Tuesday, December 31, 2019
My daughter gave me this bracelet for Christmas a few days ago. With the single Good Luck charm. I had the artist charm on the bracelet I had gotten from my freshman roommate in college. And had G move it to the new bracelet. And yesterday- all that finding- got me to think that there might be more charms. And there were. In the bead drawer. I had selected these two. The heart because I always love the heart. And the dog because I have always loved my dog. I didn't do anything with them. But I guess it was okay- they waited until the right Time. G will attach them for me.
G is having a problem with the snowblower. It worked last night. Not working now. Service tech says let it run for awhile- might be iced up (frozen) from last night's work. G does not want to resort to the shovels and seeing the 12 inches of snow- I don't think two people in their 70's have any reason to be shoveling snow. We might have to call and see if someone can come plow our driveway.
I am writing now- before moving on to the Washing Machine and the Pages I write while watching over the machine rinse cycle. D we are getting new ones. Just like the old ones. They still make this very simple, backward model. I love that they do.
I found exactly one photocopy sheet of the Target circles. Copied off a plastic bag of theirs. One. One is all I needed as I can now print more copies and color them with my Sharpie pens. In colors to work with the theme of my book. Earth. The Attic always provides. It just sometimes makes me go searching many many times before it shows me what I need.
The Time for the alphabet eraser stamps might not be now.
I was reading my journal from 2010- On New Year's Day 2011 the numbers were 1-1-11. Very rare. In 2022 we will have 2-2-22. In 2033- 3- 3- 33. In 2044- 4- 4- 44. I will most likely be alive for 2-2-22 and 3-3-33 (iffy) but not the rest of them. The previous 1-1-11 was in 1911.
Monday, December 30, 2019
From the 2010 Journal. With the black print newspaper. There is quite a bit of the old newspaper in this journal and the glue stick releases well. The trees speaks to me still.
Be who you are. Telling myself to do that on this journal page in 2010.
Yeah. Been working on that for so very many years. But first I had to find out who I was. Then BE.
Harder for me than for others. But I am braver now. More able to stand and say NO! and mean it. Problem is...too ready to say NO to everything. G says I am often very negative.
For a few years ( how many?), I have been trying to say yes...even as I grit my teeth and my insides are screaming NO!!! You wouldn't think that was me, would you? Or does that come through as an undertone to the daily notes? It might.
Missing Riley today. New, fresh snowfall. Favorite thing of his. Rolling. Sticking his nose into the snow to smell for his very strange green rubber toy. Digging it out with such JOY and then wanting me to throw it so he could find it again. I knew this was coming. It was a thing we two did together while I shoveled the porch and the steps and the walkway.
I saved that one toy- it's on the table with the Goddess. Waiting for it to snow. G wondered why I saved it. I couldn't say. Too hard.
I went to Target to "buy" a plastic Target bag- the old ones with the small target circles. No. They don't have that anymore- just the one with the big circle- single circle. And in six weeks....no plastic bags at all. Only paper. I was going to photocopy the bag into black and white and use it in my book. I don't think I have any bags. I was never a Target Shopper. Going to have to "make" one.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
From 12 years ago. I am sorting my way thru the old journals. Taking out some good stuff and getting rid of the chaff. Lots of that in the early ones. Two of the journals from the earlier times had half their pages torn out for the recycle bin. Now I can go back and work on them. Lots of blank pages.
Goodwill. I did get 6 lovely heavily quilted French looking commercial placemats and my intention is to replace all the homemade patchwork ones that look so shabby. One dollar each for the new ones. Pale avocado. Perfect condition. I also found a very good condition red fleece zip front from LLBean and it's that perfect red. No orange undertone. Bean doesn't make that perfect red anymore. No corduroy pants. None. In two Goodwills.
We stopped in the War Zone of Construction in Town to make a quick stop in the Staples. ONE Washing Machine Pages Notebook- I had to dig around to find it--and a fresh box of $22 pens. Ridiculous cost of pens these days. But three pages a day- uses them up. Plus the ink that leaks out on my fingers.
Patriots lost due to ignorant choices (my opinion) and being up against the former Patriot offensive coach. I can't even be upset. G is very upset.
Still no idea of the location of my eraser stamps. But it's cold today and I am NOT going up into the Attic today. Plus it's already dark and I only have one lamp in the Attic. No art today.
I'm really tired today. And I have to start thinking about putting together my pages. For my book.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Yesterday's painting experiment- first the opaque watercolors in lines of color top to bottom. Then some soft black drawing pencil and finally white chalk ink. Then I rubbed my finger over all of it and something unexpected happened with the barely visible white ink-- it became visible. This looks to me like a cross section of the Earth's surface. A bit lighter than seen in this photo- which was not taken in natural light. I never got around to the picture taking and blogging until it was well and truly dark.
I was up in the attic for a very LONG time this morning and afternoon looking for those eraser carved alphabet stamps again today. I LOVE them and wanted to use them in the collage book project in January. I opened every container for a second day in a row. I never came across any stamp pads either. They were in the same box. I didn't cry but it was close.
I took the rest of the day to repair my red sweater. Hole under the arm. So I thought I needed a patch. Nothing red at Goodwill- I have been looking for a donor sweater. So I decided to remove the useless chest pocket. Well, big mistake. It didn't come off without me making several holes. And the kicker- the underarm hole? Fixed it with just sewing with red wool yarn (another visit to Attic). Never did need the pocket.
On my very long visit to the Attic I found lots of handmade paper to use in my book project. Some was a gift from a friend in New York and the rest was purchased at the Artist Supply. I also found a large pile of magazine tear-outs to use to collage the book I am making. Also found daily postcards from son's first visit to Japan in 1991.
And more wondrous than anything- I found the original pictures and my line drawing used to paint with thickened Procion dyes on prepared white cloth. The details would have been machine stitched in colored threads. I never got that far. And then the whole project got lost. I moved my quilting stuff too many times. One room to another, upstairs and downstairs. Lost in Transition. But I have it now and I am putting it in the closet in my very tiny sewing room. Free Motion Quilting. Have not done any of that in 15 years or more. I don't even know how to put the feed dogs down anymore. But I have the thread- a box of lovely colors.
I opened the cloth and it took my breath away. Not professional or anything-- but for a FIRST time attempt in a class? With dyes I had never used before? I just could not believe it. All of it- the line drawing three times the size of the original used under the cloth to transfer the lines. I just stood and looked at it and touched it and marveled- at how brave I was to even try.
