Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Coffee Chat: Hurry Up and Shut That Door!
Well come on in! I haven't made a thing but coffee but I do have a yummy almond creamer I mixed up yesterday afternoon. It will give us that 'touch of sweet' that one craves now and then. I was so disappointed to discover this past week that evaporated milk has carageenan in it. I'd opened a can to use in my coffee when I ran low on milk and in an idle moment I picked up the can and read the label. Sheesh. It's in everything and finding a dairy product without it these days is getting mighty tough. I made rice pudding yesterday for our dessert and didn't need the full can of sweetened condensed milk since I made a smaller portion of pudding. I mixed half and half with milk and almond flavoring. I tasted a tiny bit of it and it was pretty good. I think as a replacement for an afternoon sweet bite this will do me just fine.
I walked on over to the dairy aisle and picked up a carton of Crowley half and half. I was pleased to read the label and find it had NO carageenan in it at all. Not one bit. Mindful of my desire to cut back a wee bit on sugar, I decided to buy the half and half. I've always been fond of this dairy brand because my family name is Crowley. And to find I can buy it locally is an added bonus. I'm trying not to worry too much over the cost, lol. It's a bit dearer than the store brands but then again, I can't drink the store brands so why make a fuss?
I thought that once the holiday flutter had died down that I'd jump head first into the resolutions and work and get worlds accomplished. Well it didn't work that way. I was sidelined by a pinched nerve. Ugh ugh and ugh. I took enough over the counter pain relievers, sessions with the heating pad, etc until it finally eased up. And then a couple of weeks ago I'd had ENOUGH. I was determined to get out of the house.
It was a miserable sort of day. Rainy. Deep gray. Cold enough to make the rain a double misery. I'd had a horrible night the night before and went back to bed after John left for work. That meant I got a late start which always makes me feel I'm doubly behind, both on my work and my time. I was hurting but I completed my housework before leaving home. First stop was at CVS where I'd been playing tag with a prescription that wasn't being filled. That was sorted out but required a third trip back to the store during the weekend. I had a rather good little bit of shopping there that afternoon Even if I'm ill, feeling I've got a good bargain or two sets me right up and that set me up.
It was after I left there that I went by the thrift stores in town...Not one was open of the six in town. On a Friday, yet. Well I certainly hadn't got myself psyched and dressed to go to CVS and head home again. I'd meant to have a bit of a thrift shop and I was going to DO something! So I decided to treat myself to a trip to the big Antiques mall in the next town. On the way there I realized that I'd not eaten since 5am (I got up at 4 that morning) and it was nearly 1pm. Lunch, I thought, would be best before going into that vast market, so I chose a Mexican restaurant that was near the mall.
I was seated right away. I got served chips and salsa immediately. And from there things stalled. Ten minutes passed and then twenty. It was farcical really, one of those experiences that doesn't bear telling about but suffice it to say it wasn't an A+ experience. I asked about my order twice and it arrived just as I'd asked for my ticket so I could leave. When the food finally arrived it was hot, delicious and healthy. I'd ordered a fish entree that was served on rice with guacamole and a squash and pepper and onion dish that was so awesome I've added it to my list of things to try here at home. It's amazing how much better life can seem if you've had a hot and delicious meal on a super gloomy day. Thankfully the restaurant was aware of their lack of service and gave me a decent discount as compensation.
I was surprised to find the antique mall was busy as could be. Vendors moving in and vendors moving out and customers just swarmed all over the place. It made for a very pleasant outing for me. Lots of things to look over, dealers to talk to, little treasures I indulged in though I never found one item on my list of things Id' meant to buy. I saw a lovely set of canisters just like my own only in blue that took my breath away. Oh how I wanted those, but I seriously couldn't justify them, beautiful and pristine though they were. No there's not a thing wrong with mine other than I'd just discovered them in blue.
I walked until I was weary of walking but for the first time I saw every single booth in the main portion of the warehouse. Rain poured down while I was in the antique mall and it poured all the way home. It was foggy and dreary and just cool enough to be miserable on two fronts. I walked in the back door and made myself a cup of coffee right away. I had my tiny bit of treasure and my good bargains from CVS and decided that was a decent spin on the day anyway I looked at it.
