Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Here's What We Got So Far

Behold the new doorway and yes, there used to be a closet there.

Our new storage area. This picture was taken before the new insulation and flooring and walls were put in. I am going to paint the area an obnoxious color. Like fuchsia
 or sunflower yellow. Something fun. Most likely our son will think this is the best fort ever.

And that is how the two man team have been bringing things in and out. No one traipsing through the house. It has been glorious.

So there is the progress report. I will update again on it soon.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Room is Coming Along

I am feeling a little giddy. No particular reason. Well, maybe because our bedroom has been demolished and looks like it is going to be quite awesome. The contractor also disabled the fire hazard of wiring throughout the room. Good times. Always nice to find out our house could have gone up in flames any moment. As a whole, our  house has pretty much been pasted together over the decades. Ahhh well. One of the cooler things that happened during demolition was he uncovered a nice crawl space that can be used as storage. It will get insulated and have flooring which will be nice. The doorway of the room is also being relocated to where the old closet was which has opened up the room a great deal. Amazing how poor layouts really doom a space.
As for the color we are still in process o deciding on a blue we want for an accent wall. My brother offered his two cents as far as the trim and other wall colors and now I need to do more searching. I would like to take a ride to Benjamin Moore and peruse their insane catalog of colors in person. Of course I have no idea when I will be painting so I really need to make this decision yesterday. :)
This little project has made me think about what I would do if I had unlimited funds. The size of the house would stay the same and we would just alter the lay out of the kitchen and the bathrooms. Figures that the most expensive rooms to redo are the ones that needs a good rehaul. I doubt I would blow out the back of the house or anything, though I would like to add a mudroom. I have even thought about us enclosing the front porch to have a mudroom/entryway, but we don't use the front door much because the garage is near the back door so that would be sort of pointless and a waste of funds.
Anyway, that is the update. Pictures will come once things are done. I should try and get photos up now and when I can, I will post some.
Have a fabulous day!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Still Unpublished

My short story did not get picked for publication.
I sort of expected it as I have never considered myself very good at writing short stories. Even so. When I saw that I was no longer in the running a touch of melancholy ran over me. Then a small panic kicked in that I needed to finish my latest novel ASAP. Then came the thought, "What I never will get published? Maybe I am not supposed to write. Maybe my career or life's work is that of wife and mother." Not that there is anything wrong with that job, but when one is creative, one constantly has an urge to achieve something.

Then I stopped.
I am far from wanting to be Superwoman like Ms. Lean In Sheryl Sandberg, but I can certainly be a mom, wife and writer. Do I care if I get published? Sure, but I also believe luck and timing have a lot to do with it. There are many poorly written books out there that do well. Why? Because they had/have an audience. Same goes for brilliantly done novels. Not every writer hits a home run out of the gate. They may do a steady trot with a nice sized audience. I would prefer that to be truthful. Build up a nice body of work with devout fans. Yes, I dare to dream

So there it is. I am not giving up, though I am incredibly stalled due to my situation, but hey, I will adapt. And I may even give writing another short story a shot because, what have I got to lose?

On a completely different note: I made this Curry Tofu Over Swiss Chard. I used a whole thing of tofu and I forgot the garam masala, but it still tasted delicious.

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Change Happens (in a rambling sort of way)

Years ago I cared about things like celebrities, sports teams and what the latest fashion trends are.

Not anymore.

Are you thinking I am crabby? Well I am not. I am just expressing my acceptance of myself. In the here and now I have become more of a home design, simple living and food person. I am older so what Taylor Swift is wearing no longer applies to me. As someone who loves music, I no longer seek out the latest and greatest as at some point, Pandora or NPR will deliver that artist to me.  Netflix gives me movies and shows and if I read about any or hear of one, I wait till it appears there or on YouTube. Funny. I am the "older" generation, but I use technology to my advantage. The only place I don't play is in social media. For me that exists only here and on Pinterest. I use Google+, but it is not very interactive and that is fine by me.

