Monday, February 27, 2017

Mending & Moving Forward

Yesterday I packed up my favorite cashmere pullover (the one with the newly discovered hole in the sleeve) and got the salt crusted car out of the garage and drove (yes, me driving) to Joann's for something to use to attach the patch to the sweater.

I worked my way through the entire working staff of employees.  None, but the last one, knew anything about the yarn wall.  The commonality of answers were "it's all mixed together".  Wool? All mixed in with the others.  Sock yarn?  All mixed in and we don't have much of it.  Thin yarn?  Mixed in with the others.  My right eye started to twitch.

Finally they went to the cutting table and called over a Veteran.  B and I decided--since it was cashmere, that the best solution was a very large patch, on the outside, not inside and attached with a very tiny buttonhole stitch.  Then we went looking for a spool of thread that would be invisible. Perfect match.  We were successful.  The large patch covers the hole and the entire "worn, thin etc" spot.  B (the veteran) decided it was best to make a patch look like a patch.  Go Big.

I had been thinking "wabi sabi".  But that would have merely looked LUMPY. I am rethinking the patches I installed (awful) in the off white cashmere turtleneck.  I can go "big" with a buttonhole stitch.

Sunday didn't go as planned.  No meals were served.  No takeout. Panini grilled cheese sandwiches.  I watched Longmire on Netflix until Netflix shut down service at 9 pm.  About 6 episodes.  I think it was a TiVo problem but the entire television was acting up.  So then we started reading our books.  Then we had dessert.  G had coffee and banana bread and I had three chocolate covered grahams, tea and two Benadryl.  My eyes were itching. (the atmosphere in the living room "felt" and"smelled" dusty and I am allergic to dust.

G is working today pruning apple trees.  The Redwings are looking to make nests so it's time to prune apple trees here in Maine.  Riley has gone along as my friend, the Boss, is bringing her dog.  Big property on the Kennebec.  Lots of space to run and bark.

I planted the soaked peas seeds to make little "salad shoots" and G brought three of the potted Clivia downstairs--the three have flower stalks coming along.  Don't want to  miss out on the pretty flowers this year.  I am trying to decide on the timing to start my jar of bean sprouts for the March 8th class. I asked G to bring home some branches from the apple trees to use for an Easter Tree.

I haven't had an Ester Tree here in the house in YEARS.  While upstairs looking for yarn for my sweater and commercial hand dyed fabrics--I found the box of German Easter Tree Ornaments. Now to find out when Easter arrives.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tidying Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Going thru your things.  Deciding.  Like "Sophie's Choice"--which beloved item stays and which goes.  It was easy with the pantry cupboard.  Use by dates are a pretty good indicator of who goes and who stays.

People probably have an unseen genetic "use by" date.  Someday we will know what day that is and live accordingly.  Use the good silver everyday and give away the stainless.  Use the good china. Wear the good underwear any time we want. Live our lives totally different from the way we do--thinking we have forever.... (My weekly acupuncture is driving the introspection--cleaning out and discarding expired emotions and past mistakes)

Anyway, the pantry is done.  And the next to the sink supplies cupboard has been cleaned up.  I thought the placemat and napkin drawers were finished but they seem to have disorganized themselves---- or replicated the discarded items.

The linen closet and the bathroom supplies cupboard are next.

I have finished reading all the Longmire books.  The newest one will be available in September 2017.
I am feeling like my best friend unfriended me.  If I don't return to work pretty soon--I will start watching the television series of Longmire on Netflix.  I've seen them already but I'll be happy to watch all five seasons again.

My ice dyeing wasn't a great success.  The fabrics all look muddy and faded.  Dirty colors.  I will return to painting fabric with cheap acrylic paints.  They don't wash out or fade or look dirty.  If washed, they aren't even stiff.  Once the dyed stuff is dry, I'll go back in with acrylics and darken, brighten areas.  Next time, I will just put the dye and fabric in sandwich bags and let it sit in the snow.

I will need to go back upstairs and find the box of hand dyed fabrics I collected/purchased.

Today's Purchase:  Well, delivery-- by post office.  My two new sweaters.  I hope I don't hate  them.

Today's Smoothie: will be made using the Turmeric tubers.  Fresh pineapple, lemon or orange, mango and 2 inches of peeled fresh turmeric.  I can add ginger and black peppercorns if I want.

