Showing posts from August, 2008

35 Jars

So when I tell you that I spent the day canning, you can be sure for once I am not exaggerating.

Earlier this year, 8 tomato plants seemed like a good idea. Spring is about optimism. Everything is possible--canning, pickling, returning to nature. Late summer is about coming to terms with reality.

This morning, I went out to pick tomatoes. This is the first bucket load. Did I mention the 8 tomato plants?????

So, first I made "Garden Salsa," which made only a small dent in the tomato harvest. I swear it filled the stock pot, but only made 11 cups. But it's canned.

I still had tomatoes & jalapenos, so flipping through the canning book, I found a recipe for tomato carrot salsa. That sounded interesting. I made 14 cups of that & canned it. I'll keep you posted on whether or not "interesting" translates into "edible." Canning fumes can be dangerous and we have learned not to trust any of my ideas after spending 2 hours in the kitchen.


It's Time!!!

The pool at the gym has reopened! It's time to go get the Goober Goggles!!!!

Be still my little capitalistic heart....

We Are Taking Tango Lessons!

In spring, a young man's fancy may lightly turn to thoughts of the fall it turns to thoughts of Latin rhythms, dark-haired beauties in dresses with thigh-high side slits, and roses clamped tightly between a dancer's teeth.

We are starting tango lessons next week. I'm off to practice holding a flower between my teeth. What do you think--petunias or zinnias?

A Little Lesson In Customer Service

So I mentioned before that I needed more beads to finish a sweater I've been working on. I first picked up the wrong beads, then when I took them back to Craft Warehouse to exchange them for the right beads, I discovered they were selling out their stock to make way for something else.


If anyone is thinking this sounds a little familiar, it's because you might remember my frantic search for one yard of flannel fabric to finish a pair of pajamas for Andy. People searched Joann Fabrics stores throughout the U.S. and never found it. Almost a year later, Andy has PJ bottoms without a PJ shirt. (And for those who remember the entire story, I still haven't found where I squirreled away the in-progress shirt. We have stopped discussing it)

It was time for action. I posted the information on my knitting blog. On Saturday, I emailed Craft Warehouse to explain the situation and ask for their help. I Googled the beads and emailed any stores that carried the right …

They're Following Me

I have obviously not yet learned to not tempt fate, so Andy and I were just commenting on the relatively rodent-free July and August, so of course this morning, there was a mouse.

Fate, however, was having a bad morning and its aim was off a bit. The mouse was not in our house (or brought into our house as is usually the case), but it showed up at my office. Not even in MY office--it found its way into another sales rep's office, and as he was late and unable to defend himself, a trap was located, baited, shoved in his office, and the door was barricaded lest the mouse escape alive.

It was almost relaxing to have someone else find the mouse for a change.....though I need to be careful. I might be late in the morning and the current state of the mouse is unknown.

As I'm Sure You Noticed....

....there was no post yesterday.

Blame it on thiswhich resulted in thiswhich when all is said and done probably come to $12.73 cents per pint. That's without the therapy bills.

The tomatoes are ON and ON in a very big way. They are obviously liking the 4:1 compost to dirt ratio that we ended up with, but it is having some very odd side effects:I think I'll let you write your own caption for this one.....

Baker City, Oregon

Baker City, Oregon, is about two and a half hours from Boise and the scenic quality of the drive depends on the time of year and the driver's need for a weekend away.

For a long time, we had wanted to visit the Geiser Grand hotel, originally built in 1889 and restored in the mid 1990s. I had driven through Baker many times in the early 1990s, and remember this building as a derelict eye-sore painted (windows and all) a dreadful cantaloupe-orange. I was excited to see it in its new non-monochromatic splendor.

The hotel was in almost complete ruin when restoration began, and it was known that there had been a stained glass ceiling, but no one knew what it looked like. This was commissioned as being likely to be similar to the Victorian era
and the woodwork kept Andy, woodworker that he is, entranced the entire weekend.

The staff was delightful,though they did insist on calling Andy "Doc" after he showed up Saturday morning in one of his summer ensembles from the "Toni …

The pictures from our Baker City excursion can wait one more day (heck, the rest of the honeymoon pictures have been waiting almost 2 years to make it on the blog, so one week is really speedy for me).

Tonight's topic: ANDY AND I ARE DATING!!!!

All right, technically we're dating vicariously, but this is as close as we're going to get to the singles scene, so it counts.

Andy and I actually met 3 years ago on, and last night we helped a friend take pictures for his profile and tried to help him as he reenters the dating world after a 20+ year hiatus. I come from a family that is way too prone to offering unsolicited advice on every subject under the sun no matter how little experience or knowledge the "advisor" might have, so it's always a bit difficult for me to offer advice to anyone, but we did walk him through some of our experiences and adventures. The mild ones. The real horror stories, of course, we're saving until he's been dating a …

Getting Back To Normal

Granted, "normal" at Chateau Sutton-Goar can mean almost anything--including many things that would be quite abnormal anywhere else. However, we are slowly adjusting to be able to spend money again--or being able to attempt to spend money as I still don't have those beads. It's a very indulgent feeling and makes one feel quite giddy--or that could be the heat as the first part of the week was abysmally hot.

