Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Texture Added

I continue to tinker with this doodle whenever I have a few moments. Yesterday I worked on my last class of the Spring season-Vegetable Gardening again. I was very bouncey from an extra large decaf Starbucks coffee I had after lunch at work. Their decaf still has quite a bit of caffeine. Wide awake long into the night. We had leftover pizza for dinner.

Today I am doing laundry before work, changing the bed sheets, making my lunch and dropping Riley off at day care. Working the 10.30 to 6 shift. At least the watering will be done by the time I get to work. Big foliage order from Florida yesterday. Greenhouse is crowded. The lupine, creeping phlox and cold crops (broccoli, onions, cabbage) are arriving. The season is getting ready to explode. I am beginning to be less tired. Drinking more liquids and sleeping with a small pillow at my waist. No backaches.

Another salad for lunch. I have everything for a fruit and yogurt lunch (switched to Dannon light vanilla to save calories) but not quite ready for the summer lunch. Going to have a banana and cereal for breakfast. Run out and get my coffee mug out of the car or fill the thermos with coffee to drink at work. Coffee fills me up. And I chew gum to fill the "chewing" requirement.

The days at work are going past very quickly now. More customers. More questions. It all helps to get through the day. I even had time to wash all the dirt off the floor in front of the potting station and clean out the floor drain. The fertilizing machine is back on, so the floor got washed with blue water. No cat pee or poop now that Maxine is gone. She always enjoyed drinking the blue water.

I have a very good idea of what I want to do for the 12 by 12 for May 1. I have a piece on the work table but I am thinking of another way to go right now. Need to put in another new needle. I have broken so many needles in the past few months. I may have to go to a bigger size needle. Stronger, Thicker. Less likely to snap off at the tip.

My neighbor across the street lost her job. They eliminated her position. 61 years old. Single. This will be the third time she has had to look for a new job in the years she has been my neighbor. I have felt helpless (to help) and sad. She is overweight, bad hips, feet and knees. Still angry about her divorce years ago. Her dog died a few months ago. How much stress can a person take? At what cost?

Yesterday an elderly man had trouble breathing. We kept him calm until the rescue people arrived. I asked how old he was. "Too Old", he said. Just the answer my dad would give. He was 74. Ten years difference between us. I feel ageless and he feels "too old". Perhaps it was this that kept me awake last night and not the coffee?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Progress

My work for the internet class is stalled. I'm not interested in the focus of Lesson Three. I am still interested in having text in my work. I saw an advertisement for wallpaper in the new House Beautiful magazine plus some additional text pieces. I decided to try and rework the wallpaper design into a doodle. I am using my Dove Grey brush pen and a golden yellow colored pencil, Prang, I think. When I added the yellow the whole thing lit up. Like Christmas. Last night I dreamed of another technique to use to add texture to this doodle. The piece resembles the original too closely to ever be thought of as anything but an experiment. But I will make an original one now that I can see it works.

Today, with the clouds and cold wet weather, I have a walk with Riley on the schedule, finishing my Wallander book, working on the Twelve by Twelve May 1 reveal (fabric collage), writing checks and filling out the checkbook and peeling the beets I roasted yesterday (taking advantage of the hot oven after baking pizza). I will also be making dinner. Baking potatoes. Sauteing spinach. I have only one shirt to iron. I think K is calling tonight to watch the Project Runway finale. DWTS. Could be a problem.

I wake up each morning with my back hurting. It must be time for a new mattress even though I think we have owned this one for only 15 years and turned and flipped it regularly. It's the kind of pain that makes me slightly nauseous. I think that is an odd symptom, but my son once told me a friend of his experienced something similar and it had to do with the kidney and wasn't about the back at all. Which is why the nausea is a good clue. I know I don't drink enough water. I don't even drink enough of anything, really. I never have. But, I do pee. Gee.
I'm getting old. So invested in my bodily functions, and under the impression you are too.

It's 9.30 and I have read all the blogs that are in my sidebar. Had one cup of coffee. Thinking about breakfast (nausea is passing, back feels better). Making more coffee. Peeling those beets. Pulling pork steaks out of the freezer. Reading my book. Things I can do without having to decide whether to change out of my jammies. Things I can do right here in the kitchen while the dog naps in the living room. Watching me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Resistance Is Futile

My horoscope for today. Stop struggling. Resistance is futile. Make do, the best I can, with what I have. I'm not really struggling with anything. We are just really busy and people are "calling out" so we didn't have enough coverage in Trees & Shrubs today. And I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted in the Perennial Yard. I've been asked to make a map. Isn't the alphabet a map?

G's pizza is in the oven. Mine is waiting to be prepped. Our first actual dinner in about a week. Quite a thrill. G has been reading the blog again and went a bit crazy shopping for things for dinner. Sushi one night, and some kind of fishy spring rolls the next. Yesterday I made blueberry pancakes for my breakfast and then had a strawberry ice cream cone for dinner. I think I had a banana for lunch. Not enough food. I was starving by breakfast this morning and gobbled up my huge salad and chicken at lunchtime.

