Thursday, May 31, 2012

A New Clock

G must have gone shopping today.  The tick, tock is very loud.  I am not used to any noise in the house. I am one of those people who like complete quiet.  Well, I like it when I am home.  The clock is something we need.  Especially when the power goes off.

At work, today, we had a very loud bird singing to us.  The greenhouse doors are open the entire time we are open for business.  No matter what the weather is outside.  We have birds flying into the greenhouse all the time.  I watched a hummingbird sip from the impatient tables on Wednesday.  R found two baby opossums sleeping in one of the pot containers yesterday morning and a bullfrog has set up housekeeping in the water plants container.  Work is not quiet.  And the resident chipmunks race in and out feeding on the sunflowers seeds in the bird food aisle.  We need a cat.  Every greenhouse needs a cat.

I managed to adopt out three more tomatoes and two peppers or perhaps it was three peppers.  I didn't bring any plant material home today.

I helped an older customer by bagging seed potatoes for him.  And going down to the greenhouse for a pumpkin and a slicing cucumber start.  I also carried a bag of fertilizer out to his truck.  One of the girls at the front counter got him a folding to chair to sit on while I was finding things.  He handed me his check so I could fill it out after he signed it and wrote in the total.  I was nearly overcome with grief.  His situation (age and health) were so close to what my dad was like in his last years.  My dad had to hand his checks to others to write after he signed.  Even writing this breaks my heart.  I came back in from putting his things in the truck (I had no idea how he would get them out) and as I walked quickly to the lunchroom I said, he reminds me so much of my dad.  And that was all I could say.

It's nearly Father's Day. I wish I had been a better daughter to my dad.  I wish I had spent more time with him. I wish most of all that he would have come to live here with us so we could have made the last years happy ones for him.  But he wanted me to leave my home and come live in his.  I went when I could but my life was here.  Was that selfish of me?  Today, with this old guy, I felt it was.  He was so tired, old and weak but still wanting to plant potatoes and a pumpkin.  At his own house.  In his own way.

I, almost, it was very close, offered to follow him home and help plant those potatoes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The New Normal

I decided to take a picture even though the morning light is dull and grey.  Later today the temperatures outside will heat up into the lowest side of the 80's.  With humidity.  Deciding on the appropriate clothing for work in a greenhouse is becoming my most challenging decision of the day.  And so early.  My thinking cells aren't firing yet.

I received a thank you note at work yesterday. In the company mail. Which was a surprise and a delight. I have only once before gotten something from a customer.  No three times.  Once a tip.  Once a bag of sweet peaches.  And now this note.  It feels good.  And I paid it forward.  On a call to Pottery Barn I got Vince.  He was having a long hard day and only had 30 more minutes on his shift.  We managed to have a bit of a giggle while he took my order.  I am getting a new duvet cover for my bed.  A pretty flowered blue.  And later, I got to fill out a survey regarding Vince's customer service.  I said the only thing that would have made me happier--would have been getting my purchase free.  How's that?  My repartee with Vince reminded me of the happy times when I worked the 800 line for a magazine supplier.  The calls would come in and we would discuss the weather, the day etc and then get down to business.  It was fun and it was so personal in an impersonal day.

I also had a delightful chat with a customer wanting many more flats of rose colored dahlias.  She was lining the paths to her vegetable garden.  Making the walk (visually and literally) very pleasant and beautiful at the same time.  I was struck by how such a simple design element could change the way we see the chore of going down to the garden to work.  I shared my new "tip" of going into the garden before work with my kitchen timer set on 45 minutes.  I manage to get quite a bit done in that short time (is it because I know I don't have to stay forever?) and stop when the timer goes off then I wash up and head into work.  My onions are all in the ground as are the marigolds (lining the new beds) and the calendula.  Still no peas.

My local library (and former employer) is removing from the shelves any fiction that has not been checked out in the last five years.  Tens and twenty boxes books.  It would seem that the choices made for new fiction purchases were not popular with the library's patrons.  Or, that the library patrons are ordering their reading material on line and other libraries fulfill requests before we do.  Time will tell if this was a good decision.  I feel libraries should be a repository of books for years and years to come.  Who knows who will want to read those discarded books in the next ten or twenty years.  I remember visiting the brand new county library with my friend K in Georgia.  Everything in the building, books included, was brand new.  If it hadn't been published in the past 18 months, it didn't exist in this library.  I found it heartbreaking.  What do you think?

