Monday, November 30, 2009

A sure sign

Saturday morning after the rain - Wind gusts 43 mph

Whitecaps on the Lake

Spray from the choppy waters


Rain and strong winds whipped at us by the Lake, but the mountains had a generous dusting of snow. No matter how many years you've seen that beautiful sight, when you drive around the bend and THIS greets you, it takes your breath away and fills your heart.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Family Time


I will be spending time with the northern chapter of my family this weekend, leaving early Friday morning after waking from the stupor that envelops one after gorging themselves on Thanksgiving. So while throngs of people are storming the front doors at malls and big box stores, grabbing whatever "gifts" they can reach in the crowds, I'll grab a hot cuppa joe, and then be on my way to talk, play, and laugh with my little dears. We'll stay warm with the woodstove, we'll cook together, eat, and make some memories.

I'm hoping for at least one day of sunshine, which may not happen according to the weather reports. Either way, I'll take a few snapshots of where my heart lies.

Wishing you well, whether you are at work or play these next few days. Peace.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Untitled (because I couldn't describe it in just a few words...)

Welcome to my morning commute.



Five weeks ago the city road crews trimmed the overgrowth on the sides of this highway and cleaned the litter. In 5 weeks, this is what has accumulated.







Since the grass will go dormant for the winter, this will be the last trim/cleaning for the year. Unfortunately, this will not stop the manmade growth of litter.


To add insult to injury, or rather – to add injury to Nature, the trimming process consisted of this:
















It is, perhaps, the most offensive sight; a careless chopping of anything in the way. It must have been deemed more economical to slice through here rather than selectively cut back trees that crowded into the road. Which is also strange, because nothing here was even near the road.
Is this what we do for *convenience*, or was this a way to use funding from the stimulus package meant for road improvement? (Improvement?)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Past Due Tuesday #5 - vintage greeting cards

A few weeks ago I came across approximately 100 unused vintage greeting cards with envelopes.(Score!)







This one is for you!










From my home to yours, all the best wishes for a wonderful holiday!


Be sure to check out more Past Due Tuesday posts over at Roomies. Join in and spotlight one of your treasures, then link to Roomies to share the fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving dilemmas

Such as whether the leftovers are better than the actual turkey dinner. Is the versatility of the cooked, cubed or shredded bird preferable to the unadulterated fowl on the Thanksgiving table? I gladly struggle with this question every year. This evening I brought some turkey home with me, passing on the remaining side dishes. I have enough in the freezer for a delicious pot pie sometime in December, and a few servings of curried turkey, which I will be making for lunch tomorrow.

And yes, I decided to take it easy, no seconds. After all, I will enjoy it all again later this week!

Now here’s one for the books: Driving home tonight I found a station playing nonstop Christmas music. They even have jingling bells in between the songs. Um, hello? It’s November 21st.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkey Day #1

I expect that I'll be nodding off on the couch by this time tomorrow, after having the first of three Thanksgiving dinners this year. This is a small one, with just the basics. But I am sure to be curled up with an afghan for the afternoon.

Happy Friday evening!

Patches


I don't think I've ever worked with so many pieces this small before..... On the bright side, this winter should pass very quickly for me!



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here's to your health

Young or old, wealthy or not, one thing we have in common is the need to tend to our health. With the ongoing concern of the seasonal and H1N1 flu strains, it seems that I see more articles regarding well being than before.

This report is now examining the effects of low levels of Vitamin D on the heart. The vitamin is easily absorbed through exposure to sunlight (being outdoors), but is now prevalent in northern exposures. Could our late 20th century lifestyle change have something to do with this? After all, we now get our exercise inside a club instead of going for a walk through the neighborhood.

A friend was concerned and afraid due to the new recommendations for frequency of mammograms. It seems that the report she heard did not stess that the increased time span between exams was recommended for women with little to no risk ractors. Her family history deems her a candidate for more frequent exams. I wonder how many women did not understand this, expecially those without a "regular" doctor, or health insurance.

Health insurance, itself, is a dividing factor now. I avoid the subject in discussions, as people are either strongly for or equally opposed to the current bill before the Senate. I can see the benefits and downfalls of either scenario. Many companies are looking at significant increases in premiums for the next year, which may be partially passed on to the employee. Would universal coverage be better?

