Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Waving from the heat

Welcome to the middle of the week and your friendly neighborhood Hodgepodge. Jump over to the host blog, From This Side of the Pond (click the graphic) for more entries.
From this Side of the Pond

1. The US of A celebrated Memorial Day this past Monday. Does your family have any military ties? If so, tell us about them.


A few, but they're not my stories to tell.

2. Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, potato chips, mac and cheese, macaroni salad...your favorite BBQ side? How many of these do you make from scratch vs. buying from the deli?


I'd eat any of those. The pasta things I'd make myself, and Mr. Fixit sometimes makes hot potato salad. Cole slaw, probably pre-shredded. Beans: Bush's Original. Not very artisanal.


3.  I enjoyed asking this question back when the Hodgepodge was a regular thing...Lake Superior State University posts a list each year of words they think should be banished from the Queen's English for misuse, overuse, and/or general uselessness. The 2020 list includes-quid pro quo, artisanal, curated, influencer, literally, I mean, living my best life, mouthful (word used by foodies to describe texture of food in their mouth), chirp (basically an insult, you can read more on the website), jelly (short for jealous), totes (short for totally), vibe, and OK Boomer (internet response from millenial to older generation).

Of the words/phrases listed which would you most like to see 'banned'?


Some of these I hadn't heard. Artisanal and curated have been contenders for a few years now, but they still have their uses. But literally...yes, I literally think we could literally lose that one...literally.

4. I'm sure next year's list will be filled with words springing out of this weird season we're all in currently. What word or phrase associated with the Corona would you be happy to hear less often?


All of them, starting with "Corona" and "virus."

5.  The month of May wraps up in just a few days. Bid her adieu in ten words or less.

May sidled in without much promise, but now she's cooking.


6. Insert your own random thought here.


I finally found flour and yeast, and now it's too hot to bake.


But I did make Bisquick peach crisp in the microwave. I used frozen peaches and heated them for a couple of minutes with half the brown sugar, then added the remaining ingredients and finished it off. My total time wasn't as long as suggested, though, so if you're making this, keep an eye on it.


Linked from the Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Summer Clothes: Botanically Brighter

As it often does here, the warm weather has come on full force, with only a flick of the hand at spring. Time for a changeover.

A few months ago I used our Rosina Wachtmeister poster as inspiration for a grey/pink winter wardrobe. It makes sense to start with the art or other things in your own home, doesn't it?--because you probably enjoy having those things around you. This print we thrifted about a year ago has a good mix of shapes and colours for summer clothes.

Two scarves from Ten Thousand Villages. Thrifted shirt.
Most of what I'll be wearing for the warm season isn't that different from the Briars and Brambles post from the end of March, and the outfits here. It's not like I've had the chance to go shopping much lately anyway. I did order two t-shirts almost a month ago...maybe they'll arrive soon.
So...no numbers, just some photos. I might do something more detailed later in the season.

Read the rest of the page here.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wildlife Sighting

Photo by Mr. Fixit (see the fawn?)

Quote for Sunday: In each place the whole Maleldil

“Where Maleldil is, there is the centre. He is in every place. Not some of Him in one place and some in another, but in each place the whole Maleldil, even in the smallness beyond though. There is no way out of the centre save into the Bent Will which casts itself into the Nowhere. Blessed be He! Each thing was made for Him. He is the centre. Because we are with Him, each of us is at the centre...In His city all things are made for each. When He died in the Wounded World He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less. Each thing, from the single grain of Dust to the strongest eldil, is the end and the final cause of all creation and the mirror in which the beam of His brightness comes to rest and so returns to Him. Blessed be He!”  (C.S. Lewis, Perelandra)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge: About the Numbers

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then hop back to From This Side of the Pond (click the graphic) on Wednesday to share answers with all your friends and neighbors. One two three go~~


1. In a single sentence tell us something about your 40's. If you haven't reached that milestone yet tell us (in a single sentence) something about whatever decade you're in now.

I started blogging around that point, so my forties are pretty much in-my-face here. It was the decade I started as mom-of-Squirrelings and ended as mom-of two-moved-out-and-one-teen-still-at-home.

