Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday fragments and folderol

in which our plucky heroine gets a treat...

It was a delightful surprise this afternoon, when I got a phone call from Green Zebra. Earlier in the day I had ordered some groceries online, for "curbside pickup" via my bicycle, but rather than a call to let me know something I wanted was out of stock, it was a call to let me know something I hadn't ordered had just come into stock. The person packing up my order, which must be have been one among hundreds of random (and in my case very occasional) orders, remembered that I have a minor passion for Zoe's pastrami, and called me to ask if I would like them to add some to my order!

While my sister suggested that perhaps it had come up in my shopping history, which would have perhaps prompted a call, I don't imagine that the busy people who pick and bag orders also have time to look up each persons shopping statistics (and I have never gotten a phone call previously suggesting adding things to my bag-o-supplies) I think, rather, that the small and local store simply hires people that pay attention. Another example of paying attention is that my order had been packed in two slightly smaller bags (perfect for putting in my bike baskets) rather than the one large bag suitable for the back of an automobile.

From what I heard, back when I was shopping in stores instead of living in isolation, Green Zebra treats their employees well, and that, in addition to the superb customer service, is why I spend a substantial portion of my food money there rather than at the cheaper stores run by interstate or international conglomerates. Since the store arrived in my neighborhood, I have made a point of shopping there, because voting with my dollars is the only way I have to encourage both better working conditions and grakeeping small local stores in my neighborhood.
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I actually got a few small things done this week around the house: I started pruning the persimmon tree in the parking strip, and once the largest branches that need gone are cut away, I will use this strategy to begin doing better at encouraging it to fruit.
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I noticed that one of the bulbs in the cloudlight was painfully visible to me when sitting at the dining table, and it occurred to me that something translucent would be a good diffuser. Since the bulbs are all LEDs, there isn't much heat generated (and all the paper lanterns are open at the top anyway); my first thought was some mulberry paper, but as there wasn't any in the paper portfolio, I instead cut a circle from some thin stiff nonwoven interfacing. Voila!

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A new recipe, inspired by but not copied from a Milk Street article about Greek braised garbanzos in tomato/orange sauce. As always these days, my efforts are based on what I have on hand in the pantry. The overall concept seemed to be to create a sort of sweet/sour tomato based sauce to cook the legumes in, and while the inspirational recipe was for oven baked, the redaction was done on the stovetop.

I started with a single can of garbanzos, and drained off the liquid. I put 1/4 C of homemade tomato sauce, 2 T oil, and 1T grape syrup into a saucepan and began heating it. Added a quarter of an onion, diced, 2 cloves of garlic sliced thin, the garbanzos, the zest and juice of one orange, some salt/pepper, some finely finely chopped rosemary from the front yard, and finally 6oz of fresh-frozen tomato from the 2020 crop, which I peeled and chopped very coarsely. Let it all simmer away for a while, and it made about three portions.

I think it would be very good baked (perhaps over some potatoes, and with more herbs added,) and it was a pleasant addition to my menu rotation. I only rarely cook tomato-based foods, since I only have a modest amount of home canned goodness and cannot eat commercial products. Perhaps this year I will either grow more! or possibly by the time it is tomato season I can get a flat from the farmers market and put them up for winter use, which would be really nice

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In the interest of improving the office zone here, I found an oak board, not quite four feet long and only about three inches wide, which will serve very well to turn into a shelf above the new power strip/surge protector, once that arrives here, and once I have found suitable shelf hanging hardware... I need to put all the brackets etc in one box, clearly marked! My thought is that all the various transformers and plugs will be gathered into a long row on the wall above the outlet, and a shelf not too far above that will be handy for the office/desk zone, and can have either a hanging curtain or a wooden valance to create visual tidiness without actually obstructing access to, or creating a heat hazard for, electrical bits...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
recycle bin
4 miniature quilt
moved old computer
fabric cabbage
5 cloak for Kestrel
diffuser for cloudlight
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6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - My dear SIL Barb gave me a set of two spatulas as a holiday gift, and they both have become first choice utensils. I figured out that not only is the very narrow one perfect for what I had hoped for, to scrape things from deep narrow jars (like mayonnaise), but that it also has the end just dished enough to act as a tasting spoon! Good design that! The partner spatula is quite broad, but fairly thin, and that combined with the flexibility of the silicone makes it just right for things like scraping the last of the tea bread batter from the bowl into the pans.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

throwback Thursday - the patient faithfulness of inanimate objects

in which our plucky heroine revisits thoughts of mortality ...

