Saturday, November 3, 2018

Stem Gingernuts

The scent of ginger is wafting from the Gnome Cookery. The fall baking flavors are in the air and on the tongue! Ginger is one of my favorite spices and used year round. But during the fall season the taste of ginger is warming while the weather is turning cool and crisp.

I have a new baking book The Great British Book of Baking . I am looking to learn a bit about British baking. I decided to open the book with my eyes closed and just bake. Lucky me I opened the book to Stem Gingernuts.

I checked out the internet trying to understand the British term biscuit. I think I understand a British biscuit to be a savory or sweet on the crunchy side of yummy. I was not familiar with caster sugar, golden syrup or stem ginger. Caster sugar turned out to be a medium fine sugar texture between white and powdered sugar. I ground some white sugar in a coffee grinder to create a finer sugar then white sugar.   

Stem ginger is a preserved candied ginger in sweet syrup. It was not hard to make. 

1/2 lb of fresh ginger root, 2 cups white sugar, 2 cups of water and a candy thermometer 
1. Peel and cut the ginger into cubes. 
2. Cover with cold water.
3. Boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. 
4. Drain the water and repeat. (Some reciepes did this step three times)
5. Add the sugar and water. 
6. Cook to 225 degree using the candy thermometer. It will take approximately 15 minutes. 
7. Put into sterile jars. It can store for up to 3 months in the frig. 

Golden syrup or treacle is very tasty. I had no idea what it was. I was under the misguided impression it was a light colored molasses. Not even close! Why do we not use this wonder stuff in more recipes here in the US? While making the syrup I was reminded of the process of caramelizing.

Golden Syrup
3 T water, 1/2 cup of white sugar, slice of lemon, 1 1/2 cups boiling water, 2 1/2 cups of white sugar
1. Swirl to combine 3 T water and 1/2 cups of sugar in a pan.
2. Heat to a simmer on medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes. Do not mix or stir. It will turn a caramel color.
3. Add 2 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and a slice of lemon.
4. Simmer for 45 minutes.
5. Put into sterile quart jar.

 The finished Stem Ginger and Golden Syrup.

 I made a lot of notes while learning how to bake the giner biscuit.

My first attempt was over baked and too crunchy. They had a nice favor but I do not think they where as good as they could be. My second bake was much better. The outside had good crack with a crunchy outside. The center had a slight softness that kept the ginger warmth on the tongue just long enough to feel the flavor.  

I really enjoyed baking these biscuits. I thought the flavor was heightened dunked in a creamy vanilla flavored cup of strong coffee. I really dislike anything dunked in coffee that looses it shape or lets crumbs go into my java. These biscuits held their shape very well. I am not sure I would dunk them in a cup of tea? I will have to try them with my favorite tea, Earl Grey. I would have like to try the tea dunking experiment but a bunch of smaller gnomes ate the rest of the biscuits. They swarmed the kitchen taking handfuls of the biscuits with them as they went out the door into the cold with bare feet to jump in piles of leaves and practice gymnastics.  

After the cookery was all cleaned up, I thought I would sit and explore the baking book. One of our cats Dr Smexy Butterscotch Pickle thought he would help me decide my next bake.  
Short bread....sounds so tasty....I am not sure if kitty approves?

Sunday, February 7, 2016


The dark winter nights have been filled with dreams of skinny wolves running between dark trees and packed icy snow. Waking from the dreams I look to the sky through my bedroom window and try to see the stars. When the clouds are few, the stars are bright and I feel physically close. I feel the silence of the night while I am wrapped warm in my blankets comforted by my dog and kitties. The winter is a time of inward growth and I feel myself expand filling with stars.

I just want to bake and have my oven on. I am using the last of my garden parsnips for this winter warming yum.

Sweet Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
2 pounds of parsnips peeled and 1 pound of carrots peeled
3 T olive oil
Black pepper and salt (coarse and to your taste)
Mix of dried spices such as oregano, parsley, and thyme that you like
Honey to drizzle
1. Preheat the oven to 425 (Yes Yes YES, loving the warmth)
2. Cut the parsnips and carrots in half lengthwise and then in diagonally in half.
3. Place in a tin foil lined baking sheet.
4. Pour oil on vegetables, toss well.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper
6. Cover lightly with a sheet of foil and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Uncover, add dried spice mix, toss.  Lightly drizzle honey on each piece.
8. Bake uncovered 10 to 20 minutes until they are tender.
9. Check after 10 minutes with a knife for tenderness. Do not over bake and dry them out.

