Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You sound happy...

I had a call the other day for dh and after a few exchanges with the man he said, almost critically, "You must have had a good day. You sound happy." I could tell by his tone that the idea of feeling happy, having a good day was not what he expected in life and I probably had something I wasn't entitled to. hmmmm

I understood him. Oh yeah, I got his take on life. It's taken me a lot of years, and a lot of experiences to realize that I get what I expect. Events are mostly neutral, but how I perceive them is my choice. I'm afraid that more times than I'd like to admit to, I've chosen to 'be' right rather than to be happy. Such a silly waste, isn't it?

happy morning

Well, today I choose to be happy and I wish a happy day, a new day for all of us

Words and Pictures

Pip's theme this week is...a long drive. Some drives are short but seem incredibly long and others are long but the company makes them breeze by. I had always wanted to go to the Rolling Thunder parade on Memorial Day. DH and I had seen a bit of it in our earliest days together, but it was only by accident as we had been on the Mall seeing some exhibit. I wanted more.

I wanted a whole day with nothing else. I watched the parade for a couple of hours by myself and then walked to the Wall. It was typical late May weather, hot and humid, and I really needed more water than I brought. I've often wondered about the people I saw that day, so many of them in silence, remembering, wondering, still grieving - for him, for her, for us.

The Vietnam Wall

It's been a long long drive from that war to this one and then again sadly, it seems like such a short time.

If youwant to see and/or hear about long drives? Here they are.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Up in the Air but not on a Plane

What is it they say about making plans makes God laugh? So much changed this weekend from what we planned, then revised, then planned again. One trip had been planned, then that was changed to another trip. The hotel was booked, the boarding passes printed, and the plans made to meet a friend were confirmed.

Then our old cat Sebastian really seemed to be really worsening...fast. We thought it might be "magic needle" time as we certainly didn't want him kept alive longer just for our sakes. A quick trip to the vet, bloodwork and tests, and signing a dnr form (do not resuscitate).

We still planned to get on that plane (probably) but overnight we came to the decision that this was not the 'next indicated thing' to do. Our friend in CA always uses that phrase as guidance when you aren't sure of what to do next. "Just do the next indicated thing." Terry says. Works for us. A quick early am call to Louisiana let our friend know she would have to eat for us at Sunday brunch at Brennan's'. sigh

When we called for the test results, it turned out to be a treatable issue...this time. Hyperthyroidism. The hardest part is cracking those wee pills into quarters. Ok, so we stay home. Well, sort of...DH decided he DID want to go on the original trip, and I was glad to stay home and do a petwatch to make sure the meds were working. We each get some time alone and sometimes that's the best thing for this marriage. But you know what? I bet dh is planning something even as he's off riding his bike!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Creative Space

My creative space lately has been at my computer, working with photos tho not as old as these three are. It's hard to show digital pictures until they're up. I never take the card out of the camera, but upload, upload upload. Then sort, get them to flickr and blog them if they're a trip. It's quite a process isn't it... And it's not been easy on the old eyes. Good thing I'm taking a week break from this here 'job'. Maybe I should leave the camera at home?

Other Creative Spaces can be found over at kootoyoo's. It might be fun to have a look so take your creative self over and see what others are up to.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One more Time

Well here it is Thursday and it's up to the Detention Center again today. I will be giving the same test to the same inmate that I gave on Tuesday. The results were not good on Tuesday.

I only hope he studied his spelling words because he wants to pass, I want him to pass, and yet I'm not sure that he really grasps the concept that study, and plain old memorization are the key. It's not a fun process, there's no instant gratification, but studying works. I hope he's getting a clue about that.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Mar 26 update- student got himself another infraction and lockdown, so no test, and no chance of class again till mid-April. Such a shame.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For The Girls

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my shape to keep.
Please no wrinkles, Please no bags
And please lift my butt before it sags.
Please no age spots, Please no gray
And as for my belly, Please take it away.
Please keep me healthy, Please keep me young,
And thank you Dear Lord, For all that you've done.

Not sure who wrote this but it came to me thru the mail, email i.e. and I'm supposed to send it on to some girls. If you are of the female persuasion, it's Just For YOU.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Words and Pictures

This weeks theme is Little Things.

original by me_on_flickr

Right now little things are the things that are wearing me down. The calls to OPM, the calls to IRA holders, the calls to this and the calls to that. All little details of life that you have to stay on top of but seem to be the little niggly bits that are so tiring. I have to remind myself that a lot of these little things are truly upscale details and in reality, none of them are hard, just consistent.

I also find that it's tiring when the little things take so many attempts to resolve. I liked it when I was working and someone called, left a vm, I called them back, left a vm and the matter was settled. This last resolution of a government issue for me took 5 or 6 calls till I got my call back.

When I am home all the time, the little things don't get backed up as much. I can cope with an hour or two each morning to make the calls, dust the floors, wash the clothes and sometimes get a few out of the house errands done. Frequent vacations really take their toll in dealing with the dailyness of life. (I know, I know...your heart bleeds for me!) Somehow, the house seems to get as dirty when we're gone as it does when we're home. Unfortunately, I know the answer to that one. An old cat who doesn't groom, sheds like crazy, and barfs a lot. Ah what's a 'mother' to do!

I once had a dream where all my 'little thing' issues were just a bunch of tiny fleas. Itchy pests, but really not a Major Issue. I think most of us can handle the big deals when they come, even tho they knock us for a loop when they happen. I know I can, but darn those Little Things. They wear my soul out. How about you? Do you have times when it's just a boatload of pesky Little Things?

For more takes on Little Things, head over to Meet Me At Mike's and see who else is playing this week. I suspect more of the people had positive thoughts but then you never do know, do you?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Still Doin' Catchup

Catchup with the London pictures i.e.

A few more posts are up over at Get in the Car including our day at The Museum of Natural History and our day at Tate Modern. Right now it seems like a million years ago...almost.

I didn't have one of these in London - sigh - and I wish I had one now! But oh those calories are harder to justify as the years go by, aren't they.
Day at Tate Modern

btw, have you looked at Cool Stuff To Check Out down on the right column lately? There are some new links down there, mostly free things that I also keep for my own reference. Have a look!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flashback Friday

Here is yours truly as the Mother of God.

Christmas 1953

Yes, I was the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Christmas pageant that year. Was it because of my profound spirituality at age 9? No, it was because I had long, long hair.

Shortly after Christmas I was threatened with expulsion from ...5th grade. I was asked if I had been 'saying those bad words' at Christmas when I was portraying Mary?!??! Not one to hold back on the truth, I said ..."Yes." I think the poor nun was shocked. Nothing more to say, so I had my mouth washed out with soap, Ivory, which I hate to this day. My bff has always said she was so very impressed because I didn't cry. We were both sent home on a Friday, but sadly we both were back in school on Monday. No rest for the wicked.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Words and Pictures

This week (and yes, you did see a another W&P on Tuesday...I was late to the party!) the theme of Words and Pictures is Cozy. Mmmmmm...

For me cozy is

  • down comforters - duvets - feather ticks as the one I had as a child was called. It was filled with goose feathers that my Nana plucked from geese she raised. Eventually it was filled with only goose quills and became history since no one kept geese in the yard in the new Maryland suburbs.
  • the lifestyle our Siamese cat embraces. He always looks cozy and at peace. Well almost always.

Mmmmm....a new cushion cover
  • a full pot of tea with that first cup just poured, steam coming up and Ahhhh.
  • fuzzy fleece trousers/pants with thick soft socks
  • and yes, cozy is flannel sheets which I think are going to be replaced by percale next week. I'm afraid this is just about the time to ...shift into spring.
I wonder what cozy will mean to me as the days get warmer? How about you? What does cozy bring to your mind?

