Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh, Hello...

My name is Molly and I'm Vee's little sister. Don't ask. Anyway, I'm the latest member of the family to show up. Don't ask. And I'll be here as long as John and Vee allow me to stay. Don't ask. I think that Vee likes me, but she's worried about Fioré. I really can't imagine why. So what if the dumb cat likes to hang out in the basement, under the cabinet, behind the wall?

I did arrive with a few issues; namely, that I like to lick and chew. Can I help it if I find my paws and knees especially tasty? Anyway, I'm going to the vet this morning. He is not my favorite person, but I might wag my tail just for good measure.

It seems to have worked with John. Even if Vee isn't very sure of my stay, John thinks that I'm all right. I hang out with him whenever I can.

Vee told me to tell you to have a great Saturday and a fun weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Roller Coaster Life

[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: Oh?

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!

Gil: What a great story.

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. ~from the movie Parenthood 1989
If you were to describe your life as an amusement park ride, which one would you choose? I'd definitely choose the roller coaster. It so perfectly describes my life with its ups and downs or perhaps I'm just in the midst of a bipolar episode.
The "home" that we visited yesterday was perfection. Just what both my mother and I want for Nan. A view of the ocean, the smell of the ocean, beautiful, clean, a happy staff, and happy clients, too. It would be almost like going home for Nan because she loves the sea so much and spent her summers in Gloucester, Massachusetts. But, for lack of *$13, 000, she won't be accepted. Their criteria is that a patient must be able to pay for a year. Forget that the patient will be 101 in a few short days and that said patient is not doing well. Okay. Moving on.

Last night the three of us trouped off to help with the ongoing moving and settling in. One great thing about this is that we find little treasures. Treasures that would otherwise be going to Goodwill I presume.

I came home with two sets of pajamas and an edition of The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. This is the edition where she shares how to reuse a vacuum cleaner bag. I can now reveal that my mother had been, until just a week ago, breathing the same rarified air that Dacyczyn breathed as they lived in the same town. This newsletter was from June of 1990. Wait a minute, wait a minute! This is the premier issue. Wonder if that's worth anything? Thirteen thousand perhaps? (Edited to add: My hopes have been dashed again...this is the issue that was sent to anyone requesting a sample.)
Edited to Add: * No way did I mean to imply that such a facility would cost only $13,000. Of course not! Nan lacks $13,000. She falls short by $13,000. Hmmm, sometimes being clear is so hard for me. This facility will cost three hundred dollars plus a day. But, considering that a dump costs $237.00 a day, we felt that the extra cost would be well worth the peace of mind. BTW, average daily nursing home costs in Maine are $206.00. Wonder how that compares across the country/continent. (Gotta love the Internet. *Here* is my answer.) Double BTW, no medications or medical supplies costs are figured into that amount.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stuff and Things

Apparently, this is going to be a rainy week. We had rain Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, a delightful reprieve Wednesday, and today and tomorrow will be rainy. It's all good, though, because we've been much in need of comfort and what's more comforting than cooking and enjoying quiet reading time when it's chilly and wet outside?
You may remember the *Winter Squash Soup* recipe that I provided a few posts ago. I made it Tuesday and we all enjoyed it. Mother did suggest that the spices be cut back because she enjoys squash so well that she would've been happier to have really tasted the squash. Surprisingly, even I liked it. You know how I hate vegetables!
We are still scrambling. We're off visiting nursing homes as you read this. Still we have been granted a reprieve for a few days. Phew! I do hope that somehow they'll be able to keep Nan. I want her to stay where she's happy and where the staff has worked out most of the issues and they know her so well.

In the evenings, my mother and I work on getting her (my mother's) new home away from home together. A lot of work ahead, but it'll be nice once everything is settled.

So we're busy and I find myself missing you. I run through and usually stay just long enough to read. I'll be back... this is not a warning. (Mother thinks I've been quite hard on some of these nursing homes. Really? Where does she get these ideas?)

(Thank you for all the nice comments on yesterday's post. It was a lot of fun for me and my mom. Yes, one does use flour. Yes, we did do a hot water bath. Wow! Do all of you really peel toward yourselves? I should do a survey...)

HaVe A gReaT ThURsdAy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lady Ashburnham and Her Fans

Mom is so cute that I couldn't choose just one

The story of Lady Ashburnham pickles is a New Brunswick one. You see Lady Ashburnham was from Fredericton, New Brunswick.  She fell in love with a British Lord. You can read that story *here* if you enjoy such things. We did.

This sort of pickle making was a weekend project. One can not possibly make Lady Ashburnham's in a day. I've been "after" my mother for a while to make them and last weekend was the time. My mother has made these nearly every summer/fall since I can remember.

