Saturday, December 8, 2018

Knit 1, Purl 2

That's mostly what I did today.  First thing (after yoga and breakfast) I baked a couple of acorn squash part way, filled each cup with an egg, sprinkled on salt, pepper, and oregano, topped the egg with diced roasted red pepper, and baked it for a few more minutes.  Once the eggs were set they got topped with feta crumbles and some dill. I had one for lunch.  All of that yumminess is only 1 WW Freestyle point and I have three more to eat.  Yay!


This afternoon I went to a friend's house to knit.  She asked me to come over to help her stay on task.  She's got a bunch of cushion covers to seam up but can't seem to get off the mark.  So I sat and knitted while she sat and pinned as we binge-watched four hours of Smithsonian Channel shows about Queen Elizabeth, Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace.  BTW, a castle has towers, battlements, and, usually, a moat; a palace is a royal residence.  First I cast on and knitted an inch or so of a completely unplanned dishcloth, then cast on and knitted a few brim rounds of the next critter hat.




Today's toss is a box filled with all of the suitcase belts we collected over the years (so we could ID our cases on luggage carousels), the inflatable airplane neck pillows, and this ancient radio from I don't know where.  Goodwill, here they come!  Well, back of my car, here they come until it's full enough to warrant a trip all three blocks over there.  Okay, maybe it's four blocks to Goodwill.


8 December--Walter Laurent Palmer, Winter Sundown.  Sharon looked out to see the sun halfway below the horizon.  She checked the time, the clock read 4:57 PM.  Not even five o'clock and it was nearly dark.  How did people who lived farther north manage with even less daylight?  She felt like a mole blinking in surprise when the sun came out.  Garth would be home soon.  He would burst through the door in a rush of cold and exuberance.  The lack of daylight never made him feel slow and sleepy.  He was happy for every day no matter the weather.

I hear there's a home game tomorrow.  That means I should be alert for a flyover around noon, if that's when the kickoff is.  I do love the flyovers.  Then I think I'll hunker downstairs, get that last load of wash done, and sew more flannel dresses.  I have some Christmas sewing I'd like to do so I should probably get the dresses done first.  Me before you, after all.
--Barbara

Friday, December 7, 2018

I Skedaddled

 

Yesterday I did beaucoup laundry and while the dirty clothes were sloshing around I sewed up another flannel Dress no. 2, this one with a farmer's market print.  I got it done just in time to pop it on with fresh leggings and turtleneck so I could pack clean socks, undies, pjs, and my toiletries and take off with a friend for a much needed overnight escape.



 

 

She's got a high-powered communications job and needed to spend some vacation time plus her family shares a cottage (it's really a 3-bedroom home) on the ship canal in Sturgeon Bay so I picked her up and we drove there, turned up the heat, and went out for supper.  This morning we watched the geese, ducks, and one pheasant who meandered by before saddling up and driving almost to the tippy top of Door County to go to The Clearing's holiday open house.  








 

We browsed the gift shop, of course, and I found a few items.  I'm excited about the book of 100 things to plant for bees.  I'm hoping to dig out a corner of the garden bed and replant it with bee, butterfly, and hummingbird attracting plants.  What to choose?  What to choose?





KW has heard me talking about The Clearing like it's Mecca for years and was excited to see it in person.  It was brisk (about 20 degrees without much wind) but we walked the labyrinth and down the path to the Schoolhouse.  Everything was locked but I do believe I might have made a convert.  She talked about finding out what classes are coming next year and getting her sister-in-law up there for a respite.




I knitted on the fox critter hat last night and finished it at Friday Night Knitting tonight.  I took today's toss with me to knitting.  I sorted through Durwood's stock of various tomato products (soups and V8), tossed what was outdated and took the rest to FNK for people to take.  I've got a couple packets of dry cheesy potato soup mix and a couple jars of raspberry jam left to take to the food pantry.


 

I got an email from Public Service a couple weeks ago saying that they were selling LED bulbs for $1 each so I ordered 2 sets which was the limit.  The box came yesterday.  Look!  This is $20 worth.  I think I'm good for a while.


I confess, I haven't written the prompt in days.  I promise, cross my heart, I'll do it tonight, just as soon as I put the pictures on here and hit "publish."  Promise.
--Barbara

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

An Unremarkable Day

That was my today.  I got a haircut this morning, visited the dentist to complain about my jaw aching and waking me up in the night (he said it aches because the temporary crown's shorter than it should be so my jaw is slightly out of whack until next Tuesday when the permanent crown's installed and I get my partial back; I miss my teeth), and went to the community supper at DS & DIL1's church.  They have it once a month and DIL is in charge so I'm always confident that the food will be wonderful.  Tonight's was ham, baked beans, those creamy, cheesy potato cubes topped with cornflakes and baked (I could have eaten the pan of those, I contented myself with a single serving *pats self on back*), corn, and a spread of desserts.  I only had a brownie and a small cookie, not one of everything which I could have easily had.


The birdies were busy today.  The Bluejay trio played round robin on the peanut wreath.  One would fly in squawking, wriggle out a nut, and fly off to be replaced by the second who'd repeat the act and then make way for the third, by which time the first one would be back in rotation.  That went on for at least half an hour.





This House Finch had a leisurely nosh on safflower seeds on the platform feeder unruffled by the darting visits of a string of chickadees.  Those little chickadees come swooping in, grab a seed, and fly away in one swift motion.  They're almost impossible to catch on film.



 


Mr. Downy Woodpecker found the suet pellets in the cage feeder back on the retaining wall and really confused a sparrow that came in to land only to find the feeder was occupied.


 

After supper I added a few rows to the latest critter hat for a grandkid for Christmas.  This one's 72 stitches and I think it'll fit so I'm definitely not ripping this attempt out.  Not.




Today's toss was an ancient, sawdust covered, stuffed with random crap left over from Durwood's traveling salesman days on the road, Samsonite suitcase.  I dumped the contents into a garbage bag, put the paper into recycling, and shoved the suitcase into the garbage can.  I might take it out, though, and haul it up the hill in back and stick it into one of the dumpsters up there because it takes up a lot of room.  It's too filthy and too mildew-smelly to donate.


Oh, before I went for my haircut I hung the jingle bell wreaths on the front and back doors and put the gold foil holly garland and plastic glitter seashell ornaments on the dinette light.  Now I think I'm really done with the holiday decorating.

Didn't write the prompt last night.  I'll do better tonight.  I might not blog tomorrow night, I'm going with a friend to her family's cottage for a short escape.  We both need it.
--Barbara

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Good Idea Gone Bad

 

Sometimes I think I'm sooooo smart but then it turns out that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am.  Despite the magic of the Light Keeper Pro there were still about 25 burned out bulbs on the Christmas tree so I went in search of replacement bulbs.  Thinking I'd save myself some gas and tire tread I went right to Taylor Creek which is the fancy Christmas store nearby.  They had nothing except a string of 35 white lights for $5.  I opened the box and teased one of the bulbs out of its socket.  It looked exactly like the bulb I needed so I bought it.  I spent the rest of the afternoon popping all 35 of the bulbs out of the new string so I could easily replace the burned out ones.  "Not so fast, Miss Smartypants," Fate stepped in to say.  It seems that the tree sockets have more juice than the string sockets because when I put in a new bulb and slide it back into the socket, POP!, it burns right out.  Dammit.  So now I have a baggie of bulbs and a string of empty sockets with no place to go.  Guess the tree is as twinkly as it'll get this year.




 

I did manage to find three new "underwater" ornaments there too which greatly increased my tab.  It's hard to see but the one on the right is an oyster shell with a pearl, then there's a pufferfish, and a stingray.  I couldn't leave them behind.





 
This morning I got the Nativity set up






put the three kings in a new spot in the kitchen,





 



and the Charlie Brown tree on the toilet tank (I think that's an appropriate spot, don't you?).









I pulled out the St. Nick prints done by Mom's cousin Marilyn 







 


and the knitted elf I made is ensconced in the wooden vase Grandpa Hack Stephan made on his lathe years ago.  Christmas has invaded the building.







 
Today's toss was four aluminum tripods that haven't seen the light of day in a couple decades.  They're now happy residents of my neighborhood Goodwill.


