Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ouch

Tried to type a blog today, just can't re-hurt wrist yesterday...just can't type without serious pain. Maybe tomorrow.  Hang in there.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Stir and mix, mix and stir.

This was a cooking weekend.  I started with a vegetable soup, and moved on to another soup called Leathery Britches, this recipe coming from an old country cookbook.

Leathery Britches is a concoction of green beans (pioneer women dried them in the sun, giving them a 'leathery' look) potatoes, onions and salt pork or bacon.  However, I don't have to dry the beans, because my neighbor gave me a handful of fresh ones on Friday.  Is makes a wonderful hardy soup.  I added a handful of barley, just because I happen to like barley in my soups.

After cooking the Leathery Britches, I moved on to a package of cheesy bagels that I sliced in half and smeared spaghetti sauce across their open faces.  Then  I added onion, sliced black olives, and tomatoes making mini pizzas, that I baked in the oven for about 20 minutes. Then I topped these off with some cheddar cheese slices and returned the bagel pizzas to the oven till the cheese melted.

It turned out I had about half a can of spaghetti sauce left and I dumped that into a sauce pan, added a bit of water, threw in some shell pasta and cooked it till the pasta softened, finishing this dish by melting some cheese slices in it.  Don't judge me...this was an unexpected throw together kind of leftover thing....waste not, want not, right?

Finally, I lined up all my individual sized meal containers and started dumping.  Man, I'm not going to have to cook for a week, and have containers to put into the freezer as well.  Come to think of it, writing about all this food is making me hungry, I might have to go eat.

Aside from having a lot of good meals prepared, I have to let you know I did NOT hurt my wrist this time while packaging up the food.  I was very, VERY careful.  I'm still wearing an ace bandage from my last encounter with a heavy pot.  Oh, and speaking of bandages, you know how when you are wrapping them around your hand and wrist the beginning end is hard to keep in place?  I discovered a way to keep it from loosening.  I simply cut a hole in one end of the bandage and put my thumb through the hole...this keeps the bandage in place like you wouldn't believe.  How come I never thought of that before?  Better late than ever I suppose.

That pretty much sums up my cookin' weekend.  And, now I'm going to go eat.  What to eat first, hmmm pizza sounds good.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Remember?

Remember the day I wrote that I thought it is better to get flowers while we're alive, instead of at a memorial service or funeral?

You remember?

Yesterday I got flowers......

I'm beside myself with glee.

Thanks, Lorraine....Love you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Summer eating

It's been a great summer for growing...vegetables...and fruits.

My neighbors have vegetables gardens and fruit trees growing in their yards.  Boy, are Frankie and I lucky.  Mostly all I have to do is wait for the produce to ripen.  Frequently they bring their bounty right to my front and/or back doors.  It is so wonderful to see a bag full of apples, pears or zucchini squash on my front stoop, or a bowl of berries, plums, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and other fresh vegetables on my back patio.  I'm so grateful and appreciative.

I'm even allowed to walk right up to my neighbor's vegetable garden and help myself. Frankie and I frequently do that.  And, this year we've discovered how delicious broccoli greens and kale are chopped up as a replacement for lettuce in sandwiches...and they are much better for us. We particularly like that kale has kind of a 'peppery' flavor.  I mean to tell you we have been eating (as the old saying goes) "high off the hog".

Yesterday afternoon, my neighbor brought me a lovely head of red cabbage and some green beans. She informed me the tomatoes are no longer ripening, but that I can help myself to all the green ones I want.  Boy, oh boy. Come on fried green tomatoes with onions.  Yum, yum. Also, I'm going to fix a pan of fried red cabbage, something I've not prepared for quite some time, and I'm not sure Frankie has ever had.

I'm contemplating what to do with the last of all this bounty, but I think since the weather has become more chilly and damp a good hardy vegetable soup might be in order.  Yep, that's the ticket, homemade vegetable soup.

Me: (Shouting) "Frankie!"
Frankie: (Shouting back) "Yo?"
Me: (Still shouting) "Pull out the crock pot!"

High off the hog:

The Phase Finder states this means to be affluent and luxuriously.  Also, it is the best cuts of the meat on a pig.  Although the phrase has been around since at least the 1800's, it did not appear in print until the 20th Century here in America.

The Free Dictionary states: Idiom, slang, In a lavish or extravagant manner..."...lived high on the hog after getting his inheritance.

The Urban Dictionary states:  Living life to the fullest extent.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Keeping the grey matter moving

Sometimes I have to wonder just exactly what I've got going on in the area between my right and left ear.  I swear sometimes I can hear the wind blowing around in there.  Often I think it must be filled with mush, or maybe leftover oatmeal.  I watch the commercials for that famous company that tells me they can teach me a foreign language in weeks and I will be able to speak like a native in that particular country.  Yeah, right.

Earlier this year I thought about taking an on-line class about poetry, and before long subtle ads began appearing along the right hand side of my facebook page encouraging me to do exactly that. Then, I showed an interest in an on-line class called 'Art for Beginners', that touted I would be able to draw just about anything, as though I'd been an artist all my life. Again, ads appeared at various websites reminding me I had been interested in art.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand I'm under a microscope anytime I'm on-line, and I know big brother is always watching.  And, I appreciate these folks want to help me keep my grey matter moving.  I just wish they were willing to pay my tuition to attend all these classes.

Here's what I think.  There ought to be some kind of tuition, scholarship program specifically for old people, where rich people would adopt one of us 'old folk' and pay for these online college courses to help us keep our grey matter moving.  Hey, couldn't it be a tax deduction for them, and wouldn't that make us their 'dependent' (another tax break)?

We would have the satisfaction of being able to learn something new, and they would have the satisfaction of giving an old person the opportunity to continue to be an independent thinking, mentally agile, senior citizen.

The on-line classes I take cost about a hundred bucks for a 10 lesson, 6 week, 20 hour class. Let's say, our benefactor set up a scholarship of 500 dollars year.  That would take us (me) through the year, with a couple weeks break between each class.  Wouldn't that be wonderful? Oh, the classes I could take.  Oh, the people, classmates, professors, I could meet. Oh, how my horizon would expand.

Okay, so this is a pipe dream, and I know this will never happen.  Reality is I've got to be the one to keep my own grey matter moving.  Thankfully, most of my days I am aware there is actually 'stuff' moving around in the area between my ears.  For instance, this morning, I don't hear any breezes, and the innards seem a little more solid than mush or leftover oatmeal.  Maybe I'll drag out my unfinished French work book and see where that leads.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nostalgia

This has been a year for re-connection to my past.  I suppose Freud could have a field day with that, but I suspect sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and this is simple a case of being just a tad homesick.

Seriously, I've always had my hometown in the depths of my heart and mind, and have never said a bad word about it.  Oh, I've been sad about my hometown because once the steel mills closed and we young folks packed our bags and left, its glory days were over.  Even more sad is the fact some of us never looked back, the last time I was there was (if memory serves) 1963. To my credit, I never forgot, was ashamed, or tried to deny from whence I came.

The Internet has played an intricate part in my being able to keep the connection to my
hometown.  There is a site called the Johnstown Cafe that I frequent, there is the Official Johnstown site.  I'm a friend of my high school's website, and earlier this year I subscribed to my hometown magazine, a beautifully designed and interesting publication.  Then last month I subscribed to the digital edition of the local newspaper, The Tribune Democrat.

Here's the thing.

Once my subscription had been accepted, I went to the digital edition but could not for the life of me get full access to the paper.  I tried and tried all sorts of ways, but simply could not connect.  Finally in desperation yesterday I e-mailed the paper explaining my dilemma.  A few hours later there was a response in my e-mail from someone named Janeen.  She was absolutely fabulous, she took care of my problem in the proverbial 'blink of an eye'.  Not only did she have me connected to the newspaper, she provided me a new pass word, and...extended my subscription for a full two weeks because I could not have access to the paper when I first applied.

Talk about good customer service.  Talk about good people.

Yep, I'm pleased to report my hometown is alive and well.  It will never be the city that it was, and that is a very good thing, because it is not fixated on the past but ever looking to the future.  The folks who continue to live there, and have been loyal, upstanding citizens see a new and bright 'tomorrow' for Johnstown.

There are colleges, medical facilities, museums dedicated to the towns history, tourist attractions, and beautiful mountains rapping the valley in gorgeous, colorful, quilts every season of the year.  I'm telling you Johnstown is a great place from which to have sprung.

There you have it.  I don't think there is any kind of secret, long forgotten trauma connected with my yearning for my hometown, I simply miss it from time to time.  Besides, if I can't perpetuate the family history and proudly proclaim it to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will?

It is up to me to tell them about the floods, the mills glowing at night, the miners emerging black as pitch from the depths of the earth, the farms dotting the landscapes, and the melting pot of wonderful, friendly people.  I will make them feel proud of their heritage and their ancestors.

It feels good to be from my hometown, Johnstown, "the friendly city".


Monday, October 13, 2014

Blustery Days

This weekend was a Winnie Pooh "blustery days" weekend.  The leaves twirled and swirled hither and yon.  Sometimes in great abundance, sometimes a few at at time.  I didn't pay too much attention until CC decided to park her furry butt in the bay window.

I was busy doing laundry, and other weekend activities when I began to hear 'thumps'.  They were not of the alarming variety, as though someone was trying to break into the house, none the less, they were starting to become annoying. What the heck was going on?

Meandering through the living room I noticed CC in the bay window, her stubby, crooked tail methodically, metronomically,  moving back and forth.  Boy, was she agitated.

All of a sudden a gust of wind blew yellow and green leaves around the front yard, some of which hit the bay window.

CC leaped halfway up the window, slamming her front paws against the glass.  Once she settled down, her head moved back and forth watching the leaves land in the grass.  I was amused, she so engrossed in the swirling leaves I think the house could have crumbled down around her.  I had not seen her so enthralled in a very long time, (probably since last October when the leaves were falling off the trees).

I decided it this was good exercise for her, and I knew she didn't have enough weight to break the window so I went about my business allowing her to do hers.

"Thunk."

"Thunk."

"Thunk."

"Thunk."

And so it went.  For a very, very long time.

Later in the afternoon it occurred the "thunking" had stopped.  Well, it wasn't so much the "thunking' had stopped but that CC had disappeared.  Had I absentmindedly left a door open, had she sneaked out? Hmmm where was my illusive creature?  I looked around the house and garage checking her favorite haunts.  Nope, she was not to be found, she had disappeared.  I grew concerned, until it came to me, she had a very active afternoon and was probably napping...somewhere.

It was not until almost bedtime she reappeared, from the direction of the garage, she stretched mightily (the kind I wish I could do) and yawned.  She looked quite refreshed.  I think the 'catch the leaf game' had been good for her.

Boy, it's going to be a l-o-n-g autumn, waiting for that last leaf to fall.  If she keeps up with this game, she's gonna' lose a lot of weight.  I wonder...should I include jumping jacks in my exercise program?