Thursday, September 10, 2015

A to Z with Me!

Two things inspired this post. First, Beyond Eden Rock recently did an A-Z post I found rather fun. Then I came across this vintage insurance company pamphlet in my art stash. When two things or more coincide, I pay attention! Almost all the photos here are from that pamphlet!

A is for ART JOURNAL. I haven't played as much in my art journal as I expected but I have done a few pages recently. Here's one of the image transfers, this one being from Kevin and Molly's wedding photos. It's not quite right yet (Kevin is a little muddy and that blob on his collar is not acceptable!) but I'm working on it!

B is for BLUEBERRY PIE. If you can still get inexpensive blueberries (this recipe calls for five cups), try this Cooking Light recipe for the fastest blueberry pie you will ever make it. Just remember to refrigerate before cutting or else you'll have blueberry glop. Equally delicious but not as pretty.

C is for COMPUTER -- I've had some trouble with my computer lately and thanks to Kim the IT Goddess, I thought I was back in business -- but up at the lake, more problems, so soon it'll be off to Dr. Kim again. (She also says a new one is in my future because IT goddesses know these things!)

D is for DECLUTTERING. Well, I'm not doing a good job of that but I am cleaning the cupboards (I'm embarrassed at the expired food I discarded) and found more dishes to take to Goodwill. That, plus the basement work I've been doing all counts!

E is for ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON. PBS is repeating the most recent seasons of "Sherlock" this summer and it is fun to review them. There's so much in each of these, I feel like seeing them twice or more is almost necessary. Certainly no multitasking during these not-so-elementary shows!

F is for FOWLER -- Christopher Fowler, to be precise. I am captivated by his Bryant and May mystery series and just finished the fifth of his mystery novels. I wish they'd do a mini-series. I'd cast Ian McKellen as the eccentric Bryant. As for May? My latest idea is David Robb, who plays Dr. Clarkson on "Downton Abbey," but I'm open to suggestions. Anyone else a fan?

G is for GARDEN. Summer is winding down and it seems like every few days I remove another pot of flowers that are past their peak. Soon it will be time to call in the Garden Warrior for a big clean-up.

H is for HOME REPAIR. My cottage toilet is periodically sounding like a foghorn. Dr. Google tells me it is a ballcock washer problem in the tank and has videos on how to repair this, which Rick says I can do, no problem. (He was home, I was at the lake.) I'm not so sure because I can't figure out where to turn off the water, but we'll see... otherwise, I may live with the foghorn till he arrives next weekend! (The end of the story is it's erratic enough that we decided to wait till we turned off the water for the season and do it then!)

I is for ITCHY. And that leads me to mosquitoes.  It's September. There shouldn't be anymore mosquitoes but apparently the ones in my back yard didn't get the memo.

J is for JACQUELINE WINSPEAR and I'm very distressed that the current Maisie Dobbs novel (the eleventh, I think) won't be in paperback until next February. I look forward to it as my summer read. BUT, bless her heart, Rick's cousin who visited us at the lake just sent me her hardcover copy (A donation to Jeanie's library, she said!). So, I'm into the latest adventure of my favorite mystery heroine! And it is very, very good!

K is for KONDO, as in Marie KONDO and her book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." Now, I know I have a problem of too much stuff and I'm trying to weed it out, get things to Goodwill or passed on to others. But her kamikaze, take-no-prisoners method is too over the top for me. (I also think she's crackers and should probably be on medication if she isn't already -- but that said, I admire her making a career and writing a best seller based on cleaning out your stuff.) I'll write more on this later, but let me say, I have cleaned out my sock cupboard since reading this -- the closet floor is next!

Some of these are a little intense! (Although this year the flies have been annoying -- dangerous? Not so sure!

L is for LIZZIE! My sweet girl has been having a lovely summer, watching birds, playing with her toys (and losing them) and most of all, stealing my cozy chair as soon as I get up. Little hooligan.

M is for "MIDNIGHT IN PARIS" which I have enjoyed over and over on cable recently. The first 15 minutes alone send me into a glorious mental photo album of my time there and the sweet, perfect message of the movie reminds me that the right time to be in is now. (And if you are listening to the news lately, sometimes that's a tough thing to grasp.)

N is for NEIGHBORS. I've enjoyed lovely morning chats with my uber-gardener neighbor Rosie this year (and more to come, I know). Sitting on her patio is like sitting in a secret garden in a far away, beautiful place. I can't even see my house through the phlox, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers and hanging baskets. My across-the-street neighbors are moving and this is sad; they've been there 16 years and would stay if the house was larger. And my wonderful next door neighbors are always a treat to see -- and so are their two dogs, one of which is the dog version of Lizzie, black and white, tippy tail and loves to chase. I'm very lucky!

O is for OTSEGO LAKE -- the time at the lake is ticking down more rapidly than I like and soon it will be time to close the cottage for the winter. So I'm clinging onto every moment there I can find!

P is for PHYSICAL THERAPY. For the past two months and more to come I've been going through physical therapy for my arthritic shoulder and starting the lower back and hip. I love the therapists, they do great work. I'm just hoping the insurance covers it all.

Q is for QUIET. It was quiet at the lake the week leading into Labor Day and a little busier on the weekend. I don't have cable or Internet at hand, so I need to really make an effort to go online. (Which is why I was very late replying to comments that came in for the last post!) And yes, the TV works, but the three channels it gets come in sketchy at best, so it's generally off (except for "Masterpiece" on PBS!)

R is for READING -- and I've been doing a lot of it this summer. My goal for this year was 52 books. I'm already at 50. And I've only been disappointed once!

S is for SWIMMING. They'll be closing the pool where I swim this coming Monday. So when I can and when the weather is a "go," I'm going swimming! And here at the lake I've been swimming, too, tracking my distance by my neighbor's buoys. He estimates that the complete loop is about three quarters of a mile, give or take!

T is for TAB. My beverage of choice and that's all there is to it!

U is for UNDERSTANDING. Specifically, trying to understand other peoples' point of view and put politics, religion and prejudice down for a minute, listen to all pros and cons of something and then make an informed, rational, thoughtful and non-aggressive (meaning don't push it on everyone else) opinion. Can you tell that election season is coming to the U.S. -- and it's getting nasty.

V is for VEGGIES. You can't miss the amazing fall veggies that are coming on the scene at this time of year. The sweet corn is wrapping up and soon squash and the big tomato deluge. OK, tomatoes are really a fruit but I think crossover is completely all right!

W is for WALK IN THE WOODS. I just learned last night that this new film with Robert Redford and Emma Thompson features four songs by Lord Huron. And it's not just that the group does very good music, but Lord Huron himself, aka Ben Schneider, is also the son of my very good friends Sharon and John! I was already excited to see this movie about walking the Appalachian Trail (which Rick's niece just completed -- yay, Olivia!). Now I'm even more so!

X is for eXCHANGE RATE. (Sorry, I was reaching.) But really, if you have a chance to get into Canada these days, you might think about it. I was shocked at being able to save about 25 percent on my purchases. It's a good reason to go back soon. (So is seeing Suzanne and going to Stratford!)

Y is for YOUTH -- as in Testament of YOUTH. I've been waiting for this film to come for months, ever since I heard it was being made. It's slow to get to our small city (but somehow we'll have twelve screens showing the latest redneck romper-stomper). It's coming this month and I am excited!

Z is for ZINGERMANN'S! For my birthday, Rick gave me a class at Zingermann's baking school in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, the class I wanted isn't available until January but then you'll be hearing about crumb cakes, raspberry ricotta cakes and a yeasty tea cake ring!

So, that's me in an alphabet! Anyone else want to play along?


Sally Wessely said...

Oh Jeanie, this is one of my all time favorite posts! It was so delightful. I learned new things about you. I am also inspired by your post. I'm afraid I'd be too influenced by your responses to be very original.

Janet said...

I love this post!! When I first began blogging I did a challenge something like this and it was so much fun. Your ABC's are great...I especially like the "J" as I'm also a huge fan of Jacqueline Winspear. I've read everything except her latest one. Maisie Dobbs is such an interesting character.

Tracy said...

Oh, this was great fun, Jeanie! I might have to try an A-Z meme! Mysteries aren't my usual gene, but a blog-friend turned me on to Maisie Dobb--she's such a rich character. 52 books so far this year?! You're beating a book-a-week quota! It's local government election time here and it's been very unpleasant newspaper reading at time--YUCK! oh, we're excited about the film version of A Walk in the Woods--loved that book! VERY fun with you baking class after the New Year...YUM! You must do another A-Z sometime! Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This was so fun to read! Rick did a great job on your birthday gift - the class you will take in January sounds so neat and it will be nice to have something to look forward to in that month as I think January is kind of a downer with the post-holiday and winter blues!

I think that Kondo is off her rocker, too! I haven't read her book but have heard about it. I think she said something about how folding socks 'hurts them' or something like that? Crazy!! But I have heard that some of her approaches really work - they just seem a bit extreme for me!!!

Enjoy these last moments at the lake! Summer is waning which makes me so sad. I love fall but dread what comes next...

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

How fun jeanie!!##

Victoria Zigler said...

What a fun way to let us learn more about you! I might do this myself in a couple of weeks... When things aren't as busy around here. My post probably won't have pictures though.

I think the jury is still out on tomatoes, so go ahead and count them as a vegetable. I'm quite fond of them myself, actually.

There are always so many exciting books coming out... It's no wonder those of us who read a lot struggle to find enough time to read everything on our to-read lists. Yes, even someone who reads as much as me has that problem.

shoreacres said...

Just last weekend, I learned about deer flies. As far as I'm concerned, you never can be too intense about deer flies. Kill 'em all! I'm sure they have some purpose in the grand scheme of things, but in my scheme of things, they have no place.

I think your coming up with eXchange rate was eXcellent! As a matter of fact, so was this entry. It was lots of fun, and I really enjoyed it. I suspect you wouldn't eXchange places with anyone!

Mary Rose's said...

J is for Janet,
Jane, John and Jeanie:
Each one a sweetheart,
Not one a meanie.

(Friday doggerel - almost time for gin & tonics)

P.S. Rick's Zingermann's class - what a great gift!

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Oh Jeanie, I love your take on the alphabet!
There's so much to take in, but here goes!
A- Art journal - mine is languishing in my art/stuff cupboard.
J - Jacqueline Winspear - I'm not familiar with so I'll check her out. The same with
F - Christopher Fowler!
N - Neighbours can make or break our lives it seems - so glad you have good ones! We have a hermit in the front of us (is he an H, N or W (weirdo) you get the drift!
L - sweet Lizzie - ever faithful and loving.
You are a "full of life personality Jeanie and I know you be such fun to be with!
Shane x

bj said...

A really neat post, Jeanie. Life is made up of A to Zs....
Have a good Sunday.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

This is a cool post! I am a fan of all of the letters:) but I am a nut over veggies and walks in the woods!
Very clever and creative!
Happy Sunday,

The French Hutch said...

lOL Jeanie, I see we've been doing a lot of the same things, cleaning out and sending to goodwill, repairs but you seem to mix a lot of fun into your schedule. I'm taking notes here. The pie sounds so good and the wonderful fresh summer veggies will soon give out here too. But, we have all those good fall crops to look forward to. I love all the pics of children here, such sweet art.
Lovely and what a fun post...........
Have a great week.

Ruth said...

You are such a riot! The pamphlet is fabulous, and your A-Z is fun. I think we should meet for lunch and discuss Marie Kondo! :)

Joanne Huffman said...

A is for Absolutely enjoyed this post; B is for Betting you are sad to leave the lake; C is for Can't keep this up. A fun blog entry.

Sandy K. said...

What wonderful fun this has been to read! And yes, I think I may have to find my own ABC list to create. The vintage pamphlet is fabulous... you must have quite a treasure trove! I say this with a chuckle, for as you talk about clutter I am looking at the bag I have for Goodwill today, and wishing I had kept working to get at least 2 bags out the door! Stuff - how we do amass it! Enjoy the fading summer, but rejoice that fall is waiting in the wings!

Mari said...

This is brilliant! Not only that you have this very interesting pamphlet which beauty looks classic but also you've made such great entries for each letter. They are well thought of and significantly notable. They aren't just anything that comes with the letter. :) I've enjoyed this.

Marilyn Miller said...

I started reading your list a few days ago, but just now getting back to it. I love it. Zingerman's brings memories of visiting there. Oh books, I am addicted to reading. Election time is just a pain for sure. Sorry you pool is closing soon. Decluttering is sooo very good, something I need to do more of. Fall veggies are a yummm from the garden. Now wanting to add a new mum in my garden. Loving the peaks of autumn coming.

skiourophile said...

Lovely! I can't see 'decluttering' without a shiver of horror at the moment as my workplace is moving to a new building and decluttering is the order of the day. Still, it is a good thing in the end...

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