Sunday, March 26, 2017

I haven’t written anything in a very long time.  I am still frustrated with my inability to deal with my new computer and pictures from my camera and phone.

This morning I woke up thinking “very slowly”.  I believe I had been dreaming something and someone said “very slowly” to me.  I awoke and thought “very slowly what?”  My mind went to thoughts of things that I do very slowly.  If you know me, you know that I am pretty hyperactive. And it is hard being hyperactive in this laid-back world.  People just don’t understand.

I have been doing yoga for a very long time.  My first class was when I was in my early twenties.  I’m 66 this year.  I learned quickly that Pranayama yoga was for me.  When your mind is concentrating on your breath you leave stress and anxiety behind for a while.  And so, my first thing that I do very slowly is yoga breathing.

I took a class in Qi Gong a couple of years ago,  If you don’t know Qi Gong is a breathing exercise.  You have body movements but each movement coordinates with inhalation and exhalation.  The movement has to last as long as the breath.  I can breathe really slow and so I must move my body very slowly.  You are supposed to do each exercise nine times but I get so lost in concentrating on being slow that I lose count.  And why nine?  In yoga, everything is even.  My suggestion as to why nine, is because of the shape of yin-yang.  What do you think?

One of my favorite books ever is Shibumi by Travanian.  Shibumi means effortless perfection.  In the book Nicolai has a lover, Hanna, and they perform these erotic sex acts upon each other.  And they do them very slowly.  The hubster and I once tried to do sex very slowly but it didn’t work.  We were too excited.  And so, I don’t do sex very slowly.  But Nicolai and Hanna did and it was exciting.

I do have this recipe for candied peanuts.  It is the trickiest recipe I have ever made, even trickier than my homemade caramel frosting which put on carrot cake.  I use raw peanuts and add cayenne pepper and lime juice to the recipe.  I have made it five times.  I have ruined it three times. You must keep your heat very low and stir constantly.  In the blink of an eye they can burn and be ruined.  But if you go very slowly and they are successful, they are a marvelous treat.

Okay, enough of slow things.  I wish could remember that dream.

Since getting older, yes, I have noticed lately that I am getting older, I write things to remember on my calendar and then can’t read them later.  I just looked at my calendar to see what is up for April and on the seventh I wrote WW Ret.  I could not remember for the life of me what in the world that was all about. As I am writing this I realize that it is the Wild Women’s Retreat in Rockford and I can’t go.  The hubster and Emily the dog do not get along well enough for me to leave her overnight let alone a whole weekend.

The pros and cons of adopting a rescue dog.  I love her and will give up some comforts for her benefit.  We have been walking in the campground this winter.  No one else is around and so I let her off her leach and she runs and jumps and has the best time. She does what I call sproing-boing.  Emmie Lou Sproing-Boing is her new nickname.  She goes potty and then steps away and scratches at the ground to cover it up.  Then she flings herself into the air and turns around. And then jumps some more and runs away.  It looks like sproing-boing.  She is just so entertaining.

I haven’t written in so long but today it seems that I have so much to say.

I love reading recipes online and finding new things to try.  I read one just the other day that called for unsalted butter but they added salt to the recipe.  I read another one today and it called for unsalted beef broth but added salt to the recipe.  Is it just me or do you think this is wrong?

I have been using pink Himalayan salt for the past year or so.  I cut salt out of my diet almost completely several years ago.  I like salt and I missed it. I read that the H salt has more minerals than regular iodized salt or sea salt. I must have salt on 1.  Corn on the cob, 2.  Scrambled eggs, 3.  Tomatoes, 4. Potatoes, and occasionally watermelon.  I like it on sour apples too.

And speaking of iodized salt, one of my friends in high school’s mom posed for the iodized salt girl on the box back in the 1920’s or some time.

Another salty item – corned beef.  The hubster’s trick to corned beef is that he washes it several times the day he is going to cook it.  His corned beef is delicious and I don’t swell up the next day.

Two of the best cooking tricks I have ever learned are about hash browns and tomatoes from the grocery store.

When cooking hash browns and you are about to turn them over, put a dinner plate on top of the fry pan and flip them over. You can then just slide them back into the pan.

