Monday, March 30, 2020

Lots of musing going on.

Firstly, I want to thank those of you who reached out to see if I was still alive and well.  Yes and yes.  My silence was due to the fact that I am slow to adjust to being turned on my head.  I've gone through all the stages - I'm sure you can relate - denial, worry, wine, worry, potato chips, worry, ice cream, worry, chocolate, worry and now I am settled on pretty much adjusted.  As long as no one starts hoarding coffee, I should be okay.

As is required in my state, I have not been out, with the exception of one bout of grocery shopping for the month ahead, to deliver eggs to a friend (those of us with chickens are becoming very popular - too bad I didn't know this in high school), and a quick stop to check on my sister and mother - blowing kisses at them from across the room.  I did bake a birthday pineapple upside down cake for my neighbor who turned 85.  Since his family couldn't be there, I spent a couple of hours with him, at a distance of six feet.

I am lucky to be able to work from home, so my paycheck will continue.  That is good news, as my favorite local restaurant is allowed to offer margaritas to go.  I worry about the local small businesses and how they are faring through these unprecedented times.  It underlines - for me - the importance of giving them my business.

So far, the novelty of having me around 24/7 has not worn off for the dogs.  More's the pity.  They shadow me constantly.  I'd go outside more often, but it's been raining almost every day.  We're all getting a bit stir crazy.

When I did go out, I discovered that the front yard had been invaded by a population of gophers over the winter.  That, or the entire population of voles and moles on the Eastern coast.  It's unbelievable!

There has been cooking.
Cheesy Cuban Chicken
And baking

Paleo blueberry muffins
And finishing things I had started (oh, say, five years ago....)
Not quite finished, as it has a long way to go.  Years ago, I had made three of these little doll houses - which includes furniture and a mouse/bear/bunny family - and sold them in a consignment shop.  Unfortunately, they were a huge hit and I realized that I could not possibly keep up with demand.  Now I am doing it just for fun.  I'll take pictures as I go along.

So.  I will post more regularly and with more pics as my NEW PHONE has a better camera.  Yes, as these things often go, my phone started to die two weeks into this isolation.  Since no stores are open, I had to get a new one via virtual chatting.  Geez. 

I hope you are all safe and well and not going bonkers.  As someone very wise once said, this is a great time to finish things you've started.  So far, I've finished a bottle of pinot noir and I'm eyeing a bottle of sauvignon blanc.  Heehee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Individual Cocooning - the New Social Distancing!

Social Distancing

Individual Cocooning
I will say one thing about the general chaos that has struck this nation, it is tending to bring out the better side of people (with the exception of the selfish idiots who stripped the shelves bare - you know who you are.)  A plethora of posts have popped up on FB that have people offering to pick things up and do errands for those who are safest at home.  People are buying gift certificates from small local businesses who have been forced to close - giving them a slim lifeline until the danger is passed.  It is heartening.  I have started seeds, if for nothing more than to make myself feel more hopeful.  I am still commuting to the office, although that will change by the end of the week, I feel.  It's a good thing I pack in my lunch, as all restaurants are closed.

These are interesting times.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Why Alexa and I will never be on speaking terms.

Apparently, all those enunciation exercises I was forced to go through in Charm School (yes, I was actually sent to Charm School by my desperate mother), have atrophied.  While I think I speak clearly and succinctly,  I am often misunderstood.  However, I can get in and out of the car more gracefully than anyone I know.

This morning, being in a rather self-indulgent mood, brought on by my annual attempt to banish sugar and dairy from my diet, I ordered a large latte, with no sugar, almond milk, and a senior discount (ahem) from Dunkin Donuts on my way to work.  This was also as a reward for getting out of the house earlier than the new time (WHY!?!?!?) has allowed since Sunday.

What I got, when I sat at my desk and took my first sip, was a large latte with almond milk and four tablespoons of sugar.  I managed not to spit it across the room, but the good feeling was gone.  Good grief.

There have been a lot of entertaining texts generated by my lack of clear speech.  Especially when I dictate while driving and without reading glasses.  "Hi, Rosie.  Your pig will be congo with federal express."  "Hay, Marianne.  I will be aardvarked on the bags."

While sitting with my mother, we often try to get Alexa to read a book she's been listening to.  Without my sister there to interpret, we often end up pleading with her, to no good results.  The last time, instead of a book by Sue Grafton, we got homicide statistics for some unknown city.

Good lard.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Just your typical Monday.

At least Spring seems to be getting a toe-hold.  Saturday started with a light coating of snow and yesterday started cold but, by the afternoon, the sun had warmed up the air enough for me to open the sliding glass door a bit.  All of the furries were taking advantage of the sun beams.
I can hardly stand it...Lovey with her
Saturday, my sister met me at their local TSC and we availed ourselves of the DIY dog wash.  It is a great service - they provide the facilities, the shampoo, conditioner, towels, dryers and grooming stations.  Both pups are squeaky clean and were awarded biscuits at the checkout.

Sunday was spent cleaning, organizing and cooking.  I had my neighbor over for dinner and tried out a new dessert - a vegan coconut rice pudding that turned out great.  He didn't even know it was vegan and loved it.  It was also way less sweet than my old recipe, using a quarter cup of maple syrup.

Then I broke a tooth.  The fun never stops, does it?

I left a message with my dentist's office and waited for their call back this morning.  Then I spent a blissful hour and a half getting set up with a temporary crown.  Oh, the joys of old teeth and old fillings.  It's a good thing I just finished paying off my last two crowns last week...

By the time I made it into the office, it was after 12.  There I was greeted with the news that I am now the 'back-up' for yet another attorney in HQ.  Let's hope this one sends his own emails.  I am now trying to eat my salad without using the numb side of my mouth - which, this time, has included most of the lower half of my face.

I am trying not to get too excited about going out into my garden, as I may jinx the weather!  I had a young fellow down to give me an estimate on fixing my deck and replacing my fence.  I have a feeling it's going to be an expensive year, especially since most of what needs to be done, I can't do.  But I can snoopervise... :)

I leave you with a photo of my 96 y/o mother at the voting venue in VT.  Bless her pea-picking little heart.
Notice how she matches the decor...this family
has STYLE!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

If pictures say a thousand words...

at this point, they'd all be naughty.  So, since we try to keep this blog family-friendly, there are no pictures.  Besides, if you've seen ice, snow and more ice, you've seen them all.

We were graced with three days of 40-50 degree sunshine, which helped immeasurably to life the spirit.  However, it was not enough to get rid of the ice.  Rats.

I looked up at the roof this weekend and discovered that both fresh-air intake vents were flattened by the last snow.  I have sent a text to the roofer and we are discussing it tonight.  I am not keen on shelling out more money, as they were supposed to last until spring, when they will be riveted onto the roof.  I am starting to think this roof is jinxed.

Theodore (actually, Therese) the squirrel was handed off to the wild life rehabilitator, Thursday afternoon.  I felt like I was harboring an illegal alien, as we had to meet in the hospital parking lot in VT and she was a NY squirrel.  However, her little paws never touched the ground, so I am saying it doesn't count.  According to the latest update, she is almost healed, having had antibiotic ointment smeared on her eye twice a day.  I tell you, if I had only known that one could BE a wild life rehabilitator, I would have signed up at sixteen.  That would have saved me a lot of wrong turns.  Ah, well.  Too bad hindsight only sharpens when you are of an age that you need reading glasses.

Bag #3 of black oil sunflower seeds has been opened - I am not working on 120# for the winter.  I am, after all, feeding a cast of hundreds - birds, squirrels, rabbits and who-knows-what-all. 

I spent Thursday looking after my mother - I don't know how my sister does it.  The house is like a furnace, all conversations are at high volume and, while I am happy that she is content listening to audio books, the volume makes your ear drums vibrate.  I managed to finish the second sock of the pair I had been working on and ducked out to hand off Therese and pick up a few groceries.

Speaking of which... I may have to have a responsible adult accompany me into Aldi's from this point on.  I had four things on my list and walked out with two full bags.  Sigh.  They have all my numbers.  If I could only stay on the left side of the store...  I ended up with a large, fresh steelhead trout fillet and four packages of GF bagels (even though I am swearing off grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol).  I am weak. 

I ended up poaching the trout in a broth/water/citrus concoction and made Mexican Restaurant Cauliflower Rice to go with it.  Oh, boy - both were excellent!  I am definitely going to try some other cauliflower rice mixtures!  Other than allowing myself two glasses of wine per weekend, I have been adhering to the Whole 30 guidelines and have noticed a bump-up in energy.

On Sunday, I finally was able to clean the sheep's water bucket and rake out most of the discarded hay.  I also cinched up my BGPs and started on the back room.  It is not an endeavor for the faint of heart, let me tell you.  On a roll, I also blocked and finished a cardigan that I started last March, then finished the front trim, which needs a steam block, and will be blocking out a giant shawl/scarf that I just finished as well.  I have one sock done of a new pair and the second started.  Spring must be on the horizon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I'll take my chaos with a side order of complicated, please.


Right now, the entire 4 acres of the LLF is covered in two inches of ice with a nice, slippery coating of snow.  Last week, the temperature plummeted from 42 to 4.  Then it soared from 4 to 38.  Now it's snowing.  My Yak-Traks are permanently affixed to my wellies.  I don't care if I pick up a pound and a half of mud, in between the ice events.  Tough toenails to housecleaning.  Pfft.

I managed to pare down my errands on Saturday to three, which was very nice.  I should have known I couldn't keep it up.  I went to feed 'my' barn cats on Sunday and there were trucks, hoses, various grimy bits of equipment and what-all all over the porch and driveway.  Nary a cat in sight.  I decided to come back later, after my jaunt to VT, and it was worse.  I did manage to convince the workmen that they needed to clear a space on the porch for the cats.  There was a lot of eye rolling.

I was short-listed for a rescue foster (I know, I know) and, just when I was getting things organized, the results of my hip x-rays came in and my doctor put the kabosh on any 'additional activity'.  I always love it when I am told that I can't do this and that.  Especially when this and that is what I do on a daily basis.  I prefer the approach of, 'you can't do this and that the SAME way you used to do it.  You have to figure out different ways to do both.'  I am a bouncy little soul, ain't I?  Bouncy being relative.  I have 'moderately severe osteoarthritis' in my left hip.  I now move my 50# feed bags on my plastic sled, right into the house.  From there, I drag it into the furnace/laundry/tool/feed room and dispense it in small bucketfuls during morning chores.  I find that I can negotiate my doctor into submission, if given the opportunity.

This week I am covering for my coworker in the City, which means I am tied to my desk and am busy.  I am not complaining.  However, in the midst of this week, I have to spend a day looking after my mother, as my sister needs to take her husband to a series of medical appointments.  No problem, sez I.  This causes the domino effect in HQ, where every square peg must fit in their square hole.  Needless to say, I am a round peg and proud of it.  That being settled, I have my week planned out.

Then I go out to the car to drive to town to meet someone who is using my quail egg boxes for her fledgling quail business (bless her heart) and see a small grey squirrel in the front yard, looking rather lost.  When I return, he is curled in a little ball on the side of the driveway.  I approach carefully and reach down to touch his little head.  He does not move.  Hmm.  So I pick him up.  Well, that got his attention.  In the kerfuffle, I notice that he has an injured eye - but he escapes before I can examine him more closely.  I toddle inside, but go out just at dusk and, sure enough, he is back in a little ball by the driveway.  I grabbed Slimmie's carrier and a towel and scooped the squirrel up and put him in the carrier.  He is now residing in the office, while I tried to track down a wildlife rehabilitator. There are three near me, but they are all 'full'.   I did finally find one a distance north of me and, as luck would have it, she has a doctor's appointment on Thursday that will put her within a reasonable distance ('reasonable' also being relative).  It also means I will be making six trips on Thursday, trying to watch mom and get the little fuzz ball some help.  And I am picking up and delivering some local aquafarm-raised lettuce to Marianne, so she can check it out for their store.  And I will be picking up some muslin to make produce bags for the aforementioned store.

Friends always ask me how I will manage to keep from being bored when I retire. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Back in the saddle

Sock knitting at lunch

Cup and coaster from my sis.
After vowing that I would not pick up knitting needles for a month, I caved and started a pair of socks.  Since I have more sock yarn (or yarn, in general) that is decent, I have no excuse for not knitting from now until doomsday.

Thinking that I could sneak in some knitting while waiting for my annual physical, I discovered that my doctor's office - the entire medical complex - is way too streamlined for the usual waiting room shenanigans.  No sooner had I sat down to fill out the inevitable yearly paperwork, I was called to the examining room.  Thinking that this was the usual Stage Two of waiting, I started filling out my paperwork when in swept the nurse who ushered me to the scale (oh, just shoot me), pumped up the blood pressure cuff, ran the thermometer across my forehead (it's so COOL) and snapped the oxygen measuring clip on my finger tip.  Then I was left for another nanosecond before my doctor entered.  I really just adore him - he's 12 (kidding, but he's probably in his 30s, which is the new 12), has a wicked sense of humor, is open to alternatives, listens, and doesn't spend all his time talking about himself.  Everything was shipshape except for blocked ears and a gimpy left hip.  So, out goes the doctor and in comes the nurse to flush my ears out.  She was a hoot.  When she left, I had gained a new Super Power - Extreme Hearing!  I also had gotten the pneumonia vaccine and more paperwork to tote with me to the department of vampires and x-rays.

Once again, I was prepared for a decent spell of waiting/knitting.  Which lasted about three stitches in.  I was whisked away to have blood drawn, whisked back - I didn't even bother to sit this time - and then whisked down the maze of hospital hallways for my hip x-ray.  Zip out of my pants (TMI?), click, click, back in my pants and out the door.  Whizzbang.  I immediately headed for Marianne's to 'help' her with a cheese test and have two much-needed cups of excellent coffee.

I motored home in the rain (and woke up this morning to a -11 windchill!!!), did my chores early, marveled at all the white noise of my house, and made some cheese sliders in my air fryer, served on lettuce 'buns'. 

Speaking of food, I have been focusing on plant-based meals for at least 5 of 7 days, which has led to some gems.  Earlier in the week, I made butternut squash fritters which were delish!  However, the fact that I had to grate an entire butternut squash puts the likelihood of me making them again in the lowest possible percentile.  I've been pretty much living on soups and salads and have been slowly, but surely, reducing the meat stocked in the freezer.

Tonight it is supposed to drop below 0, and tomorrow will be frigid.  That means all outdoor chores will be done on sheet ice.  Back to Yak-Traks and felted mittens.