Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Girl's Day Out-Fairy Garden Fun

Yesterday morning I went digging. Digging into the bottomless pit that is our deep freeze. I wanted to see what we had and get some, some kind of organization! I know deep freezers can be harder to organize, but they keep food colder. And it's almost impossible to walk away and not close the door. My organizational system  is not be Pinterest worthy in this case, but a couple boxes and bins later I at least know what I have, for Pete's (and the budget's) sake!

I can only hope that said inventory will help with menu planning and cut down on the food waste. And, of course, clear out the freezer for Christmas baking!

Which turned out to be two flat iron steaks, two packages of burgers, four packages of oxtails, chicken thighs, country ribs, two pork roasts, pork chops, beef eye of round steaks, shredded beef to make Philly sandwiches, frozen salmon fillets, chicken legs, a ham bone with bunches of ham still on, three or four other pieces of meat that I can't think of right now (I made an inventory and put it away) two large Ziploc freezer bags of tomato basil soup and assorted vegetables, frozen fruits, frozen biscuits, garlic bread and corn dogs. Yes, we do plan our meals around the meat. Carnivores are we. I still need to do a pantry and inner freezer inventory, but I count easily sixteen meals not counting any leftovers that may come from the oxtail soup or the ham and bean soup. It may be time to eat from the freezer and work on using up what we have.

After said digging (said cold digging mind you-I had no gloves on and was in the garage which is cooler than the rest of the house), It was time to get rid of the productive time of day and move to to fun part.............where the girls go out and make fairy gardens!  Yes, us gals of a certain age surely do like to make stuff. As long as wherever we go the project ends up as a finished item as a couple of the gals are known to say. . By the way, below is the painted pottery leaf that I made way back in the pottery painting class before my Texas visit. 

Fairy gardens are really just dish gardens as most of my gardening type readers know-except that the plants are smaller and after planting and watering, you get to put all kinds of other cool stuff in said garden. Rocks or stones to make water, fairies and fairy houses, season decor that you can change out. It all works. I tend to be of the seasonal change persuasion, and have even made some of my own mini decorations (tombstones out of painted cardboard, min birdhouses as Christmas village pieces). 

After all, as someone who decorates her house for all of the main holidays and more of the minor ones than I care to admit, anything fun or decorative that can be changed up by season (especially cheaply) is on my radar. Said, my friends as I make miniature tombstones from cardboard and paint and such for a Halloween theme.

I personally did not make a new fairy garden on this expedition, but rather was the coordinator and hostess extraordinaire.  Because I simply do not have any more window space for plants, anywhere in the house. And because in my grace and coordination I somehow, somehow, walked into a hanging planter at the garden store. Leaving me with a fun bump on my forehead. If there is a way to hit something, let me tell you my friends, I will find it.

And now I am limping off to knitting, where I hope to cast on the living room throw that will be my brother and sister in law's Christmas gift. Am I the only knitter in the bunch who hates the casting on part?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Musings-Socks and Sandals, Zero Waste

As I sit here waiting for my brother to come and take sis and I to lunch (before he tinkers with the off kilter garage door), the weather is 70 and feels like a bit more and will be 75 and continually sunny for today and the highs will be up to eighty this week. Before we hit a high of 52 and possible precip on Saturday. This,  my friends, is why I don't bother setting my thermostat to automatic hardly ever except perhaps in August. And why my closet never has things put away or out of season. 

As I wait to go to Lucille's Creole Cafe and have beignets for lunch.........

1.  My sister went to visit a friend this weekend. Said friend has turned her home into a mini farm and sells her produce from the front of her house (right in downtown Denver). She invited my sister to a talk on no/low waste and she came home raving-both about many of the ideas in terms of the planet, and also on the savings from said steps.  One of our big goals is lowering the food waste (we cannot compost right now, and lettuce in the landfill is as bad as cow methane). I'm going to start by freezing immediately after cooking and if that lowers the leftovers on hand for lunches we'll deal with that another way.

