Monday, January 18, 2021

What Were They Thinking?

I discovered this little booklet tucked inside an old cookbook. Frozen puff pastry has always been something I enjoy cooking with--we had Turkey Wellington for Thanksgiving and I still have a package of puff pastry in the freezer--so I leafed through, looking for inspiration. The elegant presentation on the cover led me to expect some high class gourmet fare.

Mile high  chicken pie? Count me in! But sweetbreads? Not something I've ever even tasted--nor seen for sale.  And what's in the rest of the directions--canned chicken a la king and canned carrots? Oh, my--this must be a recipe from the Fifties. I should have realized it wasn't for me anyway with only one clove of garlic.

The sausage and oyster croustades sounded interesting--then I saw that the sausage called for was canned Vienna sausage. Canned oysters aren't a deal breaker for me--if they're smoked oysters--but gravy from a package is.

I love looking through old cookbooks and seeing how tastes and skills change over the years.  My grandmother's recipes often involved gelatin and almost never garlic. She cooked from scratch for the most part. And vegetables were cooked into submission. My mother's repertoire was pretty daring for the Fifties--Coq au Vin! Bouef a la Mode! Lasagne! (light on the garlic though.) But even she couldn't escape the canned cream of mushroom soup that figured in many a casserole.

Today, I think, there's a good emphasis of fresh vegetables--kale, anyone? I find myself tossing it into many a dish. The pandemic has given lots a folks a renewed interest in cooking. and the internet puts a myriad of recipes--ethic and otherwise--at our fingertips.

I think I'll look there for something ethnic to do with that package of puff pastry in the freezer. 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Mary Oliver Looks at Snow


Snow was falling,

so much like stars

filling the dark trees

that one could easily imagine

its reason for being was nothing more

than prettiness.

                                                                                                                     Mary Oliver


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Josie Learns Stuff

At breakfast I work with my letters, spelling D-O-G dog and B-O-B Bob and then I spell WFDR and ask ask Meema what that spells and she says it is not a word. But I keep on asking and she makes a face and says it's not a word but if it were it would sound like woofder. I love making funny words for Meema to say. And when Hamsie is there, he says them too.

Also I play songs on my piano. Meema tries to show me how to play Twinkle, Twinkle, little star but I play my own songs mostly. I can sing songs from Frozen and very loud. Meema does not know these songs.


Then we do work in the tracing book. I like the puzzles where you find things hidden in pictures and draw circles around them. I wonder if this is what school will be like?

Friday, January 15, 2021

First Shot!

Madison County's Health Department is handling vaccines in an admirable fashion. When we saw on their Facebook page that they were taking appointments for those over 75, I called at once and was given a time slot. A later call collected our insurance and health info. So yesterday, all we had to do was show up.  There was no waiting. We stayed in the car, masks on, while the charming provider verified our names. Then we signed a paper, bared our arms, and got the shots--all without leaving the car.

We had to wait fifteen minutes to be sure there were no immediate adverse reactions. There weren't--except from our car which refused to start--dead battery.

No worries! The charming provider went and got her car, pulled it in next to us, and she and John hooked up the jumper cables. Presto! We were on the road again.

Now that's what I call a full service health department.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


The day began with beautiful hoarfrost everywhere and it only got better--the day, that is. The hoarfrost quickly melted. But the news from Congress lifted my heart. 

There must be truth and consequences before there can be reconciliation. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Time to Heal?

 I'd like to let this go and move on, as so many Republicans are suggesting now--move on and let the Biden/Harris administration deal with Covid and the toxic fallout of the past four years. 

But there was an insurrection--an attack on our democracy, an attempt to subvert the votes of the majority--and this seditionist action--egged on by none other than the President and many of his allies--should not be ignored. There must be consequences. 

Impeach, impeach, and go on impeaching! Even if there is faint hope of conviction, at least 45* will go down in history as the first president to be impeached twice.  

Monday, January 11, 2021

Josie and Hamsie and a Daydream. . .

