Saturday, December 31, 2011

Today I Was Dana

Today I helped Ella May clean up her basement for a few hours.  I decided if I did for her what Dana does for me (I miss you, Dana), it would be perfect.  So she called and I told her to have garbage bags ready and markers.  We had a huge pile for giving to one person, another for giving to another group, and several smaller piles for other recipients.  But frequently I said, "Throw it away; it's garbage."  Now, strictly speaking it may not have actually been garbage, but my thought is if you don't use it, don't imagine your daughter wants to throw it away later.  Keeping trash because it belonged to someone you loved doesn't keep it from being trash.
Her loved ones will have enough to worry with without throwing away old fortune cookies and gum.

Friday, December 30, 2011


The gourd on the left is the first one I did.  The one on the right I just finished today.
I used a wood burner on the first one.  I just used paint on the second one.


My husband made a soup yesterday.  He used some of the ham he'd smoked for Christmas.  He said, "You didn't like the soup as much as I did."
I said that I had liked it and had eaten a bowl of it.
He said he'd eaten two bowls and two coffee cups of it.
I pointed out that I liked it as much as he did, I just wasn't as hungry as he was!
I'm trying to lose weight.  I don't need to eat until I'm full.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Next Christmas

Next Christmas should be easier for decorating as I'm paying attention to where I'm putting what I so painstakingly hunted down this year.  Taking down the decorations is  another trip down memory lane as I put away the ornaments I've bought, made, and received over the years.
A hint for you if you give ornaments...instead of putting the recipient's name on it, try putting yours on.  I already know my name, but I don't always remember which student gave it to me.  In fact, first and last names along with the year would be helpful.  I've had more than one Shane, Ryan, Brandon, etc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Practice Wooden Egg

I painted a wooden egg with red watercolor.  It took several coats, but it was soaking into the wooden egg nicely.  Then I used white acrylic to paint a design on.  It looked like I wanted it to look at that point.  But when I put a coat of varnish on it, the red watercolor smeared over the white acrylic.  It doesn't look as smeary in the picture as it does in real life. That was not the effect I was aiming for.  I didn't want to waste an egg (the practice egg was one that an i screw had broken off in), so I painted a wooden egg cup with red watercolor.  Then I put a coat of varnish on.  Then I painted the decoration with white acrylic.  Then I painted a coat of varnish over it.  The red was sealed so it didn't smear.  Also, the acrylic went on smoothly.  I had thought it might bead up on it.  Success.  I think I will do another egg cup with a red acrylic base coat, then a white acrylic decoration, then a coat of varnish to see how that does.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:  I was at a new low on the doctor's scales.
The Bad: I was at the doctor's office for two and a half hours because it was so crowded with sick people.
The Ugly: The patients and the staff all sounded as if they were dying of whatever is in those books like The Stand.  I should get a Free Visit card if I come down with what they all have and have to go BACK to the doctor for treatment for THAT!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Ok, I made a healthy-food lemon meringue pie.  I didn't use arrowroot instead of cornstarch, I used xanthum gum.  Next time I won't use as much.  The recipe called for 1/3 c cornstarch and so I used 1/3 cup xanthum gum.  I think half that much would have been plenty.  I had to keep adding water to get it to the right consistency.  I used Splend instead of sugar and hazelnut meal instead of flour for the crust.  I had hoped because it was nut meal it would stay crunchy.  It was mushy though.  Also, the filling wasn't lemony enough.  I think in addition to a lemon's juice and the zest from half of the lemon, I should use the zest from both halves and maybe some lemon flavoring.  It was pretty; it cut nicely, but it was not tart enough.  I used sugar for the meringue instead of splenda, though.
  All in all, I'm considering it a success because Larry didn't just eat the first piece, he ate another piece today...and didn't suggest throwing it away.
I made shortbread cookies using the real recipe.  It only called for 1/4 cup of sugar so I didn't think that was awful.  Next time, I may use half the flour and the other half nut meal.  I got several kinds from the King Arthur flour catalog.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is odd.  Larry's Aunt Cine is 90 and her sister, Aunt Annie, is 97.  Aunt Annie was in the hospital for pneumonia, bronchitis, and dehydration.  Aunt Cine called to tell us that Aunt Annie had responded well to treatment and was out of the hospital.  Larry asked if she had checked herself out or had the doctor released her.  Aunt Cine immediately jumped on Aunt Annie always did what she wanted to even as a kid and had gotten away with things that would have gotten the rest of them in trouble.  She sounded just as irate about it at 90 as she probably did at the time.
The idea of sibling rivalry is entertaining.  I used to enjoy the Smothers Brothers routine, Mother Always Liked You Best.
In reality it isn't as funny.  People end up resenting the very people who should be the strongest members of their support group. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Upside to Getting Older

This is an essay prompted by another by the same title:
I am a fan of getting older for many reasons.  When I was young, I wanted a lot of things.  Now, I can look back and see that I did some of them.
I wanted to graduate from college.  My uncle did.  But I really didn't know anybody else in my family who did.  Nobody in my family said I should go.  In fact, my dad said I didn't need to go to college.  So I took college prep classes and business classes in high school because I thought that meant he wasn't going to pay.  He did, but I didn't know he was going to until I had saved enough to pay for the first year.  
I wanted to get married and stay married to the same person.  I wanted the person to share some of my interests and want to grow old with me.
I wanted to have kids.  I wanted the kids to grow up to be responsible people who could rip a place for themselves that they wanted, using tooth and nail, education, determination, whatever it took.  I wanted the kids to be able to develop relationships that last.  Having kids is scary.  I did the best I could, but it was difficult to know if I was doing it right.  I'm not the smartest person I know...but I'm one of the most determined.
I wanted to travel and see places I'd read about.
I wanted to have a job to go to that I enjoyed.
I wanted to have flowers.
I wanted to not be homeless when I got old. far.
Yeah, I'm a fan of getting older.  When I was younger, all of that was in the I want category.  I like knowing that I got a lot of what I wanted:)


I posted that I had deleted a comment and felt bad about it.  I used the same title as the initial one to see if I would get another off the wall comment.  I did.  So I deduced that somebody enters a search for that word and then sends a factual sentence that has to do with the topic but not what I said.
So the comments are either spam or from a communication-impaired person.  Either way, I didn't post the comment.  I didn't feel bad about it because I didn't delete it.  I just didn't publish it.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Roasted pecans, stuffed eggs, slaw, strawberry jello salad, and sausage balls are the snacks I've made so far.  I realize they aren't all on my diet, but way closer than holiday candy.  I still haven't made the pie...maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fake Stuff

