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Showing posts from March, 2012

Retail therapy

The family drama has continued here in the Middle of Nowhere. Nothing we can do about it except hope and pray for the best possible outcome, and none of the choices are particularly good.

In order to distract ourselves, my husband and I decided to go to the nearest retail mecca to look for a truck (him) and a smartphone (me).

We're going back today to sign the truck deal, and I'm syncing my contacts to my new Droid right now.

The situation is still, of course, ever present and almost always on our minds, but at least we each have something else to focus on. My husband hasn't driven a stick shift in decades. And the Droid? Well, it's just plain fun.

Blogger's being cranky

I don't know what's been going on with Mr. Blogger this morning, but I've been trying to log in for about an hour and a half and this is the first time the template has opened. Let's see how much I can say in the next 15 minutes, because beginning at 8 a.m. I'm scheduled. Sigh.

Our little dinner get-together went very well. As I think I mentioned, the local Chinese restaurant, um,SUCKS, so I made hot-and-sour soup, spring rolls and Kung Pao chicken. Except I used beef instead of chicken and I jazzed it up with lots of vegetables. I served brown rice, an item rarely seen in Asian eateries, at least it's rare here in the Middle of Nowhere.

My [purchased] fortune cookie said "You are on your way to perfection," or something like that. My fortune definitely got the biggest laugh. At our ages – 60 to 68 – we know there's no such thing.

Guess what I did for exercise yesterday. Go on, guess! Okay, I'll tell you. I j.o.g.g.e.d. It's been many moon…

A quickie

The post cards came and have been distributed to the members of our Democratic women's group. We're trying to increase our membership. We obtained mailing labels from the state Democratic party of all the registered Dem women in our county (913 names). The next step is to label and mail and hopefully welcome some new members!

One of our newest members will be among our dinner guests tonight. She's lovely and energetic and bright and she hasn't met another of our guests, but I know they'll hit it off. I feel like a matchmaker.

I also feel like I need to shut down the this machine and get busy, baby! Hope your day is a good one.

Making a list and checking it twice

It's times like these when I wish I lived closer to a big city. I'm having a little dinner party tomorrow night and Tiny Kroger won't have everything I need. The biggest missing ingredient will be fresh bean sprouts, and I totally could have grown my own, but I would have needed to start them, oh, probably a couple weeks ago.

Besides, I've never had much luck sprouting beans.

So canned will have to do (they'll be used in hot and sour soup and in spring rolls).

(I never used to be able to make good homemade yogurt, either, but have finally figured out the formula and I NEVER want to eat commercially made yogurt again. So perhaps I have a future with bean sprouts.)

The Chinese restaurant closest to us sucks, so I've learned to make my own Kung Pao Chicken (I healthy up my version with a lighter sauce and I sautée the chicken in a pan swirled with oil, rather than fry it in an inch of oil). We eat it fairly frequently here in the Middle of Nowhere. Since we're…

Back in the gym

I only made it to the gym once last week, opting to work outdoors here at home since the weather was pretty perfect. Yesterday, though, the ground was still too wet from the weekend rain, so I went to town.

Even though I used a lot of back, shoulder, arm and leg muscles digging, weeding and hauling dirt, I can feel a difference in my muscles this morning. It's a good feeling, I'm not complaining.

When I got back to the weight-training area, there was one muscle-bound man back there. He looked like Big Bad John – "kinda broad at the shoulders and narrow at the hip, and everybody knew you didn't give no lip to Big John."

Of course I was intimidated, 'cause that's how I roll, but I decided just to be up front about it and admit my insecurities. He was so nice. Very encouraging, everybody's gotta start someplace, free weights are better than machines, blah, blah, blah. We ended up talking about baseball movies and then baseball teams and he even admitted …

Our favorite soup

In fact, this might just be our favorite meal. It's quick to fix, it's full of healthful ingredients, it's delicious, it's better the next day (but we usually gobble it all up) and I usually have everything I need to make it. And if I don't have what's called for, substitutes taste just as good.

Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil5 asiago-spinach chicken sausages (or other flavorful low-fat sausage), sliced into bite-sized pieces1 small onion, chopped2 ribs celery, thinly sliced1 sprig fresh rosemary1 four-ounce can mushrooms, pieces and stems, drained4 cups low-fat chicken broth2 cups cooked white beans1 large bunch kale, rinsed, stemmed and torn In Dutch oven or large saucepan, swirl oil to coat bottom of pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage pieces and cook two to three minutes. Add chopped onion and celery and continue cooking until onion is translucent and celery has softened. Add the rosemary, mushrooms, chicken broth and bea…

Three words


Oh, okay, more than three words. Do you know how hard it would be for me to do a three-word post? You guys are the only people I talk to all day, other than my husband. And the dog. And they get pretty tired of my chatter after a while.

Yesterday was a good day to travel. It rained and/or was cloudy and grey all day, and I didn't mind being cooped up in a hotel conference room with a couple dozen other Democratic women. And one clearly outnumbered man, who didn't appear to mind being outnumbered at all.

I've been appointed to chair a committee for the group (our state Democratic women's organization) and I volunteered to be on a planning committee for the 2013 national convention, which will be held in West Virginia. You'd never know I used to be a Republican. But I make no secret of it, and they all seem to like me anyway.

It's raining now, and looks like it might continue to do so most of the day. I hope it clears up long enough to go for a…

Lack of progress photo, and more!

Without further ado, here's the January-to-March comparison. I've got arms! And legs! Because it's so freaking hot! Heh.
I ended up not going to the gym yesterday after all. Recalling the sage advice to "make hay while the sun shines," I decided to "finish the herb bed while the weather was nice and my husband was willing to help." Three hours working outdoors surely equals half that time in the gym, right?

At one point during the process, my husband asked if I intended to finish all the sections yesterday. I looked at him like he'd grown a third arm. Of course I intended to finish, otherwise why even start? (See OCD post from a couple of days ago.)

To answer Mindy's question from a recent comment, I'm not following a formal plan, unless dividing the circle into eight sections counts as formal. Taller plants will be in the center; everything will gradually get shorter as I plant from the middle toward the outer edge. Each section will not ne…

What a nightmare

I dreamed I was pregnant.

I'll be 61 in a couple of months, so you know it was a nightmare to dream about being "in a family way." (Don't you just love those old-fashioned euphemisms?) I can barely stay awake after 8 p.m., any infant depending on me for sustenance at 2 a.m. is going to starve.

Several things have come together recently to create this line of subconscious thought. In theory, anyway.

My husband found a box of his baby clothes in a closet at his mother's.*I saw the cutest pattern for baby booties that look like little Uggs yesterday.The gardening marathon lately must have me thinking fertile thoughts.
Really, what more do you need to conjure up images of diapers and sounds of babies cooing than that?  Heh.

My husband is a shrink, but I don't think I'm going to request an analysis of this dream. Best to let sleeping babies lie. Or lay. I always did confuse lie/lay.

Today is a gym day, and then I'm dropping off what I hope is the final proo…

Because I'm OCD like that

Okay, I'm going to start posting photo-a-day here beginning April 1. (No, I'm not joking.) Thanks for your input and I'll be sure to clearly label the photo posts with a date and subject so you don't have to look if you don't want to.

I do like things to be tidy and neat (usually, I'm having a little trouble finding time to clean my house lately), which is why I'm going to switch on the first day of the month.

The tidy-and-neat-and-wanting-to-finish-things-in-one-session character trait flaw got the best of me yesterday. It was another beautiful day here in the Middle of Nowhere, a perfect day to work on the new herb bed I'm putting in this spring.

Clicking on the link will take you to the beginning stages of the project, where we laid out the area and covered it with a kill mulch. We used a layer of cardboard, a layer of compost and a layer of straw, and then we used the area for composting over the winter. We stopped adding vegetable matter to it a co…

It's my blog and I can do what I want to

But I also want to know if I'll be driving you away.

I currently have three blogs. The first was the Shrinking Knitter, which I no longer update. It morphed into Knit. Run. Repeat., which was renamed Knit. Run. Reap. Eat. after I caught the gardening bug.

The third is my Project 365 blog. To make my life a teensy bit easier, I'm considering publishing my picture-a-day posts here instead of there.

What say you? Will it be annoying or does it not bother you in the slightest?

In other news, I got a little more of the garden tilled yesterday, weeded one row of onions and planted another. I'm very tempted to rake the straw off the strawberries and pull the weeds that have kind of overtaken that area of the garden, but it's still March, fercryinoutloud. Kinda early to expose them to nighttime temperature still in the 40s.

The daytime temperatures have been quite summerlike, lovely and energizing. The asparagus stalks are plentiful, even this early, and I pulled some of them …

Eleven weeks, nine pounds

Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, unless you're running a marathon. Then you'd probably better pick up the pace.

So. On the last day of winter, I mowed the lawn. Seriously, I'm pretty sure I've never cut the grass the first time in the season before spring actually arrived.

After yesterday's slow start, I ended up getting a LOT done.

Client meetingWorkoutGroceryWeeding a flower bedMowing the front lawn fieldTilling a little bit of the vegetable gardenDigging up three plantsMoving one of the plants to a new locationFixing dinner
Not a bad day after all. And seeing that I'm down a pound this morning from last week makes me think the first day of spring is starting out pretty well, too!

Except for the little bit of chest pain I had about half an hour ago.

It was scary, but it's gone now – completely gone, no worries, my husband's a doctor and believe me if he thought there was anything to worry about we would already be at the hospital. I've m…

A lazy Monday morning. So far.

If I don't get my ass in gear pretty soon the day will have completely slipped by and I will not have participated or accomplished a darned thing.

I scheduled a 10 a.m. client meeting three blocks away from the gym. That was a very good idea. Heh. Because I could easily, easily make this a pajama day.

I spent 90 minutes yesterday pulling weeds from the flower bed at the end of our driveway. I only quit because it started raining. And I'm not done. Which is frustrating and annoying, because I don't know when I'm going to have another 90 minutes to finish the job.

I'm the kind of person who wants to finish a project in one fell swoop. It's why I don't often sew. In fact, it's why I tend to collect supplies for a variety of crafts and activities rather than work on actual projects.

I'd love to be able to start and stop and start up again, but that's just not my nature. (I had to really really really rein myself in at the Democratic women's work…

50 years ago

Bob Dylan released his first album in March of 1962. I was 11. I didn't start listening to Dylan then. "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" got me started a couple years later. I still have that 45 RPM. Somewhere.

I imagine some of you are clicking away right about now. Dylan is underappreciated by many, because of his nasal vocals, his notable unwillingness to sing the same song twice in the same way, his moodiness and lack of discipline.

But I like him and it's my blog. So there. Heh.

When I got divorced the third time I decided I would take a little bit of my money that I was earning and begin collecting everything Dylan had recorded on CD. I had a lot of vinyl, pretty much skipped 8-tracks, only had a few cassettes. I much preferred listening to records but when CDs came along, well – I was hooked. I remember marveling at how simple it was to skip to my favorite track, without having to peer down and count the little stripes and then hope I didn't scratch the record…

Fresh from the garden. And the gym.

Seven spears of asparagus made it from the garden into our quiche for dinner, along with a couple of Egyptian onions. I'm anxious to plant some red and regular onions, but the earth is still too heavy and wet to work in. The quiche was delicious – whole wheat crust, fresh shrooms (from the market, I haven't gotten into growing my own. Yet.), Swiss cheese and cream from the cow down the road.

The gym was really crowded yesterday morning. I was following a couple of women around part of the circuit and ended up doing way more sets and reps than I usually do because they were chit-chatting more than they were working out. Oh, well, I think I'm the one who will end up benefitting from the workout.

The free-weight area also was busy. I'm very self-conscious back there. It's tucked around a corner from the main part of the gym, and I'm usually by myself. Yesterday there were three guys and another woman all working with weights and pulleys and stability balls. I man…

4 more

Both of you know I'm kinda crafty. My favorite hands-on hobby is knitting, of course, but I also like sewing, making jewelry (although I don't wear much), and creating handmade books, cards and stationery. I came up with an idea for a fundraiser for our county Democratic women's group, and last night was a work party.

I demonstrated the various steps to complete one of the little pins we're making, and then let each member choose which job she wanted to do. 'Cause that's the democratic way. Heh.

It worked out surprisingly well. Some were better with scissors, some didn't mind getting their hands dirty (ModPodge was involved) and everyone seemed to have a good time.

It was good for me to get out of the house for an evening, to not think about the CRAP that is ever present in my real life. It was fun to just hang out with these decidedly non-crafty women and watch them take ownership of the project, solve problems, work together.

I learned from that two-hour …

Many thanks ...

for your comments and concern. I really just need to get over myself and not get so caught up in what others are doing, thinking, saying and especially HOW THEY ARE BEHAVING.

The fact that someone else has been rude and hurtful doesn't mean I deserve it.

Clearly, sometimes criticism is warranted. There's no doubt about that. But I don't have to buy into it as Truth.

Is that obscure enough for ya?

I planted snow peas yesterday. Just one row, because I couldn't get the tiller started and had to dig the row with a shovel. And by tomorrow there will be enough asparagus to throw in an omelette or a quiche. I can't wait! But of course I will, because I want the amount of asparagus to be generous.

I saw this on Facebook this morning. Perfect. Thank you all again.

Out of balance

I was driving home last night from the AA meeting at the prison. The meeting was well-attended and the discussion was insightful and positive.

As I rounded a curve next to a steep drop-off, I saw my car veering off the road, tumbling down the hill and coming to rest on the train tracks below.

Obviously, it didn't happen or I wouldn't be here telling you about it this morning.

That's not all, though. I hit a nice, even straight stretch of road and visualized a deer bolting in front of the car. That's actually happened before, but I was able to avoid direct contact. The deer grazed off the front passenger side, leaving a few tufts of fur behind to remind me that night driving in West Virginia can be hazardous to a deer's health.

There are things going on I can't write about. No one in my family knows about this blog, but it could be discovered and I wouldn't want any of them to read about what's making me want to drop off the edge of a mountain. My husban…

Decisions, decisions

Tuesday. Weigh-in day. I woke up this morning with "will-I-or-won't-I" going through my head.

(Before I go on, may I just say I would much rather wake up with nothing in my head, or with something pleasant in my head, but waking up with "will I get on the scale or not" in my head is just WRONG.)

As both of you regular readers know, this past weekend included three-too-many restaurant meals, and none of them were good choices. I neglected to tell you that our Saturday lunch with family was at a – get ready – Mexican restaurant! (Not the whole, fresh, fabulous venue I'd assumed my daughter-in-law would choose.) My least favorite cuisine (dieting or not) for two consecutive meals (because I skipped Saturday's breakfast).

We also had a restaurant meal on the way home, and by that time I was tired and in one of those who-gives-a-rat's-ass moods anyway, so it was fast food all the way.

Which explains why I've felt so bad the last couple of days. It hi…

If I only had …

The characters in The Wizard of Oz knew their limitations and got just what they needed when they entered the Emerald City: courage, a brain, a heart.
All of the situations, issues and problems which are nearly crushing me these days would be less crushing if only I had more energy. I'm beginning to wonder if there's some kind of deficiency going on beneath the surface. 
I spent most of yesterday recovering from the previous day's eight-hour drive and visit with the youngest grandchildren. It shouldn't take a day to do that. It was such a beautiful day, the perfect day for pulling a few weeds, taking a walk, just being outdoors.
I'll give myself a little credit for laundering the bed linens. It was warm and sunny so I put the sheets out on the clothesline to dry. Boy, did I ever appreciate that extra effort when I went to sleep last night! The only other "work" I did yesterday was cutting back the dead asparagus fronds and frying eggs for my husband's…

So, so tired

Four toddlers will do that to you.
About an hour ago I started to perk up a little bit, so I went out to cut back the asparagus to make room for the new stuff which should be popping up soon. Imagine my surprise when I found this!
 And this!

It was April before we ate the first stalks last year.
The daffs are doing well, and the sedum looks great. I planted tons of creeping sedum last year and it's all come back. The lilacs are budding out, as are the apple trees and the redbud I planted in memory of my dad.
In other words, spring isn't tired at all! Yay!

It is what it is

You can't clean your plate at a Mexican restaurant and expect to see good results from the scale the following morning.

Also? If you're me, you can't not step on the scale, no matter how much you said you wouldn't.

That number is information only, reflecting one highly salted and, truth be told, not very delicious meal. The company was much better than the carne asada.

I will MOVE ON.

My husband and I are headed out to spend the day with his grandchildren and their parents. Once your children have children, the little ones are the focus of the visit for all the adults. We old folks want to play with and read to and delight in the little ones' antics, while the middle generation beams with pride and the babes love showing off for all of us.

We can't wait.

We're taking them out for lunch, and I'm sure the restaurant choice will be more healthful than was last night's. Their mama is very tuned in to fresh, whole, organic food, and we've always been…

Workin' for a living

I worked yesterday. I mean really worked, at the greenhouse, moving tiny petunia plants from plugs to flats filled with larger pots, then moving the flats to protected benches in another greenhouse. Standing, bending, lifting, walking, carrying … happy!

I wasn't there long, maybe four hours total. But it was certainly enough to get my mind off my troubles and put a nice ache in my shoulders. Just what I needed.

The really real part-time job begins in April, but I love doing production and said I'd be happy to help out until the garden center opens for the season. I also love the opportunity to get out of my own head for a few hours.

On tap for today: Laundry, a gym workout, cleaning the house, dinner out at a Mexican place. Not sure how that will work for South Beach but I've decided to follow Gingerzingi's lead – eat now and complain later. The couple we're meeting chose the venue, and since restaurants are few and far between in the Middle of Nowhere, I'm jus…

My heart hurts

Not literally, of course, or I'd be in the hospital and I'm not sure our hospital has wi-fi.

Without going into a lot of detail, one of the situations which is weighing heavily upon me (and yes, I know the South Beach lackluster results fit perfectly here!) is that someone I'm close to has hurt me.

She's going through a tough time right now. She doesn't have all the facts. She lashed out at me, I've accepted responsibility and apologized and I haven't heard a word since.

This is so reminiscent of the friendship that was lost a year ago. Except last year I was so speechless and I really had nothing to apologize for. This time I did.

This is a time to chant to myself: WWCD, WWCD, WWCD. "C" was my AA sponsor, who died last May. She would tell me that this person is going through a tough time and doesn't have all the facts. She would tell me I've done what I was supposed to do. She would tell me to Let It Go.

So I will.

Wiki Waterleaks

I would love for life to just even out for a while. Each individual issue my husband and I are dealing with would be manageable on its own, but there are so many piled atop one another that we find ourselves wanting to sell everything and run away.

Unfortunately, the issues are not appropriate blog fodder. Except, maybe, the water.

We have spent So. Much. Money. making sure water is both potable and available here in the Middle of Nowhere. In addition to money, it has cost me a friendship, which ended almost exactly a year ago.

Our water pump is located nearly half a mile from our house, down a steep hill or mini mountain, take your pick, in a cow pasture. You have to duck under an electric fence to get to the meter.

The bill for said meter has always been less than $10 a month. This month it was more than $200.

Houston, we have a problem. If the pump is running that much, there must be a leak, right?

The thing is, usually when we have a leak there's some evidence of it, and the e…

But enough about politics

Thanks for your comments yesterday, as well as the previous day. Bloggers love comments (hint, hint)! I left a reply, but I guess if you don't subscribe to the comments, you wouldn't know unless you came back and read the post again later. And who has time for that?

It looks as if the social-media pressure on Rush Limbaugh is working, in so many ways. Advertisers are bailing, stations have begun to drop the program and he continues to apologize. More importantly, President Obama's poll numbers are rising, particularly among women voters.

If only we could pressure Congress and get similar results.

My congressman is a Democrat, but he votes carefully so as not to upset the Southern Democrats who've kept him in office for 35 years. Don't get me wrong: I like him. I've met him, talked with him, visited his offices in West Virginia and in Washington, D.C. and will work hard to keep him in Congress. But he and the other moderates could and, in my opinion, should take …

What we've got here is failure to communicate

(I can't even type that subject line without hearing the Captain's slow drawl from Cool Hand Luke.)

Thanks so much for commenting yesterday. Your input reinforces my core belief that there are some savvy women out there who could whip this country into shape in a heartbeat, if only you were in charge.

I could barely tear myself away from Facebook yesterday, where the comments continued to mount up regarding what I am now calling The Limbaugh Incident. The amount of misinformation, beginning with El Rushbo himself, is staggering.

For instance, he apparently thinks birth control works like the little blue pill – you need to take one every time you have sex.

Many, many Facebook comments went along these lines:
I don't care if you take birth control, but don't make me pay for it! No one is saying birth control should be free, or paid for using taxpayers' funds. The issue is, as LG commented, whether insurance should cover it. As someone who has not used birth control f…

Question du jour: DIscuss

If you're against abortion, how can you also be against contraception?

I just read a Facebook comment and subsequent conversation which began with a woman saying she's suffered guilt and shame because abortion was "too easily accessible" when she was "young and vulnerable."

Well, I remember when abortions were illegal. You had to go undercover to a shady practitioner to get one, or travel long distances and spend a ton of money to find a reputable doctor willing to perform the procedure. You risked your future fertility and your life when abortion was not accessible.

No one is in favor of abortion. It's a gut-wrenching decision. Preventing abortions is a good idea, so should we encourage drug companies to develop "treatments" for raging hormones? Should we spend more research money to develop cures for the conditions that drive couples to terminate wanted, planned-for pregnancies?

Adoption is a good idea, too. I know several couples who have a…


Friday night used to be pizza night here in the Middle of Nowhere. Because of my new schedule, I'm going to move it to Thursday. This week, however, it's tonight.

Last week I tried a 100% whole-wheat crust to which I added wheat gluten, ground flaxseed and wheat germ. It tasted good, but it was heavy, dense. And the recipe only made enough for one crust.

My old recipe ( a combo of white and wheat flours) made two crusts, one for now and one to freeze, and the frozen one always had a better texture than the fresh one. Really, I should probably just spend one morning making pizza dough and freeze lots of them. That's how organized women do it, right? REALLY, I should probably spend THIS morning making pizza dough. Hmmm. Y'all are so good to help me plan my day. Heh.

I broke down and bought a bag of King Arthur White Wheat Flour – at almost $1/pound, it's pretty spendy, but it will work well in my favorite crust formula. I have onions, peppers, 'shrooms and olives…

And we're back

After 20 hours without power, everything started humming again. I wasn't here to celebrate; I was at a client's. A client who had power.

Another client meeting this morning, the gym afterward and then I need to really, really, really work on getting organized. Meal planning and decluttering are high on my list. You see, I will soon be employed.

I've worked part-time at a local garden center the last two summers, casually and only one or two days a week. But this year I'll be suiting up and showing up three days a week, doing both production (which I love) and sales (which I will learn to love). I'm excited! I've previously bartered my labor for their plants, but I'm officially on the books this year.

(This decision was a direct result of the raccoon incident. Had I been the bite victim, it would have been a horribly expensive Big Deal for the owners.)

Look what's up. I took a stroll around the garden yesterday and popping up above those winter weeds are…


If you're in recovery, you know what powerlessness is.

And if you live in the Middle of Nowhere and a tree falls on a power line, you *also* know what powerlessness is.

Today is an excellent time to practice the Serenity Prayer.

Also? It's hard to type a lengthy, bitchy post on a smartphone keyboard. You can thank me now for not trying to compose one. Heh.

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone