Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's Garbage Day, Again.

I'm not going to talk about garbage, other than to say that tonight we put the garbage cans out on the curb.  It seems like I just brought them in, which is my way of saying that lately the days go by much too quickly. I had planned to write a post on Monday, then yesterday, and then before lunch this morning. Now, I want to post this before I start making dinner in um 20 minutes.

It's going to be a good dinner, too. We went to the Farmers Market this afternoon. All three of us—the Mama, the Husband, and me. It was a rare outing for the Mama and even rarer because she initiated the adventure. She was able to walk a block, back and forth, before she tired out. Hurrah for the 90+ Mama! Although, afterwards, when she plopped into the car, she said, "I don't think I will come anymore." And, when we reached home, she said, "I don't think I can go anywhere anymore. I want to sit down all the time."

We could get her a walker with a chair so that she could sit whenever she wanted, but she won't push a walker. She won't use a cane for that matter because she feels that using a cane makes you get older quicker. Maybe she's right. I don't know. I like using a walking stick when we go on hikes. It gives me false confidence when I'm going downhill. Anyway, I'd like to find something that we can subtly carry and open for her to sit whenever she needs to rest. Any ideas?

Okay, time for me to go make dinner, which will be fresh basil and garlic pasta, Italian basil mozzarella sausage, with steamed sugar peas and asparagus. Dessert will be a slice of cinnamon roll and fruit salad composed of apple, peach, strawberries, and nectarines. Except for the apple, everything was purchased at the Farmers Market. I love going to Farmers Markets. How about you?

By the way (I know, I'm being non-sequitur today), the happy broccolis was on the side of an Albertson's truck. I took the photo as we were driving down the freeway to San Diego for the 60th wedding anniversary of the Husband's Uncle and Aunt. I was planning on writing about our weekend adventure and maybe I will one day.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Kind and Thoughtful Guy

The other day the Husband pushed my pink beach cruiser along the highway while I walked slowly behind him. Is that a sweetheart or what?

I'd ridden nearly 8 miles when I heard POW! My rear wheel shook like something got caught in the spokes. A few minutes later, the bicycle was not going as fast as my feet were pedaling it. Hello, Flat Tire. Grrrr.

Thank goodness, I had the camera to distract myself as I pushed the bicycle beside me. Want to see the photos that I took of cows & horses, grass, palm trees, and yellow barn?

And, I had the cell phone. Pshew. It was days like that I was glad I paid attention to the Husband when he asked, "Do you have the phone?" It took a couple of tries before I got hold of the Husband to tell him what happened so he and the Mama wouldn't worry.

"Would you like me to come and walk with you?" he asked.

"You don't have to," I said, "But, that would be nice."

About 40 minutes later, I was waving and ringing the bicycle bell to catch the husband's attention on the other side of the street.

"Hi," he said, handing me a banana.


"I brought some water, too, but I spilled most of it."

We pulled over into the shade of an orchard to rest. I didn't want to sit down. It would be just harder to struggle back up. My feet were tired and aching in my worn down blue Converse shoes, which were good for pedaling bicycles but not for walking. As I ate the banana, the Husband talked about how it took him awhile to get the Mama to understand that I had a flat tire and I walking down the highway, but I was fine.

"I thought about driving over," he said. "But I didn't know where any rope was for tying the bike in the trunk."

I nodded, pushing  the bike back onto the highway, "Here, let me take it," said the Husband.

"I think I need to lean on it to walk. You know like the way Mama pushes a shopping cart in the store. False confidence."

"The bike's heavy. You'll be able to walk better without it. Give it a try," he said.


As he took the bike, he said, "Anytime you want it, just let me know."

The Husband was right. It was easier.  And, when we got home, he asked if I'd like to go out to breakfast. 

What a guy, don't you think?

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Bargain Jar of Pickles

$3.99 for a gallon jar of kosher whole dill pickles. About 70 of them. Three to four-inches long and rather thick, too. As far as I'm concerned, the $3.99 gallon jar of pickles is the best deal at Costco.Yes, indeed.

