Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A bit randy

Well would you look at this, some photos just hanging around waiting for words to make them seem more post-like. This seems like a level of writing I can manage!

Things were pretty crazy around here (or so I thought). Despite my grandiose efforts to ward off the barn swallows to protect the robin's nest, team feathers had other issues. A mourning dove took over the nest, and...
...I was super excited, until three days later when the nest was completely empty. Egg nappers! Eek!

There was also a high level of concern inside the house as my husband's cereal inventory plummeted to a never before seen low!
If you've been hanging around here for any amount of time, you are certainly alarmed as well. If you are new here, this is not unusual...
Back to the other photo...Those crispy oats on the left are actually Fozzie's. The husband's  green candy bin looks a little sparse too, but I could have shared if necessary (per my own discretion as to how that would be defined...the "necessary" and the "sharing").

And then of course, I had this on my mind...
...Over qualified? Under qualified? References?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fractured Friday


Bones, bones, bones! These people keep talking about bones. Do you think I am going to get a new bone? Wait, do you think this photo has anything to do with anything?
And what is this? Where has he been?
Sure, it may not look like he moves fast, but I am exhausted from watching him just the same.
I suppose I can let him hug me, if it will make him feel better. I am such a giver. I mean look at the sacrifice I am making.

**Thanks for letting Foz fill you in on our week, as he was more able to string sentences. I just had words like "ambulance", "surgery", "steel rod", "pain". There will eventually be a post with my own take on the ordeal.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Foiled again, Foz


So maybe she saw a barn swallow investigating our porch? Maybe. You understand, I am starting to wonder about these things she "sees". Plus, I do not feel safe, I feel humiliated. Cue the Sara McLachlan music, and somebody rescue me already!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Here and Now

Today is my grandmother's ninety-fourth birthday…94. My phone call to wish her a happy day was more of a reminder to her that this box on the calendar is one to call her own, than an expected greeting. It is a tricky business these days trying to figure out where her memories live, which ones have a firm enough grasp on their secure location in her brain to weather each passing year, month, day, hour. As expected, her long-term memory serves her far better than the here and now, but how far back in over nine decades we need to go for some clarity is hard to pinpoint. I have my own vault of remembrances, both highlights and lowlights, of our forty plus years together, but those have to take a back seat as I focus on navigating the now. Allowing myself to get caught up in sweet nostalgia makes the longing for what has passed, while her face is still right in front of me, simply too sad to bear. Wallowing in the times my grandmother and I have but heads through the years risks a grudge that could take any pleasure out of spending time together. We are back to the now.

I arrived the other day with a bag of groceries, and a positive attitude, to find my grandmother shuffling toward the door…her teeth were not in, one lens of her eyeglasses was missing, and the toilet in the bathroom nearby was making a high pitched siren type of sound that probably only myself and dogs could hear. I fixed the toilet, fielded some questions about my new car that I have had for two years, put away the groceries and tried to settle into our usual rhythm. She found her teeth, I did not find the lens to her glasses, nor her backup pair. Sometimes it only takes ten minutes to realize that some fresh air is called for. I went outside to put some mulch in the garden while she watched from her front window. I sent a text to my uncle about the toilet tank workings needing some attention, and the response included an inquiry as to whether I had found the television remote. Another addition to the trail of lost items. Typically there is no retracing of steps as her tiny frame barely leaves an imprint in the carpet, let alone in her mind, of where she has been.

I eventually made my way back inside to start my search and recovery mission once again. In my grandmother's bedroom, I noticed the pair of eyeglasses with the missing lens, but could have sworn she was wearing glasses when I passed by her seconds before. Yes, she had found the backup pair of glasses on a bench in the hallway - a bench I had passed by a few times. She had more hash marks in the win column than I did that day. My impressive feat was turning the television on without the missing remote control. I secretly snuck a remote from another room to change the channel, and quickly put it back, as there was no point in having two missing devices.

We watched Andy Griffith, a show I missed back in its heyday. I am now completely smitten with Sheriff Taylor, and forgive Don Knotts for his Mr. Furley character. No doubt there was much talk about the breeze outside, or lack thereof, and whether there was rain in the forecast. Very simple, really. Despite the madness of wondering where lost items have gone (my aunt found the remote control later that afternoon in the cookie cupboard), there is almost a sort of peace in the slow-paced quiet. I am grateful that my grandmother knows who I am when I walk in. There is no telling what memories she has tied to who I am and the patchwork of our history together, but in the now, I suppose that doesn't matter. We sit on the couch together, laugh at black and white tv shows from days gone by, try to guess the answers on Millionaire, eat cookies, and when I leave we tell each other "I love you". I think that might be just about all that matters for us right now.
6/5/16…My attack hair and leaping necklace don't make me love this picture any less because they are not what matters.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Meringue (because it sounds fancy)

A couple of weeks ago I made a lemon meringue pie. While I was pretty pleased with myself, I just could not set aside ample time to blog about the experience. Instead, I used a Facebook link and recycled a pie mishap post from my first month of blogging. I figured nobody had read it way back then anyway. I am fairly certain that the post has still been sitting fairly lonely, without many visitors, or at least none who felt compelled to comment. Point taken...if at first you don't succeed, try again, and despite all signs pointing to the contrary, when you still think there is something majestic about the wonders of dessert, beat that topic into the ground where it is sure to never rear its luscious face again.

Oh look, pie! 
What if I told you that you could make this pie? I know there are a couple of you out there who claim to be timid in the kitchen, and maybe meringue intimidates you. Perhaps this little tart keeps calling to me because I am supposed to help lower the bar to the point where you have the confidence to gingerly step over it. Would you like me to do that for you? I will take your stunned silence as a "yes". By the way, if you are already brimming with self-assurance, get yourself over to Pinterest and conquer the world. We're just trying to get through the day over here right now.