And if you have to purchase tomatoes at the grocery store you can make them almost edible if you leave them out and don’t refrigerate them.  Slice them or cut them up and add some salt to them. Leave them out at room temperature. The salt draws the humidity to the surface of the tomato and they almost taste like a real tomato.

I have decided to entitle this article “Very slowly salting.”

Peace be with you.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

All my favorite people are broken.  This is a song by Over the Rhine and I didn’t grasp the full meaning of it until lately.

Two of my friends are fighting a cancer battle, three have lost their husbands in the recent past, one is fighting her own inner turmoil, two have broken body parts, two are battling their thyroids, and one who broke her leg is finally riding her motorcycle again.

And I sit here and moan and cry and it does nothing.  Would you, if able, give a day of your own life to know your friend would live one more day?  Just to have one more day with them?  Would you give a week, a month, a year?  I think we all would, in a heartbeat.

I just want to emphasize that we must give to them in the here and now.  Give with your love and your time.  Go kayaking.  Go to the Conservatory.  Go walk in the forest.  Give them your time now and tell them that you love them and care.

Tomorrow I’ll still have my breasts, my husband beside me, a good shoulder and be able to walk on two legs.  Sure my shoulder hurts, but I’ve got everything I need.

Is this what old age is?  Watching your friends deteriorate?  I’m deteriorating but not quite as fast.  I can’t do anything but watch and cry and pray and give consolation,.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give them a day of our lives for them to live happily and fully for one more day?

Peace be with you.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I saw an interesting little story the other day.  It was about feedbags.  Back in the depression years, mothers would take empty flour sacks and various other feedbags and turn them into dresses and shirts for their kids.  In return the companies that produced the products began to make the bags in pretty designs.  And so a simple plain white feedbag was suddenly a red print with little black Scottie dogs or brown material with horses and pastures.  I thought to myself, “What a wonderful thing for these folks to have done.”  I’m sure the kids that got new flour sack clothing were thrilled.

I have just finished the most recent quilt that I have made.  It is made entirely of old blue jeans and material that I already had on hand.  I, as most of you already know, am the queen of miserdom.  I squeeze my toothpaste tube completely dry before I pitch it.  I use my floss picks twice or until they break, washing them in the dish washer between uses.

I have made two quilts for my girls’ college graduation made entirely of used materials.  I used their old sheets, clothing, Grandma and Grandma’s old clothing and even old t-shirts and p.j.s.  After I made the quilt I wrote a story about the materials in the quilt, where they came from and their special meaning.  I made two other quilts using a lot of clothing I had gathered at my parent’s house after they passed away.  My mom was a material hoarder too.

One of these quilts was made of mostly my father’s shirts.  I think he was a shirt hoarder as he had a whole closet full of button down shirts.  I don’t think they every threw or gave clothing away. (Oh, and I saved all the buttons.)

And just so you know, these quilts are not works of art.  I just piece materials together.  I’d really like to make a real quilt like a log cabin or an applique quilt but I don’t think I have the patience to do such.  I’m just quilting because I have the material and I do love to sew.

I had so much fun with this last quilt that I may try to make another one.  You cut the blue jean material into rounds and put a pretty fabric square in the middle and sew the outside round edges onto the square.  I think it is called a peek-a-boo quilt.  When it is washed the round edges fray and it is quite pretty.

However, I must let my fingers recover before I start again.  Sewing double thicknesses of denim really take its toll on your fingers.  And I have broken all my fingernails pulling the needle through.

And, no, I still haven't figure out this new computer and my photos or the smart phone either.  I snarfed the photo from the internet. But that is what my new quilt looks like.  Isn't it pretty?

Peace be with you.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

This week has been a lazy time for me again.  January is just not my best month.  I have managed to do Zumba in the basement several times and have broken my diet twice.

I discovered taco filled green peppers this summer and put up a bunch of them.  I broke down and cooked them for dinner one night.  A couple of nights after I had forsaken taco salad for a Bocca burger taco salad.  Don’t try it.  It doesn’t work.   And the hubster had used all the taco seasoning for his burger.

Friend, Garnet, and I had an excursion on Friday.  We went to the India House Restaurant in Rockford for their buffet. We had been there before and she really enjoyed the food.  She isn’t one for trying anything new usually.

We ordered the house beer which I can’t recall the name of.  Our waiter suggested we share a bottle and we poo pooed him.  He explained that it was quite a large bottle and it was.  We shared a bottle. It wasn’t bad at all.

