Well, this must be the year the pecan tree (which towers over this house) is fruiting. The amount of activity and thunks on the roof has been rather startling. Oh, and when I say “activity and thunks”, I don’t mean nuts falling, I mean squirrels going out of their little minds and landing with thuds on the roof while chasing one another and leaping from branch to roof! And the chattering, nattering lectures they deliver to anything impeding their nut gathering has me in stitches. They can go on for five minutes at a crack!
Why do I get these urges to change things up when I can least afford to do it? Do such whims ever strike you out of the blue? Currently I’m dealing with newly found and miserably painful Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in my left hand and wrist. So what do I decide to do as a one-handed typist? Of course, write a new post and change the look of my blog. Am I nuts? I guess. : /
I’m starting with the header. Really bored with it, so “now for something completely different” as Monty Python would say. With possibly more to come.
Oops, almost forgot my pin of the day…
Or should I say Netflops? As part of my budget, I have allowed myself to have one inexpensive “subscription” a month on the internet. For a long time now it’s been Netflix and I’d been quite happy with it.
Services such as this seem to go in cycles as far as having worthwhile content. I found that with Hulu quite a while ago.
Currently, Netflix has added a bunch of “B” and “C” type movies and removed most “A” quality movies.
It’s funny, but one of the strange things I seem to have inherited from my mother is her ability to watch old movies repeatedly (within reason) and still enjoy them. For example, when I wanted to fall asleep at night (something that’s become rather tough lately) I’d simply re-watch a movie like The Last Samurai or Two Weeks Notice or While You Were Sleeping (these “were” on Netflix).
Yes, repeats all, but decent enough that I was occupied and could drift off to sleep. No new plots to pay attention to, just a reasonable story to take me out of life and into the land of nod. Recently Netflops has added The Bucket List which I enjoyed and had been looking forward to for a year or two. At the same time, the three other movies mentioned above were removed.
Of course they added over 100 other “new” movies and TV shows but mostly junk. An imbalanced mix of Asian productions and US failures. So Netflops, just like Hulu over a year ago has become sort of a big wasteland for me.
Oh, btw, if you try to access Hulu to see what they carry, you can’t, I even called them. You need a subscription! Well, isn’t that the nasty little marketing trap? Thanks Hulu. For. Nothing.
So now I’m looking for a new company. I figure Netflops will (possibly) be better in the fall when regular US network programming also historically gets a bit better. So anyone with recommendations for streaming videos during the summer, your thoughts would be appreciated. Currently, I’ve watched a few episodes (the first four) on PBS of My Mother and Other Strangers. One problem, you can’t get the last two episodes without a subscription. 😦
Another PBS offering I watched over a year ago was The Durrells of Corfu which I really enjoyed. Sadly to rewatch it, I need to subscribe to PBS. Of course that may be an option because I’ve never seen any of Downton Abbey. Yes, I know, how have I lived?
I really like the pace of British dramas vs. the up and down craziness of most US offerings. There’s a certain brooding serenity to them that I find relaxing and isn’t that why we watch TV? To escape the humdrum of our daily lives? Just now, browsing through PBS’ offerings, there could be just be enough to keep me busy and entertained. So it may be PBS for the summer.
Oh, and my apologies for going for so long without a post. Sometimes “stuff” just happens.
Side note: as I sit here typing in the 108F temps of Southern California cruising through my Pinterest boards, I’ve decided to add an image to every post this summer to take my mind off the heat. As I looked through my selections on that notorious time-guzzler, I realized that I rarely re-visit the images which is sad since some of them are quite beautiful. So to brighten all our days and if you’re dying of the heat like me, here’s something to get your mind off it. Enjoy!
Well, I must apologize for my lengthly
sabbatical absence from this blog. Sorry. See that puppers up there? Kind of how I feel.
Going through some angst about aging. Suddenly my skin looks like an old woman’s when I look at my arms. Plus I’m waiting for the landlord for this property to jack up the rent another 10%. Cringe. LA is just becoming obscene to live in.
Oh, and add to that we’ve had a very early and brief spring sadly, with little in the way of rain. 😦 Today it hit 94F (34.5C) and will repeat the same tomorrow. 😦 Yeah, I’ve just been kind of bummed lately. Again, sorry. I’ll try to be better. If you’ve checked in periodically, thank you! From the very bottom of my heart!
Here I had just been thinking that we may have escaped the late super heat of summer that we often get at the end of September, going into October. But no. Food in the fridge was spoiling even quicker than normal! Well, that was about eight days ago. Since then it’s cooled into the low 90’s and high 80’s.
By Friday we’ll be back in the mid 80’s. We did however have a lovely 20 minutes of rain before the sun came up one morning. And now, at about 3:15 p.m. we had another spurt of showers for about ten minutes. Just long enough to interrupt the kids’ soccer game across the street.
