Friday, June 22, 2018

Strawberry Season

Strawberry season in Vermont, like all its season except winter, is short but but very sweet.

This is an old recipe.  I was happy to come across it at just the right time.

Strawberry Pie

Clean and half about a quart of fresh strawberries.

Have a single pie shell ready --a regular baked shell or a cookie crumb crust is good too, depending on your sweet tooth,

Mix together in a cooking pan:
  1. 1 1/2 cup sugar*
  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  3. a 3 oz. package of strawberry jello
  4. 1 1/2 cup water
Cook over medium high heat and stir constantly until the mixture turns from a milky red to a clear red.

Allow the mixture to cool.

Place halved strawberries into prepared pie shell.  Refrigerate to set before serving.

* I think this is a ridiculous amount of sugar so I just use half,  3/4 cup, and no one has ever complained.

It goes without saying that one piles real whipped cream on top to serve.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Happy Summer Solstice.

My very last peony is taking her final bow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Painting Class

I signed up for a painting class.  It's watercolor but with a kind of wild twist.  Just a tad -- okay,  a mile out of my comfort zone.  We are supposed to get loose.

We painted a bunch of papers which will be ripped up to be made into a landscape collage.

I made my different papers but all I could see in them was flower petals and leaves.

I decided I would use this for a background.  I took another similar piece and a few practice paintings I had done and started ripping.

Anyone see a vase of flowers made out of torn bits of painted paper?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Rainy Day

It was so dark all day.  Thick, grey clouds -- thunderheads -- sat sat in the sky just above my condo.  There were periods of intense downpour.  I managed to get a few errands done without getting soaked, but mostly it was a boring day spent indoors.

When my daughter was in high school, she and a friend would play "boredom games." No one was around to play bored or board games with.

I could have done some housework.  There is always a need for dusting.  Instead I wasted time looking at Pinterest and saw a reusable duster for a Swiffer© handle.  Since I had a piece of fleece in my stash of leftover fabric, I dragged out my sewing machine.  I made one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  All ready for when the maid shows up.

Friday, June 15, 2018


google image

Those of us born on June 14 can always claim that flags are put out in honor of our birthdays.  That's what my father told me as a kid.  God knows parents never lie to their children.

My friend Don and I went to dinner at my son's on Wednesday night.  Kevin had prepared salmon cakes with a curry sauce,  potato salad, and fresh green beans with garlic.  Delicious.  I pretended it was a birthday treat in my head.  In truth, Kevin will call me sometime within the next month and ask, "Didn't you have a birthday somewhere around this time?" (If I was born on Christmas day, he wouldn't remember.  I accept that.)

Plenty of other family and friends remembered.  I got plenty of messaged greetings, phone calls, and cards.  My sister is taking me for lunch today and my friend Ginnie and I will go out for brunch and shopping on Saturday.

It's a big 0 birthday.  Frankly, a page I am not all that excited about turning (but better than not turning it I guess).

I ran into a woman who had graduated from high school with me on Tuesday morning.  I didn't recognize her at first and I spent the rest of the day wondering if I look that old too.  Funny how our image of self gets kind of stuck at a certain age.

Although I do wonder sometimes when I catch a glimpse in the mirror . . . What's my mother doing in there?

google image

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book Club

I read The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart.  I found it on the table next to my reading chair when I returned to Vermont.  I don't remember anyone loaning it to me and I don't remember buying it, but it was a brand new book.

Dixie Dupree is an 11 year old girl growing up in Alabama, 1969.  She lives with her dad, mom, and older brother -- a family filled with secrets, lies, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and a pretty good dose of mental illness.  It is not the kind of book I happily choose to read because of the violence and dysfunction.  However, Dixie is a study in resiliency.

Resiliency is a topic that teachers and former teachers (anybody that works with people really) are familiar with.  You have to wonder where it comes from  -- they way some kids can find the strength come out of a dire situation while others get broken.

There are good discussion/think about points included at the end of the book.

The Kindle edition is on sale today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


I have no need for a wedding cake at the present time.  If I did though, I know exactly where I would not go to order it.

I think maybe there should be a label law for business and service providers.  Something along the lines of:
This business serves only those
who share in the
of the owner.

That would be most helpful.  You believe what you want to believe and I will shop elsewhere in support of diversity and tolerance.  Simple enough? 

I go back to the 1% patches worn by some members of outlaw biker clubs.  They indicate the wearer is part of the one percent of bikers who give all other motorcyclists a bad name.  You wear a badge that let's everyone else know you are a proud asshole (no offense) -- well, I think that is helpful.  Okay, I'll stay away from you.


So a baker has the right to his convictions, but a football player who kneels for the Star Spangled Banner is a pariah.  After all,  honoring the symbol of our freedoms is far more important than the freedoms themselves.


The tweeter in chief has the absolute right to pardon himself although he doesn't have to pardon himself because he has done nothing wrong.  Do you think if I ask nicely he will fix my last parking ticket?


Miss America pageants will no longer feature swim suit "competition." Yawn.


Have you apologized to Monica, Bill?  The simple answer would have been "No."


I may be crazy, but I didn't drive myself.  The news is definitely behind the wheel here.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Spa Day

I tried something new at the yoga studio -- spa yoga.  This was a slow paced series of poses in a candle lit room with sprays of essential oils, some hands on assists and a bit of massage.

Teacher knew her stuff, but I would have enjoyed this a whole lot more if she didn't have one of those breathy little voices that trails off before the completion of a sentence.  Young women seem quite fond of that style of speaking.  At times I wanted to scream, "You're a yoga teacher.  Use your breath to support your speech!"  She did work a know out of my neck though so I set aside the irritation in appreciation for that.

And then I went with my friend Ginnie to her nail spa and we both had a mani-pedi.  I do not do this on a regular basis.  In fact the young lady who did my nails kind of yelled at me for cutting my toenails ". . .  too short and too crooked. I can't shape them the way I want. Don't do that again!"  I declined any polish, which also elicited a bit of an eye roll.  I like getting the cuticles trimmed and the  raggedness filed out of my nails once in a while.  I don't like the feel of polish and no one is going to convince me that I can't actually feel it because I can!

I left with nails on toes and fingers that matched, which seemed to be the big theme today.  My nails look really clean.  And the massage chair made my back nice and relaxed.  I'm good.

none of these, thanks

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Rainy Weekend Project

I don't know.  It is starting to look like one of those summers where the week days are glorious and sunny and weekends are windy, cold and rainy.  

Not such a big deal for those of us who are retired -- although there is something about "the weekend" even so.  Somehow I feel a little cheated when the weekend weather is unpleasant.

I played with paper and colors and made my own little bit of sunshine.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pillow Talk

How to Arrange Sofa Pillows

This picture is from Southern Living magazine.  It accompanies an article telling how to arrange pillows on the sofa.

  1. Start with matching pillows at either end and then work toward the middle with smaller pillows.
  2. Mix and match the pillow covering fabrics.
  3. Throw in an odd size/shape.
  4. Fluff the pillows (which are  preferably down-filled)
I think this looks quite attractive. And comfy. I wouldn't mind having this sofa.

This is from

There is an article there about how to get a luxury hotel look for your bedroom.  Note the pile of pillows.  I think this looks attractive.  And comfy.  I wouldn't mind having this bed.

What I really want to know about pillows is this:

                        Why do males hate them so much?

Grandson, son, husband, boyfriend, casual visitor -- there is not a male I have ever encountered who would not walk into a room containing a couch or a bed similar to those pictured here and immediately remove all the decorative pillows.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sunday in the Park

It was a drizzly weekend.  Of course, Monday morning was clear blue sky and bright sunshine.  One of the perks of retirement is lousy weekends aren't the disappointment they used to be.

I took my grandson to the nearby park.

It's a nice place but I had this feeling that it was nothing more than a huge gathering of ticks awaiting unsuspecting victims.  Since Lyme Disease, some of the joy of Nature and the outdoors has drained away for me.

My grandson enjoyed the playground.

I enjoyed the crab apple trees in bloom while he played.  They are such a fleeting pleasure.

Later we took his scooter to the skate park and also took a walk on the bike path along the Lake Champlain waterfront before going out for Mexican food at Moe's, where, I am told, they make tacos that are even better than mine.

Tulips in bloom near the ECHO museum, another fleeting pleasure (tulips, not the museum).

Monday, May 21, 2018


My grandson was here for a weekend visit.  We took a trip into town.  Gee, you go away for a few months and the whole place falls apart!

We went into the Macy's parking garage and I was amazed that there were so many available parking spaces. Of course, we discovered why that was.

No more Macy's.

The entire downtown center is being knocked down.

And yet, we are still being urged to shop.

We stopped outside of town at the mall.  One of its corner stores is also gone.

Inside, half the food court is blocked off along with a length of what was smaller shops.  Who knows what other stores will fold up, although some new stores are being announced.

Our final stop for the day was the going out of business sale at Toys-R-Us.  Now that was an experience.  Children crazed by greed running around like crack addicts desperate for the next fix, grasping at whatever they could still find on the shelves.

We did find a scooter for my grandson.  That kept him happily accompanying me on my walks for the rest of the weekend.  i like to keep him moving.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Before and After

Lots of people asked me what I had done differently after I did the nutritional cleanse this past winter

December 2016

April, 2018

A tan and perhaps better lighting might help, but I do feel much healthier since cleaning up my diet.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day Memory

Yesterday was Mother's Day.  While out fo my walk, I noticed this clump of sweet purple violets.

It reminded me of when I was a kid.  I would pick a bouquet fo violets and lily-of-the-valley for my mother.

My brother Richard would pick her a huge fist full of dandelions.  She would put those in a vase on the table and always tell him that dandelions were her very favorite flowers.

The rest of us (I was one of four siblings) always knew who Mom liked best!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring Planting Time

Conventional wisdom in Vermont designates Memorial Day as the safe time to plant the garden.  Of course, the plant catalogs arrive in February so that all hope for spring is not lost.

Since I have moved into a condo, I have only a small patch where I can put some flowers and I have a container garden for my herbs.  I have plenty of room for a garden in Florida, but not being there full time would necessitate hiring someone to take of it in my absence.  Eventually I will make the transition.  In the mean time, I just do fantasy gardening.

I will definitely have a Buddha.

I went to browse at Gardener's Supply.

 Bougainvillea and other tropical plants in the green house made me think I was still in Florida.
Has global warming made this much of a foothold?
Succulents in an old bathroom sink.

A desert vibe.  

This hibiscus bloom was huge.  It would be an annual here.
Maybe I could put it on my deck and then transport it to Florida for planting? I spent more time in my Florida head on this little excursion.  Next time I will look at something to put in my Vermont planters.  Memorial Day will be here soon enough.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Back North

Image result for butter dishes with lid

I have returned to Vermont and have spent a couple days trying to remember where I put things.  I spent ten minutes looking for my butter dish before I spied it right there on the kitchen counter.  I had been looking for the butter dish that I have in Florida and didn't recognize the Vermont butter dish.

I know.  I know. Of all the problems one can have in life, that is right down there with the lowest level of most minor.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Walk in the Garden

Time in Florida would not be complete without a trip to the Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota.

Even the gift shop is a treat:

Just a fraction of what there is to look at in the gardens: