Friday, September 30, 2011

Spooky Progress Report - 3:30 pm

 This is the house so far.  Two coats of black.  One interior coat of a bright yellow and a second coat of a bright orange.  I used a hair dryer to loosen the Sculpty "Seeds" off of the original Spooky House and glued them to the top of the windows and to the top and middle of the house.  I also started adding the orange and black glitter beads I bought years ago.  For this purpose.  I added the plastic bones but am having second thoughts on them.  See the cute bat on top?  I love that little bat.

The house smells delicious.  The pulled pork has fallen off the bones and is now "reducing" the amount of sauce in the pan. Last time I didn't read the directions correctly and didn't add the 1/2 cup water.  Wish I hadn't added it today either.  Four hours. And so much liquid I don't have crispy bits.  No shirts have been ironed but G did go to the library for me.  I now have a book to read.  One of the Icelandic mysteries. I also spent some time online collecting info on bulb planting for my class tomorrow.  At work.

My fingers are covered in paint, glue and now adhesive from the sticky glittered foam that I am cutting into shakes for the siding.  This is my workspace.  I also pulled the bead trim off the original house.  Good thing I strung the beads on dental floss.  The shakes on the original are all wonky and sort of charming.  I am doing a better job of it this time and they aren't as charming.  I also wish there was more glitter.  Like that commercial on television "can't have too much glitter".  I tore the original house apart so I wouldn't be tempted to "keep" it.  The "new" Spooky House isn't as sweet as the original but once it's done I will love it anyway.  That's the way it is with home crafted stuff.  Just got to love it.

G has gone to work.  But he thinks we (he) could trim the remaining plastic bones I have and finish off the window trim.  Right now the bones don't fit.   Or I could add more glitter beads.  What do you think? I think I should have put the sides on before I added the top and bottom bones.  Really got ahead of myself on this one.  Could always pick them off.  Might just do that.

Spooky House Painting

Black Magic paint on the house, on me and now, on the camera.   I used a craft foam brush on the house (first primer coat) and the bits of trim.  G is home this morning so he cut the pointy part for the top of the house.  An addition to the trim.  I needed a pointy place for the BAT.  He also cut some more trim which "was harder than I thought it would be".   I think we need a jigsaw.  For our birthday next month.

Today:  library for books, pulled pork to start and let roast in the oven by itself all day long, more house painting,  G's shirts to iron and Cracker "crack" to make for the crew at work.  G already brought the big ladder in the house and opened the skylight shades about 12 inches to let in light.  During the summer it's just too hot letting all that sun in the house.  Open all the way--well, you need sunglasses in the house, even in winter.  These are really, really big skylights. Which would make this room a greenhouse.  What were they thinking when they built this house?????

I'm going to get the pork butt into the oven and start on the interior painting.  I am such a messy painter. And then measure and start cutting the foam shingles.  They are adhesive backed but my daughter says I should still glue them to the house and not "trust" the sticky backing to stay stuck. I wanted to try reusing the shingles on the original house, which took many evenings to cut by hand, but they are firmly stuck to the cardboard.  Too bad.  They are nice shingles.

I had cereal again this morning and am feeling the effects of the excess carbs.  Like having the flu.  I think I will have some fat and protein now.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A New Day

Oatmeal for breakfast.  An unusual dream last night that has me "thinking".  Runny nose and itchy eyes. Still need coffee and to make my "big" salad for lunch today.  Work.  Wearing one of the pair of pants that I sorted thru yesterday.  Need socks.  One hour.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just When I Was Ready To Give Up: the Universe Has Something To Say

Today began badly.  I woke up way too early, tried to go back to sleep, thought I had gone back to sleep, only to get up and dressed and find it was still 7:30.  On my day off.  It is humid and a bit cold today. So, I decided to switch my summer clothes for my fall clothes.  Which meant trying everything on.  I even tried on the test pants (which fit really great the last time) and found that they don't fit so great, today.  Anyway, I made two fall piles.  The stuff that definitely fits RIGHT NOW and the pile of stuff that needs a little more diet in order to fit.

And what was I ready to give up after that?  The diet.  Six months is a LONG time. And some days I see no results.  Who am I kidding?  Some MONTHS I see no results.  My rings are tight this week so I shouldn't even be thinking about trying on pants.  I shouldn't be noticing the belly fat when I take a shower. This was my mood.  I walked the dog.  Only one dog on the loose to make the walk "testy".  Then I picked up my shopping list (only 10 items) and ran off to the grocery.  In knit pants and that same plaid flannel shirt.

Ten times were on the list.  I got them all, checking them off as I put them in the cart.  Multiples of a few items and two extras; yogurt for me and 7#'s of Boston Pork Butt for pulled pork.  134 freaking dollars. Still not feeling the love for the grocery.  And that's when the Universe added it's two cents.

I was "helloed" by a neighbor.  The really attractive international flight attendant.  She runs. She's a natural blonde.  She wanted to tell me how great I was looking.  REALLY.  She said that.  And meant it.  We talked about diet and weight and she said she is always the same weight (plus or minus 5 pounds) but is sometimes a size 0 and sometimes an 8.  She said it makes no sense so she has stopped weighing herself.  She just stops eating (so much) when her flight uniform feels snug.  This made me feel better.  Sorry I had bought the yogurt.  But, ever so happy, I hadn't bought any cereal.

I promised Riley TWO walks today since I didn't walk him after doggie day care yesterday (as I have been trying to do) and he is remembering my promise.  My lunch was two HB eggs and a smear of mayo.  I think I have enough stamina to walk another 3 miles.  After all,  I am looking really great.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Carrots (and very proud of them!)

And they are the size of my hand -from tips of fingers to wrist (the purple ones).  Good sized carrots.  The last batch I pulled from the garden were shorter and thinner.  I had them in my lunch salad today.  Lettuce, three carrots, Feta cheese and Ranch dressing.  A much smaller than usual salad (due to not having much lettuce) and I skipped the tuna and mayo. And they are only purple on the outer edges.  The center of the carrots are orange.  The fat ones are just fat, short regular carrots.  The biggest round one has a smudge of purple from a neighboring carrot.  From now on, G will be in charge of planting seeds for carrots and beets and turnips.  They actually come up and grow when he does the planting.  Not for me.