2.  I've changed over mainly to sandals and socks as my foot attire. Since at least one regular reader always asks "What's up with that?", here's the story. I have extreme sensitivity on the tops of my feet in the middle. I cannot wear tie shoes at all. Occasionally I can wear Skecher Go Walk types of shoes without socks if they are a little big. While I don't have them on today I also like really really bright socks with jeans, leggings or the like. So each year I take the oldest pair of SAS sandals from the summer and turn them into year around shoes. Since the oldest this year are this bone color, I may throw my pennies and dollars at a brown or black pair. 

these are too painful to wear because of the strap!

3. On Sunday we went to see our local Town Hall Arts Center version of Cabaret. Unusual both because rarely do I entertain on the weekend unless it is with working family members and the fee for said musical was almost $40-and we went out and grabbed a drink afterward. This is why most of my social life on a budget (yes! a title for a post I think) is ten dollar entrees and water and why I cut in areas such as food and challenge myself to buy used (there are a couple six month challenges coming up).  

4. Last week was a famine week on the leaving the house front. I managed to work out, clean out my closet pretty much entirely, knit and sew and read more than one book. This week is a bit more feast with a fairy garden making class tomorrow afternoon, knitting on Wednesday, the church Young at Heart group and happy hour on Thursday. Fortunately today, Friday and Saturday will be stay at home and craft and read (and use that slow cooker) days.

5. I think I mentioned this before perhaps. But as I was revisiting my trip to Texas with friends this weekend, I realized that for most things, even travel, three weeks is the absoluter most I am willing to be away from home, and two and a half weeks are better. Something to consider as I plan a vacation in February and another in April/May.

I guess I've become more of a homebody than I thought!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pumpkins, Overdone

Today was a mass of confusion if I do say so myself. Some gals in my meetup agreed to meet at our local pumpkin fest at the botanic gardens, but didn't share phone numbers, just messaged each other online. I was fifteen minutes late. So I found one person to explore with, another two gals explored on their own, and another two gals were on their own I guess cause they never messaged me. Ah, well!

This is really more a family thing, but we partook in full. They have food courts, piles of pumpopkins, displays, plants and yes, a large and small corn maze in which to wander (and often get lost). A good time was had by all, but I had reached myexercise limit before we headed back to the car. The Tylenol and heating pad are now doing their jobs-I hope.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thrifty Thursday-On Enough

Today is a nesting day. Yesterday it was 80 degrees. Tomorrow it will be heading to the sixties in the afternoon. Today though, it is 21 degrees. And while the snow has mainly stopped, I am still in nesting and planning mode, with a bit of organizing thrown in. I'll be inside the house all day, if only because I know darned well if I go out into this weather after yesterdays heat I will have the barometric migraine from hell. Instead I had pumpkin pie for breakfast, gathered myself with a blanket and some reading and writing and will enjoy hangar steak cooked by someone else for dinner.

During the past week (since arriving home) I have been going through clothes, accessories and other possessions. The slow transformation from summer to fall (plus the fact that I came home with dirty everything) has given me a jump start in this direction. People, it has also been an eye opener, let me tell you.  I had meant to share a photo with you all and then decided no. I don't want you running screaming from the blog. The corner of my bedroom is, very simply, a monstrous pile

A monstrous pile of clothing, and a few accessories. Clothes that I wore once or twice. Clothes that I don't particularly love but bought anyway. Clothes to be donated and clothes to be sold and (maybe) clothing that can be upcycled. 

All of this was done as part of my goal for reaching a year round wardrobe of  pieces. Which is deserving of it's own belated post (and will include photos!)  But my immediate thought as I look at all this stuff is "How much is enough".  Seriously, how many pieces of clothing do I actually need, and how many can I really use?  And why wasn't I paying attention to that "enough" when I brought this stuff into the house (weight loss issues aside). Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to purchasing or giving into "wants."  I brought a brand new fairly heavy cream colored cardigan at basically full price just the other day "just because". But there has to be a level of "enough", no matter what it is.

