Wednesday, September 30, 2020



   PTSD is a strange thing.  You think you are doing so well and have things under control when something triggers you again.  You may not even realize how bad it is until the depression and anxiety take over once more.  This is what happened to me and I slowly withdrew from the world for a bit. 

   At first I did not realize what was happening but I found myself sleeping a lot more than normal.  I was "hiding" out in my bedroom for hours on end during the day or evening.  I was irritable and easily overwhelmed.  I had a deep sadness just under the surface that I could not figure out.  On the outside, I projected a happy attitude and smiled and laughed, but that sadness was still there and I just tried to ignore it hoping it would just go away since I had no idea what had caused it...or at least I tried to convince myself of that.  I tried to just pass it off as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

   Today I finally faced up to what really was going on...PTSD had reared it's ugly head again.  I had tried to stuff my feelings down and not have to deal with all those emotions and painful memories that had been triggered by a recent court case that involved a friend, someone that I loved and trusted.  This person  knew about my past and that I had been molested as a child by someone known to my family and that it went on for years.  This person was someone that I stood behind when he was accused of this same awful crime himself because I could never imagine him doing such a thing...then he plead guilty and admitted that he did it and that he was "sick".

   Some of the details were published about what he did and I'm sure that many were left out since it went on for years.  We also found out it not the first time he had been accused of such a horrible thing.  He lied about that and was not charged because there was not enough evidence to support taking the case to court in that instance.  He lied to my husband and I about why his first wife left him and had us feeling sorry for we know the truth.  He lied to his now wife, who is a dear friend, about this case too and he also lied to us.  

   I have been trying to be as supportive as I can of his brokenhearted wife who has had her whole world turned upside down.  My heart is also breaking for his victims and I am so proud of their bravery for speaking up and thankful that they were believed and their pain and truth not brushed aside so that they would continue to be abused and suffer the physical and mental toll that this takes on someone.

   While doing all this, I forgot to, or maybe I even made the unconscious decision, not to deal with my own feelings of betrayal and the ugliness of what happened to me as a child that came creeping back in to my mind.  I have been in therapy in the past to help me with this, but I refused to go "deep" because I was not ready to go there yet.  I don't know if I ever will be.  Instead I try to help others deal with those same feelings and make sure that they know it is not their fault...that they were victims because I know all too well that feeling of thinking that somehow it is our fault for the abuse, and it is not.  

   I am now facing this thing in small increments, as my mind will allow.  It is like having all these doors that were shut tight where the bad memories have been locked away for years, and now slowly and carefully opening them, being careful not to let things "spill out" uncontrollably.  I have to "tools" now to be able to deal with these things, but only in small amounts, and then the doors must be shut again while I process and recover before slowly opening the door again and facing even more.

   I'm doing small things, that bring me great joy and comfort, to help distract me from all that is going.  It gives my mind a much needed break and helps me to feel safe.  That is why I shared the picture of the jar full of dried orange slices at the top of this post.  The simple act of creating these small slices of beauty help calm me.  Not only are they pretty, but they smell amazing too.  I am working on something that I will be sharing in a future post where I use these in a creative way that is also helps to make my home that cozy, calming and yes, even funny and silly, place to be that I so need.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Ick, ICK, Ick


   Ok, anybody else feel like some kind of owl that has been blown off course into some thick smoky haze and lost it's  way while living in some freaky parallel universe?  No, just me?  My goodness, between the whole Covid-19 cases going up and up here thanks to partying college students at WSU and now smoke filled skies from all the wildfires that make my throat hurt, gives me headaches and has me coughing (yes, from the smoke, not the virus), I have been locked in my home for days on end.  If I go outside at all, it is for a quick dash to go to the garage to pull something out of the freezer or tonight, going outside in my bathrobe to pick the ripe cherry tomatoes (took me all of 2 minutes to do so and I am paying for it now).  I was desperate to get outside and that was my excuse to do so. 😜 In retrospect, it probably was not the best idea I have ever had.

