My Turkey

12-2-2019

My poor turkey. I can see why there is the custom of pardoning a bird every year before Thanksgiving. No bird should have to go through what my turkey is still enduring.

It started out early in November when the grocery store started giving points toward a free turkey – one for each dollar spent. I shopped in that store several times instead of going to Walmart and pretty soon I had enough points for my free Jennie-O turkey up to 16 pounds. I searched the bin of frozen turkeys. Most of them were 10 to 12 or over 17 pounds. Only one was big enough for my crowd but not too big to disqualify itself. We went home together.

This was a little over a week before the dinner but I know how long it takes those frozen birds to thaw, so into the refrigerator he (or she, I couldn’t tell) went. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I took him out to examine him. He was frozen in kind of a lopsided position so I was hoping he would look more normal as he limbered up. He still had ice inside so I bathed him in some warm water. I picked off a few pin feathers, found all the parts someone had hidden inside him and prettied him up a bit. The extra parts (well, they weren’t really extra for him – necks and hearts are kind of necessary) I stewed for gravy. I wasn’t ready to cook him yet so put him in a baking bag and back to jail he went.

Thanksgiving morning early, I took him out again. He got seasoned, stuffed with an apple, which he would have liked I think, and put back in the bag on his tummy with some flour and lots of celery and onion. Poor turkey – an existence either way too cold or way too hot. Into the oven he went for probably more time than needed. He came out ready to give up every shred of meat. But we didn’t take it all, so a good bit of him went back into the refrigerator.

Bits and pieces of him appeared on the table for several days – in and out of the cold. Finally, what was left, which was a good sized pile of bones and… stuff, went into the crockpot with some water. By this time the only way to recognize him as a turkey was the smell. His bones were at a slow boil for a day and a half leaving no doubt that he was cooked. But I didn’t have time to separate the broth and meat from the bones, so back in the refrigerator he went – “home sweet home” by now. Everything in the pot is quite brown and savory.

Tomorrow is soup day. He doesn’t know it yet. I plan to tell him that he was appreciated at every step and that I have great respect for his usefulness. He was an excellent turkey (even though slightly misshapen).

You Are Special

To all my readers:

I’ve been to a writing conference this week and it’s made me examine why I write. I have to conclude that it’s not just for myself. I want it to be for you too. I’ve been cheered by the compassion expressed after my latest painful posts (and painful pictures). It’s made me thankful for you. I feel like you are all kind of “my people”.

I feel like I should attempt to tell you why I write here. But first,

The NOT WHYS – I’m not:

trying to make you feel sorry for me

trying to present life as only full of hard things

trying to be sounding hopeless or bitter

trying to compare my life with anyone else’s

Really, I’m not.

THE WHYS

What I want to do is offer the events of my life as an example of the hope that a very average person can have. We all have seasons when life is hard, and seasons when it is not so hard, maybe even joyful and fulfilling and interesting. Life is given to us as a learning experience and I love the ability to share the ordinary things that happen to me with you. I feel a responsibility to be fully aware of what can be learned from the ordinary and to think deeply on what might be of value to you as you read.

I love to show you the beauty of our physical spaces like my northern forests and wetlands. I share with you the fear of doctor’s visits and threats to physical health because we can learn that we are not alone. I tell you about the crazy stuff because I know we all need to laugh at the things we (I) do. I love to tell you about people like yourselves that are precious to me.

For me, my hopeful outlook is bound up in my faith. I believe in a God more loving than can be imagined and I should probably be telling you more often how I feel his love applied to me personally. I believe all of us “ordinaries” are unique and specially loved by God. Whether you believe as I do or not, doesn’t it comfort you, encourage, you to know that another person respects and values you because of their belief? Doesn’t it make you curious how that can be? I want to include that kind of conversation in my stories. I hope that in some way you can feel God’s love applied to you through what I write.

I have more to say about the writing conference but I needed to start with this, tonight. Thank you for being there and for reading.

Writing and Discouragement

I love writing. It’s like talking to people, except I don’t have to find someone who has time to listen to me. Much easier. I enjoy being a blogger.

