Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today's Breakfast- Zucchini Fritters

Leftover from last night's summer menu of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  G had French baguette alongside.  I had zucchini fritters.  Then there was steamed corn.  We are lucky to be having a long and delicious supply of fresh, local corn in the markets here in Maine.  Two for a dollar.   It was 5 for a dollar.  The corn in MY garden is growing bigger by the day. We have 19 ears, potentially.  My first time growing corn and I am loving it.  I also can't wait to pull potatoes out of the potato container.
The fritters are made from the largest zuke on the counter (12 inches) shredded, mixed with salt and left to drain in the sink, alone, all day, covered in Saran wrap.  Then I mixed in a half grated onion, 2 eggs (I think one is enough), quarter cup of flour (I used real flour since G was going to eat some -- but same amount of soy flour or ONLY ONE Tablespoon of coconut flour sifted over --please sift as it clumps), 1 t garlic powder, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.  Don't do as I did and make them 1/2 inch thick.  Best, I think, very thin so they get crisp to the center.  Mine were squishy in the center.  (Too many eggs).  And I really squeezed the grated zukes dry in a flour sack towel.

We had perfect bing cherries for dessert while watching the Closer.  G had two bowls.  Only $1.99 a pound right now so I will be buying MORE.

I filled my smaller market basket in the garden yesterday.  More yellow squash.  Lots of cucumbers. I got only three or four terrible ones last summer.  I love eating a fresh picked cucumber.  This is a Good year. The blueberries are coming to an end.  My tomatoes are getting bigger.  Still green but lots of potential for more tomatoes and fresh mozzarella suppers.  The Asian eggplants have lots and lots of flowers.  I haven't seen any baby eggplant yet.  My pepper plants look fantastic and they are loaded with peppers.  Well, the Admirals are and the jalapeños.  The bell peppers are struggling to set fruit.  My soil "heating" system is working.  I have to taste test an Admiral to see if they are sweet or hot.  The shape is more Cubanelle.  The one I picked is green and the peppers are pictured on the plant tag as orange.  So, I have to wait.

Riley just went (with G) and had two shots at the Vet and got weighed.  He has lost TWO POUNDS in three weeks.  For a dog to lose weight is even more ridiculously difficult than it is for ME to lose weight.  So, we made a big fuss over him.  He wanted a treat for doing such a "good job".

I need to finish my coffee and make my yogurt lunch.  I am working till 6 pm.  The sun is shining and if feels like it's going to be a "hot" day.  I went to Goodwill yesterday but couldn't find a linen sleeveless top.  That's what I really wanted.  I couldn't even find a short sleeved linen blouse.  Linen is so breathable that it makes hot days at work feel cool and comfortable.  The employees wearing the green cotton tees are so hot, like I always was in years past.   The tees get stinky over time.  I can bleach the linen shirts.

Monday, July 30, 2012


As this epic diet thing progresses, my weight might not be changing but I am certainly changing.  In ways that I never expected.   The most recent change was in underwear.  I bought a 2 pair packaged of microfiber briefs.  In beige.  To wear under pants that were a bit too snug.  My daughter suggested them because it's easier to pull on tight pants over microfiber and not white cotton granny panties.  White cotton bunches up.

Then, on a visit to Target (always dangerous), I saw the special four pack for the two pack price.  So far, I have opened the package of beige and then package of teal.  Then pink may be returned.  How many pairs is enough?  Ten?  I am surprised that I like wearing them.  Really.  After nearly 66 years of white cotton, this silky microfiber which doesn't reach my waist is really "different".

But then, eating chicken for breakfast is something no one would have ever bet on me doing.

It's sort of like Pandora's Box.  I opened up to eating an entirely different diet and now I am opening myself to other things I had always thought of as "not for me".

The Five Dollar Bill is a TIP I got at work yesterday after I potted three cactus for a customer.  I did a very careful and attractive job of it, as I always do.  So nothing extra ordinary.  I find potting the little plants into new pots to be very comforting.  Very Zen.  So I take my time, enjoy the process.  It's like a "practice" for me.  Calming, centering etc.  To get a TIP was very strange and yet, it felt good.  I spend time wondering what delight I can buy with my five dollars.  Glue sticks?  I love glue sticks.  And thin line Sharpie pens.

Riley got a bath yesterday out in the yard (the heat was making him very stinky).  And a long walk in the rain with G.  Very tired.  G & Riley.  Riley slept like a rock last night and is still resting by my feet, under the desk.  Since his "attack", Riley is spending more and more time "under" things.  Under the desk.  Under the table.  Under the bed.  Under the trees.  The new flea and tick collar the vet recommended is working.  There are no ticks on Riley. The smaller amount of dog food is working.  Riley is looking thinner.  He'll get weighed at the Vet this week and we'll see if he has lost anything.  His coat is very, very shiny.  He knows I am writing about him.

Today is my son's Birthday.  I hope he will be having a Happy Day.  As it is only 7:30 in California, I know that he isn't even awake yet and won't be for awhile.  Love you!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cleaning Out The Fridge Breakfast

G had grilled up a huge tray of zucchini and peppers sometime ago and I had been using them up whenever I made eggs for breakfast.  But, I wasn't making eggs all that often.  Today's breakfast is all the grilled vegetables, reheated for 3 minutes (just warm) and two sticks of cheddar cheese in cubes.  I added salt and pepper.  I also managed to make a fresh pot of coffee.  After work yesterday, I managed to eat two large spoons of peanut butter and then had the remains of Thursday's coffee (or was it Friday's coffee?)   I wish the lack of eating on my part translated into lost of inches in my rear end.  But, my rear end seems just as wide as ever.

I have to add onions to my shopping list.  I think grilled onion would have made the vegetables much tastier.

