Friday, March 30, 2012
Posted by Shirlee at 12:47 PM
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Some of you may have recently heard me mention (more precisely seen me post or comment) that I have come to the conclusion that I hate gardening. Don't get me wrong ... I love gardens. I love looking at various flowers & picking them to put in my home. I love the scent of flowers & of freshly tilled earth. I love seeing the butterflies flying about. I love eating fresh veges I've grown myself. These things are great things! It's the work involved in gardening itself that rubs me the wrong way.
You can see a photo of our front yard at the top of this blog. This photo was taken the summer we moved here. Since that time we've planted quite a few trees & bushes, made a few garden beds, & had professional landscaping ... which turned out to be poorly done ... around the foundation of the house. You can only hook so many hoses together to water things. For the rest you need to drag buckets of water (2 buckets at a time) here & there, there & here, to water them. Since the summers have been pretty drought stricken these past 3 years you can imagine what we've been up against.
Gardening here means getting outside in the miserable, oppressive, never ending central Kentucky summer heat & humidity which seem to hang over us like a death shroud morning, noon, & night. It means dealing with the miserable, oppressive, never ending central Kentucky sun beating down on you & from which you can find no escape. It means battling the gigantic central Kentucky spiders ... mostly huge ugly brown things although there are a few menacing looking fat bodied black ones with white dots on their backs. Then there are the black & yellow striped ones the size of a saucer who like to hide deep inside or back behind a plant & then terrorize you by charging out & coming at you like a semi zooming down the interstate. It means wearing tennis shoes, long pants tucked into socks, long sleeved shirts tucked into pants, long sleeves tucked into gloves, & spraying or rubbing yourself profusely with some sort of Tick Away product which in the end doesn't keep any ticks away but instead is probably alternating the makeup of your cells in some freakish way.
John & I had quite a vision planned for this place ... the Hill botanical gardens. Alas, it was not to be so. In the summer of 2010 we got so tired of pulling weeds that multiplied like rabbits & lugging buckets of water hither & yon in the aforementioned miserable, oppressive, never ending central Kentucky summer heat & humidity that we gave up the fight. One day while mowing the yard, disgusted with our unreached goal of gardening nirvana, I decided to just ride the mower over the rose garden. The rose garden had grown so high with weeds that you couldn't even see the rose bushes anymore but I knew they were there. It was very cathartic to hear the crunching of the rose bushes as I drove over them ... not once, not twice, but several times with the mower blades set at the lowest level. I wanted to make sure those bushes where totally obliterated. Imagine my surprise last spring when there they were ... 9 little rose bushes, healthy & happy, reaching toward the sun, growing like the weeds that had overpowered them the year before. I was both surprised & horrified. I mentally revisited all the places we've lived where I tried to grow beautiful rose bushes, babying them with special foods & soils, just to see them quickly wither & die. Yet here in the devil's playground I totally ignored them ... mowed over them for pete's sake ... & they were flourishing. I didn't let this deter me. I did not want to deal with the never-ending water buckets & weeding in yes, that miserable, oppressive, never ending central Kentucky summer heat & humidity again, so once more I ignored the roses & mowed over them every time. So now it's the spring of 2012 & do I need to tell you how these roses are once again mocking me? Yep, they're out there ... healthier & more lush than any Jackson & Perkins award winner. Argh!!!
Last summer my husband had a weak moment & bought 4 new rose bushes at a local nursery. Impressively beautiful, fragrant things. He brought them home in their pots, set them in the corner of the driveway, & that's where they are still. Granted, it hasn't been a terribly cold or icy winter but since being put there they've gotten no care whatsoever. I noticed today that all 4 of them look like they could take a best of show prize in a rose bush competition.
It's not just roses! Last year we bought & planted some bee balm & a couple daylilies. One pot of daylilies & one pot of bee balm actually had a few offshoot plants growing in with it so I removed them, placed them in small pots to grow a bit, & then ignored them. They've been sitting on the back porch ... in total shade ... being ignored like the rose bushes. I would sometimes look out the back door this past winter, see them sitting there & think of how I would be gathering up the pots in the spring & throwing them away, but no ... they are growing profusely.
I don't know what to make of this. Ignored things are flourishing all over the yard despite their neglect & even deliberate abuse. Is there some sort of magical property in our heavy clay/rocky/grub infested soil that plants crave? It's a mystery, that's for sure. I know that in the past I've dumped gallons of weed killer on the weeds in the gardens but they don't die. John & I look & marvel at how, only a few hours after dousing them with weed killer, these weeds look greener & healthier than they did before.
Since we are planning to sell the house we decided we couldn't let the the landscaped beds & flower beds be overgrown with weeds & likewise we couldn't let those rose bushes languish in their pots in the driveway. This morning John & I ventured outside. He spent time cutting back the decorative grasses & I worked on weeding a bit of the foundation beds. It went surprisingly smoothly although tonight I feel like someone took me out & beat me with a baseball bat. Unused muscles are unhappy muscles & they protest loudly when you make them do things they haven't done for a long time. I must admit the beds look nicer without the weeds. At least they won't scare away prospective buyers. Thankfully no spiders or ticks were encountered (still in their winter slumber perhaps?) & I even found a strange thing growing among the weeds in one area which I realized was a peony that was planted last year & then withered & presumably died as fast as it was planted. The lemon verbena bushes which the landscaper planted amazingly survived & are blooming & smelling sweet. I cut a small bouquet of branches & brought them inside & I'll leave you with a photo of one of the blooms. Still playing with my camera you know : )
Posted by Shirlee at 9:56 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Posted by Shirlee at 8:32 AM
Monday, March 19, 2012
I have seen a lot of my fellow bloggers posting about their love of coffee but I don't think I've seen even one posting about their love of tea. Doe anyone else love tea?
I'm a real sucker when it comes to tea. If I see a tea shop (which is rarely) I just have to go inside & see if they have any tea that calls to me. I have found some delicious teas this way but of course I have also wasted my money on teas that had great names but didn't taste so great to me. On my first visit to London I found a little shop selling tea ... cute little tins of tea but of course these were made up for the tourists. I think I may have found some tea being sold at Fortnum & Mason on my second visit but this was during the start of the Christmas season. F&M had just unveiled their Christmas windows & the store was filled with all sorts of Christmas goodies. I was more interested in the chocolates & biscuits at that time than the tea : )
Once upon a time many years ago I thought I needed to collect tea pots, particularly vintage ones. I had only purchased a few tea pots when I decided collecting them was, well, not my cup of tea. Too much clutter. I sold all but a few, none of which are vintage. I kept a reproduction Fiesta teapot, a Brown Betty, & two Polish pottery teapots I purchased on a trip to Poland. I just remembered that I do have one vintage teapot which my mother had in her china closet. I don't remember her ever using it. It was part of her set of "special dishes" that were basically just for show. I've never used it either. I've actually never used any of my teapots. I would if I had the opportunity to entertain tea drinkers.
Over the years I have found several teas that are personal favorites. I can't start the morning without a cup of Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea by Harney & Sons. They also make a tea called Chocolate Mint which is quite yummy : ) Bigelow offers some interesting teas which can be found in the supermarket. Constant Comment is a good Bigelow tea, especially the decaffeinated variety which allows for a late night cup of tea without it keeping you up all night. I really enjoy their Vanilla Caramel, Pomegranate, & Perfect Peach teas. I also have a package of their tea that I haven't tried it yet. It's called Pumpkin Spice. Doesn't that sound good? I normally don't buy Lipton teas because I always find them to be on the bitter side but I couldn't pass up a flavor called Vanilla Caramel Truffle. I haven't tried this one yet either. I have several Christmas teas I enjoy drinking as well. And after rattling off this list of what I suppose could almost be called "designer teas," I have to admit that I really enjoy a cup of tea at the Huddle House! I don't know why. I think our local Huddle House has an "olden days" feel about it. It's comfortable there. The only tea they offer is plain old regular tea ... not really something to get all that excited about but in this case it is! The brand is Royal Cup & it must only be available from restaurant suppliers because I can't find it for sale in any stores.
Are you a tea drinker? What types of teas do you enjoy?
Last night I finished stitching my second Homespun Elegance stocking (photo will be taken later today) & immediately began a new project which is ... brace yourself ... tea related! Laura at The Little Stitcher posted this pattern (Would You...?) on Friday & I ordered it as soon as I saw it!
Posted by Shirlee at 9:53 AM
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Obviously John & I are not on our way to Iron Mountain this morning. It wasn't until yesterday that he thought to check the mileage on the car to see if we had enough left before we needed an oil & filter change. We didn't. It was too late to get the car into the dealership so the trip to IM has now been postponed till next Sunday. That's okay though ... the weather, if what's predicted now comes to pass, will be much cooler next week : )
Posted by Shirlee at 9:45 AM
Friday, March 16, 2012
I have stuff to sell. Craft stuff, crafted stuff, prim stuff, painted stuff, wax stuff, other types of decor, etc. I had some marvelous results on eBay many years ago but whenever I've tried to list similar things over the past couple years I don't even get one bid so eBay is something I'm not going to consider. I'm thinking Etsy might be a good outlet. Does anyone truly have any luck selling on Etsy? I'm thinking of starting a selling blog with a link from this one but that's not going to reach a whole lot of people. Local sales are out of the question.
Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Posted by Shirlee at 4:39 PM
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that John & I are wanting to move. There are some good things about living where we live but there are also bad things & I have always said the bad things far outweigh the good. Two of the major good points are (A) we have our privacy, & (B) our house payment is low. I know it's true that many people don't live in their "dream house" but they paint & they decorate & they are content. I have walked throughout this house time & time again & the only way I can see being content here is to have it torn down & rebuilt & of course that's not going to happen. We are unable to do remodeling work ourselves & money is tight right now so hiring someone to do anything more than a little repair here or there is out of the question.
I sometimes envy people who have lived in one place all their lives. They don't know "what's out there." My cousin, for example, has lived in Verona, Pennsylvania all his life. He is still living in the house he grew up in. Except for a trip to Paris many years ago, a drive to West Virginia & Maryland with a friend once upon a time, & traveling well within a 100 mile radius of his home on occasion, he has stayed put. He is always trying to get me to move back to Pennsylvania by telling me how beautiful it is. He's right ... there are beautiful areas of Pennsylvania but how can you tell someone that one place is Nirvana when you haven't really been anywhere else? When you haven't opened your curtains in the morning & gazed out at the Rocky Mountains? When you haven't driven to a nearby city in North Dakota, stopped at a rest stop along the way & got to watch wild buffalo grazing just 20 or so feet away from you? When you haven't sat on your back porch & looked out over a Michigan lake to see various birds & listen to their calls to each other? When you haven't been able to leave home & walk maybe half a mile to Tampa Bay? I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.
I am not unappreciative of what I have. I know that many people would love to live where I'm living & they would thoroughly enjoy making this house into a home. Sadly I feel like I don't belong here. Truthfully I don't know where I belong.
Our plan was to list our house for sale in March. We have had since January 1st to get things in shape for the listing but we have been dragging our feet. Why? Why are we dragging our feet when we don't want to be here? Hello? Vienna? Would you like to send a panel of psychiatrists like to study us for a while? March came upon us quickly & we weren't prepared so the thought was okay, we will list the house in April. April is now 2 weeks away & there is so much that still needs to be done. Now we are thinking about waiting until May to list the house. John has even made the comment that maybe we should just hold off trying to sell until next year. Argh!
Posted by Shirlee at 9:11 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Ugh! It just keeps getting worse & worse. On Tuesday night after brushing my teeth I got out my little magnifying mirror ... something I usually avoid at all costs ... in order to see how things were progressing. I noticed a bit of white "gunk" on one of the bridge teeth & of course wondered how in the world I missed this piece of whatever it was after my brushing regimen. I attempted to remove it with the tip of my finger & was quite surprised to end up pulling an inch-long piece of thick string out from underneath this one bridge tooth. Pain & bleeding ensued. I had to take a heavy duty pain pill left over from a prior surgery in order to get to sleep. Yesterday it still hurt & it still hurts today. I also noticed that I get a great deal of pain when any pressure is applied to one of the bridge teeth. I called the dentist's office yesterday & was scheduled to come in later this morning so they could have a look-see. There's a simple explanation for everything it seems, the most important to me being that I had a lot of work done & therefore should expect to be sore & irritated for a few days. She readjusted the temporary bridge which should get rid of the pain caused underneath one of those teeth. The thick string? She gave me a long dental explanation for that but basically she missed removing this one piece & it worked its way out. She apologized profusely. Things should settle down after a couple days. I am to call next week to give her an update.
Yesterday morning I had a followup appointment with my doctor whose specialty is the female reproductive area. I don't want to use the actual "G" word since I've had the experience ... & know others who have had the experience ... of typing certain words on a blog post which somehow makes you a target for perverts looking for sites to visit. Anyway, I didn't think I needed to follow up with this doctor but when I called to give his nurse a progress report she told me he would need to examine me again. So there I was lying on the table as one does when one visits this type of doctor & he is asking me various questions, one of which was do I take bubble baths. I replied no, I never take baths. It was at this moment that I caught sight of the nurse & saw that she was trying very hard not to laugh. I immediately realized what I had said & tried to remedy the situation by saying "Of course I take showers!" At this point she couldn't control herself & she started to laugh uncontrollably. I couldn't see the doctor except for the top of his head which he was shaking back & forth. It took a while for the nurse & I to compose ourselves. Good grief! All is well though.
I have been stitching (& frogging) throughout the week & finished stitching 2 projects which I can't show you yet since they are gifts but I can show you this one ...
Posted by Shirlee at 3:24 PM
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This is going to be a bit of a quickie post just so you all know I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth if you don't see any posts or comments from me for the next day or two. Yesterday morning I had a dentist appointment at 9 o'clock to get 2 temporary crowns & a temporary bridge placed. 6 hours later I was finally on my way home! I have no idea why it took so long except my dentist is a perfectionist & takes her time to make sure things are done right. Granted, this in itself is a good thing ... but she turned over the final cementing of the temporaries to her assistant who doesn't seem to have quite the same work ethic as she does. The assistant cemented the temporaries on a bit unevenly & one crown doesn't even meet my gum line. I didn't notice this until last night when the anesthetic had worn off. I've also got some kind of blisters or something on the inside of my upper lip which are not pleasant to say the least. Lots of pain & discomfort although this is caused by the teeth, not by the blisters : ( I need to go to Lexington in a few hours to take care of some medical stuff so I'm going to try to call the dentist when I get back & see if I can come back into the office for her to see this. I've got a doctor appointment on Wednesday morning, a possible optometrist appointment on Thursday, & more problems than you can shake a stick at that I need to make calls about to try to get taken care of. Argh!
On the way to the dentist's office I stopped at a red light on my way into Danville & saw these forsythia bushes. I just had to grab my new camera out of my purse to snap them. This is the main road into the city of Danville heading east. The buildings you can sort of see on the right side are part of Centre College. As soon as I got my camera out of its case & turned it on the light changed so I had to take this picture really quick. It still turned out pretty good, all things considered.
Posted by Shirlee at 5:03 AM
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Nothing majorly exciting in general ... & only 3 ... but here are some photos I took while John & I were wandering about the property this afternoon. Alas, it was almost 70 degrees & before we had even reached the gate to "the back 40" (which is actually the back 11 or 12) I was already miserably hot. Oh how I dread the warm weather months : (
While on the back 11 or 12 we saw a neighbor's cow in the distance ... a black one. Then we saw a brown one. We haven't seen them before & they looked rather young so I'm guessing they are new residents to the area. (As you can see, neighbors aren't too neighborly around here.) The young cows were very inquisitive. I'm assuming this was because it was their first time seeing us as well : ) I thought about walking down along the fence to where they were in order to properly introduce myself but it would've involved more walking in the aforementioned sweltering almost 70 degree heat & I promptly decided "forget it." Instead I used the zoom on my camera once again & took a photo of the black cow. The brown cow had decided to play hide & seek behind a tree.
Posted by Shirlee at 7:29 PM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Please bear with me but I will probably be posting bunches of photos of any old thing for a few days to see if this new camera is worth keeping. If you have any opinions, good or bad, I would love to hear them. The following photos were just "quickies" I zipped around the house taking in the past 15 minutes or so. I still don't actually know what I'm doing or what all these camera settings are for. I guess I need to read the online manual. I consider this to be one of the irritations of life by the way ... online manuals. Granted, in the big scheme of things it's not that important ... & I know the "in" thing to do is to try to save trees ... but it's so much more convenient to have a manual in your hands so you can look things up any old time, highlight stuff, etc. Anyway, let me know what you think of these photos. Again they were taken quickly with me not really knowing what I was doing for the most part.
These bird photos were taken using the zoom capability through the dirty window of the back door. The first bird is a mourning dove. They are such sweet birds. The second is of course a male cardinal. I think this camera has one of those "rapid fire" type things where you can take a whole string of pictures within a matter of seconds. I'll have to check into that as it's a bit difficult standing with a camera focused on a bird until it ends up in somewhat of a nice pose which can change in a nanosecond : ) Just thought of something ... when photographing birds does one say to the bird "Watch the human!" like we tell people to "Watch the birdie?"
Posted by Shirlee at 8:12 AM
Friday, March 9, 2012
Good morning one & all! It's actually almost noon. Time tends to get away from you when (A) you're me, & (B) you wake up at 3 a.m. after a fitful 3-1/2 hours of sleep. What did I do after getting out of bed at such an ungodly hour? Frogged & restitched. I started a new project last night & I knew after I had gotten a few letters stitched that it was going to be too big. The designer used 30 ct linen & stitched over 2 (I think) so that's what I did. I wanted to make this stitching into a pinkeep but by stitching it over 2 it would've had to have been finished into a small pillow. I knew it was going to be "too big" but I kept stitching anyway. Perhaps I need to see a psychiatrist what with this "you start it, you finish it" approach I have even when I see something isn't quite right. Anyway, when I got up at 3 a.m. I sat down & frogged the 4 words I had stitched & then started from scratch, this time stitching over 1. I think it will work out much better : )
I mentioned the other day that I would post a photo of my completed Pineberry Lane JOY stitchings soon. Here it is.
Posted by Shirlee at 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I have been rather busy the past couple days. Just the usual stuff ... getting the house ready to sell, my never-ending dance with insurance companies, medical/dental stuff, & of course there's the general day-to-day housekeeping we all enjoy so much. I've also spent time stitching. I finished the Pineberry Lane JOY stitchings I had been working on. They needed to be stained & the snowflakes needed to be stitched & now they are all done : ) I will show you a photo of them soon.
Remember the mystery project I was working on? I finally received the WDW Navy floss I ran out of & now that project is finished as well! A photo of this one will have to wait because it's going to be a gift.
I've also been working on a new project. Once again I cannot share a photo yet (another gift). I will, however, tell you about my stitching experience. This is where we need to ponder the question in my post title. Cross stitch designers ... color blind, or sick sense of humor? I don't think I'm going to give anything away by telling you that there is a sheep in this design. I gathered together the floss which the designer said was used to stitch the model. I don't think so! I thought the color choices were a bit odd. The two main colors used are DMC 3032, Medium Mocha Brown, & DMC 3021, Very Dark Brown Gray. I thought it was a bit strange that to my eyes the colors reeked of green. I checked & rechecked the pattern instructions & the labels on the skeins of DMC. I was not comfortable but decided to go with the designer's choices. After all, the designer knows best, right?
