Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lazy Day

Our weather here has alternated between beautiful and wet-basement-stormy.   Today it can't seem to decide, but I've put in my vote for beautiful because the basement is still wet from the last storm.   My son brought over a dehumidifier, which I thought I didn't need, and thank goodness he did because I am emptying it every few hours.   Instead of sitting here at the computer, I surely should be going through things that could be thrown away, clearing out the basement room that got wet.    You will notice that I ignore my own advice and keep on typing.
 The Universe has been sending me feather messages this week.   Every couple of days a feather shows up on a car window, or my shoulder, or the front door.   Maybe my Guardian Angel has been bustling around.   I'm not sure what the feathers are trying to say, but I enjoy noticing them, like soft little gifts.
Work is going along, sometimes well enough, sometimes I just can't tell.    The lucky thing is that I don't really need to have answers or know what to say, I just need to be present.   I feel fortunate to 'walk' with people when they are so vulnerable and open, there truly is a sacredness about it, at least some of the time.   It certainly has made me think a lot more about my own death, about how I want to live until then, and about how much I love my family.

Two more zucchini in my garden nearly ready to pick!   I hope I will be baking zucchini bread very soon!   My tomatoes are still ripening in dribs and drabs and I am canning some of the extras in little jelly jars, just enough to create a meal for one, since that is mostly what I am.  I know it's crazy, but sometimes I just can't use up a whole quart, or even a whole pint.    And I don't want a single tomato to go to waste.    I love having my own produce in the winter!   

The countdown to my niece's west-coast wedding has begun -- less than a month to go and I still don't know what I should wear.    The wedding will be outside, on a northwest island, and the dress-code suggestions is "casual chic."    I wonder if I can wear my jammies, or are they not quite chic enough?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


What a beautiful day, temperatures in the low 70s, with a soft breeze, blue skies and sunshine.   Absolutely beautiful.   On a day as pretty as this, I always wish that I were in love.   Pitiful, I know, and wondering how old I will be before I stop my foolish thoughts, but there it is.

And after work, for dinner, to top off the pure joy of good weather, I made the Pioneer Woman's twice baked potatoes, as indulgent and delicious meal as anyone could want.     And did I have an ice cream drumstick for dessert?   Or did I have two?  Don't ask, seriously.

I did not check my retirement fund.   I did not weigh myself.    This was a good day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chalk One Up

When I painted my kitchen recently, I decided to try using chalkboard paint on one end of my cupboards.   I thought the grandkids might get a kick out of it.

It was a big mess.   The first place I shopped sold me a can of spray paint and told me it would require 3 coats.   I masked off the entire area and had newspapers set around the floor and cupboards for about 6 feet in both directions.     But by the time the first coat had been sprayed, there was paint everywhere -- I left paint footprints everywhere I went and had to mop the floors in every room, not just the kitchen, several times before I got most of it cleaned up.   For days I was still staining my slippers with leftover spray droplets.    It was clearly the stupidest idea I had ever had.

But in for a penny, in for a pound, so I went out the next day and bought a can of regular old paint-style chalkboard paint.  I painted several coats and left it to cure for a few days.    

And when it was finally done, even though I am still finding remnants of spray paint, I decided it was a very good idea after all.    Art is worth a little extra effort.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Yesterday was a special day.    It was most special to me because it is the birthday of my much loved daughter (in law).   She is smart, the nicest, prettiest person, the best mother ever, and I am grateful every day to have her in my life.

But it was ALSO the last day to for my Philosophy giveaway.  And now,  . . . drum roll, please.  The winner is -- Me!

No, not me, but Me!, also known (I suspect) as Debbi, from Debbi Thinks Deep.   I've sent her an email and hope to get her package in the mail soon!

Congratulations, Debbi.   And thanks, everyone, for playing!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Winding Down

Sad to say, summer is coming to an end.   No one says it out loud, but vacation days are winding down.    Although there are a (very) few weeks before school starts, my little granddaughter is mentally preparing for kindergarten, and her class of critters is all lined up and ready to learn their geography.
 My grandson is putting the finishing touches on his impressive collection of sticks, knowing that there will be little time for stick collecting later.
And I am already starting to dread the cold.   There is a feeling in the early morning air that reminds me that winter is coming.    I think that's about as complex as I get -- hating the heat and humidity while, at the very same time, dreading the cold and snow.   

But I guess my brain is also starting to focus a little better, too.   I found my pretty little ring -- the scary thing is, I found it EXACTLY WHERE IT SHOULD BE.    I can't tell you how many times I looked in that very same place and couldn't find it.    But I woke up in the middle of the night and looked again, and there it was.    Freaky.    It is fitted to my left hand so I can't wear it, but I am tempted (again) to have it resized.    Since I'm not going to have another diamond ring, there is a part of me that wants to wear it despite its lack of meaning.
 My 'test recipe' this week is for a fish-jalepeno dish.   I (along with thousands of others) am on a test panel for America's Test Kitchen, and can't share the recipes until and unless they are published in Cook's Illustrated.   It has been fun so far.   I (along with hundreds of others) tested bread recipes for Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Everyday" a couple of years ago, and enjoyed that, too.   It takes me out of my usual cooking safety zone, which is always a good thing.   Fish + jalepeno doesn't rock my fantasy taste buds, but I'm willing to give it a try!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nothing To Complain About

Felt a tiny bit useful at work, so it was a good day.  My top-secret-test-recipe-potato and goat cheese galette was beautiful, if I do say so myself, and tasty, too.   I'd be happy to make it again.  Another pretty evening, another pretty walk.   Life is good.

 Only a few more days until my Philosophy giveaway drawing!  Anyone who comments is entered.

This 'n' That

I am trying, lately, to not spend a lot of frivolous money on myself, because I am still paying off my last trip to New Orleans and I want to clear the decks, as it were, before I plan my next trip.    But I recently bought myself a set of 'promise rings' from Tumbleweed Bead Company, and I love them!   They are super thin, made of recycled silver, and the idea is that each ring represents a promise I am making to myself, a sort of visible reminder of things I am working on.    I've always been a sucker for commitment, and since I am the only one who is interested in my own pledged troth, I figured I would ring myself.   I got a set of three, but I gave one of them to my sister so that she could do something nice for herself, too.
Speaking of rings, I own a really beautiful (nearly) 1-carat diamond solitaire, given to me years ago in an ill-fated engagement.  Don't get me started on THAT!  Anyway, he insisted that I keep the ring, but I returned it.   A few years later, he gave it back to me again as a gift, in front of witnesses, saying he wanted me to keep it.   [He also said that if he had a nickle for every diamond ring he'd given a woman he would be a rich man.   In case you wanted a hint as to why things didn't work out.]  

Disappointments aside, I had never had (and had ALWAYS wanted) a diamond ring, and I really, really loved this ring.   It was a shock to me how much of a traditionalist romantic I am at heart, I so badly wanted the happily-ever-after fantasy, even when it should have been clear that I was looking in the wrong place for it.    Anyway, when he insisted, I decided I WANTED THAT RING, even if I was glad to have opened my eyes about the relationship, so I finally accepted it and put it away for some future relationship.    Somebody else's future relationship, that is, because I couldn't see actually wearing it myself, no matter how much I really, really loved that ring.

And now I seem to have lost it.   The last time I looked at the ring was just before my last trip to New Orleans (the one I am still paying the bills for).   I went into my jewelry pouch last week for another piece of jewelry and it isn't there.    I suspect that I put it in one of those dreaded Safe Places before my trip, but I have no idea where that might be.   Obviously, I've looked everywhere I can think of, but so far I haven't found it.   I need to start looking in places I CAN'T think of.    I will be awfully glad when it finally turns up, and I hope it will be soon, but who knows where it could be?!   Maybe I should clean out the freezer!   It is the prettiest ring I've ever had, and I would like to think that one of my grandkids would enjoy it somewhere down the line.   I hate losing things.   These "senior moments" are enough to make me crazy!   Although I suspect I was prone to flaky moments even when I was young.

Work continues to work itself out, as it were.   I am learning to do the things that were new, and discovering new things that need to be learned.    I am still working on creating a reflection space where the old, very formal, very denomination-specific chapel used to be.   People are using it more often, so I think I am on the right track.    This is what it looked like soon after I came in, but after some of the religious trappings had been removed.

And this is what it looks like now, a work in process.   I am still planning to move in more 'soft' seating, to create wall hangings made of mementos from out patients,  to build shelves for the plants, to move out the altar table and organ, and to fix the broken fountain.

 Baby steps.