The rainy weather kept up all weekend long. Ugh. I was so happy to see the weather report say that it was to be sunny all last week, despite the very low temperatures we'd get mid-week. Somehow cold weather on Wednesday seems a long way away on a rainy Sunday, doesn't it? I was a busy bee Monday with sunshine but last Tuesday was meant to be my make up day for thrifting, so working double time on Monday was okay by me.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself Tuesday. I only visited one thrift store and spent my full shopping limit there. I found some lovely things for the booth but I missed one item and the clerk at the store examining my items said "You should have the platter on the shelf back there. I looked it up online and it could fetch a nice price if you ever wanted to resell." I never tell people that I am stocking a booth. I just go in and pick up the things that speak to me and by the time I get home I am well aware of which I'll keep and which I'll sell. In the store I am still unsure you see. Well she brought out the piece and I knew she was right. It fit with the other things I'd picked up that day, all from the same era. I think it will go well with those items in my booth.
And in the end, I put everything in the booth except a rather nice vintage scarf that I added to my wardrobe.
It was such a beautiful day and the town was in the foothills of the state which just adds to the pleasure of the views in my opinion. The day was just warm enough to make riding with the window down possible and doubled my pleasure in the day overall. Yes, if the cold weather promised seemed far away on Sunday it was still seemed pretty far away on Tuesday as well...
It came in Wednesday with blasts of wind that shook the house. Sunny and beautiful and cold in the morning hours and by evening blustery and bitter, though still clear. I knew we had to do our bit of grocery shopping the next day and that it was to be even more cold than Wednesday had turned. I decided the best way to approach a cold day out was with something warm and wonderful. Pot Roast. I put it in the crock pot
Now there was nothing to grocery shopping to report. I mean, it's groceries and you shop for groceries same as I and it's a task neither onerous nor special in any way. But let me just tell you what it was like to come home that day, open the back door and have a warm gush of air meet me right there on the back porch with the wonderful aroma of a home cooked meal mixed in to the warm air. It was like being greeted by a big old bear hug of welcome. I don't know about you, but as the chief cook in this house coming home to a hot cooked meal happens about once in oh...never. This was just especially lovely.
I'd made my plans for Friday when John announced his plans Thursday afternoon. I liked his plans. They involved going to get haircuts and then out for a bit of fun. My plans were all about work, lol. We combined both our plans and made a nice day of it after all. Housework was pretty much done when we left home, except for folding the laundry we left hanging on the line and running the vacuum over the floors. I went by the booth and did some work then we headed out to get haircuts.
I've adopted John's barber shop as my salon. The two owners worked at a salon, one of those cut rate, 10 minutes tops places where you can get a good haircut but primarily they do barbering. They bought into their own business and have furnished it in such a nice way. There are overstuffed sofas and coffee and TV in the lounge area and in the shop itself each station is an antique vanity. The girl who cuts my hair cut it at the salon in the past and she seems to have a good idea of what I want. I think I like it too because it hearkens back to my past...
And it does seem like it's the draw of the past of late that makes my heart sing, pulling that bit of old familiar memory forward to the present. When I was a little girl I had a classic Buster Brown hair cut.
The local barber here in town cut my hair. He had a lovely old shop with a counter running the length of the room and old fashioned real barber chairs. He would place a board across the arms of the chair and set me up on it and then trim my hair. I loved sitting so high up and I loved being in an environment that belonged solely to Granddaddy. Truly I liked it far better than the salons where Mama and Granny went, right down to the Pinaud's talc used to brush away the stray hairs. I sort of get that same feeling there in the modern day Barber shop and I like it.
John sort of changed his plans and we went out to eat rather than the bit of a shopping we'd planned. That was okay by me. We went to the little restaurant that is a smaller version of the big chain one in the larger town. It's so cozy in there, always, and the staff recognizes us as regulars even though we only go in about once a month. We had such a nice chat while we sat there waiting on our food and all throughout our dinner. It just adds to the joy of being there. Not that we don't talk here at home but it's different when there are no distractions like a chore that needs to be done (or is in the midst of being done) or a TV program that is being watched. So it was lovely to have that time to reconnect and talk about things related to our persons and not to the house or about the kids or the job...You know all those things married couples tend to lean towards as 'conversation' but it's never really as satisfying as hearing something that is related solely to the person you are or who your partner is.
