Monday, January 30, 2012

More Fiber in 2012

In more ways than one.  Most of my readers got to this blog by way of the Art Quilting Ring button.  So it seems only fair to have Fiber Content here on a more regular basis.  Less talk and more Art.  No, not really.
Same amount of talk as usual with extra art. And one or two prunes with breakfast.

This is the bottom half of my 12 by 20 Metamorphosis piece due on February 12th.  It needs help.  I think I will need to sit and wonder about improvements in the next few days.  The top and bottom parts of the piece are not "playing" well with each other.

Riley is experiencing vacation re entry also, I think.  Perhaps there were things about the Sleepover Camp experience that he really enjoyed more than home.  And there are things he likes, loves, about home which he didn't care for at Sleepover Camp.  He seemed quiet and perhaps a bit sad today, but perked up when I got dressed to walk him.  I think he misses having all the small dogs climbing all over him in the open play area at Sleepover Camp.  That's what happened.

G arrived home after his first day back at work.  All the senior citizens (most of his customer base eats the Dollar Menu) asked him if he's bought a place down in Florida while he was gone.  We did think of looking but waited too long to get started.  Then we were too busy.  A nice condo is available within walking distance of our friend's home.  2 bedroom and 2 baths. We didn't get a chance to go look at it.  Now is the time to buy as everyone is going belly up and the folks who want to buy, can't get a loan.  Yes, that's right.  Lowest mortgage rates in history and no one wants to lend money.  You can get an adjustable rate but not a fixed 30 year loan.  That's Florida.  Even the guy building that huge house next door can't get a fixed loan.

I used the "on special" ground Angus beef ($2.05 per pound) to make an enormous pot of meatballs and red sauce.  They smell wonderful.  G is boiling his Italian pasta and my zucchini julienne is salted and getting limp.  Almost dinner time.  And then a quick trip to Staples for some supplies for G's work.  We have recordings of the fourth episode of Downton Abbey to watch and a mess of Sherlock Holmes. And I am half way through my Swedish mystery.  I never had time to read while I was gone.  Always someone to have a conversation with.  Never talked so much as I did last week.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Feels Good To Be Home

Riley is enjoying his morning, on his bed.  He has even been snoring softly.  I think his dog snores are some of the sweetest sounds, especially today.  Yesterday was a blur.  G and I were both exhausted from the plane rides and then the stuff we needed to do to "get back" into this life.  The grocery store wasn't what I would call "a good time" and it was very expensive to restock the house.  Everything, yesterday, seemed very expensive.  We watched some TiVo and were tucked into bed by 10 pm.

My headache is gone (mostly).  I have almost everything we took on vacation washed, a new battery in the scale (up 3.5 pounds), the floors need a vacuum, the Christmas tree needs to be hauled outside and the bathrooms need a complete scrubbing.  That's my list for the coming week along with shirts to iron.

The 12 by 20 project is being revealed on Feb 12 so I need to work on that.  See how the piece has "aged" as it sat pinned to the design wall while I was away.  I also promised some fabric art pictures to my friend's mom.  I taught her to quilt and she has made more quilts than I could even dream of making.  Now, she wants to see the things I make.  Via, the internet.

G has been on the internet looking at the expensive coffee maker our friends had in Florida.  The coffee was excellent.  One cup at a time.  A refurbished (used) one is "only" $600.  I think they cost several thousand, new.  Another friend has ordered three.  One for each of his houses.  See, we just can't keep up and I don't even want to try.

G is taking a shower and we'll, all three of us, be going out for a walk in the woods when he is done and dressed.  The sun is shining and it's somewhere in the 30's.  Very, very unusual for Maine in late January. February is right on our doorstep.   I need to make a few lunch dates with friends.  My daughter wants us to see a movie together (One For The Money) and we'd like to treat her to a nice dinner for all the driveway shoveling.  February sounds busy already, huh?

I stayed true to the low carb diet while on vacation and didn't eat pizza, French baguette or Italian pasta while everyone around me DID.  I did treat myself to a serving of dark chocolate gelato at the end of a huge party meal on Las Olas Blvd at Cafe Europa.  That was my only splurge.  And it was totally divine. I ventured off the diet to have wonderful grapefruit, honeydew melon and two juicy peaches.  I told everyone to just ignore me and go about ordering what they wanted and enjoyed.  They did.  I ordered what I wanted and we were all happy.  I think the extra pounds are from all the wine and cocktails.  I tried to order mixed drinks that didn't contain too much sugar, but even a little will certainly mess up the Atkins Diet.  Now, I can just resume normal (low carb) eating and move on.  I thought it was going to be impossible to stay on the plan, but it was very easy.

I wrote here that I was saddened and perplexed that no one mentioned my weight loss.  But after reading the comments made by my most thoughtful Readers, I now agree that I am still the Joanne they know and love and that was all that was important about me.  Not my weight.  They were just as kind and sweet to me when I was a size 2X as they were this past week. And my short grey hair was what they spoke of most.  Too short.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm Back

A wonderful visit.  So happy I went.  A suntan plus some sun poisoning but no (or not much) sunburn.  Both of us have terrible headaches and I am having some residual "wave" from the boat trip.  I feel like I'm still at sea.  Must be an inner ear thing.

