Thursday, March 31, 2011


One of the "returned because it isn't working out for me" plants from the weekend.  Now, watered and repotted and blooming at my house.  Just in time for the big snowstorm.  The weather report is for rain, snow or more snow.  Six to Twelve inches depending on where the storm tracks.  Tonight into tomorrow. Can I just go on record saying that "I have had enough"?

I was so exhausted yesterday that I basically got nothing done.  I even asked G to take me out to eat dinner. The bed wasn't made, no shower, no domestic chores, no reading, no art, no journal.  I did pick up dog created trash (sticks and shredded plastic) in the yard and I walked the dog.  I even had a small bowl of ice cream after watching Survivor.  I changed out of my jammies at 3.40 yesterday just before walking the dog.

I was up early this morning, did my Pilates on the machine and then tried a few of the floor exercises (which are way harder) and then had breakfast, coffee and talked to G and the dog.  Now I am dressed and ready to leave for work in about 20 minutes.  I could very easily return to bed and fall asleep.  And I am chilled.  Can't get warm.  My hands are freezing.

The bananas I bought this week are very delicious.  Dense and filling.  I haven't made a bacon egg bagel yet but perhaps tonight for dinner.  I am eating alone while G does EOM.  Tomorrow is April 1.  Taxes. And all my library books are coming due on Monday and I can't renew them.  Where does time go?  And why do I always have time for work?  Is this one of those things I will regret when I am 90?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slow Wednesday

My Cape Primrose continues to delight.  I bought a second plant last weekend and it also seems to be thriving in the glow of the "twirly" energy saving bulb in the table lamp overhead.  The second plant has pale blue and yellow flowers.  Not very interesting.  I should have purchased the white with dark blue veins.  G likes yellow so I was thinking of him and not of how dull the combo was. Next time I choose it will be "all about ME".

I have been awake for 90 minutes and the internet has been "off line" all that time.  My life is such a pattern that I was quite beside myself when I couldn't read the NYTimes while sipping coffee and chewing on cereal.   I had to get my news the old fashioned way--the newspapers.  Only a local paper, but it still had "news" so I read it.  Then decide to try once more to fire up the internet.  I felt like I had won the lottery when Google opened.  Yay!!!

Our new Governor continues to "shock and amaze"' Mainers with his utter stupidity.  Tea Party all the way.  He has removed the 2008 mural in tribute to labor that was in the State House, rescinded environmental laws passed in the past 20 years, unfunded public services and has called protesters "idiots who make me laugh".  My neighbor said we had nothing to fear with his election.  I think she may be sorry to have said that now.

I was SO exhausted yesterday after working 6 days straight.  I was helping a coworker alphabetize the seeds in one of the display racks (take all seeds out and start over) when I realized I could not get up off my knees without help.  It was near the end of a long day, but still, it hurt my pride just a bit.  It's bad enough that one of the guys calls me "granny".

Riley had a very busy set of days starting on Sunday and I think he is relieved to be able to sleep this morning.  I will do my Pilates after my breakfast is digested.  I appreciated the slow start to the day myself.  I have eggplant to prepare for my dinner and chicken and portobello mushrooms for G's dinner. The laundry is all washed and I just need to dry and fold and iron.  My daughter is coming over later.  She called just as I typed the period at the end of that sentence.  So, sooner not later.  Better get out of my jammies.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The word I found in the dictionary that most resembles the word that was repeated often in my dreams last night "redaction" which isn't a word.  Redact: to put in writing; to select or adapt for publication; to edit.

My subconscious mind was telling me to edit the things in my life.  To choose those things that I most enjoy and need in my life and let the other stuff go.  A reverse "bucket" list, if you will.  Or.  My mind was saying that I should write, select words and thoughts more carefully for publication.  Here?  Or should I watch what I say in public more carefully?  Edit my spoken comments.  All of these things are possibilites.

This week I am enjoying the opening of petals on this tiny pink ranunculus.  Can you see the tight petals still hugging that brown center rectangle?  I may not have this tiny flower long enough to see it open wide.  I had three and only one is opening and still surviving.  An otherworldly being looking up at me.

I have an orphan gardenia visiting.  With several white flowers opening.  The fragrance may be too much for me once they open.  Then this lovely orphan will have to find a new home.  I repotted a night blooming cyris (I think) and while doing my Pilates this morning I noticed I have one here at home.  I thought it was an orchid cactus.  But it wasn't.  Isn't.  Blooms one night.  Gone in the morning.  And then nothing for another 364 days.

Fringe was renewed for a fourth season.  Reason enough to be very happy today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Open House De-Construction

The display gardens were taken apart today.  All the forced trees and shrubs that were in bloom at the back of the greenhouse, and now it is gone.  The masses of forced daffodils were pulled out and the blooms cut off to be sold in blinding golden yellow bouquets.  Spring. While snow is still unmelted.  March coming in like a lion and going out with a roar.

The book I am reading is "Mind's Eye" by the Swedish author Hakan Nesser.  A man wakes up, not remembering his name, but he feels the space he is in, is his home.  He needs to use the bathroom.  The door is locked.  He breaks in and discovers the body of a woman  face down in the full bathtub. He remembers his name and that the woman is his wife. He calls the police.  Of course, the police believe he killed her.  The detective is not 100% sure.  That is as far as I have gotten.

The Japanese situation is evolving into something that will change Japan forever (or at least as long as I will live) and will change the way we choose to make electricity.  Nuclear reaction just to boil water to run a steam turbine to make electricity.  To power a lifestyle of limitless perfection.  It is all so very sad. I wonder if this is one long thread that began with the atomic bombs dropping from the sky?

The world is changing so quickly. I remember when I was a child and time moved so slowly.  Summer lasted almost forever.  In college I typed my papers on a typewriter powered by electricity (new) and drew any diagrams freehand or by tracing them from books.  If I needed to calculate a percentage I did it by hand.  No calculators.  Phones were dialed after inserting a coin.  Long distance was for emergencies. Television had two colors: black and white and three channels. And now, 40 some years later I am writing this to you on a computer I have no idea how it works, where I just watched an episode of Detroit 187 I missed,  and you are are someone I don't actually know, out there, somewhere I have never been, and we are friends.

In the words of an 85 year old friend; "fascinating".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pizza, Pizza

Working one weekend day is hard.  Working both is so much worse.  But, I stopped at the grocery on the way home and bought the week's groceries and stuff for pizza.  For tonight's dinner.  Because I didn't get to eat lunch.  And I am very hungry.  Onion, red peppers, Greek olives and mushroom pizza.

One of the teenage loaders called out and the other was asked to stay for a longer shift.  He didn't have a lunch with him.  N gave him her yogurt and I gave him my carrots and hummus.  His other choice was the cookies and donuts being served for Open House.  We ran out of peanuts.

The book I started reading yesterday is Very Good and the Swedish author has written many more.  Some of which are described as "creepy".  I am pretty happy to have found another Swedish mystery writer.  I have no idea why I like them so much.  Perhaps I have lived in Sweden in another lifetime. I know that I always have an emotional response to the Swedish landscape.