I am a fan of fake stuff for decorating.  I don't mean plastic stuff; silk is the way to go.  I like after-Christmas sales, going-out-of-business sales, inventory sales, whatever.  Real stuff is sometimes something I'm allergic to, plus just getting the stuff out and refurbishing it yearly is enough of a challenge.  I really don't want to make it from scratch every year and watch needles and leaves fall off before I'm through wanting it out.  So a live poinsettia is a nice gift to take somebody during the Christmas season, but I try really hard not to buy one for myself.  I'm not always successful, but it is really hard to toss it after Christmas and really hard to just give it greenhouse space because it is alive.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Well, Leigh got a sodastream, too, and pointed out that if I put the flavoring in after the carbonation, it wouldn't be a mess.  She was right.  It wasn't exciting at all, which is a good thing.
I found my 22 gauge floral wire so I was able to attach the ribbon and garland stuff to the French doors between the dining room and my sunroom/office.
I made the garland thing about 15 years ago by buying the fake greenery and adding ornaments, fake poinsettias, and glitzy ribbons.  I didn't have the fat, red ribbon at the time, but I had white lights to put in it.  The lights were for 220 so I just took them out.
I LOVE Christmas!
To attach the stuff to the woodwork with damaging it, I had to do an Amazon order as all the hangers I could find in the stores weren't what I wanted.  Yea, Amazon!


Camellias are amazing.  It is December 21 and we have blooms:)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Days I'm Tired of Being Me

Over the years I would see something and think, "I know what I can do with that."  So I would buy up a bunch of it.  I've moved a lot of times.  So I can't always lay hands on stuff.  This week and last week I spent a lot of time looking for wooden eggs.  While I was looking but not finding them, I saw lots of other stuff.  So then I decided I wanted the three pieces that so with a simmering pot a parent made for me about twenty years ago.  I had seen all three pieces.  But finding all three of them again was a long, drawn out operation because all I knew was that I'd seen all the pieces.  They weren't together and I hadn't picked any on of the pieces up and taken it to a reasonable location because I was looking for wooden eggs.  I eventually found all three pieces.
Now I'm looking for small floral wire.  I want to take the huge ribbon and twist it gently, then fasten it with floral wire so I can drape it over my French door.  I can fasten the floral wire to the hangers.  Last year I fastened the ribbon to the hangers and they just unwrapped and looked odd.  I saw the floral wire while I was looking for the miserable wooden eggs.  I need to tidy things as I go, not just look through the clutter.  If I actually did that, I would obviously be somebody else, not me, because I just leave a mess behind me!
I want to be somebody else...somebody neat!  If I make that my New's Year's Resolution, I'll probably need medication to live with myself.

Pie Idea

I've been thinking about how to make a pie that isn't a plea for immediate death.  The need for low carb food consumption is because no matter how much I like chocolate pie, I like my feet, too.
So here is my plan:
I intend to make a pie crust using nut meal.  Actually that sounds good to me.  I'm going to substitute Splenda for sugar.  I'm going to use arrowroot instead of cornstarch.  Those changes should make it reasonable for my low-carb, low-sugar diet.  I have no idea if it will be tasty, but I won 't be putting anything in it that I hate.  For example, if I put squash in it, it might be good, but it would be a total surprise because it doesn't sound good to me.  Oh, I'm planning on a lemon meringue pie and a chocolate pie.  If I make both, neither of us should have to share.  It's better to give than receive does not include my pie.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Advent Candles

I didn't have a good place to put an Advent Wreath, so I just strung the stuff out and made it a centerpiece for the table.  Today is the third Sunday in December, so I lit three candles today.  Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, we'll light the fourth and fifth candles next Sunday.
Wow!  It's almost Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

sodastream and Sherlock Holmes

Note:  If you decide you can't live without carbonation on demand, be sure you screw the bottle in before you depress the button to deliver the carbonation.
2nd Note:  Unscrew the bottle carefully.  I mopped and wiped down everything in the kitchen twice.  I'm wearing diet root beer.  At least it isn't sticky.  This may be an outside toy.
The movie we saw was the Sherlock Holmes one.  I didn't like the way the photography was on fast forward, zoom, and pause...I suppose to be sure we noticed what Sherlock was observing but still pretty annoying.  Sherlock reminded me of House and Dr. Watson of Wilson in the television series.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Many people give food gifts to neighbors and friends.  So many people are on so many kinds or diets (besides, if I cook something, I'm probably going to eat it), I usually make a little memento.  The picture is really cluttered, but the ornaments are what I'm trying to show here.  I paint something on two of them, personalize them, and tie them together with ribbon or cord.  That way, they are stuck with thinking of me every Christmas when they decorate:)  Sometimes I like what I do better than other times.  These turn out nicely even if I'm not very good at it.  White on silver is good, and white on clear...a little red or green is also nice.  I tend to put the year and Merry Christmas from and to (if I know their names...not always).  For us I also include things that we did that year...I retired, we went to Oregon, Yellowstone, Iowa, Grand Bay, Chelsea...etc.  So when I hang the ornaments, it makes me smile to remember the good stuff.  I plan to connect this year's ornament to 2000's ornament:)  It isn't expensive, but I like it.

Greenhouse Update Dec.

 My cuttings are doing well.  The last time I posted pictures of my greenhouse, the impatiens and angelwing begonias didn't have roots.  Now they've established roots and grown nicely.  I can imagine how great they'll look when I move them outside in the spring.

The baskets have dichondra trailing out (I had cut it short when I moved them inside).  I've draped it toward other places so it will root while still attached:)  Then I'll just snip it between the places where it is rooted and have it in more than one location.  It makes seeds, but it's like peeling mosquitoes to get the seeds out.

Pharmacy Revisited

Well, I feel odd about this.  I had a comment on the pharmacy post.  I didn't know who it was from and I deleted it.  As soon as I did, I realized that was just wrong.  The comment explained the wait time for the prescription.  I went back and reread my post as I wasn't commenting on wait time although I did mention it.  The reason I mentioned it is because she walked off before I could identify myself and I thought I'd have to hang out while she did the whole thing with my name and I'd still have wait time.   I have a wonderful pharmacy with wonderful workers.  The interesting thing to me was that a person who sees a lot of people each day, was able to fill my prescription without saying, "Have you been here before?  or Under what name is that listed?"  I didn't know her (and I do know two of them by name), so it surprised me that she recognized me and could put a last name with me.  I'm sorry I deleted the other comment.  If I had known I'd hate it later, I certainly wouldn't have!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Outside Decorations

I wanted lights and a wreath outside, but Larry wanted stuff...noisy stuff.  He didn't intend to have noisy stuff, but a fairly large plywood snowman attached to the porch rails in a strong wind sounds like somebody has taken a ball bat to the outside of the house.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Well, that was interesting.  I need one prescription filled once a month.  Since Larry goes every ten minutes, I rarely have to pick up my prescription.  When I'm with him, we're in his vehicle.  Today I drove to the window and explained I'd changed phones and didn't have their number so I hadn't called it in, but I needed my blah-blah refilled.  She said ok, it would be ready in 20 to 30 minutes and walked away as I was about to tell her my name.  When I went back, she picked up my little bag and said my prescription and name.  How in the world did she know me?  I have no idea.

