Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Musings - The Reflective Edition.

When did 'they' start naming winter storms?  I really, honestly, would like to take most members of the media and drop kick them off the fiscal cliff (along with ALL of the members of Congress). 

It has been another interesting year here, at Little Lucky Farm. 

2012 was a veritable roller coaster.  There were some firsts (Ratz, Guineas, 500 posts!), some hellos (Apria) and goodbyes (Flora), some bon voyages (Sylvie).  But, what I am reflecting on the most is that it was not a happy year, not a satisfying year. 

So, move over 2012!  2013 is going to be the Year of Happiness!  As I type this, I am sitting in front of the computer wearing my dad's cast off work coveralls - he's shrunk down to a twig, so I (being his only son, heehee) inherited the coveralls.  The pants are rolled up six times, as are the sleeves.  The crotch is about two inches higher than my knees (how DO those kids navigate with their pants around their knees?  Can anyone tell me?).  I have been mending and taping the living room walls, building fires in the fireplace (and not seeing much of Bernie), picking out paint colors, and gearing up to rip up the living room carpet.  I am having fun!  And I am actually photographing the process, so stay tuned. 

In looking back, I realized that the entire year had gone by without a blip in my happiness meter.  Well, one large blip, but overall, flat as a pancake.  I have been sitting on the LLF waiting for happiness to arrive with enough suitcases packed for a lifetime.  It ain't going to happen.  There are, be in no doubt, a lot of things here that make my heart sing - the glorious nature that surrounds me, my dogs, my cats, my sheep, my llama, my chickens.  The jury is still out on the Guineas.  I have dear, good friends.  But mostly, I live a solitary life.  I don't think this is going to change anytime soon, so it's time to take action.  Besides, I am not getting any younger and I want to make sure my happiness meter is pinging away. 

I like to keep my resolutions vague - but I'd like to keep this one.  Any resolutions you'd like to share?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

The good news. The bad news.

There's no way to sugarcoat this. 

 I have found a wonderful gluten-free pastry recipe.

Yes, it's both good news and bad news.  Before I stumbled upon this amazing combination of most edible ingredients, I had the excuse (and the weight loss to support) not to ever eat another piece of pie.  *Sob*  Yet, faced with the prospect of Christmas traditions falling willy-nilly by the wayside, I just had to make a mincemeat pie.  H.A.D. to.  I did lots of research and this is what I came up with:

Gluten Free Mama Almond Blend Flour and Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pastry Recipe.  The mincemeat was mine - canned three years ago and almost forgotten in a corner of my canning cupboard.  As part of my resolve to get organized and work/eat my way through my voluminous canned stores, I found four pints of mincemeat.  And it was darned good, too! 

(The link to the Bob's Recipe site is down temporarily, so here it is, with my changes)

Easy as Pie Crust (Gluten Free)*

1-1/2 Cups GF All Purpose Flour (I used GF Mama Almond Blend)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Margarine (I used Earth Balance Shortening)
4 Tablespoons cold milk

The recipe directs you to cut fat into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.  I am too impatient for that.  I put the dry ingredients into the food processor, pulsed it a few times, then added the cold shortening cut into cubes, pulsed it until it was crumbly, with some pea-sized pieces of shortening.  Then I sprinkled the cold milk on top and pulsed until it clumped together.  I gathered it into a loose ball and rolled it out between two pieces of waxed paper. 

To bake the pie crust alone, bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.  With pie filling, bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F for an additional 40 minutes.  Be careful to check the edges of the crust for over-browning and cover with foil if it gets too brown too fast.

*The recipe is for a single crust - I doubled it with no problem, although I did have to add more milk - about a half cup, plus two tablespoons.

I apologize for not having taken a picture.  By the time I thought about it, dinner was over and the remaining pie had been divided up between my parents and guest.  I am very well acquainted with my total lack of self-control - I cannot be trusted alone with pie.  And now I have to try to ignore the soft, pleading whispers from my two four-pound bags of GFM's Almond Blend beckoning me from the freezer - "Make More Pie.  Make More Pie".  LALALALALALA.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday Musings - The Holiday Edition.