G is getting tired of having a panini for dinner.  It's easy, tasty and means I don't have to cook (he can assemble it himself).  He wants real food tonight, meaning that it's something where I do the work.  Chicken with rice. Pizza or Pasta. We discussed the menu items he thought he would enjoy eating this week.  None of them appealed to me but then, I don't think anything he mentioned would appeal to me right now.  I have enough zucchini to shred to make a few zucchini pizza crusts (for me) and they keep well in the fridge with no toppings.  I could do that today.  It's my day off and I have the time.  My last day off--on Monday, was spent reading and napping.  The high heat in the greenhouse is sapping my strength.

I have herbs to plant in the garden, the dog to walk (eventually), shirts to iron and I had wanted to go to Goodwill to see what's new.  Then there's the grocery shopping and the cooking.  Not much space in there for anything "fun".

I did manage to watch an episode of "Longmire" last night before bed.  It's on A&E and I had no idea it even existed.  I enjoyed the episode I watched and look forward to catching up with other recorded episodes.  I think one or two are missing.  Two new episodes will be airing starting August 5th.  Are there other shows on A&E I should be watching?   I think I missed Project Runway this week.  If I don't record things I forget about them.  Like I forget what day it is.  They all seem the same and just run into each other and then it's suddenly almost August.  Mums and Pumpkins.  Halloween.  And, since it's retail, Christmas starts arriving.  We already got glittered white feathers.

Reading my way thru Karen Fossum's books.  First two were excellent.  The next three are essentially rants on child abduction.  I am reading the current book to find out what happens to Sejer's dog.  Then I quit.   I have a Ron Rash book (dense and well written), a chick flick book and another of the Vanessa/Michael books where the central person may or may not be whatever sex you think they are.  It's an action thriller.  One of the sexes is the reality but the writer does such a good job--it's an even bet if the hero is male or female.  Keeps us guessing.  The first is titled the "Informationist"

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dream Kitchen

White and stainless steel.  And I like the drawers next to the stove and the sink in the island.  This would mean the entire back (south) wall of the house would be made up of French doors.  Not a bad thing as the two skylights we already have warm this part of the house so well that we hardly use the furnace during the day, even in winter, here in the kitchen/dining room.  A room that I think was originally designed to be a "family room".

In other news.  I woke up this morning and then went back to bed.  I eventually woke up after 9 am and was lazy and hadn't even had my breakfast  at 10:30 when it FINALLY dawned on me that it was NOT Saturday.  It was Friday and I was supposed to be at work in less than an hour.  Buzz Kill.  I raced around and tried to get myself dressed, lunch packed and breakfast eaten before leaving the house.  I was still late and got to hear "where were you?" from coworkers who expect me to arrive early.  So much for being predictable.

My meals are getting to be very strange this week.  Lots of peanut butter.  Eaten off a large tablespoon. I am not that interested in anything I could be eating.  And there is SO MUCH ZUCCHINI.  Since I am not making pickles with the zucchini (we still have a carton of jars of pickles since I haven't been eating half a jar of these sweet things with a cheese sandwich for the past 15 months) and I don't have any meatballs and sauce made to eat with zucchini pasta and I am not feeling like making zucchini pizza crusts (I may decide to do this anyway), I am left with peanut butter.  I am going to have start leaving bags of the stuff on neighbor's porches.  Or taking it to the Food Pantry in town.

Most of the recipes that use zucchini also use large amounts of wheat flour and sugar.  I tried a GF recipe and those flours are too high in carbs and then there is the sweetener.  The zucchini casserole I made with sausage instead of bread cubes was good but I think the original with bread cubes must have been extraordinary.  My rendition was too eggy and watery.  Nothing was there to soak up things.  I could make and eat a second one---but I am not that interested.

When I was eating wheat flour and sugar I was interested in eating lots of things made with zucchini.  All I did was cook and bake and eat the stuff I cooked and baked.  I would be busy right now making the decadent chocolate zucchini brownies and eating them until I made myself sick.  I may try to make a wheat flour/ sugar free one.  But, usually these attempts get shoved down the sink disposal after one bite.  I don't like to waste food.  I hate, even more, gaining any weight.

The good thing about today?  Well, two things.  It was payday and tomorrow actually IS Saturday.  Sort of like Groundhog Day.  I get to relive the sleeping late and just being lazy tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Today's Breakfast -- Israeli Salad

It's hot.  I am covered in mosquito bites (picking blueberries after 7 pm is not a good idea) and it's breakfast time.  I have already visited the garden and found two more yellow squash for the large casserole of squash and onions cooking on the stove, another cucumber and three very small red tomatoes.  And I have a partial red onion in the fridge.  (today's picture is from last year when my carrots actually grew)

So, I used the slicer (mandolin) to thinly slice the cucumbers, the red onion and tried to slice the tomatoes but their skin was too tough.  Then I salted, peppered and gave it a good glug of olive oil.  In truly Israeli fashion, I should have used lemon juice which is traditional as is small diced vegetables.  I forgot and sprinkled the vegetables with Balsamic vinegar.  And I didn't use the abundant parsley and mint I have in my garden. Too impatient. Next time.  I added a few ounces of fresh mozzarella to my salad.  Next time I could toast some nuts and add them, but I don't think I want to mess with the simple goodness of warm from the garden vegetables.

A very good breakfast.  It would have been amazing with the purple carrots from last year's garden.  Why didn't they germinate this year?

My garden has the opportunity to produce many more Israeli breakfasts this summer.  Lots of cucumbers, tomatoes and I have planted many onions.  Wouldn't that be a treat?

Last night, I got home from to work and discovered that the book (of G's) that I had returned to the library, was the book he was only half finished reading.  So, we three (me, G and Riley) jumped in the car and went to the library to see if I could use my influence (ha!) to retrieve the book.  No.  It had already been checked out to another patron.  So, G is now on the 45 person waiting list.

