Thursday, September 2, 2021

Cheap Entertainment and Bye-Bye to My Job

I haven't posted much lately. I find that when my life gets fraught with difficulties or upsetting things, I can't post. I just become what I call "stuck in molasses," unable to move forward for a bit. I go peek in at blogs, but sometimes can't leave a comment because I feel too bad.

I just finished up my two weeks' notice at my school secretary job and again am staring at, looking for a job. 

Sadly, there are toxic places run by toxic people in this world. There are people who aren't naturally good people, who do not try to be good people. There are those who demean, who lie, who border on violence, and sometimes they are the bosses. And Christian communities are not immune to having these people in them, in positions of power.

Even though I had been treated very roughly and harshly already at the job, I tried to just be calm and not let it get me down. But it went to a new level.

Short version of what happened: Told to alter the financial records in a way that was fraudulent, in order to appear in better shape financially before trying for a loan. Politely refused after spending hours seeing if it was possible to alter them in a non-fraudulent way. Called on the carpet and screamed at and demeaned for 40 minutes. Called mean names, cursed at. I shook all the way home. 

Sometimes, you have to draw that boundary line. I'm glad I did. I found out after resigning that the people who went crazy at me for not altering the books served time in the federal prison system for financial fraud at their former business. Wow.

In happier news, I decided to get the car washed in one of those wonderful automatic carwash places. I love going through them, although sometimes the poor guys have to delay the line, because I am very bad at getting the tire onto the little conveyer-belt thing. There are free vacuums at the end -- they are powerful!  I took my husband along for an "outing." He enjoys going on rides, usually, although that's getting tiring for him, too. The rides have to be pretty short or on very smooth roads.

carwash entrance

I do wish the conveyer-belt moved more slowly in these car washes. I think the wash would be better if the cars were in there a bit longer.

It is hard not to stomp on the brake while going through.

Even though I know it's just bullcorn, I cannot resist sometimes getting the "hot wax" portion of the wash as an "upgrade." It's just colored lights to make some suds look "hot," but I love it. I always think to myself, "I am paying extra for a light bulb to be turned on." I don't know why that's so amusing to me. But the color is just incredible. You are looking at $3 worth of color below!

This was a lucky carwash, because while vacuuming, I found my husband's long-lost pocket knife! Super lucky day! 

I hope you are having a lovely September! Brrrrr, the "ber" months! Yes, can't wait for a cool snap and the turn of the year!

Kind regards,

The Olde Dame

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Blog Post with A Side of Butter

Last week was a whirlwind since it was the first week of school. I am so behind in blog visits, boo! This next week will be very heavy in terms of work, too. It's just how the school year runs: Come early, stay late.

I did get in a weekend drive, though. 

Our first stop was the largest local park. I had an idea that some unusual oaks might be planted in the park, and I was overjoyed to find them growing there! There were three Bur Oaks, and they make huge acorns with frilled tops. Here is a green one:

Burr or Bur Oak acorn growing

When mature, that acorn will fill your cupped palm!

There were some mighty sycamores, too, and you can see the leaves know that it is heading towards autumn. The light under the tree was so peculiar:

beautiful large sycamore in early fall

I hear some birdies like the seeds, too. They remind me of cattails, with tightly packed fluff and seeds:

sycamore fruit

I very much want to find a sweetgum here, for those round pointy seedheads they make, but so far, no luck.

I stopped by Holy Cross and ran in (okay, hobbled in) to light some candles. These three are for bloggie frens. I chose the "blue bank" of candles, but there is also a red bank. I go back and forth between the two. It was so lucky to find a "ten" in my purse, as Holy Cross is just $1 per candle, so I had that bank going pretty good.

Stopped by the completely overgrown community garden plot and saw an old friend, fatter than ever! You and me both, buddy.

Woodhouse desert toad

We went to lunch at Golden Corral. Golden Corral delights me, because it is what I call "home cooked" food. I love seeing the old-time foods that "no one" seems to cook anymore. Heck, America is eating out so much now, with home meals kind of scorned in many households! But where else can you find pan-fried cabbage, fried chicken livers 'n' onions, hamburgers served on buttered toast cut on the diagonal, pea salad, and bread pudding? 

old time hamburger

I had to take a picture of my husband's plate (below), because I got so tickled, although we felt bad about wasting food. Usually I run and get him a plate, but he wanted to get his own salad this time (and it was the only thing he ate, sadly). He started eating and was griping about the "potato salad" not being any good, and I wondered what he meant, because our Golden Corral doesn't serve potato salad. 

Then it dawned on me: He had loaded up his plate with BUTTER, thinking it was the potato salad. Oh boy oh boy! I stuck my roll in the picture to try to make it seem like perhaps it was destined for a roll, but alas, I'm afraid it was just thrown out. But he ate a lump of butter equal to the lump left!

Golden Corral plate

Back home, a pretty lantana bloom was waiting for us as the sun headed down. The lantanas sure took their time blooming this year! 

pink fuschia lantana

Oh! One dastardly thing that happened this past week and made me a bit down: I found that my cross stitch patterns are being sold (bootleg copies) by some very horrible people who are also stealing hundreds of other patterns, all taken from Etsy. So upsetting. I made one of those "DMCA copyright infringement" claims and presented it to the web hosting service, but who knows if it will work. It is a sophisticated operation that preys on small artists.

Don't forget the Prayer to St. Michael when you encounter evil!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Well, bloggie frens, I will be popping and hopping over to your blogs this afternoon, and I wish you a blessed week, and strength for any trials and tribulations that come your way. And may they all be small.

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Friday, August 6, 2021

Harbingers of Fall

In reading on another (very lovely) blog, the blogess remarked that when she sees the purple wildflowers blooming, she knows autumn is around the corner. And I was struck by her observation. Yes, it's true: the blooming of the purple wildflowers is an early harbinger of fall! Oh, we have purples in spring, too; violets and Johnny-Jump-Ups and ajugas, but not the profusion of purples in the fall, mainly by dozens of types of Wild Purple Asters.

autumn blooms of wild purple asters

I have some in the front yard, that grew up from seed I scattered last year. Tiny finches love gathering on them and eating the seeds. These finches must be very light, as the stems on the plants are weak and droop easily. I have already thrown handfuls of seeds in the courtyard, for next year. Thousands of the asters are all along the Rio Grande. I gathered the seeds from there last year.

An early audible hint of autumn is to hear certain bird calls. When I lived in the Southeast, like clockwork would come the raucous call of the bluejay. They scream out those calls in early spring and then again when they announce autumn. Caw! Caw! When I lived in the Northwest, I would sometimes hear the honking of geese long before I saw them in their thousands, heading south. I only saw it a few times, but that was a highlight of my life.

When geese fly faster than usual, and quieter than usual, and higher than usual, it means that the coming winter will be very bad. 

I have not yet received one of my "feelings" about what the turn of the year will bring. I do think autumn will have a long "Indian Summer" this year, based on some caterpillar lore. I have seen several hawkmoth larvae much later than I should. What do they know that I don't? Nature may have told them that there will be something to eat weeks later than there normally would be.

However, those crab apples ripening so soon are sending another message! Or are they? Perhaps they are ripening so as to be able to be sown much farther than usual, as snows will be late? Or are they saying, "We must hurry; a bad winter awaits!"

To paraphrase St. Paul, "Who can know the mind of God?" 

Which reminds me! I am making a Nature Table for the lobby of the school again! I decided to make an "apple" table, with some crab apples from the Verboten Park, some little apple figurines and such that I have, and this thought (not original) printed out: "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. But only God can count the apples in a seed."

Don't worry that I'll get in trouble with such a blantantly religious message. It is a private school!

Champie is welcoming autumn early, with a new sparkly collar. It is iridescent warm yellow, hard to tell in the photo. I made it out of a piece of a key lanyard.

