Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wishing You A Colorful New Year

Some think life is like a box of chocolates.  Me?  Like a great big box of colorful crayons, colored pencils, colored pens, or pastels.  Give me color.  And I'll be happy.

The sun is out today in Maine.  Some of the snow has melted.  G and Riley had a good walk--the full 2 miles. The path they travel is lumpy, bumpy and slippery at times.  Easy enough for the dog--a bit more trying for the 69 year old dog owner.  We've wondered about letting the dog go out on the walk by himself.  Not seriously.  But possible, with a drone flying over his head???

My list of 50 items of cleaning or tidy-ing has jumped from 5 to 7.  Not going well.

I am presently washing the dog's two orange vests and two of his bed blankets.  I also sprayed his beds with Febreze.  Keeping things "fresh".

My Christmas tree started drinking water a day or two after Christmas and is now drinking water on a regular basis.  I know I say this almost every year--but I REALLY love this year's tree.  It looks amazing.  And I realized I need to make about 10 more of the cute Santa ornaments from last winter. I still have the patterns and lots of red felt.  Good time to do it as next November /December I won't find the time.  Now would also be a good time to make the 2016 cards. (no)

Time to decide what we'll be eating today.  Some years we've gone out for dinner--usually at 5pm so as not to be crowded by party goers, but I don't know if we'll do that this year.  I made a pan of triple chocolate brownies yesterday (and didn't use a box mix for the first time in my life) and they are certainly chocolate.  Lots of caffeine. The recipe said to bake them until they were almost done.  No time given.  I missed the almost done.  So they are done and not as moist as they should be.

Watched the USA all day marathon of Mr Robot yesterday.  Still good and still very confusing.  We are also watching River on Netflix.  Only two episodes left of River.  A detective who talks to dead people.  We watched the Marvel Comics series Jessica James and might try the Marvel series Daredevil.  Supposed to be "dark" and set in Hell's Kitchen.  Season one is supposed to be good. Season two, not so good.  G thought another show was doing a marathon but he couldn't find it when he looked up the USA news.

So, almost 2016.  The year G and I turn 70.  I think we should start thinking about living life just for the fun of it.  Not take things too seriously.  I've already started with my choice of bright red eye glass frames. A co-worker asked if I bought them especially for Christmas.  I looked at her to see if she was serious.  She was.  So I said "I've been wearing these every day since September".  "oh" was all she had to say.  I need to be a bit more obvious I guess.  In 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And It Finally Snowed

But not as much as this older photo shows.  Only a few inches.  And G had some apprehension regarding using the snowblower as he was using it when he had his heart attack in March.  The last time we had snow.


It was good that we only had a little snow.  Not good that it was cold and windy. G had hand warmers for his cold fingers and later put the hand warmers into his slippers to warm his toes.

Riley didn't get to take his daily walk--as the snow clearing took most of the daylight hours.  I managed to pay the bills, do a bit of cleaning, read a third of one of my library books, read a few blogs, tape our Christmas cards to the doorway frame (so old fashioned and festive) and fix us some dinner at 4 pm (when it is getting dark).  We are eating early like we do when I don't go to work.  G has dessert around 8 or 9 pm.  I have coffee or tea.

I am sleeping until 8am which is nice.  Much better than waking at 6am.  But finding it difficult to find something to do after eating breakfast and reading the morning newspaper.  That's when I usually pack my bag and go to work.

If G is awake I can start making noise and doing housework.  But he is usually still sleeping so I have to be quiet.  I sorted the onions, shallots and garlic I had stored on the sunporch.  It's getting too cold out there now so I needed to pack them into something that would protect them from freezing. I don't want to fall into a pattern of watering the houseplants and end up drowning them.  I think I will gather supplies and try and do some drawing or painting in the morning.  That's quiet work and I think it will be very nice to make art every day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Snow Is Forecast For Tuesday

G has filled all the feeders out by the garden.  We have lots of finches.  Riley hunted a flock of 6 wild turkeys about 2 weeks ago.  Big ones.  Not too many crows these days but I love to watch them.  We still have berries on the crab apples, the bittersweet and since the soil is still warm--lots of worms. Good eats for the birds.

The squirrels are very active which keeps Riley in good form.

The warm sun has disappeared.  The grass was frozen this morning and the rhodie leaves were thin.  Conservation of resources. We still have a few clay pots to empty and bring in from the herb garden. I had basil in them.  Did better in pots than in the garden soil itself. All the basil got that fungus on the leaves.

I have started a clipboard with blank pages for a 50 item cleanup list.  So far, I have five items.   I am working on the dining room table (yet, again) with a pile of my art supplies and work tools and managed to clean out the dishtowel drawer and wash and bleach the dishtowels, my undies and sleeping tee shirts.  Not dirty but certainly dingy.  Now all are sparkling white.  I potted up my paperwhites.  But first had to find the stones. And then find the bulbs.  I tried to make a case for that being THREE items but common sense prevailed and it was only the one.

The Amaryllis bulbs I had planted in the garlic and onion bed outside (and which grew considerably in bulb width) are still not doing much in the way of sending up flowering stems.  I can see the faintest, tiny-ist, growth so all is not lost.  Next year I have to pull them out of the garden earlier--like August.  Still time to have flowers for Valentine's Day.  Perhaps, Easter.

Today G and I are going grocery shopping to buy supplies for a big pot of chicken soup.  Ever since his heart surgery, G has been very temperature sensitive and is always cold.  The medication that keeps his blood pressure abnormally low is the cause.  The hot soup seems to help warm him up.

I discovered an injury from the fall I had at work.  One of the fingers on my left hand is very bruised and dark blue (doesn't hurt).   I began massaging the bruised area to move blood around and through it.  Seems less blue black this morning.  

That's about all that is happening here.  G and I watched episodes 2-4 of River on Netflix last night. We could have gone on and watched more (into the night) but wanted to save something for this evening as television in the holiday weeks is pretty thin.  Now we have to find something to watch when river is complete.  Any Netflix suggestions?  We could always start in on House of Cards.

Friday, December 25, 2015


We had a full moon and some misty rain.  But the weather guys promise snow storms next week.  And that's okay as I don't have to drive anywhere.  Work is finished for the year (and then some) until February.  Hugs all around at work.  We are so very much a family.

Our son got his package.  Is eating the cookies.  Perhaps setting the puzzle pieces out on his coffee table.   Cursing us for the shredded newspaper (the packing material) which is all over his carpet.

I had planned to do all my Christmas shopping at the drugstore that sells "as seen on TV" products but forgot (?????).  Lucky for us, my daughter had the same idea and she DID shop there.  Can't wait to see what she bought me---- we haven't opened presents yet.

The Christmas Eve pierogi making went well for me (and for my son) this year.  I used Bob's All Purpose Flour and wow, there must be some magic in that bag.  No noodle dough problems.  Easy and almost fun.  Made 2 dozen of each.  Potato, Sauerkraut and Cheese.  G and I ate ours just after I finished cooking the last batch.  Way good.  Best ever. Can't wait to fry them up for supper tomorrow.

Today we have Christmas Burritos.  I made rice for myself.  I have red onions from my garden, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese for the burritos.  G and S will have meat. Then we'll have a Pumpkin Cream Pie with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.

So much "run up" to the day and then here it is-----then gone.

Wishing you a happy day with those you love.  And if those you love are far away......time to remember why you love them.   Peace and Love to you all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Minus One

Too much to do and by the time I get home from work--well, it's just not enough time.  Getting up at 6 am in the dark and getting home at 4, in the dark.  I know.  I know.  It's what all working people face during the holidays.  Feeling all stressed out like the little branch tied to the package up top of this post.  It's supposed to look stylish but just makes me think of the ties on a straightjacket.

The cookies are all baked.  The majority are on a UPS truck in sunny California, and hopefully, will be sitting in the lobby of my son's building when he gets home from work today.