Now listen, sure I still like when the Yankees win and will eternally root against the Red Sox and all New England sports teams, including the UCONN Huskies. Don't ask, it makes no sense to me either.
I do not care if Angelina and Brad ever marry nor do I care if they ever make a film of that awful book "50 Shades of Gray". Though if anyone can make the Kardashians disappear into the ether I believe most of the world would be eternally grateful.
I worked in the entertainment industry back in 1995. Trust me, famous people are no different than us except some of them get paid very well for their skills. At the end of the day, they are as fallible as anyone you know. Sometimes I think the general public needs to understand that they all fart and forget to shave and have bad breath and some are perverts and have deep dark secrets. The general public covets a lifestyle that is not really told in truth. We get pieces and certainly nothing incredibly juicy because, quite frankly, it is none of our bloody business.
When my husband brings me home a copy of "In Style" I cringe. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, affordable ever featured. Years ago when the magazine first came out there was, but alas, everyone wants to cater to those with the big bucks, or those hoping to have big bucks one day. This would not be me. Who seriously pays $300 for a pain of jeans? Jeans. Denim. They are jeans. Marshall's sells major brands like Diesel and 7 For All Mankind for way below retail price. Sometimes marked down to $20 or $15. Why would you pay full price ever? Unless of course you need to be ahead of the game in the fashion world then go with God.
But I will be honest here, if there was a Nordstrom nearby I would still shop there. Why? They have the best sales on good shoes EVER. And we all know a good shoe makes an outfit.

Another big thing. We have a child. At some point we will have to get up to speed on the latest and greatest among his generation. Lord knows what technological "advances" we will have by the time he is texting or what will replace Coach and UGGS among the young ladies. Ladies he will be dating. Oh no, there it is.  My heartbeat is becoming a little erratic and I know it will only get worse as he gets older. I feel gray hairs bursting through my scalp. Wait. Wait. I need to relax. This should help.

Ahhhh, thank you Richard Armitage with facial hair. Yum, yum, yum.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Not here, but there.

I am one of those people who enjoys having the ability to rearrange furniture. Not in every room mind you, but I get bored with the layout and like being able to move a bed here or a chair there. This weekend the living room was scrutinized and got a nice face lift.

We have a very long living room. The prior owners tore down a wall that enclosed a small bedroom and lengthened the living room. It is a little odd and hard to work with,thank God we have no television, but we have found a way. FYI the striped couch you see is being donated to Salvation Army, but for now needs to stay where it is which is fine.

Okay, here are a few fun facts. I have a demented obsession with wing back chairs and I have all intentions of reupholstering these beastly Laura Ashley ones. 
My father in law hates our curtains and was happy to tell us so. God love him, but I got them on sale at Lowe's. I would have loved Plantation Shutters, but they were ridiculously expensive and being house poor is not a goal.
My snake plant is quite prolific. I split her over the summer and both of them have many babies coming which I will eventually replant elsewhere in the home. To the left of that table I want to get a ficus or some other large plant that my son will undoubtedly want to climb.

This is the other side of the room. 

Isadora loves napping on the ottoman. I combined two of our son's small blankets to make her one and she seems to like it a lot. Now, I may have mentioned before that both the large wing backs and ottoman, which are too large for conventional slip covers, will cost $1100 to reupholster. (Pick your jaw up.) So that will be done waaaaay down the road. The wing backs you see here were able to have slipcovers put on them. (Amen!)  The lamps are new and those tables there were ones that we had been using as nightstands in our bedroom. I got them from a friend and am grateful as they are sturdy and handsome.  
This new arrangement makes us all giddy and I think it will stay like this for awhile. 
I do have a new bedroom coming so that should quell to rearrange. For now.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ants and Gratin (Not together of course)

For some reason, ants have decided that my draining pads are a great resource for water. I now can no longer leave things out to dry because I will undoubtedly attract these odorous house ants. This frustrates the hell out of me because this means there is a nest close by or in the wall of my home.
To the right of my kettle, on the other side of the boxed wall section is where there is cayene pepper, which does NOT work, and where the ants come through. That is also where our toaster oven sits and oddly enough, they ignore it, more eager for the water.

I am not an ant hater, but I do not want them crawling all over everything. I found them in the cabinet about a month back roaming through a box of graham crackers. Nothing like that is even kept in the cabinets now, but I am still contending with them and their water desires. Pain in the asses. Ah well.

