Friday, August 31

The Importance of Fans

Look what my little friend surprised me with this week!

She had suggested at last Friday's get-together (when I was fanning away the affects of hot flashes with magazines and the like) that I search for one of those old church fans.

Do you remember them? They were always stuck in the slots on the back of the church pews with the hymnals and looked something like a thin piece of cardboard attached to a paint stirrer.

I dismissed the idea, of course, because those things are so damned unattractive.

I guess she had such empathy for my situation that she went on a mission to find something more suitable to my liking.

Aren't they marvelous?

Both fold away and can be tucked into a purse or whatever for instant relief.

Wednesday, August 29

You Never Know What You'll Find When You Clean

I didn't realize I hadn't posted yesterday till Momo called this evening and pointed it out.

I was busy most of the day cleaning house so I could do Biology homework. I decided I couldn't concentrate or even begin to study until I had rid the house of the accumulation of dog hair. Blue is a long-haired dog, and according to the amount of dog hair I retrieved from the floor and carpet, should be bald about now.

Anyway--I always move the sofa to get the tumbleweed-like dog hair that tries to hide from the vacuum, and out came this lizard! I ran for the camera and snapped this picture. I then decided I could get a much better look with the zoom lens, and when I left the room, he did as well.

I found him in the kitchen this evening when I was making a Banana Cream Pie (gotta get that potassium any way we can). I hollered for JB and then the lizard ran under the stove!

I saw this as a perfect opportunity to go dump my accumulation of vegetable peelings in the com poster and check on the garden and see how the cantaloupes were doing.

Thomas was perched on the deck railing when I went out. He's is looking a bit sad these days. Could it be because a lack of rain has caused his catnip to almost dry up completely?

The lack of rain has really lessened the blooms on the crepe myrtles as well. The picture below is from '05. Can you tell the difference?

While I was outside exploring, the lizard came out to bask in the sunlight on the kitchen floor and JB scooped him up and set him free outdoors.
I was really glad to hear that. I was beginning to fear I could couldn't go barefoot in my own house anymore because of creepy crawly things that may dart across the floor.

Monday, August 27

Spread a Little Magic

A Little Ginger Folklore:
During the Middle Ages, ginger was often used as a preservative. Because baked goods made with ginger did not spoil as quickly, they were thought to be magical!

Frosted Ginger Creams

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup Grandma's Molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup water

In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with water (dough will be soft). Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until tops are cracked.

1-1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Beat cream cheese, butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and enough lemon juice to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cookies. Store in refrigerator.
Yield: 4 dozen

I had every intention of posting this recipe yesterday as promised, but my keyboard went belly up when we moved the computer to the sewing room.
I replaced the keyboard (with an ergonomic one!) while I was in the big city doing the Math and Biology thing.

Sunday, August 26

It's Always Better When You Share

I finished the bag by Friday night's get-together. My little friend seems pleased.

We've been eating leftovers for several days now.
JB decided Blue might enjoy some pasta, so he tied his ears up to keep them out of the sauce. Kind of looks like a samurai dog, doesn't he?

I made the Iced Ginger Creams yesterday to satisfy my sweet tooth
and I doubled the recipe so I could share with the in-laws and out-laws.
The recipe only makes 4 dozen.

I know 4 dozen is a lot, but these are so good you have to share.
They're refrigerator cookies and so wonderful with coffee.
Recipe to come, I promise!

Looks like we're on the tail-end of these Banana Nut Muffins, too.
Very quick to throw together and great to grab on the way out the door.
I'll post this recipe later, too. Only takes about 2 very ripe bananas.

Jb made this beautiful maple base for my crystal cake dome when the bottom got broken.
He's so good with making things work exactly so.

Wednesday, August 22

Idle Hands Are the Devil's Playground...

Remember some time back when I mentioned sucking it up and finishing school?

Well, I'm right in the thick of things as of Monday. I'm trudging through and working my brain.

Today, on the the 20 minute ride to school I suffered a flat tire and Pop had to come rescue me. Two hours and four tires later, I was on my way to school. Just in time for Biology Lab. Oh boy!

When I'm not at school or studying, I'm sewing.

I made this eyeglass case out of that mothball-smelling fabric I got from the estate sale a week ago. I'm making a matching wine bag for my little friend for her 60th birthday. (photo to come)

Here's the dress from that vintage fabric. The neckline is a tad low, so I added an inset of Batten burg lace. I haven't decided on the hemline. What do you think of a handkerchief hemline?

I still have gardening--in spit of the lack of rain--to provide a diversion to studies.
Don't you just love Hibiscus?

And when I really can't decide what to do with myself, I just swing on the back deck.

Monday, August 20

How Does Your Garden Grow

I figured out what had happened to my tomatoes upon closer inspection. This weird serpent-like fellow has been having a feast.

Not without repercussions, as luck would have it. It appears--after further research--that he is on his way to meet his maker. Those white thingeys on him are actually wasp larvae and are feeding on him from the inside out. How gross! Read more here.

Cucumbers are looking very strange these days.

Not much good for most things, so JB has become a bit more creative.

Saturday, August 18

The Best Things Come In Small Packages

Look, its a walnettolope.

I saved seeds from a particularly tasty melon I purchased last year and planted some in my garden. And the melon I purchased last year was a full-grown normal size melon.
Maybe it's the lack of rain or maybe, just perhaps, we have come up with a gourmet miniature melon...

Thursday, August 16

Almost Paradise

Our little kingdom is what I call it. Friends have called it Shangrala...

We do seem to be a haven for animals of all types.

Can you find the Bumblebee in this picture? He's busy pollinating this Rose of Sharon.
I think that's a Japanese Beetle, in flight, on the left.

I understand that Bumblebees won't sting you.
Or maybe only those with white faces will... I'm not sure.

I think the heat brings out the weeds and the strange looking bugs.
I'm not sure what this thing is, but he was discovered
climbing up the new buds on my Hibiscus.

Such beautiful big, vibrant blooms.

Bright green and yellow and obviously a stow-away,
I photographed this little guy inside, traveling on the down comforter.
(Yes, I sleep with a down comforter...
the other half of the night when I'm not having hot flashes.)

Sunday, August 12

My Coleman Cooler

So what happened to those products that used to offer such a wonderful guarantee?
I have Coleman cooler that qualifies. This stainless steel cooler that offers a 120 year guarantee...

I Hope Today Smells Better

This fabulous frock I had put together in June was completed the evening prior to my trip to Texas. Needless to say, it stayed.
JB had helped me pin so the princess seams would be more form-fitting. The dress was photographed before I had completed the handkerchief hemline and flutter-style cap sleeves.

My youngest daughter, Jeni, spotted the dress in my suitcase and thought it quite lovely so, I gave it to her. She's 21 and it looked beautiful on her. I tried to photograph her, but she dodged me. (Miss Jessica compares me to the paparazzi and often warns potential subjects.)

I have sewed for the girls since they were very small.

I made bathing suits and bikinis for them when they were little girls and needed so many.
The backyard in this picture is the same one I visited during my trip. Of course now it belongs to the nurse and the trees are much bigger.

Ready for a new sewing project, I went to a yard sale Friday and scarfed up some marvelous vintage fabric. LOTS of fabric actually... about 5 washing machine loads.

Once I got it home, the old musty smell crept into the farthest corners of my home. I have washed and dried every single piece of fabric and Febreezed the house repeatedly. The last lot of fabric is soaking in a solution of vinegar and baking soda now.

The culprit may very well be this piece of fabric. It's wild isn't it?

I found it in a plastic bag with this pattern, dated 1973. The dress was all cut out so I had to sew it up. It, too, is now soaking in the baking soda and vinegar.

Thursday, August 9

More or (less) Hormones

The hot flashes are becoming less frequent. I think I'm going to be okay.
But, just to show that I do have a sense of humor about the whole thing, I am sharing a different perspective.

The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the month when all he has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life into his own hands.
This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, co-worker, or significant other.

Ultra Safe:

What's for dinner?

Can I help you
with dinner?

Where would you like to go for dinner?

Here, have
some wine.

Are you
wearing that?

Wow, you sure look good in brown!

Wow! Look at you!

Here, have some wine.

What are you

so worked up about?

Could we be overreacting?

Here's my paycheck.

Here, have some wine.

Should you be eating that?

You know,
there are lots of apples left.

Can I get you
a piece of chocolate with that?

Here, have some wine.

did you do
all day?

I hope you
didn't over-do it

I've always loved you
in that robe!

Here, have some wine.

1. Pass My Shotgun
2. Psychotic Mood Swing
3. Perpetual Munching Spree
4. Puffy Mid-Section
5. People Make me Sick
6. Provide Me with Sweets
7. Pardon My Sobbing
8. Pimples May Surface
9. Pass My Sweats
10. Pissy Mood Syndrome
11. Pack My Stuff
12. Potential Murder Suspect

Tuesday, August 7

There Is A Season

How often does an amaryllis bloom in summer?

I always thought they were seasonal--winter and around Christmas. But while I was playing mother hen in Texas, JB emailed me this picture of his gardening talents.

Monday, August 6

See How They Run...

Looks like Haji is feeling empowered since he has learned he can make the deer scatter.

It reminds me of when I first introduced city-dog Elijah Blue to rural living. He, too, was empowered when he learned he could scare cows. (Not to worry, JB had a come-to-Jesus meeting with him shortly thereafter and the cow chasing was nipped in the bud.)

As far as Haji chasing deer, he'll never catch them. But in the meantime, maybe he'll end up saving some of my plants.

Sunday, August 5

Heat and Hot Flashes

With temperatures in the mid 90s every day, my Desert Lotus is thriving.

My tomatoes don't respond as well to the heat though.

Turns out, I don't either.

While in Texas, my nurse friend convinced me to quit taking the hormones I've been accustomed to for about four years now. My daughters have expressed concerns for some time as well, so I thought why not?

I'm coming up on two weeks now and the worst of it is the hot flashes. During the day, its tolerable. But at night, it's covers on and covers off the entire night.

I'm opting for some herbal remedies today. Anyone got any ideas?

Wednesday, August 1

Still Scratching My Head...

Since I live in tobacco country, this sign was a shocker. Seems the good folks in this Texas town have banned smoking from all public places. A violation will cost you $500!

Miss Jessica pointed out that instead of seeing smokers light up inside a restaurant's "designated smoking area" or bar, you'll see them all hanging out 20 feet from the establishment's main entrance, as per the new smoking ban... sort of like the smoking alleys we remember associated with high school in the 70s.

Having lived in this area for some 18 years or so, I was quickly reminded of the thinking of the city officials. This city still rates as one of the highest in the nation for teenage births. Do you think they'll ever figure out the importance of sex education and birth control (rather than just teaching abstinence)?

The city also boasts 3 universities and several colleges.
I noticed this sign not far from one...

I still believe Texas has the most beautiful baby-blue sky I have ever seen.

A sky which can cloud up quickly, threatening bad weather, but never produce the first drop of rain.