Thursday, November 30, 2017
I say I'm retired, so I must be retired.
I haven't had a big paying project in years, so I might well say I'm retired.
I kicked in my Social Security. That definitely feels g-r-e-a-t!
I hope these new tires are durable and long lasting. They're guaranteed for life I'm told.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Six more weeks and I am done with my movie reviews. The Missus Lady has asked me if I would be interested in doing book reviews for the next round of ABC Wednesday. I told her I would think about it. It sounds interesting but I'm not too keen on doing reviews for awhile. Maybe if she wanted Jane Austen, Action Doll, and me to collaborate on something, I might give an absolute purrrring yes. What do you think?
My House in Umbria (2003)
Setting: Umbria, Italy
Emily (played by Dame Maggie Smith) is a middle-aged British expatriate who lives in solitude in the countryside of central Italy. She's alone not so much as to write romance novels but more so because she has closed down her emotions due to horrible things that happened to her in the past. Emily only trusts her agent.
One day everything in Emily's life changes. The train that she is on gets blown up by terrorists.
In the hospital, Emily finds herself drawn to the young girl from the U.S. that Emily met on the train. The girl's parents were killed in the train explosion, and the girl no longer feels like talking. Emily invites the girl along with two other survivors who have no where to go—a retired British general and a German photographer—to stay at Emily's villa in Umbria.
Together the four of them slowly mend their physical, mental, and emotional injuries.
What is the girl's story? Does she have relatives? Does she ever talk again? What about the general and the photographer? What are their stories? And, Emily's story? How did she get to Umbria? How do the four help each other open up to life again?
Mewww. So many questions!
A note from Su-sieee! Mac: The letter U is the theme for this week's ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out what bloggers from around the world have written with the letter. Thank you, ABCW team!
Once upon a time the Husband and the Mama each bought me a simple dehydrator for Christmas. The Mama let me choose my present from her, while the Husband said, "Surprise!" I'm spoiled rotten, I tell you.
Yes, I returned one dehydrator.
As for the kept dehydrator, I experimented with it once. The dehydrator was nothing more than five plastic trays sitting on top of a plastic base that has a heating element in it. Both the Mama and I agreed that it took a lot of hours to dry a handful of fruit. Not to say I had to interrupt whatever I was doing to rotate the trays every two hours. After that one time I cleaned the trays and put everything back into its box.
On Sunday, I decided that I wanted to dry some persimmons so I brought out the dehydrator. Instructions stated that it would take at least 24 hours to dry the fruit, which I figure would be about five or six persimmons. I didn't like the idea of the flimsy-looking machine being on while we slept. Besides I would need to get up to rotate the trays every two hours. What a baby of a machine!
Martha Stewart saved my day! Should I say night?
I found a Martha Stewart recipe for dehydrating persimmons in the oven. Place thinly sliced persimmons on a wire rack over a cookie pan. Bake for two to two-and-a-half hours at 250 degrees. I was able to fit five persimmons worth of slices on the rack. Ha!
Some slices came out slightly burnt, having the texture of potato chips. They tasted okay. Other slices came out orange and rubbery. They tasted even better. With more experimenting, I'll eventually find the right oven temperature, time in the oven, and slice thickness to get dehydrated persimmons that look like the ones you buy in the store.
That dehydrator? I might put it out in a yard sale or repurpose it into succulent planters.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Last Saturday, the Husband and I walked a bit along a slough. I'm not kidding about "a bit". We couldn't find access to a slough where I felt like we wouldn't be trapped by four-legged or two-legged creatures. When we saw what looked like someone's tent by the water, we took the other path which circled us back to the car. Because I now walk on knees without cartilage the bit of a walk was good enough. We even climbed up an incline that had me gasping for breath at the top.
It wasn't until I was looking at my photo on the computer that I saw the duck and egret in the scene, which I didn't see because I was so focused on composing the shot with the palm trees in the distance. With the magic of Photoshop, I was rewarded with this wonderfulness.
I'm hooking up with Our World Tuesday. It's been a while. Click here to check out the other participants from around the world.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Ever had spaghetti pizza?
The other day I used leftover spaghetti, made with a friend's awesome marinara sauce, as the "sauce" for a pizza. The spaghetti had zucchini, red pepper, yellow onion, two huge handfuls of spring salad mix, and brie. On top of the spaghetti went layers of red onion, pepperoni, green olives, pimento, and farmer cheese.