My clothing is starting to fit differently.  I wore the men's large company shirt this weekend and buttoned it. Usually I have to wear it unbuttoned because of my hips.  And on Tuesday I wore a fleece sweatshirt that was always snug.  It skimmed over the curve of my back and from the side, I looked nice.  My posture is so much better.  I naturally stand taller and straighter.  My "core" is getting stronger.  The Pilates coda is that I would "feel" the difference at 10 days, "see" the difference at 20 and "live" the difference at 30.  I didn't do my exercises this weekend but will do them tomorrow morning.

My "whole foods" diet is starting to work.  If it isn't made from "whole" food I think twice before eating the item.  Usually, if I decide to eat it, the food is too sweet, too greasy or just too much of a waste of time (leaves me still hungry).  I don't think I am losing any weight.  But I AM changing the way I think of food.  No calorie counting.  I have as large a bowl of cereal as I want in the morning and it carries me till 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I have a banana or a whole orange if I feel hungry with one ounce of cheddar cheese if I feel really hungry.  I think if it was possible for me to eat my dinner at this time, I could go until bedtime without needing any other food.

There are so many things going on with my life right now.  Good things.  I feel comfortable with myself -- just as I am.   I haven't been able to say that often in my life.  That's a very good thing to be able to say.  To feel.


I had 60 people listen to me talk about vegetable gardening yesterday.  And I got a jelly filled donut so I was happy and covered in sugar crystals.

Today my fourth straight day at work and I still have Monday and Tuesday to go.  I am very tired and my back hurts from standing on cement flooring answering questions. My skin feels like dry paper and while talking, my throat would dry up and I had to stop. I need to drink water but I don't have time to go to the toilet during the work day. I took a big orange pill last night, had a very hot shower and fell onto the couch to read a book.  Skipped dinner, but G felt sorry for me so he made me a small plate of cheese nachos (light on the cheese).  We were both in bed by 9 pm.

 G had to get to work early yesterday (5 am) when the person who was supposed to unlock the store, didn't show up and then, while making the nachos after 6 pm, G got calls from work about a fire alarm going off.  He had to make several cell phone calls (in the second story bathroom which is the only room with bars for cell service this week).  It's getting to be a real circus around here.

And Riley woke G up at 1.30 this morning because the dog wanted to go outside.  And bark.  I had woken up about 10 minutes before the dog--perhaps he knew I was awake?  There's no such thing as a good night's sleep around here this winter (even under the influence of big orange pills).  We are all in various states of sleepiness and fatigue.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Season Begins

We are all involved in getting the business in tip top shape for the Spring Open House.  Lots of flowering plants, pansies, violas, roses etc.  Today I cleaned up the handmade Bonsai House.  Washed it's windows. rubbed vegetable oil soap into the wood and then buffed it to a nice shine.  Added bonsai grit to the bonsai starter plants.  Looking ship shape.

The Pepsi guy brought in the soda fountain for "soders" to go alongside the fried peanuts. potato chips. donuts, cookies and coffee we are serving.  Donuts.  My downfall during these Open Houses.  I am working on my Vegetable Class outline.  Using some of the items I found in the latest Martha Stewart magazine. Updating the class notes I have from last year. Changing things up a bit. My boss said the class participants will still be able to shop as "early birds" whenever "Joanie stops blabbing".  Geez!  Why schedule the class for 9am ?????  If someone holds up a jelly donut, I'll stop pretty darn quick.

We are having more and more issues with the Eukanuba food.  As was suggested, we purchased a small bag of adult retriever food to feed Riley instead of the bag he doesn't want to eat.  He ate it. I opened the bag to smell the food and compare the smell with the "other" food.  It smelled different.  And guess what; it looked different.  The adult Eukanuba bag had puppy food inside.  Small little nuggets of puppy food.  I am calling the company tomorrow.  What the hell have I been giving my dog?  I'm really upset if they can't even get the correct food in the correct bag.

Time to eat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everything Chartreuse & Spring

I found this photograph in a magazine I brought home from work.  The newest 12 by 12 challenge is Chartreuse so I am seeing that color all over now.  I love that we have just one color.  Chartreuse has it's own story to tell and the cast of "extras" can be whatever the artist wants.

Yesterday wore me out.  I was up early (7.30) and noticed the snow on the driveway. I was already in my Pilates clothes (black pants and tee) so I added a coat, gloves etc and went out to shovel off Riley's back stoop.  Then the front porch steps and walk and then the entire driveway.  Finished at 9 and then upstairs for Pilates and at 10, I was on my way to work until 7.  I "worked" the entire day.  Unloading, moving, rearranging etc getting ready for our Open House on the weekend. The tables at work are just low enough to cause my back to begin to seize up.  Arrived home to find G waiting to be served dinner.  I picked up the pasta pot and filled it with water (my go to start when I have no idea what to make) and found everything for Carbonara for G and I had the remainder of the pasta with a tiny pat of butter and some Parmesan.  If I had been more alert, I would have sauteed an onion in some EVOO and steamed a pile of kale on top.  Served that with the pasta.  I just couldn't deal with another pan on the stove.  And I had had tomato kale soup for lunch.

My mother's "go to start" for dinner was to heat up the Club aluminum dutch oven and start a few onions frying.  This could eventually turn into chili, goulash, spaghetti sauce, chicken fricassee or smothered round steak.  Everything was quite similar.  I think she added a can of tomato paste to all  of them. Pork chops was a separate category. My mother wasn't a natural cook and didn't enjoy cooking for her family of 6.  But she had to as there wasn't any prepared food available yet and no "fast food".  Her favorite part of any meal was the dessert.  She did make a very good pie. I can't imagine the stress that dinner time must have been for her in the late 40's and 50's.  And she had our school clothes to WASH and IRON.  No automatic washer and dryers.  No permanent press.  And I had to wear a dress everyday.  Girls could only wear pants to school under a DRESS in those days. How she must have hated ironing my dresses.

By the time I was ten or 12, I was the one starting the onions in the dutch oven and I was the one down in the basement ironing all the clothes for the family and the sheets and kitchen towels.  As punishment, I even had to iron all the underwear.  I liked being in the dark, cool basement by myself with the radio playing all the "new" rock and roll.  I never let her know I liked it. I never let her know I liked anything because that meant she had a new weapon to use. This may have been when I developed my grumpy exterior and gave the impression I was always mad at everyone.  I was. Usually.

It's strange where these daily posts take me.  I can sometimes write about things I had no idea were on my mind.  I thought my mind was on Spring.  Instead, we get therapy of a sort.

I have my usual domestic chores to work through today.  The usual suspects.  And I will actually make a proper dinner.  Chicken.  I do want to go back and try and finish the top stitching (super zig zag) on the wabi sabi placemats.  I enjoyed that.  And I like the way they look on the dinner table.  Makes me smile. I have a new QA magazine to read, my journal needs a line drawing or two.  Right now, I need to do my Pilates so I can have breakfast after.  It's been two weeks and I can see a difference in my posture. I am standing up taller.  Feel it at ten days.  See it at 20.  Live it at 30.  I think there is too much fat over the muscle for me to see much of anything.  I will have to be happy with "feel it".  I do feel stronger.

