Grounds for Fun

IMG_5281

coffee mess I made during one of the few times I’ve made coffee. 

I’ll be jiggered! I mentioned mum probably shouldn’t toss the coffee grounds down the drain and she told me one of her aunt’s said it was a good thing to do. Well, I looked it up and she’s right! (To an extent.) It appears used coffee grounds are one of the world’s most useful waste products. There are places all over the web dedicated to ‘amazing uses for used coffee grounds’.

I scribbled down just a few of the ideas to share (and if you don’t have any of your own, some coffee vendors will give you free bags of used grounds.):

One of the more popular uses for grounds is in the garden. I didn’t know how versatile they actually were! They attract worms (curious to see how caffeinated worms might dangle on a hook!), they repel gastropods and some bugs, the grounds are great for growing carrots and mushrooms, and excellent for composting.

They can be used to deice walkways, can be added to shampoo as a flea bath for your pets (caffeinate your cat, not sure that is a good idea!), and to use as an air freshener (this is accomplished by putting used grounds into a bit of panty hose or with wax to make candles).

You can use the grounds for craft projects from dyes to paints and playdough. (I’ve made a lot of different kinds of ‘play dough’ for kids, but I never thought to use coffee grounds in the pliable toy. I’ve never been fond of caffeinated kids.) It is also useful as a cleanser for almost anything. There are recipes for body scrubs, soaps (caffeine can be absorbed thru the skin!), it is thought to help remove cellulite, using it before you shampoo helps strip the hair strands of yucky things, and somehow, if you paste the coffee grounds on the bags  under your eyes, it is supposed to help remove them.

You can use the stuff to clean stubborn stains on dishes and  anything which can handle light abrasives. It is supposed to be a wonder solution to clean a fireplace. They can be used in place of baking soda in the fridge (and then, eventually, used again when dumped in the garden). Coffee grounds can be used to help clear drains.

Directions are to dump the used coffee grounds down the drain followed with a couple of drops of dish soap (kinds vary, but I bet Dawn is the best choice) and a pot of hot water (weak sink coffee?). Sounds pretty simple, but I might just try it. At least til I can get a hold of the lye solution at the store. At any rate, if there is another sewage flood in the basement, it will smell different!

Advertisements

And again.

qiBoeKndTsad

I am so tired. I’m tired of being in charge. I’m tired of septic systems that flood every god damn month. I’m tired of  not being able to wash myself or use the toilet because it might flood in the laundry room. I’m tired of leaks that seem to not stop. I’m tired of having to do the chores and fixing and managing all by myself because no one else seems to have the time to help me. I’m tired of not sleeping an entire night through. I’m tired of listening to mum be ‘fine’. I’m tired of other people telling me she’s doing really well and that I’m not seeing how great she is doing. I’m tired of making sure she’s doing what she is supposed to. I’m tired of watching her try and fail or try and risk herself. I’m tired of not having good internet. I’m tired of not being able to bake. I’m tired of cutting my own hair. I’m tired of driving all the time. I’m tired of math and finances. I’m tired of giving. I’m tired of hiding my tears. I’m tired of wanting to be hugged for real. I’m tired of being alone. I’m just tired.

I know this is just whining. I know that people are busy and the problems I face each day are not that big of a deal. I realise asking for help doesn’t always mean I’ll get it. I understand keeping mum happy is the absolute most important thing I can do. I fully accept it is my responsibility and my choice. It really isn’t that horrible, I tend to exaggerate and make mountains out of molehills. I do have people who give time to me, sheesh, I just wrote about that the other day! I need to remember and focus on the good things, they do happen. I need to remember I can do the laundry and take showers and use the bathroom after I get the solution for the drains. I need to remember I have lots of clothes with me, even if they are ones I don’t want to wear because it is getting colder. I need to remember it is ok to pee outside. Anything is possible, I just need to adjust my way of thinking. I need to stop bitching about things and put on my big girl panties, whether they are in the laundry or not! I need to pay attention to the things which happen over and over and realise it is better to be confronted with the same problem than a completely new one. I can do this. I have to do this. It is why I am here.

