Monday, October 15, 2018

End of the Garden Red Pepper Spread

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement regarding my previous post. I have a lot to sort through, but I'll get there. Fortunately I'm the sort of person that can set things aside, and get on with whatever needs to be done in the meantime. As survival techniques go, it has always served me well.

I wanted to share this recipe before all the tomatoes and red peppers are through in the Northern hemisphere. I had a glut to work with, and this made roughly 3 1/2 pints. I will include the instructions for canning in a water bath, but we used ours over the course of two weeks and just stored the jars in the fridge. The spread was wonderful as a pizza sauce, tossed with pasta, and as a sauce for shakshuka.It was also delicious stirred into hummous. It is also perfect on a cheese sandwich in place of mustard. I'm sure you'll find plenty of uses for it.

The recipe I used comes from the Ball Blue Book of Canning. I was having trouble removing the skins completely from the peppers so I just didn't worry about it with the last few. Once the peppers go through the food processor it wasn't noticeable anyway, so don't worry if after roasting the skins still won't budge.

If you will be canning, sterilise your clean jars and keep warm until needed. The spread takes some time to cook down, so plan accordingly. You'll need to roast the vegetables first, so that's a good time to get your jars ready.

You Will Need:

8-9 large red bell peppers (I used a couple yellow as well because I had them)
1 pound tomatoes
2-4 large cloves of garlic to taste
1 small white onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Roast peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler or on a grill until the skin wrinkles and chars in spots. The blue book says a 425 degree F oven will also work, but it will take longer. Turn peppers and roast other side. Remove from oven and place peppers in a paper bag and secure closed. Let cool 15 minutes while you prepare the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in the same manner. Cool as peppers in paper bag.

When vegetables are cool, peel and seed the tomatoes and peppers. Peel the garlic and onion, chopping coarsely. Combine vegetables in food processor and puree. I didn't go for absolutely smooth as I like a bit of texture to the spread. do as you like,.

In a large, heavy sauce pot combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until spread thickens and mounds on a spoon. You may need to reduce the heat at the end as it cooks down, and stir it frequently as the spread can scorch. A long handled wooden spoon is nice here as it can splatter when cooking.

Ladle hot spread into sterilised jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spatula, wipe treads and adjust lids and bands. Process in a water-bath canner 15 minutes (pints) or 10 minutes (half pints) adding 1 minute for each 1,000 feet above sea level at your location. After processing time is up, turn off the burner and let stand 5 minutes to cool down before removing from canner. Let stand 12-24 hours before checking seals.

Keeps about 2 weeks in the fridge, or about 1 year unopened on the shelf.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Rescue

I've never gone out of my way to be cruel, but it can take reminding sometimes to be nice. I'm trying my best these days as it feels more urgent than ever. I bring it up because the day I bought this skirt was a very bad day. After pretty much having a life-altering bomb go off-the sort that leaves you with questions, no answers, and the un-moored feeling of not knowing who the hell you are (quite literally) I needed distraction, so I stopped at a thrift store. It was my husband's idea. Had I been alone I'd have headed for the nearest drinking establishment and would probably still be there. If nothing else, marriage has probably saved me from becoming the neighbourhood drunk.
Nice skirt, bad day.

People toss around the phrase, "I was in a daze" to mean a bit disoriented. I was far worse. Still, familiarity and behaviours you've done a million times over are reassuring in chaos (just as we practise fire drills to stay calm in real emergencies), so I browsed without really looking. Thrift shopping tends to be a solitary activity, unless you've brought someone with you. There's the unspoken etiquette that it is in fact, unspoken-like silent staring at your shoes in a lift. I picked up the skirt, and heard a cheerful voice asking me where I was from as she could tell I wasn't a local.

In hindsight, I think she was perceptive and knew I needed a motherly hand on my shoulder even as she was a good 30 years younger than myself. She had several children with her looking through toys, clothes and the like. Without asking me what was going on, she managed to get me to answer a few questions and engage. We never did discuss my still very fresh traumatic shock, but instead chatted about where we lived, what our husbands did for work, children, good places to thrift, etc. Maybe 10 minutes passed before her kids had enough, and she needed to pay for her purchases. We met up again outside the shop, chatted a bit longer, and she left me with such a kind, warm, positive feeling about humanity that I was (temporarily) able to pull myself together. I'm still working on it for the long term, but I'm getting there.

