Monday, June 8, 2009
picked just 24 hours before they were on sale. Locally grown, organic, hand picked, and hand packed. It doesn't get any better. D, her daughter, and daughter's boyfriend picked these in nearby Ohio. Out of some 110 quarts packaged, all were sold in four hours.
The Farmer's Market is growing but I think is suffering from lack of marketing. It's the same challenge that all new ventures go through. I seriously hope that it continues to grow in the number of vendors and buyers.
I just returned from a visit with my family in MS. It was bittersweet. I am so glad to have time with them - all of them - and it is always too short. It was especially important to me to see my Mother right now since she has had two more stokes in the past month, and we weren't sure that she was going to pull through this time. She did, thankfully. But it was a wake-up call for all of us, I think, especially her. While I was there she and I had many hours of one-on-one quality time. She stayed awake and alert. She was able to speak whatever was in her heart. This was the true example of "speak now or forever hold your peace". Some things weren't easy to hear nor discuss, but we both made it through, and for the better. I am happy to report that my 93 year old grandmother is still doing remarkable well and able.
I am exploring ways to generate extra income online. There are many scams, I know. So I am using whatever good sense I have without risking money that I don't have. I don't want to say too much about this since I am not committed to anything other than researching. If you have any postive experience or personally know of someone who is making money with internet marketing please let me know.
I created a newspaper ad for an upcoming hearing aid event at work and I think it looks pretty good. I would make one change, but otherwise I am satisfied with it. Whether people call for an appointment is what determines the success of the ad, so I'll have to wait and see. The event is this Wed, June 10th and Wed, June 17th.
The garden at D's looks fantastic! Snap peas are producing pods. Strawberries are blooming.
The first crop of spinach will be ready this coming week sometime. On the carrots, cute little parsley-looking tops are above ground. Blooms on the tomato plant. Japanese cabbage is very large and is "heading". It is so much work - you really can't imagine - for one person, but my D does it masterfully. Quite the gardner. We've eaten a couple of cuttings of asparagus; heavenly.
Anyone have a cure for poison ivy? We think that I got it from Lucy; she might have walked through some vines and then scratched my skin. Whatever the source, it itches!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I had really, really been wanting some flowers and was so excited to receive these as a gift last weekend. Wonderful; wonderful!
The new Farmer's Market store opened last weekend, too. Good stuff there. I was going to stop in today after my haircut but was short on time. Well, actually, I was hungry and that always wins out and the thought of the just cooked chicken in the oven trumped a detour to the FM. I will go in again soon. The produce looks very good although I didn't check the prices. The plants were healthy and reasonably priced. This is definitely a hot spot in town.
I got my new camera, Cannon SD890 IS Power Shot digital elph, hooked up to the computer today so that I can now download photos to this blog. There was a minor disappointment when I saw that the new camera does not use the same size photo card as my older Kodak Easy Share. The Cannon uses a smaller card and the one that came with the camera has a very small capacity. If D or AB can't use the older cards, I will post the size on this blog and see if any of you want the two that I have. I'm not so sure that I really like this camera as well as I did the Easy Share, but maybe I'll get used to it.
I love going to get my haircut! Today I heard a seventysomething year old man say that he has a pink shirt and maybe he should get pink highlights in his (grey) hair! He was serious about the shirt and I guess not about the coloring, but it was funny.
And the beauty shop co-owner, my personal stylist, told how her mother got unexpected attention when she accompanied her to a doctor's appointment this week. Stylist L had the appointment; no serious condition. Mother of L went with her for the ride. Mother mentioned that she hadn't been feeling so well lately, so the doctor switched his attention to her, and soon decided that she should go to the hospital for evaluation of her fast heart rate. She asked whether she could get lunch at McDonald's before checking in, and he reluctantly said that was okay if she wanted to, but he was concerned about the time efficiency since the admission process takes so long. She agreed, knowing that in a couple of hours she would get an early dinner at the hospital. For several years Stylist L says that her mother has decided that all, literally all, of her food allergies since childhood have become active again. One of those is fish, so she hasn't eaten fish in five or more years, fearing some terrible consequence. Just before the mother ate her dinner, Stylist L called the hospital room to check on her, and asked what they brought on the dinner tray. Fish, she said! But, you don't eat fish; what will you do? The mother said "I'm gonna eat it. What better time and place to find out if I am really allergic to it!"
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
If you have children, a spouse or partner, or other people in your immediate life circle with whom you share a schedule, you understand exactly what I mean. At first I thought that I could not survive on a four day a week salary because I am paid hourly, but I have managed. Living in a small town makes that easier for me because I am not constantly tempted by the malls and the billboards. Now that I am used to the day off, I am so thankful for it. If you have the opportunity to cut back to a four day work week, I encourage you to find a way to do it. There are many ways that many of us can save money in exchange for free time.
I am thinking of starting a coupon exchange at the office. If you're interested in doing this the following article is helpful. http://couponing.about.com/od/groceryzone/ss/smallcoupclub.htm
You could do it within your family, among a group of friends, at church, etc.
I have a weakness for buying books. If you do, too, you may be very interested in looking at a book swapping club www.paperbackswap.com I have joined and if you end up joining, please use my name as your referral so that I can get book credits. Joining is easy and free.
Another idea that saves me money is taking my drinks to work; specifically, tea. I buy my fav tea bags, brew it at home and pour it into a re-usable container. This saves on money for sodas and is green living. Saves so many plastic bottles, too. I am planning to get a Britta pitcher to purify the water coming out of my faucet instead of buying gallons of water which will result in even more savings and more enviro-friendly.
Small town living can be so satisfying. I am not missing city conveniences so much that I feel deprived. It is a different life, but a purposeful life. I am so glad to have had the experiences of both city and small town living. I do realize that what suits me now might not have been so great twenty years ago, so our preferences change along the way. Current pleasures: little league and t-ball season began this week, the Farmer's Market starts in two weeks, and the garden is growing! Life is good.
Monday, April 27, 2009
When I look at the flowers and the trees blooming I am so thrilled with what I see as if I just awakened from sleeping through the seasons of the past fifty years.
Last weekend was the first dry weekend in several. I didn't get out to the country house until late in the afternoon, but D had been working in the garden all day, as is her custom when the sun shines. You may not know that "working in the garden" encompasses gazillions of related activities. When I arrived D was assembling one of two tillers that had been in boxes until now.
Earlier she had driven to the local gas pumps to fill the five gallon, red plastic fuel containers.
One of the included screws, or bolts, or whatever thing it was, didn'd fit a bracket properly, so that required her going to the workshop to rummage for another one. A roll of four foot high, rusty wire fencing covering the baby pea plants for protection against intruding animals had to be unfurled, stretched, and measured to be transported into the garden where it will provide pea vine support. And the list goes on. It makes me aware and appreciative of her labor and planning that is part of having this garden. This is no simple project. If you are thinking about moving to the country and growing food, I want to suggest that you ask someone who has done it before to tell you about the things in addition to the planting and digging. Maybe you could begin with container gardening or co-gardening with a mentor.
With the arrival of Spring brings lawn care! Last Friday I believe that 90% of all residents mowed! The smell of fresh cut grass permeated our town. I've never lived anywhere that the whole town mowed at the same time. I expected to see Andy, Opey, and Aunt Bea waving just around the next corner! The flowers, the grass, people outside visiting with their neighbors, the buzz of the weed-eaters...
My front porch and deck at the apartment needs some sprucing up. Lowes has some pretty hanging flower baskets that I'd like, but I can't believe how expensive they are. I don't know how long it takes for flowers to bloom from seeds, but I need to find out because surely there must be a cheaper way to have beautiful flowering pots. Of course that requires patience, and I really want the splash of color right now, but I am trying to tame my desire for always having instant gratification.
Yesterday I joined a local Freecycle group. Since hearing about it I had been interested in the concept of people giving away things that they don't need so that those items don't end up in a landfill or as trash in puplic places. No strings attached; just post what you have to give away or even what you want that someone else may have. All free. Very envir0-friendly. You can go to www.Freecycle.org and get info. There probably is a place nearby you. It was somewhat of a hassle to register (the groups are through Yahoo.com) for membership, and it took about 30 minutes, but I think it is worth it.
If you are interested in a human interest story that I have been following, do a www.google.com search for Susan Boyle. She was (until now) an undiscovered singer who is a contestant on Britian's Got Talent. It's like American Idol. I am completely fascinated by her. There is a www.youtube.com link where you can hear her sing that is well worth any time you take to find the link.
To Everything There is A Season. It's true.
I am happy and well,
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thought for the day: I have enough even, though I expect more. All of my needs are met. I am grateful.
Spring. I don't remember ever being more aware of the transition of Winter to Spring than I am now that I live in a climate where there are four seasons. There is no way I could appreciate these changes when I lived in Florida where I hardly noticed when a season arrived or ended because the signs were so subtle, or even absent. But now, oh now, it is glorious! Many of our trees are still brown but the ones that have begun to bloom are such a welcome sight. The redbuds have purple blooms and I do love those. The maples have warm red leaves on the treetops only. The ornamental pears are white and so spectacular; they were the first to come into full bloom.
Weeping willows have bright, neon green leaves and some of the weeping cherry trees are showing signs of pink. The dalfodils were the first flowers in our yard to bloom; their simple shape and pure yellow color make me smile. And there is so much more to look forward to. It was miraculous to me that literally the weekend after March 21, the first day of Spring,
there were flowers and colors on trees and weren't there before then. It puts nature in perspective; how it all works together in perfect harmony.
We are preparing a garden at the country house. My experience with gardening as a child was prety much limited to the harvest. I was not in favor of getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays in the Summer to pick vegatables. Especially since I knew that I'd be eating them whether or not I helped pick them. I didnt like getting my hands dirty, and didnt want to do child labor. It's too bad that I felt that way, and that my parents couldnt seem to influence me to feel any differently. Thankfully, now I do want to be involved in the whole gardening process, and I have a whole new appreciation for fresh, organic vegatables.
I dont really know the size of the garden, but it's big. Peas, chinese cabbage, and blueberries are sprouting in small containers right now , until the time when they will be planted into the ground. A small area has been tilled, but it has rained too much to plant anything. We even had a 2" snow a week ago; no kidding! Other plants have arrived in the mail, but I dont remember what they are. We will have one upside down tomato planting stand; an experiment. I'll post some photos later. I am so very excited about this garden; the idea of it all, just as much as the actual thing.
My grandfather was a gardener extraordinaire. He took all manner of ridicule from his in-laws about the crazy vegatables that he'd try to grow. Well, you know what, he was successful at growing most of whatever he tried. He grew many varieties of peppers; especially hot peppers. Most people in his town had never heard of the kinds of peppers that he grew. More than not, he was the only one willing to taste them, because others feared the heat factor! He even created charts of how hot each type was compared to the others! Every season he made a fresh batch of "Gandaddy's Pepper Sauce", a vinegar and homegrown pepper secret recipe. I think that we ate the last o it on a holiday three or four years ago. His watermellon patch was second to none. Yellow, red, round, seedless; you name it. He studied ways to grow more, and grow better. I didnt realize until now that his gardening skill was something that I greatly admired. Of course, it took a village to raise a garden like that. An acre or so of land, perfectly prepared, and carefully maintained. My grandparents, my Ganmommy's sister's and in-laws, and all of the associated extended families particpated. But mostly, it was Gandaddy, Ganmommy, Aunt Ruth, Aunt MaryLou, and Uncle Taylor who toiled from sun up to sun down. My mind's eye can see each of them standing there right now, out in the garden, working. What a wonderful memory.
There are still places where families work together growing food, picking the crop, and enjoying a taste that is beyond compare. Maybe the children don't yet get any more pleasure from the experience than the yummy-in-the-tummy of a fresh tomato, but I have to believe that one day they will associate gardening with being part something bigger than themselves; family. And they might even be able to expand that concept to include chosen families and families across the world with whom they are connected by a common experience even though they have never met. I sense that there is a trend toward returning something very basic: valueing experiences over things.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Helllllloooooooooo, out there!
Belief for the Day: I am healthy, wealthy, and wise.
I did become wiser today by virtue of discovering a new type of jewelry. Surely, and hopefully, no one I have known until now has ever heard of this. Spoor necklaces. I am definitely gonna take a photo of one next time we dine at The Whitetail Cafe and post it on the blog.
We enjoyed a nice lunch at THE local cafe on Saturday. My companion wasn't all that hungry so she only had a cup of coffee and toast. In contrast to my never-ending hunger. The menu isn't all that extensive so I like to try something different each time I feel like taking a risk. I figure that by next Fall I will have eaten every menu item that I intend to. This time I chose the Italian sub with a cup of homemade chili. Chili is one of my favorite foods and I like to try it at different restaurants until I find one locally that I prefer. The Log Cabin has really good chili, and the Silver Star has very good chili, too. The Whitetail; not so good. Too sweet. Maybe it has deer meat in it, I don't know, but it was the sweetness that turns me off. My partner makes absolutely the best chili anywhere in these parts which has become my standard by which all others are judged. (Ray, dear, your chili is the best in all of FL!) My sub sandwich was good even minus the onions which had to be removed for there to be even the possibility of intimacy during the following 48 hours. Just like most restaurants here, the price is usually very reasonable.
Average of $15 for two people. (maybe because one of us eats toast!)
Common practice at The Whitetail is to get your bill/check when you go up to the cashier to pay. I am not sure why, but the waitress doesn't bother to bring it to the table. I've never had to specify where we sat or anything in order to get the correct bill. Pretty efficient, huh. Maybe it's cause there are only 10 tables in the place and hardly every more than 6 are occupied. Or, maybe they just pay attention.
An L-shaped counter forms the boundary between the cooking area and the eating area. Yes, it is like a fancy place I know of at Disney, the California restaurant, where you can actually see the cook fixing your meal. Hmmm. Maybe the similarity ends there. There are bar stools snuggled to much of the counter space where the manly-men eat when they're dining alone. A newspaper or two are always available on the counter to read and return; so much for the paper business' revenue from the newspaper stand outside the front of the cafe! Important community announcements are spread across some of the counter, too. Saturday's was about an auction of "misc items" in a nearby town. My partner says that between us we have enough of our own "misc items" and do not need anyone else's! I agree. But if you have always wanted a "Pepsi light globe" or a "flower sheet set" then the auction would be a good place to go.
On this particular visit what caught my attention the most was the selection of colorful necklaces in small ziplock baggies. With a printed 8x11 description of the featured items. I re-read it three times and still never understood what the heck these things were made of. It said that they were from spoors that came from ??? trees. OK, let me think. Something growing on trees, right?
could that be "spores"? I think that is something that grows on trees or on the ground, I'm not exactly sure. Although I have never heard of making spores into jewelry. I knew that I better ask some questions because D didn't seem to think this was unusual enough to comment on, even when she saw that I was perplexed over the description. So I took the backdoor entrance to the topic: "Um, did they misspell the word s-p-o-r-e-s?" No, she said. No? Back to square one for me. Maybe I should get to the point, I thought. Second attempt at information:
"what are spoors?" You don't know; she asked with a smirky grin. Well, no, I don't have any idea. I'll take a stab at it: something that grows on trees. Bzzzztt. Wrong answer. But enough to cause a burst of laughter once she escorted me outside of the Whitetail. She informed me,
"it's (pause...pause to build up my anticipation) deer poop/pellets." NO WAY! Yep. True.
I really, really wanted to go back inside at that moment and examine these specimens! Literally!
OMG. How does one make a necklace using deer shit? And who - WHO - would buy such a thing? It is just strange enough for me to look forward to the next trip to the Whitetail to check it out. By the way, if you haven't made the connection yet, this is even more comical to me because the Whitetail is named for that species of deer and there are several deer mounts hung around the place. Including one with only his little white tail and a-- sticking towards the patron's direction.
Disclaimer: I am not criticizing or minimizing the value of deer, the pursuits of people who are resourceful enough to market spoor necklaces, the people who find such items desirable enough to purchase, nor the people who consider it normal merchandise at the local cafe.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
DREAM OF THE DAY: Home Makeover comes to West Virginia and knocks on my door! I have a great apartment in town. Perfect for one! Yes, you correctly recall that I am happily partnered, but maintaining separate living spaces a few miles apart works for us for now. The apartment is cozy and comfortable, but I want more shelves/drawers and a re-organized kitchen to maximize the space. And, the office could use a re-do.
Real Simple, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living, Domino, and Ophra are my favorite magazines. I constantly think about organizing spaces, creating a soft country feel (not rustic, and not country as in country music), unique furniture pieces, flea markets, re-purposing things, and self-improvement. Although I dislike the subscription cards that are loose inside the magazines because they fall out in the most inconvenient nooks and crannies, I admire the good marketing tactic because you just can't ignore them. The price of these magazines is on the edge of making them a luxury. How many things in the mags are really worth the standard off the rack cost? $4.95 for another recipe that gets stored in the already overflowing box? $6.95 for
another article on weight loss as if we don't get it by now. $3.99 to find out that clipping coupons saves on the grocery bill. When I think of the number of mags that I have kept for years and never opened again, I am tempted to send the publisher a storage fee. Yet I continue to gather the information. No kidding, I read every page. Why? Am I an infomaniac? A magaholic?
I feel good about saving 70% off the cover cost of the five jewels mentioned above by renewing my subscription. Never mind that I have to clip coupons to afford PB & J for the brown bag lunch, use reward points to finance presents, get gas at Kroger with ten cents off a gallon based on my accumulated grocery points, and get my DVDs from the library. It's a good thing.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
How many people are there in the world who are alike? Raise your hand if you like sunsets, candlelit dinners, snuggling, walks on the beach, and happy endings. I can see thousands of hands pop up in the air! Okay, raise your hand if you like good food, movies, money in your bank account, and vacations. Another bunch of hands just went up! Now, to the extreme, give it up if you like art, want social justice, are religious/spiritual, and want to make a positive difference in the world or at least in your circle of contacts. My guesstimate is that 80% of people reading this say yes to one or more of the "likes".
Today, I am interested in the people who are like me and identify with the statement " I can not figure out what I want to do with my life." It is a complete puzzle to me. Not new, mind you, I have had this puzzle out on the table for about 20 years now. My library consists of so many books about self-help, career guides, spiritual topics, and the like, that there's hardly room for anything else on the shelves. Amazon's selection in these genres seem small in comparison!
All the reading and praying and evaluating has not worked. I am no closer to discovering a passion than I was way back when. My passion list goes something like this: food, sex, sleep, reading, and writing. Pretty general, huh, and not much room for a career path that I can see. Well, now that I review the list again, I might be able to combine all of those into a porn career, but that's not such a great idea on many levels; trust me on this one!
If you have contact with the great Buddha, the Dali Lama, or similar such identities who are supposed to have all of the answers, perhaps you could have your people contact my people and I could get on with a fulfilled, passionate life.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
There are not excessive fat cells hanging out inside me collecting and storing every carbohydrate that I consume. Oh, and I am not pre-menopausal.
