Friday, December 30, 2016

Attitude Re-Organization

This is ME.  I did a "tendency" quiz and my "tendency" is to Rebel.  Never to do what is expected of me or even what is best for me.  I see this in me at work.  I am told what to do--and I find a way to do it that is "different" from what is expected.  Or I find someone else to do it......I am laughing at this but my co-workers find it very annoying.

Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
They choose to act from a sense of choice, of freedom. Rebels wake up and think, “What do I want to do today?” They resist control, even self-control, and usually enjoy flouting rules and expectations.
Rebels place a high value on authenticity and self-determination, and bring an unshackled spirit to what they do. Rebels work toward their own goals, in their own way, and while they refuse to do what they’re “supposed” to do, they can accomplish their own aims.
But Rebels often frustrate others because they can’t be asked or told to do anything. They don’t care if “people are counting on you,” “you said you’d do it,” “your parents will be upset,” “it’s against the rules,” “this is the deadline,” or “it’s rude.” In fact, asking or telling Rebels to do something often makes them do just the opposite.
The people around Rebels must guard against accidentally igniting their spirit of opposition—particularly challenging for the parents of Rebel children.
In fact, Rebels sometimes frustrate even themselves, because they can’t tell themselves what to do. 

I got an email this morning asking if it would be possible, this Winter, for me to drive to a friend's house/studio so we could draw together.  I just sat and looked at the email and wondered who my friend thought she was writing to?  Me drive, in the Winter, to Georgetown?  There is no way that this would EVER happen.  No matter how badly I wanted to go.  I wouldn't drive there in summer.  It involves a highway and country roads.

I have been away from work for 10 days now.  Staying up very late watching Longmire on Netflix or watching episodes of Storage Wars.  Wasting time.  Not reading books.

I baked cookies yesterday--at 9 pm.  Used my new Tablespoon ice cream scoop thing.  It was amazingly easy to get 36 same exact sized cookies.  Life Changing.

Well, this Rebel is going out to lunch with G who has just finished snow blowing the driveway.  It snowed yesterday.  Then rained.  Then snowed again with thunder.  Exciting and very pretty.  White fluffy stuff.  The Weatherman got it right.  Amazing.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

This Year's Ornament--Bees

Never got past the initial prototype.  I didn't have the felt I needed.  JoAnn's didn't have good colors or a large selection.  They did have wonderful bee eye buttons.  Then I found this painting.

Now I am ready to take some bees.  More black and tan than black and bright gold.

We have eaten most of the meatballs.  Have only 5 pierogi left.  Still have Bundt cake.  Never made any cookies.  Should make some cookies.

It's snowing lightly.  Riley and G are back from their daily walk.  The house is cold.  The lights are on as in Winter it is never really "bright" in here.  I have a book I could read.  Bees I could sew.  The hooked rugs to repair.  The charity quilt to quilt.

Plenty of things to do.  I am wearing a cashmere turtleneck from Bean.  Cost a few dollars as it had several holes in it.  I've had it a long time.  Wearing it for the first time today with a cotton turtleneck under.  Itchy around the neck without the cotton layer.  Off White.  The grey cashmere sweater I wear every day was dirty and was hand washed yesterday.  Still damp.  I wash my cashmere in Trader Joe's Citrus Bodywash Liquid.  With a squirt of hair conditioner in the same product line.  I used the shampoo from this line to wash sweaters until they stopped making it.  A TJ's employee said she thought the shampoo and body wash were exactly the same.

Treat cashmere just like my hair.  Something gentle that rinses out to squeaky clean.

I may need to add a thin down vest to my indoor clothing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

End Of The Year Image Clean Out

I am deleting all the images I used this year in posts.  And I, well I have been saying this for awhile, intend to try using my camera again.  Using the new, with each update, iPhoto is a real trial for me. It's been nearly 2 years since I stopped taking pictures.  Wasn't fun.

The carpenter will be calling us in January ??? with a date for the start of the renovation of two bathrooms and the kitchen.  Got to start using the IRA money this year.  I am ambivalent about this. I do WANT the new bathrooms.  I am not so certain regarding the new kitchen which involves removing a wall.  But I do have pictures of the kitchen I like.  And, in a joyful serendipity, measurements for the island and the pantry in the pictures.  G would say "it is meant to be".

As much as I like the look of the above--it would be a storage nightmare.  The basket on the floor?

As to the carpenter--- he said he would call 2 years ago.............. and didn't.  Overwhelmed with jobs.

I stayed up late on two evenings watching PBS's performance of the War of The Roses.  I must have studied this particular series of events in high school and college (I had a History major for one year) and even in English where we read a great deal of Shakespeare.  But it was all new to me.  The first two parts in one very late night and the last Richard III last night.  I am intending to go in search of more info on the lineage of the departed.  Like who was married to whom.  So many Henrys and so many Elizabeths.  This is information I probably would have learned if I had done the reading in school.

I am still working on my folding and sorting.  The towels, tee shirts, undies are all sorted and folded and lined up in jolly nice straight rows in the drawers of both G and myself.  The pants and pjs and heavier tops are folded and arranged in neat piles on the top shelf of the closet.  Small piles.  Thinned out to include only those clothes I actually love wearing.  The bags for Goodwill are full.

I got new measuring cups and spoons for Christmas so I cleared out those drawers and added the no longer needed things to the Goodwill bag.  My daughter wasn't happy when I put my very first set of cups into the bag.  She felt I should be keeping them.  I told her I was going to hold them in my cupped hands, thank them for their service to me for so many years and then let them go.  She was un-moved in her objections.  This is why she is not going to be the executor of our estate.

And this is why I am doing this drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, sort and removal..... myself.

I have to pace myself as it is emotionally tiring.  And the folding takes up quite a bit of time as well. Today I had to get rid of a favorite frying pan--the teflon was scratched.  My favorite pan.  I used it before any of the others.

The process reminds me of emptying my father's house after his death--- and the day long talking to him as I cleared out closets and cupboards.  Why did you keep this? Oh, you loved this sweater.  Really?? You needed 12 of the same pair of jeans? Why so many belt buckles?

Now I see more of him in me each day I sort and eliminate.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Now That Christmas Is Past

Riley is enjoying walks in the woods, chasing squirrels eating seeds that have fallen out of the feeders, and sniffing the tracks animals have made in the yard, in the dark cold night.  This is Maine and the "wild things roam".

We had a delightful day yesterday.  Phone call from our son out in Vancouver and G was telling him a funny story and the connection must have cut off.  G was still talking.  Son was trying to call us back. Finally gave up after 15 minutes--figuring dad was still himself.  And he was.

Daughter arrived bearing gifts.  And we had a lovely gift exchange--I had made her homemade Larabar type treats using the only nut she will eat--cashews.  Three different flavors.  One was "breakfast-y" as she had requested.  Cashews, oat meal, dried cranberries and a splash of vanilla. I also made up a batch of a "French" version of muesli.  Has chocolate chips in it.  Oatmeal, coconut flakes, cashews, coconut oil and maple syrup.  The chocolate is added after it cools.

I wondered if it was what she had eaten for the 6 years we lived in Germany.  So, she got a very small serving in a tiny bowl with milk and promptly ate it all.  Not the same but she thought it was delicious.  Now that was a Christmas Miracle if there ever was one.

We ate our usual Christmas Burritos for dinner followed by the very boozy Bundt.  Then we played games.  Daughter has a very large collection of games.  We played a variation of Bingo and then a very intense variation of Tic Tack Toe.  By then we were all sleepy.  We had always played Scrabble on Christmas Day but now it seems we will be playing assorted games.

So, a delightful day.  Today Riley had his walk and a visit to the vet for a checkup.  He's lost 6 pounds since starting a low fat diet and taking Pepcid AC twice a day.  His blood work continues to improve.  Another check and blood test at the end of January.

