Thursday, September 24, 2020

Perfect Use for Crap Candy

             This seems like an appropriate song for today, "Salt Peanuts"


I will be honest and say out loud for the world to hear__I hate candy corn, unless . . .

Candy Corn
Salted cocktail peanuts
Peanut m&m's
Plain m&m's

Place all in a covered bowl. Shake to mix. Put some in a small bowl. Eat. Try to stop eating. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


During my teen years if I was at home alone (or just at home with my sister ) and feeling blue there were a few songs that would immediately put a little bounce in my step. Dad's only real material pride and joy was his stereo system. He bought components way before it was the  cool thing to do, and had our house wired with speakers so you could hear music from every room in the house. He was not picky about letting us play our music on it, but he did have one silly rule. We could not raise the volume above 5, which was loud enough unless you were a teenager. We followed his rules for using it to a tee__until he and Mom went out. Then all bets were off and we would crank it up to 10 (the loudest it would go), sing and dance all over the house. You just had to be clever and  remember to turn it back down to 5 before they got home.

I had some struggles this week and I found myself playing music from my teen years to prop myself up. This is one of those songs that always made me happy. I am finding myself seriously in need of some socialization. I miss seeing my friends and I really miss going places and doing things. I am really struggling with all of this isolation.

Wednesday: Sally was not as destructive as she could have been All our family and friends who live on or near the coast were safe, with minimum damage, and that is a tru joy considering how horrible things could have been

Thursday: I found some important documents of Mom's that had been misplaced. There is an air of chaos in her house still. Even as we get it emptied it seems the less we have in it the more often things we need disappear.

Friday: My beloved sister and I worked at Mom's for a bit and had some really good conversations, and my cousin's son found a few more things he needed to help furnish his new kitchen. 

Saturday: I worked on some business of Mom's and completed it. Yay! TheHub had to go into the office for most of the day so he was working also. When he got home and I had finished what I was working on, we made a quick meal and socked in to watch a couple of episodes of The Americans.

Sunday: We began the morning by streaming church, followed by a WebEx Sunday school class. It is not the same, but it is so wonderful to see faces (even on a screen)  and to have a little virtual socialization. As soon as we were through we hopped in the car and drove to the lake.  The day was gorgeous and the ride down was just beautiful.

Monday:  We have an armadillo burrow and our lawn is slowly being torn apart, which is not joyful at all. The upside is Critter Gitters came out and set traps to capture said creature, then humanely release him/her elsewhere. I hope it is not a her because that means the potential that many smaller armadillos are burrowed also.

Tuesday: I was at Mom's house for a good part of the day, came home and did a few things around the house before getting dinner ready. I happened to look outside and saw one of the traps had been triggered. Yes, we had caught a critter.  When TheHub investigated (no I do not do animals in traps) instead of a possum on the half shell we heard a meow. We had trapped GrayGreg, our neighbors cat. Fortunately he was not trapped long and is completely fine, but we felt horrible about him being contained, even briefly.

So that end the joy list for a less than joyful week, but's I have said before there is joy every day, even if 
it is just joy that you did not harm the neighbors cat when you accidentally trapped it. Though now I wonder if we have freaked him out and he will no longer be our chipmunk controller. Time will tell and maybe he has a short memory.

Go have a wonderful week and look for those hidden joys. They are always there, hiding somewhere!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Tuesday 4


Annie has a series of 4 questions for Tuesdays. Some of them have made me think or reminisce about times in the past. This post did not require a whole lot of thinking, but simply reading the word Tuesday did remind me of this song. I had this when I was in high school and it is probably in the basement along with the rest of our old vinyl albums.  I bought it because I liked "Nights in White Satin" but after buying and listening to the entire album, it turns out that was my least favorite song.

Some questions, like today, are pretty straight forward. But before I go any further, let me make it known that I absolutely hate housework. I do it because it has to be done, but I get no pleasure from it. I do like the after effect, but the process sucks.

