Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Meg is laying on the bedroom floor…




5:10 am, somewhere in central California: our intrepid heroine is snuggled under the comforter with her cat-kids, blissfully sleeping to the sounds of purring & gentle rain falling on the roof.

Suddenly, a voice pierces through the veil of slumber-

Uh, Meg, could you give me a hand?

As she attempts to pry her eyelids open, the first conscious thought is:

Go away- I don’t have to get up yet!

followed swiftly by:

Who turned the *&^%$#@! bedroom light on?

Slowly, as her vision begins to clear, the face of her beloved husband comes into focus, peering at her from about a foot away (third conscious thought “I certainly hope he’s brushed his teeth already!”) It takes only a split second to realize something is different- there are strange shadows along his neck & chest…the side of his head seems to be wrapped in a red striped towel…only they don’t have any red striped towels…

Fully awake now, she pops straight up, smacking foreheads with her ever-lovin’; once the virtual meteor shower dies down, he explains that he nicked his earlobe while shaving in the shower (without a mirror- big twit) & can’t seem to stem the flow long enough to get a bandage on it.

Okay then- her devoted spouse requires first aid- no problem.

Well, except one small thing- hardly worth mentioning.

Meg doesn’t do blood.


Boom-boom, out-go-the-lights time; really not dignified at all.

But, a loved one is in need, so into the fray she goes.

She follows him into the bathroom, lays out all the supplies on the counter, & turns to face the patient; he removes the bloodstained washcloth from his ear & she begins to wash away the bright red marks covering his neck & shoulder, when blood begins to ooze again, dripping on her hand.

All of a sudden, there are stars sparkling in her peripheral vision & the sound of buzzing hornets in her head; seeing her visibly paled countenance, her better half slaps a wad of tissues to his head, yells for the young son-and-heir to haul tuckus in here, & leads her quickly back to the bedroom, suggests that she might want to lay down for a minute. Their son, remembering his first aid course, advises that her feet need to be raised above the heart, but there aren’t enough pillows, so…

5:25 am finds the lady of the house arranged at the foot of the bed, feet propped on the blanket chest & the comforter draped across her form, while the cats stare in a confused fashion & her men folk are in the bathroom, patching up Dad’s ear & doing their level best not to giggle.

The Queen is not amused.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eight days to deadline & I’m only halfway there…

Due to a huge mistake I made 18 months ago & only caught on Thursday (no, there is no way I can blame it on anyone else, because others steadfastly refuse to share the in the annual responsibility), my 25 property report has become a 160 property report, with the same due date & guaranteed associated fines.

Crap. Baring teeth

Crisis mode has taken effect & my co-workers will be flying to my aid, taking over the majority of my daily duties, until I can get the report done.

Once I recover, that is.

Yes, I succumbed to Sam’s flu bug; I don’t have it as bad as he did, but I’m sick enough to stay out of the office for the past two days. On the one hand, I know I could be toughing it out & working after hours, so as not to infect everyone; one the other hand, I know it will be there waiting for me when I’m feeling better.

Duty or comfort?

I’d rather make applesauce.

Don’t look so impressed~ it really is quite easy. Saturday morning, Chris & I took off for our postponed trip to Apple Hill, & came home with all sorts of goodies, including this great antique apple crate & a quarter bushel of apples (approximately 30 medium sized). I picked out a mixture of mostly tart apples, with a couple sweeter ones thrown in: Granny Smith, Red Rome, Gala, Fuji, Winesap, & Arkansas Black.

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First step is to wash & peel the apples; I rough-peel mine, leaving bits of skin, because, well, I’m lazy & I like the skin. Next you need to remove the cores, using a handy-dandy apple corer (definitely worth the $5 investment) which also slices it into wedges- all that’s left is to chop them a bit more.

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I like chunky applesauce, so mine are cut into one inch cubes- cut them up smaller if you like a smoother texture. Toss them into a thick-bottomed dutch oven or large saucepan, add about an inch of water or unsweetened apple juice, & put the lid on it.

