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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Present, Past, and Future

several years ago
I know the title is out of order 
There will be no Halloween decorations or Trick or Treat here. The wind is too high for me to set up my graveyard under an oak tree with dead limbs, some of which have already fallen. Plus, it is cold and windy. UPDATE: It is now Halloween day and the wind is about 3 mph, and my left shoulder is frozen, so no dragging things around!
I did buy candy corn three weeks ago. Why so early? I found a small bag of Brach's for $2. Those would be gone soon, so in my infinite wisdom, I bought them. Later bags were much more expensive, larger, and went fast. Now, I just have to get up the nerve to open the bag and give myself an overdose of sugar.

There probably won't be any Halloween for g-daughter in NY where trees are down. However, she did get to go out Saturday night at her father's house in PA.  She went as an 80s girl, her own idea. My daughter told her, "Good, you don't need a costume. We have all you need." I am quite sure my daughter was dreading buying an expensive costume. I know, I know. She always buys costumes. I always made costumes for my three children or put something together for them.

When my now 37-year-old daughter was still a newborn, I entered her in a costume contest, hoping to get the award for youngest in costume. She was 34-days-old. I put on her a pink, plush, terry sleeper. I had made a bonnet with bunny ears for the occasion. There were so many disappointed parents with really old babies, three-month-old babies had no chance. I sort of felt sorry for the parents who had their first babies, such young couples, when they looked over and saw her. My daughter won a monkey holding a banana. You know the kind I mean.

The son wanted to be the Fonz. At first, the Fonz wore a denim jacket on Happy Days. So, son wore his denim jacket, a t-shirt, and jeans. The best part was his slicked-back hair. Foolish me put Vaseline in his hair to make the slicked back pompadour. Oh, it looked stupendous, but it took three or four washings a day for about 3 weeks before it came out of his hair.

The same year, I made a Wonder Woman costume for my daughter. Actually, she wore her red leotard from tap. I made the golden lasso, belt, head and wrist items. She had to wear tights because of the weather and just because. Both children were ecstatic with their costumes. NOW, they buy costumes for their children. I thought modeling behavior was a good thing they would follow.

Next year, I will have all my Halloween pictures with costumes I made during the year. Maybe I will put out my graveyard.

As for me, right now, I am going to open candy corn right after I get back from purchasing a 50 cent corn dog from Sonic. Yes, I do have business down that way.

I love Halloween.

Your turn
Are you decorating? Handing out candy? Taking children out? Tell me about past Halloweens or anything to entertain us all.

Update on Sandy in Brooklyn and My Daughter

 I heard Brooklyn was dark, but my daughter never lost her electricity. She lost Internet, home phone, and TV when a tree fell on the lines. She can still use her cell phone. About three months ago I got 200 minutes of texting plan each month for $5, I just texted her since she wanted to save her cell battery in case she lost  electricity. She only has a car charger and did not want to have to leave the house.

She had NO flooding! I am amazed.

The fire that burned 100 homes now leaves me with a new fear--overburdened fire department that might not respond in time in her neighborhood. You know how it is to be a mother.

I hope the people you all worried about being hurt or affected by Sandy fared as well as my daughter.

The post about Lucy and Ethel has been eaten by Blogger three times! I have to start over.

Your turn
How did you, your family and friends fare during Sandy? Got snow?

Monday, October 29, 2012

What was I thinking? Sewing Room Decluttering

okay, not as bad as I thought

As I unfurled the piece of fabric on top of the leopard print, I caught my breath.  What was I thinking??? But, it was okay. The fabric was something I had forgotten, a flow-y, crepe piece I bought for a skirt. With black tights or leggings and black blouse or something on top, it will be beautiful. Did you ever come across something put back, not remember it and become alarmed for half a second? The print i a very small leapard spot! Whew, it could be worse.
I have coppery earrings to wear with this--one of a kind earrings I designed myself and commissioned someone to make. Yes, I could afford things like that, once upon a time.

more skirt fabric

As I lay these aside, I was struck with the composition. The red and black houndstooth check is less than 1.4 inch. The polka dot is a pin dot, barely visible from ten feet away. Do you think these all are classics, not liable to go out of style anytime soon? I do. Maybe you don't. I will wear s black top with the red/black houndstooth and red top with the polka dot or maybe yellow sometimes.
I have never had any kind of animal fabric print before. This is not large and I promise I won't buy anything else. If I were to break down and buy another print, I certainly would not wear it with this!
So, now you know how my taste ran ten years ago. It is the same now. I bought all this on sale, getting enough for two ankle-length skirts of each print in case something happened to one, I could make another. All three of these will need a lining or a slip. I usually just make an A-line slip that can be worn elsewhere. These all three need different colors. The houndstooth need red to make the red less muddy in the skirt. I will wear black under the polka dot and probably beige under the leopard print. Do you wear animal prints?
As I sort through all this material, I have to shake out dead bumble bees. The neighbor catty-cornered from me insists on mowing the street and threw a rock into the window, a poured window that is 112-years-old.  I found a thousand dead bumble bees all over my sewing room! I am not kidding. Since they flew through the broken window pane and ten plus years have passed, I now shake bumblebee parts from the fabric.
Found also is plenty of material for tp if I cut them up and use once and toss them. If I don't have electricity, I won't be saving them to wash. I may serge them all on the off-chance I want to wash and reuse. If it were long, long term power outage, yes, I would be washing the cloth tp. There are also scraps for a rag bag. The only fabric I will dispose of is fabric I hate now but is not suitable for any other use. I will sell, donate to thrift store, or give to an individual.
After I injured myself and could not sew, I regularly bought fabric just like I always have, a piece her and a piece or ten there until I came to my senses! Have you ever bought fabric and gotten ahead of yourself on supply? Since then, I did buy chicken fabric for napkins. As I typed chickens, one said something to me, wanting food, I suppose, She is on the porch and continually begging, so I have to go.

Your turn
How is your fabric stash? Have you ever bought fabric (or wood/whatever or you guys) and realized that you need to stop? Do you like or not like my tastes? you don't, no problem.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Help Me Keep up with Hurricane in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York

This is a nervous mama and memaw. My daughter and her children live in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York. I am paralyzed with fear right now. Okay, maybe I exaggerate! You know how it is, not being there or not knowing what will happen.

