September 2006 LJ Import

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2006-09-18 15:46:00
Autumn
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It’s here, folks. Summer was chased on its merry way over the weekend and autumn has arrived in earnest. Friday we were wilting in 32 C. heat, with a humidex of 36 degrees, and today it’s 7 C. with a cold autumn rain pouring down. Things change in a dramatic way in this part of the world. It has been raining pretty much steadily since Friday evening, which is most welcome after an extremely dry summer. Much too late in some ways, but at least it will give the grass, trees, shrubs, etc. a boost before they head into the tough winter season.

Autumn has always been my favourite time of year, regardless of what kind of summer has preceded it. I love the crisp clear air, the huge brilliant blue sky (except on a day like today, of course), and the gorgeous colours on the trees against that astonishingly blue sky. The harvest moon is high on my list of awesome wonders, too. The nights are closing in, and I love the cosy feeling that comes with drawing the drapes earlier on a cool evening. It’s always a liberating thing to get back out into the garden after a long winter, but it’s also a type of liberation when the gardening season comes to an end after a long, busy summer. There can be too much of a good thing, you know!

The picture on this post is more late summer than autumn, but I nabbed it while hunting for something autumnish, as I have always intended to do a John Constable post at some point. I love his art anyway, but it took on a whole new significance when I met Richard. I won’t give you chapter and verse on Constable on my journal, but if you want to know more about him, you can head over here. The village of Dedham, Essex featured heavily in his work, as he lived in the area, and Dedham is where Richard was born and raised. So, he grew up amidst the lovely scenery in Constable’s paintings. Well, a century and some later, but things haven’t changed much in that area. The entire Stour Valley/Dedham Vale is protected by the National Trust, so much in the way of modernization is a no no. And thank goodness for that.

Like I said, I am a Constable fan in general, but the picture I chose here today is my absolute favourite. Richard brought a number of Constable prints with him when we got together, but not The Cornfield. However, I have a lovely friend in Ardleigh, just down the road from Dedham by a few miles, and she surprised me with a print of my fave a few years ago. When Richard last went “home”, he and his lifelong best mate took it upon themselves to find the exact spot from which this painting was done. And yes, they put themselves on the ground, in the same position as the little boy in the painting. I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

Oh, and for the benefit of the North Americans reading this, that is indeed a wheat field in the picture, and not what we call corn over here. Our wheat is their corn, and our corn is their maize. Just a bit of trivia for you.

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2006-09-20 00:49:00
A Different Perspective
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I don’t make a habit of passing on or posting the forwards that clutter up my e-mail inbox, but my sister sent me this one yesterday and certain parts of it made me go “hmm”. I don’t have a wife (surprise!), my husband isn’t a couch potato, and I haven’t been to church in yonks. But I know very well that I’m guilty of at least minor rants about most of the rest at some time or other. Some quite often. But I might do a little less complaining henceforth.

I am thankful:

For the wife
who says it’s hot dogs tonight,
because she is home with me,
and not out with someone else.

For the husband
who is on the sofa
being a couch potato,
because he is home with me
and not out at the bars.

For the teenager
who is complaining about doing dishes
because it means she is at home,
not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay
because it means
I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party
because it means I have
been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug
because it means
I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work
because it means
I am out in the sunshine

for a lawn that needs mowing,
windows that need cleaning,
and gutters that need fixing
because it means i have a home.

For all the complaining
I hear about the government
because it means
we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot
I find at the far end of the parking lot
because it means I am capable of walking
and I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill
because it means
I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church
who sings off key because it means
I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing
because it means
I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles
at the end of the day
because it means I have been
capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off
in the early morning hours
because it means I am alive.

And finally, for too much e-mail
because it means I have
friends who are thinking of me.

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2006-09-26 12:57:00
A New Beginning
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Well, I’ve done it. I’ve been toying with the idea for ages, and the time has come to quit toying. I’ve had an account here long enough that I know my way around now. So, it’s time to officially make this my primary residence. I don’t have time or energy for posting in two places, and it’s rather silly to just keep copying and pasting back and forth to maintain both homes.

Daughter started up an account for me over here months ago, insisting that I’d like it much better. As usual, she was right. I didn’t want to put my regular Blogger readers through the hassle of changing my link yet again, but Blogger has ticked me off just one too many times of late. Because of the CFS/ME, I have to post when the energy and mood are there, and Blogger has prevented me from doing so too often.

