Dinner, Step by Step

I know, I know – you’ve been waiting with baited breath, right? Although you pretended to be enjoying your Thanksgiving Day with loved ones, you were really wondering what that strange woman with an elusive mind was up to – how she was spending her day, right? So I won’t keep you waiting any longer – I am here to share with you in full, TMI detail.

The tradition in our neighborhood is to have holiday dinners together in a planned potluck style. Usually there are at least eight or nine of us, but this year half of our neighborhood went off to warmer climes to visit family, and one couple had their son and his family coming to see them, so we ended up with just three of us at the table – with far too much food, but isn’t that required of holiday dinners?

I was responsible for dessert, part of which was the requisite pumpkin pie. I opted to make a butter pie crust, which I had not done before. I seem to have a compulsion to try out new recipes on other people. Since the dough had to chill before it was rolled out, I mixed it up first.

While that dough chilled, I started on the second dessert – bread pudding, made especially because the Social Flutterby’s husband loves it.

Bread cut into cubes, with mixture of half and half, eggs, sugar and spices ready to be poured on.

Then into the oven

and out, ready to cool.

Crust chilled, now on to the pumpkin pie
with enough dough and filling left over to freeze for a future pie.

Pie in the oven, time to move on now to the Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes – a recipe that did not call for marshmallows because I do not like marshmallows. Once again, an untried recipe which called for these ingredients:

and looked like this when it was all in the pot.

Yes, Heather, it was very good. We all enjoyed it – and we will enjoy it again because of course I made too much. There is that holiday meal rule I mentioned. So when it was time to go, the fruits of my labor to take with me looked like this:

Well, except for that little piece of pie crust, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, that I know you’re thinking was made to satisfy the kid in me that remembers how her mother used to make these as treats for her little ones whenever she made pies – but not true, not true at all! It was my obligation to make sure this new recipe for pie crust that had not been tested was satisfactory before it was shared with friends. I did it for the good of my dinner partners. That’s the only reason.

And I just remembered there is this bridge for sale. . .

Dinner time, and I headed over to the home of our Social Flutterby and her husband, where they had provided the greater and more important part of the meal, the turkey (and other delicious side dishes).

As we readied ourselves to share a delicious meal, this is how the table looked.

I missed a golden opportunity though -I did not take pictures of the ruins of that meal, once we had all eaten too much and shared the warmth of friendship. To those of you who were not with us – we missed you.

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Share Your World – 2015 Week 47

I am late this week to share my world with Cee, but I have a good excuse – I have been really busy doing nothing. That takes a lot of time, you know!

1. In your native language which letter or character describes you best? Why? Oh, great start here! I have never ever thought about a letter or character describing me, whether it be in my native language of American English or in Swahili, French, Italian, Korean, Arabic – or any other language. But I’ll pick one, and see how it works. I think I’ll pick () – parentheses. Not one half, but both sides. Because it reminds me of a hug, and that’s how I feel about life, most of the time. It’s one big hug, it’s all-encompassing, but you’re not locked in like you would be had I picked an O.

3. What is your greatest extravagance? My biggest problem is that I am too often too extravagant. Not in huge amounts, but enough little amounts add up. I think I would have to say electronic devices first – followed by, probably, shoes.

3. Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either? I would prefer exercising my mind and body by maybe walking and solving the world’s problems while I walk, but I am lazy and I am not wise enough to solve the world’s problems. I think I exercise my mind more than I do my body – I always have good intentions, but I’m bad on the follow through. Tomorrow, I say. Too often I say that.

List at least 5 things that makes you laugh.
1. Shasta when she gets on one of her frenzies outside – this happens most often when I say the word W-A-L-K. Actually, Shasta when she gets excited, because she bounces.
2. When I am spending time with my friends or my kids and one of us says something that is so far out, we wonder where it came from.
3. Some of the cat or dog videos that circle around on Facebook.
4. The squirrels when they chase each other up and down the trees, running in circles, laughing (I am sure) all the way.
5. Occasionally, a line of dialog in a movie or on TV.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful that the Gracious One’s granddaughter, who is pregnant but has eclampsia and is in the hospital, is doing fine and has made it to the critical week 32 with the baby, and that the baby’s doing great although she is small. They’re hoping to make it to week 34, but prepared to deliver sooner if necessary.
I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Dinner today with friends. Oh yeah, I’m also looking forward to some leftover turkey for sandwiches.

