Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maybe it's the same everywhere, maybe not.

We are down to a total of 9 forks at work, and only 2 of them work right. Why did all the forks disappear? In previous years we couldn't keep spoons. Why?

By the way, those zigzag forks are cute but even more worthless than sporks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How could you, Pepperidge Farm?

I bought a big bag of this stuff because it's my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I go to my sister's house for the holiday, but I make my own stuffing at home too. Ok, my secret's out. When eating the big feast at my sister's house, my "rules" are suspended. But at home, well, I wish I had never looked at the ingredients. There it is, before the 2% or less note, high fructose corn syrup.

Ok, how hard is it to make stale bread cubes? With bread that isn't contaminated? Not so difficult, but this is the stuffing mix of decades of tradition. I wish I had never looked. Now these bags are going to the food drive at work and I'll be buying loaves of bread in the store bakery to harden up.

Yesterday I read the most complex stuffing recipe yet. It involved 3 skillets, 3 baking sheets, and if you don't have a big cast iron skillet, another casserole dish. If it didn't look so good I wouldn't even consider it. But the mushrooms are already bought, know what I mean?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday and the weather's chilly.

It was so nice that I had to make some pumpkin muffins. Yes, they were as tasty as I had remembered them from, oh, about 3 years ago. That picture, above, is an experiment with my new phone's camera. I still had to Photoshop it a little bit, though.

The trouble with seeing so many great baking recipes online is that I don't repeat that often. That means I have a plethora of specialty pans, tools and small appliances. I have started keeping some of them in the garage. One of the many perks of being divorced is that my garage is available for overflow kitchen stuff.

Friday, October 22, 2010

We thought ants were a problem.

My coworker stresses about ants in the library, but little did she know it was about to take a turn for the worse. Much worse.

This building is maintained by the City of Boynton Beach, and like most cities, it has cut its expenses even closer to the bone. Our landscaping mulch is responsible for the infestation of worms, which march up the outsides of the building by the dozens each day. But whatever they are spraying on the plants is causing them to come out of the mulch by the hundreds to escape the poison. If they'd stay outside no one would notice, but they have found a way inside. We had been finding them inside the building, dead and alive on the floor, upstairs and down.

The latest antic of the crawlers was the one that dropped out of the air vent onto the clerk's desk, right next to her keyboard. Talk about drama! We don't want to be complainers, really, but can't something be done about the worms? Except no lizards please, because staff doesn't like them either. (I can relate.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My poor car.

I wiped down all the plastic and leather inside with Armor All and it looks fantastic, for an 8 year old car, that is.

So why is it a poor car? It has been 4 years since it was cleaned up like this and my sister was the one who did it. And she did it because she didn't want to make the 12 hour drive in it in the condition it was in.

I guess I take after my dad when it comes to interior car maintenance. Well, not quite that bad, because my back seat is only full of reusable grocery bags, old raincoats and umbrellas, a special back brace for long trips, paper towels, notepads, and the two screens for the windshield that have angry eyes printed on them. Daddy's back and front seat was full of all kinds of stuff, quite a lot of which was trash, pure and simple. It was like doing an archeological dig looking through that stuff.

Now, if it would just cool down a bit I can go back and clean the glass.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just how long has that tomato been on the counter?

Two factions of my personality are at odds: the part of me that knows fresh vegetables and fruits are the secret to health and well-being, and the part of me that automatically reaches for the stuff that's easier to prepare. This time the lazy side won, obviously.

You know the tomato is really overripe if the sprouted seed pops out of the side. The thing is, they usually ooze a little bit to announce their condition. I can only imagine what the inside of this bad boy looks like. I'm imagining because I really don't want to look. Really. Not. Going. To. Look. Inside it.

This also points up that in spite of renewed vows that I will actually eat the produce I buy, some of it will look me in the face daily and go bad. And I don't even buy that much of it anymore because of the waste factor. I have got to come up with a better system.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Is it bad to want new screens in hurricane season?