I found the milk paints. Someone I know is doing something with milk paint and I need to find out what and do some of that also.
I am crossing my fingers that: the eraser stamps show up. That the Baltimore ribbon circle with flowers shows up (it used to sit by the wall in the dining room- until very recently). And I just realized that I had found the roll of paper with the border design for a Baltimore quilt half finished- but I didn't stuff it into my pocket. Damn. I have to go back up tomorrow. I wanted to tuck it into the box of parts. So...all of it could get lost together.
Friday, December 27, 2019
Playing with my new found (Attic) paints. Opaque watercolors. I was having so much fun I dipped my brush into my coffee instead of the wash water. Things got a bit dark when I started mixing the colors together. I don't like any of them in their original tones. Too Crayola basic 8. This is a basic eight set of opaque watercolors plus black and white.
That mixing went well (opposites/ adjacent) until I discovered adding white and then adding the black and then just mixing. The basic 8 are still visible. But more as a suggestion. I am looking forward to doing a bit more with the paint on the mixing plate in just a few minutes.
G was up and out early for the 45 minute drive to his doctor's appointment. But he's back now with his "candy" coffee and is finishing reading the paper. Also the mail he (we) forgot to get last night. In the winter our mail is delivered after dark. Very much after dark. Between 4 and 7pm. G got an approval letter from our Medicare provider for another 16 physical therapy appointments for his back. G loves having medical appointments. I do not.
I am noticing my glasses need cleaning. G stopped at the library and picked up books. I still have one to read before the 29th. Two days. Doable. I have my annual eye examine soon and I think I will be getting a new lens prescription. Needs tweaking.
Watched the third night of the Great American Baking Show and these bakers are doing a really crappy job of it. One woman had more cookie dough on her shoes that anywhere else. And the two judges were having a difficult time finding anything positive to say.
Prior to the baking we watched a marathon of Dr Pimple Popper. Well, G watches and I watch until the surgery begins. Then I stop looking.
I seem to have another two loads of washing machine work to do today. And that book to read before it's due date. And I think I really want to see the new Little Women movie. It's different because all the Little Women are adults in this version. Grown up. With lives and families of their own. And because it looks quite beautiful. I like movies that look beautiful.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Christmas Gifts. A new desk calendar and beautifully white flour sack dish towels. To the left my two collections of oil crayons and my Japanese black ink brush set. The bacon press is in the blue box. Top and out of the picture a spice rack that rotates with many small capped jars. A good place for beads or other small art supplies. Daughter found it at a garage sale last summer. G wants it for screws and nuts and bolts. Tug of War going on.
I also received sock monkey striped socks- which I am wearing. They do not itch or rub me the wrong way. Nice and warm.
Daughter and I measured and mixed up the Boozy Chocolate Bundt Cake. While it baked we thought about other bundt cake combos that could be Boozed Up. I can't remember what they were now- but one was spiced Bundt cake with amaretto I think. The liquor is mixed with butter and water (heated to simmer) and then spooned over the just out of the oven baked cake and allowed to soak in. I used Kaluha with the chocolate Bundt cake recipe.
After supper we played a new to us dice game and since it didn't involve holding cards-- we did fine. And there weren't too many rules to confuse G. But G gave daughter money to buy the add on set of dice so he could have yellow dice- his favorite color. The peachy orange ones with yellow dots was okay but they weren't yellow. Daughter sent a picture to Son in California (of us playing the game) and he was pleased that a low enough bar had been set for parental enjoyment. Yep.
The best gift of the day- The Dude Hygiene Wipes for Men. Yep. Daughter wished she had known about them as her Secret Santa pick at work was a guy who likes to hunt. He might have appreciated some Dude Wipes when he had to shit in the woods. Yes, ladies these were available in my grocery store right alongside the feminine hygiene products. The wipes are 14 inches square. Heavy duty. Biodegradable. I studied the box for awhile before tossing into the cart for G. Glad I did. Daughter was laughing so hard she couldn't stand up. Riffing on the "possible" uses and "needs" the wipes would fulfill for a man. In her head. She didn't share them out loud. She will share them with her friends at Crossfit tonight. And they will come up with additional ones, I am sure.
That's about all. Oh, I did save some of the wrapping paper for my January collage book class. Good stuff. My book's pages are going to be mostly Kraft brown with white accents. One nice piece has a bronze shiny surface. Another has a raised white design- like cookie frosting. You can rub it off. Chalky. And daughter texted a brown paper bag with a human body divided into the eight measured segments using the head as the standard measure. And it's printed on both sides of the bag. Wrinkled but I can iron it flat again. I also have an LLBean brown bag with a wide green stripe. So I'll have some colors other than brown as a base. I am still on the look out for a brown bag with some red.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
I have the filling for the cheese pierogi (a Polish filled dumpling) mixed and two balls of noodle dough ready to roll. Then it will be filling, pinching the edges of the little rectangles and then when all are done- boiling them and then taking the large plate over to daughter's house. She comes home to find Christmas Eve dinner ready in the fridge.
Then I will begin work on the ones G and I like- the potato and onion filling and the fried sauerkraut filling. Last year I tried something new and made an epic mess of all of it. Our favorite food of the year went into the garbage can. I am going back to the standard, boring recipe and fingers crossed it all works out.
My grandmother made them. My mother learned how and made them- and now I do. And we aren't Polish. Well, G is...but his mother made something different. The filling of a dry cheese or ground cooked meats. G's cousins make the pork and beef pierogi. For tonight.
On that note I must get back to work. The porch freezer stopped working and yesterday all the fruit from the garden I had saved- all gone. Now compost. For the second or third time in five years. So, I am not saving fruit in the freezer anymore- it gets canned or it gets eaten fresh. The cleaning and all that mess...took quite a bit of Time yesterday. Only one bag of rhubarb could be saved. I cooked it down with sugar to make a sauce to eat with yogurt. No time or need for a rhubarb pie. My favorite.
Happy Holiday (whichever one is meaningful to you)--I'll be back here on the 26th.
Monday, December 23, 2019
Making. There always has to be something that I am making for Christmas. This something doesn't always get finished in Time but still.....it's the making that is important. I may not gift this to people until next year but...it really doesn't matter does it? Most of the inhabitants of my street have family "elsewhere" and go there for the Holiday. The street will be quiet.
