Bluto

What a summer/what a bummer and What’s for dinner? (part 2 -long)

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(Click here for Part 1)

What’s For Dinner?

I make some really yummy things to eat, even now that I am a diabetic and have changed my eating habits so that I can keep my fingers and toes and such. But overall, I’m just an OK cook. My Dad and my brothers are people who really love to cook, they really show their love to others through their cooking. My Dad wakes up every day thinking about what he and Mom are gonna eat for dinner, which – given that my mother takes a fair amount of time & caffeine to really “wake up”- has led to 50 years of him accosting her most every morning, right when she gets up, and demanding to know what she wants for dinner, which leads to a very blank and confused expression on her face that I find pretty hilarious these days.

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Of course, Mom’s not wearing the hat or the beard…..

Now I might wake up thinking of food, but it’s a completed dish I’m thinking of, preferably one that could be conjured up and served immediately by the chef/butler we do not have. Since I’m the one who does the VAST majority of cooking around here, I have tried many different ways to make the decision of what we will eat easier, and some of them have helped. I admit that we go out to eat way too often, mainly because I just don’t wanna cook much at all anymore.  One of the things that has helped a bit has been subscribing to Blue Apron** for one week a month. Since I’ve been sick or gone so much this summer, I have not been eating the way I want to and need to, and we aren’t sitting down to dinner  together nearly as often. Fresh things are going bad in the fridge, mainly ‘cos I forget that I bought them. And there’s loads of things in the pantry that should be eaten as well. I’ve fallen into a very lazy & unthinking pattern about dinners around here that is not only costly to my wallet, but to my health. So here is my latest attempt to change this downward spiral & act like an adult-

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If you click on the picture, you can see it better. I’m just happy to have a reminder of what’s going on foodwise each day. Studmuffin would rather eat chicken than almost anything else on the planet, ‘cept maybe chocolate ice cream, so that’s why there’s so many “Chicken Somethings” in the plan.  I have a lot of cookbooks, for someone who’s meh about cooking, so I put in “Use a cookbook” in hopes that I might try something new; it could happen. My favorite innovation here *has* to be “Pantry Roulette” – go into the pantry and see what interesting thing could be made from what’s there and the older the better. Please feel free to try this out yerself, or put in the comments how you deal with the daily grind of ‘what’s for dinner?’ BTW, it’s Crockpot Chicken Teryaki tonight. See? Workin’ already.

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** If you don’t know what Blue Apron is, go to the website and check it out. I have some free meals from them to give away; let me know if you want to try Blue Apron in the comments section and if you live in the USA, I’ll send them your way.

Some Actual Good Things this summer

Singing with the band Kaleidoscope & becoming a much better keyboard player because the fellas let me play more and more, singing with One Human Family Workshop choir twice, been married to Studmuffin for TWENTY-EIGHT years, traveling to Dayton with Studmuffin, traveling to WV for the Studmuffin family reunion, the Force of Nature graduated from high school – in the top twenty of her class, taking the Force of Nature to Marion Military Institute for college, the Duke of Curl spent part of the summer working in Colorado, he came home and now is in school AND has a job, paid off a fairly large loan, going to Birmingham several times for Baha’i Ruhi Institute training, YARN! FABRIC!……there’s been good things, many good things.

THE END:A Real Grievance

The day after I wrote the previous post (The Gardening groove…) on this here blog, June 1st, my beloved dog Boris suddenly died. His sister Natasha has been ill/dying with a chronic parasitic infection for the last 3 years and we thought for certain, she would be gone first. We know their deaths are coming – they are 13 or 14 years old, and for their kind of dog to make it past 15 is quite rare, so we know it is gonna happen within the next 2 years certainly. Natasha, whom I have nicknamed “the Crypt Keeper” because she looks so bad – patchy fur, flaking skin and so skinny – is still living and quite happy. She gets all the treats now.

I has a sad....

I has a sad….

I think he ate something he shouldn’t have – probably some poisonous vegetation. He always loved to eat leaves and green things. I planted zinnias every year, not because I’m fond of them, but because Boris loved to nibble the leaves so much. Others have told me that Labradors tend to get stomach cancer and that is possible, too.  I did not realize just how sick he was until about 2 hours before he passed away; I spent about 5 or 6 hours that day driving the Duke of Curl to and from his dr.’s appointment in Birmingham; I would not have done that had I known that Boris was dying. We buried him next to Bluto^^ that night, and a week later I planted zinnias on his grave.

We won’t be getting another dog while Natasha lives; she’s elderly and sick, but she was the less dependent of the 2 and I think adjusting to a new dog would be hard on her. I will rescue more dogs after she’s gone, mainly because of this video: Shy Shelter Dog gets Adopted. But it will be a while. Emmy the cat was sick this last week with a bad cold and it brought it all back.