Numb Toes

Larry told the doctor he has numb toes and asked if it had to do with diabetes or pinched nerve.  He referred Larry to a podiatrist.  Today he went for that appointment.  The doctor said he has what is called "victory toes."  The toes spread apart in a "v" shape.  Larry said it had been a problem off and on for about 20 years.  But more of the toes had started feeling numb lately.  He said he could give him a shot and in about three weeks he would be fine.  He said it is sort of like a stone bruise at first but scar tissue builds up and starts forcing the toes apart.  Without the shot, it would continue to get worse.  He said planning tennis could have caused it as he would have been on his toes a lot.
We're really glad it was that instead of nerve damage due to diabetes!  And it is such an easy shot.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Cards

Since I enjoy getting Christmas cards, it seems right that I should send some.  Well.  I'm really bad at it.  So I tried to narrow it down to what is required.  Card, envelope, address, return address, signature, stamp.  I deleted the "personal message" from that list because I had a stack of cards that only got to that part and I found them when I got ready to do the card thing the next year.  I couldn't just send those out, picking up where I'd left off in the list because the "personal message" part wasn't true any more.  Life needs to be simple for me.  Also, I don't always have addresses. It's still harder than it seems.


I like to read fiction.  I am a fairly recent fan of nonfiction and mysteries.  Mysteries fall into the category of fantasy for me a lot of the time because I can't even solve the mystery of where I put something.  I think moving a lot has caused some of that.  If I stay in one place and kept the same furniture, I would have a prayer of putting things back in the same place.
But that is a big "if."  I have managed to find one piece of paper ten years after I got it.  I filed it in the year I got it.  It saved me several hundred dollars because I didn't have to have it redone.  One would think the county would keep good records and know they had given me that piece of paper proving that I had had that inspection done.  One would be wrong. 
But stuff is a challenge.  I've been looking for wooden eggs for a while now.  I bought 100 wooden hens eggs from Lee Valley.  I can find 12 of them, and the wooden egg cups I bought at the same time and some wooden balls.  They are all in my art room.  I remember the rest of the eggs being there.  But they aren't there now and it is the right place for them.  I've looked everywhere I can think of.  Larry said I will find them when the new ones arrive and I start to stash them.
I have especially enjoyed the J.D. Robb (pseudonym for Nora Roberts) series.  She and her husband both had awful childhoods.  Her personality has her bewildered by friendship, relationships, and an accumulation of possessions.  His personality has him wanting to own everything, probably as a contrast to having had nothing when he was young.  The mysteries solved are interesting to me, and the character development is the cherry on top. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Misc. Update

 My husband said he wanted to make a snowman for outside.  I said ok.  Then he brought me a square piece of exterior plywood and said to draw it for him.  I said I couldn't draw it if I didn't have something to look at.  So he found a snowman on a popcorn tin.  I drew it.  Then he said I needed to paint it.  So I tried; the first effort looked as if it had a Beetle haircut.  I was trying to shade it.  I repainted the head.  He made blocks of wood for features on the head and buttons.  I painted them.  Then I added mittens and a real muffler.  It looked pretty good.  I didn't realize when he said he wanted to make one that he meant "we."
I think I'd like to add Victorian carolers for next year.  But I'd like a pattern and directions.  I started looking last night and found some, but I'd prefer affluent carolers rather than middle class.  Or even David Copperfield poor would be all right.
 I added icicles this morning.  I can't be the only person in the world who thinks icicles make it look even more spectacular.  But I may be the only person in my family who thinks that.
 More about jalapeno peppers: We stopped by the farmers' market yesterday on our way home.  Larry got a box of oranges and a box of apples to go with the the box of satsumas, a bunch of really huge lemons, a bag of kumquats and a gallon of oysters we got in Grand Bay.  All of the fruit is Larry's idea.  The oysters, rutabagas, and peppers were my idea.  I'm cooking the peppers with olive oil.  That is a large pot of large jalapeno peppers.  They cost $10:)  They will bring me a lot of pleasure.
The Christmas ornaments are stored in large popcorn tins.  This was Larry's idea and was a wonderful one. (See the snowman on the tin?).  Our ornaments have safely moved many times, packed away in these tins.  The larger sterilite bins hold the ribbons and bows so they don't get dirty or squashed.  The side of the box that holds our tree is barely visible to the left in that same closet. I don't leave all the stuff there all the time (just the tree).  But I didn't want to put the tins back in basement until Christmas is over.  I wrote on the lid in black marker what goes in each one.
Eating that much popcorn was a chore that Larry assumed for me so that I could have the tins.  Isn't he a helpful guy?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pump Problem

The pump was making funny sounds and running nonstop.  We had the check valve replaced.  Still a problem.  Replaced a pipe.  It helped, and the pressure improved, but still a problem.  Today they are replacing more pipe.  So we don't have water right now, but I'm hoping this fixes it.  Ho Ho Ho  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Decorating is Coming Along...Continued

 I made the Nativity set.  I bought the greenware at 50% off after Christmas one year and shared the expense of the paint with a friend who made the same set.  I went together with another friend and taught a ceramics class for an adult education class so I could use the art department's kiln to fire all of our stuff.  I've had it for over 30 years now and I still love it.  I've moved it every time we moved and haven't broken anything...yet.
This is an artificial tree but I'm not allergic to it.  In Germany we could get a Nordheim (maybe that is spelled right) tree, real, and I wasn't allergic to that kind.  I love big trees.  The kids and I would pick out a tree and Larry would always have to cut it off to get it to fit inside...even when we lived in an old house with a really high ceiling. One year Larry said he was going to go with us to pick it out because he was tired of having to cut it off to get it inside.  We were all upset.  Our youngest said if we were going to get a small tree, we might as well decorate a lampshade.  Anyway, he picked out one.  When he went to get the station wagon, I gave the man more money and got a bigger one.  When we got it home, he was very bewildered.  He kept saying, "I thought sure I wouldn't have to cut it off."  I said, "It happens to me every year.  It looks short with the sky above it."  It was several years before I told him I'd changed trees.