(originally posted July 31, 2010 as "for C who asked")

Acorn Cottage is full of salvage, a testament to the patient faithfulness of inanimate objects. The work of our hands, (which includes the work of our machines, built by our hands), which most of all are the things that last. We come here, we do things, if we are lucky we touch others and are touched by them, and then we go away. Our things remain behind. There are tales I've read, about actually reading the record left behind, but that seems to me as much a fiction as the memories I find in discarded or gifted relicts. A kind of archaeology of everyday life.

Sometimes it comes as an echo. I carved a comb-edged pendant from wax, a design popular in prehistoric Finland, and under my knife I saw the same shadowed shapes so very subtly arising, the same thin gouges under the corners of the triangles as the unknown maker had left a thousand years ago. This makes my heart leap, to feel the hand/eye movement that passes through time. There once was someone who was a people too and now is dust, just as I am and will be.

On a journey, stopped for hours in a foggy coastal city, in the museum were, and probably still are, myriads of Buddhist statues... the galleries were mostly empty of people, footsteps echo while inside. They were not made to be art, but to be signposts. The rooms so quiet, no flickering lamps, no color, no people, no recognition/connection. Waiting, to be of use.

Once upon a time, a century or so ago, a little girl hidden away. Did she feel the ground shake under their hooves, see through a crack the soldiers riding, horses trampling? I'll never know. I think that she came here not long after, and grew up beautiful.

Was she happy? Twice a bride, once a mother, did some of her dreams come true, at least for a time, in her life that I only know scraps from? I know that she was stronghearted and determined, and that she could talk to anyone at all.

I have a box, mauve and cracked and lined with velveteen, and a smattering of the cutlery that once lived inside. Some of the forks, the tines are a little twisted, a few of the knives, rust spots speckle, though emery paper and my hands will soon put that right, there is a spoon that obviously was caught in something large and grinder-ish. There are layers and layers of lives in those spoons. Not anything like a Complete Set any more, but each piece takes me back to a childs chair, a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, and the barely seen shapes of a kitchen long gone.
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the patient objects stay, and speak silently
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today's gratitude - while writing isn't my primary art form, I am intending to revisit the writings I have done over the last fourteen years, and pull out the bits that seem particularly resonant, and gather them together...

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine somehow lost a day...

I was sure it was Tuesday all day long, until it was time to write my blog post, when I realised my error! (not that it matters greatly in these still isolated pandemic times), What I am most wishing right now, as far as wishes that should be possible, was that I could figure out how to transfer photos from my new phone to my new laptop. It was easy-peasy on the funky old equipment, I just used a connector and attached them together and voila, I could open the phone like it was part of the computer, and just copy/paste the jpgs... not now, at least I haven't figured out how yet, other than a most convoluted process which makes me grumpy...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 86 ~
I had started a Mandelbrot cardigan earlier this month, but ran into difficulty with matching the gauge the sweater pattern called for, as well as not enough contrast between the yarn colors I chose, so I decided on "winging it" and designing my own lopapesya cardigan using various large and small motifs but with the colors I'd already picked out
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This article about the various ways that human touch can modulate stress, and how the lack of it during the pandemic is exacerbating the difficulty had information that was new to me, and validated  the conditions of current life here at Acorn Cottage...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 318:
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mossworlds: I never tire of looking at them... always different
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Spoke to mom on the phone today... her voice was strong. I can't tell what she knows and what she has forgotten, but her affect was more like the mom I remember... with gaps though... rather like how in image processing you can choose how much the image is compressed, and there are chunks of the data discarded but the image remains visible. I am not sure if this analogy is comforting. My sister spoke with the coordinator at the rehab, who said that mom was very sweet, so I figure that her basic self remains present, despite the losses...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
recycle bin
4 miniature quilt
moved old computer
fabric cabbage
5 cloak for Kestrel
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - pantry cookery: took some of the quince sauce I made last year, and used it to bake some pecan-quince tea bread... looked odd in the batter, but once baked it became a pleasant golden color and retained the aromatic quince flavor... I also use either dried buttermilk, or dried milk powder in baking now, with no loss of quality.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine has a snow day...

... and slept in this morning, which given how poorly sleep has graced me lately, was very welcome. Last night I deployed the (summertime) mylar bubblepack as a way to darken the bedroom. The wind in the trees, combined with the motion sensor lights, has cast odd movements across the room late at night, and my almost-sleeping brain has been turning them into spirit monsters. I made some jokes about my need for a "tin foil hat" for my windows, but I did sleep better.


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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 85 ~
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I finished the cloak for little Kestrel, using the pieces of her baby hat as a neckline decoration. It will be a long cloak on the child now, but should be wearable for many years to come, a garment this size would be a shoulder capelet for an adult...
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Snow began falling right before I was going to head out for a bit of a sanity stroll. Very grateful for a produce delivery earlier today, and the pantry and freezer currently all topped up. I've no need to go outside, have both plenty of wool and a nifty button on the wall I can push to make hot air come out of the ceiling, and I am thinking about baking some quince/pecan tea bread for a late teatime.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 317:
looking around under the herbs in the front yard, and after clearing away some of the overgrown underbrush, I found not one but two clumps of snowdrops beginning to bloom. Very appropriate today, since it also began snowing...
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so, over the last week there has been progress on the difficult situation with my mom... If all goes well, she will be returning home on Friday.

She is considered recovered from COVID, and will be getting the first vaccine before she leaves rehab. No word yet about when my dad could get vaccinated though (worried)..

Mom has been sounding more coherent over the phone, at least a bit, possibly as a result of her being required to take her medications regularly (which she was refusing to do when she was at home)

Coming to terms with the needful changes in how they will live going forward, and in the possible changes in my mom's abilities and behavior is being very hard for my dad to accept, who has had to confront not only what is necessary to allow mom to return home safely, but also to confront his own aging, mortality, and need for help...

The current plan is to have a live-in caregiver (who will be able to have their private space in the small spare room), and renting a hospital bed, hoyer lift, and portable wheelchair, all of which will be set up in their living room. My heart breaks repeatedly every time I talk to Dad, and there is nothing I can do but continue to offer my geographically distant support...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
recycle bin
4 miniature quilt
moved old computer
fabric cabbage
5 cloak for Kestrel
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - produce delivery, and full pantry shelves, mean I can stay indoors when the weather is foul...

Monday, January 25, 2021

this is nice...

in which our plucky heroine rests for a moment, and enjoys a lovely bit of artistry...

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today's gratitude - there were adventures back in Earth That Was, which glow in my memory still...

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine makes a good lunch...

you'll just have to imagine it, even more than is usual, since there will be no photos til the new phone arrives. I cooked up the last of the bavette steak pieces (neatly cut against the grain into small paillons), and some kasha from the pantry, and steamed some of the green beans I froze months ago. It felt like a lunch for a functional adult, as well as being a Very Tasty Splurge indeed. I rarely have beef, but when the conjunction of Heather here shopping for me, and the meat counter having bavette steak, I indulge. I had four meals from that half pound, not including the deglazed pan drippings that go into the stock container in the freezer.

made some good progress on the cloak for Kestrel, just need to find something suitable for edge binding. I also started on my new fractal cardigan knitting, after deciding that I could simply use the colorwork charts from Mandlebrot, but do the gauge and sizing on my own. I began the first cuff, starting with an i-cord ring of the correct number of stitches, then picking up and knitting the 2K1P ribbing... I made it to the beginning of the colorwork cuff patterning, and had to review how color dominance in stranded knitting works. I shall also need to review two handed colorwork, though I suspect my difficulty is combining ribbing with colorwork, fortunately only two rows. (when it is time to knit the yoke, though, there will be rather a lot of three color rows, but the beautiful design is worth it.

no new news about Mom; there will be a zoom meeting tomorrow where we can all see one another and it will be obvious what her physical status is. We had a long family zoom today.

today's gratitude - I realised that I can phone my local friends using my land line.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

impatient interlude

in which our plucky heroine is beset with tech woes...