Boris was the dog of my heart and life is really not the same without him for me. I am reminded of him everywhere in our house and yard and all the streets nearby. It’s been nearly four months and I’m still grieving, which of course, I have mixed feelings about. There are so many terrible things happening in the world all over, and I’m crying about a dog. A dog who had a seriously wonderful life, who I was privileged to have in my family since he and Tasha were 4 months old. All I can say is that grief is the price of love and buddy, your death is costing me a fortune. You were the BEST dog for me and none of us will ever forget you. Thank you Borisman.

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^^Bluto adopted us in the early Summer 1997 (est. 3 yrs old) – died January 7, 2010

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I found one!

lady_with_binoculars_card-p137162167504321023envwi_400Remember the last post? Where I said I hoped to type in some of the “old” letters? As I was looking for something else, I found the last one that Studmuffin & I wrote together and it’s already on the ‘puter. It’s from Winter 2004/2005 so I wasn’t exactly right about it being ten years since the last one….. However I do think it’s pretty funny and most of the names have been changed…because that’s how I roll. Fun to see some of the differences over the years….

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Happy post-holiday greetings.

(NOTICE to the ACLU: There will be no mention of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, New Year’s or Festivus at all in this letter beyond that which you’ve already read.).  I guess it’s still OK to say “Happy Groundhog Day”, so-

“Happy Groundhog Day!”

We hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy, or at least on an even keel with your nose above water enough so that this letter doesn’t push you over the brink of despair at the pointlessness of existence that this letter all too painfully illuminates.  On to the follies…..

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I’ve made a mistake….

…because tonight I started looking at fabric. I’m easing back into sewing again and OH MY GOODNESS!

The fabrics right now are really my kind of thing – PAISLEY? Can anybody say “paisley”? So, I went and ordered a bunch of fabric. OK a bunch is maybe too big a descriptive word, but really I only ordered enough for a couple of tops and a skirt as well as 2 handbags – for presents mostly.

Now unlike a few knitting blogs I know (and used to love) I will NOT be showing only sewing stuff and neglect my knitting. But I will tell you, it’s gonna be really REALLY hard not to go and buy a whole lot of fabric from now until fashion changes again….. I also got some material to cover a few pillows – it was on sale so that doesn’t really count, does it? Then of course we cannot count the 42 5″x5″ squares of Morris reprints (think Arts & Crafts movement) that came in a pack for under $9…….. I guess I’d better get the effing taxes done so we can pay for all o’ this.

On the knitting front, I am struggling with my shawl. I finally got the cast on correct but then cannot seem to get the pattern right. It’s isn’t a difficult pattern really, except I can’t seem to get it right. I’ve ripped that sucker back at LEAST four times to the eyelet edging and then it takes about 6 rows to see if we are where we are supposed to be. With 333 stitches per row, I’ve knit so much I’m starting to have a little bit of Carpal tunnel pain plus some new irritation in my upper back! So I’ve put it down for a moment and am now doing some “stupid knitting”*: I’ve cast on a few “domino” squares in some inexpensive wool and acrylic to FINALLY make covers for our 2 sturdy yet shabby ottomans in our living room.

After yet another coffee table bit the dust because the helpful people I live with repeatedly sat on it (no, they weren’t supposed to, and YES, they knew that), I thought well, let’s go find something more robust that they CAN sit on. I found a couple of squat, square and sturdy black vinyl covered ottomans – they looked rather good once in place. Unfortunately, within just a few months, Studmuffin had put a hot iron soleplate down on one and melted it. Then over time, the children’s occasional willful misuse and my (now-deceased) elderly cat Bluto digging his claws into them to haul his fat fluffy bottom up onto the things several times a day, the black vinyl has gotten more and more tired looking. They’re still really sturdy, so I decided a YEAR ago to cover them. Hey, I’ve had Bejeweled Blitz on facebook to play, alright? Let’s not rush into things.

I promise I’ll work more on the shawl after my brain relaxes a bit. I’m also supposed to cast on a pair of socks today (Feb. 1) for a KAL or knit-a-long for you newbs, but I just don’t think I can do it tonight.

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*”stupid knitting” is what I call knitting I can do without paying much attention to it or having to constantly refer back to a pattern, like while watching the tv or riding in the car at night.

A groovy sock idea & the Amazing Bluto

The fabulous Yarn Harlot has a daily calendar,”Never Not Knitting”, and I receive it via email everyday. Today’s little blurb is:

“You know how you have a bunch of sock yarn and a bunch of sock patterns? Think about taking today to create your own personalized Sock of the Month Club. Choose 12 patterns from your collection that you love, pair them up with 12 yarns from your stash, and toss each set into a zip-top bag. Put all of those bags into a bigger bag (I like a pillowcase so I can’t see what’s inside), and at the beginning of each month, pull a bag at random and start knitting. It’s a fun way to surprise yourself, it helps you stay on track with a plan, and at the end of the year, you’ll have at least 12 new pairs of socks. “

I REALLY like this idea, I am trying to save some money and I very much want to join a sock of the month club (Woolgirl’s is the one….). Instead of 12,  I may just do an every-other-month thing since I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to do a pair a month. I mean, I knit fast enough to do it and deadlines can be quite useful, but I think one pair every other month would be realistic. And since I went through the stash last month, I’ve come to realize I have a LOT of truly gorgeous sock yarn (and I do mean a****LOT*****). I don’t just make socks with it, and I did buy a little more yesterday but that will be for a hat.