The DMC 3021 is more of a dark green with some dark gray overtones. This was not too much of a traumatic experience since it is mostly used for the wording & border. However, DMC 3021is used for the sheep, & no matter what the online DMC charts will show you it is actually more of a light pea green. I should have listened to my stomach when I pulled these skeins out of my floss collection. I should have returned them to the collection & promptly looked for more appropriate colors, especially for the sheep. However, again I thought "the designer knows best" so I started stitching. Needless to say I was uncomfortable with these color choices even before I began stitching but I forged ahead & completed the stitching even though I could see that poor little sheep was not looking anywhere near the color of any sheep I have ever seen. Not only that but the designer chose DMC 355, Dark Terra Cotta, for the sheep's muzzle area. DMC 355 is actually quite red. What I ended up with was a green sheep with a red muzzle area. Freddy Krueger Visits the Farm. I suppose it's possible that the only sheep this designer ever saw in her entire life was one who was extremely nauseous & had been gnawing on a barbed wire fence for a couple days. That seems rather unlikely though. The other possibility is that this particular designer has a sick sense of humor. I can see her now, putting together her Floss Table & laughing as she pictured people stitching green sheep with red muzzles. Anyway, I ended up unstitching the sheep & choosing my own colors. Edith looks much more real now : )
I will continue stitching Edith today & I've already got my next 2 projects picked out.
Can you believe how quickly March is moving along? Although I have accomplished quite a bit as far as the house goes there is still a lot to be done. Be that as it may, we are going to have an overnighter at a casino in West Virginia tomorrow. Once or twice a year we go to a casino, stay overnight & spend about 20 bucks playing penny slot machines. It's a few hours of entertainment & it's nice to get away. Sometimes we actually come home with a dollar or two more than we left with! There are also medical/dental appointments this week, next week, & the week after that. By the end of all that activity March will be over! Then we can start the April appointments! Also this month we are planning a visit to Iron Mountain, Michigan for a couple days for some business we need to take care of. As some of you know, John & I used to live there. It is a little "nothing" sort of town, far away from just about anything really (the closest "real" mall was in Appleton, Wisconsin which is a 2-1/2 hour drive) but there are many good things about it & I would move back there in a heartbeat if I could. John, however, resists that idea. Michigan is a very expensive state in many ways. Be that as it may, I am hoping that as we drive around the area he will see that it is worth moving back there. We shall see. Heaven knows there's no limit to where we could move although John refuses to move anywhere out of the United States. Men can be so stubborn sometimes!
Posted by Shirlee at 8:22 AM
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Carol Stuck, mouse maker extraordinaire, is having a giveaway to celebrate her 1 year blogoversary & this is the gift you can have a chance to win!
Posted by Shirlee at 9:52 AM
Friday, March 2, 2012
Just a quick (very, very, very quick) question this morning regarding the new word verification. Does anyone know exactly when the new word verification went into effect? I need a specific date or at least the week it began.
We are predicted to have the chance of more tornadoes today & tonight. I did wake up to a dilly of a storm but not a tornado. The sky is dark right now but not menacing. I checked the weather map & our area is in the white section which apparently means we are beyond the red alert. I've never seen a white section used before!
The plan for today is to work more on getting the house ready to sell. As you may remember I had John bring the yard sale boxes in from the garage & put them upstairs. My hope was to go through them & find a bunch of "blah" stuff that would not excite anyone at a yard sale at which point I would've skipped happily to the car with the boxes & driven them to Goodwill to get them out of my hair. However, as I would open each box I would exclaim "WOW!" & then immediately feel dismayed as I sealed it up again for yard sale purposes. I found 3 large boxes full of Christmas ornaments ... Hallmarks & blown glass ones ... & then a super large box filled with other Christmas things. That leaves 2 boxes of kitchen type items & then a box of "specialty decor" items like fancy-schmancy hand painted Japanese candle holders & a mechanical wall clock that plays a variety of beautiful music each hour. I even found a box from my old painting days with some really cool wooden Halloween decorations I made! Sigh! I guess there's no rest for the weary. Hopefully I will find some time to accomplish some stitching today as well. I am working on a new project but I can't post any photos yet because it's a gift. It's a fun stitch though : )
Posted by Shirlee at 8:51 AM