It's a day to muse about traditions.  As I grew up, our Christmas holiday was steeped in tradition.  When we were young, we would go to bed on Christmas Eve, practically vibrating with excitement.  We would be torn between going to bed early so we could go to sleep and make Christmas come faster, or refusing to go to sleep so we could hear Santa coming through the front door (no chimney).  We each had a stocking that would be hung at the foot of our beds - this was, in retrospect, the only way my parents could sleep past 4 AM.  Not surprisingly, I was up that early even then.  Also, in retrospect, my incredibly light sleeping habits must have caused my poor parents to have to out-last me, finally filling our stockings at a wee hour, when I had given up the battle and had fallen asleep.  We would wake up and shriek as quietly as possible, going through every precious object in our stocking.  One year, when I was 7, I got a miniature tool kit - the hammer to which I still have.  We got chocolate coins wrapped in gold paper, a tangerine, socks, and other small, inexpensive items which thrilled us no end.  One year we all got Troll dolls and that kept us occupied for years!

Once my parents gave up trying to sleep through the kerfufle, we were herded - wide-eyed (and rapidly trying to size up our piles*) - past the Christmas tree to the kitchen, where we had to have the obligatory breakfast.  My middle sister and I wolfed down our food, while my poor youngest sister, piddled around with hers.  I think the entire experience must have been traumatic for her - there was nothing worse than my slow-eating sister being between me and my Christmas gifts.  Once we had all eaten and my parents were up to their second cup of coffee, we raced into the living room.  But, no tearing of paper and rending of boxes for us.  We had to each open one, then we would take turns taking a present to each of our parents.  Then we had to write down on a list who gave us what for the thank you notes.  And there was no giant pile of presents, either.  We each got a few 'practical' things - socks, underwear - then we would get a smallish surprise and then one larger surprise, and some small things from aunties.  It was a long, drawn out morning and it was wonderful.  After a decent interval, we were sent off to get dressed and then we played with whatever treasures we had gotten from Santa for the rest of the day.

Our traditions shifted around as we got older, moved away from home and my sisters had families of their own.  As our needs grew fewer, so did our need and desire for 'stuff'.  My youngest sister moved to the West Coast, and my middle sister now has a challenging job that sometimes (as in this year) requires that she works holidays.  We have adapted by downsizing our tradition to food.  Every Christmas Eve we have oyster stew and a hot, Italian sandwich.  Now, thanks to yours truly, we are shifting again.  The oyster stew stays, but the sandwiches are out.  Same deal with Christmas Day - standing rib roast, vegetable, Yorkshire pudding - has morphed slightly to SRR, vegetable and roasted fingerling potatoes.  Such sacrifice.  :) 

As the years have passed, our focus has become more on the fact that we can enjoy each other's company, have a fire in the fireplace, holiday music playing, share a meal, and reflect on the year past.  That is a fine tradition.

I wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas - a holiday filled with family and friends, steeped in love. 

*Not that this will come as a surprise, but I was such a pain in the butt as a kid.  I would ferret out any and all presents that my parents tried their best to hide until Christmas.  I could have been a professional second story (wo)man.  There was no nook, no cranny that was safe! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We interrupt this weekend...

for a short, picture-filled post (!!!)

I found this in my mailbox - I presume Scrappy (aka Bert Lahr in a Dog Suit) snuck this in.  He's not so smart.  There wasn't a stamp on it.  Smarty-pants dogs.

My sister came for a short but sweet visit Monday night.

What do you give someone for Christmas when they have everything?  Why, a framed redwork  rendition (anatomically correct, no less) of a Tamworth boar.  Yes, I need to do more work on my lettering - but I like to think of it as "primitive".  That's still in vogue, right?

Some pics of the wind damage at my parents' house in Vermont.  It's quite a mess!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still here.