It’s funny how we take rain for granted, even resenting it for interrupting our activities. Yet when it’s been gone a while, how much the smallest of sprinkles are marveled at.
Luckily, the landlord got the gutters cleaned out and covered with a mesh to keep out the leaves and other debris from the two beautiful but very, very messy trees.
This seems to be turning into a diary-post and is going on day two. Serious sun this morning and then as the afternoon wore on, it clouded over (so lovely) and we had another spurt of light rain. It smells so good!
What is it with the mass mind-meld? Five of the 20 or so food blogs I read had recipes with peanuts. Satays, noodle dishes and so on. Sorry but I hate those things. I blame it on the person I used to be married to…the cook. Sadly he did not always excel at interpreting some foreign dishes. His satays and noodle recipes came out very dry and overly spicy. As a result, he drowned them in an assortment of peanut sauces which didn’t help anything.
Sadly, he was not open to any suggestions or the remotest of criticisms even from friends that he foisted these meals upon. It got so that if they sensed any peanut-y entrees coming their way, they made hasty excuses to bug out, leaving me holding the peanut bag so to speak. Thus my strong dislike since I was expected to
eat inhale his “cuisine” and “love” it.
So, yeah, it’s bad enough that pumpkin season is upon us but apparently peanut driven recipes have gripped the collective conscious. No offense to the pumpkin and peanut lovers out there. Enjoy. Just know I’ll be waiting for a different recipe.
Just a side note, I do like several pumpkin things but they are all sweets: like my pumpkin pie and Libby’s pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling (OMG). I could easily consume an entire one all by myself! (Consider yourself warned….)
Well, it looks like we got another drizzling of rain just in time for dinner. How nice, the air just really smells so good!
Just like last year, the Queen palm is quite happy, producing abundant inflorescences full of seeds. And just like last year the “mow and blow gardener” is ignoring them when he should be removing them at the point they first opened. 😦
If he doesn’t, the seeds ripen and fall creating a mound of sticky, slimy, rotting “fruit” that the ants love. Just what we don’t need. And of course he doesn’t rake the mess up after it falls, just let’s it all sit there till the grass grows up and over them creating yet another mound in the lumpy lawn. Once grass-covered he simply mows over them like it’s part of the lawn. If he would remove them when the first open they wouldn’t get to be such large, unwieldy bundles.
Since the beginning of September, I’ve asked him, in person, on five separate occasions to trim the darn things. The last time his response was that he’d have to get permission from the property manager (PM). (Insert a silent scream here.) What’s wild is that the PM already called him several times telling him to remove them, or so she said. When I last spoke with her, she assured me he’d take care of it this week.
To give you an idea of the size of these sprays, the fence next to the palm is six feet tall! So these babies are big.
The mow and blowers come every other Monday. So Monday February 16 was their day. While taking the garbage out today, two days later, I also noticed that the inflorescences STILL hadn’t been cut. Turns out he trimmed the Mexican Windmill palm of several layers of dead branches which was needed but not immediately. As a result of almost four+ months of gardening neglect, the spikes are now huge, ripening and beginning to fall to the ground. They must each weigh at least 100 pounds. And there are three of them! I go through this every year and yet it seems “all new” to the same gardener every single year. Hence the title of this post.
On a totally different note, I just thought I’d let you know about a wonderful little site that’s great and cheap, if like me, you’ve said good-bye to cable (or in my case, never said “hello” to begin with) and are pinching pennies. It’s https://acorn.tv/. Costs $4.99 per month and has lots of British offerings that may not be picked up by the BBC. And aren’t British programs often far better than our U.S. network broadcasting? IMHO.
Got all of the Doc Martin series (only partially available on Hulu), William and Mary (also featuring Martin Clunes) as well as Martin Clune’s Wildlife and Rosemary and Thyme. You can binge-watch to your heart’s content, it’s quite lovely.
Also found Wild at Heart, a production where a family that goes to South Africa on holiday, falls in love with it and stays. Though I do have to say it turns a bit “soapy” on the way through the seven series. Still, fun to watch for the animals and environment. There’s a load of other shows, so check it out if you’re on a budget and looking for new programs. Seriously, lots of other programs, go and have a look!
Well, that’s it for today. BTW, if you’ve got a ton of snow and cold, please, oh please wish it this way. We so need it or it’ll be the longest summer and shortest winter in history. I’m serious! And thanks for stopping by, it means a lot to me. xox
Well, we’re 30+ days into the new year and I’ve already been reading articles here and there about people whose New Year’s resolutions are falling by the wayside. I think this is probably part of the reason I don’t set any. If I want to change something, the most logical way to do this is to just begin…”just do it, now”. New Year’s resolutions simply seem to make change more of an event than it should be. It seems to put more pressure on one. At least to me.
