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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Groceries in the Grass

right in the front yard

Who throws a bag of food in your yard? That was my irritated thought. I had just gone out back to feed and let Thelma and Louise out of their pen. Getting the newspaper in the front yard would mean one less time to descend and ascend the steps to the door.

Right there in the dewy grass was a bulky colored bag with food instead of the clear plastic bag with my newspaper in it. When I picked it up, I was shocked. This was my newspaper delivery!  The colorful, plastic bag is very heavy plastic, unlike the thinner, clear bag my paper usually wears.

Three single serve boxes of cereal were inside. When I took the newspaper out, the cereal was inaccessible. Hmmmph! There is a special clear pouch on the front that was hard to open to access the cereal. WOW! This is seriously protected from damp and insects.

(Little happy dance)

There are coupons for each of these cereals included: Fiber One, Honey Nut Cheerios, Chex. All the cereals had flavors, not plain. There is also a $1 coupon for each of these items: $1/1. Those are great coupons, but Fiber One is the only one I might ever purchase.

Yes, I ate a box with the last bit of milk. I will have to wait until Wednesday to get more milk, a tragedy for me. No money here. 


Look at the back of this package--lots of advertising happening here. Newspapers are suffering. This must be a glimpse at the future survival of newspapers.  By subscribing to home delivery of the newspaper, I was the recipient of a special deal that made receiving Friday, Saturday, and Sunday home delivery cheaper than going out on Sunday and purchasing a paper.

Okay, I am posting this early, so that maybe you can score some of these samples or coupons from friends or neighbors who might not care for these samples. I don't like two of them enough to purchase them. I might purchase the Fiber One after I taste it. Hey, freebies and a coupon worked! Now, let's see if I can find it on sale.

Yes, there is more plastic, more ink, more cardboard...sigh. It looks like newspapers are fighting for their lives.

Your turn
Did you get this perk in your newspaper delivery this morning? Have you gotten another perk packaged like this? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012


There is no danger of developng eyestrain from looking on the bright side of things.
Author unknown

I don't know where I saw this.

I am the eternal optimist. Is that the same thing?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My $5000.00 Prescription

Sorry, it is $5000.15  to be exact.

I have had all the signs of a uti. I called for an appointment at my urologist and had to wait for 10 days, so by today, I was pretty puny and feverish. My urologist only works one week each month, easing into retirement. So, he is not so available as before.

He gave me two prescriptions--an antibiotic and something for the horrendous bladder pain. When I went to the pharmacy, I was informed that the pain med was $5000 and would my insurance cover it? I laughed because I thought the pharmacist assistant was just joking. Later, when I got the antibiotic, I asked the pharmacist who said, "It is really $5000.15. She said she had never heard of the medicine and did not know what it was for and it was not available. ???

I was promised by my doctor that I would have pretty blue results and no pain. Bummer.

Maybe it was just the fever and the pain, but I was actually dizzy and reeling, even sitting in the electric cart, when I heard this news.

The doctor's office said that the only thing to cost that much might be chemo. I was thinking also maybe HIV treatment.

Your turn
Is this not astounding? Do you think the computer system might just have wrong information?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Funky Chicken and A Cold One

Signs around town.
Yes, the artist has antiques

new sign that I don't like as well
Yes, it is a chicken. See below.

This is in front of a restaurant that was a Mexican restaurant, hence the fajita sign, above. And, the crape myrtles grew!

 from a previous blog post

having a cool one

Today, it was sooo hot. Above are Thelma and Louise having a cool one. I took my last six ice cubes to give them an icy drink. They drank their fill, like they had not had any water for ages.

Your turn
Anyone having a cold one today? Giving your animals some cool? Is the weather hot where you are? It was 100 F here today, about 38 C.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zucchini--A Casserole the Kids Will Eat


My children loved this casserole. If you have an abundance of zucchini or want another way to serve it, try this recipe. I posted it last year along with the story of my children's reactions to it...all positive! 
"Zucchini Casserole, please," from my children. 

Are you a frugal cook? Do you have too many zucchinis? This casserole is just for you.

This thrifty recipe will help solve the problem of what to do with the abundance of zucchinis this time of year. Frozen or stale bread can be put to good use. I freeze chopped onions, so that is one chore that can be done ahead of time. Really fresh tomatoes or sad slices in the refrigerator can be put to good use. No one will know that tomato's consistency was not to your liking. The casserole is a one-dish meal or just one of the dishes you serve, depending on your preference. I have made this ahead of time and put it in the oven just before dinner. Or, if you have a timer on your oven to start meals when you are away, make this, put it in the oven, and set the timer. Dinner will be ready when you arrive.

I have no measurements for any ingredient. Use your own judgment. You cannot be wrong. If you prefer more or less bread bits, just make it to suit yourself. Use any kind of cheddar cheese or switch to a cheese you prefer. Slice the tomatoes thick or thin, depending on taste or what you have on hand. Own the recipe!
Zucchini-Tomato Casserole ***300 degrees, 1 hour
Peel and slice zucchini--thinly or thickly, if you prefer. (a little less than 1/4" is my preference)
Salt both sides; let it sit 30 min; rinse and drain (I quit doing this. I salt, let sit for 2 min and then rinse and drain.)

Layer in casserole:
*zucchini--salt and pepper lightly (I use no pepper)
*sliced tomatoes (any kind)
*buttered bread chunks/bits--about 1/2" size (I break up the bread, pour melted butter over it, toss/stir)
*cheese (best with the presliced squares in pack) (original recipe, but any cheese you like is fine)
Repeat, leaving off cheese.
Bake  50 minutes (cover it)
Put cheese on top of casserole for the last 10 min; bake uncovered

I made this as part of a meal, having a meat and another vegetable. My three children (10, 8, and 3 when I first made this) ate the casserole, getting seconds and thirds until it was gone. They did not want to eat the rest of their dinner, sitting, and wishing aloud there were more casserole.

Finally, one day I made three huge casseroles and nothing else. On the way home from school in the car, they always asked what was for dinner. This day, I told them, "Zucchini Casserole."

They asked, "What else?" I told them we just had zucchini casserole.

