Monday, January 24, 2022


In spite of mask wearing, hand washing and not socializing like normal human beings used to, we have been sick anyway. Husband and I seemed to have gotten the worst of it and, yuck. Respiratory issues, fatigue, chills, no sense of taste or smell. 

I had an appointment for a Covid test on Sunday but didn't make it there.  It snowed all day and our road was never plowed, plus turns out when you're actually sick you don't feel like driving 30 minutes in a snowstorm to reach the nearest rapid testing site anyway.  So I will be tested tomorrow.  I think it's just the flu.

When I woke with with an ear ache this morning on top of everything else it seemed a trip to the doctor to sort things out was in order.  So I called, only to be told that I would not be seen as they "were trying to keep sick people out of the office" but there was an antibiotic called in.

I'm complaining, I know. Our little family has been sick for months it feels like and I'm just so stinkin' tired of it. 

The good thing that happened today is I saw a friend that I have not seen since November (because both of families have been sick constantly). She stopped by and we exchanged late Christmas gifts as we stood apart from each other out in the driveway visiting for a few minutes in spite of it being 20 degrees outside. I guess that's considered risky behavior now but it was the nicest thing.  

It seems like this has been a really long winter and it's only January. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Riding the storm out

We got about a foot and a half of snow dumped on overnight.  It's a mess. We live on a state highway and did not actually see a snow plow until 4 this afternoon.  One had come by at some point earlier but it looked like only once. The garbage company canceled service today for the whole town and while Mr. H. had today off anyway I would not be shocked if school is canceled tomorrow. We were told a storm was coming but I blew it off. It is January after all. 

Baby P and I went to Walmart to grab a couple of things yesterday.

This is where the greens are supposed to be. The pasta secion and meats looked much the same.

We had venison last night, a slow cooked shank dish with chestnuts and dried apricots and spices from a Hank Shaw cookbook.  It was heavenly but spicy.  The deer came from my dad and the chestnuts from my cousin (the are my grandfather's trees).

I finished my second book of the year. Standing in front of the shelves all I just really wanted something comforting and chose this one. I haven't read it in 20 years but it was like spending two nights with an old friend.

Every single paragraph in this book is beautifully crafted poetry.  The whole thing takes place one evening in San Francisco.  The chapters alternate between a beautiful woman sleeping, a famous writer mourning the end of a love affair and the seperate story taking place among scraps of typed paper in his wastebasket.  There is a mysterious sombrero.  I love Richard Brautigan. 

I'm not sure what to read next. Every year with the first big snowstorm I pull out The Shining to read at night. BUT then I saw this gem at the Goodwill:

This just looks so deliciously trashy I was almost embarrassed to be seen purchasing it. 

So who knows what the evening will bring.

Mr. H has decided that today, Martin Luther King Jr. day is a holiday that involves decorations and cake. He did this:

And tonight there is chocolate cake.

I was much excited when my sister told me to go to Google and search for Betty White today. This is what has been programmed to happen:

Imagine rounding the corner on 100 years old and the people of America collectively agreeing it wasn't long enough. 

Stay warm, friends. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

January progress

 I was trying to think of some measurable goals for 2022. Not goals for the scale, apparently I am exactly as fat as I was 12 months ago. And not for the garden or the property or the kids but for my own development.  

So: walking 365 miles, reading 12 books and finishing 12 projects I've left half-done.

January Goals: walk 31 miles, read In the Heart of the Sea and fix my favorite antique globe the kids dropped months ago.

How are we doing? Shockingly well. The globe is fixed. Here is the before:

Oh this picture hurts to look at. Mr. A had gotten it off of a high shelf one day while I was making coffee. He and Baby P were looking at it gently when I found them but he must have dropped it getting it down for it to split. The globe is from the early 50's and made of paper.

Well, it's fixed. I used a disection tool to tease the  brittle, flaking equator tape out, a syringe to pipe a line of glue, some squeezing and rotating and a lot of pleading. Also some paint. It's not perfect and will forever be "The Globe that Mr. A Bounced".

I'm thrilled.  Check one off the list for January.

This book. It's been sitting on our shelves, unread, for years But I picked it up last week and finished it today. This book blew my mind.  I had never heard the story of the Essex, a ship that was attacked and sunk by a whale, and the story of the crew's survival. That it was the basis for Moby Dick. I had NO idea that Nantucket was an overfarmed dirt patch by 1800. NO idea that the Atlantic was dead of whales at that point  from overfishing. NO idea that New England whaling ships left America, went AROUND South America and did all of their whaling in the middle of the PACIFIC. That because the men were all gone for years at a time, Nantucket was run largely by women, I could go on and on.  This book was so engaging to read that pages flew by, even when the subject matter was heartbreaking. Husband is going to read this book now and I'm dying to talk about it with him.

Check #2 off for January. 

So now we are not halfway through the month and I'm not sure what to do next. Never, ever did I think it would have gone this well. I may order Moby Dick as my next book as we don't have a copy.

My miles are on track in spite of snow, cold and rain. I'm only counting deliberate walking, most often with a mindset class playing. 