My mobile phone has been behaving extremely oddly (though still mostly useable), and given how old it is, and that we attempted to replace it last month, is not surprising. So it was with great delight that I greeted the news that a new phone would be my belated birthday gift. Then yesterday the laptop also died.

I spent a big chunk of yesterday, when not dealing with family things, attempting with the advice of various tech-knowledgable friends to ressucitate my connectivity devices. No joy. And then in the afternoon, after taking my mobile phone from its Otterbox to clean it, I dropped it on the concrete floor.

There was only a tiny crack no more than 4mm long in one corner, but over the rest of the day what started as a line and a faint pale blue blur gradually developed into what looked like a petri dish of germ cultures in black and dark blue blotches. Wishfully I plugged it in to recharge overnight, but in the morning the entire screen was dark blue and black, and all the controls are not visible.

I am currently limited to using the Terrible Tablet (and quite thankful to have it, mind) which means no photos can be posted, though at least I have figured out how to access my blog and the interenets (albeit in a rather cumbersome and inconvenient fashion)

todays gratitude - my friends and family love me. The new mobile phone should arrive sometime next week. And later last night there was a phone call with the promise of a laptop!

also very very grateful that I have a land line phone as well as mobile, so that important messages and contacts can still be maintained

Thursday, January 14, 2021

time keeps on slipping into the future

in which our plucky heroine keeps hanging on...

nothing much has changed since yesterday, my sleep is disrupted by nightmares and my daytime is full of phone calls. I took a break midday to go outside and walk in the warm-ish 60F sunshine, and took some breaks to do a little hand stitchery.

I am wondering if my phone is dying the final death? It is behaving weirdly indeed, and when I turn it on, it goes through the start up sequence, tells me I have a new voice mail (which I do not, since I listened to all of them and deleted them earlier today), sometimes lets me swipe it to open the screen, but if I click on the phone icon, it shuts down, or if I click on the internet icon it shuts down. Battery is at 100%, but each shut down uses at least 10% of the charge? I tried turning the phone completely off for an hour and restarting it, but no change in the weird behavior. I am not amused. (and I am glad that unlike many folks, Acorn Cottage has a functional land line phone as well)

"Star light up above,
take care of everything I love;
tell me that I'm big enough,
to face whatever comes...
Star light starshine,
tell me everything's just fine;
and the world is turning - right - on - time,
morning always comes.



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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 84 ~

So, back in 2017, I made a baby hat for the child of dear friends, and as babies do she outgrew it, and outgrew the larger hat I made even before it made it up to where she lives! Now I am taking the embroidered panels and using them to decorate the neckline of a melton cloth wool cloak (child sized) in the hope that it will fit her and keep her warm for a number of years to come.

I have made wool cloaks for other beloved children in our circle, including the one made decades ago that I made for Young Heather, which made the rounds of families here until it somehow found it's way back to me just in time to be passed on, after a bit of refurbishment, to Heather's child. I may not be able to be there, and I miss seeing how the little ones are growing and learning, but in this way my caring will reach them in time and down through time...

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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
-
4 miniature quilt
-
-
5 -
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - at least some of the tech here in the house still works... hence I can continue to post to the blog, and message my friends

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

there is a crack in everything...

in which our plucky heroine has a heart that keeps breaking again and again...

there have been meetings and assesments and conferences...

the only good news is that my Mom is having a mild case of COVID so far, and is not needing supplemental O2 or any other treatment... all the rest of the news is quite bad. My Dad, and my SIL met on Monday with the care coordinator for the facility where she is, the PT person, the OT person, the nurse that works with her, and the insurance coordinator from the insurance company my parents have. My mom is not improving physically at all and is apparently well along the dementia road. Since she is getting no benefit from rehab at all, in a short time (two weeks or somewhat less?), once she is clear of COVID she will be discharged from the rehab. At that point she will either need to go into private care in a facility, or they are recommending 24 hour private care in the home as the alternative