There was silence and shocked faces in the back seat. (I was looking in rear view mirror and turned to see one child.) They were stunned and silent all the way home, supposing dinner was going to be slim. When they saw three casseroles, they did rejoice, smiling at my deceit. Those were three happy children that night. They ate all three casseroles! We repeated that experience often at their request.
This casserole actually is a meal--two vegetables, bread, fat, dairy (more fat), protein.

When my children were able to eat at the table and feed themselves, they drank unsweetened tea. Otherwise, they filled up on milk and asked for more because they loved milk. Then, they were too full to eat the meal. Milk was for breakfast, snacks between meals, and after dinner. So, for a snack after this casserole, they drank milk and ate banana and maybe one cookie. They were active and always hungry--slim, too.

There was no sugar or artificial sweetener in the tea or in our home. We all just loved the taste of plain tea.

Mine were the only children in town who begged for zucchini. Other mothers were astonished. Frankly, I was too. My children sang the praises of zucchini while their skeptical friends made faces.

This is so juicy. And, it is even better the next day if you have any left. We rarely did.

If you try this, let me know how it turned out and if your kids approved. (If they hate zucchini, don't mention zucchini. It is just a tomato casserole.) Do you like it?
Your turn
Have you tried this since I posted it for the last two years? Do you like it?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Upcycle an Umbrella Frame--Crochet

I found this picture on Homestead Survival.  I cannot crochet this well. And, I have no idea why the text is so large on my blog now. But, I can fix it. The post is so short, so it stays.

Instructions for acquiring the directions are on the same blog.

Your turn
Are you capable of this magnificent crochet? 

Terror in Hen Pen

I was at the sink about 11:15, washing an iron skillet because I want scrambled eggs and have not eaten much today. I heard hen squawking, horrible and long sounds. I turned off the water to hear it again. I had to rush to the other end of the house, limping through 3 doors and 4 rooms to get to the big flashlight. Then, I rushed back and out the door, grabbing my lightweight hoe with the small, easily-wielded head.

You have no idea how fast my heart was beating as I rushed through the dew in sandals and a gown, not another stitch on, no protection for me at all. I approached warily, not wanting a bear raccoon to be angry at me and attack me. But, I had to see. Maybe I should bring them in if the perimeter of walls, floor, or sides had been breached.

Thelma was walking around, gently talking, but in a strident voice. Louise was standing in the top box where she and Thelma sleep. Pepper was flopping on the ground, off to one side. She did not look like she had much "flop" left in her. I warily made my way around the pen and could find no place a predator could have entered, no place where anything is ripped. Pepper moved even less.

Anxious to get out of mosquitoes that attacked my bare arms and legs, I made my way back to the house. My heart is pounding so, even now, that my head hurts on top. 

I am going to scramble my eggs, eat, get dressed, put on my headlamp, and go out for another look. There is no hope for Pepper. I want to get her body out before flies cover it and make me retch with the smell.

I don't know a single soul who would come here at midnight to get her out, except for exbf and he is an hour and a half away, and has to be at work at 6 am. So, that's out.  Tony is probably asleep. I cannot see lights on in the back of his house, and I don't want to drive around the block to see if anything else is alight.

Maybe I will bring Thelma and Louise into the house. If there is evidence on Pepper's body of an attack, I will! The trap will be set for tomorrow night, at any rate.

Just before dusk, when the other two came to the back door, Pepper was not with them. Usually, she is somewhere around. No, she was in the bottom box, the egg-laying box, just standing. Since Thelma laid an egg, I reached in to get it. Usually, Pepper runs wildly, squawking to avoid me, and flies out, whacking me in the face with her wildly flatting wings, the air blowing my hair back. But, she just stood there this evening/night. I petted her and she just made little sounds and did not try to avoid me. I wonder if she is ill and died.

This morning, she did not come near the food, but she does that sometimes, fearing--I supposed--that Louise would peck her. However, she had gotten over that. Lately, I have noticed a reluctance on her part to come to food right away. I chalked it up to the heat, renewed aggressiveness on the part of Louise, not illness. We will see.

No edits once again.

Monday, 6:30 am
I wentt out with clothing, boots, nitrile gloves, plastic bag, and trash can. Pepper was stiff and cold with no blood or marks on her. I am still shaking. That trash can goes to the road today, Monday, even though it will not be collected until Thursday morning. Yes, it looks pretty trashy to put cans out half a week. I don't care.

Black hens were outside the pen. They flew back home when I came out.

Your turn
Anyone willing and close enough to do dead hen removal tonight?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Projects: Progress, Failures, Abandonment

I found my crochet yarn that does not hurt my hands when I crochet. I have put the crochet down and taken it up again over a dozen times over the last two years. The new acrylic hurts my fingers. The old stuff is so nice to use. I can finish the baby blanket I started for my granddaughter's doll.

Packing items I use is hard to do. Somewhere, they will exist in limbo while I need them....grrr. This is not good. I miss things even though they are still mine. I only have part of one bookcase to pack.

I spent a long, hot interlude in the car on Friday cleaning the dash board of all the dust in cracks, spills of unknown origin, and splashes from more unknown origin. Gas station paper towels and water were the first step. Even with the time I spent cleaning, I did not get to the panels on the front of the dash. All I did was the horizontal part. The radio part and all the dials/buttons and the instrument panel are still mostly dirty.

Today, I realized there was paper lint that needs to be cleaned off the dash before I use the dash conditioner. Surely, old dash conditioner does not go bad and won't rot my dashboard? At any rate, I don't want my dash to crack.

Finally, after 27 months and 10K miles, I had the oil changed. Add the change of the fuel filter. That should give me better mileage, I hear. Yes, I waited too long. But, even now, I could not really afford it. As of the 17th, I had $3 to my name!

The asparagus and strawberries died during our 100+ degree temperatures even though I watered often during the day.

The hot pink umbrella that got holes is trashed, as in the trash can and gone. I was going to make a new cover for it. One day, I looked at it and decided it was just junk in the grand scheme of things I must do.

Even though I scrounged and bought a bit to make the snake trap, the snake seems to have quit eating eggs. So, maybe it is gone. Maybe the snake is eating fewer eggs since I don't get as many as I should and did. Maybe the hens are too hot to lay.

Cleaning and repainting a chair that is dismantled. First, my allergies were bothering me; then, I was ill; now, it is sooo hot.  Just crown me queen of excuses! Hot temperatures include 85 degrees and 67% humidity. The 100+ degree with 20% humidity days weren't so horrendous.

Your turn
Make my day: Please share your projects, progress, failures, and abandonment of those.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Laying another half-ass egg! And Interlopers Again!

Half-assed attempt to lay an egg
Exbf came in sort of disgusted and said, "Well, Louise made another half-assed attempt to lay an egg." Horrified, I asked him what he meant. It seems she laid another egg without a shell, just a touch membrane.

He saved it for me, but either something ate it, or it is under pine straw. He knew I would want to get a picture. My camera battery is low, so I cannot take a picture at all.

Thelma gives me about 6 eggs each week. Pepper stopped her six-a-week habit and now lays one or two. I think it is the heat. Louise lays an egg with no shell about once a month. Thelma and Louise are three years old. I don't know how old Pepper is.

All three hens get egg shells, just as they have since they were young.  No, I am not going to purchase oyster shell.  I think being old is he problem.


This afternoon, I put out two mangoes for the hens. I called them, but they did not come, just looked at me. Oh well, the mangoes were left for when they feel like seeing what they are. Just now, about 6:30, I decided I needed to go to bed for the night. So, I took a bell pepper, cut it in half and filled both sides with oats.

When I got to the pen, the two black chickens from the house behind were eating in the pen, having a ball. I put the bell pepper halves down and called the chickens...deee-lie-lahhhh. All three came running but would not enter the pen because they saw the black chickens, tiny ones. The black ones retreated to a far corner. Still, my trio refused to enter. So, I sprinkled some of the oats. That always get them.

All three went in and the bird hovered in the corner. Pepper went over, stood beside one, and finally made a half-hearted lunge. The birds scurried away. When I went around the pen and banged on it where the black birds were, my trio and the couple of interlopers all ran out.

Now, my trio decides to go in my swing and sit a bit. When the black duo came running to join them. Louise was having none of that and pecked one. So, they hovered around the crape myrtle and just watched my trio swinging.

Now, I have a problem. These have been over here twice and gotten fruit, vegetables, and oats. I have a feeling they will be over every night.  I told the woman behind me that the birds were flying over, and she does not want them. They belong to her son. Soooo, that time I was trying to keep them safe. The next time will be to say they eat my hens' food.

I am torn as to what to do. Pepper likes to scare them!

7:30--All five hens were in the pen, AGAIN! Mine ran  to me, complaining. The other two just refused to leave the pen, so I banged on it and they ran out. Throwing pine cones frightens my hens, something I am not willing to do. Besides, the little black hens just run round and round the outside of the pen. It must look like a cartoon if someone were watching. I am too tired to keep it up, so I am going to bed anyway, and will lock the hens up some time in the night. If the black hens are there, I will lock them up, too.  I am too tired to ask the people behind me to remove their hens!

No proofing here.

Your turn
Should I just ignore the chickens in my yard? Chase them away by throwing pine cones near them to make this seem like a less than hospitable place?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Trembling Enchantment of Green...again

"He who loves a garden still his Eden keep" A. Bronson Alcott

A republishing of one of my favorite posts. Indulge me.

Don't get me wrong. I never wear green. Nothing in my house is green--no walls or furnishings. Green of nature enthralls me every year as though I had never seen it before. As I grow older (almost 66 now), it seems I appreciate it more....not sure why. The life I see in green is something Thoreau would appreciate. Nothing else seems to hold the peace and promise of green trees, foliage of yard plants, and the grass. Maybe it's just me. My St. Augustine grass has a depth to its green that is lacking in other grasses that I have observed. By no means have I experienced all the greens and grasses of the earth.

As I drove the back way from Huntsville, south to my home, avoiding the interstate, about 6:30 pm last Saturday, I was struck by the majesty of the land around me. There were few houses, a little mountain foothills range, and absolute quiet. People must be at home eating, tending the last bit of their garden, or getting ready to go out on Saturday night, I thought. This road normally has many cars. Not so when I drove the 30+ miles home this evening.

Since I had the radio off, the drive seemed especially serene. From now on the radio will be off so the noise won't interfere with the green experience. I could not see green for the cacophony of my favorite music (60s and easy listening).

I passed the old barn right beside the road with the little stand for selling produce. No one has sold produce there for the last 25 years. The old man died. His widow insisted on raising and selling gourds. Maybe that is produce. Her son raised gourds just for her and filled a 6' x 6' x 4' high lattice bin, made just for her and her gourds. The bin has a nice roof and overhang for shoppers and gourds to stay dry and shaded.

One summer day, I saw her, bent and walking slowly. She wore a faded, printed cotton house dress, topped by a faded apron. She had a bonnet on her head and old knee socks scrunched around her legs. For years there was never anyone at the stand. The one sighting of her and a later conversation with a very young, respectful relative were the only means of communication except for the locked money box in which to deposit money to pay for gourds. Laughing gently, the relative said the old woman had the only key and checked it regularly.

Now, there are only very old gourds in the bin. It does not look like they raise gourds any longer. The young relative had pointed them out to me, up on the hill near the woods. Did she die? I wonder. Everything was too quiet and green to stop and inquire.

Even the dogs seemed to honor the peace of the green afternoon, soon to be dusk. All their masters must have mowed the lawns because every lawn was freshly cut. The scene was not marred by a jarring note. Mowers were gone. No cars were in sight in the yards and few were on the road. Nature, even subdued by a lawnmower, seemed to be in charge. For one moment, I wondered if it were this quiet a hundred years ago. Home awaits me.

Late Spring has given us over a week of rain which seems to have added another dimension to the green world. As I stood in the backyard today, hanging clothes on the line, I was struck by the fact that I could see only green as I gazed round me. Only the clothes, the chicks and part of the back of my house broke the green spell. The sky was blue with clouds. The 6 foot back fence was obscured by scuppernong vines and wisteria. Even the trunks of the trees were gone, hidden by privets that reached up toward the branches of the hickory nut trees and bowed to the ground, touching the grass. The low-growing limbs of the tree hid my car and the house next door.

The diffuse, trembling green of Nature seemed at her best. Green must be female, tantalizing us each day to play with her, to interact. Green has many agendas and roles--nurturing, playing, birthing, tending, feeding, burying, cleaning, listening, hiding. Green is there to discover as I increasingly have the last few days.

