Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hours to Go

This morning I was awake by 7:30 and making biscuits by 8. And by 10 I was out in the garden trying to fit a week's worth of gardening into one short, dry, day. G had gotten some lovely compost for me and I tucked some under all the plants I had time for today. And I moved the phlox which I had in the wrong place for YEARS. I weeded, pulled, yanked, and chopped the many plants that, being in the wrong place, are weeds to me, today. And I dug up what I found out is a an old variety of something -- "a farm flower" which has taken over my beds. I dug it all up and planted it somewhere where it can be rambunctious. One such place is behind our polka dot mailbox. So far, nothing has survived there. I planted some charming pink zinnias into the bed where I dug the "farm flower" up. They look very cute next to the catmint and coreopsis. Pink, yellow and blue.

I gave away a huge box of the red dahlia tubers on Saturday to a lucky customer. She wanted to pay me! I said "just take them!". I planted the few remaining sets of tubers into the front of my perennial bed -- until I can find homes for them, perhaps next spring.

Mother Nature helped me with all the planting and transplanting by providing downpours of rain to help set the new plants into their new homes. Thank you, dear.

I got manure spread and the cucumbers (pickling) set in the vegetable garden, the zucchini and yellow squash are in as are the Delicata and Butternuts I started from seeds. Six large tomato plants are in as well (the other 16 tomatoes aren't big enough yet). Everything has a few yellow calendula or marigolds nearby to draw pollinators. I ran out of time before I could plant much more. It was really raining by the time I cleaned up the tools etc.

My lettuce and chard are really coming along nicely. They enjoyed all the cool weather and rain last week. I want to start some beets this evening so they will be ready to set out after I get back from Ohio. The kohlrabi is up. Tiny but up.

I am packing my applique circles for my trip and a book to read. When I bring things I enjoy along, I never have time to do anything. But let me forget a book or some handwork--- and we get delayed. This worked yesterday. I dressed for cold and rain and brought hot soup for lunch, so of course, it turned hot, sweaty and buggy by the afternoon. I took off as much as I could to cool off and I enjoyed the hot soup (followed by two bottles of ice cold water).

The weather is 50% chance of rain, 50's at night and low 70's during the daytime in Ohio. So I can safely pack one of every kind of clothing. My son only wears shorts and tee shirts so he'll adjust to the weather by pulling on a fleece or taking it off. I could do the same?

Time to pack the suitcase. I have all the important papers, documents, car keys, car insurance, cash, e-ticket, watch, checkbook, book, handsewing project, quart size bag of products, driver's license. I'm taking my pink crocs, light work pants and tees for the dumpster filling on Tuesday and wearing my all purpose gray sweater, jeans and lightest, long sleeve tee plus shoes and socks on the plane (where its always cold). I'll bring along my Flax linen 2 piece and sandals in case it's "warm" and we need to visit my dad's attorney. Oh, and for the "bank".

I should be back by Friday. With my new orange Fit. Gag! My new vacuum, Wega TV and G's "new" old PC. And whatever else we can stuff into the Fit along with our two suitcases. The "flagship" Joann's is just up the street in Hudson in case there's room.

G took the cell phone to work, so he better get home from EOM before Sam picks me up to go to the airport at 4 am. Yes, you read that right. Four in the morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Still Raining. Still Cold.

I've had enough. I had on a down jacket and a fleece pullover today plus a vinyl raincoat with hood. It's May 29th. Where's the sun?

I purchased more plants today for the window boxes on the shed. I wasn't going to. But looking out across the lawn and seeing the flowers on the side of the shed makes me happy. So what if "happy" costs $25. Worth it. I also stopped in at Loew's after work to see what their price point was for plant materials. Whoa. No wonder we aren't busy. I purchased two metal, cocoa lined hanging baskets for less than $7 each (ours are $13) and four little pink zinnias for $3 each. Same size where I work is $5.49. I'll be repotting the geranium I bought at work from it's plastic pot into the metal and cocoa lined basket and potting the three new geraniums into the other new basket.

