Jul 27, 2015

about time?

Yes, I know.  Been a bit since I updated again and I bet there are a few of you anyway that might be checking in periodically to see if I have posted.  I've been busy mostly around the house, running errands, walking as has become my routine.   Seems like I am always washing something---me, the dog, laundry or dishes! Lots of sweaty clothes and wet towels to deal with.   It has been so hot and sticky with heat indices in the low 100's a good bit.   UGH!  I repeat, I did not move South for the summers.   I could sweat just fine in Illinois, LOL.  Picture spotted on FB recently----it seems true!!!

I should be drummed out of the Quilter's League at this point. It is not that I don't have things I should or could be doing. I barely go in my sewing room and when I do, it is to use the desktop. ( That's rare too though I have had to do some updates on it.  Love my Chromebook!)   Ordinarily in a creative drought like this, I am at least thinking about my next project(s) or looking at quilt books or old magazines, browsing Pinterest.  Nothing!  I'm not knitting or embroidering either.  Reading, yes.

I DO have some hand finishing to do on the binding of the guild's volunteer raffle quilt.  Aline passed it on to me to finish up.  She put the binding on and has already done two sides.  Yeah, I know--me and binding but this is what I can do to help.  I do a good job doing it but just not my favorite part, by a long shot.   Those that work on the guild opportunity quilt or this one too(?) get their name added to the pot.  The quilt is virtually identical to the opportunity quilt, I believe.   I'm dragging it with me to quilt group tomorrow and get started on it anyway.

Look who came to see on Sunday!  I got a call Saturday afternoon from my sister, Diane telling me that she and her husband Rick were heading down my way and going on down to the Florida Gulf Coast.  Was I going to be available for a visit?  Yes!  I happily took the day off from walking though Oscar and I did a lap around the park after lunch.  Bonus--my niece Kristine who happens to be the precious Lily's mama and great niece Lily were with them this trip!   Her Papa took the pictures while her Mama was doing funny things behind her dad to get Lily to smile.  Must have worked on me too!   Isn't she adorable channeling her inner Pebbles?

I had been looking up at the ceiling fan that badly needed dusting and down at the kitchen floor that could use some attention not 30 minutes before the phone rang.  It is too hot and I'm too tired to clean now, I thought!  Well, I put it in high gear.  Diane had said "we aren't coming to see your house"  and "we're taking you to breakfast so we won't hardly be in the house"   Still, it needed to be done and I wasn't so worried about Lily scooting around on the floor.    They arrived a bit before nine.  We visited here for a bit and left for Oxford I-Hop for breakfast though I drove down with my sister in my car so they would not have to backtrack.  Just hop on the I-20 exit and Birmingham as I assume that was still the most, non-two lane or divided highway route to Panama City for most of the trip.

I've never been down there though years ago DJ and I had vacationed down in New Orleans and took I-10 out to Biloxi, MS and then on to the Mobile area.  We took a side trip to Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore, Alabama.  When he asked me if I wanted to drive on to Pensacola "just to say we were there" I turned him down.  I wanted to get OUT of the danged car and walk down to the water and at least dip a toe in the water.  He, on the other hand, always made driving his job for the day.  Oh, we'd stop for meals and bathroom breaks as needed but doing the tourist-y sight seeing thing?  Not so much.  Although I wanted to, we never did get down to the Gulf area again though we did spend a few days in Montgomery for our honeymoon trip.  Trips were usually back to Illinois to see our family.

I've also been tending to the neighbor's dogs as they too have been down on the coast though on the Alabama side of things.  Glynda's mom (who is also my neighbor)  has been tending the small girl poodle mix dog.  I've walked her over to play in the fenced backyard with the two dachshund boys several mornings.   The older alpha dog  Mooch is a bit of a hog and I've been worried that the younger one Pup Pup is not getting anything to eat.  I've separated the two of them a bit or let the other one eat what he wants first and then get Pup Pup back in there.  The little flirt is wanting to play, pee on all the spots he normally doesn't get to or wanting to see what I'm doing.  Anything but eat though he did settle in to his bowl a little bit better.   He is a cutie, black with brown eye brows and wanting to snuggle up with me.  Have to check my legs for little dirt paw marks though.   I've been chatting with Miss Katherine as well, get the mail in, drag the trash cans out on pick up day and drag them back.  Yesterday we both got caught in one of our pop up afternoon rains yesterday while talking out on the car port and had to move the conversation indoors when it really started pouring and blowing. I would have gotten drenched had I tried to hurry home.  We got almost an inch in about 45 minutes.   At least Oscar was not with me at the time!  I guess they managed without me.

This was the recent view around here.  Oscar was using his Froggie for a pillow.  Skyler meanwhile can be found either in front of the door or up high.  He never goes on either of his perches in the bedrooms lately but I guess he doesn't have to when he has a "window seat" at the door.  DJ hated this storm door and had always wished he  had gotten a Larsen instead but we did the right thing for Pippi and Skyler with the glass pane all the way down, I guess.  Oscar came after DJ's passing so he didn't plan for him.  I really should clean off the nose smudges though!

Mostly I've been spending more time on  Facebook than I should but it seems to be the update center about my little premature great nephew Wyatt though the texts and phone calls have been coming as well.  I call Mom  "get on the computer.  Randi posted some new pictures of the baby"  Or his parents have taken them too.

Well, he had a set back late last week in that the heart valve that had closed with medication opened up again.  If matters did not improve on their own, the doctors in MT said that he might have to have surgery to correct it.  Spokane, WA was mentioned as the site, read:  another two states away from their Colorado home.  I guess at some point someone said "well, if he has to be med-evac'd for surgery, how about getting them back to the Denver area".  That is what happened.  He and his mama were LifeFlight'd on Friday afternoon.  His daddy drove back with one parent in one car and the other in another arriving from Missoula sometime Saturday (14 hour drive approx.)  Wyatt DID have to have surgery Sunday morning.  By the time I got home from breakfast with my family his Nana had text'd the procedure was over, succesfully so posted his Papa. They are now closer to family on both sides, friends, their support systems, though about an hour from their homes and probably not eligible to be in a Ronald McDonald House, across the street.  That part is not so ideal but he is in a Level IV NICU facility with an excellent reputation.  Please keep Wyatt, Greg and Amber in your prayers along with his aunties and grandparents?  There some other family concerns that I will not get into; the Good Lord above knows all about those.

Oh I tried a new recipe a few days ago---Pineapple Fluff.  Nice and cooling on a hot summer day.  Half of it is up in the freezer and I gave a bowl of it to Miss Katherine who passed on an ear of grilled sweet corn that her son had done up as part of her evening meal.  Next time I think I'll play up the Pina Colada idea and add some rum extract.  Brandie of the Country Cook says it is a take off of Orange Fluff, sorta.  That uses jello and ugh, cottage cheese ordinarily.  The Pineapple version uses a pudding base.  I could only find the cook and serve version of the coconut cream pudding so used vanilla.  I thought it was good, and different.  Stiff enough that it could be used for a graham cracker crust pie too.  Yeah, more calories, LOL.

Guess that's it for this round-up.  Hope you are staying as cool as possible in your locale.  I know my power meter is spinning like a top and the bill was about 35 bucks higher than this time last year.  I don't care--the a/c is staying on, set a degree or two less than where DJ put it and augmented by fans in whatever room I walk into.  Works for me!  THX for stopping by------

Jul 16, 2015

another week went flying by

Here is the view this morning.  As I said last week, Skyler has developed a great fascination for the up high position.  That and the laundry basket which had been sitting on the love seat.  I'm not sure but I think he slept in there last night as he was in there on  an early night bathroom trip.  I had to put him out of the bedroom so I could put on the clean sheets but so far he is not acting like he wants to nap in there.

Oscar, on the other hand, is staking claim on what is supposed to be Skyler's spot.  Mostly you find him getting as close to me as he can.  I put the tablet on the coffee table and sit forward some times and he is sure to crawl in behind me.  Or I get the doggie hind end and back paws glued to my leg.  It is far too warm to have critters so close!  He is my protector though and really gave the UPS guy a barking when he came a bit ago.

Skyler, the eye in the sky.  He'll come down when I open the refrigerator door or he thinks it is time for his treat bite.  He loves the open front door and stakes out a spot there too.

