Friday, February 28, 2014

Today's Interesting Items

The pantry.  I use an old walnut cabinet in the kitchen.  Usually it has dishes stored inside, but when the windows were going in, I had to empty it.  Now, It's a pantry.  I am reading a "new to me" blog called "the gardener's cottage".   I thought it was going to be able gardening, but it is more about a smaller, healthier lifestyle.   the recipes on the blog are vegan but that doesn't mean they aren't very nutritious and beautiful.  Also inexpensive.  Janet (the author) organizes and wipes down the shelves in her pantry just before making her grocery list.   She lives in CA and the  99cent (dollar) stores out there have fresh produce.  I don't think the ones in Maine do.

I am learning about the "do it with less" lifestyle while bringing in daily bags of very discounted items from the employee store (the retail employer).  Which is kind of dumb (of me) but today was the last day so I will be in twenty cent pants withdrawal--starting now.

I potted up these large amaryllis bulbs in early November.  They took their sweet time making leaves and finally in late January, they gave the impression they might try and make flowers.  Here it is, March tomorrow and I am still waiting.  The one on the far left is showing a bit of color (other than green) but it's still a long way from Christmas, in my humble opinion.

Now, this is interesting (to me).  A Calamondin orange tree which tossed all it's leaves just after the New Year.  I set it here by the new French doors (on the brick pad the wood stove used) hoping it would make new baby leaves.  So, a nice sunny, warm bottomed situation.  No leaves.  BUT, the darned tree is sending up a tremendous number of flowers.  In a few days the house will be full of the delicious scent of orange blossoms.  Yum.  I will need to add a fan to the brick area in order to pollinate the flowers.  No bees.

Behind the citrus tree is the asparagus fern.  The "thug" of the brick hearth space.  Sending fronds up and over every other plant near and far.  It's covered the poinsettias.  The bromeliads are standing their ground.  But today I noticed the fern has set it's "fronds" on the citrus tree as it's next territory.

It is VERY cold here in Maine today.  Sunny but a very cutting wind which goes right thru our down winter jackets.  G wore his "new to him" flannel lined pants on the walk with Riley.  Twenty cents.

In another post I will show you the TWO leather totes I purchased for $10 each.  I had to repair the zipper in the messenger bag and also condition the leather.  The other had been "tagged" with a knife while on display in the store.  The letter A in a circle cut into the side of the tote.  Sad but true.   Brand new and still smelling leathery.  I just wish it had been the brown one.  But it's black.  Now I have two.  One can be a gift.

We are staying in today and having some sort of pasta for dinner.  G wants meatballs.  He'll have to go out and buy some meat, or I can go.  But I don't think I will.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seed Starting - Almost!

The seed packets reminded me of the reason for the Aleve in the picture. All that hard work.  The digging, the spraying, the weeding.  Can't wait!!!!!!

At this point in time---the only seeds you should be thinking about starting are onions, leeks, peppers (if you have room for them to grow in the house under lights for the next few months-- the peppers, that is)  You can also start pea seedlings, spinach and cabbage in the next few weeks.  Put them outside in the garden (sans snow) around St Patrick's day or a few weeks later.  It all depends.  And this mean, mean Winter isn't making life easy.

I like to tell the students in my classes to sprinkle flower seeds on the melting snow mid March.  Especially poppies.  Just remember to mark the spots where you sprinkled so you don't pull up the baby flowers in a fit of aggressive spring weeding in April and May.  I usually sprinkle flower seeds around the spring bulbs that are coming up in March.

You can also sprinkle the seeds for most annual flowers and herbs in the garden as the soil is warming up.  Calendula, borage, parsley, dill, fennel, four o'clocks --- I tip packets of seeds all over in the herb bed and, if G doesn't weed them out, I get a great "crop" of herbs and flowers.  This is a good use of seed packets you might have leftover.  Out of date, etc.  If they don't sprout--they turn into compost.  It's all good.

I'm going to be showing you a space saving vertical gardening idea in the next few weeks--I need to get the "parts" and then do a tutorial.  I saw it in the training session we had for work.  Can't wait to put one together for myself and a few friends.  My daughter is going to LOVE it.

I have another class to organize for this weekend.  So, I'm off to do research, write down ideas and perhaps even make some displays.   Seed Starting.   LOL

Monday, February 24, 2014

Random Thoughts On Monday

I binge watched the PBS 2002 Forsythe Saga from Friday afternoon into the wee hours of Sunday morning.  Not all at once as I had meals to prepare and laundry to wash, dry and fold.  I also took a few hours to sort my 20 cent pants into containers marked with the pant size.  I plan to stack them in the upstairs "sewing room".  So named by the former owner.  We use it to store boxes we have never unpacked since moving back from Germany in 1988.

But, it's almost empty now.  Each fall I join my daughter in her charming neighborhood (I often wish we had purchased a small house in a charming neighborhood within walking distance of Town) for the annual yard sale.  I have, over three years, emptied the "sewing room".   We are down to bundles of silk flowers, puzzles and my son's large collection of Legos.  Vintage sets.  Hello, E-Bay.

I am thinking the wall opposite the door will be the ideal spot for stacks of plastic containers.  All labeled with contents.  Fabric.  Crewel Wool.  Quilt tops I thought I would hand quilt.  And now, out of season or size clothing.  But first I have to sort and wrap the silk flowers.

I have so many because I used to make up very large floral arrangements (in urns) for the circulation desk at the library.  Seasonal.  The library space was so large that ordinary sized things weren't even visible.  Things needed to be oversized and dramatic.  So, lots and lots of flowers.  I shopped everywhere.  Once buying over twenty bundles of fake yellow tulips at a salvage company warehouse.  What an eye popper that was in late March. Followed by fake branches of forsythia.   Then a bit later cherry blossoms.  Fall brought out the sunflowers, hydrangea and rudbeckia.

I bought the long stiff fake branches of forsythia and cherry and then bent and twisted them into natural, wild branches.  It took hours to "condition" them.  So many viewers refused to believe the branches were not real.

I still have all the urns (also fakes) that looked like cast iron (painted black) and cement.  I "fooled the eye" often with live things like a patrons gorgeous cymbidium orchids when they bloomed in February and a cascading arrangement of Chinese Lanterns from someone's yard.  I asked and they said "yes".  Everyone loved the library.  Happy to see their plants on display.

I think it's time to say goodbye to the flowers in the attic.  Sell them at the next yard sale. Or ask if they can be sold at work.

While writing this post, I am struck by how different my life is today from what it was when I worked at the library.  I thought my life was over when I lost that job.  It took 6 months before I was ready to try working somewhere else.  I think I had hoped they would ask me back.  But, now, at the greenhouse, I am happier than I have ever been.  The work is so different.  But I am happier than I ever was at the library.   You never know what life has in store.

Friday, February 21, 2014

And Today It's Slushy Cold Mess--And Raining

The curling is going into the final medal games. It'll soon be over.  G won't miss watching.  He usually buries himself into a book or a game of Candy Crush on the iPad.

We did errands today.  Missed the first session at the employee store but made it to the second.  I found the full sized comforter cover I wanted (needed) so the visit was a success.  I also got a pair of leather slippers like the ones I managed to find for G just after Christmas.  All of these things (for sale) are returned items from Christmas.  It's crazy.  I keep thinking--I won't find anything today--but I always do.  This bargain shopping experience is why I will be tempted to "do it again" when the season cranks up again.  Remind me why I shouldn't do it.  Please.

In the meantime, there is so much good food in the house right now--the "diet" is a real challenge. I think I will watch the two taped curling matches and try and stay out of the kitchen.  I'd go out to shovel slush but it's raining.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

And Then It Was Warm

Yes, that's me--today.   On the deck.  In Maine.  It was so hot I took off both of the sweaters I had been wearing in the house.  And my socks.  You can see Riley's legs up at the top of the picture.  And all the snow.  I was making and tossing snowballs for Riley to catch.  Not fetch.  He doesn't do fetch.

Sitting out there, with a cup of coffee, was such a treat.  Warmer than the hottest shower.  Warmth going deep into my bones.  I missed being warm.  And it was only 41 degrees, but no wind, no clouds, just the big old sun sending heat our way.  Loved it.

Then G came in from chipping ice off the granite steps across the street.  Our neighbor is off enjoying a week in South Carolina and we are "in charge" of upkeep and mail collection.  He also had to dig out her mailbox so she could get mail delivery.  He hasn't cut the big overhanging branch off the tree that hangs over the mailbox.  The postal service sent my neighbor a note asking that it be removed. With a smiley face drawn on the note.

I have been reading a nice new blog with a minimalistic spin.  I am always enchanted with the minimal lifestyle while living the opposite way.  The past three days I have been indulging what I can only call an "addiction" to employee store shopping (because they sent me a three week pass).   I am wondering when I will decide that I have all the jackets, slippers, down comforters, sheets, boots and 20 cent pants I need. Not yet.  So, not yet.  I can barely squeeze the stack of (my favorite) waffle knit tees onto the shelf.  (but I wanted the pale blue and the navy)  

I made a pot of the kale, tomato and white bean soup.  I am in the midst (6 pm) of trying to make carnitas but the water is taking it's sweet time boiling away.  While I made the soup this morning, I pretended I was a "cooking show host" giving tips etc while cutting up potatoes, onions, celery and washing the kale.  I also managed to "chat" my way thru scrubbing the sink and counters, washing the dog food jar--- my "cooking show" was interrupted by the dog who wanted lunch and me outside with him.