 I had my favorite Chicken Tikki Masala and several other wonderful items.  She hailed the eggplant dish as being the very best thing she had tried.  I went back and sniffed and it didn’t wow me but I took a spoonful and put it on the lovely citron rice.  It was delicious.  Tasted much better than it smelled.  It was called Baingar Barte.

After our lunch, we went to Nicholas Conservatory where the Orchid Show was starting the next day.  I figured there would be less people the day before the show and it was great.  No elementary class of kids wandering around and running.  Just a few folks here and there.  The orchids were just being put out for display but it was still quite a display.

Garnet and I did selfies and took photos of each other.  My camera’s battery decided to quit on me so I used my cell phone.  I have got to learn more about this phone as it does take really good photos.

Another one of the reasons for my bummer of a month is that I am having issued with technology.  It all started when Microsoft tricked me into upgrading to Windows 10.  My computer just goes off line for no apparent reason.

When the hubster asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told him, “A new computer.”  We I got my wish and I am still not very happy.  I hate change especially technological change.  The entire computer looks different and acts different.  I couldn’t even put my camera’s photos on the computer.  It seems as if Google doesn’t support Picasa which is the software I used to store my photos.  I finally found them on Google Photos but it is so DIFFERENT.  I just hope I can find a photo for this blog.

I connected my phone to my computer this morning to download the photos of the orchids.  The computer told me it found no new photos on my phone.  Is it me?

I have this magnetic body thing.  I can’t wear a watch because they just up and quit on me.  I think the computer hates me too.  And the phone hates me.  I’m surprised that my clock radio works next to the bed.

The other thing going with me right now is my latest quilt.  It is made of old blue jeans and the sewing by hand is tough.  My right thumb has a callous and I have holes in my leather thimble.

Garnet and I went to Michael’s in Rockford to see if I could get a new thimble but they didn’t have any except for those metal ones.  They hurt my finger because my stupid finger is so big and they are so little.

I have only one more square to complete my quilt.  It is actually a table runner which will cover my dining room table.  The hubster works at home and the dining room is his office.  He is trashing the table and so I want to cover it and try to save what remains.

I wasn't able to get a photo for the blog so you will just have to use your imagination.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Yesterday’s big retirement adventure was with dog poop!  That’s right.  Dog poop!  It was warm enough to take the dog for a walk and when I got back I realized I hadn’t picked up dog poop for a while.  Winter is nice because the poops can just hang out in the yard and freeze good and hard for pickup.

I have this old garden trowel that I use for pickup.  The handle broke off and I have it duct tapped back on. I think the cold must have finally gotten to the duct tape as the handle broke off half way through my job.  Make note to self:  buy a pooper scooper.

So there I was out in my yard bent over picking up dog poop.  I think my dog has invited all the neighbors’ dogs to come over and poop in our yard!  I filled an entire plastic bag full of dog poop.  (Yes, I know.  I encourage the use of your own bags.  But I take my own and they give me a plastic bag with my meat anyhow.  But I digress, this is another blog entirely.)

I’m bent over double picking up dog poop and don’t you know, my neighbors drive by and honk at me.  I’m sure they are warm in their cars saying, “Oh look.  There’s Wilma out picking up dog poop.  I wonder if she would come over and pick up our dog poop.”

Many years ago my husband discovered that the doggie poop pick up companies were the largest growing companies in the U S.  He planned that when he retired he would start his own dog poop pick up.  Hell, he has never picked up a poop in our yard in the forty-five years I have been married to him.  He just laughed and said he would hire flunkies to pick up the poop and he would sit in the office.  His phone number for the business would be 1-800-DOG-POOP.

So I’ve been thinking I should start a dog poop pick up company.  I don’t know if you charge by the turd or by the pile, or if you weigh it and charge by the pound.  And do you dump it in their garbage can or do you have to bring it home to your own garbage can?  (I’m sure my garbage man would not like that!) Do you provide your own bag or do they supply you with a bag?

On the other hand maybe I will just stick to picking up my own dog’s poop.

May your dog poop always be hard.  (Thank you Joe Walsh.)

Peace be with you.