G drove to the Lewiston Transfer Station and got a truck load of compost for me. And shoveled it out of the truck. And he fixed the guest room toilet. In exchange for all this goodness, I made him Tomato Basil Soup with little drop soup dumplings. I made black Bean Bisque for myself from the list of ingredients I got last week from the chef at 111 Maine Street. Pretty darn good. I trimmed some cilantro from the plants at work for my soup. I have difficulty with cilantro. Smelling and touching it makes it hard for me to breathe. But I wanted the soup to taste exactly like it does at 111. So I took the chance of an asthma attack or whatever it is that happens. And it was okay.

Wicked Joe's didn't have our coffee roasted when G went to get it. Tomorrow. So G got enough supermarket coffee for a pot tomorrow morning. I just have to have coffee in the morning. Tea just isn't good enough anymore.

I used my tiny French press pot to brew two cups at work with the leftover open house decaf I stuck in the freezer. It was almost 1:30 before I remembered the coffee in the lunchroom freezer. Real snappy brain function, huh?

Today was not a good day. I had mucky jobs to do (pick squishy leaves off wet, squishy pansies), load water plants into the water plant tanks (in the rain) while trying not to injure my back. I did enjoy (?) staking and tying the big dahlias with fishing line so they weren't flopping all over the walk way. Oh, No! I promised a customer some of my red dahlia tubers and they are in the basement under the house and G is in the shower. RATS! He's not going to want to crawl around in the basement when he just got all cleaned up.

There was more stuff I had to say tonight, but I had to censor things.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Rain

A picture from the pile I have torn from magazines to be used as artistic "fertilizer" when I need a boost or an idea. Yesterday was "dark, cold, wet" and I was totally chilled by the end of my work day. My hands were so cold the hot water in the shower made them hurt.

I have crossed a few items off my "To Do" list today. Two loads of laundry, the book sale email and volunteer chart (done), cashed my paycheck at the bank,returned library books, visited the post office to mail my shoes back, dropped off a bag of clothes to the resale shop (and got a skirt to cut up for a quilt or pillow) and I walked in town to the health food store for dried cranberries and raw sugar. I also bought romaine for my salads on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yogurt for G and bagels.

And I checked the yogurt aisle and my doctor was CORRECT! Vanilla yogurt has lots more calories than plain, low fat yogurt. 200 calories for 8 ounces of Columbo Vanilla Low Fat and 110 for 8 ounces of plain low fat (in any brand). That's 90 calories of HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in one cup of yogurt. I could have nearly a cup and a half of plain yogurt for 200 calories. I also checked the bottle of corn syrup in my pantry. 120 calories for 2 Tablespoons. Dr J recommends I squirt a little honey on the plain stuff and get used to eating it that way. You see, I thought they just added vanilla flavoring. But, in fact, they were adding lots of corn syrup and chemicals to make the yogurt sweet and yummy. The way I like it.

And I had lunch at 111 Maine. The chicken gyro with potatoes and a cup of cream of broccoli soup. I brought half my potatoes home for G and purchased a bowl of broccoli soup for him. And I baked him a Rhubarb Custard Pie and purchased a very nice Cheese Foccacia to go along with the soup. I had a little French press decaf coffee which was wonderful. Then back outside in the cold rain.

I'm having a second cup of decaf black tea (to warm up) because once I turn the furnace off, it stays off. G just got home from work and he's playing with Riley. They wrestle around on the floor. Riley is always SO happy to see G. I think I will take Riley to school (day care) tomorrow so G can get things done here (fix the guest room toilet and take a nap). Our daughter is getting back from her vacation tomorrow night and G has to drive to Portland to pick her up. She'll return the favor by walking Riley on Saturday while G and I are at work. I wonder if the vacation turned out okay. She was visiting a long time friend but hadn't seen her in a few years instead of the annual May visit to see her grandfather.