G and I are going out into the World today.  Perhaps to eat lunch.  It's already looking dark at 3 pm.
My days away from work seem to zip past.  They dragged slowly at work.  G and I will soon be down to two meals a day.  A late breakfast and then something which looks like lunch but is eaten in the dark.  It's what we do.

I hope all is well with everyone reading this.  It's been a hard year for us all.  We need to rest, take good care of ourselves, help others when we can and think positive thoughts.  I am working on my Kondo Method folding and organizing.  Letting go.  Being grateful.  Feeling joy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's Almost Christmas

I have been a "day late" this week.  Thought today was Thursday and it's been Friday.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  Riley has been dragging his toys all over the house---so we'll be reminded that he should get a present.  Or presents.  He's getting a new rabbit.  With a squeaker.  And a table for his bowls as the Vet thinks eating low may be causing some of the reflux.  And I am thinking something chewy would be welcome.  Chewy and squeaky.

I spent the day up in the sewing room closet looking for fabrics to use with a wonderful charm pack that a dear friend sent me.  I even found some "insulated pot holder batting" so hands won't get burned.

I prepared the cheese filling for my daughter's pierogi.  And made four batches of the noodle dough. I even managed to set up the Atlas pasta roller thing all by myself.  Using Bob's AP flour has made such a difference in the making of the pasta sheets.  Easy.  Used to be a gigantic struggle.  So easy, I may make my own pasta for manicotti.  Tomorrow I'll make the potato filling and the sauerkraut filling.  I had intended to try the meat filling recipe we got from G's cousins in Wisconsin--but not happening.

G and I had homemade meatballs and marinara for supper.  It's so easy to make now that I BAKE the meatballs instead of browning them in a pan.  So much mess and it was just tedious.  Now I make the meatballs (adding a great deal of water to the mixture---who knew that was the secret to tender meatballs) plop them on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and let them bake for 30 or 40 minutes (or longer) and then pop them into the cast iron casserole with marinara (LOVE Trader Joe's low fat) and back into the oven for another 45 minutes to an hour.  I made meatballs quite often over the summer when I couldn't eat much of anything.  A bowl of meatballs was a frequent meal.

I did little to no shopping this Christmas.  Once the children were in college--I sort of lost interest in Christmas gift shopping.  Now that they are adults and even middle aged--they have the means and opportunity to buy what they want whenever they want.  As do I.

And I haven't felt really well most of the year---well, honestly, the entire year.  Not feeling well.......that's a real downer.  Today, it's hard to breath.  Too many trips up and down the stairs.

The Christmas Boozy Bundt Cake has been made and drenched in a sauce of butter, booze and sugar. It looks amazing.  No cookies yet--but there's still time.  It is the 12 days of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Now This Is A Fat Tree--The Way I Like Them

This tree looks like it gloriously fills up a room.  Love it.

The sun is shining.  Our daughter has car trouble and it will involve two cars, a tow truck and the Honda repair shop.  A saga.  G will need to drive to her work and bring her home this evening.

We are all set with AAA and Honda for a smooth transfer.  She will have the use of my car until hers is repaired--and it's a holiday--so she could have my car for awhile.

Not the way I wanted to have fewer cars in our garage--but it's workable.

I just put some Southern pork ribs in the oven with brown sugar, garlic and cayenne pepper--also 1.5 cups of cider vinegar.  Makes for some delicious pulled pork.  We'll have it with potato gnocchi and sauerkraut browned with onions and caraway seeds.  The recipe says the food is done in 2.5 hours but I find it's better at 3.5 or 4 hours.  The first two hours with the lid on and the remainder with the lid off.  I like my pork to have a "crispy" edge.

Since the pork is in the oven--cookies will be put on hold.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ice & Snow & Cold

We had snow.  Then it rained.  Then it went below zero.  Now we are living in a glacier it seems. Everything white, cold and frozen solid. Nothing remotely "fluffy".  Going out to get the newspaper is dangerous (falling) the driveway looks more like a skating rink. So I sit and wait--- breakfast doesn't seem correct without the paper.  Finally G wakes up and goes out for the paper.  I told him to drive to the end of of the driveway but he walked.

Work was slow but not as cold (inside the greenhouse) as it was Saturday.

One more day and I am retired and not working.  It can't happen soon enough.

Sigh.  Now to decide which cookies to make tomorrow.  This is a BIG decision.

That isn't my tree in the picture up top (it's not THAT short) but you might see a deer out on the lawn if you looked out one of my windows.  A real deer.  And a large group of real squirrels.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

It Is Snowing

A "greasy" snow.  Which, here in Maine, means icy under the snow so your feet and car tires slip and slide over the surface.  No purchase.  G drove me to work this morning and came to get me at 5.  I said I was certainly able to drive myself in the morning.  But was certain I would NOT be able to get myself safely back home.  I was 1000% thankful to not be driving tonight.

At work, I got to mop the floor again (really I do enjoy it) but this time I started earlier so I could do the entire floor.  Moving things so all the floor is mopped.  Not just mopping down the center of the aisles.  Business was slow..... the snow and road conditions.

I mentioned to G that I was sad to think of the Christmas Parties on this last Saturday before Christmas that were either cancelled or have few guests.  It was like this last year I think.  The Saturday's had bad weather.  I think Christmas Parties are the BEST!  Twinkly lights, the tree and looking at all the decorations on the tree.  My neighbor across the street had two wonderful Christmas Parties....and then the last few the weather cut the party short.  Guests would arrive only to say they were leaving again.  They wanted to get home before the driving got worse.  There we sat (the locals) with food, drink and no people.  Now, no parties.

I know, I could have a party.  But it isn't easy with my work schedule.  Maybe, one day.

My schedule for next week is two days.  Monday and Wednesday.  I won't be working Christmas Eve.  I can throw myself, whole-heartedly, into the pierogi making.  Not the day before.  Not the day after, but right on Christmas Eve.

Oh, and when I reached into the darkest back corner of the lowest kitchen cabinet--what to my reaching hand did I find?  A Bundt Pan.  I did have one.  Do have one.  Thank goodness I didn't go out and buy another.  This one was purchased in Germany.  Good memories of making lots of  pudding cakes and a "cowboy" something or other for hungry teenagers and their friends.  It's in either the Betty Crocker or the Better Homes cookbooks.  Well worn and lots of food smudged pages.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Yesterday's Pedicure

Your feet have lots of things to say regarding your health.  Or at least this diagram seems to think it has messages to deliver.  It would seem my problems are related to my eyes and my lungs.  Now if that doesn't cause one to stop and be gobsmacked--well, I don't know what would.  My pedicurist mentioned the problems of my toes and the balls of my feet.  She felt I need to have a professional look.  "things are not as they should be".

I still haven't made my chocolate bundt.  It is freezing cold here in Maine and I am wanting ice cream.  Go figure.  I ate my way thru quite a bit of vanilla ice cream and jars of hot fudge sauce last winter.  I am trying NOT to repeat those mistakes.

Riley is refusing to sleep with us in the cold bedroom wing of the house.  He is staying in the "relatively" warmer kitchen section--with his chin on the window sill and his eyes on the moon bright back yard.  Alive with the "wild things" that roam.

I have books to read but am not reading.  I have Christmas cards to write but I am not writing.  I have a closet to sort but I don't give a damn about it either.  I have today off and return to work tomorrow for a very long and very cold (I work in a glass greenhouse) day.   I am not looking forward to work. Knowing that tends to dissolve any good feelings I have about the day before.

I am also such a frugal person, that listening to the furnace go on and off---thinking of the money each cycle is costing me here in Maine with heating oil---sigh...... it's truly painful.  So inefficient. Expensive and not really warm.

One of the big wreaths in the front of the house has lost it's bow--blown off overnight.  G will not be wanting to go out there to put the bow back on.  G hates being cold more than the dog does.