I did some reading up last night on the various types of dementia, and it all hangs together with what we have been observing of Mom in the last two years. Dementia is awful... my mom was always lively and humorous, liked to read, liked to do creative things of various kinds, wrote poetry and short stories... I have been so worried for a while now that all of those things gradually stopped being something that she did, to be replaced with lying in bed doing nothing at all (and there are all the additional physical manifestations of her brain not functioning correctly any more)

Aside from the intense sadness but not surprise (for us siblings) of this diagnosis, the situation is being Really Painful for my dad, both to accept the changes in mom, and to accept that this is going to require massive changes in how they live. The fact that my Dad is literally all alone in their apartment dealing with this breaks my heart. No phone calls or zoom time is enough. Gorram pandemic is a thief of lovingkindness.
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
-
4 miniature quilt
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-
5 -
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -  over the last year my scattered family of origin has been able to put aside our differences and find commonality and that connection will be so very needful in the times ahead

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday snippets and bits

in which our plucky heroine attempts forward momentum...

Last night I had Horrible Nightmares that woke me up, all about attempting to get somewhere important, and the train was actually a plague train with plank beds full of sick people; once I managed to catch the train, I then immediately was trying to escape from the moving train car. Not surprising given the current pandemic. There has not much change in the family situation, though I did find out that there is an "activities coordinator" at the care/rehab where my mother is currently, and that is the person to ask about setting up a video call, which may be helpful, and I plan on calling tomorrow

Given the above, it took me hours to pull myself awake and out of bed... that done, I only managed a mile of walking today. I am considering trying to add some boning to the mask pattern, as a way of keeping the shape even more structured. Not sure if it is just that I huff and puff a lot while I walk, or that the weather is cold and damp, but over the time I am out and about, the mask gets damp and unpleasant. I saw a youTube where the stitcher used small zipties as mask boning...

Today was siblings and spouses zoom, while it was good to see faces, the content of our talk is hard and sad. Still, Sister and BIL are holding their own against the dread virus so far, as is my mother. When I brought up the idea of sending art or writing supplies to Mom, sister reminded me that despite having those all on hand while she was at home, none of them have been touched in the last year, and our attempts to interest her in them were not successful. I have no clue what to offer as an anodyne to the terrible boredom Mom is suffering from, as the only thing that helped prior to her medical crisis was the once a week reading aloud session...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 83 ~
A fragment of another miniature quilt, this one green instead of red. The red one went to Kestrel, this one is for S (the girl next door with whom I share a love of the miniature world)... I had a few pretty scraps leftover from sewing masks, and thought that little Gwen might want additional bedding. As you may recall, S sent Nandina a sweet handknit afghan a while back, but January is cold, and so extra layers could be welcome

My friend Eva also sent me more miniatures, and the tiny teakettle had two in the package instead of the one that was ordered, and so Gwen is getting a teakettle no bigger than the end of my thumb, as well... it will be time for getting cozy with tea and quilts in the dollhouses
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wanted to change out the wall hook on the bedroom cabinet, to replace it with the sweet heart-shaped forged iron hook that was one of my holiday gifts. The only black headed screws on hand were much too long, and also much harder than any of the saws or sawblades could dent. It occurred to me that while I lacked something to cut the sheetrock screw to the right length, or to grind it down, I did have a vice, and a hammer... After carefully placing the screw so that the desired portion was inside the vice jaws, a few hammerblows to the excess length was all it took to shorten it. Easy-peasy vicey-squeezy! (another Tool Girl outside-the-box win!)
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 301:
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SWAP 2021 sewing/planning update - the navy mushroom print and the turquoise mushroom print turtleneck tops both fit seamlessly into my winter wardrobe rotatation. I had been thinking about making a new pinafore, but instead will be making a new rain capelet, since my oh-so-useful one I made in 2019 has somehow disappeared! (How? When Acorn Cottage is so small? And I've gone nowhere at all since the rains started? (actually since early last spring))