I am still working on Sophie's collar. It is tapestry ribbon, with beaded parts. I just finished another little pillow-tuck, so her collar will be finished soon.

pin cushion pillow halloween fall autumn

I am always looking for lore and wise words: What are the subtle signs of fall in your area? 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Are You Crabby?

 I am crabby over here! That's right, crabby! 

It's because I'm a member of P.L.A.N.T. It's a super-secret organization. Oh, you've heard of it? People Looking Around Nature - Trespassers.

As a member of P.L.A.N.T., I have trained long and hard to be able to sneak into off-limits nature garden areas. I carry specialized equipment: An old towel, a baggie, and a baseball cap. My weapon of choice: A rosary.

The old towel is to lay atop walls, so that I can avoid the bird poopie that is always on them. The baggie is for pretty things I find on the ground, and the cap is a practical disguise. The rosary speaks for its beautiful self.  

These "walls" I speak of -- just so you know: They are two or so feet high. Sadly, my knees are shot, and I can't just step over a wall, or even onto it. No, I have to sit on it, then ow-ow-ow pick my legs up and place them on the other side, while sniveling and swiveling. I told my husband that I travel like a turtle travels: Very slowly, and along curbs until there is a low place. I can't even step up onto a normal curb. It's very irritating. I think it may be time for a cane. "GROWING OLD AIN'T FER SISSIES."

I just had to go see the progress of the crab apples in the still-closed-due-to-COVID park here. Yes, the college and all of its public parts are still closed, because goodness knows fresh air outdoors in the desert with the wind blowing across hundreds of miles of unoccupied land is very, very likely to cause illness. SARCASM!

My mind is on those crabapples. My mind has been on crabapples since I first saw them at four years old. I love them, and I love pumpkins and dried gourds and dried corn. Too bad there's not a way to track how much time I have spent with visions of them in my head. I have a magpie mind, and glad of it!

I can't recall who it was, Dickens or Hawthorne?, but they wrote of a wonderful Christmas hot punch, with "brown crabs" [crabapples] bobbing in it. I am determined to get a few ripe ones and have them in a hot cider this year!

I feel so badly for those whose minds can't find happiness in nature, in wholesome activities, and in simple things. I was so very blessed to never have a wish for drugs or bad things. 

Evidently, though, I have a wish to trespass into public gardens. I can justify it up and down, but it's possibly still naughty. So, I just had to sneak in and see the progress of the crabapples. Did any "take," after the beautiful blooms? If so, were they beginning to turn red? 

They are indeed many crabapples on the trees!

crab apples on trees in the late summer
Two crabapples side by side

They are beautiful!

ripening red crab apples canopy
It was so fun to be beneath the canopy looking at them!

I got a few from the ground, but I am seriously contemplating going back when they are ripe, and getting a jar of the windfalls.

crab apples on branches
So many little crabapples ripening!

I think I might make a crabapple cordial. I am typically a teetotaler. I did make blackberry cordial in years past, for gifts and also to keep (as a prepper) as a medicinal (Like in Anne of Green Gables). When we moved off Whidbey Island, I gave that last bottle away, though. So, I have no cordials in the house at this time. 

crab apples
Early windfall crab apples

On August 1st, I "jump" the season and start decorating for autumn! I start with apples and apple decor and buffalo checks and so on, and then September 1st the pumpkins start muscling in! By October 1st it is FHM. Full Hallowe'en Mode. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Do any of you make cordials or wines? And when do you start with your autumn decor?

Monday, July 26, 2021

Today is Wash Day! Or Maybe Green Beans!

Well, it's actually almost Tuesday as I type this out. Work is so very hectic. I work late every day and barely make a dint in the pressing work! I am paid for 3 hours a day in the summer, Monday through Thursday, but work at least 8. I feel I can't let the students down. But -- while I do agree it's good to work "For the Glory of God," as the bookkeeper, I notice that while that is said, 'tis not followed, by the administration. Ahem.