We have no food in the house.  The dog came home just now and wanted a WALK pronto pronto so G has taken him away.  His dog bed is wet so the parts I can wash and dry are in the washer.  My plants have done well in my absence and just needed watering.  I'm hungry.  Must eat something.

I followed my diet as best I could (meat, eggs, cheese, almonds) but there were cocktails served every evening at 5 and lots and lots of very good "table" wine as the Miami wine snob described the bottles. My clothing fits but I fear the scale will report an increase when we replace the battery.  The airplane seat seemed narrower on the return flights.

We went out to eat most days and had some incredibly wonderful food.  I purposely did not take my camera, otherwise there would be boat pictures, food pictures and water view pictures.

The house was magnificent and made the re-entry to my little house here very depressing.  I miss the marble floors, the stairway (marble) to the second floor with balconies, the elevator, the pool and the Italian coffee maker (oh, that was pretty wonderful all on it's own).  I also miss the walk in showers, gorgeous towels and Koehler fixtures.  The kitchen with the huge Wolf restaurant range complete with red knobs.  The freezer drawers and the built in steamer.  Perfectly steamed vegetables.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Still Doodling

I decided that a full page doodle was way too much pressure for me to endure.  So I divided the page into smaller 1 by 2 inch spaces.  Sometimes I do one and sometimes I do more.  I added color to the first but haven't been tempted to do that in the others.

I was up earlier than usual this morning. Shower and then dressed and trotted out to the car to make a quick trip to the grocery and return books to the library.  I had only a full, unopened quart of Eggbeaters and didn't want to open it for just one final breakfast.  It would have spoilt by the time I got back home.  Now I have plants to water and tend to, my summer clothes to try on and pack in my little carryon.  I also have to pack for the dog.  That trip into Town was easier once I slid down my driveway (one long sheet of ice). It rained last night just before the sun set and the temps dropped.  Perfect.

I have spoken to the dog and told him of the wonderfulness of his coming "vacation" but he is not having any of it.  I can see the unease in his eyes.  Perhaps, mirroring the unease in mine.  I'd rather be staying at home as well. I am comforting myself with chocolate mousse made from heavy cream, Splenda and chocolate.  A bit loose.  I actually got out the mixer and tried to get the stuff to stiffen up--no takers.

I have house checkers (multiples) standing by.  I have someone picking up mail and newspapers. Now I must bid you adieu and get my checklist ticked off.  I finished my book this morning after breakfast.  Shardlake escaped death by drowning yet again.  And Henry VIII only had another 6 months to live.  Could this be the end of the series?

I'll be back before you know it.  G is setting in motion all that I will need to post on the road if I want.  We'll see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday, Tuesday

Up early. Snow, slush covered streets.  Haircut appointment. Driving was a bit greasy. Then Library.  Then Bank.  Then had my glasses tuned up since the accident when I hit myself in the side of the head with clothes dryer door.  Then Health Food Store to see if they carry Peanut Flour.  No. But they did have peanut butter powder in a jar.  Which turns into peanut butter when you add water.  And I am thinking can be used as peanut flour if I wanted to try one of Candice's recipes. Then Vet to get Riley's shot records and his heart worm pills.  Then shoveled out the bottom of the driveway. Then salted the porch steps (very icy).  Walked the dog.  Ate lunch (two ham and cheese rollups and a grapefruit).  No.  That was my breakfast at noon.  Had chocolate pudding for lunch at 3 with a handful of raw almonds.  Sugar Free.

I was tempted to try to use the snow thrower on the driveway (3 inches of new snow this morning) and spent a good bit of time reading the instructions on the machine and trying to find the switches and levers mentioned in the instructions.  Then, I decided to wait for G.  I think I made the right decision.

Stayed up very late last night reading the Tudor mystery.  It's a big, thick book.  Lots of plot.  Today I will be enjoying the sea battle between the English and the French at Portsmouth and the toppling over of the Mary Rose and drowning of 500 soldiers and sailors because they covered the decks in mesh so they were all trapped and died.  Screaming.  I get quite an education in historical facts.  The mesh seemed like such a good idea until the boat tipped over while turning.  It would have been a disaster if the top side had caught fire also.  All to keep those tricky Frenchmen from boarding the big ships.  The English had 40 to 50 ships of various sizes and the French had a couple hundred.  What was Big Fat King Henry VIII smoking when he decide to declare war???  That's my question.

The weather during our dog walk today was quite mild.  31 degrees, I think.  The warmth softened the snow and Riley enjoyed climbing up and down the roadside piles.  He's such a good dog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Doodles

This is a photograph of a magazine clipping.  Quite a large piece of art in "real" life but here in my journal just a reminder to try this effect in one of the doodles I am working on this month.  I have two started.  Neither is anything I want to share.  They are doodles.  And, doodles are not something I normally do or am comfortable doing.  My journal pages are filling up nicely at the end of the Chinese Year.  This journal was started on the eve of the Year of the Rabbit.  Will end on the eve of the Year of the Dragon.