Then we drove to the next town to eat at Wendy's.  I had been wanting a Baja Salad aka Taco Salad.  I also wanted to see how different the food was in another Wendy's.  VERY.  My salad, last night, was twice the size of the one I got in my Town.  And I got plenty of chili, not the skimpy portion of the previous salad.  The employees seemed more intelligent and cleaner than in my Town.  So, we'll be driving across the bridge for any future Baja Salads.  Different owner/operators.  Or perhaps just a different manager who likes things done correctly.  Even in a franchise, there are differences.  If you don't like your franchise restaurant, try another down the road.  None of the big name fast food places on the road to my employment is worth going to.  Badly run, not clean and  getting what you ordered is not always possible.  I include McD's.  The BK is just far enough out of the vortex to be good sometimes, but not always.  Isn't that odd?  An area of town where nothing is ever done right?  My own employment is far enough out of this vortex to be "usually" okay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Garden Colors

This is the box with the added white petunias (cause this is the box the deer come and eat the zinnias) and I moved one of the blooming agapanthus so I could get the blue into the color mix.  Yellow, white, magenta and this blue. Perfection.  I always instruct the students in my gardening classes to select a three or four color palette and use that to choose their plants.  I suggest they use the colors in a favorite painting, pillow or  post card.  Then go to the paint store and get large color chips in "their" colors and carry that to the garden center when shopping.

Using this set of four colors, I could buy annuals, perennials and even flowering shrubs and trees.  A dark pink  Knock Out Rose, blue Rose of Sharon, some yellow Potentilla and white Shasta daisies.  Easy.  Another hint is to repeat a grouping of plants three times along your border.  Looks professional.  And doesn't need to be planted all at once.  Perennials need dividing every three years, so this could be a three or six year project.  Well, those are my gardening words of wisdom for today.

Yesterday turned into a complete lost day.  I read two books and just did nothing.  The worst part was that I also didn't eat.  I felt sick and dizzy most of the day but nothing in the house seemed appetizing.  I did have some cheese and most of the 1/2 gallon of tea.  A handful of almonds. Several big spoonfuls of peanut butter. A slice of the gluten free chocolate zucchini loaf (which is leaving the house when I go to work).  It isn't even that good but it is there calling to me.  I do have a serious carb addiction.  Best when I have none at all. Zero.

I started today with eggs, onion, peppers, grilled zucchini, wilted kale and sausage.  Lunch is full fat yogurt with blueberries and pineapple.  I even made a pot of coffee. I've got the kettle on for boiling water so I can mix up a box of SF strawberry jello for the rest of the week.  I hope the strawberry is better than the cherry.

It's supposed to be 70% chance of rain today with 83% humidity.  Lovely.  Good for the yard and garden but not so great when you are inside a glass greenhouse.  It would be nice to have some lightening and thunder.  And rain pounding on the greenhouse roof.  My car could use a good wash.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Iced Tea

The reflections in the half gallon jar of cold brewed tea that I have on my kitchen counter.  Dark, mysterious and oddly comforting on a summer afternoon.

I have decided that I am deeply loving this summer. 2012.  The sunshine, the heat, the days of not doing much at all.  Of sleeping well and soundly (due to the kelp), of eating simple, yet delicious meals, of wearing light, loose and cool clothing.  Being barefoot.  And the best suntan doesn't hurt either.  Especially since I never burned at all in the "getting".  And the "look" of my garden and yard.  So lush and green (due to G's watering).  Yesterday evening was cool and breezy and I could deadhead the daisies and zinnias again, without mosquitos.  What's not to love about that?

G grilled hamburgers (bacon cheddar jalapeño gourmet burgers from the store) alongside a large tray of mixed color peppers and zucchini.  The burgers, topped with bacon, more cheese, mayo, bacon fried onions, pickles and lettuce --- were tasty.  The jalapeño overpowered all the other burger seasonings.  The grilled vegetables will be added, liberally, to my morning eggs.  I'm thinking that Chicken Fajitas might not be a bad choice for tonight's dinner.  With a tequila lime marinade.

Time, the calendar, has suddenly passed me by.  There is a birthday box I must get into the mail today. Why does his birthday ALWAYS catch me unawares?  Well, in truth, his birth caught me unawares as well.  Two weeks early.  I went for a checkup and ended up in hospital being induced and two hours later, there he was.  Talk about being unprepared.  He was ready to get going. All 8 pounds plus.  And I LOVED him completely from the very first moment I held him.  Still do.  Always will.

Sentimental today.  Probably need to eat some breakfast, make a list of things I want to do and get started.  The floors need my attention if I am going barefoot.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


From Lowes.  It doesn't even have a cute name.  This is the second time I have purchased this zinnia at Loews and only in this color (they never have any other color).  Any one know what it is?nThe deer and the bugs ate them the first year.  I seem to have protected them enough this time.  I will have to try and remember to shop there next year.  I really like zinnias. Especially this variety.

I was on the "internets" this morning.  I found Closet Cooking where I had gotten a chocolate zucchini bread recipe which we all like.  ( G is taste testing and very happy) I made the regular version for G and then went hunting for wheat flour subs.  Which ALWAYS ends on a gluten free site.  Ugh!  I fell for it today and purchased, thankfully, only a small bag of gluten free baking mix on my quick trip to the grocery.  It tastes like beans.  And has too many carbs.  Next time, I will just use almond meal and coconut flours and have either a soggy loaf or a stiff dry loaf.  The one I made today is okay.  Will try the chocolate zucchini brownies next.  And, use far less than half the sugar called for. I used Splenda. Way too sweet for someone not used to anything sweet.

The site in my side bar, Candice, has now disappeared from the internet.  And I never wrote down any of the recipes.  She used coconut and peanut flours with excellent results but I wasn't ready to start eating faux baked goods.

I also purchased "diet" tonic water.  Meaning it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it like regular tonic water.  I made ice.  Lots of ice.  I am having a freezing cold gin and tonic tonight.  I might try and see what goes into a Tom Collins.  If I have what it needs then I will have one of those.  Freezing cold. I love gin when it's extremely cold.

I am also going to make zucchini fritters.  I can use the coconut flour in that recipe.  I have just come in from the garden with even more zucchini.  What was I thinking planting four of them?????  My little Bush Cucumber plant has made a second lovely cucumber which I am eating right now as I type.  I planted it in a container and G transplanted it into something larger a week ago.  I thought it would die. But it seems to be okay.  I may just plant bush cucumbers from now on.  The pickle cucumber plants are making lots of leaves, vines and flowers.  No pickles yet.  Those are my favorite.  Looks like I will actually get some cukes this year.  It's been two or three years since I successfully grew any.  2012 is a good year.

