Simply Balisha

Simply Balisha

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Special Day for Me

Guess what day it is? I didn't used to tell when it was my birthday, but as I get older...I'm just shameless, I guess. I was born 76 yrs. ago on a snowy morning. This morning is beautiful and the day ahead sounds perfect. I ordered it especially for my day. It's pool day and we are getting ready to go.... after all my family and friends birthday wishes in cards, on facebook, emails, and early phone calls.. etc. I'll be back later on with more....
PS...I made that cupcake huge so we all could have a bite :)

I'm back. It's late afternoon and rain is expected any time now...although the sun is still shining. We went to the pool and then came home and had breakfast. We celebrated yesterday and my kids will be here on Easter Sunday to celebrate I decided to finish up what I had started in the dining room. Our hutch needed cleaning, so I took everything out and dusted it well. I decided to continue putting things in bins that collect dust. I had to run to town to buy two more bins.I got a couple of med. sized they wouldn't be heavy for me to carry. I filled them and marked them as to what they contained. Now my kitchen cabinet topper and hutch are neat and tidy. You probably think I'm a neat freak....always cleaning. It takes me longer to do these tasks than it did years ago. Today, I was up and down and answering the phone from people with birthday wishes.
Our lawn man came over and they picked up twigs and branches. He told us he would fertilize in a few days and then wait for the grass to he can start the mowing season. Won't it be nice to see green instead of white? He is going to put some mulch down before things start popping up. I am so excited to start the gardening this year. I hope my body cooperates.
We'll take it easy tonight. We'll have a light supper and there are several TV programs that we watch on Monday.
See you tomorrow,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Morning

Nice day today....the warm weather is coming. I just talked to my daughter and she has rain today in DC.
We are going out to dinner this no cooking.
My Easter decorations are going up this week. Everything is cleaned and ready. The mantle looks bare without any greenery, but in a couple of days, my sprays of pastel eggs will make it look springy. I still have to make some decorations for the little woodland tree. Nothing elaborate...simple is the word.
I heard about the earthquakes in Ca. this morning on the news. I worry about my blogger friends who live there. I hope that they are will be good to hear from them soon.
I've been searching for the little Juncos. They are the little snow birds who come in the fall and leave in spring. I haven't seen one in the last couple of days. Where do they go next? I'll have to research that one. Let you know tomorrow.
We are getting a late start and my tummy is telling me that it's time to eat. So, here I go into the clean kitchen to mess it up with sausage and eggs. Maybe I'll have French toast.
Back later,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Post For Anyone Who's Growing Older...Guess That's Everyone!

Having camera no new pictures today.
The weather is changing...getting warmer this weekend. Soon, I look for people without coats, kids out playing, and sunshine. I was talking to a friend just yesterday afternoon and we touched on the subject of cleaning cupboards and ridding ourselves of many things we no longer need or use. She mentioned that she had cleaned one cupboard of all out of date food stuff. I laughed and told her to quick dispose of it, because otherwise if her kids saw it....she might be deemed unsafe to live alone and put in a home. I laughed at the thought of her hauling that bag of trash out to the curb before the garbage man got there. We often joke about situations like that, but in the back of our minds...that real thought often lingers. As we age...our bodies as well as minds age. We get a little less sharp. We forget things. We start to make lists of what to do each day. We might mumble to ourselves. Our bodies often hurt.....and speaking of is easy to hurt our feelings. We don't always feel good. We get tired and fall asleep in our chair...we may need a nap. We feel we are at the mercy of someone else pulling the strings of our lives in the future. We don't like that feeling. Our kids often don't accept reality. They think of us as that super mom...who did everything and still can. They are often in a much of a hurry to really look at us and realize that we are old....not getting old....old. They want us to remain the same as we were years ago...and do things with the family that might easily wear us out. We are expected to find things at the drop of a hat....and that's why....
I try my best to keep my things in order. Not to keep so much garbage around me. I don't like stacks of papers that I may or may not need. I like to organize and put things in marked bins. Getting rid of clutter is another thing to help keep my mind clear. I have never been able to work in a mess. I always had to clean my workroom before I could create. They say that neat people are boring....a cluttered desk is a sign of genius. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out... that when something is needed quickly... and you have to rifle through piles of just may be a dunce.
So, saying all of this, I have a plan to put away things that just sit around and gather dust. I have lived with these things long enough. I have dusted these things enough. It is hard for me to keep up with the housework, so I am (as my blog says) going to simplify. I started with my Lenten Challenge of disposing of 40 bags in 40 days. I have collected as much as I the rest of the challenge is to pack away some of the things that just sit around and collect dust.. for me to clean. I would rather have a shelf on the wall, with a couple of things, rather than one filled with collections. It will be easier to dust and my things will be put away neatly for my kids when I am gone. I plan to live for a long time yet....and I don't want to spend the rest of my time cleaning shelves full of bric a brac. I have fun things that I want to do. Simple things like just sitting on the porch, having lunch with the "girls" do simple things with my kids, visit more with neighbors, simple gardening, crafting as much as I can tolerate, rides in the country, birthday celebrations, picnics with Joe, I could go on and on with simple things that I want to do. I can't have fun, when there is a messy house waiting for me to clean. When I'm out and house is always in the back of my mind and what I have to do yet that day. I'm on a Lenten Challenge is expanding.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bookshelves to Nudity

