Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer's Final Days ...

Picnics in the grass, quinoa salad, good books and green tomatoes. This is what summer is all about. I am working hard at appreciating. Loving each moment. After all you never know when it will be gone.

My hearing remains odd. Not normal. There is a near constant ringing in the left ear. Yet tonight it seems I *might* be hearing better. Might being the key word. It's quite subjective. Or, perhaps, I'm getting used to it. Either way it's a good thing.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oregon Caves National Park

There is just something about national parks. They hold a certain nostalgia, as if permanently steeped in sepia. And I especially love national parks that are quiet. Not teeming full of people. The Oregon Caves National Monument is just such a place.

We took a cave tour, had burgers, shakes and fries in their classic cafe, admired the arts and crafts furniture and took a junior ranger test. All in all a lovely day.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorrow and Joy, Hearing and Sight


We are camping. Okay, well not exactly camping. Rather we are glamping. The five of us are tucked into a tree house in Southern Oregon. Tonight was our first night and we found ourselves down by the main house without a light. In other words instant blindness finding our way back to our tree.

This sudden loss of sense makes one take pause. It makes one appreciate what one had before it was gone. This appreciation is even greater for me as I have recently lost another sense. The hearing in my left ear.

For the past couple of weeks my ear has felt clogged. Allergies I told myself. When conversations became hard I blamed it on the whirring laboratory machines at work, or the loud oxygen cage or the car engine or the crowd of people. I have been saying, "What?" and asking people to repeat themselves all too often. But it wasn't me.

I also blamed the phone. It must clearly must not be working because I CAN'T HEAR OUT OF IT. Then I switched ears. And I heard perfectly. It wasn't the phone.

I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist. I thought he'd find a ball of wax or some other simple solution. Truly I expected to walk out of his office with my hearing fully intact. Instead I left with a diagnosis of acute sensorineural hearing loss and a minimal chance of regaining function (i.e. damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve). Cause unknown.

Now I am on a course of high dose steroids and a prayer -- hoping that my hearing returns (my hearing isn't completely gone -- I'd say it's at 50%. I've lost the low frequency sounds; those which human speech is composed of. If you are dolphin its all good -- I can still hear you).

Next week I get an MRI just to make sure it's not tumor (thankfully typically benign) causing these problems.

So now I'm compiling a list of precious sounds. All those things I want to file should this hearing loss a) be permanent and b) move to the other ear. In no particular order ...
  • My children laughing
  • Crickets
  • The first lawn mower of spring
  • Ocean waves lapping at the shore
  • The coo of mourning doves
  • Chickens cackling
  • U2, The Shins, Bagpipes, James, Norah Jones, Adele ...
  • The crackling of a real wood fire -- full of hisses and pops
  • Jingle bells
I've also always thought of deafness as silence. And for some perhaps it is. Not for me. I have a near constant ringing in my ear. Most prevalent when the world is silent. It's strange. And annoying. And something I suspect I'll have to get used to.

At this point time will tell. Will life go on and I'll adjust. But let me tell you. Appreciate what you have while you've got it. For tomorrow it (whatever it may be) could disappear.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Kitchen

  • Sandwich Bread
  • Orzo, Fennel and Radish Salad
  • Figs with Prosciutto, Mint and Lemony Creme Fraiche (recipe to follow)
  • Bowl covered with vintage dish towel and secured with head band
  • Fresh cut Black-Eyed Susans in the background. Heaven.
Oh, yes. I have returned to the kitchen. Bring it on fall. I am ready.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Figs with Prosciutto, Mint and Lemony Creme Fraiche

  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsbp freshly chopped mint
  • 12 fresh figs
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Slice figs in half and place in serving dish. Top each fig with prosciutto. Mix creme fraiche, nutmeg, lemon, mint, salt and pepper. Drizzle over figs. Decorate with mint sprigs. Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bedtime Lanterns

As summer winds down we merge into new routines. School appropriate routines. This means sleeping in our respective rooms; in our own beds, purchased for our very own selves. This opposed to sleeping where the sandman hits whether that be the living room floor, the couch, mama's reading chair or mama and papa's bed.