A medium-size jar of kosher pickles at the supermarkets costs more than that. And, when I think how much a single Kosher pickle of this kind costs at a deli—oh, my!

The Husband and I bought our second gigantic jar of pickles last week. We went through the first jar in a little over two months. Uh-huh, we like our pickles. We don't eat a pickle every day nor do we each eat a pickle. Even though pickles contribute to our probiotic consumption, we gotta be moderate about it. We also do not want to get tired of these yummy pickles that take up a lot of space on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

The Mama doesn't care for pickles. Too sour. But, she does eye the jar, no doubt thinking about what could be stored in it. I asked her if she would like the first jar. Magnanimously, she answered, "Keep the jar." Cool! She can have this second jar. I still have no idea what to use the empty jar for. So many possibilities. One of which is a terrarium. Maybe an aquarium for goldfish. Molly the Cat wouldn't be able to reach in there.

Open-Faced Tuna Fish Sandwich

Have you tried deep-fried pickles yet? Me, either. But, what I shall try making one day are baked cheesy pickle balls. It's the same, simple concept as cheesy olive balls. Make a dough out of flour, cheese, and butter; next wrap pieces of the dough around small chucks of pickle; then bake at 400 degrees for  about 20 minutes.

The other day, I made open-faced tuna fish sandwiches that the Husband said was "Tasty!" and that the Mama ate all up. Molly took a nibble and smacked her lips, which I've chosen to interpret as a paws up.

It's a very simple recipe. Mix together some or all of these ingredients in a bowl (Add other ingredients that you like, too):
1 can of tuna
Diced pickle
Diced avocado
Diced olives
Diced red pepper
Minced green onion
1 heaping Tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 heaping Tablespoon of pesto (I used some from the jar we bought at Costco)
Black pepper to taste

Cut a sandwich roll in half, lengthwise. Hollow out each half, and then fill with the concoction.

As Julia Child used to say, "Bon App├ętit!"

Friday, May 9, 2014

Liebster Award = Revealing A Bunch about Moi

Ah, the Liebster Award. In the best Jackie Gleason voice doing a Scarlett O'Hara imitation that I can muster, I say, "How sweet it is!"

Birgit of BB Creations,  who I met during the 2014 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, nominated me for the Liebster Award. It is a virtual medal that bloggers present fellow bloggers as recognition for the enjoyment they receive reading the awardees' posts. That's my interpretation of the award. If you're interested in learning more about the Liebster Award, check out this post by Lorraine Reguly at Wording Well.

Bloggers can choose to accept or reject the Liebster Award. I accept the award with much gratitude. Thank you very much, Birgit.

Like the Oscar and most other awards, a blogger can be nominated several times over. I've been fortunate to be nominated twice. Yaay for me. So much for modesty on my part today. :-)

The Rules for Accepting the Liebster Award

According to Reguly, the rules vary for the Liebster Award. These are the set of rules passed on with Birgit's nomination, which the anal-retentive editor inside me took the liberty of editing. Be sure to include these rules in your post. And, if you feel like revising further, go for it.
  • First and foremost, HAVE FUN!
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and be sure to link back to his or her blog in your post.
  • List 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 5 to 10 bloggers with less than 300 followers. You may not nominate the blogger who nominated you.
  • Make up 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • After you publish your post, go to your nominees' blogs and tell them they have been nominated.

11 Facts about Me

  1. In college, I changed my undergraduate study from social science to interdisciplinary liberal studies because I didn't want to do a senior paper.
  2. When I went back to school to get my teaching credential in social science, I had to do that required senior paper. Ha!
  3. I moved 11 times in the 23 years I lived in San Francisco from 1973 to 1996.
  4. Way back when, I came in last in the fun run around Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. I definitely earned my tee-shirt.
  5. I mix up left and right. A lot.
  6. I write another blog called Take 25 to Hollister
  7. After reading Jane Eyre for the first time a couple years ago, it went to the top of my books-that-I-like-to-re-read list, replacing Pride & Prejudice, which had been #1 for several decades.
  8. When I think someone is being condescending to me, or acts like I shouldn't be where he or she is, such as a shop or event, I remind myself that my books can be found in the Library of Congress, and most likely that person does not.
  9. The right lens of my eyeglasses has a long scratch, which I've been saying I'd replace for the past 3 or 4 years.
  10. I wear a pair of bright yellow Crocs with a Lilo charm inserted in one of the holes.
  11. I play much too much Pet Rescue Saga on Facebook.

The 11 Questions that Birgit of BB Creations Asked Me 

  1. What animal do you always visit at the zoo or watch on TV before any other? Why? 
    I like to visit the elephants. They're just darn tooting cute.
  2. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
    That I've been a self-employed writer for 28 years.
  3. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
    Pay off all our debts. Pay off the Mama's house. If it's a big winning, purchase a house with a couple acres so that there's lots of space between us and the neighbors. Otherwise, the Husband and I would travel, set money aside for a rainy day, and donate to certain charities.
  4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? 
  5. Name 5 things you like about yourself?
    I roll with the punches. I'm not a high-maintenance person. I still have effective defensive driving skills. I hold my ground. I'm honest.
  6. What's your favourite holiday and why?
    I don't have any favorite holiday, unless I count my birthday.
  7. What is your favourite film? Your favourite actor/actress? 
    Can't think of just one movie. Among my favorites are Danny Deck Chair, Calamity Jane (with Doris Day), Groundhog Day, The Man Who Sued God, and Two Weeks Notice. Favorite actor/actress?  I like watching movies that feature Jodie Foster, Billy Connelly, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Jack Black, Sandra Bullock, or Adam Sandler.
  8. Which movie or TV show do you wish was gone from your sight? 
    All those glum movies that feature a bleak, violent future.
  9. Which entertainer do you feel needs a good spanking and be sent to a farm to work?
    Lindsey Lohan. She is a very talented young woman.
  10. Who do you admire, living or dead?
    I admire my parents.
  11. What makes you smile?
    Molly the Cat and the Mama sleeping together on the couch in front of the TV.

My Nominees for the Liebster Award

  • Bit to Read:   Isa-Lee is an author and freelance writer who blogs about books and various topics that interest her.
  • Maui Jungalow:   Courtney lives in Maui (lucky woman!) and gives readers a local view of living in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
  • Net on the Net:  Jeanette is from Michigan and writes about her job, home, family, and anything and everything that she feels like. 
  • Sue Elvis Writes: Sue hails from Australia, homeschools her kids, and writes about life with  energy, love, humor, and matter-of-factness.
  • Sweetbearies Art Projects:  Julia writes about art and her various art projects, generously providing videos or illustrated steps on how she does certain techniques.
  • The Trans-Gentle Wife:   Lucy describes herself as "An ordinary wife in an extraordinary marriage." I think she is quite an extraordinary person.
  • Widdershins Worlds: A resident of Canada, Widdershins, an author of science fiction, fantasy, and lesbian fiction, writes about writing and life in general. 
  • Yeakley/Jones Family: Ann maintains three blogs; this one, which she linked up to the A to Z challenge, is about genealogy and the stories of her past and present family members.

11 Questions for the Nominees

  1. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
  2. What's one thing that irks you?
  3. About how long do you think can you stand on one foot?
  4. Time yourself. How long did you actually stand on one foot?
  5. What would you want for your last meal?
  6. What's something that you would not regret about having missed doing?
  7. What's one thing that scares you, but you do it anyway? 
  8. What's something fun that you would like to do right now?
  9. Would you rather be an eagle, crow, or parakeet?
  10. If you could be a sitcom character, who would you be?
  11. Who rules -- Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, or Jo March?
I like these questions so much, I shall answer them, too, but on another post some other day. I think you've had enough about me for now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Fun Time was Had by Me at the A to Z

A few days ago, I met a professional photographer who told me that he never took photos between 10 AM to 4 PM because the lighting is bad then.  I left his gallery with "Never between 10 and 4" embedded in my brain, but still with disbelief. It being nearly 6 PM, I went crazy taking photos. Dang, if there wasn't a magical quality of light in the photos. I truly did not bank on it happening in my photos.

