Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eating Locally Tonight

We are having scalloped potatoes with leeks and mushrooms and meatloaf. It's always interesting to Google images for meatloaf. I know there was a singer by that name; I have no idea who he is. These are not my images because everything is still in the oven.

The potatoes, leeks, and mushrooms are locally grown. The meat is from a nearby ranch. The ketchup is organic and the egg comes from a nearby farm called Blossom Hill. I added some ground cumin to make the meatloaf a little spicier.

Been a busy couple of days. Yesterday my quilting friend Deborah and I went on a fabric foray to Durham and Chico, CA. I dropped off one of my quilts (the one with the big applique in the middle) at the long arm quilter in Durham. It will probably be eight weeks. She 's good so she's busy.

Then we drove to Chico to have lunch at a new restaurant called Sin Cortez. Neither of us are really sure what the name means but the food was delicious. It's locally grown and for the most part organic. I had a pesto, Gruyere cheese quesadilla and she had the pear, ginger pancakes. They were really fluffly. We were both very happy and took home enough for another day. Stopped at a quilt shop and then Joann's Fabrics. Deborah had a 40% off coupon at Joann's; I wanted a larger cutting map plus some sewing machine needles. She graciously let me use her coupon. I love my new mat.

Today was puppy kindergarten. I actually hate this, but it's a necessary evil. It was hot (I'm sorry for you folks living in the deep freeze) and I got sunburned because I didn't know we would be in the sun for the whole hour at noon. Harleen has gone from a terror in class to a slug; trainers words not mine. Her evaluation is on Feb. 14th; that decides if she goes to basic or has to repeat kindergarten. I have a feeling she will move on. That will make us so happy. The basic class is on Thursday night at a local shopping center. No sun.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. For the first time in several years we are not having a party. Kerry intends on ordering a pizza; I intend on quilting all day. Our friends Steve and Janet plus their golden lab Zoey will be here on Monday. Kerry said we should have invited Steve and Janet a day early to watch the Super Bow. I reminded him that Steve hates sports. I don't care who wins but I hope your team does.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Scandinavian/Irish Stomach

I made a soup last night for dinner. When I make soups I look through the refrigerator to see what I can find. There was a butternut squash (I love these things, but they are a pain to peel even with the new method I discovered thanks to Google), leeks, lots of garlic, Yukon potatoes, homemade vegetable stock and hot Italian sausage. Cooked it all in the crock pot. It smelled delicious and was yummy.

Kerry bought the sausage at Trader Joe's; he told me it wasn't that hot because he tasted it in the store. Well, at 1 a.m. I woke up with major heartburn. I keep tums in the my bedside table drawer for just such emergencies. So swallowed three and went back to sleep.

I have heard that your body can adjust to spicy foods; mine has not gotten that message. Too many of my ancestors ate boiled stuff with a pinch of salt; probably not even any pepper. So I take my Zantac; when necessary I throw in a couple of Tums.

On another food note, I saw today that the Obama family has hired a chef from Chicago to work with the existing chef to prepare the family's meals. The good thing about this chef is that he is a locavore who believes in eating what is in season.

I signed many petitions to get a non-corporate Secretary of Agriculture; didn't work. He's a corn guy from Iowa. But at least the First Family is going to eat healthy, locally grown foods. I hope they will serve as an example for others.

Not too late to search out a CSA (community supported agriculture) site in your area. Go to
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Telephone Saga Continues Plus Blood

In an earlier post I told you of our decision to leave AT&T and move our business to Vonnage. So far we have been extremely happy with the new service. A surveyor called and talked to me about what it would take to get us to return to AT&T. I told her the CEO of the company would have to come to my door to apologize for his prices. One of you good bloggers added: "and lower your prices." Exactly!

Well, he hasn't shown up yet, but I am besieged by mail from AT&T trying to get me to come back. The latest one contained a check for $200 that I could deposit in my bank account if I would only sign up with them again. No way Jose.

Today has been a pretty blah day. I spent most of it in bed recovering from my platelet and red blood cell donation yesterday. I'm not quite sure why I agreed to the red blood cell thing; it's the culprit that's making me so tired that I can hardly stand up. But when you are at Bloodsource and you see all these people donating bodily fluids and there are posters on the walls of children and old people who have been helped, well, it's hard to say no. And besides, for me, what's one day spent in bed to help someone who is spending a lot of time in bed.

