Hint of Autumn Post

There are those here in Southern California, who say they can't see the seasons. This little chickie can't be counted among them, because I see the seasons most distinctly. Like right now, today just screams autumn is well on it's way.

The light is different...less intense and moving south. The temperatures (knock on wood) are gentler. The deciduous trees like the liquid ambers are starting to show a bit of color. This could all change in a blink, but there it is, the season of fall is almost upon us. Of course there's always the possibility of an "Indian Summer" surprising us but that can happen no matter where you live.

When growing up in Wisconsin, it was a very real expectation. How else could the universe further torment a high school full of teenage girls already forced into the ugliest navy blue wool gaberdine uniform ever imagined? Today, I still hate the color blue, yes, hate...that's the evil color emblazoned in my teenage mind...forever.

Envision a classroom full of 30 girls (in various stages of discovering deodorant) after gym class and you have a pretty good picture of torment. Despite the image of young women "properly" attired with peter-pan shirt collars, short little wool bolero vests, and a skirt with a pleat right over one's stomach, which just highlighted one's baby fat (thank you so much uniform selection committee), the stench overwhelmed the image. Add to that the disaster visited upon all those pert and teased little hair-dos held in place with lacquer spray, after an hour of sweat in the sun for gym class, and you have a bunch of sad looking little dishrags.

We won't even go near the subject of the gym romper uniform...just thinking of it makes me close my eyes, and shake my head while cringing.... Yeah, it was that bad. And they were red! What were they thinking...sticking red outfits on Nordic blondes who had ruddy cheeks even before exercise?

But (as usual) I digress...the seasons is the subject I was on. As I said, the seasons are very clear to me and the one I'm seeing today is so far quite pleasant.

On a totally different topic, in my strolls through the blogosphere (is that even a word?) I ran across a contest on babble for the top food blogs. Now I'm not a big fan of "mom" blogs since I really don't relate to all the talk of babies and toddlers. But food is food, so this caught my eye.

Found my way there via Snippets of Thyme which is a food blog (for the most part) with wonderful photography, like this post with the swans...gorgeous! Really, go check out her photos of the swans right now but then come back. Anyhow, I thought I'd share this with you since it lists 100 food blogs and who can't use a new recipe now and then?

Oh, and I found this recipe for Grilled Tuna and Cheese Sandwiches which looks delicious! Planning to make this real soon! Just need some sandwich bread. Yeah, my thoughts of a Paleo or gluten-free diet get side-tracked real easy!

Labels: , , , , ,


A Little of Everything Post

I hesitate to comment on the weather for fear the universe will hear me and pull the nice, cool rug out from underneath me. The last five days have been beautifully overcast in the mornings. A lovely change from summer heat which in all honesty, I really can't or shouldn't complain about this year (knock on wood).
You've heard of Death Valley, well this is "Death Garden".
Above is a pic of my rather sad (dead) looking patio pot garden. As noted in my last post, a cracked rib can be rather inhibiting in more ways than one. This would be perfect weather to pot up some herbs so they can get going before it cools down for the winter. It just still really hurts to bend forward. Oh well there it all sits.
While the name Champion is fine, this tomato should be called "Die Hard with a Vengeance".
So far, using a tongs to avoid bending down, I've picked about 20 little tomatoes from the volunteer. I gave some to the neighbors behind me to thank her husband for dragging the regular and green waste cans out to the curb for me the last three weeks. I tried last week and pulled my healing rib. Monday used to be the day the gardeners would mow and blow plus put the garbage cans out for me. Trash pick up day is on Tuesday. Since the landlord changed the guys to Friday, I'm now stuck dragging them out myself. You never know what you've got till it's gone. Like half a tree:
No, still not over the tree butcher's callous disregard for my tree. Note huge void in upper right quarter of pic. This was not retouched in anyway, except by the tree butcher.
But I digress...I recall last year when the city finally instituted recycling cans (took them long enough), the landlord ordered new cans. Problem is, she chose the largest size. They literally come up to my armpit! Huge.
Blue and blue.
Not having a male in your life is noticable. No, not just from lack of hugs and touching, etc., but from lack of physical help every now and then lifting and moving stuff. I'm starting to think that it may be time to move from a house to an apartment. Not something I relish. Haven't lived in one since college. Don't like the idea of population density in apartments.