Tomorrow my daughter is having gall bladder surgery.  In at 9 and out by 4.  Amazing. The gastric upset wasn't gastric.  It was gall stones.  She just wants the pain to stop. Her dad and boyfriend will be providing support. Her boyfriend's mom even made soup for her last weekend.  I'm not the one you want to have around in this sort of medical time.  If I had followed my 10 year old dreams and actually gone to nursing school--whoa, what a mistake that would have been!!!!!  Nurse Ratchet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Tiny Toy Watering Can

My garden bed over the septic outtake line is thawing nicely.  More and more brown dirt and more daffodil tips showing.  And the packet of crocus bulbs I planted is showing itself as well.  I alternate between floral overload at work and not much of anything here at home.  The one constant: the watering can.  This one doesn't actually work.  My tiny red can came with a full set of garden tools.  Little shovel, trowel, fork etc. I, at one time, had my little Muffy bear all dressed up for gardening, surrounded by her "tools" of the trade and a few tiny, tiny pots of tiny, tiny flowers.  I had way too much time on my hands.

Today age is evident in the pains in my back and weakness in my legs.  Riley got me up at 7.30 even though it is my day off (from paid work; I have plenty of domestic work to do).  The sun isn't shining, Riley isn't interested in eating breakfast, I don't know what to try and do first as I have so many things waiting to be done.  G managed to install my tax program, install a new toilet handle on the upstairs toilet and exchange two window blinds, one broken and one working.  Now the broken one is in the workroom and the working one in our bedroom.  He also did some of the more urgent grocery shopping.  Orange juice, milk, yogurt, bananas.  We run out of breakfast sooner than anything else.

Our local Dairy Queen opened yesterday.  We went for a "treat" after a quick dinner.  I worked yesterday and was very tired when I arrived home at 5.30.  It was interesting to watch the line grow and the parking lot fill as G waited to order our ice cream at 7 pm.  We Mainers love ice cream and especially Blizzards I noticed.  Blizzards in various sizes were the most popular item followed by a simple vanilla cone.  I always have hot fudge because DQ makes the best hot fudge of any of the ice cream places in town.  And it's really not that good.

Next week is.........well, I guess it's THIS week.... Spring Open House at work so we will be busy cleaning, fixing up and setting up for the big event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Lots of free food and drawings for gifts.  I will be working Thursday thru Sunday.  Every day. Plus teaching the big Vegetable Gardening class on Saturday.  I hope we are busy. Yesterday I had some watering to do (my boss watered the fuchias on Saturday !!!!!!), I answered questions (what I do best), repotted some things (not near enough to make me happy), mixed up a big batch of potting soil, and stood around doing nothing much at all for longer than I like.  When I did sit down to have lunch, a customer with two orchids came in and that was the end of my lunch break.  It could have been worse.  K had to fry peanuts all day.  V & A will have to weigh and bag them today.

Riley has gone back outside to forage for things in the melting snow banks.  His bone and a blue dog toy have surfaced along with a lot of sticks and branches.  His soccer ball is out there, also, having survived yet another long winter.

I read a very long letter (linked from a comment on a blog) from an American who has lived in Japan since the 80's.  He went on and on about how the Japanese government (even though he stated that the government officials were incompetent) was going to do what it did best and take care of everything.  It would all be neat and perfect in no time as evidenced by the recycling piles behind one of the shelters in the tsunami area where everything was being sorted perfectly.  He seemed to be leaving unsaid that in other places (Katrina) the waste would just be thrown anywhere. Food was expected to arrive any day now (how many days since the event?) by efficient train service as the government had billions of pounds of rice in warehouses along with "little white houses" to be built in straight lines, on even ground, for the homeless. All major roads were clear and in good repair. We shouldn't worry about the damaged areas as they were under populated anyway and of little economic value (old people?).  Took my breath away as comments (from Japan) thanked him for  "telling the truth" about the situation.  Utopia.  The nuclear problems would be solved, perfectly, also, with the GREATEST upside as Japan becomes the greenest nation on earth. I hope he's right.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guess What's Back?

Snow. It wasn't there when I went to sleep last night (after trying to catch a glimpse of the "Silver Moon") so I was surprised to see the snow when the dog asked to go OUT!!!.  He raced off the porch in the direction of squirrels.  And I stood, speechless, seeing snow where I had basked in 63 degrees and sunshine the day before.  Why?  Why?  Why won't winter quit?

The Full Moon today is in Virgo, my sign.  Either big trouble or change.  I think it might be a good day to lay low and read my new Jo Nesbo book which I picked up at the library after work yesterday.  Big. Lots of words.

I need to clear a path through all the unsorted piles of fabric in the workspace so G can get to the window. I had one of those "thoughts" yesterday.  We could exchange window blinds between the workspace and the bedroom.  The mini blind next to G's side of the bed has been "broken" for quite awhile.  So I can't turn the little wand and get sunlight nor does anything else work.  But the workspace blind is never used.  And it's little wand works.  So tomorrow G will work on that.  Plus, he will install my new Turbo Tax.  Tax Time.  Which wasn't so bad last year.

I didn't do any Pilates yesterday.  My day at work caused my back to hurt so I took an orange pill and called it a day.  G bought home take out from the deli in town.  I had the egg bagel with homemade fries and G had a steak and onion sub.  All freshly made of whole ingredients.  I had written about egg bagels in yesterday's post and to actually have one for dinner was amazing.  I think I could eat them every day.

I am going to make a meat sauce to go with pasta today.  Clean out the remainder of mushrooms. Use the package of ground sirloin in the freezer.  Maybe use the marinara I made this summer and have stored in the freezer.  Clean the floor space in the workroom.  Walk the dog.  Eventually, do my Pilates. Vaccum.  Change the dog bedding.  Since there is nothing worth watching on television, I will then have the evening to spend reading.  I work all day tomorrow.  I also need to make some collages in my journal or at least do some drawings.  I saw an interesting white crayon blind drawing with a watercolor wash over the top on a blog site.  I can try that.  So, a busy Saturday.  How about you?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Mystery Of Why The Dog Wouldn't Eat His Breakfast

I got up this morning and tried every which way I could think of to get Riley to eat his breakfast.  He absolutely refused.  He wouldn't even get closer than 3 feet to the breakfast bowl.  But we ran out of time and had to leave for work, so I packed his lunch and mentioned to the doggie day care staff that Riley hadn't wanted breakfast. I thought he might be a bit sick or something. We get home at 4pm and Riley goes over to the breakfast, looks up at me as if to say, "can I eat this?" and goes ahead and eats.  This is when I call G and find out HE fed Riley breakfast.

Mystery solved.  Riley had already eaten.  What a polite Labrador Retriever.  "oh, no, thank you, I've already eaten and couldn't possibly scarf down a second bowl".  My friend has a black lab that once ate an entire ham dinner including dessert off the buffet table.  And didn't even burp.