This seems especially true in the area of health. I just calculated that we have 300+ days to go till the next new year. That sounds overwhelming when faced with a resolution and just makes me want to crawl under the covers.
For example, back in December, I noticed I was drinking less and less water which isn’t good for many reasons. As a result I wound up practically inhaling one to two glasses by 4 or 5 p.m. So I made a mental note that whenever I was near the bathroom to stop in and drink half a glass of water. The glass in there holds 12 ounces so this meant I was consuming about 5 to 6 ounces each time.
Over the course of a day, and I’m just “ball-parking” it here, I wind up adding at least six 8 ounce glasses of water to my consumption.
Last week I found something interesting on just how much water you really need based on your weight. On The Lemon Bowl blog I found this post in which Liz notes that your daily requirement for hydration “should be half your weight in ounces”. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you need 80 ounces of water a day which is ten cups.
My other to just do, is keeping the amount of sodium I consume down to 1,200 mg per day. Having recently heard that the government will not only be cracking down on the tons of sugar in everyday products, I read that salt was also going to fall under scrutiny. This makes me quite happy because the amount of sodium in store-bought products is astronomical.
I’ve noticed more and more food blogs as well as recipe sites are including nutritional info on their recipes which I think is great. One problem. Do these bloggers and sites know just how much that is for assorted people? For myself, I’ve set the max at 1,200 mg. per day.
A recent example I found was a dish billed as healthy. It’s a nice six ounce white fish with homemade salsa topping which, of course sounds delicious, but the salsa bumps the dish up to 1131 mg sodium per serving! That would leave me with 69 mg. Sorry, but I’m just not willing to eat only six ounces of fish and call it a day. Why do people dream up recipes with such high sodium scores?
Who knew February was American Heart Month? I didn’t. This post is a total coincidence which started as thoughts about New Year’s resolutions.
BTW, here’s another interesting info graphic. Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to copy it to fit on the page. Here is a link for anyone interested in low sodium cookbooks. And here is a link to 60 recipes from “goredforwomen.org”. Here you’ll find the mg. of sodium per serving for many popular canned soups and the names on the labels can be very misleading like Campbell’s Healthy Request soups. Yikes.
The CDC recommends less than 2,300mg for the average person, 1,500 for people over 51 (or about half the the U.S. population). But in reality, the current intake averages more like 3,300 mg! See the info here from the CDC and this is from 2010. There’s an infographic showing a very conservative breakfast, lunch and dinner plan here. Total for the day? 3,160! No wonder so many people have high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
I also found it interesting to find that “salt” and “sodium” do not mean the same thing, but they are often used interchangeably. Salt, also known by its chemical name sodium chloride, is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature and is used to flavor and preserve food. Sodium is one of the chemical elements found in salt.
More info, courtesy of the FDA:
“USE THE PERCENT DAILY VALUE (%DV) TO COMPARE PRODUCTS
The %DV tells you whether a food contributes a little or a lot to your total daily diet.
- 5%DV (120 mg) or less of sodium per serving is low
- 20%DV (480 mg) or more of sodium per serving is high
I also liked learning the meanings behind the labels on packaging:
“You can also check the front of the food package to quickly identify foods that may contain less sodium. For example, look for foods with claims such as:
- Salt/Sodium-Free → Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
- Very Low Sodium → 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
- Low Sodium → 140 mg of sodium or less per serving
- Reduced Sodium → At least 25% less sodium than in the original product
- Light in Sodium or Lightly Salted → At least 50% less sodium than the regular product
- No-Salt-Added or Unsalted → No salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium-free. Check the Nutrition Facts Label to be sure!”
Well, now that I’ve bored you to tears I’ll leave you with a wee bit of inspiration 🙂
For the last week plus temps had dipped into the low to mid 60’s (15’sC) during the day and low 40’s (4’sC) at night. It’s hard to type when your hands feel like ice cubes which is kind of an oxymoron. “Feel” and “ice cubes”, get it? If they’re ice cubes how can they feel?
Continuing on, I’ve had the heat on every single night because I was so cold. Uncharacteristically, I even turned it on a few times during the day which I rarely do. Don’t want to see my gas bill for the month. Anyhow, today it’s 85F (29.5C)! This is the kind of weather that starts the cold and flu season going. Ugh.
Over the weekend, I ran across an interesting article on the “anniversaries” of historic events that are coming up this year. To the day I die, I’ll always remember watching the moon landing with my parents and brother on a television in the lobby of a hotel in Rome, Italy on July 16, 1969.
Remember how long it took for NASA to figure out Neil Armstrong’s “one small step” because it was so garbled?
This year commemorates the passing of Vincent Van Gogh on July 29, 1890. Did you know he sadly only sold one painting in his lifetime? Recently, his “Still Life, Vase with Daisies and Poppies” sold for $61.8 million to a Chinese movie mogul. Must be a lot of money in Chinese movies.
I know you were expecting one of his paintings, but I find his drawings enchanting. No reliance on color to carry them off, just movement and brushstrokes, so much done with so little. Though I must confess that the painting below is a real favorite,
(if it’s possible for one to have only one favorite).
November will see the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s presentation of the Theory of General Relativity to the Prussian Academy in Berlin.
For more anniversaries (and there are a lot), see this link. You’ll be quite surprised.
If you ever wonder why you pay and pay and pay all those insurance premiums month after month, year after year, I’m here to tell you why. $370,000 is why. That’s what the hospital charged for three weeks “room and board” in their critical care unit. It doesn’t include any tests, doctors, ambulance trips, the week at the interim care unit or the three weeks of visiting nurses. It is only, as stated, room and board.
Do you need some help getting up of the floor? Some smelling salts perhaps? I completely understand your passing out after reading about just a small portion of my bill. After I recovered from seeing it, I ran some numbers. Taking my monthly Blue Cross premiums for the last seven years, I found they averaged about $700 per month, including yearly deductibles. If you only apply the room and board costs for the hospital, I will have been “reimbursed” for over 40 years of premiums!
So yes, this is why one carries insurance. It’s kind of like a game of Russian Roulette. You may never get to the one chamber in the gun with the bullet, but if you do and you eat the bullet, as in have a major illness, you will be really happy to have the insurance.
I won’t even get started on how utterly obscene that bill is. Especially since it doesn’t include all the other services that will be added to it over a seven week period. I dread adding them all up, which I’ll have to do for 2014 taxes. It’ll probably reach half a million dollars. Can you believe that?
It seems that my interest in blogging is waining as my absences here get longer and longer. Not really sure what’s causing it. Part of me wants to moan that it’s the ^&#@%# heat. It’s been in the 100’s for weeks now and it just gets old. I’m sick of the window air conditioner running 24/7.
But it’s probably a combination of things. There’s my little missing budgie, the person who was going to run errands for me only to last about a week and a half plus just a general milieu and loneliness that have melted over me. I know I have to back up and explain since none of this makes much sense I’m sure.
So, about the budgie. A few weeks ago I noticed a build up of bird poo right by the back door. Then there was the night I went for groceries rather late and wound up coming home at almost 8 p.m. and after I dragged the bags to the back porch, I went to open the back door only to have a flurry of feathers and wings explode above me.
It was the little budgie and I’d scared it out of it’s sleep. It in turn fled, running thunk into the roof overhang. Poor little guy 😦 I felt so bad but how was I to know the little creature had appropriated a wee nook in the eaves right above the back door as a little house?
It was sleeping on the conduit that led to the flood light on the back porch. Well, after that I was super careful not to use the back door after 8 at night. Or if I did, I made sure that he knew I was going to interrupt his sleep, so he could fly away and not be so surprised.
I felt rather privileged that the spot was considered safe for sleeping. It seemed like it had sort of adopted me. Yes, I know, I REALLY need a dog. My anthropomorphizing has gone into overdrive. Anyways, it gave me a happy feeling.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. There are essentially five or six songbirds that have called the yards and trees around this house “home” for several years and suddenly one Tuesday, they all vanished, including my little adoptive budgie.
My gut feeling is that a new renter moved in somewhere nearby. One with a cat that was allowed to roam and hunt. I’ll never know but suddenly there are no tweets, chirps or trills in the air. Not a songbird in sight. Even the raucous green parrots have gone away. It gets me irrationally angry but then again how can I be sure? So I’ve felt lonely and hurt. Part of this is from the isolation that comes with the inability to get around like a normal person.
I no longer get out weekly to see my friends in the knitting group or go “window-shopping” the way I used to. The result is feeling more and more cut off from the world. Even my sleep is off kilter as I sit here at 4 a.m. writing this. I am never up this early, much less functioning. And this isn’t the first time. It’s very odd.
My mom used to say that my brother and I could entertain ourselves. That she could sit us down with paper and crayons and not hear a peep from us for hours. Well, that’s probably a good thing at this point. Anyhow the point of writing this isn’t for your sympathy. Heck, everyone has crap in their lives, it’s more to make sense of it for myself really.
Currently, today is the anniversary of our marriage. yeah, big deal. CRH/Jerkoff. 34 years gone to hell. Thanks Chucky.
I find that if something is bothering me, writing about it can “right it” for me or at least have it make sense to some degree. Well, it’s now 6:40 a.m. and it’s lights out. I should go back to bed and see if I can wring any sleep out of what’s left of the night before the hellish heat returns. To be continued….