Saturday, November 30, 2013

And Then One Has To Accept The Truth

My kitchen is "cottage".  Not rustic modern or any of the other things I wanted it to be.  While I was thinking those thoughts, I was also choosing four over nothing windows (nothing says cottage like 4 over nothing) and asking J to put up a whole wall of beadboard paneling.

Now I have to redefine my plans.  I may even have to include upper cabinets.  This is unpleasant. But in truth, I already have uppers in the two bookcases attached to the vaulted entrance from the foyer. Any kitchen uppers would be on this very wall, alongside the bookcases.  So, actually, they could be just like the bookcases but with a set of doors near the top, or a microwave or an oven.  See how these things slither in?  A wall of "bookcases" pretending to be kitchen cupboards marching along with the fridge in the mid section.  And room on top for plants.  Or birdcages.

When "cottage" was pointed out to me in very stern words by the carpenter -an intervention of sorts----- I had a handful of Cottage Design books right on the bookshelves to refer to.  And I could see that each and every decision that I had made (with ease) was right there on the pages.  The decisions I am having a hard time making--well, that was because they were wrong.

I now know what sort of cabinet fronts to order.  I know what color they will be (white) or (gray green).  I know what the drawer pulls will be.  And--blessed are the unobservant--I know the only choice for the counter tops is black soapstone.  Did you see that coming?????

I don't have pictures--because those are not the kitchen I collected pictures of.  But I will, now.

I will end with a domestic issue a co-worker experienced on the evening of Thanksgiving.  His wife was in charge of delivering corporate gift pies (from a very nice bakery) to employees of her company.  There were five leftover which she brought home.  My co-worker enjoyed ONE slice of chocolate cream pie the night before. Then after all the hubbub of the holiday was past he wandered in search of another slice of pie.  To find that all departing guests had left with a boxed pie (even the chocolate cream with a slice missing) as a gift from the wife and my co worker couldn't even find a crumb of pie to eat.  He mentioned the brief but not pleasant chat he had with his wife.  I think she went out Friday morning in search of a pie.  I cannot imagine the grief from G if I had given away HIS pumpkin pie. And what would you think to get a gifted pie and find a slice missing???

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving & Birthday!!!

Today is G's birthday.  He was born on Thanksgiving Day--just in time for dinner many, many years ago.  And, turkey is his favorite dinner.  I didn't even have to make a cake.

The carpenter guys have been here all week--adding trim to all the new windows and installing the bead board on the far wall (the wall the island will be facing) and the wall I will be looking at while I wash dishes in my new sink--someday.

And now that the windows are trimmed and the bead board all is up-- my carpenter suggests I start believing him when he tells me the kitchen (and the house) are ACTUALLY COTTAGE and NOT rustic modern.  Sigh.  So I have to stop looking at modern stuff and start looking at cottage.

Even the windows I chose--four over nothing--are signature cottage.  Who knew???? Well, J knew.

My turkey went into the oven late but I had the pie, the stuffing (which is outside the bird, so technically it's dressing), the sweet potatoes, the green bean casserole (minus the soup) and a big bowlful of tiny Brussels sprouts from my very own garden.  Delicious even raw.  And I even ran across the street to deliver the remainder of my celery to my neighbor.  She gifted me with a very warm jar of brandied cranberries she just made.  My daughter and I opened the jar--very brandied--and tasted.  I think they are going onto some ice cream in the near future.  On a day neither of us drive anywhere.

Have the happiest of holidays!  This is the only one based on good food.  So eat!!!!  And on being thankful--so contemplate the things in your life that make you thankful.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Undecided & Crazy

The week hasn't been my best.  I had to clear the (very low) tables again on Thursday (greenhouse) after a day of retail and my back starting pinging the way it does just before it seizes up.  I didn't have the bottle of opiates with me as I didn't think it a good idea to take them at work and walking seems to be okay with the bursitis.  So I took a big orange pill (I had one of the those in the depths of my lunch bag) and the pain went away.  And the RASH came back.  NSAID allergy.

Work on Friday?  I looked great.  My right eye looked like I had gotten sucker punched.  And I was under the influence of the opiates.  Nine carts of poinsettias. Talking to myself.

Today?  No pills as yet. My day off. I had three pills yesterday and found that to be very disturbing.  The rash is still itchy.  I am dusting, cleaning, throwing things away (mostly catalogs).  Folding laundry.  Reading my book. Trying to decide on the paper, the pen and the envelope (which determines the size of the drawing) for the Christmas tree cards.  The doodles.  It may mean a trip to the store for card stock.  Unless I find I have something here in the house I can use.  I have so much. But where???? I can add "looking for paper" to the list for today.

My friend is coming over at 3 to select more fabric for placemats.  Then G and I will go with her to dinner at our favorite place.  So, 3 hours to get some house work done around here.

Have I told you lately how grateful I am for you dear Readers?  Really.  At the end (or middle) of a good or bad day, I can sit here and share it with you.  Rather than just talk to myself--out loud.  A very bad habit I seem to have fallen into at work.  The kids notice.  Ask which imaginary person I am talking to.  I say myself.  I had thought I was doing it quietly, in my head.  Nope.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doctor's Visit Update

Blood work--three of the tubes-- came back completely normal (the nurse called in the late afternoon).  Nothing.  I am still waiting to hear the vitamin D results.

The pain reliever prescription was very potent.  Like having two or three strong drinks.  I slept well. Slight headache this morning.  Can't take it during the day, though ---can you imagine trying to work like that?  The eye rash was back last night.  I have salve on it and trying not to rub my eyes.

That's it for now.  Blustery. Wind. 39 degrees as a high.  Not like yesterday.  Greenhouse today. Retail tomorrow.  I made my little homemade work calendar (where I write where and when I am working) for the remainder of November (9 days till Thanksgiving), all of December and half of January.  My greenhouse job usually ends before the 24th and I don't know about the retail.   I can't believe the year is over already.

The retail job is perfect right now--- one day a week.  I have two days the week of Thanksgiving. I hope it stays this way.  We think they "over hired" for the season.  No one is getting the number of hours they wanted.  Except me! LOL

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hip Pain

Today was my doctor's visit and I had a list ( a litany of misc. things that are plaguing me right now) and recited it all out, in no particular order.

See the inflamed bursa?  That's what I have.  It is, in fact, getting better, very slowly.  It hurts a great deal if I sit down for too long.  Walking is painful after I have been sitting.  It hurts most when I am trying to find a comfortable spot for sleeping.  My doctor gave me an opiate.  Yes, indeed.  It should dull the pain, but not cure it.  Right now I resemble one of the cowboy sidekicks in old time Westerns.  The one who got kicked by a few too many horses and had to limp and hop to keep up with the sheriff.

My blood pressure was 134/90.  See, not taking the Aleve for the last week, while painful, helped lower one of the BP numbers from 150 to 134.  Now, if I only knew what this meant.

The rash?  Not visible so can't be diagnosed.

I also got a flu shot and had a great deal of blood taken.  Getting a good vein was nearly impossible but, with teamwork, the lab people found enough blood but it took so VERY long that G was worried I had been taken to the ER.

Then we had breakfast.  By 10:30, it was nearly 15 hours since I had the banana and half a peanut butter sandwich that I called "dinner" on Sunday.  I did NOT have any of the Open House Cookies.  I did have about five chunks of fresh pineapple.  For once I made an effort to engage the Open House crowd in conversation.  Nice ones.  Nice people.  It was a very good holiday open house.

And that's where we are right now.  After breakfast G and I went to LLBean to buy some things.  I got an on sale down vest with a fake fur collar that G said looked very nice with my hair --and really I should look nice for him, right?  I got waterproof leather shoes to wear to the greenhouse (no wet socks), two paperwhite waffle knit pullovers to layer so I can stay warm and a pair of black corduroy pants to wear with all the black things in my closet (too many). I also purchased a cardigan in a pretty floral print on gray background and a light thermal vest to layer under my other coats on really cold days--or alone on not so cold days.   It was raining all night and right now--it's 55 degrees and sunshine.  One week before Thanksgiving. In Maine.  I walked around in Freeport in a linen blouse--no coat.  Yes, I had pants on.

G and Riley are out on a walk.  Yesterday they saw a Great Dane and his head came up to the middle of G's chest.  Riley didn't know what to make of it.  White with black spots.  The GD wanted to play but Riley was hesitant.  I think I am going to sit on the couch and read my book while the washer does a few loads of clothes and then a load of Riley's dog toys.  Moo looks very dirty.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday, And It's Cold

I bundled up for work today, but the greenhouse was very warm.  Kept shedding layers until it was time to go home --then I had to add.  The electrician was here at the house.  I really must start looking for light fixtures.

I'm tired.  Really tired.  I wore blue jeans to work today and I am NOT a blue jeans gal.  It felt like I was dragging rocks around.  They are so heavy.  It was an effort to walk, bend and just remain standing.  How do so many people do it????  These jeans have no spandex.  Just heavy duty jean material.  And I will not be wearing them again.  I'll go back to my nice, soft LIGHT corduroy.

I am going to take a shower, put on some lighter, softer clothes.  Sit.  Quietly.  Be thankful for my husband, kids and dog today.  A blogging friend posted such a hauntingly loving and sad update on her husband's cancer------- it breaks my heart and makes what I have here, so much sweeter.

Take care.  Hug your loved ones!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chicken Soup Weather

It's cold.  Even with a down jacket, I was freezing cold on my quick visit to the grocery for "on sale" chicken thighs, No Yolk noodles, a very big onion and some celery.  I got five pounds of thighs for under $5.  99 cents a pound.  I added the carrots, garlic clove and stems of flat leaf parsley to the pot. It's simmering as I type.  G loves chicken soup weather.  He loves chicken soup.

G is out in the unheated garage working on the three 48 inch Christmas Wreaths we hang in the curves of the front porch.  He purchased them, many years ago, from a guy selling things he had removed from a shopping mall.  We hoped he hadn't stolen the stuff.  One wreath (the one we used last year) has working lights.  The other two--don't.  Now if it was up to me--I would buy the other two wreaths new lights.  G is trying to "fix" the lights.

Today is a total carb fest.  I woke up at 1130 (really, I slept!!!) and had three slices of WPF New York Rye, toasted, with two cups of coffee.  I read the paper.  Then I started eating those multi grain baked pretzel sticks.  (I bought more at the grocery) Then I ate an apple.  I slept last night because my hip hurt so bad that I needed a Big Orange Pill.  And, at the same time, my face and right eye were itching like crazy.  I have a doctor's ap on Monday.

This morning, as usual after a bad day, the itch is gone and I am having little trouble walking or standing.  And the Big Orange Pill made it possible for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I have no idea what it's doing to my BP.  Life is a mystery.

I looked at pictures of the Thermador Pro (I can imagine myself as a Pro) range with dual fuels.  Gas on top and electric oven.  I liked the looks of it.  I have cooked on all the variations of stove tops.  Gas. Electric coils. Electric Induction (glass top).  Slide in, stand alone, built in, cook top, wall oven etc. They all perform the same---once you get used to them.  Gas is especially nice because you adjust the flame and get what you want.  It's hard to judge the heat of electric coils or induction at first.  I have had gas ovens, electric ovens and convection ovens.  Like I said--it just takes time to adjust.  And, my husband will be the first to tell you--I hate them all in the beginning.

I usually hate any kind of change.

G is looking for the boxes of Christmas Lights.  He put them away.  I ALWAYS ask him to let ME put them away.  I can find what I put away.  He just puts things, never thinking about leaving a clue as to where it was he "shoved" whatever it was.  Now all the Christmas lights are "lost" in the attic. So, I guess I have to go up there, in my winter coat, hat and gloves, and look for the boxes.  So not what I want to be doing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Slightly Less But Lots of Black Soapstone

The reviews on the Italian range--not so good.  The oven temp knobs are low, med and high.  Just a suggestion of temp--nothing definite like 325. Those Italians! And nothing so large as a turkey would fit. And repairs?  Oh, lots of those to "fine tune" and get the burners to work---again and again.

The GE Monogram self cleaning electric oven regularly sets fire to the nearby cabinets.

The things one learns.  I am going local to look at the Thermador.  My guys (who repair all else here) will be able to service that, I hope.  Though the one guy told me to keep my 27 year (plus) old things as long as he can get parts.  The new stuff.  Some of it has no repairable parts.  You have to replace. What is the world coming to, eh?

Work today. Cold and raining but we have a newly installed (natural gas) heat source in the greenhouse.  We were cozy.  Next weekend is the Holiday Open House.  The Poinsettias will arrive soon.

G is trying to make way in the garage for our cars.  There are too many construction items.  I think we will ask J to take it all away or help carry it to the attic.  With the way I am making decisions---it will be 8 or 10 or even 12 weeks before all the parts of this new kitchen are delivered.  Too long to be parking out in the snow and tripping over wood on the garage floor.

I am quickly losing interest in the new kitchen.  I don't like making compromises.  Make enough and what you end up with isn't even a whisper of what you wanted.  In that case--hey, keep what you have.  It sounded simple enough.  A large island.  A new range with drawers on either side.  A lovely expanse of a countertop that I "loved" touching.

And now I have to figure out where to move the central vac that is in a wall that is being removed.  If the wall is being removed.  It's never a good idea to push me into a corner.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Interesting Dining Room From Southern Living

This dining room is on the "other" side of that kitchen design so many of you liked.  What I was amazed by was the use of so many windows in this designer home.  Something I lucked out with. The table here is nearly mine but the chairs--too cool.  I may have to find some like this for my dining area but I would need 10 or 12 of them.  And the terrariums on the table?  Wonderful!!

The electrician is going to install an outlet under the center of the table so I can run electric from the floor up into the table top (requiring a hole).  The ceiling over the table is 12 feet high--so any light would be too high or look too small hanging.  You can hardly SEE the chandelier the designer used in this picture.  I DO own a very large, heavy brass chandelier that came with the house.  We took it down after I had smashed my head into it far too many times.

I have been looking at appliances.  Specifically a new range.  I saw an Italian model in the blog posts at "Faith's Kitchen Renovation: The Full Story". She fell in love with the slide in 36 inch model and I think I did too.  But.  That means changing everything on that wall.  And where do I put the oven???? And how do I justify the cost which would include getting a propane tank and connecting it to the house.  But.  That means gas logs in the living room fireplace = heat in the living room and cheerful ambiance if we actually entertain in there during the winter.  It, entertaining, has happened ONCE in recent memory (there was chocolate cake).  I tried to get a picture of the range top but it didn't work so I will have to try to "link" to it.

I worked retail one day this week, took one Aleve that day and had the rash again.  Since I worked and used Aleve I have no idea which is the cause.  Today the itch is gone (Burt's Bee Hand Salve) and I am using Tylenol (not a NSAID) for the hip pain.  Which is getting worse each day.  Today I am trying to rest but I had to go to the grocery, Goodwill to drop off stuff, and Target to get the on sale thermal undershirts I like so much.  I got white this time.

I roasted a 5 pound butternut squash (in cubes with olive oil and salt) this morning and then used 3.3 pounds of ground beef to make a big pot of chili with red kidney beans, onions and green peppers from my garden after returning from the grocery.  I found, quite by accident, that chili tastes great with butternut squash cubes.  Half and half.  And I bought the multi grain baked pretzel twists that taste even better dipped in peanut butter. Oh, I also bought apples for this week's fruit.  Now if I could just settle on a good breakfast that I actually enjoy eating.  The oatmeal is good but not interesting.  Perhaps I could use less water and get it to be more chewy.

I witnessed an act of kindness as I was leaving the grocery parking lot.  A car with a family inside had broken down and a stranger had gotten out of his car and helped push the car out of traffic and into the Domino's parking lot.  All the traffic in both lanes was stopped.  Waiting patiently for the car to be pushed to safety.  At times like this I am grateful that there are kind people willing to help others.

