Monday, April 30, 2018

No excuses.

If I needed an example of what happens when you a) don't follow your instincts; b) think that, if something happened one way before, it will repeat itself; and c) are just plain lazy, I got it in spades this weekend.

Saturday was the usual whirlwind of activity - all my errands, a haircut, lunch with the folks, my labor-for-vege time with Marianne, etc.  It had been grey and damp in the morning but - thank you, Universe - it cleared up briefly in the afternoon with blue sky and sun.  Just in time for my farm work!  It then went downhill quickly and, by the time I got home, it was raining.  It rained constantly, making any outdoor activity unattractive.   A neighbor had graciously agreed to pick up some books on CD from the library for me, so I squelched over to pick them up and had a glass of wine and some adult person conversation.  It was very nice.  By the time I got home it was pouring, so I had to force the dogs outside (large umbrella held aloft), feed them, feed the sheep/llama, collect eggs, then feed me.  As soon as it is starting to get dark, the chickens are snug in their coop and I close them up.  The ducks, however, are loathe to go in until it's dark.  I decided to wait until the rain eased up to go out and close them in and then promptly fell asleep in my chair.  I did not think about it again until just after I slipped under the covers.  I decided I was too tired, it was still raining and I had left it open before with no ill effects.  After all, the poultry yard is surrounded by a six-foot wood fence with chicken wire around the bottom.  You can see where this is going.

At 2:15A, I heard the ducks - shot out of bed, threw on my robe, got Lovey, slipped into boots and turned the lights on.  Lovey levitated off the deck, snarling with hair raised down her back, towards the fence.  I went out with the headlamp on and my .22 loaded.  A cursory inspection of the duck house showed only one occupant and no sign of the others.  I was too late.  I closed the door, called Lovey off and went inside.  Needless to say, there was no going back to bed.

When it was finally light, I went out to survey the damage.  Only Dolly was left and she was frozen in terror, crammed in the back corner of the nesting box.  I went out of the front gate to survey the outside perimeter of the fence and, lo and behold!, there was Dimples, looking terrorized and missing a lot of pin feathers.  I herded her back into the yard and Dolly ventured out only after hearing Dimples.  There was no sign of Cordelia or Gertie.  Not a feather.  There were only a few tiny drops of blood, so I figured it was a pair of foxes.  This was supported by the method of their entry into the yard.
It's hard to see in the photograph, but they had dug under the fence, next to the duck coop and under the gate and, thanks to me, had waltzed in the open front door and made off with C & G.  If I had been flexible enough, I would have kicked myself from here to Babylon.  Thanks to my pure laziness and arrogance, I had let them down and my dear ducks paid a heavy price.   Needless to say, the survivors were traumatized and spent the entire day huddled together, as far away from their coop as they could be.  It's interesting in that the chickens, having gone through a hawk attack in their coop, then spending who knows how many hours with the assassin perched on their roost, were over it within an hour or so.  The ducks are still not over it.  It took quite a while and some strategically placed boards to herd them back into their coop.  I had gone up to the hardware store (in Vermont) and reinforced both their door and the chicken coop door.  All in the pouring rain.  On top of that, I had gotten a rather last-minute call from my shearer and I had to scramble around to get the sheep corralled and put in lockdown for his visit this morning.
Joe with the fat eel that is Linden.
I no longer refer to him as the 'sweet sheep'. 
He's a pain.

Norman, a Cormo/Pony X, who IS
a pain, is a total bean bag for the shearer.
Go figure.

Dirty but lovely Cormo fleece.
As is always the case on shearing day, it rained, it snowed, it was cold, it was damp.  After spending some hours in cold drafty barns (I help with my neighbor's shearing), my feet felt like blocks of ice.  A hot shower, wool socks and a fourth cup of coffee later, I was on my way to the office, feeling like I was coming in from Mars.  As is also always the case, shearing takes about six times longer than you figure.  When I called my boss to let her know I was running (very) late, she wasn't too bothered.  She had taken the day off to spend with her daughters and nieces for a long weekend of spas, chef-catered dinners and farm-to-table breakfasts.  Yeehaw.

Friday, April 27, 2018

And the winner is....

