Friday to-do list

Good morning! Today my list is more like a normal one, with one little exception. But it has pool, it has crafts, it has chores – life is good, because it has SUNSHINE ALL DAY. 🙂

Without further ado, here it is!

*In the garden:
*Pick last beans and peas, first tomatoes.
*Pull a few weeds

In the yard:

*Wander around with the grass clippers, and check on flowers, weed and water, clip here and there.
*Start gathering first blackberries, and last raspberries for freezer, future jam and jelly!
*Scoop pool

In town:

*Grocery store for a few things (as opposed to a killer trip to restock)
*Doctor’s office to get that annoying spot off my back – fingers crossed that whatever nastiness it is, they get it all. I’ll know in a week or so.
*Book store to pick up the book for this month’s book group – dangerous stop! There is no telling what else I will pick up there. We are reading the Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. We have read her novel Olive Kittredge, and I really liked it, so I am glad to have this one on the list.

In the house:

*Clean the bathrooms
*Change the guest room bed
*Never-ending laundry
*work on art project left over from C’s visit
*knit
*blog last week’s CAL rows!
*rest and recover
*play with the cats (Tigger caught her first basement mouse, I am so proud! Allie and Zumba watched, so maybe they will pick up this skill.)

Then if I feel up to it, I will head back to Ellsworth for a volunteer appreciation supper with the good folks from Down East Aids Network. It is put on by the board of directors, and there are some amazing cooks on that board, so it is very tempting… even if they weren’t a fun group to spend time with, which they are. 🙂

This seems like a full day, doesn’t it? I’d better get moving.

how I spent my weekend

subtitle – wow, we did NO regular chores and survived!

Well, if you read anything I post, you know the bed installation was a huge big deal.  It eclipsed all other chores and things on the to-do list. But it was NOT all we did this weekend!

Sunday we headed up to Bangor for the Maine Harvest fair – a whole civic center and auditorium FULL of fabulous, locally grown/processed food, like a giant farmers’ market.  It was heavenly.  Samples galore, lots of friends in the biz.  We bought a few yummy things, and had to pass others by because we are, after all, dieting… hahaha. So we bought some donuts, some goat cheese, some pasta sauce, a whoopie pie, some herb dip mixes.  We passed up the world’s most beautiful cranberries because we still have some Sugar Hill Cranberries in the freezer.  But if you get a chance to buy them anywhere, do it!  they are huge, beautiful, make grocery store ones look anemic.  And they taste heavenly. We also were able to find that cinnamon maple sugar we love and get a big jar of it, a card so we never run out again, and let them know our local source is apparently out of it.  Kinney Sugar House – yum!  We bought a few other treats there as well.  So you can see, the diets were far from our mind on Sunday.

Following this, we went for lunch to the Coach House Restaurant – comfort food place.  A had her Beano with her, so I was able to order one of my favorite winter treats – chili and cheese.  It was delicious.  I might have to make a batch for the freezer, since A doesn’t like it and I would get sick of it long before I finished a pot of it.

Then it was off to Brewer for a craft fair – saw another one of my business buddies – Susan Merrill of Weaving a Life  (www.weavingalife.com)- she had not only her amazing Journey Looms there but new woven earrings that are simply stunning.  I might have to get some next time I see Susan.  We didn’t have a lot of money left after the harvest fest, or I would be wearing a pair right now.

From this wonderful start of buying and eating local, we leaped into the consumerism world of the big boxes – a new PetSmart just opened up in Bangor, and we need cat food, so A dropped me and sister-in-law L off at AC Moore, and she and sister-in-law S headed over to Pet Smart.  I went as fast as I could through AC Moore, grabbed paper I wanted, searched hard for the jewelry findings I wanted (finally found them) and managed to get a bottle of tattered angels glimmer mist (been wanting to try this for the longest time), a stencil and an embossing folder.  A came in looking for us just as we were checking out.  I don’t know how else to entertain her while I shop at craft stores – I thought for sure a pet store would keep her busy for more than 20 minutes – and that it would take her time to park. But she is good – she got lots of kitten food wet and dry, and of course, a few new toys…

When we got home, it felt really late, was heading toward twilight, but it wasn’t even 4 o’clock!  So, A made some raspberry jam, as she was all out of it, and I worked on my sock – ready to turn the heel today.

Today she has to work, but I get this holiday off, so I will do some of the chores we neglected so much the past couple of days.  I plan to:

  • clean the cat box
  • do the laundry
  • tidy up the living room (cat toys and structures everywhere right now!)
  • rearrange the living room just for fun
  • start making christmas cards – I have a few ideas for them this year, and so will make a couple and let A choose which one is “it”.
  • turn that heel

I’ll check back in and let those of you who care know how I did with today’s list!

Remembering

Funny thing as I get old… I miss things I took for granted when I was younger and that are gone now.

