Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

"Wasting away again in Mamasitaville.
Searchin' for some way this madness will halt
Some people say that there's nobody to blame,
But I know, somehow it's my fault!"

As part of my recurring posts, today's is another ride on my very own personal crazy train. I try to save some of my favorite snippets or interactions between mom and me and recount them here.  It helps to keep me somewhat sane, keeps me from crying, gnashing my teeth, and beating my head against the wall and mainly is much cheaper than therapy.  It also offers you some small insight about the genesis of my personal oddness. (Since my sons were quite small I always told them I was delightfully odd, not weird I think now they have removed the word "delightfully"from their description.  Oh well!) And yes! I do rewrite song lyrics to fit whatever I am feeling at any given moment.

Tuesday:  Got a call that Mom was going to her last ever gig with a church singing group she has been a part of for nearly 30 years.  They sing both hymns and secular tunes to residents of nursing homes and have some props and limited choreography so the set has some cute visuals also.  Mom is one of the original members (possibly the only one left) and has decided this needs to be her swan song. "Maybe, but I'll think about it over the summer and decide, but I might want to go back when it starts again in the fall. But I don't want to go back if that gal is still in it."

So we can begin a betting pool, (will she or will she not "retire"?) because I am pretty sure "that gal' (whoever she is) will still be in it next fall, since she has been a part of the group for at least the past 3 years. All we know about "that gal" is that she is a stranger, (meaning she lives on the Eastern side of town) she wears different clothes, (lots of diaphanous flowing blouses over camisoles) and she tries to take over (no clue on that one).

Wednesday: Mom was adamant about traveling  to NYC with us Thursday for Son3's graduation. Each graduate was only given 2 tickets, so there was a good chance I might be unable to see the actual ceremony myself. Great huh? Too bad for me because she "needed" to see him graduate. (Turns out he was able to snag another ticketso I was able to go. Thank you to whomever's parents were unable to make it.). Meanwhile and prior to her packing there was a conversation about what she should take.
Mom: I am taking my black and cream suit to wear to the ceremony. Will that be ok?
Me: (Silently) I have fitted that damn suit on you at least 4 times this past month and every time you have said you are wearing it to graduation. Yes the suit will work!)
        (Aloud) It will be fine Mom, but it's supposed to be hot so you might want to take your black dress too, just in case
Mom: No. I don't want to take the black dress. I don't need to pack anything else do I?
Me: (Silently) Pj's. underwear, hose, shoes, toothbrush?
        (Aloud) That will be ok if you plan to wear exactly what you wear on the plane tomorrow when we fly home Saturday and if you plan on wearing your suit the entire day Friday. Graduation is at 11 and I am going back to the hotel and changing.
Mom: Well I figure I will need to wear something nice for dinner, so I thought I would keep my suit on.
Me: That's fine Mom, but Joe and I will change into something casual.
Mom: Won't we have to dress nicely for dinner?
Me: No ma'am. We will only go somewhere to eat where casual clothes are fine.
Mom: Oh then I guess I will take my suit and a pair of gray pants
Me: (crickets)

So if you read in the paper of some octogenarian who was arrested at a restaurant near The Lincoln Center wearing nothing but gray pants, it was us!

(Fortunately at the last minute she actually packed some clothes.)

Thursday (In the Atlanta airport) "Wow there sure are a lot of people in here. Where do you think they are going?"
We are having this conversation as we are walking through the terminal to get to another terminal to catch our connecting flight. One of us is walking two steps ahead of the other and stopping to turn around every 2 minutes to ask a question about where someone is going or to point out some deficiency in their clothing, shoes, walk, or general appearance. (Did I mention She will not wear her hearing aids and talks loudly?) Meanwhile the other one of us is carrying the loud one's suitcase because the loud one did not want to pay the 25 dollar luggage fee, when it much easier for someone else to shlep it through the airport for her. (Did I also mention it is an old suitcase circa 1980 pre-wheels model?)
Me: No idea Mom except for people who get on the plane we're on and then we can guess most of them will be stopping in New York.
Mom: (Staring at a passersby) Why do you think that girl has pink hair, I don't like pink hair do you?
Me: I really don't care what color anyones hair is. If I were young I might try teal hair.
Mom: That would look geechy (A Mom made up word she has used since I was a teen for anything she doesn't like.)
Me: Then I guess we are lucky I am too old to do it.  (Sometime this summer I am going to have teal colored hair even if it is just for one day so I can be both an irritant to her and look geechy. Yes I am the one who will nearly always poke the pig!)

Friday: Mom wore her wool houndstooth plaid suit to Son3's graduation. (She is cold natured and was afraid she would be chilled.) Graduation was at 11 am and was general admission so we were there 10 minutes before 10 and stood in line on the patio in front of The Alice Tully hall until the doors opened at 10:20.  It was 92 degrees and the sun was beating down.
Mom: Oh my God I am burning up!
Me: Yep, that's why I told you yesterday the forecast was 90+ today.
Mom: I've got to take this jacket off, I am burning up.
Me: Go ahead then
Mom: But with the sun beating down like this if I take it off my neck will get sunburned.
Me: Yeah, that's why I wear sunscreen on my face and neck everyday. If you're afraid of getting burned just put the jacket over your shoulders so it covers your neck.

Later they opened the doors and we took a seat in the cool theater.

Mom: Good grief they need to turn the a/c up. I'm freezing.

Saturday: (On the plane at Laguardia prior to take off)
Mom: I am freezing! Air is blowing all over my head.
(I check the overhead vents and feel no air coming from it)
Me: There is no air coming from here so there is nothing I can do about it
Mom: Well it is blowing all over my face
Me: Do you want me to get you a blanket?
Mom: No! I want this to quit blowing on me.
Me: (Crickets) Well do you want change seats with you?
Mom: No, I felt the air on your seat and it is blowing on you too.

(In the Atlanta airport to catch a connecting flight)

Mom: Where are we going
Me: E 10
Mom: Gate 10 is way up there
Me: We are in terminal A right now, we need to go to E
Mom: But I see 10 way up there
Me Yes that is A 10
Mom: How do you know its A 10
Me: Because we flew into gate 28 at terminal A. Now we have to go to Terminal E. Just follow me and we will get to the train then ride to E.
(Meanwhile TheHub who was sitting at the back of the plane has caught up with us)
Mom: (To him) Where do we go now?
TheHub: E-10, Nan. Keep going this way and we'll take the train to E.
Mom: OK then.
Me: (Silently sings a song to self about being nothing but chopped liver)

Sunday: I had Mom's glasses in my backpack because her purse was too tiny to hold them. (Who but Mom travels with a bag too tiny to hold one's essentials?) so I had to run them down to her house today. She was upset that I would not stay and have a tea party with her. I got out of Dodge quickly before she could start telling me what she needed me to do for her. I was hoping I would have just one day this week that was Mom free.  No dice I guess, but My Beloved Sister really did enjoy having 3 full days to herself.  I told her it is my birthday gift to her!

Monday: I thought I was going to have day free from drama and angst. When I talked with Mom in the morning everything was going well and she was rested from the trip, but them at 4 in the afternoon I got a call from her wanting me to get another bid to have her tree taken down.  We already have 3 bids, all three from people I personally know who have used those tree services. Obviously this is not enough, so I need to get cracking right this minute and have someone come today because she wants that tree down tomorrow. It's not going to happen like that and I have told her that repeatedly. Dad always took care of dealing with anything unpleasant or anything that required a tradesman of any sort so she has no idea that you are at their mercy when it comes to available times to have jobs done. We don't know if we should thank him for taming the beast or curse him for letting the monster grow. Either way we are paying dearly for it now!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Positively Mmonday

Like every single person alive, my weeks have ups and downs but I try and begin each week listing the most positive thing/things that happened each day. Some days are so disjointed it is a stretch to remember even one single good thing that happened, and the exercise of actually recalling it and writing it down is a positive in itself.   It is a good way for me to remember that even the roughest weeks/day have something good in them,  and it's a great way for me to clear my mind and be receptive toward every good thing the coming week offers.