I did watch "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." It took up the 99 minutes for the donation. I think I was too old by about 50 years to appreciate it. Nice shots of Greece and Greek men.

Actually it took a little bit longer because I must have moved or something and the vein they had tapped into on my right arm started leaking. I have a huge, ugly bruise. They pulled that needle out. I agreed to another stick on the other arm so I could complete the 3 pints. I'm now at 108 pints which equals 13.5 gallons. I will keep going back.

Some of you out there in blogland might consider donating. For women, platelets are easier than whole blood because it doesn't impact your red blood cells. Going to your local blood bank or Bloodsource and looking at the posters on the wall just might convince you. I'm O+ so they really like me. But if you are O- they will roll out the red carpet for you.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harleen Goes Crateless

She's too big for the crate that fits in my car. We have one that fits in Kerry's car but I don't want to take Kerry's car all the time.

I went on line and found this solution at Drs. Foster and Smith. The cover for the back seat is a hammock. The straps fit over the headrests in the back and front seat. The part on which she is sitting is plush too. It's totally washable and can go in the dryer. The next step was to keep her safe in an emergency. I found this plush lambs wool harness that ties into the seat belt system in the backseat of my Prius. If you ask me she looks pretty cool.

Kerry thought she would hate the harness, but I just laid it on the floor and put some treats on it; she decided this would be just fine. So we have an alternative to the crate.
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Spring Can't Be Far Away

Got an e-mail yesterday from The Natural Trading Company; it's the organic farm up the road from us where we get our vegetables for 22 weeks from May into October. Every Tuesday I pick up our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box at the farm. If you've never done this before, please consider finding a CSA in your area. Just go to and find out where there is a CSA close to your community. For example, if you live in Indiana there are 41 CSA locations in your state. It's a great way to support local farms and get healthy food too.

We learned to eat lots of new vegetables last summer using the recipes that our farmers supplied and, of course, Google recipe searches. Probably doubled the amount of vegetables we were eating. The cost for a small box (great plenty for the two of us) is just $20 per week. So think about it. You could be even healthier by next fall. Let me know if you have other ways to find CSAs.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Dog Barf And A Cute Puppy

First, the cute puppy. The photo was taken at puppy kindergarten last Saturday. She is so little that she sits on her cape. She is looking up at her puppy raiser, which is what they are supposed to do. Just adorable. The pink collar means that she was the fifth puppy born in her litter. Harleen was number five too. Have no idea what that means.

Now for the barf. I had to get a new driver's license today. Normally they just send me the renewal in the mail, I go on line, pay them $28 and in return I get a new driver's license. Well, it's been 15 years since they have seen me so the most recent letter said, please come in, we want to see you. My appointment was at 9:50 this morning. I'm not good in the morning, but I did it. Decided to take Harleen with me. Now this is early for both of us girls. On the way there she threw up in her crate. I looked over my shoulder as she opened her mouth to make that "gack" sound. Then she threw up. I thought for sure that she would eat it so pulled over. But no, she was in the back of the crate no where near the barf. I think she was car sick. It happens to dogs.

I had Kerry's Honda Element; luckily he carries paper towels. I cleaned up the mess and headed for the DMV.

Now imagine this. I arrive at the DMV with a service dog in training who is wearing her vest. I go up to the counter to take the eye test and the woman says to me, uh, is that a dog that helps blind people? I explain that I'm raising her to be an assistance dog but no, I am not blind. I was worried Harleen would throw up the rest of her breakfast in the DMV. She did not. What a good girl.

So that's a challenging way to begin a Friday. Hopefully they won't want to see me for another 15 years. Hope your Friday was less eventful.
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The Next Stage

This is the quilt I made from the 12 blocks of the month. Each one is a basket that is appliqued. For a first time appliquer, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Now I'm going to do the quilting. That should take a while. Just wanted to share.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who Can Resist A Puppy

These are puppies born on Jan. 5, 2009. They will be raised by Canine Companions for Indepence puppy raisers. I just thought they were so cute. Hope this brightens your day. My favorite is the dog sleeping on his/her back.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Greener

Now that we have a green president I thought I would post some of my favorite places to make your lives easier, greener and to help the earth. I have no idea what order these will appear on the blog so I'll start with Terra Pass. Every year I pay a certain amount of money to offset the carbons produced by my car. I also do it for my flights. Go to the web site: The money goes to carbon offset projects. Unlike many other programs, this one actually tells you about the projects and what they have accomplished. If you own a Hummer this will cost a lot. My Prius costs me about $30 a year.

