Another study supports my belief that positive self-talk produces positive results! James Gaines wrote about it HERE on UpWorthy.

Self-talk beat imagery and if-then thought.

I am a strong and powerful woman.


I have tried Blue Apron and now, HelloFresh. If you don't know, these are just two of the home delivery grocery services that feature portioned ingredients and recipe cards. You can try these delivery companies out for half the typical cost as an introductory offer. The BlueApron program I tried sent me three meals for two people, for $30 instead of the usual $60. 

In the case of HelloFresh, a friend who is a customer can offer you you six meals (for two) free. This is a tremendous deal. (Thanks, QuiltyFriend and QuiltyHusband)

HelloFresh Italian Wedding Soup
I have now had a week of each and in my opinion, HelloFresh does a better job. 

I know, not very scientific, only two companies, only one week each and the conditions were not at all the same. 

I did all the Blue Apron cooking, but couldn't stand the ingredients for the third meal, so I still have them in my refrigerator. Probably should get rid of them sometime soon. Also, I had to do the prep and cooking alone, after work. And, w-a-a-a-a-y too much frying. The kitchen was coated in grease. Twice.

HelloFresh came midway through last week and I was lucky enough to have NotSoFarAwaySon to cook these up for me. I came home from work to delicious aromas. Today was my day off, so I took a turn. Italian Wedding Soup! It was delicious!

On days when I am NOT making Hello Fresh (there are only 3 more recipes in my trial period), I have been cooking up some veggies and enjoying them. 

This is sautéed onions, red peppers, with spinach cooking down on top. JK, daughter of my closest FloridaFriend, showed me how to prepare spinach that way.

And then, we had mushrooms left over from Vegan Stroganoff, so decided to cook those up and then cook them down with a splash of red wine and dumped them on top. (One of my nieces--TennesseeJRay, taught me how to do that.)

 Yes, Dad, I cooked mushrooms. Not only that, I am learning to like them!


The last of the tulips. 

I wanted to save the bulbs for next year, but I have cut the leaves as well as the stems and did not research how to make them last another year until it was too late. 

Oh, well. Next year's bulbs will be left until the leaves dry up and can be pulled away.



How about some Aldo Cibic tea pots and cups?

Another Aldo Cibic design that caught my eye.



"Nevertheless, she persisted." ~Mitch McConnell

Thank you, Senator McConnell, for giving words to Elizabeth Warren's undaunted determination. I will use them to make my own struggles more focused on the goals.


More tulip pictures. The pinks bloomed faster and went by. Here they are full-blown.


Another gift in the box from QuiltyCousin was a book by Kenneth Libbrecht, called THE ART OF THE SNOWFLAKE: A PHOTOGRAPHIC ALBUM

Now, I'm tired of real snow, and QuiltyCousin SURELY is, living over in the OriginalPortland.(Three blizzards and counting)

All photos in this post are from Libbrecht's book

But, both of us love looking at these beautiful crystal photos. These don't have to be shoveled! 

Libbrecht has some amazing photography inside. In his book, he writes that he collects some of his flakes on big black boards. 

Another interesting shape

Some he transfers to slides for his microscope using a paintbrush. 

Some he catches directly on the slide.

No two alike

Same flake as above, different lighting
Sometimes, he uses different color light and the snowflakes react like prisms. Whatever he does, he only has a few seconds to a few minutes before his subject disappears.


As sometimes happens when one moves out of one place and into another, possessions long forgotten, surface. I hadn't thought about Lazzaroni Amaretti cookies for a long time and then, there was the tin of the last ones we had. 

Enjoying these cookies with coffee and Amaretto was a special event to us early in our marriage. We even gave some of these tins as gifts to special people. But as children came along, our focus and finances shifted and we chose new luxuries which we could enjoy with the kids such as soccer and baseball teams. 

You can imagine how nostalgic I felt when I found this tin again in all my stuff-sorting. It sits on my kitchen counter, now. The minis and the tall one and the other two big ones are long-gone. 

But look what I found! Trader Joe's has cookies in a pretty tin! I bought these on Valentine's day. SOLELY for the tin. Pleasant surprise--the cookies taste pretty good, too!


Birthday wine, from QuiltyFriend and her husband. 

