Friday, August 23, 2013

Curveballs: Returning Home

Waiting to hear from the docs about post-stroke acupuncture (just to err on the side of being safe, since I know Ginny is cautious in these things, especially involving her son).... but anyways, looking around online, it seems to be fairly well-accepted as a treatment, even by the "normal" medical journals. Though of course they follow with a "well, we can't *necessarily* approve it/back it up, but it *does* seem to work. We just can't prove why" kind of statement.

Having lunch with him and then going home tomorrow afternoon. Going to be weird... my first night alone in our bed, and likely to be the first of many. It will take a lot of work to get our home finished and ready for him to be able to use it... but I know that he will eventually want to live in the home that he designed, planned and built himself. It may be a year or more down the road before he's able to be out there full-time, but whatever. A year goes by pretty fast... and there's lots of work to do to fill that year. Thankfully this happened BEFORE we started the renovation/building, not AFTER, so things can be planned around.

For the somewhat immediate part, it's simple stuff like moving a bed downstairs that he can access if he wants to come out for an evening (though even that is still a ways out, most likely).

For the long-term, it will mean redesigning our home/planned home. Things like removing half the wall in the living room into what had been planned to be a studio room, but will now be a bedroom instead. Using what was the upstairs bedroom as the studio instead.

Things like moving our parking area to the other side of the house and putting in a sidewalk (again, if need be -we don't know what his walking capabilities will be in the end- hopefully he returns to full mobility)

A deck outside the future kitchen with a ramp down to said sidewalk.

Things like "indoor plumbing" as far as the toilet aspect goes, though we'll do a composting toilet, since a "regular" toilet would mean a septic tank... which would mean having "regular" electricity brought in. (I'm still not sure why a septic tank needs electricity, mind you.

Truthfully, the thought that he will one day return to our home is all that keeps me going most days, keeps me on the sane edge of breaking. It may not be next month, or in six months, but eventually he will be able to sleep in our home, in our bed.
Aren't they just big holes in the ground, anyways?) Personally, I think that indoor toilets are kind of gross  -I'd rather my shit [and the attendant bacteria] be in the outhouse, physically removed- than in the actual house with me, but whatever.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


(Be forewarned that this post is a bit disjointed, for reasons that should be clear)

***AUGUST 18th***
It's funny the things that life can throw your way, checking to see if you're paying attention. Not always funny-haha, though.

As those of you who know me from elsewhere already probably already know, this past friday, Aug 16th, at approximately 1pm Charlie had a fairly major stroke while out at lunch with some friends of ours. While this would have been enough of a curveball on its own, it was discovered that this stroke had been proceeded by two TIAs (mini-strokes) that had gone undiagnosed... written off as general tiredness, a headache, or perhaps occurring in sleep and not even noticed at all. Regardless of that, the damage had been done.

Because of the severity of the stroke, and the damages already done, we're pretty limited in what can be done to treat the actual clot itself. Actually we're limited to essentially nothing, so we live with the knowledge that like pretty much all victims of stroke, he will be susceptible to future strokes, but even moreso than most.

Right now we're focusing solely on the therapy aspect... or I should say, at least that's where my focus lies. Helping him to regain as much control over his body as is possible. At this point in time (a term you will be seeing me use much more frequently, as everything is still in such a stat of flux right now, on so many levels) his physical capabilities are pretty seriously limited in some aspects.

******AUGUST 21st: 10pm********

Those things that threaten to make me lose it completely. Got a hotel room for myself, sit down to use my computer... And I can't get it to come on, the power button is screwy--has been for a while---Charlie's always able to get it to stop being a pain and power up with just a few tries.

I think I may get quite drunk tonight.

****AUGUST 21st: 12:30am****

Finally, an hour later, I get my computer to come on. I've neither gotten "quite drunk" nor have I crashed out... but the space has been good. The last day/days has/have been challenging in different ways... everyone is exhausted, nerves are frayed, tensions rise. I keep forgetting all these other things that need doing (paying bills, answering emails, etc) or thinking of *this* other thing... so many things. Catching myself driving to our home... and forgetting why I made the hour & a half drive, what I'm supposed to be doing. Brain stuck (poor choice of words, I know) on what the future could hold for both myself and for Charlie and for the both of us as a "unit." Reminded by friends that it has to be day-by-day right now, but that's a hard thing for me to do, it always has been.

I almost lost it this morning, again. Swallow/speech was in, working with him, and he was asked to say his name. After multiple attempts, he finally managed it. It wasn't a smooth "Charlie" it was a "Char... Char..Char" followed finally by a "Char.... lie." That in itself almost broke me, but when they moved on to trying to say MY name I suddenly realized how infrequently we actually use one another's names in our day-to-day lives (really only to get the other's attention. Even when saying our goodnights, we almost never use the other's name, it is usually simply "love you") but suddenly it became very important to hear it. I haven't heard my name from his lips since... well, I can't recall, since I wasn't paying attention when it happened, because that's what we do... we forget to pay attention. To so many "little" things. But anyways, when asked who I was he couldn't say. He just couldn't get it out. The neural pathways were stuck on "Charlie" and wouldn't switch over, so all he could do was "Char... Char...Char" again. Eventually, with prompting, he got to "Char...Ju" And a few tries later, got it to "Ju.......dah" And two more attempts got him to "Ju..dah."