The temperatures overnight were single digits (even negative digits)  but the sun is shining this morning making the 9 degrees seem warmer somehow.  Riley has gone outside.  Yesterday morning, he refused to go out.  G and I didn't take the dog for a walk as the snow's surface has a hard, sharp crust of ice.  It rained a bit on Friday afternoon, just enough to make a bad situation much worse.  Our driveway is rutted with ice. Dangerous for walking.  Disaster for me when attached to an eager 90 pound dog.

I got the dining room table cleared, laundry done, the floors vacuumed (g) and managed a delightful, delicious and filling dinner last night.  We (g) grilled hamburgers outdoors, I fried bacon and then caramelized onions in the bacon fat.  My two burgers were served topped with cheese, mayo and pickles.  Then I piled on the bacon and onion.  It was so good.  So, so good. G had his two burgers with toasted rolls.  Then we watched Downton Abbey on PBS.  A perfect Sunday.

Tomorrow I need to venture out in the car and get my haircut.  I also need to have my glasses frames adjusted as I whacked myself in the head with the dryer door yesterday.  And my scale finally needs a new lithium battery.

The internet is working.  G unplugged everything and then slowly reacquainted the router and everything else to the others.  We have our fingers crossed.  No email has appeared in my inbox but G has gotten some.  That is usually my only indication of life outside the boundaries of this house, this desk top.

I have a good book to read and a few things to finish up.  I have vacation packing to do and a dog bed cover to make for Riley to take with him to boarding.  Or I can let him take one of his three house beds with him.  I don't know what I want to do, yet.  And then there is supper to plan and prepare.  I am thinking Mushroom Pasta with dried and fresh mushrooms or perhaps pizza for G.  For me, a package of Trader Joe's sautéed onions and peppers with the remainder of the frozen Perdue cooked chicken strips.  It's almost 11 am and I haven't even had my breakfast yet.  Or my first cup of coffee.

I need to make meals that finish up all the fresh foods in the fridge.  Especially the stuff that is in open containers like Eggbeaters, cream and sour cream.  I will be going thru everything after breakfast and making a list of what I need to finish eating.  I also have avocados.  Three.  And limes.  I forgot to buy jalapeños.  Now---- I must prepare breakfast.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Internet

Oh, how I miss you when things go away.  We are having trouble connecting to our wireless router.  We get it going and then the connection slips away and is lost for the remainder of the day.  Neither G or I understand the reasons (if there are any) or can see a solution.  We have shut off the iPhone and iPad.

I am taking the opportunity to write this post while things are working and then file last week's unemployment claim.  The sun is shining.  The temperature is minus 2.  The dog is staying inside.  Yesterday, The three of us tramped thru the ice crusted snow for the daily walk in the woods.  Riley did best of all with four legs.  G and I struggled but at least had a path cut by someone's cross country skis to follow.  Today, the walk will be harder as things are frozen deeper and harder.

I started my day with a huge breakfast.  No cheese.  Grapefruit, eggs and sausage, an almond flour MIM with too many blueberries.  Not enough sweetener (in fact, none).  I seem to have regained my "regularity".  I consumed all the roasted Whole Food beets with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Because we are going away next week, I don't have as much food in the fridge.  Less choices for my meals.  Not a good thing.  I am eating too many handfuls of raw almonds.

I think I will take the lights off the Christmas Tree today (or tomorrow), vacuum the floors, take a shower, clean my bathroom,  go into my nearly empty former workspace and take a look at the 12 by 20 piece I started on.  I DO NOT like 12 by 20.  The proportion is very awkward.  After the reveal I will, almost certainly, cut 4 inches off the length.  12 by 16.  More pleasing to the human eye.  I know it's a challenge, but, go ahead, cut yourself a piece of batting 12 by 20 and tell me how you will compose something that works at the top and all the way to the bottom.  And where will you place the horizon line?  And the 20 has to be running north to south.

I haven't been diligent with the circles on squares (now that I know I have too many).  I could take them with me on vacation.  Along with the little ovals.  Who knows.

I'll be back when I have service.  Cheerio!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Colorful Threads

No new photograph as I have no idea how long I will have internet service.  We keep losing contact with the wireless.  I managed, yesterday and today, to get the thing working, but it only takes a second of inactivity (like taking a picture) to lose the connection.  And it never works again.  Until tomorrow???

It is 42 degrees and I think it rained about an hour ago.  The surfaces are slushy but as the temp drops and the sun (what sun) disappears this will all be ice.  I decided I wasn't going out with a 90 pound dog pulling me.  I finished the second of Asa Larsson's books.  Very, very good.  I wish now that I had ordered the third.  But I don't have time for more books.  Right now.  I have the fourth Tudor hunchback mystery waiting.  And Case Histories by Kate Atkinson.

I spent about 40 minutes visiting the Whole30 site which I believe is Paleo or DinoChow.  No grains, no dairy.  All uncured meats and all vegetables and nuts.  Limited fruits.  You seem to be able to eat all the fruits but in limited amounts.  No sugar in any form whatsoever.  The list is only available for purchase. If you felt Atkins was restrictive(?) then go visit Whole30.

I (along with all other master gardeners) have been invited to a set of 6 vegetable gardening classes this winter.  At the local church next door to the library.  I think I will be going.  They are free classes and open to the public.  Sounds wonderful.  Now I have two plans for the next few months.  Walks and classes.

