Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

In celebration of this lovely holiday, I worked. To cover lunches on Saturday, all day Sunday and from 8 to 3 today. I was thrilled when 3 pm arrived. I loaded the car (Fit) with two bags of cow manure and three of bark chips (for the garden walks) and a flat of petunias (blue). And now I am showered, enjoying a cup of coffee and thinking about preparing to reheat my Chinese leftovers and start the DVD player and watch Fringe episodes. I watched the pilot (2 hrs) last night. So good. I may watch it again. And I TiVoed the repeat of the LOST ending so I could watch it again.

Tomorrow, a real day off. I'm going to the bank with my checks, to Big Top for an egg sandwich, and to get my haircut at Bounce. I am hoping the wind stays the way it's been all day and the Quebec fire smoke stays away. It fills the house at night and I wake up sneezing. I don't tolerate smoke and will eventually get bronchitis (and wheeze). Each morning the fog holds the smoke close to the ground until the sun burns it off and the wind changes. Further inland they are smelling (breathing) the smoke all day.

G has a new prescription for an allergy spray (instead of Clariton) and his cough is changing and his chest feels better. Perhaps this is his problem? He says he is noticing more improvement each morning. Wouldn't that be something!

The picture at the top is Dianthus. These particular flowers are 2009 annuals. Still in the box this spring, unplanted. And growing. So I unboxed them and planted them and they grew and made flowers. A gardening surprise. Tomorrow, the remainder of the bedding plants will be settled into their little dirt homes. Another blue container and another deep red/pink one by the front steps. Penstemon, cornflower and blue petunias with white gaura in one and beaujolais loosestrife and more dianthus in another. And zinnias. Cleome and globe flower also need to be planted. A busy gardening day.

Tomorrow I will mix manure and Pro Mix for the pepper (bell and jalapeno) containers, the cucumbers with trellis and plant my pole beans and strawberries. I think I will wait a little while longer to set the tomatoes in the ground. They kind of like riding around the yard in the garden cart. I am also baking a rhubarb custard pie. G & I drove out to Patty's and pulled some of her rhubarb while she wasn't home. What will you be doing?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Running On Empty Almost

Well, I don't think we have a medical emergency here. Yet. Because of the holiday, the CAT scan isn't being scheduled. The person who does this, is on vacation. So, we await her return. Beginning to sound more like "taking a closer look" than "oh, No!". Even the doctor was unavailable to have even a short conversation. From what I hear at work, this is the way things go, medically. Hurry & Wait.

Today the skies are a bit overcast this morning. I'm sure the sun will burn through eventually. I have, stupidly, volunteered to come into work to cover the lunch shifts and then go home. 11 to 1 or so. I have some plants and citrus fertilizer put aside to purchase. But, I will spend the morning relaxing. Walk the dog after work. Stop in at the grocery for something to make for dinner. We had Chinese take out for dinner last night. Each of us ate half of our orders. Hard to be hungry for dinner at 8 in the evening. (I get home from work at 7.30).

I did go up into the attic to search in Gregor's fabric boxes for purple and yellow. Guess what? In my huge stash of fabric, no purple. And, nearly, no purple in the boxes upstairs. Finally, a few bits of purple. Not my kind of fabric. We'll see if I can make something presentable. I don't know if I even have purple paint to paint my own fabric for the 12 by 12 challenge. I could "mix" some. I see so much purple in the work of others. Why none in my fabric choices? I guess this is the challenge of the Colorplay series for 12 by 12. Using colors outside our comfort zones. I have a purple top in my closet. Wore it once. With lime green. So, perhaps, I can use a very limey yellow with my purple bits. Feeling a bit more comfy with the combo now.

This weekend is graduation and reunion weekend for the "not quite Ivy league" college here in my town. The streets are lined with every kind of luxury vehicle being driven by men in starched shirts and expensive silk ties. The women are in slacks and tops. The restaurants are packed. Peacocks strutting.

Next week or the weekend after, their children will dump clothes, carpets, computers and everything in their rooms and leave town. No hauling of belongings in the luxury vehicles.
Town folk used to dive in the dumpsters for barely used items. Now, we have the scheduled "Dump & Run" sale. College employees and staff have first dibs on the stuff so most of the really GOOD stuff is purchased by them and later sold at garage sales. One year, long ago, a student from the middle east had wool rugs (hand knotted) and silk weave pillows which she tossed in the dumpster. That was before dump & run and a town person found them and rejoiced in the resale value. And the legend of found treasure began and the dumpsters were ransacked, leaving trash all over the parking lots. My daughter goes to the sale each year and finds some treasure. Last year it was a very large mirror. But usually she picks up some expensive jeans, a lamp, books, or a sweater.

Time for more coffee and a bowl of cereal. This part of my "day off" is going as planned.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lupine Blooming

I don't know if they are early or late, can't tell anymore with this crazy warm weather. But they are exactly where I didn't want them. That's where they grow best.

I just finished a good 30 minutes of frustrating Blogger sign in. It happens every so often and no matter how I try and sign in, none of it works. So, now I have, yet another, new password.
For the "new" blogger. This post is 801. I wonder if I will be able to reach 1000 by December 31st without resorting to twice a day "Tweet" style posts? If I don't make the deadline I will just extend.

G had a doctor's appointment yesterday. And a chest xray. And a phone call to immediately return for another. He missed that call while out walking the dog (and he rarely checks to see if there are messages) so now we have no idea what may be wrong. All sorts of things swirl through my mind and heart but I know we will deal with whatever the future brings (or doesn't bring), together. What is that saying? Life is what happens while you are making other plans?