And it both devastated me and was the brightest spot I've experienced in, well, pretty much forever simultaneously, really.

So a reminder out there to all of you. Pay attention to those little things, and use the names of those you love, as much as you can. Names are powerful, they mean the world.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Food Whore: Red Rice Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Corn and Cukes

If your household is anything like ours is right now, you're either about to be -or already are- maxed out with certain summer fruits and veggies, looking for ways to use up those squash and tomatoes. (Always the main culprits. Bastards.)

Allow me to help you out a bit. Or, more accurately, allow Franny's to help you out. Then get back in e garden, because there's more You Know What out there. Waiting. Growing larger.

  • 1 cup Piedmont red rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar; or more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup mixed, halved red and gold cherry tomatoes (about 16)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (about 1 ear)
  • 4 ounces caciocavallo, diced (about 1/2 cup) -can substitute Mozza/asiago/fontina/provolone
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced radishes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 8 basil leaves, torn
  • 4 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsey
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Add the rice and boil until the grains begin to split, 15 to 18 minutes. Salt the water heavily and cook until the grains are tender, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Drain the rice very well and spread it out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the vinegar and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let cool.
Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Toss with the tomatoes, corn, cheese, cucumber, radishes, scallions, herbs, and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar if the salad needs a lift. Drizzle with salad with oil and serve.

Recipe from
FRANNY'S by by Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens.

Friday, August 9, 2013

FAF: Mel Odom, Mushrooms, Sheds and Snails

I first discovered Mel Odom as a young teen, maybe even pre-teen, it's hard to say. That was a while back. I do know I was familiar with his work from an early age via assorted book covers, though it wasn't until I was a little older.... sixteen or so... that I found a book of his work, and fell in love a little bit. Maybe even a few times. Not sure what it was I liked about his style (sarcasm)

In other news, we started on the shed, so we can start on the deconstruction of the original shack/reconstruction of the future kitchen/bathing room. Gotta have a space to put all the stuff in the shack while the kitchen is getting built... I have zero desire to have it all crowded up in the living room for the next 3-5 months. So, yeah.... new shed!

We got the floor base up over the weekend... had a slight rain delay... then got the actual floor done tuesday. Hopefully the rain lets up a bit, and we can get some walls up this coming weekend, maybe even a roof?
I'm not holding my breath on that last part, since one thing  we've had PLENTY of this spring/summer is rain and moisture. Enough that we have some rather cool fungi popping up in the houseplants. (don't worry, even though it's a houseplant, it's outside for the season... not so keen on random fungi indoors, however cool they are)

The snails in the goldfish pond are happy as well. I saw some Snail Sex going on last week (which is pretty cool if you've ever seen it), then the other day I discovered an egg sack on the side of a plant that sits half-submerged in the pond. 

We're about to have a bajillion baby Golden Apple snails... assuming the goldfish don't eat them. I kinda hope they eat some of them, though because while I think they're rather lovely...

They also get rather large. And I don't have room for a bajillion of them.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Garden Goodness and The Hum and the Shiver

One of the benefits of actually being home this spring/summer? Getting to be here for the growing season... flowers aplenty, and veggies out the wazoo. Zucchini, anyone? Weeds?

Speaking of gardens in the woods, a book I read recently (and enjoyed) was The Hum and the Shiver. Ignore the cheestastic tag "In this valley, songs kill," it's not about a bunch of killer fiddlers... it's not about much, really. Well, it is, but there's not a whole lot that happens, not a lot of action. And it works.
What it's about is a broken (in the literal and metaphorical senses) young woman returning from war in Iraq to her home in rural Tennessee, and how she adjusts to being labeled a "hero," and seeking to find her place in life again... with mixed success. She also happens to be a Tufa, a race that may or may not be exactly human.

One of the things which I enjoyed about this book that made me giggle a little, was that it could kind of be summed up as being about a group of "faeries,"  fond of drink and sex and internal bickering, misunderstood by the other locals, who live just outside of Cookeville... just off highway 70... near Cripple creek.

If you don't know, I live in a rural community... of self-described faeries... in central Tennessee... just outside of Cookeville... off of highway 70 (some of us, anyways)... near Cripple Creek. It make me wonder if the author (who is from Memphis) heard about "the faeries" in the area (or perhaps visited) and just kind of ran with the idea.

Regardless, the book is enjoyable, pick it up!