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Finding Peace

noose

Peace

My head reels with the stinging pain of last night’s events.

Thoughts of you caused me to become disobedient.

At least this time it was a strong dose of alcohol.

You always said I would forever be your babydoll.

I remember a time when you loved with such passion.

You said no woman you’ve loved would fair in comparison.

The adoration you gave me was overwhelming.

I didn’t see the wound inside you festering.

I’ll never forget your white boy face and deep brown eyes.

Mystic, somber pools of emotion that terrifies.

Something behind them obsessed your heart and inner soul.

I felt myself helplessly falling onto a black hole.

I often think back to what you said pushed you to the edge.

That even a mere glance of me was your sole privilege.

Your possessiveness and insults made me such a wreck.

I saw the love in your heart through the marks on my neck.

I tried to leave but you wouldn’t pardon my release.

Hunting me down wherever I went to find inner peace.

You thought you couldn’t exist without having me.

There was no way in your mine I’d ever be free.

I finally decided I had to end this fate.

The pain and suffering wouldn’t let me hesitate.

I still feel your haunting stare upon me behind the shadows.

But at least I know it was coming from the gallows.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Juvenile Male Cardinal ~ Cardinalis cardinalis

Happy Valentines Day!

I though today would be a great day to write about cardinals.

Cardinals are monogamous birds whose relationships with their spouses are harmonious, romantic and musical. The male and female sing duets, calling similar songs to each other. Native American lore says if a cardinal crosses your path or attracts your attention, and you’re single, there may be a romantic relationship in your near future. If you’re already in a relationship, you may experience renewed romance and courtship. If you or your partner have been unfaithful, monogamy is the cardinal’s message

     

Cardinals make a distinct ‘chirp’, that my ears pick-up quickly. I was home writing posts, when I heard the call. This little guy was under the suet puck I have hanging from a shepherd’s hook. Mr. Squirrel was up on the puck, gobbling and dropping a lot of crumbs. Perfect situation for Mr. Cardinal! I crept up to the window and looked down, hoping not to spook him. The cardinals at work are very skittish. Any movement at all has them flying off. This guy here had no fear. As long as the crumbs rain down on him, he was happy and not worried about who looked at him.

Cardinalis cardinalis is what’s called a tautonym: zoological names of species consisting of two identical words (the generic name and the specific name have the same spelling). Such names are allowed in zoology, however not in botany. Clearly, like I’ve said before, botanist’s are EVIL!!! Click here to see the long list of tautonyms available from the Wiki. Some of my favorites: Bison bison, Chinchilla chinchilla, Iguana iguana, Gorilla gorilla. 😉

My gift to you on Valentine’s day; a romantic Native American legend.

The Red Bird

A Choctaw Legend

Once, when time was not quite old enough to be counted, there lived a beautiful Indian maiden. This was a special maiden. She could do all the work that needed to be done to keep her lodge in order and to satisfy her mate. But this maiden did not have what she longed for — her mate. As she sat under the large tree one day, she heard the Red Bird.

“Red Bird, is it so strange for me to wish to have someone to care for, who will care for me?” asked the maiden. “If it is not so strange, why have I not found that one meant for me?”

The Red Bird had no answer for the Indian maiden, but he sat and listened to her because he could hear the lonely in her voice. Every morning for the passing of seven suns, the Red Bird came and listened to the maiden’s story. As each day passed, the loneliness felt by the maiden began to fill the Red Bird.

One day in the Red Bird’s far travels, he came to a handsome Indian brave. The brave saw the Red Bird and called him to him. As he began to talk, the Red Bird felt the loneliness in his voice that the maiden had shown. Soon the Red Bird began to see that these two lonely people had the same wish, to find another who would love and care for them as they would care for their mate.

On the fifth day of listening to the brave, the Red Bird became as a bird that is sick. The brave became concerned, for the Red Bird had become his friend. As the brave walked toward him, the Red Bird began hopping, leading the brave to the lodge of the Indian maiden. Because the brave was wanting to see if the Red Bird was alright, he did not notice that he was going from his home. The Red Bird saw the Indian maiden sitting outside of her lodge and when he came very close to where he knew the brave would then see the Indian maiden, he flew away. The brave saw the Indian maiden and realized that he had wandered far from his home. He went to the Indian maiden to ask where he was.

