March 14, 2019

Dreaming of Warmer Weather

I've been updating the coding on some of my old websites, and MAN ALIVE, you stop computering for a year or two and suddenly you're illiterate. I also forgot how much hurry up and wait is involved in the back-end of things. It's like the internet has other things to do besides immediately index my changes. RUDE.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get our summer plans coordinated, but it's not going too well because I don't have all the necessary calendars. I need people to be on the ball with calendars and schedules! So far, the only person registered for school next year is Taylor, because we weren't waiting on a boundary variance for her. And we applied for a boundary variance for Thaddeus (you know, because we LIVE CLOSER to that high school) and it was denied. And we were going to appeal the decision, but the other day, we got a letter saying that he actually WOULD be able to attend the requested school. I guess they had extra openings for sophomores. HOWEVER, this now means that Thaddeus will go to one high school, and the other kids, well.... maybe not. Whatever happened to just going to the school you live by? WHEN DID THIS BECOME A PROBLEM FOLKS? 

Meanwhile #2: it's snowing again. Has been for the last 2 days. Not a lot, and it's not sticking, but I would really like my yard to start greening up and flowering again. I LOVE my backyard. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Have I ever shown you pictures? Hang on a sec....

Okay, these are some of the flowers in my front yard. I have just now realized that I need to take photos when everything is in bloom all at once. I have a lot of perennials, which I LOVE because no maintenance.
For the most part, I grow pretty things in the front yard, and I grow FOOD in the back garden,  with some flowers here and there to discourage certain naughty bugs, and encourage bees and butterflies.

I have three huge dogwood bushes that I like to cut them into shapes.
I actually want to take those big old shrubs OUT, and replace them with blueberry bushes for two reasons: 1. Blueberries are delicious and pretty, and  2. I'm allergic to dogwood. I had to get rid of a few other perennials due to allergies, and the 3 big dogwood bushes are pretty much my last allergy problem to eliminate.

I have two big rhubarb plants. If you are looking for a gorgeous plant, I vote rhubarb. It's just a bonus that you can eat the stems. Rhubarb is a perennial, so it comes back on it's own, year after year. It's hardy, and both heat and cold tolerant. It's HUGE, so it is definitely a statement plant, and you can eat it too! I also really love that it's SOUR when eaten raw... like, SUPER sour, and that's my favorite! But when cooked or combined with other fruits, it can bulk up the recipe without altering the intended flavor profile. AND it's a cut and come again type of plant. It's one of the earliest producers, and on the first harvest, I got eighteen pounds of stalks. And I easily get at least three harvests like that. RHUBARB FOR LIFE.


Here are some of my strawberries: 


And here's two more pictures of my early harvest. 
Oh friends, I just love playing in the dirt! But I guess while I'm waiting for the ground to thaw I can be productive in the house. 

March 10, 2019

Winning

Last night there was quite a hullabaloo over what to do for dinner.

You see, there is a LOT of food in this house. Quite a lot. We have plenty of things to eat, and plenty of meals and treats that could be made as well. We do, however, seem to be quite lacking in the easy, grab off the shelf food. (This is because I believe FOOD doesn't come in a package. PRODUCT comes in a package. I have a whole soap box I like to get out, brush off, and preach from every now and then when my kids complain about snacks.) ANYWAYS.

I told my family that we have plenty of food, and I don't want to go to the grocery store, and I think it's silly to even go to the store when we have plenty of things to eat at home already. (Seriously. An example: There was a fantastic sale on boneless/skinless chicken breast a while back, and I bought 40 POUNDS. It was a killer deal.) Plus we have all the delicious food from our garden that is canned or frozen and my goodness gracious, I REFUSE TO GO TO THE STORE. So we are having our very own pantry challenge, and it's going to be great. Tonight's dinner is honey-garlic roasted root veggies, with honey-garlic grilled chicken. I do like to have green food with every meal, so I might open up some green beans, but then again, I might not. I HAVEN'T DECIDED. I feel like root vegetables are super filling, so we don't necessarily need another vegetable, but I also have GIGANTIC TEENAGE CHILDREN who eat so very much food. Maybe I'll add a bread, hmmmm. But do you see? There just is no reason for me to buy more food. I WILL check the ads and see if anything is on super sale, but I'm not just going to go because I'm in the habit of a weekly shopping trip.

