Monday, August 30, 2010

Staying Cool

I went looking for Riley and found him asleep on the cool tile floor of the foyer. Woke him up and then was down on the floor trying to get a picture while he tried to sniff and lick me. He had a wonderful day at day care (lots of nice AC) and I had a nightmare of a day at work in a greenhouse with yellow jackets all around. Plus I slipped and fell on some slick clay in the perennial yard and have rock burns on my leg. When I left work at 2, my underwear was wet.

I figured out what I was doing wrong in the car and I got the AC working and left it cooling while I went in to get Riley. No panting. Always a good thing. But he took a tremendously long pee before getting into the car. I thought he might have fallen asleep standing up or something.

We are supposed to be having pizza for dinner. I left the rock hard frozen dough on the kitchen counter to thaw and it did. Pizza still sounds like a good idea even if we have to turn the oven on. Or we could eat something else. The fridge is absolutely packed with cabbages, broccoli, lettuce and zucchini. I have tomato chunks waiting to be made into soup stock. I think I might take a shower and watch a Fringe disc (season one) or I may just sit quietly and daydream.

The shower may be all I need to put me to sleep as I am exhausted from being hot. I watered everything in the greenhouse, fertilized by hand, and straightened up the orchids, and unpacked three carts of mums (ratty looking) and had my lunch. Yogurt with frozen strawberries and a Suduko puzzle. Followed by watermelon chunks. A smaller serving. Very moist. Cold. Now, for the shower.

PS: I asked for a raise today. My boss said he was forwarding my request to the main office where the people who own the company work. My boss thinks I deserve something but we won't know if the owners will agree. Perhaps. Never hurts to ask. In a family business, the family is taken care of first. Sometimes they forget about the needs of the rest of us, people who aren't relatives.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Heatwave & Spoiled Rotten

I woke up during the night, unable to breathe through my nose. I am now under the influence of Benadryl. Ragweed or goldenrod. Both are out in my backyard. The pollen must have crept in through the bedroom windows.

G and I slept until 9:30, dressed and went out for breakfast. After breakfast we stopped at Cuddledown to see what they had on sale. It's an outlet. I found a king flat sheet and four pillowcases in lovely white Italian linen. They were having a 50% off sale of discontinued twin sheets in linen also. So after discussing the future guest room plans with G, I purchased a set for each of the twin beds. (beds that have no room or mattresses). Guests rarely stay at our house so one set per bed will be enough for the next 40 years of bedmaking. the charming sales person said they were supposed to have a total of 6 king white linen pillowcases in the store. We found four and she called several hours later to say that she had found a fifth. Fifty dollars each. And this is how I spend my hard earned money. If I was a true "princess" I would have purchased the $84 single pillowcases. Yes, they do cost that much. Once you sleep on a well washed (many times) linen sheet set, you are lost forever. They are SO nice.

Our class yesterday went well. Perhaps 30 to 35 customers (maybe more) sat and watched N and I divide perennials and answer questions. And then they proceeded to buy lots of stuff. Then there was a period of nothing for several hours and then a flurry of sales in the last hour we were open. the "special" coffeecake turned out to be the $3.49 cakes from the grocery store. Very sweet. The class ate them all. I was exhausted. No more classes until the Saturday of my birthday. Houseplants. Unless we do Herbs on the 11th.

We're ready to eat. One of the Mennonite teens in our class brought me some wonderful yellow squash to fry with onion and serve with steamed rice, peas and sliced garden tomatoes. G went out to get some fried chicken to go along. Sounds like a good dinner.

Sunday Heatwave

Friday, August 27, 2010

And then I said, why bother?

A partial view of the 12 by 12 "failure to launch" quilted piece. It lacks a focal point. I feel, today, that I lack a focal point. I weighed myself this morning. Two weeks into the diet and I have GAINED weight. YES. I now weigh more than I did before. Well, I could scoot the scale all around the floor to find a better"spot" and re-weigh myself all day until I got a result I liked, but, I am accepting the "fact" that I have gained weight on a diet. I feel terrible.

This doesn't mean I am quitting. It just means that I will be less happy each time I eat less of something or don't eat the item at all. And to make me even more unhappy, the big, beautiful peaches I bought yesterday are dry and mealy inside so I will have to make a special trip to the grocery to return them. Money back if not satisfied. So, nothing to eat with my yogurt today.

One bright spot in the morning: the library wrote to tell me a book was overdue and I looked all over for it and then logged onto the library website to renew the book and --- it wasn't on my record. So that mystery is solved.

G is going to the local music theater tonight to see Spamalot. He is very happy and has a wonderful seat and he took his Spamalot CD with him to listen to in the car. That means I will have the evening to myself and can watch some Fringe and Rubicon.

I am sad. I am frustrated. I am going to eat breakfast and get dressed and go outside and dig up plants for tomorrow's class at work. And I will give myself a pep talk. I have a long afternoon at work and all those handouts to copy and staple. Lots of time for introspective therapy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup (& Cheesy Dumplings)

The soup is souper easy to make and tastes like sunshine. It can be swirled with heavy cream before service (I make smiley faces on G's) or laced with some vodka or have dumplings piled in the bowl. Anyway you serve it, it will be delicious.

Tomato Basil Soup

one large onion , sliced and sauteed in one Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth ( I use two bouillon cubes and two cups boiling water)
Six medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded (save and strain the juice from this procedure)
* now for yesterday's soup I threw 12 to 15 hard, red, small round tomatoes into a pot of boiling water to make skin removal easier. After skinning, removing the hard core and squeezing out the seeds into a strainer over a bowl, I had about six cups of tomato. In the winter I use a 28 oz can of really good organic tomatoes. At least four cups. More is okay.
one 6 ounce can of tomato paste
one teaspoon sugar
one teaspoon kosher salt
as much black pepper as you like
a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
heavy cream
Fresh basil ripped into the heated soup or a frozen basil ice cube *

Saute the onion in the oil and let it get a tiny bit brownish. I did this by accident once and discovered I liked it. Then add everything else and stir. Let come to boil and turn the heat to simmer and leave it covered for 30 minutes. Now, if you are like me, I turn it off, add the basil and let it sit on the stove until dinner time and reheat it. Then comes the FUN part. I use the immersion stick blender to blend all the chunks into a smooth, but still rustic, texture. Ladle into a bowl and swirl with heavy cream.

Basil Ice Cubes. At the end of Basil growing time I pick all the plants and take off the leaves and stuff them in the blender with a tiny bit of water (others use olive oil). I try and blend. Then add a tiny bit more water. When it's all blended into a thick liquid I transfer it to my green stained mini ice cube tray and then freeze. I remove the cubes and store in a freezer bag and throw a cube or two into pasta sauce, soup and anything that needs basil.

Cheesy, Easy Dumplings

Now you have to have some cooking chops to make this. It's not for beginners but since I made it the first time when I was about 13 or 14, I guess you should at least try. All the ingredients can be doubled to make more dumplings. But make a small amount the first time.

Put a small or medium saucepan of water on to boil.
Wash and chop some parsley (or dill or chives or anything)
Find a nice heavy cereal bowl or measuring cup (2 cup) to mix the dough
Measure out 1 cup AP flour
Salt and pepper the flour
Add 1/4 cup egg beaters (or one egg)
Add a splash of milk (less than a quarter cup)
Now stir this with a fork. It's hard work and it looks like a mess but it will come together. If too wet (loose) add a tiny bit of flour. If too thick (add a touch more milk). It should resemble a really wet, sticky dough.
Now mix in the chopped herb of your choice about a tablespoon or less.
Now mix in 2 Tablespoons grated cheese. I used Kraft Parm in the green shakey cheese can. Any hard, grated cheese will work. Use your favorite.
Mix it all again. Your arm should be getting tired.

