Sunday, December 9, 2018

Bread Ties

You recognize these things. A twist tie or a tab tie keep an open plastic bread bag closed prolonging precious freshness.




Sometimes the twist tie comes in handy although I cannot think of a specific example at the moment. Perhaps there is another use for the tab but I have never cared enough to research what that might be on Pinterest.

They say plastic straws are clogging up the landfills and oceans. What is the impact of these bread thingies? It cannot be good. NOTE to environmentalists in need of a research topic!

I can hear your eyes rolling out there. Good grief, she is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a blog topic.

Of course this is not a post about bread ties. It is a post about a new relationship, a romantic relationship, and the need to negotiate such when you reach a certain age and yet still imagined navigating those mine fields had passed with your youth.

A bowl filled with plastic bread ties taking up space on an already too cramped counter top . . . why? (Seriously, why? You have no idea how much this stabs at the heart of a confirmed clutter hater.)

If a loaf of bread comes with a twist tie, I can switch it for one of these.

Okaaay?

I hate twist ties. If you live with a right handed person they always twist it the wrong way and then it's just a struggle to get the tie off.

I have lived most of my life with right handed people and never actually noticed this or let it irritate me, but wouldn't one, maybe even two, be sufficient?

Humph.


***
I don't remember when exactly bread ties became a thing. I seem to recall a time when you just rolled up the waxy paper bag after removing a slice of bread from a store bought loaf. And with four kids and bread served at every meal, I can't imagine that a loaf ever lasted more than one day anyway.

Now, I have to confess, it kind of bothers me that I can't remember the introduction of this modern convenience -- must be it was not a momentous occasion in my life. Still, they say the memory starts to go with age at some point. Personally, I attribute my sketchy memories of the past to a life long habit of inattention. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Some Quilting

I made this  brown quilt -- could be a crib size, maybe a lap quilt. I plan to donate to the church Goods and Services Auction in January.


I much prefer to work in this size.

I did attempt a larger project:
Way too many opportunities for mistakes and way too hard to quilt on a regular old sewing machine!

I used left over material (which I bought at a yard sale last winter) to make a shopping bag. I plan to fill that with jars of jam and maple syrup; coffee, tea and hot chocolate; pancake and scone mixes. I will call it breakfast in a bag and donate that to the auction as well.


I can whip these bags up in no time so maybe I will just specialize in bags from now on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Leftover Soup

I have been on a vegetable kick. I am actually not a vegetarian but I do eat lots of vegetables.

It's winter vegetable time. Even in Florida. I love roasted root vegetables.

cauliflower, carrots, turnip and sweet potato

I like to grocery shop on Tuesdays so I usually clean out the fridge on that morning and any left over vegetables from the previous week get made into a soup.

My sister-in-law took a tour of Ireland last winter and brought home a recipe for Irish vegetable soup.  Basically, it is potato, leeks, onion, turnip, carrots, parsnips  boiled until mushy and then blended with seasoning. It is a satisfying meal and it makes my skin glow.

I did tell a friend about leftover soup once and she looked at me askance and said, "You can make soup out of pizza and leftover taco meat?"




Sunday, November 25, 2018

Ready for a Parade

I drove through downtown Venice on Friday morning. In truth I drove around downtown because the actual downtown street was blocked off and filled with paving equipment. I drove past the brand new library which will open this week.


Several streets were lined with collapsed folding chairs and blankets spread out. I don't mean just a few here and there. The streets were lined end to end. People staking out their territory. Hmmm, must be a parade is scheduled for the afternoon?

Well, actually, the parade was scheduled for Saturday night at 7 o'clock. What? All the spaces taken by noon the day before? I don't get that compulsion.

Honestly, it is one of the reasons I avoid dinners and pot luck events at the park clubhouse. If the event starts at 5 or 6, everyone has rushed down by 10 a.m. to leave a sweater or some other demarcation -- "MY SPOT!"