My Secret Santa liked her gift.  I liked the one I got.  Everything seems to be going well at work. Tomorrow is my last day (of work) and I have a Terrarium and a Bonsai gift to be picked up by customers who wanted their gifts on Christmas Eve and not one moment earlier. Both are very lovely.  If I do say so myself, since I created them.

So far, this Christmas season I have gotten three very nice tips.  The tree yard boys get tips usually for carrying trees and tie-ing them to the tops of cars etc.  Not so usual to tip the gal re-potting your plants or creating dish gardens, terrariums or bonsai.  I do a lot of bonsai.  I planned ahead this year and stocked up on "great" rocks to include in the bonsai dish with the little tree. I also try and add moss and a little path.  I told a co-worker (and new friend) that I would love to make real outdoor Bonsai--as a job.  So, call me if anyone out there needs a Bonsai maker.  Okay???

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Minus Four Days

The last of the cookie dough I made last week is now baked into cookies.  And I sat down Saturday and actually came up with a design and drew the design on cards.  And addressed and mailed the cards.  They won't get anywhere in time for Christmas but---  Well, I have no excuses.

A few of the gals working the Christmas Table at work have decided (each on our own) to make changes in our lives.  Doing things differently, letting things go etc.  There must have been some magic in the air.  My plans aren't really firm as yet.  But working (outside the home) is going to be less the next year.  I'll keep you informed of my choices but not theirs.

Allergy:  Well.... I am not allergic to wheat flour.  I have been eating bread for three days straight and no rash no itch and no watering eyes.  I wanted to see what would happen.  And nothing happened.
I still have reddened, flaky skin from my hairline to my eyebrows.  But no itch.

I am NOT going to press my luck and eat any nuts because I have a feeling that would not go well.

The bread I am eating is a whole grain rye from When Pig's Fly.

Today we are packing up our son's package with cookies and presents.  He may not get it until New Year's.  Not that it will matter as he is probably busy seeing Star Wars.  And my son is pragmatic like his mother.  If he wants something he goes out and buys it for himself--doesn't wait for Santa to buy him things.  So, the check I send is more important than the box from home.  He does appreciate the cookies.

I was feeling rather blue this Christmas season--due to the 6 Benadryl a day and then in the space of 48 hours so many people (customers) have shown up at work and were so happy to see me.  Gosh, is there anything better than seeing people's faces light up when they set eyes on you?  I don't think so. I am usually so surprised by that.  But this year, I am really appreciating it.  Leaning into it.  Hugging back.  Doing things differently.

We finished watching Netflix Jennifer Jones (Marvel) and are now into River (BBC).  That song from the first episode is stuck in my mind.  I have to download it.  Listen to it all the time. Love to Love You.  From the 70's.

G is back with the box.  Need to start wrapping and packing.  Then start the pierogi dough and fillings.  I work the next three days.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cookies, Cards & Ornaments

I am way behind.  I haven't even decided what to draw for the christmas cards this year.  I did plan ahead and used a coupon to pay for a big package (50) of Kraft paper blank cards and envelopes.  Just in case they stop making them (and I still want to use them).  That's like 4 years worth of cards since I only send out 12.

I had planned to make another felt ornament like the STILL WAY CUTE Santa coat and hat I made last year.  I don't have any heart buttons and wonder if I actually want snowmen.  The carrot nose looks difficult.

I finally (oh, you should see how backlogged I am with chores) made two of the three batches of cookies.   The Apricot Oatmeal from MS.  The Snickerdoodles (that for some reason spread instead of puffed).  But the kolachke are still in the fridge. I am packaging (really cute) the cookies up as gifts for people at work since I don't think I should be eating cookies.  They look delicious.

My rash comes and goes and the only variables in my diet don't seem like things that would cause an allergic reaction.  Like orange slice candies.  They are all gone now--so that won't be a problem.  I did eat some roasted peanuts at work (I regularly eat peanut butter on a big spoon out of the jar as a meal) and the rash struck.  So,  how can I be allergic, now, to things I have eaten in excess for years and years without a care in the world?????

I am achingly tired of the brown rice, banana, butternut squash and bran flakes with soy milk.  I love all those things but now that they are the only things I can eat-----I am growing less fond of them each day.  Each "new" thing I add---the itch comes back.  Today I added popcorn and am waiting for the rash.  I am getting no protein.  Not a big meat eater anyway and now--not interested at all.  I did make chili (and still have three portions) and the rash struck just 20 minutes after I ate the first bowl.

It's cold and it's raining here in Maine.  All the days in December (minus one) have been colored orange on the weatherman's calendar.  All warmer than normal.  We won't be having a white Christmas.  No snow.  Just rain.  Here it is--not even 4 pm and dark as night.

Time to shower and put on my jammies.   Only 5 more days of work.  I think. Then it's Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Gifting/ Wishes and Dreams

I'm not really into it this year.  Or last, for that matter.  Things are too easy to obtain.  Click.  And it's yours.  Like it...use it.  Don't like it?  Return it or just tuck it away somewhere for your inheritors to deal with. What does anyone NEED???  Sigh.  Why can't we exchange wishes and dreams instead? Open a pretty package and find, nestled in tissue, a lovely wish.  Just for you.

The tree is up and has lights and decorations.  Listing to the side.  Tempting itself to tip right over and crash to the floor.  With all my ornaments.  It's happened before.  I lost all the angels and Santas made of glass and sparkles when my sweater caught on a 12 foot tree and came crashing down onto G (sitting in his chair).  The snowmen didn't break.

We attached some of my soft garden wire to the stem and attached it to the fireplace mantel.  G and I remembered another tree we had tied to the ceiling--so it wouldn't tip over.  This tree--charmingly whimsical-- has a thin stem.  Making it difficult to stabilize with the three screws in the stand.

The first of my 3 days off, I set the 4 sticks of butter out on the counter to soften.  All day and all night.  Still not soft.  The second day of my three days off, I mixed up three doughs.  One for Snickerdoodles.  One for Almond Apricot Oatmeal cookies.  One for Apricot Kolachke.  They are now in the fridge.  Today is my third day of my three days off and I must actually bake cookies.  Sounds like a charming new Christmas song doesn't it?

Yesterday I cubed, peeled and baked an enormous butternut squash and made a large container of organic long grain brown rice.  That's what I will be eating this week at work for my interpretation of the BRAT diet.  For G I made a large casserole dish of sausage, mushroom, onion, marinara sauce.  To be eaten with pasta.  But not by me.

No cashews yesterday.  No rash.  I told G he must eat the rest of the 2 pounds of cashews himself.
What an odd thing to be allergic to.  So the total of things I can't eat without getting a rash are wheat flour and cashews.  Okay.

Today. Cookies.  And I can't eat any of them.  Perhaps that is why I am having difficulty actually baking them?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Walking The Dog

Any minute now.  G is taking a class all day today.  I had wanted the entire day to myself.  Baking cookies, reading a book, ordering gifts by phone.  The house is so cool that the sticks of butter I set out before breakfast are still cold to the touch.  I did manage to make the apricot filling for kolachke.

Thursday I tripped and fell at work.  Knocked the wind out of me and the adrenaline rush left me feeling faint.  My employer wanted to know if I needed to go to the hospital to get checked out. I didn't.  No bruising and no aches or pains.  I must be too heavily "padded" to get hurt falling face down on cement. My doctor would use that as another club to beat me up regarding my weight.

This is my fifth day of eating a Banana, Rice, Applesauce diet.  Had to skip the T (toast) as I am finding that I have an allergy to wheat flour.  Not the bran. Not gluten.  Just the wheat flour--the white stuff in nearly everything.  I know this is true because I made packaged au gratin potatoes and about 30 minutes after eating them with some delicious ham and steamed broccoli---my face started to itch.

I can eat yogurt with bran buds.  I can eat TJ's Bran Flakes.  I can eat steamed brown rice.  I can eat roasted butternut squash.  I think the vanilla ice cream was okay as it was "homemade" style.  Nothing much added to the cream.  I can eat corn chips, but not too many.