I think I may "change up" the blog posts when I return from Ohio. Serious, funny or informational chats (rants) on the things I enjoy talking about. Art, gardening & cooking. I may even make a tutorial.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


For the weather to be "correct" for planting. I know that others already have their crops in the ground and most are successfully weathering the colder night temperatures. We had a frost on Monday night. And now we are facing two days of cold rain. So they wait. And I carry them outdoors, under the dappled shade of a large oak, for the day. Each morning, out. Each afternoon, in. G is finishing his breakfast and rushing out to mow the grass before the rain starts. I'm going to work at 10.

Yesterday, I had my Annual Doctor's Visit. Six months late. I was apprehensive due to the 22 pound weight gain in 18 months. My doctor had regular weigh ins scheduled for me during 2007 when I lost the 80 pounds. So she has a "vested interest" in the weight loss. Instead, the very first thing she said was "Have you lost MORE weight?"

I continue to be VERY healthy. Nothing wrong with me that a 1200 calorie diet wouldn't fix. So this morning I have returned to the diet diary and I am writing down every mouthful of food and drink that I have, each and every day, until I lose the 22 pounds. I am determined. This time I will eat more during the work period of my day, less in the late afternoon and evening.

I began my day with 320 calories of breakfast. 1 1/2 cups of Fiber One cereal, 1 cup of 1% milk and tea with two sugars. Lunch will be my usual salad of Romaine, carrots, sweet dried cranberries and Chinese noodles with a mixed by me salad dressing (Ranch, light mayo and honey). I will have a large water and a large tea at work. Perhaps two teas. And if I get hungry (because I work until 7 pm), an apple.

I had ham for supper yesterday and I feel the salt (holding water) in my hands. So lots of liquids today to flush the salts out of my body.

I began clearing the dining room table of clutter this week and hope to continue working toward a clean slate before I go to work later. I just decided to pack my little fabric squares and circles to work on in the evenings in Ohio. I could try and sew during the drive also, but may get carsick. I found my green looseleaf notebook with the plastic sleeves. I want to place all the important papers for Ohio in the sleeves so I can see them clearly.

I have a great deal of planting to do before Sunday, so I don't think I will get to the 12 by 12 challenge by June 1. Things could change, but I am giving myself permission to be late. I also have Book Sale work to email to the volunteer coordinator. That will take about an hour or more of computer time. Tomorrow. And I need to make the Master Volunteer Time Chart and deliver it to the library with the books that need to be returned. And I have Rhubarb Pie to make and bake. For G to eat. Not me.

And I need to pack my clothes. My plane takes off at 5:45 in the morning on Monday. Which means I need to be up and getting ready to go at 3 am. G has end of the month and won't even be home from work until 2:30 am. I really don't want him driving to Portland and back, so my daughter will have to be called into serve. Or I can get the JetPort taxi for $50. One way.

I will arrive in Ohio at 11 am and be met by Daniel's wife, who will take me to my Dad's (my) house and the car. I'll see what needs doing, plug in the refrigerator so we have ice and cold water, check out the basement, find the hotel and wait for my son to arrive at the airport. I'll need to go get him. This will be a "sort of" stressful day for me as I don't like driving. But Ohio driving is very strange. Everyone drives SLOW. So it should be okay. I like driving slow.

Well, I need to dress for work and get going on my day. G is mowing. Riley is watching G mow. So far, so good.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

No picture. Things are out of control here, with work, gardening and dog duty. I don't even remember sleeping last night. Just when I thought I was falling asleep, the birds started chirping and I knew, just knew, I would never get to sleep, and that's when G said it was time to get up.

I'm working today. G is working today. Doggie Day Care is closed for the holiday. My daughter is on vacation in Florida. So I have to drive home at lunchtime, like I did on Saturday, walk the dog, feed him etc and then go back to work. This absence from work does not make Joanie popular with the other employees. They get to do the work I would have been doing, as well as their own. Not something they look forward to. And tomorrow I leave work for my doctors appointment. Yikes!

We finally got the plum tree into the ground. It still may be too low. It looked too high and now it looks too low. Not just right! I have all my little "starts" out under the oak tree in the back yard. They seem to like it and after two days of "daytime", they spent the night outside last night. It may be time to set them into the garden and let them grow. Not the real Memorial Day (31st) so I am being cautious. It still gets really cold here at night.

All my "cold" crops are going along nicely. The Fava beans look good and the lettuce and chard are getting stronger every day. The beets and turnips didn't germinate. Lemon thyme is back and so is rue, sage and chives (which I don't like). French tarragon is spreading everywhere. I now have two mints as the one I thought was dead, isn't. I have added lemon verbena, lemon grass and cilantro to the herb garden and started seeds for lemon marigolds. I planted dill but it seems to have self seeded all over the herb bed--which is okay with me as I have lots of pickle cucumber starts ready to produce pickles. I potted the rosemary and thyme on the stoop. Can I just admit to never using any of the herbs I plant and grow? Well, I think I used some dill, once. I have never used the parsley or celery. We did eat the garlic one year. I just like to touch and smell them.

The caretaker of my Ohio house is setting up appointments with real estate people, ordering the dumpster to be delivered and set up (ready for filling) and selling the large items I don't want to move to Maine (lawn tractor, rototiller, trailer, snowblower). I still need a hotel reservation, maps and a container for all the important papers I will need at the bank.

Time to go to work. Have a happy day. I hope you aren't working!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden: Heat Wave

After many pleasant days in the mid sixties (we like that temperature here in Maine) we are having a "heat wave" of temps in the 80's today. And all my plants are wilting in the heat and hot sunshine. Me, too. I was watering everything and getting bitten by every bug that flew past. Black Flies! Ugh! Now I am covered with pink polka dots of Calamine lotion. And I'm sipping my, first of the season, iced coffee.

My walking buddy is back from Florida where she says it's "stinking hot" and it's also raining. Their house sitter has had to lower the water in the pool twice or three times this week. We walked Riley this morning and all his favorite pools of water have dried up. He wasn't the happiest of walking buddies.

I need to visit the grocery store, library and bank. It's 2 pm so I'd best get started.

I missed Art Club on Tuesday. I had to work long past my scheduled time to quit (5:30, not 4) and after picking up the dog, showering, and thinking about going-- I just gave up, ate dinner in my jammies and fell asleep watching Dancing with the Stars. I woke up to see the chubby Olympic champ win. Too bad she wasn't the best dancer. Just the most popular with people who called in. A good season ends badly. At least Survivor ended well. JT, even after making so many mistakes (but did he?) won it all. And Coach has a book deal. Ha! It also looked like Coach had used some Botox.

We are almost out of Rhubarb Pie so I need to make more. The Baked Ham continues to be very delicious. But needs Rye Bread and pickled hot peppers. I'm thinking of making G a cheesecake. Cream cheese is on sale. My daughter leaves for her vacation tomorrow and I have to drive home from work, mid day on Saturday to walk the dog. I couldn't get the whole day off.

One week till my trip to Ohio. Feeling better about it. Making lists of documents I need to take, keys I need to have, car papers, house deeds, death certificates. Work gloves for the carrying of trash from the basement. Hotel reservations. Taxi or hotel shuttle from airport (small town and they may not have one). Or just a taxi to the house and get the car. Hope it starts.

I'm tired. Wish I was working less and enjoying gardening more. But I would miss the customers. Love helping them. I'm a helpful personality. Wish I had time to read a book. Wish I had time for lots of things. I just am not doing a good job of getting things done. I never actually made a list.

Wish I had time to make a decent list.

Exit laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Morning Post

I'm trying an early morning post to see if I can regain my "upbeat" personality. I think (know) I have been dragging around here, of late, with a pretty dull, sullen attitude.

My boss is being a really pain this week. He is in panic mode because I am taking a week off work. In the 18 months I have worked for him, I have never even taken a sick day. The thought of seven days without me (get real) is making him crazy. Yesterday I had to teach another employee "everything" I know about the perennial yard. Where to start? With Latin names? I left her to tidy up the yard and I went in the annual house to pot up large orders. We had two massive pots to fill for one of the assisted living residences. Turned out okay. Not as spectacular as last year.

