Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Meatless Monday

At the neighbors' Christmas dinner, we were served a roasted beef filet that was absolutely delicious--fork tender and melt in your mouth heavenly.  I don't pretend to be a vegetarian.

However, that was the first red meat I have had in five months and I am pretty sure that it will be equally as long before I indulge again.

This is more my speed, especially now that I mostly cook for one--a sweet potato and chickpea curry.

I softened a cut up sweet potato and a sliced shallot in a bit hot coconut oil.  Added salt, pepper, a little minced ginger, a little curry powder, a small can of chickpeas, some chopped cauliflower, coconut milk, and just a tiny bit of red pepper flakes.  It did not take long for the potato and cauliflower to be tender.  A sprinkle of parsley, a cucumber salad--dinner!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

It has been a fairly rainy Sunday, but since I planted some parsley and some rosemary the other day I am happy to have them watered.  I had thyme planted, but I think the woman I hired to weed  took it all out.  I will definitely plant more though...and leave better instructions next time.  Thyme is my favorite but I believe all herbs are very healthy additions to meals.

I was glad to have a sheltered spot for reading on the lanai.

Between the morning showers and the afternoon showers, I was able to get out for a bit of an exercise walk.  I stopped to enjoy some flowers.

This guy has Christmas decorations all locked up.  I am going to have to take quick cruise by here at night to see this in action.  I am intrigued by the roller coaster thing.

Well, I have no idea what I did to my finger.  It doesn't hurt, but it looks kind of funny:

Actually, it hurts if I look at it too long.  I know that's in my head, but it does look like it should hurt.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stray Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

People are starting to trickle back to Venice for the winter season, but because it is also school holidays time, there are still quite a few young people around.

It is always slightly jarring to see the Christmas decorations in Florida yards during the daytime, but they do look very pretty at night.

The Venice libraries have such a different collection of books than we have in little Jericho, VT.  Today I picked up a mystery by Gyles Brandreth, Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol.  I am hooked at twenty pages in.

On a somewhat related note, or a complete non sequitur, as the case may be, I read about a gay couple in a southern Texas club being ordered to not dance to a country-western tune, "Cowboys and Angels."  I am not so much a big country music fan, but the two-step kind of looks like fun and women dance together all the time.  In some cultures men dance with men and women dance with women and that's the way it is.  I am not going to make any kind of judgement, but the gay guys were told they could dance to hip-hop, just not the country-western because that constituted a safety risk.  Twerk=OK; two-step=NO-NO.

So does anyone think that the world will get to the state, when today's 20-somethings are old fogeys like me that there will be fond nostalgia for the wholesome entertainment of folks like Miley Cyrus?  Okay, I am making judgements.  Sorry.  So very sorry.  I did not used to be a prudish type.

I set up a budget for myself on mint.com.  I am going to try to be more aware of how I handle money now that it is solely my job.  I pretty much hate it.  Mint is already pointing out that I am over budget on groceries--never mind that I had to restock everything.  Now I am intimidated about going to the grocery store and I am glad that there are only a few days left in this month.  However, if I pick up a bunch of stuff at the drugstore...no problems!

I think that my resolution for 2014 is to stop letting myself be pushed around by technology!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sweater Weather

I have seen the pictures posted by Northern family and friends on Facebook.  It looks like ice castles everywhere.  Beautiful in its way, but in real life a big pain to be without electricity.

The Florida weather prediction is for "sweater weather" for the next few days.  I won't feel bad about having to wear long sleeves and pants for a while.  The glare off my white skin was beginning to bother my eyes.

My neighbors invited me to a neighborhood get together for Christmas dinner.  It was a delightful al fresco meal with good people.

Tomorrow I have a haircut scheduled--badly needed since I have not had even a trim since I was down here in October.  I will also be able to pick up my bicycle.  I took it in for a tune-up/safety inspection just to be on the safe side.  I am looking forward to having it to ride.

I did some investigating around some volunteer opportunities, but have not nailed anything down as yet.  I also looked into the area offerings for yoga classes.  I have a free pass to try out the YMCA.  I hope I like it because that is really the best deal, but I have a few other places to check out as well.

One day at a time.

And I have started reading again so that is a good sign.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


I am wishing a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and a Happy New Year to all.

May the 2014 be a year of Peace and Wellbeing for everyone.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Granny Annie at Fools Rush In issued a challenge:  post a selfie of self and pet.

Since I no longer have a pet, I took the second option of posting my refrigerator contents.  You will notice there is no pet food lurking there, but I did go to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up for a while.

Here's the selfie:

Florida hair in all its frizzy glory.

Doesn't look like what I paid at the grocery. but there is more in the freezer.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ready to Go

Busy week, getting ready for my trip.

