Monday, November 30, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
I've been baking - can you smell it? The delectable aroma wafting through my home is something I wish were shareable. Yes, there are words and pictures, but no way to share the aroma and flavor.
I made a very easy cranberry pudding-pie, and, as encouraged, made a double batch. Smells heavenly, cosy and ... mmm, mmm, delicious! Smells like Thanksgiving, of course.
Wafts from the kitchen
Cranberries, walnuts and mace
Friday, November 27, 2020
Three years ago, I stumbled across the fact that the crocheting I had been taught by my Grandmother was an intact part of my muscle and cognitive memory. I hadn't kept it up since learning it as a pre-teen, but suddenly in my fifties, it became obsessively engaging and soothing! I hadn't taken to it at the time I was being taught, probably because I automatically rejected things that were stereotypical, gender-specific at the time of my upbringing. As such, needlework, fiber-arts, or cooking were a definite NO-NO for my self image.
It really stung, though, when I was forced to choose between Home Economics and Accountancy at our small Catholic school (150 students total, and 15 in my Senior Year), and I HATED Accountancy EVEN MORE PASSIONATELY than Home Ec. I was embarrassed to be taking it. It seemed like such a bad fit for me.
There was no option, as far as my parents were concerned, to switch schools where more choices were available (putting their daughter in a government school was NOT an option, and the next closest Catholic school for girls was too far away to be viable), so I cringingly chose Home Ec. It forced me to study Mothercraft (bizarrely, taught by a nun!!!! Go figure), Needlework, Sewing, Nutrition, Cooking, and Home Decorating - everything I rebelled against as definitions of who I was, or wanted to be. In our senior year, we created the outfit we would wear at our Senior Prom - it was required to have an inlay as the technique to learn - it turned out horribly! All I liked was the color.
So, back to the present. Despite my inner rebellion, and my determination not to focus on skills exclusively for women when I was growing up, I'm in a place now where I've discovered that some of these skills give me pleasure (and I can savor a glass of brandy at the fireside while I do it, or binge-watch an adventure TV series).
The pleasure for me is in the creative challenge, to form something new and unique, as well as in the soothing process (when it goes smoothly) that accompanies it. After reviving my crocheting skills, a friend's recent project to spread 'love and encouragement to women who are emerging from difficult circumstances' (https://shelleyburbank.com/blog/) has inspired me to try my hand at knitting.
And, joy! I can do this, too! I was taught about 50 years ago, with little to no practice in the interim. I don't seem to have the mental obstacles and fears I had as a child when I was tackling these activities. I feel freer and way more confident. There's no fear of failure, or wasting my parent's resources that were invested in buying the patterns, fabrics, matching thread, buttons and zippers, or yarns and different sized needles. Plus, YouTube has been an invaluable resource to learn and follow new patterns and stitches, for free.
How exciting it has been to find uses for knowledge and skills long buried.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Slender, standing tallGrey trunks reach for leaden sky -Branches almost bare.Dull grey water flows,Beside the brown leaved shorelineReadying to freeze.Inside my warm home,and in my heart, are comfortsFor which I'm thankful.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
I love having fun with weird, off-the-wall ideas - it's stimulating to play with imaginings that are offbeat or initially nonsensical. Dr. Seuss opened his children's book 'Wacky Wednesday' with the idea of a shoe on the wall - something odd, indeed, but it hooks and fascinates the reader from the get-go, simply by being unexpected, and 'out there.'
I recall how much my kids and I loved reading Dr. Seuss' "On Beyond Zebra," where he created an extended alphabet beyond the letter Z. It inspired them to continue creating more of their own alphabet in the same vein, simply because they found it thrilling to imagine new letters that hadn't been discovered. Not dismissing that quirkiness as an adult opens me up to play with new ideas, and gets my creative juices flowing. The wackier, the better - it frees me from habitual, stereotypical thinking ... to where there is no set path or limit.
And sometimes these unusual ponderings can be quite amusing. So here are some of my recent oddball musings:
- When will they start making flour less powdery? (The pic below shows the reason for this contemplation)
- How is it that we have less snow on the days it was forecast, than on the day for which it wasn't predicted?
- How do things only turn up when we find them?
- Coming up with new words: my own new word this week was opaquens: the act of making something go opaque. I can only find opaque, opaquely, opaquer and opaquest in an online dictionary. Thinking creatively challenged me to discover a new sense of the word that I think works, poetically.
- Hmm, I wonder if "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is really about the thoughts in our heads?
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020
Four months ago, on day 122 of my COVID seclusion, I posted a pic of the books I'd read (https://vignettes.mixmox.com/2020/07/book-pile.html)
Now on day 255, the completed pile looks like this. I've read some books online, and have placed substitutes of the same length on each pile for my photo. Though the pile has doubled, from one stack to two, I really thought I would have read far more than what this representation shows. I guess I still have to figure out the right ratios of compost (writing) to sunlight (yardwork), to water (crocheting) to get it to grow faster!
Each stack covers roughly 4 months. And I still have loads of unread books on my shelf (not pictured), as well as books acquired subsequently. I'm not making much of a dent in my backlog, and some authors keep bringing out new books to add to my problem!
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Have you ever had someone come at you with what looks like a loaded caulk gun, primed to dispense into your mouth? I happened to me yesterday at the dentist's office! Pretty frightening, even when you're expecting to have an impression done of your teeth, but I wasn't anticipating such a modern approach. Despite it seeming, initially, like an inappropriate way to approach a patient, it was nowhere near as unpleasant as my previous experience.
Waaaaay back in the Seventies, I'd had dental impressions done before my first set of braces. That time, a horseshoe-shaped tray of goo was placed in my mouth for me to bite down on. The family dentist, whom we all referred to as the 'butcher,' walked out of the room while he waited for it to 'set.' He seemed to be away for an awfully long time and I began to think he'd forgotten about me.
I could hear him laughing, joking and gossiping with his nurse/secretary and waiting patients in the other room. It sounded like he was having a good time, and was unaware of how much time had passed. I thought the compound had hardened to the point of it being a fixture in my mouth. I kept thinking, and hoping, that every pause or noise I heard, was him returning, but still ... I waited. I was panicking, sure he'd let it set far longer than it needed to, and I was terrified that it would never come off. Thoughts of him pulling all my teeth out to remove the tray began to occupy my mind. The wait, the delay in his return, was a scary time, alone in the chair. But I was obedient, and taught to do as I was told, so I stayed put and waited, alone and in fear.
Turns out, I was right to be worried, because when he finally came back, and attempted to unclamp it, he couldn't get it out. He was concerned, too, and tried various methods to wiggle it and get it to loosen. He got very flustered. I imagined all my teeth being pulled out, painfully, along with the impression tray. My recollection is that finally, he practically sat on the clamp with his whole weight, to remove it. I was petrified. Is it any wonder that one of my worst nightmares is to have my front teeth fall out of my mouth?
By comparison, the caulk-gun approach seems mild!
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
November is here -
Oak leaves rub like scritchy rain
Against each other.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
Those green balloons filled with fluid (aka tomatoes that endured a frost on the vine) that I wrote about so disparagingly, have been turned into this: salsa verde. And, we both lived to tell the tale 😀.
A Green Stinkbug exploring the leaf litter. I love the different colored 'squares' on the leaf it's found.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
It's mid November.
It was balmy enough to eat dinner outside at the end of last week (no kidding!)
There were NO bugs, either.
So we did it.
And for dessert ... want some coffee with your cream? Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, Irish coffee!
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
My turkey 'encounter' on Veteran's Day wasn't an interaction, so much as a close sighting. I saw them from a short distance away as I sat amidst leaves on the lawn - it was wonderfully thrilling to be so close to them!
