the dirt

garden1 I did manage to get in a garden this year. So far I have produced two small yet ludicrously expensive zucchini. I got two raised beds put in and I was planning on a couple more…I don’t have a lot of sunny spots, so I have to make do with what I got. I like a messy little garden where all the plants are cheek to cheek.

hubbard1 I only planted one of the beds with seedlings from Home Depot, the other bed was planted entirely by squirrels. The squirrels took the seeds from the hubbard squash I gave them last thanksgiving and planted them around the yard, so i transplanted them into the bed along with a few peanut plants. I doubt I will see squash or peanuts but I am willing to take the chance. I think I should have thinned out the squash plants,I just sort of have them all a chance and they are taking over the yard in a really scary way. It will be interesting to see where this gets to.

peanut1

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cheeky monkey

cheeky72 About a month after Spider died, an ACO friend in Massachusetts offered me a dog she confiscated from a less than desirable home; not abused just your typical white trash gun nut with too many dogs.   Cheeky Monkey is a bit of a smart ass. She gets along with the cats to a point, I think she misses having other dogs to chase.    She sleeps deep under the covers and dumps out all the recycling and licks out all the cans and follows me around from room to room as if she will miss something important.  She’s a funny little goofball, I wish I was a better doggie mama. I really only speak cat.

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No, there is too much. Let me sum up –

clematis72
After all these years I took my longest break ever from this website….too many bad things were happening to me …and are still happening…and writing about them only made them worse instead of better. The editing job blew up in my face, and it took me AGES to get paid half of what I was owed for all the work I did… There was a huge flood in the basement that killed the drier and a lot of other things…. and then I got bitten by a friends cat and it went very very badly and I got the medical bills to prove it…the website got all virus infected…all the investment in my online business has not paid for itself, so I am exactly as broke as I was before I sold the Methuen house..and now I am in the middle of the summer doldrums where no one buys anything…all very familiar territory.

On the bright side I am writing a new book…I kinda of had to, if i didn’t find SOMETHING to do with my brain I was going to off myself and … there was a couple of low blood sugar days there when that was no joke. I am not sure if writing the blog again will suck up all my creativity, or if i am just writing this post to avoid writing something else. Who knows? let see where it goes.

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snow happens

11068368_10153365844485312_6750912768624404024_n oh for fuck’s sake…. another 4 inches of snow this morning, granted by the end of the day it had mostly melted away. But I am getting sick of waiting for the day when I am NOT sick AND the weather is warm enough for me to be active outside. I am still coughing for some reason..who knows why? maybe I’ll die. hell Monday I slept for 12 hours and I got up tired. Glad I don’t have a real job, I need my naps.

I am in the mood to start the renovations in the yard, but until I can do it without getting sicker.  the only things I have managed to do is start sketching out the yard.  and figured out the cost for the wood for the raised beds.  Since I am seriously broke again…ah…back to my natural state….. I will pace myself and perhaps build one a week.   But first I have to dig up all the flat stones and bricks in the yard and put them where they will do the most good.  Didn’t I BUY this place because the yard was nice…well basically it’s not that nice.  It’s just green.

2015-04-09 18.50.22 The only other thing I accomplished was to drag the bike in from the shed. It needs a tune up at the very least….and the porch is another problem. Over Easter I was reminded that I have to make room for guests someplace in this squalid mess. Another thing I am waiting for warm weather for. When it’s warm enough to open all the doors in the place, I will do some serious cleaning and rearranging….and strangely I’m thinking of hammocks attached to the rafters…. doesn’t require any floor space, and it won’t matter where the cat boxes are… huh? huh? good idea right? yeah well we’ll see, never could sleep in them myself. can’t hardly sleep in the piece of shit futon/bunk I have now.

I have an idea about some reflective insulation fabric upstairs…it’s not paneling, but it will cover up the fiberglass insulation enough to sleep up there and not die right? well, see, it all hinges on money. All the money I invested in the business was pretty much a waste…4K for the website and 5K in products and sales are about the same as last year, i’m pretty much fucked, i should have sold out and just gotten a real job. It would take at least 3 or 4 years before I go postal and want to kill everyone I know. nah, not really…at least if the tiniest bit of sales come in, it more money than i would make after I quit whatever job I currently hate.