A very quick post to announce the winner of the Make magazine before I bolt out the door and into OMGIF. 

Michelle of Boulderneigh!

Come on down!!!

I have your particulars, so I will get this in the post to you ASAP.  Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to comment ~~ have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ay! Caramba!

I think we have reached the point in our relationship where we would be kidding ourselves to think that I thrive on harmony and order.  Besides, harmony and order do not provide the fodder for titillating blog posts.  Let's just say that I headed into the weekend under full throttle.

TGIF has officially been replaced by OMGIF.  While I didn't walk into the usual chaos of Lovey vs. the living room, I did get blindsided by Bunny on my way to the coop to get eggs.  The little idgit managed to spur me and draw blood.  His days are numbered to the realm of the single digit.

After an evening of homemade pizza (using Brandless' GF mix - which, no matter how much I like it, I cannot order again because it comes in a plastic pouch, dammit), a glass of wine for medicinal purposes and three episodes of Shetland, I fell into bed, running my list for the weekend on the endless loop.

Up and at 'em early, I made my list (in chronological order - I need all the help I can get), then headed out the door in plenty of time.  Everything went south from there.  In my town, if you don't employ an independent trash/recycling pick up service, you take your trash, et al. to the town transfer station.  This is extremely cost effective and they have added better recycling service over the 12 years I've lived here (OMG, 12 years?).  The system consists of purchasing yearly a numbered tag to be displayed in your car, and then tickets to be used, one per bag, for your trash and for anything that goes in the big containers - metal (free), construction and general trash.  These can only be purchased from the town clerk, who works two partial days a week - Wednesday night and Saturday morning.  I pulled into the lot five minutes after she opened and noticed four cars already there.  Never a good sign.  In small towns (at least mine), it is the thing to do of a Saturday, to stand around and talk about this and that with the town clerk, the transfer station team, anyone stationary who will listen.  Instead of the usual in/out service, I was treated to a 20 minute wait while various small indignities and problems were discussed.  It must have been the fact that there was actual sun and it brought everyone and their Uncle Bob out from under their winter rocks.

I then had to streamline my list.  I stopped at the transfer station, now officially tagged for the year, and was faced by two long lines of cars and pick-ups, building up behind two old codgers who were chewing the fat with the staff.   I sashayed up to the front and suggested that they move their trucks through and off to the side and THEN continue their conversations so that the rest of us could carry out our business.  They begrudgingly complied and, when I sashayed back to my car, the people in line tooted their horns and waved at me.  Why, I ask you, didn't someone further up in line do this?  They obviously don't live by to-do lists.  I live in a town of complainers, not doers.  Pfft.

I skipped getting gas (not a good idea, it turned out) and stopped in to see the parents and admire my sister's new-to-her car.  It was a short visit because
The foster for a dog that was being flown up from Puerto Rico fell through at the last minute.  Who you gonna call?  ME!  Whatever.  I had to drive the hour plus to the airport to pick up the little fluff ball and then drive her home.  She is 10 years old, was an owner-surrender and is a sweet, timid little dog.  She must have felt she landed on Mars.  After being left at a rescue, she was (through voodoo?  I don't know how these rescues are all interconnected) put in a crate, driven to San Juan, put on a plane, then unloaded and put on another plane, then she arrived in upstate NY.  Then she was loaded into my car and driven another hour plus to an alien landscape where, upon alighting from the car, she saw sheep.  She froze in place and I had to carry her in.  We have been observing the usual newcomer protocol - gates up everywhere - and she seems to be fitting in quite nicely.  She is small - just under 20 pounds, blindingly white with floofy bloomers and a short, much-plumed tail, with light tan spots on top of both ears and two round tan dots on her lower back.  She will be adopted in a nanosecond.  We are negotiating our Spanish/English commands and making a little headway.

Sunday morning, I was up early - very early, it turned out, as the power had briefly gone off and I hadn't noticed and my clock read 5:30A, causing me to rocket out of bed, thinking I was frittering my morning away!  It was actually 2:30A, but I was wide awake by the time I realized it, so....sigh.