Today's Gardening: I have soaked peas that I am going to plant to grown pea sprouts for the gardening indoors class I am teaching at the library in March.  I also have  the root end of a bunch of celery growing in a little glass jar.  And some sprouted onions growing in a small amount of water.  The root end of a head of Romaine wasn't fresh enough to grow.  I have to try again with another. I didn't buy any scallions yesterday at the grocery to try grown the root ends in water.

Today's Baking:  A very large pan of "Almost French" Granola for my daughter.  It's really Mueslix. I had the list of ingredients with me yesterday so I could get them after acupuncture. It's granola with chocolate chips.  Seems she can have it on Eat to Live.  I had to find the "good kind" of chocolate chips--sugar and additive free and organic oats, almonds and coconut flakes.

Today's Visit To The Attic:  Commercial dyed fabrics and watering the geraniums, Clivia and the Cymbidium orchids overwintering in the 40 degree, sun filled upstairs bedroom/bath. Also hoping something up there has decided to produce a flowering stem.  Talking to you Clivia and Orchid.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Riley- Under The influence

Riley is such a "delicate" dog.  The Vet thinks he may be "normal" by Saturday.  Yesterday he spent the day making this odd squeaking noise--we thought it might be pain related.  It wasn't.  Just annoying said the Vet.  He squeaked throughout the Vet visit.

Riley went for a walk.  Decided mid-day to eat something.  Then ate the remainder of his meals. Took a very long nap--no squeaking.  And then at 10:30 pm vomited twice--once on a hand hooked wool rug and once on the hardwood floor.  Vast amounts.  Incredible volume.

And he barked.

Hadn't barked since he got home form the ultra sound.  Not even for the backing up oil truck.  Or the FedEx man.  No more squeaking.  Now out for another walk.  Snow on the ground is melting.  50 degrees up here in Maine.  For a couple days.  Squishy.

I have a container outdoors.  Ready to dye fabric scrunched with Procion dry dyes sprinkled over and then topped with a shovel full of snow.  It's been 24 hours.  I could wait longer as the snow hasn't melted all the way even though yesterday it was 50 degrees and didn't go to freezing over night.  I would think the dyes would just quit working after awhile but I could be wrong as I haven't ever used them.  Too intimidated.  Any ideas on when to see what happened in the tub?  Where do I pour out the snow water and dyes?  I'm on septic.

I am "tidying" the dry goods cupboard.  An antique walnut cupboard I purchased long ago.  It might be over 100 years old now.  We added shelves (but didn't change the structure) and I use it as a pantry.  I had stuff from my Atkins Diet days.  Ground almond flour from 2012.  Now in the compost bucket.  I am looking at expiration dates.  Sorting and gathering things that "go together" and thinking of recipes I might make with the stuff.  If no recipes come to mind--less likely to stay in the cupboard.

I dropped off a hexagon block Grandmother's Garden quilt for the library to use in a Hexagon display. It's original and hand quilted.  Now I am wondering if some antique buff will try and steal it?  I gave safe instructions for the hanging of it.  So it won't get "stressed".  Guess what--in searching for a hexagon in my stack of antique quilts--- I had no idea (none at all) that I even owned this one.  And it is very nice indeed.  One inch hexes.  And from what I learned--not worth much anymore.  I tried to sell two other vintage ones last winter and the possible buyers wanted them to "cut up into pillows" for retail sales and wanted to pay as little as possible for the "yardage" as they put it.  Sad.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Riley Had An Ultrasound This Morning

He was still gagging even with the PepcidAC so the vet asked if she could practice her ultrasound  techniques (for a reduced fee) and check out Riley's liver for a tumor.

So, this morning Riley went in (without breakfast) and he's on his way home now.  There are NO tumors anywhere ( I guess she had him asleep so why not practice on all his organs).  It's a VERY GOOD day here at my house.  He'll be on antibiotics for awhile to hopefully stop whatever is happening in his liver (hepatitis-like things?).  Another blood test in 6 weeks.  Our vet says she's always happy when there is no tumor.  Me, too.  Riley will be ten on April 4th.

My daughter is finding Eat For Life to be a good fit for her.  She has lost 20 pounds since New Years Day and looks wonderful.  I am still trying to get used to her not being blonde.  She is trying to find new recipes to make with the new vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.  Pulled Pork was on her mind this morning.  Subbing in squashes.  I didn't think the texture would work.  Anyone out there have any ideas?  Tofu is NOT an option. She is loving a Roasted Head of Cauliflower with Peanut Sauce right now.

