No new year's resolutions again this year. List-making, with the exception of shopping lists, was mostly abandoned by me in the past. Still not a resolution, mind you, I recently decided that daily list-making is a discipline worthy of adherence to. Planning a week, then a month, is a way for me to gain a lot more control of my time, especially the few hours in the morning that I feel a comparative energy surge. List-making will also allow me to add some projects that currently float along and get pushed back to the end of the day, falling off the edge of my day into oblivion as if the thoughts that created them and the desire to accomplish those tasks were worthless. If I don't put those ideas and thoughts on paper (with ink or digitally) they get overlooked, forgotten and abandoned and that really seems like a shame. If I made a conscious decision to edit and erase some of my list, that's okay, too.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Here's the "before" photo (kind of dark) of a 20 year-old plastic table headed for the bulk pick-up
The same table after a coat of spray paint designed to use on plastic furniture. It's difficult to tell from my photography but, trust me, it's worth keeping now. This was an experiment. I'm planning to paint all the old, white, stained plastic lawn chairs.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Think what you want about the "Jersey Shore" - but if it's negative, keep it to yourself. Sure, I remember going to Wildwood and Ocean City when I was a kid and I really wasn't impressed. My childhood memories of the "Shore" were lots of big, killer mosquitoes and huge, black, tarry globs of oil that stuck to my feet when I walked the Wildwood beach. I also remember seeing hospital waste roll in onto the Long Island Sound beaches of Connecticut. I've seen a seagull struggling with oil-slicked feathers in a harbor in Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, I know what a dirty ocean looks like.
While I sat by the sea in Brant Beach last week, I couldn't help thinking back to the dirty water I remembered in the 60's. As each clean blue wave seemed to stretch toward the shore in an exhale and pulled back as if to inhale, I found myself becoming sadder and sadder. Are we, as a human race, absolutely insane? To allow an accidental oil gush like the one set off by BP is like letting your toilet water feed your drinking water supply. Or having the exhaust from your car piped into the intake vent of your air conditioner.
I don't believe in scaring kids unnecessarily but I believe early education might help prevent situations like we have in the Gulf of Mexico. The tolerance level for carelessness with our planet needs to be zero. Let's get real - teaching little children to plant trees to provide oxygen is cute - but the bulk of our oxygen comes from plankton (small plants) floating in our oceans. The simple,frightening truth is that if our oceans "die", we die.
Our family had a beautiful week, spent jumping in the waves and sleeping to the sound of them crashing to the shore at night. A gift unappreciated, too easily and casually ruined.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I scooped up the remnants of a robin's egg while I was planting strawberry plants a few weeks ago. It occurred to me at the time that there are people who haven't ever seen one. I made a point of showing it to my husband and snapped a picture. Little things like the color of this tiny egg shell make me wonder what the Creator's box of Crayola's looks like.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
For anyone who isn't familiar with these devils, please do everything in your power to keep it that way. If you are over 60 (I'm not) or have a compromised immune system (I do) or if your doctor advises you to receive the vaccination, called Zostavax, (he just did) familiarize yourself with information about Shingles and take whatever precaution or preventative available to you.Shingles is the Chicken Pox virus which lies dormant in your body after you recover from your childhood disease. It hides in our bodies, quiet, smoldering and just waiting for something to trigger it to get moving - clawing its way along whatever nerve fibers in your body it chooses to invade and inflame.So now, my immune system (as it does after the rare occasions I've been stricken with illness in the past) over-reacts, so now the MS is kicking my butt around and I'm really feeling the effects of that. The Singles rash is better (the pain is manageable until the afternoon) and I'm not feeling feverish and sick all the time. I am getting better. This will pass.I will get on with it.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I can't photograph food. I give up. It all ends up looking like the dog's supper. I do want to document one of the best pork chop suppers I've made in a very long time. The chops were moist and succulent with a silky apricot sauce - and the recipe was healthy and light. It's from the Weight Watcher's Momentum cook book and you don't have to be on a diet to enjoy it. The name of it is "Pork Marrakesh". I seasoned (salt and pepper) and browned 4 center cut chops in a large saute pan in a little olive oil and set them aside. Then I sliced a large red onion with a bit more oil and a little salt until they were caramelized. I put half of the onions with some chopped dried apricots in the bottom of my slow cooker. The chops went in next, followed by the rest of the onions and apricots (12 apricots sliced, in all). I mixed 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon with 1/2 tsp of thyme with 2 tsp. of minced ginger root with 3/4 c. of apple juice and poured it over the chops. I set the slow cooker on high and let them go for 3 hours. I did not sprinkle them with chopped cilantro when I served them because I forgot. I thickened the sauce with a little cornstarch mixed with cold water. I served them over whole wheat couscous as the recipe suggested. According to the recipe, there are 281 calories without the couscous. Yummmmm.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I decided today that I'm not just seeing my grandson through a grandma lense. Even though I'm reallllly tired from baby-sitting for him 3 days this week, I still think he's beautiful - and even better - he's got a really sweet personality. He's got me wrapped completely around his tiny finger.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The temps today were warm enough to work outside and clean up the garden a bit. Crocuses are starting to pop up everywhere (including in the lawn). I'm thinking Spring but knitting a long, gray vest. It will go with everything but I'm itching to knit in cotton in COLOR!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Husband and I made a date out of my visit to R.J. Julia's to attend a presentation by guest author, Kristin Nicholas. What a wonderful inspiration Kristin is! I bought a copy of her newest book, "Color by Kristin" and can't wait to jump right in and give two-color knitting a go!
Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I already have a black (okay, Onyx Heather by Knitpicks) sweater vest on my needles. It's in the Rooibos pattern by Amy Swenson. It seems like it's a baby step up from the little green jacket I made for my grandson. If I really apply myself, I can breeze through the vest and jump fearlessly into COLOR, or COLOR, or COLOR!
Okay, less fearlessly...something for the house, maybe? I'd love to make one of her shawls or coats but I'm not the kind of girl who can walk into a room draped in gorgeous, multi-colored woolly loveliness and feel comfortable about it. I can't even wear red without someone making a remark about the "lady in red". Bright clothing evokes responses like, "I could see you coming a mile away!".....cringe, hide, leave...Even my darling husband asks me if I'm going out to bag a deer when I wear my red winter vest.
I do highly recommend a date night like we had last night. First we had a nice, light meal at the bar at Cafe Allegre in Madison, before which we enjoyed a lovely pasta dish at their Happy Hour with a glass of wine. Then, across the street for cappuccino and biscotti before Kristin's talk started at 7 o'clock. It was my (and my Husband's) idea of a lovely Friday night.
And I almost forgot, I won one of the door prizes Kristin brought - a pack of her cute sheep in dog's clothing postcards! Thanks again, Kristin!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, I dragged husband to the flower show. He was a good sport and pretended to enjoy the displays and the vendors. He bought me a mounted butterfly I wanted and I came home with 2 new Streptocarpus plants. I'm not into African Violets, but Streps flip me out. They're much easier to grow than violets and they should be happy on the thimble table I inherited from my mom. I've been babysitting the new grandbaby so my husband's treating me to an evening at R.J. Julia's bookstore with Kristin Nicholas tomorrow night. She's an artist and designer who has no fear of color - I can only dream of attempting her knitting designs!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Valentine's Day comes at a perfect time....I never bought into the idea that it's just a commercial gimmick. It's really not about the roses but I'll never say "no" to a flower. I didn't say "no" to the gooey candy, either. But look through the window behind the bouquet to all the bare limbs and gloomy weather. News of the war in Afghanistan and the bad economy probably won't be much better when it stops raining and snowing. Life goes on with the bad and the good. A little hole pokes through the clouds when we stop to tell each other that we care about them and hand them a love present. Valentine's Day makes winter seem one day shorter and that's okay with me.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I love to bake. I especially love to bake bread - almost as much as I love to eat it. I cheated and bought pre-made bread dough to make calzones. They tasted great (rated perfect the resident teen) but the dough was a headache to work with. It had a mind of it's own and snapped back every time I tried to stretch it out. Normally, recipes will instruct the baker to let the dough "rest" so it's easier to pull out or pat out thinly enough for pizza or calzones. This pre-made dough had rested plenty so that wasn't the problem.
Superbowl Sunday I made foccaccia with sausage, rosemary and sundried tomatoes. It could have used more of all three but the dough was a dream to work with. It rose obediently, filling the mixing bowl by doubling it's size. Rather than punching it down, I pushed the air out of it as I enfolded the sausage and rosemary mixture several times, then pushed it to the size of the jelly roll pan. It didn't fight me or try to snap back to it's original shape - the dough simply relaxed and complied. The recipe is in the "Pure Comfort" Weight Watchers cookbook. If you can stop at one portion, it's 4 points.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I found a Random Valentine Heart Generator and couldn't stop playing with it. These candies were such a tradition in my house when I was a kid and then I always bought them for my kids. They were fun to play with but tasted like spicy chalk.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Mediterranean Chicken Casserole
I really never thought this luscious dish would actually go over in my house. I have a couple of meat and potato eaters that I'm trying to please. I tried making this recipe previously but didn't allow enough time for the chicken to marinate before I roasted it. When the flavors of the garlic and the raisins have time to blend with the capers and dates, the true exotic and tantalizing savory and sweet have time to slow dance with the artichoke hearts. The recipe is from Weight Watcher's "Pure Comfort" cookbook. I could have roasted a dozen rather than eight boneless chicken thighs and still ended up without enough left-overs for the amount of lovely sauce the dish produced.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
My daughter-in-law wanted to decorate her aisle chairs for her wedding last summer. I used some silk grape vine, vanilla ranunculas, purple mums and white tulle. It didn't take long to make six of them. The challenge was attaching them to the white Samsonite folding chairs. I scoured the net looking for something white and removable. I ended up using removable white medical tape. The nosegays held tight even in a little breeze.
Monday, January 25, 2010
We're experiencing a 57 degree January thaw today. Unfortunately it's underwater. The good thing is that the gardening catalogs have been arriving. I spend non-knitting evenings browsing them, lingering on the strawberry plants. I'm even thinking about putting in a few blueberry bushes this year. I think I'll only plant fruits and vegetables that I would consider a treat at a farm stand. Enough with the green beans and squash...I'm posting some photo's from summers past and a beautiful tropical butterfly that I admired at Magic Wings in Deerfield, Mass a couple of summers ago.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The baby jacket I've been plodding along on (with love) was finished before the new grandson was born. I finished knitting it months ago but dreaded the sewing. This is only the second little sweater I've made and the first time I had to set-in sleeves. I now understand the appeal of top-down knitting.
I used a pattern from a vintage knitting book authored by Barbara Aytes in 1970 that I picked up for $2 at our town library book sale. The book is called "Knitting Made Easy" and I made it in KnitPicks Superwash Merino wool in the color "Lawn". I washed it by hand and dried it flat (although the label says it's machine wash and dry) and it came out even softer. It took on a lovely drape, even for a tiny sweater.
I'm going to work on a little hat to match the jacket but I can't wait any longer to present it to the new mommy!
Monday, January 18, 2010
It doesn't seem possible...James arrived last week and gets cuter every time I see him. He looks like both parents but mostly Mommy. He's a big, healthy boy and we're truly blessed.
After I called my husband from the hospital, the next thing I felt was the urge to call my mom.
Before she passed away a little over a year ago, my mother gave me a baby blanket she had made to give to my daughter if she had a baby. I think when you spend time placing stitch after stitch, whether it's knitting or, in this case, embroidery, you put a little of your own spirit into whatever you make. I feel my mom's spirit when I visit my daughter - I felt it before James was born. If she could be anywhere in this world right now. I know that's where she would be.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I asked my neurologist about a new medicine for M.S. that was being "fast-tracked" through FDA approval. It's supposed to enable people with all levels of M.S. to be able to walk faster and see more clearly. He told me the medication had been around for quite a while and that I could get it immediately at a compounded pharmacy, off label. When I asked what "on-label" use would be he changed the conversation and wrote me a script. The name of the medicine is Aminopyridine (4). I shouldn't have looked it up, but I did. I consulted with my naturopath (I believe in holistic as well as traditional medicine) and she suggested that I speak to the pharmacist at the compounding pharmacy. Of course, by then, I already knew that the trade name is Avitrol and it's used (in large doses) for bird control. I used to work as an HR manager for a roofing company. My pharmacist advised me that it's been used in Canada for years and that folks with M.S. have been having quite a good result from it. Aminopyridine (4) is supposed to cause the nerve fibers to fire off more frequently allowing more impulses through the nerve regardless of the condition of the myelin. It can cause sleeplessness and nausea - so here I am, at 4 a.m., writing about it. The pharmacist told me that the only hold-up with the FDA is that big pharma is going to manufacture the drug in time-release form. He says taking it in low doses twice a day is a more effective way to take it. My neurologist says I should see noticable improvement in my walking in about two weeks. Hopefully the side-effects will subside by then. My motivation for trying the drug is to be able to exercise effectively enough to be able to control my weight and get a decent cardiovascular work-out. We'll see....
Friday, January 8, 2010
We had a Christmas theme'd baby shower for my daughter. I decorated a tree with powder blue ornaments and pastel-striped candy canes. One of Kate's friends made a diaper wreath, another a diaper cake. I get too busy to take many photo's. I think that's my biggest problem keeping up with my little blog. I do - I do not record what I do....and I think that's the whole point in the blog. I will take my camera with me when I get "the call". The baby is fully cooked, just not delivered. I feel like I'm the one sitting on the nest...