   I have lost track of what day it is and even time has been flipped upside down for me.  I am now up all night long and don't even get to sleep until around 6 a.m. (when Jeff usually gets home from work).  I had worked so hard to get myself back to going to sleep by 3 a.m., but that has all been blow right out the door with all this.  My fibromyalgia is flaring big time so I also find myself in bed for most of the afternoon and evening.  I need to stretch out on the bed a lot.  When Jeff is home on the weekends and we try to go to sleep at a normal time at night I find myself retreating to the guest bedroom to sleep in there for the first part of the night because any time he moves or turns in his sleep sends pains shooting through my ribcage.  I eventually find my way back to our bed in the morning and it is not long until he gets up and I sleep for the next 4-6 hours.  At least I am able to sleep for longer stretches of time once I actually fall asleep.  For while there I could not even do that.  Yep, my sleep is all screwed up again.  Oh how I hate fibro affects sleep and the pain that comes with it.

   My mind has turned to mush and I cannot concentrate on anything for long.  I find myself literally getting up and down out of my chair or bed constantly.  Jeff keeps asking me if I want to watch a movie, but I can't concentrate long enough to do so.  YouTube is my friend because I stop the videos when I want to even if they are just a few minutes long. I have a big stack of books that I want to read...nope, can't read more than a page at a time before I have to put it aside.  Genealogy projects have been put on hold for this very reason event though I really really want to get them done and find them interesting.  It is just too much information for my foggy and discombobulated brain to sort through at the moment.

   Jeff can see the toll this is taking on me.  Yesterday he suggested that as soon as some of the smoke lifts that we go do some shopping and pick up some more fresh produce and dairy products.  He knows that at this point, even a ride in the car would be helpful but the smoke is just too thick and takes too big a toll on me.  I feel bad for him because he has to work in this stuff and has been putting in long days since the other driver he delivers to and splits the route with down in Walla Walla's truck is in the shop.  They are having to run the route together making it longer for both of them.  Yesterday was a 10 1/2 hour day for him. 😟  He is also trying to pick all the blackberries for me at home (which are loaded) and still trying to get the hot tub fixed so we can use it once the air clears out.  While he worries about me, I worry about him.  

   At this point there is nothing either he, nor I, can do to change any of the circumstances that we find ourselves in.  All we can do is out best to try and get through this together.  I am just so grateful that we do have each other or I would be completely lost.







Saturday, September 12, 2020

This is what we woke up to...Smoke filled air.  It got progressively worse throughout the day.



      This is what we woke up to this morning and it just got worse as the day went on.  Our air particulate count was beyond the hazard range from the smoke coming in from all the wildfires in Oregon and right here in Washington State.  There are still fires burning within about 30 miles from us and firefighters from other states are coming in to help put them out.  California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho seem to all be on fire right now.  I have never in my life seen it this bad.  

   Our Chris has been out fighting some of the fires on his days off from his regular police job.  He is the fire chief for his small all volunteer community fire department.  Most of the small towns around here have all volunteer fire departments and EMTs.  Chris does that too and Heather is also back to being an EMT.  

   Sadly, we have had 2 entire towns near us burn up.  The city of Malden, WA made the national news and the town next to it, Pine City, also burned.  That fire is now threatening several other towns where we have friends living.  So many people lost everything there, as did so many all across the West Coast Region.   Tragically, people have not only lost their homes and businesses, but some have also lost their pets and their own lives.  My heart aches for all of them.

   We are being told to stay inside our homes due to the thick and acrid smoke.  I made the mistake of going out twice today to the garage to pull some things out of the freezer.  I was out there for about a minute each time and am now paying royally for it.  I got the worst headache and my throat and sinuses are now a mess.  It also threw me into a Fibro flare.  I had no idea that smoke would send me into a flare, but now I know it does.  I ended up in bed for a good 3 hours after that.

   Our grandkids were supposed to come over with the older two spending Saturday night.  The plan was for us, along with Jaysn, Rachel, Steven and my cousin Jeremy to have lunch together on Sunday.  We were then going to go up and pick apples at the orchard just over the hill from us.  That is not happening now.  Chris and Heather were supposed to go hiking up a mountain Sunday in Northern Idaho.  That is not happening either with the smoke reaching it's insidious fingers everywhere and choking any living thing that dares to venture out.

   I had planned on doing a Frugal Friday Wrap Up post, but I got so busy this week following all the fires around us, trying to get everything I could harvested from the gardens, keeping things watered and getting ready for this influx of smoke.    I was able to harvest some plums from our neighbor's tree that hangs over into our yard, get most of the tomatoes in and pick all the ripe blackberries.  Now I wait until the smoke clears out to harvest anything more.  I can't do much cooking either because we are being advised not to fry anything, vacuum, etc. to try to keep the air quality in the house as good as we possibly can.  I can't dehydrate anything either because it will heat up the house, which we have to keep sealed up and I can't do it in the garage either, because it will smell like smoke.

