52 thoughts on “State of the Collaboration: Update

  1. Testy should be tolerable if the collaboration continues.

    Talk about anything? Okay. I’m having a salad for breakfast. The Romaine is from Seble (one of the four AeroGarden Harvests), the parsley and basil are from Ethel, the cheddar, crispy fried garlic, crispy fried red pepper, crispy fried bacon bits, and crispy not-fried shallot rings are all store-bought. It was delicious. The salad dressing is my own formula – some kinda oil (today was chili oil which was chili-infused canola this time) with two parts red wine vinegar, some garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.

    Now I’m dressing to go out and walk around the block. It isn’t much exercise, but it’s a start. I needed a start.

    1. It is easier to start small and build on that success. If you look at the long term goal at the beginning, it discourages you from ever leaving the house. It is like your dieting, each day builds on the success of the day before. And no success is too small if you can repeat it.
      Once again, I am proud of you and hope I can live up to your good example.

  2. Heatwave continues in London (it’s a heatwave for us, normal temperatures for Thailand or Spain I know). All the supermarkets are running low on ice cubes and ice cream and, for no reason I can work out, ranch dressing, my new big crush. Why though? Why?? It’s lovely, but no more cooling than vinaigrette. I’m turning into someone who hoards ranch, which is not what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    1. I’ve been checking into the Mediterranean Diet on advice from my doctor and there’s not a teaspoon of Ranch on it. I don’t think it will work for me. Do you have Hidden Valley Ranch Packets in London. Mix it up. It’s the best.

      1. Hidden Valley has been recommended! Next on my list after Brianna’s (big thumbs up) and Paul Newman. I’d worry that I’m becoming dangerously obsessed, but honestly it’s too hot to think about anything deeper than cold food.

        1. Ranch is a good dip for anything.
          If you want a really low cal snack, dip celery in it. Since celery doesn’t have a lot of taste, it’s basically crispy ranch.
          Carrots, also. Any nice crisp veg. No guilt snacking.

          1. Doesn’t celery actually have minus-calories? Thereby totally cancelling out the ranch plus-calories? Please don’t tell me this is flawed science, I am embracing it like a velvet pony

    2. Ranch is great stuff – and usually doesn’t have canola or soybean oil, which are generally inflammatory. So, while not as healthy as an olive oil vinaigrette, it isn’t that bad.

      1. If you use the powdered mix to make your own, it’s even better because you can control the fat. I used low fat sour cream and low fat mayo and it’s fine. Hidden Valley powder on everything.

      2. A quick read via sweaty brow made me think Nancy H was referring to Crayola oil, which doesn’t sound particularly reassuring….

      3. Ranch is a particularly great dip for tater tots. Well, blue cheese dressing will work if you don’t have ranch. Or tartar sauce. Almost all the brew pubs on the West Coast have tater tots on the menu.

  3. We are in a heat wave, too. I was out watering my plants, when my neighbor let the two dogs she is keeping out, and they ran right to my fence and started barking their heads off. I couldn’t help myself. I sprayed them. One ran off, but the other one kept coming back for more. Then, my neighbor posted on Nextdoor and started a firestorm of comments. Evidently, my need for peace and quiet and to be in my own yard without being barked at does not outweigh the dogs’ (uh-oh, an unmentionable) need to bark, or her kids’ (unmentionable, again) wish to play the game of kicking balls into my yard. There are some unfeeling people out there. The dogs were not harmed, and there is an ordinance in town forbidding letting dogs disturb the peace or charge at the neighbors. Ick!

      1. Thanks. I am keeping any balls that land in my yard, and of course, that was also a point of contention. I have quite a collection, now. They have lived here for 50 years, and the neighborhood has changed from all young families with children, to a much older mix, with only 4 of the many houses on this block having children. They still seem to think their kids should be able to run amok in all the yards.

    1. My neighbor last night had a birthday party with a live band with the volume cranked up to arena levels. You could hear it for blocks. With all the windows and doors closed, the noise level within my house was almost twice the volume that I play my stereo at. The saving grace is that the band stopped by 8:30 – although I have to wonder if someone complained to the police. Probably not though. They have several of these parties every summer and they almost always turn the band off by 9.

    2. I joined Nextdoor and quit after the first day. It’s -always- a firestorm of (unmentionable) comments.

  4. I’ve got a question for Instagram but it’s rhetorical so I’m asking it here: why, oh why, does the Insta algorithm keep suggesting accounts about babies/pregnancy/parenting, bad weight loss advice, detoxifying/balancing my uterus, makeup, and modest dressing for the modern Islamic woman?

    I am a 52-year-old, childless, agnostic, woman who doesn’t wear makeup and who knows that if my uterus needs detoxification I probably need a surgeon. All my other detoxing needs are taken care of by my liver and kidneys, not essential oils and herbal teas.

    Somewhere out there is a 28-year-old Islamic woman who is desperate to conceive and anxious about her appearance getting recommendations for accounts about home and garden design, stately home and estate refurbishment, DIY, and plants she can’t grow in her zone.

    Seriously, Instagram, if it’s not plant porn or doesn’t have architectural details, I don’t care! How often do I have to click “not interested” before you get the hint???

    Front flower bed makeover continues, the edge is up and the new fountain is in place, it’s a little bubbler with turtles on a lily pad, and I’m going to do some planting before I head out for the girls weekend. Photos for Wednesday.

    1. Could you maybe create a new account called something like “Master Gardener Sam” and just abandon your old account to the lovelorn computer that wants to make out with it?

    2. I haven’t come across this, but I refuse to use the Instagram app – I look at it in my browser, with ad blockers. There’s a list of ‘suggested for you’ at the top right of the page, but I just ignore it. No interaction required!

      1. I use Instagram mostly on my computer as well. Very occasionally, like if ballet dancer James B. Whiteside posts a video and I happen to have a minute, I’ll tap the notification to watch it on my phone. But generally … ugh, no. And I fairly well hated it at first because trying to *post* anything from the computer (which is where all of my writing-specific material lives) was a nightmare, but they’ve fixed that. 🙂

    3. This is where I need more than one heart. I laughed So Hard. How about ten hearts’ worth? Or is that too modest?

  5. The heatwave’s just reached Shropshire. This morning was cool enough to go to the allotment and then for a walk in the woods, but I’m going to have to get up really early to do that for the next few days. I’ve drawn the curtains on the south side of the house, which luckily tends to stay cool in summer. Planning to read in the garden under the umbrella, and retreat indoors if it gets too hot. Just had a siesta: I’m really making the most of it!

  6. We are also in the heatwave, in South Oxfordshire. I am sitting in the shade in the back garden and quite enjoying today’s weather though I doubt I will feel that way come Monday. I came out of my covid-induced fog just enough this morning to make potato salad and now I’m set.

  7. We have hit day 30 of consecutive days over 90 degrees here and the humidity makes it feels hotter. I really should move to Iceland during the summers… but I bet it is hot there too (notice I did not use an offensive punctuation mark)

    I am going to a friend’s home (had to use it there) where I will assist her in packing her place up to move because the rent in middle TN has increased so much that renters cannot afford to live. Her rent went from 1800/month to 2500/month.

    And she fell yesterday and broke her ankle.

    We were roommates a lifetime ago and she has since become something of a hoarder. I’m not joking here. So I will attempt some sort of intervention whilst there and see if we can’t pare some things down.

    Wish me luck.

      1. I sooooo wish I could have. There was no getting through to her. The good news is that she is pretty much confined to her bedroom and I was assigned to work in the kitchen. Threw out all the outdated food – of which there was plenty- and more plastic ware that there is no way she will miss. 8 jumbo trash bags of clothes are gone and that hasn’t put a dent in the clothes still to be moved.

        3 blenders, a food processor and 2 coffee makers are too much for a single gal- and as a single gal myself… I know of what I speak.

        1. Oh I had to do this once . It was so upsetting. My friends partner was a true hoarder including animals. My sympathies.

        2. I don’t remember the revision number of my great reorganization plan, but I did the same to me. I still have a cabinet full of Rubbermaid, but at least I parted with all the Sterlite, Ziploc, and generic containers. I still have too much Rubbermaid. I’m down to one 5-cup coffee maker, a hand-cranked coffee grinder, a small George Foreman grill, one 1.5 quart slow cooker, one hotplate, one pot, six frying pans of various sizes up to huge, one 700 watt microwave, one toaster oven, and forty measuring spoons. I still catch myself keeping things I should throw out or donate. When I empty the large container of Folders Instant Coffee Crystals, for example. I have three containers. I plan to repurpose them to hold coffee beans, even though I have all that Rubbermaid. It’s a disease.

  8. Remind your friend that the increase in rents will only be matched, if not exceeded by the the increase in moving and storage costs. If she can’t afford the higher rents for herself, why should she pay them for things she isn’t using? My niece did this for years until she couldn’t pay the rent on the storage locker and lost all of her stuff when the storage facility auctioned it all off. Even with inflation, the cost of replacement was less.

    1. My friend who has headed up this move said the same thing. She will end up defaulting on the storage unit and that will be that.

      Except she would probably just move all her stuff into this new place and be right back where she is now.

      It really is very sad.

      1. Regardless of the cause, its incredibly difficult to deal with even with the help of mental health professionals and very draining for friends and familiy. You have my sincere sympathies.

    2. Hoarding often isn’t rational, its often a symptom of fear. My uncle was a pathological hoarder and it was part of his generalised paranoia.
      My mother was never to that level but she was very poor when she was a child and my dad never saved so when he lost his job, stuff became a source of comfort for Mom, a reassurance that she wouldn’t go without. It’s very difficult for me who’s used to cheap goods, where space is luxury rather than stuff, to really put myself in her mindset. I had some success in sitting down and doing a financial plan to reassure her that even if I lost my job we were never going to be destitute and that helped her at least keep it at a manageable level.

      1. It’s true. She has some childhood trauma that I think is at the root of it all, so we are trying to give as much grace as possible.

        None of us are spring chickens anymore though, and we have moved her a few times during the course of our friendship. I just don’t know that we have it in us to do again.

