Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Miracles of Tidy

I am always a bit behind the times, but I finally picked up

You can find it on Amazon or, I am sure, in any bookstore.  It's all the rage.

Now I am not one to be overly attached to things and most people would consider my place quite neat and tidy.  In fact, I have alarmed some family members with my lack of sentimentality towards stuff.

But I have to say this book is over the top.  What a hoot!  I can relate to it actually, but it still cracks me up.

Check out the proper way to store socks.  You know socks work hard trapped there between your feet and your shoes.  They need to relax in comfort in the sock drawer.

My son has his own method for socks--they are all exactly the same.  No matching them into pairs, no rolling them into balls, no need for fancy organizer insets for the sock drawer.  Stack them all up right out of the dryer.  Happy, free-range socks!  Pull any two at random out of the drawer and you have a pair.  He should write his own book.

Even though I am undoubtedly much closer in practice to Marie Kondo than to the writer of this essay, I have sympathy for Carle Wisel.  Mike was a great collector, but he was also very organized and tidy with his collections.

The only thing I can be accused of hoarding is pens and pencils.  I have them in containers in every single room of the house except the bathroom.  Well, even there if you count eyebrow pencils.  I do have a dread fear of not being able to lay my hands on a writing implement when I need it.


living room

office desk top

office desk drawer

antiques pens on office bookcase

bedside table

laundry room

my craft room

That is my confession for today.  I am a pen and pencil hoarder and I am not ashamed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Room with a view...

I meet with a group of women to make cards, kibitz, share lunch, and laugh. Yesterday, one of the group hosted a Stampin'Up party, adding shopping to the general mayhem of our get togethers.  I had never been to her house before, but it overlooks Lake Champlain.

Imagine waking up to this view on a summer morning, overlooking the treetops for a view of the lake.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lawn Care

The weather here has been damp.

I can't really complain because we are not experiencing floods, but it does get a tad annoying when you can hear the weeds growing.

Google image
Not my lawn by a long shot!

There are breaks in the clouds and I have been able to get out to do some yard work.  Today I mowed the grass...well, the lawn.  I can't really say there is much in the way of actual grass out there.  It is mostly ground ivy, violets, dandelions, and several other weedy things.  The crab grass will take over later in the summer.

I do have clover, white Dutch clover is spreading throughout.  I kind of like clover.  It's good for the soil--fixes nitrogen and encourages earthworms to live in the soil.  Also rabbits are supposed to like it so much they might leave other plants alone.

In spite of the rain and the quick growing, as soon as I mow there are brown patched that make it look as though we are in the middle of a drought.  There could have just as easily been a gravel pit here instead of the neighborhood homes.

In Florida I have noticed places that have little signs in the yards that proudly proclaim them naturally Florida friendly, using all native vegetation.

Think I will make a proud declaration about all the native plants in my yard.  Maybe if I get a nice enough sign, I will be featured in the home and garden section of the local paper.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Food Labels

I start my day with a cup of coffee.  Anything before that is totally on automatic pilot.

This morning I had to open a new container of coffee creamer.

I used to use soy creamer but then I read about soy being bad for you so I switched to almond creamer.  I found I really liked the almond creamer, but them I read about how almonds are sucking up all the California water.  I figured I would do my part and not contribute to the world wide demand (and, boy, that will show those profit mongers, but good!!).  I switched to coconut creamer (a decision that will no doubt crush the coconut industry in some way).

But yesterday I was in a grocery store that did not have coconut creamer...not even almond creamer.  I bought good old half and half.  Local dairy. No artificial growth hormones.

Here's the thing--this morning as I opened the creamer, I got stuck on that proud label: NO Artificial Growth Hormones.

Don't we have this wrong?  I mean shouldn't the default assumption be that our food is just food--that stuff we use to nourish ourselves.  And I mean nourish our whole selves because, let's face it, for most of us food is more than just fuel.  It's taste and memories and comfort as well.

I think the labels should tell us what is in the product, what might be in the product because it was fed to the animal that produced it.  Especially if the purpose of the addition is to increase profit margins instead of nutritional value, the label should be pretty prominent, too.

When I am put in charge of the world things will be some different, I can tell you that.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flea Market Finds

Mike and I used to peruse a local flea market many sunny weekend mornings. Mike had the eye.  He picked good stuff, as in stuff with value.  He could tell the genuine from the clever fakes.

I, on the other hand, cannot really discern the genuine from the blatantly obvious fakes.  However, I do know what I like, what attracts me or calls my name for some reason.  It is not like I consider my flea market purchases investments.

Carltonware made a line of pottery called Walkingware--because it had walking feet.  After the company closed, as I understand it, at least one company had permission to use original molds.  These pieces may or may not have been marked.  I found these egg cups at the flea market last Sunday.  They are not marked so I won't ever say they are "real," but I think they are cute.

I thought I would start an egg cup collection for my granddaughter.  If she wants, she can use these for jewelry catch-alls.

I also bought four of these plates that were made in Italy.  They are marked Ceramica, which does make Italian dishes and kitchen accessories.  I just really like the colors.  I am a sucker for dishes.  It used to distress Mike because he wanted everything to match--full sets.

It wasn't a big investment and my finds made my happy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Farmer's Market

My sister-in-law, Jeannie, came for a weekend visit and made it a special birthday.

On Saturday, we went to the Burlington Farmer's Market.  I had never even been before and I was impressed with the number of vendors and the variety of food items on offer.

Jeannie bought artisan goat cheese and butter, pea shoots, baby garlic, fresh picked lettuce, strawberries, cookies, chocolate covered salted caramels and a beautiful birthday bouquet.  She made a fabulous dinner--salad with the lettuce, strawberries, and toasted walnuts; fresh fettuccini with mushrooms, pea shoots, baby garlic and goat cheese served with a basil chicken sausage.  SO yummy!

I wish that the salmon color of this peony showed better, but it is a sweet smelling and beautiful bouquet that I was so happy to have on my table.

I didn't take a picture of the lovely meal she prepared, but I had the left over pasta with sugar snap peas, the pea shoots, and goat cheese the next day.

Delicious leftovers.

i felt spoiled for my birthday.  Thank you, Jeannie!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Happy Flag Day!

June 14th is actually Flag Day.  The Continental Congress passed a resolution describing the 13 red and white stripes with 13 white stars on a blue field as the flag that would represent the 13 United States.  Later both Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge issued proclamations designating June 14 as Flag Day.

It was not until 1949 that Congress passed legislation and President Truman signed into law, making it officially Flag Day.

It's not a Federal holiday.  No Monday off and the banks are open when it doesn't fall on a Sunday.

i will be celebrating though--cause it is my birthday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Busy Weekend

The new furnace involved a certain amount of men in work boots tromping from the outside into the furnace room, back and forth for two days.  On Saturday morning I decided that the hallway carpet needed a shampoo.  I threw in a load of laundry while I was doing that.

Then I decided to wash the windows in the French doors that lead out to the deck.  But, ick, the paint on the outside was peeling and dirty.  I ended up taking the doors apart and painting them.

There had been a bit of rain this past week.  The grass was high.  I got out the weed whacker and trimmed all around.  I was going to wait for my son to maybe mow on Sunday, but you never know how the weather will cooperate with plans like that so I started up the lawn tractor and mowed the lawn myself.  Then of course there was the raking and sweeping to finish off that project.
It looks like a huge yard, but I mow about one acre.

When I took this picture out of the front window, I noticed just how totally filthy that window was.  The house faces a fairly busy road and tends to catch the road dust.  So I ended up washing that window as well.  It's quite an operation since it is raised ranch level.

After an exercise walk, I decided to make some supper.  I dropped a piece of chopped broccoli on the floor and nearly had a heart attack when I noticed how dirty the kitchen floor was.  Good grief.  Well, Monday is clean the kitchen day, but this could not wait past Sunday morning.  So Sunday morning found me on my hands and knees with a pail of hot water and a scrub brush, a strange version of church.
Before (embarrassing)


I was going to go to a yoga class, but I sat down to read for half an hour first--fell asleep and missed it.  I called it an extended shavasana--dead body pose.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Puppet Shows and Teddy Bears

My librarian friend asked me to go with her to see two other librarians present a puppet show they do to introduce kids to their summer reading program.  Idea scouting...I was up and on the road with her at 7:30 on Friday morning.  The school was an hour's drive away.  Have I mentioned how much of a morning person I am not?

After the puppet show, we made a trip down to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.  Did you know you can get a Bernie Bear?  Any branch of the service bear?  A Fifty Shades of Gray Bear?  Whatever, there's a bear for that.

I made a super hero costume (the cape and the mask) for a Vermont Teddy Bear that was donated by the company to the library.  This will be a drawing prize at the end of the summer reading program.  The theme for the summer program is super heroes.

I would read lots of books for a chance to win it if I was a kid.

They actually had a bear in a super hero costume, but it was about six feet tall.  We looked for a mask and a cape amongst all the outfits you can buy for a bear, but didn't find anything exactly right.  It didn't seem worth it to buy the Fifty Shades Bear just to get the fancy mask.

The brown bear in the background, by the way, is made from a mink wrap that belonged to my Aunt Stacia.  She gave it to me, but the chance that I would ever wear it were so slim to none, that I eventually had it made into a teddy bear.  The bow is made from the silk lining and have her initials embroidered on it.  I think it is a sweet reminder.

Then my friend treated me to lunch at a Vietnamese noodle place.  Yummy.  And it was the second time in one week I had been treated to a restaurant meal.  Good thing I have been good about my exercise walks.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Furnace

The new furnace is being installed, and a new hot water tank.

This is a smaller system so some space has opened up in the basement.  It should be much more efficient as well, which is the important thing.

Now to get someone working on installing a new water treatment system so the hot water tank does not clog up again right away.

I am looking forward to the convenience of hot water gushing out of my taps.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Face Is Red

Are you prone to blushing?

I was listening to a  public radio show in my car (so I only got a part of it) about blushing and its social consequences.  I am a blusher so my ears perked up.

There is a surgery for that!  It was initially intended to inhibit excessive sweating of hands and head, but it was discovered that it decreased blushing as well.

I did some reading up about this when I got home.  Surgery, not surprisingly, is not the preferred method of treatment.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is the first line--to treat underlying maladaptive social misperceptions--such as people will pick on me if I blush.  This idea needs to be replaced with something along the lines of:

"I may come across as a person who is shy, but other people will usually be happy to accept this and often will make extra effort to engage with me".

HA!HA!HA! I laugh at that!  Obviously a therapy model developed by someone who does not blush ever! You blush, someone is going to point it out--like you cannot feel your face turning into a red hot poker.  And then you blush more.

So, interesting to hear that there is a type of surgery called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). Lasers are used to disable the nerves that allow blood flow to the face.  Your head will sweat less, your hands will sweat less, and you will blush no more.

No blushing and less sweaty palms sounds good until you hear about the other side effects.
Some of the main risks of the ETS procedure include:
excessive (compensatory) sweating – as the cut nerves also control sweating in some areas of the body, the procedure can cause other areas of your body to sweat more
Horner’s syndrome – where nerve damage causes the upper eyelid on one side of the body to droop
pneumothorax – where air gets into the chest cavity and needs to be drained by inserting a temporary tube.
So I guess I will just go on being a blusher and putting up with the comments.