The temps in the greenhouse were better yesterday. And today should be better still. More normal for Maine weather. We are busy. Very. And seriously understaffed with people with garden knowledge. A customer arrived yesterday and he had been told not to ask anyone watering plants his question. Portulaca? I wasn't watering. I answered his question. I think, in the next few days, I will just be doing that. And earning my salary. Five checks uncashed now.

Tomorrow. My day off. I can sit and look at my garden and plant things and be restful. Watch a few episodes of Fringe: Season One. Make a real dinner. Bake a pie. Last night G had more leftover lasagna and I had some of the red bean chili I made so long ago. It was delicious. I made it with dry beans. Organic ones. I don't know if that was the reason it was so good, but if it was, I am all about organic beans now.

Then a new week begins and this one has wedding rehearsal flowers. Wedding flowers rarely go off without a problem or twelve. I already have some problems with finding 24 clay pots. I have 18. Today's truck should (should is operative) have a transfer of 10. Then I need to find the 24 perfectly gorgeous geraniums to go in those pots. Geraniums, not in bloom now, but perfectly in bloom on Friday evening in time for dinner. Like herding cats.

I have non fat plain yogurt today and I will be sprinkling two spoons of sugar on the surface along with the raspberries and peaches. I did it yesterday and it was amazingly "not so sour". My co worker who has been eating Greek yogurt twice a day for about a month (to lose belly fat) says she can no longer stand to eat regular yogurt. Way Too Sweet. Amazing. And she is losing weight in case you wondered. I think it's because the Greek yogurt is so thick and filling you can't eat more of anything else. And she usually ate chips at lunch and a candy bar. So, its not exactly the yogurt but it is the yogurt side effect. I have an apple before the yogurt (for chewing satisfaction) and then yogurt and a few granola chunks.

I think it's time to "poop".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Blue Box

Last year I began a new tradition. One of the deck boxes is all about pink and red. The other box blue and white. Blue Scabiosa. Blue lobelia. Verbena Bonsarensis. Speedwell.

The weather today was only slightly less awful. Yesterday it hit 93 in some parts of Maine. Today, perhaps 85. I felt like I was in a toaster oven. So hot. So dirty. So itchy from bites and sunburn. So stinky. I think I was wearing one of the shirts I got from a big grab bag of used work tees. And I think the original owner had some BO. This shirt is going into the trash can or I may just set it on fire. Other people were also having BO deja vu with their tee shirts. The heat sort of set the smells trapped in the fiber ..... free. I wore shorts and no socks today. And I remembered to put sunscreen on my ears.

I have a small serving of Greek non fat vanilla for tomorrow. I had been measuring it by the cup but obviously 32 ounces by weight is not 4 cups by measurement. I have some plain I can add. I may have it with sliced ripe mango.

The appliance service guy called me at work at 3.45 to say he would arrive at my house at 4.30 to fix my clothes dryer. This same guy has repaired all my appliances and this particularly difficult to work on dryer before. He replaced the belt today and another part that looked wobbly and was getting ready to break. And he cleaned out all the lint. He recommends continuing to repair the 26 year old machines as they are better built and more reliable than anything made new today. And there are parts to use to fix them. New machines have no parts inventory and have to be "totaled" rather than fixed. Any reader with a newer refrigerator knows what I'm talking about. So, I will continue to fix or repair my appliances (every 5 to 6 years we need to call for service). $162. Priceless.

We dined out this evening at Beale Street Memphis BBQ. Delicious. I traded my usual Margarita for the seasoned thin fries. Salty. I had beef brisket. Now, I need a cold glass of water.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lost Without LOST

Still reading the LOST blogs to see if I got it right. The ending made me cry. Happy tears mostly. It was like getting to the end of a really, good, long book and not wanting to reach the last page. But when you finally read that last page and close the book, you have so many images and thoughts swirling through your head. I wouldn't have missed a minute of this six year adventure. I was captivated in the first moments of the pilot. Never really into the Darma stuff, I was into the people. And in the end, it was all about the people.

I have often wondered if I am living in "real" time or if I am in a "sideways" alternate existence, the waiting area before heaven or hell. G & I were driving in South Carolina a few years ago and we came very close to being involved in a car crash that would have resulted in our deaths. At the point when I thought we would crash, everything got very quiet. We didn't crash, die or even get hurt (or did we?). We continued to drive to Atlanta shaken up but alive. But things are different. Things always seem different to me, now. More like living in a fictionalized world. I know "near death" experiences change people, but how can it also change everything and everyone around you?

I was supposed to be having my clothes dryer repaired this morning. But it's not happening. Perhaps tomorrow. Late in the afternoon. And what if he doesn't have the correct belt for the dryer drum on his truck? I will "fictionalize" that he will have the correct belt on the truck. And then I will go home and wash bed sheets and towels. And dry them.

I have been drying clothing on two of those wiggly drying racks (from college days-- my kids). But towels get all stiff and board like. And king sheets would crush the little wiggly racks to the floor. I am hanging shirts and tees from hangers on my Ethan Allen four poster bed. So tacky of me!!!!! We are making do. Everything is taking forever to dry. I might move the racks upstairs where it is very hot and dry. Take advantage of the heat.

The yogurt experiment continues. I have found that eating the Greek yogurt is really filling and I rarely am interested in eating dinner. A small sandwich would be enough. I do tend to lose my appetite in the warmer, summer months. An iced coffee is good enough most days, made with cream. I just need something crunchy to eat before or after the yogurt to give me "chewing" which helps to satisfy the appetite. I have apples. Carrots. Big Sky granola. And Sunday I had pretzel sticks.

Brown Tail Moth. We didn't have them too much last year, but the mild winter didn't kill them off, so now everywhere you look, caterpillars are chewing tree leaves and shedding their red hairs. The hairs land on skin and create an unbelievably itchy rash. They can also cause breathing problems. I have spots of the rash where my socks end at the ankle, the edge of my tee shirt sleeves, around my neck. Added to mosquito and black fly bites and general dirt blowing around the perennial yard from the mulch pile, you have one itchy woman.

On a fascinatingly good note: A coworker heard me talking about wanting to watch Season One of Fringe and I now have her copy in my hands. How's that for writing one's life?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yogurt Report

The non fat plain Greek yogurt is 80 calories per cup. Thick. Sour. Filling.

The non fat vanilla Greek yogurt is 170 calories per cup. Thick. Slightly sweet. Filling.
90 calories of whatever they added to just barely take the sour edge off the taste is, in my humble opinion, ridiculous. Chobani.

Two tablespoons of corn syrup is 120 calories.

I Don't Want To Go To Work Today

It's a nice enough day, but I don't want to go to work. In the 2.5 years I have worked at this job, I have never said that before. I have always looked forward to going in to work at the greenhouse. I enjoy the company of my co workers. I usually enjoy the work itself.

My horoscope for this morning mentions the "relationship between my self esteem and the material world and the deeper psychological issues of the fear of scarcity". I do live in fear of not having enough. Which is why I have extra undies, white tee shirts and socks. I also have extras of my favorite shirts and pants. Extra sheets. All handy to carry out of the house in case of emergency. I won't be one of those people with only the clothes on their backs after a flood or fire. I'll have all my clothes.

Work = Safety. I say that, and I have three paychecks which I haven't cashed or deposited in my purse. I remember cleaning out a drawer in our house in Illinois and finding checks, lots of them, that I had never taken to the bank. Direct deposit? Never have done it. Yet, I worry about money all the time. Hate to spend it. But I do spend money and then go through a spending withdrawal period. I probably need therapy.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. We had to ask (beg) for bus fare, money for school supplies, etc from our dad. Mom had nothing, no bank account, no household money. We scrounged for pennies (in couch cushions) to buy popsicles in the summer and shared two between the four of us (mom and three kids). We never ate a meal in a restaurant. Never had soft drinks. Wore clothes till they literally fell apart. Always worried if there would be enough supper for all of us to eat. We weren't poor. My dad was just reluctant to spend his money on his family. I inherited all the money he didn't spend on his family. Ironic?

My dad also judged us on our relative worth: what we were paid for the work we did. When I was a stay at home mom until the kids went to school full time, I was worthless. As soon as I found a job, I was okay in his eyes. Is that why I'm working today? To be judged, okay, in the eyes of a dead man?

Sorry, if this stuff is too heavy for a sunny, late spring morning.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Centaura Amethyst

In bloom now in the perennial bed next to my deck (stoop). I bought one little plant last season and now it's very large and I even gave away three plants to a new gardener. I purchased veggie starts of cucumber, summer and winter squash. I need zucchini. I also need to be out in the garden most of today to weed and plant things. I may have more plants than I can fit into my garden space. I need three days in a row to get the garden straightened up.

Making a vegetable lasagna today. With eggplant. Everything else remains the same: cheeses (mozzarella and ricotta), spinach, noodles. I can't always make what G likes. I also want to make a crock pot version of red beans and rice. Forgot to soak the beans overnight. And a curried squash and rice dish with onion and ginger. Those last two dishes will be just for me. I don't think G has ever even tasted any of the food I enjoy making and eating. He has decided he wouldn't like them by the way they look.

I had planned to have a gin and tonic yesterday after work. Even put the tonic in the fridge to chill while I was working. Forgot. I nearly fell asleep standing up.

Riley is waiting, impatiently, for his walk. We went early yesterday and now he thinks that's the way it should be. I still have coffee to drink and cereal to eat. I think today is going to be very busy. I could list all the housekeeping and gardening chores I hope I can fit into the day but I won't. That's how this blog got started. I sent email to friends listing all the stuff I had to do or had done and one replied. "Keep it to yourself, I don't care." So my son suggested a blog. Where I could type anything I wanted to say and if I ever had any readers, they could just close the page if I got boring. Seems to be working quite well, I think.

One of the college lads made me smile most of the day yesterday. He called across the yard "where is the asylum?" He meant alyssum.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Post 795

Good Morning. What a lovely day here in Maine. Sunny. Blue Skies. Not as hot as yesterday. And I was up early and had a nice walk with my friend and Riley. We got to catch up on our news, look at the neighborhood gardens (and some new construction) and the houses for sale.

Now I am back home and have just scheduled a repair for my Maytag clothes dryer. It was working just fine and I, yes, I did, said "wow, this thing is getting old". Bingo. It broke. Gary was all, "you should never say things like that in front of an appliance!" So, on Tuesday, service people are coming to change the belt which turns the dryer drum. They asked and I said the dryer is anywhere between 20 and 26 years old. Closer to 26. I have clothes hanging from things, drying the old fashioned way.

I have to make some lunch and take the dog to day care and meet some people at work to select plants for the Maine Street Visitors Center/Train Station. After that I hope to spend another day outside in the Perennial Yard. Alone. People are getting on my nerves.

Riley has decided to curl up under the computer desk to keep me company. I mentioned in the past two days that he used to do that every morning and then he stopped for a really long time (could be a whole year). He must be related to my appliances.

Gotta run. No almonds and no yogurt today. Tootless.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

White Orchid in Bloom

This was one of those bargain "not in bloom" orchids that I bought last winter. It had potential, as in a spike or two that would eventually make flowers. Exuberantly. I hadn't wanted a white orchid, but now that I do, I like it.

Yesterday we had a break from the record shattering heat for the months of April and May. People. It has not been like this since the 1890's or something. The weather is not just nice, it's freaky nice. Yesterday it was normal. 48 and raining. Which was good. The gardens needed rain for a solid 24 hours. Everything looks so nice and green and healthy right now.

I just repotted my tomato starts for the second time. Some are now over 18 inches tall and in one gallon pots. Some are still tiny but now they have room to wiggle their roots. I have Sun Gold, Sun Sugar, Sweet Cluster and Celebrity. If you lived closer, I would be giving you a couple of each for your garden. A 9 or 12 pack costs me $2.74. A single costs me $1.10. Which would you buy if you needed 3 or 4 of each variety?

I need to write checks for a couple of monthly bills. Pack my lunch. Drink my coffee. Chat with G for a little while (his day off). I already have a load of white laundry in the washer and need to move it to the dryer and start the dark load of wash. Look at me multi tasking! And it's not even 9 am.

I have two library books which will probably be returned to the library unread. I can't seem to find time to sit and just read a book. Or make any art. My brain is fatigued.

Today is supposed to be sunny and near 80. A stinking hot day in the greenhouse. I hope we have enough people coming to work today so I can spend the day in the perennial yard. It needs a good straightening. And I need to crawl around and see what's hidden under the tables. Make a good reorder. Answer questions. Earn my paycheck.

I tried the Chobani plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Very thick, sour, filling. Even with raspberries it was very sour. I ate some almonds mid morning and don't know if it was the almonds or the yogurt, but one of them made me gassy. TMI? Anyway, I'm back to salad today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Red, Tuberous Begonias

Love the yellow centers in these deep red flowers. The most interesting aspect, from my point of view, is that the same plant produces singles and rose shaped multi petals flowers. The flower to the right is multi petaled. These plants are very popular with the age group older than me. 70's and 80's. It always surprises me to be "next up" so to speak. 60's. Does this make the tuberous begonia an "old fashioned" flower?

My tiny bok choy are starting to produce varigated white and green leaves. No longer such babies. Need to plant them today. I was thinking of planting them in a spiral design in the herb bed. But, knowing myself too well, they will ultimately be arranged in rows or a nice tidy square. Possibly near the self seeded dill patch.

Riley and I slept late this morning. 9am. I feel refreshed and ready to be busy. Riley is outside chewing tree branches, chasing birds & squirrels, and smelling & rolling in the grass. My orange tree is back outside after a night inside the sunroom. I should purchase citrus soil and food for the orange and repot it into more comfortable quarters, now that it has decided to live.

For myself? I may have to accept that my dream of wearing a size 10 pair of pants on a regular basis isn't going to happen again. I had managed to get myself that thin at the end of 2007 and the winter of 2008. I felt amazing. Like my "real" self. Light, active, healthy, attractive. But I couldn't sustain a 1200 calorie diet that first year working in the greenhouse. I was too physically active and starving by 10 am. Perhaps if I had managed my food intake better, eating more energy dense things with low calories. But I didn't and here we are. Whenever I try to go back to the 1200 calories, my body which remembers that 15 months very well, protests. My body forgets how to poop. My body is hungry ALL the time. My body acts like it has no will to live. Not that I let my body have it's way. I am somewhere between 1200 and 1800 calories a day. Never more. Maintaining my large rear end and saddle back hips. Wearing loose fitting size medium Flax linen pants and 16W J. Jill's. My size 12 pants are folded in the closet. I could possibly "squeeze" myself into the size 14 pants but I just HATE feeling like a densely packed sausage unable to bend over and pick a dollar bill up off the street. And I hate thinking what I would look like, to strangers, all squeezed into those pants. Tight clothes make you look fatter than you are. Just right clothes make you look good. Too big clothes make you look fatter than you are. The Goldilocks Theory. Again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Day. Another Flower.

This single hibiscus has been boosted in iPhoto from it's rather sedate creamy yellow into something richer. I love the white edge.

The hibiscus from yesterday's post was potted up, by me, today and sent along to console a grieving widow. Sent by a tearful woman in North Carolina who couldn't be there in person. I spoke to the plant and sent it out into the world, with a big job, hard work.

I also created three identical purple, blue, pink and white window boxes (which were almost instantly copied by a customer) for a doctor's office deck; root pruned, fertilized, gave an iron treatment & repotted a very sick Magnolia; repotted and pruned a 10 year old Bonsai; and planted three more window boxes of the economy variety. And I watered my half and half of the other side of the greenhouse. And I knew which table the peonies were on. 32. Without looking.

I forgot my wallet this morning (no money, no driver's license) and needed to buy food for dinner tonight. I dug in my work tote and the pockets in the car and came up with $5. Good thing what I wanted was on sale- pork. We had sauteed pork, baked potatoes with sour cream and real chives from my garden, broccoli (from the freezer) and store brand applesauce. A very good supper.