My lunch today is Greek yogurt with sliced fresh peaches from Trader Joes.  I have been eating fresh fruit.  I didn't eat any fruit last summer on the diet but since I am not actually losing any weight, but maintaining, I am eating fruit.  Fresh mangoes, peaches, strawberries.  I am looking forward to the short season for ripe apricots and big bags of cherries.

Time to wake up the dog.  Yes, he is sleeping.  And get going.  I plan to stop at the library for books (for G) before going to work.  I also need to pull the tomato seedling wagon out of the garage and back into the yard (under the oak tree) for the day.  Planting them on Thursday afternoon after work.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, Monday

I watched about five of the TiVoed episodes of the Tudors last night.  Got to the part, in time, where Wolsey is dead.  Now, Cromwell will seek and destroy.  Cromwell is where the Shardlake Tudor mysteries begin.  So, these are the episodes I am most intrigued with, as Anne was already dead by the start of the first book.  I'm not sure how perfectly historical the Tudors is, but I like "looking" at the clothing etc., especially the fabrics in King Henry's outfits.  The black and white spotted tunic he wore last night was very very striking.  Sort of like my black and white spotted skirt.

I also watched the Killing and Mad Men.  Both finally had some "meat on their bones" in content.  I don't like where Mad Men is going, but I doubt the characters do either.  What happened to Joan was disgusting.  I hope Pete rots in hell.

Yesterday, at work, was long, not very interesting, and it seemed to take forever to reach 5 pm closing time.  Perhaps because I ate my lunch at 12.  On time.  I usually don't eat until 2 and that makes the day seem shorter.  My boss likes to get past lunch breaks as quickly and as early as possible.  It's like a difficult hurdle he likes to get over before he can relax.  I make him crazy with my lunches at 2, 3 or even 4pm when we are busy and I am working until 7.

I found someone who will take three tomato seedlings and three pepper seedlings off my hands.  So now I have only 33 of each.  LOL.

G has managed to get my garden ready for planting.  All the weeding and flattening of the soil is now done.  The new bed frames look very nice and straight.  I have two bales of peat and five bags of cow manure to add to the soil and discovered a new to me way of planting my squash plants.  In a circle surrounding a used planter's pot (the kind with holes along the bottom edge).  you sink the pot into the soil, empty and then add a shovel of good compost.  Fill with water when you water the garden and the resulting "compost tea" feeds the plant's roots. Amazing what I can learn by reading a new book.  This one by the editors of Fine Gardening magazine.

My VitaMix is packed up and ready to be sent back to QVC.  I never even plugged it in.  Once I looked over the recipe booklet I realized it is just a blender.  And I already own a blender.  My blender actually makes a very smooth Smoothie so why would I need a $429 Smoothie?  If I was even going to make a Smoothie.  I had one.  Once. So making a good Smoothie isn't a priority. And I don't drink the juices of fruits and vegetables.  I just eat the fruit and vegetables.  And I can make fruity "ice cream" in the food processor.  I wish I could pack up and return some other purchases as easily.

I don't remember which Reader chastised me for always pointing out the flaw in someone's personality or behavior.  You will be pleasantly surprised to know I called work to have a short note, I had written for a coworker, taken down and thrown away.  It would have only made her sad.  So, now, instead, she will  find me thoughtless for not letting her know what the customer thought of the work she had done.  It's better that way.

I am supposed to be having breakfast with my daughter this morning and traveling to Portland with her to shop at Trader Joes.  I haven't heard from her so have no idea when this little trip begins and ends, but I have a dog to consider in these plans.  So, I guess I have to call her (and wake her up on her day off ) and otherwise get off to a bad start.  It's almost 8:30 and I have been up since 7.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Terry would rather throw bricks down from a high place and bitld would rather not lower a 5 gallon bucket down from a height.  I think tossing them onto the tarp and then loading them into a wheelbarrow and taking them into the woods will be enough fun for me in any two hour stretch.  The house side of the bricks is pretty much closed in, so we could take down the outside without opening the house until the very end.

G is having some difficulty breathing with exertion (heavy lifting) so we may not be able to do this ourselves.  His lung problems will define what we can and can't do ourselves.  I also don't want him breathing in brick dust.  It's just that doing myself is essentially FREE and having people come in is about $8000.  Yes, you read that right.  Free versus $8000.  And best of all, no one actually wants to do the work, even for $8000.  I think the last guy mentioned four guys at 8 hours and $80 an hour.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Now It's Thursday

My days are whooshing past at the speed of a bullet these days.  I was actually awake at 5 am this morning and driving to work at 7:05.  Who am I?  Where is the Joanne that sleeps until 9 and never gets dressed?  Gone until January.