I heard them scrabbling through the leaves (like me), looked up and saw them coming into our yard. I really didn't want to frighten them off, so I froze in place, only making miniscule, fluid movements when I needed to see them better. I watched them make a loop through our yard, which included a walk through my native blooms and birdfeeder-spoils area, and then they exited again in a line, chit-chatting quietly amongst themselves - a kind of comforting contact sound.
They noticed me, and looked my way, seeming wary, but my immobile state probably convinced them I was a shrub or tree stump! One stretched and spread its wings, generating a small breeze that sent a pile of leaves aflutter - it was quite special.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
After much humming and hawing, I was finally persuaded that Invisalign braces, followed by a retainer, would help my jaw ache. I had already spent $$ having all the imaging and modeling done ($$) to determine the extent of the problem, and my dentist felt that I had a 95% chance of it improving my life. OK then. I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with the treatment, and called up to ask what financial aid options, or payment schemes, they offered.
My options were:
- I could pay a little every month until the full amount was paid, at which time my treatment could begin.
- I could apply for a care credit card online, which which give me interest free credit for x months, depending on how much I spent
- I could pay in full, ahead of treatment.
"Ok," I asked, "if I pay in full, prior to starting treatment, is there any discount for paying up front, or paying in cash?" Nope, not at all, I was told. The price was set at $x,xxx. I said I'd sleep on it and get back to them, having been given a direct number and contact name for the billing of these treatments.
I called back 2 days later to say that I would pay the entire amount on my credit card. "Oh, we have a special on for December right now, where you can get $400.00 off, but I could make it apply to your November purchase. Would you like to do that?" WHAT? This was the exact same person I spoke to about getting discount for paying up front a few days prior.
Sometimes, I just don't understand real life ... but I'm not complaining - this time around it's gone in my favor. It's just odd that this wasn't offered to me when I specifically queried about discounts available - and if I had decided to pay on the first day I called, I would have been $400 poorer.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
I'm not one who often remembers their dreams after waking, but today's one was rather odd, so I guess that's why it stuck. I was in a bathroom with another person (unknown), standing on a tile floor, when the other person turned around to me, asking what that sudden loud noise was. "Oh, don't worry," I 'd said, "it was just the water pouring out of my ear onto the floor!" It was a gush as out of a faucet, wetting the entire floor! And I was so relieved!
I've been experiencing what sounds like crackly liquid in my ears for some time, and can feel it move when I lie in certain ways in bed, though it never drains out onto my pillow or earlobe. It shifts, like molasses, and tickles as it moves, but remains inside. Ugh. Nothing in there the experts say, it's the sounds of my jaw and the rumpled cushion between the joint, grating! It's all in my head, I'm told!
I guess that dream was all about wishful thinking ...
Monday, November 9, 2020
Sunday, November 8, 2020
What to do with a spoonful of spinach, a few stalks of cooked broccoli, a mushroom looking limp, and some slices of leftover roast beef? I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, but each was a tiny amount, not enough for an individual serving even, but how I wound up with such small amounts that couldn't possibly have been eaten when first cooked, I'll never know.
So, once again, a pizza to the rescue - I added bacon, cheese and garlic to the toppings for this scrumptious result, sprinkled with black pepper:
Saturday, November 7, 2020
I've recently had a lot of fun making a few extra masks for my family. I ended up making 15! What started off as a routine pattern, turned into personalized and custom adaptations. So, what could have essentially been a 3-4 hour project became a 2 week one - my choice!
So, for someone working in a nursery with young babies, Disney and bright cartoon characters were chosen to feature prominently in the middle of the concertina-style mask.
For someone running their own business, advertising goes a long way ... I printed out the logo, traced the letters through onto the back of the paper, pinned it in place on the back of the mask, and did simple satin stitch along each letter. Boy, was this relaxing! I loved doing it.