It all seemed too perfect, punctuated by two bright petunia plants, rescued from brown doom at Lowe's. I nurtured them back to their green and pink state. The old-fashioned roses on the back fence have faded, and I won't cut the vines until I see hips. Maybe I will have hips.

For a moment, I felt as if I were in a secret garden, seeing nothing and hearing only the birds and chicks. Sometimes, it is hard to tell them apart just by listening.

I had no far-off horizon, only walls of green on four sides and a blue ceiling. The house is there, but from where I stood, I could not really see it. The blaze of the sun, though blinding, kept me focused on the green. Weeds grown up over my rock garden hid even the heat of the rocks so nothing emanated. It was all green, just green.

This feeling comes over me every year. Today pulled all the green I feel from the depths of me. I never told anyone before.

"He who loves a garden still his Eden keeps." (sign in my yard)
A. Bronson Alcott

(Written on June 22, 2009, ten days after I had no TV)

(July 2012 Just another little reprint and two weeks late, since I missed republishing it in June. I still have not asked about the old woman. I will; I promise. The yard is overgrown after five days of rain.)

Your turn
Does the green of nature touch you deeply? Does green, lush foliage renew you as it does me?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bullock Brothers Homestead: A 25-year Permaculture Project

Here is a great weekend project. This site is full of videos and great idea. I am inspired by the Bullock Brothers Homestead video from Permaculture Ideas blog. When you go to the link where the video is located, you will be at the Permaculture Idea blog.

It is amazing how these three brothers have worked together for 25-years in harmony. They finish each other's sentences and never seem to compete on camera. They are self-assured, humble, and knowledgeable.

The newest (I think) video on the Permaculture Ideas blog has tomatoes with legs. All his ideas are not new to me. But, there is enough of his disproving current lore about tomatoes to make me a believer.

Does this give you ideas?
While I am not going to move anywhere to start permaculture homesteading, this gives me ideas for my one-third acre yard. How about you?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free Chik-fil-A Today

Remember me in the cowsuit? Today is the day. I am going now to get my free sandwich. Are you going? Have you already gotten yours?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Synchronicity and Derailing

Did you ever have a day start with such promise and such synchronous events that made you happy and still keep derailing all day long? I had one of those days today.

First of all, I did not sleep well after the little  health crisis yesterday. Not enough sleep always means I am scattered the next day and hurt lots. Fibromyalgia needs a proper amount of sleep.

I had  found a box to pack away the tall lady lady lamp base. Fortunately, the box I found had another box just smaller stuffed inside it. Both were tall and skinny--just the thing for a tall lamp. I threw a plastic bag of tulle in the bottom of the box, calling it padding. Then, with help from exbf, I managed to get the lamp inside with the harp tied to the upright rod. Then, I used two 4'x2' pieces of quarter-inch, brittle foam in the box, bending it so she is protected. Taping the box up was an ordeal. I could not have done it all without exbf to help me. Now I must find a  18"x18" box for the lampshade--at  least that size. Larger will work.

Another find was an odd shaped box that I suspected I would never find. I did. That will be for a later post. Both boxes had to be oddly-shaped for boxes, and they appeared in front of me just when I needed them, no earlier or later. .

We had to go out for errands and use my car because I was returning something in the trunk. I left my cell phone in the house and was too tired to go get it. Remember--it has a car key on it. My keyring was not in my purse after I had locked the door and gotten in the car. So, I used the car key on my change purse that hold bills and change. When we got to the gas station, I took the key out of the ignition, got  money out, and locked the car, leaving the change purse on the dash. I had paid for the gas and exbf was pumping it. Since I always have my cell phone in my pocket, I did not bother to take the change purse.

I was locked out of the car in front of the pump. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRR!

I have my insurance agent's number memorized, so I called and talked to my long-time employee. She sent the locksmith and drove to the station to give him a check. The locksmith who unlocked my car last time was a disaster, AND I thought he was going to tear up the door.  was glad to see my regular locksmith. I should keep him on retainer. I keep asking for a frequent-locker discount. They are not amused.  For something less than $3, I get roadside service. Unlocking my car is the only service I ever use.

I had coupons for free ice cream cones from Burger King that consoled me after my ditzy self made a mess and our chores.

My cell phone was still in my bed and my key ring was beside the cushion in my chair where I always sit. Yes, I searched for and retrieved them both when I got home after a few chores we had to do. I must say, exbf never chides me for losing keys or leaving them home or locking myself out of car and house. He just asks gently, "Why,,,,,,,,,,,,?"  He is perplexed by all my answers.. Okay, I am under stress and hurt all the time. And, I always have a lame brained excuse. However, I have been a ditz with keys since I went through menopause.

Honestly, I think the man is allergic to my kitchen. He is probably allergic to any kitchen. When I asked him to help me clean out the refrigerator, he came bravely.You could tell by the set of his jaw that he was trying hard not to run.  I cannot bend over and stand up over and over, so I tackled one shelf and said, "Trash, hens, in sink, left of sink, for you, right of sink," handing things as I hunched over, holding on to the refrigerator and trying not to whimper too much. Finally, when one shelf was cleared, I could barely stand or walk. So, that was it for today. I have three more shelves, the meat drawer, two crispers and the butter thing on the door.

 Can you see how long it will take to clean out the refrigerator? Then, and only then, can I empty all the shelves to wash inside. If the world actually comes to an end in December, maybe I won't have to actually wash it inside. You gotta love the Mayans.

I did not put the ground round out in time to thaw today. So, I put it in an iron skillet with some water, intending to thaw it and chop it up to serve on the hamburger bun. We were going to have hamburgers and a large salad of spinach, carrots, tomatoes, yellow squash, and pickled cucumbers with Vidalia Onion dressing.  I remarked it was 5:51 and exbf became irritated for the first time  today. Okay, not the first, just the

He just packed up his work clothes, food I had given him, and waited until I had cut and cubed a cantaloupe for him. You know the hens will love the seeds tomorrow morning! He left. I think getting the cantaloupe sort of calmed him down.

Edit: This part was left out of original post. I must not have saved!

End of edit.