I am ALWAYS perplexed by avid vegetarian/vegans trying to replicate meat recipes.  Why?  You are making a moral decision not to eat (or wear) animal products but you want to eat "fake bacon"?  Soy "meat" crumbles?  Seitan turkey?  Cashew cheese?  I stand by the Vegan freezer cases at the grocery and just feel like I will never understand.

"Today's Purchase"- A Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel.

"Today's Reading"- Junkyard Dogs.  Dark Horse yesterday.

"Today's Interest"- Snow Dye-ing of fabric.  I have to see if I have any soda ash.  I do have jars of Procion dyes that I never have used.  I do have PLENTY of SNOW available. I also have a package of indigo.  I think I have a box of latex gloves.  And a mask.  Sounds like I might be able to do some dye-ing.

I will now send an email to any daughter--Portobello mushrooms might just be the thing for "faux pulled pork"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Reading Until Four In The Morning

Riley likes to chase deer out of the yard.  But he barks.  So they are long gone before he can get to them.  Not as many deer as in the first years we lived here.  But that was before we fenced in a vegetable garden.

My milk jugs tipped over.  Mostly (sadly) the Native Maine Perennials.  Sigh.  Well, I can "fix" them so will have to hope for a "native" and "natural" germination inside the mixed up jugs.  The soil all clumped to one side.  Who knows where the tiny seeds are now---top, bottom, midsection.

Reading.  I started Cold Dish.  Could. Not. Stop.  Read into the wee hours of morning.  I don't feel tired.  Feel rather perky in fact.  I'll crash and burn later in the afternoon.  The first book in the Longmire series and the plot hints at all the stories to come.  I mean this first book actually has the plot lines of all the books right there in book one.  Not the murders.  But the character plot lines. It's like having your palm read.  You get the general idea of what's coming.  There were a few "facts" in book one that would have helped me quite a bit while reading the other books.

One was that Walt's wife was merely "fond" of him.  In the Longmire Netflix series, Walt is carrying the torch for his beloved (but murdered) wife most of the time.  But I guess he could have loved her--it just wasn't mutual.  Also, Lucien's nephew (Branch in the Netflix series) is Turk in the book and a royal pain in the butt who moves on to the Highway patrol and is never heard from again in the books.

 Today's Purchase: G purchased the wrong mouthwash.  So Today's Purchase will be a return and then a purchase of zero alcohol mouthwash.

I have finished off all the food that was "just mine" in the fridge.  I had the last of the roasted beets for dinner last night.  And today G wants me to get busy eating the vanilla yogurt before it expires (how would you know?).  I made some hummus to eat with all the carrots in the fridge.  I went a bit crazy buying carrots.  I also have salad to eat.  And eat.  And eat.

Today's Smoothie:  Not making one and having a big salad instead.  I could throw all the salad parts into the Vitamix and make a green smoothie.  But green tastes best with pineapple and I don't have one right now.  I could add it to Today's Purchase.

Yesterday's Missed Opportunity:  I didn't know we were marching for "Not My President" on President's Day.  I want a shirt that says this.  Are they available????

Monday, February 20, 2017

Windowsill Gardening

That was the subject of the class I taught at work last Saturday.

The Problems we need to overcome with indoor gardening in Winter are the dry heat in the house, the lack of strong sunlight through the windows and the great problems with "overwatering" which is usually brought on by boredom with Winter and a full watering can and a plant owner wandering around the house.

My one word of advice:  In Winter you CAN put plants in the South and West windows.  the sun in Winter is at it's weakest and even the full sun windows facing SOUTH won't burn your plants.  As we get closer to Spring--well, move them.

Here in Maine we are having warm sunny days and below freezing nights.  So---lots of ice build up over night.  Morning walks to the mailbox and evening walks out with the dog---pretty slippery.

I used the sunny Springlike day yesterday to fill my milk jugs with soil and seeds.  I used old "stick on" restaurant menu board signage numbers to identify each jug.  Last year the Sharpie pen words faded.  The ID sticks got wet and faded.  And as any gardener knows--all seedlings look alike.  So, for the remainder of the growing season in the jugs---I was mystified.

