Progress in healing

Yet another cabinet member has been announced to a fanfare of “Oh, no!” Amigo didn’t remember the name, but he remembered enough to inform me that the new Secretary of Education will be a “billionaire school choice advocate.” I can only take so many of these announcements. They’re bad for my blood pressure. In the interest of my own health, let’s look for some silver linings.

The next time a woman runs for president, she will not have to jump the same hoops that Hillary did. Trailblazers, Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton included, blazed a trail so that others can follow.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We’re bringing mashed potatoes, butternut squash, Packer veggies (peas and corn), and cranberry sauce. Have I forgotten anything? La Petite will bring the wine. The potatoes are in the crock pot as I type. Oh, pies! I bought pies from a local bakery this morning.

The nearby meat market (I love that place) was hopping. In fact, I changed my route to avoid the traffic on their corner as I was on the way to the bakery, another small business I love. I walked in, paused to inhale, and then picked up a box of cookies while I waited for my turn. The problem with shopping at a local bakery is simple; I always come out with more than I planned to buy. Problem? Maybe that’s not a problem. Small Business Saturday is coming up, and I saw two small businesses that were doing well already today.

Amigo has already found Internet radio stations that are playing 100% Christmas music. I’ll make a list, check it twice, and bookmark a few to listen to at work. Now if I can stop myself from singing along…

I predict January will bring another down period. This inauguration will be hard to take. But for now, let’s look at positives. For those who celebrate, enjoy your Thanksgiving.

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Buying a Dishwasher – fun?

We did the research online before heading to the Big Box store. On the short drive there, I tapped into as many Pokemon Stops as I could (to fill my bag with balls, etc.), and Chuck told me all about the features we could get.

Sales Dude in Blue approached, and we welcomed him. He knew what he needed to know, so we asked our questions, got answers, made our decision, and ordered a dishwasher to be delivered and installed in a few weeks.

That’s the short story.

Somehow, within this entire shopping journey, we discovered that we have a great deal in common with Sales Dude in Blue. Gardening, canning, foraging. Foraging! Water conservation, rain barrels, desire to see more cities rewarding those who conserve. Cataract surgery. Cataract surgery? Yes, indeed, Sales Dude in Blue recognized a particular glint that indicates eye surgery, and asked if I was satisfied with my results. For the most part, yes, I answered. If the left retina had stayed attached, I’d be more content.

But anyway, we’re replacing our aging dishwasher in a few weeks. Days, in fact, before Election Day. Oh, my, even the behavior of a major appliance can make me think of November 8th. I sense a theme here.

We didn’t talk politics with Sales Dude in Blue. We didn’t need to. And when we’ve had the dishwasher for a few days and Election Day is done, I’ll have more reasons to sigh with relief.

 

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Lots of Crocks – the results After

I have a 3 gallon Redwing stoneware crock that I bought at an antique mall. I also found a very large (6 gallon, I estimate) that had a huge crack in it. I caulked the crack in the crock, and then set it aside. I plan to plant in both crocks. You can see the #3 at the back of the table.

 

the five new pieces in front of the 3 qt in back

the five new pieces in front of the 3 qt in back

Here’s the “before” picture outside on the deck in better light.

Here they are in the sunshine.

Here they are in the sunshine. Some are in better shape than others.

And now, the “After” picture. I was pleasantly surprised with the condition after cleaning. Most were just dirty, not damaged.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Readers, I’m thinking of planting chives in the #2, and maybe succulents in the cheese and butter crocks. What do you think?

 

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Supporting the Volunteers

I posted this Wish List recently with a comment that many items on the list aren’t eco-friendly. I gave in and bought several items to keep the volunteers hydrated and happy.

-as seen in local Democrat HQ

-as seen in local Democrat HQ

I gave in and bought plastic utensils, paper napkins, tissues, and cleaning wipes. I didn’t go for brand name products unless there was a clear difference in price and/or quality. The coffee cups I found were biodegradable, not the icky foam alternative. I stared at the paper napkins for a while; I haven’t bought paper napkins in years, so I had no idea what kind of prices to expect.