On Tuesday,  I went to pick up my son for an appointment we had a 11 a.m.  I stopped at the stop sign just before turning onto his road and what should I see?


No.  I saw blue and red lights flashing.  A giant Christmas tree all lit up on the lawn?  No, again.

Two fire engines and two cop cars, cones in the road, uniformed men scurrying around.  Just what one wants to see immediately in front of one's son's house.

I called him on my cell phone to say, "I'm here...outside...what the hell!?!" Then I saw that there was an SUV at the far side of the lawn into the trees.  The tracks went from the road across quite a large area of snow covered lawn, barely missing a telephone pole and a culvert in the process.  The woman who was driving was not seriously hurt, but I am sure she was scared witless.  She told my son she thought the brake line had frozen.  It was twelve below zero with a wind chill of more like minus 28.

After the appointment I went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions and I checked my blood pressure.  It was very high.  I went home to meditate.

Yesterday, I went to visit the grand kids and my daughter and to deliver their presents.

As you can see from the flash that is my grand son, he is quite excited.

So when I got home today, I thought it would be quiet and relaxing.  Quiet, anyway.  I was flossing my teeth when, to my distress, a crown popped off.  My dentist retired about two years ago, and since then there have seen three different dentists go through that office and all the support staff change over as well.  But they did get me right in to re-cement the tooth and they did a quick cleaning.  This was a set back to my day's plans, but nothing I couldn't work around.  I did not go and check my blood pressure though.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Our community calendar's December page captures the month perfectly.  Thank goodness for red barns.

I received this gift from one of my poetry writing friends and I am just in love with it.

It is a journal made from parts of a rescued old book.  Isn't this an inspired gift for writers and nature lovers?  Not to mention book lovers?

A peak inside:

Monday, December 16, 2013

This is my Christmas...

The snow fall was much less than predicted.  My son and I had no trouble making our way to my sisters and we had a delicious lasagna dinner, were entertained by their two cats, and much admired their ten foot tall tree.

 My brother from Burlington, VT, did not make it to mountain.  I guess there was actually more snow there (somewhat unusual) and the city streets were slippery.  My brother is a wuss driver--just as well, since he is also not a very good driver.

I got out to the post office this afternoon and then put in some time at the library.  Then I met my friend Ginnie for supper out and the exchange of our gifts.  I like when the Christmas shopping is all wrapped up and all that is left is the social time.

Tomorrow I will host the poetry group...oh, I have some writing to finish up.
I guess I better get on that now.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ready or Not...

The wreath is on my door.  Note the absence of snow here.  A day can make a big difference.  When I woke up this morning, I thought maybe the predictions were all wrong.  There was an icy glaze on the ground, but not much else.  By the time my coffee was brewed, the snow was falling in earnest.  Honestly, I thought is was "too cold to snow" but I was wrong.

It is pretty, but I hope the roads are not too treacherous.  Mike would have built a fire and settled in for the day.  I will not bother with the fire but get out my long johns and I still plan to make my way to my sister's for a family dinner.  He was the smart one, but I am intrepid.

The presents are all wrapped and ready to go under various trees of family nearby.  Some will be mailed to family far away.

I was inspired this morning by Betsy and her post about The Twelve Days of Christmas.  It is too late this year, but I want to add this idea to a new way of doing Christmas.

Tomorrow, my plan is to pack my bag.  I will be flying to Florida on Friday.  My son has agreed to house sit this year while I am gone--a big, huge relief.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weekend Aftermath

Ha! Ha! A pun.

As you know, I had a lovely weekend with my grandson.  What I did not mention is how much he engaged in talking about Mike and how I was feeling.
He sure did take on some topics that most shy away from and it has left me feeling quite tender, but in a good way.  For me, the most poignant moment was when he said, "Well, Grandma, you could marry someone else."  I told him that I did not think that I ever would...to which he replied, "I guess that means that Mike was a really good husband for you."  He is so perceptively sweet and sensitive.

The tenderness that is not so good is the flare up of "tennis elbow" in my left arm.  I cannot even remember the last time I played tennis and I would have used my right arm anyway, so I don't really know where it came from.  I think it started on my long drive to Florida in October.  It seems to be going away and then returns.  Someone told me that quinine was good for such body aches so I got myself a bottle of tonic.  I think it would work much better if I had some gin to put in it though.

I have been wrapping Christmas presents, getting things ready for a trip to the post office and other deliveries.  I have not had to do this part before.  I have also not had to deal with the non-Christmas related expenses around this time of year--car insurance (I temporarily have three vehicles), property taxes for VT and two in Florida, Homeowners association fee, and then all the usual stuff.  No wonder Mike used to sigh heavily when he saw me coming in from a shopping trip loaded with packages.  I hope everyone will understand that I am scaling back this year!  I have cards, but I don't know that I will get very many of them out.  I am simply not going to worry about it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grandson's Weekend Visit

My daughter met me with the two kids on Friday night in Middlebury--a half way point between our houses.  I took them all out for pizza and then just Dane and I made the trip back to Jericho.

