Sunday, December 31, 2017

On The Last Day Of December

Still rocking the couch most of the day but less of the heating pad and more of the "add-a-day" roller ball stick---pressed into pain points.

I DID go to the grocery store to buy food yesterday.  It was a VERY short visit--I lost momentum before I got to the freezer section where the vanilla ice cream lives.  So, none of that tonight.  G was with me in case I needed an emergency exit.  It was a close call.  I think holding on to the cart raised my arm to the level needed to lessen the pain but not have it go away.

Made G one last (for 2017) pot of his ultra favorite food--homemade chicken soup yesterday so the grocery visit was needed for chicken thighs and carrots.

I purchased  a nice bag of black eyed peas for myself and a few end pieces from the deli--smoked ham-- to season the peas.  That sort of cooking should be "doable"--get everything in the pot and let it slow cook until ready to eat.  With some rice in the rice cooker.  I can get it ready and then back to the couch.  I decided against the smoked ham hock and the greens.

Had a nice chat with the older retired Southerner who checked us out.  He wondered about the number of bags of peas he had seen go out on his register.  We talked about the peas being for luck and the collard greens for money.  He lamented not having eaten enough greens--and still having to work at his age.  I love eating green things--I hope I have eaten enough.

Today I will go into the book cabinet and select the journal book for 2018.  Feel the pages and get the one with the right sensory feel.  Some are good for pasting in pictures.  Some are better for smooth pen strokes.  Some take ink better than others.  I may spend some time tonight getting the current journal finished up--I think it covers two years, perhaps more.  Which means I have spent less time navel gazing.  More time...doing.

And today is one dollar day at Goodwill.  Things with the color of the day are all one dollar.  I really love dollar day.  But today is also the Patriots playing football.  And G is just now leaving to walk Riley.   I may have to wait for next week's Dollar Day.

The Eve of a New Year.  Wishing you a good night and a better year ahead.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Getting Better, Going Slow

As cozy as my bed looks and feels--I get up out of it everyday.  Even though I am pain free while in bed.  Why I do not know. Most people with "pain" are worse off in bed than they are anywhere else. But today--instead of the usual get up and then get back into bed as the pain grows and tries to make me faint----I got up.  Stayed up.  There were still active nerves sending painful messages--but I could deal with it.  I actually am a pretty tough old bird.

I did my usual bathroom tasks and then---feeling better than I have since December 23rd--I put a load of laundry in the washer.  Even though I had to bend over to get the detergent bottle--painful.  I even came back and moved the washed things (painful) to the dryer.  Later I folded everything.

Simple, everyday things......but mighty exciting to someone who spends entire days on the couch with a heating pad.

For entertainment, I checked out the Johnny's Seed catalog.  Thinking about what I actually like to eat.  Planning to only plant those things.

A Peanut's cartoon has Lucy (the character most like me) saying "Last year really wasn't a very good year for me.  Hope next year is better."   That's my wish going into the new year.  That it's better than this year has been.

So those of you who have expressed concern over my "nerve pain"--- I am getting better.  And in order to get better, I have found, one must get worse, first. got pretty awful there for a few days, but now it is something I can deal with--like a rational person.  Like--I should have asked G to pick up the laundry detergent bottle.......

Every time I drive home I drive past a Y intersection to turn left onto my road.  Today, late morning, the family home on the Y corner--a big old white house with people and pets--burned to the ground. G says there is nothing left.  The people got out.  The pets did not.  My thoughts go out to them.  I would not be able to deal with losing Riley that way.  I would trade the entire house for him.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Life Is What Happens When You Made Other Plans

I am pretty much located on the couch these days.  The on and off nerve pain shooting from my right shoulder blade down my right arm--not always.  Nope.

It disappears completely when I go to bed--I can toss and turn and not a ping.

As soon as I approach the "much needed" bathroom in the morning..... the world tilts and whirls with the rays of nerve pain.  I return to bed aching, climb in--pain free.

But eventually, I grit my teeth and get up, get dressed and walk out to the couch and the heating pad.  The heating pad does little for the pain--it just feels good to the rest of me.

Today, g wanted to go to the movies to see The Last Jedi.  So I went.  Getting there was a pain.  Sitting was 90% okay.  Getting up and into my coat and out to the car was 90% pain filled.  I tried thinking about other things.

Getting up and getting the pans etc ready to cook supper--no fun at all.  Standing at the stove cooking--pain FREE.  But sitting here to type is painful.  So there will be fewer posts.

It all seems so arbitrary.  I don't even know how it started.  Just "whoop!" there it was on December 23rd.  I refuse to take pain meds for nerve pain.  Won't do any good.  Not moving is the only thing that works or just staying in bed all day  (which I will not do).

Up top a photo of a tablecloth at work.  I thought it would be fun to try and paint something like it for my cards this year.  Didn't happen.

Monday, December 25, 2017

On Christmas Day

We--well, it's G--are snowplowing our way out to the street so G can go get our daughter.  We have 4 wheel drive-she doesn't. It snowed.  Lovely, lovely snow.  A beautiful Christmas Day.

It's almost 3 pm and we haven't opened our presents.  Riley is getting nervous.  I don't know how a dog knows about Christmas and gifts, but this one does.  He has a worried expression on his face. Hoping he hasn't been forgotten.  He is getting a really nice (squeaky) gift from our daughter.  Don't worry.

Our neighbor sent over some sparkling cider and the most delicious buttery sugar cookies. And G made an evening run to the grocery (still open and still packed with shoppers--some buying frozen turkey's at 4 pm on Christmas Eve) for eggs.  So we could have dessert.

The Boozy Kahlua Chocolate Bundt cake is cooling and soaking up the butter, sugar and alcohol I poured over it.  I think this is going to be our regular Christmas Dessert.  But next year, I will add a carton of vanilla ice cream to the shopping list.  We'll "make do" with whipped heavy cream this year.

We've had our Christmas phone visit with our son (who lives all the way across the country from us) and he had great news, big plans and that was an excellent gift to both G and I.  Happy children.  It is really a simple wish.

Well, I need to go get myself another two or three of this those sugar snowflake cookies.

Merry, merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On The Twenty-fourth Day Of December

Everyone is waiting for Santa.  We had freezing rain yesterday.  The driveways and streets are icy but the sun is shining and the temperature is 31.

I have presents to wrap.  Cooking to do.

I sent G and Riley out to distribute Tangerine halves to the squirrels and birds.  Business is very brisk at the bird feeders and under them as well.  Something juicy might be appreciated.

I had intentions of baking a pie or a cake for dessert tomorrow.  It will depend on how many eggs I have left after making the pasta dough for the pierogi.  No eggs?  No dessert.

Christmas Dinner is Christmas Burritos.  We like that there is little "fuss" with this simple meal.  Made the first time when both my children were finally home from colleges for Christmas.  Getting our son home from Syracuse airport in December was a real nail biter.

So, I forgot to make dinner on that one Christmas where he had finally gotten picked up at Chicago O'Hare in the middle of the night after staying overnight (flight cancelled) with the family who drove him to the airport in Syracuse.

All I had in the fridge were the makings of Burritos.  So that is what we had along with a funny little Christmas story of the ingredients being all about Christmas.  We've shared this simple meal with many Christmas visitors over the years a every one has loved it--especially the silly story describing the meal using the colors of the Christmas.  The cheddar cheese representing the star etc.

Wishing you a lovely Christmas Eve, a wonderful visit from Santa and a very good meal....and even dessert if you are lucky.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

On The Twenty Third Day Of December

I made the first batch of Pierogi for 2017.  My grandmother made these for my father, so when he got married, my mother had to learn how to make them.  And when I got married, I missed home and I began my journey of making these for my family every Christmas Eve.

When our son first moved to California (he was 21)  we tried sending pierogi to him, but a delay in delivering the box to him resulting in a culinary disaster.  Since then he and I have had many phone calls on Christmas Eve as he has tried to master this special holiday food.  I sent him a mixer one year.  Another he got the new add-on of a pasta roller attachment.

