Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Week of April 26th

Hello Everyone!
Sorry for my absence. I have been fussing whether or not to keep writing. Mostly because I feel like I have so much more to learn on everything, and no time to do so. In a month I will have more time with the office closing, but I do have a little panic now if I could just focus better, have more time to organize better - then I would have a little more money in my wallet and maybe relax a little more. I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off, but I feel like Chicken Little in spurts daily.I guess this is the natural progression of a life change and come June 1st I will charge out of the gate, by September I will be laughing on how silly I am being now.

We finally found a buyer for the business. Long story short, the business isn't the easiest thing to sell given the promise to my mother, a deadline of June 1st. The first interested party for months jerked us around (and that is a very polite way to describe the events) and as my father sat getting notice that the buyer was declining the offer - it was hard to witness him deflating - nose diving. Within 20 minutes of discussion that we were just going to close the doors, he called a colleague out of a "what do I have to lose" moment - and was going to offer the customer list, just so he (my dad) could rest in retirement that he hadn't left anyone (customers) hanging. The colleague offered to buy. So that's a happy ending.

The past few weeks have been spent trying to figure out how to sell a small small business. Everything I have researched we are really too small to use what is read. So that's fun.

From there, I am trying so hard to just stay on top of the day to day. My parents need a little more care, the weeds - oh those weeds. I must have pulled 60 pounds of weeds last week. Good therapy though.

The above is a flower arrangement for a couple who invited us over for dinner. I cut was was prettiest from the yard, used a faux purple ball jar bought for a quarter at my favorite thrifting hole. I would like to give  thanks to Brandy for teaching me to look in my yard to gift. They were well received. 3 years ago I would have over paid at a grocery store for an arrangement believing what I had growing on my own wasn't good enough.

And that is the good right now from my keyhole perspective.
Until next time, look through the open door.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Week of the Mundane (April 5th)

What a weird week. First you are down, then a few minutes later such good falls and you are thanking the heavens, then back down- sore right back up...all week. I am hoping to end on a high note.

First, some willow branch wreaths. I would like to add more to them, and after the wind storm today, I don't think that will be an issue.
Soon to be decorated and hung on the front door, propped in a wheel barrow...decorating on the cheap.
Speaking of cheap...
The print was cut from one of my old (beat up/un needed) art books. Re-purposed mat, and a metal frame found in a free pile. My mom was with me at said pile and as I picked up the frame I got a "What would you use that for?" "Well Missy you just wait and see!"I said. I like this print, I think it was one of the main reasons why I hung onto the book so long.

Another free pile - a beautiful table lamp was scored. Pictures to follow.

I stopped at the discount grocery for some eggs at 3 dozen for 99¢. Now these eggs break my rule (I can't afford gentle farmed meat anymore, so I hold out by buying gentle farmed eggs) - but with $10 left in the grocery budget for the month of April and 4 eggs in the fridge, I put my scruples aside. I never have seen eggs this cheap, so I will go on it was a one time thing at a moment where I could really benefit. (And if you are muttering - whatever lets you sleep at night - I haven't been sleeping well - I doubt it is from that - but it might be a small, small reason). As I was leaving with my possibly guilt laded eggs, there was a cart of free strawberries. This place usually has a cart of free produce - that would serve as chicken food - so I usually walk on by - but that day I felt compelled to look - sure enough there were a few boxes that were in use/freeze that day condition, so I picked up a box (and froze).

Minor infractions this week included - a buggered knee trying out a new exercise, 2 loaves of the flattest English muffin bread (baked on 2 different nights) so  is it the yeast (that froths well) or did my bread machine call it quits? A bean soup made from scratch that wasn't edible and a grumpy digestive system because apparently I can no longer treat my body like a tent with food - so back to feeding it as a temple. On the plus side, the smell of fryer grease is a total turnoff since Saturday.

Until next time, have an apple a day. It's a good thing.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week of the mundane (March 29th)


The grays,greens and hints of red - oh my!

The rain is pouring, a bird calling out for a mate and it is muggy. Spring has arrived! Tomorrow it will be sunny and in the 70s before hitting the low 40s by the weekend. Tomorrow the peas are getting planted. It’s a local thing to plant sugar peas on the during the week of the 17th – one of the first things we can directly sew – well for the novice growers.

The green is just weeds.
I fall planted seed potatoes. I was hoping for a tiniest sprout, but haven’t seen anything yet. Maybe I am just to eager.
Kinda wish this was a potato plant

The rhubarb is growing bigger. Can’t say I am the biggest fan of rhubarb. It grows plentiful in my yard though, so I will be grateful. So far this delicious  cake  recipe (which to me tastes like apple cake with no sign of rhubarb taste) and rhubarb BBQ sauce – other than that - I don’t know how else to eat it. I made rhubarb jam, and will make it again, but I don’t really want too. Suggestions appreciated.

I started taking a yoga class. Well I started going. I went for the first time a few weeks back and it was a wonderful experience,  and for $5 (first timer fee) I wanted more. I am trying to justify going twice a month – which other than cash flow is very do-able. I have done yoga at home, but this place is so much better. It is a fine line of taking care of oneself in the present versus taking care of oneself towards end of life. But just to finish this ramble – how do you support your local businesses (because you want to) on a tight budget? It is a fun little of circle – keeping people employed all the while being mindful of saving.

Come one you know you naan some
This weekend we treated ourselves to homemade Dal Nirvana – if you need a new way to make lentils I highly recommend this. It is one of the few Indian recipes that I know of that doesn’t use curry. I made homemade naan to go with it. I need more practice (less flour) but all in all it tasted like a plate of leftovers from our favorite Indian restaurant. Sad leftover chicken chili (more broth than solids) was stretched from 2 servings to 3 by adding another can of cannelli beans – no one noticed. Tomato soup with toasted cheese. I made extra toasted cheese to pack for lunch. I found chicken breasts on sale. I haven’t cooked with them in a long time - chicken fajitas served on leftover naan. The leftover half of cup of peppers, onions and chicken were diced and added to a 3 egg omelette we shared. No leftover shall be left unappreciated.

 

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.