Winter Snow

Winter

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fragments

A busy week behind me, and another one ahead. I look forward to a blank slate!

Sad News: I read this yesterday, and I’m sad:
Since the doors of Downton Abbey opened in 2010 we have shared so much; tears of joy and sadness, secrets old and new, laughter, loves, losses, arrivals, and departures. But alas, the time has come for Team Servants to announce that Series 6 will be our final visit to Downton Abbey. But fret not, we can cast our minds back to the very beginning and live the drama all over again! 
Thank you for joining us on this wonderful journey, we shall see you in Series 6.
I did hear, though, that the creator will be doing a show about New York in the 1890s – The Gilded Age. That sounds interesting!

A Little Gift: Late yesterday afternoon, my son and his girlfriend stopped by. I had a chance to discuss the passing of her little cat. He never made it to the euthanizing but died in their arms on Sunday night. He had a neurological condition, and the end came quickly. Nevertheless, she was still sad. Her mom had made some flans and sent one over to us. We’ll have some tonight for dessert. It was a nice, unexpected gift!

My Funny Little Guy: I so enjoy spending time with this little one. He keeps me laughing the whole time he’s here. The latest was his teaching an Easter song to me.     Little bunny Foo Foo
Went hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said
"Little bunny Foo Foo
I don't want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head."
The highlight for him, of course, was “bopping them on the head,” which he sang with gusto and hand gestures!

Rest Results: I followed my convictions yesterday and really rested. I only sat, read, watched TV, and took a short nap. The problem, though, was that by evening, I was walking funny and I was still tired. Now, I always walk in a goofy way, but last night, I was dragging even more. Did the rest help? Well, by the results, probably not! I think that no matter what I do, those evening hours will always be my worst time of day.

Understanding: Tomorrow is the luncheon that I was supposed to attend. My girlfriend tried to get all of us together for it, but I let her invitation hang for a while. I wrote about all my reasons for not going in one of my posts. Finally, I emailed my friend that I just wasn’t up to going this year. No long explanations were given, no apologies, just a simple fact. She was so understanding, and she wished me well. Another bullet dodged!

Party Time: I have all the food for Sunday’s birthday dinner, but nothing needs to be made ahead. I did make a banner that I’ll hang over the doorway. I love making banners on Print Shop – they’re so easy, and they look great. Now, I’ll design and make his card. It should be a fun time!

That’s all for now.

Peace,
Muff



Thursday, March 26, 2015

More To Do, But Not Today!

I’m still feeling well – knock wood it stays! That means I want to move, move, move, but I know that realistically, a lot of movement will take away the good feeling. So, for today, I’m in restful mode. That doesn’t mean that I can’t make lists, though, and that will be my plan for the day.

I keep looking at my blog page, and I know I have to update it – no more snowflakes! I also could add more to the right sidebar. But, little by little, I’ll get it done. Then there’s the house. I let the little guy start taking out some Easter decorations, but he was more interested in looking at them than putting them on display. I need to get the house full of flowers – real and silk. That always perks things up! Today is a dreary, wet day, so, I think I’ll at least line up some of my silk flowers to brighten the inside. I have two big brandy snifters that I want to fill with pastel eggs [not real] and place on the mantle. The little bisque eggs and rabbits will go out next week. Soon, everything will look spring-like in here. (I heard that there’s a possibility we may get snow on Easter, but I’m trying to wish that away!)

Then there are the dinners! Last night’s was easy peasy, and the boys still loved it. I got very thin, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I think they’re called ‘paillards.’) Then I mixed some mayo and mustard in a bowl and spread it on the chicken. I crushed some regular pretzels in the food processor and rolled the chicken in the crumbs to coat them. Because they’re thin, they only required twenty minutes in a 350° oven. I just had pasta and salad with it. My one son has begun his marathon training, so he limits his diet, but there was enough for him to choose.

