Saturday Afternoon~Late November

On this peaceful Saturday afternoon at 2:40, I’m in the kitchen, tending to laundry and kitchen chores while nursing a tender lower back that still feels as if it could lay me low at any moment.  I’ve already done ice packs and stretching, and, with the addition of a muscle relaxer, it’s holding its own.

I woke up early again this morning, well before daybreak.  Ever since the time change a couple of weeks ago, I’ve consistently woken up around 1:30, sometimes 2:30, every morning, restless, anxious, and uncomfortable.  For some reason, (I suspect Seasonal Affective Disorder), the “fall back” in November is particularly hard for me.  About the time I get adjusted, it’ll be time to “spring forward” again.

I had a yearning for some classical opera this morning, so I’m currently delighting in this lovely piece-

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-which was preceded by this-

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-and it’s just making the afternoon feel a bit more peaceful.

As I listen to another selection by the incomparable Pavarotti-

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I’m reminded of the mother of the main protagonist, Dave Stoller, in the movie “Breaking Away”, which was filmed locally.  (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it).   I’m thinking in particular of the scene where she is doing the dinner dishes, lip syncing to an Italian opera, very much in a far away place, as she sways and gestures, while up to her elbows in suds. That’s about how glamorous I feel, in old longjohns, battered old tshirt and a denim shirt over that, sleeves rolled up, gloves in hand, ready to tackle the dishes-

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Yes, my dishwasher is old, about ten to fifteen years or so old.  But it works, and that what matters.

Heres a handy kitchen tip: I’m sure you’ve seen the new cleaning strength vinegar from Heinz-

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This stuff is awesome!  I use it in the rinse dispenser instead of pricey rinse aids, and quite often, pour in a 1/2 cup during the main wash. We have hard water, and by using this, with it’s acidity percentage of 6% vs the 5% of regular white vinegar, it really keeps the limescale from building up on the heating element, plus it makes the dishes sparkle!!

Fresh out of Turkey Day leftovers, (having frozen what remained for enjoying some cold Winter night), I settled on ‘Sketti. The Italian sausage is cooked-

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-and, I’m cheating a bit on the sauce (thank you Emeril)

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-and I didn’t grate fresh Parmesan, I used store bought shredded-

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But after all the from-scratch cooking I do, not just on holidays, but most days, no one’s going to complain about some semi-homemade comfort food, especially when it’s been a cold November day, and this dish is quick, hot and comforting.  Feel free to adjust spices and herbs to your liking, use good ground sirloin, a mix of beef and Italian sausage, or make it vegetarian.

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If you’d like to whip this up, you’ll need:

1 jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice

1 lb. browned Italian sausage

1 T. Italian Seasoning

1 t. Oregano

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 lb. pasta of choice

grated real Parmesan

Brown the sausage, add sauce, herbs, salt & pepper and simmer while cooking the pasta   Drain, add to meat/sauce mixture and throw in a couple-three good pinches of grated Parmesan.  Heat and eat!

It reheats well, and it’s even better the second day.  Can also be frozen in bulk or individual servings for a quick meal later on.  Pair with a salad, bread and a beverage for a meal.