How to make a lemon meringue pie in my kitchen...
Get one of those pre-made, unroll it and you're good to go pie crusts. Don't get the kind that is already in the foil, as nobody is going to believe you did any work there. Do a fairly inadequate job of transferring the crust into your pie plate, as it gives the illusion that you were working with an unruly homemade crust. Cut the excess off at odd angles, further adding to the sense that a rolling pin was involved. The idea here is not to fabricate a story, and the truth should be told about the crust to anyone who asks, but there is no need to advertise your lack of effort before the first slice has even been cut. Use a fork to prick a bunch of holes all over the crust bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for however long it says to on the package.

Get a box of cook and serve lemon pudding mix. Well, you probably should have done this while you were at the store getting the crust, so make sure you have enough eggs too based on the pie directions on the box. Did you know that lemon meringue pie filling is lemon pudding? Sure, some elaborate recipes may call it lemon curd, but let's remember who we are here. Follow the directions on the box for the pudding part of the pie. You've got this! I suppose I could have just told you to read the box, period, and made this post a hell of a lot shorter, but I wanted you to feel like you were getting some moral support.

So the crust is cooked, and the pudding has thickened in some magical science experiment. You know what it's time for now...merengue! Wait, no, that's a dance - which you should absolutely feel free to do while you make the meringue! Do not panic when you see that the recipe calls for cream of tartar. I never have it in the house, and while it may have superpowers, you will be good enough without it. I usually double or at least one and a half the amounts for the meringue called for on the box. I have no idea how many batches the stores use to get that snowy mountain of white. 

Egg whites in, now let that mixer do its magic! You'll know when the "soft peaks form" and that it is time to add the sugar. I probably should have taken some more pictures to help us on this journey, but seriously did not expect this project to linger for so long. I did make sure to take this picture of what was happening as I tried to clean up from my peanut butter toffee bit cookie making, while waiting for the meringue to form the ever elusive stiff peaks.
I probably would have had better luck if I had grabbed the open end of the toffee bit bag. Better still, I could have forgone a chance to multi-task and just stood still for the three minutes or so it took for the peaks. (There appeared to be a trend as this was the scene when I made oatmeal raisin cookies.)
Mmmm...cookies...were we talking about something else? Is anyone still here? I'm starting to lose interest in this topic - FINALLY!!! You can read, so I have faith in you that you can totally finish this project. I always think my meringue is just right to put on the pie, and then when I start pouring it out of the mixing bowl, I realize it is still a little soft, and do you want to know something? It is still okay. Meringue may be a sort of perfect science, but it still works when slightly imperfect. Bake until golden!

Do you even like lemon meringue pie? That might have been a good question to lead with. We can talk about homemade chocolate cream pie instead some other time, as it is even easier! If you have any questions, ask away, and I will try to adopt some sense of authority and knowledge when I answer.

I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of my DIY for underachievers series...if not, it will be a very short series.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Pawestruck


Help! Help! Help! Don't just stand there trying to take my picture! This dog wants to attack me!
Foz, I am embarrassed by your behavior during your celebrity meet and greet with Pearl. She was so excited to see you.
Wait, that was Pearl? Why didn't anybody tell me?
Oh please.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Reflection lag

I was looking at my blog the other day, pondering how I could make it more visually appealing, because I care about your overall experience while visiting here. The first thing that caught my eye was the a-z challenge badge. I felt like I had left my Easter decorations up a crazy long time. That challenge was in April, and here we are bounding our way into June. The fact that I literally just ate a leftover Twix egg does not mean the bunnies should still be on display, so to speak. There are a few thoughts regarding the theme I chose this year that are kicking around in the boombox of my mind, clamoring to get out, so without further delay...

Why so many soundtracks in my possession over the course of the years? Remember back before you could purchase a single song, and instead had to commit to an entire record, cassette, cd? I was a thrifty teen who preferred to buy a collection of music from a variety of artists, as opposed to getting an entire album from a group just to have the one song I really liked. 

Were there any favorites that I just couldn't fit in? (I am not sure why I am interviewing myself.) Yes, one in particular sticks out in my mind. Most of the other odds and ends were taken care of with the quick picks, but I could not find a video clip to use, much to my dismay, and Stand My Me was not included. (Shrek had far too tight of a grip on the letter S.)

Do I ever ponder a soundtrack for the story of my own life? Um, only all of the time! So often songs are chosen for the mood they help set, other times the story the lyrics tell is a sort of companion tale. I am forever caught up in the words. A few weeks ago, I found myself wandering the aisles of Trader Joe's singing far more loudly than what may have been appropriate for my voice in a public place. Despite knowing every word, I was not immediately aware of what U2 selection was coming through the store's sound system. How did Bono know that I was stuck in a moment and couldn't get out of it?! And yes, I did need to get myself together!

Do I actually listen to any of those soundtracks anymore? The cd selection in my car now consists of a decent reflection of where my mind was for the month of April:

  • Shrek 1, 2 and 3
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Robots
  • Now and Then
  • Grosse Pointe Blank
  • Friends
  • Muppets

We went on a short family pilgrimage yesterday, and when the radio lost its signal, I challenged the kids to try not to sing when I put a soundtrack on. I told them they might not even realize they were singing, it was just habit from having these songs playing in the background on so many occasions...to which my husband referred to them as "Mommy's Pavlov dogs". Of course they took this as an actual challenge, and fought every urge they had to belt out the notes. I will get them the next time, when they least expect it.