Saturday, November 22, 2014

I have a personal trainer

His name is Zorro.  Some days, he is very persistent in helping, while some mornings he is content so sit on the couch and watch.

Today was not a 'sitting' morning, so training went something like this.  I'm down of the floor stretched as far out as my flabby body will go, hands way over my head, legs straight, tight, toes extended as far as they would go.  Zorro approaches and sniffs my ear...it tickles...I desperately try not to lose my concentration and count.

Soon I've turned over onto my back, again stretched out, arms and hands way above my head,  Legs straight, muscles tight, toes pointed downward as far as they will go.  Zorro comes up and smells my nose. I give him a couple of quick breathes, which startle him and he dashed out to the morning room.

Next I do my arm extensions, palms up, I stretch one arm over my body and touch it to the inner elbow of the other arm.  Zorro stands over one hand, wanting me to scratch his tummy. I gently push him out of the way.  He moves to the other arm and paws my hand.  I stay firm in my conviction I am not...I AM NOT going to scratch his tummy.

It's time for leg raises, sigh, oh yes, now he is intrigued with my butt area.  Seriously, dog, do you not know that's disgusting.  I immediately move on to a new exercise.  Eventually it is time for my Vertigo exercises designed to alleviate dizziness. I turn my head, up and down, left and right, back and forth I have to say I have to do these with my eyes closed otherwise they make me dizzy; for some reason Zorro does not interfere while I do this.  Maybe because I have my eyes closed. Anyway, It's finally time for cool down and deep, deep breaths. Zorro is behind me, and has a paw on each of my shoulders back to sniffing my ears. I make weird grunting sounds and he's off like a shot back to the morning room.

As I watched him go, I had to giggle, dang he has a cute little butt.  No wonder Sadie has the hots for him. Getting to my feet, it's that moment I realize how much I love that little guy, even though he's a pest and not exactly the best exercise trainer in the world.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gettin' the spirit

Okay, I'm a sentimental slob all year round.  I snivel at puppies playing, homecomings at airports, chick-flick movies, departures, romantic book endings and...I'm sure you get the picture.

This time of year I normally spend December ankle deep in tears.  Yep, Frankie and I can't control ourselves.  And Christmas music, oh brother, we openly weep.  I  get so choked up I can't even sing along anymore.  When I hear my favorite, I heard the bells on Christmas Day, tears frequently run down my cheeks.

The city has a tradition here, it's called the Singing Christmas Tree.  It is breathtaking to attend this magnificent program.  When the curtain opens and you see that tree for the first time you will be amazed.  It encompasses most of the stage; is eleven rows high, and although I don't know how many singers make up the tree (well over a hundred) they are all bedecked in white robes with red collars. Most of the singers are not professional, but trust me, they all could be, the singing is phenomenal .

Every year the program differs, although each year the first half of the program constitutes the fable of Christmas, with Santa, and sleigh bells, and good will to men. While the second half of the program tells the story of the birth of baby Jesus, and starts with pomp and circumstance as the Three Wise Men, enter and slowly walk down the aisle of the theater and up onto the stage.  (Shoot, I'm getting choked up just writing this.)  Eventually, an angel swings into view and hovers over the scene.  I tell you, it takes one's breath away.

Some years, things go awry.  The first time I went to the Singing Christmas Tree, while it was in the process of turning...it got stuck.  The audience in unison audibly gasped.  There was no panic, but you could tell the stage crew momentarily had no clue what to do.  They closed the curtains, and somebody came on stage and said if anyone wanted to leave they would happily reschedule them for another performance, or if we wanted to stay, asked for our patience while they resolved the problem.  This was obviously not an 'everyday' occurrence.  By the way...I didn't see anybody leave.

Anyway, this particular year a young, local, professional quartet was part of the program, and they came out onto the stage and held an impromptu audience 'Christmas Carol sing along' I was amazed at how many I knew word for word and was actually able to sing along. Eventually the tree hydraulics were fixed and the show progressed.  However,  I have to say...the stuck tree and caroling made the show as far as I was concerned.

I have seen the show several times since (without mishap).  It is an amazing event. None, of course, can compare to the one where something went wrong.  I would encourage anyone living locally, to take a year and attend the Singing Christmas Tree, especially if you have children. You should see their faces, not only do they light up at the sight of Santa, but when that angel swings into view their faces are filled with awe, wonder and delight.

Oooh, I'm getting that squishy, ooey, gooey, mushy feeling...it must be time to get out all my Christmas music, it's time Frankie and I start to make teary puddles around the house.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scary

Earlier this year I had a bad dream, it woke me up, breathing hard.  I remember in the morning I tried to recall the dream but could not.  I only know it scared me, and I thought to myself, if this dream ever comes to an end, am I going to die?  Yes, I actually did think that, and I think that about the dream I have where I'm desperately trying to get home, too.  I can get close to home, but something always interferes and I wake up. I know...that's nuts. I wonder if other old people ever think the same thing about their bad dreams?

Anyway, last night I had a repeat of the bad dream I had earlier this year.  As it progressed, in my dream, I realized this dream was not going to end well, and my subconscious told me (in the dream), 'remember this dream, remember this dream'.

The dream moved on, to the exact spot as the first, and I woke up, breathing hard.  I was remembering the dream, I was pretty sure I didn't want to, I didn't like it.  Eventually I became dozy and sleep returned.

This morning, my first conscious thought was the dream, and I tried...oh, I tried hard to remember it. It's gone, I can't remember a single second of the dream, only that I had wanted to remember it and that it was bad, scary, and I'm left with the horror that if the dream even ends...I'm gonna' die.

Boy, I bet Freud would have a field day with this.

Sigh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Figgy Pudding


A week or so ago, my next door neighbor brought me some 'sort of' ripe figs.  I like fresh figs.  They are very tasty and extremely good for you.  They've tons of seeds about the size of grit you find on some sand papers, and I even like the feel of them as I munch.  Problem is, most years the growing season is not long enough for my neighbors figs to ripen.  The rains come, and the shorter days prevent them from maturing the way they do in warmer climes.

Anyway, she gave me quite a few, and I know I should have had patience and hoped they would ripen, when a familiar Christmas Tune went through my head.

"Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here."

Hmmm?  So I says to myself, "I wonder if there is a recipe for Figgy Pudding?

Several years back I sent for a newly published reproduction of "The Original FANNIE 
FARMER 1896 Cook Book (The Boston Cooking School) and I figured if any cook book would have a recipe for Figgy Pudding, it would be the Fanny  Farmer book.  Flipping to page 338, there it was.  Of course it called for things not in my modern day pantry (like 1/3 cup beef suet, and a cup of stale bread) but I refused to be deterred.  As a result I substituted a stick of margarine for the suet, and instant oatmeal for the stale bread.

I chopped up the figs, and followed the rest of the instructions to the letter.  I watched the whole thing slowly boil up, soon the ingredients blended together, and took on the look of pudding.  Oh, I'm sure the stale bread would have given it a smoother looking finish, but it was a pudding none the less. And, it was good, still warm from the pot, sprinkled with sugar, and just a tad of milk.

I filled two single serving containers with the leftovers and put them in the freezer for a treat some future winter evening.  And, I sure am glad I have learned I don't have to wait for figs to ripen in order to enjoy them.

I think figs are a misunderstood fruit, I don't personally know anybody, (besides myself and my neighbor) who eat them raw, nor do I know anybody who actually eats Fig Newtons, they (in my opinion) are too dry, and difficult to swallow without a tall glass of milk.  Anyway, I don't suppose my Figgy Pudding is ever going to catch on as a holiday treat, though I'm thoroughly enjoying mine.  So instead I will bring...

...good tidings to you and your kin,
good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Normal

According to my copy of Roget's SUPER Thesaurus NORMAL is:

standard, usual, typical, conventional, universal, traditional, regular, customary, accepted, average.

Funny how we take normal for granted. I've been bippity, boppity-ing through the year picking my nose and scratching my butt smiling like delightful Dopey from the story Snow White.  Not a care in the world, waking up, doing my job, humming a song and enjoying life.

Then, the world got a gigantic 'hick-up' and spit out a cold spell.  Well, damn!!!!!!!

All of a sudden I was hustling my scratched butt all around the place draining hoses, covering park benches, bringing in patio furniture, insulating outdoor faucets and bringing in my precious salmon colored geraniums.  What I expected was a couple of nights the temperature would get down to the freezing mark and we would have a killing frost.  That, dear friends is normal!

Is that what I got?  Nooooooo!

Now I know this is going to sound like a lot of complaining.           Okay, it is.

I did not expect an Arctic Blast, and that it would last for a week.  My poor little house was not built Arctic Blasts...it's barely built for killing frost!  So, when the cold came and kept coming, the beams and boards began to creak and moan.  My natural gas free standing stoves sputter, cough and wheeze trying to blanket the rooms in warmth, the baseboard heaters try to keep up.  In the meantime, I'm bundled up in thermals, T-shirts, sweats, fall colored crocheted vest, and two pairs of socks, shuffling through the house like an overstuffed turkey.  I'm sleeping with a dog, four rice filled socks heated in my microwave, and cuddle with a stuffed bear in my arms.