It was a terrible day, but I didn't think about that when I put on the skirt for a first wear. I thought of the lovely woman whose name I'll never know that gave me a much appreciated rescue. If anything, the skirt is a reminder that we haven't completely given in to our worst tendencies and decent human beings are out there even if they're a bit scarce. I'm also reminded that resistance sometimes comes in subtle forms. Behaving kindly in a world that rewards cruelty, revels in cruelty,  takes as much determination as marching in the streets. I fear it is all we have left. Undermining the pervasive awfulness is a tall order, but we must start somewhere. I don't have a crystal ball into the future, and I won't pretend to have an optimistic personality, but I do have the perspective of having been alive more than half a century and having seen some very positive progress even when it seems darkest. As the stockbrokers say, "Past performance isn't a guarantee" but still.

I'll return to regular outfit posts shortly.








Sunday, September 30, 2018

Rocktober Fest

 Having been around when this look was popular the first time there are people that would say I shouldn't wear it now. I don't listen to those people😀.
 I can't say I have a favourite era for vintage-I look for interesting pieces and put them together. Sometimes, as with this outfit they look period correct, but this long sleeveless coat would work equally well over a modern dress, or with jeans.
 I will always love a big medallion necklace, probably because my mum wouldn't let us wear them. There was a big scare in the early 70s about a woman being struck by lightning wearing one! I suspect it was a bit of urban folklore, but everyone insisted they either read it in the paper, or knew someone that knew someone (in folklore terms that's what's called a FOAF-Friend of a friend) and my mum wasn't risking her children to cool necklaces. If I am struck by lightning wearing one of my many pendants or large medallions, I'll apologise to her in the afterlife.
 Mum had no such fears regarding rings, thankfully.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage sleeveless coat (is there a better term for this item of clothing?)-Goodwill
Trousers-Target, about 18 years ago
Vintage shoes-Goodwill
Blouse-Goodwill
Medallion necklace-Goodwill
Handbag-New Life Thrift
Bangles, rings-all over
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-I think it was vintage formulation Azuree that day. That's my favourite hippie fragrance.

 If I don't hold up this door, who will?!
 This style of dress is something I also remember well. Made to look like separates, it is a two-fabric sleeveless dress with an overshirt/jacket to match the skirt. This look stayed popular for years, and I even had some based on a similar idea when I started working in the 80s. I guess a good, practical idea resists change. With the current 70s revival in fashion I would fully expect Gucci to bring this back for F/W 2019.
 This brooch has matching earrings. I'm trying to avoid doing anything with my hair, if you were wonderinmg what the headband was about. They're hard to manage with gigantic eyeglass frames.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage dress and shirt-Goodwill (I think)
Vintage handbag-Thrift World
Vintage shoes-Goodwill
Vintage brooch and earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage bakelite stretch bracelet-Goodwill


 So now, we have a bit of a 70s theme going, haven't we? Fine by me, if the Polyester Wilderness beckons, might as well answer.
 I would have bought this set for the buttons alone.
 I'm helpfully holding up another wall. I remember my grandmother wearing outfits like this, with slightly tamer accessories (though she loved a good handful of rings). If I wear it again, I'd stick to a solid poloneck beneath as there's just too much going on here. I like pattern mixing, but the blouse detracts from the wild pantsuit pattern.
Outfit Particulars:
Waistcoat/trouser set-A Goodwill in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Red polyester jacket-Goodwill
Blouse-Thrift World
Earrings-World Market
Handbag-New Life Thrift
Amber cha cha bracelet-Goodwill
Other bangles-mostly Goodwill and Thrift World
Scottie brooch-Etsy