Tomorrow, I’ll get started on the next Sunday birthday dinner for my other son. He wants lamb, which I really don’t like. I’ll get a roast for the boys and serve it with garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and a romaine and spinach salad. My younger son is picking up the cake from a bakery I like in Philly. My daughter and I have opted for a veggie stir fry. I won’t have a lot of advance work, but I’ll do ahead whatever I can.

I have my list started for the following week, and I’m trying to spread things out. Easter dinner will be big, and I’ll have as many as twelve at the table, but I’ll gladly accept help! Baking will come first, so my husband can help with that. I’ll plan the rest at a later time. Today, I rest.

Since Villanova was ousted from the NCAA championships, my husband is less interested in watching the games, but I’ll convince him to do so, and then I’ll relax with my reading. By tomorrow, I’ll be back to work, but once again, today is my resting day!

Peace,
Muff

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Loving Life

That’s really how I feel right now! Maybe it’s the sunny, though chilly, day outside, or it could be that I’m finally well-rested. Whatever the cause, I’m feeling well physically and emotionally. Last week, I worked hard, and I was tired, but I always seem to rally.

My son’s birthday dinner went well despite a few setbacks. With the snow on Friday, my husband decided to stay close to home, so he just shopped nearby. Instead of two boneless roasts, he got bone-in, so that meant different cooking times. He couldn’t find parsnips, but I made do with just carrots. He got the larger Brussels sprouts, but they could be cut in half. And he just went to the local bakery – not Wegman’s -- for the cake (but he overspent, it wasn’t decorated, and it was way too large.) Even though things seemed a bit off, we still managed.

The day was somewhat marred, too, by the fact that my other son’s girlfriend’s cat had to be euthanized, and she was too upset to come. But everything else was fine. We had a nice meal, a lot of laughter, and I got to keep my little guy! He had been begging to come and stay, and the timing was good. (Last week, he informed his mother that he was “moving in with Nanny, and Nanny will be my new mommy” This followed my daughter’s not allowing him to watch any more lightsaber battles on the computer!)

When the rest of the gang left, he and I watched the DVD “Big Hero 6,” and we enjoyed it so much, we watched it again on Monday night! He was easy to get to bed – it takes five minutes! He slept well and was ready for action on Monday – a lot of action! He helped Poppy make a repair to the guest room bed. He did some arts and crafts with me. He watched a few of his Disney Jr. shows. Poppy and he went for a walk through town. He built a giant tower with Legos. He helped me make dinner and clean up afterwards. He watched his movie. He went to bed easily. The time sped by, and I hated taking him home yesterday. I was tired, though. I dozed off in the car for a little while, and again while watching the TV news, and I went to bed an hour earlier. Today, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the world.

My boys (and I) wanted something easy tonight, so I’m making pretzel-crusted chicken with pasta. No travel visas will be needed! For the next birthday dinner, I’ll be making a lamb roast. I’ll get everything together on Friday. For now, I’ll just stay relaxed, and I’ll enjoy my day.

Peace,

Muff

Monday, March 23, 2015

AWOL

I'll be back on Wednesday. I have a VIP guest with me!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Fragments

It seems that these weeks are passing much too quickly! Time flies when you’re having fun! Am I having fun yet??

Spring? Today is the first day of Spring, and I’ve waited fairly patiently for it to arrive. I love seeing the grass turn green and the trees starting to bud. The flowers will start to pop up, and there’s a great scent in the air. Yep, I’m all ready for that glorious season when I can get by with just a light sweater. I’ve endured the cold winter and now it’s time to enjoy the spring. Guess what. It’s snowing! It’s not going to be much, but …It. Is. Snowing. I’m watching huge flakes falling and settling on tree limbs. The grass is white, but the streets are just slushy. Spring? Not yet!