So, what does that have to do with my evaluation about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April that I completed. Beats me. All I know is that I wanted to use the above photo for this post before I even wrote it. Maybe by the end of the post, the metaphor of taking photos will show itself.

This was my second year doing the challenge. I found it more enjoyable than last year. One reason was that I did not link up both my blogs to the challenge, even though I post to the other blog, Take 25 to Hollister, every day. I chose to link up The View from the Top of the Ladder because I've been undisciplined about writing since last year's challenge.

I drew pictures to illustrate some of my posts. That's another reason this challenge was more fun for me. I'm one of those people who is scared of drawing and hardly draw with the intention of drawing. So, I was very pleased and encouraged by the positive comments that fellow bloggers wrote about my illustrations. Will I continue? We shall see.

This year, I had no expectations of myself, which included going all the way through the alphabet. I told myself that I can withdraw from the challenge at anytime that I felt stressed about any aspect of my life. About all the pre-planning I did was create a list matching letters to dates and jot down possible topic ideas that came immediately to mind for the first week of letters. It helped that I focused on a week-by-week basis.

Last year, I assumed I would have a lot of visitors—and comments—because of the number of participants, so I was disappointed when only a handful dropped by and commented. I was also let down last year that there weren't return visits from bloggers, and I visited more than five blogs most days.  This year, I had no expectations about visitors—if any, or how many, would drop by, and if they commented about what I wrote. Every day, I visited a bunch of new blogs as well as revisited blogs with which I felt a connection, without a care if the bloggers came by mine. That was very freeing. And, you know what? I met some wonderful bloggers.

Participating in this challenge provides me the opportunity to visit a wide variety of blogs. I learned so many things through this year's challenge, from art techniques at Sweetbearies Art Projects to genealogy at Yeakley–Jones Family History, actors' bios at BB Creations, 1930s slang words at Rumer has it...,  self-acceptance at The Trans-Gentle Wife,  medicinal herbs at Wanna Buy a Duck, insider things about Hawaii at Maui Junglalow, and places to eat in New York City at Buttercup Counts her Blessings. And, the storytellers. Oh my. They are enchanting, in particular, Sue Elvis Writes, Kathryn O'Halloran, and Sarah's Brand New Chapter.

My thanks to the organizers of the Blogging A to Z Challenge. I appreciate all of your efforts and time put in to this event.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Things to Do Today

The first, okay, maybe it was the fourth, thing I did this morning before breakfast was write that To Do list.

I did finish the mystery I've been reading at breakfast. I diligently stuck with the story although I didn't care for the protagonist who was too much of an insecure whiner. But once I learned who the suspect was, I skimmed through the final scenes. I closed the book and purposely went to complete something else.

For about the next two hours, I topped off the Mama's outdoor potted plants with potting soil. It was something I had been thinking about doing for the last two summers. The other week, while the Mama was watering her plants, she mentioned that they needed more soil.

"Uh-huh," I said, glancing at them and thinking I need to do that before she got to it. Fortunately, for me, a few days ago, the Husband and I bought three huge bags of potting soil. The Mama requested one, but I bought two extra bags. Not because I was going to add soil to the potted plants but because I have plans on building a planter box to replace the broken-down one full of roses. And, I would need those bags for the new planter box.

Yup. You got it. I used up those two extra bags topping off the Mama's potted plants, and I didn't even get to all the pots. They will have to wait for another day and maybe it won't be in the distant future. 

The items on today's written To Do list? We shall see.