2. Life begins at forty. Agree or disagree? Tell us why. And if not at forty, when?


No idea. Wouldn't it depend on your own life?

3. Share a favorite book, song, or quote with a number featured in it somewhere. 


Will you still need me, will, you still barbecue hamburgers for me when I'm 64?

4. A picture's worth a thousand words, a stitch in time saves nine, back to square one, catch-22, on cloud nine, my two cents...pick a number phrase and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

Courtney Carver's Project 333 wardrobe challenge, something I've been doing in a more-or-less way for over four years now. I've found, however, that I enjoy the creative side of a small wardrobe, and the positive aspects of thrifting as my own take on fair trade, more than I care about using it to stop thinking about clothes altogether and move on to higher purposes in life. I'm not a very good minimalist in that regard. 

5. Last time you drove more than 40 miles from home? More than 400 miles from home? Where were you going? Was it before or after this current season of social distancing?

That's about 64 km...the L'Harmas retreat on Lake Erie, last October, and a couple of other day trips after that. We stick close to home most of the time.

6. Insert your own random thought here.


I did not expect to run out of flour this week, and I also did not expect the supermarket to be cleared out of all but the biggest sacks (more than I have space for and can handle). I settled for a box of biscuit mix, and I've been digging out my recipes that use it.


Apple muffins, adapted from this recipe

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge: Numbering the Hodgepodge.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Come Unthrifting Again (Part Four)


Part One: A Mini Top-Half Wardrobe

Not because I'm making a lot of Zoom calls, but because the bottom half of most of these is going to be jeans. Or shorts when it warms up.

One blazer (the one I "unthrifted" last time); one off-white cardigan; the dark grey shirt from this week's unthrifting (it has roll-up tab sleeves); a short-sleeved blue-grey t-shirt; one scarf, one necklace.
T-shirt, scarf, necklace
T-shirt, shirt
T-shirt, blazer, scarf
Shirt, scarf
Shirt, cardigan, scarf
The scarf a bit differently
A little crazy, I know...The blazer over the cardigan over the t-shirt. The nautical thing. I'm not sure it works so well with this t-shirt, but I  I have a striped one that might look better.

Part Two: This and That

So...fourteen votive candles. All-purpose handy things. I'm just going to keep those in the cupboard, and keep my eyes open especially for a few extra votive-sized holders. When the time comes that I can do that.
Disposable knives, spoons, and forks. Those are going to get bagged up and donated the next time we hear of a kids' class that needs craft supplies (like a VBS).
A Staples mini-mini-binder and refill paper. I think I'm going to put that in my purse. Post-It notes and Post-It page-marker thingies: those can go with our box of office supplies. A six-inch/15 cm magnetic ruler advertising a community college: I'm going to attach that to the side of the fridge, so that I don't have to guess at how big I'm cubing the potatoes.
And don't forget the empty shoebox and other plastic holders.
This hasn't been a bad unthrifting trip!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Come Unthrifting Again (Part Three)


OK, where were we? A couple of books down, two to go? Some school supplies sorted, some still in the box. The candles and plastic cutlery still unaccounted for...I'll take care of that tomorrow.
I'm wearing the scarf again, with a navy sweater. 
I haven't gotten to Gardner yet, but it's in the pile. 
I read through the table-setting book, and thought it was really fun, and surprisingly timeless for a 1985 book. It was a good reminder that you can use almost anything to dress up a table: baskets, cool jars, dishtowels as napkins. The fancy food in the photos motivated me to turn last night's ham into tonight's quiche, because for us, that's fancy. However...I think I'm going to pass it on now, with my thanks for the lessons.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Justine on justice

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Seeing is Believing

Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to add your link to the party. Here we go-

1. Ever played the game Farkle? Are you a risk taker? In games only or also in life?


I have not played Farkle, to the best of my memory. Is Yahtzee close enough?

Everybody's idea of risk is different. I wouldn't go bungee jumping, but I did get engaged to my husband after dating for a few weeks.

2. What's your favorite thing about your yard or whatever outdoor space you may have?


The evergreens we can see from the deck.  They make it feel like we're out of the city.

Also the fact that the deck isn't fifteen floors up anymore. 

3. Tell us about the most interesting building you've seen or been in.


That's a hard one. What makes a building interesting? As in, built out of ice cubes or held up with chicken legs? Eccentrically decorated? Or historically significant? Happy or creepy?

There's a nearby historic site, a Victorian mansion that is known for its trompe l'oeil artwork on the walls. That's the best I can do right now.

4. In this current season of social distancing, what's something you've come to realize you take for granted in more ordinary times? Do you think you'll make a conscious effort to appreciate whatever that 'it' is once normal life resumes?


Having a conversation without worrying about how close.

5. Share a favorite song with a springtime flower in the lyrics somewhere.



6. Insert your own random thought here.


Trompe l''oeil: cheat the eye. How do you know whether what you're looking at is the truth or just something cleverly constructed? 
The contemporaries and rivals of Zeuxis were Timanthes, Endrocydes, Eupompus, and Parrhasius.This last, it is said, entered into a pictorial contest with Zeuxis, who represented some grapes, painted so naturally that the birds flew towards the spot where the picture was exhibited. Parrhasius, on the other hand, exhibited a curtain, drawn with such singular truthfulness, that Zeuxis, elated with the judgment which had been passed upon his work by the birds, haughtily demanded that the curtain should be drawn aside to let the picture be seen. Upon finding his mistake, with a great degree of ingenuous candour he admitted that he had been surpassed, for that whereas he himself had only deceived the birds, Parrhasius had deceived him, an artist. --Pliny the Elder, translated by John Bostock
Grapes, curtains, vases of flowers...let's not stop looking for truth.

Linked from the Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Come Unthrifting Again (Part Two)

What I've been doing with the unthrifted stuff:

My serious reading for today. Very worthwhile! Discusses reasons that we really don't like to learn (but have trouble admitting it): it's hard work, and it interrupts our status quo, shakes up our beliefs! Nevertheless, we need to learn, and keep learning how to learn, especially if we claim to be educators.
This was something I found after our days of doll-sewing here were at an end. The patterns are nice, but (like the cookbook below) too many of them call for non-optional ingredients I don't have, like t-shirt ribbing. After an enjoyable walk through the photos, I decided to pass this one on to another family.
Moosewood Cooks at Home is a great cookbook full of lovely, mostly-vegetarian food, most of which I know I'll never make (even if and when shopping becomes less of a planned military maneuver).  I went through it yesterday looking for ideas, and realized that almost every recipe has something in it that my husband either can't eat or just dislikes; and after almost thirty years together I know where those boundaries can be pushed and where they can't.
So I guess that one's moving on.

Most of the markers and pens still work, so I sorted them into the spots where those things go. I think we have a lifetime supply of highlighters and plastic pencils.
Oh, and I'm wearing the shirt and the scarf.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Come Unthrifting Again (Part One)


Another random assortment of things I didn't buy this week:

Two business/education books; a doll sewing book, even though I'm very short on fabric; a cookbook I've had for a long time but hardly ever use; and an oversized book about party and picnic table settings.
An H&M scarf printed with feathers, and a dark grey cotton-linen shirt
Half a pack of votive candles, and a boxful of disposable cutlery (our kids used to use that for school lunches sometimes, but nobody here takes a lunch now, and disposable cutlery is Frowned Upon anyway)
More school-supply discards from my daughter

Now you are to imagine that I somehow managed to stuff all that into the tote bag.

Stay tuned as I sort, upcycle, re-jig, and maybe dispose of once and for all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Superpowers and Strangenesses

Our Hodgepodge host Joyce welcomes all contributors to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Click on the graphic to visit her at From This Side of the Pond, and leave your own answers on her Linky there (it will be up tomorrow, Wednesday).

From this Side of the Pond

1. Expect the unexpected on From This Side of the Pond. Here's my x-ray question...when was the last time you felt like Superman? What's your superpower? Explain.  

Online searching. For some reason I'm good at trying to think like whoever it was that wrote something up in the first place, which helps to pin down phrases they might have used, or places whatever-it-is might have got put. I think it's related to that mythical gene that makes women good at finding lost stuff at home.

2. Are you a fan of the 'superhero' type movies? If so what's your favorite? 

Without question, the 1978 Superman.

But this comes close.
Superman audition with Christopher Reeve from Justin Salvato on Vimeo.

3. Have you postponed or cancelled a trip to the dentist in recent weeks, and if so when do you think you'll feel comfortable going back? How about other routine medical procedures? 

Our dentist is closed for the duration unless you break all your teeth or something. I'm not sure when we'll be back there.

4. What's something that makes you feel youthful? Something that makes you feel 'not so youthful'? Tell us why. 

Like it fine: dates with my husband.

Not so much: seeing not only my own childhood toys but my kids' toys at a nostalgia sale.

Not at all: being asked if I want seniors' discounts that apply to people ten years older than I am. Discounts, I like fine, but not because I'm looking particularly haggard today.

5. I feel compelled to include some sort of corona related question in the HP these days. What's the strangest thing you've seen in relation to the virus? Something that really struck you as odd, made you stop and think, 'Dorothy we're not in Kansas anymore?'

Last week my husband had to look for something at a store where the customers were greeted and treated like they smelled bad, from the moment they got to the door through their checkouts. When he told me about it, I said that that particular well-known chain should be smarter and not miss such an opportunity to put on a good face, make themselves the friendly place to go in a sea of snark. Even at stressful places like airport check-in lines, sometimes they make an extra effort to send a staff person around to chat with people and humanize the process (even if they're sort of screening you at the same time). Or when you get on the plane, the flight attendants sometimes liven up the safety announcements with a bit of comedy. What does it hurt?

Today we picked up some groceries at a different store near where we live. As soon as we got into the cart area, we heard a loud, extremely cheerful voice saying, "Good morning! WELCOME to our store! Enjoy your shopping!" When we were coming out with the groceries, Mr. Energizer Bunny was there again (properly distanced of course), saying "Thank you for shopping here! I hope it was a good experience!"

So which store's more likely to get our business in the future?

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge: Young at Heart Edition.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Fashion Revolution Week 2020: Go and spread good germs

So, yes, back to the cook who quit because those above-stairs failed to consider that their actions had any impact outside their own circle. Which is not to say that not eating one's souffle is a criminal act, but only that there is cause, and it has effects. As Ray Bradbury put it, a tiny butterfly stuck to a shoe can change history. In this pandemic situation, we understand the dread of one tiny germ that can suddenly sicken or kill.

But turn it around, at least in the realm of how we use money. Reverse butterfly effect; random bursts of positive energy. Instead of worrying about small, bad mistakes, what if we counted on the ripple potential of small good "germs?" We get a small idea to show a kindness, to share with others. We spend our money or time supporting a ministry that has an impact on one person's life, and that affects a family or a village, maybe a country: who knows? I heard the story recently about a disappointing evangelistic event at which just one person accepted Christ: but he became the father of James Dobson.

Maybe the letter you write asking "who made my clothes?" will get into the hands of someone who needs just one more bit of encouragement to enact policy changes. Maybe the person who did make your clothes will take her wages and buy books that will help educate her to speak out against injustice elsewhere. Maybe an orphanage you help support through a fair-trade purchase is caring for future pastors or artists or farmers or doctors or other future bright lights and brave souls. Maybe a buying choice you make will help keep the water, the soil, or the air a little cleaner.

Where will we be by Fashion Revolution Week 2021? I don't know, but I hope it's in a place just that much better than we find ourselves this year. Even better: let's start moving towards someday not ever having to have such a day at all.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Fashion Revolution Week 2020: Buying from the Pushcarts

Remember when I posted about a spring wardrobe inspired by this Jackie Morris illustration of briars, brambles, and birds?
Don't you think it's a similar vibe? Maybe I'll call it the Lost Words scarf. It's probably the last  I'll ever have from Ten Thousand Villages, since the Canadian stores are shutting down soon. (They were planning to do that anyway before the pandemic.)
Our local thrift store, along with others, has started posting items for sale on Instagram, and delivering them to your door. They offered a pair of off-white wide-leg "cropped pants" in my size, and I decided to buy them. They do fit fine, in the upper parts. Only...they're not only not cropped...
they're even longer than my normal-length pants!
Yeah. So not everything is perfect.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm scared to death of hemming pants? It's not the sewing--I know that part is pretty straightforward. It's the measuring and the pinning...and the cutting. My favourite place to get things shortened is, I assume, not doing them right now. Although I could always phone and plead.