I baked a cranberry cake for the barn crew, did some knitting, reassured Layla, did my chores and headed up to my friend, M's farm to put in my first installment of labor-for-vege.  It was the first beautiful morning in what felt like years, and the view from her farm is breath-taking.  We planted asparagus, currants (red and black), gooseberries, did some clean-up around her new fruit trees, and schlepped plants out to the sun to harden off.  All the while, I was yelling (nicely) at her while she clomped around in her ortho-boot with her still-mending broken ankle.  Honestly.  After the two and a half hours, I was back in my car and zipping towards home, where I met my friend and his wife who were due to fix my roof vents!  While Steve worked on the roof, Christina and I helped my neighbor (who had also pulled up - there was an actual work crew!) fix my laundry tree, clear the fence line, and sweep off the top of the barn after clearing the tree falls.  I then worked on my raised beds and front flower bed, until my farmer/neighbor arrived with a truckload of hay.  It was like going from 0-60 without a seatbelt!  I was sure to pop a few ibuprofens before bed.  It just felt too good to be out in the sun to stop.  I figured I would fall into bed and sleep, coma-like, until my usual 4A.  This was the case until midnight, when Layla started crying, pitifully, and didn't stop for an hour.  I gave up, put her on the bed, she rolled into a tight ball and fell asleep.  Thankfully, so did I.  We have moved up the group interaction and all three dogs go out together with no problem.  I don't think she has ever lived with a cat, as Slimmie scares the bejeebers out of her.  This is the first time she will be left for a long stretch - I don't foresee any problems, as she is still separated but not crated and it will provide Lovey with the sense that her back is covered, in case her yard is encroached by the dreaded brown-truck-driving-dog-body-snatchers.

Remember way back on Saturday, when I skipped gassing up the car?  Good thing I was coming down off the mountain this morning on my way to work when the empty sign flashed on.  I managed to coast into the gas station on fumes....

Friday, April 20, 2018

Help celebrate the after-effects of cabin fever and too much shoveling.

Most of what I remember about March consists of low light, endless rounds plying my snow shovel and roof rake, the Passage of Pee - the narrow, high-sided tunnel shoveled from deck to chicken coop that was decorated daily by the dogs - knitting and obsessing over knitting podcasts.  There may have been some ordering of yarn and related objects.  There may have been way too much of that.

In the miasma of March, I, being the mental case that I am/was, I entered a near-swooning state over the new Making magazine.  I am not one for subscriptions - with the exception of my devotion to Taproot Magazine, to which I have subscribed from the beginning.  I am sure it was due to all the knitting and watching all those ladies (and men) do all their better knitting, and all the much more complicated and lovely things they were knitting that I totally thought I could knit as well.  And then there was the lack of sunlight.  In any event, it appears I ordered two subscriptions.  Sigh.  The very nice women who create this publication (based in Portland, ME - Sylvie!) refunded my extra subscription and let me keep the extra copy of No. 5 - Color.

In view of this largess, I am having a drawing for the extra copy.  You can go to their website here, to see what all the fuss is about.

Here's what you need to do to enter the drawing - leave a comment below about March.  Or making something.  Or about an interesting conversation you overheard in the grocery store.  Whatever.  Make the comment by midnight Wednesday, April 25th, which, by the way is National Administrative Assistant Day (formerly, Secretarys' Day but HEAVEN FORBID WE LEAVE ANYONE WHATSOEVER OUT OF BEING SPECIAL) and which, by the way, is the day before National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.  I may be bringing the pups...hehe.  Back to business.  I will draw a winner on Friday.  The drawing is open to the continental US and our neighbors to the North (yay, Canada!!!)

Aren't you glad I am such a hot mess?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lovely and not so much.

EDITED to clear up my pot-holed memories.  (Thank you, Kenneth).  These are, indeed, molas, given to me eons ago by my then-boyfriend, Kenneth.  They were made by the Cuna Indians, residents of the San Blas Islands off of the coast of Panama.  He brought them back from his tour of duty in the Canal Zone and, consequently (some time later) presented them to me.  The totally unrelated Czech reference comes from his Czech roots.  Clear as mud?  In any event, they are lovely and I am so glad that I can now enjoy them on a daily basis!