The light of day have been filled with family, my job, graduate school, and adventures in composting. Winter composting is a challenge. I live in zone 6b where composting in freezing snowy blowy weather is not for the faint of heart. I have tried indoor composting without success. I keep several buckets outside my back door to collect kitchen scraps.

I had insulated my compost pile with bales of straw but then had to use them around my bees. Note to self, buy more straw bales than I think I will need. Alas, the bees warmth is more important than my Marjory.

I instead used up lots of cardboard boxes creating an insulated layer but the wind had other plans and blew most of them away. I ended up using a tarp, hoping for the best. Today I remove the tarp, the brown green layer and dug into crunchiness until I found loamy dirt. The day was crisp cold with a bright blue sky. The snow has melted, leaving the earth squishy. I fluffed and fed Marjory. My compost pile is too cold without much microbe action. I was hoping to see a few puffs of steam. I have been layering brown and green materials attempting to trap heat within Marjory. I also noticed the pile was dry. I had thought the melting snow would maintain the compost moisture. I am always learning. Composting in Winter web site was very informative. I think it will really help me next winter.

 Next year I will have a better winter compost heap. I will insulate with straw and cardboard. I will water. I will layer with more brown and green material. Using a tarp was a good idea. This winter I will keep doing the best I can do, loving Marjory.

As in past winters I am digging a trench into my garden and burying the scraps. For the rest of the winter I will leave Marjory to meditate. Meditating helps to pull me back to my center away from the preoccupation of my daily stresses in my life. Marjory and I will sit in winter silence. I will attend to what is happening inside rather than outside. I hope Marjory does too and her microbe action increases.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Apiary Adventure

I put three pounds of bees into my back yard hive. I live within the limits of a small to medium size city. I love bees. They are fascinating creatures.  A year ago I started collecting equipment, reading books, joined a local Bee Group called SEBA and watched lots of different youtube bee instructional videos. I felt I was ready but when I looked at that box with all that buzzing energy...I was not so sure. 

I felt terror! Look at that beautiful mass of bee's! I had arrived home to late in the day to put them in their hive the day they arrived. They spent the night in a cool darkened room in the house next to my bedroom. They were lightly sprayed with sticky sugar water, then I crossed my fingers and went to sleep. There were about five or six bees that were hanging on the outside and never let go of their sisters. My son who picked up the bees for me was told they had been hanging on since there departure from Thistledewfarm located in Proctor, West Virginia. 

Only those who risk going too far can know how far they can go. ~ Unknown

In the morning I collected my beekeeping supplies. I am sure in last year I have collected lots of equipment I may and may not need. This spring I put together and painted boxes, shims, bottoms, inside covers, tops, tools and more. I felt I was ready but still three pounds is a lot of they all have stingers. I am afraid of being stung.

I wish I had been able to video the placement of the bees. I bet the adventure looked comical. Especially to bee keepers that know what they are doing! I had never used a smoker before nor the prying tool. So I felt awkward. Finally I got everything together, picked up my courage and pried open the transport bee box, nabbed the queen...saw a moving dot and placed her in the hive. I then ran away. Yup I did. I came back gave the bees a little smoke and a big shake, dumping them into the hive. Quickly I placed the queen excluding screen on top then the box with sugar water and ran away. 

My son and I are allergic to bee and spiders. I have epi-pens stashed in different areas of the house. Still I dare to have bees because they are an important part of the life cycle of plants and in trouble. Bees need our help. I am not as interested in honey as I am in helping the bees.

I sent a picture to a knowledgeable bee keeper. I was happily patting myself on the back, satisfied with a job well done. Until he texted back. I did not receive the news I thought I would hear. He told me there were too many bees left in the transport box and I had to do it again. OMG's again? I had to take a few deep breaths.