Work was incredible today.  It was 63 degrees and sunny.  Imagine being in a glass house with all the windows closed.  So, pretty close to 90 degrees in the greenhouse.  And my blood is still in "winter".  I thought I might pass out a few times during the 6 hour shift.  Fushias arrived today.  The bane of my existence until Mother's Day.  Needing to be watered twice a day which means holding the hose over my head and getting water running down my arm into my armpit.  Cold water.  Cold, wet clothes.  Oh, let me count the ways I despise those hanging baskets.

I packed an extra large (for this whole foods thing) lunch today and ate it all in less than 10 minutes.  I thought I was starving to death or something.  Two small slices of bread, 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, one banana and a navel orange.  I had another slice of bread and I T of peanut butter when I got home.  Then I walked the dog.

I wonder if buying a tiny little electric frying pan (6 inches square) would be a good idea?  Then I could have egg and cheese bagels.  I could fry the egg at work, while the work toaster, toasted the bagel and the hot egg would melt the cheese.  It sounds like a good idea.  But I haven't thought it thru. I do know that eating an egg or two really fills me up.  I am not having near enough protein in my lunch.  Which is why I am  nearly, always hungry.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Boiled Dinner

I made it yesterday with all of this lovely Veg.  Cabbage, carrots, red potatoes and turnip.  It's all gone.  We ate every bit of it alongside the corned eye of round which was surprisingly tender.  Of course, G didn't think it was "fatty" enough for his taste.  Today is one of those days when I wonder why G and I are married.  It's like the couple who lived in the pumpkin.

I was dressed completely wrong for work today.  The sun was strong and the greenhouse vents were closed and geez was it ever hot in there!!!  I spent the first few hours watering a bunch of wilting plants in a dark long sleeved tee layered with a short sleeved company tee, corduroy pants and wool socks.  It had to be over 80.

I also had to repot and refurbish a very old, overwatered cactus.  I have cactus needle sores in my fingers and they hurt.  I think the needles have some sort of chemical that "hurts" and probably keeps predators away.  I had the bulk of the plant wrapped in a collar of newspaper but the nasty spines still found their way into my thumb.

The New York Times. com is not going to be free anymore (after you view 20 items per month).  I view lots of things and read some.  Now I will have to be more "discriminating" in what I think I might want to read.  I have been reading quite a lot about Japan.  It's like watching a horrible accident in slow motion.  The Russians dug tunnels under Chernobyl, filled the reactor with incredible amounts of concrete and even had volunteers dive into the radioactive pools to open valves that were stuck.  The Japanese are spraying the reactors with fire engine hoses.  Why can't someone (be allowed) in to help them?

The US has spy drones and satellite coverage of what is (or isn't) covered with water.  That's one thing I am certain of: the spying capabilities of the US government.  It would be nice if GE stepped up with a few helpful hints.  Just my thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Finally, an indoor plant that is actually happy in my house.  This is the second bloom.  The leaves are entirely different from the way they looked when I purchased this plant about 10 days to 2 weeks ago. As soon as I repotted it into a new, larger pot and set it under the glow of a 100 watt "twirly" bulb on the dining room table, the leaves have expanded, darkened, gotten glossy and super healthy looking.  In other words, a new experience for me.  I have had an African violet in bloom under this same "twirly" light, since December 22nd.  The flowers are going by, quickly, now.  But the leaves are upright and healthy. It maybe time for a bit of fertilizer.

Last night's reports from Japan were quietly sobering.  An elderly couple washing their house, getting it in order, so they could then go and help others.  Men bringing snow down from the mountains to melt and boil for drinking water.  Other men using destroyed bamboo to fashion chopsticks to take to the shelters for people (with nothing) to use for meals.  Women delivering wrapped rice balls to the shelters to feed the elderly and children.  Young mothers with no baby food.  I wish there were images of help (food, medicine, blankets) being delivered by US helicopters.  But I see none of that.  I hope it IS happening.

Why has the government not used outside help with the reactors?

My day at work yesterday was good.  After doing my Pilates at home, I got to use the same muscle groups to load, push and then water perennials with plastic watering cans.  (Eight full cans at a time, on a rolling cart I had to push out of the greenhouse, across the way, into the annual house, on gravel as there is no water service to the annual house yet).  Somewhere around 36 to 40 of them.  Each holding 2 gallons of water.  I couldn't lift the full cans over my head (yet) to water the top shelves, but I watered everything else.  Watering a few plants with a full watering can is easy.  Doing it over and over again for about two hours is something else.  I had to water carefully and slowly as the perennials are very small and have few roots.  G had purchased another burrito for me so dinner was served as soon as I got home at 6:30.  Bean and Sweet Potato.  And the hot shower was divine.

I think it is time to start drinking large amounts of water at work.  I don't think I am actually hungry.  I think I am thirsty.  I chewed gum and had a Luna bar at around 4:30.

Today, a rainy day, I am making corned beef and cabbage. I work until 6:30 again tomorrow and leftovers will be much appreciated.  I have an eye of round.  I have never made this kind of corned beef. I usually like the flat brisket cut.  But that was all gone when I was shopping on Monday.  I did manage to get nice carrots, a rutabaga and a lovely green cabbage.  I bought red potatoes.  I have loved a boiled dinner since I was a small child and it was served with a boiled picnic ham.  I love all the soft vegetables covered with broth, dotted with butter and striped with yellow mustard.  Heaven.  I let G eat the majority of the corned beef.

I have laundry to fold, more shirts to iron and the bed sheets to change and wash.  My exercises and the dog to walk.  I just finished eating a huge bowl of cereal so the exercises will have to wait until later. I am having trouble with the timing of my morning activities.  When to eat so that I can exercise.  I should just exercise on an empty stomach.

Complicating everything is my night's sleep.  I have, for the past week or so, been waking several times during the night, thinking it is morning.  I am wide awake and ready to start my day.  But it is pitch black in the room.  I manage to fall back to sleep, only to wake up again.  On Monday, I went to bed at 11:30 and woke twice before G left for work at 2:30.  Each time thinking I had slept all night.  Rested and refreshed.  When I actually do wake for the day, I am neither rested or refreshed.  I am also very slow to get going.  Forgetting to eat my cereal or even make a cup of coffee.  I sit and read the news from Japan.

This is all sounding like Katrina.  I was greatly depressed by that event.  Had my New Orleans map on the wall and watched the news all day.  Hoping for a miracle.  Which never happened.

It is good that I have work to occupy my days.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tea Leaf Reading

You can go here and ask a question and get an answer. It helps if you take the time to really think about your question before pressing the "reading" button.

I asked about my "weight" and received Reading #31

Just because you can't push the river doesn't mean you can't paddle the canoe.  Challenges come at the right moments to help us learn and if you approach them with a good heart, all will go well.

I will continue to paddle my canoe.

Geraniums in Bloom

My large pot of started geranium cuttings are up and in flower this week.  I thought I had all the dark ones in one pot and pink ones in the other.  Oops.  They look very colorful and cheerful up against the bay windows, in sharp contrast to the snow outside.  Which isn't melting fast enough for any of the people in my Maine town.