Till next time friends

~~~Have a happy Saturday!!!~~~

 

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Thanksgiving 2016

This has to be the most relaxed Thanksgiving of my adult life.  Nowhere to go; my in laws holiday dinners are largely a thing of the past.   Those big get togethers started unraveling several years ago when my father in law died at the end of September 2009.

Since then, a couple we lived next door to when our daughter was born, who “adopted” us, have died,  so there hasn’t been that family get together in several years now, though we are still very close with their daughter and her husband.  More recently, my brother in law’s son, who was killed in a head on collision barely three blocks from his home.  No one felt much like celebrating this year.

My mother in law decided against having thanksgiving dinner at her house, as hardly anyone showed up last year.  We couldn’t go because Dearest was sicker than a dog, much as he is this Thanksgiving.  Since she went to my sister in laws, we opted to stay home and have our own little Thanksgiving dinner.

I bought a small, boneless fully cooked half ham, because, let’s face it,  a forty dollar spiral sliced ham for two people is a bit much, when the one I got was only a bit over twelve dollars.  It’s currently heating up in the oven-

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-accompanied by a brown sugar & pecan topped sweet potato casserole.

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Parkerhouse rolls (from scratch) are done-

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-as is a huge  bowl of homemade potato salad –

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-Fresh green beans are gently simmering in a bit of bacon grease and a few slices of bacon-

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I decided against any dessert, neither of us wanted any, and I would have been hard pressed to fit a from scratch pie into everything else I prepared.  I plan on making something tomorrow, something with apples, maybe.

“Thanksgiving with The Duke” is on AMC, bringing memories of my dad, dozing in his recliner, and, as The Sons of Katie Elder and El Dorado play out on the tv, I can’t help but think of him, as I’m bustling around the kitchen, slicing, chopping, mixing, stirring…memories, some uneasy, from my childhood.

My mother, using a turkey baster to get pan drippings to make giblet gravy from the drip pan of the Farberware electric rotisserie, set up out in the linoleum tiled breezeway of our ranch style home, dutifully turning a fat turkey, slowly but surely, turning it to a delectable golden, crisp brown.

This isn’t to say it was a warm and happy family time, not in my teen years, anyway.  By the time I was 14, it was fully a house of volatile rage, waiting to explode on the slightest nudge, fueled on one side with an immovable, unforgiving nature, and by whiskey, disappointment and anger on the other.  Another story, just not for today.

I shove the bad memories aside, and this leaves me to dwell on the parents I had when I was very little.  Back when we were a happy family.  When I felt safe and loved, not caught in the middle of a war, very often bearing the brunt of it.  Not a good path to be wandering down, as the holidays make me weepy these days.

Dearest and I both woke up headachey and with very stiff shoulder, neck and back muscles, courtesy of a weather front that moved through yesterday, making it a chilly, gloomy and rainy day and most of the evening.  After some stretching and use of a percussion massager, I felt better, and fixed us a small breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast.  After cleaning up from breakfast, I started cooking our dinner, doing cleanup as I went, like I was taught in Home Ec class.  (They need to bring that class back).

Six hours later, most of which Dearest spent in bed, we sat down to a wonderful dinner-

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-Neither of us dressed up, him still feeling puny and weak, in flannel pj bottoms and paint stained tshirt, hair rumpled and needing a shower, me in an equally ratty tshirt and zip up hoodie, an old pair of Nikes, and a cast off pair of his old thermal longjohn bottoms-

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-My hair, though braided and tucked in a clip, is in it’s standard state of disarray.

Though we don’t say it out loud, we have much to be thankful for, and we are, every single day.   Just being together, he and I and the precious Baby Girls, in our little home, is enough for me.

I hope wherever you were today, you were happy and loved, and with family or framily.  I hope you smiled, had a good laugh, shared hugs and had a contented heart.  I hope you recalled, fondly, those no longer here, and cherished the ones who are.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!  Enjoy those tasty leftovers tomorrow!

 

 

 

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Midlife

Wash away all your childhood dreams
Look to your heart, the in betweens
Quietly you wonder, should you just call it a day
No one would notice, anyway

Watching your Life as it passes by
Face to the glass, a breaking sigh
At the end of it all, what will you say
When it’s undone and gone, you’ll just slip away

A perpetual State of Being
Looking, looking, but never seeing
The Heart, it tears, the Soul, it sighs
A caged wild hawk, with beating wings and muted cries

These Seasons of my Life, how they roll on past
Fleeting Days, how I wish they would last
A finer truth in a time of rust
Spread your wings to dance in the dust

(Originally posted on July 1, 2011)

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Blog Merge

So, I’ve had a blog over on Blogger.com for a few years now, Three actually, one a general post blog, one a creative writing blog and the third one, well, I had intended to be more everything, how I really feel about things, but it never really went anywhere. I really don’t want to switch back and forth, so I’m considering reposting some, if not all, the various posts here on WordPress. Then I think, no, no, I really don’t want to do that, but then I think, well, why not?

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Rebellious

I was born

Back in the 60’s

With a heart that was a little wild

I had no brothers

Or no sisters

Yes I was an only child

Now a rebellious heart

Has made me strong

But it’s done some damage too

All my life

I’ve done what I wanted

And Babe, you know that is true

They tried to send

Me off to church

Sitting in that Sunday school

But I asked the difficult questions

They made me leave

Because I wouldn’t be their fool

It’s a lonely road

When you’re a square peg

Trying to fit in society

Children are cruel and adults are too

When they sense your non conformity

Now my dreams

Have come in handy

When life becomes a bit too much to bear

Along with music, oh sweet music

It’s kept me sane in a world that does not care

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IF ONLY…

Imagine what we could have accomplished over the last eight years if only, if only…
I will never forgive the Republican Party for their seemingly absolute refusal to work with President Obama and/or Democrats. Their grievances and dislike of the President and the mess that the Democratic Party has become, have shut down the government several times, AT GREAT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, might I add. What happened to representing the people while doing what was best for the Country?  Keeping religion out of it, and ruling according to law, not fervent beliefs. That’s why this great country was founded on documents guaranteeing not only freedom of, but also freedom from religion.  There’s President Kennedy’s address to the Baptist ministers, where he spoke the truth that a man’s religion ought not have any bearing on his ability to be president.

Watching the SOTU tonight, I felt proud of my president, for his entire eight years in office has been an uphill battle that has, no doubt, tested him mightily.  He spoke openly and honestly about his achievements, the slow reversal of the economic disaster and the equally slow recovery, certainly not helped by government shutdowns, filibustering and other shenanigans perpetrated mainly by the republicans.

I felt proud to be an American, too. He spoke of the qualities that are part of what made America the shining lamp of the world, qualities we need to re embrace.  When did we let them slip away, to be replaced by one upmanship, greed, mistrust?

 

 

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Lazy Winter Sunday

It’s a lazy, cold, snowy January day in Indiana.  I think the temperature is around 18F, and who knows how cold with the wind chill.  It’s the perfect day to catch up laundry and cook.  Or write.  Or just sit.

I bundled up mid morning, and filled the feeder and suet cake holders.  Since then, I’ve stripped the bed and washed the bedclothes, fixed a late breakfast, and shooed the damn starlings away from the feeder.  Nasty birds, they run all the other birds off and clean your feeders out, all the while shitting all over them.

Currently, there’s a Red-Bellied Woodpecker taking turns with a few Downy and Hairy woodpeckers at the suet cakes. (I need to buy more, the two I put out are the last I had).  Earlier, there were several Nuthatches , Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, Slate-Colored Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, and a few Chipping Sparrows.  I love watching them, binoculars in one hand, bird guide in the other, a cup of coffee growing cold as I watch the birds’ busyness.

My husband is beginning to grumble and mumble about dinner possibilities, so I’m defrosting some boneless pork loin chops.  A small side salad and a potato of some sort to round out the meal.

I still have to remake the bed and clean up the kitchen, and finish three more loads of laundry in addition to the one on spin cycle at the moment.

Reruns of “Roseanne” are on, though as much as I like the show, I’d really prefer quiet.  My husband is the tv watcher, not me. I will watch shows about Nature and animals, history and documentaries and music shows, a bit of weather and news. Other than that, I hate it.  All that blah, blah, blah from the multitudes of talking heads that are on, seemingly 24/7, drive me up the wall.

It’s 6:49 p.m.  Dinner is done, and dishes are in the dishwasher, and we’re digesting a lovely dinner of breaded, cast iron pan seared boneless pork loin chops, smothered in my homemade BBQ sauce, and finished in a vintage Pyrex baking dish in a 400F oven.  Green beans, from a can, but organic from JayC’s.  Macaroni and tomatoes, made by my husband, though I didn’t eat any, as I dislike them.

Our Schnauzer is lying on one of the floor registers, enjoying the heat while the furnace is on. Our Schnoodle is yodeling, (yes, she yodels), to go out or play or something.  She’s quite bossy.

At 7:43, I still have to fold towels and put the blankets back on the bed, hang up my shirts to dry, get my jeans in the dryer and the last load in the washer, then the dryer.  Then there’s the book I just started reading, “Portage- A Family, a Canoe, and the Search For The Good Life by Sue Leaf”.  My small crochet tote rests on the coffee table, reminding me of a project needing completion, and there are two small stacks of library books on various topics I’ve yet to peruse.  Never enough hours in the day.

It’s now 8:17 p.m. Late evening, I suppose. I love our evenings, so snug and cozy.  Content.  The floor lamp at the far end of the couch lends a warm, soft glow to the front room, casting shadows on the several blankets on the couch, part bunched into a “nest” by one of the Baby Girls, part trailing onto the floor by the other one.  It’s quite peaceful and inviting.  If only that darn tv wasn’t on.  Still, it could be worse.  Time to snuggle in on the couch for a few minutes before bedtime.

 

 

 

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