Last autumn, you may remember, my mother was critically ill and not expected to live. I was standing in her basement looking at the neat row of Lady Ashburnham's on her pantry shelf when I began to cry. Somehow, as silly as it may seem, Lady Ashburnham's had become symbolic of all that my sister and I, our children, and my grandchildren were about to lose.

The good news is that the Lord intervened and we have Mother. Life is not all lollipops and rainbows for my mother by any stretch, but she is still with us and we are so very grateful.

Okay, enough of the background story as this is about Lady Ashburnham's and Mother is very serious about Lady Ashburnham's. She was quite shocked to discover that I thought it was all about taking pictures for my blog and even suggested that I didn't want to learn about this pickle making at all. Silly girl!

Day One:

1. The right color...a yellow cucumber indicates that it is ripe and a partially yellow cucumber is fine

2. The right size...large is excellent; otherwise, two for one if the cucumbers are small (some fine year, we'll work on quart measurements)

3. Sigh...just look at this improper peeling method! Try as I might, I can not get Mother to change her methods. She's always peeled toward herself and very cheekily says, "I haven't lost a finger yet."

4. Scoop the cucumber down to the solid flesh (its not yours). John had this fun job.

5. Slice into strips

6. Cut the strips into bite-sized chunks

7. A nice bowl full of both cucumbers and onions (I had the nasty job of chopping two quarts of onions.)

8. Adding the salt

9. Stirring well

Day Two:

1. Rinse salt from cucumber/onion mixture thoroughly

2. Add cider vinegar

3. Add the sugar

4. Powdered spices go into the sauce; celery seed and mustard seed are cooked with the cucumbers and onions

5. Sauce

6. You can see the celery seed and mustard seed with the cucumbers/onions

7. Sauce is added to the partially cooked cucumber/onion mixture after the sauce is partially thickened and continues simmering...

8. for an hour without reaching a boil

9. Labels ready

The final product. These pickles are a wonderful complement to casseroles, baked beans, hot dogs and hamburgers, and some people even make tartar sauce with them. 

Mother would like to add that we used an assortment of saved jars that were sterilized (she used a microwave method for the jars while boiling the lids in water on the stove.) The filled jars were given a hot water bath in the canning kettle. She thinks most people would prefer using regular canning jars. We would, too, but we're cheap frugal.

You will note that my mom went off script for this recipe, but then she's a pip the expert!

*Printable Recipe for Lady Ashburnham's*

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


That's what's going on around here these days — a whole lot of scrambling.

My grandmother's time as a "skilled" resident of the nursing home has come to an end. She is growing progressively weaker, which is what it is, but she needs permanent care in a facility. Her current home has no room for long-term residents so she is being released this week. I was taken by surprise by this release date as I had been told that if she grew worse she would be able to stay. Though she's grown much worse, last week I was told to find a home or to bring her home. If I don't find a home for her, they can legally remove her to one of their choosing. Sadly, this would probably be the only home in the area with room. It's a pit earning only two stars on their July 2010 inspection.

So we have been out visiting homes. What a sad and story state of affairs in nursing homes. Some are squalid hell holes like the one we visited yesterday where they lacked for everything except nursing staff. Trouble was they were all at the nursing station having a kaffeeklatsch the entire time we were there. I watched them like a hawk to see if they answered any of the bells that were ringing. No. They did not.

Since we are now in the sad position of placing Nan 50 miles away from home, we are zeroing in on homes with five-star ratings — the very highest. We must have peace of mind in knowing that she will be well cared for since we are not going to be able to visit nearly as often as we have been. It will not be financially possible nor physically possible.

So I'm requesting prayer. I truly feel as if I could have a meltdown and I'm concerned for my mother, too. Thanks so much!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colors of Early Autumn~Mosaic Monday

Image will enlarge

How wonderful are the colors of autumn. All these photos were taken in my own yard with the exception of the orange pumpkin of another sort. (Edited to Add: OOPS! The top center photo is a corner of the library below.) When I saw that orange Chevy, I had to take its photo!

The photo below was taken at a small library in a neighboring community — that's my hubby coming out the door. The trees around it show the level of color that we are seeing now so we have awhile longer before we see peak color. How long before you'll be seeing peak color?

Mary, thank you for all that you do to make *Mosaic Monday* happen. It's become the highlight of my week! You can visit Mary at Little Red House where you'll be treated to her wonderful photography any time.

A Smoldering Wick

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice...

Isaiah 42:3

Such good news for anyone who, like me, may be feeling bruised and/or smoldering. God loves us and what we may be sensing as a scolding, in the middle of trying circumstances, may only be the way He chooses to fan up our flame once again.