kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I must quit vegetating!

Over a week ago a friend emailed me and made a statement about life after the kids are gone and retirement that really slapped me on the side of the head.  I realized that I am really wasting what I have left of my life.  Sitting around with no motivation and no energy is not the way I want to spend the next twenty years.

I have been so sedentary over the winter and now it is continuing into the summer.  And when I'm depressed and sitting around doing nothing, well....I'm doing SOMETHING and it's usually eating.  And the pounds have a sneaky way of adding up and on.  Shortness of breath and more lethargy are the result.  Vicious Cycle!

The decision to try Weight Watchers *AGAIN* has been forced upon me if I want to have any life at all.  But does it ever take time!  And planning.  And I become obsessive.  All my creative energy will now be channeled into planning meals, trying to make them healthy, and attractive enough to keep me from straying off into the lazy world of prepackaged food.  Eating non-healthy is so EASY!

So which of my other creative outlets can I sacrafice?  Rug hooking? No.  Knitting?  Probably.  Staring out the kitchen window?  Yeah, that one I can do without.  And less weight means more energy.  Right?

So to celebrate the life-changing decision, Zip and I took a trip to the Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle PA.  The shop is housed in a lovely historic barn.  Down the hill behind the barn is the famous LeTort trout stream.

About twenty years ago I used to work here as a sous chef.  It was great fun and I got to meet quite a few rather popular cookbook authors.  They have a delightful teaching kitchen where you can watch the meals being prepared and then get to sample them.

The shop is FILLED with every kind of cooking equipment imaginable. 

The pots and pans.

Check out this huge selection of baking pans.  On the other side of the shelf are all the cake and bundt and specialty baking pans.

These are just part of the 'gadget' walls.

Small kitchen appliances for every need.

The coffee and tea counter always has a few samples for tasting.

A peek in the door of the teaching kitchen.  They were just finishing up a class so I didn't go inside.  The large mirror over the counter makes it possible to watch the chef as food is being prepared. 

You can hardly go there and not come home inspired.  They also have table settings, fine china, linens, cookbooks and tempting things too numerous to list.  If you love cooking and kitchen decorating, this is a great place to visit.

Afterward we drove down to the bridge and looked at the beautiful meadow with the stream flowing through.  Such a beautiful and peaceful place!

So now my vegetating needs to take a different direction.

More greens have come into the house and been consumed in the last week than all of the last six months.
I am trying to keep it simple but interesting. 

Here are some of the results.  Yeah, I'm taking pictures.
Ham, eggs and asparagus for breakfast.

Tabbouleh for lunch. This is made with avacado, zucchini, cilantro and lime juice instead of the middle-eastern version with cucumber, mint and lemon.

Our local Weis market had a really good sale on seafood this week.
I sauteed mahi-mahi in fresh tomato and cilantro.

The leftovers made a great next-day lunch in a pita with avacado, greens, and some taco seasoning.

A summer feast!  Lobster, corn and a fresh green salad.

Summer rolls stuffed with greens, zucchini strips and imitation crab, with an Oriental dipping sauce.

See what I mean about taking a lot of time?  Planning and preparing creative meals is a full-time job.
I just hope I can stay interested for more than a week.

So there is no new rug being started.  My sweater is still waiting to be blocked and sewn together and the socks are back in the knitting bag.

I have done some sewing.  Brad and Kami are going to be at Old Bedford Village this weekend for a "wild west weekend".  Brad needed a pair of late 19th century pants so that was my one productive effort of the past week.

 The  fabric is 100% wool so the leftovers can be used in a rug.

I will close with some cuteness. 

We have a small group of stray/half feral cats in our neighborhood.  We put out food, but only one or two are tame enough to touch.  This is one of the wild babies from this spring.  I know I have ENOUGH cats, but if I can ever catch this one, it will be an indoor kitty.

Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Great Activity Slump

Life has been pretty boring around here for the past week.  You'd think now that summer is here we would be doing interesting things.  Not so!

Zip has been mowing grass and going fishing.  I've been working on sewing orders and knitting these boring socks that I'm sick of already.  And listening to books on CD.  Lots of books on CD.

Even the cats are in a stupor from the heat.

Yesterday the weather was a bit cooler so we drove to Carlisle to check out the Aldi grocery store.  These are kind of hit or miss discount stores.  I had found some yummy ravioli with cheese and hot Italian sausage at the store in Chambersburg.  We were hoping to get more of it in the Carlisle store.  Big disappointment.  But it got us out of the house and on the road for half a day.  Zip stopped in Boiling Springs to get supplies at the flyfishing shop.  I walked over to the lake to take a few pictures.  I love this area!

Flower planters on the bridge at the end of the lake.

