Thursday, December 26, 2013

Smells Like Baby Powder

I went shopping today. I did not get up before the sun or anything strange. I took my time, had my daily dose of coffee and then got ready. I left around 11 am. There is nothing I want that would require me to rush around.

I fed and watered the dogs, took them all out and left Oscar in charge ( perhaps not the best choice, since he pees on the floor). All the accumulated ice fell off my car and I zipped over to the interstate and was pleasantly surprised to find traffic light.

I easily found parking places close to the door, the weather was nice and I found some good bargains.  Then I came home, mopped up the dog pee adorning the floor, and collapsed in a chair. Shopping is hard work. I am exhausted. Maybe I should get out more .......

I enjoy shopping. I like watching other people to see what they are buying. I also like to wonder where side roads go and who may live at the end of the road. Could this be why my husband declines my invitation to go with me? He rarely listens anyway. No matter which side I am on, it is his "bad" ear side and he says he can't hear me. Doesn't really stop me from talking.

But today, as I drove I pondered something else. It is the cost of dog poop bags. They are crazy expensive. I am okay with the plastic bags from the grocery and I use them a lot, but have been known to run out. I do love a poop free environment.

 So, today I went to the Dollar Tree to buy some dog poop bags. With the new dog park I am considering having a dispenser in place. Maybe, although I am thinking that expense should be on the pet owner. But, that is another discussion for another day. That and the fact that everything in the Dollar Tree is actually a dollar. Not so for Family Dollar and the Dollar General. When you think about it, it just doesn't make sense.

Back to the poop bags. Three rolls of twenty sell for a dollar. Sixty bags for a dollar. Not bad you say, but as I turned to place them in my cart full of half price Christmas stuff I see something that stops me cold. Baby products are located directly across from the pet products. I put those doggie bags back and got 75 diaper bags for a dollar! Not only did I score 15 more bags, but they are baby powder scented!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Control Panel, Graphics and the Magic of Christmas

I am learning, I suppose. By necessity. Yesterday I somehow hit a combination of keystrokes while carrying my laptop form my chair to my sewing lair and turned the screen sideways.  For hours ..... at least four of them, I fiddled with it, trying to right it. Windows 8 is not user friendly. I hovered on the right side as instructed by my IT son. The icons would appear and then disappear quicker than you can blink.  The internal mouse is hard to control when the screen is sideways. I sent a frantic message to IT son and he offered to abandon his company and family to go in and fix it for me, but, being the good mother that I am, I declined his offer and tried to handle it myself.
He did tell me to get to the control panel and then graphics.

So, while my children enjoyed holiday events with their families and He Who tows was dragging stranded motorists, I spent Christmas Eve fighting with Windows 8. He Who tows suggested that I just turn the computer on it's side. Oddly enough, his son, the computer wizard suggested the same thing. Really. Now everybody out there, turn your laptop on it's side and see how very convenient that is. I was not amused by the men in my family.

So, all alone on Christmas Eve I sat, no blogs to read, no Jigidi puzzles to construct, no e-mails to compose. I am thankful that no hatchets were handy ....... I gave up in frustration and my fingers were idle. I closed the lid of my laptop, none too gently, I confess, took a shower and went to bed.

This morning, I awoke with my canines, took them out and convinced them to crawl back into bed. I snuggled into my warm spot and had just dozed when the jangle of the phone interrupted my sleep. It was the voice of my grandson, Gavin. Just what I needed to salve my soul. "Merry Christmas, Gramma". Sweetest sound in the world. I got out of bed to hear about his Santa loot and started the coffee to brew.

After having the spirit of Christmas injected into my soul, I decided to tough it out with the laptop on it's side. I read a even commented on a few of my favorite blogs. Please disregard any spelling or grammatical offences I may have made. I was resigned to tilting my head on it's side and trying to maintain control of the mouse when it happened.

It is the Christmas miracle!! My mouse arrow meandered to the right side and quite accidentally landed on the correct icon to send me to the control panel!!! Once there, I found graphics and was able to rotate my screen the necessary 90 degrees and  ...... voila!! Here I am with my screen in the correct position, my Christmas miracle!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Anniversary To He Who Entertains

 "You know, that shed we bought to put my golf cart in won't do much good unless the golf cart is actually in it ......." I say to the man who will go out of his way to help a stranded motorist or is a sucker for any sob story he hears. He is watching Ellen. He is marveling at all the gifts the studio artists are getting. I have been outside loading a wagon with fire wood and kindling. The weather is mild and I am sick of being inside.