The marinara sauce was homemade by friend Gloria who grinds her own mixture of dried herbs and spices. The sauce had a light and mellow taste. Subtle and sophisticated. Wowza wow wow!
Gloria gave us two tubs of her sauce, one for the freezer. There are so many possibilities for the second tub. I could use it as a base for a cioppino or make a pasta dish with Italian sausage, for example. Both the Husband and I agree that we could even slurp up the sauce straight as soup. Yummmmm.
Thank you, Gloria!
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Caaa! Caaaa! Caaaa!
We like sharing the persimmons with the crows and the other birds. Why not?
I'm linking up at All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out Jesh and click here to check out other participants.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
In 1974 the Daddy and I brought back wall plaques of peacocks and fishes from our visit to the Philippines. Gifts for the Mama, the wall art were made of coconut shells. Until last year, the pieces wore their plastic wrappings and were carefully stored away. The Mama wanted to make sure they stayed pristine forever, of course.
Of course, when I discovered the plaques last year, I ripped them out of their packaging and set them aside to sell in our garage sale. No one wanted to buy them. That was fortunate.
A few weeks ago, on a whim, I colored in one of the peacock plaques with acrylic paints. Not the one above. That's my second effort. I'm finding zen as I color between the lines.
There are two or three more plaques that I can color, if I want. And I want. A couple of dull-looking vases could also use a paint job. . . .
Friday, November 24, 2017
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Have you ever wondered what Thanksgiving Day is all about? How it came to be?
It's not about the big box store sales that start earlier each year on Thanksgiving Day. Or, is it?
It's not about the huge generous portions of turkey, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, and other yummy food that friends and family gather together to consume. Though that is much to be thankful for, especially if you don't have to do anything but eat.
It's not even about the Pilgrims who supposedly ate the first Thanksgiving meal in the New World with the original residents of the land.
According to the Wikipedia article, Thanksgiving Day originated as a kind of harvest festival. You know, as in thank you, God, for all the food that we have been able to grow, gather, eat, and store for the harsh cold months until we can grow food again. I am indeed very thankful for the lemons, persimmons, avocados, apples, and tomatoes that we harvest from our backyard.
In the early years of the United States, the nation's leaders set aside several days throughout the year for citizens to pray, be humble, and remember to be thankful. I wonder if any of today's Republicans would say this was an example of the federal government having too much power and control over individuals.
Until President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day holiday in November, presidents and governors may or may not call for a Thanksgiving Day. And, it wasn't always in November or in autumn. It seems that leaders were more likely to proclaim a Thanksgiving Day in wartime and during other national crises.
We can thank President FDR for the tradition of Thanksgiving shopping. During the Great Depression, FDR declared an earlier Thanksgiving Day so that merchants had more time to sell stuff for Christmas. Back then it was a no-no to advertise Christmas sales until after Thanksgiving. Interestingly, the Republicans didn't like having Thanksgiving Day earlier. I guess the leaders and their backers weren't so greedy about profits yet. For years some states continued to observe a Republican Thanksgiving in the last week of November while other states observed Democratic Thanksgiving a week earlier.
In December 1941, a few weeks after the U.S. entered World War II, FDR signed into law making the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, a federal holiday.
So here we are.
Joy, Peace, and Love to you all!
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
I'm with the Missus Lady. I can't decide which movie not to talk about. So, this week you get two thoughtful kindly hearted stories. Both are British films. The Humans really ought to visit the British Isles one day.
This Beautiful Fantastic (2017)
Setting: A British city
Some people classify this story as a modern fairy tale. I don't know why. Isn't it possible for a timid soul to dream possibilities for herself, fall in love with an unlikely person, become almost like a daughter to a grumpy neighbor, and grow a beautiful garden seemingly overnight?
This is definitely a feel good movie. It's also a tearful one for sentimentals like Missus Lady. Hero Man looked quite satisfied with the ending, too.
Their Finest (2017)
Setting: London, 1940 World War II
Catrin is hired by the Ministry of Information to provide a woman's point of view on propaganda films in production. Proving herself to be a decent script writer, she is assigned to work on the next film which means working with Tom who seems to be always annoyed with her. We know what that means. Tom is in love with Catrin who is married to an artist who doesn't really like her being the breadwinner. Will the couple get together in the end? What happens to Catrin's husband?
