Thursday, September 22, 2016

My project today: A casserole carrier

I *pinned* some casserole carrier ideas to my Pinterest board a few months back. My mom had mentioned she'd like to have one. And here it is, almost her birthday, and me at a loss for what to give her.
I saw that Becky had *pinned* some items this morning, and while browsing, I remembered Mom wanting a casserole carrier. Off I went to the fabric store, looking for some pre-quilted fabric.
(My goodness that stuff is expensive!)
Once home, I got out one of my casserole dishes and set about imagining how this carrier should look. I double-checked Pinterest for ideas, but ended up just doing my own thing.
My casserole carrier looks more like a blanket with handles.
The casserole dish set in the center, a couple corners flipped to show coordinating fabric.

The butterfly potholder.

All folded up to carry

Ends folded towards center, over casserole dish

All ready to carry
Three of sides folded over center

One side folded over casserole dish
The quilted fabric is thin, but will offer SOME insulation. It is an overall print on solid on one side, and coordinating stripes on the other. I took the wee bit I had left and made a free form butterfly potholder. Finished the potholder with a bit of ribbon and button. The potholder is double thickness of the quilted fabric, but still rather flimsy.
I left my sewing stuff out, hoping to get started on "mermaid tails" for the grand girls! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Insight in the Night...

You may remember that right after we moved to this house we are leasing, Tom helped me refinish my giant sized rocking chair. I have had it for more than 16 years, probably closer to 20.
For the last 10 months, it has had to live outside, on an unprotected patio.
Yesterday afternoon, the dog wanted out. Tom went out with him, and sat down on the rocker. He leaned back... and just kept going.
The legs of the rocker are nearly hollowed out, full of ants. (Or maybe they are termites, I don't know.)
I don't know what, if anything can be done to salvage the rocker.
I woke up in the wee hours this morning. Tom was restless and thrashing around. I began to pray for him.
As I prayed, my rocking chair was brought to mind.
It looked solid enough, before its catastrophic failure. Like many people appear to be, to those who know them superficially.
I saw these small insects, and the damage they have done over time, and saw the comparison: these are like the small thoughts, the little things that bother us. We let them go. We don't check their progress... after all, what harm is there in a small, stray thought? A wee bit of anger here, a tiny thought of discord there. No harm. They are such little things. And then,  one day, everything just falls apart. Boom! How could that have happened so suddenly? They were just fine a few minutes ago! The very structure that was holding everything up is destroyed from the inside, one tiny thing at a time.
I thought, "Aha! The ants are like thoughts. God, You are wanting me to realize that every thought contrary to YOU, must be made captive, lest it slowly and subtly destroy ones whole life."
I thought, "God, I know that small thoughts plague many people.. many people who won't 'receive' what You have to say, simply because they won't believe ANYTHING I have to say as being from You.  How am I supposed to share this great insight? How can I get people to realize, they need to control the way they think- even the smallest thoughts?"

God smacked me upside my thinker right quick.
"It isn't anyone else that needs to be concerned with this message. It is YOU. YOU need to be taking your thoughts captive. (God) will deal with those who need dealt with about their own lives. Tammy needs to be worrying about Tammy and Tammy's thoughts."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A wish list. Seriously.

Not one of those, Peace on earth and love everyone type lists- though I do *wish* for those things.
But here is a list for me to keep in mind when thinking of the new house (In no particular order!)

A bistro set. Not necessarily this set, or even this color. But a small, wrought iron look.
A pergola swing area around a fire pit.
A picnic table- with an umbrella!
Stepping stones and wee water areas like this
An arbor, though not necessarily like this one.
Chickens and guineas.
Some small gnomes and/ or fairies. I want to hide them in places in the woods, to be 'discovered' by grandkids.
Tree faces. Especially along the bike paths the boys want to build.
Zip lines! (Of course, these would necessarily require the harnesses and hard hats, as a fall would certainly be onto jagged rocks below.)
Garden art.
Wind chimes. Rain chimes! Whirlygigs.
A "barn quilt" and/ or some large outdoor wall decorations.
An outdoor pizza oven/ BBQ pit.
Plants... lavender to line the lane coming towards the house. Rose bushes, especially the hedge rose, wild rose, and english cottage roses. Cannas. (I want some from our old Marlow house. It was in the contract that we get some when we found a place to buy!) I'd like an elderberry bush. Wildflower seed. Peonies. Pink, and white ones! Honeysuckle and hummingbird vine.
I need a wagon. Probably one with pneumatic tires- but at least something I can pull along through the woods and garden.
I guess the most pressing WANT I would have immediately is to paint over the awful wallpaper in the kitchen.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Farewell to a friend (and, who is it about?)

My friend Cindi, who I became acquainted with when I worked at American Eagle, is passing away.
For the last 3+ years, it has been health issue after health issue. Not sure I can remember what order they came in (What sort of friend cannot remember such significant details?): But; brain tumors, perforated ulcer, lung cancer, heart valve bypass, return of brain tumors, return of lung cancer, spinal cancer... and she awaits the last journey in a hospice.
 I have been to see her several times in hospice. Probably more times in the last six weeks than I have visited her in the last couple of years. I fully intended to go last week. But, stuff happens. I got some sort of intestinal bug and didn't feel like walking as far as the mailbox, much less driving 25 miles to see anyone. And didn't figure she needed a flu bug on top of everything else.
 During this last couple of weeks, I have questioned myself hard. Am I going to see her for HER, or am I going to see her for ME?
  I had an appointment in that area today, so I decided to stop by. Had I not gone today, I was going to go tomorrow. I was halted at the nursing station. Who was I there to see? And my name?
"You aren't on the list. I'm sorry. She isn't receiving visitors. Maybe you can get an update from her daughter."
 Turned away.
 I didn't make the short list- friends and family welcome at the end.
Cindi may not have had any part in the making of the list. I had just hoped to sit and hold her hand for a little while. Give her some sips of water.
Even if Cindi had excluded me from that list herself, I understand.
 Here at the end, when your hair is standing on end, your body is a solid bruise, and your 5'9" frame carries a whopping 70 lbs, soaking wet with rocks in your pockets... if you had any pockets... you don't want people around. It is hard enough to let those you love come in. But peripheral friends- those from work who come to your Pampered chef parties, and you gossip with about other friends... it is a time for them to stand back.
I am going to miss her.
Cindi had a foul mouth. She smoked. Many people feel she lied incessantly.
I don't think she lied. I think she gave the sensational headline stories of her life. Those things, that when you hear the story behind the headline, you agree that while the headline was true, it made more of a story than the actual story.
Cindi had one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. If you got past the gruff, bluff, and bravado- you found a heart of gold. A champion of justice- always for the underdog. From arms length, you saw someone you might think hated men. Inside, there was a woman so hurt she was afraid to let men close. She was outspoken and generous to a fault. In one of our last conversations, when she was so in and out of lucidity- she asked if it was wrong that she she still felt love for a person who had wronged her very deeply. I told her it was never wrong to love.
The last few times I saw her outside of hospice, Cindi told me she was sure God has a purpose in her life, she was searching for that purpose. She grew so much in love and forgiveness those last months.

Every time I visited in hospice, I wondered if it was for the last time. I would hate to leave. I promised to be back when I could.
Once I got home today, I called a mutual friend. I learned from her, Cindi asked not to have a memorial service. In this one thing, I would defy her wishes. A memorial service isn't for those who go on. It is an opportunity for those who remain to voice their respects.
I am already grieving. My time to spend with my friend has ended, even if her hours remain.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Trying a new Recipe- or two!

One's deep freezer needs to be cleaned out periodically. Use up all the good stuff that has slunk to the back or bottom and forgotten about. In hopes that we will be moving, I am trying to buy less food from the grocery store, and use up what we have on hand.
(This, in itself, is trying to me. I have some deep seated need to have the cupboards and freezer full of food. I do use it up, but I also refill it as quickly as I use something.)
Anyway, this morning I pulled out a package of pork tenderloins. I asked Mr Google for slow cooker recipes for pork tenderloin. Several caught my eye. I realized as it was thawing, I also have avocados and tomatillos that really HAVE to be used today. So I asked Mr Google to suggest recipes using all three. Mr Google suggested this site: Our Full Plate . The Avocado Tomatillo sauce sounded worth trying... and it had a companion recipe suggestion of Pernil Pork. I chose a Pernil Pork recipe from All Of course, I was forced to make a couple of small modifications in order to avoid going to the grocery store. I don't have any fresh (OR dried) oregano. But I do have Italian seasoning, which contains oregano. And I substituted regular chili powder for the dried poblano (ancho) peppers.
The tenderloin is cooking in the slow cooker. I haven't started the Avocado Tomatillo sauce yet, as it takes less than 10 minutes to make, and supper isn't until six.
These are considered to be Puerto Rican dishes. To my knowledge, I have never tried Puerto Rican food before. Expanding my horizons! I read that okra is a vegetable often served with Puerto Rican dishes... and I have Okra to use up. I don't care how they do it in PR, mine will be fried!
If these two dishes turn out well, they may find their way onto Cooking with the Cow Crew. Any tweaks to make the dishes "mine" will be noted.
 The recipe got mixed good reviews. Daniel liked it a whole lot. Mr C said that it was good, but maybe his tastes ran to more traditional American pork recipes. Sam liked it quite much as well. Dan said the avocado tomatillo sauce just added the extra zing to the recipe to make it really grand.