I was going to do a post on book shelves this morning, but after checking my camera....I found that the batteries need charging. So, no pictures today.
I'll just have to dream up another post that might interest some of you.
Today was a pool day. We decided to go earlier....the pool had many more people this morning. As I went into the water I said to Joe, "This reminds me of the movie Cocoon."We both loved the movie...and he laughed. Everyone had gray hair and were bobbing up and down with the music. It was a senior aerobics class. The music was jazzy and they were keeping time with their exercises. I have to laugh....we oldsters look so funny.
There are so many different kinds of women who go there....tall, thin, heavy, very few just right. You never know who you will meet in the dressing room....some are very modest, hiding in the locked bathroom stalls...trying to undress and dress in that very small space....banging into the walls and the door.   Some are a little more modest, out in the locker room, hiding behind a towel...trying to keep all body parts from being seen while holding onto the towel with their chin. Some undress and dress quickly facing the wall and not taking time to look around at others. Then there are some who throw all caution to the wind. They come around to visit, while nude, walking all over the dressing room. Maybe they have their towel thrown over their shoulder like a shoulder bag. They may rinse out their suit and use the suit spinner, come over and visit while you're dressing, take a leisurely shower, go to the bathroom, blow dry their hair....all the while not wearing a stitch of clothing. This morning a mother with two boys of maybe 7 and 9 was in the ladies dressing room. One boy in the shower and the other fully dressed and waiting for Mom and brother. "Why are we in the ladies room?" was what I heard from the other side of the lockers. The boys got quite an education this morning, when these other women were parading around.
Men have always been more used to being nude in front of other men. The YMCA in our town insisted that the men swim in the nude. I always wondered about the lady who was at the desk, checking in the men. Now days everyone is required to wear a suit.
This really got off topic this morning. From book shelves to nudity. Something for everyone.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yesterday, I finished my day here at home and then went to Elizabeth's for a visit. It had been too long between visits. She greeted me at the door...dressed in a beautiful outfit. A long skirt of blue, with a beautiful top. As usual... lovely jewelry and her hair just done. What a lovely lady, who still cares about how she presents herself, in her late 80's. She warmly welcomed me and suggested that we have tea. The tea service was on her counter and I brought the things over to the table by the window. There was a little pitcher nearby and she asked me to bring it too. A plate of cookies and we were ready for tea. She poured from her pretty tea pot and asked me to pass the pitcher....She said that she liked a bit of rum in her tea and asked if I would like to try it. It was so delicious...I had never heard of this before.
Elizabeth's pups were waiting in her garden room. I opened the door and let them in. Foxy and Bello, West Highland Terriers, were so excited to see me. They settled down quickly and I cleared the table.
We had decided the last time I visited... that we would share photo albums the next time I came. She brought out her boxes and I had my bag with a couple of little albums to share. I love looking at some one's life through their photos and these didn't disappoint. Pictures of her, when she was younger and of her parents and grandparents in Germany. We shared pictures of our children and newer family pictures. Now, I'll tell you how "with it" Elizabeth is...she brought out her newest IPad (I think that's what it is called) with pictures of her great -grand- daughter. She touched the screen and the baby started babbling and cooing and acting up. How wonderful this is for be able to see her little g- grand daughter in motion. She was tickled pink....and so was I. I could see the love for this little one in her eyes.
She knits dishcloths and always gives me one before I leave. I had brought her two giant cookies that I had just made.
We ended our visit with the promise that we would see each other soon. Maybe when it is warm and we can be out in her lovely yard.
I was thinking while driving up the road to my very lucky I am to have a friend living close visit with. No matter what the weather it's always cozy at Elizabeth's and I'm always learning something new with our visits.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Eagle Watching

If you want to just sit and watch something this late afternoon....why not watch the eagles at,  Decorah Iowa?Mom to be... has three eggs and they broadcast live from 8am to 8pm. It's very windy there can hear the wind blowing, as she tucks in debris around her body to keep the eggs warm. Last week, you could see some deer feeding down below her nest. I guess the dad is off fishing somewhere. I've watched the eagles for about 3 yrs. It never gets boring for me. They are truly majestic creatures.

