Swords Into Plowshares

21 Jul

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Being left-handed and oldgetting up in years, dumb as a box or rocks, set in my ways, I have never learned to knit. Not for lack of willing teachers, but more a matter of having “iffy” hand and eye coordination.  And so, I have taken to using the loom in the picture. It can be slow going, but I enjoy it, and it keeps my hands occupied. You can always tell my work, because the only thing I can do is a cable stitch in the picture. You may have to squint.

When I went to knitting yesterday morning, I could find my “hook’. It’s a bit of bent metal set into a plastic handle, which is used to flip the bottom loop of yarn over the one on top. A crochet hook won’t work, so I was using my fingers. I mentioned this to The Squire in passing, not complaining, just wondering what on earth I had done with it.

“How does it look?”

I extended my index finger and bent it at a slight angle.

“OK. I know what you mean.”

He wandered off, and I heard the electric grinder going in the back room. He came back a few minutes later and presented me with a “new” hook. He’d taken a thin screwdriver, ground off the blade, and carefully bent it to the proper angle. He’d actually chosen a tool with a pocket clip, so I could keep it in my shirt pocket!

Spoiled? Moi? Never!



Getting Back to Normal

19 Jul

Mary Ann, over at A Joyful Chaos, remarked that her life had been out of kilter for a while, and she hoped it soon got back to normal.

Sometimes you have to face the fact that, like it or not, whatever it is you have, it’s “normal”.

Back in September of 2015 I wrote about the day the pump froze solid. The house where we lived with the Late and Unlamented was built around 1850. When indoor plumbing was installed, the pump was placed in the old root cellar, where the temp was generally around 55°F. However, January 16, 1969 was the coldest day Baltimore had ever experienced since the Weather Bureau started keeping records. Something below 0°, and a wind-chill to freeze your gizzard. I was always the first one up, making coffee, getting half dressed, and then waking the girls and the L&U.

When I turned on the kitchen faucet, what came out was as dark as coffee. I ran the water until it was clear, and then filled the coffee pot. When I started to wash my dishes, there was no more water. I was able to drain enough from the water heater to fill a sauce pan, brought it to a boil, and managed to prime the pump outside the back door, and pumped enough water to get us through the morning.

The L&U got dressed, put on his house slippers and came down to fix his own breakfast. He opened the fridge and grabbed an egg, which he cracked on the side of the frying pan. Nothing came out. He looked and discovered he had a hard-boiled egg. He picked up another egg and the same thing happened. Muttering and cursing .

“Those are hard-boiled. Didn’t you notice the faces on them?”

“Yeah. I saw them. I figured you didn’t have anything to do and decorated the whole damned dozen.”

Cracks such as that can get a person killed, y’know, especially first thing in the morning. And after I’d been out in the cold pumping water at 7:00 AM.

When I went out to take the girls to the sitter and head to the office, my car wouldn’t go backwards. I figured it was stuck in the snow, and came back in to ask him to give it a shove. He went into the other room to change from house slippers to shoes – and when he bent over the back seam ripped out of his trousers.

More muttering. “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal around here.”

I didn’t bother to tell him this was an normal as it was going to get. We’d been married seven years at that point, so if he wasn’t used to it now, he’d never would be.


Food Fight

10 Jul

A friend gave me three huge yellow squash on Friday morning. “My husband and I will never eat all that. There’s only the two of us.” Well, there are only two of us, too. The squash were so large they oozed some sort of gluey juice when I cut them up to fry this morning.

And there, suddenly standing at my elbow, was my mum!

Mum and her dad had a good-sized garden on his farm. Luscious tomatoes, corn, string beans, and strawberries by the pound.

But mostly they grew squash. All kinds of squash. Patty pan, yellow crook-necks, zucchini, acorn squash. Squash grows fast and gets BIG. Being German, Mum insisted on always doing things the hard way. Potatoes were peeled standing up. So was that mountain of squash on the kitchen table. My sister and I peeled and peeled and peeled aaannnddd peeled. Because of the “glue” over sized squash exude our peelers would get clogged. Fortunately I’m left-handed and Lynn was right-handed so we would trade peelers from time to time. Nothing helped our stiff fingers or sore feet. Every once in a while we’d trot off to the bathroom to wash our hands – and sit down for awhile. I think Mum caught on, because she’d start to tell us to wash up at the sink!

If there was one food in all the world my sister loathed it was squash seeds. She’d try to cut some of them out of the center of the squash and bury them under the peelings, but once Mum caught on to that trick she’d sift through the compost and return them to the pot.

To make cooked squash more palatable (strictly a matter of her opinion) she would mix it with mashed potatoes, which was Lynn’s favorite food. The potatoes were very “loose” because of the liquid in the squash, and stringy, to boot. No point in pushing the seeds to the side of the plate, because they had to be eaten before the table was cleared. Even the fact that my sister threw up all over the table one night didn’t make any difference.

