Category Archives: home

Dressed For The Occasion

Last summer, we had some torrential rains, and our downspouts were clogged with leaves. The water poured over the side of the rain gutter on the southeast corner of the house and made its way into an egress window and damaged the drywall and carpet in a basement bedroom. We made certain that the downspouts were clear after that, and I checked as recently as last month and they seemed clear.

On Saturday night, we had a thunderstorm and sure enough, the water was again pouring over the rain gutter on the southeast side of the house, so I alerted husband to come and get the ladder and the nifty, ratcheted downspout cleaner and help avert a disaster. Before he would go out, though, he insisted on finding and donning a certain 40 year old jean jacket. He says it is good for keeping the rain off.  So are his other coats, but no, it had to be this one.  I was frantic, and he wanted to be dressed for success! We cleared out the gutter in time. I suppose I should be grateful he risked life and limb on a metal ladder on the roof when it was raining and lightening, but honestly!

What article of  clothing has or had special significance for you? Averted any disasters lately?

Volunteering in Place

I figured that being furloughed would be like practicing for retirement.  So it’s been surprising to me that I’m struggling.  I’m not as happy as I thought I would be and some days it’s felt like time is stretching out endlessly in front of me.   Last weekend I sat myself down (well, figuratively) to try to grapple with my problem.

It didn’t take long to realize that furlough during shelter-in-place is NOT like practicing for retirement, so my expectations were out of whack.  Although I had never actually planned my retirement, I did have some things that I wanted to do when I had the time – volunteering was big on the list.  I want to volunteer at my neighborhood library, the Crisis Nursery, Feed My Starving Children, maybe the Arboretum or even one of the zoos (although I expect there is a pretty good waiting line for these spots).  I know I wouldn’t be a good Humane Society volunteer; not sure I could pass the training and even if I did, I’d probably end up with six cats and seven dogs by the end of my first week.  For now, volunteering in person is off my table.

After some thought, I decided that I COULD contribute by making and sending cards.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen few card-making opportunities online in which organizations are soliciting card donations to send to sick kids, folks in essential services jobs and medical personnel and decided that this is right up my alley; I have a passion for it AND I don’t need to leave the house for supplies – I can easily make cards for months without having to get anything (yeah, I know, kinda sad)!

I’ve sent off two packets so far for essential services folks and also a stack of medical personnel cards as well (see photo).   When it rains next, I’ll spend a day doing cards for kids.  It’s not exactly a new lease on life but I find that I’m feeling a little better this week.  I also decided to make garden thank you cards – for letting people know that I appreciate their gardens on my daily walk.  And, of course, if anybody needs any cards – I’m your gal – just let me know!

Do you have any favorite volunteer gigs when we’re not sheltering in place? 

Sewing in Place

Last month I informed YA that she couldn’t go with me to Cub if she didn’t wear a mask.  At that point I had been making due with bandanas and hair binders, but that apparently offended her sense of style.  She eventually decided that my Hawaiian-designed bandana would be OK.

After we got home from the store she informed me that she was going to MAKE her own mask.  When she came into my studio to get the sewing machine, I was a little surprised, since I knew full well that she didn’t know how to use it.  As she got the machine onto her desk, I realized exactly how much she didn’t know when she called me to show her how to turn it on.  I was expecting to spend the next hour explaining everything to her, but she preferred YouTube to my homeschooling.   There were only a couple of times that she needed me to fix the bobbins and then the tension.  She used an old t-shirt for the mask material and then scavenged the elastic from a pair of old gym shorts.  Here is the result (which she did actually wear once):

But it turns out that she likes knowing how to use the sewing machine.  Since then she has repaired a pair of pants and she made a “doughnut” for Nimue so the kitty wouldn’t have to have a stiff plastic cone after the surgery.  Although the doughnut looks good, Nimue figured out how to get her head loose in about 15 seconds. Now there is talk about other sewing projects this summer!

Have you ever sewn anything for yourself?

Art’s Never Easy

We currently store the carnival masks in the header photo in the top shelf of a glass fronted stereo cabinet.  It is hard to see them.