If you live in NYC or anywhere and hear anything about this area, let me know on the blog. Yes, I will be checking it every 10 minutes on Monday night,

Please do NOT tell me not to worry. That will not be helpful. I gave birth to her. I need information, NOT prayers. Conversation is okay. Maybe you understand?

Maybe this blog post is ridiculous. Hey, I wrote a blogger I follow, and he gave me information last time when I could not contact her.

At least, my daughter has her son home from his girlfriend's house tonight because of the wind and all the trees he walks under on his 20 block walk to and from her house. It must be love. She said he will not go out at all until this is all over because school is out tomorrow.

She and daughter (11) sleep in same bed in my daughter's room, so son (17) will sleep on the floor in her room. She wants them all together. That makes me feel better.

Humor me. Thanks. Any news will be helpful.  Okay, I feel better knowing others are watching for me. I am not sure I can figure out if her electricity is out or if she is flooded. She rents the second story of a house. She is high which in itself could present other problems.

I am sitting here wondering if I should hit publish or not. Okay, here goes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


hickory nut and quarter
These are treacherous and scary.  They are hickory nuts, impossible to crack but delicious if you can get anything out. Some people tell me they are black walnuts. Would you like one to hit you on the head?

8 hickory nuts in the path I walk to the car

Every day when I go out, I take my life into my own hands, trying to walk through a yard full of these. Last night, I was spread-eagle in mid-air, thinking I was going to do a belly flop on the ground as I slid backwards with left food and out to the right with my right foot.  I was lunging forward with my arms sort of reaching for something not there. You see how many there are in a small space? Even if I recover and don't fall, I can never be sure that I will find sure footing with the next step! Do you see all eight of the hickory nuts?

Once a very macho friend was standing talking with my husband in the backyard. The friend picked up two nuts and squeezed them in both hands to crack them. He looked at the uncracked nuts, squeezed again, getting red in the face, then squeezed them again, getting even redder. He asked what they were. My two-year old got a hickory nut, laid it on the concrete step, picked up a brick she used and smashed the nut until it cracked. She had had lots of practice!

tiny acorns from water oaks next to quarter

Then, there are the two huge oaks that rain down tiny acorns all over the yard, my car, and my head! It's like walking on ice when there is a solid mat on the driveway or street.

Exbf came in the house on Monday and asked how long it took me to get accustomed to being hit with acorns and hickory nuts. "Never!" Seriously, it is frustrating since the hickory nuts could do major damage to the head. They bruise my shoulders and arms if they hit me. He is not amused. So, not only are they underfoot, they are overhead.

I manage to get into the house with my purse or any bag with a few acorns inside. There are days I put my purse, a newspaper, or a magazine over my head for fear of being banged on the head by hickory nuts. It is a treacherous walk to the car or back to the house this time of year.

Until I had it cut, there was a hickory nut tree in an inside corner of the house, really close to the house. The tree sent hickory nuts flying onto the steep roof where they careened downward bouncing all the way until they landed with a thud and a roll on the flat roof part of the house. Friends were quite startled by the ruckus on the roof.  My children clung to me at first during the barrages but soon learned to take them in stride.

Why could I not be blessed with just one pecan tree? The people behind my next door neighbors have a pecan tree, but not me. The people catty-cornered from me have a pecan tree and told my children not to pick up the ones in the street. This year, I will pick his pecans that fall in the street! He was mean to me this year, so I will just do what is perfectly legal! No, my children did not pick up one pecan from the yard and were not accused of getting any pecans from the 10 feet of city property, just the pavement.

A few days ago, I was in the backyard and saw three women in the yard behind my neighbors, frantically picking up something. Aha! Pecans? Yessiree. When I asked them what they were picking up, they looked frightened and told me. It turns out they do not live there because the house is empty. I am not sure I ever knew there was a pecan tree back there. However, the people living there are always rough people, so we don't visit. I just listen to drug- and alcohol-fueled arguments, report to them the children throwing rocks at my picture window, listen to the puppy farm that one couple ran, and let the wisteria grow up to shield me from seeing them and hearing them.

Yesterday, I decided to step over the two-foot decorative fence that has been there for 70 years. Nope, it was four-feet high. It grew. So, I drove around the block and parked behind the house. I am going again this afternoon.

I scored these--29  free pecans
Earlier in the day I went to the market. Saturday will be the last day. I had two $6 vouchers given to low-income seniors. So, the $8.50/qt of shelled pecans were calling me. I got another quart of unshelled pecans for $2 and garlic cloves for $1.50. I am not sure why they broke the heads apart. I'll plant some of those.

Your turn
Are you lucky enough to have nut trees in your yard? Did you plant them? Have you ever picked out hickory nuts ? They are so difficult. Does anyone consider pecans as their favorite nut like I do?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Year Without a Summer

Sun behind smoke--eerie

Sun at the very bottom

The sun

In 1815, My Tambora erupted. From 1812 through 1814 four other eruptions occurred. The solar activity was low. Europe, China, Canada, and the US suffered from cool, rainy, foggy, and freezing in places that usually provided food for the people.

This event has been credited for Western expansion in the US as people starved and left the northeast, looking for a more hospitable climate. Today, it was just a huge fire at the the salvage yard. Since the city is expanding toward and around the salvage yard, it is in close proximity to lots of people in apartments, mostly low-income people.

 I saw this from five miles or more and thought it was a local tire store. I got to the tire store and took pictures. I am still 2 miles as the crow flies.

As I drove closer, I called Lena to see if she was okay as she is about a quarter of a mile from the fire. She is the one who told me it was the salvage yard.

Back to The Poverty Year, 1816. Snow fell in Albany New York in June. Crops failed in the UK. Prices rose in Germany. Had enough?

Of course, 5 volcanoes, one of them a record setter in a time of little solar activity is not likely to happen.

In Switzerland, Percy Shelley, the "rock star" of his day was vacationing in Switzerland with his physician, Polidori, Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Claire. They could not go out because of the rainy, unfriendly cool weather. So, they entertained themselves by telling scary stories.

Shelley challenged everyone to write a scary story. Mary wrote Frankenstein and Polidori wrote a story that eventually became Dracula. The movie Gothic is a recounting of part of the summer. It is not for the faint of heart or those holding religious qualms.

Could The Summer that Never Was happen again? I don't know. But, the history of this event should be enough to give one pause. How much better prepared are we to deal with ice in July as far south as Pennsylvania? The cold weather was so severe in China that trees died and flooding led to widespread cholera. It was the worst famine in Europe. Riots, arson, and looting at food markets were the result.

Now, are you convinced that maybe there is a method to the madness of canning? Dehydrating? Not depending on the sun being faithful?

I must admit that the best way for this English major to learn history is by knowing why certain literature was written. That's why I had to include the story of the writing of Frankenstein.

I think that the lowest the temperature change anywhere measured during that summer was no more than 1.3 F (0.7 C). That is not much change. Have I gone mad? No, but the dimming of the sun and the deep shadows cast because of the black smoke reminded me of stories of Switzerland in the summer of 1816. Sure, you can see the blue sky, but that made the weird sun even more spooky. I know! I am weird. I thought how life is more fragile than we think.

I wondered today if the people in 1816, during The Year Without a Summer, thought of it as the end of the world? Read about it here.

Brought to you by a junkyard fire!

Your turn
How would you fare without a summer?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cooking Oil Comparison Chart

Cooking Oils Compared
cooking oil comparison chart
It is so confusing, trying to sort the grain from the chaff, truth from myth, in many concepts in this life. Every time I figure out which oil is best for me, the rules change. So this Cooking Oil Comparison Chart  may give me a clue.
At the moment I use canola. Actually, I use very little oil.  Do not jump on me! NOW, in the last few years since I bought the canola oil, I heard it is not good for me. grrrr I bought this on sale several years ago. It is all stored in the refrigerator. Maybe there are two more 48 ounce bottles in the refrigerator and one on the shelf. I will use it up. Before that event I have time to make a decision.
I am not sure how I feel about lots of the facts on the chart, but it is food for thought. Some days, I feel betrayed when I hear something is best for me, then in a turn it is not!
Olive oil is also in my cabinet, often used. I decanted a gallon to dark green jars, stored in the refrigerator.
Your turn
What kinds of oils do you use? Why?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Day at the Food Bank

                                                                      Whole Foods? !!!

Yes, I go to food banks. No, I don't eat all the food. Sugary cereals and crackers and chips go to someone who gives me what she does not like. Sometimes, I get meat or a bottle of black olives for Sugar Pops. Works for me and her. The hens like the cans of corn. Hens give me eggs, so it's a fair trade since I never buy chicken food. I like the cans of tuna, packs of chicken--hen, leg/thighs--and cans of chicken.

Yesterday was particularly good. $50 value in this box.

                                                  You don't have to ask me twice!

I will
*two tote bags on each side of the box, made from 80% recycled bottles
*allegro coffee.vintage 2010
  Use by it still good?
*Dolcetto Wafer Rolls Petite Cafe Mocha, wafer pillows filled with luscious cream
*Expresso Beans, five covered in chocolate
The whole bag is powder! ???
*Cranberry Orange Tango--nut confection made of walnuts, almonds, pecans, dried cranberries, orange oil (eaten)
*Cranberry Blood Orange Tea round, black tea bag
*la parisienne Coutour Cocoa, 64% cocoa
*Numi Organic Tea
*Zelda's Sweet Shoppe Biscotti Bites (eaten)
*Dryden and Palmer caramel flavor Gourmet Coffee and Tea Sweeteners
I don't drink coffee or tea at all, no way, not ever. So, you can see how much of this I will enjoy. I do know coffee and tea drinkers. The biscotti bites are gone, the nut confections are going fast. The hot cocoa and the wafer rolls are doomed.
This would be better if it weren't so old. The tea and coffee may not be good anymore.
Besides the $50 gift box above I received:
sugary cereal
2 lbs pasta
1 lb dried pinto beans
about ten cans of food (applesauce, spaghetti, dried beans, crushed tomatoes, peaches, corn, green beans)
2 small lunch box containers of peaches
a very long jerky stick
6 lbs of sweet potatoes
10 lbs of apples.
2 Chicken Alfredo Macaroni Grill boxed dinners
2 Chicken Piccata Macaroni Grill boxed dinners
Wishbone Light Balsam and Basil dressing--light
1 lb white rice (will not eat)
loaf white bread--will not eat
A pound of ground Seattle's Best coffee just expired in June 2012. I suppose it is still good. Exbf will tell me if it is good when he drinks it.
There was a 16" artisan pizza. This is instead of meat! Aaack! I ate two pieces for dinner on Saturday, two pieces for dinner today, and exbf and I will have a piece each tomorrow for lunch. It had lots of cheese and and was solid with pepperoni. I don't eat pepperoni, so exbf can have all the pepperoni.
The boxed dinner, Romano's Macaroni Grill Chicken Piccata, will be good, just not prepared the way the box says. I use chicken I cook, a little of the packets and only a small portion angel hair pasta.
I buy things like this, but I will eat part of it. In the box:
*Chablis Cooking Wine with Lemon Juice
*Seasoned flour
* Piccata Sauce Seasoning
*Angel Hair Pasta
Then, as I was led in to save my soul (grrrrrr), a man was my I had to walk a long way, all the way to the back of the room. I was sort of whimpering that this was too far to walk and that I hurt. The guy was very nice and asked me if I injured my knee. I answered with my litany: "last vertebrae sitting on bone, two herniated discs, L5 our of place, torn rotator cuff and torn meniscus. And, if I lost weight, I would hurt less."
"I can help you lose weight." I did a double-take at his eagerness, lack of pomposity, but very kind and interested in helping my body.
"I am a doctor."
I think my mouth fell open. So, he spent 20 minutes talking to me about carbs, how I should focus on meat, cheese, and eggs. Now, everyone who ever talked about their losing weight left these off! He told me to eat no more than 100 grams of carbohydrates each day, and he would promise me I would lose weight.
My friend was pacing, about to have a stroke because I was taking too long.
He recommended the Atkins or Weight Watchers diet. I never do diets, just try to eat right. Obviously, I am not even doing what I think is right, so I will count carbs.
He told me to take D3, Flaxseed, and Glucosamine Chondroitan and MSM to help my joints, even the ones that need surgery. I have D3 for the hens. GC is on the shelf. I bought flax seed oil in capsules before the night was over.
Yes, he is a doctor. My soul will be just fine. It is my body that concerns me. He asked me if I had been baptized and if I went to church. He had a few things to say to encourage me to go to church anywhere, not just there. Now, that is my kind of guy.
I traded lots of things with my friend who rode with me. She will take the junk for her extended family, all of whom are diabetic. As for me, I take the good and try to do better. I will feel like a ship without a rudder without scales to weigh myself.
Your turn
Have you ever tried any of the Whole Foods treats? I have never even been in Whole Foods.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

So Mad I Could Spit

Bluest sky I have ever seen at 8 am
Remember this when I am castigated for my "attitude."
I am looking as straight up as I can without falling over.
No clouds.
I could see about 80% of the horizon, but it was murky at the horizon.

I had my hair cut on October 4. I go in for a dry cut always. She told me all about how she was not just about cutting hair: customer service was her goal. Right, okay, whatever. She did not cut my bangs the right length--about 3/4 in beyond my eyebrows is about an inch too long. She did not cut it curving up between my eyebrows. However, I asked for it to be cut more and she did, adding a little teasing to my bangs, making it look perfect. I do not have the time or motivation to tease my bangs!

She talked nonstop, which was okay. She was very friendly, sweet girl, trying on the adult world. I was complaining about my straight hair, saying I always wanted curls and had permanents until I had to choose between curls and color. Yes, I chose color.

When she finished up, I thought, she then pointed the scissors downward and just thinned my hair in front of my ear from top to bottom like a razor cut. I specifically told her I DID NOT want her to do that. She tried to explain how she cut instead of slicing or something. Then, she could not understand that I wanted little layers in that hair because it would naturally curl. Now, I had about 8 inches of stringy hair that just blows in the wind like a guy's bad comb over. (I cut it at home.)

I tried not to show my really bad attitude I was developing. She said brightly, "Do you want me to curl it?" I just sat there, wondering why she was asking when I had said I did not like anyone curling, spraying, or messing with my hair. I said, "Okay." She curled my teased bangs and left them in an unruly heap in the middle of my forehead, nothing over the ends of my brows, just space, like a rasher of bangs plopped down and not even blended with the side of my hair next to my face.

Then, she proceeded to curl it all over and I allowed her to spray it. I left and started pulling the huge curls out of my bangs and spread then across my forehead and pulled them to meet the hair on just beyond the bangs.

I got lots of compliments that night at a dinner. Greeeaaat!

Before I went to bed, most curl had fallen out. That's okay as it beats have product all in my hair. I awake every morning with bed head, hair all over and obscuring my face. That was October  5.

Saturday, I went out minimally doing anything to the still fluffy head of hair. Saturday night, I washed it or maybe Sunday morning.

Then, I went in two times during the following week, trying to get the bangs re cut. One time, she was not there. The next time she was busy. She told me to come in on Saturday, October 13, that she would be there until 4 pm. I went in at three and they said she stayed until 5 minutes before I came. I just missed her, that she stayed so long just for me.

I went back in this last week, October 17. She was trying to figure out when she could take me. I told her Saturday when she was not busy would be fine. She said she stayed until 1:45 and left because I had not come in like I said I would. Wellll, she said she would be there until 4 pm! And, everybody else said she stayed until 5 minutes before I showed up at 3 pm. When I told her that, she looked away like she was looking for an answer in space. I let her off the hook and asked her when to come back.

At any rate, she told me to come back on Saturday, today,  at 1:30. I did that and had to wait 40 minutes for her to get to me. At long last, she came out and my back was killing me from sitting upright! She asked all perky-like, "How are you today?" (got the lilting voice?)

As I struggled to get to my feet, I said, "Fine" in an unconvincing tone. Then, she spread her arms to the sky and flung her hands out and said, "It's a glorious day. You should really be enjoying this. It is beautiful."  Well, you did not ask me about the day. You asked me about how I was doing. No, I did not say it, but the urge to kill must have shown on my face. She continued to tell me how I should be out walking and enjoying the day. Can I kill her now?

If there is one thing I despise, it is someone who thinks she/he has to be a cheerleader for my emotions when I am in agony. No, a chirpy voice and positive attitude on your part does not make me feel better, especially when a 20-yr-old is casting judgment on me. Can I kill her now?

So, she cut my bangs all wrong--straight across instead of following the line of my brow and leaving the part at the outer end of my brow longer. I pointed out that she cut it wrong. She grabbed a magazine and tried to show me how the woman had bangs just like she cut. I told her I know how I want my bangs and just don't show me someone else's hair. Cut mine like it was when I came in, just shorter. She argued with her big, beautiful smile while customers watched. Please, let me kill her now!

"Look, you left one side tapered and cut the other side straight across like I am four-years-old." She offered to fix it! HA!

Her response, "At least hair grows" all the while making little happy claps and sort of dancing around smiling her beautiful smile that I really wanted to wipe from her face. Can I kill her now???

I struggled to get out of the chair with her still being the cheerleader AND coach now, encouraging me and trying to tell me how to stand up. Please, pleeease, let me kill her now!

She went to the front with me and I headed to the door. She said, "Ugh, that will be $10?"

"To cut bangs that were not right when I left last cut?"

"Well, you should have said so then!"

"You teased my bangs and curled them. It was only when I washed my hair that I realized how long they were. And, I did come back in within 3 or 4 business days." She continued to argue as I silently pulled out my checkbook. Then, seeing the grim look on my face, she stood up and put her hands at arms length, palms facing me. "No, No, that's okay, just forget it. The customer is always right. The customer is always right."

"So, what you are saying tells me you are just going to give me my way even though I am wrong, just to shut me up, and that you don't really think I am right. You are just going to give in and be the bigger person? No, I will pay you!" I despise condescension.

I hobbled out with a white rage inside me. kill kill kill

I know how I will get even. I will not tip her the next two times! I will go in with a wallet with only a $1 and change. (I always write a check for my haircuts, well, most always.) I will very sincerely apologize. Two haircuts ought to make us even, two times without a tip! Okay, I will lay down $1 and less than 10 cents in change.