I feel better.  The itching and red scaling skin near my hairline was difficult.  None of the medicines would work.  Like 6 Benadryl a day.  Zyrtec.  Also my eyes have stopped watering.  And the lack of watering means a lack of burning skin around my eyes as well.

Wheat flour is hidden in almost all processed foods.  So "do it yourself" food is going to be my best choice going forward.  I am interested in finding out if the vermicelli flour in pasta is the wheat flour I am allergic to because, it's only a matter of time before I feel the "need" to eat pasta. I find it interesting that the bran doesn't bother me.

I am going to have to make soup.  Not that it's cold here in Maine.  Our weather guy makes up a monthly calendar--blue days are below average and orange days above average.  So, far, in December, we have had one blue day.  All the rest are orange.  And, this week, all the days will be very orange as today is supposed to be 55 degrees plus.

Time for the walk.  A large black dog is giving me the lethal X-ray stare.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I Actually Bought My Christmas Tree---Early

Each year I find it more and more difficult to actually buy my tree.  And I work in a greenhouse with a tree yard outside.  With a wide selection of trees.

I like the wild trees.  Not the shaped and manicured ones.  The ones with large spaces between branches.  I have a GREAT many ornaments.  And I like to place the bigger, heavier ones deep inside next to the stem.  The tiny ones are on the very tips of the branches.  Last year's tree, purchased very late, even had room for the big plastic (vintage) Santa and sleigh.

My tree will have as many ornaments (or more) as the one pictured above.  I just WISH the surrounding could be as austere and cleanly white as those in the picture. I long for austere and live in clutter.

Work was good this week.  Lots of good music from a wonderful collection on an iPhone with a speaker.  Lots of very good laughter.  Oh, a good few minutes of laughter soothes the soul. The only sticking point was--so much customer stuff going on--no time to have lunch together.  But business is good.  And that is a very good thing.

Thirteen or 14 more days of work, at work, before the annual furlough begins.  Then I get to start working HERE at home.  But I also get to sleep and not be up at 6am.  I do not go easily into the morning.

I am beginning to think my rash (yes, it's back but only on the left side of my face, near the hairline) is eczema.  My brother had it.  Caused by food allergies.  I think it gets worse when I eat too much wheat.  And I do eat a lot of wheat based foods.  Or it could just be winter dry skin.  In either event, I am tired of taking Benadryl all the time.

Today, I am baking cookies.  Snickerdoodles.  Chocolate chip.  Perhaps some with dried apricots. I'm not fond of sugar cookies or spritz cookies.  Lebkuchen looks too intense and I don't have the oblaten to bake them on.  I do love them--especially coated in chocolate.  Cinnamon (Zimt) Stars are very good as well and don't have any wheat flour in them.   I once had a basic butter cookie dough that could be used to make a variety of cookies.  Coconut batons with one end dipped in chocolate.  I think the recipe was vintage Bon Appetite.  I made four varieties from the large recipe and carried them on a plane with me to Florida one winter.  That was when one could carry things in a box onto a plane.  All the cookies were eaten the first day in Florida.  Six couples.  I don't think any of the ladies had any.

I have plenty of flour and sugar.  Might need some additional vanilla.

Ready.  Set.  Bake.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Get Decorated

Pick up a plain wreath (or make one) and start decorating.  It's like playing dress up.  Keep trying things out, see what makes you say "wow", then wire it onto the wreath, or hot glue it, or pick it.

I was at the fabric store that shares my name today.   Long, long line of disgruntled customers.  One cashier, as usual.  I was looking for 60% off Christmas picks for wreaths.  Not much to see.  And since I do best buying things in threes---not many things in threes.

But I am loving this wreath at the top of the post.  I would guess the ornaments have been hot glued in place.  Hard to wire them as the little hanger thing at the top can pop out.  I am also thinking of "using" the curly pipe cleaner things--sort of Dr Seuss.  We have real holly at work but it turns black in cold outside weather.  I tried to find some fake holly but--none.

Last year I glued a bunch of toys (Barbies, Hot Wheels, Lego etc) to a wreath.  It was very cute. And a co-worker made one with sock monkeys.  I love sock monkeys so would NEVER glue them to an outdoor wreath.  Barbie?  Yes.

Since the store shopping amounted to nothing--I am going attic shopping.  See what sort of stuff I have packed away.  Something up there has to be "wreath worthy".

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Almost Time For Dinner

The turkey is roasting (breast side down), the stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (the recipe with no mushroom soup), baked acorn squash, pan fried Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes are all  Prepped and waiting for that last 30 minutes of cooking.  Even the gravy stock is made and waiting.

I also made two recipes of cranberry sauce.  Both with brandy.  One with the vanilla the recipe asks for and the second minus the vanilla but adding orange juice and zest.  Boozy cranberries, oh, yes!!!

The Pumpkin Cream Pie is chilling on the sun porch (no sun here in Maine today) and I just have to whip up the brown sugar whipped cream and make some caramel sauce. I have never in my life made caramel sauce.  Or praline pecans.

Things went well in the kitchen.  The dining room---well, the table is still covered in clutter and I will have to clear it off and then give my daughter free use of the dish cupboard to set the table.

We finished watching Foyle's War last night and are now watching Jessica James.  Marvel comics. They said it had some resemblance to Orphan Black.  The only resemblance I see is that they both wear black and are both girls.

I made a table centerpiece at work yesterday from leftovers.  For my table.  Then a customer looked over the pieces on our counter and said "what about that one?".  So, she went home with my centerpiece and left the professional made ones behind.  I was "floral" all day.  Quite busy with deliveries.

Now it's Christmas 24/7.  And then it's furlough for the winter.  Yes, please.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Week

While most are getting prepared for Thanksgiving, here, we are getting ready for G's birthday.  He was born on Thanksgiving---in time for supper his mother always said.  And instead of birthday cake--we serve birthday pie.

I saw these delightful pictures of pie crusts and am thinking of trying one of them.  I am an artist and drawing with a knife into pastry isn't that much different from drawing with a pencil on paper.  What to put under that crust is where I am having trouble.  Deciding.  Pumpkin pie doesn't require a top crust.  Neither does pumpkin cheesecake.  Two items we have in rotation for this particular birthday.

Perhaps it will have have to wait until Christmas.

My eye itch went away and then has tried to come creeping back.  I am being to think it's fungal. The cough remains as well.

At work I serve as "floral" several days a week.  I enjoy it.  Taking care of the floral coolers (fresh water and fresh stem cuts), remaking the market bouquets as they age, filling vases for delivery orders.  It's all new and fresh for me.  Something I think I could have done as a profession I think, with proper training.  I also enjoy the morning routine of watering the big greenhouse--filled with poinsettias, cyclamen, cactus (Christmas and desert), houseplants, orchids.  I like the odor of wet potting soil.  Other times of day, I make decorated evergreen wreaths.

My least favorite activity is cashier.  Mainly because I am not very good at it. In order to be good at it, I would have to do it all the time.  And that would crush my soul.  I am happier with the plants.

Last Saturday, I made meatballs and marinara, a chicken curry (too much curry and it's way too hot to eat and I must find a way to cool it down), and chicken soup for G.  I haven't been cooking and we have been eating sandwiches and potato chips for supper.  Not a good thing.  So, I wanted to have things in the fridge to eat this week--and things that could go into the freezer if not eaten before T-Day.

Today G wants to get the new iPhone for his birthday and give me the old one.  I think it's time for me to have a phone on my person.  Just in case troubling things happen to me.  We are thinking about service plans and how much data I might need.  I travel the internet far more than he does.  But being a thrifty person, I do not want to spend too much money.  I think the really good plans are a thing of the past.  A co-worker has unlimited everything for $60 a month.  But that plan is no longer offered.
I have to go along to choose my phone number.  Something I can remember.

Sigh.  I do not go easy into that dark night.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I'm Back

The "itchy" eye thing ended, as usual, suddenly.  One night my eyes itched so much that I went to bed looking like a big red puff head.  Woke up--looking like myself.  No red.  No puff.  No itch.

What did I do different?  I took a walk in the woods with G and Riley.  Period.