Work starts today at 11.  I have always wondered why my employer schedules a split shift.  We could all work 9 to 6 easily enough.  But half work 9 to 3 and the other half 11 to 6.  He seems to enjoy having twice as many people as he needs from 11 to 3.  "To cover lunches".  Not that it works that way.  The entire Nursery crew (when they all are back for the season) eats lunch together at 12.  Everyone else wants to eat then also because the Nursery Crew is a fun bunch at lunch.  The greenhouse crew then has to cover Nursery, Greenhouse, Annual House and Perennial Yard.  The Greenhouse Crew is usually two people. Me and someone else.  Or, when I don't work, two someone elses.  Randomly selected.  I love what they do to the place.

Today, it's just me.  Alone with my plants, the hoses and the repotting.  There aren't enough people scheduled to begin work on any big projects.

I am going upstairs to do my Pilates right now, then shower, eat breakfast, pack a small snack for the 3:30 hungry time, drop the dog off at day care and get to work by 11.  I don't think it will work out as it's now 8:42 but I don't plan to do the cardio portion, just the Pilates.  And I can always take my breakfast to work with me.  Anyway, that's the plan.  Yesterday I bought more fruit.  Bananas and a large bag of navel oranges.  Are we supposed to eat 5 fruits a day?

My treat for all the exercise and dieting was 1/2 cup of best quality (5 ingredients on the label) chocolate ice cream.  I let it soften a bit and it was creamy and decadent.  Yummy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can't Button My Pants.

I feel HUGE!  I had a parka on in this photo but I feel this big even without it.  Weighed myself this morning.  OMG.  All the exercising, the healthy eating and 3 mile daily dog walks haven't had any effect other than adding weight. Each day I find clothes that fit last week (3 or 4 days before) no longer fit. My waist and butt are expanding at a very fast rate as I can't button or even zip the pants I wore last week.
I just emptied my closet and the storage container.  I found size 20 pants which fall off my hips and I found my weight loss pants (12-14) which I can't pull up past my knees.  I also found a handful of pants that I CAN wear and I am feeling better now.  I can fit into all the work pants from last summer. I just can't wear them until summer. All the 12-14's are going to Goodwill.  All the 20's are going to Goodwill.

Needless to say, all this weight is causing much unhappiness.  I continue to do my Pilates exercises everyday.  I watched a series of videos and have been doing them "more" correctly than I did the first time around.  I can feel the burn now.  Pilates is all about the correct posture and use of the abdominals.  I struggle with the leg extensions and need to really work on stretching the muscles at the back of my legs and thighs.  Hamstrings?  I am pointing my toes, flexing my feet, pressing my navel into my backbone and breathing in and breathing out.  Doing the 100 with legs in tabletop position.  Someday I will be able to extend my legs and do the 100 that way.  Not. Yet.  Eight Days And Counting.

Yesterday was my first full day back at work.  The big greenhouse is open.  Sunshine warming it up.  The high school boys have worked hard to scrub the floors.  I threw away the dry kinked, leaking hose that bedeviled me all of last season and now have a new hose (which is kinking and bedeviling me in new ways) so I feel right at home.  I don't like working Sundays.  G's day off.  But I guess that is the weekend day I will be working unless I am teaching a class. I have four days this week.  A good start.

I had wondered if I really wanted to return to work.  I was trying to figure out if the positives outweighed the negatives.  One day in and I am still wondering.  It's very close.  The positives are not overwhelmingly ahead of the negatives.  Where else would I work?  Where else would they let me wander around doing whatever I want to do? And what would I wear to work?

I feel a bit better now that my closet has less in it.  Why keep clothing that doesn't fit?  Why don't I use my clothes as an indicator of the way I am eating?  The first time I had to inhale to button my pants, should have been the first day of eating less food and doing more exercise.  Not months or years later. Keeping my "skinny" clothing and thinking that, without work, they would someday fit again, is ridiculous.  I may never wear a 12 or 14 again.  But I will try to look good in whatever size I am wearing.  I will continue to try and eat whole foods.  I will do my Pilates and walk the dog.  I will learn to love who I am.  And button my pants. Eventually.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Look, Jane, Look

I am about to chuck all my To Do List and find the lawn chair and go sit out on the stoop and watch the dog run about like a crazy dog.  The sun is shining and it seems like Spring and I want to feel the sun on my face.  Ah!
Riley standing in the septic melted Spring spot.  I have little plant tips showing about 1.5 inches above the soil.  Grass.  Dirt.  I intend to sprinkle the seeds from a packet of annual poppies out there in a few moments.  I am going outside on March 12th without a coat, mittens or down liner. I am, in fact, going out there in my pajama pants and a sweater.  With my coffee.

Friday, March 11, 2011


We are having rain today.  It comes and goes so I haven't taken the dog for his walk.  We could set out into the gray mist and then get pounded by southeast blowing rain.  I don't feel like getting soaked and walking back home in squishing shoes and socks.  My little drawing reminds me of the little weather pictures that children make for the daily newspaper.  My favorite was blue crayon applied in a very violent manner.  Bad weather.

I had hoped the snow would be melting a bit faster in the rain.  I have a 3 foot by 3 foot "micro climate" which is brown with little green daffodil tips.  Promising.  And just happens to be where the house water drains into the septic tank.  I have a small patch of purple crocus there also and if memory serves me; a package of new crocus that I planted in that spot.  To make it seem like Spring a few weeks earlier than all the other garden beds.

I did my Pilates exercises, vacuumed the wood floors and the sunroom (more of a mud room), two loads of laundry and had planned to iron those shirts (yes, still not ironed!!!!) but was sidelined by an Icelandic mystery that takes place on Christmas.  Dead Santa.  I've read about 20% so far.  Nothing much happens in Iceland.  So it's mostly a book about not much happening.  And a dead Santa.

My Alys Fowler book is delightful.  I am reading it slowly to savor it.  Every evening I go online to see if I can find more videos of Alys's allotment.  I tried to watch episodes of her newest program "The Edible Garden" but it just loaded and loaded and never actually got to see much of it.  I expected better from my iMac.  I have found one little video or article each day to make me happy.

I watched video of the tsunami in Japan.  What is happening in the world?  And the close call with the nuclear reactors was unbelievable.  Is the world coming to an end?  Here I am worrying about getting wet on a dog walk and people in Japan have had their home, town, highways and airport swept away. And an 8.5 earthquake.  Why so many earthquakes?  Global Warming?

Wisconsin ended collective bargaining.  Next up: New Jersey.  Two states where Democrats will be elected in a landslide vote in 2012.  I think Ohio (where my hometown of Cleveland is getting 10 inches of snow) is up after New Jersey.  Ohio is a nuthouse of Republicans and the Teamsters.  We'll see.

Dog is outside barking.  Gotta go.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dog Tired

Riley spent the day with G.  They walked in the woods (off leash) and did many, many errands.  They even went to Petco to buy more dog walk treats and to the vet for a Lyme test and a shot.  And then Riley went to sleep.  He's snoring.  He hasn't even had his dinner yet.

