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Rag Rugs

Husband and I had no real shopping agenda going to Santa Fe except, perhaps, to find some nice, everyday place mats. We thought that Santa Fe would be a good place for interesting textiles.

Husband went to the Santa Fe farmers market and found these place mats you can see in the header photo.  We have plain white plates, and the place mats went with them nicely. They came from Guatemala, and are made from rags. They are thick and soft,  and are kitty approved for napping comfort if we leave them on the table between meals. They also reminded me of my childhood.

My best friend’s mother had rag rugs that she had made from worn out clothing.  She sent bags of rags to a woman in Magnolia (Cedric Adams home town), who somehow wove them into throw rugs for the entryways into their farmhouse. I thought they were so pretty and colorful. What a wonderful way to recycle! Nothing went to waste in that household.

Do you know of anyone who makes rag rugs these days? How do  you recycle? Does anyone remember Cedric Adams? Where do your pets like to nap?

Quantity Cooking

On Saturday night I finished baking the last of the 10 dozen sweet rolls for our hand bell choir’s Easter breakfast. We plan to serve sweet rolls and egg bakes to our congregation on Easter Sunday as the first fundraiser for our trip to New York in November when we play at Carnegie Hall.  They are quite large, and can be cut in two for an astounding number of rolls.  The other bell choir members are supplying the egg bakes.

The rolls are in our freezers and just need to be thawed and iced on Easter.  I will set them out to thaw in the church kitchen on Saturday when we rehearse with the brass quintet that is accompanying us on one of our pieces. We have two ovens in the church kitchen and we can have four egg bakes cooking and four keeping hot all at the same time.  It will take some coordination as we play at both the 9:00 and 10:30 services and will need to bake and serve and play bells, since people will be eating from 8:30 until 10:30.  I think we will be exiting and entering the sanctuary all throughout the services in between playing.  I just love doing things like this.

In true Lutheran Church Basement Ladies fashion, members of the funeral service committee have volunteered to help out.  It will be an exciting day.

What is the largest meal you ever helped prepare? What would you serve a crowd? 

I’m Melting!

For most of my life I have felt too tall. I reached 5’9″ in Grade 6.  I felt like a giantess, even though I was one of the shorter women in my extended family. My mother was 5’11 and her mother was 6 feet tall.

Husband and I remodeled our kitchen about 15 years ago, and the contractor was concerned when we replaced the soffits with cupboards extending to the ceiling that it might detract from selling the house in the future.  “Not everyone is as tall as you and your husband” he warned. “Some people could have trouble reaching those top shelves”.

Well, “some people” now includes me. I am 1.5 inches shorter than I was 15 years ago and the top shelves are a real stretch.  For the first time I regret losing some of my height.  That inch and a half has made quite a difference in my reach. My doctor isn’t too concerned. I have a good diet rich in calcium.  I get exercise. I often call on husband to get down the things I need. I make good use of tongs and grabbers. I haven’t yet resorted to a kitchen stool.  For some reason, a Joni Mitchell song keeps going through my head whenever I have to get something down from the top shelves in the kitchen:

What didn’t you know you had until it was gone? Ever done a remodel you regretted? What is your favorite Joni Mitchell song?

Home Office Woes

BBC.com is one of the news sites that I look at through the week and yesterday I saw an article about decentralizing the workforce and increasing the ability to work remotely. Clark Valberg, CEO of a software design company says “A decentralized workforce now allows employers to access “passionate talent anywhere in the world irrespective of any geographic boundary.”  This is not good news to me.

My company instituted a Work at Home policy three years ago; each associate is allowed to work from home one day a week. I think I am about the only one in the company who does not take advantage of this. I prefer going into the office, I don’t want to be dragging my work laptop home all the time and I didn’t think I would be good at it.

Mother Nature finally forced me to test my theory that I wouldn’t be good at working from home. We had two snow days in February this year and I just had too much on my plate to take the days off.  I had warning so I had brought my work laptop home and gotten a lesson from a co-worker on how to get onto the network.

I don’t know if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy but I really hated working at home. I got work done; I was efficient enough but every minute I was thinking of what else I could be doing.  I could bake some cornbread, I could work on my solstice project, I could throw in a load of laundry, I could pay bills.  I could brush the dogs, do my nails…. aarrgggh.  The fact that my life was surrounding me while I tapped away at the computer drove me crazy.  I knew if I left my desk, I might never return.

So luckily the weather is turning nicer and I probably don’t have to worry about having to work from home any more this year. And I certainly hope that my workplace doesn’t get decentralized before I’m ready to retire!

What distracts you from what you need to get done?

All in a Row

Photo Credit: Sadiq Nafee on Unsplash

I just finished the latest installment of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I adore this series, so much so that I am often frustrated while I wait for Louise Penny to write the next one.  In fact, I didn’t rush out to read The Kingdom of the Blind when it was published because I knew I would have a wait for the next one.

At the library over my lunch hour, I found books on CDs by Preston and Douglas; they have four separate character series, but none of the ones that are next on my list were on the library shelf. I’ve read online that you can probably read Preston and Douglas out of order, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Gotta do them in order!

So now I have the next P&D on request from the library and came away from the CD shelves with some other items – a comedy memoir and a young adult fiction that has magic and dragons. Hopefully those will keep be going in the car until my next series arrives!

What’s your favorite series? Do you like to read them in order?

The New Pot

Photo Credit: Krystal Kwok on Unsplash

I succumbed. You all probably knew it was inevitable.  I started seeing the new electric pressure cookers about 18 months back and have talked myself into and out of getting one repeatedly in that time.

Last week I got my monthly notice of how many award points I’ve earned at work. Award points can be used for the various merchandise that my company uses as incentives and rewards (we have a massive warehouse).  Except for State Fair tickets and Renaissance Fair passes, I haven’t spent award points on anything else for a couple of years so I have a big build up.  Any resolve I’ve had about not getting more kitchen toys dissolved pretty quickly.  The will-call ticket came to me on Thursday and I went over to the warehouse at noon to pick it up.

I spent an evening looking up cookbooks on the library website but to tide me over, I printed off a bunch of recipes off the internet. Six cookbooks now in transit.  And despite the fact that we didn’t really need a bunch of food prepared, I spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen.

I did macaroni and cheese , a big pot of Spanish rice (and I mean a BIG pot) and then a really spicy black bean soup. It was easy and fun.  I figure I can probably get rid of my old pressure cooker that has sat unused in the basement for at least 10 years.

What was the last really unnecessary toy/gadget you’ve added to your world?

Pi Day 2019!

It’s my personal holiday again today – Pi Day. Everyone at work knows that I’m off today to bake pies – even a couple of my long-term clients know.  I am allowed to use my “floating holiday” for Pi Day – my boss had it approved by management about 6 years ago.  I even have personalized napkins this year, given to me by a friend after last year’s celebration.

This year’s menu: Dutch Apple, Banofee, Root Beer Float Whoopies, Raspberry Tangerine, Pecan, Bob Andy, Blueberry, Almond Joy, Caramel Pear with Crème Fraiche, Key Lime Meringue and the addictive Crack Pie.

Hope to see those of you in the Twin Cities tonight!

What day would you like to be your floating holiday?