I need to think about making something to eat.  The refrigerator is looking bare.  The freezer is full so I can thaw something out and "make" a meal.  But what?  I bought myself two tubs of Panera's broccoli cheese soup.  I mixed one with leftover mac and cheese and some leftover peas.  It was pretty good for lunch at work.  Now I am wondering what else I could mix into the soup for tomorrow's lunch.  I have a few potatoes, carrots, onions, eggs, swiss cheese, rice, dry black beans, 8 ounces of cream cheese, butter, bacon, bread crumbs, corn meal, canned mushrooms, frozen chicken breasts and frozen artichoke hearts. A reasonably good cook should be able to make something edible out of these things.  Or at least a plate of bacon and eggs.

I was reading a review of cookbooks and Bittman says he finds what he actually has in the fridge and looks into the recipe index at the back of the books and finds a recipe there that uses what he has--not what he would need to leave the house and buy.  Sounds like a plan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Chocolate Bundt with Kahlua

But first I will need a Bundt Pan.  It seems improbable to have not owned one.  Perhaps I did, at some point, and things stuck?  And I gave it away?  I like the ridges and valleys coated in melted chocolate.
I love chocolate cake.  Always have and always will.

The dentist went well.  Better than well.  No pain.  There was numbing stuff on a stick before the shot. And the shot was a very lengthy process.  And it worked.  Pain free.

I did have some anxiety.  I did ask once or twice on what percentage of the time for the work had passed.  I like to know.  Helps me to judge how I am holding up.  Under duress.  My dentist, new for me, explained everything they were doing.  Said that the work for a crown was pretty straight forward and easier than for a filling.  That was true.  I worried for no reason.

Today, at work, I got to do one of my favorite tasks.  I just wish I hadn't been offered the work so close to closing time.  I could have gone slower and gotten a better result.  I got to mop the floor in the Garden Center where the front doors and cashiers are located.  It had gotten salty and dirty with the snow and traffic.  I also mopped the lunchroom and the adjacent public restrooms.  Under the table where no one mops.  But me.

Tomorrow is a busy day for me.  Haircut and a pedicure at my salon in the morning.  Then in the evening dinner out with my delightful new friend and sometime employer.  We are going to sample some Mexican food and have Margaritas.  I know we will talk too much and laugh just as much.  She's just returned from an art vacation in Spain.

I know I am supposed to be doing Christmas shopping and Christmas baking.  But I don't want to. G took me to the cookware store and told me to fill up the carry basket.  I did.  I should do that with everyone on my list.  Take them to a nice store they enjoy and let them buy things.  No wrapping.
Are you reading this dear son and daughter?  Go buy what you want--send me the bill.

I do have to remember the dog's presents.  Last year I forgot and he was actually very sad and made all of us feel badly about having presents to open.  Such sad eyes.  He even turned his back on us. It will be tricky to buy things that he can have with his delicate tummy problems.  The usual Marrow Bone will certainly make him sick.  A new squeaky toy.  A puzzle ball full of low fat treats.  Even a nice new collar or better yet a Thermopedic Bed.  He's probably really enjoy a heated bed.  But then G would like that as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dentist Today

I am getting fitted for a crown in 45 minutes.  My first.  I am feeling very frightened.
The appointment making person said the worst part was getting the shot to numb my jaw.
Somehow, that doesn't make me feel better.

In anticipation of today's crown fitting, I have been doing 100% of the chewing on my left side teeth. Getting used to not having my normal right side teeth available.  I am also getting rid of any sticky candy I may still have available.  Like Tootsie Rolls.

The sun is shining.  It's very cold.  All of yesterday's snow has a crunchy, glittering in the sunshine look.  Very pretty.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Snow Day

It started snowing last night.  And now it's pretty much covering everything.  G is out with the snowblower.  I have already called work to say I will be late.  They replied that they haven't had even ONE shopper as yet (10:30).

G is on the phone--something is wrong with the snowblower (which was just majorly repaired-$$$) and it seems the auger isn't working.  If the auger doesn't work--the snow doesn't get blown.

I may be even later to work than I first estimated.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wanting or Needing?

Today's Sunday Lifestyle Pages had several articles on recycling, reusing and making our own clothing. The authors also discussed wanting and needing LESS.  I recall someone asking "how many pairs of pants can you wear"  meaning, I think, how many do you actually need.

I don't know about any of you, but I tend to wear the same two or three or four things all the time.  I only wear the second choice while the first choice is in the wash. On a few terrible occasions I have gotten wet or dirty twice in one day and had to wear things I would never wear otherwise-third choice items.  On those terrible days--I should just have packed up everything for Goodwill.

Third choice items are usually itchy, scratchy or ill fitting in one place or another. Yesterday I had on third choice socks and let me tell you--I was downright miserable and my feet hurt.

I should clarify further.  I buy multiples of things I love.  Like 7 white linen short sleeved camp shirts. I would have to get dirty 7 times before having to go to a second choice shirt.  I have 7 because I HAVE had to go to second choice on occasion and I absolutely hated it.  All those second choice shirts are either gone or have been moved to the linen fabric box--to be used to make things--like pillow cases or little quilted things.

Winter linen shirts have long sleeves.  And they are white also.  A few have stripes.  I felt I needed variety but I don't wear them very often.  I have pastel colored linen from the days I worked at the library and weighed 240 pounds.  Too large for me to wear now--so they are in the fabric closet.

All my winter pants are the same pant.  LLBean corduroy.  Different colors.  Different vintages. I tend to prefer wearing the mossy green ones.  Tend not to enjoy wearing the black ones.  They all cost between $5 and twenty cents. Or LLBean perfect knit pant.  I bought armloads of them at 20 cents each when I worked part time.  Oddly enough--I can't find more than four pair- and I've spent hours looking.

This summer, I trolled Goodwill and now have the same black or brown linen pants, capri length, LLBean.  Multiples.  Love them.  Hate when Winter comes.  Summer is my happiest season.

I actually could and should just remove everything else from the closet.  I got that Kondo book from the library.  About getting rid of the things that don't "spark joy".

There are days in January when I wear my pajamas all day with a sweater. My pajamas always spark joy.  The sweater not so much.  I should buy or find a better one.

Well, that's it for today.  I have yet to get the lights on the little short tree.  No football game today. I may go to the grocery store or we may just order take out.

The eat one thing and wait 2 hours plan is working great.  I haven't had any acid reflux.  I have no idea why I haven't had any but.......I'll go with it.  Perhaps it's  the combination of foods???

Friday, December 09, 2016

Lost & Found

Not the red and white striped LLBean top.

But an Irish cotton shirt (J. Peterman), pale red, worn, soft, patched and loved.  Missing for quite a few years.  Found on a hanger in my closet as I was holding up items and seeing if they "sparked joy".  There was the shirt.  Missing for over 10 years I think.

And I reached for it.  Touched it to make sure it was real.   Ran my hands over the surface of it, the patched areas I had stitched.  And I placed it in the exact center of the closet.

So I can check to see if it's still there every time I open the doors. Strange but true.

At Goodwill, after dinner, we dropped off the bag of sparkless shirts I had removed from the closet and I found and purchased a moss green and navy LLBean stripe top just like the red and white one I can't find.  I had looked at it on several visits and said no.  Tonight I said yes and it just felt "right". It sparked joy.

There are moments in my life when it seems like I am learning lessons the hard way. Never quite understanding the meaning or significance of things that happen.  Not seeing what is right there in front of me. Searching for something I don't really need anymore.  Finding things I thought I had lost long ago.

Lost & found.

Letting go.  Saying yes.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Thursday.  Day off.  Day I usually walk with my walking buddy.  But we aren't .  She says it's too cold.  So I did a bit of trimming on the bottom of the tree.  Now I can see the stand.  A new, sturdy one.  No danger of the tree tipping over like last year--when I had to tie it to the fireplace wall--with garden tomato ties.

Today we are (I am) going to put the tiny white lights on the tree and make "magic" happen.  Turn a normal green evergreen tree into a Christmas Tree.

