Ask and it chall be given!

Beatrixal invited me to the local warehouse store, where they were having a sale on silk island-style shirts. I bought a soft light pinkish-orangish one and an equally soft greenish-blue one. They are a bit generously cut compared to most, but I'm not complaining in the least!

She also took me to a major high-end outdoors co-op store, where I found the very anklets I needed and am wearing them now. They are wool, of all things, of a non-itch brand I have worn in the past and am very happy with. No gimmicks; just nice little socks, in colors that match my new summer shoes.

Afterwards we had lunch at a quiet, lovely little neighborhood Thai place.

And it was only about 80 degrees or so out. As I told my lunchtime companion, who also put up with my fussiness and clumsiness (water in the lap + desertweight pants + temp = 80 +! problem!) in March you whine "Oh, it's 80 in here! I am going to DIE!" In May you cry happily "It's only 80! How lovely!"

When you come to the end of a perfect morning....
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Running errands is fraught with difficulty - how do people do it?

Either Mercury is retrograde, Loki is loose, or the heat's got everybody.!

Paldon says it's the latter, and has been since Sunday. What's interesting is that everybody is being nice and trying to be helpful, it's just that everything is a lot harder, and things went wrong on a small scale most of the day. Followed by a phone call rescheduling the PT for two weeks in June, but the caller didn't say which two weeks. Easily cleared up, a simple move from Thursday to Wednesday.

Anyway -- three tries to get a steering wheel cover fuzzy enough to actually keep my hands from burning on the wheel. Then the clerk couldn't find a bar code tag on the thing and searched desperately. I offered to pay him for the most expensive cover there, but he kept trying to find the Real Thing while a 5-minute errand morphed into half an hour. He was, might I add, a Millie. A more senior clerk (late 30s?) who took up the hunt looked at the two shaggy ones also offered (not fuzzy - shaggy loops) and suggested he try a number which proved to be the manufacturer's general code. He looked at all of them - alas, no picture of the product, just a name like Moxie for the style. But we agreed to accept that.

Then I couldn't get the old cover off. I needed strong hands to get it off. The car place was understaffed but offered advice.

Backing up - try #1 was Target, which I dropped into for some lightweight - summerweight - ankle socks, which I found. And put on when I got into the car. There were knitted-in ridges on the socks under the wide cardboard band covering their midsection. So now I'm standing on pot scrubbers. And the socks grabbed my feet in an iron grip. Aha. "4% Spandex for better! Longer-lasting! Fit!" [Family Dollar further up the street had some humiliatingly inferior ones - they only had 2% Spandex in them. I decided not to take the chance.]

Oh, and there were no short-sleeved blouses or camps shirts to be found at Target. Tank tops and similar sundress-type tops aplenty. You know - just thought I'd look. But the Target people were really nice.

Onward & upward for some books only a vague sense of principle kept me from hitting Amazon for. Title Wave, in the same strip mall as Car Place #2, has closed down. Craig Chrissinger from the SF club, who used to work there, had little good to say about their management.

Onward and upward to Page One. Alas, no luck. back to the car. Where's my hat? Not there! The customer service guy - actually the used book buyer - hiked all over the store with my looking for it, after seeing it had not been turned in, and took down my name and phone #. I checked the car again just to be sure --- in the trunk? What's it doing in the trunk?!?!?

Lunch time. Wendy's value meal. Three bites in, "This tastes like Cheez Whiz and where's the green chile?" I politely mention the lack of green chile and they hand me another burger without complaint. They even put up with my fumblign and bumbling with the coin purse.

So I call Paldon to ask for help with the steering wheel cover. He said he would meet me at home. Bless him. Sitting on the front porch swing, got it off and tossed it, got the new one back on. Pattern looks line a white cat with light grey shadow-stripes.

Then a phone call from the PT people on the need to reschedule two of the June appointments. BUT --- I am still up for doing the assigned exercises. Which I did not do with the entire morning eaten up.

PS - the Spandex-laden sox are going into the washing machine ON HOT! And the dryer, ditto. Besides, I need to do a wash. The Frostie I had with the lunch dripped on my pants. When you come to the end of a perfect day ...

PPS - will hit Amazon for the books and check Hanes for lighter and less feature-laden sox. Or possibly even REI.

PPPS - I looked at my "small things but hard to find" wish list and threw the entire lot onto Freecycle, in hopes of a miracle. Except for the books I was looking for. Support your local book dealer be hanged - if you really want the books, got to www-dot-EvilEmpire-dot-com and ORDER THEM!


That recipe said "SIMMER", not "turn down to 1/4 heat and ignore for half an hour.

Pat, now soaking the bean pot, with the chile transferred to the crockpot, whose heat is controlled with electricity.

Not your mother's ingredients!

I inherited some of my mother's recipes, and somehow these days they just don't taste the same. Of course, I live at 5,000 feet - she lived at sea level. But this evening I gave it one more try, because how can you mess up the stew she called "Chile Con Carne"? Not that any Southwesterner would recognize it as such, but I loved it as a child. So let me walk you all through the process - it's as much "redacting the recipe" as any attempt to use a medieval cookbook!

1 1/2 cups ground beef.
**Redaction: NOT "lean" or "very lean" or "ultra-lean" or bison, turkey, or ostrich. Plain old ground beef as it was back in the day. There are only two ways you can get it. At the supermarket, the stuff that comes in rolls and is labeled "ground beef" is the right mix of fat. Alas, it almost certainly contains Pink Slime. Back in the day it didn't. NOT because "all the meat was purer then, girls were girls and men were men..." but because that level of processing was too much work at the time.

