Friday, May 24, 2013

Looking Back on a Good Week

It's been another good week. I'm starting to feel like I can accomplish things in the house!

I did the grocery shopping and took the books and cds to the used bookstore.  Remember how I speculated that I'd come home with as many as I took to sell?  Well. . . . I didn't bring back quite that many.

I'm really excited with my finds.  I've been on a cozy mystery kick, and some of them are hard to find at the library.  Most of these authors are new to me, but if I don't like them I can always trade them in for more.  Golly, I love books!

I also started pulling our books out of the various bookshelves and sorting them in the living room floor.  I'm sorting by alphabetical, nonfiction and devotional/Bible study.  My husband is going to build us some sturdier, taller shelves (maybe this weekend) and I plan to put the fiction in alphabetical order (like mine always were until I married and didn't take the time to merge our two groups) and the nonfiction in Dewey decimal order.  I get tired of not being able to find the book I'm looking for amongst all the other books.  I'm super excited to do this, being a book nerd and all.  I'm also sorting out the short stories to put in a separate section if they are by multiple authors.  I'm going to break with the Dewey and put plays and poetry in with fiction, though, because to my mind they are fiction and should not be in the nonfiction.  I've always struggled with that!  The devotional books will stay in my bedroom bookshelves, but I'll be sure that I have them all in there, as sometimes they get scattered.  I'll probably put my husband's Civil War books in his bedroom bookshelf, if there is room.  That is his special area of interest, and I want to be sure they are readily available to him to browse and admire.

Can I admit that I don't remember anything at all about Tuesday?!  I think that must be when I caught up on all the dishes left over from the weekend (we don't have an automatic dishwasher).  Yes, I think that was it, and I made chili too.  I really like to put grated cheese on tortilla chips, melt it in the toaster oven, and then spread my homemade chili over top.  Super yummy.  And super messy!  I can't believe how easy chili is to make.  I created my own recipe:
saute garlic and onions in olive oil
add 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
and 2 cans of beans (I prefer black beans, but sometimes I put in a can of Great Northerns with the black)\
and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin
and 1 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder
plus salt and pepper to taste
Simmer until the flavors blend and voilĂ .  

Oh, yes, I just remembered!  On Tuesday, I made a new covering for our front door. St. John broke the blinds some time ago, and I had covered the panes with scrapbook paper for privacy.  It looked terrible, but it was all I could do at the time.  

I made a sort of fake stained glass to cover our door.  It looks silly, but it also looks happy, so I don't mind.  I put a sheet of wax paper across each pane.  Then I took another sheet of wax paper and taped on shapes from scrapbook paper and put it across the pane (so that the shapes were sandwiched between the wax paper sheets).  You can see the tape from the inside, and if I were to make it better and fancier, I'd buy contact paper to sandwich them in between so there wouldn't be any tape.  But, it provides color and privacy, so I don't care that it looks childish.  My husband gave me a huge compliment, saying it looked hippie-ish, so that means he doesn't mind it too badly either. :)

Wednesday was a good and busy day.  Noon Communion, followed by lunch with Mom at Chick-fil-a (one of the only two fast places a person with Celiac can have fries).  Then she and I went to Joann craft store and I scored an amazing deal!   I got an $80 OttLite full sprectrum desk lamp for $19.99! It was marked down to $39; when it rang up even cheaper, I went back and got another! I am SOOOO excited!  After that, we parted ways and I went to Sam's and Big Lots.  On my way home, I texted my husband that I would pick up his perscription at Walgreens, but he didn't hear the text and headed that way too.  I pulled in behind him in the drive-through! Imagine my surprise when he got out of the work truck (which I never recognize) and came up to my window!  Surprise meetings with him always make my day!

Wednesday night I did some more furniture shifting.  When we moved my desk, I found a cache of lost kitty toys.
Every one of those was under that desk!  I thought the stove and refrigerator was the only kitty toy black hole!

Goodness, that was just yesterday!
I found a wonderful spring cleaning list, broken down into easy daily tasks and started doing it.  Yesterday was the stove and microwave.  I couldn't believe how nice the oven door looked when I was done!

I found the list here at Organize and Decorate Everything.  I get overwhelmed very quickly with large tasks, which has been the problem getting the house organized.  Having it broken down so nicely is great!  

I also made my homemade macaroni and cheese (a staple in my house).  I like to add broccoli to it and lately  I've been adding green peas also.  Quite yummy.

I made butter mints last night, too, but again that recipe didn't turn out quite right.  I'll have to try a different one.  This one, with sweetened condensed milk, just doesn't work well for me.

Today I cleaned out the fridge, and since I don't have a dishwasher, I started on tomorrow's spring cleaning chore and cleaned some of the cabinet doors.  

Here is my current work in progress, though I've not done much this week.
The Frosted Pumpkin did a Fruit of the Month sampler a few years ago.  I bought it, but had not completed it.  I've decided to do each fruit separately  so they can be displayed during the month.  Plus, I can put them on varying pastel colors, depending on what looks best with that fruit.  This is the May lemon, being worked on pink Aida.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Goodbye TV! Hello Strawberry Cobbler!

Had an amazingly productive afternoon/evening.  I packed up our television, video/DVD players and all the remotes and my husband removed them to the basement.  Then I packed up all the VHS movies we still have left (some I just couldn't part with, as they are no longer available, like my trio of Jane Austen social history films), alphabetized them, put them in boxes and made a list for the top of the box as to what movies were inside the box.

How much better the living room looks with all that gone!

Neither my husband or I were television watchers when we were married, and neither of us had cable.  I hadn't had cable since I moved out on my own; I only watched public television.  He had discarded his when he began playing computer games more than watching  shows.  As a result, we've never been a television family.  We've never had cable, or even had it hooked up to an antenna.  When I would hear about something good produced by public television, I'd make a note and check for it at the library.

We used to watch a DVD or video on the weekends, in the early years of our marriage, but we dropped that rather soon.  We'd rather play a game together or read together.

We do have Amazon Prime (have had it since it's earliest inception) and that has expanded to include streaming shows.  All the public television shows/movies I would be interested in are there, and I have caught up on the new Doctor Who (I am proud to state I have been a fan since the 80's, and frankly still prefer the crappy sets of my youth) and some of the newer Austen adaptations (most of which have been terrible) while cross stitching.

So, it finally occurred to me, as I wrestled with moving the living room furniture once again, that we just didn't need the television and accouterments   I can't remember the last time either of us used it.  Wait, yes I can; I had a sleepless night last spring and watched Far From the Madd'ing Crowd from start to finish.  Again, I'll say how much nicer the living room looks without it!

Since I was in the spring cleaning mode, I also culled our computer games and our music CDs.  They are boxed and labeled like the videos, the CD player will be joining the television in the basement, while a select few (mostly Baroque and jazz) are now stored next to my computer.  I have a milk crate full to go to the used book/music store this week, which means I'll probably come home with another shelf full of books from the credit.

I have culled my books so often over the last three years, that only a skeleton crew remain.  Which means that we still have about 8 full bookcases, one of which is the entire hall wall.  We were literally stepping over piles of books when I started culling.  I hate to get rid of books, but I'm trying to make our home more organized, and to make some space, I'm having to do so.  Of course, the fact that I just keep on bringing in more doesn't help a lot. . .

Now, after I did all that, I made two strawberry cobblers with some berries that weren't good for eating.  They turned out great, and we had huge helpings.  I'm getting braver in the kitchen! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lots of Good Things

I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself.  Medicine that makes me feel like a zombie, a vet visit that garnered no answers and a backed-up toilet have combined to make me feel like nothing good happened today.  At the moment, I can't think of anything, but I'm letting Bach's Ave Maria wash over me, to remind me that beauty does exist.

Thinking of good things, beautiful things, joy-inspiring things; these are the first dozen that come to mind:

  • my husband
  • my kitties, past and present
  • my parents
  • books
  • the color pink
  • the word "vacuum"
  • the smell after rain
  • crayons
  • tea
  • daisies
  • The Great Smokey Mountains
  • baroque music

Bach has helped.  Always does.

I can't believe how far into May we are.  Tempis does fugit, doesn't it?  I have been planning to post books read and listened to at the end of each month, and here I am, two weeks into May, just realizing that I didn't do it for April.  Never too late for a list, though.  I love lists!

I read:
Bars of Iron by Ethel M. Dell
Mrs. Dell wrote popular romances between 1912 and her death in 1939.  I'm not a romance reader, not modern romances anyway, but I do enjoy a "gentle" read.  Edwardian novels are among my favorites.  This one wasn't memorable, like others by her that I've read, but it was a pleasant way to while away a few hours.

I listened to:
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy; as I mentioned earlier, it was just okay, certainly not as good as War and Peace.  In fact, I'd probably have to class it as a disappointment, 33+ hours that would have been better spent listening to another book.  I'm still not certain why I stuck it out; just to say that I did, I suppose.

The first two volumes of a set of Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  Holmes was my first literary crush, back in my preteens.  It's always enjoyable to reread old favorites, and David Timson is an excellent reader.

Joy in the Morning by P G Wodehouse.  My husband and I are huge Wodehouse fans, and we listened to this one together.  While the Wodehouse plots are often predictable, I never tire of his excellent wordplay and the hilarious dialog.  I hadn't read this one before, so it was especially fun.

Because of Anna Karenina, I didn't listen to as many in April.  I'm already on my sixth this month, and I've finished reading one novel.  I like months when I make time to read enough.  That's one of the best things about audio books: I can still work on my cross stitch or do chores and have my imagination and intellect stimulated by books.  I had to learn to be able to listen, and it didn't come easy, but now that I have I love listening to audio books nearly as much as I do visibly reading.

Between Bach and books, I feel much more lighthearted, and would delete my gripes, if it weren't for the fact that I have a lovely teapot illustration that I couldn't use if I did.  (Did that make sense?)

Everyone is asleep now, except me.  Think I'll take my stack of new library books (ah yes, something good did happen today, I went to the library) and go read!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Bit about Disappointments and Way More about Kitties

Disappointments are hard to take, and can be harder for some of us to handle.  I'm one of those, for various reasons.  So this afternoon's large disappointment (the answer of "no" to some potential income) has laid me out like a left hook from Sugar Ray.  The possible courses of action are racing around in my head like a whirlpool, the flotsam and jetsam of thoughts surfacing for a second or too before they rush around some more.  I'm trying to practice all I've learned in these past two years, and let it go, let it not overwhelm me, let myself relax.  Trust.  Breathe.  Just live.  I'm trying.  It's all part of life, I can learn to cope, and this blossoming ability to talk or write about it will bring on healing.  At least, that's what I keep trying to tell myself.

On a less personal, gloomy note: Jack Dempsey is starting to walk on a leash outside!  This is fantastic news indeed, you see, as he was terrified of even a collar.

He is a rescue--literally.  I saw him on the side of the road, a short way from our house.  He had an ear flipped back, which looked wounded, and he looked so sad and tired as he started to dive into the tangled undergrowth at the side of the road.  I stopped the car and spoke to him, then got out and walked to him.  I knew, in that moment, that he was mine, though I pushed that thought back and put him in the car and drove around to the few houses nearby to see if he belonged to anyone.  I put up notices, but happily, no one responded and he became ours.  I thought he had just come home to die; it was hard for him to go up and down stairs and he just slept--so deep, that most times I would assume he was dead when I would go downstairs to check on him.

Fancy my shock when, at the first vet visit, Dr. Penny told me he was over one year but less than two.  Imagine the lifetimes he must have lived during that one year, to look as he did.  He even has a palpable pellet embedded deep inside, under his left front leg, the souvenir of someone's air gun or pellet gun.

(Happily, the folded back ear which caught my attention at first, and had me so concerned, wasn't serious.  It's the permanent result of an untreated ear infection--you don't want the details--and will always be folded back.  After a few months of comfortable indoor life, it lost the painful, sun-burnt and leathery look and he'll even let my husband pet it.)

Given that history, it's no wonder Jack Jack was afraid of a collar, and terrified of a cat harness.  He would watch out the window with such longing, though, when we would take St. John outside.  His frustration with St. John became much greater, I think as a direct result of the jealousy, and I really was worried.

Then St. John started accidentally slipping out of his harness when he would jump to catch bugs (this baby has never known anything but walking on a harness, and runs, jumps, chases bugs and climbs trees with me hanging on for dear life) and I found the Kitty Holster online.  It works even better than a harness, and is much more secure.  They state in their advertisement "cats who hate to wear harnesses LOVE the Kitty Holster!"

I didn't believe that for a minute, but my husband decided to give it a try with Jackeroo.  We squeezed him into St. John's harness (I was reminded of the Prince Regent in his stays) and took him outside.  He did fine. He did more than fine, in fact, especially considering he was entirely too big for the holster.  After another successful try, I ordered him one in his size (figuring that even if he didn't use, St. John will grow into it).

I can't say that Jack "loves" it, by any means.  He is still a bit grumpy putting it on, and sometimes slips his leg through the neckhole (I can NOT figure out how he does that), but on the whole, he enjoys his walk and is visibly more relaxed than he was just last week.  I plan to write raving reviews for  Kitty Holster everywhere I can.

Here they are yesterday, having a lovely sniff.  Notice St. John's happy "up" tail!  He just loves going out. Jack is enjoying the feel of the air and all the smells, while St. John has a roll in (what's left of) our gravel drive.

Amazing how much better I feel now, half an hour or so after I began this post, just from all my happy chatter about two of my kitties. :)

Oh, and I got more Washi tape today!  I had forgotten all about it; ordered it from the Plaid Barn, or maybe from Pick Your Plum.  (I threw the packaging away without looking.)  How can one feel melancholy with new Washi patterns in the house!?

I'm especially excited by the one with keys!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Successes and Thanks

Up early this morning.  Honestly, most days I would just be hitting deep sleep about now.  Happily, I've been able to sleep much better for the past few days. It's a pleasure to be able to sleep rather well and wake up while the clock still says ante meridian!

This morning, though, I woke up first with the early signs of a migraine, then stayed awake as St. John, and then Lizzie came to snuggle us.  My husband is off work today, so the cats enjoyed extra time to be with him in the bed. :)  Once Lizzie got up and started playing with a noisy toy in the bedroom, I decided I would just get up and enjoy this spring morning.

I'm so grateful we are actually having SPRING right now, instead of jumping from winter to summer.  It's so lovely to have cool, sunny days or cool overcast days, with the thermometer staying 70 and below.  Such a blessing, and one I can't remember having for many years.

This past week has been an amazing one for me, now that I look back on it.  I took a chance in cooking, and failed, and yet rebounded and found a way to use the failed candy recipe as a successful icing on shortbread.

This is really amazing for me, as, not so long ago, even a perceived failure would be enough to bring a low for several days.

This is such a huge step.

Amazingly, I followed it up with making up chili without a recipe.  Just making it up.

For someone with Aspberger's Syndrome, on top of OCD and crippling anxiety, not following a recipe is a huge deal.  And I did it.  Without even thinking about the fact that I was doing it.

Thinking on it right now, I'm tearing up.  It's a really big deal, and gosh darn it, I"m proud of myself.

You know, I don't say that enough, and I feel it way less than I ever say it, so I'm going to say it again:  I took chances, I succeeded twice this week in the kitchen and I AM PROUD OF MYSELF.

created with digital washi from

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life is Hard on a Book Nerd

Why oh why does my library system have to choose to do their online maintenance at 2 a.m?!?  Don't they know that 2 a.m. is when I most often have the burning desire to put books on hold or download audio or e-books?!?!?

I'm not being facetious either.  

This has happened to me NUMEROUS times, though most often at 2 a.m. on Sunday nights.  I would bet, if they picked, say, 10 a.m. on a work day, they'd have way less traffic coming by to be disappointed.

I mean, this is prime time for book nerds.

I can't decide whether to lodge a complaint or just go to bed and sulk.

As lodging a complaint would actually take some thought and work and sulking wouldn't require anything but continued bad mood, I'm guessing the sulk will win.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Sampler: Completed!

Finished the final week of the Spring Sampler last night.  I was sorry to finish it.  Such a cute project!  Hopefully they will do summer and autumn ones too!

Completed project; I really like it on the pale blue.

The puff balls were my favorite of the entire sampler!

Allergies have beaten me down all week, so I've done very little.  The dishes are backed up, and I just finished the laundry in time to start it again.  I finished listening to a disappointing audio book (A is for Alibi); I had hoped it would be a series I would enjoy, as there are quite a few, but alas.  It has certainly been a better week than last week though. :)

I did make mints, though, from this recipe.  They were quite good, though they didn't turn out exactly like the recipe/pictures made them look.  Gave me an idea to create another recipe from them, though, which is exciting as I never experiment with recipes.

  St. John is eight months now!  Time certainly does fly by!