You know the rest.  It was a good day.  I got some nice pants. (smile)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My World Is All White, Gray and Black

Here's the best dog in the world, carrying his stick down one of the paths G runs the snowblower down.  Just so the dog doesn't hurt his legs breaking thru the snow crust.  Yes, the snow is up past his shoulders.

Here's the view from the back of the house out to the east toward the shed.  We lost one of those "Christmas" trees this winter.  The one in back is a brown, dry stick.   It was the tallest of the three.

Here's a view of the new construction from the summer and fall.  Can't even see anything.  We are getting fresh snow every two days.  This time we got the light fluffy stuff.  Our driveway is a sheet of ice (from the melting during the day and refreezing at night) and not safe to walk on.  So, I am staying in the house.  It is about 32 degrees today.  A real "heatwave" compared to zero.

We did venture out for a bit of bargain shopping (a huge bag of stuff for $50), some groceries (kale, lemons, some on sale pork, and English toasting bread.  I didn't think I would like that bread (when G brought it home for me last week) but it toasts up so nice and firm.  Great stuff.  G got popcorn, potato chips and donuts.  That's his favorite food group right now.

I'm going to try making preserved lemon.  Lemons and salt in a jar.  Sounds easy enough.  I am also going to be making Tomato Kale Soup with white beans.  I was thinking about baked potato soup.  Maybe next week.  I just finished (last night) the last of the mixed vegetable soup I made (way back when it seems) and tried--for the first time--a sample panini.  I just had the toasted bread with a few slices of dry cheddar.  Lovely. Crusty. Crunchy. I am looking forward to having a real one today.  I may layer in a slice of the fried eggplant, the cheese and some fresh spinach leaves.

I had pineapple chunks with my breakfast today.  But I may be trying the "new" to me breakfast of uncooked organic oats, yogurt and pineapple.  I think you mix the yogurt with the dry oats and let it sit and mingle to soften and then eat with fruit of your choice.  I think I could also add nuts and seeds. Have any of you eaten anything like this?  I wish I could think up something hot for breakfast that wasn't oatmeal.

The Scottish team defeated Norway last night in the curling tie-breaker.  Great game.  I had recorded the gold medal ice dancing final--wanted to see what all the hubbub was about.  It was very nice but not what I was expecting.  G and I liked the French team.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter Memories- Christmas Trees From 2006

In the "long lost photo file" from the old laptop-- the first year? of sending out tree cards.  These were paper collages.  A Chinese newspaper, a date due sheet from the library and photo copies of fabric.  If I can share one "good art tip" with you today--photo copy some of your favorite fabrics and use them in paper collages.  Cheaper (and nicer) than the stuff at the scrapbook stores.   I think I also used those little dots you can get at Staples.

2008 was a fabric collage card-- the year my dad died.  I remember everything about those months after.  I felt like I was dragging myself thru heavy fog every single day.  So exhausted.

I am working myself toward a better diet.  I have a bunch of "not so great" things to eat in the fridge but once they are gone--it's healthy eating (I was raised to not be able to throw away good food).  I am eating a bunch of fruit right now.  Bananas, grapes and giant navel oranges.  I am considering buying a pineapple and the on sale red grapes this week.  I like them and the fruit fills me up.

I got caught up on my curling recordings yesterday.  We're getting closer and closer to the end.  I'm thinking Canada or Sweden for Men's gold.  We watched the women's snowboarding/whatever it's called.  And about 30 minutes of the ice skating couple short dance.  Too much "back story" nonsense.  And we would have had to watch for hours to see the couple who might just win.  They weren't even dressed to compete at that point.  So we moved over to Downton Abbey and the little mystery they showed after--1940's detective/ medical examiner.  It was good - but I think it was a one/off.  Just the one.

I am going to read now.  Perchance to nap.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thinking About Spring

G finally managed to get my remaining photo files off the old Apple laptop and onto this Mac.  This was always one of my favorite "tulip" fabric paintings.  I'm not sure I still own it.  If this had actually been a painting, I would have loaded up the brush with a mellow cream paint and painted in the background so the tulips stood out more.  I remember that background fabric.  Sigh.  I don't have it anymore.

