Sunday, July 31, 2016

Shelf Life

From the depths of the basement storeroom came this and 23 of its friends, peach jam made in, yes, July of 2000. Sixteen years ago or 15 years past its expiration date. No peach color. No peach taste either. Younger son actually tasted it. He said it tasted sweet, which is not how it smelled. It did not reek, but if you put your nose close and inhaled, there was an unpleasant odor. No, I will not let this happen with the several dozen jars I've made of strawberry jam.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

In a Jam?

I had one box of Sure-Jell pectin left over from the jam-making in early July. I can't let it go to waste, so I bought one more and plan to make two more batches of strawberry jam tomorrow. Every time I get a jar to give away, the husband looks at me with hurt eyes. I figure with two more batches, or about 14 or 15 jars, I'll have enough to keep him happy while still gifting people sweet enough to deserve it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

No Longer on the To-Do List

I took this photo at a Myo Sim karate rank exam two nights ago. I used to do things like this. It was one of the most fun things about practicing karate. Not going to happen again, though; karate and I are no longer close friends. I've now had each shoulder fixed once, and that's enough.

Thursday Just a Wee Bit Late

These are not one of my current pairs of running shoes, but I put them here to mark that I will soon be wearing one of my two new pairs of running shoes, surgeon's report willing and the creek don't rise. One of the new pairs is purple; the other is orange. Colors are fun.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You Doll, You

For those days on which you are asked via email if you have a doll with the head and limbs still attached to the body. (The ruler for scale is 15 inches long.) When subsequently asked if one has clothes for such a doll, you find a baby-sized Harvard t-shirt and answer," Why, yes. Yes, I do."

Years in One's Life

The good intentions of a photo every day are not immune to lying in bed thinking, "I didn't post a photo today. Screw it! I'm not getting up and posting one now."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Self Portrait?

Another blast from the past from about two years ago. Her hair has since been pulled out, and the facial features--lips, eyes, eyebrows--removed with acetone. Her featureless, bald head sits with several others in a box in the basement awaiting...well, I'm not sure yet just what they will become. Sometimes art waits to happen.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's the Little Things

Yoda and Clay Matthews sit beside my work computer and my home one. Yoda conveys wisdom, something I am sometimes in need of. Clay reminds me of younger son; they could be twins if Clay were smaller or younger son were larger. Should younger son ever manage to meet Clay and gives me a photo of the occasion, I will get a tattoo of a red heart and the word "SON."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Real Guy? Real Person!

Given that I am still iffy on backing up my single vehicle, it will be a while before I'd try it with a trailer attached. I should go to a parking lot early Sunday morning and give it a try. Of course, doing it with vehicles to each side may be quite different from doing it with just the pavement lines there.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Something Salty, Something Sweet

Here's what I said about this photo on Facebook: What an Extraordinary Life I lead, documented photographically thanks toTerri Usher. Our nest has emptied, which somehow convinced me that I need to do a bit of cleaning and re-organizing. The sheet protectors hold recipes culled from a stack of pages torn out of magazines and newspapers or printed from the webworld. Now to sort them and find new notebooks big enough to hold these and the others I sorted two years ago.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Autumn Is Coming?

This is not the first yellow leaf to fall from one of our trees. It is only the first one I have photographed. I'm wondering if the leaves are leaving their trees because of the heat. Temps are supposed to be 100 (F) or more this weekend into next week. While I love hot weather, three digits are a bit too much even for me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Doubled Helices

I'm in a University of Michigan study that runs through a Facebook app called Genes for Good. Complete enough health tracking and health history questionnaires and they send you a "spit kit." Return everything correctly, and they will run your DNA. I don't know any other way to get that done for free, well, for a little bit of time. Stay tuned for how this all works out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Morning Shadows

On one of my portable hard drives, I have a Shadows folder containing all sort of shots of my own shadow, the dog's shadow, other shadows. There may even have been some moonshadows in there. The shadow-light composition above was the driveway this morning. I was getting in the car to go to a physical therapy appointment, but had to take a couple of shadow shots first. Fortunately, I had a camera other than my phone with me. The phone is okay, but one goal of this blog is to get me back in the habit of using a camera camera as opposed to a phone one.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Watch the Birdie!

