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book review.... ("Seabiscuit")

Thursday, March 31, 2016
...by Laura Hillenbrand. About a race horse from the 1930's. A really well researched and entertaining story. I am sure lots of the info., such as quotes by owners, trainers and jockeys were published in media, with a great deal of coverage by journalists looking for eye-catching news. With time and dedicated reading, some digging into archives there is probably a trove of history readily available to unearth and organize.

I have never followed horse racing, but expect you can make and loose a tremendous amount of money wagering on winners as well as losers. As close I have ever been: small town rodeos and barrel racing girls on pinto ponies. The story (which I listened to on Cd's while driving) was fascinating, with this unlikely horse,  not bred for competition or with a form that would give the appearance of a serious competitor, being unexpectedly a determined and fierce force to be reckoned with. The race tracks the high stakes horses run on are usually ovals, a distance measured in 'furlongs', of a mile and a fourth. Biscuit was a crowd favorite, loved by the masses and closely followed by the media. With a early version of the paparazzi peeking into stalls, hiding behind shrubbery, investigating every aspect of a equine life.

I got the feeling his success as a race horse was largely due to the 'horse sense' of the man who saw something in his form no one else could see and took him on to develop him into remarkable story. He had several accidents in his racing career, disappeared from the news and the public eye. Then came back healed, intact, stronger than before, winning more races. There were a series of surprising comebacks when most expected his career was over.

Very enjoyable story.


...to something half-brained and probably slightly dumb. There was a time when I would never ever admit to foolish behavior, own up to personal stupidity. But what-the-hell...Lots of things I used to be so conscious of, and fearful about: not nearly as important now. Things that were once monumental have diminished greatly over the years. So, who cares? Not me.

I've written about going to a tiny little community with a huge Baptist church in Harris County on Thursday afternoons. Helping a little third grade guy with his homework, working on spelling words, doing math problems, practicing counting money/change. I've missed a couple of weeks recently, one due to being on the schedule to work and another  because I forgot. Then the one last week when I worked nearly around the clock and just could not get away.

So I was determined to leave work today in time to get out there and meet my little guy, as there is only about a month left of the program. The tutoring will end with the last week of April, and I think they get out for the summer in mid-May. I really wanted to make the most of the few days we have left to progress in his school work. Went dashing out from work and off to get to the church by four o'clock. And got there in plenty of time: to discover the door locked, whereupon I remembered the Harris County schools are out for spring break all week.  I felt like such a doofus.

it looks reaaaalllly bad...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
... like the thing you get when appendages gradually fall off from something incurable, causing terrible disfigurement that makes people avert their eyes and cross to the other side of the street. But it is neither terminal nor permanently attached to my person. It has been making me think I would go nuts for several days but I know it's only poison ivy, and can expect a 100% survival rate. Still... I'm so itchy and trying so desperately hard not scratch it's crazy-making.

I was being helpful - and this is the thanks I get? After our little two day road trip into Up-state South Carolina last week, I made  myself available to do some yard work in Decatur. The project was to finish an on-going battle with some very invasive English ivy. One of those things you think you want until you have it and see that it can adapt to display characteristics similar to kudzu: unstoppable and very invasive, creeping, crawling, climbing everywhere. I think the stuff we were pulling had originated in a neighbor's yard, and due to benign neglect had come under, around, over and through fence.

In the process of pulling, whacking, snatching, breaking, bending, and piling the strands of ivy vines into yard waste sacks, we got ourselves infested with some highly aggravating poison ivy. Or maybe oak or sumac. But I think it was poison ivy, as it is much more common. And of course, we totally, blatantly disregarded the possible results in our determination to finish the project. So did nothing to keep the irritating oils we took away from the work to a minimum.
It's on my face. And fore arms, and belly. And legs, and back. Argggghhhh....

After several days of misery, and a totally unnecessary office visit, a cortisone injection, and a trip to the pharmacy for Rx, I am better. Thankyouverymuch for your concern. It's still itchy and I am still trying to not scratch, but want so badly to claw it off my body. Which would, of course, only make it worse by spreading it to the few areas that are still un-blemished by ugly, red, blistered skin.

I got into some of the same stuff a year or so ago when doing a brush-whacking project with the United Way. I do recall how it was all over my arms for day, but apparently failed to recall  how miserable I was until it started to clear up. I am pretty sure I won't forget this. Might even mark it on my calendar as something so memorable I don't want to repeat!

another gore-y story...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
.... with red stuff everywhere... splattered all over the kitchen counters, floor, not enough dishtowels to soak it all up. Brightly colored scarlet: gooey, sticky mess gumming feet to the floor and dripping all over the place.

Not to worry: I've been making strawberry jam. Lots and lots of strawberry jam. Much more than I had expected or intended, due to having all those berries. They were on sale at the store through last Saturday, and as cheap as I thought they would be all season. I was therefore compelled to buy some with the intention of  turning the berries into toast topping the first of the week.

I got up Monday morning thinking I would get it done. But only got them ready: washing, cutting their little green caps/stems off, and putting in the blender to smoosh before the actual jam-ming part.
I could not figure out how much to buy, even though I read the paperwork/flyer that came in the box of sure-jel. So I came home with a flat of berries, plus more. A cardboard flat holds eight plastic boxes, and each box is a pound. I thought they were measured in pints, but what do I know? Obviously a lot more now, after making over thirty half-pint jars. And: Yay! success: they all sealed.

What I do know now: is that one pound of berries will make about two cups, if you are putting the berries in the blender to chop up. You don't want to puree to the point of no clumps/lumps, so you just kinda sorta make the blender do the hard part, so you don't have to extert muscle power with the potato masher. I used two different kinds of the gel stuff. One was a liquid with two packets in the box, and the other was for reduced sugar, which was powdered like a jello pudding mix, and called for about half the amount of sugar the other used. I'm a'jammin' all over the place...

Expect to get a little jar of strawberry jam for Christmas, tied up with a bright green ribbon, looking very seasonal. And if you don't mind, please return the jar, so I can make more jam next year?

cookin' at work...(brussels sprouts)...

Sunday, March 27, 2016
...making a side dish that would go well with most anything. Sprouts have come back into fashion. I would not even get close enough to taste when I was a kid - and they were put on my plate in the lunchroom at school. Looking like they had been cooking since yesterday, simmering overnight, bleached out almost white, and smelling like - - - -. So I knew in advance I did not like them. Until being persuaded to give it a try as an adult. And finding myself asking for seconds.

