Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boxing Joanne, Colorfully

I had to quickly snap tops on the boxes I have been filling in my workspace.  The new windows will be needing completely NEW trim work and the carpenter needs space to work.  So the boxes had to be moved from the workspace to the attic.  And stacked up there.  I didn't have a chance to add library pockets to each container with a list of the contents on a series of library cards.  I can look, on the cards, to see if what I am looking for is in the box.

I sorted things into boxes as I packed.  One box is all silk and velvet, another 30's, another project bags, another solids.  Good thing.  As I needed a certain shade of green for my 12 by 12 and thought I had carried that color floss with me to Atlanta on a few trips.  I had a good idea what box that project was in.  I hope it will always be that easy.  Sigh!   I found the floss AND a pair of nice handy, short nosed scissors.  The kind they don't make anymore.

EOM for G today.  He is trying to find a quiet spot to take a nap before going into work.  With the hammering and the power tools, not having much luck.

G did find time to spray the yard with mosquito preventer and pick up all the branches that came down during the 30 to 50 MPH winds on Sunday evening.  The ends of some branches were embedded into the lawn.  I am SO glad we had those wiggly old pines cut down.

My new windows are smaller and narrower than the originals.  But they have more of the cottage feel that I like.  The e-window-ness also cuts down on the light rays that can get into the house.  We have to get used to less brightness.  The trim we have is very dated and old fashioned.  Also very hard to clean unless you enjoy working with Q-tips.  The new trim will be wider and deeper.  I could actually place potted plants on the sills.  If there was enough light.  G suggested we get the wide wooden blinds for the bedroom windows.  In white?  Or should we get black?

The carpenter just showed me what he had done on the first window, trim (design) wise.  I get a nice, wide, deep sill.  And wide side trim.  It looks gorgeous. And the window in the bathroom has never looked better!!!!!   I love excellent workmanship.

I found some nice rhubarb at the grocery yesterday evening.  I had made an Atkins chocolate one serving cake the night before and it was SO good that I thought it best to have more stewed rhubarb in the house so I didn't try to eat a chocolate dessert every night. The rhubarb is great served cold (1/4 cup) with whipped cream. Not as sweet as dessert might usually be, but the tart taste is a change of pace.  I discovered, on the news, that eating chocolate was "very good for my heart health".  I used Splenda and no flour. It's amazing what you can make with an egg and a few tablespoons of cocoa powder.

G is back home from the Walk In The Woods (WITW) and Riley is getting hosed off.  He must have gone in the mud or the dirty water, yet, again.  They'll both have some lunch and, while the carpenter is at lunch, G can take a nap.   I'll spend the time reading.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Windows

We are changing from casement windows (the ones with the cranks that open out ) to a double hung window.  I asked for the quarter divide up on top.  It's just sitting there right now (to keep bugs and birds from flying into the house).  The carpenter has gone to get wood to build up the inside and outside of the window framing.  As he says, the first one is the hardest one to do.  Lots of "thinking" to do to get it in right.  I decided, since all the trim needs to be changed, to go with a newer more modern trim.  More 'Cottage".  I don't even want to think about what this will all cost. But I am already loving the new look of the windows.  Best of all, now we can have a slim window AC unit next summer.  Yah!!!!

The old window frame DID have black mold.  We had to spray more spots with bleach.  Good thing I taped up the openings or I would still be coughing and sick.  The Tyvek wrap fell short on the windows, thereby letting in water.  So, the windows were solid.  The underlayment under the cedar clapboard wasn't.

Now this has never happened before.   I got up to do something after that last paragraph and forgot to come back and finish the post.  I've been sewing, ironing, cleaning up, looking at my window etc. and just now remembered I hadn't hit publish.  I stitched up a 12 by 12 square (not a quilt) using orange fabrics.  It looks nice.  I tried out a few buttons on it.  Orange ones.  But I don't think I'm a "button" person.

Yesterday I reheated the last of the frozen meatballs and sauce.  G had spaghetti and I was feeling sad.  So I tried something new.  I used my julienne slicer and sliced the peel and non seeded parts of a zucchini and made long, thin "spaghetti".   I tossed the strips into the spaghetti water (after getting all the spaghetti out) and then added meatballs, sauce and cheese.   It was good and felt like spaghetti in my mouth. I could even twirl it on my fork. Next time, I will make MORE.

I think I can keep going with the diet now that I have a good sub for Pizza and Pasta.  This morning I had a quarter of a flat lavash (2nc) with scrambled eggs.  Sort of a sandwich.  I had purchased the package of four wraps a long time ago but was afraid to eat them.  Half a lavash (6 inches by 10) is only 4 net carbs.  I was thinking of eating them as grilled cheese sandwiches or peanut butter roll ups.

My birthday is coming soon and I want to eat chocolate cake.  A coworker has an excellent recipe for a flour less chocolate cake and I think I will experiment and see if I can make something worthy of a "birthday".  I intend to have a HEAP of buttercream frosting if I can find a sugar free recipe.

This same coworker thinks that four months on a diet "isn't such a long time" and I should be happy with any small results I have had so far.  Okay.  I will be happy.  The size 14 JJill pants now fit.  And I know they are cut slim because the last time they fit I weighed 20 pounds less than I do now.  Someday, I will write and let you know that a size 12 pair of pants fit.  It may be a LONG time, but it will happen.

On that happy note, the carpenter is back with more supplies and is setting up his work station on the front porch.  Riley is out there helping him.  We may have the first window in place by the time G gets home from work.  New computers are being installed this week.  Never a happy experience.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Slow- A -Cane

Woke up, in the dark, to roaring rain.  Then nothing.  And we've had nothing but light rain and breezy winds since 8 am when we all got up.  The dog was restless.  The restaurant was calling with updates.

I have no idea if this is all there is going to be.  I expected more rain.  But, it's still just centered on Boston, so things could change in the next few hours.  I have one load of whites done and will be ironing shirts while I have power.   G has taken the dog for his walk in the woods.  I really don't like it when Fox News gets it right.  They kept saying "much ado about nothing" and it looks like that is what Irene became.  A storm, yes, but that's about all.  Flooding is part of a rain storm.  Always has been.

It just now, started to rain a bit harder.  Still no wind.

My class yesterday was delightful.  The hour breezed by. Everyone, including me, enjoyed the experience. The remainder of the day was DEAD.  Even the 3:30 start of the Blue Angels wasn't interesting.  I think the roadblocks and traffic around the base entrance stopped most of our customers.  They didn't want to get blocked.   I had to travel past the base to get home.  Traffic coming from town was in a long, stalled line all the way into town.  I was driving the opposite direction so it was only a bit delayed as the police directed traffic (turned the traffic lights off).

G got home very late.  We had leftover pizza (his with every kind of meat from the deli) and mine the zucchini crust.  I served the homemade marinara sauce for dipping.  It was good.  I was very tired.  We went to bed earlier than usual.

I'm going to go do my ironing.  Read my book.  And will let you know tomorrow if we get anything more than rain.  Stay safe if you are on the East Coast.