Now, do you want to read more thoughts about Cozy? Well jump right over here and check out the list of players who tell your their story.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Creative Space

Just a bunch of the donkey work that helps to clear out the cobwebs. Applying gesso to a bunch of cardboard backs - cereal boxes and the like.

gesso drying

Painting little flower pots with what I swore (!!!) was blackboard paint! It must have morphed in the year or two it's been sitting around waiting for me to do this.

painted pot

Finally, a bit of company wailing in the hallway. He almost never ventures into the studio unless he is beyond desperate starving. He does feel safe in sitting outside the door and doing a good strong Siamese wail. It usually gets my attention...

Feed me!
Click to see his tongue stuck out at me.

Once I got this done, I felt ready to finally tackle an ATC I'd been thinking about, and wanted to get out in the mail and going to my swap partner in Queensland Australia. Other Creative Spaces can be found over at kootoyoo's. Go on, have a look.

I like How The Day Sounds

Saw this over on Bits and Pieces and it got my day started with a smile.

How The Day Sounds from Miky Wolf on Vimeo.

Hope you like how your day is sounding.

Asparagus Days

Just to celebrate the return of Asparagus Days, here is a wordle for you in the Asparagus color scheme.

Wordle: Asparagus Days

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Words and Pictures

Great meme! started over at Pip's. Words and Pictures stories inspired by the great Anne Lamott. I feel as if Anne's a friend since she is a friend of a friend, even tho I've never met her. But you know the feeling. (Hey Anne!!! it's me? no, you don't know me but...)

This week's or rather last week's theme is School Lunches. Now those Australians had proper school lunches but I had a lunchbox in a cafeteria room that didn't serve food. It was a new Catholic school built by a group of blue collar workers who wanted a school for their children. The Church had no money for the school, so the fathers built it themselves. I spent 2nd grad commuting into Washington DC till it was open, but that's another story.

This is what I had as a lunchbox - good old red plaid - as I don't recall seeing any with cartoon characters in the 50s, and I'd be hard pressed to say what cartoon was my favorite. Maybe Elmer Fudd? I watched cartoons on Saturday mornings but even then I preferred to read.

Original seen at Poppytalk

I remember that we had to go down to the cafeteria class by class, quietly and in line as this was a Catholic school of the 1950s. We did have very nice nuns who were pretty modern in many ways. Once seated in the cafeteria we could talk and have fun while we ate, as long as we stayed in our seats.

I liked the food my mother and Nana packed - for the most part - which is just as well because we had lunchbox inspection before we went outside to play! Unfinished food meant - Go back and finish! Fortunately there were always a few boys who would eat most anything you didn't want. I look back at that now and wonder if any of them didn't have enough food to eat since we had mostly working class families in our school, and some of them with as many children as Catholics are notorious for having.

But what DID I eat? Well Wonderbread had just come into its own, so I had the 'good' gummy white bread that lasted forever, even on top of a refrigerator in the summer heat. Makes you wonder, doesn't it... Yikes! Mostly I had either bologna or peanut butter and jelly, and be sure to make that chunky peanut butter and grape jelly. Occasionally some potato chips but otherwise no 'junk' food or snacks per se. That sandwich was as 'bad' as it got, even tho it seemed good at the time. No mayo or mustard btw, and my mother would shake her head and wonder how I could eat it so dry. I still don't put anything on a sandwich exept perhaps for some chutney or hot pepper spread. Mayo and mustard are still not my friends.

I think I also got my general dislike for apples then because they seemed to take too long to eat when outside called. Who wanted to gnaw away at an apple and miss playtime? Bananas were faster and oranges were cut up in wedges to be sucked off the peel in a flash. I did have time for my Nana's chocolate cake with chocolate frosting however. The frosting would stick to the waxed paper and I would carefully scrape it off with a finger and lick it luxuriously in front of my jealous classmates. I also liked dill pickles and on a few occasions ate the pickle with the chocolate cake. I suppose I was getting ready for the eclectic tastes in food I would discover in my adult life.

