Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Promises, promises

Well, I didn't really promise you anything, so it's not like I broke one. But yesterday I did say I was going to walk AND clean AND mop.

Guess which one I didn't do?

My floors are sparkling, though!

Every time I do this major cleaning job – most of the floors in my house are laminate or tile – I say I'm going to keep up with daily maintenance. It takes less than 20 minutes to run a dust mop and maybe five more to use the carpet sweeper on the little area rugs in the entry way and in front of the sink.

That's 25 minutes I could be playing Dots. Heh.

I'm really going to try this time. Waiting until it's just too awful to live with isn't working for me. Discipline! Resolve! Commitment!

More major cleaning on the agenda today, but not as major as an acre of flooring. (I exaggerate slightly.) I haven't walked in three days, so I will promise to get one in today. We have another nice, cool day in store. As I said yesterday, it would be a shame to waste this weather staying indoors.

Film at 11. Or maybe 9. While Gingerzingi got a good night's sleep last night, mine was disrupted and fitful. I also went to bed at 9, but was still semi-awake at midnight and wide awake at 5 a.m. So film at 11 is doubtful.

And that's what's up here in the Middle of Nowhere. Have a good day, y'all.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The storm that wasn't

I'm absolutely not complaining. Let me get that out of the way right off the bat.

The weather forecast yesterday morning was dire, indeed. Big storms headed our way from the west, with high winds and lots of thunder, lightning and rain.

Boy, do we need the rain.

We did get a little, half an inch fairly early in the day. And then we waited and prepped and watched the skies. They got lighter. And clearer. The sun popped out. And the mountains to our west literally diverted those storms around us. Some went south, while others went north. We remained in the clear, despite my vessels of water and extra thermos of coffee and five loads of laundry DONE.

I'm really grateful we didn't get hit.

But we could have used a little more rain.

I experimented with dinner a bit, and I'm paying for it. A meal of ground beef with vegetables and rice has my right hip aching again, a pain I haven't had in a very long time. I can attribute it to nothing else but food.

Lesson learned.

My big physical activity yesterday (hah!) was finally pulling out the rest of the volunteer dill plants littering the front flower beds. Even with all the weeds crowding in there, it looks a zillion times better than it did when five-foot tall stalks of dill were obstructing the view.
I don't even like dill. I planted a little bit four years ago so I could add a lovely head of dill to each beautiful jar of pickles I canned that year. That's all I ever use it for. But dill self-seeds like crazy, and you never know where it's going to pop up. Or when. I haven't planted any new dill in four years.

And this is half of this year's harvest. I pulled the other half a couple weeks ago.
Today I will be walking and vacuuming and mopping, I hope. Seems like lately when I take a long walk I'm not much good for anything else, and when I do anything else strenuous or time-consuming I don't walk. But it's going to be a delightful day outside, one I don't want to waste. I guess I'll suck it up and ENJOY!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I've been purging

No, not that kind of purging.

I've been on a cleaning-and-getting-rid-of-stuff kick lately, which has been as good for my soul as it's been for my cluttered home.

When I was working as a graphic designer in Ohio, I had quite a library of technique and idea books. Color theory, type design, writing ad copy, layout ideas – you name it, I bought it. I didn't go to design school and the only graphic class I took in the two years of college I attended was learning to run a printing press.

And oh, what fun that was!

So I bought the books to teach myself, and I think I was a pretty valuable employee, eventually working my way up to the position of Senior Ad Designer for a chain of central Ohio newspapers.

I left Columbus more than 17 years ago. My freelance graphic design career here in southern West Virginia has included some paying customers, but nearly everything I do now is voluntary. I've managed to keep up with the technology without spending a ton of money on software or hardware – which is the distinct advantage of working for a company!

All of that to say that I'm getting rid of those beloved design books which relied on handset type and hand-drawn roughs and wax and masks and ruling pens, oh my. Computers revolutionized ad design; my books might find a market at the library's book sale this fall as curiosities. So this is how they used to do that! Nowadays it's click-drag-DONE!

I donated a bunch of knitting books to last year's sale, but I still have more than I need. The internet has transformed the world of knitting as much as computers transformed graphic design. Need a pattern? A Google search turns up thousands, some free, some for sale, all professional formatted and most with multiple photos to illustrate both technique and finished product.

Yes, the minimalist movement has made it to the Middle of Nowhere.

The goal is to eventually remove a wall of bookshelves in the bedroom and store all the books we truly want to keep on built-ins in the living room. If we were truly minimalist, we'd get along with e-books, I suppose, but there are printed volumes I'll never (I say now) be able to get rid of.

Who knows, though. Maybe the more stuff I release into the world, the lighter and happier I'll be. Someday you'll find me in a hammock with a Kindle, spending my time soaking up knowledge or being entertained by a fantastic piece of fiction (The Goldfinch qualifies) rather than rearranging shelves of unread tomes.