I think it is all due to the large empty planter pots I have dug into the garden with the squash and cukes. We fill the containers with water which seeps out thru the holes in the bottom.  Waters the roots.  I add manure and fertilizer to the empty buckets.  It's working!!!!  Next year the beans and tomatoes will get buckets dug near them also.

Just got back from dinner on the deck of the SeaDog.  Nice river view and just a touch too breezy but nice sitting out and enjoying nature and a beautiful view.  8:30.  Need to foil wrap the two loaves of bread and then put fresh sheets on the bed.  The day is pretty much over.  And no gin and tonic.  Well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

From My Garden

Blueberries. zucchini, a very large cucumber and the first bell pepper.  I even took two larger sized zucchini to work and they were snapped up, happily, by two young girls.  There was some envy of course.  "These are from your garden?"  The biggest one was hidden under a leaf and I also missed it while watering this morning before going to work.  Six more large zukes to add to the six I already picked.  Yikes.

G surprised me tonight.  He had the grill going and had purchased steaks and mixed peppers, onion and eggplant to grill.  Things I can eat.  He even purchased strawberries for my dessert.  I got to shower while he grilled and then we shared a healthy delicious dinner.  Best of all--- I didn't have to do any cooking.  The food was perfect.  I just need to finish my water.  I am not drinking enough liquids in the hot weather.  And no chocolate tonight.  Kept me awake last night.  I always forget it has caffeine.

Work was slow.  Everyone was either at the beach, on vacation or at home drinking beer and cooking something on the grill.   Not buying shrubs or petunias.  Well, a few people WERE buying petunias and the one dollar each geraniums.  A guy bought thirty geraniums at 5 pm.

Another cautionary tale regarding a Bayer product.  This one was a spray for roses.  The customer used it on her vegetables.  I asked her to call the 800 number on the bottle.  She did anne was told to pull up and discard her vegetable plants.  All of them.  And to remove the soil from the garden and not grow any vegetables in that area for a year or two.  It was a "dual action" product and the product tech said the "two chemicals together" were very dangerous to humans.  I think this should be in very large letters on the bottles.  Not the SMALL print inside the peel back label.

I felt so bad.  Pulling up your "just big enough to produce vegetables" plants and then have to look at the bare garden for the remainder of the summer is heartbreaking.  And it is an accidental thing that could happen to anyone.

Then, a second bad luck story (another customer) of using the wrong product to kill squash bugs and the result completely wilted plant leaves.  Neem Oil.  Coated the leaves and they suffocated.  I would never recommend Neem Oil for anything.

If you are reading this:  A DUST insecticide for bugs and beetles.  Bt for caterpillars and worms.  Period.

On that note, I am going to get my water, a bowl of strawberries and find my book.  Tomorrow is my day off and I have NO PLANS to do anything besides work in the garden, walk my dog and sit on the deck sipping iced coffee.  Dinner is going to be tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The View From My Back Deck

Not bad.  The weather changed overnight.  Cooler.  Breezy. Sunshine.  What a difference a day does make.  I was happy and dry all day at work.  LOL.  My planter boxes on the deck are filled with yellow daisies, magenta pink zinnias and a few white petunias (but no petunias in this box because the deer only ate the zinnias in the other box).  You can see the velvety green of the lawn and in the way back, my vegetable garden.  The tall things in the garden are my tomato plants.  Unlike my hairstylist, we have not eaten any tomatoes yet. We discuss all things garden related as I get my hair cut.

I spent a very pleasant bit of time on the back deck deadheading the daisies and zinnias while Riley enjoyed the cool lawn and breezes (waiting for G to get home).  A perfect afternoon.  Something to remember.

G is home.  A very busy day for him, today, as the Yarmouth Clam Festival is this week and weekend.  The Clam Festival is the "reunion" event for anyone who has gone to school in Yarmouth or lived there at any time in their lives.  The guy doing the evening news on NBC (Brian Williams) will be in Yarmouth for the Clam Festival.  Lobster, fried clams and Lime Rickeys.  Oh, and a very nice parade to start things off and an interesting Craft Fair.  Maine, the way Life should be.

Time for me to take a nice shower and think about making big salads for dinner.  I also have all that zucchini to make into something.  Like chocolate zucchini brownies. Decadently delicious.  But not wheat free.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We Have Zucchini

The last time I went out to check the zukes, they were too tiny to pick.  Today.  Well, they are sort of big.  And so many at once.  I am thinking of zucchini fritters, zucchini pasta and a zucchini pizza crust. But I hardly think that will make a dent.  I will have to also make grilled slices of zucchini to serve with a grilled piece of meat.  A steak, please.  When I planted so many, I was finding it difficult to buy nice ones to use for zucchini pasta with the meatballs and marinara.  I overestimated my need for zucchini.

I felt sick this morning.  I think the heat at work is warping my brain or something.  Or it could have been my choice of dinner last night.  All eight Nathan's Beef hot dogs (grilled to crispy dark brown) with a squiggle of yellow mustard as decoration.  No buns.  I ate them at room temp.  Then had a large cup of cold coffee with cream.  Period.

Or it could be my complete lack of interest in breakfast foods.  I did make a sausage, onion, pepper, greens and cheese omelet this morning but I didn't eat it at home.  I ate it at work.  Cold. That may not have been a good thing to do.  The feeling "sick" could have been hunger. Lunch today was Greek yogurt with blueberries (my own) and pineapple.  No Bran Buds.  I am NOT eating any wheat this week.  The yogurt isn't as filling or delicious without the Bran Buds.  I'll be perfectly honest here.  I don't eat ANY bread.  But I have been adding Bran Buds to my yogurt and I do eat my fried chicken with a wheat based coating. And bread crumbs do get mixed into those meatballs.  I tried them without and it wasn't a "good thing".  That is cheating.  Even those small things could be stalling any weight loss.  So, I have to stop cheating.  And, my meals are now less that happy times.  And I sometimes just don't eat rather than eat what I am allowed to eat.

The Kelp capsules are still treating me to a good night's "sound" sleep.  So I am well rested.  And for whatever reasons (unknown to me) I have reached "regularity" which is also making me happy.  The greenhouse is providing me with an excellent suntan.  So, I am getting plenty of vitamin D.  Which is now THE IMPORTANT vitamin to be getting enough of every day.

My household chores are pretty much under control.  G's shirts are all ironed and I have a load of whites in the washer waiting for kitchen towels.  The floors are swept and the garden is watered (G) and the dog has been walked and hosed off.  He likes to be well watered after his walk to cool down.  Riley is looking thinner already on his "diet" of 25% less dog food (which my daughter thinks is too much of a decrease).

An interesting effect of limiting his food:  Riley comes to the dog dish as soon as his food is served and starts eating.  No coaxing.  No skipping meals.  No tasting and then walking away.

Perhaps I would do as well if someone served me my food minus 25%.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Making Something From Something Else

Aren't these pillow covers the cutest thing ever?  And I used to have all those linen shirts--that I recently gave away.  Damn.  This is like when my Dad gave away all the broken Toro mowers he had stored under the porch (for parts) and then his Toro mower needed parts.  Boy, was my Dad mad.  Swore to never throw anything away again.  And he didn't.  I know, because I had to throw it all away 20 years later.

Breakfast with a friend.  I ordered four eggs with cheese and two sides of bacon.  When the chef/owner brought the food out he asked if I was "going all Paleo?".  I said yes and he replied "good luck with that".  Not a popular concept.

The kelp capsules are making me sweat.  I never sweat.  I am usually one temperature and that runs pretty cool no matter if it's winter or summer.  Now, not so much.  I don't think I like being all "moist". Other than that, no noticeable difference.  Oh----- I am sleeping soundly and falling asleep easily.  That is a very nice side effect.  It would seem that my metabolism is seeing a bit more action.

It rained last night.  Good for the gardens and lawns.  But today is very humid and I am so glad I am not at work.  My friend and I walked a bit after breakfast and it was hot.  Unpleasantly hot.  And not even 10 am.  Riley thought he wanted to go outside but changed his mind after about 20 minutes. Since it rained last night and G watered the garden heavily yesterday, I don't have to go out and water.  Thank goodness.

I think I am going to go sit in the living room and read.  I have the A/C unit going and it's very nice in the house.  G will be home in another 2 hours and he'll be cutting the grass, then we might take the dog for a walk.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Daily Compositional Exercise

I have been off reading blogs this morning.  The artistic ones. With Artist Profiles.  All those excellent work habits always get me excited.  I don't follow through but I get excited never the less.  Right now, I think the best thing I could do to move my work forward is to have a design wall that isn't behind the work table.  A wall that I can get to by walking forward and not to the left, around the floor lamp and then wiggle to the right behind the collage paper cabinet.  If I took anything from the Pamela Allen workshop, it was to walk back and forth in front of your work; adding and subtracting until there was nothing left to do but throw the piece away or declare it perfectly done.

Wiggling around a heavy lamp with a big lampshade and then around a tippy cabinet and then back out each and every time you want to "tweak" a scrap of fabric is ridiculous.  And working flat on the table is useless.  Unless the work will be shown flat on the table.  The only way it will look like it was made to look.  No wonder I get fed up with making anything.

On other news: a recent email from Wheat Belly (the blog for followers who gave up all wheat products) suggested that stalls, lack of weight loss etc for people (like me) who eat no wheat products could be more about a lack of iodine than a lack of trying to lose weight.  I am now on my third day of a natural kelp supplement.  I am sleeping soundly and actually dreaming.  I am hoping the next improvement is less water retention in my legs and ankles.  My hands are warm but I am wearing slippers even at 80 plus degrees.  I was born with ice cold hands and feet.  Did you know that they have removed iodine from all packaged salt?  Unless I eat fish two or three times a week (never going to happen) I don't get any natural iodine.  Time will tell.

G is recovering nicely from the full body rash he had last week.  This dermatologist knows what he is doing.  G returns to work on Monday.  He has two days of vacation left.  Yesterday he installed a new gutter over the back stoop deck.  The previous gutter leaked right over the door, so going in or out, you got very wet.  My garden has benefited from G being home this HOT week.  He waters generously each day.

Work has been terrible.  It is so HOT at work.  A glass greenhouse.  I arrive home, after work, limp and exhausted.  Just from being hot all day.  On the way to and from work, I pass cable guys working on power lines, guys pouring asphalt on roads and even the flaggers.  They have it much worse. At least I can go into the lunchroom and wash my arms and face a few times a day in cool water and soap.  There will be days, as the summer keeps going, when I will wet my head in the lunchroom sink.  To cool my brain.  I am drinking lots of liquids but still have muscle cramps in my thigh muscles after a long day.  I need to start bringing quart jars of iced tea to work.  Not just one.  Perhaps three.

So now, I will make a jar of tea.  Go upstairs and see if I can find a piece of homosote to use as a design wall (leaned up against the art supply cabinet) (when am I going to actually move upstairs???) All the laundry is done and all my sleeveless linen blouses are ironed (with starch) for work.  The last little bit to plant in the garden is waiting for me on the back stoop.   It's Saturday.  It's July.  Later.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friend Of Twelve by Twelve - Myth

Hit or Myth
12 by 20
Painted cotton, discharged cotton and commercial and African printed cotton.