When I got up today, my thermometer said it was 12 degrees, and that it had been as low as 9 degrees. It is now a blistering 32 degrees. The sun is shining, so I am pretending that my view is not of snow-covered ground, but of the ocean and its beaches, on a warm day.


I am wishing you a happy day of Thanksgiving, shared with loved ones, full of love.

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November Ramblings

I’m sitting at my desktop computer, with the window looking out on my bird tree in front of me. A few minutes ago, I looked up to discover a squirrel sitting in the tree, staring through the window at me. I said good morning, he did not respond. Rude! Then he ran up the tree, onto the roof and I listened to his footsteps heading across to another tree.

I see sparkles on the grass and the bushes the sun is hitting. That’s what happens when the temperature is all the way up to 23 degrees. The weather people are saying that 23 degrees is going to feel warm by Thanksgiving, when our low should be 10 degrees, and our high below freezing. They are also mentioning snow in a day or so, but not a lot, only 1″ to 3″. Pretty normal for us this time of year. Perhaps today I should fill bird feeders, because I may not want to venture out too much when that cold comes in.

My kids are on the move again. Kat has signed a contract to teach in Thailand beginning next fall. She interviewed with a school in Jordan, and I was much relieved when she decided she didn’t want that job. That part of the world is in too much of an uproar to make me feel secure. She will be home for Christmas on December 14. Gep has become discontent with changes in the school he’s been with in Oman and will be leaving there after winter break. He’s considering spending some time in Ecuador, taking some time off to decide which direction he wants to go next. Ecuador is good – it’s far away from that uproar I mentioned above. Whether he will be home for Christmas is undecided, depending upon when what needs to be taken care of for his move gets done.

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us already! How did that happen, and where did the year go anyway? I will spend the day with the few of us in the neighborhood that will be here; half of our neighborhood is off to visit family in other parts of this western side of the country. We will have a kind of “potluck” Thanksgiving dinner, to which I intend to contribute dessert (I’m thinking pumpkin pie and bread pudding) as well as a sweet potato casserole. Not the one with marshmallow – I don’t like marshmallows. I’ll be trying a new recipe, and hoping it comes out as good as it looks. It cooks in the slow cooker, which seems ideal to me because then I won’t have to worry about keeping it hot – I can cook it, set it to warm and take the whole thing with me.

a very casual holiday dinner

a very casual holiday dinner

My Bailey girl has been doing pretty well the past few days – the steps off the decks seem to be giving her less trouble, but she hobbles after walking a shorter distance now, so our walks have become more abbreviated.
Some days we do our little “Bailey walk”, then Shasta and I go out for a longer walk when she’s ready to go in the house.
Twiggy kitty is doing fine, showing no signs of the diagnosis of lymphoma. Neither is she taking the medications that were prescribed. I tried crushing the pills and mixing them in the soft food she gets for breakfast – she took two bites and said no more. I tried mixing the whole pills in the soft food and she ate around them. I got pill pockets, which worked for one day. After that, she ate the pockets and left the pills. Forcing them into her throat and getting them down is not an option without having at least four hands. It puts my body parts – and maybe my life – at high risk. She gets a little grumpy about things like that. I have decided to let nature take its course and thus far, she’s doing just fine.

Robyn, of Breezes at Dawn blog fame,posted about unfinished projects, which made me chuckle. I chuckled because I related. I currently have three knitting projects started – started many months ago. Then there are the embroidery projects I started many years ago. There are the beading projects I started more recently. I have a cabinet I built when I was building things and doing decorative painting, filled with the remains of materials purchased for various and sundry hobbies. My habit is to get intrigued by something, become obsessed about that something, and stock up on materials. My cabinet is filled with glitter and glue, fabric paints and acrylic paints, and many other things. A closet shelf contains unused canvases and paints; an easel sits, empty, in the corner, waiting for me to pull out a canvas and the paints I bought when I thought I would start painting again. My craft desk is littered with bits and pieces of projects, started and not completed. My craft room shelves are filled with yarns and other bits and pieces of various hobbies, accompanied by books about those hobbies. My very dear friend, The Artistic One, when we were sorting the materials for all those projects she intended to do, said her life was filled with good intentions. I think that also applies to me. I think my life is filled with bits and pieces of those good intentions.