My daughter is coming over after work.  Which will be nice.  G has tomorrow and Sunday off which will be nice.  I have all the ironing done.  I washed all the scarves and gloves.  I need to dig out some summertime clothes to take on vacation.  How odd, huh?  G finally is all caught up on Downton Abbey and we'll be watching the new season starting at 7 pm on Sunday.  It's ever so much to do about nothing.

I am still watching That 70's Show every evening.  Though it is starting to get repetitive.  Perhaps I have seen almost all of the episodes by now?  The 13th of January is a bit early for me to be getting bored, but I think I am.  It's hard not seeing, talking or doing stuff with other people.  I may be reclusive but I like being around people.  Too funny.

I'm going to press publish and then visit the library site and order a few books.  Crossing my fingers and hoping the wireless doesn't crap out midway.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blue Sock Monkey

A Christmas Gift from my daughter's boyfriend.  I would buy these for new arrivals (babies) along with a few onesies and a rattle.  Now, I just buy them for myself.  I have about a dozen small monkeys (6 inches tall) that I used on a small Christmas Tree.  I need to go find them in the attic and include them in the ornament box.

I was without wireless this morning and had to watch television while I ate breakfast and tried to do two Easy suduko puzzles.  Not easy enough for this morning!!!  Then I went to iron shirts in the office.  Yes, my ironing stuff is in the "office".  I got seven or eight shirts ironed before the back up iron decided to become "fussy" and a load of white stuff washed and dried.  The dog won't go outside alone and I won't go outside, period.  It's snowing.  And underneath the snow is greasy ice.

Regarding the wireless.  I had to try and remember what G had done to get it working last week.  Eventually, I hit on the right combo of things.  I was certainly happy when the "you have mail" thing pinged.

I gained 3.5 pounds over night from Tuesday to Wednesday.  Lost two of those pounds overnight Wednesday to Thursday.  My ring is tight so I know it's all water.  My daughter made me drink a whole bunch of water (to solve the constipation problem) and now I am full of water.  I have thought that as long as your urine is colorless, you are well hydrated.  Daughter says I am wrong. She also wants me to start eating prunes (dried plums) but they are very high in carbs.  I think they have a laxative effect because of the large amounts of sorbitol they contain.  Sugar alcohols.  The stuff of farts and gas.

G is at work.  He purchased a new Invisible Fence collar for Riley.  The clasp broke, perhaps during the rough play with Spice.  Yesterday the choke collar released on the walk.  Thank the lord it was at the very end of the walk and Riley was tired and just wanted to go home.  He was loose and returned when I called.  We were in a place that was unfamiliar to him.  Near highways.  So dangerous.  We walked the 6 mile loop called the "Bike Path" along the Androscoggin River.  You can walk, jog, bike or rollerblade.  Riley didn't like it, I think the car noises hurt his ears.  G seems to think the dog's foot pads are also sensitive from the walk.  Perhaps too much salt on the surface, though Riley did tend to stay on the grass or dirt to the left of the paving.  We will try and do other walks in and around town after I return from Florida.

I received another letter from Unemployment for a "Phone Interview".  Last time I got one of these notices, they practically threatened me with jail for not filling out the work diary correctly.  This time my sin is "holiday" pay.  I got paid for Christmas Day.  A Sunday, my regularly scheduled work day.  So, while we are in Florida, I will be interviewed by the State of Maine, regarding forfeiture of benefits.  Me.  Not a Welfare Cheat.  Me.  Seriously pisses me off.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Emotional Turbulance

Perhaps you know me well enough to know that "emotional" stuff throws me off.  I lose my footing.  Fall backward into the safe positions I learned as a child.  Protect Yourself.  Hide.  Deep Inside.  Lock The Doors of Your Mind.  So.  It never takes much to send me backward.

While our dogs played, Spice's owner told me a dear friend of mine (who I have sadly lost touch with), has filed for divorce and her husband has kicked her out of the dream house she designed and built on the ocean.  After a lifetime of putting up with him.  Making excuses for him.  She has had to leave her home, her things, and return to her parents home in another state.  She doesn't even have her friends to comfort her.  To even describe how this hurts me, is impossible.  The husband is on vacation in Australia.

Another friend has just suffered a breakup with her significant other and is in that first, painful stage of grief.  Anger.  There is no fix for what happened.

And I am reliving the final moments (hours) of my father's life.  Because what I am, emotionally, begins and ends with him.  He never asked for forgiveness.  I forgave him all on my own, but he never expressed regret for the emotional damage he did.

My day is filled with sadness, anger, tears and memories.  I feel like I am walking thru heavy mud.  But, I am walking.  Moving forward.  I have an actual walk along the river this afternoon with my dog and a friend.  It'll be cold.  But the conversation will be as good as the company.  I will feel better.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Riley's Play Date

Riley got to play, really hard, with his sweetheart Spice yesterday and this morning Spice's owner called to ask if she could come over again today.  We said yes.  Today's play was not as exciting for Riley as yesterday's.  He was still tired.  So he spent more time watching Spice misbehave.  A bored dog is a misbehaving dog.  Still, it was 40 minutes of running, playing tug on a tree branch and rolling around on the lawn in a two dog tangle.  Then Spice went home and Riley wanted his one hour walk. 