The cold stopped being the rib cracking wet cough and (oh, foolish me) I thought it was gone with the itchy eyes---but it's still here--only a dry cough now that makes it impossible to speak at times. Not much works-- so, I am just hoping another week and it will have worn itself (and me) out.

Monday afternoon G and I went to see the new James Bond.  Spectre.  It was dull, long and not all that interesting (and we were the only people in the theater).  Seemed like a long farewell.  I recorded Skyfall and we'll watch it sometime and enjoy it more than the new movie.  The previews were all duds as well---but the new Star Wars is coming.  I sat through the first one in 1978, twice or three times with my son.  He was 7.  Might as well see this one but wish it was with him.  And he was 7 again.

My photo at the top is another chair.  Love chairs, as you know.  This one I liked because of the fabric. Perhaps it's a rough woven linen.  I like wing chairs with a seat that tips back at the back.  Sort of like a recliner without the leg part.  So when you sit its like having your behind cupped.

Tomorrow grocery shopping for Thanksgiving.  I need to get a turkey and start thawing it.  I want to try Food52's dry brine method this year.  And I found a recipe for a Pumpkin Cream Pie that sounds like the one G liked at the 99 restaurant.  The usual suspects will round out the menu:  mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, pan fried Brussels sprouts, and brandied cranberry sauce.  We're heavy on carbs @ Thanksgiving and the food lasts all weekend.

I have Thursday off.  But will be back at work on Friday with my stuffing sandwich and cranberry sauce.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I am holding tight to my safe (?) and secure routines.  Brutality seems to surround us.

An apple crisp in the oven baking.  The dog waiting for his daily walk (with orange vest so hunters don't shoot him).  G is vacuuming.  I am rubbing my poor itchy eyes.

Yesterday was Open House at work.  I ate four or five little round brownie bites.  They were delicious.  I spent most of the 8 hours repotting plants,  talking to customers (who are friends I only see at work) and re-arranging tables.  A long day........and no Christmas music.  It's something I appreciate during the Winter holidays.  Singing along with Bing Crosby (Let It Snow), Eartha Kit (Santa Baby) and Elvis (Blue Christmas).  Not so fond of Grandma being run over by a reindeer.

During my tending of the Christmas cactus table, I collected another pocketful of branches broken off various plants by customers rummaging looking for the best plant.  Today I need to set the branches (most quite small) into a sandy soil mix and let them make roots.  I hope one of them is the white variety.

I also need to collect pots and my amaryllis bulbs to take to work.  I usually like to repot them at work where it doesn't matter if I make a mess.  Here at home, making a potting mess in the kitchen is so "not a good thing".

A very good thing happened today.  An email from a friend I lost contact with many years ago.  We just moved off in different directions.  It was so nice to hear from her.

May something sweet and unexpected drop into your life today, also.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Back to work.  Still coughing but not enough to make me dizzy.  Eyes still flaring up --the redness and itching is driving me slightly more crazy than usual.  And red swollen eyes are SO ATTRACTIVE on older women.

Today's lunch was a ham and cheese roll up (from low carb days) and roasted beets with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I had a banana and tea for mid morning.  My cold has subdued my interest in food.
My pants are looser.  I don't really care.

I'm off to make a cup of coffee and take a Benadryl as a preventive strike against the regular evening itch fest with my eyes.  I think I am allergic to the couch.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Guess Who Has A Bad Cold

No soup for me.  Not eating much of anything.  Tea and DayQuil.  Coughing.  Coughing.  My ribs are sore.  It started on Tuesday with a running nose.  Wednesday it moved to sneezing and coughing.  And stayed there.

Lucky me.  I had a scheduled doctor's appointment on Thursday morning.  Just a cold.

I have been sleeping when I am not coughing.  Dizzy most of the time.  A nice wheezing sound when I exhale.  G says it's a wet cough which is a good thing.

Keep thinking--each morning----that I'll be going to work that day.  Then I get up.  Then I sit back down and wait for the room to stop swirling.  I did have a nice hot shower yesterday and clean clothes.  Then I took a nap.

It's just a cold.  I think it's knocked me for a loop because I am so damned tired.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Perfect Fall Colors

Yesterday the skies were a clear blue.  A perfect counterpoint to all the oranges, reds and yellows of Fall here in Maine.  Later the clouds came and the bright colors turned sullen and unhappy.

Yesterday we went for a "ride" to Portland.  Takes 30 to 40 minutes.  We started at Trader Joe's loading up on Winter Food Stuffs like cereal (for me), dog treats (for Riley) and a dozen cans of Marinara (for G).   I also purchased some of Tj"s super white flour tortillas for Christmas Burritos.  Last year the only tortillas I could find were "not very good".

Our local grocery carried Tex's Tortillas for almost as long as we have lived here in Maine.  And they were (and I bet still are) excellent.  But not being sold here anymore.  Now we have the store brand-- and it's best not to comment on them.

So, I have a supply of excellent tortillas in the freezer.  I also purchased the most excellent focaccia that Whole Foods makes and G and I will be using it to make panini sandwiches for today's lunch or dinner.

And, best news of all.  I purchased a 5# bag of the tiniest clementines at TJ's and when I got them home, peeled and ate five.  Sweet, spicy, sharp.  Everything I remembered from that bag of tiny Persian clementines so many years ago.  Sort of easy to peel and no seeds.  G got himself a bag of green grapes.  So, I have clementines at last.  Five a day until they are gone unless I eat 10 a day and then beg someone who works in Portland to buy me another bag. (hint, hint)

I peeled and sliced the last of the peaches.  8 cups.  I didn't want to make more jam so I made a sort of peach deep dish cobbler.  Now I have apples to work with but they are out on the porch and still very hard--so I can wait a bit before tackling them.  Rescued (foraged) apples off an abandoned tree near my workplace.  I hate to see them go to waste.

Next up, in the coming weeks will be fig jam.  The fig tree is indoors and the figs are still green.  So, we wait.  A few fall off each day I add them to the bag in the fridge.  I had wild hopes of boxes of fresh figs at Trader Joe's--but no such luck.  Maybe next time.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Costume I Want To Wear On Halloween

Have you seen this commercial?  The cartoon figure is a BOWEL.  And during the commercial he has a "sudden urge to go" and bends his cartoon knees, draws his lower parts in and up........ well, I just about laughed myself into a coughing fit.

We saw it once.

I'm wondering if it was taken off the air????

If I was into costume wearing I would be in the sewing room right now with yards of shiny pink material and lots of poly stuffing.  What a hoot.  Can you see kids asking me what I was?  What would be the best answer?

The weather here in Maine is very strange.  Moist.  Humid.  Warm.  And I am inside the greenhouse making Christmas boxes with dry-ish evergreens.  I feel like I'm in one of those "what's wrong with this picture" cartoons.

All G's work across the street was lost in the rain; wind driven pine needles now cover everything.  We even had lots of broken tree branches on the driveway and I had to stop the car, get down on hands and knees and pull a branch out from under the car.  I must have picked it up in the street. So, even before work, I was dirty.

Monday, October 26, 2015


I especially like the tiny Persian ones.  So spicy!  I don't like the ones with seeds.  Now is the time to buy--when they are fresh and firm and not old and mushy.

I have bulbs, corms and tubers to collect, dry and store today.

I feel sort of like a squirrel.  Storing things away for winter.

My friend wants to make napkins for Christmas presents so I need to try my hand at making a napkin so I can help her with hers. (any hints?)  I don't think I've ever made a napkin but I could be wrong.  I remember making placemats to go into the basket my daughter's case manager workplace made for a family. It felt good to make them plus a few potholders.

My quilt chapter made dozens and dozens of potholders for the Elk's Christmas Baskets every year. That felt good, as well.  I think the winter holidays require some heartfelt gifting.

G  is off collecting leaves across the street. He says it will take the entire day.  Tomorrow the garage door company is coming to "check and overhaul" our doors.  Winter is hard on the equipment and it's difficult having one go "off the rails" when it's 15 below zero.