Three classes on Saturday and Sunday. The other MG had a flat tire and didn't show up. So I had 15 minutes notice to step up and do the class. And then prep for the 2 pm class. And then do it again on Sunday. I'm pretty tired of doing classes. One more to go.

I had to back out of the gallery jury process. Just no time to create any work or find and decide which of my already made pieces I would put into the jury process. And there was still the work I would need each time something sold. Time. Resistance was futile.

My pizza has gone into the oven. 18 minutes. Then I can eat. And sit quietly. DWTS tonight. And perhaps have an hour or two to read my Wallander. Getting close to the end of the book.

A coworker brought in a plastic carrier bag of iris tubers. Blue. And asked if I wanted them. I said yes. I know just where they will be planted. And I saw that I have tulips blooming in the Veg garden. I must walk out there and look at them. A surprise. My perennial beds close to the house are a sea of golden daffodils and tiny blue Forget Me Nots.

Rain and wet snow and colder temps are on the way. We need rain. It was almost too warm the past weekend. In fact, it was warmer than it is during most of a normal summer here in Maine. So weird. Pizza!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

What I See When I Get Home

Everyone sleeping. At 6.30. Tonight, they were awake and had purchased sushi for dinner. I indulged in a hot shower first, then spilled soy sauce on my placemat, ate my sushi and now we are having coffee and brownies. My piece will be quite tiny.

We had so many people working today that I couldn't find a parking spot in the employee lot. I had to park up front--where they weren't many cars, sad to say. The day flew by. Which is a very good thing, as it began, not so great. The tip of my right thumb is blue. From a cactus needle yesterday at work. All day I worried about it. No pain. No numbness. Cold. And eventually, not so blue. But still, it worries me.

I'm going to have coffee now. Before I know it, it will be 6am and time to get up and ready for work. Saturday. Classes and lots to do.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not So Much Whistling While I Work

Each day is better than the day preceding but they are all hard. Too many new employees. Not enough customers. I am busy all day, between coaching new hires and the phone. And D and I are trying to get the Perennial yard organized and yesterday I turned the geranium section backwards and need to fix that today. I marked all the tables with arrows so I can visualize which way the alphabet is going. Right to Left. Right to Left. Right to Left. I mean I'm not stupid, just easily confused. We read left to right.

I had a hot shower after work and a huge hot fudge sundae at DQ $3!. That was dinner. And G, Riley and I slept through whatever was on television last night. Our regular ice cream place, with premium packed ice cream, opens Friday. Same rules will apply. Ice Cream or Dinner.
Not both. I have to search the pants container for pants to wear to work. I'm wearing the 16W's with huge caveman tucks in the waist today. I like the bagginess. I HATE tight pants.

I went shopping at Goodwill in Falmouth with a friend on Tuesday. She kept choosing anything marked size 12 and she is not a size 12. Nothing fit. I suggested a very nice pair of brown cotton cropped pants. 14. Too Big! Too Wide! I asked her to please just try them. Well, they were snug in the hip. My point, which was difficult to get across, is to try on everything even the "too big" sizes because one 12 is another manufacturers 14 or 16. XL in some lines is a 12. And to be realistic. She has gained weight. She is a 14 or even a 16 by now. Too many crackers.

I was trying on men's 36 inch waist pants and none of them were baggy enough for work. The 38's were too big. So I settled for a nice $15 cashmere cardigan for next fall/winter. Red. High Quality. Yummy. I got G a $2 Brooks Brother's silk tie. I need a nice pair of Columbia speedy dry trail pants. The Universe is on notice!

Today's lunch is carrots and hummus and a mixed salad with oil and vinegar. I have bananas. They were 53 cents a pound so I got a big bunch. High in calories but bananas are good.

Yesterday, the company cat had a huge seizure and we all decided it was time for her to move on to cat heaven. 18 or 19 years old and the veteran of being run over by a car and a few other things. I scooped the last of her poop from in front of my work table yesterday. She made her last trip to the vet at 2 pm. Maxine. I will miss seeing her sleeping on the grass seed bags, or the stone walkway in the sun, or in the gift shop in a decorative basket or bowl. I will not miss seeing her on the lunch room table.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Down To Earth Optimism

My happy napkin fabric. My Google home page horoscope suggests that I will be applying "down to earth optimism" to my long term goals today. Not "pie in the sky" dreaming. I find that interesting as I am hardly ever optimistic about long term. I always worry that the money we have saved won't last our entire lifetime. So I am loathed to spend any of it on: a new bathroom, roof, kitchen remodel or vacation. Not what I would call "pie in the sky" dreaming.