Tonight I made a roasted cauliflower gratin from a recipe posted by The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Seriously, what an awesome name. I added purple carrots from our CSA to the mix and it was mighty tasty. Go on, make yourself some.

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Give Me Better Choices

Yesterday I had to run out to pick some stuff up for dinner. My supermarket choices where I live are limited to Shop Rite (2), Kings and Weis. Yes we have the farms, but I needed things like vacuum bags and mayonnaise.
Shop Rite and I have a very serious love hate relationship. They carry some products for our son at very reasonable prices. The flip side is anything organic or vegetarian is double the price of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Those two markets are 45 minutes away and we do make the occasional pilgrimage. They won't come out our way as they do not consider my area a strong demographic. Sure there are big bucks, but they want mega traffic like in the urban areas where they thrive. Idiots. They would thrive here, they are just too far removed from the area to know that. Okay, stopping side rant and getting back to the topic.

Shop Rite.

I head down the condiments aisle and stood there annoyed. The dominant brand was Hellman's. There was one squeeze jar of Kraft mayo, Shop Rite brand mayo and that horrifying enigma known as Miracle Whip. I pick up the jar of Hellman's and the first ingredient is soybean oil.
Owned by Unilever.
Double No.
Soybeans are used in everything and most of them are GMO. Unilver uses GMO products. See here.
Now I was perplexed. What the hell was I to do? Thankfully this Shop Rite has chosen to carry certain vegetarian/vegan brands. Again, at a price.
I found Earth Balance Mayonnaise. Read the ingredients (No GMO), felt better and spent 3.99 on one pint. Tasty and relatively good for you. Aces.
I am now considering making my own mayonnaise because let's face it, it is most likely cheaper and healthier. I also do not like mayonnaise but my husband does. He makes his own dressings with it and what not so I do need to have some on hand.

Next I needed vacuum bags, but after a search I could not locate them. I speak to a clerk who informs me they no longer carry them. What? Why? Ugh. Now I have to make an extra trip to Target or something.

Okay, off to the produce section for lemons and apples. There is a sign by the lemons alerting customers that due to heavy rains the lemon crops of Mexico and Chile were damaged so there would be a delay.
Um, what?
Doesn't California grow lemons??
I bought four, still perplexed that none of the lemons offered were grown in USA.
Then came the apples. I did not have time to run to my local CSA farm to get their delicious apples so I sucked it up and figured I would just buy two at the market. I began to peruse the offerings. Some were from the usual suspects. Washington, New York State and then I stopped.

There was a nice box of apples from Western Australia.

Seriously???? No offense to Australia, but with what it most likely cost to fly those babies to New Jersey you could have planted a few apple trees.

The kicker is that where I live there are quite a few farms that grow apples. Yes. We have apple farms. Not a one of them had a bin in the local Shop Rite. A place that advertises they sell local farm produce. This is baffling. No market gets off the hook for this either. They ALL get produce from around the globe.

One thing I have noticed is that on various homesteading/simple living blogs, discussions about food sovereignty is becoming more and more frequent. Let me say that I am all for grown locally or at least nationally. But considering the world is a spoiled place and we want what we want when we want it, that becomes somewhat difficult. I love bananas, I can't grow them, so I have to buy them from South America. A lot of markets do try to source some local produce and I applaud that. But no matter where we shop, labels from around the world have become the norm. There is a slow burning backlash as residents of certain states here in the US and countries around the world start to demand that products be from their respective homelands. I can't blame anyone. People want to keep the jobs and money in their own communities. Makes perfect sense considering economic times are what they are and it does not look good for a few more years. Plus if you read some blogs out of the UK and Australia and you will see what people on tight budgets are contending with already in regards to buying pantry staples as food prices are rising. Stress inducing for sure.

And as for our dinner, I made an apple and onion pizza and a carrot and cabbage slaw which was delicious.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Read The News Today Oh Boy...