I use an Atlas pasta roller.  In the early days of marriage I rolled the dough thin with a rolling pin.  And would go to bed with my arm muscles screaming in pain.

But we had to have those holiday pierogi. We haven't missed a Christmas yet.

My grandmother made potato and onion and also sautéed sauerkraut and onion.  G's cousins in Wisconsin make meat pierogi with pork and beef but do not eat them until Christmas Day.  G's mother made cheese pierogi with a dry Farmer's cheese and sugar.  Our fillings were always meatless-there was some reason we didn't eat meat on Christmas Eve.

So......Tonight's pierogi are for my daughter.  It's a recipe I made up all by myself.  Many, many years ago to suit her tastes.  A mix of cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg and chives.  I always make hers on the 23rd.  So she can have them to eat on Christmas Eve at her house and again for Christmas breakfast--fried till crispy in butter.

Tomorrow I'll make the ones G and I (and our son) love.  The mashed potato and chopped raw onion filling and the sautéed sauerkraut and onion filling. I always make extra so I can eat the filling while making the pierogi.  Cook's treat.

I read once in a Pennsylvania newspaper that at this time of year potato and American cheese pierogi are very popular in Pennsylvania and made and sold in American Legion Halls.  In doing genealogy research I discovered quite a few families in PA with my same maiden name.  They could be relatives.

If anyone out there reading this have eaten pierogi-- please leave a comment--with your favorite way of eating them and your favorite filling.  We like them the first night with butter and onions.  And the days after (I make a lot) fried in butter with crispy onions.  We are very sad when they are gone.

Friday, December 22, 2017

On the Twenty Second Day Of December

Baking Cookies and Wrapping Gifts.  No Monkey Business.

I have Chocolate Chip done.  I have Snickerdoodles done.  I am working on Apricot Kolaches.   The dough spent most of yesterday in "time out" trying to get itself together.  Will see if today is better.
I did a very good job of making the apricot filling from dry apricots.  It's very, very delicious. So if the pastry still refuses to behave--I'll find somewhere else for the delicious apricot to go.

We went out in the car already, today.  To get my hair cut.  To stop and wish people at my place of employment a Merry Christmas (across the street from where  I get my hair cut).  G is now walking the dog in the snow filled woods.  Birds are everywhere today.  Frolicking in branches of the shrubbery.  Doves pecking at the deck boards. We even have a squirrel who spends a few hours in one of the birdhouses we have nailed to trees.  Snow is falling.  4 to 5 inches before it rains tomorrow.  Nasty weather for the holidays.

When Riley and G return from their daily walk, I think G and I will go out for Chinese.  Late lunch or early dinner.  Daughter is going to join us which is quite a treat.

Spent the evening watching "Jack Taylor" on Netflix.  Irish Guard procedural.  Hard to understand but it's sort of like visiting Ireland.  I only have one more episode.  Then I will have to find something else.  Perhaps The Fall.  Perhaps Netflix will suggest something.

News regarding a blog friend, Grace, has arrived via other blog friends.  She has safely traveled to her new home in California.  Along with her dog, her cat and her herd of goats.  She will eventually be setting up house and internet (I hope) on a grassy hill.  Or mountain.  Depending on who is doing the describing.  It's good to know the "moving" is done and everyone is safe.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

On The Twenty First Day Of December

Solstice.  When the sun is at it's lowest and weakest point.  But still shines brightly today.  It may not have much warmth here in Maine.  But I am happy to see it rise.  Happy to see it's light reflecting off the white snowfall.  The "Turn Around Point".

My spirits are low.  In Germany they called this time of year "The Dark Times".

So... I'll straighten my shoulders, pull up my socks and just get on with it.  Pretend to be happy.

I had to sternly call Riley to the door to go outside this morning.  He had decided NOT to go out with me for the morning paper.  He did go out. But only to the top step on the porch.  And then back inside without doing any "morning business".

Cream of Wheat for breakfast and the other half of my Minestrone soup for mid day.  With cups of  hot tea.  The jaw bones still stiff, but not as bad as it was.  Bones making cracking sounds.  But not as painful.  Getting better, I think.  I sometimes forget.  Which I take as a good sign.

Haircut tomorrow.  Bad weather tomorrow.   I think.

And speaking of Germany--I found something called Krikelkrakel on a German fiber artist's blog.  Mark making.  On fabric.  I quite like it.  I loved it on paper so why not love it on fabric?

Happy Solstice to All.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On The Twentieth Day Of December

Stayed up (later than the dog liked) to watch--- an Irish cop show.  I forget the name right now.  Season 3 seems to be available but I watched the 3rd episode of season two to try and be reminded.  Jack Taylor.  That's it. Should have subtitles.  Difficult to understand and they are speaking English.

I have a pot of Quick Minestrone Soup (recipe from the feed that shows up on my computer--NYTimes) cooking.   I had everything in the fridge except for greens (no kale).  I do have  Romaine lettuce. But I think that might dissolve.  I had Petite cut tomatoes and tiny white beans in the cupboard. I could have also used dry black eyed peas. I may add a handful of dry macaroni to the pot once it looks and tastes like soup.  You can usually make "something" if you have onions, celery and carrots. I think it's also good to have some canned goods and a few potatoes.  It would have been fantastic to have some cabbage in the crisper.  I'll add it to my shopping list.

The eating of soft foods is giving my jaw bones a chance to resettle.  Less pain and less of the bone cracking sounds.  Soup will be a good thing to have for supper.  I am tired of cream of wheat 3X a day.

We had topiary, like the ones on the table up above, in the greenhouse at work.  I wanted to add bows to make them look more like gifts.  Like the ones up top.  Once upon a time, my holiday tables looked like this.  When there were more than three of us.  The wooden table even resembles the table we had in our dining room in Germany.  With "wings" that opened and slid into place when there were more than four.

We often had parties then.  The house filled with people.  I miss that.

I didn't wrap any presents.  I wrote and mailed one additional Christmas Card.  I haven't read either of my two books but I had to renew them as they were due this week.  We didn't even turn on the tree lights yet.  I am feeling sad.

This happens when I am away from the "busy-ness" of work for any time.  There is too much quiet here.  Nothing happens.  Even the dog is bored.  I will adjust.  I always do and then regret having to return to work because I have so many projects going.

Tomorrow the guys from the garage door company are arriving to install new opener motors etc.  It will add some excitement to the day.  For G and the dog.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

On The Nineteenth Day Of December

I think these tabletop pinecone trees are super wonderful.  I have a really large sugar pine cone I brought back in my suitcase from a visit to California years and years ago.  I am going to find it ( in the freezing cold garage) and make a nice star to go on top.  Find some kind of cute dish for it to sit inside of--hopefully I didn't get rid of all the pewter and "sort of" silver candy dishes.

I started the day with my jaw bones and jaw muscles hurting.  I decided to eat only warm and soft things today.  No chewing.  And that seemed to make it better.  Cream of Wheat.

I binge watched the remaining 6 or 7 episodes of Good Behavior on Xfinity (TNT) while sipping hot tea.  One part of Xfinity wanted $2.99 per episode.  I found it on another Xfinity site --free.  I had to watch commercials but I don't mind if it's free.  Good Behavior had some elements of Christmas.  And they did stay (handcuffed) in the Holiday Inn Express.  (laughing)

I got all the binding done on the potholders.  I sewed while watching Holiday last night--way into the early morning.  Did I already tell you this?

I think I will wrap presents tomorrow.  Perhaps make a batch of cookies.  G would like Chocolate Chip.  Not exactly Christmas but they are the cookies he likes.  And Snickerdoodles.  We'll see.

Monday, December 18, 2017

On The Eighteenth Day Of December

It snowed all day.  And baby, it's cold out there........ G is trying to decide when to go out and do the snowplowing.  He thinks it will be tomorrow morning.  Usually, he likes to do it at night.  But it's still snowing.