 Our pyramid is lovely.  We don't always light all the candles because it spins really fast.  I also like the hand-blown glass balls we got in Germany.  In a couple of houses we lived in, we had glass walls...the thick kind that let in light but nothing else.  We'd hang a bunch of these in front of that...really pretty.  We don't have a good place to hang them here.
 I made this ceramic Christmas village, too.  I scratched through the windows so I can put tea candles or lights inside.  I haven't done it so far this year.  But I enjoyed doing it and have enjoyed having it.
 This little house is one of the first things we bought for Christmas.  We could not afford it and bought it anyway.
 We got our gorgeous door wreath twi years ago at an after Christmas sale at a florist.

More glass balls, more ceramic stuff I did.  Notice the candy striped candle.
I'm not through decorating, but I like how it's coming. It seems like a waste of time to decorate when nobody is going to be here for Christmas.  But if I don't decorate, it feels like we don't have Christmas.  Ho Ho Ho

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Decorating is Coming Along

The tree has ornaments on it now.  The Christmas Village is out...I still need to put snow out, but it is in a bag next to it.  Nativity scene is out.  Advent Candles are out and decorated, but I haven't taken the plastic off yet.  It's coming along:)  I'll post pictures when I don't still have the packing material out.  I bought a train to put under the tree, but I don't think I'll be able to see it if it is under the tree.
I like putting the ornaments on the tree.  I have ornaments from our first Christmas, ornaments from students through the years, ornaments the kids made for's a trip down memory lane.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I went to several outbuildings looking for wooden eggs this morning.  I stepped on a mole tunnel, and sank in up to my ankle. The mud sucked my shoe off so I was stepping in cold water, mud, etc., while I yanked my shoe out of the mud.  Then I put it back on and walked through running water hoping it would clean some of the mud off as I finished my tour of buildings.  I still haven't found the eggs. 

Precipitation Map

Before we moved to Tennessee, I checked a precipitation map because I didn't want to spend all my time watering my plants.  I knew I would want plants in the ground and container plants...I always do.  On the precipitation map, Tennessee is green which meant around 52 inches of rain per year.
It would have been good if I had tried to check for monthly distribution of precipitation.  As it turns out, it's more like a drought season and monsoon season.  We are currently in the monsoon period.
I like rain, but I'm not wild about mud.  It has taken a long time to even get enough weeds to prevent the gator from sliding sideways down inclines.  We've put out a lot of sod and have been trying to let weeds grow until the sod takes over.  But the drought makes even weeds struggle in this clay.  Well, we aren't worrying about drought at the moment.  But with so much rain all at once and spotty grass/weed coverage, we have erosion.  It is interesting to try to deal with it.  A couple of years ago we had 13 inches of rain all at once.  It washed out sections of roads so it sounds pitiful to complain about erosion runnels in my "yard."
The farmer who plants some of our fields came by yesterday and said he got 20 bushels of beans per acre on our fields.  I said that didn't sound like a good yield.  He said it wasn't, but it was the best he got because of the drought.  Some of his fields only yielded 7 bushels per acre.  And of course others were in between.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


While we were at Aunt Annie's (98 yrs. old), she cooked rutabagas.  I like them and they're on my diet.  But they are really hard to peel, kind of like I think peeling rocks might be.  She is pretty frail.  I asked how she peeled and cut them.  She pulled a large, homemade knife out of the drawer.  It had a knife blade on one side and a saw blade on the other.  She said Uncle Floyd had made the knife for her out of a saw.  Then she pulled a hammer out of the drawer and said she set the blade on top of the rutabaga and tapped on it with the hammer until it was in two pieces.  Then she did it across the other way so it was in four pieces.  She said she could peel the quarters.
I did say she is amazing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dodge Durango

We have rented various vehicles when we've traveled.  This time we rented a Dodge Durango.  It had a lot of room, got 32 mpg, and was very comfortable.  It had buttons and levers to arrange the seats so that the lumbar region, leg room, and the back of the seat exactly met one's desires.  It also had enough places to plug in my toys: Garmin, iPod, Kindle,and two phones. I didn't need them all plugged in at once, but I could have.  One was in the extreme back, one in the back seat, one in the console, one in the dash, and the little round plug for the iPod in the entertainment part. 
When we backed up, it showed what was behind us, marked into car lengths, on a small monitor on the dash.
Another feature I liked was "eco" when it was driving in a gas-efficient manner.  I think one reason we did so well with gas consumption was the cruise control, but the other reason was the "eco" prompt. I had a BMW 320i for about ten years.  It showed gas consumption as I was driving.  So when I was accelerating, I wasn't getting good mileage, but maintaining speed, I did pretty well.  Having that feature on my car for so long acquainted me with driving economically.  I liked seeing that feature on this car.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Away From My Computer

Holidays are a time for visiting and we visited my husband's home town this week.  We stayed with his aunt.  She is 97 or 98 and still works on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She made homemade biscuits and other goodies while we were there.  I tried to do some of the cleaning up, but she is a better cook than I am.  She had made a pineapple upside down cake and a pound cake for our visit.  We visited other people, too, but she is amazing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Decorations

I love Christmas and have accumulated a lot of decorations over the years.  I've made a lot of them, but not all.  We lived in a small space for the first ten years that we were in Tennessee.  Then we built and moved into our house two years ago.  The first year, I didn't decorate much because we moved Dec. 18, the first day of our Christmas holidays.  Last year I didn't decorate much because I was just too tired.  This year I am planning to decorate all I want to because I've retired and if I get tired, I can just rest for a while.  I've made two trips in the gator to the basement, one trip walking and carrying from the shed, and there's still stuff out there.  This much stuff necessitates a major cleaning spree.  I don't hate cleaning when I am decorating.  Ho Ho Ho

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Big Maggie, Little Maggie

At Thanksgiving I always make dressing.  When I do, I always think of Little Maggie.  My memory is somewhat like the white trash woman in The Help.  "White trash" is how the "society" women in the book think of her.  But her maid teaches her to cook, somewhat more successfully in the movie than in the book.  But this memory of mine predates the book or the movie, but it is set in about the same time, however.
I was going to have company for Thanksgiving and I didn't know much about cooking.  My husband introduced the idea of opening a can, warming the contents, and eating it.  So I had Little Maggie at the house cleaning and helping me watch the kids while I tried to read a recipe from my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.  She watched that for about two minutes and said, "I'll show you how to make a good dressing!" And she did.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

iPod story

I downloaded Janet Evanovitch's Explosive Eighteen to listen to as I removed meat from chicken bones (for tomorrow's dressing and gravy) and peeled baked sweet potatoes.  I really like the Stephanie Plum series.  Stephanie is like a slutty Lucy in I Love Lucy with a black Ethel (named Lulu).

Keep Doing What You're Doing

I had my 6 month lab work conference.  The doctor said to keep on doing what I'm doing.  That was good to hear.  However I was not able to tell that eating Fiber 1 for breakfast brought about a significant change in my cholesterol.  My blood sugar was better, my cholesterol was still a little high, but not awful.  My "good cholesterol" was 71 which is really good.
I asked what a "normal" pulse rate is and she said mine is normal.  That was a relief because I thought mine was high because it is higher than Larry's.

11-22-63 update

I'm 80% finished with Stephen King's 11-22-63.  I'm not able to put any spoilers in because I don't know how it is going to turn out.  That's a good thing because if I know, it isn't interesting, gripping, enthralling.  I am curious to know if he makes it back to modern times, does he go alone, is the world better if he accomplishes his goal, or is it awful and he has to go back and undo it all.
I'm baking sweet potatoes for the candied sweet potatoes for tomorrow's Thanksgiving Feast:).  The cornbread dressing is almost ready to put together.  The turkey is thawing so we can put it in our deep fryer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Waffles for Dinner-Low Carb:)

Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, all Natural Sugar Free Pancake &Waffle Mix (8 carbs minus 3 fiber) with sugar free Log Cabin I have a meal back I thought was gone forever.  Even my husband said it was good.
Yesterday I went to the doctor for my lab work (I go twice a year).  Tomorrow I have my follow-up conference with the doctor so we evaluate how my plans are working.  This will be my second visit since the doctor said my cholesterol is high.  Last time I had brought down the ldl 20 points.  I'm anxious to see what the numbers show this time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big Shrimping

There is a reality show on television, Big Shrimping.  The first year we taught, it was in Bayou La Batre.  Larry has been watching the show, absolutely loving listening to them talk, and loving it that they have put captions on so the audience can tell what they are saying.  Tonight Dominic Ficarino was on.  He was in the class that Larry taught his first year.


I've started reading Stephen King's 11-22-63.  I'm not very far into it yet, but the protagonist goes from 2011 back to 1958.  I was 11 years old then.  He finds that things taste better.  This is one of the things I keep griping about.  Food doesn't taste as good as it used to.  He found gas selling for 19 cents a gallon.  I can remember in the 60's gas selling for 17 cents a gallon during a gas war.  I could fill up my car for a dollar.  And still my daddy would say that when he was little a nickel looked like a wagon wheel. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


If playing games is supposed to keep my brain from deteriorating as I age, I have to say Mahjong is making me feel as if my brain has already gone to slush.  Playing a game I lose constantly is very depressing.  Playing one I'm good at may not be challenging enough.  Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tower Heist

I liked this movie, too.  Alan Alda made a good villain of the investment banker sort.  Eddie Murphy was also entertaining in his role on the side of the angels, sort of.  I usually don't like the movie where the good guys are doing something illegal, but in this case, I was rooting for the idiot Robin Hood gang made up of more than three stooges trying to right a wrong. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Old Ways/New Ways/GFI

I had stuff that wouldn't work for several months...lights on one porch, outlets on both porches.
At one point in my life we had fuses.  In the house where we lived on Richard Wagner Str., we had one fuse for the whole house.  So we couldn't use the toaster and hair dryer at the same time, or the dishwasher and the get the idea.  After fuses, we had breaker boxes.  Now keep in mind that if something quit working, somebody else figured out what was wrong and did something about it.
Now we have gfi and breakers.  So if something quits working and it isn't a breaker, it may not just be that whatever appliance I'm trying to operate is broken. 
We lost everything in our freezer after an electrical storm several years ago because I didn't know to push the button on the outlet.  Our insurance covered stupidity, which is a good thing for me.
This time it took two different electricians and both of us to find the gfi that needed to be pushed.  I am not sure, but I think I like a nice central location for things that screw up electrically. Maybe there is some point other than aggravation to a gfi, but I don't know what it is.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Advent Calendar

Finished! Santa doesn't look jolly, but I don't know how to get a smile to show up through all that facial hair.
I also finished my first gourd.  I have a couple more in progress.  No picture yet because the one I finished looks pretty bad although Larry said it looks good to him.


Is everybody paranoid or is it just me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Retirement Sunday

One of the things I've enjoyed so far about retirement is the weather.  When I only had a limited time off, the time I did have off was frequently rushed...filled with errands and chores.  I had more time off in the summer, but I don't like hot dry weather.  Many times Spring Break wasn't nice, either.  Or Christmas Break.  Whatever the weather is now, I can choose to stay out of it or enjoy it.
Today is gray and wind.  It's a lazy day, and I didn't have to go to work.  I can sit on the porch with coffee, a blanket, and a book.  So I can enjoy the day even though it isn't really Sunday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Excellent Day

Today I planted the rest of the tulip and daffodil bulbs, upsucked six bags of leaves with the leaf vac, and worked on a green gourd.  It was important to not mess with the Advent Calendar while it dried.  It needs to dry for a couple of days and then I can start varnishing it.  So I had to be busy on other things.
We rode around in the gator and gathered three different kinds of acorns and a couple of other seed types.
It is annoying to do something that doesn't show up at all.  Leaves that are gone, bulbs in the ground...not spectacular.  But at least I'm finished with bulbs for a while.  I'm not out of leaves, so I'm just through for today.  I also found a book on composting that I'd been looking for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Real Steel

I liked this movie.  It had the triumph of a bummed kid like Karate Kid did.  It had the underdog loser winning like Rocky did.  It had a whisper of Isaac Asimov's robot:)  Yeah, feel-good movie.
We ate at Cheddar's and I liked that, too.  It was my first time to eat there, but it won't be the last.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holiday Cheese Spread

Holiday season is coming up and sometimes there are "make and take" events or snacking is there to provide a nice contrast to the sweets that greet us at every turn.  This is great.  It is good for the Atkins Diet if I eat it off of a spoon.  Since I like crackers with it, I try not to eat many.
Ida's Cheese Spread (or ball)

Two 8 oz. Packages of cream cheese softened
2 packages of corned beef or two pkg. of sliced beef, diced (the person I got the recipe from...while scarfing down the spread she'd brought...said Bruddig brand at WalMart is as good as any and cheaper than any others. So I tried expensive sliced deli beef and Bruddig and found they were both really good in this recipe.)
6 green onions, chopped, including the tops
½ t of accent
1 T of worcestershire sauce
mix well.