I ran out of numbers (these were leftover sheets) so some jugs are 3,4,5,6 etc. and others are 34, 43, 53 or better still 99.  99 was also 66.  I had no ones or twos and quickly ran out of 3's..  They are out in a snowbank.  It pretty sunny in the snowbank location so they will stay there until it melts.

I "milk jugged" mostly perennials that need cold stratification.  A freeze period to get them into the mood to germinate.  I'll plant up vegetable seeds next month--which will be a first for me.  And I'll need to be even more inventive with the remaining stick on numbers.  Possibly three digits of  threes and fours.

"Today's Purchase" will be mouth wash.

"Today's Book" will be Cold Dish the very first Longmire book in the series of 17.

"Today's Tidying" will be more using up of things in the refrigerator.  I find it a challenge to make a meal out of the things that seem to linger in the fridge these days.  G and I do not have what I would call regular meals.  He eats "part" of something and leaves what isn't enough for a meal.

I did discover making a sauce out of vegetable stock, oil and flour (a gravy of sorts) and then adding in all the little bits --made something that, while not anything you would make on purpose--is, was pretty okay to eat---with added cheese on top.

"Today's Cooking Tip" will be to always have celery, onions and carrots.  Add anything else and you have soup.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beautiful Snow

This is the way I like it. and, lucky for me, this is what I have the pleasure of seeing outside my windows.  Yesterday and Today.  The temperatures are in the 50's so I have the furnace turned off and the windows opened.  Fresh air in the house.

Today's smoothie:  Frozen banana chunks, frozen mango, fresh pineapple, frozen raspberries plus a tiny bit of honey, about 10 ounces of water and 1 cup of organic raw cashews for creamy-ness. I didn't add the usual 4 ounces of yogurt.  I have two 10 ounce jar/glasses.  One for today and one to drink at work tomorrow.

Today's Housework: Vacuum the entire house, open windows, wash all throw rugs, wash windows that the dog has nose printed.  I should attempt floor washing but it would just be dirty 20 minutes later.  So, I will hold back on that until we stop wearing snow boots.  Perhaps wait till after Mud Season (when snow melts).

Today's Reading:  Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson.  Don't have many left to read and I am sad about that. For the past few weeks, Walt Longmire has been my best friend and companion.  And I will miss his company.  As I miss Chief Inspector Gamache and his company.

Today's Purchase:  Usually the "today's purchase" involves groceries.  But today it was two on sale cashmere sweaters.  One shale gray and one black.  Boxy with a loose turtleneck that I can collapse down into the shawl collar that I prefer.  I refuse to buy "on line", so when I saw the 800 number at the top of the page--I grabbed the phone and my credit card.  On Monday I purchased seeds for summer vegetables.  $35.  I am hoping they arrive today.  So I can look at them and dream of summer garden days.

Today's Thoughts:  I wonder if we all tweeted at the exact same minute--could we collapse the system?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Winter Milk Jug Seed Starting

Today is the day.  It's 40 degrees and we are expecting another 12 to 18 inches of snow.  The 40 degrees gives us a good chance to have ice build up under the new snow.  Why not make it more difficult to get around???

Anyway--perfect timing for my milk jug seed planting.  The jugs can sit in the snow bank left of the back stoop and then be covered in snow.  This is the idea behind starting seeds in Winter weather. It sounds "nuts" but would you prefer to set up shop lights, heating mats, tray of seeds and then seedlings all needing light, water and good luck to survive.  Or would you prefer to just fill up milk jugs with soil, sprinkle seeds and set them outside?

I didn't think it would work.

So, I tried it last Winter.  Got the most amazingly sturdy little seedlings.  Even perennials. Even perennial grasses.  Now the ones we'll be starting today are the perennials and seeds that should be started 8 to 10 weeks prior to the last frost.  NOT tomatoes and peppers.

Go on line and type in Milk Jug Seed Starting to see details and pictures.

I am starting Salvia (Blue Victoria), Rosemary (which is very slow to germinate), Verbena Bonariensis, English Lavender (zone 5), Lavender Provence Blue (zone 5), Zebrune shallots, Yellow onions, Camellia Flowered Balsam, Verbascum.  I like to grow the perennials and then share the plants with friends.

I also have some Native Maine seeds to try out: Closed Gentian, Black Elderberry, Boneset, Virginia Bower Clematis and Blood-root.

G has drilled drainage holes in 20  gallon sized milk jugs for me (four in the bottoms and four more about 2 inches around the sides of the jugs.  I will then cut the tops of the jugs open, leaving the handle portion connected like a flip top.