Poor Blue hasn't had dinner in a day because the 18 lb. bag of dog food that the grocery clerk put in my trunk, has been impossible to hoist out. On the other hand, he's not starving since I've been feeding him "treats and cookies" much to his delight. Luckily I had a can of chunky chicken dog food from Trader Joe's, so he got a quarter can of that one night. He normally doesn't get canned food which was yet  another treat for him. Going back to dry kibble will be a shock to his little psyche. Lol!

I think that as baby boomers age, there's a real need for a once a week "person" to service the older residents in my neighborhood. This individual could easily pick up an extra $30-50+ per week  depending on the number of people who "subscribed" to his/her business.
David Beckham must have some free time...he could probably haul two garbage cans at once without blinking!
It could be done in an hour or three a week, unless some old coot was on a talking jag about football. Lol! Please note that when I say "service" I mean lifting and hauling heavy things. This is a reasonably "clean" blog with the exception of a swear word or two disguised as "%&(#*". Of course, it's still a view one can appreciate.

Labels: ,


Rogue's Gallery Post

As with all injuries, they seem to get worse before they get better. No idea why this is, but lately have had a number of chances to prove it to myself. As promised, we have the "rogue's gallery" of the shiner's shifting colors.

First up is the shot when it just looked like I had eyeliner and super heavy eye shadow.
Good grief, this is an unattractive pic! Lol!
Note the slow, barely visible color drift to the bag under my eye.

Next is today's shot of what looks like a shadow from the puffy bag under my eye, but is actually not a shadow but more color. Since I have no idea how to "draw" an arrow on a photo, I taped a paper one to my face...I'm just soooo creative. :D Note the array of colors now visible.
I know this is terribly blurry, but taking a photo of a small target and then cropping it, seems to bring out the worst in my photography.

Funny, observing the progress of a black eye is kind of like watching molten lava flow in very slow motion. Lol! Oh, and just so you have something to compare the small disaster to, here's a pic of my normal eye.
No I'm not lash-less or brow-less just blonde.
No photo of it, but I've added an extra large lump highlighted by a nice purple bruise to my chin so it looks like a huge double chin. So attractive...not. Assorted other bruises and kinks have surfaced in various places. Not to be indelicate, but there's even a very painful bruise on my boob! This is what happens when you fall without a double armload of laundry to cushion you like I did the last time. Still, I'm so very thankful for not breaking anything.

Labels: , ,


Change of Plan Post

With today's mail, the grocery store ads for 9/28 through 10/4 arrived. There is nothing (of any value, like meat) on sale. Just a rehash of their regular stock. So, a change of plans was in order. I decided to take advantage of the last day of the previous week's sales. Covering up my shiner with make up was not all that successful. A black eye just seems to remain visible no matter what. Thankfully there are sunglasses.

To my amazement the weekend special of extra meaty baby back ribs was held over so I got a slab at the ridiculous price of $2.79/pound! Also got more boneless chicken breasts, which were a deal at $1.97/pound.

I'm going to put the chicken in two different marinades overnight and then bag and freeze each in bag. I've done this before with very favorable results upon thawing vs. just freezing the chicken "plain" which is often dried out from the freezing process.

The slab of ribs will be hacked in half and also frozen. In the past, I've tried freezing it with my dry rub on, but wasn't happy with the final taste. So these will be "plain". My favorite canned tuna was on sale, two 12 oz. cans for $5.00. These are normally $3.69 a can. Score! I bought four.

So I'm stocked up for a while at least. This whole thing started as noted above. The total lack of specials and sale items in the weekly grocery ads has been developing throughout the summer as prices on everything escalate. Stocking up like this makes me feel like a plague or famine is coming!



The Event Continues Post

The color continues to develop. Yes, overnight, my "black eye" has shifted a bit. It now looks like I have purple eyeliner on my lower lid. Overall, "whoever did" the "makeup" has a very heavy hand when it comes to "the purple eyeshadow" though. Lol! And yes, if we don't laugh, we'll probably cry. Laughing is always the better choice.

My eyebrow however, can't even be touched without eliciting a yelp on my part, despite how I try to control myself. This morning, I read something on msn.com that was sad and I automatically "knit" my brows together as I read, this action resulted in a small unexpected scream. Owwwie!!!