I found backing in the sewing room closet along with the special batting. I may have already told you. And I have the last minute grocery list ready to take to the store- after my coffee date at 11. I almost forgot about the annual boozy chocolate cake. This year it will also have ice cream.
I don't begin the serious cooking until tomorrow when I make Christmas Eve Food and the whole house smells like onions fried in butter. I just wrote a few more things on the shopping list. The real intensive cooking is for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day we have Christmas Burritos. A tradition begun on a Christmas Day I realized I had not purchased or planned for a Holiday Meal.
The home from college children, husband and me....were hungry and nothing was cooking on the stove. So I looked in the fridge and freezer and had the makings for Burritos. I made up a fantastic story of the "Christmas Burritos" and well, they were delicious and we've had them every Christmas since then. And we have the very lovely Boozy Chocolate Cake. That's wasn't on the menu back then but it is now.
The Holidays of my childhood were very elaborate. I don't know how my mother managed it all and still had time to starch and iron my daily dress and my brother's shirts and pants. And the washing machine was the old wringer model and the clothes dryer was a line in the basement near the coal furnace. I try an imagine myself doing all that plus meals that had no pre-made components. But we each got a small pile of toys and one small bottle of real Coke (Santa drank Coke) on Christmas Eve.
So- off to have coffee on and a chat- its 48 degrees here in Maine-- and then the Bank and the Library and the Grocery.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
My Solstice Paper whites. They seemed to have grown quite a bit overnight. While I was off with my friend yesterday- G was putting a fresh string of lights on a tiny tree we own- made of twisted branches. We are finding little gold stars everywhere. Even inside with the paper white bulbs.
It was very cold yesterday and today- No Sun. Nothing to provide any warmth.
I was busy yesterday cutting up and reassembling a little Christmas Santa charm pack into potholders. For gifting. Now I have a visit to the even colder Magic Attic for backing fabric. I do have Santa fabric down here but it's the wrong color. The charm pack is more pink and green. I am hoping for something in the 30's 40's reproduction tub. Or I will go with a stripe or polka dot in the Magic Closet.
Patriots won but we didn't get to see it as it was on a paid subscription channel. G kept up with the action on his phone (while trying to get the lights on that little tree) while I watched a home improvement show on HGTV.
My citrus "bush" (it is certainly not a tree) is flowering right now and it smells wonderful. I am following "new to me rules" on feeding and watering and hope that fruit follows the flowers for the First Time Ever. We have it in the space Riley and his big dog bed occupied. Right up against the under window radiator. Riley could see what was going on, in the house and in the yard, and stay toasty warm with his long backbone resting on the heater. It would have been harder for us if the space wasn't filled.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
I was sorting paper for the January bookmaking class, and found this example of the shapes and textures I was doing in my journals. The dark text of the newsprint is no longer available to me. My newspaper has gone to a new lighter text that doesn't work as well for me.
I begin these designs with a line. Then another. Continuing until the surface is full. then I go in and fill the spaces with pasted newsprint or with ink.
This is the second page I found. Neither of them is finished. But I might work on them later- after Christmas but before the collage/book making begins. I'm not even sure I am able to do this kind of work anymore. It's been a long time. I might be better off beginning a new one and seeing what happens. Rather than mess these up. I was really surprised to see them again and surprised at the work I had done. Steady hand.
I purchased all my holiday food items yesterday- feeling like I was doing it too early and now realize I was actually behind schedule. I might need to buy another bag of flour on Monday when I have a coffee date with my walking buddy. I also need to visit the bank. Thank goodness they -all three- are next to each other. Coffee shop- grocery- bank. I visited the library yesterday. To return my book and check out two more.
I've been recording the Great American Baking Contest (ABC) and was disappointed in the contestants. They couldn't even make gingerbread in week two and their American cheesecakes were runny messes. Not sure if there are one or two more episodes. I had looked forward to the British Holiday baking shows from last December with Paul and Mary but...no. They aren't even showing Mr Stink this year.
My selected glass vase for the paperwhite Solstice planting today- has a crack in its bottom. I have to go with choice number two. I like choice number one so much- hand blown. Sigh. It's disappointing.
I was hand sewing small squares together in anticipation of making a few potholders to give as gifts this week while watching the cooking show. I seem to have misplaced the potholder batting- the special stuff that keeps people for burning their fingers. I will need to put on my heavy coat and go up into the Attic to see if it's there. Before that-- a quick look around the guest room and sewing room. Last Time I remember seeing it was on a chair in the dining room. When I brought it home from the store. G says- let's just go buy a new yard of it at the store. I think he just wants to get out of the house. We did go have Chinese yesterday. I got a lovely fortune.
"If you continually give, you will continually have" A good way to live, I think.
Friday, December 20, 2019
The last of the old ones. And no newer ones have been made. Yesterday I practiced saying yes whenI would normally have said no, not now. G wanted to move furniture in the dining room. So we did and the room looks nice and the tv set is higher up and easier to see. It's my dad's old tv. We bought it for him on one of our "wellness" check visits. Long ago. His "friends" told us the tv didn't work. But it did and has for an additional 11 years here in my house.
I received notice that my Louise Penny book A Better Man was due tomorrow and decided it was time to read it. I got thru 361 pages last night but stopped at midnight. Will finish it this morning. In the author notes, Louise writes that her husband, suffering from dementia, was doing a puzzle at the table when a friend stopped by with a dog. The dog walked right in and over to the author's husband and lay down with his head on husband's foot. And was his constant companion until her husband's death never leaving his side. This book was dedicated to that dog. Bishop. That was so hard for me to read.
G has gone off to his physical therapy and when he is done we will drive together to Freeport to pick up the new mattress pad. Then the grocery. I have been having hummus and carrots for a combined lunch/dinner for a few days now. And I love it. So I need more hummus right now. I may purchase the supplies for holiday meals. Or not.
Just got a call from neighbor at the other end of this dead end street. Police were here in abundance last night around the time G and I were getting ready for bed (midnight). Cars etc. Men on foot. We didn't see anything but N was telling me there is a mentally ill man doing very bad things in Town. And they must have thought he was on our street. No lights or sirens. N is taking a shower and then visiting the Police Station to find out why the police officers rang her doorbell and asked her questions after midnight. There were footprints all around her house and up on her deck. While we talked, I looked out my windows to see if anyone had been walking around my house looking in the windows. No.
