Friday, June 23, 2017

Spaghetti squash and other things in my little world

There are a few things in life that I regret not trying, but it's getting more and more clear that I'm losing interest in trying a bunch of new things.

I would never have cared about the experience of cooking spaghetti squash except for seeing a new recipe that looked good without the carbs the pasta has in it.

High protein, low carb, reasonable calories.  Why not?

It took a little looking in the grocery store, but I found one.

I had no idea if it was the right ripeness or anything, but it looked pretty good.when I got inside  The hardest part of it was cutting it in half.  I don't have a really big sharp knife, so I had to whittle away at carefully for a long time with my medium-sized one.

This is not something I would want to undertake a whole lot, but I found it interesting to learn how to do it.  I wasn't sure whether to just pick out the seeds or scoop out the whole middle, so I opted to scoop.

The other option was cooking it in the oven for 50 minutes or in the microwave for 10 minutes.  Easy choice since I was hungry.  With an inch or so of water in the bottom of the dish and cooking it on high, it seemed okay, but I added another 5 minutes just because I didn't know what it was supposed to look like.

Looks like spaghetti.  I used my fork but ended up using a spoon because it was kind of clingy.

The rest was easy as could be, and I have to say it was one of the better good-for-you dishes I've made.

I topped it with salsa verde and a few spoons of sour cream plus some cilantro - and so good!  I forgot to take a picture before I dug in, but 1/8 of it makes a nice serving.  It did look better in person than it does in the picture.

One change I would make:  The squash is a little sweet tasting to me, so I would add more salt to that part or, better yet, mix it all together instead of layering it.  That way, you're not eating bites of plain squash.

I've had a couple of days off from babysitting and told Emily I felt refreshed although I've missed those little girls.  I've cleaned and organized for 2 days and feel a lot better about my space now.

I even did a little embroidery.  When I came back to this apartment alone in September, I've not wanted to sew - or do much of anything.  The sewing room became the place where I put everything I didn't have a place for.

I spent several days slowly finding homes for non-sewing things and cleared out enough space to do these sister shirts.  They're a really nice soft navy from ARB Blanks.

Gray wants to ride her bike in the Fourth of July parade and have Katherine pulled in the wagon, so maybe these will do for that.

It was hard to be back in the groove of embroidery again.  I had forgotten things in that short time.

Graysen saw me looking at Christmas pajamas on line and had a lot to say about them.  She picked out what she and Katherine would wear plus a pair for her doll, Twinkle Star.  She decided on the green-and-white polka dot - for now.

 It took her so long to make the decision that I'm afraid to give her choices of what to put on the shirt!

I'm waiting for approval before I do the next bit of embroidery..  Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan gave Graysen this cute sundress  at the beach, and we all thought it needed a little something on the top.  We found this design, but I'm looking for an opinion on whether it's too big or not.  Emily says no.

The red and navy will match the red and navy in the dress, of course.

So glad to have ventured into that room, and I am enjoying it.

Cooking -- not so much.

I went shopping on Amazon this week instead of going to Target.  It's much safer for me driving-wise, and it's fun to get packages.

Not very exciting here though.

I thought it would be nice to cover the dirt in some of my pots until the growth starts.

The (supposed) pink jessamine surprised me this year after I thought it was dead.  I'm not sure how big it will get before fall.  The leaves really don't look like the one I just bought next to it.  It may be a surprise.

Graysen's sweet succulent looks better with a little blanket too.

I had to replace my watering can.  I don't even like to think how old this one is and how many states it's lived in.  I noticed it had a crack down the side last week

I thought this bright red one would add some more color to the balcony.

It is quite big.  But that means fewer trips carrying water.

It's turned out to be summertime at last - or at least spring-like weather.  I think all our rain went South, and it's a beautiful, beautiful day - cool and breezy with blue skies and good smells.  I think for sure I can read outside this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pretty Things

Besides the coffee and the chocolate and the hibiscus leaves, Gaby and Dina brought me some hand-woven fabric from Guatemala.

This was my favorite one, and I've finally cleared my dining table enough to display it today.

It just makes me happy and makes me think of the sweetest girls and how much fun we had at the beach.

Look at that sunshine!  And we're having more than a week of 0% chance of rain.  Just in time for a visit from an old young friend from Thomaston, and now New Orleans, Rebekah.  I'm sure she had her heart set on that famous Seattle rain though.

I worked hard on my balcony this morning, vacuuming up birdseed and rearranging.  This is pretty good for a start.  We just need those days of sunshine to make the plants grow.

That tomato plant is planted on faith we'll get enough sunshine.  There is a blossom on there now.  I'm planting some peas in the morning in several of the pots.  If nothing more, it will add some pretty vines.

Mike sprayed these wicker rockers in Montgomery, and they're looking a little forlorn.  I won't be spraying, but I do need to touch them up with some black paint.  And maybe new cushions.

I really want to sit out there, but it's still a little cool even in the middle of the day.  So strange in the middle of June, but I think I like it better than the heat. My power bill should be pretty nice this month.

 I'll take a quilt and sit there late this afternoon with a cup of coffee and my book and see how that goes.  My reward after a day of cleaning.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

First Summer Day

I hit a brick wall in writing about the memorial.  Just could not do it.  But I will

Just have to document this great day yesterday.  It may be the middle of June,, but we haven't had many warm days with no rain; yesterday was almost perfect.

Graysen had a playdate set up at Lake Sammamish, and we were almost on the way with a watermelon when they postponed it because the water was still too cool for swimming.  So maybe we'll do that later this week.