Josie continues to enjoy her buddy Hamsie (see video 
 HERE while I daydream about a certain lame duck, trapped in a locked room with unreachable high shelves encircling it, and on those shelves, hundreds of Hamsies repeating his words over and over and over . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2021

We Knew Who He Was Before He Was Elected


What follows is a repost from 2015. I knew he was bad news--just not how very bad. What he and his enablers have done to our country by pushing the narrative of Fake News ranks up there with the Sin against the Holy Ghost. 

"We'll go to the Capitol," he tells the sad fools who believe him. "I'll be with you," he says. And returns to the White House to watch it all play out on television.  

This evil man needs, for once in his life, to be held accountable for his actions.


Many years ago I taught at a prep school in Tampa and I encountered some younger versions of Trump -- the golden boys and girls whose parents' wealth had led them to believe they were better than everyone else (the losers) and worthy of whatever they wanted. I've seen the pout when they don't get their way, the sulk when someone else has the spotlight, the self-satisfied smile when they bully someone into giving in.

These kids grow up secure in the knowledge that Daddy's money can buy them out of the drug bust, the hit and run, the rape charge, the cheating scandal, the pregnancy, the draft --  Money talks is the lesson learned.

I recall one eighth grader's answer, when I was asking the class what sort of future they envisioned for themselves: "Climbing to the top of the ladder, stepping on others and pushing them aside," was Robert's response. And I'm pretty sure he was serious -- he wasn't a kid with a sense of humor.

Mr. Trump's four bankruptcies -- no, the bankruptcies of four of his companies -- were, according to him, just good business decisions. Never mind the investors who lost millions -- he was able to walk away from a bad deal -- stepping on others and pushing them aside.

After Thursday's debate, I had a vision of a President Trump on the world stage. Forget diplomacy -- he would be the quintessential Ugly American -- loud, rude, determined to have things his way . . . or else. All those conservatives who were sighing over tough-guy Putin a while back have found their new hero.

And the GOP base applauds, flinging their collective panties at this boor who declares that he doesn't have time for political correctness. They sigh orgasmically even as he pushes out his lower lip and threatens hints that if he doesn't get the nomination, he'll run as an independent.

What does this say about the GOP? Nothing good, in my opinion. Trump's trumpet either drowns out the other voices (I'm thinking particularly of Kasich, who actually sounded like a compassionate conservative. Remember them?) Or the others try to compete with him in rudeness.

And the crowd goes wild.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Senate Bean Soup

A while back, John expressed a wish for Senate Bean Soup--something I've made in the past and not liked all that much. But I made some on Tuesday and it was our supper on Wednesday night--a fitting meal for a day in which the Democrats won back the Senate (oh, yes, and there was an attempted coup in DC.)

The soup was surprisingly good--though like the Senate, it does tend to produce a lot of gas.


1 pound dried Great Northern beans

2 smoked ham hocks (or 1 meaty ham bone)

4 medium onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves, minced

6 celery ribs, chopped

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

5 medium red potatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste (the ham hocks provided plenty of salt)

Minced parsley or chives for garnish


Rinse beans. Put in large kettle, add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and boil two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 3 or 4 hours till beans are softened.

Drain and rinse, discarding liquid. In large kettle, put beans, ham hocks (or bone,) and 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours.

Skim fat if needed. Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley, potatoes, and simmer 1 hour.

Remove hocks or bone and let cool till you can handle them. Remove the meat, discard the fat and bones. cut meat into bite size pieces and return to soup. Taste and decide if you want salt and/or pepper.

Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley of chives.

Freezes well.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

What a Day!

Ivanka called them patriots. I call them terrorists and looters. And traitors.

 "You're very special. We love you," said the President (but not for long!) of the United States to the mob he had summoned to DC and then incited to storm the Capitol, before retreating to his bunker to watch on television the mayhem that ensued.

These disgusting low-lifes had a field day, snapping selfies and carrying off souvenirs before they were finally removed. Were any arrested?

Query: What would have happened if this mob had been black? 

Meanwhile, I'm celebrating the double win in Georgia that will take the Senate away from the Republican enablers who made this low point in America history possible. And I'm giving thanks for Stacy Abrams and for all the Georgia voters who didn't pick the billionaires to represent them.