But overall I can't complain too much since it's not nearly as bad as the last shiner (visually) and my eye isn't swollen shut thank goodness. So if I need to drive somewhere, I'll be able to...although I don't plan on going out in public for a while.

Trash has to go out tonight for tomorrow's pick up and after going outside to pick two ripe tomatoes before the green horn worms get them, I found that my balance is really off. So I'll be toddling (literally) over to the neighbors in the back house (or maybe just calling them) once again asking for them to pull the can out for me. I have no desire to crash and burn in my own driveway for all to see just for garbage.

Poor souls, little did they know (or I) that they'd be stuck with a very lame neighbor and hauling her trash can out. I so owe them baked goodies soon. The weather has been cooling down nicely and it shouldn't be too long before I can turn on the big oven.

Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken and Dumplings are first up as far as dinners, accompanied by baking. I really want to make a few fresh peach/nectarine goodies before they all vanish for the winter.

Hmmm, I started writing this in the morning and now, about 7 hours later just looked in the mirror and the "makeup artist" has smeared her work, there's now a bit of "eyeshadow" showing on the bag below my eye. Not ideal.

Later tonight:  after some thought, I decided to skip garbage this week since there really isn't much. This way I don't have to bother the neighbors. :)  I'll post the latest eye "make up" pics tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

Labels: ,


Biannual Event Post

This also continues my thoughts on why one shouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

Woke up early and needed to use the W.C., so I got out of bed, walked about 10 feet (have I mentioned this isn't a big house?) and blam! I swear the guardian angel of falling watches over me, but is a little slow to react and catch me. So amazed I didn't break any bones!

This now appears to have become a biannual event. It's "the fall and get a black eye fest". Yes, once again I have managed to crash and nearly kill myself. I have a nice shiner to show for it as well as a nasty bruise to the eye socket. Throw in a little nausea and you have a party! Well, not really. But I am once again quite "colorful" and becoming more so by the hour.

It starts out looking innocent enough, kind of like purple eye shadow and then begins to cover the lid area during the next 24 - 48 hours. This blurry pic was taken 12 hours after the fall. So far (keeping fingers crossed) it's not as bad as last January's masterpiece.

I added a bruised neck and chin just for the "fun" of it. Plus, to keep my eye and head, etc. company, my knee has joined the fest this time. I can barely put any weight on my left leg.

Life is such a pain as you age, especially if your balance suffers. At least last time, I could blame it on Blue playing with the fringe on the bedroom rug which left a corner of it flipped up. As I carried a double armful of laundry into the bedroom to fold on the bed, I tripped on the rug and slammed into the cabinet and floor.

This time I have no excuse. As I said, I was walking towards the bathroom and just went over, smashing into the door jam and floor. How special. (That was sarcasm.) If you can't tell, I'm completely annoyed with myself. Sigh....

Labels: ,


Chicken and Fish Post

After my Thanksgiving fiasco with the turkey breast and crockpot almost three years ago, I've been reluctant to attempt anything large again...like a whole chicken. But I really want to make my Moroccan chicken recipe. The one with green olives and lemons. The sauce is so amazing. I'm just not ready to turn the big oven on yet.

So I googled "whole chicken in crock pot" and found a link to what seems to be a remarkably simple recipe. Plus, it tells how to go one step further to make chicken stock! Now all I have to do is figure out how to adapt it to the Moroccan version. I should add this all came about because Stater Brothers has whole Foster Farm chickens on sale for $0.69/lb. this week.

One thing I noticed when reading this author's post was her observation "The problem with whole chickens is that no one wants to touch them or mess with them". This isn't the first time I've heard this. Now, I'm not big on eating chicken skin unless it's cooked to a total crisp but I don't understand this aversion to handling chicken. Maybe it's how you're brought up.
Photo courtesy of "gourmetsleuth.com"
The only way I can relate to it is that I'm not nuts about buying a whole fish and preparing it. I love fish but the thought of working with it (like a whole trout) is off-putting. No idea why since I like fishing and I've actually scaled a fish I caught (what a mess), maybe it's the eyes or whole head.

Please note here, when I say I like to fish, I need to be clear. I hate worms and will not thread one on a hook to save my life, rather I use bacon which always provides a good laugh for guys.

On a side note:  when I was at Von's today to pickup a rotisserie chicken on sale this weekend for $5.99, still a deal, I checked on bacon since I had a taste for eggs, sunny side up (yolks are runny...mmm) with bacon. I grew up with Oscar Meyer brand and it remains my taste-favorite. Last time I looked, about a month ago it cost $6.99, today it was $8.99! Holy smokes! Anyhow, back to fishing.

There's something so relaxing about spending a few hours in a row boat (with a motor of course, I only row so far) out on a lake. It's incredibly peaceful, floating there with your fishing pole, listening to the water gently lap at the sides of the boat. Clouds drift by and you can see the summer breeze in the trees on shore.

Ages ago when on vacation with my then husband's family in Door County, Wisconsin, I went out fishing with my husband and brother-in-law. Yes, I was the butt of that day's jokes in the boat, all because of my bacon bait, but guess who was the only one who caught any fish? Ha!

I should also be clear that I will not un-hitch my fish from the hook anymore than I will thread worms, so it's a good thing I fish better than most companions. Kind of obligates them to shut up and gallantly remove my fish for me. Double ha!

Labels: , , , ,


Corn Post

Was just checking in on the blog Orangette this morning and she mentioned how the Pacific Northwest's corn pales to that of Ohio (she was just there). It suddenly dawned on me that in my non-cooking state, I have not had one ear of corn this summer! This is something, heretofore, unheard of.

I love corn, especially the white kind which you can actually eat raw. This is a serious breach of summer etiquette! Lol! But seriously, I'm going to have to buy an ear or two before I've missed the season all together.

Googling "fresh corn recipes" or "corn on the cob" will give you lots of links. These are just a few of them, they all received good reviews:
Crock pot Corn Risotto
Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish (third recipe down)
P.J.'s Fresh Corn Salad
Summer Corn Salad
Corn Off the Cob Salad
Summer Corn Salad with Asparagus
Grilled Corn on the Cob in Its Husk
Photo courtesy of U of W-Madison Archives-1960 (note use of corn husks,with lots of napkins, in right hand as "handle")
After more searching, my mind went numb and drifted back to my childhood in Wisconsin and the yearly State Fair. I loved the State Fairs in the Midwest back then. Fresh brats on an open grill pit and  corn on the cob in its full glory. The ears were soaked in pails of water for at least half an hour if they were lucky, depending on the crowd's demands, then the husks were skillfully pulled back and silks removed. They replaced the husks around the corn. After that they were thrown on the fire pit. The grill master always knew when they were just perfectly done. Once you ordered, your ear was removed from the grill, the husks pulled all the way back and bundled like a handle. It was then plunged into another pail, this one was piping hot farm* butter.
Photo courtesy of U of W-Madison Archives-1960 (note the enthusiasm...mmm...I'm right there chomping in)
Salt shakers and napkins were on a bench nearby. It was just this side of heaven and to this day, I don't think there's a better way to eat fresh corn. So if I can still find some ears with bright green husks (this is important, as dried up husks are useless no matter how much water they soak in), I'll be firing up the grill, filling the kitchen sink with water. Grilling will only take 10 to 15 minutes at the most, maybe less,  on a preheated grill. Since today's corn is so sweet, I'll omit the butter (or maybe not), then I'll be rippin' back the husks and revisiting that little slice of nirvana. Glorious!

* I don't care how many commercial/grocery store versions of butter you try...nothing beats that straight off the farm.

Labels: , , , , ,

Up Too Late Post

Once again I'm up very, very late (way too late) for a number of very irritating reasons. Aaauuggh! It's so annoying.

Just wanted to share this photo since it literally makes my mouth water drool, to look at it and the memories it instantly brings back, just love it! The whole story is in the next post.

They say the sense of smell is the most common connecter to memories and so forth. I agree, but would add that the sense of taste or memory of it it is next. I could be wrong of course, I'm no expert :)
Let me just drool all over right now...
Photo courtesy of U of Wis-Madison Archive

Labels: ,


I'm Baa...aaack Post

Well, I'm finally feeling a bit better. I know it's been more than a few days like I said, but some things take time. The severe pain has lessened and the odd nauseousness that I was experiencing seems to have finally subsided, thank goodness. Not quite sure where to start although it shouldn't be hard, not much has happened since the fall. I've only gone out two or three times a week at the most, for groceries. That's it.

Yes, life is exciting here at Grey House...zzzzzzz. :-)

Rotisserie chicken (which is often only $5.00 on some Fridays) has been a life-saver, as have the Trader Joe salads. Blue is quite beside himself since playtime has been almost non-existent. Bending over to pick up his toys is painful. He's even "learned" to fling his raccoon toy up in the air. I think he may be hoping it'll run and he can chase it.

Wish I had something new and pithy to share but I'm pretty much a blank slate at the moment. I've been in touch with another blogger,  Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek. She too, was on a ladder (only wallpapering), just a few days or so before me, and fell breaking her wrist in multiple places. Unlike me, she required surgery, hospitalization and an assortment of pins and plates, poor dear. I was very lucky.

She also, had noticed a rash of bloggers who'd fallen somehow during the same period of time. Odd isn't it? Times when I wish I had an astrologer...lol!

Anyhow, that's pretty much it for today. Thanks for being so patient with my absence, I appreciate it! Wishing all of you strong bones!

Labels: ,


Some days...Post

Some days you just shouldn't get out of bed in the morning. Last Saturday was such a case. I wasn't going to write about this, but in the little time I've spent on the computer recently, it seems there's a rash of injuries involving bloggers and breaking bones.

In my case, I was up on a ladder in the garage, putting a box up in the rafters. A wasp suddenly was in my face. Seriously, fascinated with my face! So I hastened down the ladder while swatting at it with my left hand. Unfortunately, I missed the second to last rung and fell onto the concrete. Since my arm was up in the air (darn wasp), the left ribs hit the concrete with gusto. To add insult to injury, I grazed the sharp edge of a metal box on the way down. Ow!

It wasn't till today when I went to wash the shirt I was wearing, that I discovered a nasty tear in the side of it. Of course, that's nothing because I broke at least one rib!

The pain of a broken rib is something you never forget. Oh sure, after it's mended, you forget. But should it happen again, you know it immediately...the pain is truly unique. I can't describe it. I fractured my ankle in four places ages ago and it's nothing like that. I've had surgeries and the pain just isn't the same.

Fifteen years ago I broke a rib from violent coughing when I had double pneumonia. As I said, you can tell instantly. You "know" the pain. The problem with a broken rib is that it can't be put in a cast or treated somehow. Time is the only cure, which is utterly annoying to me.

So I've been taking it extremely easy, icing it off and on. Yesterday I even hobbled out to get a second ice pack.

This is not making Mr. Blue happy at all. No playing since I can't bend down to pick up a toy without a squeal of pain (from me). So the poor little fellow is sulking in a far corner of the living room at the moment.

I'm glad I had the two previous posts partially written because I'll be taking a break for a few days. I can only sit up to type for so long and then it's back to bed and ice packs.

It's always something...



Paleo/Gluten Post

Lettuce Wraps
In my baby-step attempt to be less of a hermit, I called a friend the other day whom I hadn't seen or spoken to in months. Her husband had some health issues this summer and I hoped he was better. Turns out they've changed their eating habits. Back in November, she'd joined Weight Watchers and lost 15 pounds but it took a long time. When her husband landed in the hospital, she researched all kinds of diets  to improve one's health and stumbled on the Paleo diet. As a result, she's 35 pounds lighter, two sizes smaller and he's much improved.

The Paleo diet is one that excludes wheat products and is based on the hunter/gatherer type of eating. This quote is from Time: "Believers say that only by returning to a diet of wild game and fresh produce, eliminating grains and dairy, and exercising in short, intense bursts, can we thrive in a world of escalators and cheese fries."

When I googled Paleo diet, there were plenty of sites to check out. My friend also emailed the following links to me:
Mark's Daily Apple
The Food Lovers Primal Palate
Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Robb Wolf Blog
Primal Kitchen Blog
Everyday Paleo
Fat Head

The fact that about five weeks ago my arms broke out in some crazy rash and hives that itch like mad has me wondering. It's very similar to the psoriasis that broke out on my legs at the beginning of the divorce which I attributed to stress as it started covering my body. Currently, it's only noticeable on my lower calves thank goodness.

I'd begun to wonder if it was something in the prepared salads that was affecting me. It flared up after a few weeks of eating the salads. Now I'm curious if it could be a wheat allergy. Last night I bought a rotisserie chicken and that was my dinner with plenty left for this evening. I had little to no itching last night.

This morning I made a small sandwich and within three hours the rash went wild. I applied an ice pack to the areas affected which helped a little. As I write this, I alternate between typing and scratching. Yes, I know, I shouldn't give in, but the itching is rabid. I've tried the topical medicine that helps my legs but it does nothing for my arms. Even the new cream prescribed last week has little effect. So I'm inclined to re-think what I consume.

This will be more of an elimination method than an actual diet. I'll be starting with the prepackaged salads. The rash started shortly after I started eating them exclusively for dinner. Instead, I'll have chicken or wild-caught fish with a cooked (ideally organic) vegetable for dinner. This means I'll have to cook which is a pain, but if it stops the itching, I'll do it. Amazing what can motivate us.

Rather than eat sandwiches made with bread, I'll make lettuce wraps. Just Google lettuce wraps or paleo lettuce wraps and you find a plethora of ideas. I will wash the lettuce in a 10 to 1 solution of water to vinegar to get rid of any bacteria. (That's another whole topic in itself, but I'll save that for another day.)

Another wrap I'm going to look into is a copycat recipe for P.F.Chang's. If you haven't tried their wraps you're really missing a treat! I even found a video for them.

Anyways, I'll be posting the results. Who knows? I do know the property manager for this rental cut out all glutens over a year ago and says she feels great. Her psoriasis, arthritis and cholesterol levels have greatly improved. And she even lost some weight. Can't complain about that.

P.S. This may be easier said/written, than done....

Labels: , ,


Reading List Post

As promised, today's post is a reading list. It's not a long list. I don't read tons of books so when I do, I want something that grabs hold of me, wrapping me in it's story so that I never want it to end. The books listed all go beyond that to the rarified realm of "I'm going to read that again". Something that not many books accomplish.

One of my favorite authors is Isabel Allende. Her biography is impressive. She was born in Peru, grew up in Chile and now lives in the U.S. The timeline of her life is remarkable, she's done so much in her 69 years. I've read most of her books but my two favorites are "Daughter of Fortune" (click on the link for a summary) and "Portrait in Sepia"(click on the link for a summary).

Next is "The Eight" by Katherine Neville. It "features two intertwined storylines set centuries apart. The first takes place in 1972 and follows American computer expert Catherine “Cat” Velis as she is sent to Algeria for a special assignment. The second is set in 1790 and revolves around Mireille, a novice nun at Montglane Abbey. The fates of both characters are intertwined as they try to unravel the mystery behind the Montglane Service, a chess set that holds the key to a game of unlimited power".

Lastly we have "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A refreshing version of Arthur's court. It's novel since it's "the Arthurian legends written from a woman's point of view".

All are stories based on history and involve strong women, I think that's why I liked them. Enjoy!

Labels: , ,


Trollup, Bee, Men and Personal Happiness Post

Just talked to a friend in the Midwest who I've known since I was ten years old. We've stayed in contact off and on over the years. She's been struggling with a cheating husband over the last year. She really loves him and doesn't want to get divorced.

He says he still really loves her but doesn't understand why they "can't all just get along". Funny (not really) but that's exactly what doltoid said to me about the trollop he was "seeing" while still married to me. What is it with men? How dense can they get? Apparently, pretty darn dense.

She said the worst part is at night when her mind is filled with all the bad things that could happen. I told her I'd email a poem I had since grade school that got me through a lot of difficult times in my life. I've come to view it as sort of a code for living, surviving and happiness. It's called Desiderata by Max Ehrman. It was written in 1927. I told her my favorite line was "But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness." This is so, so true.

After reading through it a few times, I decided to share the poem with you. Hope it gives you some comfort when and if needed. It has me.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Isn't that a remarkable piece of writing? She also told me she'd recently read two books that she felt were good but depressing. One was Little Bee:  A Novel, written by Chris Cleave. After listening to her and reading a few reviews of the book, I decided she needed a "better reading list" at this point in time. I'll share that list with you tomorrow. Hope this post finds all of you in a place of peace and happiness. Thank you for reading.

Labels: , , , ,


Summer, Computer and TV Post

Can you believe it's September 2 already? I'd ask "where did the summer go" but I'm secretly happy that it's nearing an end. If you've read any of this summer's posts, you know that I haven't liked being hot. In fact, I was a bit obsessive about it to say the least.

There's still at least a month or more to go and September is usually when temperatures from Hades enter the picture. In Southern California, this month usually brings daytime temps in the 100+ F range (37.7+ C)  and night-time temperatures that don't fall below 72F (22.2 C) which means nothing cools off and the heat builds up day by day. Walls of houses actually are very warm to the touch. Don't get me wrong, it's still way better than high heat and humidity one experiences in the Midwest, East Coast and Southeast!

So, I just continue to hide out in my little rental. Today's not too bad so far, haven't had to turn on the air conditioning yet, just the fan. I really don't know why I abhor the heat so much this summer. Kind of reminds me of a joke-type birthday card I saw a few years ago. The punchline was "a little bit older...a little bit odder". Or it could be related to "the tree butcher".

On the computer front, after talking to my friend, I decided to keep the iMac I purchased two weeks ago. Since I refuse to spend $90.00/month on cable or satellite, there's really no reason to purchase a new TV to replace the one that died. (I count myself quite lucky to have had it survive for 15+ years!) Instead, I'll probably purchase a subscription to Hulu Plus for $7.99/month. It has all the popular TV shows that I used to watch on TV plus content exclusive to Hulu and much more.

As far as the advertising, there's not a lot of difference from traditional TV and I can comment if the ads mean anything to me or not. Somehow getting to express an opinion about what ads I have to look at makes them more endurable. And then there's always Netflix if I run out of things on Hulu. But in the end, I really don't watch that much TV. Usually one or two shows a night to relax before sleep.

Labels: ,


Gardenia Bushes as Horizontal Tomato Trellis

2011 Tomato Plants
Okay, finally "the tomato post". I know you've been waiting with baited (bated?) breath for this. Lol! Four years ago I planted a couple different tomato plants in my tiny little plot of dirt in the back yard. I picked up the plants at Home Depot. One was named Champion and did the best. Problem was it had tough skin and really not a lot of flavor or juiciness. The following years, "volunteers" of the tomatoes popped through the ground before I could even contemplate buying any plants.

I was delighted, so I promptly put cages on them and watered them. In August I started harvesting the fruits. That's when I realized that the volunteer was Champion. Still, they were garden tomatoes, which means "free" both money and pesticide-wise, even if not the tastiest.

Apparently Champion is a determined little thing so this pattern continued for two more years. Last year I grudgingly let them grow again, putting them in cages and had tomatoes through February. This spring, I decided not to bother. I mean, all my potted plants had died of neglect and I just had no desire to garden, so I pulled up the three little plants.

To my surprise, a month later I noticed two more had popped up, so I just ignored them. They've grown horizontally over the two gardenia bushes since then. Interestingly, the gardenias seem to like the shelter that's provided by the tomato vines and leaves from the all day sun.

Last Tuesday I spied two upper fruits beginning to turn orange. Yesterday I went out to examine them and was shocked to find two branches hiding under in the foliage holding about 10 ripening orbs. I also found a green tomato horn worm which I removed with surgical precision involving tongs to grasp the branch it was eating and scissors to cut the branch with the worm from the plant. Into a bag and out to the garbage it went.

Since it's been in the 100's for about a week now I knew I had to pick the ripe ones or they'd get soft and mushy. So here are a few pictures (my camera decided to start working again for some reason) of the sad-looking but apparently happy and content horizontal plant with it's shiny red ornaments.
I'm amazed at the determination of "life". Against all odds and in spite of me (pulling up volunteers and not watering the ones that came after) these two little pieces of life persisted and produced food. It makes me feel sort of embarrassed to have let the five year divorce and Frost's death drop me so low that I'd given up on my little patio garden of potted plants. I may have to give in, prepare a couple of pots, then go buy some basil, thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary plants tomorrow. Then again, maybe later in the week when it cools down.

Oh, I forgot to mention it but I picked 9 tomatoes! Average size was 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 centimeters) in diameter.


Thank You

Hello...I don't know what to say but some dear person has linked me to a Typepad source. I have utterly NO clue how this works, but if anyone could enlighten me, it'd be great! And so here we are.

I have a lot of people visiting my blog from Latvia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Germany and Russia, as well as the U.S., each day. I want to thank each person who's viewed my blog!! Truly, thank you!! Really...because I write it for myself only. If it gives anyone out there joy, happiness, understanding, peace and so on, then I'm really happy.

So this is just a short little post of thank you to all of you!

With love,


Labels: , ,