I may have a picture of my beets one of these days.  Yes, I have beets for the first time in my gardening career.  I also have raspberries but most of them are moldy due to the weather.

Thank You to Susan McD for the referral to CJ Sansom.  I requested the first two books from the lending library.  My local doesn't have them.  I am intrigued.  Never even knew they existed.  A 16th Century detective (Henry VIII) and a hunchback?  Giddy.  I also requested the 6th and final Icelandic mystery.  Might as well finish up that series.

I seem to be in the mood for "finishing up" things.  Mended G's Japanese Farmer Pants after many many years.  Long enough to have mice eat holes in one pocket.  I am very disturbed to think I had a mouse in my workspace, eating a pocket, which held a crushed dog biscuit.  And I finally have the paint for the new Spooky House, even though I have NOT begun painting.  And yesterday I actually vacuumed all the floors and carpets.

Work was okay today.  I started the day (7:30) by watering everything.  Rolling up the hoses into neat circles and leaving notes to request that others do the same.  I also asked them to shut the water off when they finish. D brought her little yellow lab in to visit with me.  She is very small.  60 pounds.  Riley is trying to get to be 100. Then I had to play "hide & seek" with a store transfer order.  The descriptive is not very descriptive. And I had trouble finding stuff.  And then I learned how to transfer.  It wasn't easy.  All this F11, shift T, F11 again and then C and enter twice.  Oh, it was too much for me to hold onto, being a Mac person.

Finally, lunch time.  Then the trucks arrived.  I unloaded plants out back and then pumpkins out front until it was time to clock out, pick up Riley and go home. At some point in the day, I noticed I had dripped bacon fat from my BEC breakfast sandwich down the front of my work tee shirt.  Wonderful.  It's now 6:30 and G just got home.  I have no idea what we will be having for dinner.  Perhaps leftover pizza or more spaghetti and meatballs.  I made over 4.5 pounds of meatballs on Sunday.  I'm out of spaghetti squash which is what I had under my meatballs.  I guess I could have mine in a bowl, alone, with cheese.

I am SERIOUSLY considering counting calories again.  1200 a day which will be sort of tough with the Atkins "Fat" issues, I think, but well worth the try.  I need to get the scale moving.  Down.  Same food, only counting the calories.  Which will mean eating less of everything.  And, eventually, adding (being able to add and control) more carbs to the daily diet.  Like oatmeal for breakfast.

I did find a low carb sub for oatmeal.  TVP.  Textured Vegetable Protein.  I have some and might make it ONCE to see what it tastes like.  I can't imagine this.  Who ever thought to try this???  And Chayote instead of apples.  In case any of you wonder, Atkins asks us to sub sour cream for yogurt.  Can you imagine that?  Seems that cream has very few carbs but whole milk has more.  Lots more.

I had forgotten the many packages of sugar free mousse mix I bought last month.  Time to try them out with heavy whipping cream added to the powdered mix.  This was one of Dr Atkins favorite desserts.  My second choice (once the fridge is emptier) is sugar free jello.  I make four, one cup servings.  And there is still some rhubarb sauce in the freezer.  Three excellent dessert choices.  I won't even miss the apple pie.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Breakfast Dilemma

The on going disturbance in this diet of mine.  Eating from the same food groups for extended periods of time and becoming sated on one food and needing a replacement.  I have been having a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich for about 10 days now.  I use a 4 net carb flax pita for the "bread" which is basically just the tool that makes it possible to eat this food out of hand.

I purchase two bags of HB eggs at Trader Joes, thinking that an HB egg or two would be a good breakfast or snack.  I ate two eggs, used four to make egg salad and now have the second bag of 6 eggs.  I don't actually want to eat them.  The salt content of the bacon and cheese in the bacon, egg and cheese is making my rings tight.  Today's breakfast of a ham and cheese roll up in a quarter piece of the flax lavash is still too salty, but I have to eat the ham and cheese before it goes bad.  I could have had a quarter portion of the cold leftover zucchini crust pizza.

Which gives me four choices for breakfast and none of them desirable.  I need to now locate a fourth or fifth "new" high fat and protein breakfast to add to the rotation.  Frittata?  Quiche without the crust?  Breakfast Casserole without the soaked bread? Extremely low carb cereal with soy milk.  Flax muffin with cream cheese or peanut butter.

I wonder that I could eat the same breakfast of shredded wheat or oatmeal for years and years, never tiring of either.  I would eat them again, joyfully, if it was possible.  Breakfast isn't a time when I look forward to eating cold meats or eggs.  But I do.  Just to fill my stomach and get on with my day.  That's how I look at this first meal of the day.  Just get it over with.  Wash it down with coffee.  Move on.

Why don't I just eat cereal you ask? Perfectly reasonable question.  Because, one hour after eating the cereal I am looking for "something" to eat.  I am hungry.  If, in the end, I am going to have to satisfy my food craving with the bacon, egg and cheese combo--why not just skip the cereal???  I can eat the BEC and not be looking for any (additional) food for 4 to 6 hours.

Lunch is easier.  Green salad with olive oil and vinegar.  Tuna plus mayo.  Chicken plus mayo.  HB egg plus mayo.  Ham and cheese rollup.  Leftover meatballs.  Cold chicken wings.  Leftover pulled pork. Peanut butter straight from the jar (2 Tablespoons) eaten off the spoon.  I have only one container of Bacon enhanced Garden Vegetable Soup left to eat.  It was best with added pot roast.  I also have two more servings of Induction Chili in the freezer.  I wonder how that would be mixed into the soup? I can see making another batch of soup as the garden winds down.  Which reminds me to go out and pick raspberries.  I have been meaning to try eating the raspberries with ricotta instead of yogurt, adding a scoop of protein powder to the ricotta.  Breakfast?  Dessert?

I searched the house for suitable fabric to repair two pair of G's favorite work pants.  I need a hand sewing project for the afternoon now that I have finished the 20th and final Cadfael book.  The mending stitch should be mindless enough.  I have no idea what I will read next.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite Birthday Present

My daughter found these two sweeties at the grocery store, of all places.  I showed them to Riley and now he is eager to make them his.  So they are up on the top shelf of the bookcase.  What is it he likes?  The little dot eyes?  That they are cats?  That I like them?

Today was Compost Class at work.  What fun.  I mentioned using limestone with juicy things (green) and my students got confused so I gave them a graphic reminder.  When "Bad People" are trying to get rid of dead bodies, what do they use?  Lime.  To hasten the decomp.  I suggested fertilizer to hasten the decomp of dry things (brown).  No wonder they enjoy the classes.  So graphic.  So weird.  That's me.  And we also discussed giant red wiggler worms.

The rest of the day was a "Big Snooze".   An 87 year old Deputy Sheriff who is also a cowboy?  Yes, we had that and chatting with him for a few minutes was quite a treat, but he had to eventually saddle up and follow his family to the local college art museum.  Tourist.

Supper was pizza.  I had to mix up the dough last night right before going to bed.  It wasn't as soft and elastic as the last two times.  But G said it was just as good.  I had made a zucchini crust about a week ago and baked it but never topped it.  So, I had that with onion, peppers, pepperoni and more cheese.  It's good.  Not great.  But chewy and crisp like a "real" pizza.

The weather here in Maine has been odd.  Cold rain.  Humid Buggy.  Hot Humid.  Buggy Overcast.  Dark Damp.  Muggy Rain.  Notice I never mentioned any Sun?  Tomorrow is supposed to be Cold Rain, followed by Hot Sunny Humid, followed by Overcast Buggy.  Can't wait.

I got a letter in the mail letting me know that Social Security was going to send me a Medicare Card.  Until they actually send me the card, I could go to the hospital with the letter as proof of coverage. There's a phone number in case the hospital I go to, doesn't want to accept the letter as proof.  Are there really people who turn 65 and immediately need to be hospitalized???  I guess there are.

I have finally made a huge dent in the number of ripe tomatoes that are sitting on the counter.  Tomorrow I make sauce and meatballs.  It's what G wants.  I kind of like meatballs, too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Good Day For A Long Nap

Riley had a busy day yesterday, as did I, and we both need a bit of "downtime" to recoup.  Riley had a long walk in the woods, in yesterday's rain.  I spent that same rainy time, out in the perennial yard for the annual "draw everything in tight" and "cut everything down" day.  Usually, I have help.  The Yard looked good when I looked back over my work from the parking lot.  I may need to tweak a few of the Iris so all the leaves are EXACTLY the same height.  That's how I roll.  At least I didn't snip my finger tip this year.

PLENTY of HOT water for my after work shower.  And we needed only 60 gallons of oil for the summer usage.  Instead of 150.  So the new furnace system is paying it's way already.  I won't be turning on the radiators for another 6 to 8 weeks.  That's what sweaters and socks are for in late autumn and early spring. I do my best to conserve oil.

Had my breakfast while watching Survivor on the computer.  We forgot to watch it Wednesday night (being 65 has already eroded my memory capacities).  I also have Project Runway to watch.  Last night we sampled "Person of Interest".  Very expensive production.  And we got to see the trailer for the US version of "Girl WithThe Dragon Tattoo".  Can't wait.  I had to do some major reshuffling of my TiVo Season Passes in order to get everything recorded that we want to sample last night.  We are giving the original CSI another chance now that the black guy is gone and Ted Danson is on.  I fell asleep a few times during CSI and was surprised, when I woke up, that it was still on.  Could it be that boring?  Yes, I think so.

I have a short trip into town on my agenda.  The library, the resale shop and Coldwater Creek for Spanx and to try on the new style of jeans with the short four inch zipper.  The Spanx because certain areas of my body are never going to get smaller and I need to "compress" those areas with Spanx.  Just like the movie stars do.  You do know they (movie stars) use a "fresh" pair every time for major compression?

The Blazer is almost ready to button, loose. (it already buttons looser than last month but not falling free over the hips)  Another two or three weeks.  I spent time this morning trying things on.  The circle skirt buttoned and zipped but would look best with some Spanx support in the tummy and saddlebag areas.  I'd also like one of those wrap around belts so I can wear my favorite size 20 wool blazer as a wrap (both sides folded over each other in front) with the belt to hold it closed.  I want it as a fall/winter coat type item.  And I am tempted by the ruffled edge sweaters I see in all the magazines.  In a golden yellow.

My clothing isn't color or style co-ordinated so it is difficult to pull together a "look" when nothing really fits together.  My best look is a pair of black knit pants and a work shirt.

I'm teaching a class in Composting tomorrow at 10 am and then I am working in the Tree & Shrub area of the business.  Which is something where I am VERY WEAK in knowledge.  So Saturday will be a struggle.  I will do the best I can and the boss will have to pitch in.

Riley will be wanting lunch and a 3 mile walk.  When was I going to take that nap?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seasonal Colors

My choices for the interior (glowing, glazes of orange and yellow) of the Spooky House and flat black for the outside.  Black Magic.  Who could pass that up? Not me.  Now to cover the dining room table with protective stuff and carry the dollhouse downstairs.  And start painting.

Here's a picture of the old and the new Spooky Houses.  The old was made from a cardboard box, lots of paint and quite a bit of glitter.  The original decor was glued on real seeds.  Which the mice in the attic ate. So these new "seeds" are Sculpty.  The original design was a gingerbread cookie house in a Martha Stewart catalog.  Very tiny.  This Spooky House has been at the local library for a number of Halloweens, a local school library, for just as many, and now at my husband's McD's.  It's looking it's age.  Parts are falling off and the parts that are still connected are seriously hot glued in place.  So, a new house.  With a working door.  I may be building a new house, but the original will always have a sweet spot in my heart.  I need to find a pointy piece of trim for the "peak" where the bat perches.  And decide how I will use all those plastic leg bones. And, if we want the thing "electrified".  So much work.  So much fun.