I purchased a new shampoo yesterday @ Target. Ginger, calendula and something else. Creamy and it smells good. My other shampoo wasn't smelling as nice as it once did.

I'm having a final cup of coffee and now it's time for bed. Tomorrow I plant the bok choy.
Sprinkle lettuce seeds in a small part of the herb garden and perhaps divide and plant my strawberries. Still too cold to do my own window boxes with the two flats of magenta pink impatiens I broke into individual plants and potted in 4 inch pots today at work. I had impatiens in the shed window boxes last summer and they did very well. Got all big and bouncy looking. Walking the dog tomorrow. No movie or lunch date. No laundry and no ironing. I do need to return to the grocery with my checkbook and buy some food. Greek yogurt to taste test.

With all the physical work I am doing, 40 hours a week on my feet, walking , bending, lifting and the good diet I am eating (shredded wheat with soy milk, green salad with carrots and olive oil balsamic vinegar dressing and a good, plain dinner, no regular desserts, no snacking, no burgers, no fries or chips -- you would think I would be looking a bit slimmer. Contrarily, I look heavier. Feel like a huge whale. My legs look enormous. My upper arms flap in the breezes. Depressing. I'm very tired. So goodnight. Tomorrow is another day. Fresh start and all.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday in The Garden

A Hibiscus from the greenhouse. G & I began the day out on the back deck with our breakfast. G had his on a table (coffee, bagel, juice and yogurt) and I had mine without a table (mango slices, cheese, toast, coffee). While G and Riley had their walk in the woods, I evened out my tan (legs and upper arms).

Then I went into the garden to water, dig weeds, check on my seeds (beets have sprouted and I can see the peas about to break the surface -- Yah!). I also created a little dirt moat around each of the SEVEN roses in the veg garden and gave every one a cup of Rose Tone and several moat fulls of water. I planted the Greek Oregano and Thyme that I had in clay pots. Discovered I have lemon thyme returning and several mints. Clipped the purple flowers off the chives.

I have several nasty, swollen bug bites--one on the top edge of my ear. Black flies or Deer flies. I carried the empty bird bath up closer to the house and G has it in place by the peonies (and filled with water) plus he hung a filled bird feeder on the far right of that bed. My shower (I was filthy) was with lukewarm water. Summer Days.

We went shopping at Target for "supplies" for cleaning. Paper towels, spray cleaners, dishwasher detergent packets (85), and freezer bags. Target had the cutest little polka dot plastic plates. Really cute. But I am over needing stuff like that simply because of the polka dots. What would I use it for? I also put the one dollar package of animal crackers back. Love eating animal crackers. I do need an afternoon snack item for work. Can't imagine what it will be. I did agree to buy seat cushions for the deck chairs. G doesn't like sitting on the wire base. I don't mind. Target had three. I bought two. No room on the deck for three chairs (we have four).

So far, I have sprayed and cleaned the gasket on the fridge (ick), changed the shower curtain, sprayed the tub and shower walls, sprayed and cleaned my sink and toilet and washed a full load of whites (no bleach, though perhaps I should have -- can always rewash).

I think I have enough lettuce for a salad for tomorrow at work, enough carrots, enough coffee. I don't have any yogurt. A co worker is eating 16 ounces of Greek yogurt everyday. Trying to get rid of "belly fat". So far, without going to the gym and eating deli sandwiches and chips etc she has lost a couple of pounds and most of it around her waist. The Greek yogurt is about 200 to 250 per 8 ounces. So she is ADDING 400 to 500 calories (or more) a day to her normal diet, not going to the gym and still losing weight. The Greek yogurt is plain, thick and she has sliced strawberries with it everyday, as a dessert after her lunch and dinner. I may try the Greek style yogurt. With Raspberries.

G and I had ice cream for dinner (this is the third or fourth time we have done this) because we are tired and ice cream is good. Survivor is on tonight. K has returned (I hope) from Ecuador (she had a last minute job of hand carrying a plane part from Atlanta to Ecuador on Thursday) and was supposed to return on Saturday. We talk long distance during Survivor. I think Sandra or Parvati will win the million. Russell will lose for a second time because the jury hates him. I will Tivo Foyle's War on PBS. Work tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Pictorial Tour Of Where I Work

This is the view from the left side door of the "Big House" looking west. The birds are usually flying around and tweeting. This area is where we stock our shrubs and trees.

The Annual House where all the action is these days. This is where we hide the tomato seedlings (all the way in the back), cucumbers, peppers and squash. All the stuff people want to plant even though it's too cold.

This is my Perennial Yard where I spend most of my days. See that little car in the upper right? That's my orange Fit. Table 7 has Yarrow in front and orange Wallflower and Turtlehead on the backside. If the ground looks wet it's not from rain. The irrigation system had just shut off. I took these pictures before 8 am this morning.

The Big House. Four tables wide and 8 or 10 deep. I've never counted. This is the first table inside the door. Impatiens. I get to water all those hanging baskets usually, but I now have a college guy, who is very tall, watering them. Nice guy. Intelligent.

Today we had lots of customers and seemed to have sold quite a bit of plants. I was very busy. Mostly outside in the perennial yard putting away the reorder I sent in last night. We get a truck everyday. A big dirt cloud kept blowing across the yard from the mulch, loam and compost piles up behind where my car is parked. The clouds of dirt would blow over and on me. So, first thing, a much needed hot shower.

G & Riley have gone to get Chinese takeout. Ginger Chicken with Green Beans for me. Extra Rice. Spring Rolls with hot mustard and duck sauce.