Oh that does remind me that not long ago, a young woman shared something on Facebook. I'm familiar enough with her to have remarked freely upon it. It was one of those "If he really loves you..." sorts of things and the depth this author expected someone to go to was ridiculous in my opinion. It held the bar so high that honestly you could never make the grade...and if you did you would have a very obsessed individual on your hands! The truth is that at this age, looking back, I realize how truly ridiculous we sometimes were as youth with these big long check lists of what would make a 'perfect' relationship. Gracious goodness, how on earth can we ever get that perfection when we're so imperfect ourselves? Forget someone who worships the ground I walk upon, I want just what I have: a man who loves me despite my imperfections, who will tell me when I'm being ridiculous in my notions. A man who is kind and mature enough not to play silly emotional games, and has a sense of humor and who surprises me now and then with things I didn't know about him even after 20 odd years and who is still surprised by me after all these years together. A man who has no problems looking at me and asking "So how is your life going at the moment?" because it shows his wisdom in knowing that sometimes we're not sharing the deep stuff, we're gliding along a bit on routine.
So yes, I enjoyed catching up with my husband and talking about ourselves and our current interests and our desires for the immediate future. And I thought about that silly author who wanted so much but never once thought of how much she'd have to give in return or she'd fall terribly short in her beloved's eyes.
I've had the most gosh awful time sleeping of late. None of my old tricks are working well for me. Lavender oil does nothing much and the feminine symptom pill that makes me drowsy just leaves me wide awake. I've counted sheep and counted prayers and moved into the guest bed when I'd tossed and turned for hours.
I've even blamed John, horrid old thing that I can be when I'm desperate for rest and truth is, I've gotten into a cycle of sleeping too lightly so the least noise or move jerks me right awake and there I lie with eyes fixed on the darkness. I loathe, loathe lying awake but loathe even more getting up alone in the dark of the night to watch TV or read. It's cold and uncomfortable and lonely. I hate not being able to sleep with my husband and I know full well there are two separate camps on that subject, both for and against. I happen to be in the 'for' camp myself, as is my husband. And honestly, I didn't sleep much better on my own than I'd done with him anyway, so what was the point?
Blaming John and complaining about it each morning was just me being mean and I am sincere when I say that. It's true that he has a little restlessness and snores a bit. Always has. It's not true that he's always kept me awake and it's just as true that I have a tendency to snore a bit myself and he never ever complains over it. At any rate, I was determined come heck or high water last night I should stay abed and sleep...I practiced the 4-7-8 breathing technique and I said the alphabet backwards and I counted backwards. Now John was a little restless as usual but somehow I could never get much below 75 before I'd doze and drift last night. I might well wake in a few minutes time but I'd just start over again and eventually I slept for two or three hours before waking. Yes, I am convinced it's myself that needs to be adjusted in some way and not my husband! I suspect that like most things this is a short season to be gotten through and then all will work out once more...but I will admit that lack of sleep can make me feel pretty desperate and downright testy.
Despite my great desires to accomplish loads, I just plain haven't been able to concentrate long on any one thing and that is problematic as well. It means that nothing is getting the attention it deserves, not one single thing and I never seem to have time for those things I think I'd most like to do because I'm so scattered that I must run about finishing up a dozen things that were left half done at some point in the day. I am trying to be more consistent in finishing up a task before I begin another and to work my way in an orderly manner about a room instead of flitting here and there as I've done this week. I need, truly, for my mind to be stilled and to calmly look out upon what needs to be done and then to proceed to do it.
I have been actively trying to incorporate my resolutions into my life. I am certainly not hitting on 100% of them at present. I made it outdoors only a couple of times when it wasn't raining and not at all when it was. I have done nothing towards my personal homeschooling. I haven't gotten blog posts laid out or finished planning what I want to accomplish this year with this blog. About all I have done is make good on my desire to take better care of my hands and skin and setting aside the computer most nights by 9pm. I have yet to move it from the living room. I've been pretty consistent in adding in one raw fruit serving to make two servings of raw fruit and vegetable on a daily basis and I have cut back on sugary treats by eating a tiny bit of dried fruit instead as a snack of sorts. Sigh. Balance I suppose is really what I've been after in my sleep habits and in my life overall and that appears to be the word I must discipline my life around though I didn't choose it, it sort of chose me instead.
Oh well...I remind myself the year is young yet and I am conscientious enough to really try and do those things I've set myself to do.
This weekend was a quiet one here. I didn't do a thing Saturday, not a single thing, beyond making dinner and later packing a lunch for John's work day. I got up Sunday morning unable to decide upon any course for the day and ended up sitting before the TV watching a marathon of a program I enjoy. And then I topped that day of nothing off by watching four hours of Downton Abby and enjoying every last bit of it. Oh! I so enjoy this program! I was quite surprised to find myself sleepy enough to go to bed early and sleep the night almost through.