The developing and evolving love story is only one part of the movie. Another part is the production of the film starring the aging, pompous leading man Ambrose who must handle playing the supporting part of an uncle, as well as an American hero-soldier who can't act. What to do? And, what do they do about the ending? Catrin thinks one of the young sisters in the story must be the hero in order to pull the audience's heart strings, while everyone else says that the uncle or the American hero-soldier should be.
A note from Su-sieee! Mac: The letter T is the theme for this week's ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out what bloggers from around the world have written with the letter.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Monday, November 20, 2017
A party has been going on in my head, and it has been rather rowdy at times.
We all do need to be rowdy once in a while, but within reason.
Within reason. Who coined that phrase? How long did it take for others to start saying it? Before it was explained in a dictionary? In a grammar book? Is this phrase an idiom? Are idioms even taught anymore?
Pshew! See what I mean? A party is going on in my head!
Some of you may have thought that my idea of rowdy is making loud and happy noises, and possibly doing a silly prank or two on the Husband. That, of course. Sure. Maybe. Not telling. Giggle.
Rowdy to me is also playing with words and sentences, and thoughts and concepts.
Once upon a time 11 years ago I jumped out of a plane. That was not hard at all. If you freeze, like I think I did, your instructor (the professional skydiver to whom you're hooked), merely pushes you over as he falls forward. Me jumping out of the plane (from 18,000 feet up in the air, too, mind you) was quite easy compared to taking a deep breath and letting my storytelling voice cough, laugh, dance, cry, shriek, sing, do somersaults, grit teeth, zen out, play solitaire, roar, and s-o-a-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.
My ability to hold that rowdy door open longer is increasing bit by bit, day be day. Thank you very much for listening.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Missy Molly plopped herself down in my path for her first morning purrrr! and petting. Pretty Molly.
"Mew! Where do think you're going? I want breakfast."
"I want to do this first," I said, opening the back door to the chilly morning. I leaned out the door, talked into the air, and watched for poofs of cold breath to float away. Nothing.
"Good," I said, opening the door wider. Molly scurried to the south and I limped to the north with a bucket full of dumb cane. Dieffenbachia to some.
A few weeks ago, I finally took the overgrown dumb cane out of its pot. Wowza, I tell you. The plant's thick tangled roots completely filled the medium-sized pot. Sorry guy. It is the sole descendant of the original plant that the Husband received as a gift in the mid-1970s.
From this successor of a dieffenbachia, I pulled apart about a dozen more descendants. I also snapped pieces from two or three tall stalks to try growing more that way. With luck and care, we may have a whole lot of healthy dumb canes in the near future.
As for Molly? She let me pot one pot with cuttings before shepherding me into the house to give her breakfast.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Friday, November 17, 2017
One thing about not being out there, being visible, being noticeable, being memorable. People forget that you're there. Until you're not there and someone asks, "Where the heck is the person who sweated this small stuff?"
SO UNFAILINGLY RELIABLE. I'd rather not have that on my tombstone. Shudder.
You might as well etch this beneath my name—DRUDGE.
Yes, yes, I know that the world can't run without us drudges. Did I say I abhor being a drudge? If I had, I would've done something about it long time ago. I would've taken the other path. Each and every time.
I cannot imagine myself as a high maintenance diva. Maybe in a parallel universe I am. Heaven help those people.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Need I say more? I didn't think so.
"We are just a band that made it very big. That's all," said John Lennon on Disc 1 of The Beatles Anthology.
I'm glad The Beatles happened during my lifetime, in particular, my youth.
John and Ringo were born in 1940, Paul in 1942, and George in 1943. They had a child's memory of WWII. In spite of (or because of) all the harsh stuff they may have experienced as children, they gave us beautiful lyrics and music. Thank you, The Beatles!
By the way, have you heard their version of Besame Mucho from their younger years. Just put a pair of velvet pants on Paul. Gosh.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Something good, happy, nice, and wonderful is developing in our home. I can't put my finger on it. Just feels like it. Purrrrrrr.
Miss Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005)
Setting: Any bucolic town USA (movie was shot in the Pasadena and Glendale area)
Frank (played by Robert Carlyle) is a grieving widower who gets passed on a dangerous mountainous road by happy guy Steve (performed by John Goodman). Minutes later Frank catches up to Steve who somehow crashed on a wide portion of the road. Frank keeps Steve talking while waiting for the ambulance and during the ambulance ride. Steve tells him about being a kid in love with Lisa and taking ballroom dance classes from Miss Hotchkiss. Young Steve and Lisa promised each other that they would meet on a certain day in the distant future at Miss Hotchkiss' school, which was where adult Steve had been heading.