And I probably shouldn't have.
I try to avoid the news like the plague. No reason to get upset about things I can't help or fix, but a recent story out of Maryville, Missouri regarding rape and a possible cover up is an embarrassment to human kind.
You can read the story here on the St. Louis Dispatch website and get your own rage on.
What kills me, kills me about my country of America is that we get all crazy about sharia law and how Muslims treat their women and children, but God Forbid a revered high school footballer in a podunk town does it. We let the slut shaming begin, rallying around the accused and disregarding the hard evidence. It is mind blowing how so-called devout Christians can be just as small minded as the Islamic Fundamentalists that they claim to have nothing in common with.
The truth is, it is high time the Bible Belt gets it shit together.  I say this because two rape cases that went National occurred in Ohio and Missouri.  These incidents happened in small towns, not metropolitan cities where people are a touch more progressive, but areas where football and religion run way deep. When you think small town idyll, you may want to reconsider. There is nothing idyllic about ranks closing around sexual predators. And here is something else, if you know much about America, you know that God is pretty prevalent in the heartland. So is meth. Along with job losses, discontentment, uncertainty and good 'ol patriotism we have people clinging to anything that makes them forget their troubles. Enter high school football. Whatever. I am so far removed from football culture. There are millions of articles on Google that can explain the obsession with it in certain parts of the country way better than I ever could.
Bottom line to all of this is that young people everywhere want to feel they belong and will do anything to join the crowd, especially if the crowd has boys and girls that are older and popular. They may agree to drink, blow off curfews, sneak out of the house, etc. We need to start teaching young men and women that putting oneself in a precarious situation is not ideal and I do not mean with religion because clearly that does nothing. Morals do not need to have a religious bent. Treating another human being's body with respect does not need a religious bent. If you want to teach your children religion, but all means go for it, but do not think just memorizing a Proverb or two will get the message across. Your own actions and remarks form their opinions as well. Be mindful before you speak. Don't call a girl in a tank top a whore or a boy with downs syndrome a "freak". You can model devotion to God however you want, but you should not teach hate and disrespect.
Also, entitlement needs to just stop. STOP. I do not care who's granddad does what in politics, that should not get the little delinquent off with slap, if any, on the wrist.
And when you think your boy deserves an apology for raping an underage girl, you deserve the worst karma God can deliver.

Rosea Lake's photo "Judgments".

Exhausted by the human race,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Purge

No, not the movie. My closet.

I went through the box of winter clothes and ended up donating quite a bit. This now leaves me with a very streamlined wardrobe. I am choosing to keep out the t-shirts for layering purposes this year.

From the left is my jewelry bag with nothing very fancy in it, tank tops, t-shirts, three quarter sleeve and long sleeve shirts, two fancy shirts, one black turtleneck sweater, a few cardigans, three pairs of pants including jeans, four skirts, pretty scarves and a black dress I keep out in case we have some place special to go like a wedding.
On the top shelf are my shoes, God I miss Nordstrom shoe sales. I used to have the best boots ever.
The bins you see hold underwear, bras, winter scarves and hats and pajamas.
My pajamas consist of only a shirt and sweat shorts or my preggy yoga pants. Very sexy.
Out of everything I have, I would like to get some better pajamas. Not Frederick's of Hollywood type stuff.

Though I am sure my hubby would not scoff if I wore such an outfit. Of course I would have to get a blow up of the picture and paste it to myself so he thinks I look like her.

In reality, I prefer a more is less approach with pj's. Cover the sins of the flesh, Read: cellulite, pot belly, with fabric.
Now this works. These are called "Hostess Pajamas". Can you imagine? "Hello darling, the gratin is ready. Now pour Mama a gin and tonic."

I would so wear this to a cocktail party instead of to bed.

I do like these modern pajamas, but I really dislike the price of $74.00 (!!!!!!!)

I think we will hold off on pj shopping for the time being.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thank You Andre Dubus III

Here is a fun story for you. Quite a few years back we were up at a friends on Cape Cod. It was late, probably around 12:30-1am, and I was reading what is now one of my favorite books, "The House of Sand and Fog". As I reached a pivotal scene, I gasped and jerked my hand and slapped my husband in the arm since I could not scream. He woke up, none too pleased, but I was still riveted and began to babble at him for twenty minutes.
That poor man.
I did see the movie, but like most interpretations, while it was good, the book's impact was far greater and haunts me, still.
Odd thing is, I have never picked up another thing by the author, Andre Dubus III, and I should. I read a recent piece of his in The Atlantic and it had such an effect on me that I read parts of it out loud to my husband. (There was no arm slapping this time.) Seriously, even if you do not write, you should read the article.
The Case for Writing a Story Before Knowing How It Ends

I do most of what he talks about. I can't outline. I have tried. It is not my gig. I am better off planning some of it and then winging it. But listen, Andre and I? We have a similar process. Do you hear me?
I AM LIKE ANDRE DUBUS III. (Small piece of trivia. I went to Bradford College for two years and left before his father, the author, Andre Dubus, taught there. Freaky.)
Okay, you laugh, but when you have very little training in a tough field you question your right to belong. He made me see I do belong.
Or at least I have the right to crash the party. ;)
The one thing he recommends it is walking away from a written story for six months or longer. So when you go back to revise it you see it in a whole new light. I cringed a little at that because that feeds into my biggest fear. What is that you ask? My biggest fear is that someone else will write the same story and get it out there before I do. And then what? Do I still continue? Do I work on something else and then return once the hoopla of the other novel dies away? If there is hoopla of course.
There is no doubt in my mind that someone out there was working on a very similar story about vampires before Stephenie Meyer and Twilight came along. I cannot imagine what that person went through. All that hard work and now they are holed up in a closet somewhere. Or they cashed in on the craze, their book lost among the many in the same genre. I don't knock them. I understand. The hopes that your book will stand out among the hundreds that the publishers grabbed to cash in on the craze.
All it took for me was a Google search to see if there are any books dealing with the same subject matter. There are, but they do not deal with it in the same manner. This eases me, but only a little. Imaginations run wild and sometimes they cross and run parallel. None of us reinvent the wheel. We just find different ways to make it squeak or run smooth.
Maybe it is irrational to worry.
But every day that I cannot get any writing done is another day that I despair. I despair that my characters will lose their voice, lose who they are and I lose the plot and the desire. Drama. Writers have it in spades.
Then I read Mr. Dubus' article and really listened and I was transformed. I know my story. I know who they are and I will not lose a damn thing. I will improve it and gut it and listen to the characters and hear them. The delay will not harm nor hinder, it will enhance. Hell, it has already has as I have made the most radical changes when I was unable to write. I would be doing some mundane chore or be at the gym and BAM!! A major plot point gets added or resolved. That God for smart phones and their voice recorders! And as for the "what if someone else writes it first?" So what? So what? Let them tell their story. Mine can hold its own. It is funny, it is awesome and it is interesting.
I don't really care if Hollywood knocks or I become a millionaire. (Though it would be nice, it is not a requirement of why I do this.) At the end of the day, I just want to tell you all a story. And I want it to inspire you to smack someone in the arm at 1am.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Master Bedroom

October 21. Want to know what that date is for? It is when the gates of the construction gods open and my contractor crosses the street and comes to work inside our house.
The earth has moved my friends. 
While I have never been excited about spending the money to renovate a room that was never to have been redone. (Thank you ceiling leak, mold removal and roof replacement for making that happen.) I am looking forward to figuring out what color it shall be. Currently it is gray. Since walls are being ripped out and replaced, we get to choose a whole new scheme. This is where I admit my issues with neutrals, but I think that might work best in this case. Or at least, neutral and then one wall with a splash of color. That splash is the color I am having the hardest time with.
Let me tell you what we have to work with. A dark wood MALM bed from IKEA and silver lamps with sky blue shades. I also need new curtains since the pair that was in there would not match, so they got moved to another room, waste not want not. Of course I am on the crack website (see : HOUZZ) looking for various painting ideas. We will be having carpet put down also because the floors are pretty much shit up there thanks to the lack of sub-flooring and use of cheap pine.
I also want it known that we are not that type of people who need a bedroom the size of the Acropolis with matching sitting room and bathroom. All I want is a cozy place to sleep, have a little ooh la la and read.

Here are some of the ideas swimming in my well coiffed head.

I do love contrasting colors such as this. (

I really dig the wall color and duvet in this one. (

There is somethings soothing about this one. (

LOVE the one wall wallpaper idea. Seems almost retro movie star glamorous. Can you imagine having to choose just one pattern???
                                          (cottage blur designs)


Too many choices. I am going to be a mess when we do our bathrooms one day. LOL As for the bedroom, once we have it all figured out, and it is done, you shall all get to see its loveliness.