Manufacturing (of clothing and everything else) uses resources. Virtually every thrift organization in the modern world has so many clothing items (just as one example) that some are being thrown away and some are being sent to third world countries where they are again being thrown away, or destroying the small clothing related economies there. Never mind the fact that even in a decent sized home, clothing takes up space, has to be maintained.......and, and and. And in truth I, like many people probably, tend to wear about 20 percent of the closet  90 percent of the time.

This is not just about my clothing issues, or even me. It can be translated to so many things in my life and I expect to others' as well. Do I REALLY need and use a large slow cooker, a medium slow cooker, a three person slow cooker and an appetizer slow cooker? Would not two of them have sufficed for at least 95 percent of my cooking? And if I make the decision to downsize my space and keep the two, am I confident about where the other two will land, in terms of planet, landfill and sustainability?

 Do we really need a charcoal grill, a smoker and a gas grill in this house?  Did I need to buy a big SUV (the answer to this is yes, but it's worth asking the question). Do I honestly need to decorate every indoor and outdoor space for each holiday?  Do we need every day dishes and casual dishes and holiday dishes (a rhetorical question as I do not have these).  

Do I really need to add on another hobby when I still haven't learned everything there is to learn about quilting/painting/knitting/weaving or come close to using all the materials I have on hand? (A question which has prompted to revisit this unfulfilled and ignored goal and promise myself to embrace it in the next months)

Eventually I hope to incorporate this enough question to everything in the house, and even other lefe aspects, bviously making allowances for things and experiences that are loved even if not needed. I'll be letting you know how the rest of it goes.

Meanwhile, I wonder, what will happen to what I let go in terms of landfill and the planet?  And what is the best way to reacquire those needs and wanted things in the future.

None of which are easy issues.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday Musings

Yes, those are fall colored flamingos ready to be put in my front yard!

You know you're in Colorado's going to be 76 today, 79 tomorrow and Wednesday...and then  degrees with snow on Thursday. And back in the high sixties on the weekend. This, my friends is why I keep access to almost all my clothes, all the time. From heavy sweaters to shorts and tanks. Thursday is a small inconvenience except for that it means m plans to drive to the mountains to see some leaves again may be for nought after the hard freeze. I am seriously short on non-summer cardigans so my no clothes spending may need a shot in the arm this afternoon or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, some Monday morning thoughts and musings:

1.  The gals and I went to see Judy at the movies this weekend. We don't normally go anytime but Tuesdays, but I have been gone. Renee Zellweger is very good and I enjoyed the movie. Although I'm afraid it shows that not that much may have changed in terms of treatment of children and women by the big guys and gals. 

2.  I haven't done laundry since I got back and I only did it early on at my daughter's.  The good news is that I have had plenty of clothes on this one occasion, but I'm not sure I'm up to keeping three weeks of seasonal clothes around. I've narrowed my year around capsule down to about seventy pieces (not including all accessories) and am slowly weeding out the rest. Selling some (hello Poshmark!),  donating some,  and relegating a few to my "around the house clothing drawer". 

I've sacrificed the shelf that usually holds my extra quilts and those things I cannot store downstairs because of my step inability and turned it into "organization central" temporarily. I really need to decide how to store my lighter weight sweaters. I do desperately need some medium to heavy weight cardigans soon. Almost all of my closet is now on my bed or floor as I go through it-and no, I wont share a a pic quite yet.

