Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Digging Out

Monday night we went to sleep listening to the wind howling.  Tuesday was quiet in the morning with a light, snow globe, snow coming down.  By late afternoon the snow was falling sideways and we couldn't see past the 2 or 3 foot area around the house.

We had no where to go.  Didn't need anything.  And Riley was refusing to eat or drink-- because he was also refusing to "need" to go out.  Around 5pm he decided he was hungry and ate his breakfast, then his dinner and jumped like a rabbit through the drifts and peed for what seemed like 5 minutes.
G thinks he may have done his other business on his second trip out.  Slept like a log after that. It's business as usual for Riley today.  And G used the snowblower to carve paths through the half acre yard so Riley can get around easily.  We should have known he would continue to snow surf and knock snow piles into the paths.

Another storm is coming on Friday.  Yippee!

I am working my way through bags of magazine tear-outs.  Things I ripped out of magazines before tucking them into the re-cycle box.  It's been years and about 75% of the pages are going into the recycle now.  I did find the foot image relating to reflexology.  It keeps me busy.

G and are are making some progress eating the "storm food" I had made before the storm hit.  Today I veered off course and had a bowl of Greek yogurt, a third cup of Bran Buds and some juicy red grapefruit segments.  Delicious.  The grapefruit segments always remind me of my old friend K (who cut me loose in the friendship department 4 or 5 years ago).  She liked grapefruit segments when we had a big Sunday breakfast.  I wish I could make her a big bowlful of segments.  I didn't know how to do it (cut segments) when we were friends.  And now--well, I wish I could.  For her.

I am reading Faithful Place by Tana French.  I am only reading it because I couldn't find anything else at the library.  Which reminds me to see what I have written down in my "library book" book and order some books.  I finished The Son by Jo Nesbo and gave it a B minus.

The third season of the Americans on FX starts tonight.  G and I are wondering if we should watch the episodes each week or save them up and binge watch them when the season ends.  Binge watching becomes a very strong habit--real fast.  How about you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We're Okay

It's snowing sideways outside.  Bitter cold wind.  The snow is so dry it crunches under your feet and hurts your skin.  White out conditions when the gusts.

We still have lights, heat and books to read.

Riley is having the most trouble.  He waited until 15 minutes ago to go out for his morning pee. The pee lasted a good long time and then he plowed his way back to the porch (at least 24 inches deep in the yard) and wanted to go back in.  He's refusing to eat as well--no breakfast and no lunch.  He will eat if I hand him food.  Hope it's all due to weather and not something else.  He most likely doesn't want to have to go out to poop either (dogs are smart that way).  The birds were eating at the feeders this morning but I hope they found a spot out of the wind to rest up.

G has done the front and back porches so we can exit the house if we need to.  Snowplowing would be useless with the wind blowing so hard.  The street aren't being plowed.  Everything is closed. Businesses etc.  As I said, the snow is light powder.  The ski areas call it champagne powder. Good for skiing terrible for plowing or shoveling.

I think in the "old days" they ran a rope from the house to the barn so the farmers didn't get lost in the blizzard on the way to and back from the barn to tend the animals.  I can see how that would happen going out to the barn and even to the outhouse.  Getting lost and wandering until you froze to death.

We'll stay inside.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Almost February, Already!!!

When I procrastinate I am usually imagining an alternate life that I could have been living if I had made better choices.  Which is why I always think about having a "do-over" life.

Would I actually do better the second time around or would I make the same choices, again?

I do think we procrastinate over things we just didn't want to to at all.  I don't like doing the taxes, but when they are completed, I feel rather proud of myself.  Why, then, do I put off doing them to the last possible moments?????  Each year I say I will do them earlier.  Right here on this blog.  And in my daily journal.  Do I?  No.  Will this year be different?  One can dream.

Right now I am procrastinating about going out to look at bathroom vanities.  I should be thrilled.  But I am feeling more dread and pressure.  Yes.  That's the feeling I get when there is a deadline.
The "why do I have to do this" feeling even when it's something I actually do want to do.

The carpenter is pulling into the driveway.  He has my tile samples.  For the bathrooms.  That need vanities.  Riley and G have gone out to greet him.  And after a longer than it should have been chat--we are on the same page for the vanities and I like the slate floor tiles.  Monday the plumber is coming to check under the house for pipes etc. for his estimate.

I did manage to hem the pants.  Now, I am assembling a basket of tools so I can mend two pair of pajamas that have holes in them.  I am always catching the sides of the pants on something.  Like the brown cords I tore at work on a nail.  Ripped from pocket to knee.  That repair has opened up a new rip from pocket to waistband.  I think the cord fabric in these Bean pants is just way too thin and cheap these days. No wonder a customer returned them.