Not a fan of this theme and never came up with a good subject.  I was going with Daphne turning into a Laurel tree but then I was going to have to use a realistic head, hand or foot.  I prefer the abstract right now and my head just couldn't get into drawing a foot, head or hand.  It felt wrong.  So the little play on words.  A hit or a miss.  This would be a miss and a myth.  I continue to struggle with the size of these pieces.  12 by 16 would be proportionally more pleasing to the eye.  And I don't think the extra 4 inches at the bottom helps the design here--at all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cool Nights & Sunny Days

The overnight temps were in the low 60's.  Delicious sleeping weather.  The sun is shining this morning.  The sky is blue.  The grass is lush and green.  Too bad I have to go to work.  The coreopsis and cone flower will have to wait for planting till I get home.

In garden news:  I have flowers on the cucumber plants, flowers on the zucchini, flowers and even peppers on the pepper plants and flowers on the tomatoes.  Now, we wait.  And, water.

G had his dermatologist appointment.  He has a rash caused by something he is allergic to (just like I determined days ago).  Like the fragrances in his bath products.  So we went out yesterday and purchased fragrance free Aveeno products: soap, deodorant, shaving gel and shampoo.  He has a cortisone cream to apply and drugs to stop the itching.  We'll see.  No psoriasis except for his scalp.  None of the specialists think he has RA.  Which is a very good thing.  Filling up his pill dispenser is a bit depressing.  The little sections are filling up with the assortment of pills.

Riley finished his breakfast and is now napping on the dining room floor while G eats his breakfast and takes his handful of pills.

I had a bowl of whole grain cereals with half and half and cream for breakfast.  I was researching the "Eat For Your Blood Type" websites.  Nearly everything I am doing on the Atkins Diet is similar to the Type A diet except for the dairy products and whole grains.  In fact, the Type A seems rather Paleo.  Still prohibits any white flour, white sugar, bananas, MANGO, oranges and coconut.  No potatoes of any color, no eggplant (oh, dear) and no tomatoes (omg).  But, in exchange, it looks like I can have Chinese stir fry with ginger and soy with some RICE.  This diet also says yes to lentils, black beans and black eyed peas.  Yogurt and soy milk are also okay.  And pineapple is a definite YES!

Now---- the reasons this sounds interesting to me.  I have read on the Atkins threads that cheese, dairy and some other things can cause a weight loss stall.  I do eat quite a bit of aged cheese.  In order to stop eating cheese or heavy cream I need to find something else that will provide the same sense of a "full fat tummy".  Like the beans and rice.  And cornbread (minus any white flour) would be okay.  I can also eat peanuts and peanut butter.  Those two were not allowed on Atkins, even though I did eat them both once a week.  A handful of salted peanuts makes life at work meaningful and it makes me thirsty which helps me drink large cups of water.

So, it's Atkins Type A for the next month.  I need some pineapple to go with my yogurt.  I'll start slowly and just have oatmeal for breakfast (a whole grain) and then add some rice and beans to the dinner plan.  It will be difficult to give up the aged cheeses.  I can still have fresh mozzarella and ricotta. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Must Keep Busy

G has appointments today so will be "in and out", I have a few small housekeeping chores to do and then some much needed garden work--planting, and finally, the Myths piece to work on.  Remember when I said I had gotten my "art mojo" back?  Well, it went back into hiding almost as soon as I typed that statement.  I no longer like my original myth idea.  I no longer even like the theme.  It's a miss with me.

At work we have settled into the grumble part of the year.  Not much to do but water, water, water and our hours keep getting cut and people need money to live--so, things get testy as one person loses a day and another adds a day.  I am reconsidering my decision to work all five of my days.  Negative energy is NEVER a good thing for me.  My tan is looking very nice.

Riley has settled into a "new and strange" behavior pattern.  He is experiencing "fear" of the foyer again and must be walked thru that part of the house with either G or myself.  Otherwise he stays in the living room or the kitchen and CAN'T go anywhere on his own, whining so we'll come and give him safe passage to the other room.  He is also sleeping under our bed.  Which involves some very complicated moves on Riley's part as he is a very large dog and the under bed space isn't very deep.  He can, also, only enter and exit from the same spot.  Even if his front paws are outside at the foot of the bed, he must wriggle backwards to exit under my pillow.  Where he enters.

This must be some sort of compulsive disorder.  It's not new.  Riley is a very submissive dog and I guess this comes with the territory.  He is also very intelligent, for a dog.  Perhaps he needs to see a therapist.  He may be conflicted about his role as a dog.  I am just kidding.  Or not.

My breakfast this morning was the last three HB eggs and mayo.  It was good.  I think it was good because it was the last three HB eggs.  I won't be making more, anytime soon.  Dinner last night was two ham and cheese rolls.  I usually really enjoy them--but not last night.  And my SF jello was cherry.  It was like eating a cough drop.  I guess raspberry is the best SF jello for taste.  So, not the best day for food yesterday.  I compensated by eating two large chunks of granola.  They changed the Big Sky recipe and these new "chunks" don't have nearly the amount of seeds and nuts as the original.  Almost entirely oatmeal.  I think they will be going into the compost bucket to save me from being tempted to eat the remainder.  I am on a roller coaster ride here with cereal carbs.

The long stall in weight loss is causing me to doubt my low carb lifestyle.  It works when I can see some results; like a few pounds lost each month. But to see nothing since January?  Yes, I know.  I am also NOT seeing any weight gain.  That should be enough.  But I am still seeing all the fat rolls across my belly, hips and knees.  I am wearing shorts and summer clothes. I even wore my "test pants" out in public last week.  Yes, they fit nicely enough that I could wear them outside the house.

In a fit of confidence, I removed all the loose fitting clothing from my closet.  And I wished that the tight stuff I got rid of from 2008 to 2011 was still here.  I even wished the stuff I wore in the later part of the 1980's was still stored somewhere in the attic.  Especially the cotton dresses.  And that little red dress with the cross over neckline.  I am unhappy and discouraged right now.  A DANGEROUS place to be when one is addicted to high carb foods.  Must Keep Busy.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I'm Picking Up What You're Laying Down

Learning the "new" lingo at work.  Rapper Style.  Always open to new things.  Keeps me "fresh". (can you see me smiling?) The rapper lyrics are sort of like Beat poetry (if you remember the 50's).  I can't say as I have actually listened to any recorded Rap (or Beat poetry), but I do get to listen to D, at work, rattle off all the words to one tune after another.  Astounding memory.

