Thursday, February 19, 2009

whatcha up to?

I've been in a strange place lately and I can't seem to shake the winter blues. I really feel like I should go to bed for another month, wake up about the time the goldfinches come through town.

What I've been up to waiting for spring:

I'm compulsively checking new listings in Yucatan and Campeche, as beach front properties have dropped substantially in the last couple of months and escape to Mexico is still the dream I will realize.

The only thing making the cold survivable is the spiced chai I've been making in the morning: thick slices of fresh ginger, a dozen cardamom pods, lots of black pepper, a pinch of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves and bay leaves. I boil it for 30 minutes in a quart or two of water, then fill my 32 oz mug and plop in a big tea bag, steep, then add milk and sweetener. Who knew? Never heard of it until I found a gardening group on Craigslist, now I've become quite the little joiner, following in my mother's footsteps. I have games group twice a month, community gardening, baby Buddhist training, and a writer's group.

Seeds have arrived and I'll be starting them this weekend. Red Star tomato, ancient squashes (fascinated by squash), sugar snap peas, the sweetest corn. I'm desperately seeking a good load of rabbit shit, but it's hard to come by and I'll probably end up with horse or goat. If all else fails, I'll go test the piles at the stockyards and find one that's aged long enough to turn into that sweet smelling, crumbly golden gardener's treasure. A good supply of well aged manure is one of life's joys.

Daddy called me 43 times Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. I answered 14 of the calls and let the others go. He's getting worse, and he's increasingly unhappy. His physical health seems to be improving, though. I'm having thoughts I couldn't have imagined 20 years ago. One of the most wretched aspects of dementia is the loss of dignity. It's unbearable to watch.

Reading? Are you reading? I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns and cried off and on for two days. The idea of the Afghan people waiting, hoping, that the US would help them while they were being destroyed by fighting among the warlords broke my heart. And then the treatment of women . . . inconceivable.

The IRS came to call at my warehouse a few weeks ago. The accountant I've had for the nine years I've been in business apparently received dozens of letters asking for reports from 2006, ignored them all, and so the IRS. Now the witch won't return my calls.

Woke up to an email from one of my juvenile parole kids, now 33 years old. "I just wanted to tell you I appreciate what you did for me, you really helped me." Sweet.

My biggest buyer has accepted that Russia's economic downturn is only going to get worse, the oligarchs are actually running out of money, and he will not be taking his latest container full of furniture. Fuck.

This version of the Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella is divine.

Republicans. God help us all. Obstructionist bastards.

And you? That's enough about me, what about you? Whatcha been up to? Whatcha reading, eating, thinking about, doing? Tell, please.



Blogger Lily's Mommy said...

I'm dragging through each day as I try to finish up school. I'm scouring the state's websites trying to figure out what to do to get licensed. Cleaning out the cobwebs and going through 100,000 baby names trying to find one I like.

I'm also reading school books trying to remember what ingredient does what in skin care. Also, I'm scheming about what fabulous products I'm going to buy wholesale!

Food wise, lots of bloody steaks and Asian food.

I'm trying very hard not to think about how terrifying the economy is, but every night I fall asleep worrying about money and wake up each morning thinking about the same thing. booo

February 19, 2009 10:54 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

LM: Wholesale products! Irresistible. I'm trying very hard not to think about how terrifying the economy is, but every night I fall asleep worrying about money and wake up each morning thinking about the same thing. booo . . . me too, sister. What a fucking nightmare.

February 19, 2009 11:01 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I loved this post...we all have lives apart from blogging...varied, interesting, sad, challenging, "sweet"...since I'm basically a 'people' person, hearing about the personal aspects of other's lives is always a treat...I love how it connects us, and reminds us we are human. We all share the same feelings for different reasons. In that spirit, I'm going to use my blog to answer you, so I don't take up too much space...

February 19, 2009 11:24 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

Chris, there's something about the online world that makes me lose all perspective. Writing this short post reminded me how much more there is in this world unrelated to screens. :-) I'll drop by later and see what you've been up to . . .

February 19, 2009 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obstructionist bastards? Ok... except nothing has gotten obstructed. So, if Obama's plan fails, will you call him an idiot? The fact is, this plan of Obama's will likely hurt your business, Lynette, not help it. So will you admit you were wrong if things go bad? IT will be fun to watch.

February 19, 2009 2:25 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

I'd rather call you an idiot, brave Anonymous.

February 19, 2009 3:01 PM  
Blogger Idabel Oklahoma said...

Oh look Assnonymous came to visit you. Been wondering where my ass's over here leaving you comments.
Glad to see a new post up Ms. Bell. Have missed you.

February 19, 2009 4:53 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I've been nursing a chipped bone in my wrist, getting back into my gym routine, reading, trying to get my weight back down (3 weeks out of the gym and just see what happens) trying to get excited about the new gardening season, with little success so far, hoping my job doesn't dry up and generally getting on with life.

Oh, and ignoring right wing assholes like Anonymous who are still carrying the torch for the jackasses that got us into this mess.

February 19, 2009 5:46 PM  
Blogger NewMe said...


Always great to read your blog. You're a wonderful writer, very evocative. You write in a way that makes me feel like I'm sitting right there at the table with you. Many thanks!!

Up here in Canada, winter is dragging on. The older I get, the more fed up I get with the white stuff. Oh well, at least we have universal health care! (How's that for a non sequitur??)

Today your new prez, the wonderful Mr. O. came to visit our Prime Minister, the dreadful Mr. Harper. Canadians were wild with joy, even though his visit only lasted 6 hours. I hope you realize that the vast majority of Canadians are Obama supporters.

In Canada, we too are worrying about the economic crisis. As a self-employed person, I was feeling the pinch last fall, but so far 2009 (fingers crossed) is shaping up fairly well.

The big news in my life is my new blog, which I invite everyone to come and visit. It basically deals with weight loss, but I'm planning to progressively start dealing with broader issues related to women in society.

Stay well, good luck with the IRS and keep dreaming of spring and Mexico.


February 19, 2009 10:20 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Looking forward to your grandkids kept me busy today, so hopefully I'll get to write tomorrow...that's one of those 'life' things!!!!!! Lovely, but cool day here in is good today.......

February 19, 2009 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Lynette said...

Idabel OK ~ Is it some measure of having "arrived" in the blog world that one acquires an idiot Assnonymous? ;-) It takes such bravery and character to hide in anonymity while throwing rocks ~ no, pebbles. No, grains of sand.

Tony ~ sorry to hear about your wrist. Three weeks out of the gym must be torture for a committed soul like you. Maybe it's still too cold up there to get excited about gardening? You're my community gardening inspiration, honey. Hang on to that job if you can.

NewMe ~ You can't imagine how lovely it is to hear from Canada (and other spots around the world), while detecting a distinct note of President-Envy. It's been sooooooo long. Good luck with your weight loss and thanks for visiting.

Chris ~ Can't wait to read you...

February 20, 2009 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know well the many aspects of dementia. And it sucks. I am sorry. ~Mary

February 20, 2009 8:41 AM  
Blogger Nadine Hightower said...

Me too!! The winter blahs....let's talk more about Mexico and selling sea shells to the tourist and drinkin' beer.

February 20, 2009 3:47 PM  
Blogger Nadine Hightower said...

Okay the beer was my idea....mull it over and get back to me before my nest egg is completely gone.

February 20, 2009 3:48 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

Oh Nadine, do you still have a nest egg? I shriek and rip out my hair every time I open my stock accounts. Bleeeeeeh. :( Makes me so angry.

Selling seashells, now that sounds like a dream. We could wander the beaches barefoot, waving our shells at passing tourists, wearing our hair in braids, "working" to the accompaniment of the crashing waves. Heaven.

February 20, 2009 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Ms. Belle -

Haven't visited you in awhile and I've missed you!

I just finished The Kite Runner on a plane last week. I was sobbing. Flight attendant asked me if I was OK. :)Such a beautiful book.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is up next.


February 20, 2009 4:50 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

IT will tear your guts out 'K'!!!!!!!! Kite Runner is on my list...haven't had the stomach for it, but know I have to do it! I watched my hubby read it, and he was a mess!

February 20, 2009 5:13 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Lynette- good to see an update, I was getting concerned. We're looking around Tulum actually- new airport going in and all you know.

Sorry to hear your Daddy is sliding, I have no words of comfort that will do any actual good, but my thoughts and best wishes are with you anyway.

I won't bore you with my state of affairs :)

Be well, and spring really and truly will come again! Hope the rest of the family, both animal and human, is doing well.

February 21, 2009 8:02 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I'm using my redundancy money to finally tackle my health problems and lose weight fast (16 pounds in 3 weeks so far, another 48 to go before May). Hopefully my Liver problem will be eased and the Diabetes will be manageable. I'm terrified that I've got an condition that I've just learned could lead to dementia.

Thanks for the tip about 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' - I have it on my shelves but I'll move it up the pile. I've been reading health pamphlets and bathroom catalogues, mostly (and trying not to read recipes). As the weight falls off me, I find I'm getting around to doing a lot more of the home-improvement jobs that I've let lie for years, which is a tremendous satisfaction.

Sooner or later this daydream will stop (when my money runs out), but for now I'm okay. Still want to travel, but my health is my first priority.

My Mum continues to be happy in her home. Your Dad has her beat for the number of calls in one day. I can remember how distressing that is.

Your new groups sound a very healthy thing to be doing - I really ought to give people another chance and step outside my house again.

February 21, 2009 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Hi Lynette. I've read both A Thousand Splendid Suns and the Kite Runner and they were both excellent books....I didn't want to put either down, although parts of both were highly disturbing.

A lady I was talking to a couple of years ago while walking by dog swears by llama poop for gardening...she said it doesn't smell as bad as the other does....I'm not enough of a gardener to try it....but thought I'd pass on the recommendation!

I'm glad to see a new blog from you...I love reading yours!

February 22, 2009 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Keith from Ohio said...

Hey Lynette, I haven't been in touch for awhile since I really haven't had much to share that is positive, but since you asked.

My bookstore is about two months from oblivion when my lease runs out. I'd move, but why? Business in my hometown is so bad. Everything fell off the table after Christmas.

But it is good to see some enthusiastic readers out there. Wish there were more of us.

So now I sit here day after day and look for jobs to apply for online.

My old office in Army Recruiting was set to hire me back a few weeks ago. I had worked there for six years and am a Federal re-employment eligible. All I had to do was make the list of eligibles.Piece of cake.

I received my non-referred notice in an e-mail about 10 days ago. The only reason I wasn't referred was that I honestly listed my typing wpm as 35. I didn't notice they wanted 40. I would have lied like everyone else had I noticed it but the job was never a typing heavy position.

$38K a year, health insurance and the best benefits and job security in the country. Gone, baby, gone.

After a colossal drinking binge/breakdown I got to explain to everyone who asked what 'Kafkaesque' means.

Hope you make it to Mexico. If you run into Joe Bageant there or hop over to Belize, tell him I said 'hi.'


February 23, 2009 10:16 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

anonymous - -k. ~ i don't know why crying over that book seems right, but it does. i think . . . oh hell, i don't know. but i was surprised, upon finishing it, that my sister, who lives in outer wingnuttia, had recommended it. never know.

doralong ~ if you beat me to mexico, honey, i'll just move in with you :-) thanks for visiting. i did catch up with you and you've been busy.

February 23, 2009 10:33 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

Greg ~ So sorry to hear about the liver problems and diabetes. So distressing. After my husband became ill (liver, diabetes, pancreas, every other fucking thing), I went into full blown panic. Milk thistle. I believe it works. From severe cirrhosis, Mike now has normal liver enzymes and good liver function. Hope.

Maggie, if I knew some llamas I'd follow them around with a little scoop. That's one reason I like bunny poop, it's just so fresh and barnyardy green smelling even when hot out of the chute ;-) But well composted manure of any kind has the most delicious smell. I love it. Llamas! So sweet!!

Keith! Ugh. I'm SO fucking sorry to hear about the store. Not a good time to be in retail, is it? I am sick for you . . . 5 fucking words a minute? How important is it????

February 23, 2009 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Michele said...

Ms. Lynette - I know this is a use of energy you'd prefer to spend on splendid sugar snaps - and who can blame you - but please find your local chapter of the National certification for your accountant and file a grievance/protest now. CC your new friends at the IRS. What she has failed to do is beyond repulsive.

You may have to use certified mail/process server etc but it is up to you to prove to IRS that your accountant has not acted in good faith. I'm so sorry. I worked for 8 years for an amazing woman (enrolled agent) who worked like a tiger for all of her clients. This is malpractice.

We're cleaning house. I'm sending the Kiwi to hang out with boys in Ft. Lauderdale next weekend (rugby). My 15 year old son has straight As (lordy) and my 10 year old son likes to clean his room. LIfe is good. Spring is coming.

February 23, 2009 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why move to Mexico? I don't want to do that.

February 23, 2009 6:29 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thanks for the Milk Thistle tip, Lynette. Several people have told me I should take it, but your recommendation means more to me, knowing the journey that Mike has made. It's comforting to know that you can come back from the brink like that - it's all about the brink here at my Doctor's Surgery and I'm glad for the hope. At least it keeps me from worrying about the economy!!

February 23, 2009 7:39 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

Ms. Michele ~ I should do those things, I'm considering it. I feel sorry for my accountant. She hit a rough patch last year (though how that explains 2006, I don't know). I hate to kick a woman when she's down. If she keeps not answering the phone, though, I may whack her with my little purse gun. Or file a complaint ;-)

On the whole, you're right, life is good. I need to always remember that... thanks for visiting, missy.

February 24, 2009 10:00 AM  
Blogger Mari said...

Hi Belle, I am new to your blog by way of Chris' Rants and Raves. She's right, you are fantastic! I am so happy to hear someone else call republicans obstructionist bastards! I accidentally heard McCain speak and I was hopping mad in my kitchen last night! Had to turn it off. Republicans are bringing this economy down purposely with their doom and gloom, in addition to the obvious meltdowns we've had, they don't want President Obama to succeed, and they should be branded as UN-AMERICAN just as they were so wont to do over the last eight years to others. ok, I'm all better now! As for books, my favorite this winter was Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. My reading has been very light this winter, but I enjoyed her a great deal!

February 24, 2009 12:25 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

Ah Belle, it's wonderful to hear what you've been up to. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I've gone through this to such a tiny degree with my grandfather and it my heart broke in 100 different ways everyday.

Please keep writing. Lovely to hear from you.

February 24, 2009 8:08 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I forgot to ask you if you got any word on the results of the Okie blog awards???? will you let us know?

February 25, 2009 12:22 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

Hey Greg ~ that milk thistle really seemed to help. Even when Mike was sickest, his liver enzymes started going down when he took it. Be sure to get the pure silymarin. Hope it works for you.

Hi Mari! Thanks for visiting. I haven't read that book, but I'll put it on my list at the library :-)

LSL . . . I miss you. I'll be by later.

And Chris, my favorite TR didn't win best cultural blog, which is a travesty. And of course I did not win for writing, and did not expect to, as I've been flying under the radar here among the Okie bloggers and my writing is hardly up to snuff. But it was certainly nice to have been nominated. It was fun. Got to read some fellow Oklahomans who made me feel not quite so alone in my 33% status (66% for McCain, 33% Obama ;-) )

February 25, 2009 5:18 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

It's not about the politics, girl, it's about the writing...I checked them all out, and you were hands down the best in my book! I'll always be there to read you!

February 25, 2009 7:54 PM  
Blogger jenx67 said...

w/ absolutely no intention of trying to make you feel bad: i just wanted to say - i'd give absolutely anything for my dad to call one. more. time. it's never going to happen. he turns 79 wednesday. and, you know what? the pick's disease, the alzheimer's such f*******.

that spiced chai sounds so awesome. it will cure my blues soon, too.

March 02, 2009 5:13 PM  
Blogger opit said...

I had the luck to find a bunch of newsbloggers that do a good job of keeping up on enviro news : which is much more cheerful than my catalogue of political malaise and world dysfunction.
I know what the Blue Funk is like - and that's bad for a fellow with Bugs Bunny tendencies !
The idjits are known as trolls - and do seem to be a fixture whenever dialogue gets hot and heavy. Derailing discourse is their game ; they make it easy to remember the trite summary of conversational engagement : "Only worry about the opinions of those whose opinion you value."
Opit's LinkFest!

March 06, 2009 4:40 PM  
Blogger T.R. said...

I love you Lynette! And I plan to follow you to Mexico - either state is fine. I can't wait to make the chicken in your honor.

Yes Chris, Lynette was robbed at the Oklahoma Blog Awards but in the end - losing was winning - as the awards turned into a mommy-blogger popularity contest.

March 12, 2009 9:59 PM  

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