The water will be boiling.
Get two teaspoons from the flatware drawer (not a measuring spoon).
Dip one spoon in the boiling water then into the bowl of dough.
Scoop a half spoonful of dough and then scrape it into the boiling water with the other spoon.
It doesn't matter what the dumplings look like. Mine aren't pretty.
Keep scooping and scraping until all the dough is used up and then stir the dumplings in case some one has decided to stick to the pan bottom. Let the water return to a boil and then boil for a couple of minutes. Drain. They can sit and wait till you are ready to eat.

My son is probably reading this and running to get some water boiling because he is thinking, hey, this sounds like spatezle and I love those little German dumplings.

These are Bohemian or Czech dumplings. I made them to go into my mother's AWFUL soups. The soup was this gray watery color (like dirty wash water) no matter what kind she made and the dumplings were that color when served. But we (my brothers and I) savoured the dumplings. I remember we left the dumplings to the last and then ate them to sort of erase the soup from our tongues.

I had some in my vegetable soup yesterday and found them to be chewy and quite "peasant" like in their simplicity. And they tasted good. For a more cheesy dumpling experience, butter the hot dumplings and sprinkle with more cheese and just eat them without any soup. That's what my son will be doing after reading this post.

I had a good day at work. My boss spoke to me three or four times. Like I existed. It was fascinating. And he told me "special" coffeecake is coming from Falmouth for the class. No Walmart cookies on Saturday. Coffeecake. Special coffeecake. I am very interested.

Tomorrow I have to dig up a clump of Siberian Iris, a clump of Bearded Iris and some Lily of the Valley (out of my yard) for our class on dividing perennials. N has a clump of Hosta and one of Daylilies. We have 45 minutes to sort all that out. I usually run longer. And tomorrow I have three handouts to copy and staple. Twenty people have signed up so far. It's going to be stinking hot on Saturday. Near 90 degrees which means close to 100 in the greenhouse. Good Times. I will make 35 copies of everything. I like to give the class attendees lots of great info. I hope 10% of them actually read it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The weather report on Google says the chance of rain is 100% but we are only getting drizzle. I want RAIN. Pouring down rain. Everything outside is dry and the grass is getting that crispy brown look. At work, I have returned to the scene of the "finger slashing" and completed my task of cutting back the daylilies. They all now have cute crew cuts.

Two large screen and two by four tables have been removed from the greenhouse to make room for the "classroom". Two folding tables and a bunch of folding chairs. At the "flagship" store, they put down sod and little patio stones and build little gazebos. We have two tables. And I need to dig iris clumps, bearded iris clumps and a lily of the valley clump for class on Saturday. Dividing Perennials is going to be "hands on". N & I haven't found a good clump of hosta to divide. I should sharpen our potting table knife.

Yesterday I tried to see just how much food I could eat in one day. Along with drinking water, which just seemed to fuel the eating frenzy. I even chewed gum. A giant bowl of cereal, then soup and saltines (216 calories worth or 18 crackers), then half a slice of the chocolate zucchini bread I brought to work for the crew, gum, then sliced tomatoes (oh, so, good) and fresh mozzarella (with basil), a freshly defrosted and baked baguette (260 c) followed by three ears of super sweet corn lightly buttered. I felt like an overstuffed toy. It wasn't as if I filled up on a 1200 calorie cheeseburger plus french fries and a beer followed by a large ice cream cone, which I have done in the past. This was all good food. Mostly vegetable based except for the cereal, bread and crackers. But aren't those considered whole grains? Well, not the crackers. I need to buy the whole grain crackers. The almost fat free, whole grain crackers. The ones that taste like compressed cardboard.

Today I am drinking coffee. G has been slacking on the making of fresh coffee and I usually only get a cup per day. Today I have a full pot and it's all mine. If it would only start raining I could finish my Nesbo book and take it back to the library. The Girl Who Played with Fire movie is at the local rinky dink theater and I had wanted to go see it this afternoon.

I also plan to turn a whole pile of garden tomatoes into a pot of fresh Tomato Basil Soup for G and make those little cheese dumplings he likes, to go in it. All I need is heavy cream to drizzle over the top. A quick trip to the grocery after the movie.

I have to return to work tomorrow and I am not all that excited by this fact. Once the classes start, I'll be okay, as I enjoy teaching and the classes take up a lot of time. BUT, we serve cookies during the class day and I have to NOT EAT COOKIES!!!! It's much worse on the "special" days where we serve donuts and potato chips. It's evident that men are planning the menu isn't it?

I wonder if there is anything I can do to help make it rain? Besides begging.

Guess What? It's raining. Started slowly but it's picking up speed right now ( almost 2 pm) and everything outside looks good and wet. It will need to rain for the rest of the day to replenish the dry ground. I am happy. Riley is sad and depressed. He doesn't care for rain. I have done some laundry and finished my book. Harry feels he has sold his soul to the devil. Oh, dear. I have to wait a while to see what happens in the next book. No movie today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Favorite Photograph

Me. Old enough to walk. And help with hanging the wash outside. I grew up in this house with my parents and future siblings downstairs and grandparents upstairs. What I like most about old photographs, is seeing myself smiling and genuinely happy. I don't remember the happy moments but certainly have deep pockets of remembered hurt and fear. It's comforting to know that this tiny girl was happy in this moment. And the coat and bonnet (with clothespins) are very stylish. I always wore a hat because I had very little hair.

I have just consumed a "normal sized" portion of cereal. The size bowl I would eat when not dieting. I am trying to eat more at breakfast to end the afternoon snacking. I am eating 100 calories items but 2 and 3 of them plus my lunch. I also had two glasses of water before eating anything. This tip was on television last night and I am giving it a "test drive". I usually cannot drink a glass of water. Just won't go down. Soup for lunch?

I have a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread baking. A request from the employees at work. See, this is where the "snacking" problem comes into my day. But I have so much zucchini to get rid of right now. I need to buy another container of unsweetened chocolate.

The mushroom pasta was divine. I used all my chef skills, learned by watching television, and some parsley from my garden. I sauteed. I added the dry mushroom soaking liquid and reduced. I added butter to make the sauce shiny. I added fresh stuff to wake up the flavors. Lemon rind, parsley and lemon juice. Then I added the last of the half and half. I am continuing to try and use what I have stored in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Oh, and the garden. My timer beeped - the loaf of bread is done.

Just knowing I have to work that fifth day each week, from now till Christmas, is making me tired. It's only six more hours a week but I am still feeling overwhelmed. Looking forward to having 11 weeks off starting on Christmas Eve.

The diet is going okay (a learning process). There are no "results" as yet, but the only "results" I am looking forward to is looser clothing. I have on my LL Bean size medium pajama pants (a measuring tool for weight gain or loss). Not as loose as I like them to be. I am hoping that when I move into long pants and wool socks for work, that the clothes fit comfortably loose.
And, if dreams can come true, that my size 14 wool blazer buttons across the hips this winter. I like wearing it with jeans.

Time to make my lunch, pack Riley's lunchbox and get dressed for work.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Thousand Thorns For Every Perfect Rose

Christopher Marlowe sits waiting for his planting in the herb garden. I read, last night, that this is a rose's rightful place. Mine will sit near the dill heads and parsley.

Valiant. Beset by Japanese beetles all season, this rose continues to send out beautiful pink roses. The bush is now seven feet tall. I have lost the name of this Austen Rose over the nearly twenty years she has been in my garden. Perhaps, Elizabeth. When a plant is in the right place, it's magical.