My patio is in pretty bad shape with rusty screws, ripped screens and assorted dirt and mildew threats. The last straw was the screen door latch that broke off a couple of days ago.

I had a guy come out and estimate how much to fix everything and it seems reasonable enough to me, but even he said wait until hurricane season is over. If I do that I'll have to do something about that door latch ASAP because the door is slapping open shut open shut open shut.

But I'll be very happy to have my patio pretty again. Then I'll have to buy a new table/chair set. Go team!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I am currently reading:

Dragonfly in Amber on my Kindle
Derik's Bane on my iPod Touch (as a printed ebook)
Faeries Gone Wild as a paperback dead tree book on my breaks at work
Supreme Courtship audio CD book in my car
Another audio book on my iPod Touch (too embarrassed to mention the title)

Adult ADD anyone? That's 5 different books I'm reading now. If anyone had any doubts about my being scatter-brained they can just put them to rest right now.

It's not just all the stories to juggle, they're all in different formats, too. Technology, helping us to be even more scatter-brained. Gotta love it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

America's Funniest Home Videos missed this one.

This freaking BIG lizard ran up my shirt! Ok, he was provoked. He was on my grill and I poked him with my tongs to make him jump off. He jumped right on my shorts and ran up the inside of my shirt.

If anyone had been there it would have been a candidate for America's Funniest Home Videos. None of my neighbors heard it but I don't know how they could have missed it.

This is a Cuban Brown Anole, about 9 inches long and about 1.5 " across his big body.


He sits on the screens during the day but I suspect he lives in the grill at night and I don't want him there! I don't want to kill it, and I don't even mind if he lives on my porch, but not all up in my grill, ya know? (That sounds so ghetto.) Or running up my clothes. Just, no.

I went to Home Depot, and would you believe they actually have lizard repellent spray? It's called Iguana Rid. Only in South Florida.

I have to go practice throwing stuff at the grill. I'm not poking critters with tongs again. Ever.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Selling the car from hell's little brother

Nina abandoned the car-from-hell's little brother in my neighborhood last February. At the beginning of April I found out it had been there for 2 months. They moved to New York and gave the title to her dad to sell, but he can't get into the neighborhood to show it. (Thanks to it being gated and all.)

It was running when they left but it doesn't start now. Thanks to their bad care of it, it is in poor condition and won't get half of the book value. I'll be lucky if my HOA doesn't just tow it away, now that the license tag has been removed.

Know anyone who wants a junker? I'll throw in a box of homemade cookies, but you have to call my ex-husband if you want the title.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tell us what's in YOUR flatware drawer!

I have the stainless steel flatware from my aunt and uncle that's vaguely Scandinavian in design. It is so cool looking, but the tines on the fork are so shallow that I drop a lot of food. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Then, there's the picnic set my sister gave me on my 50th birthday. It's kind of cheap looking but it has sentimental value to me. And the flowers are so cheerful! One of the forks is missing, go figure.

Then, there is the hammered set that came from Publix back in the 90's as some kind of promotion. It's a good, heavy, quality stainless. Too bad I don't care for the way it looks. But it's only one place setting, right?

And then there's the teaspoon that was a sample from Oneida back when we could fill out a tiny coupon in the back of Glamour magazine and for the shipping cost of $.25 they would send you the spoon! I'm pretty sure I did this in the early 1970's, in my first round of single days.

And then, there are the stray pieces that came in from who knows where. I think they may have followed me home from a potluck, or have been brought to my former house when we had bunches of people over. Group "eat-togethers" sometimes caused a little chaos. Is that my son-in-law's pet spoon that he left behind? I can't remember when most of the strays showed up.

My point is, as a grownup it's ok if I have matching flatware, so why can't I decide what I want and just get it?

Friday, April 2, 2010

I lied on my census form, again.

So, my daughter and her husband have moved 2 times since they left my house, a mere seven weeks ago. They were asked to leave all 3 places. My house, a shared apartment and an illegal boarding house.