Monday: Enjoyed a quiet day after a 4 day trip to New York.

Tuesday: Did a quick refrigerator inventory and found we had enough produce left from the past week to get through the next 2 days so I didn't have to go to the grocery store until we got back from NY trip 2.

Wednesday: I went shopping for one item I needed for the trip  and without intending to or without looking I found a cute tee shirt, a summer sweater, and a blouse, all on sale, so I bought them. The down side is I found 3 more things I really, really want but they were not on sale.

Thursday: Easy flight to New York landing right in time for the 6 o'clock traffic.  After a 1+ hour ride from Laguardia to the hotel (under 10 miles, yikes) we met Son3 at the hotel. Special thanks to Maggie at The Empire who helped us tremendously with 2 adjoining rooms. (For some reason even though the Sunday before this trip, as we were checking out from our prior trip, I had stressed how critical it was to have Mom's room next to ours, they had assigned us rooms on the same floor but on 2 different halls) For a minimal fee we were able to upgrade to a two room suite with a couch, dining table and 4 chairs which more than paid for itself with the money we saved by buying a couple of meals at the deli down the street and bringing them back to the room to eat.)  We had dinner with Son3 that night then came back to our room to visit until bedtime.

Friday: Graduation Day, followed by a celebratory late lunch with Son3.  Mom took a much needed long nap and afterward we sat at a table in the park across the street from the hotel and people watched until about 9:45.  When we saw the crowd starting to leave the Opera house we walked quickly to a nearby restaurant just in time to beat the hoards and shared two appetizers for dinner.

Saturday: Son3 came to our hotel room for a leisurely takeout breakfast and visit. We left the hotel and went straight to the airport. TSA pre-check! Woo Hoo!  The simple things are the greatest! After a protracted weather delay in Atlanta we made it home about an hour and a half late but it was fine, evidently we missed the storms and high winds.  Unpacked and read a bit then at 2 am I got a call from the security company who monitors the lake place. The motion alarm was tripped, so I stayed awake until about 3. They were only going to call back if the sheriff found evidence of forced entry or something afoot.

Sunday: We woke early, threw on clothes and headed to the lake place just to check it out. We found everything inside looked fine  but obviously there had been high winds because one huge tree was blown over. (Maybe the ground shook when it hit and set the alarm off?) Fortunately it did not hit the house, the boathouse or the neighbors fence and it will be fine staying on the ground until next weekend. I think we will be having an Alabama chainsaw tree massacre.

And now I am ready for the good things this new week brings!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

At Last!

Graduation for Son3 (the bearded wonder)!
Raise for TheHub and Anne!

And now life as a musician begins. Luckily he is very polite and has wonderful manners so if necessary he can be a fantastic waiter.

And lastly to share a quote from the commencement speech:
"The time has come to gather your belongings, pack what you can, put the rest in your heart and go___.
The world is waiting on you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

If you read this blog regularly you know that Tuesday is my day to recap the odds and ends (mostly odds) that are interactions between Mom and me. It keeps me sane and is cheaper than therapy.  Some weeks are easier than others and some are filled with little snippets of life on some alien planet filled with obstacles I never imagined before, where I am an unwilling guest (hostage!). So without wasting anymore time or writing space____

                            ALL ABOARD!!!!!

Tuesday: We had a little difficulty with Mom unlocking her door when I let her out after driving her to the doctor. Several month ago she decided she wanted deadbolt locks on her door and wanted the dead bolts and door knobs to match which I bought and she had installed. (This is actually the kiss of death for her because new door knobs mean change and she does not like or do change well)

Twice a year our community has a group of volunteers who offer services to the Sr. citizens in our little town. The leader of her particular volunteer group visited each house the day before they were to do their jobs to make sure they would bring every tool they needed. We bought Mom deadbolts with an interior knob rather than a dual sided key lock, knowing she would never be able to turn the key to unlock it from the inside. (This was a decision we made due to her lack of dexterity and hand strength) When the dude came to her house he convinced her it was too dangerous to have that kind of lock because any burglar could break the windows in the door  and let themselves in, which is true but Mom lives in a very safe neighborhood.  (We also knew she could not understand  the mechanics of a dual keyed lock or be able maneuver the blooming key.)

So we had to go back to the store and buy different locks (because total strangers know what is best for her; not the daughters who are there daily) which they installed. After they left, she locked the doors , and immediately called me because she was locked inside her house and couldn't get out. I had to run down to her house and yell through the door  (Did I mention the hearing aids she has but refuses to wear?) to try and talk her through the unlocking process. Somehow it worked, but I did not leave before grabbing 2 keys so My Beloved Sister and I would always have one available so we could get into her house.

When I drive her to and fro she only locks the door knob lock and leaves the deadbolt unlocked.  It is fine, in fact, until a couple of moths ago the door knob lock was the only way to lock every exterior door.  Now you have to understand, her old key to her old locks had a different shape than her new key to her matching locks so she has some key identity confusion even though we put a bright orange key cover over the top of it and every single lock in her house is keyed to the same key.  Each time I bring her home I walk her to her door, but I make her unlock her door. I watch as she tries to use the wrong key, then tries to put the right key in upside down, then puts her key in the deadbolt and locks it. Finally puts the correct key in the doorknob lock and unlocks it but can't open the door because she has locked the deadbolt. I know there are some cognitive issues at play here, but there is also an innate reluctance to accept any change.

Oh and did i mention the keys stay in her deadbolt locks 100 percent of the time so nefarious people could still break the window and turn the key if they wanted to. (See how much safer those double keyed locks are?)

Wednesday: I got a call at 8:30 as I was getting ready to go to class.
Me: Hey Mom
Mom: How did you know it was me calling?
Me: I have caller ID, Mom
Mom: What are you doing home? You're supposed to be on the plane right now.
Me: (Silently and to myself) If you  thought I had the early morning flight and wouldn't be here how come you called me?)
        (Aloud) No ma'am, I leave tomorrow at 4 in the afternoon.

Later in the conversation she told me a family friend had died and she had just found out about it. The family was only having a graveside service and they were meeting at the cemetery. I asked her if she wanted me to take her and she said no she wasn't going to go.  Fine. I finished dressing and went to class. On the way home I called My Beloved Sister and found out that Mom was planning on driving herself  to the funeral anyway, so I had to call her right quick, run home and change from jeans and tee shirt into something funeralish, pick Mom up, run across town to the cemetery, and meet the family at the appointed meeting place.  We talked to them a few minutes, then Mom decided she did not want to stay for the service, she just wanted to express condolences and tell them how much their mother meant to her. When we got back in the car she told me thanks for taking her but she didn't want to be a bother to me, so we would just skip the 15 minute service. (Huh?)

I am glad because it would not have been easier on me for her to tell me she actually wanted me to take her there while I was still dressing and could have easily worn funeral clothes to class. Then i could have gone straight to her house to get her rather than having to drive like a maniac to my house and change clothes so I could pick her up in time to get to the cemetery, which turned into a meet and greet! That 15 minutes we saved by not staying for the service made a huge impact on my time that day (Not!)