I found all the supplies for the little Santa Coat ornaments I made last Christmas. I wonder what I should make this year.  Have any of you seen anything really cute on Pinterest?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cabbage (rose)- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I was wondering what to say tonight.  The days have been long and colder than I like, the nights and mornings darker, the stars bright.  Tomorrow is a day off.  I need one.

Christmas is starting.  We have decorated trees up.  The Holiday boxes are in the annual house with the bundles of balsam.  I am told I am to "crank out" boxes on Sunday when I work.  I am actually quite pleased to be making boxes.

Today Z worked his last day with us.  He leaves in a few days for the Air Force (which will someday pay for his college education).  He is apprehensive but knows he can't just stand in one place.  He needs to move forward--to wherever forward leads him.  I am reminded of how scary that feels.  I hugged him goodbye.  He's a good boy.

My co-worker read my aura today.  Bright red, bright orange and lemon yellow.  Good things.  Positive things overall.  I do have a fear of loss.  I have lost too many people, too soon. I don't like it.
I am an enthusiastic, energetic individual with unfinished projects-- what you see is what you get.

I had cold roasted beets (so dark earthy and sweet) with fresh mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for lunch today.  The beets stained the white cheese a lovely rose pink.  I am lucky enough to have more roasted beets in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch as well.  I read about a roasted beet hummus but don't think I will make it.

I have two books to read.  Plants to get into the ground.  G has leaves to collect.  Winter is close. I can feel it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

First Killing Frost

What we deem important, has been covered, brought in or dug up.  The Amaryllis bulbs from last Christmas were planted into the vegetable garden in June/July and pulled up about a week to 10 days ago.  They grew SO MUCH!  Now the big juicy bulbs are drying out (resting) and will be potted up for a "later than Christmas" bloom time.  Valentines???

Bulbs need a resting period.  To sort themselves out and get prepared for the "big push" to make new flowers.

I think people need a resting time also.  The freezing weather took me upstairs to look for heavy corduroy pants and sweaters.  Nothing better than warm clothing, a down lap cover and a good book.

My eyes and the surrounding skin are burning up.  I look awful.  Dry cracking skin, swollen eyes, running nose, sneezing.  None of the allergy products have any effect.  Cold compresses help the eyes but dry out my skin.  Heat hurts but then feels better.

My new glasses are sliding off my nose--getting the trifocal lines all in the wrong places.  I am thinking the very fashionable-ness of them is a trade off to useful-ness. When I bend over at work-and doing repots--well, I am looking down an awful lot--the glasses swing away from my nose and just swing back and forth making me so dizzy I have nearly passed out.  Or puked.

Being Joanne this past few weeks has been a big itchy, dizzy, exhausted drudgery.  What am I allergic too????????  If it's the dog--then why not feel better at work?  I just would like to not have burning itchy eyes, a running nose and congestion in my chest.

Made two batches of fresh picked October peaches (that's Maine for you) with my friend.  She took one batch home, I kept the second.  Better canning weather in October.  Much.  Peach Jam. Still have peaches but we're both out of sugar.  (smile)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Well Worn Path

When you own a dog (or have a dog who owns you), the well worn path has great meaning.  Riley walks the same 2 mile circle through the woods every day.  With G.  With me.  Or with both of us. He knows where he is going, can go off ahead, circle back around for a treat or just walk side by side.

These days, Riley and I have another path we walk together.  Out the front door.  At bedtime.  Last call for sniffing things, peeing in the bushes and barking to scare away deer.

Me?  I take the opportunity to stand still in the dark yard and look up at the stars.  So many layers of stars.  So many thoughts of what is out there, who we Earthings are and questions of how and why we exist.

Yes, that is what I think about each evening as I gaze up into the sky and look at all the stars.  Some evenings more than others.  I look and think and then Riley goes around the corner and the lights on the garage flood the yard and---no more stars.

I typed all of that with my eyes on the screen.  I am often amazed that I can do that.

I wore my new glasses (new prescription) today at work and the trifocal lines are in different places and I made myself dizzy and very motion sick while working with the shelved bulbs.  And when I looked at the floor or into the bags I was packing with transferred bulbs---my glasses hung down off my nose.  I'm guessing I need an adjustment.  But--the lines are great for computer work.

I will be having big bowl of beets tonight--for eye health.  Deeply colored vegetables are excellent for eye health.  I've already had dark chocolate caramels for Joanne health.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rainbow Chard

Has been growing in the garden bed with the carrots and beets.  It's time to cut some and actually attempt the chard ricotta filling for tortelloni.

Normally....... as in forever.........the beet greens and chard greens have tasted like dirt to me.  My daughter says tasting dirt in greens is specific to a small portion of the human population.  But I think if I cook them--the dirt flavor may go away.  I have been tasting them uncooked. Dirt.

The chard grows so easily and looks so pretty that I always have it in the garden but never eat it.

I think I should make a little 10 by 10 fabric piece with brightly colored chard stems against the background of garden soil (brown) and blue summer skies.

Reading "the Paris Key" right now.  I got over half way during yesterday's football game.  But stopped reading to watch  The Great Bake on PBS.

It's funny about that baking show on PBS.  It starts out slow and kind of awkward but as the weeks go by I am emotionally connected to the people.  Sad when one has to go home, devastated when their bake takes terrible turn.  Perhaps because I bake.  Perhaps because they are so disarmingly honest. It's a mystery to me.  I am saddened by the fact that I missed the first three seasons and can't find them to view other than on Amazon and I just don't like Amazon.

Anyway.  Yesterday I made a huge pot of chili (with my onion, peppers and carrot from the garden) which will be lunches for the week for me.  Another large pot of marinara with meatballs for G.

I also got all the orchids watered, trimmed and settled into new pots (where necessary) and then had a monumental cleanup job in the kitchen sink area.  Repotting etc in the kitchen is such a MESS.  After I cleaned I sorted setting out the vegetables for the chili.  So another mess.  Then laundry of the towels used to clean the mess.

Today I am planting garlic.   Digging perennials out of the garden and replacing them with something I actually like.  The birds plant things.  And by the time I realize they are in the garden bed--they are quite big.  Herbsonne rudbeckia.  About 5 feet tall.  And it's everywhere.  So, now I am thinking it belongs out by the street behind the fire hydrant.

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Remember last summer/fall when I was so saddened by the lack of germination in my beet seeds? Well, 2015 is the year I actually grew beets.

My daughter enjoyed pulling up about 3 or 4 pounds of them last Sunday.  The beets remained in the garden carry basket all week.  Out on the sun porch. I would look at them fondly as I dragged myself off to work.  Three days in a row of being the only one with a key to open the store.

One of those days I woke up at 7:20 and had time to brush my teeth, get my hair wet, dress and walk out the door.  I managed to open the store before 7:45.

And I was in a terrible mood. No coffee.  No cereal.  No lunch.  No reason to live.

Anyway, back to the beets.

I kept looking at them, wondering when I would have time to wash them, wrap them in foil and then bake them for a couple of hours.  Well, that time wasn't until this morning.  Saturday.

I just peeled and ate one.  Not as soft as I would like it to be but dark red and sweet.  Delicious.

And best of all.......home grown.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Still Seeing Pumpkins--Everywhere

These are made of burlap and twine.  And have an actual "real" stem.  The stems fall off all the time. This year I will try and save a few.  For crafts.

I am having soup for supper.  

I have Kale super Food Salad for lunch the past two days.  Alongside a few handfuls of cookies.
the kale salad took FOREVER to eat.  My jaw hurt.

My eyes itch.  My skin is dry and cracked.  I creak around like the old lady I actually am.
Not having the best October.  In fact, I think October might be my worst month in the calendar.  Year after year.

I have stumbled more than I will admit to, but I haven't fallen.  Yet.

A co-worker stumbled in the tub and now has 4 staples holding the skin over that back of her skull together.  Oh, I don't want that for myself.  She saw stars----- when she regained consciousness.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Pumpkin Time

At work.  At the bakery.  At the coffee shops.  Even at the smoothie shops.

Even at my house.  The second time making the Pumpkin Whoopee Pies will be tomorrow.  On my first of two back to back days off (yippie), I will be baking those delicious little pumpkin cakes and then frosting them and watching G eat his way through them.  I won't be eating them.

The tree work continues.  The front yard is still littered with debris and logs.  I will feel compelled to rake up the grass if I go out there.

We missed the boat on a very cool idea.  A gardening friend visited me at work and when I mentioned the pine trees being cut---she said she had seen the most amazing thing.  A rather large chunk of tree (as tall as it is wide) was chipped away into a "ball" shape with a chain saw.  The wood must be "wet" in order for this to work.

You cut and cut and roll and cut until the chunk resembles a ball.  Roundish.  Then let it sit and dry out.  Takes awhile.  While it dries it cracks.  And turns into something she says is "magnificent".

Now our tree trunk was larger than 7 feet around, so if we had know about this "crafty idea" earlier in the day, we could have had the makings for a few giant round objects.  The neighbors would have been impressed, huh?

We do have a few smaller chunks and G can make some in 12 inch diameter.

If he uses the chain saw, I'll have the tourniquet kit at the ready.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

And Then It Stopped Raining

Temps in the low 60's but some sunshine.  The tree guys are here and the front yard looks like a tornado whipped through.  Two very fat, tall white pines are going down.  Two red pines.  And a set of oak "twins".  A few other, smaller trees were collateral "damage" to get at the two white pines safely.

The guy across the street said "I can see your house".


I think there will be enough chipped wood to mulch the woods (and the auxiliary road) on the side of the house.  I think it will be a vast improvement.  G thinks there might be "too much light".

The trees, perennials and the squirrels will just have to get used to a "new normal" as will G and I. It's been a long time in the shade of those huge trees.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's Raining-- A Lot

I spent the day in my raincoat.  

And I was inside the greenhouse.

The rain was just pounding down on the glass roof and leaking in through all the places that leak in a glass greenhouse.  Maine needed a good rain as wells in the northern section of our state were going dry.  So--keep the rain coming.  We need it.

I am having trouble getting the upper hand with my allergies.  The itching eyes.  The sneezing.  All the usual allergy symptoms.  The Zyrtec makes me sleepy.  So, at work yesterday, I was sort of zombie-like.  Today, not so much.  But still not really alert.

I did have a good lunch both days.  It's amazing how the quality of my work day improves with a "good lunch".

I am going to share the pasta sauce recipe I have been making for G lately.  One chopped onion sauteed in olive oil, then add a package of Jimmy Dean's precooked sausage crumbles, a shake or two of red pepper flakes (if you can't find the spicy crumbles).  While that works, clean and slice a package of button mushrooms (or open a can of sliced mushrooms).  Add the mushrooms to the pan.  Let it fry--get some of that brown stuff going on the bottom of the pan.  Add a can of Trader Joe's marinara sauce (28 oz).  Simmer while the water comes to a boil for the pasta and you cook the pasta.

Easy and G says it's delicious.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eating Simple Things

Like avocado mixed with lime and red onion.

Like an enormous pot of soup---over ripe tomatoes, cabbage, kale, overgrown carrots, potato and onion, summer squashes.  All but the potato and cabbage was from my garden.  The cabbage was a leftover chunk from the pot roast dinner's cole slaw.

G's soup was tomato with homemade soup dumplings.  I did them correctly this time and beat the dickens out of the dough.  G said they were wonderful.  Chewy.

I think it's cool enough now for baked potatoes.  Sweet or White.  Butter soaked with sour cream and chives.

I also think it's cool enough for a weekend pot of beans.  Every weekend.  I have the most interesting beans in the cupboard -- white and tan yelloweyes.  I think they are popular beans for Maine baked beans.  New to me.  Last winter it was chili beans and all of the variations were very good.

And there are still the beets in the garden and the chard.  I will bake the beets and saute the chard (mixed with ricotta) to fill tortelloni.  Larger relatives of the tortellini.

I am still carrying 5 to 10 pounds of vegetables from the garden when I have time to go out and pick.
I have already decided which things I will NOT be planting next summer.  I will finally give up on fennel (it never makes a bulb) and jalapeños (I have few reasons to eat them).

I may try growing potatoes again.  I like the way they taste and am missing them this year.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

All (eye) Need

Is a hot compress.  Followed by a cold compress.  And then a decongestant.  And to keep my hands away from my eyes.

The decongestant has made the world of difference in just two days.  No liquids leaking out of my eyes onto to my skin--and burning (though the skin is still pretty raw).  The eye doctor thought the ducts might be clogged and the "tears" had no where to go--but out over my skin.

I slept better.  I didn't rub my eyes.

I remember (why so late???) that I used to take a very effective decongestant for years and years.  And then the FDA banned one of the ingredients as "too dangerous".

So, now I need to find a safe decongestant.  And breath easily.  Sleep. And hopefully keep the tear ducts-unplugged.  And my skin--not dry and raw and itchy.

Worked five days straight.  Off next two days.  Then five straight again.  So, so tired.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Season For Cast Iron Pots

I had an appointment with the eye doctor today.  Which meant leaving work early.  Which meant I could actually cook my pot roast.  It's seasoned, browned and in the oven.

I got a 24 in Flame as a wedding present from my mother's sisters.  My aunts.  Can you sense the distance? Emotionally. But I loved the gift.

Now, thanks to discount bargain hunting, I have a 24, 26 and 28.  I'm still hunting for a frying pan. On sale.  All Flame.

Back to the pot roast.  Pot roast has been my choice for a birthday dinner for years and years.  This year's birthday seemed too warm for a pot roast.  But, when I went grocery shopping over the weekend I noticed, sitting all alone in the meat case, a very nice pot roast.  I figured it was meant to be.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Starry Night

Last call for the dog last night.  Out the front door and into the inky black night (1am) and the stars twinkling in the sky.  So many stars.  I wished there had been no house lights to ruin the magic of a black sky full of stars but then I may have tripped down the steps.

The trees flanking the garage dapple the light that comes on (motion) as the dog passes by.  Reminds me of Florida landscaping.  The way the lights in the gardens make everything look so sophisticated and lovely in the evening.  So I enjoy what little we have of sophisticated evening landscaping.

These are my thoughts as I wait for the dog to come, rustling past branches and leaves, from his nightly visit to the wildness of a Maine night.  A night, I am sure, filled with small and not so small animals standing still as Riley walks past.

Like me.  Standing still as the stars slide past.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Best Birthday Ever.

I had to work---but spent the day with the really nice people I work with---- which is why I still work. The nice people.  One even sang happy birthday to me as I walked into work.  Thank you, R! (she also baked delicious pumpkin doughnuts for me)

I got to be outside most of the day--what's not to like about that?

Dinner (with a very sweet birthday card from G) was cheese nachos with Diet Coke and lime. Just what I wanted and it was delicious.  There's a little Key Lime tart in the fridge with a candle.

My horoscope:  Professional or educational decisions must be made based on what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.  You will pick up information easily as long as you don't let others limit your progress and success.

Image sent to me by my Dentist.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Almost, But Not Just Yet

My birthday.

Never before has the number of my birthday age been quite as "meaningful".  Even 21.  Even 40.
I know others who partied until in a coma @21.  And covered mirrors in their homes @40. I never cared too much.

And, it's not that 69 scares me.  It's just that I think 69 means some "planning" needs to be in place.
I need to be deciding how the next 30 (wink) years will be spent.  In reality, it's only the next 20 if I go by heredity and my parents.  And 20 goes by so quickly as we get older.

How do I want to spent these years?

Doing what I love to do, I hope.  Not worrying about things I have no control over.  Not doing things out of a sense of duty, rather than desire.  It's a work in progress.

Yesterday, at work, was a lesson in being present.  Not wanting to be (all 9 hours), but presenting a pleasant open invitation to customers to chat about gardening none the less.  It was exhausting and exhilarating.