We are just getting back. Riley has gone to the backyard, thinking Spice will show up at any time.  The waiting should occupy him for at least 30 minutes.  I like having doggie playmates visiting.

I'm sleepy.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Oh, How I Suffer On This Diet

My larger than usual breakfast (more Eggbeaters) of egg, sausage, onion and cheese topped with the last of my Whole Foods avocados, which I sprinkled with lime juice and salt.  The dog woke me up this morning. He needed to eat his breakfast and then go outside to bark.  Bark. Bark.  Remember when he was a quiet dog?  Finished off the less than wonderful stuffed cabbage rolls.  There was something "off" about the whole recipe but I forced myself to eat it all because, essentially, it was a very low carb meal.  And it was very filling.  Today, I am making chicken soup for G.  He loves chicken soup.

We had a "FaceTime" phone call from our friends, who are already in Florida, regarding our impending arrival in a few weeks.  They are so happy we are coming to visit.  K used to be that excited about me coming to visit. Not any more.  These friends were out on the back patio watching a football game.  The television was set up with it's backside to the Atlantic Ocean. Really.  This is how they are spending their retirement days.

Yesterday evening was spent watching Downton Abbey on PBS as G has a few episodes to watch for the first time.  I missed the first 38 minutes of the season's premiere but it will be shown again next week along with the second new episode.  Everyone seemed to have gained weight between seasons.  At least the men did. You would think the producers would have asked them to diet a bit to regain the lean wartime look.

That's about all for now.  I am a bit "out of sorts" today regarding my recent credit card bill (whatever was I thinking spending so much money?) and the oil bill of $440 for one month of having the thermostat at 62 during the day (only in the room we are in) and 58 the rest of the time.  Yes, we are cold.  But.  $440? this is why no one actually wants to live in Maine.  And why so many homes are polluting the air with wood smoke making me sicker and sicker each time I walk the dog.  My chest actually hurts as I try to breathe.

I am going to write in my journal and drink a second cup of coffee.  Iron a few shirts and then walk the dog. Make soup.  Sit quietly and read one of my books.  I wish I still had my inhaler.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Another Warm January Day

Really.  What have you done with Winter?

I laid all the 5.5 inch blocks out on my bed this morning.  I have WAY MORE than I needed.  In fact, if I even out the numbers (make 20 more) I will be making a 70 by 70 inch square top.  And it will still need borders.  So, 84 by 84 when I thought I was making a 60 inch square.  I could still be making a 60 inch square.  I'd just be making two of them.  How could I be so stupid?

Auto correct said "I laid all the 5.5 inch blacks out on my bed this morning"

I also was trolling the internet (yesterday) looking for low carb recipes for breads and found a video recipe for chocolate cake.  One of the major ingredients was sugar free vanilla syrup.  I don't have any.  For no good reason, I started reading the comments attached to this recipe (comments on these sites are ridiculous).  And there was my answer.  TheWalmarts. They are supposed to have sugar free syrups in the coffee aisle of any SuperStore.  I asked G if ours was a SuperStore and he said yes.  So we went.  I got the last two bottles of sugar free vanilla and bought an additional bottle of caramel and chocolate.  Now I can make  an Atkins single serving chocolate cake.

I also discovered the quart sized cartons of Eggbeaters are $1.40 cheaper than my grocery.  The sausages I have for breakfast (every morning) are 50 cents cheaper.  Splenda is dollars less expensive.  And TheWalmarts even had packaged hard boiled, peeled, eggs.  $2 versus the $8.99 the grocery tried to charge me.  We found a box of 8 yogurts (a duo of the ONLY two flavors G will eat; cherry and peach) for $4 which is $1.60 less than the grocery which says it has the lowest prices in town.

I try to avoid TheWalmarts (this is the way the store is referred to by most people in America) like the plague.  I may just have to change my tune now that we are getting close to retirement.  I go through Eggbeaters like crazy.  This will save me money!!!  It's like buy three and get the fourth one free.

G and I walked the dog, gassed up the truck, shopped At TheWalmarts, stopped at the library for my next Tudor murder mystery, got home and ate a very late lunch (4pm) and now it's getting dark.  I have laundry to fold and a few shirts to iron. The internet is working (we had a problem this morning when the computer lost contact with the wireless card) and G is holding his book and sleeping.  Riley is also fast asleep.

Downton Abbey is on PBS tonight.  We are getting BBCAmerica (without charge) now (why not when The Hours was on and I really wanted to see the final episode???).  I watched the first two episodes of the X-Files late last night on BBC.  Fox and Mulder looked like babies.  Wednesday it's the Bloody Tudors all day starting at 1pm, perfect alongside my Tudor murder mysteries.  No Law and Order UK.  That's what I really wanted to watch.  Better get those clothes folded.

Oh, and I filed for this week's unemployment.  Sigh.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Orchids Are Blooming

I, accidentally, did something right with my orchids.  They are either blooming right now or sending up big fat flower spikes.  Most of the orchids were purchased in their "non blooming or not looking so good" state.  We mark them down then and that's when I buy.  I don't usually have much luck.  This is a much appreciated experience.  I do remember shaking some Osmocote granules onto the moss in the pots.