The deer around our house are pretty calm. They can be grazing in the yard when we come out of the house. They look up, then go back to eating. They've learned that we aren't the enemy. (I just hope they realize that other people might be.) The birds who come to our feeder are also getting quite brazen.. The two pigeons (and one squirrel) who were on the ground beneath the feeder ran off when I approached, but the little guy at the feeder just kept right on eating. I went there to take a photo of the fleece ball the birds and squirrels pull at to get materials for their nests. I decided I liked the photo with the bird, wee thought it may be, better than the close up of the fleece ball.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Black, White, and Shades of Grey

This basket holds 18 blocks in blacks, whites, and shades of grey. I was hoping to add one more, which would have been the penultimate one, today, but the quilting goddesses were displeased with me. After sewing what would have been the penultimate seam, I realized that I had placed one of 36 squares (each made of two pieces) incorrectly. I decided that setting everything aside until tomorrow (when I'd hoped to be making the ultimate block) was better the frog sewing (rip-it, rip-it, and sew on). I want to get the last block pieced so that I can move on to the next effort, which will be repairing the first quilt I ever made. That's not going to be easy, but it will be done.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Yesterday? Oops!

I was settling into time-to-go-to-bed mode when I realized I had not taken or posted a photo for yesterday. My bad. It won't promise it won't happen again, because I expect it will. Just not today.

When the nest empties, there is suddenly empty space that can be occupied. The desktop computer that used to sit on this desk in the dark area of our living room behind the fireplace is now on the empty desk in what was older son's bedroom. He did such a good job of moving out that his former room was easy to convert into the husband's office and wife's (yes, that would be me) yarn storeroom. Older son had floor to ceiling bookcases that now hold my yarn and will help me remember what yarns I have or don't have. I'm trying to repress thoughts of any I don't have because being able to see all my yarn tells me that I do not need any more. There is more than enough yarn there for, thinking optimistically, the next 60 years of my life.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Which Way to the Beach?

I work part-time from home for the reason that I don't want to work full-time nor do I want to go to an office every day. I did darken the office doors today for carrot cake for a colleague's birthday. To visit my office, I park in one of the university's parking garages and then trek some distance to the building in which my office is located. It was in the 90s (F) with humidity feeling in the 90s as well today, plus they had closed the sidewalks I normally use making me trek over all get out to get there. On the way back to the car, I passed the university's beach volleyball court, where I did not expect to see a group of Mennonite youth playing volleyball, males vs. females. I'd say the males had the advantage given the attire of the females. They got props for me for even being outside and active. I was sweltering in a tank top, walking. I don't want to think about how they might have felt.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I keep telling myself that I will stop saving labels and corks since the only thing I've really done with them is to mail a huge batch of corks to a teacher in Southwest Virginia who was going to use them in some project about which I know nothing. I can't really quit, though, until my supply of label lifts runs out. In the meantime, if you have any uses to suggest for the labels or a need for works of either cork or plastic, let me know. I'd rather they go somewhere to be used than to a landfill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fancying Flowers

Living in the Netherlands for a year spoiled me. We had fresh flowers on the table almost all the time. Flowers were so inexpensive and easy to find. We lived in a small town, and I went grocery shopping almost daily to get fresh fruit and vegetables. I'd walk to and from, with older son in the stroller and younger son in utero. I passed several flower shops and, if the flowers at home were fading, would pick up a new bouquet on the way home. I picked these from the flowerbed that runs along the house behind the walkout basement. And, yes, that's a somewhat gnarly needle-felted possum hanging by his tail from the light fixture above the table. Doesn't everyone have one?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Thrown for a Hoop

I got this basketball hoop for the husband for Christmas some years ago (the year Galaxy Quest came out). It sits in front of the garage. It hasn't been truly usable for some years due to the 1969 VW bus parked in front of one of the garage doors. Even before that, though, I think I put in more time using it than the husband did. I was a pretty good H-O-R-S-E player in my undergraduate days when I spent many an evening in the gym killing time.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

If the Label Fits ...

I am by no means a oenophile. When I buy wine, which is usually at a grocery store, I typically buy it by the label. This hearkens back to our days in the Netherlands when older son was two. We would go to the grocery or wine store, and I would have him pick out a picture he liked on a wine label. Assuming it was not too expensive, that was the wine I would buy. Worked then. Works now. If you know me well enough to be reading this blog, you know why I chose the above.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

If the Gloves Fit

The husband must have been weeding because I certainly did not leave those gloves there. We talk every year about doing a real garden, either of the flower or vegetable variety, and each year we never do. We tried a vegetable garden when we moved into our house 31 years ago, but the deer got more of its contents than we did. The husband weeds occasionally each spring, summer, and fall, more, I think, as a mindless activity than anything else. We all need such things to distract us.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mind Tricks