Are you getting the picture?  I hope so, because it's funny, shoot....I can't stop laughing. I'm going to write some songs and a script, I think I've got the makings of a Broadway Play.  It will be about an old woman who hates the cold, moves to Florida for a good warm 'rest' of her life, but, gets swept out to sea on a hurricane never to be seen again.  It ends as her loved ones stand on the beach throwing flowers into the water while loudly singing..."She did it her way", in Frank Sinatra style.  Good bye old woman.

But, maybe I can put that on hold for a while, 'cause my edjkated metrolgist tells me this morning the weather is changing, temperatures are going to rise, and rain is going to start falling tomorrow.

Come on, normal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Pickled Brussels Sprouts

As you all know, I mistakenly do stuff.  Sometimes it turns out awful, sometimes it turns out better that expected.  Sometimes I do things by accident, sometimes I actually think things through.

So, a couple of months ago when I ordered wwwwwaaaaayyyy to many Brussels Sprouts (normally I hand pick eight or so) I accidentally ordered some from Safeway, and when the order arrived I received a little over a pound of the litter buggers.  Oh, I cooked up a few of them for dinner, but what in the world was I going to do with the rest of the pound.

I didn't want to waste them, but once I've had my craving satisfied I knew I would never be cooking up and eating the rest any time soon.  What to do, what to do? Hmmm, I thought, you can pickle cabbage,I wonder...can I pickle Brussels Sprouts? I go to the Internet, type in Pickled Brussels Sprouts and lo...there were at least a dozen recipes.  I chose one that didn't seem to difficult, mixed up the vinegar pickling recipe, washed the sprouts, cut them in half, and plopped them into the pickling solution.

The recipe said they should 'pickle for awhile', and I figured a few days would do the trick...it didn't, when I tried them they simply tasted like Brussels Sprouts.  I kept the concoction steeping in the refrigerator. Over time other food products began to push the Sprouts container to the back of the shelf.  Truth be told I forgot about the Sprouts altogether until a couple of weeks ago.  As the shelf the container was on emptied, I saw the winter green Sprouts swimming around in the pickling solution.

Hmmmm???????

Hmmmm!!!!!!!!!

Dare I try one?

Curiosity got the better of me, and I gingerly removed the plastic lid.  Not knowing what to expect I confess I held my breath...this...could be gross.  It kind of smelled like homemade Bread and Butter Pickles, with just a hint of Brussels Sprouts.  What the heck, it didn't smell like it would make me ill, or kill me.  So I popped one in my mouth.

>

>

>

Well, wha' do ya know!  It was good.  Nicely pickled, refrigerator cool and crispy, crunchy.  Needless to say, I devoured several.  I've been having them as a side ever since.  This morning, I had to down size the container they were in, and I realized the delightful treat was coming to an end.  I will be unhappy when I serve up the remainder later this week.

Will I do this again?  Probably, but it will surely be by accident, when I absentmindedly order another pound of them.

In the meantime, I hope I remember to tell you some day about Figgy Pudding.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Well, son of a gun

Yesterday's blog was about the cold, wind, sleet, snow and freezing rain.  And, how I was fascinated that the snow and freezing rain was still hanging around in the areas the sun had not reached.

I was hoping I might find the same phenomenon this morning...and I did.  I was a very happy camper. I went around the house standing at every window inspecting for ice.  I've discovered the shrubs and trees have very little ice remaining, not so much from the temperature because even this morning with wind chill, it is in the low 20's; but because of evaporation.  There is very little humidity, so the moisture is quickly drying up the ice and snow.  I suspect, with a warmer temperature (which is supposed to come) my 'bit of magic' will be gone tomorrow.

So, I want to report another bit of cold weather related trivia.  We humans as sooo,
unpredictable.  The first day the TV reporters were outdoors reporting on the bad weather...I think Wednesday, we were told the schools would remain open, and that some would be operating two hours late.  Some parents were up in arms, inquiring if the weather was going to be that bad...shouldn't the schools be closed for the children's safety?  Maybe so.

Then, the next day, most schools were closed...guess what?  Some parents were again up in arms, this time because the schools had been closed.  Were we not aware the weather was 'not that bad' and shouldn't the schools be more accommodating, surely the students would be safe.

What???????????

It wasn't like overnight the icy roads and snowy side streets had magically become free of said ice and snow.  How was it possible the ice and snow was so harmful one day, and not the next.  Sigh.

Poor school districts.

Also, I'm curious about the drivers who are out there on those dangerous roads, slipping and sliding into ditches and other vehicles.  The same TV reporters who report school closures and late openings, also tell drivers "stay home" yet drivers do not listen.  As a result we see them on the news, talking with reports with grins on their faces, apparently proud they've wrecked their car and some other's as well.   Really, 'splain' that to me.

Anyway, it appears we are going to get back to normal soon, the temperatures are slowly rising, and by Wednesday we will be back to 'good ole' rain.  I for one can hardly wait.