The Red Bird sat in the tree and watched the brave and the maiden. At first the brave was shy and the maiden would not talk, but they soon were talking and laughing like old friends.

Red Bird saw this and thought it was good. He had done as he could and now it would be up to the brave and the maiden. As Red Bird flew to his home he thought of how Great Spirit had known that someday the two would find each other. Now it was good, thought Red Bird, that maiden had someone who would see for her and brave had someone that would hear for him and that they finally had someone who would care.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Hope He Makes It….

Although I didn’t sleep in a Holiday Inn last night or have any previous experience being a tow truck driver…. I have been a past member of Mensa, and think I may be able to comment on this situation without anyone questioning my intelligence. I think anyone with basic common sense will agree with me.

One of our Ford F450 trucks blew a transmission. We put it up on Craig’s List for a quick, cheap sale. The ad read, “You will need to tow the truck away upon purchase.” A potential buyer came out, gave us an offer and we yelled, “SOOOOOOLD!” He scheduled a pick-up the next day.

Does anyone else see any potential problems here? Let’s see if we can just point out a few… I don’t want to start your Monday out too hard now!

  • The front tire is barely on the bed. The heaviest part of the truck, along with a plow, dangles precariously off the edge. What you can’t see is the rusted connections holding the plow on. Oh! No red flag on the plow either.
  • The truck on the bed is a F450… the tow truck is a F250. Hmmm, just a bit of a weight difference. While it was being hoisted up onto the bed, the front end of the tow truck came off the ground. There was a moment when I thought the whole thing would flop backwards, however the operator got lucky as the pivot-point went back forward and the wheels touched ground again.
  • No one thought how smart it would have been to put the plow into the back of the truck, and point the truck forward. Well, except for me, staring out the window watching.
  • Maybe had the destination only been down the street, I would have had move confidence in the safety of this trip… However, this truck was destine for South Chicago, a good 2 hour ride, via highways.

In the end, I didn’t hear of any accidents involving this get-up. Granted, had I rolled up behind this, I would have given it a w i d e berth. 

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Happiness

cryingeyeLightning illuminates the raindrops upon my lashes with the crash of thunder forcing me to open my lids to the grim reality of the vision of you through the glistening orbs as opposed to seeing you through my own eyes as thoughts of you dance upon my mind my skin tingles from the yearning of your touch and my heart drops down to the pit of my stomach where the ache has become unbearable from the painful emotions buried deep inside my soul burning to bring themselves out and envelop the very essence of your being that has taken over my heart that longs so much to have you possess it and bring it back from its despairing hollow state of worthlessness that has encased me for too long but with my own mind’s eye I see the love you send me through only your words and the clouds clear to show the rays though the silver linings of your soul completely filling the empty parts of my body with joy and the nurturing you have so much to offer my heart that to share your soul would mean my ultimate happiness.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Alone

manonbeach

Alone

All alone in the moonlight,

I envision your face again tonight.

Images still make me cry.

Feelings consume me, I try to deny.

Day breaks; I try to be free,

but your memory is haunting me.

Oh, there’s nothing I can do,

I only feel emptiness without you.

The last time you made me depart,

you thrust a knife deep inside my heart.

But the pieces will begin to mend,

when someone has another to lend.

Never will you ever find,

someone to treat you so very kind.

Someone to take care of you,

now that you’ve said we’re through.

I hope the emptiness of your frozen heart,

makes you realize you have to make a start,

to sort your feelings out inside,

and get rid of all that false pride.

Think about what I’ve said,

and all my poems you’ve read.

Love is a two way street,

and it doesn’t start with everyone you meet.

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Boxed Dinners ~ Activities for Foodie Couples

imageIf you haven’t heard about these blessings in a box, they are called Meal Delivery Services, and they are being shipped to most locations worldwide. I think they are an awesome idea for folks wanting to learn how to cook, learn new meals, save money and time, stuck in a ‘food rut’ (us), along with dieting or even just eating better!  We’ve batted this idea around for a bit… Having fresh ingredients arrive at our door to make meals for a few nights a week. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a savings or an expense. My husband really took a hold of this idea and ran with it. He compared many of the Dinner Box companies that deliver in our area. He decide Blue Apron was the best fit for us. They source the food as local as possible to me. I love supporting my community.