We (La Petite and I) dropped off the goodies at the Democrats’ office. The volunteers were very grateful, especially for the bottled water. The weather was hot, the air conditioner was unreliable, and they’d run out of water a few days earlier.

In exchange for the donations, I asked only for two signs. I’m the first on our block to show tangible evidence of voting preferences.

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More than Voting

“Don’t boo — vote.” –President Obama, among others, at the 2016 Democratic convention

Vote. That’s number one. The second on the list: how can I help? The obvious way to help is donating money. I’ve donated some, and my union dues donate to pro-education candidates as well. But there’s no possible way I can personally make a difference equal to the huge infusion of cash that the Super-PACs provide or the wealthy supporters often send toward the conservative side of the ballot.

Here’s another way a small donation can have an impact.

-as seen in local Democrat HQ

-as seen in local Democrat HQ

Many of the volunteers are young people. They are highly motivated and energetic. They are also, most of them, broke. The few that hold paid positions aren’t raking it in. I’ve put in less time this election (so far) than I have in the past. But I’m a savvy shopper, and I can find these items in bulk and at reasonable prices.

The only trouble is this: so many of the items on this list are far from eco-friendly. How can I address the needs of the office and stay true to my environmentalist roots? That, my friends, will be another post.

Let’s hear it, readers. How do you support your candidate, no matter which side of the ballot?

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Signs that it’s an Election Year

Readers, you’ve seen my pictures of various campaign signs. The Trump sign next to the “slow” sign in a trailer park. The “Republicans for Voldemort” bumper sticker. The signs from the recall election that spelled governor “governer”.

I was shopping for a wedding gift and for my own kitchen at the Penzey’s Spices store in town, and I saw this.

nonpartisan, but clear

nonpartisan, but clear

Penzey’s encourages their customers to vote. I think I’ve found yet another reason to shop here.

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Crocks for Planting: The Auction Chapter

I have a 3 gallon Redwing stoneware crock that I bought at an antique mall. I also found a very large (6 gallon, I estimate) that had a huge crack in it. I caulked the crack in the crock, and then set it aside. I plan to plant in both crocks.

I lost out on a few crocks in online auctions, and I was bummed. Then I saw a generic label of “Lots of Crocks” in another auction. On closer examination, I recognized that one was a 2 gallon Redwing crock, dirty and possibly cracked. The others might or might not be good enough to use as planters along with those I already had, but it was worth a try.

Yesterday I brought them home.

the five new pieces in front of the 3 qt in back

the five new pieces in front of the 3 qt in back

You can’t get a good look at them in the dark garage, so I moved them outside for some natural light.

Here they are in the sunshine.

Here they are in the sunshine. Some are in better shape than others.

Kaukauna Cheese!

Kaukauna Cheese!

Did it cost one dollar and 59 cents, or one and 59/100 of a penny?

Did it cost one dollar and 59 cents, or one and 59/100 of a penny?

Butter from Sheboygan; and a lot of stain or rust.

Butter from Sheboygan; and a lot of stain or rust.

And finally, the crock that led me to bid on this lot.

And finally, the crock that led me to bid on this lot.

My plan: with baking soda and salt, perhaps a vinegar/water rinse, and a lot of bow grease, I’ll see how these pretty little crocks clean up. Then I’ll decide what to plant in each one. Chives might do well in the #3.

What do you think, readers? Do you think these crocks have a future? Do you have advice for cleaning them?

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Random Thoughts at the Grocery Store

Years ago, when I successfully canned my first batches of jams, I was warned. “Jam is the gateway drug for canning. You’ll never be able to stop.”

It’s true. My home-canned inventory grows every year. Part of the joy of canning is getting downstairs to bring up a jar of cherry-rhubarb jam or home-grown salsa instead of writing it on the list and shopping for it. Another pleasure in the canning world is walking down the grocery store aisle and thinking, “I don’t need to buy that. I make my own.”