We have made significant advances in medicine and smoking has been reduced however now we face the impact of obesity, which may become the prevalent "disease" of the early 21st century. As an unintended effect of the post-WWII economy whereas we have an easier life than our parents and grandparents, and women now work outside the home (usually sitting as a desk), the increase in weight goes with that "plush" lifestyle. And in many places it is unsafe for our children to play outside, which is leading to epidemic numbers of overweight and unhealthy young folks.

Since we have not been able to fix this on our own, perhaps it is time for the government to step in. But where to start? With healthcare coverage, taxing vices such as soft drinks and junk food, increasing premiums for the overweight? It doesn't seem possible that our society has come to this. Having lived through the journey that brought us to this point, I shake my head. Who was it that said "hindsight is 20-20"....

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Past Due Tuesday #4



Wearing Nature on your sleeve – no, on your ears

If I could have three wishes, one of them would be for more vintage jewelry, of the inexpensive but unique variety. I have several nice pieces, having whittled my collection down to a manageable clump of inexpensive bracelets, screw-back and clip earrings, and gaudy 50’s and 60’s necklaces. Over the years I went to countless yard sales, secondhand shops, and church rummage sales looking for that unique piece to brighten an outfit. Most times I would walk away without a purchase, and sometimes I would buy an awful necklace to put on and wear for the rest of the morning (with my "Saturday" clothes and dirty sneakers!)









One of my favorites is this set. It is unmarked. The silver/pewter colored metal is questionable, maybe an alloy. The clip-on earrings each have three leaves with little glass chips. Each segment of the necklace is a sawn branch with a leaf and a chip – the end of the branch even shows the growth rings of the tree. My favorite part is the dangling ball at the end of the chain, which is a precious little acorn. I have no idea exactly how old it is, but I don't believe it was made within the last 40 years. The weight of the piece, the sturdiness, the clip style earring backs, and the details on the links have me thinking that it dates earlier than the mid-60's. I would appreciate any information on the set, if anyone has (or has seen) something similar. (My apologies for the fuzzy photos. I tried different light setings, inside, outside on the deck, without luck.)



Be sure to check out more Past Due Tuesday posts over at Roomies. Join in and spotlight one of your treasures, then link to Roomies to share!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

This past weekend was not a quiet as I would have preferred. My plan was to adopt a slow pace for two whole days and enjoy a good book on the couch but that was not to be. It seems that when all the loose ends are tied, more pop up. This is probably an addendum to Murphy's Law. Saturday and Sunday were a mixture of errands and housework, partly in a drenching rain.

On more than one occasion I was tempted to compose a rant, especially after seeing how one actor in Hollywood owes several million dollars in mortgage payments and real estate taxes. It seems that he was duped by his financial manager, the mishandling occurring over several years. Ignorance is not an excuse. It is, after all, your money.

On the home front, the thorn in my foot is the company who supplies my internet…. or the company who sometimes supplies it…..usually erratically. I have had a modem from @!&! for almost two years. For the first year I also had a land line through them, however the phone number they assigned me had not been “retired” long enough so I received phone calls for the previous owner several times each day. Some of those calls were from an authoritative agency, which gave me concern. Then one day the line actually quit. I’ll skip the long story and end with how I told them to cancel my phone service immediately. The internet connection has not been much better. There are times when I have to keep logging off and on. I may be ending my association with them soon.

Enough about that. This weekend I accomplished some cleaning and sewing, and made the decision to start painting (rooms, not canvas). My walls are a beige-y color. (Is beige a color?) I'll be transforming the dull-ness by what I have always called "builder's white". I believe that condos, unless they are situated to face directly into the sun (SSW), tend to be dark.

------

Today we enjoyed a gloriously sunny day, which found me lunching at the park. I love how the geese stand in the middle of the road, ignoring the problem they are causing. I believe they must get distracted easily and forget how they ended up in the road, or where they were going, much to the dismay of the drivers.