The street plow just went past.  Meaning the end of the driveway now has a giant pile out there.

We had pizza a couple nights ago and the crust (I made the pizza) was very chewy--just the way we like it.   And now, whenever I chew anything, I hear and feel the bones in my left jaw clanking and grinding and hurting., heating pad.  Then soft foods like farina or soup.  And just sitting and sewing the binding on the last 7 potholders.

I have written and deleted several paragraphs.....regarding political news.  Enough.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Sixteenth & Seventeenth Days of December

I've moved from buying and sending to making.  Making is labor intensive and I tend to lose track of time.  I didn't just make this Gingerbread House.  I made it years and years ago.  I think I bought the wooden kit for the house on one of my last visits to Georgia to visit my long time friend who decided she didn't want me as a friend any more.  So this little doll house brings back memories.

And this little dollhouse needed so much "shopping" & "making" over the years to get to this happy place.  The Necco wafer roof shingles are cut from sheets of foam in all those candy colors. One by one.  There have been a number of "trees" beside the front porch entrance.  These tall cookie towers were found at Big Lots and I may have even "whooped" in excitement as I scooped them into my basket.

The gumdrops are fake and another wonderful find over the years of house construction.  These houses take time.  You have to set the "making" aside each year when Christmas is over and hope that  the next season's decor in the hobby and seasonal section of stores will help you fill gaps.  And sometimes wait several years to find the "right" thing.

And then adults tell their children to grab "candy" and pull it off the house when I was foolish enough to display it in public.  So, it's just here at home.  Safe. But it would be so much more fun to have people see it.  Now you can!

I am also making an appliquéd, pieced and quilted small gift my daughter asked me to make for her good friend.  I was apprehensive.  But yesterday I drafted it all on freezer paper, measured and cut strips for the background and added a bias cut vine.  Today five leaves.  Layered and ready to quilt by hand.  Then turn the edges to finish.

I wanted to show it here but the picture won't load.

Football today.  Snow tomorrow.  UPS delivered something to a fellow blogger and it is now happily "in use" after waiting 30 something years for the right guy.  Love it when things work out.

Friday, December 15, 2017

On The Fifteenth Day Of December

Making.   That's the "Rule of the Day" for the 15th.   Pizza is on the menu for dinner here at home. I have pepperoni, mushrooms, and red bell peppers for toppings.

I have to make G's gift.  Handwarmers out of socks.  His hands are always cold and early on,  I very quickly, made hand warmers out of an old pair of cashmere socks I have (to sleep in) but they are now getting quite frayed.  So a new pair with carefully turned and stitched edges.  Perhaps two pair.  The hand warmers out of socks leave the whole of the "finger section" open so all normal things can be done with bare fingers.  There is no fold back portion on these.  Just very simple.

I also have a stack of prefolded but "not as yet cut" pentagons.  And after cutting I will be, hopefully,  folding the remaining, much needed, stars.  Four.  I folded 8 pentagons, just in case. Who knows, I may go "rogue" and send out more than 12.

I also have to make a fabric gift for my daughter's friend.  The letter M embellished.

I can also begin wrapping gifts, mailing cards and starting on my cookie and cake baking.  Closer to the 24th I will be making Polish Pierogi-  cheese only for our daughter.  Sauerkraut and Potato for G and I.  We deliver the Cheese Pierogi to our daughter's fridge on Christmas Eve.  Like Elves.  For me, The Holiday is all cooking--all the time.  I often make my cookies after Christmas so my deadlines are flexible. Well, all "time" is flexible when one is 71 years of age. The knees--not so much.

Time is also being set aside for the Star Wars Movie.  But NOT today.  Everyone will be trying to see the movie today and into the weekend.  We don't "do crowds" especially in a movie theater. Way too many "odors".

I am now "on the fence" as to the Christmas Card.  Do I make or do I choose a commercial card as I did last year?  I could also look thru the drawer full of cards and see what I have.  I had intended to get a good start on the cards at Art Co-op.  Which was cancelled because of the storm last week.

So, I must decide.  I do not have much time left.

And the garage doors are stuck.  The opener can't make them go up or down.  G says we can do it manually.  Okay.  And we might need an emergency call to the garage door company.  Just saying....

And best of all--I don't go to work tomorrow.  Yippee!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On The Fourteenth Day Of December

If you aren't really careful, you break a few lovely ornaments.  The tree is covered in ornaments now.  I had to climb up on a four step kitchen stepper thingy so I could then lean as far forward as I dared to try and get an itty bitty hook over some greens.  The ones in the dustpan didn't bounce on other branches to break their fall.  Direct route to the hardwood floor.

I love those candy striped ornaments.  Sigh.  But G says the tree looks "professional".  Well, thank you very much!

G took me to lunch but before that to the lovely Now You're Cooking in Downtown Bath.  I get to select anything I want.  He likes me to make a nice sized pile of kitchen goodies.  G also got to sample an Espresso made in the Nespresso machine the store is selling.  He chose the Keurig when I agreed to a coffee machine.  Now he is wishing he had gotten the Nespresso.  Because he does enjoy the occasional Espresso.  Live and learn.

We had lunch/dinner at Beale Street BBQ.  Pulled pork for me and Blackened Haddock for G.  We had deep fried ribs as a starter with cajun sauce.  Beale Street because they are making Memphis ribs, pork and beef.  The we walked down the block and had ice cream at Dot's.

December 14th is/was a very good day.

On The Thirteenth Day Of December

I forgot to post.  G and I were up until way past midnight on the 12th, shoveling slush off the driveway.  We are into 3 weeks of freezing weather here in Maine.  So any slush would have frozen into "ruts" that would be hard to navigate by foot for weeks on end.   Driving down the drive to get the mail is one thing--walking a dog?  Not so much.

Riley is having a time of it.  He is annoyed with himself regarding peeing on his hind leg while balancing on the slippery, hard crusted snow in the side yard.  Winter.

The view up top--- The old rattan table and chairs I wrote about, the dog, the bright southern side of the yard through the French doors and tall windows, the new hallway floor and carpet and under the table a peek at the new radiator and the boxes and bags of ornaments and lights.  In the vase on the hall table--pussy will stems I trimmed off the little willow tree (that keeps trying to become a very tall willow tree).  The buds seemed rather full to me so I put them in water and--wonder to behold--they are opening into little furry soft "buds".

I am guessing the crazy weather here in Maine has confused most of the flowering shrubs and trees into thinking it was time to flower.  Which means Spring will be a real dud.  No flowers.

I got little sleep the night we shoveled and then up early for my last day at work.  Which was okay. When I got home it was already turning dark and we sat and watched recorded things on TiVo and then G went out to get Chinese take out.  Never remembered to write to you.

Ornaments on the tree today (the 14th) and the boxes will all go back upstairs--empty.  I will post again later.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

On The Twelfth Day Of December

I FINALLY managed to make some origami stars.  Eight.  The ninth one refused to collapse.  Ten and twelve never made it to pentagon shape.  I had wanted to make a dozen.  Put one in each of my Christmas card envelopes.  Connie you were almost right.  I can make them, but I'm not really good at it. Though I must say, in this picture, they look pretty darn wonderful.  I found the gold paper in the drawer under the old copier.  Love serendipity.

Well, I can rest up a bit and then try again.  Later.  To make 4 more.  The trick was to fold ALL the square into pentagons and THEN start folding them into stars.  Body and hand memory is built that way.  Repetition.  It's the same with quilting.  As I am finding out with the potholder making.  That last potholder is going to have some crazy amazing binding on it.

And who knows--paper cranes for the New Year?

Made another batch of Rum Balls to take to work tomorrow (my last day of work in 2017) but the weather might make that impossible.  G is trying to get home from a doctor's visit about an hour away and is passing more accidents than he can count.  So, staying put during this weather event might be the best thing to do.  So Last Saturday may have been my last day @ work for 2017.

