Thursday, November 29, 2012

Carrot News

I met person who owns my 10x10 carrots.  Her husband purchased the Carrots for her anniversary gift at the Arts Are Elementary fundraiser in October.  And today, I introduced myself to her while she was visiting the greenhouse and doing some shopping.  This is the 12x12 version of the Carrots (the 10x10 image is blurry).

The fascinating thing about this chance conversation (is anything actually by chance?) was that when the new Carrot owner placed the Carrots above her mantle---all the other odd bits of purchased art (drawings, watercolor etc) came together.  My art had completed the ensemble.  And over the holidays a large, exuberant bunch of bittersweet looked perfectly at home as well.  The carpet, in hues that matched the Carrots (but hadn't been noticed before), was also brought to life.  How extraordinary.

The new owner of my Carrots was able to do something I hadn't been able to do.  She went back, at the end of the evening, to see what had not sold and try and figure out why. To better study the kind of art people purchase.  I did do my own research matching the list of sold pieces to the images on the website.  Not as good as seeing them in person, but still a valuable learning tool.

Updates, Please

I get comments from readers and when I try to reply--I get my mail returned to me.

Di-Tri-Ing.  Island quilter is what comes back.

I enjoy replying to your comments ( quite a lot) so it helps to have a proper, working, email address. My email is

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's A Poinsettia World @ Work

I keep forgetting to take my camera to work so you can see how amazing the greenhouse looks right now.  All red, white and pink.  Loaded.  And the balsam from the wreath decorating makes everything smell like Christmas.

Not that I spent any quality time in the greenhouse today.  I played "hide&seek" doing gift shop transfers from our store to the "mother" store.  The written cues aren't all that great so it's hard to find stuff without looking at the tiny sku numbers on the price tags.  I got sidetracked looking for tiny snowmen ornaments .  But, I managed to learn how to do transfers in the computer.  I did five and on the last one--I did it without looking at my notes.  And, I managed to work calmly at the cash register through a mild "rush", while answering the phone.  It was all good.

Today is G's birthday.  We are the same age again.  He spent it:  1. having the house wired to receive power from a generator  2.  Replacing the springs in his garage door opener   3.  Cleaning the house and vacuuming  4.  Walking the dog.  When it's time to eat, we'll be going out to the restaurant of his choice.

We got a delivery of heating oil.  $370 for a really cold house.  But I think the bill is for 3 months.  And I didn't turn the heat on until near the end of October.  I decided that I don't care about the cold house (much) but I do value the hot water in my daily shower.  I have tried to decide how much each shower is worth, to me.  What would I pay for my shower each day?  Right now it's $12 per shower if I divide by 30.   $6 per shower if I figure it on a 60 day use of the oil or $4 for 90 days.

I have decided that the $11 a day I pay for Doggie Day Care for Riley is worth the price.  Not every day but the days when G and I are both working.  Three days a week.  I had been paying for DDC out of my check from work.  It was like I worked one hour (plus) to take care of Riley.  This is how I decide how far I will drive to any job I take.  I decide how much something is worth to me in time or money.  I hardly know when this happened.  When I started deciding things by how much I was willing to spend on it.

 I do know that eating out at restaurant--G's favorite thing to do--- is hardly ever worth it.  The food is never as good as the price we are asked to pay.  The service is rarely anything we should "tip" for.  The presentation of said food is okay at best and I truly hate having the main course served while we are still eating our salad or appetizer.  I think the wait person deserves a tip if everything is served in it's own time.  We aren't left feeling rushed.  Can you tell I am ambivalent about tonight's dinner out?

It's cold today.  Snowing every once in awhile.  Colder tomorrow.

I had my hair cut a little different yesterday.  Longer on top.  The same all around the sides and back. It feels and looks more different than I thought it would.  I like it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What The Body Wants

Here is a bit of something from a guy who is fighting the same battle I am.  Low carb diet to control weigh regain.  We have both successfully lost 60 to 80 pounds and kept most of it off for over five years.  This in nothing short of a miracle.  Really.  Almost all lost weight is regained in 2 to 3 years.  Usually quicker as the body regains the upper hand, so to speak.