The best ever would be the ones that are roasted with a bit of balsamic drizzled on top, or maybe just olive oil and cracked pepper, sprinkling of sea salt. All the high-visibility/big name chefs have started farm to table/local-style cooking, and using what ever pops up at the farmers' market when they go to shop for the day. So Brussels sprouts are showing up on the table in ways you would not ever have imagined.

I would personally not add all the ingredients listed in the recipe, as you are combining so many unlikely flavors, as well as adding calories, I am not sure your taste buds will be able to discern there is actually a vegetable in there. Plus questionable nutrition when you think about the 'cooked in bacon grease' part.

creamed sprouts

1 pound fresh sprouts
3 oz. chopped shallots (or diced onion)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, leaves only
2 oz. Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce

Remove stumps from sprouts, cut in half, and slice. Preheat large skillet. Cook diced bacon till crispy.
Remove from pan, retaining drippings. Add shallots/onions, let soften, then add sprouts. Cook for four or five min. till tender. Turn off heat, then stir in remaining ingredients, cheese last. Serve warm.

cookin' at work.... (bread pudding)...

... made on one of those long days when I reproduced the recipe so many times I was putting it together from memory, without looking at the recipe. When you make it over and over and over, in the course of eight hours, it is pretty firmly embedded in your head. I could probably tell it here without referring to the card, but just to be sure yours is as good as the one I gave away four times, this is the way it is written for customer consumption. It was very good, and something I would bake for sharing with friends and family. Partially due to ease of preparation, and partially due to the fact that I am a fool for bread pudding.

Here's a helpful hint before you get started. When I was organizing after getting to work, checking to be sure all the ingredients were readily available, so I would not be chasing all over the store, I went to the bakery to ask about the bread. Saying 'stale' is ok, as that would be what your grandmother would have used to  make it from scratch during the era of home-baked bread. They said all they had that was out-dated was some that was already sliced, and I said all the better. Asked to have it put in the slicer the other way, so sliced twice, into long narrow strips I would not have to cube before use.
They will do that for you, if you ask

Pineapple bread pudding

4 Tbs. softened butter, mixed with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
8 oz. bakery Italian bread (a loaf is 16 oz., so you only need half), cubed or torn into bites, you could use any kind - think how good it would be if you used raisin/cinnamon bread. Oh, my goodness!
4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
1 - 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, in juice, undrained
cooking spray
maraschino cherries for topping if desired

Preheat oven to 350. Blend butter and brown sugar, add spice. You can use a hand mixer, but I just did it with a fork, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, or the full cup if using substitute. Blend well. Stir in pineapple. Add bread and mix well. Coat 9 x9 in. baking dish with non-stick spray, spoon in bread mixture. Top with cherries if desired. Bake 25 - 30 min. or until center is set. Serve warm.

gruesome scene...

Saturday, March 26, 2016
...with a trail of blood leading from the vehicle into the house. Dripping across the concrete floor of the carport, after leaving a frightening puddle there by the car door...  a sticky stain of red trailing through the door and splotches on the tiles into the kitchen. What in the world is going on? Where is the bleed out? Who is the victim? How did this happen?

When I got in and put my bags down, looked back at where I had been: I was astounded. Then I realized the little jar of red maraschino cherry juice had leaked every where! You can imagine what a fright, then what aggravation, with a sugary, staining, sticky mess to clean up. So,  the tale has a happy ending: no weapons, or wounds, or bandages involved.

I was making a recipe at work that called for decorating the top of the bread pudding with cherries. So I drained the jar of cherries and saved the juice, thinking I could go home and mix it with Sprite and have myself a little non-alcoholic beverage. Pretending to be a grown-up, sipping on my exotic cocktail at the end of a tiring day...

Obviously...(March 12, 2014)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
...I am in need of a major attitude adjusting. 

I have mentioned more than once, how much I like my current department manager who lets  me go to church before clocking in to work on Sundays. He is, as I have said, agreeable and congenial - easy to work with. So I got up this morning and put on my working clothes, and went to church at 9:00 before I had to be on the job at 11:00.

And had a really productive day. Prepping freight: fresh flowers that needed cutting to put out on sales floor. Watering, grooming, fluffing plants and making a couple of arrangements for cash and carry sales. Then I went to work in produce prep area, making fresh fruit parfaits with yogurt and a few salads for the fresh bar. Cleaned up and got out of there about 6:00.

The thing is: I worked all day, and came home to a man who was sitting in the recliner all afternoon. And I put a meal together and put it on the table for him to eat. He did say 'Thank You'. But what kind of man is that who sits at home and waits for someone to come feed him?

He's been eating barbeque plates, a coworker had delivered to the store from her church, for supper the past two nights.  They cook and deliver for a building fund each year - and she sells dozens of carry out meals to co-workers who order chicken, fish or ribs.  I'd ordered weeks ago, and brought home, thankful that I did not have to think about 'what's for supper?' for two nights when he could pull cold ribs, baked beans and potato salad out of the fridge and eat out of a styro. tray.

I know: I should be thankful..  He's been right here, not out roaming around. Behaving himself. But it is so frustrating to go to work, buy the groceries, come home, and put it together. Stomping around the kitchen, mumbling and grumbling, banging pots down, bumping and thumping... while he sits.

...'it's been interesting'...(March 8, 2015)

... has been the response I try to make when people ask me how I like the job. Now that I have been doing it for several months, and apparently the move is permanent. In that my 'job class' has changed and I am no longer designated as a produce department worker. Which means: I find myself with a considerable reduction in pay. Not at all what I expected or intended as a result of agreeing to be trained to do the cooking demo. I was actually hoping the change would result in getting a few more hours, and a little boost in my weekly pay. Along with the possibility that I would get a raise when the next work evaluation period occurs.

I have a very clear sense of feeling like I shot myself in the foot. I do seem to be working a bit more than the parsimonious amount of time allotted when in the floral/produce department. But with marked reduction in hourly pay, I feel like I am sliding down the hill, backwards, without any hope of rescue. And no possibility for regaining the lost income I'd incrementally won over months and years of dependable, diligent work. Not something that would inspire one to be conscientious or demonstrate devotion to a job. As in: what's the point, anyway?

I will occasionally, when feeling stressed, say: 'it's not the  most fun I ever had'. But think the response I started off with is appropriately generic, covers enough of the spectrum for people to reach their own conclusions about how I'm liking/not the work. It has been interesting, in ways the average shopper/customer would not believe. It's actually pretty difficult for me to believe this is an appropriate way to treat reliable, faithful, hardworking employees, so unlikely the casual passer-by would want to know this happens where they have their favorite shopping experience.