My left eye has decided to itch and swell up again.  Always something.  I am taking it easy, no eye rubbing and I had some drops and pills from last time--so I am doing that.  Seems to be feeling better.
I haven't had time--stars!--- to go look at it in mirror.  It's Atopic Dermatitis.

G says we are putting lights on the tree--no matter what--tonight.  And that's the day's news on the Twelfth Day of December.

Monday, December 11, 2017

On The Eleventh Day Of December

I was spending time with a good Friend driving around, grocery shopping (I forgot stuff on Sunday) and then wiring greens to two old fashioned snowshoes--one to hang on her front door and one to hang on G's workshop door.  He does handy man things for her.  So she wanted to make something for him. I even hand made a nice red bow for his snowshoe.

I am also in the process of sewing binding around the edges of my Christmas patchwork potholders. I have gotten TWO done.  It's slow going.  I forgot a lot about "quilting" in the past 10 years. Yes, it's been that long since I was "into it" as my friend always says when she is making stuff.

I did two SOS calls out to my friend Connie and she replied with the information I needed.  Once I read her descriptions--it all came back.  Like riding a horse?  No.

It's very cold here.  Or it just seems like that to me.  Either way.  The snow we had on Sunday melted a bit in the sunshine and now we have icy spots.  I am not interested in a slip and fall accident. We have another storm on the way and I think tomorrow is NOT going to be nice........ I'm guessing that the title of tomorrow's post will be about weather.

I found some very nice yellow paper and used my paper cutter to make squares.  Now to begin folding and finger's crossed--make stars.  And if that fails--add binding to more potholders.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

On The Tenth Day Of December

We woke up to snow.  Well, it had started snowing the day before but...this morning all the trees and shrubs had a gentle pile of white floating on their branches.  Riley and I made the first foot prints on the driveway snow.  Going out to get the paper.  It's wet sticky snow.  What I call "snowman snow" because it'll stick to itself when you roll it.

I have been baking.  Using what I have--waiting for the driveway to be clear for a grocery run.  So far we have a very nicely baked loaf of Banana Bread and a nicely brown crusted pan of corn bread. The oven is doing a great job! You can judge that my baking skills were learned in the kitchens of Georgia and not Ohio.  My mother didn't serve or bake either of these things. She did make Mexican Wedding Cookies.  Balls of nut dough rolled in powdered sugar. Ugh!  And the cookies made with the press that you could add food coloring to the dough.  I am reminded of how hard it was to get the dough to come out and then get it to stop coming out.  I did like sprinkling the pressed cookie trees with green sugar.  And pressing a half cherry into the center of the round "flower" shape.

Now that I write this--I am wondering if I still have a cookie press hiding in the cupboard.  And I will look for the recipe ) Spritz (?) and perhaps buy some cherries.

Gramma made apricot kolache and poppyseed roll.  I have attempted the apricot kolache on occasion and my daughter makes frequent trips to the cookie plate when they are on it.  We also like to make Buckeyes.  Peanut butter and powdered sugar rolled in chocolate.  Usually, they stay in the garage so they don't melt.

The kids at work want more Rum Balls.  I might make them with Kahlua. Or I will use the white Bacardi I have in the "drinks cupboard" as Nigella always says.

The tree will be getting lights today (oh I do hope so).  Perhaps ornaments.  We'll see.

Watched Doctor Strange last night on Netflix and our TiVo remote stopped working--yet again (4 remotes in the last 2  years).  We are NOT amused.  And the volume is way up.  So, we need to get it working so we can turn the volume DOWN.  This makes us both so frustrated.  It's a remote.  Not a rocket or anything.

Well, I need to start my shopping list and look for my recipe cards.  Happy Sunday to All!!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

On The Ninth Day of December

Work for 8+ hours.  Watering, straightening and ordering Poinsettias.  So many varieties.  So many I would like to take home with me.  But they don't like it here.  At home.

Next Wednesday is my last day at work for the year.  I have never been "released" this early.  Am I sad.  Not a bit.  I was tempted to ask that Today was the last day--but he said he needed me on Wednesday.  And one of the 20 somethings asked for another batch of Rum Balls.  How can I refuse. The request began with "Jo, I love you".

It's snowing.  Let there be accidents.  Wouldn't you think Mainers could drive in snow?  Well, they can--but not for the very first snow, like tonight.  In ditches. Slamming into guard rails. Rear ending.
This is what we call "greasy snow" and the roads are slippery.

G dropped me off this morning and came to get me.  So grateful.

Well, time to change out of work clothes, shower and put on my jammies.

Friday, December 08, 2017

On the Eighth Day Of December

Art- Catherine-White from ArtPropelled

Everything in the yard this morning looks dry, brown and brittle.  Winter creeps closer.

My frustration with folding origami stars increased last evening.  I had ceased being able to fold and cut the starting pentagon.  Before--I made pentagons easily but folding the stars was impossible.  So frustrating.  At the end of the evening I have one successful but lopsided star made from old stationary paper.  It sits here leaning on the computer-- as if to say--you thought you'd be good at this?

As the days fly past me--I must begin drawing my series of 12 Christmas cards.  I have the Kraft paper cards (brown) and the white Gelli pens.  I need an idea.  In the card supply drawer I found some of the fabric trees I made that very first year I tried "making" my own cards.  I found them in my father's things when I emptied his house.

I make but do not keep.  So I have no small collection of these cards.  I have only the memory of making them.  And, that is enough.  But it was lovely to hold the card with the silk tree in my hands again and wonder at the time that has passed since I sewed the bits together.  I think of Jude Hill's trees and moons. Ephemeral.  Here and yet...not.

Perhaps, if the Fates allow.....a small folded star in each card.  I still want to believe I would be good at this.  But...not perfect.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

On The Seventh Day Of December

Go shopping.  And instead of lunch...have breakfast.  We visited one of the original Diners made of what look like little railroad cars.  And I had two eggs, bacon and two pancakes.  Divine. Patty had the Tuna Melt with home made potato chips.

My friend and I drove all over the southern part of Maine.  We drove home in the dark.  We visited LLBean (French linen blue shirt with white woven stripes--I plan to wear it 24/7), Old Navy where we put together fabulous outfits for three of Patty's family members, the Freeport Church Thrift Shop (lovely linen hankies and an embroidered card table cloth for $3),  the breakfast for lunch, then the Christmas Tree  Shop where we wandered around and got lost several times.  I finally purchased two jars of Elderberry Jelly and six packages of Bird Suet.

After that we adjourned to Trader Joes.  Filled our carts with all manner of fruits, candy, wine and I purchased a single bottle of brown ale and a package of candied ginger for my Annual Gingerbread Cake.  I already have the lemons.  I offered to pack my own groceries.  The cashier was happy. I also returned carts to the store front from the parking lot.  I like things to be orderly.

We came back home and then G and I went out for dinner.  I had wine and the Limoncello Tart.  And a big salad.

I do not like driving with my husband.  He tailgates.  Patty does not.

With Patty ....we made u turns on highways.  We changed lanes when we shouldn't have.  We got lost. We did all sorts of things (Patty learned to drive in Boston).  I never gave it a thought.  It was really an amazing day.

Tomorrow we bring the tree into the house.  And before that I have a chair and some other furniture that needs to go someplace "else" or to Goodwill. To make room for the tree.  And Riley needs to put all his 100's of dog toys back into the baskets.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

On The Sixth Day Of December

Still no Christmas Tree.  One gift purchased.  Still coughing.  Raining here in Maine.  Finished reading Nina George's Little French Bistro.  Loved it.  And I loved the Little Paris Bookstore as well.

Watched "While You Were Sleeping" which I think of as a Christmas Movie, last night.  We also watched The Devil Wears Prada (on another night)  which isn't a Christmas movie but it's something I like watching.  And there is Paris at the end.  You see a theme?  Perhaps.