I am still in my own little panic mode, thinking about my trip to Ohio. And I am waiting impatiently for my new "Off Road" Crocs to arrive. And tonight is Art Club.

I weeded my flower beds for an hour after work yesterday while Riley sat with his back to me, several feet away, protecting "my back" from rouge squirrels.

I'm taking the camera to work for traffic/construction pics and also pictures of my perennial yard. I plan to exchange the rosemary I purchased for a Tuscan Blue Rosemary which has caught my fancy.

We finally ate some of the baked ham yesterday along with au gratin potatoes and green bean casserole. The ham was really "baked" but still tender and very tasty. I shared a large container with my daughter (Sam/Ham) and have plenty for many more ham meals (and more sharing). Got to run to work now. Have a happy day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Sunday In May

Here in Maine, when the temperature gets as high as 60 degrees, the shorts, sandals and sleeveless tops are pulled out of storage. And if the sun is shining? Well, it's a regular holiday. My coworkers have started tucking the sleeves of their work tees up (no farmer tans wanted) and wearing shorts to work. Later in the afternoon they have to pull on heavy hooded sweatshirts, but never mind that. I still have to get down on the ground to reach under tables for trays of perennials that have been pushed way under, weeks ago. So no shorts yet. And anyway, none of the shorts I wore to work last summer, fit anymore. All the weight gain is in my rear end.

My garden is getting a good soak today. Rain. It was sunny and nice on Friday and Saturday, but not today, our day off. We had wanted to finally plant the plum tree and unless G has a complete personality change and decides he likes being out in the rain, it won't be happening today.

I should take a photo of the sweep of blue Forget Me Not which has taken hold of the Peony bed. I love blue in my gardens. I also love pinks and pale yellows. I'm no fan of red.

The days are rushing by and I haven't taken time to "stop and smell the flowers" lately. Perhaps G and I are doing too much? Working too long and hard when we should be slowing down and enjoying life. Perhaps that's just a fable, no longer true these days. Not that each day doesn't bring it's share of happy moments. My customers are delightful. I genuinely enjoy helping them find just what they want for their gardens.

I enjoy the hour I have after work, with the dog, doing something in the garden. I'm already dirty from a day at work, in work clothes, so why not garden a bit longer? Planting a few herbs, a flat of lettuce, pulling some weeds, planting a few seeds. My indoor window sill is full of seedlings of tomato, peppers, eggplant, squashes and cucumbers. Waiting. For that magical day when the weather is "warm enough". Memorial Day?

I have made plans (and airplane reservations) to return to Ohio the first week of June. To complete tasks I have left hanging with the estate. I need to go to the banks, empty the basement of junk, list the house with an agent, and, with the help of my son who is flying in from California, drive Dad's car back to Maine. I have been having difficulty sleeping ever since I finalized these plans. The executor position has not been a good fit for me. It seemed so simple but at every turn, there is some "difficulty", some reason why things can't get done. Some point where I feel like a failure or a fool. I can't seem to go from point one to point two without making some error in judgement. I question my mental capabilities. My son says he will help me with everything when we get to Ohio. I will begin packing everything I think we might need. Papers, certificates, identification, affidavit (notarized), voided checks, insurance, deeds, registrations. I am filled with DREAD.

Yesterday G and I had Chinese for dinner. I had made pizza on Saturday (we ate dinner after 7 pm). I think I made pasta one day last week, but I don't remember which one. I can't seem to get a regular meal on the table anymore. I think we had leftovers (?) and cheese sandwiches twice. Today I have laundry (work clothes and underwear) to do, a rhubarb pie to bake, grocery shopping to do (I need lettuce for my salads for lunch), and I think I should work on my Twelve by Twelve piece. Image.