I also have a HUGE tray of ripe tomatoes to make into something. I have run out of freezer room, so I could attempt "canning" tomatoes which I think is difficult due to the acidity needed to keep it from going "foamy" and killing the family.  Or just make a huge batch of sauce and then, after Invisible Fence arrives, go buy ground beef and make a huge batch of meatballs.  They were super delicious last time.  I could possibly SQUEEZE a few freezer bags of meatballs and sauce into the freezer.  It's been a LONG time since I had so many tomatoes out of my garden.  Cute ones.  I could also peel and seed them and just freeze them that way.  No cooking until later when I use them.  Easier.

And I have a basket of the last of the yellow summer squash to slice and fry.  I'm running out of onions and olive oil. I have an hour right now and perhaps should make a run to the grocery???  Indecision.

The cooking makes SUCH a mess of the kitchen and of me.  Nearly all my tee shirts are spotted with tomato sauce.  I even have a large bag of green peppers to clean and slice and freeze.  And the raspberries. It could be worse. Patty could have been bringing over a bushel of grapes if they hadn't had a bad year.  At least the grapes turn into jelly.  In jars.  Not in the freezer.  And it's such a tiny freezer.

G and I finished the pot roast (it was a small one) and had a roast turkey breast last night.  Things are better around here if I have a large piece of meat roasting and add steamed vegetables from the garden to round things out.  We've just about finished all the green beans.  Still have carrots in the garden and beets. It's been a VERY productive garden this summer.

My boss said I was "missed" last week.  I mentioned I hadn't missed working last week.  Perhaps, not a comment I should have made?  And I found out I am teaching the three classes I wanted to teach.  Starting this Saturday.  Composting.  The mums at work look extra nice and we have almost all the pumpkins on display.  Pumpkins everywhere else are cheaper.  I have my own, even though the chipmunks have made tiny bite marks all over it, out of the garden.  All misshapen and orange.  I'll just cut holes everywhere there is a bite mark.  Pumpkins look good with three to six "eyes", right????

Okay, now I should be going to the grocery.  Or slicing squash and onions.  Or carrying the doll house downstairs.  Or reading blogs and drinking coffee.  Perhaps it is better going to work?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walking The Dog

I took my camera on the walk, thinking there would be something interesting to photograph for this post. Well, there were things I found interesting; to consider but not to photograph.  Lots of work is being done along the walk.  One very expensive house with extensive landscaping, had everything in the front bed ripped out (by the new owner).  Leaving three ordinary evergreens.  And I mean "ripped".  There was no digging to salvage the roses, dappled willows or smokebush.  Another house, in a lesser neighborhood, was having cedar stained clapboard removed and manufactured siding applied.  Really.

I didn't want to photograph either event.  I was sad that I had to even be witness to this work.  So, I took a picture of Riley trotting along on his blue leash.  On the grass.  Heading for the shade.  Notice the lack of pulling on the lead?  He really is a very good dog.

The entire 24 hours of my birthday was very, very nice.  In the sweet, untroubled way that some days pass. Everything sort of takes care of itself. At the very end of the day, I began the 20th and final Cadfael book. But, not wanting the reading to be over too quickly, I decided to watch "Becoming Jane" about what might have happened to Jane Austin before she wrote her first novel.  I would have to do research to see if any of it could be true, but the story itself was very much like her novels--without the happy ending.  I did read that Jane's sister burned all their correspondence when Jane died so there could be no way for anyone to know about their private lives.

Today, I had wanted to begin work on the Spooky House but first needed to clear the clutter off the dining room table (so I could set the house there for construction work) which took such a long time and isn't even completed (the table clearing, not house construction).  Then I decided to watch YouTube videos of Cadfael episodes.  I watched the Holy Thief and the Rose Rent.  I won't watch any more.  Now that I have pictured the characters in my head, it is difficult to see in a video.  And the plot is all messed with and scrambled.  A good person in the book was made into the evil villain. Why?

G is having a long day at work, his first after 9 days of vacation.  Always depressing and exhausting to return to work after a vacation.  My schedule for next week hasn't changed.  2 weekdays plus Saturday. I think I am going to be happy it isn't any more than that.  I return to work tomorrow at 7:30 am. All good things must come to an end.

The mailman brought a large pile of mail today.  None of it for me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's My Birthday Kitty Kat

My daughter helped me dig around in the toy box in the garage and she found all the Hello Kitty toys (I have limited patience).  I have two Kitty wrist bracelets.  One with blue ribbon is on my wrist as I type. I'm calling her Birthday Kitty. I used to have a huge Hello Kitty Doll and hope that someday I will find her in a box up in the attic.  I hate to think I gave her away.

Today has been quite lovely.  Nice emails from blog friends.  A long, sweet phone call from my son in California.  Toy box digging with my daughter.  Raspberry picking with my best dog Riley.  I was smarter this time and didn't set the raspberry basket down on the ground while I continued  to pick.  The basket was empty and Riley was smiling when I came back with a handful of berries that first time.  When I placed the basket on the cucumber trellis--Riley grumbled and left the garden.  He was only there for the raspberries.

I realized, at noon, that we didn't have any "food" for my birthday dinner so I rushed off to the grocery to buy a chuck pot roast and it is slowly getting tender in the oven.  I also bought three potatoes so G can have mashed potatoes with his pot roast.  I have the second half of a cabbage in my fridge (grown in my very own garden) which will soon become a very mayo cole slaw.  My favorite Birthday Dinner.  Pot Roast, Gravy and Cole Slaw.  No mash for me.  But I intend to make and eat a low carb Chocolate Cakelet later and make a wish when I blow out my candle.

