It's such a pleasant place to wash dishes I'm dirtying cups and plates and pans so I can stand in the sunshine among the flowers and enjoy chores.
Quite a few years ago my brother, a vegetarian, was coming to visit so I scouted around for some recipes we could barbeque and the first I tried was a hamburger substitute - a grilled portobello mushroom slapped between two slices of Kaiser roll, with mustard. Although I did everything the recipe described, it was nothing like a hamburger. I wouldn't say it was bad, but it did remind me of a boyhood joke about a shit sandwich.
Now, I am transitioning into some new eating habits and finding this battle with the devil a pleasant challenge.
This is a holiday long weekend at camp, so the perfect time to begin the process. I decided not to tell Mary about my newly diagnosed diabetes condition so I could just grab this one and get started. Well, camp and scotch go together like coffee and a cigarette (I fought that war and won about 20 years ago after 35 years of heavy smoking and 12 years trying to quit).
So far, so good. Pictured above are some of the treats Mary brought for the weekend - three kinds of cookies, my favorite cheezies, brownie mix, potato chips and nachos. I have to admit I was tempted during the afternoon as I drank my two Shirley Temples - a bountiful, delicious big glass full of dill pickle spears, tomato chunks, lemon slices, olives, tabasco sauce, Old Bay seasoning and topped off with Clamato juice and ice cubes. I've included a picture of those, too.
For the rest of the afternoon and evening I rode the high of ice water, straight from the lake, with a lemon wedge.
The devil kept it up. After supper Mary said, "I brought brownie mix out. Tomorrow we'll have brownies and ice cream." I could only smile and sing, "Mmmmm..."
This morning I was up and eager at 6:30. I thought maybe I'd have my mid morning snack right then and have a late breakfast when Mary got up, so I had a slice of toast (no butter) and the most miserly scoop of peanut butter I've ever threatened a slice of bread with. To my surprise I did get it to spread all over, but it was touch and go for awhile.
For breakfast a few hours later I fixed myself a single egg on dry toast and a single slice of bacon (cut in half so it seemed like more). Meantime, I kinda let the cat out of the bag, or I came out of the bag, and told Mary what was going on. I could only refuse so many cookies and desserts and second helpings before she might become suspicious and I really preferred she know I was on a diet than suspect I was behaving oddly because I was having an affair.
So, the weekend is starting off well. I waited til noon, then had my first Shirley Temple, followed closely by a second. Now I'm drooling over my tall frosty glass of lemon water and waiting for my mid afternoon snack. Today I can have trail mix - three raisins and two unsalted pistachios.
Living the dream!
When the clinic called a couple weeks ago and said Dr. M wanted to see me, a tiny red flag shot up, but I lowered it by convincing myself it was only a rescheduling of my routine semi-annual visit to refill prescriptions for my high blood pressure.
Still, I continued to have a slight question nagging in the background. Never mind that a few months ago on my regular visit the doctor had given me a long sheet - two pages, actually - of tests to be conducted at the hospital. He, somewhat nonchalantly, I thought, mentioned at the time that I could go right over and get everything taken care of as soon as I left his office.
I did place the sheets on the passenger seat of my truck with good intentions of hustling right over, if not exactly right then, probably by the next day, at least.
Then some mail got put on top of the papers, then some other stuff, bags of groceries, passengers' asses, spillings from cups of coffee as we hit a bump or two. I was aware, always, that I had to go get it done, but the time never seemed quite right, so I put it off more and more, and the corners curled and the sheets wrinkled and oil smears and dead flies added their signatures, until I thought maybe I'd just throw them away and tell the doc on my next visit, "Oops. Forgot..."
Finally, a couple weeks ago, with my next routine appointment in sight, I bit the bullet and took that raggedy bunch of papers to the hospital and got about 45 gallons of blood pulled out in a bunch of tiny, individual vials.
The next day the clinic called...
When the doctor saw me yesterday he didn't fool around. "You have diabetes," he told me. I didn't expect that, but I wasn't surprised. I really didn't want to hear news like that, but at the same time I was whewing silently, "Glad it isn't cancer."