So, here I am, this Sunday. Ambivalent. Wanting to finish. Afraid to finish. Wanting to begin. Afraid to begin. Balancing. Sort of. Unsure.

I think I will make a list of tasks I can accomplish today and cross them all off as I get them done. I will add some very easy ones and one hard one. And my reward at the end of today is Masterpiece Theater/ Wallander. And a few pages of reading? It's been so long since I had time to read a book. It seems like such a long time since I had time to just sit, look and rest. Perhaps I will add these tasks to my list for today. Sit. Look. Rest.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day CUP

Polka dots and a big cup! G went shopping for Mother's Day and brought home two of these for me to fill with annuals or indoor foliage. They have drainage holes, so no coffee. Of course, they glued the saucer to the cup making drainage difficult. The last time we had one of these in the greenhouse (potting it up for an employee's mom), we had to chase down customers who kept taking it to the cash register, trying to buy it. So, I am waiting for a "slow day" at work. And I figured out how to crop the photo. Always learning new things.

I have been busy, tired, having a sore back etc. I can do a lot, but when the limit is reached, at my age, there isn't much of a reserve left. I hate having to take pain medication every morning. My work pants are getting looser but the scale shows no weight loss. So I'll just be happy with the loose pants (for whatever reason they are getting loose).

The days are just racing by, it seems. The past two months seem like two weeks. And when we reach the end of June the "new, fresh, bright beginnings" period will be past and we will be into the long, hot (then cold) decline which ends on December 31st. Not so long ago. BUT. This year I know what I'm doing at work and have repeat customers who sing my praises. Boy, that is definitely good for the soul!

My seedlings of tomatoes and squashes are doing just fine on the window sill. My fava beans are growing but the beets, kale and rabe just aren't coming along. The seeds didn't germinate. the lettuce, chard, celery and parsley are doing fine. I forgot to purchase a dill flat yesterday and they will probably not have any by tomorrow. I may just seed a flat here at home. Still too cool for plants to be outdoors. Everyone wants to garden this year. And they want to garden NOW!!!!

My perennial yard at work is most excellent. Alphabetical by Latin names. We can find anything, IF we know the Latin name. I am learning them. Not pronouncing them correctly most of the time, but I am learning their names. Linum for Flax. Because we make linen out of the Flax plant. Latin is such a pure language. I have spent the past two full days out in the perennial yard (I must take a photo for you), full sun, breeze off the ocean. Nice work.

Today, I get my hair cut. And, today, I have lunch with my husband. We both have today off. Riley is busy examining the yard.

The sun is shining. The sky is very blue. A Maine blue sky is one of those things I wish everyone could experience. It is SO VERY clear and intensely blue. And the grass, from the stoop, is emerald green. Close up it's not so lovely, but from the stoop or the street, well, it's a carpet of chemically enhanced green. My hollyhocks from last year have returned. We may actually get the plum tree into the ground today. We may dig and move the Germanic Irises which are now in the "wrong" spot. My peonies are huge. My lupine are all back and some are getting very large. Most of my "five dollar" roses made it through the winter. One died. I have rhubarb in the fridge for pie. Life is good, right now.

So today. A haircut. Perhaps a visit to Big Lots on the way home. The library to return books. The bank to deposit my pay checks. Lunch at 111 Maine and we will linger over coffee and chat with our favorite wait person and the chef.

I have to go. Next Tuesday I have Art Club. That should spark a good post. And I want to take pictures of the long traffic delays on Maine street where we are (finally) getting new sewer pipes, and the homeowners are seeing, actually, where the front of their property line is and having trees, lawns and driveways chewed up by the biggest machines and trucks. It is amazing. And because it's Crooker and not the Town, the employees are so very gracious, smiling, stopping traffic in a very organized way etc. etc.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wednesday, May 6th

A recent purchase. A pure white, spring cactus. The flowers open into a star shape (at some point in the day) and have yellow stamen. I usually view this pretty cactus with it's flowers closed. someday I will catch them open.

