Monday, March 31, 2008

Redneck Woman

I horrified one of my city friends today when I sent her a text message wishing her a happy Monday.

See, I don’t have cell service at my house. She has a Blackberry, and if I were a betting woman, I would say she is getting an alert to this blog as soon as I post it.

I can tell you exactly where to stand or park so you can get a measly two bars near my house: Hike up the hollow behind my house, take a right at the top of the hill, walk another quarter-mile or so until you see the green and tan horse barn. Head to the doors on the east side and face south. Voila: Cell service. Usually.

I have to be creative about retrieving and sending text messages when I’m home, and I tend to go on a text binge when I am somewhere with wireless service. Hence, I sent a message to Brenda when I was in “the city” this morning.

Brenda and I used to work together at a marketing firm in Minnesota. Although we’ve both moved on to different states and occupations, we remain fast friends. She’s the most positive, bubbly person I know. That is, when she’s not being a smart-aleck.

We often debate the merits of country life versus city living. Although Brenda now lives in a suburb of Chicago, she grew up on a farm in Minnesota, so she’s no stranger to country life.

But still, she claims that I am slowly becoming a redneck! Of course, I don’t really help my case sometimes. The last time I went to visit her in Chicagoland, there was a little episode involving a cute little plastic glass from Target. In my defense, a) I’d had two martinis and b) my friend Nikki has the exact same glasses at her house – except they light up and blink! Evidently, I don’t get to Target enough lately.

City life does indeed have its merits:
*Mail, road and garbage service runs like clockwork. When we had flooding two weeks ago, we had no mail for two days. The culvert that washed away in that flood has still not been repaired. The garbageman didn’t show up today because the road was flooded again.

*You don’t have to plan your trips to town around whether or not the road will be flooded over the low-water bridges.

*There’s usually a Target or Starbucks within a 20-mile radius of your house.

*You don’t usually have a bird build a nest by your front door, then proceed to fly into the house, around the house and everywhere except out the window, despite five different open windows, two people chasing and one cat hunting.

I could go on, but I won’t. For those of you worried about my sanity, I am being sarcastic here.
I want to see what Brenda comes up with on her blog, as she said she was going to continue our City vs. Country blog duel.

And I can’t wait to visit her in July!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Relpax, two Relpax, three...

Migraines have been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. Boy, do I have stories -- but I'll spare you the gory details.

For me, these migraines mean everything gets put on hold in exchange for a dark room, drugs (my current favorite is Relpax) and a bag of ice. A puke bucket used to be a staple, but the Relpax has usually been able to make that item optional. I've been able to reduce the migraines to once every couple of months. Until lately. Now I've had four migraines a month the past two months.

Thursday I woke up with a full-blown, skull-crushing, serrated knives-in-your-eyes migraine -- which rendered medication useless. And thus, I went back into the timeworn routine of sleeping, waking, puking. Rinse and repeat.

Oh, wait. I did say I would spare you the details. My bad.

Thursday somehow passed into Friday & I came out on the other end of the migraine. Saturday I laid low -- no headache but feeling like crap. And woke up around 3 AM Sunday with another migraine. This time, the Relpax did most of its work -- so I just feel like crap without the headache or puking.

I'm willing to do almost anything to get rid of these debilitating episodes. I've already nixed MSG, sulfites, Splenda, and most high fructose corn syrup from my diet. Now, after evaluating what I've been eating (staples include fresh goat milk and cheese, farm-fresh eggs, free range beef & chicken, for crying out loud -- it's not as if I'm on a McDonald's diet), something as simple as wheat may be the latest culprit.

I've been eating a lot of whole-wheat bread (often homemade!), sandwich wraps, Kashi granola or cereal lately. And there's my guilty pleasure: pizza. Wheat in all of these. Apparently, some people have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat (gluten is the sticky stuff that binds the dough -- it's a protein that is hard for some to digest).

Like I said, I'm willing to try almost anything! But I have to admit that my taste buds are already rebelling. Dreaming about sourdough french toast. Cupcakes. Bread with homemade tomato jam. Pasta.

But. I'll try it for two weeks, a month. If it helps, maybe I can get back to doing more of the things I want to be doing instead of waiting to get over a migraine or get my energy levels back.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Wednesday!

Where has the week gone? I was so focused on "the horse" Monday and Tuesday that today has been a bit of a letdown.