That's my rant for today. Sorry....                                           

reading non-fiction...(The Theft of Memory)

... a very interesting book, for someone who can relate to the very scare-y subject of dementia. But quite revealing about family interactions and relationships, and the struggles we will all eventually confront with the accumulation of years. "The Theft of Memory" by Jonathan Kozol, with a subtitle of something like: watching my dad fade away day by day.

I suspect that my years of randomly working in elementary grade classrooms has given me the opportunity to see some of his writings, as the cover blurb lead me to believe he has written a number of children's books. One with the title of 'Amazing Grace', that is possibly a story about an inner-city girl. He has taught in inner-city, low income schools in the lower grades, and has been involved in movements to improve education and help change the course of the lives of people struggling with myriad social issues associated with poverty.

This book was about his family and relationships with his parents. I can really identify, and probably could write a similar, heart wrenching tale.  I have a number of little composition books, full of daily musings, written in an effort to maintain sanity, over the weeks and months I spent with my mom after my dad's death. Maybe I should get them down off the closet shelf, after all these years? I have not re-read, just not ready to re-visit but think that after all this time - over ten years- I could, should, might, maybe be ready to remember that time in my life. Put it in some sort of relatively painless order and share.....

when in SC...

... we invited ourselves to spend the night with a cousin. E. is from the little town in south GA where I grew up, so I have virtually, practically known her all our lives. Except for those few youngest years when oblivious to the world as my entire universe was self centered. We've been together for a long time, and I love her dearly,  not just due to shared DNA, but because she is She. Really smart, capable, seriously committed to her profession. As well as devoted to her family, crazie about two little grandkids that live on the far side of the continent.

I'd thought in an effort to not be total complete  moochers, we would take the makings for dinner and prepare a meal to share at her house. But we went to eat (too much) at a local, mediocre Mexican restaurant instead. And soon found ourselves so stuffed it was necessary to go to bed tooooo early.

Then we went to visit my pen-pal who lives about twenty minutes away, enjoyed spending some time with him. He was in the service with my dad during the Big War, and went through training with him in Camps Rucker and Blanding. Then they were shipped to NY state and on to England for more training before landing in France where they were stationed for the remaining time of the European conflict. I have written and voice recordings of the stories he willingly, gladly tells of his experience and memories of time with the Company Captain.  And now one of my favorite people has had the opportunity to hear the stories first hand, as he shared rememberances of her granddad with her.

And an amusing growing up story I had not previously heard. He grew up on a farm as the fifth of five children, so I can picture how the last little one would often be overlooked or get lost in the daily shuffle of their busy lives. Plenty of necessary activities to keep everyone of  all ages occupied with the work that occurs throughout the seasons of farming to support a family.

He reported that he was just barely walking well, and decided he should go down the lane to a swimming hole. Accompanied by his dutiful companion: a sheltie who apparently served as his nanny, always watchful of her charge. The dog named Fanny, followed him out of the house and down the little farm path to the edge of a swimming hole, that was fenced off with strings of barbed wire. And grabbed the backside of his diaper as he was wiggled through the strands of wire. Holding on to him for some period of time, until someone noticed his little self missing and sent up an alarm. The search began, and the family found the self-appointed baby sitter still holding onto her charge, half-way through the fence, waiting for help!

He just had a birthday, and is now 93 years old. So obviously has a remarkable memory. He lives alone, still driving himself any place around town he wants to go, other than preparing meals entirely self-sufficient. There are lots of adult children, grand children and great grands around, close enough to enjoy visiting, and always available to come together to celebrate any small occasion. To my way of thinking there is nothing 'slight' about a 93'rd birthday, so I imagine there was lots of celebrating. Plus he said that his birthday was the fifth one they had observed during the month of March.

veering off the path...

...when traveling south on I-85 to start our 'tour of GA waterfalls'. I don't even have an actual list yet, but can put checkmarks by two of the well known and easily accessed ones in north Georgia. And don't you know that the best part of making the 'to-do' list is the satisfaction of getting to mark things off that have been accomplished?

I went with my peeps into the forest at Amicalola Park to spend the night at the exceedingly cold Len Foote Hike Inn a year ago back in the fall, and saw the waterfall there. I was driving up from Decatur to meet them, and arrived a bit early, so had time to poke around. Surely there are others in the park, but this one was visible from a great distance as you drove up the road into a parking area, as well as easily viewed from a path that allowed for good photos from the top. 

Beautiful view as you looked down into the park, in the bright sunshine, as the morning fog cleared. Seeing the surrounding valley and off into the distant hills, as it was late autumn, and the trees were bare, enhancing the view. But as you can imagine, the falls/any falls are more impressive when viewed from the pool at the bottom, when you get the full effect of the crashing water as it tumbles over rocks and down the creek.

There is an actual 'list' of must-see waterfalls in north Georgia, that can be accomplished in a weekend, though your brain is probably mush when you get back home. And your posterior numb from all the sitting and driving along curving, twisting, remote mountain highways. I am a big fan of state parks, and think most of the falls are in preserved protected areas owned and maintained by My Taxpayer Dollars At Work. But there are a number of these properties I have not visited, mostly in the northern part of the state. Which, as you might imagine, is where the falling water, cascading over mountain ledges, dropping hundreds of feet into crystal clear rocky bottomed creeks, could be found.

We went to the Toccoa Falls yesterday. Thanks to a DOT road map, GPS and an enhanced smart phone. Surprisingly, it is not owned or maintained by the state, though I would consider it a State Treasure. It is on property of Toccoa College, so I assume owned by the college. We entered through a: (you guessed it) gift shop (you won't be getting a 99 cent postcard). And paid $2 to go through the back door onto a graveled path leading up a slight incline to the base of the falls. Easily accessed by the short trail, well maintained, and remarkably graffiti free, not a shred of trash in sight. Amazingly clear little creek running away from the pool at the bottom of the falls. Worth a side trip to see.

slicing veggies...

... at work can be very tedious. Even with a hand-operated slicer, made of cast aluminum with a crank handle you turn as you force items through the slicing blade. Not complicated, very few moving parts, but time consuming when you consider the prep. for each item that involves washing and trimming before you can start the actual slicing. With the end product available for purchase: several combinations of fresh squash, as well as an assortment of fresh bell peppers with onions.

I have written about this onerous task before as I would start the process for preparing trays of sliced bell pepper rings. The finished product is placed on a small black Styrofoam tray and shrink-wrapped before being weighed on the scale that prints a label.
I stand there at the work table, having washed the dozens of colored peppers: red, yellow, orange and green,, cutting off tops and cleaning out seeds before slicing, as I ready them for slicing into rings. When each hollowed out pepper is fully prepped and I move on to the next color group, I turn them upside down, sitting on the cut edge of each pepper. So there on my cutting board are often as many as a dozen multi-colored bell peppers, large cup-shaped vegetables, overturned, ready to be neatly sliced into rings and placed on the black styro. trays.

Always making me think of that carnival game where you have to guess which cup the pea is under. As you stand there on the noisy, saw-dust covered crowded path between the head-spinning mechanical rides, you are invariably tricked by the sleight-of-hand movements and slick-talking carnival worker. Confused as your eyes try to keep up with the cup hiding the miniscule bean, hoping to out-smart a professional sneak.

When I was a work on Sunday, my task was to prepare the cut vegetables, prep.ing peppers and squash. The veg. are usually in a huge, room sized walk-in cooler, so I roll my little work buggy with grey plastic tub into the coldness to load up, then clean before slicing. All the fresh produce has to be washed first: fill a large stainless steel double sink with a disinfecting wash and dip everything into the water before moving to the work table to cut. Possibly due to recent reading material, stories about WWII, filled with spies, U-boats, shipping disasters, life-boat boardings, open-water rescues: I found myself thinking of dropping depth charges. Having recently read about barrels being rolled off the edge of the ship and into the sea, I began experimenting with tossing the peppers into the vast South Atlantic ocean, as the multi-colored peppers went into the sink full of anti-bacterial rinse water. Watching the sloppy, splashing 'explosions' of water as each pepper hit the surface, envisioning those fifty-five gallon drums loaded with deadly explosives, sloshing water out onto my apron and onto the floor. And in retrospect, thankful for built-in floor drains...

In my little hypothetical 'war game', blowing the bad guys out of the water in little mini-geysers as they exploded and splashed out of the sink. Yay! We won! The world is once again safe for democracy....

doughnut eating....

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
...funny story. Second- or third-hand from someone who told it about an event on the GA. Tech campus. F. probably got the tale from some of the young women in the sorority where she is employed. She has become good friends with some of the members, and enjoys hearing about their lives, studies, adventures and occasional mishaps. The doughnut story happened a couple of weeks ago during Greek Week.

There are apparently a number of traditonal competitions scheduled from year to year between the different houses of fraternity and sorority members on campus. Which means the older students, who have participated in years past, know what the events are like and can help decide which members of their group will be best as part of the team for any specific event. Things like tug-of-war in a mud pit, various relay races, sundry track and field events, things you would expect to actually see at actual Olympics. Plus a scavenger hunt and variety show, group events for self-amusement.

This particular event was timed to see who could down thirty yeast doughnuts quickest. At the meeting when the group was organizing, they asked for volunteers: 'Who wants to do the doughnut eating competition?' And this tiny little Asian girl raised her hand. Someone who could not possibly hide one single doughnut on her person without it being an apparent bulge under her clothing. She agreed to be the individual who would be the participant against more than a dozen big, hulking, hungry, bottom-less pit guys who routinely put away massive amounts of food in a single sitting.

The report I heard: She arrived at the assigned spot in the event, pounded the thirty doughnuts into a flattened mass, doused the bread-y lump with water and shoved the whole thing in her mouth. While all the guys stood there with the mouths gaped open in wonder, and their eyes bugged out of their heads. So astounded, no one thought to pick up a single doughnut and put it in the proper orifice. So this tiny little Asian girl won the doughnut eating contest for the glory of her sorority.

Can't you just picture this: Slight little figure, with long black hair, slicked back in a pony tail. Smiling shyly, looking so innocent and mild-mannered, with her secret plan. While all the jocks are being loud, jostling for attention, obnoxiously and obscenely poking fun at their competitors. Knowing they can plow through two-dozen-plus doughnuts in record time to beat out those wimpy little females. Big hulking athletes, standing there with yeasty glazed doughnut in hand, mesmerized by the petite little female who blows them out of the water, as they are frozen in motion, complete inactivity.

Georgia Guidestones...

Monday, March 21, 2016
...have been sighted. I wrote about this most unusual structure in the past couple of months, having just discovered the existence of the granite monoliths back in January. Located on a hill top, in a pasture in east Georgia. Close to the South Carolina border, we found them just standing there out on the highest point on the area. Calmly, patiently, silent as stones, waiting for us to destroy civilization so the guide stones can direct us as to how to be better citizens in the next world.

The monuments are etched with a series of suggestions, plans about how the citizenry should not overpopulate the planet, the necessity to create a universal language, encouragement to respect each other, care for the environment, not tolerate foolish politicians or incompetent officials. Pretty much the Golden Rule, expanded and elaborated upon to make it ten 'guidelines' rather than just saying: just Love One Another.

Made of Elbert County granite, and paid for by anonymous investors who wanted to create a lasting monument that would offer advice for the ages. There is a plaque that gives some basic info. about the origin of the stones, ordered by a mystery man named R.C. Christian. Who was a spokesman for a group of financial backers, and claims to have chosen Elbert County because his great great grandmother was from the area.

We were compelled to go on into Elberton and inquire at the Chamber of Commerce. Where we talked to a very pleasant person sitting at a computer who gave us several copied pages of information, that was mostly specifics of the sizes and weights of the stones, along with the ten different languages etched on the stones. There are some astronomical tidbits as well, with a hole being bored in the central stone that will always give the viewer a glimpse of the North Star. The stones are set on the compass points and have some significance related to the solstice. For more details, you can plan your own road trip or just google from the boredom of your couch.

blueberry plant back-story...

..of the first part. I had a remarkably prolific plant that had been growing for ... oh, maybe fifteen years. I'd planted in a  mutual agreement with a long-gone neighbor, who apparently had more funds than motivation. He loved plants, but would gladly hire out the actual planting. Purchased a specimen dwarf red maple and paid the plant nursery people to come and dig the hole, put it in the ground for him.

So when he wanted to have blueberries, he said he would buy the plants if I would dig the holes for him. I did, and will readily report that I did a masterful job. The place where they went in the ground was hard red clay, and I dug really nice big holes, getting numerous loads of bright orange, rock solid chunks that are remarkably poor for growing anything. Then borrowed some really fertile rich soil from my little vegetable garden plot to fill the holes before putting the blueberry bushes in. Mulched, watered, tended, observed, fertilized, watched, cared-for, nurtured, enjoyed, trimmed, prolific producers.