It even looks festive.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leaf Mold

Leaf mold doesn't sound great, but I've been looking forward to fall for the leaves that cover the ground.  I've read different reports that range from 50% to 300% moisture retention improvement when leaf mold is added to the soil. 
To pile the leaves and let them decompose, it takes 6 to 12 months to turn into leaf mold.  I used a leaf vac so the leaves are somewhat broken down.  I put them into a tall plastic garbage can, watering each bag as I emptied the leaf vac.  I don't know if I will get good air flow in that large garbage can.  I've tried it with plastic garbage bags, but they shredded.  Maybe leaf bags would have worked better.  Anyway, the garbage can I'm using is about the size that the garbage people use, wheels and all.
The next batch of leaves will go into the compost bin.  Lots of leaves, lots of places to amend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Steve Jobs-Annoying Genius

I am aware that arguing with dead people is fruitless.  But electronic stuff is dearer to some than others.  The first computer I came in contact with was in 1983 when my school received two and they were sitting in their boxes in the office.
I asked the principal what he was going to do with them.  He said he didn't know...nobody knew anything about them.  So I went to the PX and bought one just like it and signed up for a computer class.  The librarian agreed to take the class with me.  So I told the principal that the sixth grade (my class) should get one and the library should get the other since we were interested to the point of buying one just like the ones the school had, and we would take a computer class.  He agreed.
I worked with the PTA to get computers in each classroom and printers.  Our little school had more computers than any other.  Those were Atari 500s.  The computer class used TRS 80s and had a couple in their "lab."  We had to look up everything to translate how to do something on the Atari that was presented to us on the TRS 80.  There wasn't a computer in the classroom.  All of the instruction was with the textbook and chalkboard.
So the school started with Atari 500s.  The next thing the system did was buy Apples to run software.  So if we were teaching writing, the students would work on one computer, if they were doing educational software, they would use another.  The same computers wouldn't do the same thing. 
I wanted the same computer at home as we had at school because it would be easier to make a file and move it.
The school eventually went to IBM clones and threw the Apples away...some still in the original packages.  So I bought an IBM clone so I could work at home and move files.
So Steve Jobs made wonderful products, but not products the school system supported even though individuals at school who were wonderful with computers had Apple computers, or Macs, for themselves.
The whole closed product from beginning to end was his concept, but it was a pain at school. 
At the end of the book (and his life) he was discussing education with Pres. Obama and decried the state of the educational system and said computers and technology wasn't being used optimally (as well as not stressing teaching electronics).  I wonder if he would have worked on that next.  There are some good programs for education, but they still haven't integrated it as I hope they will one day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pulse Rate

I am trying to remember to exercise because my resting heart rate is high.  I'm not good at remembering to do it because I tend to think that if I'm standing up, that counts as exercise.  I explained that to the last health coach who had the temerity to suggest exercise.  She said that for it to count for heart health, cardio-vascular improvement, I needed to exercise to the point where my heart beat faster while I was doing it.  I pointed out that I avoid that intentionally.   So my goal is to bring my resting heart rate down into the normal range on the blood pressure cuff I use.  My doctors and health coaches always point out that exercise is good and I keep thinking it is like going to the doctor and saying you hurt and they say, "Well, at your age..."
So I decided at med school they teach them to say that along with various versions of "you're fat."  Diet can take care of the fat thing, and I've been working on it.
But it makes sense to me that if my heart is working twice as hard as it needs to, it may mean that it won't continue to operate as long.  Or maybe that counts as exercise for the heart muscle as it is really busy all the time.  Probably the former.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Celtic and Heritage Festival

 I hadn't seen modern spinning wheels, only museum types.  These were beautiful.  My sweater was a big hit at that tent.
 I wish I had thought to ask what she was making. 
 This spinning wheel had loads of hooks which is why I took this picture.
This was one of my favorite displays.  The silk yarn, the baskets, the natural wood spinning wheel, all were very appealing.
Larry had an interesting time comparing vests at one display.  When we were on our way home, he said I shouldn't have volunteered that it was a concealed carry vest.  I said I thought they were good friends.  He said he just met the man, how could they be good friends.  I said, "You put your hand in his pocket."  He said he wanted to know if it was lined.  I said, "YOU PUT YOUR HAND IN HIS POCKET!"  He decided to let the topic drop.
The music was interesting and good.  A lot of people were wearing kilts.  Maybe I'll dig mine out, find a shirt to go with it, and wear it next time we go to one of those.  I shouldn't, because I didn't buy it because I'm Scottish.  I just really liked it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Celtic and Heritage Festival

The Celtic and Heritage Festival started today and will continue through tomorrow.  It starts at 10:00 A.M. and lasts until 5:00 P.M.  It also includes Native American participants.  We plan to go.
It is at Parkers Crossroads, TN.

2 Wasps, 11 Ladybugs

I like sucking up lady bugs better than wasps.  I think they must have come in with the pineapple we brought in to the sunroom. 
Today is the first Saturday of the month so I had my cleaning person come.  She did a lovely job.  The boys Larry had scheduled didn't come.  It rained last week so they lost a day on their construction job and needed to make it up.  He was only able to get one, the youngest.  So he didn't get as much done as he had hoped.  But Larry bought a bunch of bulbs.  Then we spent some time figuring out where to put them.  So the boy planted some of them.  I told him how deep, how far apart, and "pointy side up."  I didn't know I needed to say pointy side up until I saw him put the first one in upside down.  I explained that the growth end is phototrophic and the roots are geotrophic and the bulbs would come up even if he did it wrong, I just wanted pointy side up because it made sense to do it that way.  But I didn't stand there and watch him do every one of them.
When Larry took them home, he came back and said I don't supervise them adequately.  I don't pay somebody to work because I want to watch them work.  My standards might not be very high because if I don't have to do it, I'm happy.  If they don't get through in what I consider a reasonable time, next time I tell them.  If they don't do it like I want after I tell them what I want, I ask if they did it like I said.  If they did, I need to figure out what went wrong with my directions.  If they say they forgot, I remind them.
I have said things like, "If you talk to me, I'm not going to pay you."  "If you work as slowly as I do, I am going to pay you half as much as I've planned."  I'm really okay with adjusting to what I get when I don't supervise closely.  I had to supervise people closely when I was getting paid to supervise.  When I'm paying, I just look for somebody else if they don't do what I want.  It hardly ever gets to the point where I'd rather do it than pay somebody to do it.  This is a different mind set from a regular workplace. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

ADHD Hobbies

Today I painted a few more pieces of dollhouse furniture, unpacked my new paints for another project, tried grinding some on the inside of a gourd with a little tool, helped decide where the bulbs will be planted, and wrote the first sentence of the great American novel.
I have looked at the November writing project and just feel absolutely blank.  It seems to me it would be cheaper to entertain myself writing what I like to read than buying it.  It will certainly be inexpensive at the rate of one line every six decades.  I don't think it will be very entertaining to me, though.
Helping decide where the bulbs will go was fairly entertaining.  My husband said to show him where to till.  He said he knew we'd already talked about it, but he wants me to stand there so he can explain what is wrong with it.  I've already told him I didn't care where he put them as long as we can see them from the front porch.  It gets tricky because they need full sun and that means we need to plant them in the field or somewhere we can't see them.  Or we could take trees out.  The removal of a few trees is the plan.  He knows which trees, I don't.  When he points, I forget as soon as he drops his arm.  I think spray paint might work, but pointing is what is actually happening.  Anyway, that was more fun than grinding the inside of a gourd because when I put the grinder inside the gourd, my hand blocked my view of where it needed to be cleaned. 
So we went to the hardware store and looked at extenders, bought a couple of things to attach to his drill instead of my dremmel, and brought them home.  Maybe tomorrow I will actually get something done.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rainy Day

I really like rainy days.  To put something up for a rainy day usually means to save money for when something bad happens.  It can also mean there are toys put away and only brought out for rainy days.
Reading is a good pasttime for rainy days, sunny days, snowy days.
But inclement days aren't just rainy ones.  These are days that call for projects.
 These are gourds I've cut and am in the process of cleaning.  The cuts are so awkward, my husband bought me a small hacksaw and some coping saw blades.  He also showed me how to change the blades and watched me try to use it.  He had many helpful things to say and managed to only sound like I am a total idiot once.

 Here are the gourds drying so I can do the next step which is sanding.
 I have an art room, but I usually actually work in the greenhouse part.  I have a lot of light and it feels like I'm outside without the wind, rain, and cold.
 This is a small patio table that I bought for the small balcony off the kitchen when we lived in Newhausen.  It had gotten stained over the years so I sponge painted it.  Now when I paint on it, if I get paint on it, it just adds to the "look."  The little pieces of doll furniture had to be put together like 3-d puzzles.  Now I'm painting them with birdhouse paint.
I love rainy days, pretty days, snowy days.  They are all great.

sleep phones

My sleep phones came yesterday.  I'd been curious about whether I could go to sleep better listening to a bedtime story or just not be annoyed while I lay there awake.
Well, I wasn't annoyed but I didn't go to sleep better, and every time I was aware of the voice, I was consequently aware that I was awake.
But I learned something.  When I turn over, I turn all the way over, not half over and half back.  So at some point I unwrapped the cord from around my neck.  This morning I searched out the pieces to find out why I wasn't hearing anything.  I'd already turned the headband this way and sound.  It was disconnected. 
I wonder if I can train myself to not turn over?  I wonder if I would like music better?  Or maybe sleep sounds from a relaxation tape?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shopping and Other Stuff

Yesterday was Senior Day so we went shopping.  I don't like shopping so we try to get it mostly done once a month.  We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  I like to eat there because they have a low-carb menu.  There was a group of Japanese people eating there for their first time.  I think it must have been their first time because they all took pictures of the fireplace, mounted deer's head, and other quaint things Cracker Barrel decorates with.  A lot of the time we eat and actually go to two of the three stores we intend to go to.  I always want to go to Kroger's and WalMart (paper products, etc.).  Larry always wants to go to Lowe's and I sometimes want to.  But we rarely go to all three.  If we only go to two, WalMart is the place we don't hit.  I was really impressed that we ate and went to all three.
Then we got home, I packaged a gift, went to the post office, went back to WalMart (half and half!), got gas and went to the credit union. 
Then today we went to the Catfish Hotel in Shiloh.  I really like going there even though it is about an hour and a half, one way.  The fall colors were nice so it was a pleasant drive and good food.
When I got home I worked on my gourds.  I wore a respirator and was impressed with it.  I didn't inhale a lot of dust and it didn't fog up my glasses.  Maybe I won't have an allergy attack from the dust. My work on the gourds was very botched.  Larry looked at it and said he was intending to help me.  Too late.  It is possible sandpaper will fix some of the gouges.  Gourds are very hard.  My fine motor muscles may not be strong enough for a more controlled line.  Just because primitive cultures used gourds doesn't mean they were unskilled.  I'm trying to use a drimmel.  It isn't coming along very well, but I'm still in the cleaning and preparation time.  The drimmel is easier than a saw.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

This is the first time we've ever had kids come for Trick or Treat.  We always buy candy, but people load up and go to subdivisions and churches.  I told this mom to come back later and get the rest of the candy:)  She sounded pretty pleased with that.

Thanks for the Silly Putty:)

Cutting Soybeans

Today Roger is cutting the soybeans on our property.  I have no idea whether it is a good crop or not.  I don't really think it is because there are patches where I see green so that has to be weeds as the soybeans are brown now.
We have about four fields planted in soybeans, but none of the fields are very big. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Funny Friend Story

I like flowers, bushes, trees, and grass outside.  My husband likes those things plus bird feeders, birdbaths, gnomes, and stuff.  He recently put a tall flag out front.  I asked if he was going to get one of those green Jesus signs next.
He said defensively, "I might."
I asked if he knew where they got them.
He said from church.  So I knew we wouldn't be getting a Jesus sign.
I was telling my friend that story and she said, "Come to church with me and I'll steal him one from the Baptists."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rum Diary

Today we ate at Pinera's and saw the Rum Diary.  Johnny Depp is a good actor.  He plays widely divergent characters well.  I don't like any of them, but he does do a good job.  I would like to see him play a part in a blow-up-the-bad-guys movie. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Annoying Day

My paints are old and need to be replaced.  My gourd books didn't arrive.  I have some pages I printed off a website and tried to clean a gourd I've already allowed to dry.  It is very difficult to cut a dried gourd.  I managed to find a saw and that eventually worked.  Then I found out I was supposed to have pushed a button when I opened it.  I tried, but it didn't push.  It wouldn't close back with the button or without.  So of course it was my fault that the saw wouldn't close because I had opened it.  I think the correct medium for my craft work is probably silly putty.  And I need a new ink cartridge in my printer. 
OK.  the new ink cartridge is installed.  That is one thing that I managed to accomplish today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pebble Isle Marina

Today we ate lunch at Pebble Isle Marina.  They will only be open Friday through Sunday starting next week, so I guess it will be more crowded.  It is a pleasant, peaceful place with a view of the Tennessee River, boats and forest.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ongoing Stuff

Today I raked leaves for a while.  I don't think it counted as exercise because I didn't breathe hard.  I'm trying for leaf mold which I read has 300x the moisture retention of something...compost? concrete?  Anyway, I have been looking forward to gathering some up even though last year Larry took what I had gathered up.  I've tried to make it clear that I have plans for this.  Maybe not as he seems to think I eat from the garden therefore I care about it.
I vacuumed up a carpet of wasps from my art room.  Larry put a bomb in the attic this time.  Hopefully it will discourage them.
I painted some, but I brought a project into the sunroom so I won't have to share space with the wasps.  Too bad wasps don't make honey...we have lots of them.
I haven't done anything with the gourds yet.  I'm waiting on the books I ordered yesterday.  My email message said they've shipped them:)

Monday, October 24, 2011


The land where we lived is considered "marginal."  Some trees die because of drought.  Some break off when we have "straight line" winds.  Some tip over when we've had strong winds following lots of rain.  That means we constantly have a lot of debris.
 The tree that is down in the picture above is where we worked this morning.  Yesterday we cleared around it with the weed whacker.  Today Larry used a chain saw and extension tree pruner to tidy up what you see as a long trunk.  This is a hickory tree.  He took a couple of rather large limbs off of it and dragged it up with the gator.  Then he cut it up with the chain saw into about six or eight inch chunks.  He's split some of them and stacked them in the "finishing shop" in a rubbermaid container.  The back of the gator still has a lot of the chunks.  The chunks are for using on the grill or smoker.
 This tree blew over and landed on the old chicken house.  It doesn't have chickens in it now.  It has been insulated, closed in, painted, floored, and is used for storage.
 This is the east side of the chicken house.  The damage from the limbs of the tree is still visible.  Since the trunk is still on the west side, nothing will be done to repair the damage until they get all of the tree trunk off.
 This is the bottom of the tree that landed on the storage shed/chicken house.  The root with the dirt is because of high winds with water-saturated ground when the top is heavy with leaves. 
 This tree broke off and has been cleaned up some.
This is another shot of the same tree from a different angle.  It has broken off from southerly winds.  What doesn't show up as well is that another tree is very close to it broken off from northerly winds.
Some of the wood is useful.  Some of it is just a mess.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Today a kid was cutting grass with a power push mower and singing loudly.  When Larry came out, I pointed it out to him.  He said I used to do that when I cut the grass. 
"I didn't know I could be heard over the sound of the lawn mower!"
He said, "Oh, yeah.  The kids would ask, 'What's wrong with Mama?'"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wonderful video clip about Patrick Willis


The paint that will resist uv rays has a picture of a birdhouse on top of the bottle.  It does a good job resisting fading by the sun.  But it is thick and I can't make smooth lines with it.  I like painting with the regular paint better.  If it is too thick, I can just dilute it.  The birdhouse paint isn't supposed to be diluted.  It still looks ok as long as you don't get too close to it. That is pretty much true of anything I paint, though.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Today I exercised 15 whole minutes, sort-of-jogging on my little trampoline with my little hand weights listening to We Few.  
 Then it seemed reasonable to open the greenhouse and art room while I painted in the greenhouse.  Opening the door's window would have been better than just leaving the door open because then I wouldn't have had to get two birds out of my art room and clean up their mess! 
Buckets over my peppers protected them from frost.  They are loaded with blooms still, so I want to protect them as long as I can.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Larry went to check the live animal trap this morning.


I exercised eight minutes yesterday and ten minutes today.  I held the little hand weights in various positions and kept moving my feet.  Nobody could consider it "jogging," but I was moving and it was hard to breathe.  The health coach seems to think I need to exercise so that my heart beats faster.  I pointed out that I try hard to avoid anything like that.  But I am trying...for two days now.  I worked up to 15 minutes of jogging on my little trampoline several years ago...and then quit.  I have a problem with maintenance.
I thought about using the WII but I was listening to Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. 
OK.  That is one of the obnoxious things on today's list.  Two more to go...paint, change my summer sheets for winter.  I decided to to the hardest thing first.  Exercise for ten funny is that...that's the most difficult thing I intend to do today:)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Well.  DIY has hit a new low for me.  I had stitches and went to the doctor to have them removed.  This is a pain because it takes about 40 minutes to drive there and another 40 to return home.  Plus the time involved with waiting varies.  The $25 copay was part of it, too.  But I ended up with some lumpy-feeling places so I was pulling out stitches even after all the driving, waiting, paying.
So this time I decided I would remove the stitches myself.  I used nail clippers to cut the knots off and tweezers to pull the bright blue stitches out.  Good job.  No blood, no lumpy places.
Now if I can just get Larry to remove the ones in back that I can't see.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

really nice day

It was rainy and cold outside, and I was able to sit in front of the fireplace with my Kindle reading a book that made me laugh out loud.
My husband had the window open and the fan going.  I told him any jury of thin women would say it was justifiable homicide if he didn't close the windows and start up the fireplace.  He looked pretty surprised, but very cooperative.


Wasps are in my art room...again.  The last time I had exterminators come spray.  This time they are awful but not as bad so I bought foggers.  We'll see.  I cannot paint in that room with even the possibility of wasps.  All I can do is stand there with a vacuum cleaner to suck them up as I find them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Live Animal Trap

We went out to check the live animal trap this morning.  The can of tuna was gone, but the trap hadn't sprung.  I wonder what got it.


PBS television had a show about irises. The radio gardener guy said to transplant irises in the fall.  The pbs show said to transplant them in July or August.  I wanted to transplant in August, but I waited because the guy on the radio was so insistent about transplanting them in the fall. 
The pbs show said not to mulch the bearded irises.  Well, mine are mulched.  I guess I'll go pull the mulch away.  That will be a big job.  It said to not fertilize them.  I've been fertilizing pretty regularly.  The greenery is wonderful on mine, but I didn't get much in the way of blooms.
About the only thing it looks like I did right was to keep the dead stalks and leaves picked off.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saw the Footloose remake

I don't remember liking the original one as much as I liked this one.  Plus it brought back memories of the kids bringing cardboard to school to do their spins and break dancing on.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Greenhouse Update

I had the greenhouse all cleaned out, wiped down with clorox, sprinkled with diatomaceous earth, new trays lined with new plastic.  Then I took cuttings of impatiens and angelwing begonias, and moved whole plants of strawberries and dichondra.  The empty trays are for planting seeds in February.
 Impatiens cuttings and dichondra that I'm trying to save will help me have the same things that I liked about my flowers this year.
 I liked the angelwing begonias and dichondra this year, so I am trying to save them for next year.  My greenhouse is about 10x12 so I can't just bring the whole things inside, plus, they get too heavy. 
 This shot shows three of my favorites, angelwing begonias, dichondra, and impatiens.  I tried cuttings of dichondra, but wasn't successful with them.  They produce seeds, but they are difficult to find and germinate less than enthusiastically for me.  My best success has been to get the roots and trim the long stuff off. 
 I saved seeds and cuttings for impatiens.  They are easy to grow.  They like shade, semi-shade, water, and fertilizer.
 This shot shows the baskets that I've emptied, replaced the liners, put starters of dichondra, and angelwing cuttings.  The shelves show the angelwing cuttings I plan to use in my flowerboxes. 
The baskets look sad at this time of year, but I have high hopes for how they will look in the spring.
We have visited botanical gardens all over the world and have gotten some really good ideas from various ones.