1. What laundry products do you like to use or find best for you?

 I use Shout for stains, bleach for the white towels, All  Small and Mighty unscented detergent and Myers Lavender fabric softener

2. Dryer, line or combination of both?

Dryer and a hanging rod in the laundry room. Our neighborhood does not allow clothes lines

3. Do you have wood floors or carpeting and which is best?

Living room, dining room, powder room and all hallways are hardwood. Next I will put hardwoods in the MBR and the main level den. Currently I have carpet in all the bedrooms, the dens, and the music room

4. Housekeeping professionals give the following guidelines. Which do you follow? Do you have better ideas?

1. Open windows first No

2. Clear up clutter before cleaning. Mostly but I can ignore a cluttered coffee table or dresser

3. Start in bedrooms first No, but I do make the bed before I leave the bedroom in the morning

4. Give cleaning products time to work.  Yes

5. Always sweep or vacuum before mopping Sweep

6. Use a toothbrush for hard to get at areas  Yes

7. Keep things on a central cart if you can No. I keep multiples of products where there are used.  i.e. Each bathroom has its own toilet bowl cleaner and scrub free, toilet brush, paper towels, and glass cleaner

8. Dust everything Depends on the day

9. Vacuum your furniture often, mattresses once a month or so. Furniture, yes. Mattress only when I wash the mattress pad

Cha Cha Cha Changes

                                                    Changes! This should be my theme song! 

As usual my plan and what happened did not coincide. If my plans were an asteroid, the earth would be safe every week, because each week is a near miss but I never actually hit my target. 

Anyway this is what was planned:
1. Seared scallops, potatoes of some sort, green beans, tossed salad
2. Huge salad meal, rolls
3. Grilled steak, tossed salad, rolls
4. Veggie dinner: lady peas, okra, sliced tomatoes, cornbread
5. Roasted turkey breast, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy
6. Some one pan chicken meal. Unsure, but something portable, to take  to the lake
7. Take-out

And this is what happened:
Monday: Roasted turkey, green beans and potatoes, tomato slices
Tuesday: Captain D's
Wednesday: Lady peas, air fried okra, tomato slices
Thursday: Frozen spinach, mushroom and garlic pizza
Friday: Huge salad, spinach pies
Saturday: Veggie sir fry. crescent rolls
Sunday: Grilled steak, baked potato, cucumbers and tomatoes

I don't remember what happened during the week. It was a blur filled with several frustrations and I am glad it is in my rear view mirror, so now on to this new weeks plan. (And I vow to eat those dang scallops that are still in the freezer this week)

1. Seared scallops, green beans, potatoes, salad, rolls
2. Spaghetti, tossed salad
3. Veggie dinner: Butterbeans, squash, tomatoes, coleslaw, cornbread
4. Another veggie dinner: Okra, corn relish, lady peas, cornbread, tomato slices
5. Pork tenderloin, broccoli, rice
6. White bbq chicken, caulitato salad, baked beans
7. Take out

And now have a great week, staying on plan, going off plan, or a week with no plan at all! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mom's Recipe Box

My Mom's metal recipe box was filled to the brim, mostly with recipes she never made. I can't say she had it all my life, but I have no memories of it not being in the kitchen. At one time the sides of it were a bright pink and the top was yellow. Maybe that color combo will help date it, but now it looks primarily off white with scattered hints of very pale pink and yellow.

Mom never claimed to be a good cook. To her it was just a chore she had to do to keep us alive, and as a result of her cooking indifference we ate some pretty basic foods. Even so she did have a couple of things she made better than most people. In our family and among all our friends she was well known for her chocolate fudge icing. Everyone called it Nan Cake and if you had an occasion you could bet the bank she would show up bearing Nan Cake. I could not begin to count the number of birthdays. anniversaries, family reunions, Thanksgivings, celebrations, or times of great mourning that it was present. I am a much better cook than she was and I can not even begin to make it anywhere nearly as perfect as hers was.

She also had a second cake that she made regularly,  her easily totable cake. It could never be for a birthday; that would have been a cake blaspheme. It was for picnics, Fourth of July parties, trips to the beach or middle of the winter cake to have with midday coffee.  So with no further ado, I give you:

Mom's German Chocolate Cake

1 cup shortening (I used butter because I don't usually keep shortening on hand)
2 cups sugar
1 bar German Chocolate, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons butter flavoring
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening and sugar until creamy, add the melted chocolate and mix well.  Mix in the eggs, then add the extracts and the buttermilk.

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients (I never do this step but the recipe call for it so I included it)

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and blend well. Pour into a well greased and floured bunt pan. Bake at 300 for 1 1/2 hours.

I halved the recipe because I did not want that much cake around the house, but I wanted to make something comforting and familiar. I have small bunt pans that are about 4 1/2 inches in diameter and much shallower than a traditional bunt. It only took the cake about 1 hour in those pans, and I wound up with slightly more batter than fit into 2 of them. The last pan was filled less than 1/4 of the way full so that cake was only about 2 inches tall after baking.

We always ate it as just a plain pound cake, but now that I have possession of the recipe box, I see Mom was holding out on us! The back the card has a basic glaze to spoon over a cooled cake. I didn't even look at the back of the card to know about the glaze until I was writing this post, so the joke is still on me.

1 bar German Chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening
1/4 cup water
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the chocolate add the shortening and water and stir over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Spoon over the top of the cake.

TheHub bought a pint of ice cream because he does not like plain cake. I guess he suffered through enough years of eating it like Mom served it, and now he can eat it with a scoop of vanilla and not have to worry about offending anyone. Imagine how he will feel the next time I make it and add the well kept secret glaze!

BTW the texture is slightly different using the butter. Using shortening makes it a tad denser, I guess since shortening is full fat and butter has a little liquid in it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

All About That Joy, Bout That Joy No Trouble

As some of you know, each week I recount the joy or joys that happen each day. My aim is to sit down on NYE with some soft background music (and possibly an adult beverage) and re-read the daily joys for the past year. Each day has at least one, even if I have to look a little hard to find it. I hope this helps me to recognize how joy rises, even on the most horrific days, and to admit that even in 2020 there are so many things that require gratitude.
Wednesday : Houston, we have functional internet at the lake! After years of hit or miss connectivity and a security system tied into an analog phone, we now have a new cellular security system and real internet. No more DSL which I am pretty sure stands for Damned Slow Linking. For the first time ever at the lake place we can have more than one device connected to wi-fi at the same time.
We did cancel our TV service there because we were paying for something we rarely used, but now we can stream via the Firestick. We rarely watch anything but Netflix or Amazon Prime anyway.
Losing the land line and TV covers the cost of Netflix for a year in just one and a half months, even accounting for the increase in the price of the internet service and additional security system cost.
Doing the happy dance!

Thursday: My Beloved Sister took me to pick up my car, but on the way we stopped and grabbed a couple of pastries from a fairly new Mexican bakery. They opened right before Covid caused the lockdown and are just getting their business back up and running well. I will definitely be one of their supporters! They have goodies galore, many unknown to me, but they also have lovely young women who work there who are incredibly helpful. After I  picked up my car we came back to my house to sample the treats.
I also got to text with one of Mom's former sitters.. She was pregnant when Mom died and I had been keeping in touch with her for the past four months, just checking in to see how she was doing.  She had a beautiful baby boy Wednesday night and sent me pictures of him on Thursday. I am so happy for her that he is here, and so happy to welcome him into the world.  I can't wait to meet him in person!

Friday: I found a new to me Podcast, The Strange South.  I like listening to music or podcasts and this one was fun. Plus, they speak "Southern" so I understand everything they say! 
Anything different from being at home is also joyful. We rode to a different burb to pick up our take out dinner and passed a couple of parks on the way. It was lovely to see kids playing. And dinner that I didn't have to cook? To paraphrase George Orwell "Double Plus Joyful".

Saturday: Friday afternoon my neighbor with  2 sets of twins asked if she could use the pool for her younger twins birthday celebration. One of their daughters is immunocompromised and they have been in strict isolation since early March. They used the pool several times over the summer and we make sure every thing is as clean and Covid free as possible before they come. We were lucky to have somewhere  we can share for them to swim and play safely  for a while.
Nothing is more joyful than hearing kids giggles and laughs (and they are really cute kids).

Sunday: We began the morning streaming our church service followed by a Webex Sunday school class. Our class traditionally takes a sabbatical during July and August. We are a small group and most people have secondary homes that see a lot of action during the summer. Instead of fighting it, we just go with the flow. Next weekend we can join from the lake place. (See Wednesday's joy) Woo hoo!
Son2 and DIL2 came over for a small celebration lunch and they brought Shelby, the dog. She obviously felt quite comfortable here since she walked in the front door through the dining room and kitchen into the den, surveyed her "spot", then went straightto the back door  to be let outside where she promptly pooped in her other"spot".

Monday:  Monday was a day like most Mondays are when I tend to organize the week, or in this case organize Mom's 2019 taxes. I did get a lot done and have a bit more to finish then scoot it to the accountants. The downside? One file with pertinent info is AWOL. I am going to have to search through her house to see if we can find it, and if not, recreate it.

Tuesday: Tuesday was my actual birthday, but we do not do huge celebrations anymore. We quit giving gifts and share experiences. TheHub and I have birthdays less than a month apart and our anniversary is just a couple of weeks past his birthday, so this year we are headed to the beach for a few days in October.
Usually we go to one of our favorite restaurants, but neither of them are open right now. Instead we piled in the car and drove to Captain D's for take out. Not thrilling but a perfectly fine meal.
I also made a non-traditional birthday cake for myself. Earlier I brought home Mom's old tin recipe box filled with hand written recipes. (most that she never made because she was not a really good cook)  I found her old (from my childhood) recipe for German Chocolate pound cake so I baked it
Funny though, we were so full after eating Capn. D's that we ate none of it. Tomorrow maybe!

I hope you had a great joy filled week. Look for them because they are always there! Peace!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It's Fall__Somewhere Else

On Tuesdays Annie at Tuesday 4 poses some questions. They are simple enough to answer relatively quickly, but sometimes do require a little mental processing before actually committing to an answer. And some of them__well, I never would have a thought about at all prior to reading the question. 

1. Fall is usually the time that new series appear on TV. If you could make a show that you would really enjoy what kind and what subject would you like to see
I prefer shows that have a really fine ensemble cast that is centered around the whole vs. a "star". I also like tight writing with believable dialogue. It could be a comedy or drama, either would work. Right now my favorite show is "What We Do in the Shadows" on Hulu. It is funny, well written  and over the top, but it still works.

2.  You have a rare opportunity this fall: you can step into a movie, TV program or book and live out a week there, which would it be and why?
My favorite book of all time is "A Confederacy of Dunces" so I imagine I would wander into New Orleans in the early 60's. I have read the book so many times and have such vivid mental images of the characters that I would love to be an outlier just observing them. I have been to New Orleans often and seen it change over the years. It would be great to see it in a simpler decade.

3. Are you decorating outside for autumn? What are you doing? Is it HGTV worthy?
Other than buying a few pots of mums I do absolutely no decorating until a couple of days before Halloween (My Halloween decorations are not HGTV worthy but they are still really good) and they come down by 10 o'clock Halloween night. During the first week of November I put a couple of Thanksgiving(ish) decorations out, again not HGTV worthy. 

4. What's on TV this week you really are going to enjoy?
We watch one episode of The Americans on Amazon Prime each night. Right now we are on season 3 of 6. When we finish that we will find another episodic show on either Netflix or Amazon to begin. But ask me this same question when "Succession" and"The Righteous Gemstones" air their new seasons and I will have a completely different answer.