I've gotten two Christmas Cards already.  Four if we count the card from our investment banker and the newspaper delivery person.  I am "on the fence" regarding a handmade card.  I found a beautiful commercial card and really want to send it out.  Need to decide.

I also have to move my little sewing workshop over to the couch in front of the television.  So I can watch and stitch my little bees and my little snowmen.  I am on the fence regarding the buttons on the snowman.  Do I want cutesie hearts or just normal mismatched black buttons.  Most of my childhood snowmen had rocks for buttons.  I put these little things on the tops of gifts--instead of bows.

My amaryllis collection (rather like a box of mistakes and throw aways) is now potted up.  I'll have flowers in February but that's okay with me.  Some of these overwatered mistakes have no roots others(saved last year) have huge roots thanks to my letting them summer in the vegetable garden.  I am giving them a second chance at "life".  I am not allowed to put up signs at work that say "don't water these".  So they get watered.  And watered.  And watered.  And on the three days I work, I repot them in dry soil.  I'm just doing it to make myself feel better.  Some--the ones that are rootless and squishy-- are gifts to my compost pile.

Today is the Dawn of a New Dietary Rule.  Drum Roll, Please.

 Two hours between the ingesting of any new food and the food before.  So I had breakfast toast.  Waited 2 hours for reflux--none (safe).  Then I had Noosa honey yogurt.  Waited 2 hours.  No reflux.  (safe)  Then (just now) I had a square of Spelt Corn Bread.  Waiting.......  Yesterday I had the same line up without waiting periods. ONLY I had Split Pea Soup with the corn bread and there wasn't 2 hours between foods..  Wicked bad reflux.  Like battery acid.  At this point in time my money is on the split pea soup being the problem.  But it's early to call the Spelt Corn Bread a winner unless I want to have to do a recount.  I set my oven timer so the two hour wait is accurate.

G is taking me to a Cooking Store today to select my Christmas Presents from him.  That way I get exactly what I want.  He says if I wait much longer to go to the store--they won't have what I want and he'll have to back order it and--well, then I get my gift in February like last year (no where near Valentines Day, either).

I went thru the closet again.  The red stripe top is still missing.  I held up clothing and asked "does this spark joy?" and now have a big bag to drop off at Goodwill. Yes, I have THAT book.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Every Recipe Begins With--Chop An Onion

At least all of mine do.  Yesterday, before going off the work--a white knuckle drive in the first snow of the season--I assembled Split Pea Soup in the old crockpot.  Not the new one.  The older models always seem to work better than the new replacements.

The recipe off the internet mentioned 8 to 10 hours.  Eight if you like your split peas "al dente" I guess.  So, I returned my bowl of soup to the cooker, added ½ cup more water and waited 2 hours.  Perfect @10 hours, but by then I had eaten something else and instead packed up my soup in jars.

Now, after writing this--I will go looking for another recipe to make in my crockpot--using what I have here in the house.  Have rice, frozen artichoke hearts, frozen red peppers, onions, celery, some small red skinned potatoes and a very large butternut squash.  Black beans are also available--Black bean bisque is always nice.  I also have everything wheat free to make tuna casserole.  Only need potato chips.  I used to love lentil soup.  Ate it all the time.  Now it bothers me with acid reflux.  What is going on????

I have been needing 2 or 3 Benadryl a day (so far) to get thru a day without sneezing or having a running nose.  Also the allergy eye drops so I don't rub my eyes when they itch.

I have to go into the attic to get my winter boots.  Yesterday's walk to the car equalled cold wet socks. I had on crocs.  Crocs have holes in them.  Holes that fill up with snow.

I also have to solve a mystery.  On Monday I went thru my long sleeve shirt drawer and removed a small stack of shirts that "do not spark joy" and gifted them to a young mother who has just returned to work.  We worked together 10 years ago.  She didn't have clothing suitable for Winter.  Now she does.  I allowed her to hug me but refused the kiss.

Now the mystery.  While sorting the drawer, I actually remember two red striped LLBean tops.  Now I only have one.  The young woman doesn't have it.  I have searched and searched.  A co-worker says she couldn't find a pillow case.  Searched the drawer way too many times--no luck.  Then tried again a day later and it was on top of the pile.  This morning I opened the shirt drawer--wasn't on top.  I then sorted through the corduroy pants pile.  Not there either.  I will look upstairs.  See if the top managed to get all the way up there.

I've stopped watching PBS News Hour.  It's too much stuff to have to worry about.  I have also stopped reading the first section of the newspapers (other than the headlines) and stopped watching--even for a few moments--the cable news channels.   News overload and I can do nothing to change any of it, it would seem.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Today's Message

I work for a family owned business.  We do nice things for customers.  Repotting your new plant into a new pot or the old one you brought with you.  Standing up 12,000 trees until you find the "perfect" one.  Drawing a diagram of the layers in a terrarium for someone making a tiny fairy garden for some sweet little girl.  Filling the little 12 inch window box you place on top of the mailbox--seasonally.  Today it was greens, pinecones and berries.  How many years have you been coming in to us for the filling?  Is it 5 or 10?

I made the Spelt Rolls.  The recipe was vegan but I am not so I used regular white sugar.  They are fluffy.  Look exactly like regular dinner rolls.  Spelt has gluten but is not wheat.  They tasted funny. And I got indigestion.  But it went away after I ate white rice and peas.  I had two more with butter with my lunch salad today.  No indigestion.

G came to pick up the tree I picked out.  It was awful.  So we looked at trees to replace it.  We finally picked one out.  It's here at home and it's too small, too narrow and there are no spaces for ornaments. It's a lights only tree.  We may return it.  But there is nothing else to buy.  It has a nice little shape.  But it doesn't touch the ceiling.  I like the tree to touch the ceiling.  This is such a disappointment that I am near tears typing this.  The ONLY part of Christmas I love is the tree.  I love it so much I don't take it down until January.  I would leave it up longer but G doesn't love the tree as much as I do.

I am very tired.  Reading Nevada Barr's Boar Island.  One quarter in and it's dull.  Even boring. The characters are impossible to be interested in.  And it's set in Maine.  I should be tickled by all the "Maine-er-isms".

I read Woman in Cabin 10.  But first I read the author's first book.  In The Deep Dark Woods or something like that.  That first book was fantastic.  The Woman In Cabin 10?  Not so much.  Needed a really good proof reader and some re-writes.  This is what happens when a new author puts out a really great first book.   The book company rushes to print book two--to make sales.  And the book isn't ready--it still needs work.  Now the author will have trouble getting anyone to read book three (if and when she writes it)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Wheat Intolerance--Bread? Spelt flour to the rescue.

I have a bag of spelt flour.  And this morning a search for bread recipes.  I now have three that look promising.  A Soda Bread with seed topping.  Vegan Spelt Rolls.  And a No Knead Loaf that rises 24 hours and bakes in the cast iron Le Creuset.  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner breads.

I had shredded wheat cereal for breakfast (the only cereal with 2 ingredients and lowfat no sugar).  And I now have acid reflux.  I share this with Riley.  His food is giving him acid reflux as well.  We have changed out Riley's food to lower and lower % of fat.  He's now at 3% or less.  The Vet says his very shiny (beautiful) black coat will be a thing of the past on this diet.  Still taking Pepcid.  But only 20mg twice a day.  Not 40mg twice as it was for two weeks.  He lost 3 pounds in the two weeks.  Inflammation for sure.  Sometimes I take one of his Pepcid.  It helps.

I am also sneezing quite a lot.  At home mostly.  G vacuumed the house yesterday and I felt better. We may need to remove the wall to wall carpets.  Install wood floors.  Get rid of pillows. The couches won't be cozy nests of soft pillows (and dust mites) any more.  I don't want to.