This makes it easy to check inside the jugs to see if they need watering or if the seeds have sprouted.  Also on warm sunny days, the tops can be left open and then closed as the day gets cooler or for the evening.  These days of being opened to the sun and breezes makes the little seedlings very sturdy.  Because they are getting real sunlight not the manufactured light indoors.  Also it's cooler.  And seedlings do not grow well in "too warm" room temps.

But the real reason I am doing this a second year---it's so much easier.  

Well, now that I have the jugs I have to start cutting the tops open (but not the portion with the handle).

After filling with damp soil, seeds (read the package to see if seeds need to be covered or just lay on top of the soil) 
marking the jug with the name of the seeds inside----- Use industrial sharpie pens.
I will then seal the jugs closed with duct tape and set them outside.  
Oh, remove the top cap.  that way snow and rain can go inside.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

From My Heart To Yours

It may be cold and snowy but there were enough pink and red flowers at work to make anyone's day special.  Happy Valentine greetings from my heart to yours, Dear Readers.

My life would be so much richer (I think) if I had had an outfit like this to wear to school on Valentine's Day.

And do you remember the Valentine Boxes we made at school with paste (lots) construction paper and doilies.  For the "Valentines" from our classmates.  That was a rough and tearful time for some of us who found few or no cards in our boxes.  When my kids were  sending Valentines --it was one for everyone or none.  So much nicer.

Monday, February 13, 2017

And It Snowed For 24 Hours

We  (G) are digging out.  I tried helping with the front porch and the back stoop.  But my asthma kept me from completing either job.  Riley got hit in the head with my shovel as I turned into him.  He forgave me and then expected a treat.  I had none.  The lack of the treat was more of an insult to his gentle sensitivities than the wack in the head.

I like to have the spaces in front of doors cleared--in case we need to make an emergency exit.

We are having plow trucks going down the street.  Riley is like a three year old human.  Truck!!!! Truck!!!!!! and he needs to "go out"  and see it.  Then he needs to pee.  A bit difficult in 24 inch or deeper drifts.  So he has to "circle his wagons" and make a spot for his business.

I don't think anything is open today here in Maine.  No newspaper.  No mail.  No school.  No work (for my daughter) and they were kind enough to cancel Monday work on Sunday morning so employees wouldn't have to worry about shoveling out and road conditions on Monday.

Tomorrow I go into work and "help" out with Valentine's Day plant selections and phone orders. I will also do some re-potting if customers buy plants and pots.  I think a potted flowering plant with roots is a far nicer gift that cut flowers.  Lasts longer and brings more cheer to a Winter season.

My paperwhites are in blossom right now--shorter than usual due to a generous glug of Russian vodka.  Real Russian vodka.  And they aren't as fragrant (stinky) as usual.  Very nice.

My amaryllis that over-summered in the garden (and then were left to dry out and then repotted indoors) are making leaves.  So still alive.  But they aren't making any flowers yet.  If I remember correctly, most of them made flowers while in the vegetable garden bed.  Lots of whites and a few pink and red.  It's possible none of them will flower in the house.  The geraniums up in the 40 degree extra attic bedroom are still making flowers.  Leaves are green.  I am remembering to water them whenever I go up there searching for yarn, solid cottons or fabric to send to Connie.  I am even watering the Clivia.  Leaves are nice.  No flower stems.  The orchids in the bathtub are nice and healthy--no flowers stems.  Cymbidium.  A gift from a fellow gardener.

The two fig trees are up there also.  40 degrees and they aren't getting watered.  I don't want them to "break bud" too early.  Last year they did and had leaves and were looking splendid and I had them out on the front porch and we had a sudden overnight freeze.  I am not making that stupid mistake again.  Put the fig ripening too late and most stayed green.  No preserves.

I have milk jugs to plant with seeds.  I have a vegetable seed order to call in.  Looking forward to better weather and summer.  Snow is the best fertilizer for the garden.  The sun is shining. It's all good.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter Storm Approaching

Last call to get out to the grocery store, gas station (for generator gas) and, in my case, the library if it was open today.  It isn't.

We are set to get TWO  FEET of snow today and some freezing rain.  Power outages are a sure thing.
I have a Bundt Cake in the oven.  Double dark chocolate with Kahlua.  No nuts this time.  In fact, I am crossing them off the recipe as I don't want to make that mistake a second time.  Like finding small pebbles in your cake.