My grand daughter, twelve now and in the seventh grade, has decided it is more important to be at the school dance in the presence of cute boys than to spend time with her old granny!

Dane was happy to have my undivided attention for the weekend though. Thinking of a post that GigiHawaii wrote a couple of weeks ago, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  His answer: designer of computer games.

He has not given up on teaching me how to play a game either.

He is quite the little mathematician.  "Grandma, you are 30 plus 35.  My mom is 40 so you were...um...25 when she was born."  "I have $202 dollars.  That is 20,200 cents.  Do you still have 30 dollars?  How much cents is that?"  When I said 300, oh wait, that's not right, he said "No it isn't right because that would only be 3 dollars and you have thirty so you have 3000 cents."  I am trusting him on all these calculations because he does not get this interest in math from anyone on his mother's side of the family.

He wanted to go to the holiday fair on Saturday to get some Christmas decorations for his tree.  He was concerned that I am not planning to put up a tree this year and he kept pointing out decorations that would look good on my tree, should I change my mind.  We also went to the Christmas Tree Shop so I could pick up a few things.  He does love decorations.

At home, we made a gingerbread house and some Christmas candy.

 He did not take the gingerbread house home because he insisted that I needed some decoration.  He helped me put up two wreaths, one on the door and one with twinkle lights in the front window.

He was a bit distressed by my lack of cable television kids' programs, but we did make up a bowl of popcorn and watch the first Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.  Look at his cheeks.  How could I refuse him the chipmunk movie?

On Sunday, we made peppermint bark.  His job was to smash the candy canes and sprinkle the crumbs on top.  Then we went for a walk while I told him stories of "The Adventures of Dane."  He did not seem to notice that it was really cold out.  We were still running around and playing in the back yard when his mom and sister came to take him to his grandfather's for dinner.  I hope that they all appreciated the fact that I had burned up a bit of his incredible energy and also worked up his appetite.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Still Busy

It is grey and drippy outside...so very gloomy and yet I have not started packing for Florida.  My house is a mess--everything from the kitchen sitting on and around the dining table.  However!  The kitchen is painted.  The bathroom is painted.  The cabinets are stained and covered with one coat of polyurethane.  I will let that dry for a couple of days.  I think I will actually complete my ambitious plan.

Then it will be turning my attention to some Christmas shopping and baking.  Yesterday was a break day, or brake day as the case may be.  I went to the annual Christmas lunch and gathering of the card making group.   It was a festive time and fun, but I did miss my friend Ginnie.  (There were a few of those moments when a good kick under the table was in order, Gin! Maybe it is just as well.  My legs are already black and blue from clutzing around with the ladder.)

I am hoping that the rain does not start to freeze so I can pick the grand kids up after school today and have them here for the weekend.  I guess I will have to clean up enough in the kitchen that we can maybe do some candy making or baking.

They are probably going to be distressed that I scaled back to basic cable and all the children's channels they watch are not on the plan.  I'll call it character building.

I watched The Sound of Music last night.  I would have much preferred to see it in a theater.  I have little tolerance for commercial interruptions.  I don't have DVR service which is one thing I would really use.  Even On-Demand has commercials that cannot be fast forwarded now.

I realized I always thought Carrie Underwood and Kelley Clarkson were the same person.  So I enjoyed the play and learned something as well.

Monday, December 2, 2013


A special treat after Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law and I went to see the movie Philomena.  You can see a trailer, if you haven't already seen it on TV, here.  We enjoyed it.  We also did a yoga class--very relaxing.

Once again I was dumbfounded by the number of people hitting the stores on Black Friday and even on Black Friday Eve, formerly known as Thanksgiving.   Apparently, with turkey day being late this year there are "fewer" shopping days which justifies the stores being open on the holiday.  I guess some people are surprised that there will be another Christmas on December 25th so that explains why they couldn't plan ahead.

December all ready!  The frantic season has started.  I decorated the library for Christmas today.  The tree lighting on the Center green will be next Sunday and the library will have an open house.  I suppose I could hang a wreath on my own front door.  I am glad that I have grand children or I would skip Christmas altogether this year.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Thanksgiving

I am hoping that everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving.

I made the trip to Connecticut on Thursday morning.  The first 60 miles or so were slushy and I was glad I had those studded snow tires.  Then the rest of the way was clear and dry and I had to listen to the thunk-thunking of the studs.