I have a chicken cacciatore to make for dinner today.  One pot wonder.  It reminds me of the chicken paprika my mother made when I was a child.  I remember it being rather stewy with tomatoes and onions.  Lots of onions.  The leftover chicken was always in my lunch sandwich the next day.  There were a few things my mother got right.  That chicken dish was one of them and I loved, loved, loved those chicken sandwiches the next day.

Riley is pacing and wanting his walk.  The paths are rutted with footprints that we made through the snow crust into the wet slush a few days ago.  Now frozen.  Long gone are the smooth paths made by the cross country skiers.  Now it's an ankle twisting mess out there.

When I get back from the walk and the chicken is slow cooking in the oven, I am going to try making a mono print with some paint and a plastic bag right on a page in my journal (like Deborah).  And when it's dry I will embellish it with my new Christmas Sharpies.  I will also link to a new blog I found with journal cues to help me do some art work each day.  Tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Walking The Dog

A long time ago I had G take this picture of me and Riley.  He was younger and didn't have a white muzzle. Gosh, he looks so black.  Like black velvet.  I don't know if I even own those jeans.  I still have the socks.

Life on the winter furlough is stuck in a rut already.  G gets up at 6am with Riley.  Then they go back to bed. I get up at 9:30 and Riley and I wait for G to get up around 10:30.  He eats breakfast and then we walk the dog.  Errands are done after the walk.  Lunch is eaten around 3 pm.  It's dark here in Maine at 5.  The news.  Book to read or television to watch.  That's it for the day. Occasionally I cook dinner or we go out instead of eating lunch.

I miss going to work.

Yesterday and today I scheduled a second one hour walk with a friend.  Well, two friends.  Just not both of them at the same time.  So, I am getting 2 hours of exercise each day and some conversation.

I also went up to the attic and got two more pairs of pants out of the size 16 box.  They need hemming so I intend to do that as soon as I hit publish on this post.  I was bored with the two pair I have been wearing for a few weeks now.  New colors are needed.  New socks as well.

All the laundry is done.  G vacuumed.  The dishes are washed.  I am reading another book--that's two this week so far.  None of the blogs I read have new posts.  It's like everyone has gone into hibernation.

I need another layer over my sweater--it's cold in here.  Once I sit on the couch I will be tempted to take a nap.  I'd rather not do that.


Must hem pants.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's Elementary, Sort Of

I don't even want to be reminded of how many times I tried to delete this picture just to get the type to line up on the left side instead of in the center of the page. Let's just talk about the fact that one of the Clivia plants I own has two flower buds that look quite similar to this photo.  Taken the last time, years ago, that one of the plants flowered.

I have customers, who bring me enormous plants to divide, who say their Clivia blossom all the time. Wish that I was so lucky.  I did divide my plant (one huge thug) into many individual plants perhaps 2 years ago.  I think it (they) have to get back to their large pot bound selves before flowering.  They are all orange.  This one is perhaps the yellow.

Did you see them on Elementary this week.  Part of the plot.  The murdered guy gave all his girlfriends yellow Clivia and brown paper bags of fertilizer.  That smelled of coffee and mackerel.
The name rhymes with the name Clive.

I am reading The Son a mystery by Jo Nesbo.  But, while it's quite interesting, it's not Harry.

I am walking with G and Riley each and every day.  It's a cold walk.  But I feel so much better having gone on the walk each day.  I think it takes between 45 minutes and an hour depending on the condition of the snow pack.  The sun was shining one day and the walk in the snowy woods was very beautiful.

Riley has an infection (or something).  We are soaking his right rear paw four times a day and he is taking 2 capsules twice a day.  Wrapped in plenty of cheese.  None of this seems to be bothering the dog--well, he hates having his foot soaked-- and we were thankful he didn't have an allergic reaction to the pills.

I haven't accomplished one damned thing on my list in the three full weeks I haven't been working.

I have consulted with the carpenter regarding the bathroom remodels.  And the tile guy.  The plumber will be coming by also.  I have two weeks to go looking for bathroom vanities, toilets and sinks.  The tile guy is sending samples of the tiles I mentioned wanting (along with his estimate) so I can carry them to stores with me. We are hoping the plumber has samples of porcelain finishes (along with his estimate) so I can match the 30 year old cast iron tub to the new sink and toilet in bathroom #2.  Number one will just need matching white sinks and toilet.

Did you know that there are many, many whites in bath fixtures.  And they look pretty awful next to each other if they don't match.  I thought white was white.  NOT!!!  And "white" subway tile is just the same.

I now have a Pinterest Board devoted to the bathroom remodel. Me.  I have no idea how to look at my board but I suppose I can ask the kids at work to help me out.  And if I can remember my password?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Consider Everything An Experimemt

I pulled that quote from "And Sew It Goes" blog post.  I have always followed this rule.  I love a good experiment and usually try one or two of them each vegetable gardening season and share the results with my students.  The successes and most of all the failures.  We tend to learn more from our failures.

