I rose later this morning because Betty White, my queen, was on SNL last night, and she rocked it, y’all.

It’s a busy time for me, but even so it has quieted down from a month or so ago. This week my main duties at work include grade entry for independent studies and helping with our department graduation. Thank God we hired a wonderful co-worker two years ago who handles most of the event planning and she is absolutely great. Last year around this time I was stressing out about budget cuts, and the main thing that I feared was losing Dawn. I’ve been told that we won’t have to worry about that this year – our dean is a very good planner.

I went to physical therapy twice this week and I don’t think that it is really helping. They are concentrating on calming down the tendinitis pain and numbness, and it is frustrating trying to explain my pain to the therapists and the doctor. It tends to jump all over the place between my fingers and my elbow, and only hurts when I’m doing some random task, and when anyone pokes me and says, “Does this hurt?,” I have to respond, “Well, it did an hour ago but not now.” Then of course, later on it may or may not hurt. However, wearing the splints at night help enormously, so that was definitely worth the money. I just don’t want to have to wear braces long-term again, especially in the summer because they are so hot and sweaty. I’ll get the cortisone shots if I need to do it.

We have at least figured out the worst villain – holding a needle definitely is a no-no right now. As you might imagine, that TOTALLY SUCKS since I got all excited about weaving and stitching and fabric art and integrating it with my books. I have my loom halfway warped but to finish warping I have to tie a lot of knots, and anything that requires me to grasp something with my thumb and forefinger will ratchet up the problem. I bought wonderfully inspiring books on art quilting, embroidery, weaving, beading on fabric, new yarns, and a small portable copper tapestry loom. Now I just look at them and try, try, try to stay positive. Auughhh! I have so much creative energy bottled up!

Jones family reunion

Mama, on the right, talks with her cousin Grace at our recent family reunion.

It’s Mothers Day, but I asked my mother if we could move our Mothers Day to next weekend. I have some photos that I want to scan and put into a book for her. That’s what I’m planning to do this week – Mama doesn’t like my books, but I don’t think that she’d mind if one was filled with wonderful old photos of her and her family that I picked up at the family reunion. She does like my handmade paper. Sigh. I HATE trying to find or make a gift for Mama. She loves presents but she is picky – it is a matter of showing respect to her. And at 83, she has everything.

But, yesterday on the phone we had a very sweet conversation, in which I told her how much everyone loved her in the community, and how much I have in common with her, and that I can see that I’m becoming more like her every day. Which is a great thing, because my mother is AWESOME. She is Betty White AWESOME. She has great genes, and if I’ve inherited them, I could not ask for more.

So much has happened this week. Sandy began his cardio rehab classes and he has a great attitude about it. I am thankful that he will finally get some education about nutrition, because I worry about his eating out without understanding a heart healthy diet. He was eating nothing but salads for a while, and now that we have oodles of delicious lettuce in the Back Forty he is tired of salads. The other problem is that he is pre-diabetic, and I find life very difficult without pasta and bread. I don’t like whole-wheat pasta, and I LOVE good bread. It is hard for me to chop veggies now so I am buying some of my veggies pre-cut in bags – needless to say I do not like having to do this instead of buying directly from farmers or the co-op. So cooking is a triple challenge right now.

For lunch yesterday we had an omelet with sauteed sweet onion and green pepper and Goat Lady Dairy smoked goat cheese. I have almost mastered the omelet, I am proud to say.

Bottled marinades and dressings have become very good friends to me. I marinated a couple of trimmed pork chops from Bradd’s Family Farm for a couple of days in Annie’s Gingerly Vinegarette, seared them in a cast iron skillet, then finished baking them in the oven with just a dash of freshly ground pepper. I dumped a bag of broccoli florets in the skillet juices with a couple of pressed garlic cloves and a couple of tablespoon’s worth of cashews and stir-fried them with a little tamari sauce and a couple of pinches of five spice powder, then served it over brown basmati rice. It was very good, and more importantly, it was NOT SALAD.

We received the check from the secondary critical illness insurance policy that I took out that started in February. If it hadn’t been for this bit of intuition, I would surely be banging my head against a wall right now. Hopefully, if all goes as it should, this hiccup in our financial life will enable us to live as if it didn’t happen. I may even be able to pay off the car, but we will wait until all the bills and insurance settlements come in.

My sister gave my mother a used Buick from her mother-in-law’s estate. If Mama decides that she likes it, we will probably buy her 1996 Chevy Lumina, in which she just dumped a lot of money into repairs and new tires. I will miss my little 92 Tercel, but it is very raggedy and Mama could use the money, and I know that we would save her a lot of hassle and give her a fair price for it if we buy it. I rarely drive the Tercel since I walk to work, so we just need a second car for Sandy when I am out of town on my art adventures and my doctor and dentist appointments.

I was able to hire the guy who mows and trims my neighbor’s yard to do my tiny little bit of yard that is in the public view for $7 each time he comes to do her yard. That is a big relief to me – Sandy will let the grass and weeds grown three feet tall without noticing it and I have taken care of our “lawn” (mostly “weeds”) with an electric weed trimmer for the last couple of years. Seven bucks is so totally worth having this chore taken off my poor hands and not having to nag to get it done. We do have a lot of nasty work left to do in the back since I wasn’t able to take care of trimming back the vines this spring like I normally do. Now the tiger skeeters have emerged. As badly as we need rain, it is surprising how many have hatched out. They are wicked creatures from hell, I’m telling you.

Okay, this has become WAY too long and I’ve finished the coffee pot. I’ll do a Back Forty Update later.