Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cake Recipe

I am passing along a recipe for Lemonade Cake which can be found with a click.

I don't know that I will ever make this recipe myself, but I pass it along because I had some at a birthday party and it was AWESOME.  The woman who made it told us where to find the recipe on the King Arthur Flour web site.

I do not always have great luck with cakes--they take a certain amount of attention that I can not always bring to the task.  I am thinking that getting cake flour (vs. all-purpose) and cake enhancer (what ever that might be) would make a difference.  This was seriously good cake.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


My bedroom is painted.  The handyman and his helper did it all in one day.  Since the room had not been painted in twenty years, it really looks much better.  I chose 'fashion grey'--a choice the painters questioned, but I happen to like it a lot.

I have new curtains to hang and I will need to get a new bedspread and hang some pictures on the walls.  That will wait until I get back from the trek with the grand children.

The new dryer was delivered, but it did not work and the installers suggested I needed to get an electrician to change out the breaker.  Maybe I did not even need to get a new dryer.  It was not the breaker, but the electrical box that the dryer plugs into.  Also the electrical box was hidden away in the exterior wall.

This is what was behind the dryer:
And the outlet itself was about 18 inches above this hole.  It required a new hole to be cut out.

After the trip, the handyman (who may become my new best friend) will come back and take care of this with an access door.  He will also fix the outdoor faucets and my front door and who knows what else will have fallen apart by then.  I should mention that he was the one who brought the electrician over on a Saturday.

Forced to hang around the house for the past couple of days, I spent some time making a few cards.

The focus is a bit off, but you get the idea.  The sheep one is for a friend who raises sheep.  Her birthday party is today.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Today's post was inspired by GigiHawaii.

I would love to take up painting--especially watercolors.  It is not that I don't have enough to do with my time, but I admire those who can draw and paint.   Plus, I like to have art to hang on the walls.

When I retired, my special education colleagues presented me with a quilt to which everyone had contributed a special square and this painting:

Sorry about the glare!

It is a scene of Mt. Mansfield, not unlike the scene less than a quarter mile up the road from me.  It was painted by Marianne Nealy, one of my former colleagues.

I have had this original print for a long time.  I bought it at a church sale.  It was donated by the woman who did it, a member of the church and an art teacher.

These little guys--sanderlings--hang in the bathroom.  I bought the prints at an art fair in Florida and framed them myself.

I found one of these silhouettes at a flea market.  

The label on the back says:

Rainbow Silhouettes
A Series of Six
By K.W. Diefenbach
No. 792             Size 4 x 5
C&A Richards  Tallimit  Boston, Mass.

Mike found the rest of the series on e-bay and completed the set as a Christmas present one year.  A very nice gift!

Alas, here is the only kind of painting I seem to manage:
my bedroom in the preparation stage--and I am not even doing this job myself. I hired it out.  Today I am waiting for the painter and the new dryer delivery.  I hope to have an after photo for tomorrow, but the painter is already late.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Update

Last week was a fitting lead-in to summer--pleasant weather and sun during the day, a night time rain storm.  My son treated me to a birthday dinner and my friend Ginnie treated me to a birthday lunch and a fun outing.  My sister-in-law came for a weekend visit and we cruised the farmers' market and little shops on the Champlain Islands.

I have to turn my attention to getting some chores done around the house and getting ready for the trip with my grandkids.  Things always creep up on me and I think that they are much further away than they actually are.

My sister-in-law saw what sounds very, very, very much like a young mountain lion (cougar) not far from the house.  There have been reported sightings but authorities pooh-pooh them.  I think they are making their way back.

google image

Friday, June 20, 2014

Appliance Angst

My clothes dryer has had a tantrum, blew a fuse, and refuses to work.  Since it is ten years old and reaching its date of planned obsolescence, I may as well go ahead and purchase a new one.  The problem is: will the clothes washer be far behind?

Then, of course, it is bound to happen that the refrigerator and dish washer will join in the plod to self-destruction.  Household appliances are such sheep.  BAH!

(with apologies to my sheep-loving friends)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Walking Down the Road

It that time of year when the baby redwing blackbirds have hatched.  I know this, not because I have seen the babies in their field nests, but because the parents are in full protective mode.  Walking past this field, I was dive bombed by two frantic adults.  They chased me good!

 They would swoop down and then fly across the road and land at the top of fence and scold, scold, scold.  Maybe I need to start wearing a helmet.

 Further down the road there is a wooded area.  Walking by this, I heard something bashing about in the trees.  When I looked I could see something round and black.  OMG could it be a baby bear?  But then I could see it was really a large black chicken.  That's Jericho for you.

The people who live in this house up the road decided to move.  They moved the house--about fifty feet down the slope and onto a new foundation.  Quite the project.

I have mentioned my friend and poetry mentor and posted a link to her garden tour.  Today I had my own little tour.  She lives about a mile and a half up the road and it was a nice stop before heading back home.

 It's peony season here.  Doesn't this yellow one have the sweetest face?

These peachy irises were so pretty.

 But it was the purple poppies that I really stopped by to see.  Gorgeous!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers' Day

This is a day to remember my own father.  He has been gone for many years, but not forgotten.

My parents with their four children.  I am the oldest.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flag Day.

It's Flag Day and we all know what that means!

Even Google is on top of it.

Happy Birthday to me and to Dani's brother Mike!!  We both were born on the exact same day and we both grew up believing the story that the flags were put out in our honor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Meatless Monday

...and a meatless Tuesday as well...because I know people have been wondering, "What has Olga been eating lately?"

A Trader Joe's opened in South Burlington a few weeks ago.  I waited until the frenzy died down a little bit and then made my visit Monday morning.  I bought a loaf of Italian bread, an avocado, a bottle of wine, some bananas, portobello mushrooms, and baby artichokes.

Aside: I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, but there were two women with their loud Jersey accents just tsking away about everything is so much cheaper in New Jersey.  I used to live near the closest supermarket to Killington ski area and it was common to hear about how expensive VT food was compared to new Jersey.  I remember one time when I woman standing in the rather long line for check out huffed about the price of milk and also added, "If I wanted to stand in this kind of line, I could have stayed in New Jersey."  I do know it is wrong to stereotype, but, good grief, some people make it so darn easy!

SO back to the important part--what I had to eat for supper.  I steamed up two of the artichokes.  I melted some butter for dipping, poured myself a glass of wine, and ate one of those artichokes and called it a feast.  The next night I sautéed sliced mushroom with sweet onion and added the left over artichoke and thyme from my garden, then topped a slice of the Italian bread with that and a bit of cheese.

Today, I have my avocado to look forward to--yum.  A bit of dark chocolate, too, as I always try to eat healthy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Good News

I will admit that I find Dr. Oz to be rather on the annoying side.  I mean does he really have to be that upbeat ALL the time?  But no one is all bad either.

And you really have to kind of fall in love with a man who brings good news about chocolate.  So, I am going to be in love with Dr. Roizen, his quieter partner on this one.

Dark chocolate acts as a beneficial pre-biotic in that its non-digestible components somehow stimulate the production of probiotics such as bifodobacterium and lactobascillus.  Maybe that sounds bad, but they are good for tummy and aid digestion.

A half ounce of 70% dark chocolate no more than once a day but at least a couple times per week is recommended.

Sadly chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream do not supply the health benefits.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

So There is Always Hope

This comes from an article about overcoming problems you thought you were stuck with in Good Housekeeping magazine:


Some women knock over their water glasses or bump into doors so often, they assume clumsiness is part of their makeup. Wrong. One reason may be that muscles are weak, says Mary Ann Wilmarth, D.P.T., chief of physical therapy at Harvard University Health Services. "Even if you work out regularly, you could be shortchanging certain areas," she says. Having a weak rotator cuff in your shoulder, for example, can cause you to rely on your smaller hand muscles when reaching for dishes in the cupboard, which leads you to drop them. Poorly toned hip muscles could make you trip when navigating curbs. A physical therapist can show you the best strength-training exercises and work with you on ways to move more fluidly. You might also want to learn to focus your mind (one effective way: incorporating the practice of mindfulness into your regimen). Robin Dilley, a psychologist in Phoenix, loved to hike, but was always falling over her feet until she realized how often she was thinking about something else. Once she began focusing on the trail, the problem disappeared.
Ha! I can blame it on my rotator cuff.  That must be it.

Actually, I am trying to improve my body awareness by taking a series of Feldenkrais lessons.  The sessions involve stretching out on a blanket on the floor and then being guided through a series of movements.  Sometimes they seem incredibly easy.   The instructor has a somnolent voice and a German accent that lulls you.   Sometimes, though, you become aware of part of your body you forgot you even had or ways of moving that part that you didn't think was possible.  The sessions end with a walk around the room in which you feel lubricated and somehow graceful.

Have I stopped knocking over my water glass?  Not exactly, but I am not done yet.  Now, I have reason to hope that a lifetime of clumsiness can be reversed. We'll give that pesky rotator cuff a bit more time to strengthen.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hot and Humid

The prediction was for a rainy day, but it held off until evening.  It wasn't until around 5 that the wind started picking up and thunder storms started rolling through.

I went to a yoga class at 6.  It was so hot and humid that there was really nothing sticky about my sticky mat.  I was sliding around in puddles of sweat.  I don't see myself ever taking one of those Bikram hot yoga classes.

Not me, by the way.

So the rain did nothing to cool things off, but it was a pleasant shower.  I am sure that I can hear the grass growing as I tap the keyboard.