Friday, July 19, 2019

Flowers on Friday

I thought it would be nice to plant a few sunflowers around the perimeter of the garden. The flowers are enjoyable, and I really like having the seed heads for the birds in the fall. Because there are so many different types of sunflowers, I read the seed packet carefully (or so I thought) and chose a dwarf variety that grew to about four feet tall.

 I think I misread.
The flowers are pretty, but these have shot up to eight or even ten feet tall. 

The petals are different shades of red and yellow. I would cut a few, but I can't reach them! I haven't seen any sign of seed heads yet, so I don't know if they will show up later or not. I think I will need a saw to cut them down in the fall because the stems are quite woody and thick. 

It's kind of nice to go out in the back yard and see the sunflowers towering over everything, even if they aren't what I thought I was planting. I guess flowers are magical!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with something that's been occupying me in the kitchen this week. Here, for your dining pleasure, are three ways to use zucchini.

Stuffed Zucchini

This used up two gigantic zucchini and fed both us and the neighbors. 

Zucchini marinara

This isn't even really a recipe, just zucchini sliced thin, mixed with spaghetti sauce, whatever cheese you have on hand, and some Italian seasoning, then covered and baked or microwaved until the zucchini is soft. We've been eating it every night for the past two weeks.

Zucchini Cake

I had to sample it because it's a new recipe to me, and it's deliciously moist and dense. I only used half the sugar because that's all I had, and substituted applesauce for oil. I rarely make cake any more because it's just the two of us, but this recipe used a lot of grated zucchini. A cake made with three cups of a vegetable has to be healthy, right? :-)

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. The John Deere Hitchhiker is soaking and getting ready to be blocked, and I've cast on with the new blank. 

I'm only 11 teeth in, but of course I'm already anxious to see some color change. I think it will be a little while. :-)

Reading proceeds, at a slow and leisurely pace as I continue to listen to Middlemarch. I finished The Long Call and Turtles All the Way Down this week, and found both of them enjoyable. Middlemarch, a refreshing cocktail, and knitting make it easy to relax and take it easy during these hot summer days.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Book Talk

On Sunday night I happened to be watching 60 Minutes, and one of the segments was an interview with the author John Green. I was only slightly familiar with him as an author, and didn't know anything about him as a person, so I paid attention. I'm glad I did, because I learned a few things.

John Green is a YA author, probably most well known for The Fault in Our Stars. I knew that he wrote mainly for teenagers, but being decades beyond my own teenage years, I think I tended to dismiss him, or think of his books as somehow "less than" the literary fiction or nonfiction I favor. I'm ashamed to admit that, because while I might be far too old for YA, he is writing books that reach a whole generation of readers, and in turn, helping them to ask and possibly begin to answer the big questions of life.

He doesn't dismiss young adults, but thinks that even if they haven't had experiences with death, suicide, cancer, and mental illness (things he writes about), the feelings that these traumas engender are universal. And he knows what he's writing about, as he deals with anxiety and OCD every day.

I have a really rich, fulfilling life. I also have a pretty serious chronic mental health problem. And those aren't mutually exclusive. And the truth is that lots of people have chronic mental health problems, and still have good lives.

When I worked in elementary and middle school libraries, the librarians occasionally gave book talks. They shared a little about the book under discussion, spoke about the author, and always ended with a bit of suspense to keep the students wondering. Books that had been book talked always had a long queue of borrowers, and I can understand why. Sixty Minutes basically book talked another of Green's books, Turtles All the Way Down, and I felt compelled to read it. I started it last night, but I was surprised to find out from goodreads that I had read it two years ago. I'm going to finish my re-read because I didn't remember that I had read it, so I certainly don't remember how it ends. 

I'm still too old for YA, but I can see that books that reach many different and varied readers, all of them in different places, are a good thing. They are definitely not less than, especially if they can help readers ask some questions, answer some questions, and better understand mental health. I think I will always pay attention to book talks, and might even learn a thing or two.

Monday, July 15, 2019

It's a Jungle Out There

John is a gardener who believes in using every last inch of space ... and then some. It's really his garden; I just start the seeds, help plant and pick, and deal with all of the produce. :-) I did mention to him when we planted these tomatoes that I thought they were a bit close to each other. Then I said it again (and again), suggesting that we really did need to thin the tomato plants, but there was no convincing him.

So I hereby state unconditionally that any tomatoes I can't see or reach are not my responsibility.

There are about 20 tomato plants in there, but I can only get to a very few on the outer edge There is really no walkway between the Brussels sprouts, the overgrown zucchini, cucumbers, melons, and the tomatoes.

I can see many, many green tomatoes on just a few plants around the perimeter, and when these begin to ripen we will be inundated. John recently bought a new truck, and it's a good thing because we will need to fill the bed with all the extra tomatoes so he can give them away at work.

It really is a jungle out there! Any bets on whether I can manage not to say I told you so?

Friday, July 12, 2019

On My Way ...

... to becoming a regular at C3ntral Tavern in Elkton! Ryan helped me find this place when he was here visiting, and after we went three times in four days, I vowed that I would continue to frequent it. I haven't been here in two weeks because I was in NJ, but since I got all my mowing/weeding/garden tasks completed this week, I decided that I deserved a treat yesterday. We only bring one car down here when we come to Elkton and since John uses it to go to work, and I rarely plan ahead, I walked. It was 93 degrees and humid, but I knew I would recover nicely in the air conditioning with a cold drink.

And I did, with a vodka and tonic with lots of limes, just like I like them. While I cooled off, I decided what I wanted to eat. I was tempted to try something new, but decided to go with my favorite (so far) buffalo chicken egg rolls.

They were perfect and I was in heaven for the next hour. Good food, good drink, reading a good book, the only thing missing was good company in the form of Ryan (but I texted him to let him know he was missed).

 Eventually my glass was empty, my leftover egg rolls were boxed up, and it was time to walk back.

The sky looked a little threatening, but I decided to start the 20 minute walk home. About five minutes in, it started to sprinkle, but the rain just dropped the temperature a few degrees and it wasn't unpleasant at all.

After about ten minutes, the sprinkle turned into a full-fledged thunderstorm. I didn't have much choice, so I just kept walking. I did see an interesting sight along the way, and wondered about the other shoe and the story behind this.

By the time I got back, it was a deluge and I was soaked.

I changed my clothes, threw them in the washer, mopped the kitchen floor and everywhere else I had dripped, and was soon back to normal. Note to self: bring an umbrella to Elkton and check the weather before my visit next week. I enjoyed myself, didn't melt in the rain, and maybe someday the waitress/owner will recognize me and say "Welcome back" or "Good to see you again". Then I'll really count myself as a regular!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday. Today marks my sixth anniversary of blogging, so I've got three things about Highly Reasonable to share with you. 

1.  I started blogging shortly before Ryan moved to Colorado in 2013. It honestly felt a bit like a death in the family (not to be overly dramatic!) so I thought that writing might help me better deal with the feelings of loss. The name came from a comment Ryan made when describing his high school trig. teacher as "highly reasonable". For some reason, I thought this was one of the highest compliments I had ever heard and wished that people might one day describe me as highly reasonable.

2.  I've published 970 posts, and you've been kind enough to comment an estimated 14,708 times. I'm proud of some of my posts, there are some I should probably have never hit "publish", but I can definitely say that this blog has provided me with so much more than I could ever have imagined.

3.  I've gained friendship, support, inspiration, ideas, book recommendations, and much more from all of you (my "imaginary friends" according to John). I've only met a few of you in person, but you're not imaginary at all to me. I write for myself, but always welcome the connections with each and every one of you. Thank you for taking your valuable time to read, comment, and be here!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.