In one of my purging exercises, I had unearthed two pieces of Czech hand-craft/art that I have had for, oh, over 35 years.  Given my previous lives, it is amazing that I still have them and they are in as pristine shape as they were when they were given to me.  (Look familiar, Kenneth?)  I had mulled over making them into pillows at one point, but am so glad I didn't.  I apologize for the low light but, that's all we have had for months.  I believe I will be struck blind when the sun finally arrives. 

During her short visit, Sylvie and I trotted off to the fabric store and found an appropriate color (who knew there were so many shades of yellow?) for the background and then we carefully mounted them into the frames I had preordered.  Voila!  I do not know the name of this particular fabric craft, but it is made by placing layers of different colored fabric, cut into shapes and then hand-stitched around each design.  It's beautiful and the colors are much brighter in real life.  If anyone knows what this is called, please leave me a comment!

Speaking of lovely - well, in my eyes - I have finished the first of the Poison Candy socks!  Love it!  They will light my way in dark passages!
It needs blocking and the ends woven in, but WOWZA!
Also under the category of beautiful knitting, here is my new-to-me cabled sweater:
I can't even....
One would think, given that I have surrounded myself with things beautiful, that I would notice if something were, let's just say, not quite so lovely.  Apparently not.  I was knitting away this morning, looked down and saw this:

Methinks my jim-jams need a beauty treatment!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Pass me the mustard, I'm about to eat crow, and the post with all the asides.

I have spent the past month-plus, whining about the unfairness of the weather, the long line of (mini) catastrophes that have befallen me, thinking nothing would ever be light or fun (or affordable) again. Forsooth and forsaken, oh, woe is me. This is my new lot in life.  Wah, wah, wah.  Blah, blah, blah.

Then three things happened that grabbed me by my proverbial lapels and shook me until my pea-sized brain rattled.  First, I received a box from the NW coast containing, among other equally glorious things, a hand-knit cable sweater that I have inherited.  (Said inheritance having been bestowed upon me by my friend, the knitter).  Then, my bestie, Sylvie, drove up from Maine to spend the weekend.  THEN, I received a box from a new friend on the NW coast (mighty nice people up/out there, no?)  that contained enough bright yarn and glittery nail polish to finish off the sparklizing of me!  Why, even the weather cooperated - dropping from slightly lower than normal spring temps with sun (whazat?), back to winter!  With ICE!  And SLEET!  (Can you hear the drip, drip, drip of sarcasm there?)  Seriously, even though I was less than thrilled by the weather - it caused the shortening of my much-needed visiting time with Sylvie - I was able to wear my new sweater!  Woot!
Can't wait to see these socks knit up!
One of the most fun things about having company - especially Sylvie - is that I get to try out new recipes.  I have been working through my collection of Moosewood cookbooks and decided to make the Cauliflower Cheese Pie from the original Moosewood cookbook, then had planned the Spiced Pineapple Pilaf (from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven) with a Zatar roasted chicken.  The beauty of the CC pie is that the crust is made from grated potatoes (GF) and I happened to have some spiffy hash brown potatoes that made making the crust a snap.  It was easy and delicious.  Since Sylvie had to leave early Sunday morning, I wasn't sure if I would make the pilaf/chicken dish.  Then the temperatures dropped, I had on my snuggly warm new-to-me cable sweater and thought, what the heck.  In the process of making the rice, I decided to tackle the non-functioning pressure cooking part of my Instant Pot.

**Aside here - let me say this about Instant Pot's customer service.  They are very responsive.  And they do absolutely nothing to help you.  In fact, I would guess that their motto is, "smile and do nothing".  After getting - and I kid you not - the exact same instructions to 'troubleshoot', over four times, it dawned on me that they had no intention whatsoever to honor their warranty.

Through a judicious use of tweezers, I was able to get the pot up to pressure and then promptly over-cooked my rice.  More work needs to be done on my rice-cooking skills.  In any event, the spice mixture was intriguing and delicious and the dish was easy to make.  I had pineapple left over from making my neighbor's birthday cake, so I got to clean out my fridge.  (Insert Happy Dance)  I had defrosted one of my last meat chicken halves and put together a zatar/palm sugar rub and the results were great.
This does not reflect the golden-ness
of this dish, both spicy and sweet!
**Aside #2 - When cooking with me, my sisters ask - gee, do you have any (insert ingredient)?  Then fall all over themselves in laughter, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.  I have at least five pounds of everything.  Ergo, the gallon jar of mustard seeds.  And why?  Just in case I need them in a recipe.  Which usually calls for - at the most - two teaspoons.  Sigh.  However, if you are ever on a deserted island with me, we will have mustard seeds.
The dogs were completely worn out, vying for Sylvie's attention and slept through most of Sunday.  This left me time to begin to tackle Project Guestroom.  I got half the closet done and probably would have been further along, had I not gotten completely sidetracked by a) knitting, b) all the stuff I had forgotten was in the closet.  In any event, it's started and I have vowed to have the guest room in order, chop-chop.  As a matter of fact, I did promise to get the house in order (relatively speaking - I mean, I am only human and only one human) by the end of October or I would bring Sylvie in to whip me into shape.  I/we also got two pieces of Czech fabric folk art framed.  These have been languishing least 30 years.  

**Aside #3 - Every time Sylvie comes to visit, I am filled with an overwhelming desire to purge my junk and read many books.  She should package and sell her skills.  AND she brought me a brandy-new pair of shoes, a small Cuisinart food processor and two bottles of wine and left me with a book list.  No, you cannot have her - she is MINE.

Then the wind picked up to gale-force, the house was pelted with ice for hours and it was Monday.  I needed super powers to get going this morning.

Friday, April 13, 2018

There's a fine line between stoic and hysteric. At least phonetically.

The young handyman who had built my pergola had cast a hairy eyeball on my roof (the damage is obvious) and offered that 'him and his dad' could take care of that problem for me.  There was much talking around the approach - I have found this represents the speaker trying to figure out ways to rip you off extract as much money out of you as possible, while, at the same time, trying to sound sympathetic and reasonable.  A couple of days later, I received a quote via a text (of course), which I cringed through.  Even for a text, the spelling and grammar were alarming.  Apparently, our local school system uses the phonetic method of spelling because, given that I did not have an 'addick' in my house, the job could be very, very tricky.  He then gave me an estimate that caused my eyebrows to meet my hairline.  It seems that the father/son duo charge a combined rate of $40/hour.

**Aside here:  I have a galling tendency to be a grammar snob (although I often fall short of perfection myself - it's a failing).  In my defense, besides being schooled in a different era, I spent my entire childhood-into-young-adulthood trapped at the dinner table with my father, the King of Grammar.  We were given a "Word of the Day" and had to know how to spell it and use it in a sentence.  Heaven help you if the grammar weren't purfickt.  :-O **

The same day, I received a call from my chimney sweep who told me he will be in my area and thought I might be (over) due for a cleaning.  I explained that I couldn't have the chimney cleaned, as it was now tilted at a slight angle and I wasn't sure if the seal (or whatever) had been compromised.  He said that, as he was going to be in my area anyway, he would stop by and look at it and see if he could fix it.  Gratis.  Technically, it's not gratis, since once it's fixed he will clean it and that's not gratis.  But, still...   

Sighing heavily (something happening with much more regularity and heaviness since the March madness), I drudged into the office building this morning and met my building supervisor/friend.   While we usually discuss dog rescue things, I think I must be spending too much time with my resident drama queen, because I solicited an "is everything alright?" inquiry.  I tell you, it doesn't take much for me to pour my heart out to anyone these days.  I am going to have to go home tonight and starch my upper lip.  On the other hand, he is coming out a week from Sunday to have a look and write up a shopping list for parts needed to fix the roof.  Once I have acquired them, he will come out and fix it.  Gratis, truly and really.  These dog rescue folks are amazing!

With a much lighter step, I proceeded up to my office where I attempted a mind-meld with the Universe in order to regain my "Rosie" (inside reference) attitude.  It worked!  Of course, the Universe wouldn't be the Universe without having a slightly ironic side... more on that later.