Or maybe something smaller is your cup of tea..The little hummingbirds in California...
They are fascinating little creatures.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Thoughts on a Monday

I learned to love felt way back in kindergarten. We had a Sunday school teacher who had a felt board. She would tell stories by putting the people from the Bible stories on the board. They were made of felt and so was the they would stick. We were born during the depression and most of us had very few going to Sunday school and getting to use the felt board was fun for us.
The closest thing that my kids had to a felt board was Colorforms. These plastic cutouts stuck to a board made of cardboard covered with plastic. There were houses with cupboards where you could stick little dishes and cups and saucers. Colorforms for boys and girls alike. The little plastic things would fall off and get dusty and dirty and not stick. We were forever looking for a little piece, when the board was put away for the day.
Now back to felt....I used felt when making a big wall hanging for Christmas one time.....and I used it for a country scene in the Grandma Moses style that was framed on our family room wall.
I made a replacement jacket for Winnie the Pooh one time out of red felt. I hadn't really used felt all that much...until now. We are making our Woodland Critters out of felt...and I have found a couple of other places where I will learn to make birds that are really detailed. It's fun to work with, because it holds it's shape and doesn't ravel. No finishing the edges...
When we came home from the pool today, I hopped out of the car and decided to start my spring cleanup. I saw the clematis in the front garden swinging in the breeze...held on to the trellis by a couple of tendrils. I got my clippers and cut it new growth was showing....I hope it survived the harsh winter. There are really two together...and they were so pretty the last two years.
I picked up a few sticks and added them to the trash, picked up the pumpkin, left there for the birds. I decided to rake a few of the pine branches away from the perennials....and look for signs of life. Things look a little more tidy and later on I will be glad that I got in there and did these few chores. When things start to green up...I hate to step on everything. This way I can just lightly rake away the leaves that are covering my plants. Before I came in, I took a soft broom and swept up and down on the evergreens that were brownish in the front. I saw that the dead needles fell off easily and hopefully the trees  will be OK after they start their spring growth.
A little at a time....that's how I'm doing things this year. That way it will all get done...a little slower, that's how I move.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Critter Collection is Growing

Today is the day that we show the critters for the month. A green turtle accented with little buttons from Malaysia. 

 An  adorable skunk.....if a skunk can be adorable, next to a little green tree.  I thought I would gussy him up with a little pink heart and pink stitching....guess he's a she.
 Here are the two of them together. I just love making these little critters each month. I'm finished way before the due date.
You can see more critters at  and These two ladies host this party every week. Thanks ladies,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Joe, Love, Balisha

Here he is... the man of the hour. It's his birthday today. We had a quiet day with a visit from Joe's son Dan, and then a nice dinner presents, and a movie.......can't forget a chocolate cake.
Happy birthday Joe,
Love, Balisha

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Pair of Geese Just Swimming

A Pair of Geese Just Swimming by Balisha

This morning we were driving... along the river fine...
Looking for some beauty.. was a thought of mine.
I saw a pair of geese... in the water swimming by...
They floated oh so peacefully... I just began to sigh.
Where had they been just weeks ago.. on icy days of yore?
When ice completely covered the water and the shore.
Where do they go when weather is not so very nice...
Do they leave in such a hurry without ever thinking twice?
I picture them just floating... on a river south of here...
A place where they can live without a thought of fear.
I'm happy just to see them this morning... when it's  warm...
They're welcome here today and will be free from harm.
In just a little while... caring parents they will be...
Some goslings will join them... and it just seems to me....
That this little family's precious as precious as can be.
I'll look for them each day... as we travel along the banks...
They'll swim so safely by... for this I will give thanks.
No one will harm them... as they glide among the reeds...
My world is safe for creatures... as beautiful as these.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Pictures of Spring in Our Yard

Here they are....spring pictures. Everything is this time of year. Rebirth for the garden.

Did this when it was officially spring. I thought that the tablecloth might have helped the egg stand I put it on a bare surface. I had no trouble making it stand alone.

Happy Spring!

What do you post about after all the winter posts about weather? Spring will officially be here later today. This year I'm really ready for spring. Last year's post on this day...was about creativity. I had just painted three watercolors to hang in the front entry. I mentioned that I had springy paintings mixed with winter coats hanging on the coat rack nearby.It seems that my interests pretty much follow the calendar. I was thinking about painting some little Easter things to hang on my woodland tree. I plan to start that this weekend. I'm going to take a big sheet of watercolor paper and just do a big abstract painting of swirled pastel colors...then do some dabbing of pieces of crumpled, colored, tissue paper.When it's dry...I plan to cut out bunny and egg shapes. I'll punch a hole and hang them with a piece of yarn or ribbon. I'll show you how it turns out.

Wow....the sun is out. Hope it melts all the snow we got last night.

Joe's birthday is Sat. I plan to make a big kettle of chicken noodle soup today. His son is coming on Sat. for a visit, and that's what we will have....along with birthday cake. We invited him to go out to dinner with us, but he couldn't stay that long.

I remember years ago when spring would arrive...we would try to balance an egg on the counter. I did this a few times along with Uncle Bobby and Spike O'Dell...on WGN radio. Try it today and see if you can do it.

I'll be back later with some pictures. I'm going to start my spring with a walk around the yard and back to the woods. I might even try out those new flowered boots...although I hate to get them dirty :)  Our ground looks saturated...hope I don't sink in.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Comes to My Favorite Magazine

You might wonder why people spend so much more for a Country Living magazine from the UK than they do for the US version. There is no comparison. I hesitated about subscribing last year. The cost was really so much more than I had ever spent on a magazine. I don't subscribe to many magazines, but Country Living has always been a favorite of mine...the US version. At one time I had about 10 yrs of magazines in my "hoard." I learned that the older issues were so much better than the present ones. I loved some of the Jo Northrup. Hers was always the last article  in the magazine...A Simple Country Pleasure. I started seeing so many modern things that really didn't fit my particular style. At that time I was strictly country. My decorating included many antiques and primitives. I really had a hard time cancelling my subscription. 
I heard about the UK version when I started this blog several years ago. I kept reading about the magazine...although I had never held an issue in my hands until I subscribed last year. My first issue was the Christmas issue. I wasn't disappointed. I thought that many magazines have a good Dec. issue....the next Jan issue would be the test. It was as good as the Dec.  This past Christmas, Joe gave me a subscription renewal for a gift. I can't wait to get to the mailbox to get this magazine. Here are a few pictures from the magazine. 

Just look at the beautiful colors. Wouldn't you just love this wooden basket of goodies? They tempt you with that little knitted bunny, the shears in the old wooden spool, letters and cards, fabric and hydrangeas. Just look at the pretty springlike dress in the background.

Here a garden bench, with galvanized watering can. Boots with a floral design, (I wouldn't want to get them dirty),old terra cotta, ole garden tools, and a background of a table set with a tea party.I can almost smell the roses.

 This article and pictures was a favorite of mine. Many wallpapers were shown...some wallpapers featured vintage seed packets. What a busy collection with so many things to see.

At the end....another flowered dress and a woman holding a glass cake plate filled with delicate cupcakes with pale pink frosting and pics with flowers.
I could have shown so much more....the magazine isn't filled with just these pretty things...other articles about decorating, crafts, houses, gardens (oh the gardens... the English know how to make beautiful flower gardens), food, travel, and health. I can't say enough about this magazine...It's my favorite.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Morning...Happy St Patrick's Day!

Haven't had a teenager overnight in a long time. It's time for him to get up....I've been in to wake him, but he isn't moving around. Do I bug him about it or just let it be? What did I do back in the old days with my own kids? Don't want to be a nagging grandma....but don't want him to be late, Oh, well....guess I'll just wait.What is that that I hear? A tiny alarm and he's up. He set the alarm on his phone. Guess I had better get on with the times. Who knew about alarm clocks on phones?When I asked him what he wanted for breakfast....he said, "Nothing thankyou...I'll have a protein shake later at work." What's this world coming to? I had planned pancakes and bacon.....maybe eggs...I'm a grandma for heaven's sake.How can I send this kid out without breakfast? He chuckled and we said our goodbyes. What a great houseguest he was.

 Yesterday, the corned beef was ready and I had it all laid out on the counter...kind of a serve yourself meal. The meal was in my largest roaster and Joe said, "Who are we feeding....all the neighbors?" The plates were filled and we took them in the living room and were going to watch the basketball game. Joe noticed all the corned beef on Brandon's plate. While B. was in the kitchen Joe said, "Is there any corned beef left out there?" Brandon had never had corned beef and he had filled his plate stacking the corned beef on. He came back into the living room laughing.... he had heard Joe's comment and reassured Joe that there was plenty left. He ate this meal until he room for dessert! We had forgotten how much kids eat. We have just enough left for a meal today. I'll be having a Reuben sandwich. I love these....marble rye bread, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese all melty and deliciously toasted.....a dill pickle on the side.What more could you ask for?

This morning is pool day. It looks like it's going to be nice. Lots of appointments this week for Joe. I want to get in touch with Elizabeth for sure. We didn't get together very much this past winter....and I owe her a visit.

I've been going to town on my Lenten Challenge....without Joe's help, I've emptied things into 21 bags. If you remember, I'm trying to lighten the load here a bit.... of filling 40 bags of things in 40 days. Joe isn't contributing, however....but I hope we get to his closet yet...during this challenge. I don't have much more without his. My closet is much's so easy to pick out an outfit when there is room to see things. Nothing squished in. Clothes hang nicely and few decisions need to be made. Simplify...that's my goal this year. There is so much in the basement that could be happy in a new home. Things we haven't used in the 11 yrs. that we have been married. I'm not really a hoarder, but have found myself just setting things aside in the basement until I can get at them and put them somewhere. Wouldn't it be better for someone who can use these things to have them? I'll have to tell you what went into 4 bags. We have a coat closet that has a shelf above. We have games there for when the kids come over....also phone books...three stacks of very big phone books. As we get new ones, I throw the previous one away. These books were Joe's old ones. He even had a huge, thick one from Las Vegas. We agreed that these could be tossed. They made for very heavy bags, but the shelf was lightened. Nothing there so far.

While I'm sorting, I'm going to make an inventory of all my things and the history of the pieces...if there is one. I only brought special pieces of furniture and bric a brac when we married.This will make it easier when we are gone. I would never leave a mess for my kids to sort through. I'm determined to do this. It isn't a priority for we'll just leave it at that. Two different people...two points of view.

Well the sun is coming out....the bird feeders need filling. I hope to start working outside a bit this week....if the weather is decent. I'll be here with reports of the spring cleanup....inside and outside.
Have a great day.....Balisha

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Everybody Is Irish

I wish my dinner was done....I could have shown a picture of it. This is the way I have done corned beef for the last few years. It's the NYC recipe. Three type written sheets of paper to follow. Go to the website and check it out. All of this could be condensed into enough information to put on a recipe card.....but I like to pull out the recipe and follow's written for someone who is  new to the kitchen.  Basically you just cook the corned beef in a pot of water, along with the seasonings from the packet and some extra peppercorns. Then add the small potatoes, carrots, and cabbage later on. It all takes about 4 hours.

I learned from this recipe that this isn't made on St. Pats. day in Ireland and that carrots aren't used either. I love I fix a lot of them.All the little tid bits of information in this very long recipe are interesting.

I can remember my Mom and Dad on St. Patrick's day. Mom would wear a bit of green and they would go to lunch. A restaurant called Paul's (a Greek restaurant) had the best corned beef according to the two of them. An owner named Stella, served some of her favorite recipes and she and my Mom were food buddies. Dad didn't really like this meal...he just loved Mom and wanted to please her. My birthday is in March and we always had this for my special day. We called it a "boiled dinner" Poor Dad had to suffer through two of these meals in March. Mom had no Irish roots, but my dad did. So, when I make this meal....I always think of Dad....sitting there across from me, with a smile on his face. I found out a lot of his likes and dislikes after Mom died. There were several things that they ate...with Mom thinking that he enjoyed them.  He was one of those special men who delighted in pleasing 
his family...especially Mom. 
So, if you are going out for an Irish dinner, or cooking at home....remember that on St. Patrick's Day...everyone is Irish.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Freshness in Spring

Coming home from the pool...I noticed the river ice melting, birds flocking, water running along the road, sun shining, tree branches changing color in the distance, and people donning spring coats. Spring is in the air at 50 degrees. Spring always makes me think of fresh...fresh air, clothes airing on the line, fresh scents and fresh salads. Here's a recipe for a spring salad that I enjoy in the springtime.It's from the internet...but it's the same one that I love.

Spring Salad
1 and 1/2 orange, juice only
1/2 lemon, juice only
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon fine grain salt
4 big handfuls of salad greens, washed and dried
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/3 cup black olives, (the wrinkly, oily ones), pitted
In a medium bowl whisk together the juice of 1/2 orange, lemon juice, most of the red onion, olive oil, and salt. Whisk together until emulsified, taste and adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Peel the remaining orange and cut into segments, removing any seeds you might encounter. Set aside.
When you're ready to serve, place the salad greens in a large bowl. Toss very gently with a generous splash of the dressing. Add the orange segments and walnuts. Give another toss. Taste and decide if you need to add more dressing, if needed, add a bit more at a time, giving a good toss between additions. Make sure the nuts and citrus haven't all gone to the bottom, help them back up to the top if needed. Serve salad topped with the remaining red onion and olives.