So I did the process again. I lifted the box smoked the bees, ran away, came back and shook the rest of the bees in their new home. Placed the queen excluding screen back on, box with the sugar water, inside cover and top. Then ran away. This time there were only a few bees left in the box. I breathed a sigh of relief, sat in a outdoor chair, sipped ice tea and watched the girls. I had not been stung. I smiled. 

I am looking forward to more bee adventures since I broke through my comfort zone. I am happy that I was able to over come my fear of being stung and take a risk toward bee keeping. I bet I will still be afraid but next time I need to open the hive I will have a bit more experience and hopefully not run frequently. I am having a buzzing good time watching the girls while in my urban garden.

To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard of life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love."
-- Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Four Truths of the Tiramisu

When you've seen beyond yourself then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there.
George Harrison, Within You Without You, 1967

As a nurse, I feel that people assume I am compassionate. I myself am not always sure that I am compassionate. I feel I need to have a better understanding of the word. What does the word compassionate mean? Out comes my handy dandy note book, which really means I Google the word to understand its meaning. My favorite word site defines compassion, as 'a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering'.

I believe we all have words that describe us at first glance, as a person within a crowd of people. Words that I think would generally be used to describe me at a first meeting would be; woman, mother, tall, eccentric, strong, sarcastic wit and intelligent. I do not feel I come across to other people at first glance as compassionate. After daily meditation I like to think of one word that describes myself and my vibrational tone to my mood in the moment. Today my word was consideration.

I do feel empathy for people that are having physical or emotional difficulties. By definition I am compassionate. Another part of the definition of compassion is 'a strong desire to alleviate suffering'. I know as a person I am aging, there is sickness all around me and death is certain. I can not change any of these truths. I do want to help ease the suffering of people. Yes I want to lighten and diminish my fellow humans of their suffering by nursing and caring for them. There are many layers to words such as compassion, empathy and sympathy like a layered dessert called tiramisu. I like to cook. Cooking gives me time to think, ponder and deepen my understanding of my self. The act of cooking creates a different type of meditative energy then walking or sitting.  

I really like this photo of the layered dessert that means 'pick me up' as described by the 'Slow Cooker' on her blog dated 2010. I have made this dessert several times and it has always been just a bit different from the last attempt. I would like to think it was a bit better but a bit different is another layer to the word better. Compassion has a definition and then there are the layers attached to the definition. A word layered, like a delicate tiramisu. 
I work in the emergency department of a local hospital. Compassion can easily be misplaced in the busy setting of the ER. I need to get your story, assess, obtain vital signs, get a urine sample, chart and make sure you are ready for ordered test such as cat scans, xrays and ultrasounds. I have to work to make sure you are getting your physical needs met. Doing my job as a nurse is not always consider compassionate. As I work I am respectful and kind but I am not sure again that I am being compassionate because I am implementing critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

Buddha taught there is the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth to the end of suffering and the truth of the path to end suffering. Life is not about suffering instead it is a perspective of the world. Egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone cheese and stiffened egg whites are the four noble truths of the tiramisu. The truths or the sweet cheese layer of the tiramisu is a bridge between the physical tasting and the bliss of understanding the dessert. I would equate the layer of the lady fingers of the tiramisu to the structure and the building block of the dessert with a mild sponge and hit of vanilla amaretto coffee bite. I am a student of Buddhism and my thoughts are my understandings of Buddha teaching through meditation and reading. Suffering can be physical or of a mental nature. In this moment my focus is self centered thoughts or self importance in relation to suffering. I have been following guided meditations that have been helping me understand and have mindful compassion by holding difficult emotion such as fear, anger, sadness, shame and self doubt and letting them go, to refill myself with loving awareness. I am then brimming with compassionate joy for myself and in turn spreads out to people around me.
from the Centuries Of Meditations

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, 
till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: 
and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, 
because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. 
Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, 
and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world.

Till your spirit filleth the whole world, and the stars are your jewels; 
 till you are as familiar with the ways of God in all Ages as with your walk and table: 
till you are intimately acquainted with that shady nothing out of which the world was made: till you love men so as to desire their happiness, with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own: till you delight in God for being good to all: you never enjoy the world. 