Thursday: Called Mom to see if she needed anything before I left. No but could I run by and look at a bill she had gotten in the mail?
Me: When is it due Mom?
Mom: June 6th
Me: I will be home Sunday, Mom, I think it can wait till I get back.

Friday: Called her from the hotel just to touch base and see how she was doing, plus my daily morning reminder to take her pills.
Mom: Oh are you home already?
Me: No ma'am, I just got to New York last night. We fly in Sunday and will be there by early evening.
Mom: Well my phone says call from Anne so you can't be at your hotel.
Me: I'm on my cell Mom, I have my cell number programmed in your phone so you phone recognizes my cell number and let's you know it's me.
Mom: (crickets)

Saturday and Sunday  The train was not running

Monday: Phone call in the morning
Mom: I need you to look at this bill for my Master Card.  I want to write a check for it today and get it in the mail.
Me: I am washing clothes and have not had a shower yet so it will be a little while.
Mom: Well I want it to go out today.
Me: I will be down and take care of it, and can drop it at the bank on my way home from your house. (If I drive the longer route from her house to mine the bank is midway between our homes)
Mom: Well it needs to go out today
Me: (Silently) Yeah because it is due June 6 it is critical that it goes out today.
        (Aloud) I'll take care of it.
Got to Mom's in the late afternoon to look over the bill.
Me: Hey Mom where is that bill  you wanted me to look at?
Mom: Oh I took care of it this morning and put it in the mailbox so it's gone.
Me: (crickets)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Positively Monday

I have been trying to keep an active list of the positive things that happen each day. I find if I keep notes daily I see that even the cruddiest day is  filled with random joys and blessings, so I am sharing them here. If I feel obligated to post them thinking about them becomes a daily action and it keeps me from wallowing in self pity when every single thing does not go my way.

Monday: I was doing an intense cleaning of the laundry room and found several things I thought were lost forever. Though none were huge and life altering I did find the mate to my favorite pair of  earrings I had been searching for that little bugger for weeks with no success. Earrings can be sneaky critters!

Tuesday:  After all the harping I do to Mom about taking her medicine on a timely basis, she saw her pulmonary guy and for the first time in years everything sounded good and her blood oxygen level was great. It is amazing how much better those meds work when used daily.

Wednesday:  The weekly weigh in was pretty nice.

Thursday: Had time to tidy the kitchen, wash the sheets and remake the bed before catching a plane! The flight was uneventful until we got to LGA at 8:00. We sat and sat and sat, then they let us sit a little more until they then let us off and loaded us on buses to take us to the gate.  We had reservations for the 2nd set at Dizzy's for the 9:30 show.  Instead of checking our coats we checked our luggage ( had to go straight to the airport, not the hotel first) and got there about 10 minutes before showtime. Thankfully Girlfriend 3 was there to snag our table saving our reservation. (If you are not there 15 minutes before showtime they release the reservation to those who are waiting for a table)

Friday: Got to spend some time with Son3 and Girlfriend3.  She is a lovely, talented, and beautiful young woman. Son2 arrived for dinner right after the food was delivered. Ate Dominican with them.(Cuban/Dominican are one in the same and my favorite ethnic food) Great food and even better company!
Also extremely thankful that Girlfriend2 stayed at our house to take care of Shelby, the dog. (She is a wonderful person.)

Saturday: Scored orchestra tickets for half price to Bandstand, a new musical about musician veterans post WW2. Nice high energy performance with some killer choreography. After that we met up with Son2 for a quick cup of coffee, then we all went to Dizzy's again for  both sets of jazz.

Sunday: We must have hit some terrific tailwinds because our flight was only about  1 hour and thirty minutes. We got home in time to run down to Mom's and wish her a Happy Mother's day and found out that Girlfriend2 not only babysat the dog but she also babysat the Mom.  She went to Mom's house Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, as well as Sunday early afternoon. She is a veritable saintly being!

This lovely young woman is Girlfriend3.  I have told Son3 (whom I love with all my heart) that I am pretty sure he has out kicked his coverage here!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

I meant to have this all ready to post remotely early this morning, but while getting ready for the trip this is one of those things that slipped through my fingers. So to all of you who are mother's, step mother's, anyone who has acted as a surrogate mother, anyone who shows motherly love to another, , or anyone who had a mother figure in their lives at any time . . .

And especially to Mom,

                 Happy Mother's Day, Y'all!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wicked Wednesday

In an effort to keep me on the straight and narrow, or at least to have some accountability to someone
other than myself  I began a Wednesday post to chart weight movement, be it up, down,or no change.
I also posted a weekly to do list of major and minor projects. The theory behind it is because there is something humbling about admitting I failed, I might be more inclined to knock things off the list. I fully understand that life (and cake) happens and plans can change on a dime.

My starting weight was XXX.x
My today weight is        XXX.x
Total loss/gain               -      5.2

I understand that this is mostly water weight, but I have to shed it before I lose anything else, so I am counting this week as a very good week. Honestly each time I was tempted by something delicious I managed to resist because I could not bear the thought of having no weight loss this week, so thank each of you who read last weeks post that kept me honest.

I am leaving for NYC tomorrow afternoon and staying through Sunday so I am doubtful I will see any loss at all, and mostly just hope for no gain. Doubtful since we already have reservations at several restaurants.

As for the to do list? It was mostly a to don't list. I was here Thursday, then had to be at the lake early Friday to meet the a/c man. I didn't get back until late Saturday night and had some Mom things on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so my week was pretty much shot.

Work on outdoor raised beds. 
Cut dead canes from the hydrangeas (drought damage)
Plant okra
Get pool water balanced
Drain and scrub hot tub
Scrub screened in porch (de-pollen)
Wash porch furniture
Scrub front porch
Put Amdro by ant hills to rid the yard of fire ants (Yes I hate using pesticides, but I hate stepping in the ant beds and getting hundreds of stings more)

Complete and total clean out in the laundry room including:
defrost the big freezer
totally clean auxiliary refrigerator
reorganize all art supplies
clean all drawers and cabinets
rearrange/reposition the center island
clean out sewing center

wash ironing board cover
fix the hanging rod.

Wash walls and blinds
wash and rehang curtains
clean all drawers
change over to summer comforter and pillows
wash winter comforter, shams, quilts and blankets and store until fall
wash bed pillows

Everything else:
routine daily cleaning or reading (whichever comes first) routine only if you mean minimal by the definition of the word routine (obviously I do)

So the to do list moves effortlessly to the upcoming week, but I am only going to be here Monday and Tuesday of the week so I am pretty sure things will get punted to the next week.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

My new Tuesday thing is to recount and share the odd little things that happen in my life mainly as an act of therapy. Since I do not tend to self medicate I have begun self typing.  It is much easier on my body and if I don't post anything for a while I never suffer from withdrawals. This post is generally generated by Mom,  but as we see not always! This is a very short, in fact almost nonexistent list today, because I saw very few oddities this week. However, My Beloved Sister had custody of her most of the week so you might get a different story if you ask her.

Tuesday:  The train started running early this morning. Mom told me Monday afternoon that she had a doctor's appointment at 8:30 Tuesday.  Though it was short notice, it was no problem since everything I had planned could easily be shifted to another time.