Along with wilted lettuce...these are my two favorites. If you would like the recipe for how I make wilted lettuce....I'll put it here soon. Today, I won't be making this...we are having fish and will probably have coleslaw. This is the weekend for corned beef and cabbage. We are expecting company...hope he likes it.Well, the fish is waiting...I wish it was fresh fish just out of the water....nothing like it as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The DMV by Balisha

This early morning found me lying in my bed..
Today was the day I had come to dread.
It was time to renew my license to drive,
My birthday, quite soon, and I'm still alive.
I dressed pretty slowly and then ate my meal..
The nerves were there... ones I could feel.
As I left the house... Joe smiled at me..
I opened the car door and turned the key.
Fastened my seat belt..the wheel I squeezed..
I followed the rules from A to Z.
When I got to the place... where I needed to be..
My body relaxed and I went in like a breeze.
I answered the questions and followed the girl..
She jumped in the car and I gave the engine a whirl.
We entered a street with stop signs and more,
The alley was next...  I backed out like a pro.
I turned when told and passed a car way ahead,
I parked downhill....this one filled me with dread.
As I returned to the spot... where I'd started before..
She said, "YOU PASSED,"....with a perfect score.
We'll see you in four... as I went out the door..
Four more years to earn another good score.
So, there I was... with my keys in my grip..
My head was so full of ideas for trips...
I could go anywhere....but where did I go?...
Right to my house to tell this to Joe.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


This picture is from the internet......but I just saw a whole flock of robins outside my window. Earlier this morning, I saw a few back in the woods. I have seen a couple along the road, but not so many at one time.It won't be long before we see them gathering nesting material, Oh, I'm so excited...I could hardly wait to tell you.

Is Anyone Out There Like Me?

Is there anyone out there like me? You enjoy routine...especially in the morning.Maybe it's my age....and then again I'm thinking that after all the years of having to hurry in the last I can take my time.

There were the years of cooing and  crying little babies, needing to be changed and fed. They didn't like waiting....for anything.
Then getting the kids and husband out the door for school and work. A good breakfast...trying to keep the conversation happy, so that they would all have a good day. That last minute rush to make sure everyone had their books etc. Then came the days of my working outside the home....the kitchen and bathrooms were alive with family going in and out...timed showers, sounds like, "Mom where's my?" coming from the bedrooms. Husband leaving first and then the kids. Mom was last.

When I got to work, my boss would say, "You look frazzled...what's up?" I always thought that arriving at work was such a peaceful thing....I could relax for a bit.

Now. all that's gone and here we are at this stage of life. I love my routine....waken early, say a prayer for a good day, maybe watch the news, bathroom to myself, get dressed, check the computer while coffee or tea is brewing. answer some emails, play a word in scrabble with my daughter, then get breakfast ready. Joe's routine is about the same. Sometimes we even eat breakfast at our computers....shocking! I was finding that any little change in the routine could throw me off for some of the day.

We've added swimming to our early morning routine, though I love does change things a bit here. I am finally getting used to it. I first found that I was  getting that old "rush" feeling that I had years ago. We have to be out the door early. No time for a good breakfast...maybe a smoothie. We can have breakfast later in the morning. When I get in the water....I have that old peaceful thing happening... like when I arrived at work years ago. My shoulders relax and I find that my whole being changes. For that hour or so....I am completely relaxed and ready to face the day ahead. I'm so glad that my routine has changed...swimming has done wonders for my arthritis. I am constantly moving in the arms and legs in motion and I also walk the lap lines back and forth several help me with my balance. I also stand on one leg (like and ostrich) and count to 100. Then holding on to the side of the pool I kick my legs...keeping them straight for 100 kicks... twice in the morning. My arthritis pain has lessened...and I know it's from the water exercises.