Last winter and spring, my writing path led me to join a community of writers for encouragement, support, direction, all that good stuff.  I had no clarity about what might be next.  I wasn’t sure being a personal blogger was the endpoint for me. It sounded like hope*writers could help me sort that out. I got pretty excited about moving ahead – enough that I made a commitment to attend a conference. I actually bought the ticket and made a hotel reservation months in advance. Did I do this just to make sure I would go?  Not consciously.

And then life happened. Summer took some unusual turns. For weeks my husband struggled with his diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. The anxieties and fears he battled had us moving from place to place. I didn’t stop blogging, but I did stop listening to the podcasts, doing the writing exercises, connecting with my support group. There wasn’t a lot of time for that and, honestly, I just lost heart. It’s been hard.

As summer faded off, I found I was having a lot of pain in my hands, especially the left thumb joint. Arthritis had been coming at me for a while, but now it was time to stop living with the pain and regain use of my hand. I had surgery a week ago and have at least six weeks of recovery, in a cast, before I can start therapy.

Back to the writing conference, which is now only two weeks away. The deadline for selling my ticket to someone else has passed. I’m now contemplating whether it is even possible for me to get to Charlotte, NC to attend. The expense of travel, my impaired condition, my husband’s need for help, all seem like hurdles, like roadblocks. Will it be worth the effort to make this happen? I don’t know. It’s not like me to throw away an expensive ticket for an event  I was once pretty excited about.

Believe it or not, i can still type with a few of these fingers.

So, my hand is starting to hurt again as I peck away with two fingers on my computer. I’m feeling a little teary, but I know I have to write in order to think things through. That’s what writing does for me, and that’s why I love to write. Does anyone out there understand this?

A to Z: Selling Our House (Letter A)

 

We are wanting to sell our property, our oneacrewoods, the two conjoined houses that we, my parents, my children, and numerous friends and family have lived in for the last 24 years.  It’s seen some very good years of our lives and we have “feelings” for it. It is lovely, it is home, and it’s going on the market. 

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And why would we be leaving this lovely place when the whole world seems to be moving to Florida?

A is for Asking price (as distinct from “getting” price.)

I have just read that most homeowners ask too much for their house when they set out to sell. It’s out of love, of course. We don’t want to do that because we would LOVE a quick sale. We know that the prospective buye may or may not love our house and is certainly not interested in paying as much as possible to live in it. So, we have the matter of determining an asking price. It should be one that is reasonable for the market, taking into consideration the age of the house, the neighborhood and numerous other factors. And it should probably be one that we are willing to lower. I don’t like that selling a house is kind of like bargaining at a flea market.

We had a realtor look at our house. He wanted to help us find a good asking price. The place most realtors start is to look for what they call “comparables” – houses as much like yours as possible in the same area. Since most residential properties are not two full houses on one parcel of land, there really aren’t any comparables in our neighborhood. Our way of thinking is to take the price of one nearby sale and double it, right? I guess that’s not the way it works though. We had a hard time accepting the price this realtor suggested.

After waiting, downcast, for several months, we met another realtor who was a little more encouraging. We have what is becoming more common these days, a multi-generational property. I didn’t realize it, but more and more people are living with a couple generations together in the same house or an attached apartment of some kind. Our houses are much more than a mother-in-law room over the garage, and the acre of yard full of huge live oaks in the quiet, central part of a block is something everyone admires. Everyone who comes to our house wants to live here.

Our realtor is with Better Homes and Gardens Realty. I’m thinking that if BH&G thinks they can sell our house for what we’d like to sell it for, we’re going to let them try. I’ve seen their magazine and they seem to know a lot about houses, just sayin’ …

I am in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you found this by clicking the link in the A list, then you know I made a mistake in my link. Here is the correct one to my site. So sorry!  https://shirleyjdietz.com/2018/04/01/a-to-z-selling-our-house/

A to Z in April

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I’m committing to this blogging challenge because I have finally found a purpose for it. A purpose that will make it easier to survive April. It will be my angst release valve. Let me explain.

The husband and I have been talking about selling our house and moving for, well… ages, but we are now to the point of having a realtor as our new best friend. It’s my new job (in addition to paring down) to make the house go on the market in the next month. I’ve started a new level of preparation in the last few weeks and it’s made me so busy and preoccupied that writing about anything has gone to the bottom of my to-do list. I didn’t see how I could possibly write for the challenge with all that’s going on.