I did, however, believe this morning at 2A that we would be blown off the planet and out into the cosmos.  Gale force winds ripped the plastic off the hoops and managed to pull the iron rebar posts straight out of the ground - my compost bins were scattered, limbs were down, BUT, contrary to recent events, all of the Guineas were in the coop.  They must know their weather, since for the first time in days, all six were huddled on the roost inside last night. 

It was ever so much fun to do chores in the cold, torrential, horizontal rain.  As I struggled against the wind, trying to keep a firm grasp on both the feed bucket and the hay, three furry noses poked out from the shed.  That was all that emerged.  So it was breakfast in bed this morning for the woolies.  When I opened the chicken door, the chickens and Pearlies all ran out, then slammed on the brakes and ran back in.  I decided to harvest some of the Swiss chard since the cover was off, I was already soaking wet, and I wouldn't be able to get the plastic back on until tomorrow morning - it may all be dead by then.

My trip into work this morning was ... interesting.  Trees were down, limbs were down, power outages darkened traffic lights.  There were three detours - which made me happy that I had taken the time over the years to develop alternative routes.  I needed them all this morning.

I would say that the Mayan calendar went out with a bang, and the Winter Solstice started with the same.  I am glad that it was rain and not snow, but - wait!  If it had been snow, I could have stayed home!  I hope all of you in the path of the storm are safe and snug at home.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Crying Wolf.

With daylight lasting four hours now (or so it seems), it is dark when I roll up my driveway.  When I get out of the car and stand and listen, I can tell if the Pearlies are in or out of the coop.  Unlike chickens, they are ALWAYS NOISY.  This makes me wonder how they have lasted as a species.  It's as if they are sitting on their branches crying out - HEY OWLS!  HERE WE ARE!  NOM, NOM, NOM!

It gives me pangs every single night.  But there is little I can do other than quit my job and stay home to herd them into the coop every night.  Interestingly, of the six (two boys, four girls), two Pearlies always go into the coop at night.  The boys.  The girls, apparently, feel the need to sit out in the open, becoming sodden masses, just so they can have something to talk about in the morning.  Yesterday morning, there was some wet snow, so that really put the squeeze in their girdles.  I let them come down and carry on without doing my usual run in the bathrobe to let them into the coop (after the fact).

Once everyone was out and chattering up a storm, I went to do my sheep/goat/llama chores.  As I was getting ready to hay the sheep, I heard a deafening uproar.  This is nothing new or unusual.  Everything they do is deafening.  So I ignored them.  Then I heard Kees and that got my attention.  Even though he is an hysteric, the presence of the Pearlies has taken the wind out of his sails.  I don't think he can compete with the drama.  As I came around the corner of the yard toward the deck, I looked up to see a hawk the size of a VW Beetle poised in the Guineas' tree, ready to pounce.  Jumpin Jehosaphat!  I scared him off and then the Guineas all ran into the coop, where they remained for a full fifteen minutes.  Completely quiet.  I guess I better fine tune my alert meter.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Musings.

I was thinking that it would be nice to be a sheep for a day - especially when faced with your favorite meal.  That way, you could have a rumen and enjoy that meal all day long!  This kind of musing is a sure sign that I need a break from all this commuting.

And would it be too much to ask for car designers to put the gas tank on the same side of the car?  One of my most humbling moments was the night I rumbled up to the gas pump in my brandspankinnew black MR2 Turbo thinking I was stinkin hot, only to have the attendant look at me and say, "the gas tank is on the other side (you idiot)."  Took the steam out of my bustle instantly.  However, that car was definitely my favorite car of all time.  An incredibly hot little number - black with cream interior, two seats, spoiler, manual transmission.  It was the only time my practical side lost out to my IMUSTHAVEIT side - if you don't count my brief and painful Renault Le Car ownership. 

