Sunday, April 18, 2021

You Tube and Me............

 It's Sunday. Unless I am spending time with family or have a special commitment, that means church and breakfast in the morning, quiet and personal time in the afternoon and that dinner is leftovers or ordered in so the labor is as little as possible. Even in retirement.

I should be sitting on the patio, knitting meditatively, journaling or doing something similar-which I often do, but not always. Today, however, I just watched a You Tube video on patriotic decor "dupes" or how to copy Pottery Barn and such for a tenth of the money. That was followed by a video on organizing with things from the dollar store.

Yes, I may have a (moderate) You Tube addiction. 

In fairness, You Tube is fun. It's rarely perfect, often real and can be instructive. Where as on some level both Instagram and Pinterest are more about the pretty and perfect pictures than the how to get to the pretty and perfect pictures (and I say that as someone who is on both). The gal I watched to the patriotic decor instruction worked on her dining table, had to move a chair to set up her ironing board, and functioned as most of us do.

All of which sounds great,yes?  Except for the fact that I am subscribed to SO many channels. So many that I stopped counting as we were moving well past one hundred. 

Yes, she is going to un-box and review 12 boxes at one time. And no, I probably will not watch this one.

Exercise channels because I work out for an hour besides my walking (strength, stretch, Pilates, yoga).  German language and TV show channels so that I can practice my language. Multiple music and virtual tour channels.  Sounds great so far, yes?  

Shoulder exercise against the wall cause my shoulder will be an issue forever.

And then, we have all the Dollar Tree deocr, haul and organizational channels.  Two women who review subscription boxes on a daily or semi daily schedule (these are a weakness of mine and I manage to avoid pulling the trigger 90 percent of the time, but I can look). Clothing haul videos from Walmart to Nordstrom (again, I can live vicariously, yes?). An organizing channel. Multiple craft channels that cover everything from card making to painting to furniture refinishing (which I will probably never do-if I can't paint over it, it's gone).  

That copycat patriotic decor video

Knitting and crochet and macrame channels. Quilting and sewing channels. Including the Knitting Bartender, the Quilting Cowboy and the Quilting Marine. Money saving and frugal videos. Easy cooking for dummies videos (sheet pan and casseroles and slow cookers). I've been sucked into at least one life over sixty channel, may the good Lord help me. And during this time of Covid-19, let's not forget the road tripping channels as well as those that stream shows, operas and the like. 

He made that sweater himself, and probably in two days.

I'm somehow sure I missed a bunch.

None of these are harmful in their own right. And I'm not watching Grey's Anatomy excerpts or stories on the real lives of the monarchy or Prince Harry, or political crap, or porn or prank or challenge videos or following the most recent influencers (not that there's anything wrong with any of that).

And it's also not like it's taking up all my precious retirement time. Each morning after my meditations and prayer time, I scroll through (right before my quick news check and blog check) and save the videos I might like to my library and that's it. And then I either cast them to the TV to watch or to the tablet to follow in my sewing room. When I need to be reminded how to do something or learn how to do something new. 

Still, it's a rabbit hole. One of many available online. For every worthwhile video is two or three that are simply vicarious pleaseure. Which I suppose is no worse than watching Line of Duty or reading John Sandford 20th Prey book or whatever.

But it's something to keep track off. Along with the blogging, Pinteresting, and other social media time. And it may be time for a You Tube challenge. I'll have to go searching through those videos. 

Tomorrow's in Denton visitation:  The "Chairy" Orchard.

I've been asking bunches of questions on my local city pages (best day drives, best places to sit outside and drink or eat with a book, most important things to see in Denton. Just me being me).  It was suggested that I should start a You Tube channel about everything I see and do as a new person in town and document it in my own fun style.

I don't think so.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday, Thinking out Loud.

Okay fellow bloggers, I don't send email to my subscribers or followers. Is there anything I need to change regarding the feedburner thing?

 Today I was perusing that online consignment store known as Poshmark.  Because my favorite store is completely closed I figured I would see if I could find some like new or close to new tops from Christopher and Banks (preferrably from the same seller to save on shipping), along with jewelry.