1 tsp salt. Dash of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, allspice. [Told you this wasn't Southwestern}. BROWN until crumbled.
**Redaction: She didn't say in what. She didn't have to. Use a cast-iron skillet. No extra fat needed. And note: the teflon-lined jumbo cooker didn't work as well, I think because it's not designed for hot heats. The skillet is. And the old-fashioned meat crumbled when browned, unlike the "mega-lean" stuff.

Put the meat in a large kettle. We all have a bean pot, don't we? I do!

BROWN in the fat from the meat 1 large chopped onion and 3-4 talks of celery chopped. [No leaves. This isn't veggie soup.] Add to the meat [in the kettle] and simmer on low heat.

**Redaction: in the cast iron skillet, they WILL brown. Pour off the extra fat into an empty can and stick the can in the fridge. When it's full, just throw it away. Quick, easy, does not clog the drain.

ADD: [into the kettle] l large can of tomatoes cut up, ~ 3 cups [and] 3 cans of kidney beans [I use pinto beans] ~ 3 1/2 - 5 1/4 cups.
**Redaction: today's large can is 28 ounces and the regular can, 14.5 ounces. Use one of each for the tomatoes. 3 cans of the beans work quite nicely.

SIMMER indefinitely, stirring occasionally. Tastes as good if not better warmed up the first day.

***And there you have it. 2012, a culinary odyssey. Serve with corn bread, any of the southern corn breads like hush puppies, fried corn grits patties, or Indian oven bread is really good.


More on this past week: what's going on with me?

I got sick to death of using my home as a cold weather survival tactics training ground and put in a call to the furnace guys. Having heard nothing from them, I will call early Monday morning. Meanwhile, two separate people who have been to my house this week have noticed there is no air coming out of the front floor furnace, and think the fan is broken. If it's that straightforward, I will not begrudge the cost of parts or labor to fix it!

More on the lower off the hog business -- I made a resolution not to get gas station hot chocolate unless I was actually on the road. Now I've decided to make hot chocolate- at home - a Sunday morning treat. As always, if I'm out, I drink whatever beverages ore on offer, but there is usually a good choice for me to pick from.

Victory! I found out how to best wash the "disposable" white cotton gloves that protect my hands from cracking and bleeding in the cold, dry air! No amount of laundering helped, not even soaking them in bleach and washing them on Hot as Heavy Dirt. But today I ran my hot bath, put on the gloves, and thoroughly washed my (gloved) hands with ordinary bath soap. A remarkable improvement!

And the light and warmth in the study is a lot better than in the front room until nightfall, which should get me working on the financial backlog.

A week after New Year's Day - more notes on living lower off the hog

1) If I want to sharpen my healthy-food-fu, I can go through the supermarket as if I had a tight budget and an iron mandate to eat as I should get use to eating, and see what I can do with what. Emphasis on what I'd get out of a garden if I had one.

2) I tend to crave sweets when I'm tired and overstressed. If I'm tired enough to want to pop a sweet, I'm tired enough to lie down.

3) If my primary beverage of choice is water, that's a lot lower off the hog than 99% of the country.

4) So running errands on foot exhausts me because of hauling even my purse around --- for what else do I own a rolling book bag?!?!?

5) At what place to eat can you control your portions, your ingredients, and your price? Hint, it's very close to where Dorothy of Oz said heaven was.

6) Rolling book bags have room for brown bags. Little known fact.

Shake that booty

It was Friday at Weight Watchers, with a substitute leader, or I might not have spoken up. I mentioned my resolve to do all my neighborhood errands on foot unless they involved hauling a heavy load or truly nasty weather. Then I spoke of having chickened out when the pre-Christmas cold spell hit, and feeling cold at home. The custom is for the members to offer suggestions, and I got the usual barrage of "Get in your CAR and go to the MALL and walk around the BORING CREEPY DEAD EARLY MORNING MALL!" or "Get in your CAR and go to the Medical Center and do boring laps around the track on the second floor and NOT stop at the snack bar on the first floor on your way out!" Then one member said "Why not put on some music and dance at home?"

Bingo! That should warm me up!

Saturday night I watched Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, with it's bits and pieces of 40 years of the Top 40, and danced as much as I wanted to, with nobody but the cats to offer judgment, and the cats didn't care. I toasted the New Year with a full glass of red wine on top of a modest low-on-the-hog supper, and went to bed quite contented. Slept like a kitty-cat, too.

Today or tomorrow I will go through my CDs and pick out those suitable for dancing to, and haul out the portable DVD player.

Meanwhile, this morning's 3-card reading ended with "Choices for the future (today): the King of Pentacles." Which is to say "Haul out the Bookkeeping for Dummies and get cracking on half a year's unposted - unsorted! - checks and receipts!" If New Years comes, can tax time be far behind?

Welcome to 2012

2012. The year Heinlein predicted would see the election of Nehemiah Scudder as President, which would begin a theocratic state that - on his timeline - lasts 80 years. I note this is exactly how long the Soviet Union lasted - i.e. one person's lifetime. This, like _1984_ is the sort of prophecy written in order to avert it. The Hebrew Testament is full of such warnings, though, alas, not about the dangers of theocracy.

2012. The year the Mayan Calendar is supposed to end, Read more...Collapse )"Yeah, yeah, been there, done that, I'll wing it from here."

So I'll keep everybody posted if anyone is interested. Meanwhile, discovery #1 is that one can order a simple bean and cheese burrito at the Frontier, for a quarter of the price of their massive Frontier Burrito, and walk away feeling neither hungry nor full. Now, that is a strange sensation in itself, and the beans are quite good, for beans.

And I walked home from there.