Just to have something to do, I picked up the girls and took them to the park.

Graysen loves Katherine's new dress from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan  so much that she had to wear it as a top.

And Katherine has on Graysen's outgrown outfit with the droopy pants.

I put this on Facebook, but it just made me laugh.  Graysen is so excited to see plants and animals that she went crazy over what I thought was a hollyhock.  Turned out to be foxglove.

I told her what it was, and she said, "Mimi.  That's a flower.  It's not a holly fox."  So literal.  When I later corrected it and told her it was a foxglove, she just looked at me and said, "Foxes don't wear gloves."

We decided to go to Community Park which is about 2 blocks from my place.  It's at a Y, and the parking lot was filled up.  The place was teeming with children, hundreds of them.  The school is next door, and we had hit the last day of school.  Thank goodness most of them went home, so the park itself was not too crowded.

The girls were so excited and ran all the way up the hill to the park.  Katherine was so excited about her blue sandals that she couldn't keep her eyes off them.

The first people we saw were Paige, James, and Jessica.  They had just seen each other 2 nights earlier but had to have big hugs and greetings.  I forget the dog's real name, but it was in this same park that Mike renamed him Lester.  So Lester he will be for me from now on.

Graysen immediately joined in and ran around playing on everything.  Katherine was content to sit on the bench with me for awhile and just watch.  I loved it.  She was sitting really close and hugging me and just so content, looking up and smiling every once in awhile.  It was sunny but not hot, and there was a nice breeze blowing.

Finally she got up and climbed up and down the stairs to the slides but never went down.  I took her to the baby swings, but she wouldn't put her feet through the holes - twice.  Graysen was loving swinging after the others left, and I finally got Katherine to get in the swing.  She's been in swings before but had forgotten how high it looked because she was a little nervous at first.  It didn't take long before she was saying "Push me.  Push me.  High.  Swing."

When they started getting hungry, we left - down the hill!  It's so beautiful here.  I wanted to just stay longer, but they had their minds on food.  I had water and goldfish in the car, so we headed there.

We took Katherine home for lunch and a nap, and I took Graysen back to the apartment.

I love to hear her talk - her Graysie-isms.  She says the sun brights her eyes too much, and when she was walking on the top of a little retaining wall, she said, "I'm too trippy in these sandals."

We had lunch, and she watched Super Why for awhile, and then we checked on my garden.  No sun, but it seems to be thriving.  I tried sitting there tonight late with a cup of coffee, and new book, but I didn't last too long before it got too chilly.

Graysen and I noticed that there are 2 black cats on Susan's balcony across from us.  I've never noticed them before, but they were walking outside the railing and calling down to us when we got out of the car.  It scared me.  I could never make Molly see them though.

She played a little bit longer and did some ABC Mouse before she went home.  As we drove up to her house, we saw this bunny eating the grass out front.

While Emily and I talked a few minutes, the girls ran and played in the grass.  They're at such good ages now to play together - sometimes.  It's only going to get better.

My pictures are pale and hazy.  I think it's time to clean something or tweak something - but I have no idea what.

We have 80% chance of rain today but a whole week of 0% rain after that.  We'll catch up on the new library books today and then get outside some more later on.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saying Good bye

If I don't go ahead and start writing something about our St George's trip and Mike's memorial service, I'll just let time pass and not do it.

It's quite overwhelming to try to remember everything and find pictures since there are so many from so many different people.

Emily and I were too devastated and unsure of ourselves when we lost Mike, so we opted for cremation (his wishes) and planned to have some sort of service later on.

He had left specific instructions that he didn't want a funeral but just a small group of people who cared about him to get together with no fanfare.  His main request was that his friend Keith Johnson "say a few words."

It was pretty ambitious of us, but the first place we thought about was St George's where he spent so many happy hours on the beach fishing.  It's about as far away from Washington as you can get and also inconvenient for most people to get to.

But we persisted and checked into things and prayed a lot and talked to people, and this is what we came up with.

A week in May at St George's with as many folks as we could gather who loved him and wanted this special time.

After picking the date, next came the daunting task of finding a place big enough to house us all.  Emily and Ryan did this by themselves and ended up with an excellent choice.    A house in the Plantation area near the Sea Turtle where we went the last couple of times.

It only slept 8-10 people, but we went on faith that we could get everyone who came in.  It ended up that some folks stayed in hotels nearby and other took their motor homes, so it couldn't have been more perfect.

The fact that our friends from Guatemala were talking about going made it that much more exciting.  Mike would never had thought it possible to get them there and have us all meet and share so much love and fun.  I know we made the right decision and I can't think of anything he would have chosen that would have made him happier.

This will take me days - but first the house.  It ended up being perfect for us.  The kitchen might have been a little bigger since we had our own personal chefs from Guatemala, and they kept the food coming - but we all bumbled around in there and made do.

This big red able was almost big enough for us all to sit down at once - but there were always people sitting there eating, drinking coffee, playing cards, or just sitting and talking.

I'll have specifics and recipes later on, but the stars of the show this first day were the caramel and coconut cakes from Dean's Cake House and Sherry's butternut whoopie pies.

It's confusing to have hundreds of pictures in so many different places, but I'm going to do my best to sort them out and document this happy time.

Just some pictures of the house and beach that various people took, and I'll work on a little more tomorrow.

Most days we had were nice and sunny, but even on the stormy ones, we had such a good time.  I can't imagine it being better.