  9. I am normally a decisive person. However I can’t decide where I want to live when I retire. Would love to hear opinions from arghers.
    Consideration: I live with my daughter whose doctors insist she live close to a hospital with a vascular surgeon/department. Also she may need a liver tranplant so close to a Mayo clinic would be a bonus.
    Possible places: stay here in Largo, Florida. Good weather except heat & hurricane threat. Housing is expensive. One relative near us at times.
    Move to Jacksonville, Florida same as Largo except has a Mayo. 3 hours from Florida relatives and 12 hours from rest of relatives.
    Unfortunately both of these places are governed by DeSantis.
    Another place: Rochester, MN less expensive housing. Cold weather. Mayo clinic. 9 hours from relatives.
    Memphis, TN cheaper housing. Fly to Mayo. Decent weather. 90 minutes to relatives.
    Paducah, KY very affordable housing. Worried vascular surgeon might leave as good doctors have a tendency. Weather not great. Fly to Mayo. 45 minutes from relatives.
    Tucson AZ cheap housing. I love the dry weather. Mayo next door in Phoenix. 12 hours to family.
    Thoughts? Absolute yeses or no ways? Different city altogether?

    1. I think I’d prioritize friends and family who’d be willing to be back-ups for you or your daughter – and especially people you like being with. But I’ve no idea about your healthcare considerations.

    2. I have friends in the Memphis area and the airport is great. But if you are not used to humidity… get ready for it. And while we don’t get hurricanes, tornadoes are an issue.

      I’ve been in MN visiting my brother who lived there and it was more charming than I thought and I don’t mind the cold.

      Phoenix is awesome if you are good with dry heat.

      But I’m with Jane as far as how quickly the family can get there ro help.

      1. Thanks for the input Jane & Cathy –

        Florida is extremely humid so we are used to it.

        My brother advised me not to worry about family because he is going to do whatever needs to be done for my daughter if something happens to me.

        Paducah, which is closest to most of my family, is scariest because doctors don’t stay there. We could move there, get settled and have the vascular surgeon / department evaporate. It has happened to other members of my family who live there many, many times.

        It’s a big, life-changing decision and I am struggling with it. Fortunately I don’t have to make the decision tonight.

        1. Where does your brother live? He sounds like someone you can count on, and being where he can easily help you without a lot of hassle for him seems to be a smart move.

          1. He is moving to Florida in the next few months which makes Jacksonville a real possibility. Puts me about 3 hour drive from him. Mayo clinic is there. We spent a week in Jacksonville. Liz was outpatient at the Mayo several days and we had lots of time to explore.

    3. I’m wondering what else matters to both you and your daughter? — (not downplaying how critical both of the health challenges you’ve mentioned clearly are.) Memphis is in the middle of good transportation corridors in all directions, but do you think you would find compatible people there to connect with? Same with Paducah?

      And which of the relatives you mention are closest to the two of you as friends and supporters — the ones 12 hours away from Jacksonville? The ones near Paducah? Others?

      If I were uprooting myself & my nearest & dearest, I would evaluate the health support network, the likelihood of finding supportive & compatible people in the area, and the potential access to other things important to me, considering each thing, researching the range of options in my potential locations, some of which I probably wouldn’t know the full range of.

      I kind of think it would be easier to be three hours away from the home base you’re most used to at least compared to long moves; similar weather, shops, people (more or less) and pace of life, and the ability to get to your familiar area without huge time and trouble.

      However, what you do when you get there and start building a new life would be really important too.

      Have you thought of getting in touch with someone at the Mayo clinic to ask them for advice and options? There may be other large teaching hospital systems that are comparable but that you might not realize as good possibilities.

      I have no concrete suggestions, but I wish you all the luck in the world with this important thing to decide for you and your daughter.

    4. My (our) choice of where to retire will be governed by housing. My parents just moved to North Carolina, the same Blue Ridge town where my sister lives, and we already have a fairly serious invitation to come and live with them. We get along better with some distance, so will leave that option until they *need* someone living with them. But that’s the likely scenario in time, and since we don’t own a home it’s the practical solution. Climate livable, politics ignorable (it’s a progressive part of the state), landscape a vast improvement over South Los Angeles, and most of my family is there.

    1. Are they the tiny fruit flies ? If so put apple cider vinegar in a small dish like a Pyrex dessert bowl, add a few drops of soap, put Saran Wrap on top and hold it on with a rubber band, and use a fork to put a few holes in the plastic wrap. They will be attracted to the vinegar and drown in it (I think the soap breaks the surface tension).

      1. No, they’re the big houseflies. I’ve done the apple cider vinegar trick before, it works for the tiny ones. The big flies ignore it.

    2. I bought a couple of those sticky traps, the ones that unroll in a spiral from a little tube. After just a few hours, two of them are covered with flies, so I’ll use more of those. I’ll also get some essential oils that repel flies and mix up a batch to spray on plants and netting.

  10. Scents that flies dont like are the strong, pungent odors, like clove, lavender, mint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary and citronella. I found that in an online article

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