 When I bring out the corduroy you know I'm really feeling the retro. And yes, the handbag is corduroy as well.
 I do have a great deal of brown in my wardrobe, but I'm one of those people that's blessed with an ability to wear it. My dark eyes, dark hair and pasty ghoul-like complexion works well with most shades of brown. I'm in my fifties-I know what works for me by now. Anyway, if brown isn't your thing, I've noticed it can still be worn successfully near your face with the addition of a bright scarf, and brown works so well with red, orange, yellow, and green.
 This acrylic cardigan was a bargain [piece of vintage (.49 cents) and it is incredibly warm. I could probably make it through early winter wearing this thing. I'm not generally a fan of belted sweaters, particularly ones that button on the hips, but this is slouchy enough that it has the "Boyfriend" look though no boyfriend of mine ever wore anything like this, even when it was contemporary. I tend to date (and marry)slobs. That's ok-don't want someone prettier than I am, do I?
Outfit Particulars:
1970s corduroy skirt-Goodwill
19709s acrylic cardigan-Goodwill
Esprit 80s handbag-Thrift World (I think)
Clog/boot hybrids-New Life Thrift
Hoop earrings-K Mart
70s bracelets and rings-all over

 Finally, this dress which longtime readers will notice makes at least one appearance each autumn. Sometimes I wear it with green, sometimes with orange. This year I've gone with mustard yellow as I have a new (to me) pair of suede shoes. Yes, sometimes I plan an outfit from the feet up!

 I had forgotten about this pale yellow snakeskin bag. I should have taken a photograph of the beautiful leather lining. They just don't make bags like this anymore and for the sake of the bag's longevity, perhaps it is best I forget I own it. I'm always torn about using really nice things, but as I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, it is probably best to just use and enjoy things.

 The 40s wood brooch is one of my favourites. I really enjoy the Thermoset Lucite earrings as well.

Outfit Particulars:
Chadwick's dress-Thrift World
Bolero-Goodwill
Shoes-Goodwill
Handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-New Life Thrift
Brooch-Etsy
Bakelite bangles-all over

I have a busy week ahead starting with Danny seeing his allergist. We are hoping he can discontinue the last of the steroid medications, which would be good news. As we'll be so close to downtown and his appointment is midday, we'll use it as an opportunity to visit the Joslyn art museum a few blocks down the street. Going home and doing math would be my idea of fun, but I'm going to give the kid a break. I'll have to pick a painting for him to do a close study of to make it a fully educational trip. That, and I can go grab coffee while he spends an hour in front of a painting😁. I grew up around an art school, and I am now using my mother's play book. At least I'm not making him clean brushes for me!

The autumn bird migration is just barely underway, but we are continuing to visit birding hotspots anyway. Danny's group that he assists with banding birds will be resuming this month, and as these banding sessions are open to the public it gives him an opportunity to share what he knows with other young people. If you are in the Nebraska/Iowa area and would like to attend one of the bandings, you may find the information HERE.

If you like orchestral music and Halloween, The Heartland Philharmonic has the Hauntcert for you! Come in costume and join the fun. More information HERE.

If opera is your thing (it isn't mine, but Danny really loves it and I get to be sung to sleep for a minimum of three hours so everybody wins) the Metropolitan Opera simulcasts in HD at participating theatres is a great way to see a season of opera without going broke. More info HERE.

Finally, it is never to early to start planning your barmbrack recipe for Halloween. In recent years I have been making this one. Recipe HERE.

Hope your Rocktober is rockin'.





Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Mid-September Looks




 It is officially Autumn in the Northern hemisphere, but you wouldn't know it by our weather in Omaha. Up and down seems to be the rule this time of year, but I know by month's end we'll be wrapped in woolens. Might as well make the best of it while we can.


I do love wearing bright colours. My husband mentioned that on the hanger, this dress didn't look all that interesting-and he was right. What sold me wasn't the colours or the fabric, but the long length and wide sweep of the skirt. I knew with a fitted jacket it would make for an interesting line, and with a bit of luck make me look taller in the process.
 Of course having a perfectly matching purse did make the dress all that more attractive a purchase!
Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Goodwill
Vintage jacket (has a matching sheath dress)-Thrift World
Necklace-Goodwill
Betsey Johnson purse-Dillard's
Brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-Goodwill
Green enamel clamper bracelets-both Target years ago
Lucite bangle-Goodwill
Earrings-New Life Thrift
Belt-Goodwill

