Life has been mostly quiet and mostly slow the past couple of weeks. I am grateful for that because I've been miserable with joint pain. It's been so hot and humid, with pop-up thunder and lightning storms; perfect weather for arthritis flare-ups. I've been moving slowly or not at all, reading a lot of books, taking pain pills, napping, icing my knees, falling asleep with the heating pad under my back (no lectures, please -- I got one with automatic shut-off so I could fall asleep without worrying), picking raspberries and running errands when I could, making jam, writing letters, doing laundry... my usual boring life. I like having a boring life; the times life has gotten exciting has almost always involved stress, expenses, property damage and health issues.
Today wasn't as hot or humid and it didn't rain, so I am feeling better. No pain pills were needed at all today -- not even a Tylenol! I was able to get out and run some errands without moaning and groaning every time I got in or out of the van. This is a vast improvement. Now if I could just stop clenching my teeth... I realized I'd started doing that again when my molars started hurting on one side. I'm making a conscious effort to stop, but I usually only think about it when those teeth start hurting because I'm doing it again. Sigh. It's not as annoying as the eye twitch I usually get when I'm feeling stressed, so I've got that going for me.
Tuesday night my cousin is flying in from California. I've been trying to prepare for her visit and I mostly just need to do a little sweeping and dusting to finish up. I haven't stressed out too much about the house because on Wednesday morning my cousin and I are leaving for Washington Island, Wisconsin to visit another cousin for a few days. This will involve driving my van onto a ferry which will be a new and somewhat frightening experience for me. I want to come home the long way, across the Upper Peninsula and the Straits of Mackinac which will involve driving across the Mackinac bridge - another frightening prospect. But I'm still working on facing my fears and trying to overcome them... at least in the moment. If we make good time across the U.P., we might stay overnight in Traverse City. If the bridge completely unnerves me, we might stop in Mackinaw City. I just hope we don't poop out somewhere in the middle of the wilderness of the U.P. My knowledge of the U.P. is based solely on the movie Escanaba In Da Moonlight and the stage play Escanaba In Love both written by actor Jeff Daniels. I have a feeling the reality might be a little more normal (but I hope not too normal).
Joyouswind has been taking two accelerated classes online this summer through Ball State University. They are the first of ten classes (I think) she needs to complete her second Master's Degree. She took the final exams last weekend and she got an A in both classes. Woohoo! Proud mama here!
Boo has been a naughty dog twice in the past week, above and beyond his usual obnoxiousness. I tell him to go to time out and he picks up a toy and saunters into his kennel. I put a blanket over his kennel for a few minutes and he doesn't make a sound. When I pull the blanket off the kennel, he's sprawled out with his toy taking a nap. When I unlock the kennel, he shoots me a look, stretches and lays back down refusing to come out. The dog has an abundance of attitude to make up for his lack of remorse. He's also taken to going out of his way to sneeze on my feet. I suppose I shouldn't be complaining at his summer misbehavior and just be grateful the long winter is over and I don't have to shove my feet into snow boots and tramp through three feet of snow in my nightgown to fetch him from the middle of the yard at 2 AM because he refuses to come inside and go to bed. I know those nights will be back in a few months and I'm not looking forward to them.
I got to use my field guide to mushrooms the other day. Brett found a weird looking, slimy yellow mushroom growing under the pine tree in our yard. The underside was spongy looking instead of ribbed. It was a Chicken Fat Mushroom (also known as American Slippery Jack, scientific name Suillus Americanus) which only grows under Eastern White Pine trees.
I found this photo online. The one in our yard was slimier, more yellow, and had big brown moldy looking spots on it. Very icky looking, but not as nasty as the stinkhorn mushroom I found in our yard one summer.
So that's been my life lately. I probably won't take my laptop with me to the island since there's not much in the way of internet or cell phone coverage there. The only reason I'm even thinking about it is so I can upload photos from my camera while I'm there. I don't think it will be worth the bother.
Be good, peeps; I'll catch up with you in a week or so.