Life in a very small town can be either stultifying or fascinating - sometimes both in the same day.  After almost seven years here, I finally garnered an invitation to "the" exclusive holiday party up the hollow.  My first few forays up the hollow were as "guest".  Apparently, I passed muster.  One of the pluses of being invited is that I am usually the youngest attendee by at least ten years.  The hostess is in her 80s, has a pack of much-loved rescue dogs (or, "doe-awgs", as she says), the house is old, rather sprawling, way up a dirt road, and is floor to ceiling covered in wonderful art.  That she lives there on her own, year-round, fills me with both hope and admiration.  There were two themes of discussion this evening: the town supervisor and doe-awgs.  The wine is great, the food is "interesting" - and very limited from my GF perspective, so there's no fear of overeating - and you don't have to stay late. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A tear in the fabric.

It does seem that the very fabric of all that's good and precious in this world is starting to tear at the seams.  The endless, senseless violence and carnage that seems to be occurring every day paints a grim picture of what we have become.  You can argue the usual suspects: violent computer games, unsupervised children, a disassociation from compassion.  But the fact is that violent/disassociated young adults + unlimited access to automatic weapons = 18 children gunned down in their elementary school.  We may never know what caused this tragedy, but does it really matter what the cause?  Our society better sit up and smell the coffee.  And we better ALL sit up and make our government tackle the gun problem.  There is NO reason WHATSOEVER for any person to have access to an semi-automatic or automatic weapon or a handgun.  None. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the parents, siblings, family, and friends of those lost in Newtown. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrating the Twelves.

How cool is it that it is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of this new millennium?  And there won't be any 13/13/13.  Or 14/14/14.  This is it! 

In honor of the Twelves, here are twelve things about me that you didn't know you were dying to find out about.  (Got that???)
  1. I was born on the first day of the first month - but I was NOT the first baby of the new year in Newport News, Virginia.  Which would have garnered my parents some cool swag.  Instead, all they got was a ruined New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and a baby with colic.
  2. I taught myself to play the guitar (not well) but fancied myself the Ohio version of Joni Mitchell.  I used to play guitar with my sister - she played the flute - and I would make her laugh so she couldn't play.
  3. I speak passable Spanish and Dutch (although I am getting rusty on both counts).
  4. I had a pet skunk named Pooh, who I trained to walk with a harness and a leash.  Unfortunately, he was high-strung and used to bite me when he got nervous.  Which was all the time.
  5. I used to be married to a rodeo guy.
  6. One year, I made a lot of my spending money shooting pool.
  7. I am terrified of deep bodies of water.
  8. Because I almost drowned water-skiing in a lake (my dad saved me) and because of the movie, "Jaws".
  9. I am fascinated by knots.
  10. I wanted to be a famous female sculptor.
  11. I can type 120 wpm
  12. I collect shaped stones, feathers, and small, shiny objects.
So - enough about me!  How about you?  Are you celebrating the Twelves?  Doing anything special today?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Tis the season....

to hang on by your fingernails.  I spent all of Saturday doing errands and baking gingerbread men with my mother.   Then all of Sunday alternating inside chores with outside chores and spending the entire day on my feet.  By the time 4:30P hit (my self-imposed cut-off time - except for feeding the group) on Sunday, my back ached, my head ached and I was prone on the floor.  Where Bernice, in a surprising move, gave me a little kiss on the tip of my nose.  My recovery was instant.

Of course, I can't list all I did because some of it's secret.  Let's just say that I am 90 percent ready for the holidays.  It wasn't all work - I got some good cardio-vascular exercise in the afternoon.  When I emptied the poultry feed into their rodent-proof (so far) feed can, I shook the bag to empty it fully and sent the Posse of Pearlies up and over the fence - and into the tick/muck/reed/brier infested bog in the no(w)oman's land in the back.  Where they stuck together in a little clump and wouldn't move.  Soooo, I had to slog down, getting shredded, to herd them back up the hill towards the safety of the fence.  Twenty minutes later, they were back where they were supposed to be.  Except for Lonesome Georgette, my oddball.  Twenty minutes later than the first twenty minutes, she was safely back with the group.  While I was messing around back there, I discovered that Sandy had blown an entire 4x8 panel of T-11 off the back of the coop.  Said panel was wedged halfway down the hill in some trees.  That took another twenty or so minutes to pry it loose and drag it back up the hill.  Replacing it will be saved for another day of fun.

I also Chickie-proofed his hay feeder (I hope), put a pumpkin out for my fluffy (they ain't fat) sheep, visited with Melanie twice (!!) when she came to pick up llama beans and drop off bacon (!!!), did lots of cooking, crafting, cleaning, etc., etc.  Then I had an Ipswich Swizzle, watched a Christmas movie and went to bed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings.

My, oh, my.  It's a different world we live in.  I remember a tall, grave (but kindly) bear sporting a park ranger's hat telling me that only I could prevent forest fires.  Now he's all attitude and telling me to Get My Smoky On.  Just what the heck is "my smoky"?  Makes me either want to pull out my paisley velour smoking jacket and light up, or look for leather. 

"As the crow flies."  Do crows fly straighter than other birds?  There is a spot during my commute where I crest the plateau and I can see the city.  If I was a crow, it would be a much shorter commute.  But, then, why would I fly to the city?  The country is much nicer, especially for crows.  And on the subject of birds, this fall there seems to be a bumper crop of Mourning Doves over-nighting in the pines next to the goat barn.  They are so fidgety and easily frightened (sort of like lots of feathered Bernies), that I find myself tiptoeing under the pines on my way to feed the goats, making all kinds of reassuring noises so that they know I am not going to harm them.  Nothing worked until I started singing to them.  They seem to prefer Joni Mitchell.  (Does that make me certifiable?)  I think I am making progress!  Last night there was only some minor cooing and fluttering.   I am very fond of Mourning Doves.  They remind me of fragile bits of Southwestern Indian pottery.

Since a lot of my musing occurs while I commute, we are back on the road.  I realized that, when I come to a bend in the road (and, believe me, there is not a straight bit of road for miles around me!), I tend to accelerate into the turn.  Just a bit.  Not, of course, if it's raining, sleeting, snowing or anything inclement (just in case there is a Driving Instructor reading this with his marking pencil ready to give me demerits...)  This is a habit I picked up from a fellow I used to work for back in the Dark Ages of Advertising in Cleveland.  He had been a professional race car driver in his youth.  We had a client about 50 miles south of Cleveland that we met with on a regular basis and on the way to their offices we passed a race track (not an official one - one with miniature race cars).  On our way back to Cleveland, we would stop at the track and race.  He was extremely competitive and I am no slouch in that department, either.  However, he was better (and my boss....).  I only beat him once and he didn't talk to me for a week.  It was hard, but I let him win from then on.  : /  In another chapter of the DAoAiC,  the ad agency I worked for decided to try some bonding exercises to mend the inevitable rift between the creative and the 'client' sides of the business.  They came up with some odd hybrid of volleyball and slam dancing (my interpretation, but it was played in a room with padding on the walls).  Well, let me tell you, everyone on BOTH sides wanted me on their team.  I was fiercesome!  I made up for lack of size with lots of "attitude".  Besides, I could jump and spike like nobody's business.  I have since calmed down.  Really.  That and a couple of rotator cuff operations.  And I'd need help getting up.  Anyone seen my cane????

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pucker up!

This may be the best year yet for my Meyer Lemon crop!  I took six off the tree and there are -- 24 -- left!!!!!  I "heart" my Meyer Lemon Tree!  Of course, I will be faced with 30 lovely lemons all within a week or so - oh, poor me...

This tree is about four years old - I've had it for about three years.  Pretty soon I will have to re-pot it, as most of the nutrients in the soil will have been used up.  I water it once week, keep it in a sunny spot (it has its own light starting in January) and feed it an organic citrus fertilizer approximately once a month.  I measure out the fertilizer the same way I measure when I cook - randomly.  As soon as the weather warms up and there's no chance of frost, out she goes.