 What?  Did you think I was going to post a photo of dog poop?  One of my favorite meals.  Asparagus, barbecued ribs and a Michelob.  Heaven!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hi.  My name is Emily.  I spent most of the first five years of my life in an animal shelter in Huntley, Illinois.

This past June a nice lady and a not so approachable man, came and adopted me from the shelter.  My mommy is so good to me.  I am getting use to “Da”, as he feeds me and gives me treats.

I have learned how to sit, shake, high five, lay down, paws up and am working on sitting up.  I do “come” on command as well.

I like to play squeaky toy and my da has gotten me several new ones.  My favorite is a long neck bird that my mommy’s friend sent for me.  It used to have birdie sounds but I think I managed to kill it as two batteries have fallen out of it.  I still love to chew on it.

I have a whole basket full of toys and balls.  And for Christmas this year, I had my own stocking and in it was the first real bone I have ever had.  My mommy bakes these treats that I just love.  They have pumpkin and sweet potato, bacon and peanut butter.  They are so good.  Mommy is so good. She also buys me Blue Buffalo treats flavored like duck which I dearly love.

Mommy calls me these silly names like Emily Barkandshed, and Emilylou Scratch and Sniff. And Emmie honey.

 Mommy and I haven’t been out walking for some time. It has been pretty cold for the past week.  Before that we walked twice every day.  Sometimes Mommy takes me to the campground where she takes off my leash and I get to run and run.

Mommy even made a quilt just for me.  It is so warm and now covered in dog hair. (I mean magical fibers of joy.)

Da bought a furinator for me.  It is a special brush for dogs with an undercoat.  I get brushed a couple times a week with it and Mommy is threatening to make a sweater out of it for me.  She’s so funny!

I am so happy to have a home and a Mommy.  I wish all the dogs in the shelter could get such a wonderful home as I have.  And the kitties too!

Appreciate what you have folks. Things could always be a lot worse.

PS from Mommy,  I started my newest quilt yesterday.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and getting a massage about every other Friday lately.  I have had trouble with my neck and shoulders for some time and was getting sick and tired of it.  My insurance gave me a choice of ONE chiropractor to see in the area.

Just my luck that he is gorgeous and very pleasant to visit.  My massage therapist if Adrianna and she is magnificent.  I had a 15 minute session the first time and 30 minutes the second and third times. She has located these balls of knotted fibers and is working to break them up.  It is so painful but I practice my yoga breathing while she does it.  I’m doing an hour with her next month.  Right now my neck is pretty sore from the kneading she gave me.

After Friday’s session, I met up with friend, Garnet, and she took me out to lunch at JMK Nippon.  It is one of my very favorite restaurants.  I had the Tonkatsu, which I always have because I don’t get it very often.  It is breaded pork cutlet and served with Tonkatsu sauce, which is heaven.  The hubster and I make it about twice a year. 

Garnet caught me up on her medical conditions and it is not good news but we laughed and joked and had a great time.  She has such a good attitude and now that her hair is growing she is a happy camper.

There are friends in my life that I just could not do without.  Garnet is one of them.  We lived two houses apart for several years before I met her.  She got me a job at the local Mental Health Institute where she worked and we worked together for about six months and then I moved into the office where I worked for another six months.  We took walks at lunch and after work we rode our bikes around the lake.  She complained with every pedal she made and wanted to turn back all the time.  When we got back, she wanted to do it again.

We parted ways for a while after she moved away from the Lake.  When she got sick I determined that I was going to be part of her life again and we became kayaking buddies.  We have been on many adventures and gone so many fun places together.  She has eaten Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food and many other things she would never have tried if not for my urging.  We even took a trip to Denver, Colorado because she had never seen the mountains.

I’m hoping one day to travel to Jamaica with her because I know she would just love the place as much as I do.  Great food, lovely people, marvelous music, they speak English and you can drink the water.

Cancer is a bitch and I hate it.  It has affected so many people that I dearly love and has taken many folks that I loved.  The only thing we can do is try to see the beauty in the world around us and appreciate the things we have.

Here is the cancer joke I made up.  What do cancer and Adolph Hitler have in common? They are both really bad and I’d love to kick their asses.

I made an apricot pie for Christmas dinner.  And I know that ratty old cookie sheet should be thrown away but I keep it to bake my pies on in case they spill over.

Peace be with you.