We ate out on G's birthday.  Lovely Italian place.  Red wine.  Pasta.  Bread.  Dessert.  G gained 2 pounds overnight (salt content of food) and I had acid reflux and itchy eyebrows.  We won't be doing that again.  Eating used to be fun.  Entertaining.  Now it just makes us both miserable.  Actually it makes all three of us miserable.

Today was supposed to be wet and rainy.  It's not.  So my walking buddy cancelled for no reason.

I managed to hand appliqué little 4 patch blocks over two of the rail fence blocks (in that leftover charity quilt) that look like swastikas from afar.  The third is relentless.  No matter what I try--the dreaded "s" is still visible.  I am now going up into the attic bedroom to try and find some plain white fabric.  The white might drag the "eye" away.

In my humble opinion--rail fence blocks should be made with three differing widths of fabric. Or not made at all.

For anyone following along--the Six Seeded Soda Bread recipe is adapted from River Cottage Every Day by 101 Cookbooks  The Honey Spelt Loaf is from Food &Wine Lionel Vatinet.  And Vegan Spelt Rolls (10 rolls baked in a 8" round cake pan) are from Minimalist Baker at

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Counting Down To Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving and we are in it now.  Christmas.  The season of "making" which is, I think, much better than the season of spending.

I found (always amazes me what I own) a very pretty floral patterned 1940's table square to use for Thanksgiving Dinner. A deep fuchsia pink on cream.  After I worked harder on clearing off the table than I did on cooking the food. I have been thinking and talking about taking some of the textiles in the hall linen closet to a local store called "Hatch" and selling them (at a very steep discount) for less than I paid for them.  They cut the fabric up and use it to make things they sell.  Old quilts turn into pillow cases or other things.  Old holey cashmere sweaters turn into strange stuffed animals for babies.

I had no recollection of owning this particular tablecloth.  It looked and felt like it  had never been used or laundered. And, as I looked at it--I thought--what a pretty apron this would make.  How happy it would make me to wear it.  Use it.  Enjoy it.  An apron is something I could use.  A tablecloth for a bridge table isn't.

I have been asked to "clean" the greenhouse plants each day I work.  I haven't made any holiday boxes or wreaths on a daily basis.  Just once in a while.  So I pick blossoms off plants--making the plants look "fresher".  I think it makes them happier.  They seem to stand up straighter after I clean them up.  Lots of repotting.  I make each little plant and pot into a little "story".  Some get  moss to cover up the dirt (amaryllis) and others get a light topping of bonsai grit.  Some of the cactus get a mix of three to five tiny pebbles and washed sand on the surface of the soil.  I also get to make Bonsai Dish Gardens.  I love that.  Moss, interesting rocks I find up on the hill where we park our cars, bonsai grit.  Uneven surface, never flat.  A tiny hill.  A path.  A story.  A life.  Making Bonsai is where I often make my best tips.  I would LOVE to work at a place that makes and cares for Bonsai.  It wouldn't even seem like work.  It would just be pure joy and contentment.

Monday I am dividing and repotting African Violets for one of my favorite customers.  Possibly 2 or 3 dozen of them.  She knows how to grown them.  Big, healthy plants and lovely to work with.  The ones she gives me don't live long here.  I think I have too many different things and the Violets are used to undivided attention.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Readers

This is NOT my table or my turkey.  We'll be roasting and eating just a turkey breast this year.  I won't be doing a whole bird and then taking the legs and thighs to work with me to "gift" to any eager employee wanting leftover food on Friday.  And they do want it.

I don't know what the large dish in the top left holds.  Seems like an enormous amount of mashed potato.  The photo is from Food52.

I have made three separate trips to the grocery store and still am missing parts of recipes.  I give up.
I'll make do or not make it at all.  Or make something entirely "new".

My friend and I are walking together at 11am.  I will bundle up and cover my mouth so I don't breathe in cold air.  I will have my inhaler.  I wish, on days like tomorrow, that we walked in an urban, city environment.  A park or block with a place to stop for a coffee or tea.  But we walk in a residential neighborhood and rarely see any other humans.  They drive.  We walk. We talk.

I may insert the sweet potatoes into the oven before the walk and remove them after the walk.  Peel, split, insert butter and brown sugar.  Then make green bean casserole.  Then roast two fat round acorn squash--candied with butter, maple syrup and sugar.  We like sugar and butter.  I enjoy all the chopping involved in making stuffing.  Onions, celery and parsley from the garden.  More butter.  Some eggs.  Mush it all together and press into another casserole dish.  I'll baste it with the stock I make for the gravy.  I bought two turkey thighs and will roast them with onions, carrots and a few cloves of garlic for the stock.  Then I'll peel and halve the Brussels sprouts and get them prepped for  a pan sautee.  I will also be making cranberry sauce.  With sugar, orange peel and brandy.  French brandy.  Lots of it. Hard to be reminded of any mistakes in the menu if the cranberries have enough  brandy in them.

I'm not making pie.  I will make the Pumpkin Whoopie pies on Friday.  I may regret not making pie. But if that's my only regret--so be it.  Daughter might bring a dessert "experiment" which sounds amazing doesn't it?  Then we'll play the annual Scrabble Game.  This is when I miss having my son with us.  The Scrabble Game.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  It's a Holiday for you but for's G's birthday.  He was born just in time for dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Poinsettias Arrive @ Work

I spent Monday clearing tables for the truckload of "points" as we call them to arrive on Tuesday, in a heated truck.  These babies don't like the cold.  We have a new variety (for us) that is palest pink and white.  Also a neon pink.

I was busy tagging, wiring a hanging loop and adding bows to 48 swags that arrived after 3 pm on Monday.  We work until 5:30 so I was really trying hard to get them all finished.  Sigh. I was three short of the finish line.  I work best under pressure.

Today I was home so G and I set out after Riley's walk to do errands.  We needed new lights for the outdoor wreaths.  And I am always short on lights by the time I get to the bottom of the 8 foot tree.  so I purchased another 200 light string so the bottom of the tree will be brightly lit up.  G also got his Birthday Gift.  A Keurig.  He is busy making flavored coffee.  Hazelnut and Pumpkin Spice.  The house now smells like hazelnuts.

I held off getting this new machine as there is only so much kitchen counter space in our very large kitchen.  It wasn't built with a coffee maker, Keurig, Vitamix, coffee bean grinder in mind.  Thank goodness I have a stand mixer "barn" in the counter by the stove.  If the carpenter ever decides to re-appear--the new kitchen will have additional counters and "barns" for appliances---and outlets to power them.

We stopped at Joann's to look at buttons and Kona cotton (awful colors) and G expressed interest in a paint by numbers set.  Couldn't find that but did find a color by numbers coloring book.  He's using my Prang pencil set but might go to Staples and buy a set of his own.  He needs more "colors".  I am surprised that he wanted this but he said it would be nice to have something to do when Winter comes.

I also purchased five more bags of old fashioned lemon drops.  There is something soothing and comforting about a nice tart lemon drop.  Especially at work.  And sometimes having the lemon drop in my mouth keeps me from making an unwelcome comment.  Which is a very good thing.  And the lemon drops have kept me from commenting on the national news.  When life gives you lemons--- make them into lemon drops.

Riley continues to improve.  He is standing up for his interests and barking like crazy to go out and terrorize the guys putting up siding next door.  Tearing around shaking his toys.  Feeling much better.
I feel sorry for any truck that (beep beep beep) backs into our driveway.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Riley Update

It snowed overnight--just a little bit--but enough to bring happiness to Riley--he rolled it... I asked him to help scrape snow off my car but he prefers the window and the radiator.

Riley is doing really well on the antibiotic and the antacid.  No gagging.  Eating his meals when served.  Sleeping soundly.  Barking. Having a good long walk in the woods with G everyday. Enjoying Life.

He sees the Vet again in two weeks.  Rest easy.......he's good.

Friday, November 18, 2016


Riley is not feeling well.  Elevated numbers for his pancreas and liver.  Nausea.  He is taking his medicines and sleeping and is still the happy dog he always is.  Happy to be close by his "people".
Still happy to run off and investigate whatever stinky things the neighbors have tossed into their compost pile.  And they seem to always be tossing terrible things into the compost pile.

Today I have a plan.  I have garlic to plant.  I also have to "heel in" my juvenile grasses into the garden for the winter.  I grew Elijah Blue Grass from seeds last winter in the milk jug experiment. They started out as just a thread of blue green.  A blade of "grass". Now, after two transplanting they are about 3 inches tall and in small clumps.  12.  By next year they should be large enough to go into the landscape border.  But this winter they will be in the vegetable garden.

I also have to add some fertilizer to the garden.  I raked leaves (in the dark) the last time I was out there--before it rained.  Pulled up the pepper plants.  Pulled weeds.  The compost bins are packed. All three of them.  Like money in the bank.  Future Dirt.

My compost piles are full of chopped leaves combined with the last grass clippings.  G has to cut the front lawn once more so we'll collect that grass and add it to the piles.  I also have two piles of leaves by the side of the driveway--composting into leaf mold.  Compost.  It takes awhile. I can wait.

All Winter (and actually 365 days a year) I collect "compostables" in a 2 gallon soup pot on the counter.  Kleenex, paper towels, coffee grounds and filters, the dregs of cereal containers, orange peels, apple cores, vegetable scraps, egg shells--- the container is emptied into the bins at least twice a week.  That's about 5 pounds of wet green waste each time.  Dog hair and dryer lint goes in as well.
The leaves falling off the three Ficus Trees in the kitchen (a change in light and Ficus have to drop all their leaves in a sort of hissy fit) also get swept up into the compost bucket.  Junk mail is shredded and put into the compost.  Cardboard from cereal boxes is opened up and laid flat or if I have time--torn into pieces first.  Worms love cardboard.

We recycle what we can't compost.  Once a month or so we put out a small bag for the "garbage" men.  Things that can't be recycled or composted.  Those bags cost us money--so we wait to make sure they are completely full before setting them out.

But no matter how hard I try there is still too much here in the house.  Time to walk around with a big bag or a box and fill it to take to Goodwill.  My son often laments not teaching us how to use eBay. Some of what we have and don't need is actually valuable--to someone else.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Am Feeling Lonely.

Now that I am 70, I am thinking about who I wanted to be when I was a child, teenager, young mother etc.  I wanted to be friendly and happy and have friends.  I wanted to have people come over to eat at my table, have a drink in the backyard on lawn chairs, or just call me to talk for over an hour.

While we lived in several places--all that happened and it was lovely.

When we moved to Maine, all that stopped.  Maine tolerates people from "AWAY".  They don't open their arms, homes or families to people from somewhere else.  I've lived here nearly 30 years.  I'm still "from away".  The people I am friends with here in Maine are also from away or have moved away and then come back to Maine.  People who know how hard it is to make new friends in a new home.

I'm thinking about that today.  Sitting here alone.  G is working in his workshop trying to clean up a mess he made before his heart attack.  Almost 3 years ago.  I'm lonely.  I finished the last of the Louise Penny books and have to wait until my name comes up on the reserve list for the last book (the current book).  I was starting to feel like one of the residents of Three Pines as I made my way through 10 books.  Hoping Clara would invite me to the next potluck at her house.  Or that I could drive into Town and stop in at the Used and New Bookstore for tea with Myrna.

One thing I wouldn't be doing is writing this post.  No internet in Three Pines.

While I was looking for something in the spare room--I was thinking about going back in time and reliving my entire life--with the things I know now.  About how I should have done the reading and my homework while in school.  I'm good at that now.  Wasn't then.  Also I would be better at choosing clothing and knowing the importance of a GOOD haircut.  Lord, I went through years of bad haircuts--sometimes cutting it myself with dull scissors.  My dad cut my brothers' hair down in the basement or out in the driveway.  If I had the haircut I have now--my dad could have cut mine as well.  Nice and short.

I sometimes think moving here to Maine was a huge mistake.  Too few people.  The population is exactly 1.2 million for the entire large state of Maine.  Same as it was in 1991 when I moved here. There are small towns or cities with that many people.  I guess that's why it feels lonely.

Thank goodness I have the internet.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Hummel.  In fact, G purchased this same Hummel three times.  We had a black cat at the time.  And I was often stitching.  I have two others I love.  A guy with a suitcase and umbrella going off to see the World.  G.  And another of a big sister reading to her younger brother.  My children--always so young and sweet.  I saw this image on another blog and had to add it to mine. To be reminded.  I don't often go over to the particular bookshelf where they live.  Perhaps I should move them??  Closer.  Yes, closer to my heart.

The greenhouse Open House is now over.  The poinsettias are in the building.  As are the Christmas cactus. I worked Saturday and made State of Maine wreaths.  Did a double sided wreath making demo.  Answered questions.  Helped.  Finished my second to the last Louise Penny mystery while eating my lunch.  Vanilla yogurt with Texas red grapefruit segments.  Wishing that Noosa sold their vanilla yogurt in quarts.  Or the honey one.  Both super delicious.  I have to make do with less than delicious yogurts that DO come in quarts.  The only Noosa vanilla I can buy is 4 ounces.

Set a large pot of water on the stove.  Added chicken thighs, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, carrots, celery, a few sprigs of parsley, salt, peppercorns and cubes of bouillon.  It's cold and G loves chicken soup.

I read my mystery and ate the last of the Tootsie Rolls.  Thank goodness they are gone. Tonight.  PBS and Corfu, Poldark and then Elementary.

G just called from walking the neighbor's dog.  Super Moon.  Riley can I went out to see it.

Just a comment or two on my "elimination" diet.  The soy and peanuts continue to be allergens (rash).  I do find myself getting a rash on my neck and eyebrows  if I eat "too much" white flour in foods. Small amounts of white flour food--not every day--is okay but when I hit a level that my body thinks is "too much" then the rash begins. Another problem yesterday was acid reflux--it may have been coffee--I made certain NOT to sample from the refreshments table.  I only had that one cup of coffee and some cheese.  But I have had more cheese today--very good cheese--and no problems.  So the type of decaf they served might be too acidic.  I have tried oatmeal on several mornings in the past 60 days.  It doesn't seem like a "friendly food" but I will keep trying.  I try not to be boring about this but though a few Readers might be wondering how things are going.  The Alaway eye drops are wonderful.  Takes the eye itch away--immediately.  Over the counter for anyone with itchy eyes.  In the section of stores that carry contact lenses products.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The "Making" Season

We've started work on Holiday Boxes (greens, berries, pinecones on sticks plus a red bow) at work, had the Saturday wreath making class (I was not there).  Now the real work of Christmas begins.  State of Maine wreaths.  Custom work.  More Holiday Boxes than we think possible.  I'll be going home with pine needles in my shoes, socks and if things go as usual--in my underwear.  How they get in there is a puzzlement to all who work with me.

I like making wreaths from scratch.  Like above.  Just a wire ring.  A pile of clipped greens (anything can be used--just go out and cut----but stay on your own property)  Berries.  Holly doesn't do well with freezing.  Winterberry.  But my favorite is artificial.  I have always been a fan of the mix of real and fake.  Fool the Eye.  I need to look up the French word.

I have the pile of summer linen camp shirts ready to move up into attic storage.  I was reminded of summer days in the garden as I folded them.  How is it possible those days are over and gone?  I am not as romantically involved with corduroy pants and thermal long sleeved tees.

Today I am actually making onion soup.  We had things going on and I never had the "kitchen time" to do the slow cooking of the onions.  Carmelization.

Reading my way through Louise Penny's Gamache Books.  Seven down and into number 8.  Number 9 is waiting on the book table.  I read until 4 am with Bury Your Dead.  There was no where to stop. I had to just stay with it until the end.  I confess I hated the first in the series- Still Life (and find that is true with other Readers).