Very exciting,  this orchid bloomed for the first time in 2 years (?). It is actually faintly fragrant,  almost like a rose.

Time to pick up the oldest 2 from the inlaws.  They had a sleepover and my husband, Baby P and I all slept through the night until 9 a.m. I have not slept until 9 a.m. in years.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Holidays and such

Mr. H's favorite gift from Santa, fake doggy poo. It sums up the last week pretty well. Our holiday started with my getting called to pick up Mr. H from the last day of school early as he had a temperature of 102.9. It only lasted 24 hours, now he has a cough and hives but the other two have had runny noses and phlegmy coughs the whole holiday. As a result no one wants to be around us. Mr. A and Mr. P. are both on antibiotics and Mr. A is negative for covid, Mr. P being too little to test. 

So, plans with my family were canceled.  My husband's brother from out of town didn't come as their daughter has tested positive for the second time. We did have a small Christmas eve with inlaws and then again for an hour or so on Christmas day. But it's mostly been just us for the last week. I'm not going to lie, I understand this is out of my control but I'm still feeling a little bitter about things.  I'm sad that my kids haven't had the big Christmases I had with family when I was little. And I'm sad that because they're growing up with Covid isolations they don't know the difference. 

They made all of the tree decorations this year.

And some other fun ones.

Mr. P is deeply in love with vaccum cleaners so Santa brought him his own. He vacuumed for the next 48 hours straight. Mr. A's favorite toy is a little whack a mole game.  It was a sweet Christmas day. 

Bee took a wall with me the other day. The weather has been rainy and cold. If we were having the same in the spring (below freezing at night, warm days) we would be getting our sap buckets ready. The kids and I can't wait to do this and I've been having them save fallen sticks in a pile for our fire.

These have arrived in the mail. This spring will be a chance to start from scratch with both the chickens and garden. We do enjoy having both but the last couple of years have been a disaster.  I have some things to think about.

Speaking of thinking, this card came from Malaysia this week:

There are so many questions here. This guy looks happy? What happened that he needs a sling AND a fire extinguisher? AND a hard hat with a head lamp?? 
Here is the back:

It's a good way of thinking and absolutely not American. In 2022 I'd like to start donating blood again.

Now it is dinner time. Homemade stuffed crust pizza just came out of the oven and it's time to pry the kids off the tv and make the middle one put some pants on.  Break time is over.

Friday, December 17, 2021

11.5 of 12

This spring I set a goal with Goodreads to read 12 books in the 12 months of this year. It seemed impossible at times but here are the ones that I finished. 11.5  They are, I think, in order.  It's interesting to see how the year progressed. 

Things started out relatively light (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - I cried) 

To Yikes (Poachers has one story at the end that pretty much ensures the reader will never, EVER violate a fish  & game law)

Still Life with Breadcrumbs was enjoyable but not unforgettable.  Miss Peregrine' Home was the same.

Station 11 was an apocalyptic story but it was unique in the presentation.  It opens with the night the virus comes to New York. It is also the night a 10 year old actress witnesses the onstage death of an actor during their production of King Lear. It skips over the bloody aftermath of the population destruction and the story really starts 15 years after the event.  There is one line in the story that makes me tear up just thinking of it all these months later. I just read this is being turned into an HBO series.

The Rayond Carver collection, I enjoyed reading it bit don't remember a single story. 

Another apocalyptic story, this one completely different for the genre.  (The Age of Miracles) A story told by a teenage girl, it's not a virus that kills everyone but the rotation of the earth starts to slow - it is story utterly without hope.

Salavage the Bones was just sad. Beautiful but sad.

I've read Silence of the Lambs every October for years now. Dr. Lecter's character is... well, I like Dr. Lecter. Having read the entire series helps, you get a lot more of his background and he why he develops a quiet fondness for Clarisse. 

 Then came Deeply Disturbing (Night of the Hunter) We have seen this movie a hundred times but reading it was different- Preachers unrelenting mental manipulation of the children made it hard to stomach, or read. Usually even a noir story gives you small breaks of sanity but this story never let up with the horror.

Then, almost blessedly, it went to Dumb. Chuck Palahniuk crashed and burned with Damned (I gave it a 1 star Goodreads review, really)  and although I love most of Tracy Chevalier's writing Virgin Blue was awful.  Couldn't finish it, thus my 11.5 instead of 12. Close enough. 

Here is my helper. Baby P is walking! He still drops and crawls if he means business and needs speed but we officially have a little toddler.

This will probably be finished in 2022. My husband suprised me with this one for my birthday. 

Tom Hanks is pretty famous with typewriter collectors. Not only does he have an impressive collection he obviously treasures but he's generous with gifting machines. And it seems to be a well-known secret that if you type him a letter to talk about whatever, he will take the time to sit down and type one to you in return. I've never tried but may now that my 1939 Royal is finally up and running.  Anyway, each of these stories involves a typewriter in some capacity.  I've read the first one and it was downright entertaining.  We are off to a good start.