When he told me about the future box coming, he had sparkles in his eyes. He was genuinely excited to cook these meals! He then tells me the most mushy, lovey-dovey thing… “I can’t wait to spend time with you in the kitchen cooking these meals.” Awe! What a Sweety-Pie!!! I love you, honey.

Our first three meals arrived on a Friday. We picked Friday, so we would have more time to cook the meals over the weekend. The part I really like is that the amounts are per-determined, and there is no waste or leftovers. I feel like we waste too much food here. Another huge pro for going with this arrangement.

There are also beautifully done recipe cards with photos for most of the steps in the recipe. If there is something missing on the card, you can always go to their website to learn how to reproduce the technique they are asking you to do. There are many how-to videos, other recipes and comments from other Blue Apron clients.

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Lemon Caper Catfish, Chicken Paillard and Bucatini Pasta Bolognese, were our weeks choices. In plain English: Lemon catfish w/kale, Chicken & potatoes & Spaghetti w/meat sauce. There are generally 3 meat meals and 3 vegetarian meals, for a total of 6 meals to choose from for a week. Blue Apron only offers 3 meals a week, whereas other companies do offer 2 -7 meals a week. As I am a carnivore, the veggie meals are somewhat wasted on me. Yes, roasted cauliflower sounds yummy, but that is a side dish, not the centerpiece of the meal.

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The Chicken Paillard was to die for! I have never roasted a fennel before and I have been missing out! If you’ve never done it, buy one in the next grocery run. They are amazing roasted. We figured even if we didn’t like some part of the meal, it would introduce us to other types of food and how to cook it. A con was the size of the potato. It was smaller than my fist, and we had to split it. I get it. It’s called PORTION CONTROL 😉 Fatty-Fat-Fat!

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Sometimes we had to read the directions 10X to wrap our minds around something. The directions for the Bucatini Pasta Bolognese had us cooking veggies and sauce before we cooked the meat in the veggies. Huh? I’ve generally always cooked the meat first, then added other ingredients. This recipe also had us adding chopped brussels sprouts near the end of the process. In the end, it was a super yummy meal. I still like my spaghetti sauce better (I use pork shoulder), however I will now add carrot, celery and chopped brussels sprouts to mine!

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Here is the Lemon Caper Catfish. The catfish was great. It was on a bed of lentils and kale. I like many veggies, but you lost me at both lentils and kale. Blech! I can say that the lentils were not the same kind my Mom used for soup. These were called the ‘caviar of lentils’ and even resembled it. They were actually pretty good. Not the texture of dirt, like my Ma’s. The kale was kale. There was no helping it. In the end, I would just do this recipe with spinach and call it a day.

My hubby and I are very pleased with our choices, the turnout and the amount of fun we’ve been having in the kitchen. I’d really have to wait for more data, however the total amount of groceries and the Blue Apron box were even last week, thus it is a wash, budget wise. YEAH!! I would highly suggest trying one of these services out! Even if it’s just for a week here and there. I love that we don’t have to argue about ‘what’s for dinner?’ or spend time making a list or being pissed that we forgot something at the store!! I feel like this may take a lot of stress away from us, which makes it worth its weight in gold.
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I can’t wait for our next box and our next foodie adventure!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

My Mom’s Favorite Thing…

imageI’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering. I have had some stuff since I don’t know when. Time to cut some ties. If I ever intend on becoming a full-time RV-er, the load must be lightened.

I did come across some things I totally forgot I had. Yup. The problems of a hoarder 😉

I did find one of my Mothers favorite things.

This it a ‘Round Tuit’. These are worth their weight in gold, and then some. These can move mountains, end wars or make a child clean their room…

Just in case it was only your first cup of coffee this morning, ‘Round Tuit’ is a play on words, re-interpreting the idiom to get around to it as get a round tuit. First used at the 1964 World’s Fair which was held in Queens (Flushing).

I bet you’ll put it on your Christmas list now, huh?!?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

My 8 Year, Pent-up Rant

imageThis is clearly an opinion piece, read at your own risk.

It’s been about 8 years since the window in my living room fogged up and my view of the world was a blur. I finally gathered up my pennies and had a new one recently installed. Ah, that’s better. A clear view. The dogs don’t even have to jump up to see out. No more damaged sills. =-)

The window broke about the same time Obama took office. I was devastated. Not feeling much different that the Hillary followers do now. Did anyone remember the Canadian Citizenship site crashed for many that faithful day also, just like when Trump was voted in? Nah, ‘Mericans’ memories are short. I remember I slumped into a slight depression, however hoped that the next 4 years would fly by uneventfully. Maybe the Democratic congress won’t totally screw the middle class… Ha. I’m still sore from the experience.