I have been doing a little work about the house. Sorting out a cupboard or a cabinet or a drawer here and there. I haven't found loads of things to get rid of. I decluttered last January and worked deep and hard then. Now it's more just cleaning and organizing afresh but it does make me feel good to see these spaces so neat. I am working in the kitchen area this week. I took down the vintage plates meaning to put them in the booth but there are two patterns I especially like and I don't want to get rid of them though I've not enough of either set to put them on the table. I've decided to collect these two sets and try to complete them if I can and if not perhaps I'll let them go and get something else. I need a vintage set of plates, I do truly because honestly? I'm soooo over those Corelle plates I bought two years ago at John's request. I knew I would be. I so long to have a nice set of white dishes really because they are so very versatile, but in reality when I go look, I never look at white ones and these vintage plates are not white but full of lots of colors, blues and pinks and yellows and browns and greens on a white back ground.
I'm keeping my eyes open for a pretty set of white dishes for every day and I'm going to retire these Corelle pieces as soon as I do.
For all that the weather is January and cold and drear, John and I escaped the house and went off on a picnic. Yes, we did. It was completely impromptu and ill planned but turned out rather nice after all. We started talking of it the day before, what to do, something to do...And when we got up this morning we mulled it over and discarded every known idea. There was a place he suggested at last, which I'm afraid is fast becoming our code word for not there really but somewhere, because it's the second time we've headed to that area/town and the second time we've found ourselves elsewhere entirely. So he said "Eufala" which is not much over an hour from home and I said "Fine" and we went instead to Little Providence Canyon because we saw the sign on our way. I think John was just tired of driving already at that point and a bit hungry too. On the way out of the door, I'd grabbed clementines and peanut butter crackers and water bottles and he stopped in town at Subway and bought sandwiches and stopped in the next town and bought sodas and a candy bar and we packed it all up in our insulated bag and off we went.
It was gray and cloudy all the way. There's a lot of field and forest between here and there. I don't mind as there are also the occasional old homesteads and churches which please me no end to see. And old little towns that look like they lived well once upon a time and thrive as much as they have to now, but could use a good picking up and hard shake to clear off the dust and trash and then a nice smoothing out to make them pretty once more.
I noted to John on our way that if people saw these towns and some of the homes people live in here in this rural section of Georgia, they'd be mighty humbled about talking about who is poor and about poverty because honestly some of these homes would shame some of those people who think ourselves poor now...which is why I've never thought I was poor! I dare say, too, if you suggested the residents of these homes ought to have a government housing unit or give up their little plot of land you'd probably see the ugly end of a temper because poor or not they are PROUD folk for the most part. They could have government housing and they could get assistance but they have been living on their own and paying their bills and minding their business and getting out to vote and hoping always for a bit better for their children or grand children if they don't see it happening for themselves and they pretty much look down upon those who choose to let government support them. I know these people because they are my people, my family, my community, my state and I've met their ilk all over. They will just stay in their tumbly little homes with the patch of collards and the stack of firewood and thank you to mind your own business!
It is true that the weather was still cloudy, but as we picnicked the sun shone upon us and I told John, "Why it could be warm if the sun would just stay out!" He agreed. We lamented over the state park's freezer unit they call restrooms. John said "Even the floor radiates cold!" He was so right about that. I held off going in as long as I could but knew by the time we left that I'd best get it over with. Icicles could form in that restroom. Brr! We walked about a little bit. Little Providence Canyon, at least the bits we saw from overlooks is nothing much but a big batch of eroded clay ground. However, it was a nice outing and a good long ride and we saw sunshine for a small bit of time. We were out of the house which was most important of all and I spent my required 30 minutes outdoors today, which also helped. And I'm glad we went on because when we returned the clouds and fog were hanging about over the land once more.
With this outing, John made good on one of the few resolutions I know he made for this year. "Next year, we're getting out of the house instead of sitting here like bumps on a log," he'd said to me in December. We're not shopping sort of folks and we've visited the museums that are big draws in our general area but there are plenty of places within an hour or so of home to explore and we do like to picnic. So there is that.
Well I've run on for quite a while haven't I? It's nearly time to begin our supper so I shall see you to the door. Next time you come to visit I shall have some little treat or another to go with our coffee. I've been thinking about carrot cake for the past few weeks...Sounds good, doesn't it? See you soon!