But...back to washday, and I just heard the washer stop its spin, so that means into the dryer and tumbling and tumbling till good and dry. I often use the line, but not at night, and it's also RAINING in the desert (just a bit here, but deluges elsewhere). Pray we get a bit of one of the deluges, please!

We sang this song when I was young. Maybe I should re-title this post as "Green Bean Day." Oh, I run so late. My nickname, among several, was "String Bean" as a girl. We called green beans, string beans. Remember settin' on the porch, snapping beans and pulling those strings? Ah, those skinny days. Where did they go? 

Today is Monday! 
Today is Monday!
Monday, wash day,
All ye hungry brothers,
We wish the same to you!

Today is Tuesday!
Today is Tuesday!
Tuesday green beans,
Monday wash day,
All ye hungry brothers,
We wish the same to you!

and so on...Wednesday Soup, Thursday Roast Beef, Friday Fish, Saturday Payday, Sunday Church...

Here is a picture of part of my laundry room shelf. The laundry room is actually just a stub of a hall off the main hall, and what a racket when I'm doing laundry. But the shelf shows the influence of the culture here: I absolutely LOVE the smell of the Mexican laundry soaps. I put a good shake into every load, along with the Gain, the Out, sometimes a spray of Febreze, sometimes a measure of the washing soda if something has that doggy smell from my dear doglets. (My chiweenie is nicknamed "Stinkbug" and with good reason. Smelly little creature, but I love him.)

laundry shelf

New Mexicans know how to do laundry. The air is fragrant on washdays. My neighbor long ago, an elegant and kind woman, first showed me the Ariel washing powder. Her whole house smelled so fresh and good. I throw a handful into the kitchen garbage can each time I change the liner. Not shown: Big boxes of Gain powder, ORIGINAL scent only, please!

So the washer churns and the dryer cartwheels while I am trying to catch up on the blogs and do a bit of housework, a bit of crafting, and a bit of gardening.

I have been in the desert long enough to get excited when it rains, and rush to take photos of the raindrops. 

sprinkling rain in the desert

Storm light; I love it! Some raindrops are visible in the left corner.

two small doggies

Whither thou goest, I will go (to stomp down baby lemon grass and onions...)

old terra cotta strawberry pot

Old terra cotta planter we inherited when we bought the was foretelling my new body shape...

Chi-chi-chi chive talkin'...

And my favorite "task," making pinkeeps out of my stitcheries. And NO, it is NOT too early for autumn decorating!

On our Sunday drive, we saw some pretty sights, too:

Rows of grains and sunflowers planted between thousands of pecan trees...

My future pecan pie ingredients...

Pretty horses next to the pecan groves. The flies were fierce and their tails were slashing and hooves stomping!

Someone is having a bumper crop of "tunas" (prickly pear fruit)...

View from a neighborhood called Raasaf Hills -- millionaire row -- pecan groves stretching out for miles.

Well my dear bloggie frens, have a wonderful week and I will be hopping to your blogs to read your posts! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Monday, July 19, 2021

Boo-kays and Summer Days

Last week was my 26th wedding anniversary. My husband, at 86, sometimes just doesn't care, and doesn't want to care, about festive times! Especially anniversaries. So this year, I decided to remember it myself. 

There is nothing I like better than a homemade bouquet. After work, I stopped by an old abandoned adobe house and got some coral vine and some silver lace vine...tsk tsk, trespassing...into my best plastic pitcher they went...

I love the old-timey the vines that covered the shed at Granny's house...she had Spanish Flag vines, too...I haven't seen seeds for them in a few years. Then it was time for a trip to the community garden, to see what was blooming in my plot! 

A sweet scurrying friend stopped by to wish me "Happy Anniversary." He was heading for the safety of the Jerusalem Artichoke patch of the plot next to mine. I'm wondering how those are harvested. I guess they are dug up, like a potato?

The sunflowers were so pretty. I love the tissue-paper look of the petals against the sun.

There was a single zinnia blooming, and I snipped it. Back to the house, and a few flowers were cut from the courtyard. My faithful Sand Verbena always has a few bright blooms!

