Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Examined Life- Looking Back And Forward


I had a dream or vision the other night.  Falling asleep was difficult and I was tired. I don't know where this particular "thought" came from but it was visual and memorable.

I was on the ground (at work) looking up at myself floating higher and higher in a mist of sparkling gold dust.  I kept looking down at my body--my red frame eyeglasses.  And I kept saying "I thought I had more time".

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time--you know I am continually putting off doing things I might actually enjoy doing.  I spend too much time doing things that others could do just as well.  I feel compelled to be working and earning.  I (we) have enough of nearly everything--but Time it would seem.  I may not have enough Time.  I need to "re-calculate".

At work, I have been "cleaning out my work clothes closet" and bringing in company tees and sweatshirts.  To give to other employees.  My employer gives everyone two tees per year (times 10 years equals 20 tees)  Some of us do not have access to home laundry equipment.  How very grateful the girls were to have two more, each.  Used but clean.

Perhaps this is where the "dream" came from.  Clearing out the work space.  Searching for more quality time.  Re- Calculating as the voice on the navigation system keeps saying.

Today two carpenters are here nailing in the new hardwood floor in my master bedroom.  It looks wonderful.  And--miracles happen---the master bathroom vanity has been delivered.  And it's the right height, the right size and the right color.  And nothing is broken, scratched or dented.  The floor matched up perfectly to the bathroom tile floor.  They are working from the headboard side of the room toward the double closets.  That's when work will slow down.  Flooring goes into the closets. I could have kept it carpet--but..... this is the only time I will have a house to my personal specs.

I went to Walmart today to buy Aveeno soap.  They had it so I got two bars.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Working At Home Today- Plus Vegetable Gardening Tips


Working seems to be my only activity.  How did that happen?

The front porch is starting to look like a miniature nursery operation.  Seedlings Inc.  So many things out there and all looking happy.  My dahlia tubers are coming up.  And the tuberous begonias are over a foot tall.  Tomato and peppers seedlings are getting taller by the day.  Some are still only a few inches tall--the ones I started from seeds in the milk jugs.

I would like to get the onions into the ground today.  And I really need to haul bags of compost from the storage area over into the garden area and dump them into beds if my raised beds ever hope to look like the ones in the top photo (and I might get G to go with me in the truck to buy a half yard of compost).  And I think the beds in the photo have some sort of watering device attached to the tops of the hoops.  Why did I never notice that before?????

I also bought seed potatoes and want to grow potatoes this summer.  I waited too long last year and missed out.  If you want to grow potatoes--NO cow manure in your soil profile.  NONE.  Chicken poo is what they want.

I had pruned my blueberry bushes (very hard) a few weeks or months ago and they responded with a heavy load of berry flowers.  Which is a "very good" thing.  I need to feed them with Holly Tone. I also need to put on a heavy canvas coat and go into the blackberry thicket and prune that really HARD.  I am reminded of the thorns ripping the skin on my ankles bloody last summer as I picked berries.

I top coated my rhubarb plants with a heavy coat of blue crystals of Miracle Grow and they responded with a massive growth spurt.  Rhubarb LOVES fertilizer.  Yes, I heavily sprinkle the tiny plants with crystals and then walk away.  Rain and night dew melts the stuff into the plants and they go nuts and grow big fat stems and leaves.  Now--they grow while we wait for the June strawberry season and the sale table along the road to my house.  Just a card table, umbrella and a few ladies.  It's what Maine is really all about.

I am hoping to get my beet seeds into the ground today.  I "stole" some shims from the stockpile in the construction zone--how can I actually be stealing something I paid for?-- and split them to make long thin plant markers.  I think it will make the garden look "sharp". And remind me of what I planted--where.

The Herb Bed is now empty except for two lavender plants and a bunch of sage plants (all the mint has been removed to the front bed under the crab tree as ground cover).  The thyme my friend gave me as a gift is dry.  Dry equals dead. I am not replacing it because--truth be told--I don't like the taste of thyme in my food.  Once I add some additional soils I can try and make a "design" in the bed.  Like divisions or squares.  For parsley, dill, calendula, violets, lavender, sage, marigolds (red ones), chives, and a herb I purchased--and have thriving--but have forgotten what it is exactly. (*winter savory)  It's something you add to spiced nuts.  Oh, and I am forgetting the tarragon and marjoram on the back steps.  Still in pots from overwintering.  And the rosemary and bay leaves in clay pots. I also need to plant some basil.  Six squares by two squares.