This time of year the rain capelet is a garment I don't want to do without. Fortunately I have most of the materials needed to make another one (I know I have some more of the supplex/goretex/fleece, some more Polartec, a separating zipper of robust construction, and hopefully can find some of the thinner nylon knit I used for edge binding) 

I do wish that I had made some any construction notes on my previous capelet, which had some tricksy zipper and binding details. Fortunately at least I do have the photos I took at the bottom of this blog post, and I hope that will be enough to help me reconstruct this beloved and long desired garment...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
replace wall hook
-
4 miniature quilt
-
-
5 -
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - yesterday Heather brought my packet of gifts to the Mud Bay crew, and Ariadne sent me a whole little photo essay of Kestrel opening her presents along with text commentary, and that Bill was delighted with the large bag of processed bay nuts.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine appreciates small pleasures...

My usual stress relief activity, going for long walks, has failed to assuage my distress. Although rebuilding my stamina is all to the good, almost 4 miles today. Someday it will be an option to walk somewhere other than within a mile radius of Acorn Cottage, and that will be a real treat.

I have discovered, though, that working with seed beads requires so much focus that while I am counting and stitching that there is no room in my brain for other thoughts, and so it is restful. I wanted to try making these tiny 3-D star earrings, and spent several hours, in fits and starts between other housey chores, getting one star stitched. I'll make a second one, and take some photos tomorrow, probably. I need to remind myself that the scribal arts of calligraphy and illumination also hold my attention in a useful way, and I want to get back into that. Maybe take a planned break time every day for "absorbing arts" to let my mind and spirit rest
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 299:
seed head of Clematis vitalba aka "Old Man's Beard" or "Traveler's Joy"
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 82 ~
Mysterious and delightful tiny gift in my mailbox this morning...The return address on the package was from Jamaica NY??

An Unknown Someone My friend Eva (who doesn't live in Jamaica NY) sent me the most wee little sewing box! not even an inch tall, with a lid that opens, a tiny working drawer in the bottom and filled with minature spools of thread, hanks of floss and even a tiny tape measure! I think Nandina needs me to get going on building her a craft workroom...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
replace nose pads
recycle bin
3 beaded stars
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4 -
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5 -
- -
6 x
x x
7 x
x x
8 x
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude  - did I mention my chest freezer, which not only magically stores food until needed but also provides the largest counter space in the small kitchen here...

Thursday, January 7, 2021

fraying knotwork

in which our plucky heroine pushes back against despair...

Last week I found out that my sister and her husband have COVID. So far they seem to have a fairly mild case, and are quarantining at home. Her husband is now in a clinical trial for monoclonal antibodies, and I have my fingers crossed that he was one who received the treatment and not the placebo... time will tell.

Then, this morning, I found out that my mom has also been diagnosed with COVID, and is being moved from the rehab center where she has been since December 27 to a different rehab center two towns away, where they "put" the COVID patients. I spoke to her yesterday and she didn't seem ill, just sad, lonely, and wanting to be at home. Today we were supposed to have a conference with the rehab staff about mom's care, treatment, and future plan for return home, but that has gone by the wayside.

Now I am simply terrified that she, elderly and frail, with asthmatic lungs, will either die alone and afraid (at worst) or at best be trapped in rehab without hope for recovery or any contact with any of her family. I don't expect that any facility busy caring for Very Sick Patients will also have the time to encourage PT and OT for a weak elderly confused patient. While I know that even were I or my sister there, we could do no more than we can now from thousands of miles away, it is still excruciating. And the pain in my father's voice this morning broke my heart.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 298:

the decapitated top of my birthday turnip, sprouting green leaves
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 candied grapefruit peel
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recycle bin
3 -
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6 x
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today's gratitude -  an excellent new steam iron showed up on my doorstep, thanks to the kindness of a friend. That will help with future sewing projects!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine gets off to a slow start...