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Bring the mixture to a full boil, then turn it down to low & cook until the apples are soft, maybe 10 minutes. Stir them first with a wooden spoon to check the consistency- notice that most of it has broken down into sauce texture- & if you want it smoother, either cook another 5-10 minutes or use a masher like I do.

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At this point, add sugar to taste if you want- I use about a quarter cup of brown sugar if it’s really tart- & put in your seasoning; I use about ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, my favorite, per 8 cups of applesauce.

Now you are pretty well done; put your sauce into sterilized quart jars & it will keep in the fridge for a month. Or you can take the next step & hot bath can them, which will preserve it for 18 months- its super simple & worth the extra 30 minutes or so of work time. Fill a large, deep pot with water & heat to boiling, while boiling the lids in a smaller pan for about 5 minutes (which activates the rubber seal).

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After filling your hot, sterilized jars with the still warm applesauce, leaving ¼ inch head room, put a lid on it & tighten down the ring to seal. Using a jar lifter (kind of like a giant pair of tongs, but wider to hold a jar), lower the jars into the large pot, making sure there is at least one inch of water over the top of the lids, & process them for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Remove the jars from the pot & allow to cool, which will cause the vacuum seal to form; check the tops after the jars cool by pressing on the lids- they should be rigid & tight.

So, for an investment of $7.00 worth of apples, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of spice, four one-quart jars (left over from the case I bought for last Christmas’ Soup-in-the-Jar gifts), & less then 1 ½ hours labor time, I ended up with 4 quarts plus 2 bowls of applesauce & a house that smells wonderful!

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Oh, yeah~ & a bowl of comfort food Wink



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh~ by the way...

Elizabeth Cranmer of PigTails and Snails is giving away a lovely quilt of her very own design. It is so pretty and so kind of her to be so generous. Rush right over and throw your hat in the ring~ she has runner up prizes too and there are only 800 entries so far :-)

Crazier things have happened :-D

MIA no Longer

Hello again.

Long time, no write.

Sorry about that, but “life” keeps getting in the way.

Nothing particularly exciting going on around the garden- I’ve just been in powerdown mode for a couple of weeks, compensating for the deadline pressure at work. I get off work around 5:00, take care of that day’s particularly pressing errand (ie, groceries, gas in the car, pay the rent), ferry Sam to whichever activity claims him for the evening, and then park my carcass for the rest of the evening (or until Sam needs to be picked up again.)

The weekend was looking a bit more promising, since I was one of the lucky few to have Columbus Day as a paid holiday and Chris was “forced” to take some vacation days. Unfortunately, he got called into work Saturday, which postponed our plans for another week, and Sam came down with a rip-roaring case of the flu. Poor kid came home early Friday, after having the barfs at school, manned up to take his last driving lesson so he could get his certificate (and not have to shell out another $45 missed lesson fee) and taught both karate classes, before collapsing in bed with fever, chills, and body aches. The cats and I played nursemaid Saturday, alternately feeding him acetaminophen and turkey soup, while he watched all the episodes of “Heroes” and slept.

Sunday was my week at Ravenswood; it was a surprisingly quiet and chilly afternoon~ I didn’t do a single full tour all day, just a brief outline for a waiting photographer and answering questions for some potential wedding party people. When I arrived back home, I found remnants of an impromptu pizza party and Sam sound asleep on my bed; our friend J had his kids visiting this weekend and brought them to church, so Chris invited them all back to the house to entertain Sam. He finally wore out while they were watching a movie and retreated to the quietest place in the house, and the others headed over to the park to wear the kids out before the 2-hour drive home. We spent the evening quietly at home, doing a bit of laundry, making tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and watching “Sherlock Holmes” on PBS.

We left Sam home yesterday and drove into San Jose to see the Da Vinci Experience at the Tech Museum; the exhibit was very interesting and worth extra cost~ we spent more than two hours looking at the scale models created from the drawing of Renaissance artists and engineers, and were allowed to view two paintings done by disciples of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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The rest of the museum is a great place for kids- lots of hands on exhibits and learning stations, as well as an Imax theater- though not really my cup of tea. We had a surprisingly good and reasonably priced lunch in the museum cafĂ©, then took a late afternoon stroll around the campus of San Jose State University before driving home. We did stop off at our favorite pumpkin patch and cornfield maze, to pick up discount tickets for the outing Sam is planning for the church youth group (he was recently chosen as second-in-command and is responsible for events) and to look for pie pumpkins; I was visiting a new blog- A Place of Quiet Rest- and she did an entry on “Pumpkin Economy”, which has inspired me to try preparing my own pumpkin puree for pies this year. This patch didn’t have any, but the girl running the shop gave me a couple leads for other local pumpkin patches that should have them at a reasonable cost (which, of course, is the whole point, right?)

So, here I am- back at work and drudging along on my report, hoping that I don’t get sick- while Chris has another two days off; he had a dentist appointment, a doctor appointment with subsequent xrays (his shoulder has gotten really bad- please pray, since he doesn’t get sick time pay), and even volunteered to make the weekly trip to Costco today, which is probably why I haven’t heard from him all day. Yes, I know~ I am blessed.


Monday, October 06, 2008

An Autumn Daybook



FOR TODAY October 6th...


Outside My Window...

A line of finches perched on a long cane of our Banksian rose bush, silhouetted against a clear, bright blue sky


I am thinking...

Work stuff- another deadline looming


I am thankful for...

Paid sick leave; while contemplating possible surgery, it’s a wonderful feeling to not worry about losing income while I recover


From the kitchen...

Meatloaf, grilled mushrooms & zucchini, & homemade cornbread


I am wearing...

A dark green sweater, black slacks, & black loafers


I am creating...

A page for my Sketchbook- “Starry Night”- & my third scarf for the Special Olympics Project.


I am going...

To have a long weekend; next Monday is Columbus Day, which is a paid holiday for us


I am reading...

Stealing Lumby by Gail Fraser; The Art of Beatrix Potter & At Home with Beatrix Potter for some inspiration.


I am hoping...

That the stretching exercises I was given this morning will help relieve the pain & stiffness in my arm


I am hearing...

Laughter coming from the break room, while my coworker watches the Vicar of Dibley DVD I brought from home


Around the house...

Lots of yard work looms- the cantaloupe, grapes, & cherry tomatoes are done, the roses need to be cut back, & I need to dig in plenty of compost into the large bed- think I’m going let that one go fallow this winter.


One of my favorite things...

My collection of full-length aprons; they are pretty, practical, & make me feel like I’m ready for any home challenge


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Wednesday is the monthly Garden Club meeting; I hope to make it over to knitting group on Friday- I haven’t been by in over a month; Chris has to take some vacation time, so we both have a three-day weekend- we’re hoping to go to see the Da Vinci exhibit at the Tech Museum in San Jose.


Here is picture thought I am sharing.


I ordered these adorable pincushions from Esty- they were made by one of my blogging friends, Cindy at Superior Living

 Drop by Peggy's place, The Simple Woman, to visit the other Daybooks being shared this week.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Little Needlework

A week & a day late, but I have my second Sketchbook page completed & ready to show off.

The prompt for this page was "A Little Needlework" & needed to contain an element that moves. Needle arts have been a part of my creative endeavors for most of my life, so I decided to focus on my first favorite (clicking on the photos will make them slightly larger)

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I've been sitting at the table, working on a small project

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One of the things I love about cross stitch is that you don't need a lot of supplies;

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your pattern graft, a piece of even-weave canvas, floss, scissors, & a needle

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I included some personal reflections (hope you can read it)

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I keep my needles in a little case


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They don't fall out & you can keep several sizes on hand

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Of course, as the eyesight ages, a little needle threader really comes in handy

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These are my favorite scissors for needlework~ they are small, sturdy, & the little hook on the end allows you to pick up & clip one stitch at a time

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I best get everything back into my work basket, so I can find it again when I'm ready to work

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Remember to drop by "A Happy Miscellany" to see what Mrs. Staggs & the other have created this week; it is never too late to join in~ there are no rules or deadlines, just start where you are, with what interests you.