In a fit of sheer rebellion, I ordered the 2009 refill for my day planner. I know it is 2008, and yes, I do make my living by selling technology, but I still don't want an electronic device telling me what to do. If I am ever in need of a pacemaker, fine--I will learn to take orders from a device, or at least my heart will--but until that time, give me paper any day. Now there are two boxes on their way to me--I am positively quivering in anticipation!

I remember as a child wanting a specific toy--the two I remember most was a Johnny-West type horse with …

Back in the Capitalistic World

Who could have imagined that spending $100 could actually be difficult?

Monday I returned to Craft Warehouse to exchange the beads for the right color and discovered that they are currently out of the right color. As the most intelligent thing I could get out of the young clerk was "Huh?" I have no idea if being out of this color is a temporary or permanent state of affairs.

I haven't yet had time to go to the Swim & Run Shop for my Goober Goggles, but the pool at my gym is in the process of being repaired anyway, so I guess it isn't urgent. Still, it's a chance to buy something after 3 months of retail abstinence....

As I have so little to show for it, it doesn't really feel like the ban is over. The yarn has shipped, though, and when a box shows up at my door with yarn, THEN it will definitely feel like the ban is over!

We Were Away

This weekend we actually went to Baker City, Oregon, to stay at the Grand Geiser Hotel--which will be detailed in tomorrow's entry. So, my shopping took a little bit of a back-seat (after placing my yarn order at 6:00 AM--I do have my priorities), but I was able to find two yarn needlescomplete with a carrying case, so obviously everyone else loses them as well--$4.95. Then I found this in a used bookstore for $2.00.

It was written in the early 1950s with graduating seniors in mind, and says in the introduction that they have been taught facts and that now it is time to learn to think and have well-thought-out opinions, and presents 4 essays with 4 different points of view on topics ranging from writing well to motion pictures to collectivism vs. individualism. The topics are perhaps a bit outdated--atomic age, Communism--but I love the very thought of this book. Could you imagine people forming their opinions through thoughtful research and reflection instead of from 30-second…

I CAN SHOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really, in general I am not much of a shopper and usually break into open hostility when drug along to the mall on a weekend, but after 90 days of not buying anything but food, it feel marvelous. Wonderful. Refreshing. I'm going to have to see if banning myself from cleaning the house has this sort of effect.....

It's 6:47 AM and through the miracle of the internet, I have spent $10.57 on 2 hanks of yarn to finish this:
which from the picture could be anything--most likely some sort of bag--but it will be a shawl, and when I started it about a year ago, I somehow didn't use the yarn I had purchased specifically for it and which there was enough of, but instead chose a yarn that I had bought for something else & which there was not enough of. Guess what I didn't learn until after the spending ban had begun? That was an easy one, wasn't it?

The thrill of entering my credit card number, updating my shipping information because I'm on a year-long yarn buying …

Day 98 - MY LAST DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Provided I make it until midnight tonight, I have now gone 90 days without buying anything new!!!!! Hallelujah!!!!

There have been 2 exceptions: the mouse bait, which we viewed as a necessity somewhat above food & shelter, and a new cell phone battery for my cell phone because it is necessary for my work. However, because of the spending ban, I found one for $5 on Ebay rather than going to a store & probably ending up with a new phone because extra batteries are almost as much as a new phone. So it still saved me a lot of money.

And what are we doing with all this extra money? Savings. One of my goals is for us to have one year of living expenses set aside "just in case," so that's what we're working on now. So our spending habits, while not as draconian as they have been, will continue to be pretty strict. In return, I'm also setting aside money for us to go on a cruise next fall. It's been much easier to save for the big things when we stoppe…

Day 97 - So I've Been Thinking.....

Friday is my last day on the spending ban, so technically if I stayed up until 12:01 AM on Saturday, I could start online shopping then......A very worthy thought and well worth considering.....

We're finally getting lots of tomatoes!!!! Canning attempts will be posted for your amusement in about 2-3 weeks. Right now they're still enough of a novelty that we're pretty much eating all of them as they ripen. The cucumbers have far outstripped us and we're giving full sack loads to anyone who comes over--with or without their permission. If we have to, one of us distracts guests with a garden tour while the other one breaks into their car and plants a few sacks of cucumbers. They drive away grateful that we didn't plant zucchini....

Admittedly, we might be taking the gardening thing a bit too far. Tonight Andy actually said, "Today there was steam coming out of the compost bin--that's really exciting."

Obviously, we need to get out more.

Day 96 - It Would Still Be Cheating

We have decided that it would really be cheating if I asked Andy to pick up something at the store because his spending ban is over and mine isn't. It's amazingly easy to be quite firm with rules pertaining to something that doesn't matter in the slightest.

The latest issue: The insane volume of pumpkin butter I made on Sunday should be frozen. No matter how full that cupboard may seem, we just don't have THAT many small plastic containers. It might seem like it at times, but we just don't. So, our options were to 1.) Have Andy, freely spending man that he is, go get containers that "we" want, or 2.) bite the bullet and find another way to do this.

I am good under pressure. And faced with two stockpots full of cooked, spiced squash. At first I kept thinking that it wouldn't work to put it in two dozen Ziploc baggies because it would be really hard to scoop out later, and then it hit me: FREEZE IT IN THE BAGGIES, AND HAVE THE SENSE TO PULL IT OU…

Day 95 - I'm Almost There!!!!!!

I have 3 days left on my spending ban (remember I have 8 extra days for that darn mohair), and I'm starting to slow down when I drive past shops. I'm looking at the catalogs being delivered to our house--well, except for the motorcycling and woodworking ones, but by Friday......I've browsed Amazon's website. I've checked the balance on my personal "allowance" account (we each have an allowance every month that is automatically transfered into private accounts--it beats having to explain why a woman really does need 10 pairs of black shoes). I flipped through the newspaper ads left in the breakroom today.

My list so far:

* 2 hanks of yarn to finish a shawl currently in progress
* a silver button/clasp of some sort for a sweater that I finished but that still needs a button
* earplugs for swimming
* new Goober Goggles
* a new yarn needle
* beads to finish a beaded edging on a sweater that's almost done. Obviously, when I can't shop, I get a lot …

Dealing With A Hostile Ex-Wife - Part Five

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

As sad as these situations were, there seems to be more & more internet searches about dealing with hostile ex wives--just the traffic increase on this site alone is frightening. I'm sure the failing economy is having an impact, or maybe the number of hateful ex-wives really is increasing. Whatever it is, it's obvious people are needing some help and looking for answers. So, my latest round of suggestions:

1. Know the laws in your state that can protect you. If the ex-wife is harassing you, calling when you have asked her not to do so, sending hateful emails, calling you at work--whatever--put it in writing how she may contact you. State explicitly that you do not wish to be contacted by her in any other way. We sent a copy to our attorney for reference. If she violates your stated request, you may ha…

Day 93 - The Garden

Today started brilliantly. The weather was cooler all morning--which was a wonderful change--and Andy came in with our first really good tomato harvest,then I found some cucumbers that should have been picked a week ago, but haven't turned yellow yet.
Then we (I) decided we (we) should make something with our pumpkin crop. I had borrowed a recipe book from the library that had a recipe for pumpkin butter, which sounded promising. We discovered that anything involving pureed pumpkin really isn't safe to can, but it would be okay to freeze. So, I picked a recipe that said it would produce 3 8-ounce jars of pumpkin butter. That sounded like a good amount.

It called for 4 medium-sized squash/pumpkins, peeled, seeded, and cubed. There are no pictures of that part, as we're not ready to laugh about that yet. I'll just say it involved 2 hours, almost every knife we own, one of Andy's woodworking saws, and I think we'll be finding pumpkin seeds in the kitchen for…

Day 92 - Andy Went Shopping Today

Even though yesterday was officially Andy's "free to spend" day, it was also a "work day" and a "dinner plans with friends" day, so he didn't actually get to spend money until today. I can't believe the entire world doesn't revolve around our bizarre experiments!

His list:Extra coffee travel mugs to use in the garage when he's doing wood working projects.
Manly magazines--makes sense as the only magazines we subscribe to are Cooking Light and Cook's Illustrated, and I wouldn't call either of those exactly "manly." The poor man has probably been suffering from a little estrogen overload lately.The 4th Harry Potter movie. While we have decided that most movies we can just borrow from the library, there are some "favorites" that really do qualify as "must own."
Twine. Just 'cause.
Plastic forks because if we keep showing up with just spoons people will stop picnicking with us.A bunch of screws tha…

Day 91 - Andy is a Free Man!!!!

With $100 in his pocket and a list. We'll see what he does with his day.

Day 90 - Not Spending is No Longer My Biggest Problem

Andy's spending ban ends tonight--mine ends next Friday. However, I would gladly extend mine another month to be finished with
The vet (who was probably chuckling to himself the entire time) said to give Calisto one and a half doses (syringes full of pink bubble-gum scented goo that I shoot into her mouth) twice a day for a week or until the medicine is all gone. Don't let the size of that bottle deceive you--it's WAY bigger than it seems. I've been good & only slopping a little over the sides, but it's still only half empty. Calisto's cough does seem to be getting better--or it might just be that it's hard to tell as she is now fleeing for cover whenever she glimpses me. This really might last until Sunday--let's hope it ends before one of us runs away from home.

Day 89 - Andy Has One Day Left

Friday Andy will be able to buy anything he wants--or at least up to $100. I have promised myself to be warm, loving and supportive and to not grumble too much that one of us is still deprived of retail therapy.

Maybe I'll spend my last shopping-deprived week figuring out what to do with 30+ pumpkins...
So far I've found recipes for pumpkin flour, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin butter, pumpkin waffles, baked pumpkin, pumpkin muffins, and if Andy hasn't fled in squashed-induced terror by them, we can always freeze pumpkin puree.

Thank heavens it wasn't 2 zucchini plants--I think that would have been grounds for divorce.