Actually I had both of them kind of confused yesterday as I was cleaning out the refrigerator, whipping up the shelves and tossing the outdated stuff.  They were sure they were up for some sort of taste.  Okay, Oscar got a bite of string cheese and Skyler, some aerosol whipped cream.

So what's been going on?  Not a lot, LOL.  More phone calls than usual with family updates.  We did get some good news yesterday in that my niece was officially discharged from the hospital as a patient but staying close for the baby.  Wyatt is holding his own.  We had good news in that a heart valve  that normally closes at birth (in a full term baby) is now closed with the help of some medication.  It can take up to 9 doses but he needed just one, his Papa Rich posted.  Two prayers answered.  This will be a long process for his family as they were told to expect his remaining in till his late October due date.  (He is in a Level 3 NICU facility.)   Keep fighting, Little Man.  My sister, brother-in-law and niece Randi and Greg's mom and step-dad are still there for support but they will need to return home at some point making trips back and forth to MT .

Quilting group met on Tuesday though few of us were there.  Bev was joining some of her brightly colored yo-yo's for a bed runner while I was stitching on my "Snow Happens" embroidery.  Lois had a couple of tops to pin; Jane and I helped with that.  One of the tops was a four patch pinwheel I had told Lois about.  Since she is our scrap queen I am not surprised that she whipped one up but that she did so that quickly!  She and Les have been quite busy dealing with the garden produce lately.   Seems as though we all had somewhere else to be--I needed to meet the Bookmobile in my little burg--we broke up early.  I've barely touched it since then.

I did try a couple of new to me recipes this week.  One was a Greek Tortellini Salad from the Slow Roasted Italian blog.  However, I did not make the Greek Salad Dressing as I had bought a bottle of Greek style viniagrette some time back and I subbed out the Kalamata olives for some black sliced olives I had up in the freezer.  Not sure I like Kalamatas anyway.   The other was a Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe on the back of a Washburn Mills Quinoa and Grain Blend (Thai Peanut) blend though I put a tad more rice vinegar and soy sauce in the peanut sauce.  It is not overly spicy though I did not add any additional red pepper, chile paste or hot sauce.  Not  bad!  It was a multipack box I had gotten at Sam's so I best be finding some use for the remainder!  Other than a little salad purchased at Publix I had not had quinoa.

My committment to walking continues.  I've been at it for two months now and am starting to see some of the same faces out there either in the park or out on the trail.  We wave.  My start time is variable depending on what time I get up but out I go, first thing.   I am watching the new Community Center building project come along as I do my laps as it is going up at the southeast corner of the park.  Over the weekend they were watering the base with two sprinklers for some reason that is not clear to me.  For three days we had water running down hill over the walking path and puddles to try to straddle.  By Monday morning the lumber truck was pulling in and more hands on deck.  Today they were almost done with all the outside walls, lacking about 10 foot or so.  Lots of windows it looks like.  I think they will tear down the old house being used as the Senior Citizen center on the park property once the new building is completed.

It has been  plain old hot and sticky and a typical July, I guess. It occurs to me that I passed our anniversary of our moving date yesterday, starting into year 19 in Alabama.  DJ and I moved here on July 15, 1997.  We had severe thunderstorm warnings two nights ago but I think parts north and over near Birmingham got the worst of that deal.  Some folks were still without electricity this morning.  Here it just spooked the critters and barely dampened the walking trail.  We are in a cycle where tstorms or popup storms are possible any day of the week, in the afternoon.  I've dialed back Oscar's walking or we don't go as far and stick to the more shady areas when we do go.  Yesterday he was running around like a maniac dog at the prospect of going for a walk--I was trying to hold off till after 6 but he was not having it--that he was almost panting before we went out.  Silly dog.

My neighbor Robert mowed this morning and thankfully, did not get stung this time.  Last time out some wasps or hornets got him when he got near that huge cedar tree in back.  He could not get off and away with the mower fast enough to avoid getting stung up near his eye.   Well, I guess we know now that it was hornets as he spotted their hive this time right at mower level and pointed it out to me.  He had me back up with my car and spray the living snot out of it with Wasp and Hornet spray out the drivers' side window.  Got to remember to put that on the grocery list and watch to see if there are more lurking around it.  Wasps, we get trying to build their little nests all along the carport and front patio but this is the first time I've seen a hornet's nest around here.

