Saturday, May 31, 2014

One of Those Days

One of those know the kind I mean, where nothing goes right, nothing goes according to plan, it feels like your world is cracking and falling apart.  I have had a couple of those in a row now.

Every thing looks fine:

And then a sudden ROAR of wind and the flower baskets went crashing and the chairs went sliding across the deck.  It only lasted a minute and then the rain came.  That's how it goes sometimes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A visit with grandson...

My grandson loves fruit.  His eyes lit up when he saw his breakfast of strawberries, blueberries, and watermelon.
I was working on preparing a chicken craft for the library story time next week.  He thought it  would be fun to put together his own Bob mask.
There were pine cones in  my neighbors yard when we went for a walk.  He wanted to send this picture to his sister because she used to be afraid of pine cones.   Teaser.

We took some rhubarb to my neighbor.  Dane had never tasted rhubarb before, but he liked it.  He wanted to make a rhubarb pie so we did.  He helped pick, clean, chop, and mix the filling.  He helped make the pie crust but I rolled it out and put it in the oven.  Conclusion: we make a good bakery team.
We went to the flea market and he bought a parrot (beannie baby) for 50 cents.  The parrot then accompanied us to the cemetery.  We visited the grave of his great grandparents and then walked around reading the names on other stones.  He told what he had learned about decoration day and that the flags marked the graves of those who had been in military service.  We acknowledged the sadness of remembering.
We watched two movies--The LEGO Movie and Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeakquel--and ate pop corn.

Since I just had the deck refinished, the deck furniture needed to be hauled out and hosed down.  Using the hose does not count as work or a chore so I had a very happy helper.

We did a bit of garden decorating.  I picked up the insulators at the flea market.

We took some walks.  I found a treasure box for him out in the garage so he would have a place to store the interesting rocks and other bits of treasure he might find along the road side.  He has taken on the family disgust with those who litter though.

It has a key!
We did another craft project--a tin can robot.  Unfortunately there was a minor hot glue gun mishap.
My daughter said I invited him just so I could make crafts and Dane said, "She is createtastic grandma!"

Grandma got tired of the wrestle on shoes and then tie them routine, so we went shopping for a new pair of Crocs for the summer ahead.  Maybe his feet won't grow so fast that these will actually make it to actual summer.
And there was the trip to see the sheep and baby lambs at my friends' farm.

We had stopped at Bristol Pond on the way to my house.  On the way home, we stopped at Bristol Memorial Park.

You have to look sideways at this.

For the rest of the trip Dane said a good way to kill time would be for me to give him multiplication and division problems to solve.  I said that I didn't know they taught that math in first grade.  He said they don't but he couldn't understand why since it was "wicked easy." 

He had to get up for school on Tuesday morning, but I slept in til 8:30.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vermont Spring

Malletts Bay on Lake Champlain

My garden is suddenly in bloom.

Wild flowers are out, too.

Bristol Pond

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Are You Old Enough?

I am sure that many of you read Ronni Bennett's blog, Time Goes By.  Today she wrote about "good and not so good names for old people." This is a topic she has addressed before, and today's post was prompted by an NPR story which was the aftermath of another story.  Oh, how do we refer to a certain demographic, related to date of birth but broader than generations??  Oh, and how do we make name that which we want to name without giving offense???

You will find a survey on both the TGB and NPR.  If you were born around 1948 or anytime before that what do you like to be called?

Here's the list from the NPR site.  This is just a copy; you cannot take the survey here.  You picked what you like and then, from the same list again, what you dislike:

What terms to you prefer?

Older -- How relative is that?  I am older than some, younger than others.  I'm older than I used to be but I'm hoping younger than I will be.

Older American -- Am I being compared to say Chinese or German and is ethnicity a relevant factor in the discussion?

Senior/Senior Citizen --
 Are you giving me a discount?

Our Seniors -- whose now?

Elder* --  old or older with a churchy edge to it.

Elderly -- Now this seems to be a real trigger word, which I don't get.  I guess it is now supposed to have taken on the meaning of infirm or frail.  I missed that memo.  My Roget's Thesaurus says "aging (let's face it, that starts at birth), aged (I think a good, strong cheese or a fine wine), retired (I happen to be retired although not everyone my age is), venerable (and that is not a bad thing usually).  So you can call me elderly by that and I am pretty darn healthy and quite vital and active just the same.

Geriatric -- doesn't that really have to do with medicine and medical problems?

Old Timer/Geezer -- folksy

Golden Years, Silver Fox, Positive Aging -- Madison Avenue

Successful Aging -- as opposed to being dead?

Silver Tsunami --
gag me with a spoon.

*Here's what my Thesaurus has to say about "elder":

modif. --syn. older, senior, ranking, more mature

n. 1. [Old person] -- syn. old man, old woman, old lady (but not old gentleman), senior citizen, veteran,  old timer, senior, retiree, one of the old folks, one of the older generation, sexagenerian...centenarian, ancestor, golden ager*, older adult, Methuselah*, greybeard, oldster*, old fogey, little old lady* (again, not little old man), granny*, gramps*
2. [A superior] -- syn. patriarch, matriarch, chief etc.
So the lesson here:  words pretty much ean what you want them to mean.

You can call me a woman.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lily of the Valley

Convallaria majalis

The Lily of the Valley are in bloom right beneath my bedroom window.  I always have this dilemma: close the window to keep out the pollen and dust or leave it open so I can enjoy the fragrance.

If you Google this flower, you will learn of its "medicinal" uses.  I don't advise anyone play doctor with this pretty little plant.  All parts are poisonous so any medicinal value would have to come with fine print warnings or a rapidly stated list of potential side-effects, including death. it is just like any other modern day medical drug advertised these days!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meatless Monday

This recipe is a good source of protein and vitamins plus that all important fiber.

Shepherd's Pie: Lentil and Sweet Potato

2 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 cups of cooked lentils
small can of chopped tomatoes
some basil

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare mashed sweet potatoes and cook the lentils without salt.

Dice the onion, carrots, and celery and cook in a bit of butter until softened.  Stir in cooked lentils and the tomatoes.  Add a teaspoon of basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in casserole dish and top with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes.

Adding a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkle of fresh snipped chives makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Green Up

POW!  Middle of May, a night of warm rain, and Vermont is living up to its "Green Mountain State" name.  Vermont weather is kind of like childbirth--one gorgeous spring day and you forget the pain of a long, bleak winter.

My view as I sit at the table and drink coffee.

And can you believe it is the middle of May?

This has been a very bittersweet springtime for me.  Spring was Mike's favorite time of year, May his favorite month.  All the times that I think, "Oh, I have to tell Mike I found a robin egg, or the lilacs are about to bloom, or the river's gone down and people have their kayaks out..."  Well, I tell him anyway, but with a tinge of sadness.

I have not brought out the deck furnishings.  I have someone coming next week to clean the deck and put the protective coating one it.  I didn't want to move it around twice and it was too cold to use it anyway.  By next weekend that should all be done.

My son mowed the lawn on Monday.  By Thursday the grass was high again, but let's not get ridiculous.  I got out and did edging and cleanup tasks.  I enjoy working in the yard, but it's a big yard.  I think I have too many projects and then I went to Gardener's Supply and bought a small raised bed garden kit so I could plant a few vegetables.  I had converted the area I used for vegetables into flower garden last spring.  It is only a 2' by 4' bed.  That should feed my resident woodchuck quite nicely.

My little garden bed.
Lettuces and carrots planted.

Another woodchuck exit.

I waited a long time for the jonquils.

Oddly, this is supposed to bloom in summer.
There is a reason they call it "Cooky."
(Gerum coccineum

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Trick: Fun with paper

Last week I learned a new card making trick, a fancy kind of pop-out card in a box.
Paper cutter, scoring board, scissors, super sticky  tape.

My directions called for a piece of card stock, 9" by 5".  Maybe I am just not big on following directions, but that seemed a.) wasteful of paper and b.)involving too much math and measurements using fractions.

I used a piece of card stock that was 8.5 inches by 5 inches.

I scored at 2", 4", 6" and 8"--much less margin for error.  Then score a lengthwise perpendicular line at 2.5".  I did not score through the last line but it does not matter if you do.

Cut off half of the 1/2" section, then cut on just the top halves of the vertical lines.  Fold and crease the in tact scores.   Attach the 1/2" tab to the inside of the
right hand section with double sided sticky tape.  You end up with an open box:

Cut a 2.5" square of card stock.  Score a .25" line on either side, then cut in half on the horizontal.

 These two pieces will go inside the box like this:

If your paper is plain, as shown here, you can cut decorative pieces.
 I used a light and a darker lavender.  Ten of 1.75"x2.25" pieces in the darker and ten of 1.5"x2" of the lighter, textured paper.  I also cut a 4.75" by 1.75" and a 4.5" by 1.5" for the back panel.
In the process of being taped on.

This time, I used purchased embellishments and 49 strand jewelry wire to make the pop out decorations.

No, I could not stop at just one.

I made the paper flowers to embellish this one.

The inside, too.

Will you try it?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spring Day

The weatherman was not very optimistic about Saturday, but it turned out to be a beautiful day--warm and sunny.

I got out in the yard and did some work in the garden beds.  It felt good.  Things are really lagging this year though.  I always used to have violets and lily-of-the-valley for Mother's Day.  Not this year.  My own mother always said that a bouquet of dandelions was her favorite Mother's Day gift.  Even they are in short supply this year.

I bought a garden cart on sale today.  I went to the hardware store and asked about them and the counter clerk told me they were sold in a kit (assembly required).  Did I still want one?  Yes. So he had someone bring one out to my car.  That guy asked if I had someone at home to put it together for me.  Good grief, I must look like a helpless little old lady.

Of course that got my dander up and I assembled it myself.  I could have waited until my son got home from work, but I am impatient and a wee bit stubborn.
 I hate it when someone suggests that only men can handle tools.  Grr.

I don't even know what this is called, but I used it to tighten the nuts on the cart.

And for good measure, I got out an electric drill and made holes in the tree stump.  I will fill them with something to start the decomposition process.

I may be a little old lady, but don't tell me I can't!