   We  are using our toaster oven instead of our big oven, to bake things.  Luckily I had a homemade frozen lasagna in the freezer that will fit in there.  The microwave is also in use quite a bit.  We don't dare heat the house up since we have no way of cooling it down quickly since we cannot open windows or use the swamp cooler.

   I feel like we are living in the Twilight Zone here.  Covid-19 cases exploding, hospitals putting restrictions back in place for visitors, fires burning around us, and now smoke filled skies.  Jeff came home from working Friday night and told me how eerie it is at night driving with so much smoke in the air.  He had to wear his mask the entire time, even in the truck, so he could breathe. Our world is now literally within the walls of our home.  No more going outside until the smoke starts to clear out or until Jeff has to return to work on Monday night.  It is not worth the risk to our health or to our fur babies health either.




Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Preserving the Harvest and Homemade Gifts

    I am loving learning how to preserve more of our herbs, berries, tomatoes and making homemade vanilla this year.  Since I am limited on energy, I have not done any canning per say, but I am managing to get lots of things preserved for future eating.  It is no secret that our entire family loves to eat and to try new things so this is the year that I am getting creative in both my preserving and in my gift giving.

   In a previous post, I shared how I was making homemade vanilla with the beans from my sister's garden in Tahiti.  I have a HUGE glass jar going and it smells amazing.  I want to get another large jar going to that I can give some away as gifts this Christmas.  I think I will order small bottles from to fill the precious liquid up with.

   Berries this year have been made into liquors, sauces and some just frozen plain to use in other recipes.  I love being able to make fresh berry muffins during the colder months and share with others.  It is in those drab gray days of winter that we all need a taste of fresh food and berries, so this is one of my favorite things to do.  I also love a good cocktail and the liquors make it all that much more special. I almost forgot, I dehydrated a bunch of sliced strawberries that can be added to muffin batter, cereals and oatmeal.  Won't that taste amazing in the depth of the winter months?

   Tomatoes...oh those lovely bites of sunshine!   I freeze some of them whole (they are great thrown into a pasta sauce), dehydrate some and make tomato powder that I add to soups, stews and casseroles, and am going to try preserving some in oil this year.  It just sounds so amazing!

  Herbs...glorious herbs!  In the past I have just dried them and used them that way.  This year I am branching off into making herb salts and compound butters. I made the Tuscan herb salt that I shared the link to in a previous post and also tried my hand at making compound lemon thyme herb butter. I'm thinking fish and chicken would be delicious with this on it. I think I will try my hand at making garlic and parsley herb butter too.  That would be so good on steak or to make garlic bread with.  I have everything on hand in my pantry, garden and freezer to make all of this already and quite frankly, I need a project to do to keep me from going insane with all the Covid-19 spikes in cases around here.

   Any of these things would make lovely gifts.  For our Chris and Heather, who love to BBQ and have birthdays close together, I gave them the gift of compound lemon thyme butter and some of the Tuscan herb salts.  They can be used now or use it to season  meals later.  Our entire family LOVES to get gifts of food, so I thought this would be perfect for them.  I do want to make more of the salts too for future gift giving and still have lots on hand for us to use.  

   I would love to hear any ideas you all have on how you preserve the harvest this time of year and may even use some of those things for gift giving.  Be blessed and enjoy these last days of Summer.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 9/4/2020

This is what I woke up to this morning :

123 New Cases Of Coronavirus Confirmed In Whitman County So Far This Weekend-No Deaths-No Current Hospitalizations

123 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed so far this holiday weekend in Whitman County.

Whitman County Public Health reports that all of the patients are stable and self-isolating.  All of them are in the age brackets under 39 years old.

Sunday’s 67 cases are a record for most reported in one day by Whitman County Public Health.

There have been 688 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Whitman County over the past 2 weeks.  Nearly all of those patients are in the age brackets under 39 years old.

There has been a total of 830 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Whitman County since the pandemic began.  No one has died from coronavirus in Whitman County.  There are currently no hospitalizations involving a coronavirus patient in Whitman County.

