In a Nutshell

Well, this last month has been unusual, to say the least. When Cappy went back out on the boat, I packed up the dogs and went to visit Aunt Gussie for a few days and to videotape her "for posterity", as my Dad would say. She is such a joy and delight to Cappy and me. Just talking with her on the phone makes our day. I'm sad to say that the visit was not at all pleasant, but we look forward to going back next month with better results. I came away armed with motivation to let everyone I know to please take pains to closely examine the caregivers who are taking care of our loved ones. CLOSELY. The wonderful Mrs. Linda who is now taking care of our dear Aunt Gussie is a blessed hero. God Bless her richly for her observations and true affectionate nurturing.
Maybe next time when I go to visit, I'll leave the dogs with their own 'caregivers'. They didn't help the matter much, since, despite Aunt Gussie specifically demanding the "boys" come visit, and that they were her houseguests, the nutty criminal who was initially looking after our dear lady, constantly lectured me that dogs belonged outside.
The many piles of fireants lurking out in the yard made the visit more difficult as well. (This has been a bad year for fireants...we haven't completely irradicated them in our own yard.)
So, we came home, the dogs and I, where upon I found that the ants had invaded our house!! I had just cleaned the stove, but there was a line from under the front door, all along the edge of the wallboard, up the pantry wall, along the back of the sink and to the stove. They were in, under, around and through the stove...ant if wasn't funny, either. I waged a battle royal for about three days until they finally gave up. One night I woke up around 4:30 a.m. and found myself down on my hands and knees with a damp paper towel swooping up the tiny invaders. They wouldn't touch the ant poison, but walked right over it. I think I have the residents of one whole ant pile trapped and bottled up in my vacuum cleaner with the poison.
Having cleared up those two problems, I accidentally 'poisoned' myself. See, it's this time of year when I do my Christmas shopping, and my traditional 'fast food' has always been sweet and sour soup. Don't ask why, cuz I don't know. All's I know is that whilst I'm out shopping, I like to stop at LIN's Chinese restaurant and get a take-out bowl of soup and slurp it down in the SUV, then go and finish my shopping. Well, while grocery shopping, I picked up a package of the usual sweet and sour soup mix that I sometimes get instead. At home I got it ready and while it cooled down, I put away the rest of the groceries. Ahhhhh, it was soooo good and sooo soothing. About an half an hour later, I felt as though I had gotten sucker punched in the gut. Uh oh. I fished the package out of the garbage and read. They changed the recipe, as some companies do, to save money and it clearly read, "contains Wheat". Too late to 'froe it up'; it was already too far down and causing destruction. So, I was about a week trying to get over it. When something like that happens, despite feeling as though I should be lying in an emergency room, there's nothing one can do, unless extremely dehydrated, but to 'wait it out'. I'm still not completely up to par, but working on it with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and very little spice.
The next week found me taking the dawgs to Petsmart in Baton Rouge for a badly needed grooming. I took Louise with me so I could treat her to a birthday lunch at PJ Chang's where they are meticulously careful about celiac foods. They have a gluten free menu, which is always fantastic. I brought enough food home for a couple of days worth of meals, but we both luxuriated in the chocolate dessert on the spot. They even brought her a special little extra tiramesu dessert with a candle, which caused her eyes to roll back in her head. Lucky girl.
On our way home I noticed a black lab sitting back off the road in a farm field alone, looking lost or injured. After I took Louise and the dogs back to my house, I went back to see if he was still there. It was almost dark by then, but I found him on his side curled around a woman's black shoe, trying to go to sleep on the big lumpy rocks where I had seen him. The poor boy. He was happy to see me...or anybody and was so sweet and willing to come home with me, but I had a hard time getting him into the SUV. When I'd get his lanky front part into the side of the vehicle, his back leg would buckle and he almost sat down in a big fireant pile. That would not have been good at all. Somehow I managed to get him in and take him home. I fell in love with the big goof because he reminded me so much of Casey the black lab we had in Rochester years ago. I called him "Casey", just so I had something to call him. I called shelters and vets offices and put signs up everywhere to find his owners, to no avail. SparkyBear liked playing with him some, but "Casey" didn't get to run freely, being on a leash attached to my arm. MarkyBear had other thoughts, and they were not lovely. He told "Casey" on several occasions who was boss in his yard. I had "Casey" tied up on the patio and the change in his diet apparently changed his 'potty habits'; however, being a sweet polite guest, he refused to have any 'accidents' on the patio, but needed to go 'potty' several times during the day AND night. Still weakened from the bout of wheat poisoning now loss of sleep, we'd get up at midnite, 2 a.m, 4 a.m., 6 a.m., 8 a..m. to go walk around the cold wet yard in 'our' Croc's and pj's, then it's always difficult, once I'm awake, to get back to sleep. I was staggering around punch-drunk, and thus knew that somebody else had to take over the responsibility of finding the poor guy his owners or a good home. I decided to do what we had done with Raleigh, our other dog rescue story which turned out with such a wonderful ending. I decided to take "Casey" to the animal shelter in Sorrento, with the provision that they would NOT put him to sleep, but to rather, call us if it came to that, then we'd go back, get him, and keep him til we found him a good home. I opened the back hatch on the SUV and "Casey" just so gracefully lighted up into the back, all excited, looking out the windows...("oh boy, where we gonna go?? Home??") On the way, while sitting at the corner waiting for the light to change, I thought I'd drop off another flyer at the River Store, so stopped. Inside, the owner waited on me, so I asked him if he would post my sign. He read it and asked, looking out the window, "Where is he"? Sign still in hand, he went right outside, saw what a beautiful, SWEET dog "Casey" is and said, "I'll take him! Don't take him to that shelter; if his owners don't show up, I'm keepin' 'im!" His son, who looked to be in his late twenties, said, "But you already have that other dog". The store owner told "Casey", "sit", whereup he did and quietly sat there obediently. (Also, he "heeled" perfectly) The store owner said again, "I'm keepin' 'im", then rolling up the sign tightly, repeated quietly, "if the owners don't show up". But it's been over a week and no one has called. So, that's another dog story with an happy ending because I'm told by people who know, that this store owner LOVES animals and will treat him better than if the dog was a person. Tah dah! :-)
This final week 'til Cappy gets home will find me pickin' more hot peppers, and tending the garden, which Cappy and I planted the day before he went back out on the boat. I'd have more pictures, but my handy camera broke...baw!
Tonight I'm taking a pot of my smoked chicken, andouille gumbo to a Forum dinner, where there will be other pots of other kinds of gumbo. (Oh, it was fun trying to keep my 'smoke' going the other day with the wind and rain blowing out on the patio, lol.) For those Yankees, who aren't aware of what gumbo is, it's a combination of many wonderful ingrediens that make up a comforting, delicious, "soup" served over rice or baked sweet potato, or potato salad. YUM!!! I made enough to have some in the freezer waiting for Cappy, and will can some more to send to my son, Joe in Rochester. Next time I make gumbo, I want to use our friend, Smokin' Sam's smoked sausage and smoked andouille and a big fat smoked hen...I'll bet that is going to be some goooooood stuff!!!! For some kind of 'political' reasons, only understood fully by other Cajuns, Cappy insisted I do it all myself this time.
Oh...and the citrus is ripening...the lemons, the grapefruit, the oranges, and the SATSUMA oranges!!! I pulled down a big frond of about a dozen ripening bananas, and will make them into loaves of banana nut bread. The pecans have been dropping for about a week now, too....all good news from the yard.
So, that's what's been going on around here, in a BIG FAT NUTSHELL...from soup to nuts.
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