Am I the only one who finds this vaguely hostile?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

Motor Vehicle Problem

That was the report that went out to warn those on their way to work on Friday morning that I-189was closed.

Here is the motor vehicle problem:



A semi jack knifed and blocked the west bound lane.  I didn't see it happen but I did arrive on the scene early in the process.

I had planned a weekend with family in Connecticut and I didn't want to give it up, but the roads were so bad I was making up my mind to get off the highway and go home until it stopped. Instead I sat there for two hours.


Special equipment had to be brought in to move the truck. No one was hurt. I had a good book.

The young man behind me had one of those heavy on the bass speakers and a good supply of rap music he was willing to share with those around him so that was good too. (She said somewhat sarcastically).

The snow stopped before the fire truck and police car got there.  By the time we were waved on past, the roads had been salted and plowed. I was on my way with no more problems.

It all works out in the end.

Safe travels over the holiday.

Monday, November 12, 2018

I enjoyed this book . . .


Familiar Things by Hwang Sok-Yong (translated from the Korean original)

This is a work of fiction although the conditions do exist in the world.  A thirteen year old boy's father has been taken away to be "re-educated" by the South Korean government. Bugeye, as he is known on the streets, and his mother sink from poverty into extreme poverty. In order to survive, they end up  on Flower Island, a make shift community of tiny shacks around a huge landfill where the people spend their days sifting through garbage to forage what ever they can find to eat or wear or sell. Dirty and dangerous work.

They have to pay a fee in order to be licensed to do this recycling work.

The refuse sifters are not the only beings on the island.  There are those, mostly unseen, who remember the island's history.



It has so much potential to be a bleak and depressing story and yet there is so much humanity and a bright spirit that shines through.  I really loved it.



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Folly of Frugality

There are people my age who still have at least one living parent.  Had my mother lived past the age of 92, she would today be 105.  Had my father lived past the age of 73, he would be 108.

Well, that doesn't make objective sense, but you know what I mean.

I had older parents although I didn't notice at the time because all parents were old then.  My point started out to be that my parents were just coming into adulthood during the great depression and they were tremendously affected by it. Habits of frugality got handed down.

I don't leave lights on. I try not to waste food. I repair and reuse before I replace. So . . . in my shower this morning, I was determined to use that last little bit of shampoo.  I put water in and shook it, poured out the watery shampoo and suds up my head.

Then I decided to turn around and put the shampoo bottle on the back edge of the tub so I would remember to put in the recycle bin. I had to bend over a bit to place it on the tub rim and some got in my eyes. I whipped myself around to get my face under the shower water. My foot slipped. I reached for the grab bar which I couldn't actually see because of my stinging eyeballs. I found it but wrenched my back a little in the process.

I didn't really hurt myself. I thank my yoga practice for what strength and balance I may have. But the experience did make me contemplate the wisdom of a fraction of a penny's worth of shampoo versus the costs of medical care today.

And let's not even contemplate the scenario of falling, knocking myself out, drowning in the shower or, worse yet, having to be rescued while naked on the tub floor.


Stay safe and VOTE if you haven't yet.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

BInging

I have been watching Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown on Netflix.

Let me say that I am not a foodie.  Frankly, there is nothing about this series that makes me interested in world cuisines. The food that man would put in his mouth. Nope, not for me. There are limits on my willingness to try new things.

I continue to watch for the glimpse into different cultures, the spirit of the people, and the scenery.  Incredible scenery. No matter what I think, the food that people grow up with is certainly meaningful in their lives. It's a sense of home, a sense of family, a sense of their history. And so many countries have been affected by wars and conflicts.

And of course there is knowing that Bourdain ended his life with suicide. I look for signs of depression in him and pop an extra Prozac for myself. It makes my heart ache for the human condition because it seems so clear that we are all fundamentally the same and yet there is so much discord in the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trick or Treat

Three trick or treaters came to my door last night.  That is the most little beggars I have seen at my door since 1992.