He looks up at me and tells me the golf cart will not fit ......... too much crap has been piled up in the shed. Really. The implication is that the garden supplies I have stored have not been stacked in a neat and reasonable manner. I go back outside and with considerable effort I manage to get the golf cart in the shed and out of the weather. The "door" to this shed has to be rolled up and secured with the Velcro straps at the top. I can't reach them. Didn't have to rearrange a thing to get it in, but the "door" was a pain. I still can't lift my left arm, but, I sat on the passenger side of the cart while holding the shed "door" with my right arm over the roof of the golf cart.  Insult my organizational skills and I will show you.

Last year, He Who tows bought a humidifier to provide moisture to the air while we slept. Good idea. Like all men, he did not read any of the literature accompanying the appliance. When he proceeded to fill the reservoir with water from the tap, I warned him that he should use distilled water. And like most husbands he disregarded my advice and proceeded with the tap water. We have very hard water and, as expected the unit was clogged with minerals quickly.

He decided to remedy this situation  a few days ago. I happened upon him in the kitchen. He was filling the reservoir with water and about half a box of baking soda. I did ask him what he was doing and he told me he read something and that this would "clean out" the humidifier. Sometimes, it is just fun to watch in silence, you know.

That evening, when I went about the business of preparing dinner, I asked him what the next step was in his endeavor to "clean out" the humidifier. The reservoir still sat there on the counter. He came in and emptied it and rinsed it, saying that should do the trick. I didn't laugh until he left the room. The humidifier did not function any better that night. He seemed perplexed and I asked where he had gotten this remedy from and if he had read the entire instructions. I pointed out that he had done nothing more than clean out the container that holds the water. I then reminded him that when I clean my coffee maker with vinegar, I actually run it through the machine.

I thought I had told him that vinegar would work better. Maybe I did, but it seems that advice fell on deaf ears. Yesterday, as I was putting away clean laundry I noticed the humidifier has some white residue all over it. I unplugged it and took it to the kitchen. The liquid that remained in the machine after the reservoir was removed was cloudy. White powdery stuff was on every inside surface. My first thought was that some weird kind of mold had covered it. I stuck my finger in it and rubbed it with my thumb .............. He ran baking soda through the machine! And not just a mere solution. He must have used an entire box!

Took awhile, but I finally rinsed all of the baking soda out (I think), but now I am afraid to plug it in. Vinegar, he should have used vinegar. Of course, he would have used straight vinegar and the air would have smelled like pickles or salad. Or, he could have just listened to me in the beginning and avoided all this. I have to admit that for 39 years he has been entertaining ..........

Friday, December 13, 2013

Burnt Cinnamon

Big fat flakes of snow are falling. It has been raining all day, much to the dismay of Wall-E, the wonder dog. He is loathe to soil the floor. He approached the back door twice mid morning. I opened it and he took a look before retreating back inside. Same with Toni Louise and Cujo. Right around noon Cujo danced frantically and the three ventured out into the rain to take care of business. I won't share Oscar's solution with you ....... let's just say it involved a mop.

I spent yesterday shopping and running errands. I wanted to get it all done, knowing the nasty rain was coming. I came home to a geyser on site 7. Not really wanting a water feature there, I hurried to turn off the water to the park. Another pipe to bite the dust. I alerted He Who plumbs and then put a pizza in the oven.

Today was cookie making day. I did not expect to be interrupted, given the weather and was happy to putter around the kitchen. I found a recipe for cinnamon sugared pecans. This involved 3 hours in the crock pot and seemed like a good idea ......

It did say to stir every 20 minutes or so and I tried. I put them on and whipped up the first batch of dough that needed to chill. I stirred, then went on to the recipe for giant peanut butter cookies. This is when the phone rang the first time. I may have won a cruise. Then he first door opening for the canine contingent and then back to the mixing of the batter. Another phone call about accepting credit cards for the business involving a live person at the other end. I had turned on the oven to preheat and did not have my cookies on the sheet and the dogs were watching me intently from their position at the door. I admit I was not very patient with my furry kids when, once again, they declined to go out into the rain.

After quickly getting dough on the cookie sheet and placing them in the oven I remember to stir the pecans. The sugars are starting to liquefy and the mixture is harder to stir, but I get it all stirred up and get another sheet of cookie dough ready. I pull out the first batch, put in the next and the phone rang. My insurance agent with some questions about our new policy. It is time to remove the cookies from the first sheet and I try it one handed and two fall over the side and break. No problem, He Who adores peanut butter, will eat the broken ones. I start over to the crock pot to stir while still on the phone and get distracted as he is trying to explain the Obama care to me. I turn back and see that Toni Louise has pulled the chair from under the table and is enjoying the cooling cookies from the first batch and the oven timer is dinging.

