Friday, January 30, 2015

Ripe Not

The "ripe now" sticker on the avocados causes me a lot of trouble. The restaurant guy has solved the mystery. It is a trademark, not a notification.

People keep pinching them to see if they're ripe, The nearly ripe ones end up being so bruised they are often too disgusting to eat. 

I have learned to reach to the back or under layer of the stack to find hard green ones. Put them in the fruit bowl for a few days. Avoid squeezing them. When the stem can be easily pulled out they are ripe and keep for a few more days in the fridge. No bruises!

I am going to send Ernest 3 months of heirloom avos from the Avocado Diva. Fresh from the trees! 

An avocado a day would be lovely. It doesn't always have to be guacamole.
Avocado on toast, on eggs, in a BLT, in fruit salad, on pizza, or like yesterday just eaten out of the skin with a little vinaigrette.

A month's worth of ideas!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow Day

I asked Ernest to send me some snow pictures and I got a couple like this.

"It's a winter wonderland," he exclaimed on the phone, and planned to go out to play. I'm so grateful one of his friends had a camera. 

That would be Ernest as the attacking Ninja on the left. 

Meanwhile I'm going to pretend I have a snow day as Amazon just delivered this trove of treasures. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Circle of Clutter

It seems I can't deal with one thing until I have dealt with something else. I hardly know where to begin.

Since the Christmas decorations are still out of the closet, I dug around in the back and pulled out 4 large boxes of my aunt's travel slides that have been in there for 15 years.

(from this...)

In the trash! A few trays were not labeled so I did quickly look through them. Treasure - some slides of my wedding in '83 and a few others from '75, plus a couple of my small town in 1955! I guess it's time to get out the scanner.

(to this...)

So there I go, starting something else.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Partial Family Picture

Ernest was here for 4 weeks and I kept announcing, "I need a family picture," but we would put it off and so of course it never happened.

I did manage to corner him and Frank the day before he left. Homer is the most easily manipulated of our cats (i.e. the slowest) so he was dragged into the picture.

Ernest swears he hasn't grown any more. Maybe it's just the positioning in the picture and his puffy hair. Or it could be that Homer's weight is dragging Frank down.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Usual Bye Mom Picture

So I have confessed I am a worrier, but I seem to be a selective one.

I was worried we wouldn't get to the airport in time. But we got there quick enough (2 hrs 15 minutes with no traffic). Ernest checked in with a bit of time to spare (before the 45 min before flight limit). After we left him, he found out there was a flight delay which caused a missed connection and a reroute. He spend six more hours at the airport.

I didn't seem to be at all worried about that. He's been around the world and on mountains. He can deal with an airport.  I hope he got a nap. His luggage beat him back.

He called last night. Yes, of course he wanted something, but it was nice to talk to him anyways! Classes are good. He has a long weekend to visit his sweetie.

I've been worried about his feet in cold weather as the only shoes I ever see him in are canvas converse but he assured me he could wear his his hiking boots if it got too bad.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Joy of Maps

We had an estate sale at my father's house last fall.  He didn't have anything really valuable. Most people were out for something cheap. Don't get me started on the Bitch and the Barcalounger.

He was a collector of information. One thing he had a lot of were maps. I think he kept every map he ever had. And the maps seemed to draw the most responses from people.

Late the first day, a family arrived as we were closing up. Well, of course we let them in. They spent quite a while in the study. I was outside, so I did not get the full experience, but their young daughter (age 10?) loved maps. If her mother had allowed, she would have taken them all and papered the walls of her room with them.

A young couple was about to move away from California. They found a 1957 map of the state, and other maps of places they had either been to or planned to visit.

Another couple with an adorable baby also had memorable finds. The husband found topographic maps of places he had hiked. Most amazingly, the wife found a large picture map of Poland (I don't think my dad even visited Poland) which had the towns her grandparents were from -- towns that didn't normally even appear on maps.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Driving Away the Worries

I've been a chronic worrier all my life. My mother always told me I had a worried look on my face as a baby. Thanks, mom.

Yes, I do lie awake worrying about many things I cannot control. It's not fun. Thinking about worst case scenarios is not conducive to sleep. 

On the bright side, I have never worried about taxes or Ebola.

