Thursday, December 11, 2008

2009 - A Live Lightly Year...

See that ticker up there? I'm already putting together my plans for 2009. With all that's going on in the economy, in the world, the challenges to the environment, war and destruction? Are you depressed? Even in this season of love and giving, are you fighting to "grin and bear it?"

Well, I'm going to be seeing what on earth I can do to live even more lightly and more positively on the earth than I already do. With luck, there'll be a post or two here along the way (I'm not the best at even weekly posts here, but I'll try!) - and please let me know the things you're doing to make a difference in your own lifestyle, your own economy, your own community. How are you struggling to stay upbeat!?!

As things now stand I'm going to start with a plan to make two large-batch main dish "from scratch" meals each week (on the weekends, as I have no other time during the week). Big pots of soup to take to work for lunches, a casserole/vegetarian meal for dinners during the week. I'll share photos and recipes, too!

(I'll probably start that this weekend, not waiting till 2009 for it! wink)

A big part of my goals for the new year involve reducing my expenses to cut debt as much as possible. (Is there ANYONE without some debt?) And I'll be searching online for the best sites/articles/tips I can find to pass along.

Won't you join me? I suppose we could make it an "-along!" Hmmmm...a "SAVE-along?" - oh that's rich: a SAL!
lololol!

What are we SAVEing? Our money, our community, our vision for tomorrow, our sanity?

Probably all of the above...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

10 On Tuesday...Ways to Save Money

I saw this over on Carole's blog and decided to participate here:

So here some of the 10 ways I try to save money:
1. I set the thermostat on 64 when I'm not in the house or when I go to bed. It's at 68 for about 5 hours in the evening. The thermostat is right next to the plant light, so when I turn it OFF or ON, I can easily adjust the temperature. I'm pretty good about not forgetting it...
2. All flourescents...all the time. I changed the bulbs last spring...Love it! And I turn OFF the lights when I'm not in the room.
3. I pack my lunch every day. Sometimes it's soups, sometimes it's leftovers, mostly it's a sandwich, which I make while I make my breakfast in the morning. On Sundays? I put 5 cans of V-8 in the fridge, so I pull that out and 3 of my vegies are taken care of for the day! (yes, I recycle the cans and I use fabric napkins!)
4. I do not take a newspaper - I get my news from TV, NPR, and online.
5. I use the library, I don't buy books (except for knitting books).
6. I use My Coke Rewards and have gotten two free magazine subscriptions as a result of tallying my points from the Diet Coke I drink every day...(yes, I'm an addict, but since I don't have much of any other vice - unless you count fabric and yarn - I think I'm okay).
7. I trip-chain. And I drive as little as possible. My commute is less than 10 minutes and I try to stay right near my home for errands. I moved into town to make that possible.
8. When I wash my clothes, I don't run my tops (or my handknit socks) through the dryer. I hang them up to dry. Saves on the electricity to run the dryer, but it also saves the clothes. A BUNCH.
9. I wash my dishes by hand using two pans - one for soap, one for rinse. The rinse water goes on my plants.
10. I use meat as a condiment (mostly) in my cooking. Tuna casseroles, beef stews, chicken quesidillas, any kind of soup - they all rely heavily on the vegies and noodles and much less on the meat. Since I spent several years as a vegetarian, I don't mind meals without meat. At least once a week? I'm a tomato soup (yes, Campbells! it's a weakness) and grilled cheese sandwich gal...to keep the food bill under control! (it's also easy)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two Wrongs...

obviously do not make anything right.

I think, over the past few months, it's become pretty obvious that I'm a strongly opinionated person, especially when it comes to politics, and what I consider to be basic sensible behaviors. I tend to say what I think, and I usually believe in standing up for my beliefs, and have even been involved in protests over the years to show that.

I am about to rant. If you don't want to hear it? You know what to do, and you won't hurt my feelings a bit.

I cannot believe this.

Let me explain my anguish over such a thing. I'm a person who strongly believes that if someone loves someone that's all that matters. We have precious little love in this world, and if you've got it? Flaunt it. Shout it to the rooftops and celebrate it.

As a result, you can imagine, I'm sure, that I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the idea of same-sex marriage. I have friends who are gay. I am delighted when they find someone to care for and about...We should all be so lucky.

Prop 8 should never have passed. I feel strongly about that. It is wrong to try to exert your religious beliefs upon others. Period.

IF you are against Prop 8, IF you are against what the Mormon Church did? Fine. Protest, become an activist, do whatever is appropriate to make the change next election day, or sue to go thru the court system, write your congressional representative, any of the acceptable methods available to make legal changes.

But. Sending white powder through the mail is simply no different from bombing clinics that offer a choice to pregnant women or shooting the staffers who assist there. It's wrong...

Terrorizing people, injuring people, killing people - there is NEVER a justification for it.
Period.
End of rant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And Now For A Change of Pace!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Simple, Progressive, and Sensual

16 Ukiyo-e, -2 Islamic, 8 Impressionist, 0 Cubist, -13 Abstract and -13 Renaissance!


Ukiyo-e (浮世絵, Ukiyo-e), "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of Japaneseand paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries. it mostly featured landscapes, historic tales, theatre, and pleasure. Ukiyo is a rather impetuous urban culture that has bloomed in popularity. Although the Japanese were more strict and had many prohibitions it did not affect the rising merchant class and therefore became a floating art form that did not bind itself to the normal ideals of society.