I stayed home (sick day from work) on the couch today with my cough.  I did venture out to the library (and had to use my rescue inhaler after climbing the stairs to reference) to return my book and pick up an origami book.  I still want to make more origami stars.  Finally, with the help of several of my former colleagues, we found a website with printed instructions.  It's hard to follow a video.

I started printing them here at home and the printer ran out of ink.  I refuse to consider this project doomed.

Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to make a star? I am thinking of using a heavy gold and cream wrapping paper (cut into squares and then folded into pentagons).  Printed with stars. To make my stars.  Six of them for my tree.  For this year and for all the years in the future.  Stars.  To wish on.

Well, I am sleepy and I need to rest up for tomorrow.  My friend is coming to get me and I will be the "sidekick" on her shopping adventure.  Just along for company.  We do love to talk to each other. We once drove a rented U-haul to Boston and back to pick up a couch and chair she bought at Crate and Barrel.  That was quite the road trip.  Non-stop except for picking up the couch and chair.  And since we were at Crate and Barrel, I insisted on looking around to see if I wanted to buy anything.  I did. Marigold colored linen napkins.  Love.

But that was then and tomorrow is now.  Good Night.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

On The Fifth Day Of December

We are still working on changing the lights on the big 48 inch wreaths we hang on the front porch for the Holidays.  Two now have the new LED light strings.  The little "clicker" we used to turn  the lights on and off is no longer "findable".  Well, G is doing this.

That is the way things are going now.  Can't find.  Don't know.  Forgot.  Not something I wanted to deal with just yet.  But Life is what happens when you are making other plans. G has added put the trash out to his phone reminders.  I am going to suggest he add "eat lunch" to the reminder list as well.  Riley serves as his own reminder for the daily walk.

My Holiday potholders need to be sandwiched and pinned and then quilted (I think I may have already mentioned this).  I will then need to make binding.  For the edges.  Auto correct just wrote "endless" instead of "edges".  Perhaps a Freudian slip?  The binding of anything seems (is) quite endless.  I purchased Kahlua for the  Holiday boozy chocolate bundt cake. Looking forward to it.

The Christmas Tree--purchased still on the porch.  Not even in it's tree stand.  I had wanted to have it in here where I could enjoy it longer this year.  But it's not to be, I guess.  Not that the room is ready to receive the tree.  I will need to rearrange and prep the area.

I did find a large glass container full of old glass ornaments.  In the cabinet next to the fireplace.  It must have made sense at some point.  I still am looking for the rectangular glass vase I grow paperwhites in.  I remember emptying it and rinsing the stones (I have them right where I usually store them) but the glass vase is nowhere to be found.  I usually spent 15 to 20 minutes each day looking for it.  Crossing areas off my list.  It's 12 inches tall and 6 by 10 at the base.  Not small.

I only have today--work tomorrow.  So, I must get as much done as I can.  Today.

We have working, new radiators in the two "new" bathrooms.  It's very, very nice.  The entrance hall  is also being warmed by the new radiator that's now there.  The plumber thinks some of the "cold" in the house is caused by the thermostats being in the wrong spots.  Like behind doors.  At some point they will be moved to better locations (making new holes in walls).  I have a feeling that the builder of this home (the wife) wanted the thermostats "hidden" from view.  And thereby--made the house feel cold all the time. It's always something you never expected it to be.

Because we haven't fixed the new toilet paper holders to the walls yet (had no idea where they would go until the rads were in), the rolls sit atop the new radiators.  Heated toilet paper.  A lovely idea.

Watched Rogue One on Netflix last night and realized that everything we might want to watch is now owned by Amazon Prime.  Not Netflix.  In fact, Rogue One was the ONLY movie we saw in the line up that we wanted to watch.  Time to cancel.  Watched the 6th and final season of Longmire.  I know there were a number of people waiting to watch that on Netflix and then cancelling their membership.

We are also watching Good Behavior on TNT on Demand.  We watched season one last November and now watching season two.  It really should have been titled Bad Behavior as nothing they do is anything but BAD.  The guy's job is killing people.  For money.  The woman steals.  And for some reason we, the viewing public, find them in need of our attention.  In between, I watch Space.  Last night it was the Hubble Telescope and then a little planet circling Saturn.  Which may have liquid water.  I could look at Hubble photos for hours.  So incredible and beautiful.

I'll be back.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Day Before December

Art by Este MacLeod
From ArtPropelled

Christmas Cactus.  Which looks rather regal in this art work.  I rather like it.

I am sitting here wrapped in my Magical Shawl (thin but oh, so warm), sipping cold coffee, finishing off eating a Brownie and waiting for parsnips and carrots to roast for SOUP.  My morning Suduko puzzle didn't go far.  I made a mistake.  Too many fours.  I am starting a puzzle each morning to exercise my brain.  My brain is in need of exercising.  I haven't gotten more that ¼ done with any of the puzzles.  Of course, I have never done well with the morning newspaper puzzle.  I should look for my book of puzzles. I was more successful with them.

A few of you have added a new post to your blogs this morning and I enjoyed reading about your "doings"...they seem so interesting and my life seems so dull.

My day at work yesterday was......tedious.  But there were high spots.  I selected my Christmas Tree.  My impression at the time of purchase was that it was beautiful.  We'll see if that was correct when G brings it home later today in the pickup.  The artificial wreaths are up on the front porch. They, all three, need new strings of lights.  A visit to Target later today and then I will have to take off the old strings of lights and put on the new.  I'm not even sure the porch is visible from the street anymore.  The shrubs in the island in front of the porch have gotten TALL.  Need pruning.

I did quite a bit of "good work" at work.   So, that is satisfying.  I got to check in the warehouse pallet of garden center goods.  Break down boxes, etc.  Work where you can see your progress.

In the sewing room I have sewn patches together into 2's and then into 4's and today into 16's.  For potholders.  Christmas ones.  Connie sent me a very cute charm pack last Christmas and I am using it this Christmas to make gifts for my favorite people.  I am auditioning backsides for the patchwork from my closet of fabric.  Plenty to choose from.

I try to work on a fabric project--like every other day.  One day sew and then next day iron.  And then there are days when I am up "shopping" in the fabric closet and then in the fabric bins.  Trying to "find" something that stays lost.  Like the potholder thermal special fabric so you don't burn your hands.  Took many, many trips upstairs and I "found" it on my work table--downstairs.

Oh---big news.  Three of the new radiators are installed in the two bathrooms and the entrance hallway.  Installed but not connected to the furnace.  We thought that would happen today.  But there was something more urgent for the plumber to be doing.  So now, I can use the bathroom and rest my hand on the new radiator.  The cold radiator.  Which, I hope, someday in 2017 will be warm to the touch.

Well, the parsnips and carrots look golden brown and delicious so I will start making soup.  And for G, who doesn't like parsnips, I will be making a second pot of soup--chicken.  We finally finished all the Thanksgiving leftovers.

I have three books on the table to read.  Will let you know which one I decide on.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The After Turkey Day Post

I cooked my Turkey this way.  Removed the backbone, flattened the bird.  My turkey was bow legged, with it's knees pointing out not in.  The 30 minutes at 425 really smoked up the oven. In the end this New York Times recipe was a FAIL.  The bird tasted "off" and no one at the table wanted to eat any after the first bite.  Could have been the olive oil.

But it was very pretty, the skin was crispy on top. Looked exactly like the picture at the top of this post--which is the NYT picture from their website.  But pale and wet on the underside.

Everything else was wonderful.  The pumpkin pie turned out to be spectacular.  The crust was flaky and tender.

We have been eating leftovers since then.  I stopped on the way home from work on Friday to pick up a half deli roasted turkey breast.  From now on--that's the only way we'll be eating Turkey. Live and learn.

I clicked on something in someone's blog post and got a 28 day NYT subscription.  Not to everything. Just some things.  For other more interesting stories--I would have to actually "subscribe".  I am enjoying having these free posts to read while I am having lunch at work. The free trial subscription should last until my last day at work.  For the season.  Then I have three months to decide if I want my "leaving" to be permanent.