I just signed up for today. Someone sent me the link. We get several yellow pages every year which we never use. A lot of times they sit out on the road in their plastic bags looking really ugly. Signing up at this web site is free and you get rid of something that uses up precious resources. may be my favorite. For $20 per year they will get rid of your junk mail. Really, it works. How do you think we went on vacation for seven days and didn't fill our mailbox completely? Green Dimes. It takes time, but within a few months the junk is gone, including all those credit card applications. Although, with the current economy they may not be sending out as many as they used to.

If nothing else I hope you will check out these web sites. And pass on the message. We can't afford to waste precious resources. Let me know if there are green sites you like. It's the only planet we have.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Images

Today was a very important day in American history. There are lots of images to tell you about it, but my favorite is a young lady swathed in pink and orange; her name is Sasha Obama. Her sister, Malia, was dressed a bit more sedately. Sasha clearly wanted to let the country know that she likes bright colors. A young woman after my own heart. And her mother's dress was stunning; loved her leather gloves.

One of the things I greatly admire about modern-day mothers is how they let their children choose what they are going to wear. I remember one Sunday in church when a little girl showed up in her pink tutu and high tops. In fact she wore that same outfit several Sunday's in a row. Brought a lot of smiles from the congregation. Lest you think I used to be a serious church-goer, my choice of churches was Unitarian.

The color seen at the inauguration to me signals a change in every facet of the White House. Finally we have people who read books again. That's one thing I loved about the Clintons. I can't same the same for President 43.

So tomorrow President Obama reports to the Oval Office to start the tough job of getting this country and its people turned around toward peace and prosperity. He is going to need all of our support. Me, I'm watching to see what Sasha wears next.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Well, it was a big, ugly old dead rat under our refrigerator. Kerry pulled the refrigerator out when I was at puppy kindergarten class with Harleen. He also had both cats outside. I looked at it in the garbage on the back deck. It looked pretty squished. Don't know where it came from or why it died. I just hope there aren't any relatives in the neighborhood.

Puppy kindergarten this morning was in downtown Sacramento at the EPA building. During the one hour class, motorcycles kept roaring down the street making it hard to hear the trainer. Turns out there was a motorcycle convention a block away at the convention center. Man those things are loud. Didn't seem to bother the dogs.

I'm making risotto tonight with cauliflower (one of the orange ones), leftover chicken (yes, it's not gone yet), homemade chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. I love risotto. I made vegetable broth yesterday. It's really easy and certainly smells and tastes a lot better than the store-bought stuff.

Well, Harleen is nudging my elbow to remind me it's time for her to eat. Better go. Have a great Sunday.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tails From Our Kitchen

There is a mouse living under our refrigerator. Nora and Giorgio apparently discovered it late yesterday afternoon. I'd prefer to just let it be; we do live in the country with lots of creepy, crawly things. Kerry, however, wants to pull out the refrigerator. That will accomplish one thing: the mouse will dash to hide somewhere else in the house. So far nothing has happened. He has to find the instruction booklet for the refrigerator to figure out how to move it. I'll keep you posted.

Also, our toaster oven only toasts on one side. The heating element on the bottom doesn't work. This means you have to toast one side and then flip the bread over so the other side gets brown and crispy. We thought about getting a new one, and then decided that we have all the time in the world so why fuss about a little toast flipping. So the toaster oven stays; probably until the other element dies.

Harleen ate part of her gentle leader. She hates her gentle leader so I guess she thought this would eliminate it from her life. Wrong, Petsmart has lots of them.

Those are the tales and tails from the country today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank you Mrs. 4444

And my thanks to all of you who commented on my posts about depression. A hallmark of depression is feeling very alone; so your comments helped ease that feeling.

I'm feeling a bit better today. It's been a week since my meds were changed. I should feel even better in another week.

Mrs. 4444 over at Halfpastkissintime
gave me two awards during my depression posts. I really like them both. These are my first awards in blogdom. Very much appreciated. Check out her blog; she has some great things to say about raising kids. She's a teacher for the not-so-easy, troubled kids.

I've been doing some sewing today, which is always a good sign. Last night I made a leek, oven roasted broccoli, apple chicken sausage, Parmesan cheese quiche including the crust. That was a first. Usually we just have omelets because I was too chicken to try the crust part. Well, the recipe (courtesy of Google) worked. Another cooking hurdle cleared.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Words, Words, Words

I've written several blogs in my head as I'm sure most of you have. But they haven't quite made it to the screen. My energy level from the depression is very low. I should be on my way to quilt guild right now, but I just couldn't go there and be sociable. They are a wonderful group of women with lots of energy. When I feel like this, it is torture to go to social things.

I was also supposed to donate platelets today, but I was still coughing from my cold so they told me to stay home.

I did take Harleen for two long walks. It was warm and sunny here today (73 degrees). We didn't leave the property. Just went where she likes to go and sniff and chase a few geese and rabbits. I'm still wearing my pedometer so that's good. It let's me see physical progress.

I have been able to do some work on blocks and quilts. I feel better when I'm touching fabric, especially the colorful stuff.

My brother's mother-in-law recently presented them with a handmade queen-sized quilt. Every stitch was by hand. I can't imagine doing that. I'll find the picture of it and post it. It's beautiful.

Kerry just left to get Chinese food. I've ordered my snow peas and prawns. I figure the green vegetables will help.

Tomorrow I get another Supartz shot in my knees and then book club tomorrow night. That I can go to because it's a small group; they know me well. Plus the book we are reading (She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb) is perfect for someone who is depressed. It's nice to read a book where the main character is more depressed than I am. Good book if you are interested.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


A lot of people don't like to talk about it. I'll bet money that everyone reading this knows someone with depression although you may not realize it.

I come from a family of chronically depressed people. My maternal grandmother, my mother and my siblings. I like to think of my depression as akin to any other chronic disease. If your cholesterol is high you take a statin, at least I hope you do. If you are diabetic or have high blood pressure you take meds to stay healthy.

Well, my brain chemistry is short on serotonin so I take meds. Been doing this since 1985 (that was the dark ages of anti-depressants). I have come to realize that I will be taking them the rest of my life. But sometimes there are quirks with my meds and things turn dark.

That happened this week. About a month ago I talked to my psychiatrist about the fact that one of my meds (Wellbutrin) was making my heart race. We decided to reduce the Wellbutrin dose by 100 mg (I was on 300 mg) plus 100 mg of Zoloft. I've been on Zoloft forever.

I did fine for a while but then the insidious dark cloud entered my life and wouldn't go away. It slips in so quietly that sometimes you don't even know what's happening. Yesterday I figured out that something was really wrong so I e-mailed my psychiatrist. She figured out a new way for me to include the extra Wellbutrin tablet (take it later in the day so I'm not getting a big hit in the morning) and she increased my Zoloft to 150 mg.

The hard part about these meds is that the relief is not instant. It's not like taking a Tylenol for a headache. But that's okay because I feel good about recognizing what was happening and doing something about it. Each day will be a bit better.

So that's one person's perspective on depression. Anyone else out there care to weigh in on this major health problem. I'd really like to know what you think.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No More Rooftops For Kerry And A Cruise Photo

The long and short of it is that no one was badly injured, but the potential was there. He had mentioned going up on the roof with the leaf blower to get rid of the leaves in the gutters. As I was reading blogs this morning I heard footsteps on the roof; it couldn't be Santa, he's already been here. I tried to ignore it but was waiting to hear a thump and a moan. All I was hearing was the leaf blower.

As I was walking past the front door on my way to our bedroom, I noticed that he was about to get on the ladder to come down from the roof. Then I saw the ladder slip so I hurried out the door. It was one of those telescoping metal ladders. Well, the rubber feet didn't catch due to all the wet leaves on the deck. Next, as I tried to hold the ladder so he could come down, it started to de-telescope, catching my middle finger on my right hand and ripping off a piece of skin. That hurt like the dickens. The ladder continued to slip but finally Kerry got down without falling. He has a platelet disorder so falling is not a good thing for him.

Cold water, peroxide, neosporin and a band aid helped my wound. I kept my hand above my heart for a while so the bleeding would stop. My tetanus shot is recent so I should be okay. Just another day in retirement.