As an update to the last post, Mr. H tested negative for Covid but by policy had to miss a week of school anyway. As did we assume some of his classmates. This is the same week the school district decided children are no longer required to wear masks.  No joke. Luckily Mr H is now double vaccinated and insists on still wearing his mask because, quote, "I'm used to it". So, good for him. 


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Hello 42, hello quarantine

My new prism from my sister in the kitchen window.

Someone turned 42 yesterday. Everyone made it a very nice day.

My in-laws sent me for a pedicure. I got a really nice champagne colored gel polish, hopefully it will stay awhile. The gentleman who was taking care of my feet and I fell into an easy and fun conversation.  Turns out we both love fishing, especially for trout and panfish and we agreed that carp are a ton of fun to catch but fiddly to cook.  He grew up on a farm in Vietnam and his parents grew rice, coffee and sugarcane. I asked a lot of questions and learned a lot about coffee. He has two children in college. 

My feet walked out of there as soft and pink as Baby P's. I immediately shoved them into muck boots and took a walk around a reservoir. 

It was bitter cold and windy. The walk was less than a mile but it was head clearing. Birthdays aren't difficult exactly but it seems like this day has turned into my yearly self-review. I'm happy with my progress in a couple of areas in my life, but Lord, I feel like I'm just barely getting by in others. Why is it so difficult to change things we know aren't working? 

Hello, gifts. My sister got me this Chakras workbook. I don't know anything about those but the workpages seem like they're going to be very helpful for just working on self awareness and accountability.  My husband did a great job with some not pictured books and also helping the kids make shrinky dink jewelry.  I can't believe they kept it a secret. 

Mr. H. made the best earrings. 

The kids are going to make more Christmas ornaments tonight and help me with Christmas cards..

Edit to add that I had to go get Mr. H from school today, one of his near seat mates tested positive mid-day for Covid after being at school that morning.  So now he is quarantined at home until at least Monday. The irony is that he already his first shot and is scheduled to get his second on Friday. Oh, why could this not have happened next Monday when he would be fully protected. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Just in time for the holidays

First off, a big "thank you" to whomever donated this to our local Goodwill.  This set.... wow. We are SO happy to have it. My husband and I, I mean. The kids aren't really old enough to care but I'm sure they will at some point. 

And now, some holiday recipes for you from my Grandmother.

Before the farmhouse was auctioned I dumped my grandma's recipe drawer into a plastic bag and took it home with me. Last month I was sorting through it and tagged extended family on Facebook; was there any recipe of grandma's they wanted me to look out for? Hands down, everyone wanted to know how to make her Christmas fudge. And while I'm not certain these are it, they are both kitchen stained enough to make me think they might be "the good ones".

Sunday, November 28, 2021


After nearly a solid week of fighting a respiratory infection, while all 3 kids have taken turns vomiting, I understood the meaning of Gratitude tonight when I saw a Carhartt clad shadow at the window and realized it was my dad bearing a box of gas station chicken, crackers, spray cheese and Thanksgiving fixings.  This is love folks.


Monday, November 1, 2021

Hello friends


Long time no post. It's fall here and how. Cold and wet on the bad days and achingly beautiful on the good. We are all still alive and well. There is not much time now for, well, anything really but I am still cooking and baking when I can. We have the geese, about a half dozen quail and very few chickens as raccoons have been at us again.  I've subscribed to the app 99 Walks and am taking long walks nearly every day. Today was 4.5 miles.  Reading, tinkering with an old typewriter, collecting playing cards, writing postcards, keeping 3 kids and a husband alive, fed and loved. There is not much left by the end of the day besides pajama pants and a good book.

It's enough. 

I may pick the blog up again in the Spring but for now have moved onto Facebook.
For the first time ever you get a name: Tammy Smith-McConnor. Send over a friend request if you really want to hear allll about things like what the cats are up to. It's fascinating, I promise.

Friday, July 30, 2021

A day away, what else is new

Today my mom's beach bag and I played hooky from being a mom and drove up to Lake Erie to spent the day.  All By Myself.  No husband.  No kids. I ate at Sheetz, went to souvenir shops, fell asleep on my blanket, got sunburned and gave zero craps about how I looked in a bathing suit. It was glorious. 

I mean, look at this view.

Here are more pictures. 

Look at these!

I brought home some big rocks and a bag of beautiful pebbles to share.

Here was the view at Walnut Creek. The surf was pretty wild there. 

I felt like myself for the first time in a long time.

In other news:.

Finished this book last night. It's a story about a pandemic that causes the collapse of civilization within days of arrival in Canada.  The book opens with the death of an actor, from a heart attack,  onstage during King Lear. Mostly it takes place 20 years after the pandemic and follows the lives of serveral survivors who knew that man. It was beautiful and I did cry at one point.  I did not continue reading Fight Club.  My books are secondhand and I didn't realize that the previous owner had highlighted all through it. I'll look for another copy.

Love this hosta. Two hostas growing together? It's very pretty. 

Took the oldest 2 camping last weekend at a local place with our neighbor and her son. My husband stayed home with the baby. It rained at night but we had so much fun. 

Aldi had little strings of LED lights for $3. They look really cute in the camper.

Mr. H. turned 6 yesterday! Life is passing by so quickly.