I did my best to get the unripened green figs to soften (with a ripe banana under plastic) and made 3 pints of fig preserves today.  Before the football.  The preserves looked good (I usually run the figs, sugar and water mix thru the Vitamix once the sugar melts.  It's hot and dangerous to do this but other wise it's fig chunks and sugar.  Not that wonderful.  Once it goes thru the Vitamix it's brown and flecked with the no longer pink insides of the figs.  Looks exactly like the professional stuff we buy.

G likes fig preserves.  And I like having something to show for all the weeks and months of watering and fertilizing those two fig trees in pots.  I lost count of how many times the wind blew them over. I also lost count of how many days we moved the trees into and out of the garage when nights were colder than fig trees like.  Right now they are in the upstairs bedroom with the heat at 45 degrees and they have been pruned to short branches.  In the Spring I will pull them out of their pots and root prune them and give them the fertilizer they need.  And let them leaf out again.

Someday, when Maine (where I live) becomes a zone 6 growing environment--and with the way things are going--it might be next year--the fig trees will be planted in the ground.  Fend for themselves.  Wednesday, the 29th of November it's supposed to be 50 degrees and sunshine.  Right here in Maine.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Art & Emotion & Memory

Art by Anne Patay from ArtPropelled.

Often, late at night, when I am too awake to be able to go to sleep----I open Art Propelled and look at ART.  I have a sketch book handy and pencils and pens.  I should include pastel crayons.  And I make a drawn "note" to myself on some combination of color, line or emotion that I notice.  This "bird" spoke to me and I am reminded of how long I looked at it before reaching for the sketchbook.

I think (know) I could look at this artwork for the rest of my life and still not see it enough.

I am reading Grafton's Y.  Nearly finished. PBS tonight starting with Father Brown.  I don't know if our Patriots are playing today.  I know the game is in Mexico but can never figure out WHY. Or why they play in London for that matter.

I am doing two loads of laundry.  One is drying and the other rinsing by the sound of it.  I have to remind myself to sew a ripped section of my work sweatshirt.  The front pocket.  I kept losing my scissors yesterday.  A morning and afternoon Boxwood Tree class yesterday.  I wasn't teaching but did help with cleanup.  Boxwood smells like cat pee.

I somehow agreed to work three days next week.  Black Friday was added to my week. Not that we have anything on sale. But the Christmas Trees are in and all of the Poinsettias will arrive Wednesday.  I was asked if I had the Point's MAP ready.  I usually make index cards with placement  of the colors and different varieties and then staple them to the tables.  I guess no one else can write on index cards or staple.  If it wasn't so ridiculous--it would be funny. So..that will be my Wednesday.

Raining today but 50 degrees.  An hour's drive west and it's in the 20's and blizzard conditions.  Snow.  So I am driving because it's only rain.  To the supermarket to buy things for Thanksgiving dinner.  Before the weather shifts and we have snow.  

I want to work on the abstract fabric work on my easel.  But I have wanted it to have a name.  Stormy keeps coming up.  But Stormy what?  Sigh.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dark Again with Rain

At work, it's Christmas.  But at the grocery, it's Thanksgiving.

We are making and decorating wreaths at work.  Like Santa's Helpers.  I wish we were making ones like this but ours are "less wild".   I, personally, like a wild and stormy wreath that looks like it collected it's berries and cones in the wind.  Not on wired picks.

I have a new read--Grafton's Y.  It was on the 7 day shelf.  Yippee.  I finished Still Life by Louise Penny and realized that I had READ it that first time around.  I was positive when Gamache fell down the basement stairs and broke his leg and Clara was thinking there were snakes slithering around on the floor.  It was a very deja vu experience reading that first book again.  It foretells all of the drama and sadness to come in the future novels.  Like having your fortune told.

I am trying to recover from my day at work yesterday.  Too much standing in one spot doing the wreaths.  And then cleaning up which includes "sweeping" which is TERRIBLE for my breathing.

My Wednesday co-workers have decided to have "treats" next Wednesday (pre-Thanksgiving cheer) and I am making 1970"s style Rum Balls.  I looked up recipes and think I have a good one but needed ½ cup of Rum.  So I went to the liquor store and bought two small "Nips" instead of a whole bottle.
The rum I got is from Barbados.  Bacardi didn't come in the little bottles.

These little bottles are quite cute.  Too bad they are the "tipple of choice" for most of the alcoholic homeless population here in my Town.

I did do mending on my black shawl on Tuesday at Art Co-op.  And one of the others mentioned adding a thin gold thread line winding around/through the new patch.  That was an excellent suggestion--just the thing it needed to "fit in".

I am thinking we'll be having a very toned down Thanksgiving next week.  Turkey Breast not a whole bird.  Sweet potatoes and baked acorn squash (daughter loves it).  Some sort of green vegetable. The cognac/orange cranberry sauce.  And of course stuffing and gravy.  I often make mashed white potatoes also.  As to the dessert--last year daughter brought a spice cookie/Cool Whip thing and it was quite delicious.  I may suggest she make it again.

Last year I walked with my friend on Thanksgiving morning.  Not so long ago.  It seems like forever ago.  I miss our conversations.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Garden Moon

It's always dark.  Well, it seems that way to me these days.  And cold.  Snowing.  Very light tiny flakes.  Melting on contact with the Earth.

The Holiday Open House at work was fine.  Good coffee.  Took most of Sunday to recover my energy.  And that's what bothers me.  One day at work and then needing to rest the day after just to get back to normal levels of energy.

By doing only one step at a time--I managed to finish another baby quilt top.  One day two tiny  squares sewn together (machine).  Press.  Next time a set of two sewn to another set of two.  Press. The next time (days in between) I sewed four fours together.  And then, after another few days, I sewed all the 16's together to make the center.  Took awhile to choose a first border.  And even longer (much searching in the attic storage boxes) to find the outer, wider border.  Daughter finally chose.

Now it's pressed and in it's envelope.  Ready to fly off to Connie.

I have no plans to make anything else other than some Christmas Pot Holders with the Charm Pack the same Connie sent me last Christmas.  I like making Christmas items at Christmas not other times of the year.  I have a few bits of my own fabric to co-ordinate with the Charm Pack.  Very Cute.  Should be FUN.

Reading.  One book in print and another unpublished and still in re-writes.  Both good reads. Now I am going to attempt Louise Penny's first Gamache mystery.  Still Life.  I tried it years ago and found it deadly dull.  But now that I have read (and enjoyed) all the following books--I am thinking I might as well try it again.

I have a work on the easel.  Abstract.  It has no name.  I refuse to move forward until it either has a name or I take all the bits off and start over.  Someone said it reminded them of Lake Superior. I've never seen Lake Superior (in this life) so I have no idea.  And than was before more bits got added.

I have no idea what we will be eating tonight.  Freezer and fridge are still empty.  I had hoped insurance would send me a check.  Nope.

Riley is taking a nap--I think he has a good idea and will join him in a short snooze.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Hard Frost: Winter Appears

The hard frost came overnight and this morning my head hurts.  Like a sinus headache or a hangover. Daughter appeared to drop off a table top wooden easel for my fabric work or even a painting if I feel inclined.  Very nice gift.  She found it at the G-Town Dump.

Then we went into the ice frosted garden to dig up chipmunk chewed carrots for the chickens.  Also the collard greens and the last of the kale.  Hungry chickens.  Now daughter is worrying about them during the Winter.  She worries.  Born that way.  Same as me. I saved my celery the day before. Thinking ahead.

The table and chairs are looking better each passing day.  G is wanting  something larger.  I keep saying I want this.  Eventually he will stop asking.  Get used to having SPACE all around him, sun shining etc.

A friend from my quilting days asked to borrow my Round Robin quilt and Bev's.  I told her that everything had gotten packed and was now "lost" but that I would search.  I found mine.  Had a heart stopping search for Bev's.  And then found it.  Had fallen off the pile of antique quilts onto the floor.