2015-04-09 18.48.33 and if it continue to snow like this, i’m gonna get even more openly hostile and suicidal. I need to get out of the house. Even if to root around in the mud. If the air is warm enough I am sure my cough will get burnt out of me. I washed the panniers and got a new backpack just for biking to work. I am spending a lot of time THINKING about getting out, that’s gotta count for something.

sickening thud

2015-04-04 14.21.02 One minute he was there, and 5 minutes later he wasn’t. I debated about going anywhere for Easter, but I decided to spend a tank of gas and go visit my aunt and cousins on Saturday and then visit my friends at Wolf Adventure on Sunday. Spider and I had a very nice day back in Massachusetts, he got on everyone’s lap and had his picture taken, ate a ton of ham bits, and long around midnight he fell down a flight of hardwood stairs and died instantly at the bottom on the slate floor. well his heart was still beating for a few minutes, but he wasn’t THERE anymore. I just keep hearing the sound over and over in my head.

Sunday was a long sad morning, i treated my aunt to some of my scratch crepes. Instead of going straight home which was what i wanted to do, i made the trek up to Goffstown for another Easter dinner with some framily. We put Spider in one of the empty freezers. There’s no good place to bury him up here in Portland and the ground there is still frozen. I will go back in a month or so and we can bury him. He’s such a tiny creature shouldn’t take long.2015-04-05 15.04.57

I did to meet Teeka the new rescue, she was very shy, so i got a real good finger sniff. Since the other wolf hybrids like me, i am sure next time she will come a lot closer.  She was another rescue from an owner who didn’t treat her with dignity.

I am not in a terrible rush to get another companion animal..not that my house isn’t full of critters now, but cats really care about what you can do for them, any affection you get is purely accidental. Dogs love you more than they love themselves, totally different dynamic. But my life is different now, and hopefully it will continue to be more different. I’d like to have a dog to walk and hike with, but then i don’t want a dog that SHOULD be with children or chasing sheep or running everyday, that wouldn’t be fair to them. Basically I will just wait to see what the universe provides. Because nature abhors a vacuum and I am sure another opportunity to rescue someone will come along. I know I don’t want another tiny delicate dog, and then again I don’t want another 110 lb dogs i have to fight for the center of the bed. something in the middle will be fine..eventually. I keep looking around for him and not finding him.

 

breathe easy

2015-03-31 14.51.49 This is probably the first day in two months I haven’t felt like killing myself…well yesterday probably was.   More than two weeks ago, the happily little idiot who comes in to do the filing twice a week, went around the office offering people her sickness..and low and behold two days later I presented with a bouncing baby bronchial infection.  To be fair she got it too…but i would have been happier just to throat punch her.    I haven’t been this sick in about 8 years.  No work means no money, so now that I am marginally better, still coughing like coal miner, I can at least swill down enough dayquill to go to work everyday.

Don’t take my word for it, but from what I can feel the weather has changed significantly the last couple of days… there’s still snow..but what’s not snow is mud, which is a good sign.  You can even randomly wake up and see snow fall outside…yes..still…but it’s too warm now, it melts immediately. But it’s the principle of the thing, it needs to STOP snowing.  Since it started snowing….when November? my entire universe dwindled down to just these three rooms and the inside of my truck.  One of the reasons i don’t ENJOY fucking around outside in winter is BECAUSE it is to freaking easy for me to bronchitis and pneumonia and god knows what all.

But the weather HAS changed, i have been able to go outside for small amounts of time with just a t-shirt…i KNOW – it’s shocking. I had almost forgotten WHY i moved here.  And then i remembered all the freaking chores I had put off until spring, now that’s come all flooding back to me, i’m all kinds of depressed, i just don’t have the time to wallow anymore.  And that’s what this entire winter has been – one big wallow-.  if i wasn’t shoveling i was curled up trying to keep warm and getting six kinds of depressed.  NONE of the things I was supposed to do over the winter came to pass..i didn’t save any money, i didn’t MAKE any more money, I just nearly sort of broke even.

I have managed to realize my goal..my life’s dream if you will…I can be POOR anywhere, I didn’t to be poor and miserable back in Mass, I can be poor and miserable here in Maine. But at the very minimum I can now go outside, i don’t have to be walled up inside my tiny house.

I put in two screens on the porch so far, the temperature is still too cold to leave them open for long, but I did manage to turn off the heat yesterday.   It will be nice to put the heat money towards something else, like the car insurance.

the only thing I managed to accomplish while being sick was to change banks..don’t ask…to the one around the corner AND open a savings account..i KNOW RIGHT? how ambitious of me.  But seriously, I am seriously fuqued, because i don’t have the nice nest egg to finish the upstairs anytime soon.  I have to DEAL with that before summer, some how, i really don’t want to keep sleeping on this awful bunk in my living room.  But I do have to move all these boxes of books and dvds off the porch up to the second flood so i can start finishing the porch.  My goal was to use the porch to offset the summer heat, so it’s got to be at least presentable – who knows i could have company…it could happen.

So I have a list of shit to do that doesn’t involve spending any money, Most of it is back breaking, like removing the shrubs in the yard and scraping and painting those ‘new’ used window which are apparently more rotten than i figured.  The next $200 bucks i manage to save will go to a used dewalt nail gun… IF i have the nail gun, my rationalization is that i can make my own start finishing the second floor…it will be ugly as sin, but at least with the insulation covered up, I can move the bed up there.  So that’s the plan. Aside from the normal, work work work, pay bills, be broke.

I did manage to pull the bike out of the shed and over the snow and mud into the house.   I may take it down to the Gear Hub to get it’s spring cleaning, they have actual bike stands there.  My new plan will be to start biking to work as soon as the mornings are warmer.  That’s another plan, but first I am going back to hit the dayquil….and wash it down with some ice cream.

 

 

puddly all over

2015-03-10 13.40.14 Well THAT’s lying, but to be fair it is in direct sunlight.  Spring showed up the other day…or at least the beginnings of mud season…no I don’t look at the calendar. I look at the driveway, and it’s all puddly.  The snow is melting very quickly, it may not have been 80 degrees the other day, but I was outside in a t-shirt for a couple of hours, so it had to be at least 50, well maybe it was 60- something but i’m from Maine now and we aren’t pussies.2015-03-08 16.38.44

After I shoveled the piles of melting snow off the porch, with the sun shining on my face, i got all ambitious and cleaned out the truck, i washed the disgusting floor mat and emptied the truck bed of all the crap I was hiding back there, tell me again what i was going to do with all those pallets and cinder blocks? oh yeah, garden…right.   that’s when the yard is all green and not squishy…still have a hell of way to go yet.  Still 2 feet of snow in the yard, i can see the top of the bird bath, and still can’t get out to the shed to get my bike.2af77efd-7eb5-4cdb-9e85-b4a4d46a695c

I rewarded myself with some fried smelt and chowder at Susan’s Fish and Chip Shop it wasn’t EXACTLY like a day at the beach but it will do until one gets here.  If i am not careful,  I may slowly eat my way through their menu.  Fried food will be a no no for quite a while.    But alas I NEED to get on my bike, or at least get off my ass, I am the absolutely heaviest I have ever been and I am extremely unhappy about it.  I came to maine to DO things damn it!  I picked this damn house because it lays between two large Portland Trails networks.10403007_10153290794120312_2895573225176497228_n

$(KGrHqNHJBkE-gORnzvqBPyRDgy1IQ~~60_12I dragged the damn bikes, and the damn boat up here. Just because I don’t like winter sports, doesn’t mean I need to keep sitting on my ass like this. Among the things I spent my money on lately was a copy of the AMC Maine Hikes but I am SOOO not ready for that… hell I wheeze just carrying the laundry up the damn stairs.   But a girl can dream can’t she?     I have to get out and shed some of this weight first.   We will start with the Portland Trails Map.   I am not yet ready to wear my new Woot T-shirt…. Points to anyone who gets the reference…if you don’t click here.   I am toying with the idea of walking to work everyday once the snow is gone. It’s not particularly far, probably 15 minutes, my issue is that some of it is on streets without sidewalks…busy ones…and that’s just too dangerous. I am gonna have to break out the bike early this year.  Speaking of that… I will need some better panniers for it and geeze…a lock.    Bye Bye frugal February – hello March Madness…..and yes I bought the Moosetini shirt too.