If I'm looking smug and pleased with myself it is because I'm generally a smug and pleased with myself sort of woman I have been getting myself organised after five years in this house. After the books and clothing cull, I had a better opportunity to arrange things in a way I like. Oh don't worry, I haven't gone minimalist or anything mad like that.
Just better organised. The brooch boards were such a success, I thought I'd put the rings together in one place. I've also been sick (a LOT) lately (and am now AGAIN running a fever on the heels of the last illness) and this sort of task is a good thing to do sitting in bed. Hopefully, I'm getting all the viruses out of the way before winter. I have no idea what's going on with my immune system, but this is very unusual for me.
 This jacket has a lovely matching dress, but I wanted to wear my vintage Vera maxi skirt before the weather turned too cold. It is a funny crepe-like material that has a slight flocking on it. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like it.
Outfit Particulars:
1970's jacket-Goodwill
Vera 70s maxi skirt-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Mexican silver bracelet-Goodwill
Sara Coventry silver bracelet-Goodwill
Vintage silver belt-New Life Thrift
Earrings- K Mart

 Staying with blue for a moment, I wore my treasured antique textile/modern caftan.
 When I purchased this in the 80s I paid what I thought was a crazy amount of money for old Afghan textiles reworked into a modern item of clothing. A quick look online tells me I made a very good purchase after all, as now the modern part of the dress is vintage as well. There's still bits of mirror and glass in the embroidery on the bodice and cuffs. I don't wear it often, but I never fail to feel wonderful when I do. Every wardrobe needs a piece that can lift your spirits-I'm just glad my younger self had the wisdom to buy it 35 years ago. Thanks, younger self! The necklace of polished semi-precious stones was my mum's.
Outfit Particulars:
Caftan-purchased at an artist's studio in Evanston Illinois, early 80's
Necklace-Mum's
Earrings-K Mart
Vintage sandals-Goodwill
Handbag-Hand-Me-Ups

Double tartan! They're both extremely lightweight, the skirt being cotton and the top a lightweight rayon. Both pieces are 80s, and the top has a self-scarf that can also be worn draped over the shoulders, Outlander style. I absolutely hate it! No matter which way I tie the bloody thing it looks awkward and then due to the slippery fabric fails to stay in place. When I rule the world I'm going to bring back the stocks for people that design such fiddly clothes. I do concede it looks good in photographs.

Outfit Particulars:
1980's skirt-Goodwill
1980s blouse-Thrift World
Brooch-Can't remember
Vintage handbag-Thrift World

 Now that somewhat cooler temperatures have arrived, I've been cooking and baking more. The doughnuts above didn't photograph well, but they were delicious. I made a reduction of apple cider (the non-alcoholic sort known as cloudy apple juice outside the US) and used it to flavour the dough. They're partly made with wholemeal flour which gives such a lovely nutty flavour. The white ones are tossed in plain sugar, the darker ones cinnamon sugar. I will be making more of these for the freezer while apple cider is in season (about another month or so).
It wouldn't be autumn without plum kuchen. This is such an easy bake. I can have one of these ready in 35 minutes, start to finish. But not everything is fun in the kitchen. May I share a secret with you? I can't make potato dumplings. My bread dumplings aren't very good either. My husband enjoys that sort of thing having lived in Germany in the 60's he developed a taste for them. Sigh. What can I say, potato dumplings are my Achilles heel. I am not a bad cook but...anyway, much to my shame I bought a box of these...
 *shakes head* The dehydrated potatoes come in a gauze bag you bring to a boil in a pot of water.
...and then they puff up and form dumplings. How were they? Better than anything I've ever managed to make in the 25 years I've been with my husband. Danny enjoyed them as well. A quick look at the ingredients indicated plenty of items you wouldn't normally find in a dumpling (dyes, preservatives, etc) but for a once-a-year sort of treat, I'd buy these again. I'm sure nothing can measure up to childhood memory, but I suspect the school dinners he remembers probably involved dumpling mixes as well. Though my father in law was in the army, they chose to live in town so my husband and sister in law could get an immersive education. My sister in law made use of the opportunity and learned to speak German. My husband made friends with the local trouble makers and learned to play, "Rock Fight." As far as I can tell, it is pretty much what it sounds like. When I was a kid we'd throw crab apples at each other, but even in Chicago it never rose to the level of rocks! But anyway, now he can at least relive the dumplings without fear of injury.