4 December--Jan Jansen, "Avenue's Best Cover" Ankle Boot.  Carol dreamed of silver shoes but not just any silver shoes.  They had to be made of the softest leather, have really pointy toes, and stiletto heels.  The thought of wearing shoes like that made her back ache in protest but she couldn't get them out of her mind.  The fact that she lived on a dirt farm, down a dead end road, outside of a town with a single stoplight that the red light bulb was burned out of and had been for two years didn't squash her dream.  If anything the apparent impossibility of the thing made her cling to it all the tighter.


D'you know what today is?  Today is my 42nd wedding anniversary.  Well, it would have been if Durwood was still around.  I made sure to put the felt fish he made with a spatula tail (inside joke) on the tree and met a friend at HuHot for supper.  I shed a few tears today for the man who made my life so wonderful for so long but I'm glad he's at rest.  The last few years were no way to live, not for anyone, and definitely not for a man as special as he was.
--Barbara

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Christmas Tree Miracle

 

D'you know how frustrated you get when you finally get the box of ornaments and lights up from the basement, then move all the plants and pictures into another room, and put the tree together or plug in strings of lights only to have the lights mostly not light?  You swear a little, throw them away, and go buy more.  It's expensive.  I've been there too but a few years ago I saw a TV ad that changed my life.  No, really.  This is what the tree looked like when I first plugged it in tonight.  Only about 25% of the lights lit, maybe not even that many.  So I unholstered my secret weapon, the Light Keeper Pro, followed the directions and PRESTO! the tree was lit.  (the incandescent fixer is $20 at Target and Home Depot--looks like they have one for LED lights too)  I need to get more replacement bulbs for the burned out ones but the great majority of them lit which is a good thing because if the lights are busted I need a whole new tree and these wire trees aren't easy to find anymore.  God forbid I have to go back to having a real-looking Christmas tree.  I like that I can see all my pretty ornaments on this wire tree and no fir trees were harmed in the creation of this decoration.






This morning I tossed our first generation Panasonic VHS Camcorder and our third generation JVC Compact VHS Camcorder straight into the garbage.  No one wants those, not even for parts.  I kept the digital camcorder because the batteries charged up and it worked.  But I kept all of the SLR cameras, lenses, and the box of vintage cameras I found in the front closet.  (looks like I should have dusted them before I took their picture... oh well)  I've got a shelf downstairs where I'm putting things that I can't immediately toss or donate. I'll probably get rid of most if not all of those things but only after some deliberation.  I think I'll clean up and offer the vintage cameras for sale in lots so if someone wants one of them they have to take them all--for a reasonable price, but I don't know if I'll sell that tiny spy camera.  I want to keep it just because it's so little, cute, and James Bond-ish.


Today was the December 1965 St. Agnes School graduating class' monthly cheeseburger
and fries lunch at Sidekicks in DePere.  Most of us have the $4.99 cheeseburger special and the waitress is amazing.  She doesn't write down our orders (there's usually 9-12 of us), remembers who gets what, and remembers what we order from month to month.  She even remembers that I don't want salt on my fries.  Actually talking to RVC (I don't know her married name) about putting up the Xmas tree and finding out that her husband bought her a Light Keeper too is what motivated me to haul all my stuff up and get the tree done.  We were exclaiming about the magic "light clicker fixit thing-y" and all the guys demanded to know what we were talking about because they're tired of buying more lights.  Maybe I should call my broker to inquire about their stock...  nah, who do I think I am, Warren Buffet?  I'd rather be Jimmy Buffet anyway.  I'm much more of a parrothead than a wizard of Wall Street.

On my way home from lunch I stopped at Camera Corner and dropped off my bin of videotapes to have them converted to DVDs.  There's no way they'll be finished by Christmas but I didn't figure there was.  It's December 3, for crying out loud.  January or February will be plenty of time.

3 December--Amelia Legrand de Saint-Aubin, Portrait of Michaela Almonter y Rojas, Baroness Pontalba.  How long had she sat there?  Her neck and shoulders were bare and a draft kept playing across her back.  It felt as if someone or something was breathing behind her but the artist was adamant that she not move a muscle.

I had more to say about that painting, really I did, but those few words staggered across the lines and after them came a sleep squiggle.  I don't remember more than the first "deep breath" of the guided meditation I listen to when I turn out the light.  Guess I was tired.  I'm kinda tired again.  It's tiring keeping moving so that I don't sink into a pit.  Day after day, just keepin' moving.
--Barbara

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A Snowy Sunday

The snow in my backyard (and the front yard too, of course) was replenished overnight and through the day.  It never got really cold cold so the streets are wet, instead of snowy.  If you look you will see that even on this overcast day the retaining wall timbers give off enough heat to start melting the snow away.





This Downy Woodpecker came by for a suet snack today. I know I say it every time but I admire their natty striped plumage.




Today's toss isn't a toss exactly.  DS hauled up the basket of video tapes that we took over the years so I sorted through to make sure that they're all dated and then packed them into a tote.  I plan to haul the whole thing to Camera Corner tomorrow to have them start transferring them to DVDs.  None of us can watch VHS tapes anymore and Durwood is on some of them.  I want to hear his voice again.  It'll cost an arm and a leg to have it done but I don't want those images to be lost so I'll pay.


After lunch I opened a bunch of cans of beans, six to be exact, two cans of diced tomatoes, and two cans of tomato sauce, diced an onion and a Poblano pepper, and combined all of that plus a packet of chili seasoning in the slow cooker to make WW Super-Easy Three Bean Chili which counts 0 points per 1 1/3c serving.  It's not bad, it needs some flavor boosting but it's a good start.  You finish it off with lime juice and cilantro which helps but it needs... something.  I've got 10 servings of it so I've got plenty of chances to tweak it.




Once the tapes were safely in the back of the car I went downstairs to finish sewing the flannel owl dress.  I decided to put the neck binding on the outside this time and on the top edge of the pockets to add a bit of accent color.  I can't wait to wear it.





During a lull in the rain/snow this afternoon I got the little flamingo out and set it up in front of the house.  The last time I put it up it didn't stand up very well so I uprooted a 36-inch crook from the back and stuck it in the front so I could use some twine to tie the bird to the stick.  It isn't as dramatic as the 9 ft. flamingo but it's the best I've got this year.  I promise to fix the big one for next year.



 

After supper of chili I picked up the next grandkid hat that was such a bugger on Friday night, knitted three rounds, and decided that it would be too big, so I frogged it again.  That has to be the sixth time I've ripped it off the needles and started over but I'm hoping the seventh cast-on is the charm.  Fingers crossed.

I didn't write the prompt last night.  Once again I was up too darned late so I just went to bed.  My flu shot and the jaw that the dentist abused last week woke me up twice in the night (I'm assuming that the jaw pain was due to the swiftly changing weather).  The second time I was smart enough to take a tylenol which helped.  I'll be glad when I get my crown installed and I get my partial back.  In a week and 2 days but who's counting.
--Barbara

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Getting-Things-Done Day

I have those quite often, don't I?  This morning I got a call that my sewing machine was ready to be picked up and when I asked how late they were open the lady admonished me not to dilly-dally because the weather was supposed to get crappy in the afternoon.  So I dressed, made a grocery list because I found some WW recipes I want to make right away, and headed out.  I ransomed my sewing machine and the lady cautioned me to sew on it as soon as I got home to make sure it's sewing correctly.  Imagine that, I HAD to sew.  Aw.

Oh, first thing after doing my yoga and having breakfast I went downstairs and brought up today's box to throw away.  It was more darkroom stuff that went directly into a garbage bag because one of the tanks still had that rotten-egg developer smell.  Ugh.  Not keeping that.



I sewed the sleeves and side seams of the owl flannel dress.  I plan to bind the neckline, hem the sleeves and bottom, and attach the pockets tomorrow.  Then I'll start on another one of the flannel dresses in the pile.  I'm sewing the ones needing white thread first and then the ones needing black thread so I don't have to change thread back and forth.  It's cold and damp, I need flannel dresses.





When DS was here yesterday I had him lift down a box with Mom's dolls in it because LC asked for an American Girl doll for Christmas and, while she's getting one of her mama's AG dolls for at home, I thought she could have Great-Grandma Maralee's AG doll at Meemaw's house.  There's a plastic box of dresses that Mom made too.  I found those first (the box is see-through) but wasn't sure that the doll I retrieved from the box yesterday was an AG doll.  I looked them up online, it wasn't.  So I went on a doll hunt.  Hauled down yesterday's box, went through it again, no AG doll.  Pulled down two more boxes, went through them, no AG doll.  I was frowning at the shelves trying to decide if any of the other (bajillion) boxes had dolls in them and was just about ready to call DD and my sisters-in-law to see if any of them had claimed the doll after Mom died but then I spied one more cardboard box that I didn't remember what was in it and it wasn't labeled.  It was more dolls, and there on the very bottom of the box was Mom's AG doll.  Whew.  I pulled her out, opened the box of dresses, and put her into one of the Halloween dresses.  I started crying and couldn't figure out why, then I realized that the doll and the clothes smell like Mom.  (pause for more tears)  She would be so happy to make clothes for LC's dolls.  I wish she had lived long enough to see LC and OJ.  I wish it every day.  Just like I wanted to show my grandmothers my babies, I want to show Mom my grandbabies.

Enough of that.  Look at the wonderfulness that I made for myself for supper tonight (and tomorrow night).  It's sesame-lime marinated swordfish with roasted asparagus.  All the food on that plate adds up to a whopping 1 WW Freestyle point.    Tomorrow I'm making Three Bean Chili in the slow cooker that's ZERO points per 1 1/2 cup serving.  Then I'm making Moroccan Chickpea stuffed acorn squash (1 point per squash half), acorn squash with baked eggs with roasted peppers and dill (0 points per squash half), and farro with sauteed leeks and apple stuffed into acorn squash halves (5 points per squash half).  I bought 5 acorn squash today, I had to, every recipe sounds better than the next one and I can have meat on the side of them all except the farro stuffed ones and if it's white meat chicken or turkey I can have that with meat too.  Why do I cheat on this "diet"?  This isn't a diet, it's the way I want to eat for the rest of my life.  I feel so much better when I eat this way I don't understand why I slide into eating crap for days on end.  Laziness, that's my guess.

I've been procrastinating getting a flu shot for the last couple months.  The doc offered me one when I was in for my annual "lube, oil & filter" checkup but I said I'd wait until I got home from The Clearing because I usually feel a bit crummy for a few days after I get the shot.  Then I kept finding excuses until this morning I thought I'd just get it done since I would be in the store where my pharmacy is and could get a shot for free.  So I did.  My arm hurts.  I was religious about getting the flu shot before Durwood died because the flu would have killed him.  I was very careful to stay away from him and wash my hands obsessively when I had a cold and when LC or OJ had colds he wouldn't hold them or play with them for fear of catching their colds.  A few times I watched them at their house they were that sick.  So it didn't seem as vital that I get the shot but since I haven't had the flu in years I decided that I don't want to get it so I got the shot.

1 December--Jewish School, Illuminated Manuscript page from the Mishneh Torah.  He carried the scroll like a beloved child, close to his chest and touching his cheek.  His thin shoes scuffed in the quiet and his coat whispered over the tall weeds that sprouted from the cracks in the broken concrete.  The night was clear and in the distance a pair of owls hooted to each other.  He felt the heat stored in the pavement during the day rise up to warm him.  As he grew older it was harder to stay warm and the damp chilled his bones.  His fingers holding the scroll were bent from years of hard work but he was glad to carry this burden.  He was old and had less to risk by being out like this.  What could they do to him that life had not already done?

The sewing machine store lady was off in her weather predictions.  When I came up from sewing (and washing sheets) in the basement it was raining, freezing-ish rain, but raining.  It didn't start snowing until after 7 o'clock and then the flakes were as big as marshmallows.  (It's a marshmallow world... you're welcome for the ear-worm)  I'm glad I'm not going to the Packer game tomorrow.  It's still snowing and blowing like gangbusters so you know it'll be colder than a well-digger's ass in the Klondike in that stadium tomorrow.  Oh, and the reason owls hooted in that little prompt writing paragraph is last night as I sat here finishing the blog post I kept hearing a faint hooting, went into the living room, and eased open the front door.  A pair of owls not too far away were hooting to each other.  Man, I wish they were closer so I could see them.  One of these days...
--Barbara