Work today was nothing. Hardly any customers and no truck delivery of plants. Four of us until noon and perhaps a handful of customers, then four more employees arrived. I had yogurt with peaches and raspberries for lunch and picked up Riley at 2:15. A very light and spotty rain is drizzling down. We were promised RAIN. We need RAIN. Tomorrow is the full moon.

I picked blackberries off my blackberry bushes. G kept saying I had none. I would have had more if the plants hadn't dried in the heat. We need to water the berries. Tomorrow's lunch will be peaches and blackberries with yogurt.

Tonight I am making mushroom pasta for dinner. G's favorite. I'm sleepy and it's only 3:45. I have the newest issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors to look at (I no longer say "read" because I rarely am that interested in the text) and perhaps that will put me to sleep?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Days Of August

Riley is getting tired of Summer. He enjoys the brisk chill of Spring, Fall and Winter. G gave the dog a bit of excitement and took him swimming in the Androscoggin River. We have a spot just off one of the main streets for entry to the river for canoes and kayaks and Riley retrieved sticks and did some good swimming. Exercise that made him sleep late two days in a row.

My work schedule has been bumped up to five days a week again and I have classes to prep for and teach. We are getting busy again. Halloween items are on display.

I purchased a pussy willow in the "yard sale" yesterday and today G will plant it on the further edge of the vernal pool area. The willow will have wet feet three seasons out of four. And most likely be under water in one of them (spring). G has always wanted a willow. It's a bit beat up but has nice fresh growth and needs a second chance. Don't we all.

I also purchased another Austen Rose. This one is Christopher Marlow. Which is perfect. I have a Christopher. I adore the English hybrids. I have Graham Thomas (yellow), Falstaf (deep magenta), Mary (light pink) and now Christopher Marlow (orange pink). I have two more but can't think of their names right now. I have been taking better care of them this year, with Rose Tone and manure. I have most in the vegetable garden where they can be watered more often. The Japanese beetles have eaten or destroyed all the flowers. In the olden days, before this mass of beetles, I would be able to collect a large (30 roses) vase of roses on my anniversary in mid September. I was lucky to be able to bring one or two flowers into the house all season. I planted raspberries. This is the one and only difference. We are working on cutting back, digging up and poisoning the raspberries. Three or four pints of raspberries don't equal the perfume and romance of even a few beautiful roses. I choose roses.

Yesterday I made some terrible food choices at work. And I had to work pretty hard to end the day at 1400. Salvaged but I must practice "mindful eating". I was thirsty and hadn't brought a jar of tea to work. I purchased a bottle of iced tea from the machine and drank half before reading the bottle. It was iced tea. Water. High Fructose Corn Syrup. Tea. 200 calories for the bottle. I poured the remainder out onto the ground. $1.50. The high sugar content made me "hungry" and I ate two items which I really had no need to be eating. They weren't bad things but their calorie count is what tipped me over 1200. And my make do dinner was less than satisfying. The roasted beets were good. I find I enjoy roasted, cold beets. They are very filling. I had lettuce, a sliced tomato and a baby cucumber some Feta and a few olives along with one pita bread. I am brewing tea this afternoon for tomorrow. I will never leave for work without a jar of tea again.

It's cloudy outside right now which brings flies out. There are so many flies at work right now. the weather forecast is for two days of rain. Monday and Tuesday. I will need to think of some "projects" to get involved in at work so I won't get bored. I do want to get the display tables lined up in perfectly straight rows. I was even thinking of bringing G's laser in to make it easier.

I have a large pan of cherry tomatoes to roast for the freezer. Beets to roast for me to eat this week. I should look at the bread book I purchased and see if I have time today to bake a loaf of bread. A nice hearty loaf. I adore bread and I think I could exist eating only bread. And a bit of cheese.

Laundry is started. Darks in now and a big load of whites next. Tractor Supply is open. I wanted to go to Reny's to see what they have on sale. I have 20 plus more pages in my book and a few good ideas on a new author to read after I am done with Harry Hole for the time being. There is one more translation coming in January. That's my day. Time to eat some breakfast.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Attack Of The Tomato Hornworms

G called me out to the garden to SEE the hornworm. ICK!!!! And then I had to go back into the house to get a sandwich bag and clippers. I bagged the worm and his tomato dinner and G did what ever else was necessary. I don't know where these ugly things come from and I think this may be my first in this garden. G checked for others but they could still be really small. I think they double in weight really fast. Like in hours. This one had eaten all the leaves off the plant before starting in on the tomato.

Yes, blurry but I kept it so you could see my beautiful chard below and in back my cabbage patch. Isn't the color of the cabbage gorgeous? The black tubs hold my green (turning red) peppers.

This morning I was up early and started right in on a large pot of vegetable soup. I have no idea where I will put it as the fridge is jammed packed with vegetables. Beets, corn and lettuce (from the grocery store) are taking up room and the crisper is full of zucchini that, I fear, is destined for the compost bucket. G says "grow less". I used one onion, a head of my own cabbage, one very large potato and four carrots for the soup. There is a zucchini, tomatoes and celery (my own) in there also. A huge pot of soup. Enough to satisfy my hungry tummy.

Yesterday I had a full sized Veggie from Subway (everything but green peppers, no mayo, no mustard) and it was ever so delicious. 630 calories. I stepped away after eating the first half and did some laundry folding and then returned to eat the second half. That was my lunch (at 3 pm) and a 100 calorie yogurt was my dinner. This is Day 8. I feel Virtuous. And I haven't had breakfast yet. My finger is not infected. Doesn't hurt unless I bump it. Tiny bandaid.

My horoscope for today says that things will not go right today (Mercury) but I shouldn't say I am fine, if I am not fine. Good to know.

I need a shower before work and I think my annual containers need a drink before I go forth and prosper (?) at work. And I will need to think about the soup storage problem. Move things about in the fridge. The soup will need time to cool and perhaps it will be fine on the stove until I get home from work? If I was home today, the soup would sit there for a few hours, at least, before being put away.

I will be teaching Dividing Perennials, Houseplants and Composting. Three classes. I had wanted to do a Fall/Winter Vegetable Garden class for all my gardening students so they would know what to do now. We can still be planting things and preparing the empty beds for early spring planting. So much to tell them and no class. Bummer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Porch

This is another magazine picture of something I dream of having here at my house. I have the porch. Just like in the picture. I don't have railings which is something that could easily be added to the porch. I also have a wooden rocking chair but it isn't white. Easy fix also. The hammock would be a lovely place to rest and read and be eaten by mosquitoes. Oh, yes, the mosquitoes. Because my neighbor won't cut trees so we can have a cross breeze through the yards and move the mosquitoes on their way to "somewhere else". Anywhere else.

G and Riley are just leaving for their walk. Riley is very excited. I am in the process of cleaning the coffeemaker, the hot water pot, doing laundry, watering plants and making the bed up with clean sheets. And my little finger is sans bandaid. It fell off during the night and G says it's better to let it be uncovered. I need to be careful. I think I should be sitting quietly and reading my book. But who will do all my work? Fairies?

Yesterday's lasagna wasn't up to my usual standards but it was still good. I can't figure out why it was different. I used all the same ingredients. Oh. I didn't use Kraft "shaky" cheese. I used real Parm. Mistake. "Chef's" diss shaky cheese in the green can all the time, but damn, it tastes better than the real stuff. IMHO.