3.  In revisiting the budget for my drive down and back and in between I did pretty well. It's always different when the goal is simply to get there, rather than the drive being the vacation itself, and in this case my sole purpose was to get home and get back post wedding.  Each time going down and back I stayed at the Baymont Inn. Like most hotels where each one is separately owned they can vary, but this one is extremely comfortable with lots of pillows and very clean, with a wonderful breakfast. And a low sixty bucks a night!  My gas budget for my Nissan Murano was right around a hundred bucks each way. For the three days of the actual wedding my son, sister and I shared a three room suite at the Drury Inn for 430 bucks for three nights. I also paid my share for a dinner out a Jorgs restaurant, a pedicure to match my dress and some small expenses here and there including the cost of antibiotics for the earache from hell. My son-in-law and daughter took me out to dinner a couple times at their expense!

4.  While it's still mainly in the sixties and seventies it's heading to slow cooker time-which is generally cheaper cooking wise, even when I get meat on sale at loss leader prices. Chicken breasts and chops and steaks are, after all, always more expensive than stew meat and pork shoulders and stew meat and most soups. So bring on the fall cooking-and I may even make pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting - for coffee hour of course, not for myself.

5.  Speaking of which, I love pumpkin. Pumpkin soups, pumpkin pie (getting one today), pumpkin bars. But even for me, there can be too much pumpkin. In the past few days I have seen pumpkin ale, pumpkin spice Pop Tarts, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin tea and heaven knows what else. Honestly folks, one can take a good thing too far. they guy even offered to put pumpkin cream in my hot chocolate this morning. 

6. After a quick visit to my neighborhood pharmacy, it seems that the stronger flu shot for those of us over 65 has not yet arrived and they expect it in another week. so I will probably be getting pneumonia and flu together and then I'll work on that Shingrix thing.

7. And last but not least, while the weather is still high during the day it is cooling off at night. So I have begun working on my heavy poncho, knitting wise. I've also begun to sew my gifts for all my gal and church groups which is a version of the ornament shown below.  Because, it is that time of year after all.  

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Pneumonia and Shingles and Flu shots-Oh my!

Thank you everyone for all your lovely comments. I will be posting some more venue pics and a couple more pics of daughter dancing with son tomorrow. For those who were asking about me and my dress, I surrendered my phone from before dressing until the end of the evening at my daughter's request. I did grab a few of photos of the reception but the rest of the pics will need to wait for the professional photographer's email. She was adamant on the phones and I actually think this was a good thing. I did like the dress and the jewelry!

My birthday is in September. Which means now that I'm back in my own world its time for my lab work, mammogram, bone density, skin test, and pelvic sonogram for starts. Tomorrow I'll need to carve out some tie to make appointments as well as get in my first real workout since leaving for said wedding.

It seems it's also time to offer up my arm (or arms) to the nice lady with the needle (the gal at my local Kroger affiliate does a really, really good job as a rule). The question is how, and in what order and what should I expect. 

While I was in Texas, I got the call that I am due for my pneumonia booster shot. A darned good thing, because it wasn't on my radar and I would have completely forgotten about it. So yea, I need to go in possibly tomorrow and get the shot.

Only. I also need my flu shot-and would prefer to offer only one arm up at a time if I can. So which priority?  Flu or Pneumonia?  Both?  I suppose I'll go with the recommendation of my friendly neighborhood pharmacist. Probably.

And then of course there's the shingles shot.  The new shingles shot that is. Like many of you, I had the old shot, but in the past the new one was in short supply. Now the new one is available- and it also requires a second shot, shortly after the first one. Everyone I know who has had the series has had a low grade fever and flu like symptoms for from twelve to twenty four hours after said shot.  Not something I look forward to, believe me. But twelve hours of discomfort (even misery) to avoid not having the shingles?  It is seriously a no brainer.

Which reminds me that I have no idea when I've had a tetanus or an MMR or other booster, except that it's been very, very long time.  Do I need to have  that checked out as well?  Actually I had a tetanus shot in 2012 when I sewed through my finger. I guess I should bring all this up with the doctor at my appointment as well.

Yes, the things we do for our health.  All worth it, each and every time. And yes, if there is a vaccine or a shot, I will always, always always get it. Period. The end.