I may have to bite that bullet and do it myself. But Mr. Fixit says he will help.

Winding up tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Fashion Revolution Week 2020: Essential?


"Essential" is very much a buzzword these days. Essential services. Essential travel. Being asked everywhere, verbally and through signs, "Is your business here essential, is this package you're mailing essential?" Biting your tongue to keep from replying, "No, I just like lining up for fun." Shopping in person these days (even at "essential" stores) has all the entertainment value of going through airport security lines the day before a holiday. Shopping by mail has its risks as well, especially if you have to return something (besides the demands to know if this package is essential, there are shipping delays). Shopping local by delivery seems to work out well if it's a small business, but those depending on it for groceries can't count on getting exactly what they asked for: sometimes not even the "essentials."

(Yet at the same time we're being encouraged to support takeout food and similar businesses that have managed to keep going. So far, at least, nobody in the A&W drive-through is asking us if those fries are "essential.")

So "essential," tiresome as it is getting to be, is at the front of our collective consciousness right now. When you apply it to clothing, what comes to mind? Magazine articles and videos listing "Fall Fashion Essentials?" "Things Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet?" "The One Piece of Clothing You Will Want to Spend Lots of Money On This Year?" Janice at The Vivienne Files pointed out some time ago that there is not one piece of clothing (including shoes) that can be called "essential" for everyone in the world. Typical or useful or common, maybe, but not essential.

Still, having that word so much in our faces allows us to muse not only on our lists of closet must-haves, but on the deeper-meaning-essential nature of our relationship with stuff, clothing, and the long and tangled supply chain that gets it to us. "Not essential," some large companies have chirped, leaving their suppliers holding the bag and the labourers employed by those suppliers out of work as well. If you want a television metaphor, we just watched an old episode of Jeeves and Wooster, where Bertie convinced several people at a house party not to eat their dinners, because each of them had someone they were trying to impress with how sad or unable to eat they were. None of the impressees noticed what was going on, but the cook quit in fury.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday Hodgepodge, on Thursday

Here are this week's questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back to This Side of the Pond (click the graphic) to share answers with the universe. Here we go-

From this Side of the Pond


1. What's something you resolved to do this year? Have you done it?


I am working to update something online that was long overdue for an update but kept getting back-burnered. I got the first half done this week, still have to do the rest.

2. Where do you go to find quietude?


My house is pretty much quietude, often too much so, except when Mr. Fixit is testing out stereo equipment. But if you mean real quietude, there are some good nature trails nearby.

3. A friend asked this question on her Facebook page and said I could borrow it for the Hodgepodge...you're only allowed to buy 5 things at the grocery store, and all must start with the first letter of your first name. Whatcha' buying?


All-purpose flour, apples, apricots, almonds, and allspice. I'd bake them all into a fruitcake.

4. The television show Survivor, the Gloria Gaynor song 'I Will Survive', survival mode, survival of the fittest...pick one and discuss.

When I searched for "survival quotes," this one came up at the top:  
“No. I can survive well enough on my own— if given the proper reading material.”― Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass
5. Share a favorite quote or saying about strength.

Jesus, when I meet You in the stillness of the dark
I know I’ll find the strength to carry on through another day
Jesus, I can hear You in the stillness of the night
And though it’s dark and cold, I know You’ll be my light
All along the way

So show me how each moment of my life is in Your hand
As You guide the way You help me understand
What it means to love
And teach me
It’s the knowledge of Your Truth that sets us free

From this darkened world into reality
And the light above

To learn by living
Is to live in You
To rest in Your forgiving
As You taught me to
If to live means dying to myself
It’s true
I will follow after You.


~~ Tom Howard

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.