Friend and I looked at the two.  Bev's is so beautiful.  The six of us did a row on each of the quilts.  They began with a block we made for ourselves.  Bev's is so beautiful because we all loved her.  We wanted to do our best work for her.  I guess I went all out.  Mitered corners.  Hand appliquéd leaves on a Baltimore styled vine with roses in the corners.  The quilt lay across the top of her coffin.  I cried.  Am crying as I type.

My quilt is also beautiful.  Both were hand quilted by Bev.  Mine and hers.  She asked to quilt it for me.  I said yes, please.  

So, perhaps that's why my head hurts.  Too many memories coming hard and fast and then the tears.

I made some sugar free jello.  Raspberry.  Later I will make a third pan of cornbread using corn grits. That's three pans in about two weeks.  Ten days?  Old recipe from the Grist Mill where I bought corn meal back in the day.  I still have two servings of the German Lentil Soup.  Also leftovers of Thanksgiving turkey.  It's a very simplified meal.  A deli turkey half breast, packaged gravy mix, Stove Top dressing, baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.  Delicious and served once a week until G's birthday--he was born on Thanksgiving Day way back in the Dark Ages.  I'm thinking it would be excellent served on Thanksgiving day as well.  Just for the three of us.

I am planning to make pumpkin whoopee pies for G.  With cream cheese buttercream filling.  We can set a candle in each.  Festive.

Well, I think I will take two Tylenol and then meander off to the sewing machine and sew my Depression Era-esk blocks into something like a rectangle and then think about borders.  Get on with the work at hand.  Then the cornbread.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Living Small Has Great Appeal

There is too much room here.  Too many places to "put" stuff.  If there was less room for things, I could possibly have less?  Would that be feasible? Or perhaps just have less.  In a large space.
My daughter already says my bedroom is looking austere.  I am giving things away.

I have a dream.  That I actually dream.  When I am feeling over whelmed (like now).  I dream that I become a wanderer.  Just one room I call home. Far from what I had called home.  Just a bed.  Perhaps one table. One chair. One cup.  One bowl.  Always white.  Everything white.

What did Thoreau write?  One chair for solitude.  Two for company.  Do I want company?  Yes. But only some of the time. So, perhaps two of everything.

Thoreau had paper and I write here, on air.  What would he think?  Air is too much company?

I can feel change coming.  I have no idea what it will be, but I think I need to change. I need to stop doing things the way I am and change myself again.  Like an every ten years cleanse of the personality and habits.  Shedding one life and creating another.

What to keep and what to let go.

 (G and I) took apart and carried the long, wide table (10 or 12 feet long and 40 inches wide) out of the dining/family room.  Unscrewed it.  The heavy wide board table top is in the garage and the rest (legs, sides) is out on the front porch waiting to be broken up.  G will possibly use the  table top boards to make other things.

Instead, we brought down from the attic the very first piece of furniture we bought as young married people.  A round rattan table and four rattan chairs with caned seats.

Why?  Because when our son was visiting and the four of us sat around the table---- the big table wasn't conducive to the old days.  When we sat around that round rattan table to play cards, yahtzee or just eat a meal together.  The big rectangular table wasn't cozy. Wasn't family.

I said, one evening, that I was thinking about that rattan table and chairs.  And G said right away--  let's bring it down.  So, it's now in the center of a very large (not austere) space.  Cozy.  Looking like it always should have been there.  And it makes me so very happy to see it there.  Bringing back so many good memories of our first apartment in Georgia when the table and four chairs was ALL the furniture we had--(making payments every week).  Until distant family took pity on us and gave us an old bed.  Lord, we were poor. And yet we were so happy.  Together.

That table and chairs brings it all back to me.  Living really small (smile).

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Big Rain, Wind, Power Outages

I've been missing.  Electricity.  How on Earth did we live without it for hundreds of years??? Well, we made do the first day with candles, the little burner on the gas grill and a generator heating water and keeping the fridge and freezer cold.  Then the generator shorted out when "stupid me" heated water for tea with the hot pot and not the microwave.  Too much energy surge.  I knew better.

The the food in the fridge started thawing, G got a piece of food stuck somewhere past his lungs but not into his stomach.  That took awhile to get past.  Heimlick (spelling) didn't help much as it's for choking without air not what he had--he could breath.  And then the little book light started fading.  I couldn't read from 6 pm dark until morning.  Yes, yes, others suffered more.  I am just letting you know the trivial stuff.

So.  November.  My freezer is empty (all  the food is gone).  Some ice.  Finally got fresh milk and yogurt from the re-stocked grocery yesterday afternoon.  They had to get rid of all the fresh food in the stores.  Insurance reasons.  Still no produce to speak of. Restocking is slow. But there is bread again.

We got power back late on Tuesday.  Took a shower.  Did a load of washing.  Read my book.  The simple things in life.  Those who didn't get power on Tuesday night will be waiting until Saturday. That's a very LONG wait.  The sound of generators running was ....................... ugh.

Very big fallen trees still line the sides of roads.  Just pushed to the side so traffic could resume. Down the road from me a field of grass is covered in power lines and cracked poles.  On both sides of the road. There are no power crews.  End of the waiting line.  The crews are doing the work that has the most "bang"--getting more homes back up---and the lines with fewer residents wait till the end.

So.  I have missed reading your posts and learning of your news.  It's been solitary.  Power came back but phone service just arrived today.  Cell service is spotty.  My computer needed a reboot and my "page" was lost and needed re-building.  The plumber is making a short stop to see why we have no heat in the "old radiators" in the bedrooms.  So, still very cold at night here.  Fall is here.  Dark at 5 or 5:30.   The Dark Days as they were called in Germany.  Soon, it will be dark at 4pm.

I am starting a pot of soup for our supper.  And then I am going down to the office, turning on the desk lamp, turning on the sewing machine and stitching little patchwork squares.  But, before I do that--I may have some toast and make a cup of tea.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Electrician, Doctor, Diet & New Book

Doesn't this look good?  I am going to buy whatever it takes to make this.  Chili.  I even had the Taco Salad at Wendy's today after my Lung doctor visit.  My weight.  My weight & my lungs.  Who knew that one would affect the other?????  My chili may just be beans and sauce over the rice--with olives or avocado--sort of lower calorie.  I may even have packages of home made chili beans in the freezer from the Winter I started with dry beans and bags of dry chilies and made something--adding things, tasting etc until I arrived at something I liked.


G is moving furniture into the master bedroom.  And the new mattress.  I am dragging my feet. I don't know why but I kind of like the bare minimum look.  The echo of feet on the wood floors.

The Electrician arrived and moved all the switches.  Found the sconce wiring in the beadboard wall in the dining room (lost for almost 4 years).

A new author and a new book The Lake by Lotte and Soren Hammer.  This is book 4 and I am going to try and "forget" plot spoilers regarding books 1, 2, and 3 which I have NOT read.  Another Copenhagen setting.  I've been to Copenhagen and loved it.  The kids loved it also.  I need to find new authors as I have misplaced my book list.  Sigh.

Anyway--time for bed and my inhaler.   Oh, I also got a flu shot.  The high dosage one for lung
compromised elderly patients.  That's me.  That's G.  That's also our dog Riley (who didn't get a shot).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The New Normal Or Abi-Normal

We're having meatballs and marinara tonight and for the next few days.  When I cook (and it's not as often as I have done in the past) I cook a lot so we'll have stuff to eat for days.  When I was Elimination Food from my diet--I made meatballs and sauce quite often.  I could eat just meatballs. No pasta.  Some sauce.  Some cheese.

But that was then......and I have regained any weight I lost plus much more.  I seemed to have eaten my way thru renovation helped along by daily ice cream at Dairy Queen.  Oddly enough.  My clothes fit.  The scale says they shouldn't.