Ah well, there is always tomorrow!

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Share Your World – 2015 Week 46

Time for some levity, I think, something light-hearted, nothing heavy. The sun is shining today and I am working to shake my doom and gloom mood, to find a whiff of fresh air – what better way to do this than to Share my World as Cee suggests?

1. What type of popular candy you do not like to get? I really don’t like candy unless it’s chocolate, maybe occasionally a little licorice. The hard candies that seem to always show up at Christmas are meant, in my opinion, only for decoration, certainly not for eating. The candy corn that seems to be a part of Halloween (or was when I was a kid) is not something I care to eat now as an adult. Chocolate, gotta be chocolate.

2. What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? I think I’m going to go with Cee here – a trip to the coast would be my most enjoyable way to spend $500. An oceanfront place to stay, time with people I care about and my big furry girls, walks on the beach, meals eaten with a view of the ocean – yep, that would be my most enjoyable way. There is something about the coast that fills my heart and soul with joy, with feelings of hope.

3. Where do you eat breakfast? Breakfast for me is usually after I’ve been up for two or three hours and will be something simple and easy – maybe a bagel with creamed cheese, or a bowl of instant oatmeal, a bowl of granola (homemade, of course) and vanilla yogurt, maybe when I’m feeling quite ambitious a couple of scrambled eggs – always, always eaten in the morning room, by my window, looking out at my bird tree. I must confess, though, that breakfast is one of my favorite meals to eat out, and when I do that I get a full-on breakfast with bacon/sausage, eggs, toast and hash browns or country fries.

4. Would you rather ride one of the worlds longest zip lines or bungee jump one of the highest in the world? This will come with a 5-day all expense vacation. A 5-day all expense paid vacation? Oh wow! Then I think I will go to Costa Rica, to one of their rain forests, and do the zip line. No bungee for me – that looks tremendously jolting and hard on the body, not to mention that dropping down into the unknown (which is different somehow, in my mind, to the gliding down into the unknown on a zip line) would be heart attack time.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful to have had last week, in a part of the world not likely to be overrun by terrorists. I am looking forward to a week that brings nothing but peace and gentle thoughts, time looking out my window on a quiet place, watching the birds, with my furry girls.

My most recent evening visitor was the buck Mule Deer – sometimes he and the doe come together, sometimes separately, although I suspect when I think there is only one of them, the other is simply lurking back in the scrub where he/she cannot be seen.

The other morning, when the rain was attempting to become snow, the squirrel’s tail became a good umbrella, keeping his back warm and dry.

There was also a mixed group for breakfast

with the sentry to alert them in case of danger.

Here’s to a week of enough!

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Dark Skies

I feel like the skies over our world have darkened, obliterating any light that might come through, threatening the future for all of us. The news is bleak.
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The news from Paris is frightening, the inhumanity of mankind is frightening, extremism seems to be running rampant. It makes me wonder if there is any hope for mankind. It’s as if we are reliving the horrors of 9/11.

The knee-jerk reactions from the powers that be are also frightening to me. The response to the horror in Paris is to inflict more horror upon Syria and other countries where ISIS is destroying life. The governors of Alabama and Michigan have said they will not take immigrants from Syria – because one of the terrorists in Paris came into France with a stream of immigrants. But does that make all immigrants a threat to us? Aren’t the majority of them simply trying to escape the same horrors that we are fighting? Will barring immigrants stop the terror? Have we forgotten that it was immigrants that built this country? Has anyone noticed that at least one of the terrorists was a citizen of France? Are any of these reactions the best answer? I don’t know.

I don’t know the answers. I only know that I fear the children of my grandchildren will have no peace, no sunshine, no place of safety. We have a government that does not work, a world population that knows no compromise, no willingness to allow the freedom of choice so that we can each believe as we wish, no moderation.