Well, that sort of thing really is strange. Our houses are so far apart on this street and the lots are heavily wooded. A few weeks ago Riley and I would have been out there on the last call of the night walk. OMG!!!
Thursday, December 19, 2019
A pencil drawing- perhaps not really easy to see- But I think Jude of Spirit Cloth asked us to draw a spirit animal and I couldn't think of one and this came to me instead. A spirit child. With my large ears and not very much hair. My nose was smaller back then.
A Tree Removal company has been across the street most of the morning. Taking down and grinding up old dead and broken trees. So the others nearby will have a better chance to grow old in a healthy manner. The home owner is very very sad about the trees. But a few were going to drop on her house in the next heavy storm. Or her car. Or the power lines. She also has a rabid fox under her back deck. Which needs to be dealt with. Not a very Merry Christmas for her.
It's very cold in the house. We had wind and blowing snow last night. It's 17 degrees at noon. The snow on the ground is mostly ice pellets. Not soft flakes.
I got all my handmade little Santa Suit ornaments on the tree yesterday. I made these a few years ago the week before Christmas. I had seen an ornament like this in a magazine picture and then found where they were being sold. $10. Each. So I made 10 with leftover felt from the Magic Attic. I did have to buy a small package of the tiny pom poms. These suits are about 5 inches tall.
Note: Dee these little suits would look adorable on your Mice!!
My book- I have procrastinated about reading it- is due on the 21st so I need to get started on it. So no more arts and crafts for a few days. My left eye is inflamed and dry. I think it's due to the evergreen tree. No rash last year because no tree. My eye feels very "sticky" and I have an intense urge to rub it. So I will attempt to read my book. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Off center with a flat tipped ink pen. Dividing the unused space to ground the image. From the past not the present. No art has been created so far this week.
Yesterday I managed to get the lights on the tree (wow that got complicated). Then sat on the couch, examined the tree (from across two rooms) and got up to re-distribute lights etc. About 20 to 30 times. It's not a perfect tree. Has gaps. It's the gaps that become more noticeable without light coverage. I still have problem spots but today I will try to get some ornaments on the tree. That should make the gaps less noticeable.
Touching the tree branches and then my face and eye-- that's what happened. Keep rubbing my eyes. What I need is daughter here slapping my hand away from my eyes. Payback. I did that to her when she was little and rubbed her eye raw.
And now I have eye itch drops in my eyes. I have an eye exam next month.
Snowed overnight after a nice ice surface was applied to roads and sidewalks. G is out with the snowblower clearing the drive and the sidewalks. Then he has a physical therapy appointment.
Went to the grocery and got more Pepcid for my acid reflux and chewable candy things from Tums. In cherry flavor- my all time least favorite flavor. The chewable works fast and then the Pepcid takes over. Riley took Pepcid three times a day. I was trying hard not to think of him suffering that burning acidic pain and not understanding why --blaming the food and refusing to eat it. Even writing this is painful. I can't bear the acid reflux pain and I know what it is. He didn't.
Well, G just came in and I can't let him see me crying so I will go fold clothes in the bedroom until I am okay again. Or just wander around in the sewing room. He doesn't go in there.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Drawing with dictionary paper collage. I love the look of pages of type pasted to paper or board. I began using newspaper years ago about the time Zentangles were the "big new thing". I think that was just prior to or alongside adult coloring books. The real Zentangles had too many rules for me. Not Zen at all. So I just made a shape and then filled in around and in it with designs in black ink and newspaper type. I am very rule conscious but don't actually follow too many of them. Meaning I am fully aware of breaking rules or disregarding them.
I like this particular work. I think I got it as "just right" as was possible at that point in Time. There's nothing screaming "fix that, you idiot". My work tends to scream at me. Very rarely does it whisper -"ah, perfect". I can't see where I would add or subtract in this one. Perhaps you do?
Mail last night- ours is delivered after dark. We have no idea when it actually arrives. But G went out to check and found we had gotten Christmas Mail. One bill and cards, a Christmas letter from my brother (with photos) and a Christmas package from Deb. My brother and his wife visited Normandy, traveled in France, Colorado and some other places. There was even a donkey race. I received a Solstice card from my walking buddy. Deb sent some of her lovely thread and cloth. And this morning a Christmas letter with family photos (like my brother's) but with different people and places from the neighbor across the street. I think that's about all the mail there will be. I already got a card from my dentist.
I do have an envelope to mail to Grace so will go to the post office and I want to buy some paper white bulbs to start on Solstice. Some additions to Grace's kit for small booklet making in January. I had meant to look at paper tape at the art store but in all my travels didn't see any. My computer doesn't like the way the word is spelled and keeps correcting it to "washing tape".
Monday, December 16, 2019
My plastic plate used for watercolors and mixing. I need to wash it off and begin again with clean colors. I cover the paint blobs with plastic wrap when I finish working. So they stay "moist"... but hard as a rock watercolor paints will re-wet, it just takes more effort and I don't think the brushes appreciate the extra work.
We had a morning meeting with the bankers today and ....because our banker said "snow tomorrow and the next day" we decided to drive south to Portland and the Art Supply. And it was a good thing. We also had lunch at the bakery next door. I bought one of each type of 8 by 8 paper block. All kinds of surfaces. And I got two full sets of the oil pastels from Sennelier. Made in France. The woodsy collection and the portrait collection. Creamy oil crayons. Now to find the others in the Attic. Now I have to wait for Christmas to try them out. I also got some Japanese ink pens with brush tips in shades of black to light gray. And one pound of dye Alum for $6.83 to mordant cloth. Now I can use the tiny jar of grocery alum to make snickerdoodle cookies.
On the way home we stopped at Cuddledown in Freeport and I asked if they had a king sized Australian wool mattress pad. No. But one is now ordered and should be on Thursday's truck. And a Merry Christmas!! Australian wool is so lovely to sleep on- cool in Summer and so toasty warm in winter. Makes no sense but it happens.
When we got home I gave the Christmas Tree water and food. It is taking up a lot of water each day. and I used the oil sponge to give my purse a good conditioning. It was looking sad and dull. Now it looks shiny and supple. Like an oily old lady.
Dark already at 4:14. I just got up to turn on the reindeer and the timer just turned on the wreaths.