I discovered something that can drive the worries out of my head: show tunes! I watched Into The Woods twice in one day (the movie and the DVD of the Broadway show) and guess what, the earworms drove all worried thoughts out of my head that night.

So maybe an evening dose of show tunes will do the trick?

I am partial to Sondheim. Got a favorite show tune? Let me know!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

We're Going to Need a Bigger Snake

The plumbing story part two:

Handy cleaned out the trap in the upstairs bathtub (through the hole in the wall) but blub blub blub. No noticeable improvement.

We called a plumber, who wasn't too interested. I think they only like to deal with the emergencies. Days later a guy showed up, laughed at Handy's redo, and said we should tear out a wall.  We were supposed to get another call back this weekend but no nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Handy bought a better (drill-powered) snake and solved the problem himself.  Ernest ran water in the tub upstairs and said he'd never seen it drain so fast.

Really, learning to do your own plumbing is where it's at.

Monday, January 05, 2015


I think this is my one resolution for the year. 

I started slowly on this path last fall. 

Overwhelmed by stuff coming into my house, from both my father's and m-i-l's houses, as well as my own collection, I had a garage sale and Handy delightedly took two truck loads to the thrift store. 

He had a laugh because he saw several of these cat scratchers like we had just bought. And guess what, ours went on the next load. 

I might try to sell a few things on eBay, like the expensive Ehrman Tapestry needlepoint kits I never got around to making. 

I never got around to a couple small upholstery projects so I called in the professionals and now after many years they are finally done. So maybe that's a second resolution. Delegate. 

Cleaning out the mind is harder! I'm working on it. 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

I Couldn't Help It

It's not what you think.

Oh, Homer. You know I am still yours, heart and soul.

Please don't get your fluffy panties in a bunch. I can't help it if a dog decided to sit on me.

And have a nap.

My lap is mesmerizing, is it not?

This is Louie, who lives at my m-i-l's care home. He used to just bark at me but lately he's decided my lap is ok. He may secretly be a cat inside.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Recreating Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Warning, this post includes dairy, gluten and fat!

I can't say I've ever eaten the famous biscuits at Red Lobster, since I've only been there once, but I impulse-bought a pack of their mix.

Lots of ingredients. 

They tasted great though. It's the garlic butter you dump on after they are baked.

I thought I'd try to replicate the recipe. I've made Bisquick biscuits with cheese before, but they were always a bit heavy. Some internet research let me to cut in some butter with the dry ingredients, like a scratch biscuit or pie dough. (By the way, I have converted Frank to the joys of food processor pie crust. Ernest remains old-school on that matter.)

My Cheddar Bay Biscuits
(Makes 12 large biscuits because the guys said to make extra)

3 c. Bisquick
1 t. Old Bay seasoning
1 cube butter
1 c. grated cheese*
1 1/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix together Bisquick and Old Bay. Cut in butter using your preferred method (food processor or pastry thingy). Add cheese and toss till cheese is mixed throughout. Mix in milk. Form 12 biscuits on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make garlic butter.

1 more cube butter (I didn't say these were low-fat)
2 T chopped parsley
3 cloves minced garlic*

When biscuits are done, top with garlic butter.

*I'm not entirely sure of these amounts because Handy was responsible for the prep. He tends to go overboard.

They got a good reception.

So I used up the box of Bisquick for this. When I bought more, wouldn't you know it, look what was on the box. So yes, you could probably use less butter! However, fresh garlic and parsley are certainly an improvement.

Friday, January 02, 2015


I'm surprised I haven't hit the new library hold limit until now. 

What to do, what to do?

I think I can save a list. Or save them as want-to-read on Goodreads. 

There didn't used to be a limit, but then there was a $1 per hold charge. Now holds are free but there is a limit. I didn't mind paying. I thought it was a small price for the library personnel's extra work. 

Goodreads says I read 146 books last year. My own count is 147. So I challenged myself to read 150 in 2015. If I spend a little less time playing mindless iPad games...

Thursday, January 01, 2015

I Did It

I did it.

Now I've got to get up in half an hour for my traditional viewing of the Rose Parade. 

Resolution: take a nap later today!

Happy New Year!