I also looked at some home stuff because round here thrift stores which are many and good are very crowded and I have not yet quite been willing to step into the proverbial abyss. Fear not, all clothes get washed, and all jewelry cleaned with alcohol before use. I haven't quite pulled the trigger yet, but I have put together a couple of bundles, with the shirts being in the nine dollar range. I just need to make that last step.

I got fabric, but am glad I did the five dollar Joanne special for my first fabric foray of stuff to bring home. I love the orange and think I'll actually move more towards those kinds of prints or batiks for the other colors, and the yellow and green will work for now. I also love the sunflowers although they are a bit darker (I definitely don't want dark or jewel tones and I am not a neutrals person. I want light and airy. If I though my heavy furniture could support it, I'd be that beach vibe decorator).  But I realized I do have a fair amount of turquoise decor after living in a home with that color of walls, walls and need to incorporate such-like my candles. So since I have quite a bit of this butterfly fabric (or I can get more of it) I'm moving to that as the main print. The green is hard to find in the print, but I can adjust the colors to match, and vary them as I need to. Tis from rom the same fabric collection as the sunflower. 

On a side note, I've decided to offer up some of the things I make for sale. I'm about to make as set of patriotic decor for me (bowl fillers, wreath and banner, wall art) and post it online with the note that I can customize or change. If it sells I'll let it go, if not it will be my decor. We'll see how that goes.

A large majority of the people I have "met"  (mostly online at this point) since I moved are younger and not retired. I'm sure there are more retirees to meet as I go to the daytime exercise classes, and quilting group and the retiree high tea with my church, but I have not yet them yet in person. I know there are  younger more mobile types living in this vast community but with everything shut, the chance to meet other than the occasional wave while walking has been limited to date (and I am not just looking to meet people my age). I am ready to open up and meet others. Not that I am minding the multi-generational group/vibe so far. That's very much my thing as well. I turned down an invite to an opening event for a candidate to our city council today and tomorrow I am doing art on the patio (well distanced) with a bunch oft twenty and thirty and forty somethings who draw. I joked that I'll be the gray haired one knitting.

Next week my second day trip among the Texans is to lavender fields or bluebonnets. Decision not made yet.

Son finally got a vaccine. On Sunday he got the J and J, and then of course all the hooplah. He had almost no side effects and is keeping track of himself so I am not inordinately worried.

 You'll love this one. The apartment complex has opened up it's age guidelines a bit, and there is now a fifty-ish fellow who owns his own tiling business living above me. I mentioned something to my daughter I about the very nice "younger guy". She just stared at me. I was thinking I was happy to have more active people around (my particular building seems to be mainly inactive people who need some help as opposed to some of the other buildings, not sure why), and when I man active I mean Barbara's level, lol. She is forty and I guess still thinks as fifty five as older.  Just wait!

Oh, I also see that they've now allowed some younger people in, as they had long term empty apartments. So we have a young couple with a child and a dog who are lovely down the wayside.

Monday, April 12, 2021


My days do not have  a great deal of routine (at least compared to many retirees I know). I don't know if I get more or less  done on any given day in retirement than anyone else. I do know that I don't feel the need to be "doing" or "productive" throughout my my retirement days or weeks. When I look at all the things some folks list as having done every day in various forums, and blogs and facebooks, I wonder at the energy.

I've had a little bit more structure during the last year of cabin fever, but still much less than many. And I am slowly letting go of most of that as we tip our toes back into the new normal, whatever that means. I have enough things to keep me amused and challenged when I need them and I have no problem sitting out on the patio for an hour or on any given day. Which was what happened this morning. 

I do have some  small morning and evening routines that kind of sort of keep me in check, and in Texas I am heading full tilt into the hot weather morning routine. So I I'm happy to say that I walked forty minutes this morning, had my prayer and meditation time, ate breakfast and picked up, got dressed and still managed to sit out on the patio for well over an hour doing nothing but listening to the chirping birds chatting with others and looking at bathing suits on Amazon (you can hate them, but you also  still gotta love them much of the time). All before some time a little after eleven. 