I spent most of yesterday on the couch.  I woke up sneezing and had to medicate myself and that made me sleepy so I slept most of the morning and afternoon.  Waking up to eat and then sleeping some more.  I did manage to read the 19th book in the Cadfael series between naps and only have number 20 left.  I don't think there are any more.  I wish there was a Masterpiece Theater on PBS but our local is showing something else.  Boo!!

If today is any indicator of how my 65th year will be--- wow, it's going to be amazing!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scenes From A Life

My living room, looking out into the hall.  At the very back of the photo is a watercolor painting I purchased.  I met the artist and mentioned that I had one of her paintings.  She asked which one. I described it; fruit and flowers in a paper "wrap".  Oh, she said.  Not my favorite.  The cupboard to the left is Danish but purchased in Frankfurt.  The dollhouse at the rear right was bought as a kit and constructed one Christmas while G was home with us.  The little string of lights arranged to glow in each window is still going after all these years.

I think my Blogoversary is sometime soon.  Six years.  My birthday is Sunday.  Sixty Five years.  My anniversary was yesterday.  Forty Three years.  So many important dates and numbers.  I find myself reflecting and remembering this week.  I think the sorting thru the debris of my life for the Yard Sale got me into this frame of mind.  As did the filing for my Medicare Card.  Who thought I would get this old so soon?  I was noticing my neck today.  Not a good thing.

You, my readers, see my life as it is being lived.  Some days are humorous.  Some sad.  Some are interesting. Others are boring.  A life.  Shared.  Thank you for reading.  It keeps me going.  I should send "thank you comments" to the bloggers who make my days happier because they have posted, on their blogs. I know, from experience, that it is difficult to sit here at the keyboard and come up with something each day.  Thank goodness for the delete function.  And the new spell check (even though it jumps ahead and spells words I had no intention of using).

There are times when I want to write something, just to connect with someone out there in the world.  Just to let the Universe know I am still here.  Tonight is one of those times.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Remain Calm

Gem has asked me, begged me, to stop the Atkins Diet.  I can't answer her in an email as her address is unknown to me.  So, I will answer her, here.

I haven't been eating enough or as often as I need to due to trying to mesh my schedule with my husbands this week while we "vacation" at home.  He eats breakfast at 8 and lunch at 3 pm.  Supper between 6 and 7pm.  This is havoc for me. And I make it worse if I eat a meal with less than the necessary amount of fat/protein. Carbs make me HUNGRY.

My ENTIRE LIFE, I have eaten cereal, bread, flour based desserts, sugar, starchy vegetables and dairy. A few hours after eating a giant serving of cereal (2.5 times the serving size on the box) and milk, I would be looking for a snack to get me along until I could eat lunch.  Then an after lunch snack until supper, usually chips.  Then something while watching television like an entire bag of popped corn.

Like an Alcoholic looking for the next drink.  My family has a predilection for alcohol.  My grandfather (all his cousins), my father and my youngest brother were all drunks.  My nephew belongs to AA.  We come by addiction naturally.

It isn't lost on me, that they serve strong coffee and VERY SUGARY PASTRIES at AA meetings.  They replace the addiction to alcohol with the placebo of sugar.  Sugar and Flour. My 86 year old father started each day with a pot of strong coffee and a couple of donuts.  My dad is the only one in my family that didn't keep right on drinking himself to death.

I have eliminated Sugar, Flour, Starchy Vegetables, Pasta and Rice from my diet for nearly five months now.  And I am experiencing NO FOOD CRAVINGS.  For the FIRST time in my life.  I am in control of my appetite.  In control of my life.  It feels amazing.

Some people walking and living on Planet Earth were not meant to eat wheat, sugar, starchy vegetables.

I am "learning" to enjoy eating meat.  Not huge piles of meat.  Regular serving amounts.  I try to eat eggs. I eat a limited amount of cheese each day.  I have an enormous green salad each day.  I am drinking more and more water each day (with extra lemon squeezed into it), and I am "regular", finally.

Today, I wore my size 14 jeans.  They were always snug when I did wear them.  They aren't now.  I am NOT thin.  I am not losing lots of weight.  I am losing FAT. And that makes me look different.  I still have all my muscles. All my hair.  I can easily lift 40 pound deadweight bags of soil and lime.  Don't worry.  I am fine.

And, no, even though I have a closet full of alcohol, I rarely drink any. Bottles last a long time at my house.

Today is my 43rd Wedding Anniversary.  G & I signed up for Medicare Part A today (and did the prep work to be ready for next year when we sign up for Social Security).  Then we shopped at the Artist Supply and had a lovely lunch.  I had chicken, artichokes, proscuitto, mushrooms and capers in a lemon butter sauce.  Sauteed spinach instead of the pasta.  And a Caesar salad.  Dessert was a small serving of chocolate ganache and whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This magazine picture has been on my desk for a week now.  I bumped up the color because I like an orange based picture on the new blog background.  I cut this image from the magazine, for my daughter.  She needs a built in set up for all the books she owns.  And it needs to be painted white.  Her house is small and dark brown book cases are rather overwhelming.  Her boyfriend has worked as a carpenter.  I think he should be helpful and build the book cases.  That's what I think.  Let's leave it at that.

This staycation has been problematic for me.  I am tired. Sleepy. Not much interested in the various outdoor (dirty) chores that G is working on.  Once I get out there and help; I am okay with it.  Getting me out there is getting more difficult each passing day.  I do have five newly trimmed windows to prime and paint.  I have a great deal more wall paper to pull off the walls.  I have a set of vintage maple twin beds to strip and refinish (from my childhood).  Walls to paint.  Miles to go.

I am not eating enough, often enough.  I am tired of all the food items that usually were "good enough" in the last five months.  Now, I am tired of them and want something different.  I know I want soups and chili but the carb content is keeping me away so far.  And I like tiny pasta or beans in my soups.   I know I can make my Vegetable Soup right now.  Green beans, carrots, onion, zucchini and tomatoes are all coming out of my garden right now.  And the cabbages I harvested are in the fridge.  All I need is BACON!!!