Friday, August 26, 2011

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Think about going to the store to buy the color floss you want.  I had some dye paint.  I mixed the correct color and let the floss sit in it.  I made the mistake of rinsing.  I should have let it air dry.  I poured most of the dye/paint into a baggie with a piece of hand dyed fabric (the wrong color) and it's out on the porch drying.  I will heat set it.

I also grated a number of zukes that were in the fridge.  I baked a pan of zucchini brownies.  Using flour and sugar.  So I can't eat any of them.  I also baked a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread with walnuts and chocolate chips.  I can't eat that either.  Now I have a pan of zucchini pizza crust in the oven.  It looks just like it's cousin the cauliflower pizza crust.  I am "over baking" the crust right now, then I will turn it over and bake it for a long while more.  Then top and bake it again.  I have found that the longer I bake it, the stiffer it gets, and the more like actual pizza crust.  "Over Baking" is another word for getting something way too brown.  My husband refers to it as "burning".   I will always choose to eat something dry and crispy over something soft and juicy.  Juicy is a real turn off to me.  Juicy equals "not cooked long enough" in my recipe books.  And, yes, Deborah, I am one of "those" people who like the brownie edges.

I also chopped up the ripest tomatoes and added them to a saucepan with olive oil, onion and garlic.  I threw in a sprig of fresh basil.   The TruGreen guy, who knocked on the door to let me know he was fertilizing my lawn today, told me that whatever I was cooking smelled WONDERFUL!!!  I guess the aroma had escaped through the windows.

My horoscope suggests I will touched by magic today.  Won't that be nice?

1. Since the lawn has fresh fertilizer on it, I will be taking Riley for a nice long walk this afternoon.
2. My cable television is still messed up.  We got a cCard for the TiVo and ever since I have had a broken signal for about 10 channels.  Lifetime and HGTV have no signal most of the time.  And when I do get a signal, it breaks up.  
3. Watching Project runway last night was torture.  The picture was bad and the clothes were AWFUL.  The gal who learned to sew 4 months ago is doing the best job.  The others can sew, they just can't make anything worth looking at.
4. I called and ordered a new credit card.  They sent me a "new look" card a year ago and since I hadn't asked for a new card, I shredded it.  Well, I guess that wasn't a good thing to do.  It wasn't new, it was the replacement card, a year early.
5. I watched the Hour on Xfinity On Demand (for free) on Wednesday afternoon.  Today it costs $4.95 to watch it once.  I was going to watch episode two this afternoon while I did my baking.  BBC America.  There are lots of BBC America programs I would like to watch (L&O) but at five dollars each, I don't think I will.
6. Big Brother last night was like watching an overthrow of a dictator.  As usual, a little late to save a cast member I liked.  But watching Jeff's face as he realized he was "toast" was one of television's best moments.
7. Just got off the phone with two investment advisors.  My tiny little IRA Index Fund is closed to new investments.  And I am being pushed toward another, for $75 a transaction.  I am trying NOT to be too upset.  But I feel used and abused by Vanguard and Merrill Lynch.

No Magic Here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Purposeful Stitching

I am working on my 12 by 12 for the Orange Reveal on September 1.  Needle turn appliqué. This is the process I enjoy the most of any of the "quilting" techniques.  It makes me feel like I have actually created beauty and art.  The other methods are faster and easier.  I use them.  But the work doesn't have the lasting satisfaction of stitching the edge with invisible, well intentioned stitches.  I could have been done by now, if I had zigzagged the pieces to the base.  But, I decided to please myself this time.

How often do we choose the most expedient way of doing something?  Get it done as quickly as possible.  Today, I am slowing down, being purposeful in every thing I do.  From peeling a cucumber for my lunch, to washing out the dog bowls for Riley's lunch (he "asked" for his lunch today), to threading a needle with matching thread and stitching slowly and thoughtfully on a small piece of cloth.

The pieces I have made with needle turn are the pieces I turn to for comfort.  I love to trace my finger tips over the raised edges of each bit of cloth sewn down to create flowers, circles or even whole chickens.  I was reconnected to this love of mine by Spirit Cloth's Feather Friday videos.  While I watched the videos (how to's of needle turn appliqué) the desire to work with the fabric and thread was over powering.  I gave in, gratefully. Gracefully.  I will eventually make a feather.  Perhaps one of the pieced, stripe feathers as well as the embroidered Magic Feather.  For now, I am stitching carrots.

My horoscope for the past few days has been about letting go.  Being satisfied with the "now" and letting go of the past and forgetting about the future.  I think I spend entirely too much time in the past and future. Rethinking past mistakes and projecting those mistakes into the future.  Meanwhile, the present is wasted. I need to do a MUCH better job of staying in the "here and now".

For the moment, I am present and accounted for.  I have my delightful Cadfael mysteries, instead of crappy television.  I now have my stitching to fill the afternoon pleasantly as the Blue Angels fly over the house practicing for the air show this weekend.

 I can hear the jet engines as they arrived in town.  Tomorrow, a practice day, it will be raining.  If things work out, they won't be able to fly for the third scheduled visit in a row do to cloud cover and poor visibility.  Show visitors will be surprised at the $25 per person gate entrance fee.  We don't have a Naval Base any more.  The US Government isn't picking up the "tab" for jet fuel this time.  Really, they should be practicing.  I wonder if they have visibility issues today, as well.  Too bad.  With all my trees cut down, I could have seen the jets as they fly over my house.  I'm 6000 feet from the end of  the runway.

Riley is barking.  I need to check the garden, pick green beans.  And if it stays cool, bake a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread for the gang at work.  Saturday I teach a class on dividing perennials.  One of my favorites.  Feels like Autumn has already arrived, bringing my birthday.  Twenty five days and I will be Sixty Five. I've gotten so much mail (medicare) in the past two months, I feel like this is a "big one" in the birthday department.

Lunch is leftover, overbrowned and baked, cauliflower pizza.  Perfect.  Chewy.  Very much like "real" cold, leftover pizza.  Nothing like cauliflower.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Japanese Style Rock Pile- Homemade

We have a large number of rocks.  Some we dug out of the ground, others we received as "gifts" from a former employee who was cultivating a few acres on her farm.  Some, I even took from the rock pile holding up the mulch pile at work. ( I brought one from home to trade)  This is about 24 to 30 inches tall.  And about 24 wide.  And I don't know how heavy, but my arms had quite a struggle when asked to pick up and put down the big rock in the third layer (from bottom) more than a few times to get the right size rocks balancing under it.  I know it weighs more than 40 pounds.  It's just at the weight that I can "almost" lift.  I kept trying narrower rocks in the second balanced layer.  I wanted a larger "window" between the rocks.  Oh, well.

I gave in on the window and the Universe let me find the sharp edged "hat".  That works for me.  G added the little topknot rock after I had left for the grocery store.  Perfect.

Let's see how long it takes for Riley to run through and knock it all over.

I like building these rock piles.  I built one for my neighbor across the street.  Then she built one for herself. Riley's tendency to knock over my piles, gives me the opportunity to add or subtract rocks and make the piles "new" and "improved".   I am always looking for wider, flatter rocks.  We have too many round ones. My daughter started me on rock piles.  She has an incredible tower on her front steps.  No one understands how it stays up.  Sam inserts tiny flat stones to balance the roundish rocks.  It's all very stable and very painstakingly done.  8 to 10 handball sized rocks.  One on top of the other.  The ones at the very top are slightly smaller.