So, now my routine has changed again for 3 days a week. I guess we all need a shake up in our habits. Maybe it will keep us feeling better.There are so many stages in our lives....we need to find that peace in everything we do.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Love Greenhouses

I've always had a desire to own a greenhouse. Not a big one...just a little one where I can putter among the plants and grow some tropicals. Just a little spot in the backyard....maybe even attached to the house, where I could go in and out during the cold winter. Now, I'm starting to get  fancier. I've always heard from my better half...that it is too costly to own one....too difficult to could we leave it, if we were to go on a trip...and so forth and so on. So, I guess that owning my own greenhouse just isn't in the cards for me.
I am fascinated by greenhouses....I love the old rundown ones and the very modern glass houses. Before I lived here, I visited many greenhouses. One in particular was an orchid house. My husband took me there one winter day, when the snow was falling. There weren't any customers that day...just us. It was magical inside the steamy house with orchids everywhere. I looked up and saw the snow falling in the cold outside and the warmth of the tropical greenhouse all around me. A nice memory.
Another greenhouse was one that I visited often. It was owned by a family...and they all took part in keeping it going. In the spring, our garden club would get our geraniums there. Tales of the plastic roof caving in, the heaters off because of power failure were common. I even pitched in one morning and helped them move plants from one house to another because of a power failure. This greenhouse was more unkempt that others, but where could you have such a wonderful visit while looking for plants.
Farther away was another favorite. This greenhouse specialized in geraniums....rows upon rows of them in every color...pinks, purples, reds, whites etc. Such healthy and sturdy plants. I had a hard time deciding which colors I wanted. This place was so commercialized.....not the friendly little hometown greenhouse I loved.
There's a greenhouse close by my house now. It has gifts, and plants. A nice combination. In the winter, I like to take a trip there and look at the houseplants...and a little side trip to see all the pretties for homes. A very friendly staff...almost as friendly as the one I spoke of earlier.
I can spot a greenhouse a mile away. Everything from the shiniest glass houses to the tiny broke down greenhouse at some one's residence. I always wonder why they would let the little glass house get into such disrepair? Don't they realize what a treasure they have...right in their own backyard? I would have given anything for one years ago, but that time is over and now I have to settle for things like something called....

The Wardian case which was an early type of sealed protective container for plants, an early version of the terrarium. It found great use in the 19th century in protecting foreign plants imported to Europe from overseas, the great majority of which had previously died from exposure during long sea journeys, frustrating the many scientific and amateur botanists of the time. The Wardian case was the direct forerunner of the modern terrarium (and the inspiration for the glass aquarium)

I have a small one that I use at Christmas time. Now, I'm looking for one that is a little bigger. At my age...a little glass house to set on the table will be enough for me. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Favorite Thing and a Pet Peeve

This salt box is one of my favorite things on the kitchen counter. It saves me so much time....It was a gift from my daughter, a few years ago. I keep Kosher salt in this. I'm careful to not contaminate the whole thing, but not washing hands after preparing meat, fish and poultry. When I am salting a stew or soup...I never follow the recipe on seasoning. I season as I go along...salting each layer of food. Using this handy "tool" keeps me from having to use the measuring spoon all the time. Do you remember the old recipes of Grandma's that called for a pinch of this or a tea cup full of that? It seems that our ancestors never followed a recipe. So, this is my salute to those old timers....a salt box on my counter is a favorite....a time saver in my kitchen.
I do, however have salt shakers and pepper mills. Oh, do I have pepper mills. Joe is a collector of pepper mills. We have all kinds...he even bought one at a restaurant once, because the one at the table worked so well. I think that many men salt and pepper their food without even tasting. The food is brought to the table and they grab the shakers and salt and pepper away. This is a pet peeve of mine   :)...Now you have it...a favorite thing and a pet peeve...all in one post.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gardening For a Lifetime

We tend to like different gardening books at different stages of life. Years ago...Crockett's Victory Garden books were so interesting to me. Square Foot Gardening and the very interesting Jerry Baker and his books.At this stage of my life....this is the book that holds my interest. Gardening for a Lifetime. Sydney Eddison has won many awards, she's written several books, and lectures widely.I have this one book of hers, and I read parts of it every year.

As we age...we just can't do what we once could do. We have to find different ways and methods. This morning I was reading the chapter on Accepting Imperfection. When my daughter was in about 1st or 2nd grade....she would draw or write something on a piece of paper...if it wasn't just so....she crumbled it up and tossed it in the trash. She changed later on when she couldn't keep up with the class. So many gardeners are perfectionists. They want tidy rows, no weeds, perfect deadheaded blooms. I was sort of like that at one time. Then cottage gardening became so popular, and I learned to love the way flowers blended together in a casual way. I, like the author, learned to go with the flow. Sometimes we blame gardening for wearing us out....when the real culprit is life. We live in such a busy world...there isn't really time for everything.We say, "I just get so tired working in the garden." Maybe if we lowered our standards and let go of other chores...we'd have an easier time.

The author speaks of woodlands. She says that mature trees that have completed their life cycle... start to lean on their neighbors. Sometimes, like in my woods...a few are held up by younger trees or fall to the ground. Then the canopy is different, letting in light for the first time in years. Other things start growing, small saplings, wild flowers...feeding off the dead tree.