She likes to be at her appointments early which is fine but we have to pass 4 schools on the way from her house to the docs and we must leave earlier than if we did not have to allow for school traffic. Our fair little suburb sees no reason to offer school buses as a means to get children to school therefore every kid in the system is transported by car. In turn this means a  boatload of vehicles on the road between 7:20 and 8:15.
I picked Mom up at 20 till 8 so we could begin the trek. We got to the doctor's office at about 8:10 (Mom's arbitrary 20 minutes ahead of her designated appointment time).  This is the only doctor in her litany of docs that she goes to see without me physically being at the appointment, mainly because all he does is make sure her prescriptions need no changes. I usually drop her off at the office door and then run down the hill, park in an office parking lot, read and wait for her to call my cell phone so I can pick her up. (This saves the 3 bucks for parking in the hospital parking deck, plus it is just plain easier.) Tuesday, though, I noticed I was about out of gas so instead of parking I headed to a gas station for a quick fill up before waiting. As I was gassing up I heard my phone ringing and who was it but the receptionist calling to let me know Mom was there one week too early, and that her appointment is next Tuesday at 9:00.  I blame myself for this one. I trusted her and did not double check the date, which btw was on her calendar for May, 9 at 9:00 a.m. Yeah, no one to blame here but me.

Wednesday: Mom called me with a tree emergency.  She has had no bids on the tree removal, even though I told her that 3 weekends of high winds and storms following a severe drought last summer equals much more tree removal work than there are tree removers. I also told her I had been in contact with them and they would leave bids as soon as they could. Then she told My Beloved Sister she didn't think I had even called them.

Thursday: "There is a truck in front of my house and a man in my yard.  Come down here, it scares me"
"Mom it is one of the tree guys, he just called me  from your yard with the bid"
"Well I don't like strangers in my yard"
"They pretty much have to come look at the tree in  your yard to give you a bid"
"Well I just don't know about those things"

Monday: Until today the crazy train has been at a virtual standstill.! Yay! What is very
upsetting about today's event is that it is my creation and not Mom's. This afternoon I had a huge plate of mixed greens ready for lunch and was making some paleo ranch dressing using almond milk. It seems this week when I bought it I bought unsweetened vanilla rather than plain.(unintentional purchase) Unknowingly I made a batch of vanilla flavored ranch dressing and poured it all over my salad. I had no clue until I took the first bite and it tasted sort of like an unsweetened melted vanilla milkshake with savory seasonings.  Really ,really bad but I ate it anyway because it was the only fresh vegetable I had in the house. If I am like this now what will I be when I'm Mom's age.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Positively Monday

As usual now on Mondays I try and recap the joyful moments of each day.  Most days I remember to write the best thing that happened every day, but this week I may have flubbed one day.  If you can live with it, so can I. Actually I am fine with it even if you're not. Some days things just get a little frantic and writing a joyful memo doesn't happen. I don't realize there is nothing there until I am just about to hit publish. Most of the time I can remember at least one thing that was really good about any given day and I know there was something joyful
on Wednesday, but this morning I've got nothing. Is this a sign I am getting older or is life just rushing by faster and faster making it impossible for me to sort memories on demand. Or it is a combination of both? The mirror suggests it might be!

Monday: Finished making all the flowers for the tops of the fairy jars.  Whoo hoo! Life is good and I am done now! Plus I tried to recreate a chicken dish we had in New York and I came pretty dang close

Tuesday: Had a nice morning with TheHub since we both woke butt early.  We rarely have time to talk before he goes to work but we did Tuesday.  We were able to firm up some of the details of our next trip.

Wednesday: I forgot to write anything down for today.  I am sure there was something wonderful, but you know, memory and all that!

Thursday:  Involuntarily involved in an extended family dispute, (Dispute is probably the mildest word I can possibly use here.)  There is no joy in being brought into something that is not my issue, however, I find extreme joy knowing the true caring for family the rest of the clan has.

Friday Cinco de Mayo!!! TheHub and I celebrated by going into "town" (OK celebrated it way to big of a word but we did eat at a Mexican restaurant and going into town is actually going into a little village about 15 miles from the lake place.) and had so much food from my order that we did the doggy bag thing and took it with us for lunch the next day. This was a bonus because I had forgotten to pack anything for lunch the next day.

 Saturday: The unseasonably cold weather and rains on Friday passed and the day was gorgeous, I was able to watch blue herons, egrets, osprey, bluebirds and purple martins while havig my morning coffee. I decided to head back home so I could do a few things for Mom while TheHub stayed at the lake.  You know what that means? I got to stay up late reading and listening to podcasts without bothering a soul!

Sunday: TheHub and I had take out Persian food (insanely delicious) before a scheduled date night to watch Billions season finale! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chinese Peruvian Chicken Wannabe

A few weeks ago we were in New York to hear Son3's last official school concert. We stay at the same hotel every time mainly because of its convenience.  It is very close to the performance venue/s and has quite a few really delicious restaurants within a block of the hotel entrance TheHub has a tendency to eat at the same places every time we are there. At night they cater to the Lincoln Center crowd (both pre and post event meals) and are quite pricy. I usually don't say too much about it because the food is fabulous but there are approximately 24,000 places in the city to procure something to eat so why stick  to the same dozen places.?

I secretly conspired with Son3 who has a lot better luck than I do getting his dad to venture out and we wound up at Flor De Mayo, A Chinese Peruvian fusion restaurant, around Amsterdam and 85th (ish) where the aroma of something good about to happen hit us as soon as we opened the door. TheHub and Son3 opted for the roasted chicken which is their house speciality for good reasons. It was outstanding.  (Yes, we are that family who shares bites just to make sure everyone at our table knows how delicious our choice was.)

I am generally pretty good about picking out the different flavors of seasonings, so I decided to try and replicate what they used on it. I know it had allspice because I could taste it and I think it had a little cinnamon, but I am not positive so I added a little anyway. It had a fairly mild herb so I chose thyme and then just added a couple of traditional Chinese and Latin spices. When all was said and done this was the final result of my efforts and it was pretty darn close to what they served. Or at least it was close to what my taste and smell memory thinks it was.

Chinese Peruvian Chicken Fusion Seasoning Knock Off

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4  teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (reduce or leave out is you don't like heat)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
*salt as desired (I don't like salty things so I was fine just using the salt in the garlic salt)

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons olive oil
seasoning blend

Rub the olive oil over the chicken. Place in an oven safe pan and sprinkle liberally with the seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees until the chicken is done. (It took me about 35 minutes)
Slice or serve as a whole breast.  We had 3 people eating and only 2 chicken breasts so slicing was necessary.  Yum good!
Flor De Mayo serves this with a vinegar based dipping sauce, but I did not think about it until the chicken was out of the oven.  It tasted like pickled chopped onions of sorts with a strong vinegar taste.  I will work on it next time, but this was really delicious without it.

I am going to increase the measurements and make a spice jar full of this to have on hand for regular seasonings. I think it would be equally good on pork and possibly on fish.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wicked Wednesday

I decided to use Wicked Wednesday as the title of this post for the simple reason that I will be using Wednesday as my accountability day.  Yes, this will be my weekly weigh in day as well as my post for what I hope to accomplish for the week ahead and how well I did the week before.  Since this is a clean slate week where I am beginning everything I have nothing for you. Instead of knowing that I moved all week at a snail's pace and accomplished very few of my projects, let's just pretend that I got everything done in record time.  Let's also pretend that I exercised daily, ate all my fruits and veggies and drank 64 ounces of water.