Today was too hot, too slow, too everything, at work.  I started a really good project after lunch and we didn't get finished.  I stayed 30 minutes more to complete the section we had started.  I'll have to wait until Thursday to work my way around to the last tables in the perennial yard.  We managed to empty three. I watered everything and collected all the old, trashy things to send back.  I selected 8 nice Happy Returns day lilies for G to plant at his work.  40% off and another 10% with a coupon.

Well, I think I will take a shower now.  I feel all buggy.  Riley is outside, in the shade, I hope, after a hard day at doggie daycare.  I don't know what he does there, but he sure is tired when I pick him up.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Breakfast Two

I was unsuccessful at buying the little prepackaged HB eggs yesterday.  The Deli guy did try to be helpful and sell me a bag of "salad bar eggs" for $4.99 a pound.  The bag of twelve came to $8.99.  I don't mind paying $1.99 for a bag containing 6 cooked and peeled eggs.  But not $8.99 for 12.  So this morning's breakfast isn't a true Israeli commune breakfast.  Mine includes a ham and Swiss roll up.

The recent applications of diluted fish emulsion has been a wake up call to the sluggish production of cucumber pickles on my plants.  Yesterday I harvested FOUR little cukes.  My tomato production is also limping along.  I have tons of green tomatoes.  I have, perhaps, two or three a day that are "sort of" red.  I pick and they manage to ripen here on the kitchen counter.   I sort thru the recycled salad greens container each morning looking for the ripest ones.   I have tomatoes with every meal.  G does not.

When I was a small child, I ate raw vegetables out of the garden dirt while "helping" my grandmother in the garden.  She would pick something, brush the dirt off of it, and perhaps even peel it with her ever present small sharp knife.  I ate kohlrabi "pops" holding onto the stems and eating the crunchy sweet bulb.  My Gramma also carried a salt shaker in her apron pocket.  So I salt all the raw stuff I eat.

Later, when we moved far away from Gramma, my mother would serve up a plate of whatever was fresh from the garden alongside dinner.  We had plates of sliced tomato, plates of fresh dill refrigerator pickles, steamed baby green beans, radishes and pickled beets.  There was always a plate of sliced bread and butter to fill in any hungry places for three growing kids.  We also had steaming stacks of sweet corn that my dad brought home from the roadside stands.   In other words, I always ate plenty of fresh garden produce. Holidays brought the filled garnish plate of olives, radishes, celery and pickles.

G's mom opened cans and served corn, carrots and peas.  So you can see why it's hard for me to share my love of the fresh veggie with him.  I bring the veggies into the house and know that it's all mine.

Before Atkins (BA), I would have just opened the cupboard and filled a bowl with cereal for my breakfast.  Now, I have to find a suitable protein and fat combo.   Which isn't scrambled eggs or the now disgusting MIM.

I have on a pair of size medium LL Bean knit pants.  They aren't tight.  I still have saddlebags along the hip line but not as huge as before.  With a hip covering shirt, I could go out in public in these pants and feel comfortable.  Last week I went on errands wearing a "too big" pair of jeans that hung low exposing a muffin free area above the waistband of the jeans.  I even had to roll up the pant legs.  What I want to do from now until I die, is wear loose fitting jeans.  I don't EVER want to be encased in skin tight pants again.
I feel like Scarlett O'Hara vowing to never go hungry again.

I haven't had sugar in any form in nearly four months.  I have managed to NOT eat ANY bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit or sugar.  Not even a spoonful.  I feel good.  I still have no food cravings other than a sudden desire for a banana.  I love bananas.  I watched a co worker eat a perfect banana on Saturday and I "lusted" for that banana.  I'd like some fresh mango and pineapple.  A wedge of watermelon.  Everything has too many sugary carbs.  But that banana.  I want that banana.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Two moments this weekend.

First, was Saturday at work.  I brought a small container of pulled pork (the oven recipe with garlic and apple cider vinegar) to eat with my green salad.  I heated the pork in the microwave for about 30 seconds--just to warm it.  The aroma of the pulled pork traveled from the lunchroom into the main section of the garden center.  My boss came in to complain that "you are killing me with the smell of that food".  I guess it smelled delicious.  Even as a "leftover".

Second, just an hour ago in the checkout lane at the grocery.  The very tall, very thin, guy in line before me had tons of fresh vegetables, fruit and all sorts of "healthy, low fat" items.  And I had seven or eight kinds of cheese (cheddar, 2-Parmesan, shredded Mozzarella, 2-Fresh Mozzarella), bacon, sausage, bleu cheese dressing (plus extra bleu cheese), sour cream, deli ham and cheese, a container of cold fried chicken (for my lunches), Kaiser Rolls, frozen French baguette and heavy cream.  

Now, I did have two limes, celery hearts (for the bleu cheese dressing), Spring Mix lettuce and three romaine hearts and eight peach yogurts so it wasn't all FAT.

He stood looking at my groceries and I swear I could hear his arteries clogging.  I sort of wished I hadn't already purchased the GIGANTIC jar of mayo last week.  But that may have been too much.  I think he wanted to suggest a diet.  Hey, that IS a diet.

G and shredded the garbage bags of wet nasty leaves that we set along the garden fence several years ago.  I had hoped the leaves would decompose in the bags.  They didn't.  But the resulting shred is more like leaf mould (the Mercedes of compost) than shredded leaves so I am very happy.  And dirty. And covered in huge red welts of mosquito bites.  So itchy.

We also managed to plant one of the Spring Open House shrubs I won in the silent auction.  And the Purple Smokebush.  Those items got planted in front where the two oaks used to be.  I even managed to construct a rock pile that looks vaguely Japanese.  Picture tomorrow.  I'm thinking of adding a winding little path through that garden bed and making it look more Japanese.  I even dug four little hostas out of another  bed and added them to the new spot.

I fried bacon and sliced onion.  Now I am going to take a shower while G cooks burgers.  We haven't had grilled burgers in a long time.  I am pretty excited.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Breakfast

This morning I decided to have an actual breakfast.  And I dirtied two pans, a plate and a second container to accomplish this.  The sink is full.   I sliced the big zucchini from wednesday and grilled it in my grill pan with olive oil.  After the zucchini was done, I added cut tomatoes to the pan and let them get a bit of grill marks while they warmed up and softened.   The eggs are Egg Beaters as I REALLY can't stand eggs.  The breakfast was "just" okay.  It was the egg part that ruined it for me.  But I have to eat protein on this diet.  I have to eat eggs.

G worked very hard yesterday (his day off).  He mowed the grass, walked the dog, vacuumed all the floors and even found time to move a piece of furniture into the attic.  Riley was exhausted by it all.  I found the two of them asleep in the back yard when I got home from work at 6:30 (after a brutally tiring day).

The bright spot of my day at work, well, actually two spots, was getting to go along with the truck to deliver the plants for the lobby of a health care provider (we all love to go off site).   The foliage I selected and potted up looked lovely and was appreciated.  The second happy spot in my day happened moments after I arrived at work.  A former employee had dropped off some used company gear.  I snagged a fleece quart zip pullover with the company logo and a winter jacket with the logo.  These are items the company bought for employees when "times were good" and long before I was hired.  Both items will make the long, cold days of November and December more bearable, at work.