Our banker mentioned that there are special bags that can be purchased if one is cremated and then the persons ashes can be mixed into the soils in the bag and a tree planted in the bag (the bag would be placed in a hole dug in the Earth and it would compost there to add more minerals.). I love this idea. I will research it and add this to the Estate Plan Binder.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
My favorite, I think. The collaged dictionary page with pomegranate just to the upper right of the fruit itself. There is a shadow at the bottom- me. Taking the picture. The sun is shining here in Maine and last night the Moon lit up the entire bedroom making it difficult to fall asleep.
But just in the Time it took to take an picture and sit down here- the Sun disappeared behind the clouds. I think the day will be that way--- sun and shadow.
My citrus bush- it never has looked like a tree- is happy enough that a few of the flower buds are opening today- a very very faint scent. But lovely just the same. It had spider mites and I used a treatment I had read on a blog-- a reputable blog- and sprayed the leaves and stems with rubbing alcohol. And stopped watering the plant. Dried up the insects and their eggs. It was the fuzzy white stuff that makes all the leaves sticky.
I usually have a tall/wide glass vase filled a few inches with volcanic pebbles and paperwhite bulbs. I didn't do that this year. I don't know why. I miss the green shoots and the promise of fragrant white blossoms. And I usually have a vase filled with pussy willow stems- setting roots. No to that as well.
The loss of my beloved Riley seems to have put a "full stop" to so many things. And of course the getting rid of furniture. For the painting starting in January.
Someone of you asked about my kitchen. A kitchen remodel never moves along smoothly. Or quickly. And once begun- you have to deal with a fridge in the garage, paper plates (no sink) and a crockpot or induction single burner thing on any flat surface. Months without a kitchen and very few options for take out. Fall and Winter are not the times to do this and carpenters are not available in the Spring and Summer as they are building houses then. And all the new appliances and cupboards have to be purchased and stored in the garage before anything starts. Also not doable in Winter. In Maine. Cars need to be in the garage. Also work guys going in an out in cold weather isn't fun. House is freezing cold. Also Riley hated the nailing gun noise and that was the deciding factor for a few years.
My kitchen area is a huge space with two story ceilings. Soaring ceilings. The kitchen/family room will BE amazing (someday) with a huge center island and I will love it and the kids will have an easy time selling the house when we are dead. But I have loved my kitchen all the years we have lived here. It's a good place. Filled with sunshine, new windows and even one wall of baseboard trim- the last thing the carpenters nailed in before they left. A little surprise gift to me.
Right now I am prepping for at least six weeks for the painting of the living room. Could be longer depending on other projects the painter has going at the same time. It's a big room and things need doing and fixing (the ceiling and walls). But the painter will be so excited to see the new trim work. And the lack of furniture. He was concerned with the amount of furniture in the room. Now it's bare. Four end tables, two couches, two long ottomans, one computer desk and a Christmas Tree. Fa la la.
Where will I post from?
Saturday, December 14, 2019
If I am remembering correctly- at 73 that is not a given- this was a reverse experiment. I seem to remember buying the block of black paper to use. 8 by 8 inches. I don't remember what I used to do the coloring. Pencils? No- I ran my fingers over the surface and it feels waxy. I am sure there is something in the box of supplies up in the Attic that was used here. Soft color sticks. I used to buy a few each time I visited the Art Supply. Never could buy the whole set of them- but if it ever stops raining- I will ask G to drive me to Portland and I will spend money and buy a full set of color sticks. Pastels. The name came to me. French. Lovely. This Pom looks French.
It is raining. Torrentially. It started yesterday late afternoon and rained all night and still- to now at 11:11. My magical number. I think it means someone is trying to send me a message. I always sit and look at the number when it appears and wait until it changes to 11:12. Open myself to whatever.
I think I would like to live in France.
The tree still is without lights. G is often too busy to help me put them on the tree until it's dark outside. I have more often than not put lights on the tree in the evenings. But I don't want to this year. But the rain is making it dark in the house even though it is morning.
Your response to the cookies is amazing. I wish- with all my heart- that I could give each of you a Christmas Tree cookie and a Star cookie. Nothing would make me happier.
I did a bit of cloth stitching yesterday evening. It felt good to hold the cloth again. I stitched a small fragment to the surface. Still searching for a way to tell a story. I have so many stories that I can type or write in the Washing Machine Pages but none to tell in cloth. Why is that?
Annie, your delightful card arrived this morning (the mail comes very late at night so G got it with the morning newspaper today) and I have it above my placemat and looked at it during my breakfast this morning. I love it. Thank you!
Friday, December 13, 2019
From the old days- a simple line drawing in black ink. I admit that no painting or drawing was made yesterday as It was sugar cookie baking day and I had almost too much fun with it. This year. Last year was my first try and I worried that I had chosen a bad dough recipe and then was uncertain about the frosting. This Time around.......I just "baked cookies".
As you can see G likes lots of frosting and candy on his cookies. I was very generous with the sprinkles until I remembered the birthday cake tiny M&M's. Then I was generous with both.
The stars were made with the only good cookie cutter I found all of the Sunday's I was visiting Goodwill. And it's a big star so got lots of yellow frosting and lots of sprinkles.
This came in the mail yesterday. With a check. It's from when G owned two McDonald's restaurants and the name of the guy in jail is written in the letter but G can't remember any incident that would have generated restitution as G usually tried to find out why the person doing bad things was doing bad things. Counseling them. Mentoring. All it all-- a very strange thing to get in the mail.
G is eating breakfast and we both enjoyed Trump's name calling of Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year in Time Magazine (morning paper). Trump thinks it should be HIM every single year. G also has to get going as he was called in to do two floral deliveries. While I baked cookies yesterday, G fussed with multiple lines of Christmas lights that had a great number of bulbs that were not working. Hours. When I had had enough, I packed all of them into a garbage bag and said- we can buy new ones. That's when we found the new ones. Right next to the back door.
As a way of making him "feel better" I allowed him to watch two long episodes of Doctor Pimple Popper on the big tv. I listen with my eyes closed. any time I have opened my eyes I have been sorry I did.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Yesterday's Pom. Sort of Christmasy. I was using whatever paint was on the plate. And it got a bit dark. But the Pomegranate itself was pretty old and dried up. Guess they don't age well in the fridge. Will buy a new (fresh) one next time I am in Town. And it's about time I washed the plate off and got fresh colors squeezed out. Or use one of the sets of pan colors. Tomorrow a Pom I did years ago.