Thank you for listening!

Your turn
Can I kill her now?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Make Tombstones for Spooky Graveyard

One Halloween

For Halloween one year, I decided to make tombstones and have a graveyard in my front yard. There is a link to my directions making tombstones in this post . Well, this is last years post and inside that post is a link to directions with pictures of the work in progress. That was the year  I added a pot with a dead branch and vine to up the creepy factor. Here is a breakdown of what I spent.

I really love Halloween, but I refuse to spend a small fortune to have fun in my yard.
I already have  free candy to hand out.

Your turn
I don't want this post or comments to be about whether anyone thinks Halloween is evil or not. How do you decorate? Do you go all out? Make your own costumes? Or, do you turn off all the lights until the costumed munchkins are gone for the night?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Give Up

adjusting now
I have long prided myself on never using disposable anything!  However, not being able to stand for long, I finally gave in. I bought disposables. My life is a little less painful. Unloading the dishwasher takes me days. Loading it is a one-event push that puts me in bed or lying in my chair trembling with pain.
People ask me why I don't just quit cooking so I won't have so many dishes. Then, I would not have pots and pans to deal with or bowls or large spoons or iron skillets or pans. According to some others I should live on cereal, sandwiches, and prepackaged microwave meals.  Believe me, I have acquaintances younger than I who no longer cook, just eat junk.
I do use real plates when I eat meals. But, the sandwich, cookies, leftovers, snacks--all get a paper plate. When I feed my hens, I use a dirty paper plate to take their homemade food out to them.
This is being designated as a health issue on many fronts.
*less back pain
*less knee pain
*less shoulder pain
*possible to continue to eat healthier foods
*less stress about my lack of capabilities
Anyone understanding how hard this was for me to go through the mental gymnastics to start buying these when I am so philosophically opposed? Besides, it costs me more to live each month! It's only about another $7, but it hurts.
Why do I use so many? Cracks where window panes are loose allow flies into the house, so if a fly lands on a dish, I either have to wash it or throw away the disposables! I cannot get to the outside of the house up so high to fix it myself. So, I deal with breezes, summer and winter, plus flies and mosquitoes!
I refuse to take pain medication. My choice. If I do give in and take pain meds and overdo activities, then I have to deal with numbness, something that indicates more problems for spine and threatens my ability to walk normally or ever after surgery.
Okay, my name is Linda and I use disposable plates and plastic cups.
Later this week, I will tell you why I am not having surgery since people are emailing me about this.  finally admitted I cannot sew. This is hard. Sewing and intellectual pursuits define me.
Your turn
Have you ever used the easy way out because of your health? Next post--parsimony!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Your Right to Resell Your Own Stuff is in Peril

Many people down-size, buy to sell, just buy too much over the years, declutter, or sell their dead parents' belongings. Persons holding yard sales, garage sales, tag sales, church rummage sales may all be breaking the law soon.

If this law is upheld, you may not be able to resell your grandmother's antiques or a CD you bought earlier without suffering the fate of a "law-breaker," your new designation. Will we all be fined or jailed? How will flea markets, antique stores,  used furniture stores fare?

This law not only affects the seller of used items, it also affects those of us who would like to save a buck and buy used items.

Will used items be the new black market? Will Saturday raids round up the sellers in their own front yards?

Your turn
As for me, I will continue to sell as I please. How about you? Have you heard anything about this law?

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Leftover Life and a Puzzle


Something I still want to do--tie tshirts into shapes, kept

I had exbf bag up things from the sewing room and place them on a table outside. He got maybe 1/50 of what needs to come out for my inspection and disposal or packing away. It is time. So, I am boxing up what I want in order to store it and throwing the rest away, no matter how much I might get from selling it. All this is left from my sewing through the years. For many years I sewed and went to craft shows. I quit selling at cash shows abruptly in 1991 and went back to school. I still sewed all I wore, all things needed in my house and for adult girls and one grandson. So, there is much to sort.
A friend sells in yard sales and different places. I offered her all I did not want if she would help me. It seems she has suddenly developed a back that is just as bad as mine...yeah. You know the type. Then, I asked another woman who is very strapped for money and sells full-time. She did not show up at 10 am the next morning as she said she would. Either would gladly come by if I actually packed it up for them.  Today has not been too bad since I was rested. I got six trash bags sorted and now have two small boxes that have room for more items.

six more tapestry panels for making pillows, kept
I have already made one for each of my three children and one for me.
paid $1 each during a summer sale
paper bag pattern drafted for antique child mannequin I dressed 25 years ago,
along with the rest of the pattern--40 pieces, trashed
This mannequin was the one "waving"


a dozen or more scarves I never finished, kept
I was making these when I went back to school after a short break--1997

iron on mending and decorating fabric,
kept just for the package

linen jacket, cut out with pattern pieces attached, gone, trashed
no regrets

I have two crocheted collars, prettier than these,
kept patterns
may sell online
This is my favorite size needle to sew with,
Quilting betweens size 8, only about an inch long
with a tiny eye. kept.
I don't quilt, never have. Between the ages of 8 and 12, I won awards for my hand-hemming. At first, I used the larger needle with the larger eye that Mama gave me to use, then I found these. I can still handle this tiny needle. Does anyone know why it is called "betweens?" This package will go in my sewing "container," a round cake-sized tin. I have drawers, shelves, and plastic storage all over the sewing room, but I keep the tin near the sewing machine with all the things I need often, right with me. This was stored in a drawer because my pincushion had several in use in it, kept in the tin if not right on the sewing machine. Needles I bought several weeks ago were somewhere near $3.
Pattern for A-line skirt I drafted 30 years ago, kept
15 yards of 4 inch fringe used for lamp shades, kept

gold, looped fringe, about 17 yards still in box on Styrofoam spindle
used for wine bottle holders, kept

seven gold fringe tie-backs in box and not dusty at all
used for wine-bottle holders, kept