I've been reading a good bit doing the MZ Kelly Hollywood series of "Alphabet Thriller series" now---I'm on D.   Not sewing but not in the mood too either.  I'll get the desire back at some point but it doesn't look like this week.  I do have the guild raffle quilt here to work on the binding though.  Aline started it and I'm going to finish it up.   Mostly I have been hanging at home mostly and trying to keep cool.    Activity produces sweat and doesn't take much to make my hair "rain".

Guess that's it for this installment.  Stay cool-----

Jul 10, 2015

checking in

See what Skyler has been doing lately?  He has re-discovered his fascination for hopping on the fridge and either heading to this spot but more likely, on the high kitchen-living room pass through.   There is more foodstuff than usual atop the fridge today so he may find it a deterrent.  I don't care that he's up there till he starts chasing imaginary things or goes a little crazy.  He has fallen off there once.  DJ was sitting in the living room and said Sky bounced about a foot up in the air after hitting the couch.  Then did the classic "I meant to do that" walk away from the accident scene.

Okay, a week has passed.  In some ways it has drug and others, flew by.  Sunday afternoon, evening, all night long it was colonscopy prep.  I went in at 8 on Monday morning with my pal Lois accompanying me.  I was in the g.i. lab around 10 and the last thing I knew it was 1015.  1045 I'm in recovery and on the way to my room.  All went well though Lois got the briefing.  I'm okay, I think, for another 5 years.

I crashed and burned Monday night though as I had only had about 5 1/2 hours of sleep in two days time.  Saturday night it was because of the neighborhood sharing their fireworks till after 1 a.m.  I was awake by 6 with no hope of going back to sleep.  I may have dozed briefly on Sunday night-Monday morning but didn't need the alarm set to get up and take another bottle of Mag Citrate at 4:30.  I'm just glad it is over.  THX again to Lois for volunteering to take me and keep me company.  I am not a "patient" patient.   I lost a little more than 4 lbs with all that laxative overdose and being NPO.  Wrung me out and squeezed all available moisture.  Hard way to do it.  Naturally it went back on once diet and fluids resumed.

Wednesday I had to take the car in for its recall work so I got up early and hit the walking trail by 0545.  They had told me they would need the car all day and they shuttled me home.  All day stretched into most of yesterday too.  My neighbor ran me into town about 3: 45.  Earlier I told him it was going to be delayed as I  didn't want him to have to hang around waiting for me to call for the ride.

I don't know what it is about feeling like you are stuck at home when you have no wheels.  I am home a lot and never feel "stuck" but I guess there is some comfort in knowing you COULD go if you wanted to or had to.  The car is there and waiting.  Well, unless it is 8 miles away in the shop!  The two days just drug with me spending way too much time on Pinterest and such.

 I had meals all covered even with the extension of repair time but did have errands to run today.  With all the vegetable bounty have been given lately---some cukes, fresh picked sweet corn (yummo!), tomatoes and zucchini--I have tried a few new recipes.  I tried my hand at making fried green tomatoes; I have had them before in restaurants but I should have known that I wouldn't be crazy about cornmeal breading.   I also tried Panko Parmesan Crusted Zucchini Fries, baked not fried.  Pretty good though I forgot to put any salt in them and they needed it.  I reheated the other half of the small batch I had made for lunch yesterday and they crisped right up in the toaster oven.  This afternoon, it was Pesto Pizza Grilled Cheese.  I love tomatoes on regular grilled cheese sandwiches so it was a good combo.  The tomato and basil from the store bought basil does sort of give you a pizza vibe.  None of these things were exactly diet food!!