We got a Christmas Tree yesterday afternoon. And it's in the stand and in place- right where I can see it from my usual seat on the couch watching tv. We usually had the tree to my right next to the fireplace but it was hard to see directly from the couch. No lights or ornaments as yet. Just pretty happy the tree got into the stand and into the house yesterday. Smells wonderful. A tree!!!!
G didn't even have time to finish his breakfast this morning before getting called in for floral deliveries. I think he has three right now but could be more as the Floral Gal said lots of orders coming in. So he'll be busy and he'll be drinking coffee from Starbucks.
Full Moon tonight if we don't have cloud cover. It was very bright last night. We thought deer had set off the motion light in the backyard. We have motion lights so we could track where Riley was when he went out for "last call" at midnight. But it was the moon. Now that the trees have lost all their leaves- we can actually see the moon.
Grace is having Battery issues so no posts and Jude sent pictures from her new house- heat and lights! I am having some dry eye issues which make painting, reading and sewing difficult. So........what to do. I may just work on packing up the two sets of dishes in the antique cabinet. Or not. I do have a load of wash to do so that could be a nice activity. And....I could bake sugar cookies and make colored frosting. G would enjoy cookies --with tons of sprinkles. Trees and Stars. Okay.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
This appeared on the blog- years ago. I was looking for something in the bookcase and found old art work. (I was looking for old paper for Acey's book making project in January) I liked seeing the series again and thought you might also since the demographics of who reads this blog has changed in the years I have been posting. I have a pomegranate in the fridge- I was planning to do another series of drawings or paintings. Finding this old series was a nice surprise.
When I find these things- evidence that I actually have some natural talent- I know I should exercise that talent. Like G doing his stretching exercises each day. I should be doing my art stretching exercises each day. You'll see older work here in the next days and I hope, new work. Because as we age we change and what my younger self was interested in- is not what I am interested in right now. We'll both find out if the 2019 Poms are the same or different from the older Poms.
The 60 degree weather of yesterday (no coats needed), rain and green lawn has now transformed into cold and dark. A light dusting of frost overnight. I wrote quite a bit in the Washing Machine Pages as I had three loads of wash to do. Small loads but they take as much time as large ones. I am kind of enjoying the time spent writing and listening to the machine. Humans. Strange.
G and I went out for Chinese yesterday- late lunch time and not many customers. The lovely woman serving us had help from her "just turned three" daughter who took great joy in bringing us napkins, the take away box for leftovers and our fortune cookies (three trips). She would bow and give us her offering and then bow again and say thank you thank you. Her mother looking on with great love. An ordinary lunch made very special.
I don't know what the day holds. G has his therapy this morning and then a floral delivery way out almost into the Atlantic Ocean. When he returns........we have talked about going to buy a Christmas Tree. This might be the last good day for that if it really does plan to snow later today and into the night.
Until G gets back home-- it could be hours yet-- I am getting the new Pom out of the fridge and deciding what medium to use. Pencil. graphite, collage, paint, watercolor, colored pencils. I have all of it close by. The first few will be awful.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
While looking for something in the ten drawer rolling storage thingy- I opened this drawer and snapped a picture. My bead drawer. Now, I also have bead dishes. Not in the drawer. I love those striped beads sort of center top but haven't found a way to string them that "works".
Connie commented that my pictures often feel like she is visiting my home. That's what I want, so, thank you for that comment!!!
I would take pictures of the new trim around windows, floors etc but actually, it doesn't look that interesting to anyone but G and I. I always go for plain white. With emphasis on plain. But the carpenter guys did some very tricky little things when we did the halls and bathrooms. Little touches that made plain look very interesting. Tomorrow if the light is good- I'll take detail shots. There weren't as many places here in the big living room to little things-- too many long, long runs of baseboard. If they had an extra day- I would have had them take down the fireplace mantel and design something new. But that wall will remain as it is--but fresh and white in January.
We had torrential rain all day yesterday and all night. All the snow is gone and Rudolph is on his side on the grass out front. Nice green grass for Christmas. No sunshine. Rain continues today. All day.
Even with all the lights on here in the house- it feels dark. And too quiet after all the noise and talking yesterday.
I randomly picked up a piece of a shiny blue black - a scrap- from Deb Lacativa- and it was the exact width I needed. I did a rough stitch to get it down- picture tomorrow- I wanted the thread to look more like pencil lines-- and then I went looking for more. There was none. Strangest thing. But happening more often these days. It's almost like I picture in my mind what I need and then it's there - this scrap was actually on the sewing machine table. Not in the basket.
So Deb- small thin or raggedy blue black fraying bits. Send. Or maybe you already did send- that one fragment and perhaps that is all there was or all that was needed. I have to think about that.
Monday, December 09, 2019
Here is the work I was doing to make king sized pillow covers. This is just the center portion- I found them in the sewing closet.
I have workmen here today. Installing baseboards. New taller ones before the painter comes in January. And they will trim out the front window. I might abruptly end this post if Keith wants to trim out the wall behind the computer desk.
I have missed having workmen in the house. And because it is raining- they are very happy to have indoor work for today and tomorrow because otherwise they would be going without pay. Lots of power nailing gun noise so good that Riley isn't here. He would be panicking.
I have to run off to the bank and K is getting close to wanting to work behind and next to this desk- So I will close early.
Sunday, December 08, 2019
A Swedish crystal jar. A watch that I love and have worn for years and years. It even survived a trip thru the washing machine back in Germany- only loss was the blue sapphire which Cartier replaced free of charge. The Alligator band was good for another ten years or more and then replaced with a plain leather one. A stretchy string of white beads. And a second string of rolled paper beads I made myself alternating with a few small orange wood beads. My dresser top.
We (G and I) went out after reading the Sunday paper to deliver flowers to someone who had just gotten home after having surgery. What a long, long drive that was. Very curvy road with blind spots. I can't imagine locating a senior living grouping out on a road like that. I'd never be comfortable driving to and from Town.
I asked if we could stop and visit Goodwill. It had been many weeks since my last visit. I bought one very old damask napkin. For one dollar. That was it. All the items I had donated while clearing out the cabinet- none were on the shelves except for a ceramic gingerbread man "plate". I guess no buyer could imagine how to use it anymore than I could. The gingerbread man was three dimensional with three small "serving" sized sections in his middle body region. Candy?
We watched Hallmark Movies yesterday. Well, I did- G watched Dr Pimple Popper. I liked all three but my favorite of the Hallmark movies was the one where a woman was teaching a Jewish guy about Christmas traditions and he was teaching her Jewish customs. The last one I watched was about a Christmas choir concert and by the end I had tears running down my face. If I say more- I'll spoil the ending for you. A good evening but I don't think we had any supper. But I did have a big bowl of carrot sticks and (a smaller bowl) of hummus. Yum.
Today is Pizza and Football.
Tomorrow and the next day we are having temps in the high 40's- 50's and steady rain for 48 hours. So all the nice snow will be gone. I have two excellent books I need to read. Good for a rainy days.
We still don't have a Christmas Tree- but I think neither of us is ready for one yet.
We passed a black Lab walking with his person on the way home.
Saturday, December 07, 2019
While emptying the large cupboard in the living room, a few items found their way into the bead bowl. The bowl has a five inch diameter so you can imagine their size relative to the bowl. A tiny wooded heart, an elephant and a Chinese cat. Also the odd quartz chip above the elephant.
The elephant holds a place in my heart. When I was 10 my father- who rarely spent quality time with me, spent quality time with me showing/teaching me to draw an elephant free hand for a class project. We drew on newspaper. What we had. Then I drew one on drawing paper. I very proudly took the drawing to school (we were doing some sort of project) and the teacher (I was new to this school and scared) declared that I hadn't drawn the elephant myself and telling lies was a very bad thing. The entire class laughed. They continued to laugh and ridicule me until we all graduated from high school. A class of 500. And I was forever the odd duck.
I was embarrassed and humiliated. I asked for a sheet of paper and drew an identical elephant on it. In front of the class and teacher. Such bravery. No apology for her remark was given. Nothing. And that moment in time was where my Life went off the rails so to speak. In the school where I had gone from kindergarten to grade 4- I was a happy child with friends. That was never true in this school or the next or the next. As the people I was in school with from 5th grade never varied or changed. Fate even wanted to fortify this shunning. My college roommate in my freshman year was the Prom Queen/Head Cheerleader from my high school. Luck of the draw. Fate.
I think I have told this story before on this blog- forgive me for repeating myself. But the little elephant brings it all back.
I survived- but at what cost? I often wondered what happened to the girl even lower on the classroom scale- the girl who ate paste.
Friday, December 06, 2019
The Porch Goddess. She was a very nice soft red color when I purchased her. Faded slowly and now just the base color of slate gray. As far as I can tell she is the Goddess of the Harvest or Plenty. I take good care of her and she takes good care of the gardens and plants. She also gives any strangers coming up the path to the front door second thoughts about ringing the bell (wonderful)- the neighbors also find her strange.
But she has a fresh wreath and some ornamental fruits and berries, pine cones and a Crow feather. The Goddess sits on an old, old wooden side table gifted to us by G's brother a long time ago. The Two seemed suited to one another.
G was recruited to do floral deliveries when we stopped in yesterday after my haircut. One late yesterday afternoon and one this morning. There will be more as the regular driver is looking very ill. Perhaps the flu or something more serious.
In the Spirit of Seasonal Generosity, G watched three episodes of Dr Pimple Popper yesterday evening (instead of Hallmark Christmas movies). I kept my eyes closed but just listening was enough of a shock to my system. He usually watches on the small tv by the dining room table. Nicer on the larger living room tv. I imagine it was nicer???
I am thinking today might be a good day to begin writing my Christmas Cards. I didn't draw or paint my own again this year. I found a very nice card (box of them) at the local independent bookstore a few months ago. I do have to try and buy Christmas Stamps. Last year the Post Office was "all sold out" by the time I stopped in for stamps.
Well, I am not sure what is going on, but I have been coughing and feeling sleepy so I might be getting a little bit sick or something. I think I'll just rest a before doing anything else.
Thursday, December 05, 2019
The wool scraps bundle. I like things tied with string. Some of my favorite things.
We went out together this morning. I had a hair cut appointment. And then we stopped at the greenhouse to pick up a small evergreen wreath for the Goddess on the front porch. The wreath smells wonderful. I added two picks of assorted fruit and two feathers. One crow and one wild turkey. Abundance.
The sun is shining and it's not as cold. But not warm enough to melt the snow.
G has a physical therapy appointment in an hour and he'll be gone awhile so I need to find something interesting to do while he is gone. Right now he is sorting and rolling two large jars full of coins. I have two books to read but my eyes feel tired. I don't want to watch the news or impeachment. He's going to get away with everything. Moscow Mitch will do what he does best- not bring the issue to a vote in the Senate and the Supreme Court with uphold. I can't write what I wish would happen. I'd get arrested? But it would be perfect.
Christmas Movies are getting on my nerves- too perfect. A few on Lifetime are so "not wholesome" as to be enjoyable. The Mayor on one gave the Christmas Pageant director a motel key- so she and he could be "friendly" without her husband or his wife knowing. Actors were the regular Hallmark ones which is why it is so amusing (to me).
All the Thanksgiving foods have been eaten. The last of the Candy Birthday Cake was eaten by G last night. I made G a big pot of Chicken Soup yesterday and he was really happy. I made myself carrot sticks in the hopes that I had chickpeas in the pantry to make hummus. I did not. So I finished off the last five baked pretzels in the bag and then was pretty sad about the lack of hummus.
And that's it for today. I bought an empty squirt bottle and plan to fill it with rubbing alcohol to spray on two of my indoor plants that have fuzzy white mealy bugs. I already wrote a note and stuck it on the plant. No watering. It just increases the amount of mealy bugs. So, dry soil and alcohol. I am also going to spray insecticidal soap on the citrus tree. It has little webs. And the leaves are getting little brown specks on them before turning yellow. Spider mites I think. Hope it works.
Wednesday, December 04, 2019
My stack of Wool. I am thinking quite seriously of making a few wool cats this week. This wool was originally used to make primitive (simple stylistic Primitive) wool pillow covers. I appliquéd wool flowers onto the wool backgrounds. There are two of them somewhere in the house. Now that I think of it- I haven't seen them in quite a while. One used to cover the back of the chair I am sitting in right now.
But the extra unused wool was easy to find in the attic. It had it's very own tub.
I also sorted out a few drawers in the guest room that contain little bits of projects. Some from the years at the Library. We had a tradition of a Christmas ornament making party after work. Each employee would bring an ornament and all the supplies and we would each make that ornament. We'd go home with a handful of sweet little things for our trees. I loved that about working at the library.
I was looking for pipe cleaners. To make tails and arms for the cats. I found green ones and quite a bit of ribbon on spools. I enjoyed wrapping gifts in plain brown paper and then a very "splashy" ribbon and bow. Years ago. Something happened and I stopped doing even that. I think it was when friends died. The friends who got those gifts with splashy ribbon bows. They have been gone so many years now and their leaving still brings fresh tears.
We are going out of the house today. I have a Library book to return and some things to buy at the grocery. I might find a nice evergreen wreath for the Goddess on the porch. She hasn't gotten a fresh wreath in ....two winters?
Those icicle lights- I was reminded of just how "bright" they are-- Rudolph is blindingly bright out in the front in the snow at night. Can't miss him. And his red nose is quite ... Bright. And probably using lots of electricity.
I have only one more meal of Thanksgiving vegetable side dishes (six) left to eat. Very delicious.
Tuesday, December 03, 2019
Outside, just minutes ago. The blue at the top is the blue painted porch ceiling. Our porch steps in the lower left. Our thin trees. The neighborhood driveway plow trucks have been and gone. I watched the one across the street dig up lots of the lawn next to the driveway. I think the one next door does a better job- I have a letter to the neighbors asking if they recommend their guy. G is ready to just snowblower edges and sidewalks. Not the very long driveway.
Daughter isn't going in to work at the Chocolate Factory today. She hand shovels her driveway and that takes quite a lot of effort and she just doesn't want to drive on snowy streets in the 'first" storm. Before the inhabitants get their snow driving skills up to speed. We have witnessed many four stop crashes in our 27 years here. We stay put. Let them get it out of their systems without us participating.
G was out early to get his hair cut. He is happy to be back home.
Both of us are feeling quite emotional today- as Riley loved the snow. Even as sick as he was- that little coating we had in the days before he passed- he rolled in it and tried to eat some. He would be out there rolling and rolling this morning. It's things like this that bring sadness. But overall, we are relieved. The toll on us has been significant and we are slowly trying to regain our footings. Eight months of pills, Vet visits, worry, staying up at night with a anxiety ridden dog (he didn't understand why it hurt), G sleeping on the couch with his hand on the dog's back for months. We have to heal ourselves. So we are slowly doing normal things. Trying not to feel guilty about being relieved it's over. It's hard being the survivor.
I helped G put fresh lights on the wire Rudolph for outside. We re-used the icicle string I had in the kitchen one year long ago, along the back wall of the kitchen dining room. G had purchased little plastic ties and we got one string to do the entire reindeer in white except for the red nose. Last night was the deer's first night out. They always look nice standing in the snow. One deer standing and the other eating. William Sonoma a long, long time ago. A friend mentioned another one that might be available but not so far.
G and I were watching tv and he asked about cooking something we had just seen advertised. I said "perhaps you haven't noticed that I have lost interest in cooking?" He said "I've noticed".
Monday, December 02, 2019
I was working on this one Saturday and then again yesterday (with reading glasses on). I was going to write that it isn't this crooked but then I went to check- it is. Way more bias edges than usual for me. Also you may notice a nose and eye up there. Just showed up so I outlined it lightly. A small scrap from the Dyeworks of Deb L. I appliquéd the thin strip of green across the work. I may appliqué more lines or squares on the surface of this one. Or not.
The green and the brown are hand dyed cloth I inherited from my friend when she passed suddenly many years ago. There is also lavender which didn't play well with this piece.
These pieces of cloth sewn to each other are nothing more than that- well I try to make them look nice together. I don't seem to have any stories. I look at them and they have nothing to say to me. I don't know what to do about this- but probably there is nothing to do about it. They might just be enough as they are.
I went to bed early. I was tired and felt dizzy. No real symptoms. So I went to bed. Slept all night and now I am here after reading the newspaper and eating my oatmeal. There was snow overnight. Half an inch. Just covering the walks and drive but the grass is still visible. The snowplow came down the street when I was walking down the drive to get the morning paper.
I am having difficulty with Technology. My iPhone no longer can share your blogs with me. It just says it can't find you. And iPhone service which, before, was everywhere in the house, is now limited to the windowsill in the bathroom. I can still take and send photos. Texts. But "incoming" is limited to paid ads and other feeds. I did nothing different from one day to the next.
G has misplaced something and spent most of yesterday going around the house looking for it. It wasn't in any of the places he looked the first time. So, I lost interest in his search and told him to go out and buy a new one. He then asked me several times what he was supposed to go out and buy. So, dear Readers he will be of no help with the iPhone problems.
Sunday, December 01, 2019
I found this in one of the Feeds I get- titled Winter Garden. Oddly enough, we still have winter Color here in Maine (tiny red berries on the crab tree next to the porch). The Big Storm is running behind schedule and is now due late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Not holding my breath. Northern Maine got a foot of snow yesterday. I live in what is described as "Southern" Maine or "Coastal" Maine depending on what real estate agent is writing the copy.
G and Daughter hauled the wreaths out of the garage attic and hung them up on the front porch Friday. Yesterday G got them wired up and actually found the timer so they go off and on all by themselves--which really is Amazing (that he found it!). Today I think he'll bring down the two reindeer and get them up and they'll go on and off with the switch in the house for the lamp light. Once it snows and gets cold here- no going outside unless necessary.
I was trying to sew yesterday but I have to give up and wear my Reading glasses to sew. I was trying to do more appliqué and that actually needs close vision. I need to call and make an appointment for my annual eye exam. Perhaps will be needing a new prescription. My everyday/all day lens aren't good enough for sewing.
I have at least two loads of laundry to do today- so I'll get 3 or 4 pages written in the Washing Machine Pages notebook. I feel like I might need to write out a few things that are festering.
I am considering baking the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie today. I forgot it and the Brussels sprouts on the actual day. G hasn't had any of his birthday cake. I think he forgets. I tried having a list of what to eat on the fridge door but he never looked at it and then said he "couldn't" find the food on the list in the fridge. So I gave up.
Well, I am making a nice hot cup of coffee (second one today) and heading off to do laundry. Have a lovely day. Stay warm.