Can someone tell me why this refuses to right itself?

Poor baby can hardly hold its head up.

I foresee lemon curd, candied lemon peel, frozen lemon juice....loverly.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy.

Can I get an "Amen!" from all you cat owners?  I have three cats - and somehow, they have ended up being:  all male, all black and white, all three sizes:  small, medium, x-large.  One specializes in mice and plastic bags.  One specializes in feats of acrobatic daring and theft of loose objects.  One specializes in eating anything that doesn't move faster than he does and trying to get Bernice to lick his head.

Very early this morning, I start to hear the objects hitting the floor.  The size and composition vary from morning to morning.  This morning's sounded plastic.  Lots of high, squeaking sounds as whatever it was  was scraped along the floor.  I put the pillow over my head and went tried to go back to sleep.

Not long afterward, I gave up and got up.  It had started raining and I was tempted to let the cats out with the dogs. They are all hot-to-trot to get out anyway.  Kidding.  As I stumbled around in the dark, looking for the light, I kicked something.  Turns out that Medium (aka Onceslim) had unearthed a plastic container of catnip from gawdknowswhere.  There were numerous fang marks on the container, but the lid had stayed on.  Amazing!

Before I had my first cup of coffee (this is an important part of the story...) I thought, "Oh, FINE.  You want this catnip?  You want it?  Well, HERE!"  Then I proceeded to sprinkle a liberal amount over their scratching wave.  Then I had my coffee.

Ten minutes later, I am sitting here listening to howling, mewling, whacking, flipping, drooling, and a variety of indescribable things going on in the living room.

I am, indeed, my own worst enemy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Squirreliminator.

The line has been drawn.  Boundaries have been over-stepped.  My bank account is being affected.  Thanks to last winter-that-wasn't, besides my War on Ratz, I have been overrun by every imaginable rodent population.  Grey squirrels are chewing on feed cans, prying them open, waltzing brazenly into the chicken coop.  Red squirrels are just plum crazy - they fling themselves across the deck like lunatic acrobats.  All they need are glitter tights and capes.  Geezloueeze. 

Figuring it was safe (from bear intervention) to put out the birdseed, I allowed myself to fall into a false sense of normalcy.  I love to watch the birds flitting about, grabbing a seed with their little talons and zipping away, tiny chickadees whisking about your head.  I love my cardinal couple, even though he still seems fixated with my car rear view mirrors.  I love the Jones Family Sparrows, all million-and-a-half of them (most of whom lounge around in the chicken coop all day).  I get goosebumps when I sight a nuthatch.  But, do I enjoy watching Dom (DeLuise) and Orson (Welles) draping their fur-clad-sumo-like girths over my bird feeders?  I do not.  Nor do I like their cousins, Fatty (Arbuckle) and Fat (Boy).  Or their brothers Lard (Butt) and Big (Booty).  You get the picture.

So far these grey-coated buckets of suet have chewed my bird feeders to bits, eaten every bit of seed meant for the birds, damaged feed pails, and godknowswhatelse.  I have thrown rocks at them, curses at them, have sic'd Scrappy on them (he's mostly into the opening shot out of the door, then quickly goes downhill after that).  I have had enough.

Enter the {{Squirreliminator}}.

Also known as the Gamo Hornet .177 Air Rifle.  Oh, yah.  This baby shoots TWO kinds of pellets (.177 for regular vermin/varmints and .22 for big game like - what? - opossums?).  It is probably the only weapon I am safe with.  I've been practicing by hitting a cardboard box (once in a while) and by making thinly veiled threats to the squirrels.  The only drawback I can see - well, one of two - is that it breaks very hard to load.  By the time I wrestle with it and squint my way to loading the teeny, tiny pellet in the teeny, tiny hole, most of the varmints have packed their maws with seed and have headed to their lairs.  But I'm determined.   However, there is one other tiny drawback.  I don't think I actually want to hit them.  I gave Orson (or was it Fatty?) a goose yesterday and I was walking around wringing my hands for an hour.  I am rather hoping that word will get around and they will go find a less deadly place to pillage.

