Sunday, January 27, 2019

a little cooking, a little clay work...

Cast iron pineapple upside down cake

I had 2 projects today... that I just finished. One - was to make a cast iron pineapple upside down cake (a favorite type of cake for DH (and one I almost never make as I'm not fond of pineapple) and two - I needed to create 2 more ceramic stamps for the studio.

I think I've mentioned before that I've been trying these Cast Iron Cooking Magazine recipes. So far I've tried several... including Chicken Pot pie, Bacon wrapped sausages, Chicken Spaghetti, and a giant Snickerdoodle cookie. 

DH saw this Pineapple upside down cake in the magazine and has been waiting for me to give it a go. Today I did. It came out pretty good... if you like pineapple. But I can actually eat around the pineapple. The little pie bird in the center is just there to make it look cuter.... and I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on it for effect.

And as for the ceramic stamps... this was our first project this past Saturday. We were told to make at least 3 stamps in either different sizes or different styles to use as our signature stamp. I made 3 in class and came home and made 2 more this morning.  One is a signature stamp... the other is a chicken head stamp (surprise, surprise!).

signature stamp

chicken head stamp up close

chicken head that hopefully imprints

These are just recently carved out of a hunk of clay... still have to dry, be cleaned, and fired before use. 

That's my Sunday so far... how's yours?

Amaryllis bulb growing

Oh, we got an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas and it's just starting to do it's thing! (Please excuse my dirty windows - it'll be spring before I get to them - pictures are not forgiving) I put it tentatively in the computer room window so it could get some sun - so far the cats haven't noticed it. Wish me luck with that.

Thanks for coming by. Wish I could serve you some coffee and pineapple upside down cake! 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

growing older... and accepting it

I'm happy to not be traveling by plane these days... what with the unpredictable weather, the government shutdown, etc. adding to the normal hassle at airports. But many people still are... traveling for business, pleasure, etc.  I know of several that have been or will be  flying this week. More power to you! 

Guess I must be getting old... but the thought of putting up with unnecessary aggravation tends to put me off these days. How's that for becoming a grumpy old woman?  I do realize that most of the time when I make myself do something that I don't want to do for whatever reason, I usually end up feeling glad that I did it. 

doing this a lot lately?

Today I had my appointment with the ENT doctor to have my hearing checked. I hesitated to do this as I didn't want a doctor to tell me my hearing was not good. But ever since the car accident last August, I've noticed that I don't hear as well as I used to.  The explosion of the airbag left me with my ears ringing and people sounding like they were in a well. Soon after that I noticed that I didn't quite catch what some people were saying when watching TV. (Now I watch a lot of British and Australian/New Zealand TV, so that is understandable sometimes) But I had to start using the closed caption a lot, so decided it best to check it out. 

The doctor said my ears looked fine, didn't think the accident caused any damage, and asked me if I had trouble hearing in a noisy room (like a restaurant). I said, sure... but doesn't everybody?
Apparently not.

Anyway, he sent me on to the Audiologist who ran several tests to check the condition of my ear drums, then put me in this booth to see at at what frequency my hearing was affected. Now I've never had my hearing tested, so this was all very new to me. I was asked to press the buzzer when I heard the beeps. I wonder how accurate this is as sometimes I thought I might have heard the beeps, but maybe not. Sometimes I pressed, sometimes I didn't. Then she said words and asked me to repeat them. This test I know I had trouble with on my left side. I could hear her say 'something' but couldn't make out what the word was. And lastly, she said sentences and had me repeat one word out of the sentence. This one was easy. 

So... the result was that yes, I have some hearing loss. Apparently I fit right in with the beginning hearing loss of someone 'older'. My loss ran on the graph she showed me from mild to severe. Both ears apparently had loss, but the graph looked like a DNA strand where the left and right ear overlapped each other.  Interesting, yes?  I was told that I was a candidate for a hearing aid, but if I wanted to wait, it was OK. 

I chose to wait. I can hear fine for the most part...  except for some TV voices... and when you're not facing me talking. I can handle that. Thank goodness for closed captioning. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

the tale of the streetlight...

streetlight... not ours, but similar

We have a huge streetlight right off our driveway in the front of our house. If you picture a T... picture our house in the middle of the top where the 2 lines touch. Our street is the horizontal one and the vertical line is another street that ends in our driveway (if you don't turn left or right). 

Anyway, there's a huge bright street light that sits there next to our mailbox. We love it as it lights up the whole area where we park our car and the front of our house. We also have a video camera on that driveway, and even though it has night vision, it works so much better with the light. 

Well... the streetlight went out a few nights ago. Talk about black! I was surprised at just how dark it was without it. So we called the city... actually you go online nowadays, find your area, find your streetlight, and check off the problem... which was "out!"

Said it could take a few weeks (whatever). Well, the very next day when DH and I were out shopping at Central Market, we get a call from our next door neighbor saying the city was out to fix the streetlight and while doing so, they knocked over our mailbox. Since no one was home, they left their card with our neighbor and told him what happened. 

We were overjoyed that they had fixed the light so quickly that we didn't care about the mailbox... and said so. We would take care of it. But lo and behold, that night the streetlight never came on. Apparently they didn't fix it. They did however, tie a yellow ribbon around it...?? 

The next day we called the number on the card they gave our neighbor and reported that the light was still out. They asked if we wanted them to fix the mailbox, again we said NO! WE WANT THEM TO FIX THE STREETLIGHT! They said they would look into it. 

That was a few days ago.  Still waiting... 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

eclectic choices...

Aga with dish towel given to me by a friend

Have you ever wondered how different people's choices are when it comes to things that interest them? I've often wondered about this... 

And it covers such a large field; friends, decor, colors, styles, life-styles, entertainment, fields of study, and even just 'things'. Why does one person adore the color blue while another red? Why does one person find Anthropology fascinating and another find it boring? 

And I realize that genetics and environment play a part... but still the down to earth diversity astounds me. THAT and the fact that so many of us actually do like the same things. 

Bear with me. This is a strange introduction into what I'm actually getting at.

Dish Towels! 

I love pretty useful dishtowels. This is what I check out at kitchen stores or what I buy when on vacation as my souvenir.  Some I use, some I display, some I use and display.  

These two were bought in Fredricksburg, TX. They have been both displayed and used... so showing a little wear. But that's OK. 

Our house decor is pretty eclectic also. I've never been one who wants everything to match. In fact, my favorite table setting is to use 8 different place settings with 8 different crystal goblets. Not that we do much of that anymore (occasionally now at Christmas and/or possibly Thanksgiving). 

And of course the cats have a say in how things are done too. They don't allow flowers to be displayed (Julie will eat them - she also likes to chew plastic so it's essential no one leaves anything in plastic where she can get to it... like bread or hefty bags,etc. as they will be found with thousands of tiny teeth marks the next day). They also make it necessary to have a very heavy centerpiece in the front room in order to keep the tablecloth from coming off if they happen to fly across it chasing each other.  And they require suitable soft quilting blankets on sofas, easy chairs, kitchen counter, etc. for their comfort and enjoyment. And I imagine any house-hold that has a cat also has a cardboard box or two from Amazon (or what have you) that couldn't be discarded because the cats have taken possession.

But that's life. You deal with it. And somehow... despite the haphazardry (is that a word? probably not), it all works.

and oh yes, there are lots of books around here too!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Promised home-made eggnog recipe... and an extra

Home-made Egg-nog

Recipe for Home-made Eggnog:

Eggs 3
Sugar 1/2 cup
Milk (whole) 2 cups
Evaporated milk 1 cup

Separate yolks and whites
Beat egg yolks with sugar until creamy
Heat milk and cream until very hot, but not boiling
Add a little of the egg yolk mixture to hot milk gradually, stirring well as you add, then add rest.

Then beat egg whites with a little sugar to taste (maybe 2 Tbsp?)
When stiff, add this to egg yolk/milk mixture
Can sprinkle with nutmeg (optional) and add a little whiskey (we use bourbon- maybe a capful ?)

Makes about 4 cups depending on size of cup or flute. 
We use champagne flutes and put another teaspoon of whiskey on top when served.

Refrigerate any leftover. Excellent hot or cold!

*and a new endeavor...  Cast Iron Chicken Pot Pie:

I won't post this recipe unless someone wants it, but I took it from Cast Iron magazine and it came out rather well. I will say that I 'tweaked' it a bit as it calls for using frozen veggies and I prefer fresh... so I semi cooked my potatoes and carrots ahead and then added them.  I also added a little white wine, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme.

Monday, January 7, 2019

catch up...


This post may take a while... it's coming after a week of 'something or other' that has had me bedridden with croupy cough, headache, and fever.  I won't say it was the flu... but since I had the flu shot in October, I guess it could have been a modified version. All I know is that my fever (102 F) broke Wednesday night and I woke up soaked with perspiration... and have felt better since.

First, let me say that we had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's. 

Our daughter who lives in the hill country and was with us for Thanksgiving, decided to drive up on the spur of the moment 2 days after Christmas... for a short visit and to deliver Christmas gifts she had yet to mail. It's only about a 4.5 - 5 hour drive (even shorter if grand daughter (17) is driving), so they can leave early and be here for lunch time.  This was an unexpected but happy surprise. 

Daughter, Grand daughter 1 (17), DIL, and Grand daughter 2 (6) took off and did some Girls after Christmas sale shopping.  I picked up a new Star for the tree next year. The old one is rather small and really wasn't made to top a tree. 

We also hit Northpark Mall which is one of the biggest and oldest malls in the area. It was packed!  I never would have been there if it wasn't for this spur of the moment  'girls shopping spree' (I really don't like crowds). But I can go with the flow... when it's family oriented. 

Anyway, youngest grand daughter saw the Train Exposition.... which is there every year (getting bigger every time) and wanted to go inside. You have to get tickets, but it all goes to charity. So of course I took her while the others shopped some more. This was also packed with people and kids (and probably where I picked up some bug). But it was fun. She enjoyed it. The last time I was inside there was when our oldest grandson (20) was 4. He enjoyed it back then too.

There were trains everywhere... going in all directions and the kids could push a button and stop or start them.

This particular one was made like Fair Park and Big Tex here in Dallas.  If you look closely you can see Big Tex on the midway.

OK... now I'm going to mention something that has really been bothering DH and myself these last 2 days. Apparently our neighbor's wife across the street passed away 3 months ago. Did we know? No. Were we close friends? No... but we've lived here for 34 years and have waved hello as we passed... occasionally speaking when outside working on the lawn, etc. 

When checking with our neighbors who are on both sides of us (and who admittedly we are closer to), they didn't know either. How can this be?  She was only about 50  (I'm guessing)... and our closer neighbors are about the same. DH and I are the old ones

My dilemma is what to do. We don't know them well enough to go knocking on his door now 3 months later. Yet it feels wrong to not to anything. If we had known, we would have brought food, sent a card, extended our sympathies somehow. But now... ??  I plan to talk to my closer neighbors and see if we can figure this out. But I have to admit, it's shocked us - not that a neighbor could die, but that one so close could die and us not know anything about it.  

Ghost covering her face...