So now the evil has begun.  I know what my starting weight is (And we all know what will freeze over before I post THAT number) so next Wednesday I will share any scale movement, up or down, and will share how I did with exercise, water and veggies. **For the record, extreme kudos to those of you who will actually share your personal numbers. You are much braver and more self confident than I will ever be and I sincerely applaud you.**

My to do list, hmmm. Not exactly sure what I want to do this week but these are the highlights;
Work on outdoor raised beds.
Cut dead canes from the hydrangeas (drought damage)
Plant okra
Get pool water balanced
Drain and scrub hot tub
Scrub screened in porch (de-pollen)
Wash porch furniture
Scrub front porch
Put Amdro by ant hills to rid the yard of fire ants (Yes I hate using pesticides, but I hate stepping in the ant beds and getting hundreds of stings more)

Complete and total clean out in the laundry room including:
defrost the big freezer
totally clean auxiliary refrigerator
reorganize all art supplies
clean all drawers and cabinets
rearrange/reposition the center island
clean out sewing center
wash ironing board cover
fix the hanging rod.

Wash walls and blinds
wash and rehang curtains
clean all drawers
change over to summer comforter and pillows
wash winter comforter, shams, quilts and blankets and store until fall
wash bed pillows

Everything else:
routine daily cleaning or reading (whichever comes first)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

Crazy train Tuesday is nothing more than an outlet for me to try and maintain some semblance of sanity. Since my dad's death it has been up to Son2, My Beloved Sister and me to make Mom's life bearable. While we are all trying our best to make her transition to being alone as easy as it can be, we all feel like we are beating our heads against a wall at some time or another. (or every time we talk to her).  I understand some of this is situational. Mom was very happy to let Dad take care of all finances, business, real estate, portfolios, repairs and repair persons, heavy lifting, most yard work, and nearly everything else.  Mom cooked, kept the house, and did what I call lady gardening so she never developed the skill set to do life.  Now we are responsible for her tasks as well as keeping her safe from everything that scares her. (which is everything!) Since blogging is therapeutic and costs so much less than a psychologist, here I am with a daily recounting of what route the crazy train took this week. Enjoy, laugh,weep or don't bother reading at all. Just please don't call me out on this.  It's therapy remember!

Tuesday:  Mom wants the tree services to give her estimates on having two large trees taken down, so our conversation went like this:
Me: "Mom, I have a half dozen recommendation for the tree service.  Do you want me to call them for you and set up times for their estimates?"
Mom: "Yes please do"
Me: "What day and time works best for you?"
Mom: "Anytime, except Wednesday afternoon and Thursday from morning through lunch and I have something Friday, besides I don't have to be here for them to give me an estimate"
Me: "Yeah Mom, you do because you have to let them know what trees you want cut down"
Mom: *Crickets*  "Then you just decide when it will be best for you to be down here and take care of it ok"
Me: (Silently to myself) "I could have gotten these damn bids done anytime last week but now you want me to bust my ass getting them on a week I have plans every single day and don't have time to hang out at your house all &^%$#@& day to get the &^%$#@! bids for your #@%^ tree"  (Aloud and kinda tersely) "Yes Ma'am"

One of us knows how to create a crisis, mentally create a scenario for the task, create an arbitrary completion  date,  create a reason/ reasons why we can't participate in the process, and create a solution for getting someone else to take responsibility for our desired crisis management.  And the other knows how to cuss like a sailor in her mind while verbally agreeing.  Now you tell me which one is crazy (like a fox) and which is the idiot.

Wednesday:  Mom believes that because she has made all of her clothes all of her life, she should continue with it even though she does not remember exactly how to do all the fine sewing she once could do.  In addition she has lost much weight and now is barely over 100 pounds soaking wet, so nothing she has worn before fits.  Instead of getting new fabric and cutting new clothes or (heaven forbid) shopping and buying new ready to wear duds, she spends hours taking them apart. Then she tries to take them up, but she is so tiny none of her old patterns have her current size to use as a cutting guide, so I have to spend vast amounts of time with her while I pin, she bastes, then I re-pin and she re-bastes__ wash, rinse, repeat.
She has decided she needs to have a decent funeral dress so she brought a huge black dress to my house for a fitting.  After many trials we finally had the blooming thing so it looked really nice on her, when she looked in the mirror and noticed the very tip of the zipper at the top of the dress was approximately 1/16 of an inch off. Now keep in mind that I am fitting a dress over a dowager's hump that she swears does not exist, plus we are scaling this down 4 sizes (I am not sure even a zero will fit her anymore).  I finally told her she is 86 years old and gets a 1/16 inch pass, and no one will refuse entrance to any older woman in a black dress and pumps because the tip of their zipper is not perfect. She called me a smart ass__again!

Thursday:  There was some major confusion over her Discover bill today.  She had a total bill of 78 dollars and change and she could not understand it because she didn't charge anything that cost 78 dollars.  (Please understand that all of their lives Dad took care of every single transaction they ever made and Mom did not even know how to write a check for cash, because any time she needed money she told Dad and it magically appeared.)
I went through all 3 itemized purchases and she was very quick to point out that there was not a 78 dollar purchase listed. No $#/+ Sherlock! I still have not convinced her the bill was for the sum of her purchases instead of a single 78 buck charge.  And instead of calling me a smart ass again, she flipped me off.
Life was much easier when she let me do all of her finances, but has decided she needs to learn how to do it. Beware of old dogs who want you to teach them new tricks.

Friday: The telephone rang and I picked it up. Caller ID had already let me know it is Mom so I greeted her with a "Hey Mom, what are you doing today?" And the answer of course was "5 and 6"
After a few seconds of crickets on my end and telling her I had no idea what that she meant she said, "I have knocked that wrens nest off the porch for the fifth and sixth time and it keeps rebuilding it."  I reminded her that wrens like to build close to people plus she always loved birds nests near the house so she could watch the eggs hatch and see the baby birds.
Her reply: "I've seen baby birds before but I don't want bird mess all over the porch." (The birds are trying to build a nest in the corner of the porch approximately 20 feet from the front door, so tracking stuff in the house is not an issue)
And the last call to me today was just one word followed by a hang up "11', as I stood with the phone to my ear just shaking my head. Anyone ever read "My War with the Ospreys"? She is having a reverse Steinbeck moment with her wrens.

Saturday: Mom came back to the house for a fitting of the same black dress we have worked on every day this week.  Now one sleeve is invisibly shorter than the other. (Her well trained eye is the only one that can see the difference) so I had to take the sleeve hem out to mark it again (at the exact place I marked it before) but now it "looks so much better". I am always happy to oblige I guess.
And guess what? The pesky wren is building her nest again. And once again I had the gall to suggest Mom just let nature take its course and promised her I would come down every couple of days to hose off any offending bird matter that fell onto the porch.

Sunday: The train wasn't running today, which was lovely!

Monday: Mom came up today to help me cut circles. I can cut circles perfectly fine by myself but she has been griping about having nothing productive to do.  The circles were for making flowers to go on top of fairy night lights. (Another post for another day) While she was here we talked about the same 3 subjects every 10 or so minutes since she had forgotten we had just talked about them
1. Yes Son3 is excited about graduation, but not exactly thrilled to have to pay for everything himself.
2. Yes Son3 and Swiss Miss are still dating, and yes she may come here in August.
3. Yes, Swiss Miss is going to Europe for the summer.
Then begins Mom's speculations about why SM is going home for the summer.
"Her parents must miss her. How could anyone let their daughter go abroad for college."
"She is already a college graduate. Mom, but applied and was accepted to a musical theater program  so she is technically a first year but is 24 and has been on her own for a few years"
"How is she a freshman when she has graduated/"
"This is just like getting another degree, but it's very specific"
"So she's a ballerina?"
"No Mom, she is in musical theater, she does dance, but singing is her thing"
"Why is she going home?' Do her parents want her to come back home?"
"No, Mom, she needs to work to earn some money"
"Well why doesn't she just get a job waiting tables"
"Because of her Visa, she just has a student Visa"
"What difference does what kind of credit card she has make?"