Three years ago neighbors who moved away by the next Halloween brought their toddler. Then no one until this year.

The first time the doorbell rang a handsome young police officer was standing there.  He was little and his parents had to prompt him to say "trick or treat" and "thank-you."  A bit later two youngsters, probably six and seven years old, tapped on the door. I greeted them with a "Happy Halloween" and dropped candy into their little buckets. They immediately said "thank-you" and then the little boy said
"Have a wonderful rest of your evening."

Politeness.  What a very amazing thing.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Apple Bake

I may have shared this recipe before.  It is one I pull out every year during apple picking time.

It's good.  It's simple to put together.  And it was given to me by I woman I used to work with and I hear her voice as I read the recipe.

 6-8 apples peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put these three ingredients into a pie plate.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 stick melted butter

Mix flour, sugar, egg and butter into a bowl until goopy.
Using a spoon plop dough onto the top of the apples.

Bake at 350º (F) for 50 to 60 minutes.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Smugglers' Notch

My grandson noticed snow on Mt. Mansfield (VT's tallest mountain) and wanted to take a ride to see if could find some snow on Friday.  He had the day off from school so parent-teacher conferences could be held all day.

We took a ride through Smugglers' Notch. There were signs warning that the road would be closed for the season on Saturday.  There was snow, although not that much.  We explored a cave or two, but it was already getting dark.  We made a plan to return next summer and spend a full day climbing on rocks.

Actually we started a whole list of things we want to do and explore next summer. For Dane, it will be the summer between elementary school and starting middle school.  I really hope he will still be interested in doing things with his old granny then! I of course have no worries about having the stamina to keep up with him. I take my vitamins.

Monday, October 15, 2018

YAY!

Just when I was so frustrated I was about to give up blogging altogether I got a reply from Blogger Help.  i thought that I was commenting on some blogs but then I noticed comments I thought went through were not showing up -- even comments on my own blog.

 It seems that the problem is with my browser.  If I am using Safari all my comments disappear.  When I switched to Chrome, it seems I can make comments.  It seems Safari has some kind of problematic filter.  I don't know if it is worth trying to figure out how to "fix" Safari or not. My technology learning curve is dauntingly steep.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fall in Vermont

My friend Ginnie and I went for a ride to see the fall colors and then have lunch at a country restaurant.  After I dropped her back at her place, I took another scenic route back to my own home.
I went through my old town and my old house in the process.


The grass is still very green.






 It really was a pretty day, lots of sunshine.
But the colors are definitely not as vibrant as usual.This is a photo from several years ago, the same place as the one above it.  You can see it has more of the "bowl of Trix cereal" look about it.

The reds are conspicuously absent this year.  A subtle political message from our friends, the trees.



I stopped in the parking lot for the walking trails behind my old house.  I hope the new owners are happy there.


(Still frustrated in my efforts to comment on many blogs.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Summer is Not Gone Yet!

Summer 2018 is not gonna give up without a fight.

A couple of days ago I was getting out my winter coat to go out for the evening.  Monday was pleasantly warmer so I thought I had better take advantage of it and put away deck furniture and clean the deck.

My garage is small.  I hung the deck chairs from the rafters.  Good that I have a small car.


And then the temperatures shot up.  It's 78ºF today with a slight breeze blowing.  I would not be likely to go sit outside, even if i just took out a folding chair.  There are way too many bugs around.




These guys, box elder beetles, and also the Asian lady bugs are knocking at the back door, wanting to find shelter for the winter I suppose.  Well, I am not welcoming them in.

I did get out for a nice walk in a large field.  This property is located between the interstate highway and an industrial park.  The airport is a stone's throw away. Traffic and seven or eight planes taking off as I walked, but somehow the warm air, the view of the mountains. a spot of color, and interesting things to look at along the way made all the noise just fade into the background.


red clover, VT State Flower

thistle





The whales' tails are a sculpture along the interstate highway.  This is actually the first time I walked up to them.

This sign is posted at various spots along the trail.  I noticed three little baggies of dog poop along the way, just dropped beside the trail.
That struck me as a kind of hostile act.  I mean the feces itself would get washed away eventually, but   in a plastic bag, it's kind of there for the long haul.  Why are people like that?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Blogger woes again

I have been able to comment on a couple of blogs by re-entering name and a URL, but some sites do not give me this option so I cannot publish comments.  I am still reading and not ghosting on purpose, but how to fix this is beyond me.

Friday, October 5, 2018

@#!* Blogger

I don't know what is going on with Blogger lately.  None of the comments I have made on blogs are showing up.

I might be on some kind of Blogger Blacklist.

And what is this webroot thing?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October

We are having a rainy week.  And cold.  The temperature today was in low 50's.

Time to turn on the heat.  I am wearing a long sleeve tee, a sweater over that, a fleece jacket over that.
That's to be indoors.  I put my rain jacket over all when I had to go out to the grocery store.  The damp is right down to my bones and my fingers are freezing.  Just would be hard to work with mittens on.

Since I felt more or less housebound today, I made an attempt to decorate for the season.  I have a fall leaf decoration hanging on the front door.
I dragged this out.
Since I don't really have a wall to hang it on, I put it on the table.

I put the owls and pumpkins I made on the mantel.

I made these decorative lanterns out of card stock for my grandchildren. They have a battery/fake votive inside to make them glow.

Kristen likes cats.

Dane likes Halloween.

I try to do a week long diet cleanse in the spring and in the fall.  I am eating a very high number of raw or lightly steamed vegetables along with one protein shake a day. No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar.  Lots of salads.  This is why I have to keep busy -- because the other thing  like to do on a damp cold day is bake.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Random Bits

I got my flu shot today at a local pharmacy.  My new medicare card gave them fits, but after three people worked at it, it finally went through so I didn't have to pay out of pocket.

Did I already say I was rear ended in traffic? I was not hurt, but my new car!!! It will be fixed and the kid's insurance has accepted liability.  I strongly suspect texting and driving was a factor.  The problem now is that I spend so much time worrying about the car behind me that I am afraid I will end up rear ending someone.  Life is hard.

Some have accused me of having way too much time on my hands:

Purple page in my art journal

Knitting a blue bird.  I don't know why.

And also an owl. Because I like owls.


It stopped being hot very quickly.  The leaves are starting to turn and day time temperatures have been in the 60's.  It's as though a switch was thrown on the autumnal equinox. I  put away the AC unit and dragged out a blanket.  And I got to use my bright yellow rain jacket for the past two days, but I didn't bother with my bright yellow boots because it was a steady but not too hard rain.  It's dark earlier and earlier now. Fall is definitely in the air.

Kavanaugh is proclaiming his absolute right to his choir boy status because he was a virgin through high school and college?  He doesn't realize that may not be an adequate defense against a charge of attempted rape, or for that matter, a charge of exposing himself.  Is it any different than Bill Clinton saying, "I did not have sex with that woman."

And of course there is his stack of calendars and no where does it say "got blotto shit faced and attempted to rape a girl. passed out before I could complete the deed. better luck next time." Wow, convincing evidence! This is someone who could end up on the Supreme Court? And I, a mere woman, am too stupid to make choices about my own body? Good grief.  

(Really, some people make it so hard to practice loving kindness.  So very hard.)

I was not popular or a big party girl in high school or in college, but I did manage to get to a couple of fraternity parties. He might have said, I don't remember that incident, but I can look back at my school days and childish ways and say I hope I have done differently since and I will dedicate my self from this point on to changing a culture that disrespects women. It was not a great time in our history and we need to not go back there.  But he didn't.  So I assume he is not that smart.

I think I might have some knitting to do.  I have to make a beak and some wings for my owl.




Friday, September 21, 2018

Hot Summer

Wildflowers I picked on a walk down a dirt road.

The weather has suddenly turned cooler.  I was using the small AC unit in my bedroom right up until this past Tuesday when the temperature reached 90º and the humidity was about 90%.

I have had that little AC unit for years and I usually don't even bother to drag it out.  And if I do, it is usually just for a week tops that it get used in July.  But this was a hot and humid summer -- practice for if I ever move to Florida full time.

I was listening to a piece about Rachel Carson on public radio last Sunday.  I knew about her book Silent Spring and her warnings about the chemicals impacting the environment.  I did not know about her concerns about global warming.  She had started working on a book about that before her death.  She was charting increasing ocean temperatures along the eastern coast back in the 1940's and 50's.

There is an interesting article about Rachel Carson in the March, 2018,  New Yorker Magazine.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Self Revealing Stories

SO Margaret of Straight Up - No Chaser recently posted a story that illustrated who she is.  Her story, her blog in general, is wicked funny and worth a read.  She did end the story with a "your turn" sort of challenge.

I have written about this before -- giving blood:


My first husband was a community spirited, giving back kind of guy, and that is extremely admirable. He may have gone too far, though, when he convinced me, many years ago, to go with him to donate blood. As he pointed out at the time, I was young and healthy. I should feel a responsibility to help those in need. It was an easy thing to do. He did it on a regular basis. They give you juice and a donut when you are done.  A donut?  You should have lead with that! Okay, all ready. I went with him to the Congregational Church where the Red Cross was having a blood drive.


The volunteer greeting us at the door gave me a sticker: "Be nice to me. It's my first time!" Goody, a sticker. What am I? In first grade?

I was given some paperwork to fill out. Obviously, the purpose of the sticker was to prompt others, workers and donors alike, to say, "Don't worry. It doesn't hurt a bit." The person who handed me the paper work said exactly that.

A nurse pricked my finger and knocked a drop of blood into a little vial of some kind of liquid. I think the drop was supposed to sink to the bottom, but it just sat there until the nurse whacked the vial a few times and announced, "There it goes! Don't worry. This doesn't hurt a bit."

So I stretch out on a cot. I hate needles so I look away and close my eyes besides. The nurse says, "Just a little prick and it won't hurt after that." Don't think I didn't notice the change in tune from "just a little prick" to "after that is won't hurt."

The nurse walked away after that little prick and I was left there thinking, "Damn! This does so hurt! A lot! It hurts a lot!"

The guy on the next cot asked me how I was doing and I said aloud, "I don't care what they say, this hurts."

"Oh!" he said. "Oh, nurse! Come here, please. Something's wrong." That's when I looked. There was a large purple mass growing over my elbow. The needle had pierced my vein and the blood was just puddling under my skin instead of going into the collection bag. The nurse pulled out the needle. If she said something soothing, I didn't hear it. What I did hear was her asking me if she could try the other arm.

"Good god, NO. Give me my donut and let me out of here!" Use my other arm? You've got to be kidding me. What kind of sadistic medical professional would even ask me something like that?

Call me selfish, but I happen to be using all my blood. That's how it's gonna stay.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The News


I am glad that our trip to Boston was on Monday and that we did not feel tempted to linger for a few extra days.  We drove through this area on the way back to Vermont.
multiple-gas-explosions-set-more-than-homes-ablaze-across-three-communities-north-boston

I am feeling a teensy bit nervous about the natural gas heat in my condo.

***

We did learn about this Boston incident while we walking near Faneuil Hall.

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Police-NH-man-offered-to-buy-teen-girl-from-parents-492867791.html

***

Uh Oh.  Manafort set to cooperate with the Mueller investigation after more charges are brought?
I guess loyalty can only go so far.

Although I have to say I marvel that loyalty to a sinking ship has gone as far as it has by so many.
But that's just my own opinion.

***

My heart goes out to anyone in the path of Florence.  I have been the Cape Hatteras and to St. Martin  within four to nine months after hurricanes had passed through.  It is almost incomprehensible how much damage wind and water can do.

I do have to wonder if Trump actually does truly believe that his brief presence in Puerto Rico was all that it took to keep the hurricane Maria death toll at the 16 or so number he was given at the time.  He knows no shame.  But it takes a big man to admit his mistakes, so Puerto Ricans best not expect any kind of apology.

***

Closer to home, there was a single car crash on a dirt road near my condo, a place where I frequently take my exercise walk.  A teenage boy was killed.  It was his mother's car, but it was being driven by a 15 year old friend.  He had to have been driving illegally since he is eligible for only a learner's permit which would require someone over the age of 25 to be in the passenger seat while he was driving.

And speaking of teenage drivers, I was rear ended by an 18 year old kid the other day.  No one was hurt and both cars still run but there was body damage to both vehicles.  He jumped out of his car with his phone in his hand so I am gonna go ahead and assume he was texting.


It's a dangerous world out there, people!!



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Boston

I had a doctor's appointment in Boston. (Aren't there any ENTs in VT?)

I had promised my granddaughter a shopping trip for her 17th birthday (which was in June) so a trip to Boston seemed like a good way to cash that one in.  We left on Sunday and stopped at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester before tucking in for the night.  Oh, yeah we had dinner at the Lobster Boat in Merrimack -- lobster rolls and French fires.  We like our lobster rolls Connecticut style, butter instead of mayo, and they accommodated.  It was a very good restaurant with everything tasting and smelling very fresh.

We spent the morning seeing a little bit of Boston.  Kristen did some more shopping and we had a lunch that spanned several of the food vendors at the Quincy Market.
Performer (who wanted $20 from each onlooker)

It was pretty gray, but the rain held off til later.


My doctor's appointment was supposed to be at 2:30, but the doctor was running late.  I was finished with  exams, scans, explanations and options around 5.  Woohoo!  Just in time for rush hour traffic and the heavy rains hitting.

I didn't get to my daughter's house until almost ten.  It took a good hour or more to get out of the greater Boston area and we did stop for gas and something to eat.  I decided to stay the night.  My grandson offered to sleep on the couch so I could sleep in his bed, but the couch was fine for me.  One of their cats plopped itself on top of me but it didn't disturb me.  I was out like a light in no time.
I think Kristen may have taken a second day off from school for recovery.  

It was still raining for my drive home (another hour and a half+) but daylight made it a lot easier.

So there were some glitches, but on the whole, a good trip.  I like Boston, but I am glad I don't live there.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Out of my Comfort Zone

I like to be learning new things.  I did of course know it all as a teenager, but that was such a long time ago.  I actually was a good student back in the day.  Now it seems my learning curve has gotten much steeper.  Still, it is important to me to keep climbing it.

Learning sometimes involves new experiences so earlier this month I put myself out there.

Writers' Workshops held a public reading by workshop participants.  I signed up to read some of my poetry.

And then I actually went to the bar with a couple of my friends, had a glass of wine,  got up on stage and read three of my poems out loud.


Here's proof!

People laughed and applauded and it felt amazing!  My poet rock star moment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pushing it?

It's still August, probably my least favorite month of the entire year.  Every other month flies by like I'm standing still.  August refuses to go away.

So what better way to spend a steamy hot August day than making Christmas cards?

I played around with four different designs and have picked the one I will make to send out this year.

A

B

C

D



I am not a last minute kind of person. I will organize this project like an assembly line: cutting individual parts, stamping, gluing.  I won't until maybe October, but by golly, I do have my plan in place.

Anybody want to take a guess about my Myers-Briggs personality type?

No, I have not finished my Christmas shopping.  I can do that right up until a week before Christmas. But I have started and, yes, there is a list involved.