 I'm down to my last tomato but Glynda and Robert have more that she offered me though I was not quite ready then.  I did come back with another zuke though.   I might try one of the chocolate zucchini recipes I have seen on King Arthur Flour and some other suggestions --there is a cake and a brownie recipe.  Rather than shredding it, for the brownie recipe anyway , PJ Hamel suggests pureeing it,  This eliminates the stringiness you sometimes get in your zuke baked goods but keeps the moisture.  I'm not crazy about turning on the oven these days but I might consider it.  How bad do I want some chocolate??   Or get one of those Veggetti things and pretend I'm eating pasta?  OR maybe in some type of casserole.  I've got a few recipes for that like using it instead of eggplant for something similar to Moussaka or one my mom recommends.

On a more personal level,  I am going to ask for prayers for one of my niece's who developed big problems with her pregnancy.    Amber was at the 23 week mark and Baby Wyatt had to come way earlier than expected by emergency C-section due to the risks to them both.  She and Greg were two states away from home when all this happened.  My sister, her husband and Wyatt's auntie are on their way to Montana from the Denver area.  Greg's mom, and I assume step-dad, were with them in MT so they are not without family support till Jan and Rich get there.   There is a long road ahead for the parents and a lot of unknowns.  Please hold up Wyatt and his family in prayer if you would.  THX

I'm skipping guild tomorrow so I can be near the phone or computer for any updates from my family.

Jul 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Birthday, America!

Yes, I know tomorrow is the 4th but I bet a good many working folks have the day off anyway since it lands on Saturday.  I am borrowing an earlier posted image as tt is pouring down rain here.  Any plans I had of draggin out and climbing up the ladder to put our US Flag up are NOT happening today.  It started in about 6:30 with distant thunder rumbling and has been pouring intermittently with a hair less than 1.25 in the gauge at this writing.  It seems a bit unusual to be having morning rain and storms as our weather patterns in NE Central Alabama tend towards heat and humidity percolating to the point of afternoon and evening happenings more often.

Oh speaking of 4th of July.  FYI:  The Winn Dixie, Hi-LO and Harveys stores will be donating 100% of their July 4th profits to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Strikes me as a good cause so I have a little list started.  You can read the press release HERE as to which states are participating.

Needless to say, I am not walking if thunder and lightning are part of the occasion.  Gentle rain, maybe but I walk in the park and there are tons of tall, tall pine trees.  Even on the Chief Ladiga Trail, our Rails to Trails walking/biking path, there are lots of trees on either side that you have to walk through to get to the parts where there are fewer ones.  Us fair haired folks with warning labels on their meds need to avoid too much sun exposure.  Get enough for vitamin D but not too much, LOL.

  After all,
The National Weather Service recommends taking cover if the time between the lightning flash and the rumble of thunder is 30 seconds or less, which indicates the lightning is about 6 miles away or closer.  "Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing the thunder.  Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder."    
(See this LINK)

Now I am not entirely sure how you know which IS the last but maybe when you take note that the storm is petering out and then start timing it??

So here is the view this morning as I am writing this post.  I guess they both want to be near me.  Skyler is not upset about rain but will high tail it under the bed if it begins blowing and raining hard enough to make noise on the chimney stuff up above.  As you can see. he is still stealing Oscar's spot on the couch, not playing with the toys of course but not letting Oscar on it either.  Oscar took my spot near the light source.  Well, you know Skyler is not vacating until he is good and ready or treat bites are offered.  He sure isn't going to let Oscar lay that close to him.  Pics like the one I took of the two of them giving me a moment of Christmas peace are rare.   I'm allowed the middle of the couch.

I took this one a couple of nights ago.  Skyler gave up the coveted spot.  Oscar and I were playing with his frog.  It was close to his bedtime.   I say "Oscar, time for bed." He runs to the back door as if he needs to take care of business.  Sometimes he does but most often he just barks to let the neighborhood know he is still on the job (I guess!).   When he comes back in, he hops right in his bed and he settles in till morning.  Occasionally we get the whiny bit, and I repeat the going out part, just in case.

What else has been going on?  No sewing though I had hopes of getting back in there the window slammed shut for whatever reasons.  I'll get in there when I can.  If I thought it were pressing, I would drag the table back in here, pain in the butt or not.

Jane and I went over to Pell City on Wednesday to drop off our finished pillowcases.  We thought Aline might go with us and we would take a side trip to the quilt shop in Ashville as her machine (purchased at the shop) needs servicing.  Her schedule would not permit it.  To our surprise, they were not sewing and finishing up with the pillowcase project as I thought was planned. They were having a quilt show organizational meeting and wanted us to sit down and participate.  Jane had to get home as she and her husband had something planned that afternoon and we had about an hour's drive back.   Also I am not re-joining next year.  My opinions and suggestions do not matter as I will only be a spectator/attendee.   Truly, we went to deliver the goods. There were a few things that needed to be changed/included in the newsletter I needed to get out.  Usually takes me 3-4 hours time to get it all together and I'm always waiting for one last thing.

Without DJ here as a backup, I worry about the house being unattended but mostly, I worry about the critters.  It is too hard to be gone a big chunk of the day several times a month and know Oscar is stuck outside in the blazing sun (or crap weather) or stuck in his crate all day.  Bama Belles are my first priority.  Lately we break up after lunch though we have the building till mid afternoon if we want.  Sometimes I stay and sew but that's no fun by myself.  I can, in theory, do that at home any other day of the week.

However, I can do something about the Pell City trips.  I love the ladies in the guild but not the running back and forth part when home responsibilities fall solely on me.  I'm tired of committee work too as all but the first year, I have had a job.  1st, secretary for two years, then website and I'm 1 1/2 years into newsletter person.   Frankly, I don't feel like going through another quilt show set up.  It is time to step back when this year ends and my obligations can be passed on. I have done my part.  Don't worry---I'm not going to become a hermit or anything.   DJ never wanted me to join an other guild anyway.  "You are always gone"  "Who gave you all these jobs?"   As much I loved the man, at that point I needed a little time away with the girls.  Now, I still do but not for the same reasons.

Anyway, the newsletter shot the rest of Wednesday once we got back and a chunk of yesterday.  I got my hair cut, ran errands, the usual household stuff.  I took Wednesday off from walking as we were going out of town and then got rained out today.  I did tally up my totals  45.3 miles walking in circles at the park, kind of alternating 1.68 or 6 laps with 1.96 or 7 laps though one day I quit after 4 laps as my shoe was rubbing a blister.  Another day I simply lost count and did 2.2 miles.  Then add the Oscar trips up and down the lane, mostly 3 times a day, for another 25-30 miles.  Weight is about the same as it was a month ago.  I keep gaining and losing the same two pounds, it would seem but 1 pound is often sweated out.  I wonder how much will drop with the colonscopy prep in a few days??  Oh yummo, plain jello--- but no red or purple.  I'm stocked up with clear liquids and gatorade which I never use to mix with my laxative overdose.

After a bit of phone tag,  Tuesday I did have a good talk with DJ's son Tracy after months of no contact.  At the time he was driving the moving truck through Macon, GA on the way to their new home in south Florida.  His wife was driving one of their vehicles and their son Josh, the other.  Josh will have to get back up to IL though once he helps his parents unload. I assume he is flying back to the STL area where he and his fiance live.  They were to close on the house yesterday so this will be anything BUT a typical 4th of July holidays for them.  I see LuAnn on Facebook occasionally and she messaged that they had not gotten in til 4 in the morning Wednesday.

The neighbors and I were revved up about the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter on the 30th.  I had seen them earlier in the month but didn't know what I was looking at, thinking it was airplane lights, LOL.  Unfortunately on the day in question, we could see them but not as brightly as the previous night when they had tried to call me to tell me to come see (phone was off)  What we did have was a orange red sun and a orangey golden full moon!  Not only the clouds of the evening but the effect of smoke from the wildfires in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  BUT we could see them close together with the naked eye, if faintly.  I had taken my binoculars out but trying to stay focused on the night sky and looking at them whirl around started giving the same headache and woozy feeling that riding and looking at Christmas lights does.  (The way my eyes track or something).  I went out an hour later and I could still see them.  Then they disappeared behind the clouds so I never did see them right on top of each other.

My mind is going blank.  Seems like I had something else I was going to post but it flew right out of my head. As I close this up, it  is now a little after noon and I believe Oscar and I might be able to go do walkies---cue the dog running to get a bit of food before I get the leash on him, LOL.

Have a safe and relaxing if possible 4th of July weekend.  Happy Birthday to my pal Cindy and the good ol USA