Friday, November 6, 2020
Thank goodness for a November sunny day, and the outdoors. It was great to shake off a bit of that election drama I'd overdosed on. And it wasn't very windy, either, which was a bonus.
Our yard furniture had to be carried off the deck, and stored away for the winter. Turns out, I was overdressed for this physical activity, and was forced to strip down to a pair of leggings and a swim top!
The hammock came down, and the kayak (having been left out hopefully, for a last paddle), got stowed away. We carried the tomato plants off the dock, with a few 'frosted' tomatoes still hanging on - they felt like sacs of pus!
Then we set about taking the dock apart, bit by bit. Green fragments of broken milfoil plants were floating about everywhere and kept taking me off task. When we pulled the dock frame out onto dry land, we found that our suspicions of a broken axle were true. The dock had been incredibly uneven and unstable for most of the summer, despite our attempts to rectify it. We thought that perhaps it kept sinking further into the silty mud. Another job for my handyman!
I busied myself picking up dropped twigs and branches, breaking them into wood-stove sized pieces and collecting them in a tote. Anything, to stay outside and imbibe this fresh air!
Thursday, November 5, 2020
These all go hand in hand, symptoms of the same underlying problem: no respect for the planet, and with it humanity.
This is not science fiction. This is our current reality. We're living it. It's all around us. It's here.
10. Uncontrolled spread of non-native species: beetle infestations, killer wasps, Japanese knotweed
9. Decline and extinction of native species: honeybees, bats
8. Pollution of our 'nest': contamination of water bodies, air, groundwater, ozone layer: things we depend on to live
7. More frequent, stronger force hurricanes
6. Unmanageable floods, independent of hurricanes
5. Runaway fires: dangerous winds and habitat destruction
4. Famine, and unforeseen drought in temperate climates
3. Extreme temperatures and climate shifts becoming the norm
2. Disease, displacement, civil unrest, migration, pandemics
1. Poverty, Depravity, Corruption (both physical and moral)
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Still too close to call!
I'm embarrassed and ashamed
We did not stand up
In greater numbers -
To restore morality
To our government.
Never did I think
That fascism could take hold,
After lessons learned.
Half of this country
Supports the supremacy
Of class, wealth and race.
Time to examine
Just how this could be our truth
In Twenty Twenty.
Land of liberty?
A moral apocalypse
Has struck our nation.
One people, yet divided
On justice for all!
'Us' and 'them' prevails.
How can we disagree on
I am stunned and shocked,
Land that touts human freedoms,
But doesn't live it.
My adopted land -
How I misunderstood you!
I feel heartbroken.
Till we live as one,
Shall be our death knell.
We must find a way
To restore faith, love and hope
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Monday, November 2, 2020
👿😈 👿😈 👿😈 👿😈
I see the following list as replacements (rephrasing) of the original 7 Cardinal Sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, wrath):
1. Voting a known immoral person into high office.
2. Willfully and deliberately ignoring numerous unprincipled decisions, citing one outlier as your excuse.
3. Rejection of science (essentially our ability to see, think and make logical connections in the world).
4. Turning a blind eye to systemic social injustice and pretending it doesn't exist so that it doesn't affect your comfortable life.
5. Labeling inconvenience as hardship and expecting privilege to be your basic human right.
6. Not acting for the greater good, citing personal freedom (basically, common selfishness) as the 'reason.'
7. Accepting a dogma because it conveniently ensures your prosperity, doesn't challenge your lifestyle, and means you don't have to think for yourself.
👿😈 👿😈 👿😈 👿😈
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Eating lunch outside,
Is on my Fall 'to-do' list -
Much to see and hear.
Leaves and acorns drop,
Floating, or pummeling down,
Sounding like Fall rain.
Leaves flit and spiral,
Dancing gracefully downwards,
Acorns as missiles,
Pelting down, forceful and hard:
Weapons from above.
Photo by Dale SchultzA Wheelbarrow of Weapons