Tomorrow it's going to be in the 70's and very hot. I am SO GLAD I am NOT working.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fluffed & Folded

Friday is over. The highlights were buying my pink zinnia at Loew's for $4.71, eating the last of my roasted beets for lunch and a long hot shower. Lots of ticks at work. I had to lift, carry and arrange all the Hosta in alphabetic order. They weren't. Now they are. One of the college kids rigged up a "thing" (wooden pallets, chain and cement blocks) that he pulled around the yard with the tractor to smooth out the lumps and bumps in the walking, driving areas. Creative. Another college guy offered to sweep the dirt piles left all around the greenhouse (by high school sweepers) into a dustpan. When he left for the day (5 pm) he wished me luck in surviving until 7. Slow. DEAD.

Tomorrow I am taking my camera to work. There are a few lovely things to see. A Lily of the Nile blossom in bud. I wish I could record the sound of the wind and birds coming from the Shrub & Tree Nursery. Or the feel of the wind as it changes and cooler air comes in off the ocean. I will record the sights that interest me daily. Almost like being there.

I had toast, blackberry jam and coffee for supper at 8 pm. Another pain pill before bed. Leg and arm cramps.

How Much Aggravation Can I Take?

My quick snapshot of the tiny Bok Choy Seedlings. And the pots and trays I purchased yesterday so I can repot my tomatoes and peppers. I like to take them out of the 9 or 12 packs and give their roots room to grow. Like getting new shoes in a bigger size.

I have already had two phone calls from work regarding a delivery that goes out today. It's paid for and ready to go and I have checked and called as any good employee would but now, since I am home until work at noon, my employer is having his favorite call and ask questions so everyone at work will assume I screwed up. They are even going through the cash register records looking for the paid receipt. I am trying to remain calm.

Also, on this very computer that I bought and paid for and assumed was mine, my husband has been changing and adding and doing his business, even though he has his own, purchased, laptop. So this morning, I discovered that when I open the photo file, I can no longer see the photo I choose. He has done something, which he will not remember doing, and will not know how to undo and to say I am pissed is an understatement. And he keeps changing and "improving" the email box.

I don't mind if he plays games, reads mail or checks the store stats. I just would prefer he left well enough alone. But everyday something is different. Something is wrong. My files don't open first, his do. ETC. This morning is really the last straw. The blog is something I am supposed to enjoy. Downloading photos for the blog is something I should enjoy doing. But, no, it isn't. And I am angry. This is MINE. The camera and computer are my little world. A safe place.

Perhaps I am hypersensitive today. Low blood sugar or something. The phone calls, computer, the situation at work, working till 7 and getting home at 7:30 and, really, only wanting a hot shower and something to eat. G did have a hot meal ready for me yesterday. Which I truly appreciated after spending the entire work day outside hauling trays of perennials. I don't mine hard work. I don't need or want emotional stress. I need solitude.

I bleached all my dishtowels yesterday and threw in my tee shirts and undies so as not to waste a good bleach wash. I forgot to toss in my summer short socks. One sock got bleached by accident and now it is making all the other short socks look grey and grungy. I should be ironing G's work shirts, but I don't want to do anything nice for him at this time. I may not even make any dinner tonight. He can have toast.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tomato Garden

Edited: I bought a delicious Italian cow's milk cheese. A loaf of brown rice and sesame bread. I had a wonderful lunch. Walked the dog. Then drove back into town to see the foreign film of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. Absolutely true to the book. Violent and uncomfortable at times. But the Swedish-ness of it was perfect. A continuation of my winter of Swedish mysteries. A perfect day. G even took Riley and I out for ice cream and gas for my car.

So far, I have divided the 12 pack of Cluster Tomatoes and repotted them in larger quarters. So they can stretch and grow nice big roots. They keep leaning towards the windows and I turn them frequently. They want OUT!. But it's too cold outside for my tomato babies. I still need to divide the bell peppers and jalapenos into individual pots. After I write to you.

The weather statistics were on the evening news last night (while G & I were chewing our way through over heated (burned) leftover pizza). In the seventy years that our station has recorded weather; April, 2010 had the warmest temps on record. And last April came in second. Our usual snowfall is 70 inches per winter. Last winter: 31 inches. Can you all say "Global Warming"? The downside to all this fantastic weather is rising water tables from Arctic melt. I may be ocean front in 20 years. I could even be underwater. It doesn't take more than a sharp shovel to find underground water in my yard right now, or in the basements of my neighbors when it rains. G has wondered about digging a well in the garden for the vegetables.

I was reading my Painter's Key letter this morning and there was a quote from Robert Frost: "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader". This morning's letter was about emotion in artwork. The emotions the letter's author valued were; love, joy, desire, empathy, kindness and excitement. It is good to have these emotions show in the work you create.

Today; lunch with my friend. Tonight; LOST.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Sensations" Lilac

G brought home a flower from the lilac that is planted near one corner of the building where he works. Sensations. I love the picotee white edge on each petal. The fragrance is light, not overpowering. G says it looks better in person. I think it looks the same.

Today is over. It wasn't bad, but it was cold, raw and windy. I was outside most of the time and my fingers were cold. I had a nice cup of tea with my lunch. DWTS tonight and leftover pizza reheated. I think I am going to be falling asleep in front of the television again.

Mother's Day was nice. Long phone calls with both of my children. They are both happy, healthy and sweet to me. What more could I want? Oh, yes. BBQ chicken nachos and later a small strawberry cone. Masterpiece Mystery. Hot, sweet tea.