The other reason for the move is that I’m totally independent over here, which is always a good thing. I like being able to do things myself, plus Daughter’s time is much more limited these days and I don’t want to keep pestering her when I feel the need for a change. The standard Blogger layouts don’t do it for me, and I don’t know how to do the coding for something more attractive. Huge thanks to her for all of the work that she has done on gorgeous layouts for me in the past, but it’s time for her to just do her own thing, while Mom gets on with her thing herself. The stock layouts over here can be prettied up and personalized easily with icons, and even I know how to do that! Of course Daughter will still be contributing to my icon collection for over here, but that’s a much smaller thing than designing entire layouts. She makes icons for herself constantly anyway, as she enjoys it, so I’m sure that I can commission a few here and there. But her collection now is so vast that I can easily find tons I like, and have. Thanks for sharing, Steph! 🙂

Anyway, like I said, I am much happier over here and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be staying put this time. Oh hush, I’m not deaf you know, and can pick up mutters from thousands of miles away! 😉 But truly I mean it. Inconvenience of moving aside, I’ve paid to be over here and if that isn’t incentive to stay, I don’t know what is!

So, a warm welcome to the new digs, old friends. And for the newer friends I’ve come to know over here, you can look forward to regular posting, now that this is my permanent home.

Right, now that the welcome is over and done with, I’m off to declare war on the mad squirrel that has decided to take up residence in our basement. Being a backyard bully was sin enough, but one I was willing to tolerate to a certain degree. However, it’s a whole different matter now that it has invaded our indoor space. I have zero tolerance for critters in the house, especially the uninvited kind. I spent the entire morning trying to chase it down to “gently” remove it, and also find its point of entry, but no luck on both scores. Now the gloves are off and by the end of the day the beast will be out of the house, one way or another. Shrews are fearsome creatures when riled, you know, and a certain mad squirrel has me plenty riled! I have chicken stew planned for supper, but an alternative, more “rustic” recipe is starting to seem like an attractive idea ….

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2006-09-27 11:00:00
Design Faeries, and Stuff
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Oh sure, the moment I gain my independence, she has to stick her oar in again. Tsk. I thought it was parents who were supposed to be the interfering ones, not the other way around! Just joking, Steph. 🙂 You know that I love Halloween, too, so yup, this can stay. Ordinarily I don’t think about Halloween until after Thanksgiving, but I can make an exception to the rule on this occasion. Gorgeous surprise layout, darling one, and I thank you many, many times! Oh, and that includes a few times for all of the new icons, too. Yes, I suppose that you have still earned a trip to the MAC counter now. You really, really, really wanted something, didn’t you? But just remember, the deal was one item only, okay?! Oh, and Miss Design Faerie, how about inviting your friends, Miss Kitchen Faerie and Miss Cleaning Faerie for an extended visit? You’re lovely, but they’re lovelier! 😉

In other news, the four-legged squatter has left the building. When Richard got home from work yesterday he managed to pry one of the screens off a basement window, thus providing an exit route for the squirrel. Took it a while to figure it out, mind you, but eventually bait of peanuts and a dish of water got it out the window. After which it proceeded to scold me mightily when I walked under “its” tree while doing the garbage taking out thing last evening. Bloody ingrate. If somebody saved me from certain death by starvation and dehydration, I’d not be scolding them. But I guess I’m just nicer than a squirrel. I wouldn’t have gone into someone’s house without an invitation, for a start. Hmph. Oh, and we found the entrance point, too. The little monster tried to do a Santa Claus, but he obviously isn’t as good as the jolly old man in red at getting back up a chimney. Luckily for him the cap at the bottom was loose and he could get out. Otherwise he’d have been trapped for good. Said cap will be sealed off again, of course, but not until after the nice man comes to do our annual furnace tune-up and chimney inspection next week. Obviously somebody also needs to get up on the roof and replace the screen over the chimney, but I don’t see any volunteers around here. And yes, I’m first on the chicken list when it comes to going up a ladder. I don’t even like step ladders, so you wouldn’t get me climbing up to the peak of the roof of a two-storey house. Not even if my life depended on it. Just so you know.

The aforementioned furnace has already started earning its keep in the overnight hours and early morning. Summer is definitely just a memory now, and it’s mighty chilly in the dark hours, with a slow warm-up during the day. We did get up to 18C the other day, but mostly we’re in the lower double digits for highs now. Today we might crawl up to 12 degrees, but we’re supposed to have a wet, windy afternoon and evening, so I’m a bit doubtful about the predicted temperature. Right now it’s still partly sunny and a cool 7 degrees out there. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I had more than enough heat over the summer and am loving the cooler temperatures. It feels a bit odd to have the feet and legs covered after such a long spell of freedom, but I’ll adjust. Well, the legs are covered today, but I haven’t given in and covered the feet yet. When the ends of the toes turn blue, I might consider socks. Maybe. 😉