I want to display them some other way, perhaps in a shadow box or something on the wall.  We have a really good frame shop in town, and I would like to have some ideas before we go in to talk with the framer.

How would the Baboons display these masks?  What sort of display and framing do Baboons prefer?

Garlic Bonanza

Well, if there is no job to go to, no socializing to get on with, weather too cold for comfortable gardening, what’s left?  Reading and cooking.  Cooking it is!

My next-door neighbor, Rita, texted me last week to know if I needed any garlic.  When I said I could always find a use for garlic, she said that was a good thing.  She’d ordered garlic as part of her online grocery shopping and instead of one head of garlic, she got one POUND of garlic.  I was thinking she would bring me one head, but she brought me THREE!  Here’s the first thing I did:

Garlic & Cheese Roll Up Bread

1 container/portion of pre-made pizza dough
6 big cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 slices provolone cheese (or any cheese you have on hand)
2 Tbsp grated parmesan (optional)

  • Chop or mince the garlic
  • Sauté in butter and olive oil until golden brown
  • Roll out the pizza dough – I rolled mine to about 12” x 8”
  • Brush the garlic/butter/oil all over the dough
  • Layout the cheese on top of the garlic
  • Sprinkle with parmesan

Roll up! (I made little slits in mine and rubbed a bit of olive oil on it)

  • Bake in 400 F degree oven for about 20 minutes (watch the bottom so it doesn’t burn).

Enjoy!  (But take the photo before you and YA eat most of it!!!)

What would YOU do with extra garlic (or what is your favorite garlic dish?

Adirondack Heaven

Caveat:  The following observations are only representative of my neighborhood and cannot be reliably applied to other areas.

On my daily walks with Guinevere, I’ve noticed that the Adirondack chair is the most popular chair in my area.  There are lots and lots of them, in all colors from natural wood to bright yellow and reds.  While there are plenty of Adirondacks in back yards, there is actually a pretty high percentage of them in front yards and on front stoops and porches.  Cushions can be found as well.  In the backyard of one house on our route there is a beautiful double Adirondack in a dark pine green.  There is even a house over on Penn with a whole row of Adirondacks across the front yard of a house – one in every primary color of the rainbow.

This is interesting to me.  YA and I have two Adirondacks in the back yard – bright aqua (YA’s choice) and I don’t find them to be all that comfortable.   You’re pretty much forced to lean back in the chair.  Except for closing my eyes and taking a snooze, I prefer to sit up.  For keeping up with conversation, for drinking a beverage, for reading, I need to be sitting up.  And, of course, when it’s time to exit of a chair, an Adirondacks is not the easiest chair to get out of.  Although for snoozing in while YA messes with a fire in the fire pit, they are quite nice!

Do you have a favorite chair or snoozing spot?

Pedal to the Metal

I live next door to a five-year old.  It’s fun to see her growing up; she has a different temperament than YA had as a child.  On Thursday, she was sporting a brand new pink helmet and then her dad took the training wheels off her bike.

They started in the backyard, on the grass – doesn’t every parent do this, hoping for a softer landing than on concrete?  On Saturday, they went up to the high school, where there is a lot more flat grass.  Then on Sunday afternoon, as she was working on it in the driveway, her dad let go of the seat and she was biking!  She practiced for about another 30 minutes; she still needs a little shove to get going but other than that, she’s got it!

It made me think about YA learning to ride a bike.  We didn’t even try in our yard, since it’s very bumpy, but we did practice at the high school.  YA was not a natural rider and for a couple of weeks she was incapable of seeing an obstacle and then being able to avoid it.  I remember thinking that learning to ride a bike is way more complicated than it appears on the surface.

I was five when I learned, starting in the grass like my little neighbor did and eventually graduating to the elementary school parking lot.  I still remember the thrill of realizing that my dad wasn’t holding me up any longer and I was flying along on my own.  According to Nonny, I fell and scraped my knee rather badly but I don’t remember that part at all, just the wind on my face and my legs pumping the pedals!

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?