This was a thoughtful gesture by a former employee.  Others have left employment here and have not donated company items back to the working crew.  Four years ago a bag of used tee shirts was dumped on the lunch room table on the same day I started work.  I had been issued ONE tee shirt.  And was scheduled to work five days a week.  So, I looked in the bag and the tees were my size (at the time) and I took the least faded ones home.  When no one took any of the others, I took the rest home.  These are the shirts I wore for an entire year.  Each year, around Open House, we are each given two new tees and a sweatshirt.  And that's when I get rid of two of the old ones.  Fours years of employment and I have gotten 6 new tee shirts and three zip front sweatshirts.  Where would I be without the kindness of that first employee?  And now the kindness of another, long gone, employee who was probably cleaning out her closets.  Oh, I did get a fleece company vest/jacket when an employee departed to the Caribbean three years ago.  She gave it to one of the guys but he didn't want it.  I asked for it and wear it every winter.  Now, I can wear the fleece quarter zip under the vest.  It makes me wish it was winter already.

I got my hair cut yesterday, visited my bank and stopped in at the library to select five Cadfael mysteries.  I also went online to see who was king of England in 1142.  In the Cadfael books, King Stephen is in prison in a castle in Bristol and Maud is trying to fight her way into Westminster to get crowned.  Exactly what really happened.  Editorial Note:  When I entered college I had to select a major.  I chose "History" even though English would have been a better choice as I had entered taking higher levels of English classes. I always enjoyed a good history class.  I enjoyed attending the lectures.  I never read the textbooks I purchased.  I never achieved more than a low C average in History.  And even after two or more years of being an "Art Major" I never technically was able to move into Fine Arts from the college of Arts & Science.  My "cumulative" grades were always a bit shy of the transfer point.  My interest, this summer, in Medieval History warms my heart.  I'd be such a good student NOW.

G and I are going out for BBQ tonight after he gets home from work.  Last night he had leftover chicken wings and potato chips and I had a ham and cheese roll and jello.  A "real" dinner would be a treat for both of us and the fridge holds only the bare minimum of food.  Some leftover pizza, a bit of pulled pork, enough salad for Saturday's work salad for me, two more servings of sugar free jello, two large bags of yellow squash and zucchini and a jar of homemade pickles.

I think Riley would appreciate a long three mile walk today.  And the bed needs fresh sheets.  I also think a visit to the garden to check on the production out there, would be a good thing to do, after coating myself in bug spray.  The big handful of thin green beans I steamed on Wednesday were delicious.  This means picking every day so they don't get too large.  And I meant to pick one of the cabbages so I could make cole slaw or steamed cabbage or just eat raw.  I love cabbage.  That's my day.  What about yours?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bounty From My Garden

I just went out (and got swarmed by mosquitos) to see what was happening in the garden.  My daughter had brought me a few large cucumbers from a co-worker of hers, so I wanted to make a jar of Refrigerator Pickles ( like my mom, and then my dad, made while I was growing up). I needed to pick dill which I have a lot of even though I had only one cucumber on my plants.  I sprinkled herb seeds around in the garden in late March (they take so long to germinate) and now have two kinds of parsley, dill and coriander.  My herbs are bountiful, such as lemon thyme, mint, tarragon, sage and the oreganos.  I have a very tall lemon verbena and I should dry leaves for "tea".  My pineapple sage stopped putting out the pretty red flowers --the only reason I wanted it.

I found one medium large zucchini, 5 perfect sized yellow squash, a good handful of the very first green beans, three tomatoes, a handful of rhubarb stalks and a big container of Calendula blossoms.  I didn't pick the cabbage or any kale.  I left the beets to get bigger, also.

I ate a ham and cheese roll for lunch and have had 2 glasses of water.  I think I feel bad because I may be (am) dehydrated.  I didn't drink anything at work yesterday and usually have four to five glasses of something.  It will take a few days to get back up to "full".

So, my pickles are pickling.  My rhubarb is stewed and ready for me to eat once it cools off.  I think the one, fresh from the garden, zucchini will be made into a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread for G.  I have a lot of small ripe tomatoes in my kitchen bowl (mostly from the plants at work) and should be thinking of something to make with them.   Buying some fresh mozzarella sounds like a good idea.  Tomatoes, cheese and basil.  Of course, I always enjoyed soaking up the juices on the plate with a nice French baguette.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust- Low Carb Project

I took a few hours "off" on Monday to do research on that wacky Cauliflower Pizza Crust I had tried a few weeks (months) ago.  It had been a delightful way to get to eat pizza without having any grains.  Or too many carbs.  I found a nice video.  A friendly, helpful woman made the crust on one video and baked that same crust with toppings in a second video.  I didn't bookmark the video.  Duh!

She demoed "ricing" the RAW cauliflower (which stinks, and by this, I refer to the actual smell) on a box grater.  The resulting "riced" cauliflower can also be turned into a Faux Rice to be consumed with saucy food.  But I wasn't interested in Faux Rice.

Then she measured out TWO CUPS of the riced cauliflower (not one), one cup of the shredded mozzarella and the one egg.  Mixing it well.  I used my fingers to squish it into a "dough".   I really "squished" hard and often until it came together into a mass.  Then I pressed, lightly, the "dough" into a parchment paper lined 9 inch square baking pan.  Pressing with the back of my hand.  Leaving no holes or voids.  Then I baked it for 13 minutes in a 450 oven.  The surface had light brown spots.  Next time I plan to add a few of the spices (oregano, basil, parsley and fennel are the choices) and let the crust bake longer.  It was still a bit too damp after 13 minutes.

I let the crust cool while I assembled G's pizza using the Alton Brown Pizza Recipe I experimented with on Monday.  The dough, after being removed from the refrigerator for a few hours, warmed up and expanded a bit, but not much.  It was very soft and squishy and very easy to shape into a circle that covered my pizza peel.  It baked quickly.  I wasn't sure it would be good, but G LOVED it.  And that is the crust he wants from now on.  He doesn't want the one from the grocery store.  Too Bready.  Because I allow myself to eat ABSOLUTELY NO BREAD, I have no idea what the crust tastes like or feels like as it's being chewed. It looked like a thin crust pizza.

I started assembling the toppings for my little 9 inch square pizza.  I added thinly sliced pepperoni instead of the hand sliced thick stuff I use for G.  I added some sliced onion and mushrooms and less than the 2 cups of cheese the woman added in the video ( I may have added a cup).  I baked the pizza until the cheese was melted and browning.  It could have used more spices.  It could have been cooked longer.  But it was very much a pick up a slice and hold it in your hand kind of eating experience.  I would have liked it better with the spicy pepperoni.  That thin sliced stuff is bland.  My daughter was here last night and"observed" the process and suggested I add bacon to the toppings.  Lots and lots of bacon.