Here's what my cyber friend has to say:

On Thursday I was 197. Today, just 2 days later, I am 205. The ability to gain 8 pounds in 2 days is a remarkable feat, and has to do with my body thinking that my weight is far to low for its comfort. In reality, my body decided long ago that I should be at least 250 pounds and while I have kept it from that number for many years now, my body has never been in agreement with me on this, and the past two days – when I have given it the opportunity through providing it what would be considered a ‘normal’ amount of daily carbohydrates (300 grams per day), it has taken the opportunity to go for the gusto and start to rebuild my fat stores back to what it deems appropriate.
My body and I will never see eye-to-eye on this. And to prevent my body from following the course it is most content with, I will need to maintain a low carb diet for the rest of my life. I have known this for many years now – I can just point to the past 2 days as to a concrete example as to why I believe this is true.

His problem, this week, was a birthday and a holiday.  And a few days off from work.  Plenty of time, and a lack of a schedule, to indulge in food.  Which he loves.

I tried, in vain, to substitute low carb things for higher carb Thanksgiving menu items with a low degree of success. For the past two days I have added a scant 1/3 cup of normal stuffing to my leftover plate of turkey and vegetables.  The small taste was enough to make me think I was celebrating a holiday.  And the resulting gastrointestinal discomfort is enough to make me forego this in future years, no matter how much I love stuffing.  

I am astonished to learn that my body can't digest wheat or most grains.  Remember the "farty" cereal of the olden days of eating low calorie?  Still farty.  LOL.  Easy enough to pass up these "treats" as the results are not what I would call "socially acceptable".   Sugar, on the other hand is something I just say NO to rather easily.

I was trying to remember what bread and pasta taste like the other day (a dangerous pursuit).  Not that I wanted any, but it seemed so strange to not remember what they taste like or feel like when being chewed.  Two food items I practically EXISTED on.  I guess I am farther along this new evolutionary  path than I had expected.  Which is very good news.  Thanksgiving is TOTALLY a FOOD HOLIDAY and the most difficult to get past. I am glad that most of my favorite dishes are the vegetables.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Daughter Cleaned My Kitchen Counters

After Thanksgiving dinner.  And I am loving the empty, bare, clean look of my counter tops.  In "real life" there is always stuff on these counters.  And, in case you are wondering, this photo was taken with me in the computer chair and the camera on the very edge of the center island facing the back garden.

The little sticks are my white orchids.  I didn't intend to have 9 white orchids.  I tried buying colored ones but in the end, I seem to only be able to keep the white ones alive.  And they are ALIVE.  Been blooming since last winter.  Always have flowers.  Amazing, but true.

The round orbs are glitter balls.  The original intent was to replicate the polka dot lights spinning around a shop I adored, Brambles.  The sunlight refracted off the little mirrors on the balls and the entire interior of the shop was washed in swirling white dots of light.  It was dreamy.  I don't have enough mirrored balls, nor do I have the right amount of light coming into the windows.  I can only have floating dots when I get the orbs to move.  They stop moving--no more dots.  Perhaps the dots swirled at Brambles due to customers entering and departing and making waves.

The little iron moon with a bell to the right of the window was a Zen thing I purchased during my Japanese Zen period.  I like it and moved it into the house.  Used to be outside the front door near the Indian Goddess that my neighbors think is a Buddha.  I do have a new Buddhist monk (on my bedroom dresser) that I could put on the table by the front door.  He looks more Buddha-like except his hands are in prayer.  So a monk not a Buddha. You have to know these things when buying statuary.

Somehow, quite randomly, I now have items in place that reflect a rather meditative decorative style, if not personality.  I just wish this personality would manifest itself with better housekeeping.  I am happier, calmer and more creative when everything is neat and all surfaces are clean and bare.  Hardly ever the case.  No wonder I am usually crabby.

I found a website with Watercolor 101 posts.  Now I want to go searching for my watercolor supplies (which I know are buried under tons of crap) and fill all the little paint pans with paint and arrange my brushes with the tips on a rolled towel.  Then I can practice washes, dots and drags.  Since the dining room table top is also clean and bare; it seems like a good time to prepare for winter painting practice. I am going to the library and the bank this morning, so I can purchase a pear.  My "model".  Or an apple.