But now, I think I am the reason for the demise. I read an article somewhere about how they thrive in  acidic soil. And a helpful hint that a good way to make them Really Happy is to scatter used coffee grounds around the base of the plant. So I did. And apparently put 'way too much. Possibly a five gallon bucket full, that I took to church and asked the people who make enough coffee for about a thousand people to toss the used grounds in for me to recycle.

The one plant that was the amazing producer and would provide quarts and quarts of berries when it was in it's prime is slowly beginning to recover after struggling for a couple of years. I honestly thought it was dead. But saw a couple of little green shoots last summer and think it is making a genuine return from The Great Beyond. So I conclude that the coffee grounds were to blame and I admit to being the prime suspect, perpetrator of near demise.

there may have been...

...an inadvertent bit of accidental prevarication involved in the report on going to Pendergrass  up in northeast Georgia several weeks ago.  In the part where I claimed to have left the facility with my wallet intact. I kinda', sorta', maybe neglected to tell the part about buying blueberry bushes while we were at the 'World's Largest Indoor Flea Market.

I'd been wanting to get a few to have my own private crop of blueberries to enjoy, mosey out into the yard and pop them in my mouth in a deliciously leisurely manner. But had failed to begin (and therefore complete) the research to be prepared with information before purchasing. Not willing to invest in plants that would be unsatisfactory. I'd read enough to know you need to plant more than one variety but not sure why?

And honestly, I am still not certain. I had been thinking all this time it had something to do with 'the birds and the bees', pollination, necessity for one variety to mix it's reproductive juices with another? But now I am thinking it is to have a longer season. So there will be ones that will bloom sooner in the spring and make berries sooner. And another variety that would produce mid-season, and then a different type for still making fat juicy berries even later in the summer, when you'd other be getting into your stash in the freezer.

So when we took ourselves to plunder through (what I had assumed to be a vast parking lot assortment of) Trash and Treasures I conveniently was accompanied by a smart phone operator. Who conveniently googled up the info. I needed to decide which to buy. And even better: a good price. Yay!

I bought three, and brought them home. One of which was covered with blooms, so this was obviously the one that will produce the first berries of the season. Even more impressive, is the fact that they are: ta-da! in the ground. Thanks to the guy who came for the weekend and likes to be useful. In the best ways, as in getting up on the roof and blowing the accumulated leaves out of the valleys, trimming overhanging branches, puttering around fixing anything that needs a little bit of tinkering. Double Yay! Yay!

the wee-est bit of housecleaning...

Friday, March 18, 2016
where I sporadically, guilt-ily, sweep up small corpses from the living room floor. I have neglected doing it since the last time the traveling canine was visiting: the one that mysteriously shoots out fur like some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption, and leaves so much hair in her wake, we could produce a duplicate if we were knitters. So I found various and sundry dust bunnies under the furniture and in the corners.

And dozens and dozens of tiny little ant bodies no bigger than the dot at the end of this sentence. So light and weightless, it was almost like sweeping feathers. More residue I assume from the invasion early in the year when we had to call the pest service. Who came with a comprehensive round of poisonous fumes to combat the swarming effect when they took up residence. No way to tell how effective the deadly round of fumigation was to either the ants or the humans. I've not seen any live ones in recent weeks ,(and I'm still up and kicking!) so I am hoping the ants have either deceased or relocated.

But now that the weather is warming, I expect to see the spring crop of cockroaches that routinely attempt to set up housekeeping inside. A fact of life for inhabitants of the south, especially in places were there are lots of trees nearby. Periodically dropping leaves, creating mulch that is perfect nesting spot for all manner of insects, both the desirables and unwelcome. I put out little tabs of boric acid, that they must be eating, as all the ones I see inside have their feets up in the air. So yes, according to my personal research, boric acid works!

I found an assortment when I did the sweeping yesterday, probably the extent of my housekeeping for the next couple of months. I will have to sweep again after the traveling canine's appearance, but hope the bugs will die in such a discreet manner that their remains will not be noticeable to passers-by. I'd rather they did not move in, but if they do, hope they soon turn up in the obituaries.

cookin' at work....(spinach salad)

... was on the menu recently, along with a good chicken dish that has already been reported on (maybe?), but probably not tempting enough for me to duplicate in the privacy of my own kitchen. That chicken recipe had diced ham and cheese added after you simmer the poultry in applejuice and seasoning to give it a southwest-ish flair. I brought the card home for the spinach salad, which is very easy and something I would replicate for home folk.

Wilted spinach salad

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, which I prefer)
1/4 cup caramelized onion yogurt salad dressing (we were using the Bolthouse brand, I think)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
5 oz., or one small bag, fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

Preheat skillet, pour in oil. Add walnuts and cook 1-2 min. till they are fragrant and beginning to brown. Stir in tomatoes, dressing, salt and pepper. Bring to low simmer. Turn off heat, stir in spinach and cheese, coating well. Serve immediately.

cookin' at work...(potato pancakes)

Thursday, March 17, 2016
...with a secret ingredient. You will initially think: "Yuck!" But if you happened to be strolling through the store earlier in the week when it was being prepared and samples given away, you'd now be thinking: 'Oh! so That's what was so unusual?' So what was that taste bud surprise? Sauerkraut. The only customer who put a bite in her mouth and immediately said the word was someone who was raised in Germany, where it is apparently much more frequently/commonly served than one would find in south Georgia.

I had a couple of customers ask me for the recipe when I was cooking on Wednesday, after the potato pancake recipe was no longer being prepared. Meaning they liked it so well, and their tongues could recall the flavor so clearly, they came back to get the instructions and ingredients to make it at home. Which is, to my way of thinking, the definition of success, as far as sales are concerned.

Irish Cheese Potato Cakes

2 oz/ deli aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped
1 cup sauerkraut, drained and finely chopped
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cups refrigerated sour cream/chive mashed potatoes, drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. canola oil
14 cup sour cream

Place bread crumbs on waxed paper or large plate. Combine potatoes, cheese, chives, sauerkraut, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Shape mixture into eight 1/2 inch thick patties. Coat both sides of each potato cake with panko, pressing with fingertips to evenly coat. Be sure you coat it well.
Preheat non stick skillet, add half he oil, then add four potato cakes. Cook 3-4 min. on each side or until golden and hot. Drain on paper towels. Repeat. Serve with sour cream.

You will be tempted to turn the potato cakes too soon. I forced myself to use a timer and gave them at least four min. per side, after making a big hot mess of the first batch. Patience, please. Wait it out, and they will come out so pretty. Serve immediately, as they are best while still warm.

worth repeating...

 ... something I heard on the radio on the way to work. I had never heard this expression before and thought it so amusing and interesting, it is worth sharing. Likely you have not heard it either and will  hopefully find it worth reading:

'A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth can get it's pants on.'

So that makes me wonder if this might be where the chant you might hear on the playground came from? 'Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire'!

out in the woods...

Monday, March 14, 2016
...at a church retreat for the past two and a half days. Something a group of (mostly) Methodists do in March and again in October each year. I went as a participant some years ago. And now try to go back twice a year as a worker/servant to make the experience as memorable for the people who make the commitment to go as it was for me. The neat thing about going back as a volunteer is seeing how many people it takes to make the weekend look effortless, like it goes off without a hitch.

But the truth is the people who do the work, putting all the hours in behind the scenes make a tremendous effort  to be invisible. Waiting till the participants are out of the building where they are lodged. Waiting till they have finished a meal in the dining hall before they start cleaning up. Waiting till they have gone to bed to set up for the following morning. It almost gives the appearance of the Tooth Fairy coming by sprinkling magic dust on every thing over the 72 hours of the event. It's almost a sure bet the participants are not actually gullible enough to believe in 'magic' per se, but there are very few questions about the inner workings. I guess when they agree to be lead down the Primrose Path, they have willing made the commitment, thus proceed to take everything that happens at face value?

 Can't say whether it is a more moving experience to be there when the participants are all men and see them at the end when they get teary-eyed and emotional. As they have to tell the community who has provided for their every need and want what they are feeling, and how they will choose to make changes in their lives back in the Real World. Or see the women who have benefitted from that nearly identical experience, as they have grown and strengthened from being in an all female environment for the entire weekend.

It was a tiring weekend, lots of constant behind the scenes activity. But also profoundly gratifying in a variety of way to those who were 'travelers' and those assisting them on their journey. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And probably will when the opportunity arises in October.

things i didn't cook at work...

Thursday, March 10, 2016
... would be the other two recipes on that same laminated card that has the yummy cake on it. One does not even tempt my taste buds (chard with vinaigerette), as I am totally opposed to any version of limp greens. Love salads, but once the greens get cooked: No thanks.
The third recipe was for rice flavored with rosemary, which would have to be good, if you are a fan of this fragrant herb. Plus parmesan cheese - how can you go wrong?

rosemary sticky rice

2 tsp. fresh rosemary
1 cup Aborio or risotto rice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup sweet Marsala wine (or more chicken broth)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Snip rosemary leaves finely, using kitchen shears. Place in micro.safe bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and micro. on high for 20-22 min., stirring twice or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with fork before serving.

I did not make it, but think it will be very good.

cookin' at work... (yummy cake reipe)

...earlier this week I had a full day of cooking in the food-give-away demo. and got lots of good feedback from the dessert recipe. It is actually one of three that was on the recipe card, with the other two being 'every day sides'. The main dish/protein for the day was one of the RTU packets of fresh seafood they make up in the meat department. We've done them a couple of times before: once was scallops with Alfredo sauce and pasta and another was fresh Tilapia with a Mediterranean sauce that has black olives and orzo.
This recipe was actually one of three that is on the same laminated card for customers to pick up and take home to try. The other two on this same card are for 'everyday sides', things that would accompany a main dish. And the meat/protein for the meals we were preparing were all the little packets of fresh seafood from the meat department. A pretty cleaver idea, so kudos to the marketing genius who came up with this idea for easy implementation in the  home kitchen. Which is  basically the tag line for the Aprons Easy Meals kiosk: How to get your family back to the dinner table.

You can go (or call ahead or order online!) to Seafood and request your choice: any type fish or shell fish, four different sauces and a carb. to go along, like orzo, couscous or pasta. They put it together in a bag, seal it up, and you take it home to cook about fifteen minutes in a preheated oven. Right in the bag - so no clean up (provided the bag does not leak all over the oven).

The cake recipe:(I would have come up with a more appealing title, but they did not ask for my opinion.)
Angel Lush
1 cup frozen nondairy whipped topping
1 4 oz size box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 20  oz can crushed pineapple in juice undrained
1 15 oz angel food cake , round
1 cup mixed fresh berries or your choice (strawberries are yum)

Measure one cup of whipped topping and set aside to thaw.
Combine pudding and pineapple in medium bowl, stir well. Gently fold in whipped topping.
Slice cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate, top with 1/3 of pudding mixture, repeat two times. Chill at least one hour. Top with berries. Store leftovers in fridge.

Or ~ you could tear the cake apart and spread in a large casserole dish, spread the topping over it all, and cover  with plastic wrap and refrigerate, top with berries before serving. It is oh-so-good, I am thinking it might be on the menu for Easter instead of carrot cake.

remember the movie Groundhog Day?

Monday, March 7, 2016
..and how Bill Murray, (such a funny, deadpan guy) as he played the part of the news reporter (details dis-remembered), had to keep living the same day over and over and over? Even though I don't recall the specifics of the movie, and precisely why/how he got stuck in that scenario. Seems like he was sort of self-centered, really egotistical in the way Will Ferrell can play an 'it's all about me' part. And he was the only one who gradually realized what was going on. He was caught in a sort of time warp where camera man and crew had to keep going out in the snow in the little (can't spell it) town in Pennsylvania to report on the progress the groundhog was making getting out of his burrow on Feb. 2. As things evolved, he gradually changed and used the experience to help the people he had been abusing, misusing and neglecting.

Or maybe not. I have not seen the movie in years. Though I am a big Bill Murray fan. Especially now that I have heard/read he does not have an agent in Hollywood. If you want to get in touch with him, to ask about giving him a job in a film, you have to call an 800 number, that goes directly to voice mail. And he may or may not check messages, and may or may not call you  back. Maybe he can see the whole process of  'your people talking to me people' as silly, or perhaps just a tightwad not wanting to pay the agent a 10% cut of his earnings. But still.....

But have been thinking when it comes time for making my version of the movie I have decided what I want that day to be. Playing over and over and over. It was the day last summer when we were traveling in Washington state. My friend Ellie had been an amazing, generous, kind, considerate, available, remarkably flexible, thoughtful hostess. Making arrangements for us to stay at a lakeside cottage near Seattle which the family owned. Then chauffeuring us down the coast to her home near the WA/OR border. Where we were also fed and bedded and driven around to see the sights of Portland. The day we drove from Seattle to Ridgefield is memorable.

And my choice for the best ever. Mosey-ing along with all the time in the world. To stop and poke a toe in the icy-cold water. To take a side trip and look at the sunset on the Pacific Ocean.  Astoria: hugging the shore line of the Columbia, founded as a trading post to do business with trappers and native Americans. Pretty little town, with houses hanging on the edge of steep hills, overlooking the river. Old, revitalized, refurbished brick buildings, with lush, colorful annuals growing in dozens of planters and hanging baskets along the street. Getting on the little trolley in Astoria, right on the Columbia River, that doesn't go anywhere except to the end of the line and back again - really scenic: we saw seals on a boat dock! Eating in a little micro-brewery/restaurant that offered samples for tasting various blends of local beers. Sitting on high-top stools, waiting for our food to arrive, looking out over the heads of fellow eaters, watching boat traffic on the river. All the time in the world, no deadlines, no place to be, with my favorite-est.

There are not many days in my dull life that I do not think of riding the trolley to nowhere, or sitting in that restaurant over looking the mighty Columbia, or looking at the Pacific sunset. No schedule, nothing pending (other than return tickets from Portland to Atlanta) just puttering along, observing the world. 

book review: "Double Cross"......

...by Ben MacIntyre. Sort of a niche topic, so possibly not one you are going to dash off to the bookstore to demand as soon as they open today. It's about the double agent spies who were a huge factor in the Normandy landing, and the successful invasion of France by Allied Armies to end World War II. I think it was referenced in the "Jedbergs" book in read recently, which would explain how I got interested and requested it from the library.

The players involved, who were Spanish, Polish, French with a couple of Brits who spoke impeccable German, were being paid by the Axis forces to report on the British plans for invasion somewhere along the coast of France. The Brits recruited the German spies, hence the title 'Double Cross', to feed the German secret service false information, mislead them into thinking the major invasion would be possibly in Norway or Calais instead of Normandy.  There was a phantom army created in the southwest of England, mockups of tanks, trucks, entire fake encampments designed to fool German aircraft.  Hundreds of false reports of troop movement, originating from all over from England and Scotland, spread out over a vast area to make the information more believable.

MacIntyre is a writer for The Times of London, and has done a tremendous amount of research. The book was published in 2012, which is, I think, after lots of classified documents were released. Providing a world of information that would not have previously been available. Some of the double agents kept journals or diaries, that became an excellent resource for discovering the motivations and daily habits of the many agents who played a part in this real life drama.

There was reference to a corpse that floated ashore in the Med. with falsified documents/'secret' plans that would mis-lead the Germans into relocating their forces, allowing the Allies to establish a beachhead where they were not expected to land. A soldier who looked remarkably like General Montgomery was recruited to play a part in appearing in places that would cause the Germans to believe an invasion was planned in a place the Allies would not actually send their forces.

Pendergrass Flea Market...

Saturday, March 5, 2016
...fleas not included. I have been wanting to go. And now I have. So I can tell you all about what you have been  missing by not taking advantage of the opportunity to take a little road trip. Nothing. I spent more money at the curb store where we stopped to use' always clean restrooms' and I bought myself (secret addiction) sugary/fat-loaded cappuccino than on anything I saw and was able to resist at the 'Worlds' Biggest Indoor Flea Market'. Just off the interstate highway up in north east Georgia, about an hour from the outskirts of Atlanta, headed towards South Carolina. It was a beautiful day, clear blue sky, lots of sunshine.

It was pretty monumental, and just went on and on, almost like a maze, where you could get yourself lost and wander for days - except it is only open on the weekends. So if you do get bamboozled and loose your way, just sit down on a bench and wait till everyone else leaves on Sunday. Then yours is the only car left in the parking lot, and you are ready to go home.

The worst temptation in the whole acres and acres of STUFF was those cute little puppies and rabbits. Especially the tiny little baby rabbits that would fit in your cupped palm. We fell hard for the baby bunnies. And those tiny little dogs, hardly past the wobbly legs stage - all sort of odd combinations of breeds like Russell terrier and peek-a-poo. Cute, funny, charming, precious, tiny little tea-cup sized canines, but you just have to keep telling yourself the puppies turn into Dogs. As well as whine all night, and pee all over the floor.

Hand-made wooden bed frames and chairs, picnic tables. Tires. Bedding. Junk imported from China, with instructions written by someone who was obviously ESOL. Quincineria dresses. Latino eats. Used CDs and DVDs. Jewelry (almost guaranteed to turn your skin green). Jeans and leggings with built- in padded rears. Attorneys handing out flyers, drumming up immigration business. Silk flower arrangements. Nursery trees and shrubs in pots. Stuffed animals. Real animals: chickens, ducks, turkeys. Fresh eggs. Local honey. Recliners, and all manner of over-stuffed furniture.

I go up and down that stretch of I-85 on a regular basis, and have been hearing the billboards calling to me: come on over..., right this way..., just veer off the four lane..., stop by and see us!  And now I've been there and done that.

wild flowers...

Thursday, March 3, 2016
...blooming in south GA make me think of my dad. When I was traveling across the state on Tuesday, I noticed lots of places where the yellow Caroline jasmine was blooming. The vines often retain their leaves throughout the winter months, though they can take on a reddish cast from the cold, looking almost rust colored, but leaves remain on the thin twining vines along fence rows and in tree tops.

Then as the weather warms, days get longer with more sunlight, the bright trumpet shaped blooms open as an early harbinger of spring. One of the earliest wild flowers that brighten the landscape to remind us of the changing seasons. I have sweet clear memory of riding around the country lanes of the county with him, only miles from the Florida state line, as we roamed the landscape. Observing the minute changes as daylight incrementally increased and the sun warmed the earth. The budding  leaves on trees showing the blush of red and palest green as they begin to sprout and color. Tiny wildflowers blooming along the right of way: wild violets showing dark purple faces. But especially the bright blooms of the jasmine as it would show brilliant yellow trumpet shaped flowers draped along the fences of farm land and through the canopy of treetops in the low lands of swampy areas.