Yesterday my daughter the plant lover stopped by with three big pots of flowers, and three small "railing" type pots in which I think I will probably grow herbs (or scucclents). Now I just need to keep said flowers amongst the living, and perhaps we can add some more. We also moved the artificial trees that she got when she moved me in and I'll put decorative plant stakes in pots. It was almost impossible to find ceramic pots both tall enough and wide enough to hold them this weekend so for now we're going with the rocks as weight and if I absolutely have to I'll tie to the railing maybe. 

The online colors of my striped chair covers were really off compared to the table cloth, as were the other seat covers I tried. They don't match. But they will match the small blue pillows so I think I'll just remove the table cloth. Cleaning pollen off the glass  table is no worse than off the cloth. I did forget that I brought my german pottery planters on this trip so they'll go on the table as well. Today I hope to add the large solar string lights to the patio rail. 

Still working on the wall decisions and the handmade decor as well as deciding on hanging plants. It's a work in progress. One that will change more than once, knowing me.

Rough inspiration for using the green and gold and orange

Fabric ideas to take with me to the fabric store.

Meanwhile, I've been trying since I moved in to come up with a single color scheme that I could use  all year around by just changing the hues/shades a bit. Because I am spring/summer/fall/winter decor type! And that would go with beige furniture and cream walls because those are all the neutrals I can stand, lord help me. I've finally come up with a general idea and looked at fabric and picked patterns. Now to go to Joanne's and see if I can find the similar colors and prints for half the price. Maybe even with a coupon.  Because as many times as I change out pillow covers and table runners and throws, we need to go for the best quality at the lowest price around here. Even switching out, they will be much cheaper done by me than most of the stuff I have seen online.

I'm wondering if I can paint some picture frames in similar colors for the table top and shelf picture frames?

Tomorrow my morning routine will be none at all, as I plan to take a drive (weather depending) and/or visit the fabric and craft stores and perhaps get lunch. Take out that is.

Friday, April 9, 2021


 Or at least half way there. After getting a prescription from my doctor for handicapped plates, having safety and emission checks on my car and writing a check for registration fees and taxes I now have a Texas license plate. One down. Have the sticker on the car and just waiting for help replacing the plates. 

Fortunately my driver's license in Colorado still lasts a good long while. I dunno if it's Texas specific or if it's the new special ID licenses. But they want me to prove every name progression from birth. Which means I need to request a marriage and divorce decree from the 1980 in addition to current documents. I suppose my passport might have sufficed if the dog had not eaten it. But then again, I can't even get an appointment for a new license until late summer....

Yesterday I went and had my first full on pedicure post Covid. Prices have gone up on these, but for me they fall under a health expense since reaching my feet is difficult. I had a half an hour leg massage  and it was wonderful, and every one was masked and distances. Another small step. I was seriously thinking about attending a fair in a couple towns over that's about thirty minutes away-If only to see the building full of Monarch Butterfly quilts. But I decided that if I was going to do that, it should have been today, not a Saturday or Sunday. I am actually going to in person church on Sunday and depending on "things" I may go to the local Saturday Community Market tomorrow morning and/or explore the town center and the large used book store.  We'll see. 

Next week's project is to order stuff and perhaps create something for the patio. As you can see from the photos, my neighbor above has her patio full in bloom. My daughter will be setting up one or maybe two planters for me, but no more since have difficulty keeping plants of any kind alive. I've budgeted somewhere between a hundred an a hundred and fifty dollars for step one, which will include full cushions for the chairs, two heavy pots for the trees so that the wind doesnt knock them over (I also plan to put some plant stakes in them), something for the wall and lights for the railing. 

I need to move the trees to make room fro the wall art. And no, the pillow doesn't match the tablecloth. Back it will go.

My patio, empty slate with just patio table and chairs

Neighbor above patio. While I dont necessarily wish to attain this, half of this would be nice, lol.

Step two will be planters when daughter gets to them, a bunting to put across the railing, some other hand made yard art and an outdoor pouff for my feet. I really only want one club chair and they almost all seem to come in sets of two (as do the deep seated outdoor chairs) so I am slowly looking around.