 Halloween is coming! As someone that wasn't permitted candy (or much food, generally speaking) as a child, the idea of ringing doorbells, holding out a bag, and being given free candy has always appealed to me. It still does, though these day we keep some non-food treats on hand for allergic children. When you dress like I do, the costume bit seems like just another day, however I do love the Halloween specific clothing in the stores. These glow in the dark! I mean, really glow enough to see your way through a dark hallway to the toilet at 3 AM. I found these at Target in the children's department (their kids stuff runs large, but keep in mind I am quite short). I am looking forward to wearing these out at night. I always bake a Barmbrack at Halloween, but other than that we just sit here with a big bowl of candy and wait for trick or treaters. Last year was grim-we only had five. Because we live on a college campus I suspect neighbouhood children don't bother coming through as they don't know there are townhomes here as well as the student dormitories.

 I will leave you with one last warm-weather outfit as we head into the end of September.
 The embroidered details on this dress are so pretty, I just wish it didn't make my boobs look quite so ample. I don't mind them, I just don't like it to be the first thing someone notices about me.
Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Bangles-all over
Vintage beaded bag-Goodwill
Shoes-Goodwill
Earrings-Thrift World

When I see you next, I have some outfits from the cooler days including the first corduroy of the year. I hope you're as excited as I am.

See you later, and don't judge me for the dumplings😁









Friday, September 14, 2018

I Said I Wasn't Shopping



The more I insist I don't need anything, the more determined the thrifting gods are to toss me great finds. When we made the trip to Grand Island to drop off Danny's fair entries, we called in at some of the shops along the way. In Grand Island, there are two Goodwills. One was a bust, but the other had fantastic baubles. I left thinking it was a very good day-little did I know what the universe had in mind.
On the way home, we stopped by the Mennonite thrift store in Seward. I filled another bag with baubles, shoes, and vintage clothing. Surely, it couldn't get better, could it?
Yep, it got better. The Salvation Army store in Lincoln was a treasure mine of vintage clothing, some of which I'll show later in the post. It was only 125 miles from home, but it might as well have been another country for all the great discoveries. If the jewellery and clothes in Omaha can seem picked over and slightly over-priced, it only takes a trip a couple hours west to remind me what a great place we live in for second-hand shopping.

This is one of the dresses I picked up at the Lincoln Salvation Army store. 1950's square dancing frock? Don't mind if I do! Or do si do.
  It can be worn off the shoulder as well. It was under five dollars, so absolutely money well spent.
Get yer tits out.



Outfit Particulars:
Vintage square dancing dress-Salvation Army, Lincoln
Shoes-Goodwill
Handbag-Goodwill
Rings, bakelite bangles, earrings, brooch-all thrifted various places


 This dress is a rare, purchased-new item from the sales at Lindy Bop. I'd been watching it and hoping it would go on sale. It is too large in the bodice but I love it so much I might spend the money on alterations.

 Fine, I'm afraid of birds, including waterfowl, but the print was still impossible to resist.
I would have no difficulty resisting this duck. *Shudder*

Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Lindy Bop
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Nantucket Basket handbag-Antique mall
Rings-all over
Victorian bracelets-both thrifted
Belt-Goodwill
Necklace-Goodwill

 Our weather has been strange-autumn back to summer in the span of a few days, but I've slowly been bringing out the lighter weight clothing in autumn hues. This 60's maxi probably started life as a robe, but I won't tell anyone if you don't *wink*.
 I do love a good sleeve and this certainly satisfies that desire. I wouldn't want to wear this if I were a smoker. I don't know how we all survived the 70s without accidentally setting ourselves alight.
That massive bakelite stretch bracelet was something like $1.99 at goodwill. Looking at it in the case I was sure it was modern, but as soon as I picked it up, felt the weight of the thing and noticed the aging string, I knew I had Bakelite. I can't wear it long as it is seriously heavy. The wood and plastic medallion was something I picked up at a yard sale and then forgot about. I find long necklaces hard to wear but with just the right maxi dress they can work. I do like a long bit of wood. Ahem. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970s maxi dress-Antique mall
Vintage bucket bag-Hand Me Ups
Vintage white shopper tote-Goodwill
Vintage bakelite bracelet-Goodwill
Vintage necklace-Yard Sale
Shell earrings-World Market about 10 years ago