I am browning up nicely.  Using sunscreen.  And now having to stop using any products with a floral scent as the mosquitos are already busy biting me.  I was outside on the front porch for 2 or 3 minutes, looking at my garden bed, and was bitten by an especially rabid mosquito. I don't even want to talk about the ticks.

The Tomato Seedling count is now up to 36.  Early Girl, Sun Gold Cherries and, finally, a 12 pack of Arkansas Traveler.  I just HAD to have the Travelers as I really loved them last year.  Rose colored and very tasty.  I can always bring the extras to work for a "freebie".  G is not amused.  He thinks the assemblage of stray plants on the sunroom floor and the shelf is getting to be "too much".  I agree.  But if the Arkansas Traveler had been available earlier, I would not have bought the Early Girls.

I tell customers, who are on the fence, that one single tomato seedling is $2 and 12 seedlings are $5.  Buy the 12 pack flat and just compost the ones you don't use.  I tell them but find it hard to follow my own advice.  The poor little tomatoes.

Ironing.  I have been doing a lot of ironing since I was 13 or 14.  My mother used it as punishment.  Sending me to the cool, damp basement on summer afternoons (and weekend mornings) to iron everything the family wore.  Tee shirts, jeans etc.  And all the pillowcases and sheets.  I loved it down there.  All alone with a radio to listen to "rock and roll".  No pesky brothers.  No bitchy mother.  Peace and quiet and a growing pile of ironed clothes and a long row of shirts.  Accomplishments.  I still find it meditative and very peaceful.  And I still love looking at the long row of ironed shirts, the pile of pillowcases.  I did stop ironing teeshirts when my high school aged teens begged me to STOP.  I was embarrassing them.  No one else had sleeve creases in their tees.  I still ironed the jeans.  My German friends ironed their "tea towels" which they used to dry dishes.  I loved that. I love the Zen of ironing.

I did some investigating and I was correct in thinking that taking down a rotten chimney is pretty easy.  A scaffold to work from, an air chisel to break the mortar and a 5 gallon bucket to fill with bricks and then lower to the ground (I had thought to throw the bricks into a tarp on the ground).  Most of the comments said it took from 7 hours to 2 weeks to take the whole thing down and cleanup (working 2 hours a day for the 2 weeks).  Then I would need to have "people" ready to close up the hole in the side of my house until we were ready to insert the new French doors.  My window and door guys are also the roof guys (and the siding and paint guys).  So they could tidy up the roof, lay a new cement foundation for the French doors and add trim on the inside and outside.  I will also be having the house painted.  I'm not sure it will be this year.

I could do the whole chimney myself if I wasn't afraid of heights.  The YouTube videos look pretty simple. I wish I was more of a Handi Andy type girl.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Well, The Week Is Finally Over

It's been hot the last few days.  Nice.  But my skin feels dry and sort of crispy.  Yes, I used sunscreen. Lunch has been delayed till one or two o'clock and by then I feel drained and exhausted.  While I enjoy the breakfast ease of a microwaved bowl of oatmeal with a heaping spoon of ground flax; the bowl isn't doing the "stay full till two" job as well as the eggs.

Yesterday I worked in the garden all day.  So, four straight days at work, then a full day in my own garden (weeding, digging, planting), and then a full day at work.  I am exhausted. tomorrow, I have shirts to iron, the dog to walk and more garden work.  I really do want my peas to be planted.  I even bought plants for a hanging basket for my own porch.  Purple ivy geraniums.  Yummy.

Because we have gone out to dinner two nights in a row, I am cooking dinner tonight.  Well, I am cooking meat.  I have no idea what the starch or vegetable will be.  I seem to only have meat in the freezer.  Oh, honestly, I have pork, rhubarb, some ground beef, coffee beans and a bunch of bagels. Not the basis of a good household.  I am sure there is a delightful recipe on the internet for pork with rhubarb sauce but I live with a guy who wouldn't eat it.

The pork I am making will be Carnitas some time tonight.  Simmered in water and then crisped in it's own fat after all the water has evaporated.  I have a few tortillas, some red onion and thin sliced cabbage.  It sounds okay to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Already Wednesday

Time is speeding up as the season rushes toward the first day of summer.  And the longest day.  After that we slide ever so slowly to the dark days of winter.   But we are weeks away from that.

 I am applying sunscreen to my ears everyday at work. We haven't gotten the white paint sprayed on the greenhouse glass roof yet and the sun is magnified and burns the tops of my ears.  The herbs have finally gone outside.  To a new and more interesting place.  I should take pictures of this new area.  And my quart size perennials are out there as well.   Customers are clambering for squashes, cucumbers nasturtiums and single cell tomato plants.  This is the subject of the majority of phone calls.  I suggest seeds to most as it will go as quickly as a potted plant at this time of year.  I, personally, hauled 40# bags of cow manure home from work with me yesterday.  I actually pushed four of them up the muddy hill to the parking lot (two at a time on a cart) getting a good aerobic workout before the guys saw me and jumped to help carry the bags the last few yards to the car.  I got stuck in the mud a few times with the tractor behind me, waiting for me to get out of the way.  Talk about stressful!!!

We got rain.  And the grub treatment has been successfully "watered" into the grass out back.  We are also weeks away from the struggle with the Japanese beetles.  Oh, how I hate those insects. I hope this treatment kills all the slumbering beetles before they can emerge and eat my roses.

I still have not tried my VitaMixer.  Not made even one smoothie or even one batch of ice cream.  I do have a tub of rhubarb sauce in the fridge which I am enjoying with whipped cream.  I may freeze some of it into cubes and use that to make a strawberry rhubarb ice cream.  Or just eat it as is.  I find I am more successful avoiding things when I don't try to make a low carb substitute.

This morning's eggs were a play on the Japanese style pancake recipe I copied off the internet.  Okinomiyaki.   I fried sausage and bacon with some red onion and then added a big handful of shredded cabbage and some soy sauce.  Then the eggs.   It was okay.  Not something I will make again.  I liked yesterday's eggs with leftover asparagus much better.  The taste of the asparagus overpowered the egg.  I just do not like eggs.  But, I finished all the cereal and will not buy anymore. So, it's eggs or nothing for breakfast.

Dinner last night (at 8 pm) was julienned zucchini "pasta" with leftover (from freezer) meatballs and marinara sauce.  Very, very welcome.  A lovely dinner.  We watched the finale of NCIS for this season and it made me very sad.  Then I tried reading my book but my eyes were too sleepy.  These long days at work are wearing me out, but I enjoy all the gardening questions I get during the day.  We have another new employee with a horticulture degree.  And I finally signed the contract for a lecture I was asked to give to a local gardening club next February.  I begged off sending a bio and description of the lecture.  I just don't have time to do it right now.

I am up to date on the laundry, dog walking etc.  But need to stop for a few groceries after work tonight which means getting home even later than 8 pm.  Right now, I need to pack my bag (lunch , dog supplies, drinks, extra clothing) and hop on out the door to work, dropping Riley off at day care on the way.  But, first I need to find my shoes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy, Happy Mother's Day

I am eating my dessert.  Huge, red strawberries.  I have three left in the container.  G and I had lovely bacon wrapped steaks for dinner with roasted asparagus.  G had a baked potato and Greek yogurt with chives.  I had a large green salad.  Lovely dinner.  My "appetizer" was a phone conversation with my son.  I love talking to him. Always have and always will.  Strawberries for dessert.  Plain, no sugar or cream.

My day began with the two cards my daughter gave me last Sunday (the day she thought was Mother's Day).  One from her and one from my dog Riley.  Customers gave me Mother's Day hugs and when asked if I was having a good Mother's Day; I replied that my dog had given me a lovely card this morning and that he said he loved me.  I love him, too.  And I was smiling and the happiness I was feeling today was very evident.  A very good day. My daughter also gave me a Hello Kitty storage cube which Riley licked.  Not liked.  Licked.  I think I have enough Hello Kitty stuff now.

It was 70 degrees today.  Which is just about my favorite temperature.  That's 72.  It was hotter by the potting bench but I wore light clothing.  And I had packed cold fried chicken wings and coleslaw made with high fat and no sugar for lunch.  Delicious.

Tonight, Masterpiece Theater has Sherlock.  The Killing and Mad Men have new episodes.  Survivor is ending and I couldn't care less.  Such a boring season.  Even more boring than last season.  Do I really need to waste anymore time watching?  I may just watch another Jamie Oliver episode.  Yesterday I didn't watch any evening television and went to bed earlier than usual, and actually fell asleep.