I have tons of tomatoes on the counter and need to make something. My choices: tomato soup, Italian tomato/bread soup, or baked tomatoes. All good things. I love the southern baked tomatoes so much. I always get them when we travel through Virginia at Mrs. Rowes. And I always forget to buy the cookbook so I'll have the baked tomatoes recipe. Anyone out there have the cookbook? And I have so many zucchini that I may just make another batch of pickles to use them all up. I hate to waste them.

So that's my day. I may go out to look for a new pair of crocs and a rain jacket. Sam got me that wonderful down vest for the really cold part of the Fall and early winter at work. I am so grateful for that gift from her. And I found another pair of green pants at Goodwill for $2.96. Now I need shoes and the rain jacket or windbreaker to keep me dry. Something really lightweight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I managed to get all the cherry tomatoes washed and roasted before work. They were starting to get mushy and over ripe waiting for me. Good thing I did. Later in the day, at work, I was trimming daylilies by holding all the leaves like a ponytail and then cutting across the bottom, under my hand. Well, on the final cut of the afternoon (due to the following), I managed to clip my little finger and cut a nice sized gap in the pad at the tip. I quickly got a clean paper towel on it and headed for the cash registers where I could find help and the first aid kit.

A coworker was gamely assisting when a customer, in line, said " I do first aid" and he took over. I think he stepped up when I asked if the cut needed stitches. An EMT. So my finger was neatly cleaned, wrapped in gauze and taped. By then I was in a swirl of adrenaline. If you have never experienced this, it is the worst roller coaster ride going on inside your brain that you could imagine. I ended up on the floor in the lunchroom/public bathroom. Dirty but I just needed to be flat on the floor. After resting for about 30 minutes to an hour, I resumed work and did a bunch of repots (one handed) and answered questions. Turned out to be a good day as the temperatures went down as the day ended. It had been over 100 degrees in the greenhouse and hot and sunny in the yard. Nasty.

G felt so sad about my finger (the bandage is impressive and we had to bag it so I could shower off the dirt of the lunchroom/public restroom floor) that he took me out for a very good dinner. We were both starving. G began a conversation he had had with supervisor him asking if G could keep a secret. So G starts retelling the conversation and I interrupt and say "Joanne can't keep a secret" and he has to not tell me. For awhile. But then he told me anyway. It has to do with work so I think the secret is safe. I'm not sure I am happy with the direction the "politics" are taking. I like things to remain simple. The more complicated, the more likely G will end up unhappy. That's just the way it works.

My job is pretty simple. Yesterday I saw just how cut (excuse the reference to my finger) and dried it was. I had a plant from my garden and didn't know if it was a flower or a weed. I brought it in and realized that no one there could help me identify it. The only "expert" was me. Until Saturday, when I can ask N. I guess I have job security, huh?

I am making lasagna today and Sam is coming over to have her hair colored. So I will make garlic bread, also. She and G can eat it all. I have a trip to the bank set up and since that's close to the grocery I will stop and get some groceries. That's all for today. I have the white wash going. Then I will wash the dog towels. And wait for G to get home before doing the dark load. I decided to walk the dog on the mornings I go to work at 12. And on my days off. To help with the "diet". It is going better than usual at day 6. I'm not hungry, exactly, but I feel deprived. And a bit looney. I picked a salted almond off the lunchroom floor (yes, dirty floor) and almost considered eating it. I also considered the potato chip under my chair. I didn't eat either, but that's where my focus is--salty, crispy.

I have eaten some items which put me over 1200 but I did not eat as much as I would normally have eaten and I made better choices. This is a step in the correct direction. I need to make careful and thoughtful choices. I don't expect to be loosing all the weight in a few weeks. I expect to be relearning a better way to eat all the time. Choosing a big salad and then tucking it into pita bread. Better than a meatball sub and french fries. Water instead of beer or a mixed drink when we eat out. Small choices that make a big difference over time. And walking the dog. Which Riley thinks we should be doing RIGHT NOW.

I hope to have time to read. I found copies of the television programs I missed due to the power problem (a pole fire) and have TiVo set to record them. All is well in my tiny little world now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In The Dark Literally

Yesterday, riley and I got home about 3 pm and I sat down at the computer to read emails and the computer went dark. The POWER went off. So I did things that didn't involve electricity like check the garden for zucchini and tomatoes. I didn't have to water because we had rain overnight and into the morning yesterday.

G arrived home and we chatted and waited and then realized that we probably needed to think about take out for dinner. We ordered, I showered, he and Riley went to pick up, we ate. We read the paper and watched as it got darker. Finally, at 8, G went to bed and I settled on the couch with my book and my "bitty book light" (with fresh batteries). It got darker and darker. I mean it was black velvet dark. And at some point the dogs in the neighborhood started barking. Like there was "something" out there. Got Riley all stirred up.

Finally, Riley had had enough and did the "I'm going to bed" shake em up and I got up and tried to find the way to the back door to let him out for his nightly duties. Then I tried to find my way to the bathroom. Then back to let Riley in and that's when I said--guess I'll be missing my television shows and went to bed also. Woke up around 11:30 to a humming noise (the fridge) and walked out to see if the lights were on and then back to bed.

Maine might have the most unreliable electric service in the entire United States. Anything sets it OFF. Wind, Rain, Snow, Ice and now, nothing. I don't think a car hitting a pole would darken an entire side of town while other folks are unaffected. I think they are just incompetent. When G went out for the take out, he said there were CMP trucks all over the place and guys climbing power poles and it had the atmosphere of the "clowns at a circus" and was just about as effective. Six hours later they must have found the problem and turned everything back on. The will most likely use the "squirrel in the transformer" excuse yet again.

Every other power company in the US has squirrels. They know how to keep squirrels out of the transformers. I wonder if the local paper will print the "smoking squirrel" picture at the top of the power outage report????

It was raining inside the greenhouse yesterday morning so I skipped watering. There was way enough water and moisture in the house to get through the day. So I pulled my potting station apart and cleaned, organized and swept everything. And then it was lunch time. And after doing a few more housekeeping chores it was time to go home. And you already know what happened there. At work, they were reorganizing everything, cause Halloween is arriving today. Yes, Halloween. The mums are here and pretty soon the farm truck will bring the pumpkins and the bales of hay and the big, messy, full of spiders corn stalks. Oh. Happy. Days.

I walked around looking for pens and Sharpies, containers and a new rain suit to tuck away for winter time usage (on those dark, cold, wet mornings when we haul Christmas wreaths from the truck to the annual house and get soaking wet). Like a good squirrel, I am out looking for stuff to tuck away. But not in a transformer. Tomorrow is my day off. So happy about that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Samantha

Not my best effort but I wanted to have a card for you this morning. I wasn't prepared on the day you were born, either. Your due date was the 17th, so, in my ignorance, I was sure you weren't going to arrive a day earlier. No diapers washed. No baby clothes ready.

You were born on a hot, sultry morning in Georgia to two parents who had no idea what they were getting into. Good thing you were the BEST baby ever. Really. You napped and ate and entertained yourself and slept through the night from the beginning. Incredible. The only hiccup in your perfect baby life was a brother born when you were two. I don't think you ever recovered.

I don't have any special wishes for you this birthday as things in your life right now are making you very happy. Lots of smiles. And that makes your dad and I very happy. The only thing I might do is try again to make a good loaf of chocolate zucchini bread for you this afternoon (and squeeze the water out of the zukes this time).

I know you had a very happy weekend. Have a very happy day today. We love you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The View From Here

Vincent Van Gogh provides the view. I have completed the third day of the diet only 126 calories over my limit of 1200. I had a second cup of coffee and a few watermelon chunks after work. Not as bad as my usual two handfuls of salty corn chips.

