Friday, June 05, 2009

Quotes, cousins, and a quandry

A quote I like: Rosemary grows in the garden of a strong woman. I want to believe it's true, because I have two huge rosemary bushes in my front flower beds. The neighbors come and help themselves often, though I always tell them to take sprigs from the top just in case a stray dog has been by. My oregano is growing out of hand, and cutting it back may be a project for the weekend. The basil is thriving and growing large, and I still have pesto in the freezer from last year! But my cilantro has done a funny thing--it was a small, not tiny, normal looking cilantro when I got it but now all the cilantro leaves have fallen off and it has sprouted all these tall stems with fernlike leaves and tiny white flowers. Jay keeps telling me not to cut them back because they are seeding themselves. Meanwhile, it looks half pretty, half weird, and I buy cilantro when I want need to use it.

Wednesday a friend gave me flowers cut from her magnolia bush--I didn't know they were anything but trees, but Greg, my great yard man, said he wanted to look at them and see what kind of magnolia they are (I didn't know there were different kinds either). I keep wanting to plant something along the hurricane fence of the dog yard, where it will get plenty of sun. But I know better than to let honeysuckle get a hold.

My cousin in Canada, for whom I am the only living relative and hold power of attorney, was moved today from a private retirement home to a provincial nursing home. She is apparently difficult and had gotten too hard for the retirement folks to handle, plus this will slow the drain on her resources--she is now living off the principal and not the income of her trust, though she doesn't understand this and keeps writing checks, some good sized, to animal welfare groups. I am hoping this will be a move for the better, but I know it will be difficult--she won't understand and will be angry. The people at the new home that I've talked to are lovely and friendly but amazed when they ask when I last saw Jenny and I say I was about 14. Jenny's been bipolar--I don't know the specific diagnosis--since her late teens (she's just that much older than I). She hasn't had a happy life, and it makes me sad. But without me, she would have no one looking after her welfare or finances, and I remember my dad when I was a teenager saying, "You will look after Jenny, won't you?" So I'm fulfilling the promise as best I can long distance. I cannot understand Jenny on the phone, but I will call the nurses' station tonight and ask how the transfer went. And I asked everyone to assure her that I thought this was for the best.

My quandry: a man called me today who had been referred by one of the writers for Fort Worth's Star-Telegram. He has written a book about the rush to produce nuclear weapons during the Cold War and its effect on the people who worked to make them. My understanding was that he wanted me to edit and write a blurb, so I asked if he objected to $20 an hour, which is less than I would normally charge. He said "Just to read it?" But it's 650 pages about a subject on which I have no expertise. I think that will be one of the perils of retirement--people will think I have all that free time and won't mind reading their manuscripts, etc. But careful reading of 650 pages would take a big chunk out of my time. And I do want to free lance, not give away whatever talents I have. But the man sounded so astounded that I am feeling a bit guilty--or greedy.

It's Friday night, which usually means Jacob is here. I can hear him playing in his bed though he's not singing tonight. We had hot dogs for dinner--chicken for him and lowfat Hebrew National for me, but he had a small new potato with nonfat yogurt, which I didn't have, and when he didn't eat it, I found myself taking bites. Surely I don't have to count those on Weight Watchers! I also snatched some blueberries off his plate because he didn't seem interested. The last few days, after the debacle of the cooking class, I have done really well on my Weight Watchers points. Monday will tell if I've lost weight or gained--oh my! You're only supposed to weigh once a week. Sometimes the suspense is too much.

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