But, gods..I am tired.

Miracles

miracles2

I grew up in several different religions. Was baptized, as a baby, in the Lutheran church and meandered thru the faiths from there. I’m pretty fond of the beliefs I have now, they are not anywhere close to the ones I had when I attended college, but I’m more content with my God than I’ve ever been.

This said, miracles are not fake. I am surrounded by them every single time I step outside my Alaskan home. I am a strong proponent of letting life live, it is a miracle. (And I won’t go into this more here. You can send me a message via my contact button, but don’t expect me to soapbox on my blog. It isn’t necessary!) Mum has been a miracle. Having survived so many kinds of cancers for so long is truly amazing. Her will is strong, I’m certain it is what has kept her alive. Her will is a part of her and helps explain the miracle of her life.

I had hoped today was a miracle. Mum woke at 4 and desired not one, but two pain pills. She woke again at 8 and was chipper and wanting to attend church. I was skeptical, she has been in this same spot every Sunday and nothing happens. I knew I’d not go, I had errands to do in town and I’ve not showered in a few days. (I’ve been too soul tired to shower properly) Sweatshirt and jeans are fine for town wear. Mum, she showered (I stayed upstairs to keep an ear on her), she dressed, put on earrings for the first time in months, and looked very nice. I was pretty sure this was a bad idea, but it was her choice. It would also let people ‘see’ her and realise I’m a fusspot because she is doing absolutely amazing.

She made it thru the service and her glucose read over 300 when she got out to the car. I gave her some insulin and she dove into her chocolate shake I’d gotten her. She was still feeling quite well. We got home, she wandered a bit in the yard, she got the rest of her lunch, and I suggested we should visit the beach later. (The rain had stopped and it was rather nice out!) She agreed and I retired to the basement to take a nap. (I’m between too tired to do much, reading, and napping. It is odd, I had such a stellar day on Thursday and now realise how flat I am after the fact! Thankfully, there are still little joyful bits which pop up briefly in my day or I’d probably be a complete watering pot with tears!)

Eventually, I heard mum in the kitchen. She was making little moaning noises. She took one pain pill. She had gone a little longer than 10 hours with no narcotics because she wasn’t hurting anymore. I can only wonder if she is finally taking a turn for the better…but then, can she beat cancer again? Is it possible to win out over pancreatic cancer after almost 6 years of harboring the cells in her flesh? Is this miracle wishful thinking?

Mailing hugs

I have a very good friend from High School who lives a bazillion miles away. Well, to be fair, I don’t remember her being my friend until I dated her  younger brother and she only lives in CA. At any rate, she is incredibly clever and sent me a box with a few things inside.

I loved getting a box addressed to just me! The box was absolutely COVERED in tape because the original use was for beer. The US postal service will not mail a box with any sorts of phrases or words pertaining to alcohol on the outside. It is a hazardous substance and even if the box has books in it, they still won’t let you mail it. (which is so stupid! Beer boxes are sturdy and of a perfect size!)

20171005_182324 Inside were several fun things. She mailed what she calls a ‘hug’ (in my mum’s church it might be a prayer shawl), a bag, and a stuffed animal. She made these all from recycled items. The ‘hug’ was yarn remnants of all sorts. I love it, mum refuses to make mixed yarn projects and the one I received was totally mixed! It is snuggly and soft.

The bag must have been a onesie at one time, it is long and narrow. The stuffed animal may have been a shape from a blanket. All together, this was an incredibly thoughtful and sweet thing to send another. She hand stitches her bags (I‘ve got another one made of jeans) and they are very well done.

20171005_191326 This is the bottom seam of the bag she made me. The tiny stitches are part of the original outfit or shirt. She lined the bag with another bit of fabric and stitched that down as well. Clever and more clever!

I’m incredibly fortunate to have such a beautiful talented friend! She even told me she has more things to send me! I was rather excited!

I’m a real girl!!!

In the Disney animated version of Pinocchio’s life, you can’t help but smile, when he discovers he’s a real boy. I totally understood that joy on Thursday. It was almost entirely a ME day. Granted, it didn’t quite go as I had planned.  I managed to adapt myself and it all worked out beautifully!

I almost always talk to a friend in the morning. I missed that.  Usually the  wake up communication is the best part of the day, so not having it made me nervous. Mum had a fitting that needed changed about 11. I called Dish after that to see if we could get mum a hockey package (she already had it and wasn’t aware she did!), but it took us almost an hour to troubleshoot another problem. It still isn’t resolved! But, the lady at Dish was more than lovely and I’ll call them back to see what else we can do.

20171005_145155-1

One of my exceptionally good friends came by to see me (she had a meeting near here and thought she’d visit me, too!). Since her meeting was inadvertently cancelled, we opted to leave for lunch. I had errands in town anyway. (Mum gave herself her shot and it worked!!!!!! She gave it before I left. She was also miffed because I had someone to see me and the friend didn’t stay upstairs and talk to her.) My friend and I went out for Thai food. I love most Asian foods and mum doesn’t really care for them. We sat and chatted and it was so lovely to talk to someone who is rooted in my life clear back to 6th grade. (We sabotaged a substitute that year. It was not nice and now my friend is an art teacher and I’ve worked in schools as an assistant numerous times! Karma?) After lunch, I went to the library and they accidentally gave me 4 books! (I had left one at home, mum is still reading it. I had four on reserve and they gave all of them to me!!) I went to a grocery store because I needed a soda and ice cream. (I burnt my tongue on a spring roll!)  At the register, I almost commented on the cashier’s name. I’m so glad I didn’t. It appears she and I were in school together. She was entirely chatty. (I wish I had my HS yearbook to verify just exactly who she is!) My next stop was a bank, there I met more lovely people and another gal I went to school with (She, I remember. We both played flute and she spent the night at my house several times.). I culminated my running late afternoon in town by playing Dobby again. I had a little more than an hour and got quite a bit done, I think. I wanted to take a shower, too, but as mentioned, I was running behind.

I got to the post one minute before closing and picked up a package from a friend. (That deserves its own post, it was funny and fun and such a joy!) Then, I dashed over to get pizza for dinner and came home.

20171005_175620

Mum was upset, so I was glad I got comfort food. She also had a busy afternoon. She tried to make sourdough bread in the bread machine and it was a nice solid thin brick. She decided not to donate her auction items to an auction this weekend (I was so glad. They were supposed to have been turned in a month ago!) and was frustrated cuz the hockey game she wanted to get, she couldn’t. (So, another reason to talk to Dish.) She was annoyed when she was looking thru the mail I had not given her and asked why she hadn’t been given it. They were bills and I told her I was taking care of them. (Which made her grumpy!) She was so irritated with things, she said she should die cuz she can’t do anything she wants to. I told her it was ok and I’d stay with her for the next 10  years. She didn’t like that either. Mum’s sad one of her favorite oncologists is retiring and her taxi accountant is retiring and she then told me she should move to Oregon. (I almost fell over in surprise!) She asked what it would take to do this and I gave some noncommittal answer. I’ll do the research and see if she’s still of the same mind in December. She doesn’t realise it, but she’ll have to live with me. At least it might get The Craftsman working on finishing up some parts of the house and maybe Little Bear will move into his own place. Nothing like changes to encourage change.

So, a definite Sesame Street Sunny Day sort of Day!

Cat Nips-Escape Artist

This post refers back to Garfield’s Hug who said Garfield needed a wash.

“In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange.” Jim Davis

I have more stuffed animals than anyone needs. Most of them are from books or have book names. Hen Wen. the white pig from Prydain; Kaa, from ‘The Jungle Book’; Santa Mouse; and Garfield are just a few. Because of this collection and my distaste for clutter, I keep them conveniently stored out of sight elsewhere. Unfortunately, that other place has mice. Which gnaw and chew and nest in the disemboweled remains of the friends from my youth. (I collect mice figures and stories. I like them outside, I do NOT like them in my house and my belongings!!!)