Work was okay. Business isn't good and the employees have plenty of time for naps and conversations. I was having a conversation over by the dumpsters when two ratty looking petunia hanging baskets were being dumped so I now have them hanging from hooks on my porch. Anything in the dumpster is fair to take. From the street they look pretty. That's all that counts in mid August. We tossed five spent sunflower pots (large $35 pots) and kept them behind the greenhouse and the goldfinches are flying in and harvesting seeds out of the dead flowers. Quite charming.

G is finished mowing the lawn, Ninja Warrior is having a marathon, I have shirts to iron, a friend to be deeply worried about and Rubicon and Mad Men to watch this evening. A very busy day. And I need a shower. Tomorrow is our daughter's birthday so I think I need to make a card for tomorrow's post (like her brother got). By the way C, I never mailed it. Oops!.

Two more days of work and then two days off which I will enjoy a great deal. I think it's good to be working five days straight when starting the new diet. Keeps me away from the fridge and chips. I am tempted by the zucchini brownies and will have to get a total of the calories next time I bake some. I have plenty of zukes. And lots of small, rather hard, red tomatoes. I'm not sure if they ever get softer. Customers coming in with blossom end rot. Sad tomatoes.

Okay, here I go on my list of things to do. Stay busy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday- Day Two

I just love this image. I feel like it best describes me. I helped my grandmother "water" her garden when I was just a toddler. We lived in a duplex with my father's parents and I spent a great deal of time with my grammy in the garden. She taught me to love the dirt and the flowers. I just wish I was a fraction of the gardener my grandmother was. And she washed clothes with a wringer washer to the day she died. Starched and ironed a fresh apron every single day. Cooked a wonderful meal and made homemade, stretched over a table, apple strudel. And still had time to sit and watch anything with Barbara Stanwick on television.

Today is day two and I am not hungry. I weighed and measured and had a smaller breakfast, a larger lunch (yogurt and fruit is very high calorie) and a stir fry of garden vegetables for dinner. 1200 calories exactly. My exercise for the day: dumpster diving. Yep, I was digging around in the work dumpster looking for something. I found it--finally. I really needed a shower after work. And I had three interesting repots today. Another Christmas Cactus, a Rabbit's Foot Fern (very old, big), and a fragile succulent. All three repots were closely monitored by the plant's owner. Makes me nervous. They ask "why are you doing that" all the time. I try and educate them.

Speaking of educating, I have my first class of the fall season. Dividing and Relocating Perennials. N and I are working as a team again. I have a list of things we want to cover and will work on the handout. August 28th. 10am. I may or may not get to teach more than this one. Boss hasn't said. He did say the list of classes I gave him was "excellent" but none of them made it into the line up. Diane had some great suggestions which I used. N and I may change things around in order to work some of those "new" ideas into the classes. We are rebels.

Only one problem so far with the diet--same problem as last time. Poop. Or the lack of poop.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thoughts On My First Day of Dieting

I made some mistakes today but nothing I can't learn from. I weighed my cereal to SEE what a portion looked like, again. I measured my soy milk. I didn't guess. And I wrote it all down in my food diary with the calorie count to the right side of the page. Every single thing. Even a teaspoon of sugar. I remembered how important it was to be honest.

What I did wrong was not count the calories of my dinner before I ate. If I had removed just one item from my plate, I would have had 1200 calories, my limit. That's what I would do for that whole year I dieted. Count, add, remove if necessary and sometimes, to add more (what a happy thing that was) and then eat. I forgot. Tomorrow I will remember.

But each day is a chance to RESTART. To choose failure or success.

I choose success today and it feels good. Tomorrow I have another chance.

Here are a few simple rules for those readers who are coming along on this journey.

1200 calories a day. No food is off limits. But you can't go over 1200.

No food after 8 pm. Ever. Coffee or something to drink is fine, but save enough calories from the day for any sugar and cream.

Reading uses more calories than watching television. Only two hours a day of sitting in front of a screen of any kind. Even reading this!! LOL

Measure everything. Use a measuring cup for a cup of plain rice or mashed potatoes. Other wise you will cheat yourself. Yes, you'll take less. We have no idea what a cup of food looks like. And no one knows what 2 Tablespoons of salad dressing looks like unless you fill a Tablespoon, twice. And then think about how much you normally use.

Write everything down in a book or notebook. Each day. I am also writing at the bottom what I learned that day and how I felt about the diet. I think it will be more of a help to me to be able to read about how I struggled. It will help me stay the course more days than I fail.

Failure is okay. You can try again tomorrow. You have the rest of your life to get this diet thing right. And we learn from our mistakes.

Good Morning Sunshine

Not real. A picture from a magazine of Peonies I think. I wanted to start with something beautiful today as I fear the remainder of my day will not be pleasant. I am subbing on the Shrub & Tree side of the business today and that is stressful. Last time I did this, they were calling my name on the radio for the entire 6 hours. I will be doing some Zen breathing during any lulls.

Not the best of days to embark on the DIET again but I have to. My weight has gotten out of hand and I feel like any day now I will be in plus sizes again. And all that hard work will be lost. I have to try and salvage what I fought so hard for in 2007. I have my scale dusted off and the measuring cups on the counter. I am ready to do battle. My breakfast was a bit of a challenge but we'll work it out over the next few days. I have yogurt or salad for lunch and plan on making vegetable soup for supper. And I have lots of busy work to occupy myself rather than just watching television. I walked Riley last night for 30 minutes and he seemed pleased.

I may not be my charming self on posts but usually the lack of food brings out the sarcastic wit you all enjoy, so, there may be some good times in the weeks and months ahead. Yes, Months. Until the end of the year at least. Hang on, it will be a bumpy ride.

I have laundry to check on, a shower to take, clothes to put on and a lunch to make before work. An hour to get it all done. Whoosh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dancing My Way Home by Teresa Paschke

Intaglio printing, dye, pigment, embroidery, piecing. 32 by 40 inches. 2000. This is one of the images I collect from magazines. I liked this work because it has everything I love about making art. Intaglio printing (my best classes in college), pigment, embroidery. I don't know much about dye and I don't really like piecing (but love the way piecing looks). Ms Paschke majored in painting and then studied textiles.

I guess I have traveled, in my mind and heart, long enough now to know I prefer painting to any other method. If I had access to a printing press then I would resume my love affair with etched metal plates. And I will always have a threaded needle close at hand. These truths are self evident.

In my Jo Nesbo book, last night, I came across a few lines that brought tears to my eyes. "as we age and replace our fathers, we step into their lives". Spoken from a male perspective, but it could also read "as we replace our mothers, we step into their lives". I have read or heard this sort of thing before, as in, as you grow older you become your mother. I don't want to become my mother or my father. So late last night, as I read this, I sat and looked for evidence that I was becoming my father. Reclusive. Paranoid. Cheap. Hoarder. But he had friends and a social life until he couldn't get around due to his health. He was always working on fixing something. Always busy. Always ready to try something new: recipes mostly. There are good things here to work from. This is giving me something to think about and consider.

G has taken the truck in for servicing. Taken the dog out for a walk in the woods. Has likened my new haircut to Urkel's. The temperature outside is cooler, cloudy with a breeze. I will go out into the garden to check on things and pick squash and tomatoes. My hair stylist has given me the recipe for Greek Cole Slaw which has an oil and vinegar dressing and includes oregano, dill, cucumber, green pepper and cherry tomato and feta along with the thinly sliced cabbage. She says it is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner (?). I think the cucumber and tomato will make it very wet. I do have a nice beef chuck roast in the freezer. I like pot roast with mashed potatoes and cole slaw. And BBQ with cole slaw. And I can just eat raw wedges of the cabbage.