Speaking of food, my seedlings look awesome! Most everything has popped up, though I'm still waiting on the husk cherries. Confession: I can't remember for sure that I actually put seeds in the grow box, so I added more seeds yesterday, because I think that maybe the reason they're not growing yet is because I maybe forgot to plant them. Hooray for cognitive brain dysfunction! It is seriously getting bad though, guys. And also today at church, when they were passing the roll around, I couldn't even turn the page. It took a ridiculous amount of time for me to get that dang paper to unstick to the one behind it, and I almost gave up. BUT THEN I DIDN'T and I ended up turning the page all by myself so I win at life.

March 8, 2019

No Spring For You!

I had my thirteenth Tysabi infusion on Tuesday. I've now been on the treatment long enough for my body to crave it. The 3-4 days leading up to the infusion are TERRIBLE. I hurt. So much. And the immediate improvement is equal parts sad and miraculous. I could barely drive to the hospital due to super intense pain along the length of my spine, and within 10 minutes of the medicine hitting my bloodstream, my pain was gone; of course, the pain returns almost as quickly after IV removal, but the shooting, stabbing pains that wrack my body calm to a dull ache, that I have learned to live with.

I also found out I get to do super fun Neuropsychological testing! Yay me! It all came about because when I was looking up my student loan information so that we could file our taxes, there was this little link to Total and Permanent Disability... And I totally 100% qualify, which means that my student loans would magically be forgiven. But. If I go down that route, I need to be 100% certain that I will not return to work... EVER. And this is sort-of a big decision, because on the one hand, no student loans, but on the other hand, never work, ever again? Not even to be a substitute teacher once a week? I'm only 36! Am I ready to totally retire?

I JUST DON'T KNOW. 

Whatever I DO decide, though, a neuropsych eval will establish a baseline for my current cognitive deficiencies. However, I'm a little scared of what the findings will be. I do know that I have had very difficult behavioral changes at times, dependent on where active brain lesions are. I also do know that I have had the wrong emotional responses at times... very wrong. There have been a number of relapses in which I am no longer Caroline. I am a different person altogether, and Caroline is just off on her own, floating in the corner of the ceiling, watching some monster of a person who looks like me, and is wearing my clothes, but IT IS NOT ME. It IS a good sign that I am able to recognize this discrepancy however, it is NOT a good sign that I am unable to control it. (Hi. My name is Caroline and I'm sUPEr crazy.)

I'm also supposed to do another test, but I can't remember what it's called. It's supposed to, like, measure your physical functional motor abilities? Or maybe check my gait? I really have no idea. When the tests were being explained, I was listening, but I didn't HEAR what my neurologist was saying. To be frank, I just kept repeating "NeuroPsych Eval" over and over again so that I wouldn't forget what it was called. Oh well, that's life I guess.

I have also decided I need to revamp my housekeeping schedule. I can do stuff and be productive in the morning, but by lunch time, MAN, I have to stop. I think I might have 2-3 usable hours in the day. After that, it's a struggle. So I need to switch things up to keep this household running.

For starters, I'm not going to be switching the chore chart every week. Instead, I am going to assign things quarterly. This way, my kids will have plenty of time to learn how to keep specific areas up to par. It will also negate the laziness that some children have, because it's really not fair to the next person to get that job area, because they inherited the mess from the original person. Does that make sense? Anyways. People will have their jobs for THREE MONTHS. This will also give them plenty of time to deep clean the assigned areas. I'm thinking that we'll split it into: Kitchen, Laundry & Linens, Bathrooms & Pets, Common Areas. Everybody will be in charge of their own bedrooms, and the standards of living in the bedrooms will also be addressed.

Meanwhile, we are 7 weeks away from the last frost of the season. The weather was so gorgeous this week, sunny and warm! And now it's snowing again. Oh well.

It is also mine and Troy's 17th wedding anniversary. I looked up the traditional gift (not that we really give gifts, I just like to know all the things) and for the 17th year, the traditional gift is furniture. Luckily, we just bought a new king sized bed, so we're all set! And we have a new garage door being installed today too. I like when we unintentionally do the perfect thing. And that's all I have to say about that.

I will also be doing a nutritional cleanse next week. I need to make sure I have stuff to do so that I don't snack. I am a BAD, BAD snack fiend. I'm going to look through my all my painting supplies and work on those projects. The two bedrooms upstairs need to be painted a nice neutral color, as they were formally the bedrooms for a young boy and girl, and one is very, very pink, and the other is very, very rocket ship-y. I also need to restock some of my acrylic paints so I can finish the mural under the stairs, and then seal it. It's so cute, and I love it, but I've taken a r.e.a.l.l.y. long painting break. It will definitely be a fabulous distraction during my cleanse.... bodies are so dumb.