TANGENT: Isn’t it gorgeous? The creator of this hat is going to write up a pattern and I’m gonna make it…and maybe a pair of matching mittens.  Here’s her first one:

And the yarn I got for it is this:

Zauberball – fuschia

Waikiwi – from NZ and has a wee bit of possum fiber in it.  How could I refuse?

Cascade Heritage – ivory

I’m not sure if I’ll use the green or the ivory for the background yet…..and this one will be for ME! – END OF TANGENT

I might get to pairing up sock yarn and patterns tomorrow at the earliest. Maybe I’ll come up with some kind of yarn giveaway too. What do you think?

The Amazing Bluto is still with us. I can hardly believe it; his kungfu is STRONG! My dear friend Cathy came over to feed Kali and him everyday while we were gone. I was certain he would not be here when we returned, but I was wrong. He doesn’t do much but sleep, is not eating much, but still doesn’t seem to be in any pain. I wish there was some way for me to convey to him how great I think he is and how much I love him. Right now, I mostly wipe his nose and eye (which he hates) and pat him when I have some time. I’m gonna be an absolute mess when he does go, though I’ll have to keep it together at least a little bit to be a decent example for the kids. I’m forever telling them that, “All living things die,” and that “death is part of life – completely natural”. I do have a terrible time saying goodbye….

Weekend wrap-up

I’m hoping to post more frequently by posting shorter…..  Brevity is supposed to be the soul of wit so here goes:

  • The whole family ate a 4 course meal at the Melting Pot Friday night.  Kids had much fun, the food was excellent, but it put a serious and unplanned crimp in our finances; not a good time of year for that!
  • Massive food shopping onslaught to restock the bare cupboards.  You know things is bare when yer eating the canned pickled beets you bought by mistake several years ago. STill, this situation allowed us to defrost the chest freezer and the fridge freezer and forced me to be much more creative in trying to prepare balanced meals for the fam.  Madrassian lentils and tinned peaches anyone?
  • We have a mouse in the pantry.  So far, only Studmuffin has seen it and he wants to do away with it, but I think it may become an unintended pet since the Duke of Curl was absolutely HORRIFIED that we would even think of trying to trap &/or kill it.  Stay tuned….
  • The power steering pump seems to be going bad in the Van of Reknown, so now it kinda sounds like the monorail at Walt Disney World only louder. This’ll have to wait fer a bit (see “Melting Pot” above)- fortunately it can, but we may have to wear earplugs while driving it.
  • My mother told me she’s not gonna get me a present for my birthday.  I told her she’s off the hook; after all she’s been giving me presents longer than anybody, including the gift of my life.  I really do feel this way, but I admit to having mixed emotions too.  I love getting birthday presents; I think birthdays are important and I’ve never gotten presents for my birthday on any kind of regular basis from Studmuffin and children ( it might average out to maybe 1 present every 5 years or so).  Studmuffin doesn’t enjoy receiving gifts himself and so really doesn’t get the whole gift thing in a very basic way. In other years I’ve bought my own presents, but I don’t wanna this year for some reason ( perhaps the Melting Pot budget pothole?).  I have a couple of very close friends who remember my birthday (and I of course remember theirs – I *love* giving gifts).  I can’t say that I’m hurting or anything…there’s just maybe a bit of angsty regret around the edges.
  • My most excellent LYS is having its big holiday sale and I went and got beautiful things on Saturday AND stayed within my budget. Yay! Once I find the camera, I may take some pictures….
  • I’ve mislaid the mitten I’ve completed for my mother-in-law.  I must find this TODAY. She’s off to Austria SOON.
  • The printer is still not working, and last night we discovered that my ‘puter doesn’t even have a dedicated printer port on the back of the CPU, so I cannot just plug it in to my computer. Grrrr.
  • I’ve not gotten the Christmas music out yet.  I must be depressed or something.
  • My house smells like Chez Catpee, because….
  • My elderly cat, the Amazing Bluto, is dying.  He’s not eaten much of anything since Friday, he’s not getting outside in time to relieve himself so he’s been doing it all over the house (usually when I’m out), and the other cat is following suit.  Bluto’s been with us so loong he has several nicknames and he answers to all of them:  Blue-dee-doo, Blutofsky, Boo-ba-licious, Boobles, The Frumious Boo and Boobie.  He’s obviously near the end, and yet he’s still clawing his way up to sleep on our bed (since he can no longer jump) and purring away.  Of this I’m glad – he’s not in any pain and he’s had a wonderful life with us but it’s still a sad time.

How’s that for brief?  Perhaps photos tomorrow……..And I love reading yer comments!