I hurt myself doing some exercise routing in one of my seated programs and I do mean it hurts whenever I move. On the area just underneath my collar bone and just to the left of what I guess is the sternum area. So I am back to gentle stretching and walking outside and inside (even yoga hurts). It's eighty degrees, but eighty degrees and breezy and hazy in Denton is not 80 degrees and clean and sunny and calm a mile closer to the sun in Denver. 

Knitting has become part of my wakeup/morning routine (I seem to be going to be earlier and rising earlier but that's a different story). I generally grab my coke, my kindle and my notebook for reading and meditations while I'm having the morning caffeine (or two). As I shared with this picture on Instagram, said routine is also now involving knitting every day. There's actually an online course about knitting as prayer and meditation. Maybe I should be taking that.

I'm actively working on the craft specific blog now, slowly but surely. Once it's published it will have lot's more finishes to share as well as "while I'm working on them photos" and will possibly link to a Facebook sales page. Onward and Forward!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Monday Musings: This and That

I may have to start moving my walks to an earlier time, depending on the weather forecast. Today's high was eighty and I started my thirty minutes at ten thirty. I wasn't so hot I had to change as such, but I ended up with that itchy sweaty ankle syndrome thing from sweating into the socks as well as probably kicking up some dust in the process. So I had to remove said socks and shoes as soon as I got in the house and wiped my feet and went barefoot. Note: This is probably also a humid vs dry issue that I haven't adjusted to yet.

Today I was once again out and about among the people. I finally got my car cleaned both inside and out which had not been done properly since Texas arrival and got my final sticker for my car registration. I also actually walked into a grocery store for a few things, a new one for me. I even got Whataburger.  

Nary a speck on my carpet. For the moment!

Unfortunately said errands took so long that I did not get my chuck roast for the Italian beef sandwiches in the slow cooker until two, so I may be having eggs tonight and shredding tomorrow. (Boneless chuck, a couple large packages of dry italian dressing mix and the soda of your choice that is not diet. One can. Best served with provolone and whatever). I dont use the slow cooker when I am going to be gone but a few minutes. Call me paranoid. For the people who asked about pot pie in the slow cooker, scroll down way past the end of this post.

In the past few days, I've passed on two social things that I would have liked to go to. More on account of other commitments, but still. I hate to not be taking advantage of chances to get out and meet people, you know? But then again, how many people do I want to meet at one time?

The first one was the grand opening of our little community market that has farmers market stuff as well as local producers and makers and small businesses, and that was because of another thing I had to do on Saturday. The other was a small quilt guild get together today - It was six hours and wasn't ready to spend the day. I now know that I can come for the morning or afternoon, and will do that the next time. And this Saturday I'll probably try the community market! I fully admit I am walking a couple lines-one between the desire to socialize and the desire to go slow. The other my natural crowd avoidance thing that says stay home on the weekends and go out on the weekdays (obviously tough when stuff is weekend only, but I try to do Friday or Monday things when I can).

A group of mainly younger folks who work are looking at having a drinking and art or craft on the patio thing once a month. Depending on the place and the numbers I may join in.

I did tell my daughter yesterday at Easter dinner  that I was committed to dining out outside somewhere  for Mother's day, and I put the word out on my city Facebook group asking which places that had patio dining were both keeping the masking and distancing thing going, and would not look askance at just me and my book for lunch. Progress, progress.

My current project is deciding what to do with my patio and since big monthly shopping is a week from today, doing some deep diving searches. I have two very small trees that need heavy pots so they are stable in the wind, I need chair covers for my patio chairs, I want plants (hanging and otherwise. So I'm researching pots, looking at hanging brackets, deciding if I want lights on the patio railing or up above, and what decor if any I want on the railing itself.

Being maker me, I'm also looking at a smaller version of some yard art stuff that I can put in pots to be decorative instead of in the ground. Painting and wood are definitely NOT my area (although I may have painted a bird house or sign or two in my day), but I am in love with the idea of a small (like two feet) version of something like the wood sign, and already have a vision of collecting beads and stuff to make plant stakes for all the pots. The garlands below were found on Etsy by some clients who would like something similar. These are not not my personal style as such, but I can see myself making something similar in bright colors for me. We'll see.

All of these projects may require a "completely honest" Pinterest project (or Etsy photo)  comparison. Me and the photos. Or not. Either way there are at least some supplies to be gotten.

Today will be a late night since the game doesn't start till almost nine PM my time. I hope Gonzaga wins but considering team histories, I won't be upset with the end result either way as long as it is a great game. For the women's side, once Arizona beat Uconn all was right with the world and that was all I cared about.

I now have a vision for my modern quilt as well as my summer quilt, so onward and forward!!!

Chicken Pot Pie in the Slow Cooker: Takes three and a half to four hours on high!

Note 1. If you are making veggies and cutting them up themselves, you will want to put them in with the meat. I don't do potatoes because one starch per meal is sufficient round here.

Note 2: This does use canned goods. I try and use the low sodium soups. But I dont own a salt shaker and rarely use salt even in baking (I use salted butter instead) so I am still within limits

Chop onions and celery and put them in the cooker. Lay chicken on top (I used four thighs, laid flat). I used one can of cream of chicken soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup and about a third of one of those "country gravy" packets. You would probably be fine with out the gravy, with jarred gravy or whatever. I use parsley and thyme for my seasoning and if I had it to do again would add a teeny bit of sage and or chives. I added half a cup of broth but would start with maybe less depending on the soupy-ness level.

Turn on high and walk away for about two to two and a half hours. Take out the breasts or thighs and cool enough to chop and put back in (I don't like shreds in stews). Stir well, add more broth if you think it needs it. Add vegetables if using frozen (I used a mixture that included beans, carrots, corn and peas).

Take it out when it's heated. I made biscuits during the last half an hour.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Feeding Myself

 Today I spent a little over a hundred dollars for two weeks of food for moi. Well actually I hope that those groceries, added to what's on hand will feed me for two weeks and add a freezer meal here and there, since I am trying to order the delicious ready meals and such much much less. And consider cooking very much not a joy.

They substituted two things ( a different brand of real maple syrup and bottles of coke for cans) and were out of Yukon gold potatoes, mini chocolate bunnies and the packages of cut up watermelon. Over all, I cannot complain. Depending on whether I am spending Sunday with D and SIL or if they have other plans I may decide to run to Sprouts and get some lamb chops to add to the mix for Sunday. Heck, I may just do it anyway! Lamb chops aside I have a large pizza, a huge chuck roast to make Italian beef for sandwiches, a big package of pork chops to bake, many  chicken thighs for slow cooker pot pie, salmon and the stuff for tuna casserole. Yes, I still inventory and meal plan based on the protein. A vegan I have not become.

I'll evaluate after two weeks and see where I am and hopefully know how to plan for the (warm weather cooking) future. I'm wondering if a table top grill is an option for steaks that I should be looking at or if I'll just stick with the old cast iron pan..

In other food news, every Monday or Tuesday the local Panera folks (there are two near me) come around with large bags of baked goods for the residents. So today I have a full loaf of sliced bread (haven't opened it to check the type), a very large muffin, some bagels, three large cookies, and two brownies.  After of course, my purchase of Sara Lee cheesecake (my Easter indulgence) and a brownie and muffin mix of my own. As I type I am munching on the lemon cookie and a low sodium V8. I had thought to add a few bites of banana but I am way to full!

I have not been walking in the morning. Or in the evening, on any regular basis. Yesterday I walked around a few stores (I wanted a pizza pan at Target and to look at yard/patio art at Walmart and ended up wandering around both stores), and today both severe arthritis pain and fibro are out in full force, damned them all, making me exhaused. I'm beginning to thing my best choice is to lay out my clothes and Skechers the night before and once I've done my meditation and had my caffeine then just get up and walk. I'm not the most sociable morning person, but no one says I have to converse. 

I do still think the walk will be every other day and the second day will be chair exercise and stretches or strength depending on the fibro. At least until the community pool opens, because our private clubs and recreation centers are still shut down with the exception of one small facility that allows social distanced water walking.