A duck peacefully swimming.  There were more crowded around a family who were feeding them.

Some lovely old homes surround the edges of the lake.

There were other things I could have photographed as we went flying down the road, but by the time I am able to say, 'gee, that would have made a nice picture', we are half a mile past.  Zip doesn't waste any time.  I think he's afraid I might want to stop at a yard sale!

Today we spent the afternoon with Brad and Kami and grand-daughter Emily.  We had lunch together in their screened patio which is decorated like a German beer garden.

A small part of Brad's stein collection.

He did the painting of the German sayings.  Don't ask me to translate!

They have been working on their water garden.  This year they added the waterfall part at the top left.  All the components have been gotten at yard sales for less than $20.  They plan to add more topsoil, stones,  and plant hostas to make it look more natural.  Last year some frogs came and took up residence.  We're hoping they come back this year.

Another water garden features a Gem hand pump that they found at a flea market.  More flowers will be planted around it.  The vine in the background is a hops plant that covers the whole front of the patio area.

On the home front.  I haven't started another rug yet.  It's on my To-Do List!

Here are the socks I'm tired of working on.  I wanted to work them both at the same time on two circular needles, but I kept getting confused as to which row I was on and when to make my increases.  Plus taking the two strands of yarn from the same ball caused a lot of tangling and the need to untwist.  So they are now being made one at a time.

The bummer is that on the first sock the heel turning went perfectly.  When I began the heel on the second sock, things didn't go as well even though I was using the same instructions.  What's with that???  I did the heel over three or four times before I got an acceptable heel.  Yeesh!

I will close with one of my favorite pictures of Deiter.
He always makes me smile!

Hope you are having an enjoyable week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Horay for Summer!

Hot weather is usually more than I can handle, but you will not hear me complaining....yet!
It has been beautiful outside the past few days.  And inside all the fans are whirring.  I am happy!

From the garden we are getting fresh strawberries and tomatoes.
We just planted the six strawberry plants last year and we are getting a nice bowlful every two or three days.

In the past Zip and I have declined to purchase 'patio' tomatoesw because we have a large garden area and selecting compact growing plants has not been necessary.  Last year we went to the local greenhouse to get our usual full sized tomatoes and were seduced into the patio brand by the lovely ripe tomatoes already on the sturdy little plants.  They turned out to be nice medium sized tomatoes with great flavor.  Good for sandwiches or salads.  This year we bought two plants and already have had about eight yummy tomatoes.

 Zip has planted sweet corn, green beans, beets and some herb plants so far.

I was looking out the kitchen window a few days ago and say this brown 'thing' in the grass beyond the garden.  We are trying to keep an eye out for those pesky groundhogs.  This did not move fast enough for one of those critters.  I made another guess and Zip took the camera and went to check it out.  I was right!  A snapping turtle!

And she had dug a hole.  I hope she laid some eggs in there!.

On Friday, Zip and I spent the whole day out cruising around to some favorite places.
We went to East Berlin to Woolgatherings.  Carol is selling her knitting supplies at closeout prices.  I bought a big bag of yarn and some needles.
I've been obsessing over sock knitting lately and wanted to get some yarn to make contrasting heels.  The two variegated yarns came from Joann's and Hobby Lobby.  We stopped at Mannings and got the solid color.  It is much more lime green than shown in the picture.

Here is the sock so far.  Now I have to decide which technique to use for the heel.  The yarn has more purple than shows in the picture.

In our travels we stopped at Ashcombe greenhouse.  I know I've shown this place before, but it's so lovely I couldn't resist a repeat.

As you walk in the gate you are greeted with a gorgeous display of color.

Inside the greenhouses are packed with a huge variety of flower and vegetable plants.

Herbs for every letter of the alphabet.


This display made me smile.  It looks like the garden patio for the modern witch!

I love this elaborate finch cage.

On Memorial Day Monday, Willa and Chuck invited us to their house to enjoy the peaceful setting around their goldfish pond.

The built a small stream that trickles down a bank and spills into the pond using some natural rock formations and other stones found in the mountains.

Their backyard is shady so hostas are featured plants.

We had a nice dinner of pasta and salad with flatbread.  They are getting ready to sell their home and move to Missouri.  Willa has been busy cleaning and packing and Chuck has been painting and fixing.  Zip and I will be sad to see these good friends leaving.

The kitties have been seeking out the coolest places to nap.  Deiter likes to lay in the bathtub where the porcelain is cool on his fur.  Penny and Reggie lay on the sewing room floor under the ceiling fan.  Tipper lays in the window on the shady side of the house.  Izzy is on the kitchen table where I'm cutting fabric with the fan going full blast.

Hope you are finding your own comfortable spots to enjoy the summer weather.