Wonder what this week will bring?

Positively Monday

A while back I began tracking the best things that happened every day. Before that I had begun
noticing before bedtime I had a mental list of what was wrong rather than recounting what was happy or made me smile.  When I started actually thinking about it at the end of each day I realized even one of those absolutely "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" days had at least one thing I could find to smile about. And so this weekly post was born.

Monday: Many years ago I had a wonderful friend and neighbor who lived across the street then moved when her then husband was transferred to Nashville. For the first few years we visited back and forth and kept up via monthly phone calls.  Then, as so often happens, the visits stopped and the calls became less frequent. Now we only talk every year or so. Today out of the blue she called which was funny because I had dreamed of her the night before.  In the dream we were driving all over Nashville covertly seeking a document her father had left for her but I woke before we found it. I enjoyed  the conversation, catching up and laughing.

Tuesday: Dinner out with my book club pals.  We ate at the gas station on Lorna which seemingly overnight changed from a gas station/convenience store to a gas station/Thai restaurant. Then one day (again overnight) the gas pumps were removed so they no longer sell Thai and gas, it is just a straight up Thai joint. It is small with virtually no parking and has the most delicious Thai food I have ever eaten. Son1 and his family live in Portland where delicious Thai is found everywhere and even they think this is the best they have eaten, but I digress.
I had fantastic food, fantastic fellowship, and we discussed a really crappy book, but we all bought a digital version for 99 cents so no one was upset if they put it down halfway through. (But mainly we discussed S-Town!)

Wednesday:  Got the house in order for a luncheon on Thursday.  It sounds like work and it was but it left me with plenty of time to get the food prepared the next morning without having to do anything to the house  but a quick touch up.

Thursday:  Had the participants of Independence Place (young adults with special needs) over for lunch.  At about a quarter till eleven 13 people arrived via a bus at my front door for a barbecue. I had no idea how much fun they would have, but they stayed until ten after 3 and were griping because the IP director made them leave. (It seems none of them have a fez on a shelf, a monkey butler in their foyer, a golden snitch on the buffet, and Amazon Echo  or a wind up nun carrying a ruler who spits "fire" from her mouth. They loved my "toys" and I am glad they were entertained even if it did mean listening to "Paranoid" by the Jonas Brothers about a thousand time)
I love volunteering there and having them here and watching them have fun here at my house was a personal bonus.  I am very lucky to have such a special group of very special people in my life.

Friday: This is going to sound like a weird positive but I am secretly so pleased.  The a/c at the lake place was on the fritz last week and it is overly warm here now.  We called the hvac guy who met TheHub there one  afternoon.  He did not have the part  he needed and can't get it until Monday afternoon at the earliest.  It was about 85 degrees in the house and TheHub declared it was too hot to spend the weekend there.  After the debacle of last weekend I really did not want to go anyway and I had planned to just spend one night there, so this let me totally off the hook.

Saturday: Spent some glorious time reading.  I have been cleaning my Kindle Cloud and reading all the books I began but never finished before I delete them. (Or just deleting the ones I began and have no intention of finishing. Now that I have gotten older and there are free downloads daily I no longer feel obliged to finish anything I doesn't teach me something or I simply don't enjoy reading.)
In addition to the reading time I received a thank you card form Independence Place. The card was printed in different colored pencils by each participant thanking me for whatever they liked best. I am going to share a couple of there here.  "You sweet, I ate to muck food" "I am having fun with you are the best." "I like your alexa"

Sunday: We had a much needed rain to knock the last of the pollen down.  Nothing clears the air like a windy thunderstorm. In addition to the day of rain, TheHub and I watched Billions.  We both really do love that show and I was stunned with the ending tonight. TheHub saw it coming.

And because I heard this 1 million times Thursday after I am sharing it with you compliments of Youtube

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Just In Case You Don't Understand The South

I am new to the podcast world.  For some reason I didn't get the podcast memo and had no idea how much fun they could be. Go ahead and call me tragically unhip. It won't offend me because I know I am.

Son1 tries to keep me in the loop of what is hot and what is not, generally unsuccessfully, but he insisted I snag S-Town, set in Woodstock, Alabama.  It is an extremely small town located between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa so I thought I would give it a try.

The podcast is part of an NPR hour long broadcast, This American Life. It is an investigative murder series hosted by Brian Reed.  It began with a series of telephone calls to Reed from a rather eccentric Woodstock local, John B. McLemore, horologist, gardener, depressive,  and master critic of life. It can be found here.

I am adding this warning, the language is strong, and this story is anything but typical of our area, but people like this are around.  It took about 15 minutes for this series to suck me in completely. The best thing about a podcast is that it is like a teacup poodle, easily totable.  As long as I have a pocket and my cell phone I can listen to it anywhere and any time.

If you want to hear a tale of drinking, drugs, rednecks, death, tattoos, racism, secret mazes, misfits, conspiracy, global warming, and every other thing you can imagine  (or even things you've never begun to imagine) this might be for you. Even if you those things are not in your wheelhouse this series is so compelling that you might want to at least listen to episode 1.

If you do listen to it, tall me what you think.  I plan on heading to Woodstock soon just to see what is out there, and maybe go to the lumber yard there just because I feel I need to go.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Own Personal Crazy Train

I have decided I need some comic relief when dealing with Mom so I have decided I will start another list.  This is more of a therapeutic way for me to deal with some of the things I get calls about each and every day.

I love Mom dearly and am thrilled she is able to still live at her house. She can do this because I literally can be at her front door from my house in 2 and a half minutes.  I have told the neighbors if they see me getting into my car wearing  pajama pants, 2 different shoes, a jacket, with my hair sticking straight up or soaking wet wrapped in a towel, it means there is an emergency at Mom's and I am headed down there ASAP.  I really didn't want them to think I was headed to The Pig looking like some street person.  (Well, actually looking like some street person who drives an old soccer mom van.)

Mom's method of summoning me  in an "emergency" is to call, say "Anne. I need you right now" then hang up the phone. (What!?!)  I have an immediate adrenaline dump, grab my keys and fly out the door.  What I really want to do is reach through the phone, grab her shoulders and say "Use your big girl words to tell me what the emergency is so I will know if I have time to put on clothes (tree branch emergency) or come in only a terry cloth robe (asthma emergency) because the crisis can be anything. Instead I run out the door calling My Beloved Sister so she will stay on the line with me in case I get to  Mom's house and find her in a heap on the kitchen floor (which has happened), or she will hear my silent scream when I get to her house and realize there is a spittle bug on the window and it scared Mom. (which has also happened)

When I return if they are outside they always ask if everything is ok, then look at me blankly when I tell them  "No, there was a branch in her driveway".  Now understand that this driveway was built when they built their house 50 years ago to accommodate 6 cars outside of the 2 car garage. (The folks entertained on a regular basis and wanted off street parking for guests). The branch was never in the way and would have been fine until later in the day (after I had showered and was wearing clothes) when either My Beloved Sister or I stopped by for our daily check-in.

Now to finally get to the point of this rambling post, I am going to start my collection of Mom's daily events or ramblings, since she not only has a daily crisis, but she also has opinions about everything which she not only shares but wants me to agree with.  For example, I will be driving her somewhere and she will see something she doesn't care for. There is some bizarre reason she does not like to see older men driving red convertibles while wearing billed felt caps and she mentions it every single time we see one.
Mom: "They just think they are all that!" "Don't you think so too, Anne?"
Me: "No, ma'am,  I never really gave it much thought. As long as they stay in their lane I'm ok with whatever they wear."
Mom: "Well, they just think they are something else and they are nothing but an old fool who wants to be young"
Me: "ok"
Mom: "What do you think when you see one"
Me: "I think they are going somewhere"
Mom: "Smart Ass!"