Before I left home to look for him and before he left, I had put the frozen beef in an iron skillet with a bit of water, intending to thaw it and eat it all chopped and still call it a hamburger. When I arrived home after trying to catch him, the meat was burning on the stove....sigh. Not much, thankfully. So, I scraped bits of only slightly scorched meat and chopped it and will have dinner in  a bit. Or, I could eat cookies!
So many things went right today. I was incredibly lucky with the box and other things, but then I got off track many times. Derailment is NOT fun. Maybe seeing the boxes in an unexpected place was not synchronicity.

Your turn
Do you ever have a day that seems driven by dual forces? Do the ups and downs of a day sometimes drain you? Okay, I need

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Savings: Friend in Health Crisis--Police on Scene

Have your ever known a skinflint who ruins his or her health to cut costs? Is this someone who takes care of things, goes to the doctor, yet eats the wrong things? Is this person sound economically and savvy about money matters? 

Today, just now, I had to call the police to do a welfare check on a friend who has diabetes and was talking crazy, saying things I know are not true. I asked him to turn on his TV to Channel 13, so I could hear the weather, something we do every day of the week at 5 pm. He insisted it was only 4 pm. Having set the clock for 5:00 to get up from an hour nap, I was a bit groggy myself and almost believed him.

My computer said 5:02; so did the cell phone, as did the bedroom clock and the stove clock in the kitchen. Okay, the kitchen and bedroom clock had 5-ish because I never get them reset perfectly. Now, he was starting to worry me because he was slurring his words. .

When I yelled in my meanest voice to turn the TV on 13, he turned it up, kept it loud for a minute, returned, and said, "See, it is 4 o'clock." By yelling his name, he finally heard me, turned the TV down, and said, "It is 4 here."  Well, since we live in the same time zone, that made no sense.

Besides, if he turned the TV on 13, there should have been news of some sort. I kept demanding he turn the TV to 13. Finally, in a petulant voice he said, "I want it on 4 and it's staying there." That is not like him. See, he did not have it on 13. The number 4 was the channel he had it on or turned it to when I asked for 13.

Several times, I threatened to call neighbors and to call police. He became frantic and was begging me, "No, NO, don't do that." It breaks my heart to call the police. But, he does not listen or comprehend.

Okay, his neighbor that I called frantically, called me. The police, fire department, and paramedics were at his home across the street from them. The husband ran over to see what was the problem. He told me that my friend had an IV inserted and was talking.  I asked him to ask police to have my friend call me.

So, my friend called me while he had the IV in and while the paramedics were there and asked me in all sincerity, "Why didn't you just tell me to go squirt jelly down my throat." When I told him I did, told him to eat or drink, he said, "You did? I don't even remember that." He was truly puzzled.

I asked to talk to the EMT who said they put in an IV as a quick fix, but he had to eat because his blood sugar could plummet at any moment. The EMT said when they arrived, he was slurring his words. But, now he could talk correctly.

The way my friend explained it--he had gone from work to get a haircut and was exhausted and wanted to get off his feet and rest. So, he said he must have dozed off.  I think passed out was more like it.

NOW, I am a nervous wreck. Yet, I am more determined than ever to never be diagnosed with diabetes. No one calls me like clockwork like I do him.

Back to his saving money--he will not spend money to fix his low blood sugar level if it means stopping to grab a $1 fix. He says he can make it to where food is waiting. He also tells me testing his blood sugar levels only twice a day is all he has to do. Everyone else I have ever known with diabetes checks blood sugar levels four times each day. He has attained his secure financial position  by being cautious with money.

About the jelly down his throat--another diabetic friend told me there were sugar wafers and toothpaste-like sugar gel for diabetics in need of a quick fix. The gel can be squirted in the mouth of a person losing consciousness and the person won't choke on it like on a sugar wafer or sugary drink. I laughed when he refused to buy the gel and told him to squirt jelly in his mouth. He has lots of the strawberry jelly in squirt jars that I won't eat and gave to him.

He keeps crackers at work and at home. I think that after this he will keep peanut butter crackers in his car!

Okay, I just talked to him after he ate his dinner. He remembers nothing of the 18 minutes we talked. He laughs at the things he told me. A lie--that he checked all the clocks in the house and all said 4 o'clock. He has one clock--in his bedroom. He never got out of his recliner and told me he was walking around the house. He laughed at his petulant voice I mimicked for him. He agreed that from now on he would put crackers in his lunch just in case he does not make it home on time.

Sometimes, when he is at my house, he just "turns off." I can tell by the look on his face and his response that he needs something fast. He resists me every time! I have to get very stern and mother-like for him to eat. Cajoling will not work!

I doubt I ever mentioned this but last year, I called him from 4 pm Friday until 3 am Sunday morning, getting nothing but a busy signal. Finally, I called the police. He missed work on Saturday. The last he remembered was sitting down after work on Friday.

I don't have high blood pressure, but my pulse is pounding in my head. Yes, this is exbf in crisis.

So, help me here
Do you have diabetic friends/relatives who refuse to care for themselves and saving money is the goal? Do they become argumentative, say silly or outrageous things, and then never remember the episode?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lumps and Bumps

What does this look like? Go over to Consumne Gal and read Take Your Lumps. I will wait until you get back to tell you my story. Notice how my picture is similar to her picture. She writes well, so you will be amused and horrified at her trials.

Okay, now for my story. This picture is in front of the local Kmart. See the pink strip across the middle of the picture? As I left the store after a very unsatisfactory experience one evening, I was riding the electric cart to the car. I had rattled across the strip of yellow bumps. That pink strip was not filled in. The front wheel of the cart fell into the gap. I lurched forward and hit my chest on the center of the steering mechanism, knocking my breath out of me.

I let out an agonized moan/scream.  An employee retrieving carts ran to me as I was crumpled over the cart, sort of moaning and trying to catch my breath. He had to lift me and the cart out of that crack. I had a huge bruise between my breasts. I should have sued. There was no sign of warning. A person could have easily taken a spill by stepping into the void.

Since my back is in such terrible shape, going over the bumps feels like I am being hit in the base of my spine over and over. That's a nice way to treat customers. Then, the lurch and no caution signs was a horrendous end of the jouncing around on the yellow bumps.

By the way, Lowe's here does not have this bumpy, lumpy patch.