G and I tried and finally succeeded in setting up the traveling easel he purchased for me years and years ago.  The Jullian wooden box with legs from France.  Leather handles and carrying strap. (I see on the internet that it is no longer made in France but now in China and no longer as beautifully made)  It's been in many attics we have lived in.  Waiting.  We had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out. My "board" is now in the upright position and my newest cloth is pinned to it.  I have changed things, fabric, positions etc almost every time I walk past.  Still no name.  So, no stitch.

I am wanting to stitch. So much.

I cleared the area surrounding my sewing machine.  I found the brand new container of sewing machine oil.  I found the thread and pre-wound bobbins.  Now I just need to clear all the "maybe" fabrics, for the cloth on my easel, off the cutting board and cut four strips to add a thin border to a baby quilt top I am making and sending to you, Connie.  And, in addition, find the larger fabric piece that was going to be the wider outside border.  Attic?  Who knows.

G has asked me to help in the collecting (mower) of fallen maple leaves.  I am to dump them in a bag or carry them to the vegetable garden and add them to the beds--to compost and feed the soil.  We also have the maple leaves across the street in our neighbor's yard.  Got to get them up before the oak leaves start dropping.  They are terrible.  Not good for compost unless you have 10 years to wait for them to break down.  I don't know for sure, but in 10 years I'll be 81 and possibly not gardening too much anymore.  So....maple leaves.

I am currently wearing my pajamas.  so, I guess getting dressed is on my agenda.

Oh, I did manage to empty the freezers--the hall fridge and the kitchen fridge--of all the expired and frost damaged things.  Also all the unlabeled items.  Mysterious frozen rectangles.  Fruit that was no longer fruit.  Well, I think it was fruit.  All gone.  Now I feel like I can have a 'fresh start".  Early in the renovation I emptied the store cupboard of all the expired cans and bottles of things.

For once, I am feeling like I have the "upper hand" so to speak.  Now....leaves.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October- Warmest In Forever Here In Maine

Well, for those of you wanting to see something new on the design board--here it is.  I added a darker blue under the top edge of the painted fabric (light blue) and that has helped, but the phone is charging so no picture this morning.

This is the month I celebrate my "Blogversary".  I had intended to check the dates in the sidebar but will come back in after posting with the number of YEARS  (12) and 2273 Posts  The mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Somewhere between taking and sending three photos, shining up the stainless surface of my fridge with stainless cleaner/shiner and then washing off the stove......I forgot to remember to check the number of years.  I also had an important "stink bug" alert from the Master Gardener website.  G and I don't think the "stink bug" we are seeing is the "stink bug" they sent.  We also found, under leaves and branches of the weeping crab by the front steps ---a massive hornet's nest.  Empty with a big hole in it.  Yikes.  That could have been seriously dangerous.

It got down to 31 last night.  More frost on my car.  Which is parked outside because the fig tree is in my garage space.  Loaded with unripe figs.  I have my fingers crossed that they manage to get ripe. So many.  So large.  But today is going to be sunny and warm.  And in the days to follow, in the 70's.

Still no radiators.  Seems the plumber has rental units in Florida and in the last hurricane they slid off their foundations (?).  He had to go check on them and then decided to have a vacation.  Without notifying anyone.  I am not the only client who is angry.  Still no electrician.  He also has rental units in Florida.

Riley is still wearing his bandana around his neck with the pheromones to calm his anxiety.  Sleeps a lot.  Tried to push his way between me and the computer desk but gave up pretty quickly--usually it gets pretty testy between whomever is computing and the dog.  With whining and panting.

I have been cleaning out the fridge.  Doing it a little at a time.  Filling up a garbage bag and the compost bucket.  When I have what needs to go--out, I will remove the shelves and wash and dry them.  Go into the holidays with a clean fridge interior.  Blinded by the sparkle and shine. It's a big job and after it's over I have a whole load of towels and kitchen cloths to go into the washer. Plus the floor is usually wet and needs to be mopped.  And I will need a shower, clean, dry clothes and a nap.

Well, that's what is going on here.  Plus I have a large brown grocery bag (plastic is banned here) filled with peaches from my friend's tree.  MUST. DO. SOMETHING. WITH. THEM.  Made peach jam once--no one wants any of it.  So, not making peach jam.  Thinking I will peel and slice them and freeze for smoothies.  Won't matter in a smoothie if they turn brown (which they do).

Hey, A Big Thank You to everyone who reads this blog.  Some times I even get over a 100 "reads" on a post which makes me delirious with happiness.  Love you all!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Spooky House

My (visiting) son helped me renovate the Spooky House.  It's last outing (years ago) to the Town Library ended with a certain amount of damages.  A pile of loose parts on the flat roof and a written apology from library staff.

We (I) happened to have a small container of leftover bits and pieces in the cupboard-- enough to patch up the damages.  The glow comes from a short strand of red mini lights a double painting.  First a coat of a deep gold followed by a coat of a bright warm orange.  Most of the items on the surface were collected over a two or three year time period.  Halloween items are in short supply.  There are a number of skeleton's hanging from the ceiling (a garland of skeleton's was a very happy find) and a small rubber rat in the open doorway.

TJ Maxx, Big Lots, JoAnn's and our local salvage spot Marden's provided all the materials.  Under it all is a craft wooden dollhouse.  The Original House Idea was Martha Stewart's.  Her's was a gingerbread house.  I'm sure it's still available to view on her website--going back 10 to 15 years.  I originally made it out of a cardboard box.  So--very "doable" for crafty persons or children.

Happy Halloween Crafting if you decide to give this a try.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bibbetty, Bobbetty, BOO!

Too much happening.  Son arriving this evening after flying cross country.  Cleaning of the house going on.  Carrying extra clutter up the stairs to the attic room.  Finally taking all the cardboard covering the new hardwood out of the master.  I even sorted my fabric scraps and (like choosing the favorite child) and kept only the ones I "think" I will need for the new work (in my quest to limit clutter).

It's humid here in Maine.  Like Florida.  Ick.  Raining, warm, damp, cloying.  G has taken the A/C units out and up into the attic.  Tomorrow it's supposed to hit 80 and of course, with all the damp Earth---it will be humid.

I carried the "Spooky House" I made out of a wooden dollhouse kit downstairs to display in the entrance hall for "the Holiday".  It needs repairs.  But I have a glue gun and plenty of TIME so I am going to try and do repairs.  Shingles have come off.  The plastic bones that surround the windows (as trim) didn't hold really well.  Other things got "picked" off while on display at the library in Town years ago.  The "picking" off of bones etc and candy (Gingerbread House) is why the two houses are no longer on display in public (when requested).

The lights inside make the walls glow blood red.  The red eyes of the RAT by the open door--glow. Inside I have a bag full of skeleton ornaments hanging from the "ceiling".  So "spooky".  Love it.

Pictures here tomorrow or the next day--after repairs.

The new mattress set will be delivered on the 24th.  Sigh.  I didn't plan on that.  So we had to go emergency shopping for an inflatable bed.  I'm hoping our son won't mind.  It's that or sleep on one of the couches. His choice.

When the new mattress set arrives we'll be set up with two bedrooms with king beds.  And, because that is how things work, will NEVER have need for guests sleeping over.  It was that way for years--so we gave the guest room queen to our daughter.  Yep.  And I had a sewing room.  Now I don't and we don't and that's life.

I've been eating Twizzlers and need to STOP.  It's a very bad habit.  Halloween Candy.  Last year the neighbor gave me a neighborhood sized bag of Tootsie Rolls she had bought for Treat or Treat.  We have two 5 year olds living on our street.  I managed to eat them all while reading the entire Louise Penny series into the wee hours of night.  And then getting a new crown.  My friend had a half ton bag of "right" Twix.  And fed me four of them after the gin and tonic.  Sigh.  Halloween.

My daughter got me a book on dyeing fabric at home.  (spell check wrote "dating fabric")  She's bringing it with her when she comes to see her brother tomorrow.  (spell check "bother" not brother)
So.... I'm going back to my HOUSE WORK.  Bibbetty, bobbetty, BOO.