Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last things wrap-up

I'm playing with the blog possibilites so sorry for the new look every ten minutes. I'll settle down soon and make a decision.
I think for a New Years resolution I should learn how to take a decent picture. Sorry for the poor quality-I was probably too close to the ornaments. These delightful things were a gift from my son's girlfriend, Dani. We are big fans of penguins and Hippos. They're just two of natures most awkward creatures and so much fun to see. Dani is also a fan so I am thankful she was willing to part with Miss Priss in the Tubby for me. I smile every time I see her....and Dani too!
My husband got me the Quilt National books for 2006 and '07. Without my asking for them. How lucky am I? That about wraps up my treats for this year. I'm most grateful to have a wonderful family. We have sort of an extended family in this house and while everything is not always perfect-it comes very close to heavenly for me. We are very fortunate to have personalities that jibe very well and I feel protected and appreciated. That's my best gift.
Yesterday I had a foreign film festival. Three delightful and sweet movies that I've been meaning to see for a while. Since there isn't a single thing to miss on tv I watched 2 during the day and one last night. For any of you that are fans of "The Practice" in it's original form with Dylan McDermott, I can highly recommend a sweet little movie called "Mistress of Spices" It's a sort of fairy tale for adults and the scenery is so luscious you could almost climb through the tv and be there. It's nothing deep and meaningful, just pure escape and fun. The second movie is called "The Namesake" it's about an Indian family through a few generations and how they bring the family to America to make a better life and the pitfalls of human nature. It's the first movie that made me cry at the end for a long time. Just beautiful and, again, in the Indian tradition, very lush and colorful. Last, but not least and in the escapist vein, "Bread & Tulips", a movie that has been around for a while that I just never got around to seeing. I recommend it highly, but not if you're fed up with your family. The theme is a wife escapes from her ordinary life with a no-good husband and finds a new life in Venice.
We are having our traditional New Years Celebration of dinner at Intermezzo...mmmmmmm Clams casino-gnocchi Bolognese. That's perfection. Mimosas for midnight and sleep ten minutes later. I hope yours is as delicious and your New Year is healthy, happy, and peaceful.

Friday, December 28, 2007


There are not enough brave leaders in the world. Now there is one less. In a world where women are considered property and of little consequence, where men torture and kill in the name of God, this woman was a shining light and example of what leadership should be. I thought a couple of weeks ago, about how brave it was to return and resume her efforts to bring freedom to all her countrymen and women. Here is what happens when women of strength and perseverance become powerful in places where faith is another word for fear.

Sorry, I don't usually make too many political statements on the blog but this is just too sad to remain quiet about. I have followed Ms Bhutto's career with great interest for a long time. It was good to see her smiling face and grace again, for however brief a time.

Loot Baby, Loot!

I hope you all had as wonderful a Christmas as I did. As usual, my very generous family came through with great things to entertain through the dark, depressing, days of winter. A couple of months ago Roger got a dvd thingy(tech term) so I could watch movies in the kitchen on the computer. I sew at our kitchen table and so watching something other than daytime tv is a mental health necessity here. Being a movie buff, I love the old ones best and so they gifted me several oldies that are favorites of mine. There used to be a great old movie station on tv but some idiot, in all his wisdom, decided that the station needed re-vamping and now you can see the same 12 movies, all day. for days at a time-cause I'm sure that's what the public wants...NOT! Anyway, in that station shake-up they fell prey to Ted Turner who bought up nearly all the great old classics and made himself a cable channel for them. I was bereft. Since we are already paying an arm and a leg for cable and Internet, we will not be subscribing to premium cable where all my favs are currently residing. My BIL Bob got us a flat/wide screen for the computer so now I can watch them at my leisure....Whoop whoop! I asked for the Preston Sturges film collection because it contains 2 of my all-time favs. "The Lady Eve", with Barbara Stanwick, & "Palm Beach Story" with Claudette Colbert as well as "Sullivan's Travels" & "Baby Face" two of the great feel-good movies of all time. Roger also got me a copy of "Bell, Book, & Candle", a big favorite as well. Yesterday I was at Buckbuster(heh) and found a couple of other movies that had been suggested to me by a friend. I am set for a while-let the sewing begin. To finish off a perfect holiday, my thoughtful husband got me a bright red cashmere scarf that is so soft I never want to take it off and Borders gift cards- I am truly blessed.

On the dark side-my house looks like it has been ransacked. There is not a square inch of space that doesn't have something on it. BIL Bob got us a big screen tv that takes up a huge portion of the living room. We haven't figured out where to put the old one yet so it's sitting next to the new. The picture on the new one is amazing though. In any case I must go and try to wade through all the stuff and, frankly I'm ready to clear the decks. Yar!

I thank all you lovely people who stopped by to visit and sent nice wishes. We are going our for dinner with several friends to the annual New Years dinner-very yummy Italian.That will about wrap up the social stuff for a while and I'm sure the weather will turn to typical January temps soon. Right now it's like spring outside but I know it's just the calm before the literal storm. I'm looking forward to getting back to sewing, Curves, and peaceful days-talk to you soon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry and Bright