The Naked Winery also have a Pinot and a Merlot, that came in the box. 

They have been enjoyed and the bottles recycled already. 

What a thoughtful and delicious gift.



Another birthday gift. This book is from
QuiltyCousin. It a whole encyclopedia covering tea history, propagation, and varieties in China, Japan, Taiwan, and India. It has all you need to know to select the right tea as well as how to prepare it.

Also included are African teas, Nepalese, Viet Namese, and Sri Lankan teas, just to name a few more.

I am enjoying reading through this book with, guess what? A cup of tea!



Not really a mantra, but my dark sense of humo(u)r took over for today.

Stolen from a Canadian or British post, no doubt


I have pretty much been minding my pennies, but when I saw these at the grocery store, and the price was right, I bought them. I can't remember ever seeing growing tulips for so low a price and they have brought me such joy in the past week. 

I'm thinking they will bloom and be gone before I can get the bulbs in the ground, but they should come back next year. I will try to get pictures of them fully opened. Which do you like better? The tag on the red ones indicated that they would be PINK with the white variegation. Alternate fact, I guess. 


It was time to re-drape the mannequins, so I took a crack at it. 

My coworker, A, did the lovely orange and I thought maybe I'd try to give the illusion of pants and long sleeves on my gal.

The trick is to try not to have to actually cut anything off the bolt. 

I used two New York sample cuts for the slacks and a buckle I found in notions with ribbon from Bridal to make the belt.

We have enough of that trim to wrap around the entire city of Portland twice, so I though maybe if I featured it, we could move some of it. 

Not yet, as far as I can tell. It's very pretty, silk with sequins, a little conservative, a little playful. 

I haven't said much about my job. I work at the Mill End Store, which has been in business for 98 years, owned by the same family since the beginning. It is ENORMOUS.  

I have spent a little time in the Bridal and Theatre department, which is the first department on the right as you enter the store. Most of my time is in the next department after Bridal, called Fashion-Gourmet. 

The next department down the aisle is called Outerwear, then is the Annex, which is filled with flat-folds, batting, fake fur, and patterns.  

Turning to go back to the front of the store, you pass through an enormous department called Home Decorating. You would not be able to imagine what all they have there. 

Continuing on, Cottons--everything from quilting cottons to denim, canvas, ticking, and shirtings. After that, Yarn, which is a really tiny department and could use some cross-stitch and needlepoint materials, but maybe that isn't as popular here as on the east coast. There is a Bargain  department after that, and then Notions.

I have cut, folded, measured, rebolted, re-draped, and when it gets slow, wandered up and down the aisles of the silks and woolens, just touching the fabrics. It is fun and physically demanding for someone who prefers not to move around too much and has spent the last 8 years practicing that lifestyle.

I love it.


I jokingly told a friend I was considering learning plumbing after moving to Portland, since I found out how difficult it is to find plumbers here. 

I lived to regret those words after sleeping in the next room to a toilet that ran incessantly. I finally got up the courage to change out the innards. I even did the purchasing and wet work by myself. 

Never get too proud of yourself. I still remember the college class I had in which we learned the term HUBRIS.

My birthday was my day off, a coincidence I was pretty excited about. NotSoFarAwaySon was coming over and we were planning to do some cooking together. 

Instead, we spent the afternoon mopping up under the kitchen sink, applying the sink plunger, and mopping up under the kitchen sink. We also mopped up under the kitchen sink, and made two trips to the Ace Hardware for various remedies, after which, we mopped up under the kitchen sink.

On the first trip to Ace, I bought a sink snake. After applying it to no avail, I took off the entire apparatus, cleaned it out and determined that the clog was beyond the pea trap and out of reach of my snake.

Unless I have figured it out, this video will not play by the time this is published. Sorry, it is a thing of beauty, no sink back-up.

Back to Ace and Drano Gel was purchased. The directions said it might be necessary to repeat  the application as many as three times. Five was my magic number.

Clog gone, but not the leak. Back to Ace where they told me I needed gaskets, which I bought.

The sink still leaked.

Back to Ace where they told me I needed to rebuild the apparatus, but they did not have the parts. They gave me the numbers of four plumbers, two of whom never called me back. The other two wanted $170 to walk in the door, then $65 and hour to drive around looking to find the parts that Ace did not carry. If they found the parts, I have no idea how much they would have charged to install them. I can only guess, and it makes me feel faint.

Off to Lowe's, where someone told me to get a chain-lock plier and just, "Tighten her up and see if that doesn't work." Well, it did.

I would prefer not to have any further adventures in plumbing and I would like to say I haven't, but that just isn't true.

I have a drain just before my garage entry. My wonderful brother came over and pressure washed the bricks leading to it, but the drain is blocked somewhere under the garage. The area fills up and washes into the garage between the foundation and the door jamb. 

I foresee a problem. 

For the time being, I have decided to be pleased that my bricks are not slippery any longer and my little rug inside the garage door is just a little cleaner than it was a couple of days ago.


When I graduated from high school, women were not
allowed to open bank accounts without the signature
of a male from their family. We must not let oppression
undo the gains we have made toward human rights.
Maybe you heard of the Women's Marches being held across the nation, across the world, really. 

I was ready! I had a sign made! I had purpose! 

I had a job. 

NotSoFarAwaySon's photo of the Portland March from the Morrison Bridge
I heart my job
I got called in for my first day of work on the day of the march. 

I had been looking for employment CONTINUOUSLY since December, so when my new boss asked if I could come in on that Saturday, I said YES. 

My friends, HG and CB made sure my sign had a new owner.

One of my favorite signs that I didn't get to see in person:
Portlandia fans will agree...


Still not making gourmet food, but on my days off, I am trying to make some casserole type things for NotSoFarAwaySon. 

He prefers to eat vegan, but I haven't mastered that, yet. 

This was a lasagna with whole grain pasta, the only pasta I will eat unless I am a guest and can't avoid white flour pasta.

Layered in: multi-colored carrots, which I partially cooked first, sautéed mushrooms and onions, black olives, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and Kroger Basil Tomato pasta sauce, which I like very much. 


More than a month back, I started a post and abandoned it, due mostly to not having enough time! I was too busy cuddled up in my reclining chair, watching it snow continuously. Here is the meat of it: 

Don't usually make resolutions, but I came up with some goals:
1. 5,000 steps goal for one week, then bump up, then bump up again until 10,000 is normal (Normal for me is 245)
2. Follow my 16 hour fast a day plan
3. Find live local theater and attend
4. Unpack those two rooms of boxes by March.

With those plans in my mind, I have done fairly well. We are one week into February and I am not yet discouraged. 

Since getting a job in retail, I have made my 5,000 steps almost everyday. On my days off, my feet and back are so sore I can barely move. When I get ahead enough, I will probably visit a chiropractor. You know the saying, "Americans are dying for healthcare"? Well, my back and feet are killing me.

On a more positive work-related note, it is fairly easy to go 16 hours without food and I usually only take a bit of a light meal for my meal break--an egg and some cheese, some nuts and fruit. Then when I get home, I'm unlikely to create Chateau Briand or Baked Alaska, so another light meal suffices.

I am sorry to say I have not looked for live theater, but it is on my list. I am particularly fond of Shakespeare, so maybe I will start my search there.

Mine won't have contact paper.
I'm too cheap to spend that
kind of money.

I have the guest room completely unboxed, which means I have about 3 weeks to do the sewing room, unless I go for March 31! 

Probably neater than
mine will look
I still don't have any way to store all the stuff but I will count it as a success if I build my storage out of the boxes I open, kind of setting them on their sides. 

Think I could make a tower
out of Depends boxes?

I'm going to make one year my goal for getting the furniture I need for that room.


 So, we have had SOME WINTER, here in Portland. 

Three times, I have decided to spend all my time inside, except when Lily insisted that she needed to find a comfort location. 

Lily's spot during these snowy days has been directly under the front window, where there is a narrow strip of un-snowed on rocks.

This is the view from the kitchen-dining area onto the back deck. The path to the garage I shoveled with my dustpan. The snow was like that for about a week and I had snow on my deck for almost three weeks.

I haven't spent any time out on my deck, except for shoveling and traveling to and from the garage. Spring will come, I know.

Below is a picture of our beloved Unipiper, applying a shovel to help out downtown. His legs look cold, but can you really play flame shooting bagpipes in anything other than a kilt?