My cranberry sauce finally jelled.  But the SF orange jello was a flavor miscue.  Next time, no jello.  The orange overpowers the cranberry.  I know!  How can anything overpower cranberry?  I have a large amount of the stuff to eat.  Perhaps I will enter it into the disposal sooner rather than later.

I also sorted my sock basket.  Summer socks are now on the bottom and winter socks and work socks are on top.  I feel better.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Day After Thanksgiving

Yesterday was non stop cooking and cleaning, in my pajamas, until just before setting the table for a later than usual dinner.  G had to drive to work to fax something and the turkey waited until he got home for it's bath and prep to go into the oven.  

The turkey @ almost 15 pounds had very little meat on it's very large and heavy bones. What there was was wonderful.  I ate the dark meat off both legs so my family could have all the white. We three had generous portions (one each) and I have almost nothing to serve tonight with the leftover sides.  I do have two wings and two thighs which I plan to crisp up in the oven and serve.  Unless G has pizza before I get home from work.

The ONLY low carb menu item that worked was the green bean casserole. My experimental cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie were all disgusting failures and went down into the disposal.  G and S had the real, original versions.  My gravy was super delicious.

 Next year I plan to have the smallest possible "tasting" serving of the forbidden foods.  And stop trying to make subs.  I KNOW I will never be eating the way I used to--ever again.  Low carb without sugar and wheat is the way my life is going to be forever.  So I need to just stop trying to make "fake" food and learn to eat the things that are good for me.

That baked squash turns out to be VERY good for me.  Just had it for breakfast with butter and cinnamon. I finally looked up the nutritionals. Six net carbs for a big CUP of the stuff.  The oatmeal was so much higher and had too many sugars.  And only 40 calories for the cup serving of the squash.
Now, I worry I won't be able to find it the next time I go shopping.  It would make me happy to be able to eat baked squash and butter for breakfast all winter.  And I seem to have lost some flabby fat around my waist in the last few weeks.  I wore a pair of slim fitting medium LL Bean black stretchy cords last night (from the old days).  And I didn't look like I was wearing a sausage casing.

Back to work today with a packed lunch of Greek yogurt and red grapefruit sections.  I really like the taste combo of the creamy yogurt and the spicy grapefruit.  And I am getting so good (and efficient) at sectioning the grapefruit  and getting segments with absolutely no pith. Practice does make perfect in some things.

Hope the holiday was a happy one for all of you.  I still haven't had a moment to even open any of the books on my side table.  I think they will all be returned unopened, unread.  But there is always January and February.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Picadillo Recipe

I started making this when I was living in Germany.  I think I served it as a sort of starter with corn chips or as a casserole with corn chips and perhaps sour cream.

2 pounds ground beef browned well with one large onion, diced, and 3 T oil.

After browning (and removing extra beef grease) add one large diced tomato (I added two 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes because it seemed dry), 2 mashed cloves of garlic

Then add the spices: 4 T vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, pinch of ground cloves, half teaspoon cumin, 2 teaspoons salt (could be less) 3/4 cup raisins.

Simmer gently for 30 minutes and then add 1 cup blanched, slivered almonds and I cup of green stuffed olives (salty).   Heat thru.

I had it just like this in a bowl for dinner last night and it "needed" something to be a complete meal.  I may add some of the garbanzo beans I cooked last month and put into the freezer.

It is very salty because of the olives.  But, for me, salt is good as it forces me to drink water and, right now, I am dehydrated (muscles cramping).

Feel free to add tomato sauce or salsa to this.  I remember it being more saucy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Five Weeks

That's how many weeks till Christmas for all of us.  And it's how many weeks until my Pajama Sabbatical from work.  Guess which one I am counting down to?  It is being made especially tense because G will be retiring on the same day I stop working.  We have Medicare to get settled and try and figure out how we are going to pay for stuff.  Big stuff always happens around the holidays it seems.  Makes it all so tense.  Less joyful. 

The image on top of the screen is my "in progress" Doodle which I began at the last Art Club meeting. I had made a few in years past and included newspaper text (the legal classifieds) as another texture in the Doodles.  I liked it and think I may do the same in this one.  In the larger areas.  Most of the Doodles I watched on YouTube used floral images.  I think that is too feminine.  For me.

My plan for today is to finish the laundry, iron the shirts resulting from that laundry, go to the bank to deposit four paychecks and my 10x10 check and READ.  I have an idea for making Piccadillo with ground beef, tomatoes, green olives, almonds, raisins and spices if I can find the recipe I used and loved in the 1980's.  G doesn't like it so I will be the only one eating it.  Sounds like a good work lunch.  Now that it's cold, a good warming lunch is nice.  And I could also eat it after work for dinner.

The greenhouse is now filled with Christmas.  Poinsettias.  Cyclamen.  Norfolk pines.  Christmas cactus in very unChristmas colors like salmon, white and yellow.  We even have supplies for Fairy Houses.  Watering is time consuming.  Balsam greens are being used to make the Holiday boxes and wreaths over on the Christmas table in the back of the greenhouse.  So the smell of balsam is a lovely background for my work days.  Balsam needles in my clothes--not so special.

Our Open House was well received.  We were actually busy.  The Christmas Trees aren't here yet and that will make the days more interesting.  We'll have more "boys" working the tree yard.  And our annual Secret Santa is always fun.  I think a nice potluck lunch once a week would be nice.  Nothing big and not all of us cooking every week, but a day set aside to bring in something to share.  Or not.  I have to order my "tall, fat, wild" tree.  A large bottomed tree.  Like me.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fat People Are Like Snowflakes

All different.  I have been asked to just "be happy" with myself as I am and not to focus on my goal weight or the size of my clothing.  I have read an article on a dieter who, after many struggles and the loss of 100's of pounds, is still OBESE.  My weight falls in the "High Overweight" BMI range.

The BMI chart.  I lost 80 pounds in 2007.  I went from obese to overweight.  I would have had to lose another 20 pounds to get to the high end of Normal.  I looked like a dead woman walking at minus 80. No one wanted me to continue.  And I was unhappy and angry.

Guess what?  Losing the weight hadn't magically made me any happier.  I started eating as I had always eaten and, because I eat a good healthy diet, it took three and a half years for me to pile on 40 pounds. It has now taken 18 months for me to lose half of that.  I am guessing as I don't have a scale.  It has been many, many months since I experienced any weight loss.  I am maintaining which is a VERY GOOD THING in weight loss.

I am writing about this since the reasons for the weight loss, weight gain and maintenance is all a great big problem in this country.  Something is wrong.  With humans.  With the food we eat.  With the manufacturers of clothing.  With the images we see of ourselves and others in media.

We are making ourselves sick.  Or crazy.

IF I ate the very same foods (I have my food diary from all of 2007) today and for the next months, I would probably gain weight.  Not lose weight.  Crazy, isn't it?  I know it is.  I HAVE tried it.

I try, all the time, to seek a more normal way of eating.  And by normal, I mean eating things that everyone else eats.  Simple things like oatmeal, bananas, apples, butternut squash or white potatoes. Yes, those are the simple things I try adding to my food list.   Not pizza or loaves of bread, donuts or cookies. Never pasta.

 I have had oatmeal for breakfast for as many days as it takes to empty the large box of Quaker oats.  The waistband on my pants is snugger.  I am not as comfortable wearing the pants I have worn for months.  Nothing else in my diet has changed.  Just oatmeal.  I will not be buying another box.  I will give up on thinking I can eat oatmeal for breakfast like I did everyday in all of 2007 and lost 1 to 2 pounds a week.  Like clockwork.

This morning I had baked squash for breakfast.  With butter and cinnamon.  We'll see.

Friday, November 16, 2012

An Embarrassment Of Riches

Books.  And more Books.   I ordered the newest of the new, expecting a long wait, as usual, but everyday the e-mail lets me know another book has arrived.  I have to take some back (unread) to make room for others.  I can always order the returned books, again, later.  I have waited over 18 months for Phantom by Jo Nesbo.  That one stays here.  It's like choosing your favorite child.

Work, yesterday was very good.  The wreaths have arrived and we added bows and pinecones.  I must have over ordered the houseplants and I have five trays to unpack and set out today unless a co worker has already done it.  Open House tomorrow and Sunday.

G and I went to the afternoon showing of Skyfall yesterday after I got home from work.  It was good.  Not great.  Too long.  And Bond looked ill.  Thin, haggard and listless.  Perhaps Daniel Craig isn't feeling the love for Bond anymore???  He did all the fights and stunts but it seemed more like he was just putting up with it all and not enjoying any of it.  "When it crumbles, when it falls"

After the movie we went to Ruby Tuesday to use our coupon.  The food was okay.  Service was okay. Food presentation on the plate was terrible and sloppy as usual.  And portions were skimpy as usual.  I think the only reason anyone still goes there to eat is the coupon.  We have two more coupons and I really don't see us using them.  A new Panerra is being built next door.  The hole is being dug right now.  The Town wanted an Olive Garden.  As we drove thru Town we looked into the windows of the restaurants we passed.  Lots and lots of empty tables.  And, of course, the number of closed for good restaurants, increases as the winter closes in.  They never save summer tourist cash for the winter months.  It has nothing to do with the economy and more to do with the lack of budgeting skills.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Economic Caboose

Maine gets everything last.  This includes Recessions.  The Great Recession has finally reached Maine. We haven't felt the pain that the other states have, until recently.  At Art Club last evening we listed the businesses that have recently decided to close, get smaller or just fold up and disappear.  The remaining businesses, like the ones where G and I work, are suffering a lack of customers and sales.  Our employers are having to choose; fewer employees or less hours per employee.  Either choice creates unhappiness.  Nothing new here for Readers from Away.  (anywhere that is not Maine is Away)

Our candles got another workout last night.  15 minutes before Art Club would have shut down on it's own, the power went out.  Pitch black.  We used iPhones to collect supplies and venture out into the parking lot.  Power stayed out at my house until nearly 9:30.  CMP said they were going to knock the power out to repair a burned line--15 to 30 minutes tops.  Better now than during a snow storm. G and decided to spend $700 to get a designated power box for the generator.  So we could plug it into the house grid from outside the house and run the furnace and, after we got warm, the fridge and the television and a few lights.  Not all at the same time.  We may try and get information on solar panels for the roof.  Heat the house that way or heat something.  We have a large south facing roof with a high pitch.  The south side rooms are always warm, even in deepest winter, if the sun is shining.  These are things we discuss when the power is out.  Also, we need to restock the candle supply @ Target.

I was approached at work (today) by a member of a local (100 year old) Town organization known for it's gardening.  To speak to the group in April at their annual meeting.  Wow.  I am already speaking at a February Garden Club meeting.  Getting nervous about all this "new" stuff.  The classes I teach at work have led to these opportunities.  In fact, so many things are appearing due to the work classes and the 10x10 fund raiser.  It's rather amazing. And Art Club is a wonderful experience.  I did a Zentangle type doodle while we all chatted and worked on transferred images, driftwood sculptures or decoupage.

Work went well today.  I repotted my lavender plants for the winter in the house.  One of the plants could possibly have remained outdoors as it is a Zone 4.  Next year I may leave it outside.  I purchased ornament hooks for the Christmas tree.  I had been using bent paperclips for the past few years.  These look nice.  Professional.  100.  Should be enough.

The French Onion soup was fantastic.  We even had it served up in little brown and white crocks and I browned the cheese topping in the oven with the broiler.  20 years in this house with this oven and never before used the broiler.  It worked perfectly.  I was shocked.  So much room for new experiences here in my little world.  I think it all started when I bought that new microfiber underwear (in colors). LOL.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Houseplant Adoption Agency + Edit

My new profession.  Drop off the houseplant or even the overgrown annual you can't bear to dispose of, and I will find a new home for it.  Or hope to find a new home.  Yesterday a large jade plant that had spent the summer with me in the greenhouse at work, was finally relocated to a new owner.  It involved "therapeutic" phone calls to the "owner" and then a handover to the new owner a few days later.   The photo at the top is of some sort of begonia I think--rooting in water.  Looking for a home. The shelf above has a large 60 year old coleus specimen which was shoved into my arms by it's owner.   I refused the second huge pot.  One was MORE than enough.  The owner of the coleus (given to her by her fifth grade teacher), had been kept alive all these years by taking cuttings and starting new plants each spring. Now I am expected to take cuttings and keep the coleus alive for another 60 years.  Actually, what she wanted was for me to propagate it for sale in the annual house in 2013 and beyond.