On that note, I am off to clean myself up (we've been digging) and get to the bank, library, haircut and then to the grocery for a few needed items.  Like BACON!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shifting Seasons

G & I are on "vacation" this week.  At home, doing chores we never have time or energy to do while working.  And the new Fall TV Season is beginning and I had to go on line to find out what's ON.  I discovered a few favorites are missing.   I am also making the daily pot of marinara from the ripest tomatoes.  I had that going by 9 am this morning.  I was up early to fill the "water test" bottle. My home is one of the test subjects for lead contamination.  So far, in the 20 years we have participated, the test is always good.  No lead.

The cable guy came by (9am) to check out whatever is going wrong with the new Digital Cable.  Seems we didn't have enough "umph" or power for the signal.  Now we do.  And he switched the computer to the faster outlet and the TV to the slower.  And he happily switched us to the Digital Preferred package of cable channels and I now have BBC America.  I watched, on the computer, the three episodes of The Hour that I wasn't able to watch without paying $4.95 each (for one viewing).  Lovely!!  Well worth $17.98 extra a month.  It's my birthday. (soon)  I love my new cable channels.

We worked too.  One cord of firewood was unstacked, tossed into the truck and then unloaded across the street in our neighbor's yard.  I'm allergic to wood smoke so we never used the wood except when we had an ice storm and no heat.  Then we cleaned out the mouse nests and other strange things that were in the wood pile and G took two loads of junk out into the woods (ours).  Mostly bark, rotten wood and weeds. G walked the dog and ran the rototiller around the shed.  He didn't get around to applying mulch.

I carried a whole bunch of boxes down from my Yard Sale cleaning in the attic last week.  Today was recycling Pick Up and I wanted to get everything made of paper or cardboard out there.  The truck crew sorted out the non recycle stuff.  A Grimace pen, a rake head, some fabric and some foam.  They tried the pen to see if it worked before throwing it into the reject box.  G found an extra big box of Happy Meal toys in the basement.  Barbies!!!  Matchbox cars!!!! Legos!!!!   I'm excited about the number of Cute Toy Wreaths I will be able to make this Christmas.  Great to donate to fund raisers.

When we do the Staycation thing, G likes to eat out every day.  Last night it was Memphis BBQ and tonight it was BackStreet Bistro.  I had the bistro steak and requested a "special" dessert.  Whipped cream, chocolate sauce and almonds.  These are things I can have on Atkins.  I looked at the menu and saw all these items as additions to the listed desserts.  It was delicious, filling and a perfect ending to a lovely meal.

I have only three or four more Cadfael books to read.  That's my summer.  I plan to read the Roman Zen books this winter.  Nice to have a plan.  If we can figure out how to get the Tivo to acknowledge the new channels, I will be recording any and all past episodes of the British version of Law and Order.  I just may watch everything on BBC.  They have cooking shows also.  Such fun.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September Twelfth

I spent the 11th as I did that first time.  At work.  I remember driving to work ten years ago yesterday.  I remember the total silence.  No planes.  No birds.  Total silence.  I remember the flags.  Everywhere.  On cars. Flying from the backs of trucks. In people's hands.  Set out on the curb to wave, to show support.  I remember each day, at the time of the first plane, the church bells tolling.  This went on for so many days.  I remember the elderly library patrons, unable to speak when they came to return or pick up books that day.  Tears running down their cheeks.  Pearl Harbor.

It made me think, then, and now.  How do the People in the countries America has invaded, bombed and terrorized feel?  How does what we experienced compare?  It doesn't.  We, as a country, have no idea what it is to be "terrorized".  I didn't watch any of the "tributes".  I didn't sit in front of the television watching the event repeated.  2400 souls lost in the Trade Center.  How many Americans have died in Afghanistan and Iraq?  That should be what we REMEMBERED yesterday.

And, more to the point, how many have we killed in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yard Sale Wrap Up

What a long and exhausting few days.  The prep work for finding things for the sale grew into large scale clearing and cleaning.  Many trips to the recycling can.  Many more piles of trash.  The end result? I can actually SEE the floor in the "box room".   And several boxes from moves in the 1980's have been opened.

The day of the yard sale opened on the chilly, damp side but soon warmed up to a lovely sunny Saturday.  My daughter's neighborhood (a U shape of three short streets) was packed with cars.  At times, traffic was bottlenecked and we had cars backing up to make way for cars moving in the opposite direction.

Daughter and I began with four tables and two tarps out on the lawn.  We ended with two tables and no tarps.  G and I took four boxes to Goodwill at 2 pm and brought home four boxes.  The stuff we had left was either: really awful or very nice.

I returned home with things I hadn't actually wanted to part with yet.  Nice things.  A few good pictures. 30 year old mugs from Germany still in perfect condition after YEARS of daily use.  In fact, daughter and I recounted the holidays etc, when these items were always in use.  I think I brought home the things I regretted having even brought to the sale.  Perhaps my ambivalent feelings created a field around them--keeping people from buying?

We discovered that moving a few items to new locations made those items candidates for quick sales by new shoppers.  I kept suggesting we "merchandise" the exercise machine (five dollars) but Daughter refused.  Finally she hung a few items on the handles and within 10 minutes (REALLY) we had sold the darned machine.  For Five dollars!!!   There were moments when we both were gobsmacked by what people will buy.

We made $150.  And split it.  We sold WAY MORE than anyone else.  But we sold a lot of stuff for 25 cents and 50 cents and one dollar.  The objective was to "get rid" of stuff and not "make money".  I didn't make enough for a recliner like Paula managed but if we had had more furniture and lamps and some gas powered lawn tools we could have purchased a nice Laziboy.  If we, either one of us, had wanted one.