Yesterday I bought nothing. Quite proud of myself as there is nearly always something I want at the greenhouse. But I held firm. And this morning this was my internet horoscope for the day:

Take a look at your closet today and count how many things are in there that you never wear. Chances are, no matter how high the number is, every single one of those forgotten items was an impulse buy -- wasn't it? Today, remember those neglected outfits when you see something you think you must have. Think about all the money you could have now if you had just resisted that compulsion. Don't spend money on something you don't need.

I think the percentage of items in the closet that we actually wear is like 10% eighty percent of the time. We reach for the same few items, over and over again. Now that I work in a greenhouse (and get dirty) I have been wearing few (none) of the clothes in my closet and the items I would like to wear, don't fit. In fact, what I am wearing is stuff I purchased in May, 2007, at that point in the 365 day healthy eating plan.

These days I am wearing whatever I can find in greenhouse green @ the local Goodwill. Men's cargo pants. I have the company tee shirt in medium (wear alone) and large (wear layered with something under). I used to be able to layer under the medium. My coworkers have begun wearing shorts. I'll need to visit the Goodwill and see what they have in the men's shorts section since last year's shorts may be too tight. I want nice and baggy. One pair, washed often, will be enough. Most of the cargo pants I have fit high and tight in the rear. Not something I appreciate on a hot, sweaty summer day. I could always "go hippy" and wear long, floaty skirts to work with the company tee. Or tie a sarong around my hips. Laughing!!!!!!

So, my closet. I have been eliminating stuff all along as lots of things in there were too big. Now I have to work on removing things I haven't worn in the past year or two. I even have things in there I haven't worn in the past 10 or 20 years. Those things have all sorts of emotional attachments. Harder to pull out of the closet and bag up. Easier to do when the things don't belong to you. I can clean out someone else's closet pretty darn quick.

Hard to break the emotional attachment to these clothes. Hard to break the emotional attachment I have to stockpiled ephemera (old papers and books) and fabric. Baby steps. I think I will return to the brown paper grocery bag approach and just fill one grocery bag with stuff in the closet. Not a "big deal". I have been walking around the house finding little items and placing them in the "yard sale" box out on the porch. Vases, baskets, salt and peppers, a set of small tumbling bears. Little crap. Little crap that clutters up the horizontal spaces.

So, dear readers, do you have a brown paper grocery bag? Can you walk around the house and put things into it? Can you take the bag over to Goodwill when you have it filled? Put the really awful stuff in the garbage can. If I lived in a well traveled neighborhood ( I live at the end of a dead end street) I would set up a small table with a "FREE" sign and be done with it.

I love to stop the car and look at the "FREE" stuff people put out on the lawn. Windows, screens, doors, computers, televisions, couches, chairs, empty pails. G & I have a huge pile of windows we picked up. We have plans to make garden boxes (cold frames) with these windows. Someday. And last week I saw an incredible stack of lovely, old green windows and screens. I didn't stop but they were lovely and quite large. So if your situation is conducive to a table or pile on the curb--go for it. And fill a little jar or can with flowers.

And don't buy anything today.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Time and Money

I read Rice's blog post about not spending money (Voodoo Cafe) and tried. But I needed gypsum to condition my garden dirt (clay layer) for my new plum tree. And I needed buns for pulled pork sandwiches. And I had to pay for the four herb plants that will die in my garden this year (just like in years past) and the tomato plants that L and I are sharing (Brandywine). And chicken breasts (boneless and skinless) were $1.79 a pound. So I caved. Spent. Bought.

Oh, and the "empty" buzzer went off on the car's gas tank as I was driving back from getting my teeth X-rayed (18 times) so I had to fill the tank. If old friends and family members are reading this and snorting--yes, I did fill the tank. Second time in four weeks. After 32 years of NOT EVER filling a gas tank. G just doesn't have time to do it for me, like he has for 32 years, up till now. I guess the honeymoon is over?

Tomorrow. That's when I will not buy anything. In fact, my sales slip from today is incorrect so I will begin the day with a credit of $7.29 back onto my credit card.