THE TREE: Remember that huge oak tree down in the Blaylock pasture behind Ganmommy and Gandaddy's house? The one that has a limb about twice as big around as a old-fashioned wood telephone pole, and reached down to about 3 feet above the ground. It must have extended 20 feet from the tree trunk and had a dipped-out place in the middle that was warn where people sat in the same spot for years. Whenever I was worried, upset, confused about life, or just wanted to reflect on life, I would climb over the fence using the steps that Gandaddy built, and walk down the pasture to the big tree. I wish I had named that tree something worthy. Time stood still while Big Tree held me in his hand and I felt safe. On every occassion I got some comfort there while just sitting and thinking - or not thinking - in my quiet, secret place. I only ever took one other person there with me, and to this day I wish that I hadn't. Some places are not meant to be shared. What I know for sure is that the secret place moves with me wherever I am. It never looks the same from one location to another but it functions the same. I like this rural life where I am because it offers more opportunity for quiet time to find one's secret place.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
What did happen this morning was that my feet got slightly cold while I swept the snow off my car in preparation for the trip to work. Not as cold as they would have been under the same conditions just a month ago. During my Christmas trip to Mississippi, I mentioned to my little brother that I would like to have some new shoes in anticipation of colder weather and trecking in the snow. He immediately responded to the challenge by taking me (yes, he went) to one of his favorite shoe shops. Can you imagine any man volunteering to go shoe-shopping with you, especially your brother? Not only did he take me there, he offered his opinion about what looked "like me" and what did not. For example, the alligator skinned yellow cowboy boots just didnt make the cut! "Not you, Sis," he said. In every instance of a reject, I agreed. He very patiently waited as I looked at every, literally every, option! And finally I found a very nice pair at a good price point. Not boots, but brown leather slip-on shoes with a thick bottom that has those little grabby cut-outs for traction and an inside lining for warmth. Perfect! By far, these are the best shoes I own for cold, snowy days. I am glad that today, on my brother's 41st birthday, my slightly cold, but not uncomfortable, tootsies reminded me of a very special time with him and of his love. The memory was his birthday gift to me. Happy birthday, brother.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Politics: President Obama is now the leader of the US, and although I am not a political scholar, or even politically savy, I am a good judge of character, and this man is a good man and will be a good servant of the people. He has a good aura. I pray that the people who are advising him and working with him will be as good.
Economy: Personally, mine sucks. And according to the media most Americans are in financial poo-poo. My own situation was created from a combination of bank lending guidelines that were much to loose, a divorce, and my lack of discipline in accumulating too much credit card debt. A formula for disaster for anybody. However, I bought a Suze Orman financial planning/organizing system to file a record of my bad choices. Both my situation and that of others must improve, but the rollercoaster in still in motion. I heard someone on the radio say that a good thing that resutls from a financial crisis is that when you've lost everything, you find out what is really important and that's what you re-build from.
Weather: It's 25 degrees today in West Virginia which is warmer than it was last week. I have a whole new definition of cold since I've now lived through a day when the temperature hovered around zero for 8 hours. Almost daily snow keeps the landscape pretty enough to keep me from complaining much. I do love the snow. The ice; not so much. This past weekend I took a big fall on the ice at bottom of the porch steps and landed flat on my back. It hurt. It still hurts. Never let anyone convince you that fat people are protected from the excruciating pain of a fall by their "cushioning". My ass bruises just like yours does. The county schools are on a two hour delay this morning. Their little brains are going to be more delayed than that if they dont get some consistent schooling soon. And parents' brains are going to be fried from drugs that they take to cope with keeping children at home.
Religion: I am among the increasing number of people who are public about working out their own salvation. That's biblical, in case you don't know. I am spiritual and Christian. But not religious as defined by membership in a particular demonimation. Some religions other than Christian have teachings that I completely align with. I am at peace with my relationship with God. The recent best seller book, Eat, Pray, Love, is one of my favorite examples of spiritual inspiration, although I most closely relate to and subscribe to the series of books by Neale Walsch called Conversations with God.
Relationships: Too personal to broadcast throughout the www, but definitely I want to declare that I do have one. We are committed and happy. Not perfect yet. So in case any of you readers of this blog gets any idea of falling in love with me and pursuing my heart, don't go there. I have the type of relationship that would make for an interesting book, and maybe one day I'll write it.
Occupation: Not nearly as satisfying as the relationship! I have been bored with my present field of work for eighteen years. And wanted to make a change for just as long, but I haven't. Not because I haven't searched the options. I have had more ideas than you could shake a stick at.
I really think that writing is what I want to do. So blogging is part of my writing excercise. Now, as for making a living writing, I don't know how that's gonna be.
Dream of the Day: I live in a house facing a lake on one side and a mountian on the other. The walls of windows give me larger-than-life-views. My daily routine includes four hours of writing, meditating, cooking delicious and healthy foods, excercise, reading at least one hour, and loving my partner, my dog, and significant others the rest of the time. I am healthy and happy. The world becomes more peaceful every day.