I showed "Harley," my 4-year-old gelding, to some prospective buyers on Tuesday. Non-horse people have no idea how much preparation (and nerves!) go into something like this. Harley was a complete prince -- he ate up all the attention from the couple who was looking at him.

But they are going to pass on buying him: he's too mellow.
I guess, if you have a problem with your horse, that is a good one to have.
OH, well. Onward.

Today was still spent with the horses, as the farrier finally made it out for an overdue shoeing session. Around here, good farriers are like gold.

We are still cleaning up from the January 2007 and 2008 ice storms, and today was another day of labor and burn piles. It's going to be time to have someone handy with a chainsaw come up and cut up some of the bigger limbs. I draw the line at using a chainsaw -- I already have enough issues (and scars!) from knives. It feels like this is a project that will never end. On the bright side, I am getting in a lot of weight-training work!

Tomorrow is another day: pulling up fence posts is on the agenda. It's not as labor-intensive as it sounds, thanks to the handy-dandy post puller "thingy."
This is one of those times I miss the city life!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A visit from the Easter bunny

I got beer from the Easter bunny this year!

Today was the annual Easter brunch & egg hunt at my next-door neighbor’s house. The kids were so excited (one in particular!) that I "barricaded" the door so the kids didn’t get outside while the eggs were being hidden in the yard.

Once the kids were turned loose, they did a great job finding the eggs.

Even Nevis got in on the fun, guarding (and eating!) a hot-pink egg.
There was also the famous Beer Hunt: 18 beers were hidden throughout the yard for the adults. I’m proud to say I kept the hunt title in the family, collecting five beers.

Caleb did such a good job hiding the beer that several bottles were still hidden when we all gave up the hunt. (Either that or he hid them somewhere only he would be able to find them!)

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A watched pot never boils

I seem to be having a lot of kitchen-related issues lately. Leaving the water running so it overflows on the kitchen floor. Stabbing myself in the thumb and needing stitches (but waiting too long to go get it stitched up).

Today I put on some water to boil for tea, got distracted and boiled that kettle dry. I wandered upstairs and got wrapped up on a project in-progress in the art studio. Baxter never told me a thing – not a good sign for a dog that I am training to be a hearing-ear dog.

Especially when he has ears like these:
One of the three mishaps is a hazard of deafness. But all three were really due to distraction. Or maybe the universe is trying to tell me to stay out of the kitchen?

I hope not! I have some baking to do for Sunday’s Easter brunch. I think I will make something that doesn’t involve sharp knives, and stay in the kitchen until everything is complete. No distractions.

Tonight, I am heading to Alisen’s for some much-needed conversation, tea and crafts. Lucky for me, she lives right next door and I can just walk over – no raging rivers or washed-out roads to deal with.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saving for a rainy day

There's nothing like a rainy day to spur me to get things done. Today, I'm literally "stuck" at home -- the only way out of the hollow is via creative, dangerous methods.

This is what it looked like this afternoon (note the mailbox in the center of the picture. The water in front of it is the road!):
Some people would use a day like today as an excuse to curl up with a blanket, puppy, book and a bottomless mug of hot tea (or maybe spiked hot chocolate made with fresh goat milk). Not me. I started the day out by rearranging my desk/office area. I'd been thinking about doing it for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it. I'm glad I did it now -- it's more comfortable, yet more efficient.

But wait! Before I finished *that* project, a side trip to the walk-in closet by my front door became yet another project. I couldn't find what I was looking for...and ended up cleaning & reorganizing that closet, too. Productive, no?

I don't know if it's the impending spring weather or what, but I've been "nesting" and downsizing lately. I've listed quite a few things on Ebay, and am organizing "stuff" for a garage sale in April. Anyone who knows me knows I am the queen of organization. I can't help it! (It's a control thing, folks.)

Anyways. I also went for a walk with the Wardlaw neighbors and Baxter, my blue heeler pup. Baxter behaved himself amazingly well with Huxley, I was pretty proud of him. I, however, was not as well behaved, continuing my tradition of teaching little Huxley to do things his mom would rather he didn't. Harmless things like splashing in the puddles, digging in the get the idea.

And here I am tonight, watching the rain STILL falling outside my window, burning a candle to mask the smell of eau de wet dog, and thinking about adding a little something to my next mug of hot chocolate.