I feel there are three components to compassion to understand and then incorporate into my daily life to be considered compassionate. Being able to noticing suffering in the people around me is the first step. If my eyes are turned inward toward my self and overly concerned with my own feelings then I can not be a compassionate person. I want my response to another persons suffering to be kind and caring. My response may be verbal, energetic or touch which is a connection between us that says, I notice your suffering. The human experience is something that we all share and my response is an acknowledgment of our shared humanity. 

I do find it easier to be compassionate toward others than with myself. I tend not to notice my own suffering and my judgement of my self and self criticism can be harsh. I am remembering to open my heart toward my self during medication and daily living. The link belong was a very helpful compassionate self examination. 
Test how self compassionate you are by following this link and answering 26 questions.  

My meditation word today is consideration. I have considered and given careful thought to the meanings of compassion. For many weeks I have been meditating on different aspects of compassion and asking myself how I can be a better nurse, be a better human and be kinder to myself. I have been keeping the word close to my heart and trying to live compassionately. The most thoughtful act I can do today on my day off from work is wash everyone clothes and make tiramisu.

Just in case you feel the need to make a delicious tiramisu for your family and do not have any mascarpone cheese handy here is a substitution for the cheese:

Mascarpone Cheese Substitute

One 16 oz block of cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Lightly whip the heavy whipping cream to smooth peaks
2. Blend the 3 ingredients until smooth. 

The next most thoughtful act I can do is to spend my time with the people I love and notice them while we connect between blissful bites of tiramisu.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ice Amour

Soft snow and an almost completely iced over Anthony Creek. 

The weather in southern West Virginia is freezing chill bone rattling cold. I do not like being cold. My bones ache and send stressed messages to the rest of my body to hurry and get warm. I take frequent warming lavender and orange scented baths to appease my grumbling bones.
Last weekend I bundled myself in long johns, t-shits, sweaters, clunky winter boots, wooly socks, two scarves, mittens and a very warm knit hat and braved the winter weather and went for a hike. I enjoy hiking this very easy trail in the Big Draft Wilderness area of Monongahela National Forest. I hike and photograph the trail all year long. The area is more than lovely, it is a slice of natures love pie.
I had been contemplating my thoughts about winter, ice, cold and water. What message was I sending to myself and others? When water is NOT frozen and cold I know I send unconscious thoughts of joy, love and happiness to the water that surrounds me. I thought about Dr Marsaru Emoto work with water and how water is connected to our individual and collective consciousness.

I try to think positive thoughts, believing my energy and the way I speak affects the water flowing through and nourishing me. Water is everywhere. Water is in the air, our food, our breath, rivers, our bodies, oceans, glaciers, tiny mountain streams and in our drinking glasses.

Intracellular, extracellular, plasma,
interstitial, gastrointestinal, cerebrospinal, 
peritoneal, ocular 

I noticed that during the winter my thoughts and comments are negatively directed at all the frozen water giving me chills. I decided to take a winter walk to appreciate winter and photograph the beauty of frozen water. I wanted to change my relationship to snow flakes, icy crystals, snjor, complex hexagonal patterns, nieve blanco, snow, powder snow, slush, snow drifts and blankets of snow.
Anthony Creek with a warm blanket of protective snow.

Everything in life can be nourishing. 
Everything can bless us, but we've got to be there for the blessing to occur. 
Being present with quality is a decision we are invited to make each day.
-- MacRina Wiederkehr

Everything in life can be nourishing...even cold water, ice, snow and a blustery cold breezes. I am choosing to change my thoughts and remember the befits of the cold frozen landscape of winter. The snow insulates the soil, recharges ground water aquifers, cultivates magic, possibilities, and inner child wonder.

Rhododendron bushes with magical buds that will bloom in the spring.
The magic of snow is the possibilities brewing under its protective decorative frosting.  

Crystal clear water moving through the ice creating paths and patterns.

Closer to Blue Bend the water changed to a greenish color adding a warmish glow. The color is an interesting hue next to the stark white, gray and blueish ice and chilly snow. 

The relationship that I have with water is important to me since I use water in my spiritual practice. My wintery hike was not just fun but a way for me to realign my thoughts to be positive instead of negative or complaining about frozen water. Kala is an important water transformation ritual that is a corner stone of Feri practice. Into the water I send my inner fears, shame and guilt. My energetic blue eye and breaths transforms the water into love. I drink in love, healing energy and life, sending nourishing radiant light to God Soul which continues the transformation process into grace.