Very truly yours,

Sweezie The Wuss

Sunday, December 2, 2012

(Pre) Monday Musings.

Or, what can happen after four cups of coffee by 7A on a Sunday morning - well, it gets me off the hook tomorrow!

I recently had a conversation with someone where the subject of smells setting off memories came up.  One of the smells discussed had to do with shoe polish.  Which eventually led me to rummage around to find my shoe polishing kit (charm school : shoe polishing kit).  It's amazing what happens to shoe polish that hasn't been touched for 39 years...  I picked up a new can of Kiwi Brown shoe polish this weekend and, having no idea how inflation has affected the price of shoe polish, actually gasped when I saw the price for a small tin!  I bought it anyway and came home and polished my Danskos.  I wonder how many people actually polish their shoes these days?  Of course, this train of musing led me to remember my neighbors in one of my past lives.  They lived next door and had three daughters - one just a teenager, one just into her tweens and a surprise - the toddler.  The oldest daughter was beautiful and she and the toddler got the lion's share of their parents' attention.  Which left B, the middle rather awkward daughter with braces, feeling adrift and angry.  She ended up in my kitchen at some point almost every day.  I was very fond of her.  However, this particular musing is about her older sister - a more self-centered, limited creature of any age I have never met.  I was there when she, in excited tones, discovered that shoe polish made her shoes shiny!  There was much cheering.  I had to leave the room.  May I interject that B made straight As in school?

Does Art imitate Life?  Or does Life imitate Art?  I am thinking of creating a regular feature entitled "Daze of Their Lives".  And I'm sure I'll have the pants sued off me.  I am sure you all know by now that I do not watch television and have not for quite some years (aren't I the virtuous one?)  But, really, do I need to when all I have to do to get my daytime soap opera fix is to sit in the Midas waiting room for an hour?  Let me introduce you to the cast of characters:  Older Woman, overweight, cane, car problems.  Older Man, prior heavy smoker, permanently attached to portable oxygen tank (limited supply - clock ticking), various mechanics, trio of women - #1 indeterminate age; #2 20s; #3 teenager, Linda - weekend manager with heart of gold.  Within the hour, the Older Woman opined on everything from toilet paper brands to knee replacements (she'd had 4).  The Older Man rasped out his views on the cost of car repairs and the deficiencies of the medical system.  Linda mediated with #2 who had been sold a car (sight unseen) which they held under a mechanic's lien.  Apparently, the owner had sold the car to a number of people/friends, had collected umpteen dollars but owed over two grand to the garage.  #1 made a stream of veiled and outward threats of bodily harm to the owner, then sidled up to me to say she wished she could knit, as her daughter (#3) was pregnant and expecting a baby!  #3 looked to be about 15 and terrified.  The mechanics zipped in and out with accounts of seizures, dog bites, hunting accidents, and any number of other catastrophes.  I ask you, do I really NEED television?

True confession - I had a momentary thought about buying a big flat screen television set last night on which to watch my DVDs.  Luckily, it was just that - momentary.  I do have a terrible weakness for gadgets...

The following is a mental clip of my thought process while knitting something (my first pair of fingered gloves!!) out of baby alpaca yarn:  "Oooooh.  This is so soft.  I love knitting with alpaca.  Hmmmm.  Alpacas are small.  And I only have the two sheep now.  Hmmm.  I think Apria would like someone(s) else to look after.  Hey!  Maybe she'd like an alpaca(s) - it could be like having a little sister(s)!  I bet she'd like sisters!  And the goats!  Hey!  The goats may like having something new to look at.  I think they have been bored.  Hey!  Then I could breed them and they'd have babies and I would have baby alpaca yarn......"  Thankfully, by the time I had my second cup of coffee, this inane thought process had died of its own accord.