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.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

And Finally Season Five Of Longmire

I was afraid they were just going to stop making this series.  But it's SO GOOD.  I grew up watching Westerns on my Grandmother's black and white.  Grandma loved Barbara Stanwick.  She was the grand dame of a Western cowboy family.  When my grandmother departed Europe at 16 and arrived in America, not speaking any English, ---well, we never talked about how difficult that was.  But she dove headfirst into "American Ways".  Soap operas and Westerns, once television was invented.

Longmire is something my grandmother would have enjoyed.  Not so much the modern psycho killers but the long stares and few words.

And it's back.  G and I will have to set aside a snowy Winter weekend to binge watch the new season.

Today we are enjoying "some" rain.  Not much, but everything is wet.  On the surface.

Yesterday I watered my green pepper plants (they were looking wilted) using water from the water barrel in the garden, pulled the green bean plants out of the garden, pulled up the bolted lettuces, snapped off a big bunch of kale leaves to cook, wished there were more beets.  I harvested another 10 to 18 peppers.  I sure did have an amazing "pepper" year.  I also picked another cup or two of raspberries.  I now have a full quart in the freezer.  Need to find a whole milk, non-Greek yogurt--that isn't soupy so I can start having fruit and yogurt again for lunch. Especially when red grapefruit from Texas is back in the stores.

It's been too "chilly" to be making smoothies.  But I have so much fruit in the freezer than I need to be making something out of it.  Yes, I do know people drink smoothies year round.  People at work are eating ice cream bars--and we are wearing three layers of clothing.  Not me--but only because soy is listed in the ingredients on each and every bar.

Riley had a dog friend stay with us yesterday.  A one year old.  Riley is exhausted.  He slept in until 9am (usually up at 5am) and then went right back to sleep.  Aine really wore him out.  G and I ended up overfeeding the pup (accidentally).  So, her owner assures us we will be her favorite dog sitters--forever.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Extreme Drought Conditions In Maine.

We are experiencing something for the very first time.  since moving here to Maine in 1991--there has always been enough ground water--due to heavy snowpack in the Winter months.  Last winter was what we Mainers called an "open winter" meaning the ground was bare most of the time.  No snow pack.  And now no water in the many wells that families use.

We have Town water.  But it too, may, at some point, run dry.

G and I are thinking of getting some rain barrels for next year.  Storing rain water that runs off the roof--if and when it rains.  Any readers have experience with rain barrels?

Today was sunny and 72 here in Maine.  There have been enough frosty nights to turn our trees yellow, orange and red.  When the sun shines--it's really amazing.  Everything glowing.  Pumpkins are everywhere as are the Pumpkin Lattes.  The only pumpkin thing I like is pumpkin pie.

My cold is just about gone.  Still coughing and a bit tired but I have the weekend to rest up before next week at work.  I spent time on the couch.  Reading two entire mysteries.  Watching Storage Wars in a sort of "binge".  Watching Project Runway.  Watching Worst Cooks in America.  Love it when their frying pans catch fire.  This week they had to clean and cut up chicken livers to make a ragu sauce.  UGH.  I will NEVER do that.  And I also slept--waking only when the dog pushed his nose into my arm--to wake me up.  Remind me that he hadn't been served his luncheon.

We haven't had a "real" meal in about two weeks.  Since the stuffed cabbage.  G heats up something or makes a sandwich.  I cook rice and eat it with zucchini butter or chopped tomatoes (still have tomatoes) or I have yogurt.  We are both eating Noosa yogurt.  It's not Greek processed so not as acidic.  I just wish it came in a 4 cup container--plain.  There are always new flavors.  Some good--some weird-Peach habanero.

I haven't made any homemade Larabars.  Still trying to figure out which one is my favorite.  The coconut cream pie was very nice as was the chocolate coconut chew--but I think that one may have set off the eczema on my eye brows.  Apple pie is good.  Carrot cake was yummy but today--it just didn't do it for me.  I still haven't tried the Chocolate Brownie.  I may try the Samoa.  That's my favorite Girl Scout cookie.  And it has to be "my favorite" if I make a batch--of 10 or 12.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

I Have A Cold

This happens.  When I am away from the public for any extended time and then "re-enter", I pick up all sorts of germs.  There is a "cold" going around where I work (teenagers and college students).  Now I have it.  Stuffy nose, cough, stuffed up head, chills.  If it's the flu--more fool am I.  I refused the flu shot.  But the timing was such--I would be sick anyway.

The Oil Company plumber is downstairs working on the piping to the hall radiator.  We are hoping a change of "venue" for the pipes will result in a warmer hallway.  It's pretty noisy.  So no napping until he is done-- especially when the soldering of the pipes sets off the fire alarm.  That was exciting.

G is going to work.  Riley has had his walk.  I am here with a book to read and Netflix to watch. My rhubarb pie turned out to be very "tart".  Delicious but needing a bit more sugar.  I may just sprinkle the pie with the additional sugar.  And the pie was delightfully ruby red.  So often, rhubarb is green. Turns out the stuff I am growing (finally) is going to be very red.

Well, it's time for more DayQuil.  Every four hours.  And it makes me sleepy.  G promises to remember to buy green NightQuil so I can sleep tonight.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Thinking About Making A Rhubarb Custard Pie

Nice and old fashioned.  And I do enjoy making and rolling out a good pie crust.  I have quite a bit of sliced rhubarb in the porch freezer.  I'm going to get up and take 4 cups of frozen rhubarb out of the freezer--right now--and then come back and tell you about my day yesterday.

Okey dokey.  I had forgotten how good the rhubarb was this year.  Nice and red.  Going to be a wonderful pie.

Yesterday at work, I taught Bulb Planting twice.  I only expected to teach in the morning.  But a bunch of people showed up for the 2 pm "class".  I tried very hard to stay within the one hour timeframe.  But they kept asking questions.  So, we went over in both classes.

Midpoint a woman who had stopped by at the 10by10 Art Sale on Friday to say she was "coming to see me tomorrow at work" stopped in.  Last year I had pruned and sprayed and tried with all my might to save a sickly Hibiscus that was a favorite of her recently deceased husband.  Customers come to me with more than just plants.  Sometimes it weighs heavily on me.  Emotionally.

Well, she did come to the store and asked me to come out to the car to "see" the plant.  Trepidation.  My goodness--I was nervous.  And then we opened the car door and this gloriously leafed out, healthy, Hibiscus greeted me.  I was so happy I teared up.  So did she.  We hugged.  It was just about the nicest thing to happen to me in a long time.  There have been so many "nice" things happening since I came back to work.  I am truly grateful.

My two entries into that 10by10 sale on Friday?  They both sold.  I was gobsmacked with surprise and joy.  All at the same time.  Truly grateful.

Life is good right now.  I wish my eyes would stop watering--but that's small beans as a co-worker often says.  Now--on to the pie crust and the pie.  And the Patriots game at 1 pm.