I ended up getting seven pieces of clothing yesterday. And taking them all back. I mainly wear maxi and midi dresses in the warm weather with tennis shoes or sandals , but the two dresses I got and did not try in the store formed a fabric puddle around my feet when I got home. As for the others? Obviously I did not love them enough to keep. I may have to step out to some thrift stores and as for the dresses they may need to be ordered online.

Tonight I'm ready to watch or at least pay attention to some basketball while eating the leftovers from two separate meals, and sketching out my next quilt. Before hitting the books. My to be read list is two very full pages in my large journal. Never mind that I also have ten Kindle Unlimited books at the moment and about six library books in my position. Time to read!

I have studiously ignored any and all live TV and news including the trial and just barely checked up via online sources. I just cannot handle it.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Five For Friday-Small changes, Little Steps

 Spontaneous thought of the day:  I am not a multi tasker. I walk when I walk (without diversion), I read when I read, I watch TV the same, I sew when I sew and so on. Occasionally I have been known to eat or knit in front of the TV, or bring a book to the dining table, but I don't do audio books and have never even owned headphones. This was true in my office life as well when I was an executive assistant (barring the obvious phone answering and greeting). And while parenthood has it's challenges, I was always the "Let's have half an hour of quiet time while I throw things in the crockpot and then I'll help you with your spelling words", type, rather than the alternative.  On a personal level I find multi tasking much less efficient. Plus I feel everything (even cleaning, heaven help me) deserves full attention. Said thought may have been brought on by all the walkers I saw in nature this morning with their phones and headphones...

1. I've started to transition what would be my afternoon walk to the morning. It means getting dressed earlier than normal, but the high today is 78 and with some exceptions it will just be getting warmer. I've also moved dinner a teeny bit earlier so depending on mood and lack of night time rain I can ad a post dinner walk, even if it's dark. My morning walk is a mile and a quarter.

2.  I had a plan for some "tiered table centerpiece Easter decor type thing,  and even went ahead and bought something to use while at Walmart. Then as i was unpacking and putting away, I realized I also have the large glass cake taker plate that  would be perfect. So now I have two displays that only cost some Easter Grass, candy, eggs and a stuffed animal and figuring at seventy percent off. The little bunting project remains on my list. The Easter season is officially 50 days so I'll leave my stuff out a good part of that time before moving to summer/patriotic decor.  

The flowers won't stay in the bowl, I just need to move them. I still need to head to Target and get various candies and a few others to go with the mix, especially for the cake topper! Final pictures later or more likely on Making it Monday.

3.  I've been driving around the city in the warm weather so that I slowly learn where everything is and see all the whole in the wall places I have yet to explore, and in the process have found a couple big parks, a huge recycled book store on the square and more. Yesterday I went into one of the quilting stores to buy a couple yards of fabric and found that they have social distanced "sit and sew and visit" afternoons. My portable machine is not here but I plan to sign up for one anyway. Even if I'm just sitting and sipping and talking about sewing. Baby steps, baby steps. 

4.  Church has moved back into indoor church. Sorta.  My huge church allows a whole forty people in at one time (ever other pew and opposite ends for each group of people). I have signed up for Good Friday services a week from today!  They also have outside services on Easter morning starting at six thirty, but knowing myself I will be streaming online Saturday evening and late Sunday morning.

5. As part of my yearly goals, I wanted to learn six new skills. Which is different from trying new things or doing something I haven't done (that's a working list as well), or learning a new thing (my goal is daily but...).  Currently, that's learning how to knit socks. I'll wear them even with sandals on occasion and they will be gifts for all next Christmas depending on skill. My brother and son LOVE wool socks, though I suppose I'll have to transition from the bright variegated color I'm  using to learn with.

Did you know you can't put your right palm  (center of palm, not fingers) on your right shoulder? Or the same with the left? Not touch your shoulders with your fingers, mind you, but put the flat or your palm on your shoulder? That's my thing learned for today. Do a tick tick or utube search. It'll kill ya.

As shown here