Wednesday, March 17, 2010


First, I'll briefly apologize for not blogging daily. I was hoping I'd be able to. But, let me tell you, the work in the garden has become so physically taxing and the rest of life so time-consuming that by the time I get ready to blog, it's 11pm and I'm EXHAUSTED. While I COULD give you the quick run-down every night, it would probably read as though I had taken an Ambien or something, so I figure you'll let me off the hook with a post once or twice a week, right?

Friday was hard. I got up and got Ryan to school and then went to my doctor's appointment. He came in, took a look at my incision sites and said, "Looks good. Don't come back." I laughed and said, "Okie dokie, Artichokey. If I ever need to be cut on again for anything, I'll give ya a call."

That part was easy. The hard part was knowing what to do afterward. I HAD planned to stop by the DMV and get my VA driver's license, but OF COURSE, the one morning my hair looks clean and shiny for a picture, the DMV was having computer problems. I went to Goodwill to see if I could find a bookshelf and a desk, but nope, nothin' doing. I THOUGHT about stopping by the Toyota place and buying the Camry Hybrid, but when Sam bought Brutus, it took ALL DAY LONG. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it done before Ryan was supposed to be out of school and I didn't want to risk it. Plus, it was supposed to start raining. What if it rained WHILE I was in there buying the car? Would they have to hold on to my new car for me until my road dried out again?

It was cloudy and drizzle-y and I couldn't figure out what to do. I didn't want to stand out there in the rain and dig. I knew I should go out in the woods and pick up all that truck trash (I told you about that, right? the glass and rubber out in the woods?).

In the end, I wallowed a little. And wallowing scares me. I think I had a leeeetle bit of a breakdown. I have been so focused, so concentrated on what I'm doing since I've been here--moving, setting up, getting Ryan into school, having surgery, healing, starting the Dream Garden--that I didn't have time to think about anything. Certainly not any sadness. But then, with the clouds and the rain and the not being able to work, I think it was like a speedbump. Sam called on the webcam and told me that the insurance claim on Aaron was re-submitted (I haven't talked about it too much on here, but nearly EVERY claim on any procedures I had done in France, including the stent placement/removal AND the delivery/D&C, had been DENIED by Blue Cross/Blue Shield... can you BELIEVE that? It's one of the reasons we are having so much financial nailbiting... because we keep getting more medical bills). I guess that news just reminded me that I was supposed to be sad. It must have reminded Sam, too, because before long, we were both bawling in front of our computers. Sam said that he had been thinking about Aaron a lot lately. That, it was like, WHILE the whole thing was happening, Sam was distant from it and "strong" because he needed to help take care of me and the kids, but that now that things had settled down, Aaron's death had suddenly become REAL. So, though we were both crying, and for the same reason, it was different for each of us.

BUT, after I picked Ryan up from school, he BEGGED me to go out into the garden. PLEASE can we go out there! PLEASE, Mom, PLEEEEEEASE. And, It's not raining anymore, PLEEEEEEASE? So, I did. Went out there and did several more rows while he played in the woods.

I don't want to give you the impression that I cried all day. I didn't. I boo-hooed while I was on the computer with Sam and then was just in a bit of a funk for the rest of the day until I got Ryan. The blahs. That's what I used to call it. When you WANNA do something but you either can't, don't know where to start, or can't be bothered to do the thing you KNOW you SHOULD do, etc. But after getting Ryan, the weather had cleared up a bit. It was still cloudy, but I was sick of waiting for it to rain, so I worked.

Okay, moving on.

So, the weekend rocked.

Two friends of ours, a mommy couple (yes, two mommies, *gasp*) came to visit us on Saturday! I had taken out my whole organic chicken (don't get too excited, it was from Kroger, LOL) to thaw and was excited about cooking my first real guest meal in my kitchen...... Until I realized that my chicken was still as hard as ice and that I had no roasting pan, lol. Ryan and I hopped into the car and drove to the Food Lion. We picked up some salad, some green onions and a roasting pan (and because he assured me that he would like it, some celery... we'll see). I had put the poor bird into the sink filled with cold water hoping that would move things along, but by the time it was time to get the thing in the oven, it was still too frozen to get the bag of giblets out, lol! So, I threw it in a pan, shoved it into the fridge and pulled out my back-up bag of frozen chicken breasts. I oiled the roasting pan, sprinkled in a chopped onion, lay the rock hard breasts (that sounds dirty) down in the pan, drizzled them with olive oil, lemon juice, bacon grease (from the previous night's BLTs which Ryan LOOOVED, btw), sprinkled them with italian herbs and some garlic salt and shoved 'em into the oven.

I chopped and washed and Salad Spinnered (did I tell you I got a brand NEW one and that it's TRANSPARENT??? I had had my other one since 2001 and it had gotten too close to a stove and was all melty and whatnot... I mean, I still love it, but I left it in France... my new one is SEE-THROUGH, LOL!) a head of green leaf lettuce and set it aside while I dustmopped the main areas and gave the bathroom a once over.

The couple has two boys. One who is of the same age and disposition (crazy active) as Ryan. Two peas in a pod, really. And the other who is blind. The Ryan One and Ryan Himself barely needed to be introduced before they were out the door playing T-ball, digging in the dirt and comparing Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars. The Blind One (who is nine) amazed me with his intelligence and ability. I'm not a blind person virgin, but I AM a blind KID virgin. I found myself constantly staring at him because he really did get around so well on his own. And that amazed me. I know, I know, we all KNOW that blind people are handy-capable and whatnot, but to observe a 9 year old blind boy walk around, up and down hills, in and out of the house, unsupervised... Well, it's just freakin' awesome. Okay?

So, we ate our salad with apples, carrots, cheese and vinaigrette (which I had to make with AMERICAN mustard, *gasp* because I do NOT know where the hell my French dijon mustard got off to... we bought some when we first got here and I can't for the life of me find it *shrug*). And then, we had the chicken breasts, brown rice and mixed veggies. It was actually pretty freakin' good. We had ice cream for dessert and basically just sat around talking while the boys ran in and out, tracking red mud everywhere, bringing us "fossils" and getting so caked in dirt that the Ryan One had an orange ring around his hairline when it was all said and done, LOL! I love it!

For dinner, we all loaded up and went to Cici's. I had all three boys with me in the Brute and after a LONG discussion about guns, cops, hunters, and robbers, I suggested we spend the rest of the trip singing along with the radio and that's EXACTLY what we did, thank you Black Eyed Peas.

I felt bad that I sent them all on the road at nearly 9pm. I mean, I was ecstatic for their visit and would have loved for them to stay, but they had a puppy to get back to (who, next time, they will just bring WITH them).

The next day, I played around with the idea of tasting one of the local churches. Ryan has been asking about God (and Mary, btw, thank you FRANCE) a lot lately and I thought maybe it was time for him to see what church is like. But then I saw the STACK of homework Ryan was supposed to work on to catch up on the half a week of school he had missed because of the strep. So, instead, we worked on consonant-vowel-consonant words, the short "i" sound, the "qu" sound (a funny side note is that Ryan has to look at some pictures and write down the sound based on what he thinks the picture is... being bilingual and bi-cultural is very funny at this point... Ryan doesn't have the same VISUAL cultural literacy as other American kids and can't tell the difference in some picturs... Nothing too crazy, but enough to notice that he's not American... makes me raise my eyebrows at standardized tests again... but, I digress) and sight words. The kid AMAZES me. While in France, I was so worried that he was behind. That he had a learning disability. Here, the kid seems like a GENIUS he gets things so quickly. Seriously, the sight word thing blows my mind. He's even getting these four, five and six-letter words after one time through the flash cards. He needs to work on his writing, sure, but the fact that he's just mastering this stuff with such ease makes my heart SING!!!

Okay, so then Monday, I worked. I finished all the groundbreaking in the Dream Garden. At the bottom end, I noticed that the land sorta drops off on one side of the rectangle. So, I decided to make shorter rows down there, knocking off about a quarter of the distance of the other rows. But that's not a bad thing, anyway. I'm going to actually use that area as an entry. I'll put the chain-link gate there, and that will leave room for the gate to open outward. So, there are seven full-length rows and three shorter ones. There's an 18 inch border all around the garden, a nice 3ft square area at the proposed gate side, and 12-18 inch walkways between the rows where I plan to put down cardboard to kill off the sod that's still there.

While I work, Ryan plays in the woods. It's so weird to see how much like me he is. He rides his horse, who he TRULY believes exists (sounds FAMILIAR). He is too busy to help me work because he says he's too busy practicing his sword-fighting and his kung-fu. How am I supposed to argue with that? He runs so for out into the woods that I have to call him back to check in from time to time (cuz HE's the kid you see on the news who "wonders away" and gets lost and spends the night in the woods, *eye roll*... until he learns how to have some woods-worthy reflexes and instincts, he has to check in).

I also went in on Monday and signed up to volunteer at the library the last three days of the week. The Friends of the Library have their booksale and needed help getting the books ready. So, I put myself down for mornings Weds, Thurs, and Fri. That meant I could go get the Camry on Tuesday, have lunch with my neighbor on Wednesday and spend the rest of the weeks' afternoons working on the garden.

WELLLLL, I went to the dealership on Tuesday. Of COURSE I was already determined to buy the Camry, right? But I had been told by Sam that if they DIDN'T give me the 2.9 rate (which is the special deal going on pre-owned, certified cars), I was to thank them for their time and walk out. So, I went in with my game face on. My arms crossed, my voice dudely deep, ready to stand firm.

Then, I drove the car.

I TRIED to contain myself, but dude... *sigh* that car... So, smooth. SO loaded. And SO hybrid!!! So, when we got back to the dealership, I was just PRAYING that I could get the 2.9 or that Sam would wiggle a little.

No wiggle necessary. I got the car. I did all the paperwork, etc. BUT, because I'm not employed and because my income is Sam's income, they said he has to be on the loan. Well, in order for him to be on the loan, he has to sign. Which means I need to have power of attorney. That's the only thing left to do. The car has a sold sign on it, has been detailed, gassed up and is waiting in their upstairs garage for me to come down there with POA, sign Sam's name and bring home my car.

So, the cool thing about this delay is that it gives me time to get the insurance taken care of, get my license, clean out the garage, and MAYBE get a little bit of work done on the road (again, Old School style).

After I got home and got Ryan, I went out to the garden and worked on one of the spaded row with my long-handled three-pronged fork cultivator, getting the clods of sod out of the beds. I'd dig them out and pile them on a walkway and Ryan would pick them up and put them in the wheel barrel. When he got sick of it, I just let them pile up and then carried them to Big Red with my potato fork. But it took two hours for me to finish ONE ROW. *eyes bulge* By the time I went to bed, I was EXHAUSTED. I TRIED to make my way through the latest episode of Lost, but only got half way through before I conked out.

Yesterday, St. Patty's Day, I dropped Ryan off at school decked out in green, drove into town and got a hand held cultivator and scurried back to the library.

That was interesting. To say the least. I showed up and asked what I needed to do and the boss lady said, "Jump in." Uhhhhhhh. Okay. So, I just did what everyone else was doing. It wasn't very organized at first, but within half an hour, all the work was done.

Funny stuff happened, though, that told me I had better keep my trap shut if I wanna make friends. For one, one of the ladies picked up a Michael Moore book and said, "Who'd even BUY this." Ahem.... I just smiled and kept working. Later: "Oh, an Anita Bryant book! That poor woman. Took a stand against the homosexuals and it ruined her life. They just SLAMMED that poor woman." It was all I could do not to snicker. It's true. That's probably what happened. But I wasn't crying for "poor old Anita Bryant" myself.

I got to talking with someone about being from France and I don't know HOW this always freakin' happens to me, but the conversation turned to religion. *sigh* And then, I got the inevitable question... "Are you born again?" I said that that depended on their definition. And they said, "Have you received the Holy Spirit?" etc. I said, "Yeah. Several times."


It's true. Okay, I'm a Jesus-lover. I'm a liberal Christian with moderate to conservative philosophies on finances. But it's true, I "accepted Christ" at age nine, had a rough adolescence, found religion again, fell off the wagon again, found it again, etc. So, I wasn't kidding. I'm not going to say that I was "born again" one time and then spent the rest of my life being godly. In fact, had the conversation gone much further, she would have seen that I'm NOT her definition of godly OR Christian. I told her that I was pretty much Quaker. THANKFULLY, the boss lady interrupted the conversation. Still, from just that short exchange, I was reminded that I might not be making many church friends nearby. I might have to go into Lynchburg to find a church where I feel I have fellows. Still, I'd like to meet people in the community and church might be the fastest way.

I did, however, get to talk to the branch director (or maybe she's even higher up than that). She was SUPER cool. I told her that I'm a Librarian but staying home to take care of my kids, but available for volunteer work or seasonal day-time work or part-time employment. She also mentioned that she'd be doing a daytime gardening workshop in April. I'm SO there!

After finishing the volunteering (because we finished everything we were supposed to do for the week... that means my mornings will be spent in the Dream Garden), I stopped by a local thrift store that I've been wanting to visit. I bought a small shelf and a small desk and four basket-purses (I have a basket fixation, cut me some slack, LOL) all for under $20!

Lunch with the neighbor was so cool. We went to the local Italian place where they have a salad/pizza/breadstick buffet at lunch for $5.50. It's a tiny ma and pa place and the food was pretty darn good. That makes me happy!!! The conversation was fun. She and her husband are farmers just down the road. They have horses, cows, miniature donkeys and laying hens. I can't WAIT until I can take Ryan over there to see the animals! If we can get a sunny weekend where I'm NOT slaving away in the garden.

Afterwards, I picked Ryan up and we went back out to the Dream Garden to do another row. Again, took forever, but it looks SOOO freakin' good when it's done. Since I don't have to volunteer today, I'm going to get out there right after I drop Ryan off and I'm going to try to get three or for more rows done *crosses fingers* And MAYBE I can get the cardbord pinned down on the walkways.

I have been too tired every evening to take pictures (plus, I'm working until DUSK, yo), so I don't have any good pix of the newly de-sodded beds, BUT, I'll see what I can take today.

Thanks for reading me and for your patience. I have to hurry now and take Ryan to school. Have a great day!!!

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