It surprised me so, in his later years, after he retired and had hours of free time to putter around in the yard - to see him love nurturing and growing things. He had an affinity for camellias. Started several by air-layering, from plants his  mother had in her yard, and grew them into huge bushes. I don't know if it was his love of daylilies or my mom, but they had many varieties, neatly tagged with names, growing in several beds. As a child, I was not aware of the 'nurturing' aspect of his personality, but when I returned as a (relatively civilized) adult, it was a delight to see him roaming around in his domain, digging, planting, tending, cultivating flowering plants and growing a variety of vegetables in his back yard garden.

what happens when...

...you go to bed too early, is that you wake up too early. Which makes me think: "I am becoming my mother?" But just the good parts, when she was funny, lively, hilarious, daresome, energetic, amusing, entertaining, charming, witty, enthusiastic, a delight to be with.

About my mom and getting up in the middle of the night: Not certain, but thinking it might have had something to do with caffeine consumption. She'd have been a great farmer: going to bed with the chickens, as soon as it got dark, and up in the morning to do the milking before first light. I know from personal experience that we (might) have problems with sleep patterns as we age. So not really certain what to attribute her behavior to in matters related to sufficient rest. She was so prone to wake up really early, that my dad put a timer on the coffee pot and set it to be ready for consumption long before the first signs of dawn. Which, of course, lead to a huge consumption of alertness drug in the hours prior to daylight, creating a buzz that could conceivably last for hours. I would not have been surprised to find her sitting in the kitchen, fully dressed, waiting for the coffee to be ready to drink, impatiently telling it to move along, speed things up, hurry and get done.

What I do know for sure is that getting up too early causes one to be weary far too soon in the course of the day. And possibly so exhausted by putting in dreadfully long hours at work that the comfort and respite of bed beckons much too early in the evening. And going to bed too early will, in turn, increase the likelihood of waking in the wee hours of the morning, wide-eyed, wishing the digital clock were less tedious in changing from minute to minute: 7 to 8, to 9, etc. I could have taken more drugs, inviting the possibility of several hours more sleep. But got up and dressed to go to work, and get it over with sooner.

really sorry, but....

...here I am again, gloating about the most excellent mileage I get in the Toyota Prius. When I went to Decatur last weekend, I stopped to fill up right before getting on the four lane, then I-185, then I-85 to Atlanta. I set the cruise control (very conservatively) at 71 or 72, trying to keep in the right lane to prevent myself from being smooshed by vehicles going 90 mph or more, desparately trying to make up for leaving the house ten minutes late. I was getting: Holy Cow! an average of 67 mpg!

Pretty impressive, huh? Yeah, I thought so too, until I started on the return trip from Valdosta on Wednesday morning. Stopped to fill up right before getting on I-75, and set the cruise, about the same as last Saturday morning. And found myself getting 69 mpg. Not to brag, or anything...but let me tell you about how happy I am with my Toyota.

speedy trip to S. GA and back...

... and if it had not been for sleeping a few hours would have been one of those where I devoted more time to going and coming than actually being there... funny story at the end...

I thought I should try to go to see the Auntie in Valdosta as it will be several weeks before there is space in my life to get back down there again. Plus I (you are not allowed to laugh at this) wanted to attend a meeting of a group of people in Q. who meet once a month. I'm trying to not be embarrassed about this, I really am a lover of history and devoted to the memory of my forebears, all those people who made me who I am. But kinda, sorta, maybe just a little awkward telling about membership with this group of people who are so interested in promoting historic hero worship. No, Not Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy.

They go back much farther into history than the War of Northern Aggression. These are the Daughters of the Revolution. They have devoted much time to research and geneology, tracing family roots back to pre-Constitution days, and discovering Colonial connections. I decided I need to make more effort to reconnect with these people and will try to get to more monthly meetings, be at least a little involved in their community service projects.

So I got up Tuesday morning, with plans to drive south, have lunch with the Auntie, go to the meeting mid afternoon, and spend the night in Valdosta. It all worked pretty much according to plan. Every time I go to Q., I try to bring back  more flotsam and jetsam to sort, most of which should just go directly to the thrift store donation box. But familial guilt causes me to peruse each item in the boxes, hoping to have the discipline to pass it on (after making a list for tax deductions). Hopefully there will be someone who will see all these oddities and think: 'Just The Thing I've Been Looking For!' when they show up on a table at the non-profit, marked 25 cents.

I had to be back home on Wed. to go to work. But before that: had to be at Fox school at 8:45 for my little volunteer tutoring job. I set my alarm to go off at 5:00, to put me back in town at 8:30. But then woke up at 4, thinking: if I get up and go now, I will have time to go do the weekly shopping at Sam's Club before time to be at Fox. And take the goods to church on my way to work... which all went according to plan.

Until I got to Sam's and realized I had piled my car so full of the flotsam and jetsam: boxes, framed pictures, small tables, wooden stool, I could not get the Sam's stuff stuffed in  my car! Ha, ha on me. So I only bought the things that had to be at church on Wed., to feed forty-odd youth dinner. And had to go back to Sam's today to get the other goods: like to large boxes of 12 oz. styro cups that completely filled up the back seat. Guess I out-smarted myself with that, huh?

cookin' at work... (potato salad salad)....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
...whereupon you are probably thinking: ha! I caught a typo! But no, that is really precisely what it was. A very unusual combination of foods, something I never, never would have considered putting together, but it seemed to work pretty well, and after people tried it, got some good reviews/feedback.

They would look at it, blink, look again, and say: What is this? and when I told them it was salad with steak on top, they still looked baffled. Due to the fact that it was a green salad with potato in it. Yes, I know, it does sound strange. But just like putting enough catsup on greens to be able to choke one forkful down, if you put enough salad dressing on most anything you might able to swallow it.

The recipe called for a bag of refrigerated cubed potatoes, that were cooked in the microwave for six or seven minutes. Then mixed with ranch peppercorn salad dressing and bacon bits. When it cooled added to a bag of butter head salad. Not bad, but also not something I would make and expect the guy (who claims to have never had any bad food) here to eat. Though I am sure he would give it a try and be a good sport, just a little too unusual to serve at my dinner table.

I won't even bother with the recipe for the steak that was sliced and served atop the salad. Passersby said it was good and tender, though I did not taste it: it was really pretty and tempting when I took it out of the skillet. I'd been checking the temp. with a little probe to be sure it got up to 145. So I know it was properly cooked.  And let it 'rest' on the cutting board before cutting into it. But then I sliced  it, and though was the proper color/temp for medium rare, I would not eat.