Your turn
Has anyone besides Jan and I encountered these nasty yellow lumps/bumps?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lady Lamp

The shade looks weirdly disproportional in this picture! Not so!
Let me repeat: I love lamps with a passion. Here is a lamp that was almost free. It took a little work, but eventually it was mine. Don't you love the lady form? Maybe not! There is a story behind this, and you know I am going to tell it to you. I have no idea where blogger is going with this format, but I am going to work with The lamp is 52 inches tall, quite imposing. It came today from a dusty, inaccessible corner and had to go outside to remove the layers of dust!

My friend worked for an attorney who was elected as a judge. She cleaned the office and their home. They gave her an old cast-off chair, upholstered and with lots of carved wood, as best as I can remember. My friend put it in her yard sale. She said she would never get it upholstered. I kept the chair another ten years, enrolled in an upholstery class, and was ready to upholster it.

I wanted the sofa my friend said that matched it and her employer kept. So, I asked permission to call the employer with news I had bought the chair and would like to purchase the sofa. The woman was thrilled to hear from me because the judge's father had died as well as the mother, and the sofa was now a sentimental item. She had been trying to figure out who had the chair so she could get it back and have both upholstered. Finally, she upholstered the sofa and kept wondering where the chair was.

Being a sentimentalist, I thought the chair belonged with the family and the sofa, so I told her I would sell it back. Since I had already stripped it and spent hours and weeks on it, I was not willing to sell it cheap, She wanted to barter instead of paying me.

She invited me to her home to see what deal we might find mutually agreeable. She just showed me things in different rooms she was willing to part with for the chair. I had made it clear that some cash would be part of the deal. When I saw this lamp, I asked nonchalantly if it was something she would part with. She looked at it for about a minute and said, "Yes." I wanted $35 and the lamp. She was willing to give $20. Finally, I got it back up to $25, just by standing firm. She wanted the chair more than I wanted the lamp. Actually, I wanted the chair more than the lamp!

I am not sure if the capodimonte shade was original to the lamp. What do you think? I know no history of the lamp or its worth. If you know, please enlighten me. I just love it, no matter its worth.  

I paid $35 to my friend for the chair, got back $25 and a lamp on the trade. We both were happy. Yes, this lamp, like this lamp, is just my style. I still cannot describe my style. Can you?

Can you see the fringe on the shade, blowing in the wind? The wind kept knocking the shade where it was not center of the lamp. The shade is attacked to the rod on the back f the lamp, so the shade has to be adjusted to sit just in the center. Clear as mud?

Now, the dusted lamp and shade are waiting for two boxes the right size. 


I love the bare toes on the rocks, the clinging gown, the arm full of grapes, exquisite hands and fingers, the amphora, all the little details. 

The lampshade it coming apart in places, so I need to recover the lampshade frame. Some day!

Your turn
Can you see how much I love/like lamps and the kinds I love/like? Maybe it is not your cup of tea? Do you love lamps, too? Do you have a story to share of a lamp acquisition?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Black Chickens Come to Call

This is the first time my hens have had visitors of their own species, visitors that do not want to eat them. Cats stalk my hens. Raccoons eat them. Dogs chase them. Snakes eat their eggs. Wild birds use their waterer and eat their food. But, today, when exbf went out to feed the hens when he got here, he hurried back in and told me to come out. "There are black chickens out here in your yard!"

Of course, I grabbed my camera. When the hens had finished eating what exbf had already given to them and came out to me, the black, young, interloper chickens ran into the pen. I closed them up because I was keeping them safe for their owners who live behind me. After a bit, I decided maybe their owners would think I was detaining their chickens. I just wanted the people to rescue their chickens. Exbf went to their house, but no on answered the door. She is a nurse, and I think she works nights.

So, I let the chickens out of my pen. They ran ran ran to escape the pen, AND they flew right up into a tree that is the neighbor's yard--their owner. They flew about 15 feet right up there with little effort, it seemed. We were both impressed. Look right in the middle of the picture below.
safe at home in their yard--black head tufts and all

The other chicken is up there, too, just hard to spot. It was 10 am and in the 90s already. So, I went back in. It has been 12 hours, and I am still jazzed.

I was not witness to little Pepper's first time to exert her pecking order, but exbf said that when she and the little black chickens passed, Pepper made a lunge as if to peck or frighten. I am so glad she had this experience, the only time she may ever experience power! I watched Thelma and Louise just ignore the little black hens. But, Pepper had her day.

Your turn
Have strange chickens ever just showed up at your house? What kind of chickens are these--jet black with head tufts. Do your neighbors farm animals show up? Of course, I live in the city and usually only have the occasional dog that is not on a leash or a couple of cats looking at the hens.

It Works!

Since I seemed not to be (zap) winning the war on pantry moths, I bought a bug zapper several months ago. I decided to get a handheld BUG ZAPPER. I loaded it up with two AA batteries. It did not faze the bugs.

I asked Exbf to let me touch it to him while it was on. He took it and held it himself while he turned it on. Then, I convinced him to see if it made the hair on his arms feel (zap) (zap) zap) tingly. It did not. He refused to turn it on and put his tongue to it. I begged.

Mark declared it broken after similar tests. Finally, I touched it. Nothing. He had owned one that actually worked until his children over-played with it.

Driven mad by these moths, I saw another shipment of BUG ZAPPERS at the store and bought another. Yes, I have been stopping and zapping bugs as I type. One was a fruit fly that had been trying to get on my mouth. Yuck. The others were pantry moths I saw flying. Never before have I batted 1000 when assaulting the pantry moths. They appear to have found every nook and cranny and the carpet. They cannot fly well, so their path is erratic. I cannot keep up when swatting.

This is quite a spectacular little tennis-racket-looking instrument of bug death. There is a loud fire-cracker pop pop, lots of smoke and hissing and the disintegrating moth parts hit again and again casing more pophisses. Master of Death that I am, this is quite thrilling. I must admit that at first the burning stench in my nostrils was off-putting, to say the least. Now, I have grown to enjoy it since it represents defeat, victory, a win

In the kitchen I tried it on a few fruit flies. It sounded like the smallest of firecrackers and did not smell at all. As a matter of fact, I just used this like a magic wand through fruit flies, and it repeatedly popped as it got them all!

This seems like something that might come in handy outdoors during dusk when mosquitoes are abundant and insistent that I let them sip. I am so excited to finally feel I can win the war on moths.

Your turn
Have you ever used one of these? Did you like ti?  Have you even seen one? Obviously, they have been out for years before I ever saw one.  It works on the order of the ones for outdoors, and sounds just as barbaric.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cute Purse to Make

cute and doable

I saw a girl in the store with an adorable purse. I would like to duplicate this. All the squares with slits are two pieces of fabric. the other squares have appliques (designs) sewn on by machine. Even a novice could make this purse, lining it and adding straps. She said it was too deep, so you could make yours any size that pleases you. This suits my sense of whimsy and parsimony.

These squares could be used for a coverlet or quilt top. The ones with the long slits like the white one near the center are just two pieces, sewed together and then with two long lines joined at the end. Cut between the two lines and the tshirt material sort of folds out. All the backing was a woven fabric and most of the front pieces are thsirt. All the edges are raw, but each block or square piece is sewn where the back has the seams, just a normal joining of seams in order not to see the part, the back where it would unravel.

In the bottom left is a labyrinth (spiral maze walking path for meditation). There is a peace sign in tie dye. There are other signs I don't recognize. I could see this done in dragons, trains, paper dolls with clothes.

By lining any size rectangle of these blocks, a lightweight throw, bedspread, coverlet could be made.

Just make sure woven fabric is used with tshirt over it.

The two-tone blue below her arm is her shirt.

Your turn
Does this strike your fancy for a project? If you make something like this, using this method, I will post a picture on my blog. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chickie-Boom-Boom Smoothie

Dinner for four days

I was saying "chickie boom chickie boom boom" as I made this. Tomorrow, It will be a cold smoothie. Today, I gave them a quarter of this for lunch. They did not finish it. So, it was transferred to their pen at dinner.

*1 can vegetarian beans
*1/2 cup potato flakes
*2 tbsp powdered milk
 4 crushed eggshells
*1 cup fig pieces.
*1 tsp salt
*3 tbsp sugar
 1 tsp red pepper

*from food bank

I mixed it all in an antique berry bowl because it was handy and clean. The salt and sugar are for the heat. The potato flakes are to soak up the bean liquid. They should not have much milk when adults. The eggshells are for calcium. They love these figs that chopped pieces and covered with sugar.

Then, I put some on a plate and called them. Only Thelma came over the carport wall. The other two just stood there like they were unsure what was on the other side. ME! and food that Thelma was gobbling down.

Thelma, picking out the fig pieces!

I stood right there and watched as she deliberately picked out the figs!  For awhile I tried to talk her into trying the rest. Then, I was hurting too much to sit and watch to see if she ate anything else or if Louise and Pepper ate anything at all. I don't think they are too hungry because of all the heat. What was left on he plate, I took to their pen at bedtime and put dry oats on top.

Tomorrow, it will all go into the blender and be served ice cold: Chickie Boom Boom Smoothie! They seem to really like cold food when it is warm.

I know that some people allow their hens to eat from different feeders of food, picking what they want. But, she needs the figs bits least of all, in my opinion. They eat their beans last.

Those figs bits are horrid. Exbf won't eat them either.

Now, I am off the see Magic Mike with a Tina who asked me to go and is paying my way so she won't look like a pervert. I told her we would just look like two perverts!

Your turn
When you put out a mixture of food, do your animals pick and choose? Mine do sometimes. I know they are supposed to know what they need. Hogwash. They prefer fig bits to beans. Pepper will just get a scrap of bread if Louise chases her away from the meat side of the plate.  I really don't think her body says, "I need bread not meat and oats." 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Offended the Faucet Goddess

Orange is rust. Or something.
The light orange is from the handheld shower drip.
No, I cannot bend long enough to clean it off.
Stream of orange is from when I accidentally leave the lever turned to shower.
See "rust"  in one side of shower head?

Warning: spell check is not working. Either that or I am a marvelous typist today.

For the last year, the water in my commode has run constantly. When I figured this out, a day or so after it started, I just turned off the water to the commode. Luckily the water cutoff is not on the side toward the corner. It is still a pain in the neck. Exbf has no idea how to replace things in the tank. Charlie looked at it and said he could try....eight months ago....but he had never replaced the insides of a commode before. And, he has not been back. I cannot afford a plumber. It is so hard not to have enough money.
Soooo, I am stuck with that issue in the bathroom.

Plus, the wire/chain that the handle attaches to inside the tank has been broken. I could fix that, but the clip broke, too. That leaves me to plunge my arm into the tank. In hot weather, the water is tolerable. In cold weather, the water is torture. Plus, the bathroom is frigid in the winter. A guy who is going to fix it all attached a piece of copper wire until he can come and fix commode and tub. Still, there is a water leak and the insides of the tank need replacing entirely. I replaced the flap. That was not the whole problem.

Now, for the tub issues. This is a clawfoot tub that has been in the house since water came to this subdivision in the 1930's, maybe even earlier. Before that, an outhouse and pump supplied hygiene and water.

Okay, onto the tub tale after my digression, rabbit trails.... 
When we moved in, the tub faucet did not mix the water (two spigots), so I had to run all bath water for the children. The children were 9, 7, and 20 months. The water had to be stirred in the tub with a hand because there could be pockets of near-scalding water. I would allow the nine-year-old to run water but had to check it before he got in or anyone else did. When I figured he got it right all the time, I never checked when he ran bathwater for himself and the seven-year-old sister. He could run it for the baby, but I checked it before I put her in and bathed her.

The faucet had a tiny drip.

Of course, soon the faucet just failed and with good cause. It dripped a bit too much (still tiny drip) and ex knew how to stop that. He came in and declared he had fixed the drip. I was thrilled that he did his first handyman chore in our twelve years of marriage! He leaned on it with all his weight, so hard that even I could not get the water on. After two or three times of his fix, the faucet had a catastrophic failue and we had to purchase another old $5 faucet. Then, we had to get someone to put it in. He was never around when the faucet was replaced and never learned. He just got a friend of his to come by while I was home and fix it.

He repeated his fix for each leaky faucet and caused failure at least four more times.

All the faucets we purchased for $5 or less were from a wonderful salvage place two blocks from our home. I loved to go there and get my hands dirty. Okay, I did love to go there. Everyone else there, including women, were already grimy all over from working. I was the girly-girl, picking carefully like I could keep the dirt off, grease and grime off me. Ex-husband would not go because he had on a suit and might touch something.