Her ideas about fall cleanup are interesting too. She rakes the leaves into the ornamentals around the house and also the garden....Eventually these break down and nourish the plants.I've done this for a long time. Instead of clearing the beds completely...I leave some dried material there for winter protection.

I'll keep reading this book and taking notes. As someone said....just let nature take it's course...and learn to go with the flow.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Coming Trip

The Coming Trip by Balisha

The robins were discussing just a day or two ago,
About this cold, cold, winter... with lots and lots of snow.
They were getting things all ready... for a trip so soon up North,
The female was just fretting and flitting to and forth.

She said to Mr. Robin...."I really think you should,
Talk to Mr Cardinal...I really wish you would.
This trip will be the first... for our youngest one you know,
I really don't believe we should go with all this snow."
The cardinal was the bravest of northern birds I'm told,
He faced the cruelest weather of snow and sleet and cold.
His judgement could be trusted about the trip so long,
He loved his little friends and wouldn't steer them wrong. 
He said to wait awhile... till spring was really here,
When things warmed up a bit...they'd  have nothing left to fear.
They took his word and stayed behind... a day or two or more,
The weather changed and coming north wasn't such a chore.

The wren listened carefully... to what the birds were saying,
Her own trip was coming soon... and she was left there praying.
She watched them as they left... on that very chilly day,
"Thank God my trip won't come... until the month of May:)"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Am I Causing This Weather?

 Do you think that the bad weather could be caused by these two things? Maybe if I put Goosey Lucy's spring outfit on,
 or changed the greeting on my door....would put and end to
this scene. It snowed most of the day yesterday and left us with about 6 in. of the fluffy white stuff. We haven't had the heavy wet snow this winter.....just the fluff. Wish it would stop fluffing!

I couldn't find any sun no Sunlit Sunday. The sun certainly affects our moods. Most of us
 are much happier when the sun is out. Some people find that they are more productive when it is sunny. I find that I enjoy a cloudy day...and get more energy in my everyday living.
So, that being said....I have some things that I want to do. I'll be back later...have a nice day.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday's Thoughts

I took this image from facebook. I think that this is one of my little birds. I hate to say it....more snow. It just started melting and now a new layer to contend with. This winter has really tested us in many ways. We have learned patience .. we have learned to give up plans, we have learned more about driving in snow, we have learned to check our supplies and keep reserves in food etc. we've learned to keep a pathway open to feed the birds, and most of all...we have learned to be thankful. Thankful for all we have. We are blessed with a warm home, clothing, food. Things that many don't have....we wonder when we go to sleep...where are the homeless people tonight?Just a thought as we prepare for yet another snowstorm.

As I type this, my passion flower vine is growing so well and is now looking over my shoulder. If you remember, it didn't grow much last fall, so I brought it in...made a little trellis for it, and put it in a sunny window. It has thrived in the house. I want to transplant it outside later in the spring. My valentine primroses are blooming. I put them both in a bigger pot, so they don't wilt down each day. I never saw a plant wilt like these....they almost looked dead one day. Just a drink of water revived them.  The aloe and the ivies are growing by leaps and bounds and the Christmas cactus is enjoying a vacation in the basement. My amaryllis bloomed quite a while ago....and now a new bud is forming. This is the slowest amaryllis I've ever had. I guess that being in a cooler place is the reason. I was at Sam's just this week...and right by the register, as you check out, they had a display of orchids. For just about $16 you could have a beautiful plant. I almost bought one, and then changed my mind. They are lovely when they bloom, but for the most part they don't bloom very long and then you have the leaves. I may regret it, but I guess I'd rather buy something that blooms longer or one that you can put outside.

I have my seeds right here this morning. The Purple Hyacinth Bean seeds from last year's garden. I may try to put a large tub on the other side of the trellis and plant Cypress Vine seeds on one side and Hyacinth Beans on the other. I also have Trumpet Vine seeds, Cup Plant seeds, and Butterfly Bush seeds. I don't remember buying a couple of those...they must have been sent along free with an order.

 I have a tub for a patio tomato plant, and maybe pepper plants in the planter on the deck. I can't forget the bunny garden of lettuce. We share that, you know.I always order my Dipladenia plants...they don't sell them at any greenhouses where I go. I love them and they are such easy care plants. They are in the Mandevilla family...they don't vine like their relative.

These are the ideas that I have for my little bit of gardening this coming spring....plans do change...but for now while I am dreaming of spring gardens, it makes me happy.