The table may have been diminished in terms of place settings and attempts at toasts were teary, but the room was crowded with the spirits of those we love.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

That Busy TIme of Year

Really, what was I thinking?  Taking on a big kitchen cabinet project just as the holiday season shifts into gear was a moment of insanity.

Sunday I made pie crust and went to a poetry workshop and then a reading. Monday I helped my son with a car loan application, went to my "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Medicare" wellness visit, did my volunteer thing at the library, and then had writing group.  Tuesday was do a load of laundry, go grocery shopping, go to the poetry group meeting, then work on finishing up the grand kid's advent baskets.

I am making all the little bags and boxes and filling them with little treats.  Some of the treats are dollar bills that I folded into rings, butterflies, little elf shoes, and bow ties.  (Pinterest is a dangerous place, a slippery slope.  Why, oh why do I fritter my time playing there?)  I need this to be ready for this weekend.

Tomorrow I will need to put together the pies and bake.  I had thought about heading to Connecticut in the afternoon, but the weather seems to be telling me that is not going to happen.  I bought rolls at the market instead of making them as I had planned.  I small dose of reality hit me beside the head and I had a brief moment of clarity--all to fleeting.  I do hope we do not get the nasty weather, or at least that it will be over with by Thursday morning if it does hit tomorrow.

Now there's the buzzer from the dryer.   I have to go fold.  Good grief.  It looks as though the kitchen will be a torn apart mess for a bit longer than I had planned.

Well, I really am hoping to make it to Connecticut.  If not, the Heberts will have no pie and I will have too much.  Pie and wine would have to be my big meal. Hmmm.  Is that a bad thing?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Light oak cabinets are so the 90's. So I am staining them with Java gel. Why I start these projects is beyond me. I wish someone would save me from myself!

I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday.  It was day #2 of my project.  All the cabinets are washed and lightly sanded and about a third of the them have the first coat of the new stain on.  This should take me at least two weeks to complete.  This of course means two weeks of major mess and disruption.  I am trying my hardest to pace myself because if I keep pushing, I will end up with a mess.  
I am trying to "enjoy" the process.  That was the advice from my major handy-with-home-decoration neighbor.

My plan is to repaint the kitchen and the bathroom when the cabinets are finished.  We shall see how long the steam lasts.

I really have been wanting to update the kitchen in a minor way for some time.  And, although I have painted both the kitchen and bath fairly recently, I have never been happy with my color choices.  

The wind is howling outside today.  I do have to go out later, but right now I am kind of happy to have a project that is keeping me inside but busy.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vermont Reading Series

That Vermont is home to more writers per capita than any other state in the nation is a testament not only to the natural beauty of our surroundings and the possibilities for solitude and contemplation, but also to the great traditions and institutions that support our literary artists when the time comes to share their work.  from: New England        Review, Vermont Reading Series handout, November 21, 2013 

We had a literary outing, the women in the writing group I attend.  We drove to Middlebury, VT, and spent time browsing the Vermont Book Shop, one of those small, independent book shops like I remember from the old days.  (Owning a store like that has always been a part of my fantasy life.)  I did a bit of Christmas shopping.  We went out for pizza at American Flatbread which is in the Old Marble Works district.

The hostess asked if we wanted to be seated next to the large brick fired oven.
Now why would anyone ask such a question of three menopausal-age women?
We sat away from the oven, but within view of it, and had a delicious supper.

Then on to the impetus for our field trip--a nonfiction reading hosted by the New England Review that included Jessica Hendry Nelson, Christopher Shaw, John Elder, and Julia Alvarez.

The venue, Carol's Hungry Mind Cafe,  cozy and standing-room-only, was perfect.

Sometimes, at this time of year when it is dark so early, it can be difficult to roust one's self out of the house for an evening--making it all the more important to do so.  I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I wonder if it is just me or is it really different to cook for one?

I mean, I have been cooking for two for the past twenty plus years.  How different should it be to cook for one less?

I had supper with my friend Ginnie last Sunday night and she confirmed that it does seem harder to cook for one.  She said that she wastes a lot of food that she buys with good intentions but ends up leaving in the refrigerator too long.  I think that has a lot to do with the fact that she is still working.  I can remember the nights I would come home from work too tired to cook.  We would have sandwiches or Mike would suggest taking me out.

We cut way, way back on the eating out in retirement.  Mike got more involved in cooking too.

And people seem concerned about someone newly faced with cooking for herself alone.  I have been asked often in the past few months, "Are you eating?"  The answer to that is certainly, yes.  I do like to eat.  And I like to eat "healthy" so I eschew most packaged and processed food.  I keep frozen broccoli and spinach on hand, canned tomatoes, and cartons of vegetable or chicken stock (mostly reduced sodium).  That is not new.

Here are the major difference I am noticing:

1.  I shop less often.  I do not run out to the store to get the special bread that would compliment my meal so nicely.  I eat the bread I have and think about getting the special bread for the next week.

2.   I spend less money.  That is a function of not shopping as much--reduces the impulse buys if you are not in the store--and buying less.  I used to buy a variety of fruits and vegetables for the week.  Now I buy one or two vegetables that I use in different ways through the week.  I do not eat any where near the amount of fruit that Mike did so I don't buy too much of that at all.

3.   I eat way less meat and way more grain and bean dishes with vegetables.  That is a good thing for me.

4.  I eat a less varied diet.  If I cook brown rice and I bought carrots, they are going to show up in several meals over the week's time.

5.  Paradoxically, I eat a more varied diet in the sense that I choose a much wider variety of vegetables than Mike would ever eat.  I experiment with recipes more.

6.  In spite of the pared down shopping, I do less planning.  Mike liked to eat, but he was also kind of fussy and he wanted to know what we were going to have ahead of time (sometimes so he could plan on making himself a hot dog instead).  I know what I have on hand, but I can be creative about how to use that and at the end of the week there is soup--very creative soup.

7.  I don't linger over a meal with conversation and a glass of wine.  That is not such a good thing.  Although, God knows, I do tend to yabber on to Mike.  Out loud.  Crazy alert.  But believe me, he does have a way of answering when I really need him to.

Now having said that, I did have a meal and a glass of wine with Ginnie on Sunday.  My son was here for dinner tonight.  No wine, but we had chicken enchiladas and chocolate chip cookies that Ginnie sent home with me all ready to pop into the oven.   I made a broccoli slaw and there was plenty of conversation.

I am still sad, but I do not feel sorry for myself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Where does the time go?  It is so elusive.

I don't have that much to do and I can not fit it all into a typical day.  I am pretty sure that I did not even brush my hair today.  I did shower, brush teeth, and floss though.  It was cold so I wore a hat when I had to go out.  So even if I did brush my hair, it would not look it.

It was also so cold that I don't have the outside work to do.  So why can't I get through my "to do" list?

I swear that fewer day light hours means that there really is less time.  Scientist should really look into this.  Twenty-four hours is not a fixed quantity.

Maybe it is because I am continually tricked into thinking it is time for bed, it's so dark, only to realize it's not even 6 p.m. yet.

Maybe it is just that time of year.  Some people love the increasing darkness, the cold, and the gathering in for a time of introspection.

Yeah, I can be introspective enough in the day light.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why I Love My Sewing Machine

I was in the mood for some sewing and I had some fabric stashed away.  Go figure.  (from Pinterest: No, doctor, it is not a hoarding disorder.  It's my fabric stash.)

As the machine hummed along, I considered how much I love my NECCHI.

It has a cutting and edge stitch capability that gives a nice finished edge to seams.

It does buttonholes with no guessing.

And it makes it so much easier to put the buttons on neatly.

Of curse the cutting step generates a great deal of lint and that requires a good cleaning after its use.

You can see that the dust and lint could build up quickly and cause a problem.

I did not have to figure out how to do this on my own,  Mike taught me how to clean, oil, and lubricate my sewing machine.  He had a job in high school helping to maintain industrial sewing machines in a dress factory.  (Have I mentioned lately, How much I miss that man?)

And the finished jacket:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just in TIme

I had an appointment to get snow tires put on the Prius first thing this morning.
That was pretty timely since we had some snow last night.  The roads were clear, but my driveway is a sheet of ice.  It is good that it is a flat driveway so I did not have trouble getting out.  I did slip and slide later, walking out to the mail box, but I did not fall down.

One winter day when I was in high school, the school parking lot and side walks were terribly icy.  I had gotten by car and was walking toward the school's front door with an armload of books (Backpacks were for military hikes back then, I guess.  I only remember carrying books in my arms right through college.)   I made it from the parking lot, across the driveway, and I was just stepping up onto the walkway.  As I stepped, I slid.  Somehow in the disjointed dance I performed in trying to maintain my balance, I did a rather inelegant flip and landed on my rump with books raining down upon me.  My immediate reaction was relief.  A bus had just unloaded and all the students had gotten inside.  Maybe nobody saw my accident.  I heard a whoop, though, and looked up at the library window from where a classmate had been observing the whole show.  I am glad he was not taking pictures for the yearbook that day.

So not falling on the ice today was a good thing.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Thanks-you to our Veterans and their families.

There may always be a need for the military and the services each branch provides, but may there not always be a need for war.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cards for the Season

I met with the card making group for lunch and a card exchange on Thursday.  I made a dozen of these:

and I came home with a variety of other cards. 

We also made two cards with a lunch in between.  Fun.

I think my grand son will like the underpants reference so he will get this one for his birthday in February.

The 'get well' card...I hope not to have to use it.

Saturday--used to always be my day to sleep in when I was working.  It is a habit that I still have.  When I was working, though, it was also a major clean the house and run all the errands that needed running once I got up.  That part has changed.  It is such a luxury not to have to run errands on the same day that every one else is.  My house was clean; my laundry was done.  I spent the day making Christmas and holiday cards.  I almost forgot to go out and get the mail.

(in proces)

In the evening, I went with two friends to "Poetry, Music, and Delectable Delights," which is a series of events that another friend is promoting at an area art gallery.  It was an absolutely delightful time.

Now that I am home again, I am pouring myself a glass of wine (my weekend treat), turning out all the lights and sitting at the window to watch the night sky.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Mike always said that you have to have the right tool for the job.  He left behind a boat load of tools.

He also left behind a wife who doesn't even know what most of the are or how they are used.

I figured out this wrench system though and got the battery out of the tractor.

It only took me two days to do it.  I can get so stubborn when I think I should be able to do something.  I will ask my neighbor to put it on the charger and then back in when spring comes because I am afraid of electricity.  Unhooking a battery and hooking it back up are two completely different things in my mind.

The gas tank is filled and the mower is put to bed for the winter season.  I think I must have been paying more attention to the things Mike took care of over the years than I thought.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Little Miss Independence

I got the gardens cleaned up for the winter yesterday.

Today it was windy, but it was warm for November.  I decided to mow the lawn for the last time as the warm is not likely to last through the weekend.  I fired it up but when I lowered the mowing deck, I discovered that the blades were not cutting.  Just another thing going wrong, getting broken.  Oh so annoying!

I remembered that when Mike's son was here this summer and went to mow the lawn for me, he said the belt had slipped.  Well, I turned off the motor and looked underneath.  Sure enough the belt was flopping loose.  Here's the good part--I fixed it myself!  I got the lawn mowed.

And it doesn't stop there.  When I put the tractor back in the garage, I changed the oil and the oil filter.  That is a first.  I was quite proud of myself even though it is a messy job.

My roll ended when I tried to disconnect the battery so I could take that out for the winter.  I could not budge the bolts on that.  I will have to start doing some bicep curls to up the arm strength.  If I am not able to do it when I try tomorrow, I will ask my neighbor for some help this weekend.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I have had no further revelations from my bath towel.  Please bear with me as I travel the path of my new reality.

I would like to assure you all that I will not be sharing anymore startling discoveries brought to be courtesy of inanimate objects, but of course you probably know me better than that.

I was in Bed, Bath and Beyond last week and there were some really lux towels there whispering, "Buy ME!  Buy me!" but I resisted their siren song.

We see what we want to see; we hear what we want to hear.

I had a lovely weekend.  Mike's sister came for a visit.  We talked, ate, and drank some wine.  We went to downtown Burlington and cruised some shops, went out for lunch and took in a movie.  We saw Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks--really enjoyed it.

Now it is back to the "work" week.  I have bills to pay.  I have to call the chimney company again because the caps keep getting blown off the chimneys.  I have to arrange for the garage door to get fixed.  A spring broke on the automatic door opener.  I thought I was pretty darn strong, but I cannot lift it myself.  Luckily it has double doors so I can get in and out.  I have downed lilac branches to pick up and take to the stump dump and more yard and garden bedding to do.  Then there is the library which I neglected last week, card making group, and poetry group.  I will absolutely have to get to a grocery store in the next day or two.  To think--at one time I had a job, too.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Secret Message?

Does any one see anything written on my bath towel?

Or Am just flying off the deep end?  Seriously, does anyone else see it?

Thursday, October 31, 2013


You read it here first!  I predicted it!  BoSox...2013 Series Winners.


My grand son loves Halloween.  He does up his room, turning it into a haunted house, each year more elaborate as he adds to his stash of ghoulish decorations.
I was visiting them yesterday and we made a trip to the party store so his sister could get a costume for her school dance.  He's had his Darth Vadir costume ready since early September.  Not everyone is so well prepared.  The place was jam packed.  His mother had warned him that this trip was for his sister; he would NOT be getting anything.  Torture!  He was good about it, but, oh, the desire that filled his little eyes.

The young girl that waited on my daughter and grand daughter was very sweet.  My grand daughter thought her hair was really cool.  It was long brown hair tossed to the right and shaved off the left side.  My daughter's comment, "Yeah, well you are not doing that."  If I were a really kind of mother I would drag out
Amy's high school picture the next time they are at my house.  As my father would have said, "That apple didn't fall very far from the tree."

I had listened to another Annie LaMotte interview on VPR.  I just love her.  Any way, one of the things she said was that her experience in seventh grade was so horrible that she thought she would never have children just because she knew at some point they would have to go through seventh grade.  It is kind of a miracle that the human race goes on when or if you stop to think about it.

Yesterday, it was exactly 100 days until my grand son's 7th birthday.  He is a bit math obsessed.  It was also, apparently, the first day he did not have a time out in first grade.  He is not naughty, but he does have an abundance of enthusiasm. I think it is delightful, but I could never in a million years work with a classroom full of first graders--anything less than fifth graders really--because I wind them right up and myself along with them.

Note that I made this trip the day before Halloween.  Tonight I will go out for dinner with my son and have a very peaceful time.

I hope everyone stays safe.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Report

  My front window is in dire need of a cleaning.  Birds smash into it leaving smudges and feathers.  It collects road dust from the truck traffic that goes by.  It looks as though a cat with muddy paws walked across it???  I have a window washing arsenal.  BUT there was no window washing this past weekend.  There was no lawn mowing either.  It was seriously cold.

I bundled up and went for a long walk on Sunday.  There are white caps on the mountains.  My son did a bike ride at the Trapp Family Lodge on Saturday.  He told me they were riding through six inches of snow.  I hope it all stays right up there on the mountains.

My sister-in-law loaned me a copy of Proof of Heaven by Eban Alexander, M.D.  I read that this past weekend.  I liked it so much that I went to the bookstore and bought myself my own copy with a new Afterword.

I wish that he had not used "Proof" in the title, but "an anecdotal record of my own near death experience" wouldn't be nearly as catchy I suppose.  However, his story is convincing--all the more so at a time when I am starting to want to believe.

I watched Oprah's Super Soul Sunday interview with Annie LaMotte.  She is so genuine about her religious beliefs and I enjoyed listening to her point of view.
However, it was the interviewee just prior that gave me my "Aha moment."  I only caught the last five minute of that one.  I think her name was Shapiro, but I know nothing about her.  Anyway, she described God as the fabric that holds the universe together.  I have struggled so much with religion and even belief in God, but that resonated.

And the BIG news for New Englanders...TADA...the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series of Baseball.  I am pretty sure that Mike was forced to watch with his two brothers.  The image makes me smile.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


A big thanks to Wendy at Domestic Sweetheart!  She had a give away and I was the winner of the Invisible Glass Ultimate Glass Cleaning Kit.  It arrived yesterday.

Look at all this stuff:

It even includes wipes for my glasses.  No more excuses for the dirty, streaky windows!?! 

If this makes window washing even a smidge less of a thankless job, I will be very happy.  So far I have just tried it on my bathroom mirror, but it did leave it spotless and shiny.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I spent a long time at the library yesterday.  A new book order came in so I was putting on the spine labels, covering them with plastic, and affixing the bar codes so the librarian could get them in the catalog.  I was there from a little after 2 p.m. until 7.

I had walked to the library so I could get some exercise in, but the librarian gave me a ride home because I stayed late and it was quite dark by that time.
Also quite cold.

I put in library hours again today, even though I was home.  I made birds for the flannel board for an upcoming story time.  I made sample craft projects--sandpaper gingerbread boys and a Christmas tree ornament.  The librarian plans story hour with books on a specific topic and then has related music and crafts for the kids to complete.  She pretty much has the year planned.  What did we do before Pinterest??  It is a great source for craft ideas.

I am not sure quite how I got to be the official craft lady of the library, but it is a job I am quite content with doing.

After I made the samples, I made the cut outs so they would be ready for the story time person.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Home Again

Home again, jiggety jog.

The flight back to Vermont was without a hitch...except for the rude shock of the 40 degree temperature difference.  I amused myself at the gate this morning by sorting the crowd into those who were getting off at JFK and those who would be heading on to Burlington, VT.  It wasn't all that challenging.  I am pretty sure I scored at least 99%.

My 83 year old neighbor in Florida treated me to a Saturday night fish fry supper--fish she caught, cleaned and fried up herself.  It was really good too.  Snow birds are just starting to filter back, but things were pretty quiet.  Of course, I don't think that you are ever going to see spring-break type, snow birds gone wild reality shows on your televisions even during the peak season.

I went to the Venice Sunshine Fiesta.  It featured a long parade of local school bands, antique cars, and a few businesses that had put together floats.  I bought a couple of craft items and had my palms read.  I will enjoy a long and healthy life!  Well, that's better than, "Sit down, honey,  while I call the ambulance." I am making fun, but it was actually kind of interesting.

I went to an interview with San, a Monk on the Go.  I liked his idea of a walking meditation while picking up litter on the beach.  I pick up litter, but I mumble mean things about the people who drop it.  I can learn to be a better person.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Some Comfort

This has been a very hard week, as I knew that it would be.

Not the long drive alone.

Not the decisions about some needed maintenance and how much money to spend on it--made alone.

One of the last things that Mike said to me was, "You are an intelligent and capable person.  You will be okay."

Maybe so.  I have done some hard stuff and I did not fall apart.

Or maybe not.  Simple things.  I could not walk on the beach...would not have been able to see where I was walking through the tears.  I had to leave the Italian market where we so enjoyed shopping for special dinners.  I barely managed to pay for a loaf of bread and get out of there.  I won't even consider going to the North Jetty to admire the sunset or sit at Pop's and watch boats and dolphin go by or to go for an ice cream cone. I wonder if I ever will.

There was a great horned owl perched at the very top of a very tall Norfolk pine outside the bedroom window and a few doors done.  I knew Mike's spirit was visiting.  That is some comfort.

And I have been doing some reading on grieving.  You know, to see if I am doing it right.  Textbook--the good little student in me can be proud.

But I came across this piece by Dr. Ken Murray.  It is so like Mike's story and I supported him through it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why is the World so Wacky?

Okay, the debt ceiling has been lifted and the government is open again.  Time to celebrate?  It's a temporary fix.   How is it different than the last time?  How will it be different in a few months?

Ted Cruz? Seriously?  I believe he is a Disney animatron escaped from Orlando.  Michele Bachmann?  Prove to me that she is not one of the original Stepford wives.

Affordable health care??  When I was poor and struggling, I didn't have health insurance.  Why should I pay taxes for someone else to have it now?  Progress?  That's a part of progressive...so it surely must be bad.  (Sheldon: "Sarcasm?")

Facebook has opened itself to public sharing by teens...so they can have a voice in the causes important to them.  I do hope Malala Yousafzai has an account.

And speaking of teens, a Massachusetts school stripped a girl of her position as a sports team captain because she went to pick up a friend who had been drinking and needed a ride home.  Let no good deed go unpunished.

I do appreciate people offering their condolences, but I don't understand why some have to say things like, "I know you are a good Christian, so..."  Well as it happens, no, I am not a Christian.  I am a good and spiritual person, but why does anyone have to speculate on my religion?  And get it wrong?  That just strikes me as slightly rude.  Even so, I do not turn away anyone's prayers or positive vibrations.

The definition of compromise is to settle a dispute through mutual concessions.
"If you refuse to do it my way, you are not compromising," does not quite cut it.  On either side.  Just saying.

Comforting to know that a plane can still fly with only one functioning engine. There is always a news story in the week before I have to fly somewhere.

Smart guns on the news tonight.  I predicted that.

Maybe I am the wacky one and the rest of the world is all okay.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long Drive

I have made the 1500+ mile trip from Vermont to Florida.  There was heavy traffic on the first two days, but Sunday (the longest drive) was clear sailing.  I stopped in Georgia and had a brief visit with Mike's daughter and her family.

Thank God for Garmin.

I found out that there has been a lot of rain here in Florida this past summer.  I spent some time today hacking back the shrubs gone wild.  I took care of the house insurance and FL Comcast (which was way, way easier than what I went through in Vermont).  I had the air conditioner serviced.  Tomorrow I will look into having the tree guy come out and I need to find someone to take out a bunch of concrete blocks in the back yard that were meant to be a patio, but just serves to irritate me when I see it.  Maybe that job will wait until winter.

Maybe the day after that, I will just relax.  I don't think I am ready to handle going to the beach though.  Mike LOVED the beach and I know it will be hard to go there without him.  Maybe that will wait until the winter as well.

I did go to get my hair cut today.  That was badly needed.  Actually the guy who cuts my hair here in FL said that my hair looked better than he has ever seen it after an extended time in Vermont.  Funny because I have been cutting it myself since last spring.  He really does a great haircut.

My plan is to leave the Ford here and fly back on Monday.  I made an appointment for my next haircut in December.  I am anxious about the flight, but glad that I will not be driving that distance again so soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Fine Day for a Walk in the Woods

I went to the Mills Riverside Park for my walk today.

I parked the car and went across the covered bridge.

It is a lovely area.

The sky was brilliant.

The trail was covered with leaves.  I love the smell of autumn.  Damp leaves and apples.

We had heavy winds and rain the day before, but there were still pops of bright color.

Mount Mansfield looked kind of bare, though.

I can't believe how green the grass is still.

No alligators here:

I have taken this walk a number of times.  A couple of times with Mike, but usually just on my own.  Did I always wish that he was with me on those walks?
Yes, I really did.  Today was no different...except that it was.

I did go out for supper with my friend Ginnie.  I am grateful for my friends.