Yesterday I spent a few hours at the greenhouse doing a Master Gardener volunteer class (on fruit trees and berries).  There were so many roses leftover.  We had all cut flowers at 50% yesterday but you need people to come into the store to buy them. The storms have really hurt the businesses who count on Valentine's Day for an economic boost during the long dark Winter.  My tenure on unemployment might be longer than usual this year.  Perhaps until the very end of March.  Six more  (long) weeks.

We took down all the "kissy/heart" stuff at work.  I took home some tired, limp tulips.  My living room is kept quite chilly and overnight the little tulips perked up and are standing tall (a good hint for those of you with cut tulips --- just an inch or so of water and a cold room overnight).  Yellow, white and two red and yellow mixed ones.  I also have a vase of "blown" pink roses saved from the trash.  No scent which seems like a waste of a good rose.

My ride back home yesterday was slippery.  "Greasy" roads as the Mainers say.  Today the wind is "wicked sharp" making it even colder than usual.  Next storm is arriving on Tuesday, I think. I have a haircut appointment so I hope the snow comes late in the day.  Or after I am back home.

I have a good amount of recorded Curling to catch up on (using fast forward).  The finals are this coming week.  I think the USA men's team is finished.  They need to get rid of the skip (team captain) they have.  He was awful last year and worse this year.  In fact, the USA women's skip also needs replacing.  The teams that are winning have MUCH younger players.  Better. Faster. Smarter.

Why is it that the USA Teams do "so well" in the run up to the Olympics and then do so poorly in the Olympics?  Except for hockey.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

G and shoveled together.  I did the edges and he did the middles with the snow blower.  And just as we finished and were putting the machinery away--the Town plow drove by and packed the bottom of the driveway, again.  We shoveled it out before going in for nice hot showers.

We had 4 layers of snow.  Ice.  Snow.  Ice.  Snow.  By the time we finished, the temps were near 40 and, here in Maine, in the winter, that's too warm for coats, hats or gloves.  So, the bottom ice was turning into water.  And now that the sun has set--ICE.

I think we were the only house (at our end of the street) to actually get a mail delivery today.  If your mailbox isn't shoveled out--no mail.

G chose Chinese for our Valentine dinner.  I got the pink dipping sauce on my red sweater.  I ordered  fried crab appetizer--just to get the crispy wrapper for G's hot and sour soup.  That's how sweet I am.  Breaking off chucks of the fried wonton wrapper and dropping them into his soup.  Another Chinese restaurant we loved had little bowls of fried wonton wrapper strips to go in the soup.  G misses it. This restaurant doesn't do little bowls of fried wonton strips.

If only Dairy Queen was open for ice cream--it would be a perfect dinner out.

Now I have to get busy and study my notes for the class I am teaching tomorrow:  Edible Landscaping.  Using fruit trees in your landscaping.  Also shrubs like blueberries. I think the two other stores are doing the class on Power Point.  Just pictures.  Which is way easier.  I have to talk for the full hour--- verbal pictures.

Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.

Hey! The Storm Is Up Here Now!!!

We have snow.  Now it's not snowing but the weather guy says it'll be sleet or rain overnight which is terrible news.  We call the heavy stuff--"heart attack" snow.

Our weather tester, Riley, went out for 30 seconds (after G pushed the back door open), turned around and came back in.  He'll hold it until morning.  Now, we're all going to bed.

I'll show you the snow in the morning.  I think it's 10 to 12 inches.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Curious Winter Things

I noticed, while preparing the eggplant for frying, that G's snow blower gloves seemed to be having quite a conversation.  One seems to be making his point, rather strongly, while the other listens.  They aren't shouting.  Don't want to wake up Riley.  Perhaps they are talking about Riley?

Here's the pan of fried, breaded eggplant.  Two nice plump eggplant that I bought at Trader Joe's on Saturday, peeled and sliced about a quarter inch thick, salted and left to purge in the fridge.  I like to eat the fried slices cold, right out of the fridge.  G seems to prefer them "freshly cooked" and not as leftovers.  More for me.  When I worked in Florida, we had quite a few snowbirds from New Jersey working.  One very nice gal would bring fried eggplant sandwiches for lunch.  I skip the bread and just eat the eggplant slices.  Sometimes I add a a few slices of cheese.

Last night I served G and I, Rice Bowls for supper.  During the pause between curling matches.  Brown rice I had made the day before, salsa, grated cheddar, red onion and avocado.  Squirt of lime juice.  I reheated the rice, salsa and cheese in the micro and then topped the bowls with the cold stuff. I had sour cream but forgot it until after we were midway into eating.  I did remember to garnish with a few corn chips.  It was very good.  Very Fast Food.