The floors need my attention today. (my new Apple computer has this voice that tells me when things "need my attention") It would be funny if, in future, the oven, fridge and dishwasher had these "voices" to tell me that "the dishwasher needs your attention". Then I might not leave the oven on all afternoon because I forgot to turn it off after baking something.

G is turning on the dog washing hose, so Riley must have gone into the mud puddle on the walk. That dog! Loves that stinky cold mud. The floors need my attention.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Mother Nature is being good to me this year. We have tomatoes. And that would be enough but this year Mother Nature has given us two serendipitous rain events following lawn service treatments. We are supposed to water the treatments in. We never do. This year it has rained on the evening of the treatments doing our work for us. Making our lawn fuller, greener and healthier. G and I are members of the "Green From The Street" club when it comes to lawns. If it looks good to people passing by, it's good enough. Because we certainly don't do enough to make it look good while staring straight down at it.

And the rain last night means I don't have to water the garden today. That's one chore I can cross off today's list. I am going to get my haircut this morning, stop at the bank, the health food store, the deli for a breakfast sandwich and the eyeglass store for an adjustment to my glasses. I am wearing comfortable shoes. And lavender linen pants.

G will be having Chicken Marsala this evening and I will be having something else. Probably with the roasted eggplant I made on Sunday. I could get some Indian takeout.

G purchased a lovely center row seat for the local Music Theater performance of Spamalot later this month. He wanted to see it and I didn't. He likes to listen to the Broadway CD. I can't understand a word they say or sing. We have separate ideas on entertainment. Lucky for all, our daughter likes the same action movies her dad does. So they go to see them together. I think our son might enjoy some of the things I enjoy but he isn't here so I don't know for sure. And he's too polite to say no. I think he may be the most polite of the four of us.

Another birthday on Monday. Our daughter. And she will want a chocolate Kahlua cake. I don't mind making it because I love eating it. We're wondering if the new boyfriend remembers and does anything for her on the birthday. We're all sort of nervous. G is taking her to the movies on Sunday (with popcorn) and with Dairy Queen after. Her friends are taking her out for drinks and dancing. A very good birthday.

Time for me to set out on my morning's work. I am ever so happy to NOT be working today. The mums are arriving (they were supposed to arrive yesterday) and I made several large orders for the perennial yard and herb tables. Today is going to be another hot and humid day and a miserable working experience. I will be cool as a cucumber here at home.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This is the first toy that we have given a name, name. The other toys have descriptive names like Pup A Saurous, Hedgie, Dinomite, Spidey. The Rhino sounded too much like Dino. So, Wally. And, Riley identified the toy with the sound very quickly. Say Wally, and Riley will race off to get the toy. In fact, Wally, is the toy that Riley naps with quite often these days, making Teddy (bear) very sad, indeed. Here's Wally waiting for Riley on the dog bed, and the new towel pattern I bought a few weeks ago.

Yesterday was awful weatherwise but fantastic customerwise. So hot. So humid. Sucking the life out of me. Lunch with a fan blowing on me was restorative. And then it was time to go home. Today is supposed to be hotter and muggier. I am not eager to go to work today.

I have to decide if I want to go out into the vegetable garden and hand water (and get bug bites) or if I want to hook up the rotating sprinkler (not the best way to water the garden as it promotes wet leaves which leads to diseased leaves etc) or if I just want to ignore the whole thing. August means wilting. Everything is wilting. Everything is looking tired. Even me.

We had grilled cheese sandwiches last night with a can of baked beans "doctored" up with brown sugar, ketchup and mustard. And potato salad that I brought home from work. Ed had made 30 pounds of it and hadn't needed all of that for the picnic he attended on Saturday. So I washed out my lunch salad container and took some of the extra salad home. We didn't get sick. This is something we always consider as Ed is 86 or 88 and not the most careful cook around. He also baked some sort of cheese braid. He didn't have extra of that, thank goodness.

I am working an extra day this weekend as a key person has Sunday off and some of the other Sunday people regularly "call out". Which is what happened last Sunday. One person doing the work of three. And that work is answering phone inquiries and helping customers find what they are looking for and telling them how big something will get and otherwise reading the plant tags out loud for them, sometimes three or four times. Time consuming and irritating if they are calling for help on the radio or over the intercom while you are trying to convey info to the person in front of you. So, I get to do this on Sunday. Because, as my boss so thoughtfully put it, "I need a brain to work Sunday". Would that be considered a "performance review"?

I have laundry to finish up and a decision to make on the garden and then I have to get Riley to the vet for the kennel cough shot and then to work for the day. Oh, it would be good to eat breakfast. Pack my lunch. Get going. Tired already.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Danger, Danger

While watering the vegetable garden G enraged a whole bunch of yellow jackets and was stung three times. Once, right below his eye. I put on the kettle and boiled up a pot of water and took it out to the garden and poured it on the underground "nest". Then we sprayed the rest of the returning yellow jackets. Everyone of them is now DEAD.

Gardening can be a very dangerous enterprise.

We harvested three zucchini (now brownies), eight yellow squash (now fried down and in the fridge), a handful of cherry tomatoes (from the yellow jacket area) and seven or eight cluster tomatoes (about half cup size). I had to compost one of my green cabbages (mushy spots) but did harvest a nice one pounder (maybe more) for cole slaw. All the seeds I planted last Sunday afternoon have germinated. I feel like a very proud "mom" especially with regard to the little cucumber starts. I have three or four good sized butternut squash growing and the compost squash plants are setting flowers. I never got around to chopping leaves.

G is mowing the grass. I am covered in chocolate smears. The sink is full of bowls and spoons. The zucchini bread is wet. Not good. Both pans of brownies are perfect.

Summer Wishes

A little photo dreaming regarding the interior of my home. I would REALLY like my rooms to look this clean, crisp and uncluttered. I also like the architectural details of trim and windows that make a statement. My house has good space but nothing in the way of "good bones" or architecture. I like cottage. My house isn't. The white cupboard here with bowls. The chair facing the outdoors. The table and wire chairs. And the flat tray of plants on the BARE table. You know I ache to have a bare table.

I nearly have this. I have white slipcovered couches and bare wood floors in the living room. Only the floors are a dark, expensive walnut. And G refuses to allow me to paint them a lighter color. I want, need, have to have, new chairs. Cushy, squooshy white linen slipcovered arm chairs. With high backs to rest my head on and good arms to support my elbows while I read.

A summer bedroom. White linen sheets, piles of soft, fluffy down pillows in well worn cotton cases. An old fashion closet with a great door and metal knob. A window directly next to the bed with breezes drifting over. A long white linen robe to wear after a nice shower. Bare feet on clean smooth floors.

I slept fitfully last night and woke remembering fragments of some very strange dreams. And they were in color. I always try and think about whether I dream in color.

G is watering the vegetable garden and assessing the damage done by our failure to water in the past few days. G will also be setting up the leaf shredder and I plan to chop the dry leaves from last autumn into a fine powder and mulch the garden. I will have to remove the chunky leaves I put down last week and replace them with finer ground leaves. And I have big weeds to dig out of bed number 8 and soil, peat, manure and fertilizer to add to that bed.

