Dec 31, 2016

Aren't they cute?

You can just barely see Mr. Big Orange Lump on the couch...just being a lump.

(Click photos to biggify)

Dec 29, 2016

Thursday Rants and Raves

And in my case they are the same thing!

Two more authors on my "Oh my god, why?" list.  Chris Bohjalian and Ann Patchett. They just make me so tired. I've tried and tried to enjoy them but I simply can not.

Following discussions wherein people express the most uninformed and ill informed opinions makes me crazy. You're sitting at a computer, google the damn subject. Yes, I know, I simply shouldn't read those threads but it's mental rubbernecking - I can't not look and check out what moronic information is being exchanged and debated. Someone stop me please! (And not no, not a political discussion.)

Thursday is shopping day and aside from making a poor cashier's life miserable, I am sorry about that and next time I see her, I will apologize, it was fun insofar as eavesdropping on the young people dominating the grocery aisles today. Senior Discount Thursday but the store was chock-a-block with 20-somethings. Why are these young people not at work? Our parking lot is still packed - no one has gone to work it seems. The federal government has a 'use it, or lose it' leave policy and my husband suspects this is why everyone is home but these young people haven't been working long enough to accrue much of anything. Bless their hearts.

There was very little traffic - very unusual but that didn't stop a young man from almost plowing into us; so busy looking right never glanced left. It was really close!

I don't relate. Never have. It makes me crazy.  Most of the people I encounter who are my age (70) I want to smack - 21st century people, join up. And people younger than I,  by even just one generation, well, we don't share any common references.

I know, I know - I've whined about this before. I would really like to talk to someone who shares my references, my style, my POV - who was where I was when we both were there.

Yes, interacting with people who are different from me is mind-expanding but sometimes I just want to say "You too? Cool".

I'm going to have lunch now. A slice of chocolate fudge cake. Just the one, maybe half now and the other half later. Gotta love the 'buy one slice' option.

Dec 26, 2016

Not pretty but awfully good

I don't like to cook but when I do it is always good, sometimes terrific and occasionally awesome. The one thing it never is is pretty.  I do like to bake, which I don't do anymore because my husband can't have sugar. My baking is always awesome but never pretty. I just can't manage to make pretty food. Case in point...

For Christmas I made manicotti. I love manicotti but it's a pain the patootie to make. The gravy/meat sauce/spaghetti sauce/tomato sauce, however you want to call it, is easy enough, as are meatballs, it's just those pesky crepes. And all that cheese that has to be grated. Garlic and parsley to be chopped. So many elements. Oy

This is how it went...
The only ingredients missing from the picture is a boatload of garlic, pinch of salt and a little sugar. I only use Cento brand tomatoes because, you might be able to make it out, the list of ingredients is: vine ripened tomatoes. That's it. Nothing else. Just tomatoes. It's a simple sauce, nothing fancy, pure peasant.

Meatballs - one pound of very good quality chopped meat, one egg, some seasoned bread crumbs, romano cheese, lots of parsley and a pinch of salt. (The parsley in the glass dish was leftover and I froze it.) Aside from one egg for each pound of meat, I have no idea how much of the other ingredients I use. I mix it with my hands and I know how it should feel.
If I were frying/baking them then I would add garlic, basil and oregano. I cook my meatballs in the gravy/sauce and they absorb all those other flavors.
The crepes are easy - eggs, flour, water, pinch of salt. In the past I have made them in a 6-inch cast iron frying pan, this time I decided to use a 6-inch non-stick pan -
Because I have a crap stove, these weren't so easy to do. I took me an hour to make 27 crepes. Boring. Some came out perfectly round and lovely and some came out like that. I totally ruined only one.

The filling is ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, romano cheese, parsley, and pepper. You plop some filling down the center,  roll it closed, line them up in a pan, dollop some sauce on them
and into a 350ยบ oven the pans go for about 1/2 hour.

Getting them out of the pans isn't so easy, I've got them in there pretty snug, so when I plated them - not very pretty

But man oh man were they delicious!

Dec 23, 2016

Dec 17, 2016

And the ice came

Every 3 or 4 years this part of the world undergoes a snowmageddon, but every year we are guaranteed ice - lots and lots of ice.

Now, if you know how, you can walk and drive in snow. But ice? No, you cannot fight with ice and win. I have permanent damage from a lost ice fight.

This is a car centric/dependant area that I live in - one of the reasons I'm not crazy about living here. There are parts of the region which are incredibly walkable but I can't afford to live there, or rather I can't afford to 'buy' there, renting we've done, buying we can't.

Over the years we have lived in these environs on 3 separate occasions, I've always liked living here, except for the car thing and the ice thing. The car thing and the ice thing scare me.

This is a part of the world where a goodly portion of the population falls into the entitled, self-important category and their driving habits show it. I've lost counts of the times I have been bumped by cars making a right turn - drivers in such a hurry that while looking left for traffic don't bother to look directly in front of them to see me in the crosswalk, me with the green light, a lowly, insignificant pedestrian.

This part of the world is also very hilly, walking here is truly aerobic exercise, challenging when the weather is fine and impossible when the weather is anything else. Years of predictable bad weather has done nothing to improve the driving skills of the inhabitants. They insist that neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will prevent them from driving fast and irresponsibly. I don't doubt my husband's driving skills (well, not too much) it's the other people on the road that frighten me. This is the time of the year for me to have anxiety attacks just at the thought of having to go somewhere - out there, in the ice and snow.

As I write this it is early afternoon and the temperatures are sneaking up just a bit past freezing. The sky is getting light and the clouds are thinning to reveal some pale blue. I look out the window and see water dripping off the trees. The roads are probably safe enough to drive on and thankfully I have no need to leave my apartment. Today being Saturday, I would have no reason to leave under any circumstances, so status quo.

I don't like winter. I don't mind the cold at all, the snow somewhat, but the ice. I hate the ice; I fear the ice.

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great And would suffice."
                                        ~Robert Frost~ 

Dec 15, 2016

Thursday Miscellany

Usually I have a supermarket plus traffic rant for Thursday but not this week.

Traffic slowed and stopped for a funeral but that's okay. Lots of motorcycles, police and civilian, so I'm guessing Viet Nam veteran funeral heading over to Arlington National Cemetery.  Rest in peace.

Last week we went to a different Harris Teeter, and as bad as I think Store #86 is, Store #23 is worse. Don't even ask. So we were back at old #86 this week and we found a cashier who knows how to pack! Oh Yay! Dylan rocks. We saw Zachery collecting shopping carts from the parking lot and asked him how come he wasn't cashiering, 'cause Zachery rocks as a cashier and packer too.

In the lobby of our building there are big boxes for contributions for Toys For Tots and the local food bank. An article I read recently commented that the items in these collections were not always the healthiest so I tried to be thoughtful about what I bought to donate. I bought boil-in-the-bag rice, that way no bugs or dust or whatever would get into the package; family size cans of tuna; stewed tomatoes, and baked beans and plain beans. I hope that helps a bit.

Even with the extra food (a nice big bag full) the bill came to only $116. Our grocery bill gets smaller every week, last week it was $81. I wonder what we aren't eating anymore. Or maybe we are eating a lot less.

While we were switching from streaming to cable last night the acapella group Pentatonix was performing on some show - they are ubiquitous. And bad. Oh not bad in the technical sense, technically they are very good, but bad in the artistic sense. They have no warmth, no soul, everything they sing sounds alike.  I truly dislike them. They hurt my ears and my eyes.

Now if you want some great, soulful acapella singing (with some really good looking people) listen to this:

There is even a country acapella group - real fun bunch of guys - better than the Pentatonix because, again, they have soul and personality and they are just as cute as june-bugs. Okay I have a crush on the bass singer...and the guy with the beard and glasses is too cute for words...

Dec 14, 2016

Straight out of the camera - No editing

The beautiful boy - BB

Click to biggify and see his beauteousness

Dec 13, 2016

It's all about the soft

My husband wears LL Bean pocket tees. Long sleeve in winter, short sleeve the rest of the time. They are rather heavyweight and super soft.  Every morning when he takes his first nap of the day Frankie settles down on his chest and naps with him. This is the ONLY time Frankie comes near sitting in a lap. The only way Frankie will be in contact with a human is if there is something soft between her and the human.

This morning my husband went in to work and therefore he wore a dress shirt. It was a quick trip in and he was home in time for a short AM nap...Frankie started to join him and then...Oh dear, where is the soft? I can't sleep like this! Poor Miss Lulu...

Dec 12, 2016

Annual I will not rain on your parade post

Y'all know how I feel about holidays in general and Christmas and New Year's in particular. I must admit Chanukah is fun if only for the latkes. I prefer mine with applesauce, thank you.  I always liked the story behind Chanukah and developed a fondness for the Maccabees.  Most of the traditional Christmas trappings and traditions are from the Wiccan Yule, or Winter Solstice.  Christians just tacked their new symbols on to the Old Religion and called it a done deal. But - what the hell - potato pancakes with applesauce.

I have mailed out my Christmas cards - should be in your mail boxes by the middle of the week. I'm of two minds about them - on the one hand, it's a great photo on the front (my first cat, Max, a seal point Siamese) and on the other hand - not bright and cheerful.  I truly do prefer bright and cheerful. But hey - great photo.

I have decorated for the December holidays - this classic which, oddly enough, I bought while I lived in the Bahamas (think Christmas with Santa in a Speedo) -
I've been schlepping this thing around for 16 years and I really like it. It is made up of gigantic jingle bells and the 'ribbons' and 'holly leaves' are metal. It is basically indestructible and surprisingly quiet unless you shake it like a tambourine.  Of course over my front door is my favorite home decor item ever.  It has hung in every place I have lived for the past 20 years. If I were going to have a tombstone, I would hang this on it. Actually it would be kind of a funny epitaph.

My other bit of decor is new - I have one of Ann's  penguins. As adorable as you thought these were from the photos on her blog, they are even more adorable in real life, and I got one. His name is Percy...just makes me grin like an idiot.

And that's the extent of it folks. This and nothing more. I can't comment on your Christmas posts because if I were to be honest about my feelings then it would truly be raining on your parade. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading about, and watching, your parade I just can't join in.

Yeah, I know, bummer but you know I love you, and, Hey  - Potato pancakes, with applesauce!

Dec 10, 2016

Playing with Frankie Fotos

Well not this one. This is pretty straight forward, morning nap - every morning along about 9am

This afternoon Miss Lulu was all about staying close to me. Not too close, but close enough, on the table while I attempted to do a crossword puzzle...Then I spent a good portion of the afternoon playing with some photos of her - she hates the camera...

You can always click the photos to see them more clearly...

Dec 9, 2016

News Flash!

BB in a box!
click to biggify

And Frankie?

Not interested...

Dec 7, 2016

I don't but you might

I hate to cook but I like to bake. Since my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes two years ago, and with sugar being his trigger, baking is just not on my to-do list.

I have, in the past, gone on crazy rants about the food sections of newspapers - recipes that are impossibly complicated, using exotic ingredients and, quite frankly, sound gross and look gross and disgusting. BUT...once a year my local paper presents an entire food section devoted to cookies!

My local paper being The Washington Post, some of the cookie recipes fall into the complicated/weird ingredients/gross category but some make me want to get out the bowls and mixer.

This year's cookie section has some lovely cookies and some odd ones. Cornbread cookies with tomato jam, I'm not sure about that one and of course there are the gluten free cookies and vegan cookies, something for everyone I guess. So if you are in the market for some new cookie recipes or really need special diet recipes, check out that link.

Politically incorrect - I'm from NYC which has always had a very diverse population. And there was a time that every NY'er was a little bit Jewish by virtue of just living there.  So when I relate this next short conversation I had with my husband, don't get your shorts in a knot. Then again, you might not even get it -

          Me: The first night of Chanukah falls on Christmas Eve this year.
          Husband: And that is significant - why?
          Me: The Chinese restaurants will be empty. It'll put a huge hole in their business.

Anyway -

My husband's middle name is Francis. He never actually writes this name, most forms only require his middle initial.  Without going into a lot of boring background, the other day he was filling out a very detailed questionnaire and discovered that many years ago, when completing this form (it has to be updated every five years)  he had spelled his name incorrectly! He had spelled his middle name with an 'e'.  Francis with an 'e' is the female version.  So on this latest form he corrected the spelling of his name.  This morning he got a call from the authorities questioning this change! It's a strange kind of mess.  Not the least of the problem being - my husband doesn't know how to spell his name.

Dec 3, 2016

Oooh - Pretty

The tangerine and poppy look very similar in the photo - that's the tangerine mug on the left and the poppy mug between the sunflower and lemongrass mugs...I am so happy.

My kitchen cupboards luckily have glass doors, so with my other Fiestaware cups, saucers and small bowls - I got me a happy, happy kitchen!

Dec 1, 2016

Perhaps you can't tell

from this photo, but I have very skinny ankles. Always have. In years past, when I was young and chubby, as opposed to now, when I am old and chubby, someone remarked "How do those skinny ankles hold up such a big girl?" Nice.

You might notice that my left ankle looks a little lumpy - yeah, that's from an epic ice storm in 1999 - by the third time I fell I had ripped up every muscle and tendon in my ankle and had a hairline fracture running up the back of my ankle. It makes my otherwise skinny ankle look a tad lumpy and it's one of the reason I had to give up on high heels...

My point being - since I have lost weight, and continue to do so, my limited wardrobe has become annoyingly large. I wear grey yoga pants and they have a slight flair at the hem and while they used to fit well enough they now drag along the floor, get under my feet and I'm constantly tripping on them.  Yesterday I had to go out, it was raining and my pants got soaked dragging them through puddles. Today I had to go out (OMG - I went out 2 days in a row - unheard of!) so I dug out an old pair of leggings.

I can tell you, as that picture above attests to, that I looked thoroughly stupid. Skin tight pants, skinny ankles, big feet. And how exactly DID my feet get so big - for years I wore a 7.5 and that inched up to an 8, then an 8.5 and now a 9. A 9!

Big feet, skinny ankles - why do I care? I'm not sure I do, really. It's not like I dress to impress the people at the grocery store.

So now I have 7 pair of pants, 3 light weight, 4 heavy weight (which I never wear because it just doesn't get cold enough to warrant wearing them) that are too big and just accidents waiting to happen if I wear them.

Okay, so first-world problems. I could buy new pants but I'm too cheap. I'll just wear the leggings that look totally stupid, and with my shoes on - it's looks like I'm wearing clown shoes.

BTW - why does purple always look blue on the computer screen? Those are purple and black checkerboard shoes...