Monday, December 29, 2008
Twin'sWife and D are both gourmet cooks. They immediately invade the kitchen and start cooking. Every year they make garlic soup, so I make sure to lay in a good supply of garlic - the recipe calls for 44 cloves, but why go half way. It's absolutely wonderful, but the next day you'd best hang around with folks who have also eaten it...
The kitchen invasion doesn't stop with cooking, they also do dishes. TheTwin is much better trained than the Engineer. Tonight he charged right in to the kitchen and started doing dishes before I could even arise from the table.
Now, as anyone who knows me at all well can tell you, I'm not the neatest kid on the block and I hate to do dishes. I should be eternally grateful to the relatives for taking care of it for me. But, nasty creature that I can be, it really grooches me.
I'm a picky old broad and set in my ways. I have definite ideas as to what belongs in a dishwasher and what doesn't. I'm also a nut for loading it "properly" so that every item gets an equal squirt of the water.
TheTwin and Twin'sWife both wash dishes three or four times faster than I do. Stuff flies from the counter to the dishwasher all helter skelter and stuff that doesn't get dishwashered gets a swish with a soapy sponge and tossed into the drainer. Or dried with a linen. A cotton terry towel won't do, it has to be a linen towel. They can go through five or six linens a meal and a half a roll of paper towels.
One might think this leads to sparkling clean dishes, but it doesn't. It leads to goobers.
I hate goobers.
But what's a goober hater to do? These folks have just washed my dishes, a task that I devoutly hate. I never ask them to, they just do it.
But they leave goobers all over everything.
I can't whine and moan after they've just done something above and beyond.
And they throw things in the dishwasher that I never put in. I was hoping tonight to slip back into the kitchen after they'd all gone to bed to rearrange things "properly" in the dishwasher, removing and hand washing the misplaced items, and to hunt for goobers on things TheTwin had hand washed.
It was not to be, however. TheTwin squirted the dishwasher detergent in, slammed the door and pushed the start button.
Aauuggg! I was too disheartened to even begin to hunt for goobers after that.
Besides, I know I will find all the goobers eventually.
How happy for me.
(Ungrateful bitch, ain't I?)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Such fun driving in the dark to my cousin's house. The trip which usually takes about 45 minutes took two hours. I saw 15 or 16 wrecks and slide-offs on my way. Thank goodness the Engineer had loaned me his BitchInABox (Garmin nüvi®), so all I had to do was listen to her boss me around instead of looking for street signs.
It was cold, single digits in the mornings, so the snow didn't go away. And it kept snowing intermittently throughout the week.
On Christmas Eve the temperature briefly went above freezing and the snow started melting. Then, of course, the cold descended again along with more snow. But first came rain, and me out in my EldestNiece's driveway shoveling a couple feet of accumulated snow along with her 13 year old son. I figured I needed to be shoveling too in order to lend my lecture on responsibility some credence. He and I both ended up with blisters. I hope the lecture made at least a little bit of an impression. If it did, the blisters were well worth it.
Slippin' and slidin', I was the designated driver with a car full of well lubricated relatives. The Twin had rented a big, rear wheel drive, boat of a Lincoln Town Car that flashed a dashboard icon of a little yellow car with slippy tracks when the tires lost traction. Like I couldn't already tell the car was going sideways.
By the time we left on the 26th, the snow berms along the sides of the roads were three to four feet high, darn impressive.
The Engineer drove back to the Detroit Airport in the front wheel drive Chevy Cobalt I'd rented. Since the road was an ice skating rink for about half the drive, I think he was glad I had rented a more modest car than his brother's Town Car.
We arrived home at midnight at the tail end of a major snow storm.
Since the Engineer had thoroughly fortified himself with wine during the flight and layover, I got to drive home. I was fearfully anticipating trying to navigate the dread, car-eating, driveway with a foot of new snow on it, but sometime miracles do occur...
The driveway had been cleaned! I have the best across the street neighbor in the world.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Ewwww, I don't think so, but this is the way the Engineer likes it. He's in charge of thermal transfer once the thermometer's placed and the meat is in the oven. He's the decider of when it comes out.
He has the chutzpah to make fun of my preference for chicken that's just a wee bit pink at the bone.
Ah well, to each his own.
P.S. My dinner was mostly vegetarian this evening - surprise.
Heat you through,
Grow hair on your chest,
1 cup of left over coffee
A dash of salt
1 spoonfull of instant expresso
1.5 spoonsfull of sugar
0.5 spoonfull of cocoa powder
Pour the coffee into a small saucepan on high heat, lightly salt it (really), add the instant expresso powder. When it starts to boil, sprinkle in the sugar, then add the cocoa powder. Keep stirring until it works itself into a roiling boil and almost froths over, then pour in canned milk until it's as light as you like. Cool enough to not burn your tongue and enjoy (once you get over the jolt.)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Check out the bug photos she posted today. They knocked my socks off!
Why don't my bug photographs ever look like that? Even a fly looks glam when Martin Amm takes it's picture.
My bug photos are the acme of ugly. (Though I, personally, think this one's so ugly he's cute.)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
From there it's a short stroll to the bakery department and the LeBrea bread.
Easy Bruschetta Recipe
Toast in oven set to broil until it's as toasty as you like it.
Flip and toast the other side.
Arrange roasted tomatoes on top of toast then pour over some of the oil and spices they were packed in.
Sprinkle generously with freshly grated parmigiana or romano cheese.
Put back under broiler until cheese shreds start popping.
Eat and Enjoy.
In the summer I like to mix the roasted tomatoes about half and half with fresh from the garden tomatoes, makes it even better.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
My family has never done such a thing, though my sister did circle anything she wanted in the Sears catalogue. When she got into high school, she started circling the studlier guys in the underwear section despite never expecting to receive one. It was considered acceptable to ask someone what they would like, and we often did.
My brother's two daughters, 16 and 12, had one word replies to the question this year: "Money."
My Mother would have hung her children by their toenails and slowly flayed the skin from their quivering bodies had they dared give such an answer. To this day, it's an answer that shocks and offends me. (See Mom, some of your training did take.)
The younger generation of the Engineer's family shocked me ever more this year. Hmmm... Shocked doesn't really convey it... horrified, pole-axed, disgusted, appalled.. Yeah, appalled is a bit closer to how I felt.
13 year old nephew:
1.CCM Vector U+ Pro. Sr. ice hockey skates
$600 and his feet are still growing
2.Nike Bauer Vapor XXR Senior Inline hockey skates
$200 souped up roller skates - would he even wear these before he outgrows them?
3.Flak 5 Senior hockey gloves size 13 in black
$50, after the skates, these seem almost reasonable
4.CCM Vector U+ Int. Composite hockey stick 75/Ovechkin/Right
$160 could he be a little more specific?
5.Play Station 3
only $400 on Amazon
6.American Eagle gift cards
kinda like money in my book, but that's just me
7.!!!!!NEW TV FOR MY ROOM!!!!!!!! 32"
seems like he really wants to replace the TV he already has
8.xbox 360 or PS3 game-Call of duty World at War
$60 for blood splattered violence - I don't think so
9.xbox 360 or PS3 game-NHL 2009
not violent, only $57, but note he wants it either for the platform he already has, Xbox 360, or the Play Station 3 he's planning on getting
23 year old niece:
1. Garmin Nuvi
2. queen mattress set
3. Nintendo Wii Fit
4. Blue ray DVD player
5. couch and loveseat covers (black)
6. Dolce & Gabana The One perfume
7. gift cards- Target, Barnes and Noble, Kroger
Not as bad as the nephew, though a good queen mattress set runs a couple thou' these days. No TV on the list because Daddy already got her a 40" HD flat screen Sony.
And the Crown goes to:
(mom of 13 year old nephew):
2 Round trip tickets to Florida for Spring Break for my son and I we need a vacation
32-40" tv for my bedroom
Poofy Recliner for Living Room (Taupe or maroon color)
Ecliptical exercise machine
Sterling Silver jewelery
Coach purse-Ramblers Legacy or Patricia's Legacy-Black (either costs $400)
Bath and Body Works
Bed Bath and Beyond
I think I'm going to get everyone underwear this year. Cotton underwear.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dancing Grannies Hat is going to feel right at home in this environment.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The cats figure if I can call them kitties, they can call me humie.
Why am I the meanest in the world?
Sachi got stuck in a cage and made the annual trip to the vet today: tune the tail, rotate the legs, check the tuna level and, indignity of indignities, take the temperature. Also got a distemper shot, but after that temperature taking all the rest was trifling.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I learned about tools very early in life from hanging out in his shop. I knew they were not toys and should be handled properly. Using a phillips head screwdriver as an awl or an ice pick was simply not acceptable. As soon as I was out on my own, I began collecting tools; mostly Craftsman because if I did manage to mangle one, Sears would replace it. By the time I married the Engineer, I had quite a collection: screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, pliers, electric drill, saber saw, socket set, alan wrenches, staple gun, shovels, rakes, pruners and loppers. I had two tool boxes for the small tools and a milk carton for the larger ones, plus, of course, well organized storage for nails, screws, etc.
When I married the Engineer and we moved in together, somehow my tools moved in with his. Gradually they migrated from their original toolboxes into his toolboxes and his stuff showed up in my storage containers. I now have a minimal set of tools hidden for my own use because I don't like to search through his stuff looking for mine.
The Engineer was mostly impressed with my tool collection, but he made fun of my shrub rake from the get go. He wanted to throw it out, but I wouldn't let him, insisting that shrub rakes were very useful. He said that if I thought I was going to get some work out of the cats by having tools sized for them I was hopelessly mistaken.
Here we are, not quite ten years into the marriage, and what's one of his favorite tools?
My shrub rake.
He even customized the handle so he can reach farther with it. Of course, he does use it as a swimming pool tool instead of in the garden, but, what the heck, he wouldn't be without it.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Grandad was a traveling adventurer, always with Grammy in tow. Grammy had more intestinal fortitude than any old lady I knew. Her health was never good; she had osteoporosis so badly that when she picked up my brother when he was about a month old, she broke two ribs and her wrist. For my whole childhood, the mantra was, "Don't hug your Grammy!" Despite this, she went everyplace with Grandad.
One of his favorite places was Mexico. He never spoke a word of Spanish, he figured speaking loudly would solve any language difficulties. He never used a map, he just went where the mood moved him. I wish I had any of the several photos of his stranded car. They were usually taken when he had been traveling on dirt roads and managed to sink his car, axle deep, in soft dirt or a creek. The locals always came to his rescue, hitched up their horses or mules and hauled the car out. Then Grandad dispensed the largess (American dollars) while Grammy took pictures of all their new found friends and the horses hitched to the car.
Grandad was fascinated with everything, especially large natural phenomena. When I was in junior high, my Mom received a letter from Grammy relating this story:
Grandad had heard that there was a volcano erupting near where they were traveling. That, he had to see. So off they drove in the general direction, following the plume of smoke. When the road ran out, Grandad just kept on driving.
They saw a man from a good distance, as he stood watching them drive up to him. When they got close he deliberately stepped right in front of their car. Grandad stopped and leaned out the window.
"Señor, you cannot drive this way, it is not safe."
Grandad had lucked out and come across a man who spoke English. Raul explained that Grandad was, fortunately, driving on the only solid path in a sea of shifting volcanic ash.
Seeing his opportunity, Grandad asked Raul if, for generous monetary compensation, he would guide him on a walking tour to the top of the volcano so that he could look into the caldera. Raul agreed and they set off together for the smoking mountain. Grammy waited in the car.
About four hours later, sure that she would never see her husband again and would probably die out in the scorched waste, she was writing a farewell letter to my Mom, her tears splatting on the paper. Her normally copperplate handwriting was abruptly interrupted by a large smear and a hole in the paper. When the narrative resumed, she said that another Mexican had tapped on the window, startling her, saying, "Don't cry, Lady, is okay. Your husband back soon."
Sure enough, Grandad came back with his new best buddy, Raul. Grammy and Grandad went into Raul's village for the night and were treated to a grand fiesta. Grandad went back there every time he went to Mexico after that, and he put several of the village children through college. My grandparents were well loved in Mexico.
Grandad didn't believe in hotel reservations either. They stopped when they found someplace that looked okay -- which occasionally resulted in sharing quarters with bedbugs.
One evening, Grandad was getting hungry as they drove through a tiny town which, like all tiny towns, had a bar on the corner. Having no fear of Montezuma's Revenge, Grandad decided to stop for dinner. He parked the car outside and he and Grammy walked on in. Half a dozen rough and burly looking men turned from their cerveza and tequila and stared at them.
Grandad tried his usual understanding through volume communication. The fellows at the bar did not seem to appreciate his efforts. One by one, they stood, until all of them were on their feet facing my grandparents. The biggest and ugliest man snarled and took a step towards the elderly couple. Grammy clutched Grandad's arm, "Let's go, Armstrong," she pleaded.
Grandad might have been adventurous, but he was not stupid. They backed towards the door. The burly guys followed them, joking in Spanish and making threatening gestures. When Grammy and Grandad reached to door, the men jumped forward. Grandad calmly reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet and threw it as far into the bar as he could.
As the six aggressors dove for the wallet, my grandparents hustled on out of there, got into the car and drove off into the sunset.
Nope, my Grammy wasn't greedy. She earned it
But he doesn't read this blog, so...
Barack Obama Won! WooHoo!!!
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is the second time I've early voted. The first time was just a wee bit more involved. I had to go into the country clerk's office, get an application form, fill it out with proof that I would be traveling (plane ticket copies) and take it back in with picture ID, then wait a couple of weeks for approval.
Times have changed. This year in Utah, they're begging people to come one in -- Vote Early, Vote Often. Hmmm... Maybe I added that second bit myself, not that I'm the originator of it, just a copy cat.
Somehow it seems rather poetic that I voted on Halloween, when nothing is as it appears...
Oh, by the way, BOO!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I don't feel that he and I are extensions of each other. We are discrete individuals who happen to get along pretty well -- not perfectly, but pretty well. I don't want to be an extension of him or vice versa. Sometimes he acts like he would like me to be, but I suspect he wouldn't care for it if I tried. I don't miss him when he's gone on his business trips; I know he'll be back. If he was to go away forever, I would miss him and be very sad, but life would go on.
Monday, October 27, 2008
So here's the excuse: I didn't have access to my computer.
True, the computer lives in the basement, but I was upstairs baking pies, yummilicious pumpkin pies. Then I made miniature pumpkin tarts with gingersnap crust from the left over pumpkin filling, then with the left over piecrust, I made custard tarts. Then I had to go to my very first Mormon church service because ChosenSister and her spouse were speaking because they're leaving on an 18 month mission. (I miss her already.) We picked up a mutual friend on the way to the church. After the ward service, it was on to ChosenSister's house for the buffet, for which the pies were baked. After the buffet, we dropped off our passenger and came home, where I started finishing cleaning up the cooking mess. Then the Engineer decided that he needed a light dinner, so I cooked and cleaned up after that, then sat down in my chair to watch the news and finish sewing up baby elf hat number two and fell asleep sitting in my chair with both cats holding me down. By the time I woke up, I decided, that since I had to get up at 7:30 Monday morning, it was too late to go downstairs and turn on the computer.