I have 1/3rd of a Longmire book to read.  Others have been ordered but haven't arrived for pickup.  Here in Maine I use the interlibrary loan system.  Our Town Library doesn't seem as interested in "keeping" books.  They buy new and get rid of any book that hasn't been checked out in 5 years.  Now, If, like me, you discover an author late. .......well, other more book loving libraries in the state will provide.

So, I think I will go looking for a sewing project or I can begin "thinking" about how to repair my sweater's sleeve.......a Reader has sent me a link to a possible solution.  I need to study the pictures. And see if I can work out what they are doing--I do not know knitting language and words.  I am still stunned that my favorite sweater in the whole world has a hole in it.

Buzzer going off.  Cake is ready to be poked to see if it's done.

I may not have electricity to fire up the computer for awhile.  But I'll report back as soon as I can.  My boss called me at home (surprise) to see if I was going to show up for work on Tuesday.  I said YES!!!  He said "GREAT--We need your cheerfulness" (smiling)

Friday, February 10, 2017

These Charming Primrose Say Spring To Me

Even when we are 12 inches deep in snow and the full moon is making it seem colder than 15 degrees.  Another storm coming.  We are into a 6 week cycle of storms and 50 degree days.  Up, Down, Repeat.

My friend brought over the Native Maine seed packets I ordered.  And the Winter weather will co-operate for once and provide cold and snow for the stratification process.  One of the seeds-Boneset--takes two full years to actually germinate.  I wonder if I have the patience.

I have four more Longmire books ordered from various libraries around the State Of Maine.  Let it snow!  I also got rid of the remaining Gingerbread Cake.  And mine didn't taste like hers because she used candied ginger and I use fresh grated ginger.  Quite a bit of difference.

I purchased a warm, just baked, Sourdough Boule after acupuncture.  And a bunch of kale, some lettuce and some cheese.  Also some buttermilk to use in a loaf or two of Irish soda Bread with Cognac soaked raisins.  I'm thinking of serving it to the class I'm teaching on Saturday.  Or to employees on Valentine's Day.  Working then also.  Who needs it most??????

Acupuncture.  I am really getting something out of it.  Today I saw colors again--only they were swirling like in the cosmos.  Mostly cobalt blue today.  That's a good "cleansing" color in Chinese medicine I gather.  Removing toxins.  I am feeling less "toxic" after every visit.  Smiling more-- and at peace with myself, my life and just about everything.

G filled the bird feeders. Birds are really packing in the seeds right now--trying to stay warm.  We are trying to stay warm, too.

I discovered the elbow portion of my best-est favorite grey cashmere sweater has a big hole  and a very thin spot.  I was beyond sad.  I never expect my favorite stuff to wear out.  I did purchase another (almost the same grey) cashmere sweater at Goodwill this summer--only it had ¾ sleeves.  So I am thinking of cutting off a sleeve and using that to patch the worn out and hole-y elbow.  Until I found that sweater in the bottom of the sweater drawer--I was thinking of buying a cashmere men's sock.  Using that.  And saving the second sock for the other sleeve.  Now I am thinking of making the donor sweater into a sleeveless VEST SWEATER.  How cute would that be?  I would feel so Metro.

I will be visiting the internet to see how to cut and sew cashmere knits so they don't unravel. If any of my crafty Readers have hints---please share and "Save the Sweater".

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Found That Second Dandelion Picture

Yesterday it snowed most of the day.  Light fluffy snow.  Not heavy wet snowman snow.  And now we are waiting for the extra-ordinary (for February in Maine) rain and 50 degrees which will melt everything for a few hours before the Thursday storm drops 12 inches of snow on us. If things work out in the worst possible way (likely)--the wet rain will freeze before it snows.  So that we get the maximum potential for slick, ice covered streets and roads.  Have  I mentioned recently how much I hate ice.  I'll take however much snow that we can get (dry wells this summer) but someone else can have the ice.  Someone who needs ice for ice houses and skating.

I made a second bowl of powdered sugar lemon juice icing for my gingerbread cake.  Still not enough sweet to go with the dense molasses cake.  And even the 4 T of fresh grated ginger is smothered in the molasses.  I don't like molasses.  It tastes old, muddy and even burnt to me.  It was a fresh jar. Next time I make this cake (to get it right) I am using dark corn syrup.  Now that I have ruined a very promising cake and before that a very promising pot of yellow eye baked beans with traditional molasses--I am done.  If a recipe calls for molasses--I'm not making it.

I sorted my 5 a Day items on the pantry shelves yesterday.  I took all the Larabars out of their boxes and now have them in a nice one gallon jar.  I also put all the raw almonds into another jar.  I moved more clean empty jars to the drawer next to the stove.  I still have more nuts and dried fruits to organize.  Or use to make more Larabar knockoff balls.  All this organizing filled up the recycle bucket with cardboard etc.  I am also shredding mail etc and have a nice bag of paper for the compost pile plus a very large and very dead poinsettia which has dropped all it's leaves on the couch.

I looked through my bags of wool yarn and don't have the right "width?" for doing a small not-hooked rug.  I kind of enjoyed the repair work on my friends rug and was thinking of making something if I actually had everything I needed here in the house.  I don't.  And I refuse to buy any supplies anywhere but Goodwill.  Perhaps in the "sweet spot" of 50 degrees today I can get out of the house and see what sort of yarn is available.  I threw bleach on a few black fabrics I found in the attic--no luck getting white.  All of them bleach to rusty orange.  I got white on the very first black I ever tried this on-- what a gorgeous piece to work with--years ago.  I have all the pieces I made with it--still wonderful to look at.  That black came for a scrap pile at my quilt guild meeting. UFO.

Well, I've been up a long time--and still haven't had breakfast.  Riley wants to go out to get the paper.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Using My Car to Print Intaglio Plates

I saw something on another blog and I will be going to fetch it--to show you--as soon as I am reminded as to where it is located.  If I am remembering it correctly it is opposite of this photo.  The flowers are made up of millions of black French knots and the background in a dirty white.  Sort of like intaglio.  And I love intaglio.  I was very good at making etching plates in college.  An A grade for every semester I took intaglio printing.

IF buying a press was something the average person could do and if having the very toxic and hard to clean up inks around was not a danger to my lungs then the acids for etching etc would be.  I had wondered, in a MacGyver sort of way if I could print etchings by driving my car tires over the plate and paper and blanket layers--- many many times to pull a good print.

This is how my mind works.

Instead I think I will use fabric and make French knots and see how it goes. I will use a black, white and washed out grey white for the colors.

Today I had a coffee date with my walking buddy.  Too cold out for me to walk.  My lungs react badly to breathing in cold air.  To cheer myself up, I purchased a chocolate croissant.  Yummy. And so full of chocolate--not like the skimpy one I got at Whole Foods.  Right here in my town.  Now to see how long I can stay away from them..........

I went to look for the other image and I don't have it.

We finished watching the "explicit" variation of Good Behavior from TNT.  Why are the cable networks so stuck on 10 episodes per season????  Now we wait until November I guess for season two.  "Explicit" was much like listening to my work colleagues talking to each other.  The language and subject matter is/was shocking for my ancient ears.  But, sadly, familiar.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Words To Live By

I am just recovering from a meltdown of sorts regarding the picture file for this blog.  It wouldn't open as I had "clicked" a few times in the wrong places.  I have been drinking coffee with caffeine.
I usually drink decaf.  G opened it and it worked.  I don't know why it worked for him but--hey, I'm happy.

My lung doctor recommended a shot of caffeine if I was ever in distress (breathing) and didn't have my rescue inhaler.  So........I thought I would try regular ingestions of caffeine to see if it opened/relaxed my breathing apparatus.  It does.  In and out breaths are easier and deeper.

I am a bit (ha) busier than usual.  But I only have caffeine early in the day.  So, sleeping is okay.
I don't feel jittery.  Just very alert, talking faster, always looking for something to do.  Sitting still isn't as enjoyable as it usually was on decaf.  On decaf, I could happily SIT all day and into the evening.

Perhaps my weight problem is actually a "sitting too much" problem?????

I have a loaf of banana bread in the oven.  Was going to use the bananas to make elimination diet sand muffins but G seemed pretty enthused about regular banana bread.  I added some chocolate chips.  I think I will also be making some homemade Larabar rip off snack balls for my daughter. Chocolate Mint.  She'll like those for a Valentine snack.  And she is probably reading this.