Responses: I was so grateful that my peeps were so helpful with offering advice about my shoe dilemma. Olga [here] suggested an online source – Arcopedico – and I think I’ll be placing an order. I loved Debbie’s [here] idea of flip-flops all year, and I may also see if I can work that out. I thank all of you for hearing me and trying to help. I’ll let you know the results.

21-Day Fix: My daughter is doing this diet, and I wondered if anyone else is. Now you must understand – my daughter needs a diet plan like I need more holes in my head! She’s four feet, ten inches, and weighs around 100 lbs. She’s a vegetarian and belongs to a gym. Plus, she’s always chasing after the two little guys. I know she wasn’t happy when her baby bumps never totally disappeared, but that’s natural. When she said she was doing this diet program, I investigated. First of all, there’s the cost – around $60 – not that high, but here’s what you get for it: 2 DVDs and six colored Tupperware-like containers in different colors. Each color represents a food group, and you can only eat what fits into the container. I’m not sure, but I think it’s a rip-off. Am I being cynical?

March Madness: I’m not a sports freak, but the rest of my family are into various sports. I do like college basketball, but I can’t watch a whole game – my heart gets all poundy (a medical term, which I use like my culinary vocabulary!) One of our local teams – Villanova – is doing well and they’re in the NCAA championship games. I don’t keep brackets, but my husband does. (He already lost after just one day!) I read while the games are on and look up when something exciting happens. It works for me.

More Cooking: The whole family will be here for my boy’s birthday dinner on Sunday. He requested a pork roast, and that’s fairly easy. I’ll schmear (remember these terms) some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sage on the fatty outside and roast for 15 minutes at 450°, then reduce it to 350° for an hour or so. I’ll serve it with my apple stuffing casserole; some carrots, parsnips, and onion cooked under the meat; roasted Brussels sprouts and asparagus; and dinner rolls. My daughter will eat the roasted veggies, and I’ll add some brown rice to hers. We’ll get a Wegman’s vanilla cake, and I’ll make fondant decorations for it.  Today I’ll have my husband help me with straightening up. We’ll have fun, I’m sure.

Books/TV: You must read Diane Chamberlain’s The Silent Sister. It’s really an excellent book. Now I’m getting into the Sarah Jio book, and I have a Scottoline book waiting.
I’m liking “Secrets and Lies” (ABC, Sunday at 9:00 P.M.) There are ten episodes, and I’m looking forward to all of them.

Well, I’m off to have more ‘fun’

Peace,

Muff

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Day; Another Success

Since my boys decided we should celebrate our heritage, we did an Irish dinner last night. I’ve traveled to Ireland several times, and I love being caught up in the beauty and culture of the Emerald Isle. I decided to forego the corned beef and cabbage – I don’t like either. Instead, I made a traditional Shepherd’s Pie.

The Irish version often calls for lamb or mutton, and again I don’t like either. So, I opted for a beef version. It’s a pretty quick meal, and I like that. I asked my husband to chop a medium onion and some celery stalks. His hand was bothering him, so he decided to use the Cuisinart mini-processor. I bought that little gadget for just such chopping, but you need to just pulse it, not grind it. My husband did the later and I had near-pureed onion instead of dices. It worked, though. I browned the ground meat as he pulverized. The onions and celery got added to the browned meat and I sautéed it until tender. Then I added a tablespoon of ketchup, salt and pepper, and a dash of dried thyme. I stirred in a half-cup of water and ten ounces of frozen mixed veggies. Then the lid went on and I let it simmer for seven minutes. You’re supposed to put it into a round, two-quart casserole, but I broke mine and haven’t replaced it yet. So it went into the square casserole instead. Then, you plop (that’s a culinary term,) three cups of mashed potatoes on top. Swirl into peaks or make designs with a fork on the top. Put into a 425° oven for twenty minutes, and that’s it!