 This dress is 90's does 50's and I just adore it. There's a bit of tulle sewn into the bottom of the lining acting as a mock crinoline which gives it just enough shape to look retro and still be easily wearable (I drive a very small car that isn't a good match with puffy petticoats etc.).
 Finding turquoise jewellery that isn't set in silver with a Southwestern theme can be tricky in my part of the world, so I always grab bangles when available. The blue ones aren't bakelite but the look right at home with the others that are.
Outfit Particulars:
Dress-I can't remember! I bought it new.
Bolero-Goodwill
Earrings and necklace-both Thrift World
Brooch-recent trip to Grand Island Goodwill
Talbot's belt-Thrift World (that is one seriously well made leather belt!)
Vintage handbag-Goodwill (I think)
Shoes-Goodwill
Large brown bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
Blue bangles-Hand-Me-Ups

There's me, getting my leg out on the side of a highway. As you do.

 I have no idea if this piece is vintage or not as the label was missing. It feels a little too well made to be new, but I could be wrong. It only has a few buttons at the top and I assume is meant to be worn over a skirt or trousers. I stuck a tunic beneath it as well for the sake of modesty (it is very revealing) which also makes me think it is vintage. That much skin wouldn't have been shocking in the 70s (well, maybe on someone my age it would have been). No matter, I love it and plan to get plenty of wear from it.

Outfit Particulars:
Tunic and leggings-both Dots about 17 years ago! Not bad for fast fashion.
Shoes-Goodwill
Top/dress-ish thing-Goodwill
Necklace and matching earrings (bought on 2 different trips)-Goodwill
Brass evening bag-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Probably 24 Faubourg which I have been wearing constantly day and night since finding a full bottle for $4.99 at Goodwill. This stuff is addictive. How I ignored it so long is beyond me, but it is definitely my fragrance of summer/autumn 2018. I wonder if I will like it as well in winter? Hard to believe the same nose was responsible for that reeking Celine Dion nightmare, but I guess everyone's entitled to one really big mistake in their life. Anyway, yeah-24 Faubourg is magical. 

This silk dress was another purchase from the Salvation Army store in Lincoln. I would guess it is late 90's/early 00's. The beaded 80's jacket was probably overkill for daytime wear but...well, you know me. 

I was a little worried I might catch the attention of the bees happily collecting pollen on the flowering melon vine but they left me alone. There's a risk in wearing yellow this time of year when there's less food around for the bees.

Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Salvation Army
Jacket-Goodwill
Vintage straw bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Bangles and rings-all over
Shoes-Goodwill
Necklace-K Mart
Earrings-yard sale

 After returning home, the Omaha thrift stores must have heard about my success in Lincoln, Seward, and Grand Island. Not wishing to be outdone, the local shops promptly presented me with a nice selection of inexpensive baubles.
This Victorian holloware brooch is missing a few leaves, but given the age and the practically free price, I couldn't resist buying it. I don't mind less than perfect pieces.

I will leave you with one more outfit from the trip to Lincoln.

That's some heavy, vintage polyester action!

Somewhere between Minne Mouse and a stewardess uniform.


Outfit Particulars:
1970's polyester dress-Salvation Army store, Lincoln
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Vintage brooch-Etsy
Vintage shoes-yard sale
Rings, bangles, earrings-all thrifted various places

Today and tomorrow the annual Sarpy County Museum yard sale is going on to raise funds for the museum. I have a serious upper respiratory infection at the moment and will have to miss it this year (unless I make a miraculous recovery overnight which I'm not expecting). I'm bummed about it, but looking at this post I clearly don't need anything! I certainly don't ever need to purchase another piece of jewellery as long as I live. I'd also planned a trip to the orchard this weekend for apple picking but that's going to have to be delayed as well. I'm pretty stoic when it comes to cold, flu, etc. but this is really kicking my behind. Danny has a milder version of it (thank god) and so far (fingers crossed) Mr. ETB has escaped it.

I hope autumn/spring (depending where you are) is treating you well. Spare a thought for the people in the path of the hurricane if you can-it sounds horrible.