I think that's a pretty good excuse. Don't you?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here are the first two paragraphs from my very first blog entry almost two years ago:
2007, a time to practice consistency, one of those traits I've never been strong on. Thus a blog entry to write every day -- every day I have access to my computer anyway. It should build character, or so my mother would have me believe. Setting goals and whacking away at them, consistently, is good for a person's character. I'll bet all the mothers tell their children that.
We'll see if it works.
So, how has it worked? Erratically. Some months, June, July and September of 2007, I hit the mark. Some months. most notably May 2008 with only 4 entries, were abysmal. True I did start a second blog, The Clueless Crafter, to segregate my knitting ramblings, but still, I've not been hitting goal. This past summer and fall especially have been nonproductive. Much of that can be explained by how tumultuous life has been, but even the tumultuous life needs a little discipline, so...
Resolved: I shall endeavor to make a blog post each day to either The Witless Wanderer or The Clueless Crafter. If I make posts to both on a single day, it's a bonus, not a free ticket for a day off.
This offer is void where prohibited by law and not applicable on days I don't have access to my computer.
Now to hold to it.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I walked out to get the mail this afternoon and saw immediately that Sachi was tormenting something.
It was a big, fat katydid. She'd already bitten off most of his antennae. The fragile parts are always the first to go.
Glad I'm not a bug.
Particularly glad I'm not a bug looking up at a cat.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Not just any pumpkin will do, it has to be an eating pumpkin, not a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Small Sugar, Triple Treat or Winter Luxury (if you can find them) are good bets. If you want to be a cheap and sleazy cheat, you can use squash instead, just make sure it has nice orange flesh.
To cook a small pumpkin, I get out my BIG knife and whack that puppy in half. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy stuff. (If you got a Triple Treat, save the seeds, they don't have shells, so they're great to toast and eat.) Give a jellyroll pan, or a cookie sheet with deep sides, a good spraying with Pam, then put the pumpkin, cut side down, on it. Bake it in the oven just like a potato, 400 degrees for about an hour. It's done when a paring knife slides in easily.
Some pumpkins put out a lot of juice when they cook, some almost none. Don't worry about it, it doesn't make a bit of difference, though if there's lots of juice be careful to not spill it when taking it out of the oven. It's sticky. I learned that little tidbit from personal experience.
Pour any liquid down the drain, then go to work on the pumpkin. Usually, the outer skin will peal off easily. Toss the skin and remove any stringy stuff that may have been missed in the initial cleaning. Cut the meat into chunks and puree it in batches in a food processor.
Now it's ready for whatever use you want to put it to: pie, bread, cookies, cheesecake, bisque. It is also easy to freeze in zipper top plastic bags and will keep for a good long time.
Here's a quick and easy pumpkin bread recipe. You can use one large can of pumpkin if you want, but it just ain't the same.
Beat first four ingredient together until light & fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients and add to batter. Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chips. Divide batter into two greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
My personal favorite is pumpkin bisque. If properly bribed, I may be enticed to share it...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I don't put bumper stickers on my car, signs in my yard or wear buttons proclaiming my party affiliation, but today I browsed the web for political T-shirts that tell a story.
Right now, I can really understand the forlorn hope expressed by this one:
But if we didn't vote, would we ever get here? This one says it for the Engineer. He's got the hots for Palin, I think because he's heard she's a good, beer drinking, oilman's friend. Plus he knows it annoys me. So I'd go with this shirt for that ticket. What do you mean, "Politically incorrect"? What's so correct about politics in the first place?
This one pretty much encapsulates how I feel about the current election.
Wonder if I wore this one if anyone would court me and give me monetary encouragement to vote for their candidate? But, when you get right down to it, this one says it all.Despite my cynicism, on November 4th, you'll find me down at my precinct, canceling out the Engineer's vote.