-heck self bristle, but it also makes my presently-limited self grateful.

I am continuing to clear out things that I no longer need, want or, never used.  In the process of rehoming a 10x100 foot roll of greenhouse film (you never know when you might need one of those, right?  How about 'never'?), I met a young couple who decided to give up suburban life for a life in the country.  They had a large garden, had just built a hoophouse structure, and had chickens and ducks.  In the course of our socially-distanced, masked conversation, I mentioned that my duck, Dimples, was now a lone duck.  No longer.  She has gone to join their flock of 8, with a swimming pool.  It was bittersweet - I knew she was lonely for duck company (and was taking it out on the chickens by bossing them around), but I have had her since she was an egg.  I hope she will be happy.