Then I started thinking of all that I’ve learned, all the interesting new people who’ve come along, all the snags and complications. It would be easy to write about this experience, emotionally beneficial and more socially acceptable than sitting in the driveway screaming/crying/pulling out my hair. It took my family all of 15 minutes to think of a topic for every letter of the alphabet. Yes!

The things making up my days are now going to make it into writing in the month of April. If you’ve ever thought of buying or selling a house, you might learn something useful. If you’ve done it before and know all about it, you might like to compare your experience with mine. Either way, follow along. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things Y

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This pelican has nothing to do with the post subject but posts are better with pictures and I’ve always wanted to use this one.

Yes.

I have spent many years being very fond of the word “yes”, except for a brief period around two years old when I was probably practicing “no” more than “yes”. It has been not only a joy to have said yes to many things but it has been the source of adventure that has made life rich. It is hard to go through life without any regrets, but I can’t think of a single “yes” that I would take back if I could. (Perhaps that’s just the blessing of selective memory? Perhaps. ) You know the results of the things you say yes to. The times you answer “no”, you always wonder… what if I had said “yes”.

When I was very young, I said “yes” to God, which was about the only thing I had a choice in. Kids aren’t aware of all the choices they have because they don’t really seem like choices. Should I obey? Should I lie? Should I hide? But the chosen answers do start the formation of character.

As a young adult, I’m glad I said “yes” to the hard work of schooling, to marriage, to employment opportunities, to children.

I’m glad I said “yes” to travel experiences in a faraway part of the world. I’m glad I spent time camping on the Appalachian Trail. I’m glad I said “yes” to riding a horse across Florida.

I’m glad I said “yes” to all the beginning conversations that ended in long time friendships. I could really have missed out there. I’m glad I stretched myself to come alongside some who were in need. I’ve been repaid for those “yeses” as they have given me a sense of purpose and a chance to share burdens with others without going through the hardship myself – vicarious learning.

I’m glad I said “yes” to writing – years of corresponding with friends and family, years of journaling, and years now of this blog. It is my record of life.

To be fair, the word “no” is not bad just because “yes” has been good. “No” finds its rightful place more often now and it feels more like wisdom to say it. I am only content in saying it because of all the times I’ve said “yes”. (No, I don’t want to go waterskiing. I’ve done that and I have no desire to have my arms pulled out of their sockets today. Thanks.)

There is a whole world of “yes” out there, still to be explored, no matter who you are or what your circumstances.  Think about it.

 

What unregretted “yes” pops into your mind as you read this?

Fear

I am afraid of my blog. 

I am afraid it will punish me if I don’t write in it. I haven’t been to it in a couple weeks and I know it’s sitting out there with an attitude, I can feel it. I want to go hide from it. I want to teach it a lesson, that it can’t harass me this way just because I don’t feel like writing. You know, sometimes you actually have to live life in order to have something to write about, duh?

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Hey blog, maybe I forget to take a picture of every little thing I do, maybe I just don’t want to, and of course I can’t post without a picture to go with it, or so you say. When we started this whole thing blog, you never told me that my media file would get full and that it would be nag, nag, nag.  “Make me a premium blog and I’ll give you all the media storage you want! (he, he, smirk)”.  You never told me it was going to take an hour every Tuesday just to delete emails from all the other blogs that actually have people writing in them regularly. Guilt trip, guilt trip. Do you think I have nothing to do but read blogs all day? And just maybe I’m becoming aware that my family is nervous every time I do something with them because it’s going to be a blog post.  I get that look, you know the one.

When we started this relationship, it was a dear diary thing, something my mom could read so she would know I’m still alive, just a record of my mundane life.  I really just want to be reminded of what’s going on from day to day because I’m so old that it’s hard to remember.  What was I doing a month ago, a year ago? But now I have Facebook for that and I don’t even have to ask them.

But you, blog, you have become a weight on my soul. Although I’m all for discipline, I need it for other more important things (like eating my vitamins and taking baths) and can’t see using it all up on you. There are a lot of other things I’m not doing right now but are they hanging around making me feel guilty? No, not usually.  And you aren’t the only game in town either – maybe I’ll write a book. Yeah, a book, a little book with short chapters and you’ll see how important you aren’t!