From now on (or as long as I am getting some weird benefit from it) I am going to post Crazy Train Tuesday.  Enjoy or skip it entirely, totally your choice. Whether any of you ride along with me or not this is much cheaper than a therapist and will make me either laugh or cry as I write it.  Whatever happens will be better than my spontaneous implosion or explosion which could be triggered by whatever the next phone call is.

As a teaser this is her crisis this morning.
The oak tree in her front yard shed too many acorns last fall so she needs it cut down__this week!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Positively Monday

As I have said on previous Mondays, in order to keep my mind set in a good place, I end each day thinking about the best thing or things that happened that day. For me it is so much better to dwell on life's positives instead of wallowing in aggravation, despair, angst, self pity (name your poison here) , yadda, yadda, yadda. This does not mean every day is perfect.  In fact, most of my days are far from perfect, but I am choosing to revel in those moments that create a sense of calm, excitement, or wonder.

Monday: Got to spend the entire day at home alone.  Occasionally I love a day like this to recharge my batteries, and get things organized without interrupted time.

Tuesday: The mornings are glorious now, the pollen is all but gone, and I was able to have a couple of cups of coffee on the deck just listening to the birds.

Wednesday: TheHub had a dinner meeting so I grabbed a chicken meal from Bojangles, ate in front of the TV and caught up on several shows I had DVR'd.  I love being able to watch an hour long show by zipping through and taking only about 15 minutes to follow the plot line. (And yes, I understand I am missing some of the intricacies of the story but I am not deeply enough invested to care abut anything but the major story line. I will never do to a show I really like. Can you say "Game of Thrones")

Thursday:  Morning coffee on the deck with birds singing  was really nice but the best thing about the day was Son2.  He has been working at Mom's house in my dad's old workshop making these really cool vases for the participants at Independence Place to give their Moms on Mother's Day. He and his gal pal hung around a little after and ate dinner with Mom which met her social needs, plus she eats much better when someone else is there.  And can you guess what happens when she eats food? She actually feels better and has more energy. Imagine that! So special thanks to you two. You made my night so much easier.

Friday: Got the car cleaned out, loaded Mom's lawnmower in the car (It is in her way since she has never cut the lawn in her life and started using a lawn service after Dad's death. But everything is in her way now and everything must be taken care of. Right.  This.  Minute. After taking care of the intrusive lawnmower, we headed to the lake place. We got there is enough time to wash the pollen off the porch so we could sit out there and enjoy the sunset. Nirvana!

Saturday: A/c at the lake place is on the fritz.  Bummer and it was kind of hot, but we have a big screened porch plus one of those magnetic screens on the house door to the porch so we were able to leave the bugs outside, the door open  and the fans on so the air at least moved. Late at night the storms came and the temps dropped quite a bit, enough that we actually had to sleep with a sheet and light cotton blanket covering us.  Sleep perfection, breezy stormy night with occasional owl hoots.

Sunday: Home again, home again, jiggety jig. We had plans to be at church Sunday evening to pack food for a world hunger mission. In 2 hours about 150 volunteers packed, sealed and boxed 50,000 meals. The church will be doing this for a couple of more days so I will probably volunteer at least once more because I truly do believe it is a blessing to be a blessing.

And apparently when I called Mom and she didn't answer when we got home from the lake, dressed and went on our little service mission then went out to eat I caused her severe angst which impacted My Beloved Sister.  It seems that by 3 pm Mom had decided I was in a wreck and dead on one of the little country roads between here and the lake. Don't ask me why.  By 7 pm she wanted my sister to drive her to the closest emergency room we would pass driving home from the lake.  My beloved sister had tried to call our cells which we had turned off during the meal packing (per request) and neither TheHub or I had turned our ringers back on  when we were at the restaurant. By shortly after nine when I finally called her she was in near hysterics and it was all my fault.  I would feel guilty but her crisis level was exactly the same when her refrigerator alarm beeped last week indicating her water filter needed to be changed, or when she got a piece of junk mail fishing for her to renew her car warranty.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sleep Blogging

I am looking for an answer to a purely hypothetical question. If you are trying to read your blog on your Ipad while in bed (nearly asleep) and delete a post accidentally while half awake is there a way to retrieve it or is it gone for the ages it?  Not that it happened to me or anything but I am somewhat curious.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Positively Monday on Tuesday

It seems Monday came and is now a memory.  I promise this was positively ready to post Sunday night, but due to user error and a mountain of Monday chores someone forgot to hit publish.

Monday:  Slept like a log until about 8:30.  My bed is great and I can have all the pillows I want. The Empire has not gotten on the hotel dream bed bandwagon and I had 3 very unhappy nights trying to sleep there.

Tuesday: Spent most of the day with Mom at a couple of doctors and then getting her prescriptions filled and checking things in her house because I had abandoned her for 4 days. Good new is she is doing OK physically.

Wednesday:  Caught up on two of my DVRed addictions! (I did forget it was Wednesday though until mid day so I missed my Wednesday class)

Thursday: We missed using our tickets to see Phantom of the Opera while we were in New York.  We were able to trade them in for seats to Thursday's performance.  It is not my favorite play but it was still visually stunning.

Friday:  Beautiful day and weather was perfect for grilling a steak while sitting on the deck with TheHub and an adult beverage.

Saturday: We were supposed to go to the lake but TheHub was not feeling well.  Instead I got a lot done on some projects for The Independence Place Spring Sale.

Sunday:  Easter celebrations with the family.  It was a really nice day with a spectacular dessert!

And the new addition to today's post is this ditty I found on Youtube: Hooray for Tuesday. I have never heard it before and it is an odd oldie, but it is about Tuesday so possibly enjoy it.  (It does have a rather long intro )

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Lazy Chantilly Cake or A Comedy of Errors: You decide!

Last week when we were trying to fly to New York the weather was not exactly cooperating and our flight that was cancelled but rescheduled the next morning kept getting delayed and delayed then delayed again.  When that happens it seems a lot of the fellow passengers begin talking among themselves and TheHub and I found ourselves talking to 2 delightful gentlemen. One was a former NY Times reporter who lived in Shanghai before relocating to Los Angeles.  He was visiting friends in Birmingham, before returning to NYC to visit his publisher. (Though I did not ask I am assuming he had a book deal in the works). The other gentleman was a former Brooklyn resident who had moved to Birmingham after his retirement to be close to his grandchildren.

Somehow during the conversation the topic turned to foods, restaurants, and bakeries.  I know there are a lot of really good restaurants in town, but I am always amazed when people who have lived in places with phenomenal eating establishments talk about how good the food here is. Not only do they love the food here but both were thrilled to find places that are very easy to access. I guess, because we live in a driving city with parking lots throughout, accessibility never really enters into my mind, but both men talked about how simple it is to get into every restaurant in town by car.  I suppose it is true because even those places with little on site parking all have valet parking services so you can get out of your car right at the front door of any restaurant in town. Additionally nearly every place in town has street level seating, so there are no stairs up or down. I imagine you never really think about the things your hometown has to offer, focusing instead on what is not there. (Bad, bad of me)

At one point the discussion started focusing on desserts and bakeries, and the one man who had moved here talked about chantilly cake.  It is evidently his all time favorite cake and he told us every place in town that makes it.  TheHub has not stopped talking about it since, and we did see one at Publix the other day, but I thought 27 bucks was a little too much to pay for a cake we were unsure if we would even like..  Instead I looked up a couple of recipes and decided to use a combination of two to come up with our personal variation of one

I notice both recipes called for a traditional yellow cake.  I knew I had a yellow cake mix in the pantry so I decided to whip it up and save a huge amount of time.  When I pulled out the yellow cake I realized it was a pineapple cake mix.  At first I was bummed out but underneath the pineapple cake was a strawberry cake mix.  Since the cake is filled with berries I decided the strawberry cake would be just fine, so I made it.  Then, as I was getting ready to pour it into my cake pans, I remembered I had taken one of my round cake pans to the lake place and left it there.  My options were to run out and buy another round pan or punt and make a square cake. So, of course, the square cake option won.