ACK!!!!! So much to do--so little actual time to do it.  But ONCE it's done--I can just water, weed and pick.  Just.............laughing is better than crying.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Friday's Shopping Adventure


South Street Linen.  They have a website.  All linen.  Very strong color and pattern (when there is a pattern) and the clothing has "style" which is never easy to find these days.  Everything looks like jogging wear.

Today I was determined to get some vegetable seeds into the ground.  Only carrots.  The beds need work and additions of more compost.  So---I wait to see how much rain will fall tomorrow.  And it will be getting cold again.  The heat and sun are going away for about 6 days.

I did manage to rip out more of the wildly unmanageable mint.  The more I remove the more that appears.  The stuff I planted under the crabapple tree is looking perky so the transplanting is working out okay.  I also planted annuals in my three large pedestal containers.  Pinks, reds and yellows.

I purchased another Concord grape plant and G will plant it in the garden next to the lone I purchased last summer.  Last year's plant made 6 very tasty grapes.  Let's hope it is more generous this year????

Back to work tomorrow.  I really NEED two days in a row off after a hectic 9 hour day on Saturdays.
One day is just not enough time to shake it off.

We drove all the way out to the last work site (second job) and where I thought I had left my work tools.  They weren't there.  And on the way home we stopped to buy on sale $4.48 a pound bone in ribeye steaks and sweet corn (5 for one dollar).  Delicious dinner.  I haven't eaten that much meat since the Atkins days.  It was very, very good.  We might do it again tomorrow.

Friday, May 19, 2017

French Greenhouse To Buy when I Win The Lottery


What's neat about this greenhouse is the wall of rocks.  To hold the sun's heat and reflect it into the room's volume all night or on long cold days.  My "greenhouse" right now is a shelf with lights for small tomato seedlings and a huge tray of Red Morpheous Marigolds I grew from seeds in one of the milk jugs.  And on that subject, all but 3 out of the 25 jugs germinated.  Big success. Everything else is in tidy rows on the north facing front porch.  Flats have been divided and repotted into bigger 4 inch pots.  Sunday I may finally have a day at home to start planting things.

Today at Whole Foods I bought 4 pounds of big fat carrots from California.  And 5 gigantic red beets to roast in the oven and eat ice cold with vinegar and oil.  Plus a small bag of French shallots to plant in my garden.  To grow into bunches of shallots.  I plan to roast a big cast iron pan of carrots in the oven with butter.  Mark Bittman recipe.  Lunches this week have been cold rice with peas and big salads with lots of sliced carrots.

Today G and I had lunch in a fine restaurant down in Portland.  While we ate and chatted, I watched almost all the others using their phones.  No talking.  What has happened to people???  When is a phone message more relevant than the person(s) sitting with you at the table?

G had Rare Seared Tuna with a salad of red bliss potatoes, French green beans, radish slices and fresh made mayo with grated hard boiled egg yolk.  I had panko chicken gyro with Greek yogurt sauce (needed more cucumber) the bread was too well crisped (difficult to bite and chew) and the homemade potato chips missed the mark. But the majority of the food was fresh and good tasting.

We had an appointment with our Trust Attorney.  He had to run off copies so we took a walk over to South Street Linen (owned by three artists who paint) and I tried on clothing I have been admiring online for years.  Then back to the law office and then over to Walter's for lunch.  Then to Trader Joe's for cans of marinara and then Whole Foods for veggies.   I asked for Aveeno soap and the clerk at Whole Foods said "Walmart....you do know how to get there don't you?"  In such a sneering voice.  I actually wished I had had my phone so I could record her and report her to the manager.  Why on Earth would a person be like that???

The regular Joe at Rite Aid walked all over the store to try and find my soap.  Polite and not the least bit of attitude.  Guess where I'll go next time I need soap?