Apparently, I have a lot to say this week, having posted four out of five days.  Sheesh.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hillbilly carpentry, endless snow and winnowing out the pantry.

Mr. Butters got a steroid shot and his nails clipped (much high drama - I think we cleared the waiting room) and we are now just keeping an eye on him to see if it will do the trick.  If not, the next step is an allergy panel to see if we can find the cause of his itchy rash.  My vet loves him - screaming meemies and all - and Mr. B does play it up big time; looking at him with large, adoring eyes.  Putting his front flippers on his knee and wagging his entire body.  Geesh.

Until I can get to a hardware store to pick up the replacement hinges for the deck gate (and chicken door, and fence gate, and...and...), I had to improvise.  The judicious placement of baling twine and the dogs' tennis ball toy seems to have done the trick
Baling twine (left) and tennis ball/rope toy (right).

If you look out from the deck, you can see the pergola, stacked like a giant erector set.  Once the remaining glacier of snow melts and releases the remaining upright (using the term loosely) post, we will re-erect it.  Hopefully, this time with better bracing and far enough from the roof line that any avalanche will not give us a repeat performance.

You may also see in the photograph above the snow.  Yes, while I was doing a happy dance at the overnight temperatures in the mid-20s, I had yet to look outside.  When I did, it was a sad dance, indeed.  At least it should not stick to the ground, but fercryinoutloud. 

After I had finished inoculating at M's last Saturday, I got a tour of what was happening on the farm.  This involved walking into a deliciously warm greenhouse, carpeted with early spring greens.  It's amazing how much better one feels when gazing upon green things.  When I left a little later, they bestowed a bag of freshly picked greens.  I am portioning them out very carefully.  My lunches have reflected my efforts to empty out my canning shelves - sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.
Belden Farm greens, hard-boiled duck egg,
dilly beans from 2015.
While the dilly beans in the salad pictured above were, er, edible, they also tended to go down the gullet like napalm.  ACK!  Luckily, I only had six pints left, so those will go out to the compost.  I'm onto the pickled, spiced red cabbage next.  Thank goodness for compost...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy Adoptavirsary to my best girl!

Worried that I might drag out the
pink tutu for the occasion.
Four years ago on April 9, a Nervous Nellie, slip of a girl dog was delivered to my doorstep.  She spent the next year in a state of anxiety, until she finally realized that she was home.  She is silly, sweet, gentle and loving.  I adore her.  They had steak last night to celebrate (a day late as her absent-minded mother forgot to take it out to thaw.  Pfft.)  Here's to many, many more years together.

Here is typical Lovey-Peanut play:

Monday, April 9, 2018


Seeing as it's Monday and I'm happy to be at work, that should give you the flavor of the past weekend.  Let's do this in stream-of-consciousness style.

I found very reasonably-priced ($1.39 vs $4.07) graham crackers at Aldi's that seem to be larger than the puny things rattling around in the Honey Maid box.  My sister took me to Aldi's to distract me from my $1300 oil change.  It almost worked.  Kidding.  What did help was spending a good two hours drilling, inoculating and waxing shitake mushroom logs with Marianne and her husband.  There's nothing like doing physical work to save you from the chaos that is your mind.  This will cure me of that smug feeling I had when my fuel oil tank was filled for the third time (being the first time EVER I've had to do this in the 12 years I have lived here), knowing my tax return will take care of it and thinking it would also take care of buying fencing and fixing the pergola.
Just before the total collapse.

The pergola came down Sunday, after one too many high winds and took the birdfeeder, gate and Tibetan prayer flags with it.  I was out the door, tout suite, to gather the flags and hope there is no dishonor or bad karma being aimed at my head, because I have had enough.  I waited two hours for the guy who was to take it apart and reassemble it (at some future date) to be 'right over'.  I reached the transfer station to find that I was out of tickets - thank goodness I have bestowed baked goods on the crew because they let me drop the recycling and trash off with the promise of a ticket next time.  Harumph.

HOWEVER, the ducks and chickens are either as dense as bricks, or know something that I don't.  I've been getting between 10-14 chicken eggs and 1-3 duck eggs every day.  If they think it's spring, they've got a leg-up on me, as it snowed off and on all weekend and the temperatures are below freezing every night.