Hmmm. Maybe I could put the feather duster in that box, too. Less dusting = more time for reading!

Friday, July 25, 2014

July 25 - Home

I'm reluctant to post major identifiers when dealing with prompts like today's.
Thus the obscure distance shot, which anyone who knows me personally can find.
But hopefully no bad guys. Heh.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Well, THAT was fun!

I haven't been back to my hometown in many years. Wilmington, Ohio, is not where I was born, nor where I went to my early grade-school years. I moved there when I was 10, and graduated from high school there in 1969.

Forty-five years ago.

And my, my, how it's changed from the last time I was there.

Six rooms and one bath were all my family of five needed when 
I was growing up. I used to climb the maple tree in the front yard 
with an armload of books in the summer and read all day.
The library and high school are much, much larger, and one elementary school is completely gone, transformed into a park. It had the best sledding hill in town when I was a child, and was within walking distance of the house where I grew up.

Downtown has been spruced up while chain stores and fast-food joints ring the perimeter of the city. Wilmington College's campus is just as lovely as it's always been, an oasis of green grass and stately old trees, right before the commercial sprawl begins.

My classmates gathered on both Friday and Saturday evenings, and I was so happy to see old friends again. The differences in background and social standing fall away as we get older. All those things which separated us decades ago are distilled into one fact: We grew up in Wilmington. We graduated high school in 1969. We made it back to remember, catch up and, hopefully, stay in touch.

I got lots of compliments on how I haven't changed. My friends are so polite! We've all changed, a lot, but I was grateful for their kind words and name tags helped a lot.
Me, 1969 and 2014. BIG difference!
I'm so glad I went. It's a long drive from southern West Virginia to southwest Ohio, but it was so worth the effort. There's talk of planning an annual event from now on, and I'd certainly love to go if that happens. The reunion committee did a wonderful job. I can't thank them enough for creating more great memories.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Forty-five years

So how is it that I've been out of high school for 45 years now? I don't feel that old, believe me.

Well, most of the time anyway. Heh. I hurt my back earlier in the week and, yes, lower back pain does kinda make you feel old … er. [It also keeps you immobile. I managed to get three miles in yesterday and hope to get four in today, but this will be a very light walking week, all in all.]

Wilmington (Ohio) High School, great expanded from when
I graduated in 1969. When I was in school, girls had to wear
dresses and skirts could be no shorter than two inches above
the knees. And, yes, they measured! Sports team members wore
coats and ties on game day. Do athletes still do that nowadays?
Most of the time I think I could pop back into the halls of old WHS and fit right in with my pals. There were six of us who were inseparable back then. We started hanging out together in junior high (now known as middle school, so that tells you how I old I really am), and spent the next six years getting through a young girl's life events together.

And tomorrow I get to see them all again.

Yes, it's high-school reunion time in Wil City.

I've reconnected with a couple classmates through Facebook, and am looking forward to the up-close-and-personal weekend to renew old friendships.

Today is super busy, with both lunch and dinner meetings, so the walk will have to happen this morning and I guess I'll pack my bag this afternoon. No blogging will happen unless I'm really inspired.

Which, I'm sure both of you have noticed, I haven't been lately. But inspiration waxes and wanes and I'm sure my writing mojo back will return one of these days.

Have a good weekend, y'all. I'm sure planning to!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Too busy to blog

When life gets really really busy, the first thing to go is checking my e-mail. I glance at it daily and take care of what needs to be taken care of, but my inbox is back up to 500+ again, after I'd gotten it back to a manageable size a couple weeks ago. It doesn't take long.

And when life gets really really really busy, I don't have time to blog, either. I didn't even take a photos a couple days this week. So NaBloPoMo for July is already a bust.

But I'm back on the horse, at least this week. I leave Friday for my high-school class reunion in Ohio (where have the last 45 years gone!), but will probably have time to post from the hotel. I'll have lots of down time, which will be most welcome.

That's me on the left, my husband is partially
hidden behind me and a member of our county
Democratic Executive committee is sitting
on my left. If your group needs a custom-printed
banner, I can highly recommend the quality,
price and turnaround time from Shindigz.
Down time has been in short supply lately, because our Democratic women's group had a booth at the John Henry Days festival yesterday. All the planning and preparation really paid off, as we had a great time and our parade entry won second place in the political category! Decorating our truck reminded me of homecoming floats during high school – throwback Saturday, maybe?

Now that the event is over, life can get back to a more normal pace. The weather for the next few days is forecast to be lovely – thank you, polar vortex! I'll take temperatures in the low 80s in July any every year! We haven't had much rain, but that's scheduled to change, as well. Hopefully a little moisture will get the blackberries to ripen and encourage more zucchini production. (I know, most people have too much, but mine is just getting started and I. Want. More.)

Lately I've been wanting to eat something other than bacon and eggs for breakfast, so I noodled around the internets and found an oddly satisfying paleo-friendly "pudding." It's filling and satisfying. And also kind of magical.

Click here for the recipe. I've adapted it more to my taste, replacing the citrus zest with cinnamon (which I add before serving) and using whatever fruit I have on hand – lately it's been bananas or strawberries.

The recipe made enough for me to enjoy it for four straight days, so it's economical, as well. The magic comes from the way the chia seeds thicken the almond milk. I was skeptical, but it really does work. And I was able to skip lunch a couple of days – not by choice, but simply because I didn't have time – and not feel hungry at all.

Chia seed pudding for the win!


July 8-11 - Photos

I've Never

The woods from which the full-grown black bear recently came.
I've never been so scared!

Alive

Hoping to keep this new plant alive in a spot where astilbe has failed spectacularly.
The deer managed to prune it before I got it in the ground.

Sharp

Thistle. It's all over the place here. You'd think we were Scotland.

Gold

Wild black-eyed susans also are all over the place here. And the cultivated ones
in my front yard perennial bed are spectacular this year!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Surprise, surprise

My 4th of July weekend was off the rails as far as food goes. Completely. Utterly. I'd decided ahead of time to just roll with it, taking into consideration the fact that one evening we would be picnicking and that a birthday party was happening two days later.

I haven't eaten than many carbs in that short a time in more than a year and a half. I'll spare you the food porn. But there was cake.

The good part is my weight, which I haven't checked since sometime last week, stayed the same. I may even be down a pound. I didn't write the number down last week, but I'm definitely in the same ball park.

The other good part is that eating all those carbs made me feel horrible. Why is that good? It's a great reminder that choosing to eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods WORKS FOR ME. I may not have celiac disease or diabetes, but gluten and sugar make me feel bad. I had a strange-but-short (thankfully!) bout of nausea Sunday morning. I found myself zoning out at times, unable to pay attention to what was going on around me. (This happened twice, both times when I was part of a larger group of people.) I can only attribute those feelings to the change in diet.

I took a couple nice walks while I was gone. The usual North Carolina-in-July heat and humidity postponed its arrival until I left the state. The weekend weather was surprisingly lovely.

Other than feeling bad from eating food I wasn't used to, I had a wonderful time. It's good to get away once in a while.

But it's good to be home, too. My little Hershey dog was beside herself when I got out of the car. I love how dogs are happy to see you with their entire bodies. She doesn't act like that when I come home from a trip to the grocery, but she certainly misses me when I'm gone overnight.

Truth be told: I miss her, too.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3 - Match

Going for the obvious … matching matches.

My mid-year mileage

I really like the MapMyRun app, and appreciate not having to figure out mileage and time and splits and pace using my questionable mathy skills, which have atrophied over time and which were never my strong suit anyway. I was probably in the art room when I should have been learning long division.

A couple days ago I got a MapMyRun mid-year total.
And when I used my remaining mathy skills, I determined that I've averaged 4.4 miles per workout this year. With 181 days and 829 miles to go in 2014, it's not likely I'll make the 1500-mile goal I recently abandoned. But I could probably do better than last year's 1300.

Heh.

See how crazy I am? That I would even do the math and try to figure it out and what was I thinking?!?!?

Well, who knew we'd have such a brutal winter and I'd lose a month of walking days because of snow and ice and cold, oh my?

Those numbers make me feel good, but they really don't matter. What matters is I'm still committed to walking as frequently as I can, for as long as I'm able. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1 - Red+White

From my walk ... fits the prompt ... some of these are harder than others.

So I signed up for NaBloPoMo again …

and this morning I find I have nothing to say.

Nothing. But here goes anyway, with apologies for the boring content.

So … it still hasn't rained. I keep waiting. We keep getting alerts that it's going to rain, but it doesn't. Or it just sprinkles a teeny bit and then it's done. Other parts of the country are deluged. I guess that's the way it goes with the weather.

I ended up not walking those extra five miles yesterday because I had to go to town and run errands in the morning and it was hot as HELL by the time I got home.

Our state federation of Democratic women holds an annual meeting every fall, and one of our main revenue sources is selling ads in the program book. While I was in town I made a trip through the courthouse and sold four half-page ads in less than half an hour! Had some great conversations along the way.

It gives me a smidgen of hope that Democrats might actually get out and vote in an off-year election. We surely need them to do just that this year.

I'm not going to say anything about yesterday's Supreme Court decision, other than that I'm a) not all that surprised, b) disappointed and c) more convinced than I've ever been that this country needs to adopt a single-payer health care delivery system. If we have to accomplish it state by state, so be it. But we need to do it.

And I think that's it. Time to walk before hot as HELL, the sequel, descends upon us.