Martha Stewart and Me

I enjoy both Southern Living and Martha Stewart Living magazines – that is when I actually sit down to read them. I was so proud of myself for taking the time to read my October magazines, looking for a recipe or household idea I could make my own. I was almost finished Southern Living when the mailman delivered my November magazines. This makes me a little crazy. How can time fly by so quickly that it’s time to read about November? Shoot, there were still 12 days left in October!

I set the new issues aside and committed to finishing up October before November 1 (my idea of goal setting). I even tried a new recipe from Southern Living. Here’s a picture of it. It’s beefy squash and pasta (or something like that). It had collard greens in it – that should have been a clue. Anyway, I cooked it and it looked just like the picture in the magazine.

I know there must be some collard green fans out there, but why is a mystery to me. Controversial cooking tip: avoid cooking them with ground beef.

The butternut squash was the star of the show. The greens were the horrible ending, which lingered through the night. Bitter endings are the worst. I threw the recipe away so I wouldn’t make that mistake again. It was a glorified hamburger helper.

But this post is more about Martha Stewart’s fine publication. I don’t relate to it as easily as I do Southern Living. SL has a down-home feel. Martha Stewart Living has an uppity, uptown feel, even though her uptown is her home in the Hamptons or her home in Maine or her other home in Maine. Still, I know there is much to be learned from Martha, and honestly, I do admire her.

But I can only go so far with her.

I live by my calendar. I keep one on the wall and one on my phone, which literally keeps me going in the right direction. Page 2 of Martha’s magazine gives us her calendar. Its subtitle is “Gentle reminders, helpful tips, and important dates.”

There are few similarities. Of course, I live in Orlando and she lives in one of the above three locations, so yeah. I get it. Plus, she’s Martha Stewart.

Thing(s) we have in common: Get flu shot.

Things we don’t have in common:

  • Pick apples and make cider
  • Move tropical plants indoors (She should have a Florida home, too. That would eliminate this chore.)
  • Have horses reshoed.
  • Prepare chicken coops for winter.
  • Today Show appearance.
  • Swap out summer linens for winter bedding (again, a Florida home is needed)
  • Speak at Horticultural Society of NY’s fall luncheon
  • QVC appearance – This is a close one. I made an appearance at CVS this month.
  • Take drone photos of fall foliage. This is my favorite.

This is a sampling of her month. Next month she has an entire day dedicated to checking and refilling the bird feeders. They must be some kind of humongous feeders. I have to refill mine every other day.

In contrast, my month had:

  • Art show meeting
  • 3 appointments for my mom
  • Furniture repairman
  • Grandsons’ football games
  • 3 church small group meetings
  • Writers group meeting
  • A weekend trip to Maine not to see Martha Stewart, though we took photos of the fall foliage (not with a drone)
  • 3 luncheons (I wasn’t receiving awards or the speaker)
  • 3 special birthdays – Happy Birthday to my son, Joe; my son-in-law Derek; and my grandson, Oliver, is turning one!

I think I like my calendar better. In fact, I know I do. But, thank you, Martha, for pointing out the need to be organized and balance work, friends, and commitments. Now that I have my November magazines and I realize that the holidays are upon us, I’ll need all the encouragement I can get. I’ll use her calendar for comic relief and to remind me to deep clean the oven on November 19 and polish the silver on November 20. (Thought I’d end this post with that little joke!)

A Homecoming I Couldn’t Have Pictured

My plan was to take the year off from decorating for fall. I was thrilled with my decision. I even bragged about it to my daughter, which normally would be dangerous. One year I had told her that I planned on doing much less Christmas decorating and you would have thought that I canceled Christmas. I offered good, sound reasons, but she looked so disappointed. She may have believed that she was witnessing me aging right in front of her eyes. Who knows, but she was a little distraught over it.

I thought I was safe with this year’s decision. Dena lives in North Carolina and wouldn’t have the ongoing reminders that my house was free of fall leaves and pumpkins. My tables could be dusted without moving all the tchotchkes. There would be nothing to put away before decorating for Christmas. I was happy.

Last weekend we traveled to Maine for an October getaway. It had been planned for a few months, so I was dismayed when I found out that Dena would be coming to Orlando while we were gone. She would be attending her high school twentieth reunion and would stay at our house. I wouldn’t see her.

Part of me knew I wouldn’t see much of her during that time anyway, so I found happiness in knowing that she was staying at our house.

On return home last Monday night, the first thing I noticed was a basket of fall décor on my dining room table. It confused me until I looked around and found pumpkins all over the house. Dena!

I’ll admit it, I was mildly annoyed but then deduced that she must be returning next month to put away the things which she got out. After all, that is how I raised her (tried to raise her).

It was 7:30 at night. We had been traveling all day and by the time we lugged my mom’s, my sister’s, and our luggage into the house, plopped down our bag of Chick-fil-A sandwiches on the counter, and did that other thing you do after riding for a while, we were pretty tired.

But there was a feeling that we were being watched. In addition to the pumpkins, leaves, and baskets, there were pictures – lots of pictures. They appeared one after another. I hung my mom’s coat in her closet and a picture of one of my grandchildren dropped out. I looked on the fridge and found that Dena was looking back at me. There she was again, nestled into our grandchildren photo gallery on the foyer wall. She and her family were everywhere, including:

  • On the ceiling in the shower
  • In my car visor
  • In the freezer
  • Underneath of a jigsaw puzzle she had put together
  • Behind a pillow on the porch
  • In Bob’s and my laptops
  • In a container of cashews
  • Taped behind my make-up mirror
  • I flipped open the blinds, and there she was again – in two different rooms.
  • In my desk
  • In Bob’s closet
  • In the front closet
  • In the mailbox
  • I took out the garbage this morning, and there was my grandson looking at me from a picture taped to the inside of the lid.

Here’s my favorite hiding place:

I’m being watched on the pool deck from the phone holder on our hot tub.

 

It was time to call Dena. This was the best homecoming she could have planned and I have decided to forgive her for decorating my house because there is something wonderful about coming home to pictures of family. I will, however, continue my efforts to get her to come back down here to put this stuff away next month.

The selfies she took at our house were supposed to be clues to where other pictures were hidden. I’m not good at Clue.

So far, we have found 27 pictures. She tells me we have a long way to go before we find all of the pictures and that she hid clues in some of them to lead us to more. I think she forgot that I am terrible at the game of Clue and I’m sure I have messed up the sequence which would pave the way for Bob to discover more pictures. We’ll have to wait and see where she turns up. One thing for sure, she will.

A Short Post

When this is published there will be 38 days until the first day of Autumn. Contrary to excessive advertising bombarding us with all things fall, and considering there are 3 months or approximately 90 days in each of the 4 seasons, I do not think that summer is almost over.

Need calendar proof? If you’d like to countdown with me, there’s a website for that. Check out https://yourcountdown.to/autumn-fall

Living in Florida, I know that summer is far from over, and that’s why something has gotten on my nerves lately.

No, it’s not the great sales on summer clothing and swimsuits. It’s not the heat either. I look at hot days as opportunities to go swimming or to the beach.

It’s a little bit of the back to school hype. Even thought it’s been a long time since I’ve sent kids off to school, I don’t like to be reminded that summer is coming to a close – BECAUSE IT’S NOT! Even when we lived up north, summer was allowed to be in charge until after Labor Day. Autumn had to fall (so to speak) in behind it.

But that’s not the thing that has my dander up today. It’s shorts.

I’m right in there with all you people who like to make fun of pairs of shorts and pairs of pants when you’re talking about a single piece of clothing. It’s all clean fun. And it has been explained why those articles of clothing are referred to in the plural when they are singular in function. That’s fine.

I was in my beloved Costco a few days ago checking out the clothes, when I noticed they did not have any shorts. They had short(s). I don’t even know how to write this, because if I say they had shorts you will fail to understand fully this weird occurrence. Here’s a picture, that should explain it to you.

Shocking! Isn’t it?

I immediately searched the women’s and men’s tables for the historically correct and accepted word “shorts.” I came up short.

My next task was to ask Merriam-Webster. There is no shortage of definitions for the word “short.” A long way down in his definitions it is stated that shorts are knee-length or less trousers – usually in plural. Short drawers.

Whew, I felt better. Until…

 

Yep. All the tags come up short. I mean they are selling short, which of course means we are now dealing with the stock market and I’ll have to ask my financial advisor son to give me a short explanation of this.

I’m going to end this now just in case your attention span is short.

 

Pumpkin Spice Peer Pressure

I took a five-minute walk through Whole Foods and was quickly reminded that it’s that time of year again – Fall in Florida. You might think I would wait outside on a lovely fall day, but it was 93 degrees outside. September was going out with a sizzle. Summer down here lasts easily until after Halloween, so if it weren’t for the plethora of pumpkin product placements, it may have slipped my notice that the season had changed.

A few short years ago, I came to realize that not everyone is pleased as punch over pumpkins. I have a friend who is not just overwhelmed, but annoyed at the things that those poor pumpkins are going through when all they really want to be is pie. Granted, she is in the minority, but she has a voice and she demands to be heard. And isn’t that what we’re all about in today’s world?

I thought about her as I wandered through the store; even I was overwhelmed by pumpkin. Every time I turned around, I was face-to-face with another pumpkin product. I love pumpkin, but at that point, I began to question everything about fall.

What about leaves? Isn’t fall foliage what it’s all about? And apples. Shouldn’t we be buying freshly pressed apple cider? Shouldn’t I be putting raked leaf essence in my coffee instead of pumpkin spice? Have I joined the ranks of pumpkin people without a second thought?

When I returned home I lit my pumpkin spice candle and thought deeply about this. I decided I might as well get my fall decorations out as I was thinking. They included 5 pumpkin spiced candles, a room spray, and various assorted pumpkin and leaf decorations.

It made me cry real tears when I realized that I hadn’t known when to stop. I hadn’t taken into account people like my friend who suffer from PSOD (pumpkin spice overload disorder). Plus, I also had ignored my own eye-irritant disorder, which is triggered by strong candle fragrances such as the ones I unleashed in my own house. Yes, the tears were real.

I’ll have to go on Amazon and see if they have any pumpkin spice lubricant eye drops. I’ll bet they’re out there!

 

 

 

A Plethora of Pumpkins

Now that I’ve written off pistachio nuts as an expensive and dangerous food (see my last post, The Power of the Pistachio), I’ve turned to my favorite fall food infatuation – pumpkin.  It’s everywhere and in everything (and thankfully it’s too soft to break my retainer).

I love to put fall decorations around my house as a clever ruse to trick myself into thinking the weather has changed.  Pumpkins are a big part of that ruse.  Of course I only have to walk to the mailbox to realize it’s still summer like here, but I take what I can get.

Pumpkin Pleasures

I poured myself a cup of coffee with pumpkin spice flavoring in it and then it dawned on me that I am surrounded by plenty of pumpkins.  With that in mind, I made a little contest for myself to see if I could gather ten pumpkins/pumpkin featured items in two minutes.  I was up for the challenge and surpassed my number by four.  Here’s my list:

  1. Basket of pumpkins
  2. Can of pumpkin
  3. Pumpkin shaped tea light holder with pumpkin candle in it
  4. Picture of Mia surrounded by pumpkins
  5. Pumpkin votive holder
  6. Yankee Candle, Pumpkin Patch scent
  7. Pumpkin shaped bowl of candy
  8. Pumpkin shaped bowl of candy again
  9. Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin soap by Bath and Body Works
  10. Pumpkin topped Pez dispenser
  11. Light Yoplait Pumpkin Pie yogurt
  12. Pumpkin muffin
  13. Pumpkin cake
  14. Pumpkin Spice Coffee-Mate

I guess you really could say that I have a plethora of pumpkins.  Go ahead, say it, it’s as much fun to say as it is to eat pumpkin pie (almost).

And if that weren’t enough about pumpkins, this picture of my daughter-in-law in a pumpkin patch picking out a pumpkin reveals that she truly is the perfect wife for my son.  Every year she searches for the perfectly shaped pumpkin and it becomes the butt of many jokes.  Can you see why she fits in our family so well?  I love her sense of humor.

This one’s perfect. It’s a pumpkin, butt…