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Showing posts from October, 2014

Morning has broken

Until my friend Wendy got her new iPhone, I didn't realize my Samsung Galaxy S4 had a panoramic option on the camera. I'd never even explored all the camera modes.

When I looked outside this morning as the morning light overtook the darkness, I saw the perfect vista for trying it out.

And the coolest thing is, the camera goes back to Auto Mode on its own … so I'm not taking a panorama the next time I snap a photo.

We had lovely weather yesterday. I did laundry and took a walk. On my way back from the walk I started feeling ill, and all I could do for the rest of the day was … rest.

But I'm back to normal this morning and the plan is to walk and mow. I'll be out of town for a few days – my husband and Hershey will be holding down the fort – but might get a chance to check in while I'm gone.

One thing I MUST do today is put the remaining spaghetti and butternut squashes in the garage. It's supposed to go below freezing one night while I'm gone, and I'…


I voted last Wednesday, West Virginia's first day of early voting for the general election this year, but there still are nine days until Election Day and another six days to vote early. There's really no excuse not to vote. Yes, Summers County is a large area and yes, there's only one early voting location – the county courthouse in Hinton – but I'm thinking nearly everyone needs to go to Hinton for something in the two weeks prior to November 4.

I could be wrong, of course. Now that I write that, I know one self-sufficient couple who studiously avoids Hinton, choosing to drive much farther to the next county for their few purchased necessities.

At any rate … early voting has probably been going on in your state, as well, and I hope that – if you're not able to take advantage of it – you'll show up on Election Day and exercise your fundamental right to have a voice in your governance. As money continues to buy politicians and sway the political process, I'…

On my wishlist

I pretty much have everything I need and want. I'm not pining away for any kind of new this or that stuff. But I would like for a few things to happen, preferably without my having to work too hard at it.

First, always first, is to achieve a weight-loss goal and then maintain it. I was sooooo close last year. Within 12 pounds. And now it's back to 20+. Which is better than 50+, to be sure, and I'm catching it earlier than I did a couple years ago. Those of you who struggle with weight loss know how much easier it is to put it on than to take it off.

I feel like I'm heading in the right direction, and the election season is almost over, which will help free up my time and energy to get back to basics. And to get back to walking daily.

Next … about that election … I really hope the Democrat message has been strong, persistent and positive enough to retain our majority in the state legislature, add a seat in Congress and keep retiring Jay Rockefeller's seat in the blue…

Somehow or another

I don't push this blog much. Most of the time I post a link to it from my Facebook page, but sometimes I forget to do that. I try to comment on others' blogs – a known way to steer traffic to one's own – but I'm not very good about that, either, especially lately.

I use the blog to brain dump and to remember stuff. I've been able to find the exact date something happened (derecho, anyone?) or a minor detail (was it 9 or 11 days we were without electricity and water?) in seconds with a targeted search.

Might not be as good for my brain, but it's great for my patience!

I also don't check my stats very often, because I'm not working too hard to be the world's most popular blogger. But I checked this morning and for some reason my knitting page is suddenly very popular. The majority of yesterday's referrals are from Ravelry.

Knowing where the starting point is doesn't answer the how or the why, though. Someone out there must have mentioned those…

You never know

When you're planning a large public event, you never know how many people will show up. How much food should you buy? How much coffee do you need to make? How many plates, cups, napkins, bowls? HOW MUCH FOOD?

We ran out of mac & cheese, slaw and chips last night at our Get Out The Vote Rally and Pig Roast, but there was plenty of pulled pork and soup beans for the latecomers. People just kept showing up, from 5 p.m. until well after 7.

All of us who helped plan it are very pleased, this morning after, with the turnout, the donations, the enthusiasm and the promises to vote for Democrats.

Actually I haven't talked to any of the rest of them, but I feel certain they're happy with the outcome. And I guarantee they're happy it's over and I double-guarantee they're happy (as am I) that Election Day is two weeks from today.

Early voting in West Virginia begins tomorrow. I plan to be there.

We had a lot of fun with a Gender Equality Bake Sale, too, and made our po…

Early adapter

Well, Apple updated its OS again. I wouldn't have known about it, probably, because I certainly wasn't looking. But since I saw the notice – somewhere, I don't even remember where – I OF COURSE immediately downloaded the update.

Immediately, of course, being a relative term, since millions of us were all downloading it at the same time. It literally took more than A DAY to update the OS and all the other applications that were affected.

So far, so good, even though my MacBookAir is pretty old. (The general rule of thumb is if your hardware is more than two years old, a new OS may not work all that well.)

The best best best thing, so far, is how much more hard drive space I have! Installing Yosemite reclaimed about 8GB. Once I find time to go through and delete the obscure, never-played, get-it-free songs on iTunes, I should have at least that much more.

I like to think my hard drive has a food baby, and once we get that digested it will get back to its slim and efficient …

Still here …

Still busy.

Still walking.

Still on track with the eating plan.

Still sleeping well (early to bed, early to rise).


Astonishingly, I've lost SIX pounds the last couple weeks. I reset my goal on my little weight monitor app and am starting anew. Again. I may never make my high-school weight again, but I can get close and I'll be much more fit than I was then.

One thing that's really been helpful is that rack of spaghetti and butternut squashes on my back porch. It's so great to have them "in stock." It's what I love most about gardening – not having to go to the market. When I had that huge, fabulous garden four years ago, I was able to preserve enough food to last four or five months plus eat my fill during the summer.

My garden is half the size it used to be and the deer ravage it every year. I was warned they would, as time went by, so my challenge next spring will be to container-garden the tomatoes and peppers and use the garden space for c…

This soup is the BOMB

My husband's birthday was yesterday, and I usually make him the copycat version of Outback's Walkabout Soup. It's a cheesy onion soup and takes a lot of prep work (All. Those. Onions.), but he loves it and deserves something special on his special day.

He asked me this year if we could have butternut squash soup instead. I'm not sure why he wanted to switch, but squash soup is much easier to make, so I said, "Sure, honey. Whatever you want!"

I wanted to do something different from our usually curried version, though, and came up with THE best soup we've ever eaten.


Who doesn't love a thick, creamy, savory soup on a dreary, rainy day?

From memory, here's how it went down. Best made on a lazy day when you're not in a hurry.

Squash Bomb Soup

1 large or 2 small butternut squash
1 pound mild ground sausage
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tblsp dried sage
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Rinse the squash b…

Soaker. Or not.

Looks like another all-day rain today, and I will definitely be hitting the rowing machine. There's enough water out there I could probably row through some of the ditches around here, if the ditch was wide enough. And if I had a rowboat.

I cleaned the garage yesterday. Didn't really de-clutter it much, but moved things around and swept. It was quite Halloween-y at times. I would move, say, a box and a dozen of those big black spiders would leap around, indignant at my disturbing their sleep! They are TRULY CREEPY, especially when a dozen of them start skittering around in front of you at the same time.


Actually, another look at the radar shows it will probably stop raining, but it doesn't seem like the clouds are going to disperse. A cloudy-day walk is fine, though.

Either way, I'll be doing some kind of intentional activity today and I will enjoy it. Not for what will happen eventually, but because I truly do like how I feel when I move and use my limbs and musc…

So how's that workin' for you?

My tea experiment is over. Done. Finished. OVER!

Yesterday was the third day, and I grazed I don't think I ever wasn't eating something. Some of those foods were on-plan, but most of it was completely ridiculous.

Here's the thing: I like coffee. And I was feeling left-out and deprived by limiting myself to one mug a day, and then switching to herb tea. I wasn't enjoying making it, and I wasn't enjoying drinking it.

If you're not enjoying what you're doing and you're eating all day to make up for it – well, it's just not working. I don't feel a bit bad about myself for throwing in the tea towel after just three days.

My first-thing-this-morning decision to drink as much coffee as I want comes on the heels of reading a magazine article before I went to sleep last night. I don't subscribe to Paleo magazine, but I was given an issue last year and keep going back to one piece, by Adam Farrah, in which he writes:
It's the same wit…

A little breathing room

Last night my husband and I and several friends hosted a reception and fundraiser for a House of Delegates candidate here in our district. I've spent a lot of time this week thinking, planning, preparing, and putting things together for it, and now that it's over I'm left with … ungodly amounts of crackers.

It's a darned good thing I know and don't like how eating grains affects me. The prospect of stiff, aching hip and shoulder joints should keep me out of the supply. Besides … crackers? Meh. They're easily procured, should we run out and I decide I absolutely have to have one.

We brought lots of cheese home, as well, which my husband enjoys but which we don't often have on hand. Most of it went into the freezer. Dairy doesn't bother me in the same way grains do, but since my weight has decided to stay where it is, instead of going down – as I'd like it to – I'm going to avoid it as if it were a rare, disease-causing bacteria.

Also? Cheese, lik…

Doing WELL

I've missed one walk this week, when I really needed a down day. Burning the candle at both ends really takes it out of me and a recent rest day felt good. But I've MADE time to walk every other day and I know it's good for my body and my mind.

And because we're having such a beautiful fall this year, it's good for my soul, as well.

I'm still running behind on reading others' blogs and I apologize for that. It won't be long until life returns to whatever normal looks like.

I read yet another article a couple days ago suggesting caffeine might inhibit weight loss. Since I'm doing everything else by the book and the extra pounds aren't budging, I'm going to cut back gradually with the idea of switching completely to herb tea within a couple weeks. I don't have time for withdrawal headaches right now by going cold turkey.

The thing I love most about coffee is that it's right there, hot and ready to pour. Tea is a process: heating the wa…

One down, mumble-mumble to go

I've spent the last couple weeks trying to get organized for a month of upcoming events. Yesterday afternoon I crossed the first event off the list. I'd love to feel confident about conducting meetings and making sure all my ducks are in a row, but I end up just feeling scattered and wishing I'd done things better/differently/over.

But it's done. So there's that.

To add to the FUN around here last week, I agreed to do a short video for my friend's pottery business. And it really was fun. I haven't made a "movie" in years and years. I used to do lots of them – and people paid me! – for graduations, birthdays, etc., but the technology has improved so much that most folks can DIY them now.

Marcia, who's been blind since birth, can't, and so I'm always happy to help her when she needs anything to help promote her gallery.

Yesterday's meeting wasn't until 3 in the afternoon, so I decided, "Hey! Why not make another short video!…

Frost warning! Already!

I saw a weather alert on my phone when I woke up this morning. There's a chance of frost tonight. The temperature right now (7:30-ish) is 52 – and that's the predicted high for the day.

You know what the first frost means, don't you?


I still have some in the freezer from last year, and it doesn't hurt horseradish root to stay in the ground, so I'm not planning to process any tomorrow.

But I could!

I planted some in the herb bed – which will, next year, be a flower bed (I hope!) – and when I mowed everything down a couple weeks ago, the horseradish (and lemon balm and onions) popped right back up. Along with some reseeded cilantro, which was a pleasant surprise.

Fortunately this first frost is not the beginning of cold weather. The 10-day forecast is for pleasant weather with moderate high temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s.

Pretty perfect, in my opinion.

Twenty-one hours ago …

I pulled out of the garage yesterday morning at 9:30, headed to a meeting at which I put together an invitation to a reception/fundraiser for one of our House of Delegate candidates. Others there put together the guest list.

At 6:30 this morning I stamped the hundredth post card. In that 21 hours, I also took a four-mile walk, prepared and ate dinner and slept from 8:30 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. (Early to bed, early to rise!) The actual post card work – designing, printing, attaching stamps – didn't take an inordinate amount of time. (I always have to refresh my skill set on how to print addresses on the cards, though. I didn't want to go through the extra step of printing and attaching labels.)

Finding addresses? Oh. My. Goodness.

But it's done, with a little help from a friend and I'm still missing two, and I'll try to get someone to find those today. I've exhausted my resources and I'm done looking.

I'm ready for this election to be over, …

Still here, still slammed

Five more weeks. Actually four weeks and five days.


It's only going to get busier as the days fly by until Election Day. West Virginia is the new North Carolina: the Koch Brothers are pouring millions of dollars into negative commercials that run back-to-back-to-back on television, just as they did in 2012 in the Tarheel State. They were successful then, and there.

What we Democrats are hoping is that the TV stations and ad agencies who are producing and airing all these spots will prosper, and the Koch boys will get nothing for their investment.

And we're doing everything in our power to make sure that's the eventual outcome.

We've collected seven or eight large four-color mailers (good for the postal system!) flogging our Congressman, Nick Rahall. He's been great for southern WV and has many years of seniority, a valuable commodity in Washington, DC. His opponent switched from GOP to Dem to run for our state Senate, and then switched again …