My citrus, upstairs in the guest bathroom, isn't looking very good.  G sprayed them with Sevin because there were little bugs.  Now they look dry.  But the soil is moist.  Citrus does better if it isn't wet.  The orange on the dwarf orange still looks okay.  The tiny Calamondin orange buds look like they are drying up.  The lemon never made any fruit as it had no leaves when I got it.  So, just having leaves right now, is a big leap forward.  I have a fan directed at the ceiling to give the trees some air circulation.

Two of my Clivia are sending up flower stalks.  I repotted the yellow one I rescued (it was overwatered and had root rot) after letting it sit with exposed roots for 4 to 6 weeks.  To dry out.  Now I'm letting it slowly draw up water into the roots.  I tried to save it because it had two little baby shoots. How can you throw a plant away when it is trying so hard to make new plants?

40 degrees today and yesterday's snow is melting.  Riley and I enjoyed today's walk.  I think, in my humble opinion, that this IS actually Global Warming.  Places like Montana were warmer yesterday than Miami.  Winter, here in Maine, has been most excellent so far.  Saving on the heating oil bills.  I don't mind snow.  Just don't want ICE.

Leftover stuffed cabbage rolls for dinner tonight.  I just enjoyed two spoons of extra crunchy peanut butter for my lunch followed by a second cup of coffee.

My Daily Stitch had another hiccup.  I needed more fabrics in different colors.  So more cutting.  And then I needed more circles so more ironing and cutting. (I didn't like the selection of circles I had prepared last week) I now have a nice pile to stitch in the coming few days. I keep running out of one thing or another.  I don't want to make too many circles (have to work with the number of squares I have) etc.  I know that at some point I will just have to "finish up" and match unhappy choices of circles and squares together.  But not yet. I am not one of those people who can just reach into a bag and use the fabric they pull out. I have been lucky, I can usually find something in the right colorway up in the guest room, something that has a "sort of" French look about it.  So far.  I finally chose a black patterned fabric.  Always need a good black in a design.

Friday, January 06, 2012

It's Snowing

And I have had a sinus headache since last night.  I think I get them when the barometric pressure is, well, where ever it is right now.  When it snows, I guess.  The skylights are covered in snow which means the interior of this room, where I spend my days, is dark.  And I am constipated.  It really sucks to be me today. Riley has gone outside to sniff the snow.  The plows have been by.  I think there may be 1 or 1.5 inches on the ground.  Nothing really.  We'll still go out and walk.  Later. After the sinus medication kicks in.  My eyes hurt.

I am steaming the head of cabbage I purchased yesterday afternoon.  Making stuffed cabbage rolls for dinner tonight.  We had roast turkey breast (from the grocery) with steamed broccoli yesterday.  I had gravy and stuffing for those (G) that can eat such things.  I bought the "nature's place" ground beef to see if it tastes better than the regular stuff (which hasn't tasted all that great lately). I don't think our grocery has the sharpest butcher in charge. I dug around in the pantry closet and found my jar of Minute Rice.  And an expired can of tomato soup (Campbells).  Living on the edge.

I managed to stitch four circles on squares last night.  I had all the blank squares laid out by type so I could chose some of them to make into circles.  I'm running out of circles. But then I wanted to watch television so I had to stack them all back up. I don't have anymore of some of the fabrics I have used.  I may have to lay out all the finished pieces and see what size top I can make.  I think it will be smaller than I had wanted.  I really, really do not want to go fabric shopping. Really.

Our daughter came over yesterday.  There are sad things happening in her life right now.  So G cheered her up by teaching her to play Angry Birds on his new iPad.  She really got into it.  Then I opined that I wished Angry Birds could be on the iMac and G promptly set it up.  Then S took the address down and practically raced home to get the birds flying on her iMac at home.  G and I were assured that she would be too occupied to be really sad.  At least until she stopped playing.  Kids are never too grown up (to need their parents) are they?

Riley is all set up to go to a very nice kennel when we are on vacation.  Yes, Sondra, It's the one Mac and Carol use.  They have free play with any other dogs that are there and Riley can bring his own bed.  I think he may just want to stay there forever.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Progress On My Daily Stitch

Even though I did not stitch even one square yesterday.  Yesterday wasn't my best day.  I did get lots of cleaning done.  The house looks nice.  The tree ornaments are going to be packed up in the next hour.  G is going to install my new floor mats in the Fit.  The dog will have his walk.  A new day.

Toyota is willing (that's so funny) to take, in trade, the Jeep and the recently repaired truck, give us credit for the $1554 repairs we just spent and sell us a new $30K truck.  Well, it would decrease the number of vehicles we own to three.  Next up I could try to do a double trade at the Volvo dealership.  And we'd have two.  A truck and a Volvo.  Something to think about.

I completely DETEST automobile purchasing.

My breakfast was delicious.  I am enjoying the sausage egg and onion omelet with avocado (sprinkled with lime juice and salt).  Not that much of a change but enough to perk up the taste buds.  And, at this point in the diet, I need all the perking up of the tastebuds that I can get.  I am thinking of making stuffed cabbage rolls today.  Or tomorrow.  I have Lentil Soup (yes, I am having a carb filled soup because it's cold) which was a mainstay on the 365 day diet when I stayed at 1200 calories a day (and actually lost weight).  In the coming weeks and months I will be combining the Atkins and 365 (1200 calorie) plans together.  Still no sugar or wheat carbs.  I don't plant to start eating those things.  My Lentil Soup is minus the 2 potatoes it usually had and includes a package of smoked sausage.  Next time I make it, I will use ham.

We are investigating a kennel for Riley while we are on vacation.  It looks very nice.  I think he will enjoy the free play time with the other dogs.

Well, I have work to do.  I should be done with the ornaments by the time G is ready to walk the dog.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Favorite Christmas Gift

This small, about 6 or 7 inches wide, purse is too, too cute.  The puffy bow is adorable.  The purse has a wrist strap so it will be easy to carry to the grocery store or I can take it on vacation with sewing supplies inside.  I would hate to get Kitty's face all dirty.

I have changed the bedsheets, done a load of dark wash, vacuumed the floors (mostly), washed a few windows, washed off the front of the dishwasher and fridge and taken the decorations off the tree.  Not the lights.  I think I will keep the tree, with only lights for a few more days.  To brighten the evenings.  I need to finish the vacuuming and mop the kitchen floor.

I thought yesterday was Wednesday, all day long.  So, today is like Groundhog Day (the movie) and I am having Wednesday all over again.  I managed, somehow, yesterday, to find the vest G has been searching for for weeks, diagnose a French Fry vat fan belt problem (and not even leave the house) and repair the wireless on the computer (this morning).  I'm just a wiz right now.  G smelled strongly of French Fry grease when he came home on Monday.  I mentioned it.  He went on the roof of the restaurant on Tuesday morning and found a broken fan belt which he replaced.  He was odor free Tuesday evening.

To all who recommended Stevia.  It has a bitter aftertaste (which not everyone tastes) and it tastes like licorice to me.  Not sugar.  And it's the black licorice it tastes like, to me, not the red Twizzler kind.  Agave reacts in the body just as sugar does.  Spiking the glucose.  Honey, agave, maple syrup and sugar are identical in how the body processes them.  Yes, they are "natural" but still sugars.

Splenda, so far, has no strange aftertaste (to me) and I do know it was discovered while scientists were developing an insecticide.  If and when the public can buy the liquid form of Splenda, which has no carbs at all, I will use the little yellow packets (which have one carb each) and continue to look for and purchase the commercial products that use Splenda.  I'm having Splenda chocolate mousse mix, mixed with Cool Whip right now.  Yummy.  My cup of tea last night was good with xylitol and Splenda.  I have read that combining two different sweeteners boosts the sweetness and you can use less in total.  Sounds like chemistry to me.

I have things to do, so I will sign off for now.  I wrote more but my computer failed to save it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Christmas Day @ My House

I grabbed this photo off my daughter's blog (Slambo) because it's a really nice picture of where G and I sit most evenings.  My place is to the right with the lamp.  That's the spot I have been in with my Daily Stitch the past few days.  The television we watch is tucked behind the screen (which is filled with my favorite Mary Engelbreit greeting cards.  Fatso the gorgeous tree is to the far left.  I made those curtains on the far wall.  That part of the room (an L shape) was originally meant to be the dining room.  But, most of us don't really need a dining room anymore.  And we do have the great room next to the kitchen and the 8 foot table.

Here's a picture of Fatso in all of it's Twinkly Glory.  Almost wider than it is tall.  Love this tree.  It's still up and drinking water.  I don't usually take my tree down until the 12th day of Christmas (January 6th).  Every year, I wish the tree had been up earlier and stayed up later.  It is just so enjoyable.  Brightening the late afternoon and evenings.  Sometimes the tree is the only light we have on in that room.

Yesterday, Riley and I did our walk in damp Spring weather.  This morning there is a real cold chill in the air.  We'll need to really bundle up for the walk today.  Layers of down jackets under my coat.  Two pairs of gloves.

Breakfast is eggs, onion and sausage with a whole avocado (with lime juice) and coffee.  I have a bag of lentils out for lentil soup (minus the potato) which I will eat with smoked sausage.  All the chili and meatballs are gone.  I need to make something new.  Saving my last grapefruit for tomorrow morning.

Stitched four more squares and circles.  Cut yards of fabric into 5.5 inch squares.  Need to cut circles from the new fabrics.  Thinking of making embroidered Sailor's Valentines for Valentine's Day.  Wondering if I have any off white wool to work on.  I know I have red (I felted a little red wool skirt).

That's it for today.  Would like to drink tea in the evenings but I like it with sugar.  Splenda just tastes bad in tea.  I wonder if I could have a teaspoon of real sugar in my tea without going off the deep end with sugar cravings????  Or perhaps I could try the granulated Splenda in tea.  I have some of that and some of the granulated sugar alcohol xylitol.  I do enjoy a cup of tea in the evenings.

That's my day.  I have a few bits of laundry to take care of, changing the bed sheets, working on clearing the big table (still has shopping bags on it), and putting away the after Christmas gifts I purchased.  The sun is shining.  A good day.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Daily Stitch

I found only one prepared circle to appliqué to a square when I settled in to sew last night.  Then, I panicked.  Where were the others?  Where were the patterns?  Where was the rest of the French type fabrics?  I ran all over the house and the upstairs.  Pulled open storage boxes.  And, finally, I returned to the desk in the living room and "noticed" the small bag of fabric scraps (all that is left) and inside the thread bag--the used freezer paper circles.  I use them until they refuse to iron onto the fabric anymore.  Three and possibly four uses.  I had actually been very well organized.  Who knew???  Not me.

I stitched the one prepared circle and square and then went to the ironing board and ironed freezer paper circles to the scrap fabric in the small bag.  I then cut into the three half yard "new" fabrics I must have purchased when I realized I was running short of fabric.  Today I will be cutting squares out of those three half yards.  And going back upstairs (in the bright light of day) and looking thru the fabric selection for a few new fabrics.  You see repetition in the four squares up top.  I just stitch them as they come to the top of the pile.  These four would never be this close to each other in the final top.  The mustardy yellow with red dots is a new fabric from the last time I made squares.  Another new find, last night, is a nice rich pink that I haven't cut into yet.  Obviously, my color tastes have changed since I first started this project.  Three or four years ago.  I even cut small ovals with pointed ends to stitch over the top of some of the finished circles (a few months ago).  I haven't ironed them to fabric yet, but now that I have a pile of small scraps I might do that this morning.  (Almost afternoon)  I have also considered adding a smaller appliquéd circle to the center of some of the circles.

I did research on Time Management.  Here's the big hint.  Do the worst thing on your To Do list FIRST.  Just get it over with.  (I filed for unemployment before starting this post)   Before going to bed, make a short list of two or three things to do the next day.  I plan on writing in my pen and paper journal, at breakfast, the list of things I did the day before.  Today I plan to copy recipes off a wonderful low carb baking blog (new to me).  I noticed, in the comments, that the author is planning to remove the site due to the cost of the site.  Cookies, coffee cake and brownies.  No grain flours or wheat.  No sugars.  The author is a baker by profession.  I haven't tried any of the recipes but the pictures look like real food.

On the 20th, I will have been low carb and wheat free (90%) for 8 months.  I have never felt better in my life.  I don't lose a lot of weight each month, but I haven't gained any since I started.  And, in my history, that is a tremendous achievement.  In case you are curious, the 10% is breading on chicken and eggplant and breadcrumbs in meatballs.  When I find a sub for those uses, I will be 100%. Best of all, I have no food cravings (other than the one for those Big Sky Granola chunks) and easily pass on bread, pasta and cake. I have no desire to eat any of those things.  One day at a time.  Yes, I get hungry--at meal times.

Enough of that.  It was just on my mind because of the website recipes.  I try not to write about the lifestyle change too often.  It's interesting to me. Period.

Sad to read that Prime Suspect is finished.  NBC is going to be third in any event, why not have stuff that some of us want to watch?  Women.  Give these shows a chance or move Prime Suspect to cable where it would be good following the Closer.

I have a phone call to make.  Are the banks really closed today?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Reflections In A Frozen Pool Of Water

It has the look of an outer space view of Earth doesn't it?  One thing down, on my list of things to do.  I managed to download directly from the camera with a cable.  I had been using the recharger cradle for 6 or 7 years.  This is new.  This means new pictures for all 2012 posts.  Hip Hip Hoorah!

Today was sunshine and 42 degrees.  Yesterday was freezing cold.  The weather pattern so far: one day warmish and next day or two very cold.  Then two or three warm days and one very cold day.  The ground is frozen so any rain that falls makes puddles.  Then, overnight, the puddles freeze.  I have no complaints. The sun is shining, there is no snow and very little ice on the streets.  It's all good.  And we are saving $$$'s on heating costs.

Up late this morning.  Breakfast was the third grapefruit, eggs and sausage with a tomato, coffee.  I did a few Suduko puzzles and had a second cup of coffee.  Then a shower.  Folded laundry.  Went on the woods dog walk with G and Riley.  Took my picture.  Then G wanted me to drive to Toyota with him to drop off the truck for tomorrow's repairs of the brakes and struts.  It's always something with that truck. We had a late (4 pm) lunch at Sea Dog.  G had a Vietnamese Banh something sandwich and I had my favorite chicken with ham and cheese.  The Patriots won their football game.

Now we are at home.  Settling in to read books.  Spend a bit of time with Riley on the dog bed (that's G, not me).  I said I would stitch a circle onto a square each day--so that is where I am going after I hit "publish".   I spent New Year's Eve watching the Fabulous Baker Boys (delightful) and then two repeat episodes of Prime Suspect.  Any news on whether it has been cancelled?  I made myself a chocolate MIM with whipped cream for supper.  It was terrible, as usual.  I have got to find something delicious and chocolate to treat myself with.  It WAS filling.  So I wasn't hungry after eating it.  Riley and I ended the year by going to bed early.  Not very exciting.  Which is okay with me.