Bed #1: cabbages/beets Bed #2: Herbs Bed #3: Tomatoes/chard/bok choy/beets/ rose Bed #4: Celery/kale/seedlings of five new Fall crops Bed#5: Tomatoes/jalapenos/cucumbers Bed#6: winter and summer squashes Bed #7: Brussels sprouts/zucchini/pole beans Bed #8: weeds

The compost pile squashes continue to produce leaves and the CBS Morning Show reported that we have 45 days of sweaty summer left before autumn arrives. So, technically, there is time for those plants to produce a few butternut squashes. Next year I am planting turban shaped squashes with a dense, nutty flesh and a green rind. I have planted Delicata in years past and they are very nice. But not very productive. I think two plants produced 5 squash? Not that my planted butternut are doing much better. And they have lots of cow manure to feed on. I will be adding Fish Emulsion to the mix today for the cucumbers, beans, squashes and beets. Give them a "boost".

So I have lots to do and G wants to drive to Freeport Cafe for French Onion Soup. Riley wants to go for a walk and a dive into the deep water in the woods. He may or may not go into the big mud pit which he loves and G hates. That's our day. Oh, and there are watermelon chunks in the fridge.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Eight Hundred Seventy One

Only 129 more posts to go. That's like every day for the remainder of the year? No picture because it's late (dark) and there's not one single interesting thing to take a picture of right now. We just returned from a trip into town to get ice cream cones. I got chocolate rather than my usual strawberry. And I didn't drip any onto my clothing. Woo Hoo!!

We had sweet corn for dinner after looking for the dog's walking collar for nearly an hour. G finally found it under the rear passenger seat of my car. ???? Our daughter needed the collar when she took Riley for his afternoon walk. She called me at work (lunchtime) to discuss it's disappearance.

Work was great today. It was cool outside and I wore cropped pants instead of shorts and didn't sweat even once, all day. I had some great customers today: someone who wanted Montauk Daisies which I had, someone who wanted mint for Mohitos, a woman with a Bonsai that had dropped all it's leaves (overhead fan blowing on it) who asked if "we" could shape it so it looked bonsai-ish (Oh. My. Gosh. Yes!!!) when the leaves grew back, and last but not least a 55 year old Christmas cactus belonging to two sisters (it was their grandfather's) which I am going to dismember and repot on Monday. All this and still had time to read a gardening book and learn things. I always want to gain more knowledge for the questions people ask.

If your local greenhouse was having free classes this Fall what topics would interest you? Herbs, Forcing Indoor Bulbs, Repotting Houseplants (bring one in to work on in class), building a cold frame for the garden ....... any ideas out there? We always do Pumpkin Carving and Dividing Perennials.

My garden is in desperate need of watering. Tomorrow. And I have laundry to do and zucchini brownies to make (so very good) and, well, other stuff I can't think of right now. Oh, take a few good pictures for the posts. It's always good to have a few saved up. Another cool night for sleeping.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Handsome Riley Cooling Off

Riley agreed to stand still for a picture this evening. He was staring intently at the yard next door, in case someone dared to walk past. Riley was also on alert waiting for g to get home from work. Maine highways had a rash of tractor trailer accidents today and traffic was snarled for hours. Which increased the visits to G's tiny McD's. By 50%. G is very tired as he also has pneumonia. Yes, pneumonia.

I was a house keeping demon this morning. Vacuuming. Cleaning. Making lunches. Getting the red potatoes boiled so that I could slice them and fry them with onion for tonight's dinner. Hot Italian sausages and cucumbers in dill sour cream sauce rounded out the meal which was served at 7.45. Before making dinner I had to open all the house windows (cool air) and water my planter boxes which had sweltered in today's heat. Finally, cool air is blowing into Maine.

And the fall mums are coming to the greenhouse on Monday. And then it'll be Christmas.

I have been having a Greek Salad for lunch this week. My grocery has managed to find a new supplier for some really GREEN Romaine lettuce. Crisp and crunchy and fresh. So, of course this cannot be allowed to continue. And the sweet corn is outrageously good and LOCAL. I could get used to eating really fresh foods grown locally.

I cut up my watermelon this morning and have three containers full, chilling in the fridge. While I was removing the red melon from the rind I was reminded of the watermelon rind pickles that were made from the rind and served on a relish tray with dinner. I felt kind of bad throwing the rind into the compost. We just don't eat that many pickled products. I am always thinking of the "waste not, want not" motto of my grandmother.

Not much on television tonight so I will be enjoying the cool breeze blowing the curtains in the living room, while I read my Jo Nesbo book. Winter in Norway. Summer in Maine.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I Moved Into A New House Last Night

In my dreams. But, there I was inside this big "used" house with no idea where anything was located. I tried to find the kitchen and front door but kept ending up in a side area to the garage. I was the only family member in the house. And that garage was large enough to house at least eight parked cars.

The picture at the top of this post is a page from my new journal which is turning out to be rather amazing. Fat Sharpie pens in a multitude of colors, drawings and "doodlish" filler. I still have magazine page collages on the left page to cover all the bleed thru from the Sharpie pens. I even bought a 24 pen set of colored fat Sharpies just for this journal. This journal is looking like it will be more visual and less a written record of my day. I have never used the fat line Sharpie in my journals. Too heavy a line. But change is a good thing. I got a small set of thin line Sharpies for any writing I may want to do--later.

G and I had a "clean up" dinner last night. It was hot. So we had a ripe tomato sliced with the few leftover slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh picked basil leaves and steamed corn on the cob. G had cheese quesadillas and I had a quickly pan fried sliced zucchini with the last little serving of the tomato pasta. Very tasty, fresh and best of all, minimal prep or cooking.

This morning I am off to VIP, yet again, to see if I can get my car inspected. G has an appointment with a lung doctor later today to see what his spot might be now that the PET scan has determined that it is NOT a tumor. I have a follow up visit with my dentist's partner to explore having an implanted tooth installed in my jaw. I am amazed at how far I have progressed in my "dental phobia". Are braces next?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

So Far, Not So Good

Pincushion Flowers. Scabiosa. I have been deadheading them and I am still getting blooms. so I should do more deadheading around the garden. Instead of just letting everything go to hell.

I was supposed to be having my car inspected right now. But NO! The technician at the Topsham VIP (where I was directed to make an appointment) isn't "qualified" to inspect cars from the very next, on the borderline, county. Sorry, but no inspection. I drove across the bridge, back into MY county, and entered that VIP, where they had no technician or appointments when I called on Monday, and told them what happened. Oh, they said, can you come in tomorrow? Yes. Oh, we have open appointments all day tomorrow. Huh???? So tomorrow I am going to do this all over again and see if I can actually get my car inspected. I'm already thinking it won't go well.

Let's not mention being a bit late this morning and rushing to drop off Riley at day care and then driving very fast across town and that bridge to get to my 9 am appointment. Now, I have two hours to kill before my lunch date in Topsham. Another drive across town and the bridge. And then the dentist. I am testy right now. Because I could have slept another hour and had breakfast and been relaxed and happy right now.

I guess it rained really hard at the house yesterday while I was pumping gas into my car. It wasn't raining where I was. And by the time I got home, it wasn't raining there either. Isn't that the strangest thing? But it's okay as it meant I didn't have to water anything.

Watched White Collar and Covert Affair and they both stink. White Collar had good stories in it's first season and now it's just nothing. An empty bag. The Closer isn't any better. The closing of the case, the interrogation, was the center of the story. Now it's all "personalities" and I don't care all that much about a jerk detective and an orphan or two old detectives looking for hookers. And Brenda is eating, with labels in view, the candy that is advertised in the commercials between scenes. Reese's. No more HoHo's in the desk drawer. the only highlight of any evening is Chelsea Lately. At least I get to smile and even laugh.

My horoscope on Google keeps mentioning all these wants and desires on my part. I would like a sleeveless blouse and a new pair of Crocs but that's about it. I'm pretty much at a point of not wanting anything. Well, I would like more "free" time. But here I am right now with two hours of "free" time and what am I doing? Am I doing any of the things I want to do in my "free" time? No. I'm writing this post and drinking coffee. Because I have on "nice clothes" and I don't want to get messy.

I think I'll leave here early and go see what Goodwill has on the racks. And then go to lunch.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cherry Tomato Pasta

Finally enough little tomatoes to make pasta sauce. Well, I could have used more but I wanted it tonight. And it was very good. Just an onion chopped and sauteed in oil with a whole garlic clove (so I could remove it), salt, pepper and a shake of red pepper flakes. When the onions are soft and golden, I add the tomatoes (cut in half). This cooks down while the pasta is cooking. I added some pasta water to loosen up the sauce a bit. Tomatoes have quite a bit of pectin. I no longer drain pasta and just lift it from the cooking water with tongs and drop into the pan with the pasta sauce. I do this with any pasta sauce I make. I turn and lift and mix (off heat) until it looks good and add a bit of pasta cooking water if it seems too thick. Serve with cheese.

And then I took a shower and a Benadryl. I got into something at work and then into some mosquitos after work while checking the garden for tomatoes and zucchini. Now I am going to have a cup of coffee and watch White Collar.

I pumped gas into my car today. This may be the second time this year. A record achievement. I usually tell G that I need gas and he takes the dog for a ride to the gas station. I'm doing a bunch of car stuff this week. Registration. Inspection. Gas. Yikes. I feel like a grown up.

National Watermelon Day

I can't believe I actually have a watermelon in my kitchen on National Watermelon Day. I never knew there was even a special day for watermelon. My melon is labeled Bea Sweet. I know I should have it chilling in the fridge but I usually cut, slice, chunk and then chill. I like taking a big container of chunks to work. Especially on stinking hot, humid days like today.

Today is going to be a BAD day to be working. In a greenhouse. Trust me. Very Bad.

So lets' talk about different things today. I got my car registered at the town office yesterday. Which means I paid the town tax for owning a car. Tomorrow I get the car inspected. Another tax on owning a car. And I pay highway use taxes for the state of Maine with each gallon of gas I buy. We have very high use taxes for our highways. This is to pay for the "slap a coat of asphalt" over the potholes instead of actually fixing anything long term.

I noticed that my employer is doing likewise. A large hump of asphalt that trips customers and employees has been dug up and removed (finally) and replaced with a tractor scoop of large stones. In the "improvement" category: the hump is gone and the stones are level. But will the stones stay inside the hole? This is always the tricky part of filling a hole with something foreign. Getting it to stay.

One of my newly planted hydrangea is wilting badly. It may not want to "live". The other is doing just fine. Not an Endless Summer. These Endless Summer hydrangea are being returned to the store quite often. Wilting. Not blooming year after year. Spotted leaves. I think the hybrid may have been misnamed. Endless Bummer. I have two Nikko planted and I hope for blooms like Terry's. Deep, dark, blue. Eventually.

We will be having Cherry Tomato Pasta tonight. I finally have enough Sun Gold tomatoes for a nice sauce. I measure the tomatoes in a metal pie tin from Baker's Square. When the tin is full, I have enough. Last year, we had no tomatoes from the garden and therefore, no cherry tomato pasta. A very sad summer last year. This summer looks brighter. My garden has the potential to provide a number of pasta meals. Plus salsa. And tomato sandwiches. And, at the end, fresh tomato soup.

In an interesting garden development, I have a bushel load of volunteer baby squash plants sprouting out of the composted remains of a butternut squash. The little "sprouted seeds" are now about three feet tall and exuberantly growing into the garden path in front of the compost bins. I continue to add kitchen waste to the bin. And water. We'll see if they have the time or energy to produce any butternuts. I have found, over the years, that compost volunteer plants are wicked strong. Determined to succeed. When I lived and gardened in Illinois, I had an interesting selection of tomatoes growing in my compost bin from all the seeds of tomatoes we had eaten over the winter. I had TONS of tomatoes it seemed. That was an amazing garden and it was very small. Just enough to be enjoyable but not big enough to be "work".

Well, enough for today. I have things to do before work. And it's heating up here in the house and the dog is sighing. He wants attention.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday Evening

A very busy day. Work. Registering my car. Groceries. Watering my planter boxes. Watering the garden. A much needed shower. G makes cheese nachos for supper. Reading the newspaper and the mail while Riley plays under the table with all his toys. Turning on the lights as the day ends. Turning off the AC as the temperatures fall into the low 60's. The humidity is returning day by day. So we enjoy it now.

I am very tired. I have bills to pay and my car is being inspected Wednesday. I also have a dentist appointment that day. I had planned to have lunch with a friend from Kentucky but we may have to think of something else to do. August.

Speaking of August, I bought sweet corn for the first time this summer, today. I also bought another watermelon, larger this time, but still only $4.99. I tried to only buy perishables so I could continue to use up the food I have "stockpiled". I bought way more than the five items I intended to get, but, in my defense I could have gotten way more stuff. I did get sugar for G.

G is making coffee and we are going to watch the Closer. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Preparing To Make Something

I need visual images to get me thinking about making something. Food, art or home dec. I need to see something that gets me thinking. I hardly ever make anything that resembles the visual that got me moving. Which I find odd. I have had this picture torn from a fashion magazine for about 2 years now. I saw it and thought: winter. And I still imagine winter when I see this image. Though that is hardly what it was used for in the magazine.

I recently hung the large Spring fabric piece I made in 2008. It's in the living room. And I had intended to make the Four Seasons. I really should be thinking about Summer right now. But Winter is where my mind is traveling. I will attempt to corral my creative thoughts and "think" about Summer. And Fall. I feel like making these pieces in the next couple months. And I might get them done if I promise myself Winter at the end.

Today I am gardening. I have plants dying in the garden cart, unplanted. Deer visited last night and ate the flowers off the huge pot of pansies again. They also tore down the tee pee holding my Moon Flower. And ate the flower leaves. I never got to see it blossom. Very sad. Deer have moved from being "animals" to being "pests". And we all know how pests are treated.
There are way too many deer now that houses were built where the coyotes lived. And Riley would have to be out all night to do any good. He does run them out. But only just beyond the electric fence. They don't "smell" him out there and know they are safe.

I have zucchini. I may have some tomatoes if my daughter didn't eat them all yesterday when she visited Riley. I am tempted to do a five item grocery shop. Continuing the "Use What You Have" in the freezer, fridge and pantry challenge. Yogurt (G's), soy milk, vegetable oil, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder (for more brownies), mustard seeds. (milk, butter, eggs and yogurt don't count as they are perishables). I could bake bread. I need mushrooms and cheese for pizza. I wonder if I have pita bread in the freezer to make pita chips? See how much fun this is?

I plan to make Pineapple Fried Rice. I have everything I need but shrimp and cashews. I do have to climb up on the step ladder to search for the can of pineapple. Fresh pineapple is on sale this week if I want buy more stuff. The list IS getting long. Time for breakfast, G is up.

Christopher's Birthday Dinner

Dave's Famous BBQ. This is the Trash Can Lid dinner item. It is actually served in a metal trash can lid. The guys shared this. And Christopher reports that it looked good and tasted good. Corn, ribs, chicken, pulled pork and two sides plus muffins. The photo was taken by Bill on his iPhone as Christopher forgot his camera and has never owned a cell phone (just like mom and his sister).

Christopher has now provided text and pictures for two out of the hoped for 1000 posts in 2010. Thank you!