After finding a mess left after one foray into a box of memories, I cleaned it up, and brought the surviving toys home to wash. Washing stuffed animals used to be something I hated to do. The machines would mat the fur, scuff (or remove!) the eyes, and leave them less than appealing. Having boys, I often washed their toys and bedding. I finally learned to put the stuffed friends of most makes inside pillow cases with the tops sealed shut. They go from washer to dryer to arms with nary a muss! Perfect.

However, in the batch I’m sharing about, there was a small window cling Garfield which needed cleaned. You know, the stuffed animals with those sucker things on them somewhere making them easy to attach to a window? They were great for cars. The Craftsman had this particular one on a window in his souped up Bug and later on the back window of a pick-up. At any rate, they washed and I chucked the ‘bag’ in the dryer and left for a bit. Eventually, I heard thumping noises and realized the tie had come loose. There was an escape!! Thankfully, it was towards the end of the cycle and the little guy’s furry outsides had not been compromised. I wasn’t paying attention and just scooped the warm animals from the bottom of the dryer into a basket. Sitting with my reunited friends, I lovingly put their fur and whiskers to rights and realized one was missing. Where was Garfield??? I went back to the dryer, opened the door, and there he was!

413290_4015008413930_860775927_o

(Yes, I jumped back!)

MMMM-Monday, Mum, Mice, Me.

I had plans for today. I was going to visit the post, play house elf, take mum’s car to the window place, rent one, return home. Alas, Monday ran into my plans.

Mum is still hurting, so I didn’t want to leave til after she was more alert. She did walk to the end of the drive today to get her paper and put out cracked corn for the ducks, but tht was about it. When she got her insulin shot this morning, her skin felt funny. Papery. She’s drinking, but not tons. She’s eating, but not quite as much as usual. I watched her get dressed and noticed her skin is sagging. Like it is all too big. We have a doctor appointment on Wed with the irritating Dr.

Before I left, I needed to make sure I had a credit card. Guess what? It expires in October. Not understanding these things, I call and suggest I need a new card. (it appears it would work til the end of October) But, I don’t need it, mum does. So, they need to talk to mum. Who was dozing in the chair. Then, I get transferred to this automated line with information on how to send them my POA papers. After I scribbled down the information, I realised, I had not tossed the card out thinking it might be a ‘trash’ card. I had put it in a prominent place marked ‘Mum’s New Discover Card.’ I activated it.

But, I needed to take the trash to the garage and recalled I’d set traps yesterday. Rodents are everywhere out there!!! Holes are being chewed in the feed sacks (cracked corn and sunflower seeds) and there are droppings everywhere. Mum has tons of boxes and totes of cloth out there in the garage. Mice are not friendly to cloth. My traps had captured two!!! I was very glad to have caught some and was disgusted by needing to take care of them and kind of sad. (I really do like mice.) I tipped their adorable, furry, board-like bodies into the trash and tried to reset the darn traps. It was like they were one use! I was having a terrible time! One I managed to set, snapped as I gently deposited it on the floor. That didn’t startle me near as much as the mouse who ERUPTED from the cracked corn sack and skittered down the side and away. I finally got them situated. At this typing, the mice are still ahead, but I did get those two!

I went to the post office and discovered a letter from the gal who does mum’s taxes. She is retiring. But, she’s not gotten back to me after I dropped off all the debris (tax stuff) last November. (Mum’s been dubious about chores like taxes over the years) I finally reached her late in the afternoon and have an appointment to see her next week. As I was leaving the post, my phone rang. It was the lady who took us to ANC for mum’s PET scan. She was checking  up on things. Then, she offered to take me to a rental place for a car. We talked for ages and ages. It was nice to talk to a grown person. I always enjoy that!!! As I drove to the auto center, I realised I wanted to see a human being with just me and called to ask her to take me. (I also am starting to carve a furrow, I can FEEL it, in the middle of my forehead! Not a curl. Although, I may resemble that girl in the nursery rhyme!) It was lovely talking to someone without mum around.