   Yep, things are getting scarier and scarier around here.  Jeff and I have been doing all we can to be as prepared as possible since the numbers just keep going up.  I meant to get this post up yesterday but, with the numbers rising, we decided to go shopping early in the morning on Saturday as soon as Jeff got home from work.  I stayed up waiting for him so we were able to be in the store by 5 a.m. when they were throwing freight and there were only 2 other shoppers in there, one of which we knew.  We figured that after this holiday weekend the numbers would get even worse (according to my friend who is a contact tracer it should explode) and we wanted to get what we needed before that happened with as little risk to us as possible.  Having done that, yesterday was a complete bust on getting anything else done since we slept after we got home and it threw both of us off so we decided to just take the day off from everything else.  So here is my late (as usual) Frugal Friday post...

~I harvested apples, blackberries, tomatoes and some fresh thyme and sage.
~The fresh thyme and sage were dried to use later.
~Jeff took down the fencing from around the blackberry bushes to make harvesting easier now since Caesar is no longer here and able to steal them all right off the bush.
~I made lemon chicken pasta and added fresh thyme, squash, cut up cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers and garlic to it.  Very yummy and it only used one large chicken breast cut up into bite sized pieces.  We even had leftovers for another meal.
~Roses were cut from our rosebushes to make a pretty bouquet for in the house.

~Leftovers for lunch.
~Ordered a new hose for Jeff's CPAP machine online.  It was cheaper even with shipping than buying it locally.
~Jeff added to the compost pile with the grass clipping from mowing and the apples that fell off the apple tree.
~Jeff took a 5 gallon bucket and drilled a few holes in the bottom of it.  He then put it at the base of each of the new fruits tree and filled it with water.  I learned that trees really like this because the water goes deeper down than if you just spray some water on it.
~I had one thawed chicken breast in the refrigerator and turned it into some delicious orange chicken to be served over rice.  I also threw some red pepper strips in there for added color and nutrition.
~Jeff made a batch of brownies.

~Jeff had leftover pancakes for breakfast.
~We had the engine light come on in my car so we got that checked out for free.
~Jeff and I had leftovers for dinner.
~I had a bagel with cream cheese and some pears slices for a late night snack.
~I watched a video about how to make homemade herb salts and another on how to preserve cherry tomatoes in olive oil...I want to try to do both.
~Watered in the evening again.

~I made some homemade hummus...I like it way better than store bought.  Another experiment that turned out great!
~I made 22 homemade burritos and froze most of them for future meals.
~Using up some yellow squash to make a squash casserole.  One of my favorites.
~Two more loaves of bread were made.
~Tomatoes and blackberries were harvested.
~I took a short walk, a very short walk.

~I made some homemade herb salt with herbs from our garden.  It should be delicious on all kinds of meats and even in pasta dishes this Fall and Winter.  I got the idea from The Elliott Homestead blog.
~I used the lemon that I got the lemon rind from for the salts to make lemonade with.  I also cut the juiced rind and put that down the garbage disposal to clean and deodorize it.
~Jeff ordered the part for our hot tub to fix it and is having it sent up for free with the company he works for.
~Our order came in from Walmart in a huge box.  We are keeping the box for Steven to make a fort with.

~Jeff's birthday!!!  All he wanted from me was his favorite meal.  I made teriyaki meatloaf, roasted garlic potatoes and diced up some fresh pears to go with it.
~I found the perfect birthday card for Jeff in my greeting card stash.
~Jeff's work gave him a very nice birthday card and goodie bag.  They really are sweet!
~Jeff made out very well gift wise.  He already was given Chris's old truck for his birthday and Jaysn and Rachel gave us that money that I mentioned in another post.  Josh then gifted his father with a really nice gun and ammo. Yes, those kids love and adore their Dad...we are so blessed!

~I whittled down my grocery stock up on what ingredients I could substitute in recipes based on what I had on hand.
~I figured out a way to make our favorite broccoli cheese Rice a Roni with plain rice and some bulk broccoli cheese soup mix that I bought on clearance awhile back.
~More cherry tomatoes were harvested.
~Jeff worked on fixing the leak in the hot tub.
~Uncle Bob came over and gave us some tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden.
~I took one of the very ripe tomatoes that Uncle Bob gave us and made tomato cream gravy to go over toast for my dinner.

I hope that everyone has a safe and covid free weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

I Realized I Need a Major Attitude Adjustment

Picture of the field fire when it had first started a few days ago.  It quickly spread and moved fast due to high winds.  Taken from up at our town graveyard.  Chris and other firefighters from all over our area were able to get it out despite the high winds and save a friend's home.

   Yesterday everything came to a head and I realized that something had to change.  Between my anxiety and yes, downright anger, at all that was going on in the world around me, I found myself becoming the worst part of me.  I was quickly becoming someone that I did not like, appreciate or even want to be around for any length of time.  I felt like I could either break into tears at any moment or snap at my husband who definitely did not deserve it.  It is not his fault that the world and our country is going down a very scary and dark path and it is not mine either.  Neither of us can control the wickedness of others who think it is perfectly fine and justified to hunt down and kill innocent people, burn and loot communities, and hold up rapists and people who commit horrible and violent crimes as "heros" while vilifying, shooting and otherwise attacking and trying to seal officers into a building with quick drying cement and burn them alive.  We also have no control over the selfishness of the college students who have returned to our area, and who's classes are all online, that are partying like crazy people, sharing covid-19 with each other and causing our infection rates to skyrocket.  Due to their behavior, businesses are having to go back to further restrictions once more and all the hard work that most of us have done for months and some businesses are having to shut their doors for good.  Yes, it makes me very angry, frustrated, sad, and depressed.  I had to come to a place where I realized that there is NOTHING that I can do to change any of this and all I can do is try to make my home as safe and calm as possible.  This is my haven and I have to create and see it as thus and not feel "trapped" here by forces outside of my control.

   I turned on YouTube and visited with some of my favorite vloggers to get inspiration and to help calm my troubled spirit and mind.  I find so many amazing people who are creating just what I long to...a peaceful and productive home.  I first visited The Elliott Homestaed. They actually live about 3 hours west of me and have created an amazing home life filled with gardens, farm animals, beautiful children, love, laughter, good food and have stripped their physical home back to the bones and returned it to a beautiful farmhouse once more after decades of remodeling which left if looking more cookie cutterish.  She inspired me to try making homemade herb salts and roasted cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil this week.  I have everything I need here and was looking for ways to preserve our cherry tomatoes and herbs beyond just drying or freezing them.

   My next stops were to Girl in Calico and Fairland Cottage.  Both of these women focus on living a slower paced life and really taking in and appreciating every moment whether it be taking walks and gathering things from nature to decorate their home with, baking, working in their garden and preserving that harvest, or taking care of themselves by sitting down to a freshly brewed cup of tea and lighting a few candles and just "being still" for a while to rest and revive their souls.  Their videography is amazing and I find myself coming away from a "visit" with them much calmer and appreciative of all that I also have been blessed with and many ideas on how to implement some of the things they do to create their world that I can also do in mine.

   All of them inspired me to get out my beautiful planner that Heather got me for my birthday and start writing down recipes that I want to try, projects that I want to take on and also building in time for rest and relaxation.  I also made it a point to tell myself that due to my own limitations with age, health issues and such, that whatever I did not accomplish one day could wait until them next for the most part and not to let my lists and plans be so rigid that they could not be changed.  Life happens and I need to be able to roll with it and not be thrown by it if that makes any sense at all.

   This morning I got up way earlier than usual after very little sleep.  Midgy was sprinting up and down the halls and yowling at the top of her lungs.  She wanted attention and to be let out onto the screened in porch.  Instead of continuing to scold her in vain and hoping that she would finally calm down, I got up and let both cats out.  I made the decision to just stay up and start my day in hopes that I would be able to fall asleep earlier tonight.  Coffee was started and so was the first load of laundry.  I washed off the back porch table and chairs that were covered with dust and soot due to harvest and a big field fire we had a few hills over from us.  Once the coffee was done, I was able to sit down and enjoy the peacefulness and cool of the morning before the noise and heat of the day come on and start to take their toll on me.  I don't deal with either very well sadly.  I purposly did not look at my news feed on the computer, check in with facebook or anything like that.  I can do that later, but for now, I am going to finish my coffee while the second load of laundry is now in the washer and the first load is in the dryer and then get dressed for the day and head out into the gardens to do some harvesting before I start on my baking and some wonderful culinary projects.