Thursday, March 23, 2017

Week of the Mundane (March 22nd)

Hello everyone!
There is an episode of the Golden Girls where Blanche is telling Dorthy of a mood she calls Magenta. Where one isn't green with envy or blue...grumpy but you don't want to be - Magenta! I chuckle every time I hear this segment. I guess I am feeling magenta. The sun is shining bright , its the end of March and bitter cold. I yearn to be outside. Pulling weeds, going for a walk..anything - if this wind would just die down. Mother nature just isn't ready yet, so I should just discard this magenta and be patient (would that be a lavender?)

So now that you know I am feeling way too cooped up, here's what I have been up to in a non office environment.

Mending small mends to list on Ebay. I replaced pant closure hooks, added belt loops to where belt loops were poorly removed (but just one set - not all of the loops - weird), shaved small pills off of a ponte dress. These 3 pieces netted about $30, costing about $10 to start/finish. Not a bad margin.

I had people over for dinner. Between heart healthy, GERD diets and picky taste buds - it took a week just to plan white fish, roasted potatoes and green beans. And wouldn't you know, there is now a white fish allergy to add to the list. How did something so simple become so difficult. Please note - health issues are legitimate, picky taste buds, need to be grateful.

I took the leftover fish, mushed it up with my hands and added it to a can of tuna. A half squeeze of mayo, some diced vegetables - this provided an upgraded tuna salad for healthy lunches. My new trick is to add more greens than meat. I've added the morning popcorn back into my routine - will revisit once the office closes. Jane, your comment is true, but it isn't fun.
What Jane said

And if you're wondering why I am so focused on weight/eating - once again - taking family to doctors appointments, I swear they put up the BMI posters just to mess with me.

Saturday, eastern PA is to reach the high 60's. if you need me, I will be out pulling weeds, wrangling yard sticks. When did pulling weeds become something to look forward to?

Until then, I hope you never experience the mood magenta.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Week of the mundane (March 16)

Happy 3 days until SPRING! We currently have  a foot of snow, with no warm weather in sight. Thankfully I cut these before the snow. I didn't notice until about last year the sweet smell daffodils have.

I finally finished these!
Add caption
I felt a little bad lifting another artist work with the first pouch - so the other 2 were original designs. I wish I had more pant legs to upcycle. These provided much relaxation while making. My zippers still need work, but I am seeing progress.

A year back, I found a needle point of Beatrix Potter rabbit at the pay by the pound. The yarn wasn’t with it, but I bought it anyway. Since then many trips later, 2 in particular, I found bags of the wool yarn needed to stitch. The colors I am going with are pretty close to what is needed. That is my latest keeping my hands busy/mind off of things evening work. Still working on the quilt, but I notice the more tired I am, the more stitches need ripped.Point of this story - I can be very patient.

homemade rhubarb jam on the bottom

We eat oatmeal mostly for breakfast during the work week. It is easy to make when you’re sleepy. I use it also as a way to get nuts into our diets. This way we get a small healthy portion and it fits in our budget. Our oatmeal consists of a heaping table spoon of jam, a pinch of brown sugar, a pinch of nuts, sprinkle of cinnamon.  If I can get a bite of sugar (jam) in the morning, I don’t seem to crave sweets throughout the day. I wonder if that is scientific???
Short post, I think I wore out my concentration on driving through the snow drifts (the down side of farm country).
Until next time, if you can plant your sugar peas, know that I am envious of you.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Week of the Mundane (March 8th)

Happy windy Wednesday!
The daffodils are blooming!!!! 12 more days until spring. I should be doing cartwheels, until my arthritis kicks in.HA!
I had a very nice week, I tried something new – instead of going into lock down with the fortress of solitude, I took a friend out for cheap $5 appetizers (she eats like a bird, so I did too.)It was one of those get together where the conversation really hit home, our ears re-opened to what the other was saying.
The following night I went out again – this time thanks to a gift card – I can’t be too crazy here. We talk 90 miles an hour; touch on a lot and walk away exhausted in a good way. The main discussion that night was the cost of groceries. She was mostly venting, so I really had to keep in check my inner Nimsie Know IT All. She shops at 2 of the priciest groceries (due to location convenience) and was fascinated about buying when on sale. *sigh.
The granola bars came recommended

The following day I went to the discount grocery for some fruit and odds and ends and it reminded me of the way my family would scrape off the green stickers, out of shame that my parents saved money by shopping there. I remember one time, we forgot the scrape the one off the ketchup bottle for a cookout – my brothers in-laws were fascinated with this green price sticker and really showed their lack of manners making over it. After that, my parents stood proud by their green stickered condiments.
20 years ago, there were 2 discount groceries in a 20 mile radius, now there are at least 8. 20 years ago if you saw someone you knew while shopping at the discount grocery, you might have knodded at them and went about your business. It was quite silly – everyone there was in a similar earnings bracket. Now, people clog the isles catching up with their neighbors.  I thought about how my friend would react if I took her shopping here. I think she’d scrape the stickers.

And now from the pantry: the staple banana muffin.
This makes 12 traditional sized muffins or 6 large (I doubled the recipe for what you see)
2-3 bananas – over ripe
1/3 cup oil or butter
1 ½ cup flour (I have used all white or a half/half of white and whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Optional/Recommended – 1 tsp ground flax, raisins (about ¾ c), nuts or a tsp of vanilla
Mix all together – batter will be thick. Fill muffin cups half way (these do not rise that tall) and bake 350°F for 25 minutes.
These make a nice semi dense (filling) sweet banana muffin. 
Who needs pre-made pancake mix?

And finally, I really should stay in touch with a family member – they aren’t much of a phone person, do not have email and enjoys snail mail. I forgot to mention they also LOOOOOVE Star Trek.  I pulled out some plain scrap book paper, pencil, a pair of scissor and glue.Entertained myself for a half hour making this. Isn’t life just wonderful with the simplest entertainment?
Until next time, try a cartwheel.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Week of the Mundane (Mar 1)

Hello everyone!
The past 7 days, Mother Nature is sure being fickle in which weather pattern to be in. In between the hail, and snow showers on the days where is was a breezy sunny 70 degrees - I raked Willow branches and after 2 unsuccessful attempts to compost at our local township yard waste stations, they are now back on the patio trying to blow back into the yard. It’s cool, more upper body exercise. Although lesson learned, just because there are a few nice days in February does not mean the yard waste facility will come out of its slumber.

So I reached that weight loss plateau. I am getting the unrequested advice to “Just eat less.” That is very simple to say. But just in case it is as simple to do as said – today I eliminated 200 calories from my diet by just having a piece of fruit instead of fruit and oil popped corn (mid morning office snack). and now I am hungry.

I also completed another pouch, and am on my way to getting the third done this week. I will also have a little fortress of solitude time this weekend, so hopefully I can finish piecing those quilt blocks. I am one of those that is super happy starting a project, and then gets tired of looking at it mid way. With other ideas running rampant in my head – like a corduroy/flannel vest for my dad, pj pants for the kids, canned soup for the dietary restricted uncle, I need to keep moving on this quilt.

With some leftover super dry mashed potatoes (not sure where I went wrong) Samosa patties were made.
Get your frustrations out mixing this up.

Here is the orginal recipe, since I didn’t need it to be vegan and there was sour cream already in the potatoes, the bread crumbs were leftover and needed to be used as well and I figured I would need an egg to bind the dryness – my version is as follows.
Here is the
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
¼ cup each of diced carrots, onions and peas
1 tsp curry powder
1 egg
Bread crumbs (about a half a cup)
Saute the diced veggies in a spritzed with oil skillet until tender (about 3 mins)
Let veggies cool for a few minutes, then add everything but the breadcrumbs and mashed with your hands or utensils. From there you will get about 6-7 patties – I would not go bigger than 2-2.5” diameter. Pinch bread crumbs on each side and press in with your hands as you go. Heat the skillet with 1-2 TBS oil and brown on each side for 3-5 minutes. I made mine a little too big so they took longer to heat through. I will say these are very reminiscent of Samosas without the fried dough around.
2 of these served with a large side salad were a hit - especially with the Mister - who the night before was quite surprised spaghetti with sauce (and topped with breadcrumbs) could be so good & vegetarian!

The business meeting went well and it will probably take a few more to complete the sale. I didn’t even get uppity when the buyer commented that our service tech would be a great asset, but me, not so much. I knew bookkeeper/receptionist/Girl Fridays are pretty well covered in established companies. That safety net though is officially off the table. Let me charge forward with Ebay and be happy. And Jane, thank you for helping that happen a little more.

Until next week – eat a piece of chocolate on my behalf.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A little dedication, since I can't afford a gold statue

Quite possibly because of the award season going around, I’ve been thinking about my friend. Well that and we had lunch last week. Regardless, I would love my friend to win a few of those gold statues – mostly so she could melt them down and get ahead – and because the woman is my inspiration.
Tiny back story:  We met about 25 years ago. She started working in my department, sitting at a desk in front of me. We were polite and then I noticed she seemed to think the shared trash can between us was hers. Actually, I thought it was mine, but I was sharing to be nice – so how dare she just assume she can come in and hog the waste basket. I did not think I would like her. Thankfully, I was wrong.
We became friends, and after I left that company, I missed her so much that I called her at her desk every day at 10 am. It was our thing for about 2 years. She is one of those people who just accept everyone for what they are. At one point when I needed to make a major decision – one of those that sets your path in life. I asked her what to do. Her response “Jen, I know you already made up your mind. The best thing I can do is be your friend.” And she was. I lost a lot of relationships from that decision, but not hers. Later on in our friend ship, being an idiot, I let her down. After really seeing the error of my ways – I apologized. Her response, “I know you’re sorry. The best thing you can do is be my friend.”

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

Douglas Noel Adams (1952 – 2001)

She puts everyone first, grouses very little and when she does, she ends with the silver lining of the situation. I am not kidding when I say she has seen and experienced a lot – a lot that would make some clutch their pearls and walk away. She experiences those with such grace and gratitude as if it was one of the better days.  You need a place to sleep, that’s fine – but please don’t leave toothpaste in the sink. Need a meal, she’ll gladly cook. Need some advice – she offers the best generic responses, purposely so – so you can figure it out yourself. She makes clich├ęs fun. She never asks for a thing in return, doesn’t ask for help, and is so thankful if you do for her anyway.

Back in October of 2015, when my world was starting to get a little wobbly, I sent her an email saying I was feeling low (I had no idea, no idea). And I would love any good news. She sent over this. 
I apologize, I do not have the original source

“Very nice and sweet, but that wasn’t what I was looking for – I've already counted my blessings”, I replied. Her response, “Well perhaps you aren’t as low as you think.” I love this woman.
A lot of people have come and gone from my life, some missed, some not. Her though, I selfishly pray for her good health and happiness. I shared this with her, and she smiled was amused I would dedicate a post to her, whatever. I hope that everyone has someone awesome as her in your life. And if you are raising an eyebrow because this is how people are in your part of the world...I am very envious.

*Incase you’re wondering how my memory is this good – I went back into my journal and email exchanges.

The day I can afford a gold statue (or save the value of - I mean lets skip the unnecessary steps) I hope you will join me over cucumber rolls as she accepts. 

Until next 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Week of the mundane (Feb 22, 2017)

Hello everyone!
The sun is shining and it is 70 degrees today. Makes sitting at this desk a bit hard. Someday soon I will have more time on my hands and probably miss this office - hopefully only a little.
This week I "crocked" up some vegetable broth from saved scraps while I was at work. When I got home, it was all done. I decided to pressure can it for practice and to save room in the freezer.
7 pints of goodness and a waffle to make up for it.
Since I decided to pressure can when I should have been prepping dinner - we ate a little later than planned.
7 pints of broth, 3rd time pressure canning, 1st time not having to refer to the how to pressure can book.
I made whole wheat waffles for breakfast the following morning as a treat. The Mister was quite happy.

With a raging head cold, I took things a little easy over the weekend. Why not practice sewing zippers? I don't know why I have issues machine sewing a zipper, but I do. This one though - while still not perfect - is the closest to perfect I have gotten (and with a raging head cold!).

Looks very pretty on my old stained ironing board cover :)
This is the pouch that was inspired from the Sundance Catalog a few posts back. One down, 2 more to make for friends this holiday season.

The remainder of this week is tissues, netti pots, green tea and a few naps. Oh - and the first meeting to sell the business. I have done so much math in the last 72 hours than I have all of last year (and with a raging head cold!). Not to fuss, today I finally feel on the mend.

Have a wonderful week - and be kind!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Week of the mundane (Feb 15th)

I am going to apologize in advance that there will be no photos in this post. Best intentions...
Please use your vivid imaginations where needed.

My big accomplishment for the week- I joked I cried 3 rivers. Today would have/is her birthday. In 6 days it will be the 2nd anniversary since she passed. 10 days ago, an adoption was started and 7 days ago the adoption fell through. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to (really & truly), and I might be indulging in a little extra sugar consumption (homemade marshmallows, with a swipe of PB dipped in dark chocolate).

I have been continuing work on my quilt blocks and have 4 done. Each will need to be trimmed down and I established that will be 18”(each). I am thinking 6 blocks will be plenty, spaced with some white (a thrifted bed sheet). This started as a gift for my uncle, but I am getting a bit attached so it will probably replace a quilt for the tv room. Since then I have spied a simpler quilt design for my uncle using fabric I have on hand.

Speaking of gifts, I’d gladly take any suggestions handmade gifts for men and 13 year old twin boys. I think I have already given the best ideas I have.

The dollar and penny challenge – are indeed a challenge. But I am sticking with according to the rules I set. My amusement of it is, I do need to spend something to get the change to actually place into the allotted containers. More than a few times it was a challenge to scour up 36/etc. cents since I really had no need to spend. I am driven to stick with it for commitment sake. Commitment and creativity I think are the 2 staples to live a well rounded frugal life. Maybe that is why frugality fails in my age group.

I visited my pay by the pound treasure trove and found 4 cashmere sweaters. They needed very minimal TLC and for a dollar a piece netted me $24 total. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. Isn’t that the truth.

Until next time…enjoy this day, and tomorrow and the next.