Darkness seems to be descending.
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I pray for light. I pray for understanding. I pray for peace.

Now I’m going to go back to bed, and hope that when I awaken again the sun will be shining and my mind will not be filled with foreboding.

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Dear World

Dear World, I have a few things I want to say to parts of this world. Just because I can. Nothing terribly important, prophetic or philosophical, just some words I want to share.

Dear Government, I think it would be really nice and helpful if you could stop arguing amongst yourselves, one party against another, and simply get down to business. Oh, and while you’re at it, perhaps showing some respect for the President would also be good? I don’t care who the president is, his position deserves some respect. I’m not asking you to agree with him all the time, you understand? If you could do those things, then perhaps I would have some respect for you and maybe even feel that my vote matters.

Dear Mother Nature, could you be kind to my part of the world until after the New Year? I really want to be able to safely drive over the mountains to fetch my loved ones from the airport over there for the holidays – because TSA cannot see fit to come back to our town enabling us to have flight service here. Once they are safely back on their way home, you can bury us in snow, I won’t care. I don’t think I’m asking too much, really, am I?

Dear Deer,
You really are welcome to visit my yard anytime you wish. I like to watch you and admire your beauty and your grace. But could you, would you, please not munch on my roses? I mean, they’re not prize winners, they are simply Rugosa roses, the kind that will survive our climate, but I do like them and would like to enjoy them for many more years.

Dear Bloggy Friends, it’s amazing to me how much you have all added to my world and how close I feel to many of you, despite the fact that we have never met and may never meet in person.

Dear Squirrels,
I do love watching your antics and listening to you running across my roof. I give you points for ingenuity when it comes to finding food, but I do think lifting the lid of the feeder and climbing in is cheating a little. Just a little. You have to remember to share with the birds. It seems the chipmunks may have gone into hibernation since I’ve not seen them for a couple of days, so there is that much less competition now. Play nice.

Dear Me,
I am so glad it seems you are finally getting over yourself and giving yourself a little break. I mean, really! You have been acting like the world will end if you don’t accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. It seems you’re finally figuring out it will not – and so what if there’s some dust on your furniture and some clutter here and there? Are you expecting critics to come visit? I think not, and I think it’s good that you’re figuring that out. After all, there is only one of you living here with your furry girls and so how much do you think needs to be done every day? You don’t need to be able to eat off your floor, and you are who you are. Not perfect. Never have been, never will be. Accept it.

Whew! Just needed to get that out of my system. I feel so much better now.

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #45

This week I’m joining Cee to share my world. I’ve been erratic about this lately, but this week it feels like what I want to do.

1. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”? Spending time with friends, no matter what we’re doing; being with my kids; walking on the beach – you can see I’m a big party-gal, can’t you? Yep, always looking for a good quiet time.

2. What is your favorite time of day? That’s a hard one – mornings is when I am most likely to accomplish something and that always feels good. But I also like afternoons, when I spend some time reading and napping, followed by a walk with the big furry girls, usually short because Bailey girl’s old joints don’t handle long walks anymore. Then there’s whatever time of day I spend with friends. Evenings when I plop myself in front of the TV to watch whatever the heart feels like watching, or just to read or play silly games on the iPad. The time of day when I read blog posts, create blog posts, read my email . . . I think it’s safe to say my favorite time of day is the time I spend upright and breathing.

3. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want have a evening with? I wish I could come up with an answer that would show you how intelligent, philosophical, deep-thinking I am. I wish. Except that would not necessarily be a true answer, so I won’t do that. What I will say is I think I would like to spend an evening with all of my bloggy friends, having wine, beer, coffee, tea – whatever each of you would like to have. Just getting to know one another better. (Side note here – autocorrect changed my friends to bloody friends – that is so not what I want).

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… Smile at me and I will guarantee a smile back. Quite often it only takes someone to look at me and I will smile – but I find it off-putting if that person doesn’t smile back.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful to have had last week. Life comes with no guarantees, so each moment is a treasure. I am looking forward to having this week coming up, to do with as I wish.

Here are a few more things that make me smile:



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