Work tomorrow and I have a load of laundry to do.  We've had a week of heat, too much sun plus humidity.  Work was awful (for me) on Thursday--80 plus and still.  I thought I had heat stroke for awhile there.  A cooling breeze is blowing through the house right now--moving all the drywall dust and paint fumes around.  No workers for the next two days.

All of my crab apple trees are in complete flower.  Very, very pretty. Things are sending up shoots in the flower beds and I seem to be having a very good Lily of the Valley year.  Wo Peng my Tree Peony is standing taller than he has in the 10 or more years he has lived here with me.  Perhaps he'll make his first flower this year?  Wouldn't that be amazing?

So, get out there and dig in the dirt.  Okay?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gardening


For pay.  I helped out a landscaper friend with mulch the past two days.  Very big and beautiful house on the water.  Wow.  It was like my very own dream come true being there.  Lots of stone steps, curved beds, boat dock-- not my dream but I like looking at them-- and such lovely surroundings.  We had lunch on the boat dock on day one and on rocks around the fire pit on day two.  I took a breather at one point and sat on on stone stairway watching the birds visit the feeder and just enjoying May in Maine--glancing down at the columbine growing so bountifully on the hillside.

We often are too busy to be still and just absorb the "good" in simple things.  Blue sky, clouds drifting across the sky, birds chirping, green grass growing.  The sun was shining.  No rain.  The black flies were biting but, hey, it's May.

I even had a nice treat after work--a peach ice cream cone.

Tomorrow the regular job.

The Painter and his helper have been here all week.  The doors were going to be sprayed but he decided to hand paint them here in the house.  Most of the windows are finished.  Ceilings next I think and then the walls.  No other subs have visited.

G ordered door knobs on Sunday and they arrived on Tuesday before noon.  Delightful service and prices from Build.com.  $5 less per knob than the Loew's price.  Same product. Free shipping.  The boxes of hardwood flooring are here.  Getting climate adjusted.  Two weeks to match the climate in the house (so doesn't shrink or warp).  Then hardwood floors in the master.  Then closet and baseboards.  Then paint and hopefully a working bathroom.  What do you think? By June or mid June???  Not that it's a hardship to be using the 2nd bedroom.  It's really very comfortable in there.

We still have to order the hallway doors.  I am hoping the General Contractor ordered them!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Not The Black Door--The Two Side Containers


I can still have the door painted black.  And I might do it.  Just the outside of the door.  Not the sidelights.  Not inside. But I DO LOVE the look of those little square boxes.  My porch is the width of the house and deep so there wouldn't be any "good light" for the little boxwoods.  I was thinking of cedars in a tall cone shape.  Still no light.

The Day Before Mother's Day.  9.5 hours at work.  Walking, walking and more walking.  Repots all day long.  From the way back of the greenhouse, up the ramp into the garden center part of the store to the cash registers and then back to the potting bench to do the work and then back to give the work to the customer and then back to the potting bench.  Over and Over and Over.

My Mother's Day Reward was a large Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae.  Loved every spoonful.

I piled a large stack of items on the hall stairway to the second floor.  For tomorrow--to carry upstairs and out of the way.  Our warm Winter clothing.  More coats and jackets.  Two ironing boards.  A pile of fabric, tablecloths etc.  I found a white linen king fitted sheet with a rip I had been intending to mend for probably longer than 5 years.  I am going to mend it with Jude's Invisible Tacking Stitch. I may start tomorrow. I enjoy the stitching process.  It's not a stitch I have ever used before but I really like the way it can bind/meld layers of fabric. I made a few little four patches by hand and then tacked the 1/4 inch flat and open.  Loved running my fingers over the seams and stitches.  This tactile "feeling" is what I miss most about quilting.  running my hands and finger tips over the seams and patches.  The placement of the ripped/mended section will fit nicely under the pillows. It ripped when it was under my feet.  A thin area in the weave.  Probably why it was a "second".