I wish that I worked in that sort of greenhouse.  I don't.  Propagation is discouraged.

A customer (president of my old quilting group) came by yesterday to let me know that a day time quilting group meets at the Baptist church (one town over) from 1 to 3 each Monday afternoon.  I cannot define the amount of anxiety and confusion this little piece of information has caused.  I know I am trying to be open to new things, but this new thing has too many variables to feel safe, the first being the Baptist church.  Equal only to the first quilt group meeting I attended at the Elks Social Club.  I returned home with nicotine embedded in every fiber of my clothing and the quilt I was working on, but at least I had been invited and was expected.  I have not been invited to the Baptist church nor am I expected at the Monday group.   Walking in "COLD" and introducing myself feels awkward.

It's supposed to be warmer and wetter today.  G dug up the two large lavender plants and I need to repot them for the winter in the house.  The citrus is looking good out on the unheated sunporch.  So far.  Riley has misplaced his flea and tick collar.  My library books will be overdue tomorrow so I have to choose what books to renew and keep.  I have enough onions to make onion soup for dinner (and I found a good recipe which includes all the stuff I have in the cupboard).  Riley is asleep next to my chair with his paw alongside my foot--he can sleep knowing any movement on my part will alert him so he won't miss out on any activity.  Riley will be six in April.  He is slowing down. Sleeping more.  Observing rather than chasing any (all) animals trespassing our (his) yard.  He has a stronger dog odor.  Less of the sweet puppy smell.  I see a comparison to my own aging in his.  I just hope I don't smell.

Edit:  I was going to mention the onion soup--but I had already done so.  I also made four servings of SF raspberry jello.  The box says 8 but I think four is better.  I like to have a dessert available in case I need sweetening in the evening.  I also looked online for a SF cranberry sauce recipe.  None of the recipes make the smooth jellied version.  Only the chunky one.  I happen to ADORE the canned stuff.  Anyone know how to make a "homemade" version of the canned stuff?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Finally, Friday

It's been quite a week.  The excitement of the election.  Then the aftermath of really funny stuff (Karl Rove) and some not so wonderful stuff (politics as usual from the House Speaker).

I had another busy day at work until 3.30 and then it got really quiet and not much happened after that-- well, I had a repeat customer with a dead lavender plant.  This is the third time we have tried to save a lavender plant for this guy's "sweetheart".  I'm wondering if she really likes the plants?  One never knows.  Perhaps the "sweetheart" is imaginary?   These are the kinds of things I think about on slow days at work.

There was a customer yesterday that dragged a large pot and the plant I had in it out of my front table display (she was buying them).  In doing the dragging she also knocked over three wire deer, leaving them in a pile of legs and bodies with little concern.  I know it is good to have customers like the display so much that they want to buy it, BUT she ruined it and I had to rethink and rebuild.  It's never as good the second time.  And it's the front table.  Other than that--the greenhouse is looking very nice. Ready for a busy weekend, I hope.  I hope everything is gone by Sunday when I come to work.

Tomorrow is my day off.  Pretty excited about it.  I have hardly any household chores other than paying the bills.  The dog will want a walk.  I should dig my own lavender plants out of the garden (unless it's too late and they froze to death).   I have books to read and a 12x20 to work on.  The only fly in this happy Saturday is making something for dinner.  It was so much easier when I ate pasta.

There was something I had wanted to tell you but I can't seem to remember what it was.  Oh, yes.  Only 854 more pages and this blog will hit 100,000 pages read.  Pretty excited.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing At All

More white kitchens.  I love the idea of not having any of the "edges" to keep clean.  Just sweep it all into the sink.  And the faucet in the wall might be hard to keep clean.  Have I shown you this before???

Today, I woke to snow and wet and cold wind.  I had to be at work early to unlock the doors etc.  We broke another key in the front door lock (not me!!).  The loaders carried in four more tables for the greenhouse (to replace the open space where we held classes) and I had to "fill" them with interesting displays of plants.  Kept me busy all day.  And it rained.  Could weather be more miserable????  I tried not to complain as New Jersey and New York were getting the same.  Wicked shame!  To lose power again?  Not fair.

I never made the Alice Springs chicken.  G wanted to go out to eat tonight, so I put the chicken into freezer bags for another day and we went out to eat--and he ordered chicken.

I have tons of onions--why not make onion soup?  Ironed all G's work shirts. Was actually dressed appropriate for the weather today.  Two thermal shirts, down jacket and fleece vest.  Gloves.  Watched the John Stewart show regarding Karl Rove on a coworker's iPhone at lunch.  Very, very funny.  My neighbor flew home from Florida tonight (where she went to vote) and they still don't have a count.   Not funny.  Let's just vote to have Florida be a non-voting state.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Late To The Party-- Remember to Vote

The winter squash party.  I think this is the Kabocha squash I have been hearing so much about.  I finally bought one--no make that two-- and baked it along side the pulled pork already in the oven.  It is dense and starchy as described.  The skin is edible but probably better when steamed and not baked.  These squash are from a local farmer.  So, Maine squash.  I saved seeds.  For my 2013 garden.

Today we vote.  Please vote.  This election process, due to the Super PACS, has been relentlessly ugly, mean and tiresome.  I, for one, am sick to death of it all.  The 47% (of which I am a member since I got a tax refund last year and plan to collect and use my Medicare and Social Security benefits) need to bundle up warm, stand in the long lines devised to keep us from voting, and VOTE.

Why?  My stocks are up.  My house value is rising.  I have a job and can get another.  I am employable even at 66. No insurance company can deny me coverage.  Obama has been a good President for me. He may have even had a chance at great but the Republicans vowed to make him a one term president in 2010 and have done everything they could to obstruct any plans Obama may have had for the last two years.  I just wish the 99% had still been protesting.  I wish they had had a cohesive mission statement.  I wish they had not given up.

 The people who can't find a job need to learn better job skills, get dependable transportation to work and have stable child care options.  A good meal three times a day would also help everyone as would a good sturdy roof over their heads at night and running water.  It's what we all need.  Want.  Hard to be a good employee, husband, wife or parent when so many things so difficult.  Employers discovered they could do the same amount of work with fewer workers during the Great Recession of 2008-9.  Why hire them back? Indeed. Why.  These workers now must learn new skills in order to get new jobs.  The old jobs are gone.  Never to return. Wage earners learned to make do with less in 2008-9 and now won't go back to their free spending ways.  Indeed, why should they?

The economy, the jobs, the skills have all changed in this past four years.  What worked before, does not work now.  We all need to wake up and "smell the coffee" as Ann Landers says.  Are you better off than you were in the Bush years?  I am.

And best of all---- Pretty soon we won't be at war with anyone and our soldiers will be coming home.  War is good for Republican business.  Just ask Cheney.  I'm tired of war.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Now What Was It I Was Trying To Say?

It may be time to turn the furnace on.  I have had to reheat my cup of breakfast coffee twice (three) times so far and it is still cold when I go to sip some.  Now, the real problem could be a 26 year old microwave.  The appliances here at #12 are getting old.  As are the residents.

I had to figure out how to open the battery space in the Bluetooth touch pad before breakfast.  I know how to change the batteries in the wireless Mouse.  Still not sure about the keyboard.  G has got me supplied with an entire drawer full of batteries (for the storm) but they should keep things rolling in the computer for the winter.  My lifeline to the world.

I have begun wearing socks and slippers to keep my ice cold feet slightly warmer.  I enjoy wearing my thermal long sleeve tees to work under the company tee shirt.  I am looking forward to wearing my Santa flannel pj's.  Remember I purchased them just before Christmas last year.  Now I can wear them for a full 2 months.  A trip to Target this afternoon for toilet paper and thermal shirts (on sale this week) would be fun.  Perhaps they are selling the Skinny Peppermint Mocha?   Now you know how simple it is to keep me happy.

