Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Sorrowful Mystery

When I was trying to act Catholic a few decades ago I learned all about the Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries and the Sorrowful Mysteries.

And then I promptly forgot what they all were except for one. I know for certain sure what one of the Sorrowful Mysteries is, was, and always will be:

The Death of a Good Red Shoe.
Even Mackie looks sad and somewhat at a loss.
I don't know how I shall find the strength to go on. To be without Red Shoes is to be without a soul in Russia. It is to be without Light and Rainbows and Comfortable yet Stunning Feet.
Goodbye, my Beloved LizFlex shoes.
Time to Die.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How To Spend Your Morning Making Maple Fudge

This is a great way to use up extra ingredients and kill half a morning! Make Maple Fudge!

Start by printing out a recipe: Any old maple fudge recipe will do because the end product will be exactly the same no matter what. It helps if you have a trusty assistant who will be vigilant in making sure the printer doesn't attack anything or make any sudden moves.Line an 8x8 square pan with expensive aluminum foil and then spray the heck out of it so it cannot be used for anything else in the unlikely event of a fudge failure. Mix up all the ingredients the way you are supposed to according to your chosen recipe. Be sure and use up the last of the Mapeline so that you can't make a second batch if this one doesn't turn out.

A candy thermometer is an absolute must. You want to follow the instructions perfectly and they are going to say something like "cook to 348 degrees" and you want to steam your face really well when hanging over the pot trying to count those teensy little lines on the thermometer.

But just to make sure, use the 'softball' method, too. That entails a saucer of cold water and lots of runny globs of the mixture respirating in limp depression, semi-floating in the water, their lifespan prematurely ended because they never rose to the task of forming a soft ball in all that cold water.

Fast forward to the part where you scorch the entire batch and have to throw it down the drain and open up all the doors and windows to get the chemical smell of burned sugar out of the air.

Spend the rest of your time scraping the burned stuff from the pan.

That's a Morning Well Spent! Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gravitate to the Beer and Soothe your Shrapnel

I had to run to the Dollar Tree this morning and squander my money on cheap plastic items that only cost .9 cents to manufacture and disintegrate upon contact once you get them home. When I was paying for my purchases (a powder compact for my purse which I just discovered will not stay shut because the clasp is missing; a round styling brush that I just discovered tears my hair out by the roots because the little prongs are jagged and probably dipped in poison; one of those puffy fluffy powder brushes that I just discovered feels like dragging straw across my face and is so uneven that it smears the powder in little clumps; a small sized mixing bowl so I can whisk my eggs in the morning that I just discovered once I removed the store label and saw what was underneath, has enough lead in it to kill entire colonies of marmots living on the edges of the old Killhope Lead Mines in North England and thus renders it useless for beating eggs) I was struck with one of those killer, jabbing, sudden frontal lobe headaches.

I said OUCH and the check-out clerk said in sympathy, "Oh, is it one of those sinus headaches?"

Without thinking I responded, "Shrapnel. From 'Nam. Pressing on my brain tumor."

She fell out laughing and said I made her day and that those shrapnel wounds were just fine except for the side effects and we both went on with our day in better moods than before.

People all around me are starting to be as funny as I am. It's a real joy!

On Sunday there was a gentleman walking down the alley on his way to the church next door as I was getting into my car. We exchanged the usual friendly greetings about what a nice day it was since the air was blowing that awful toxic smoke away from all the wildfires at last. I said, "It's so nice to have a little oxygen in the air again!" and he replied "Yes, and we don't have to chew it!"

Then Miss Biddy got her vocabulary a little jumbled while we were having tea and a chat, saying, "My brother is so nice he never lacked in girlfriends. He's just so friendly that is why everyone gyrates to him."

I've gyrated to a man or two in my life so I knew just what she meant!

And then the ever-scrambled Miss Kitty told me this long, meandering pointless story all about Pearl and Earl, a mother and son who go up to the Spill-Booze Lounge every single day.

"Earl lives with Pearl because she is old and needs the help plus he doesn't have a job anyway. Pearl has a beard. Nobody says anything. Everyday they go up to the Spill-Booze and she sits there with her beard. Nobody bothers her or says anything. They leave her alone with her beard."

I was appalled! "Oh, NO Miss Kitty! She shouldn't have a beard! Her son needs to look into having that taken care of! They have hormones now and all kinds of epilation options. Just typical of a man not to take care of something like that which can be so easily fixed!"

Miss Kitty said, "Well, it's okay! Her son doesn't care! It's just one beard! Nobody says anything to her about it!"

And then of course, the old shrapnel must have shifted and comprehension dawned:

"Miss Kitty, do you mean she has a BEER?"

And that about sums up my week in humor!

More things I am loving right now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Things come from Dumpsters

I love dumpster diving! Or at least, dumpster perimeter scouting! I don't actually dive into dumpsters, that would be unsanitary. But fully 3/4 of my furniture comes from junk I've gleaned from alleys and side-streets and had that lovely word "FREE" taped to its body!

For instance this really ratty old cabinet. It was perched outside my own apartment building in the alley near where I park. I saw it and thought it looked like a filing cabinet but that perhaps it had potential. I liked the brass handles so I determined if it was still there when I came home from running errands I'd take a look at it.

It was there and I decided upon inspection that it was worth salvaging, and so I hoisted it up my stairs and onto the plastic for a make-over. Not wanting to invest a bunch of money I don't have in paint or stain, I just used the Cherry Chocolate I had left over from my pie safe re-do.

This is what the finished thing looked like in this morning's light. As always, you can click on the picture to get a higher resolution, better-lit look at it. I can't decide whether I really like it or will have to get rid of it at the first opportunity but for now it is the perfect home for all my table cloths and linens.

And another good thing?

DAIRY PRODUCTS. Why do they get such a bad rap?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Yesterday was my regular shopping day with Miss Kitty. As usual she had a list for all the things she needs and on a separate piece of paper, an item that had been recommended to her by her sister in law as something she might like to try.

Why she doesn't put that sort of thing on the existing list I do not know.

It happened to be some Ken's Light Balsamic Soy Ginger Dressing, which I knew was going to be trouble.

Miss Kitty doesn't like change. She doesn't like to try new things, she doesn't like odd brands.

Her favorite phrase is "I know him/her/that/those." I call it Land Park Snobbism. They are so proud of their little elite neighborhood and how friendly they are. Friendly like a nest of snakes. If you are ALSO a Landparker, then you are treated with such sweet kindness. If you are not 'known' then you are condescendingly smiled at. No overtures of true friendliness are made.

Miss Kitty's poor downtrodden pharmacist is retiring, and there is a lot of hoopla about where she will pick up her medicines now. I've told her that the Safeway Pharmacy is quite competent and it would make it so easy to be able to pick up her meds there when we are doing her regular shopping. She could even put them on their own list.

But, no, she has to go to some out of the way little pharmacy because, "I know him."

"How do you know him, Miss Kitty?" I ask.

"Well, I don't, but his Dad knew my Mother."

Of course, that makes him a very, very competent pharmacist so end of discussion. In Land Park you only need to be known by someone and your career is assured.

I only bring this up because my nose is out of joint. Miss Kitty's next door neighbor, the one who was so astonished to learn I was clever, always waves like mad at my car until she sees that I am not carrying Miss Kitty as my passenger and then she turns her back on me. I'm just the hired help, and nobody knows me.

So, there we were, facing a daunting wall of salad dressings, marinades and vinaigrette's, looking for Ken's Light Balsamic Soy Dressing. I could feel the agitation and tribal-fear growing in Miss Kitty as she was about to leave her compound of familiarity and step out amongst the hoi polloi to shop for something new and uncharted.

Ken's is not a major name brand like Kraft or Hidden Valley, but it has been around for a while and does seem to have about 15 varieties on hand. I'm not afraid of Ken. But Miss Kitty was muttering under her breath, "I don't know Ken. Is he Big? How BIG is Ken? I don't know him."

I soothed her as much as possible by showing her that she could actually get the Kraft Brand of Light Balsamic Soy Dressing instead. This put her into further agitation because it meant she wouldn't be getting the same, known kind that her sister-in-law had recommended in the first place.

It was all too much for her, I guess, because she decided that she didn't eat tomatoes anyway so why buy dressing to put on them?

As I was putting the bottles back on the shelf I heard her Loud Bray of Derision echoeing down the halls of Safeway Market...

"WHO the HELL is KEN?"

Poor Ken. If he had just been from Land Park, he could have been a contender!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Things I'm Loving Right Now

The air is really bad right now in Sacramento, due to all the wildfires. So bad that it always looks like sundown on a foggy day. Looking at it through the windshield of my car as I drive to work, I am always reminded of the dust in the air at the fairgrounds, when the whole world smells like diesel from the carnie rides and livestock odors and John Deere Tractors all shiny and new in their green paint.

The fibromyalgia is in full force right now and it leaves me wondering: How much tiredness can a person sustain? How much muscle pain and how much brain fog? Before it all just melts into a puddle of goo and I'm nothing more than a gob of rot on the floor with a forlorn pair of reading glasses on a chain sticking out of the top of it?

So I have to find things I love. I have to find things I like to look at and think about. Things that brighten all and everything for as long as they need to look brighter to take me to the next moment and the next, unglobbed..

Things like this bow tie quilt in the loveliest teals and sky blues.
Things like snow white linen napkins (of which, like champagne, I've never had enough!)
Things like "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle.
Things like a Robin's Egg blue Sadler teapot and matching creamer right next to a Bauer pot in the same shade of heaven.
And my homemade crepes.
What are you loving right now?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Handy Hotpad: Official Tutorial for the Crochetically Savvy

Start with a wash cloth that you like. I like white and that's all I have so that's what I used.

So now you are going to do a tricky kind of fold. And good luck with that because giving you a step by step photographic journey for the fold was beyond my skills and capabilities.

Actually I just got bored with that part because I wanted to crochet. So here is part of the fold.

Bwa-LA! Here is the completed fold. See how easy that was? For those of you who are not rocket scientists and may be spatially challenged like me, you can find info on the net for Origami and just look up how to make a Crane Base. That is all this is, a crane base cloth.Okay, then you are going to carefully cast on to the edges of the cloth with a slip stitch. When you do this at home, it won't be blurry. Unless you are drunk. But do not drink and crochet, please. Many, many crochet fatalities go unrecorded each year and why end up as a statistic? How sad for your family to have to shake their heads and whisper through their tear soaked hankies, " She died in a terrible crochet accident. It was horrible. Bloody. Senseless. We told her not to drink and crochet. We should have taken away her hook."Quite sozzled by now, you can still make out the detail on which direction you will put your slip stitch. It will look like this at some point in the procedure. When you get to the end of the cloth with your slip-stitching, you will turn around, chain up a couple stitches and go back the way you came, doing a shell stitch all the way. Okay, this tutorial is NOT for beginners. A shell stitch is easy but I'd have to actually THINK about how many double crochet to put in each hole and how many single crochet in between and then try to write that all out for you when probably it will all be for nothing because you are going to say, "What the heck do I want with a hot pad made out of washrags anyway?" So I'm just saving myself some stress because math makes me tired.

Here is one side finished, and completely in focus for a change.

Because I am a left handed crocheter, you may be completely confused by now. If you want to make these hot pads BACKWARDS you just go right ahead.

Okay! Isn't it looking kind of cool, now? Like it has turned a new leaf, and is ready to join the ranks of the Big Guys who handle hot pots and casserole dishes fresh from the oven.

I like how jaunty and pretty it looks while sitting up. But it just needs one more thing. A little handle. You just chain onto the top point of the hot pad and make a small chain about 20 stitches and then single crochet around them until it looks sturdy enough to hang on a nail. You figure it out.

Pretty as a Daisy Bloom and no bigger than a tessy wren, my wee little moppet with a handle!

And here we have the finished thing, waiting in the wings for it's chance in the Pot-light. No photography is allowed during the actual performance, as the insurance underwriters feel it would be much too dangerous considering the mess that was made of the pre-production stills.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

July, July, July do ya Love Me?

Just thought I should post something for you to look at besides my hives!

Happy Fourth of July!