I am in "one of those moods"--possibly because I am taking so much Prednisone or it could be fatigue.  Wondering if I have enough time to "wear out" the clothing I own--wondering if it makes sense to buy any more clothing--I would like a dress and more flannel pajama pants.  Wondering if I will outlive my 2008 Fit with 33,000 miles on it.  I highly doubt it (laughing).  I don't think I have 10 more years of driving in me. Never have enjoyed driving.  But I could still be driving into my 90's.  Odder things have happened and I got a VERY LATE START---getting my license at THIRTY.

G planted my Mother's Day Peach trees today. They look very nice.  We went crazy and planted them in the front yard.  Best light, soil and I can see them all the time.

The rhubarb pie needed an extra 40 minutes to bake.  The rhubarb was still crispy after an hour.  I made the best pie crust.  Butter and flour and water.  Lovely texture and after a chill in the fridge it rolled out so smooth.  I need to make more crusts.  More pies.  Lovely.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Glass Guys Installed The Shower Door & Herb Garden Plans

Finally.  The glass doors.  One is stationary on top of the cutaway that has the shower knobs etc in the tiled short wall and the little bench for shaving your legs  (really, the tile guy said that).  The short wall with the knobs is so you can turn on the water and not get wet doing it.

 And then there is the door. five feet at least but maybe six.  With chrome edges and really wonderful square hardware things that attach the door to the wall. And a handle. Looks REALLY expensive.

The Carpenter Guys did say it was the most expensive of the five bath remodels they are doing.

I think I will be taking a chair in there and just sitting and looking at it all.  Saying "this is mine--really mine".  So pleased and so happy.  And I will be thinking of the tile guy.  And saying thank you.

Next up is the Painting Guy and his Helper.  Monday morning at 8am.

Then, hopefully, the Plumber and the hook up of the shower and all the wonderful things in the hall closet from Kohler.  Shower head, hand shower, hand shower holder, lever knobs.

And someday the vanity I designed (hey, it's all custom here -and all solid wood).  The granite top and the square sinks undermounted for super easy cleaning and the single lever faucets. Only the one for each sink.  Just a chrome column with a lever on top.

G forgot to ask the glass guy if the huge mirror that was once in the master bath could be sliced into three pieces and used above the vanities in the two new bathrooms.  Sort of like walls.  Of mirror.
From the sink top to the top of the tower of drawers in the center of the vanity.  Hope he can cut it.
Its 72 inches wide and five feet more or less tall.  Covered the entire wall behind my sinks almost to the ceiling.  My old sinks.

After 26 plus years--I got used to the big mirror.   Lots and lots of reflected light.  Amazing light.

But only if he can cut it.  Otherwise I think might be too expensive to buy new.

Well, I'm getting tired.  Garden work tomorrow.  Digging out all the resident herbs, adding soil, then putting everything back in along with new tarragon, new marjoram, new dill, new parsley, new calendula.  The old thyme is doing great as are the two lavender plants.  I moved the mint to the front yard under the old crab tree.  As a minty fresh ground cover.  I yanked the pot of mint roots out of the bed and if it's sprouting--that will also be relocated to the front bed.  The buried pot of chives stays. Keeps it from getting too big.

I am thinking of getting my French Potager book with drawings of French herb gardens to see if there is a simple layout that would look good in my little garden. Perhaps a woven line?  Attached squares on point?  I could also go and buy some tiny boxwood to edge it all. I think Lowes had some a few weeks ago--but it might be all gone by now.  They go through things pretty quickly.

Something to be thinking about as I drift off to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Contact Dermatitis


Yep.  Not a Food Allergy.  Just stuff getting on my hands and making "contact" with my face.

Got a LONG list of products I can use.  I asked about my super innocent goat's milk fragrance free face soap.  No.  Not on the LIST.

Lucky for me--g goes to the same dermatologist and got the LIST many years ago (it seems) and then went out and bought all the stuff and never used it.  So I have Aveeno soap, moisture cream and super 24 hour cream plus the shower body wash.  I bought little take with tubes of some thing on the LIST to take to work with me.  Wash my face every few hours to get dust and dirty off myself.  Not Aveeno.

