Was It Ever A Problem?

Have you ever started with the best of plans, following the directions to a letter, and somehow you end up with a mistake on your hands? You see, dear friends, the other day, I thought I could have a bit of sparkle to my dull hair. Nothing too drastic; just restore a bit of the shine to it.

Somehow, despite following the directions of the savior shampoo, I ended up with no shine and a strange steel-grey hue to it. It was not the look I was going for. However, it is the look I now have. The lovely representatives for the shampoo company told me that I could wash steel color out of it in a few washes.

So far, I’ve washed it three times, and sure, the steel grey is lightening up, but the sparkle isn’t there either. Beloved assures me there was nothing wrong with my hair before this promising shampoo, and he assures me that it will be fine again.

It’s kind of him. However, it doesn’t resolve the problem I saw before I started down this adventure. Maybe that is the thing. It was a problem only in my mind, and as a result, I fixed what didn’t need fixing. Except now, well now, it does need fixing.

The Summit

Across the pond in the back garden, there is a small hill. It’s more of a gentle bump than an actual hill; however, Beloved still calls it a hill. He and the four-footed one like to ‘summit’ this hill on warm days. Not hot days, mind you. Hot days are meant for down at the pond.

They also avoid the hill during the rain for their own reasons. The four-footed one doesn’t enjoy getting wet from the rain. (We did buy her a raincoat, complete with a hood; however, she rejects the hood.) Beloved says that there is a path on the hill, and when it rains enough, that path becomes slippery and dangerous.

Neither of them are walking the hills these days. Beloved says it isn’t fair to go there without the four-footed one, and since her leg is still broken, she’s not allowed to walk there. I know, in theory, he could carry her there. In theory, he could. But the reality is different.

You see, the four-footed one doesn’t stay still while you carry her. Instead, she insists on wiggling this way and squirming that way either to get a better view or in hopes you will put her down. We know this from the small amounts we have to carry her in the house. It’s hard enough moving this squirming mass of determined dog short distances on flat, level ground. I cannot imagine taking her over the uneven land outside.

So the hill will sit unconquered for now. It will wait patiently for the two of them to return to their activities and desire to summit it once more.

Harvest To Kitchen

Beloved was a happy man, up to his elbows in ripe tomatoes. He was roasting some, broiling some, and others still were being cooked down to a sauce.

You’d never know it by looking, but we already had roasted tomatoes in the freezer, sauce in jars waiting to be given away, and a Picante sauce also ready to be passed out. Neighbors kept bringing us these juicy fruits, and Beloved, in turn, would make several side dishes out of them and promptly share his work with the same neighbors who gave him the tomatoes, to begin with.

Beloved doesn’t mind the long hours he spends in the kitchen when these types of harvests come in. After all, the bountiful time is short, and one must do all one can to savor and keep those beautiful flavors alive long after the season is gone.

I stay out of the kitchen while this is happening. During these times, the kitchen is Beloved’s domain. I’m more than happy to act as quality control and sample his work before sharing it with neighbors.

Our neighbors, in the end, delight in trying new things that Beloved has made while marveling at how much he has created.

Nailing It

“Get your nails done,” she told me as she pushed the paper into my hands. This was the second time this year that my neighbor had given me a coupon to get my nails done for free at the local nail salon.

The first time I ended up with not just a manicure but some special hand treatment that involved wax and a lovely smelling lotion. It was delightful and not something I would have ever done for myself.

This time was different because I had a deep rip on the side of one of my nails. The technician took one look at the tear and told me she could work with it so it would grow out and not get snagged on items. Who could turn something like this down? Not me.

So we tried a different approach, a different color, and we are good to go. You see, my neighbor thinks that I deserve nice things, like fancy nails and such. She also is the aunt of the salon owner. As an aunt, she receives coupons to get her nails done all the time. She says that at her age, it’s all silly. Apparently, I am not at that age yet.

When You’ve Had Enough, But It’s Not Time

The four-footed one is having issues with the whole concept of bed rest. We knew it would be a challenge when the vet mentioned something about four weeks of bed rest. We made it almost one week before the four-footed one decided she’d had enough of this whole resting business.

I understand her issue. Resting isn’t fun. It is a lot of boring stuff once you no longer need the actual rest and still require rest, so you stay off an injured limb. Once you are used to the new routine, it becomes rather dull, and there is so much still to do. In the four-footed one’s case are adventures to be had and smells to investigate.

Instead, she is stuck in the house, not even walking much because broken bones heal better if you aren’t putting weight on them.

If you are clever, like the four-footed one, you find ways to move around still. She’s mastered the art of walking upright on her hind legs. She’s figured out how to hobble along on three legs, although she’s not a fan. The four-footed one is done with snuggles and cuddles. Those actions were acceptable the first week of recovery. Now, she is ready to get back into life full steam ahead.

Shame my chronic conditions demand rest at times, and there’s no avoiding that.

Food Of The Gods

It wasn’t uncommon for Ambrosia salad to show up at significant family events when I was young. I loved these salads because they weren’t typical. No vegetables were present in the least. Instead, these salads were filled with all sorts of delicious things, like coconut, mini-marshmallows, and cream.