 

 

 

shirt off my chest

2015-02-27 15.00.52Okay this is just a small rabbit hole I went down last week, another in a line of inexplicable behavior patterns. I was reading a book by a thru-hiker and she was waxing poetic about a particular Bob Marley t-shirt she was given. Thru hikers carry very little clothing on their treks, so the three shirts you are carrying take on some importance. So I stood back and examined what t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them, concert shirts, advertising, souvenir, gift, or experience shirts MEAN in modern American society.

2015-02-27 15.08.12Over the decades I have HAD a few t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on them that I was very fond of, but by this point in my life, I had frittered them away by wearing them and washing them and wearing them out. Personally i don’t LIKE having things printed ON My tits. But I NOW see that having a t-shirt with something on it, is appropriate attire for certain occasions, usually something laborious and casual: hiking, moving boxes, cleaning attics, outdoor group activities like sports, or river cleanups etc…now i have participated in all of these things and because I choose my clothes for their utility and life expectancy, my chosen shirt has nearly always been a solid color thick t-shirt, a navy pocket free Champion – which says NOTHING about me.

2015-03-02 14.52.55Do I WANT my chest to say something? What do i want it to say? since I have avoided collecting ‘participation’ shirts, even so far as taken them when proffered and donating them on the way home.  I had nothing ‘personal’ to express. I WISH I still had t-shirts from concerts I attended back in the 80s and 90s but I am sure I wouldn’t fit in them if i did. I have steadfastly refused all brand labels on my clothes, even so much as removing them with seem rippers, I would be hardpressed to think of one I WOULD promote on my billboard sized boobs.  I would love to have the balls to wear a Hunter Thompson or Warren Zevon’s skull themed design at 28 yes, at 52 NO, that would definitely attract unwanted attention.

So I made up some of my ‘rules’ and I started looking for a couple to add to my wardrobe. narrowing my criteria down to something an actual Mainer would wear but not a tourist. Something not too populist, but not too obscure. On ebay I found that most of  the concert shirts I once owned are now ridiculously expensive, and generally not something i could afford to wear and abuse – aside from that, there about one Jillion shirts on ebay if you have the time to browse them. And the only concert shirts you will find at thrift stores are few and far between, they must all fly out the door and onto ebay within minutes, perhaps even the backdoor. 2015-02-27 15.02.44 By repeatedly checking I found out that if you see something you like buy it cause it won’t be there the next day. That’s why happened to the lobster and the blowfish t-shirts, i was undecided about them, until they were gone.

I eventually bought a handful to try on account – the ‘fit’ would also have to be taken into account.  If I didn’t like wearing it, it would just be taking up room in the drawer so I felt test driving was called for.

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Right now MY shirt of choice is this stylized MAINE shirt.  One would consider it a tourist shirt, but it’s subtle and so comfortable I think i have had it on for a couple of days now. I don’t expect it to last very long if i love it to death.  So far it’s the only KEEPER in the bunch though the Moose is now a favorite design.   And who knows perhaps I will acquire some NEW ‘participation’ shirts as I go along.

 

goldfish memory

2015-03-06 18.04.32By my count I am about 5 posts behind…i randomly added reminders to my calendar and there are 5 ignored reminders, go figure.  I wasn’t especially busy this week, but I just couldn’t provoke myself to sit at the computer long enough.  I have to be careful, if i sit at the computer for any length of time, then i have to actually WORK. If I avoid the computer I can do whatever I want, and hence all the MUST DO things are still sitting there waiting for me when i have the time to get to it. And a lot of little stupid projects get done while I avoid the big ones.

I had repeatedly refused to set up this fish tank from the 1st day I brought the damn-goldfish  into the house from the pond, yes that’s what I am calling them…damn-goldfish, the goldfish that will not die.  First I put them in bowls, and when i got tired of cleaning the bowls, i tried two small fish tanks, each with a filter, and i got tired of trying to keep those clean, and I admitted i had to set up the TANK.

I have HAD tanks before, and I personally find them a pain in the ass. Perhaps because I never embraced fish as a hobby, mostly just as a distraction. Once it is set up, it is becomes a commitment to keep it attractive and healthy, at practically whatever cost.