Gas prices went up to $5.00, my house’s worth dropped $100,000, jobs were no where to be found, foreclosures rose to new levels…. Ugh! Now you’re going to tell me you’re going to make me pay for insurance I don’t need (maternity, ect)? Good god, what is happening to this country??? Have we gone socialist???

The inauguration of Trump yesterday couldn’t have come fast enough in my opinion. It didn’t happen fast enough for folks signing up for healthcare for 2017. Sadly, we still had to conform to the healthcare plan where if you make more than $46,700.00, you’re part of the 1%!! Remember, that is gross salary, the take home there is only about $35,000. 00.

Last year, I had a silver plan with Land of Lincoln insurance, which cost me $330.00 a month ($3,960.00 for the year). It was the only health plan that was accepted at the 2 closest hospitals to me. Go figure, LOL insurance had to liquidate as of last October. I got on a crappy temporary plan for the last three months, and hoped I wouldn’t need medical attention.

When the market opened in November, I started searching for my next plan. I was utterly dumbfounded. There were no longer any companies accepted by the 2 closest hospitals to me, one 8 minutes away, the other 12 minutes. I will now need to travel 40 minutes to the closest hospital. What if I’m unconscious? I have added my request to my ICE in my phone, however I’m not about to wear a medical bracelet or tattoo my chest with, “BRING ME TO AN IN-NETWORK HOSPITAL!”.

So, not only am I forced to drive to another county to go to the hospital, a comparable silver plan to 2016 was now going to cost me $890.00 per month! That is nearly an additional $560 a month, totaling $10, 680.00 per year for insurance. That’s a helluva inflation rate! And I am stuck in a monopoly situation. There is only 1 insurance carrier for my county, BCBS. How the hell did that happen? Usually, here in ‘Merica, free trade and competition keeps prices down… However, not here in northern Illinois!

In the end, I went down to a bronze plan for $520.00 a month ($6,240.00 a year), so I didn’t loose all my income. It’s still near double what I had to pay last year.

My congressman, Randy Hultgren, had this to say in a recent email:

This year, three of the seven counties in the 14th Congressional District are left with one insurance issuer, leaving residents of McHenry, Lake and Kendall Counties with a true insurance monopoly. Kane, Will and DeKalb Counties will be left with only two insurance issuers. Individuals with these exchange plans could face proposed rate increases for 2017 of up to 77.3 percent.

In addition, Illinois exchange plans have removed some of the best hospitals and doctors in the state from both their HMO and PPO provider networks, such as Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital, leaving the most vulnerable people with the most significant medical needs without the options or the care they need.

Here’s a last bit of irony for ya…. While I was still looking for insurance, I called a broker who told me about a plan that was $295 a month ($3,540.00 per year), $15. office visit copays to all types of doctors (specialist included), all emergency room visits $100., all CT/MRI/x-rays $100, all generic RX free or $5 name brand… The awesomeness of the plan when on and on… My doctor and both nearest hospitals were in network also! Tears of joy streamed down my face as I continued to listen to his smooth selling voice. Chiropractic visits included, mental health visits, dietary counsel, drug rehab were all included in this plan. I was nearly lulled into the dark side by then. Suddenly, I came to my senses and asked, “What’s the catch?” It was temporary insurance (stop-gap), and only lasted 11 months and was NOT Obamacare compliant.

They say… Only about 10% of folks get caught doing something like this, and its a flat $695. or 2.5% of your salary, whichever is higher (mines higher). You can also skirt this whole situation by playing around with your deductions so you are even with the government come tax time. (You don’t owe the gov and the gov doesn’t owe you.) Why? Because how the law is written now, the gov is only allowed to remove the fee from your tax refund, and no other way. If you have no refund coming, they have no way to take it away from you!!

In the end, even if I had been caught, the $3,540. + the fee would have been less that the silver plan insurance at $10,680.00 AND the insurance would have been better.

The shitty part about this, is that for the most part, I am a law-abiding citizen. Thus, I will endanger my health to obey the law and I bought the compliant insurance.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl