Showing posts from November, 2008

Martha In High Gear

Thanks to an ill-conceived plan involving this:
which Andy swears was the most masculine-looking kitty harness at the pet store, we had a very frustrated kitty who ended up spending the morning in kitty time-out:

giving me some prime Martha time. A little addition to the stair landing:
and I redid the stair decorations, which don't photograph well but look really nice. I need to attach a few bows, but I think it's nice.Speaking of bows, I tried out a few on some light fixturesand liked the effect so much that the dining room chandelier got a little attention.I liked the bows better, but I don't have any more bows and I don't know how to make that type of bow (and was being way too lazy to look them up).

The stockings are up,the banister is decorated,and it looks like this will last at least one more year:
It's a centerpiece I won a few years ago, and every year I take it out and glue whatever came off back onto it. So far nothing has happened that a little hot glue c…

Sort of Martha-ing

I don't know. I don't actually watch her show, but I have a hard time picturing Martha nursing a cat in a cast:After tonight we'll be down to two medications, so that's exciting, but I just don't feel very Martha-like saran-wrapping a cat's cast before he pees. Maybe I should be using colored saran wrap?

I did get our Christmas tree up and decorated:

though this year I decided to do a very non-Martha tree and I used the tinsel-type garlands like the ones I grew up with. No ribbons or beads or anything exotic this year. Just simple and festive, and I'm quite pleased with it so far, though it needs a few gifts under it to look truly Christmas-y.

I did get a bit ambitious with the entryway:
and those bows are handmade and everything. Well, I bought the ribbon--let's not get crazy here--but I did tie them myself. Granted, they look better at this distance than they do up close, but we don't have any 10-foot-tall friends, so that's okay.

Tomorrow t…

A Little Useful Information We Didn't Have 24 Hours Ago

Around midnight, we came across some information that no one had thought to share with us previously, so as a public service, I thought I'd share:

1. A cat recovering from surgery will be given drugs. These drugs might cause kitty constipation.

2. Feeding a cat a little pumpkin puree"soften" things up a bit and prevent this particular problem. (Which would have put yesterday's pumpkin pie in a whole new light, but that's another story)

3. A vet clinic isn't likely to mention this fact when you take your cat home.

4. A constipated kitty in a leg cast is one of the most pitiable creatures ever--especially on his way to the vet clinic at midnight for a date with a tiny rubber hose.

5. Do not joke about your cat's total humiliation--it might tempt the kitty gods to make his life even worse.

Martha Is Nursing A Cat

Theo, our youngest cat, came home from the hospital yesterday after surgery on a broken leg
and his first day home has been a bit of a full-time project. His cast, which is quite festive,is about twice as long as his leg would normally be when moving, so he tends to go in circles. The vet said to keep him quiet and confined, which is a very easy thing to do when you have an entire arsenal of drugs at your disposal. It's quite a different thing in a normal home. We constructed a cage for him which basically kept him confined, upset, and flinging himself around all night. Out of desperation, I finally let him out and have just stayed in our bedroom with him to keep him from trying to jump on things, and that has worked as well as can be expected. He still hides a lot and thinks he can outrun the cast, and I have to help him with the litterbox and put plastic wrap over his cast so he doesn't wet on it, so there hasn't been much Martha-ing today.

He'll have this cast …

Month of Martha - Day 25

Now that I have shared my cold with my loving spouse, we're a rather pathetic tea-drinking, soup-slurping lot around here today. I know the sneezing, coughing, clogged nose thing is all a part of my body's immune system fighting the cold germ, but what I really want to know is, "Are we winning???" Four days into the campaign--it doesn't feel like it.

I have continued with the Martha on a Budget holiday decorating, though with several rest periods involved. Who knew decorating was exhausting?

For the centerpieces for our wedding, my friends graciously assembled 30 of these on the day of the wedding:
I think each of them weighed in at about $10 each, and have now been reused for my parents' anniversary party, several holidays around here, and have now been slightly rearranged to be stairway decorations:
I'll actually add some greenery later when the other boxes come out of storage, and none of them match as I was trying different ideas for each one (and th…

Finally - A Little Martha Action

I have slept the majority of the weekend and the cold is still hanging in there, but I feel less rotten today, which is something. Our youngest cat, Theo, is going in for surgery tonight to repair a damaged leg, and worrying about him seems to have negated the effects of Nyquil, so I started on Christmas decorating today.

For above the new armoire in our bedroom, some decorative packages:
I think I got a little over-exuberant with that gold bow, but at least it's festive. I thought the white bow turned out really well:
The center is a very cheap plastic button I had left over from something, but I really like how it looks. This is called Martha on a budget decorating.

Earlier this year I found some red towels on clearance, so I did a little machine embroidery & decorative stitching and voila:
I think I'd make the design bigger next time, but for this one I was pleased just to figure out how to embroider on terry cloth.

And the fun stuff:
Wrapping up gifts for the nieces &…

Do You Think Martha Ever Gets Colds?

Martha wanna-bes definitely get colds. I've had 24 hours straight with Nyquil and still don't feel great, but at least I've slept through most of it. One new thing I have learned however: Half-doses of Nyquil may function as a hallucinogen.

More tomorrow!

IT'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of silly ecards, but my all time favorite one is back this year. You have to see this.

(Good heavens--three posts in one day--am I caught up yet?)

Coping With a Hostile Ex Wife, Part Six

NOTE: I am not an attorney, psychologist, counselor or therapist. These are simply my suggestions and thoughts having dealt with a bitter ex-wife for the last 3 years.

With the holiday season approaching & the economy tanking, I'm noticing more and more searches on dealing with a hostile ex wife. Lack of money does bring out the worst in people--as often do the holidays. So, for what it's worth, some idea that might help you survive the holidays.

1. Do not let the guilt of divorce lead you to be a bad parent. Too often divorced parents try to buy the child's affection, or buy things to interfere with the other parent. When we bought Andy's son a train set as a gift, the ex immediately had to buy the exact same one for him to have at her house. Children do not need 20 presents at Christmas. It can be really tempting to buy elaborate gifts out of guilt, but have you ever enjoyed being around a spoiled child? Doesn't the word "brat" spring to mind?…

Month of Martha - Day 21

A forage at the local library turned up these
so my plan for yesterday was to actually sit down with this book
and plan a week of Martha meals. If you can't read the print on the cover, this book is called "Martha Stewart's Healthy Quick Cook; Four Seasons of Great Menus to Make Every Day." Since it's November, I flipped to the "fall" menu, and the first menu I came across was:

steamed Brussels sprouts
mashed rutabagas
roasted rack of venison with pomegranate sauce
seared apples

I actually couldn't even identify a rutabaga, if truth be known, but I am very much game to try it if for no other reason than to be able to use the word rutabaga in a sentence every now and then, "I made the best rutabaga souffle the other night...." which is, of course a complete guess on my part as I'm not sure what one does with rutabaga except obviously mash them. Still, that sounds a great deal better than the Brussels sprouts. Anyone else forced to eat tho…

Month of Martha - Failure Number One

Since I'm Martha-ing, I decided our home needed some color, and this fall I planted two mums in the front flower pots. Mums having always been described to me as "fall" plants, I thought this made sense.

Today is November 20, and here's one of the mums:In the store it actually even had flowers. I don't actually remember what color the flowers were, as they all promptly fell off, but I was theoretically going to have fall flowers.

What I have insteadare spring flowers. I took this picture today, and the petunias are going crazy. In fact, this is the best they've looked all year--and it's November 20, which is very much "fall" rather than "spring."

I even have something else coming up
Er, do I still get Martha points if I get the wrong flowers to come up? Do you think Martha ever has argumentative flowers?

Before Or After?

So, this week we were visiting several different friends on the east coast, which required flying through Chicago's Midway airport, and wehn I went in to the restroom, I was a bit overwhelmed by the actual stalls. These aren't even bathroom stalls--they're more like vaults. They go almost all the way to the floor:
and almost all the way to the ceiling, which is at like 9 feet tall.
So my question is, is this just sort of a new design thing, or is this the new Larry Craig bathroom stall model?

We're Alive!!!!!

We're tired, but alive. No actual Martha-ing, but I have ENORMOUS plans for tomorrow......

Month of Martha - To The Other Extreme

So obviously I decided not to take menus from the Good Housekeeping library book--which had nothing whatsoever to do with Andy's threats of divorce over any gelled meats in our home--but when I received the weekly email from and their "quick and easy" "everyday" dinners, I thought I was in luck.

The recipes may indeed be pretty fast to make, but it would take me at least 2 days to drive to a store that sells these ingredients. I do at least know what tsatsiki is, but as anyone who has ever visited Idaho will tell you, we're a little lacking in ethnic diversity & ethnic foods. Fresh clams, even if I were willing to eat them, have to be special ordered as there are a few states in the union that aren't actually on the ocean. And all of THAT is setting aside that their weekly shopping lists would cost almost our entire grocery budget.

I will have to remember to stop scoffing at those fish sticks--if I do decide to try a week of the Ep…

Month of Martha - Day 11.....and then some.....

A quick update:

* We have purchased a pressure canner so I may can low-acid foods like soup and vegetable stock. We will be taking bets on whether or not our kitchen ends up with a new skylight.

* Soup Night was thankfully not enhanced with a live vermin floor show.

* I have finally located my old refrigerator magnets, and had forgotten that I had combined several sets including "tabloid headlines" and "pickup lines," and we have been spending an embarrassing amount of time creating pickup lines for each other involving moonlight and aliens.
* We have planted flower bulbs, and feel pretty confident that we got the tulips and crocuses (croci?) in correctly, but we couldn't figure out which end of the anemone bulbs were which, so we may have sideways flowers in the spring:* Even though I have all sorts of free time, I still can't keep up with the list of projects I dream up for myself.

* So far I have not been even slightly tempted by Martha's cookie r…

Month of Martha - Day 10 - Soup Night!

Tonight was the monthly Soup Night, which means today was spent making two soups and setting up the house for the monthly soiree. I serve 2 soups--both of which are homemade--but I have been known to use broth from a can and that strange refrigerated bouillon goo, so I don't think I'm scoring many Martha points there. We did use the new napkins I made--definitely Martha points for that--but the hot apple cider was from concentrate--definitely NO Martha points there. Tonight's soup selections were spicy peanut (there being no way for me to resist a soup made with peanut butter), and a roasted garlic and leak soup. Both were fabulous, but the spicy peanut was the clear favorite. Now the big questions: DOES MARTHA BELIEVE IN LEFTOVERS?????

And tomorrow we'll be playing a rousing game of "Clean Up the Kitchen." Not a life highlight or anything, but it certainly still beats the daylight out of a normal job in this economy.

Month of Martha - Day 9

Last night we had a friend over for dinner, which seems quite Martha-like, even if the angel hair pasta was from a box--gasp!

This harmless looking little animal
decided our book discussion was a tad dull and brought in a live mouse to liven up the party. Not only do mice slide around pretty well on hardwood floors, Theo can actually throw them about 2 feet into the air. Luckily, no one was actually hit--but then we can all move pretty quickly when so motivated.

I'll bet Martha hasn't had to deal with THAT one!

Month of Martha - Day 8

I love the idea of being on sabbatical! That's it exactly!

So, in my best Martha impression--which stinks so far, but I'm working on it--I'm trying to plan menus ahead of time. Those who have been to dinner in my home will find that especially funny as I regularly make things up as I go along and have been known to have to convert what was going to be a breakfast entree into Italian meatball sandwiches. But I don't believe anything is impossible. Improbable, yes, but not impossible. I might actually be able to do this.

I decided to check to see what the library had in menu planning and came across this:

Good Housekeeping published this "Menus For a Whole Year of Dinners," and I grew up browsing the recipe section of my mother's Good Housekeeping magazines, and I have memories of some spectacular stuff. I should maybe have noticed that this book was published about the time I was born, but I am never bothered by details.

Sometime before I learned to read…

Month of Martha - Day 7

So aside from hoping the Month of Martha would spur me on to some sort of organizing frenzy (which it hasn't), one of the reasons for picking this particular project is that like so many Americans, I am out of a job. Actually, only sort of--I have several offers I can take at any time so that's a big difference I would guess. I have refrained from saying anything about it because most people's immediate response would be sympathy or to worry about us, but it has really been a pretty positive thing. Since I was in capital equipment sales, we could see the slowdown back in January & had enough warning time to adjust spending, save like maniacs, and by the time it finally happened at the end of September, it was almost a relief. I parted on good terms with my former employers and have received several calls and emails from my clients. Not that I wouldn't technically have preferred a strong economy and a great year in sales, but things are all still good at Chatea…

Month of Martha - Day 6

We've been having furnace problems (read: have had no heat for 2 days), so I actually came very close to making Martha's cookie of the day just to have an excuse to turn the oven on, but they were raisin bars today and while I actually do like raisins, I can't stand them IN anything. Truth be told, I bet Martha didn't actually bake cookies today either.

Tonight I did finish 4 satin table runners I've been working on--and without a pattern, which I think should get me double Martha points. I realize if Martha had made them she probably would have woven her own fabric & spun her own thread and everything, but we can't all be Domestic Goddesses. After the last two days, I'm happy with "poor little mortal with a working furnace."

It's all a matter of perspective......

Month of Martha - Day 5

Since it's the Month of Martha, I actually went to the Martha Stewart website and signed up for her "cookie of the day," "craft of the day," and "organizing tip of the day" email newsletters--obviously mostly for my own amusement as the cookies I made last week are the first ones I've made since we sold my house almost 3 years ago. Cookie of the day! I crack myself up.

Anyone know of a "Ways-to-make-oatmeal-palatable" tip of the day newsletter?

What An Amazing Night!

Across the world people have heard about the large voter turnouts in America--for both candidates. After all the voter apathy throughout my lifetime, the excitement over the election literally gave me goosebumps. We had two great candidates and voters on both side were voting FOR something, not against something. What a great moment for us!

I am thrilled about Obama. So much of our economy is about how people feel, and like him or hate him, he has energized this country in a way I've never seen. By including all 50 states in his campaign, he really made us all feel part of something. And he propelled himself into the white house by working directly with the VOTERS, not the Democratic Party, so he owes them nothing. I love that.

That America, 143 years after the Civil War and 43 years after the Civil Rights Movement, now has a black president--and that people of all races voted for him--is inspiring. May we finally realize that skin color has as little to do with a person'…

Tomorrow is Election Day

We have not yet reached the 100th anniversary of women being given the right to vote in the United States. It was a hard fight, and for any women who might think they are too busy to vote or that their votes won't matter, take a moment to read this.

Month of Martha - Day 3

So, tonight we were going to have Eye of Round with Bearnaise Sauce. What we ended up having--because I didn't think to check to see if we still had vermouth and only discovered we didn't after the roast was already out of the oven--was plain roast beef. Not bad, but really really plain. Martha would not have approved. Still, I was rather proud of myself for not producing a lump of shoe leather. I don't do much in the "Sunday Roast" sort of cooking, so anything this side of edible is an accomplishment.

My side dish did much better--not requiring vermouth at all, either for cooking or for eating. I live in Idaho and Idaho is known for its potatoes. I've never been overly fond of potatoes having encountered them mostly boiled into mush and topped with gravy (seriously unhealthy), cut up and deep fried (seriously unhealthy), and baked (not unhealthy until enough stuff is added to make them taste good), but now that I'm Marthaing, I decided I should emb…

Month of Martha - Day 2

So, in my best Martha Mode, I got up this morning and made the bed, made coffee--grinding the beans, of course, but admittedly not by hand--then after a brief trip to the gym I was ready to tackle the garlic.

First I dug up one of the sunnier beds
realizing a little late that a swimming workout is not necessarily the best forerunner to an afternoon of shoveling, then I dug out the first compost "harvest" from our compost bin,
adding a few shovelfuls of dirt from the bed where the sugar peas were this year (peas are a legume and put nitrogen back in the soil when they grow, which is really good for most other plants), and with the help of Gardening Kitty
who loves gardening but is deathly afraid of the wheel barrow, I mixed up the soil, then planted 5 or 6 rows of garlic.
A smarter person would have counted. We have Susanville--a softneck having a flavor with "real character"--on the farthest side, then somewhere in the middle it transitions to Polish White--an old worl…

Month of Martha

It's November 1 and time for a new project.

November (and since it's the holiday season, this will flow into December), it's The Month of Martha (as in Martha Stewart). Not that I'm actually going to scrounge up the tv antenna so I can start watching her show or anything--let's not get crazy here--but we've lived in this house for 2 years, and it's time to start settling in, maybe hang a few things on the wall, fix an insane amount of food to celebrate a holiday or two, and if I'm feeling really brave I'll attempt some Christmas cookies--the last attempt having produced one cookie the size & shape of the cookie sheet. I haven't yet decided if I'll attempt a little Martha-inspired insider trading--is it still illegal if you don't make any money at it?

In my first Martha Moment, this arrived today:
It's garlic planting stock. I guess in order to get roots going, garlic needs to be in the ground before it freezes, so we'll be p…


Um, I didn't actually get to Adam Smith. In fact, out of the 900 pages of my "Making of Society" book, I read 194 pages. After almost 200 pages, I feel like I didn't actually learn anything--I feel like I "unlearned," which probably isn't even a word, but is the most accurate way to explain. I don't know exactly what I believed about the nature of man and/or society, but whatever I did believe, it's all been challenged. I think the questions I'm left with are:

* Are people as a whole capable of goodness?

* When we put people in jail, what are we trying to accomplish?

* Can mankind ever reach a state where we are content and not looking for a group to hate?

* Can any amount of education prevent mob mentality?

* If so many people believe that our government is corrupt and that no politician will fulfill their campaign promises, why haven't we done anything about it--like voting them out?

* Are people as a whole better or worse than th…