The photo is taken from the veranda of our stateroom and shows the life boats.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Some Cruise Photos

Kerry has a bunch more on his camera but he hasn't downloaded them to a memory stick so you will have to do with just two: our stateroom and Cabo San Lucas. We couldn't dock there so everyone had to be ferried in by tender, which turns out to be a lifeboat with fewer people. Our stateroom had a veranda with a couple of chairs. Nice way to view the world.

Mark and Julia arrived here on Sunday for a couple of days with us. I can't believe the hectic schedule they have been on since the wedding. If you remember, they flew to Kuala Lumpur the day after the wedding to begin their trial period with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. After 11 weeks of playing great music, eating scrumptious eastern food, living in a wonderful hotel that was paid for by the symphony, and traveling around a bit, they flew to Chicago to spend Christmas with Julia's family.

Then they flew to San Francisco to spend time with Mark's dad and then they drove up to see us. Today they left to drive to Albuquerque where they have rented a house that they found on Craigs List. They rented it sight unseen. I've seen photos and a floor plan. It looks really cute.

They will spend a few days in Albuquerque and then drive to Dallas where Julia's parents live. They have Zoey, Julia and Mark's dog. Mark will fly back to Albuquerque to meet with the surgeon who will do his hernia operation later this month; Julia will drive back with Zoey after a few days of visiting with her parents.

They still don't know what their status is with the symphony in Kualu Lumpur. There has been talk of a contract but nothing firm. So they will play with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra until the season finishes in early June. Then they will either go backpacking and camping all summer or head for Kuala Lumpur.

They were very excited about getting back to Albuquerque; they have loads of wedding presents they have not opened and all kinds of gift cards to use. It will be like another Christmas. Every time I'm with them I realize that they are simply meant to be together. It is just so wonderful to watch them interact. I cooked lots while they were here including French toast for breakfast, pulled pork and cole slaw for one dinner and a pot roast for another. Nobody went hungry.

Not long after they left this morning I went to the doctor to get some shots for my battered knees. I had the cartilage in both of them removed in 1963; that's back when they took it all out. Thanks to that surgery I developed osteoarthritis, which is not so comfortable. A few years back I had a series of shots that lubricated the joints. They really helped. I had x-rays recently to see what my knees were like. The verdict: moderate to severe osteoarthritis in both knees. So today I started the series of shots again. It's called Supartz and for me has been a godsend. Even after the first injections I feel better. It was originally developed for race horses but since has been approved for people. The shots really don't hurt. You feel some pressure because there is fluid going into a tight area. I have two more shots one week apart.

So that's life back here in Lincoln. It's good to be home and to see that Mark and Julia are so happy. I promise more photos in a few days.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

We Are Back From Cruise Heaven...

But our pet sitter never showed up while we were gone. We did find out that our cats can survive seven days without assistance. I had left them a ton of food and water (maybe I knew something); we have one of those automatic litter boxes. Our fist clue was when we opened our mailbox at the road; it was jammed with stuff. We both looked at each other. I was prepared for dead cats; then I was going to do bodily harm to our pet sitter, who is an eagle scout by the way. He's taken care of them before without a problem.

The cats dashed out the front door when we opened it. They pranced right back in when they realized it was us. There was still a tiny bit of food in their dish and lots of water. The litter box was really full. Right now they are draped over Kerry while he watches a football game. A lot of draping will probably go on for the next few days.

I have not called the young man yet. I'm not sure what I will say...well, I'll probably yell a lot.

We had a great time on the cruise. Photos to follow when we get organized. I never got off the ship. I knew I wasn't getting off in Puerta Vallarta and Mazatlan but had decided that Cabo was a good place to venture forth. Well, I got sick on New Year's Eve...a whopper of a cold so slept through most of the day we were in Cabo. Don't know how I managed to get sick. They had automatic "Purell" dispensers everywhere on the ship. I used them all the time and still got sick.

I really like being at sea. It lulls me to sleep. We had a Verandah room so could hear the sounds of the ocean as the ship moved. People watching on a cruise ship is extraordinary. Every body type you can think of.

More later. Mark and Julia arrive tomorrow for three days so I'm going to be busy plus still trying to get a nap in now and then. Kerry is going to Reno tomorrow to get Harleen. I can hardly wait to see her.

Hope all of you had a great end-of-the-year celebration. One nice thing about paying bills automatically, you don't have to worry about getting the new year right. The bank does it for you.

Oh, for those of you who remember my previous blog on phone companies, the CEO of AT&T has yet to show up.