Maybe we all need to stop hurrying and look around, even if it causes a delay sometimes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rest

It’s possible that I’m either catching up on much needed rest after the fast-paced summer and fall, or I’m part bear and am preparing for hibernation. I have not only fallen asleep early this week, I have welcomed sleep, retiring at an hour which would have seen me still outside just a few months ago.

My decision to tune out for November is turning out to be a wise choice. I believe that once in a while the body needs to slow to a snails pace or risk crumpling. We are too often bombarded with stimulation at every turn. We process information for eight hours daily at work and then submit ourselves to even more each evening if we choose to sit in front of the television. Programs designed to catch and hold attention are interrupted by commercials with the same goal. If it’s not good for children, why would it be acceptable for adults? Are we now raising future generations of senior citizens with attention problems? I question whether the Nintendo Wii is simply a glossed-over gimmick to keep us dependent on that screen.

During the past two weeks, in place of keeping my ear on the tube while cooking, cleaning, or sewing; I have cooked, cleaned, and sewn. I try to read a little each day, and have found some good radio stations for times when I choose to have music. Our roads are designed for cars, not walkers, so I mall-walk with a friend after work. I keep up with important news via radio simply because television doesn’t hold the rights to the news, it is available elsewhere.

The most important change is that I’ve allowed myself time to rest. Perhaps I’m getting ready for a big spring….(insert growl and a big yawn here)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paint


There are a few secrets that this city is keeping from me. It whispers as I drive by, but not loud enough for me to hear what it says. I stopped on Sunday morning and asked it directly, what is this? Silence. No answer. This building stands before me on a bright, sunny Sunday morning, flaunting the fact that I know precious little about it.












Davidson’s was quite the store, back in the day. A local resident told me that they handled just about everything to furnish your home, paint, draperies, foam rubber, fabrics, even Viking sewing machines according to the painted advertisement. She remembered going there with her mother. It was THE place to go. But it closed over 30 years ago, along with many other stores in this downtown area.

I’ve always loved seeing the fading painted signs on old brick stores. So keep your secret, you will live on for me in my photos.

How little we knew, even know, now....

After hearing a clip on the radio this morning about the Veterans' Day Parade in NYC, I did a quick search about these Marines. I hope you will enjoy this article, and be thankful.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gY3Mc-UkDg8T_N4-grLkpDtjvHJQD9BSTC0O0

Monday, November 9, 2009

Past Due Tuesday #3


One of my uncles was in Europe during World War II. He didn’t talk about it very much, but we have a few clues about his time in the service. Along with two letters from a friend, there is a U.S. government issued booklet on Great Britain, which explains to servicemen how to understand British currency and customs at that time, and a few other items. There is also an ashtray made from the base of an artillery shell.






From my internet searches I have learned that this is called Trench Art”, as described on this website. During calm periods or when convalescing at hospitals, soldiers would create objects from spent shells or other metal. These could be quite simple or very decorative depending on skill, available time, and tools on hand. Ours is simple, but has a secret. The importance of the inscription is a mystery. It is simply marked with a year and a place. It's something that we'll just never know...


Thank you to every Veteran and all those currently in the military, for your service to our country.

Be sure to check out more Past Due Tuesday posts over at Roomies. Join in and spotlight one of your treasures, then link to Roomies to share!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

White Rabbit

It's a beautiful fall day, bright, sunny, and warm. And, with so many things to do - I overslept. I felt like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, clutching a pocketwatch and rushing through the morning routine.

After my first cuppa coffee I started on this recipe from the Daily Green newsletter of curried and sweet potato soup. (I used red lentils because I had them on hand.)

I read somewhere that it's the root end of an onion that will make your eyes water. I have very sensitive eyes so I used only the top half of a very large onion for this recipe, and no tears. I'll be saving the bottom half for another day, and I'll note my reactions to cutting into it. My cherished garlic from the Farmers' Market is in this recipe. I should have bought more.....







The final result. Super easy and tasty, with just enough spice to warm your insides. (I've noted on my printed copy of the recipe to double the sweet potato next time.) Most of this will be going into the freezer for a hot meal on a cold day, but I'm going to enjoy a bowl for lunch today.







Next up, dealing with this little gem. He's boiling away now, and he's also headed to the freezer.