I want to wish all of the sweet people who take the time to come here and read my rantings, a very Merry Christmas. I hope you are filled with the spirit of peace and that you get all that you desire for yourselves.
Things around here got off to a really generous start with my BIL Bob delivering us an early Christmas of a new big, flat screen, digital TV and a new flat screen monitor( I can see...I can see!) for this computer-so we are in the midst of the annual engineering projects. Not to mention finding a place to put everything(that thing is very big) I'll be back in a day or two after we have sorted out the logistics and, frankly, collapsed in a heap from the Christmas Eve lobster tails and the Christmas day turkey. Boy, will I need to do some exercise to work all that stuff off. Never mind...I'm going to drink some Mimosas and party a little. Blessings of the day to you and yours.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The days just seem to blend together faster and faster. Who do you see about turning off this blender we find ourselves in??? I know from reading other blogs that we are all experiencing some sort of fast forward in time. It doesn't help that every media outlet is yelling about how little time is left before Christmas. Anyway, after several trips to book stores, department stores like Macy's(really scary)and more trips to the grocery conglomerate than I care to think about-shhhhh....I think I'm done. I know I feel done, but I actually think I'm really done. In the past I have snorted and sniffed at people who begin shopping in October-I will really make an effort to not set foot into a store after Thanksgiving next year. Really! Stop laughing back there.
Anyway, I think all is peaceful for the time being and even the weather is just fine. It warmed up a bit again and the ice dam in the driveway is finally melting. I spent the better part of today finishing the hem on a table topper for a friend-and cleaning the house. It's not sparkling but It'll do for now. Pot roast in the pan and packages to wrap. Other than that, I'm going to sit down and probably fall asleep in seconds.
I hope everyone is not too frazzled and finding some time to just sit quietly and appreciate how nice life can be. Take care, talk to you soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Everythings a WIP & a Blast from the Past

Sorry for the poor quality of these shots. Thay are photos that I scanned a while back & they are clickable.

Since I have nothing to offer but a bunch of un-finished stuff and I need to get going, I thought you might enjoy a couple of silly blasts from the past. For several summers we would rent a place in Lake George. This is a shot of James and me in front of the Lake with the Mini-hah-hah sailing behind us. Dig those gigundo earrings!!! Looks like I was auditioning for the part of the Pirate Queen eh? I think James was most likely around 5th grade-middle school era. So that puts us somewhere in the 90s. That also puts me many pounds lighter and not gray. James has always been able to make me laugh so much. I've been blessed with a couple of guys who are fun to be with. In the smaller(clickable) photo, James is illustrating his confusion regarding his musical abilities. Funny enough though, he wound up being a percussionist-drummer. He does still play guitar and I love hearing him play. He has a couple of electric guitars but I love to hear him play the acoustic one. Anyway, he had been to a birthday party where the decorations were all blow-up musical instruments. He's a one man band that boy of mine!
I've got to get going to the....gulp....Mall. It's m plan to be there when Sephora opens so I can get a gift certificate for Dani. Then I'm hightailing it out of there since the Mall experience is frightening without it being Christmas. My friend Terry is home today so I will head to Curves and then to her house to have a cuppa. She rarely gets a day off during the week so I don't get to see much of her lately. I still need a gift for her and my other quilting buddy Pam so there is that to do. Somehow it never ends. Take-out Chinese for dinner today. One less thing .
Hope your day is peaceful

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Roger & James 0-- Tree 2

From the look of these two bodies under the tree it looks like a call to CSI is in order. Nevertheless...the tree is up and so are we. We like everything about the tree except that it doesn't smell like Christmas. It's very nice once you get the branches all fluffed out and everything in it's place. It sure is funny when you put the bottom piece into the metal stand and it whumps open like very heavy upside down umbrella. We had a good laugh over that. During the week I can get out a few things to put on it but for the most part-it's a done deal. The thing is covered with lights and very pretty. All and all a good experience.

I made it to Curves again on Saturday-that makes 4 days this week. Gotta keep up the pace. I must say it doesn't take long to feel a lot better so I, once again, ask myself the question, why do I fight this so much? There is just no excuse. Bad Dee, bad! One thing about Curves. In total, the experience is very positive. The women are so nice and they seem sincerely happy to see you. Very pleasant. On Saturday, they were playing Christmas music. Most of you know that at the gym they play a lot of almost disco stuff because it has a good beat and you can dance to it(thanks Dick). Well, they were playing disco drummer boy and Oh Holy Night(yeah really) I was contemplating jumping from a 4th floor window just from that. Then they have this voice that usually says" Move to the next station" Instead of that the voice was now saying "I am wonderful" "I am precious" "I am powerful" "I am beautiful" SERIOUSLY....for a half an hour it says that stuff.....every minute and a half......REALLY. The other two women there joined me in a customer revolt. We all stopped and looked at the Lady IN CHARGE. We said "Make It Stop Now" and then she said "the music or the voice" and then we said "BOTH.......NOW" She looked scared so it turns out, we are powerful! I never thought I'd be happy to hear Pink singing but the rest of the work-out was pretty good! I am woman hear me roarrrrrrr.

I did some actual sewing today. Put borders on a table topper for a friend and took up the hem on a pair of work-out pants that were so long I was tripping over them

Well, I must go clean up the kitchen since even though I am woman and I can roar, I suspect that no one will be cleaning up the mess I made making pulled pork for dinnerrrrrr.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Homer Time & ch ch ch Changes

It's almost time for this guy to show up. Homer makes me laugh in the afternoon when he comes to life around 4 pm.

I decided I was tired of the way things looked around here so I changed the template. The same limey green was getting to me.

We are experiencing the changing weather this season. Daily changes from icy to temperate. Today it's sort of temperate with rain. I think I will take this opportunity to go out and do a few shopping things. I bought a pair of pants the other day and want to see if they have another couple of pair. They're very comfortable for going to Curves and not looking too crappy for errands afterward. Needless to say it's a crap-shoot finding comfortable clothes so they probably will be sold out. Cross your fingers! I need to make a trip to Borders and Target as well and maybe a stop at Macy's for a new handbag. Roger is, right about now, wiping his face with a tissue at the thought of the credit card statement but I haven't bought a new bag in a couple of years and that's pretty good. I'm getting James a couple of pairs of pants for wearing outside work.

Better get going before the rest of the world gets there. Hope I can get to something quilty soon. I'm so enjoying looking at what you all are doing to decorate and make things festive. On that note I'll leave you with an image that also makes me laugh this time of year.

Thinking of my friend Jodi, who is having some surgery today. Jodi, your e-mail keeps bouncing back-it says your mailbox is what I said was this...:"You will be beautiful inside and out no matter what, sending you hugs"

Thursday, December 06, 2007

This & That

Here's a shot of the new Christmas toppers. I just cannot get a good picture of things around the house. My lighting is so bad-sorry for the crappy pic. I think I may have miss-informed you the other day about this fabric. I bought it at JoAnn Fabrics. Wally Mart has fabric but, at least in my area, the fabric is so crappy and feels like cheesecloth that I wouldn't bother with it. Maybe it's different elsewhere but here they only offer really out of date calico fabrics you didn't want when they were in style 10 years ago. You can tell that the fabric itself is so low grade that it will all but shred when washed. They do have lots of Barbie and kiddie fabric and plushy type stuff is that's your bag. Sometimes JoAnn's is not much better but most of the time it is. I really wish I could afford to buy the quilt shop grade fabric all the time but frankly, at 9, 10, and 11 dollars a yard-it's a bit out there for my wallet.
I am in the midst of a letter-writing frenzy for the Pantry. I'm trying to keep the decks clear with that stuff but people are being extraordinary in the gifts this year. Little kids giving $10.00 they saved-really kind of gets me misty. Kids are so great sometimes. They have garage sales, craft sales and lemonade stands. Most of the parents match their earnings and it is very touching.
Well, I better get to the letters and some thinking about dinner. Maybe a trip to the store if it warms up a bit. It needs to be 30 or above before I venture out-brrrrr.
Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

for Darcie-super sucker results, Roger 1-glove 0

Just a quick second entry today-This is what happens when gloves go bad. Let that be a lesson to it! I do think that it's giving me a completely inappropriate gesture though-
Thanks to Roger-for wrangling the great glove debacle for me. You're the best!

WIP Wed-Found (unearthed & unfinished) item

In keeping with my rather child-like mania for beginning things and, not only not finishing them but burying them a couple of layers deep, this is a piece that I got a couple of years ago. It really only need a couple of stitches and a binding so I have moved it to the top of the heap. It matches the color of my living room wall so after Christmas, it will look nice finally finished.

The Christmas tree came yesterday. Very heavy box. Not sure how this is going to turn out but I'll keep you posted. It must be fairly sturdy since it took 2 of us to lift and carry it in the house. I think the thing I'll miss is the smell of a live tree. I do enjoy that but this will make life easier(hope springs eternal)

I noticed that a few people mentioned that it is Advent and shown lovely decorations. Several strong memories from childhood have stayed with me through the years. One of them is when Oma used to make the Advent wreath and the house was filled with decorated evergreen boughs. We had several very large evergreens in the yard and so the cutting could be taken when she wanted them and they remained very fresh and fragrant. The Advent wreath had 4 red candles and one white Christ candle in the center. I noticed later on that many, if not all, of the wreaths I saw had purple candles and a white Christ candle in the center. I guess Oma just had her way of doing things because I never saw a purple candle in any decoration she ever made. Not sure but maybe it's a German thing.
She also made great Stollen (a type of fruit cake more like bread)and once you've had fresh-made Stollen, the memory remains with you as well. I saw Martha Stewart make one that was from her Mom's recipe a few years ago. It really seemed like the same thing. One day I may have to look up the recipe and try it. The experience of going to a German Restaurant is lost on me because Oma made all the food in our house. She would marinate the Sauerbraten herself and make my favorite dumpling with it. They were made with farina and called greiskloppfen(sp) They were so good and I have never had any since that time and can still call up the memory of those flavors. She made a warm cabbage salad with bacon dressing that I would give anything to taste again. Memories of food and flavors are so strong. I'm not sure if that's a gift or a curse. It makes me wish so much that I had paid attention but I was only a young girl then. Other things were more important. It remains a nice memory and aren't memories the best part of this time of year. They really are for me since it was one of the few times a year that people in my family behaved themselves like human beings. It was short-lived but nice.

I must go wrestle with the tree and try to get to Curves earlier than yesterday. It seems like the days are flying faster than usual.

Hope your day is peaceful. I'll be back with a meme later or tomorrow

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday torment& shopping success

My Tuesday is not getting off to a great start. I'm nearly convinced that the cold has as much to do with joint pain as damp and I live on an island-there are two types of weather here. Cold and damp or hot and damp. There are about three days in fall and spring where it deviates and I missed those this year. Meanwhile I have considerable pain in my leg and a weird kind of pain in the ball of my right foot. Anyway while I was lumbering along trying to vacuum the lint from around the dryer filter with the SuperSucker-I sucked up a big yellow Playtex hand glove. It was gone before I could pull away. So now, I need to find the thingy that is long and brush-like for cleaning out the filter, so I can push it through the Super Sucker hose. I really should have stayed in bed. In fact I may just return there soon and try again tomorrow.
On the very plus side...I went to TJ Maxx yesterday and found several cotton sweaters and then went over to Dress Barn where I found a great pair of black pants and another two sweaters. I may go back and buy another pair of the pants before they're all gone. These are really comfortable and that's a tough one for me. I'm not that heavy except in the belly area and I'm short-so pants purchases are not fun times. I, like nearly every woman I know, hate clothes shopping. I really needed some things though since I can't find anything decent in the closet to wear even to the grocery store. I also found a nice red shirt with very tiny black dots to wear with the black pants for our annual New Years Dinner. The only other thing I got was a really pretty grey and black velvet scarf to go with a black sweater.
I'm going to eat some breakfast and try taking an Ibuprofen. I have had stomach problems in the past so I hesitate to take aspirin or anything like it. The pain is keeping me from functioning though so I will give it a try. Wish me luck-that I don't exchange one pain for another. See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Rush & Mail Surprise

I know I'm not alone in the feeling that I've been swooped up in a tornado. The holiday may be 20 odd days ahead but it always begins to feel like the day after tomorrow about this time. In keeping with my great organizational skills (not) I have nothing ready and everything to get. I'll keep it short today, since the weather is being wonderful. It snowed and was frigid yesterday so I thought maybe I would postpone my "going out" chores. Today the light has dawned and it's nearly 50 and sunny. I must get going to Curves and then to several places to to the important work of Santa.
Above you will see the pretty surprise I got from my good friend Gerrie as a PIF gift. It's really pretty and I'm sorry for the not so great photo. It has sparkly Angelina fibers on it and the light just kept glaring in every photo. It's clickable for a better look. If you haven't visited Gerrie and checked out her artwork, don't miss it. Anyway, the colors are yummy and she sent along a pretty post card with it. Thanks Gerrie, Love you!
I'm offering another PIF, also to be completed after the New Year-way after, like February, since I still haven't gotten the other one done. I do have a year to complete but I don't think I would put them off for a possible 365 days as it's suggested that you may.
I went back to Curves on Saturday and I feel good mentally but the pain of the re-start is considerable. That's what I get for putting it off so long.
Hope your day is lovely. Back soon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kiss the Ground

I'm home!!! back from Wally Mart and Jo Ann's where I scored big time. Partially due to my own bad & careless record keeping. While at Jo Ann's I perused the Christmas fabric dept. and found everything 50% off because normal people don't wait till less than a month to make Christmas window toppers(quiet back there) ANYWAY-I was hard pressed to find a fabric that I could live with-everything is a little too, too, screamingly bright or has a kind of kiddie theme to it. I just wanted something pretty, simple, and not too garish. I also wanted 7 1/2 yards of it-thus making it nearly mission impossible. However, I kept at it and dug around coming up with the two things you see above. Both are pretty, simple and not too too. One is a little short of the required length so I will have to decide and plan a little. My living room and kitchen are really one big room with a wall that separates only half the space. The curtains really need to be the same all around or it looks like a gypsy encampment. sort of looks like that anyway but I don't need to add to the confusion sight-wise. Overload on the patterns will just add confusion to an already easily confused group of people. In truth, I could drape the windows with anything and they probably won't notice until maybe April-May. The only way you can get noticed around here is if you're draped in something edible-cold cuts, eggplant Parm, mashed potatoes....Food always attracts the clan members(hello boys!)

But I digress...When I went to pay for said fabric it occurred to me that I should use up the 2 gift cards from BIL Bob from last Christmas, in case he would think I didn't like them and not get me anymore this year. I really thought I only had maybe $20 on each of the 2 cards I had. Here comes the fun part..Wheeeee I had over $80. The bill with Christmas dec items was $100 so I had a big $20 difference. Found Money, does it get any better?

Anyway I'll probably use the holly leaf fabric since there is more than enough of that for all windows and the second fabric is adaptable for other uses.

The only bad part of the day was that everywhere I went was well prepared for winter temps by really cranking the heat and-guess what? Today it's in the high 50s so by the time I got out of Wally Mart I was so beet red I decided to bag any other shopping. Now for the unbelievable part. I passed by the Giant Super Borders....passed by and went home. Didn't go into the book Only now I feel deprived and grumbly. It needs to be one kind of temperature here for a week or two. This hot cold thing is very strange and now it's interfering with my book lust. Hrumph!

The second picture above is a table runner without borders yet for one of 3 people. Haven't decided which one yet.. I'm off to the sewing machine after I cool off.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Formerly Banned Word Now Allowed

Santa's Christmas Workshop is open around here and going strong-well... sorta strong. This morning I sewed together some blocks for a table topper for a friend. It's just a simple Indian Hatchet -make four and sew them together to make an X-block- -picture tomorrow. Right now I have to get some house keeping type stuff(Laundry???I'll get to that Monday)

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving II- On the actual day, we went to our friends house for dinner(really delicious) and yesterday I made another Thanksgiving meal since James complained bitterly that they didn't have mashed potatoes at Dani's house. They had a feast of things including potatoes, sweet and new red)but NO Mashed Potatoes. Needless to say-the Italian Thanksgiving table(which sounded beyond fabulous to me) is completely lost on James, who turns out to be the consummate Irishman & potato addict. I'm not sure where we got him but Pop was like that. If there were no potatoes on the table-it wasn't a real meal. On Thanksgiving, while I was making the smashies to take with us to our dinner-he was standing by, with a spoon in his hand looking a lot like the guy above...begging for some mashed potatoes. Anyway, last night Dani came to us for dinner and James was, at last, a happy camper with mashed potato lake filled with gravy, sweet stuffing mountain, and turkey for dipping *grin* They're all little boys at heart.

Today is a rainy, gloomy, day and for some reason I am in particular muscle and joint pain. I usually have some of that because of arthritis but this is really awful back, neck, and siatica(sp) in my leg. Wow, very painful. I am finding that the combination of cold and damp together are a really bad trigger for this type of pain lately. I'll have some cheese with my whine and keep going.

I'd like to thank each of you for taking the time to make such nice comments on the last post. I still have a number of letters and they will keep coming for the next 4 weeks so there's that to keep up with.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and I'll be back tomorrow with something to show in the way of quilt-related content. Hope your day is peaceful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks for giving

Just a few things and a special Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in blogging. I hope you all have delicious dinners and many things to be thankful for.

As some of you might know, I work for the local Food Pantry. I think the past few weeks of announcements by various media outlets have resulted in a windfall for us. We have more donations, turkey coupons, and fixin's for Thanksgiving than you can shake a stick at. Our Pantry is truly a cornucopia of goodies.

Here's the other half of that equation-letters of a multitude of donors, civic groups, and churches. We are actually coming up on enough of a mail load to justify getting a bulk rate. Problem with that is that one month it will be 20 letters and one month it will be 100. Some letters are just thanks for the food donation that require no dollar amount listed for tax purposes. Some are dollar amounts that do need tax deductible notice. Some are donations in memory of someone who had died. That requires two letters. One informing the family of the deceased of the donation and another to thank the donor. Some letters are to children who raise money selling things and collecting groceries, delivering them and stocking the shelves. They do this for various reasons including honor society credit, and part of a church group or scouts. I've tried to think of ways to make form letters-doesn't work. Nearly all of the donations require personal attention in some way. Up till this year the cost of stamps was high but still sane. This year stamps- 40 cents. Multiply that by a couple of hundred for November and December- It's a lot and it's a lot of moolah. I make a very special effort to make the letters meaningful and I have painted myself into a corner because now, people write the Pantry letters complimenting my letters and my letters have, indeed become a well-known part of the Pantry experience. I always imagined a life in letters- Be careful what you wish for.

Seriously, I have formed a deep friendship with some folks in the community who I might never have known. Some of them are the donors and some the people in need. We are becoming a nation of people who hardly ever have fellowship with each other and so I guess this is my form of fellowship. Some of the stories that go with the lives I see played out at the Pantry are desperate and awful. Mothers with autistic children that have been abandoned by spouses. Men who have fought for this country and then been abandoned and left alone and frightened. Families that have fallen apart financially and cannot make ends meet. We can be the kind of people who turn away and say "It's someone else's problem" "they made a mess of their lives, why do I have to pay for it?" I guess, even when faced with the mountain of mail and cost of postage, it is the humanity of people that puts things into perspective. The humor of people makes thing bearable. The dignity of people who have little that makes me thankful. Maybe one of the blessing of my life is that I know what it means to be afraid and alone. Compassion is needed.

For the next few days I'll be trying to catch up with the mail. I'll leave you with a picture of the lime green beech leaves in my yard, which by now have probably frozen in place. Later....

Addendum-thanks to everyone who wrote a comment. It's a big job but the least I can do. I'm fortunate to have the ability to stay home and not have to go out to work. That's a gift and I feel I should do something worthwhile with some of that time. I did 57 letters today and since our conversation yesterday I put my tiny brain into gear to find a way to combine some of the letter styles so that all that was required was a change of address on some. See...chatting with you all makes me have better organizational skills(heh)- Oh! and thank God you don't have to lick stamps anymore!!Yay to the Post Office.

Friday, November 16, 2007

mixed bag...itchy and blurry and annoying and stupid

Hubby is due home this afternoon and I'm playing catch-up with the mess I've made around here. Truth be told, I needed to do the mundane crap that accumulates all too fast anyway. It's been a very quiet few days. Since Roger hasn't had to travel much in these past few years, I forgot how strange it is to be here alone. Well, James and Bob are around in the evening but it's a long day up here in a very secluded spot. I tend to really light up the place. Flood lights outside-multiple lights on inside that I normally never turn on. Bright...very bright. The paranoid in me wants to see what's coming to get me. Funny thing is that by the second day or so, I've made some kind of internal peace with it and by that time normal life resumes. James and I tried to have a bite to eat before he went off on his evenings with friends. It wound up being bagels and a salad for me. I had plenty of leftovers for Bob so cooking was minimal. All of this left me time to actually finish some things on the sewing burner. Feels good to get going again.

I have been experiencing some interesting and annoying side effects from a medicine I have to take. One of the things it itching. My dose was increased during the past year and over time I have this horrible itching in my hands mostly but some days it feels itchy on my arms and torso as well. I found some stuff by Eucerin called calming cream and it works for a while but since my hands are in water all the time it's a pain to constantly re-apply. Maybe gloves(ugh) are called for. The medicine also began to affect my eyesight in small ways over the past couple of years. I have some real trouble with focusing. It causes me to have to really struggle to put things into focus. It makes me very unsure and tentative in moving around. There is nothing I can do about this-I have to take the stuff. So, I've become slow and deliberate where I used to be a little dynamo walking and moving around. It affects my driving only in my ability to read signs-I get completely overwhelmed and so I just don't go anywhere except places around here I'm very familiar with. Getting old really sucks big time! Anyway, if you're out and about and you see a woman scratching, and crashing into stuff...slowly & deliberately...don't wave at'll throw me into a panic(kidding). I would take Benadryl more often but then I'd be sleepy and itchy as well and that's one too many of the 7 dwarfs for me.

Today, for your viewing enjoyment, I show a couple things I've been finishing and two things that are stupid and annoying as well as a shot of what I look like while I'm itching. I leave you with 2 of my favorite cartoon characters( Pinky & the Brain) and two of my least favorite cartoon characters, Dumb & Dumber.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

and now for something completely different

This morning Roger took off for Albany for 4 days. I have about a million things I would like to accomplish. Many of those things are to do with the holiday that swiftly approaches whose name I refuse to utter until Thanksgiving is over. I kinda feel like this guy. Every year the commercialism starts earlier and earlier. To me, it takes a lot of enjoyment out of the holiday which I will not mention yet. It sort of reminds me of when I worked in retail. By the time the holiday came all I wanted to do was hide in the closet and never see another decoration or hear another carol associated with the holiday which I will not mention yet.

That said, I have a thing I want to do that I must begin today or I will not finish in time. Can't say too much because members of the family(hi honey) read this from time to time. I recently heard some grumbling regarding my leaving the picture of the yummy Gordon Ramsay up too long. Let me just say one thing about that to the person in question...Telemundo!!!!

So I'm off to gather supplies and food and do various errands so that the next few days can be focused on important gift-giving type stuff. Someday I really will get back to the quiltmaking and show & tell. Can't remember if I showed these little baskets before.

The little houses are a gift for our friend who collects holiday houses and decorates her whole house with them. It really looks pretty and I think she will enjoy these as well.
That's it for now-hope your day is sweet and jingle-free.

For those who asked about Gordon Ramsay-here, he has his program, Kitchen Nightmares, on Wed. night at 8 on Fox network. I don't know if that translates to the same in different parts of the country. I understand that this weeks episode is the one they filmed in the too too posh Hamptons in a family-run Irish Pub that is famous here on the Island. I've never been there but I've seen it mentioned in the news several times. Can't wait to see what he does with the place.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Alone too long

Since I am all alone...snif, left to my own devices(that'll teach 'im) I decided to let the imagination wander and thought a lot about who I would like to invite to dinner. The answer came to me in a moment of hungry clarity. Gordon Ramsay. I found out that Sting was busy with some chanting and praying stuff and while flipping the channel during commercials(thanks Roger)I came upon Gordon in Kitchen Nightmares. I absolutely love Gordon Ramsey. I love his concept of what a restaurant should be, his work ethic, his "body as temple" think, and...well, he's just Darn adorable. I plotz when he takes a fork-full of someones awful cooking and says "f--- me, did this come from the waste bin?" Now I know that it's not necessary to use such language, but in this case it really makes me laugh.'s the reason I would like Gordon to come to dinner. He would find my food and my kitchen in a dreadful state and immediately fire me. Some people might be offended but I would love to be fired and I'd tell him what a brilliant move it was. Next he would replace all of my ancient appliances and doodads with shiny new up-to-date serious equipment. Then I could alternately admire my new kitchen(surely Roger would re-hire me later) and Gordon. Maybe he would teach me a bunch of cool things to make in order to redeem myself. Maybe he wouldn't spit my food into the bin. Maybe he would just let me stare at him while he cooked. Any way you figure it-I win.
As the dinner guests for my first Gordon Ramsay educated meal, I would invite John Cleese and Michael Palin-two of my favorite Monty Python members. Doing this ensures laughter and silly walks and dead parrots but opens up the possibility for other frightening occurrences... because........


Monday, November 05, 2007

Change of plans& the neighborhood

I think I've shown this quilt before. It's really the only fall-like piece that I have and was made with 5 inch squares I got from some on-line quilt shop. Not all that big but it seems cosy for the season.

My plans for a get-away have changed. Roger will be going with a co-worker to his meeting near Canada. The other traveler had intended to bring his wife but she had a medical problem and will not be going so the alternative is for me to sit in the hotel and read or sew for one long day. I took a pass. It's a tough trip for Roger and I didn't want him to travel alone for an 8-hour car ride. Now that he is going with the fellow-engineer that's not a factor so I'll hang in here and do my reading and sewing locally.

My crack photography team took some pictures on Saturday while we were getting the effects of an off-shore storm. The wind whipped up the sea froth and that picture above is of the canal that feeds into the salt marsh not far from me.
The shot below is one taken from the apple orchard driveway after the guys purchased another delicious bag of Macouns. Yummy! They don't allow me near the orchard as I have trouble controlling myself when faced with a maze of trees with apples just waiting to be snatched up and scarfed up....sorry but some of you may not be aware of my larcenous tendencies when faced with fruit trees.
Well I must go and do some errands and laundry and all the mundane Monday stuff. Hope your autumn day is as spectacular as mine is starting out to be. Just look at that shot of all those apples laying around uneaten...on the ground....wasting away.............sigh

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dia de los Muertes

Today is the Dia de Los Muertes or Day of the Dead. I've always found this type of celebration to be more interesting than Halloween. It's a celebration of the connection between the spirits and the living. Interestingly enough, these types of celebrations are popular in nearly all cultures but I have to say that the Mexicans and Chinese get a medal for fascinating ways to party it up. In both cultures, people go to the graves of family members and friends and bring gifts, or ofrendas, of favorite treats and they spend the day cleaning and arranging altars with significant items that were a part of that persons life. I really enjoy the colorful and communal aspect to this day. Actually, Day of the Dead is two days of celebrating. Today is about las angelitos, or the little angels, and tomorrow is about the adult remembrances. Day of the Dead provides a spiritual pathway from the living to the Saints and to God. The sugar skulls are a tradition as are a type of marigold called zenpasuchitl that are used to decorate the graves and altars. Most of the traditions surrounding this celebration date from Pre-Columbian times.
I reminds me of the manner in which Asian families have very similar celebrations by going to the graves, cleaning and scrubbing them and decorating them with flowers and favorite foods of the person who has passed on. They also have a lantern festival that is an ancient custom. Putting lighted lanterns into the rivers and streams allows the passage of the spirits to another world. I have only seen pictures of both of these celebrations and done some extensive reading about the cultures and it just seems such a beautiful thing to do. I'm not a deeply religious person but I find, surprisingly, that I am deeply spiritual and the thought of moving on to another world is a pleasant thought that, as I become older, really comforts me.
So, no matter if you're a Celt and they put you in your canoe and fill it with evergreens and light that sucker up and float you out to sea, or you're Egyptian and somebody builds a tomb full of the things that represent who you were in life, the concept is the same. It is a celebration of a life and it pleases me to think of remembrance in whatever form it takes. Just in case something happens to me anytime soon-don't forget to put my rotary cutter and Olfa Ruler in with me! Oh! fabric...don't forget the fabric....and maybe some chocolate. I think I'll go get some just to be safe!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween memories

Is everybody ready for Halloween? I really enjoyed this holiday the most when James was little. We would get dressed up(yes we) and hit the bricks for loot. One year James was Dick Tracy and I was Groucho Marx. Another year, everyone managed to get their stuff together and we created a haunted house at the grade school. It was up on the stage and we divided it into a maze that the kids could walk through with various scary scenes and things. In one dark part someone hung pieces of fine thread that felt like spidery stuff when you walked through. I got to be the Witch(shut up back there)and had the traditional black hat as well as some appropriate spider earrings and stuff. In one section there was a cabinet that had the drawers removed and when the door opened with a creak-one of my neighbors heads appeared with gross make-up. It was really fun. There was a guy with a chainsaw and what looked like a bucket of blood with a hand hanging out-accompanying screaming on tape and all. That was the best Halloween. Without little ones it's just not the same. I may take a walk up to the school on Wed. to record the Halloween Parade. If the weather's nice they parade outside for all to see.
The weather has certainly turned everything into fall in a big way. Last night it was 48 and a frost warning. Living so close to the water, the temps don't drop too much for a while. The water off the Sound and Bay keeps everything warm for a while.
I spent the later part of last week catching up with Food Pantry paperwork. Lately I have been letting a bunch of letters build up and then doing a marathon of letter writing all at once. It's now the really busy season, so I better keep on top of things or I will wind up with tons of thank you letters that need writing.
Next week I am taking a short trip with Roger. He has a business meeting in remote, far, northwestern NY State. We are going to stay in a pretty place- the rooms are on a waterfront that faces Canada. Just a 3 day trip but I'm looking forward to it. I need to get a coat though since my coat from the past couple of years is rather groady and not fit for meeting humans in. I suspect it may be a little chilly near the Canadian border in November. Most of the trip will be traveling since it will be a very long day up there and a very long trip back.
Well, that's the scoop from here for now. I've got a big chicken in the oven and some potatoes and sliced tomatoes will round out the menu. Easy peasy. Smells yummy in here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just Beachy

I decided to take some pictures for your viewing pleasure and my avoiding doing stuff.
I wanted to get a shot of the neighbors metal dinosaur sculpture which he dressed up for Halloween and made a maze for the local kids. He's a really nice man and he bought a truckload of small pumpkins and each kid that dropped off a non-perishable item for our Food Pantry got a free pumpkin. He delivered a truckload of food to us on Monday morning-A truckload!! It filled up the shelves and lined the hallway. Can't say enough nice things about him. Anyway-he is probably getting the dinosaur ready for his Christmas outfit so they cleaned up all Halloween stuff and he was gone by the time I arrived with my camera. Since it was a really warm day I decided to take a stroll on the beach right down the road. Happily, I found some beachy glass which I collect jars full of and, wonder of wonders, I found some sights that made me really smile. There were many, many, Horseshoe crabs washed up on the beach. For a long time no one saw horseshoe crabs around and I thought they pretty much took the same bus out of town that the lobsters took a while back. It was so great to see. Maybe some things don't change that much. A pleasant thought. So I wandered around and took a couple of pics and then drove home by way of the top of the harbor view. All in all it was better than hanging out doing laundry and writing letters, all of which I am far behind in doing. That said, I better get dinner on and do a couple of quick catch-up things before the boys get home. It was lovely at the beach. I should have brought a book. The fishermen were surfcasting and I think it might be bluefish season so it looked like they were pretty busy. Hope your day was as nice as mine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Big Boys & Their Big Toys

A month or so ago Roger took some pictures of the trees around the property. They are just loaded with acorns. LOADED! I think the Old Farmer's Almanac says something about that- a very cold winter to come. I hope they're wrong. Today it is a typical rainy fall day here except for the fact that it's too warm again. Mother Nature must be very pissed.....and confused.

I am puttering about trying to finish several things and not getting too far. A week ago we had all the windows open and the fall came blowing through with crisp air and a hint of something cold to come. Today it's back to 75 and a wet soggy mess and the air is on again. I don't want it to be frozen, but what happens around here is that it goes directly from this kind of day to winter in a week and we keep missing the best of the seasons. Makes me cranky.
Anyway, here are 2 pictures of James with his latest toy. I use the term toy with tongue in cheek- since the toy was a couple of hundred and the stuff to make it go and fix it is approaching the same general amount. It's a nitro-methane powered car. Problems arise when it hits curbs and such since it all but takes off like a rocket. It's pretty neat and so is James.
I have nothing major planned for the weekend except to try and finish something for a change. After all the day after Halloween will be Christmas. Doesn't it seem that way??? The music is already turning up here and there on commercials-I quickly change the channel and refuse to take part in the hype. It does creep into the psyche though!
Hope you all have a great weekend. Maybe I'll have something positive to show by Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Continuing Soup Education

Since I received such warm comments about yesterday's soup let's try another all time favorite around here.

Again...please remember that I am from the some-of-this-some-of-that school. Soup is pretty basic stuff and if you have all the ingredients on hand it's a pretty fast fix-although-it does taste even better the day after as many of these soupy-stew-like things do.

4-6 hungry guy servings

6 cans Snow's minced clams (about 6 oz each can-we like a lot of clams in our chowder) or at least 36 oz clams from fishmonger-they sell clams for Chowder in large soup containers here. More is better here

6 bottles Snow's all natural Clam juice or about 48 oz of clam or fish stock.

3-4 hot Italian sausage-remove from casing and crumble and brown.

1- very large sweet onion chopped and about a tablespoon of chopped garlic

half a large carrot diced and a large rib of celery chopped

3-4 med. Yukon gold potatoes diced

1- 26 oz package of Pomi chopped tomatoes- any chopped tomatoes will do, I just happen to like these they are organic and have no salt.

Old Bay seasoning

This recipe is the opposite of yesterdays in terms of the salt factor-Do not add any salt until this has had a chance to meld the flavors at the end. The sausage is salty and the clams and juice tend to be also. Even with the potatoes you can sometimes easily overdo the salt thing.

Brown sausage and drain most of fat-leave enough to cook chopped onions and diced carrots & celery garlic in -add potatoes, veggies, old bay and enough juice to cover everything and simmer til potatoes are fork tender. Add tomatoes and rest of juice and all clams and simmer low for about a half hour. Truthfully-I make this early in the day and let it sit and meld flavors. I often add more liquid at that point because the potatoes soak up a lot. If you're out of fish or clam stock add some vegetable stock or just a bit of water.

Taste for seasoning and add whatever you think you need-or not-the sausage has a lot of Italian flavor but I sometimes add basil or oregano-just a teeeny bit.

Sprinkle the bacon in at the last moment give it a stir and serve.

We sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of a good fresh salsa just to punch up the flavor.

This soup is spicy so it needs some bready accompaniment. Our local grocery has started carrying wonderful Indian flat bread called Naan and it's wonderful soft buttery flavor would be a great thing to serve with this. Bagels are always great too. My family loves those Bisquick cheddar biscuits only instead of cheddar I use some kind of a fontina and Reggio parm since I just can't leave anything alone


Wow, I really have to do some quilty type thing soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Let's Make Soup!

Yesterday I made Chicken Corn Chowdahhh. Deb asked for a recipe and Dorothy said she made hers more of a potato version. Let me just say that I could eat soup everyday from now until April and be perfectly happy. I should also include that I like to make soup from scratch and as with so many of my recipes-they reside in my head and that's a shadowy place with cubbyholes. I almost never make the exact same thing twice-except for Pasta Bolognese and things like this....sort of. I should also say that if you're a fan of clear-consomme-type thin-little-dainty-soup-look away now. When it comes to soup I definitely follow the teachings of my Oma and cooks like Lydia Bastianich. More is better. Thicker trumps thin. and it's really a meal in a bowl and last but almost most important-I cook by the "little of this and some of that" school of culinary adventures. Are you still with me??? If so Let's Make Soup

Chicken Corn Chowdahh

You will need the following and please be adventurous because I'm estimating. This is soup you really can't go wrong with. Maybe you'll like it thinner-add half and half or stock-thicker..add less-you get my drift.

At least 2 large containers about 32 oz. each good chicken stock. I make my own so that's about what I figure will get you to your goal for a nice big pot with maybe leftovers(Heh)

Half package of good thick-cut bacon cut into dice and crisped, drained and set aside for the big finish

I very large sweet onion-chopped

2 large ribs celery diced

1 large carrot diced

3 large Yukon gold potatoes-about 2 cups or more-we like potatoes)

4 cups corn kernels-frozen is fine

3 scallions

picked meat from one 3lb chicken or 4 large cooked chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (I like dark meat so I often use thighs. Breast meat is so dry) It's your call

2 cups half&half(fat free if you must..bah)

salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons Lawry's or some seasoned salt of that type.

2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme-optional but very tasty
1/4- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes-optional but we like the heat.

Saute bacon until crispy bits and set aside reserving 2 or 3 tablespoons bacon fat. Don't try to conserve with this-the bacon fat makes the great flavor.

Saute the sweet onions, celery, and carrots in bacon fat.

Dice potatoes- add salt pepper thyme and red pepper flakes to pan-saute a few minutes till translucent-
Then, add enough broth to cover potatoes and simmer about 7-10 min.

Add corn and at least one full container broth(sorry this is where you will have to guestimate)- simmer another 5 min until veg are all tender. Remove about a cup or more of potatoes and vegetables-set aside.

Start by adjusting seasonings-the potatoes will soak up salt so add more of whatever you need in seasoning-then add 1 cup half & half and stir-take an immersion blender and pulse in pot two or three times. DO NOT PUREE. JUST LUMP IT UP A LITTLE BIT -if it's not thick enough add a tablespoon or more of Wondra flour mixed with some of the broth.

Do not add chicken before this or it will just become a shreddy mess-still tastes good but looks....not so much good.

Add cooked chicken and vegetables you set aside-stir. and let the flavors settle. Keep very low heat after the half&half and finish with more of any of the ingredients you may desire. I find it thickens up about now and maybe needs a touch of stock, cream, or milk before serving. I also find that this soup needs a lot of salt and seasoning or it tastes wishy-washy. Put aside your salt caution for this one and I've also added fresh thyme and it tastes great

Ladle into bowls and top with bacon bits and scallions.

Serve with good crusty bread or biscuits


I hope you enjoy it. Just be adventurous and make it yours.