Riley has been tired, lately.  Last night, I asked if he wanted to go out for "last call" and he didn't stir so I checked to see if he was dead or something.  I leaned over and touched his side and he jumped a foot off his dog bed.  He was that sound asleep.  Of course, it didn't take but a nano second to switch gears from sound asleep to racing down the path into the back yard.  There is always the possibility of deer loitering in the back garden late at night.

Why do animals sleep with all four feet touching?  And why are sleeping dogs so darned cute?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I Want This

Tables and Chairs.  How many do I have already?  I still have the table and chairs G & I purchased when we moved from college to Georgia.  G had a job but we had "no money" and were eating off the wedding gift ironing board and two lawn chairs.  G's cousin took pity on us and arranged for this rattan table and chairs (part of the rattan garden room set he was buying) to be given to us while we paid the HIGH price of $25 per month until the set was paid for.  High because we had only $14 a month for food.  Rent was $99. I still love that rattan set (remembering many happy family meals, puzzles and card games) the four of us had around it's perimeters.  I could just pull it out of the attic storage and use it.

But this set of chairs is calling to me.  LLBean.  My 10 foot table has no chairs.  I can see 8 of these black beauties lined up, four to a side.  And why not get the red rug also?  The one we have is a faded blue.  Of course I still need to go to Beans and actually sit in the chair.  Bean is known for the "skimpiness" of it's things.  I think of it more in the way of "cheapness".  Rather than sell things that have a bit of the grandness of scale and depth, Bean goes for "less" and then charges "more".  Especially in furniture.

Or do I really want a smaller, more intimate table and chairs.  There is only the two of us here now; and perhaps forever more.  My hopes of dinner parties and big family dinners has evaporated as the years have drifted by- 43 years.  I should be realistic by now.  It's just the two of us and on holidays, three.  Twice a year, if we are lucky, it's four and company shares the table with us.

I wonder if I look at this advertisement and see something that doesn't exist. Will never exist, again.  A fantasy. "Build it and they will come".  Ha!  I want what I once had, and loved so much. I miss my children.  Not the adults they have become, but the children they once were.  Such good company.  Around that round table.  My last and best memory of that rattan set in use was a power failure due to a summer storm.  Our son was home from college and the three of us played rummy for a few hours (until the power and the television came back on).  On a warm summer's evening. In my favorite house of all that we have had (6).

I cried while I was typing that last paragraph.  Not from sadness but overwhelmed by the emotional response I felt in that memory.  G and I have such wonderful children. And I love them so very much.  And I'm tired and had a very emotional visit to the dentist, again, this morning at 8 am.  And I am not a morning person.  And it was not a positive experience.

I'm going to walk the dog, do my Pilates and just get on with life. The sun is shining. I am going to make potstickers for dinner.  For two.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Whole Foods

Not the store but the concept.  My daughter sent a link  to a blog about a woman trying to eat a better diet. She blogs pictures of everything she eats.  The link will take you to the final page and you can go backwards or just go to the beginning and see her attempts at eating better.  I think my daughter sent the link because I have been beating myself up about eating a pound of Christmas chocolates (so delicious) and this blogger eats two pieces of deluxe chocolate every day until the candy is gone.

I wasn't that excited about the actual things she eats (and photographs with a date/time indicator) but I was amused by the multiple breakfasts.  I know that somedays, one breakfast just doesn't do the job. I could also sympathize with the snacking in the afternoon, which rolls like a ball on a steep hill, out of control.  Most of her snacking was a result of a too small breakfast followed by a too small lunch.  If she ate enough at breakfast and lunch, dinner wasn't an issue.  And snacking wasn't an issue. Her normal work day ended around 7 pm which is very late to be starting to prepare a meal.

She gives no indication of weigh lost.  She did lose weight but the reason for doing this 6 week adventure was to learn to eat better foods.  She even tries to eat the food pyramid and finds it's more food than she can actually consume.  Interesting.

My take on "whole food" is that the food must be in it's natural state or as close as possible to it's origins.  The butternut squash I am roasting as I type, is just that, butternut squash (actually grown in my backyard last summer).  I rolled the peeled chunks in a splash of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I skipped the addition of usual pancake syrup because that isn't in any sort of "natural" condition and I dislike pure maple syrup (I don't like honey either).  There is a "five ingredient" rule which some people use.  Meaning a product can have only five listed ingredients and you have to know what all five are.  No chemicals.  Which is why I continue to use plain sugar and no artificial sweeteners.

Yesterday I had breakfast (oatmeal), coffee, the last slice of Kraft American cheese (plastic cheese), a diet Coke, a vegetarian Bruce's Burrito (it must have weighed a full pound and was made from freshly made ingredients like beans, rice and avocado) and an orange.  For the entire day.  And I did my new Pilates routine (I don't like the new machine, but I usually despise anything new), walked the dog and never got any shirts ironed.  G arrived home with the surprise burrito just as Riley and I walked in from our walk.  4 is the perfect time for me to eat.  It's when I am very, very hungry. The burrito was greeted with much joy and happiness.  And I ate the whole thing.  I wouldn't mind having one of those everyday.  At 4 pm.

I think I will be bulking up my breakfasts.  Adding fruits and yogurt.  As long as everything is in it's whole state I will eat it for breakfast.  And I will eat eggs with bacon and toasted French baguette.  They fill me up.  I just wish a magic fairy would stop by and deliver the eggs to me.  Cooked.

My Alys Fowler book is waiting for me at the library.  My Pilates machine is waiting for me but not so soon after eating breakfast. Riley is waiting for lunch and his walk.  I just checked the time 11:11.  The Universe is sending me an "okay" sign. I see 11:11 whenever I am questioning my path.  I see 11:11 all the time.  Which probably means I need lots of monitoring by the Universe. Okay, okay, enough waiting.  Here I go.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Housekeeping On A Rainy Day

I relocated my canned goods to a wooden cupboard (in Germany it's a schrank) where I can (ha) actually see what I have.  I moved the glassware that was being stored in this cupboard to the former site of the canned goods.  The expired canned goods (and there were many since the cabinet they were in was not very easy to see into, were opened and added to the compost bucket and the nasty stuff went into the sink disposal.  I feel virtuous. (the empty cans went into the recycle box)  And hungry.  My oatmeal is cooking in the microwave as I type.

G and I carried the Pilates boxes upstairs yesterday and set everything up.  The risers make it much easier to get on and off the machine.  I am back at square one and perhaps even worse off than the last time.  I felt so LARGE and CLUMSY this time.  But, I have to just begin again and keep going.  I remember those first days as being a struggle also.  G wishes I had purchased the $900 machine.  We have 30 days in which to experience Buyer's Remorse.

I have regular housekeeping to do today along with my first Pilates exercises, the dog walk and I do want to drive to the bookstore to see if they have Alys Fowler's books.  I may just call to save myself a trip or I could order from Amazon.  Can you tell that I wasn't scheduled to work today or tomorrow or the next day?  Yes, I am still on Winter Furlough and can continue to work on my own projects here at home.