Since my daughter's gall bladder surgery she has waited to try her favorite gas station's Deep Dish Bacon Pizza. (Yes, the best pizza in our town comes from a gas station.)  She reports having it recently.  2 slices.  And it was "heaven" without any downside.  I also suggested she buy a few packages of Trader Joe's Teriyaki Turkey Jerky.  Which she tried and absolutely LOVED.  I am encouraging her to add more protein to her diet.

The temperature today is supposed to reach 80 and the sun is already heating up.  All the rain from the last two days is increasing the humidity.  I think I will need the AC by noon.  I plan to do "inside the house" things today, venturing out only to see if the cukes and zukes have produced anything, checking on my green beans and tomatoes and then returning to the house.  I woke up feeling "not so good" but couldn't be specific to what I feel is wrong.  Perhaps, I am just hungry and need to eat a larger breakfast.  Or drink a large glass of water.  Who knows.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, Monday

I had a lunch date today.  That was exciting.  Before leaving the house I did a bit of housekeeping and mixed up two batches of pizza dough.  The first with bread flour went into the trash.  The second worked out better and is having it's 24 hour "rest" in the fridge.   I also noticed the Kitchen Aid Mixer was in need of detailing.  So, I did that.  Then I sewed three buttons on a pair of pants that I will wear more often as the weather cools.   I think pants go to the Resale Shop when buttons fall off.

Lunch was lengthy, which was lovely, as we had a whole summer to catch up on.  I had wine and a dessert.  Ricotta cheesecake baked without a crust.  I got take out for G to have for dinner.

After lunch I got home, changed clothes and took Riley for a 3 mile walk.  In drizzle.  Now G has gotten home from work and he intends to take Riley for a walk off leash in the woods.  It's called "Wearing Out The Dog".  Riley is, as yet, unaware of the walk with G.  He may decide to extend his "regrets".

I am now going on line to see if I can watch last night's episode of Big Brother as the Tennis ran over and it wasn't on.  I also finished my eighth Cadfael book. I think there are 20 books in the series which should last out the summer.  I have book # 9 waiting on the book table.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shaker Tool Rack- Hancock Village

This is an inventive idea for tool storage but it's also a good way to get your eyes poked out.  I "lifted" it from Dominique's blog.  It didn't even feel like stealing.  I mean, you just click and scoot it over to your picture file.  I hadn't intended to use it here, on my blog.  I just wanted a picture so I could show it to G and see if it is something he might want to "build".  We have a corner in the garage where everything hangs on nails.  I am getting old and it takes me forever to get the hole in the tool handle over a nail.  With this I could just stick the handle into a square.

Every year, I think, sort of seriously, about sanding the handles of my tools, sharpening and scraping all the dirt off the shovels, painting the tool handles a bright color so I can find the tools in the garden.  And every time I use a tool, I think that, this will be the time, I put it back where I got it.

I am MUCH better at work.  I have fewer things and they are more important for being so few in number.  My old Chef's knife (for cutting root balls).  My scissors for trimming bad leaves and dead flowers.  My broom for sweeping up dirt from repotting.  My dust pan, which I had to get on the radio to have returned to my work area today. My trowel for mixing Pro Mix with water. Absent any one, and my day has just gotten so much more difficult.  Mix in three to five people using my things (on days when I am not working) and taking tools away with them and you have a very stressful, tiring day.

A co worker said he was getting tired about being scolded regarding the "snippy attitudes" by the staff at the cash registers.  Then he looks at me and says, "but never you, Joanne, they say you are always wonderful".  Yeah, right!  Say it like you mean it.

I asked and in two weeks my schedule will change and I will get more hours/days per week plus I am teaching the Dividing and Relocating class (perennials).  So, I have two weeks left of my summer "vacation".  Better enjoy the next two days off in a row.  Right now I am going to take my shower.  I am under the influence of allergy tabs.  Feeling sleepy.  But my nose isn't running.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finally Friday

Work wasn't so bad yesterday.  It got really warm a few times at the Potting Table but then it would cool off.  I was covered in dry dusty Pro Mix soil most of the day but it was okay.  Just makes the after work shower more delicious.  G and Riley came to visit and brought me an iced coffee.  Riley scented and chased the smell of the resident chipmunks all around; inside and out.  We all thought, for a moment, that Riley was going to "take a dump" on Sod Hill (where all the sod is unrolled)  but he didn't.  What a good dog.

The Pulled Pork recipe with cider vinegar is now G's favorite.  It isn't as sweet.  I even added three squeezed limes to the shredded meat.   You put 3 pounds of pork butt or shoulder cut into large chunks ( I used almost 5#s) into a cast iron casserole (French enamel if you are lucky to have it).  Oven at 350.   Coat the meat in a mixture of brown sugar, cayenne pepper (which I couldn't find so I added red pepper flakes, but not enough) and chopped garlic (3 to 5 cloves).  Salt and pepper.   Pour 1 1/2 cups of cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water over the meat.  I would pour it around the meat, leaving the coating intact.   Cover and set the pot into the oven, lowest rack level. Let it cook.  The recipe mentions 2.5 hours.  In my humble opinion, let it cook until you are ready to eat it. If that is closer to 4.5 hours (like me) all the better.  The browned bits are extra delicious.

I removed the meat from the pan, shredded it and removed any fat and icky things, returned the shredded meat to the pan juices and turned and tossed everything to coat.  This can be served with additional BBQ sauce on a bun.  Or just eaten out of the pot with your fingers.   As I said, as I was "testing" the flavors, I decided to add some fresh lime juice to the meat.  Three limes worth.   Next time I will add a paste of garlic cloves and limes to the coating on the meat.  Cubanize the recipe.  And I will buy a new container of cayenne pepper because I think the meat would benefit from "heat".

I don't think I will be making pulled pork in the crock pot ever again.

I also will be making Tomato Pie.  A pre baked pie crust.  Layer in 1/2 yellow or red onion, chopped.  Then 3 cups prepared tomato (slice tomatoes in half horizontally, squeeze out extra juice, then rough chop), 1/4 cup (8 large leaves) of basil sliced into thin strips and then top with cheese mixture (2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, jack etc) mixed with 3/4 cup mayo and 1 teas. Frank's hot sauce and salt and pepper)  The cheese mixture will resemble a squishy snow ball.  Press it over top of pie filling.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 45 minutes until browned and bubbly.  Bubbly is the important indicator with any pie.  The recipe says "this pie is pizza meets cheesy bread".  A truly wonderful way to use extra ripe and juicy tomatoes.  Everyone loves PIE!!!!   I may not be able to eat the crust but I intent to make the pie and eat everything else.

I have a big project to do today which I can't discuss on the blog.  My daughter is arriving later to have her hair colored.  I need to use my zucchini and I am thinking about a Gratin with bacon, onion, eggs and steamed kale (I don't have spinach) topped with cheese.  I will be working all day Saturday.

I finished "Cutting For Stone" and I spent the last 50 pages crying.  If you get an opportunity to read this book, please do.  It doesn't seem like a book you will want to read, but make the effort.  The total journey is what is important here.  All the separate parts and chapters come together at the end and it is really a cathartic experience.  It "fills holes".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Weather Isn't Delightful

A dark drizzly day.  Wonderful for the garden but not too happy for a certain dog and his owner.  Riley woke G up at around 4 am, because the dog wanted to go out.  Then the dog curled up on his dog bed and snored until 9 am.  G tried to go back to sleep but gave up and just went to work early, I think.

I had an appointment to have my teeth cleaned.  A VERY significant amount of tartar had built up on the back of my bottom front teeth.  And it was tough to get off.  The tartar build up was something I had noticed while doing the Atkins diet.  I never noticed comment on it in the threads/forums but perhaps they didn't notice?  The hygienist and dentist are both interested in the diet-teeth component.  Could the lack of sugar/carbs really cause this?

After the tooth cleaning, I visited the grocery to buy a few things.  I happened to see my neighbor and we tried to do a quick "visit" to just catch up on things.  She hasn't seen me lately and thought I looked thinner. That made my day.  She also noticed the congestion in my nose and my cough.  And wondered what was wrong with me.  We both think summer is over already and it's not even the middle of August.  It's cooler and less sunny and the MUMS are on sale at the greenhouse.

I am going to start cooking the pork I bought on Monday.  I plan to try cooking it in the oven and not the slow cooker.  I'll let you know how it works out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My Rooster In Drag

I did all this by hand.  No fusing.  It was all needle turn hand appliqué.   And it took weeks and weeks. I didn't "know" how to fuse.  My Rooster is perhaps 48 by 60.  The only thing I would change is the background.  Too flat.  No landscape.  I did have a teal feather boa around the rooster's neck the first time I showed it.  And I stretched the quilt over stretcher bars.  And it stayed that way for a long time, until it  came off the bars and I added a sleeve and binding.

A reader reminded me of it's existence in a post from October of 2005.  I slipped the photo out of that post and into iPhoto and finally got to crop and adjust the color.  I stayed to read a few of my posts from October of 2005.  I was more literate.  Even charming.

Back to work today after four days of feeling terrible.  It's either ragweed or black mold.  I spent Monday evening with a bottle of water and bleach, spraying the main bathroom walls with bleach to remove the little black specks which, because they vanished in the bleach, must have been black mold.  I think my illness developed when the window guy removed the trim from the window in my bedroom, to measure for the new windows.  But, once I noticed something was wrong--I went looking for any other moldy spots.

That night I smelled a musty, damp smell coming from the window as I fell asleep.  The next morning I woke and began sneezing.  My nose started running like a faucet.  By Saturday the inside of my nose felt like it had been bathed in battery acid.  Then it started dripping down to the back of my throat.  My head was swimming.  I was hot and sweaty and then cold and clammy.  Now I am coughing.

The little holes in the window framing have been plugged.  I no longer "smell" the "smell".  That doesn't mean the mold is gone or safe.  I think that will happen when the old window is removed and the new one inserted.  After I spray everything with bleach and fill any holes with spray foam insulation.  That window has generally been "open" 24/7 for the past 20 years; winter, spring, summer and fall.  So, it follows that the wood would have gotten wet, damp, moldy.  And the window faces the dark, damp woods.  Where even more "natural" mold lives and breathes.

I did research and did you know that there are more mold spores in "Fresh Air" than there are in anything else?

Every day I feel a bit better.  Today was not the best.  Since  a damp greenhouse is a wonderland of mold and mold spores.  I was hyper sensitive and smelled the damp and musty everywhere.  The inside of my nose feels a bit raw.  I may have to go to work with a mask over my nose and mouth.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Modern Quilting

This seems to be the "new" topic of contention in the quilt world.  How comfortable it makes me feel.  Warm and cozy.  Oh, perhaps that's my fever?

I was ALWAYS the renegade outsider at my quilt chapter meetings.  My fabric choices were always "too bright" (those colors hurt my eyes), my pieced blocks sometimes had no pattern, I used "glue".  The horror went deep and I know they talked behind my back.  I stopped having any "show and tell" so I wouldn't have to watch them cringe.

I did shop at a country quilt store which specialized in the Civil War with a bit of 1930's Depression (here in Maine, I didn't have many choices). I used those fabrics and needle turn hand appliqué to make something they had never seen before.  Scandalous. Why ever would you stitch such pretty things on a taupe polka dot background?  Because.

Needless to say, I stopped attending Quilt meetings.  But that was AFTER I got myself elected President and seriously messed them up by being Program Chair for the two years preceding my election.  See, there were newbies in the group and they took to me like bees to honey.  We glued.  We used WW.  We didn't hand quilt.  We covered things with a layer of tulle.  Added beads.  In other words, we made crap.  But we had FUN.

I had an art education which kept me for straying too far into the world of Fabric Crap Making. At best, I knew it was bad when I saw it.  Others weren't so lucky.  They even won Blue Ribbons in the State Quilt Show which is something that a quilter can never get past.  Or being published.  But that was all in the name of "Art Quilting".

This new attack is on traditional pieced quilting.  Modern Quilting.  Not for "old ladies".  Sweeties, yes, you gals in your thirties, who know everything about nothing.  I may be 64, but I can out Modern Quilting you any day of the week.  And so can all the 50, 60 and 70 year olds out here who have Modern Quilted all along.  Amy Butler didn't come up with this on her own, you know.  Women piecing scraps by the light from the fire were making Modern Quilts.  But I don't think their toddlers were destroying the thread racks while mom shopped.

Any Modern Quilters out there who can manage to make friends with a Traditional Quilter will have all the help you will ever need to make your patterns and your quilts.  Even, at my worst, these traditional quilters would help me, teach me, show me, love me (well, some of them didn't ever come to even like me) and in return I would come when they called to thread their sewing machines, calibrate their bobbins, straighten their seams, and just sit and sew with them.  And when they looked at what I was making (isn't that interesting) they mostly checked to see if the technique was correct and left the fabric choices and design to me.  Of course, my Rooster in Drag was well loved by all.  And quite "Modern".

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Going Shaker

Slow Love (Dominique Browning) has a four part series on her recent visit to Hancock Village.  Which reminded me of the lovely book my husband bought me many years ago, The Shaker Garden.   I had wanted it most of all for the pattern to make seed packets from brown paper.   So simple.  So wonderful.  I packaged seeds and even thread and buttons in the packets I made from the pattern.  It was a lovely addition to my Christmas gifts that year.

I don't think I was much of a gardener at the time I received the book.  Looking through the pages quickly, I see many, many lovely gardening ideas.  The Shaker principals seem oddly familiar.   My dad kept his workshop very tidy.  Each tool had a place.  The broom and dustpan hung from the same hook.  A lovely hand broom was used to sweep sawdust off the table of the saw or lathe.  In our hurry to get on the road, going home, I forgot the hand broom.  I had wanted to keep that.  To remember.

I am not feeling well today.  What began as a runny nose, I thought from allergies, has now become a burning sensation in my nasal passages, not unlike battery acid, and a post nasal drip into the back of my throat.  I have just had an Airbourne tablet dissolved in water.  A dose of vitamin C which usually stops the post nasal drip.

This morning does have it's humorous side.  I have "gained" 5 pounds according to the scale and the waistband of my pants is riding on my hipbones.  Yesterday, I could not find an outfit to wear to dinner that didn't make me look like a person wearing a large sack.  All my shirts are too voluminous.  On days like this, I wish I knew a bit about dressmaking.  So I could take seams in a bit and make decorative tucks. Even the picture of me on Deborah's blog.  That blouse is too big.

Yesterday's dinner with my daughter and her man went very well, I think.  I don't think the restaurant met my husband's standards.  I had some difficulty with the food but managed to give most of it away to the other three people at the table (rice, soup and chicken in a very bready coating).  I had Cashew Chicken.  Lots of vegetables and plain unbreaded chicken.  I tried to shake off most of the brown sauce.  G shared his chicken wings with me and I gave him my Spring Roll.  I did eat ONE Crab Rangoon with that sweet red dipping sauce.  My small sin which is why I "gained" 5 pounds over night.  LOL.

This morning I had a MIM with blueberries.  It seems to take care of elimination problems.  Now, I think I will brew myself a hot cup of tea to sooth my throat.  I have six perennials to get settled into the flower bed near the deck.  Seven?  Riley is outside rolling in the grass.  He has found either a snake or a worm.  But he seems to have eaten his dinner during the night and eaten breakfast with G this morning.  He refused to eat for me yesterday, finally eating his breakfast and lunch at 5 pm.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Having Wasted The Morning On The Internet

I am now ready to actually do something constructive.  I had a MIM with added almond flour for breakfast with crunchy peanut butter instead of cereal or eggs.  It felt so "wrong" at this point in the diet even though, after 2 weeks of Induction, nuts and peanut butter are allowed.  So, I have been "allowed" to have peanut butter and peanuts for a few months now.  I had never thought of having it on a MIM.  Light Bulb Moment.

I was trolling the garden blogs (which at this point in the garden season turn into pickling and cooking blogs) and found a zucchini pasta recipe (equal parts actual pasta and zucchini strips), stuffed fried zucchini blossoms (Italy) using only the "boy" flowers and the Tuscan Bread Salad.  Only the Italian author suggests subbing cous cous for the stale Tuscan bread.  I think that's a carb.  I could just make it with tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers.  G and I used to go to a local restaurant that made a bread soup of tomatoes etc.  They floated dumplings in it. I loved that.  I love dumplings.  I love them so much that I often resemble a dumpling.

This morning I am wearing the "test pants" that I could not button or zip when I began this diet.  I am even sitting down while wearing them.  They still don't look great, but I don't think they did even when I purchased them.  They need a long shirt over the top to cover the pocket area.  I think the pocket area is the reason the pants were in the resale store.  These pants are never going to look great due to a design flaw in the pocket placement.  But I have them on, they are buttoned and zipped (without a struggle) and I can do deep knee bends while wearing them (my own personal test of fit).  I could just sew the pockets closed and remove the inside pocket fabric.  That might make things look better.  And then I would have "test pants" for the next few weeks because I think that would make them tight again.  I often wonder why I bought them?  I think I wore them to work once.  They are golden orange.  Not a color a woman needing a size 14 would choose to wear.

I cleaned out the fridge of all the vegetables I have purchased and not used.  I have a nice large cauliflower which I plan to make into sweet and salty pickles for my daughter, I have turnips which can become mashed or roasted turnips (but not the turnip fries) and I have zucchini which can become a moist pan of brownies along with a pot of stewed zucchini and tomatoes.  There is also the possibility of cutting the zucchini into thin strips (not the center parts with seeds) and creating a "pasta" to serve with a sauce.  I haven't had a "pasta" in 3 months.

I exchanged the sugar for Splenda and Xylitol.  I added soy flour and almond flour instead of wheat.  And the resulting "brownies" were so disgusting in flavor and texture what I ran them thru the disposal. But I did find three small cucumbers in the garden.  And I'm eating them.  The crows finished off the blueberries.

I do want to leave the house this morning and visit the Farmer's Market and library.  I did want to.  Now I am thinking I will just "make do" with what I have here in the garden and house and finish the laundry and ironing.  Later today G and I will be going out for dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend.  I think it will be a fun evening.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Art Content?

 This is the piece I took out of the frame and added a chair.  The ideas was to have the chair look like it was "behind" a window.  Sort of a "looking in" view.  But what it turned out to be was a chair with a big plus sign on top.  It is still more interesting that it was, but hardly anything to be proud of.  I did learn some things but am sad that I ruined what was an nice abstract piece.

 I haven't made one of these in a very long time.  I think I was still an active quilt maker (or at least I made pieced blocks) and was better able to put up with the challenges of the sewing machine.  I stitched strips to a backing, pressed and then cut into four sections and then zigzagged the four together.  After that I topped the surface with strips of other fabrics and then tried to stitch them down.  I also attempted to cover the top with colored tulle to hold everything down.  And I was going to iron it down.  Yes.  I ironed tulle to the plate of my iron.  That's when I decided I need a "time out".

This is what my digital photo of the first chair piece looks like when it comes out of the camera.  Really, the piece is BLUE.

I did manage to cross off two more items on my Master To Do List.  Usually, making a giant sized list of chores makes me "want" to cross things off.  I think I may have included items on my list that I will NEVER want to do.  That is a problem as I like to finish off the lists and then crumble them up and toss them in the recycle bin.  I can't see myself planting shrubs.  I already have enough bug bites and rashes to temper any enthusiasm I might have for weeding.

I registered my car at the Town office.  And was amused to see two guys with shaved heads and guns on their hips carrying bundles of marijuana plants into the police station.  Either they had brought them from home to "share" or they had found them on the way to work.  They didn't have a "suspect" in the car with them.  Why are all cops shaving their heads?  Do they think it makes them look "hot"?  Or less like a bald man?  I, personally, think their heads look best with very short hair.  Not shaved unless your face is lean, without jowls.  Of course the gun in the holster is always an excellent look.  I am a policeman's daughter.

Another cloudy day (so far) and I am going in to work the afternoon shift.  Riley is going to day care. I have no idea what G will be having for his dinner.

 I have completely LOST INTEREST in food. My breakfast cereal (for regularity), always a favorite meal, is now the only one I have any interest in eating.  But I can't have it every day.  Tuesday I had a ham and cheese roll up for breakfast and fruit and yogurt for lunch.  I had the roll up for lunch yesterday and beef chili for dinner.  Today I am having salad and tuna for lunch.  I haven't had tuna for a few weeks.  I've been having chicken salad instead.  I do, eventually, get hungry and need to eat.  But I have so few options that I give up pretty quickly and just eat the ham and cheese roll up. Just to get the "meal" over and done with.

My normal, before Atkins, salad always contained carrots.  Crunchy, sweet and tasty.  No Carrots.  Now it's all greens.  I can't stand soft wet things in salad.  I eat my cucumbers on the side.  I found I don't like radishes in my salad.  I don't like celery, mushrooms or tomato in salad.  Most restaurant side salads have a few strips of dry carrot, three to five hard cherry tomatoes, onion slices and some really dry cucumber slices.  I have begun to look forward to all these non-squishy salad vegetables.  Perhaps I should buy some of these "dry" things and add them to my salads.

I am now going to finish my coffee while writing down my breakfast (cereal and soy milk) in my journal and then go out in front and water the four tomatoes in containers and the hanging baskets of fern and petunias.  And get as many bug bites as I can.  And I will spray Benadryl on my right arm where I have a nasty rash of bites.  If I'm lucky, I may even poop.  And then I will make the bed, brush my teeth, get dressed, pack my lunch, pack Riley's lunch and drive to work.  I have 45 minutes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Traveling With Stuff

I bought this enamel paint on wood in the 1980's.  It has a companion piece of a man (on a horse) facing left.  I may have even had them on a wall somewhere, at some time.  It's hard to imagine in 2011. German or perhaps Austrian.  I find them whenever I clean out the cupboard under the bookcase.  This time they were stuck together.  And, this time, I removed them from the cupboard.  If I "did" Yard Sale, I would sell them.  I can't see myself giving them to Goodwill.  I can't even imagine anyone wanting them.  They are still well made, pretty in a stylized way and very colorful.  Perhaps I bought them at a Christmas Fair?

I also have two ten inch Hummel dolls (boy and girl) I paid way too much for (1978) and won't give up for any reason.  They can be dressed and undressed; can be positioned to sit or stand.  They both have socks, undies and shoes.  They boy has an umbrella and a suitcase.  The Little Traveler.  I have the Hummel ceramic next to the doll.  I have never seen them anywhere else.  I bought them in a hotel lobby in Munich. The colors on the dolls is exactly the same as in the figurines.  Only warmer and sweeter because it is matt and not glazed.  I had prints that went with the dolls and figurines but somehow they were lost.

I took this quickly, as the doll sits on the bookcase shelf.  His vest snaps closed.  He has on brown overalls. I have owned and loved these two dolls for 33 years now.  Where will they live after I am gone?  The two of them look perfect against the faux painted French yellow walls of the bookcase.  That may be the test of what I keep and what I let go.  Does it look good with the French yellow walls.

I have been waking early each day, more tired than when I went to bed the night before.  I feel dragged down by responsibilities.  Today: groceries and registering (paying the tax) for my car with the Town office.  As to what responsibilities I feel are dragging me "down":  the zucchini in the fridge are nearing their 4 day storage limit.  Five medium zucchini.  Their lives are in my hands.

G has already had the "Why have the garden if you are forever growing things just to toss them in the compost?"  The radishes and peas got away from me.  The cucumbers are coming along slowly so I have been able to eat the one or two each day.  I was doing okay with eating one zucchini a day, usually in my morning eggs, but I can't face another egg right now.  I have gotten three tomatoes out of the garden so far. Little ones that actually could have stayed on the plant a few more days. My beans are showing flowers. My two cabbages are full and heavy looking.  The kale looks good.  My Brussels sprout plants are stronger and larger than they have ever been.  Still no sprouts along the stems.  I have allowed ONE pumpkin to remain in the garden.  All the others are in the compost. Red onions are growing.  I have a handful of beets growing.  Some carrots.  I pulled all the radishes and composted them. They bolted in the 100 degrees last week.

I have a great many Mortgage Lifters on the plants (needed to tie them up yesterday) and Riley and I counted about 148 Sun Gold cherry tomatoes on the plants out by the front porch.  This is the tomato Riley will eat. My Early Girls are starting to change color. All of my herbs have flowered.  The herb bed is busy with bees. I have dill and no cucumbers. I have nasturtium flowers which I could add to my salads. I have mint but haven't made a Mojito.  I picked a large handful of Calandula blossoms for my salve.  G fertilized the roses and they are gamely sending out new roses, ever hopeful the Japanese beetles will be gone soon.  Underground. To eat the grass roots in their grub stage.  When I will poison them.

G and I pull huge baskets of weeds each time we go into the garden.  So many weeds.  And the raspberry canes are like a horror movie.  I think the five blueberry bushes are the perfect amount.  I have three which are almost finished right now and two that are coming on later this month (one may not ripen until September).  I just wish I could be eating the berries in pancakes.  Instead, I eat them by the handful while picking.

G had two packages of Trader Joe's Pot Stickers (dumplings) for dinner last night and half the chocolate Grooms cake.  I had fried squash and three chicken strips leftover from Monday's lunch.  Then I had the last strawberry sugar free jello.  I didn't drink enough water yesterday and woke up feeling "heavy".

I don't know when the 12 by 12 deadline is, but I'd best get started on Orange.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Welcome To Our Circus

I know it's fuzzy but we are in between rain storms and the light in here is dubious for picture taking.  The sky behind the greenhouse turned this awesome dark blue.  A great fabric or paint color but scary when it's the sky.  And it rained in waves of increasing intensity.  Inside and outside as the roof vents on the greenhouse were open. And I had phone calls to answer.  The phone is on the wall next to the door, in the rain and lightning. The loader boys reported that there was a nice, fast river of water running across the parking lot. I had hoped the rain would also fall here at my house.  And the evidence, a full to the top dog water bowl, suggests that it did indeed rain here.

Riley and I have been invited to a party at doggie day care tomorrow.  A "celebrity" dog (from the summer musical theater production of Annie) will be there and hot dogs and dog cookies are being served.  Riley has also been invited to join some other dogs in the "play pool" on hot days at day care.  I said he could, knowing he would NEVER, but it's always good to let him try new things (ha!).  Riley does enjoy getting a new dog toy.  But that's about it. At first I thought they were inviting him to participate in a "pool" of the gambling type.  Which was sort of an interesting idea.

The sun is now shining.  I may go out and check the garden for cucumbers and squash. Those little devils grow huge overnight.

One of the college summer workers brought in a huge cake to share.  It's half of the Groom's cake from his sister's wedding on the weekend.  Chocolate.  I brought a huge piece home for G.  In other interesting news, this college kid "got lucky" with one of the bridesmaids.  And, of course, told people at work because guys are the biggest chatterboxes on EARTH.  Big mistake.  Let the games begin.  It's August and we needed something to make coming to work interesting.  The mums are arriving soon.  Then Halloween.

I am now frustrated and annoyed with this new operating system and the Trackpad which has just managed to remove this post four times in a row.  Enough.  If I stop now, I may not throw the Track pad in the garbage can where it belongs.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Picking Raspberries

Somehow we got the raspberry bushes confused.  I usually get raspberries in late August and September, but yesterday I picked about a cup of raspberries.  Not big ones.  But tasty.  I also picked another full tray of blueberries which are in the freezer.  I am also picking calendula blossoms for the salve I intent to make when I have enough dry petals.  It's supposed to be an excellent first aid salve for burns, cuts, rashes etc.

I changed the bed sheets, paid the bills, sent G to the bank with six of my paychecks to deposit, returned library books and picked up new books we had on reserve.  I now have three excellent books in my stack.  I plan to read the Zen books by Dibdin.  There are eleven.  Best of all, they are written in a style very much like the Wallander books.  How wonderful is that?  I think I will save them for the winter.  And spend this winter reading about Rome.  Since the new TiVo system has a great capacity to store things; I now have the three Zen programs from Masterpiece Mystery "saved" so I can watch them in the cold, dark of winter.

The window guy is coming over right now to measure things.

G is watering the vegetable garden (with his iPod earbuds) and Riley is chewing a tree branch.  G and I will be going out for lunch when he's finished in the garden.  It's sunny, hot and perfect weather for "doing not much of anything".