I think I average 2 days on each book.  Reminds me of the Winter I made my way through Wallander. I read in the rolling office chair in the kitchen--trying to get the young Riley to take a nap.  It worked.  He saw me in the chair and would collapse on his bed and sleep for a few hours--between Winter cold walks.  I could roll over to the fridge for a snack or over to the electric teapot for a fresh cup of tea. He knew I wasn't going anywhere interesting (to him).  Now, just having a book open in my hands is enough to put the dog to sleep.

I am working on the felt hearts (buttonholing around the pieces and edges), still testing ideas for the Bee ornaments--perhaps needing to buy buttons for the eyes.  Perhaps even making a few more Santa coats and hats--- they would be cute on top of a gift wrapped in brown Kraft paper.  But then, so would the Bee.  2016 seems like the Year Of The Bee.

I am wanting to take a private class with a quilt artist--but would need to be taking daily progress photos.  I stopped using my digital (or any other) camera long ago.  I didn't like or find I could use the newest addition of iPhoto on the computer in order to download the pictures.  In fact I don't even know which of the icons is actually the photo button anymore.  So, I have to weigh the "want" for the class over the "do not want" of the camera and all that it entails.   I am constantly reminded that taking pictures was such a joy.  And then it wasn't.  We'll see.  You'll see.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Post Halloween

My boss said I had never looked better.  My customers tried not to make eye contact--one reporting my face paint was "too disturbing".   So, Halloween was a success.

I had the MOST unusual day.  A customer came in with a mini white orchid to be repotted.  She asked if I was "the joanne".  I said yes (why not?).  Asked if I could repot.  I said yes.

While putting the little orchid in it's new pot (nestled into damp sheet moss and bark chips) I discovered I am an "urban legion".  How's that for a story?

My customer and her friend were bowling when the orchid gifting happened.  And the bowler in the next lane (unknown to them) suggested they stop at my place of work and ask for "Joanne" to do the repot.  "She's fantastic" the guy said.  "knows everything about everything and is magical".

I (obviously) didn't disappoint as, while repotting, this customer called her friend on the phone and said "I'm here at the greenhouse and SHE'S REAL!!!!!!"  I guess I was everything the guy described and better.  Now, I'm wondering who the guy is????

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Eve

Tomorrow.  I work tomorrow and everyone (it never works out to be everyone) is supposed to be dressed in costume at work.  I have the painted black shirt and leggings.  Painted by my daughter but the bones of the skeleton were drawn with chalk by me---long ago.  Too scary for the toddlers. So, daughter had to turn the top and leggings inside out.

Yesterday (or was it the day before?) I purchased a tube of white and a tube of black face paint.  So, If I want, I can have a skeleton face as well.  I searched U-Tube for a tutorial on the simplest design. Just white paint around the forehead, around the cheekbones and then the chin.  Some black circle smudging around the eyes, a bit around nostrils and a black line exaggerating the line where the lips meet.  Some lines up and down to look like teeth.  Hopefully, easy to remove in case of an allergic reaction.  But I am rubbing some on the inside of my wrist today.  Waiting 30 minutes.  I should know if it will be a problem.

But.......Nothing scarier looking than a full blown allergic reaction.

G bought a big bag of candy.  Something he would eat in case no one rings the doorbell tomorrow night.

I nearly worked myself into an asthma attack going back and forth from bedroom to attic storage room changing over from Summer to Winter pants.  I still need to remove summer shirts from hangers and take them upstairs.  I stood in the attic room trying on pants.  I was left wondering.  The size 20 felt very baggy (which is something I don't mind).  The 18's are okay but too long--I don't like rolling the pants legs--hate hemming.  The 16's fit really good but for relaxing on the couch--I might want something looser.  Like pajamas.  Somehow all the storage boxes have gotten jumbled.  And since I am the only one going up there to look in the boxes--it was me that jumbled everything up.

I returned all the 12's and 14's to the "too small" box.  

I sitting here in size 16 sage green cord pants.  Feeling pretty good about myself.  Last year at this time I weighed 22 pounds (at least) more than I do now and I could barely bend over to pull on my socks.  I can see the bones in my ankles.  Feel the bones in my knees (no swelling). And feel and see my hip bones.  No inflammation.  No water retention.  No Soy in my diet. Let's be thankful for that.

At my lowest weight in 2007--I was only wearing a few size 12's and mostly size 14.  I just seem to have a large bone structure.

Reading my way through the Louise Penny series of Chief Inspector Gamache books. (Three Pines). Way, way too much time spent detailing meals.  Artery clogging meals.  Lucky for me--none of the foods described appeal to me.  Scrambled eggs with Brie?  GAG.  Eggs Benedict dripping with hollandaise????  Double gag.  I am enjoying tiny shiny skinned clementines right now.  And the Coconut Chocolate Chip Larabar.  $3.71 for a box of 5 at Target.  I have no idea why this one flavor costs less than all the others.  But I bought a bunch to last until December 24th.  My last day at work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

When It Gets Cold Outside---French Onion Soup

I need to go to the store  tomorrow and get a gigantic bag of onions, bread and good cheese.  And make lots of soup.  G and I adore French Onion.  I always think we'll have enough for two meals--and then we eat all of it in one sitting.  I love the crispy bits stuck to the edges of the bowls.

I read on the internet that the onions can be slow cooked in a crockpot instead of on the stove being monitored for hours.  We'll see.

I spent the entire day at work (today) outside in the blustery cold.  Cutting back perennials.  Happens every year.  No one else will do it. Well, they will but not for longer than 10 to 20 minutes. They all stayed inside in the warmth of the cash registers.  I would rather be anywhere but by the cash registers.  But I cut everything back and now it's ready to be sent back to the "mother ship" to hibernate for the winter.

Winter.  It's coming.  The day it rained, our large blue wheelbarrow filled up with rain water that came off the roof (good spot for a rain barrel) and this morning the water inside was frozen.  Ice chunks.  That's a good signal that I need to get into the garden and clean up my messes.  Plant my garlic and the white daffodils I purchased.  I hauled in another million green peppers.  What was I thinking??????

So, my work for the next four days (off) is set.  If it rains--well, I'll just have to cozy up to the sofa and read--all day.  Here's hoping it rains--at least one whole day out of the four.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


I used to make a pan of biscuits--like anytime G or I were hungry for a "snack".  He never gained weight--but I did.  This image of biscuits being cut--well, it brings back so many memories.  Of early marriage, small babies and toddlers.  No money.  Love.

I baked biscuits the 6 years we lived in Georgia.  No biscuits were baked in Florida-- and there was no love there either.  I'm not sure any biscuits were baked in Illinois or Germany.  That's twelve full years of no biscuits.  I think I've made biscuits here in Maine.  Well, I should hope so in 25 years. But few and far between.  I've baked more pizza here.  More apple crisp.  Lots more chicken soup.

Today I have been very busy in the kitchen.  A big pan of meatballs was roasted in the oven.  Followed by a large butternut squash in cubes.  Roasting now.  On the stove top, a pan of onions, red and green peppers (the garden is still producing peppers) plus four hot frying peppers.  Nice and brown and delicious looking.  In the freezer, another pan of green peppers freezing solid for future chili making (for me--no one else likes it).  Once the squash is "golden brown and delicious" the cast iron pot filled with meatballs and marinara (Trader Joe's) will go in and cook for an hour. Later, during the football game--I will be making pizza with a sourdough crust.  Pepperoni with mushrooms  and onions.  Some red peppers on my side.

We had big rain last night.  Five inches.  Not enough to do much about the severe drought.  But it was nice to hear it pounding on the roof and windows.