Typically these salads were prepared by older ladies in the family or neighborhood if it was a gathering of sorts. Imagine vast bowls of heavenly, fluffy “salad” that you can eat as much as you want because it’s a salad. The stuff of dreams if you are a small child.

I was shocked when Beloved told me he’s never even tried Ambrosia salad once. So naturally, I felt the need to fix this immediately. I mean, how does a person not at least try this delight once in their lives?

I gathered mini-marshmallows and coconut. Next, I bought heavy cream and cherries. Finally, I used fresh pineapple and grapes while adding canned mandarines to the mix. I was thrilled to find sour cream.

I ended up with enough Ambrosia salad to share with my neighbors too. It appears the salad of my childhood is an acquired taste as my neighbors said it was “different and once every many suns would be fine to try again.” Beloved, though, enjoyed it.

Washing Up

Here people wash their things by hand. They wash them with a local plant that produces a soap-like substance, and when the water rinses clean, they lay their items out on a clean sheet and let them dry in the sun.

This simple act allows the white cloth to stay brilliantly bright and everything clean and fresh. The downside to this type of cleaning is that it is time-consuming. Typically the time and energy are expended by females while the men take up other types of work.

Beloved manages the hand-washing in our house. Mind you, the stuff he washes tends to be delicate lacey shawls I’ve purchased at the market. Unfortunately, the same stunning shawls are lightweight when dry and impossibly heavy when wet.

Given the state of my hands, I’m unable to carry out the work myself. So instead, I wear the shawls so the beautiful artwork can be seen and admired by many, and Beloved makes sure they are looking their best all the time. It’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?

At least, that’s how Beloved explains the circumstances to me. It makes it a bit better and reduces the guilt when Beloved has to wash them while I accept once again that lupus doesn’t let me do things how I want.

Not The Kind Of Girls

The four-footed one isn’t the kind of girl who wants to relax. Of course, she will do it at times, especially in the sunshine. But for her, relaxing is a short-term thing. The four-footed one is a girl who’s usually on the go.

She recently broke her leg, a severe break at that, and now she must rest and stay off the leg. Having to remain still and calm sucks in her world. She wants to run and jump. She wants to meet people at the door and explore all that’s going on. In other words, as far as she is concerned, her current requirement for confinement is a form of torture. Not to mention it is grossly unfair to her.

I can understand where she is coming from and even how impossible it can seem to rest when that’s not your nature. But, after all, things don’t slow down because you need to relax or take things easy. The butterflies still come to the garden, and honestly, they should be chased, except, of course, you can’t chase them.

The four-footed one loves to walk, and she’s not allowed to do that right now, which has created a battle of wars between herself and Beloved. He takes her outside to do her business, and she decides she should go for a walk. She refuses to take the weight off her leg, so he has to pick her up, and then she gets angry with him. To be fair, poor Beloved has to deal with me too, and I’m more like the four-footed one.

Unexpected Surprise

Beloved decided he would try and cut his hair rather than make the hour journey into town. Oh, sure, he could have had a local barber cut his hair, but Beloved is a bit strange when it comes to his hair.

So when he announced he was cutting his hair, I took the four-footed one down near the pond where we relaxed in the cool breeze. I had visions of Beloved deciding to go short right away and accidentally cutting his hair so short in some places that he’d need to shave his head for it to grow back correctly.

He didn’t do that, but he also did not get the results he wanted. Finally, he came to show me what he had accomplished and asked if I could fix it. There were spots he missed cutting it and other places where it was shorter than most of his hair.

I know how he likes to wear his hair, shorter on the sides and back with just the right length left on top. I suggested he try the barber in the local market. In the form of defeat, Beloved was getting ready to go over when our neighbor came out of the house and offered to fix Beloved’s hair.

She cut his hair exactly as he wanted it, trimmed his beard, and returned him home with green tomatoes. Somehow, the decision was arrived upon that she would cut Beloved’s hair for him when he wanted. She said it was nothing for her to do, especially since we always pick up their larger market orders.

Getting To The Bottom Of It

Knowing hands worked through the tight spots with confidence. I marveled at these hands when they shifted to do work beneath the inside of my ankle bone. I’d not thought that anyone would massage that area of my foot. But, of course, I also never thought about how a person could hold tension in that spot either.

It felt different. It was relaxing and yet odd all at once. Still, those hands worked the spot thoroughly. And when he moved from there to the instep of my foot, I realized that I felt looser somehow.

I was mentioning this Carlos when he started working, really working, on my instep. My breath seemed to be stuck as he ran his knuckles firmly into my instep. Three times he carried out this action, and suddenly it was as if my toes were alive and resting all at the same time.

Carlos wasn’t finished, of course. He moved to work underneath my toes. Any last bit of tension just disappeared, and my foot felt like jelly.

My other foot received the same type of treatment. Carlos spent less time near my ankle and more time on my instep this time.

By the end of it, I was surprised at how much better my feet felt (Carols had ‘read’ that I had tension issues somehow) and also how in less than 15 minutes, Carlos had managed to make me feel utterly relaxed and ready to finish my research.