Chantilly Cake

For the cake
1 baked 2 layer yellow cake* (or go wild and make strawberry)

For the syrup
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (Yeah right, I had none so I used lingonberry jam. Worked fine!)
2 tablespoons hot water

For the frosting
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
8 ounces marscarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 cups mixed berries
Additional berries for garnish

From here on out I will mostly tell you how I made mine and than you can adjust as you wish.

Bake a 2 layer cake (I am not supplying the recipe for a yellow cake but this one is delicious)  As I mentioned above I used a strawberry mix because the cake mix mix-up, and I figured I couldn't go wrong using a strawberry cake since mixed berries were n the filling anyway.  After I got my cake mixed and baked in the square pans I noticed they had not risen much while baking.  I guessed correctly that the cake mix was well past it expiration date and would have added additional baking powder if I had realized it was.  Oh well, now instead of two nice round yellow cake layers, I had two rather flat strawberry square layers. (At this point seeing I had flat cake  I normally might have decided to make a yellow cake from scratch, but it was 2 a.m. so NO!) There was no way I was going to be able to split the layers to make a four layer cake, as the original instructions called for.  Instead I cut them in half so I had 4 4 1/2 x9 inch layers. Then I decided rather than stack it 4 layers high I would have a 4 1/2 x 18 inch 2 layer cake. (I was afraid since I was only going to have a 4 1/2 x9 inch rectangular base, stacking 4 would probably create a cake avalanche which I did not want for Easter dinner).  Caution: Before you move on to the next step make sure the cakes are completely cool.

To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream and set aside.  With a mixer blend the marscarpone, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until it is smooth.  Slowly add the confectioners sugar until everything is creamy.  Then fold in the whipped cream. (Now begins the lightning round. You have to work fast because it gets really messy very quickly.  Learn from my error so you don't have to make one )

Put your first layer of cake on your serving plate.  Spread the thinned down jam all over the side facing up.  Spread berries over it (I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) Spread about 1/2 cup of frosting over the berries, then put the next layer of cake on top of it. (If you are using round pans and making 4 layers repeat the process 2 more times.  If you are making a crazy skinny long cake put the 2nd bottom layer as close to the first as you can get it, add the jam, berries and frosting then top with the last layer.  Now you either have a really tall 4 layer cake or a really long 2 layer one.
Working as fast as you can. spread the remaining frosting over the entire cake.  I suggest starting at the top then icing it quickly on the sides and ends. (If you made a round cake don't worry about the ends because a round cake is not going to have ends!) Put the whole cake in the refrigerator immediately.  If you don't the frosting will start running down the sides of the cake and you will have a big mess..

Leave it there until about 10 minutes before you plan to serve it.  Garnish with a few berries and serve.  This stuff is incredible and delicious and every other good thing.  We do have some left over (I am secretly thankful Mom made a cake and brought it even though I asked her not too.  Everyone had a slice of both cakes instead of 2 slices of the chantilly cake)  This is going to be great tomorrow, possibly for breakfast!

This might possibly become my go to cake.  Even though there is nothing remotely low fat about it, it still managed to taste "light" and fresh.  If you try it let me know what you think, or if you already make it tell me your thoughts on it and tell me why you never shared info on this deliciousness with the rest of us!

p.s. the platter I used is 5 x 20 inches and the cake was a perfect fit!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

T-Minus 100 and Counting

Time is a commodity we all take for granted.  I know I tend to do things from one week to the other without thinking too far in advance about daily things.  Sure I might have appointments or trips on the calendar  for a couple of months ahead, but I rarely think in depth about each and every day. I tend to just fumble through life between events so I am trying to look at my days as 24 hours I can live intentionally.  I have decided to track my life for 100 days just to see what will happen if I slow my thought process down and live in the present without tremendous thought to what's next.

I am setting up a system of personal accountability for each day, with constructive, creative, and down time in it. I want every day to be productive, but I also want it to have the opportunity to appreciate beauty, as well as to have some time for personal growth.  This is not something I am going to post about until the 100 days are over and then I will assess how I did with this approach. Will I learn to live in the now or will  I just fall totally off the cliff and into the abyss of living with my mind set between big events again?

No real clue what will happen, but I imagine there will be days I live with intention and others I just get through while waiting for the next big thing. It should be a revealing experiment about my persona either way.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Positively Monday

In order to change my somewhat jaded look at life I decided to jot down the best thing or things that happen each week.  I will admit some days just suck and finding something good is hard, but every single day has at least one good thing in it. This is a list of the past weeks good things,

Monday: Volunteered at Independence Place.  I find my joy spending time with their wonderful participants.

Tuesday:  Got Mom's business affairs in order so I can take a few days vacation.  Sorry to My Beloved Sister who has to take up the slack for me this week.

Wednesday:  TheHub bought some travel hangers (Yep he is one of those who never travels without dress shirts and a couple of sport coats) which were delivered to the wrong address.  Thanks to our neighborhood FB page I was able to find where they were delivered got them just in time to finish packing. We were supposed to fly out of town that evening but the weather cancelled our flight until...

Thursday: . . . We woke at 4, to be at the airport for a 6:15 rescheduled flight to NYC.  Got to the airport only to find it was delayed until 10:45. (yes we got the text from Delta right as we were checking our bags in) so we went back home for a few hours. The flight finally left at about 12:30 (Did I mention I was upgraded to first class?) and after circling to avoid storms at LGA we finally landed and were headed to Son3's concert right in the middle of the 5 o'clock traffic.  By 6 we were still not on the Manhattan side of the bridge, but we did manage to get to our hotel right before 7, checked in, changed clothes and were seated by 7:20 (10 minutes before it started)  The night truly got better and better, including a sidewalk chat and walk with Mr. Marsalis

Friday: In spite of the cold wet weather we still have a couple of really nice times.  We ate lunch at this funky Chinese-Peruvian fusion restaurant.  If you are in NYC and want something deliciously different try Flor De Mayo on Amsterdam and 83rd (I think it was 83rd). Later that night we went with Son3 and Girlfriend3 to hear  Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra for a Buddy Rich tribute plus a new composition by Ali Jackson, the drummer.  After we went out for some late night Italian (Good but no better than an other Italian place)

Saturday: Matinee time to see Miss Saigon.  It was a fantastic performance!  We have changed our approach to ticket buying and decide on 5 plays we would like to see, then just get there and see what show has good seats left. Saturday night we at a French place Bar Boulud.  The food is exceptional and not too pricy by Manhattan standards. (The downside is their very small cocktails)

Sunday:  Seriously delayed return flight home, but no flight issues and we had nothing pressing us so the time didn't really matter. Got home too late to cook (bonus) so we headed to Full Moon to pick up some BBQ take out.  You have to love a joint whose tagline is "Best Little Pork House in Alabama"

                                                Ali Jackson and a little high hat action