Okay, maybe I’m just having a bad day week month and I’ll be sorry next week that I “lost it” and wrote about you like this. Maybe, maybe not. I’m just sayin’, you need to quit making me feel bad. That’s all.

The Next Cup

To write about things you like is fun.  To share what others have written about things you like is fun. To hear back from others about what you like is rewarding (and fun).  Probably the most fun of all is when others are stirred to do something, maybe something surprising, that acknowledges they have read what’s been posted.  They take advantage of the opportunity to engage, respond and, well… be nice and have fun.

My recent post on coffee was reblogged from James Radcliffe and in describing the perfect cup of coffee that he had made, he mentioned that he uses a hand grinder to grind the beans.  Tonight, I got a text from the husband telling me that he found a coffee grinder outside our door.  He didn’t know who it was from at first but did notice a card in it a little later.  I LOVE SURPRISES! And I didn’t have a hand coffee grinder.  I can’t wait to have that next cup of coffee with hand ground beans!  Thank you JCB, Cracker Poemer, for reading and following up with a fun surprise that made my day, just sayin’…

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We shall have to write a poem about this…

The Fun of #AtoZChallenge

My post on figs triggered a memory in one reader – a restaurant under a fig tree in Portugal! They actually have to warn patrons about the falling figs, and I would suppose if one falls on you it would be yours to eat. They look delicious as you can see in the tiny picture, bottom right. I Just have to Say

Thank you Joy! You are a delightful, interactive reader. Just sayin’…

As you may have noticed by now, this alphabet challenge is about a lot more than the alphabet, a lot more than practicing our writing, a lot more than seeing if we can post something consistently for a month.  If you will treat it as such, it’s like a month long party with chances to meet and get to know a very eclectic bunch of people. And you can go in your pajamas… How sweet.  I hope everyone is enjoying the interaction. I sure am.

 

 

 

Mind – a four letter word…

I happened upon lindaghill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday with the word “mind” as a prompt. http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2215/  I have not linked to something of this kind before so we’ll see how it goes.

What it brought to MIND was the way people around me seem to be in fear of losing theirs.  One example is the husband, who is always shaking his head over something he’s forgotten he did.  He makes notes at work so he can look back and remember.  He looks at the notes and can’t believe he wrote them.

So I forget things too, and I have to say I forget things more than I used to.  Sometimes I am talking and I know what I intend to say but I can’t think of the word I want to use.  I can try to say the thought in a different way, but I want that one word.  I know I’ve used it many times and it is a friend of mine but it won’t come out.  I used to never remember the word for this awesome flower, hydrangea, and I would mull it over for a couple hours…” what is that word, what is that word, I think it starts with C, no J, no G, no…” and then I fixed the problem by calling it water flower because I can associate water with hydro and  *presto!* it pops into my MIND.

And I have trouble remembering what kind of dog Charlie is.  I can always remember terrier but not the specific kind.  Conquered that too, it’s Wheaten.  And he is the color of wheat so will I forget it? No, it just takes me a couple seconds to remember what to call his color.  He is not a Beige Terrier, or an OffWhite Terrier.  I’m confusing myself.

And so what if I remember to lock the door but leave the key in the lock on the outside.  I don’t know how a person does that but I’m sure it’s because I get distracted with all the things on my MIND.

I have had several clients with Alzheimer’s  and that is indeed something to fear.  Whatever it is that messes with their minds is really an enemy and I have deep compassion for people who lose family members to that disease.  My mom always says that she hopes if she gets it she won’t be upset because she won’t remember being any other way.  I hope if I get Alzheimers I will do it in a happy way, and everyone I am with will be like meeting a new friend every time I see them.  That would be lovely.

Hey we all forget. And we forget more as we age.  But we don’t forget everything and I’m praying about it, thinking that it’s just one more thing under God’s control.  If I’m his servant, then I’m his problem and he can figure out what to do with me.  I don’t MIND.

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Maybe you would like to do a SoCS post? If so, here are the rules and the link to use is in my first paragraph.

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!