On another note:  At the retail job I saw so many Canadians with their red poppy pinned to their coats. In the center was the Canadian maple leaf. The Brits also wear the red poppy in November. I am left wondering where our poppy pin is?  Why doesn't America share in this Veteran's Day (November) tradition.  Anyone crafty out there want to start a business making poppies?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

It's Going To Be A LONG Day

I know you are all interested in the progress of my "doodle" so here is what has happened since last time.  I added some pencils lines but I think I may need them to be darker.  It's coming along.  I should start another and then I'll be able to adjust or modify some of the elements in this doodle that didn't work as expected.

I am thinking of resuming the annual Christmas Tree Christmas card.  I stopped for awhile there. Two years I think, going on three. Lost friends and people dying.  I got depressed as my list of ten kept getting smaller.  Yesterday at work (greenhouse) I wrote a new list.  Longer than the original list.  I surprised myself by having made so many new connections.  I need to work on keeping them strong.  I think a Doodle tree on this year's card would be delightful.  I could work on them whenever I have a free few minutes.

Here is the "bag".  Not easily photographed.  I managed to stuff a few books, a lunch tote and a jacket in it to see just how much I could carry.  It would be an amazing travel bag.  Book, sweater, snack, purse, cosmetics etc.  I found it on line to see what it costs at retail.  $179.  (Ten Dollars on Tuesday).  The straps are a few inches too short to be truly amazing.  Meaning it could go over the shoulder if the handles were longer.  I read a few years of comments (and returns) and the company making this didn't even try to change it.  A few inches more of leather and these things would be amazing.  Looks like a Coach bag and one third the price.  I'm wondering if I could add a strap to the metal handle attachments and get the bag to go "cross body" like a messenger bag?  Coach might sell that sort of thing in plain black leather.  Commenters didn't like the smooth leather which gets roughed up and scratched.  I guess they don't use the leather conditioner that Coach sells---- fixes all that.  Me?  I don't like the "pebbled" leather finish.  Looks like fake leather.

My bag looks like it was used for awhile before being returned for a refund.  The leather is all soft and perfect to me.  Most of the things we get to purchase are returns or damaged.  G got a new down jacket because someone cut a small hole in the side.  Small.  We'll add a piece of black electrical tape (it's a black jacket) and G will wear it--well, forever.  The 850 down jackets are so light and warm.  Delicious.  Now--if I can find a bargain dog bed insert for Riley everyone will be happy.  So far, they have all been rectangles.  Riley sleeps on circles.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


I promise pictures and an interesting post.  The days, here, are so dark and slow.

I started the day with oatmeal.  Not sure how much to have so I made too much and just had the rest for supper.  At 7 pm.

Cookies give me indigestion. Good enough reason not to eat any more of them. Seeded crackers are okay.

Lunch was a sausage, onion, kale (I picked it in my pajamas this morning), roasted butternut omelet with a bit of cheese.  So big that I only took half to work to eat with some salad greens and olive oil and vinegar.  I will have the rest tomorrow at my "other" job.  Which is turning out to be ONE day every 7 to 9 days.  I'm wondering IF things will pick up Thanksgiving week????  Supposed to rain all day tomorrow.  I'm working 2:30 to 10:30pm.  UGH.  Double UGH!!!

I started applying Burt's Bees Hand Salve to my face and eye socket areas.  The dry skin is almost a memory and the itching has stopped.  I know it sounds like a bad idea but my daughter says she rubs it on everything and it always makes whatever it was disappear.  "It's a miracle" is something we say  (in our family) when something actually works.  The pharmacist suggested rubbing dry skin with the lip balm stick from Burt's Bees when we couldn't find the skin cream.  Now I know I just need the Hand Salve.  It's a miracle.

Another miracle is the $10 leather bag I got yesterday.  I've looked and looked and can't find the flaw. I also can't understand why the 200 people who walked past it before I arrived at the front of the cash out line, didn't buy it.  I saw it, picked it up and walked to the register and plucked it down.  It was $20 but I got it for half price. What!!!!  I pick it up (about ten times since I purchased it) and unzip it and look at it and can't find the reason it was marked down.  It's one of those large bags (that women think are great handbags) that they show in fashion mags.  No buckles or chains.  Just very high quality black leather.  I, quite simply, am in love with it.  That doesn't mean I will ever get an iPad, iPhone or other stuff to fill the pockets meant for those items. I am almost interested in taking a road trip--just to take it somewhere.  Picture tomorrow.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Tomato Jam

This was from that day--it seems like months ago--when I made tomato jam.  It simmers for about three hours.  Tastes mighty fine on a vegetable burger your friend brings over for lunch.

My firmed wanted to learn how to make a placemat to use as a Christmas Gift.  We selected fabric and cut (with a mat and rotary cutter) and then stitched.  She made four.  Took them home to turn up the edges and slipstitch by hand.

Today she called to say she had used the coupon I gave her to buy more felt (for the batting) and her very own rotary cutter.  She's coming over to pick out more fabric.

Feels good to have taught her something that is making her so happy.

G and I did the last two beds in the garden.  The top few inches are already frozen.  Too soon. I wish winter would wait longer to get here--or even forget to arrive this year.

Connie the magazine arrived on Saturday.  Great pictures.  And the Thanksgiving recipes--awesome. Thank you so much.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Are The Guys Coming Today?

Riley is very interested in having workmen here as often as possible these days.  They have coffee.  They pour cold coffee out on the grass.  Riley loves coffee flavored grass.

 The guys came over to work on the window framing (outside) and the clapboards.  You can see my new granite slab and the posts.  The posts will eventually be "clad" and look more like proper posts and not like treated wood.  I hope.   In the furthest right side of the picture you can see the two year old "helper" on the ladder.  She spent most of this cold day in the car watching movies.  I was at work so I couldn't play with her.

My itchy rash is back.  All around my eyes.  It's tolerable if I don't touch that area.  Skin is very dry. Once I touch it--it's like fire.  Nothing I am using is different.  Same products I have used for years and years.  I have no idea why.  And now the ball joint in my left hip has decided it doesn't want to walk UP stairs (down stairs is perfectly okay) and it I have to stand still for a moment when rising from a chair.  To give my hip socket time to recalibrate.  I have a "feeling" the Aleve I take for the hip pain is causing my eyes to swell.  And is probably causing the high blood pressure.

Long ago I had this crunching/grinding sound (and pain) in my knees when I walked up stairs.  The doctor gave me Celabrex and the pain disappeared (the sound did not) and my blood pressure soared.  They wanted to put me on BP meds but I chose to stop taking the Celabrex and lose weigh instead.  BP went down and stayed down until this summer and the nightly dose of Aleve or Advil PM for my hip pain.  So I have stopped.  I did take a Benadryl last night for the rash.  It didn't help so now I will be pain med free for a week and see if the rash goes away.

My view from the inside of the house.  I have so many decisions to make on the kitchen.  A new stove.  Cabinet fronts.  Drawer pulls.  Counter tops.  Had a "field trip" to the stone salesroom.  If I drive to Boston I could possibly find a brownish soapstone.  Not in Maine.  I can get honed granite or marble here.  In many different colors and veining.  Or I could choose manmade.  Or wood.

I found a website with photos and realize (now) that dark cabinets must have a light colored counter top and light cabinets a dark top.  No dark on dark.  Makes the 120 by 63 island I will have look small.  If you are going for a LARGE island--then don't minimize it with dark colors.  And, yes, there are big pieces of stone that will go on in one piece.  I was looking at pieces that were 147 by 74.  I didn't even want to know how much they cost.

I do know--now--- that EVERYTHING has to be HERE in the house or garage (except the stone) before any work begins.  Cabinets are 6 to 8 weeks out from day I choose them.  And we have the holidays.  So I am thinking the kitchen stays as it is until late January at the earliest.  By then I will doing our taxes.  Shudder.