As you can see I haven’t painted the living room, not installed a new floor, and I will have to break down the bookcases and NOT be sleeping in the living room to do these things.  That probably won’t happen for a year, so delaying setting up the tank doesn’t really matter anymore.

Of course there was a list of things that had to be done before I could move the fish.    The vintage tank stand was old and rusted and in the last house it held a bookpress and I would have to spray paint it.  The Antique tank, had last held a field mouse, so it had to be scrubbed clean with rock salt.  And I had to buy rocks for the bottom, AND I had to move the dvd shelf from the spot it would all occupy.

10292538_10153057484070312_5908606184154368450_nI did all of these things a little at a time, throwing a coat of paint on the stand every time I turned the laundry and so forth.  By yesterday I was ready to move the fish, and remarkably I got it done without making a huge wet mess, killing the fish or breaking any of the three slippery glass boxes. (hint, i wore my hiking shoes while i did it.)

After spending all that damn money on tanks, filters, and filter cartridges, water treatment chemicals, other water additives, two sorts of foods, heavy duty shelf brackets, now spray paint,and rocks, these damn-goldfish are still alive.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just LEAVE THEM THE POND ? and let them take their chances? maybe they wouldn’t have frozen to death in the 18″ deep pond, but I doubt it.  I could have just given them away, maybe they would be happier somewhere else.  Now I have this tank in my living room that like the cats, and the squirrels will demand attention. That’s not really in keeping with my new life, and my new aim to simplify things is it?  Why the hell do I always  GO the long way around the mountain?  When given a problem to solve that is usually the route I choose.  If I had just given them away this could have been avoided entirely.  I will have to remember this.

balls and jars

2015-02-20 14.28.19

Last year before I moved, I jettisoned all my plastic food containers, regardless of how much I paid for them..all the snap wares, etc… and I went with Wide Mouth Ball Jars ONLY.   I still have to use  plastic grip jars for volume bulk storage…the square shape is more efficient and i won’t drop them and break them. That’s the only plastic I still own but they have lasted quite a while.

I just got sick of all the odd sized odd shaped containers. With the clear fridge shelves and clear jars I can see what’s in them. Sometimes i don’t use them, say if i am putting a leftover meal that i’m going to eat tomorrow, i will just throw a plate over the plate or bowl. but i don’t even use plastic wrap or foil in the fridge. Though sliced cheeses don’t store well in them, cubes or chunks of things do fine. Like baking chocolate and nuts. if you open a can of olives or a can of anything, I put the remainder in a jar with a reusable lid.

The 24 oz is my most useful size, after making dinner, it usually holds all my leftovers, and takes up the least room in the fridge. It will also hold bacon, blocks of cheese, sticks of cream cheese or butter etc..   The benefit of the 24 oz, is that it is straight sided, no neck, easy to get food in and out. I can fit my hand more or less inside for cleaning. The 16 oz short fat one is my second my used size.  I reserve the 32 oz size for soups.

With the one size, ALL the covers fit, no more having to root around for the proper cover.  And I adore the new plastic screw caps from Ball. Ball is also starting to add more lids…a sippy cup, straw holder, and a shaker top but i think only regular size.   I use these jars for almost everything, that goes in the fridge or small amounts in the dry goods cupboard.

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Benefits:

Readily available – best prices are canning season, but even the hardware store, walmart, target. under $15 for 9 or 12 sometimes under $10!  the 24oz come 9 to a case…target $10 

Easy to clean, I have never found them to be difficult at all. the worst that happens is I have to let them soak.

Uniform covers – one size fits all – you never have to ‘find the right lid’. [including the plastic reusable covers, they have a sip and straw lid and now an infuser.

Third party products available… like the Recap jar pour spout   Cuppow Lid,  Wide Mouth Chalk board labels i’m sure there’s more out there.

you can freeze in them. as long as you don’t fill past the ‘freeze fill line’ 

you can store spices and dry goods in them.

the threads fit on a blender., no kidding…i will need to get a blender.

Vacuum food storage units have adapters for the wide mouth ball jars

You can pack a salad in them.  There’s even a little wide mouth sized container for salad dressing. – there HAS to be a yogurt container that does that.

and of course 1001 uses that aren’t even FOOD related.  

I didn’t think about any of those things when I went over to glass, all i was thinking was where’s the goddamn lid for the tupperware!

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