And there was one of the last glads, too...

I must have chocolate for my "party!" So I took off again and got some chocolate-covered walnuts from the grocery store. The bulk food aisles are DANGEROUS, don't ya think? All that yummy candy...bin after bin...but I felt the walnut part would cancel out the chocolate part, and overall it might could be considered a healthy food that way...? They say to eat more nuts!

I will admit, there was a piece of cake involved, too. But I ate it right up, no photograph first! In my defense, it was a very nice piece of a grocery store carrot cake, sold by the slice, and I so rarely can have cake.

(Don't worry about hubby! He was fed and watered, too. I brought him some takeout he likes.)

It was getting dark by now, and rain had rolled in. I guess it happens quickly all over the globe, but in the desert, sometimes it seems to happen in an instant: Blue sky, sun beating down, then the sound of wind as the clouds rush over and climb the mountains. The rain made the evening feel so cozy! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the rain!

The fairy light jars blinked on...I don't know why, but every night that makes me feel so happy...

The doggies had to get something, too! They needed a "party favor" and seemed to like their "chews." These are the specially treated American rawhides that are more tender than the usual rawhides. I don't know, I read on the internet that rawhides are bad, but our vets have felt these kinds are okay. I don't let them chew it down very far.

And there you have it.
Homemade fun is the best!

I hope your summer days are going well, too, as we head towards those tough Dog Days of August!

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Friday, July 9, 2021

I Heard A Caterpillar Chewing

Howdy there! I'm "glad" you're here!

Happy summer's day, my bloggie frens! I went out into the courtyard this morning, coffee cup in hand, to look around, sweep, and just enjoy. The pups especially love going with me, so it is our new routine. We used to go to the back patio first. Now that's second. 

pretty blue and red flowers

Old, new, borrowed, blue!

A big bush squash of some type is growing in one of the fire-rings! It has silvery leaves. That is some lemongrass in there, too.

The doggies are so good about staying inside the gate, which they can squeeze through. I just say, "Enh-enh-enh, no-no!" and they stay inbounds!

doggies at the courtyard gate looking out

Catmint! Growing well now.

Looking up the courtyard towards the circle driveway. I love the little circle drive because I hate backing up! 

One of the first things I saw this morning was that my orange mint was quite raggedy, with many a bite out of its leaves! I put the coffee down and started looking closely at the clump of mint, trying to spot the caterpillars. I was having no luck, and that's when I heard it.

mint eaten by caterpillars

Crunch -- crunch -- CRUNCH! I could hear the caterpillars as they took each bite! And I could just listen a bit, and know where they were! It was quite noisy at first, and then as each was found and relocated, it got quieter, until I could hear no more bites being taken. It was a plucking sound, a snap and a crunch kind of sound.

I Spy...a little minty caterpillar!

As I picked the stems they were on, immediately they would go into their defensive posture, designed to scare predators, I guess. They rear up, Caterpillar Rampant. Poor things, just an inch or so long, and trying to scare me (it worked; I frequently shrieked). I don't want to kill them, because I am just worn out with all the death and misery on the news. I don't want any carnage in my own courtyard. But I worry that by moving them, even with a goodly supply of plucked mint (and basil, which they were also eating but less heartily), I might be sentencing them to death. 

I love the little canning jars with the solar fairy lights in them. I have two hanging on the gate, two hanging off a pine near the street so the walkers can enjoy.

The sun is bleaching the pink color of this jar!

My husband says he thinks they will inch right back over and get on the mint again, anyway. I put them about four feet from the mint. I will have to go "listen" for them later, and see if they did find their way back to the caterpillar salad bar. I will let them stay if they come back. Mint has good regenerative powers even eaten to the ground.

The sedum is coming along. It was just a little stem I planted this spring.

My winecup blooming again after the rains, against a pretty silvery neighbor.

I do not know what kind of squash I planted. Or if it's a bush pumpkin. We will find out, I hope!

Any pests over your way? Weekend plans? 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly