Season's Greetings from Château Sutton-Goar!
In case--after the year of the cat in a cast, the year of the broken toe, the year of bronchitis, or the year of the pantry moths--you were beginning to think that the holiday season is a bit eventful here at the Château, I can only say, "Why break such a perfect record?" Thus we are enjoying the holidays here during the Year of the Injured Back.. And let me just say, being rescued from the floor of the bathroom clad in crossword puzzle pajamas by eight paramedics really kicks off the holidays nicely. Since they brought along the ambulance AND the firetruck, it actually was a lot like our own personal Macy's parade. What could be more "holiday" than that? We are happy to report that the patient and her dignity are recovering nicely.
Square Foot Gardening
This year we decided to try the square-foot gardening method instead of whatever one would call my regular "shove plants in anywhere" method. It really maximizes our limited garden space, which provided even MORE opportunities for me to lose the squash wars. I planted spaghetti squash and got zucchini. I planted patty-pan and got acorn. I planted yellow zucchini and actually GOT yellow zucchini, but a squadron of squash bugs arrived to remedy the situation immediately, lest I start to think I had successfully mastered something in the squash family. As if.
This spring, some good friends invited us to be part of a monthly music club. People sing, bring instruments, or both, and we have a really fun evening and occasionally perform at little "house concerts" held by members. Since so many people in the group are learning instruments, it has been the perfect time for Andy to learn the mandolin I gave him for his birthday about 4 years ago, and he has progressed so much that his flute/mandolin trio just played what might have been the world's fastest "Carol of the Bells" rendition ever. Everyone enjoyed the song so much that after the flutist was given oxygen, they played a slower version as an encore.
Year of Free Events
As we always enjoy new yearly challenges, this year we decided to explore the many free events Boise has to offer by attending something new each week. We attended films, art exhibits, clubs, lectures and book sales for several months, but finally had to desist when we became too busy.
Exploring Eastern Oregon
To celebrate Andy's birthday, my cousin Dustin joined us on a 4-day weekend exploration of Eastern Oregon. We caught the Walla Walla Onion Festival, Baker City's Miner's Jubilee, a street fair in Pendleton, a chainsaw carving contest in Milton-Freewater, enjoyed some fantastic museums as well as the old Union Hotel, though I think we'd all agree that the highlight of the trip was the Pendleton Underground Tour and the ability to spend the night at the old brothel the Tour runs as a hotel. Andy still enjoys telling everyone that his wife booked him a night in a brothel for his birthday. When he's feeling a bit less mischievous, he includes the part about it no longer being in operation.
This year I have learned.....
- Trying to downplay the level of pain to the paramedics is silly--they have good drugs and they are willing to share.
- If the ER nurse fails to listen to you when you mention you are getting dizzy, fainting in the wheel chair will make her MUCH more attentive
- Apparently in medical paperwork terms, getting one's tail kicked by a turkey doesn't count as an "accident."
- There are times in life when putting one's own socks on can make one's entire day
- Being thankful to have lots of homemade soup available while one is unable to cook because of a back injury when canning the dang soup helped contribute TO the back injury is a lot like living in an O. Henry story.
- When the doctor prescribes Valium for after physical therapy appointments, it's best not to dwell too much on why he thinks you might want to be unconscious after them. You'll find out soon enough
- A fast way to add a bit of mystery to one's gardening is to label seedlings with permanent marker on masking tape, which is only permanent when it isn't exposed to sunlight.
- I was only willing to try the "humane" route the first time we had moles attack the garden. I am now in the "death through smoke bombs" camp
- I can kill any plant that someone says is really, really hard to kill, though in my defense, I will also have plants normally considered non-invasive try to take over the entire yard.
- Even in Idaho, it is possible to harvest fewer potatoes than you planted
- Finding out that the old electric guitar that you've had for 25 years and dropped on the gym floor at least once is suddenly a pretty valuable, much sought-after "vintage" instrument is a lot like finding out that your grandfather is actually a rock star.
- It's really helpful to have at least one sedentary hobby, like knitting, that one can do while recovering from a back injury, but if pain pills are involved, one does risk ending up with a hat large enough to fit a walrus
- Camping with friends is indeed a lot of fun, but I'm still really glad to return to plumbing
- When canning recipes say silly things like "cook until reduced by one-third," it would be wise to prepare several more jars than the recipe suggests. No matter how hard I try, I cannot do fractions in cooked mustard.
- Theo, my little side-kick kitty, takes his role as get-well kitty very, VERY seriously and does not appreciate being laughed at when he flops down on his back beside me as I'm doing my physical therapy exercises.
- All the smugness of being smart enough to buy a restaurant-sized stockpot to use for canning season will be completely obliterated when one realizes one forgot to buy a spoon with a restaurant length handle.
- When you have to check the dates to verify that it is already your 5th wedding anniversary, things are going well.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a healthy 2012,
Toni and Andy