Didn't sleep much last night.  Up early and out the door to the grocery with the dog in the car.  It was cool enough for him to come along.  Riley finds sitting in the car in parking lots to be a wondrous experience.  Library first to pick up books.  I am 47th in line for Bringing Up The Bodies. Rats. I could have been number one if I "Nooked".

I purchased 5.5 pounds of yellow squash (picture above is of my own 2011 squash) because it was on sale and because sliced thin and fried up with onion and butter, it is now my favorite food.  So I wanted more.  Lots more.  Long before my plants start producing. It takes forever to cook down to a nice brown mess.  The girl can't wait.  I also have some "also on sale" zucchini to make into a casserole with cheese and sausage. I'll be sampling pepper jack cheese for the first time in the baked casserole.  Really.  Never have had pepper jack cheese.

It rained last night.  It was 87 yesterday but breezy.  So last night and this morning are muggy and full of bugs.  The deer came up on the front porch last night to eat my petunia baskets and the one "safe" hosta I haven't planted yet.  G thinks it's one young deer.  All on his or her own, who thinks the yards on this street are her territory.  And she eats all day long.  Not just at night.  Nothing is safe.  Riley isn't even a deterrent.

I found Tide on sale at my grocery for $9.99 a jug.  Target had it for $9.50 but the savings was in the form of a $5 Target gift card if you bought two.  49 cents more at the grocery and I didn't have to wade through Target to get it.  And the grocery always has original scent and regular style.  Not the specialty types for the new washers.  I would have been plenty mad if I gone over to Target and couldn't buy my kind and then drove back to the grocery to find it all gone (which is what happened once before).  I now have four bottles (two for colors and two for whites) so I am set until the next sale event.  Our Target just got a make over and now has a grocery inside with fresh foods.  I don't think it will help.  But then, I am not someone who finds things they like at Target.

I am back to reading Swedish mysteries.   I am not watching much television.  I have been watching YouTube videos of Alys Fowler's Edible Garden series and Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen.  Both are very entertaining.  To me.  I like that I can watch the entire show (BBC) and not have to watch in ten minute segments.  Which is annoying.

I have laundry to do, I may wash the kitchen floor and then do some work on Myths.  See you Monday.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday, July 6th Breakfast

Today I am having three HB eggs mixed with mayo, salt and pepper topped with the one remaining "good" avocado.  I spritzed the avocado with fresh lime juice and salt.  A cold summer breakfast.  The avocados went from hard as a rock to rotten, with no inbetween.  I won't be buying any more.

Yesterday I had a large ham and cheese roll for breakfast.  Too much in a hurry to take a picture.  Thursday is my one "early" day and I need to be at work by 7:30.  I stay in bed as long as possible and then rush about trying to get out the door in time.  The good part of the "early" day is getting home at around 2:30.  Plenty of time to do garden chores, shop for groceries etc.

Lunch, yesterday and today, Greek yogurt with sliced fresh peaches and a few frozen raspberries. I am embracing fruit this summer.  Even the sweet cherries on sale right now.

Riley passed all his tests at the Vet.  But, the sitting and staring into space that we thought was the Advantix, could be the Advantix or a seizure.  Hard to tell and both seem to wear off in the same way. The Vet says dogs have seizures all the time. In other news, Riley's BMI is too high (like mine) and we are both now indexed as "chubby" (15 pounds over, just like me).  So, we have decided to give him one cup less dog food per day.  And check with Doggie Day Care to see how many treats he gets while there.  I'm not foolish enough to believe he loves going there just because everyone is nice.  I will also be getting less food.  Fair is fair.

The 12 by 20 challenge for Myths is due to be revealed on the 12th of this month.  I have work to do.

G used the heavy duty Round Up on the front garden beds.  First he used the weedwacker to shorten the weeds and then sprayed.  He uses a system that limits the overspray to just the targeted weeds.  Now I have to dig up all the roots.  The sun was shining when he sprayed and everything was good and dead by the time I got home (2 hours).   Lovely stuff.  The shrubbery in the beds looks perfectly fine.  In fact, better than fine, as it's not competing with the weeds now.

I plan on buying some additional stakes so I can add more chicken wire barriers to the garden beds.  Seems the deer entered the front garden and ate all the perfect baby hostas I had growing under the weeping crab apple.  It's days like this that make me wish we lived in Town.  Only five miles separates my garden from the ones in Town.  But it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to deer.

Riley got me up early (7:30) and I have already threaded the sewing machine numerous times in order to stitch the waistband down on my 2007 knit walking pants. Somehow it got loose. While doing this repeated threading of the machine (the one thing I detest about my machine) I noticed that I could not locate any of my large spools of thread.  The black especially as the pants are black.  I did find gray.  It hardly shows. So, I need to find my spools of thread. I also intended to go upstairs and do some Pilates for my triceps muscles in my arms (the Bingo arm jiggle).  But I forgot, and ate breakfast.  Pilates is best on an empty stomach.

I  need to take a container to work so I can plant up the interesting combo of orange tuberous begonia, lime sweet potato vine and something tall and dark, nearly black.  A shop in Town has two of these by their front door.  Striking.  What is tall and nearly black?  We think the shop used a fern.

Things are happening at work, but I must follow my own rule and not write about them here on the blog.  So I can't share the things that are bothering me, most, with you.  Ah, well.  Such is life.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fourth Of July Breakfast

Sausage, onion, peppers and three Trader Joe's eggplant slices from the freezer.  I added eggs and cheese and let it cook until crispy and brown on the bottom and then flipped carefully and turned off the heat.  While it cooled I cut and seasoned an avocado with salt and fresh lime juice.  Breakfast.

In the summer, I lose my appetite for anything but cold/creamy or salty foods.  Iced coffee and a few salted nuts is perfect for a meal.

The morning was overcast and humid.  Still cool from the overnight, so I closed the windows, made the bed and got dressed.  I plan to go outside and plant a few things in the garden.   I would like to make a few chicken wire barriers to keep those damned deer out of the perennial beds.  And I need to fertilize the peppers.  They look like they need feeding.

Riley is curled up under the computer desk making sure I don't get away with anything fun while he drifts off to an bit of a snooze.  He has an appointment with the vet tomorrow for his belated annual checkup.  And he needs a new tick prevention.  G must find a way to collect "business" samples for the vet.  Glad it's not me.

I used up all the landscape fabric making "pillowcase" bags to cover the rose bushes.  The Japanese beetles have arrived--right on time-- July 1 and are busy trying to eat my roses.  Only the ten foot high Heritage rose is available to them.  I am going to try the baby power on that rose and see if it works to kill them.  I have a 6 pack of lavender blue petunias to plant where the deer ate the pretty pink zinnias.  Or I could plant the white ones there.  I also purchased some Blue Glitter thistle.  I like the way they look even though they always seem to die over the winter. They have only one thin spindly stem.  I wish they looked more sturdy. I also purchased another Stokesia to replace the one the deer ate (just before the buds bloomed).  More chicken wire.

I have six Blue Fescue Grass to plant along the front of the front garden border which means moving the established Astilbe.  But.  Now it is in flower and I know which ones are pink and which ones are white.  I already found all the red ones in the peony bed (full of weeds) and dug them out and moved them to the front of the perennial bed by the deck.  The deer didn't like them.  So now I'll see if I can find more amongst the weeds to dig and transplant.  I also need to cut spent blossoms from the peonies and then the seed pods from the Baptista.  And cutback the Nepeta (catmint).  OMG what a lot of work!!!  On my day off.

Remember when I told you we cut the ten foot high (and wide) Wiegelia?  With the chainsaw?  To the ground?  Well, it's now about three/four feet tall.  Ready to bloom.  The Spirea is nearly that tall and looking fresh and ready to bloom also.  I think we should do that every other fall for fresh looking shrubbery. The Rhodies also got chopped and they are sending up nice new shoots and leaves.  Instead of long bare branches with a poof of leaves at the tips, they will be short stemmed and full of leaves. I have loads of places for G to use the Heavy Duty Round Up to get rid of weeds.  Easier than pulling them out while still alive.

Time to pull on the shoes and sox and start working.  Happy Fourth of July!!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

I Have Plans

For this pile of crop cover fabric.  There is some on sale at work and more being transferred, but I went searching and found this much already in my possession.  I have plans, ahem, to make pillowcases of protection for my roses.  The Japanese beetles are coming.  The sun and rain can still get in, but the beetles won't be able to.  Last summer my roses were chewed and covered in what, to me, was a writhing mass of metallic bugs. UGH

In other garden news, the deer have come, in the night, and chewed off all the "about to flower" parts of my sweet little perennial garden next to the back door deck.  Now, I can sit and stare at a beautifully weeded and mulched bed of nothing.  My Endless Summer hydrangea is, once again, nothing but a few inches of bare stalks.  No leaves and certainly no flowers this year.  I now have it covered in chicken wire.  G thought his deer repellent spraying would do the trick.  No.

I tied my small tomato plants to their very tall (perhaps I bought them too tall?) stakes.  I am trying this method this year and not the tomato cages I spent good money on last summer.  They tipped over.  I used bright orange plastic tape to tie the tomatoes.  And I removed all the suckers.  On the way out of the garden, I picked a handful of very peppery arugula to eat with a few hard cooked eggs and mayo.  I bought a dozen eggs and cooked them (brought water to simmer, simmered one minute, covered and let sit off the heat for 15 minutes).  Slight tinge of green around the yolk but no sulfur smell.

I don't like eating hot food in the morning.  So I have been eating my egg omelets at room temp, I have the HB eggs now and the deli ham and cheese rolls.  Those will be my breakfasts this week.  Today's omelet has two kinds of sausage, onions, peppers, cheese and "cooking greens" which I am buying by the box.  Looks like beet, collard, kale and spinach with some curly stuff.  I will add some of the arugula.  I let the plants from last year go to seed.  Now I have arugula.  It didn't work for last year's fennel.  I was waiting to collect the seeds and the birds got there first.  Not a seed left.  Timing is everything in a garden.  Which is why gardeners have to be out there all the time.

I didn't get much sleep on Saturday night.  I think I finally slept well after 3 am.  Then G got home and I was awake again.  So, going to work Sunday morning wasn't pleasant and then it was so hot.  I must have looked miserable (and bored) because the co worker in charge asked if I wanted to go home early.  I guess the boss suggested she send people home after all the watering and lunches were done.  So, I went home at 1.  And sat out on the back lawn with G and the dog.  Then we went to the river side restaurant and sat out on the deck and ate a very late lunch.  G had a 20 ounce beer and I had a $3 margarita.  I need to figure out how to make a carb free one.  It was wonderful.

I finished book number five.  That Tudor mystery I wasn't so keen to read turned out to be just the thing.  I had opened the book to the ONLY place the author had written "haunches" and "by the rood". I knew all the players as this book takes place just as Edward VI is dying and Jane Grey is set up for the throne (and then dies, I guess?)  I'm thinking I might re read the Nevada Barr books, from the beginning, as I have now read the prequel.  The first books were the best.  The newest ones--not so great.  Perhaps the author shouldn't have let Anna get old?

Anyway, I plan on going to the bank, the post office (I really need to pay the bills), and then the library as soon as I get dressed, finish my breakfast , etc.

And then I have those pillowcases to make for the roses.  I was going to use netting but I seem to have made myself a huge, puffy, ankle length tutu out of the pink netting.  So I could be a Princess.  I don't remember doing it.  And, the white netting is missing.  I may venture into the attic to see if it is up there.

Dinner tonight will be fried yellow squash (from the supermarket but cooked here at home), tomatoes (also purchased) and fried chicken (also purchased).  It's July.

I have to cover the blackberry thicket or else the deer will eat them also.  So many flowers.  So much potential for berries.