The dog is sleeping on his dog bed. I woke up at 6 and tried to fall back to sleep. Must have managed because a phone call woke me at 9 am. A friend wants my company on a car ride to Portland later today. Note: I went to get a cup of coffee and dog woke up and decided to go outside to play. It's sunny outside and warmer than the past week. I weeded and moved things in the garden yesterday and really want to get the pansies in their new home today. G is out of bagels for his breakfast and I think he needs orange juice also. He works next door to a large grocery store but never thinks to get these things himself.

I have books to return to the library and since the library is next door to the grocery, I will stop in for a few items. I need more lettuce for my lunches. And soy milk. My lower digestive tract is more "regular" now that I am having soy milk with my shredded wheat instead of cow's milk.
I may or may not carve a "poop" stamp for my food diary.

My online class is moving forward without me right now. I am sitting here looking at the three assignments I should be working on. I chose three that I actually have an interest in doing. The majority of Lesson Three is taken up with printing fabric in the photocopier in strange and complicated ways. I don't want text that much. I have to WANT the end product in order to do the complicated work. So, I have printing on waste copies, cutting letters out of printed fabric (wonder under) and ironing the letters on another fabric, cutting out paper letters and pasting them on printed paper. I will do those three things. I might also do the watered down glue and tissue paper experiment. I think it's called "making paper fabric". Not much is being downloaded onto the website. Either people are dropping out or they aren't doing any work, hard to say from where I am sitting. I expected more input from the instructor as we worked. And the lists of supplies needed in the coming lessons is huge.

My philosophy has always been, "if I can't do something with what I have already, then I don't need to be doing it." I will go out and buy supplies that have multiple uses. I do buy brushes, paint, crayons and paste. They last forever. I started using Elmer's School glue (which washes out) to attach fabric pieces to my quilts when I ran out of Wonder Under. And that was the last time I ever bought WU. I stitch all the edges down with invisible zigzag. I know M never does that, but my quilts aren't stiff as a board and they can be washed. And they don't take 20 minutes to slap together. Meow.

I agree with everyone who commented yesterday. Kate's dance was horrible. Her dress was a BAG. And her patent attempt for "sympathy" -- "I had 8 little visitors and decided to spend my time with them instead of practicing" means-- go home, spend time with them there. The three nannies, the security guard and all the camera men will "help" you take care of everyone. Did all of you know that Kate is being PAID $75,000 per episode of DWTS? (Could her agent have negotiated with a set number of episodes in the contract?) And that she now has a contract with TLC for another reality show "Twist of Kate", which she got after the first airing of DWTS. I look at her fake smile and the vacant eyes and I wonder about those 8 children. What happens when they are no longer "cute as a button"? What happens if she actually has to do laundry, cook and clean up after the eight of them? And not fly across country to "appearances", get plastic surgery and dash around with her "body guard". Anyway. We'll know tonight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seven Hundred Seventy One

The number of posts I have created in the years I have been "blogging", which is just "writing" with a better transmission apparatus. My picture today is of the new leaves on my challenged dwarf orange. Remember it lost all it's leaves while in the hands of a customer on Valentine's Day? A real massacre. Now, it is reinventing itself with fresh new leaves.

I did something incredibly stupid today. I had my big orange pain pill out on the counter at 7 this morning while I made cereal, chopped lettuce for my salad and pushed the start button for coffee. Then, when it was time to take the pill, I couldn't find my pill. I searched the floor, under the cups and cereal bowl. So, I thought the dog had eaten it and took another orange pill from the bottle and swallowed it. At some point in the morning, I realized, by the swimmy way I felt, that I must have taken the first pill and forgotten that I had. Somehow. So, I had a double dose. And it hit me at lunchtime. And by the time I drove home at 4, I had to concentrate really hard on paying attention to my driving. Got home just fine. Dug around in the garden with the dog (who was showing no sign of having any kind of pill) until G got home and then I took a long and very hot shower. Normally, the one pill does nothing but make the pain in my back or hip go away. I don't notice any side effects. Two pills. Equals 10 or more Aleve.

I told my coworkers what I had done, told them I had the name of the drug and the dosage on a paper in my left pocket in case a call to 911 was necessary. And then I went about the business of working a full day in the greenhouse. Started by sweeping the greenhouse floor.

My Forget Me Nots are in bloom and a great many deep purple violas have returned (in odd places). The daffodils are still in great shape due to cooler temps at night. The tulips aren't very tall yet. My rose bushes have 2 inch long bud shoots. The deer haven't come to prune them yet. I'm going to dig up my struggling Graham Thomas yellow rose and move it into the vegetable garden in a raised bed. I have decided I like the rose much more than any vegetable I can grow.