Let’s see. I had that thought as I walked past…

  • jams and jellies
  • pickles
  • salsa (but we still buy the chips)
  • applesauce (and pear sauce! yum!)
  • tomato sauces
  • herbs (I don’t can them, but I grow and dry them)
  • soup stocks (not canned, but homemade and frozen)
  • frozen vegetables (I grow them or buy them at the farmers’ market, then freeze them)
  • “fresh” strawberries and other berries (again, I freeze them in season)

Meanwhile, I kept distracting myself from the actual shopping trip by thinking about spring and summer. Organic more expensive? I’ll grow it in the backyard. No problem. Chuck getting picky about breads? I’ll make some in the bread machine. He’ll eat it. What kind of ice cream should I make? Well, I still have a few strawberries in the freezer and a small amount of cherry concentrate. This could be delicious.

On further review, the rhubarb is already coming up, and I have quite a bit in the freezer. I must find a way to barter this rhubarb for something I don’t have. Ideas, readers? What do you do with too much rhubarb? And furthermore, was jam the gateway drug for you?

 

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Election on the way: Paranoia Sets In

Maybe it’s Trump. Maybe it’s the dystopian novels I read so often. My inner paranoid streak or doomsday prepper is begging to get out and take action.

Here’s an example. Trump claimed today that if he carries Wisconsin in the primary, he’ll go to a Packer game in the fall. Does he have any idea how hard it is to get tickets? Or how long the waiting list is for season tickets? Never mind. Don’t answer that.

Our primary election is next week Tuesday. The airwaves are full of campaign ads. The one that makes me slap my forehead and shout “Doh!” is Ted Cruz’ commercial that announces he is the only one who can beat Trump. “Do the math!” the announcer demands while showing a bar graph. Frankly,  the best candidate to beat Donny Boy isn’t on the same primary ticket. Do the math? Someone forgot a variable.

I spent a bundle to restock our medicine cabinet with supplies for spring allergy season. It was costly. It would be more costly if I hadn’t stocked up and had needed a last-minute run to the store. By planning ahead, I was able to use two coupons and buy generic store brands. When all the allergic folks start breaking out in sneezes and wheezes, the shelves will be empty except for the expensive varieties.

I’ve used up the corn in the freezer. If we want corn, we’ll have to buy it from the store. We have one container of peas left, and several of beans (green and yellow). We salvaged the last two squash from the basement and noted that next year we need to cook them sooner, not later. I guess the vegetable of choice for the time being will be beans. As the summer arrives, I’ll put up more corn, an equal amount of peas, and beans? Let me think about it.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing about schools getting budgets zapped, stripped to the bone. Layoffs are rampant. My job is fairly secure, at least for the time being. I just did a promo for open enrollment a few days ago. Maybe it’ll help keep our enrollment up.

But when I go in to vote on Tuesday, I’ll have all of these issues on my mind – and more. All politics may be local, and it’s also personal. Very personal. Do I need to stock up on toilet paper? Build a chicken coop? Hide my retirement fund in a mattress?

Readers, help me silence my inner doomsday siren. Promise me you’ll do the most important prep of all: you’ll vote.

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Shopping: It’s a learning experience.

  • Today while shopping with La Petite, I learned —
  • Lancome has a line of cosmetics with Braille labels.
  • A woman can never have too many shoes.
  • Malls are still — well, malls.
  • I’m wearing the wrong size bra (no, you don’t need any more).
  • Jeans are just as hard for La Petite to find as they are for me, several sizes larger.
  • I’m still an amazing bargain shopper. Even the cashier was impressed.
  • Peanut noodles are delicious. I wonder if I could make this dish?
  • Fortune cookies can be ridiculous. Hallelujah? Really?

I followed up a day of shopping with leftovers for supper and a marathon of Tiny House shows. It was a nice, relaxing weekend, despite losing an hour’s sleep to Daylight Saving Time.

Readers, do you enjoy retail therapy? Leave a comment.

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