Who is this flower above me?
 What is the work of this God? 
I would know myself and all my parts.
So Mote it Be.
Frozen love
My dog a white Lab was named by my middle son, is Dumbledore (or affectionately Bumble Dumble) loved the snowy blowy winter walk. He ran, jumped, tasted and rolled around in the snow giving me lots of warm hearten joy. 

I took a fun photo of me wearing my hand spun knit, very warm hat that is slightly too big with my two scarves. Yes, my nose is Rudolph red cold but my smile is warm enough to melt the snow!

Friday, January 17, 2014


Image result for belted kingfisher

Copyright:© Laura Crawford Williams/VIREO

What do I want?
A friend told me about a Life Coach she had been seeing and thought I might be interested. A Life Coach, as I understand is someone who offers guidance as the other person goes through a learning process that will facilitate new behaviors for personal growth or professional advancement. I have met with her and felt the experience very helpful for me. I will meet with her for several more months. Her information is linked to this blog located under links of interest.

I needed to reconnect with my passionate geeky self. A thread of melancholy had woven its way into my life. While perusing one of my favorite web sites which is a dictionary  slash lots of other cool stuff geeky word stuff, I found this word that summed up the off colored weaving thread, lugubrious. This word means, mournful, dismal, or gloomy in an exaggerated or unrelieved manner. Ok, now go to the link connected to the word lugubrious and listen to the pronunciation. How can a word that sounds so bubbly and fun be so down? I just love that word. I hit the audio button several times in a row, lugubrious, lugubrious, lugubrious and now I am giggling.

Right around Yule or Christmas my emotions calmed. I like this Greek myth and the meaning of the word halcyon. I would love to say I saw a Belted Kingfisher or even heard the bird call but no, I did not. At Winter Solstice I felt my self sink back into my self. I believe being with my family and talking to the Life Coach helped. I feel I am now in a nest of my own making on a calm clear cold river floating along peacefully and healing.
All spiritual disciplines are done with a view to still the mind. The perfectly still mind is universal spirit. -- Swami Ramdas
(I am trying)

Our family holiday celebration was joyful. One day to prepare and the other to celebrate. My mother and I made a chowder as our main dish for our family event. My parents are from New England and I remember as a child living with my Nana in Massachusetts enjoying bowls of fish chowder that was fishy and full of potatoes. Chowders had been considered 'poor mans food' but now have been elevated to rich and cream or tangy tomato 'hearty mainstay' of delectable yum. My mother and I made a seafood chowder. Parts of the recipe is from memories of my mother learning from my Nana and some of the recipe is from our collective cooking experience. I wish I had taken a picture but I was having to much fun.

Seafood Chowder

2 large live Maine lobsters
5 cups of water
1lb cleaned large shrimp
1 large container of oysters
1lb of sea scollops
4 or 5 lb of cod
5 lb of peeled white potatoes
1 stick of unsalted butter
sunflower oil to coat pan for frying
2 large onions
1 small bag of frozen corn
salt, white pepper, 5 garlic cloves

1. In a large stock pot boil water. Place the lobsters in one at a time head first. Boil on high 5-8 minutes. Remove the lobsters, plunging into ice water to stop the cooking process and let them cool. Empty the dirty water and clean stock pot. Pick the lobsters. Save the meat and refrigerate. Discard the green stuff/tomally, and the lungs in the body of the lobster. Boil 5 cups of water and add the lobster shell, body and empty legs to the water to make stock. Boil and reduce to 4 cups of water. Strain, discard shells and save the yummy stock in the frig.
2. While you are making the stock, peel the potatoes, wash in cold water, cut into chunks and boil until tender. Remove half and mash. Put the rest in the frig until later.
3. When the stock is done, strained and removed from the large stock pot, add chopped onion and stick of butter. Cook until tender. Add the mashed potatoes and return the stock water. Cook on medium heat.
4. Drain the oyster, scallops and cod. Add the drained liquid to the stock pot. Quick fry oysters, scallops and cod in sunflower oil to seal in their flavor. They may not be completely cooked. 
5. Add frozen corn to stock and potatoes. Return to a simmer. Add crushed garlic. Add the potato chunks.
6. Add the cooked oysters, scallops and cod. Return to a boil. Add more water if it is too thick. Return to boil. Add the shrimp.  The shrimp will turn pink and be cooked very quickly.
7. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Add the clunked lobster meat.
8. Taste and make sure there is enough salt, pepper and garlic. Turn off the heat, cool to warm and serve with oyster crackers.

So yummy, potato thick and rich with Poseidon gifts!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Purple cabbage nestled among Lambs Ear and Purple Cone flower, beside a Lilac bush. 
Golly Miss Molly! We have had a lot of rain this summer at my West Virginia location!
Between the rain and my work schedule I am so so sooooo behind on my weeding, dehydrating and all around garden maintenance chores.  I grow many of my vegetables in the same beds as my herbs and flowers. I started planting late this year because of the rain and decided to plant my purple cabbage near the Lilac bushes to protect them from heat. I had hoped to get a very late cabbage crop. Well we have not had the usual heat with all this rain. The bugs have been ferocious and a willowy friend turned me on to Captain Jack Dead Bug . My pretty purple cabbage may be past the point of no return but I sprayed them anyway and will hope for the best.

The cucumbers are doing great! See the big one I picked and then ate for dinner in the left corner?
I switched my cucumbers to a new spot this year, since they did really crappy last year. The herb borage  was already growing in that spot. I just weeded them back a bit so the cucumbers would have plenty of room to spread. Borage is a great companion plant for vegetables such as tomatoes, strawberries and squash. Maybe cucumbers too? Nothing kills the borage and they reseed them selves year after year.

Carrots, speckled roman tomato and sunflowers.
I was not a very good seed saver last year so I was very happy to see that the Speckled Roman tomato that had grown in that spot last year sprouted a few plants. I am not completely sure it is that tomato variety since I have not seen the fruit yet but my fingers are crossed. I really loved that tomato variety! The tomato variety was sweet, meaty and didn't have a lot of seeds. It was an excellent canning tomato that had curb appeal in my front yard garden.

Basil, Roma and Ox heart tomatoes.
The soil in this garden is not as weed free as my other beds. This is only the second planting of in this garden area. I pulled weeds that where as tall as me. I found bannana peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, garlic,  potatoes and unfortunately evidence that other seeds I had planted did not survive. My pole beans and pumpkins where eaten or else smothered by the weeds. I still have more weeding to do!

Another volunteer plant.
The volunteer squash plant has just started to set fruit. Since the pumpkins and butternut that I planted did not make it (for the first time ever!), I am hoping it will be some type of pumpkin. Trinnity and Chloe planted the sunflowers and they have enjoyed watching 'their' plants grow bigger then they are.
Peppermint, oregano, wormwood and etc in the front yard garden.
I have several different gardens. The main vegetable gardens are on each side of my house and also a front yard garden. I do not live on a busy street so my gardens are not very evident unless someone pulls into my driveway to come visit. I do live within the city limits of a small town. I plant flowers, herbs and vegetables together. I applaud people that plant front yard gardens in areas where they are considered a violation or might be banned. I feel it is important to grow my own food and at least try to make a smaller carbon footprint. I think front yard gardens are beautiful. Really aren't the 'weeds' in our yards just agreed upon flowers?

Sunflowers (seeds for my parrot), bee balm, day lilly and nicotiana.

Yum, dinner of fresh cucumbers! Still  garden dusty banana peppers and zucchini.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tile Pile

Planning the tile pattern.
Planning the tile for the counter took a while. I picked out tile, stacked, sorted and then did it again for several weeks. I have a large pile of tile in my garage that is stacked in piles against one wall. A little part of me thought that maybe the stacks would help insulate the garage. Hmmm probably not. The stacks have become more of a stair step way around the wall of the garage for my outdoor cats. 

Getting busy and ready to add the corners.
I did have to purchase the edge pieces. They where expensive! I applied plastic to the wood counter top and then the cement board. I like applying thin set. There is just something about creating the goop with my drill and beater blade. I like to watch it swirl and combine with the water in the bucket to make goop. Applying the goop to tile is pretty fun too! It feels like spreading frosting! Yum, but no tasting necessary. 

Wet saw to cut the corners and a few other tile.
After I started applying the tile to the edge of the counter, I realized I had no clue how to cut the corners. On top of that I did not have any equipment to cut the corners! I went to the net and to youtube to research my options. I watched youtube video after video trying to learn how to cut corners with a wet saw for several days before I rented the wet saw. My daughter and I fooled with the saw for an hour (unplugged) before I tried to cut tile. I cut a few plain tile before I cut my first corner. I was so nervous! It came out perfect! I was so happy!!

The finished counter top!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Emergency Care


I was on break with a fellow nurse and she shared a few funny videos with me for a laugh and some stress relief. Laughter, after all is the best medicine!  I have worked in the ER now for six months. Here you would expect me to say how much I love my job. be honest I love parts of my job.

I would like to share all the wonderful and heart felt stories about people I have helped to get better and leave the ER but instead it is the yucky stuff that sticks out like a bad zit. Do you know what kind of zit I'm talking about? The kind of zit that suddenly appears hot red itchy and swelled at least an inch high that can be seen by looking sideways at the tip of your own nose. I just know that everyone else can see that aggravating huge zit and it is very distracting! Those are unfortunately the people that I am thinking about today. The above you tube video is a great zit story.   

Let me say this again. I have only worked in the ER for six months but I have already heard this several times a week. Part of my head is trying to get the real reason for their ER visit and part of my head is laughing hysterically at the total craziness of the conversation I am having.

I was flabbergasted the first time I witnessed a fake seizure! I have seen real seizures and have sympathy for people that have this serious condition and was totally appalled that people really do fake seizures. My preceptor turned to me and said 'welcome to the ER' while my mouth dropped and eyes popped in  shock. Well, my shock lasted a second or two because after all I am a nurse.  

I'm not a new nurse. I decided to change careers in my late 40's. I don't think I'm having a midlife crises but I could be. I have a new car too. Plenty of people and fellow nurses have suggested I must be crazy to switch to the ER. Since 1990 I have worked in different areas of nursing such as cardiac step down, post open heart, a float nurse, nursing home and even hospice. The ER has been a challenge and a blessing all in one inhale. I wouldn't trade my ER position for anything. Not even a Hershey Kiss, peanut butter cup, cup cake, double chocolate brownie or even a blueberry red bull. And boy that is saying a lot because I really love chocolate and caffeine!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Diva Bull Here

 My body is not cooperating with my mind. In my head I am ready willing and able to leap tall buildings, jump, skate and stay up all night playing nurse Cindy! wink wink
Early this spring I tried riding this bull pictured to the left at a local restaurant bar post Derby party. I have ridden bucking bronco horses...mmm several or many years ago, so heck I can ride this mechanical bull my head told the rest of my body! I lasted 10 seconds. LOL But the ride was worth every single 10 seconds! I'm sad to say now with my knee feeling achy and wobbly I couldn't even jump on the bulls back, let alone ride for 10 seconds. Pout face. 

Diva of Home Improvements shakes her Fairy.....(insert favorite body part here)

New kitchen sink and counter top.
I set my sights on my kitchen this spring. I love my new open sink and large faucet. I have never had a separate sink hole for a soap dispenser and I it has proved useful. Since this picture was taken the window frame was painted a basil green color. I have all the tile picked out but I haven't had enough days off in a row to complete the tile project on the back splash. 

Copper hanging pan rack above center kitchen island.
Planning the tile counter top on the other side of the kitchen.

A friend helped me finish my pot rack with copper plumbing pipe. I love it! Love it! I think the copper goes so well with the ceiling I painted a dark mysterious forest green color. 
I have picked out the tile and made a design with tile on the other counter in the kitchen. I will have the rest of the supplies needed for that project next week when I again will have a few days off together.

Repainted and polyurethane center kitchen island.
I repainted my center kitchen table island. My cute granddaughter, bigger kids and my self had put a hurting on the previous paint job and it was quite battered, nicked and scratched. My Dad is putting new wood on my chairs because Trinity stuck her feet through the cane seat bottoms. I look forward to painting them dark purple. ")