All in all, just about a perfect day.  And tomorrow is my day off.  I plan to garden a bit.  Plant things and straighten out the soil in the beds that have new sides.  G worked hard in the veg garden.  He also cut down a few sick birches and planted our new dogwood, Janine.  I'd like to get the $25 worth of heathers planted out front, they have waited patiently for me to get around to them.  It's time.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oh, Deer

Riley and are are just back from a very sad walk.  Close to the back of our house, about a quarter mile into the woods, Riley scared up a young deer.  She never ran.  Exhausted and with a bad rear leg.  Either broken or damaged.  She had made herself a cozy bed in the leaves near a puddle of water. There is plenty of vegetation to eat.

There are also coyotes and fishers.  Small dogs and any free running cats have gone missing in the woods (commons) behind our house.  I often wondered why we never see evidence of death out there.

Well, today, I saw an exhausted young animal facing her worst fears.  A barking dog, advancing closer and closer and she had run out of the will to move any more.  I got to within five feet of her, trying to leash Riley and get him away.  I pulled him away, back on the path.  But he was anxious to get back around the loop and back to his prey.  She was gone.  G will deal with Riley out there tomorrow.  He will continue to hunt, but never attack.  I think he wanted her to play.

She lost her precious bed and nearby drinking water.  Life can be so sad.  These wild animals have so little comfort when they are hurt or broken.  Water, a bed and a few hours of sleep before it gets dark and death waits to hunt her.


If you had only 27 seconds, nine words and three points to make in describing your diet, what would they be?  A woman doctor described her weight maintenance as:
1. Primarian 95%
2. No grains, minimal sugar
3. Daily exercise

Later in her blog she details her strategy for days when the scale tells her she has gained weight overnight.  Skinny mocha lattes for breakfast and lunch.  A power bar at 3 pm.  Shopping to make herself happy. A large salad and small piece of meat for dinner.  It hardly sounds healthy. It works for her.

My own 27/9/3?
1. Atkins 85%
2. No grains, minimal sugar, fats
3. Test Pants

My diet strategy has had unwanted side results.  My husband has put on considerable weight.  While I am making all meat chili and chicken or tuna salad with mayo for myself with large salads, I have been making pasta, pizza and other carb heavy things for him to eat.  We were compatible only when we both ate the way he likes to eat.  I find I am less inclined to prepare two completely different meals each day. He isn't happy with a meat and vegetable for a meal. So I resorted to the meal plan that is fast and easy.  The pasta/pizza/crispy chicken/sandwich meal plan most of America is on.  I occasionally have the crispy chicken which is why I say 85% on the Atkins.  I cheat with crispy fried chicken.

The 27/9/3 can also be used to describe your lifestyle or campaign to change things or your political opinion.

1. Lower school taxes
2. End labor union bargaining
3. No pensions

1. Make more art
2. Work table well supplied
3. Repeat daily

Mother's Day weekend is in full swing.  Mothers everywhere are getting flowers, herb baskets, hanging petunia baskets and Endless Summer Hydrangeas.  The phones at work are ringing, the couriers are making deliveries, the greenhouse is both beautifully filled with color and a huge mess.  I was so over tired yesterday that I never fell asleep (or did and it was so fitful, that I thought I didn't).  I am exhausted.  I already have two loads of laundry washed, only one shirt needs ironing so far, the bedsheets are off the bed, my friend has suggested I come cut (pull) rhubarb while she is away visiting her mother.  I already peeled and cubed three mangoes and put them in the freezer (I plan to make mango ice cream or a mango smoothie).

I watched a movie made in England for BBC.  Mansfield Park.  Jane Austin.  It seemed familiar, yet not. It was presented without commercials on the Mplex channel I now get.  I also have Little Women recorded. And eleven episodes of 30 Minute Meals with Jamie Oliver.  So far, Chicken Pie and Vegetable Lasagna have been watched.  He made the mango and yogurt ice cream for dessert.  He makes good food.  I have many of his cookbooks.  I should actually use them to make meals. LOL.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Peeps are Peeping

The rush is on for Mother's Day.  Gardenias, Endless Summer hydrangea, mixed petunia containers and hanging baskets.  The phone is ringing. The floor is covered in dirt. Soil.  I arrive, in the morning, in driving rain and leave in sunshine, even though it's fitful and covered quickly by lovely blue grey clouds. Oh, to mix some watercolor and lay clouds on a fresh piece of white paper.

Tonight, the wetlands are full of water and the salamander peeps are singing their mating song.  Riley got to swim in several of his favorite watering holes on his walk with G.  The rain of the past few days has filled the low spots in the woods.  Freshened the air.  Greened up the brown we have gotten so used to.  Saturday I will walk the woods with Riley and see what has changed since our walk on Monday.  Everything?

I was too pushy today.  Not kind enough.  Tomorrow I will have a few quiet moments to apologize, I hope.  I need to allow others to do for themselves.  Yes, I may think I am better at it, but still, they need to make their own way.  Their own mistakes and eventually enjoy their own successes.  I overstepped today and stole, what could have been a great moment, from someone who may just have been waiting for such a moment.  It happened so quickly.

I also finally found an above the knee knit dress (black) to wear with knee length tights.  Target.  And I tried it on in the dressing room and got to see exactly what I look like.  I nearly cried.  There is no stronger truth on Earth than the mirror in a Target dressing room.

In other news, I purchased 24 rolls of toilet paper and 12 rolls of paper towels.  We were nearly out of both.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

When Is The Weather Going To Be Normal?

It was cloudy and cold this morning.  But it wasn't raining.  It rained enough yesterday and was very cold. At least I felt really cold all day.  I wished I had more clothes to pull on during the day, yesterday, as I worked at the repotting bench from 11:30 to 7 pm.

My mood wasn't helped by a power failure here at home at 9:30 this morning, while my eggs were cooking in the pan. The power outage was widespread (I learned later) and involved three towns.  I had to figure out how to tell time.  No working clocks and I wasn't leaving for work until 11.  So, I used the oven timer.  Set it for an hour and then 30 minutes.  Next was figuring out how to get out of the garage without electricity.  It involved a ladder.  I had thought ahead to covering the egg pan with a lid in hopes of cooking the eggs with residual heat, it worked, eventually, but I had a bowl of cold cereal and packed the eggs for lunch with an avocado for fat.  I figured I could finish cooking them in the microwave at work if necessary.  It wasn't.

A little bit of sunshine would have made a big difference in my day, today.  And, driving back home at 7:30, in the near dark, with the rain coming down was just so depressing.

I tried my new, as yet unworn skirts and jackets on this morning.  Just to see if they fit.  They did.  I cut the jacket pockets open and unclipped the stitch holding the skirt kick pleat closed.  I had hoped the skirt would be a bit looser.  I am always optimistic that there will be some change in my hips.  I have those wide, deep peasant hips.  The kind that are excellent for producing 12 to 14 children with labor being all of 30 minutes.  One labor was 7 hours and the second 2, I think.  Drop the kid and get back to field work. Not the best shape for wearing little pencil skirts.

I am now (8:30) going to eat my reheated frozen chili.  It was still frozen solid even though the power was out until 2 or later.  I called the house from work, hoping to hear the recording so I would know the power was back on.  It wasn't on at 12:30 but was on somewhere around 2 or 2:30. Tomorrow the morning shift.  Seems like I live at work and only visit home.

Monday, May 07, 2012

How Going To The Grocery Store Helps My Self Image

I gained two rather important pieces of information today while in the grocery store and driving out of the parking lot.  I thought I would share (write) in case I forget.  And, typically, I had to really try to remember the second thing.

While shopping and crossing the parking lot, I saw a goodly number of people my age (younger by a bit and older by a bit).  They were having difficulty walking and breathing.  They were heavier than they should be.  Just getting in and out of their cars was a difficult task.  The grocery aisles were exhausting. They rested elbows on the cart handles.

I was once them.  My belly was pressed against the steering wheel in the little BMW Roadster.  Getting into the low slung car was hard to manage and getting out was ridiculous.  I would huff and puff.  Walking wore me out.  My feet hurt.  My hips and knees ached.  If I dropped my keys, I looked for something to hold onto before bending over.  And it was never easy to pick up anything, tie my shoes, put on my socks.  Walking Riley would have been impossible.

Then I lost 80 pounds counting calories, skipping meals and eating poorly for a whole year.  Then I decided I could eat like usual and gained 40 back.  Now I am eating.  Yes, eating and I have lost some of those pounds (24) and am trying to get rid of more.  My original goal was to lose 100 pounds.  I am having to rethink that goal.

Right now I just want to be healthy.  To be able to tie my shoes, wear regular sized clothes (not sausage casing tight) and be able to get out of the car and walk into the grocery without needing to rest before shopping.  I am redefining my goals.  Not the number on the scale.  But the healthy living number. I think I am right where I need to be.  I need to accept this.  And be happy that I have maintained this new weight for many many months now.

The second revaluation was a college student crossing the street in front of my car.  I think I saw her once before.  Isn't it funny how the Universe sends you the same message until you realize it's "for you"?  She was wearing a short tunic style dress, ballet flats and she was regally confident.  She was also overweight. Not jiggly.  Solid pounds.  Round and Rubenesque.  The dress was short (fashionable) and showed too much chubby thigh.  Last time I saw her, it was the same.  A short knit skirt and a loose tee.  BUT, she was confident that she looked great.

I think I need to assume some of that confidence.  The "I look great" and "I feel great" confidence.  I need to own it.  Make it mine.  No matter what the scale or the size tag in my clothing says.

Some of you have already advised me to do this.  I heard you but wasn't ready to believe it.  I am a very healthy 65 year old woman with a very physical job.  Yes, I am.  Whatever I weigh--it's okay.  I feel good and,  -------- I look good.  There I said it.

Good Morning Sunshine

Another sunny day.  Three in a row.  Amazing.  Yesterday was very busy at work.  We had a ton of people working.  The "season" has begun.  Tomorrow I work until 7 pm. But right now--it's my day off.

I want to thank the reader who recommended The Crown as a book for me to read.  I have it here on my desk and it promises to be exactly what I like.  I am trying to find a quiet space in which to open the book and begin reading.  I have household chores to get done, the dog to walk and gardening to do.  I just had breakfast, my first cup of coffee and hauled all the plants back out on to the deck from the sunporch.  My citrus trees are sending out new shoots and making little flowers.  They are very happy about being outside in the wind, rain and sunshine.

G worked on the woodland site for the planting of our bargain priced dogwood, Janine, which is said to prefer a woodland edge, well drained soil etc.  He raked out the leaves, cut the nasty brush that grows everywhere along the edge of the woods, and piled up the dead branches and tree limbs that winter produces but left the pulling of grass and dead iris leaves for me. this bed now gets  a bit more sun with the absence of the three oaks we had cut down last June.

 He did dig up a wheel barrel of dandelions from the front gardens and put sides on a second new raised bed yesterday plus he walked the dog.  We are changing out the wood sides of our raised beds and making everything straight and even this time.  The beds are (were) a bit wonky.  I didn't manage to get outside to garden on Saturday.  Spent most of my time baking that pie and making the Hunter's Style Chicken Stew.  I also didn't iron the shirts.

I want to get the dogwood planted and start in on the planting of the heather I bought weeks ago.  I have a good rocky area for it.  I purchased a second bag of Grub control for the lawn to kill or stun the Japanese beetle grubs.  It's time for that.  And I may try the Crackpot Master Gardener's Beetle Killing technique.  Squirts of baby powder all over the beetles if beetles do hatch after the grub treatment.  As my son says, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.  Something she said might actually work.

I am also interested in seeds for the Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) which is 12 to 18 inches tall, grows in the woodland edges, has yellow flowers.  I have to embrace the woods that surround my house.  I have tried and tried to open the sky, let in the sun, but the trees keep growing and their canopy  is getting deeper and darker. Ferns.  Yes, I may have to buy ferns.

My daughter left a gift and two cards for me.  She thought yesterday was Mother's Day.  After two years of celebrating EVERY holiday with a family gathering and a meal with L's family, she has lost her holiday compass.  She forgot Easter (tried to do her grocery shopping Easter morning) and now has gotten Mother's Day wrong.  Here, at home, we don't celebrate much of anything except Christmas with a Christmas tree and little else.  No holiday dinners.  Sad but true.  I wish we had had that type of family but it wasn't meant to be.  I envy people with large extended families.  It must be lovely to have that in your lives.  Like I have said, our family DNA must tilt toward solitary lives.  Not lonely or sad.  Just singular and solitary.

My mood has shifted to positive.  I pumped my own gas yesterday.  A rare and transcendent experience. I was the person the young people (at work) came to when they wanted to express their exasperation.  I had none.  A relief.  I am wanting to make another fabric piece.  I am wanting to purchase a gelli plate and make prints.  I am wanting to plant seeds in my garden.  I am wanting.  To do things.  Feels good.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

It's Not Raining

I had guessed that June would be the month when the missing winter would appear as it has in other years when we didn't get enough snow during the winter.  But I was wrong.  Winter has come in May.  We had such warmth in April, all the gardeners were ready to plant and get started.  Now, the weather is bone chill cold.  Anything outdoors better be cold tolerant.  Not me.  I am cold, cold, cold.