For cuteness, here is our cat, Chloe, and dog, Isadora aka Izzy

Recipe: A nice looking Country Apple Cake recipe from Decor8.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

An Ode to My Knitting Teacher

What seems like many moons ago I learned how to knit. I do not remember how or why, but I got a bee  in my bonnet to want to pick up needles and yarn and declare myself free from shopping for clothes. I have not gotten there, but at least I will never have to buy scarves or hats ever again!
On an internet quest, I found a woman that was sort of local, contacted her, set up a time and date and me and some gal pals went to her house in South Orange, NJ.
We walked into an awesome rambling home with children, pets and a very warm and welcoming teacher with great wit greeted us named Annie Modesitt.
Because of Annie, I adore knitting. She was laid back, funny and made us realize there was nothing to stress about. No one was asking us to knit an afghan to cover the Statue of Liberty so relax. She had tea and cookies for us and we all took to this new skill with aplomb. 
There were five in our group and she took time with each of us. She asked what we all wanted to make and then got us started to help the next person. What I loved was that she explained that her way of knitting was not considered "the norm". I hate the whole "right way, wrong way" crap when it is clear there are certain tasks, even math problems, that can be done in varying ways. She regaled us with tales of how she first started knitting and things she tried and people who told her she was "doing it wrong", her fibromyalgia, etc. The word "candid" should be her middle name. It was refreshing. 
I think we were there for about two hours before we hustled out of there due to an impending snow storm.*
It is fun to think back on how sore my wrist would get when I first started and how long it took me to make a basic scarf. Now I can fly through a hat or knitting a neck warmer with a flower. I have knitted lace scarves and cotton washcloths. This skill is something I look forward to as Autumn arrives and I a forever grateful to her for the time she allowed to pop over at last minutes notice for a refresher. 
She moved to Minnesota with her lovely family some time ago, but thankfully she has a blog.

One of the great things about Annie is her generosity. Be it her time, her infinite patience with those learning how to cast on and more. She is also very giving with some of her gorgeous patterns. On that note, I share with all of you her FREE Twisted Float Scarf Pattern. In her post, she links to a Caribou Coffee. Seems their founder, Amy Erickson,  passed away from Breast Cancer back in 1995. In honor of her, if you order Amy's Blend, they donate 10% to Cancer Care. There is also a #hashtag promo (for FB and Twitter which sadly I am not a part of either) that if used, a row of a scarf is knitted (takes about 40 hashtags) and once completed it is donated to a breast cancer patient. A simple gesture that means so much to those struggling with an illness. Beautiful.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Annie and take one of her classes, do it. You will not be disappointed. 


*As for the snow storm, we left her home as it began, it got worse us we drove and for the next two days were were all snowed in at our respective homes. Where I resided at the time in urban NJ sucked when it came to the town snow plowing. Glad I am not in that area anymore.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My New Girl Crush

Her name is Victoria Elizabeth Barnes.
Because her and her beloved husband are renovating a Victorian home and she has the absolute audacity to be funny about all the painstaking projects they have taken on, along with the Craiglisting she forces her husband to endure.
I am in love.
I freely admit that I torture my own husband with design ideas and my brother too. (Damn you Houzz!!) But this woman?  She takes it to a level that I only wish I could.
Anyone who has ever bought a home that needs TLC, my hand is raised, knows what it is like when you are waiting to find that perfect paint or perfect design, then tossing it all away when you realize you are NOT a Rockefeller. This will always disappoint me because I know deep down I would have made a fabulous society dame. C'est la vie!
I doubly appreciate when anyone buys a period home and works to restore it. There are many blogs out there documenting the seriousness of it all and the efforts which some people put in. I respect those who watch a video to figure out how to tile those teeny hexagon tiles.
That is so not me.
I also prefer humor when it comes to home renovating. As someone who would never live in something created by a Toll Brother, no offense, I join the ranks of those who fully believe we can keep some Americana safe by restoring the glory that is an 1878 home. Or in our case, 1920's lacking lots of love.
Maybe it is hubris, or more so, affordability, that brings people to the homes of yesteryear. For me it is the character they keep. The stories the tell and the belief that I can afford to create what I want with IKEA, Craigslist, Home Goods, and hand me downs.
Enough about me and my babbling. Read this woman's blog because she is funny and because what they are doing is pretty awesome.