The driveway is clear of all the thick slippery ice.  G chopped and I shoveled.  The rain and warmer temps are taking care of the remainders.  There are many puddles and lots of soggy ground on the dog walk but it's okay with me.  We're making progress!  But snow showers are predicted for Thursday.

I used up the last of my huge jumbo sized bag of kale.  That stuff is very, very good.  I need to go buy more.  BUT, right now I have butternut squash from my summer garden that needs to be peeled, cubed and roasted before it goes bad.  Once that is eaten, I have organic sweet potatoes to eat.  I like them in sweet potato veggie burgers or just roasted till very, very soft.  Red peppers were on sale at the grocery last week so I bought three beauties and found time this morning to slice them and put them in the freezer on a tray.  When they are frozen I will move them to a freezer container.  I add them, still frozen to stir fry, pizza and bean dishes.  No wasted peppers.  I have mushrooms that need to be eaten today so have to think of a recipe for something mushroomy for G.

I found a bag of pearl barley in the cupboard.  And two bags of orzo.  I had to toss coconut, dates and dried fruit (that was really old) into the compost bucket.  I found jars of things I couldn't identify in the very back of the top shelf in the cabinet.  They were dry. Very dry.  So it wasn't disgusting.  Still.

Well, the laundry and bed sheets are calling.  G wants to buy a new mattress.  Any suggestions on type and brands?  We both have back issues.  And since I am buying things: I guess it's time to replace the microwave.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Something New: Something Blue

Streptocarpus.  Not the loveliest of names but a lovely plant none the less.  I had wanted one last week when I visited work, so this Saturday when I went in to teach the Seed Starting classes (as a volunteer Master Gardener) I went over to the Streptocarpus display to see if there was a very nice plant to take home with me.  I also brought home a leaf cutting because these plants are supposed to be easily propagated from a leaf.  I am still waiting for my Gloxinia leaf to do something.  It continues to be alive.  But that's about all I can report is happening.  Today I will repot this new blue to a clay pot and enjoy it's blossoms on the dining room table.

Spring still seems far away.  The snow piles here in my Maine town are now hard as a rock and covered in brown or black smutz.  March is the hardest month.  Tired of winter and tired of the dirty, rough edges of winter.  It is supposed to rain today and tomorrow which should decrease the amount of snow but not make it anymore attractive.  And the streets will flood.  And the ice that still coats the sidewalks and parts of the streets will get dangerously slippery.  Like glass.

 The bright side is that I have a few more days to complete my "Winter List" of things to do. G wants to go have breakfast at the Freeport Cafe so that is what we will do--I need to get dressed.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fantasy Gardening

A cup of fake carrots on the sideboard always makes me smile (and think of Spring).  Which then reminds me to get cracking on the Easter Bunny House.  Can it actually be a whole year since the last time I suggested I get cracking on the Easter Bunny House? OMG!!!!!!

The Pilates machine showed up yesterday.  Yeah!  Now to decide where to assemble it.  G wants it downstairs and if that is going to happen, I need to make a 10 by 10 foot open space.  Arms out to the sides takes up room as does the 8 foot long machine.

I also got my hair cut yesterday and we are back to the original cut which is so nice and perky.  My hair cutter had been "leaving it a bit longer" which just means it was bushy, which I detest.  Short. Very.  But it won't stand up in spikes (even though I would love that) because it doesn't grow that way.  My hair grows in one big, head sized SWIRL.

While intown for the haircut, I ran across the street to get take out Lasagna for G's dinner.  I had an eggplant, cut into rounds and salted, in the fridge for most of this week for my own dinner and finally decided to flour, egg dip and breadcrumb the slices and fry it up.  I tried, finally, the one jar of Trader Joe's Marinara sauce and will buy that stuff again.  Good.  I tore up the 4 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella, topping each fried circle of eggplant with a spoon of sauce and some bits of cheese.  Into the oven while pasta cooked and we had a good dinner. Plenty of leftovers.

While in town I made a fast visit to our "Green" store to see the organic seeds from Fedco.  They didn't have the ones I wanted (winter squash the starts with "ka"and is dense and very orange) but I may go back and look around in a slower way.  I have just found Alys Fowler of BBC Gardening and love, love, love her way of gardening.  I ordered her first book from the library and will buy her second book as soon as G gets home.  I don't know how to manage Amazon on my own but will write down how to do it tonight.  I want two books.  I hope I can recall the title of the second one by this evening.  I also would like the Kelly Kettle Alys used in her garden to boil water for tea and cook her lunch.  How fun that would be at work!!!  It uses weeds, grass and sticks to heat the water.  I could serve tea during classes.  Alys had a great idea for growing "micro greens" which I will share with my classes from now on.  You, too. If I had planned ahead I would have embedded her videos here.  Another new thing to work on.

The NEW iPad 2 is out.  I am so glad I didn't let G buy the old one for me for Christmas or Valentines.  Now I can think about owning this "new" one.  G brought home new YakTrax for me to wear on icy dog walks.  Wasn't that nice?  There are fewer icy spots these days but it's still a bit tricky.  I need to be very careful.

Dee reminded me of the "bedbug" situation in regards to buying clothing at Goodwill.  I usually wash thrifted stuff immediately but I really don't need anything right now, so I will stay away.  I have one of everything and a washing machine for my work clothes.  Who would even notice that I wear the same pants every day? And this year will be year two for the baggy green cords with the big tucks at the waist.  I usually wear a thermal shirt to cover the waist tucks, then a zip front sweatshirt and then a thermal vest.  I spend the day taking things off and putting things back on as the heat in the greenhouse fluctuates and with my need to go outside (where it is 20 or 30 degrees).  Knock on wood: I haven't had a cold in two years.  I actually think the cold air in my house has more to do with it as G brings home colds and other bad things all the time.

My oatmeal is getting cold.  And Riley is pacing and wondering when we are going for his walk.  I have recycling to get into the garage and I need to look for my seed starting trays to see what I need to buy. And, of course, set up the Pilates machine somewhere.  Busy, busy day.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Walking The Dog

My Nine West boots are taking a beating this winter.  Salt, sand and snow. Most of the days, lately, have been miserable days to walk.  One was rain combined with ice.  One was below zero wind chill.  One was heavy snow.  Yesterday was delightful.  Breezy, sunshine, mostly dry streets.  Riley rode the snow piles, running along the tops, down the side, back up again. He'd be great on a snowboard. Later, while I was grocery shopping and Riley was guarding the car in the parking lot, it got dark and started snowing.  What a buzz kill.

G has a "soap opera" atmosphere going on at work.  Lots of people reporting in to him about "she said" and "he said".  G hates that.  He has already had one of the worst of them transferred to another location.  Now the secondary team is reporting in to G.  They are only prepping their own transfer tickets.  He will get rid of every one of them if they don't learn to mind their own business.  Which is selling hamburgers.

I had a plan when I went to the grocery yesterday.  To only shop the outside perimeter.  Unprocessed foods.  In my grocery the perimeter begins with fruits and vegetables, moves past the bakery to the deli, then meats, dairy, frozen foods and finally beer and pizza.  Other than the fruits, veggies and meat, most everything else IS processed.  I had to venture down a few aisles (2-3) to get pasta, Crisco sticks and Marsala wine.  Lucky for me these three items were very close to the edges, where the perimeter wasn't too far away.  I like Crisco sticks.  I love pasta.

I don't know how these things happen but I got onto a blog yesterday about Zero Waste.  Mostly about excess packaging but this blog writer has eliminated any excess in her home. Seven tops, seven pants, 2 skirts and 6 pairs of shoes (one bra).  When something needs to be replaced, she goes to the "thrift" and replaces that one item.  This family lives in Mill Valley, CA.  I have shopped at their "thrifts".  Imagine Rodeo Drive/Goodwill.  The family still has the large flat screen television, 2 cars and a vast amount of glass jars for storage in the high end kitchen and expensive fridge/freezer.  I think I have seen these jars in the William Sonoma catalogs.  Not cheap.  So this blog IS NOT about saving money.  It is about not having anything in the garbage can.  No paper, no plastic, no boxes, no junk mail.

Now, honestly, I think I actually wear only seven tops and seven pants (if I had seven that fit) in my winter rotation.  It might even be fewer.  White LS tees, the two cashmere sweaters (thrifted) and the three pair of thrifted men's corduroy pants.  I cover it all with a handpainted shawl I found in a bag of fabric remnants. So, if I was so inclined (and I am momentarily) I could fold and pack up everything else in the closet and drive over to Goodwill right now and "simplify" my closet.  It is tempting.

I was telling my daughter that I use the same mug for my coffee every day (and have 18 or more in the cupboard that never get used), use the same bowl for my cereal.  Why do I have so many bowls and cups?  I don't want to reduce things to what I used to find at my dad's.  His cup, plate, bowl, spoon, fork and knife in the dish drainer but I can see the value of it's simplicity.  I have more forks and knives and plates in use simply because of the dishwasher.  We only run it when it's full so that takes up a lot of dishes. My mug and bowl only go in on the day we are washing.

Yesterday was an amazing day for television.  Survivor.  Russell got voted off for the first time.  It was delightful.  And Top Chef was so good that no one got eliminated.  Five are going to the final four.  Add that to the delightful dog walk and I was very satisfied with Wednesday.  The UPS man delivered the risers for my Pilates machine (will it arrive today?), I have a haircut at 3 pm, the sun is shining even though it is VERY windy and COLD.  At least it isn't snowing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Clivia In Bloom

Quite the dramatic background for my Clivia.  It's just the unlighted upstairs workspace (to be) but I quite like the dark leaves against the shadowed walls.  This is the only Clivia in my collection that bloomed this year.  Things aren't going well upstairs right now; the citrus are dropping all their leaves and fruit, the orchid flower buds are wilting on the branch (not opening) and none of the amaryllis has sent up a flower stalk.  I will have to rearrange my downstairs display and add an orchid (or two) and remove some things that are past blooming (hyacinth, paperwhites).

My artichoke seeds (two of them) have sent up their seed leaves.  I am waiting for true leaves now.  The third germinated seed has not made any leaves yet.  It would be nice to have three plants.  I want them to get big enough so I can "fool" them into thinking they have survived a "winter" by letting them sit outdoors for a few weeks in cold temps.  But they need leaves in order to do that.

I have to do some grocery shopping today (buy fruit), make dinner (I haven't cooked since I made pot roast), iron G's work shirts and sit and drink coffee and read my book.  Only two pieces of chocolate left in the box.  Thank goodness.  Tomorrow I get a haircut and I am asking the hair stylist for a young person's haircut.  No "old lady" cut.  I may even buy some Doc Martens.  Whatever they are.  Big old boots, right? I draw the line at tatoos and piercings.  But I will wear communist manifesto tee shirts.

I swear I'm not a Republican but this Union Busting is making me very happy.  The time for unions is so OVER!!!  I believe each individual teacher, policeman and fireman should be accountable for his or her own performance.  They shouldn't all be safe or rewarded just because of collective bargaining. Bad teachers need to be fired.  Lazy cops need to find new jobs.  Etc.  The automotive industry cancelled union contracts and look what happened--better cars, actual profits and better jobs.  I would rather work alongside people actually doing their jobs, than to work alongside people just showing up to get the pension.  Teachers using lesson plans from the 80's because they don't even want to make a new lesson plan.  Fire them.  Plenty of new teachers graduating every June.  Teachers who actually WANT to teach. Yes, there are plenty of good, veteran teachers in the school system.  Ask them if there are teachers they'd like to see GONE.  Bet they have a list.  And don't get me started on FAT COPS.  Ones that take 5 minutes to get in or out of the police car.  Save your life in a crisis?  More likely have a heart attack.

And I'm a policeman's daughter.  My dad was always fit, ready and able to serve and protect.  Unless he was too drunk.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Reworking My Twelve By Twelve

In the process of reworking (adding to) the piece I posted at 9 this morning (previous post) I started looking for something in the sewing room and found the blue which adds the lightness I was wanting.  And since the challenge was over, I could add other colors like the orange and golds I had cut out but hadn't appliqued down.  I hadn't wanted to place the "leaves" on the batik as it was the only place I actually had any sage green.  More of the embroidery lines are covered but they were annoyingly boring and now they just serve to tie elements together.  I don't think it's finished but I wanted to show it to you at this stage in it's progress.

I had to relearn the sewing machine while working on this.  I broke another needle, the tip was wedged into the bobbin case, I couldn't remember how to get the entire case out of the machine (and then back inside), I had to find a brush to clean the insides with, find a new bobbin with thread on it, figure out how to thread the invisible thread into the machine (it has been a LONG time) and then how to get the needle to stay in the down position.  If nothing else, that was a valuable way to spend the first part of the day.  The machine is now purring.  It was feeling neglected, I think.

I am enchanted with that tiny dotted blue.  It was well hidden in a zipped bag of Japanese type fabrics.  If I hadn't had such a mess in the workroom, I wouldn't have ever thought to look in that bag.  I picked it up because I wondered what the hell I had sorted those fabrics for?  Something Japanese.

Found a 2007 recipe for Italian meatballs and sauce from the NYTimes.  Looks delicious.

Friend Of Twelve By Twelve March 2011

Blue/Sage/Brown.  Commercial cottons and silks. Hand painted fabric. Machine pieced and hand appliqued.  Embroidery.  Title: A Great Disappointment.

I like all the parts but they don't play well together.  The stitching in the bottom, brown stripe section is actually sage green even though it looks more like white stitches.  These colors don't occur, naturally, in my fabric stash.  In fact, this piece was made with the smallest handful of fabric, each sliced into strips and pieced to cover the area they cover.  I have just enough blue silk.  I do have quite a bit of the dark brown stripe and perhaps shouldn't have used it at all.  My first mistake was the background divided into even thirds.  In defense of this poor thing, it's better in person.  But isn't everything?