G wants pasta for dinner so I need to chop up an onion and saute it with garlic and red pepper flakes. DWTS tonight and hope springs eternal that THIS is the night Kate goes home. I suspect the "fix" is in and the producers will ignore her "actual" results and keep her on for a few more weeks for the publicity of E, People magazine and those other "faux news" venues.
She's an empty bag of air.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strawberry Cream Pansies

These two flats of pansies are going into the rippled planter on the front porch. Soon. Today I am restful. Reading my Wallander and making a rutabaga, potato, cabbage and carrot soup. Sort of like the broth from the corned beef and cabbage dinner. Only vegetarian. It's ready but I wanted to post before diving in.

I woke before 8 this morning but climbed back in bed to just stare at the ceiling for another hour. Now, I have laundry to finish up and ironing to start on. I am so very tired. Tomorrow it all begins again. With classes again on Saturday and Sunday. I know it takes a body four weeks to get used to a new routine. And I have three more weeks to go. But when I get used to it, everything will be back to normal. Patience.

This week's classes are on Edible Containers. Vegetable container gardening. Something I do normally in my own garden. I just need to have a good handout and start writing my class notes. I do better with an outline and I need to start timing these things as I go on too long and the class chairs are hard. Butts go numb.

Dinner with daughter and Mr L went very well. He LOVED the pulled pork. Her Cheese Bread was divine. The salad of wild greens, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar was delicious. Brownies hot out of the oven for dessert. I had a crusty little edge with my coffee. And I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek from Mr L (while I was washing dishes). And, because of "company" the dining room table got cleaned off and we have new placemats and napkins.

This afternoon, G and daughter are at the movies. G has finally redeemed his birthday coupon for a movie, popcorn and Coke that daughter gave him in November. The movie is violent, bloody and hilarious. Nick Cage and a teenage girl in a purple wig.

I'm having a big bowl of soup, finishing my book and well, that's all I plan on doing for the next hour or so. Wish I knew how to nap.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Night

Figagrow in better health. My Fig developed rust. And dropped it's leaves after they got crispy and brown edged. N says it might have been the going out and then coming back into the house. So I took it back to the greenhouse and it seems happier. Some things aren't meant to be.

Today. Two classes. I did Roses by myself and N helped with the Bark & Berries. Sold a lot of Roses out of my class, which is why we have them. And it snow/rained today. Snow overnight and then rain all day. Muddy. Cold. And today is the day my boss chose to blow out and repair leaks in the irrigation system. Nothing to do with me. I was on my own with three returning and new employees in the greenhouse watering and working, doing secret "projects".

I was up at 6 am yesterday working on paste ups of the handout for both classes. I like the participants to go home with "good information" and in order to do that, I have to go onto the internet and find and print and cut and paste and copy and collate and staple. I tally all the hours for my Master Gardener volunteer hours. My employer wants me being paid as an employee for the actual class time so I can't use the class time for MG credit. It all works out. In case you wonder, "paste up" is the old fashioned way to do page set up. Paper, scissors and a glue stick. We did it that way when I worked in advertising for a local newspaper in the late 1980's. Pre-Pagemaker.

My horoscope for today said nothing was going to go as planned today. I could fuss and make it worse or relax and just go with it. I relaxed. And the day was excellent. The class was very good. We laughed. I got all my written work done. I was writing class notes up until I started speaking. Not the way I like working. But, I let it go.

I made pulled pork in the crock pot last night and this morning for dinner with our daughter and Mr L. We had Spaghetti Bread (daughter baked), noodles, salad and pork. A very good dinner. It was so funny because I forgot I had made a dinner in the crock pot. As I was driving home, I remembered, and was so damned happy. Dinner. Hot and ready to eat. Company. And tomorrow I'm not working. I'm exhausted but very happy this evening. A Good Day. I think I will sleep like a ROCK.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Missing Redux

When I had a few minutes to myself on Tuesday I reworked the Missing art I showed a few days before. Now it's rougher and more like graffiti you see in Europe. This may not be the last thing I do to this little 8 by 8 piece.

Wednesday and Thursday were long days at work. And today I was up before 6 am worrying about handouts for the two classes on Saturday. Yes, two different, new to me, classes on Saturday, which is supposed to be my day off. And the weekend is supposed to be cold and rainy. Perhaps a bit of snow. Nice. I work 10 to 6 today. I refilled my pain pill prescription and had a hot fudge sundae with bananas for supper last night at 7.30. Just under the wire. I can't eat after 8. I'm thinking I'm too old for this kind of hard work. And my clothes and socks were wet most of the day.

G rearranged the sunporch yesterday on his day off and walked the dog twice. He also traded his phone in for a new one. I guess he had dropped the old one and it didn't work "right". G tends to not quite tell the truth. I stopped believing most of what he tells me years ago. He tells you what he thinks you want to hear.

