Chilly With a Chance of Chili

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Brrrrr! It’s getting chilly here. I’m now waking up with a cat plastered to my side. It’s bad enough in the mornings, but especially annoying when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Whichever cat it is digs his claws into my jammies in an effort to keep me from dislodging him. It’s like peeling off Velcro. Very vocal Velcro. That fights back.

Can’t say that I blame the cat. I don’t like leaving the warmth, either. Sometimes, however, putting up with a little short-term discomfort beats experiencing longer-term consequences. Like checking our blood glucose and using the information to keep our diabetes in control beats dealing with complications down the road. (Or, making a quick trip to the bathroom beats having to stay up longer to change the sheets. And my clothes.)

Cooler weather means it’s time to tear down the garden. Time to pull up all of the dead and dying plants, chop them up and throw them in the composter. You chop them up by running a lawnmower over them a few times, which the lawn-mowing dude can do.

Weather changes also can make your blood glucose begin running higher or lower. Be sure to check yours with that in mind to make sure you adjust food, oral meds and/or insulin, and exercise to make sure you go with whatever your flow is.

Gardening was pretty much on the back burner for me last summer. The planting season began with a lot of rain. That doesn’t bother me for planting, but it makes driving a mobility scooter across a wet yard to get to the garden difficult. Without telling me, my husband bought seeds and planted the garden.

There went my ownership. I don’t know about you, but I need to take ownership of something to have it pique my interest. I want the strains of vegetables I want — for example, Kentucky Wonder pole beans — and not just any ol’ beans. I want the tastes of my childhood. I want foods that have been unaltered.

My husband is from Brooklyn — not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, he didn’t exactly grow up with a garden in the backyard. I don’t think there was a backyard, anyway.

He was 30 when he first experienced gardening. We were dating at the time and the city where we lived rented garden plots in an unused part of the cemetery. One person thought we’d bought our burial plots and were using them as garden plots while awaiting their real use. (As an aside, we bought our burial plots last week. I don’t know how I feel about that.)

At any rate, I kept wanting to pick some green tomatoes and he kept telling me to wait until they were ripe. I finally just picked a couple and fried them up. After that, I had to stop him from picking all of the green tomatoes so some of them would ripen.

I honestly don’t know where the summer went. About the only thing that sticks in my mind is being in the hospital, the road trip home with my husband, and getting back into shape to transfer to and from my scooter. I had to use a transfer board again, and couldn’t get into the van. Then, not long after I regained my strength and all was well again, I missed the car during a transfer and wrenched a knee. It’s still uncomfortable.

Coming up appears to be…cooking season. I’m not just talking about Thanksgiving. This weekend is “Dinner and a Movie” at the synagogue, at which we serve up a homemade meal and show a movie. When I say “we,” I mean the Sisterhood president and me, who seem to be the cooks in the crowd. Those events are kind of sporadic.

But a friend of mine told me the other day about “Soup’s On,” which she’s doing once a month over the next four months at her church. It’s homemade soup, with maybe some cheese and crackers and a dessert. Her church, like our synagogue, is small and heavily populated with older people.

Madam President liked that idea, so we’ll be doing “Soup’s On” here, too, starting in December. We’ve decided on chili, vegetable-beef soup, and beef and barley soup. I’ll be making a vegetarian alternate to each.

I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.

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