Tomorrow is my day off. Lunch with an friend from the library. Eggplant. Then a walk with Riley and some gardening if it's not too cold. Tonight we are having a freeze. 32 degrees. I may have time (before lunch) to get my glasses "tuned up" (straightened), visit the resale shop, buy a loaf of dense whole grain bread and perhaps some good cheese. Sounds good to me.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

And Today We Rest

Friday, at work, was one phone call after another. I was usually two or three orders behind all day but finally caught up just before closing. I never got to water anything. So I knew the plants were suffering. Not enough people employed who were ready to "work" productively.
But the sun was shining on Friday. Saturday was a raw, rainy, cold and ugly day all around. The scheduled Mother's Day deliveries weren't moving along very well, (the one courier took a long lunch followed by a long coffee break) and delivery customers were calling and asking when their delivery was arriving. "It's on the truck". It doesn't matter how lovely the arrangement is: if it's late, they aren't going to be happy. We should have delivered the stuff ourselves in the company van. With the company logos.

Anyway. I did the best I could. I could tell you about the customer who received the Oriental styled Lucky Bamboo but I just told the story to my husband and my blood pressure is very high right now. Some people don't know how to receive a gift specifically chosen for them.

The sun seems to be trying to shine today. Last night we had night temps in the low 40's and tender plants probably suffered a bit. Next two nights will be in the low 30's at night. Customers who ignored my advice and planted tomatoes and peppers outside along with their geraniums and petunias will be calling to ask why their stuff is now dead. Monday will be lots of fun.

I still have four beds to weed, well, mostly remove raspberry canes that have traveled into the raised beds. I can also plant the perennials I bought into my deck planters. And I have a book to read. Most of the laundry is done. Some shirts to iron. I want to have more BBQ chicken nachos with sour cream and avocado for dinner. G made them on Friday night. And ice cream. That will be my Mother's Day. A nice, restful day. Lovely.

The sunflowers at the top were found, by me, in the Floral Dept. garbage can. Their stems had broken just beneath the flower head. I carried them home in a paper cup of water and waited for sunlight in order to photograph them for you. Hope they bring sunshine to your day!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Watercolor Day

This is a vintage Joanne painting from the 1980's when I still knew how to paint "wet in wet". Later I learned how to control the paint. No more waiting for happy accidents and wasting paper. And then I stopped painting all together. Sad times. I still don't paint often enough to regain any of the technique I may have had intuitively.

It is finally raining. The garden and perennial beds are getting a good soak. Today is more like a real Maine spring. Cool and wet. I have shelved the short pants and returned to wool socks and corduroy pants (with the waistband button sewn back on this morning, first thing).

I purchased five chicken breasts for less than $5 at the grocery on Tuesday and they are in the crockpot with a squeezed lemon and a jar of Pace Picante sauce. I have no idea what this will taste like later today but how can it go wrong? I removed the skin from the bone in breasts but left the bone. To help flavor the pot. Have I mentioned I don't like chicken? I made my usual carrot and Romaine salad for lunch. We are having Papa John's pizza for lunch. A gift from Papa John. I eat late and hope the boys will leave me a wedge.

I left work early yesterday and got my haircut. I had cancelled the appointment but at the last minute I said "who is more important here?" Me or this job? I needed my haircut. So I punched out two hours early. There was nothing to do after emptying the perennial cart. After my haircut I visited Loews and purchased $48 worth of plants for my deck containers. In my work tee with company logo. We don't sell plants in the sizes Loews had for that low a price. And, as usual, I was asked for advice in the aisles. This is when they noticed the logo on my shirt. And started laughing. I just said "I like a good price like everyone else."

I got blue Scabiosa for $2.50 each. And the most interesting red freckled pink petunias for $1.14 each. And one gallon perennials for $5. I could have saved more by just buying the $2.50 things but I wanted large pink Gaura, clear blue speedwell and a charming Red Riding Hood item. One box is all red and pink and the other all blue with a few white petunias. No zinnias. I had hoped they would have the cute deep pink ones I bought last year.

Now I just have to wait for G to haul the boxes up onto the deck. And then I get to fill them with soil less mix and plant everything. I wish I had taken the extra 15 minutes yesterday to fling my peas out into the bed. The rain would have gotten them off to a good start. I'm going to try the "fling and poke" method described in the Victory Garden book.

It's raining pretty hard. I'll need to wear rain gear at work. Today is probably the day all the trucks will deliver stuff. Blech!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Post Today- Because I Miss You

My orchids are doing a splendid job here in the bay window. I splurged and bought two of the same and potted them back to back in a rough textured Bonsai bowl. They are more beautiful than I had even hoped they would be.

My gardening this morning and early afternoon went quite well. I removed weeds from 2.5 beds (G helped with the other .5 on Sunday). I dumped two full wheelbarrow in the woods (my own) and have a very full barrow waiting for G plus an overflowing weed bucket.

I now have cabbages (12), lettuces (12), beet tape (40 beets) in one bed. In the second, I have Arugula (12) and Mesclun (6) sprinkled with radish seeds. I gave up on the gardening due to several (12?) gigantic mosquito bites which are now giant and swollen and red and itchy. I washed off in the kitchen sink, threw on a work shirt and drove to the library for books but ended up with books and a bag of used clothing I had given one of the library staff (and she was returning to me--wool pants I had been looking for this winter) Next stop was the grocery and I had an intuitive thought and raised the car windows (Riley stayed inside the car) and what a good thing that was as the sky opened while I was inside and dumped rain on the car. Riley wouldn't like that.