Ahead of time, I made some Irish soda bread which I served with the entrée. Unfortunately, I tried a new recipe and I didn’t like it as much. I know – if it ain’t broken, yadda, yadda… and next time, it’s back to the old tried and true. The problem was that the dough was too liquidy (another cooking term – learn them; there may be a test!) I usually have a dense dough which I could knead, but there was no way I could knead this one. So, I put into a baking dish instead of mounding it on a tray. Then it rose too much and began to escape the dish. It did taste yummy, but I won’t use that recipe again.

I made some “Irish” cookies, too. One was simply my chocolate chip recipe, but I used green M and M’s. The other was a simple sugar cookie that I frosted with green royal icing. I served them with the Irish Syllabub, which was another easy, but delicious, treat. You just put a cup of Bailey’s in a bowl with ¾ cup of sugar, a teaspoon of lime zest, 3 teaspoons of lime juice, and a dash of nutmeg. You leave it sit at room temperature for two hours, stirring occasionally. Then whip a cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the Bailey’s mixture and spoon into glasses. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. It was heavenly!

So, that was our trip to Erin, and a lovely one it was! Next week, we may go back to Italy or stay planted in the U.S. Sunday is birthday dinner number one – so next Wednesday will be simpler.

Peace,

Muff

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Imelda Muff

Do you remember the story about Imelda Marcos from the Philippines? When she and her husband were exiled, it was discovered she owned over 3,000 pairs of shoes! I can’t imagine having that many, but I used to get a lot of footwear. My feet were normal, and I loved shoes. Believe it or not, I still have many of them! The problem is, however, that I can no longer wear most of them.

I had to forego high heels once my walking began to deteriorate, but I still have them packed away in a bin. Why? Do I think I’ll ever be able to wear them again? Obviously, that’s not happening. Maybe I’m just a closeted hoarder? Whatever the reason, I just can’t seem to part with them. I still have mental images of how I looked in them and I’ll admit I did love looking like that! The last time I remember wearing them was when I was still a principal!

After I saw the necessity of going flat, I still collected shoes. I’d get an outfit and want shoes to go with it. As I relied more and more on the brace, I tried to find shoes that would hold the brace but still look attractive. I settled for sturdier ballerina flats and ones with a slight vamp. I had a rainbow of colors for each. Note: I rarely wore athletic shoes – just sneaks in colors. If I wore summer clothes, I’d abandon the brace and wear sandals. Those, too, became a collection in styles and colors. I’ve come to believe in the statement, “Vanity thy name is woman!”

Nowadays, I really struggle more and more with shoe choices. My right foot is gross – there’s no other word for it. The lymphedema there has caused me to have constant swelling. My instep is raised about an inch, making it close to impossible to wear regular shoes. I try to force the foot and brace into the vamp shoes, but even then, the swollen skin sticks out all over. It only hurts if the shoe leather starts to push on the instep too hard. When I wear them, I make sure my pants leg is long enough to hide my foot.

Since I’ve made myself a semi-recluse, I can get by with bare feet all the time. I don’t go out and I don’t invite anyone here, so nude feet suit me well. I cringe when I know I have to put shoes on, and then I get all depressed when I see how horrible my foot looks, all bulging at the top and sides. My husband hounds me all the time to get new shoes, but the truth is that I just can’t find any to fit me and still look good.

Last summer, I ordered a pair of crocs, but they didn’t work. I couldn’t fit the brace into them, and the vamp still pressed on my instep. A while ago, I got a pair of Keds, just to see how they would be. (Remember, they come in many colors!) They did work pretty well, but I can’t wear sneaks with everything. Then I finally was able to get my Mukluk boots, and they’re good, too. However, winter is almost over, so they must be stored with the others.

My dilemma: should I order the loafer type shoe in a size larger and stuff the left shoe? Should I get a wider width and do the same stuffing? Should I break all societal rules and go barefoot all the time? I need answers! I’ve looked online, and the shoes I find to accommodate my ugly foot are all even uglier or inappropriate. I have to figure something out soon – the nice weather will be here soon!

Peace,

Muff