I also have 64 Prednisone10 pills to take.  A bunch of them four times a day for 4 days.  Then a smaller bunch for another 4 days.  Then a small bunch for the next 4 days etc until I take one a day until they are gone.  You do the math.  I can't think straight.  With milk.  The pills are taken with milk--not math. And the doctor recommends I take them all early in the day  or I won't be able to sleep.  Great.

So far today, pills, milk and washed my face three times.  I was gardening.  Nothing itching and this new stuff doesn't burn when I rub it on my skin.  PAT it on my skin.

Riley is taking Amoxicillin.  Four times a day.  He has something Labs get.  To do with the muscles in their throat and breathing.  His "panic attack" yesterday was because the muscles weren't flexing and he was having trouble breathing.  It's like they get stuck in closed and can't transition to open. Which must be SUPER stressful.  In fact, most of Riley's gakking, choking and gagging in the past months has been due to the throat thing.  And we were doing nothing.  So now we know.  And now he has pills.  He was super relaxed today and took several long naps.

He is also taking big blue pills for his liver.  Which is shrinking.  Expensive pills.  But who cares--he's worth every dollar.

So that's it.  The prednisone has given me acid reflux (didn't drink enough milk with pills), a low grade headache, and a cough (it affects some asthmas- which is funny because my doctor gave it to me when I had my cough--I didn't fill the prescription).   And now I am going to bed. I'm sleepy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Washer and Dryer Hooked Up


Yes, indeed.  One.  Thing.  Done.

Now I can wash and dry clothes etc.  And since it is that time of year of digging, clearing and mowing--we get dirty.

It took some logistics to get the 32 year old stacked washer and dryer back in the small "room" that was created for the "Washing of Clothes" and a trip to the store for a new drain hose that is longer (and less brittle).  A test load of water to see if anything leaked and the Carpenters left to tear off a roof somewhere down the road while the sun shined.  (but now it looks like rain)

I think the Carpenters felt I could WAIT on all the rest if I was able to do laundry here at home.

Someday........who's counting days?  The plumber will return and hook everything up and we can take a shower in the new walk in shower but the glass man has to come with the custom doors first.  And where are the new radiators?

The vanity is on indefinite "not ready now" so that won't be coming anytime soon.  They said two weeks and it's now into the 7th or 8th week.  My guess is that no one will come to hook up anything until the vanity shows up.  And since there is nothing else ready to work on---we will just get used to  (more comfortable with) plastic taped to doorways.

Because as soon as bathroom number one is finished they will demo bathroom number two.  And how long until THAT vanity arrives?

I am going to see the Dermatologist this afternoon for my follow up visit.  And my rash is back so he can actually SEE it.  Has anyone ever been this happy to have a rash return?  See.....I didn't just "imagine" I had a rash.  G has said I should stop applying medicine and let the rash get really red and irritated before the visit.  Yeah.  Sounds good but the rash itches, the skin burns and makes me crazy.
So I apply Benadryl cream.  Makes it stop itching but doesn't make it go away.


Saturday, May 06, 2017

Entrance Hallway To Be.


Not mine but the vibe is the same.  White walls.  dark floor.  This is wood and mine will be black slate tiles.  I have a table like this behind one of the sofas in the living room.  (yes, I have two sofas) And that table will go into the hallway.  With a lovely watercolor I purchased many years ago above it.  I mentioned to the artist that I had purchased it.  She replied "I never liked it".  And the conversation ended.

The painter comes on Monday.  To start painting everything white.  Extra White by Sherwin Williams.

My front door went in on Friday.  I had the two carpenters and the General Contractor working on it. They seemed to be having fun and looked happy.  So I made them brownies with extra chocolate chips and served them in bowls, warm from the oven.  My front door has many windows.  And the light is just flooding in.  So, so lovely.  Instead of the gingerbready trim--I now have simple flat board trim.  We all agreed it looked amazingly good.  And Right.

It's really like the house is happy to be having the changes made.  Like THIS is the way it should have always been.  The three guys thought the door removal and the installation would be "difficult" (they had planned for two or three days to do it) and the three of them just sort of shook their heads that it was almost effortless.  Started at 9am and completely finished by 3 pm.  Locks matched to our original old doors.  The only loose end was the doorbell.