Now, G is home and Riley is retrieving a blue rubber bone for treats. A new trick. A new way to exercise a dog that didn't get his walk. And I am in here due to the large quantity of mosquitos in the yard. Time for Riley's dinner and for ours. A good day.

I don't want to go to work tomorrow. But then I saw the mailman delivering mail to the same houses, day after day. He probably doesn't want to go to work either some days. Or the person collecting shopping carts in the rain. Or the guy cutting grass. Lots of jobs aren't all the much fun to do over and over and over again. Mine is beginning to seem tedious with lunch time being the highpoint. Until it's time to go home. That's quite a thrill each day, sad but true.

A Time To Plant

In keeping with my newest resolution (to only buy new plants when the previously purchased plants are in the ground), I have Arugula and Mesclun lettuces to plant, Beet Tape to lay out in perfectly spaced lines, and garlic cloves to plant. If I find the onion starts they will go in also. G cleaned up my sunporch space and the onions may be "lost forever". I now have a hose in the Vegetable Garden so I can water. Thank you, G. I'm fashionably attired in garden pants, socks and a "old man" vest tee shirt which does nothing for the "girls" or my wrinkled arms. I'm thinking ahead to sunshine on my arms. No Farmer Tan.

Most of my work today will involve digging weeds and clover out of the raised beds. Then I will add the last bag of cow manure to the lettuces and perhaps drive to work with my gift certificate and buy fertilizer and more cow poop. I feel great this morning. I took a pain pill about 8 pm and slept like a baby. Very nice.

Riley is already outside on the deck. Surveying his domain. Later he will work on the "cooling" dirt hole he is digging near the garden, where I work, digging.

I was disappointed in the lack of comments on my Twelve piece. But such is life. I did it for myself really, and so, have to be content. Moving on to the next challenge of Purple & Yellow. I wonder what color or color combo I would suggest? How about you?

I have lots of leftovers in the fridge to work through. Baked Ziti from last night. Roasted Beets. Mexican Food from a student in my garden classes. Chinese Sweet & Sour Chicken. I should visit the grocery for lettuce for lunch. I do have yogurt I could eat at lunch and carrots and hummus. So perhaps, the grocery can wait until I need cereal and soy milk.

I'm getting started on my garden day by eating my cereal outside with Riley. 72 yesterday. Who knows how hot it will get today? Global Warming.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Friend of Twelve By Twelve

My second post for today. Playing catch up with the Colorplay Challenge for May 1st. I had all these fabrics on my worktable for the past month but no time to go fiddle with them. There was another fabric, a commercially printed one, that I didn't use. All of these are either painted or bleach discharged by me. I added red with the stitching as adding red fabric set my teeth on edge. The lower part is the underground lava. The earth in the middle, still green and alive.
And then the black smoke rising into the ashy sky.

Here is a detail close up. I tweaked the color saturation in iPhoto to come close to what I see in "real life" as the light here in the house (due to skylights) is very bright and is drowning out the color. I wanted the opening to have a torn and raw look.

I have to admit to having viewed the real Twelve's and perhaps was influenced by their work. But they are all so good, it could only be a compliment.

If there hadn't been an actual volcanic eruption in the month preceding the May 1st due date, I think we would have made entirely different things. I know I was contemplating another still life of "Vase With Flowers".

The Earth Keeps Turning

The inside of a beautiful, but dying, yellow rose. I saw pictures of dying flowers on another blog and they were so much more interesting and beautiful than the fresh flowers. I could crop and get closer to what interested me (the center of the bloom) with iPhoto and I can enhance the color to make every picture more like "real" life. I love the richness of the yellows. Luscious.

My days are getting better. Dirtier but less tired. Yesterday was long and hot. I had to wring the water out of my tee shirt several times. We watered plants and I was lifting them over my head after and water poured out and on to me. I also taught a class on vegetable gardening. My last class for the Spring season and I am glad of that. I think I taught, one way or another, 6 or 8 classes this season.

I have cabbages and lettuces to plant in my OWN vegetable garden today. And I bought beet seed tape so I can have straight rows of evenly spaced little beets. My rhubarb is finally looking robust. I have lovely tulips blooming and will plant more for next Spring. The shrubs I spent lots of $$$$'s on last summer are budding (on a few stems) so they are still alive. My crab apples are breaking bud. I have plenty of weeding to do.

We are collecting mail and papers for the cross the street neighbor. I also watered and added soil to her potted up pansies and watered the pansies still in their peat containers. I'm a good neighbor. Thought you might want to know that. LOL.

G just called from the woods where he and Riley are walking. Riley "flushed" a full grown wild turkey off her nest. And then he sniffed the nest and the five eggs, after following the back trail of the turkey back through the woods. G said Riley was close to bringing the bird down. I said, "what would you have done about that?" Riley has started to have his own preferences now that he is three. He prefers to be outside. And he prefers that we also be outside. He doesn't care what we do outside. Read, sleep, talk on the phone.

I have work to do, of the art variety, today, and a few shirts to iron. All the laundry is washed and the last load is in the dryer. G and I went out for a very late breakfast and I am making baked ziti for dinner tonight. G has the little greenhouse to set up and hoses to pull out of the cellar. I am reading Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass right now. I would give it a C. Not up to her past standards. I will try and do better with posting this coming week.