These unorthodox sleeping arrangements are permitted in the summer because, quite frankly, upstairs is a sauna. But autumn is nearly here. The nights are cool. And its time. The children are resistant. They like the status quo. But it must be done.

Today, while waiting at the orthodontist, I flipped through Parenting; The Early Years. A project caught my eye. Jar lanterns. And so we pulled out the mod podge and some ribbon. We punched out fall leaves and got to work. At Michaels I found inexpensive no flame candles. Voila! The perfect nightlight to carry upstairs.

Now it seems I have some tucking in to do.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer is Winding Down

Summer is winding down. The mornings are cooler. Water polo has begun. My son is in his second year of polo. They practice morning and night. It brings back poolside memories of swimming and lifeguarding. Tomorrow I might bring my suit and swim laps while the boys practice. The thought is quite appealing.

In the garden we've got lots and lots of green tomatoes. I can't believe I've nurtured these plants from seed. Now my fingers are crossed that they'll turn red. If not we'll have fried green tomatoes out the wazoo.

The beehive sits next to my raised beds. This was all well and good until I got stung -- my first ever bee sting. No major allergic reactions yet. But I need to wait for the next sting to truly determine whether or not allergies will be an issue.

The bees are getting more protective of their area and do not want me watering my tomatoes. Whenever I start messing around the bed the guard bees buzz my head with their aggressive warning. Though the bee sting wasn't too bad I'm not interested in a repeat so soon. Thus I put on my bee suit to water. In the suit the bees leave me alone. It smells of smoke -- I wonder if that's the difference.

Our lavender is done with its bloom. I let the buds dry on the vine in order to give the bees full access to the plants. Now I've begun to harvest and the lavender is hanging in our dining room. I plan to make homemade linen spray (vodka plus lavender buds). Perhaps this spray will make its way into our holiday gifting.

I'm also in a nesting mode. Anxious to clean house, cook and prepare for the school year to come. I plan to make and freeze breakfast sandwiches and whole grain waffles. I'd also like to make another batch of granola and bake some bread. But all of this will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I am tired from the night shift and plan to laze the day away.

As I type I am laying on the couch. Little is snuggled next to me. Phineas and Ferb is on the tv. Our new cockatiel, Leo, paces back and forth on the arm rest while carrying on a serious discussion with my feet. Every once in a while he pauses his conversation to nibble on my socks.

Mr. Peculiar brought this bird home from a garage sale -- free to a good home. We've housed him with our other cockatiel but it seems he prefers human company. I've learned it's best to spend time entertaining him; it's that or listen to him screech.

And speaking of birds - the chickens are laying full force. We have such a variety of eggs, dark and light brown, sweet mint green, large and small. I keep them on the counter and *love* seeing them each and every time I walk into the kitchen.

Now I'm going to enjoy some cantaloupe. After that I'll snuggle in bed with my book, The True Darcy Spirit, and relish today's lazy disposition.

I hope you, too, are having a wonderful day.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Standing By ...

Though summer is not over (and really has barely begun given our weather) I am looking forward to fall. Dreaming of crisp cool mornings, baking, autumn leaves, sweaters and boots.

I also find fall a time to assess and reassess. It has to do with back to school; it's a milestone or marker if you will. In my assessment I am not there yet; not quite the person I hope to be. I'd like to exercise more, eat healthier, keep a cleaner house, practice pipes daily, list daily, create daily ... so much room to improve!

I've also found myself sucked in to Pinterest. Holy moly so much to drool about. Strangely (or perhaps not) these pin boards have had a positive effect on me. Rather than pine for what I do not have I've been motivated to improve what I do have.

As such I've been spending quite a bit of time in the garden -- making new flower beds, tending my tomatoes, picking and drying lavender and generally admiring the bees. And I've been cleaning house. And exercising. Doing things that pull me away from here, from this space.

I expect I'll be back here full swing when fall does arrive. With the kids back in school I'll have more time and the weather will begin to push me indoors. In the meantime I'll continue my sporadic posts here -- noting, marking.

Thanks for standing by!