People that chose Ukiyo-e art tend to be more simplistic yet elegant. They don't care much about new style but are comfortable in creating their own. They like the idea of living for the moment and enjoy giving and receiving pleasure. They may be more agreeable than other people and do not like to argue. They do not mind following traditions but are not afraid to move forward to experience other ideas in life. They tend to enjoy nature and the outdoors. They do not mind being more adventurous in their sexual experiences. They enjoy being popular and like being noticed. They have their own unique style of dress and of presenting themselves. They may also tend to be more business oriented or at the very least interested in money making adventures. They might make good entrepreneurs. They are progressive and adaptable.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Wondered When Someone Would SEE This Point

Critical to the discussion of what a Small Business is...and who will tax what.

But then it's always been obvious that politicians obsfucate such issues.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Long Time No Post!

The garden fizzled fast...became a huge breeding ground for mosquitos when considerable amounts of rain fell in short periods of time, and I was snowed under many other things...too busy to notice. That is, until I was hit in the face with a mass infestation that greeted me whenever I went through my front door - to the point of having them dancing about my inner sanctum at all hours. Cutter to the rescue. (That and dumping the pots, spreading out the soil to dry out, dumping the plants.
(sigh)

So it's fall. And I'm back on my cruisade to be environmentally, fiscally, and personally responsible. How can I pare down, how can I, in the midst of economic chaos in the world, keep my head above water and not panic?

Are you feeling it, too?

I do remember these words from my only successful attempt to quit smoking (my last attempt!), my yoga class, my Lamaze class, and all the psychological work I did in learning to destress after my heart attack. Very simple words:

Breathe in and count to 4. Hold the breath for a count of 4. Breathe out for a count of 8. Stop. Repeat.

Then, of course, I learned to knit. And went back to sewing.

If you're stressed? And you're so inclined? MAKE SOMETHING. Take paper and scissors and cut out paperdolls or snowflake chains.

Play with the cat. (or dog, if that's your preference)

Then go to these sites on the web:
The Simple Dollar
If You Feel Stressed, Walk Around Your House
Simple Living Network

This might inspire you to get a handle on the things you can control, and stop obsessing over what you're not ever going to control...

(I know. I'm a stresser and an obsesser...it's hard to move past your innate nature and go with the flow, so to speak. But still...remember to breathe?)
(((hugs)))

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Melanie finds the most interesting quizzes...

...of course, I'm truly ready to "skate thru life" the next time, IF once remembers that this life has been pretty frantic - 17 hour days, 7 days a week are pretty normal in my current world!

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Garden of Eden


It's the Garden of Eden for you!


Well, this is about as cozy and simple as life can get. We hope you like it here. The real estate is not well developed, but the garden is top-flight.


Your answers indicate that you basically want to just coast through life. You don't want any trouble, and you don't want any special privileges either. That's fine with us. It's entirely possible to live a pleasant life without trouble or strife, and Eden is the perfect spot for it, as long as you don't... well...


Just try to behave better than the previous tenants. Evictions can be rough.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Monday, September 01, 2008

Since My Garden Doesn't Want To Grow...

I'll have to make do with these veggies!
Made for a friend whose garden is overproducing these days...and she's also traded in her truck for public transporation! I strive to be like her...since she is also a sock knitter, the inside of this little Grace backpack was made up like a Posy Sock Sack, with 4 needle sleeves and flannel inside to protect her double points!
(((hugs)))

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Proud to Be a Boomer Today...

Love ya, gal...

And love those pantsuits...did you see Bill? "I love you forever..." She deserves nothing less, Bill...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Theory of Anyway...

I've been, as I know many of you have, doing little things that will reduce my carbon footprint and lower some of my expenses along the way - changing to compact fluorescents, unplugging appliances when not in use, trip-chaining as much as possible, buying locally, eating at least one weekly vegetarian meal. These things aren't that difficult and make me feel a little more in control on the Peak Oil issue...

And surely, if you've been by a gas station recently, you've noticed that prices are down a bit...

That might cause us to want to relax a bit. To say, as we're fixing dinner and realize we're out of an ingredient - "oh, I can run to the store now...those few miles won't make a difference, since the price of gas is down" - honestly, my train of thought is more along the lines of "I'll just run a fresh gallon of water for watering the tomatoes rather than using the graywater I save from cooking and cleaning up."

I usually end up feeling a bit uncomfortable, tho'.

My immediate reaction is "What if we ALL do that - get just a little lazy?" My personal code of ethics says to do the right thing all the time, not just some of the time because maybe it's more convenient this time to drop the ball a little...

I was reading blogs today and came across this theory on Susan Albert's blog. (She has links to the original topics - go there, too, as they're good explanations of this Theory of Anyway). It's a good explanation of my discomfort over taking the "little shortcuts" that ultimately lead to a bit more waste...

Because even if we think that now it's okay to run to the store just one more time in a week or month when gas prices have dropped a little, we're still using a limited resource when we don't have to.

I like the reframing of the things we do away from a negative to a positive. It's much more pleasant to consider that we do the things we do FOR the good of the planet, and not as something we have to give up. When I make a choice to contribute to the well-being of the earth, my frame of mind is much happier.

Perspective is so important, don't you think?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Garden Along...Update

All those gorgeous red tomatoes? Not mine. My Dear Daughter's!
The jalapenos and the lone little yellow pear?