After I got a  divorce, only one old faucet failed in many years. But, it was the last one the ex had used brute force on. I had a friend who replaced it for me. Yes, it dripped, a slow drip. But, I figured it was my fate in life to have drips or catastrophic failures in the tub faucet. No washer or plumber ever really fixed one, just slowed the drip. Even when I paid big bucks to the best licensed plumber in town, the guy just said it was the best he could do. He also took my money and later I discovered he put no cutoff on the water behind the tub. When I asked him why he did not put in a cutoff, he said, "That's too hard."

I really am getting to the point.

One Friday evening, the water would not turn off at all. The cold water faucet flowed full force for 18 hours.  You have no idea how humid it was in here. A friend said he would come by early the next day on Saturday. The salvage place had closed years before, but another plumbing supply place was on the next block. So, the friend showed up at 11 am, not early like he promised. He turned off the water at the road, something I could not do. He fiddled with the faucet, took it off, tried to seduce me, made me angry, and finally decided I needed a new faucet.

We jumped in his car and he slowly proceeded to the plumbing supply that did have a few old, old, ancient faucets to fit my tub. Yes, I called and located what I thought I might need. As we approached the light, it turned red and I saw the owner leave his shop, closing it up at noon on Saturday, just like I knew he would. He had driven away by the time the light turned green.

No other place had a faucet to fit my tub--Lowe's, Kmart, Walmart or local hardware stores. We finally went to a place that carries Restoration Hardware and is an architectural salvage business. Yes, they had just what I needed, new and for $350 dollars. I think that was $389 after tax!

If you have passed out, I will wait for you to regain consciousness. Ready?

I did have choices: leave the water turned off at the road for 4 days while I arranged for/shopped for a cheaper faucet, and a different friend here, and take a day off from work, I asked nicely if they would hold my check for two weeks since I got paid monthly. They agreed. My lecherous, married friend put in that faucet.  If I had had time to scrape up anybody else, he would have been out the door. I cannot afford plumbing on a Saturday from a real plumber.

Six months later, it failed too. Why me? What did I ever do to the goddess of faucets? Thankfully, I never offended the goddess of fire!  That faucet did develop a slow, streaming leak. For the price I paid, this was not setting well with me. So, the archectural antiques guy gave me a faucet to use until that one was sent back to the company for repairs. Honest, I never turned it off hard because I knew better. Something metal on the inside ate up something metal on the inside. That or something like that was the diagnosis. Got that?

Surely, you have guessed by now. That loaner faucet leaked too!!! Since it was lent to me for awhile, I could not complain. That was 10 +years ago. The guy never called back to say my faucet had arrived! This faucet was/is so fancy that I never worried about getting the old one back. The leak has increased from a drip to a flow. Even so, I still use half the water than one person uses....all according to the Water Department. This faucet was acquired 10+ years ago. It has lasted longer than any faucet ever!

My current "problem" started about two months ago. I kept having a puddle up near where the drain is located. Since I can no longer get up from the tub (back, torn rotator cuff, torn meniscus), I just use the hose attached and stand to take a "shower." I hate this form of ablution, but I am clean and sort of refreshed. However, I was not being sloppy, letting the shower squirt water outside the tub, as  I soon discovered. Since there are 70-yea-old plaster walls in there and no showerboard, I have to be careful.

Then, the problem got worse until this morning  when the whole bathroom was flooded. The shower was still on even though the water was turned off. I forgot to turn the lever to faucet mode. So, the stream of water streamed down the from the shower head to the shower hose outside the tub and all over the floor. It took me several hours to figure the handle was still on shower mode! Not to be defeated, I figured out how to solve my problem.

The end of the faucet is the size of a dime. Lowe's plastic tubing the size of a dime, 10' x $0.50=$5 solution. Presently, the hose is on the faucet and the other end is over the edge of the commode bowl. Of course, I have ruined all the linoleum flooring now. Whatever.... Hopefully, the wood is not rotting. I am the eternal optimist.
filling the commode tank

Now,  I have temporarily attached the hose to the tank of the commode so I don't have to turn on the cut off behind the commode. I can flush with water that usually just runs down the tub drain.
When the guy from an organization that is going to help me was here, I told him I had resigned myself to a leaky faucet. If he could just stop the leaky pipe outside the tub, I would be happy. He put down O-ring on his list, so maybe he will tackle the faucet.  I hate to sound jaded, but I don't hold out much hope for success on his part.

About the two handles, one cocked up and one down--I don't know why. It just came that way. Both are off! Oh, no other faucet in this house has or ever has had even one drip, just the tub. Okay, I am on the second bathroom sink and second kitchen sink faucet in 35 years. This is the tenth faucet or more for the tub.

Your turn
Have your ever offended the goddess of faucets and lived for 35 years with various leaky faucets? Have you ever just resigned yourself, deciding to live eternally with a small, seemingly unfixable solution after many failed attempts by many skilled people? Now, these were professionals, friends who just knew plumbing, ancient faucets and new in the box faucets. Women friends I have known for years just shake their heads at the leaky faucet.  So do guy friends who know less than I do about plumbing. What god or goddess have you offended?

Egg Substitute

 Occasionally, when baking even the best organized person finds a shortage in some area. Need an egg substitute right now when you are baking?

Since I wrote about a substitute for baking powder, I decided to share other substitutes.

Have you ever needed an egg and did not have one in sight? Here is a quick substitute:
1 tsp cornstarch + 1/4 cup water . Stir together and use in baking recipes.

For those not in the US, here are other names of cornstarch.

* Called corn starch in the USA.

* Called cornflour in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Commonwealth countries, except in Canada, where it is also known as corn starch. Not to be confused with cornmeal.

* Called maize starch in Europe.

* Often called maizena in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Latin America and Indonesia, after the brand.

I got the information on names for cornstarch names in other countries from Wikipedia, so I hope it is all correct. If not, let me know.

Cornstarch does have a shelf life of 18 months, 2 years in the freezer.

Now, arrowroot can be substituted for cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio. However, I don't know if arrowroot used as an egg substitute works.

Your turn
Have you ever used this egg substitute? If you fear shortages, do you keep several containers of cornstarch and cream of tartar on hand? Do you have powdered arrowroot in your kitchen?