Here are the few posts that had me going and remember, she is mine. ;-)

The Pilar Guzman post is hilarious.

The Kingdom Mirror. I have nothing to add. Just read.

This post also takes the cake.

I need my husband, who for years has mentioned he wants to learn woodworking, to get on this medicine cabinet project pronto. Seriously, I think it is a good first project for when we do our upstairs bathroom. You know, the one where the shower can no longer be used thanks to causing a leak in kitchen ceiling? Yes, that one.

My envy runs deep, but it is also covered in respect. This is one major house project and it is interesting and wonderful that anyone can just pop over and see how it is done. Thank you technology.

And because I am chipper, I end with the beautiful, "How to Pick the Right Garden Ceiling" from Houzz. It makes me want to grab a Bloody Mary and lounge about in one of these locations.

Have a fabulous weekend.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Our CSA, Knitting and A Cat

Last night I decided to look into what the CSA we belong to will cost next year. As I opened the form I did a double take. They have upped the price by $50 making the cost of membership over $500!! Well, there goes that. All the food we have gotten has been delicious, seriously the best fruit I have EVER had, but there is a small downside. There were things we received in abundance that just did not work for us. Namely corn, green beans and peaches. I gave some peaches away and pureed others, but the corn and green beans were a touch more difficult. Right now I have six ears of corn sitting on my counter that I am going to turn in to bird food. We are supposed to get four more today, but I will be donating it to the food pantry. After discussion, my husband and I decided it is better for us if we just go to the farms when we need the produce and can buy exactly what we want. When we work it out the CSA has cost about $22 a week for produce. And that does include things in it we would not necessarily buy. I picked up a huge head of cabbage and a bunch of kale a few weeks ago and it was incredibly inexpensive. The head of cabbage was $2.25. Not per lb. The huge, fat cabbage was a flat $2.25. I got three meals out of that beauty. So that is what we will do next year and I think it will work out better. When I go to day I am going to price out the cost of their apples because if they are cheap, I would like to buy a good amount so my hubby can make his homemade apple juice. :)

We got eggplant in our CSA last week. My hubby is not a fan, so I searched for a recipe that would also incorporate other tasty goodies. Moroccan Spiced Eggplant With Kale fit the bill. The recipe leaves out where to throw in Mustard seeds so I did it with the other spices. I also put mine over Israeli cous cous. The hubby liked it and took left overs for lunch. A big win for eggplant!

Hooked on Houses has a Real Estate - Bad Ideas post that is pretty funny.

I am not feeling this daring, but this Nymphalidea shawl  on Knitty is amazing.

And in the writing department, I am still waiting to see if my story is accepted. The suspense is killing me actually. Unfortunately,  during this waiting period I have decided the ending is all wrong and wish to God I could go back and change it. Damn. I have lived with this story for so long the characters could bleed from me at this point. Perhaps this is unhealthy. My continuing belief in and attachment to this novel reminds me of a scene in the movie "Rebecca' where the nameless gal, played by Joan Fontaine, tells Maxim (Laurence Olivier) about her painter father who painted the same tree over and over. She says, "He had a theory that if you should find one perfect thing, or place or person, you should stick to it. Do you think that's very silly?"
No future Mrs. DeWinter, not at all. I want this story published in some form. It may take a few more years, but I want it out there.
The other novel? Still waiting to be brought back to life. Poor thing. It languishes while it's author struggles to find time to get it done. I am also losing touch with the core of it and that sucks. All in due time I guess.

I have yet to mend my jeans and hope to do so today. At least it has been so warm here I do not need them yet.

Here is a random picture of our 16 year old cat, Chloe.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Much To Do

A friend of ours really liked the little neck warmer scarves I had made for our shared friend's three little girls. So much so, she has asked me if I was interested in knitting a bunch for her to sell at a craft show in Ohio.

I could use the cash and I sort of miss selling things I have made.