Yup. Mine.
(sigh)
This is the difference between planting the tomatoes in the ground and having decent sun, and putting them in pots under trees.

Her tomatoes are great, too! Several varieties and I can't remember which are which, perhaps she said these were Celebrities?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pit-Stop in the Rat-Race...

I stopped here today and was inspired. Maybe you will be, too?

That Yes! Magazine...I do so like it...

And I picked up the Kingsolver book at the library this week. I hope to finish it quickly...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fruits of the Earth...

Okay, the only thing in this ratatouille that's from my own garden are the basil and the parsley, but the roma tomatoes are locally grown...

And the bread is from a local restaurant, with bakery and catering wing: Wildflour (yes, it's spelled correctly!).

I saw that Anne was making some and it made me hungry. So I made my own. It's very good and there's enough for several meals!

If only my squash had done something - but you know what? I think this has been a lousy year for it: my sis-in-law was saying she'd gotten 3-4 that were just pint-sized and the skin very tough, and then we stopped at a local orchard for peaches and nectarines today, and even their local summer squash were pint-sized and tough.

(sigh)
Just not a good year around here, I guess...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tomatoes!


I'm sure that looks like a small crop. It is. But when you figure that it's from 2 plants...and that they're potted? Perhaps it doesn't seem so small...?

I should also report that I'm doing amazingly well with my commitment not to purchase unnecessary things. I'm even holding off on some of the necessities - actually if my local store doesn't restock on my plant light, I have some indoor plants that are going to bite the dust...so I MUST get that soon!

Hope your garden is growing well!
(((hugs)))

Friday, July 18, 2008

Garden Update Mid-July

An update that is long in coming - I can't believe that the tomatoes are finally starting to turn:
Just what is eating the leaves of this patio tomato? At least it's finally turning pink!

And here's the yellow pear tomato plant - which hasn't done nearly as well in the "bushing out" category, but is finally showing signs I might get to eat some of these!
Last? The jalapeno. I'm hoping to let these turn a little red before I pick them, as I like hot peppers...

Sadly, there is still no evidence of squash. I'm bereft.

But Monday night? As I got out of the car I looked up the street (it was about 5:30 p.m. folks, certainly not the normal "feeding time" I'd have thought) to see a deer walking up the middle of the city street.

I hope it finds more interesting stuff to feed on than my little potted garden on my front stoop.
(sigh)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hunkering Down? Getting Depressed?

My good buddy, Birdsong clued me into the blog Peak Oil Blues and it's message of staying positive in these times of fear and foreboding.

I've put a link in the sidebar to the article that she's addressing in several blog posts to date (and a couple of upcoming ones) and have been considering how I might extend what she and the article's original author, Kathy McMahon, recommend. Staying positive is a challenge when all around you are wringing their hands and spouting doom and gloom!

I'm already working on reducing expenses and cutting waste, and of course, there's the garden (oh, please let me enjoy some of it, you lovely deer, you!).

That 3-Tier System of "necessities, conveniences, and other" for relegating the things I buy? That seems to be the most pro-active thing I can do for the rest of this month. The article suggests a week. I'm going about it for the next 16 days. I'm writing it all down. I'll have a little notebook in my purse. And I'm making no personal purchases online between now and then.

(Oh my, did I just say that?) I did say personal - not business.

I promise to only buy the necessities, and after a week, see if the "conveniences" have somehow justifiably become necessities or have fallen off the list, altogether.

I know, the last time I tracked things, using the guidelines of Your Money Or Your Life, I was appalled to learn how much money I was spending on magazines.

It made a huge impact to see it in black and white. I stopped. Cold Turkey - Now if I want a magazine? I stop by Barnes & Noble, and look at it. These days the only magazines I buy there are an occasional knitting magazine for the patterns inside, and I don't do many of those.

I currently subscribe to three magazines: Interweave Knits, Traditional Home, and AARP The Magazine (ok, that's free with my AARP membership). And may I explain about the Traditional Home? I subscribed 8 years ago. I accidentally paid for 4 years. I haven't stopped receiving it yet. I never renew, tho' every so often I get their renewals in the mail...what IS up with that, after all?

Those three? It's way down from about 8-10 at my zenith! (And most of what I got back then in the "bad old days?" I still have...when I want a magazine? I read one of them!)

So it's effective to see what you think is necessary, what you have as a "gazingus pin" to quote YMOYL. (That's a knee-jerk item that you buy because you "have to have it" - everyone has these things, and often there's really no rhyme or reason behind why you have to have them!)

It's time to think about my purchases again. Finding steps you can take to feel in control is the best medicine to fight the stress of the times!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Squash Blossoms!

Fingers crossed...
But I haven't seen a bee in ages...I don't know if they'll be pollenated or not.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Garden Update (A Day Late!)

The Big Boys have flowers on them!!!
Amazing...they've only been potted a short while and were kinda sad looking when I got them, nowhere near looking like the healthy specimens you see below:


And the squash have what I believe are the beginnings of buds on them...Hmmm...do you have to have HONEYbees to pollenate - or will ANY bee do? I saw a black bee (not a bumblebee-type, more a wasp-type today...

I was at my sis-in-law's this morning and oh my...! Her squash plants are LOADED with blossoms! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her plants survive (no signs of beetles yet...)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garden Update

Summer's just a couple of hours old and I've got results in my garden to share...
Summer Squash. With no blossoms yet...I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
And see the tiny jalapenos? They're so cute!

There are tomatoes (all green) and I've had some parsley and basil that I've added to salads. But it's the time when everything is perking along but not so's you'd really notice (save the jalapenos! They're so cute!!!)

(I know, I said that already - but they ARE!)
*wink*

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How My Garden Grows...

Since this most recent scare about tomatoes and salmonella, I've been feeling pretty pleased that I'd planted 3 different plants back on Mother's Day. Then I went into two of our grocery stores. Not a tomato to be found that wasn't on the vine or a grape or cherry tomato. Now frankly those are the ones I like, but things were definitely looking a little spooky in the stores...
And so I decided to run by Lowes and see if they had more plants - they did. They're not nearly as far along as the ones I've had settled in since the second weekend in May...
They've got several good-sized fruit on each of the patio tomatoes and the yellow pears are just beginning to fruit...

I decided that 2 more Big Boy tomatoes were not a bad way to spend some of my food dollars right now.

Lettuces aren't doing much - the weather got too hot too fast, so they're struggling. I couldn't find "Summer Lettuces" in seed packs, so I think I'll have to forgo that this year.

So the next thought is this: I may need to can some of these tomatoes (Okay, I should be so lucky to have an abundance of produce from potted tomatoes!). Still, I think I'm going to join in on Freecycle again and hope for a good canner and jars.

I found a lovely receipe for rice and dahl today (I adore good Indian food!), and so my next shopping list is getting longer. While I don't believe in hoarding food, I'm thinking it might be smart to buy a few things when they're on sale that I can store elsewhere than in the pantry.

And I joined a challenge in the simple living group on Ravelry to remove 100 items from my house by the end of the month - lots of gals have had a head-start on me. I'm not the fastest at this, either. I'm NOT including the bags I make for people or the fabrics I have to bring in to make those bags.

But I can certainly stand to move some of this clutter out to a better home.

So...Food and Clutter-busting seem to be my projects in June! It really is time to do something about it all! I also re-evaluated the decision to take the bus right now. If my commute were longer, it would make sense. But at this point, gas has to get a lot more expensive for me to justify the higher cost of the bus tickets - at $3 per day round trip for tickets for a trip that is only 7 miles round trip? You can do the math as well as I can. It's still cheaper to drive.

Now I'm going to try dropping a bit of "pixie dust" over the two new tomato plants - they've got a little catching up to do...!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Garden Along 2008!

Norma started something!

Really, it's for everyone who has ever wanted to grow something of their own food, even if they've never known a thing about it - and while I've had gardens that were relatively large, and container gardens for the past 12 years, I still want to learn from someone I know is way better at this than I am!

So I emailed Norma and asked if I could join. She said yes, I posted the button on my blog and voila!

It's a Garden Along!
Come join us?

Monday, June 09, 2008

June's Plans! Sorry, I'm a Bit Late...

I didn't forget, I promise!

I've been making and following June plans already (good thing, since it's almost 1/3 over!), but I just couldn't find the time to get here and tell you all about it!

If you're in this part of the country, you know we've been hit with a heat wave. It's been 95+ for 6 days, tomorrow will be the 7th and then it's supposed to break. We had a tornado last week (the last one? It was in 1974, the year I graduated from high school! We don't DO tornadoes 'round these parts - HA!). But the one thing this heat has been good for are these:
The tomato to the right of my front door and
to the left. (There's another plant behind this one, but it's a different variety and not fruiting yet)

I am SO EXCITED! Last year? I got all of 3 measly yellow pears from my one plant. I am so hopeful this year will be better...so far? So good!

And here is the squash "pot" with the jalapeno pepper on the top rack (there are EEntsy little peppers on it...but I couldn't get a decent photo).


I've been doing really well with eating more vegetarian meals. I'd been taking my lunch to work for some time, mostly soups or casseroles I made here at home...but dinner? Well, I made myself a promise that whenever I felt like it, and had the time, I'd bake a potato in my toaster oven and make THAT my dinner. (It's terrific! One potato - plus the skin - and it's a perfect, simple meal). I'm doing other things that are easy, too. Sometimes a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup (okay, not in the heat wave). Sometimes a bean burrito, sometimes an omelet with vegies. Hey, some nights? Cheese and crackers with fruit. The thing is? I'm finding that these relatively inexpensive things are just so easy to fix - I'd fallen into the trap of "easy" being a microwave meal. And that's easy, but it's not cheap, nor does it do a lot for the landfill with the packaging that goes into each one...etc.

Now...before the end of the month? This is my newest addition to my plans:

I'm going to try to use the bus to get to and from work as many times as possible. It's going to add about an hour to my total commute each day...but it's all knitting time. There are a couple of days out of each 2-week period when I just have to drive because of commitments, but the rest of the time, I'm taking public transportation.

SIL and I have used the bus a couple of times when it was offered to get to concerts at the Performing Arts Center when they had multiple concerts booked and limited parking. And it was easy. So, spurred on by my friend, Sandra, and because I'm a mass-transit believer (the one thing I miss about DC is the Metro!), I'm parking the Forester as often as I can. I'm hoping that if enough of us in this valley start to do this, that we'll see the new mayor of Roanoke take notice, and perhaps the county officials, too (they don't like to work together all that well, you see), and maybe, just maybe
1. the bus routes will be expanded (they make only small forays into the county),
2. the time-tables will, as well (they stop running at 8:45 p.m.! what do you do if you work 2nd or 3rd shift?),
3. and that just maybe, they'll offer service on Sundays (um, no, in this town apparently the powers that be don't think anyone who HAS to ride the bus really wants to go to church or might have to work or anything special!)