...but gets somewhere nonetheless.  During CraftyEvening, while zoomchatting with Riia in Sweden, Raven in Eugene, and Ursel over in SE PDX, I was able to finish mending my most venerable cardigan, which was showing a few threadbare patches from the reknit/refurbishment it underwent in 2000. (originally it was made back in the early 80's, and almost twenty years after that, I unraveled the very worn yarn and Mr Dawson respun and plied it so I could use it again) With care, it will see me out...

SWAP 2021 - Yesterday I decided to cut out another winter turtleneck, and use the other mushroom print cotton lycra. It will be more fun to have clothes to wear than to simply have shelves of full of decorative stashed fabric, and I'm currently feeling a lot of love for teal/turquoise. Since there isn't much any more fabric on hand in those colors, I may have to indulge myself with finally making up a pair of turquoise earrings instead.

Today also was complete the belated holiday rum balls, and move the grapefruit peelings from the blanch stage to the simmer in sugar syrup stage. Hopefully by the time the post office delivers my shipping boxes, I will be able to mail a (somewhat late) birthday package to my father...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 81 ~
Instead of breakfast to begin my day, I wanted to create a decorative postcard to send my mom (before the postman arrived)... Friday I had found some papercuts I made last year prior to isolation, and with a bit of marker magic for the background, and some packing tape to laminate the surface, hopefully this little blue bird of happiness will wing its way to her so many thousands of miles away...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 294:
  never get tired of mossworlds
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 postcard for Mom
cardigan mended
excess dust rhinos
2 -
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today's gratitude - a bit of sunshine and moderate temperature (48F) meant that my sanity stroll was rather pleasant, and coming home to the French onion soup for my lunch (that had been simmering in the crock pot for a day and a half) was a treat. The oxtails bought at the farmer's market a year ago turned into stew last week, the drippings cooked the onions for the soup, and the leftover broth from that one small package of locally grown beef has given savor to another three meals at least.

daily resolution - mend heraldic cardigan

Friday, January 1, 2021

Friday folderol

in which our plucky heroine considers modest hopes...

I don't plan on deciding on any overarching goals or resolutions today, but am rather taken with the idea of "one-day resolutions"... which connect rather neatly with my personal motto "Proficere lente sed proficere" (incremental progress is still progress). Am wondering how a year of one day resolutions would turn out... Wake up in the morning, make a resolution, and have the whole day to fit it in.

Today I dealt with my shoe shelf/bench, took everything out of it, vaccumed up the dust rhinos, and made it all tidy. (which then led to my also chasing away the underbed dust rhino herd as well, to greatly benefit my being able to breathe a little easier tonight, I expect.
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(homegrown perennial tree collard leaves)

well that was a successful and hopefully repeatable experiment! As there is no cornmeal in the house, I decided to use masa instead in the recipe for Sister Gigi's Sweet Corn Pancakes... Masa has a distinctive and IMHO stronger corn flavor, and is much less "crunchy" (as well as having more of the nutritional value accessible to humans), all of which were an improvement on the original. I shall be updating my copy of the recipe.

Sweet corn pancakes (as in made with sweet corn, not "sweet") are a savory treat, and I had a few hot off the griddle for breakfast. The remainder will be frozen for future meals, with a few more part of the ritual New Years meal, along with black-eyed peas, carrot "coins", and some well cooked collards and kale from the yard... Wishing all of you a year of successful experiments!
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I probably will not make more thumbhole cuffs in the future. The concept works just fine, but when the cuffs are not being used in that way, the cuffs look "odd" with either an opening that shows the wrist, or if turned back and "cuffed" they have a weird layered gap where the thumbhole is. OTOH my turtleneck experiment turned out just right, and the paper pattern piece has been transferred to cardboard and strung on the hook with the rest of that pattern in my TNT pattern storage
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 -
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excess dust rhinos
2 -
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today's gratitude - homemade condiments, such as salsa verde, or awesome sauce, which add so much savor to everyday meals. This time of year, the newly arriving seed catalogs do much to encourage dreaming of harvest times to come, and preserving for the future... I enjoyed briefly chatting with Ariadne about possible things to grow in the year ahead