I am presently cheering for the Chinese men (Lui Rui) and women's teams (Go Betty!).  They had remarkable shots yesterday and too many of the teams didn't come to Russia to win (in my humble opinion).  Like the US teams and it's beginning to look like the Canada team as well.  I like Norway, also.  Great Britain's entire women's team is from Scotland.  I like them too.  Feisty.

Tomorrow is the day our share of the winter storm PAX arrives.  It looks like we may just get rain or snow but no ice.  We'll see.  Stay warm and stay inside!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We Pause for Olympic Curling

I watched two "ends" yesterday.  The US vs Norway and Canada vs Germany.  Mens. And the very end of the US women vs Switzerland. I tried explaining the game to G. (?)  I am enjoying the recorded games as I can fast forward thru all the commercials. So many commercials.  I have all the matches being recorded.  My afternoons will be occupied while G is up in the garage workshop working the desk he is making.  And Riley is sleeping.

The sun was out today.  Makes it feel warmer.  The snow isn't melting.  It's winter.

I don't have much more to report.  I have two eggplant sliced and salted in the fridge and I should be thinking of breading them and frying the slices.  G likes fried eggplant as much as I do.  But he likes his topped with marinara and cheese and I eat mine cold, out of hand.  I think there is enough for three days of meals.

I made a broth (no recipe) out of stuff in the spice drawer and the fridge (ginger, garlic, fish sauce and shiraachi), added dry Shitake mushrooms, broccoli and leftover pot roast in shreds.  I added cooked Udon noodles--the long, fat ones.  For G.  He ate it all and said the broth was the best part--he didn't like the texture of the noodles--thinks they are better suited to being fried until a bit brown and crispy.  Lo Mein.  But---in the end, it was a nice hot supper and that's all that mattered.  I had a few handfuls of cashews and called it supper.  All that Curling wore me out!

Monday, February 10, 2014

One Of Us Is Happy With All The Snow

Riley surveys his kingdom.  Actually, he is looking at the bird feeders.  Wondering if there is any extra seed on the snow for him to nibble.

I saw the most incredible thing yesterday from the windows in my sewing room.  I was in there hemming up two pair of 20 cent pants.  I noticed a big crow doing something odd.  On closer inspection, one of the crows (a pair) was flying straight up, looking like a phoenix rising with beak opened, to nip a bit of suet from the feeder.  Whatever fell was shared by the two of them.  Then up again, again, again.  I went to get my camera but spooked them.  I will just have to remember it.

Last night we got more snow.  G had the snowblower going before breakfast to clear the bottom of the driveway where the Town plow deposits a mountain of snow each time it passes.  But, we have plows and sand.  Not like the other Portland getting snow and ice.  Welcome to winter!

Here in Maine we always have some sort of storm event on February 14th.  One year it was ankle deep icy slush covering the bottom of the driveway.  I remember scooping it with a two gallon tub.  Scoop and toss it onto the snow covered lawn.  We had to get it off the driveway before nightfall--or it would freeze there. I also remember a February 14th in the Chicago suburbs.  3 feet of heavy snow during the day.  I shoveled all day but never got the end of the driveway cleared (4 or 5 feet of plow snow there).  G was stuck at work.  He had to dig his car out of the parking lot.  Delightful.

We watched Fringe on Netflix last night.  No Olympics.  I was dismayed to see the seats in the stands on the 6:30 news.  Empty.  The tickets are sold but Russians are "coming late" to see the best parts. How much fun is it to compete in the Olympics to mostly empty stands?  Sixty billion dollars spent and they are "coming late".  We watched a bit of the ice skating and there were no cheers from the crowd (that we could hear or see) and no flowers on the ice after. What do you think?

I have more clutter to clean up today.  Some chair slipcovers to fold up for someone at my daughter's work or Goodwill.  A few more hours of work and the office will look like an office again.  Then I will start on my sewing room.  More tubs to fill and carry upstairs.  I think, on the third leg of this decluttering, I will move next to the room in the cold attic.  Stack the fabric boxes in there.  Labeled. I am also thinking of buying more plastic tubs and labeling them with clothing sizes.  One for each of the sizes I am.  The smaller sizes can be waiting upstairs and the larger ones can be in my closet.  Right now, I have three sizes going---and amusingly--I can wear all three.  Right now.  The size I want to be wearing--well, that size can move up to storage for the time being.

I am wearing a really big size (for me) right now--it fits like loose pajamas.  I find I actually prefer my clothing looser.  I have no idea what it looks like to other people.  And at 67 I really don't care. If I have an important lunch or something, I take pants out of the two smaller boxes. I am NOT wearing the larger sized tops.  Too circus tent-ish.

G went out and bought me gigantic navel oranges.  Huge.  Took me a very long time to actually eat one.  Plus bananas.  Plus avocado.  Plus carrots.  Plus lettuces. Plus celery. I am testing the WW theory that you can freely eat as much fruit and veg as you want and still lose weight.

G also bought me two Frosty's raspberry filled donuts.  I'm calling them Valentines.  G doesn't care what I look like as long as I am happy.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

I Left The House Today

And didn't take pictures.  Our Master Gardener Office asked for volunteers to paint a 4 by 5 foot mural for the Portland Flower Show next month. Something for the Children's Corner where they can draw and paste things on the murals (there will be 8 murals at least over the 4 days--changing them out as they get scribbled on).  So, since I haven't been out of the house since New Year's Day, I said why not.

Today was the day.

I brought my charcoal sticks, one brush, some foam brushes (craft type), no paint, a few cups in which to mix colors and my coffee.  No camera I am sorry to say cause it turned out much better than I ever expected.  I would have liked a picture of it.

The mural paper was white vellum.  Very smooth and slippery surface.  Not easy to paint. Poster Paint in Red, Blue, Brown, Green, Yellow and Orange.

I also brought a photo copy of a very minimalistic woodland scene (as much prep as I wanted to do).  Bare bones.  And proceeded to cover the entire surface with a very pale sky blue mix of white medium and blue poster paint.  Then I drew in the rocks, pond and trees.  I had a front, middle and way back in the scene.  Dimensional. No plants, no animals (let the kids draw them in).  I then tried to mix a good brown for the trees in the background.  It went on the vellum as a transparent brown.  I added green and painted the moss in-also transparent.  Then the rocks--ditto.  It was almost 11am.  Two hours.  I thought that might be long enough.  And the other painter (she does murals professionally) thought so too, when I looked up, she was gone.

G and I went further south and visited Trader Joe's.  I got a few things.  Going to make guacamole this evening to eat with chips and a nice alcoholic drink.  Either a gin and tonic or a lime margarita. It's been that kind of week.  Glad it's almost over.

Oh, I also bought a tub of dark chocolate caramels.  OMG.  Perfect.  I have only allowed myself one  as a test -- I need to keep the rest safe until Valentine's Day.  When I will eat them ALL!  So, so perfectly delicious.  I should leave the house more often!

Friday, February 07, 2014

An Odd Addition To My Diet

When I used to visit my friend K in Georgia, we always had this "special drink" which was actually an Arizona green tea mix plus a lemonade mix.  We drank huge cups of it while burning brush piles in the backyard.  We usually had handfuls of Cheezits also.  I am not having Cheezits.

Back when I started doing Low Carb, I had trouble drinking the required amounts of water each day.  I just have trouble swallowing plain water, and while I am getting better at it, I needed some help.  So, I purchased tall tubular containers of Totally Light (sugar free) Lemonade and Green tea mixes.  And I filled quart Ball canning jars with it and, basically, drank about 2 quarts everyday at work. Not exactly K's drink because it's not as sweet as hers.  Southern women like sweet tea.  Very sweet.

The Green Tea has a bunch of caffeine.  So, I was very "energized" as well.  Difficult to go to bed at night and sleep.  So I stopped.  I can't find decaffeinated Green Tea mix.

Well, last week I mixed up a big container of this stuff and started drinking it again.  If I keep at it, drinking a big glass whenever I go wandering in the kitchen looking for FOOD, it works to keep me away from the food.  I am also super ready (caffeine) to tackle jobs like moving everything from the floor of the office to the floor in the upstairs bedroom/workspace.

Two big, puffy armloads of down comforters.  Pillows and more pillows.  A big exercise ball (and Riley shoved his way between me and the steps, trying to get the ball into his possession) and that took awhile to get up the stairs as I couldn't see the steps.  It's a big ball.  Riley is a big dog (and he wanted that ball).  We bought him a big ball--once--and he bit it 4 seconds after getting it.  But he was extremely happy for the 4 seconds he had a big ball.  Remembers it.

My next project (probably Sunday) will be moving the rest of the junk in the office so I can stand the ironing board across the window.  If I iron, I can then look out the window.  And, by moving things, I can unblock the heater vents.  I will be moving 3 or 4 irons.  Some work and some don't.  For some odd reason, the Rowentas work and then start dribbling (brownish) water all over the white linen shirts--I get mad and buy a new one.  But I have noticed, if I return them to the line up--they don't dribble for a few weeks or months--but then they do.  Which is why they are still in the house.  I have a rotation going.

I am also trying to get a large pot of red beans to soften.  They had all night to soak and now a few hours of active simmering.  Still dry and crunchy to the "tooth".  A while longer and then I will send them to rest in the compost bucket.  I had wanted to make a vegan red bean chili.  Because the vegetable soup with cabbage in it isn't giving me enough gas.  !!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Not Much Ado About Nothing

I have been off reading "lifestyle" blogs once again.  It started with me wanting to find a few new blogs to read.  I kind of think of the blogs as "daily letters from friends I don't know".   It would be super great if I actually did get daily letters from people I actually KNOW.  But that isn't happening.

And leaving comments on unknown blogs hasn't worked in the "plays well with others" part of my life.  Hard for me to strike the right "casual" tone.  It seems people are happiest with "loved your post" period.  Anything longer than two sentences is liable to not be well received.  Now, people who know me, and that's just on the internet, can get longer posts from me.  Like letters.  And they seem to like getting them.  But they are busy people.  So it's not everyday.  Which is why I went out looking.

I have found a gardening blog which is all about vegan, not spending money and dressing well. I never actually saw a post on gardening.  But that could be my fault.  The site is difficult to navigate. The blog had a tofu recipe and invite readers to share their favorite recipe.  I was very interested.  The comments were all "never tried tofu".  Really?????  That's what you wanted to say?

My new GOOP newsletter has arrived in my mailbox along with Houzz.  Yep.  And I got a new post from Food52.  Sigh.

My greenhouse is having a dish garden class this weekend.  I kind of like the idea of making a BOX garden like the one at the top of the post.  Very Zen.  And modern.  You can see why I might not be the one teaching this weekend?

We watched three episodes of Fringe last night (still season one).  It's starting to get creepy.  I like it.  G is hooked.  He didn't think he would like it, but, after about 10 minutes of the first episode he closed his book and said, I guess I'm interested.  Last night the first (of many) alien objects crawled out of someone's mouth.  It was a gigantic cold germ.  I can see the writers trying to decide on a gigantic cold germ or gigantic head cold mucus.  They also had the "machine" transport a guy from a German prison to an airfield in New Jersey.  It's better than watching the Olympics.  I have Curling scheduled to record at 2 am and 5 am each day.  I can fast forward thru the commercials and chit chat.

I have a book to read.  Some laundry to do.  100 items to remove from my household inventory in sort of a household cleanse.  I could embark on a very necessary clean up/straightening of the office which is so full right now, the door hardly opens all the way.  This is what happens when I stop ironing.  This is where I iron.  And to get to the ironing board I usually have to clear a path, put things away etc. etc.  I don't think I have really ironed since G retired and no longer needs starched shirts and pressed pants everyday.  Yikes.

It stopped snowing.  Next storm is on the way--I think on Sunday.  A regular Maine winter at this point.  February is going fast.  Which is fine with me.

So how do you cook tofu?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Wednesday And It's Snowing

I took this picture yesterday because I liked the way the light hit the plant leaves and sort of "glowed" when it reached the wall.  In winter, any "glow" is welcomed.

Today---well, there is no glow.  The snow has been coming down for a few hours now, it's light and there is no wind.  We are supposed to get 8 to 12 inches before it stops.

We bought some groceries yesterday when we were out.  I had to return my ID badge to the retail job.  It took them nearly three weeks to figure out that they had never told the seasonals to return them. G and I looked at the stuff "on sale" but decided we didn't need any of it.  The colors for Spring aren't really appealing.  I will have to stick with white.

I have only one book left in my stack of books.  A new (to me) Sanscom is arriving any day now via interlibrary loan.  Then I will have to do research to find a new batch to request.  I have a new (to me) class to work on.  Edible Landscaping.  And a diagram to work up for the Master Gardener display at the Flower Show.  Volunteers are painting 6 "four by five foot" murals for interactive art at the show. I get to paint one of the six.  On Saturday of this week.  After, I think we'll visit Trader Joe's.  Unless it's cancelled due to snow.

I vacuumed yesterday (bad for my back) and then had to climb stairs at the retail store.  Now, my hip is aching again.  It's pretty clear that the stone staircases were the cause of all my pain and suffering as I had to go up and down with all the "mandatory" breaks and lunches.  I think the treads are higher than the recommended 7 inches.  Too many stairs, too many times.

The weather has my head aching as well.  Barometric pressure.  I am going to change the bed sheets, do a load of wash and take a shower.  The hot water usually makes me feel better.  If not, a nap.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Six More Weeks Of winter

My boots are standing by.  So far, I haven't had much need for them.  Staying put.  I had enough of winter weather and driving on icy roads while doing the Retail thing.

I have a large pot of vegetable soup on the stove.  I "free-styled" it.  Onion. Carrots.  Six or seven little red potatoes I found on the back porch (from the garden harvest).  Remainder of the cole slaw cabbage (the core plus a bit).  Kale.  Can of fire roasted tomatoes.  Garlic.  I threw in a few handfuls of split yellow peas (which don't seem interested in softening) because I have no canned beans to add. I also sprinkled in some quick cooking barley.  My friend adds it to her minestrone and I like it.

I also added salt, pepper, a squirt of ketchup and a few shakes of Worcestershire.  And vegetable stock.  I think it's going to be excellent---in spite of the not so soft yellow peas.

Last night, midway thru what we watched of a football game that delighted me no end (I dislike Manning with a passion and NO! we didn't watch the halftime show), I made up a tomato sauce from the last half packet of frozen Sungold tomatoes.  I mixed it in with garlic, an onion, a can of fire roasted tomatoes (I have three and we'll see if I can use one tomorrow as well) plus S/P and red pepper flakes--- once it was saucy, I scooped freshly boiled spaghetti right out of the water and into the frying pan with the sauce.  Stirred it together and heaped it on plates.  Lots of cheese was added.  We ate it all.

Then we watched Downton Abbey and Sherlock.  What is Edith going to do?  This is when I ate three dark chocolate Lindt balls.  G had a bag of popcorn.

I am midway through the Fire Witness and it's very, very good as are all the books in this series.  Start with the Hypnotist.  Lars Kepler.  Better, almost than Steig Larsson.  Now, I am going to read some more!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

February Flowers

When you work (or still know the people who work) at the greenhouse--you sometimes are given a welcome bouquet of "too old to sell" flowers.  The roses may be blown, but I love them that way.  Such a cheerful touch to a still wintery, cold, gray day.

My stack of books.  I finished The Doll.  I've written about this author and these books before.  Someday they will be made into very exciting and popular movies.  Violent.  Fast.  Relentless. Please  read them in order but be aware that the lead character is sometimes a woman and often a man. Next up is the Fire Witness as it is due. The previous two books by this author have also been violent. Then Purity of Vengeance.   The Bat by Jo Nesbo has already been returned to the library.  The Bat makes me want to start all over with the Harry Hole books.  Redbreast.  I might.

The changing weather patterns laid me low again yesterday.  I took some allergy meds to clear the congestion in my head.  It hurt.  And covered my head with my down lap throw and hoped for sleep. It came eventually--I woke to a dark room and G reading quietly on the couch next to me.  Then G offered to reheat a plate of pot roast and mashed potatoes for me.  By then it was nearly 7.  We watched a few recorded things and then, with Riley leading the way ---- went to bed.

This morning is no brighter, a bit warmer.  My head doesn't hurt.  I didn't like my oatmeal this morning or the orange filled with seeds.  I am trying to think of something in the fridge that will make me happy mid-afternoon.   Soup?  Whole Foods Focaccia with a very aged cheddar?  A big Greek salad with lots of olives and feta.

G and I will not be watching the Super Bowl.  We might watch some of the Puppy Bowl as Riley has shown interest in it last year, paying a bit of attention to the dogs.  Not much.  If he can't smell them--well, why bother.

I started my new journal.  Three or four pages in--it's always this way at the beginning.  Not liking the feel of the paper.  Not having anything to say.  Wondering how I will ever fill the book.  The old journal is here by my left elbow.  Still three pages blank that I am filling with recipes from Food52.

I think I need to start looking for new blogs to read.  The ones I have been reading--well, the authors are posting less.  It's like going out to get the daily paper and finding more than half the pages blank. this isn't new.  I have read that the blogging thing may be slowing.  Too many blogs are being used as business ventures.  One in particular had 36 businesses in the sidebar.  Businesses that pay to be there.  Creating revenue for the author.  I don't read business blogs.  I don't mind if you are trying to sell a published book or class.  But when every post is a sales pitch--well, I'm gone.

I realized how many blogs (now gone), that were once very pleasing for me to read on a daily basis, when I was cleaning out the stack of notebooks on my computer desk and found an old list.  And the other thing I noticed as I looked for new material on other blogs---- a growing number of the blogs are no longer in service.  Moved.  Changed their name.  Or haven't posted in a very long time.  I found one that hadn't had a new post in three years.  I wondered what happened.

How do you find the blogs you read?