Big sidebar:
Many moons ago I used to be part owner of a jewelry business. I loved designing and creating and we took classes in wax carving and both of us made beautiful pieces. Sadly the business never really took off. We did craft shows as far as DC and Rhode Island, went to an Open Call at Henri Bendel's which was a disaster as they turned away every high end jewerly designer. One Russian guy did the most amazing work I had ever seen. The jewelry buyer literally held up her cheap ass necklace and said, "I want stuff like this. Clunky costumey stuff." Then she proceeded to fawn over a woman's line of simple chains with charms. Why thank you for wasting my time. Another issue was that my business partner was more concerned if people liked what she made instead of being concerned with the business side of things. Compliments meant a lot to her and while it is nice to be told something you made is stunning, it is more important that we sell the piece. I also think she really did not want to pursue a career in this as seriously as I did and agreed to humor me. That is part of the reason why she is an ex-friend. The other part was due to some ugly slander that was told by an older woman that we were mutual friends with and they believed her and spread said lie. What was the lie? Apparently my hubby and I wanted a threesome with this broad. Now, if we did, so what? But we didn't, nor did we ever allude to such a thing. So two people who claimed to be our closest friends never even asked us about this. They just assumed what they were told was true and that was that. C'est la vie.
Moral of this story: Go into business with yourself. And as they said on the X-Files "Trust No One". Oh, I who am I kidding, I am not that cynical. When I look back , there were any instances where they were jerks, not everyone is. But if I was to do it again, I would be very careful about who I went into business with.

Back to the knitting. I am excited to bang out product to sell. I have already knit 2 neck warmer scarves and a third is almost one. I need to make the flowers for each of them and make sure I have enough buttons. I was also considering making some wristlets as well as looping scarves for her to offer as well. If I do this everyday I could have a sizable stash to sell. Come on cash flow!! LOL

I also need to mend my jeans which have holes in the knees. They are my bang around pair so I do not care if they are perfectly done, but they do need to be patched. I have this hideously awesome fabric that I want to sew on the inside. Once Upon A Craft has a quick and neat way to add fabric by using a glue gun, but I am going to sew them instead as I lack said glue gun. Still, I like how cool hers came out.

I just came across this farming and food website called Dishing Up The Dirt and her recipes are astounding! I need to make the Garlicky Kale and Fried Egg Cups ASAP.

My son broke the arm on one side of my glasses. The only pair that has transition lenses no less. I need to call the eye doctor and make an appointment anyway and get these repaired. I am also going to get a new pair with transitions so in case this happens again, which I have a feeling it will, I am okay until I can bring said glasses in for repairs.

Have a lovely day!!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday's Post - No I have no better title LOL

Well, the American government is shut down.
Say it ain't so??
Please. They do this EVERY year at this point. A bunch of spoiled brats who just refuse to share or get along.
What irritates me the most is that the National Park System and Smithsonian Museum lose out and get shut down as well. That's real bright. Some of our best attractions and money makers can now not make money. This was a well though out temper tantrum eh?
I am going to say I do not believe any of our representatives have half a brain nor any respect for their country. If they did, Obamacare would have been looked at seriously and reformed to work for everyone and they would not be so eager to cut food stamps. Yes, this is my fine Nation and I am displeased.

Better to move on to better topics and things as the shutdown is just beyond ridiculous.

I started to watch "The Grapes of Wrath" last night. How timely. And what an incredibly depressing story. I am a little over halfway through it and man, it is killing me. This should be mandatory viewing for Congress. Horrible to see how all these migrant workers were treated in 1939. I am not sure I will ever get the chance to read the book, but I do love this little gem from Steinbeck.
When preparing to write the novel, Steinbeck wrote: "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects]." He famously said, "I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags," and this work won a large following among the working class due to Steinbeck's sympathy to the workers' movement and his accessible prose style.

Apparently the movie is about to get remade by Steven Spielberg. Alrighty then.

While we are fortunate that it is still very warm here, I do need to get some thermal insulated curtain liners to help keep our home warm this winter. The price of oil is swear word inducing so we are keeping the thermostat low. This family will be in layers. I wish we had a pellet stove or fireplace, but we do not so must find other ways to keep heat in the house.

And from Hooked on Houses we have the Real Estate Sampler: Time Warp Edition.
OH MY!!!