So, I have joined about 25 per cent of North Americans with type 2 diabetes. It's serious and requires immediate action, but is hardly unique. I'm told this will likely reduce my lifespan by 5 - 15 years, though I don't know how anybody can figure something like that out, so I have simply added 15 years to my long-established wish to live to 107, and we're even on that score.
For the next three months (until my next tests - the papers for which are already on the passenger seat of my truck) I have to lose 20 pounds (piece of cake, ha, ha) and quit drinking alcohol (I think I now know a weekend that will be the one to quit).
So, my friends, next time we're partying or at a bar and someone asks, "Can I get you something to drink?" I don't want to hear any snickering nor see any sissy-finger pointing when I bark, in my best tough-guy rasp, "Give me a sasparilly... and make it snappy."
This afternoon I discovered tent caterpillars in my yard at home. Here are Greetem and Eatem, a couple very cute and colorful little creatures who are eying the poplar trees lining the driveway. This is today's view. I expect these guys and their families to harvest every last leaf from these trees within the next few days. They have already set up miniature picnic tables with sun umbrellas and signs with little arrows directing traffic to the lushest leaves.
Yesterday I finished two spoons that I had started at home last month when we couldn't get out to camp for a few weeks. My finishing tools were at camp, so had to wait.
As I was sitting on the deck sanding I noticed a big stand of poplar trees across the bay on the opposite shore totally defoliated. The tent caterpillars have arrived and will likely eat their way through the whole area in the next couple weeks. Although I killed a couple at camp last weekend they haven't hit here in numbers yet.
In their own right those little caterpillars are quite pretty and colorful. What a mess they make, though, when they arrive, hanging and falling from the trees. I don't know of a critter that squishes out so much "jelly" when you step on them or sit on them.
As I continued sanding I recalled that someone recently said they have a seven-year cycle. I thought someone told me a long time ago that it was a 17-year cycle.
After some more scotch - I had thought about quitting drinking this weekend, but with the warm temperatures and parched throat from all the sanding I figure it's best to hold off for awhile - I started wondering about cycles.
Rabbits, grouse, foxes, wolves are reputed to peak and ebb every seven years. Marriages supposedly suffer the seven-year itch. Life is full of cycles, many of which seem to be seven or 11 or 13 or 17 years.
That did it! I noted that these are all cycles featuring prime numbers! After a couple glasses of wine and some serious contemplation I realized that even this year - 2013 - is a prime number.
I believe I have discovered something. I don't quite know what, but it has to do with the relationship between cycles and prime numbers. I intend to ponder some more to figure out the implications.
Here's a picture of the two new spoons, in my patio planter of lettuce. We ate this season's first camp-grown lettuce today.
Swatting a mosquito caused me to pour some scotch and fall off the wagon.
As I was sitting quietly on the deck at camp, drinking iced tea and watching a spider legging along the rail, I suddenly spotted, out the corner of my eye, a gigantic bird flying past.
When I turned my head to get a look I saw that it was just a mosquito landing on my shoulder.
My mind immediately opened the pages of one of my favorite Edgar Allen Poe short stories - "The Sphinx" - and I was totally mesmerized as I watched the spider with the big red mark on its abdomen, swatted the mosquito, and flashed through visions of Poe's moth on the kitchen window screen.
The process caused me to wonder if mosquitoes go to heaven. I've never heard anybody ask that question and I've never wondered about it before. (I know some people think dogs go to heaven. Some think they don't. Others imagine that dogs have their own "Doggy Heaven." I don't know what to think, so I just let it lie.)
I'm thinking if all the mosquitoes that have ever lived are in heaven now it can't really be such a cool place to go. Then I thought, "Ah ha! Mosquitoes have their own heaven!" Maybe "Mosquito Heaven" is what we call "Hell."
As I wiped the mosquito remains off my shoulder and tried to feed it to the spider I quickly forgot the Sphinx, jumped out of my chair, exclaiming, "This is not the weekend to quit drinking."
As I start my second scotch I know I'm no closer to the truth about heavens and hells, but I'm much more content in my ignorance.
Cheers! Bottoms up!