For a while, I was also given a short thermos to cope with winter lunches, but I disliked the vegetable soup I often got, and after I came home with the metallic clinking sound in my thermoses one too many time that ended. Thermoses that bang around in a metal lunchbox being swung back and forth don't last too long. My mother would sigh, and throw another thermos away. I suppose I did feel money grew on trees at least when it concerned me.

Sometime during these years of childhood, the metal lunchbox gave way to the more modern paperbag, which I was expected to bring home for reuse, but wickedly usually just threw away. Oh how those seeds of a disposable life were sown! and how I fought my family's thrifty ways. How many other things, people, and opportunities would I throw away over the years till I learned to value what mattered?

Ah those school lunches. My needs were met, and most of my wants were catered to besides. And oh....to have a piece of that chocolate cake right now! Nana, I can still almost feel my tongue licking the icing off the cake right now. No Hostess Cupcake for me. I have Nana's cake in my mouth and in my heart.

Now...do you want to read about more School Lunches? Well jump right over here and check out the list of players who tell your their story.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pork and Pears

The idea of Pork and Pears came to me straight from the cover of the most recent Williams-Sonoma catalog. Oh if I could have space for more LeCreusets in almost all the colors! I have two seasonal teapots but to go from red to yellow to green with the cast iron?? That is luxury and really, in truth, needless luxury. but fun to think about

So, if you clicked that link above, you will see what the goal was. Ok, so I'm one of the women who Messes With the Recipe. You knew that. I had a pork roast in the freezer but not a boneless loin but the right size and shape. I had the Anjou pears (and isn't it great that they were 99c a lb last week???), onions instead of leeks which I had already cooked up over the weekend - the leeks i.e., but all the rest. Well, I had half and half instead of cream, but that was enough to up the caloric value imho. You get the picture of how I cook.

Here's that roast browned, with the browned pears, ready to go back into the LeCreuset and the oven.
Browned and ready for oven

Now the gravy is simmering away after adding the half and half.
Pork Gravy

Eh voila! (or eh viola! if you want a musical twist)the final dinner. Boy it was good if the cook says so herself. Now I remember why I like to cook. My adaptation of the recipe is here.

Roast Pork Dinner

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things Making Me Happy

Since I've been in a bit of a funk, I decided to think of the little things that are making me happy. I suspect someone has a meme about this but I haven't taken the time to blog-surf lately so tell me if you know of someone. I think I need to practice this publicly. The concept of publicly acknowledging the joy in my life reminds me of Flylady's concept of blessing your house as you do a Sunday night cleanup. I've always avoided cleaning on Sunday but that puts a different perspective on it, doesn't it?
  • A clean floor on the ground floor. (DH washed this Friday night pre guests.) I told him that is one thing that makes me feel really good but darn I hate to do it.
09 March brunch
  • Bacon and horseradish cream cheese. I'd never had this and bought some Friday. It's half gone now...
  • Having 3, well 4 actually, Redbox locations in under 3 miles from my house, even if the movie I wanted to watch isn't available at any of them each time I've checked since Saturday a.m.
  • The teeny daffodils that have made their annual appearance amidst the dark green ivy and pachysandra of the small front lawn. I had totally forgotten about them.
mini daffodils
  • 5 totally free weekdays this week - no tutoring, no appointments of any kind, just free free time and at least one day when I have the house to myself.
If you have 5 things that are making you happy Right Now, I'd like to hear them!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Still wintery so wintery dinner

I had put this beef on to cook on Wednesday, two slices of beef shank with a good hunk of marrow bone. I added three cloves of garlic and one dried red jalapeno (pounded to death with my mortar and pestle). Boy did it smell good cooking, which I did on the cooktop. On a warmer day I might have continued with the crockpot but it was chilly so on the stove it simmered.

Sliced Beef Shank Dinner

I served it last night, as most stews etc do benefit from the time to meld more, and Yes! it was good. I didn't know if dh was a marrow eater but he is. Those carrots came from the Asian market up in Glen Burnie, and were two bunches for $1. (You are looking at half a bunch per plate.) Amazing to get baby veggies at that price, huh? I scrubbed them well, and steamed them, and when they were cooked you could have slipped the skins off. I didn't.

The 3rd portion of the meal was the potato and bacon 'pierogis' we bought in Cleveland. The kind I still long for are the ones with a dough outside, and savory cheese inside. Another trip to Cleveland has to happen, as it's a bit of a drive to the western suburbs of Chicago for them. They did cook up well tho, after defrosting, didn't they?

Pierogies or so they say

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still not In Synch

Was this just over a week ago? That seems so strange now, especially with the early change of Daylight Savings. I felt like I was getting back onto a US clock when the snow hit and that just makes for a sense of timelessness. I don't usually get much jet lag but the daylight savings seems to zonked me.

I also know that I'm not looking forward to tutoring tomorrow as well as a few other things I need to do. At least this student will not be mine for long, as the semester will be over March 27 - only 5 more classes. He may also test out next week, depending on the amount of studying he does. I know it can't be fun to try and memorize spelling words at his age, but that's English for you. Girl, burn, and fern all sound the same but are spelled different ways. Throw in the 'ar' sound to learn and it's all a bit much for a fairly unmotivated 25 yr old. His solution? A lot of giggling, and "I don't know!!!"s. For once, I am watching the clock for those two hours, and I don't like that. I get cranky.

original by jenah_smith

Anyhow, I just plan to sleep when I can and let my body and emotional state get back to equilibrium. A Twitter friend said the full moon this week was the 'worm moon' meaning the earth is softening. Yes, I forgot ..throw full moon into the mix. I just hope it's not my brain that's softening too!

Has the full moon affected you that you've noticed?

UPDATE - My student didn't balk at the review he needed for 2 hrs today, and my karmic reward was that there is no tutoring next week! "I'm" reviewing the test he gets on March 27 but I really don't want to 'teach to test' as so many full time teachers are forced to do. I really want him to learn and feel positive about this.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Twas a lazy Sunday

Clocks went forward and both of us slept in. We'd had a lovely visit across the Potomac with family Saturday night, and they fed us well. We saw all the grandchicks and thoroughly enjoyed a quiet evening with lots of catchup.


Today was a day with little to do and only a few things got done. There is little puritan work guilt in this household! Did you have a good weekend? I hope so.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Simmering on Saturday

I usually try to have a Souper Saturday but there was no soup made this week, nor any pictures of last week's Halibut Chowder. I'll have to do the latter again and both take pictures and write down what I did.

Some cooking has gone on, but not a lot. Fortunately, there was meat from the Amish Market for lunches and a couple of dinners out for dh. I was just in the mood for a good salad and something on Thursday, so I was the one who suggested Old Country Buffet. I used to joke about that place and roll my eyes but now I'm happy enough with lots of visual choices and no work. One thing I really like is their pickled beets. Thursday I had a bowl of them for 'dessert'. Weird but good. After so many English chips, we both are eating lighter again.

So what did I make recently? Well there was the mac/cheese and ham which later was a lunch or two for me.

macaroni n cheese

Then the chicken adobo which got its flavor from a mix. It wasn't bad, but I really want to try my friend Chatoy's recipe and hope I find it! It's an interesting technique. Marinate the chicken or pork in the marinade, then drain meat and fry it crispy, then add the marinade and simmer till reduced and meat is tender.

chicken adobo simmering

chicken adobo

Chatoy also gave me her flan recipe - again simple. She said "Start with a dozen eggs..." I can just about taste this now! which is hard since I stopped eating dessert when I came back from England. (weight and size issues...ugh)

Finally this am, I took the leftover rice and made some congee. Mine is usually ad hoc, and I had soaked the leftover rice with water and some other sliced spring onions and cilantro that didn't get used last night. Then this am, I simmered it with some Knorrs' prawn stock and when it was hot and pretty gluey, I poured it over some sliced cherry tomatoes and then added the Korean tofu pancake chunks on top. Not bad at all.

congee with tofu breakfast

So what's cookin' round your kitchen these days? I need some push to do some serious cooking again so help me out please.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Have you been over there?

More pics are going up bit by bit over at Get In The Car. I am determined to get these done before our next trip. Just sayin....

wasted the hole (sic) day on my camera and flickr... by nikkorama

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The 6th of the 6th

Paperiarre did this one and I like the randomnesss of the suggestion.

6th Flickr folder, 6th photograph...write about it.

everpresent security

This was on our trip to Italy in November 2008. We were taken by bus between Venice and Florence, with a stop in Padua. This was pretty much just after arrival in town, and I was surprised to see so much security there. We were marching along like a school trip, trying to stay as a group, but at the same time I was trying to see things that looked new or different to me and record them. It's a wonder I didn't fall down in the street. (ok, full disclosure - I think I did trip on occasion but I never hit the ground!) Bicycles, graffitti, security - yes, we have that too but it looked so different there in Italy.

The two smaller cities that we sampled - Padua and Orvietto - were really places that were so comfortable and so - ordinary. Ordinary in only the way that an Italian city can be ordinary! la Bella Figura reigns everywhere. I loved this little glimpse into day to day life.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Blankets Washington Area

Region Braces for What Could Be Largest Winter Storm in Three Years

Well it looks as if I haven't missed winter after all! Yesterday morning there was a light dusting outside. Not much, and it wasn't sticking to the grass etc but it WAS snow.

We waited all day, I had planned to put something in the oven, but it was just an ordinary Sunday. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow I thought. But didn't it look pretty on my oyster shells (for an outside collection I have)?

But this morning! Ah I woke up to hear my diligent neighbor scrape scrape scraping her walk before 7am. I had seen the light about 4am and realized that meant snow but I happily went back to sleep.

It has snowed continuously for the past couple of hours, and it just might do so all day. That's a storm for us here in MD!

I am so so glad I rescheduled my 2nd cataract surgery. I have a broken blood vessel in that eye (happened overnight Saturday) which would have postponed it and now the snow is the 2nd reason it might have been canceled. While the main road is clear enough, our street almost never gets plowed so all in all I am happy to be home, I'm enjoying the snow, and I'm gonna bake some whole wheat bread. I think I even have an Edward Norton flick on a dvd around here. As a rare snow event, this is just wonderful.

Yes, March you sure have roared in. I'll remember this arrival for sure!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just A Minute!

Well yes, it is March already, which totally surprised me this am. That's what comes of being away most of February. The sweetie Jenaveve over at August Street started this meme, and I'll play along. I do like memes as it seems we all come up with different versions of the same basic idea.

TRAVELING - to England for over two weeks. It was a great trip, despite the lack of internet for week one (the net connection at the villa site was down) and living in just one hotel room with dh for week 2. We don't have a big house by any means but this was still a challenge for me to live in a 15x10 room. Bless dh who took his laptop into the bathroom for an hour or two when he got up at 5am each day.

READING - The Red Tent-Anita Diamant, As Above So Below - Rudy Rucker, The Black Madonna-Doris Lessing - are the ones that come to mind. I took As Above with me on the trip, finished it down near Canterbury and then saw some Flemish paintings at Buckingham Palace. Veddy nifty synchronicity.

EATING - more potatoes than I usually eat in a year. Oh those chips in England!

WISHING - I had taken more of my stuff to the charity shops before we left as it was a bit depressing to see the piles waiting to go when we got home.

GRATEFUL - that we had the opportunity to take this trip and that hairy old Sebastian was still in the land of the living when we returned. I think he just manufactured hair the entire time we were gone.

EXCITED - that my grandson got into his high school of choice and called us as soon as he got the letter.

WONDERING - if I will have any students to tutor at the Detention Center this semester.

HAPPY - that I did not have to go back to any job when we returned. Oh so happy.

So, I put the Just A Minute button up on my page to remind me to think about this subject during March and I'll take a gander tomorrow to see what the other meme players wrote.

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