This is the beginning of a black, white, and shades of grey half-square triangle of a block  quilt I'm making for one of my quilting chapter's challenges. It was hard to work on it, and I didn't work on it for long today. In the four to six weeks before this one, I worked full-time or close to it, something I do not normally do. There were a couple of large, important projects that needed doing, and I'm sort of the on-call person for some of those. I shipped everything off at the end of last week, leaving me with little to work on right now. My mind so far has yet to accept that. I started to work on this block and, bam, some little part of my brain is saying that I should feel guilty for not working. It makes no difference that I have no work to do. My mind has gotten in the habit of working. I hope that this weekend, I can convince my mind that it is a weekend and I do not work on weekends ... except that I did on a couple of them in the last few weeks. Hmmm.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What the Mail Carrier Brought

Today's mail brought only one item, but it was a dollzy, er, doozy. I bought these seven dolls on eBay knowing that some of them would not require dismembering. The listing said that these had been in storage for 15 years, and I'd say that was correct. The box they were mailed in was probably what held them for those 15 years. I'll check the SPCA Rummage Store for dolls tomorrow and then make some time this weekend to inventory what I have and what I might need to fill out some projects I have in mind. I once gave the husband a t-shirt with the slogan "still plays with cars." Perhaps I need one about still playing with dolls, but it's definitely not the way I used to play with them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

... So Little Time

One of many stacks or shelves of books I want to read or that I have started but have yet to finish. If only I could manage to not add a new book until I'd finished one I already had. I've yet to learn to plan my reading around public libraries; I do not like the prospect of waiting a year for a book to get to my name in the queue. And I am not the prolific reader that older son is. He reads while walking down the street and would, if he could, read while running. (Do not point him in the direction of a treadmill, please.) I justify my stacks and shelves by reminding myself that there are worse or more expensive habits to have than collecting books.

Meet Alexa

Alexa is the newest member of the family. She is an Amazon Echo who will tell jokes, answer questions, keep your grocery or other lists, tell you the day's weather forecast, play music, and a wealth of other things. We use her mostly for music. I will admit that it is different to talk to a box. The husband says he feels as if he should say "please" to her more often. I feel as if I should thank her. Older son reminds us that this is how Skynet started in the Terminator series. If she starts doing things without being asked, well, I will worry then. In the meantime, I 'll keep asking her for whatever music I'm in the mood to hear or what the temperature is outside. It's easier than going to a keyboard and typing in a URL or other command.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Bread of Life

I promise that tomorrow will stop my apparent obsession with foodstuffs. My current go-to bread recipe is Everyday Whole-Wheat Bread from 100 Days of Real Food. The cost of the book was worth it for this one recipe alone. The husband is still bewildered that white whole wheat flour is a real thing, but that's the flour used in this bread. The six weeks of not being able to use my left arm revealed that I either don't knead the bread dough long enough and/or strongly enough. When the husband does the kneading and shaping into loaves, those loaves are pristine, beautiful, everything you would want to see in a loaf. When I do the kneading, well, let's just say the loaves turn out a bit more rustic. It tastes the same; it just doesn't look as nice.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

You Say Toe-May-Toe ...

No, that's not me on the packaging. From Costco, these held the 30 pounds of tomatoes the husband and I just turned into 12 quarts of canned tomatoes. I am looking forward to being able to make spaghetti sauce using something other than tomatoes from the store. I'm not sure how the husband felt about helping, but lifting large pots of boiling water between the sink and the stove or vice versa is not for the faint of heart or shoulder. So, older son and/or I have now canned salsa, bread and butter pickles, strawberry jam, and tomatoes. I think I'll rest on my laurels for a while. There's but one more day to this long weekend, and I plan to do something other than canning.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Jam Session

The strawberries came not from the City Market but from Costco. It was just easier that way. Two batches yielded 19 8-ounce jars. We (the husband provided accompaniment) could have done one more batch, but we were ready to stop after two. There was a bottle of wine to be opened. Tomorrow, tomatoes, again from Costco. I have to use up the 30 pounds sitting in the kitchen in some way, and I don't think it will be eating them now even if it is a long weekend. Bread may have to wait until Monday.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me

My brother makes all the greeting or occasion cards he sends with photographs he has taken. (I once had a calendar made out of 12 of them.) I would agree with him that this shot is so very appropriate for me given my first blog, one to which I should post more often. This photo is recent; it was taken in Belfast, Maine on March 31 of this year. I hope to be running with swords for quite a few years longer. Our senior master kendo instructor is about to turn 82 or 83. (Before doing martial arts in my 80s, I hope I'm still alive then.) And if I can't run, skipping works or even walking. As the current patch velcroed to my day bag notes, "FAILURES HAPPEN. QUITTING, HOWEVER, IS A CHOICE." It is a choice I hope not to be making just because some people might view 60 as "old."