But there's another reason I've giving up driving my car every day: I don't think either one of the men running for President has a clue as to how to "solve" our problems. Perhaps one is being genuine when he says there are no quick fixes, and that will win him points. The other? Please. Tax holidays are pointless, the price will just re-adjust - fast.

We don't have a lot of choices. Life is already tough for many of us, and it's probably going to get tougher. We are in love with our cars (I do understand, believe me, I adore my Forester, and thank goodness she's a 4-cylinder car, the mpg is better than so many others out there). And with my business I need a car that large for transport to shows - which don't happen that often! The rest of the time? Not so much...

But I think WE, the people of this country, are going to have to be the ones to take this problem by the horns and do something ourselves. The leaders can't do much short-term - their job is long-term planning, retro-fitting, reseaching and developing alternatives that don't affect the food supply, and then MOSTLY spending time working on relationships with the other leaders of countries all over the world - this is a crisis we are in together and we have to start facing it TOGETHER.

It's gas. It's food. It's the economy. It's the environment. I can only change me and my behaviors. And I can hope I inspire some of the other people in the world to change their own. One step. One voice. One vote.

(stepping down off the soapbox now)
Oh...I'll be the "youngish old lady" on the bus, knitting socks, with her MP3 player attached! And probably wearing purple! *wink*
(((Hugs)))

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend...

Out came the red-white-and-blue front door decor. Out came the white jeans, red t-shirts with navy sequins, white sandals, red toes...up went the hair in a pony-tail...up with the temperatures into the 80s, on came the A/C.

And...the best part of it all? These. FRESH!

Yummy.

That's what summer means to me - fresh fruit & veggies. (I've posted some photos of my kitchen collection over on Knitnana so you can see that my life isn't just about the REAL fruit & veggies...I'm also all about collecting the collectibles! Those are shots of my kitchen, doncha know.)

I've done pretty well with my goals for this month. I could do better, of course. I'll try to come up with a few more for June.

I know what one will be: to continue to remind myself to UNplug unnecessary appliances when they're not needed - anything with a clock inside - the VCR (when not in use), the microwave, keeping the coffee pot, the toaster oven, even the computer - if I unplug them? That keeps the electrical current off (which saves pennies, but that adds up over time, you know?).

I've been doing it pretty well, but I could improve. I just remembered to reset the timer light to a later "ON" time since the time has changed and it's so much lighter later now.

And I added gas treatment to my tank - I've already seen an improvement in needing to stop at the pump - again, every little bit helps!
(((Hugs)))

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Garden Time! Keep Your Fingers Crossed...

My Mom's Day gift to me...every year. I try hard to get some veggies planted - and this year, I am attempting to do something a bit different. The tomatoes are in the three round containers at the front of the "stoop" here:

Two patio tomatoes and a yellow pear tomato plant

And below, you can see the left side of the porch - with seeds planted for arugula, mesclun mix, and radish all in the trough and...

a jalapeno pepper in the top pot, and a hill of yellow crookneck squash in the large pot on the bottom...
Then on the right side of the porch:
basil and curly parsley.

There's so little sun that comes in on this porch, that I'm not sure this is a smart idea. It's sad really, as this townhouse is so wonderful otherwise, I just wish there were fewer trees in front of the house to allow for gardening - the backyard is even worse, but the trees are a necessity back there to shield us from the business district on the street below. I shouldn't complain about the trees, really...their shelter keeps the place relatively cool in summer and with the leaves off the trees in winter, the sun gets in better and I need less heat. There are always trade-offs you know?

Anyway, I'm hopeful that perhaps I'll have learned something from last year, and can have better gardening results this time around! I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

May Goals! A Touch Late...

Well. May got started faster than I expected somehow, and I've been thinking of what to post about here...

GOALS! That's IT!
1. I have gotta get the veggies planted (gotta buy some first!) - I'm thinking two patio tomatoes and perhaps a pot of summer squash & patty pans...along with herbs. This weekend is Mom's Day and that's traditionally when I pick up my plants and get them in the ground. So fingers are crossed it happens this weekend!

2. Sis-in-law is having a yard sale this month, so I'm hoping to weed out a bunch of stuff to haul over and get rid of! That means sifting thru boxes, and putting prices on things, too! Not my strong suit at all - I'm much better at saying "just stuff it in here" and pushing the box into the basement or closet.

3. I'm also aiming for lower-cost, higher quality recipes for main dishes or one-pot meals this month. Hmm...one of my all-time favorites is a baked potato and I don't think I can get much less expensive, do you? But I do want to try to limit my purchasing of prepared and restaurant meals, and go with simpler, easier items to cook at home this month. Where do you find your recipes?

4. I managed, with the help of a friend (THANK YOU!) to change out most of my bulbs with compact fluorescents so that's a goal I hadn't actually written down, but has been attained this month! One crossed off! :)

So what are your plans to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose in May? Oh...and make sure you touch base with More Grace over there in my sidebar? Friend Birdsong is finding creative ways to repurpose things and keep them out of the landfill. Just maybe she has created something you'd like to welcome into your world?
(((hugs)))

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Belated Earth Day & Musings...

Can you imagine that Nana Sadie missed Earth Day?? On this blog?

No excuse, really except that I’ve been thinking Earth Day was going to be celebrated in my community on the 19th and so I’d already started my celebrations! (Granted I still forgot to get anything up on this blog about it! Hehe)

Saturday was recycling day and my car was packed to the gills...(this has been accumulating since the last run right after Christmas, I don’t do this much waste routinely, I promise!)

Then on Monday night, when we trundled to the grocery store, my DGS#1 and I, I discovered that this store has decided to carry their own branded bag...so now I have at least one from each major grocery in the valley. I have two from the store that offers a rebate of 5 cents per bag every time you use them at the checkout. I'm usually a two-bag shopper, but occasionally I'll go in and stock up, so I think four bags make sense (remember it's just me, two kitties and a part-time grandson...) That's the only store I care about making sure I use their brand of bag - it's a nice incentive.

But I’m seeing something on blogs around the blogisphere, that people don't want to take branded bags into competing stores! What’s with that? Too many stores have failed to get on the bandwagon and put out their own, but by the same token, please tell me, are you going to buy a bag from EVERY store you shop at, in the event they finally start offering them? I suspect you’ll spend way more than is necessary on bags (and it’s nonsensical to me that the very idea of controlling waste by using a reusable bag means you have to buy more and more of the reusable ones?). I guess I just don't get that "branded bags only at whichever brand store" concept.

Isn’t it far better to realize that whatever is on your bag, the whole idea is that we’re helping the planet. And nothing else matters...



On the left side of that photo, you'll also see one of the two organizers I bought ages ago to hold things like sacks of veggies, laundry detergent, sodas, and other bulky items that are easier carried without a bag. I love those things...there are 4 sections in each organizer and they collapse on themselves to fold up with a velcro strap to tuck them away neatly, and they hold rolly-polly things upright in the trunk of the Forester.

I have a couple of string bags from way back in the 70s when we first started this idea, anyway, and all my bags reside in the floorboard of the backseat of my car. I’m considering knitting a string bag (the Knitting Daily Hemp Market Bag to be exact) of sari silk and a European silk/linen blend yarn I was gifted with at Christmas. I think something that will turn out that elegantly will be the bag I carry into the “upscale” shops in my area. After all, I have the yarns in stash, so I’m not buying anything and frankly I can’t think of anything else I want to make of those yarns...and string bags are easier to carry fresh foods from our farmer's markets in than any other kind of bag. I feel so...so...

French! Pop in a fresh baguette and herbs and such from the market stands...all I need is a short skirt, a silk scarf at my neck and 25 years off my age. Oh...and Paris street music playing in the background! LOL!
Whatcha think?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ok...You Knew I'd Pick These, Right?




What These Roses Say About You



You are a classic romantic who believes in true love.

You often experience deep emotions and feel warmth toward almost everyone.

You are a bundle of positive feelings and sweetness.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Reminder?

Please don't forget this? Tomorrow night, 8p.m. your time! And while you're at it?

Would you light a candle in honor of a friend's son? Lee left this plane a year ago tomorrow. Please honor his memory this way?

(you'll probably be lighting a candle anyway, right?)
Thanks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Interesting to Say The Least!




What Sallee Means



You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.
You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.
You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.
You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.
You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.
You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Freedom from the Extraneous!

While catching up with pal, Pam, today (and last night at Knit Night, the Barnes & Noble edition) I discovered a new holiday that is so in keeping with my plans and thinking these days....Discardia!

Now you don't really have to do anything to celebrate this holiday, but I love the idea that you can release old ways of thinking and behaving as well as freeing up "stuff" to go to another "home..."

This focusses my plans for 2008 really well. Pam has been inspiring me to do something I desperately need to do, decluttering my environment, as well...

So - I'm jumping in on Discardia right now! SIL is hoping to have a yard sale in April - it's been an entire two years since our last one, so I've got to get busy here!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Certainly IS My Preference!

Melanie you do find the most fascinating quizzes...and the answer to this one? PERFECT!




You Are Cinnamon Flavored Gum



You are daring, active, and a little outrageous.

You crave adventure and novelty. You like to mix things up.



Your personality is extra spicy and larger than life.

You love to have fun, and you are passionate about everything you do.



You're definitely a fiery person, and you don't back down from a fight.

Most people love your fire - but you can be a bit too intense at times!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Earth Hour

See that new banner up there----^

Hmm...turning off the lights on March 29, 2008 for one hour - from 8-9 EST. What could we achieve with that kind of reduction in power consumption?

I'm game, are you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Story of Stuff...

If you're not familiar with this, take a few minutes (there are 7 parts, and you can see each of them in order by going to the first one here...



What a great piece of work this is! A clearly understandable explanation of how our economy works (or doesn't work, actually). I'm on my way to The Story of Stuff for more...
(((Hugs)))

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Just Call Me "Contrary..."

What's going on here? Suddenly it's popular to be frugal, to grow your own food, to make your own clothes, to *gasp* conserve!

I remember "back to the land" the first time around in the '70s (and I don't think that really was the first time). I remember the Green Revolution (the first time). I also remember gas lines and the Oil Embargo, other recessions, and How To Prosper During the Coming Bad Years (he's written some new ones, including one published this year, but I'm kinda betting it's the same old "we're-in-crisis-buy-gold-it's-the-only-REAL-money" mentality, just repackaged, what do you think? Oh. I think I'll keep my money in my pocket and not send it to him to find out!).

And I realize, yes, I do, that the 20-and-30-somethings can't begin to have my frame of reference at all. After all, having lived more than 1/2 a century really should have some kind of benefit to it - getting older surely isn't a piece of cake!

But since I'm bringing up Howard Ruff, and the doom-mongers, I'll try to remind folks of some basic economic theory - what goes up is probably gonna come down, and while it's not a lot of fun to ride that particular curve of the rollercoaster, you know what? It'll come back. The general trend is upward. With smaller steps backward over time. In short, we are so much better off than previous generations.

What I find truly fascinating is the propensity of the human animal to resort to knee-jerk behaviors when things start to spiral downwards: stop spending, start making everything yourself, grow your own food, do your own work so you don't have to pay others, head for the hills and build a fortress, stock your doomsday pantry, and my personal favorite, begin to "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Especially tell everyone how you're going to do it and isn't it the coolest thing ever? "Less is MORE!"

What has me shaking my head is this: Why now? Why not two years ago? Why not ten years ago? (Oh and I guess we really did, some of us, do it 9 years ago with the turn of the century!) Why not use the voluntary simplicity principles, the green living methods, the make-do philosophy even when times are good?

(Well, okay, I know the answer to that - it's not a lot of fun, it's not the American Way. Shopping and spending is soooooooooo much more joyful!)

Or is it?

I have a blast buying second-hand - and most of my furniture is. A lot of folks think you have only two alternatives: keep what you have or buy new (and green).

You have a third choice: take over someone else's items they no longer want - sometimes they even turn out to be antiques and they don't know it (you have to educate yourself if you want to do that well, of course). Over the past 20 years, I've feathered my nest with other people's cast-offs...most of which are either collectibles or antiques. You can't get a lot greener than that (because when you do this, you keep things out of landfills).

I have a friend who finds wool sweaters at garage sales and frogs them for the yarn.

Everyone can learn gardening with a few pots of herbs - you might enjoy it so much you start a garden of vegetables. Then perhaps even plant a fruit tree.

When things like that start perking away in your head, you stop tossing stuff. I'll admit that I'll never be accused of being a "minimalist" - I keep things that might come in handy (not quite as much as my parents did, but still...)

I guess my point is this: Just because we're in tight economic times, there's no reason to panic. We'll come out of it. We always do - even The Great Depression! And if you truly believe in the principles of "less is more" then practice it all the time. Not just when things get tight.

There really is something, too, to the idea that consumer confidence can push us into a recession - that doesn't mean I think we should all run out and charge up the credit cards - in fact just the opposite: get the debt down as fast as you can, just on general principle. But fear is a nasty thing, don't let it eat you up. If you need something - or really want it - and you can afford it, won't break the bank to buy it, then do. But try to do sensible, sustainable purchases: buy locally, or from small independent producers, buy things that for the most part have a long life - except for electronics, I guess! - and buy with cash not a credit card.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without? Do that every day. All your life.

You'll have a lot more in the long run.
*wink*

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm Not Surprised!

Thanks, Melanie as I was pretty sure this was true, but it's cool nonetheless to prove it!

HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
0
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just a Couple Years Off!

You Belong in 1955





You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

I'm really happy with myself for basically being able to stick with my plans for the new year...for the most part, and as a result of that as well as because I've been feeling crummy for months now and have had a couple of nasty sinus infections in the past two months (that have had me on antibiotics 3 times already this year!)...

About a week and a half ago, I dropped dairy completely from my diet.

Not a stunner for some folks, I'm sure, but for me, it was a drastic change.

Partly, I think, it has been hard because my family roots, while firmly IN the vegetarian camp, have been in the Lacto-Ovo camp.

We drank milk. And.ATE.CHEESE. LOTS of cheese.

Of course, we were mostly a one-cheese family - white cheddar (extra sharp, please) from the only state in the union who really knows cheese (sorry Wisconsin, and NY) - VERMONT!

(ok..in a pinch, we ate New York's cheddar)
lolol

I have discovered that I'm a lot happier, and feel much better without dairy.

But I do miss my cheese.

OH. Btw. Please don't offer the suggestion of soy? I can't do that. Soy is as bad in my system as dairy apparently was.
(sigh)

Now. I'm not going back to vegetarianism completely at this point. I still like my turkey and my salmon (especially those).

But it's now been almost 2 weeks without dairy and it's safe to say - I'm such a nice person to be around now.
*wink*
OH. And I discovered on Friday that I can eat Mexican without cheese and it's STILL wonderful! (ok...a little hotter without the balancing properties of the cheese, but I like hot!)
(tippy-tappy-toes dance!)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cool Clear Water...

Long time no post...but if you're looking for philosophy today, it's probably not this one...

The other day I made one of my (far too infrequent, as I let this stuff pile up) trips to the recycling center that isn't far from my house. As I was tossing stuff into the correct railroad cars, carefully making sure what went where, I realized how many of the gallon-sized plastic water bottles I was pitching in. (sigh)

When I moved in to this new place about a year ago, I tried to install my Pur filter on the faucet. I tried valiantly. A friend tried, a plumber even tried (griping all the way, of course, since Pur filters are mostly plastic and plumbers do NOT like plastic!). I finally gave up, and decided that I would go back to bottled water (I absolutely cannot stand the taste of tap water anywhere in this community! And I drink a lot of water...)

But during Christmas shopping I'd noticed one of these:

I didn't pick it up then, I waited.

Last week, I was in the store again, picking up necessities, and suddenly LOOKED at my list...There amongst the toothpaste and coffee filters, was "Pur Pitcher."

"Well, don't you think you'd better?" I asked myself. After all, I'd pitched all those plastic bottles into the train car...shaking my head and being disgusted that I couldn't use the faucet-mount style anymore...

Hmmm...I don't know how much more economical it will be - it says to change the filter every 2 months. That's about the cost of the bottled water for one person like me.

But I surely hope it will help the landfill.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Feast of St. Brigid - 3rd Annual Blog Poetry Reading Day

Both Becky and Melanie brought the 3rd Annual Blog Poetry Reading to my attention this year, and I wanted to participate, but this time in this blog space, rather than Knitnana. I've been reading Plain Living: A Quaker Path To Simplicity by Catherine Whitmire and this poem appears in the chapter on Community. On further exploration I discovered quite a bit about the author (a contemporary of Jane Addams) that I was unaware of, as well as the full quote. It's always been one of my favorites:

Let us be patient with one another,
And even patient with ourselves.
We have a long, long way to go.
So let us hasten along the road,
The road of human tenderness and generosity.
Groping, we may find one another's hands in the dark.

.....Emily Greene Balch, 1955

I think it's an appropriate meditation for today, as well.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This Friday is EXTRA-Special!

It's National Wear Red Day.

In an effort to educate, the NHLBI began this campaign a few years ago. Wear red, Knit Red, learn about women's heart disease at WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

I had my heart attack in May 2000. Two months later, the stent they inserted to fix my blockage, closed up, and I had to have by-pass surgery. I spent a year unemployed (yup - that happens, too, when you're young and sick and working where they are extremely worried about the rising cost of health care). I found WomenHeart and trained in the first class of women's heart health community educators at Mayo Clinic.

Today? Well, I do my best to live life to the fullest. I sometimes feel as if I'm on borrowed time. That heart attack I had was a "Hollywood heart attack" - the kind you don't walk away from. I'm grateful to be here.

Be sure you take a moment - if you don't wear red on Friday, then at least take a moment and think of one thing you can change in your life to make you more heart healthy. Maybe the easiest thing is to add 10 minutes of movement to your life right now. Or eat one more vegetable each day.

The BEST thing you can do, is quit smoking if you do. And stay away from smokers, if you already are smoke-free yourself.

(I'm a former smoker - I know it's hard. If you're trying to quit, maybe try The Q - it's what did it for me!)

I'll show you the one piece of knitting I've done since my heart attack that I hold near my heart often - My Queen of Hearts shawl from Fiber Trends. Made of Knitpicks Merino Style it's a warm and visible reminder of how far I've come!

QOH Extended

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fascinating, Really!

86% Barack Obama
84% John Edwards
84% Hillary Clinton
80% Mike Gravel
80% Dennis Kucinich
80% Chris Dodd
77% Joe Biden
74% Bill Richardson
46% Rudy Giuliani
36% John McCain
29% Mitt Romney
27% Mike Huckabee
24% Tom Tancredo
18% Ron Paul
15% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Getting Serious About Those Goals...

The New Year has gotten off to a rocky start, courtesy of one nasty sinus infection. I'm still making my way back from the almost 2 weeks of misery...but there is finally a kernel of hope! :)

Months and months ago, my good friend and fellow knitter, Pam and I were talking about CSAs...I'm only one person (with pets who don't eat vegies and fruits) and she's a family of three (hoping for 4 - please keep her in your thoughts and prayers, as she is a terrific mom!). We'd thought that between us, we could easily split a 1/2 share...with of course, me doing a lot of freezing and even perhaps some canning. Stop laughing. I used to do this all the time. I also used to have a fairly large garden (or the "tomato forest" as my DD used to call it!).

Well, Pam and I are finally discussing this at the RIGHT time of year (I hope!). She'll be calling tomorrow in hopes of securing us a spot on the list.

And once that's done? I'll be scouring Freecycle for canning jars! *wink*

In that spirit, I decided that part of my commitment to this has to be to "use it up" (as well as "put it by"). I've had some vegies in the crisper and on the "porch" - what else would you call a paneled-in staircase down to an unheated basement with shelves built-in at the top? So today, I started a beef stew/soup on the back of the stove...

Using up all the potatoes, carrots, and celery from Christmas dinner - did you know how long you can keep celery good if you wrap it in aluminum foil, and then wrap it again? (yes, two distinct wrappings of foil) and keep it in the crisper? Well, this celery was as crisp as the day I bought it - Christmas Eve! Tastes good, too! (I can't claim credit for this tip - it's a Martha Stewart recommendation - and it WORKS!

I'll plan to grow some herbs on the front steps this summer, but otherwise, the extent of my gardening is going to be restricted to this sort of plant -

I guess it's my "New Year's Cactus?" It can't make up it's mind what it is...Thanksgiving? Halloween? Christmas? Nah. This year, it's on a LATE schedule instead of early.

I'll post more ideas about my plans and goals as I go here...Let me know what you think, okay?
(((hugs)))