I've got an afghan drying out on the deck, and I'll be planting some daffodils and grape hyacinths by my front steps. (I'm looking forward to a cheery spring.) And I hope to get in some good photos today of places I've been passing during the week.


I'm late, but I'm catching up!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Just a few weeks ago I would spend my lunch break walking in the warm sun and enjoying the pretty colors. Today the sky was overcast, the colors were almost gone, and by the time I finished my walk my fingers were cold. But the scenery was wonderful.








When you walk you see things that would be missed when driving by, like a bird nest in a small tree or leaves lying at the bottom of the pond.









Take a walk. Take a look around.

T3

Running through my mind this week was a poem I read so many years ago. It’s helping as I cut fabric for this next quilt, which always takes longer than expected.



Put up in a place
Where it’s easy to see
The cryptic admonishment
T.T.T.
When you feel how depressing
slowly you climb
It’s well to remember that
Things Take Time








Poem by Piet Hein (1905 – 1996), Danish scientist, mathematician, inventor, designer, author, and poet, he created the superellipse, which is used as the basis for modern Scandinavian architecture. He joined the resistance movement during WWII.




A little too close for comfort…..
The gal I sit next to at work is out this week with the flu. I waited too long to get my yearly flu shot, now there’s none to be had. So I’m hand-washing, echinacea taking, and fluid drinking. I’ll also be stopping for some Vitamin C on my way to work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Past Due Tuesday #2

It isn’t a family treasure. Four years ago it came out of the back room of a second hand store for ten dollars. I bought this shadow-box style mirror because it’s just so “kitschy”.



There isn’t a story behind it, at least not one that I know….. It’s just a gaudy 1950’s – 60’s mirror. It’s SO me! I couldn't imagine not owning it!



See more great vintage things on this link to Past Due Tuesday. Perhaps share a vintage memory of your own!

Try something new

This time of year brings out the hearty stews and thicker homemade soups, but I wanted to try something different. In particular, I had perused a old copy of Bon Appetit and found a recipe for "Chicken, Ham and Fennel Pot Pies" which sounded interesting. So after work I stopped at the grocery to pick up the fennel and some whole milk (no 2% allowed in this dish!) I already had the chicken thawed but needed some ham.

The recipe is simple. It's made in the New England chicken and dumpling fashion, but with the fennel and fennel seed twist. After being afraid it would be overpowering, I was pleasantly surprised! It has just enough flavor to make it stand out without being annoying.

The instructions are for eight individual pot pies, but I skipped the crust so that I could freeze some for future use. The portions that I've kept out will get a fresh individual dumpling when I reheat them for suppers this week. The other neat thing is that a by-product was this bowl of chicken stock which I will freeze for an emergency - like getting sick anytime in the near future.




I apologize for not posting more photos, but I had to put it in the fridge. I kept wanting to sneak back for another bowl.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hanneke Ippisch

I picked up a small book at Goodwill the other day, caught by the title since I always look for the opportunity to learn more about World War II. Little did I expect the story it held inside.

The author of “Sky, A True Story of Courage During World War II” was growing up in the orderly life of a Dutch minister’s family when the Germans occupied Holland. After three years of hearing about concentration camps, seeing the soldiers with guns, and having Jewish friends taken away, she volunteered to be part of the Resistance movement. At the tender age of eighteen she became an escort, helping the Jewish people who were in hiding get to safer areas. Wanting to do even more to help, she became a courier to one of the top Resistance leaders.

Through old photographs and photocopies of “false” IDs provided to her by the underground movement and her excellent telling of her story, she details life in Holland during the occupation. Thousands died from lack of food, coal, and electricity. People were killed for trying to bring in news from the outside world. But the real story is one of a young woman who heard a call to do for others – at no matter what odds.

We have learned about those in the armed forces who fought in this War, but we should also know that there were those who did not wear uniforms who also served.
Including this one very gutsy young woman.




Sky, A True Story of Courage During World War II” was written for young adults, and is a quick read, but the subject is equally appropriate for anyone looking for more knowledge about WWII. Excellent description of events, interesting background stories, very good photos and back-up. The author was encouraged by her children to put her story into print for the benefit of future generations. Local libraries can usually obtain a copy on inter-library loan if it is not on their shelves.