One moment stands out.  I was out front chatting about bloom times with a customer and we noticed an older couple across the highway with a flat tire on their big truck.  My customer said the police had stopped and then drove off. The wife had the instruction book out and the husband was trying to get the flat tire off.  They were struggling.  And traffic was zooming by--too close, I felt, and too fast.

Then a souped up low rider of a car passes them and pulls over.  Out steps a guy (20's) with pants riding only the lower half of his rear end.  Reed thin. (you could see the older couple was apprehensive)  He walks over and takes control of the tire iron.... and as my customer reported to me--I had to go answer the phone --- takes the tire off and puts the new one on in about 10 seconds.  I arrived as he was tightening the lug nuts.  Then he said--"you're good" or something and hurried off to his car, waving off the offered cash from the elderly couple.  He starts the car and cuts back over to our side of the road and roars off.  My customer, a guy, says--"well, that just made my day--or more likely my year. What was an amazing instance of humanity"

Yes.  It was.

My intuition says he was traveling north, saw them, turned around, came back to help and then u-turned in the road and went on his way north again.

Somehow, I don't think that young guy will be wondering how to live his life at 69.  Like me.  He already has a very good idea of how to live his life.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Is Why We Love To Garden With Children

I think I had the same happy grin on my little pre school face when my grandmother let me pull a carrot out of her vegetable garden (back when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth).

That's how we grow the next generation of gardeners.

Today I carried a very heavy basket of produce into the kitchen.  Squashes.  Tomatoes.  Cucumbers.
Peppers which have started to color and will be a brilliant RED in a day or two spent on the kitchen counter.  In my other hand, I had the last of the red onions, pulled from the dirt and dangling from their dried out tops.  I had an amazing crop of onions this season.

I also have delicious kale.  And Swiss chard (which I intend to saute and mix with ricotta cheese and make into tortelloni.  Big square filled dumplings we used to have in Germany--made by a talented Italian guy.  If I only knew what magic was in the simple sauce he served with them--and which we licked, shamelessly, off the plates..... any Italians out there with an idea of what sort of sauce this would be?

The French eggplant plants are just starting to make flowers (and hopefully fruit)--I hope the weather reports I have heard are true.  6 more weeks of summer.  At least here in Maine.  We are unseasonably HOT, Humid and Miserable, but --in the garden--no complaints.  I need a few more weeks to get everything ripe and ready to harvest.

The three winter squash plants I rescued from the dumpster (and they were wilted and beat up) have perked up finally.  They are covered in "boy" flowers (no noticeable "girl" flowers) but each of the three plants has produced at least one winter squash.  A tiny 2 inch butternut.  A tiny buttercup.  And the acorn plant has two 3 inch squash growing.  I looked at the seed packets at work--and I have enough time for them to grow large enough to eat.  Another 30 days.

Next summer I am planting and growing the pattypan squashes that look like little flying saucers.  We have a farmer's market in Town and I meant to visit on Tuesday and see if anyone had that variety for sale.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Looking For A Reason Not to Go To Work Tomorrow

G says I am "this close" to not working anymore.  It makes him happy to think I will be here to spend my days with him.

I have a dentist appointment mid morning tomorrow.  I pulled the ligaments on the right side of knee when I stumbled in the kitchen and it hurts to step down on that right leg and I wonder if I need an Xray.  My bee sting is getting redder and larger as the days pass. Tomorrow is going to be 92 degrees. Oh, and we have new hours. 8 to 4 tomorrow.  All of which is "yuck".

The tomatoes are coming in from the garden at a good clip these hot days.  Not that many cucumbers. One gigantic zucchini that I seemed to have missed on my daily visits to the garden.  Flowers on the french eggplant but no fruit yet.

I have made five huge pots of ratatouille this summer (so far) and each has been better than the previous one.  I am learning.  Yesterday I grilled the vegetables instead of roasting them.  Too hot to turn on the oven.  That batch and the previous one are in the fridge waiting for me to pack them up in freezer containers.  Easier to freeze them and not have them spoil in the fridge.  Meals aren't regular around here.  And the freezer meals can be enjoyed when the garden and summer are far far away.

I saw indigo dyeing on Soulemama a few days ago and the package the dye came in looked familiar. so, yesterday, I dug around in the cabinet where I store art supplies.  And there it was.  Indigo Dye. I am thinking of dyeing my stained white dish towels and napkins and my very old and sad looking blue workshirts. Also some white linen fabric scraps.  And anything I find that just isn't very nice looking in it's original color.  I love wearing white.  And I love wearing blue.  And pale pink.

Perhaps I will heavily bleach the tee shirts and see if that works for them.  Nice and white.  I have to keep them as long as possible--no one makes them anymore.  Everything in a "new" tee is thin and see thru. The ones I have are over 20 years old.  Not see thru.

Well, we are having sweet corn for dinner.  Then apple pie.  We had Dairy Queen for lunch. See what I mean by meals not being regular around here.  I think it was 89 today.  And humid.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Porch Swing

That's what I call a vacation.  A nice porch swing and a good book.  Minus the mosquitos.

Today the skies above my house will be filled with the roaring jet engines of the Blue Angels. Perhaps all that noise will scare away the mosquitos????

On my agenda for the three days I have off (last time this summer):  another batch of ratatouille (which I find I actually love), dinner of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and sweet corn for dessert, another batch of crab apple juice for jelly (I want to see if I can make four cups that taste good before wasting sugar and jars on the jelly) and I have some foraged apples, from an abandoned tree near where I work, to make into a pie.

G says it's time to cut the grass again.

This is my second attempt at a post for today so I may stop writing while I have the opportunity to press 'publish" and have something happen.

When I was 14 and 15 years old, I spent both summers (when not at the free public swimming pool or babysitting my baby sister) on the glider on the front porch.  I read Gone With The Wind each summer from cover to cover while making the glider move with my bare foot.  I ate warm, just picked tomatoes from the garden.  I had no idea that I was actually having the best summers of my life right then.  But I remember them.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Early Work Day

For me.  Most of you are probably up way before I am.  But 6:30 is way too early for me. Which is why I didn't actually get up until 6:45 and had to be at work by 8.

I didn't want to go to work.  Resented having to go.

See.  I tell G that this means I am getting closer to deciding to be "retired" or "semi-retired".

Today it was stinking hot at work, humid and I was damp and sticky by 8:15.  And then I had to go empty the water plant pools which had gotten thick and stinky.  OMG.  Sticking ones hands in the water and having slimy things "brush" past and touch you---- I felt like running around screaming. and then there were the water spiders and the frogs.  I ended up dipping stuff out and pouring it on the gravel.  We also hosed off the plants.  Later, while watering the sedums--I got stung by a BEEEEEEE

G and I had a nice dinner.  Steak wrapped in bacon (oh, stop), steamed broccoli, plain white rice.  I had vegetable kabobs as an addition to my plate.

I am trying to "eat mindfully" and at work I had a cucumber, cantaloupe chunks, water, ham and cheese rolled up (low carb), more water, a nice juicy "eastern" peach, and more water.  Mostly I was choosing foods that would elevate my water levels.  I think my "hunger" is more about being thirsty than being hungry.

I went out to the garden to get veggies for the kabobs and got many many many mosquito bites as it had rained about 30 minutes before I went out there.  Got a lot of cucumbers, some squash and a shirt front full of Sun gold cherry tomatoes.  I left the peppers and tomatoes for another day.

My parsley plants are almost 5 feet tall and ridiculous.  I need to pull them out and strip off the leaves and make my frozen parsley leaf rolls for use in SummerFallWinterSpring recipes.  Remember Princess SummerFallWinterSpring on Howdy Doody?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

In Days So Deep In The Past

Jane Nicholas mirror.

I was once a crewel work stitcher.  And If I had know about things like the above mirror, I think I would have either been intimidated or inspired.  I hope----- inspired.

I especially love the upper left.  The white puff and the blackberries.  The insects are lovely as well.
I still have three little crewel works--simple vegetables--that have escaped the "tossing" that happens with each house move.  I don't know where they are--exactly--but I think they still exist.

I added this masterpiece to my picture file--to nudge me into trying, one more time.  To create beauty with threads of wool.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Autumn In The Air

The mums are here.  Well, at work.  In the parking lot.  Once the mums arrive--the air seems to change, getting cooler, drier and the days seem shorter.  "the end is near"

We have loads of Russian Sage on the perennial tables at the front of the store.  The tall, light blue
plant behind the sage.  Here in my Town it's actually referred to as the "Kentucky Fried Chicken Plant" because, at this time of year, the parking lot is dominated by the HUGE shrubs of Russian sage at the KFC.  

Customers see the huge billows of blue and WANT one.  They come to my work place and ask for the KFC plant.  Truth be told---I had to get in the car the first year this happened--drive to KFC, and then look at, smell and finally clip a branch.... for research purposes.  And to identify the plant.
Now, I know.  And I make sure to stock plenty at this time of year.

As is always the case, I cannot, for the life of me, grown Russian sage.  None of the five plants I have here at my house have ever gotten more that 6 inches tall and rarely, if ever, have they made any blue flowers.  We finally decided to move them to the highest, sunniest, driest spot on our property.  The circle of dirt that is the end of the driveway.  They are alive.  Which is all I can say about them.

I would LOVE to have waves of tall, blue branches.

The zucchini plants are slowing down.  The cucumbers made a big effort and are now--well, they don't seem to be doing much of anything, but a second planting is already tuning up.  No yellow squash but they also have a second planting waiting to get going.  The tomato plants look ragged and sad with a few tomatoes turning color each day.  I finish them off in the sunroom.  (meaning they turn red in the sunroom). Carrots from the first of many failed plantings are ready.  Beets are ready but I am waiting until I want to oven roast them.  Still too warm.

I harvested 12 plums from my very slow to grow plum tree.  First fruit in ALL the years we have owned it.  G moved it 2 years ago and it seems to being saying thank you.  The plums are small but very good.  And no worms hiding inside.  Not enough to re-create my grandmother's plum kuchen.
She grew plums just so she could make plum kuchen.  And it was so delicious.  As was her handmade apple strudel.   I have thought about an apple tree.  And using one of the crab apple trees  we already own as a pollinator.

Seven fat quarts of blueberries in the freezer.  I should make a blueberry cake for the gang at work. Or at least try a blueberry spinach smoothie.  Yuck.

Or a blueberry vanilla protein powder smoothie with some Greek yogurt.  Or just yogurt and blueberries.  Or, better yet---blueberry pancakes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time To Go Shopping

All the "back to school" advertising makes me want to go stock up on index cards, Sharpie pens and glue sticks BUT I got so much of that for Christmas, I don't need any.

I also feel the urge to go shopping for clothes at Goodwill.  Almost all of my clothing is bargain shopped.  I don't care to buy retail anymore.  Not that I "need" anything.  The closet is packed with 20 cent pants and tons of $2 shirts from the "retail job" a few years back.

It's just that "back to school" was such an exciting time when I was growing up.  New clothes, new shoes, fresh notebooks and pencils.  A Fresh Start.

Like all the mistakes and failures of the previous school year (and there were so many in my life) were erased and I could start over-- a do over--- fresh.  It never quite worked out that way.  I had a tendency to repeat the mistakes over and over.  Procrastination.  Oh, that was always my biggest problem.  I'll study tomorrow.  Start that paper next week.  Read that book--well, never.

Not so much anymore.  At work I tend to get right down to business and get the projects done. Here at home I tend to get the canning, cooking, cleaning, washing up, done.  The annual taxes?  Not so much.  That's when I procrastinate.  Books?  Love to read and hate to stop once I begin.

I have a site in the sidebar with a recipe for zucchini salad using a "spiralizer" something I have wanted but didn't buy.  During my low carb time period--the long zucchini noodles would have been a delight served with meatballs and sauce.  Long enough to twirl around the fork.  But I am not doing low carb.  In fact, I had better decide what I am doing as I have a weigh in at the doctor's office in 2 months.

The garden really "enjoyed" the past three days of rain and high humidity.  I have a pile of cucumbers to work with, more zucchini and fewer yellow squashes (after I make pickles--I actually have little need for zucchini and would prefer to have too many yellow squashes).  Contrary to food writers--the two are NOT the same.  Tomatoes are beginning to show some color (other than green) and the peppers are starting to turn red as well.  I have carrots and beets I can dig up.  All in all, the garden is showing signs of getting tired and ready to call it quits, though it still looks good and the basil plants are thriving and producing large leaves.  So Not the usual in my garden history.

I made a very large pot of ratatouille on Saturday.  This time oven roasting the yellow and green summer squashes and the cubed eggplant until all the watery juices had roasted away.  Then I sautéed an onion from my garden and garlic from my garden on top of the stove and then scooped the oven roasted veg into the pot and mixed in a can of Trader Joe's excellent marinara and a handful of fresh from the garden basil leaves.  It was super wonderful.  I think I will make it again and freeze it in portions to enjoy this winter with spaghetti or rice or beans.

I guess, in the summer, my diet is mostly vegetarian.  Which is a good thing.

Now, back to shopping.  I need an eggplant and a few limes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Sun Came Out And It's Super Humid

I made another 7 pints of zucchini bread and butter pickles this morning and shredded three more zucchini to make fritters.  Then I sprayed Riley and myself with bug spray (his is 100% organic and mine isn't) and off we went for a walk.  I also took a bottle of water and riley drank most of it. We saw two dogs, a jogger, a family on bikes and a bazillion deer flies.

Now Riley is spread out in front of the A/C unit.  I am poised to create lunch for myself and then read.  My book is due on the 24th.  A deadline.

Last night as I went to bed (after watching the Bruce Willis movie 12 Monkeys), my last thought was--Sunday paper in the morning.  Only today isn't Sunday.  For some reason, being home alone (no husband) has made the ONE day I have had off so far, seem like two.

The picture above is of a cucumber.  Finally, I am getting a decent crop of cucumbers every two or three days.  I have eaten quite a few cucumber sandwiches, made a half gallon jar of refrigerator dills, and a large bowl of sliced cucumbers mixed with sour cream and dill and I have a large bag of cucumbers in the fridge waiting to be used up.

Same deal with the zucchini.  After worrying myself into a state (I can do that) thinking I wouldn't have enough zucchini to make pickles for the winter--I now have way too many and 20 pints of pickles in the closet.

Last summer I made a run to the grocery every few days to get eggplant and made the excess zucchini into ratatouille.  So, I am getting my shoes on and am off to buy an eggplant and some corn. I saw a lovely recipe for Mexican roasted corn nachos.  Got to have some!!!!

In reunion news:  G picked up (on purpose) another guy's name tag at the "ice breaker" last night and introduced himself as that guy until he finally had enough fun and told them who he really was.  They didn't believe him. He also said his wife was home taking care of "our little boy".  Now, that got them going.

G is now on the planned trolley ride (he didn't want to go) around downtown Cleveland with other classmates he met at breakfast who talked him into it.  He says, so far, it was a good decision.  My question: who do they think he is now? I bet there are people who actually attend reunions--falsely-- and have a ton of fun pretending--and it does seem to have been quite a lot of fun for G.  ( make it even odder--he was class president).  See, it's always best to choose happiness.

Friday, August 21, 2015

When Things Seem To Be Going Wrong

G has gone back to his hometown for his 50th high school reunion.  Things aren't going well.  He had things planned but they aren't working out.  Today--he's going to the Rock "N Roll Hall of Fame to buy a tee shirt for his collection.  He has most of today and all of tomorrow to fill.  There are a few other museums he can visit and a movie theater close to his hotel--so a movie?

He's hoping to connect with someone at the opener "ice breaker" tonight.  Perhaps some other "out of towners"  to do something with--at least lunch.  He has no family to visit.

I paid bills, washed clothes, walked the dog etc and now, instead of canning more zucchini pickles and getting all hot and sweaty, I'm going to sit in the air conditioned comfort of my couch and read a book.

Choosing happiness.