yellow fringe that I bought on a whim because it was so pretty
my favorite pant pattern, both kept
Big Puzzle
stickers? kept
I can guarantee you that not everything in the sewing room pertained to sewing, but for the life of me, I do not remember any of these stickers. I have a grandson (6) and g-daughter (4) who will love these, doled out at the proper season. There are stickers for Christmas and Easter, summer and fall, plus the stars and "Good Work" type. Do girls who are 11 still like stickers? My grandson who is 17 and a senior is probably not interested. Maybe I got these when he was of the sticker age? At a yard sale?
The rest of the story
Lots of fabric went to the rag bag. Well, it will go there as soon as it goes through a rinse cycle with vinegar to rid it of the musty smell. Some things were thrown out just because of the mustiness.  For six bags of stuff, I am throwing out one huge bag and have organized the rest into two boxes and replenished the rag bag.  I have no regrets about anything tossed. Maybe you don't think I tossed enough.
Your turn
Have you been forced to abandon a room because of structural damage? Would you have tossed some of this?  I am not sure where I will store this! I might have given some of what I kept to the two women who were asked to take it in exchange for help in sorting.  Some of the fringe may be sold later when I can organize a sale. I am giving myself another chance at using them.
Do you use tiny needles? Have you ever made animals from t shirts?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butchering and Hanging Meat

Wendy says "It's Time." So, she and her family get the job done. I have many blogs I read, but this is just the most interesting one of all. I am fascinated! She is not a newly, self-minted survivalist. She just does this. And, I suppose I am a blog groupie. Okay, I guess when we "follow," we are all blog groupies.

And, she explains the whole procedure closely enough for me.

Last year, they came upon a still-warm, road-kill bear, and she butchered that, too. That was gross and thrilling. I am sure you can find that post.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Natural, Cheap, Safe Cure for Toenail Fungus

Unfiltered VinegarOne day in late spring, I noticed a white place on my toenail as I sat in a public place. Hmmm, what could it be? Did I drop yogurt on my toe? I know you are laughing, but it is possible. Did I dribble milk that dried? All things are possible with me due to limited mobility but insistence that I am not limited. I keep doing things I need to do or want to do!

At home I washed  it, examined it best I could, scraped at it, and decided it was not food. TOENAIL FUNGUS?  Ack! How embarrassing. To me it is a sign of really nastiness to have toenail fungus. However, the doctor assures me that is not true. Okay, so not getting rid of toenail fungus is a sign of neglect like rotting teeth? Ack! ....sooo embarrassing!

I grabbed the first thing I saw--a smidgen of leftover vaginal cream for a yeast infection. I smeared it on and the spot was gone later.  The next day the white spot under the toenail was back and larger. The kitchen for a cure occurred to me. I found a pint plastic bottle with an inch of Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. An old toothbrush was my applicator. Since I had on sandals, I just applied this to my big toe each time I peed. The ACV was labeled "bathroom" and kept with the dedicated toothbrush.

Note: I did not use the unfiltered ACV in the picture. I just used plain ACV.

About three or four days later, I decided that this could spread, so all toenails got a dose of ACV. One day, I was sitting in my chair with feet up and sandals off. Exbf, sitting on the sofa said, "What is all over your toes and down on your foot?" I was horrified because he is never critical of anything, especially my feet? The bottom of my toes were a rusty red with lines running almost to the first arch. As I laughed in relief, I told him it was ACV.

In late July, I visited my obgyn for my yearly checkup and told him about the toenail fungus and my vaginal cream cure. He confirmed it was fungus because I had sandals on and it was evident. When I told him about the cream usage, he laughed and said it would do no good at all. Well, that was sort of humiliating! I added the ACV to my story. He told me to go to a dermatologist, that his wife had to take an anti fungal medicine for three month to cure her toenail fungus.

At home, I continued with the ACV, about a dozen times during the day.  The old ACV and the toothbrush for my toes stayed in a certain place. I put the ACV all around all my toes and under the toenails best I could with the toothbrush, using the bristle to go around each toenail.

Now, the middle of October is about here and there is no sign of the fungus and I have cut off the end of the damaged nail finally free of the nail bed area. I do continue to use the ACV and will for the winter, though not as often. All toenails get their dose.

The normal prescription route is three months. The medicine may or may not kill the liver. One doctor said he would live with toenail fungus rather than subject himself to the anti fungal.

The small bottle will be emptied this week and have another two inches of fresh ACV put in it. The toothbrush will be washed and then put through the dishwasher and labeled with a Sharpie. I am ready to start my winter regimen of toenail treatments!

If you have thickened nails from a very advanced case of toe fungus, you need to file down the thick toenail but not entirely. I hear soaking daily in a foot tub of vinegar helps kill an advanced case. I would reuse the vinegar for at least a week before discarding it. Vinegar is probably less expensive than the antibiotic. You be the judge on the information in this paragraph. It will take months, so don't give up daily or twice daily soaks.

However, damp conditions, not changing damp socks, not letting shoes air out, and other things contribute to toe fungus. Remediate conditions that are conducive to fungal growth.

Your tun
Do you have a toenail fungus? Have you ever taken the anti fungal for toenailss?  Have you ever cured your toenail fungus with ACV?  Do you even keep ACV in your food supply? Used toothbrushes under the bathroom sink?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY Solar Lamp


How about making a DIY solar lamp.
Here is an Eco-Friendly Sun Jar.  This looks like something I might like to try.

Ha! With a hurricane and almost certainly tornadoes, also, I should have made this earlier. My solar yard lights that I bought during the electrical outage last year can be used if I need them.

Have you ever made one of these? I just purchased the solar garden lights after the tornado cut off our electricity. At night, I brought them in at night. They were a great comfort to me.

Your turn
Do you ever use solar garden/yard lights for lighting when the lights go out?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sizes Shrink as Prices Rise--A Rant

Have you noticed smaller sizes of cans and boxes of food  in the stores? If you did, have you noticed the price per item is the same or higher? Even the few prices that were lower were still higher per unit. The bottom line for manufacturers and stores is more profit from our purchases. How does that set with you? So, maybe your grocery store receipt will be the same as last month. But, the food and supplies will not last as long.

Soft Soap was the first thing that caught my eye. The new bottle is tiny, really tiny, compared to the old bottle. I don't buy Soft Soap; it just caught my eye. In the vegetable aisle the cans were the normal size but there were also three inch tall cans of green beans and all the other vegetables. My half gallon of orange juice is now 59 ounces! When did that happen?

Domino's Sugar has been in four-lb bags for several years. A gallon of Clorox has been 3.5 quarts for more years.

People will have to reduce their consumption of goods in order to every stay even. However, at some point there will be the realization that the prices have doubled. Tripled? Quadrupled? What will be the tipping point?

Your turn
What items have you noticed that have shrunk in price? Did the cost per unit rise or shrink? What are you doing to make it? Spending what it takes? Growing or raising your own food?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Popular Mechanics 110 Best DIY Tips Ever

To pump up transistor sound, this tip suggests you put the radio over the mouth of a fruit jar with the speaker down. I just saw on a blog somewhere the same idea, renewed--place your ipod in a glass bowl to get better sound. We think we have thought up ideas already thought. That's just the way of the world, I suppose. The transistor makes me nostalgic. I wonder if I could place my cell phone in a glass bowl with the speaker on and make it louder. It might make the sound funny. This is an experiment to do with Charlie. I will report later.

So, here goes.

This post only needs one link because it is so long. Some these tips are from the early years of the 20th Century. Even if they are no longer relevant, their mechanism still have applications today. I found this list posted on The Homestead Revival. Okay, now I have to finish reading. This has a print button so this can be easily saved in hard copy.

Is this the handiest group of ideas ever? I can already think of applications. So far, I have not found anything that says to go buy anything.

One idea from 1916: To protect a child's fingers from a swing chain, slip a garden hole over the chain. Now, you can buy chain with a plastic tube over the chain.

Your turn
Is there a specific tip that inspires you? Which tip can you use to solve a problem you have or anticipate?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Great Depression School "Bus"

Do you or did you ever have a chance to ask a person who lived through The Great Depression about  Depression conditions? When I talked with my mother, it was about her childhood. I knew The Great Depression as the depression, something where people did not have much. My first conversations that I remember was when I was about six. My questions were along the lines of: What was it like when you were a little girl? Usually, these questions were about specific activities or possessions, like dolls.

(My son was three when he asked me about when I was a little girl and there were cowboys and Indians. Then, shortly after that he asked me about when I was a little girl and there were dinosaurs all over.)

When I was about twelve-years-old, somehow we started talking about the school bus. I just hated riding the bus. I asked her if she rode a school bus when she went to school. I was hoping to find some company for my hate of the bus ride. She then told me the strangest story ever. ( I did know about The Great Depression by then.)

The school children had a wagon drive a route just like our yellow school buses and pick them up, a wagon pulled by horses. So, it was a school wagon. She said some days they would get off and just walk behind the wagon.They rode or not according to their own whims. She did say that if was raining or muddy, they all rode.  Now, that was another strange thing. My school bus driver would never have allowed anyone off unless at school or at their home. Besides, there was no way I wanted to walk that far. She did add if it were muddy, they would would ride in the wagon.

My mother added another school wagon story to this one.

One day, she (about 6) and her older brother (about 11) and sister (about 9) were waiting on the school wagon. Mama said she kept kicking at her brother as  he dodged her. Finally, he was exasperated and tired of his annoying little sister. When she kicked, he grabbed her foot and she fell right in the mud. They did not tell their mother because both would get into trouble--her for kicking and him for making her fall in the mud, even though my mother said he did not mean for her to fall.

I wonder what little darlings today would do if they had to ride a wagon to school. Of course, riding in a wagon was normal for them.  My mother considered the wagon as normal. What will we look back on and consider normal and our children or grandchildren will think rather unusual?

There was no need for wagon or horse insurance. No tires or brakes to maintain at an exorbitant cost. I doubt the  children or school were insured against any accident a child might have.  Maybe we should pick up kid in a wagon today.

Your turn
Have you memories of incidents of The Great Depression that you have heard from relative or friends?

If you know someone who lived through The Great Depression, just talk to them about how things have changed. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Love My Chickens, But....

Often, they come to the door, begging me to come out and feed them. Come on, there is a whole yard of beautiful grass and bugs. Find your own dinner!

I feed them first thing every morning. Then, they are full and have no motivation to hunt and peck. This holds true mostly in the summer heat. They have a favorite bush under which to sit. Now that it is cooler, I notice the hunt and peck more vigorously. Good girls!

The problem is--almost every time they come to me, I feed them. So, my training is helping I just cannot resist. Fancy was the designated beggar along with being quite a conversationalist even when she sat on my lap or just stood by me on the swing. It seems that Thelma and Louise are more vocal now, especially Thelma. But, she has such a sweet little voice, unlike the shrill voice of Fancy.

So, I give in. Yesterday, exbf who had come by to do chores I cannot was the object of beggars. He said they rushed up the steps when he opened the door, saw him and just went back down.

I do feed my hens, but do expect them to get some of their protein and all their greens by themselves. This winter, I will provide almost all of their greens. Remember, I use no commercial foods, just people food.

As I took oats out to feed them, I spilled some. So, yesterday, I opened the door when they were on the porch begging and allowed them to peck all the oats from the linoleum floor just inside the door. Then, they left without a "Thank You." Now, I have a clean floor. No, they did not poop in the house. But, I know how to and am willing to clean it from the floor.

I do expect to feed them morning, noon, and night. However, I do have to lock them in their pen so the black chicken from behind won't be chowing down, too. Nothing discourages this chicken except its fear of me. I don't chase it away now, and I don't throw pine cones to make it go away, but it has a long memory.

Your turn
Does anyone have chickens that are allowed to free range that seem to beg for food lots of the time? Do your chickens ever come inside, with or without your permission? Mine seem to feel an open door is an invitation.  Tell me a story about your spoiled chickens.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Great Depression Solution: Weevils in the Flour

Okay, Blogger decided to reformat this post! Please forgive the chaos!

When I was a preteen and teen in the kitchen with my mother, she told me about her youth in the kitchen in north Mississippi during the Great Depression.  I assure you that weevils in the flour had nothing to do with poverty, The Great Depression, country living, or standards. By the way, they had a cure for weevils in the flour.
The picture to the right gives you an idea of a Hoosier Cabinet design. Some are less wide or wider. Some have a million "modern" fancy features and many more drawers and doors. Some are smaller and plainer than this. Some are homemade. However, one feature not always on a Hoosier style cabinet is the one which I am interested in showing you.

Hoosier Cabinet
See the underside of the upper part on the left just above the counter? That is a flour sifter with its handle. By opening the door above the sifter, a person could put 20 lbs of flour in a container that tilted out. The person using flour could sift the flour and measure it at the same time.

There was no need to go open a bug-proof container, measure flour, and sift. The container was by no means bug proof!

I grew up with a Hoosier Cabinet that was plain, no fancy features, no flour bin. That is how my mother came to tell me about their Hoosier Cabinet and weevils in the flour.
Weevils can get into this flour bin/container. Plus, so much flour was bought and stored at one time, summers were hot, and the eggs that came in the flour could hatch. Don't panic. ALL your flour has bug eggs in it when you purchase it. The government standards allow it since eggs cannot be removed. If weevils hatched in the flour in the Hoosier Cabinet, then bugs invaded the area and other food. Bug infested flour happened in the cleanest of kitchens--eggs hatched in the flour or weevils or other insects invaded the flour.
My mother knew the solution that did not include thorough cleaning, a futile effort then and now if the flour is not kept airtight and used immediately. Sifting with a sifter that rubs the flour will crush bugs, so use a fine sieve to exclude bugs from "sifted" flour. Just put the flour in the sieve and gently hit the rim of the sieve on your hand to make the flour fall through the sieve, leaving the bugs or moths behind.

Once again without fear or squeamishness:
The solution: Sift the flour through a sieve and use the flour. Eggs or bugs will be left in the sifter. Okay, so a few eggs go through. Webs or threads will be in the flour and sifter, indicating you have a weevil problem. The same web/thread thing happened a few months ago with Indian Meal Moths in Raisin Bran at my house that immediately became chicken food. By the way, chickens love Kelloggs Raisin Bran!
It sounded gross to me then and now. But, what if flour was as dear now as it was then? What if you had so little money and so little access to food that you would starve without eating bug-infested flour? What if in the future you had no transportation to go to the store 20 miles away? What if there were no Tupperware, Mylar bags to exclude bugs, or a freezer or oxygen absorbers to kill eggs?
I have reached the point mentally where I know I can sift the buggy flour and eat it without another thought IF I need to. However, in the far past, I have dumped all flour, cornmeal, cake mixes and spices. I do not regret that move. Just because I have reached the point that I know I will eat flour after it has been sifted to get the bugs out does not mean that I will do it right now when my ability to acquire more food is still good. I have not been tested since I developed this mindset. As long as the grocery stores are open, I will dump the flour to the hens. Maybe I will mix it OUTDOORS with some chicken broth to save the hens' lungs from flour in the air.  
Since I am in the process of eradicating Indian Meal Moths that will get into flour, cookies, cereal and other foodstuffs in boxes and bags, I have a method. No poison is involed, just time. I freeze all flour, pasta, cornmeal, and oatmeal for 48 hours. Then, I let it sit on the counter or in the closed microwave for 24 hours. After that, I store it in half-gallon or quart canning jars with old lids and rings. When I run out of canning jars, I will use a spaghetti jar, peanut butter jar, or any glass jar that has the rubber seal inside. Without the rubber seal, the eggs can be laid under the rim of the jar where the critter can migrate to the inside of the jar. Don't depend on Ball plastic storage caps.
I am very confident there will be no pests in any of my food stored in canning jars. It is not prepping food, just food on sale!. How could I pass up this pasta deal? I love my deals. It is all stored in Ball jars with canning lids and rings. First, it spent 48 hours in the freezer and all the rest of the routine.

But, if anything befalls my little stash (20 lbs or less) of bug-free, egg-free flour, access to flour, or ability to buy flour, I will be sifting any kind of flour through a fine mesh strainer and baking with it. Can you? The bugs will be gone. And, the eggs should provide a bit of protein. No? Oh well.

I know the folk who have oxygen absorbers and five gallon storage buckets and Mylar bags may not find this of interest. But, we never knows what will befall our flour or ability to store it in the most secure way. For those of us who use none of the long-term storage methods, can you sift bugs out of your flour and still bake with it?  Or would you rather freeze it and store it in a glass jar?

Youe turn
What are you thoughts on sifting flour with bugs and eating the flour anyway? Are you grossed out by the thought? Had you ever heard of the webs/threads indicating there were pests in the flour? Have you ever seen them and maybe wondered why there were webs in the flour?


Scary Rise in Grocery Prices: Solutions

This week, I had a case of sticker shock. In 2010, I found a sale on Starkist Tuna--$0.50 for the 5 oz can. I could only afford 20 cans at the time and kept buying a few at a time as the sale lasted several weeks. Because I like tuna and eat about one can each week, this sale was a boon.

Since then, I have bought several cans at a time at the regular price, some weeks buying none. Oh, how I wish I had bought more when the price held steady at $0,82/can for several years. For the last few months tuna has been $0.88/can. I have a few cans here all the time, but it is certainly not a stash, just several cans ahead.

I was dumbstruck when I found the price had risen to $0.94/can! Folks, that is a 7% increase overnight. Are you seeing this in any food you buy.

This is the only dramatic price increase I have noticed. My solution: I will still eat one can each week, still. But, it will  make two meals, not one.

When I married in 1966, I could get four sandwiches from a can of tuna. I added three chopped, boiled eggs; Miracle Whip; chopped pickles; chopped onions; lots of chopped celery. Then, my husband and I each had a sandwich on two consecutive days for lunch. I can do that again with only one egg, and eat it in two portions. The sandwich can be fatter!

Often, I dump a can of tuna onto a bed of greens with tomatoes. Now, it will be half a can on my salad! Since I eat meat most days, this is not too much of a sacrifice. It just means the inconvenience of storing the rest. Yes, it hurts my back to stand for the extra thirty seconds to transfer it to a bowl, cover it,  and bend to put it in the refrigerator.

A friend is going to find the price at the PX or Commissary, whichever it is that sells food, and see if he can beat that price for me. Plus, I found a coupon for Starkist. Every little bit helps.

Your turn
What foods prices have you found with a dramatic increase? What is your solution?