I have book 2 to read.  I like reading books in order.  I also promised a young co-worker to show her the felt bee I am making.  So I need to start in on it.  So much advance time goes into the deciding what to do--and the pattern making---and then it goes pretty quickly.  The first paper bee was too thin and looked more like a Christmas Wasp.  This one I am working on is chubby.  More like a bee.  We'll see--and you will see when it is done.

The oven alarm went off.  Time to check the butternut cubes and then slide the meatballs into the oven.  I still have to vacuum and dust.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Before Winter

We are enjoying a very warm, often sunny, Fall day here in Maine.  G is across the street mowing the grass and picking up leaves on the neighbor's front lawn.  I have today and tomorrow off.

I've already done some laundry.  Watered some plants.  Taken bags of compostable things to the compost pile (which will be filled up with the collected leaves and grass from across the street), I have another 50 pages to read in my book.  The next one is waiting for me at the library.

I had to go into the sewing room again last night during the debate.  Could not listen to any more.  Where has common decency gone?

I eventually managed to get enough squares together to make a rectangle.  So many parts and pieces of this "would be quilt top" are missing.  I was going to just make placemats out of the newly reconstructed top, but now I am seeing it as more of a Frankenstein Monster.  Which could work as "art" in 2016.  By not watching the debates I have created a monster (or Zombie).  Of sorts.  It helps that I used black thread to zigzag the squares together.

I am also quite close to starting in on the 2016 felt Christmas ornament.  The Bee.  I found some beige felt in the felt container (for wings) which was hidden under 10 or more other containers in the attic.  Now I have quite a bit of bland felt.  I do need more felt with vibrant colors--I was on Pinterest.
So many really cute ideas to test drive.  Winter projects.

I am going to be at work on Halloween.  Employees are planning to wear costumes.  I don't have a costume.  Never have had one.  No idea of how to create one.  Any ideas?

I ate Rice Krispie treats (too many) yesterday at work and came home with the skin around my eyes burning and itching.  So much for "dust" being the instigator.  I washed my face and then applied Cortizone 10 for Eczema and it calmed down.  In my hunger and boredom crazed mind-- Rice was a safe food and therefore Rice Krispie Treats were also safe.  Well, there is soy.

Also turns out Zyrtec for allergies = weight gain.  An unpleasant side effect of not sneezing and itching.  Note to self:  Pack an extra big lunch.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bread--Essential and Singular--Food

I LOVE bread.  I have been having toasted New York Rye (When Pigs Fly) every other morning for breakfast.  Some days my eyebrows itch, somedays they don't.  My asthma doctor says I don't have a food allergy.  That the days my eyebrows itch is a day when I have breathed in dust.

As much as I would LOVE to believe him--- I really don't want to test his theory by eating bread everyday.  That rash is really awful.  I don't like walking around looking like I got a really bad sunburn all around my eyes.  Like red swollen googles.  And it itches.


If I had to give up pasta to have bread in my life---I would.  Right now I have neither.  Just steamed white Jasmine rice.  Rice pasta was very weird.  Rice flour is like eating sand.  So, just rice.

Politics and Football are making me a real nervous wreck these days.  I had to get up at halftime and make G something to eat (pulled pork and shredded cheddar on a flour tortilla--fried in a frying pan till crispy)  and I pulled out some felt hearts I had kitted up for a class years ago and have already completed three.  I have even added the backing and stuffed them.  Hearts with three leaves in the center then topped with two stacked circles.  All the pieces buttonhole stitched in red or gold.  Now that I have found a good green--the next three will have some green buttonholing.  The completed heart is about 6 inches wide and 6 inches tall.  I have a burgundy and cream one but no felt with which to make the backing.

I had three library books.  But I had read two already (long ago) and the third was only a 7 day loan.  Then I had no books.  Today, G went and picked up one book.  And it's one I haven't read.  Hoorah!!!

Still trying to find an allergy doctor.  Most of them are 60 to 90 minutes away on high speed highways like I95.  And most appointments (I can get) are with a Nurse Practitioner.   My experience with NP's is that they like to try and do everything to you.  Whether you need it or not.  They just want to. And they aren't doctors.  I don't mind seeing them for follow up visits--- when a real doctor has seen me and started a treatment plan.  I have one potential doctor.  But I need my primary to make a referral.  So, I'll be on the phone tomorrow.  My Primary may not like this doctor.  We'll see.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Thread Is Calling Me

I have skeins of beautiful colored threads on the "work" side of the dining room table.  It's getting colder each day and I am ready to settle down to do some stitching.  I have an idea for another Christmas ornament.  A Bee.  Since Bees have become rather important of late.  A Gardener's Tree should have a Bee or two on it.  But that means a trip upstairs to the jumble that is my fabric collection to see if black felt, greenish gold wool and some beige wool exist already--before going shopping.  And I was thinking about making more Santa coats and hats.  To add to Christmas gift packages.  I still have a supply of red and white felt.  And black for the belts.  Perhaps enough black for a few Bees.

I read several blogs where the author/artist is making repetitious lines of patterned thread on a daily basis as a sort of journal.  I have tried this in past years to see what it was like.  It doesn't work for me.  I have to actually be "making" something--otherwise it speaks only of wasting time and materials and I can only do that for a short while before becoming disenchanted.  Never mind that they install these items in shows. I often wonder what the early stitchers (in Time) would think of this?

The things early stitchers made were almost always made for utility.  Now we make things that have no useful life.  Perhaps this trend began with Samplers.  They had no "use" other than to show the skill of the Maker.  And then, of course there were the embroidered collars, cuffs etc of the Kings and Queens.  So, perhaps, the making of things that have no practical use other than to show the skill of the maker is actually part of the history of Stitch.  But long, long strips of the same repeated stitch???
What do you think?

I have an unfinished Charity Quilt that was started with donated blocks during my term as President of my Quilt Chapter.  I was given the blocks (to sew with borders) into a top.  I did that.  then a few volunteers basted the quilt sandwich and even started hand quilting.  Then all work stopped.  And the project was folded into a bag and stored.  I was going to quilt it.  But the donated batting is puffy so not suited to machine quilting.  Then I thought  I would "big stitch" quilt it by hand.  Going along fine until G noticed the four rail fence blocks that looked like swastikas.  I added appliqué to hide the symbol in three but the fourth resolutely stays visible.  No group would be happy to get the quilt for an auction.  So now what do I do with it?  Basted.  One third tightly handquilted.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Possibility Of Eating Eggs

I need PROTEIN.  My diet is now 95% vegetables, fruits and the smallest amount of wheat and dairy.
I am starting to feel cold all the time (like G) and not very "vigorous" when it comes to doing heavy lifting at work or at home.  G bought me chicken tenders.  They weren't good.  Ham and cheese "roll ups" are okay but if I have them too often--acid reflux.  Actually, anything too often causes acid reflux.  I am such a delicate thing.  LOL

I'm thinking a nice fried egg on top of whatever else I am eating?  Will it be safe????

I have been using up the red peppers from the garden.  Sauteed with onion, kale and some roasted Delicate squash half moons.  Over rice. White rice--brown = acid reflux.  Lunch has been Romaine lettuce, red cabbage, carrots and EVOO with Balsamic.  No weight loss.  I am holding steady at the exact same number (over three months now).  So--protein for the "not so interested in meat" person I am.  Can have a Noosa yogurt once or twice in the same week with no problems.  Not two days in a row.  I feel like a science experiment gone wrong.

Now that we are drifting faster and faster into cold weather (G wants the furnace on), I am going to give oatmeal a trial.  If the rash or acid reflux comes back--then I am done with Oatmeal and it's more delicious sister Granola.

Oh--I had a doctor's appointment today--my numbers for the dust?  Off the charts.  REALLY allergic to dust.  My Primary Care doctor looked at the numbers and said "pffft...everyone is bothered by dust".  The Pulmonary Doctor looked and said "we have a real problem here".  I mean, I could actually stop breathing.  For good.  And I would miss writing to all of you!!!  My chest hurts just thinking about it.