My walking buddy reported in with a neighborhood update. We have a SUV with a blonde woman in it, parked on the end of our street three days a week from 3 to 11 pm. She sits there talking on the phone. Yesterday a gray Saab was parked behind her and she had another woman in her car and they were talking. My buddy's husband walked over and asked her what she was doing. "Surveillance from 3 to 11 pm". Another neighbor called the police and got the same short answer. N & I can't figure out what this woman can SEE from where she is parked. There's a nursing home and a house getting a new driveway. But they can SEE her. Everyone driving up the road can SEE her and because there is never any other car parked along the road (ever) her parked car is very noticeable. I think G called the police this morning (he didn't know about the emails from N) if he remembered. I thought she was just looking for a cell phone signal but had no idea she was parked out there until 11 at night. I wonder what she does if she has to pee?

Time to get dressed for work. Nice and warm and with an extra dry tee shirt. I have my salad packed (lettuce, carrot, dry cranberries) and coffee made for my thermos. I've decided to carry a thermos so I can have a hot sip of coffee during the day, when I need it most.

I have a whole pile of handout sheets to copy for the classes. The Bark & Berries one is really pretty wonderful. My best work yet. The Roses one is all about the bad stuff that happens to roses. And we still try to grow them! Optimists.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Actual TAX DAY

After only two eight hour days, watering plants, hauling hose, bending, walking, working, I am completely exhausted. I have taken pain pills already this morning for my back. And it's only 8.30. I am wondering if I will be able to do this job for the entire season. We had some REAL excitement at work yesterday. A major power outage hours BEFORE lunch. How to heat our lunches? See. Lunch is THE highpoint of the day. Is it time for lunch yet? That's the most asked question. After lunch we just drag around waiting to go home. I usually try and eat late so I have less drag around time, but yesterday I was so hungry I ate at 12. And the power came back on. I had salad so it didn't matter. But there was unrestrained JOY amongst my coworkers as they nuked their Lean Cuisine.

I did go to the grocery and buy food but still haven't made a meal. I do have lettuce and carrots for my lunches. We had canned baked beans (doctored up with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar) with grilled cheese sandwiches and home canned zucchini pickles last night. And then I crawled to the couch and was assaulted by muscle cramps (hamstring) and bone aches. I need to drink more liquids and eat more protein. I had asked G to buy and carry home some grilled McD's chicken (cold in the fridge) to take to work with my salads for lunch. He forgot.

Riley put his tennis ball toy back into his toybox twice in a row this morning and I thought we were on our way to a new learned behaviour. He stopped at twice. It would be nice to have the time to train him to recognize his toys by name and to put them in the toybox after he's played with them. For treats, of course. Riley now weighs 82 pounds. All muscle. The long walks, off leash, have built up additional muscle. He was running through snow most of the winter and is now running through chest high water. G is looking for a place to take him swimming in the ocean. Perhaps the new boat ramp a few miles down the road.

I am now teaching two new (to me) classes on Saturday (three days notice!) my day off. Roses and Decorative Bark. The Rose class should be okay, once I get my handouts prepped and copied. Bark? Really, once you give people a list of trees and shrubs with interesting bark---what is there to say? A slide show would be appropriate. I have a delightful list in one of the few gardening books I chose to keep when I cleaned out my book cases. I will be copying it this evening. I work until 6 tonight (6.30 by the time we cash out so there will be time to copy things). And Survivor and Fringe are on tonight. Will I be able to stay awake? What will we eat for dinner?

I reworked some of the text samples I made last week and posted them on my online class site. I want to feel like I'm participating. I still haven't graduated to Lesson Two.

I'm going to eat breakfast. These horse sized pain pills make me loopy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tax Day (Day 103 of 2010)

Here is the newest example of my "test pilot" work for my on line class. I used a plastic bag from Target and ran it through the copier on different % settings. I like this piece and may copy it again and play around with coloring different sections.

Yesterday, I finally had time to Google some questions that customers have been asking. What kind of flowers do bees like? What soil additives can a vegan organic gardener add to new garden soils? What happened to my African Violet to make the leaves curl and get brittle? (Caladium mites) I still have one question. Identifying a plant that has characteristics similar to bleeding heart but a trumpet shaped bloom (not a heart). I also looked up Mason bees and wrote out the instructions for a Mason bee egg laying frame. I would like to attract Mason bees to my garden this year.

An odd thing has started to occur at work. Customers are coming to find me and asking about things outside my territory. Trees and shrubs. I sold a redbud (after discussing micro climates) and a contorted hazelnut yesterday and discussed non hybrid tomato seeds with a customer. I also went over the recipe for making moss (moss, dirt and any sour liquid, whey from yogurt or buttermilk) It made my day interesting but kept me away from the greenhouse. I can sense some irritation in the ranks, even though I left the actual "sale" to nursery employees. I think I would do well outside with the big ticket items. Hard to make a $100 sale with $3.99 pansy flats. Hard, but I do it often enough to cover my weekly paycheck. I like to sell as much as they pay me.

Today I am going into town to visit the post office and mail my federal and state tax returns and then visit the town office to pay the April segment of my property taxes. Then to the grocery store to buy groceries. I had enough things in the fridge to get Mexican casserole made for dinner last night after a full day at work (7.30 to 4.30). I did not get my shower until just before climbing into bed as there was Dancing With The Stars to contend with. G is out of his butter product and yogurt. I need more cereal, soy milk and Romaine for my daily salads. I need another bottle of Balsamic vinegar. I should also visit a store to buy a new insulated coffee mug. The one I have doesn't keep the coffee hot.

Just thinking about cooking chicken, pork or ground beef is making me so BORED. I think I promised a crock pot of pulled pork for dinner with my daughter and Mr L this Saturday so I need to remember to buy a huge chunk of Boston Butt. I promised to serve the pork with a choice of mixed green salad, noodles or Kaiser rolls. Perhaps some baked French fries. Mr L eats a very healthy diet, exercises and does yoga and is only 10 pounds off his high school weight. !!!!!

I am in the midst of reading my last Wallander book. It's about Africa. I left it to last because there isn't much about Sweden or Wallander so far and that's what I like best. I think Wallander may be making an appearance soon as the Russian has shot and killed a Swedish policeman. I know how this book ends, as Wallander goes on extended leave after killing a man in a fog covered field. I just don't know which man. The Russian or the African assassin. I am sad that this is the last book to read. There is a tenth book, but it hasn't been translated yet as it was written in 2009. I have to find a new author. A new addiction.

I have been asked to submit work to a jury for inclusion in a gallery. They have asked 10 or 15 people to jury for one or possibly two spots. This is a summer gallery with sales hours worked by the participants. My friend was in this gallery for many years, before moving away, selling fiber art. They would like to have fiber art again. B and I have vastly different ways of doing work. But I will submit three pieces.

I have been asked by readers to sell the work I show on this blog. Let me just say: If you see something you would like to own--just email me. I think the need for cash is what motivates other fiber artists to advertise work. That and the need for name recognition (fame). As I have said, neither of these things interests me. But, I will and do sell my work. I just don't work at it. If my life and need for shelter and groceries depended on ART, I would be in deep trouble. I can't make what sells. I can only make what I want to make. So, if you see something you want and like, ask me for it.

Now, cereal. We had a freeze last night and even though the sun is out, it is COLD. I wonder if the clematis that was delivered late yesterday afternoon survived overnight? Outside. It had very little root. And dry soil.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


But still here. What a few days I've had and today, just enough time to breathe. Tomorrow I begin the season of work with long days. Up earlier and home later. And I'm tired already and haven't been to the grocery for the week's food or anything. I do have a load of whites in the washer and the darks on the floor in front of the washer.

Got my daughter's taxes signed and into envelopes for her to mail. We also took her out for lunch but the place we drove 45 minutes to was closed, so we drove back home and ate locally. Tomorrow I'll package our taxes (and the payments) and then mail them on Tuesday and pay the property taxes on the house. April sucks. But the taxes weren't as bad as last year.
Remember that nightmare????

I spent the first few hours this morning working with my collection of letters and words. Test Piloting in Lesson One: Part Three. The rest of the class is working on Lesson Two. So far, this class isn't teaching me anything. You read the lessons and work on things yourself and ask questions via email if you think you may be going in the wrong direction (but as a student, do you even realize this?) and someone answers. The instructor or one of the other students. I've even been asked to give tips. It's all not what I expected. And I don't think I have done any of the assignments correctly, yet. Today I am supposed to write. About text and letters. Does this count?

My daughter and I were wondering (as we drove the 1.5 hour round trip to "no lunch"), why is there only one shoe lost on the road curb?. Why didn't the person lose both? We noticed several different, single, shoes on one busy corner. Did they fall off people's feet, which were hanging out the car windows? The shoes must have only been there a short time, as the snow plows would have scooped them up over the winter. Any thoughts?

G is taking me for ice cream. I want ice cream. And a nap.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I'm So Tired

Today we have the first piece of work for my "test pilot" class. I used some of the letters in my new collection of text and cut letters to make a "doodle" and learned that I have trouble with orienting text. I want it to be in reading position. And this is "art" not reading. So I have to work on turning that section of my brain, off. And jumbling up the letters. I really want to do that NOW but am trying to eat breakfast, post on the blog and make my lunch. No time.

I have been working everyday since Sunday with Tuesday spent doing taxes which was NOT restful. Yesterday G drove around and deposited our IRA contributions. He also purchased some plywood to refurbish our garden cart which is rotting due to being left out over the winter with no cover. Wood rots.

Yesterday, while working on my text doodle, I forgot I let the dog outside and later, much, when I settled into the couch for Survivor, I asked "where's Riley". It was dark by then and the little guy had been out there almost 2 hours. He was waiting right by the door.

I'm wearing pants I wore last summer and fall today. Loose enough so the crotch isn't riding up into a nasty wedgie. Not that I have been doing much of anything on the diet. We still have potato chips at work. Salty. Crunchy. So I had a few handfuls after eating my salad. Which had raw spinach in it and now I am having bowel issues. I don't think I like raw spinach. I don't think my bowels know how to deal with raw spinach.

I've been missing you. Blogging every morning was such a wonderful part of each day. Now I'm racing around trying to get myself off to work instead. My first "work" at work each morning is cleaning up the cat crap deposited in front of my potting bench. Every morning. And the smell of pee is a gentle whiff. Rather be here with you!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Mysterious or Reclusive

I am choosing solitude more often on my few days off. Not trying to be mysterious or reclusive, but trying to reorient myself to my inner thoughts. I would have been a wonderful librarian. Teaching would have worn me out. Frayed my nerves over time. Working alone, on a puzzle of some kind is therapeutic. Today: taxes on my Turbo Tax program. An easy puzzle, I hope.

A more difficult puzzle is the "test pilot" internet class. I finally am registered. I think. I posted an introduction onto the link. And then edited that post. I may edit it again and add pictures. Or send a new one. I haven't done the week's assignment. I'm not sure what the assignment is. I collect scraps of text from magazines all the time. And I guess I can make a paper collage of them. But I can't see where the "teaching" is occurring as we just have a list of assignments and people are moving through them at their chosen speeds. There are always people who want to "finish first". I'm happy right now to have successfully sent an email. We are supposed to have an ongoing writing assignment?

The picture at the top of this post is the doodle I made using the Lego block. Deborah suggests I find a Duplo block with solid circles. My block has circles with no centers. On my walk with Riley on Saturday (70 degrees) I found a Nerf rocket. Tiny. Blue with red fins. I think it might make a nice circular stamp impression. Or just be a nice addition to my bowl of "interesting objects".

It's 9.30 and the sun is just breaking through the clouds. I can see and feel the warm yellow light moving through the house. Unfolding as I enjoy my first sips of coffee. The white wash is finished and the dark wash waiting it's turn in the washer. I have a choice of chocolate bread or cereal for breakfast. And I have locally grown (greenhouse in Madison) tomatoes which I am finding irresistible. Dense, chewy, juicy and filling. I think I may have to buy a box every time I visit the grocery. Backyard Farms. A brown box with a labor intensive cut out of a picket fence framing the branch of large cherry tomatoes. Bright red. So attractive.

The leaves on my Fig tree are browning and going crisp. G thinks it is too wet, too dry or potbound. Yes. It can be all those things.

Yesterday at work, I potted a lovely orchid for a new business owner--she gave me her new business card. Picked water spotted and ruined flowers and leaves off the African violets displayed under dripping fuchsia hanging baskets. Watered. Potted up a lovely birthday gift of the most gorgeous red ivy geraniums (new this year), Iberis, vinca and pansies. I like to mix perennials into a annual planting. Call me crazy but I add them to window boxes also. The perennials are moving outside into the perennial yard but I am not involved. Again. I just watch. Such an odd way of doing things. The tree and shrub employees are doing the moving and arranging. Perhaps to keep them occupied until the trucks deliver the trees and shrubs.

I am scheduled to work five days. Six, seven or nine hours depending on which day it is.

Yesterday G got home three hours late. The shake machine was broken. And then no one who was working knew how to put it back together. G didn't know either but he knew where the instruction manual was, so he set to work figuring it out. He finally got the machine going and sampled a shake on the drive home. Then we drove out to get gas in my car. A nice little drive with me, G and the dog. I got 9 gallons of gas. Getting 32 mpg. No highway miles. G had leftover sausage and potatoes and I had popcorn for supper. Then we watched Dancing With Stars. SEND BUZZ HOME!!!! SEND KATE HOME!!!! PLEASE.

Sun is gone. Riley is back inside the house. I need to eat breakfast. Keep checking items off my To Do list. Keep moving forward.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Glorious Orchid

I purchased this orchid plant without blooms. We mark them down to $12.99 when they have no flowers and sometimes sell the plants. Sometimes, we don't. Not everyone has the patience to Wait. Tend. Hope. Dream. It's been nearly four months of waiting. And we have this glorious bloom. Ah! And the "leafless orange" has delightful baby leaf sprouts. I'm feeling all maternal today.

G was too tired to eat supper last night. Not a good sign as we head into the busiest season for Fast Food. I made myself the last sweet potato veggie burger on whole wheat bread with cheese. Sort of a veggie grilled cheese. I had zucchini pickles on the side. And I had to hurry as I was close to the 8 pm mark and would have had to also skip dinner. It takes awhile to get back into the high energy of the "season". Each year it gets harder.

My boss at the greenhouse is hiring. No schedule for next week has been posted. I am watering. We still have no idea when we'll be opening the perennial yard. But the tables are being set up and things are arriving for the nursery (trees and shrubs). And each day seems warmer. Sunnier
Today's crew is getting complimentary delivered pizza for lunch (so no one leaves the building to go have lunch) and tomorrow's crew (mine) is not. Plus, it's Easter Sunday. And Riley's birthday. Three. How did that happen so fast?

I think I worked last Easter Sunday. Yes, I remember my boss suggesting I leave "early" at 2 pm and go home and eat my holiday meal. I asked who would have cooked that meal? It was at that moment that the boss realized that since I was at work, my husband wasn't going to have a holiday dinner. My husband was the person he worried about. My boss knows G. Not to worry too much as I had lamb chops and asparagus for G's dinner. But I kept quiet about that.

Today, I am walking the dog, sitting in the sunshine on the deck, finishing up the second load of laundry, ironing shirts, going to the grocery store and reading my Wallander. And I should catch up in my Food Diary. Such a "relaxing" day off, huh?????

I have to plan the week's menu. If G is tired, then we have to have things that go together quickly and are easy to eat. Nothing heavy or complicated. This is when it's nice to grill something and make a salad. We might have spicy sausages tonight with potatoes fried with onion and a salad of cucumbers in dill and sour cream. This is something G likes and enjoys. Tomorrow, lamb chops, asparagus, rice with mint jelly for the lamb. I could bake a lemon ricotta cheesecake. Do I want to?What will I eat tomorrow with my asparagus and rice? Shrimp?

Time for the dark wash to go into the dryer and time for me to go sit in the sunshine. Keeping Riley company outside. He has to protect the doorway while I'm inside and can't enjoy the outdoors. I HAVE to go outside!

Happy Easter to everyone. I don't think I will have time to post tomorrow after work. I hope we all have sunshine and a good dinner.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Spring in Maine

We, Mainers, don't often have a season called "Spring". We usually make due with a stinky mud season, cold, wet and messy, that has nothing to do with the glorious Spring that visits other states. Yesterday, after work, G and I sat on the back stoop (right here) and enjoyed the mild weather and sunshine until 5 pm. We could have stayed out longer, if I had thought to make us a nice cocktail, and watched the dog roll around the lawn.

Yesterday I had two doors on the Big House (larger greenhouse) propped open and the roof vents were opening and closing as it warmed up and cooled down inside. I watered and got wet but since the temperatures were warmer, I didn't get cold. Or as cold. Today is going to be warmer. Saturday will be near 80. I have layers on. A light long sleeve tee with my short sleeve work tee. I have a fleece pullover in the car and should have a lighter pair of pants stashed there also in the coming weeks. Eventually, I will be carrying a full change of clothes in the car everyday. Shorts, long pants, shirts and shoes. Lots of socks. Though, now that I am wearing wool socks, I don't notice the socks being wet until I take them off. And they are usually really wet.

I was pretty impressed with myself yesterday. I was walking past the front counter and noticed customers waiting and just went over and started cashing them out and it was all good. I felt capable. I still am incapable of doing an account or paying with a Spring Bond but that just takes practice and I haven't had any. One of the guys will show me how to do it: the simple way. Some of the girls do things in a very complicated manner. I also got to load three 40 pound (wet) bags of cow manure and a 3.8 cubic foot bale of Peat into a car trunk. No loader boys working. No tip. I think the boys get tips for lifting and carrying. Wouldn't you tip a 63 year old woman who lifted all that over the end of your car trunk?

I have Saturday off. And I have a boat load of things to get done in the next few weeks. Things I have procrastinated about. I did make a list last week and got almost everything marked off. It may be time to make a list every few days and keep moving on these things. Taxes. I had promised to get them done by the end of February. Where did that plan go?????

Right now I am trying to think of all sorts of reasons not to go through with the online class I signed up for. It all seems too complicated with emails of sign ins, passwords, new passwords, introductions, passwords, new sites, more passwords and everyday there are more emails about where to go and what to send and what to do next. I really feel overwhelmed. I like things to be simple. You go to one site, read the instructions and do the work. Period. I didn't sign up for a class in internet social networking which involves the computer manual and the camera manual and the probability of figuring out (after 10 years) how to use the scanner (which we have never used and never needed to use).

I met a couple yesterday (in their 80's) who have never owned a television or computer. They seemed genuinely pleased about it. In some ways, I even envied them. I do LOVE my television. Not quite as fond of the computer. I use it as little as possible. I have no idea how to install programs or download or any of those things and have no burning desire to learn. See why this internet class was a bad idea?

I enjoy SIMPLE. White paper. Pencils. Pens. Little blobs of paint on a white plate. A handful of paint brushes. Simple stamps carved on erasers. And I enjoy painting white fabric with cheap craft paint. This should really be enough. It always helps to talk these things over with you, dear Readers.

Now what should we have for dinner tonight?