Steve got Frank to promise to go to the school and tell Lisa that he tried to get there. Frank does. Before he knows it, the current Miss Hotchkiss (daughter of the original Miss Hotchkiss) is teaching Frank how to dance. With each new partner, Franks asks if she is Lisa. No Lisa.
Widower Frank is part of a support group of grieving husbands. At the meeting after that dance class, some of his group notices that Frank is different somehow. Frank tells the group that he's taking dance classes. Surprised and envious looks. Purrrrrrrrr.
With each dance class, Frank works out more of his grieving. How does that happen? What happens to the support group? Does Frank ever find Lisa? What happened to Steve, by the way? What about Miss Hotchkiss and her school?
A note from Su-sieee! Mac: It's time for ABC Wednesday. The letter is S. Click here to check out what bloggers from around the world have written with the letter. Thank you, ABCW team!
Yesterday, I said I was no longer interested in going to Mars.
Not that I've been offered the opportunity.
I love the idea of traveling through space and exploring Mars.
The problem is. . .me.
Maintaining the flexibility, endurance, and stamina to deal with number one conceits is getting tougher for me. Let's face it in nearly all workplaces, there's always one. I'm beyond the point of putting up with that kind of misery, day in and day out on the job. Imagine doing that in close quarters 24 hours a day through infinity and beyond.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
As I settled back to read a few more pages of a novel around 11 o'clock the other night, after spending an hour or so doodling and drawing sugar canes, peppermint canes, and walking canes, I realized that I was doing different things. (Canes are not easy to draw, by the way.)
I am actually looking for things to do, different things to try because I am. . .giggle. . .retired.
There are some things I'm no longer interested in trying
. . . hang gliding
. . .roller skating
. . . hiking the Pacific Crest trail
. . .driving a big rig cross country, toot-toot
. . .going to Mars
Yup, no longer interested in making those dreams come true.
One of the things I have been doing is painting. I did that watercolor in the photo up there. What do you think: Does it remind you of granite mountains? Maybe somewhere in the Sierra Nevada?
Monday, November 13, 2017
In the past year, I've used the Mama's cane more than the Mama ever did in her 20+ years of owning it.
The Mama didn't believe in using canes. She said, "The more you use it, the more old you are."
I eventually learned to shrug off her ignoring the helpful tool as one of the Mama's vanity things. She may be ancient but heck if she was going to look it.
It was painful to watch the Mama slowly get up from a seated position, wobble immediately (because damn if she was going to stand still for a moment or two) into a walk, then oh so slowly make her way to her destination, using walls and furniture to help push herself forward. But, by golly, she got where she wanted on her accord. And, that was what was important and dignified for her.
As for me. . .how do I feel about using the cane?
As a young thing, I would get infuriated at drivers who paid no mind to pedestrians in the cross walk. Sometimes when I had my own close calls, I thought that when I'm an old lady I'd have a cane, whether I needed it or not, so I could whack on car hoods or bumpers of impertinent drivers.
The cane is a tool to help one be a bit more mobile. I get that now. I don't need it all the time, only when my knees scream out "Hello! Help please!"
So far I haven't touched a car with the cane.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
The season has begun of Brrrr, Cold.
Yet Molly the Cat and I let the bright blue sky fool us.
I'll sit outside if I darn well please, says Molly the Cat crouched very low to the ground.
Me. I'm wearing shorts and t-shirt and wandering around without socks and shoes. Giggle.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Do I garden because I love it? Is gardening something that's simply in my genes?
In her last years, the Mama would sit in her garden or at the kitchen table and ask, "Who will take care of the garden when I die?"
"Don't worry," I would tell her.
That's what I liked about the Mama. She didn't ever ask me to tend to her garden when she was gone. She didn't want me to feel obligated.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Last month I was introduced to rock painting. Another creative outlet for me. It's a good thing our back yard is full of rocks and there are a lot of places that I can border with them. I wonder though if the rocks mind being painted.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Hundreds of persimmon buds, then hundreds of persimmon babies fell this year that I didn't think we would have much of a crop.
I was wrong.
The persimmon tree has taught me that we never know what will be.