I kind of think of my life as one long, involved experiment.  I am always day dreaming of a do-over.  A chance to go back in time and make different decisions.  There is a new show on one of the young people channels -- Hindsight-- where the young woman goes back in time to 1995 and chooses NOT to marry--right at the altar.  And the trick here is she remembers the future.

My current experiment involves the bathrooms in my house.

The carpenter is coming tomorrow and we will be discussing the eventual re-model of the two bathrooms on the main floor of the house.  They sit in the architecture back to back.  One opening on the hallway for use by occupants of the two bedrooms and any guests we may have.  The other opens from the master bedroom. I want them both to look exactly the same--same cabinets, toilets and sinks.  Same tiles.  Same round black knobs on the cabinet drawers.

I have been considering the bowl sinks in the above photo.  I am thinking there would be an enormous amount of cleaning involved if I choose this sink.  It's very lovely to look at.  But the sides of the bowls would get dirty, the countertop around and behind would get dirty.  And do I really want to spend time cleaning all that every time we use the sinks????  I think under mounted sinks are the way to go.  Wipe off the counter top and done.

I like the fact that everything in the photo can be mopped--under.   I now know I don't like cabinets that rest on the floor.  Scrubbing those baseboards is not something you can count on me doing.

I am doing (thinking of doing) all this work--because my husband thinks I should have (finally) a really nice bathroom in this house.  And he hopes this morphs it's way into a kitchen I actually love.  He's off the mark on that one--as the kitchen I have was a huge upgrade to what I was used to in other houses we owned.  It's just gotten old.  As we have.  It's been 23 years.

Thank goodness he isn't thinking of replacing me.  Yet.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Indoor Gardening and Walking In The Woods

My orchids are planning for a show of flowers around March.  Lots of new flower spikes.  Just a few inches tall so far, so I must wait.  The white orchids are blooming as are the paperwhites and the lemon lime amaryllis.

G pulled the frozen solid bag of potting soil into the house on Saturday morning and I tucked it (well, shoved it) under the table of orchids to thaw.  Took two full days but now it's ready for me to drag it back onto the cold sunporch (no sun) and pot up the spring bulbs I never got around to planting in the ground.   I have quite a few bags of tulips, daffodils and some little crocuses.

I think I will layer them in the pots.  Big bulbs, cheek to cheek, in the bottom and then dirt and then some smaller bulbs on top.  I have "rescued" forced bulbs from the trash at work in past springs and they do eventually realm when planted into the ground (2 years later).  Usually forced bulbs don't have much regenerative energy left.  But I think it's better to try and force them than to tuck them into the compost pile.

I managed to make a pot of beans yesterday.  I think my problem with cooking dry beans is that I let them get too old being stored in the cupboard.  These were "newer" red beans and I presoaked them in boiling water and then slow cooked them with garlic cloves, a halved onion and two carrots.  I now have soft beans to use in chili instead of the weekly soup.

I was less than enthusiastic about the French cabbage soup this time.  Just wasn't "tasty".  The only change I can think of was the first time the cabbage was from my garden and this time the cabbage was from the grocery.   The carrots from Whole Food are incredible.  I wish the store was closer.  I would be there right now to buy some giant beets to roast.

I have been following the "activity" portion of my To Do List for my furlough.  Walking with G and Riley in the woods behind the house.  The path is ice and snow covered and uneven.  I trudge along behind the two of them and try not to sprain an ankle.  It's snowing today and everyone is looking like they may not be going for a walk.  We'll see.

The food part of my resolutions isn't going as well.  To solve the problem I decided to just go ahead and eat all the Christmas candy.  Now it's all gone.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Baby, It's Cold In Maine

And I'm searching the internet for bathroom ideas before the carpenter shows up.  I like this bathroom minus all that grey grout between the tiles.  I think the tiles could be tightened up, meaning less grout.
But where would all the "stuff" one uses in the bathroom be hidden.  A sunken box in the floor? I tend to like this spare design because I really, really, want to live like this.  Just enough, but no more.

I am quite the "packrat" when it comes to bathroom supplies.  I find something I like and "presto pronto" it is discontinued.  Now that I have a Trader Joe's within a 30 mile radius I am buying the refresh citrus body wash whenever I see it.  The shampoo and the conditioner are already gone and not coming back.  So I shampoo my hair with the body wash.

I no longer have any of the body lotion I loved.  Discontinued.  It was fragrance free and the new ones are so stinky (fragrant) that I get a headache.  My soap is a thing of the past as well.  My toothpaste isn't being made anymore.  I have had to buy small tubes of other brands and try them out. So far, no luck.

Does this happen to you???