remotekey

The car I ended up with is a lovely cute Ford Focus. (the gal who rented it to me, stared intently at each page of my POA paperwork. She’d never seen one quite like that. I was sort of surprised. It is pretty basic.) The car has one of those funky remote things. Which is not as easy to use as a normal key. Even a normal electronic key. The lady started it remotely and I had no idea how to ‘start’ the thing to drive. The Craftsman (who is in his paying life a car tech guy) is out with Bear in the woods hunting. They were supposed to call yesterday, when they were at home for a few hours.  In the text I got today, I was told he forgot. (this is a whole different topic!) Anyway, I almost always refer car questions to him, but this time I had to call the front desk. I think I mortified the young lady. I asked if they had any ordinary cars. There is a touch screen, do dads and what nots galore!! But, the oddest part? The volume for the radio is a knob. Other than the solid brakes, I love driving a little car again!!! (Solid, as in they grab with the slightest tap  and stop fast)

What an absolute crazy day!!!! I have plans for tomorrow, but will see how they end up. Once again, I refer to Doris, ‘Que, Sera, Sera.’

More is really enough.

Being a person who is insulin dependent, I need to inject it fairly often. On Friday, (was it only Friday???) I was at the pharmacy and decided to NOT pick up my new prescription til Monday. Because, I thought it would be ok. Guess what I did today?? Yup. Not only did I need to get mum a new round of pain pills (I miscounted, I thought she’d have enough thru Monday), I absolutely had to get more insulin. When I got back home, I had to call Matt (friendly pharmacist). I was pretty sure the scrip expired this month. But, the label said I had ’40 til October 27′. I wondered if I could get another 4 bottles this month. Even at 80$ for 4, I wouldn’t mind being ahead. Matt explained to me what the ’40’ meant and then, after looking, told me something utterly ridiculous. My prescription runs out on the 27. The insurance company will allow me to get more on the 28th. I’ll just wait til November and call it good.

The craziest part of today, though, surrounded mum.  (Of course.) First, the people came to drop off the dog crate. They had tiny snacks in their pockets and Obi was their shadow til they left. They obviously know the way to this dog’s heart! Then, I went out to look at rearranging the garage. I had hoped to get help, but it looks as if I won’t. (Que, Sera, Sera.) It is daunting. All of the large crates in the photos (the blue ones, gray ones, and some clear ones) and the smaller totes and plastic drawers (as in things that slide and you put things in, not the ones you wear!) all came from my mum’s bedroom. Also the plastic bag. And the bed frame. Mum has a new one in her room. (It is really rather pretty, but now what do we do with the old one???)

There are more boxes behind them and around them. The bike, I got that out, but am not sure I’ll be able to get it back to where it was stashed. The thing intimidates me. I did manage to move a few things. So much more to do! I really want to get mum’s car in the garage this winter. Silly to have a two car garage and a single car and no place to keep it.

While I was organising things, I decided the geranium I wanted to put in the basement was dried out enough to move. (It had been outside in the rain and rain made the large pot really heavy!!) BUT, I thought about putting some fairy decor next to the plant. (Do you see my eyes rolling??? I have the damnedest ideas sometimes.) I had to find the fairy decor inside a sprawling pot of hens and chickens!!! Even mum’s plants are cluttered, sheesh.

20171001_161048

In the photo you can see the teapot. I’m still missing a tea cup. I opted to stop looking when I realised my fingers were in a tunnel!!! (What in the heck tunnels under a succulent in a pot??????) Every thing was so matted with plants and roots, I imagine the tea cup is absorbed. Which is sort of creepy. I brought everything I had in the house and actually chose to not use anything but the fairy, some beach things, and bling. I like it! I do so adore flowers. (yeah, the fairy is not seated square on the rock, but she’s molded wrong for most places she might sit!)

20171001_204420

So, in spite of much ado about everything, today seems to have ended well and I have flowers and books and friends.

Seriously????

I am so glad I have this outlet. I have written my thoughts down in a journal, but knowing someone else is reading what I’m experiencing is so nice. As much as I whine about being alone, my readers are a bulwark of encouragement and make me realise I’m  NOT alone. (I honestly can’t figure out why I have so many readers, but I’m just gonna go with it!) Thank you.

Double facepalm2

 

Mum is getting more querulous and at times irrational. Her reality has always differed from the one I lived. It still does.

She has often not told the truth, but this floored me. Her glucose was at 120 and she wanted an Ensure. She does not like Glucerna at all, Boost, she feels, is nasty, so Strawberry Ensure it is. I gave it to her and left her alone for a bit. I poked my head back in the living room to see her tipping the bottle to Obi’s mouth and he was lapping. “Mom, that isn’t good for him.” (I said this from the kitchen) ‘What isn’t?’ “Giving him that Ensure.” ‘I didn’t give him any of it. It was empty.’ (So, if it was empty, what the F@$# was he lapping???? I didn’t pursue it.)

A few minutes later, this conversation happened. I asked her, “Do you want a Quesada with cheese and meat?” ‘No, I don’t want meat and cheese’ (She is supposed to have proteins more at night to help with lows in the wee hours. Mine go high…but, I digress.) “Just cream cheese, then?” ‘Yes.’ I walked in the kitchen and thought of another choice. “How about an egg with an English muffin?” ‘No, that’s too heavy.’ “So, two (mini blueberry) bagels, toasted with (mixed wild berry) cream cheese?”  ‘Yes.’

Let me help-

IMG_1630 (2)

Jake and her pre-teen daughter after a dance recital. 

I’m so mad at my sister, I don’t know what I would do if I she came to visit. (which she won’t, her family stopped by when Little Bear was here, only to see the kid.) She always wants to help, so she found some people who would take mum’s dog. The man was a super good friend of my dad’s, I don’t know the lady. The couple reside in AZ and visit every summer. My sister, Jake, works at a local pool and they are often there, she talked to them about how mum’s dog needed a new home. They wanted to take him. I mentioned in ATK (Around the Korner) previously, I’d convinced them to leave the dog with mum. (They wanted to take him home with them this fall.) They were willing to do that. However, I was called today because they are going to drop off a flying crate for him. If mum is gone before they return next season, I will be able to ship Obi. (The crate will be stored in mum’s garage. No matter how important stuff is, when there is so much, it takes on the tone of everything else and descends into the litter of stuff)

My heart is mad. I had so hoped to leave him in AK. He’s 10 or so years old and small. I can’t imagine what flying would do to him, not to mention moving to AZ! The kennel where I’m to take him has flown dogs before and feel leaving him here, for the time being, is a good idea. It is all paid for. All I need to do is take them Obi and his records. They’ll do the rest. Mum is a bit stressed, because it appears as if she’ll die this winter. She might, she may not. (Que, Sera, Sera.)

So, why am I mad at my sister? These good friends of my dad’s haven’t been to mum’s in months. I know I saw them last October, before they left. I gave the man something dad had meant to give the man years ago. (many years ago, Dad’s been dead for over 10, they just never managed to stop by to get it.) The lady said they visited mum a few months ago, when I was not home. (It appears they have stopped by twice in the last year.) Obi doesn’t know these people from the guy who surveyed the yard last week for the pipeline upgrade. Yes, they like mini dachshunds and have raised them in the past. Yes, they loved dad and want to do something to help out his wife. But, dadburnit! I’d feel lots better about them adopting a full grown aged dog if they had come out to visit more than a couple of times! (Mum doesn’t remember their visit this summer.) They vet he was boarded with in July was a good fit for him. I even think mum wanted to leave him at the clinic til adoption, but she’s going to do this. Dad’s friends are important, they will like her baby, they’ve put a lot of cash down to take care of him, and they do know dogs. And Jake will be pleased she managed to help get mum’s dog situated.

I may be worn and tired of being here taking care of mum, but I sincerely hope she stays alive thru the winter. Or that if she does go, so does Obi. Which conceivably could happen.

This incredibly frustrating incident was sandwiched between a blood sugar lower than I’ve had in ages and making dinner. I reckon when it rains, it pours. I only wish…but then, if wishes were horses, I’d have learned to ride.