Saturday, June 25, 2016

Strawberry Season

It's strawberry season in Vermont.

Such a brief time frame, but oh those delicious, sweet strawberries!

My friend Donna called me this morning and asked if I wanted to go strawberry picking with her.  She had heard it was a good year.  Big berries fill up the boxes faster.

Now to the task of cleaning and freezing.  Mostly they will be used for smoothies, one of my go-to lunches.  But I will have to maybe find a recipe for a strawberry daiquiri too.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Educational Activity

VT State Capital Building

Guarded by a statue of Ethan Allen

My grandson visited for a week as soon as school let out for the summer.

We got to go swimming, do some painting, watch some movies, go out for lunch with my sister and my friend, Donna.  Dane likes to walk around downtown can be entertaining.

When Dane asked me to toss an empty ginger ale plastic bottle around in the back yard,  I thought maybe time to go out and buy a ball.  Then we had lots of soccer and volley ball skills practice sessions.  The kids in the neighborhood are mostly toddlers so I got to get lots of fresh air and exercise.  Dane called me his BFEV(best friend, elder version. )

Of course there was a lot of story telling.  Even though he started out saying that he was maybe getting too old for my "Adventures of Dane" stories, he willingly listened.  He has started writing his own stories, too, so I feel as though I had some good influence there!

There did have to be an educational component, so we spent some time in Montpelier.  Can't be the grand child of a former teacher without that.  We visited the State House and the Vermont History Museum next door.  I wanted to take him to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum as well, but we were both just too pooped.

Now I will take a week off and enjoy not having to answer a near content stream of questions.  In fact, I think if someone so much as asks me for the time of day, my head just might pop off.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Budding Artist

School has let out for the summer.  My grandson has arrived for a week long visit and getting spoiled by grandma time.

Today we painted.

Dane has been watching Bob Ross on Netflix.
I think he has learned a lot.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Home Work

Yard Work

You might think it is spring time in Vermont from looking out the window.

 Rhododendron coming to bloom

Peonies thinking about blooming

In fact it is more like the dead of winter from the perspective of a Florida snowbird.  Cold and cloudy and very windy.  

Most of my neighbors have air conditioner units sprouting from their windows.  We did have unseasonable hot weather last week, but nothing that tempted me to wrestle with one of those window units.

Kitchen Work

The woman I bought the condo from had put a lot of work into the place -- new windows and large patio door, new flooring throughout, all freshly painted, updated bath and half bath, all new appliances including a gas fireplace insert (which I fired up yesterday, in June!)  I am really happy with it.

However, I did decide to treat myself to new kitchen countertops. The old laminate was worn and I know from watching HGTV house hunters that stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops go together like white and rice.

So I went to Home Depot and ordered new countertops, my birthday present to myself.  I had set aside some money from the sale of my house for new furnishings down the road, so why not?

I didn't get granite.  I got a manufactured stone with a kind of granite look to it. It's warmer and softer.  Mike used to say that glass only had to see me coming and it would break...and he wasn't wrong.  I would have to convert all glassware and dishes to plastic or be sweeping glass off the counters and floors on a daily basis.

Frankly, I really, really don't get the attraction of stainless appliances either.  They look okay if you never use them.  Load the dishwasher once, open the refrigerator a couple times, cook something on the stove -- voila! -- display finger paintings until next cleaning day.  And I am quite certain that now that I actually have the coveted stainless, HGTV home buyers will be saying, "Ex, stainless, so dated, this kitchen will have to be all redone.  We only have $750,000 in our budget.  Can we afford that?"

Anyway, they came last week and made a template, returned yesterday and did the installation.  In the between time I retained the cabinets under the sink. I think it looks pretty good now.  The plumber will come today and hook the sink back up and I will pretty much set until Kevin moves out and I will have to buy new furniture for the spare bedroom.

Falcon Plumbing, recommended by the woman I bought from, was a pleasure to deal with, not to mention prompt and efficient.  Ware-Right was the company that manufactured and installed the countertop that I wanted.  They were excellent to work with as well.  Very professional, very efficient.

Today I am going to sit back and enjoy the new look.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Donut Day

I am not usually up and out first thing in the morning, but I set my alarm this morning because I was taking my friend, Ginnie, to an eye doctor appointment after her first cataract surgery.

I knew from experience that making coffee and then going about my routine would result in my losing track of time -- something that is not at all helpful around doctor appointments -- even though technically I had plenty of time.

I got dressed and decided to stop at the Dunkin' Donut shop which was on my way to Ginnie's house.

Little did I realize that today is National Donut Day.   I noticed how full the parking lot right in front of the shop was, but the penny still didn't drop.  C'mon, no coffee in my system yet.

Unfortunately, I didn't see how congested the drive through line was until too late.  I was already hemmed into that line.  And cars kept pouring in.  My thought was what are they giving out free donuts today? 

Come to find out, yes, that is exactly what they were doing.

By the time I had picked up my coffee the parking lot was very near gridlock and some were getting testy.  It's a good thing I have a small car and could squeeze out.

At least somewhere there was acknowledgement of this fine American holiday with a bit of  a sense of humor.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Within days of my return, the lilacs came out and have been scenting the air at my back door.
Three weeks is about their max and they are quickly fading now.

But peonies that were barely visible three weeks ago are getting ready for their show in June.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Joy of a Clean Oven

Are you ready for this?  Because this will seriously change your life!

Oh, no wait.  This is just a sign that I spend far too much time browsing household tips on Pinterest.  If every little tip promising to change my life actually did, I would certainly not even recognize myself in the mirror each morning.

I wouldn't be able to cope with that. As it is, I am often startled beyond words to look in the bathroom mirror and see my mother staring back at me.  I have to turn around quick to see if she is there.

By the way, my favorite are the pins that pop up  on my home feed--Secrets of People Whose Houses are Always Clean.  Can you guess the secret? DUH...they clean every day.  I think that even an intractable horder knows that deep down inside. 

None of which is what I set out to share this morning.

When I got back from Florida there were two big blobs of black carbony gunk on the floor of the oven.   I can't blame Kevin as he uses the oven solely for baking bread.  No, these blobs were left over from the family Christmas dinner when I prepared and served roast beef.  That was just before I left for Florida so I didn't deal with it at the time.

Now my oven has a self cleaning feature, but except for those two blobs, the oven was fine with a wipe down.  I sprayed the blobs with my homemade oven cleaner--vinegar, baking soda, and a drop of dish detergent.  I sprayed in the morning and again in the afternoon and then again before I went to bed.  I sprayed them the next morning and then forgot about them for a day or two.

When I remembered again, I looked in the oven and say that the blobs were not so blobby.  I wiped the floor of the oven with a paper towel.  No scrubbing and rubbing, just a swipe with a wet paper towel.  Rinse. Done!

Ick, ick, ick!

It didn't change my life, but clean does make me happy.  We take our joy where we can find it.