I was "tidy-ing" one of the lower kitchen cabinets (slide out drawer) and I found two All Clad pans. Didn't know I owned either of them.  One looks pretty useful and is now out in the open on the rolling shelf rack--think restaurant supply. I decided to use the new- mostly empty drawer to store empty canning (Ball) jars--instead of in the garage.  They get dirty in the garage. Now the empty jars will be "handy" for storing leftover soup broth etc.

This 'tidy-ing" is proving to be quite helpful to me.  And the amount of stuff going to Goodwill is always a positive factor.  I am also "finding" so many things I thought I had-- 1. Lost.  2. Given away.
3.  Never owned but wanted to buy.  4.  Had no memory of ever buying or owning.

Case in point:  Lovely glass canning jars with clamp on glass lids AND the rubber gaskets.  A whole box of them in three sizes.  I'm thinking I found them in my Dad's house after he died.  Brought them home while still in mourning and deep in estate work, and promptly forgot them.

The little half pint ones are so cute.  Oh, buzzer--- the bread is done.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Old Family Photos

I have a cabinet full and a dresser drawer full.  The ones in the cabinet are family photos of my family of four plus friends.  The dresser drawer is full of pictures from my childhood.  My estranged brother (now deceased) sent me a large package full of family photos ripped out of albums.  Why? I have no idea.

Now, in the tidy-ing process, photos and such come last.  Because, by then, is hoped you have learned what you need to keep and you you don't need. I don't envy myself this future chore.  It will be as emotionally difficult as it was to empty my father's home after he died.

Winter is going slowly.  As usual.  The carpenter arrived along with a plumber and a tile and floor guy.  The electrician was a no-show.  The price tag (only an estimate) was staggering.  I don't have millionaire tastes but it seems--here in Maine--even ordinary is too expensive.  Demo of the first bathroom--perhaps by the end of the month.  Plus, idiot that I am, I added in the entrance foyer. New tile floor (easy to wash and sweep) and a new door.  And some insulation.

But, hey, now that the Banks are going to be free to do as they please--- better spend it before they steal it........aka the Recession of 2008.  Financial advisors for your retirement accounts can freely steal your money with no problems.  Dodd/Frank.  Look it up.  Goldman Sacks. Big Liars.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sort Of An Emotional Detox

On Monday, at acupuncture, I had little seed patches put on my ears to control my impulse to snack. I eat because of something--and it's not hunger.

The seeds are reducing my impulse to snack.  But something else is happening.

What is happening, while frightening at times, is sort of an emotional detox.  Memories are swirling through my consciousness.  And waves of tears.  Not crying.  Just a "letting go" of sadness, unpleasant memories, regrets etc.

I am tired.  A bit foggy.  Woozy.

I guess I am now "tidying" my memories --my soul.  Folding, rolling and putting things away. And another cup of tea.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Pantry Supplies & Quick Meals

It's has always interested me:  the articles and posts for making meals with "pantry supplies".  Theirs must be better than mine.

But I do store mine in Ball canning jars.  My lids are the white plastic replacements one.  I have enough of everything to make homemade Larabars at the drop of a hint.  We'll always have them to eat in a pinch.  I also have coffee, tea bags and sugar.  I can always make a pan of biscuits.

Plenty of canned marinara and dry pasta.  Big jar of Jasmine Rice. But hard pressed to come up with a protein in the pantry unless it's canned tuna.  And without cheese no one is interested in pasta. I can make a pan of cornbread.  If G ate beans that could be a nice Southern meal.  I do have a nice bag of black eyed peas.  I love those.  And a nice bag of black beans--perhaps a Bisque? But what will G eat?

If I have white sliced bread and American cheese I can make quick baked beans to go with grilled cheese sandwiches.  G will eat that meal.

When the kids were home I always had the makings for tuna casserole in the pantry.  Tuna, cream of mushroom soup, noodles and potato chips.  In Germany I started using sour cream in the recipe and it was so much better.  Both of my children wanted me to use lots of potato chips.

The other thing they liked were frozen cheese tortellini with marinara.  But frozen tortellini isn't a pantry staple--is it?  G was away during the week so the three of us could eat what we liked without having to make something else for him to eat.  We also ate something called Godfather's Lasagna--a recipe I got from an Australian friend.  A loose, deconstructed lasagna that was ready to eat in 20 minutes.  But you need to have some ground beef and some cottage cheese handy.

Is there something you always keep stocked in the pantry to make a quick meal?