This time every year the sandy jungle we call a yard erupts in berries of all sorts – raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I bemoan the lack of a yard most of the year, but this time of year finds me out with a bucket picking berries in the hot sun, enjoying the peacefulness of the process, and breathing deep the smell of the berries, the sweet fern that grows everywhere, listening to the hum of the bees and cicadas.  And thinking about being a kid on Block Island with Ma, picking blackberries in hotter sun, when all I wanted to do was go to the beach.  But first we had to go berrying with a bunch of “old” ladies who didn’t really appreciate other people’s grandchildren.  I did not enjoy it.  It was the price I had to pay to be on the island and to go to the beach after lunch.  But now I find I miss it.  I miss the days when all I had to worry about was someone saying I had certainly grown since last summer, or how soon we would fill the baskets and head home. I miss having my grandmother sharp and lively and able to hold a good conversation, and to take enjoyment out of life. While I still have her, I sort of don’t, and I miss her.

And all week, my other grandmother, Gram, has been on my mind. I wasn’t sure why, but I would think of her sort of randomly as I worked on an art project or put things away in the craft room.  Finally, I realized why she was coming to mind more and more.  Her 101st birthday was Thursday.  She isn’t here to celebrate it, but she was certainly on my mind all day. She was not lively or fun when I knew her.  She was steadfast and calm, with a sharp wit, very observant.  She was a skilled craftsperson, a wonderful seamstress, but not a teacher.  So my Ma taught me how to do the basics of things like sewing, and then Gram would demonstrate how to do things better, or give me a book that told me how. It is an interesting combination of skills these two ladies had. One could knit and cook to beat the band. The other could do any kind of handwork (except knitting!) and thought a day that didn’t involve meal prep was a gift of the gods.

Then there is my friend Kate.  She has been gone nearly three years now, she died on Ma’s 100th birthday.  When I called Ma to let her know Kate was gone, she cried.  She wondered why she should live to be so old and someone like Kate should die so young.  Good question that of course there are no answers to.  Kate was a friend who did all the heavy lifting in the relationship.  We met, we think, in kindergarten or first grade.  But we became friends in 6th grade.  When we went our separate ways, it was always Kate who would call on my birthday, or when she came back home. We would chat like we saw each other yesterday, and it was like that for the rest of her life.  We would see each other maybe once a year, for short visits, where we talked nonstop for however long we had.  We rarely talked about troubles or troubled times, but about fun and life  and the universe and friends and people we loved. She made me think about things differently, in a more positive way. Yet I knew that for Kate there were many troubles.  I would get worried when I didn’t hear from her for a long time, but I learned not to call her then, that if she was in a bad place, she could not be upbeat and she didn’t want to talk about the bad things.  She would call me when she could handle it.  A funny sort of friendship that way.

Now Kate is gone, and even though I didn’t talk to her often, I realize that I always knew she was there, and that a bubbly fun conversation could come at any time.  But now it can’t, and the world feels very much emptier.  I have been thinking about Kate a lot this week, because her sister called the other day – she is in town and wanted to say hi. I thought what a powerful person for relationships Kate was, if her sister, who was grown and gone by the time Kate and I became friends, thinks to call me when she is in Maine.. Kate must have loved me very much.

I miss Kate, and both my grandmothers… but I need to learn from this missing.  Learn to appreciate what I have and who is here now, because there is no telling when they will go and I will only have memories.

VACATION!

A whole week off from work! Well, of the paid variety, anyway. 🙂 While I do check email once a day, I do not have to go into the office. It is a much-needed break, let me tell you! It actually is more like ten days off, as I also took last Thursday off, and I don’t work on Fridays…

So what have I been up to? Well, last week, nieces B and C and their Mom came up for a flying trip – B had college orientation Thursday. So they arrived Weds. eve, we had supper together, then I took B and L up to the school,and C and I spent the day together. Of course, that included a meeting for work, but then we got some good shopping in at Grasshopper (www.grasshoppershopofellsworth.com) and Rooster Brother (www.roosterbrother.com). We also took in the really cool art at the Courthouse Gallery (www.courthousegallery.com) before heading back up to meet up with B and L and go for some ice cream at Gifford’s(http://giffordsicecream.com). On the whole a great day! B loved orientation, and they bought lots of t-shirts and some text books at the bookstore so she is good to go. They went off to see their dad Thurs eve, then left for home early Friday morning. I am guessing we will have a lot of trips like this over the next 5 years, and I am looking forward to them, and to having B a wee bit closer than CT.

Friday I spent doing laundry, and chopping vegetables for the DEAN donor appreciation dinner, which was Friday evening. Attendance was low, but it was a good event – in a church basement, so relatively cool, until we started running the dishwasher – then ugh! Too steamy.

Saturday, A and her sister S and I went off to see Mom and B, and B’s visiting son J. J and Mom fixed us the most amazing brunch – wow! Eggs Benedict, home-made blueberry muffins – using the good wild Maine blueberries, and fresh fruit, with strawberries from the garden. It was yummy and looked beautiful. After visiting with them, we went shopping at Pen Ventures in Rockport – it is a small paper craft store, with some different things than the big box stores carry. S and I each got some fun things, although very different. I got a few copic markers to try them, and some fancy metallic powders to use with embossing paste. S got some bargain cards and pens.

Sunday it was ridiculously hot and steamy (and it has been ever since!) but I did some more of my pool excavation project – I am determined to have that ground ready and the pool filling before this vacation is over. It seems to be never-ending, this rock extraction. In the afternoon, A’s sister L came over for a short visit – she is off to visit S Korea for a few weeks, with her sons, so we had a few things for her to take to D and A in NY on her way.

Monday – first real day of vacation – woo hoo! I worked on the pool in short bursts, too hot to do much at once. In between, I processed strawberries that A had gotten and de-hulled. They are for jam, but it is too hot to make it now, so we are prepping the berries and freezing them until it cools off, or we run out of jam. It was so stinking hot, I have to say, I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch under the fans, knitting. Finished a silk/mohair beaded scarf that took longer than I expected, but is really pretty, I am glad I took the time to add the beads. I had intended to go to the lake for a swim in the afternoon, but of course, around 3, when I decided to head over, thunderstorms rolled in, so, more time on the couch.

Tuesday was a lot like Monday, except that I did a few errands and made a point of getting to the lake for lunch and a swim. Had an interesting episode at Subway. The young clerk rang my sandwich in at 25 cents higher than the price on the sign. Now 25 cents isn’t much, except that I only had enough cash on me to pay the price on the sign. We had a really ridiculous conversation that included such things as “you will have to take it up with Subway” and an offer to let me have the sandwich for about a dollar less than it cost. I could not seem to get through to her that I wanted to pay for the sandwich, but I wanted to pay the actual price on the menu. Her parting shot to me was that she would give it to me for this price “this time”. I truly almost lost it. Pardon me, but you will give it to me at that price every time, as long as that is the price you advertise! Sure wish there had been a manager there with some customer service skills. I am not sure that she was not the manager…
Wednesday, the 4th – too hot and humid for life! However, we managed to get through it. I started painting the walls in A’s office – remember the last vacation, in April when I spent a week painting the trim? Well, I haven’t touched it since, and she has been very patient, but wants her office back. So I started on the walls, with a lot of help from the curious kittens. It was so muggy that even just running the tape along the top of the baseboard made me perspire. But I got about half the walls done, with their first coat. Today I will do the ceiling (thankfully the same color) and the other two walls. And I will start to work out the logistics of painting the trim around the skylight over the stairs. Note to self: if we ever build another house, put the skylight in the ceiling NEXT to the stairs, not over them. We also did the big grocery shopping for the week, and had our own little cookout – pineapple burgers on the grill. Then we sat in the living room under those fabulous ceiling fans.

Today is more painting, a trip to the dump, more digging, maybe a trip to the lake, although it seems to be a rainy cloudy day. And of course, knitting. I have already knit a hat for the pile, and last night, I picked scraps from the stash for another one – it will be crazy stripes. I have lots of little bits that I want to use up.

Other things I have gotten done this week: Hung sheets to replace the curtains that we took down when we got the kittens. Learned it was a good choice to remove the curtains, the kits LOVE the sheets moving in the breeze, they tumble around them for hours. I also put up my new clothes line – between the two decks, with reels, so I can load it from either deck. This is much more useful than the retractable line that ran across the big deck. So I have done lots of laundry and hung things out to dry. As long as I pay close attention to the clouds, it works well. We have had lots of “pop-up” showers this week, so I have raced the rain a few times. I also got the old metal grille off the fancy floor vent unit that I have moved around for three years now, since Mom moved and I grabbed it out of the barn. I scrubbed off a lot of the paint and rust, and sprayed the rustoleum primer on it, which gave me an idea for a new craft project. The negative space left on the plywood I sprayed it on is so cool that I am going to prep a canvas, then when I spray the final coat on the grille, I will do it on the canvas and make two pieces of art at once. I also dug out that lace shawl that hangs over my head – only one half of a pattern repeat to go before I have to figure out the edge pattern… Maybe I will finish the center rectangle this week too – wouldn’t that be amazing??? Maybe I will take some photos of all of these projects to show you all the stuff I have gotten done this week, too. There is just no way to tell. But if I don’t get off the computer and moving, then nothing will get done.

ides of July

Was this a gorgeous day or WHAT??? I went to the Stonington Farmers market, which is the biggest market around here. Not strictly farmers, lots of crafters as well, but a vibrant fun place. Got some goat cheese and chocolate, what else is there in life? Had lunch on the deck at Seasons, tide was high, island was blooming, it was truly an incredible day.

Came home and picked raspberries in the front yard – got about a pint, plus the last of the strawberries and the first of the blueberries. There is something to be said for living on the edge of the woods with no real yard. All kinds of wild berries to be had.

Then I made up two guest beds – the girls arrive on Friday – I can’t wait. Got their rooms all cleaned and ready for them. Just have to add flowers Thursday night so they are ready for them when they arrive. I wonder what will be available for flowers by then? Queen Anne’s lace looks like it might be opened enough by then. And there are some Black-eyed Susans just coming. I LOVE SUMMER!!!

Just have time for a quick dip in the pool before bed… and before dark.