Mum was not only stubborn, she was cruel.


4 Jul

When I came downstairs this morning there was a cockroach on the counter. Ick!

I grabbed a paper towel and came down over him, but he managed to shimmy out from under my hand.

He scurried onto the stove, so I turned on the gas. That didn’t work as he was too flat, and then he climbed onto the grid. I grabbed the flame-thrower and blasted him, but he scooted back into the drip pan.

OK, two can play this game. I was as determined as he was, so I went for the vacuum. It took several tries before I was able to suck the little brown demon into the hose. I trotted across the kitchen to dump the vacuum bag into the outside trash and the critter climbed out the top of the hose. He must have been hanging on for dear life on the ridges inside the pipe.

No wonder scientists claim roaches could withstand a nuclear attack!

Once he hit the floor he scuttled under the rug in front of the sink.

I stepped on him!

Take that, you rascal!

Becoming My Mother

2 Jul

Mary Ann, over at A Joyful Chaos said she was becoming her mother, and it dawned on me that I have, in some ways, also become MY mother. Oh, the horror!

Mum was not Little Suzie Homemaker. Let’s face it, neither she nor I  would ever win anybody’s medal from Good Housekeeping.  I’ve never subscribed to that magazine, simply because I couldn’t pass the physical.  But really, I always felt I was a little bit tidier than AJP.

And then this happened.

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HERS                                                                                                              MINE

Mind you, Mum’s  apartment always looked this way, and I am in the throes of refurbishing Matthew’s dollhouse for his son, but crikey, lady, you can do better than this! At least, The Squire and I can eat on the other end of the table. Mum had to balance her meals on her lap. We’re not that bad off.




Disappearing Act

30 Jun

On one of the blogs I follow – http://ajoyfulchaos.blogspot.com/ – Mary Ann noted that she is becoming her mother. She purchases one thing at the store, only to have it morph into something else entire when she unloads the bags at home. Regular flour becomes self-rising. Creamy peanut butter becomes chunky. Very mysterious.

I’ve had that happen from time to time, but what baffles me most is things that disappear from my kitchen, and then reappear. Every once in a while I need some off-beat ingredient. A bon-bon I make calls for shredded coconut. The hot cider for the Christmas Party needs cinnamon sticks. Not really unusual, but not items I use every week. I’ll buy a package, use what I need, and then wrap the rest and put it in the freezer or fridge so I have them for next time.

But they’re never where I put them when I need them again.

I will tear the kitchen apart looking for the cinnamon sticks, and finally go buy another lot. I’ll open the freezer to stash this package and there are the originals! Where have they been hiding? I swear they weren’t on that shelf when I looked before.

Saturday I made some “Bliss Balls” for a farewell party at church. They are gluten free, and not overly sweet. Two packages of cream cheese, one-half cup of drained crushed pineapple, and another half-cup of chopped pecans. I mixed this up on Friday evening and put it in the fridge to firm up overnight. Saturday I looked all over the place for the coconut I had carefully placed in the freezer, and it was g-o-o-o-ne. Not in the freezer, not in the kitchen cabinets, not in the fridge.

Off to the grocery store for another bag of the stuff. Scooped out little balls of the cream cheese mixture, and rolled them in the coconut, and put them back in the fridge until Sunday morning.

I found the original bag of coconut in one of the crisper drawers yesterday morning. That is NOT where I keep it!

I swear, on a still night I can hear my groceries laughing at me!

(A friend is going to try this recipe using silken tofu and a bit of powered sugar to see if she can make it lactose-free, as well as gluten free. Next we’ll see if we can make it without any ingredients at all!)

A Good Pair

23 Jun

Tuesday morning I bent over to pick something off the floor and hit my head on the corner of a cupboard so hard my teeth banged together. The Squire thought I was going to pass out. So did I for a moment or two. Since then my back has been giving me absolute fits.

I used to have a lot of trouble with my back, but I had surgery in September of 2015 to fuse two vertebrae in my neck. (I have photographic proof that me head is screwed on properly, in case anybody ever asks.) The pain I’m having now is in the same place as it was then. Have I compressed a disc? Have I torn something loose? I’ll find out on Monday. In the meantime I’m staggering from pillar to post with Lidocaine patches.

Yesterday morning I can home from a meeting at church to find the lawnmower on its side in the ditch along the road. Lovely. The Squire had been mowing, swatted at an insect, lost control of the machine, and the rest is history. He did manage to twist to the side so his feet weren’t damaged – that would have been a catastrophe – and he didn’t go in head first, but he banged up his shoulder rather famously. It is not broken or dislocated, but it is very sore and he can’t lift his arm past a certain point.

We had to go to the grocery store this morning, and we had a grand time getting the bags out of the cart and into the car, and then from the car to the house. I can’t bend and he can’t lift.

We make a good pair!