It's is terribly cold here in Maine.  It never even made it up to zero today.  Riley didn't get a walk.

I started work on the dining room table.  Trying to clear it off.  Tomorrow the tree gets undecorated.
I have been trying to make a list of projects to get done during my 12 weeks of unemployment. It isn't going well.  I keep getting sidetracked by the table clutter.  There is so much.  I sort something out and then have to find the spot where it goes and then get it in with what is already there and usually find something that should be somewhere else------and that leads to not much being accomplished.

I did change out the shower curtain---- LOL----

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Zen Of Being Joanne

I sometimes feel the need to re-invent myself.  A calmer, more centered self.  I was doing just fine the first four days of my unemployment.  Walking with G and Riley each morning--centering myself, enjoying the woods etc..  Then the snow happened.  G has snow shoes.  I do not.  And it's cold out there with a windchill of 19.  And the surface of the snow cracks with ice.

Today I folded washed clothing instead of walking.  Changed the tablecloth and napkins on the table.  Filled up the flour and sugar canisters (they had gotten low with all the "baking" of cookies this year) and I used up the last of the walnuts.  I'm baking loaves of Date Nut and Banana bread today.  The Date Nut takes 90 minutes to bake at 300.

G will go to the store at some point today and buy the things we need for chicken soup.  I also added a few things to the list so I can make French Cabbage Soup for myself.  It's very nice to eat soup on very cold days.

Nothing is really as good as a walk in the woods.

Back to the Zen.  Folding clothes.  Sorting art supplies.  Writing on smooth white pages with a new black thin line Sharpie.  Thinking about making another moss fairy garden. Wishing I had a shallow rectangular bonsai dish  for it.

My collection of orchids are showing signs of new flower spikes.  Caused by a cold snap (orchids need a chill to set flower spikes).  The largest Clivia has two flower stalks in bud.  The others are showing new leaves as I began watering them again on New Year's Eve and I can always hope there will be more flowers (?).  The paperwhites are getting taller.  My Lemon Lime Amaryllis has three out of four of it's blooms open.  It's a very pale green and quite petite.  A much larger one has two fat stems going but no flower buds as yet.  I am hoping it's the deep dark Red Pearl from last Christmas.  Three whopping huge stems of four last winter.  Glorious.  The third one that will possibly make flowers is a red and white stripe.  All the others are resting in their new pots, not even making leaves.

Flowers in Winter.  Such beauty and wonder on cold sunless days.  I am loving my terrarium with it's cheerful robin in the middle.  I found another bird (a grey dove) at Goodwill and, while not as cheerful as the robin, I think it will be a delight in another terrarium with different colored foliage. I was very lucky to have found the two of them.  About 4 to 5 inches tall with very pale coloring.  Peaceful.

G just brought in the mail.  A beautiful card from our friend in Germany, Marianne. Thank you dear friend!!

Well, there are things I need to do in the kitchen.  The Zen of chopping vegetables. (smile)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Welcome to 2015

Yes, that is a big French truck filled with freshly baked baguette.

Too bad it isn't parked in the driveway.  Along with butter and a jar of apricot preserves.  Or cheese and some delightfully dry baked ham.

Which reminds me of my plan to order a maple baked ham from the place I ordered it from years and years ago.  That was a really good ham.  Very expensive but we ate every crumb of it.

I don't make New Year resolutions.  But I was trying to go on the daily walk with Riley and G each morning.  Until this morning when I decided to take a hot shower instead.  It was the right choice.
I also washed four sweaters in the machine rather than by hand.  Delicate and all.  But one never knows if that will make mittens out of them.  I don't know if those are resolutions but those are decisions I made today--good or bad.  We'll see.

Yesterday I watched the Tudors on BBCAmerica.  I gave up around Catherine Parr.  Everyone else got their heads chopped off.  What I think I liked best was the commercials for Orphan Black.  G and I are trying to limit ourselves to three episodes a day.  But we are almost done with them, sadly.  What a fascinating series.  Helena is my favorite clone.

I still have my Christmas tree up.  I wait the full 12 days of Christmas and take it down on January 6th.  All the felt Santas have belts.  All done.  I made 8 but gave one away to my son.  I still haven't made the Christmas Eve Pierogi but I plan to do that in the next 7 days (or so) because I like them and I think I will make some really vinegary roasted pork to go along with them.

I am enjoying my fifth day of unemployment.  Waking up early, still, but that's okay.  I get to read the newspaper and eat my bran flakes without watching the clock.

Now, I am making a salad to go with the pizza G has gone to get.  Romaine, carrot, feta and Ranch dressing.  No olives because I don't have any, no olive oil dressing because I like Ranch better with feta.  My impression of Greek Salad.   Because it's "all about me" and that makes me laugh.  Happy New Year.