I will be putting a 6 pound pork roast (purchased on sale) in the oven soon.  Using the pulled pork recipe from Martha Stewart.  And I need to stop at the grocery for more cans of sauerkraut and a bag of onions to make my favorite pulled pork side dish.  Chicken is on sale and I discovered the Outback Alice Springs Chicken recipe and need to buy a large package of chicken, bacon, mushrooms and cheese for that dish which should be good for lunches at work.  I am back on track for buying and using whatever meat my grocery has on "special" each week.  I am not going so far as to stock the freezer with meat.  That doesn't work for me.  Last week's 6 pound pot roast was amazingly delicious.

I seem to be caught up on housekeeping here at home.  After my few errands I can perhaps do some reading.  Iron the half dozen shirts I have washed.  Sort my socks.  Work on making a Zentangle Doodle in my pen and paper journal.  Last month's desk top calendar page was well scribbled with sample designs I got off the internet.  Watching YouTube videos.  This is the sort of thing I save for winter entertainment.  I also brought home supplies to make two hand tied wreaths.  One for the front door and one to have handy as a gift, should I need one.  I could also make a Kissing Ball.

I'm off to the the attic in search of some lighted trees that a co worker might want to use.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Winter Citrus Season (A Do Over)

Is just beginning.  The tiny clementines are spicy and delicious but the red grapefruit hasn't hit the right degree of  sweet juicy-ness.  I bought a bag--hoping for that wonderful taste, but alas, not quite ready.  And so tiny.  I was going to just peel one and eat it, thinking I would get more of the juicy flesh that way.  But after getting the peel off, I slipped my peeling knife under the center edge of one segment and managed to release the juicy flesh without any pith using my finger tips.  I ate that grapefruit and decided to peel and segment a few more to have with tomorrow's lunch of yogurt.  I have a full tub of segments in the fridge.  It took about an hour.  I may go back to it and finish off the remaining two grapefruit.   I may even look for the recipe my daughter found for me for a red grapefruit cheesecake filling.

I am "one of those people" who don't mind how long a task takes or how labor intensive it is, IF the end result is something I will enjoy.  Needle turn appliqué?  Yes.  Hand mending of holes and tears? Yes.  And now segmenting grapefruit.  And not the way they do in culinary school which results in mess and a pile of juices.  My way resulted in just segments.  I had to check the clock to see how long it took. Very restful.  The mind can wander while the hands are at work.  Which is why the original Winter Citrus post was deleted and this one is being read by you.

I watched the second season of Luther on BBC America last night.  Sad that it is now over even though it was quite violent.  But I didn't delete them so can watch again (and enjoy) in the dead of winter.  The Hour returns to BBCA on G's birthday later this month.  Until then I have Elementary and Masterpiece Theater.  G has Revolution and Vegas.  I am also working my way through episodes of Big Bang the way I did through That 70's Show.  G is annoyed when I watch them.

I actually wish I could be watching West Wing from the beginning.

I have books to read (Louise Penny's Still Life) and the PD James Jane Austen mystery.  I finally got my check for the 10x10 Carrots and the name of the person who bought it.  The name sounds familiar.  Like I should know this person.  It may come to me.  While I peel the other two grapefruit?

I am at a point in life where I wish I had a "group" to be a member of.  To visit with.  Talk with on the phone (even though I hate that) and do things with.  I feel very isolated and alone.  Art Club meets next Tuesday so that will help.  I am reaching out as best I can.  Most of my personal conversations are with customers at work.  Or coworkers.  A work benefit I value.  A Lot.

I also have you to talk to, but it's a one way conversation.  Like talking to myself.  Only it's okay and I'm not actually talking out loud.  Though, while making holiday boxes yesterday at work, I was talking out loud.  To no one.  It's sad being all alone in that large greenhouse in the winter, filling boxes with balsam branches.  And starting tomorrow it will be darker down there while I am working alone.  I need to find my flashlight or the Bug Lite my friend in Florida gave me.  Or buy a head lamp.  The walk to my car is pitch black at 6 pm.