My daughter found a brand new condition wheelchair for $20 for a client.  She was over the moon happy about this as they have been struggling to get this child a new chair.  Daughter walked on air the remainder of the day.  She was that happy.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bountiful Garden

This is the harvest G & I pulled from the garden in a few moments last evening.  Look at those carrots!!! I need to make another pot of marinara sauce this morning to eliminate as many over ripe tomatoes as possible.  These are Early Girl and they are really nice tomatoes.  I also like the Arkansas Traveler.  Same size as EG but a beautiful rose color and excellent taste.   At the bottom of this basket, I have some ugly but delicious Mortgage Lifters and Brandywine.  Big.  Very delicious.  Very nasty looking so they will all go into the sauce pot.  As you can see (peeking out from under the carrots)  the new crop of beans has just started producing.  Yellow beans.  I planted a mixed selection of beans for my second planting.  So far, just the yellow are ready for picking.  I also have a good crop of beets ready to be pulled.

I think I made the right choices this year.  Plant only the things we really enjoy eating.  Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, beans, carrots and beets.  And squash.   My accidental pumpkin is turning orange and is getting bigger every time it rains.  So my Halloween pumpkin is taken care of.  I have to work on the cucumber production.  I am NOT getting more than one or two a day which is very meager.  The squash have slowed down also.   I need more zukes for zucchini pizza crust!!

I am also working on the yard sale inventory.  Great deal of baskets.  Lots of mugs (Wachtersbach and Mary Englebreit).  A box of decorative items.  Next up: the craft part of the attic.  I know I have rug hooking supplies up there.  Yarn.  And a huge bag of fabric remnants that people can dig around in (excellent for Halloween costumes).   I am not sure on the pricing so I am going to add stickers and tags and then write on them tomorrow morning after consulting with my daughter.  I have a tendency to price too low.  I also have a huge pile of framed "art".  Some I will keep (for the frame) but some of the frames aren't my taste anymore.  It's all very time consuming.  And I have the dog walk.

My Work List so far.  Marinara Sauce.  Attic.  Tags & Stickers.  Dog Walk.

The Toy Collection for the Really Cute Toy Wreath Project is coming along.  I found some more plastic toys yesterday and a co worker is donating a 50's Barbie garland.  Little Barbies about 5 inches tall.  Just what I needed as I didn't have any Barbies.  Now I need some Star Wars stuff.  Matchbox Cars.  If I had great piles of this stuff, I would use it at work to make Toy Wreaths to sell.  I do have some toddler sized Duplo blocks to use as filler.  A nice set of colored, toddler Legos would be an excellent find.  These are things I will look for tomorrow at the Yard Sale.  And later at Big Lots.

I may even "shop" for Halloween junk and make a very exuberant Halloween Wreath.  Spiders, Skeletons, Pumpkins, Ghosts etc.  I think Joann's and the Dollar Stores.  Plastic Vampire Teeth.

I LOVE a good, fun project!!!  And I LOVE the glue gun.  Except for burning my fingers which always happens.  Time to get the marinara started.  Then the house can smell delicious.

There is a link in the comments of the last post for a Toy Wreath that Kate from Barn of Opportunity made.  You have to scroll down until you find it on her site.  Pretty darned cute.  Have a Happy Day!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Yard Sale or Super Cute Toy Wreath?

Being a McD's family, we have lots of interesting Happy Meal Toys up in the attic.  Beanies.  But enough cute plastic stuff to make a repurposed "toy embellished" wreath.  The glue gun will be needed here.  I love that I have three ants.  And I found a Buzz Lightyear, my favorite, in two sizes.  Now I don't have to "want" one every time we pass the toy aisle @ Target.   It's crazy the way I get fixated on something.

The sunroom is filling up with really nice stuff for the Yard Sale.  Perhaps, too nice?  I don't remember seeing any really nice stuff at any yard sale I have ever attended.  But I may not have gotten there "early" enough.  Which doesn't bother me very much, as the stuff still there around noon, is the stuff I like best, anyway.  Now, I have to price it all correctly.  Not too high and not too low.  Just Right.

G and I went to the Sea Dog for supper tonight (dinner is lunch and supper is at the end of the day according to Cadfael) and I wore a pair of Boyfriend Jeans.  Too big, rolled up cuffs, men's jeans.  And a men's work shirt.  Everything loose. Everything worn and soft.  No wedgies.  No pulling buttons over the chest.  No waist band cutting off circulation.  My BF jeans never belonged to any boyfriend of mine.  They came from Goodwill long ago and used to FIT. TIGHT.  Now, they slide down at the waist.  It doesn't get much better that this, I tell you!

G and I had French Onion Soup.  G had the crouton.  I did not.  We sat out on the deck watching the high water rush by.  We watched a spider and saw a Cedar Waxwing.  A Very Pleasant Evening.

I have walked the dog six days now (out of 8). Three miles for each walk.  Riley is not pulling on the leash and is sometimes walking behind me.  I used to walk him 3 miles every single day.  I feel badly about my neglect. Riley has also gained weight because of not walking.  10 pounds.  Which is quite a bit for a dog.  The vet says any added weight shortens the dog's life.  So, I need to get that weight off the dog PDQ. We want Riley to live as long as possible.  I want to live as long as possible.

Yesterday, at work, was one of those phrenetic experiences that leaves everyone exhausted.  Our boss had two days worth of "projects" for everyone to do in one day.  Like a Chinese Firedrill.  Everyone running around.  I had to make coffee for a class (which never happened), order mums over the phone (as an emergency order) and clear out all the buggy houseplants.  That's when I decided to tune out and scrub down the empty shelves with Simple Green.  I sprayed, scrubbed with a broom, rinsed, scrubbed, and rinsed.  Now, any bug remains are gone.  I feel much better with that area of shelving clean.  I just wish I had time to keep going and wash and scrub all the shelving.  And the floor where "people" leave the hoses without turning the water off at the source.  The dripping, fertilized water creates a lovely mossy growth on the cement floor.  Spores.  Mold.  Etc.  While spraying and scrubbing I had to stop to choke and cough.  As I was leaving work, I heard a radio call that two high school boys were going to be working in the greenhouse, after I left, "cleaning".  Tomorrow should be interesting.

I am going to do some laundry.  Some ironing.  Some dog walking.  Some cooking of G's supper.  Chicken Marsala.  Some hand sewing.  If I manage to leave the house, I would like to buy some spring rods so I can hang curtains in the bedroom.  Until we paint and buy new blinds.  Until, I paint.  The open windows bother me.  Especially in the bathroom.  I also have much more wall paper to pull down.  I keep thinking I "need" to shop in the Thrift Stores, but, really, I have clothes to wear.  I don't need any more. I think shopping is a compulsive thing.  I have enough. I have enough. I have enough.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Whole Lot Of Burning Squirrel

No Picture.  This morning Riley tried to wake me up at 6:30 just before it started to rain.  I got up to let him outside and then we both went back to bed.  I woke up a short while later to a loud "chirp" from the phone. Then nothing.  I later discovered the chirp meant we had lost power.  I waited two hours and then was so in need of hot coffee, that I hooked up the rotary phone and called the power company.

Our STREET was without power.  Not a town or area.  Just a STREET. Eleven houses.  So they sent out a truck and, no kidding, 10 minutes after I called, the power was back.  And the phone calls started.  The Power Company is obviously trying to be customer service oriented today.  Ahem!

The power outage was caused by a "dead squirrel".  I don't think it was dead when it made contact with the transformer.  But I certainly think it was "dead" after.  Smoking hot and very dead.  The majority of the outages on my street are Burning Squirrel related.  Sometimes we can even see the smoking little corpse next to the pole.

In secondary news, I seem to be experiencing "hot flashes" for the first time, evah, in my life.  Can you really begin menopause at 65?  If so, then I "began" a few days ago.  Very strange.  I don't like it.  It's summer, how much clothing can you take off, when you don't have that much on to begin with?????  I am, by nature, a cold blooded person.  I have been know to wear a sweater in the summer.  So, getting all warm, suddenly, makes me dizzy and nauseated.  I have to lie flat, to get my blood pressure back into the normal/low range.  The wave of heat hits me and the blood pressure drops like a rock.

During the power outage (house) and power surges (body), I am collecting things for the weekend yard sale with my daughter.  So many lovely items.  Perhaps too nice???  So, far I have looked for things in the dish cupboard, on top of the cabinets (baskets), in drawers etc.  Most everything, so far, is stuff I bought while living in Germany.  I will be going up into the attic after posting, to see what I can find up there.  I had also filled a box a few months ago, and want to see if those items are still here.  G tends to throw my things away and hoard his things.

It's comforting to hear the refrigerator humming away.  And see the little digital numbers on the microwave.  The hot coffee is nice also.

Could the waves of heat and nausea be caused by a drop or spike in sugar levels?  I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and even though I buy sugar free cereal, the grains have sugars in them that I am not used to ingesting.  I usually feel better after eating a one ounce cheese stick.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Another Orange Block

This one isn't completed yet.  I'm thinking this will be the "base" for something MORE.  I have no good ideas as yet, so it will wait for inspiration. Buttons didn't work. LOL. Yes, I do have a great deal of orange in my collection.  It's an amazing color.  Lights up with the addition of greens, golds or bright blues.  And that hot fuchsia is doing a number over in the right bottom corner.  I also noticed a preference (ha) for circles or other round things.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my 12 by 12 Orange Reveal.  Made me very happy. i even bought two large, sweet carrots when I went to the grocery yesterday.  Not Atkins, but I wanted carrots in my salads this week.

Saturday.  And I am not working.  At work.  I am working here at home.  Tonight is Pizza Night so I have to pre bake the zucchini crust for my pizza.  The fridge is doing it's 24 hour thing with the Alton Brown dough for G's pie.  Worked much better in the mixer last night.  I wonder what I did wrong last time?

My daughter called early this morning to let me know her "very cute and charming" neighborhood is having a Block Garage Sale next weekend.  And my daughter wanted to know if I would like to share her yard (and the sale duties) with her.  If there are two of us, we can each "go shop" the other sales.  I think this is a fantastic opportunity for me to get rid of the large collection of baskets I have stored in the attic and  on top of the kitchen cabinets.  And the assorted knick knacks that one collects between house moves.

I am having serious allergy issues.  My nose is running and my eyes are itching and I am sneezing.  It could be the wood dust from the windows or transferred mold spores.  It could be anything. I am miserable. It doesn't help things to not be able to open those little foil packages the allergy pills come in.  I just had to attack the foil with a kitchen knife.  I am going to take two pills.  The worst that can happen is I will fall asleep and right now that would be better than being awake.  I am carrying a roll of heavy duty paper towels around with me for the runny nose.

Riley is being sort of patient.  He wants his walk.  I want to wait a bit longer.  It's like the OK Corral Stand Off here.  That dog can stare like nobody's business.  I intend to pre bake my zucchini crust and then go walking so the dog will have to stare me down for another hour.  By then the Benadryl should have kicked in.  I'm going to sign off now, wash my hands real good and then squeeze the water out of the grated zucchini and mix it with egg and cheese and get it into the oven.  Each time I make this crust I use a larger pan.  That's how much I like it.

Got to work tomorrow.  Hope I feel better.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Friend Of Twelve by Twelve- Orange Reveal

When I think of the color orange, I think of carrots or oranges.  Since my garden still contains carrots (and my tiny orange trees have only marble sized green orbs) I went for carrots.

This is all hand, needle turned appliqué. I love, love, love the way needle turn looks and feels when you run your fingers over the surface. The blue fabric is my own painted fabric.  Everything else is commercially printed.  I had intended to add more of the feathery carrot leaves but doing embroidery on the painted fabric was very very difficult.  Let's pretend a woodchuck has trimmed all the carrot tops, shall we?

This little quilt was so much fun to make.  I am all excited about making a few more of these this month while there are still things growing in the garden.  Beets!  Lettuce!  Turnips!  I, luckily, have a nice half yard of the "dirt" fabric and most of the half yard of sky blue I painted.  The green is in short supply.  I have a 4 inch square scrap.  I will try painting some yellow green.

To all the Twelves, thank you for your kindness, friendship and the opportunity to "play along" for all these years.  My collection of quilts is like a scrapbook of happy memories which I will always cherish.