I'm thinking two matching box planters (in black) on either side of the door with some sort of boxwood or cedar planted in them.  I may have to move the Indian (from India) Goddess of Plenty to a new spot.  But, maybe not.  She sure has been doing a fantastic job next to the doorway into the house.  Perhaps, she will also help in the back of the house with the gardens???

Anyway.  Tomorrow a day of rest.  I am making a huge pan of meatballs and marinara sauce.  My supermarket had a big sale on ground beef.  $2.69 a pound for 85%.  Almost half price.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Beautiful Kitchen


If my bathrooms, bedroom hardwood floor and doors (painted) ever get close to being done--and we still haven't finished the master bath so we can't begin tearing the hall bath apart.......I will have THIS kitchen.  To the right of that cute little pantry--I have a door into the room where some who have owned this house had a dining room.  We have a big couch and the tv instead.  And a nice desk I got from an employer I had once at the Little Traveler in Geneva, Illinois with my computer on it--where I sit right now as I type this.

We aren't "dining room" people.  The very huge and very heavy chandelier that hung from the ceiling and that I though might fall and kill someone--is in the attic (we put up a ceiling fan).  We should take that  light fixture to the local "yard sale".  We've already taken all the bifold closet doors and two of the regular "passage doors". Habitat said no but the hospital charity said "'wow, yes!!"

You learn so much when you are forced to buy the hardware.  Dummy knobs (pull), passage knobs (no locks but the knob turns/clicks) and bedroom/bath knobs (locks).  I was set on black round knobs but then read about Aging In Place and the fact that as we get older (not me!!!) our hands are less able to grip and turn knobs.  The author recommended lever knobs.  You just have to push down.  So now I am wondering about that type.  We already have levers (French) on several doors in the house: Atrium doors, French doors, Patio double doors and now--soon to be on the front door. So it could be easy to just have them on everything.   And I still have to chose bathroom light fixtures.

I went to work at 10:30 this morning and left at 6:19.  I never stopped working.  Non-stop.  I am exhausted.  Just about made it into the shower but now that I am clean--I feel just a little bit more perky.  Had to find a tick that was roaming around on G's neck.  Bad tick season this year.

My dinner has arrived.  G and Riley went out to get it.  Nice Caesar Salad for me.  Maybe a glass of red wine.  Then.......well, I will try to watch some television.  Up early tomorrow when the workers get here.  At least the guy who listens to Rush Limbaugh at top volume won't be working tomorrow.
I often wonder if I should request he not listen to it in my house?  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The Day After


Incredible sadness.  The young guy who did my tile work in the walk in shower decided that living was too hard to do anymore.  The story is not mine to tell.  But my heart breaks for his pain.  And I will always be reminded of him--with each shower I take.  Life is hard but this........ my shower will always be the last shower he would ever tile.  Beautifully done.  A true craftsman.

My carpenters are working in the master bedroom--installing closet doors.  I just decided to measure and see if I would be able to open the doors when the bed is in the room.  W just looked at me with his mouth open---"now, you wonder if the doors have room to open?"  Yes, I said.  G and I live life on the edge.  ........They have plenty of extra room to swing wide open.  Thank goodness!

And, did I tell you I found the roll of master bedroom wallpaper so we can do patches in a few spots?
I found it in the living room on the back cushion of one of the big chairs (almost behind the cushion).    G kept saying he's seen it somewhere but couldn't remember where.

The weather the past two days has been terrible.  Cold, no sun, and lots of drizzle.  We are all wearing layers of clothing.  Shivering.  May is usually the most glorious of months here in Maine.  Spring blossoms on the trees, daffodils, tulips etc, blue skies and sunshine.  Our son was going to visit in May but had work issues.  Good thing.  He can enjoy rain and cold at home in the northwest.

Did you know Andrew Jackson was involved in the Civil War sixteen years AFTER he died and was buried? Sort of "Back To The Future" time travel. Thank you D. Trump for the history lesson.  And D Trump also figured out that Lincoln was the first Republican president.  That super private school he attended must have really been GREAT.  I don't think D Trump has ever actually read a B.O.O.K.

So sad.  But perhaps the whole Civil War "thing" was just fake news???