Mr. Butters has a vet appointment this afternoon because he is allergic to something and I'll be damned if I can figure it out.  I've changed his food multiple times, I've changed the laundry detergent.  I vacuum every other day.  He has been bathed.  I'm stumped.  I am actually hoping that they run an allergy test on him because, hey, I never get out of the vet's office for under $200, so why start now and I'd rather know.

Since it's too early for whine, I'll cease. 

I tried two new recipes this weekend and they were both worthy of a repeat performance.  One was Lentil Mushroom Stew over Mashed Potatoes (touted as as good as a hug - and sweetlouise, did I need one!) and the other was Baked Eggplant Parmigiana, which was surprisingly easy, since you slice and roast the eggplant first.  I was all about comfort food this weekend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Why honesty is the best policy.

If there is one thing I dread, it's shopping for clothes.  Hate it.  The last time I was in a mall setting, it was right after the Christmas holiday, about three years ago.  I was down to the dregs in my work wardrobe (my standard work uniform of knit pants were remaining in the seated position while I was standing) and was forced to spruce it up.  I parked outside of the Macy's entrance, marched in, grabbed three sweaters, two shirts and three pairs of knee socks and hit the cashier.  I was in and out within 15 minutes.  It was still 15 minutes too long.

New clothing, to me, is right up there with new cars - vastly overpriced and reduced in value almost immediately.  My shopping is done in Goodwill, and various thrift stores and I don't even like to shop in them.  My solution has been to let all and sundry know that I am open and up for all hand-me-downs and cast-offs.  Full disclosure here - the vast majority of my friends are well-dressed women with endless amounts of good taste and healthy clothing budgets.  When I am asked by someone where I purchased a certain item of clothing I am wearing, I tell them the truth.  While this has raised a few eyebrows (of the more unenlightened), more often than not, this has led to yet another source of great clothing for free.

Case in point:  I work with a woman who is my age and has an entire room in her house dedicated to her clothes.  While we have vastly different styles (mine is rather, er, crunchy and minimalist, while hers is rather avant guarde in a Miami matron kind of way), she has donated cashmere sweaters, spiffy knit dresses and stylish shirts to the charity of me.  My bestie, Sylvie, has enriched my wardrobe beyond measure.  I now take pride in pointing out that all but my BGPs are hand-me-downs.  This, I am sure, is TMI.

I can focus my shopping on feed stores and yarn emporiums.  All is how it should be.

Monday, April 2, 2018

New Month = New Socks

It may be April, but you could have fooled me.  I awoke to snow this morning.  The good news is, I am so numb to the eternal whiteness, that I didn't even blink.  Whatever.

There is, however, no whiteness involved in the latest socks on my needles!
Lunchtime knitting
The colorway is Poison Candy, an intoxicating combination of brightness by an indie dyer in Sweden - asfaltsflickan designs.  She has an Etsy shop, wonderful yarn, but you cannot be in a hurry.  The slow boat to/from China has nothing on the lumbering craft to/from Sweden!  She had me at the feminist mittens...

It was a busy weekend - my youngest sister came in from NYC and stayed with me Friday night through Saturday night.  As she is an amazing cook, the food was wonderful and it was fun all around.  She was covered in warm bodies as soon as she sat on any piece of furniture, and they were mighty sad when she had to leave.  Me, too.
Bundles of love.
Saturday was the nicest day in months - after a gloomy, cloudy start to the day, the sun came up and was gloriously warm.  She helped me clean out the duck coop (she shoveled, I schlepped - yay, City Girl!) we traded rugs in the living room - with LOTS of help by Lovey (insert sound of sarcasm dripping), did more cooking, played the music loud and danced.  We also watched a highly rated movie that was, well, it stunk.  No accounting for four and a half stars...

Sunday, of course, was Easter.  No surprises there.  As is usually the case, I was totally exhausted once the company left.  I am so used to being by myself (plus furry dependents) and all that noise and talking really takes the starch out of me. 

Then it was Monday.  I am still trying to figure out how weekend time moves at twice the rate as week day time.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!