Toni Louise just looked at me, totally unperturbed at the scolding she received. The other three dogs are now shunning her .... she shared nary a crumb. I salvaged one cookie she nibbled on. Her daddy will eat it. I did not cool any more cookies on the table. Took them into the store and cooled them on the table in there. It was a lot cooler in there anyway.

But, I totally forgot about the crock pot and the stirring ....... until I smelled it. I picked up the lid and the sugars were beyond liquid and now it was sort of smoking. I dumped them onto the parchment paper as directed. Apparently the stirring every 20 minutes is important, kind of like watching the coconut closely as it is toasting.  He Who tows was here long enough to taste some cookies and grab a sandwich. He said the pecans tasted okay. He also stoked and fed the wood stove to a balmy 80 degrees. Makes me question his judgement.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doxie Sox in Misery

This is my latest creation. I tried to get a close up of the bling on his neck. It is actually a bracelet. I bought a bunch of them ....... at some point in time.

I found them in my massive re-do of my sewing lair and thought they would make a fine little collar. This one is green glitter and is a perfect match to the sock. I suppose a contrast would show up better.

Finally downloaded the pictures off my camera last night. Had to have my son's help. Seems that I am not the only one who HATES Windows 8. Windows 8 is not compatible with Nikon cameras. What used to be an easy task now has several steps. I still have not figured out how to edit the shots. At one point last night I had a slide show going that I could not stop. Filled the entire screen and kept going and going. Had to sign out to make it stop!

This cabinet is full of fabric. This one holds knit fabrics. The bins on top hold batting and small pieces of t-knits. There are two more big cabinets that hold my cotton prints. I have 12 file boxes with scraps for doll clothes and 8 big plastic bins of flannels and fleeces and stuff I don't know that I will ever use, but cannot bear to part with. The tall skinny shelf is turned sideways and has bins with current projects in them ( hey, I get distracted!). I turned it sideways so I could mount the dowel with ribbons on the side. Too bad it won't hold all my spools (they were on sale!).

So, that is what winter hermits do in the middle of no where, in the great state of Missouri (pronounced misery). I actually heard a newscaster pronounce Missouri as misery just the other morning. Probably a student and I have not seen her back on the morning news since. Maybe she decided to go in a different direction ....

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Things To Worry About

I know I have mentioned before that He Who tows watches Highway To Hell routinely. I record it for him, as well as The Young and the Restless. One can always depend on the shenanigans of Victor Neuman to lull one to sleep.

Back to the towing show ........ I am usually reading blogs or trolling Pinterest while this show is on, but I still absorb part of it. This is about big rig towing on a highway in Canada. Ice and snow and giant trucks. It depicts dangerous and scary situations. But, like I said it is about big rig towing, not what He Who tows does. He unlocks cars and changes flats and pulls cars out of ditches and tows abandoned cars.

There is a certain amount of peril involved in what he does, but you will remember that he is attired in safety yellow with stripes on his pants and shirts and jackets that literally glow in the dark. He is very visible. Not only that, with age comes experience and wisdom. 

Yesterday, the snow was falling and the temperature dropping. This creates a nasty layer of ice on the road surface. No matter how careful you drive, there are always those drivers who believe they are invincible and refuse to slow down. It was no surprise when he got a call late in the afternoon. I kissed him goodbye and after telling him I loved him, warned him to be careful. The usual routine, if you will.

I was in my sewing lair, electric heater keeping the temp somewhere around 65, or trying to. With no window, I was totally unaware of the time passing so quickly. Phone rings. He Who Calls says, "Just wanted to let you know my truck got hit, but I am okay. There are 5 cars tangled in the cables in the median and there is a news crew taping. Didn't want you to see my truck on the news and worry."

Since I wasn't actually watching the news and had no idea it was that late ........ I got to stopping point and went back into our living quarters and took the dogs out, turned off the crockpot and finished preparing dinner. Then I started to worry. I washed up all the dirty dishes that had accumulated during the day and swept the store and even put up the Christmas tree. Then I ate my dinner and kept his dinner warm.

When he finally got home, I casually asked how his tow truck was hit and how much damage there was. Seems a driver was going too fast and slid on the ice into the car behind the car that was to be towed, then ultimately hit the passenger side of the cab of the tow truck, ripping a hole in it. "And you were in the drivers seat?" I ask. "Oh, no, I was outside. I can't hook up the car without getting outside." he says, continuing his meal. "But, I had already hooked it up and I was on the other side of the truck winching it."

What if he had been between the vehicles, hooking them up? He was pretty nonchalant about the danger involved with this job. I did not sleep well last night. Maybe I should look into some safety yellow day-glo underwear. Need more sweat shirts, too.   

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cold Feet

The promised snow is finally falling. And, I still can't find the energy to string the lights. Instead I am singing ...... "It's beginning to look a lot like I don't give a hoot ......"

Maybe, if the kids were coming I would go all out with trees and lights and all the gaudiness I could muster. Instead I have become a hermit in the sewing room, hunkered over my machines. I plug in my SAD light (thanks to my sweet son-in-law, Nick) and sew the day away. I moved my cabinets around and actually blocked the lone window, so I have no clue when the sun is out.

When I finally venture out to prepare a meal (you will recall the peach disaster) my muscles are aching and tightly bunched between my shoulders. A hot shower helps that and I notice my feet are still calloused from my season of mowing in flip flops (I know, I know).

Hmmmm, didn't I see something about Listerine and foot soaking? Yes, I did. Testimonials swear that the dead skin will simply "fall off ". But, do I have Listerine? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I am thinking I bought some for another reason (not my mouth, I use Crest for that). I launch a search and find it. Now I remember! Ants. It is supposed to kill ants. Put it in a spray bottle and use for ants.

I prepare my foot soak. One part Listerine, one part vinegar, and two parts water. I used super hot water. It is cold outside. I settle in front of the TV, and grab the laptop. I slip my feet into the soak. Do feet inhale? Do they gasp? Mine do. I toyed with thoughts of re-heating it, but then decide I can tough it out for the 10 minutes suggested. I grab a pumice stone and scrub away after the soak and exfoliate. The dead skin did come off, although it did not simply fall away. I dried my feet and put some cozy socks on.

My feet are freezing after being dunked in this Listerine bath. I throw my thickest, warmest socks in the dryer along with a blanket to tuck into the sheets in my bed. I could not get them warm! I got up and washed them again, but Listerine has incredible penetrating values. I do not recommend this soak in the colder months.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Try, though I might, I still cannot download the pictures from my camera. Windows 8. I found a page to download the user manual, e-mail my questions and all sorts of helpful things ....... but all I get is a pop-up window telling me I am unable to access this information at this time. They suggest I try again at a later date. Really. How much later?

I am not happy. It is cold outside. My toes are cold and I am frustrated. We have had the same stainless ware for years. I tossed a teaspoon after an altercation with the garbage disposal, but for whatever reasoning prevails, there are always twice the number of teaspoons per "set" as there are soup spoons. I still have 7 forks and all 8 of the salad forks, only 6 knives left. Things happen over the years, you know. But, up until just a few months ago, I still had all 8 soup spoons. Only 3 grace the dish drainer as I speak.

Where are the rest? This deserves an investigation. Is there a soup spoon thief among us? I have given this much thought (maybe too much). I have no issues using a teaspoon to eat my soup or my cereal. It is He Who eats a serving bowl of Blue Bunny Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, slathered in chocolate shell routinely that has the issue with soup spoons. He prefers them over teaspoons, like a toddler refusing to eat unless he has his own special utensils. This is what has me thinking that He Who eats with soup spoons may have something to do with the disappearance of said spoons.

When I questioned (interrogated) him about the disappearing spoons, he claimed ignorance of the whereabouts of these spoons. I calmly(?) suggested that he may have accidentally disposed of a spoon or two when eating the last serving of Blue Bunny Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream directly from the carton. He swears (despite the fact that he is not under any oath) that this is simply not the case.

Not so long ago, a few months, I made note of the fact that I am the only one who does dishes in this humble abode. I don't mind, I find the hot water soothing on my arthritic hands. What I do  mind is the gathering of the dishes. There is a very small island near the freezer where the Blue Bunny Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream resides (ever so briefly) and that is as far as he seems to be able to make it with his ice cream bowl and spoon ...... or carton, as the case may be.  After a few gentle suggestions (incessant nagging) that he could take two more steps and put them in the sink, it came to my attention that the cartons were also ending up in the sink. Like he expected me to wash them and refill them, maybe a little confused about where this Blue Bunny Homemade Ice Cream comes from. The trash receptacle is in the cabinet directly under the sink.

The cartons are no longer appearing in the sink ......... and I am down 5 spoons. Are you following my investigative deductions here?

He Who is also a lover of safety day-glo yellow apparel says no. He has the safety stripes on his shirts and pants and all of his outer wear glows in the dark. He favors long sleeved safety yellow t-shirts under his uniform shirt that glows in the dark (have to keep the closet doors shut tight). Last year I found the ugly safety yellow sweat shirts on sale and bought two. Both were in the laundry today. It is 12 degrees and I suggest that he might want to wear a sweat shirt under his uniform shirt. "Can't, they haven't been washed." I know this, having just pulled them out of the washer. I hand him a gray sweatshirt and he looks offended. I ask if it absolutely has to be a day-glo yellow shirt. "I want as much visibility as possible when I am on the interstate!" He says this like I am suggesting I want a car to hit him. I calmly explain to him that it doesn't really matter, the sweatshirt will be UNDER his coat and not visible at all.

See why I think he may have tossed out the spoons with the cartons? And, yes, he has eaten that many cartons (and more) since my gentle suggestion (nagging) about putting them in the trash can.   

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Calamities Prevail

Just call me Calamity Jane. That's what I feel like lately. December has arrived suddenly. What happened to November?

I never Spring clean. When the weather turns warm and things start popping out of the ground, I am ready to totally abandon my house. I want to spend every waking moment in my gardens. As the weather turns cooler and the leaves abandon the trees, that is when I go nuts cleaning. I bought a broom the other day. It has two heads and an extension handle. The shape of the heads will go into corners and crevices. I love this broom! One head is for sweeping the floor and the other is for the ceiling! I swept my ceiling! And my walls.

And then I sort of went a little crazy and took my sewing room apart. I moved every single thing and then put it all back. I found fabric I had totally forgotten about. I am now inspired to either sew or reorganize every room in the house.

I decide that I should finish sewing all the things I have cut out. Spaghetti is sounding good for supper, as the temp is dropping. So I go to the freezer and pull out the ground beef and tomato sauce in the Ziploc freezer bag. Tomato sauce made from my bountiful garden of the summer. After I have my coffee, I head to my sewing room.

I take pictures of all my organization and the doxie socks. All to share here with my bloggy buddies. While the ground beef is browning in the pan I attempt to download the pictures. I have a brand new computer, an early anniversary gift from He Who loves me (or was really tired of me using his computer). I cannot seem to figure this out. Doesn't work like the old computer. I simply give up and decide to wait to ask someone. The ground beef is nicely browned and crumbled into very fine pieces. I add all the appropriate seasonings and onions. I let it sit, since the tomato sauce is still frozen.

I trip on the dog's bed as I am tending the wood stove and bash my hand on a table while blocking an almost fall. My shoulder is better, but still not 100%. My hand hurts, but I am thankful I didn't twist the shoulder again. Off to the sewing machine and a Scott Turow novel on audio. All is right in my world. I finish a vest and skirt and cut out a shirt for my Granddaughter, Zara.

I take a break and realize that the day is getting away from me and I need to get the sauce done. Into the kitchen I go, with all good intentions. I whip up some beer batter bread and have it all ready to pop into the oven. I grab the Ziploc bag and dump the contents into the pot with the crumbled, seasoned, oniony ground beef.

When I put those tomatoes in the freezer, I did not season them, just peeled and cooked them. I stand there stirring and decide that something is not right. The consistency is right, but it smells ..... not right. Not bad, like spoiled, but not like tomatoes. It looks, I don't know how to describe it. Not red, but, not all tomatoes are red. Not really an orange, but sort of.

Nothing to do but taste it, right? I sniff it again and decides it smells sweet. Tomatoes are somewhat sweet, right? I grab a spoon and do the deed. PEACHES! I remember now. I wanted to make jam, but wanted to wait until it was cold out, so I precooked them and froze them. I did not, however, LABEL the bag. I was in a hurry. There were weeds and grass calling out to me.

So, there I stood. How to salvage this? I am not opposed to actually eating this concoction. Peaches taste good grilled with pork chops, right? Individually the components are all good. Maybe if I had not already seasoned the meat I could have pulled it off. If it had been a small amount of peaches I could have made it into a barbecue sauce. But, as it was, it was just gross. I toyed with thoughts of asking He Who will eat anything covered in cheese to taste it.

I confessed my mistake to He Who loves me lots and, bless his heart, offered to go get some take-out. I took out more ground beef and some tomato sauce (clearly labeled) in a jar. I cooked it too fast and burned part of it. I salvaged what I could and added some left over turkey. Not the best meal I ever made, but I covered it with Parmesan cheese and ate it anyway. The bread was good and I couldn't mess up the salad.

Ventured back into the sewing room. Tripped over a cord and hit the cutting table. Broke the needle on the machine. Still can't get the pictures from my camera onto my computer. Perhaps I should just go to bed .......