Squirrel Report: Riley has caught and ended the life of his second squirrel. One moment Riley was resting in the freshly de-weeded garden bed with me and next G was yelling "stop". Riley was trying to encourage the squirrel to "play" some more, but alas, it was already done "playing". He caught one Friday (could have been this same squirrel) and G made him release it and let it run back in the woodpile. The learning curve with this dog is something to observe. He is quite intelligent and learns quickly from his mistakes. He even lines up behind trees so the squirrel can't see him clearly. And he walks so very slowly across the lawn, head down, tail straight out. A hunter.

The caretaker I have watching my dad's (my) house in Ohio called last night, late. We talked about the guy who doesn't want to cut the grass. D has another guy in mind. Just in case. We talked about karma. How bad deeds lead to bad things happening. Not for D and I but for someone who has promised to do things at the house and has disappointed both of us. Someone who took an almost new coffeemaker from the pile of my Dad's things meant for the food pantry. As he was driving off with his "stolen" coffee maker, he hit a bump and his muffler and back bumper were torn off the car. Karma.

Today was a better day. People are still tippy toeing around me. And that's okay with me. I don't mind having them staying away. I like solitude. Especially while I tend, count, and re-supply my perennials. Time alone. And the dentist visit was very pleasant. I found the staff chatting with me like I was an old friend of theirs and, in truth, I had never seen any of them before. And at the grocery an older woman came up to me and said "how do I know you?" and I answered, as I always do, "from the library". We talked about my new job and she asked me about her blueberry bushes and I told her what to do with them. Just another day. Oh, and a customer brought me Scarlett runner beans from her garden--for me to plant on my porch trellis. A better day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rhubarb Pie

Is in the oven baking right now. Riley woke us up very early this Sunday morning (our joint day off), so we had breakfast before 8am. I set some "Southern Pork Ribs" (about 6 pounds) which were on sale for 99 cents a pound this week into the crock pot with some hot water and a few onions overnight. This morning I picked and shredded the meat, added BBQ sauce and brown sugar and set it all back to cooking slowly for the rest of the day. So dinner is done.

Friday wasn't a very good day. I said something to a co worker with the very best of intentions. She complained to the boss. He came out to complain to me. I stayed out in the perennial yard organizing the plants and forgot to eat lunch (and everyone stayed as far away from me as possible, including customers, so I must have been radiating frustration). Then, I find out I am teaching the vegetable class the next morning, with no prep. G & I went out to dinner and I had a large drink.

Saturday everyone is bending over to help me get set up for the class. Still radiating, I guess. And it went well, and they ate all the cookies. The rest of the day flew by. And now it's Sunday. My mantra for the work situation: It's not MY greenhouse. I can try and fix what is mine.

On that note: I got my first bill for the lawn care at my Dad's house in Ohio and a handwritten note saying they don't want to cut the grass there anymore. Too big a lawn and too much time. I guess there's no recession in Ohio. You can just get rid of jobs that are too much work. I emailed an offer to pay more. What else can I do? And I always thought the fee was too low.

G is getting cranky. He's tired, has no time to just lay around and nap, is getting irritated with the dog, is falling asleep in front of the television. I pointed out that this is HIS dog and I don't mind helping out, but I am NOT doing the dog, the laundry, the cooking, the shopping, the ironing, the bill paying, and entertaining myself while he sleeps. And I was just starting to work on dusting and general cleaning of furniture, bathrooms and such.

Right now he is outside yelling at the dog, who is digging a deep hole in the woodpile looking for the baby squirrel he caught yesterday (and G made him give back). Pretty soon G's going to bring the dog back into the house--for me to watch. NOT! Riley tracked and caught that squirrel and had him in his mouth. He wants that squirrel back. He wants to be outside where the squirrel is hiding. Single minded devotion to the task.

I think I will get into my dirty work clothes and go out and garden a bit. Some weeding. Some digging up and potting of perennials (in the wrong places). I may even plant some more seeds. As soon as the pie is done.