Now I suppose that I should wander off and find something constructive to do during the part of the day when my energy is at its peak. The bottom of my coffee cup has appeared, so no more excuses for sitting here. Yes, I know, most of you have done half a day’s work by this point in the day, but my “condition” requires a later getting up time, and it takes me a good while to wake up properly and get moving once I am up. I think that the first job of the day should be trying to
find the surface of my writing desk under the accumulated rubble. Of course said rubble wouldn’t accumulate there if I closed the roll top on the desk, but then the pile would just accumulate elsewhere, wouldn’t it? There’s still unopened mail there from the past couple of days, and goodness knows what else. Important mail items, like personal letters, are ripped open the second I pull them out of the mailbox, but what’s the rush with bills and junk? I know when the bills are due, so putting off the pain of seeing the numbers for a couple of days isn’t any great crime. 😉

Once I get my desk sorted, I have a few things to do in the kitchen. More garden tomatoes are ready for doing up, plus I have a load of peppers, leeks, apples and such from yesterday’s delivery of organic produce to see to. There are more than we can use up at their peak freshness, so the veg can go into the freezer, and I’ll bake something or other with some of the apples. I haven’t munched my way through all of last week’s apples yet, so no point in having more hanging around. I do like a good apple, but they pale in comparison to the other offerings at this time of year. I’ll have more than enough apples over the winter, when the good organic peaches, grapes, plums, pears, and such aren’t available. And just so you know, I’m a fruit and veg fiend, as is Stephanie. Hence the organic deliveries year round, even when our garden is producing. I don’t have space to grow everything we like, so I just put a hold on delivery of stuff we do grow, and they substitute extra of the stuff that we don’t grow. Come autumn through to early summer, anything and everything that comes in the weekly bin is very, very welcome.

Right, the jobs are waiting, aren’t they? Procrastinator, moi? Never! Just easily distracted sometimes. 😉

Toodles.

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2006-09-28 08:38:00
Hugs
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Well, for the first time since spring, my little weather icon in the bottom corner of my screen is showing a temperature with a minus sign in front of it. We have had a couple of frosty mornings before now, but the temperature got above 0 before I got on the computer. It’s a whole different thing when you actually see the minus sign, you know. Thought it was a tad chilly when I stuck my head and arm out the door to bring in the newspaper, and now I know why. It’s -2C right now, just in case you care. I’m surprised that my impatiens around the front step are still upright, but no doubt they’ll sag when the sun hits them fully. Our front door faces north, so it’s pretty shady there for most of the day, apart from a brief spell when the sun first comes up over a tallish building to the east of us.

But just in case the thought of -2 has you shivering, here’s something to warm you up. I found it via Stephanie’s journal a few days ago and it not only warmed me up, it misted me up, too. The little blurb about the video is interesting, but the story is all there in the video itself. Never, never underestimate the power of a hug.

Free hugs!

Enjoy. 🙂

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2006-09-29 16:39:00
Boys Will Be Boys
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I’ll slip a quick post in here before I have to move to the kitchen for supper duty. Don’t feel like pushing out the culinary boat this evening, so it’s a quick and easy pasta dish planned. Very tasty and nutritious, but pretty much effortless to throw together. And nope, you don’t get a proper recipe, ’cause it’s one of those “suit your own tastes” deals. Whatever onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, ground meat (or substitute), seasonings, cheese, and pasta you prefer, in whatever amounts you prefer, is as specific as the recipe gets. Throw whatever garnish you like on top, too. For me, it’s usually black olives or a bit of chopped fresh basil, but suit yourself.

Richard was off today and I thought I’d give him a thrill by pulling up live radio feed of the football/soccer match between Colchester and Ipswich. It was the first match between local rivals in 49 years as it has taken that long for them both to be in the same division. I had the feed loud and clear, he sat down to bask in the experience, then the nasties at BBC Essex cut away just as the action started, because of contractual conflicts for overseas listeners. Tried BBC Suffolk and it was the same deal. Well, a big boo hiss to all of that! It’s not like anyone was/is carrying it live, or on tape, over here, so what’s with the contractual rubbish? Oh well, at least I got a live print out that he could follow, but that’s nowhere near the same thing. But at least the right team won, as in Colchester, so he was a happy camper. Then of course much rejoicing and/or gloating had to happen over the overseas phone lines, as his family is split down the middle with their allegiance to one team or the other. Boys will be boys, forever and a day, I guess. Stephanie just rolls her eyes at the whole thing, but I get it. Sort of. 😉

Right, I’m getting the mournful look from the sofa that translates to “I’m really getting hungry”, so I must dash. Bah, I’m so easily manipulated!

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