Some of that is caused by the low carb diet, but most of the cause is being in unheated spaces and out in the rain all day at work.  It doesn't help when you spray yourself with the hose and have to walk around in wet clothing.  My paycheck has 38 hours on it.  Next week there will be a few more hours.  So, full time hours and starting Monday we will be staying open until 7 pm.  A long, long day.  And I hurry home to embrace the warmth in my shower.  A hot shower is my refuge and comfort at the end of the day. Followed by putting on my flannel pajamas, wool socks and slippers.  I even top the whole outfit with a big, floppy sweater I can wrap myself in. Yes, in May.  It's only 47 degrees here.

For the past two days I have had to postpone the shower while I prepared dinner for G.  He would prefer to eat out but I don't have the fiduciary patience for eating out.  He had pulled pork, gnocchi and sautéed sauerkraut on Thursday and yesterday I made tomato soup and while it simmered, I showered.  Then I served it with whole grain tomato bread (someone at work is bringing in huge amounts of leftover bakery bread) topped with cheese and then toasted.  I swirled heavy cream into the blended soup.  It's an easy recipe and takes only 30 minutes from start to finish. I believe I have shared it with you before.

I promised to make the cheesy dumplings when G has the leftover soup for dinner tonight or tomorrow for his lunch. I was trying to think of ways to use up the tomato bread.  I have three new recipes to try and since I am going to the grocery (and library) today, I can buy what I need to make one of them.  I may try the Japanese pancakes (okonomiyaki) which could be interesting for a cold breakfast idea.  I am also making a rhubarb custard pie.  My rhubarb plants in the garden finally look like they may produce some rhubarb this year!!

The cereal I am allowing myself to eat for breakfast (a few days a week) is making me more susceptible to carb temptation.  It's a very fine line between being able to walk away from the pile of breads in the lunchroom and to WANT them.  I brought a wedge of swiss cheese to work as a snack if I felt like I needed to eat.  And I tried drinking more water.  The cereal may just be a "very bad idea" that I have to finally confront.  I may not be able to EVER eat cereal again.  Sad but true.  I don't like the feeling of wanting to eat when I know I am not hungry.  This must be what it's like for people with drug or alcohol  addictions (only worse).  It's like a itch begging to be scratched.  It's sometimes all I can think about.  And after so many months of NOT having this feeling--I resent it being back in my life.

I resent what it means.  That I will always have to limit or exclude wheat products and sugars from my diet.  Giving things up for "a while" is quite different from giving them up always.

My VitaMixer is here.  It arrived Thursday.  I am now having second thoughts.  What, exactly was I wanting to make, besides ice cream?  I need to make a list.  I checked the smoothie recipes in the cookbook that came with the machine.  I don't think I want to try any of them.  I guess I want a high fat smoothie recipe and all of them are low fat, low calorie ones.  Watery.  I may look on the internet for a high fat smoothie.  Like full fat yogurt and mango.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Friend Of Twelve by Twelve - Maps

The Map On Page Nine.
12 by 20 inches.  Hand painted fabric and paper, discharged commercial cottons and commercially printed fabric.

This came together, with difficulty, at the last moment, yesterday.  I couldn't come up with a good plan (map) and we all know that without a good map--we get lost or confused.  I find maps to be helpful but confusing.  All the words, colors and sections.  What part should I be paying attention to, how do I get to my destination? ( Is it the orange spot?)

In the end, I just walked into the workspace, looked at the last piece (I intend for the five for 2012 to all be cohesive so they can be exhibited together), selected fabrics from the pile from the last piece and cut a piece of backing felt the correct size (not!) and set to work "painting" with blobs of fabric instead of paints.  Most of these fabrics are self painted and or bleach discharged.  Two fabrics are commercial.  One (the one with writing) was cut off a piece made many years ago and never quite finished.  Are any of mine actually finished?

And it was designed upside down.  Damned if it didn't look more interesting this way UP.  I had to do some last minute fiddling to get the piece to be 12 by 20.  Next time, I am going with my long time practice of making the felt backing 13 by 21.

I felt, last night as I was removing stitches that didn't help move the design and having second thoughts about the whole thing--why, not just skip the Maps.  But this morning I saw what some of the other 12's had done and now mine seems okay.