So, I asked my daughter if they had filled out a census at any of their new homes. Nope, its the last thing on their minds right now. On April 1 they are officially homeless, all their possessions in a truck and driving to NY to live with his parents next.

So, I lied. I put both of them on my census form.

Thirty years ago, on April 1, 1980, I got married at the courthouse in the morning and we went home and my hubs replaced the kitchen sink while I filled out the census form. It was the long form, too. So when it came to the question about indoor plumbing, I lied and said we had it. But right at that moment there was no water running to the house and we didn't.

In both these cases, I didn't mind lying for the better good of the statistics.

My daughter lost her job the day after they were told to leave the boardinghouse. My son-in-law hates Florida and this seemed like an omen that they should go back to his little town in upstate NY.

But the census office, here in Florida, keeps calling my house, to offer her a job.

Friday, March 19, 2010

20 or more packages of hand sewing needles

So, I'm in my sewing room, yay! And I am looking for a particular hook and eye style I know I have in that big box of notions.

I wasn't there to organize, only find what I wanted, but I kept running into these packages of hand sewing needles. So I started to pull them out so they could be put in a plastic bag. Containerized, if you will. I found over 20 packages of hand sewing needles. What?!?

Some of them are so old I remember using them in high school. I graduated 40 years ago, BTW. They've got some rust on them now so I'll dump them after I finish writing this. But they aren't the oldest needles there, oh no. There are needles in there that I inherited from Mimi, and one package I either got from Nanny or my original mother.

I have no idea why there are so many packages of needles. I spent most of the 90's trying to avoid hand sewing, LOL. And I sewed a lot in the 90's.

I found duplicates of many sewing notions that have me scratching my head. For example, I must have 5 seam gauges. OK, but why do I have 4 different rotary cutters? Several seam rippers, and enough Perfect Waist for at least 15 waistbands. Lot's of thread and elastic, but that didn't surprise me.

The biggest surprise was the Windows startup disk from my (former) laptop at work. Who put that there and why didn't I notice it until now? Did I mention it was a big box?

Monday, March 15, 2010

My laundry room drives me nuts, part 2

Yeah, I'm obsessing about laundry, or rather, my laundry equipment.

My dryer was taking 2 hours and 3 restarts to do a load of towels. A regular load, not an overcrowded one. Other items were taking as long as well.

The general opinion on the message boards was that I needed to have my dryer vents cleaned. I did and it did improve the performance of the dryer. So what's my problem/whine now?

I really want one of those energy efficient, water saving washing machines. My current washer works fine even if it doesn't spin out stuff as dry as my last 3 washers (I've moved some, ok?) but I have washer envy for my sister's new equipment. The washer doesn't have an agitator, you just dump in the stuff and it doesn't do the strangle and stretch dance around the center pole.

So, my old equipment (14 year old dryer and 11 year old washer) works well enough that I don't have to get new ones based on need. Why don't I just buy the new ones while I can? Next month will be cash for appliance clunkers here in Florida. Perfect timing, right? Well you can't always get what you want.

I don't have enough room in this laundry closet for the Maytags like my sister's. I am pretty sure I can't fit them in if they are over 26 inches deep. In the 3 appliance stores I visited, I only saw one model of washing machine that was even remotely like the one I really want. It has a mini agitator which only sticks up about 4 or 5 inches. So close and yet so far.

When the guy was here cleaning the dryer vent I saw what was going on behind the dryer and washer and realized that the washer is on the right because the water hoses are too short to move it to the left. All I need are new hoses. The dryer vent hose, on the other hand is pretty long, but has been kind of mushed up between the dryer and the wall. Not to mention how many twists and turns it takes.

Public Service announcement: If you haven't cleaned your dryer vents in over a year, please do so now. Mine vents to the roof, and there was a big wad of lint near the roof that was starting to turn black. It could have been a fire.

Some of my neighbors have never had their vents cleaned. These houses were built in 1996 and '97. Ugh oh. Most of my neighbors are older, since this is a 55+ community. Oh, and my roofmate doesn't even have a dryer vent in his roof where the machines would be. I don't see any vents on his house except for the toilets. Could he be venting into the attic? Yikes! I confess, I've never looked in my attic so I don't know if they are sealed between the two houses.

If I ignore my desire for new laundry equipment will it go away?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When muffins try to overachieve...

This is what happens when you put in baking powder and realize it should have been baking soda, so you put that in too. They rise up too soon and then cave in, spreading all over the top surface of the muffin tin.

There is a joke in there but I can't tell it.

Anyway I did this with the carrot muffins not just once, but twice. In two weeks. You would think I'd remember my failure and learn from it, right? No, I had to dig out the muffins with a spoon and serve the delicious crumbs in a bowl. Twice in two weeks. They were tasty as all good carrot muffins should be, but more like a dessert than a breakfast food or snack.

Good thing I love dessert for breakfast. Now, where's that cream cheese frosting?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm sewing again! Yay!

So, after vacuuming and scrubbing the den I moved my sewing stuff back in there and I am loving it. Friday I sat down and sewed for 20 minutes before I stood up and said, "That chair has got to go".

I was actually using a metal folding chair and it hurt. So Friday night I went to 3 different Office Depots to find an armless task chair. Woo hoo, I am nearly finished with the pants I cut out in November 2008. Really, all I need to do is the hem and waist closure. Really.

Now, this is something I hate to see. I am sewing along and I look up to see I am almost out of thread. NO! NO! A thousand times NO! If I have to stop and make a trip to Jo-Anns for thread I won't get out of there in less than an hour and I am likely to purchase a new project, and when I get home I won't be sewing anymore today. I am easily distracted, I am.

Seriously, I need to finish these pants so I can then sew the skirt and shirt-jacket I cut out on July 4, 2007. After that I can pick a different UFO*. I have enough to keep me busy until Christmas 2013 or so.

*[Unfinished object]

Friday, March 5, 2010

Believe it, I ate the whole thing.

I ate an entire bunch of swiss chard all by myself. I mean, I intended to keep some for another meal, but somehow all of it got eaten. I still haven't figured out how to balance out meals. All veggies or none? I have got to work on that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just waffles, I'm not waffling on this!

I'm celebrating the kids moving out by making a big batch of whole wheat waffles. I love having them in the freezer on a weekday morning so I can quickly eat a yummy breakfast. Waffles and cream cheese, anyone?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How can I help you?

Move out, that is?

The kids are 75% moved out now. Their furniture is gone, so is the cat, but lots of stuff they can't take now or even decide about now is still piled up around, unattractively. Yes, that IS three old computer monitors on my dining room table.

I won't punish you, gentle reader, with the picture of the den and it's 10 pounds of cat hair. Or their bathroom with the cat box still there. I am enjoying sleeping with my bedroom door open again. I'm taking back control of the thermostat. And, the refrigerator too.

The "kids" are making their own way in the world now, and at (almost) 26, this is a good thing.

Soon, I'll be back to where I was 2 years ago, planning a garage do-over!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fresh blood. Well, not that fresh.

Somebody bled on my freshly cleaned driveway. The nerve!

I did so much pressure cleaning on Monday that I blew out my hose reel. Today I went out to run some errands. When I got home there was a stain in the driveway that did not look like it dropped off of a car. Yes, it really does look like someone was bleeding in my driveway, which is disturbing on several levels.

No one was working on the landscaping today, and I'm the only one who drove on that side of the driveway today. Did I hit an animal on my way out to Home Depot? Or did one come along, bleed on the driveway and then mosey on? I'll never know.

The irony of it all is that I went to the HD to buy a new hose & reel. Guess I'll be using it very soon. And bleach.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Home Alone!

And I'm loving it. The "kids" left Saturday night and here it is Monday and they aren't back yet. I've had the whole place to my blessed self for almost 2 days! My kitchen! My washing machine! My driveway! Mine!

You know sometimes it doesn't take much to entertain me.