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.