Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feelin' old

There are just some days I feel really OLD. Today is one of them; my knee is acting up again and nothing is helping-the brace, icing, drugs, staying off it-nothing. I'm being a witch to everyone in the house and that's not me, well, not usually me.....

Before I had to retire to the bed to keep my knee on a pillow, I did get a few packages taped up for mailing. I hate to say I still have holiday presents that haven't been sent. Yesterday I was better, I finished a reversible apron to donate to a fundraiser for one of the local elementary schools. Shocked the hell out of me when the mom who recruited my donation told me that the event has an entrance fee-$75.00. I don't think I'd be going to something like a silent auction if I had to shell out that kind of money just to get in, but things are tight for schools now.

We continue to have bizarre weather. Though the sun shone most of the day, it was chilly and we had really strong winds. But, the hellebores, crocuses and daffodils are all blooming. This is February-daffs shouldn't be open let alone up! However, the other sure sign of spring around here is the return of the grackles to the feeding rail of the deck. They've been around for three days now, so I suppose I should accept that spring has come to Maryland.

Of course, it hasn't come to Cleveland...... we listen online to a '40s station from Cleveland and listening to the weather updates really makes me glad we're not living there now. It's been in the mid-20s, and the station just announced more snow tonight with the lake effect to deal with; meaning they say an inch will fall, but with the lake effect it could be more-a lot more.

So, wherever you are, please know that spring is on the way to your neck of the woods, too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Challenge

So I was wandering through some blogs as I have been out of blogland for a while and wanted to see what folks were up to. Notice the new button on my blog? (It's from Quilt Dad-credit given where due....) It should link you to a great idea: A basics charity challenge. In the words of the hostess, Cara Quilts, please read,

So what is a basic?

In our daily lives we have a lot of things we think of as basics.
This morning you brushed your teeth with a toothbrush and tooth paste.
You used toilet paper.
Had soap to wash your hands.
Put on some deodorant.
Ran a brush through your hair.
Maybe took a shower with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a razor.
Put some make-up on.
You were able to put on clean underwear and socks, that no one else has ever worn.
In the kitchen did you grab some paper towels to clean up a little spill?
At some point during the day you probably grabbed a coffee or tea.
Used some tissue to blow your nose. Maybe sanitized your hands after.
I could go on but you probably have the point by now. We have a LOT of things that we consider basics.
In each of our communities there are places that people don’t have the very basic things we all take for granted. Shelters- for abused women/children, homeless, men’s missions, - exist in virtually every community. They are a necessary safety net for people in our communities who for an array of reasons need help. But these shelters are almost always in need of the basic items. Many of the people have had to leave everything behind, or don’t have anything to begin with.

Please go over to her blog,, and read more information and how to sign up for prizes she will be offering. The idea is to collect a bunch of basics, take a photo to enter for prizes, and then drop off your basics at your local shelter. The biggest prize is the feeling you will have after you have donated. Tell your friends online and off, let's make it a national/international challenge.

It is this feeling that keeps me donating blood on a regular basis. I can't always donate material things people need, and we do our share of cleaning out and donating to organizations, but blood donation is different to me. It is something I can do with little worry or thought. Because my blood has certain antigens and other stuff, I was classed as a "rare and uncommon" blood type at NIH (National Institutes of Health)-like we needed proof I was "uncommon"? I get a phone call every 8 weeks to come donate blood, and I go in. About 45 minutes later I'm sitting in the break room enjoying juice and a snack, I get my little sticker that I gave blood, and I'm on my way. We get cool stuff, too, like t-shirts and reusable bags (our county just instituted a 5 cent charge for every paper or plastic bag you use from a retail store) a pocket calendar, and this time we got lanyards with plastic pockets to keep our donor cards in. I know, it's the kind of stuff my kids usually raise their eyebrows at, but I love it. It's STUFF, and some of us can never have enough stuff. And the best one? Next time I go in I can get my own guest photo ID so I don't have to go through the security check every time I go onto the campus. Now that is some serious STUFF.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why I bake, not cook

There is a reason I do not volunteer to cook anything other than vegetarian chili, spaghetti sauce and burgers. Take yesterday, for example. Sarah prefers meals without red meat and following Simple Filling on the Weight Watchers' plan makes it easy for me to eat other protein sources than red meat. So, I'd spent some time going over recipes on the WW site and found one that looked good: a vegetarian stew. After the huge success of the veggie chili, I was pretty confident it would be a winner.

I gathered all the ingredients and followed the recipe pretty exactly, only making a few spicing changes. When we sat down to dinner, Sarah looked in the pot and asked, "You won't be mad at me if I don't like it, will you?" That should have been my first clue. She sampled it, and though it was very pretty-what with all the different bean and vegetable colors-it was more like cooked veggies thrown together than a stew. She said, "Maybe it needs a little more liquid, it's not really 'stewy"." So, I thought since we generally run pea soup through the blender to make it nice and rich, maybe running the stew through the blender would solve the problem.

First error: One does not have a lot of luck if the glass container is not thoroughly seated on the base. Next thing I knew, the glass container is twisting around, and little pieces of black plastic are flying around the kitchen. Not to be deterred, I made the second error: trying to use the food processor. The processor whipped that stew into a mush, and though similar to peas soup consistency, it definitely was not appetizing. I could get graphic, but suffice it to say use your imagination: green, orange, red and white vegetables mashed with red and white beans....

Thank goodness I do a mean turkey burger!

I have finally made a list of to-do projects that need to go up on the white board I saved from the discard pile at work. I have a few sewing projects and a few crochet projects. With luck, I can clear a decent amount of space from the stash area so I can refill it will new fabric. I'm getting bitten by that sewing bug again, and it feels good.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The bag! The bag!

Okay, so here are two pictures Lill took of the bag when it arrived yesterday in AZ. I realize now that if I'd been more anal (then usual) I could have reversed the flap layout so the plaid matched the front.... isn't the lining the cutest?

It's been a couple of really busy days at work and I've come home too tired to do anything but eat dinner and sit staring off into space. Well, the staring is actually at the mantelpiece which has our anniversary clock sitting in the center, stopped at 11:40 because I haven't changed the battery yet. And Lou didn't bother to tell me until a year or so ago that he doesn't like the clock face on it and we've only had it for about 25 years. So, hopefully this weekend I can find a new clock face at AC Moore or Michael's and then I can change the face of time and put a new battery in.

I'm also happy to comment that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has come to its senses and reversed its decision to withhold funds to Planned Parenthood that are used to fund mammograms for women. If it hadn't been for a mammogram/ultrasound/MRI progression, my tumor wouldn't have been found and who knows where that could have led. March is my month: I'll be Plus 1 for 3 years!